Theistic definition of "coincidence."

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Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 8:03 am

In my grief, I once asked myself a lot of questions about coincidences.

And in seeking answers, I asked others what meaning the word "coincidence" could have to a Theist who believes in an all knowing God with absolute foreknowledge.

A very kind, intelligent, and patient Anglican priest took the time to answer those questions, and often cited Thomas Aquinas.

And since I've asked how a Theist could define the word "coincedence" here on this philosophy forum, no one really answered the question then, and there is a reletively simple answer--I think I should share the knowlege I gained from that priest here (for the benefit of any individuals who may have been disturbed by the question.)

A simple definition of the word "coincidence" (that fits perfectly well with Theistic world view) is "extraneous circumstance."

Aquinas basically said that everything is part of God's Providence, but He wills some things "per se" (by or in themselves), and some things "per accidens" (by reason of a non-essential circumstance; contingently; indirectly).

As an example, let's say the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London stopped at 2:30 to warn a member of parlament to take notice of something that would pass his dek at 2:30 the next day.

That really would be a sign to him, and because "2:30" would have particular significance to him, God really would have willed the clock to stop at that particular time (and for him to see it, or hear of it, or read of it) "per se" (in itself.)

But many other people for whom it was not a sign at all, and for whom "2:30" had no intended significance at all, would also see the stoped clock (or hear about it, or read about it), and in relation to them this would be an extraneous circumstances God willed only "per accidens."

That may be a poor example, but it's the only one I can think of now, and I would have appreciated such examples when I was asking my questions here.

(And this is just the kind of question that should be asked and answered on a philosophy forum.)

So in answer to my question: In any suficiently complex universe (even one where God knows all that will happen, and does sometimes choose to communicate to individuals through "signs"--as in the above example) there would have to be numerous extraneous circumstances that had no intended message for numerous individuals, and were willed by God only per accidens (and not pe se.)
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Sat Apr 16, 2016 9:02 am

I got posted twice. So look at the next entry. :D
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Sat Apr 16, 2016 9:02 am

And we might wish to add to it, this question on Quora: Is it an accident or a coincidence that the God of modern theistic conception (e.g., Christianity, Islam) is untouchable by scientific investigation?. And in one of the answers, they do talk about the "straw man" term you bounced around - in another forum thread:

A straw man is a common form of argument and is an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent's argument, while actually refuting an argument which was not advanced by that opponent.[1]

The so-called typical "attacking a straw man" argument creates the illusion of having completely refuted or defeated an opponent's proposition by covertly replacing it with a different proposition (i.e., "stand up a straw man") and then to refute or defeat that false argument ("knock down a straw man") instead of the original proposition.[2][3]

This technique has been used throughout history in polemical debate, particularly in arguments about highly charged emotional issues where a fiery, entertaining "battle" and the defeat of an "enemy" may be more valued than critical thinking or understanding both sides of the issue.


I wonder if the rationalist author Ayn Rand, ever used that term?

The only problem with "smoke and mirrors", is you need to insure there's an initial trick around - to produce the "smoke and mirrors" effect.

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Anyway, I'll leave Is it an accident or a coincidence that the God of modern theistic conception (e.g., Christianity, Islam) is untouchable by scientific investigation?, as an additional question to ponder. Let's see which forum fish, come to take a bite. And I'm out for the afternoon, to visit a sweat lodge. In 2 weeks from now, it will be to visit a mosque open house. :!: :lol:

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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 10:44 am

I believe Daniel Dennet is an atheist, who (by asking this question) is trying to infer something from the fact that we can't understand everything about God and His plan--namely that this somehow proves that there is no God.

Am I wrong?

That is what he's trying to infer, isn't it.

So for a Theist, the answer to his question would be "yes"--if the God of modern Theistic conception is untouchable by scientific methods of investigation, that is a "coincidence" (an "extraneous circumstance".)

It's not something Theists have designedly built into a God of their own making, for their own convenience (and that is what Dennet is suggesting, isn't it?)

But I'm not at all sure it's true to say God is untouchable by modern scientific methods of investigation--I think it's closer to the truth to say many materialists don't want to see any evidence of God.

Down here at this hospital I met a seminary student who use to be a medical doctor, and when I asked him how he went from being a man of science to a man of faith, he said "how could you not?"

And he talked about some of the things he's seen under a microscope, and how the human body is designed, and about how sickness, and death, and dying are a part of a fallen world.

But getting back on topic (and I'm only trying to address issues I raised in my grief that no one else sufficiently addressed here--call it my penance if you like), the point of the OP was that even an all-knowing God (with absolute foreknowledge) wouldn't necessarily will everything that happens in this world "per se."

A broken clock is right twice a day, and even if the time it stoped was meant to have some significance for the first one or two passerbys, it will be seen by others if it's in a heavily travelled public place, and it will be seen having the same time until it's finally fixed or removed from that place.

So even if the time the clock stopped were willed per se for one or more passerbys, it would only be willed per accidens for others.

Again, that may be a poor example, but the point is that in a sufficiently complex universe (even if such a universe were ruled by divine Providence) there would be extraneous circumstances that could be mis-interpreted as meaningful signs, but were really just "coincidental."
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby DaveB » Sat Apr 16, 2016 11:59 am

Michael wrote:But I'm not at all sure it's true to say God is untouchable by modern scientific methods of investigation--I think it's closer to the truth to say many materialists don't want to see any evidence of God.


I appreciated your post, Michael, and especially that sentence.
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 1:11 pm

DaveB wrote:
Michael wrote:But I'm not at all sure it's true to say God is untouchable by modern scientific methods of investigation--I think it's closer to the truth to say many materialists don't want to see any evidence of God.


I appreciated your post, Michael, and especially that sentence.

I appreciate your saying so.
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby St. Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 2:15 pm

I go along with Thomas Aquinas in that God wills everything by directly causing or permitting. He doesn't cause evil and suffering but permits it. Nonetheless He is still in control. As the United States Catholic Catechism states,

"God guides His creation toward it's completion or perfection through what we call His divine providence. This means God is absolutely sovereign over His all He has made....God uses secondary causes, including the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology, as well as the cooperation of our own human intellect and will. - page 56


Because I hold to this I also hold that there are no coincidences. As the Catholic Franciscan Friar, Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel states in his book -

"There Are No Accidents, In all Things Trust God.

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This doesn't mean that I try to figure out what God is doing or get into His business. I simply trust Him and help others by doing mercy and justice.
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 3:52 pm

St. Michael wrote:I go along with Thomas Aquinas in that God wills everything by directly causing or permitting.

If God permits anything to happen (as opposed to directly causing it), He doesn't will everything that happens to happen per se.

And if you're trying to say that He does, you're not going along with Saint Thomas here (and if that's what Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel is saying, he isn't going along with St. Thomas either.)

This is what Saint Thomas said in his Summa Theologica.
And thus God, by causing in things the good of the order of the universe, consequently and as it were by accident, causes the corruptions of things, according to 1 Samuel 2:6: "The Lord killeth and maketh alive." But when we read that "God hath not made death" (Wisdom 1:13), the sense is that God does not will death for its own sake.


This is what a Franciscan Theologian (who pointed to Saint Thomas) said in answer to questions I had (and that were never answered on this forum), and this is what I was trying to say here (however poorly I may have said it.)

Pax Et Bonum.
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby St. Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 4:22 pm

I agree that God doesn't will it but He does permit it. The above Catechism and Franciscan friar agree with Thomas Aquinas. Another one who is an expert on Thomas Aquinas and real theologian says God is in complete control but he permits evil and suffering. These views of providence and predestination were indeed held by Thomas Aquinas and St. John of The Cross (The mystical Doctor of Catholicism). They lay the foundation for contemplation and Christian perfection. For with God in control and my future in His hands I have hope. This leads to union with Christ. You can read more about this in the books, "Predestination", "Providence", and "Christian Perfection and Contemplation" by Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. He was the teacher of Pope John Paul II.
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 4:29 pm

The above Catechism and Franciscan friar agree with Thomas Aquinas.

Than they mustn't really mean that there's no sense in which coincidences occur, or that there's no sense in which anything can be called an accident--because St. Thomas clearly said.
And thus God, by causing in things the good of the order of the universe, consequently and as it were by accident, causes the corruptions of things, according to 1 Samuel 2:6: "The Lord killeth and maketh alive." But when we read that "God hath not made death" (Wisdom 1:13), the sense is that God does not will death for its own sake.

Perhaps you misunderstood the good friar, the Chatechism, or me.
I agree that God doesn't will it but He does permit it.

Again, if there's anything that God "permits," He wills it only per accidens--not per se.

This is Thomistic Theology, have you read the Summa?
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby St. Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 4:33 pm

Yes and it says this:


Certain persons totally denied the existence of providence, as Democritus and the Epicureans, maintaining that the world was made by chance. Others taught that incorruptible things only were subject to providence and corruptible things not in their individual selves, but only according to their species; for in this respect they are incorruptible. They are represented as saying (Job 22:14): "The clouds are His covert; and He doth not consider our things; and He walketh about the poles of heaven." Rabbi Moses, however, excluded men from the generality of things corruptible, on account of the excellence of the intellect which they possess, but in reference to all else that suffers corruption he adhered to the opinion of the others.

We must say, however, that all things are subject to divine providence, not only in general, but even in their own individual selves. This is made evident thus. For since every agent acts for an end, the ordering of effects towards that end extends as far as the causality of the first agent extends. Whence it happens that in the effects of an agent something takes place which has no reference towards the end, because the effect comes from a cause other than, and outside the intention of the agent. But the causality of God, Who is the first agent, extends to all being, not only as to constituent principles of species, but also as to the individualizing principles; not only of things incorruptible, but also of things corruptible. Hence all things that exist in whatsoever manner are necessarily directed by God towards some end; as the Apostle says: "Those things that are of God are well ordered [Vulg.'Those powers that are, are ordained of God': 'Quae autem sunt, a Deo ordinatae sunt.' St. Thomas often quotes this passage, and invariably reads: 'Quae a Deo sunt, ordinata sunt.']" (Romans 13:1). Since, therefore, as the providence of God is nothing less than the type of the order of things towards an end, as we have said; it necessarily follows that all things, inasmuch as they participate in existence, must likewise be subject to divine providence. It has also been shown (14, 6, 11) that God knows all things, both universal and particular. And since His knowledge may be compared to the things themselves, as the knowledge of art to the objects of art, all things must of necessity come under His ordering; as all things wrought by art are subject to the ordering of that art.


http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1022.htm
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 4:42 pm

We must say, however, that all things are subject to divine providence, not only in general, but even in their own individual selves.

Death and corruption are things under God's Providence, but not things He directly causes (or wills per se.)

That's why St. Thomas could say.
And thus God, by causing in things the good of the order of the universe, consequently and as it were by accident, causes the corruptions of things, according to 1 Samuel 2:6: "The Lord killeth and maketh alive." But when we read that "God hath not made death" (Wisdom 1:13), the sense is that God does not will death for its own sake.

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1049.htm

Saying all things are under God's Providence is not the same as saying there are no accidents or coincidences, and you're overlooking the distinction Saint Aquinas made between things that God wills per se, and things He wills per accidens.


And that's a very important distinction for those suffering from greif in time of loss.

And if you, or your friar, or your Chatechism are saying there is no distinction, you are not following St. Thomas.
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby St. Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 4:51 pm

I agree that God doesn't will evil and suffering in the sense you say. I agree with Thomas Aquinas that so called accidents are under God's providence even though He doesn't directly cause them. He permits them. Knowing that God is in control brings hope to a person. If He brings you to it He'll bring you through it. Just ask the Franciscan Friar above who was in a car accident who says there are no accidents. God works everything according to the counsel of His will. Without God being in control and holding one's future in His hands we are without hope. Your view brings despair to the lives of people. God is in control and will bring good out of evil and suffering. What hope I have being under the wings of my Mother Hen. You're misunderstanding and not reading Aquinas correctly. Catholics hold to both sides of the paradox of predestination and free will. In the Catholic Handbook of Apologetics by Philosophers Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli it states:

Predestination and Free Will: Paradox

The difference between Protestants and Catholics on this issue is not that one believes in predestination while the other believes in free will. That is the difference between Calvinists and Armenians. The difference is that Catholics believe in mystery and paradox and therefore embrace both halves of this paradox.


However, as Thomas Aquinas states God doesn't directly cause evil and suffering but PERMITS it.
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 5:33 pm

St. Michael wrote:I agree that God doesn't will evil and suffering in the sense you say.

Then why are you arguing?
St. Michael wrote:I agree with Thomas Aquinas that so called accidents are under God's providence even though He doesn't directly cause them. He permits them.

Then you agree that there are things He doesn't will per se, but only per accidens--and that there are such things as "coincidences" (or, if you prefer, extreneous circumstances.)

That's all I said in the OP, and it's perfectly in line with Saint Thomas, so I fail to see what you're arguing about here.
St. Michael wrote:Knowing that God is in control brings hope to a person. If He brings you to it He'll bring you through it. Just ask the Franciscan Friar above who was in a car accident who says there are no accidents. God works everything according to the counsel of His will. Without God being in control and holding one's future in His hands we are without hope.

I never said God wasn't ultimately in control, or that He didn't have beneficent purposes.

St. Michael wrote:Your view brings despair to the lives of people.

On the contrary, the view that God directly causes everything that happens in this world, and that He wills all the evil that happens per se would bring despair into the lives of people--and if that's not what you're arguing, I fail to see why you've come here arguing.

All I said is that "extraneous circumstance" would be one definition of the word "coincidence" that could have meaning to a Theist, since there are Theists (like Thomas Aquinas) who believe that God permits things He doesn't will per se, and clearly believe extraneous circumstances exist in this world.

Why do you feel compelled to come here and attack me for that?

St. Michael wrote:You're misunderstanding and not reading Aquinas correctly.

No, you're either misunderstanding me, or deliberatly trying to misrepresent what I'm saying.

St. Michael wrote:However, as Thomas Aquinas states God doesn't directly cause evil and suffering but PERMITS it.

Yes, Saint Thomas did say that--and that's all I'm saying.

So what was your point again?
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby St. Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 5:38 pm

I'm not attacking you. I'm saying you're wrong about Aquinas and the fact that God's control and providence gives hope to people. You started the arguing. I see no coincidences. Just like the Friar above I have hope in my despair and have had hope in my despair knowing God is in control and everything happens for a reason. My God brings beauty out of ashes. But I'll leave it at that. :D
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 5:54 pm

St. Michael wrote:I'm not attacking you. I'm saying you're wrong about Aquinas

I've been saying (like Saint Thomas said) that there are things that God wills per se, and things that He wills per accidens--and that for a Theist (who believes in Providence) a "coincidence" could be defined as an extraneous circumstance that arises out of something God wills per se.

In other words, a "coincidence" could be defined as something God only wills per accidens (and "per se," and "per accidens" are terms used by Saint Thomas BTW.)

Where exactly am I wrong about Saint Thomas?

It was Saint Thomas who said
And thus God, by causing in things the good of the order of the universe, consequently and as it were by accident, causes the corruptions of things, according to 1 Samuel 2:6: "The Lord killeth and maketh alive." But when we read that "God hath not made death" (Wisdom 1:13), the sense is that God does not will death for its own sake.

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1049.htm

Doesn't that sound like he'd agree with me?

St. Michael wrote:You started the arguing.

I don't believe I did.

St. Michael wrote:I see no coincidences.

But I thought you agreed with Aquinas, that there are things that God permits (but doesn't will per se)?

If so how can you fail to see coincidences (in the sense I've suggested the word be used)?

Or accidents (in the sense Saint Thomas himself used the word)?

And thus God, by causing in things the good of the order of the universe, consequently and as it were by accident, causes the corruptions of things, according to 1 Samuel 2:6: "The Lord killeth and maketh alive." But when we read that "God hath not made death" (Wisdom 1:13), the sense is that God does not will death for its own sake.

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1049.htm

All I said was that such things could be called coincidences.

Why does that make you angrey?

What are you arguing about?
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby St. Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 6:16 pm

Michael,

If you read Aquinas you will see that he believes in God's total sovereignty. Unlike Calvin though he believed God permits evil and suffering. There are no coincidences or accidents in God's world. Per accidens as used by Aquinas means in accidental or nonessential character. The difference between essential and accidental properties has been characterized differently in different ways.

And thus God, by causing in things the good of the order of the universe, consequently and as it were by accident, causes the corruptions of things, according to 1 Samuel 2:6: "The Lord killeth and maketh alive." But when we read that "God hath not made death" (Wisdom 1:13), the sense is that God does not will death for its own sake.


God causing corruption is an accidental property. An accident is a property which has no necessary connection to the essence of the thing being described
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby St. Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 6:29 pm

All this is saying is God doesn't cause the corruption of things. He permits it. It's "accidental". An "accidental" property. An accident is a property which has no necessary connection to the essence of the thing being described
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby LLC » Sat Apr 16, 2016 6:42 pm

I am one that does not believe in foreknowledge and predestination in the sense that the future has already happened and God sees this. I would say that the future is generally known by looking at the past and present. I also believe in just plain old coincidence.To use Michael's example of the stopped clock, I don't think that God was stopping the clock for one individual or for a select group of people that may have also had something to do at 2:30. What about all the people who didn't get a reminder and happened to miss their ten o'clock appointments? Coincidence pretty much boils down to probability and chance.
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 6:43 pm

St. Michael wrote:Michael,

If you read Aquinas you will see that he believes in God's total sovereignty. Unlike Calvin though he believed God permits evil and suffering. There are no coincidences or accidents in God's world. Per accidens as used by Aquinas means in accidental or nonessential character. The distinction between essential versus accidental properties has been characterized in various ways.

And thus God, by causing in things the good of the order of the universe, consequently and as it were by accident, causes the corruptions of things, according to 1 Samuel 2:6: "The Lord killeth and maketh alive." But when we read that "God hath not made death" (Wisdom 1:13), the sense is that God does not will death for its own sake.


The corruption of things is an accidental property.

Please define what you mean here by "total sovereigny"?

If all you mean is that God is ultimately in control, you and I and Aquinas can agree on that.

But at times you seem to be saying that God wills everything per se, and that nothing could be considered only indirectly related to his purpose.

If that were the case, nothing would be willed per accidens, and the devil would only exist because God wants a devil.

Evil would only exist because God wills it per se.

That way of thinking would truly bring despair into people's lives.

Now let's take another look at what St. Thomas said regarding corruption and death.

"And thus God, by causing in things the good of the order of the universe (which He wills per se), consequently and as it were by accident, causes the corruptions of things (the corruption of things isn't a property of the good order of the universe God wills per se, but God causes it accidentally by willing that order--and it's not a property of that order because it's not something God wills per se, but only per accidens), according to 1 Samuel 2:6: "The Lord killeth and maketh alive." But when we read that "God hath not made death" (Wisdom 1:13), the sense is that God does not will death for its own sake (He doesn't will death for it's own sake--He doesn't will it per se, but only per accidens).

I still don't know why you're arguing with me, but I know I'm not misreading Aquinas here.

Where exactly is your disagreement with me and the good Saint?
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby St. Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 6:49 pm

Accident is referring to a property. Not a coincidence. It's an accidental property that God causes the corruption of things. An accident is a property which has no necessary connection to the essence of the thing being described. In other words God PERMITS corruption, evil, and suffering. It has nothing to do with it being a coincidence. There are accidental properties and essential properties. It's how they describe transubstantiation. The elements change into the substance of blood and body without the ACCIDENTS of body and blood. The ACCIDENTS of bread and wine without the substance of bread and wine.
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 7:06 pm

St. Michael wrote:Accident is referring to a property. Not a coincidence. It's an accidental property that God causes the corruption of things. An accident is a property which has no necessary connection to the essence of the thing being described. In other words God PERMITS corruption, evil, and suffering. It has nothing to do with it being a coincidence. There are accidental properties and essential properties.

Depends on what you mean by "coincidence," and you're arguing for the sake of arguing (arguing per se.)

Let me ask you something.

If you believe (as Aquinas did) that angels fell from heaven, do you believe God willed that per se?

Or do you believe it was an accident arising out of things he did will per se (a created order, creatures with free will capable of making morally signicant choices, etc.)?

If God PERMITS corruption, evil, and suffering (as you keep saying) He doesn't will them per se.

They are accidental, coincidental, or extraneous circumstances arizing out of what He does will per se.

That's what Aquinas was saying, that's what I'm saying, and that's what you're (for some reason) arguing against.
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby St. Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 7:08 pm

There are properties of things. Some are called ACCIDENTAL and some ESSENTIAL. It has nothing to do with being a coincidence. It's how they describe transubstantiation. The elements change into the substance of blood and body without the ACCIDENTS of body and blood. The ACCIDENTS of bread and wine without the substance of bread and wine. You are confusing accidental properties with a coincidence.
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 7:22 pm

St. Michael wrote:There are properties of things. Some are called ACCIDENTAL and some ESSENTIAL. It has nothing to do with being a coincidence. It's how they describe transubstantiation. The elements change into the substance of blood and body without the ACCIDENTS of body and blood. The ACCIDENTS of bread and wine without the substance of bread and wine.

Except that in the passage I quoted, Aquinas says that God caused the corruption of things "consequently and as it were by accident.

What he said was that in creating the good order of the universe, God created corruption "by accident," not that corruption is an accidental property of creation.

Read it again.
And thus God, by causing in things the good of the order of the universe, consequently and as it were by accident, causes the corruptions of things, according to 1 Samuel 2:6: "The Lord killeth and maketh alive." But when we read that "God hath not made death" (Wisdom 1:13), the sense is that God does not will death for its own sake.

God caused it by accident, because it was not something He willed per se.

Now when we're talking about God, there are no unforseen accidents, because He foresees all--but that's not the issue here.

You aparently dislike the word "coincidence" and want to argue about it.

All I'm saying is that that word can have meaning when used by a Theist, if what they mean by that word is something that God didn't will per se.

In other words, something He forsaw and allowed only per accidens.

An extraneous circumstances arising out of the good order of the universe, as Aquinas might put it.
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby St. Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 7:26 pm

Aquinas is saying that God causing the corruption of things is an accidental property. An accident is a property which has no necessary connection to the essence of the thing being described. In other words God PERMITS corruption, evil, and suffering.
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 7:33 pm

St. Michael wrote:Aquinas is saying that God causing the corruption of things is an accidental property. An accident is a property which has no necessary connection to the essence of the thing being described. In other words God PERMITS corruption, evil, and suffering.

What he said was that in creating the good order of the universe, God created corruptions "by accident," not that corruptions are accidental properties of creation (though that would follow, that too is true, and he may well have said that at another time.)

But I still fail to see what you're arguing about here.

If some things are only side effects of what God really wills, and He only permits them, why can they not be considered extraneous circumstances, coincidences, or accidents?
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby St. Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 7:40 pm

Because that's not what Thomas Aquinas or the Catechism teaches. God directs all things. There are no coincidences or accidents. God guides us through our suffering bringing hope and comfort. He's in control guiding His creation:

"God guides His creation toward it's completion or perfection through what we call His divine providence. This means God is absolutely sovereign over His all He has made....God uses secondary causes, including the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology, as well as the cooperation of our own human intellect and will. - Catholic United States Catechism For Adults. page 56


If God is not the holy sovereign then there's no reason to trust Him. We lose hope. For with God in control and my future in His hands I have hope.

God causing corruption by accident - this is the accidental property. In other words God permits corruption. Not directly causes it. Remember, An accident is a property which has no necessary connection to the essence of the thing being described.
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 9:43 pm

St. Michael wrote:Because that's not what Thomas Aquinas or the Catechism teaches.

Actually, it is what Aquinas teaches.

Here is a direct quote.
That which has a per se cause is intended by its cause, for what happens outside the agent’s intention is not a per se effect but an accidental effect, for example the digging of a grave is accidentally the cause of finding a treasure when this happens outside the intention of the gravedigger.

(De malo, Ia 1.3).

Now take another look at what he said in the passage I quoted earlier, and perhaps you'll understand it
And thus God, by causing in things the good of the order of the universe, consequently and as it were by accident, causes the corruptions of things, according to 1 Samuel 2:6: "The Lord killeth and maketh alive." But when we read that "God hath not made death" (Wisdom 1:13), the sense is that God does not will death for its own sake.

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1049.htm

In this case the agent is God, and what Aquinas is saying is that the corruption of things is an accidental effect of God's creating "the good of the order of the universe."

The good order of the Universe was intended by God (willed per se), the corruption of things was outside His intention (willed per accidens.)

So Aquinas is saying there are as extraneous circumstances God wills only per accidens, and that arise out of things He wills per se--in other words there are things that could be considered coincidences acording to the definition I suggested in the OP.
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby St. Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 9:57 pm

That which has a per se cause is intended by its cause, for what happens outside the agent’s intention is not a per se effect but an accidental effect, for example the digging of a grave is accidentally the cause of finding a treasure when this happens outside the intention of the gravedigger
.

I agree that it's an accidental effect. But not a coincidence. It is accidental in the sense that it isn't a direct cause. Just like God isn't the direct cause of corruption. This doesn't mean it's chance or coincidence though. Aquinas Explains this:

There is a difference between universal and particular causes. A thing can escape the order of a particular cause; but not the order of a universal cause. For nothing escapes the order of a particular cause, except through the intervention and hindrance of some other particular cause; as, for instance, wood may be prevented from burning, by the action of water. Since then, all particular causes are included under the universal cause, it could not be that any effect should take place outside the range of that universal cause. So far then as an effect escapes the order of a particular cause, it is said to be casual or fortuitous in respect to that cause; but if we regard the universal cause, outside whose range no effect can happen, it is said to be foreseen. Thus, for instance, the meeting of two servants, although to them it appears a chance circumstance, has been fully foreseen by their master, who has purposely sent to meet at the one place, in such a way that the one knows not about the other.


This is a chance happening from a human perspective. Not coincidence at all from God's perspective. But it is accidental in the sense that God doesn't directly cause it. Moreover, it's unchangeable and certain and happens infallibly.

The effect of divine providence is not only that things should happen somehow; but that they should happen either by necessity or by contingency. Therefore whatsoever divine providence ordains to happen infallibly and of necessity happens infallibly and of necessity; and that happens from contingency, which the plan of divine providence conceives to happen from contingency.

The order of divine providence is unchangeable and certain, so far as all things foreseen happen as they have been foreseen, whether from necessity or from contingency.


No coincidence from God's perspective. Again there are accidental properties and essential properties. Corruption doesn't arrive from God's direct causation but accidentally in Him permitting it. Nothing about accident in the sense of coincidence.

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1022.htm
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 10:44 pm

St. Michael wrote:No coincidence from God's perspective.

That would depend entirely on what you mean by "coincidence."

St. Michael wrote:Corruption doesn't arrive from God's direct causation but accidentally in Him permitting it.

So in the only sense relevant here--the only sense in which I suggested the word "coincidence" could have any meaning to a Theist--corruption is a "coincidence"!

Even from God's perspective.

It's something that He doesn't will in and of itself (per se), but only permits per accidens.

That makes it a "coincidennce" by the definition I suggested in the OP.

Michael wrote:A simple definition of the word "coincidence" (that fits perfectly well with Theistic world view) is "extraneous circumstance."

Extraneous means "not belonging or proper to a thing; external; foreign," and if God doesn't will something per se, it's somewhat extraneous to His purpose (the thing that He does will per se.)

Again, what are you arguing about?

I never suggested that God didn't forsee all events, or that they could happen any differently than they happen--all I said was that He doesn't will everything that happens per se, and Saint Thomas Aquinas agrees with me (and you even say you agree with me.)

So why are you arguing here?
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby St. Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 11:02 pm

corruption is a "coincidence," even from God's perspective--it's something that He doesn't will in and of itself (per se), but only permits per accidens.


Yes it's not directly caused by God or "willed" in the sense of direct causation but it is permitted and therefore not a coincidence. As Aquinas says:

There is a difference between universal and particular causes. A thing can escape the order of a particular cause; but not the order of a universal cause. For nothing escapes the order of a particular cause, except through the intervention and hindrance of some other particular cause; as, for instance, wood may be prevented from burning, by the action of water. Since then, all particular causes are included under the universal cause, it could not be that any effect should take place outside the range of that universal cause. So far then as an effect escapes the order of a particular cause, it is said to be casual or fortuitous in respect to that cause; but if we regard the universal cause, outside whose range no effect can happen, it is said to be foreseen. Thus, for instance, the meeting of two servants, although to them it appears a chance circumstance, has been fully foreseen by their master, who has purposely sent to meet at the one place, in such a way that the one knows not about the other.


Yes God permits corruption and it doesn't happens by His direct causation. But as the Catholic Catechism states He directs and governs all His creation. Not just part of it:

"God guides His creation toward it's completion or perfection through what we call His divine providence. This means God is absolutely sovereign over His all He has made....God uses secondary causes, including the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology, as well as the cooperation of our own human intellect and will. - Catholic United States Catechism For Adults. page 56
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 11:19 pm

St. Michael wrote:Yes it's not directly caused by God or "willed" in the sense of direct causation but it is permitted and therefore not a coincidence.

It is a "coincidence" by the only definition that counts here on this thread, the definition suggested in the OP.
Michael wrote:A simple definition of the word "coincidence" (that fits perfectly well with Theistic world view) is "extraneous circumstance."

A circumstance is something that happens, and extraneous means "not belonging or proper to a thing; external; foreign."

An extraneous circumstance would therefore be something that God permits to happen, even though it's extraneous to what He directly wills in and of itself.

St. Michael wrote:As Aquinas says:

There is a difference between universal and particular causes. A thing can escape the order of a particular cause; but not the order of a universal cause. For nothing escapes the order of a particular cause, except through the intervention and hindrance of some other particular cause; as, for instance, wood may be prevented from burning, by the action of water. Since then, all particular causes are included under the universal cause, it could not be that any effect should take place outside the range of that universal cause. So far then as an effect escapes the order of a particular cause, it is said to be casual or fortuitous in respect to that cause; but if we regard the universal cause, outside whose range no effect can happen, it is said to be foreseen. Thus, for instance, the meeting of two servants, although to them it appears a chance circumstance, has been fully foreseen by their master, who has purposely sent to meet at the one place, in such a way that the one knows not about the other.

Nobody but LLC is disagreeing with what Aquinas said about God being in control here, except maybe in your mind.

And the fact that Aquinas used an example of two human agents in one quote does not change the fact that he clearly had God in mind as an agent when he said
And thus God, by causing in things the good of the order of the universe, consequently and as it were by accident, causes the corruptions of things, according to 1 Samuel 2:6: "The Lord killeth and maketh alive." But when we read that "God hath not made death" (Wisdom 1:13), the sense is that God does not will death for its own sake.

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1049.htm

God is the agent here, and by causing "in things the good of the order of creation" Aquinas says He causes corruptions "consequently and as it were by accident."

So the good saint does recognize that "coincidences" (in the sense I mean here) do exist, even from God's perspective.
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby St. Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 11:29 pm

Yes. For something to be accidental or have an accidental property it is to have a property which has no necessary connection to the essence of the thing being described. Corruption arises indirectly from the Lord permitting it not directly causing it. Even in rolling dice:

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD. - Proverbs 16:33


The good saint disagrees with you. There are no chance happenings in God's mind.
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 11:45 pm

St. Michael wrote:Yes. For something to be accidental or have an accidental property it is to have a property which has no necessary connection to the essence of the thing being described. Corruption arises indirectly from the Lord permitting it not directly causing it. Even in rolling dice:

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD. - Proverbs 16:33


The good saint disagrees with you. There are no chance happenings in God's mind.

What do you mean by "in God's mind"?

If you mean outside of His knowledge, foresight, and control, of course there are no chance happenings in that sense.

But if you mean outside of His perfect will and intentions, you not only disagree with the good doctor, you disagree with yourself here.

You've already said that there are things that arise "indirectly from the Lord permitting" and "not directly causing" them.

That means they don't have a per se cause intended by their Cause (i.e. God), but happen outside the agent’s intention (God's perfect will, that which He intends per se), and are not a per se effects but accidental effects.

They are "coincidences" by the definition suggested on this thread.

You either jumped in here without really reading the OP, or you didn't understand what I was saying (there, or in my reply to your initial post.)

Please try to think a little more clearly.

Thank you.
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby Michael » Sun Apr 17, 2016 8:09 am

"St. Michael":

Please let me ask you a question here.

If you really believe the word "coincidence" has no possible meaning for a Theist--i.e. that there's no sense in which anything can be called a "coincidence," what meaning or purpose do you see in this?

Historicist interpreters, including Martin Luther, John Calvin and John Knox used the phrase "Whore of Babylon" to refer to the Roman Catholic Church.

http://brandplucked.webs.com/whoreofbabyloncatholic.htm

This appears to be a "King James only" web site, I've never visited it before, and I am in no way endorsing it (or the idea that the Roman Catholic Church is "the whore of Babylon.")

But if you believe everything is directly willed by God for some specific purpose of it's own (as you seem to be saying on this thread sometimes), wouldn't that imply that God meant Luther, and Calvin, and Knox (and some early Franciscans, and the Seventh Day Advantists) to take Revelation 17:9 ("The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits") to point to the institutional Church headquartered at Rome?

I believe St. Aquinas answered questions like this when he said "Not all things, however, that occur through divine providence are ordered so as to be signs of the future," but how would you answer it?

If you believe that not everything foreseen and permitted by God is willed "per se," it's easy to see that all things that occur through divine providence (that God foresees and wills, either per se or per accidens) aren't so ordered so as to be signs of the future, but if you believe there simply isn't anything in all creation that could in any sense be considered a "coincedence" (in any sense of the word, as you seem to be arguing here), why would Luther, and Calvin, and Knox be given a pasage in Holy writ that clearly said the enemy of the Church would be centered in a city (like Rome) that was built on seven hills, at a time when the Catholic Church admits it was lagely currupt?

What divine purpose could Providence have in these circumstances, if they are not extraneous circumstances God didn't really will of themselves (to send Luther, and Calvin, and the others any kind of message)?
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby St. Michael » Sun Apr 17, 2016 8:26 am

An "accidental cause" as Aquinas is referring to isn't something that happens fortuitously or by chance. I've already showed you the quote above where he says that from God's perspective there are no chance happenings in His providence. When a cow crops the grass he does so to nourish his life. The accidental cause is that the grass is destroyed. Likewise God sustains human life by keeping it in existence but allows man to sin of his own will. Hence, God causes evil by accidental cause. An accidental cause for Aquinas is a concurrent cause not a chance cause. While all chance occurrences are due to concurrence, these examples show that the accidents coinciding with per se causes cannot be called chance occurrences since they are not contrary to expectation. I don't know God's reasons for permitting evil until He reveals those reasons. Logical explanations are infinite in number. Very much more so when dealing with a being who is infinite in wisdom and knowledge. I don't try to get into God's business. I trust Him and try to help others by doing mercy and justice.
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby Eaglesway » Sun Apr 17, 2016 11:08 am

I look at the will of God as spheres within spheres. From the core, he "causes all things to work according to the counsel of His will", because He is "gathering all things together into one in Christ" until God becomes "all in all".

On the outer rim of the outer sphere we live.

From the center sphere(logos) everything flows out and then returns "for from Him and through Him and to Him are all things"

In the beginning God scattered creation, subjecting it to futility(Gen 1, Rom 8) so that He could re-gather it into the renewed creation, the "all in all" "for from Him and to Him and through Him are all things" as educated, enlightened children in the "glorious liberty" of family in God, the "Father of spirits"..."from whom every family in heaven and earth derives its name"

32 For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.

33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 34 For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? 35 Or who has first given to Him [m]that it might be paid back to him again? 36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.


The OT saints "longed to look" into what we see now. That which flows out from the core returns through time and through revelation, swallowing up that which exists on the outer egde until all that is returns to the center, "that the whole creation might be set free into the glorious liberty of the children of God". Kind of new age sounding but I think it is scriptural.

The further from the core we are the less we see. There are too many veils.No amount of revelation in this life will penetrate the deepest levels of the mind of God.

Does God set the processes so that "all things work according to the counsel of His will"(macro) or does He control and foreordain every little event in order to accomplish His goals(micro)?

Probably a bit of both but no one can see clearly into His processes, "Who has known the mind of the Lord and who has been His counselor"- other than to declare that He causes "all things to work according to the counsel of His will".

For those who have come further in, by believing, "All those who He has foreknown He has predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son"(Ro 8) and for them "all things work together for good".

So both time and the the penetration of the "heavens"(spheres) by revelation- "knowing Him by whom we are known" contribute to the Romans 11:32-36 paradigm. Combined with Rom 8 19-23 and Eph 1:9-12 and Col 1:15-20 the major theme of the process is made absolutely clear, to me anyway.

Thats the why. But how?

Because God is controlling every choice we make and event that occurs as a result? Or because if we disobey the processes that flow out and then return to God will cause fiery trials to teach us His way and turn us back toward Him. Again, probably some integration of the two, because YHWH is a Father and a Shepherd, but (imo)He is not a Taskmaster(controller).

He is bringing all creation into the "glorious freedom" of the children of God. So on the outermost skin where we live at the edge of the "wheels within wheels" there is a lot of coincidence. The further we move and are moved in towards the center, the less coincidence appears- but rather the strong currents of the primary themes of the will and desire of the I AM. Repentance. Redemption. Reconciliation. Transformation. Restoration. Harmony. Union and Communion.

Out here God is teaching the whole creation through futility...

For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.

and He has been from the beginning...

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools...

Some never get beyond the questions that keep them stuck on the outer rim of the "true knowledge of God" because the "yins" vs the "yangs" keeps the snake chasing his tail until his mouth embraces his head in one last loving swallow :)

On to the next sphere for you. :lol:
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:06 pm

Eaglesway wrote:On to the next sphere for you. :lol:


Like these? At least these spheres taste good when finished.:lol:



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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby Michael » Thu Apr 21, 2016 7:45 am

St. Michael wrote:An "accidental cause" as Aquinas is referring to isn't something that happens fortuitously or by chance. I've already showed you the quote above where he says that from God's perspective there are no chance happenings in His providence. When a cow crops the grass he does so to nourish his life. The accidental cause is that the grass is destroyed. Likewise God sustains human life by keeping it in existence but allows man to sin of his own will. Hence, God causes evil by accidental cause. An accidental cause for Aquinas is a concurrent cause not a chance cause. While all chance occurrences are due to concurrence, these examples show that the accidents coinciding with per se causes cannot be called chance occurrences since they are not contrary to expectation. I don't know God's reasons for permitting evil until He reveals those reasons. Logical explanations are infinite in number. Very much more so when dealing with a being who is infinite in wisdom and knowledge. I don't try to get into God's business. I trust Him and try to help others by doing mercy and justice.

So, given what you say here, a meanigful definition of the word "coincidence" (for a Theist--like you, me, or Aquinas) might be "a concurrent circumstance," or (more precisely) something that God wills only per accidens (like sin or death), and that is related to something He wills pe se (like creaturely free will) only by concurrrence.

Very good.

But how is that different from what I was saying in the OP, and in every reply to you here?

How are circumstances related to one another only be having concurrent causes (in the way you suggest) not extraneous circumstances?

And how is recognizing them as such not useful.

Why do you continually seem to suggest that the word "coincidence" can have no meaningful definition for a Theist?

Are you suggesting that there's no meaningful sense in which things such as these could be considered "coincidences"?
The earliest known instance of the phrase Vicarius Filii Dei is in the Donation of Constantine, now dated between the eighth and the ninth centuries AD.

It et cuncto populo Romanae gloriae imperij subiacenti, ut sicut in terris vicarius filii Dei esse videtur constitutus etiam et pontifices, ...[2][3]

The Catholic Encyclopedia states that "many of the recent critical students of the document, [i.e. Donation of Constantine] locate its composition at Rome and attribute the forgery to an ecclesiastic, their chief argument being an intrinsic one: this false document was composed in favour of the popes and of the Roman Church, therefore Rome itself must have had the chief interest in a forgery executed for a purpose so clearly expressed".[4]

However, it goes on to state, "Grauert, for whom the forger is a Frankish subject, shares the view of Hergenröther, i.e. the forger had in mind a defence of the new Western Empire from the attacks of the Byzantines. Therefore it was highly important for him to establish the legitimacy of the newly founded empire, and this purpose was especially aided by all that the document alleges concerning the elevation of the pope.[5]

Gratian excluded it from his "Decretum". Later it was added as "Palea". It was also included in some collections of Greek canons. As a forgery it currently carries no dogmatic or canonical authority, although it was previously used as such for hundreds of years in the past.[5]

The title "Vicarius Filii Dei" appeared again in Our Sunday Visitor, a Catholic journal. An article in the April 18, 1915, issue of Our Sunday Visitor had the following question and answer:

What are the letters on the Pope’s crown, and what do they signify, if anything?
The letters on the Pope's crown are these: Vicarius Filii Dei, which is a Latin for 'Vicar of the Son of God.'[6]

This has been used by some groups as evidence for the claim that the phrase appears on the papal tiara (see below). However, the writer of the article later withdrew his statements. A rebuttal was mentioned in a 1922 edition of the journal:

The Pope claims to be the vicar of the Son of God, while the Latin words for this designation are not inscribed, as anti-Catholics maintain, on the Pope's tiara.[7]

Protestant view[edit]
Some individual Protestants of varying denominations view the Pope as the Antichrist, or like one. Once a common belief among Protestants and is still part of the confession of faith of some Protestant churches, such as those within Confessional Lutheranism.[8] Some groups like Seventh-day Adventist controversially identify the Roman Papacy with the "number of the beast" (666) from the book of Revelation, and believe that the phrase Vicarius Filii Dei, reduced to its Roman numerals, sums up to 666, where "U" is taken as "V" (two forms of "V" developed in Latin, which were both used for its ancestor "U" and modern "V"). To produce 666, the sum works as follows: VICARIVS FILII DEI = 5+1+100+1+5+1+50+1+1+500+1 = 666.

The earliest extant record of a Protestant writer on this subject and addressing the phrase Vicarius Filii Dei is Andreas Helwig in 1612.[9] In his work Antichristus Romanus he took 15 titles in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin and computed their numerical equivalents in those languages, arriving at the number 666 mentioned in the Book of Revelation. Out of all these titles, he preferred to single out Vicarius Filii Dei, used in the Donation of Constantine, for the reason that it met "all the conditions [that] [Cardinal] Bellarmine had thus far demanded." Besides being in Latin, the title was "not offensive or vile", but rather was "honorable to this very one."

Helwig suggested that the supposed title was an expansion of the historical title Vicarius Christi, rather than an official title used by the Popes themselves. His interpretation did not become common until about the time of the French Revolution.[10]

Some later Protestant figures claimed that Vicarius Filii Dei was an official title of the Pope, with some saying that this title appeared on the papal tiara and/or a mitre.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vicarius_Filii_Dei

Elizabeth learned that Philip II, her former brother-in-law and onetime suitor, was preparing to send an enormous fleet against her island realm. It was to sail to the Netherlands, where a Spanish army would be waiting to embark and invade England. Barring its way was England's small fleet of welrarmed and highly maneuverable fighting vessels, backed up by ships from the merchant navy. The Invincible Armada reached English waters in July 1588, only to be routed in one of the most famous and decisive naval battles in European history. Then, in what many viewed as an act of God on behalf of Protestant England, the Spanish fleet was dispersed and all but destroyed by violent storms.

http://www.hu.mtu.edu/~rlstrick/rsvtxt/green

Do you see no meaningful sense in which these things could be considered "coincidences"?

If you are suggesting that, the apologists at "New Advant" (a valuable Roman Catholic resourse you yourself have quoted here) disdagree with you.

They themselves use the word (in responding to a seventh day advantist) here.
But what if one of the pope's titles did add up to 666? Would that coincidence prove the pope is the beast? Hardly. It would prove nothing because lots of names and titles add up to 666. By using a nifty little technique you can force a Seventh-Day Adventist to admit that the addition to 666 proves nothing, even when it's a papal title that's in question. Here's how.

Have your son-in-law do the math, and he'll be shocked to learn that the name of the woman who started Seventh-Day Adventism, Ellen Gould White, adds up to 666: Ellen=100, Gould=555, White=11. Ask him whether this "proves" that the foundress of his religion was the beast? If he says "No," then the tallying of the name means nothing. If he says "Yes," then what's he doing belonging to a church founded by the beast? Either way his argument collapses. (Isn't apologetics fun?)

http://www.newadvent.org/library/almanac_thisrock92.htm

A little research will show that Martin Luther's name, in Latin, also adds up to 666.

So are Luther, Ellen Gould White, and any Pope who used the title "Vicar of the Son of God" (officilly or unofficially) all anti-Christ, or are these (in some sense) "coincidences"?

And do you really see no meaningful definition the word "coincidence" (as used by a Theist) could have?
...from God's perspective there are no chance happenings...

By your own admission (and by any reading of Aquinas), there are happenings He dosn't will per se (like death and sin), but arise in consequence of things He does will per se (like creaturely free will.)

These things that He wills only per accidens therefore arise "concurrently," or "coincidentally," or "extraneous" to what He wills per se, and could be rightly called "coincidences" (even from His point of view) if the word is defined as I suggested in the OP.

And Theists do use the word "coincidence" at times.
But what if one of the pope's titles did add up to 666? Would that coincidence prove the pope is the beast? Hardly. It would prove nothing because lots of names and titles add up to 666. By using a nifty little technique you can force a Seventh-Day Adventist to admit that the addition to 666 proves nothing, even when it's a papal title that's in question. Here's how.

Have your son-in-law do the math, and he'll be shocked to learn that the name of the woman who started Seventh-Day Adventism, Ellen Gould White, adds up to 666: Ellen=100, Gould=555, White=11. Ask him whether this "proves" that the foundress of his religion was the beast? If he says "No," then the tallying of the name means nothing. If he says "Yes," then what's he doing belonging to a church founded by the beast? Either way his argument collapses. (Isn't apologetics fun?)

http://www.newadvent.org/library/almanac_thisrock92.htm

That's why I asked the question in the OP--and why I asked it on this forum in the past (when nobody really tried to answer it, and I couldn't really say anything coherent on the subject myself), before a very kind, intelligent, and patient priest (fond of quoting saint Aquinas btw) suggested an answer along the lines of what I've tried to share here (and what I felt my duty to share here, after some of my past posts.)
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby St. Michael » Thu Apr 21, 2016 5:31 pm

I don't think Latin has anything to do with it. But even the Pope doesn't add up to 666 in Latin. When the Greek word "Beast" is added up in Hebrew it comes out to 666. That's what the Bible means when it says the number of the name of the Beast is 666. The Beast is a man of exceeding cruelty, moral depravity, a persecutor of Christians, and demands to be worshipped as God along with many other things. That's how he is identified. It fits Nero in 70 A.D. For His name also adds up to 666. Therefore, we can exclude these people as being the "Beast". Why is it that these people's names add up to 666 in Latin? I don't know. If my name added up to 666 in Latin I don't think that would make me the antichrist. There may be a reason why it does of which I don't know. My book on "Providence" has a page with the number 666 on it. So? The Pope's name doesn't add up to 666 in Greek or Hebrew either. Moreover, the Pope only represents Christ and speaks infallibly under certain conditions. There's also a long discussion with Cardinals and Bishops before he does. Here's Jimmy Akin over at Catholic Answers talking about 666 in the Bible. Click on "Listen" in the top right hand corner to hear it:

http://www.catholic.com/radio/shows/open-forum-27009#


Here's a couple videos from the Catholic apologist James Akin:



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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby St. Michael » Thu Apr 21, 2016 6:36 pm

From my Catholic book "Pope Fiction" - This demonstrates that the Popes name doesn't add up to 666 in Latin.

Fiction 5

The pope is the beast spoken of in Revelation 13. Verse 1 says that he wears crowns and has "blasphemous names" written on his head. Verse 18 says that the numerical value of his name adds up to 666. The pope's official title in Latin is Vicarius Filii Dei (Vicar Son of God). If you add that up using Roman numerals, you get 666. The pope's tiara is emblazoned with this title, formed by diamonds and other jewels.boxes

I wasn't very good at math in school, but even I can follow this argument and run the numbers well enough to show it's bogus. (Besides, answering this question is apologetics at its most fun!) The charge that the pope is the beast of Revelation 13, because his title adds up to 666, is especially popular with Seventh-Day Adventists, but it's also widely repeated in some Protestant circles.

Vicarius Filii Dei does have the mathematical value of 666 in Latin. Here's how it works. Like many ancient languages, such as Greek and Hebrew, some Latin letters are also used for numbers: I = 1, V = 5, X = 10, L = 50, C = 100, D = 500 and M = 1000. The letter "u" is rendered as V and the letter "w," which doesn't exist in the Latin alphabet, would be rendered as VV. So this title would read in Latin as VICARIVS FILII DEI.

When calculating the value of a name or word, letters that don't have a numerical value are ignored. For example, drop out the no-value letters in my name, PATRICK MADRID, and you come up with 2102 — 1 (i) + 100 (c) + 1000 (m) + 500 (d) + 1 (i) + 500 (d) = 2102. By the way, this is one reason why, as far as I know, no one has yet accused me of being in league with the anti-Christ. The numbers just don't add up.

But in the case of VICARIVS FILII DEI, they do add up to 666. Isolate the numbers and this is what you get: 5 (v) + 1 (i) + 100 (c) + 1 (i) + 5 (V) + 1 (i) + 50 (L) + 1 (i) + 1 (i) + 500 (d) + 1 (i) = 666.

But there are problems with this. The first is that Vicarius Filii Dei, or "Vicar of the Son of God," is not now, nor has it ever been, a title of the bishop of Rome. The second problem is that virtually no one, including many unsuspecting lay Catholics, knows that this papal "title" is a fabrication. To an untrained ear, it sounds enough like one of the pope's real titles, Vicarius Christi (Vicar of Christ), to pass the test. Unfortunately for those who traffic in this particular piece of pope fiction, the real title, Vicarius Christi, adds up to only a measly 214, not the infernal 666. In fact, none of the pope's official titles, such as Servus Servorum Dei (Servant of the Servants of God), Pontifex Maximus (Supreme Pontiff), or Successor Petri (Successor of Peter), will add up to 666. That's why you never see any of them used by anti-Catholics.

If the person making this claim disputes these facts, ask him to furnish even one example of a papal decree, ecclesiastical letter, conciliar statement, or any other official Catholic document in which the pope calls himself or is referred to as the "Vicar of the Son of God." He won't be able to find one, because none exist. Vicarius Filii Dei has never been a title of the pope.
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby Michael » Thu Apr 21, 2016 6:51 pm

St. Michael wrote:I don't think Latin has anything to do with it.

Certain Latin letters have numerical value (as do all Hebrew and Greek letters), and any name tranliterated into Latin (or Hebrew, or Greek) can be taken to have a numerical value.

So if a name adding up to 666 in Latin has nothing to do with Revelation 13:18, wouldn't the fact that such a name adds up to that number be an extraneous circumstance, a coincidence, or a meaningless concurrence?

Take your pick, but wouldn't it have to be a coincidence (in some since of the word) that the Latin version of Luther's name added up to 666, if he wasn't the anti-Christ?

And that Ronald Wilson Reagan (who I voted for) had six letters in each of his names (which, given our numbering system, could be taken to represent the one's column, the tens column, and the hundreds column) if he wasn't the anti-Christ?


St. Michael wrote:When the Greek word "Beast" is added up in Hebrew it comes out to 666. That's what the Bible means when it says the number of the name of the Beast is 666.

Actually, it says a little more than that.

It says
Here is wisdom. He that hath understanding, let him count the number of the beast. For it is the number of a man: and the number of him is six hundred sixty-six.

http://biblehub.com/revelation/13-18.htm

I'm not sure what that means.

Maybe time will tell.

St. Michael wrote:The Beast is a man of exceeding cruelty, moral depravity, a persecutor of Christians, and demands to be worshipped as God along with many other things. That's how he is identified. It fits Nero in 70 A.D. For His name also adds up to 666.

Acording to Saint Irenaeus, it reffers to "Latinos."

For if there are many names found possessing this number, it will be asked which among them shall the coming man bear. It is not through a want of names containing the number of that name that I say this, but on account of the fear of God, and zeal for the truth: for the name Evanthas contains the required number, but I make no allegation regarding it. Then also Lateinos has the number six hundred and sixty-six; and it is a very probable [solution], this being the name of the last kingdom [of the four seen by Daniel]. For the LATINS are they who at present bear rule: I will not, however, make any boast over this [coincidence].Teitan too, the first syllable being written with the two Greek vowels e and i, among all the names which are found among us, is rather worthy of credit. For it has in itself the predicted number, and is composed of six letters, each syllable containing three letters; and [the word itself] is ancient, and removed from ordinary use; for among our kings we find none bearing this name Titan, nor have any of the idols which are worshipped in public among the Greeks and barbarians this appellation. Among many persons, too, this name is accounted divine, so that even the sun is termed Titan by those who do now possess [the rule].

(Saint Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book V, ch. 29).

And that could point to Nero, Domitian, Mussolini, or some future dictator of European descent.

St. Michael wrote:Therefore, we can exclude these people as being the "Beast".

Then, if their names add up to six hundred and sixty six in Latin, or Hebrew, or Greek it couldn't be related to Revelation 13:18 as anything but an extraneous circumstance, conurrence, or "coincidence," right?


St. Michael wrote:Why is it that these people's names add up to 666 in Latin? I don't know.

But even if there were some other reason, the Revelation 13:18 concurrece would just be a "coincidence" (or extraneous circumstance), right?

St. Michael wrote:If my name added up to 666 in Latin I don't think that would make me the antichrist. There may be a reason why it does of which I don't know. My book on "Providence" has a page with the number 666 on it. So?
St. Michael wrote:So it's an extraneous circumstance, right?

From my Catholic book "Pope Fiction"

Kinda irrelevant since the question here isn't whether the Pope (or Luther) are anti-Christ, but whether the word "coincidence" can have any meaningful definition for a Theist.

I believe that it can.

Your co-religionists at "New Advant" used the word here.

But what if one of the pope's titles did add up to 666? Would that coincidence prove the pope is the beast? Hardly. It would prove nothing because lots of names and titles add up to 666. By using a nifty little technique you can force a Seventh-Day Adventist to admit that the addition to 666 proves nothing, even when it's a papal title that's in question. Here's how.

Have your son-in-law do the math, and he'll be shocked to learn that the name of the woman who started Seventh-Day Adventism, Ellen Gould White, adds up to 666: Ellen=100, Gould=555, White=11. Ask him whether this "proves" that the foundress of his religion was the beast? If he says "No," then the tallying of the name means nothing. If he says "Yes," then what's he doing belonging to a church founded by the beast? Either way his argument collapses. (Isn't apologetics fun?)

http://www.newadvent.org/library/almanac_thisrock92.htm


But I thought you were arguing that it has no meaning for a Theist?
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby St. Michael » Thu Apr 21, 2016 6:53 pm

MIcheal read my post right before your last one from my book "Pope Fiction". Even in Latin "Vicar of Christ" doesn't add up to 666
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby Michael » Thu Apr 21, 2016 7:12 pm

St. Michael wrote:MIcheal read my post right before your last one from my book "Pope Fiction". Even in Latin "Vicar of Christ" doesn't add up to 666

No, but "vicar of the son of God" does add up to 666 in Latin, and I believe some popes have refered to themselves as such.

And the title was used in the Decretals of Constantine, which (forgery or not) was intrumental in strengthening papal claims in the West.

But all this is nothing more than a side issue here.

Are you saying that Luther, Ellen Gould White. and Ronald Wilson Reagan are anti-Christs because there's a concurrence between the number 666, the beast of revelation, and their names?

And if not, this concurrence would be a extraneous circumstance (or "coincidence") would it not?
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Re: Theistic definition of "coincidence."

Postby St. Michael » Thu Apr 21, 2016 7:52 pm

Again from the holy teacher in my book "Pope Fiction":

The first is that Vicarius Filii Dei, or "Vicar of the Son of God," is not now, nor has it ever been, a title of the bishop of Rome.


You said:

Are you saying that Luther, Ellen Gould White. and Ronald Wilson Reagan are anti-Christs because there's a concurrence between the number 666, the beast of revelation, and their names?



Again, 666 isn't the only condition. The Beast is a man of exceeding cruelty, moral depravity, a persecutor of Christians, and demands to be worshipped as God along with many other things. That's how he is identified. It fits Nero in 70 A.D. For His name also adds up to 666. Therefore, we can exclude these people as being the "Beast". Their names add up to 666 for some other reason known only to God. Let's turn to the good saint (Thomas Aquinas) once again:

There is a difference between universal and particular causes. A thing can escape the order of a particular cause; but not the order of a universal cause. For nothing escapes the order of a particular cause, except through the intervention and hindrance of some other particular cause; as, for instance, wood may be prevented from burning, by the action of water. Since then, all particular causes are included under the universal cause, it could not be that any effect should take place outside the range of that universal cause. So far then as an effect escapes the order of a particular cause, it is said to be casual or fortuitous in respect to that cause; but if we regard the universal cause, outside whose range no effect can happen, it is said to be foreseen. Thus, for instance, the meeting of two servants, although to them it appears a chance circumstance, has been fully foreseen by their master, who has purposely sent to meet at the one place, in such a way that the one knows not about the other.
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