[The previous series, 122, can be found [url=https://forum.evangelicaluniversalist.com/t/jrps-bite-sized-metaphysics-series-122/643/1]here. This series, 123, picks up with the topic arrived at the end of the previous series. An index with links to all parts of the work as they are posted can be found here.]
[This series begins Chapter 12, “Supernature and Evidence”]
[Incidentally, this is the final main chapter of argumentation for Series 100, or for Section One of the whole book. Chapter 13 will be a summary of material covered in Series 100.]
[Entry 1 for “evidence and the burden of proof”]
At the end of my previous chapter, I demonstrated that metaphor does not necessarily need to mean something less than its imagery suggests; and that to immediately presume otherwise is a common fallacy in the discussion of religious propositions. Incidents and claims should be taken on a case-by-case basis, and filtered through an already developed philosophical position.
So, to return to my example of Jesus’ Ascension into heaven: what you or I believe this imagery can mean, is constrained by what you or I have already decided is, or is not, possible. If a supernatural God does not exist, then Jesus cannot have moved from our Nature to a Supernature while exhibiting the extent of this God’s divine authority and/or existence. The story must reflect some other set of objectively real events: for example, perhaps the story was invented for any of a number of purposes; or perhaps aliens levitated Jesus to a throne-shaped craft.
If, however, God does exist as the supernaturally transcendent Sentient Independent Fact–what can we say about the story?
Frankly, such a truth would not automatically exclude the forgery explanation–or even the alien-superscience explanation!
But it does include as a live possibility (to be strengthened or refuted on further grounds and evidence) that a traditionally ‘orthodox’ reading of this passage is true. I have not yet begun to argue positively for the truth of a reality where (what, as a category label, what eventually came to be called) an ‘orthodox’ interpretation could (much more would) subsequently also be true. But I have now reached the question of the principles of evidence, for such an inquiry.