September 7, 2017

Outline for Christian Marriage

I enjoyed the privilege of officiating for the marriage of my daughter Julie-Anne and my new son-in-law Jon-Michael Miller. I also enjoyed the privileged of sharing premarital counsel with them, and Julie-Anne said that I could share this council on my blog.

I shared six poignant points with minimal elaboration that are designed for lifelong reflection. I started with the most important Christian principal and then five points on marriage.

1. Jesus taught that the greatest commandments are to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves.
Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37–40 NIV)
2. Jesus and the New Testament writers upended Ancient Middle East patriarchy.
a. A respectable man would never talk to an unknown woman. But Jesus started a conversation with the Samaritan Woman.
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" (John 4:7 NIV)
b. Paul taught that a husband and wife equally belong to each other.
The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. (1 Corinthians 7:3–4 NIV)
c. Traditional churches mistakenly teach complementarianism that says husbands are the sole head of a family and females cannot be a senior pastor of a church. But that is based on misinterpretation of Scriptures written in the context of a male dominated patriarchal society; while the total sum of the New Testament upends male dominance.
3. The Song of Solomon is an Old Testament book about passion and romance between a husband and wife. Some of the language is odd by modern standards, e.g., comparing a wife to a fine female horse. But that was an accolade in ancient times. The main point is that the Bible promotes passion and romance in marriage.

4. Jesus taught in Matthew 19:4–9 that marriage is a serious commitment that forms a new family. For example, Jesus said that God forms the marriage. This means that marriage is a synergistic union between spouses and God. For instance, Jesus does not support casual marriage or casual divorce.

5. Marriage is a commitment of love and faithfulness between spouses, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health. Decisions about children, careers, finances, and property need to consider the good of the family.

6. Marriage involves mutual respect for individual boundaries and the formation of a partnership and family.

Copyright © 2017 James Edward Goetz

July 3, 2017

The Christian Code of Honor for Men

01. Men understand the love and forgiveness of the Lord.
02. Men trust and obey the Lord in every circumstance.
03. Men love the Lord above all else.
04. Men act with courage and honor.
05. Men speak with courage and honor.
06. Men respect all authority without disobeying the Lord.
07. Men respect and care for all humans.
08. Men never take advantage of females.
09. Men advocate sexually chastity.
10. Men stand against injustice.

updated 07/03/2017

Copyright © 2011, 2017 James Edward Goetz

May 16, 2017

The Christological Triad of Dale Tuggy II

What is the meaning of the Christian doctrine that says Jesus Christ is one person who is fully divine and fully human? For example, the 451 Chalcedonian Creed teaches this two-nature (divine-human) Christology.

My previous blogpost analyzed Dale Tuggy's challenge to this Chalcedonian doctrine from his "Podcast 180—Apologists on How God Can Die—Part 3." Tuggy's podcast elaborated on his following "inconsistent triad" of propositions:

1. Jesus died.
2. Jesus was fully divine.
3. No fully divine being has ever died
To my surprise, several respondents to Tuggy's triad say in one way or another that all three statements are true. This indicates a misunderstanding of propositional logic. For example, Tuggy is an analytical theologian who is focusing on the propositional logic of his triad. Also, if any part of a simple or complex propositional statement is false, then the statement is false.

One could try to modify the triad to make all three propositions true, but all three original propositions cannot be true. Any two of them are mutually exclusive of the remaining one.

For example, Docetists reject that Jesus had a real human body that could die, so they could say that proposition 1 is false while propositions 2 and 3 are true. Or Unitarians and Nestorians reject that Jesus was fully divine, so they could say that propositions 1 and 3 are true while proposition 2 is false.

In my case, I hold that Jesus Christ was a hypostatic union of a fully divine nature and a fully human nature who suffered biological death. Likewise, I hold that proposition 3 is false because a fully divine being has died.

After listening to "Podcast 180," I also concluded that Tuggy was ambiguous about his proposition 1 that says, "Jesus died." Tuggy then challenged me in his blogpost "Some More Replies to the Triad" to respond to the original presentation of his triad in his "Podcast 145—'Tis Mystery All: The Immortal Dies!"

In "Podcast 145," Tuggy defined that death is the cessation of most or all normal life processes. Part of his justification for that definition is a hypothetical analogy of God killing but not annihilating an angel that has no biological processes. Perhaps this analogy refers to imagery in Revelation where the devil is sent to the bottomless pit for a 1,000 years or when the devil is eventually sent to the lake of fire. In the case of Jesus death, I disagree with Tuggy's definition of death. I stick with my statement from my previous blogpost:
The Incarnation was a hypostatic union of an uncreated divine nature and a created human nature. The death of Christ was the biological death of Christ while his human spirit and divine nature continued to exist.
For proposition 2, Tuggy defines that fully divine equals "divine in the way the one God is divine." Then, he notes some Scripture that emphasize the "immortality" of the sole God.

As far as I can see, Tuggy's semantics for the definition of fully divine excludes the possibility of a fully divine and a fully human hypostatic union. However, the term fully divine in the context of two-nature (divine-human) Christology indicates that Jesus Christ has a complete divine nature. For example, Tertullian and the later Chalcedonian Creed state that Jesus Christ has a complete uncreated divine nature and a complete created human nature. This indicates that Jesus Christ was one person who is both a divine being and a human being.

Tuggy then raises objections and questions to this teaching of the Chalcedonian Creed. The primary objection is that the ontology of one person with two natures cannot cohere with his logic of numerical identity. Tuggy also asks if the natures are abstract or concrete.

I have responses to the above objection and question. For example, I plan on writing a lengthy academic paper that combines my Relative-Social Trinitarianism with my semiclassical theism derived from my respective 2016 papers "Identical Legal Entities and the Trinity: Relative-Social Trinitarianism" and "Semiclassical Theism and the Passage of Planck Times." The combination is what I call semiclassical Christianity. For the purpose of resolving Tuggy's objections to two-nature Christology, I will outline main points of what I will call semiclassical Trinitarian theology and semiclassical Christology.

I briefly cited my 2016 papers in my previous blogpost. But I need to go more in-depth in this response.

First of all, semiclassical theism is my natural theology of God and time, divine attributes, and creation. For example, semiclassical theism coheres with modern physics and proposes that God originally exists in a universe with infinite tenseless time. Additionally, God's primary attributes are inexhaustible love, inexhaustible perception, and inexhaustible force. Furthermore, God bridged from tenseless eternity to create the tensed physical universe from nothing. Also, God focuses of working through synergism with created agents such as believing humans.

Second of all, my Relative-Social Trinitarianism is based on biblical studies and my natural law theory of identity. My natural law theory of identity also includes my law of temporal identity and the formula logic of relative identity. For example, the law of temporal identity says:
Anything is absolutely identical to itself and nothing else at any given point of time.
Additionally, the formula logic of relative identity says:
(RI) x and y are the same F, but x and y are different Gs.
Furthermore, I define that a concrete entity is anything that is not a concept. Likewise, the concepts of intangible government and intangible property are abstract entities; while specific governments and intangible property are concrete entities. This indicates that the uncreated divine nature of Jesus is a concrete entity, despite its intangible nature. Some of my friends say that God is beyond a concrete entity, so that looks like its own article.

Moreover, my link contains revised examples of relative identity in the cases of math, natural law, and the Trinity. For an analogy of two-nature Christology, I will focus on the following example of the Roman Lepidus who was both triumvir and pontifex maximus from 44 BCE to 36 BCE:
1. The triumvir was relatively identical to Lepidus, but the triumvir was not absolutely identical to Lepidus.
2. The pontifex maximus was relatively identical to Lepidus, but pontifex maximus was not absolutely identical to Lepidus.
3. Natural person Lepidus who existed as the triumvir was absolutely identical to natural person Lepidus who existed as the pontifex maximus.
4. The triumvir was not identical to the pontifex maximus.
This model of identity is based on the ancient, international custom that indicates a holder of a political office is identical to their political office. I focused on describing this in the context of natural law theory, but the model of identity is the same for the other major schools of legal thought such as legal positivism and legal realism.

Here is another way of looking at the same case of Lepidus:
1. Lepidus was one undivided human person.
2. Lepidus was identical to the triumvir and the pontifex maximus.
3. Lepidus was not absolutely identical to the triumvir and the pontifex maximus.
4. The triumvir and the pontifex maximus were not identical to each other.
One might notice that the transitivity of classical numerical identity do not apply to this international custom. But the formula logic of relative identity does apply.

For the purpose of my analogy of two-nature Christology, the triumvir and the pontifex maximus each had their own complete official nature; while each nature was identical to the one person Lepidus.

Similarly, since the origin of the Incarnation, there was one complete divine nature and one complete human nature; while each nature was identical to the undivided person Jesus.

I clarify that all analogies have similarity and dissimilarity.

One might expect that fully divine means that every nature of a person is divine, which could exclude the possibility of a hypostatic union of a fully divine nature and a fully human nature. However, that was never a part of the Chalcedonian Creed. Regardless, the Christian doctrine of human divinization teaches that humans can develop by God's grace into a class of created divine nature. In this sense, the sinless human nature of Jesus was a created divine nature despite its mortality.

Tuggy also suggested that I support a "fully-creed-compliant christology." I have yet to address this in my academic publications or blog, but my Trinitarian theology and two-nature (divine-human) Christology rejects two points of creedal doctrines. The two points that I reject are (1) eternal generation and (2) eternal spiration/procession. I am not alone in this among contemporary Trinitarians, and I will eventually address this in detail.

This outline with references to my 2016 papers coherently describes basic points of my two-nature Christology. I also engaged Tuggy's inconsistent triad.

Minor Revisions 5/16/2017 10:30 PM EST
Copyright © 2017 James Edward Goetz

April 26, 2017

The Christological Triad of Dale Tuggy

I appreciated listening to Dale Tuggy's podcast "Apologists on How God Can Die—Part 3." I also enjoyed reading and joining in on the replies for parts 1 and 2.

Tuggy focused on a criticism from a recent blog post by apologist Steve Hays, which criticized Tuggy's recent unitarian criticism of two-nature (divine-human) Christology. For example, Tuggy proposes the following inconsistent triad:

1. Jesus died.
2. Jesus was fully divine.
3. No fully divine being has ever died.
Tuggy supports that his first statement "Jesus died" means something different than "Jesus suffered biological death." Then, he supports that his triad is inconsistent and therefore indicates the inconsistency of two-nature Christology.

Tuggy also mentioned that he was dissatisfied with the clarity of every oppositional reply to his triad. I agree with the dissatisfaction until I wrote this blog post. The ambiguities in Tuggy's triad encouraged me to make careful definitions of (1) an individual human nature and human death; (2) the divine nature; and (3) two-nature Christology. Then, I briefly sift his triad.

First, this paragraph outlines relevant points of an individual human nature and death. I propose some type of substance dualism of the mind. This includes overdetermination of a conscious neurological system and a conscious spirit. Human death is the cessation of human biological life that includes the neurological system; while the postmortem human spirit potentially continues with consciousness and communication. The apostolic church knew little about neurology, but their primary view of human death focused on the cessation of biological life while supporting a potentially conscious intermediate state.

Second, this paragraph outlines relevant points of the divine nature. "The primary attributes of God are inexhaustible love, inexhaustible perception, and inexhaustible force." I quoted this from the abstract for my model of God and time in my 2016 paper "Semiclassical Theism and the Passage of Planck Times." I also support that these divine attributes cohere with my natural law coregency model of the Trinity in my 2016 paper "Identical Legal Entities and theTrinity: Relative-Social Trinitarianism.

Third, I outline relevant points of Christology. "Christ," "the Son of God," and "the second person of the Trinity" are references to the respective divine person who eventually incarnated. The Incarnation was a hypostatic union of an uncreated divine nature and a created human nature. The death of Christ was the biological death of Christ while his human spirit and divine nature continued to exist. I also support a literal descent of Christ into hades in my 2012 Conditional Futurism, chapter 13.

As stated earlier, I disagree with the implications and ambiguities of Tuggy's triad.

First, the statement "Jesus died" implies to me that his biological life ceased to exist while his human spirit and divine nature continued to exist.

Second, the statement "Jesus was fully divine" coheres with belief that the Incarnation was a hypostatic union of an uncreated divine nature and a created human nature.

Third, the statement "No fully divine being has ever died" is false, but no uncreated divine nature has ever ceased to exist.

This is my best effort to date to precisely and coherently address Tuggy's triad. Perhaps more details will unfold in this discussion.

Minor Revisions 4/27/2017
Copyright © 2017 James Edward Goetz

August 22, 2016

Relativity Predicts Universal Wormhole


Matterless wormhole theory predicts a potential universal wormhole. Researcher James Goetz theorizes that extra-dimensional relativity indicates a possible omnicluster of matterless wormholes or in other words a universal wormhole. Amazing properties of the wormhole include no dimensions and zero distance to all points in the universe. Moreover, a hypothetical observer in the wormhole could observe a universal chronology despite the relativity of time. This modifies the theory of relativity.

The theory is part of Goetz's introduction to the natural theology called semiclassical theism. Goetz proposes a model of God, time, and creation that fits with modern physics, such as relativity, quantum mechanics, quantum gravity, Big Bang cosmology, zero-energy universe and multiverse geometry. This is a theory of everything.

Apart from physics, the universal wormhole theory helps to explain the theology of divine omniscience and omnipresence. Also, semiclassical theism proposes that God is omnipresent in tenseless eternity and tensed creation.

Goetz published the research this August 22 in the online version of Theology and Science, the scholarly journal of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences.

See the online version of the paper:

Or freely download the Author's Accepted Manuscript at PhilPapers:

James Goetz, "Semiclassical Theism and the Passage of Planck Times," Theology and Science 14:3 (2016), DOI: 10.1080/14746700.2016.1191881.

Copyright © 2016 James Edward Goetz
Permission given for all press releases

December 7, 2015

Revision of Restricted Free Will and Conditional Universalism

My article "Restricted Free Will and Conditional Universalism" indicates how various models of free will relate to Christian universalism, but my definition of Arminian free will lacked clarity. I thank theologian Roger Olson for bringing this to my attention. Please consider the following revision of my perspective.

My biblical theology Conditional Futurism briefly discusses imagery of postmortem evangelism in 1 Peter and imagery of postmortem conversions in Revelation. I also support that the biblical imagery teaches about the reality of postmortem conversions. Beyond that book, I believe that postmortem conversions will eventually result in universalism, which means that every human will eventually enjoy the gift of salvation. Some critics object to my conclusion of universalism. For example, some object to the conclusions of my biblical research about postmortem conversions. Others object by saying that the concept of universalism is impossible because universalism implies that God would violate human free will while God would never do that. This brief piece focuses on objections to genuine free will and universalism.

Roger Olson in his 2015 blog post "Universalism Is 'In the Air'...." says that universalists are soft-hearted Calvinists while Arminians are immune to universalism. Olson's generalization derives from the contrasting Calvinist and Arminian views of free will and saving grace. For example, Calvinism teaches the doctrine of irresistible grace, which means that humans cannot resist God's gracious gift of faith and salvation. I want to emphasize that irresistible grace implies that humans immediately accept salvation when God offers salvation and that momentary resistance to God's offer is impossible. Alternatively, Arminianism teaches the doctrine of prevenient grace. Prevenient grace is resistible grace that enables humans to accept faith in God and the gift of salvation.

Calvinism is typically associated with theological determinism. Theological determinism means that God meticulously determines every detail in the universe such as the greatest human joys, the foremost human horrors, and trivial events such as the formation of dust bunnies. Some adherents of theological determinism believe that free will is compatible with determinism, which is called classical compatibilist free will or soft determinism. Other theological determinists reject the existence of free will, which is called hard determinism.

In contrast to Calvinism, Arminianism is associated with traditional incompatibilism, which means that free will exists while free will is incompatible with determinism. For example, Arminianism teaches that humans can resist God's loving gift of saving grace. Arminianism also implies partial determinism and concomitant partial indeterminism.

Olson clarifies fine points of traditional Arminian free will:
God concurs with the will of the free and rational creature without laying any necessity on it of doing well or ill. God bestows the gift of free will on people and controls it by putting boundaries around what it can do.... Human free will is always only situated free will; it exists and is exercised within a limiting context, and God's limitation of it is one factor in that context. (Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities, page 125)
Power of contrary choice is the typical Arminian view of free will. ("An Arminian Account of Free Will")
These points indicate that traditional Arminianism teaches that God gives humans a limited gift of free will that nonetheless constantly possesses the power of contrary choice. For example, within boundaries, humans can always choose something other than what they choose. Likewise, no human choice is literally irresistible.

The strongest form of incompatibilism is what I call strong unrestricted free will. Examples include Cartesian free will. Strong unrestricted free will means that human free will lacks the slightest constraint and that humans constantly possess the power of contrary choice in every circumstance while no human choice is literally irresistible.

My second strongest category of incompatibilism is what I call weak unrestricted free will. Examples include traditional Arminian free will. Weak unrestricted free will means that human free will is limited while humans nonetheless constantly possess the power of contrary choice in every circumstance while no human choice is literally irresistible.

Weak forms of incompatibilism are what I call restricted free will. Examples include Peter van Inwagen's model of free will. Restricted free will means that a human sometimes possesses the power of contrary choice. For instance, a human can sometimes choose contrary to what they choose and sometimes face a literally irresistible enticement for a particular choice.

Consider two circumstances of restricted free will. First, a woman faces nothing except three mutually exclusive choices that she supposes are equally beneficial. In this case, she would freely choose among the three alternatives. In the second circumstance, she faces multiple choices and she delights in one possibility while she utterly disdains all other possibilities. The only delightful choice is literally irresistible while she would never choose any other option.

I want to further illustrate these circumstances in an imaginary multiverse with an indefinite number of parallel histories. In the first circumstance, the woman faces the same three mutually exclusive choices that she supposes are equally beneficial. Because of the multiverse, the same woman with the same past faces the same first circumstance an indefinite number of times. This circumstance that is repeated an indefinite number of times results in three different alternate histories because the woman would freely choose among the three options. In the second circumstance, she faces multiple choices and she delights in one possibility while she utterly disdains all other possibilities. Because of the multiverse, the same woman with the same past faces the same second circumstance an indefinite number of times and always chooses the same delightful option. The option is irresistible regardless of how many times that she faces the same circumstance.

I clarify that an enticingly irresistible offer never results in a meticulously determined response. For example, when the woman in the multiverse chooses the same delightful option an indefinite number of times, her behavior during her choice could slightly vary each time that she makes the same choice.
I add that a model human will might reject both determinism and the existence of free will. I categorize such models and hard determinism together into what I call unfree will.

I defined strong unrestricted free will, weak unrestricted free will, restricted free will, compatibilist free will, and unfree will to preface my explanation for how these categories impact the possibility of what I call conditional universalism. Also, the concept of conditional universalism at first glance looks like an oxymoron, but let me explain. Conditional universalism means that every human will eventually enjoy Christ's gift of salvation while the gift of salvation is nonetheless conditional. For example, Hebrews 11:6 emphasizes the vital importance of faith and says that all who approach God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Mere awareness of God saves nobody, but people are saved by God's gracious gift through the condition of faith. This condition applies to experiencing salvation in life or afterlife. Also, the concept of universalism is meaningless if some people forever rebel against God and likewise never reconcile with God.

Consider God's love and ministry to humans: Romans 5:8 says that God's love is demonstrated by Jesus Christ dying for the salvation of sinful people; 2 Peter 3:9 says that God wants to save all people; as previously mentioned, 1 Peter and Revelation indicate imagery of postmortem lost people facing opportunities for salvation. Assuming the reality of (1) God desiring to save everybody and (2) postmortem offers of salvation, then one might conclude that God would eventually make an enticingly irresistible offer of salvation to afterlife holdouts if God could make irresistible offers. Among the five categories of human free will that I discussed, strong unrestricted free will and weak unrestricted are the only categories that are incompatible with irresistible offers. These categories leave room for the hope of universalism while God cannot ensure universalism. However, restricted free will, compatibilist free will, and unfree will are compatible with irresistible offers. These models are 
logically consistent with conditional universalism.

I believe in restricted free will and identify that my theology is modified Arminianism. For example, I believe that resistible prevenient grace is the general rule and God wants everybody to convert within the realm of resistible grace. This helps the development of human agency. However, I also believe that God never ceases to reach out to humans regardless of death. Moreover, God's love would eventually reveal a final offer of salvation that is enticingly irresistible to any recalcitrant afterlife holdout. This ensures the glorious universal reconciliation. Marvelous benefits include believers reuniting with loved ones who passed away lost and all archenemies making peace with each other.

Copyright 2015 James Edward Goetz

Originally published 4/9/15:

June 8, 2015

Marriage Equality and the 14th Amendment

The US Supreme Court finally agreed to analyze the implications of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution (1868) and marriage equality. In this case, multitudes of LGBT Americans yearn for marriage and feel discriminated against when state governments prohibit same-sex marriage. Many of these LGBT people who desire marriage are lesbians and gays who never desired heterosexual romance. Their only option for a romantic marriage is a same-sex marriage.

Consider the 14th Amendment, Section 1:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
The 14th Amendment followed the 13th Amendment (1865) that prohibited the inhumanity of chattel slavery. The mere prohibition of slavery was insufficient, and the 14th Amendment established de jure equality of all men for the pursuit of life, liberty, and property. Also, African-American male suffrage needed the 15th Amendment (1870).

These marvelous amendments, however, initially failed to prohibit unjust discrimination in the form of racial segregation. For example, the US Supreme Court Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) defended de jure racial segregation based on the pretense of "separate but equal." Also, the 15th Amendment never established suffrage for all adults regardless of gender.

De jure corrections of the above unjust inequalities included the 19th Amendment (1920) that established women's suffrage; the US Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education (1954) that decided public school segregation was unconstitutional; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that banned discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in employment practices and public accommodations; the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that suspended poll taxes, literacy tests, and other subjective voter registration tests; and the Civil Rights Act of 1968 that legislated equal housing opportunities regardless of race, creed, or national origin.

Landmark US court cases re marriage equality focused on the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the 2008 California Proposition 8. DOMA was a federal law that allowed states to refuse the recognition of same-sex marriages granted by the laws of other states. Proposition 8 became a California state constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage.

Chief Judge Vaughn Walker of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California ruled in 2010 that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional while citing the 5th Amendment and the 14th Amendment Due Process clauses and also the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause. He concluded that California lacked a rational basis for denying lesbians and gays from the legal benefits of same-sex marriage. For example, all opposition to California same-sex marriage involved nothing more than traditional approval of opposite-sex marriage and traditional disapproval of homosexuality. Three years later in 2013, the US Supreme Court made a unanimous dismissal to the last appeal from Proposition 8 proponents. The US Supreme Court in 2013 also struck down DOMA, Section 3.

The US Supreme Court trend that favors marriage equality suggests the end of de jure marriage inequality based on the implications of the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause. This predicted end of de jure discrimination, however, will have no effect on any given ecclesiastical definition of marriage and annulment, which has always been separate from state and federal laws. This issue is de jure equal opportunity for LGBT Americans who yearn for marriage. 2015 is the year of US marriage equality.

Copyright © 2015 James Edward Goetz

Originally published at OpEdNews 1/25/2015