A Concrete Exemplification of the Inexorable Internal Logic of the Fall

To my recent post on the internal logic of the Fall, in which I argued that under that logic the Fall was liberation from a cruel delusion that YHWH is anyone special, and so a turn toward hard good solid real truth, in which its advocates, both human and demonic, as basically nice guys, could not but do their best to convince us to follow them in their rebellion against YHWH and his Father El Elyon, our loyal leftist atheist commenter and friend a.morphous had this to say, God bless and keep and save the poor man:

Maybe we differ [about the Fall] because you think it would be better for it not to have happened. I disagree that this is desirable, but I don’t really have an argument, it’s more a matter of esthetics. Sinless and perfect humans would not be very interesting, and would be less than fully human.

He wrote those words in no inimical mood. We were talking together amicably. We were not arguing, but rather only articulating each our different perspectives.

It is worth noting that in that comment a.morphous provided quite a perfect example of the basically charitable motivations of our adversaries, both human and demonic, which in the original post I had noticed. Despite his characteristic snark, a.morphous is a reasonable and fundamentally decent soul, to whom it seems clear that the Fall was to man a great benefit, overall. He thinks then that Satan helps us. He thinks, then – perhaps he has not articulated it to himself in this way just yet – that Satan is man’s great friend and benefactor. He thinks we would all do well to recognize Satan as such. He thinks we would do very well to follow Satan’s lead.

A.morphous is basically a nice guy. So he would like us all to understand Satan, the Fall, and indeed YHWH as he does; not just for his sake, which presumably he has long since quite settled in his own calculus, but for ours. He thinks that if we do, we will be better off. We’ll be more sane, less burdened with childish delusions, better and more rightly fitted to hard reality, and so apter to life’s predicaments, therefore probably healthier and more prosperous – and, not least, more amenable to such as himself, or who think as he does, and therefore more ready to suffer them, and their propagations of the principles of their lives.

So he takes the trouble to comment here, and to respond to my post. He bruits the demonic perspective among us.

QED.

Not that I think a.morphous is himself demonic. I think him rather at most under the sway of notions that serve demonic ends. God save the man. I do not blame him. Anyone can err. Indeed, all of us do err, somehow – God help us all. Rather, only, I fear for him.

Spooky is it then, indeed, to have received so soon such a precise, concrete verification of the main thesis of that post.

I do not mean to pick on a.morphous. I like and respect him. Perhaps he shall have much to say in response to this present essay. Indeed, I hope so; for I hope sooner or later to help convert him, and so to help him win salvation and redemption, and so for myself win thereby his everlasting companionship. I would rather not lose a.morphous. I would, rather, gain him.

I hope he does respond to this of me, for I could then respond to him, in all love – albeit, as sternly as need be, again in all love.

I take a.morphous to be fundamentally charitable toward me. So am I, toward him. As he would win me to his notions of truth, so would I him to mine – the difference between the two notions being simply this: that mine is true in fact, and leads to life; whereas his, followed consistently and thoroughly, leads at the last – and so, when push comes to shove, at the first, for those who see things through to their ends – to despair, and to death.

A principle that tends to death cannot be correct.

I know a.morphous does not see things this way. He sees his own way as leading to life, so far as life goes in a universe where everything eventually dies, and that is that.

The practical difference in our perspectives boils down I think to this: he sees everything as tending in the end inexorably to death, whereas I see everything as tending in the end inexorably to life.

If I am right, then as rejecting the Lord of Life, a.morphous is indeed tending inexorably to death – to death everlasting, suffered horribly forever without possibility of surcease by a living avid spirit. In that case, his vision is for him self-fulfilling, and so impermeable. If he is right, then in all my worries and perplexities about theology and metaphysics – and about the myriad defects of my spiritual and moral life (and indeed of his) – I am simply wasting time and emotional energy, and like him I shall soon end up just dead, insensible, gone.

In which case, it is simply stupid for me to spend time or energy talking about this stuff. Or, what is much more, for him. If a.morphous is right, then all the time he spends worrying and writing about this stuff, and a fortiori all the time he spends worrying and writing about my take on this stuff, for Heaven’s sake, is precious scant time utterly, perfectly wasted.

Odd, then, that atheists spend so much time and energy worrying about theism. Methinks they bewray thereby their own uncertainty – and their fear.

I have placed my wager, and come what may I fear nothing, other than my own feeble steadfastness to my bet. So has a.morphous, apparently. Whether or not he is afeared, is another question. No doubt he will say that he is not.

With Pascal, I’ll take my bet over his.

28 thoughts on “A Concrete Exemplification of the Inexorable Internal Logic of the Fall

  1. Pingback: A Concrete Exemplification of the Inexorable Internal Logic of the Fall | @the_arv

  2. Pingback: A Concrete Exemplification of the Inexorable Internal Logic of the Fall | Reaction Times

  3. I seem to recall a post (by you, I think) under which a.morphous referred to southern and Midwestern states in the US as “shitholes.” If memory serves, his descriptive was based in part on the opioid crisis that apparently afflicts some of these States in a greater way than it does their coastal counterparts. It seems like he talked at some length about poverty in the “shithole” states as well as the related issue of these States receiving more in federal aid than they contribute to the federal coffers. My memory of that discussion might be a little off here or there, and I’m probably leaving something out, but that was his basic premise if memory serves well enough.

    What confuses me, though, is that on the one hand a.morphous argues that the Fall was a good thing, and that therefore we owe “the light bringer” a debt [of gratitude] for teaching humanity the art of Rebellion, which cannot fail to produce the precise kinds of results that he (rightly) speaks so poorly of in the other thread. He demonizes southern and Midwestern states for the reasons cited above in the other thread, then turns around here and says that the very thing which has, by his own admission, created so much chaos in the “shithole” states – Rebellion of one form or another – is the thing without which human beings could not be fully human.

    Speaking of which, whatever the true meaning of O Felix Culpa, one of the central tenets of Catholicism is that Jesus Christ was fully God and fully human. He is, indeed, the second Adam, and all that that implies.

    I think what we have in a.morphous is a very confused individual, a tragically confused individual; someone who, professing himself to be wise, is at the precipice of becoming a fool following a fool’s errand and a fool’s logic. Of course he thinks the same of us, so there ya go.

    • Yeah, one of the basic practical problems of atheism is that it leaves the atheist with no objective ground for moral evaluations – which is to say, with no moral principles he might consistently defend, or to which he might himself try to adhere. But you can’t live five minutes without deploying moral principles. So to get them, the atheist must make a radical unprincipled exception.

  4. I think “would not be fully human” isn’t a serious argument. I think every serious thinker agrees that human history as such is imperfect. The question is, what would be better? Go transhumanist and augment people technologically to immortality and 5000 IQ? Go Marxist and hope that human behavior is programmed by the social environment so if we change the social environment into an utopia, people will change and will stop e.g. murdering each other? Or hope that faith in Jesus will at some point take sin or its effects out of us? Whatever it is, the result would be different from humans in the historical sense, “would not be fully human”, but that shouldn’t be a big problem because fully human humans aren’t that great anyway.

    I mean, I get it, I like having a history that looks more like an action movie than saints singing hymns to God, or Marx, or each other, or whatever heaven or utopia could be. But I like having that action-packed, dirty, violent history because I am imperfect too. Pretty sure a more perfect me would not prefer having an interesting world at the price of a lot of other people suffering and dying. Sure I would pop out the popcorn if there was a major war again in the Middle East. But some higher part of me would feel ashamed about it and rightly so.

    • It simply is that the incredible amount of self-annihilation all about us from opioid addicts to addicted atheists to immigration addiction just must provoke thoughts of a fervent (P)erfection.

    • To be fair to a.morphous, he himself says that he doesn’t really have an argument; that his preference for Fallen man is based only on an aesthetic evaluation that is private to himself.

  5. God damn the evil circumstance that led a.morphous to take this position. And – and – God bless his taking of this position, as proper (as it must have been, necessarily) under the purveyance of Omniscience.

    • Evil is tragic. Because the Good is Ultimate, all tragedy must in the end find final just resolution. The Infinite One necessarily triumphs over all finite disasters. Under the Providence of omnipotent omniscience, each evil necessarily operates to procure somehow his victory.

      But, that all tragedy resolves in ultimate harmony and peace, and is subsumed therein, does not mean that tragedy is not evil. The happy fault is still a fault, and to be regretted. It is still damnable, damned, and damning.

      False beliefs are evil, so damnable.

      Not all false beliefs are equally evil, of course.

      Anyway, yes: God damn the evil that led to the errors of a.morphous, and of me. And God bless the fact that a.morphous and I have erred as we have done – God bless those faults, and make them – as he cannot but do – with all other creatures the material of their eventual joint triumph, and rest. Make our faults happy, mutatis mutandis.

  6. Thanks for the kind words.

    The practical difference in our perspectives boils down I think to this: he sees everything as tending in the end inexorably to death, whereas I see everything as tending in the end inexorably to life.

    I have no idea how you are making this and other inferences about my beliefs, but you are way off.

    f I am right, then as rejecting the Lord of Life, a.morphous is indeed tending inexorably to death – to death everlasting, suffered horribly forever without possibility of surcease by a living avid spirit. In that case, his vision is for him self-fulfilling, and so impermeable. If he is right, then in all my worries and perplexities about theology and metaphysics – and about the myriad defects of my spiritual and moral life (and indeed of his) – I am simply wasting time and emotional energy, and like him I shall soon end up just dead, insensible, gone.

    I am very alive, and am “tending” to stay that way as long as possible. That that won՚t be forever does not bother me very much. I՚m just one person and life and humanity and the universe will continue without me. I don՚t really understand those who crave eternity, to me they seem deluded about their true nature and grasping at harmful illusions.

    Life, in other words, is right here and right now. Eternity is the opposite of life: static, dead, and distant. Not without its austere beauty, but I wouldn՚t want to live there.

    • a.morphous, would you care to explain how craving for eternity is a harmful illusion? Harmful in what way? Furthermore, could you outline your understanding of our true nature?

      By thinking that life is right here and now in our current state of temporality, and nothing more, you are from Kristor’s point of view rejecting the Lord of Life, Who is atemporal. Your vision of life, in contrast to the theological conception, is limited to our corporeal existence, which is finite. As such your vision does tend towards death in this sense.

      • Atmamaya asks:

        a.morphous, would you care to explain how craving for eternity is a harmful illusion? Harmful in what way? Furthermore, could you outline your understanding of our true nature?

        I’m going to outsource my answer to Buddhism (although I am at most a fan, not a follower, of that doctrine). Suffering (dukkha) is caused by inappropriate attachments and cravings, and attachment to eternalism is specifically called out.
        Or in my own words: The world is in constant flux, and it is natural for humans to want to create stability amidst the flux (eg, by ordering one’s household). Amplifying that tendency to metaphysics is wrong and illusory. There is no ultimate stability, and focusing on that probably hampers people’s efforts to create the temporary stabilities that are essential to life.
        I don’t think I’m going to be able to give you my complete understanding of our true nature in a blog comment, sorry.

      • Thanks, a.morphous, that’s a good start. The page you linked to is helpful, too, albeit disconcerting. I would be appalled to learn that Gautama made the same category error as the following paragraph from that page:

        Why did the Buddha deny the teaching of eternalism? Because when we understand the things of this world as they truly are, we cannot find anything which is permanent or which exists forever. Things change and continue to do so according to the changing conditions on which they depend. When we analyse things into their elements or into reality, we cannot find any abiding entity, any everlasting thing. This is why the eternalist view is considered wrong or false.

        It is obvious that all the things that pass away do indeed pass away. It is therefore silly to search among the things that pass away for something that does not. It is even sillier to conclude from the necessary failure of that search that there are no things that do not pass away. That would be like searching for infinity among the numbers, and having failed to find it, concluding that there is no such thing as infinity.

      • Craving in and of itself is the harmful part. I might be not getting it yet again, but isn’t living here and now peering into eternity?

    • Thanks, a.morphous. I’m glad you seem not to have taken offense at my taking you for an object lesson. No offense whatever was intended, that’s for sure. I have a great deal of respect for your intellectual honesty, and indeed for your courage in commenting here.

      I grant of course that in the essay above I engaged in a great deal of inference about your beliefs. As I was writing, I much doubted that you understood your own beliefs as I do. I doubted that you saw in them the same implications that I do. That’s why I said that, “[A.morphous] thinks, then – perhaps he has not articulated it to himself in this way just yet … “

      Your response tells us nothing about how you don’t believe that all things tend inexorably toward death, as I inferred that you do, at least implicitly (whether witly, or not). No clarification on that point is required of you, of course. But it would be interesting to read anything you have to say on that topic.

      Two things strike me in what you do say.

      First, you say:

      I don’t really understand those who crave eternity, to me they seem deluded about their true nature and grasping at harmful illusions.

      This statement formidably buttresses the main thesis of the essay above, and of the essay that gave it rise: namely, that those who have rebelled against the Good construe themselves as having shed “harmful illusions” to which their benighted fellows are still subject, and that, because they understand those illusions to be harmful, they would their fellows might be of them disabused, and so rescued.

      You’re a nice guy. You’d like to see us all wake up from this God nonsense, that is harming us.

      I say again: QED.

      Second, you say:

      Eternity is the opposite of life: static, dead, and distant. Not without its austere beauty, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

      This impression of eternity is quite common, even among devout Christians. It is immaculately bass-ackward. Eternity is indeed austerely beautiful (and richly beautiful). But that does not at all mean it is static, dead, or distant. On the contrary: on eternity, this very life we live right now is an aspect of eternity. Eternity then is life itself, full, rich, crammed with detail and interest. If you think of God as less than Ultimate, you are not thinking of God; likewise, if you think of eternity as static, dead, and distant, you may believe you are thinking of eternity, but really you are not. What you are thinking of, in thinking that way, is death: nonbeing.

      Again, this error about eternity is not at all special to you, or to atheists. Lots of Christians believe it.

      Notwithstanding all that, the notion that Christians believe that they shall inherit eternity is quite wrong. They often talk about immortal life that way, but really that’s very much a loose and poetical way of speaking about it. On theism, only God is eternal. To speak of any other being enjoying its own eternity then is simply a radical category error. They rather can some of them enjoy sempiternity: everlasting life, of just the temporal sort that we now suffer and enjoy, but extended infinitely into the future, and infinitely upward and outward into realms of beauty, knowledge, joy, and adventure that we cannot now at all understand.

      • Radical category error? Is the New Earth going to have time just like the Old Earth?
        And is this inference biblical or is it philosophical?

      • In the Resurrection, we shall be embodied, just as we are now; except that our embodiment shall be perfected. Bodies are material, and extended in space and time. So …

        It’s all right there in the creeds, quite baldly and explicitly. Check it out.

        Think about it: would God make us live sempiternally without beer? Pffft … I mean, that would just be nasty of him. The man whose first miracle was to change water into wine would not do that to us.

        Quite apart from all that, and in metaphysical terms: how do you suppose that a finite creature could approximate to eternity? Think about that for half a second.

      • Quite apart from all that, and in metaphysical terms: how do you suppose that a finite creature could approximate to eternity? — Kristor

        With his desire for objective Supremacy, ie., Perfection.

      • Well, while I see what you are getting at – man is made for the Beatific Vision, and cannot ever find rest until he has in perfecting his approximation to his own proper nature attained at least a piece of it – it behooves us to be careful with terms. The perfection proper to a finite creature such as man is, precisely, to be what his nature calls him to be: which is to say, among other things, a *finite* creature. Man’s nature does not call him to be infinite. It could not; logically could not. For, no finity howsoever great could possibly approximate to infinity.

        Confusion on this score was the source of Brother Gaunilo’s misconstrued objection to Anselm’s Ontological Argument: that because we can always imagine some larger finity than any finity we have already conceived, there is no such thing as that than which no greater can be conceived. This objection is to an argument that Anselm did not make. Anselm answered by restating his argument more carefully. But he could have replied to Gaunilo, simply, that if Gaunilo was thinking of something than which he could think of something greater, he was thinking neither of the thing that Anselm was adducing, than which no greater can possibly be conceived by any mind (even the mind of God), nor of God. In Gaunilo’s case, he was thinking not of God, or of that than which no greater can be conceived, but of islands. I kid you not.

        Gaunilo’s error was innocent and harmless enough, withal. It provided Anselm with an opportunity to hammer hope his point with a devastating riposte, that no one of his day could misconstrue.

        But it is to be noted that the very same misconstruction lies at the root of Lucifer’s error. He thought YHWH was just another seraph, more or less like himself. He thought that he himself could approximate to infinity just as well as YHWH might ever have done. But while both Lucifer and YHWH are seraphim, here’s the crucial difference: Lucifer is finite, whereas YHWH is infinite (for, while Lucifer is only a seraph, YHWH is a seraph who is also the only begotten son of El Elyon, and the Second Person of the Trinity). Lucifer is like googol to the millionth power, whereas YHWH is infinity itself (NB: YHWH is not *like* infinity, he *is* infinity. YHWH appeared to Lucifer as just another seraph because as the Limit of all things, YHWH appears to all other things as quite definite, concrete, impassable – and, to some, therefore, being pervasive, so also unremarkable. We don’t notice that we can’t create galaxies at whim. We notice that we can make up our own minds at whim, and mistake the latter sort of work as coterminous with the former.

        Lucifer thought he had YHWH’s number, and could himself attain to a number higher. He mistook the nature of the game he sought to play. He thought it was a numbers game.

        Again, Gaunilo’s error was innocent, and fairly harmless, and fairly easily corrected. Not so with the error of Lucifer.

        So, yes, we seek perfection. We seek our own perfection as finite creatures, and we seek the apprehension of Perfection himself. But never ought we to think for a moment that we might ourselves usurp the throne of Perfection.

      • So, the Moslem picture of Heaven as a sensual place of enjoyment is not entirely wrong, if New Earth is to be just like the Old Earth with its imperfections removed.

        Is Man, the bearer of Image of God, finite?. You can’t deal with it mathematically. The issue does not admit of simple quantification.

      • Like all Christian heresies, Islam is not entirely wrong. Indeed, much of it is true; it has to be, or it could not work when carried into practice, and (like the Shakers) the Mohammedans would have vanished.

        This is so of insanity generally. The varieties of insanity that are not strictly lethal are – by definition – livable, and so doable. They can last, and spread, and ruin many lives, like parasites that live on their hosts but do not kill them.

        Yes, man is finite. There can be only one concrete Ultimate. So there can be only one concrete Infinite. We are images of the Ultimate, to be sure; that means we are not ourselves ultimate. Man is to the Ultimate as an image in a mirror is to the source of light.

      • And what about the scriptural view that the life in Heaven is inconceivable: eye has not seen etc etc what God has prepared for those who love him?

      • Good question. Of what God has prepared for us, we can say only a few things. Among them, we can say that we shall in heaven be embodied, with all that embodiment entails. Apart from that, we can know but little more. All we can say is that, whatever God has prepared for us, it is of the sort that embodied beings such as we are capable. These things are not necessarily limited to the sorts of things that we now enjoy. Flight, e.g., might then be among our powers. We cannot now say.

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