Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New-Old Article By Me:

Some time back (2004 or 05 I think), I submitted this article to Liberty Magazine, no not THAT Liberty Magazine which also published me, but the one affiliated with the Adventists.

Well they finally published it. My name is "Jon" not "John" and I no longer teach at Philadelphia University. But I can't complain because they did publish it and I did get paid. And they gave me complimentary copies. For these things I will forever be grateful.

On the subject of the article, you are just going to have to read it. What's interesting is to see how my views have changed in years since. I agree with the thrust of what I wrote. However, I no longer think the God of the Declaration was as strictly deistic as Walter Berns (whom I cite) asserts. I still believe the DOI's God is not necessarily the God of the Bible. It could be. But the DOI's God is more Providential or theistic than Berns intimates. The DOI's God, I have come to believe, is the God of generic monotheism, the one that, as much as possible, is all things to all people. It could be the Triniarian God, a non-Trinitarian biblical God (if that's not a contradiction in terms) the Jehovah of the Jewish people who inspired the Old but not the New Testament, a Providential Deist God, Allah, the Mormon God, the Native Americans' Great Spirit, etc.

On the other hand this is what I cited from Walter Berns:

"The God invoked there is 'nature's God,' not, or arguably not, the God of the Bible, not the God whom, today, 43 percent of Americans . . . claim regularly to worship on the Sabbath. Nature's God issues no commands. No one can fall from his grace, and, therefore, no one has reason to pray to him asking for his forgiveness. He makes no promises. On the contrary, he endowed us with 'certain inalienable rights,' then left us alone, and with the knowledge, or at least the confidence, that he will never interfere in our affairs. Moreover, he is not a jealous God; he allows us—in fact, he endows us with the right—to worship other gods or even no god at all."

I think the DOI's God could be Berns' God. His description does have the barest degree of Providentialism to it. However, it's not necessarily or arguably this God.

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