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Buddha claimed that he witnessed the cessation of all things, including God. How could this be explained by a Christian?


#84

'What if"? It doesn’t matter.


#85

Hey, bud. How are you?
Got a quick question for you:
Do you think there has ever been a single moment wherein God was not Creator? For, every moment was created by God, and therefore there is not moment in time to complain of Him being not Creator.

Say the parting of the red sea happened, but in a moment of time created by God. How then is that any different than every single moment created by God wherein “existence” persists?


#86

An external reality exists. However, our senses are imperfect, so our perception of that reality is faulty. We can never see reality as clearly as an eagle sees it. We can never small reality as accurately as a dog smells it. We can only detect reality through our imperfect senses.

We build internal mental models of reality. Because our internal models of reality are based on imperfect sense data, so those models are themselves imperfect and faulty.

It is a very common mistake to think that our internal mental models are themselves reality. They are not; they are imperfect models of reality, with their own faults. One of the functions of Buddhist meditation is to separate, as far as possible, what is reality and what is our imperfect mental model of that reality. For example, an arachnophobe has an internal mental model “spider”, all of us do. However the arachnophobe has a great sense of fear attached to their model, which most of us do not. The fear is part of the imperfect mental model, not part of the real spider.

A mirage is the same, there is no water present, but we see something which matches our internal model “water”.

External reality exists. However a lot of what we think is reality is actually only our internal model of reality intruding in front of reality. All too often we mistake the model for the real thing. Meditation helps us to avoid that mistake. Enlightenment eliminates it completely.

rossum


#87

It’s a contradiction to “experience nothing.” To answer your question: he imagined something and declared it to be “enlightenment.”


#88

The two words are different. Hence, God’s vocal cords (or whatever He uses) are in different states. That means that they have changed. God does not change – He is unchanging – but here is something that changes.

Since something cannot both change and be unchanging, we must have two things present: the unchanging thing and the changing thing. They may be two parts of one compound entity or they may be two separate entities. Either way there are two things which can be analysed separately.

In general philosophical terms, being unchanging is extremely restricting, it prevents any individual actions in time, only permanent, unchanging, actions are possible.

Actions which change from day to day are not possible for an unchanging entity.

rossum


#89

OK, thanks for the explanation. Potential does not actually exist, it is an internal mental construct that has no real existence in the external world. Hence I am free to use, or not use, the concept as I wish.

Since I do not find such reified concepts useful, I choose not to use it.

As to causation, I note that you use “cause” in the singular. I prefer “conditions” plural. A human being is not just caused by her parents, she also requires conditions such as the existence of planet earth, the existence of gravity to keep her on the planet and the existence of a breathable atmosphere, again held in place by gravity. Causation is rarely as simple as a single “cause”. Even parents are plural, not singular.

rossum


#90

How do you know when this process of separating external reality from our internal mental models is successful? Or is it just replacing one mental model for another, accompanied by a sensation of epiphany?


#91

God cannot be the creator unless there is some creation in existence. If God is always the creator, then creation must by co-eternal with God.

When were angels created?

If God is eternal and the material universe is not, then there has to be a gap; an infinite gap, given the meaning of ‘eternal’.

This is a problem for the Abrahamic religions, not for Buddhism, which lacks a creator.

rossum


#92

Good insight! That’s some of the reasoning behind the orthodox teaching why the Word has two natures, created and uncreated, changing and unchanging, in one divine Person. There were many early Christian heresies around this, notably the Arians, who believed the created Son and uncreated Father were like a demi-god and God, or the Nestorians, who believed the created and uncreated were two separate natures (edit: and persons) of Christ.


#93

P.S. I heard about an excellent book (which I haven’t read yet, but plan to soon) called Christ the Eternal Tao by an orthodox priest. https://www.amazon.com/Christ-Eternal-Tao-Hieromonk-Damascene/dp/1887904239/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1523868102&sr=8-3&keywords=Christ+the+eternal+Tao

I wonder if the concept of Dharma can also be compared to the Logos (the Eternal Word or principle of cosmic order) in this way.


#94

That wasn’t very helpful. However, in a timeless Kingdom of God, i.e. heaven, God is not constrained by this limitation. in a material universe.

That is a fallacious argument. The eternity of God is a property of God , not of the creation. Creation started some 13.5 billion years ago. There was a state where the universe didn’t exist but God did. And the universe could have an end date .

" The material universe has not existed for eternity, hence God alone is not a sufficient cause"

Your conclusion does not follow. The length of time of existence of the universe does not determine whether the cause is sufficient. The sufficient cause need only account for the creation. And it does.

An omnipotent God certainly can interact with his created material world without being changed by his interaction because he exist in all times. You have not provided evidence that God has been changed. All you have mentioned is that God did things during certain times. That itself does not prove that God has been changed but rather the world has been changed.

Notwithstanding this, I think we can still have a discussion . You just need to put a mental place marker that 15 billion years ago the universe didn’t exist. But God did.

Of course. But God is not only Creator. He is Omnipotent. He is Love. He is Justice. He is Omniscient. The creation is subject to Him and not the other way round. Otherwise he won’t be Almighty if he is subject to his own creation. The Master is not below his servant and similar thoughts. However I see you trying to place God into an inferior position.

My apologies if I don’t respond in a timely manner the next few days. Got personal matters to attend to. But I think I owe you a reply before I go off.


#95

Aren’t we then talking about time, it’s true nature and its measurement?
As creatures bounded in this material universe would not our views on time outside of our material universe be quite ignorant and thus extremely provisional with regards to being used to ‘prove’ certain axioms regarding God and supernatural change?

In our Creation what we call time is marked by the scientific laws of the movement of matter. In a reality without matter, then time (or change) would not be bound by such things. It may in fact be marked by something more fundamental that we as creatures bound in the material world cannot fathom. If the fundamental nature of reality is in the being of God then quite possibly ‘supernatural time’ or the structure that allows change may be a property of God.

Seen in this way if the ability of change is a property of the nature of God then change cannot be used to rule out God the creator but it flows naturally from who He is.


#96

I think Buddhism is inherently nilhilistic. It seems to hold a negative view of anything that exists, in both a physical or spiritual sense to the point that the aim is for a state where there is nothing. If a state of nothingness is the aim, then nothing has any value other than as a tool to achieve nothingness. Within such a system God cannot exist other than as an impermanent step towards nothing. Buddhism seems to me like a kind of atheistic (or at least agnostic) nihilism.


#97

The more I learn about Buddhism, the more I understand this philosophy as a way of life could not have come from God. With the greatest respect to anyone associated with any “truth” that does not come from God, I will continue to discern “truth” that does come from God, so that my life may glorify God.


#98

Yes, alll that we think we see right now, or feel and sense in any way, is a reconstruction within our brains based on what our senses have input. Fortunately, it has been very helpful.


#99

This is fine, as far as it goes, but your statement in a previous post far exceeds what you claim above even if we grant you that ultimate reality cannot be known, that does not imply ultimate reality does not exist.

For reference:

In Buddhism everything changes, hence there is no “ultimate existence” and no “source of reality”. Because our senses are imperfect we cannot sense whatever is out there correctly. We ‘see’ the water in a mirage, but that water does not have any reality. It exists purely inside our mind.”

Merely because our senses are imperfect and we cannot see ultimate or essential reality as it is, does not imply that reality does not exist. There is no hard logical connection between your two claims.

In fact, merely because our senses are not sufficient to provide us with adequate confirmation about ultimate reality, it does not mean that other methods cannot provide that kind of access to reasonable certainty about reality.

Perhaps and perhaps not, but merely asserting this without making a substantial case isn’t particularly convincing, especially since your lack of logical rigor has already been evident.

Okay, so are eight legs, two body parts, relative size, venom, behaviour traits, etc., also “NOT part of the REAL spider?” Seems to me you are engaging in hasty generalization, here.

Continued…


#100

Okay, fine, if you are advocating for care in making determinations about reality based upon apparent or perceived data, but you seem to want to push far beyond that.

It might be argued that enlightenment, as you describe it, is a “subjective” state so there is a distinct possibility that it might have some disconnect from ultimate reality, as well. Whose enlightenment, exactly, is to count as true enlightenment? Well, you say, “the Buddha’s.” Okay, but not very helpful, since only Buddha experienced it. “But he left us a method to achieve it,” you claim. But that, too, is not very helpful since it leads only to subjective experiences of enlightenment, and mileage may vary.

In theory, but there is no way of knowing for certain unless you achieve that “enlightenment,” in which case, you might be convinced, but also mistaken. How would you know? Based upon what independent assurance? If that assurance is independent of “enlightenment,” then why can it not be applied elsewhere, to other experiential truth claims, for example?


#101

The problem with dispensing with the idea of potentiality altogether is that, without it, anything can become anything for no reason. As soon as you correctly admit that isn’t a possibility, then the reality of potentiality and the essential nature of things stands on solid footing.

Okay, how exactly potentiality can be understood or constructed for entities in reality is a challenge, but merely because it is does not compel us to throw out the entire concept.

The Aristotelian-Thomistic idea of potentiality-actuality is far more compelling than ‘enlightenment’ since the potentiality and actuality of things is evident all around us, while enlightenment is somewhat exclusive to certain subjects, on their say-so.


#102

But if not a single moment has ever passed wherein God was not Creator, wherein is this complaint lodged? When could you have ever said to God, you are not the Creator? Then, what are you contemplating but a mirage?

Time is a created reality, and there is no bounding of God because of its creation


#103

It’s irrelevant if “you” find it useful. Potential is not a being, but it is still objectively true that if something had a beginning to it’s existence then it had the potential to exist. Otherwise it would never exist despite the existence of any cause because there would be no potential for it. A potential legitimately describes what could possibly be. You cannot say the idea of a possibility is useless just because its not a being, because it’s clear that things are possible. Not only does a beginning require a cause, the effect has to be a possibility.

Thus i am justified in speaking of an actualized potential.


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