Archive for the ‘Soteriology’ Category

GOD’S KNOWLEDGE IS GREATER UNDER LFW THAN COMPATIBILISM

April 22, 21

Definitions I am using:

Compatibilism = An agent will always and only choose according to their greatest desire.

Libertarian Free Will (LFW) = An agent can (at least sometimes) choose from among a range of options, each compatible with their nature.

If Compatibilism is true, then there is literally (and definitionally) only ONE possible outcome at every decision juncture – the greatest desire. Hence, someone with good enough information and models could accurately or even perfectly predict the person’s choice – it is, in a manner of speaking, a known formula that can be calculated. Like a supercomputer conquering the stock market or weather forecasts – under Chaos Theory these things are only seemingly random, but if we knew every variable we could perfectly calculate the outcome.

So God (or a supercomputer) would just need to know the starting parameters of the universe, and then would perfectly predict the ONE outcome possible for every agent in existence ever, simply by calculating the greatest desire in each circumstance. There is literally (and definitionally) NO variance or chaos. There is also much less complexity as one goes further down the chain of intersecting choices, since they all have only one possible respective outcome at each juncture.

But if LFW is true, then no matter how ‘predictable’ all the influencing factors might seem to be, the agent can choose from among a range of options – there is (at least sometimes) the Principle of Alternative Possibilities, more than one possible real choice for the agent to decide upon. So a supercomputer could have perfect data and models from the start of the universe, but FAIL to predict the exact outcomes – because there is REAL variance and chaos. Desires are influences on, but not the cause of a choice. We don’t always choose according to the greatest desire.

Whereas God perfectly knows the outcomes despite the LFW choices of agents (all interacting and intertwining, mind you, increasing quadratically in complexity!) – because God has better than mere calculative algorithms, God has PERFECT MIDDLE KNOWLEDGE.

See also COMPATIBILISM, LFW, REAL OPTIONS & 1 COR 10:13.

Two Summaries That Reflect My View of Molinism, Soteriology

April 1, 21

Maybe my explanation is not fully formed, but the way I see it… If you don’t want to choose damnation in the actualized world, then DON’T CHOOSE DAMNATION!

God cannot/will not actualize a world that is not feasible with your choices. If you don’t choose damnation, God won’t actualize a world where you are damned. God is not to be blamed for your free choice.

I think this is what WLC means by ‘God plays the cards He is dealt’, He can’t actualize a world where you are damned if you never freely choose damnation in any world

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12:24 “All four of those possible futures are filled with free will. By selecting one of those possible futures and saying ‘I want this one to happen’, when God predestined that future, Jackie’s free will is still there. Jackie’s making choices and God’s making choices.”

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How natural it is, for example, for Believers, when knowing that their child was on board a particular ship, and learning that the ship has met a terrible calamity and sunk – with some passengers being lost and some others being rescued – to pray to God that their child is among the survivors. Is there any way to rationalize such behavior and render it non-blasphemous?

Modern modal logic again comes to the rescue. Remember, on traditional accounts, God is (along with being all-good) omniscient and omnipotent. God, being omniscient, will have known, since the beginning of time, that the parents would pray (at such and such a time) for the survival of their child. In particular, God would have known at the time of the ship’s sinking that the parents would pray sometime later, and God could have chosen to answer those prayers in advance of their being uttered. On this view, God is not changing the past at all; God is making the past one particular way among the infinite number of different ways it could have been. One must attend to the modalities. Under this view, God does not change the past from the way it was (which activity would be a violation of the principle of non-contradiction), but rather God makes one possibility (the child’s surviving) actual, and makes another possibility (the child’s perishing) nonactual. There is no violation of the principle of non-contradiction, and the parents’ prayers are not blasphemous.

And it bears emphasizing that it is not God’s knowing beforehand that the parents would pray in a certain manner that ‘brings it about’ (‘necessitates’, ‘forces’) their praying that way. It is, quite the contrary: it is the parents praying of their own free will that God have saved their child from death that moves God to do (have done) as he did.

CHART: RANGE OF HUMAN NATURE & LFW ACCEPTANCE OF THE GOSPEL

March 30, 21

LFW states that we can choose from among a range of options, each compatible with our nature (Stratton’s definition).

Let me use this chart from Hunter x Hunter as my illustration (this is what you get when you mix manga + philosophy).

May be an image of text that says 'MAX D c M/N'

I’ve added a red tick and line at the middle. Say this line represents the level of ‘goodness’ of one’s human nature necessary to freely accept the Gospel. The vertical columns represent the ups and downs of our life existence – our mood can vary from day to day, our nature can change over the years of experiences and cumulative choices.

Now, E and B don’t look like they would ever freely accept the Gospel even on the best of days! Drop them a promotion and big raise and they also win the lottery, their nature still can never reach ‘high’ enough that they would freely accept the Gospel. They just don’t want to.

C usually wouldn’t freely accept the Gospel, but could on a good day or year.

A and D are very likely to freely accept the Gospel, unless their ‘want’ levels are kicked down real low – say by a nonstop series of unfortunate events that make them question the existence of a maximally great being.

Soteriological views as applied onto this model:

Arminianism says that God’s Prevenient Grace shifts EVERYBODY up high enough that they all can touch that red line and accept or reject the Gospel.

Calvinism says that God’s Irresistible Grace only selects SOME PEOPLE, but shifts them so high up that the bottom of their column is above the red line, it is impossible for them to not say yes to the Gospel.

Provisionism says that the red line is drawn too high up, EVERYONE still retains enough of their Imago Dei to freely accept (or reject) the Gospel.

Opinions and sharpening of my iron & analogy are welcome.

200+ MEMES MILESTONE

March 25, 21

I’m past 200 original memes (collected at My Soteriological (and Other) Memes).

So I thought I could give a brief on how I made some of them. I’m using the free image editor ‘GIMP – GNU Image Manipulation Program’ which is pretty similar to Adobe Photoshop. As long as the program has Layers (different image parts kept separate so you can move them around freely), it’ll do.

But most of my memes are low effort ‘Take an image and slap text on it’ which you can do at https://imgflip.com/memegenerator lol!

Previously: 100+ SOTERIOLOGY MEMES

A SONG ABOUT PUPPETS ON STRINGS, THAT ISN’T ACTUALLY ABOUT DETERMINISM

March 25, 21

I made a meme about Determinism/Compatibilism using this song number, whereby everyone is being controlled by strings like puppets. Puppets, every movement controlled, no free will, geddit???

But now that I think about it, the message of the scene is actually more of describing how God works in Molinism.

Richard Gere’s lawyer character is getting the end result he desires from the press… Not by mind-controlling them, but by setting up events so that they freely react in the way he planned out (which he is confident will happen, since he has lots of experience in these kinds of ‘trial by media’).

The puppets-on-strings imagery is to convey how he’s manipulating everyone and controlling the outcome like a ‘puppet master’, but the term does not automatically imply meticulous determinism.

DR MICHAEL HEISER’S VIEW ON FOREKNOWLEDGE = DR STRANGE + BATMAN? (PLUS SOME PROF X)

March 23, 21

I’ve always felt Dr Heiser seems to lean closest to Molinism out of all the formally-defined systematics. For one, in a lengthy blog post where he describes various systems (https://drmsh.com/the-premises-of-universal-salvation/), Molinism is the only one he had nothing criticizing to say about.

Here he sounds like somewhere between Molinism and (voluntary non-knowing on God’s part type of) Open Theism. I will use my Superhero Analogy image to help explain.

5:00 He doesn’t need to predestinate every act. Humans can do what they want, what they’re free to do. And God will anticipate that [BATMAN], take it into account. He’ll foreknow these things [STRANGE] and He will steer everything toward the ends that He predestinated. All of this again it before the foundation of the world. [STRANGE]

5:22 Now human history progresses but I would look at it this way, all events are not predestinated [BATMAN] although some may be [STRANGE]. God is free to do that but all the end points are predestinated.

5:40 God influences the behavior of his human imagers who have freedom through other humans, through His spirit, through other non-human imagers like angels. God is actively at work every day moment by moment steering things to the ends that he wants, but he doesn’t need every event along the way to be predestinated for it to work [BATMAN]. That’s how big He is.

6:05 I would suggest this is a much bigger view of God because, you know, if everything is known and predestinated before the foundation of the world, I hate to put it this way but there’s a really little challenge in that. You need a greater mind a greater being to not do that [BATMAN] and still have everything lined up the way you want it.

11:00 I also acknowledge God can still awaken or quicken or regenerate people to enable them to believe. I believe that spiritually dead means dead not mostly dead. I don’t believe in Princess Bride theology. He can bypass people in that regard, God can decide to bypass people. [PROFESSOR X]

THE TULIP WAGER

March 16, 21

1) If TULIP is TRUE and we talk/act like it’s TRUE, people are saved or damned regardless so it doesn’t matter.

2) If TULIP is TRUE and we talk/act like it’s NOT TRUE, people are saved or damned regardless so it doesn’t matter.

3) If TULIP is NOT TRUE and we talk/act like it’s TRUE, people’s response to the Gospel is NEGATIVELY affected which matters. (Ref: Derek Webb, Matt W Cook, Megan Phelps, Edwin Curley, anyone who rejected Christianity after listening to James Whites or Reformed Christian Apologist brag that “God decrees rape for His glory & pleasure)

4) If TULIP is NOT TRUE and we talk/act like it’s NOT TRUE, people’s response to the Gospel is POSITIVELY affected which matters.



Ergo, the rational option is to always talk/act as if TULIP is NOT true. Which we actually see in practice, every time a Calvinist refrains from stating their true beliefs about TULIP during evangelism, or RC Sproul stating he preaches the ‘Whosoever Will’ message because he doesn’t know who is Elect.

Related: THE FREE WILL WAGER

IMPROV ACTING ANALOGY FOR MOLINISM

March 15, 21

Determinists (and those who are de facto Deterministic, but don’t realize it) often use the analogy of a storybook to describe how God has set up and meticulously, exhaustively controls all things. Examples offhand: Chris Date, Joe Rigney.

The problem I always have with this analogy is that fictional characters have no real agency, thoughts or emotions. They can’t have existential crises or angst over the waking nightmare that is their puppeted life.

I have a better analogy: Improvised acting. The director gives the general gist of what he wants to see in the scene, but lets the actors fill in the blanks however they see fit. Think of ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway’.Or even more fitting for Molinism, where the director has set up the background and props perfectly to achieve the reaction from the actors he predicts will result. A perfect example, the very first chestburster scene in Alien. NONE of the actors were warned that the baby alien was gonna burst out of the dead guy’s chest. They were genuinely freaked out when all the (REAL, ACTUAL, ORGANIC) blood splattered on their faces. Meanwhile director is recording everything, the scene turned out just as he planned.

Western Superhero & Comics Memes

March 15, 21

In a similar vein to my My Manga & Anime Soteriology Memes Collection, which is a subset of My Soteriological (and Other) Memes.

https://scottthong.files.wordpress.com/2020/10/calviprofx.jpg?w=500
https://scottthong.files.wordpress.com/2020/10/evilmuchworse-1.png?w=272
https://scottthong.files.wordpress.com/2020/10/muchworsehell.png?w=273
https://scottthong.files.wordpress.com/2020/10/reprobcoin.png?w=907
https://scottthong.files.wordpress.com/2020/11/tuliphanos.png
https://scottthong.files.wordpress.com/2020/11/infinitymolinist.png
https://scottthong.files.wordpress.com/2020/11/tuliphanostim.png
https://scottthong.files.wordpress.com/2020/11/infinitymolinisttim.png
https://scottthong.files.wordpress.com/2020/11/affirmdeterminism.png
https://scottthong.files.wordpress.com/2021/01/literalperfectiondrax.png
https://scottthong.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/reprobatewasborn.png

🎵 Who’s secretly willed us to sin?
It’s been Calvin’s god all along
Who’s been pulling every evil string?
It’s been Calvin’s god all along
He’s controlling us (Ha ha!)
So meticulous
That he determined your choices
And the decree is (The decree is)
Decree, decree, decree, decree
That’s the way he willed everything
Including that you sing this song
Thanks to Calvin’s god (Ha!)
Deter-mini-god
It’s been Calvin’s god all along 🎵
(And I willed DARK WORLD too!)

…Why can’t God just MAKE us understand what justice is, again?

March 12, 21

I’ve heard before (e.g. John Piper) that God needs to damn people, in order to show His attribute of justice.

My first response was, well why need billions in hell? Even one example will do.

But today I realized that, if God works irresistibly – including making people suddenly understand things they couldn’t before (misapplication of 1 Cor 2:14) – then why not just MAKE people understand what His justice is like, without the need for an object lesson?

The I in TULIP stands for Inconsistency.


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