Archive for September, 2020

DETERMINISTIC CALVINISM, OPEN THEISM & ATHEISTIC FANG

September 30, 20

For this exercise, we begin with ASSUMING the first premise is true:

1) If God knows the future, we don’t have actual free will (because the future is already set).

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Now we examine two different sets of premise+conclusion.

We start with Set A:

2) God knows the future.
3) Conclusion: Therefore, we don’t have free will.

The above is what deterministic Calvinists argue. The Calvinist panelist Chris Date says as much from 12:30 onwards:

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Next, we look at Set B:

2) We have free will.
3) Conclusion: Therefore, God does not know the future.

The above is the position of Open Theism.

As you can see, both Sets hinge upon Premise 1 actually being true. Hence why it has been stated that Deterministic Calvinism and Open Theism are two sides of the same coin. They just reject different premises that flow from that first Premise 1. (For this post, I’m not going to delve into whether Premise 1 is true, and hence whether Sets A and B are correct.)

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Related to the these two Sets and still maintaining the assumption of Premise 1, the following is an atheist twist on it – Dan Barker’s FANG, the Freewill Argument for the Nonexistence of God:

1) If God knows the future, then HE doesn’t have actual free will (because the future is already set).
2) God knows His own future.
3) Therefore, God doesn’t have free will.

TBH I feel this is a silly argument. God cannot change His decisions cos He knows the future? That’s reversing cause and effect. If God changes His decision, the future will change contingent upon God’s choices.

It’s almost like saying just because I know what I want to do in the next 10 seconds, therefore I have no free will. (???)

PELAGIUS WAS A HERETIC!!!

September 30, 20

Check your Argumentum ab Auctoritate.

See also:

GUESS I’M A SEMI-PELAGIAN:

guessimsemipelagian

GUESS I’M A SYNERGIST:

guessimsynergist

GOD, BATMAN & PROFESSOR X

September 29, 20

Okay I need to make a comics-nerd related rant.

I keep running into determinists who just cannot comprehend or accept the notion that God can know the future or carry out His plans without resorting to exhaustive, meticulously determined mind control. It’s as if free will somehow negates God’s sovereignty.

That means that they consider God to be less capable than Batman.

The World’s Greatest Detective is so well known for his skillful ability to analyze and predict his opponent’s next moves – DESPITE THEM HAVING FREE WILL – that he has a TVTrope page named after ‘Batman Gambit’.

See example here, with the key reveal of Batman’s ploy at 2:55 onwards:

So if Batman can almost-perfectly predict the future and get people to do what he intended using mundane methods – NO PROFESSOR X TYPE MIND CONTROL USED – then why is it so difficult to grasp the notion that the perfectly omniscient God can do it so, so much better despite the free choices of people?

And speaking of Professor X, while on the same line of reasoning:

Real life case in point:

Seriously, why does God have to use mind control to achieve things? Can’t God use inanimate objects (storm) or nonsentient creatures (big fish) to persuade people to change their own minds (Jonah), something we do every single day with fellow humans? Molinism runs on this premise of God controlling events to persuade people to freely choose certain things.

PS. Batman analogy is also in MERE MOLINISM EXPLAINED IN 3 SUPERHERO SCENES

FREE THOUGHTS, BUT NO FREE WILL?

September 29, 20

So there’s this guy who told me that:

1) We have free thoughts;
2) But not free will, God orders our steps.

I am trying to parse the difference between the two but don’t mind some help.

I thought of scifi and fantasy analogies to try and pin down the concept:

  • Alita Battle Angel, where the bad guy dissects your brain and eyes out into a life support jar – the victim can perceive and think, but not act.
  • HalfLife 2, where if a headcrab parasites onto you, the victim is fully aware of what horrors his mutated body is forced to do but cannot act otherwise, since the alien has hacked into his spinal cord.
  • Dota2, where an arrogant wizard trapped himself inside the mind of the monster Naix. The latter has full control, the former can only go along for the ride as a disembodied mind.

But none of these actually stop the victim’s will from existing. They merely prevent the victim from carrying out anything with their will. They can still both think about their predicament, and will (want, wish, intend, desire) to try and escape it or have someone rescue them from it.

It’s a bit like the Calvinist bad argument, “You think you have free will? Then can you fly like a bird?” which conflates the intent to do something with the ability to carry it out.

(But the examples I give DO illustrate the existential horror of being sentient characters who cannot control anything about themselves or their lives, as in the ‘God is the novel writer’ analogy that some Calvinists use. We are all storybook characters, we cannot do other than what the author has already plotted out, BUT WE WILL BE FULLY AWARE OF THE ETERNAL SUFFERING IN HELL.)

MUSICAL STYLE – AN ARGUMENT FROM OBJECTIVE BEAUTY

September 28, 20

1) There is an objective standard of beauty.
2) If there is an objective standard of beauty, there must be a standard giver.
3) As the only absolute being, the Christian God is the standard giver of beauty.
4) Therefore, that which is closer to the Christian God is closer to the objective standard of beauty.
5) Music is part of the range of subjects that can be described as having beauty.
6) European Classical music arose from a Christian context with Christian motivations.

7) Therefore in conclusion, European Classical music is objectively more beautiful than any other genre. 😏

On a related note, here is William Lane Craig making some music recommendations:

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14:50 “…things like beautiful music and art and other experiences where we grasp the beautiful, put us in contact with a kind of transcendent reality beyond scientific naturalism.

Scientific naturalism can give you a description of the sunset, of the refraction of the light rays through the atmosphere and the dust and the geology of the surrounding countryside and silver. But it can’t do anything to capture the beauty of the sunset.

And so if we can capture glimpses of this transcendent realm of beauty and value, I think this will prepare our hearts for a transcendent reality like God.”

[You recommended some symphonies and some other things. What did you recommend?]

“Well, I recommended Dvorak’s New World Symphony which I think is just beautiful. And then Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade which has this violin that just weeps, it is so gorgeous when this refrain comes on with the violin. I find this kind of music just sublime.”

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And the compositions he mentioned as follows:

CHANGE MY DETERMINISTIC MIND

September 25, 20


TBH I’m surprised I never came up with it earlier.

For an explanation: WHY A CORRECT BELIEF DETERMINISM CANNOT BE RATIONAL

Related:

https://scottthong.wordpress.com/?s=determinism

DOES DETERMINISM ACTUALLY IMPACT ANYTHING?:

https://scottthong.files.wordpress.com/2020/05/wiseman.jpg?w=195&h=300




LAMENTATIONS 3 – THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOD WANTING EVIL & GOD ALLOWING EVIL

September 24, 20

All Christians believe that God controls all things. So how do we parse the difference from Calvinism, which says that since God controls all things then God also determines the evil desires and actions of people?

I found a stretch of passage that works well for this problem:

For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; For he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men. To crush underfoot all the prisoners of the earth, to deny a man justice in the presence of the Most High, to subvert a man in his lawsuit, the Lord does not approve. Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come? – Lamentations 3:31-38

So this passage is clear: God does control every circumstance like all Christians agree, but God DOES NOT APPROVE of the evil that is part & parcel of the actualized world. It is not from God’s ‘heart’ to cause these griefs.

If Calvinism were true, why would God not approve of what He Himself meticulously made people think and do? If He were not pleased by evil actions of humans, then He could simply causally determine them not to do those evil actions!

Ergo, the conclusion can only be that creatures are bestowed free will by God which necessarily includes the possibility of disobedience, rebellion and evil. God would prefer there be no evil, but this preference is obviously outweighed by His desire for true agency in His imagers. (Ref; CS Lewis’ ‘world of automata’ and Alvin Plantinga’s ‘more valuable world’.)

God is not the ‘author of evil’ (ref: John Calvin). God is the author of humanity and the author of human free will. It is humanity who chooses whether to author good or evil with our freedom. That is why the ‘most evil act in history’ – the Crucifixion – can be described in Acts 3:13-26 as planned out by God, but the responsibility for the evil placed on the humans who did it. God uses the evil intentions of men, he doesn’t cause the evil intentions (ref: Leighton Flowers).

Or as Braxton Hunter parses from 20:00 to 22:00…

In Calvinism we have a purpose according to God’s will. To achieve these purposes, God controls our actions (Hard Determinism) or our desires which lead to our actions (Compatibilism). This includes evil actions.

While in free will models that still affirm God’s sovereignty, God doesn’t WANT (prefer) the evil things that arise from the free will He grants us, yet can use them to achieve His goals.

LEIGHTON FLOWERS: “WE ARE SAYING IT WOULD BE UN-CHRIST-LIKE”

September 24, 20

In this debate on whether people can respond to the Gospel without an extra, mysterious, special, effective, additional work of the Holy Spirit to first regenerate them… Leighton Flowers has this to say at 62:10 onwards:

“He also mentioned God’s justice, and he talked about how sometimes we like to, you know, reject Calvinism because we feel that it does make God unjust. And there’s some truth in that.

But I want to bring some clarity to that point. We’re not saying that it would be unjust of God to pass by most of humanity and leave them without hope of salvation. Let me say that again, let it sink in. We’re not saying that it would be unjust of God to pass by most sinners, all sinners of humanity, and leave them without hope of salvation.

WE ARE SAYING IT WOULD BE UN-CHRIST-LIKE.

Jesus, the perfect representation of God, died for His enemies. He didn’t pass by on the other side of the road like the Levite or the priest, in the story of the Good Samaritan. He is kind and merciful, recognizably good. And what do recognizably good people do? They provide for those in need. They don’t pass by the other side of the road like God does for the mass of humanity on Calvinism.”

Or Jerry Wallis at 3:45 of the following:

“Does this resonate with your own careful reading of Scripture. Is the God who is revealed most clearly in Jesus a God who would pass over some of his fallen children and leave them in their sin … even though He could save them with their freedom intact?”

I can see a possible objection to parsing ‘God’ and ‘Christ’ being “God does not change, He is the same yesterday, today and forever”. On the other hand, the way God relates to humanity does change – the free grace of salvation through the Cross was not offered prior to Christ’s incarnation and crucifixion.

See also related on the topic of loving our enemies: LIKE OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN VS LIMITED ATONEMENT

EVOLUTION OF SPURGEON’S VIEWS

September 22, 20

The top quote as Darth Vader was at age 40.

Not sure when his famous ‘Calvinism is the Gospel’ quote was penned by him.



Image sources: https://beyondcalvinism.blogspot.com/2016/08/from-cage-stage-to-arminian-calvinist.html and https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=778978699559340&id=469894523801094

Was Spurgeon an Arminocalvinist? | Adrian Warnock

REFORMED SCHOLAR CHARLES CRANFIELD – ROMANS 9 IS ELECTION TO HISTORICAL FUNCTION, NOT SALVATION

September 22, 20

As mentioned by Arminian Ben Witherington III, the following excerpts from www.midamerica.edu/uploads/files/pdf/journal/01_venema_journal2015.pdf under ‘2.2.1. C.E.B. Cranfield’ (on page 26 of the PDF aka page 32 of the journal numbering):

See also what Calvinist scholar Douglas Moo concurs.

And of course, the ROMANS 9 – SUPERPOST on all related matters.


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