Atheism and the Greek (Gnostic/Egptian/Hermetic) Model of God!

SteveB

Well-known member
Have you stopped beating your wife?
How far do you think you're going to succeed at attempting to make sense of someone who holds the cosmos in the span of his hand, and spoke the cosmos into existence?





10 Behold, the Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand,

And His arm shall rule for Him;

Behold, His reward is with Him,

And His work before Him.

11 He will feed His flock like a shepherd;

He will gather the lambs with His arm,

And carry them in His bosom,

And gently lead those who are with young.



12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand,

Measured heaven with a span

And calculated the dust of the earth in a measure?

Weighed the mountains in scales

And the hills in a balance?

13 Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD,

Or as His counselor has taught Him?

14 With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him,

And taught Him in the path of justice?

Who taught Him knowledge,

And showed Him the way of understanding?
 

Whatsisface

Well-known member
How far do you think you're going to succeed at attempting to make sense of someone who holds the cosmos in the span of his hand, and spoke the cosmos into existence?





10 Behold, the Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand,

And His arm shall rule for Him;

Behold, His reward is with Him,

And His work before Him.

11 He will feed His flock like a shepherd;

He will gather the lambs with His arm,

And carry them in His bosom,

And gently lead those who are with young.



12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand,

Measured heaven with a span

And calculated the dust of the earth in a measure?

Weighed the mountains in scales

And the hills in a balance?

13 Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD,

Or as His counselor has taught Him?

14 With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him,

And taught Him in the path of justice?

Who taught Him knowledge,

And showed Him the way of understanding?
What's baffling is that you seem to think quoting the bible will influence an atheist.
 

SteveB

Well-known member
What's baffling is that you seem to think quoting the bible will influence an atheist.
Nope.
I provide quotes from the bible because YHVH has made it clear that his word achieves the purposes for which it's sent forth.
I.e., it's got nothing to do with what you think I think--- further demonstrating that you have no idea what Jesus people think, in spite of the fact that we repeatedly explain to you what we think.
 

Whatsisface

Well-known member
Nope.
I provide quotes from the bible because YHVH has made it clear that his word achieves the purposes for which it's sent forth.
I.e., it's got nothing to do with what you think I think--- further demonstrating that you have no idea what Jesus people think, in spite of the fact that we repeatedly explain to you what we think.
What's baffling is you seem to think this means anything to me.
 

SteveB

Well-known member
What's baffling is you seem to think this means anything to me.
Nope. I fully comprehend that you're too cowardly to come follow Jesus, and you'll receive what's due, in spite of the fact that God has spent your entire life pleading with you to turn to him, from your sin, and place your trust in Jesus.

So, if by the time you die, you'll have refused to come follow Jesus, you'll awake in hell, and like the rich man, you'll recognize the agony you're in, plead for relief, and then plead for someone to return to your family, and friends, and warn them.
And like the rich man, you'll be told--- you heard, they are hearing the the law, and the gospel. If they won't hear them, that's on them.
 

Whatsisface

Well-known member
Nope. I fully comprehend that you're too cowardly to come follow Jesus, and you'll receive what's due, in spite of the fact that God has spent your entire life pleading with you to turn to him, from your sin, and place your trust in Jesus.

So, if by the time you die, you'll have refused to come follow Jesus, you'll awake in hell, and like the rich man, you'll recognize the agony you're in, plead for relief, and then plead for someone to return to your family, and friends, and warn them.
And like the rich man, you'll be told--- you heard, they are hearing the the law, and the gospel. If they won't hear them, that's on them.
This is just not reasonable nor rational. You have no idea of why this is meaningless to me and other atheists.
 

SteveB

Well-known member
This is just not reasonable nor rational. You have no idea of why this is meaningless to me and other atheists.
ok..... pay vewy vewy vewy cwose attention.....

14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.


It doesn't require your being able to make it reasonable, nor rational--- per your ideas of rationality, and reasonability.

God plainly states that he will destroy the rationality and reasonability of the wise and erudite.

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:



“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,

And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”




20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

Glory Only in the Lord

26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.


So..... I'm sorry that you find it both irrational, and unreasonable.
You've brought that on yourself by your own ways, and thinking.
 

Whatsisface

Well-known member
ok..... pay vewy vewy vewy cwose attention.....

14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.


It doesn't require your being able to make it reasonable, nor rational--- per your ideas of rationality, and reasonability.

God plainly states that he will destroy the rationality and reasonability of the wise and erudite.

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:



“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,

And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”




20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

Glory Only in the Lord

26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.


So..... I'm sorry that you find it both irrational, and unreasonable.
You've brought that on yourself by your own ways, and thinking.
I haven't read the verses. Try and say something reasonable and say why I might not bother.
 

Lighthearted Atheist

Well-known member
But what atheists have in common with the first Christians was the idea that God himself is unknowable.
I think this is not true. I believe that God is absolutely knowable. God could appear to the world, speak to us, and perform miracles in front of scientists that can test and validate the miracles. If God proves he is God by parting the Red Sea and dropping mana on New York City and feeds the starving children in Africa then he can easily explain Himself to us all.

God is knowable. We just to do not have any empirical evidence that proves what that knowledge and truth is. We have 10,000 religions that all claim to know god but no real reason to believe any of them.

So no - atheists are not like Gnostics :)
 

ferengi

Well-known member
I think this is not true. I believe that God is absolutely knowable. God could appear to the world, speak to us, and perform miracles
Why does he need to do that since you wont believe it the first time he did it?

We just to do not have any empirical evidence that proves what that knowledge and truth is.
What empirical evidence do you have this claim is true?
Your evidence is?
 

Ficciones

Active member
There is a bit of hyperbole in the title but a real point to be made or at least provoke some thought.

Could modern atheists be the cousins of the first Greek Christians who were gnostics? Impossible, right? But what atheists have in common with the first Christians was the idea that God himself is unknowable. I am not talking about the Christian orthodox model of God or the Semitic model of God but rather the Greek model of God who is unknowable in absolute terms.

Dungen says that of the four historical theo-ontological models of the Divine, the Greek model of God "is a Principle of principles, the best of the best (Plato), the unmoved mover (Aristotle), the One even ecstasy does not reveal, impersonal and in no way evil or tainted by absence or privation of being (Plotinus), the First Intellect (Ibn Sina), a "God of the philosophers" (Whitehead). This abstract God figures in intellectual theologies, in humanism & in atheism. In the latter, by the "alpha privativum" of the Divine, as in a-theism, an absolute term is produced, but this time by negation instead of by affirmation."

The same description of God, that is, "by negation instead of affirmation", can also be found in the earliest gnostic writings. For example, in the Tripartite Tractate widely considered to be the work of Valentinius, the God, the Father, is described in this way, "He has such an existence that he has neither figure nor form that can be perceived by the senses. This means that he is incomprehensible as well; and if he is incomprehensible, it follows that he is unknowable."

In the Eugnostos the Blessed, the God is described as "... infinite, incomprehensible, and constantly imperishable. The One is unequalled, immutably good, without fault, everlasting, blessed, unknowable, yet it knows itself. The One is immeasurable, untraceable, perfect, without defect. The One is blessed, imperishably, and is called the Father of all."

It is also found in the ancient Wisdom according to Dungen in the Egyptian God Amun. Dungen writes "In the Old Kingdom record, Amun was conceptualized as a hidden, primordial deity, a great one, who existed before creation came into being and who was associated with the throne of Egypt. (...) regarding the transcendence of Amun-Re, two aspects are distinguished :
  • pre-creational transcendence : Amun is primordial and so he spatiotemporally transcends the order or creation (this is the traditional line of thought, starting with Atum) ;​
  • sacred transcendence : Amun-Re is the self-created "soul" ("Ba") of creation, the "summum ens", the supreme being. He is present in his creation as a sacred, hidden god, a supreme being, that transcends all other beings, because Amun is the all-prevasive, sacred unity in all beings that remains hidden for his transformations (late Amun-Re theology or Amenism).​

It is also found in the New Testament, when the Jesus-in-Paul says, "When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and you Father who sees in secret will reward you openly." (Matthew 6:6) or when Paul writes, "To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, (Ephesians 3:8)

So next time an a-theist says he does not believe in the existence of the divine, he could possibly just mean that God is unknowable, just like the Greeks, early Christians, and Egyptians. But I don't want to leave you with God is unknowable, therefore, case closed. I would add that just as the Greeks, first Christians, and Egyptians describe the transcendent God as unknowable, God makes himself known through his creation. In other words, what is knowable about God can be found in the things he has produced, that is, us. The divine may be known when we see his reflection in ourself and each other, for example, in the good, truth, and justice found in ourselves. And since we are connected to everything else in the universe then the divine is present in his creation through us.

Anyway, just some food for thought.


As a nontheist I have some sympathy for this view but my idea of "the one" is completely impersonal, more like the Dao. You might call it nature, in a catholic (but not Catholic) sense. It's not a he or a she, and it has no preferences as we would understand such things. It's even mindless, as we would reckon minds. It no more has a plan for salvation or a chosen people than the milky way galaxy has a dinner reservation. To conflate it with any divine agency in the Bible is a category mistake.
 

docphin5

Well-known member
As a nontheist I have some sympathy for this view but my idea of "the one" is completely impersonal, more like the Dao. You might call it nature, in a catholic (but not Catholic) sense. It's not a he or a she, and it has no preferences as we would understand such things. It's even mindless, as we would reckon minds. It no more has a plan for salvation or a chosen people than the milky way galaxy has a dinner reservation. To conflate it with any divine agency in the Bible is a category mistake.
I appreciate your perspective. I wish I had a good answer for you. To your point the classical theists thought the preexistant God as impersonal too but worthy of being worshipped in secret as the source of truth and good. For my part, I see a divine hand in all things, something I cannot deny. Thanks for your reply.
 

docphin5

Well-known member
I think this is not true. I believe that God is absolutely knowable. God could appear to the world, speak to us, and perform miracles in front of scientists that can test and validate the miracles. If God proves he is God by parting the Red Sea and dropping mana on New York City and feeds the starving children in Africa then he can easily explain Himself to us all.

God is knowable. We just to do not have any empirical evidence that proves what that knowledge and truth is. We have 10,000 religions that all claim to know god but no real reason to believe any of them.

So no - atheists are not like Gnostics :)
But God himself doesn’t appear to the world nor does he speak to us directly. Scripture says that he is invisible to our senses. But God the Son is present with us and in us. The Son manifests the attributes of the Father so we know the invisible Father through the Son. The secret is that we are the Son(s)/Daughter(s) of God. So maybe we can only know of God through the love we have for each other but we thank him in secret for that gift.
 

Ficciones

Active member
I appreciate your perspective. I wish I had a good answer for you.

That's a curious thing to say! You mean, you wish there were a bridge between our worldviews? I think there is. Come on over, pal. ;)

To your point the classical theists thought the preexistant God as impersonal too but worthy of being worshipped in secret as the source of truth and good.

I can respect that. One's attitude towards the self-subsistent fountainhead of all-that-is, properly understood, ought to be one of awe and reverence.

For my part, I see a divine hand in all things, something I cannot deny.

I also cannot deny seeing it in all things, but I don't see it as a hand. Rather, I see what theists call God and what theists call creation as two aspects of the same all-is-one. The necessary and eternal aspects of what Spinoza called "deus sive natura" (God, or nature) are immanent in all things.
 

docphin5

Well-known member
That's a curious thing to say! You mean, you wish there were a bridge between our worldviews? I think there is. Come on over, pal. ;)



I can respect that. One's attitude towards the self-subsistent fountainhead of all-that-is, properly understood, ought to be one of awe and reverence.



I also cannot deny seeing it in all things, but I don't see it as a hand. Rather, I see what theists call God and what theists call creation as two aspects of the same all-is-one. The necessary and eternal aspects of what Spinoza called "deus sive natura" (God, or nature) are immanent in all things.
To me, nature (“all things”) personified as the Son of God would be immanent and the preexistant, primordial one (creator of all things) would be The Father who is transcendent. The term “God” means different things to different people so one has to define what they mean by it before discussing it otherwise the discussion is confusing.
I lean towards panentheism. Henotheism has its merits as wel

Panentheism” is a constructed word composed of the English equivalents of the Greek terms “pan”, meaning all, “en”, meaning in, and “theism”, derived from the Greek 'theos' meaning God. Panentheismconsiders God and the world to be inter-related with the world being in God and God being in the world.

Henotheism (from Greek ἑνός θεοῦ (henos theou), meaning 'of one god') is the worship of a single god while not denying the existence or possible existence of other deities. Friedrich Schelling (1775–1854) coined the word, and Friedrich Welcker (1784–1868) used it to depict primitive monotheism among ancient Greeks.
 

Ficciones

Active member
To me, nature (“all things”) personified as the Son of God would be immanent and the preexistant, primordial one (creator of all things) would be The Father who is transcendent. The term “God” means different things to different people so one has to define what they mean by it before discussing it otherwise the discussion is confusing.
I lean towards panentheism. Henotheism has its merits as wel

Panentheism” is a constructed word composed of the English equivalents of the Greek terms “pan”, meaning all, “en”, meaning in, and “theism”, derived from the Greek 'theos' meaning God. Panentheismconsiders God and the world to be inter-related with the world being in God and God being in the world.

Henotheism (from Greek ἑνός θεοῦ (henos theou), meaning 'of one god') is the worship of a single god while not denying the existence or possible existence of other deities. Friedrich Schelling (1775–1854) coined the word, and Friedrich Welcker (1784–1868) used it to depict primitive monotheism among ancient Greeks.

These are just different ways of attempting to "carve reality at the joints", as someone or other once said. You can have no god, one god, or a couple of primordial gods, then some titans, then some lesser gods. I lean towards minimalism - there is only the one and the many, and they're merely different perspectives on the same thing:

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name;
This appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.

Lao Tsu - Tao Te Ching
 

docphin5

Well-known member
These are just different ways of attempting to "carve reality at the joints", as someone or other once said. You can have no god, one god, or a couple of primordial gods, then some titans, then some lesser gods. I lean towards minimalism - there is only the one and the many, and they're merely different perspectives on the same thing
If someone can provide a better explanation for the ultimate source of good then I will choose the better one. I am always open to reason or evidence for differing opinions. It is likely that we will never fully understand it.
 
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Ficciones

Active member
If someone can provide a better explanation for the ultimate source of good then I will choose the better one. I am always open to reason or evidence for differing opinions. It is likely that we will never fully understand it.

Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.

Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness.
All can know good as good only because there is evil.

Therefore having and not having arise together;
Difficult and easy complement each other;
Long and short contrast each other;
High and low rest upon each other;
Voice and sound harmonize each other;
Front and back follow each other.

Lao Tsu - Tao Te Ching
 

docphin5

Well-known member
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.
I like your quote from Lao Tsu. I recently read the same assertion from C.G. Jung for why knowledge of good and evil go hand in hand. One cannot exist without the other because good and evil are values that we place upon things. Therefore, one cannot value good unless one also knows evil. It is why the mythical Jesus and the mythical devil go hand and hand in the Gospels because they are inextricably linked.
 
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