Sunday, April 8, 2018

Truth-Metrics, the Afterlife, Cosmic Fairness, Necessity, and Love


We all believe in Fairness. That is not the question. The question is in what sense? One must ask if one believes the following:

1. I have rational reasons to believe in Fairness as a metric of truth, and, therein, I rationally reject any unfair Ultimate Actuality. God, or one’s paradigmatic explanatory terminus, and so on, of course sum to said ultimate actuality.

2. I believe in fairness in that actual, ontic and irreducible sense and *not* in the sense of the category of terminus wherein the convertibility of the necessary transcendentals is finally illusory. Fairness is *therefore* (…since we are not speaking of the fictitious here…) *necessarily* a valid truth-referent such that when we find truth testifying of a particular paradigm we will in fact find that fairness just does remain intact – ad infinitum.

Now, form there, we move toward this: Whether we embrace ECT (eternal conscious torment) or not, the Truth Metric of Cosmic Fairness still compels the rational mind into a uniquely Christian metaphysic → for the following reasons https://www.metachristianity.com/heaven-hell-cosmic-fairness-ethic-love/

Given the terminus of Cosmic Fairness, we find that our paradigmatic options are, truly, limited. It is a common mistake of the Non-Theist to enter these sorts of topics while employing premises which themselves reach for an ontic of irreducible self-giving — or irreducible love – and so on – as such is an explanatory terminus wholly unavailable to Non-Theism. Typically that mistake is conjoined to another common mistake – to enter said topic while simultaneously treating Privation, or Sinai, or etc., “As-If” it is God’s Ideal for Mankind forever.

Assuming someone has rejected Fairness as an actual (ontic) good (…as forced by, say, all Non-Theistic explanatory termini… which includes Buddhism given that in the end it is Non-Theistic...) then the following replay from another thread holds as a relevant statement/question to that particular someone, to that particular Non-Theist:

Begin excerpt:

Since you have seen and known and tasted of the horrific contours of Unfairness and of love's antithesis of that within the contours of Fairness and even further in the contours of Grace, and, since you are free and informed:

Why have you, being as informed as you are, freely chosen to chase after the antithesis of Cosmic Fairness? Even given the absence of eternal conscious torment... and you STILL reject Fairness as a valid truth-metric with respect to interpreting reality. And yet you know and see and taste the contours of Fairness and Unfairness and STILL you freely embrace as your own primordial ethic all the horrific contours of Cosmic Unfairness as such relates to love's informed and volitional motions amid Self/Other.

Why?

Whether your doxastic experience freely evades the truth of "ABC" or not, "ABC" is actually the case, and what is "ABC"? It is the fact that some folks knowingly and freely embrace that horrific primordial rock-bottom of Cosmic Unfairness with respect to all things ethical. They do not count Fairness as a Truth-Metric with respect to interpreting reality. Not really.

Why?

What possible motive could fuel such a free and informed decision?

In all these things you go on and on about the beliefs of a man as if the will of a man does not exist, as if a *threat* can compel the former as you ignore the latter.

Why?

You knowingly, in the light of day, reject both the (...Ontic...) terminus of Love and that of Cosmic Fairness as actual (...Ontic...) truth metrics and trade them away for a bobble termed reductio ad absurdum.

Why?

Lucidity merits logical Means & Ends there in one’s paradigmatic explanatory termini.

God does not ultimately refuse us, you and I, His beloved, but, rather, we ultimately refuse Him, as in: While we are free to knowingly trade away the necessary transcendentals of logical lucidity and love's timeless reciprocity in order to gain a bobble named Reductio ad Absurdum, we are also free to do otherwise.

End excerpt.

What about the common It’s All About Threats fallacy?

But it’s all based on threats! It’s all based on fear! ECT / eternal conscious torment for not pledging allegiance to someone I don’t believe exists!

Let's grant the term threat and see why it is still misguided:

It's not the term "threat" that is a problem. Rather, it's simply the fact of the false dichotomy beneath the premise:

Threats can make you, or compel you, to, say, not kill. Yet that is irrelevant. Why? Because God cannot threaten in the sense which the fallacious polemic needs to push through – for two reasons:

1. Threats cannot get perfect obedience and anything less is nonsense here. Consider Eden in which we find no sin, and yet no Eternal Life. There are more layers which must be included and, just the same, Sinai / Law / and still more laws never can provide the necessary means to the End that is the perfection of being. Once again, more layers are needed, Privation or not, Eden or not.

2. Given love's nature a groom's threats necessarily cannot force his beloved to actually love him (…see https://metachristianity.blogspot.com/2018/03/comments-at-divine-causality-and-human.html ...).


"An Omnipotent God would have made it more CLEAR..."

In direct reply to that premise: What hasn't been defined clearly? As in – we ultimately arrive at the following:

1. Goodness (...the perfection of being as per all things Adamic...and therefore heaven in any form...)

2. A lack of Goodness (...or privation...and therefore hell in any form...)

Those are demarcated and it's crystal clear. Before moving towards Eternal / Non-Eternal we can, so far, make this observation:

The premise which claims “Not-Clear-Enough-If-God-Is-Omnipotent” and so on is actually claiming to find that Scripture’s metanarrative of a lack of love's perfection and of a lack of love's wholeness (...privation...and therefore hell in any form...) is somehow either irrelevant or else unmoving or else unclear.

When faced with that fact a kind of hedge often arrives along the lines of, "But "that" is not relevant. Not here. Not now."

However, given the ethic of love, that is to say – since we are talking about “the absolute rock-bottom of reality” – given (…a bit of odd syntax up ahead…) Christianity's ontic referent of the irreducible substratum that is the immutable love of the Trinitarian Life vis-à-vis love’s timeless reciprocity and self-giving diffusiveness of the Ontic-Self in totum – given THAT rock-bottom, or THAT explanatory terminus – what is it, exactly, about eternal *non*-goodness, eternal "lovelessness" that one would find *irrelevant*? One would have to explain the "problem" there with respect to relevance and clarity.

That means that the one who raises that complaint is defining these landscapes of 1. Goodness (...the perfection of being as per all things Adamic...and therefore heaven in any form...) and of 2. A lack of Goodness (...or privation... and therefore hell in any form...) as if Meaning somehow flows from the Contingent X and to/into the Necessary, from the Mutable X and to/into the Ultimate Meaning Maker.

Whereasmeaning and definition necessarily flow downhill and convergence of the many and varied metrics of truth have narrowed our options to, first, the duo of Eternal Goodness / Eternal Non-Goodness (…with respect to love's timeless reciprocity & the Trinitarian Life as alluded to elsewhere here.. and so on…), and, secondly, to the duo of the Hindu's Pantheism and the Christian metaphysic (...as per https://www.metachristianity.com/heaven-hell-cosmic-fairness-ethic-love/ ..).

Let’s turn “Clarity” 180 degrees:

Scripture’s lack of logical compulsion is by design. What Scripture compels us into is the Crystal Clear Hard Stop of God as Good, Just, Merciful, True, and Sufficient. What we’re not compelled into is the Hard Stop of 1. Eternal vs. Non-Eternal vs Conditional Immortality nor 2. Most Embrace Life vs Most Refuse Life. And that is by design in God's "communique" – in Scripture's singular metanarrative.

We.....

1. won't find a logical compulsion either into or out of "eternal" / "non-eternal" or "conditional immortality" just as...
2. we won't find a logical compulsion into "almost everyone embraces Life" / "almost no one embraces Life", and, also...
3. we *do* find convergence of all sorts of lines there…

And that convergence clearly delineate a trio comprised of:

a. Necessity with respect to Logical Necessity and syntax along the lines of "...Given Decree ABC it is the case that MNL is necessarily present while QRS is necessarily impossible..."

b. Necessarily Possible Means and

c. Necessarily Possible Ends.

....with respect to….

1. Goodness (...the perfection of being as per all things Adamic...and therefore heaven in any form...)

2. A lack of Goodness (...or privation...and therefore hell in any form...)

Both the fallacy of All-About-Threats-Full-Stop and the fallacy of All-About-Reward-Full-Stop go missing and one is left with something ELSE. Something Higher and something Timeless. Scripture's Non-Compulsion forces us to focus on things higher than Threat/Reward. With a moment's thought on the concept of "Threat-Full-Stop" and/or "Reward-Full-Stop" it becomes easy to see why. God got it right. Those "other" and "higher" contours are in fact why the Christian metaphysic houses the *same* means and the *same* ends across one, seamless singularity whether we are discussing 1. Pre-Eden or 2. Eden or 3. Privation or 4. Eternal Life.

From to Z we find the lucidity and satisfaction of convergence as the Cruciform Lens focuses the many scattered bits of light into one seamless point of convergence. And we expect / predict those blips on the screen given the hard moral fact that a mere "threat" in some kind of bizarre isolated form just won't do. Whereas we find that the irreducibly rational is in fact ontologically seamless with the irreducibly moral as the A and the vis-à-vis God’s Communique got it right.

This lack of logical compulsion is affirmed by the following contradiction made by our Non-Theist friends:

1. In some discussions: "It's all about ECT! It's all about threats! It's all right there in black and white! Evil God!"

2. In other discussions: "Nothing is crystal clear on the Afterlife! Where's God's Omni/Omni/Omni? Weak God!"

Unfortunately some of our Non-Theist friends are forever missing the painfully obvious.  For a basic umbrella, perhaps “Four Views on Hell: Second Edition (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology)” which is at https://www.amazon.com/Four-Views-Hell-Counterpoints-Theology/dp/0310516463

Okay, so it’s about Timeless Goodness, not Threats. But what about Disagreements & Segues within Christendom?

Some of our Non-Theist friends have this odd notion that internal discussions, disagreements, and segues within Christendom just "somehow" (…they never say *how* of course…) reflects something *different* than *convergence* of the wide array of vectors discussed so far.

That same error on occasion shows up along the lines of something akin to,

A. "....but the Christian worldview is extraordinarily malleable and just keeps changing with the times…." to which the reply is something akin to,
B. "....Oh? The Trinitarian Life (Trinity) is extraordinarily malleable? Do you have an argument for that? Do tell...."

Indeed, as we move toward clarity amid convergence in and by the Cruciform Lens we begin to see more and more contours of the Christian metaphysic with respect to the Hard Stop of the Trinitarian Life, the only Ontic Terminus of love's ceaseless reciprocity, of Being's timeless Self-Giving and therein we spy a wide array of metrics buttressing the ever-increasing awareness of the irreducible value, or worth, or preciousness, of the proverbial Everyman.

Given the robust convergence and clarity of Scripture’s singular Metanarrative with respect to Goodness and to Lack of Goodness / Privation and to the Necessarily All-Sufficient (God, the Necessary Being) and to the Necessarily Insufficient (any contingent being) and to Necessary Means and to Necessary Ends – and – also – given the seamlessness in all of that whether we are discussing Pre-Eden or Eternal Life or Eden or Privation (four *distinct* topographies), it is the case that this or that degree of ambivalence about vectors beyond all of that with respect to the topic of the afterlife is not “problematic” to Christendom with respect to the reality of said convergence.

Still more convergence:

Across all of Christendom's branches we find still more convergence with respect to, yet again, reality's irreducible rock-bottom.  The logical necessities which populate the landscape of the interface amid Necessary / Contingent bring all definitions back, and back again to the Epicenter common to all of Christendom – namely –

Three distinctions in "GOD" as Trinity – and – the All Sufficient Self-Outpouring of God.

Clarity vs. Threat: To demand more than what all of the above forces upon all definitions is to demand that God “make-it-all-about-reward” and/or to demand that “God-make-it-all-about-threat” – but of course God the Greatest Parent knows what He is doing with His Own “Communique” into the Consciousness of the Adamic and He got it right as He has made it all about the beauty of goodness full stop – which is of course the beauty of love's ceaseless self-giving full stop – which is of course The Beauty of The-Good full stop – which is of course The Beauty of the Triune God.

Hard Stop.

When we say “Hard Stop” recall that “Privation” (…nor Eden…) is nether the “A” nor the “Z” of the Christian metanarrative nor of the Christian metaphysic.
“[Many find the wide... few find the narrow...] ...those are classic examples of the use of understatement. Finding the narrow gate is living a morally perfect life. No one actually finds the narrow gate except Jesus. The text says that few are those that find the gate. Understatement. Jesus alone has found it, and He is the door, flung wide, for the rest of us… ‘Many are called but few are chosen.’ But what actually happened in the parable? There were at first a few who were invited and they, sometimes violently, refused the invitation. Then literally everyone else who was found moving was brought in. Of that number, one refused to wear the wedding garment and was rejected. Everyone is called, first the invited guests and then everyone with a pulse. Not just many ...all.  Understatement. Of those invited virtually all of the select few initially invited along with the odd bird without the wedding garment are at the feast. Not necessarily a few in absolute terms , but definitely not everyone.. Understatement.  .…I am not claiming that most people go to heaven. For all I know, you are right and only a few will go to heaven while the majority go to Hell… I'm saying that I don't know. And the two verses that are usually brought forward on that subject really don't prove the point. If it turns out that only a few go to heaven, I still don't think that it would be the case that I got those verses wrong. They are definitely examples of understatement…” (…by W.L. via http://disq.us/p/1lolfui ..)

Of course all of that brings in Romans 9 and Pharaoh and Esau and perhaps then to these:



Is there really only ONE way?

Regardless of our explanatory terminus, in the end we have only two options:

1. The Necessary Being ~ All-Sufficiency (...Thy/Other...).

2. The Contingent Being ~ In-Sufficiency (...I/Self...).

In the end, given the nature of love, necessity, contingency, and sufficiency one of those two in fact must descend, must pour out, must be debased while the other one of those two must ascend, must be infilled, must be raised.

The unavoidable interface of ↔

Timelessness ↔ Time

B-Theory ↔ A-Theory

Immaterial ↔ Material

God ↔ Man

↔ cannot be some sort of half-narrative, some sort or collection of blind ontological cul-de-sacs all magically standing on their own somehow immune to reality as a whole (…see https://www.metachristianity.com/absolute-reference-frame-pure-act-incarnation-time/ …).

Given the metaphysical absurdity – the logical impossibility – of “ontological cul-de-sacs” we find the absurd and illusory, the "useful but not true" with respect to reality's concrete furniture, as in, say, Sean Carroll's The Big Picture. Or, instead, we find, in fact, in and through the Trinitarian metaphysic the coherent ontic of Timeless Procession ↔ Timed/Tensed Motion even as we find the coherent ontic of the B-Theory of Time ↔ A-Theory of Time (...an esoteric, slightly tedious, yet lucid road to coherence is at http://disq.us/p/1m6xknv ..).

"But the whole Just-One-Way thing bothers me!"

And it should — assuming one is referencing, say, Cosmic Fairness. Yet if that is the end-point of one's concerns, well then one has not pushed one's terms through to their necessary ends. It is in the Christian metaphysic alone where one is able to rationally retain Cosmic Fairness (...as per https://www.metachristianity.com/heaven-hell-cosmic-fairness-ethic-love/ ...).  Also, it is not only Cosmic Fairness which compels us, but also logical necessity compels us. In both arenas one must push one's terms through to their necessary terminus and, therein, we arrive, if we don't stop too soon, here:

Is it rational to be bothered by the fact that contingent beings are in fact contingent and therefore totally (ontic) and eternally (ontic) in need of The Necessary Being?

Is that *fact* somehow *immoral*? Is "reality" immoral because I am not the Necessary Being? Either I am the Necessary Being – God – or else Reality is somehow Immoral? Recall we are discussing the question of "Is there really only One Way?" But don't stop yet – let's keep going:

When thought through to the end we find a necessary and unavoidable "Total Insufficiency" with respect to our proverbial "ontic-status" and that seems to bother some → let's keep going → and the question is why on earth such a basic feature of reality would bother ANYONE. In fact, some *even* seem to count the fact of that ontic-status as an Immoral Claim for "...God / Being Itself..." to actually declare to a world He in fact loves. As bad as that is, don't stop yet – let's keep going:

Logic forces us to ask: Should God Lie? Is the term *need* somehow wrong or immoral?  Is the syntax of "One-Logically-Possible-Terminus" somehow wrong or immoral?

*IF* we mean to find wholeness, sufficiency, our true good, our final felicity, the perfection of being (…and so on…) *THEN* all vectors converge and our hand is forced by what that all reveals about that the nature of what we mean by The Necessary Being and by the contingent being.

The question of a. from where does the Contingent Being find Eternal Life and the question of b. how can the Contingent Being find Eternal Life but for the Necessary Being – both press in. Our hand is forced to conclude that it is All-Sufficiency Himself, and nothing less, by which and through which the Interface of those Ontic Categories arrives fully intact.

Should the truth of that reality – of our necessarily contingent ontic-status – NOT be revealed to Mankind by The Necessary Being? 

More inroads emerge:

The very "nature" or "ontic" of Necessity & Contingency force the syntax of Christ: 

[A] Necessity

↔ Contingency → → Christ ← ← Insufficiency ↔

[Z] All Sufficiency

The A and Z of all ontological possibilities cannot yield any other sum and, again, it is peculiar that some find an unavoidable fact about "reality" somehow Immoral, as if the irreducibly rational can somehow *not* be ontologically seamless with the irreducibly moral.

But, of course, they must be one and the same – else one must posit the metaphysical absurdity of “ontological cul-de-sacs”.

Whereas, timeless Self-Giving defines the "...metaphysical wellspring of all ontic possibility..." which by necessity cannot be anything less than Being Itself as we find (...it's uncanny...) that in fact Reason and Reciprocity amid ↔ Love and Necessity ↔ all seamlessly converge in a thoroughly Trinitarian metaphysic.

Regarding Universalism:

1. It should be Universalism-s – plural (...as in http://disq.us/p/1hbm03p ...) as there are two brands in play.

2. It is clear that Universalism is necessarily possible given the volitional nature of love, and, just the same, it is clear that Universalism is not necessarily actualized, again given the volitional nature of love (...as per http://disq.us/p/1gze7kv ...).

3. It is a metaphysical absurdity to claim that God desires a logical impossibility — and we know that God desires all things Adamic to be redeemed. See [2].

4. If compulsion permits can-be-otherwise (actual / ontic) then it is not coercion, and, if it does not permit can-be-otherwise, then, at the end of the proverbial ontic-line it sums to (actual / ontic) coercion. In the end if "to-expunge-x or to coerce-y" is the ontic of "to dehumanize" then when we find the ontic of "to-expunge-x or to coerce-y" in some other location –which perhaps we did not expect – then in fact we find that which just is "to dehumanize" – even if reversing the Arrow.

Speaking of Dehumanizing: This is the point at which we begin to discover the Ontic-Twins and the fact that [Twin A] Hypercalvinism and [Twin B] Forced Universalism are both the *same* error, each running in the *opposite* direction of the other (...see #4...). Recall that we find two brands of Universalism, one of which lands in this error, one of which is coherent with Scripture’s larger metanarrative. With respect to Divine Causality and Human Freedom see perhaps https://metachristianity.blogspot.com/2018/03/comments-at-divine-causality-and-human.html 

“Hopeful Universalism” is somewhat more precise for a few reasons: [1] it leaves us with God in rationally desiring that which is logically and morally possible – namely the redemption of all things Adamic and [2] it stops short of expunging the Imago Dei from, well, from the Imago Dei and [3] it stops short of the reductio ad absurdum of God creating the round-square of the Freely Already Married there inside of “The Edenic”– the round-square of the lovelessness which we find in the Ontic-Twins of [A] Hypercalvinism and [B] Forced Universalism.

Precision is required, whereas, Hypercalvinism / Forced-Universalism "formulas" are avoiding two concrete aspects of the reality under review with respect to the following topographies:

1. Trinity

2. Self/Other

3. Imago Dei

4. Decree

5. Necessity given this or that Decree – in this case the Divine Decree of the Imago Dei, which brings us to 1. (Trinity) which then brings us to 2. (Self/Other) which then brings us to the following two aspects of reality's concrete furniture:

a. The interface of all that is the I/Me that is the Self (...on the one hand...) with (...on the other hand...) all that is the You/Thee that is the Other (...in our case God/Man & Man/God as per the Decree of the Imago Dei...).

b. The reality of the Imago Dei vis-à-vis the causal content of Man’s can-do-otherwise intentionality which we find interfacing with God’s (…His Love’s…) Proposal.

Note the *distinctions* between what goes on within that “Proposal” vs. what goes on within our “Reply” vs. what goes on within a “Wedding”. Sloppiness in how we handle those distinctions just won't do.

Rishmawy comments somewhere, “Don’t break up the Trinity. Don’t forget that love came first. Realize it is about more than just wrath.

Eden, Can-Do-Otherwise, Absurdity, and Ontic Lies

All syntax must survive all references to “the Edenic” – and what comes after (...outside of...) Eden is necessarily distinct, but those downstream distinctions cannot redefine “the Edenic / the Adamic” as if those more distal, downstream facts somehow expunge the Metanarrative’s more proximal, upstream facts.

We find (...perhaps  http://disq.us/p/1n9rf6h ..) that if In Fact as per Ontic-Fact that the “Edenic Adamic” is free to do *otherwise* then in fact that *otherwise* cannot sum to Ontic Non-Entity nor can it sum to a kind of Ontic Noble Lie told by the Necessary Being. In fact God / Omnipotence cannot create a being that is in fact free to do Non-Entity or free to do Non-Being. Any epistemic which cannot contain Eden and Eden's possible worlds has, from the start, a suspicious ontic already in jeopardy (.. http://disq.us/p/1n166pv ..).

Do we have an epistemological frame which can contain the ontological frame of Eden’s possible worlds? The Christian metaphysic subsumes all of it and, therefore, any epistemology which self-negates as it moves within/amid a. Pre-Eden, b. Eden, c. Privation, and d. God’s Eternal Ideal (Eternal Life, Etc.) is somehow straying — drifting — especially if such moves are taken at the expense of readily available, more lucid epistemological alternatives. Think it through: Scripture defines reality by far, *far* more than Privation and its various contours. That is because *Christ* is far, *far* more expansive than the boundaries thereof.

One of the two brands of universalism is coherent with Scripture. We all want “all things Adamic” to be redeemed, restored, saved, and so on. That is a rational desire for something which is *not* a logical impossibility *nor* a moral impossibility – and in fact we follow both Reason and Moral vectors to their terminus only to discover in Scripture that God desires the redemption of “all things Adamic”.  Just as “The Edenic” is not *only* about Privation but in fact houses far more, so too “The Afterlife” is not about our privation, our insufficiency, our sin, as His All Sufficiency has provided all that we need. Hell can have *little* to do with “the punative full stop”, so to speak, given the All-Sufficiency of nothing less than All-Sufficiency's Own Self-Outpouring.

Hell, the Punitive, the Restorative, & Christ

Some might replace “little” in that last sentence with “nothing” but precision is required there as culpability *is* a part of Privation even as All-Sufficiency’s Self-Outpouring is, well, All-Sufficient to expunge, outweigh, and outdistance all of Privation’s Insufficiency. Because culpability *does* exist in our various layers, the term Punitive *is* applicable – but wait – we have to keep going – for we find that that *same* reality of culpability is expunged by the All-Sufficiency of nothing less than All-Sufficiency's Own Self-Outpouring. We have, literally, in concrete terms, a Free Pass out of the many pains of this current Privation and into God’s Eternal Ideal for “all things Adamic”.  It’s unavoidable: that Free Pass echoes the Proposal which was described earlier (…the trio of Proposal, Reply, Wedding…).  Recall earlier the brief section which opened with:

Is there really only ONE way? Regardless of our explanatory terminus, in the end we have only two options:

1. The Necessary Being ~ All-Sufficiency (...Thy/Other...).

2. The Contingent Being ~ In-Sufficiency (...I/Self...).

If we say of #2 there that it is Hell (…in whatever form… eternal or not, annihilation or not, conditional immortality or not, and so on…) then we find that – given the Extinction of Sin’s ontic-weight by the Ontic-Weight of All-Sufficiency’s Own Self-Outpouring – it is a metaphysical impossibility for that second option to sum to this: “The Punitive Full Stop” – Why? Well because there is no lower-case “ontic-weight” vis-à-vis sin and the contingent being’s lower-case “merit/deserve” which was not expunged, annihilated, and so on by the upper-case Ontic-Weight of The Necessary Being’s upper-case “Merit/Deserve”.

With respect to our current "ontic-status" (...Privation...) culpability is found in some layers within us, just as it is not found in every layer within us. There God overlooks both layers as neither permits us to sum to "sufficient-in-our-own-self", so to speak, and He provides the only possible Means of All Sufficiency — namely Himself. 

That “Necessary Ontic-Weight” (…streams from God…) outweighs all possible “contingent ontic-weight(s)” (…streams from the contingent being…) of all sin(s). Then, also, that “Weight vs. weight” reality carries forward to the following shocking topography… well… it’s not “shocking” so much as it is the raw syntax of Gospel, as in:

Whenever someone asks, “Does X or does doing X deserve death according to the Bible?” the questioner must, to be taken seriously, *first* address that specific term of “merit/deserve” as it applies to that first upper-case “Ontic-Weight” and also as it applies to that second lower-case “ontic-weight”. The Necessary Being just is the fountainhead of all ontic possibility and in the syntax of Gospel we find the only possible ontic of the necessary and sufficient Means to the actual (ontic) extinction of *Deserves* *Death* as it relates to all things Adamic.

The specific and fallacious Sinai-Full-Stop question posed in the manner observed in these discussions of "Does X or does doing X Deserve Death" forgets (…or dishonestly evades…) the all-encompassing sense in which the Christian claims that Christ is in fact The Truth and is in fact The Way.

It is in that way that the question makes of God's pronouncement of Forgiven / Innocent / In-Christ a bizarre "Ontic-Noble-Lie" told by The Necessary Being even as it expunges the reality-defining fact of All-Sufficiency Himself in His Self-Outpouring subsuming all which sums to "Merits/Deserves" within all things Adamic.

The questioner who asks, "Does X or does doing X deserve death according to the Bible?" must, to be taken seriously, first answer three "meta-narrative" sort of questions in order to clarify three "categories" of definitions:

1. Which contingent being (...all things Adamic...) does NOT merit eternal insufficiency (...why did Eden lack that final step of Eternal Life...)? How, then, is that the case given sin or not, given culpability or not? 

2. Which "Merit" are you referring to? The Upper Case Merit/Weight streaming from and by and through the Cruciform Lens or the lower case merit/weight streaming from the frail and contingent being?

3. Does Scripture's Metanarrative define Sinai as God's Eternal Ideal for all things Adamic — forever? If not, then what is "Better" than Law upon Law upon Law? The Cruciform Lens reduces 600-and-something Laws down to "what"? Whence reality's only Blueprint for timeless reciprocity amid ceaseless self-giving with respect to Being

The question (...
Does X or does doing X deserve death according to the Bible...?) fails to include such content and therein makes of the Cross something less than Cosmic/Infinite as it forgets that it speaks of nothing less than that which streams from The Necessary Being even as the question makes of the Cross something different than All-Sufficiency's Self-Outpouring – even as it makes of the Cross a sort of half-act, as if it defines our condition with premises that sum to just a bit less than "through-and-through" with respect to our very being.  

Once again: the question lives atop a metaphysical absurdity in which "Being Itself / GOD" floats a kind of Ontic-Noble-Lie in His pronouncement of "Innocent / Forgiven / In-Christ" and in His pronouncement of “All Sufficient”. 

In response to these sorts of demands to phrase his question in a manner which is actually related to, well, the actual premises of the Christian paradigm, both the questioner and his question are found rummaging through an array of equivocations, hedges, and one-verse straw men which are simply unrecognizable in the Christian metaphysic.

All Of That Comes Down To The Offense of Christ

The offense of Christ is, we mistakenly think, in the exclusive nature of truth. In that which is Narrow and not Wide. Well yes. Perhaps. In many ways that is true. Yet...

Yet... here in these discussions on the metaphysical status of all things Sinai (…what Scripture defines as the Ministry of Death…) and in these discussions on the metaphysical status of all things Adamic (...which includes the Judas Iscariots, the Racists, the Raging Democrats, the Fuming Republicans, the Religious Zealots, the Homosexuals, the Priests, the Kings, the Butchers, the Bakers, the Candle Stick Makers…) and so on in all such discussions we find that the offense of Christ is in the opposite direction, in the infinite and all encompassing, in the Totality, in the Breadth and Width and Height, in The Necessary and All Sufficient. The wonderful fruit of Christ's work just is the fruit of the Necessary Being — and that is phrased that way to point out that the magnitude of the all-encompassing nature of that is far too often unaccounted for in the bookkeeping of far too many accountants.

The term "Punitive" with respect to "Hell" may or may not be accurate, but, briefly, before discussing that term, a brief excerpt from 
http://disq.us/p/1knyg3u with one more way to approach the Offense Of Christ:

Begin excerpt:

And this is where the question of the outsider and/or the infidel becomes in Christianity an offense for the Door Himself Stands open to all of us and forces none of us. In the peculiar syntax of Gospel we, all, discover the only ontic-metric of The Good in the Why and How of the fact that the offensive Door Himself Stands open to all of us and forces none of us.

That metric in the Christian metaphysic just is Goodness Himself vis-à-vis the ontic-referent of the term *GOD* in the ceaseless and seamless Communique that is God’s Will which is nothing less than God’s Ideal for the proverbial Everyman. By force of logical necessity “that” cannot be “something less” than God’s Own Giving of Himself to all things Adamic.

Self-Giving:

When we speak of our posture towards God, or of God's posture towards each of us, or of our posture towards one another, and what those either *do* look like in God or else *ought* to look like in us, it is in and by and through Christ where we find the Key to all definitions with respect to reality’s irreducible substratum as all definitions necessarily flow downhill from the irreducibly Cruciform God – from the Triune God – through a thoroughly Trinitarian metaphysic – wherein we find love’s timeless reciprocity housed in the ceaseless and Self-Giving diffusiveness of the Ontic-Self in totum

End excerpt. 

“Punitive” – in the light of Gospel – becomes a sort of “metaphysical” term which cannot be rationally employed unless and until all of the proper qualifications are put on the table. Inroads in that same geography are found in “Does the Atonement Imply [Force] Universalism?” (.. https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/does-the-atonement-imply-universalism/ ..).

And to be clear it is Universal Atonement under review. We begin to see the fact that the Afterlife is not about the many and varied "first order sins" but rather it is about one, and only one, Meta Level Interface (.. again https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/does-the-atonement-imply-universalism  ..) and potentially (..we can say possibly but not necessarily...) one Meta Level Sin.

And, again, to be clear, that Meta Level feature of reality is our reply God-ward. More specifically, we arrive at the Decreed Imago Dei within:

1. A Proposal 2. A Reply 3. A Wedding

– and the necessary *distinctions* between those three. It is uncanny in that reality’s only Blueprint for love’s timeless reciprocity is found in the Trinitarian Life and, therein, given the Divine Decree of Imago Dei vis-à-vis all things Adamic it is the case that the topography of said Blueprint is necessary / unavoidable – as in – cannot be otherwise.

Proposal and Reply and Wedding are all constitutions of *one* landscape and yet they are factually *distinct*. The causal ecosystem in, say, 2 (A Reply) is not, either in content or in yield, that of, say, 3 (A Wedding), and, just the same, everything in is necessary (...or cannot be otherwise, given the Decree of the Imago Dei...), and, also, nothing in 2 is *sufficient* (..by force of logical impossibility..).  And so on… Pre-Eden is not Eden, and Eden is not Privation nor is it Eternal Life, and Proposal/Reply is not the same as Wedding and Wedding is not the same as Gestation/Birth. And so on.

Stealing Glory From God

The error there amid those three distinctions (…Proposal, Reply, Wedding…) which the Ontic-Twins of Hypercalvinism and Forced-Universalism make is in part, not in whole, but in part, a fear-driven error based on the failure to appreciate the following *necessary* and *unavoidable* fact:

Neither Faith (given by God to the contingent being) nor the Capacity to Choose (given by God to the contingent being) gives us (the contingent being) an X which can in fact (ontic) land in the contingent being full stop and somehow “…steal glory from God…”

When God tells the contingent being that no flesh shall glory, He (God) means what He says even as He (God) is infusing Truth into the Narrative.

Taking that further: If God can in fact create an X which can in fact (...ontic, means, ends...) Replace-God, can in fact Stand-Full-Stop void of God, void of "Being Itself" well then 1. God can create God and 2. breathing air steals glory from God – which is nonsense – as one can freely breathe or one can freely do all sorts of things to ruin one’s ability to breathe until finally one cannot breathe any more – but should one freely choose to breathe — well then one is found employing an array of X’s comprised both of nature/drive and can-do-otherwise intentionality – and *none* of those contours land in one’s own “ontic-self-sufficiency” as such is, by force of logic, a metaphysical absurdity (and so on). 

Taking that a bit further:  As briefly discussed in http://disq.us/p/1n89s87 part of the concern of some within Christendom stems from believing in a logical impossibility:

The nuance or premise that it is possible for any contingent being to be its own explanatory terminus — and thereby steal glory from The Necessary Being — or thereby not *need* the Necessary Being —  sums to a logical impossibility. From the highest to the lowest that is unavoidable. The good and full exercise of any power or faculty created and endowed by God for the proper ends of said power or faculty by the created being does not, because it cannot, "steal" "glory" from God. A lack of understanding of that fact with respect to the Necessary and the Contingent leads many of our Non-Theist friends (…and a few lines of approach within Christendom…)  into error:

Intentionally and freely choosing self-sacrifice in order to help another — when done by anyone — an Atheist, or a Christian, or anyone — is, with respect to that slice of reality, good… but… we… must… keep going for where the Non-Theist falls down in his moral epistemology is that such willing good and such doing good isn’t – cannot be – the (…actual, ontic…) explanatory terminus of any interpretative line – else pains of circularity – else the metaphysical absurdity of the ontological cul-de-sac.

Hope:

Given the reality of The Necessary / All Sufficient (..on the one hand..) and The Contingent / The Necessarily In-Sufficient (..on the other hand..) we find that All-Sufficiency's Self-Outpouring is unavoidably necessary should the contingent being rationally retain *Hope*.

The question on the table is about God's (…His love’s…) Proposal Man-ward and our Reply God-ward within that trio of 1. A Proposal and 2. A Reply and 3. A Wedding.  At some ontological seam somewhere "all things Adamic" interact with that "God/Man" interface.  With respect to that specific interface we have to be precise on our terms.  We're far too often far too sloppy. Context with respect to divine causality, human freedom, proposal, reply, wedding, and reality's only Blueprint for love's timeless reciprocity amid self/other vis-à-vis Trinity is at [A] https://metachristianity.blogspot.com/2018/03/comments-at-divine-causality-and-human.html and at [B] http://disq.us/p/1mcox4n

Regarding Universalism – A Bit More:

We find something in “The Edenic” which we also find in “Privation” and we’ll remind ourselves that similar does not equate to same as we look at this:

We’ve A Free Pass into the proverbial Bride/Groom Wedding – into God’s Eternal Ideal for all things Adamic – and that Eternal Ideal is found neither in Eden nor in Privation, though the only possible Means to such Ends is found Wide-Open both in “the Edenic” and in “Privation”.  We’ll avoid fallacious premises with respect to Eden and Freedom to do otherwise (.. https://metachristianity.blogspot.com/2018/03/comments-at-divine-causality-and-human.html ..)

Eden / Sinlessness is not enough:

We must recall the nature or “ontic-status” of necessary insufficiency in/of ANY “contingent being” as opposed to the Necessary Being.  It is the Christian metaphysic alone which provides reciprocity’s (love’s) necessary content with respect to the landscape of Proposal amid Reply amid Wedding. Notice what we find in “The Edenic” with respect to need and our own ontic-status:

The Contingent Being — Void of Sin — Full of Need — Void of Eternal Life.

There is no sin and yet there is no eternal life and of course the reason we find such a landscape is because there is a *difference* in both ontic-content and ontic-yield between / amid: 

1. A Proposal 2. A Reply 3. A Wedding

Therein we begin to see the irreducible necessity of "The Edenic". Transition “out-of” Eden now and “into” our current state of affairs: Privation.  We find the same two outward facing Doors/Trees here inside of Privation as we did there in the Edenic – that of “I/Self” which sums to our own isolation – the Privatized Self (…which for the contingent being cannot yield wholeness as nothing but insufficiency is found in all directions…)  – and that of “Thy/Other” which sums to unicity and wedding and so on (..which for the contingent being births an ontic-category of unicity wherein All Sufficiency is found in all directions…).  

"But since Knowledge is Good, how is the Tree of Knowledge justifiably defined as "I/Self" with respect to Privation?"  

The reply to that question develops over the next several paragraphs as we explore what "enter heaven" actually entails. 

We find there in the ontic-yield of that volitional Wedding the birth of an ontic-category wherein it is the case that wherever Man shall then look, that is to say, wherever he shall motion, whether beneath his feet, or above his head, or into his own chest, he will find that beautiful Freedom called Permanence.

To put it another way: If we live a perfect life, will we then be void of *need*? Will we — the contingent being — be — in our own being — self-sufficient ? Of course not as such sums to a logical impossibility / metaphysical absurdity. 

Whence then Eternal Life?

Whence then http://disq.us/p/1muihvj ?  One must not be bothered by Logic, by the nature of Necessity & Contingency. God is the proverbial Greatest Parent and He has forgiven us even as He has given us a Free Pass

Then what?  Now what? Do we then ENTER Heaven? But how?

Should God fill us with all-the-right-beliefs? Well what if He does? The Lucifer-ian and the Adamic KNOW and SEE.  Lucifer "has-all-the-facts" and, recall that Adam is not deceived in Eden. There is something more – another layer – and we get those layers wrong because we get the Trinity wrong – which is to say we get God wrong and therein we get the Imago Dei wrong.

Entering Heaven is too often equated to a bizarro-world landscape in which up is down and down is up, so to speak. An analogy may help: 

We talk of “ENTER” as if filling up the proverbial Hard Drive with All-The-Right-Data is the Terminus-Of-The-Topography, and, then, from there, we speak as if said Terminus of said Hard Drive *equates* said Hard-Drive to love’s topography – to a bizarro-world-category of choosing to get up and walk from one's physical living room into one's physical kitchen. Just “Having All The Right Facts” – Hard Stop – somehow equates – is – that which sums to reciprocity’s intentional self-giving amid self/other. 

First: All of that is incredibly dehumanizing.

Second:  The Tree of Knowledge begins to emerge as a Tree that is in fact Good (...Knowledge is of course a slice of The Good...and so on...) but which cannot be the End-Game of any contingent being — as in — that whole affair of Knowledge and Hard Drives and Upload and All-The-Right-Data — and so on — places the End-Terminus on Our-Knowledge — on the Hard Drive Full Stop. 

It is not only incomplete in that it has left out intentional reciprocity but it also talks as filling up Hard-Drive-X with All-The-Right-Data just magically bypasses those intentional interfaces amid self/other, as if our Humanity, or "Imago Dei" is now Complete, Done, Loving, and somehow Freely Married amid Self/Other. 

There are several necessary differences with respect to the syntax of Groom/Bride between a. Angels (..and etc...) and b. the Imago Dei / Adamic.  It can be put this way: "IF" the Decree is "round" well then for God to make "square" is impossible within the landscape of that Decree. That is one of the reasons that the metaphysical necessity of “the Edenic” becomes manifest, as in:

The question of "Why not bypass Eden / Proposal?" is on occasion asked and, then, given Privation, that question morphs to, "Why not just infuse Man with Fake Memories? The result would be the same…"  Notice that we have just attempted to employ the SAME misguided End-Game or Terminus all over again.  A reply to both forms of that approach is at  https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/why-didnt-god-create-only-those-who-he-knew-would-believe-in-him/

Third:  When we leave the Intellect and move to our Nature and/or to our Capacity to choose and love the self (…which is to choose and love a good thing, for the self too is good – just not all-sufficient – and that is necessarily the case in all possible worlds…) and to our Capacity to choose and love the Other (…which again is good…and should said “other” be All-Sufficiency Himself… well then…) we try all over again to land that *same* misguided body of premises on that *same* misguided runway. Thereby there is key layer which goes missing and it has to do with a Timeless Blueprint of Ceaseless Interfaces amid Self/Other vis-à-vis the Trinitarian Life – and thereby the Imago Dei. As in:

Should the “Edenic-Adamic” turn inward, or upward, or left-ward, or right-ward – Full Stop – he will run face first into the End of all that he has – namely his own knowledge full of all the right beliefs – Full Stop. The terminus there is in the Contingent Hard Drive with an upload of All-The-Right-Data. Void of Sin. Full of Need. Void of Eternal Life.

1. At worst, that is a kind of false identity claim of the form [Knowledge-On-Laptop] [Equals] [Intentional Love]. Recall we are dealing with the Christian metaphysic and such is a thoroughly Trinitarian topography (...contours of self ...contours of other ...contours of the singular us... and so on...). God is not ONLY Infinite Knowledge, but, rather, as David B. Hart alludes to, God is both the Knower and the Known as we approach the "...eternal one-another..." 

2. Almost as bad, that is all being equated to a better environment outside of the body – Full Stop. Akin to: "Uploaded-Correct-Beliefs" happens and we just get up, walk over to a nicer living room with nicer couches, Full-Stop. That's our humanity. That's love.  Yet all of that is still short of the Blueprint’s Triune Architecture – of love’s I/You vis-à-vis Man-In-God / God-In-Man. That is still short of our humanity / personhood, of our interior reality, of the true us, And therein also still short of all vectors landing in All-Sufficiency Himself. "...God uploaded all the right beliefs in me. And poof. A nicer environment..." God goes missing. Reward, not God, becomes the terminus. 

3. At best, that is all being equated to a better environment outside of the Soul – Full Stop. As in: see #2

"...One day God will correct all of our messed-up belief-states and then POOF as THAT will just be To Enter Heaven..."  As we unpack such fallacies we begin to see that “ENTER HEAVEN” on those terms has not accounted for our humanity / personhood, for our interior reality, for the true us, for love's irreducible Wedding amid the Full-Stop that is nothing less than Self/Other and all of the necessary content which comes with and in and by and through all such vectors.

In short, they are all incredibly dehumanizing contours. In short they also seem to leave us with a mind full of the right data ‒ full stop ‒ void of the All Sufficient Himself there amid God/Man and Self/Other ‒ and so on.

As described already, Universalism is necessarily possible and for all the same reasons it is not necessarily actualized and "there" is where, far too often, the term "possible" is gently replaced with an Ontological Twin of Hypercalvinsim (…with respect to can-do-otherwise...) and that Ontic-Twin is “Programed Universalism”, so to speak (…again with respect to can-do-otherwise…).  Recall that “can-do-otherwise” is not the affairs of any sort of Ontic-Noble-Lie told by the Necessary Being nor is it the “in-principle-ability to do Non-Being” as we find in the epistemic which claims that there is no such Ontic-Reality as the Possible Eden in which Privation does not ensue (and so on in various forms).

In the end if "to-expunge-x or to coerce-y" is the ontic of "to dehumanize" (…as in, say, Hypercalvinism and so on…) then, in fact, when we find the ontic of "to-expunge-x or to coerce-y" in some other location which perhaps we did not expect (…as in, say, Programed Universalism…) then in fact we find that which just is "to dehumanize" – even if reversing the Arrow. 

Okay, But What About Cannot Sin In Heaven?

First, a few discussions of such can be found at https://metachristianity.blogspot.com/2018/03/comments-at-divine-causality-and-human.html and, secondly, recall that the ontic-content and ontic-yield within Eden and within Privation are *different* than the yield of the proverbial Wedding. We find there in the ontic-yield of that volitional Wedding the birth of the ontic-category wherein it is the case that wherever Man shall then look, that is to say, wherever he shall motion, whether beneath his feet, or above his head, or into his own chest, he will find that beautiful Freedom called Permanence.

To demand that Omnipotence, as in God,  create from the get-go The-Freely-Already-Married is to demand that Omnipotence create from the get-go a Round-Square.  As many have said, to write the term God and then follow it with nonsense does not present a "problem" with respect to the term God

The question is not the logical absurdities of "Why not the Round-Square from the get-go?" but, instead, it is more akin to something like this:  Is it good or is it evil to create World X in and by reality's only Blueprint of love's timeless Self-Giving amid nothing less than the Trinitarian Life.....? 

And so on.  Unpacking the term "Good" forces several segues as that question is explored, but that is another topic. 

The Singularity of the Cruciform Lens

Given the Necessary / Contingent, and given the absurdity of “ontological cul-de-sacs”, the end of suffering has one, and only one, logically possible terminus. In fact the very essence of the term "Reality" is necessarily singular. The proverbial Theory Of Everything cannot finds its terminus in the silliness of claiming there are 1.00099 realities or in the silliness of claiming there is 0.9997899 realities. As in:

A. Shapes within Reality's Metanarrative from the get-go reveal that Sinai – Privation – never was God's Ideal for all things Adamic.

B. Eden's topography (Genesis) forces radical definitions of “ontic-change” upon Sinai (Genesis/Exodus) – upon Privation.

C. Just the same, the OT prophets (Genesis/Exodus/Etc.) also force radical definitions of ontic-change upon Sinai, upon Privation.

D. So too does the singular whole that is Scripture’s Metanarrative (Genesis/Exodus/Etc./Etc.) and, again – from the get-go.

From the get-go the Trinitarian Life – Christ – is the Final Meaning Maker as the Cruciform Lens is that Prism which focuses the many scattered bits of light into one seamless point of convergence.  The logical necessities which populate the landscape of the interface amid Necessary / Contingent bring all definitions back, and back again to the Epicenter common to all of Christendom – namely –

Three distinctions in "GOD" as Trinity
The All Sufficient Self-Outpouring of God

Suffering's End

An slightly modified excerpt from http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2015/12/challenge-response-a-real-god-wouldnt-have-let-his-chosen-people-suffer-defeats.html may add helpful distinctions. Recall in reading the excerpt that we are discussing the concept of *need* in and of all things contingent as we find in our own being that which necessarily falls short of actual (ontic) self-sufficiency (..on the one hand..) and (..on the other hand..) reason's terminus for rationally retaining *hope* as such relates to All-Sufficiency's Self-Outpouring.

Begin (slightly modified) Excerpt:

Reason as truth-finder discovers only one rational and metaphysically coherent path to the end of suffering. The only rational end to suffering just is the only rational end to Good-Minus-Some-Thing […see The Metaphysics of Privation by David Oderberg at https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7SKlRTfkUiebE9RM1pOTkZ6dFU/edit?pli=1..] to the affairs of Privation, and the only rational means to that peculiar consummation, or end, or felicity, must, given the necessity of Goodness Itself in every bit of this whole show, confront and contain the explicit interface of the Necessary and the Contingent.

How peculiar that (metaphysically speaking) given the inescapable force of reason, suffering’s end sums to that which must confront and contain the explicit interface of “Goodness Itself and Mankind”, of “Necessity and Contingency”, of “God and Man”. The God Who loves us in fact redeems us from our horrific ruin and there is only one genre on planet Earth wherein such is the case amid what coherently sums to love’s express interfaces of “Goodness Himself and Man”.

That is to say, there is only one genre on planet Earth which successfully– cogently– to the bitter ends of metaphysics –lucidly unfolds the Necessary in all such ontological accounting amid what can only end as love’s singularity vis-à-vis “God in Man, Man in God”. If in fact reason is correct in affirming the claim that actual and ultimately non-fictitious evil is there in the sufferings of Man then we have only one coherent, rational option both for reason and for hope where mutable and contingent beings such as ourselves are concerned. Indeed, in all of Man's possible worlds it is the case that logic’s demand for lucidity finds that both reason and hope force our hand – and carry us into the necessity of nothing less than this:

The Immutable, the Underived, pouring Himself into us, filling us, lifting us, and therein annihilating our privation such that, by those volitional moves within said Amalgamation, by those volitional moves within said Wedding, it will (then – up ahead) be the case that wherever our eyes shall look, whether beneath our feet, or over our heads, or into our chests, or wherever, we shall spy – not these pains of insufficiency – but instead His All Sufficiency – and that in all directions as we awake to find that beautiful Freedom called Permanence. 

Such pouring, such filling, flowing ceaselessly within love’s milieu there in the Triune God must transpose, descend, be debased, instantiate, break through, that we may ascend, be filled, be made fully alive, and be, thereby, redeemed. The trio of Reason, Soul, and Logic all demand the Christian paradigm and no other *for* said trio demands that “Good-Minus-Some-Thing” find full and final resolution and thereby forces our hand such that we find that we must say that Goodness Itself and nothing less must in the end fill all in all such that all those painful affairs of “Privation” find, not "Good-Minus-Something" but instead in all directions Goodness Himself

Even more coherence seals all seams for (as predicted) love’s timeless contours of Pouring/Filling amid the Necessary/Contingent are – given that God is love and given that God Decrees – Wills – Man to actualize the Imago Dei – simply necessary in all of the Adamic’s possible worlds pending those volitional moves within said Wedding. Neither guilt nor innocence amid Eden’s possible worlds changes love’s ontological landscape – and that is necessarily the case given that that landscape is fashioned after the Blueprint of the Underived with respect to timeless reciprocity in and of and by the Trinitarian Life.

That is in part what it “means” when we say that the God Who is love is “The God Who is glorified by sacrificing Himself for creation and not by sacrificing creation for Himself." (Fischer)

End excerpt.

Occasionally when on this topic of the Afterlife our Non-Theist friends ask something along the lines of this:

"...but today do we still have to accept scripture’s afterlife imagery as literally true…?

A reply:

It's not apparent that Christendom is waiting for gold harps and, so, if that is the level of sophistication one is wanting, well then there is the reply. One must subject the imagery in question to the entirety of the Christian Metanarrative before one concludes that being as a dove in fact entails laying eggs. According to Scripture we cannot even think or imagine all which lay over that horizon – and – so – the demand for gold harps in such premises and in such Q/A's is distracting (…and too often dishonest…).

Convergence Across All of Christendom’s Branches

Whether we speak of Pre-Eden or Eden or Privation or Eternal Life the content and the syntax converge:

From the get-go the Trinitarian Life – Christ – is the Final Meaning Maker as the Cruciform Lens is that Prism which focuses the many scattered bits of light into one seamless point of convergence.  The logical necessities which populate the landscape of the interface amid Necessary / Contingent bring all definitions back, and back again to the Epicenter common to all of Christendom – namely:

Three distinctions in "GOD" as Trinity 
The All Sufficient Self-Outpouring of God

Two linked essays are provided below in which we find two reviews of David Bentley Hart's The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth. On the topic of convergence, let’s begin with a few excerpts which quote D.B. Hart:

Begin Excerpts:

There are two schools of thought when it comes to the infinite. One is that the infinite “belongs to an ontology of original and ultimate peace,” and the other is that it should be seen “in terms of a primordial and inevitable violence.” The former is Christian; the latter is pagan. The former sees the infinite as beautiful, peaceful, rooted in Trinitarian love, goodness and affirming of the other; the latter sees it as sublime, violent, Dionysian and chaotic….

For most modern and postmodern thinkers in the Western tradition, it is incoherent to speak of the infinite as beautiful and true, because the realms of the beautiful and the true are entirely distinct, going back to the Kantian separation between the phenomenal and the noumenal (and beyond)….

Within Christian theology there is a thought – a story – of the infinite that is also the thought - the story - of beauty; for pagan philosophy and culture, such a confluence of themes was ultimately unthinkable ... But the true infinite lies outside and all about this enclosed universe of strife and shadows; it shows itself as beauty and as light: not totality, nor again chaos, but the music of a triune God. Nietzsche prophesied correctly: what now always lies ahead is a choice between Dionysus (who is also Apollo) and the Crucified: between, that is, the tragic splendor of totality and the inexhaustible beauty of an infinite love….

To speak of the beauty of the infinite is genuinely to name the Christian difference in aesthetics, a thought of the beautiful inconceivable in the terms available to non-Christian philosophy, ancient and modern alike. In the story the church tells concerning God and his creatures, beauty and infinity both are narrated as nowhere else, in such a way as to show how each belongs to the “grammar” of the other, and how both belong to a common language of delight and peace….

As God is Trinity, in whom all difference is possessed as perfect peace and unity, the divine life might be described as infinite music, and creation too might be described as a music whose intervals, transitions, and phrases are embraced within God’s eternal, triune polyphony….

There really is no other instance of a figure like Christ, in whom attributions of such extravagance and details of such mundane particularity not only coincide, but indeed inhere in one another: the story of Christ is immovably fixed within a social and historical context of absolute specificity, apart from which there is no path to salvation. His history is his universality; his humanity is appropriate to his divinity ... For this reason there is in Christian thought regarding Jesus a marvelous simultaneity of the “high” and “low”, the infinite and finite, the dogmatic and the historical….

End excerpts. 

From http://thinktheology.co.uk/blog/article/the_beauty_of_the_infinite the author of the essay from which those quotes of D. B. Hart were found also comments: 

Quote:

“The Trinity is, of course, the foundation for this. In God’s perichoretic union, “the true form of difference is peace, of distance beauty.” In human terms, difference means otherness means violence, whereas in divine terms, difference means other-regard, gift, love and peace. In human terms, transcendence means inaccessibility and chaos; in divine terms… transcendence (and even infinity) mean beauty. Being itself, in fact, involves not just beauty but difference, since it is found within the one God, [now quoting D.B. Hart] “... the very difference of creatures from God - their integrity as the beings they are, their ontological “freedom” - is a manifestation of how God is one God. The analogy of being begins from the belief that being itself always already differs, within the very act of its simplicity, without any moment of alienation or diremption; to be is to be manifest; to know and love, to be known and loved…””

End quote.

“The rhetoric of God is Jesus Christ, offered as pure gift. As gift, Christ is infinite peace. As both gift and the rhetoric of peace, Christ is beauty, the magnificent demonstration of the self-giving love of the Trinity which crosses all boundaries, even the boundary of death. The Triune God is [quoting D.B. Hart] “…the God who ‘others’ himself within himself and contains and surrenders otherness as infinite music, infinite discourse.””

Convergence once again:

Whether we speak of Pre-Eden or Eden or Privation or Eternal Life the content and the syntax converge:
“The very action of kenosis is not a new act for God, because God's eternal being is, in some sense, kenosis – the self-outpouring of the Father in the Son, in the joy of the Spirit. Thus Christ's incarnation, far from dissembling his eternal nature, exhibits not only his particular proprium as the Son and the splendor of the Father's likeness, but thereby also the nature of the whole trinitarian taxis. On the cross we see this joyous self-donation sub contrario, certainly, but not in alieno. For God to pour himself out, then, as the man Jesus, is not a venture outside the trinitarian life of indestructible love, but in fact quite the reverse: it is the act by which creation is seized up into the sheer invincible pertinacity of that love, which reaches down to gather us into its triune motion.” (D. B. Hart)

The logical necessities which populate the landscape of the interface amid Necessary / Contingent bring all definitions back, and back, and back again to the Epicenter common to all of Christendom’s branches:

Three distinctions in "GOD" as Trinity
The All Sufficient Self-Outpouring of God



Timelessness ↔ Time

B-Theory ↔ A-Theory

Immaterial ↔ Material

God ↔ Man



[A] Necessity

 Contingency → → Christ ← ← Insufficiency 

[Z] All Sufficiency


End.



Segues & Context:







F. A bit of a review & link-fest, so to speak, via [Part1] http://disq.us/p/1mbcipw and [Part2] http://disq.us/p/1mcd29u








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