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docrob57
July 21st, 2005, 10:02 AM
As there are numerous discussions/arguments going around these days on whether or not God has perfect exhaustive foreknowledge, and, if so, whether or not that negates the possibility of free will, I thought it might be helpful if we could step back and examine the question of what the various parties to the discussion mean by "free will."

My definition would be that a free will choice or behavior is one that is done without being forced by an external entity. For example, the decision whether or not to vote. In some countries, voting is required by law. Even in these circumstances, some choose not to vote, so some degree of free will is involved, however, if is much less a free choice than in the U.S. where no such legal requirement exists.

Note, that by my definition, a free will decision is not uncaused. A variety of factors go into free will decisions including, but not limited to, our relationship with God, our personality and psycholgical makeup, external circumstances, etc.

How does this compare to other views of free will?

Free-Agent Smith
July 21st, 2005, 10:35 AM
Doc I'd have to say from what I read in your post I pretty much agree with your definition.

docrob57
July 21st, 2005, 10:42 AM
Doc I'd have to say from what I read in your post I pretty much agree with your definition.

Well then, I guess it would be counter-productive to argue with you. :)

Clete
July 21st, 2005, 11:11 AM
Thomas P. Flint defines libertarianism (free will):

"Necessarily, for any human agent S, action A and time t, if S performs A freely at t, then the history of the world prior to t, the laws of nature, and the actions of any other agent (including God) prior to and at t are jointly compatible with S's refraining from performing A freely."
Thomas P. Flint, "Two Accounts of Providence," in Divine and Human Action, ed. T. V. Morris [Ithaca, N.Y. Cornel University Press, 1988], p. 175

So in english this is saying that whether caused or uncaused, influenced by nature or by other agents or neither, any performed action is not free if all of the factors that lead up to the action are not fully compatible with your having not done the action.

Resting in Him,
Clete

docrob57
July 21st, 2005, 11:14 AM
Thomas P. Flint defines libertarianism (free will):

"Necessarily, for any human agent S, action A and time t, if S performs A freely at t, then the history of the world prior to t, the laws of nature, and the actions of any other agent (including God) prior to and at t are jointly compatible with S's refraining from performing A freely."
Thomas P. Flint, "Two Accounts of Providence," in Divine and Human Action, ed. T. V. Morris [Ithaca, N.Y. Cornel University Press, 1988], p. 175

So in english this is saying that whether caused or uncaused, influenced by nature or by other agents or neither, any performed action is not free if all of the factors that lead up to the action are not fully compatible with your having not done the action.

Resting in Him,
Clete

First off, thanks for the English, I was getting a little puzzled. Okay, if I say "I went to bed at 10 because I was tired," was going to bed a free will decision?

Clete
July 21st, 2005, 12:19 PM
First off, thanks for the English, I was getting a little puzzled. Okay, if I say "I went to bed at 10 because I was tired," was going to bed a free will decision?
It was assuming that all the factors that preceded that action (the history of the world and your life in particular, and the forces of nature as well as the actions of all other agents including your family, God and everyone else) are all collectively compatible with your having not gone to bed at 10.

A really easy way to say it is that your action was free if you were really able to do otherwise.

Resting in Him,
Clete

docrob57
July 21st, 2005, 12:23 PM
It was assuming that all the factors that preceded that action (the history of the world and your life in particular, and the forces of nature as well as the actions of all other agents including your family, God and everyone else) are all collectively compatible with your having not gone to bed at 10.

A really easy way to say it is that your action was free if you were really able to do otherwise.

Resting in Him,
Clete

Hey, being convoluted and obscure is my schtick, knock it off! :)

Okay, let's assume that we were able to do otherwise, however, as a matter of habit, whenever I get tired to some given level of tiredness, I go to sleep. I don't have to, but I do, because I like to do it that way. Free will?

logos_x
July 21st, 2005, 12:32 PM
Obviously our "free" will is contingent upon how much choice we really have, and our ability.

In other words...what I might want to do, and what I can do...could be quite different things.

Try loving your nieghbor for a week or so...you'll understand what I mean soon enough.

docrob57
July 21st, 2005, 12:36 PM
Obviously our "free" will is contingent upon how much choice we really have, and our ability.

In other words...what I might want to do, and what I can do...could be quite different things.

Try loving your nieghbor for a week or so...you'll understand what I mean soon enough.

And the reason you assume that I do not love my neighbor is . . .

Anyway, in the scenario I have described, is that a free will choice or not?

logos_x
July 21st, 2005, 12:43 PM
It is a choice.

docrob57
July 21st, 2005, 01:48 PM
It is a choice.

Okay, I would like to hear more from Clete and/or others on the OT team about their view on this scenario.

Clete
July 21st, 2005, 02:18 PM
Hey, being convoluted and obscure is my schtick, knock it off! :)
It does make you feel sort of smarter than everyone else doesn't it! ;)
I like it! :Cletegetsthebighead:


Okay, let's assume that we were able to do otherwise, however, as a matter of habit, whenever I get tired to some given level of tiredness, I go to sleep. I don't have to, but I do, because I like to do it that way. Free will?
Sure! Predictability doesn't speak to freedom. As long as we are genuinely ABLE to do or to do otherwise we are free.

Are we in agreement here or what?

Resting in Him,
Clete

docrob57
July 21st, 2005, 02:28 PM
It does make you feel sort of smarter than everyone else doesn't it! ;)
I like it! :Cletegetsthebighead:


Sure! Predictability doesn't speak to freedom. As long as we are genuinely ABLE to do or to do otherwise we are free.

Are we in agreement here or what?

Resting in Him,
Clete

Yes, just wanted to make sure. OK, I like to translate sentences into equations. It is a sickness. The sentence is, "I went to bed because I was tired." This implies 2 variables, whether or not I go to bed (call it "Y") and how tired I am (call it X).

For simplicity sake, say both variables can take on 2 values:

Y = 1 if the choice is go to bed and = 0 if the choice is not to go to bed.
X= 1 if I am tired and = 0 if I am not tired.

So, the expression Y = X is equivalent to the sentence, and we agree the sentence describes a free will choice. Can I get an amen?

logos_x
July 21st, 2005, 03:14 PM
Yes, just wanted to make sure. OK, I like to translate sentences into equations. It is a sickness. The sentence is, "I went to bed because I was tired." This implies 2 variables, whether or not I go to bed (call it "Y") and how tired I am (call it X).

For simplicity sake, say both variables can take on 2 values:

Y = 1 if the choice is go to bed and = 0 if the choice is not to go to bed.
X= 1 if I am tired and = 0 if I am not tired.

So, the expression Y = X is equivalent to the sentence, and we agree the sentence describes a free will choice. Can I get an amen?

Amen...Mr. Data

docrob57
July 21st, 2005, 03:29 PM
Amen...Mr. Data

Thank you :)

Litebeam
July 21st, 2005, 05:16 PM
Here is the definition I have come to believe.



CHOICE:

God is the author and creator of every single event, every circumstance that allows men to “choose”. He knows what we will choose every time. He created our hearts. He created every single thing. Every circumstance, cause and event.



FREE WILL:

Free will assumes we can actually supersede God's will and do what we want. That we can thwart His plans and He must respond to us.



God has free will, we have choice.

docrob57
July 22nd, 2005, 08:38 AM
Okay, well the point of my initial example is this. We all agree that we are dealing with a free will choice here. However, it is clear that it is also a deterministic process. So much so that we can even express it as a simple equation. Amen to this?

Clete
July 22nd, 2005, 09:54 AM
Yes, just wanted to make sure. OK, I like to translate sentences into equations. It is a sickness. The sentence is, "I went to bed because I was tired." This implies 2 variables, whether or not I go to bed (call it "Y") and how tired I am (call it X).

For simplicity sake, say both variables can take on 2 values:

Y = 1 if the choice is go to bed and = 0 if the choice is not to go to bed.
X= 1 if I am tired and = 0 if I am not tired.

So, the expression Y = X is equivalent to the sentence, and we agree the sentence describes a free will choice. Can I get an amen?
Nope sorry. No amens from me on this one. I don't think it incorporates enough information. From this equation one would be able to draw the conclusion that you MUST go to bed at 10:00 if you are tired. If that is the case then it Y is not free.

Resting in Him,
Clete

Clete
July 22nd, 2005, 09:56 AM
Here is the definition I have come to believe.



CHOICE:

God is the author and creator of every single event, every circumstance that allows men to “choose”. He knows what we will choose every time. He created our hearts. He created every single thing. Every circumstance, cause and event.



FREE WILL:

Free will assumes we can actually supersede God's will and do what we want. That we can thwart His plans and He must respond to us.



God has free will, we have choice.

This is completely unacceptable. By this one would have to concede that God is indeed the direct creator of every single evil event that has ever taken place. God is not the author of evil and thus your position here is wrong.

Resting in Him,
Clete

docrob57
July 22nd, 2005, 10:01 AM
Nope sorry. No amens from me on this one. I don't think it incorporates enough information. From this equation one would be able to draw the conclusion that you MUST go to bed at 10:00 if you are tired. If that is the case then it Y is not free.

Resting in Him,
Clete

Fair enough, let's add a little further information to our model. Let's say that the choice is contingent. In words, "I go to bed when I am sufficiently tired, unless I prefer to do something else." Does this put us back in the realm of free choice?

In going through this exercise, please do not infer any information from the sentences that isn't there. Remember, you decided the sentence that we first started with was a free choice, however, the equation developed says the exact same thing. :)

defcon
July 22nd, 2005, 10:04 AM
This is completely unacceptable. By this one would have to concede that God is indeed the direct creator of every single evil event that has ever taken place. God is not the author of evil and thus your position here is wrong.

Resting in Him,
Clete Ok, so if God is not the author of evil - who is? Satan? Didn't God create Satan? Isn't Satan's action completely at the mercy of God (see the Book of Job here)?

Clete
July 22nd, 2005, 10:06 AM
Fair enough, let's add a little further information to our model. Let's say that the choice is contingent. In words, "I go to bed when I am sufficiently tired, unless I prefer to do something else." Does this put us back in the realm of free choice?
Contingent? You'll have to define that term more before I'll agree. There is a particular argument that hinges on this word and so I am a littel hesitent about it's use.
I would be sitified that it is a free choice as long as it is understood that the ability to do otherwise is real.


In going through this exercise, please do not infer any information from the sentences that isn't there. Remember, you decided the sentence that we first started with was a free choice, however, the equation developed says the exact same thing. :)
I said it was a free choice IF you could have done otherwise.

Resting in Him,
Clete

docrob57
July 22nd, 2005, 10:12 AM
Contingent? You'll have to define that term more before I'll agree. There is a particular argument that hinges on this word and so I am a littel hesitent about it's use.
I would be sitified that it is a free choice as long as it is understood that the ability to do otherwise is real.


I said it was a free choice IF you could have done otherwise.

Resting in Him,
Clete

By contingent I mean the person will go to bed when he is tired unless he wants to do something else The bolded part would be the contingency. It would seem that we have now incorporated the possibility of doing otherwise. Agreed? Or not.

There is a method to my madness here, but our discussions tend to suffer from lack of common perspective, so I am trying to produce common perspective here.

shadrach
July 22nd, 2005, 10:44 AM
So, lets see if thsi makes sense in laymans terms, since im a total n00b

Free will is supposedly negated by election, since God already knows those that will choose him and they are the elect, there fore meaning that they have no real freedom of choice.

So then thsi would mean that our actions are then guided and chosen by God; therefore meaning that God had Adam and Eve eat the apple, Cain murder Abel etc etc etc

Now here is my main question then: how does omnipotence turn into choosing for us? Isnt it more just God chose us, as he already knew we would choose him?

*feel free to bash me if im wrong, not better way to learn*

Just another :sheep:

docrob57
July 22nd, 2005, 10:57 AM
So, lets see if thsi makes sense in laymans terms, since im a total n00b

Free will is supposedly negated by election, since God already knows those that will choose him and they are the elect, there fore meaning that they have no real freedom of choice.

So then thsi would mean that our actions are then guided and chosen by God; therefore meaning that God had Adam and Eve eat the apple, Cain murder Abel etc etc etc

Now here is my main question then: how does omnipotence turn into choosing for us? Isnt it more just God chose us, as he already knew we would choose him?

*feel free to bash me if im wrong, not better way to learn*

Welcome Shadrach. I think that is a fair assessment of some of the positions represented. However, right now I am trying to arrive at a common understanding of free will with my brother Clete and whoever else may want to participate, including you, of course!

shadrach
July 22nd, 2005, 11:09 AM
Thanks, maybe Im starting to get the hang of all of this.

For me, Id think that free will started all the way back at Adam and Eve, as shown by them eating the apple. To me its akin of being a parent. If I leave my 5 year old son in the kitchen with candy sitting in front of him, hes got the choice of wether or not he eats it. But I KNOW hes going to, and still make that choice available to him to do the right thing. Eventually he learns, and doesnt eat the candy when that happens.

docrob57
July 22nd, 2005, 11:11 AM
Thanks, maybe Im starting to get the hang of all of this.

For me, Id think that free will started all the way back at Adam and Eve, as shown by them eating the apple. To me its akin of being a parent. If I leave my 5 year old son in the kitchen with candy sitting in front of him, hes got the choice of wether or not he eats it. But I KNOW hes going to, and still make that choice available to him to do the right thing. Eventually he learns, and doesnt eat the candy when that happens.

I agree with this, however, there are those who don't. I am trying to bridge the gap, and who knows, maybe it will happen!

shadrach
July 22nd, 2005, 11:18 AM
WOW!!!! U mean my thought process actually made sense to someone else:dizzy:

docrob57
July 22nd, 2005, 11:21 AM
WOW!!!! U mean my thought process actually made sense to someone else:dizzy:

Well, don't get too cocky, we will tear you to pieces soon enough. :)

shadrach
July 22nd, 2005, 11:36 AM
Well, don't get too cocky, we will tear you to pieces soon enough. :)

Well, thats kind of like taking candy from a baby.....

Anyway, cant there only be a limited amount fo views on free will? Essentially its either we have it or dont. There cant be a such thing as limited free will, because then it just wouldnt be free.

docrob57
July 22nd, 2005, 11:37 AM
Well, thats kind of like taking candy from a baby.....

Anyway, cant there only be a limited amount fo views on free will? Essentially its either we have it or dont. There cant be a such thing as limited free will, because then it just wouldnt be free.

We're getting there junior, just be patient.

Clete
July 22nd, 2005, 11:42 AM
By contingent I mean the person will go to bed when he is tired unless he wants to do something else The bolded part would be the contingency. It would seem that we have now incorporated the possibility of doing otherwise. Agreed? Or not.

There is a method to my madness here, but our discussions tend to suffer from lack of common perspective, so I am trying to produce common perspective here.
As stated, I see no problem with what you've said. So I think we are free to procede (I love punns! :D )

Resting in Him,
Clete

Clete
July 22nd, 2005, 11:48 AM
Thanks, maybe Im starting to get the hang of all of this.

For me, Id think that free will started all the way back at Adam and Eve, as shown by them eating the apple. To me its akin of being a parent. If I leave my 5 year old son in the kitchen with candy sitting in front of him, hes got the choice of wether or not he eats it. But I KNOW hes going to, and still make that choice available to him to do the right thing. Eventually he learns, and doesnt eat the candy when that happens.
I would have to disagree. But keep in mind that we have to keep a really tight rein on our terminology. I disagree with your statement based on my understanding of the word "know".

You cannot have known that you child would eat the candy. You definately did strongly suspect that he would and predicted his action with a very high degree of certainty but that is not what I mean by saying that one "knows" something.

For the purposes of this discussion I think that it is important that we distinguish "knowledge" as that which is known ABSOLUTELY. That is to say that if you know it, it cannot possibly be incorrect under any circumstance. Thus by this definition of knowledge if your child could have possibly done anything other than eat the candy then you did not know that he would. Do you see what I'm getting at here? Tell me if I need to clarify further.

So to answer your question about how does God's knowledge detroy free will, it does so by removing the abilty of an agent to do otherwise than that course of action which is known to God. Without the ability to do otherwise, there is no freedom.

Resting in Him,
Clete

docrob57
July 22nd, 2005, 11:56 AM
As stated, I see no problem with what you've said. So I think we are free to procede (I love punns! :D )

Resting in Him,
Clete

Okay, so lets make another equation. We will add a variable P1 that is = 0 when there is another preference and =1 when there is not. So the equation becomes -

Y = P1X

P can represent any number of other preferences (other things to do) up to infinity. To keep things simple, let's say there is only one other. P = 0 when I want to stay up to watch David Letterman, and 1 when I do not.

To demonstrate that we can incorporate any number of preferences, we will add one more. P2 = 0 when my wife is coming home late (and I want to visit with her) and P2=1 when she is not. So the equation now would be Y = X (P1P2). Again, moving up to infinity. the vector of preferences that could exist other than going to bed can be represented as Pn, with n = to the total number of possible preferences, so our general equation would be Y = PnX.

So again, we have a free will choice that is the product of a deterministic process. So what am I missing, if anything.

shadrach
July 22nd, 2005, 11:58 AM
Main Entry: free·dom
Function: noun
1 : the quality or state of being free: as a : the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action b : liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another c : the quality or state of being exempt or released from something onerous

Now, as I stated previously, the elect are the elect because God already knows what they will do, in other words, before we make our choices, our choices are already known. Nowhere in there is there implicit or even implyed lack of freedom.

Clete
July 22nd, 2005, 12:23 PM
Main Entry: free·dom
Function: noun
1 : the quality or state of being free: as a : the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action b : liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another c : the quality or state of being exempt or released from something onerous
Good enough.


Now, as I stated previously, the elect are the elect because God already knows what they will do, in other words, before we make our choices, our choices are already known. Nowhere in there is there implicit or even implyed lack of freedom.
This would be a topic for another thread but the two are mutually exclusive. By your own definition of freedom, either your theology about election is wrong or we do not have free will.

Resting in Him,
Clete

Clete
July 22nd, 2005, 12:24 PM
Okay, so lets make another equation. We will add a variable P1 that is = 0 when there is another preference and =1 when there is not. So the equation becomes -

Y = P1X

P can represent any number of other preferences (other things to do) up to infinity. To keep things simple, let's say there is only one other. P = 0 when I want to stay up to watch David Letterman, and 1 when I do not.

To demonstrate that we can incorporate any number of preferences, we will add one more. P2 = 0 when my wife is coming home late (and I want to visit with her) and P2=1 when she is not. So the equation now would be Y = X (P1P2). Again, moving up to infinity. the vector of preferences that could exist other than going to bed can be represented as Pn, with n = to the total number of possible preferences, so our general equation would be Y = PnX.

So again, we have a free will choice that is the product of a deterministic process. So what am I missing, if anything.

You lost me. Can you give me the english translation?

If I understand it (which I'm not sure that I do) then for any set of variables there must be more than one possible value for Y. If not them we do not have free will. This is why I posted that really technical definition earlier...


Necessarily, for any human agent S, action A and time t, if S performs A freely at t, then the history of the world prior to t, the laws of nature, and the actions of any other agent (including God) prior to and at t are jointly compatible with S's refraining from performing A freely.

Resting in Him,
Clete

docrob57
July 22nd, 2005, 12:34 PM
You lost me. Can you give me the english translation?

The English translation is "I go to bed when I am tired unless I have something else I would rather do" The purpose of the equation is to demostrate that this sentence can accurately be modeled as a deterministic process. The equation says the EXACT same thing as the sentence.


If I understand it (which I'm not sure that I do) then for any set of variables there must be more than one possible value for Y. If not them we do not have free will.

Yes, that's right.

Resting in Him,
Clete[/QUOTE]

Clete
July 22nd, 2005, 12:39 PM
The English translation is "I go to bed when I am tired unless I have something else I would rather do" The purpose of the equation is to demostrate that this sentence can accurately be modeled as a deterministic process. The equation says the EXACT same thing as the sentence.



Yes, that's right.
So how is it deterministic if the value of Y can have more than one value regardless of the variables in the equation?

shadrach
July 22nd, 2005, 12:45 PM
By your own definition of freedom, either your theology about election is wrong or we do not have free will.

I must be completely lost in what your trying to say, as I am not making the connection that you are. We are elected by the choices we will make, as God knows all, and already knows those that will or will not choose him. Some of us just had to take long convuluted despicable routes to get here.

docrob57
July 22nd, 2005, 12:48 PM
So how is it deterministic of the value of why can have more than one value regardless of the variables in the equation?


I'm glad you asked that! This gets us part of the way to resolving some of the semantic problems that have fettered our discussions. From my perspective, which is roughly a scientific one, a "deterministic process" is one whose causal antecedents can be specified. The opposite of "deterministic" would be "random."

The implication is that if we had knowledge of ALL the causal factors and their values at any point in time (1's or 0's in the simple example), then we could predict with perfect accuracy the outcome (whether or not I go to bed).

Clete
July 22nd, 2005, 01:15 PM
I'm glad you asked that! This gets us part of the way to resolving some of the semantic problems that have fettered our discussions. From my perspective, which is roughly a scientific one, a "deterministic process" is one whose causal antecedents can be specified. The opposite of "deterministic" would be "random."

The implication is that if we had knowledge of ALL the causal factors and their values at any point in time (1's or 0's in the simple example), then we could predict with perfect accuracy the outcome (whether or not I go to bed).
If so then it would not fit within my given definition and I would not accept it as free will.

docrob57
July 22nd, 2005, 01:25 PM
If so then it would not fit within my given definition and I would not accept it as free will.

But you already have! See your post #32. How does labeling it "deterministic" change things?

insolafide
July 22nd, 2005, 02:20 PM
As there are numerous discussions/arguments going around these days on whether or not God has perfect exhaustive foreknowledge, and, if so, whether or not that negates the possibility of free will, I thought it might be helpful if we could step back and examine the question of what the various parties to the discussion mean by "free will."

yeah, so many are confused by that concept. Ill be glad to give what I think is a proper definition.


My definition would be that a free will choice or behavior is one that is done without being forced by an external entity. For example, the decision whether or not to vote. In some countries, voting is required by law. Even in these circumstances, some choose not to vote, so some degree of free will is involved, however, if is much less a free choice than in the U.S. where no such legal requirement exists.

I would say that this definition has some flaws that would likely taken advantage of by some opponents of free will of the libertarian variety. (Sorry if I repeat anything that anyone has already said, i skimmed the thread but did not read the whole thing...)

The specification "by an external entity" - This leaves open possibilities that, to me, would remove free will. (1) Internal entities. a malfunctioning mind, for example. (2) Necessity of Nature. Compatibilists say that man has a particular nature which can only choose one course of action. So, say they are faced with a particular choice, they choose or not choose it by the nature that they have. This does not seem to be free will, since the word "free" denotes a non-compulsion at least, but following a definition of free will close to your own they say it is still free because nothing "external" forces their behavior.


Note, that by my definition, a free will decision is not uncaused. A variety of factors go into free will decisions including, but not limited to, our relationship with God, our personality and psycholgical makeup, external circumstances, etc.

Indeed, I would make the same caveat. An uncaused event is at least generally metaphysically troubling. We want to say that a free will decision is determined by the agent, and only the agent - this would not rule out influencing underdetermining factors (like beliefs, desires, God, etc).


How does this compare to other views of free will?

My view of free will:

An Agent, S, has free will in some set of circumstances C, just in case when S is in C, S has the causal power to choose some action (or choice) X, or to not choose it(~X). I do not think it is required that S in C be able to choose some other alternative Y, it is enough that S has the power to simply not choose X. Notice, this is the power of contrary choice (X or ~X). I would also clarify that "causal power" above does not exclude the working of divine graces on the will, only that the agent, when faced with the choice has the power to choose it or not choose it (however that power is attained).

This seems to be the kind of free will that the libertarian is after, since it leaves the agent responsible for their choice of the action. And lastly, this kind of free will is clearly implied by Paul in 1 Cor 10:13:

"No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God Ris faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." (NAS)

This is to say that a person when being tempted has the power to give into temptation, or take God's appointed way of escape and to not give into the temptation (X or ~X). Thus, this type of free will is a necessary feature of any Christian theological system.

peace,
jd

shadrach
July 22nd, 2005, 02:23 PM
Am i allowed to make rather long posts, like posting a sermon that I foudn that regards this exact topic?

insolafide
July 22nd, 2005, 02:26 PM
I'm glad you asked that! This gets us part of the way to resolving some of the semantic problems that have fettered our discussions. From my perspective, which is roughly a scientific one, a "deterministic process" is one whose causal antecedents can be specified. The opposite of "deterministic" would be "random."

I think this is untrue. The opposite of "deterministic" is "indeterministic" not "randomness". We do not want free will to be random, because an agent would not be responsible for any choice that was merely random.

I would suggest that agent causation is a unique kind of indeterministic event. It is not like the randomness we find in other kinds of indeterminism.


The implication is that if we had knowledge of ALL the causal factors and their values at any point in time (1's or 0's in the simple example), then we could predict with perfect accuracy the outcome (whether or not I go to bed).

This is not true if there are truly random or indeterministic outcomes or the agent-causation variety in the Universe. Quantum theory seems to suggest the first, and morality and ethics seem to suggest the second.

peace,
jd

insolafide
July 22nd, 2005, 02:28 PM
Am i allowed to make rather long posts, like posting a sermon that I foudn that regards this exact topic?

I, for one, would prefer you didnt (but I'm not a Mod so what do I know?). How about you just put it into your own words and link the article? It will leave the thread much cleaner. Im a neat person ;)

peace,
jd

shadrach
July 22nd, 2005, 02:34 PM
Well, its a sermon by Spurgeon regarding free will, that ive just read and was kida floored by :)

<a href="http://www.txdirect.net/~tgarner/chspur8.htm">Spurgeon Sermon</a>

Clete
July 22nd, 2005, 02:38 PM
The implication is that if we had knowledge of ALL the causal factors and their values at any point in time (1's or 0's in the simple example), then we could predict with perfect accuracy the outcome (whether or not I go to bed).
It isnt't the label that would make it not free it is what you've said in the above quotation. This is causal determinism and it is incompatible with free will UNLESS all of the causes of one performing a particular action are fully compatible with having not performed that action.

Resting in Him,
Clete

insolafide
July 22nd, 2005, 02:41 PM
Well, its a sermon by Spurgeon regarding free will, that ive just read and was kida floored by :)

<a href="http://www.txdirect.net/~tgarner/chspur8.htm">Spurgeon Sermon</a>

youve got to use UBB code on these forums, not HTML. Its hard to learn all the ins and outs. The UBB code for linking something is [URL=(PUT URL HERE)] (link name here) [close tag with / and then URL]

What was the general idea that Spurgeon was getting at in the Sermon (I have an idea, since He is Calvinist... but?), its nice to hear people explain things in their own words,

peace,
jd

AND as an aside, i think it is kind of silly that newbies cannot edit their posts. It seems to me that newbies are the ones who need this more than anybody. But luckily i just got the ability to edit, yay!

Clete
July 22nd, 2005, 02:47 PM
Am i allowed to make rather long posts, like posting a sermon that I foudn that regards this exact topic?
It's not unheard of for people to do such things but the admin's encourage people to make their own argument and keep the cutting and pasting to a minimum. This is not an iron clad rule or anything, it's not like they are going to ban you if you copy and paste but posting a link is better. Generally no one reads long posts anyway.

Resting in Him,
Clete

docrob57
July 22nd, 2005, 02:57 PM
It isnt't the label that would make it not free it is what you've said in the above quotation. This is causal determinism and it is incompatible with free will UNLESS all of the causes of one performing a particular action are fully compatible with having not performed that action.

Resting in Him,
Clete

Sadly I must go for now. Hopefully we can pick this up again on Monday. Have a great weekend! Tell Pastor Bob and the gang "hi" for me.

Rob

shadrach
July 22nd, 2005, 02:58 PM
Yeah, i was kinda unhappy I couldnt edit that...Im on so many forums it sometimes gets hard to remember what kind of code is used where.
Well I will quote a few parts of the sermon that I feel are rather pertinent:


It has already been proved beyond all controversy that free will is nonsense. Freedom cannot belong to will any more than ponderability can belong to electricity. They are altogether different things. Free agency we may believe in, but free will is simply ridiculous. The will is well known by all to be directed by the understanding, to be moved by motives, to be guided by other parts of the soul, and to be a secondary thing.

Philosophy and religion both discard at once the very thought of free will; and I will go as far as Martin Luther, in that strong assertion of his, where he says, `If any man doth ascribe of salvation, even the very least, to the free will of man, he knoweth nothing of grace, and he hath not learnt Jesus Christ aright.' It may seem a harsh sentiment; but he who in his soul believes that man does of his own free will turn to God, cannot have been taught of God, for that is one of the first principles taught us when God begins with us, that we have neither will nor power, but that he gives both; that he is `Alpha and Omega' in the salvation of men.

This is from the introduction to this sermon, and it actually kind fo sets me straight on some things. That actual free will cannot be true, because then our salvation ultimately would be of our own device.


You have heard a great many Arminian sermons, I dare say; but you never heard an Arminian prayer - for the saints in prayer appear as one in word, and deed and mind. An Arminian on his knees would pray desperately like a Calvinist. He cannot pray about free will: there is no room for it. Fancy him praying, `Lord, I thank thee I am not like those poor presumptuous Calvinists. Lord, I was born with a glorious free will; I was born with power by which I can turn to thee of myself; I have improved my grace. If everybody had done the same with their grace that I have, they might all have been saved. Lord, I know thou dost not make us willing if we are not willing ourselves. Thou givest grace to everybody; some do not improve it, but I do. There are many that will go to hell as much bought with the blood of Christ as I was; they had as much of the Holy Ghost given to them; they had as good a chance, and were as much blessed as I am. It was not thy grace that made us differ; I know it did a great deal, still I turned the point; I made use of what was given me, and others did not - that is the difference between me and them.'

That is a prayer for the devil, for nobody else would offer such a prayer as that. Ah! when they are preaching and talking very slowly, there may be wrong doctrine; but when they come to pray, the true thing slips out; they cannot help it. If a man talks very slowly, he may speak in a fine manner; but when he comes to talk fast, the old brogue of his country, where he was born, slips out.

I ask you again, did you ever meet a Christian man who said `I came to Christ without the power of the Spirit?' If you ever did meet such a man, you need have no hesitation in saying, `My dear sir, I quite believe it - and I believe you went away again without the power of the Spirit, and that you know nothing about the matter, and are in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity.' Do I hear one Christian man saying, `I sought Jesus before he sought me; I went to the Spirit, and the Spirit did not come to me'? No, beloved; we are obliged, each one of us, to put our hands to our hearts and say -
`Grace taught my soul to pray,
And made my eyes o'erflow;
`Twas grace that kept me of this day,
And will not let me go.'

Is there one here - a solitary one - man or woman, young or old, who can say, `I sought God before he sought me'? No; even you who are a little Arminian, will sing -
`O yes! I do love Jesus -
Because he first loved me.'

Then, one more question. Do we not find, even after we have come to Christ, our soul is not free, but is kept by Christ? do we not find times, even now, when to will is not present with us. There is a law in our members, warring against the law of our minds. Now, if those who are spiritually alive feel that their will is contrary to God, what shall we say of the man who is dead in trespasses and sins? It would be a marvelous absurdity to put the two on a level; and it would be still more absurd to put the dead before the living. No; the text is true, experience has branded it into our hearts, `Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life.'

Quite honestly, for me, that rather makes the entire concept a bit more palateable, and logical.

Litebeam
July 23rd, 2005, 12:18 AM
Clete




" ... I have created the waster to destroy." (Isa. 54:16).

"The LORD hath made all things for Himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil." (Prov. 16:4).

" ... I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction." (Jer. 4:6).

" ... Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people ... " (Jer. 6:19).

"And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets." " ... And He [God] said, ... go forth, and do so." (I Kg. 22:22).

"He [God] turned their heart to hate his people ... " (Psa. 105:25).

" ... Thus said the Lord; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you ... " (Jer. 18:11).

" ... For God locks up all together in stubbornness, that He should be merciful to all." (Rom. 11:32).

"O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear?" (Isa. 63:17).

" ... so shall the Lord bring upon you all evil things, until He have destroyed you from off this good land ... " (Josh. 23:15).

" ... shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord has not done it?" (Am. 3:6).

"I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace [good], and create evil: I the Lord do all these things" (Isa. 45:7).

"Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?" (Lam 3:38).

" ... an experience of evil hath God given to the sons of man to humble him thereby" (Ecc. 1:13).

" ... I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives..." (II Sam. 12:11).

"That which is molded will not protest to the molder, 'Why do you make me thus?' Or has not the potter the right over the clay, out of the same kneading to make one vessel, indeed, for honor, yet, one for dishonor?" (Rom. 9:19-25).





"That they may know from the rising of the sun and from the west, that I am the Lord, and there is none else, I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace and create evil: I THE LORD DO ALL THESE THINGS Woe to him that striveth with his Maker! Shall the clay [that's mankind] say to him that fashioneth it, what makest thou" (Isa. 45:6 -9).




John 1:3
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.






God is The Absolute Sovereign Lord Of All Creation, past, present and future. The Alpha and Omega. The beginning and the end. He is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. All of human history is transpiring according to His will. Everything.



" ... an experience of evil hath God given to the sons of man to humble him thereby" (Ecc. 1:13).






What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these things come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’ (Mark 7:20-23)


Our hearts are being tested. We will all be shown the truth of all scripture.


We will be shown that without God, we make very poor choices indeed.



GOD ISN’T EVIL, WE ARE.




He created each and every one of us and knows us so intimately that He knows what we will “choose” every single time.







CHOICE:

God is the author and creator of every single event, every circumstance that allows men to “choose”. He knows what we will choose every time. He created our hearts. He created every single thing. Every circumstance, cause and event.



FREE WILL:

Free will assumes we can actually supersede God's will and do what we want. That we can thwart His plans and He must respond to us.




God has free will, we have choice.

Litebeam
July 23rd, 2005, 12:33 AM
shadrach

You are on the right track. Free will is a delusion. The religious majority believe they chose God and are clothed in their own self righteousness.

Joh 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him:

Clete
July 23rd, 2005, 08:11 AM
Lightbeam,

Repeating you position does nothing to establish it and you can proof text till you're blue in the face but that won't help you either because your take on all your proof texts (most of which DO NOT speak to free will in the first place) is colored by your theology (theology being the 'logos of the theos' - the logic of or about God). And it is this logic about God that you have wrong.

There are two options.

1. God is righteous, just and holy and your theology is therefore wrong.

2. Your theology is correct and God is unjust and therefore unrighteous and not holy.

The basic objection you (and shadrach) are raising to the idea of free will is the notion that if I chose to believe in God that I have somehow saved myself. The two of you voiced it this way...

First shadrach quoted Spurgeon who himself quoted Luther...

`If any man doth ascribe of salvation, even the very least, to the free will of man, he knoweth nothing of grace, and he hath not learnt Jesus Christ aright.'

and then you said the following in the post immediately previous to this post...

Free will is a delusion. The religious majority believe they chose God and are [therefore] clothed in their own self righteousness.

The error you are both making is the confusion of a condition of salvation with a cause of salvation.

My belief is not the cause of my salvation it is a condition of it, a condition imposed by God (who has the authority to impose such conditions, by the way). Thus I do not save myself but it God and God alone who saves when the conditions that He has stipulated have been met. I do not go to God and say "you will save me because I believe but quite the contrary, it is He who comes to me and says I will save you IF you repent and believe. Thus free will is not destructive to grace.

Resting in Him,
Clete

P.S. This particular issue is one of my very favorites and so I find it almost impossible to resist responding to it when it comes up but I would really recommend that you guys start another thread. Perhaps you could call it "The Consequences of a Free Will" or something along those lines. The doc started this thread to explore the various possibilities of what people mean when they talk about having a "free will" not about what the ramifications of it's existence are. So can we respect the intent of the thread and take this part of the discussion somewhere else?

Thanks and God bless you both!

Litebeam
July 23rd, 2005, 11:01 AM
Clete

I do not believe I am in error.


Jeremiah 10:23
I know, O LORD, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.


I just agree with God's word.


Option # 3
God is Just, Holy and Righteous. WE ARE EVIL. Just like His word says.


I will bow out of this discussion and look forward to continuing it on another thread. Please pardon my interruption.

God bless!

Clete
July 23rd, 2005, 11:32 AM
Clete

I do not believe I am in error.


Jeremiah 10:23
I know, O LORD, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.


I just agree with God's word.
No one disagrees with God's word, Litebeam! That's just the point. You say that I am reading the text wrong and I say that you are and so we will not get anywhere by proof texting each other to death. There is more to it than simply the words on the page. The interpretation of Scripture is both and art and a science and single verses taken out of the context turn immediately into pretexts and so do nothing to bolster your case. This Jeremaih passage is a perfect example. While in general terms a person doesn't have maticulous control over the things that happen in his life, it cannot be construde from this passage that man has no ability to choose anything at all. Your theology says and so this verse leaps off the page at you but if you didn't have the preconcieved notion in your head you would have to read a whole lot that isn't in the text to get it say that man has no free will.
Now in response to this you would no doubt say that I am committing the opposite error and perhaps mound more proof texts on top of this one which could be explained just as easily which is exactly my point. You simply will never convince me that God controls our every action and then still considers us to be evil. That would be unjust and it is therefore incorrect and even a blasphemous theology.


Option # 3
God is Just, Holy and Righteous. WE ARE EVIL. Just like His word says.
Impossible if God is the source of all our actions. God cannot be in complete control and then just punish someone for actions that He made them do. That would be the very definition if injustice.


I will bow out of this discussion and look forward to continuing it on another thread. Please pardon my interruption.

God bless!
Send me a link to the thread you start and I'll happily continue the discussion there. :thumb:

Resting in Him,
Clete

Litebeam
July 23rd, 2005, 01:36 PM
Clete

We have choice, we make poor choices without God.
punishment = chastisement or discipline.

I will be glad to continue discussing this topic. I started a thread called "Created Beings." I don't know how to send a link, I'm sure you'll find it though.

seekinganswers
July 23rd, 2005, 01:39 PM
Though I am new to this forum I just found the topic to be interesting, so I am making this post having been away from the discussion, and hopefully I can connect to the discussion despite my having been away from it. The debate of this forum seems to be, to me, a question as to weather one is able to exercise a "free-will choice," that is, weather one has the opption not only to do an action, but also to decline the action, despite any external factors. It would also seem that this is a question of weather world events are deterministic or not.

And this is what I have to add: in order for a "free-will choice" to be made, one must be a free-agent. In other words, one must have authority to make such a decision. It is my understanding that humans are not free agents, in as much as they are contingent beings(contingency for me is dealing with dependance; humans are contingent because their life is not their own but dependent upon God in the Spirit). Thus, humanity is always wrapped up in a deterministic realm, in which their decisions are always locked into time, as time passes our decisions are made, and our fate is set according to those actions. We are locked into time at this point, and the end of our decisions is always death. In the flesh we are quite contingent, ergo humans cannot make "free-will decisions."

When the 'adam and when the woman eat from the tree in the garden, they attempt to make a free-will decision, but the Lord had cut that off from them by the command. They are not free-agents, but are rather vasals of the Lord. When they take of the tree in the garden they are immediately faced with judgment, i.e. the death penalty, which is the language being used in the scripture when God says "you will surely die." And the tree they eat from is the tree for "determining what is right." In a lot of ways these scriptures have been misread due to ignorance. The tree of "knowledge of good and evil" is not talking about the ability to suddenly see what the evil is and what the good is. "Evil" is not an ontological reality, but rather a distortion of what is good. So it would be impossible to "see" both good and evil, seeing how the only ontological reality is God and the Creation, and the Creation as it is contingent on God for life. So the "knowing" here of the tree is actually much more forceful. It is not a passive knowledge that comes to humanity, it is rather to set or determine what is right, what is pleasing. Up to this point God has been looked to to set what is right. Only when the humans eat from this tree in direct violation of God's command do they try to be free-agents, being like gods and setting for themselves what is right and pleasing. What is fascinating is that this only results in slavery and distortion, as the man and the woman have something to hide from one another and from God. Their "free-agency" leads to shame, and only reveals their utter frailty before God and before others, and thus making them slaves to the supposed agency (i.e. they try to pass the blame to others in order to remain hidden, to be sure that their "nakedness" is not exposed). And the Creator points the slavery out later on in the text as Cain comes into the picture, and God tells Cain not to let sin master him, but rather, master the sin.

In this story there is only one who has free-agency, and that is the Creator. Notice, the death penalty is not enforced by the Creator. Though the sentance on the 'adam and the woman should have been immediate death (as any death penalty would have been), the Lord witholds judgment, and thereby extends grace to the humans. The penalty reverts to more of consequences, as God reveals the true end of "human-agency": from dust you have been drawn and to dust you will return. And this becomes the defining reality of the Creator, that the Creator is a free-agent, able to pass judgment or withhold it, and humans, though like gods, will return to the dust showing their utter contingency, in their need for life in the Creator.

Humans are locked within time and thus are subject to decay and will never be "free-agents." Their agency can only reveal their frailty before others and becomes a means of hiding rather than a means to exercise an authority they do not have. Humans are beings of the earth, and will return to that earth if they remain in themselves. The scriptures declare that in "human free-agency" the end is deterministic: you will die.

Thus, free-agency must remain in the Creator, not a Creator who is locked into the deterministic events of human history, or even into the deterministic choices that the Creator makes. Notice how "Calvinism" becomes a distortion of the free-agency of God. "Calvinists" try to picture the God of Creation as the one who passively knows what will become of the Creation and thus bases his decision upon that passive knowledge. It is the God of Liebnitz, which is a monad "in-charge" of all others, and yet just as determined as any other monad. What is revealed in the scriptures is much more active, and I think Calvin was much closer to an understanding of God's agency as he saw the Creator using a preventative grace, God saves humanity from hell, for Calvin, thus overturning his own judgment (for Calvin this is simply not universal). In summation, the work of the Creator is not passive but rather active. Free-agency is not simly about passive knowledge, but rather, actively determining what is right, setting it and revoking it. And humans are incapable of this, thus are nothing more than deterministic beings that will end in death.

So the qualm I have with the discussion up till now is that the decision to go to bed or not at 10:00pm is not one that expresses free-agency. Whether you go to bed or not does not take away from your deterministic end. You will die whether you go to bed at 10:00pm or not. The flesh cannot do anything but return to what it was drawn from. The good still remains out of your reach. You cannot set what is right, for you cannot change the fact that you need sleep. You might be able to delay that for a while, but in the end if you do not sleep, you will die, in the same way that you must breath and you must eat. We are locked into this. The real question of free-agency is whether we can set what is right, whether we can judge, and what we find is that it remains outside of our reach, even as we try to bring it about. Jesus reveals the true nature of man in man's self, i.e. death. So do not talk to me about "free-will decision" unless that decision can overthrough judgment and our contingency on the Creator.

Grace and Peace,
Michael

Balder
July 23rd, 2005, 02:00 PM
DocRob,


Note, that by my definition, a free will decision is not uncaused. A variety of factors go into free will decisions including, but not limited to, our relationship with God, our personality and psycholgical makeup, external circumstances, etc.

How does this compare to other views of free will?
I don't know if you've noticed, but I've been having a discussion with BChristianK about a related issue. If ...

1) Choosing Christ is the only moral decision one can really make, and
2) not choosing Him is the same as choosing evil, and
3) if those who end up in Hell are those who have chosen evil while those in Heaven are those who have chosen good, and
4) if our choices are influenced by such things as our psychological condition, etc,

... would you say that Christians are fundamentally different (by nature) from other people, since only they choose "true goodness"?

In previous discussions, Clete and I have also talked about whether God is capable of choosing evil and sinning, and from what I have gathered there are different opinions on this matter. Most Christians agree that we can count on God not to suddenly change his mind in the future and choose evil, begin torturing us, etc. But not all agree whether or not he is truly free to do so. Some say that his own nature prevents him from ever making that choice, and in that sense alone is God's will constrained. Others, though, say that God is capable of choosing evil at any point, but that he nevertheless will not do so. I believe Clete has supported this position by bringing in God's past "track record" and the testimony of the other Persons of the Trinity as reliable assurance that God won't suddenly change tracks.

There is a third issue here that I'd like to bring up. Some more contemplative traditions, Christian and non-Christian (theistic), assert that ultimately there is only One Will, and that that is God's will. Choice appears when there is a limitation on perspective that enters the picture, a limitation which includes the (mistaken) idea that one can truly exist or act apart from God. From this perspective, submitting one's will to God's will, through conformity to a standard of some sort, is a transitional stage of realization. In the ultimate realization, continuous "submission" of one's will to an external will is no longer required, because one has fully realized one's inseparability from divine will. In this self-emptying and transparentization of the soul, one says, "Not I, but Christ in me." Personal will then is like a "wave" on the ocean of Will, at best: bearing distinctness that is creative, but ultimately inseparable from the Water of Life that is the source, ground, and essence of all currents of conscious movement whatsoever.

What do you think of such a perspective? If you find it problematic -- as I expect many here might -- how do you understand "Not I, but Christ in me"?

Peace,
Balder

Clete
July 24th, 2005, 09:54 AM
Clete

We have choice, we make poor choices without God.
punishment = chastisement or discipline.

I will be glad to continue discussing this topic. I started a thread called "Created Beings." I don't know how to send a link, I'm sure you'll find it though.
I found it. I'll post something over there as soon as time allows.

Here's a link for anyone else who might be interested...

Created Beings (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21634)

Clete
July 24th, 2005, 10:02 AM
seekinganswers,

You are so far out in left field that I don't really even know how to respond.

Just answer one question for clarity's sake please.

Regardles of the ultimate outcome for yourself, which is death of one sort or another, can you decide for yourself to go to bed at 10:00 or to stay up till 11:00? Do you have the authority to make that one decision?

Yes or no.

Resting in Him,
Clete

Clete
July 24th, 2005, 10:11 AM
Balder,

I may be reading more into your post than is there but Christianity is not the same a Buddhism.

If you weren't attempting to make any such parallel then ignore that last statement and simply answer the following questions for me.

What does it mean to love someone?

What is justice?

What is morality?

Is it possible for us to love God?

Is God just?

Is God moral? (Don't make this one more complicated than it is, I'm simply asking whether it can be accurately claimed that God is good.)


I will be attempting to assertain whether the answers you give to these questions are consistent with your statement that, "Choice appears when there is a limitation on perspective that enters the picture, a limitation which includes the (mistaken) idea that one can truly exist or act apart from God."


Resting in Him,
Clete

docrob57
July 24th, 2005, 03:48 PM
DocRob,


I don't know if you've noticed, but I've been having a discussion with BChristianK about a related issue. If ...

1) Choosing Christ is the only moral decision one can really make, and
2) not choosing Him is the same as choosing evil, and
3) if those who end up in Hell are those who have chosen evil while those in Heaven are those who have chosen good, and
4) if our choices are influenced by such things as our psychological condition, etc,

... would you say that Christians are fundamentally different (by nature) from other people, since only they choose "true goodness"?

In previous discussions, Clete and I have also talked about whether God is capable of choosing evil and sinning, and from what I have gathered there are different opinions on this matter. Most Christians agree that we can count on God not to suddenly change his mind in the future and choose evil, begin torturing us, etc. But not all agree whether or not he is truly free to do so. Some say that his own nature prevents him from ever making that choice, and in that sense alone is God's will constrained. Others, though, say that God is capable of choosing evil at any point, but that he nevertheless will not do so. I believe Clete has supported this position by bringing in God's past "track record" and the testimony of the other Persons of the Trinity as reliable assurance that God won't suddenly change tracks.

There is a third issue here that I'd like to bring up. Some more contemplative traditions, Christian and non-Christian (theistic), assert that ultimately there is only One Will, and that that is God's will. Choice appears when there is a limitation on perspective that enters the picture, a limitation which includes the (mistaken) idea that one can truly exist or act apart from God. From this perspective, submitting one's will to God's will, through conformity to a standard of some sort, is a transitional stage of realization. In the ultimate realization, continuous "submission" of one's will to an external will is no longer required, because one has fully realized one's inseparability from divine will. In this self-emptying and transparentization of the soul, one says, "Not I, but Christ in me." Personal will then is like a "wave" on the ocean of Will, at best: bearing distinctness that is creative, but ultimately inseparable from the Water of Life that is the source, ground, and essence of all currents of conscious movement whatsoever.

What do you think of such a perspective? If you find it problematic -- as I expect many here might -- how do you understand "Not I, but Christ in me"?

Peace,
Balder

Balder,

You are a nice person and normally I would welcome your opinions. But here I really just wanted a discussion among Christians, so I hope you will honor the "exclusively Christian" thing here.

docrob57
July 24th, 2005, 03:51 PM
seekinganswers,

You are so far out in left field that I don't really even know how to respond.

Just answer one question for clarity's sake please.

Regardles of the ultimate outcome for yourself, which is death of one sort or another, can you decide for yourself to go to bed at 10:00 or to stay up till 11:00? Do you have the authority to make that one decision?

Yes or no.

Resting in Him,
Clete

None of this has anyting to do with authority. It has to do with how desisions are made. Do you at some point in the day just decide to go to bed? Would it be anytime no matter how long it has been since you last awoke? Or is there some reason that you go to bed when you do?

Sealeaf
July 24th, 2005, 04:05 PM
No human action, indeed no action by anything in our obsevable universe is totally "free". There are always constraints, influences, consequences. Neither is any action totally constrained. I am not free to fly to Alpha Centauri next Thursday. Lack of a faster than light spacecraft constrains my choices. I am free to fail to go to work. But if I make that choice there will be consequences. I can chose which pair of appropriate work shoes to wear, in near perfect freedom.

Does fore knowledge make our choices less free? Your insurance company knows with a good deal of precision how many of a group of 20 yr olds will live to be 70. Does that effect an individual member of the group's freedom to take up base jumping or shark wrestling?

How does our relative lack of freedom reflect how we will be judged? God knows just how much or little we are free in any given situation. We will be held responsible for what we had control over.

Balder
July 24th, 2005, 08:39 PM
Balder,

You are a nice person and normally I would welcome your opinions. But here I really just wanted a discussion among Christians, so I hope you will honor the "exclusively Christian" thing here.
Doc,

My bad. I responded to your post without checking which room it was in. Hopefully your discussion with Christians here will eventually touch on some of the issues I am interested in.

Clete,

I will answer your questions if you like. Don't mean to intrude here.

Best wishes,

Balder

Clete
July 24th, 2005, 09:48 PM
None of this has anyting to do with authority. It has to do with how desisions are made. Do you at some point in the day just decide to go to bed? Would it be anytime no matter how long it has been since you last awoke? Or is there some reason that you go to bed when you do?
I would say that there is a reason, generally. But the key point for me is not about causes. I do not doubt for a moment that our decision are caused. I do however insist that those causes are compatible with my having chosen a different course of action than what course I did in fact choose. The force of my will is itself a cause which I am in controle of.

Resting in Him,
Clete

seekinganswers
July 24th, 2005, 11:57 PM
seekinganswers,

You are so far out in left field that I don't really even know how to respond.

Just answer one question for clarity's sake please.

Regardles of the ultimate outcome for yourself, which is death of one sort or another, can you decide for yourself to go to bed at 10:00 or to stay up till 11:00? Do you have the authority to make that one decision?

Yes or no.

Resting in Him,
Clete

I will answer with the one word that you asked for, and then explain.

NO!!

The reason I state this is that I am not an individual. I am a member of a greater framework and that framework depends on me just as much as I depend on the framework. My decision to go to bed is never seperate from that larger framwork, whether I am going to be on time to go to work, or whether I am staying up with my friends out of allegiance to them. My ties to the bodies of this world drive my decisions. And you can see how much your question is grounded in your framework when you discover that "10:00pm" is an element of the modern world, and there are peoples in this world to whom such a question would be absurd. It shows that you and I are tied to the clock. It means you and I are subject to changes in time. It means you and I are contingent upon something else. You think that you are an individual within this society, free to make a decision, whereas I see that we are both slaves to the framework in which we find ourselves. You and I are not individuals, we are members of a body, whether that be citizens of a "Nation-state" or that be our citizenship in heaven, but either way we are not free. You have ignored the fact that you would not be able to make any decision were it not for the formation you received as a child. The brain does not just automatically develop. It must be placed in a certain environment to develop properly. The fact that you can make a decision means you have been formed in a framework, an ideology, that has formed your brain, and that means you are a slave of that ideology. The same can be said of me, the question is, which framework do we submit ourselves to in faith, allegiance? We can't decide whether we can live in a framework, we are without question a part of one. And even in this so-called decision between the frameworks we cannot decide, for in the end we will be part of the only true framework, which is found in Christ, the judge of both the living and the dead, of the whole earth. The ultimate question makes void any temporal question we might ask. Our decisions will be brought to a single end outside of what we will. And so the free-agent remains in the one with authority, the only true agent, who is God. The reason I decide to go to bed at 10:00pm is entirely shaped by my circumstances, and there is a point at which I have no choice. I must go to bed, and the 10:00pm is only a semblance of control, as if I were giving myself sleep as I choose. Do I think every decision is planned out for us? No. But I do know that my decisions are always within a framework, and therefore, never truly free. And the ultimate framework is what drives my decisions beyond my own will. If I were to decide to stop breathing, I could not make such a decision. My body will make me breathe whether I want it to or not. And my "choice" to breathe is only a semblance of control or freedom. The truth is I have no such freedom.

Grace and Peace,
Michael

docrob57
July 25th, 2005, 08:49 AM
My view of free will:

An Agent, S, has free will in some set of circumstances C, just in case when S is in C, S has the causal power to choose some action (or choice) X, or to not choose it(~X). I do not think it is required that S in C be able to choose some other alternative Y, it is enough that S has the power to simply not choose X. Notice, this is the power of contrary choice (X or ~X). I would also clarify that "causal power" above does not exclude the working of divine graces on the will, only that the agent, when faced with the choice has the power to choose it or not choose it (however that power is attained).

This seems to be the kind of free will that the libertarian is after, since it leaves the agent responsible for their choice of the action. And lastly, this kind of free will is clearly implied by Paul in 1 Cor 10:13:

"No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God Ris faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." (NAS)

This is to say that a person when being tempted has the power to give into temptation, or take God's appointed way of escape and to not give into the temptation (X or ~X). Thus, this type of free will is a necessary feature of any Christian theological system.

peace,
jd

This seems reasonable and I think would satisfy Clete's definition as well since the choice ~X satisfies Clete's condition that an alternative to X be available. At this point, I am trying to get closer to agreement on the issue of causality. What is causing the choice to be made? To stipulate the will as cause is not sufficient. It is basically saying "I did X because I wanted to." This clearly doesn't tell us anything.

It seems we are nearing agreement on causality in this discussion. So that is good.

docrob57
July 25th, 2005, 08:51 AM
I would say that there is a reason, generally. But the key point for me is not about causes. I do not doubt for a moment that our decision are caused. I do however insist that those causes are compatible with my having chosen a different course of action than what course I did in fact choose. The force of my will is itself a cause which I am in controle of.

Resting in Him,
Clete

I'm okay with everything up to the last sentence. "The force of my will" may be a causal factor, and no doubt is, but there has to be a reason that the will chooses the way it does.

Clete
July 25th, 2005, 09:06 AM
I will answer with the one word that you asked for, and then explain.

NO!!

The reason I state this is that I am not an individual. I am a member of a greater framework and that framework depends on me just as much as I depend on the framework.
It takes a village then, is that it? No wonder you classify yourself as more left than right. You're more wrong than right too, but I guess you can blame that on the "framework".


My decision to go to bed is never seperate from that larger framwork, whether I am going to be on time to go to work, or whether I am staying up with my friends out of allegiance to them. My ties to the bodies of this world drive my decisions.
They effect your decision, of course. No one is saying that your decision are random events.


And you can see how much your question is grounded in your framework when you discover that "10:00pm" is an element of the modern world, and there are peoples in this world to whom such a question would be absurd. It shows that you and I are tied to the clock.
Tied to the clock? You're nuts. This whole observation misses the point. The question had nothing to do with clocks, the time was chosen arbitrarily. It makes no difference how you keep track of the passage of time, in fact you don't even have to keep track of time at all. The same question could just as easily have been asked about whether or not you eat dinner before or after plowing the bean field. The specific time is irrelivent, the existence of clocks is irrelivent. The question has to do with making decisions for whatever reason, the time on the clock is only one of thousands of possible reasons for such decisions.


It means you and I are subject to changes in time. It means you and I are contingent upon something else. You think that you are an individual within this society, free to make a decision, whereas I see that we are both slaves to the framework in which we find ourselves.
In light of this depressing and leftist philospohy of life please explain something for me.

What is morality (what does it mean to be good or evil)?

What is Justice?

What is love?

Can we love God? If so how?

Is God just?

Is God moral (s God good)?



You and I are not individuals, we are members of a body, whether that be citizens of a "Nation-state" or that be our citizenship in heaven, but either way we are not free.
You've been reading too much of Hillary Clinton's and Hitler's books! Ayn Rand, while wicked, was closer to the truth, much closer.


You have ignored the fact that you would not be able to make any decision were it not for the formation you received as a child. The brain does not just automatically develop. It must be placed in a certain environment to develop properly. The fact that you can make a decision means you have been formed in a framework, an ideology, that has formed your brain, and that means you are a slave of that ideology. The same can be said of me, the question is, which framework do we submit ourselves to in faith, allegiance? We can't decide whether we can live in a framework, we are without question a part of one. And even in this so-called decision between the frameworks we cannot decide, for in the end we will be part of the only true framework, which is found in Christ, the judge of both the living and the dead, of the whole earth. The ultimate question makes void any temporal question we might ask. Our decisions will be brought to a single end outside of what we will. And so the free-agent remains in the one with authority, the only true agent, who is God. The reason I decide to go to bed at 10:00pm is entirely shaped by my circumstances, and there is a point at which I have no choice. I must go to bed, and the 10:00pm is only a semblance of control, as if I were giving myself sleep as I choose. Do I think every decision is planned out for us? No. But I do know that my decisions are always within a framework, and therefore, never truly free. And the ultimate framework is what drives my decisions beyond my own will. If I were to decide to stop breathing, I could not make such a decision. My body will make me breathe whether I want it to or not. And my "choice" to breathe is only a semblance of control or freedom. The truth is I have no such freedom.
Again I would ask you to answer my six questions above. I will be looking to see if you can answer them meaningfully while remaining consistent with this "I may as well kill myself now and get it over with" worldview.

Resting in Him,
Clete

seekinganswers
July 25th, 2005, 01:16 PM
It takes a village then, is that it? No wonder you classify yourself as more left than right. You're more wrong than right too, but I guess you can blame that on the "framework".

These categories are the attempt of a framework to conform me to that framework. If you look at the registration page for this site there is no option for neither left nor right, and if I am to register I must choose a category. I had to choose one side or the other. In fact, my stance is much more radical. The Enlightenment altogether has no say in my book. The Enlightenment is my focus for attack.


Tied to the clock? You're nuts. This whole observation misses the point. The question had nothing to do with clocks, the time was chosen arbitrarily. It makes no difference how you keep track of the passage of time, in fact you don't even have to keep track of time at all. The same question could just as easily have been asked about whether or not you eat dinner before or after plowing the bean field. The specific time is irrelivent, the existence of clocks is irrelivent. The question has to do with making decisions for whatever reason, the time on the clock is only one of thousands of possible reasons for such decisions.

And what of the culture that sees no connection between events? Or that there is no such thing as time? What I was trying to point out is that the system only appears to give us a choice. We think that if we decide to go to bed at 10:00pm or not, that we have been given a decision to make. But it is absurd. It is an appearance of control. The reality is that you will go to bed regardless of your choice or decision.


In light of this depressing and leftist philospohy of life please explain something for me.

"Leftist," that would be your label not mine.


What is morality (what does it mean to be good or evil)?

Morality is the deception that somehow we can distinguish what is right and acceptable in this world. It is taking of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. It is to say that knit within the very universe is a system of right and wrong and that a human being can discern that system. It is the desire of the Pharisee to be clean before God. The Pharisee did not simply want to judge others, he thought that he could discern wrong and right, and that the law's purpose was in fact this. The law for the Pharisee was this universal principle. You are trying to separate yourself from the Pharisee by separating yourself from the law. But an ethical principle can be used in the same way. "Good" and "Evil" are things that only God can judge and discern. As far as we are concerned Christ tells us that good and evil come together, that is the Creation and distortion are reconciled in him. Jesus declares to us that there does not exist an enemy. It is our creation, and therefore he calls us to love our "enemy." Your moral system is the creation of the Enlightenment, in which a general principle, or a universal definition of "man" is created to decide what is right. God is not the universal principle, the "rights of men" are. So now that we know what the "rights" are we can live according to them. We can be like the Pharisees once again who conform their fellow men and women to this standard. And we can be even more corrupt than the Pharisees as we distort other human beings horribly through these principles of "rights." Bush can label his enemies "terrorists" and torture them, treating them as less than human, in violation of the geneva treaty. These men that we torture are not human beings; his label of terrorist makes it easy for him to use tactics that are not legal according to the standard of the geneva treaty, which works off of a standard of universal human rights. The problem is that humans are never able to adhere to a universal standard so they are never human by their context. "Terrorists" cannot be humans because they deny the universal principles and thus we are free to do anything to them. Morality is absurd because it cannot resist distortion. Evil is not an ontological reality. The only reality is God, and God made flesh in Christ, thus establishing "evil" as a corruption and nothing more. "Evil" does not have reality in itself. "Evil" is simply a distortion of what is good, making it impossible to create anything but a straw-man to fight against if we are to have a fight against "evil," like the "war on terror." Jesus' words and commands are enough for the disciple. And he says that evil is not only within our brother, but is just as much if not more a part of us. There is no need for a "moral principle." But most people don't believe that Jesus' commands and obedience to those commands are sufficient.


What is Justice?

It is an illusion. "Justice" in our world equals vengance. One who commits a crime must pay, in other words, and restitution must be visited on the one against whom the crime was commited. And what we are told about this system of "justice" in the scriptures is that vengance is no one's business but the Lord's. Justice before God is reconciliation. The Righteous one is not shaped by morality, as many have come to understand "righteousness" in a moral sense. Righteousness in the scriptures is the same word as justice. And to be just before God is to be reconciled not only to God but to others. Justice is held in God, the one who can judge and yet patiently witholds judgment in seeking reconciliation. The sentance for humanity in the garden of Eden was death. It is language used as a death penalty language, not just to make humanity mortal (they were already mortal when they were created). When God says, "You will surely die," it is not just that you will eventually die, but if you eat from this tree you will be put to death. And notice at the pronouncement of judgment the death penalty is witheld. It is not that God is weak and can't enforce the judgment pronounced. It is that God is the only one who can discern good and evil (as a free agent) and is thus able to withold judgment as well as pass judgment (and notice how it has nothing to do with sacrifice). God is the just judge and will do whatever God pleases to do.


What is love?

Once again, God is love. We know not what love is. Even our closest relationships with one another do not compare to love. The triune God is love: Father, Son, and Spirit. We are as far from love as we can possibly be. Just look at Christ and look at ourselves and we will see a vast expanse between the two. We cannot nor do we know how to love. Love is distorted among us as we wrap it up in shame and seek pleasure over the other's need. Even supposed love between a man and a woman in marriage is a distortion as that love is confined within them, instead of making them one flesh and living as one flesh to love the other, the neighbor, and the stranger (the child that comes into their marriage as a gift from God), their love remains within them. But God revealed God's love in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. That is love, and do not think that we can define love outside of that very particular enactment. Love is defined within the trinity, and only as we are sustained by God do we even begin to know what love is.


Can we love God? If so how?

No we cannot love God. But God can love us. "This is love, not that we loved God, but that God loved us and gave his Son to be the expiation for our sins" (I John 4:10). And this love is perfected within us so that we can then love: "This is love, that we follow his commandments" (II John 1:6). Love remains wrapped up in God. It is not a universal principle in which both God and men can participate. God is love.


Is God just?

This shows the absurdity of your system, for by your system you would judge God. Your standard of justice can even define the limits of the Creator. It is not my place to establish a justice by which to judge the Creator. Justice is held within God, and therefore only by God are we just. As I said before, God's command regarding justice is to be reconciled. But you go ahead and create that absurd situation where God will be judged by men.


Is God moral (s God good)?

Once again, this is absurd. You have created a system of goodness that superceeds the Creator. God is not good in your system, God participates in goodness that is even outside of God. You once again take judgment into your own hands in order to create that absurd situation where man judges God.


You've been reading too much of Hillary Clinton's and Hitler's books! Ayn Rand, while wicked, was closer to the truth, much closer.

This is the most ridiculous statement anyone has tried to make of me. Do you think that I am a liberal Democrat? If you have read anything that I have written on this site you would know that your categories of "right" and "left" do not apply to what I am saying. I have never read Hillary Clinton's books any more than I have read Hitler's!! If you would like to understand what I am saying, read Bonhoeffer (The Cost of Discipleship and Ethics).

Grace and Peace,
Michael

Clete
July 25th, 2005, 03:48 PM
Michael,

My comment about Hillary and Hitler was intended only as a little jab. I didn't think you had actually read their pedantic books, although your "we are not individuals" speech was reminiscent of some of the things Hillary said in "It Takes a Village" where she places the good of the state far and away above that of individual human rights. But that's a subject for another thread. At any rate, I wasn't trying to be personally offensive, I was just having a little fun, although I can see why you might have not gotten that message. That's what I get for being in too big a hurry when writting these posts I guess. I'll try to be more clear next time.

I'll respond to the rest of your post when time allows. I'm going to be really busy at work this week so I won't be posting as much as usual.

God bless!

Resting in Him,
Clete

Clete
July 26th, 2005, 06:44 AM
My view of free will:

An Agent, S, has free will in some set of circumstances C, just in case when S is in C, S has the causal power to choose some action (or choice) X, or to not choose it(~X). I do not think it is required that S in C be able to choose some other alternative Y, it is enough that S has the power to simply not choose X. Notice, this is the power of contrary choice (X or ~X). I would also clarify that "causal power" above does not exclude the working of divine graces on the will, only that the agent, when faced with the choice has the power to choose it or not choose it (however that power is attained).

This seems to be the kind of free will that the libertarian is after, since it leaves the agent responsible for their choice of the action. And lastly, this kind of free will is clearly implied by Paul in 1 Cor 10:13:

"No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God Ris faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." (NAS)

This is to say that a person when being tempted has the power to give into temptation, or take God's appointed way of escape and to not give into the temptation (X or ~X). Thus, this type of free will is a necessary feature of any Christian theological system.

peace,
jd
I had over looked this earlier but had noticed it when the doc had responded to it a few posts ago. I think I generally agree with you insolafide except for one point that I think might need clarification.

You said that, "I do not think it is required that S in C be able to choose some other alternative Y, it is enough that S has the power to simply not choose X."

Isn't ~X=Y? I mean if you don't do one particular action it doesn't mean you don't do another, in fact you do indeed do some other action, don't you? If I don't go to bed then I do stay awake and while awake I'm performing other actions. Do you see what I'm getting at here? It seems to me that not doing X requires that you do something else (Y). How am I wrong?

Resting in Him,
Clete

Clete
July 26th, 2005, 06:53 AM
This seems reasonable and I think would satisfy Clete's definition as well since the choice ~X satisfies Clete's condition that an alternative to X be available. At this point, I am trying to get closer to agreement on the issue of causality. What is causing the choice to be made? To stipulate the will as cause is not sufficient. It is basically saying "I did X because I wanted to." This clearly doesn't tell us anything.

It seems we are nearing agreement on causality in this discussion. So that is good.
How are we getting closer to causality?

Do you believe that for any set of cuases (C) that there is one and only one possible effect (X)?

If so, we aren't as close as you might think because my given definition of free will (as well as the one given by insolafide) seems to require C to have at least two possible effects (X or ~X) when our will is involved (i.e. when our will is part of C).

Resting in Him,
Clete

docrob57
July 26th, 2005, 09:26 AM
How are we getting closer to causality?

Do you believe that for any set of cuases (C) that there is one and only one possible effect (X)?

If so, we aren't as close as you might think because my given definition of free will (as well as the one given by insolafide) seems to require C to have at least two possible effects (X or ~X) when our will is involved (i.e. when our will is part of C).

Resting in Him,
Clete

Well, maybe I'm a cockeyed optimist. No time now, but any causal mechanism almost by definitiion has to have at least 2 possible outcomes. But more later I'm afraid as I must go for now.

docrob57
July 26th, 2005, 11:19 AM
How are we getting closer to causality?

Do you believe that for any set of cuases (C) that there is one and only one possible effect (X)?

If so, we aren't as close as you might think because my given definition of free will (as well as the one given by insolafide) seems to require C to have at least two possible effects (X or ~X) when our will is involved (i.e. when our will is part of C).

Resting in Him,
Clete

Okay, time to try for some more common understanding building. When I speak of causality, or a causal model, I am taking about a process that leads to a class of outcomes, not a specific outcome. If I have a model that describes going to bed, it also has to describe not going to bed. Okay so far?

Delmar
July 26th, 2005, 12:01 PM
First off, thanks for the English, I was getting a little puzzled. Okay, if I say "I went to bed at 10 because I was tired," was going to bed a free will decision?

I could just as easily say that, because I was tired I took a cold shower and got hopped up on caffine. Is it your premise that the fact that you get tired means you don't have freedom of choice?

Clete
July 26th, 2005, 12:40 PM
I could just as easily say that, because I was tired I took a cold shower and got hopped up on caffine. Is it your premise that the fact that you get tired means you don't have freedom of choice?
No that's not what he is saying. He's saying that you go to bed for some reason(s); that your action is not random. I understood him to be saying (until his last post) that whatever you decided to do was decided for specific reasons all of which had the agrigate result of your decision to go to bed. Now this last post of his has made it less clear what he's getting at but maybe we'll get some more clarity shortly.

Resting in Him,
Clete

Clete
July 26th, 2005, 12:44 PM
Okay, time to try for some more common understanding building. When I speak of causality, or a causal model, I am taking about a process that leads to a class of outcomes, not a specific outcome. If I have a model that describes going to bed, it also has to describe not going to bed. Okay so far?
I suppose so. Please elaborate further.

Resting in Him,
Clete

docrob57
July 26th, 2005, 02:26 PM
I suppose so. Please elaborate further.

Resting in Him,
Clete

Okay, so here is where you will disagree, but we have to work around this somehow. I am committed to getting us at least to the point of common perspective. Agreement on everything may be out of reach.

Here is a model which I would say depicts a free choice (formally, it is no different than any we have looked at)-

If X then Y
If ~X then ~Y

Free choice?

Clete
July 26th, 2005, 03:34 PM
Okay, so here is where you will disagree, but we have to work around this somehow. I am committed to getting us at least to the point of common perspective. Agreement on everything may be out of reach.

Here is a model which I would say depicts a free choice (formally, it is no different than any we have looked at)-

If X then Y
If ~X then ~Y

Free choice?

Insufficient information to formulate a certain answer.

If X is a cause or set of causes and Y is a singular resulting action then I would say that the following is required for free will...

If X then Y or ~Y

Resting in Him,
Clete

docrob57
July 26th, 2005, 03:40 PM
Insufficient information to formulate a certain answer.

If X is a cause or set of causes and Y is a singular resulting action then I would say that the following is required for free will...

If X then Y or ~Y

Resting in Him,
Clete

The problem there is that if Y and ~Y are mutually exclusive, then X can't be a cause, so the statement is false. Or. more accurately, X has nothing to do with Y or ~Y.

Clete
July 26th, 2005, 05:05 PM
The problem there is that if Y and ~Y are mutually exclusive, then X can't be a cause, so the statement is false. Or. more accurately, X has nothing to do with Y or ~Y.
In a mathematical equation maybe but life is not a mathematical equation. If our actions are like you suggest here, we do not have free will.
X=Y or ~Y is essentially identical to my original definition…


"Necessarily, for any human agent S, action A and time t, if S performs A freely at t, then the history of the world prior to t, the laws of nature, and the actions of any other agent (including God) prior to and at t are jointly compatible with S's refraining from performing A freely."

Where (the history of the world prior to t, the laws of nature, and the actions of any other agent (including God) prior to and at t)=X,
X is compatible with A or ~A.

Get it?

Resting in Him,
Clete

docrob57
July 27th, 2005, 08:09 AM
In a mathematical equation maybe but life is not a mathematical equation. If our actions are like you suggest here, we do not have free will.
X=Y or ~Y is essentially identical to my original definition…


"Necessarily, for any human agent S, action A and time t, if S performs A freely at t, then the history of the world prior to t, the laws of nature, and the actions of any other agent (including God) prior to and at t are jointly compatible with S's refraining from performing A freely."

Where (the history of the world prior to t, the laws of nature, and the actions of any other agent (including God) prior to and at t)=X,
X is compatible with A or ~A.

Get it?

Resting in Him,
Clete

Then X is not a causal factor, and you seem to be drifting back to the idea that free will choices and behaviors are not caused.

Okay, let's try it this way. Give me an example of a free will choice or behavior.

Clete
July 27th, 2005, 08:34 AM
Then X is not a causal factor, and you seem to be drifting back to the idea that free will choices and behaviors are not caused.
No, I'm not suggesting that they are uncaused, I'm only saying that the nature of causation isn't such that any cause must have only one result when our will is involved.
It is emperically clear that natural processes (most of them) are governed by strict causality. Chemesty, for example, works in completely predictable ways, or at least it would be completely predictable if all of the present conditions were known. This however cannot be the case for people who will be held accountable for their actions by God. If our actions are simply the result of a causal chain of events that we have no direct control over then we are not responsible for our actions any more than water is responsible for boiling.


Okay, let's try it this way. Give me an example of a free will choice or behavior.
Robbing a bank.

Resting in Him,
Clete

docrob57
July 27th, 2005, 08:41 AM
No, I'm not suggesting that they are uncaused, I'm only saying that the nature of causation isn't such that any cause must have only one result when our will is involved.
It is emperically clear that natural processes (most of them) are governed by strict causality. Chemesty, for example, works in completely predictable ways, or at least it would be completely predictable if all of the present conditions were known. This however cannot be the case for people who will be held accountable for their actions by God. If our actions are simply the result of a causal chain of events that we have no direct control over then we are not responsible for our actions any more than water is responsible for boiling.


Robbing a bank.

Resting in Him,
Clete

Okay, put yourself in the place of a bank robber, why do you do it?

Clete
July 27th, 2005, 08:58 AM
Okay, put yourself in the place of a bank robber, why do you do it?
Well, not to be too obtuse but, because I choose to.

Is that cheating? :chuckle:

docrob57
July 27th, 2005, 08:59 AM
Well, not to be too obtuse but, because I choose to.

Is that cheating? :chuckle:

YEP!!!! :)

Clete
July 27th, 2005, 09:24 AM
YEP!!!! :)
I was afraid you'd say that but actually that really is the answer to your question. There may be any number of motivations that lead to my decision to rob a bank but at the end of the day, regardless of why I chose to rob the bank, I could always have chosen not to rob it.

So it doesn't matter whether I did it because I was hungry or because I needed some drug money or simply because I though it would be a fun thing to do. If, when the moment came to decide whether to rob the bank or not, if it was simply the causes that resulted in my decision to rob the bank, aside from the force of my will, then it would be unjust for God to punish me for the robbery on judgment day.

Perhaps we could put it this way. All of the collective circumstances surrounding any action of mine are influencing factors but my will is the ultimate cause of the action.

Resting in Him,
Clete

docrob57
July 27th, 2005, 10:08 AM
I was afraid you'd say that but actually that really is the answer to your question. There may be any number of motivations that lead to my decision to rob a bank but at the end of the day, regardless of why I chose to rob the bank, I could always have chosen not to rob it.

So it doesn't matter whether I did it because I was hungry or because I needed some drug money or simply because I though it would be a fun thing to do. If, when the moment came to decide whether to rob the bank or not, if it was simply the causes that resulted in my decision to rob the bank, aside from the force of my will, then it would be unjust for God to punish me for the robbery on judgement day.

Perhaps we could put it this way. All of the collective circumstances surounding any action of mine are influencing factors but my will is the ultimate cause of the action.

Resting in Him,
Clete

And the will is subject to no influence?

Clete
July 27th, 2005, 10:23 AM
And the will is subject to no influence?
I think that this is like asking, "And causes are subject to no influence?". The will is itself a cause and it is, of course influenced by other preceeding causes but the nature of our will is not strictly "causative" in the sense that there is only one result for any particular set of causes.

I understand that it is a difficult thing to get one's mind around and prehaps it cannot be completely comprehended by the mind of man but never the less we can know that our actions must be free because we know that God is just and that He does not lie. When He says that evil people will be punished we can trust that it will not only happen but that it will be carried out in a just and holy manner worthy of God the Father. This would not be possible if those being punished hadn't freely chosen to do what they did by their own volitional will.

Resting in Him,
Clete

docrob57
July 27th, 2005, 10:42 AM
I think that this is like asking, "And causes are subject to no influence?". The will is itself a cause and it is, of course influenced by other preceeding causes but the nature of our will is not strictly "causative" in the sense that there is only one result for any particular set of causes.

I understand that it is a difficult thing to get one's mind around and prehaps it cannot be completely comprehended by the mind of man but never the less we can know that our actions must be free because we know that God is just and that He does not lie. When He says that evil people will be punished we can trust that it will not only happen but that it will be carried out in a just and holy manner worthy of God the Father. This would not be possible if those being punished hadn't freely chosen to do what they did by their own volitional will.

Resting in Him,
Clete

Okay, if the will is a cause, how does it work?

Don't get mad (if possible), but I really think the reason that it is difficult to understand is that it doesn't make any sense. To say that a person can choose freely is not to specify the causal mechanisms behind the choice. The ability to choose freely is a state of being, not a cause.

Clete
July 27th, 2005, 11:05 AM
Okay, if the will is a cause, how does it work?

I don't know. Is it necessary to know the answer to this question to accept the conclusion of sound reason? I don't think it is.


Don't get mad (if possible),
Are you suggesting that I have a real choice in the matter? ;)


...but I really think the reason that it is difficult to understand is that it doesn't make any sense.
What doesn't make sense about it?

If we are responsible for our actions, those actions must necessarily be freely chosen.

We are responsible for our actions.

Therefore our actions are freely chosen.


To say that a person can choose freely is not to specify the causal mechanisms behind the choice. The ability to choose freely is a state of being, not a cause.
Right! I don't disagree with this. I simply insist that the mechanism has to involve more than mere causalalities. I'm cetain that there is something spiritual involved and that I think it likely that this supernatural aspect of humanity is what allows us by some means to have a genuinely free will.

Resting in Him,
Clete

docrob57
July 27th, 2005, 11:29 AM
I don't know. Is it necessary to know the answer to this question to accept the conclusion of sound reason? I don't think it is.


Are you suggesting that I have a real choice in the matter? ;)


What doesn't make sense about it?

If we are responsible for our actions, those actions must necessarily be freely chosen.

We are responsible for our actions.

Therefore our actions are freely chosen.


Right! I don't disagree with this. I simply insist that the mechanism has to involve more than mere causalalities. I'm cetain that there is something spiritual involved and that I think it likely that this supernatural aspect of humanity is what allows us by some means to have a genuinely free will.

Resting in Him,
Clete

Well I do believe that we have free will. That isn't the point. But I can't get to the point until we can agree what a free will choice is. Of course there are things spiritual involved. Things spiritual are a cause!

If you can accept that I am not trying to undermine what free will is, can you accept that whatever the cause may be, human actions and behaviors have causes?

Clete
July 27th, 2005, 11:51 AM
I think my answer to your question is yes but let me ask a question of you to make sure.

According to your definition of what a free will choice is, can I do something simply and only because I want to?

docrob57
July 27th, 2005, 11:58 AM
I think my answer to your question is yes but let me ask a question of you to make sure.

According to your definition of what a free will choice is, can I do something simply and only because I want to?

:bang: Yes, but the question of why you want to is really important. :bang:

I think we have to go back to causality for a minute. A cause of a choice or behavior does not have to be something externally imposed.

I eat raw oysters because I want to. Why do I want to? Because I like the way they taste and because I am from New Orleans where people do such things and I am used to it and because I can get them for 25 cents a piece on Wednsday nights at Stingray's, etc. All of these things are causes.

Clete
July 27th, 2005, 12:04 PM
I don't mean to be so frustrating, please bear with me. It's slow going but I think we are still making some progress.

Let me ask another question.

Do you think that our choices are like proverbial dominoes where one dominoe (an event/cause) falls into another and that one in turn falls into the next and so on and the result is a domninoe (event/cause) called "our choice"?

docrob57
July 27th, 2005, 12:12 PM
I don't mean to be so frustrating, please bear with me. It's slow going but I think we are still making some progress.

Let me ask another question.

Do you think that our choices are like proverbial dominoes where one dominoe (an event/cause) falls into another and that one in turn falls into the next and so on and the result is a domninoe (event/cause) called "our choice"?

I am not really frustrated (well, not too frustrated).

Sort of. But the dominos can include things like personality characteristics, level of surrender to God's will, anything that makes us who we are.

docrob57
July 27th, 2005, 12:15 PM
Are you a moderator Clete? If so, can we move this to a non-exclusively Christian place. I think that Balder would like to participate, and though I kicked him out before, there is really no reason for it I guess.

Clete
July 27th, 2005, 12:26 PM
Are you a moderator Clete? If so, can we move this to a non-exclusively Christian place. I think that Balder would like to participate, and though I kicked him out before, there is really no reason for it I guess.
I am not a moderator but no such movement of the thread is necessary. As long as Balder has something on topic to contribute and you don't mind (it's your thread) then he's welcome to participate. The whole point of having an exclusively Christian Theology thread is to keep the discussion about Christian theology not about keeping out non-Christians.

Resting in Him,
Clete

docrob57
July 27th, 2005, 12:29 PM
I am not a moderator but no such movement of the thread is necessary. As long as Balder has something on topic to contribute and you don't mind (it's your thread) then he's welcome to participate. The whole point of having an exclusively Christian Theology thread is to keep the discussion about Christian theology not about keeping out non-Christians.

Resting in Him,
Clete

Okay. Though I sort of like keeping non_Christians out. :chuckle:

Balder
July 27th, 2005, 12:39 PM
Thank you for opening this up to my participation (I think!). I have been following the thread and appreciating the careful way both of you have been exploring this important question. I will keep my participation here to a minimum, since I think you two are doing a good job of it and I don't want to detract from what is developing.

From what I've read so far, I have one question that appears important to ask:

If God does not commit evil or sinful actions, and does not will to do so, is there a reason for that? Is there a reason he does not do evil? If so, would those possible reasons -- nature, knowledge, whatever -- be considered causes of some sort? Proximate if not direct?

Clete
July 27th, 2005, 12:44 PM
I am not really frustrated (well, not too frustrated).

Sort of. But the dominos can include things like personality characteristics, level of surrender to God's will, anything that makes us who we are.

Okay, maybe this dominoe analogy will be helpful then.
Let me try to explain in terms of the dominoe analogy how I think our will works. (You won't like it so get ready ;) )

I think that it works something like this.
For most natural processes things work EXACTLY like when some guy sets up one of those fancy dominoe displays and knocks the first one over. It can get as complex as the guy setting it up wants for it to get but when it's all said and done all the dominoes (assuming they've been set up properly) will inevitably fall in their turn, not before and not after. There is no such thing as a stuborn dominoe which defies the laws of gravity, enertia and friction; one dominoe falls which causes one or more other dominoes to fall and so on. It is a chain reaction which has an outcome that is as certain as certain as can be. This is what is commonly refered to as "Causal Determinism" (CD) and is what it seems to me that you position logically leads to.
I however, do not think that our choices work this way at all. For our choices I think it is more like there is a causal chain that leads up to a decision point where the domnioes stop falling until I decide which to knock over next. The dominoes may apraoch a branching off point that has two or more possible directions and everything that has lead up to that point is completely compatible with going in any ONE AND ONLY ONE of those directions. And when it does, by the force of my own will, then that sets off a new causal chain reaction that terminates again at the next "decision time" branch off point.

Now I've written this right off the top of my head and while it sounds right for now, I reserve the right to modify my comments at any time.

Resting in Him,
Clete

docrob57
July 27th, 2005, 12:45 PM
Thank you for opening this up to my participation (I think!). I have been following the thread and appreciating the careful way both of you have been exploring this important question. I will keep my participation here to a minimum, since I think you two are doing a good job of it and I don't want to detract from what is developing.

From what I've read so far, I have one question that appears important to ask:

If God does not commit evil or sinful actions, and does not will to do so, is there a reason for that? Is there a reason he does not do evil? If so, would those possible reasons -- nature, knowledge, whatever -- be considered causes of some sort? Proximate if not direct?

Well that question sucks!! Go back to where you came from!! :)

Just kidding. Not doing evil is one of God's limitations. It is not in His nature to do so.

Clete
July 27th, 2005, 12:46 PM
Thank you for opening this up to my participation (I think!). I have been following the thread and appreciating the careful way both of you have been exploring this important question. I will keep my participation here to a minimum, since I think you two are doing a good job of it and I don't want to detract from what is developing.

From what I've read so far, I have one question that appears important to ask:

If God does not commit evil or sinful actions, and does not will to do so, is there a reason for that? Is there a reason he does not do evil? If so, would those possible reasons -- nature, knowledge, whatever -- be considered causes of some sort? Proximate if not direct?
Interesting question. To get a better idea of where you might be headed with this can I ask you to give what your answer would be to this question, or at least what your impression of what the Christian answer would be?

Clete
July 27th, 2005, 12:47 PM
Well that question sucks!! Go back to where you came from!! :)

:rotfl:

docrob57
July 27th, 2005, 12:48 PM
Okay, maybe this dominoe analogy will be helpful then.
Let me try to explain in terms of the dominoe analogy how I think our will works. (You won't like it so get ready ;) )

I think that it works something like this.
For most natural processes things work EXACTLY like when some guy sets up one of those fancy dominoe displays and knocks the first one over. It can get as complex as the guy setting it up wants for it to get but when it's all said and done all the dominoes (assuming they've been set up properly) will inevitably fall in their turn, not before and not after. There is no such thing as a stuborn dominoe which defies the laws of gravity, enertia and friction; one dominoe falls which causes one or more other dominoes to fall and so on. It is a chain reaction which has an outcome that is as certain as certain as can be. This is what is commonly refered to as "Causal Determinism" (CD) and is what it seems to me that you position logically leads to.
I however, do not think that our choices work this way at all. For our choices I think it is more like there is a causal chain that leads up to a decision point where the domnioes stop falling until I decide which to knock over next. The dominoes may apraoch a branching off point that has two or more possible directions and everything that has lead up to that point is completely compatible with going in any ONE AND ONLY ONE of those directions. And when it does, by the force of my own will, then that sets off a new causal chain reaction that terminates again at the next "decision time" branch off point.

Now I've written this right off the top of my head and while it sounds right for now, I reserve the right to modify my comments at any time.

Resting in Him,
Clete

I really don't have any problem with that. It is just that at the point the will is exercised, there has to be a reason that it is exercised the way it is. The only alternative is random choice, or coin flip. That would seem to me to be an even more distasteful and less probable alternative.

Balder
July 27th, 2005, 12:52 PM
Do you really think the question is a bad one, Doc?

As I understand common Christian arguments, human beings are limited by "sin nature" from ever perfectly following God's will on their own. Fallen man is incapable of turning to God without the "intervention" of prevenient grace. Is that correct? On the opposite side, God is "constrained" by his own nature from committing evil. In both instances, it seems "nature" is understood as a restrictive or constitutive factor in the movements of the wills of these different types of "entities."

One reason I brought the question up is that, while I recognize that many Christians think along these lines, I am not sure that Clete does (from our discussion or Presuppositionalism and Euthyphro's Dilemma sometime back).

justchristian
July 27th, 2005, 12:52 PM
I am interested in thoughts on the nature of the will making free will choices. Does the will make the choice based on its character? Is it random? If it isnt random how can you say it isnt just another cause or "domino" in the universe. While we cant understand how, if it isnt random, how can it do other than what is within it's character to do?

Clete
July 27th, 2005, 12:57 PM
I really don't have any problem with that. It is just that at the point the will is exercised, there has to be a reason that it is exercised the way it is. The only alternative is random choice, or coin flip. That would seem to me to be an even more distasteful and less probable alternative.
The reasons are the previous dominoes that have already fallen. You are trying to introduce more dominoes into the set up and that only leads to the CD (Causal Determinism) that I described. In other words, I can by the force of my will decide to do something for the EXACT SAME reasons that I decide NOT to do that thing. All the reasons are compatible with both actions.

docrob57
July 27th, 2005, 01:02 PM
Do you really think the question is a bad one, Doc?

No. I was just kidding


As I understand common Christian arguments, human beings are limited by "sin nature" from ever perfectly following God's will on their own. Fallen man is incapable of turning to God without the "intervention" of prevenient grace. Is that correct? On the opposite side, God is "constrained" by his own nature from committing evil. In both instances, it seems "nature" is understood as a restrictive or constitutive factor in the movements of the wills of these different types of "entities."

I would go with that. I don't think it negates free will, but it does place some restrictions on it.

Knight
July 27th, 2005, 01:04 PM
Now I've written this right off the top of my head and while it sounds right for now, I reserve the right to modify my comments at any time.:rotfl: It's all in the fine print!

docrob57
July 27th, 2005, 01:06 PM
The reasons are the previous dominoes that have already fallen. You are trying to introduce more dominoes into the set up and that only leads to the CD (Causal Determinism) that I described. In other words, I can by the force of my will decide to do something for the EXACT SAME reasons that I decide NOT to do that thing. All the reasons are compatible with both actions.

There are 4 aspects to causality, or 4 things that need to be demonstrated in order to demonstrate causality -

1. Logical relationship between X and Y
2. Correlation between X and Y
3. X occurs before Y in time
4. No other explanation explains Y better.

The fourth is always impossible, so our knowledge is always tentative. Where what you say causes problems is in number 2. If the same "cause" leads to separate and mutually exclusive outcomes, it can't be a cause.

Clete
July 27th, 2005, 01:06 PM
Do you really think the question is a bad one, Doc?

As I understand common Christian arguments, human beings are limited by "sin nature" from ever perfectly following God's will on their own. Fallen man is incapable of turning to God without the "intervention" of prevenient grace. Is that correct? On the opposite side, God is "constrained" by his own nature from committing evil. In both instances, it seems "nature" is understood as a restrictive or constitutive factor in the movements of the wills of these different types of "entities."

One reason I brought the question up is that, while I recognize that many Christians think along these lines, I am not sure that Clete does (from our discussion or Presuppositionalism and Euthyphro's Dilemma sometime back).
Well you are right, I do not think that way. Although I think that this might be quite a different question (although a related one) than the one the doc and I are discussing. To be free doesn't mean that I can do ANYTHING at all that comes to mind for me to do. Rather, it simply means that I have options that are real. The fact that my options are limited by my nature does not kill my ability to choose.
It must, however, be kept in mind that we are called to choose between good and evil by God and will be held accountable for which ever choice we make by Him. Thus, if God is just (which of course He is) then to say that our nature restricts us from being able to make anything but evil choices would be to take the "nature" thing too far.

Resting in Him,
Clete

docrob57
July 27th, 2005, 01:06 PM
:rotfl: It's all in the fine print!

Uh oh, the boss showed up!

servent101
July 27th, 2005, 01:09 PM
Balder
many Christians think along these lines,

those few - are loud and vocal - and the many just do not articulate the "dogma" - but your understanding of Christian Grace - it is simply God's Being - that this is God's Nature - the same One God that is Worshiped by every religion and granted a lot of people get it mixed up and confuse it - but if one were to seek the truth - and focus on the truth, and tell people of the truth, instead of finding out all the misconceptions and politely but still wrongly pointing out that
many Christians think along these lines, well their lives might go a little better - yes Balder, your life would go a little better if you were to champion the Truth - convince people that the Good News is in fact Good News, that what the likes of BCK says is bunk - your life would be much better.

With Christ's Love

Servent101

Clete
July 27th, 2005, 01:13 PM
There are 4 aspects to causality, or 4 things that need to be demonstrated in order to demonstrate causality -

1. Logical relationship between X and Y
2. Correlation between X and Y
3. X occurs before Y in time
4. No other explanation explains Y better.

The fourth is always impossible, so our knowledge is always tentative. Where what you say causes problems is in number 2. If the same "cause" leads to separate and mutually exclusive outcomes, it can't be a cause.

1. Logical relationship between X (cause) and both Y (possible effect or action) and ~Y (some other effect or action).

2. Correlation between the same

3. X occures prior to either Y or ~Y

4. No other explanation explains Y or ~Y better.


Or put in more simple terms. Causality does not explain free will, at least not completely.

Resting in Him,
Clete

docrob57
July 27th, 2005, 01:13 PM
Balder

those few - are loud and vocal - and the many just do not articulate the "dogma" - but your understanding of Christian Grace - it is simply God's Being - that this is God's Nature - the same One God that is Worshiped by every religion and granted a lot of people get it mixed up and confuse it - but if one were to seek the truth - and focus on the truth, and tell people of the truth, instead of finding out all the misconceptions and politely but still wrongly pointing out that well their lives might go a little better - yes Balder, your life would go a little better if you were to champion the Truth - convince people that the Good News is in fact Good News, that what the likes of BCK says is bunk - your life would be much better.

With Christ's Love

Servent101

Who is BCK?

Balder
July 27th, 2005, 01:38 PM
Clete,

Are you suggesting that identical causes could lead to totally different effects, or even opposite effects? If so, I don't see how you could make that argument and still argue for a causal relationship between them. Perhaps if you could take this out of formulas and give an example, your argument might be clearer (to me, at least).

Clete
July 27th, 2005, 01:57 PM
I don't know how to desribe except to say that when I decide to do something I could have decided not do to it. If the later is not possible and all the events that led up to the decision were not fully compatible with my decision not to do it then my decision to do it was not free.

docrob57
July 27th, 2005, 02:00 PM
I don't know how to desribe except to say that when I decide to do something I could have decided not do to it. If the later is not possible and all the events that led up to the decision were not fully compatible with my decision not to do it then my decision to do it was not free.

Then the only available options are:

1. All choices are ultimately random, or
2. Free will does not exist

Clete
July 27th, 2005, 02:11 PM
Then the only available options are:

1. All choices are ultimately random, or
2. Free will does not exist

Or the exact mechanism by which we make our choices is not known. Randomness is not an option for the same reason that not having a free will in not an option.

Freedom of the will is a necessary condition of morality, of right and wrong and all that implies. Thus if God is just we MUST have a free will. No other conclusion is possible.


Resting in Him,
Clete

docrob57
July 27th, 2005, 02:46 PM
Or the exact mechanism by which we make our choices is not known. Randomness is not an option for the same reason that not having a free will in not an option.

Freedom of the will is a necessary condition of morality, of right and wrong and all that implies. Thus if God is just we MUST have a free will. No other conclusion is possible.


Resting in Him,
Clete

I agree. I didn't used to, but I have come to agree with your position. However, again, that is not the issue here. We need to get to the mechanism by which choices are made without substituting "free will" on the right side of the equation. Otherwise we simply have a tautology:

free will choice = free will

Clete
July 27th, 2005, 03:19 PM
I agree. I didn't used to, but I have come to agree with your position. However, again, that is not the issue here. We need to get to the mechanism by which choices are made without substituting "free will" on the right side of the equation. Otherwise we simply have a tautology:

free will choice = free will
Well, do you have any ideas because I'm pretty much tapped out. I haven't got a clue where to begin on figuring something of that nature out, do you?

Resting in Him,
Clete

Knight
July 27th, 2005, 03:22 PM
Maybe freewill is what it is.

Maybe freewill is an un-distilable mechanism.

justchristian
July 27th, 2005, 03:27 PM
If we assume we have free will we must then assume God has free will as well right? I am not saying God can choose evil, but that he can choose between an apple and an orange at any given moment. If that choice was God's prior to his creation of any other cause then we can assume that will acts, and is capable of acting, independant of cause. Perhaps that is part of being made in the image of God. That which was able to cause prior to any other cause is manifest in us. Independant of any other cause we can make a choice. We can choose to become the first cause in a string of events in the universe. The nature of the will making the choice independant of other cause, not being random, must then be rooted internally. And that's where I get stuck. If it's internal, and what is internal is not determined by God, then perhaps it was intially random? God knew in creating free wills some would internally choose him while others would reject him. That cost was acceptable for the reward of relationship with independant wills. Now that we are all independant causes at our root we are capable of affecting other causes (wills), changing them. God works through those who choose him to change those who reject him so all may come to Him. When we hinder God working through us we hinder that work of bringing all to him. I more than suspect some of this is off the wall but that was my train of thought. Perhaps some of it inspired some further insight?

seekinganswers
July 27th, 2005, 03:28 PM
Hey Clete,

Where is your response? I've been waiting and so far you have been silent. Thanks for your kind note, though. I guess I will keep on waiting.

Grace and Peace,
Michael

Balder
July 27th, 2005, 03:31 PM
Perhaps it would be helpful just to consider what "will" is, before discussing whether or not it is truly free, or what is meant by "free."

What is the function and mechanism of will? Rather than exploring this theoretically or philosophically, it might also be helpful to consider it phenomenologically. What is a moment of "willing" something like? What comprises such an act? Does it appear bounded in any way? Does will emerge or act from within the context of a network of reasons, or does it transcend "reasons" in some way?

There may be other relevant questions, but that's a start.

docrob57
July 27th, 2005, 03:33 PM
Well, do you have any ideas because I'm pretty much tapped out. I haven't got a clue where to begin on figuring something of that nature out, do you?

Resting in Him,
Clete

Yes. But let's move to a different but related topic first.

I know that you argue that foreknowledge precludes free will. I still don't agree on that one, and it is related to the free will topic, at least the point that I am trying to get to.

Let's start by looking backward. Monday, you made a free will choice to watch CSI Miami. You told me about it yesterday and I remember it today. Now, at this point, you can't go back and change the choice, but at the time you made it it was free. Does my knowledge of what you did in any way impact your freedom?

docrob57
July 27th, 2005, 03:35 PM
Maybe freewill is what it is.

Maybe freewill is an un-distilable mechanism.

With greatest respect to our highly esteemed and remarkably brilliant leader, that is just ducking the issue.

Clete
July 27th, 2005, 04:00 PM
Hey Clete,

Where is your response? I've been waiting and so far you have been silent. Thanks for your kind note, though. I guess I will keep on waiting.

Grace and Peace,
Michael
Did I owe you a response? :confused:

If so I've forgoten! Can you tell me which post it is that I need to respond too? It certainly wasn't my intention to ignore you.

I'm out of time for today but if you'll give me a post # or a link to it, I'll respond to it before I respond to anything else (assuming time constraints don't demand otherwise).

Resting in Him,
Clete

docrob57
July 27th, 2005, 04:04 PM
Did I owe you a response? :confused:

If so I've forgoten! Can you tell me which post it is that I need to respond too? It certainly wasn't my intention to ignore you.

I'm out of time for today but if you'll give me a post # or a link to it, I'll respond to it before I respond to anything else (assuming time constraints don't demand otherwise).

Resting in Him,
Clete

I'm out of time too. Goodnight all.

Knight
July 27th, 2005, 04:04 PM
With greatest respect to our highly esteemed and remarkably brilliant leader, that is just ducking the issue.I disagree.

Some things cannot be broken down or dissected.

They are what they are.

justchristian
July 27th, 2005, 04:16 PM
I disagree.

Some things cannot be broken down or dissected.

They are what they are.
What else is what it is and can't be broken down further?

Knight
July 27th, 2005, 04:22 PM
What else is what it is and can't be broken down further?

The soul
The human spirit
Blue
Yellow

There are many things that are core and simply are what they are!

Balder
July 27th, 2005, 04:40 PM
The soul
The human spirit
Blue
Yellow

There are many things that are core and simply are what they are!
Are you suggesting that colors are self-existent rather than being dependent on causes and conditions for their "appearance" or manifestation?

Knight
July 27th, 2005, 05:33 PM
Are you suggesting that colors are self-existent rather than being dependent on causes and conditions for their "appearance" or manifestation?No not really.

I am simply saying that some things cannot be broken down into smaller items.

Colors may have been a bad example.

Yet I think my first two examples were good ones. :)

Balder
July 27th, 2005, 06:50 PM
No not really.

I am simply saying that some things cannot be broken down into smaller items.

Colors may have been a bad example.

Yet I think my first two examples were good ones. :)
Yes, they might be. I don't want to introduce a tangent here, but I want to ask you about the soul. I will start a thread about it in a moment. I'd be interested in your thoughts.

B.

BChristianK
July 27th, 2005, 09:28 PM
Who is BCK?
No one of any import....really.....

BChristianK
July 27th, 2005, 09:36 PM
No not really.

I am simply saying that some things cannot be broken down into smaller items.

Colors may have been a bad example.

Yet I think my first two examples were good ones. :)
Exactly!

Balder, this is essentially what I have been trying to convey in the other thread. If a choice is a true "free will choice," then asking the question, "what makes a person choose X?" just doesn't make sense.

Why?

Becuase if anything makes a person choose X it isn't a free will choice/

Balder
July 27th, 2005, 09:48 PM
Hi, BCK,

I understand ... I think. But what about God? Do you believe God, then, does not have free will? If his nature constrains him from ever sinning, then neither he, nor fallen man, are truly "free" in this sense of the word.

Beyond that, people attribute causal factors to their decisions all the time. If you ask them why they chose to do something, most people are able to give one or even several reasons why they did it. Sometimes it's hard to tell, but typically people have reasons for what they do. When they have no reasons, we typically scorn them and call them...unreasonable!

On the other hand, if you keep pursuing even reasonable people with "why's" about their behavior, eventually they run out of reasons for why they wanted to do something, and they say, "I don't know! I just did!" When we do this, does this mean that we really had no reasons -- no contributing causal factors, in this case, desire -- or that our "lens" is too small and we can't see all the contributing factors, or what?

What is the relationship, if any, between what you are saying and this matter of "reasons"?


Becuase if anything makes a person choose X it isn't a free will choice.
But if a choice happens with absolutely "nothing" behind it, then is it moral?

seekinganswers
July 27th, 2005, 09:54 PM
These categories are the attempt of a framework to conform me to that framework. If you look at the registration page for this site there is no option for neither left nor right, and if I am to register I must choose a category. I had to choose one side or the other. In fact, my stance is much more radical. The Enlightenment altogether has no say in my book. The Enlightenment is my focus for attack.



And what of the culture that sees no connection between events? Or that there is no such thing as time? What I was trying to point out is that the system only appears to give us a choice. We think that if we decide to go to bed at 10:00pm or not, that we have been given a decision to make. But it is absurd. It is an appearance of control. The reality is that you will go to bed regardless of your choice or decision.



"Leftist," that would be your label not mine.



Morality is the deception that somehow we can distinguish what is right and acceptable in this world. It is taking of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. It is to say that knit within the very universe is a system of right and wrong and that a human being can discern that system. It is the desire of the Pharisee to be clean before God. The Pharisee did not simply want to judge others, he thought that he could discern wrong and right, and that the law's purpose was in fact this. The law for the Pharisee was this universal principle. You are trying to separate yourself from the Pharisee by separating yourself from the law. But an ethical principle can be used in the same way. "Good" and "Evil" are things that only God can judge and discern. As far as we are concerned Christ tells us that good and evil come together, that is the Creation and distortion are reconciled in him. Jesus declares to us that there does not exist an enemy (in our neighbor). It is our creation, and therefore he calls us to love our "enemy." Your moral system is the creation of the Enlightenment, in which a general principle, or a universal definition of "man" is created to decide what is right. God is not the universal principle, the "rights of men" are. So now that we know what the "rights" are we can live according to them. We can be like the Pharisees once again who conform their fellow men and women to this standard. And we can be even more corrupt than the Pharisees as we distort other human beings horribly through these principles of "rights." Bush can label his enemies "terrorists" and torture them, treating them as less than human, in violation of the geneva treaty. These men that we torture are not human beings, according to Bush; his label of terrorist makes it easy for him to use tactics that are not legal according to the standard of the geneva treaty, which works off of a standard of universal human rights. The problem is that humans are never able to adhere to a universal standard so they are never human by their context. "Terrorists" cannot be humans because they deny the universal principles and thus we are free to do anything to them. Morality is absurd because it cannot resist distortion. Evil is not an ontological reality. The only reality is God, and God made flesh in Christ, thus establishing "evil" as a corruption and nothing more. "Evil" does not have reality in itself. "Evil" is simply a distortion of what is good, making it impossible to create anything but a straw-man to fight against if we are to have a fight against "evil," like the "war on terror." Jesus' words and commands are enough for the disciple. And he says that evil is not only within our brother, but is just as much if not more a part of us. There is no need for a "moral principle." But most people don't believe that Jesus' words and obedience to his commands are sufficient.



It is an illusion. "Justice" in our world equals vengance. One who commits a crime must pay, in other words, and restitution must be visited on the one against whom the crime was commited. And what we are told about this system of "justice" in the scriptures is that vengance is no one's business but the Lord's. Justice before God is reconciliation. The Righteous one is not shaped by morality, as many have come to understand "righteousness" in a moral sense. Righteousness in the scriptures is the same word as justice. And to be just before God is to be reconciled not only to God but to others. Justice is held in God, the one who can judge and yet patiently witholds judgment in seeking reconciliation. The sentance for humanity in the garden of Eden was death. It is language used as a death penalty language, not just to make humanity mortal (they were already mortal when they were created). When God says, "You will surely die," it is not just that you will eventually die, but if you eat from this tree you will be put to death. And notice at the pronouncement of judgment the death penalty is witheld. It is not that God is weak and can't enforce the judgment pronounced. It is that God is the only one who can discern good and evil (as a free agent) and is thus able to withold judgment as well as pass judgment (and notice how it has nothing to do with sacrifice). God is the just judge and will do whatever God pleases to do.



Once again, God is love. We know not what love is. Even our closest relationships with one another do not compare to love. The triune God is love: Father, Son, and Spirit. We are as far from love as we can possibly be. Just look at Christ and look at ourselves and we will see a vast expanse between the two. We cannot nor do we know how to love. Love is distorted among us as we wrap it up in shame and seek pleasure over the other's need. Even supposed love between a man and a woman in marriage is a distortion as that love is confined within them, instead of making them one flesh and living as one flesh to love the other, the neighbor, and the stranger (the child that comes into their marriage as a gift from God), their love remains within them. But God revealed God's love in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. That is love, and do not think that we can define love outside of that very particular enactment. Love is defined within the trinity, and only as we are sustained by God do we even begin to know what love is.



No we cannot love God. But God can love us. "This is love, not that we loved God, but that God loved us and gave his Son to be the expiation for our sins" (I John 4:10). And this love is perfected within us so that we can then love: "This is love, that we follow his commandments" (II John 1:6). Love remains wrapped up in God. It is not a universal principle in which both God and men can participate. God is love.



This shows the absurdity of your system, for by your system you would judge God. Your standard of justice can even define the limits of the Creator. It is not my place to establish a justice by which to judge the Creator. Justice is held within God, and therefore only by God are we just. As I said before, God's command regarding justice is to be reconciled. But you go ahead and create that absurd situation where God will be judged by men.



Once again, this is absurd. You have created a system of goodness that superceeds the Creator. God is not good in your system, God participates in goodness that is even outside of God. You once again take judgment into your own hands in order to create that absurd situation where man judges God.



This is the most ridiculous statement anyone has tried to make of me. Do you think that I am a liberal Democrat? If you have read anything that I have written on this site you would know that your categories of "right" and "left" do not apply to what I am saying. I have never read Hillary Clinton's books any more than I have read Hitler's!! If you would like to understand what I am saying, read Bonhoeffer (The Cost of Discipleship and Ethics).

Grace and Peace,
Michael

Here was my original post, Clete. It's on page 5. You asked for these answers to your questions, and you also said that you would respond later, but did not.

Grace and Peace,
Michael

Clete
July 28th, 2005, 06:41 AM
Here was my original post, Clete. It's on page 5. You asked for these answers to your questions, and you also said that you would respond later, but did not.

Grace and Peace,
Michael
Ah, Yes! I remember now. I had intended to respond to this Tuesday when I responded to several other posts. I had even remarked when I was done (thought I was done) to Turbo that I was surprised at how quickly I had got caught up because I thought I was further behind that that. It seems I was indeed further behind. My appologies for having over looked this, I really didn't mean to leave you hanging like that. I just got too far behind and this one got lost in the shuffle. I just hope that this is the only one that got overlooked!

I'll respond shortly.

Resting in Him,
Clete

servent101
July 28th, 2005, 06:58 AM
dotcrobe57
Who is BCK?

BCK is BChristianK - who politely shares the doctrines of demons, then has Balder expose the lunacy of the concepts - but all very politely - like sipping wine with canables. All in all I find the discourse vile and without discernment. It is a pity the Christian Faith is being explored and exposed as such, and done so with the smooth flair and calm that these two seem to place above all else. Balder seems to be lost in the confusion, and seems to believe that the Good News actually says what BCK suggests with what he refers to as a responsible exegesis of the Scriptures.

With Christ's Love

Servent101

docrob57
July 28th, 2005, 07:08 AM
No not really.

I am simply saying that some things cannot be broken down into smaller items.

Colors may have been a bad example.

Yet I think my first two examples were good ones. :)

Well let me see if I understand this. Trying to synthesize what Clete and Knight have said. We go along and at some point, for some reason confront our decision. Free will takes over and makes the decision. You, the decision maker, really don't know why you did it that way, other than that it is the product of your free will.

Is this about it?

servent101
July 28th, 2005, 07:55 AM
docrobe57
Is this about it?

It might be it as far as their concerned about it, but the "reason" they do what they do is simply beyond their ability to know. With some serious counselling and theropy they might be helped somewhat to understand what they are doing. And as well this is always a good excuse in the courts
I don't know why I did what I did, but I am seeing a counsellor to help me find out

With Christ's Love

Servent101

Clete
July 28th, 2005, 09:39 AM
These categories are the attempt of a framework to conform me to that framework. If you look at the registration page for this site there is no option for neither left nor right, and if I am to register I must choose a category. I had to choose one side or the other. In fact, my stance is much more radical. The Enlightenment altogether has no say in my book. The Enlightenment is my focus for attack.
And yet you chose "More left than right" over all of the other options which is perfectly in keeping with your nutty idea that we are not individuals. And while I don't know this for certain I suspect that the reason there is not "neither left nor right" category is because the guy who made the options realizes that there is no one who would really fit in that category.


And what of the culture that sees no connection between events?
There is no such culture and is irrelevant anyway because there in fact is a connection between events whether you or anyone else wants to acknowledge it or not.


Or that there is no such thing as time?
I do not believe time exists. I do believe clocks exist though.


What I was trying to point out is that the system only appears to give us a choice. We think that if we decide to go to bed at 10:00pm or not, that we have been given a decision to make. But it is absurd. It is an appearance of control. The reality is that you will go to bed regardless of your choice or decision.
Fine. Then the conclusion that logically follows is that love and every other moral consideration is also an illusion. Are you willing to concede that? I'm not!


"Leftist," that would be your label not mine.
Okay.



Alright, now for the really 'good' part...

What is morality? Clete asked...

Morality is the deception that somehow we can distinguish what is right and acceptable in this world. It is taking of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. It is to say that knit within the very universe is a system of right and wrong and that a human being can discern that system. It is the desire of the Pharisee to be clean before God. The Pharisee did not simply want to judge others, he thought that he could discern wrong and right, and that the law's purpose was in fact this. The law for the Pharisee was this universal principle. You are trying to separate yourself from the Pharisee by separating yourself from the law. But an ethical principle can be used in the same way. "Good" and "Evil" are things that only God can judge and discern. As far as we are concerned Christ tells us that good and evil come together, that is the Creation and distortion are reconciled in him. Jesus declares to us that there does not exist an enemy. It is our creation, and therefore he calls us to love our "enemy." Your moral system is the creation of the Enlightenment, in which a general principle, or a universal definition of "man" is created to decide what is right. God is not the universal principle, the "rights of men" are. So now that we know what the "rights" are we can live according to them. We can be like the Pharisees once again who conform their fellow men and women to this standard. And we can be even more corrupt than the Pharisees as we distort other human beings horribly through these principles of "rights." Bush can label his enemies "terrorists" and torture them, treating them as less than human, in violation of the geneva treaty. These men that we torture are not human beings; his label of terrorist makes it easy for him to use tactics that are not legal according to the standard of the geneva treaty, which works off of a standard of universal human rights. The problem is that humans are never able to adhere to a universal standard so they are never human by their context. "Terrorists" cannot be humans because they deny the universal principles and thus we are free to do anything to them. Morality is absurd because it cannot resist distortion. Evil is not an ontological reality. The only reality is God, and God made flesh in Christ, thus establishing "evil" as a corruption and nothing more. "Evil" does not have reality in itself. "Evil" is simply a distortion of what is good, making it impossible to create anything but a straw-man to fight against if we are to have a fight against "evil", like the "war on terror." Jesus' words and commands are enough for the disciple. And he says that evil is not only within our brother, but is just as much if not more a part of us. There is no need for a "moral principle." But most people don't believe that Jesus' commands and obedience to those commands are sufficient.
The highlighted comments are sufficient to prove you a nut. No further response to this lunatic rant is warranted.



What is justice? Clete asked...

It is an illusion. "Justice" in our world equals vengance. One who commits a crime must pay, in other words, and restitution must be visited on the one against whom the crime was commited. And what we are told about this system of "justice" in the scriptures is that vengance is no one's business but the Lord's. Justice before God is reconciliation. The Righteous one is not shaped by morality, as many have come to understand "righteousness" in a moral sense. Righteousness in the scriptures is the same word as justice. And to be just before God is to be reconciled not only to God but to others. Justice is held in God, the one who can judge and yet patiently witholds judgment in seeking reconciliation. The sentance for humanity in the garden of Eden was death. It is language used as a death penalty language, not just to make humanity mortal (they were already mortal when they were created). When God says, "You will surely die," it is not just that you will eventually die, but if you eat from this tree you will be put to death. And notice at the pronouncement of judgment the death penalty is witheld. It is not that God is weak and can't enforce the judgment pronounced. It is that God is the only one who can discern good and evil (as a free agent) and is thus able to withold judgment as well as pass judgment (and notice how it has nothing to do with sacrifice). God is the just judge and will do whatever God pleases to do.
The last sentence is in direct conflict with the first. Does justice exist or not? I don't care about what men say or what anyone's opinion is. Why can't people just answer a simple question? What IS justice? Not, what does the world think about justice? And not, what do the Pharisees think about what right and wrong is? I didn't ask that, and I don't give a crap about that. I want to know, based on what you believe about God and about the way we make choices in this life and what the consequences of those actions are, WHAT IS JUSTICE?




What is love? Clete asked...

Once again, God is love. We know not what love is. Even our closest relationships with one another do not compare to love. The triune God is love: Father, Son, and Spirit. We are as far from love as we can possibly be. Just look at Christ and look at ourselves and we will see a vast expanse between the two. We cannot nor do we know how to love. Love is distorted among us as we wrap it up in shame and seek pleasure over the other's need. Even supposed love between a man and a woman in marriage is a distortion as that love is confined within them, instead of making them one flesh and living as one flesh to love the other, the neighbor, and the stranger (the child that comes into their marriage as a gift from God), their love remains within them. But God revealed God's love in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. That is love, and do not think that we can define love outside of that very particular enactment. Love is defined within the trinity, and only as we are sustained by God do we even begin to know what love is.

2 Corinthians 11:11
Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!

Ephesians 5:2
and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

1 Thessalonians 1:3
We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 2:8
We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.

1 Thessalonians 4:9
Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.

2 Thessalonians 1:3
We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.

1 Timothy 6:11
But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.

2 Timothy 1:7
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

1 Peter 2:17
Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.

2 Peter 1:5-8
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 John 3:10
This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.

1 John 4:7
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 John 4:11
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

1 John 4:16
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

1 John 4:20
If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.

1 John 4:21
And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

3 John 1:6
They have told the church about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God.

1 Cor. 13:3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails.




Can we love God? Clete asked...

[b]No we cannot love God. But God can love us. "This is love, not that we loved God, but that God loved us and gave his Son to be the expiation for our sins" (I John 4:10). And this love is perfected within us so that we can then love: "This is love, that we follow his commandments" (II John 1:6). Love remains wrapped up in God. It is not a universal principle in which both God and men can participate. God is love.

Deuteronomy 6:5
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Deuteronomy 7:9
Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.

Deuteronomy 10:12
And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,

Deuteronomy 11:1
Love the LORD your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always.

Deuteronomy 11:13
So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the LORD your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul

Deuteronomy 11:22
If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways and to hold fast to him

Deuteronomy 13:3
you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Deuteronomy 19:9
because you carefully follow all these laws I command you today—to love the LORD your God and to walk always in his ways—then you are to set aside three more cities.

Deuteronomy 30:6
The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.

Deuteronomy 30:16
For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

Deuteronomy 30:20
and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Joshua 22:5
But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul."

Joshua 23:11
So be very careful to love the LORD your God.

Daniel 9:4
I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: "O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands,

Hosea 3:1
The LORD said to me, "Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes."

Hosea 12:6
But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always.

Amos 5:15
Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.

Micah 6:8
He [God] has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Matthew 22:37
Jesus replied: " Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'

Mark 12:30
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'

Luke 10:27
He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind' ; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' "

Luke 11:42
"Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.

John 8:42
Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me.

John 16:27
No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

1 Corinthians 2:9
However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"

1 Corinthians 8:3
But the man who loves God is known by God.

James 1:12
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

James 2:5
Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?

1 John 4:21
And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

1 John 5:1
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.

1 John 5:2-3
This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome



Is God just? Clete asked...

This shows the absurdity of your system, for by your system you would judge God. Your standard of justice can even define the limits of the Creator. It is not my place to establish a justice by which to judge the Creator. Justice is held within God, and therefore only by God are we just. As I said before, God's command regarding justice is to be reconciled. But you go ahead and create that absurd situation where God will be judged by men.

Was the author of Hebrew absurd too?

Hebrews 6:10
God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.




Is God moral (Is God good)? Clete asked...

Once again, this is absurd. You have created a system of goodness that superceeds the Creator. God is not good in your system, God participates in goodness that is even outside of God. You once again take judgment into your own hands in order to create that absurd situation where man judges God.
Well this proves my point as well as anything could I suppose. How is it possible that a person who claims to be a Christian can have such a reaction to the notion that God is good? It's insane! It is literally insane.
God is good and is it not wrong for me or anyone else to say so. In fact, quite the contrary. If you cannot bring yourself to say that God is good then how can you love Him? But you can't love Him according to you so I suppose on that much you are consistent. Consistently lost in a world of insanity, that is.


This is the most ridiculous statement anyone has tried to make of me. Do you think that I am a liberal Democrat?
No I never said that. But you are a liberal.


If you have read anything that I have written on this site you would know that your categories of "right" and "left" do not apply to what I am saying. I have never read Hillary Clinton's books any more than I have read Hitler's!! If you would like to understand what I am saying, read Bonhoeffer (The Cost of Discipleship and Ethics).
I responded to this already.

Resting in Him,
Clete

BChristianK
July 28th, 2005, 12:08 PM
dotcrobe57

BCK is BChristianK - who politely shares the doctrines of demons...
Yes, I am very careful to be extra polite :angel: when I share my


DOCTRINE OF DEMONS...

:devil: :devil: :devil:


MOOOOOOOOHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!


I try to be more belligerent and abusive with you in the future…
:D

Clete
July 28th, 2005, 12:42 PM
Yes. But let's move to a different but related topic first.

I know that you argue that foreknowledge precludes free will. I still don't agree on that one, and it is related to the free will topic, at least the point that I am trying to get to.

Let's start by looking backward. Monday, you made a free will choice to watch CSI Miami. You told me about it yesterday and I remember it today. Now, at this point, you can't go back and change the choice, but at the time you made it it was free. Does my knowledge of what you did in any way impact your freedom?
The past is closed doc.

That's at least part of what why the past knowable.

Knowledge (or the ability to know) = CLOSED!

Resting in Him,
Clete

docrob57
July 28th, 2005, 02:03 PM
The past is closed doc.

That's at least part of what why the past knowable.

Knowledge (or the ability to know) = CLOSED!

Resting in Him,
Clete

I know that, and in fact said as much, but at the time the action took place, it was open, and I know about it. So, the question is, does my knowledge effect the free choice you made at the time you made it? (Hint: the answer is no)

Balder
July 28th, 2005, 02:06 PM
Have you ever had a dream that something was going to happen to someone, and then it did? If you have, or if you can at least imagine it hypothetically, did your dream negatively impact or restrict the "free will" of whatever person you dreamed about?

Knight
July 28th, 2005, 02:16 PM
Have you ever had a dream that something was going to happen to someone, and then it did? If you have, or if you can at least imagine it hypothetically, did your dream negatively impact or restrict the "free will" of whatever person you dreamed about?Does the word coincidence mean anything to you?

Knight
July 28th, 2005, 02:17 PM
I know that, and in fact said as much, but at the time the action took place, it was open, and I know about it. So, the question is, does my knowledge effect the free choice you made at the time you made it? (Hint: the answer is no):bang:

docrob57
July 28th, 2005, 02:27 PM
:bang:

I must be honest. As I have said before, I agree with the DBC folks on almost everything but this. But the fact is, on this you guys do not put forth anything like a meaningful argument. The reason you don't give straight answers to straight questions on this matter is because it is obvious that if you were to answer meaningfully you could no longer hold to your position.

Making little "beating my head against the wall" smilies and asserting that free will "is what it is" are simply ways of getting around the rather obvious fact that knowledge does not equal control. If present knowledge does not control past events, which it does not, then there is no basis for the conclusion that it would control future events. This being the case, foreknowledge is not incompatible with free will.

It is not incompatible with determinism either, and this is where the problem comes in. The OT argument is simply not a viable argument to rescue free will from Calvinism. Better arguments are to be found in the one that Clete made in his recent one on one which simply broadens the context of scriptural interpretation and makes for a complelling argument.

Clete
July 28th, 2005, 02:30 PM
I know that, and in fact said as much, but at the time the action took place, it was open, and I know about it. So, the question is, does my knowledge effect the free choice you made at the time you made it? (Hint: the answer is no)
Of course the answer is no but the point I was making was that it is irrelivent because it is a confusion of category to equate your knowledge of the past with God's supposed knowledge of the future. If that is, in fact, what you are doing and if it isn't then go ahead and make your point. There is no need to ask for answers to perfectly obvious questions.

Resting in Him,
Clete

docrob57
July 28th, 2005, 02:34 PM
Of course the answer is no but the point I was making was that it is irrelivent because it is a confusion of category to equate your knowledge of the past with God's supposed knowledge of the future. If that is, in fact, what you are doing and if it isn't then go ahead and make your point. There is no need to ask for answers to perfectly obvious questions.

Resting in Him,
Clete

I addressed this in the previous post. I guess my hope of arriving at some common understanding of the issue will not be realized. But, in the immortal words of Matthew West, it's not the end of the world.

Thanks for the discussion.

Clete
July 28th, 2005, 02:44 PM
I must be honest. As I have said before, I agree with the DBC folks on almost everything but this. But the fact is, on this you guys do not put forth anything like a meaningful argument. The reason you don't give straight answers to straight questions on this matter is because it is obvious that if you were to answer meaningfully you could no longer hold to your position.
This isn't so. Come on now, lighten up a little. We've been having so much fun on this thread. You have to expect a little light humored ribbing from time to time. If there is a question you really want answered, we'll answer it, I promise.


Making little "beating my head against the wall" smilies and asserting that free will "is what it is" are simply ways of getting around the rather obvious fact that knowledge does not equal control. If present knowledge does not control past events, which it does not, then there is no basis for the conclusion that it would control future events. This being the case, foreknowledge is not incompatible with free will.

It is not incompatible with determinism either, and this is where the problem comes in. The OT argument is simply not a viable argument to rescue free will from Calvinism.
What do you understand the OT argument to be and where do you see it's logic to be flawed?


Better arguments are to be found in the one that Clete made in his recent one on one which simply broadens the context of scriptural interpretation and makes for a complelling argument.
Well thank you for saying so but I think that this issue can be argued from just about any angle you want to argue it from and the idea of a closed future is simply incompatible with the idea that I am able do or do otherwise.
Your argument about the past demonstrates it beautifully. I cannot do other than what I have done. I cannot go back are redo the past. The reason I cannot is because it is closed (among other reasons). It is the fixed and settled nature of the past which makes it knowable in the first place. If something is open (philosophically speaking) that means it is UNKNOWN to some degree. For example, most of the questions in philosophy are "open questions", meaning that there is no answer that has been firmly settled upon, some people think the answer is one thing and others think the answer is something else but know one have proven the answer absolutely (i.e. no one absolutely knows the answer) thus the questions of philosphy are considered "open questions".
Another example is a court case. When the legal matter is resolved or "settled" the case is "closed" and until it is settled it is considered "open".
Likewise if the future is settled by whatever means foreknowledge or otherwise, then it too is closed and I have only the ability to do but not to do otherwise and I am therefore not free.


How am I wrong?

Resting in Him,
Clete

Balder
July 28th, 2005, 02:46 PM
Does the word coincidence mean anything to you?
Of course.

Does that mean that all the Biblical prophesies are just coincidences, if you are implying that dreaming or having a vision about the future isn't possible? Or are you promoting a double standard, where any apparently accurate premonitions in the Bible are truly "visions of the future," while any fulfilled prophesies or premonitions outside of the Bible are merely coincidences?

But that's really a side issue. Hypothetically, if an ordinary person has such a dream (or even if a prophet has a vision of the future), does that impinge upon the free wills of the individual(s) in the future?

docrob57
July 28th, 2005, 02:52 PM
This isn't so. Come on now, lighten up a little. We've been having so much fun on this thread. You have to expect a little light humored ribbing from time to time. If there is a question you really want answered, we'll answer it, I promise.

Nope, I am well known for being able to dish it out but not take it. :)

Anyway, I will get to the rest later but I have to work right now. My basic question remains, can you tell me something more about free will, and how free will choices occur, other than they just do.

Knight
July 28th, 2005, 02:55 PM
But the fact is, on this you guys do not put forth anything like a meaningful argument.Ouch!

docrob57
July 28th, 2005, 03:00 PM
And I have asked you guys why this is important to you, but I will tell you why it is important to me. If just doesn't seem reasonable to me that God, who we all admit can foreknow somethings, cannot foreknow everything. Now, if you want to argue that God chooses to limit the extent of His foreknowledge, I guess I could accept that. But otherwise I find it sort of troublesome.

docrob57
July 28th, 2005, 03:01 PM
Ouch!

Don't be too ouched. I was just referring to this specific issue.

Knight
July 28th, 2005, 03:02 PM
Don't be too ouched. I was just referring to this specific issue.Well then, that's much better. :rolleyes:

death2impiety
July 28th, 2005, 03:03 PM
But the fact is, on this you guys do not put forth anything like a meaningful argument


Ouch!

No worries, I seem to remember a lot of non-believers making statements like this regarding the Battle Royale VII..

Knight
July 28th, 2005, 03:07 PM
And I have asked you guys why this is important to you, but I will tell you why it is important to me. If just doesn't seem reasonable to me that God, who we all admit can foreknow somethings, cannot foreknow everything. Now, if you want to argue that God chooses to limit the extent of His foreknowledge, I guess I could accept that. But otherwise I find it sort of troublesome.It's the manner and the extent of the foreknowledge that is in question.

Perfect exhaustive foreknowledge is the sticking point. The implications of perfect exhaustive foreknowledge fly in the face of the message God provided for us in His word therefore I (we) reject it.

docrob57
July 28th, 2005, 03:12 PM
No worries, I seem to remember a lot of non-believers making statements like this regarding the Battle Royale VII..

Yeah, but THEY were wrong!

docrob57
July 28th, 2005, 03:13 PM
It's the manner and the extent of the foreknowledge that is in question.

Perfect exhaustive foreknowledge is the sticking point. The implications of perfect exhaustive foreknowledge fly in the face of the message God provided for us in His word therefore I (we) reject it.

Right, and of course this is the root of our disagreement since I do not think that perfect exhaustive foreknowledge is inconsistent with Biblical teaching.

Clete
July 28th, 2005, 05:16 PM
For me it seems to boil down to the single issue of being able to do otherwise.

Perhaps you could explain two things.

1. Is the ability to do or to do otherwise a necessary condition of having a free will?

2. If God has exhaustive foreknowledge of the future, does a person retain the ability to do other than what God knows he will do? If so how? If not, and your answer to question 1 is "yes" then why don't you agree with us on this?

Resting in Him,
Clete

docrob57
July 28th, 2005, 08:23 PM
For me it seems to boil down to the single issue of being able to do otherwise.

Perhaps you could explain two things.

1. Is the ability to do or to do otherwise a necessary condition of having a free will?

2. If God has exhaustive foreknowledge of the future, does a person retain the ability to do other than what God knows he will do? If so how? If not, and your answer to question 1 is "yes" then why don't you agree with us on this?

Resting in Him,
Clete

1. Yes

2. Yes, because knowledge of an event's outcome does not control the outcome any more than knowledge of a past event controls what happens at the time it happens.

I was listening to a person discuss free will on the way home today, and it occured to me that "free will" is on the left hand side of the equation. In other words, free will is a characteristic of the outcome, not a cause of the outcome. What you guys do is basically place it on both sides of the equation, and that results in statements that are true by definition, and, therefore, don't explain anything.

What makes free will "free," that is a characteristic of the individual and not something externally imposed, is that it emanates from the characteristics of the individual. The peculiar make up of the individual, to some extent in concert with external circumstances, are what lead to a particular choice being made at a particular time. If this were not true, then the various behaviors (such as voting or product purchases) which we can predict pretty will through statistical analysis, would not be predictable at all. The only thing that prohibits humans from being able to perfectly predict human behavior (which is equivalent to perfect exhaustive foreknowledge) is imperfect understanding of the causal processes that lead to the choice or behavior and imperfect ability to measure the traits/ circumstances of the individual. God is not subject to these limitations.

I should note that Bob Enyart implicitly acknowledges this on one of his "The Plot" tapes when he talks about core beliefs influencing future behaviors. I don't paraphrase too much in quoting him as saying that our core beliefs formed early in life determine our future behavior (emphasis added). And he is right! Of course, there are other factors involved, and I know Mr. Enyart would acknowledge that, but he was simplifying for illustrative purposes.

I will stop here and get your response. This may be my longest ever post!

Knight
July 28th, 2005, 08:25 PM
So Doc I am guessing you will be closely following BRX?

docrob57
July 28th, 2005, 08:27 PM
So Doc I am guessing you will be closely following BRX?

Sure, and, as always I will be pulling for Mr. Enyart!!! Perhaps he can cure me of my errant ways. (Note, I have NEVER called in to discuss this issue :) )

Knight
July 28th, 2005, 08:29 PM
Sure, and, as always I will be pulling for Mr. Enyart!!! Perhaps he can cure me of my errant ways. (Note, I have NEVER called in to discuss this issue :) )I don't understand why you would be "pulling for him" in this instance. :confused:

Is it that you want to be convinced you are wrong? :)

docrob57
July 28th, 2005, 08:55 PM
I don't understand why you would be "pulling for him" in this instance. :confused:

Is it that you want to be convinced you are wrong? :)

I would like to, yes. That's what you guys don't understand. And it isn't so much that I want to be proven wrong, but I have no emotional stake in my position. I am willing to change if presented with a reasonable argument. So I look forward to hearing what Pastor Bob has to say.

Clete
July 28th, 2005, 09:35 PM
1. Yes

2. Yes, because knowledge of an event's outcome does not control the outcome any more than knowledge of a past event controls what happens at the time it happens.


It is not my position that it controls it. Knowledge of a future event does not effect the event or the person performing it at all (at least not directly or in a physical sense). That is not what we are saying in the slightest. We are not making a physical argument where God's foreknowledge somehow forces the actions of people in the future. We are making a logical argument. If God knows what I will do (not just suspects or accurately predicts it, but absolutely knows it as a complete certainty, as if He witnessed the event before it happened) then that knowledge logically eliminates my ability to do otherwise and thus removes my freedom by definition. Not because the knowledge itself is somehow a causal factor but because the logical possibility of my having done anything else is removed.

Causality is yet another means by which my freedom is detroyed but I don't have time right now to get into that. I'll get to that when I respond to the rest of your post tomorrow.

Resting in Him,
Clete

Delmar
July 29th, 2005, 12:05 AM
All this equation stuff gets a little to complicated for me to wrap my brain around. I tend to look at these things in simpler terms. I guess, for the most part, I believe in free will because I want to. I want to believe that God doesn’t want to control me like a puppet. I want to believe my wife loves me because she chose to. I want to believe that God wants me to have that kind of freedom!

God_Is_Truth
July 29th, 2005, 12:23 AM
All this equation stuff gets a little to complicated for me to wrap my brain around. I tend to look at these things in simpler terms. I guess, for the most part, I believe in free will because I want to. I want to believe that God doesn’t want to control me like a puppet. I want to believe my wife loves me because she chose to. I want to believe that God wants me to have that kind of freedom!

and even if it's not that way, that means God predestined you to want to feel that way! :D

Delmar
July 29th, 2005, 12:11 PM
and even if it's not that way, that means God predestined you to want to feel that way! :D
... by granting me freedom!

docrob57
July 29th, 2005, 12:27 PM
It is not my position that it controls it. Knowledge of a future event does not effect the event or the person performing it at all (at least not directly or in a physical sense). That is not what we are saying in the slightest. We are not making a physical argument where God's foreknowledge somehow forces the actions of people in the future. We are making a logical argument. If God knows what I will do (not just suspects or accurately predicts it, but absolutely knows it as a complete certainty, as if He witnessed the event before it happened) then that knowledge logically eliminates my ability to do otherwise and thus removes my freedom by definition. Not because the knowledge itself is somehow a causal factor but because the logical possibility of my having done anything else is removed.

Causality is yet another means by which my freedom is detroyed but I don't have time right now to get into that. I'll get to that when I respond to the rest of your post tomorrow.

Resting in Him,
Clete

Let me restate the problem . . . foreknowledge of an event as you describe it does NOT logically eleiminate the ability to otherwise. Simply stating that it does does not demonstrate your point. Foreknowledge as you describe it means that the decision maker
confronts the decision, legitimately makes a free choice, and God knows what the choice will be. There is no logical contradiction there. If you are going to make a compelling argument, you need to try another tactic. :)

Balder
July 29th, 2005, 12:35 PM
Is God the creator of each and every individual on the planet? Is God your personal creator? Did He know you would "be," or plan for your "being," from the beginning, along with the rest of creation? Or is he as surprised by "who" is born as our parents are?

Clete
July 29th, 2005, 07:21 PM
Let me restate the problem . . . foreknowledge of an event as you describe it does NOT logically eleiminate the ability to otherwise. Simply stating that it does does not demonstrate your point. Foreknowledge as you describe it means that the decision maker
confronts the decision, legitimately makes a free choice, and God knows what the choice will be. There is no logical contradiction there. If you are going to make a compelling argument, you need to try another tactic. :)
Okay, let's look at it from a little different angle. Assuming for the moment that God does know the future exhaustively, how do you suppose He came to that knowledge, or do you suppose that He has always known it?

Resting in Him,
Clete

Clete
July 29th, 2005, 07:23 PM
Is God the creator of each and every individual on the planet? Is God your personal creator? Did He know you would "be," or plan for your "being," from the beginning, along with the rest of creation? Or is he as surprised by "who" is born as our parents are?
Surprised would most likely be an overstatement but I see no reason to believe that God specifically planned my personal existence. He can do so and has (like with Paul for example) but there would be no need (nor desire that I can see) for God to preplan each individual person.

Resting in Him,
Clete

seekinganswers
July 30th, 2005, 01:29 AM
The past is closed doc.

That's at least part of what why the past knowable.

Knowledge (or the ability to know) = CLOSED!

Resting in Him,
Clete

Just a question, Clete. If the past is closed, does that not confine God? Why Christians bury the dead? Would it be inappropriate to pray for those who have died? I guess that's why Christians funerals are being paved over by "memorial" services today because we think the past is fixed, and that is only out of our own nature. WE are contingent. God is free, and lives without constraint.

Grace and Peace,
Michael

Delmar
July 30th, 2005, 04:35 AM
Just a question, Clete. If the past is closed, does that not confine God? Why Christians bury the dead? Would it be inappropriate to pray for those who have died? I guess that's why Christians funerals are being paved over by "memorial" services today because we think the past is fixed, and that is only out of our own nature. WE are contingent. God is free, and lives without constraint.

Grace and Peace,
MichaelInteresting question, since most people claim that an open future places limits on God.

Ryft
July 30th, 2005, 08:18 AM
This is a fantastic thread so far and I have been enjoying, immensely, the rather robust point that DocRob has been making, whose impeccable reasoning deposits his interlocutor on the threshold but patiently (if at times frustratedly) waits for them to proceed across on their own. I do hope this thread continues for at least a little while longer.

I wanted to chime in with my perspective on something Balder had asked, since it is a rather good question to which I think there is a good answer. I don't want to hijack the thread but I did want to at least toss in my two cents.

Balder had asked, "If God does not commit evil or sinful actions, and does not will to do so, is there a reason for that? Is there a reason he does not do evil?" I think there is, and I think the answer becomes intuitive the moment we stop and consider just what "evil" is. If "evil" is defined as any want of conformity to God's laws, which are preceptive expressions of his nature, then it makes intuitive sense why God does not do evil—God, whose being is transcendent pure actuality, cannot be not-God (for pure actuality is not possessed of any potentiality, which as a property of temporality has no relationship with an eternal transcendent being).

On another matter, docrob57 said something about "...the rather obvious fact that knowledge does not equal control." I made a distinction once in a conversation with someone a couple years ago that may or may not prove helpful or relevant here. I said to the person, "Foreknowledge is an attribute of God, not an act of God." At any rate, 'foreknowledge' is most likely a misleading term, if we wish to talk of God as God, for it implies a being constrained by temporality. I think it is incorrect to say that God has experiential knowledge of 'yesterday' and 'tomorrow', to describe God in any way as having experiential knowledge of temporality as a linear sequence (distinguished from propositional knowledge). I think that if God is omnipresent in terms of spatial location then it follows that he is omnipresent in terms of temporal location, since space and time are inextricably bound up together in this created order.

docrob57
July 30th, 2005, 10:34 AM
This is a fantastic thread so far and I have been enjoying, immensely, the rather robust point that DocRob has been making, whose impeccable reasoning deposits his interlocutor on the threshold but patiently (if at times frustratedly) waits for them to proceed across on their own. I do hope this thread continues for at least a little while longer.

I wanted to chime in with my perspective on something Balder had asked, since it is a rather good question to which I think there is a good answer. I don't want to hijack the thread but I did want to at least toss in my two cents.

Balder had asked, "If God does not commit evil or sinful actions, and does not will to do so, is there a reason for that? Is there a reason he does not do evil?" I think there is, and I think the answer becomes intuitive the moment we stop and consider just what "evil" is. If "evil" is defined as any want of conformity to God's laws, which are preceptive expressions of his nature, then it makes intuitive sense why God does not do evil—God, whose being is transcendent pure actuality, cannot be not-God (for pure actuality is not possessed of any potentiality, which as a property of temporality has no relationship with an eternal transcendent being).

On another matter, docrob57 said something about "...the rather obvious fact that knowledge does not equal control." I made a distinction once in a conversation with someone a couple years ago that may or may not prove helpful or relevant here. I said to the person, "Foreknowledge is an attribute of God, not an act of God." At any rate, 'foreknowledge' is most likely a misleading term, if we wish to talk of God as God, for it implies a being constrained by temporality. I think it is incorrect to say that God has experiential knowledge of 'yesterday' and 'tomorrow', to describe God in any way as having experiential knowledge of temporality as a linear sequence (distinguished from propositional knowledge). I think that if God is omnipresent in terms of spatial location then it follows that he is omnipresent in terms of temporal location, since space and time are inextricably bound up together in this created order.

I tend to agree with the latter point (maybe the former as well), however, my attempt is to demonstrate that even if God is bound by time, he must, of necessity, have foreknowledge since he certainly knows all the causal mechanisms involved in human and other matters (after all, He created them) and perfect knowledge of causality is all that is required for perfect exhaustive foreknowledge. I also seek to demostrate that such knowledge does not preclude free will.

docrob57
July 30th, 2005, 10:37 AM
Okay, let's look at it from a little different angle. Assuming for the moment that God does know the future exhaustively, how do you suppose He came to that knowledge, or do you suppose that He has always known it?

Resting in Him,
Clete

God is the Creator. He created not just the physical objects but also the laws that govern their behavior. If this is true and my perspective is correct, He would have known the future at the time when He "planned" creation, however that took place.

Delmar
July 30th, 2005, 11:05 AM
I tend to agree with the latter point (maybe the former as well), however, my attempt is to demonstrate that even if God is bound by time, he must, of necessity, have foreknowledge since he certainly knows all the causal mechanisms involved in human and other matters (after all, He created them) and perfect knowledge of causality is all that is required for perfect exhaustive foreknowledge. I also seek to demostrate that such knowledge does not preclude free will.
Doc I agree 100% that God certainly knows all the causal mechanisms involved in human and other matters, but you have in no way established that every event can be established by causal mechanisms. The problem I have is that your theory, in order to allow for perfect exhaustive foreknowledge, does not allow that there have been any random decisions or events in the history of the universe ever !

docrob57
July 30th, 2005, 12:24 PM
Doc I agree 100% that God certainly knows all the causal mechanisms involved in human and other matters, but you have in no way established that every event can be established by causal mechanisms. The problem I have is that your theory, in order to allow for perfect exhaustive foreknowledge, does not allow that there have been any random decisions or events in the history of the universe ever !

Deardelmar!!!! THAT is an excellent point! And that is where the great uncertainty about what I say comes in. I, personally, tend to doubt that truly random processes exist. Chaos theory tells us, for example, that deterministic processes can and do often appear as random. However, this is far from established. And, to the extent that truly random processes do exist, then I would agree that perfect exhaustive foreknowledge is not possible.

:first: Other side;s Post of The Thread Thus Far :up:

seekinganswers
July 30th, 2005, 12:26 PM
These categories are the attempt of a framework to conform me to that framework. If you look at the registration page for this site there is no option for neither left nor right, and if I am to register I must choose a category. I had to choose one side or the other. In fact, my stance is much more radical. The Enlightenment altogether has no say in my book. The Enlightenment is my focus for attack.

And yet you chose "More left than right" over all of the other options which is perfectly in keeping with your nutty idea that we are not individuals. And while I don't know this for certain I suspect that the reason there is not "neither left nor right" category is because the guy who made the options realizes that there is no one who would really fit in that category.

I chose "More left than right" because unless I chose I could not register to post on this site. The choice was arbitrary. It would have been just as easy for me to choose more right than left. There are ways in which I am "left," as you label it, and there are ways in which I am "right." Yet none is more overwhelming than another. The reality is that I am not shaped by such categories in my thinking. I am not shaped by the extremes. I am shaped in the reading of scripture, which does not fit into those categories. The scriptures that declare Isaiah's unworthiness to come before the presence of the Almighty God through his "unclean lips" also declares that Tamar, a woman who prostitutes herself to Judah, is righteous in her prostitution. The same Lord who tells the woman caught in adultery to "go and sin no more," declares her justified beforehand, even in her sins. The Lord who "conquers" the promised land through war, is revealed in flesh to be brought to a cross. Your categories are foolish because they claim something in themselves that is not of God. I am not a liberal or conservate making my descsions or being shaped in thought by these agendas of the Enlightenment. I am finding myself outside of the Enlightenment altogether. My opinion on this is that Medeval times are much more true than the Enlightenment's "categories," and I wish to learn from the Medeval Church, if I can.




And what of the culture that sees no connection between events?


There is no such culture and is irrelevant anyway because there in fact is a connection between events whether you or anyone else wants to acknowledge it or not.

There is such a culture. A few of the aboriginal tribes located in New Zealand and the north-eastern coast of Australia do not have a concept of cause and effect. In essense, they do not see connections between things, connections often taken for granted in the Western World. For instance, if milk were to go bad in this culture, it becomes something totally different. There is no connection between "good milk" and "bad milk;" they are simply two different substances altogether, and there is no casuality between the two. That is a different way of thinking, and so your connections cannot be taken for granted. If you think that you are superior in knowledge to these, then who gives you that authority, for the way of thought in grounded in something else altogether.



Or that there is no such thing as time?

I do not believe time exists. I do believe clocks exist though.

And yet you will claim that there is a connection between events. How can such a claim be made outside of time and space? Events take place in time and space



What I was trying to point out is that the system only appears to give us a choice. We think that if we decide to go to bed at 10:00pm or not, that we have been given a decision to make. But it is absurd. It is an appearance of control. The reality is that you will go to bed regardless of your choice or decision.

Fine. Then the conclusion that logically follows is that love and every other moral consideration is also an illusion. Are you willing to concede that? I'm not!

That is exactly what I am saying. Humans are not loving. They do not know how to love. To love is to be grounded in God the Father, and to live for the neighbor. Our understanding of love does not exceed anything more than an emotional response, oozing with sentimentality, all of which is temporal, fading, and as far from love as anything. Morality is a claim to judgment not found in God. We judge according to a universal standard, and yet our Lord calls us not to judge at all. Morality is a sense of goodness found within one's self that will never accomplish good, for to be moral is to be in opposition to God. Try to find "morality" within the scriptures; you will find that it is quite impossible to encounter such a concept in any positive sense. Goodness in the scriptures is entirely wrapped up in what is pleasing to the Lord. Goodness is in God, and God alone is good.


What is morality? Clete asked...


Morality is the deception that somehow we can distinguish what is right and acceptable in this world. It is taking of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. It is to say that knit within the very universe is a system of right and wrong and that a human being can discern that system. It is the desire of the Pharisee to be clean before God. The Pharisee did not simply want to judge others, he thought that he could discern wrong and right, and that the law's purpose was in fact this. The law for the Pharisee was this universal principle. You are trying to separate yourself from the Pharisee by separating yourself from the law. But an ethical principle can be used in the same way. "Good" and "Evil" are things that only God can judge and discern. As far as we are concerned Christ tells us that good and evil come together, that is the Creation and distortion are reconciled in him.

The problem that we face here is that you think there is such a thing as "evil;" that there actually exists an entity which can oppose God. Yet the scritures have made it abundantly clear that there exists nothing that can be found outside of the Creation other than God in God's self. Everything is God's Creation (even the crafty serpent of the garden and the tree of knowledge of "good and evil." "Evil" is an attempt at creating an enemy; an oppositional force against whom we can fight. Yet God reveals, in Christ Jesus, that there are none who can fight against the Lord. Thus, in Christ, God's defeating blow is dealt to his "enemies," and they are found to be "enemies in their own minds." Thus God reconciles all the "goods" and "evils" of the created order in judgement, at which point none are spared, for all yield to the Creator, who is the only Good One. If "evil" and "good" are not reconciled in Christ, then explain to me this verse: "Therefore God exalted [Christ], and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:9-11). Or how about: "God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the age to come. And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all" (Eph. 1:20-23). Does Christ's being ruler of all things not include the "evil" in this world? And if this is true, that Christ reigns over all things, would this not mean that the so-called "evil" things are subject to God, under the created order and are, therefore, nothing more than a distorted creation, but a creation nonetheless? Evil has no reality in Christ, for even death is defeated (as if death were something to fight against) and is not the power of sin made full in death? And if death comes and we survive, does that not mean that even God has defeated death, the victory of sin? Thus "evil" is an interesting category, as it cannot be defined without first knowing the creation. And if we try to define what "evil" is, we ourselves become distorted in our own sense of "good" as we ignore the true distortion that lies in our own being.



Jesus declares to us that there does not exist an enemy. It is our creation, and therefore he calls us to love our "enemy." Your moral system is the creation of the Enlightenment, in which a general principle, or a universal definition of "man" is created to decide what is right. God is not the universal principle, the "rights of men" are. So now that we know what the "rights" are we can live according to them. We can be like the Pharisees once again who conform their fellow men and women to this standard. And we can be even more corrupt than the Pharisees as we distort other human beings horribly through these principles of "rights." Bush can label his enemies "terrorists" and torture them, treating them as less than human, in violation of the geneva treaty.

Are you not aware of recent discoveries within Guatanamo Bay, in which practices of torture have been used against the Iraqi prisoners of war, in direct violation of the peace treaties established after WWII? These pratices included lining up naked men and having them lay across one-another's naked bodies in order to take a photo. Others were forced, naked once again, to put on a leash held by one of the guards, and photos were also taken. The White House has simply blamed this on "radical individuals" or scape-goats, (lower ranking officials) yet the evidence points to something much more systemic. Did you not know that the United States' Military publishes a torture manuel, which is in violation of national law? Torture is a reality of our world, and it is becoming more apparent, and yet nothing is done to stop it.



These men that we torture are not human beings; his label of terrorist makes it easy for him to use tactics that are not legal according to the standard of the geneva treaty, which works off of a standard of universal human rights.

So is firing amunition at Ambulances and other emergency vehicles in Iraq justified? A soldier, who had served in Iraq, came to a forum that was held at my school, and he testified to being ordered to fire upon civilian vehicles, and ambulances included. Can we suddenly take such measures to "free" the Iraqi people, and yet destroy all those who get in the way (whether "guilty" or innocent)? What about the tactic of shooting before asking questions? If the military takes a target (and these targets have included hospitals, schools and Mosques) the order to the soldiers is to kill all left standing, before assessing the risk that they pose. These tactics are only created because we have defined an enemy that can be destroyed by any means, and so our neighbor becomes an "enemy" and is not the object of love but of malice. And we distort love, by tying it to the nation, thus justifying the distortion of love, i.e. malice. Though my use of Bush here could be misconstrued as a political agenda, one thing is certain and that is whether Democrat or Republican, leaders in the United States throughout the past century have moved toward this way of war, whether it be the numerous presidents following the Second World War, or the recent agenda set by Bush of the "war on terrorism." Presidents throughout the 50's, 60's, 70's, and 80's fought the enemy known as "Communism," and discovered in the late 80's and early 90's that the Soviet Union they had feared was nothing more than an empty shell, and had been so from its formation in the 50's. The scars of WWII remained within the iron curtain, revealing not an enemy, but a weak distorted humanity deserving compassion, not malice. And we have also been made aware of our own distortion as these so-called "terrorists" fight against us with our own weapons that we pumped into their countries over the decades to fight our "enemy" of "Communism." This is not my political agenda. The policy of the United States in the decades following WWII incorporated both parties, both liberals and conservatives. And Bush will attempt to do the same as he "unites" the nation in its "war on terror."



The problem is that humans are never able to adhere to a universal standard so they are never human by their context. "Terrorists" cannot be humans because they deny the universal principles and thus we are free to do anything to them. Morality is absurd because it cannot resist distortion.

Your hightlighting has not been faithful to what I wrote. I did not write "Morality is absurd," but rather the whole sentance that is underlined above. "Morality is absurd because it cannot resist distortion." It is absurd because it is human "goodness" found in humanity itself, and is made absurd through death, because it is not grounded in God (as I detailed a number of paragraphs before). Many say Bush is a "moral person," and yet that morality is entirely detatched from his decision to bomb civilian populations in Iraq. Cliton's morality has to do with his conduct in the White House, and never is connected to the same decisions by Clinton to bomb civilian targets in the Sudan and other areas. How can a person be moral and kill? The church has always dealt with killing harshly, whether just or not. And unjust killing is a mortal sin that requires repentance. The Jews did the same, in that any human life that was taken was atoned for in the temple, through sacrifice. "Morality" could not be relegated to public and private sectors. But that is exactly what morality does. It fits into the private sector, leaving the public open to the most hanus crimes of humanity. Morals are only sovreign in the realm of the individual conscience, and will never encroach on our participation in the public sector, where the "nation" calls us to disobey the commands of Christ.



Evil is not an ontological reality. The only reality is God, and God made flesh in Christ, thus establishing "evil" as a corruption and nothing more. "Evil" does not have reality in itself. "Evil" is simply a distortion of what is good, making it impossible to create anything but a straw-man to fight against if we are to have a fight against "evil", like the "war on terror."

Tell me, Clete, how do you have a "War on Terror" any more than you can have a "War on Poverty" or a "War on Crime?"



Jesus' words and commands are enough for the disciple. And he says that evil is not only within our brother, but is just as much if not more a part of us. There is no need for a "moral principle."

Jesus' words and commands are sufficient


The highlighted comments are sufficient to prove you a nut. No further response to this lunatic rant is warranted.

Despite what you may think is understood by your highlighting, it only proves that you are not listening to what I am saying. You are out to "get" me with such readings, and the only you will "prove" by your highlighting is that you are ignorant enough to think that everyone has the same mind as you. Yet we are called to have the same mind as Christ.


What is justice? Clete asked...


It is an illusion. "Justice" in our world equals vengance.

Would this change your highlighting at all?:
It is an illusion; "justice" in our world equals vengance.



One who commits a crime must pay, in other words, and restitution must be visited on the one against whom the crime was commited. And what we are told about this system of "justice" in the scriptures is that vengance is no one's business but the Lord's. Justice before God is reconciliation. The Righteous one is not shaped by morality, as many have come to understand "righteousness" in a moral sense. Righteousness in the scriptures is the same word as justice. And to be just before God is to be reconciled not only to God but to others. Justice is held in God, the one who can judge and yet patiently witholds judgment in seeking reconciliation. The sentance for humanity in the garden of Eden was death. It is language used as a death penalty language, not just to make humanity mortal (they were already mortal when they were created). When God says, "You will surely die," it is not just that you will eventually die, but if you eat from this tree you will be put to death. And notice at the pronouncement of judgment the death penalty is witheld. It is not that God is weak and can't enforce the judgment pronounced. It is that God is the only one who can discern good and evil (as a free agent) and is thus able to withold judgment as well as pass judgment (and notice how it has nothing to do with sacrifice). God is the just judge and will do whatever God pleases to do.


The last sentence is in direct conflict with the first. Does justice exist or not? I don't care about what men say or what anyone's opinion is. Why can't people just answer a simple question? What IS justice? Not, what does the world think about justice? And not, what do the Pharisees think about what right and wrong is? I didn't ask that, and I don't give a crap about that. I want to know, based on what you believe about God and about the way we make choices in this life and what the consequences of those actions are, WHAT IS JUSTICE?

They are not in conflict. For one to be just does not mean that "justice" exists. Just, in this case is an adjective, and not all adjectives have to be nouns. Justice does not exist, for there is nothing that is just outside of the Creator. Who exists is God, and God alone is just. There is no standard for justice outside of the Creator. That means one cannot know justice, unless one first knows God. And here is the problem. "No one has seen God except God, the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known" (John 1:18) [the sight in John is refering back to the light that comes into the world and yet that which is the light's own does not receive him]. Knowledge is held in one, the Son. We do not know God nor justice until we know Christ. And to know Christ is to keep his commandments. JUSTICE IS NOT. GOD IS. GOD IS NOT DEFINED BY JUSTICE; JUSTICE IS DEFINED ONLY IN GOD.


What is love? Clete asked...


Once again, God is love. We know not what love is.

We do not know love, God made love known to us. And we only know love as it is found in God. There is no universal standard of love. It is found in Christ and the Father: "This is love: not that we knew God, but God knew us and gave his Son an expiation for our sins."



Even our closest relationships with one another do not compare to love. The triune God is love: Father, Son, and Spirit. We are as far from love as we can possibly be. Just look at Christ and look at ourselves and we will see a vast expanse between the two. We cannot nor do we know how to love.

For outside of God, love is non-existant. Love is of the Creator, and is the Creator himself. To know love is to know God, and we cannot know God. God must know and love us, and only in that do we know love. Love is not a universal principle, God is, and God the universal is only made known in Christ.



Love is distorted among us as we wrap it up in shame and seek pleasure over the other's need. Even supposed love between a man and a woman in marriage is a distortion

For only in God is there love. The union of the man and the woman is distorted by sin ("the man shall rule of you and your desire will be for him" (Gen. 3)). Marriage is a hopeless endeavor if the love of the spouses remains in themselves, for only their vows (which God's command) are an expression of their love, and their union testifies to a love that is made complete as it looks outside of itself, a love which is foreign to the couple.



as that love is confined within them, instead of making them one flesh and living as one flesh to love the other, the neighbor, and the stranger (the child that comes into their marriage as a gift from God), their love remains within them. But God revealed God's love in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. That is love, and do not think that we can define love outside of that very particular enactment. Love is defined within the trinity, and only as we are sustained by God do we even begin to know what love is.




2 Corinthians 11:11
Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!

Quite literally, Paul's love to the Corinthians is known by God, not by Paul or the Corinthians themselves.


Ephesians 5:2
and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Notice once again love cannot be apart from Christ in his "the laying down of his life."


1 Thessalonians 1:3
We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Faith, hope, and love, all of which are grounded in the work of Christ Jesus.


1 Thessalonians 2:8
We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.

Sharing in the sufferings of Christ (as they suffer within the body of Christ)


1 Thessalonians 4:9
Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.

Once again, love is of God alone, not a principle or standard set by him. It is God in God's self.


2 Thessalonians 1:3
We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.

Once again out of the faith you have in Christ Jesus (Christ's own faith to the Father) (vs. 4)


1 Timothy 6:11
But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.

Is this love the thing which IS, or love that is God? And notice how it is first "man of God."


2 Timothy 1:7
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

Love is of God, once again, not our own understanding of what love is. We did not know love, we were made loving by the one who is love.


1 Peter 2:17
Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.

Actually not the word love (agape)


2 Peter 1:5-8
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Actually not the word love (agape)


1 John 3:10
This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.

This is to say that one only loves who is in God. Interesting!


1 John 4:7
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Once again, love is not our own, it is God's. God is love. There is no love outside of God. And God must be revealed to us, apart from any decision might make.


1 John 4:11
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

In the same way it is made complete in Christ. We do not love of ourselves, but in obedience to Christ.


1 John 4:16
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

Yet this is a love that God has for us. Once again, God is love; and only in God are we able to love and know love. We do not know love (active voice, human is subject of verb), but love is made known to us in God (passive voice, God is subject of verb)


1 John 4:20
If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.

Once again, love is found only in God, and only as God reveals that love.


1 John 4:21
And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Indicating that one who does not love his brother, does not know love. Hmmm. According to James (chapter 2) one who gives preference to another by their appearance sins against his brother. And Jesus himself pointed out to the crowd of Jews that not one of them was worthy to cast a stone, for all were guilty before God. Our sins have not been justified by God. Sin is not just. We are justified, and our sins are removed from us, as long as we remain repentant, and do not raise ourselves about another. Therefore all are sinners before God, and do not know love in their sin. And who does not sin?


3 John 1:6
They have told the church about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God.

A love grounded in the Body of Christ.


1 Cor. 13:3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails.

Where in all of this does it say that we know love? It says that life without love is meaningless. And so our life must be found in God, who is the one who bestows life on us, not something that we ask for, but something given, and at a cost that we must serve him.



Can we love God? Clete asked...


[B]We cannot love God. But God can love us. "This is love, not that we loved God, but that God loved us and gave his Son to be the expiation for our sins" (I John 4:10). And this love is perfected within us so that we can then love: "This is love, that we follow his commandments" (II John 1:6). Love remains wrapped up in God. It is not a universal principle in which both God and men can participate. God is love.


Deuteronomy 6:5
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

And who has lived according to this command other than Christ? So our love of God must be found in our faith (loyalty) to Christ in keeping his commands, as this command shows that love is in a commandment.


Deuteronomy 7:9
Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.

Love and keep commands, hmmm. Sound familiar?


Deuteronomy 10:12
And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,

To love and serve him, hmmmm?


Deuteronomy 11:1
Love the LORD your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always.

Love and keep?


Deuteronomy 11:13
So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the LORD your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul

Commands and love? Love and serve?


Deuteronomy 11:22
If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways and to hold fast to him

Commands, love, and walk in his ways?


Deuteronomy 13:3
you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Love with heart and life? hmmm?


Deuteronomy 19:9
because you carefully follow all these laws I command you today—to love the LORD your God and to walk always in his ways—then you are to set aside three more cities.

Laws, command, love, walk in his ways?


Deuteronomy 30:6
The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.

Lord must circumcise hearts (Paul's little chat in Romans?) in order that we might love? Love without God is non-existant, and it is acted in us by God?


Deuteronomy 30:16
For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

Command, love, walk in ways, keep his commands, decrees and laws?


Deuteronomy 30:20
and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Love, listen, hold fast (the Lord is life?)?


Joshua 22:5
But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul."

Commandment and law, love, walk in his ways, obey his commands, hold fast to him, serve him


Joshua 23:11
So be very careful to love the LORD your God.

Might I add that this follows 22?


Daniel 9:4
I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: "O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands,

Love and obey his commands?


Hosea 3:1
The LORD said to me, "Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes."

Sounds more like a covenant, and love here is entirely with God, for the "love" referred to here is a union in sex, not the love of God (unless God has sex with Israel!)


Hosea 12:6
But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always.

Love and justice?


Amos 5:15
Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.

Love good, maintain justice in the courts?


Micah 6:8
He [God] has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. Love here is not the love of God. It is about clinging to.


Matthew 22:37
Jesus replied: " Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'

It is a command, is it not? Commandment and love?


Mark 12:30
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'

I don't know how much more of this I can continue with. Need I go on?


Luke 10:27
He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind' ; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' "

Command and love?


Luke 11:42
"Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.

Justice and the love of God (which is God's love, not the Pharisees' love for God)


John 8:42
Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me.

"In other words, God is not your Father, and you do not love me." Love came from God.


John 16:27
No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.

And this love is to keep his commandments.


Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

I don't even want to start on this one (cause you ripped out of context as you did with virtually all of these "proof-texts" [a falacy of logic, might I add])


1 Corinthians 2:9
However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"

LOL. (And this is supposed to mean that those who love him have seen and heard and conceived?)


1 Corinthians 8:3
But the man who loves God is known by God.

Notice how love is the action of God and not man, for God must know the man first.


James 1:12
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

Whose pperseverance is this? The man's or Christ's own? Love must be in obedience to commandments.


James 2:5
Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?

My oh my! "And yet you continue to give preference to some over others showing your lack of love!"

I'm just sick of your prooftexting. It shows your ignorance with regards to the scripture. You have to use a search engine to even find these verses. And you never had to read any more of them than the word "love," as you have understood it, not as it has been revealed in scripture.


Is God just? Clete asked...


This shows the absurdity of your system, for by your system you would judge God. Your standard of justice can even define the limits of the Creator. It is not my place to establish a justice by which to judge the Creator. Justice is held within God, and therefore only by God are we just. As I said before, God's command regarding justice is to be reconciled. But you go ahead and create that absurd situation where God will be judged by men.

Ok, and if I don't know what justice is, how am I supposed to say God is just? You asked me to tell you what "justice is," before, and I said that justice is God. Not that God participates in a universal understanding of what is right, but that God himself is justice God himself is right. So God is not only just, he is justice. God is reconciliation, which is justice. Justice and reconciliation cannot be defined by themselves. They are defined in God, and therefore it is absurd to ask if God is just. It is like asking if a tree is wooden. our definition of wooden would be obsolete without the tree. In the same way our definition of just is obsolete in the presence of God. You do not determine if God is just. God simply is, whether you like it or not.

Was the author of Hebrew absurd too?



Hebrews 6:10
God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

No the writer is quite right in that God is not less than justice.


Is God moral (Is God good)? Clete asked...


Once again, this is absurd. You have created a system of goodness that superceeds the Creator. God is not good in your system, God participates in goodness that is even outside of God. You once again take judgment into your own hands in order to create that absurd situation where man judges God.

Well this proves my point as well as anything could I suppose. How is it possible that a person who claims to be a Christian can have such a reaction to the notion that God is good? It's insane! It is literally insane.
God is good and is it not wrong for me or anyone else to say so. In fact, quite the contrary. If you cannot bring yourself to say that God is good then how can you love Him? But you can't love Him according to you so I suppose on that much you are consistent. Consistently lost in a world of insanity, that is.

It is the same reason why a great thinker will cringe at the sound of his conclusions being uttered by an ignorant fool of a student who thinks they understand the statement. It is the utterance of a conclusion as the initial data without regard to the lifetime that comes before. (Dietrich Bonhoeffer's assesment of the Lutherean use of "you are saved by faith, not by works.") To say: "God is good," is ignorant, for, once again, you define God by that which can only be God. Good is not the adjective, it is the reality defined in God, that is God defines goodness, not that goodness defines God.


Thisis is the most ridiculous statement anyone has tried to make of me. Do you think that I am a liberal Democrat?

No I never said that. But you are a liberal.

Yet you say what I teach is in line with Hillary Clinton and Hitler? You don't want to associate me with "political parties" because you think there is such a thing as liberal and conservative apart from political parties? Yet you associate me with two very radical political figures. What am I supposed to think? How would you like to be accused of having thoughts in line with Pinochet and other right winged dictators put into power by forces in the United States, who go on to "disapear" and slaughter tens of thousands of people in order to bring about a Capitalistic system and a radical Democratic one as well?


If you have read anything that I have written on this site you would know that your categories of "right" and "left" do not apply to what I am saying. I have never read Hillary Clinton's books any more than I have read Hitler's!! If you would like to understand what I am saying, read Bonhoeffer (The Cost of Discipleship and Ethics).


I responded to this already.

You still label me a liberal! You didn't hear what I said at the end of this parragraph. I read Dietriech Bonhoeffer and that is where the majority of these ideas are being drawn from, right out of his book. Maybe I should give him more credit, accept that I am summarizing, not quoting, because I don't think you would actually listen to Bonhoeffer if I quoted him directly. He doesn't agree with your reading of the scriptures, yet he is a man far more worthy of our attention than you or I, for his understanding of the scriptures brings him to Christ, as one who lays down his life in testimony to Christ. He saves Jews in direct opposition to the state because he fears God more than he fears retaliation from the state. He is not one who has freedom in his decisions. He knows he does not have freedom in his decisions. His freedom is found in being a slave to Christ, and that is the same freedom that we are given.

Grace and Peace,
Michael

Delmar
July 30th, 2005, 01:05 PM
Deardelmar!!!! THAT is an excellent point! And that is where the great uncertainty about what I say comes in. I, personally, tend to doubt that truly random processes exist. Chaos theory tells us, for example, that deterministic processes can and do often appear as random. However, this is far from established. And, to the extent that truly random processes do exist, then I would agree that perfect exhaustive foreknowledge is not possible.

:first: Other side;s Post of The Thread Thus Far :up:
..and while I can't prove that truly random processes exist, I certainly believe that truly random thoughts and random human decisions do exist.

Oh BTW thanks for the trophy! I don't get them often.

docrob57
July 30th, 2005, 01:55 PM
..and while I can't prove that truly random processes exist, I certainly believe that truly random thoughts and random human decisions do exist.

Oh BTW thanks for the trophy! I don't get them often.

Well let's explore this a little, because this is really important. What would a random decision be like? Can you give an example?

Delmar
July 30th, 2005, 04:43 PM
Well let's explore this a little, because this is really important. What would a random decision be like? Can you give an example?
Not to worry Doc I am aware that you don't believe in them. Flip a coin kind of stuff! Little decisions that you are not that vested in. What route do I take to work when they are both the same distance? Do I go to Taco Bell of Burger King? The kind of split second decisions that you make a hundred times a day for no particular reason. You seem to think there is a cause behind, at least, most of them. I think I just choose one way or the other because I do.

Ryft
July 30th, 2005, 05:36 PM
DocRob,

If by the expression "God is bound by time" you mean to imply that God has an 'experienced past' behind him and an 'unexperienced future' ahead of him, then how can it be said that he has perfect knowledge of causality? It seems to me that he would not have that knowledge at all; he would, at best, simply be very clever at guessing—that is, as the Creator of these causal mechanisms and their properties, he would simply be extremely apt at predicting their outcomes. But until he has experiential knowledge of those outcomes, until he crosses the phenomenal threshold of effects emanating from their causes, I do not see how it can be said he knows them.

Unless that is indeed what you mean by 'perfect knowledge'—an infallible guess.

Balder
July 30th, 2005, 06:01 PM
DocRob,

If by the expression "God is bound by time" you mean to imply that God has an 'experienced past' behind him and an 'unexperienced future' ahead of him, then how can it be said that he has perfect knowledge of causality? It seems to me that he would not have that knowledge at all; he would, at best, simply be very clever at guessing—that is, as the Creator of these causal mechanisms and their properties, he would simply be extremely apt at predicting their outcomes. But until he has experiential knowledge of those outcomes, until he crosses the phenomenal threshold of effects emanating from their causes, I do not see how it can be said he knows them.

Unless that is indeed what you mean by 'perfect knowledge'—an infallible guess.
I've mentioned this in other discussions, but the idea of God being bound by time in this way -- having an experienced past behind Him and an unexperienced future in front of Him, in a linear progression of unfolding bounded moments -- is problematic if you also accept the premise that God has existed eternally. Because if this is the case, He never would have gotten around to creating the universe yet; logically, with an infinite past pre-dating His creative act, it never could have arrived. This is not exactly on topic, but as a logical problem it undermines epistemological models built upon the idea of a God who exists, as we apparently do, on a linear "timeline."

Ryft
July 30th, 2005, 07:56 PM
Because if this is the case, He never would have gotten around to creating the universe yet
The impossibility of traversing the infinite.

Balder
July 30th, 2005, 09:00 PM
If you think about the above temporal problem, it actually undermines both positions being argued here -- both the absoluteness of linear temporality and the absoluteness of linear causality.

Delmar
July 31st, 2005, 06:21 AM
... having an experienced past behind Him and an unexperienced future in front of Him, in a linear progression of unfolding bounded moments -- is problematic if you also accept the premise that God has existed eternally. Because if this is the case, He never would have gotten around to creating the universe yet; logically, with an infinite past pre-dating His creative act, it never could have arrived....You have no way of knowing that!

Ryft
July 31st, 2005, 06:48 AM
I was reading once again Augustine's Confessions this morning and stumbled across something I had forgotten he talked about. I'm sharing it here only because it is enlightening and temporarily relevant.


"People who speak in this way have not learnt to understand you, Wisdom of God, Light of our minds. They do not yet understand how the things are made which come to be in you and through you. Try as they may to savour the taste of eternity, their thoughts still twist and turn upon the ebb and flow of things in past and future time. But if only their minds could be seized and held steady, they would be still for a while and, for that short moment, they would glimpse the splendour of eternity which is for ever still. They would contrast it with time, which is never still, and see that it is not comparable. . . . But in eternity nothing moves into the past: all is present. . . . If only men's minds could be seized and held still! They would see how eternity, in which there is neither past nor future, determines both past and future time" (XI:11).
On a more humorous note, I chuckled a bit when he said, "What, then, is time? I know well enough what it is, provided that nobody asks me . . ." (XI:14).


----------
Augustine. Confessions. trans. R.S. Pine-Coffin. Toronto: Penguin Books Canada, 1961.

Delmar
July 31st, 2005, 01:38 PM
I was reading once again Augustine's Confessions this morning and stumbled across something I had forgotten he talked about. I'm sharing it here only because it is enlightening and temporarily relevant.


"People who speak in this way have not learnt to understand you, Wisdom of God, Light of our minds. They do not yet understand how the things are made which come to be in you and through you. Try as they may to savour the taste of eternity, their thoughts still twist and turn upon the ebb and flow of things in past and future time. But if only their minds could be seized and held steady, they would be still for a while and, for that short moment, they would glimpse the splendour of eternity which is for ever still. They would contrast it with time, which is never still, and see that it is not comparable. . . . But in eternity nothing moves into the past: all is present. . . . If only men's minds could be seized and held still! They would see how eternity, in which there is neither past nor future, determines both past and future time" (XI:11).
On a more humorous note, I chuckled a bit when he said, "What, then, is time? I know well enough what it is, provided that nobody asks me . . ." (XI:14).


----------
Augustine. Confessions. trans. R.S. Pine-Coffin. Toronto: Penguin Books Canada, 1961.
Augustine, isn't he the dude that interpreted the Bible through pagan Greek philosophy!

Balder
July 31st, 2005, 02:03 PM
You have no way of knowing that!
Not directly, it would appear. But can you demonstrate any logical flaws in that argument?

Delmar
July 31st, 2005, 02:37 PM
Not directly, it would appear. But can you demonstrate any logical flaws in that argument?I exsist and so do you.

Balder
July 31st, 2005, 03:09 PM
I exsist and so do you.
Precisely. And if God is presumed to have an infinite history prior to making the world, then he never could have made the world because that history wouldn't have been exhausted yet.

And yet here we are.

So....?

Delmar
July 31st, 2005, 03:36 PM
Precisely. And if God is presumed to have an infinite history prior to making the world, then he never could have made the world because that history wouldn't have been exhausted yet.

And yet here we are.

So....?
that does not seem self evident to me

docrob57
July 31st, 2005, 05:46 PM
DocRob,

If by the expression "God is bound by time" you mean to imply that God has an 'experienced past' behind him and an 'unexperienced future' ahead of him, then how can it be said that he has perfect knowledge of causality? It seems to me that he would not have that knowledge at all; he would, at best, simply be very clever at guessing—that is, as the Creator of these causal mechanisms and their properties, he would simply be extremely apt at predicting their outcomes. But until he has experiential knowledge of those outcomes, until he crosses the phenomenal threshold of effects emanating from their causes, I do not see how it can be said he knows them.

Unless that is indeed what you mean by 'perfect knowledge'—an infallible guess.

You might reread what I said, I agreed that God is not bound by time. I merely put forth that even if He is, He would still have perfect knowledge. This might take the form of "an infallible guess." But an infallible guess is equivalent to perfect knowledge.

docrob57
July 31st, 2005, 05:50 PM
Not to worry Doc I am aware that you don't believe in them. Flip a coin kind of stuff! Little decisions that you are not that vested in. What route do I take to work when they are both the same distance? Do I go to Taco Bell of Burger King? The kind of split second decisions that you make a hundred times a day for no particular reason. You seem to think there is a cause behind, at least, most of them. I think I just choose one way or the other because I do.


Okay, so what we need to look at is whether there really is mo particular reason behind these decisions. Lets take Taco Bell v Burger King. Let's say they are equidistant and cost the same. The obvious choice is Taco Bell :). But let's say the past 15 times you have chosen Taco Bell. What do you think you would choose now? Why?

Yorzhik
August 1st, 2005, 12:18 AM
Not directly, it would appear. But can you demonstrate any logical flaws in that argument?
I agree, Balder, that this is the best argument against the OV position. The difference is that a God that knows the future exhaustively and free will are mutually exclusive. How we can get here given we don't know God's complete past is merely an unknown (I say "merely" not because this argument against the OV position isn't a good one, but as a comparative discription relative to the problems of the CV postion).

The problem is that we have to chose. There is no third option. Either the future is opened or close.

Yorzhik
August 1st, 2005, 12:27 AM
Precisely. And if God is presumed to have an infinite history prior to making the world, then he never could have made the world because that history wouldn't have been exhausted yet.

And yet here we are.

So....?
I agree. I am of the opinion that God did exist in eternity past. But I don't know what that would mean.

Delmar
August 1st, 2005, 07:58 AM
You might reread what I said, I agreed that God is not bound by time. I merely put forth that even if He is, He would still have perfect knowledge. This might take the form of "an infallible guess." But an infallible guess is equivalent to perfect knowledge.
I don't even stipulate to the term "bound by time"! I just don't believe that things happen before they happen.

Balder
August 1st, 2005, 07:59 AM
I agree. I am of the opinion that God did exist in eternity past. But I don't know what that would mean.
One thing it could mean: that we are here at all indicates the stamp of the eternal in us.

Jerry Shugart
August 1st, 2005, 08:05 AM
The problem is that we have to chose. There is no third option. Either the future is opened or close.
It is evident from the words of the Lord Jesus that the future is open.Even though He had come down to earth to die for the sins of His people could pray to the Father that that cup may pass from Him:

"O My Father,if it be possible,let this cup pass from Me"(Mt.26:39).

In His grace,--Jerry

docrob57
August 1st, 2005, 09:50 AM
It is evident from the words of the Lord Jesus that the future is open.Even though He had come down to earth to die for the sins of His people could pray to the Father that that cup may pass from Him:

"O My Father,if it be possible,let this cup pass from Me"(Mt.26:39).

In His grace,--Jerry


39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will."

If we look at the whole verse, isn't this just Jesus, speaking from His humanity, expressing His trepidation concerning what was about to come, yet acknowledging its certainty?

Jerry Shugart
August 1st, 2005, 10:03 AM
If we look at the whole verse, isn't this just Jesus, speaking from His humanity, expressing His trepidation concerning what was about to come, yet acknowledging its certainty?
How could anyone say that the Lord Jesus was acknowledging the certainity of His death while at the same time asking the Father to let Him escape if it was possible?

In other words,the Lord Jesus found nothing in the prophecies concerning His suffering to hinder Him from praying to the Father that if it were possible to let that cup pass from Him.With Him the necessity to drink of the cup arose not from any irrevocable edict of the past but instead from the will of a present Living God.

In His grace,--Jerry

docrob57
August 1st, 2005, 10:09 AM
How could anyone say that the Lord Jesus was acknowledging the certainity of His death while at the same time asking the Father to let Him escape if it was possible?

In other words,the Lord Jesus found nothing in the prophecies concerning His suffering to hinder Him from praying to the Father that if it were possible to let that cup pass from Him.With Him the necessity to drink of the cup arose not from any irrevocable edict of the past but instead from the will of a present Living God.

In His grace,--Jerry

Well, that is one way of looking at it I suppose. I have never seen that particular passage portrayed that way. But that doesn't make it wrong.

In any event, if anyone would like to rejoin the discussion concerning the role of "randomness," I am here and ready to take on all comers. :)

Balder
August 2nd, 2005, 12:13 AM
Well, that is one way of looking at it I suppose. I have never seen that particular passage portrayed that way. But that doesn't make it wrong.

In any event, if anyone would like to rejoin the discussion concerning the role of "randomness," I am here and ready to take on all comers. :)
Since the "comers" you invited aren't tripping over themselves to get here, apparently, I'll chime in:

What do you think of the issue I raised about linear time, with regard not only to the challenge it may raise to the OV understanding of God, but also to the "absoluteness" of causality?

docrob57
August 2nd, 2005, 05:47 AM
Since the "comers" you invited aren't tripping over themselves to get here, apparently, I'll chime in:

What do you think of the issue I raised about linear time, with regard not only to the challenge it may raise to the OV understanding of God, but also to the "absoluteness" of causality?

I admit I don't quite understand Bald-man, maybe flesh out your idea a little more.

Balder
August 2nd, 2005, 07:53 AM
I admit I don't quite understand Bald-man, maybe flesh out your idea a little more.
Baldman? Tell your avatar to look in the mirror!

And remember what happened to some other folks who called someone "baldy"...

docrob57
August 2nd, 2005, 07:55 AM
Baldman? Tell your avatar to look in the mirror!

And remember what happened to some other folks who called someone "baldy"...

A . . the person in the avatar is Adlai Stevenson
B . . Bald-man was a term of respect and admiration :banana:

Balder
August 2nd, 2005, 07:59 AM
A . . the person in the avatar is Adlai Stevenson
B . . Bald-man was a term of respect and admiration :banana:
A. I knew that old guy looked familiar!
B. I don't think you have anything to worry about. I'm not a prophet, so I doubt any she-bears are on the way.

A more serious response to your first question will follow, I promise!

docrob57
August 2nd, 2005, 08:20 AM
A. I knew that old guy looked familiar!
B. I don't think you have anything to worry about. I'm not a prophet, so I doubt any she-bears are on the way.

A more serious response to your first question will follow, I promise!

Good!

Delmar
August 2nd, 2005, 08:51 AM
Well, that is one way of looking at it I suppose. I have never seen that particular passage portrayed that way. But that doesn't make it wrong.

In any event, if anyone would like to rejoin the discussion concerning the role of "randomness," I am here and ready to take on all comers. :)OK I do realize that you see God as being "outside of time" but if He were not, do you still see it as feasible that God would have known the winner of yesterdays coin toss before he created the universe?

docrob57
August 2nd, 2005, 08:55 AM
OK I do realize that you see God as being "outside of time" but if He were not, do you still see it as feasible that God would have known the winner of yesterdays coin toss before he created the universe?

I think He absolutely could have known. I don't know if He would have been attentive to it. And I am not sure I see God as "outside of time," but my son the Christian physicist tells me this is possible, and it seems that if it is possible it would be likely in the case of God.

Delmar
August 2nd, 2005, 09:47 AM
I think He absolutely could have known... How?

docrob57
August 2nd, 2005, 09:50 AM
How?

Think about a coin flip. Is it really random? Probably not. The outcome depends on a whole lot of factors such as the side the coin is on when it is flipped, the force with which it is flipped, the number of rotations, where it lands, etc.

People don't exercise enough control over these things to keep the distribution of flips to be anything other than 50:50 over a large number of flips. But it is still a deterministic process.

Yorzhik
August 2nd, 2005, 10:35 AM
One thing it could mean: that we are here at all indicates the stamp of the eternal in us.
Could be. Or it could be that there is a beginning to existence.

Yorzhik
August 2nd, 2005, 10:50 AM
Think about a coin flip. Is it really random? Probably not. The outcome depends on a whole lot of factors such as the side the coin is on when it is flipped, the force with which it is flipped, the number of rotations, where it lands, etc.

People don't exercise enough control over these things to keep the distribution of flips to be anything other than 50:50 over a large number of flips. But it is still a deterministic process.
I think Insolified (sp) provides the only way out, but this creates the problem of God being the first cause. God must, by His righteous character, start with different causes to avoid evil if God can.

Insolified (sp) says that if God creates freewill creatures, then the possibility of creating the first cause that will result in avoiding evil is a logical contridiction.

docrob57
August 2nd, 2005, 11:53 AM
I think Insolified (sp) provides the only way out, but this creates the problem of God being the first cause. God must, by His righteous character, start with different causes to avoid evil if God can.

Insolified (sp) says that if God creates freewill creatures, then the possibility of creating the first cause that will result in avoiding evil is a logical contridiction.

I must be tired today, because nothing is making sense. God is the first cause of man's existence, but if He gave man a free will, and man chose evil, then God is not the cause of the evil. What am I missing here?

Yorzhik
August 2nd, 2005, 12:26 PM
I must be tired today, because nothing is making sense. God is the first cause of man's existence, but if He gave man a free will, and man chose evil, then God is not the cause of the evil. What am I missing here?
God being the first cause of man's existence is fine; Just as long as God cannot be certain that what He first causes will result in evil given that God is capable of creating a different set of initial causes.

Your choices are:

a) God could not, by logic, create initial causes that didn't result in evil. (Insolified)
b) God could have created different causes but being the author of moral evil is not inconsistant with God
c) God could not be exhaustively certain of the outcome of His initial causes

docrob57
August 2nd, 2005, 12:56 PM
God being the first cause of man's existence is fine; Just as long as God cannot be certain that what He first causes will result in evil given that God is capable of creating a different set of initial causes.

Your choices are:

a) God could not, by logic, create initial causes that didn't result in evil. (Insolified)
b) God could have created different causes but being the author of moral evil is not inconsistant with God
c) God could not be exhaustively certain of the outcome of His initial causes

Unfortunately, those aren't the only choices, and this is what the whole debate has been about thus far. Choice d would be God created man with free will and man chose evil and God knew that man would choose evil.

Yorzhik
August 2nd, 2005, 01:34 PM
Unfortunately, those aren't the only choices, and this is what the whole debate has been about thus far. Choice d would be God created man with free will and man chose evil and God knew that man would choose evil.
That would be exactly: "b)"

But if you have other choices, please put them forward.

docrob57
August 2nd, 2005, 01:39 PM
No, being the author of moral evil is inconsistent with God. God created Satan, does that make God the reason for Satan's evil?

Phileo
August 2nd, 2005, 01:44 PM
Could be. Or it could be that there is a beginning to existence.

'Ex nihilo, nihil fit' (out of nothing, nothing comes). If there is a beginning to existence, then God would have had to create himself out of nothing before he existed. Pretty tough situation, even for God. :)

Clete
August 2nd, 2005, 02:02 PM
No, being the author of moral evil is inconsistent with God. God created Satan, does that make God the reason for Satan's evil?
God created Lucifer not Satan. Lucifer turned himself into Satan, God just renamed him.

docrob57
August 2nd, 2005, 02:12 PM
God created Lucifer not Satan. Lucifer turned himself into Satan, God just renames him.

Welcome back to the discussion Clete! You are right, I stand corrected. So, have you been keeping up with this unofficial Battle Royale? We should perhaps name it Free-For-All I. :)

Balder
August 2nd, 2005, 02:17 PM
A moral problem is posed by perfect and absolute "foreknowledge." If God knew what Satan was going to do before ever making him, meaning he perfectly foreknew the problems he would cause and the eternal suffering he would have to endure, and God made him anyway, would God bear any moral responsibility? Think of it this way: If you and your spouse were planning on conceiving a baby, and an angel came and told you that if you attempted to conceive this evening you would be successful, but the baby you produced would freely make some disastrous choices that would hurt many people and lead to her own eternal and inescapable torment, would you go through with conceiving her?

docrob57
August 2nd, 2005, 02:18 PM
A moral problem is posed by perfect and absolute "foreknowledge." If God knew what Satan was going to do before ever making him, meaning he perfectly foreknew the problems he would cause and the eternal suffering he would have to endure, and God made him anyway, would God bear any moral responsibility? Think of it this way: If you and your spouse were planning on conceiving a baby, and an angel came and told you that if you attempted to conceive this evening you would be successful, but the baby you produced would freely make some disastrous choices that would hurt many people and lead to her own eternal and inescapable torment, would you go through with conceiving her?

Hmmm, this also is a good point which I will need to ponder for a while. The more I think I begin to grasp this stuff, the more ellusive it becomes!

Clete
August 2nd, 2005, 05:22 PM
Welcome back to the discussion Clete! You are right, I stand corrected. So, have you been keeping up with this unofficial Battle Royale? We should perhaps name it Free-For-All I. :)
I have been browsing it but not reading every post. I was super busy this last weekend and I've sort of burned myself out on the topic, plus the real Battle Royale has gotten under way plus I haven't felt like I had anything substantive to add to the discussion that I haven't already said a bagillion times already so I just bowed out.
It wasn't my intention to ignore anyone I just thought the discussion could get along without me for the time being.
But, of course, if there is any really pressing question that someone desires to have the correct answer too, just say so and I'll answer ASAP! :D

Resting in Him,
Clete

docrob57
August 2nd, 2005, 07:01 PM
I have been browsing it but not reading every post. I was super busy this last weekend and I've sort of burned myself out on the topic, plus the real Battle Royale has gotten under way plus I haven't felt like I had anything substantive to add to the discussion that I haven't already said a bagillion times already so I just bowed out.
It wasn't my intention to ignore anyone I just thought the discussion could get along without me for the time being.
But, of course, if there is any really pressing question that someone desires to have the correct answer too, just say so and I'll answer ASAP! :D

Resting in Him,
Clete

Glad you dropped in, but I'm afraid if someone wants the correct answer, they will have to ask me! :)

docrob57
August 3rd, 2005, 09:54 AM
A moral problem is posed by perfect and absolute "foreknowledge." If God knew what Satan was going to do before ever making him, meaning he perfectly foreknew the problems he would cause and the eternal suffering he would have to endure, and God made him anyway, would God bear any moral responsibility? Think of it this way: If you and your spouse were planning on conceiving a baby, and an angel came and told you that if you attempted to conceive this evening you would be successful, but the baby you produced would freely make some disastrous choices that would hurt many people and lead to her own eternal and inescapable torment, would you go through with conceiving her?

I am not sure that God would bear "moral responsibility," but it would seem that both in the heavenly realm and the earthly one, that He did create the conditions for evil to exist, and, yes I do believe that He foreknew this. I think that the reason He did this was as a means of instructing people, by contrast, as to the nature of God and motivating those who would to come to Him.

I am sure there are better answers than this, but this is all that has been offered thus far.

Balder
August 3rd, 2005, 11:08 AM
I think the moral issue remains a bit sticky. If you say that foreknowledge does not impinge on the free will of individual agents, just as recollection of events does not "impact" the freedom of those acts, then is there anything wrong with God only creating those he foreknows will ultimately choose him and choose goodness? If God's foreknowledge does not impact the meaningfulness or freedom of individual action, why make so many individuals that he foreknows will be doomed forever?

servent101
August 3rd, 2005, 12:19 PM
Balder
If God's foreknowledge does not impact the meaningfulness or freedom of individual action, why make so many individuals that he foreknows will be doomed forever?... and where do you get this idea of eternal torment and fire and brimstone from? - possibly from your cuddling the literalist dogma a little too much. I know you don't like me saying anything harsh to you, but really - this concept of the diabolical monster of the orthodox is something that I have warned you about - that if you fondle a skunk, you smell like one.

If you would declare with your heart that there is no such "demon" reported in Scripture... that this concept of the diabolical god is only a figment of the literalist imagination - I will give you ten points that you can use at Wallmart to get really cool stuff with.

With Christ's Love

Servent101

Balder
August 3rd, 2005, 12:31 PM
Thank you, but Walmart is Hell's outpost on Earth. I ain't goin' in there, even with a coupon!

And just for the record, yes, I totally reject the idea of eternal torment as just or as true.

servent101
August 3rd, 2005, 12:35 PM
Balder
And just for the record, yes, I totally reject the idea of eternal torment as just or as true. I feel a lot better,,, and as well, do you think the closed book of various writings on the Good News is literal or does it employ metaphore on the matter of hell.

Lets really clean the slate.


with Christ's LOve

Servent101

Delmar
August 3rd, 2005, 03:57 PM
I am not sure that God would bear "moral responsibility," but it would seem that both in the heavenly realm and the earthly one, that He did create the conditions for evil to exist, and, yes I do believe that He foreknew this. I think that the reason He did this was as a means of instructing people, by contrast, as to the nature of God and motivating those who would to come to Him.

I am sure there are better answers than this, but this is all that has been offered thus far.
God "created the conditions for evil" so that grace would abound?

docrob57
August 4th, 2005, 06:17 AM
God "created the conditions for evil" so that grace would abound?

Heaven forbid!

No this is a troubling question for my position to be sure. I think at this point I will follow the debate and see what the participants have to say about it.

There have been lots of good issues raised here, especially by you and Balder, in my opinion.

docrob57
August 4th, 2005, 06:51 AM
I just read Pastor Enyart's round 1, and I have to say he argues this stuff better than you guys! :)

Yorzhik
August 4th, 2005, 07:01 AM
That's why Bob gets paid the big bucks!

Poly
August 4th, 2005, 07:54 AM
I just read Pastor Enyart's round 1, and I have to say he argues this stuff better than you guys! :)

You sure won't get any argument from me on that one.