Foreknowledge Doesn’t Require Predestination

CERTAINTY VERSUS NECESSITY 

An event can be certainly known without necessarily being determined by the one who certainly knows. To suggest otherwise is a modal fallacy which conflates certainty with necessity. (William Lane Craig explains more here.) 

You and I may know for a certainty that I posted this very article at Soteriology101.com on September 17, 2017, but only one of us determined to do that. Knowledge of the event does not necessarily have a causal link to the determination of that event. 

But what about events known in the future by an omnipotent Creator? Are all events that God foreknows only foreknown because He Himself has determined them to come to pass, as many Calvinistic scholars imply in their argumentation? I do not believe so. Allow me to explain why. 

Consider this passage as just one of many examples:

“David knew that Saul was plotting harm against him. And he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod here.” Then David said, “O Lord, the God of Israel, your servant has surely heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city on my account. Will the men of Keilah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? O Lord, the God of Israel, please tell your servant.” And the Lord said, “He will come down.” Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?” And the Lord said, “They will surrender you.” Then David and his men, who were about six hundred, arose and departed from Keilah, and they went wherever they could go. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up the expedition.” -‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭23:9-13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The passage above proves that God foreknew of an expedition that did NOT come to pass, therefore demonstrating that exhaustive divine foreknowledge of all things does not equal exhaustive divine predetermination of all things. 

A Calvinist may rebut by saying, “But God also foreknew David would ask these questions and leave the city after being told Saul was coming.” 

I would respond by saying, “so what?” The fact is that God foreknew an event that did not come to pass. That is all that is needed to establish that foreknowledge doesn’t necessitate determinism. Plus, the point of our contention is not over whether or not God foreknew of David’s questions and his response, the real contention is over whether the knowledge itself necessitated or determined David’s choices. There is nothing logically or biblically to suggest that it did. After all, God foreknew of Saul’s expedition and that never came to pass. 

Biblical translator for Logos Bible Software and Phd in ancient near east languages, Dr. Michael S Heiser, teaches more on this point for those who are interested: CLICK HERE.

106 thoughts on “Foreknowledge Doesn’t Require Predestination

  1. Thank you for bringing up this subject Leighton… though I think you have opened up an opportunity for many to face a question that will expose, imo, their lack of logic in their understanding of omniscience and foreknowledge! 😉 How was certainty created in God’s mind of a future event before creation? And a related question, If God’s knowledge of a future event is certain, doesn’t His certainty guarantee the necessity of that event taking place, even if God didn’t create that certainty of it in His own mind before creation? Thanks.

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    1. Leighton brings up a helpful distinction between necessity versus certainty. Brian Wagner then introduces his false open theism beliefs thereby undermining what Leighton presents. We could invent a fallacy and refer to it as the Brian Wagner ignorance fallacy. The fallacy goes like this: you ask a question that the other person cannot answer, then since they cannot answer the question you wrongfully and illogically conclude that their position is wrong. It does not logically follow that since I cannot answer a question that that must mean my position is wrong. Note Wagner’s question: How was certainty created in God’s mind of a future event before creation?

      The ordinary and majority position among christians whether they are calvinists or non-calvinists is that the nature of God’s omniscience includes the reality that He knows all events including future events before thy occur (i.e. God has foreknowledge of future events). Note Wagner asks a HOW question: and that is just it, we affirm that God is omniscienct and has foreknowledge based upon scriptures that properly interpreted present this fact. But we do not know HOW God knows what He knows. We really do not know how it works. We affirm that He has this kind of knowledge but we do not know how it works in God’s mind. This is not troubling because no human person fully knows and understands the mind of God. Wagner is asking us how precisely does this work in God’s mind. And we cannot answer this question. Wagner then assumes that since we cannot answer this question, therefore we must be wrong that God is omniscient and foreknows all future events. I have said before that we do not even know how God knows present events let alone future events. God has no sense organs, so He does not see events as we do God has no brain or central nervous system. He does not need to rely on the testimony of others. And yet He knows all things. HOW? We do not know and I would submit that we cannot know as it is completely beyond us just as God is beyond us in many ways.

      If Wagner wants to speculate about how God knows he is free to do so, as is anyone else as long as they realize they are in the realm of speculation and opinion not fact. The facts we are given are those in scripture when properly interpreted. Those things we can know as facts. To quote Clint Eastwood’s “dirty Harry” character: ” a man’s got to know his limitations.”

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      1. I appreciate the principle taught by Roger Fisher and William L. Ury – experts on resolving problems and conflicts.
        Attack the problem – rather than the person.

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      2. Thank you Robert for showing me I should have been more precise in my questions. I was not looking for and explanation of how God’s mind works… though He adequately describes in Scriptures that He has made and continues to make determinations… which means His thoughts about the future are not settled on one competed future already.

        I was more interested in observing how determinists and compatibilists think that before creation God could logically have a certainty about a completed future created in His mind if He was not the creator of that certainty. Was humanity’s history an eternal part of His nature? Did it exist uncreated by God somehow but observed by Him? Did something else created that certain future in God’s mind?

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    2. brianwagner writes, “How was certainty created in God’s mind of a future event before creation?”

      God creates certainty in those things that He brings about. For example, God created the universe, the components of the universe, man and woman, etc. Under your system, God knew these not just as possibilities – we agree that God knows all possibilities – but as certainties because He was able to decide to do those things ahead of time. So, the extent to which God actively determines events is the source of certainty in those events. The disagreement you voice is with the timing of God’s decisions related to each event.

      Then, “And a related question, If God’s knowledge of a future event is certain, doesn’t His certainty guarantee the necessity of that event taking place, even if God didn’t create that certainty of it in His own mind before creation?”

      Yes. The distinction Dr. Flowers makes is that God’s knowledge of future events does not make them necessary. – God’s knowledge is not the cause of an event. Of course, God’s knowledge of what He will do is a knowledge of the causes and the determiners of events. In a deterministic world, prior events are the causes of events and God, being sovereign, is the final arbiter of all events.

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    3. Hi Brian,

      I wanted to point out a couple things. Historically, Calvinists have never affirmed that God’s foreknowledge consists only of that which is contingently actual. That would be silly. First, it suggests that God would have no prior knowledge of possibilities. However, the Reformers located God’s exhaustive knowledge of possibilities (e.g. counterfactuals, worlds, etc.) in His natural knowledge. In fact, this isn’t even distinguishable along Reformed lines alone. The Medievals, like Aquinas, made the same type of careful distinctions. Second, to think of God’s natural knowledge (containing His foreknowledge) as something that is posterior to actual, or free, knowledge is absolutely absurd. No one has done that insofar as I’m aware.

      I would have to conclude, on that basis, that your article either addresses some strange minority contemporary position within Calvinistic Christianity, or it misunderstands an orthodox and Reformed view of the knowledge of God and thus would be addressing a straw man.

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      1. Welcome Joshua, You are correct that Calvinists would never affirm God’s foreknowledge as being contingently actual. I’m sorry if you think I gave the impression that they did. Maybe you could point to the sentence I gave that led to that opinion so that I can fix it. I think I was just asking questions for greater understanding. The Calvinist arrives at foreknowledge from God making an eternal determination of all things that will happen. How any determination (within His supposed Natural Knowledge) can be made so that Foreknowledge results in His free knowledge and both His natural knowledge and foreknowledge still be called eternal and immutable is illogical to me?

        The Arminian arrives at settled foreknowledge by God somehow being shown (presumably in His natural knowledge) a scenario He likes and chooses, again producing foreknowledge that is also declared to be eternal and immutable by them. Who creates the scenario for God to see and choose is illogical to me, for no one else is around before creation except God.

        The Molinist, plays in the middle of these two… but all three end up with a settled foreknowledge in God’s mind before creation. Right?

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      2. Brian,

        Here is what led me to believe you were implying such:

        “Are all events that God foreknows only foreknown because He Himself has determined them to come to pass, as many Calvinistic scholars imply in their argumentation?”

        God’s foreknowledge does not rest upon His free knowledge, nor do the majority of Calvinists I know suggest such things (if they even know the categories in the first place).

        You also say:

        “The Calvinist arrives at foreknowledge from God making an eternal determination of all things that will happen.”

        Well, not exactly.

        “How any determination (within His supposed Natural Knowledge) can be made so that Foreknowledge results in His free knowledge and both His natural knowledge and foreknowledge still be called eternal and immutable is illogical to me?”

        Foreknowledge does not *result* in that which becomes actual. God’s eternal decree is made notwithstanding foreknown events and all possible contingencies. I think you’re failing to make a distinction between God’s decree and God’s knowledge. Here is some help:

        I. God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.
        II. Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions; yet has He not decreed anything because He foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions (WCF, 3.1, 2)

        And from another Reformed Confession:

        1._____ God hath decreed in himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably, all things, whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin nor hath fellowship with any therein; nor is violence offered to the will of the creature, nor yet is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established; in which appears his wisdom in disposing all things, and power and faithfulness in accomplishing his decree.
        ( Isaiah 46:10; Ephesians 1:11; Hebrews 6:17; Romans 9:15, 18; James 1:13; 1 John 1:5; Acts 4:27, 28; John 19:11; Numbers 23:19; Ephesians 1:3-5 )
        2._____ Although God knoweth whatsoever may or can come to pass, upon all supposed conditions, yet hath he not decreed anything, because he foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.
        ( Acts 15:18; Romans 9:11, 13, 16, 18 ) (LBCF, 1689, 3.1, 2)

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      3. Thank you, Joshua, for your response. I was assuming you held to foreknowledge as a result of God’s determination(s) based on His natural knowledge, and that foreknowledge becomes what is known as a part of His free knowledge. If not, please explain. Either way, I was asking how both His natural knowledge and foreknowledge could be eternal and immutable when a definite sequence is not only implied and but dogmatically defended as one before the other with a decree in-between?

        I have always understood the reformed position, especially from Charnock that foreknowledge is indeed the result of God’s decree, and that foreknowledge is not a part of His natural knowledge.

        The WCF is no help or authority to me. Like doctrinal statements throughout human history, they say things that are often contradictory to themselves and especially to Scripture. For example in these two statements that you shared, “ordain” doesn’t mean “author”, though every detail was written out in God’s mind as to how it would certainly happen before any other will of any other creature would be created to exercise itself in a so-called “free” way. That is too much contradiction with itself and the meaning of words for me to swallow.
        I did do a review of this exact section of the WCF on my academia.edu page if you’re interested.

        https://www.academia.edu/30599019/Individual_Election_Before_Creation_-_A_Doubtful_Thing It always surprises me how doctrinal statements, even in my own circles, throw in Scripture references that hardly support what the doctrinal statement purports is truth, or do not support at all with any references the most important premises in the statement. So much for Sola Scriptura.

        The Calvinist should have the decency to admit that even the idea of “ordain” should be identified as an anthropomorphic expression, for everything to them was eternally immutably set in God’s mind. So then there was never a moment when something was known to Him as “unordained” and then became known to Him as “ordained” because of a so-called free-will choice that never was made.

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      4. brianwagner writing to Joshua, “The Calvinist should have the decency to admit that even the idea of “ordain” should be identified as an anthropomorphic expression,…”

        Is there any reference to God that is not anthropomorphic? As the finite mind cannot comprehend the infinite, it can only refer to the infinite using finite concepts that it understands, thus anthropomorphic, not necessarily, “…for everything to them was eternally immutably set in God’s mind.” (Whatever that means in describing God.)

        Then, “So then there was never a moment when something was known to Him as “unordained” and then became known to Him as “ordained” because of a so-called free-will choice that never was made.”

        This may mean that we cannot separate that which is known by God from that which is decreed – that which God decrees, He knows and that which He knows, He decrees (Oh no! I’m sounding like Geisler).

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      5. If every man is a liar… I wouldn’t want to say every word in Scripture about God is anthropomorphic! Is every word about God in determinist literature anthropomorphic? So if the one contradicts the other… hmmm. And why should one even care to discuss the nature of God if nothing true can be said or known about it?

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      6. brianwagner writes, “I wouldn’t want to say every word in Scripture about God is anthropomorphic!”

        …about God…. Why not? Saying man is a liar describes man, not God.

        Then, ‘Is every word about God in determinist literature anthropomorphic?”

        I tend to think so. How else can humans describe God other than in human terms? Do you have specific examples – I can always allow exceptions to the rule.

        Then, “So if the one contradicts the other… hmmm.”

        Key word being, “if.” Regardless, the focus is on that which we read about God in the Scriptures.

        Then, “why should one even care to discuss the nature of God if nothing true can be said or known about it?”

        We discuss the nature of God because we are to meditate on and learn from everything in the Scriptures and the Scriptures are truth, but “…we see through a glass, darkly;…”

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      7. “I was assuming you held to foreknowledge as a result of God’s determination(s) based on His natural knowledge, and that foreknowledge becomes what is known as a part of His free knowledge.”

        What must be understood, so that we do not talk past one another, is that God’s knowledge occurs in a single act such that there is no progression or sequential steps therein (that is the orthodox position). Thus, no ectypal aspect of God’s knowledge *becomes* anything.

        “I was asking how both His natural knowledge and foreknowledge could be eternal and immutable when a definite sequence is not only implied and but dogmatically defended as one before the other with a decree in-between?”

        (1) Because we are talking about logical, not chronological, processions. (2) Because the distinctions and processions we speak of in God’s knowledge are not real. This is apophatically said, “God is not composed of parts.”

        “I have always understood the reformed position, especially from Charnock that foreknowledge is indeed the result of God’s decree, and that foreknowledge is not a part of His natural knowledge.”

        I think you have us confused. We say that the certainty of God’s free knowledge is based upon His decree. Perhaps that’s what you were thinking of? I mean, if we take foreknowledge in the strict etymological sense (knowledge before, or prior knowledge), then it can be said to be located in God’s natural knowledge since His natural knowledge is said to logically precede free knowledge. If we take it to mean God’s exhaustive knowledge of all future actuals, then it would be located in His free knowledge. However, these distinctions are not real since His knowledge occurs in a single act, ala. Geerhardus Vos.

        “The WCF is no help or authority to me.”

        Well, that’s beside the point since I was using it didactically. And you’re using Medieval categories, like the Reformers so often did, so I didn’t think you’d mind the quotation.

        “It always surprises me how doctrinal statements, even in my own circles, throw in Scripture references that hardly support what the doctrinal statement purports is truth, or do not support at all with any references the most important premises in the statement. So much for Sola Scriptura.”

        You do realize the Westminster divines were literally forced to input proof texts don’t you? I mean, the king wouldn’t have it any other way. That said, I’ve not found them to be especially inaccurate unless you overcommit to a historical-grammatical hermeneutic, which is rationalist behavior, not Christian.

        “The Calvinist should have the decency to admit that even the idea of “ordain” should be identified as an anthropomorphic expression, for everything to them was eternally immutably set in God’s mind. So then there was never a moment when something was known to Him as “unordained” and then became known to Him as “ordained” because of a so-called free-will choice that never was made.”

        I couldn’t agree more with this! 🙂 Best thing you’ve written so far. Properly speaking, God’s knowledge never sequentially moved from A to B. That would be preposterous to imagine from a Biblical, theological, and philosophical standpoint. Rather, His revelation is covenantal, that is, God “lisps” to His creatures in a way we can understand.

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      8. Thank you Joshua responding in a way that shows clearly where we differ.

        I reject that God’s reality is not sequential. I reject that His knowledge does not change in respect to decisions He has made before creation, and continues to make since. I reject that the biblical truth is not rationally based and that everything about God’s nature is analogical or anthropomorphic. I reject these things because of Sola Scriptura… and that the inspiration if it is not God “lisping”.

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      9. //I reject that God’s reality is not sequential. I reject that His knowledge does not change in respect to decisions He has made before creation, and continues to make since. I reject that the biblical truth is not rationally based and that everything about God’s nature is analogical or anthropomorphic. I reject these things because of Sola Scriptura… and that the inspiration if it is not God “lisping”.//

        So, God is moveable, or changeable. His knowledge changes (contrary to what the Bible says (Num. 23:19). We can know things quantitatively and qualitatively like God (this is the rationalism I’m talking about), humans are basically God at this point. You’d find more fellowship with Mormonism than you would with Christianity on this point. You reject these things because… sola scriptura (even though you think God’s knowledge is mutable and that God’s revelation is preceded by creaturely rationale). I think you *say* you’re sola scriptura (because that’s an attractive position for your audience), but you’re really not… I think you need a higher view of God, and a lower view of His creatures (I’m reminding myself as I remind you).

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      10. Joshua… One person of the Godhead “became flesh”, made in the likeness of men”, forever, and the other members didn’t. If that does not fit the defintion of “change”, then we are at an impasse to discuss things logically. Blessings.

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      11. //Joshua… One person of the Godhead “became flesh”, made in the likeness of men”, forever, and the other members didn’t. If that does not fit the defintion of “change”, then we are at an impasse to discuss things logically. Blessings.//

        Again, you’re missing important distinctions made by the historical church as a result of the biblical data. The Son never changed with respect to His divine nature….

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      12. Joshua, the historic RC denomination with its false sacramental gospel is no authority to run to for definitions. The Son took on, “became”, flesh, while also retaining ownership of His divine attributes, though lasting aside the use of some of them while in earth. The rest of the members of the Godhead did not do that!

        That is therefore a significant change in the nature and experience of the Godhead. One member has and does things the others don’t. To deny this change is to demonstrate a illogical loyalty to the word immutability.

        We say God is omnipotent… but we know that word cannot be defined to include that God has the power or ability to lie. We say He is omnipresent… but we know He does not exist in illogical “places” that do not exist like the past or the future. He is immutable in His character, in His truth, justice, and love… but we see that He is free and able to respond in unique ways in relationship to man.

        The Scripture defines these ideas for us… not man’s philosophy that then dogmatically attributes to itself the clarity of definition and says the Scriptures are only analogical or anthropomorphic.

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      13. “Joshua, the historic RC denomination with its false sacramental gospel is no authority to run to for definitions. The Son took on, “became”, flesh, while also retaining ownership of His divine attributes, though lasting aside the use of some of them while in earth. The rest of the members of the Godhead did not do that!”

        You’re committing the genetic fallacy. It does not follow that all Roman Catholic theologians are wrong about everything because they’re Roman Catholics.

        Again, you’re missing the distinction of ontological/economic Trinitarian language (Scripture itself gives us this) and you’ve departed from orthodoxy. Moreover, you’re not understanding the taxis of the Godhead either. Circumincession (perichoresis) matters.

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      14. Sorry, Joshua… Not a genetic fallacy… just pointing out your fallacy of appealing to an untrustworthy authority. If I pointed to the JW’s because they believe in a literal day creation or future earthly kingdom, would that hold water with you? The 300 bishops at Nicea professed a sacramental gospel, supposedly, according to Augustine. If they could not get the gospel right, they should not be looked to for authority on defining orthodoxy.

        And your opinion, without evidence, that I’m – “missing the distinction of ontological/economic Trinitarian language …departed from orthodoxy…. not understanding the taxis of the Godhead either… [nor understanding that] Circumincession (perichoresis) matters” just seems to be a false appeal to scholarly jargon to make your opinion sound correct to others reading our conversation.

        The Scripture evidence and reasoning I presented about the Godhead experiencing real change is sound. Others can read our conversation and make their own determinations. Thank you for the conversation. Take the last word in this thread, unless you have a question for me to clarify something I said from Scripture. Blessings.

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      15. //Sorry, Joshua… Not a genetic fallacy… just pointing out your fallacy of appealing to an untrustworthy authority. If I pointed to the JW’s because they believe in a literal day creation or future earthly kingdom, would that hold water with you? The 300 bishops at Nicea professed a sacramental gospel, supposedly, according to Augustine. If they could not get the gospel right, they should not be looked to for authority on defining orthodoxy.//

        Yes, it’s a genetic fallacy. Why do you keep looking like you have no idea what you’re talking about? Appealing to a historical source and an appeal to authority are two different things. Are you always this good at being sloppy?

        If JWs laid a doctrinal foundation that all contemporary Christians believe then yes. That would certainly “hold water,” and would demand attention from any intellectually honest person.

        You keep saying “sacramental” gospel. If you believe the Lord’s Supper and Baptism have been instituted by Jesus Christ, YOU believe in a sacramental gospel as well, in some sense. If you don’t believe that, you’re not a Christian. Do you also think the Nicene fathers were Roman Catholics? If so, you have no business writing anything about them… because you’re ignorant.

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      16. I probably should not respond but should assume that your questions were rhetorical, not seeking an answer because you are already convinced of one for each. 🙂

        But the fact that you said clearly that the early RC councils “laid a doctrinal foundation that all contemporary Christians believe” proves that you indeed were making an appeal to those sources as an authority. This contemporary Christian sees no such doctrinal foundation laid by them, but only by the apostles of Jesus in their Scriptures.

        And I will say that the Nicene “Fathers” all did believe, it appears, in the doctrine of sacramental baptismal regeneration. That is a false gospel. And since they saw their authority for their denominational doctrinal decisions as coming from the pontificus maximus – Roman emperor – to define the catholic church… then indeed their denomination was RC in 325AD.

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    4. Brian, I hope its ok for me to make a gentle suggestion concerning your dialogs with rhutchin.
      You both use the word “god” in your posts back and forth to one another.
      At some points it is obvious you mean “Calvin’s god” and not the god of scripture.
      rhutchin of course always wants to paint Calvin’s god as the god of scripture.

      This creates a point of confusion and conflation that is very subtle but since its there it makes your posts back and forth to each other lose some of the logical coherence and potency that they actually have for other SOT101 readers.
      And I believe this clearly does not work in your favor.

      In my dialog with Calvinists I am always careful to delineate between god and “Calvin’s god”.
      I am convinced this allows the SOT101 reader to get a clearer understanding of what I’m communicating.
      I always want them to clearly know I clearly discern – theirs is “Calvin’s god”

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      1. Br.D. I have thought about when it should be appropriate to use god instead of God when in discussion of theology with others. At this point, even though I believe Roger is misrepresenting the God of Scripture, I believe he believes he is fairly representing Him, much like a RC thinks he does in his polemics. So, for now I feel the most comfortable making that presumption that we are both talking about the same being enough not to conclude two different gods are in view.

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      2. br.d writes, ” I hope its ok for me to make a gentle suggestion concerning your dialogs with rhutchin.”

        Brian writes well, ably argues points using Scripture, and is straightforward in his criticism. I don’t see a problem in either one of us understanding the other.

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      3. rhutchin
        Brian writes well, ably argues points using Scripture, and is straightforward in his criticism. I don’t see a problem in either one of us understanding the other.

        br.d
        I always get a kick out of the high percentage of the time you completely miss the point.
        But my comments to Brian were not meant for you anyway – since I understand your tactics. 🙂

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  2. Very excellent Dr. Flowers!!!

    Dr. Heiser also has a Youtube video on predestination

    Heiser’s conclusion is that of A.W. Tozer – namely that God is big enough and wonderful enough to provide GENUINE alternative possibilities to his creatures – and his love is powerful enough to endow his creatures with the power to freely determine those alternatives – without determining what the creature will determine.
    And thus god does not have to create creatures in the image of a robot.

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  3. What you’ve missed is that God told David part of the truth, Saul’s intent, which caused David to respond as God had foreknown, and predetermined. God did not lie to David. David asked for the truth, and Davud got the truth.

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    1. I don’t see this as being consistent with the text.
      The text indicates god revealed a future contingent event: namely what Saul and his men would do – and not just Saul’s intent.
      Additionally, it makes little sense to interpret the text as David asking god for Saul’s intent – since Saul’s intent is fully known to David.
      What David is asking for are specific details concerning the future – else he would not have resorted to the priest and the ephod.

      The business of god withholding truth from people is a dangerous road to go down.
      What is entailed in that appeal is that it has god deceiving people with illusions.

      For example, god deceiving Adam into believing his obedience was a logical possibility when god knew that it wasn’t.
      Only what god decrees at the foundation of the world – can come to pass – and god obviously did not decree Adam’s obedience come to pass – else it would do so as Adam’s fate.

      One can argue that god decree Adam free to obey or disobey.
      But that argument, in fact, is a good example of deceiving people with half-truths.

      For in the determinism scheme god **MUST** have decreed Adam’s disobedience come to pass – else it could not come to pass.
      And god could not have decreed Adam’s obedience come to pass – else it would have.

      God **HAD** to make a decree concerning one of those two events – else neither could come to pass.
      It logically follows then that god **MUST** have decreed Adam’s disobedience come to pass.

      Then to say god decreed Adam free to obey is to say god decreed for Adam to be deceived by the illusion that his obedience could come to pass. Calvin would call this the -quote “secret predestination of god”.
      But that again displays its character as a system reliant upon half-truths.

      When one is sworn in to testify as a witness – one promises to tell the “Truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth”.
      That is apparently not something that exists within Calvinism.

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    2. Welcome Mark! How do you know that the knowledge of Saul’s intent “caused” David to pray to God to confirm that knowledge? Couldn’t that knowledge of Saul’s intent have just presented to David the free choice either to pray for confirmation as he did or to make his own decision as to what to do without praying?

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  4. Admin writes, “The fact is that God foreknew an event that did not come to pass. That is all that is needed to establish that foreknowledge doesn’t necessitate determinism. ”

    God foreknows all events that do come to pass and God foreknows all events that could come to pass but do not. God has an omniscient knowledge of that which comes to pass and that which does not come to pass. In the cited example, God knew that the men of Keilah would surrender David to Saul given the opportunity to do so. Even Dr. Flowers could have predicted that had he been there. The example proves than that God knows the hearts of men and that David was not a dummy.

    Then, “Plus, the point of our contention is not over whether or not God foreknew of David’s questions and his response, the real contention is over whether the knowledge itself necessitated or determined David’s choices. There is nothing logically or biblically to suggest that it did.”

    Once God told David what would happen if he stayed in Keilah, David then leaves. It seems to me that the information God gave to David actually did determine – people do make decisions based on the information available to them.

    Then, “God foreknew of Saul’s expedition and that never came to pass.”

    Should we think that God was ignorant of the final outcome in this situation?

    Here is the Calvinist position. God is omniscient and knows every event that will occur in the future. God’s omniscient knowledge makes all events certain but not necessary as Craig argues. Once God creates the universes, events cannot occur in any other way than as God knows them – Beginning at Genesis 1, history plays out according to God’s omniscient knowledge. However, God is omnipotent. Thus, God has the final say as to what occurs. Therefore, all events are determined by God because they must go through the filter of God’s omnipotence. Some events are caused directly by God (e.g., Noah’s flood) and some indirectly through secondary means (e.g., the stoning of Stephen). Isaiah 10 describes how God can use secondary means.

    So, a sovereign God who is omniscient and omnipotent necessarily determines all things. Even under Brian’s future whatever scheme, God still determines all things (because everything filters through Him) even if He does not decide all things in eternity past.

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    1. rhutchin writes:
      Even Dr. Flowers could have predicted that had he been there.
      The example proves than that God knows the hearts of men and that David was not a dummy.

      This is childish logic!!
      If Dr. Flowers, having been there, could have predicted the future of what would happen in Keilah, then David (who knew Saul personally) could have predicted it.

      In such case David wouldn’t have bothered to ask god – and scripture wouldn’t have reported it as the example it is.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. rhutchin writes
      “Here is the Calvinist position. God is omniscient and knows every event that will occur in the future.
      God’s omniscient knowledge makes all events certain but not necessary as Craig argues.”

      Here we go again playing the “omniscience” red herring AS-IF “omniscience” were causally relevant – which it isn’t.

      Dr. Flowers already anticipates the Calvinists move in this example.
      1) God caused (via predestination) David to ask about the future
      2) God knew he was going to cause (via predestination) David to leave Keilah
      3) God spoke faleshoods to David – misleading him to believe an illusion – that it was logically possible for him to stay – when god knew it was not – because he had secretly predestined the opposite.
      4) Thus god deceived David into believing he was making an indeterministic decision – when in fact he was just operating robotically.

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  5. Admin writes, “Are all events that God foreknows only foreknown because He Himself has determined them to come to pass, as many Calvinistic scholars imply in their argumentation?”

    Ernest Strauss had an interesting take on this on another issue. It is that we cannot logically separate that which God knows from that which God decrees – for God to know X is for God to decree X; they are the same. If God knows X, then necessarily God has also decreed X. This seems like Geisler’s argument about God knowingly determining and determitively knowing all things (in Chosen But Free)

    Your issue seems to be whether God causes X to come to pass if He decrees/knows X could come to pass – Can God know conditionally. In the cited passage, David says, “…Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city on my account.” Whether Saul would have destroyed the city to get David is unknown, but David thought it and the people of Keilah thought it. God knew that the people of Keilah would have given up David to save the city. Apparently, the people were telling David a different story – and why wouldn’t they; David was in their city and could easily have destroyed the city if he thought the people were against him. Had David remained in the city, Saul would have come and the people would have turned on David and given him to Saul. David then freely and wisely made the decision to leave.

    However, you err in your argument: “The fact is that God foreknew an event that did not come to pass. That is all that is needed to establish that foreknowledge doesn’t necessitate determinism.” God did not foreknow an event as coming to pass but as one that could come to pass under certain circumstances – Had David stayed in the city, Saul would have responded by coming to the city and would have threatened to destroy the city unless the people gave up David whereupon the people would have given up David. David’s decision to leave undercut all the conditions that would have prevailed had he remained in the city.

    You are asking this passage of Scripture to prove more than it is able. That God foreknew an event that event did not come to pass only proves that God had not determined that event to occur. God’s foreknowledge of these events was accurate, and that which transpired was exactly as known to God.

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  6. Br.D, you brought up Fischer and Ury very good authors on negotiating. You seemed to be suggesting that I was engaging in the ad hominem fallacy (i.e. atttack the person instead of their argument). I think you misunderstood my post. I was attacking an argument (the argument Wagner has repeatedly made, i.e. if we don’t know how God knows if we do not explain that, explain how his foreknowledge works that must mean that God is not capable of foreknowledge of all future events).

    Perhaps an analogy may make it clearer for you Br.D. Say that I have a Porshe a very fast car, but I don’t understand how the engine of my porshe works. So I assert that my Porshe is fast. Someone else comes along and asks HOW does your porshe supposedly go so fast? Since I don’t know how the porse engine works, I cannot answer that HOW question. This other person then suggests since you don’t know how it works, the porshe may not really be fast. This person is engaging in a logical fallacy, I may not know or understand or be capable of explaining HOW the porshe goes fast: but I may be perfectly rational in affirming that the car ***is*** fast. Similarly, I may not know or understand or be capable of explaining HOW is capable of foreknowledge of all future events. My “attacking” the other person’s argument that since I do not know how the porshe is fast it then follows that the porshe is not fast, is not at all an ad hominem argument.

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  7. One of the things this topic should highlight to the SOT101 reader – is that Calvinists historically reach for any possible word or term with which they can use in an equivocation.

    In the English language, a “Double entendre” is a way of framing select words within a sentence – in such a way that the sentence can be understood in two different ways – because the selected word can have two meanings. But this is usually done for humor, where there is not intent to deceive.

    An Equivocation on the other hand, follows the same sentence model, also using a select word/term that can have two meanings. However this is most often a strategic use of ambiguous language designed to trick the recipient via camouflaged language.

    The word “certain” can refer to “epistemic” certainty. As in god knows for certain that 2 x 2 = 4.

    It can also mean: “inevitable”, “inescapable”, “irresistible”, “unavoidable”. “doomed”, “compulsory”,”unalterable”, and “unpreventable”.

    The reader will recognize, all of these words carry a strong reference FATE.

    A trick that would allow one to avoid using the word FATE – would be to simply replace it with the word CERTAIN.
    In this way one evades the recognition of FATALISM within one’s argument – by camouflaging it behind a different word.

    Now the serpent was most subtle beast in the field. And the serpent says…………..
    Genesis 3:1

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  8. Let [FCDD] = “first-conceived/decreed/determined”
    Let [ACNC] = “antecedent-cause and necessary-condition”

    1) God foreknows events certain to come to pass, caused by his operation of [FCDD] action, which functions as the direct/indirect [ACNC] of those events coming to pass.
    2) God foreknows events certain to come to pass, with NO [FCDD] [ACNC] operation on his part.

    The Calvinist, remaining true to Theological Determinism, must affirm statement 1, and reject statement 2.

    However, the Calvinist faces logical entailments from his stance, which make Calvinism contain unbiblical or unethical components – and present the God of Calvinism as equally good/evil (i.e., undifferentiated good/evil).

    And compounding that problem, the preponderance of strategies which Calvinism evolves to deal with these logical/ethical conundrums, consistently resolve to some form of dishonesty, in which attempts are made to masquerade or obfuscate its entailments. And this dishonesty, is always manifest, in some form of beguiling double-talk.

    The issue revolves around Calvinism’s logical entailments, of God as evil/good.

    The discerning Christian is advised to look for Calvinism’s beguiling double-talk having the following patterns.
    1) Explicitly affirming statement 1, and then later Implicitly denying statement 1 for evil events.
    2) Explicitly rejecting statement 2, and then later Implicitly affirming statement 2 for evil events.
    3) The use of euphemistic language to camouflage/obfuscate the system’s evil conceptions.
    4) The use of euphemistic language to camouflage/obfuscate God’s necessary causal and concurrent role in evil events – painting a picture in which God is totally absent (Implicit denial of statement 1).
    5) An appeal to secondary causes – to camouflage/obfuscate God’s necessary causal and concurrent role within a causal-chain – necessary to bring about an evil event. (Implicit denial of statement 1).
    6) A highly evolved arsenal, of equivocal words and terms, specifically designed to mislead unsuspecting people into false conclusions, by manufactured facades, so that denials of statement 1 can masquerade as assertions, and affirmations of statement 2 can masquerade as denials – or the reverse.
    7) The strategical use of loaded-language, in which biblical/philosophical words and terms, which do not explicitly imply determinism, are loaded with deterministic meanings. These words and terms, with their loaded meanings are then strategically deployed in ad-hoc fashion – facilitating the affirmation of determinism in one argument and the denial of it in the next. The Calvinist can strategically switch back and forth between these two strategies while the unsuspecting recipient is totally unaware of being tricked within a web of double-talk.
    8) Masquerading predestined-human-choice as un-predestined, in order to blame the human for a choice, which can only come to pass as one single unique inevitable/unavoidable predestined choice.
    9) Masquerading “Particular” divine benevolence as “Universal”. (see What love is this?)
    10) Masquerading a deity within scripture, AS-IF he speaks (the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth), when it logically follows, he does not.

    It is an old joke: “God decided to make man in his image, and John Calvin decided to return the favor”

    When we understand that a man’s image of god will inherently reflect the characteristics of the man. And when we understand beguiling double-talk as an inherent characteristic of Calvinism. Then we can fully expect to find the image of the deity having that same characteristic. And in fact we do.

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    1. br.d writes, “2) God foreknows events certain to come to pass, with NO [FCDD] [ACNC] operation on his part.
      The Calvinist, remaining true to Theological Determinism, must…reject statement 2.”

      As God is the creator of all things, sustains all things, and works all things after the counsel of His will, nothing can occur that has NO [FCDD] [ACNC] operation on his part. To affirm (2) – NO [FCDD] [ACNC] operation – is to deny God.

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      1. br.d writes:
        Let [FCDD] = “first-conceived/decreed/determined”
        Let [ACNC] = “antecedent-cause and necessary-condition”

        1) God foreknows events certain to come to pass, caused by his operation of [FCDD] action, which functions as the direct/indirect [ACNC] of those events coming to pass.
        2) God foreknows events certain to come to pass, with NO [FCDD] [ACNC] operation on his part.
        The Calvinist, remaining true to Theological Determinism, must…reject statement 2.”

        rhutchin responds:
        Nothing can occur that has NO [FCDD] [ACNC] operation on God’s part.
        To affirm statement (2) …….is to deny God.

        Lets see how rhutchin’s assertion plays out through logical entailment:

        Adam’s disobedience occurred [FCDD] – “first-conceived/decreed/determined” by God.
        Adam’s disobedience occurred with God as the direct/indirect [ACNC] – “antecedent-cause and necessary-condition”
        Adam’s disobedience could not have occurred without these.
        Because nothing can occur without them, Adam’s choice is not the “necessary condition” for Adam’s disobedience – God’s [FCDD] and [ACNC] are.

        All evil occurs [FCDD] – “first-conceived/decreed/determined” by God.
        All evil occurs with God as the [ACNC] – “antecedent-cause and necessary-condition”
        No evil can occur without [FCDD] – “first-conceived/decreed/determined” by God.
        No evil can occur without God as the direct/indirect [ACNC] – “antecedent-cause and necessary-condition”

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      2. br.d writes, “Adam’s disobedience occurred with God as the direct/indirect [ACNC] – “antecedent-cause and necessary-condition”
        Adam’s disobedience could not have occurred without these.”

        Sure. If God had not created Adam…

        Then, “Because nothing can occur without them, Adam’s choice is not the “necessary condition” for Adam’s disobedience – God’s [FCDD] and [ACNC] are.”

        Adam’s choice was a necessary condition. Had Adam not chosen to eat the fruit,…

        Then, “All evil occurs [FCDD] – “first-conceived/decreed/determined” by God.”

        The term, “evil,” is an adjective describing disobedience to God. Without God saying, “Thou shalt not…” nothing could be called evil.

        Then, “All evil occurs with God as the [ACNC] – “antecedent-cause and necessary-condition””

        A proof of this statement is necessary – if more is meant than that God creates man and gives man commands to obey..

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  9. br.d writes, “Adam’s disobedience occurred with God as the direct/indirect [ACNC] – “antecedent-cause and necessary-condition”
    Adam’s disobedience could not have occurred without these.”

    rutching responds:
    Sure. If God had not created Adam…

    Here we have double-talk strategy #5 as listed above

    Then, “Because nothing can occur without them, Adam’s choice is not the “necessary condition” for Adam’s disobedience – God’s [FCDD] and [ACNC] are.”

    rutchin writes:
    Adam’s choice was a necessary condition. Had Adam not chosen to eat the fruit,…

    Here we have double-talk strategy #1 and #8 as listed above.
    Additionally this statement is false.
    Adam’s choice is the “sufficient condition” and not the “necessary condition”.
    Hence double-talk strategy #1

    Then, “All evil occurs [FCDD] – “first-conceived/decreed/determined” by God.”

    The term, “evil,” is an adjective describing disobedience to God. Without God saying, “Thou shalt not…” nothing could be called evil.

    irrelevant red herring

    Then, “All evil occurs with God as the [ACNC] – “antecedent-cause and necessary-condition””

    rhutchin writes:
    A proof of this statement is necessary – if more is meant than that God creates man and gives man commands to obey..

    However, rhutchin prior to this writes:
    **NOTHING** can occur that has NO [FCDD] [ACNC] operation on God’s part.
    So here we have another good example of double-talk strategy #1 as listed above.

    Great examples thanks rhutchin! 🙂

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  10. Reading in Ezekiel 4 today for my through the Bible….

    12 Prepare and eat this food as you would barley cakes. While all the people are watching, bake it over a fire using dried human dung as fuel and then eat the bread.” 13 Then the Lord said, “This is how Israel will eat defiled bread in the Gentile lands to which I will banish them!”

    14 Then I said, “O Sovereign Lord, must I be defiled by using human dung? For I have never been defiled before. From the time I was a child until now I have never eaten any animal that died of sickness or was killed by other animals. I have never eaten any meat forbidden by the law.”

    15 “All right,” the Lord said. “You may bake your bread with cow dung instead of human dung.”

    Is this God negotiating with man and changing His mind?

    Answer from Calvinists will no doubt start with….”What is says is not really what this passage is saying…”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Here’s what I read in my devotions this morning! –

      Exod 33:5 For the LORD had said to Moses, “Say to the children of Israel, ‘You [are] a stiff-necked people. I could come up into your midst in one moment and consume you. Now therefore, take off your ornaments, that I may know what to do to you.’”

      I don’t remember seeing it before my reading it this morning. It certainly is God clearly saying that His knowledge of a future decision is unsettled until He sees what man will do first! It confirms that not all was predetermined before creation and that God’s foreknowledge of the future is partly settled and partly to be settled by His free will decisions yet to be made.

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      1. brianwagner writes, “It certainly is God clearly saying that His knowledge of a future decision is unsettled until He sees what man will do first!”

        No, it isn’t. This is no different than God giving the law to Israel and telling them that obedience results in blessing and disobedience results in curses. Doesn’t God then tell Israel that they will certainly disobey Him? All it clearly yells us is that God clearly specifies the behavior He wants form us and then tells us the consequences. By this God proves so that even we know what to expect. There is nothing here to suggest that God does not know what will happen – even as God knew Judas would betray Jesus and Peter would deny Him three times; even telling them to their face what they would do.

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      2. So why did God not predict Israel’s reaction in this case as speak it out like He did about Peter’s denials? Why did He say “And I will know what to do to you? A couple popular translations even translate “know” as “decide” (NIV, HCSB).

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      3. brianwagner writes, “So why did God not predict Israel’s reaction…”

        Guess He didn’t want to. To argue that God could have done it this way or that way is a poor argument. It proves nothing other than to show that speculation runs rampant. Our basic attitude toward the Scriptures is that “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of [believers] is to search out a matter.” (Proverbs 25)

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      4. Concealing a matter is not deception! God spoke clearly that He would know (decide) what to do after seeing their response to His warning. I will take Him at His Word!

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      5. brianwagner writes, “God spoke clearly that He would know (decide) what to do after seeing their response to His warning.’”

        God said, “Now therefore, take off your ornaments, that I may know what to do to you.’” The NET Bible explains it thus, “The form is the cohortative with a vav (ו) following the imperative; it therefore expresses the purpose or result: “strip off…that I may know.” The call to remove the ornaments must have been perceived as a call to show true repentance for what had happened. If they repented, then God would know how to deal with them.”

        We do not have to understand that God does not already know what He will do. We know that obedience brings blessing and disobedience brings curses. Even Israel knows this. Thus, Israel is quick to obey so as to receive blessing. We might, by analogy, liken this to a sting operation wherein the police set before a criminal two options to take – break the law or obey the law. The punishment/reward is known; it is but for the criminal to decide which option to take that the police then know the manner in which they will respond. So, God already knows how He will respond. The real issue is whether God already knows how Israel will respond before the challenge. As God knows the thoughts of a person even before the person thinks the thoughts, there is no reason to think God does not know the outcome even as He gives the challenge.

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      6. In response to scripture in which God essentially says “Do X and then I will know what to do with you.”

        rhutchin writes:
        We do not have to understand that God does not already know what He will do.

        This is Calvinism talk in response to the psychological problems they face with their doctrine.
        Calvinists experience cognitive dissonance due to the contradictions scripture presents with their philosophy.
        To minimize this cognitive dissonance Calvinism teaches various instructions on HOW TO THINK.
        And a good percentage of that instruction is DOUBLE-THINK. 🙂

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      7. Haha… you were doing ok, Roger, right up until the last sentence. God doesn’t know thoughts that don’t exist. Does He know there are two moons circling the earth?

        Of course in a determinist’s world God authored the script of what everyone has to think before they think it. God certainly knew the choices He gave them to think about, and all the possible thoughts they could think, and He watched as they thought about them. And He could have even put thoughts directly into their head even making them think one way or another.

        But the verse clearly lets us know He was letting Israel know that they had to make up their own mind and then He would know what to do… judge or bless… but even within those two predetermined choices their where probably still more determinations of possible kinds of blessings or judgment still to be made.

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      8. brianwagner writes, “God doesn’t know thoughts that don’t exist.”

        I thought (Hee Hee!) that we had established that God knows all future possibilities and this would include potential thoughts that a person might have in different situations. The disagreement was whether God knew the actual thought that would manifest at any point in time. In this case, the choices are limited – take off the ornaments and not. We know from Psalm 33 that, “The counsel of the LORD stands forever, The plans of His heart from generation to generation.” Paul says that God works all things after the counsel of His will. We can conclude that this extends to the very thoughts that enter a person’s mind. God hardened Pharaoh certainly affecting certain thoughts that would not have prevailed otherwise. God is said to embolden people to action or put fear into their heart. So, God is an active player in controlling and manipulating the circumstances in which a person finds himself as well as how he will react – whether in fear or strength or submission or rebellion. It is not beyond God’s power to so limit the thoughts that enter a person’s mind that only one thought prevails. In Genesis 6, the thoughts of men were only evil continuously and never good. God could have opened the hearts of the people to think good things. Neither of us can demonstrate that God does or does not know the thoughts of people before they exist in the person’s mind. On this, you seem to agree stating “Of course in a determinist’s world…”

        Then, “…but even within those two predetermined choices their where probably still more determinations of possible kinds of blessings or judgment still to be made.”

        The key descriptor being “probably.” So, one can speculate.

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      9. Glad you agreed with me that God knows all possible thoughts and that He could give thoughts. But the Calvinist wants to extend the meaning of certain verses to prove determinism for all things, which cannot be proven from those verses (talk about speculation)… but they then must overturn the clear meaning of verses like Ex 33:5… where no speculating is possible. God clearly stated in that verse that His decision was still to be made… thus not eternally immutably predetermined .

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      10. brianwagner writes, “So why did God not predict Israel’s reaction…”

        rhutchin
        I Guess He didn’t want to.

        Conclusion – in the Calvinist interpretation/understanding of scripture god speaks with a forked-tongue.
        And that is why Calvinists language has the same reputation.

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      11. Thanks Brian,
        This verse would imply that God allows for future events to be contingent events, and that the contingency hinges upon what free will decisions (in a libertarian sense – in that they are can do otherwise) of his creatures. In this case, the future is not certain.

        And there are various positions on what that implies concerning divine foreknowledge. The Calvinist response asserts that god induces an illusion into the creature who is thus deceived with the false perception that the decision is “up to” the him/her. The Okhamist/Molinist response is that per a “backtracking counterfactual” god has perfect foreknowledge of future contingent events that he does not determine the outcome of. And with middleknowledge knows things he allows the creature to determine. And if I understand the open response, it will be that many future contingent events do not have truth-value to foreknow.

        Liked by 1 person

      12. That sums up the two views accurately… except the open view… at least my open view 😉… says tgere us a truth value for future contingents… it is the truth that they are contingents… and it is the truth they are not decided or certain.

        That truth value changes once one contingent for a possible future event becomes certain or determined and the other contingents for that event then become known truly as counterfactuals.

        The Molinist wants truth value for counterfactuals resulting from “freewill” decisions in a completed world chosen in God’s mind before creation… but it is contradictory to believe a freewill decision can be known as certain before that will is even created… to make that future decision certain before that “freewill” is even created logically requires determinism of some kind.

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      13. The Molinist wants truth value for counterfactuals resulting from “freewill” decisions in a completed world chosen in God’s mind before creation… but it is contradictory to believe a freewill decision can be known as certain before that will is even created… to make that future decision certain before that “freewill” is even created logically requires determinism of some kind.

        Hi Brian,
        I understand the contradiction to that proposition, but I don’t see that proposition enunciated or logically entailed in Molinism – unless I ‘m missing something. From what I understand, in Molinism, middleknowledge is “hypothetical” knowledge. Which would appear to have the same characteristics you just enunciated – that counterfactuals are not certain (where “certain” implys the closed-ness of the future) because a “hypothetical” does not exist as real, it cannot be certain.

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      14. Actually it may be true that Molinists do see some counterfactuals as having truth-value.

        Take the proposition:
        If the calendar indicates January 1st 2018 br.d will jump up and touch the moon.

        This would be normally be considered false – since it has the preponderance of impossibility.
        But preponderance of possibility/impossibility isn’t the same thing as absolute true/false

        Can you give an example of how the Molinist asserts a counterfactual as having an absolute truth-value?
        Thanks in advance :-]

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      15. Br.D. my limited understanding of Molinism is that once the most perfect future was logically chosen by God to bring it into existence… (could He have done otherwise… because the Molinist understanding of the word “perfect” is in agreement with Calvinism?)…they believe all counterfactuals are set in God’s mind as true counterfactuals… though supposedly (and illogically imo) they could have happened in a less perfect world that God didn’t choose. To the Molinist their truth value as a counterfactual is eternally set before creation.

        Counterfactuals in Molinism, imo, masquerade as once-upon-a-time having been true possibilities, but I argue that logically they never were true possibilities if God was locked into choosing a “perfect” world defined as having a completed future forever. Only open theism postulates the word “perfect” includes unsettled possibilities as true in God’s mind whose truth value can change from being a possibility to a factual event or to a counterfactual event in His mind.

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      16. Br.D. my limited understanding of Molinism is that once the most perfect future was logically chosen by God to bring it into existence

        Thanks Brian – but does that statement logically imply or entail that the future is (using Calvinist jargon) “rendered certain” where creatures are robbed of the ability to “do otherwise”? If Molinism is correct – in its assertion that “do otherwise” is not an illusion induced into creatures by god, but actually exists as real – then it follows that future events can be genuinely contingent upon the creature. And choices and desires in that case are “up to” the creature.

        I do however knowledge that Molinism has god determining circumstances in which he places people – not allowing people to determine those circumstances. And the Molinist (like the Calvinist) appeals to the “best possible world” argument to make that more palatable.

        But the difference between Molinism and Calvinism is – in Calvinism “do otherwise” is a god induced illusion. Consequently, a vital characteristic of Libertarian Free Will (namely “do otherwise”) is a god induced illusion, which consequences that part of creaturely responsibility predicated upon “do otherwise” is also an illusion.

        But those consequences do not follow from Molinism.
        So even though creatures cannot determine their circumstances, they and not god are the “determiner” of their own choices and desires. Thus their choices and desires are “up to” them. Where in Calvinism, god is the sole determining “determiner” in the universe, and thus choices and desires are not “up to” the creature – but up to god.

        Does that make sense?

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      17. From your question, BrD, I’m assuming that if I can find a quote from a Molinist like Craig where he admits the choice of the “perfect” world “rendered certain” and immutable the knowledge of all future free choices (so-called “free” imo since no will was yet created before the certainty of each choice of that will was attained) that you would then see the contradiction in Molinism. Am I right?

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      18. I haven’t found yet the exact words “rendered certain in God’s mind before creation” used by Craig, but having read some more of his stuff this morning from his site, I am convinced that is what he believes.

        Two links that I read that helped confirm my opinion of his Molinism are – https://www.reasonablefaith.org/media/reasonable-faith-podcast/does-god-really-know-what-ill-do-in-the-future/ and https://www.reasonablefaith.org/media/reasonable-faith-podcast/molinism-and-infallibility/

        And the more I read, the more I was convinced that he denies determinism, in one breath, but then affirms all the features of it in his explanation of Molinism in other places. For he will not change his view of omniscience which for him must include a certainty of knowledge of a completed future forever. He may not believe that God “rendered it certain” before creation… but it was “rendered certain” somehow in God’s mind and His foreknowledge is immutable from that point on because He chose a completed world to create.

        In fact… he even admits that God did not actually “choose” between possible words, for no such possible worlds actually exist in God’s mind from Craig’s perspective… but that is only an idea from the perspective of human logic he uses to explain Molinism, is how I read him.

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      19. Interesting!

        I see two statements (1) and (2) which seem to acknowledged counterfactuals as having truth-value, but not as “certain” (where “certain” means the closed-ness of the future).

        1) I would say that there are these true counterfactuals of creaturely freedom – that is to say, *TRUE* hypothetical statements in the subjunctive mood about how we would freely choose if we were in a set of circumstances. If those types of propositions are true or false then as an omniscient being God must know them.

        2)
        “If someone insists, But how is God omniscient? …..God just is essentially that way. He has just essentially the properties omnipotence, omniscience, moral perfection, eternity, and so forth. So I don’t see any reason to think that it is logically impossible for God to have an innate knowledge of these counterfactuals of creaturely freedom which would give him knowledge of how anyone would freely choose in any set of circumstances.”

        In Craig’s book “The Only Wise God – compatibility of divine foreknowledge and human freedom” Craig writes:
        “We have seen that both the past and the future are unchangeable, but that the past is causally closed.
        Whereas the future is causally open.”

        The fact is, because we are free [in the libertarian sense – to do otherwise] and God is omniscient, we do have the power to act in a different way, and were we to act in a different way, **The Past Would Have Been Different** – in that God’s beliefs would have been different.

        This statement from his book is traditionally attributed to William of Ockham and called “Backtracking Counterfactuals”. And both Dr. Craig and Dr. Plantinga embrace them as logical sound against the “closed-ness of the future” – as well as relying upon the hypothetical nature of middleknowledge.

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      20. BrD I still think you may still be missing the point. If Craig were asked if God’s omniscience of the future in this world that He actualized was complete and unchangeable in His mind before He actualized it… Craig would say yes. Craig just wants to believe that God actualized a world with free choices being made since knowledge of counterfactuals now exist in God’s mind (ie. what could have happened if He had actualized another world with free choices being made in it).

        You seem to me to give the impression that you want to believe God’s omniscience is becoming more complete concerning the future because somehow middle knowledge is still being exercised… But it is not still being exercised. It was exercised only once… before creation.

        You do agree that Craig believes the future forever is already complete in God’s mind, don’t you?

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      21. BrD I still think you may still be missing the point. If Craig were asked if God’s omniscience of the future in this world that He actualized was complete and unchangeable in His mind before He actualized it… Craig would say yes.

        On the question of Dr. Craig asserting that the future is “complete”.
        Yes, I believe his statement that I provided did use that terminology – both the past and the future are unchangeable, and God’s “essential” omniscience is such that he knows all future events – even future contingent events such as creaturely choices that are made having a libertarian form of freedom in which “do otherwise” exists as real.

        But he also states that that does not (as in determinism) “render certain” future free events as they would be if god determined them.
        Now we understand from Calvinism, that a person can attempt to evade something logically entailed in their system.
        So perhaps it is your observation that the “closedness of the future” is logically entailed in his thinking while he doesn’t?

        He clearly rejects the Determinist/Fatalist notion of the “closedness of the future” in his writings.
        If you’re analysis is that his system logically entails the “closedness of the future” I think you’ll have to show that to be the case.

        I certainly won’t say that Craig and Plantinga (who both hold the same position) can be mistaken and the “closedness of the future” is logically entailed in their system – and for some reason they don’t get it. But since we have two internationally recognized Christian Philosophers who have both made major contributions to this subject – I would be inclined to the probability they’ve scrutinized their position well.

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      22. BrD. What’s the difference between the future being “complete” / “unchangeable” and “closedness of the future”. You affirm the first for Craig but deny the later. But I am not seeing the difference in meaning. Thx ahead if time.

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      23. BrD.
        What’s the difference between the future being “complete” / “unchangeable” and “closedness of the future”. You affirm the first for Craig but deny the later. But I am not seeing the difference in meaning. Thx ahead if time.

        These are two things that are distinguished as different specifically by Craig, and I would assume also by Plantinga.

        To me, “closedness of the future” infers things occurring as inevitable + unavoidable, (as in determinism) and inevitable + unavoidable + necessary (as in fatalism). The opposite would be “openness of the future” for events such as the future free choices of creatures (in a libertarian sense in which “do otherwise” exists as real).

        I will attempt to put it into language that I would anticipate Craig would say:
        1) if Jones decides at 3PM on the 4th of July 2020 to mow his lawn, then god right now (or for the Boethian – “timelessly”) via divine omniscience knows the proposition “Jones mows his lawn at 3PM on the 4th of July 2020”.

        2) if Jones decides at 3PM on the 4th of July 2020 to NOT mow his lawn, then god right now (or for the Boethian – “timelessly”) via divine omniscience knows the proposition “Jones does NOT mow his lawn at 3PM on the 4th of July 2020”.

        3) Either way, Jones is the one who determines whether he will mow his law at 3PM on the 4th of July 2020 and god leaves this decision open to Jones and does not determine it for him. This then would be an example where the “closedness of the future” does not exist.

        4) Now it is the case that if (1) is true, then (2) will be false and vice-versa. Since only one can be true, then which ever one is true, god right now (or for the Boethian – “timelessly”) will know it as true.

        5) If (1) is true, then it is unchangeable and complete

        6) if (2) is true, then it is unchangeable and complete

        7) Whatever is true, (1) or (2), god will also know it is unchangeable and complete – even though he does not determine which one is true – but leaves it open for Jones to decide. So it is “open” in the sense that god does not determine what Jones will determine.

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      24. But BrD, God knew at 2:59 which decision would be made at 3pm. It was complete and unchangeable at 2:59. The retreat to “timeless” is no retreat unless you make timeless mean “after” and not “before”. I am amazed that you are not seeing what I am seeing… as I am sure you are probably amazed that I am not seeing what you are seeing.

        But it sounds like you want to believe the future is open and that omniscience is dependent on man’s free decisions, but you want also to believe that such is what Craig is teaching. I think clarity of Craig’s view for you will only happen if you get a chance to pose your views to him. If you want to hold on to your views, which seem very similar to mine, your loyalty to Craig will fade as you see what he really is teaching, imo.

        I thought the quotes I provided from him were clear enough. The world chosen before creation in God’s mind, according to Molinism is completed and unchangeable… therefore the future is indeed closed in the sense that God’s foreknowledge of it will never change for all the free choices were already played out completely in His mind including all His choices and man’s before that world was actualized. That is why it is completed and unchangeable and closed in His mind… though being played out in our created realm.

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      25. But BrD, God knew at 2:59 which decision would be made at 3pm. It was complete and unchangeable at 2:59.

        Yes this is what I stated in (5) and (6)

        Brian:
        The retreat to “timeless” is no retreat unless you make timeless mean “after” and not “before”. I am amazed that you are not seeing what I am seeing… as I am sure you are probably amazed that I am not seeing what you are seeing.

        This was actually not my retreat – I was hoping you would get that understanding when I wrote it as (or for the Boethian – “timelessly”)
        I agree with you the Boethian solution fails – but I was attempting to write the statement as it would be stated in a standard article by a Christian Philosopher.

        Brian:
        But it sounds like you want to believe the future is open and that omniscience is dependent on man’s free decisions, but you want also to believe that such is what Craig is teaching.

        yes that is correct – that is the way I understand it.

        Brian”
        I think clarity of Craig’s view for you will only happen if you get a chance to pose your views to him. If you want to hold on to your views, which seem very similar to mine, your loyalty to Craig will fade as you see what he really is teaching, imo.

        Well I guess my representation of what Dr. Craig and Plantinga write could be perceived as loyalty.
        And since I’m human and subject to those frailties it might be the case.
        But at this time, my perception of the issue is to see if there are any holes in their arguments – and/or refer to any Christian Philosopher who has the ability to clearly show where their logic is fails. But so far that doesn’t seem to be the case.
        And if I might “very gently” state, I’m a little disappointed at some of the “open” writers – especially Boyd.
        I read his contribution to “Four Views on Divine Providence” and I wasn’t very impressed with the soundness of his logic.
        To me, their writings seem to be heavy on claims and very light on logical evidence.
        That being said – I must also say I have a strong inclination to the “open” writers appeals to scripture.
        I agree that Calvinists force many square blocks of scripture through the round hole of determinism.
        Where the “open” believer takes these scriptures at face value – the Calvinist can’t.

        Brian:
        I thought the quotes I provided from him were clear enough. The world chosen before creation in God’s mind, according to Molinism is completed and unchangeable… therefore the future is indeed closed in the sense that God’s foreknowledge of it will never change for all the free choices were already played out completely in His mind including all His choices and man’s before that world was actualized. That is why it is completed and unchangeable and closed in His mind… though being played out in our created realm.

        “God’s foreknowledge of it will never change”?
        Perhaps this is the focal point of difference between us on our interpretation of backtracking counterfactuals?
        Where I perceive backtracking counterfactuals as not changing God’s foreknowledge – you seem to perceive they would.

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      26. ‘In Craig’s book “The Only Wise God – compatibility of divine foreknowledge and human freedom” Craig writes:
        “We have seen that both the past and the future are unchangeable, but that the past is causally closed.
        Whereas the future is causally open.””

        The context for Craig’s remark in limited to foreknowledge – the future is not caused by God’s foreknowledge. Had Craig expanded context to encompass all actions, then he would not have said that the future is causally open or even open – this because “both the past and the future are unchangeable.”

        Liked by 1 person

      27. rhutchin‘
        In Craig’s book “The Only Wise God – compatibility of divine foreknowledge and human freedom” Craig writes:
        “We have seen that both the past and the future are unchangeable, but that the past is causally closed.
        Whereas the future is causally open.””

        The context for Craig’s remark in limited to foreknowledge – the future is not caused by God’s foreknowledge.

        br.d
        Yes and your constant reference to omniscience is in fact simply an appeal to foreknowledge.
        The future not being caused by foreknowledge is elementary school and irrelevant and Dr. Craig is savvy enough to know that.

        rhutchin
        Had Craig expanded context to encompass ALL ACTIONS, then he would not have said that the future is causally open or even open – this because “both the past and the future are unchangeable.”

        br.d
        Again this is a Calvinist auto-magically assuming himself to be more intelligent and philosophically savvy than an internationally recognized Christian Philosopher who is said to have made a major contribution to this subject.
        Dr. Craig should have said [insert Calvinist statement here]
        This is consistent for you – and its easy to see you simply would like (in this case Dr. Craig) to say what you want them to say.

        If you have the ability to show where Dr. Craig’s logic fails – then publish a peer review article showing it. 😉

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      28. br.d writes, “The future not being caused by foreknowledge is elementary school and irrelevant and Dr. Craig is savvy enough to know that.”

        I think you now understand the context for Craig’s quote, “the future is causally open.

        Then, “…this is a Calvinist auto-magically assuming himself to be more intelligent and philosophically savvy than an internationally recognized Christian Philosopher…”

        Just taking Craig at his word.

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      29. br.d writes, “The future not being caused by foreknowledge is elementary school and irrelevant and Dr. Craig is savvy enough to know that.”

        rhutchin
        I think you now understand the context for Craig’s quote, “the future is causally open.

        br.d
        Understood it all along. :-]

        …this is a Calvinist auto-magically assuming himself to be more intelligent and philosophically savvy than an internationally recognized Christian Philosopher…”

        rhutchin
        Just taking Craig at his word.

        br.d
        And I suspect coming to a conclusion which Dr. Craig would not disagree with – but which you would like to say he does.
        That would be consistent for you. 😀

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    2. FOH writes, “Answer from Calvinists will no doubt start with….”What is says is not really what this passage is saying…””

      Nope. Calvinists accept the Scriptures for what they say. Disagreements are over definitions and context. This example is similar to God telling Abraham that He was going to destroy Sodom and having Abraham bargain with Him or with Moses over Israel or with Gideon over the fleece. Are we to think that God does not know the minds of people and the things they think? These are all examples to us that we might also appeal to God on certain issues. It also says, that God wants a relationship with us (incredible as that may seem) and that we should “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4). No one doubts what the Bible says. The issue is always the application to us today although some use such verses to minimize God.

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    3. yes, that is true.
      The Calvinist is follows the Platonic doctrine of divine immutability.

      -quote:
      “In Republic II (381b-c), Plato argued for the full DDI. (Doctrine of Divine Immutability)
      He asserted that a god is “the… best possible” in virtue and beauty.”

      Plotinus (204-270 AD) – the father of NeoPlatonism re-framed Plato’s doctrines into a religion.
      Augustine fell in love with the doctrines of Plotinus and synchronized them into Catholic doctrines.
      Calvin fell in love with Augustine – carried forward Augustine’s Gnostic-NeoPlatonic-Catholic framework info protestant doctrine.

      Any scripture which states that god repented or changed his mind must be interpreted to conform to the Platonic notion.
      These scriptures cannot be taken at face value – and hence require a special PRIEST to interpret them for you.

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      1. br.d writes, “The Calvinist is follows the Platonic doctrine of divine immutability.”

        This is a false statement. The Scriptures clearly make this point and Calvinism relies on the Scriptures for their doctrine. That pagans can also figure this out which shows how obvious God is even to pagans.

        Then, “Any scripture which states that god repented or changed his mind must be interpreted to conform to the Platonic notion.”

        The Scriptures are clear here too – God is not a man that He should repent meaning that God does not repent for the reasons a man would: because of bad decisions, wrong behavior, disobedience, etc.

        Then, “These scriptures cannot be taken at face value – and hence require a special PRIEST to interpret them for you.”

        Not according to Calvinism – sola scriptura. Of course, God appoints apostles, teachers, etc. to help the believe to grow. “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (I Corinthians 11)

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      2. br.d writes, “The Calvinist is follows the Platonic doctrine of divine immutability.”

        rhutchin:
        This is a false statement. The Scriptures clearly make this point and Calvinism relies on the Scriptures for their doctrine.

        br.d
        Calvinism is such a rich world of self-ingratiating Easy Make-Disbelieve-isms:
        All historical academic materials on Augustine agree:
        1) Augustine could not read the Greek manuscripts of scripture and was reliant upon a corrupt translation.
        2) Augustine’s doctrines were permeated with the doctrines of Plotinus – who re-formed the doctrines of Plato into a religion.
        3) The doctrine of divine immutability is first found in Plato’s Republic II 300 years before Christ.

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  11. Additional information on Theological Determinism:

    Very roughly Determinism is the claim that everything that happens is determined by antecedent conditions together with the natural laws. – Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy – Ted Honderich

    Theological determinism is a form of determinism which states that all events that happen are pre-ordained, or predestined to happen, by *A GOD*, or that they are destined to occur given its omniscience. – Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy – Leigh Vicens

    Theological determinism exists in a number of religions, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
    It is also supported by proponents of Classical pantheism such as the Stoics and Baruch Spinoza.

    IN STOIC THEOLOGICAL DETERMINISM – THERE CAN BE MULTIPLE GOD’S
    It is better to praise the GODS than to praise the conquests of Philip or Alexander – Seneca (NQ 3.5).
    The Stoics were members of a school of Hellenistic philosophy that flourished throughout the Roman and Greek world.
    The Stoics existed roughly from 300 B.C. to 200-300 A.D.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoicism

    The Stoics believed that the governing part of each human soul, the “hegemonikon”, is a fragment of the divine logos.
    The Stoic Epictetus who believed the determining THEOS was Zeus has Zeus saying “I have given you a part of myself, the power of impulse and repulsion, of desire and avoidance. In a word, the power of using impressions.” – (Epictetus, Discourses 1.17.27, trans. Dobbin 1998, 36)

    The Stoic Seneca believed the determining THEOS was Jupiter saying “Jupiter can be referred to by many names: fate, the cause of causes (causa causarum), providence, nature, universe.” – Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy – Seneca

    As a mater of fact, Swingli refers to Seneca as a example of predestination and divine providence. -quote “The most significant impact from which Seneca found in Zwingli’s all-encompassing doctrine of providence, of which predestination is a subcategory. Nothing, Swingli insists is done without the immediate care and power of the deity. – Encyclopedia of Protestantism Volume 4 – Hans J. Hillerbrand

    Here is what is obvious:
    1) Theological Determinism is a variant of Determinism with the single distinction that a THEOS is the determiner.
    2) Theological Determinism appears 300 years before Christ
    3) The conundrums concerning human free will within Theological Determinism appear also 300 years before Christ
    4) Theological Determinists can have one or more determining THEOS – who may be Zeus, Jupiter, or Yahweh
    5) Theological Determinists just like their non-Theological cousins have always attempted to escape its logical entailments because those entailments are inherent in Determinism.

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    1. A correction:

      1) Theological Determinism is a variant of Determinism with the single distinction that a THEOS (rather than physics or randomness) controls those antecedents sighted within the general thesis of Determinism.

      Epictetus can take comfort that Zeus predestines all things rather than physics or randomness.
      Seneca can take comfort that Jupiter predestines all things rather than physics or randomness.
      Calvinists can take comfort that Yahweh predestines all things rather than physics or randomness.

      But their all in the same belief boat together – riding down the river of Determinism – subject to its logical currents. 😀

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      1. BrD… would your agree that divine certainty of a future event confirms the necessity of that event taking place even if God in your thinking did not previously determine that event to take place in the future? If so… how did that certainty come about in God’s mind before creation for yhat event and every future event… even the events known as choices made by a human will.

        Craig wants to believe that such truth or certainty exists in God apart from His will. In other words He didn’t will to create that truth or certainty… it just somehow exists in His mind apart from His will. But Molinism also wants to propose some kind of choice by God to actualize a certain world where all His and man’s free choices are already made certain in His mind.

        Read again the last part carefully of the second article I linked. In my thinking, if Molinism has God’s will deciding on which world to make then God’s will is responsible for creating the certainty and truth of every thing that will be in that world. And if certain then necessary and if necessary then no free will choice events… but only theoretically for that human will would have chosen differently if God actualized a different world… but only differently one specific choice.

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      2. brianwagner to br.d writes, “And if certain then necessary and if necessary then no free will choice events… but only theoretically for that human will would have chosen differently if God actualized a different world… but only differently one specific choice.”

        The problem, as always, is defining the term, “free will.” If freedom of will exists where the choices people make reside within themselves – the fruit of the flesh is X but the fruit of the spirit is Y, etc., then the certainty imposed by God’s omniscience says only that the person will certainly and necessarily choose as he wills – thus, he has freedom of will. In this, the person can choose otherwise but will not choose against himself. The problem that those who seek the magical Libertarian Free Will is that it cannot be said to be exercised universally but only in a very few instances and even that is hard to demonstrate.

        Certainly, a salvation decision could not be described as an LFW decision because there are forces that act to determine one’s decision – as the parable of the Sower and the Seed indicate with the difference in the soils being the determining factor. Elsewhere, we see that Satan blinds those headed for destruction. In John 6, Jesus says, “No one can come to me…” reiterated by Paul in Romans 8. Thus, those who are not saved are determined so by factors outside their control.

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      3. If “will not choose” exists then “can choose” does not exist except in a your speculation… which activity usually does not sit well with you Roger. 😎

        And libertarian freewill is not hard to demonstrate as already shown in Ex 33:5… and supported by a word study in Scripture on the word “freewill”. The soils in the Sower’s parable are not determinative as seen in Jesus’ interpretation in Luke 8:12 that even the hard heart could still get saved.

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      4. brianwagner writes, “If “will not choose” exists then “can choose” does not exist except in a your speculation… ”

        No. Not when it occurs within the person. It means that integrity overrides temptation to steal or lie, etc. A person “can choose” between X or ~X or between X and Y. An internal set of values may rule out X. We know that God cannot lie (or sin). God still has a freedom of will. There is no speculation here. Even you have things that you could do but will not do because of your integrity – this is all part of your your freedom of will.

        Then, “And libertarian freewill is not hard to demonstrate as already shown in Ex 33:5… and supported by a word study in Scripture on the word “freewill”.

        That makes it the same “free will” espoused by the Calvinists – they decide/give freely; not under compulsion. Is it any different than that?

        Then, “The soils in the Sower’s parable are not determinative as seen in Jesus’ interpretation in Luke 8:12 that even the hard heart could still get saved. ”

        Obviously, the elements of a parable are constructed by Jesus to make a point. Thus, it is Jesus who determines the parable. Jesus does not explain how the soils come about – only that they represent spiritual realities. Luke 8 suggests that a person could be saved if only Satan did not steal the word from their heart. Then, Paul says that Satan blinds those who are perishing (i.e., who are in sin).. So, the person who perishes cannot take action on his sin because of Satan’s actions – he perished because he chose to sin but Satan determines that he can do nothing about his sin..

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      5. I’m not sure how, Roger, you continue to feel comfortable trying to defend what you must see, I’m assuming, is illogical, and then you try to ignore Scripture’s clear teaching as well.

        This would be my last thoughts for this thread, for I don’t want to encourage your motivation in defence of the contradictions sand weaknesses of Calvinism more than this.

        God cannot lie. Having the ability to communicate and having a will with a level of freedom consistent with His nature does not mean He freely expresses the truth… No… He cannot lie and He cannot freely choose not to lie. A person however given the light of Christ to enable them the opportunity of faith is able to freely choose to believe or not.

        It’s easy for you to declare that the Calvinist says that his free will is not under compulsion… but the premise of determinism and its meaning requires me to believe there is only compulsion and no freedom. The primary cause, God, has in their view made certain that either personally or through secondary causes another one’s will chooses only what was predetermined by the divine will. That’s compulsion.

        Jesus made the clear point that the hard soil could be saved if the seed stayed… and that is why we pray for hard hearts when they hear the Word… that the evil one will not take the seed… but that the Word can have the opportunity to do its work dividing thoughts and intents and giving further opportunity for influence of the Word to change that hard soil into good soil as the person humbles themselves and seeks further understanding.

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      6. brianwagner writes, “God cannot lie. Having the ability to communicate and having a will with a level of freedom consistent with His nature does not mean He freely expresses the truth… No… He cannot lie and He cannot freely choose not to lie.”

        Yet, God does freely express the truth – doesn’t He? God is not a man, so God cannot be tempted to lie nor does the thought of lying arise from His heart (metaphorically speaking). So, God cannot really choose not to lie, because that option never presents itself in God’s mind. It would seem then that God never really “chooses” to express truth, so we would not say that God “freely” expresses truth even though God is certainly free to express the truth – God expresses truth because His nature is to express truth and only truth.

        Then, “A person however given the light of Christ to enable them the opportunity of faith is able to freely choose to believe or not.”

        If it is true that a person has been “given the light of Christ to enable them the opportunity of faith,” and it is true that he “is able to freely choose to believe or not,” then that person will always freely choose to believe. If not, then he could not have been given the light of Christ or he was not enabled. In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul says that Satan blinds those who are perishing “that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.” The inference here is that seeing the light of the gospel leads to salvation.

        Then, “It’s easy for you to declare that the Calvinist says that his free will is not under compulsion… but the premise of determinism and its meaning requires me to believe there is only compulsion and no freedom.”

        The distinction made by the Calvinist is whether the compulsion comes from outside the person or from within. A person who has no faith is compelled to satisfy his fleshly desires because that is who he is. While compelled, we say that he does so freely. The evil heart of a man produces evil fruit – freely so. So, your point, “there is only compulsion and no freedom,” is true only because you require a person to be free from himself if he is to exercise true freedom of choice. However, no one is free from himself – so freedom of will cannot exist under the conditions you impose. The lengths that you, or any non-Calvinist, must go to establish freedom of will end up showing that the free will you seek cannot possibly exist meaning that the Calvinist has accurately understood the freedom that people have in the world God created.

        Then, “The primary cause, God, has in their view made certain that either personally or through secondary causes another one’s will chooses only what was predetermined by the divine will. That’s compulsion.”

        Predetermined – but caused, in some cases, through secondary means. The primary secondary means compelling a person to sin is his sinful nature and corrupt heart. He cannot escape who he is. OK, let’s agree that this is compulsion and there is no “true” free will. Under those conditions, can anyone ever express “true” free will?? I don’t see how, and I don’t think you, or any non-Calvinist can show how any other situation could exist such that a person could express “true” free will.

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      7. brianwagner writes, “Eph 1:18 – I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened.”

        Great verse! Let’s look at context, “In Christ, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,…having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you,…I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling,…”

        Those of whom Paul prays to be enlightened are believers – for a specific outcome: that they would come to know the “hope” of their calling. Your prior argument involved the enlightening of unbelievers to bring them to salvation. I see no help for your philosophy in Ephesians 1.

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      8. LOL!! Not at you, but at me. I always appeal for wisdom, personally, based on James (as we all do). Nonetheless, I appreciate your intervention on my behalf and God’s encouragement to us to do so for others.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. BrD… would your agree that divine certainty of a future event confirms the necessity of that event taking place even if God in your thinking did not previously determine that event to take place in the future?

        No I wouldn’t.
        As you know – Calvinist language is deceptive partly with a high use of selective terms that can be used equivocally.
        One of those terms is “certain”.

        There is “epistemic” certainty. For example god is certain that 2 x 3 = 6.
        Calvinsts use the term “certain” as a euphamism to mean “inevitable” and “unavoidable”.
        In other words they exchange the word “fate” with “certain” – giving “certain” the meaning “fate”.

        To your question, I would agree that divine “epistemic” certainty of a future event confirms the nothing more than divine knowledge.
        Creature free (libertarian) events are still open.
        But that does not entail that god cannot know what they will be.

        Brian
        If so… how did that certainty come about in God’s mind before creation for yhat event and every future event… even the events known as choices made by a human will.

        Are you getting the “backtracking counterfactuals”?
        It seems like you’re not taking that into consideration?

        Brian:
        Craig wants to believe that such truth or certainty exists in God apart from His will. In other words He didn’t will to create that truth or certainty… it just somehow exists in His mind apart from His will. But Molinism also wants to propose some kind of choice by God to actualize a certain world where all His and man’s free choices are already made certain in His mind.

        I still think the “backtracking counterfactuals” does not make this necessary.
        Are you sure you’ve given them consideration?

        Brian:
        Read again the last part carefully of the second article I linked. In my thinking, if Molinism has God’s will deciding on which world to make then God’s will is responsible for creating the certainty and truth of every thing that will be in that world.

        Boy Briian – I’m not sure how you come to that. Is it not possible for god to determine circumstances without determining creaturely choices?

        Brian:
        And if certain then necessary and if necessary then no free will choice events… but only theoretically for that human will would have chosen differently if God actualized a different world… but only differently one specific choice.

        The term “necessary” in this context is problematic – because in Theological Fatalism all things are “”inevitable” and “unavoidable” OF NECESSITY where in Theological Determinism all things are simply “inevitable” and “unavoidable”

        If you still feel I’m missing something, perhaps you can provide the specific sentence that you wanted me to re-read.
        But in the mean time, could you please consider “backtracking counterfactuals” and how that plays a role?

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      10. BrD… I’m not seeing “backtracking counterfactuals” as something Craig believes is essential to Molinism. Here is his description of how God came up with this competed world including the counterfactual components of it in His mind before creation. I don’t see any changes being possible in His foreknowledge from that point onward… so my next choice is not freely made in my thinking for I’m only theoretically able to do something else but God’s foreknowledge (if Calv or Armin or Molin is true) confirms i will indeed only do one certain thing. How it was made certain in God’s mind before creation, they all differ… but it was made certain… and that to me is the same result as determinism.

        Here’s what Craig said –
        <<What this objection fails to appreciate is that parallel to the logical sequence in God's knowledge–natural knowledge, middle knowledge, free knowledge–there is a logical sequence in the instantiation of the actual world as well. In the first logical moment of God's natural knowledge, all broadly logically necessary states of affairs already obtain. In the second logical moment of God's middle knowledge the actual world is even more fully instantiated than at the first moment. For now all those states of affairs corresponding to true counterfactuals of creaturely freedom obtain. For example, the state of affairs If Peter were in C, he would deny Jesus three times obtains. Then comes logically the divine decree to create, and God freely actualizes all remaining states of affairs of the actual world. In the third logical moment, God possesses free knowledge of the actual world, which is exemplified in all its fullness (tenselessly speaking). Only at this point can the actual world as such be said to obtain.

        And

        <<If God's beliefs are merely inerrant in the actual world, then that inerrancy warrants a special resolution of vagueness; if God is essentially omniscient, then no special resolution is required to justify backtracking counterfactuals, since no worlds exist in which God errs, so that the standard resolution suffices.
        From – https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/scholarly-writings/divine-omniscience/hasker-on-divine-knowledge/

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      11. Hi Brian,
        I should read this article closer and get myself thoroughly acquainted with it.

        But I do notice this about FOOTNOTE 37 where it is used for this statement”

        It is precisely to such backtracking counterfactuals that the defender of divine foreknowledge of future contingents appeals in rebutting theological fatalism, and he is careful to offer justification for their appropriateness there.

        I believe FOOTNOTE 37 is where Craig provides the delineation that the “defender of divine foreknowledge of future contingents” must be aware of to properly appeal to backtracking counterfactuals.

        In another place (I can’t remember where right now) I remember Craig saying that Molina embraced Ockham’s backtracking counterfactuals and also developed the theory of middleknowledge. Alvin Plantinga appeals to backtracking counterfactuals in his published work “On Ockham’s way out” – where Plantinga critiques Jonathon Edwards and shows where his arguments fail.

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      12. The appeal to btcf is only to combat fatalism, since they do not accept the authority of Scripture. But I believe the quote I provided from Craig shows that he actually does not believe in their use to support middle knowledge.

        Like

      13. br.d writes, (1) “Calvinists use the term “certain” as a euphamism to mean “inevitable” and “unavoidable”.
        (1) In other words they exchange the word “fate” with “certain” – giving “certain” the meaning “fate”.”

        The three terms, “certain,” “inevitable.” and “unavoidable” are synonyms and are used to define each other such that they mean the same thing. So, Calvinists cannot be faulted as you say in (1).

        Fate is a term used to explain events occurring in the absence of God – the explanation for the events is not attributed to God. Calvinists make God the basis for the certainty of events and not fate. There is no exchanging of certain for fate in Calvinism. At least, I have not run across it.

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      14. So rhutchins argument
        “Fate is a term used to explain events occurring in the absence of God”

        br.d
        This is yet another one of your elementary school errors in logic.

        Calvinists come in two stripes:
        1) Theological Determinism
        2) Theological Fatalism.

        What delineates Theological Fatalism from Natural Fatalism is the “determiner”.

        However, just as Theological Determinism is Determinism – so Theological Fatalism is Fatalism.
        Obviously Theological Fatalism is not Natural Fatalism.

        Like

      15. br.d responding to brianwagner writes, “Are you getting the “backtracking counterfactuals”?
        It seems like you’re not taking that into consideration?”

        The idea of “backtracking counterfactuals” is a little game people like Craig play in an attempt to explain how Molinism takes free will into account. It is where a person in the present explains free will by saying something like, “If John had done A, then God would have known that as truth, but if John had done ~A, God would have known that as truth.” They conveniently omit the part about God creating one unique universe. It goes something like this, “God considers all the possible worlds He could create. If John does A today, then God would have created that world in Genesis 1; if John does B today, then God would have created that world.” It is slight of hand to avoid the clear implications of Molinism that Brian has understood and pointed out. Br.d has no response to Brian’s points because there are none, so he resorts to a little slight of hand to explain how Molinism works to protect free will. Unfortunately, the appeal to “backtracking counterfactuals” is pretty lame.

        Liked by 1 person

      16. br.d responding to brianwagner writes, “Are you getting the “backtracking counterfactuals”?
        It seems like you’re not taking that into consideration?”

        rhutchin
        The idea of “backtracking counterfactuals” is A LITTLE GAME PEOPLE LIKE Craig [Dr. William Lane Craig] play in an attempt to explain how Molinism takes free will into account.

        br.d
        rhutchin if it weren’t’ so obvious your “wizard of oz” posturing is just exactly that – people might take you seriously!
        But since you don’t have the slightest understanding of what your talking about no one is worried. 😀

        Like

    2. br.d writes, ‘1) Theological Determinism is a variant of Determinism with the single distinction that a THEOS is the determiner.”

      You finally got it.

      Then, “2) Theological Determinism appears 300 years before Christ”

      Outside the Scriptures. It appears in the Scriptures beginning in Genesis 1.

      Like

      1. br.d
        Theological Determinism appears 300 years before Christ”

        rhutchin
        Outside the Scriptures. It appears in the Scriptures beginning in Genesis 1.

        William Lane Craig – Four Views on Divine Providence
        It needs to be kept in mind that Universal, Divine Causal Determinism is an INTERPRETATION of Scripture, an interpretation that some Reformed divines themselves regard as irreconcilable with other clear teachings of Scripture.

        Nonetheless, the Theological Determinist, is saddled with Determinism – whether he is an Epicurean a Stoic, or a Calvinist – he is saddled with the same characteristic incoherent logic, sophisms, and an author of evil deity who speaks with forked-tongue.

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  12. br.d writes,
    (1) “Calvinists use the term “certain” as a euphamism to mean “inevitable” and “unavoidable”.
    (1) In other words they exchange the word “fate” with “certain” – giving “certain” the meaning “fate”.”

    rhutchin:
    The three terms, “certain,” “inevitable.” and “unavoidable” are synonyms and are used to define each other such that they mean the same thing. So, Calvinists cannot be faulted as you say in (1).

    br.d
    Irrelevant red-herring
    1) There is a reason Calvinists avoid the words “inevitable” and “unavoidable” like the plague – they reveal a harshness of meaning that the Calvinist seeks to evade. Trying to make determinism masquerade as in-determinism. This is what a “euphemism” is.

    2) The word “certain” is used equivocally by Calvinists where they use it in statements to mean both “epistemic” certainty as well as “inevitability” and “unavailability”.

    A good example is where rhutchin quotes William Lane Craig’s use of the word “certain” where Craig means “epistemic” certainty and not “unavoidable” – “inevitable” but rhutchin interprets it as such.

    Like

  13. I messed that up!

    br.d
    And I suspect coming to a conclusion which Dr. Craig would not agree with – but which you would like to say he does.
    That would be consistent for you. 😀

    Typing too fast for my own good. :-]

    Like

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