Friday, March 15, 2019

On God's Being "Possible" (in our research, not in His Nature which is pure act)

Methodology on God : Matt Dillahunty is Bad · Others Commented under Matt's Video · More answering other comments · Methodology on God : Lynne Atwater is Worse · On God's Being "Possible" (in our research, not in His Nature which is pure act)

Dillahunty has a good moment here:

The Christian God: Improbable Or Impossible?
AtheistExperience | 12.VI.2009

1:04 Tracie Harris gets it wrong.

All knowing, all powerful, endows created beings with free will.

What is it that appears as a contradiction?

"If God knows before it happens what x will do, it cannot happen that x doesn't do it, therefore x has no freewill"
In contradiction with "God did endow x with freewill"

However, the first part concluding x has no freewill is a fallacy.

If I see x do sth, it cannot happen that x is not doing it - obviously, this does not involve my knowledge depriving x of freedom.

Why would God's knowledge do so?

Well if God's knowledge were to God a "knowledge beforehand" it would, since you only know necessary outcomes "beforehand".

What is implied is, "if God knows x will do a thing beforehand, this actually means God knows it will happen by necessity, and as God is all powerful, He's the one who imposed the necessity".

Nonsense. God is "outside time" as theologians define God's eternity, this means, when God "now" (to us and everything is "now to God") knows x "will" (in our future, which is present to God) do something, this is God's knowledge of it as of a present fact, as if I were watching x doing it in the present.

Therefore His certainty of knowledge involves no future necessity type of "knowledge of the future". Therefore, this is perfectly compatible with God knowing it will happen by x' perfectly free own decision, precisely as I watching x could know that in the present, when it is happening.

And therefore it is compatible with God using His omnipotence in such a way as to give us real freedom. Real freewill.

But how does freewill square with God's overall control of events?

On the C. S. Lewis model, each is free, in the sense that God who by His nature controls all, by "some miracle" doesn't control the outcome of the choice, BUT He controls the coordination of human choices.

If a future event involves me chosing one book and x chosing the one beside it after I do so, God has eternally arranged that my choice of that book would come precisely as I was standing beside x in front of a bookshelf. And on that occasion I would be precisely a bit quicker than x, even if on other ones I am slow, and on that occasion x would exercise the choice (God knowing him would know he would sooner or later freely exercise) namely that he would be content to pick the book next to the one I picked on his side of the gap in the row of books. AND God would also have arranged all the free choices leading up to exactly what order the books stand in that shelf.

In other words, for those playing D&D, God has a type of discretionary power over choices freely made precisely as the Dungeon master would have over the choices of the players. Except of course, God exercises his Dungeon master role very much more completely as taking all "player" choices into account at once. Note also, it is a choice to attempt sth, not always a choice to succeed or fail in the attempt. We control our choices, God controls the overall outcome.

In St Thomas Aquinas view, a free choice is one not forced by another creature, and as God is first cause, His control over it doesn't detract from it's being free. I think Molina is somewhat closer to C. S. Lewis than to St Thomas Aquinas, like in the decision to give or not give initial grace by knowing the possible outcomes of either divine choice in what human choices it produces in that human acting freely.

2:52 Dillahunty is concerned with the false belief that our salvation depends only on confidently believing Christ took one's penalties on Himself.

This idea is actually condemned by Trent, saying that faith as this fiducial faith is not all the faith truths we are required to believe (in proportion to our access) and that faith cannot save without there being also hope and charity.

And charity tends to produce good deeds. A small child who is baptised ten seconds before dying will have faith, hope and charity as habits, not manifest in conscious deeds, but an adult living 24 hours with charity (and therefore also hope, therefore also faith) will necessarily do one small good deed at least - which gains a lot of extra value by flowing from charity.

Good deeds of unbelievers are also cues for God deciding to give them grace, as can be seen from St Eustace, who was given a revelation mentioning his alms had pleased God who had therefore decided he should be a Christian. He was also given to decide on the modalities of his and his family's martyrdom.

3:06 If the raped little girl in the example is not baptised and under seven, Hell is not an option, it is (much of tradition would conclude) limbo.

She gets to a place which is nice in an earthly way, but not paradisal, not centred on God who is source of all that is good and enjoyable, and she can have earthly pleasures and the joy of thanking God for them (which is another thing than having grace), so even if her damnation is a damnation, a loss of Heaven, it is still more pleasureable than many Atheists dare dream of.

Nevertheless, the rape and the murder are crimes and if the criminal makes a death bed conversion, well, he'll be saved, but there's Purgatory before Heaven. Usually he will not have hated his sin enough to avoid Purgatory, even if he hates it enough to avoid Hell. So, has he suffered any on earth and is he offering up any of that as penance (posthumously) for what he did? If not, perhaps the stay in Purgatory is longer.

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