Archive for January, 2021


January 31, 21

Watch me torpedo the majority of systematics.

James White says that it’s either Calvinism or Open Theism. (His aim is to shame people into Calvinism):

Youtuber ‘Man Centred Pelagian’ says it’s either Hyper-Calvinism or Open Theism. (His aim is to scare people into Open Theism)

They don’t go far enough.

It’s either Fatalism or Open Deism. (Not a typo, keep reading)

  • If Hard Determinism or Compatibilism is true, God has set what we will decide directly or through secondary means influecing our wants. Hence, Fatalism.
  • If LFW is true, God know exactly what circumstances to place us in to get His desired results from us ‘freely’. Hence, Fatalism.
  • “Aha!” says the Open Theist. “In my worldview, God doesn’t know the future and hence it is not set. Therefore…”
    Well, in Open Theism God still intervenes in present time to make things happen how He wants?
    “Well, yes, but…”
    Hence, Fatalism. Especially if you’re the sort of Open Theist who DOES affirm that God uses deterministic mind control to make certain prophecies come true.
  • The only alternative is Open Deism, where God neither knows the future nor intervenes in Creation once it has been set up. This way, we are truly free. The freedom of total chaos and anarchy (which is one way people have defined hell).

Now, I’m sure there are good responses to this perceived dilemma. Logical fallacy, modal fallacy, category error, whatever.

I set the bomb, you can defuse it.

Why Have Crucifixion if Only Christus Victor?

January 31, 21

So Greg Boyd argues against Penal Substitution because God is love, why would God need to punish instead of just forgiving, etc.

But if God doesn’t need or intend to have punishment for sin and Christus Victor is the only facet of atonement, then why does Christ die at all? God could just have had Jesus punch death and Satan in the face or something.

See also: William Lane Craig on Different Views of the Atonement

Passages That Exclude Divine Determinism

January 31, 21

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13

FIRSTLY, this verse says that whenever there is a temptation to sin, there are two real choices available to us: Sin, or way of escape. This is the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP) – the ability to choose between multiple choices, to do or not do, to ‘do otherwise’. If PAP is true, then it is sufficient to prove LFW. (For comparison: Under Compatibilism, there is only ever one real choice – the greatest desire.)

SECONDLY, 1 Cor 10:13 promises that there always is a way of escape when sin tempts us. But in everyday life, Christians often choose sin instead of the way of escape.

Now think about it carefully: WHO is it who actually ‘chose’ sin instead of ‘chose’ the way of escape?

If there is no LFW, then God is the one who caused the Christian to choose sin e.g. by using Determinism (directly) or Compatibilism (indirectly, via secondary causes).

That means 1 Cor 10:13 becomes false – there WAS no actual way of escape for that time when the Christian sinned, because God determined that the Christian MUST fall into sin. God did NOT provide a real way of escape, it was barred off by God Himself. (See also: COMPATIBILISM, LFW, REAL OPTIONS & 1 COR 10:13)

It also makes these passages false:

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, AND HE HIMSELF TEMPTS NO ONE. – James 1:13

For all that is in the world — the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life — IS NOT FROM THE FATHER but is from the world. – 1 John 2:16

Since God and the Bible are not liars, therefore the conclusion is that we have LFW, and whenever we choose to sin it is because we freely chose to sin – despite God providing a real and open way of escape.

Now compare 1 Cor 10:13, James 1:13 and 1 John 2:16 to what John Calvin says in the image:

As for other passages, if God did not decree or command the following, then where is God’s determinism causing these people to choose evil things?

And the LORD said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I DID NOT SEND THEM, NOT DID I COMMAND THEM OR SPEAK TO THEM. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, AND THE DECEIT OF THEIR OWN MINDS. – Jeremiah 14:14

(From their own minds and not from God? You mean, like LFW?)

Because the people have forsaken me and have profaned this place by making offerings in it to other gods whom neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah have known; and because they have filled this place with the blood of innocents, and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, WHICH I DID NOT COMMAND OR DECREEE, NOR DID IT COME INTO MY MIND – Jeremiah 19:4-5

They built the high places of Baal in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, THOUGH I DID NOT COMMAND THEM, NOR DID IT ENTER MY MIND, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin. – Jeremiah 32:35


January 30, 21

Okay what each of us interprets the Bible as teaching aside for the moment.

How is this analogy for LFW and what might be its shortcomings and possible improvements?

If you’ve used Microsoft Teams especially to discuss with IT personnel on solving a technical problem, you might have used the Give Control feature. By pressing it, you are Sharing Control over your computer to the person on the other end of the conversation. You now can see them as they open and close folders and programmes on your computer to dig up the problem and find a solution. You can even do things simultaneously or parallel with them, or work together on the same item. And at any time, you can cancel it by pressing Take Back Control. (

So in this analogy, God is doing a Teams chat with every individual person. The earth is God’s PC and He chose to click Give Control to humans (eg. Genesis 1-3: God gives humans dominion over the earth and animals, lets Adam name the animals, gives the choice to obey or disobey – all prerogatives that rightfully belong to God as sovereign Creator; and Psalm 115:3,16).

At any time, He can withdraw this privilege (eg possibly with Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar) because our agency is ultimately contingent and dependent upon God’s sovereign permission.

Hence, as this analogy attempts to demonstrate, under LFW models God is no less sovereign (in authority, having all power) than under Deterministic models. It is the all-authority, all-powerful, all-sovereign God who decides whether or not to delegate agency to whomsoever He sovereignly wishes.

Judas and Libertarian Free Will

January 30, 21

I hold that Judas Iscariot had the real choice to betray Jesus or not – if not at the very moment he was standing before the Jewish leaders, then at many moments prior to it.

As some proponents of LFW have said, Judas’ decisions were likely gradual, repeated and cumulative – a bit of theft here, some arrogance and derision there – to the point where he had corrupted himself enough that he would even consider betraying a friend to death. Compare it to an alcoholic – he didn’t get that way overnight with one wrong decision. He made bad decisions multiple times over the course of his life. That is why although the drunk driver was not fully aware at the exact moment he rammed into those kids, he is still held responsible under the law – his own actions led to the point where he lost sobriety.

(Note: LFW does not require or state that we have full agency all the time – often we can make unconscious decisions, such as which side of the double swinging doors to push open at the petrol station shop.)

Now although Acts 1:16 mentions Judas by name, this is referencing back to what already happened – the OT prophecies about betrayal are not specific to any one named person.

I have speculated before, what if it had not been Judas who betrayed Jesus? Who would a good candidate be? I decided on Simon Zelotes – the zealots were nationalist rebels, perhaps he would have handed Jesus over out of disappointment at his pacifist rabbi’s reluctance to rile up the crowd, or hoped the desperate moment would force Jesus to use His powers offensively. (NB: Some speculate that Iscariot actually refers to the Sicarii, an even more extreme rebel group.)

The point of my mentioning the above, is that not everyone in Jesus’ group would have actually betrayed Jesus if given the chance. Some room has to be given for the person’s upbringing (which is impacted by God’s actualization of a world), but we can’t know how much.Now an expected objection is that, since it was prophesied that Messiah must be betrayed, then SOMEBODY must ‘get the short straw’ – to continue the thought experiment, in our actualized world Judas got ‘unlucky’ while Simon Zelotes got ‘lucky’.

On that, although I don’t yet have a fully satisfactory answer, I hold that (as in the ‘Would X have betrayed Jesus?’ thought experiment) EVERYONE has a real choice. So if you don’t want to ‘be actualized’ to betray Jesus, THEN DON’T DECIDE TO BETRAY JESUS!

Of every human soul to ever exist, God would NOT have considered some of them to betray Jesus – because under any circumstance, they would not betray Jesus.

PS. I owe a lot to the videos of philosopher LFW proponents such as Tim Stratton, Braxton Hunter and Eric Hernandez.

Adventures in Over-Literalism #1 – John the Baptist

January 27, 21

As Dr Michael Heiser puts it at 16:30 of the following:

“I’m a comic book fan and a science-fiction fan and all this stuff. So when I when I talk about metaphor, I like to ask this question: What would your Bible study group be like if it was led by Drax the Destroyer? Because he doesn’t comprehend what metaphor is. Everything is literal, okay? If you’ve seen Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s comical, it’s funny. … It’s so ridiculous that there’s this character who cannot comprehend metaphorical language.

And we have been trained to not see anything in Scripture other than this rigid wooden literalism, and it leads us to goofy views. It distracts us from things that are really important to see, and we misapply Scripture.”

Dr Heiser is referencing this scene in particular, of course:

“His people are completely literal, metaphors are gonna go over his head.”

“Nothing goes over my head. My reflexes are too fast. I will catch it.”

And so I made a Drax version:


January 25, 21

Let’s be honest and real, every mainstream Christian systematic affirms that God is fully sovereign – not just Calvinists. God has the ultimate authority and omnipotence, and if God wishes something to happen then there is no power that can stop His will.

So the real question is: WHAT does the sovereign God want?

It’s not difficult to find out, it’s throughout the whole Bible. Just turn to the very start and see:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” … And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” … Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. – Genesis 1:26 & 28, 2:19

Who created the earth and every living thing, and thereby has full sovereign rights over them? Of course it is God. He maintains all of creation, from permitting the next breath of every animal to holding the very atoms together.

But what did the sovereign God choose to do? The Bible is clear: God sovereignly chose to delegate earthly stewardship and mastery to humankind. God sovereignly invited Adam to name the creatures that He created. It pleases God to allow His imagers – His children – partnership and participation in His sovereign affairs. Real agency, real free will, a real choice to obey and love Him (or to disobey and hate Him).

Or will you say that the sovereign God CANNOT delegate some of His authority – that in this case, He CANNOT do whatever He sovereignly pleases? WHO ARE YOU O MAN TO TALK BACK TO GOD?

“Our God is in the heavens; He does all that he pleases… The heavens are the LORD’s heavens, but the earth he has given to the children of man.” – Psalm 115:3,16

How Do You Violate the Inviolable?

January 21, 21

Behold an an attempted meme by a Calvinist:

Wait, if God is sovereign then how do we even ‘disobey’? 🤔🤔🤔

The answer is that this attempted meme is a Fallacy of Equivocation on the word ‘sovereignty’, and even a lesser case on ‘violate’.

Top is when we violate (disrespect) the position of God by breaking His laws for us. Sovereignty refers to God’s status that requires respect.

Bottom is when God allegedly uses alleged Irresistible Grace to violate (override) our will. Sovereignty refers to our self-agency.

Always watch out for common Calvinist logical fallacies!

CALVINISM: It Just Works

January 19, 21

(Note: Since the original manga is Japanese, it is meant to be read top panel, then bottom-right panel, then bottom left panel. But putting “You just don’t understand it!” last works well too!)

Source art and explanation at here.

Explanation of the meme is here.

No, you probably still won’t understand it. All as God decreed!

PS. The whoareyouoman just kills me.

James White, the Provisionist

January 18, 21

See also related:

Calvinism is Unliveable in Daily Living



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