January 23, 2021

The Council

Proclaiming the truth to the world.

Some very great men that I admire think that Divine conceptualism employs univocal reasoning. Dr. James Anderson and Dr. Greg Welty have responses to such a charge. Mainly in responses to Nate Shannon.

“Nevertheless, one might worry that identifying propositions with divine thoughts breaches the Creator-creation distinction. Do we really want to say that God himself is the propositional content of all our human thoughts? Doesn’t that in some sense bring God “down to our level”? If that’s the concern, I think there’s a relatively straightforward solution to it. We can say that one part of the creation is a diverse realm of mediating truth-bearing entities. These entities (1) exist contingently (since they are part of the creation), (2) are not identical to God or to one another, (3) are a finite, analogical representation of God’s thoughts, and (4) serve as proximate, mediating truth-bearers for human thought and language. Call these entities “propositions” if you wish, so long as you recognize that they can’t be the ultimate bearers of truth, because the latter (as we argue in our paper) must be mental in nature and exist necessarily. As far as I can see, the scenario I’ve just sketched is entirely consistent with Theistic Conceptual Realism.”

God and Propositions: The Saga Continues

“It seems to us, however, that the objection is based on a non-sequitur. To say, for example, that orangutans have legs and fireflies have legs does not imply that orangutans and fireflies have the same kind of legs, still less that there is
only one kind of leg. It implies only that orangutans and fireflies have a particular feature in common, a feature that can be described at a certain level of abstraction.Likewise, to say that humans have thoughts and God has thoughts does not imply that humans have the same kinds of thoughts as God.22 Nor does it imply that there is only one kind of thought. All our argument requires is that the terms in question can be truthfully predicated of God. If Shannon wishes
to argue that in principle no terms “familiar to us in the created realm” can be truthfully predicated of God, he is free to do so—assuming he is willing to
embrace radical apophaticism and its self-referential pitfalls.”


Steve Hays has also dealt with the charge.

“I’m not sure what it’s supposed to mean for God to have nonpropositional knowledge. God can’t have tactic knowledge. He’s fully aware of everything he knows. Likewise, God doesn’t have knowledge via sensory perception. So what’s left if not propositional knowledge? ”