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 Post subject: Re: Calvinism and Predestination
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 6:55 pm 
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theJack wrote:


I think the real problem people have is with that second proposition. Some try to weasel out of it by denying the first


Hold on there, I don't think that denying divine omniscience is 'weaseling' out of anything, as I understand it, denial of omniscience is what is known as 'open theology' which is a large and growing movement. I think it is an entirely logically defensible position. One that I think is rather difficult to refute on strictly logical grounds. I don't think it is 'weaseling' at all.

While I don't think that open theology is at all compatible with Catholicism, many leading evangelical theologians hold to it. Open theology not only resolves the 'divine omniscience and human free will' conflict, but it also provides a solution to the problem of evil. God cannot be held accountable for the existence of evil if he isn't aware of all evil due to limitations on his knowledge.

Another solution to the problem of evil is to hold to 'process theology' as taught by philosophers like Alfred North Whitehead and, as far as I understand them, by the Mormons. Process theology basically denies divine omniscience. And there are several prominent evangelical philosophers who hold to process theology, including Richard Swinburne.

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 Post subject: Re: Calvinism and Predestination
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:54 pm 
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Open theology is incompatible with the immutability of God. It's driven by people who reject any application of "Greek philosophy" to Christian theology, and then proceed to claim that God's simplicity, immutability, etc., are things from Greek philosophy and not properly Christian. You really, really do not want to go down the open theology road.

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 Post subject: Re: Calvinism and Predestination
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 8:39 pm 
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Do you really need any Greek Philosophy to know that God is omniscient?

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 Post subject: Re: Calvinism and Predestination
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:12 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Open theology is incompatible with the immutability of God. It's driven by people who reject any application of "Greek philosophy" to Christian theology, and then proceed to claim that God's simplicity, immutability, etc., are things from Greek philosophy and not properly Christian. You really, really do not want to go down the open theology road.



I AM NOT ADVOCATING OPEN THEOLOGY AND I MADE THAT PERFECTLY CLEAR

But when someone dismissively implies that an entirely respectable and defensible philosophical position is just stupid and ridiculous, I simply must object, just as I objected earlier to the claim that double predestination is 'the dumbest heresy ever.' You can't just dismiss an entire philosophical view just by saying that it's 'stupid', or to use the exact word 'weaseling', that won't fly. Open theology is defended by very serious and very intelligent thinkers, you can't just dismiss it with a wave of the hand. You have to actually substantively address the claims they make.

I am doing nothing but applying Doom's Law #1 which says 'if you are ever reading an author who is describing a view which he attributes to a third party, and the view is described in such a way that it seems transparently absurd or ridiculous, then the description is probably inaccurate.'

It is not true that it is impossible for a person to fairly describe the views of the people he disagrees with, but whenever you read a description that sounds absurd or stupid, bells should immediately go off in your head 'hey, wait a minute, the person he is attributing this view to is not a moron, so the view in question is probably not being presented accurately, because this person is probably not as stupid as he is being made out to be.'

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 Post subject: Re: Calvinism and Predestination
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:37 pm 
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I'm sorry; "open theology" is a trigger-phrase for me, and I should have read more carefully.

I don't think it's a defensible position. You can object to the word "weasel" if you like, but I am more-or-less in agreement with the idea that it doesn't hang together as a system.

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 Post subject: Re: Calvinism and Predestination
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 8:49 am 
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Sabbath wrote:
Do you really need any Greek Philosophy to know that God is omniscient?


I mean ... it's contrary to the Scriptures - but ultimately so is a denial of simplicity and all of these other things that some theologians try to deny because of their origins in Greek philosophy...

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 Post subject: Re: Calvinism and Predestination
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:21 am 
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What is contrary to the Scriptures?

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 Post subject: Re: Calvinism and Predestination
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:04 pm 
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A denial of omniscience is contrary to Scripture...

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 Post subject: Re: Calvinism and Predestination
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:10 pm 
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I read your post backwards originally too. Thanks for the fix.

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 Post subject: Re: Calvinism and Predestination
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:33 pm 
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theJack wrote:
flyingaway wrote:
If you are to believe the saints on how few make it to heaven, I guess most of us, according to the predestination folks, are predestined to Hell.. God made most of us to go to Hell

I hope you don't mind me picking on your language a little bit, but I think this is important. I think what you mean here is that according to the predestination folk, God made most of us knowing that we would end up in Hell. There are two distinct ideas (well, a lot more, but two directly relevant ones I notice) that should be clearly stated:

1. God knows the final destination of every human as a consequence of His omniscience; that is, to deny that God knows the final condition of every human would be to deny His omniscience and thus deity;
2. God chose to make people anyway even knowing that they would end up in Hell.

I think the real problem people have is with that second proposition. Some try to weasel out of it by denying the first, but that just isn't a realistic proposition. So what does it mean that God made someone even though He knew that they would go to Hell? One view is the double predestination view, that God made them "to go to Hell," where "to go to" means "in order to." But that is wrong. God did not make any person, much less most people, in order that that might go to Hell. So "to go to" must mean what I suggested earlier; that He chose to make them even though He knew where they would end up.

So the question becomes, how do we cope with the fact that God decided it was worth making people that would suffer for all eternity? I personally think the "a few, some, many, or most" debate--i.e., how many people actually do end up in Hell--is rather pointless. One person, two people, two thousand, two million, two billion? More? The question isn't whether it's okay for some people to suffer forever or if it's okay for most people to suffer forever. The question is about whether or not it is okay for people, in general, to suffer forever, and in what sense God can create that world and still be good.

In any case, there is a lot more that could be said in terms of answering that question. I won't try to say it all here. I'll only say that it's worth your reflection that God has, apparently, decided that it is good to create just such a world; and yes, it is a hard truth, but it's just that sort of truth that challenges us to see God at least a little bit more like He sees Himself that we are by nature inclined to see Him.

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But of course we know that God is not willing that any perish. Humans send themselves to hell because they refuse to do what Jesus commanded, would rather do their own thing

This is another bit of language I don't really like -- this notion of people sending themselves to Hell. Look, let's not try to get God off the hook here. As if God were powerless before our omnipotent choice, that God is begging for us to just let Him help us, as if He is unable to save us until we give Him permission. I know there is some real value in some of the imagery of sending ourselves to Hell, of the gates of Hell being locked from the inside, and so on. But the fact remains that God is the Judge. God is the one who destroys the soul in fire and therefore the One we should fear. God sends us there by His sovereign choice. Yes, we deserve it. But He doesn't condemn some who deserve it (i.e., those whom He saves). So while meriting Hell is part of what God is saying, it has to be more than that. Anyway, as before, much more could be said, but I think my point's been made for whatever it is or isn't worth.

TheJack you said "Yes, we deserve it". How do we "deserve it" when we didn't ask to be created the way we are? We didn't choose to be created.


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 Post subject: Re: Calvinism and Predestination
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 12:49 am 
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My nine year old daughter lied about her computer use last month. She lost computer privileges for a few weeks. She did not ask to be born. She definitely deserved her punishment.

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 Post subject: Re: Calvinism and Predestination
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 8:36 am 
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theJack wrote:
She lost computer privileges for a few weeks.

You're a monster! :shock:

I assume that was basically her response, except she probably meant it.

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 Post subject: Re: Calvinism and Predestination
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:02 pm 
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theJack wrote:
My nine year old daughter lied about her computer use last month. She lost computer privileges for a few weeks. She did not ask to be born. She definitely deserved her punishment.

Okay, help me understand this. You believe that your nine-year-old daughter definitely deserved her punishment because she lied about her computer use last month, and the punishment was reasonable and appropriate for what she did.

Do you believe that your daughter deserves eternal punishment? If so, what has your daughter done to deserve to "suffer forever"?


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 Post subject: Re: Calvinism and Predestination
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:11 pm 
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What have you done to deserve to live forever? What can you, or anyone, possibly do in 70-80, maybe 100 years, to deserve eternal reward?

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 Post subject: Re: Calvinism and Predestination
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:55 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
What have you done to deserve to live forever? What can you, or anyone, possibly do in 70-80, maybe 100 years, to deserve eternal reward?


That's not really answering her question, it's sidestepping, because the alternative to eternal reward is eternal punishment/suffering, not much of a conselation prize...

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 Post subject: Re: Calvinism and Predestination
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:59 pm 
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Denise Dee wrote:
theJack wrote:
My nine year old daughter lied about her computer use last month. She lost computer privileges for a few weeks. She did not ask to be born. She definitely deserved her punishment.

Okay, help me understand this. You believe that your nine-year-old daughter definitely deserved her punishment because she lied about her computer use last month, and the punishment was reasonable and appropriate for what she did.

Do you believe that your daughter deserves eternal punishment? If so, what has your daughter done to deserve to "suffer forever"?

In addition to Obi's question--and I think it is important, because the idea that we ought to live forever, that we ought not to die, that we ought not to suffer, suggests some important background ideas I think worth exploring --

but in addition to his question and to directly answer your own: as a matter of fact, yes, I do think she deserved death and to "suffer forever." She sinned. She lied, and a lie is sin. Ignoring for the sake of simplicity the distinction between mortal and venial sins, the general principle is that sin corrupts our very humanity. In my own theology, we go to hell less for what we do than for what we are, and when I sin, no matter how small, I corrupt myself. I am in a real sense less human than I was before the sin. I certainly don't deserve the grace of seeing God or to enjoy happiness, be it natural or supernatural, for all of ever.

So yes, she sinned and so deserves, that is she merits or has earned, the results of that sin. In this life, she deserves the loss of her computer privileges. But I can't do anything about the much deeper wound to her soul. That's a work for God (and the Church) to address, and if not addressed in this life, all that remains is suffering. If she dies without Christ, then there is no way that wound can be healed--she can't be raised in Him and in His image if she doesn't know Him--and then so she is left to suffer the consequences of that action forever. Now repeat that process and those "little" sins for a lifetime, and you build up quite a bit of corruption you get to reap in that final state.

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 Post subject: Re: Calvinism and Predestination
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:36 pm 
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Sabbath wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
What have you done to deserve to live forever? What can you, or anyone, possibly do in 70-80, maybe 100 years, to deserve eternal reward?


That's not really answering her question, it's sidestepping, because the alternative to eternal reward is eternal punishment/suffering, not much of a conselation prize...

It's a challenge to one of the assumptions underlying the question.

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 Post subject: Re: Calvinism and Predestination
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:06 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Sabbath wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
What have you done to deserve to live forever? What can you, or anyone, possibly do in 70-80, maybe 100 years, to deserve eternal reward?


That's not really answering her question, it's sidestepping, because the alternative to eternal reward is eternal punishment/suffering, not much of a conselation prize...

It's a challenge to one of the assumptions underlying the question.

I don't think I could ever do anything to deserve eternal reward. So what's your point?


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 Post subject: Re: Calvinism and Predestination
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:47 pm 
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That what gets us into Heaven is the grace given to us by Jesus Christ, and what sends us to Hell is rejecting it--not any deed in and of itself, but what a deed does to our relationship to Christ.

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 Post subject: Re: Calvinism and Predestination
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:06 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
That what gets us into Heaven is the grace given to us by Jesus Christ, and what sends us to Hell is rejecting it--not any deed in and of itself, but what a deed does to our relationship to Christ.

But rejecting the grace that gets us into heaven doesn't mean that you deserve eternal punishment.


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