The fluttering of a butterflies wings can start a chain of events leading to a tsunami, this is a parable used in Chaos theory called the butterfly effect. It’s also a parable used in theology, specifically theodicy, to explain how we can never know all the factors of, and effects of, evil. It’s used especially by Calvinists who appeal to the principle found Genesis 50:20, the idea being that God pre-ordains evil because he intends to use it to bring good out of it. The same goes for non-calvinists, arminians and modalists; they will often point to the finitude of human understanding to make the point that God created a world with evil but that it is justified because there is ultimately good that will come out of it, even to the point of saying it would be logically impossible to create a world without evil.
I am not a Calvinist, and Calvinism is one of the strands of Christianity that I find most problematic, but, in this post, I’m going to be defending a Calvinist, and to a certain degree, a Calvinist position. When I first saw this article, and read the first subheading, I was a little bit surprised, Reformed Theologian John Piper is not really known for engaging in Natural Theology, a lot of Calvinists tend to shy away from evidential argumentation for God and start with presuppositional apologetics and stick with revealed theology. As I read the article, though, I understood that what the author (Neil Carter) is criticizing is John Pipers response to a question in a podcast episode about Paul’s claim that God’s existence is self-evident in Romans 1:19-20.
Here I will be commenting on Stephen Law’s second written responseThankfully, and I mean thankfully (I love these kinds of debates), John Milbank and Stephen Law continued their back and forth. In a previous post I commented on their on stage debate and in another I commented on their written back and forth. Here I will be commenting on Stephen Law’s second written response, and John Milbank’s second written response. The battleground begins with a discussion of the relationship between religion and magic. Stephen law doesn’t think the distinction matters much he says:
In the previous post, Thomas Aquinas, the Summa Theologica and Capitalism – Part 1, I went over Thomas Aquinas’ view of property, in this post we will talk about his views on market exchange and credit. The Capitalist concept of the free market, is that of absolute property rights. According to Capitalism one should be allowed to sell something at whatever price someone else is willing to pay, irrespective of circumstances. For example if I have ready access to water, I may not want to pay that much for a bottle of water, whereas if I’m in the desert and access to water is hard to come by, I’d be willing to pay more out of necessity and the seller would be justified in Capitalism when he maximizes the money he can get from me for the bottle of water. Supply and demand (ignoring of course things like the labour theory of value, which I believe is applicable alongside supply and demand) are what determines prices in the free market system.
Thomas Aquinas is probably the most important theologian in all of history. In his Summa Theologica he covers almost every subject that a theology could touch on, from the nature of the divine, to individual ethics, to law, to the incarnation, to theories on angels and so on. Being a critic of Capitalism I thought that it would be interesting to see if anything this towering figure of Theology wrote would touch on something relevant to a discussion of Capitalism. Given that his theology touches on almost everything, it’s not surprising that quite a bit of what he wrote would be applicable to a discussion of Capitalism and its justification or condemnation as a system.
The modern Capitalist system, I would argue, is founded on a few basic foundational principles.
- The absolute right to hold private property, meaning the right of the owner over that property is axiomatic, it’s primary.
- The right to a return on Capital, i.e. lending money for a higher Return.