[CONTAINS NON-EXPLICIT SEXUAL THEMES]
I converted to Christianity in October 1984 while deliberately leaving a life of psychotic delusions, hallucinations, memory lose, substance abuse, and sexual promiscuity. My sexual ethics quickly changed to a conservative view. Recently, I reconsidered a moderate view of sexuality.
I ended up with a remarkable recovery from psychotic breakdowns and addictions that leaves me grateful to God. Part of my conversion included a strong commitment for no sexual relations apart from a marital covenant. That meant no sex with a partner unless that partner was my wife, regardless if I would ever marry. I also did not limit the definition of sex to coitus while sex includes any eroticism between partners that involves the manipulation of genitals such as lap dances, mutual masturbation, dry humps, digital sex, oral sex, use of sex toys with a partner, and anal coitus. For nearly three decades, I believed and taught that this sexual ethic was a moral imperative. I likewise rejected the validity of technical virginity that specifies one is a chaste virgin if he or she avoids coitus before marriage despite premarital involvement with non-coital sexual relations such as lap dances, mutual masturbation, dry humps, digital sex, and oral sex.
Perhaps the most awkward fact of my teen sexuality in the late 1970s and early 1980s was my partial amnesia. I recall various before and after scenes with memory loss of during scenes. At some level, the partial memory loss sounds ridiculous while I have no clear explanation for it. As a teen I always desired and sometimes sought sexual encounters, so I lacked psychological motive to forget those details. Or did I previously suffer trauma from a scandal when I relished flirtation from hot women who called me jailbait? I cannot remember. In any case, I recall different concepts of sexual ethics.
One repetitive memory involved the question, "Swallow or spit?" In these cases, an attractive female offered me fellatio while deferentially tendering the option of swallowing or spitting the resultant ejaculation. I suspect that most of the females typically advocated equal rights while in the respective incidences they focused on popularity and attention. The deference, however, involved two options that were high risk for STDs and no low-risk options. Nevertheless, one hygienically savvy female shared the news of her engagement while proposing that protected dry humps and protected oral sex with me was okay during her engagement and pending marriage.
I eventually found popularity at various New Jersey strip bars. Some dancers gave me free drinks and some bar owners consulted my opinion during dancer auditions. I recall a thing for a particular married dancer. Her husband was okay with me when I tipped her, but other times he fumed at me. I also recall him at his conversion van in the parking lot collecting money from a line of men and handing out condoms to them when they took turns with his wife. I as well met subcultural Christian strippers / lap dancers who saved coitus only for marriage.
In early August 1983, a couple months before I turned twenty, I ended up in a psychiatric hospital with a diagnosis of substance abuse and psychotic delusions with audio and visual hallucinations. I also fretted to my psychiatrist about my supposed virginity. The hospital released me after a month. But in early September 1984, I again ended up in psychiatric hospitalization with the same symptoms and the same hang-ups about virginity. This second time around the psychiatric block, I eventually turned to Christ and found remarkable healing from addictions and recurring psychotic delusions. Six months after my conversion, my psychiatrist said: "You need no more therapy or medication. Your faith has healed you."
During my first year of Christianity, I diligently considered competing views of Christianity. In regards to sexual ethics, the official view of all the churches and denominations that I investigated taught strictly against sexual relations, coital and non-coital, apart from marriage. Typical support for this conservative sexual ethic focuses on Matthew 5:28 that says lustful looks at a women is adultery in the heart. I also talked to subcultural Christians who approved of and participated in non-coital sexual relations apart from marriage. They said they did not lust for coitus apart from marriage. I recall reflecting on past insane jealousy for various women and the likeliness of feeling insecure while developing a significant other relationship in that Christian subculture. No damned way would I marry a woman who would lap dance on other men, or even merely kiss another man for the entertainment industry. Alternatively, I felt safe and satisfied with conservative sexual ethics while enjoying a close relationship with God.
I recently considered that I unjustly judged Christians who hold onto their technical chastity apart from marriage, which means that they avoid vaginal and anal coitus except for a marital covenant. My Christian relationship with God continues to develop while I believe that Matthew 5:28 warns against lusting for illicit sex. I no longer believe that the Bible categorically forbids non-coital sex apart from marriage. Christian individuals and couples may opt for conservative sexual ethics for themselves, which is my situation, but that is for each single adult and each married couple to decide.
I end this brief opinion piece with an outline of three important qualifications that deserve their own essay: First, age of consent laws contain age-specific prohibitions against coitus and non-coital sex that are enforced by threats of criminal punishment. Second, corporations possess legal rights to restrict amorous encounters among employees that involve a conflict of interest. Third, moral revisions of a marital covenant such as a change from conservative sexual practices are never a unilateral decision but a mutual decision between both spouses.
Copyright © 2015 James Edward Goetz
Originally published at OpEdNews http://www.opednews.com/articles/Shades-of-Sexual-Ethics-an-by-James-Goetz-Bible_Christian-Religion_Christian-Sexual-Taboos_Christian-Values-150113-130.html
January 20, 2015
[CONTAINS NON-EXPLICIT SEXUAL THEMES]
Posted by James Goetz at Tuesday, January 20, 2015
July 30, 2014
In the dream, I became a world-class philosopher and theologian. I convinced all churches that marriage in the church is only for heterosexual couples. After a brief reflection on my accomplishment, I suddenly transported to another planet. On this planet, I learned that every inhabitant loved God. Some inhabitants lacked the ability for heterosexual romance and inherited the ability for strong homosexual romance while enjoying a monogamous same-sex marriage. Also, the people on this planet existed far better off than the people on Earth. The dream ended.
My first impression was to dismiss the dream. I understood that the Bible teaches that the normal pattern for marriage is a covenant between one man and one woman while typical human anatomy suggests the normalcy of heterosexual marriage. I also understood that every biblical reference to homosexual sex was a condemnation. I saw these facts as main points in a powerful argument against the legitimacy of same-sex marital covenants in the church. For a couple decades, I asserted that all Christians who long for a marital covenant and lack capability for a heterosexual romance need to limit themselves to celibacy or a heterosexual marriage. If heterosexual passions never develop despite prayer and devotionals, then Christian life for a devout believer with a homosexual orientation should include celibacy and strong chaste friendships. However, for the last several years, I supported same-sex marriage laws while I never wanted to impose all of my Christian ethics on the general population.
I also understood that Romans 1:18–32 describe a pattern of paganism-induced hyper-sinfulness including shameful sexuality. For example, this passage contains negative references to homosexual sex including the only biblical reference to lesbian sex. However, Romans 1 and the rest of New Testament never describe how a minority of chaste Christian teens develops homosexual passions during puberty while fervently praying to change those passions. Most Christian teens develop romantic passions and most develop normal heterosexual passions, but a small percentage of teens in strong Christian homes develop homosexual passions without any pagan or criminal influences in their lives.
Posted by James Goetz at Wednesday, July 30, 2014
May 12, 2014
[Parental Warning For PG13 Content]
I always interpreted that Romans 1:26 described various lesbian activity. But Patristics indicates that some church fathers thought that the passage describes something else. This brief essay considers if the verse refers to the Old Testament prohibition of bestiality.
Consider Romans 1:24–27 NRSV:
 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves,  because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
 For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural,  and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.These verses refer to pagans who worshiped creatures instead of God and consequently became dominated by degrading passions that resulted in the pagans degrading their bodies with sexual immorality. Romans 1:26 refers to women who "exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural. Then 1:27 refers to men who "committed shameless acts with men," which clearly implies promiscuous anal sex among men.
Parallelism might indicate that Romans 1:26 referred to illicit female homosexual activity because 1:27 clearly indicated illicit male homosexual activity. However, patristics never agreed on the interpretation of 1:26.
Bernadette J. Brooten in "Patristic Interpretations of Romans 1.26" documents that the church fathers rarely commented about the degrading female activity in Romans 1:26 while the few who commented were divided between two interpretations. For example, Clement of Alexandria and John Chrysostom said that the degrading female activity was lesbian sex while Pope Anastasius and Augustine said that the degrading female activity was some type of illicit heterosexual sex.
I propose a third possible interpretation. Romans 1.26 referred to a type of degrading sexual activity explicitely prohibited in the Old Testament. For example, the Old Testament never prohibited or mentioned any type of lesbian activity while Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 specifically prohibited illicit practices of anal sex among men. Also, 18:23 and 20:15–16 specifically prohibits both males and females from bestiality, which is unnatural intercourse with animals. If Paul in Romans 1:26–27 referred to Old Testament prohibitions, then 1:26 could not have been a reference to lesbianism but possibly a reference to bestiality.
Does anybody agree or disagree?
Bernadette J. Brooten "Patristic Interpretations of Romans 1.26," Ninth International Conference on Patristic Studies, Oxford, September 1983 (published in Studia Patristica XVIII: Papers of the 1983 Patristics Conference. Vol. I: Historica-Theologica-Gnostica-Biblica, ed. Elizabeth A. Livingstone, Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian, 1985, 287–291), http://people.brandeis.edu/~brooten/Articles/Patrisitc_Interpretations_of_Romans_1_26.pdf.
Copyright © 2014 James Edward Goetz
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Posted by James Goetz at Monday, May 12, 2014
May 8, 2014
In 1990, I read about the paradoxical authority of a general partnership and saw that it was the best analogy for the the three-in-one paradox of the Trinity. I then started to informally teach this analogy. In 2010, I wrote a blog article about it and followed up with a couple brief essays. This year, I published a legal philosophy essay in THE JOURNAL JURISPRUDENCE 21 on the metaphysics of legal persons that include general partnerships. More to come....
"Natural Unity and Paradoxes of Legal Persons" (2014)
"Simple Divine Partnership and Functional Limits of the Incarnation" (2011) http://theoperspectives.blogspot.com/2011/03/simple-divine-partnership-and.html
"Weak Relative Identity and the General Partnership Model of the Trinity" (2011) http://philpapers.org/archive/GOEWRI.pdf
"The Partnership Law Model of the Trinity" (2010) http://theoperspectives.blogspot.com/2010/03/partnership-law-model-trinity.html
Posted by James Goetz at Thursday, May 08, 2014
September 3, 2013
I awoke and remembered a dream in June or July 2013. I rarely remember dreams over the past fifteen or so years, but I strongly remembered this dream.
In the dream, I became a world-class philosopher and theologian. I convinced all churches that marriage in the church is only for heterosexual couples. After a brief reflection on my accomplishment, I suddenly transported to another planet. On this planet, I learned that every inhabitant loved God. And some inhabitants incapable of heterosexual romance but capable of strong homosexual romance enjoyed monogamous same-sex marriages. Also, the people on this planet existed far better off than the people on Earth. The dream ended.
My first impression was to dismiss the dream. I understood that the Bible teaches that the normal pattern for marriage is a covenant between one man and one woman. I also understood that every biblical reference to homosexual sex was a condemnation. I saw these facts as main points in a powerful argument against the legitimacy of same-sex marital covenants in the church. For a couple decades, I stated that every Christian who longs for a marital covenant and who is incapable of heterosexual romance needs to limit themselves to celibacy or heterosexual marriage. If heterosexual passions never develop despite prayer and devotionals, then Christian life for a devout believer with a homosexual orientation should include celibacy and strong chaste friendships.
I also understood that Romans 1:18–32 describes a pattern of paganism-induced hyper-sinfulness including hypersexuality. For example, this passage contains negative references to homosexual sex and the only biblical reference to lesbian sex. However, Romans 1 and the rest of New Testament never describe how a minority of chaste Christian teens develop homosexual passions during puberty while fervently praying to change those passions. Most Christian teens develop romantic passions and most develop normal heterosexual passions, but a small percentage of teens in strong Christian homes develop homosexual passions without any pagan or criminal influences in their lives.
Biblical arguments against the possibility of God-glorifying same-sex marital covenants are powerful and inexhaustive. To be continued....
Minor Corrections 9/4/2013
Copyright © 2013 James Edward Goetz
Posted by James Goetz at Tuesday, September 03, 2013
April 28, 2013
Tradition says that Ignatius served as the third bishop of Antioch from 67 to 108. His authentic letters help to illuminate views of Jesus Christ in the early second century. Despite various criticisms that say belief in the uncreated deity of Christ was a later invention, quotes from Ignatius indicate otherwise. Below are quotes of Ignatius translated by J.B. Lightfoot:
Await Him that is above every season, the Eternal, the Invisible, who became visible for our sake, the Impalpable, the Impassible, who suffered for our sake, who endured in all ways for our sake. (To Polycarp 3:2)
I bid you farewell always in our God Jesus Christ, in whom abide ye in the unity and supervision of God. (To Polycarp 8:3, italics added)
I give glory to Jesus Christ the God who bestowed such wisdom upon you. (To the Smyrnaeans 1:1, italics added)
Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, unto her that hath found mercy in the bountifulness of the Father Most High and of Jesus Christ His only Son; to the church that is beloved and enlightened through the will of Him who willed all things that are, by faith and love towards Jesus Christ our God...abundant greeting in Jesus Christ our God in blamelessness. (To the Romans 0:0, italics added)
For our God Jesus Christ, being in the Father, is the more plainly visible. (To the Romans 3:3, italics added)
By the will of the Father and of Jesus Christ our God. (To the Ephesians 0:0, italics added)
There is one only physician, of flesh and of spirit, generate and ingenerate, God in man, true Life in death, Son of Mary and Son of God, first passible and then impassible, Jesus Christ our Lord. (To the Ephesians 7:2)
Copyright © 2013 James Edward Goetz
Posted by James Goetz at Sunday, April 28, 2013
February 9, 2013
ATTN: CONDENSED ANALYTIC THEOLOGY ALERT
Bernhard Riemann rocked nineteenth-century mathematics by smashing the boundaries of Euclidian geometry. He developed geometric models with a possible infinite number of curved dimensions. The Riemannian geometry laid a foundation for physics theories that include special relativity, general relativity, the Big Bang, and speculative physics models of an infinite multiverse.1 Previous articles of mine refer to special relativity and define God as the Trinity who is originally atemporal with infinite simultaneity and temporal since the beginning of temporality.2 This essay briefly explains how a possible infinite number of dimensions in Riemannian geometry help to model the paradoxical relationship between infinite simultaneity and temporality.
Classical theism says that God atemporally self-exists without change. Trinitarian classical theists attempt to explain how the unchanging God manifests in temporal theophanies such as the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the Incarnation who physically aged and temporarily died.3 Various contemporary Christian philosophers and theologians shifted from belief in divine atemporality to unqualified divine temporality that means God always existed and exists in temporality without origin.4 However, William Lane Craig saw the problems of classical theism and unqualified divine temporality. 5 For example, proponents of unqualified divine temporality never overcame the obstacles of John Philoponus's discovery that the completed passage of an infinite temporal succession is impossible, except when unqualified temporality includes ill-defined temporal succession. Craig embraced the best of both views and concluded that God existed atemporally apart from creation and temporally since the beginning of creation. This article supports Craig's view and ill-defined unqualified temporality by developing an analogy of Riemannian geometry that models atemporailty as an infinite simultaneous dimensionality and models the emergence of temporal succession in new parallel dimensionality.
1. Roberto Torretti, "Nineteenth Century Geometry," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2010, http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2010/entries/geometry-19th.
2. James Goetz, "The Atemporal Immutability of the Trinity and Conditional Providence," TheoPerspective, 2012, http://theoperspectives.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-atemporal-immutability-of-trinity.html; "Love and Special Relativity in the Atemporal and Temporal Trinity," TheoPerspective, 2012, http://theoperspectives.blogspot.com/2012/09/love-and-special-relativity-in.html.
3. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 3:2:1.
4. Gregory E. Ganssle, "Introduction: Thinking about God and Time," in God & Time: Four Views, ed. Gregory E. Ganssle (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 2001), chapter 1.
5. William Lane Craig, "Timelessness and Omnitemporality," in God & Time: Four Views, chapter 4.
Definitions for this essay include:
A. Simultaneity means "dimensionality with no distinction between the past, present, and future."
B. Atemporality and timelessness mean "dimensionality apart from or without succession that could include a time dimension with infinite simultaneity."
C. Temporality and time mean "within a succession going from past to present to future" except when the context indicates simultaneity.
III: ATEMPORALITY AND SIMULTANEITY
Classical theists such as Aquinas teach that God is completely atemporal. For example, Aquinas said that God alone exists in eternity while eternity is a simultaneous whole with no succession.6 This compares to the atemporality in the materialistic models of Zeno and the philosophical concept of eternalism. Zeno proposed that the observable universe is motionless and an undivided whole.7 Eternalism similarly proposes that the observable universe is absolutely simultaneous with no distinction between the past, present, and future.8
Eternalism developed from Einstein's theory of special relativity that predicts relative simultaneity. Relative simultaneity means there is no absolute simultaneity of distant events, which indicates that there is no absolute time frame. This lack of absolute time frame from relative simultaneity ironically supports the radical simultaneity of all events in an infinite time dimension with no distinction between the past, present, and future. The absolute simultaneity of all events also indicates that the set of all events in the universe is uncaused and likewise self-existent while all apparent evidence of causation and time's arrow in scientific observations and human experience is merely an illusion.
Incidentally, McTaggart proposed two models of eternalism. First, McTaggart proposed the B-theory of time that says the time dimension has no distinction between the past, present, and future while all appearance of temporality is an illusion. Second, McTaggart ultimately rejected both his A-theory and B-theory while proposing that all appearance of a time dimension (A-theory or B-theory) is an illusion and there is no distinction between the, past, present and future.
In the case of atemporality in classical theism, God is uncaused, self-existent, and immutable. Similarly, in the case of eternalism, the observable universe is uncaused, self-existent, and immutable.
6. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 1:10:1.
7. Nick Huggett, "Zeno's Paradoxes," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2010, http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2010/entries/paradox-zeno/.
8. Ned Markosian, "Time," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2010, http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2010/entries/time/.
Aquinas clearly distinguished between eternity and temporality. He said that eternity exists with no beginning, no succession, and no end while temporality has a beginning, succession, and an end.9 However, Aquinas's view of temporality faces conflict with contemporary evidence of a flat universe that has a finite origin and a succession that will never end. For example, the observable universe presumably has a beginning while space-time and respective vacuum energy will continuously expand without an end and always approach zero degrees Kelvin. Also, despite the lack of an end in the continuous expansion of a flat universe, any possible measurement of temporality would always equal a finite age.
Temporality in the observable universe always involves entropy, which is the inevitable increase of disorder. However, perhaps there are created regions non-subjected to entropy. Such regions might be thought of as atemporal because nothing is subject to age, but such a region is temporal if there could be succession of activity, regardless of apparent reversibility. Also, some created regions might involve no succession of activity apart from their origin. These regions might appear atemporal except for their beginning, which makes them quasi-atemporal.
9. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 1:44—46.
V. SCRIPTURE AND PHILOSOPHY ON GOD AND TIME
Biblical scholars dispute the biblical definition of time. Here is an example. On one hand, Psalm 90:2 says that God is from everlasting to everlasting, which appears to say that God always existed in an infinite succession of time. On the other hand, 1 Corinthians 2:7 says that God existed before the ages, which arguably refers to divine existence prior to the beginning of successive time and implies divine atemporality. These verses and others lead many to the conclusion that the Bible does not focus on delineating philosophical and scientific definitions of time. This leads to philosophical considerations when trying to understand the relationship between God and time.10
As previously mentioned, Aquinas's classical theism saw God as atemporal and creation as temporal. This strains the concept of God relating to temporal creatures and some contemporary classical theists such as Paul Helm try to resolve this strain by proposing that creation is not temporal but atemporal.11 Helm proposes an atemporal relationship between an atemporal Creator and an atemporal creation, which is consistent with eternalism. But the biggest strain with eternalism is that it reduces all appearance of temporal succession to an illusion. Objects such as humans appear to exist after nonexistence while eternalism indicates that every such object actually has always simultaneously non-existed and existed. Also, the concept of cause and effect requires temporal succession while eternalism also reduces cause and effect to an illusion. In this case, statistical studies have nothing but an illusionary basis while the scientific method is based of repeatable experiments that typically involve statistical analysis. Likewise, eternalism reduces science to an illusion. Moreover, in the case of theism, the observable universe always non-existed and existed, which blurs the reality of the Creator.
Another proposal of God and time says that God has immeasurable relative time while creation has a finite origin and measurable time. Alan Padgett and Nicholas Wolterstorff take different directions with this proposal.12 Padgett says that God always exists in immeasurable relative time while Wolterstorff says that God originally existed in immeasurable relative time and then entered measurable time upon creation. The biggest problem with these views is that their immeasurable relative time is indistinguishable from the simultaneity in eternalism. For example, the reduction of Padgett's view compares to Aquinas's view of an infinite simultaneous atemporal God somehow relating to a finite temporal creation. Also, the reduction of Wolterstorff's compares to Craig's view, which as previously mentioned proposes an originally atemporal God who enters temporality upon creation. The next section models Wolterstorff's and Craig's view with an analogy of Riemannian geometry.
10. Gregory E. Ganssle, "Introduction: Thinking about God & Time," in God & Time: Four Views, ed. Gregory E. Ganssle (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 2001), chapter 1.
11. Paul Helm, "Divine Timeless Eternity," in God & Time: Four Views, chapter 2.
12. Alan G. Padgett, "Eternity as Relative Timelessness," in God & Time: Four Views, chapter 3; Nicholas Wolterstorff, "Unqualified Divine Temporality," in God & Time: Four Views, chapter 5.
VI. COEXISTENCE OF INFINITE SIMULTANEITY AND SUCCESSION
This essay proposes that God originally exists in infinite simultaneous dimensionality and God generated new dimensionality with successive temporality while divine omnipresence likewise entered the new dimensionality. Riemann's geometry with a possible infinite number of dimensions and manifolds help to picture this. Similarly, Andrei Linde's speculative physics model of steady-state eternal inflation with an infinite number of parallel universes in a multiverse that continues to develop new universes helps to picture a model of infinite simultaneous dimensionality that generates yet new parallel dimensionality. Linde's steady-state eternal inflation model evidently includes a drawback of a zero probability for generating universes that produce galaxies,13 but the geometry nevertheless helps to picture the parallel coexistence of infinite simultaneity and the emergence of succession.
In this theological model, the Trinity self-exists in infinite simultaneous dimensionality. The three divine persons infinitely love each other in indivisible infinite dimensionality and experience infinite pleasure. Divine omniscience knows all reality and all possibilities, which indicates self-consciousness. Divine power includes inexhaustible capacity to create new dimensionality. Infinite time within the original dimensionality involves no distinction of past, present, and future. This original dimensionality is internally simple without change. There are no elementary particles and no vacuum energy that generate movement. God lovingly and freely decides to generate new dimensionality with succession. The first new dimensionality might have involved only inter-Trinitarian relationship. Regardless if that was the first new dimensionality, God lovingly and freely decided to create new dimensionality with successive time for the habitation of creaturely free will agents while God wanted to cultivate new loving relationships. God remains omnipresent in the original simultaneous dimensionality and continues omnipresence in all new successive dimensionality.
God's omniscience and inexhaustible creative capacity could have completely determined the outcome of all created dimensionality. However, God's omniscience and inexhaustible creative capacity could have decided to forbear complete determinism and enable boundaries of freedom for contingencies such as genuine stochastic processes and creaturely free will decisions that could go in more than one direction. A model with complete determinism is called meticulous providence while a model with partial determinism is called general providence.
13. Alan H. Guth, "Eternal Inflation and Its Implications," 2007, http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0702178v1.
VII. ESSENTIAL AND NONESSENTIAL DIVINE NATURE
Aquinas referred to the Incarnation as the union of God's essential nature and God's nonessential created nature.14 This model refers to God's original simultaneous dimensionality as God's essential nature and God's temporal dimensionality as God's nonessential nature. However, the term nonessential in this context in no way implies unimportant or inadvertent.
The central nonessential experience of God in Christian doctrine is the Incarnation. Christ is the second person of God who remained one hundred percent God and also became one hundred percent human, which according to the Fourth Ecumenical Council is the divine-human hypostatic union. The hypostatic union was a manifestation of Christ who originally existed in essential mode, developed a nonessential mode at the beginning of temporality, and eventually developed into the Incarnation. Likewise, Christ possessed at least two nonessential modes while each mode was one hundred percent the second person of God.
Another divine nonessential mode in basic Christian doctrine is the outpouring and manifestation of the Holy Spirit, the third person of God. The essential mode and the nonessential mode of the Holy Spirit are completely God in the same way the essential mode and nonessential modes of Christ are completely God.
An example of a manifest nonessential mode of the Father was at the baptism of Christ. The Father spoke an audible declaration: "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased."15
The three divine persons relate to each other both in essential nature and nonessential nature. Also, no created person can possibly perceive the essential nature of God, but God reveals nonessential divine manifestations to angels and humans while cultivating loving relationships.
14. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 3:2; 3:25:1.
15. Luke 3:22.
VIII. DIVINE OMNISCIENCE AND PROVIDENCE
Temporal succession results in continuous development of new reality. This leads to questions about divine omniscience and foreknowledge. Ancient church fathers evidently unanimously believed that God possesses static foreknowledge, which means that God has always exhaustively foreknown the definite outcome of all events. This meticulously includes for example the formation of all dust bunnies. However, some ancient church fathers believed in general providence while asserting divine static foreknowledge.16 Regardless, this divine model of parallel dimensionality could only possess static foreknowledge in the case of meticulous providence. Any range of unpredictability in general providence results in dynamic omniscience, which is a major component of open theism.17
This model of divine parallel dimensionality in the case of meticulous providence resembles Thomism. The divine essence possesses simplicity, immutability, omnibenevolence, and static omniscience. God's omnipotence is limited only by non-contradiction.18 Divine foreordination completely determines all activity. God meticulously orchestrates all appearance of contingencies such as all genuinely stochastic processes and free will decisions that could go in more than one direction, which means that no detail is unpredictable to God. Also, all divine relationship to creation is nonessential.
In the case of God granting creation a range of unpredictability in general providence, then the divine essence possesses simplicity, immutability, omnibenevolence, and omniscience while omniscience is the knowledge of all reality and possibilities. God's omnipotence is limited only by non-contradiction. In the case of divine foreordination, divine omniscience has always known the range of omnibenevolent responses to every possible circumstance. Also, all divine relationship to creation is nonessential.
16. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 4:39:4.
17. Clark, Pinnock. et al. The Openness of God: A Biblical Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of God, (Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Academic, 1994).
18. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 1:25:4.
IX: MYSTERY OF EMERGENT TIME
Immanuel Kant in Critique of Pure Reason struggled with the mysteries of an infinite universe. For example, an infinite passage of measurable temporality could never completely occur. This logically indicates the emergence of measurable temporality. But absolute nothingness that by definition never changes from nothingness could never cause the emergence of measurable temporality. Or how could an atemporal nature that by definition never changes cause the emergence of measurable temporality?
The emergence of temporal succession is perhaps the greatest partial negative mystery in philosophy and theology. I previously mused the possibility that God's atemporal creative capacity had compelled God to make an initial unspecified creative decision that by definition began temporal succession, but I now reject that anything compelled God. Most open theist scholars in personal communication assert that God needed immeasurable temporality to make the first creative decision. But open theist philosopher Alan Rhoda in personal communication disagrees and says that God needs no temporal succession to deliberate a decision despite that all finite humans need temporality for deliberation. I consider the impossibility for the passage of infinite measurable temporality and that omniscient God needs no measurable temporality for deliberation. I assert the partial negative mystery that God in infinite simultaneity freely made his first creative decision that necessarily included the emergence of temporal succession.
X: CONCLUDING NOTE
This essay briefly introduces a new academic model of God and time. This leads to many questions that I plan to answer in a scholarly book. I also plan to illustrate the concepts in popular books. I would greatly appreciate any thoughtful feedback from blog comments or email.
Perhaps the most sensitive questions instigated by this model involve the coexistence of God and temporary evil. I began answering these questions in my blog essay "Divine Love, the Problem of Evil, and Theodicy."19
19. James Goetz, "Divine Love, the Problem of Evil, and Theodicy", TheoPerspective, 2013, http://theoperspectives.blogspot.com/2013/02/divine-love-problem-of-evil-and-theodicy.html.
Copyright © 2013 James Edward Goetz
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Posted by James Goetz at Saturday, February 09, 2013