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Battle Royale X Critique thread - Does God Know Your Entire Future?

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  • My critique of round three.

    Round three was clearly Sam's best round. Yet that being said, I think the foundation that Bob has laid in the previous rounds is paying off. (God's greatest attributes are flipped upside down with Calvinism).

    Sam, stated...
    I do not agree that these five attributes [living, personal, relational, good, and loving] are more fundamental [than omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, impassibility, and immutability]. I reject the idea that God can be separated from any of these attributes or that one is more important or takes precedence over another.
    To which Bob responded...
    With this, I declare victory in the debate.

    Of course, I will fight on, as the allies had to fight after all was lost for the Germans and the Japanese. But Sam has lost the debate. Of course, God the Son, without diluting His deity (John 1:1, 14; 8:58) or goodness (Luke 18:19), emptied Himself of some of the lesser quantitative attributes of power, knowledge, and control. Jesus Christ walked among us demonstrating in the most fundamentally real way that the attributes must be separable in some significant respects. This is proved not by a questionable emendation of the text, but by the glory of the Incarnation. The Son could divest Himself of great quantities of knowledge and power, for these are not qualitative, but of the lesser quantitative attributes. However, if God the Son diminished His goodness by sinning the slightest sin, the rebellion would have entered the Deity itself and God would have come undone. Thus of course, God’s goodness is greater than His knowledge. The principles of Openness affirm and reaffirm God in His glory, whereas the Settled View is everywhere at odds with that glory, and as evidence, its qualified proponents resist and even fear the most simple truths about God.
    Setting aside Bob's declaration of victory (which I thought was clever) I think Sam should concede this point.

    This is one of those times where Sam would be better off just saying.... "Hmmm, ya know I didn't really think that through very well."

    Also, why is that when Sam gets a bit feisty with Bob everyone in the grandstands applauds him, but when Bob responds likewise he is criticized? People, people, people.... this is a debate! I like when Sam shows some emotion and also like it when Bob does as well. The last thing I want in a BATTLE ROYALE is some boring dry theological debate where the participants don't even sound like they realize they are battling against an opposing idea.

    I say, thumbs up to Sam AND Bob for their spunky rebuttals!

    I hope and pray that Sam will carefully consider Bob's response to his fear that by accident great cruelty might happen. Bob responded to this objection with the following line....
    So Sam, one of your fears of the Open View is that by accident great cruelty might happen; but that is exactly what you say the Calvinist God does every day, intentionally.
    Sam, please meditate on that response.

    In fact, I think that point is so important I actually contemplated posting it about 50 times in a row just to make sure you noticed it, I trust you will think it through for It strikes the very core of this debate in such a real and clear way.

    I will be most curious to see if Sam will attempt to provide reasonable falsifications for the settled view. I have my popcorn cooked and buttered waiting for those responses.

    I will also be curious to see if Sam takes Bob up on his offer to alter the 4th round so that Bob would answer all of Sam's 50 some odd un-numbered questions.

    All in all, round 3 was great! A better round from Sam and a typically stunning round from Bob. Long LIVE BATTLE ROYALE!!!!
    Oh, wise guy eh?


    • Bravo Bob! He now has my interest. I have listened to him, off and on for fifteen? years. I know him to have a very interesting mind, and that he is a great, one on one debater. I think that he has finally won a "round", but more importantly the burden of proof has definately shifted now to the good Dr.
      He may have answers to your challenges, but I will restate my view, that if he goes to the typical Calvinist answers he will lose, from this point onward.
      Even though I believe in Omniscience, I think Calvinism has the worst possible answer for the death of innocent children. The tower of Siloam passage has always been one of my favorite and best passages to refute my predestination leaning freinds. No one, not even open theists have a great answer for why God "allows" the death of innocent children, but the strict Calvinist answer is by far one of the worst, IMHO.
      The falsifiability point is one that "must" be addressed by those of us believing in omniscience. I disagreed with Dr. Lamerson in his first post where he said that he only had to show one absolute case of God's omniscience to prove it. I think you have to pass the falsifiablity test that Bob has now brought forward.
      In the "that is not what my Bible says" dept. Psalm 139 vs 15 thru 16 says or "strongly" intimates that God knows us even BEFORE He forms us. I think that Bob needs to adress Psalm 139 again, and the Dr. should ask him what.......... " and in Your book they were all written, The days fashioned for me. When as yet there were NONE of them." {NKJV} means? That shouts to me God's absolute knowledge of all of the Days of my life! How can I be so misunderstanding that verse in relation to Bob?
      I think that Bob still has to answer the problem that if God only foreordains "some" things then how will He not be surprised, and worst of all possibly defeated by evil. This to me is the greatest problem with Open theism, since God is living the present with us and only knows the future from His wisdom!
      Does that not leave "open" the possibility of a very unsettled, and disastrous future, at least in the realm of possibility?
      I was totally befuddeled by the comment to us in the Grandstands. Was Bob saying that the only possible way to defend the settled view is from the position of absolute foreordination of everything, or only from the position of absolute foreknowledge. I will definately be looking for a challenge, or clarification of that in the rounds to come!
      Since I now believe that Dr. Sam is on the defensive, I think a good verse to use that has not been brought up? is Rev 1-8 or 22-13. As well as the verses where God, and Jesus, describes himself as the Great I Am!

      As our Bible teacher at my church always asks us, "Did I say that in a way that makes sense to you?" Bob has 'finally' stated Open theism, and God possibly not knowing our future, in a way that makes sense to me.
      After describing God, and Greek philosophy ,and Augustine, in ways which I did not disagree with him: It is now clear to me why Bob thinks that God does not know our entire future. I understand his view and even though I do not agree with it, I can now study it with some understanding, and distinctions.
      Thank you Bob and Dr. Sam, for what is possibly becoming a great debate!


      • Unlike some, I vehemently disapprove of the personal nature that this debate is taking. Theological debate should be undertook with professional precision and dispassion, as there are many who are taking this debate to heart, suspending what they have held true, and takin the arguments of both sides with a sincere heart and honest intellect. (In all honesty, I'm beginning to lose interest in the very question, as it is no more than an intellectual pursuit which neither adds nor detracts from the glory of our Lord Jesus.)

        Pastor Enyart has given a sharp reply. He's right about Dr. Lam not strictly following the question-numbering rules of TOL. So, in my estimation, Dr. Lam didn't strictly follow the TOL rules, but Pastor Enyart didn't follow the rules of general debate.

        Also, I found it strange that Pastor Enyart thought that Jesus's prediction of Judas's betrayal was stronger than that of Jesus's prediction of Peter's thrice denial. Both are good, but in my estimation, Peter's thrice-denial is far stronger.

        Pastor Enyart wins my vote for Matthew 6:8b. I've always thought this very thing of that verse.

        But I think it's very distasteful for Pastor Enyart to claim victory in this debate. Dr. Lamerson may have written a logically contradictory statement, but that's long shot from demonstrating that his particular position regarding God's omniscience does not reflect reality.

        Also, I believe that Pastor Enyart has overestimated the power of his hermeneutic. The Biblical attributes of living, loving, personal, relational, and goodness do not contradict God's possession of exhaustive acausal foreknowledge. Bob's making good inroads. But I'm going to have to see how Jesus could predict that Peter would deny Christ three times before the rooster's crow.

        Now if at this point I had become unsettled by the personal nature of this debate, I was completely disgusted by a third party letter to the antagonist. This is outright poor taste for a scholarly debate.

        And it was this letter which set up the greatest contradiction I've seen thus far in this debate. Reverend Enyart, earlier in the post, said this:
        one of your fears of the Open View is that by accident great cruelty might happen; but that is exactly what you say the Calvinist God does every day, intentionally.
        Moments later, he wrote this:
        Even Calvinists agree that doing is different than knowing, and foreordaining is different than foreknowing
        So in one sentence we read that God foreordains (that is, he divinely causes) suffering in the Calvinist view. Yet in the next we read that within the same theology it's possible to understand that God simply foreknows (divinely permits) suffering, yet does not foreordain it. I'm really shocked that such a blatant contradiction could appear in a post from Pastor Enyart, who had before this debate gained my upmost respect as a man of clear thinking.

        The section on "how to falsify openness" was a good one though. It demonstrates intellectual honesty.

        I'm looking forward to Dr. Lamerson's reply.



        • Bob said:

          For whichever side has the correct hermeneutic, the correct method of determining one interpretation over another, that side will be victorious.
          You are wrong, sir. Which ever side develops an argument that satisfactorily accomodates
          scriptural evidence presented from both sides, plus supports his side's viewpoint, wins. Part
          of any scriptural battle is accomodating and affirming the unity of the scriptural message.

          selecting interpretations that give precedent to the biblical attributes of God
          nope, again, nope. No precidents. That's too easy, just too easy. Everyone chooses
          precidents, from Satan to whomever. Jesus presented the larger understanding, the
          understanding that accomodates all scripture, and does not choose one over the other.

          You're both wrong in struggling for "proper hermeneutic" to choose assign precidence to
          phrases. Find the hermeneutic that accomodates all scripture.

          Sam, resistance is futile.
          Chilling, leader of the Borg statement!!! Yikes!
          Wake up Enyartians! Seek freedom! Jesus liberates, Jesus doesn't assimilate! Resistance
          is not futile!

          You’re in Battle Royale X defending God for ordaining all evil, including the killing of children
          Nope, trusting in God's absolute power to bring about goodness from the midst of evil, and
          trusting that God has absolute control even in the midst of the worst evil. As Sam has said many
          times, the thought that God has no control in the midst of evil is far more frightening than the
          thought that God allows evil to occur...

          God knows our thoughts, which precede our words
          Oh, yeah, everyone
          thinks through what they are going to say before they say it. That's why the world is such a
          peaceful place! Actually, though, think about it. Even as I write, I don't form entire sentences
          in my mind before I type them. I hit the backspace key often, as my thoughts develop with
          my words. Words give form to thoughts, they are really inseperable. This argument doesn't
          hold water against the standard of reality.

          When Bob quotes FDR, he pretty much nullifies all prophesy as being potentiall errant, as
          he asserts that God has no foreknowledge. And yet, there is an OT law declaring that if
          someone prophesy and the prophesy not come true, the false prophet be stoned. If all
          prophets are false, why bother? Scripture declares that the greatest prophet of all was
          Moses, was Moses a false prophet, by OV definition?

          Now we have for-ordination vs foreknowledge, and prophesies vs non-prophesies, how many squirmy
          half definitions must we endure? For a straight forward conservative literalist, this whole argument
          is falling to pieces. OK, I'm an amatuer in the peanut gallery, so let me try and understand this,
          God for-ordains the scriptures that conflict with OV, therefore there is no foreknowledge on God's
          part. Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrragggggggggggghhhhhh, uh, no.

          OK, I was pretty sacrcastic this time around, partially in fun, no harm or offense or
          malice intended. The debate is going to be stale pretty quick if we don't get off this
          "my scriptures are better than your scriptures" kick, its the bane of TOL in general.

          1 John 4:7-8 "Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love."


          • (You guys are debating, again! Tsk tsk tsk!)

            DSL service from Qwest for a month?


            Minimal subscription at


            Watching Enyart daring Lamerson to have him answer all 61 questions from the first two rounds in a post of unlimited length with a 7-day deadline?


            If I'd been drinkin' milk, it would have been all over my keyboard. 'Nuff said!

            Bob totally put away all accusations about his supposed lack of responsiveness. As far as I'm concerned, his rebuttal of that charge was a slam dunk.

            Then, Bob sinks a three-pointer with his response to the issue of the divisibility and/or heirarchy of God's attributes. The incarnation is indeed proof positive that everything Bob suggested in previous posts about this is right on the money. However, that doesn't mean Sam is forced to accept this. I wonder if he even holds the kenotic view of Christology? (That is, that the Son "emptied" Himself of His power, such that He performed all the pre-resurrection miracles via the power of the HS, and not Himself. This is further corroborated by Jesus' lack of knowledge of exactly when the Trib would come.) If Sam doesn't hold the kenotic view, I know he'll fight this tooth and nail. I've known a few non-kenotics who actually have claimed they think it's almost heresy to hold this view. Why, I cannot fathom. But anyway, my point is that Bob may have simply assumed Sam holds the kenotic view, whereas if he doesn't, that'll just spark a whole new trail to go down... Guess we'll find out in a few days!

            If I were in Bob's shoes, I probably would have asked first in a previous round whether SLam is kenotic. After all, we all know what they say about assumptions. When you make an assumption... you make an *** out of you and an.. umption. Erhhh, yeah. Something like that. (And I mean the donkey, don't worry!)

            I love how Bob is slowly revealing the fullness and effectiveness of the NOAH concept. I do wish, though, that it could have been fleshed out this much a little earlier, but I know there are space restrictions, and we do have many rounds to go, after all. They need something to talk about. LOL So, no biggy, I love how it's being revealed more, post by post.

            Now, the most memorable part of the post (and possibly the entire debate; we'll see!) -- the letter from Brian Rohrbough. Good gravy in heaven, that hit like a whallop. Not only from the emotional impact of the entire thing (which is quite real, although not evidential at all, and we should remember that), but also because it directly refutes SLam's point, hits the nail right on the head. And then Bob rounds it out with some great humor. Emotional tragedy, stark truth and then a laugh at the end..? That's a three-course meal, folks! Bob gets the trifecta of effective debating, here!

            Indeed, Sam accused Bob and Open Creationism of the direct equivelant of what he himself believes God does all the time! How did SLam not see that coming? That was a major oopsy.

            Falsification of Openness? Another great idea; I love it. And nicely done, at that. I look forward to Sam's response to this, and I really hope he doesn't cop out or claim this isn't a relevant point, etc. It is entirely relevant.

            Bob does a great job of explaining the presentist view of many of the passages SLam had put forth. But this stuff is nothing new for most of us; many of us could have written that with one eye tied behind our back. That part of this debate is old and tired. Ho hum. Still, Bob had to answer, and he explained the simple and obvious answer.

            Under "Isaiah Settled View “Proof-texts," his handling of those quotes from Ware is not only terrific, but entertaining! (For me, at least.)

            Originally posted by Bob
            Ware writes, “The single richest and strongest portion of Scripture supporting God’s knowledge of the future is Isaiah 40-48” (2000, p. 102). Yet in this section Ware doesn’t quote a single verse, nor can I even identify evidence better than my FDR argument above, as teaching exhaustive foreknowledge. However, what he concedes here should apply to all of it, that: “this text stops short of explicitly asserting God’s exhaustive knowledge,” (p. 113 on Isa. 45:1-7), and again regarding Isaiah 46:10, “this text does not state explicitly and directly that ‘everything that will ever come to pass’ is foreknown by God,” (p. 116; see the same comments on p. 117 & 118).
            Slam dunk! I love it!

            As for the questions:

            Sam really needs to answer BEQ1/BEQ7 (and now BEQ9) concerning whether total immutability needs to be reformulated to allow for God's relationality. (Which I honestly believe is the death knoll for the atemporal God.)

            Hmm, are foreordination and foreknowledge the same thing? How can Sam say they are? It's obvious on its face that they're not. And so, Bob is leading SLam into yet another defeat.

            Then, BEQ13 is another great question. Making a prediction that comes true obviously doesn't prove one has exhaustive definite foreknowledge. How can SLam claim otherwise?

            Finally, Bob now asks SLam whether he holds the kenotic view. Definitely looking forward to that answer!

            Now for a more general criticism. I think Bob has a little bit too much of a penchant for making this an Open/Calvinist debate. Just because Lamerson is Calvinist doesn't mean he has to fight the battle on those two grounds. I think *everyone* ... especially the audience ... would be best served if they more consistently remember that this is specifically about whether God knows the entire future, and not so much about meticulous providence/foreordination. A heckuva lot of Christians are Arminian/Simple Foreknowledge, and don't believe in meticulous foreordination, but do believe in EDF. Lamerson obviously isn't going to argue on the side of Simple Foreknowledge, so I would just encourage Bob to keep the debate on topic more (Lamerson's guilty of it plenty, too!) and focus explicitly on whether God knows the whole future. I especially think it would be worthwhile to demolish the ludicrous notion of the atemporal God... but maybe that's just me. I used to believe that (who didn't?) and yet now I find that idea to be one of the most preposterous, irrational and self-contradictory philosophical/theological concepts ever devised by man.

            The mere fact of Creation is proof on its face that God is temporal, simply because if God created the universe... then from His point of view (and this must be about His POV), there wasn't a universe, and then there was. Before and after. The only other option is to say that God doesn't exist independently of creation... and that is a hallmark of Process Theology! That God cannot exist independent of creation! And surely Lamerson wouldn't want to be "victimized" by that heretical association, even if he is comfortable using the Gospel of Thomas. LOL

            What I really love about atemporalists (as Lamerson will undoubtedly prove, if things go this direction) is that they consistently describe God in temporal terms. God did this, God did that... God committed these actions, made these decisions, God RESPONDED by doing this and that. Responded? A blatantly and necessarily temporal event. God saw X. God decided to respond to X. God responded to X. And THEN God sees the timeline from A to Z as it is NOW, which isn't the same as the timeline He responded to, is it? So, now God has seen things that don't exist, responding to things that "now" never happened... Ultimately, the logical conclusion of Arminianism/Simple Foreknowledge is a deist God! An atemporal God cannot act, cannot respond, cannot do anything! He is impotent, powerless to act. What's ironic is that Calvinism doesn't require an atemporal God, as it relies more on God's foreordination. Heck, I think it works better without an atemporal God! (As does Molinism.) Only Simple Foreknowledge requires an atemporal God, which is precisely why it is the least defensible of the four views.

            So, I'm personally hoping that Lamerson might surprise everyone and turn out to believe in a temporal God. I won't hold my breath, but that would be sweet.

            Just a few thoughts! Don't know if they'll mean anything at all, but hey, I sometimes get on a rant. Just call me Dennis Miller.
            1 Corinthians 13:2
            And though I have ... all knowledge... but have not love, I am nothing.


            • Now and Then

              I am blessed to have had direct connection to the maturation of the current subject debated here in Battle Royal X.

              Thank God, I didn't have to wait until 2005 to learn the elementary aspects of the Lord's attributes. There is a lot of history within the past 10 yrs on these subjects but it is clear to me that the Truth is being wonderfully revealed through this fresh look into the absolute character of God.

              I am of the most fortunate to have been chosen before the foundation of the world that I would meet others that teach and believe that we were not chosen before the foundation of the world to not teach that we were not chosen before the foundation of the world.

              With God's grace I pray that the art and skill of those currently engaged in this debate will ruthlessly pursue the thoughts and hopes of the Holy Spirit so that we can all be more deeply touched by the heart and mind of the Lord Jesus Christ.

              We all need an education to understand and teach the truths that truely transform the most important aspect of Divine Love and that is the relationship He has with YOU.

              Thank God for friends and teachers that are smarter and more intense and commited than I have ever been.

              One thing I have witnessed first hand is that a passion for God comes freer when responding to new found love rather than with some mis-conceived contrivance manufactured in eternity past.

              Thanks, Bob.

              May we all have the pleasure of exceeding the Lord's will instead of continuously failing it.


              • What's at stake in the debate, even?

                The consensus in "the Grandstands" is that Bob's best round was the third and that he is now in the lead. Let's pretend this trend continues and he wins the debate. Nay, let's say he is right in his hybristic declaration that he has already won (though he declared victory on winning a point that was only parallel question, i.e. what attributes of God are paramount?, not the central point of the debate: Does God Know Your Entire Future?).

                What's at stake if Bob wins this debate?

                At risk of downplaying the gravitas of Battle Royale X, not much.

                Bob is doing a good job of proving that the idea that God does not necessarily know the entire future is not an outright heresy. He is attempting to prove the idea, in this debate, is also not logically untenable.

                His (potential) victory is but one small piece in the tapestry of Christian thought though. Let me explain. We are talking about an idea here that was altogether missed by every major Christian thinker in history. From St. Jerome to St. Augustine, John Huss to Martin Luther, Wesley to Spurgeon, all maintained that God knows the future.

                In fact, I submit that proposing He doesn't could have gotten a person burned at the stake in previous times in (church) history. Now we know that may be egregious, but my interest in this debate was to see if this new IDEA (that is, the notion) that God does not know the future should be burned at the stake.

                In other words, Bob has a great opportunity to prove, in one particular playing field of ideas, this is not a heresy.

                Thus far, Bob has answers to the panoply of reasons Christians have always assumed God knows the future, such as:
                (1) Prophesies fulfilled
                (2) The Psalms (such as 139 where God knows all our days)
                (3) The very existence of Revelation (what many, though not all Christians, think is history to come)
                (4) The prevelance of the word "foreknowledge" in Christian thought (and the book of Romans)
                ... and so on. Not to mention C.S. Lewis "Tao," the aspects of God that even pagans are able to ascertain because of Natural Law.

                But he has not made the positive case yet that all Christians up until today were wrong and that a paradigm shift should occur. For example, his Judas defense is really more of a "what if..." than a "What did."

                He is in a position much like Dispensationalists, let's say, in the late 19th century--though this idea is much more obscure to scripture and the saints--in that the burden of proof falls to him.

                That is why I do not altogether resent the fact that both Sam and Bob went first in making their case. Watching with interest as to see the future of this debate...

                -Prima Scriptura


                • A passionate plea for dispassion

                  Originally posted by sentientsynth
                  Theological debate should be undertook with professional precision and dispassion,
                  Last edited by Turbo; August 14th, 2005, 06:25 PM.


                  • Many of Bob’s supporters enjoyed the last round in which he effectively dealt with Sam’s criticisms. I understand Bob’s need to address his opponents accusations, but much prefer his articulations when he is moving forward instead of backwards. That said, with Bob’s strong rebuttal, I feel the time has arrived that Sam must prove his own case, instead of ridiculing Bob's (not that there is anything at all wrong with ridiculing), in order to win.

                    All the talk these days about a personal and loving God – What I want to hear from Sam is, what about an all-knowing God (verses the interactive God of the Open View) is either loving or personal to me today?


                    • Does anyone else feel that Bob is paving his own road, apart from what Sam has laid before him to take? It seems from the very get go of this debate that Bob is running away from the direction Sam started to take this topic. Not to mention Bob has continued to 'pave his own road' until he has gotten way off subject! That letter he posted from that guy who lost his child at Columbine was unnecessary. Has Bob forgotten that Sam is not debating about Calvinism, nor is the topic anything about debating if Calvinism is wrong or not? This debate is about God knowing the future, to which Sam has presented a valid case for, from the beginning of the debate! And yet, from the get go, Bob has ignored the direction of Sam's post and has decided to create his own path apart from the topic at hand. Sam cleared the way for Bob in post one, but Bob seemed to have started his own path. So, unwillingly, Sam ventured down Bob's road and even cleared more for Bob to follow. But what does Bob do? He did what any Open Theists I've come to debate on this site always seems to do; they ignore the path set before them to debate and make up their own path. It's their only defense to steer clear of the obvious truth, which is the Bible does not support their views.

                      My question to Bob is, when are you going to start debating the topic with Sam, and stop attacking Calvinism?
                      Question what you believe in, and then you'll know.


                      • In Bob's last post, he posted a very unnecessary post from Brian Rohrbough, who lost his son in the Columbine tragedy. The following is an excerpt from that letter to which I must reply:
                        Consider the importance of a report this week of an archaeological find of the discovery of the Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem. Perhaps you remember the tower near there. It fell over and killed eighteen people. And Jesus responded to the Greek superstition of that day, like Calvinism today, when people foolishly look for the will of God in murders, rapes, and tragedies of negligence, by saying:

                        “Those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! …” -Jesus, Luke 13:4-5

                        And for those who were looking for an interpretation of the deaths of the Galileans who were murdered by Pilate, Jesus found their superstition useless too:

                        “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no!” -Jesus, Luke 13:2-3

                        Here Jesus rejected the most obvious of the absurd “interpretations,” that bad things happened to people because God was directly punishing them.
                        Brian posted these Scriptures to support the claim that God's will cannot be found in the death and tragedy of people's lives. He said himself that, "Jesus rejected the most obvious of the absurd “interpretations,” that bad things happened to people because God was directly punishing them". Mr. Brian, I'm sorry, but those verses do nothing to prove your case.

                        In Luke 13, Jesus wasn't declaring that God did not will the deaths of people. Instead, His point was that thier suffering was not a result of some great and evil sin on their part. Back in those days, the Jews believed that God only punished people if they did something bad. John 9 tells a story of a blind man from birth whom Jesus and His disciples happened to walk by. When they saw him, the disciples asked Jesus if he was blind because of his sins, or his parents sins. Jesus told them that it wasn't for neither reason. Instead, Jesus stated that the man was born blind so that the power and glory of God could be seen in his life. And we all know who causes blindness:

                        Exodus 4:11
                        "Who makes mouths?" the LORD asked him. "Who makes people so they can speak or not speak, hear or not hear, see or not see? Is it not I, the LORD?

                        So basically, Jesus told his disciples that God made the man blind from birth, so that at that particular time in his life, Jesus would cross his path and heal his blindness, and then God would receive the glory. Likewise, when Jesus heard about the Galileans who died tragically, He immediatly knew that the Jews would think that they must have been terrible sinners. But Jesus nipped that false belief in the bud, and explained that God doesn't bring calamity to just the unrighteous, but also to the righteous. The life of Job is a good example. And so is Jesus's. Job was a righteous man, upright in God's eyes. Yet God willed that he suffer. And Jesus, God's only Son, was ordained by God to also suffer.

                        From the smallest thing to the greatest thing, good and evil, happy and sad, pagan and Christian, pain and pleasure - God governs them all for his wise and just and good purposes (Isaiah 46:10). Lest we miss the point, the Bible speaks most clearly to this in the most painful situations. Amos asks, in time of disaster, "If a calamity occurs in a city has not the LORD done it?" (Amos 3:6). After losing all ten of his children in the collapse of his son's house, Job says, "The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD" (Job 1:21). After being covered with boils he says, "Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" (Job 2:10).

                        Bob should be more careful of what he puts in his post. This letter did nothing to help his position at all. That is, if you know your Scriptures...
                        Question what you believe in, and then you'll know.


                        • Tone of the debate

                          I have enjoyed the debate and learned from it, but I am troubled by the tone of some of the debate, especially regarding who should respond to whom.

                          I thought Sam was a bit hard on Bob for not responding, when the initial rules say the the first post would be to lay out the respective positions. He should have read the specific rules more carefully before writing that response.

                          On the other hand, when Bob on his second post still did not respond to the two main passages that Sam laid out in his first post I think Sam was right to challenge him, but the challenge was laid out in what appeared to be an attack against the man, by challenging Bob's understanding of how to debate.

                          Bob then apparently frustrated by the tone, does the same thing by belittling, Sam's first post, because it did not follow the prescribed rules of this specific debate, when Sam himself had already apologized for the format of the first post in his second post. Bob had the advantage of debating in this format in the past, so pointing out that Sam's first post did not follow the rules specifically did not seem to be fair to his opponent, who was at that time completely new to this format.

                          I understand that debate needs to sharp and clear, but I wonder when someone points out a specific problem in form whether we should not admit the possibility of err on our part and then deal try to rectify the err, rather than responding defensively. I understand the need to defend one's ideas, but as a Christian I question whether we need to defend our abilities as debaters or attack the opposing person's abilities either.

                          For me, an apology rather than an attack does not diminish the strength of the person's ideas, and would make the debate more palatable for one like myself who is still wrestling with some of ideas in the debate. Up to this point I have found myself distracted by the subtle personal attacks, and I would enjoy it more if the debate were a tad more Christian (I was going to say civil, but I realized that I do in fact expect more of a Christian debate then I would expect from a simply a civil debate.)

                          Thanks for listening to my rambling, and I apologize if I have offended anyone.

                          God bless,



                          • A matter of time.

                            Up until now I have found the debate very interesting.

                            Bob's point that he believe God could cause some things to come about through influence and thereby would mean that some prediction could be accurately made is a good point.

                            I would love to see one or both of the debaters discuss God in relation to time. To me this is one of the central questions regarding God's knowledge of the future. They obviously believe different things about God and time, but it has not yet been dealt with directly.

                            Is time part of the creation, which science seems to indicate and if so how can God be in the creation? Is God moving along in another type of time, and how does that time relate to our time? If God is outside of all time, how does he experience relationship?


                            • I was very disappointed in Bob's last post. He seems to have given up on the foreknowledge debate and have tried to turn the battle into a predestination vs. free will argument. Since I (and most Christians IMHO) have always accepted free will and exhaustive foreknowledge but not predestination, I now find the debate much less interesting. I hope that Bob will not keep this tactic for the remainder of the battle.

                              As an infrequent poster and frequent reader of TOL, I have toyed with OV. I will admit that simple foreknowledge is counterintuitive. It seems to hinge on acausality. Cause following effect can lead to paradox. ( ie., Time traveller kills his father before he was conceived.) There are many ways of avoiding paradox, but it does stretch credulity.

                              I did like Bob's take on falsification, but I think he has oversimplified. It seems to me that an integral part of the OV is that God cannot foreknow a free choice. He might be able to predict my choices quite well, but if he knows what I will choose with certainty before I choose it then according to OV my choice is not free.

                              The following falsification statements apply:
                              [1]OV can be falsified by showing a single proven example from scripture where God knows the outcome of a freewill choice before the choice was made.
                              [2]Similarly exhaustive foreknowledge can be falsified by a single proven example of God not knowing about a single event in advance.

                              If [1] is satisfied that implies God has access to an acausal method for receiving information. This need not require Him to be impersonal, irrelational, or perpetually outside of time. (One need only look into the massive SciFi time travel literature to find a huge collection of logically consistent scenarios that might apply.)

                              If [2] is satisfied that implies there are things that God cannot know or chooses not to know.

                              Note that [1] and [2] are not mutually exclusive. There appears to be a middle position. That's where I think we are now in the debate. I think Sam has made a great case for [1] using Jesus's prediction of Peter's denial and to a lesser extent Judas's betrayal, and Bob has made a great case for [2] using Jonah's prophesy to Nineveh, God's test of Abraham, and God and Satan's wager over Job among others.

                              Bob hasn't really touched on the Peter example and Sam has not hammered it home as much as he should have. To me it is very convincing. I do not see God forcing Peter to deny Christ. It violates my beliefs concerning God's character. If Peter had free will there was some chance of Jesus being wrong, but Jesus certainly left no room for doubt in His prophesy. The choices seem to be
                              1) Peter's choice was forced.
                              2) Jesus directly and in no uncertain terms prophesied something that had a chance of not coming to pass.

                              I reject both of these. What makes the case even stronger for me is I do not see how Jesus could even be reasonably certain apriori. Exactly three people met and challenged Peter prior to sunrise and he failed the test each time. Did God force the actions of those three people and steer away everyone else that might have recognized Peter? Did God successfully predict where everyone in the area would be meandering that night? It would seem to me that knowledge of quite a few freewill choices would have been required unless God was clamping down on people's free will all over the place.

                              To summarize...
                              The debate so far has convinced me that
                              A) God appears to know the outcome of some freewill choices in advance.
                              B) God does not appear to know everything in advance.
                              C) Due to A) God must be capable of receiving some knowledge in an acausal manner.
                              D) If Bob and Sam stick to the predestination vs. free will debate, I am going to be bored to tears.

                              (Editted Statement [2] for grammar and clarity)

                              Begin: Hint
                              Sam, add questions about Peter to your official question list.
                              End: Hint
                              Last edited by titan; August 15th, 2005, 11:58 PM.
                              In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.


                              • The first major SLIP.

                                SAM'S 4TH RD. POST.


                                What can anyone say?

                                Round 4 was not good for Sam. Bob could skip round 4 all together and still win the debate. Sam's 4th round post was almsot completely devoid of any content. Even Sam's answer's at the bottom of the post are non-answers. It's really weird.

                                What happened?

                                Sam's posts so far have gone as such:

                                1st rd. Shaky, but understandably so, since it was Sam's first attempt.

                                2nd rd. Much better, we can all see now that Sam is a fast learner.

                                3rd rd. Excellent. Sam is hitting his stride, this could be a real battle!

                                4th rd. Ouch! Nothing. No real content, no meat, no potatoes, no nothing.

                                Sam's 4th round post left me confused and wondering how long he spent preparing the post.

                                I can guarantee the settled view side will be "utterly" disappointed in this post. Come on Sam, there is still more than half of the debate to go, dig deep down, don't give up.
                                Oh, wise guy eh?