Divine Foreknowledge: Circumstances, Possibilities, Volitional Options and Truth

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Benjamin, May 30, 2012.

  1. Benjamin

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    Concerning what God knows as true, and on a side concerning another of His attributes that He cannot lie, and this relating to that some options must exist that allow for the freedom of man to change the possibilities that exist at a certain point within time and thereby bringing CCF’s into the picture. ;)

    Sigh… Okay, Humblethinker, (just kidding) I have dug into my old Molinism files to give you something more to think about in regards to your view:

    Exhibit A:

    The sovereignty doctrine of Calvinism demands that God must have predetermined everything before it will happen and totally deny man having any free will to alter the future as not a possible sovereign decision of God presumably because of lack of control even when such equates to that one must be in agreement with that if God is responsible for all happenings, regardless of any difficulties associated with such a doctrine, as they relate to evil.

    Also God would have to foreknow all things in advance being responsible for predestinating them. I would suggest God may/must have a greater knowledge than man’s simple understanding of foreknowledge to allow for things to happen freely but yet He can know what the future will bring and still be able to interact with His creatures to conform them to His will as He pleases; can He not be sovereign in this way?

    In fact, God does allow within His control for man to freely make choices and is able to have knowledge greater than our understanding to both know the future and yet allow it to change in truth while allowing the future to be undetermined as He pleases.

    The following scripture is a good example that God has allowed man to make a change in his own destiny freely and although within His will and sovereign ability to control He forgoes foreknowledge and predestination to serve His purpose. Man’s ability of free will is seen while God communicates to David the truth as far as what has been determined up to the point before Saul comes down, but David changes the circumstances, not God. If God had the circumstances predetermined then one would have to conclude God lied to David, I think not. God instructed David in the truth within the circumstances at hand and David chose of his own free will to change them.

    Note: David inquired of the Lord and received clear truthful instructions within the circumstances that existed at the time that he asked. Later David changed the unfavorable circumstances of his own free will because of the information God gave to him, in truth, and this shows David had a choice and freedom to change the possibilities.


    (1Sa 23:1) Then they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines fight against Keilah, and they rob the threshingfloors.

    (1Sa 23:2) Therefore David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the LORD said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah.

    (1Sa 23:3) And David's men said unto him, Behold, we be afraid here in Judah: how much more then if we come to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?

    (1Sa 23:4) Then David inquired of the LORD yet again. And the LORD answered him and said, Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into thine hand.

    (1Sa 23:5) So David and his men went to Keilah, and fought with the Philistines, and brought away their cattle, and smote them with a great slaughter. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.

    (1Sa 23:6) And it came to pass, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David to Keilah, that he came down with an ephod in his hand.

    (1Sa 23:7) And it was told Saul that David was come to Keilah. And Saul said, God hath delivered him into mine hand; for he is shut in, by entering into a town that hath gates and bars.

    (1Sa 23:8) And Saul called all the people together to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men.

    (1Sa 23:9) And David knew that Saul secretly practiced mischief against him; and he said to Abiathar the priest, Bring hither the ephod.

    (1Sa 23:10) Then said David, O LORD God of Israel, thy servant hath certainly heard that Saul seeketh to come to Keilah, to destroy the city for my sake.

    (1Sa 23:11) Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as thy servant hath heard? O LORD God of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant. And the LORD said, He will come down.

    (1Sa 23:12) Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul? And the LORD said, They will deliver thee up.

    (1Sa 23:13) Then David and his men, which were about six hundred, arose and departed out of Keilah, and went whithersoever they could go. And it was told Saul that David was escaped from Keilah; and he forbore to go forth.

    (1Sa 23:14) And David abode in the wilderness in strongholds, and remained in a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand.

    Continued:
     
  2. Benjamin

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    (1Sa 23:15) And David saw that Saul was come out to seek his life: and David was in the wilderness of Ziph in a wood.

    (1Sa 23:16) And Jonathan Saul's son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.

    (1Sa 23:17) And he said unto him, Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth.

    (1Sa 23:18) And they two made a covenant before the LORD: and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house.

    (1Sa 23:19) Then came up the Ziphites to Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself with us in strongholds in the wood, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of Jeshimon?

    (1Sa 23:20) Now therefore, O king, come down according to all the desire of thy soul to come down; and our part shall be to deliver him into the king's hand.

    (1Sa 23:21) And Saul said, Blessed be ye of the LORD; for ye have compassion on me.

    (1Sa 23:22) Go, I pray you, prepare yet, and know and see his place where his haunt is, and who hath seen him there: for it is told me that he dealeth very subtlely.

    (1Sa 23:23) See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking places where he hideth himself, and come ye again to me with the certainty, and I will go with you: and it shall come to pass, if he be in the land, that I will search him out throughout all the thousands of Judah.

    (1Sa 23:24) And they arose, and went to Ziph before Saul: but David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the plain on the south of Jeshimon.

    (1Sa 23:25) Saul also and his men went to seek him. And they told David: wherefore he came down into a rock, and abode in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard that, he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon.

    (1Sa 23:26) And Saul went on this side of the mountain, and David and his men on that side of the mountain: and David made haste to get away for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men compassed David and his men round about to take them.

    (1Sa 23:27) But there came a messenger unto Saul, saying, Haste thee, and come; for the Philistines have invaded the land.

    (1Sa 23:28) Wherefore Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines: therefore they called that place Sela-hammahlekoth.

    (1Sa 23:29) And David went up from thence, and dwelt in strongholds at En-gedi.


    In a way there’s a simple answer to those who hold to a strict doctrine of predeterminiation on the grounds of foreknowledge as this shows more depth to the foreknowledge of God than they are willing to allow because the conclusion disputes their entire philosophical system. Most objections to middle-knowledge are not Biblical, but philosophical. You don’t answer philosophical objections with Biblical arguments usually.


    But of course the idea that Scripture has nothing to say about middle-knowledge is just not true. There are several places in Scripture which demonstrate God's counterfactual knowledge. The most famous being 1 Samuel 23. By reading that passage, we see what God said and what actually happened.
     
    #2 Benjamin, May 30, 2012
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  3. humblethinker

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    Benjamin, I believe the 'great watershed divide' for Christians is between the ideas of creaturely free will -vs- meticulous providence over creatures. That is, 'What kind of world did God create?' So, that being the case, I am generally sympathetic to various views on the 'free will' side: Simple Foreknowledge, Open Theism, and Molinism (not Process Theism though... maybe this can be talked about in another thread... I don't think there are any PT's on the board to represent). In my quote above, I used the term 'classical arminian', while still hitting the mark, I meant it in the sense of 'Simple Foreknowledge'. In the attempt to chew and savor the meat of ideas, cracking the nut of Molinism seems more difficult than those of SF or OT. So, maybe you can help me. :) I will say that it takes me longer to come to a point of absurdity considering Molinism than it does Simple Foreknowledge. Yet, all the while it seems I can hear a haunting, distant sound approaching… as though it were the sound of an ancient friar slowly but steadily honing. I may have a misunderstanding of Molinism but in the end, God's use of MK in an instantaneous, exhaustive and final deliberation before creating as proposed by Molinism, is still meticulous and manipulative and seems to me, just above the basest means of ensuring that He wins in the end. (Can that be taken as a compliment?... lol... that sounds a harsh description for such a thoughtful and respectable attempt at rescuing theology from desparaging God's character!)

    However, rest assured that I am open to understanding Molinism and would be willing to accept it as my settled opinion on the matter if it makes a stronger case than SF or OT. I hope that you as well, regardless of how settled your opinion may be, will be open palmed about your and my view, unless you are just here to instruct me, which is fine, I'll consider it for what it's worth.

    Before I get into the matter more, I would like to address the relationship that you seem to promote between CCFs (counterfactuals of creaturely freedom), Middle Knowledge and Molinism. It seems that you are saying that if I want to buy the first and/or the second then that would require buying the third, or that the third comes free and that without the third I cannot buy the first or second. I don't see CCF or Middle Knowledge requiring Molinism. So, at this point, you will NOT have to convince me of the truth/existence of CCFs or Middle Knowledge but I may need some convincing that CCFs and Middle Knowledge were used to determine which world God would actually actualize, which is what I understand Molinism to propose. You will have to convince me that the following is false: Molinism is the description of God's exhaustive deliberation and meticulous selection of this world before creation and was God's way of preserving creaturely freedom while still ensuring God's Sovereignty and resulting in God getting the exact world he chose to actualize with not even the slightest deviation of atom or creaturely thought.

    Sshhhhhhhhhh.... listen real close... do you hear that sound...?
     
    #3 humblethinker, May 31, 2012
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  4. Yeshua1

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    Would say that most calvinists would hold that God is fully sovereign, but in that He has allowed/permitted his creations to be able to choose what they want to do...

    Its just that by very natures, bound/limited to what they can actual choose to do, and in all situations, the Lord still has control over all things, through determining what came to pass, or allowing others to decide what comes to pass, all in his predestined palns and purposes!
     
  5. humblethinker

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    --Time-out!-- I'm not sure if you think I am a Calvinist or not... sorry... --Time in--...

    I'm not sure, but it sounds like you're saying that Calvinism's view is that God foreknows because he predetermines, correct? I agree that that's what Calvinism's view is. It also sounds like you're saying that God can allow creatures to be free while still knowing what the future will bring and He can interact with these creatures, and thereby accomplish His will for them, correct? I agree with that assessment and that comports with my view as well... so far nothing new or exclusive to Molinism...

    Yes, and infact I believe this is more congruent with my view than with Molinism. It seems that once the middle knowledge deliberation is completed just prior to creation, that there is nothing more for God to do (a Molinist on this board wHoSe name I'll not mention admitted such ;-) ). It seems that He would just follow the script He chose and act only where and how He knew He would act during deliberation... So, with Molinism we have God knowing what He will certainly do and thereby not able to act/think differently while the script is being played out until the end when He is finally free. For if He did act differently than he knew He certainly would during his MK diliberation, then how could His deliberative knowledge have been certain? This is just one thing I find absurd... I basically have the same complaint regarding man being able to act differently than how God knew he certainly would. And if these complaints stand, then how in the multi-world could God be genuine in his pleadings for man to change? And if you somehow make the case that God is genuine in his plea to change, why would God frustrate Himself with desiring something that He knows he would certainly never get? It seems that all possibilities are logically expired once God finished deliberating in the MK and chose to actualize a world. This seems like a mighty fine strawman I've created. I do hope it is a strawman. I look forword to your reply.

    I'll address the situation with Saul, David, and the men of Keilah shortly.
     
  6. humblethinker

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    I prefer to not argue about the interpretation of this passage being in support of Molinism until I have a better understanding of the view, or at least how you see it. I definately have responses but I really would like to get some feedback from you on the above questions I've asked and claims I've made about Molinism. I await your response.
     
  7. Benjamin

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    You and I seem to be on similar boats on the issue Divine foreknowledge although I believe my boat may have set sail several years before yours and I have got off and visited some of the islands you are approaching now (although, maybe came across a few snakes when I did and decided not to revisit some of them) whilst you have taken some different courses and had different experiences along way yet we seem to be headed in the same general direction. Except for I became tired of sailing and looking for that perfect island but came across one a few years ago that seemed to suite most my needs and was mostly free of snakes so I’ve just been camping out and enjoying the sun for quite some time but noted you sailing by in the distance so sent a few smoke signals up.

    No not at all, I haven’t bought the third myself, but I do respect it much more than the alternatives. Years ago I literally got headaches while studying and trying to follow some of Craig’s philosophical equations because admittedly my brain is wired differently with what I could only describe as a form of ADD that is notorious at jumping tracks of thought and trying to keep it on his path during this became very difficult, not to mention I started to see things I thought there might be better explanations for so wasn’t interested in following through to get clearly the whole picture of where he was going. BTW, I consider the flood of thoughts coming in without invitation a blessing but it’s just very challenging to sort through them all and stay focused on one direction….but that’s another subject since I deal with it without the use of permanently mind altering drugs, oops, better not go there either.

    When I visited the island of OT, which I did often, I thought it had a lot of valid points but I found a huge snake there that kept popping up to bite me. I am not willing to compromise on God’s omniscient nature and although those who promote it will might sound good for a while I find their logic falls short and is forced to discards that attribute, and that snake comes back to bite me every time. That said, if I had to choose between OT and CT that is boxed and used to promote strict determinism I would pick OT every time as by far being more consistent in upholding the majority of God’s divine attributes. But call me spoiled if you will! I refuse to let go of the value of that attribute and I find Open Theists’ logic trying to white wash their dismissal of it. In fact, of late I often hear them promoting something that sounds more like Middle that Open but in their enthusiasm to give all the answers they will slip every time back into Open and I have no tolerance for the denial of divine omniscience. Again, that said, frankly, I consider OT an ally against the purely fatalistic philosophy of CT Determinists whose force to fit, scripture twisting, in your face desperate tactics to promote and hold to a system that would sacrifice the truth of many of God’s attributes as utterly repulsive, seriously flawed both logically and morally and its proponents willing to toss out multiple divine attributes and loving promises made to all mankind all for the sake of…I better stop there, but you get the message.

    I can and most likely would be very aggressive to put the philosophy of a determinist in its place if someone began to use it to explain to a seeker that he may have no hope, in that he may not have been pre-selected as one of the elect, and that place definitely separates it from being the good news of God.

    Ah, see there, I said needed to stop, yet I did it again, but thankfully I’ve learned over the years to put on the brakes and go back and find where I was at, even got good at covering my tracks while doing so, sometimes by being able to tie the thoughts together, that is, if someone can keep with me long enough, while I sort it out, or if they are patient enough, (although my wife will start waving her arms telling me to get back to the point) I will get back on the path of thought and am actually all the better, or in more depth, because of the site seeing along the way. BTW, that’s why I see it as a blessing. Anyway, some might note that I edit a lot of posts and that is why; I am editing out and cleaning up my extra thoughts so people can hopefully make some sort of sense out of what I’m trying to say. Unfortunately, I suspect it takes me 2-3 times as long to make a point as most people but I hope that it is at least obvious sometimes that I have a put a lot of thought behind my replies.

    I believe “CCF’s” is a great descriptive term (philosophical expression) of value that classifies and recognizes the fact that the scriptures do indeed present counterfactual evidence to exhaustive foreknowledge but I stop short of buying into all the “actualizing a world” stuff because I feel in many ways Molinism begins to logically fall back into determinism. Sorry Craig. It has been a few years since I’ve seriously dug it this stuff and I have forgotten too much of where I was at on specifics in this without going back to refresh or I would give more details.

    IMO, Molinism is out to harmonize God’s prominence with the creature’s volition without sacrificing any of God’s attributes and for that I give them 5 stars. Molinists are generally much more of an ally of mine than OT’s because of that stance.

    OVT (Open View Theism) postulates something that amounts to that God makes some good guesses where “MK” focuses on prevolitional counterfactual knowledge and it just needs to demonstrate God’s Mk can be prevolitional as the scripture above goes to show. Molinist don’t suppose God’s knowledge is a “kind of active force” either, but rather they believe God’s knowledge is just that – knowledge.

    The job of systematic theology is to look at the big picture and philosophical expressions help to describe understated Biblical doctrines with some coherency, without it we would have no doctrine of Trinity, no hypostatic union, no dual nature of Christ etc. MK describes the big picture we see concerning God’s knowledge and holds together the truths between divine prominence and creaturely volition. Many just want to camp out on one verse or even several verses, often trying to force them to fit into the presuppositions of their doctrines, but that does not make a systematic theologian, the question is what does the whole of scriptures reveal.



    Contnued:
     
  8. Benjamin

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    Personally, I look closely at the relationship between God ‘s knowledge in comparison of the Trinitarian Nature of God; the logic of three Persons in One being compared to the logic of God having a knowledge that is beyond our finite ability to fully grasp in a Trinitarian Nature.

    In short, we know God to have foreknowledge yet we believe He interacts with His creatures within time, we have the Son who existed as 100% man within time and was also 100% God which brings in the subject of kenosis but without getting into that in depth we have the attributes of Jesus’ knowledge at least temporarily either limited, or as I prefer to put it rather than subtracting any Devine attribute in order to become human, the second Person of the Trinity added a human nature to the Devine Nature in the existence of time which coincides with creation, we then see the Son with a knowledge within time having a type of separate knowledge that is not Omniscient and is apart from the Father as in Mark 13:32. This shows God’s knowledge can be separated in at least a similar way as that of the Trinity which consists of Three Persons.

    To start talking about the Trinitarian nature around here REALLY gets the fire churning and the accusations flying. In fact, I brought this up a few years back and one guy took off on it and ended up being kicked of the board because someone was riding him and poking him to slip up on an “orthodox” view of the Trinity as he tried to put the pieces together.

    Anyway, I once jokingly began to use a term and called it a “Trinitarian Type of Time Methodology” (TTTM for short) to describe a “philosophical expression” that God’s knowledge has a Trinitarian factor to it that involves the creation of time and ability to interact with His creatures. And, I’ve got quite a collection of verses and arguments to support that there is something to my belief that this is how He accomplishes a type of “middle knowledge” filed away.

    That said, I’m far far away from ever writing the book, but that is where I stand on the subject, and to be clear I am not a Molinist so wouldn’t be trying to “convince you” to agree with it, only that it is the closes thing out there to the whole picture that scripture reveals.

    Wow! Sorry. That was long and I’m sure all over the place. And now I have to catch up on homework and don’t have time to edit it so will just post the thing FWIW and wish you the best in sorting through it.
     
  9. Benjamin

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    Nah, I can clearly see you reject it. It could be I have a habit of throwing out a few jabs in that direction and you are just feeling the breeze as they fly by. :smilewinkgrin:


    Later
     
  10. humblethinker

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    Yes, I'm sure you did set sail years before I did. I set sail this way just about three months ago and I definitely see your smoke signals. I am visiting an Island, and maybe you were here once... it seems that many are here and that many would like to visit. It is surely the bad rumors that are being bantored about and boogy-man warnings that have scared off would-be visitors. There's a certain degree of victory people can achieve by calling other people bad names. This appears to have worked so well for them that that's their SOP for many things other than this island. You may have therefore been too early in arriving... now that I seem to understand it I feel I see where people have misunderstood. I for one don't see what the big deal is, so I'm camping out here for now...

    I can definately appreciate the time it takes to organize thoughts, consider the audience, rearrange, correct typos, and put forward a meritorias or at least respectable argument. This can be a difficult task indeed... I think maybe we should just start posting scripture with an attitude of "Ha, take that! Defeated by my deft manouvering from ctl-c to ctl-v! No explanation needed in that scripture!" and then victoriously exit making a shout-out to God's sovereignty.

    Yes, I share your concern you referenced about the logical conclusion of Molinism.

    I recognize the attempt but I think it fails due to being a quasi-determinism, and seems to make God to be disingenuous and/or self-frustrating as I described earlier in this thread. (I am willing to be wrong about my understanding though.)


    The problem for me is that with Molinism, the MK can only be prior to the act of creation. The scripture above, to me, does not necessarily show a MK as described by Molinism that is pre-volitional... that is, I would say that you are making an assumption that Saul or the men of Kelaiah hadn't already decided in their hearts that they would do the things that God tells David they will do. In this case all that God would have to do is know what is in Saul's and the men's hearts and minds at the present, which God obviously can do. So, for God to be able to truthfully tell David what the others would do in no way would require a crystal ball to look into the future nor would it require that God know what was certainly going to happen in the future (besides, that wouldn't make a difference if He were to tell David what was certainly going to happen to him in the future).

    Well, I think the SF people think the same thing. But, how can they answer the obvious rebuttal in a logically sound manner without a contradiction of terms?

    For me, because MK's utilization is exhasted prior to the act of creation, the big picture is exactly what Molinism gets wrong. While the shawmen are still obfuscating, trying I do think that there's more real reasoned information now than when you last visited the island.
     
  11. Benjamin

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    Okay:cool:, we might have something here along that line:

    Where do you find a Molinist that would agree to such a view that all possible worlds would actualize as has been predetermined before creation? - because 1) my understanding is that they believe God makes use of middle knowledge, meaning uses knowledge of counterfactuals of creaturely freedom to inform His decisions on which world to actualize within time in response to free choices made. 2) They believe free creatures have the ability to choose between competing alternatives, and really could choose one or the other of the alternatives.

    Further, I would ask, is there any limit to the worlds God can actualize in accordance to man having free will that is unlimited.

    How would you explain what God clearly said is going to happen turned out not to happen. Was He just kidding??? Was it a little white lie to motivate him??? Lucky for David and his men God sure wasn't saying something would happen that didn't just before they went down to take on the Philistines! No, God answered a direct question, truthfully, both times and told him what was going to happen. Did God not know that David was going to change the cicumstances; if He did why would He tell him that was going to happen? This is where the Molinist claim God has middle knowledge, counterfactual knowledge being characterized as God’s prevolitional knowledge of all true counterfactuals of creaturely freedom. The alternative would have to be that God lied.

    The point is that God in His "middle knowedge" told David the truth, but David changed the circumstances and a different world actualized. God knew exactly what was in the heart of Saul and told David the truth about exactly was about going to happen, David was toast! But it turns out his goose wasn't going to be cooked so fast.

    Saying "MK prior to the act of creation" just doesn't agree with what they believe about the big picture. That kinda amounts to a strawman other than you say, "for me" but still is in disagreement with their arguments to the contrary. BTW, Molinist believe MK allows for LFW similar to that OVT believes in LFW, but Molinist will argue to hold to foreknowledge. So anyway, there are two things I would challenge you to show me if you believe either are true: an Open View Theist that holds onto foreknowedge, because I think that island still looks the same and/or a Molinist who holds that MK involves all worlds already actualized before creation and freedom of events that would happen within time.
     
    #11 Benjamin, Jun 2, 2012
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  12. HeirofSalvation

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    :eek:
    :eek:

    So that's how it is? Go on vacation for a week and then this!!! :smilewinkgrin:
    Actually, reading this thread...I wonder what you mean by this..
    I think I recall what you are referring to...but I think you might have misunderstood what I was saying. What are you referring to?

    <--- very creative BTW :thumbs:
     
  13. humblethinker

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    I hope you had a good vacation! I could tell you needed it! ;-)
    Per this thread, the answer given to the question of whether God uses his Middle Knowledge after the act of creation was, "Only prior to the creative act....It is essentially pointless afterwards, after the creative act...It is His Free Knowledge that results in exhaustive foreknowledge."
     
  14. HeirofSalvation

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    Thought that was the one....You said however that God needs to DO no more...and I took that to mean God is now the God of Deism, and he is not subsequently interactive with his creation. Acc. Molinism, God's Free Knowledge is essentially the basis of his foreknowledge of actual events...vis a vis SFV.

    If by DO you meant that there is no more for God to Know then, I think, you would be more or less correct. There are of course, no probabilities, in a Molinist account, only true propositions. There is raw logical possibility per LFW...this is what I think turns off Cals and OT's alike...sometimes even those who believe only in SF. Raw logical possibility is insufficient for them to adequately ascribe legitimate LFW. To the Molinist, the Free Choice of the creature is logically prior to any decree...even only a potential counterfactual one. To the Molinist, this is sufficient for LFW.

    The creatures choice is free.....he just can't escape being seen making it, so to speak.
     
    #14 HeirofSalvation, Jun 4, 2012
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  15. humblethinker

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    Correct, we're each pickin' up what the other's throwin' down...

    I love the honesty! That is how I understand Molinism as well! So, since there are no probabilities, and since there is no such thing as a possibility with a zero probability, then there are no true possibilities, only true propositions, correct?

    So, the raw logical possibility is not a real possibility, it's just a theoretical possibility, an illusion maybe, like this?


    He can't escape the necessity that he choose the choice that he is known to choose, correct?

    So... I have such tremendous questions for you. They are the same I'd ask a determinist (calvinist) and a Simple Foreknowledge proponent:

    1) How is God being genuine in His plea to change when He knows His plea will certainly not make a difference?
    2) Why does God expect people to change when He knows they certainly will not? How could He possibly be genuinely disappointed?
    3) Why does God inflict frustration on Himself for thousands of years in pleading with people whom He knows will certainly not change? How could this possibly be genuine frustration?
     
  16. HeirofSalvation

    HeirofSalvation
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    No, it is as real (ontologically real) a possibility as any choice. The LFW exists prima facie and is understood no differently as it is in any system which accepts LFW. It is a real Choice...it is simply that God can know that choice infallibly prior to its actualization.

    Necessity is transferred mistakenly here I believe, and it is the same mistake I believe is made by Calvinists who debate against Molinism and consider it determinism as you seem to. The choice is free.....God necessarily knows the choice. Necessity is not transferred to the content of the choice itself. The choice might very well have been otherwise, but the content of what God knew is still contingent upon the choice the moral agent makes. It is only necessary that God knew it, not that it was what it was. Remember this : http://www.baptistboard.com/showpost.php?p=1825241&postcount=35

    To your questions:

    He is genuine in that his honest desire is that ALL would come to Christ. God grants sufficient grace (prevenient type if you like) for any to honestly come to him if they choose. He is as active in his pleas in a Molinist account as he is in any. Part of the "Plea" to Salvation or the "enabling call" is as much a part of the "circumstances" relevant to Molinism as anything else. To a Molinist, God does all of this, he simply does not labour under a mistaken or false assumption that his enabling calls will in fact be actualized as positive choices for Christ.


    "Expect" is probably the key word here. He does not "expect" it will occur, in the sense of fallaciously believing that it will occur, but he honestly desires that it will, and his call is sufficient to enable it as well, and he is as willing to be frustrated in his attempt as he is in any LFW system....if it were not so, then he would be unjust.

    He is genuinely disappointed whether it is chronologically and/or logically prior to the creative act or post the creative decree. The moment God chooses to allow LFW, then the list of "feasible" worlds there are that he might possibly create becomes severly limited. There is simply NO POSSIBLE world he can create wherein all creatures given free will accept him. Thus he suffers (as it were) his dissapointment prior to the creative decree as much as he does in conjunction with it. (The Molinist I think takes the same view of divine timelessness as any orthodox view). The choices are the choices, and there is essentially nothing he can do to change them, while at the same time preserving LFW.

    For the exact same reason he does in any system which believes in LFW. The same question might be asked of an OT no? You (I think, correct me if I am wrong) believe that there are presumably those whom God infallibly knows that there is a 99.5567% probablility will not accept him. Why then would God create them? I think any system is subject to this criticism. Why would God (given OT) create those whom he infallibly knows that there is say.....an 88% probablility that they will not accept?
    The problem has never been merely THAT such beings exist....it is that God has chosen to CREATE them in the first place. Does the OT maintain that the only created beings are those whom God infallibly knows have a 96.5% probablility of accepting God's call to Salvation? The answer I give is, I think, the same as yours:

    Because of the necessity of his nature....He is necessarily perfect Love.

    Perfect Love will always, by definition, pour out itself (or HIMSELF) as the Scriptures teach....to give without regard for one's personal desires to the object of Divine Love. Love will always spill itself and be wasted for the benefit of the object of Love's desire and affection, and perfect Love will do so whether it is unrequited or not. It is utterly immaterial to perfect Love whether the object of perfect love responds with the returned affection. Perfect Love simply has no choice. There are many options which God, in his ultimately Sovereign nature, is simply UNABLE to take, because of who and what he is.
     
  17. humblethinker

    humblethinker
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    HoS, before I explain further I'd like to discuss the idea of possibilities that both of our systems of thought rely on. In both of our views, I think it's important for us to try to understand the incredibly large numbers we are dealing with. With either view we cannot even begin to imagine the amount of possibilities that are being considered by God - I doubt that even if every human's lifetime was spent considering the possibilities and each picking up where the previous left off, I doubt that we'd come close to thinking of all the possibilities that God was able to prior to creation. I believe this to be your understanding as it is mine. I just wanted to bring it up to increase our appreciation for how and what God deliberated.

    As I understand the Molinist view, God considered all possibilities and each possibility that differed with another possibility is described as a 'world' such that there are as many worlds as there are possibilities. Every world is identical to the world closest to it except for the single variant, that being the unique possibility. Therefore, it can be the case as you proposed above, that prior to creation God knew with not just 99.5567% but 100% probability the occurance of any specific event, including the final status of belief of every particular person. (You would accept of course that my response here is in a world and solely because of my response, it is one of those worlds, and ha! is in the very world that God actualized! Correct?)

    As I understand OT, the same can not be said of God. It seems that there would be no significant probability for any one specific event to occur and that only those events that He predetermined had a 100% probability of occuring. So, while you deftly maneuvere like Carlos Gracie, I don't think your jiu jitsu hold with which you have managed to pin all other theological views will be as effective on OT. The OT view of God seems to afford God more of a reason for not not creating the world (yes, for lack of a better term I used a double negative). In other words, the other views seem to give God a better reason not to create in the first place.

    The explanation, as I understand OT to teach would be that prior to creation He knew all possibilities and those possibilities, as you referenced above, had a probability associated. However, at the time of creation, the probability that you are referenced above did not exist as such. In this line of thinking, it would be hard for me to imagine any significant probability for any one specific thing to occur. At the point prior to creation, the probability for any one specific possibility to be eventually actualized was incredibly insignificant. (This is not speaking to the things which God knew with certainty to be actualized in the future, ie. things he predetermined.)

    Prior to the act of creation, God knew as a certainty that mankind (a group) would need a savior. He did not as a certainty know the final belief status of any one individual. In the case that any one specific individual were to exist He did know all of the possibilities and probabilities associated to their final belief status. Allow me to state this in short form:

    Prior to creation:
    The probability of the group needing a savior: 100%
    The probability of a specific event (including an individual's belief) among all of the other possibilities: incredibly insignificant


    (This concept is similar to the insurance industry. The industry does not know with certainty which individual will make a claim but they know with some level of incredibly high probability that a claim will be made by someone in the group. In the case above, God, prior to creation, having a perfect knowledge of the reality of free will would be able to know with certainty that mankind would need a savior, while also being able to definitely know as a very small probability an individual's final belief status.)
     
  18. HeirofSalvation

    HeirofSalvation
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    UGHH!!

    Although your explanation is at least philosophically adequate....(IMO). I must confess that I (personally) do not believe that there is sufficient Theological reason to accept the OT view. I believe there is enough Biblical evidence against the OT view such that if a different explanation were satisfactory...I would not adopt it. Given what I think you expressed above...despite the obvious mathematical probability to the contrary, God still is NOT in any way ASSURED that ANYONE will believe in him. This is not acceptable IMO. Given OT (as I think you have explained it) God might very well believe that the probablility of someone accepting Christ is 888.5 billion to 1....but it is no sure thing. And yet, every individual still remains an individual do they not? Are they not entitled to their own choice regardless of odds or probabilities? Is their choice not some variant of merely:
    1.) Choose God
    2.) Choose against God?

    What variables are there with which God might deliberate? Theoretically, God might have created a Universe wherein (given OT).........inexplicably........No ONE accepts him right? I do not think an OT explanation has solved any problems so far....If you take my meaning. Given insufficient Biblical evidence to the contrary, I do not think that an OT view is yet tenable as you have explained it so far. I further think that (although not popularly adopted) the Molinist view is still sufficiently grounded in Theological Orthodoxy to remain a legitimate Theological viewpoint.

    In my view, the Calvinists are simply too CORRECT that there is indeed such a thing as an individual call and election and pre-ordination to Salvation expressed in Scripture for me to discount it. I do not of course think that that means that there is no such thing as LFW..........inasmuch as I think that LFW is more Scripturally obvious than the Calvinist claims are.......Nonetheless, I cannot run from them, nor explain them away, the Chosen were the chosen, and the elect the elect, and it was according to his Sovereign purpose......that is what I feel must be accepted and explained.
     
    #18 HeirofSalvation, Jun 4, 2012
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  19. humblethinker

    humblethinker
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    This is not an attempt to aswer you reply but: Do you think unbelief is a rational choice? Was Adam's choice a rational one? Considering all that God had done for Adam, do you think Adam had good reason to disbelieve God? If not, assuming that this was his first opportunity to disobey, would you say then that Adam's disobedience was highly unlikely?

    Hmm, how does Molinism regard this incident? In any possible world, could it be that Adam's sin at this particular occasion was highly unlikely? Highly likely? Certain? Possible but with indeterminant probabilities? Cometely random?
     
  20. Benjamin

    Benjamin
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    God knew the nature of the creature He made in His likeness and image would desire knowledge and to be as a god, to judge between good and evil. (Gen 3:22) But God, and I wrote like a page and a half on this a while back in response to you but lost it, but in short, allowed man to fall on his own volition, as designed, by placing that “tree” in the garden. Again in short, God can not be responsible for causing/creating evil, there is no evil in Him, His work is perfect (Deut 32:4) but He provided for man to be of the nature he would naturally desire along with giving him the gift of life and spirit (and that wouldn’t be a robot) which God also knew man would fall short of perfection in his judgment when man chose to acquire that knowledge.

    100%. Of course God knew man would make this choice, freely, as seen through His promise of redemption by His loving grace before the foundation of the world for whosoever would believe in love of the truth. God had two trees in that garden, the other was the tree of life so that man could be placed in His Spirit, a new spirit through His Only Begotten which He loving sacrificed so that His creatures could also choose to be with Him in a perfect body in Heaven for eternity. There can be no less than perfection to be in His presence but He provide that Way. To me there is no, can not be, any doubt to His foreknowledge just as there can be no doubt that He provided for freedom of choice within real time beginning at creation.
     
    #20 Benjamin, Jun 5, 2012
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