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March 17, 2014

Comments

I believe God created Adam as "sinless", since there wasn't a revealed law of righteousness until later.

As the New Testament states: Ro 5:13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

I think it is possible that God awakened Adam's sin when He gave the Command (Law) not to eat of the forbidden fruit. The act of eating confirmed Adam's sinfulness, resulting in the Fall and it's consequences.

This solution takes man back off of the throne which only God can occupy, and places him at God's disposal, where he was all along.

Even a compatibilist will say that people could do otherwise. They just qualify the ability by saying, "If they had wanted to." So I don't think it's adequate to define libertarian freedom by saying a person could've done otherwise if they had wanted to. A better explanation is to say that under libertarianism, a person could have done otherwise whether they had wanted to or not.

Under libertarianism, there are no conditions whatsoever prior to the moment of choice that are sufficient to determine what that choice will be, and that includes a person's own desires. So a libertarian ought to say a person could have done otherwise without qualification.

Personally, I don't think Adam or anybody else has ever had libertarian freedom. Adam sinned because he was tempted, and that temptation created a desire in him to eat the fruit, which he gave into. What Adam lacked was a natural inclination to do wrong. It required enticement and manipulation to get him to sin.

Under libertarianism, there are no conditions whatsoever prior to the moment of choice that are sufficient to determine what that choice will be, and that includes a person's own desires. So a libertarian ought to say a person could have done otherwise without qualification.
I guess that depends on what you are a libertarian about. Is it possible one could be, for example, a libertarian with respect to causal determinism and a compatibilist about theological determinism? (I consider myself to be one of those, so that's why I ask. I'm actually a libertarian with regard to mechanism generally...whether the mechanism is deterministic or not.)

For what it's worth, I think the phrases "libertarian freedom" and "compatibilist freedom" are misleading. I don't think there's any reasonable conception of freedom that's compatible with mechanism, and I don't think there's any reasonable conception of freedom that's incompatible with theological determinism.

BTW, I don't think any conception of freedom or anything else that relies on an 'open' future where future contingents are not true or false is reasonable because it runs afoul of the law of excluded middle.

WL, I don't know how you're defining your terms, but the definition I gave of libertarian freedom is the definition J.P. Moreland and W.L. Craig gave in Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, and it's the same definition Alvin Plantinga gave in God, Freedom, and Evil. I'd give you a page number, but I'm in a hotel right now without my books.

So I don't know how you're defining your terms, I can't really answer your question.

BTW, I don't think any conception of freedom or anything else that relies on an 'open' future where future contingents are not true or false is reasonable because it runs afoul of the law of excluded middle.

I tend to agree with you, but I can imagine how an open theist might respond. There are some statements that are meaningless, so the law of excluded middle doesn't apply to them. For example, the statement, "This statement is false" doesn't seem to fall under the law of excluded middle. It's a meaningless statement. And open theist might say that statements like, "Tomorrow, I will drink a Dr. Pepper" are meaningless statements because there's no truth value attached to them, and since they're meaningless statements, the law of excluded middle doesn't apply to them. I don't personally buy that, but that's how I'd imagine an open theist responding.

I don't think there are any meaningless statements. There are, of course, utterances that are meaningless and, and therefore not statements at all. "This statement is false" and "This statement is true" are both examples of such utterances.

""Socrates is wise" is false" translates into "Socrates is not wise". Those two clearly mean the same thing. That's how we deal with the predicate "is false". What happens, then, if I try the same trick the "is false" predicate in the liar paradox utterance? Does "This sentence is false" translate into "This not sentence", "Not this sentence", "Sentence this not", "Thins Seonttance", or what? The answer is that it doesn't translate into anything. That's because it's gibberish.

On the other hand, "Tomorrow I will drink Dr. Pepper" is pretty clearly meaningful and a statement. It means something like "At some time between midnight on Feb 18 up until, but not including the following midnight, WL drinks Dr. Pepper" the facts that exist between those times make it true or false as the case may be.

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As for the definition of libertarian freedom, I'm not sure there is any generally accepted definition. VanInwagen gave a fairly general characterization of it, something like this:

"A is free to do X at t" = "A does X in at least one of those possible worlds to which A has access at t"
I don't think that defines freedom so much as it moves the question. What, after all, does it mean for A to have access to a possible world at t? VanInwagen went on to argue that the critical principle of the transfer of powerlessness (the principle that if one is powerless to make a proposition false, one is also powerless to make anything it entails false) is demonstrably valid so long as the set of those worlds can be specified without reference to the act X.

The definition provided, by Plantinga et al. is of course question begging. Basically freedom is defined simply as being such that determinism is false. If does not strike me as any great insight that freedom defined in that way is incompatible with determinism.

More interesting is whether, for example, freedom defined as agent causation is compatible with determinism. Or whether freedom defined as the power to take a different path in a future of forking possibilities is compatible with determinism.

Augustine answered this (but I won't use the Latin...)

  • Man in the Garden - Able to sin, able to not sin
  • Man after the Fall - Not able to not sin
  • Man after salvation - Able to not sin
  • Man in Heaven - Not able to sin
If does not strike me as any great insight that freedom defined in that way is incompatible with determinism.

Well, definitions aren't supposed to give insight. They're just meant to facilitate communication so you know what the person means when they are using the word. The definition doesn't beg any question because the definition isn't an argument. It's simply what Plantinga et al mean by libertarian freedom.

Let's put it this way Sam, I don't think the proposed definition succeeds even in facillitating communication, if the only thing I know is that whatever freedom is, it's not compatible with determinism. At best, that just tells me what freedom isn't. It doesn't tell me what freedom is. It doesn't even tell me why freedom is incompatible with determinism. It's just the grim resolve to make sure that we make our signs in a certain way. I've been informed of the speaker's syntactical dictates. That's all.

Greg's definition "could have done otherwise" works better. The claim is that one has the power to do some things that one doesn't in fact do. (I think this will ultimately boil down to VanInwagen.) But it's not the least bit clear that that's incompatible with determinism. It, again, depends on what sort of determinism we're talking about.

Speaking of definitions, from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

"Libertarianism, in the strict sense, is the moral view that agents initially fully own themselves and have certain moral powers to acquire property rights in external things. In a looser sense, libertarianism is any view that approximates the strict view."

The academic definition wrangled over and finessed to try to make man into something more grand, something he isn't, is incompatible with biblical anthropology. Contingent moral agent beings can never have libertarian freedom if by that one means they are free of every/any other Agent will.

Liberty of being and thus responsibility is not incompatible with fore-ordination. We live, move, breathe, and exist, in Him and interact with and in His creation after all.

The comment eater has slipped its tether again.

I'm going to try breaking a long response down in the next several posts. Please be patient.

Terminology

Brad, I think the SEP definition of "Libertarianism" that has to do with how the term is used in politics and political philosophy, not metaphysics.

In the debate on freedom and determinism it has a different meaning.

Here's a summary of the key terms as I see them:

  1. Determinism: The view that some set of (seemingly unalterable) truths, logically entail all the truths about how one acts in the present.
  2. Incompatibilism: The view that Determinism is incompatible with human freedom
  3. Compatibilism: The denial of Incompatibilism.
  4. Hard Determinism: Incompatibilism + Determinism. Has the implication that human freedom does not exist.
  5. Soft Determinism: Compatibilism + Determinism. Allows for the possibility of human freedom.
  6. Libertarianism: Incompatibilism + the affirmation of human freedom. Has the implication that Determinism is false.

The Incompatibilist Rule of Inference

Notice that in the above terminology, I have deliberately not defined human freedom in the above. It pays first to understand the incompatibilist argument.

The general inference the incompatibilist makes is that if A entails B, and I'm free to make B false, it follows that I am free to do something that makes A false. In the sequel, let us refer to this as the Incompatibilist Rule of Inference.

Let us see how this inference plays out in the case of Causal Determinism. Suppose that there will be a sea-fight today.** Then, according to Causal Determinism, the state of the physical universe long ago, together with the Laws of Physics, logically entails that there will be a sea-fight today. If so, then by the Incompatibilist Rule of Inference, if I'm free today to make it false that there is a sea-fight today, then I'm free to do something today that makes it false that the state of the physical universe was the way it was long ago, or I'm free to do something today that makes the Laws of Physics false. But, the incompatibilist concludes, I have no such freedoms. So I have no freedom to stop today's sea-fight.

The Two Forms of Compatibilism

Now, I think it's worth noticing that compatibilism can take two forms. First, one could deny that the Incompatibilist Rule of Inference is valid. But one could also deny that the seemingly unalterable truths thought to entail my current action really are unalterable.

Notice that if you are a compatibilist because you reject the Incompatibilist Rule of Inference, then, if you are right, pretty much all forms of Incompatibilism fail.

But if you argue that the seemingly unalterable truths are not really unalterable, then it really does depend on what kind of determinism we are dealing with. Just which seemingly unalterable truths are we talking about?

One might, for example, hold that God's decrees are even now alterable, but the Laws of Physics and the prior state of the physical universe aren't. Then even if we grant that both equally entail my present action, only one comes into logical conflict with my freedom.

A Preemptive Apology to Sam

Forgive me Sam if, in my subsequent remarks, I am putting words in your mouth by referring to "compatibilists like Sam". Maybe you will disagree with many of the statements I make for compatibilists like you. I don't think you will disagree that, whether they are like you or not, there are some compatibilists such as I describe.

Those, like Sam, who argue about the meaning of freedom are, I think, attacking the Incompatibilist Rule of Inference. The freedom to make B false, such compatibilists argue, does not imply that you are free to do something that makes A false...even though A entails B (and, as such, the falsehood of B entails the falsehood of A).

The Alternate Possibilities Analysis of Freedom (Libertarian Freedom)

Some suppose that an analysis of freedom like the following is required to support the Incompatibilist Rule of Inference:

A does X freely = A does X, but A could have done something other than X
Because this analysis of freedom is supposed to support the Incompatibilist Rule, it is sometimes called the Incompatibilist Analysis of Freedom. Because Libertarians are Incompatibilists who affirm the existence of freedom, it may also be called the Libertarian Analysis of Freedom. That is the unfortunate terminology Greg adopted when he titled his post. I prefer to call it an Alternate Possibilities Analysis of Freedom, because it doesn't beg any questions about who endorses it.

I endorse this analysis of freedom, but I do not think it is required for incompatibilism or libertarianism (or even to support the Incompatibilist Rule of Inference). Even though I endorse this analysis, and I am a libertarian about causal determinism, I am a soft determinist, not a libertarian, about some forms of theological determinism.

An Insufficient Analysis of Freedom

Above, Sam also used an analysis of freedom that I would characterize (uncharitably) like this:

A does X freely = A does X in such a way that determinism is false.
While this certainly does qualify as an incompatibilist 'analysis' of freedom, suffice it to say that it does not suffice. I think the reasons for that are obvious (though perhaps I did not express that well above). Sorry Sam.

The Compatibilist Analysis of Freedom

Compatibilists, like Sam, also suppose that an analysis of freedom like the following does not support the Incompatibilist Rule:

A does X freely = A does X, but if A had wanted to do something other than X, A would have done something other than X
Some compatibilists don't like the term "want" in the above, but prefer "choose", or "intend", or "will", or... I'm going to use "want" and "desire" in the sequel. It should be clear enough that you could substitute another verb without undercutting my argument.

Because this analysis of freedom is thought to undercut the Incompatibilist Rule of Inference, it is sometimes called the Compatibilist Analysis of Freedom. It is also sometimes called the Conditional Analysis of Freedom. I prefer the latter moniker, again, because it doesn't beg any questions.

A Criticism of 'Compatibilist' Freedom

Whatever you call it, freedom understood per the conditional analysis is a completely defective notion of freedom. A person in handcuffs could be said to be free, so long as he is so rational as not to desire to be free of them given the knowledge that he can't get out of them. For if such an individual were to desire to move his arms, he wouldn't be handcuffed! This is joke freedom.

Why 'Compatibilist' Freedom Isn't (Part One)

But apart from its defects as an analysis of freedom, it seems to me that the conditional analysis of freedom does nothing to resolve the alleged incompatibility.

No matter how much one may want to stop today's sea-fight, one still will not do something that implies the falsehood of the laws of physics or changes to the physical layout of the universe a hundred years ago (and a similar point might be made by some about the decrees of God). As such, one won't stop the fight, even if one wants to.

Why 'Compatibilist' Freedom Isn't (Part Two)

This failure of 'Compatibilist' Freedom to be compatibilist is is an instance of the uncontroversially valid inference form:

  1. A entails B.
  2. If C were true, A would still be true.
  3. So, If C were true, B would still be true.
Let C be "I desire (choose, will...) to stop the fight". Let A be the conjunction of the Laws of Physics and the past state of the physical universe (or let A be the expression of some decree of God). Let B be "I do not stop the sea-fight". So, given determinism (premise 1), and my inability to change the laws and the past (or the Divine decree), no matter how much I want to (premise 2), I don't stop the fight, no matter how much I want to. That is to say that I'm still not free, not even in the 'compatibilist' sense of freedom.

After many tries on different machines and using different methods of logging in, I can't seem to get the follow-up (Part Two) of the prior remark past the voracious STR comment eater. That was to be the last installment of my multi-remark spew, and it only reinforces Part One, so I'm going to let it stand as is.

WL, I got it out of spam for you. Sorry about that. I wish there was something Typepad could (would?) do to fix this problem.

Thanks Amy-

With as many pieces as I broke it up into, I don't blame the spam filter for thinking it's spam.

Greg's definition "could have done otherwise" works better.

Greg didn't just define libertarian freedom as "could have done otherwise." He defined it as "could have done otherwise if you had wanted to." That is not an accurate definition of libertarian freedom since (1) a person who denies libertarian freedom, as I do, could agree, and (2) if a person has libertarian freedom, then they could have done otherwise whether they had wanted to or not. If a person's choice is free in the libertarian sense, then they could have done otherwise even if all of the conditions everywhere in the universe, including their own head, had been exactly the same. There are no conditions up to and at the moment of choice that determine what that choice will be, including a person's own desires.

I don't want to argue with you about whether compatibilism is true. I think we've argued about that at least twice before.

Fair enough on Greg's wording.

"If a person's choice is free in the libertarian sense...There are no conditions up to and at the moment of choice that determine what that choice will be, including a person's own desires."

Notice that there are two ways of understanding this.

  1. If a person's choice is free in the libertarian sense...There are no conditions WHATSOEVER up to and at the moment of choice that ENTAIL what that choice will be, including a person's own desires.
  2. If a person's choice is free in the libertarian sense...There are no conditions BEYOND THE CONTROL OF THAT PERSON up to and at the moment of choice that ENTAIL what that choice will be, including a person's own desires.
I don't think the fist is true. There is (trivially) at least one condition at the moment of choice that entails a person's choice. that, of course, is his choice.

But the second clearly might be compatible with certain forms of determinism...so long as the determining condition is not outside the control of the individual. If so, libertarianism is false even with a libertarian conception of freedom/

And that's why I don't like the term "libertarian freedom". You can believe in libertarian freedom and not be a libertarian.

Hi WL, although I didn't really note that the libertarian definition was re: political, [it really is obvious now that I read it again] I think that definition relies on a metaphysical position that I just assumed.

Anyway, I probably didn't pay close attention to the focus of that particular definition because I think I see the same flaw in political and metaphysical libertarianism and I was using that as a springboard to point that out, probably good that you didn't waste too much time on it.

I see both Sam and you have been paying particular attention to definitions of terms, and although I didn't read yours carefully yet, I will for the purpose of understanding. The one thing that I want to ask you first is regarding your critique of #2. Do you, [however begrudginly] consider "libertarian freedom" to be intact so long as:

"the determining condition is not outside the control of the individual."
?

As I meander through the above discussion, one thing The Apostle Paul said really stands out.

Col 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Brad-

You ask:

Is Alternate Possibilities (Libertarian) Freedom intact so long as the determining condition is not outside the control of the individual?
I think the answer there is pretty clearly "yes".

Consider, for a moment, the very first argument that was ever given for incompatibilism: Aristotle's sea-fight argument. It wasn't based on causality. It wasn't based on theology. It was based on the law of excluded middle. It went like this.

Either it was already true yesterday that there will be a sea-fight today, or it was already true yesterday that there will not be a sea-fight today. "It was already true yesterday that there will be a sea-fight today" ENTAILS "There will be a sea-fight today". "It was already true yesterday that there will not be a sea-fight today" ENTAILS "There will not be a sea-fight today." Either way, because, presumably, no one can do anything today about what was already true yesterday, it looks like no one, not even the captains of the belligerent vessels, can do anything about whether the sea-fight will happen today.

Now, you could, if you are into throwing babies out with the bathwater, settle for the defective notion of compatibilist freedom here and use that to harmonize freedom with this logical determinism (a.k.a. Fatalism). The captains will fight today (or not), if they want to. Of course, whether they want to or not is equally determined by prior truths about their current desires. The important thing is that the desires and actions are determined so that action and desire are in harmony.

But doesn't it just seem much more promising to point out that the captains, at least, jolly well can do something about whether it was already true yesterday that there will be a sea-fight today. The captains retain control over the determining conditions. As such the captains are free. That is, there are real alternative possibilities available to them at the moment of choice because the retain some control over the very conditions that determine what their choice will be.

Here's an analogy. The pulling of a trigger determined that JFK's head would break apart. Oswald was free not to make JFK's head break apart, not because had he wanted to not make JFK's head break apart, he would not have made made that happen. No, Oswald was free with respect to JFK's head trauma, even though JFK's head trauma was determined, because Oswald retained control over the determining condition...the pulling of the trigger.

Hi WL, along with what you have just replied (which I find no disageement with) do you find that it is it still true even though there is Another superior wil? In other words, creatures are free to make any next choice yes/no, left/right...etc, IN their creatureness, but they are in no way free to choose outside of the Creators intention. Is this not compatiblism?

Yes. It is compatibilism, and it is exactly what I think is true. We, not just Adam, all of us, have the freedom of alternate possibilities in a world where everything is planned by God. Of course, we can only ever act, whether freely or not, with the concurrence of God.

The slavery we have to sin, which is really what raises the question for the OP, is not metaphysical in nature. It's not that we don't have the open possibilities before us, including open possibilities to avoid sin.

How could it be sin if that were it? The man who accidentally trips, falls on me and kills me isn't sinning. He had no metaphysical options. And we are all in his position if we don't have alternate possibilities. So that's not how sin binds us.

Instead we are morally depraved and choose sin because we prefer darkness to light. Could we choose to work on our depravity to try to curb it? Well, again, there is no metaphysical impediment. But we're morally depraved about that too. Could we try to curb our depraved desire not to curb our depravity? Again yes, and again we're depraved about that too.

And it's turtles all the way down. We are always free to do otherwise in a metaphysical sense, but so morally depraved that we never will.

Whatever the conditional analysis of freedom may suggest, it's doing what we want that binds us, not that frees us.

Here's another way of looking at Adam's choice to sin.

1. God is not bound by His laws as they pertain to us. He answers to no one and does as He pleases. Whatever He does is right and sinless because there is no law or no other god above Him.

2. God created Adam as sinless. Adam remained sinless and worthy of everlasting life, up until God revealed His Law in the command not to eat of the forbidden fruit.

3. Adam assumed a rebellious sinful nature when God gave the command not to eat of the forbidden fruit. At this point God begins dealing with Adam's sinful heart.

4. God hardens Adam’s rebellious heart, the same way He hardened Pharaoh’s heart and others, causing him to sin outwardly by eating the forbidden fruit. Remember, the New Testament tells us that sin is internal first and later becomes external.

This position at least retains God’s sovereignty over creation, while retaining Adam’s guilt and choice in the matter.

Dave,
Your statement: "1. God is not bound by His laws as they pertain to us. He answers to no one and does as He pleases. Whatever He does is right and sinless because there is no law or no other god above Him."

If I believed this then I would have to believe that all the statements in the Bible about God being "good" are meaningless. He couldn't be trusted. I'd still believe in His existence, but couldn't worship or trust Him.

WL,

"Yes. It is compatibilism, and it is exactly what I think is true. We, not just Adam, all of us, have the freedom of alternate possibilities in a world where everything is planned by God. Of course, we can only ever act, whether freely or not, with the concurrence of God."

Believing this, as you do, how do you avoid God being responsible for Adam's sin, and all subsequent human sin?

How could a God who invented sin, plans all sin, concurs with all sin, be, in any intelligible sense, described as good?

Goat Head 5

Re: Goat Head says; "If I believed this then I would have to believe that all the statements in the Bible about God being "good" are meaningless. He couldn't be trusted. I'd still believe in His existence, but couldn't worship or trust Him."

Faith maintains that Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. With out faith, you cannot trust Him. With faith you can.

Believing this, as you do, how do you avoid God being responsible for Adam's sin, and all subsequent human sin?

How could a God who invented sin, plans all sin, concurs with all sin, be, in any intelligible sense, described as good?

There are some things I don't see. I don't see all ends. Only God sees all ends. Perhaps one day, He will give it to me to understand why He allowed some evils to occur and even planned, intended and brought it about that they should.

I'm pretty sure that part of the answer to that will be that without the evil of sin, there could not have been the good of redemption...it's a logical consequence of redemption that there was an antecedent fall.

But I must say that it's beyond my lights to see why it is better that the world have a fall and a redemption rather than remaining forever in Eden. Maybe, for reasons I do not see, the latter wasn't really possible.

I'm satisfied that God is good, though, not because of my experience but because the sentences...

  1. God is less than All-Powerful
  2. God is less than All-Knowing
  3. God is less than All-Wise
...are both heretical and incoherent. So, being both reasonable and orthodox, I deny all three.

But that three-fold denial leads doubly to the fact that everything goes as God intends and that God is All-Good.

Everything goes as God intends because, if He knows how things are going to go (being All-Knowing), and if He could have prevented them and made them go differently (being All-Powerful) and if He knew what the consequences of letting them be or changing them would be (being All-Wise), what are we to say other than that He intends that things be just as they are and no other way.

Human Freedom serves not at all to avoid the conclusion of the last argument, for surely God also knew how each person would choose before He created them and allowed them to exist. He knows everything from beginning to end, and if something happened, whether by the will of man or against the will of man, it is only because God intended that it should be so.

At the same time, this idea that God is All-Knowing, All-Powerful and All-Wise has another wrinkle. For all evil is a sign that the agent of it is either weak, or ignorant or stupid. Precisely what God's Power, Knowledge and Wisdom rule out.

Dave,


OOkkkkkaaayyyy.

Backing away slowly.

Goat Head 5

WL,

If I believed the way you do, I would have to believe that

God is less than all good.

This is heretical. So, being orthodox and reasonable, I deny this. So logically I must also deny all divine determinism.

I appreciate you taking a moment to explain your thinking on this.

Goat Head 5

Re: "Believing this, as you do, how do you avoid God being responsible for Adam's sin, and all subsequent human sin?"

Because of the context, I assume this was directed to me (dave). Forgive me if it was meant for someone else.

There are many passages of Scripture, but especially Romans 9, that show God's direct involvement with the human condition.

Verse 21 asks: "Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?"

Here the vessels have nothing to contribute one way or another towards their assigned ends. They are under the control of the potter.

Their assigned ends must also involve their "free choices" that result in their being either honorable or dishonorable.

Verse 16 of the same chapter states: "So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

I believe this extends to Adam and all of his posterity.

True, if we try to define goodness on finite terms, God might not look so good. But to us in Christ, there is no greater mercy and love.



If I believed the way you do, I would have to believe that

God is less than all good.

I don't think so. God's being All-Good, so far from being contrary to my view, is an implication of my view.

Be that as it may, since those three also imply that God is in control of everything and that nothing happens except that He intended to happen. Something, if I read you right, you have purposed to deny, which of those three which imply it will you deny?

"If I believed the way you do, I would have to believe that God is less than all good."

We have to take God as he reveals himself in Scripture. A great danger exists when we try to construct an image of him to our own liking.

I believe that God is perfect in all of his attributes. This includes his perfect goodness. Granted, to some and perhaps most, God is only good when reconstructed into a idol. They obviously don't love God, they love their imaginary friend instead.

God controls all things. Even the toss of a coin and the way people choose to call the outcome of the matter.

Pr 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.

This includes their free choice of "heads or tails", the velocity at which they toss it, the atmospheric conditions, etc, and so on.


"Be that as it may, since those three also imply that God is in control of everything and that nothing happens except that He intended to happen. Something, if I read you right, you have purposed to deny, which of those three which imply it will you deny?"

Not very clearly expressed. Sorry.

What I mean is that the following argument is deductively valid:

  1. God is All-Powerful.
  2. God is All-Knowing.
  3. God is All-Wise.
  4. THEREFORE, All things are determined to happen exactly as God intends that they should happen.
And because it is deductively valid, if you deny the conclusion by saying something like "I must also deny all divine determinism", you are thereby logically committed to say that one of the three premises is false. So I was wondering which of those three premises you deny GH5?

From reading GH-5 along the way, I think the denial of all 3 premises in their fullness is the answer. Idol worship is so easy...true worship comes at a painful cost to human ego... until one finds eternal safety provided in trusting The Only Sovereign Lord, Jesus, The Father, and The Holy Spirit.

Goat Head 5,

What makes you believe God’s hands are ever tied?

Bradley,

Thanks for chiming in! I've always wondered what it was and NOW I KNOW! I'm an IDOL WORSHIPPER!
Always wondered about that graven image in the spare room. I can't truly worship because of the "painful cost to my ego". I appreciate your help on this.

Goat Head 5

Nice sarcasm GH5. Which of those premises were you planning on denying?

Well thank you GH-5, I guess. Notwithstanding the pleasantries, it still stands that you do not know the biblically revealed God of the OT and NT. At minimum, you have fashioned an image of a god that you judged to be tolerable to you...this is in no way the true and living triune God of the scriptures.

Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit occurred when the Scribes attributed the works of God to the Devil.

How close do we come to blaspheme God when we attribute his creative works to nature, or when we attribute his saving work to our choices? Or when we wrench anything, including Adam's sin, from the control of God?

KWM,

"What makes you believe God’s hands are ever tied?"

I'm assuming this is a figure of speech and that you don't really think God has hands.

I don't believe God's hands are ever tied.

Goat Head 5

Dave,

A couple of things you said, "God controls all things. Even the toss of a coin and the way people choose to call the outcome of the matter."

If you really believed this, you would make all of your decisions by tossing coins. That way you would always be sure to be in "the center of God's perfect will". Oh, but never mind. It is impossible to ever be out of God's will, since he controls all things. So, really, don't worry about making the correct decision, you always will, since God is controlling it all.

And

"How close do we come to blaspheme God when we attribute his creative works to nature, or when we attribute his saving work to our choices? Or when we wrench anything, including Adam's sin, from the control of God?"

If you believe that God controls all things, how do you think it is possible for anyone to "wrench" something from the control of God?

You know, Dave, I don't think I am blaspheming when I attribute evil to the choices of other agents and not to God. I'm not like the ultra Calvinist Piper, describing tornadoes as God's fingers scraping the landscape, killing people and destroying property.

When the Devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness, I don't think that was God talking to himself.

Goat Head 5

And now to WL's "gotcha" statements. To make it easier for the reader, here it is:

"What I mean is that the following argument is deductively valid:

God is All-Powerful.
God is All-Knowing.
God is All-Wise.
THEREFORE, All things are determined to happen exactly as God intends that they should happen.
And because it is deductively valid, if you deny the conclusion by saying something like "I must also deny all divine determinism", you are thereby logically committed to say that one of the three premises is false. So I was wondering which of those three premises you deny GH5?"

I deny none of them. We probably would quibble about the precise definitions, since we don't believe that God interacts with time in the same way. I dare say we don't see God's foreknowledge the same way.

Do YOU deny that a God who is all powerful, wise and knowing could and would create a world where He is in charge but not in control? A world where humans and angels are true creative agents, with real choices outside of God's control?

Do you deny God could do this?

Goat Head 5

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