JasonPratt wrote:Well, determinism has been discussed a lot here; some of us are more deterministic than others, and there are different degrees of the concept, just as there are different degrees of the concept of free will.
My own position on this isn't easy to summarize, but I develop it in Section Three of SttH, the links to each chapter of which can be found here on the forum.
Like C. S. Lewis, whom you quote in your sig, I'm not particularly deterministic. But I also accept Lewis' Boethian notion of transcendent omniscience (and omnipresence). It's important, when working in a supernaturalistic theism, not to accidentally go back to putting God's fundamental existence within the timestream of Nature; and that's what the idea of the future being 'locked' in or 'determined' by virtue of God's omniscience amounts to. In other words, because God foresees X, God must make X happen (or something superior to God must make X happen???) to ensure X.
Boethian omniscience of the sort accepted by Lewis (in Miracles: A Preliminary Study 2nd edition for example), doesn't negate the free will of the creature or reduce it to merely being a capability for behavior. God sees me freely acting (contributing active choices to the set of natural events) at points X, Y and Z, before, during, and after my present moment. (Of course I am also reacting and counterreacting automatically to stimuli beyond human counting at each point; I'm not free from being a natural creature, too.) From my perspective God 'looks ahead' to see what I will do, but God presently sees it all at once.
This does however make for some difficulties in communicating to us what is seen; and then sometimes God promises to bring about certain results, but He does so in view of what He can already see occurring thanks to the contributions of various rational creations along the timeline -- and in view of God's own contributions to the whole timeline up to and including (and after!) the point in question.
All of which is somewhat different than (but also related to) the question of how God can make room for even the limited, derivative freedom of creaturely rational action (and not merely creaturely capabilities). My solution to that ancient riddle involves the ongoing self-sacrifice of the self-existent, self-begotten God; following out some hints Lewis (and MacDonald before him) never quite worked out systematically. I was pleased to see that the results seem to mirror the very odd characteristics of quantum percolation and zero-point energy, though!
DaveB wrote:Daniel - first let me say that the CS Lewis quote is one of my favorites, I'm glad to be reminded of it.
I like your use of the teleological model for understanding the whole process of what used to be called Providence, if I understand the term correctly. We've also kicked around the idea of panentheism here on the forum, and though I am really drawn to that view, it is very difficult to actually formulate what it is, exactly.
The hard hard thing for me to swallow is what a number of forumites have stated, as you did, that God 'intended' evil. Teleology gives us kind of a 'workaround' that provides a kind of intellectual cushion when we are shocked by the very apparent violent evils, such as are happening with the ISIS atrocities, but it seems that the price of that cushion is to impute something bad to our good God.
I am struck again and again how the problem of evil tends to determine our theology. We take evil as the given, then decide what God 'must' be like - I'm not criticizing at all - I am in the same position. My 'ontological intuition' is that there is something wrong with that approach though I have not (yet) been able to grasp what that something is.
Ah, I don't have the answers. I'm going to stick with my first response to your OP, but I'm sticking out of stubbornness more than intellectual clarity.
Daniel (Da Pilgrim) wrote:I find it interesting that you seem to use a type of hypertemporalism (where God is presently involved in all events in time) in order to uphold libertarian freewill (correct me if I am wrong).
Daniel (Da Pilgrim) wrote:Personally, I cannot see how hypertemporalism enables Freewill. If God is currently experiencing 2004 at the same time as 2014, then the history between 2004 and 2014 must be set because God would be presently seeing the past decade in hindsight from 2014 even if He was involved also in 2004. If God can see all of time/history presently then I would humbly say that it has happened, or else all of time would not exist in any particular format and God would therefore not see "it".
Daniel (Da Pilgrim) wrote:I don't see how the uncertainty of the placement of electrons can support Freewill.
Daniel (Da Pilgrim) wrote:For me, I tend to think of God more like a panentheistic God (NOT pantheism). In that God envelops, supports, holds together and is within all creation.
Daniel (Da Pilgrim) wrote:I am not sure whether this in the form of hypertemporalism in that all time is happening at the same time - all creation not really having a beginning but is simply THERE... a reflection of God.
Daniel (Da Pilgrim) wrote:I am a social worker in training, so this probably has been influencing me lol. I don't tend to think of people as necessarily "freely choosing" with their "freewill" but more like people who have histories and very complex lives that lead them to where they are today.
If God exists outside of time and space, how does He act within time and space. And if he "sees" all events simultaneously, then how can he distinguish these events in a temporal sense? Or even be aware of a temporal sequence of events?
If God exists outside of time and space, how does He act within time and space?
And if [God] "sees" all events simultaneously, then how can he distinguish these events in a temporal sense? Or even be aware of a temporal sequence of events?
Some of the issues raised in the discussion in the earlier part of this thread reminded me of why I have issues with (at least some) notions of free will floating around out there. What is it that makes these guys so certain that God thinks our free will is as important as we do?
Fe4rG0d wrote:I'd like to raise a minor point God creating 'non-God' entities. Are you saying that God's creation of 'non-God' factors into His own 'space', somehow disrupts the reality of 'God' that would have otherwise been (i.e. what you consider to be the perfect active self-generation of God)? Therefore this can only happen if we lose some of the 'God-ness' of his independent reality?
Fe4rG0d wrote:Firstly, I don't think the distinction (between God's perfect active self-generation, and His existence alongside and in relationship to the non-God creation) makes any sense. If He exists in any personal way, with a character and a desire to express that character, wouldn't perfect self-generation necessarily include generation of all the necessarily attached extensions of 'self' (i.e. the expression, life, or 'being' of that self)? For God, I would argue that this includes His existence alongside and relating to temporal non-God entities. In other words, the 'self-sacrificing' aspect of God is not truly self-sacrificing in the sense most people expect, because it IS a part of the 'self' that God has been eternally generating. Using your EM analogy, I'm questioning whether it is most helpful to differentiate between the magnetic and electric components of a unified field, or to see them as one inseparable phenomenon.
Fe4rG0d wrote:This brings me to the second expression of my (minor) point, which relates well to Dan's original point - what do we really mean when we say 'non-God' when referring to creation? The way you were using it seems to require a particular definition, whereby it is impossible for God to be perfectly self-generating while maintaining such 'non-God' entities.
Fe4rG0d wrote:Regarding Free Will, it sounds like you might be sympathetic to the idea of Free Agency.
Fe4rG0d wrote:Although we really do make the choices, we never have the real ability to choose anything other than the best single option we perceive (subjectively) in any given context.
Fe4rG0d wrote:In other words, I DO think that the creation of non-God entities is an ontologically necessary characteristic of a personal soulish God like the one described in Scripture, if He were to actively self-exist.
Fe4rG0d wrote:The bottom line is that Free Agency maintains that, however difficult it is to predict or define, our decisions are entirely based upon elements of our soul and perception and context, which are all under God's deterministic control or intimate foreknowledge, making our choices entirely malleable in a deterministic way.
Are there any other hard determinists here? Personally I would find it hard to be a Universalist if I were not a determinist. I humbly think that it would be impossible to predict universalism if Freewill was involved. I mean, with Freewill we could change our minds from each moment to the next.
Fe4rG0d wrote:What I'm saying is that IF God is at all ontologically consistent, I think that His very existence must necessarily be true to the characteristics He has.
Paidion wrote:Are there any other hard determinists here? Personally I would find it hard to be a Universalist if I were not a determinist. I humbly think that it would be impossible to predict universalism if Freewill was involved. I mean, with Freewill we could change our minds from each moment to the next.
I am neither a determinist nor a compatibilist. I believe that normal people have libertarian free will. I also believe in the universal reconciliation of all people to God. I don't see why this would be "impossible to predict". It is true that free-will agents can and do change their minds. But there is also stability in free will agents, since their choices also crystallize their character.
God haters may carry their hatred throughout this short life of no more than 120 years. But God is love, and his love results in action. God will work to lead people to repentance and submission to Him in the after life, for He knows this will result in the greatest joy and mental health for everyone. Can the God-hater hold out in defiance of God's love in his rebellion forever? Maybe he can hold out for a million years or so. But can he hold out forever? If he can, then his hate must be stronger than God's love. This implies that he is the winner, and God the loser. I don't think so. God will never stop loving, but eventually every hater will repent and stop hating of their own free will.
Fe4rG0d wrote:Hi Jason, thanks for replying
I didn't mean to imply that you thought God's divinity was reduced by creating non-God entities, but merely 'changed' somehow to be no longer the 'perfect pure self-generation' of God.
Essentially I don't think this is the case. I DON'T think the EM analogy breaks down, because I DO think that E (A personal, soulish God) and M (the expression of that personal soulish God) DO necessarily co-exist.
In order for God to actively exist, He must not only self-generate, but He must be true to His own characteristics within that self-generation. For a more basic God, I agree, this is a fairly mute point. But for the God I see in Scripture (and the nature of reality), in order to be true to His characteristics I believe He MUST be expressing Himself through creating non-God entities.
Fe4rG0d wrote:Regarding Free Agency, my experience has been that most people are unwilling to let go of some semblance of 'randomness' to our decisions, or the (limited) ability to choose in a way that violates all the things our decisions are based upon. Free Agency denies this, so this is why I think Free Agency denies free will as most people understand it.
Fe4rG0d wrote:I think you misunderstand what I mean by 'the single best perceived option'. If you choose to act otherwise in your workout, for better or for worse, this is because you have perceived it to BE THE BEST option for you (however you define it in your current context and state of 'soulishness').
Fe4rG0d wrote:But Free Will per-se is not the element that He has chosen to protect.
DaveB, quoting MavPhil, quoting or reffing Simone Weil wrote:"The absolute good, existing absolutely (ab solus, a se), is absolute in its existence without prejudice to its being necessarily related to us in its goodness. If God is (agapic) love, then God necessarily bestows His love on any creatures there might be. It is not necessary that there be creatures, but it is necessary that God love the creatures that there are and that they find their final good in Him."
Daniel wrote:From the sounds of it, you don't seem to believe in free will, as in, you believe more in free agency.
Daniel wrote:However, even if God had no concept of past tense and was present at all times, at the same time; wouldn't that mean that "change" could never happen?
Fe4rG0d wrote:I'm always interested to hear how people think Free Will is superior to this kind of Free Agency. I personally have not yet seen why it would be required for e.g. love or responsibility or 'Image of God', or for God to be consistent with His own character, etc. You mention several times that you do think it is required. Can you describe why?
I'm not sure I would say (and didn't actually say) God has no concept of a past-tense, but His concept of it would be a concept of our concept of the natural past: He knows how we perceive the past.
Freewill can't be explained.
Paidion wrote:One could say that He is responsible for creating man with freewill. True, but that does not make Him the author of evil.
Fe4rG0d wrote: My initial gut instinct (obviously a very reliable guide LOL) is that Scripture and logical coherence favour absolute determinism more than this hybrid... But I'm intrigued.
I think the concept of God's 'responsibility' for evil, is an important thing to grapple with. Why is it that Christians feel they have to get God off the hook for being intimately involved in creating what we call 'evil'? I have yet to hear a reason that sticks under scrutiny. Would be keen to hear your thoughts.
Da Pilgrim wrote:If I have option A or B before me and I am not pushed towards one or the other, then I suppose this is the closest explanation of a truly free will.
However, with this complete freedom of choice, how could I ever chose A or B? I would merely be rolling a dice as to which one I would go with.
In fact I could not even choose A or B because I have an equal desire to choose both which then cancels each other out. This makes it impossible to make a choice.
Unless we believe that effects can have no causes.
Daniel (Da Pilgrim) wrote:Hi Chris, thanks for your contributions!
I understand the difficulties you raise in regards to the necessary acceptance of God creating evil within determinism. However, there is also a necessary acceptance of God becoming the author of evil under Freewill.
Da Pilgrim, you wrote:A determinist will ask further and ask what is it within us (or outside us) that caused us to chose A?
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