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

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Nathon Detroit

LIFETIME MEMBER
LIFETIME MEMBER
Openness Theology - Does God Know Your Entire Future? - Battle Royale X
S. Lamerson vs. B. Enyart

This thread is designed to make comments on the posts that Bob Enyart and Dr. Lamerson make in BR X (post critiques if you will). This thread IS NOT for debating or discussing the battle with other TOL members but instead to make "stand alone" comments regarding the posts as they are made in the battle as it progresses.

If you wish to debate and go off in rabbit trails you can do so in the Battle Talk thread.

Any posts that we deem to be other than what is described above will be deleted without warning. Thank you for your interest in Battle Royale X.
 
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Clete

Truth Smacker
Silver Subscriber
Lamerson seemed to really focus on refuting Boyd's version of open theism (I think he mentioned Sanders too but not nearly as much). I wonder to what degree Lamerson believes Boyd's teachings to be identical to Bob's. If he is relying on them being extremely similar I think that he is at a severe disadvantage against Bob.

We'll just have to wait and see but that is my primary impression after having read the opening post.

Resting in Him,
Clete
 
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novice

Who is the stooge now?
Bob Enyart's first post is brilliant!

And no matter what you think of Bob (love him or hate him) you certainly cannot accuse him of being unprepared for battle.

I think he did an excellent job of framing the debate something which Dr. Lamerson didn't even attempt to do. I think this post of Bob's will help Dr. Lamerson get up to speed a bit more.

I expect a much better post for Dr. Lamerson in round 2. (either that or he'll pull a "Zakath").
 

RightIdea

New member
I concur, I just scanned over Bob's post and it looks outstanding. I do have at least one very small criticism but I'll save it for after work when I can examine it more closely.
 

Livewire

New member
Outstanding first post by Bob Enyart. It's apparent that Bob went to great lengths to put forth such a well rounded, well thought out and extremely informative opening post.
 

Truppenzwei

Supreme Goombah of the Goombahs
LIFETIME MEMBER
Well, this is the first BR which I have been about for. I think given that it is Sam's first as well he may be forgiven a quite tentative first post - I know I would be tentative if I had to go first in a debate of this magnitude.

That said I am very impressed by Bob's post. I will be honest I haven't really understood the thinking behind Open Theism and haven't felt that any of it's proponents have cleared it up much. Bob's post however is exceedingly clear and succint in what he regards the open view to be and what backs it up.

I am impressed at the style and maturity of debate that this post shows, I'm also definitely pondering a lot of the issues that he and sam both raised.
 

Freak

New member
Livewire said:
Outstanding first post by Bob Enyart. It's apparent that Bob went to great lengths to put forth such a well rounded, well thought out and extremely informative opening post.
This is true. Bob's presentation was strong in many areas, however, on the omnipresence of God it was weak. Utterly weak!

Bob stated, "The true doctrine of God’s presence is this: God is wherever He wants to be."

Bob goes to great lengths to militate against Scripture when understanding God's presence in hell; ignoring the clear passages that teach that the triune God is present with His creation and that He is present.

For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

God created hell. It is His. Not only did He create it, He also holds it together. Surely He is present with His creation as He sustains it. Scripture also tells us that God is omnipresent—God is present.

Holy Scripture clearly tells us God is present in hell, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.”
 
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Jerry Shugart

Well-known member
Bob Enyart said:
God the Son was not always a man. He “became flesh” (John 1:14). Became is a change word. The Incarnation is not just a figure of speech, and it shows that God can undergo infinite change.
Did the very nature of God undergo an "infinite change" when He "became flesh"?

Was He not the Son of Man before He became flesh?:

"What if ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up where He was before"(Jn.6:62).

The Son of man was in heaven before He "became flesh".The Lord Jesus declared explicitly that the Son of man descended out of heaven:

"And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven"(Jn.3:13).

Sir Robert Anderson wrote:

The revelation of the Son of Man will lead the spiritual Christian, who has learned to note the hidden harmony of Scripture, to recall the language of the creation story: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." The type," as the biologist would phrase it, is not the creature of Eden, but He after whose likeness the creature was fashioned. And this suggests the solution of a "mystery." We are but men, and while angels behold the face of God, no man hath seen Him or can see Him. We are "flesh and blood," and "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." And yet as men we are to dwell in heavenly glory; and that wonderful promise shall be fulfilled to us-" They shall see His face."

How is this seeming paradox to be explained? "Flesh and blood" are not essential to humanity. True it is that, as "the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same. He assumed "a natural body." "For there is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body." The one pertains to "the first man," who is "of the earth earthy, the other to "the second Man," who is "of heaven." For the Lord from heaven is "Very Man," and it is as Man that He is now upon the throne. But the body is not the man: it is but the tent, the outward dress, as it were, which covers Him. And He is "the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever " the same who once trod the roads of Galilee and the streets of Jerusalem. He is enthroned as Man, but no longer now in "flesh and blood." For ere He "passed through the heavens" He changed His dress.
(Anderson,"The Lord From Heaven",p.31-32).
 
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Nathon Detroit

LIFETIME MEMBER
LIFETIME MEMBER
Remember folks this thread is for SINGLE "stand alone" critiques of the posts being made in Battle Royale X. Many of you have asked why your posts are being deleted and this is the reason.

Therefore if you wish to create a dialog about BR X please do so on the Battle Talk
thread.

Thanks in advance for your time and cooperation.
 

Lion

King of the jungle
Super Moderator
Wow, great start. Punches thrown and blocked, but no ducking or rope-a-dope in evidence to date. Sweet!

I think Sam was kind of feeling out Bob's range with the first post, and not throwing to many until he sees the style. But watch out for that uppercut Bob, it could be dangerous.

Fight on brothers, I just got my popcorn and Milk Duds, and opened an ice cold Coke Zero.

Battle Down!
 

Chileice

New member
I believe Bob's post was logical and well stated. However, as a former debater, I don't believe he has addressed the issue Lamerson laid out in his opening post. I read the whole post and never found where Bob directly address the issue as posited by Sam.


Sam said:
Jesus makes a very specific prediction about what Peter will do within the next 24 hours. This prediction is found in all four of the Gospels ( Pericope 315; Matt 26:34; Mark 14:30; Luke 22:34; John13:38). The question that this issue raises is obvious. If God’s inerrant foreknowledge violates the free will of the object of that knowledge, and if God will not violate the will of any free creature, how is he able to unerringly predict the actions of one of those free creatures?

I see nothing in Bob's post that directly addresses the issue. If Bob were writing a book, he would be off to a flying start, but he is debating and he should take his counterpart into consideration in making his arguments. Anyone can argue in a vacuum but to win a debate you must tackle the issues set before you by the other participant.
 

DEVO

Documenting mans devolution
Chileice, normally in an opening post you lay the groundwork for your debate which is what Bob did rather well and which is most likely why he stated:
With your indulgence, I will answer three of your four questions in the second round, and below I will answer your second question.

My Critique . . .
Bob's opening post should be delivered to every "would be" open theist in the world. It's that good.

Bob gives reasonable re-defintions for words that have been mis-used and abused for centuries:

Omniscience
Omnipresence
Omnipotence
Impassibility
Immutability

And then contrasts those with more biblically sound attributes:

Living
Personal
Relational
Good
Loving

And Bob drives home the fact that the Open View presents God warmly as in good and righteous more than stark and cold as in soverign and immutable.

Bob's post lays a framework for Open Theism that NO OTHER open theists do very well (in my opinion).

Awesome, I can't wait for more! :chew:

My biggest question for Bob is why has he been hiding this great info until now?????? ;)
 

Ecumenicist

New member
Bob's first post:

1. Interesting that he divides the idea of "God's Freedom" from "human freedom." The neatest
thing about it, if there are any overt or closet Barthians out there, is that it answers Sam's Barthian
assertions about sole revelation of God through Christ, with a very Barthian assertion of God's
absolute freedom.

2. A little disapointing that Bob starts setting up a metaphorical vs literal interpretation
paradigm. We'll see how he uses it, but in general, even I, a "liberal" recognize "calling on
context" as too "easy an out," i.e. an easy way to create circular arguments that sound
convincing on the surface but don't hold water under scriptural scrutiy.

3. The pagan / Calvinist setup. Wow. Claiming that your opponent uses pagan philosophy
is a pretty low blow, (confession: my darker side kind of likes it,) but lets hope it doesn't distract Sam into arguing an assertion that really
has nothing to do with the core question. Sam is using Christian texts, not Roman
mythology, after all.

4. Impassibility. I was liking the argument before the example was presented regarding Christ.
God did not change when God the Son became Flesh. Scripture states that Christ was
with God from the beginning...

5. The rest... So, God is "powerful enough," but not "all powerful, " smart enough," but not "too
smart," "close at hand, personal," but not "everywhere all the time." Jesus said that the Holy
Spirit would be with all of them all the time, with all of us, all the time. I just don't see the
contrast that Bob manufactures on all these points, but that's OK...

I think that the most interesting point that comes out of all this is whether God's completeness
interferes with God's freedom, and I'll be looking most intently for Sam's reply to that...

Dave
 

sentientsynth

New member
Bob exposes the pagan influences on the early Church Fathers. Why should a Christian theology curriculum include Aristotle???

However, whereas Sam may have focused too narrowly, has Bob's focus been too broad? Perhaps...

I agree with Chileice that Bob ought to have at least given a tacit response to Sam's argument of Jesus's foreknowledge. But as this is going to be a ten-rounder, I can feel Bob winding up the pitch...

This debate will be an excellent service to the knowledge and understanding of the body of Christ, and I'd like to thank TOL, Bob, and Sam for their hard work.

To God Be The Glory!!

SS
 

godrulz

New member
Hall of Fame
First half of Bob's first post (up to omniscience point):

- Enyart was good to bring up the problem of evil (theodicy), since open theism's warfare vs blueprint model (Boyd) is a strength.

- It would be better to emphasize OT's idea (at least Boyd) that some of the future is settled and some is unsettled. Bob contrasted settled (Calvinism) vs unsettled only (OT).

- It was appropriate to emphasize the Open view of God as dynamic and responsive vs an aloof control freak.

- I wonder if it is a false dicotomy to contrast the classic attributes with OT view. It does not have to be either/or, but both/and. The key is to define sovereignty as providential vs meticulous control; omniscience as knowing all that is knowable vs all-knowing; immutability as weak vs strong; emotions as real, but not fickle or absent; etc. Jay Wesley Richards (IVP) in "The Untamed God" revisits the classical doctrines and fine-tunes their understanding without rejecting them. Both views support God's omniscience and omnipotence, but understand them differently. Sovereignty is not a dirty word, but must be understood with biblical parameters. God is immutable in some ways, but not others. Recognizing this will not raise the suspicions of classic theists as much. Remember, OT is accused of being like finite godism/Process theology. We want to affirm what we can and flesh out a more biblical understanding of classic terms.

- Bob remains theocentric (God-centered) in his approach.

- Hermeneutics is touched on (figurative vs literal). It is good to press this point.

- I would point out the corporate vs individual nature of predestination/election (vs appear to throw baby out with bathwater...some vs all things are predestined).

- Well done, Pastor Enyart.

Now to the rest of the first post....
 

jeremiah

BANNED
Banned
On a scale of one to ten points per round, I have Lamerson at Seven and Enyart at Four.
At least the DR. gave a text or two that related to, "does God know your Entire Future". Bob seems to confuse the topic of this debate with Calvinism and its key component, the absolute Sovereignty of God.
Being neither a Calvinist nor an Open viewer, his attempt to set a different emphasis for the debate, did nothing for me, personally. Worst of all, it did not even pique my interest. I have been involved in many a debate with Calvinists. I am interested to see if either Dr. Lamerson or Bob Enyart can establish an acceptable Biblical case for whether or not, God does, or does not know, our entire future.
The Dr. at least held my interest with the direct challenges through the example of Peter, and Jesus precise prediction of his denial.
I definately deducted points for Bob only answering one of the four questions, and "coincidentally" the one that I thought was the least germane,
and least interesting.
I deduct the most points for Him trying to inform us that God is Living, loving, relational and Good as if that is somehow different then I, and I hope most of us who have been "born again", have always perceived our Saviour God.
I love Bob, but I expect his future posts will address the topic at hand, instead of addressing the Calvinists who major on God"s Sovereignty and accompanying impersonal emphasis. He is winning "that" debate and losing "this" one so far, IMHO 7to4.
 

godrulz

New member
Hall of Fame
Second half:

- It was good to see a clear definition of omniscience. I never did fully understand Clete's ideas based on Enyart (vs typical Open Theists).

I am content to say that omniscience means that God knows all that is knowable (logically). It is illogical to claim future free will contingencies can be known exhaustively (not developed yet). Enyart adds the unusual phrase that He knows all that is knowable that He wants to know. It seems to me that God knows the past and present exhaustively. As pointed out, forget does not mean amnesia. God forgets our sins in the sense that He choses to not bring them up again. It is not that we can recall them, but God cannot. Though Scripture is silent, I suppose God can focus on what He wants to when He wants to. However, He still inherently knows every knowable detail. The future is different than the past/present. It is unknowable because it is open, uncertain, unsettled. It is not fixed like the past. This is a consequence of the type of creation God chose (libertarian free moral agents vs determinism), not that He 'choses' to not know something available to His sphere of knowledge.

Most Open Theists would not add the last phrase in his definition. I am not certain how defensible it is, so hopefully Sam does not make a big issue out of it. In general, Bob's concept is good and defensible.

- The incarnation is a classic example that refutes strong immutability. The emphasis on the life of Jesus, God with a face, resonates with Sam's desire to focus on the revelation in Christ. Love, relationship, responsiveness, etc. is on the right track, but it does not have to be diametrically opposed to sovereignty (we just need to understand it properly).

- We should remind ourselves that there is a spectrum of views within any major theology. Hyper-Calvinism/sovereignty may not represent all Reformed views. We do not want to refute a straw man caricature anymore than we want Open Theism to be misrepresented. God's love and holiness is impartial. I would welcome more critique of TULIP, since it is related. However, Arminianism will also be in our sights with its view of simple foreknowledge (non-TULIP). Bob, do not just focus on Calvinism, but some of the weaknesses of Arminianism. Open Theism is truly an alternate view that we believe to be more biblical and less problematic.
 

ApologeticJedi

New member
What I liked about Dr. Lamerson’s first post.

Dr. Lamerson ran to his high ground. It is a good idea to ask to start with the gospels (though a bit naïve if he believes it will stay there) as that’s has some of the best artillery against the Open view, and there is only a small amount of artillery found there to be used against the Settled view.

Furthermore I thought he was aggressive, and liked that he didn’t waste too much time framing the debate (though a little more probably would have been better).

Problems with Dr. Lamerson’s first post.

By insisting so much that they stick to the Life of Jesus only, he built a battle he must win. If there is a draw on the issue of Jesus in the gospels it will not look good for his position. Furthermore, being so insistent gave some the impression he was fearful of the rest of Scriptures.

Also it didn’t give any clue as to what is to come from him. Very little was setup for what we can be expecting from him except that he will specialize in passages from the gospel to attack the Open position.

What I liked about Mr. Enyart’s first post.

Mr. Enyart also went on the offensive. He laid out how he could be expected to move the debate as an attack on “classical” Christian thinking and how it has been persuaded by pagan Greek theology. This hinted (though it could have been explained better) that it would eventually explain a better, unfiltered look at the question “Does God Know Your Entire Future?” As if, once pagan notions are thrown off, we will see the true answer to the question.

He gave relevance to the debate. Rather than a meaningless debate, Mr. Enyart proposed why it matters. I liked that.

It is a strong argument to point out that the Incarnation was not a non-event. It was definately a change that God humbled himself and "became flesh". Eventually to "become sin". It is difficult for protractor to seriously suggest that the Incarnation was just bussiness as usual.

Problems with Mr. Enyart’s first post.

Mr. Enyart did not respond to any of the points Dr. Lamerson raised. I noted two:
#1 - Matthew 8:6 “your Father knows what you need before you ask him”
#2 – Jesus predicting Peter’s thrice denial.

Furthermore, Mr. Enyart only answered one of the four questions (since his answer was so long perhaps we should be thankful he is “spreading them around”) put to him by Dr. Lamerson. While he promised to address them in the future, it causes the same cynicism of “running away” that Dr. Lamount’s insistence on sticking to the gospels did.
 
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Vaquero45

New member
Hall of Fame
I'll admit I'm an Enyart fan, so I guess I do have a dog in this fight, but hey, if Dr. Lamerson can show me my error, I'm not too proud to change.
Dr. Lamerson has brought up some of the best type of questions I can think of right off the bat to question the open position. The personal predictions about Peter (Pharoh, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, and others) are the best foreknowledge arguements to me, but I think I can predict how Bob will answer. The Matt 6:8 question is not tough in my mind. God knows what you "need". He might be surprised when you ask for a 10carat diamond nose ring, but the verse says "need". Only my take on it, could be wrong.
I heard Dr Lamerson on the show today. Whether I agree with him or not, I think he is a good guy and an asset to Christianity.

Bob's post was great. He didn't hit on Dr. Lamerson's points yet, but I think he set up his position very well, and can work off of what he established. I think he does a great job of shooting down the basic Calvinist ideas. Now to deal with specifics.

Should be a great debate. Thanks for setting it up.

Jeff
 

Frank Ernest

New member
Hall of Fame
THIS IS GREAT!

Even the style of the debaters contributes the the substance of the debate. First round is going to take some more study. I admit I don't really understand the argument. However, thanks to Dr. Sam and Pastor Bob, it's getting more clear.

Thanks and compliments to the participants and the one who set it all up.
 
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