« God Is Alive in Academia | Main | How to Alleviate Poverty »

March 17, 2014

Comments

Bradley,

Once again I have been judged and found wanting:

"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."

Sarcasm aside, I don't worship any graven or otherwise fashioned images. That puts to rest any nonsensical "idol worship" charges.

My image of God as actually, meaningfully good is quite true to the scriptures.

Why do you keep bringing up the Trinity? Do you think I have some problem with that, as well as your concept of an evil God?

Luckily for me, Brad, you can't order me burned to death for our disagreement over theology, like your reformation predecessors would have! Whew!

Goat Head 5

GH5-

I love it. Standard Christian doctrines about the attributes of God are now 'Gotcha' statements.

Either reject one of the premises of my argument, show that there is a problem with the inference, or accept the conclusion. Barring that you forfeit any claim to rational discourse.

As for your question to me, you seem to think that if God were really omnipotent, He could make something that is not subject to His power.

I tend not to find contradictions very plausible, so I find your question about a naive as asking why, if the square is reeeeally perfect it can't also be round.

Another thing you seem to think is that the logical absurdity of the omnipotent God creating a limit to his power is the only way to have humans and angels who are true creative agents, and that choices can only be real when they exist apart from the control of God.

Re: Goat Head,

The Apostles cast lots to fill Judas's place.

Ac 1:26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

I suppose that in an issue not involving moral choices, if it came down to a flip of the coin, I could rest assured that the outcome is under God's control.

"Wrenching" something is twisting or adjusting something, as you do with a wrench. I'm only accusing people of twisting Scripture in the matter. After all, I had just finished stating that God controls all things; which should have given you a clue as to the meaning. So let's stop playing "gotcha".

"I don't worship any graven or otherwise fashioned images. That puts to rest any nonsensical "idol worship" charges."

And now the only way to violate the first commandment is to worship a graven image.

"My image of God as actually, meaningfully good is quite true to the scriptures...Do you think I have some problem with that, as well as your concept of an evil God?"

My friend, no one has dared to say "Well, if we're wrong and you're right, then God is evil" or "Well, if we're wrong and you're right, then God is the devil."

That's on you alone.

It seems that you would rather revile the God that is, whatever He is, than have Him be different from the God in your mind.

How is that not idol worship?

Dave,

Do you flip a coin to make decisions? If not, why not, since they did it, more or less, in Acts 1:26? And why not do it for moral choices?

My whole point is that if God controls everything, and everything happens just as He wants it to, calling Him "good" is impossible unless you change the meaning of the word. You would have to call all evil good since it is just what God wants. This is the logical end of believing God controls everything.

Goat Head 5

WL,

I believe that God being in control of His sovereignty is not a logical contradiction.

As a result, your three statements do not necessitate your conclusion.

You say, "As for your question to me, you seem to think that if God were really omnipotent, He could make something that is not subject to His power."

I think everything is subject to God's power. You seem to think that means that God controls everything, all the time, because that is His nature. I don't agree.

I tend to find contradictions implausible also, so I don't take it very seriously when people propose that we have free choices at the same time that those choices are completely determined by another agent. Either god determines or we do. Choose one or the other, or forfeit any claim to rational discourse.

Either God determined that I would write this or I did. It cannot be both.

Goat Head 5

Hi GH-5, one doesn't have to actually take materials and form a physical image to be a idol worshipper. You believe I'm picking on you, I'm really not...everyone is in some way in the process of idol worshipping. The only way to find out the depth and breadth of our idolatry is to become familiar with the true and living God, the One revealed in the scriptures.

You claim in words to believe in the scriptures and the doctrines they illuminate to us, but the words you string together to declare the scripture's meaning are incoherent, both internally and to the system of thought revealed to us in the inerrant Word of God. You cant just decide you dont like one element of that system of thought and maintain integrity of the whole. He revealed Himself plainly...those who dont want to see Him as He Is, will not [at least not in this lifetime].

WL,

To worship an Idol there has to actually BE an idol present. Perhaps I am unaware of the places in scripture that warn of mental idols. I am open to being shown that.

I'm not saying that you say God is evil. That is just the logical end of your divine determinism. If I believed as you do, I would have to conclude that evil is His creation, and that He is just fine with it. Would not be good, as we understand good.

Obviously since I hold with scripture that God is good, I can't believe, as you do, in divine determinism.

Goat Head 5

"Either God determined that I would write this or I did. It cannot be both"

Somewhere, someone once said: "You meant it for evil, God meant it for good"

WL,

Do you believe, then, that anyone who doesn't hold to your divine determinism isn't a Christian, and is worshiping an idol?

I'm certainly not reviling God. I'm saying what I would have to think if your view was true.

Goat Head 5

Cute, Brad.

Someone somewhere also said, "Let your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven" .

Goat Head 5

btw, GH-5, as WL above said to you, Friend, I dont have even the slightest impulse to dislike you, I have pity for you, sorrow for you that you dont really know the tender mercies of God. This because you dont know His wrath or the reasons for it rightly.

"Rom 9:22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? Rom 9:23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,

"Either God determined that I would write this or I did. It cannot be both."

Really?

So have you now made a startling discovery in metaphysics? Two different things cannot determine the same event.

So, for instance, if God's planning determines an event, His foreknowledge cannot. If any form of theological determinism is true, then causal determinism cannot be true.

Such views cannot be seriously considered even for a moment.

You see, there's scarcely any plausibility, not even pre-analytically, to this claim that if God determines what happens, then nothing else can.

"I believe that God being in control of His sovereignty is not a logical contradiction.

As a result, your three statements do not necessitate your conclusion."

Since God's being in control of His sovereignty is not a premise in my argument, nor is it's denial, it's a little difficult to see how that's even relevant to my argument. Indeed, I think if you go back and look, you'll find that the word "sovereignty" does not even appear in the argument.

It's as if I gave the classic argument about Socrates and his mortality, and you said "Oh yeah, well Socrates wore a toga, so I don't have to accept your conclusion."

Maybe you mean that God is in control of His Own Power.

When you say "God is in control of His Own Power" do you mean that He can exercise His Power however He likes? If so, no one disagrees with you. But that view also tends to support rather than diminish the idea that God is in control of everything.

Or do you mean that God can exercise His Power to make it the case that He lacks power over something? If it's that, then no, He is not in control of His own power anymore than He is in control of whether bachelors are unmarried or circles lack corners.

But let's say, though absurd, that God can exercise His Power to make it the case that He lacks power over something.

That still does not diminish His control of everything, for in that case, so long as He does not exercise this strange power, He has all the power He had before (plus this additional strange power). And as such He has all the control He had before.

OK. Maybe you want to say that, not only can God exercise His Power to make it the case that He lacks power over something, but that He does so exercise His Power?

In that case, I think we can finally say that, indeed, there are some things not under His control...precisely those things for which He has relinquished His Power.

But then you have just said that God lacks some power. He is not All-Powerful after all. If it's that, then I wish you had just said that you deny my first premise in the first place.

Whoa, Brad.

I WONDERED how long it would take us to get to Romans 9! For you and your ilk, Romans 9 is the chapter the entire Bible revolves around. Fail.

Hey...Pity? Sorrow that you have a wrong view of the character of God? Right back at you, Brad.

Goat Head 5

WL,

Simple, really. God obviously has the power, knowledge, etc, to control everything if He wanted to, as far as I can tell. (I don't have the comprehensive knowledge of God's attributes that you and Brad think you have)

He just chooses not to. Heaven is the place where His will is always done, not Earth.

Because...Jesus...Lord's prayer.
And
Because God is good and wouldn't plan, ordain, facilitate, make certain or cause all evil.

Goat Head 5

Re-GH: "Do you flip a coin to make decisions? If not, why not, since they did it, more or less, in Acts 1:26? And why not do it for moral choices?"

Love should be the motive for making the right choice. Not the flip of a coin. However, it would be quite appropriate to prayerfully flip a coin to when it's a "toss-up" decision you need to make. It seems I might have done this a time or two way back when...

Goat Head 5,

God obviously has the power, knowledge, etc, to control everything if He wanted to…He just chooses not to.

Let's say this is true, how in the world would this not be exercising total control?

"Because God is good and wouldn't plan, ordain, facilitate, make certain or cause all evil."

So whence evil?

God knew before He created Adam that Adam would sin. Because Omniscience.

God created Adam. Because Creator.

By creating Adam, God made it certain that evil would exist.

"I'm certainly not reviling God. I'm saying what I would have to think if your view was true."

If my view actually is true, then what you say obviously isn't what you would think, because its the opposite of what you actually think.

But I assume that what you meant to say is that you are describing what you would have to think if you believed my view is true.

But even that is unlikely. If you believed my view is true, you'd probably also agree with me that it implies a good God.

So what I think you are actually doing is saying what you do in fact right now think of God as I describe Him. The danger you are in is that if I am right, then you are, in fact right now, reviling God as He is.

"Do you believe, then, that anyone who doesn't hold to your divine determinism isn't a Christian, and is worshiping an idol?"

No. Do you see the difference between saying "View-V implies that God is evil, therefore I reject V" and "If I believed view-V, I would have to believe that God is less than all good"?

The difference is subtle, but it seems that in the one case you are maintaining that God is good, so you will conform your beliefs about V with that fact. In the second case you seem to be saying that God isn't good unless He conforms to V. The former, for example, is not likely to lead to apostasy should you beliefs change about V.

This is what set off Dave and Brad I think.

Now, I understand that this is a written forum, communication is less than ideal. You may not have meant it that way. If not, good. But better to just clear that up than to respond with sarcasm (not that sarcasm doesn't have its place...and you really are very good at it).

Goat Head 5, hopefully you aren't just trolling for argument sake, WL has touched on a point that should be dreadfully obvious. To wit, why is it always the case that we who know God to be sovereign over all things also know God to be most merciful and good? You claim that the things we attribute to Him should make us abhor Him...why dont we? You poo poo Rom.9, you ought to humbly read it.

GH-5"Either God determined that I would write this or I did. It cannot be both[bolding mine]"
BB" Somewhere, someone once said: "You meant it for evil, God meant it for good""

Then later on:

GH-5 "Cute, Brad. Someone somewhere also said, "Let your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven"

Nice job of undermining your foundations, do you really think that the Lord's Prayer, contradicts what the Pharaoh's prime minister, Jacobs favorite son, Joseph said? You claim both cant be true...obviously both can...Jesus declared Josephs accounting authoritative when He approved the OT scriptures.

You really should address your propensity of defamation toward the scriptures [by the careless treatment you give them].

On a final note, you mock WL's responses by using his language, ie being reasonable, orthodox, logical, etc... but you dont show any of these. Just stringing words together in responses isn't helping you in the least.

Goat Head,

What god would create a human race, with the potential for the monstrous sins history has born out, and then refuse to control it? How moral would this be in your estimation? How could a god such as this be good?

Or, what would you think of a scientist who created WMDs in the hallway of an orphan asylum? And then when they went off, he would shrug his shoulders and simply say “sorry”; that once set into motion, things were beyond his control?

In your efforts to make God over into your liking, you produce something far worse than those who champion God's sovereignty, and his use of human sin for higher good.


****alert****GH-5, in case you missed it, it'd be good to address WL's insightful remarks toward you.

"So, for instance, if God's planning determines an event, His foreknowledge cannot. If any form of theological determinism is true, then causal determinism cannot be true."[bolding mine,BB]

You really would benefit to consider this proposition, but not from a tit for tat context looking solely for a comeback answer. Is it really true that divine determinism is exclusive of causal determinism?

So, GH-5 if it be so that the doctrines that support divine determinism must lead to God being a tyranical bully, why does WCF chapter 5 say these things:

"1. God the great Creator of all things doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by his most wise and holy providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will, to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.

2. Although, in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first Cause, all things come to pass immutably, and infallibly; yet, by the same providence, he ordereth them to fall out, according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.

3. God, in his ordinary providence, maketh use of means, yet is free to work without, above, and against them, at his pleasure.

4. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God so far manifest themselves in his providence, that it extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men; and that not by a bare permission, but such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding, and otherwise ordering, and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to his own holy ends; yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the creature, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.

5. The most wise, righteous, and gracious God doth oftentimes leave, for a season, his own children to manifold temptations, and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and, to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends.

6. As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as a righteous Judge, for former sins, doth blind and harden, from them he not only withholdeth his grace whereby they might have been enlightened in their understandings, and wrought upon in their hearts; but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had, and exposeth them to such objects as their corruption makes occasions of sin; and, withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan, whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, even under those means which God useth for the softening of others.

7. As the providence of God doth, in general, reach to all creatures; so, after a most special manner, it taketh care of his church, and disposeth all things to the good thereof.

Why would we who know Him as Lord of all things, even Lord over evil, love and worship Him and at the same time not attribute toward Him even an ounce of ownership of sin?

It is because we know His love and kindness toward us--who rightfully deserved His wrath, and continually hated Him until He acted in mercy toward us. It is because the pain He endured to pay for sin, all the while having known from the foundation of the world that He created the angel of light that would pridefully fall and lead a mass of angels and humanity to do terrible evil and that Jesus would bear the cost for it.

It's not as you suppose, that divine determinism makes God wicked, that God uses evil at no cost to Himself, as if He were insulated from it.

Simple, really. God obviously has the power, knowledge, etc, to control everything if He wanted to, as far as I can tell.
To control everything if one wants to is exactly the same thing as to control everything. That's the simple truth that you fail to grasp.
I don't have the comprehensive knowledge of God's attributes that you and Brad think you have.
I can't speak for Brad, but I don't claim to have comprehensive knowledge of anything. I just claim to know what the word "all" means.
He just chooses not to.
He chooses not to what? Have all-power? Have all-knowledge? Have all-wisdom? Being in control, is not some extra thing God does with His power and knowledge and wisdom. It's something that simply follows from those attributes. For God to choose not to be in control is the same thing as his choosing to fall short in one or more of those areas.
Heaven is the place where His will is always done, not Earth.

Because...Jesus...Lord's prayer.

You realize, I hope, that this is a really silly argument. God calls on us...in that same prayer...to pray for all sorts of things that are so whether we pray for it or no. Is God's name hallowed only if we pray for it? Or is it hallowed whether we pray for it or not? Will his kingdom come only if we pray for it? Or will it come whether we pray for it or not?

The fact that Jesus tells us to pray that the Father's will be done on Earth is no argument whatever for the idea that His will is not always done on Earth. Indeed, the argument probably goes the other way. His will is done on Earth whether we pray for it or not, just as His name is hallowed and His kingdom will come, and our daily bread is provided and our sins are forgiven and on and on.

Wow, quite a torrent of replies. I seem to have touched a sensitive spot here. Wish I had time to address it all.

Brad:
"So, GH-5 if it be so that the doctrines that support divine determinism must lead to God being a tyranical bully, why does WCF chapter 5 say these things:"

Because the WCF is wrong. The Koran says lots of things too.

And WL,

"To control everything if one wants to is exactly the same thing as to control everything. That's the simple truth that you fail to grasp."

Well, no. I don't grasp it because it isn't true. And so on with the rest. We are completely apart on what follows. And you completely interpret the LP through you systematic theological grid. It warps and twists your whole view of the Bible.

But. Peace. I've said what I needed to say.

Goat Head 5

Goat Head,

Can you come out and say,

“God lacks control over X. X is something that even if God wanted a different outcome as it relates to X, He could not, simply by His nature (and X’s qualities), bring about that outcome.”

If you cannot say this, the result should be obvious. God would inherently lack power in the above. Go ahead, take a stab at it. Realizing that you are fooling yourself would be a favorable outcome of the exercise.

Well, no. I don't grasp it because it isn't true.

Ohhhh! Now I get it. What I said isn't true. If only I had known!!! Devastating reply.

Please give one example of someone who can completely control something if he wants to, but who isn't thereby in control.

My guess is that all your examples (if you even have any) will be cases where an individual could prevent something, had he wanted to, but doesn't or cases where an individual could have made something happen, had he wanted to, but doesn't.

In other words, every case you bring up where a person could have been in control, had he wanted to be, will be a case where the individual was in control, but chose not to control things in a particular way, allowing them to proceed in a different way...a way that was also in his control, but a control exemplified by restraint.

Either that, or your examples will be instances of individuals who simply lack control in the first place, whether they want it or not.

Goat Head 5, there is a fundamental [and universal] problem with people who retreat back to general ad hominem rebuttals like you dished out to dave, WL, and I...the problem is you either cannot reason logically or you refuse to[cant or wont, as in your ignoring KWM].

At any point, you could interact with the incoherency being pointed out to you regarding the view that for some reason you are tenaciously clinging to although you haven't provided even 1 substantial logical or theological argument to show why.

We who know God is sovereign over all things, acknowledge His use of secondary causality and that He makes use of means to accomplish His ends, adjure you to wrestle with what is plainly in front of you....wrestle logically first since you dont trust biblical interpretation. You ought to at least see that what you claim to be so is, by proofs. Or see that it is incoherent... so you can move forward...if only you were willing.

GH5:

I appreciate your effort here.

The old school deterministic monolithic-it sort of god which you are (rightly) contesting is this:

1. If P were in S, P would do A.
2. If P were in S, P would not do A.


1. If Adam were in S, he would obey God.
2. If Adam were in S, he would not obey God.


To quote: “Since God knows what each of them would do in every possible situation, he gets to decide, so to speak, what the upshot will be – which world will be actual.”


But scripture tells us that it is not "S", not Time/Circumstance which Man is presented with, but, rather, Man is confronted, only, with God, with that odd landscape of the fully singular, fully triune Self-Other-Us.


Man is Free within Self/Other, within "G", not within Time/Circumstance, not within "S".

Man chooses which world is actualized..... But it doesn't matter, as both choices lead to the same Means/Ends which end up being, either way, nothing less than God Himself. Romans 5 closes the (non-universalism) loop of All-Men made right, of the Circle/Whole, which is what God knows/sees and which truly is left in Man's choice, a choice which does not, either way, thwart God's Means/Ends. Universalism fails as it too strips Love of that Freedom of motion amid Self/Other, and, Scripture tells us that, though made Right, though Grace outperforms Time/Circumstance and brings All Inside, some, though tasting/seeing, do/will, regardless, choose Self. Those who like to say "God knew" are like those who like to say Scripture condones sexism because it says "women submit", but they never take the time/effort to add in "submit one to another". The old-school is a half-a-story sort of crowd when it comes to God's knowing/seeing.


There is no "S", no "Time/Circumstance" of God's choosing which ends the regress. God chooses Man, and He gives to Man Himself and there the regress ends.


"S" is the old-school deterministic monolithic-it sort of god.


There is only "G" / God Himself. And more specifically, the Triune God and Man in that odd Self/Other Image.


Go there......


"Should have been otherwise" and "could have been otherwise" are each left fully intact and thus Willed-Not is plainly and coherently Actually Actualized here inside of Man's chosen actualization of Privation. We can say of Evil that God never did Will it, never did choose which world is actualized. How could He have? All that He gave Man was Himself.


Of note, this is only coherent within the Christian Frame which houses the necessary triune Self/Other/Us landscape in which Man finds that Self/Other Freedom to roam within. In Eden Man finds all possible worlds.


All that is left, then, is this:


Create / Not Create.


To which we say:

The Greatest Being is that fully singular, that fully triune Self-Other-Us Who just is Love’s E Pluribus Unum, Who just is Love Himself, and, the Greatest End is Love, and, the Greatest Ethic is therefore Love. Inside of Love’s Triune Self-Other-Us God is wholly Free to motion [into / out-of] all that is Self-Other (fear not for in Him Alone the Pure Self is but the Great I-AM) and such is the Highest Good/Ethic. Such is Love. In that Image Man is made. There is no Higher Ethic. And here we come to two roads. First, it is better to Beget Love than to Beget Nothing. Second, we speculate that it seems Love never has not-begotten Love within Himself, in Whom the Self is Eternally Poured-Out, in Whom the Other is Eternally Filled-Up, as Love’s Embrace is timelessly thus Begotten/Actualized within the Immutable E Pluribus Unum. Love begets Love, ad infinitum, and, it is unclear if we are a “first” of such Acts, but it may be plausible that there never was a “First” of such Acts nor will there ever be a “Last” of such Acts, for such Living Water never does cease to flow.

The comments to this entry are closed.