Foreknowledge = Determinism? And God's Character.

Si
Posts: 95
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2016 1:03 am
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Foreknowledge = Determinism? And God's Character.

Post by Si » Wed May 02, 2018 10:28 pm

Paidion wrote:I understand you, Si, but I think Homer would say that God even though God knew in advance all the evil choices that have made, that foreknowledge does not make God responsible for those evil choices. And I agree. If God COULD know in advance people's choices (which I believe to be logically impossible) that wouldn't imply that His foreknowledge CAUSED those choices.
If someone believes God is the first cause of all creation, and believes in meticulous foreknowledge, I don't see how it is logically possible to believe in anything but God as the cause of all events that come to pass. I don't see how you can possibly separate the two logically. Either God allows for there to be true forks in the road, where we can choose to go left or right, or else everything was set in stone the first moment, and all of our choices are illusions.

User avatar
Homer
Posts: 2604
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 11:08 pm

Re: Foreknowledge = Determinism? And God's Character.

Post by Homer » Wed May 02, 2018 10:45 pm

Human logic does not always work. Consider the following:

"This sentence is false".

Now if the sentence is true it is false and if it is false it is true.

User avatar
Paidion
Posts: 4910
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 10:22 pm
Location: Back Woods of North-Western Ontario

Re: Foreknowledge = Determinism? And God's Character.

Post by Paidion » Thu May 03, 2018 12:01 am

Human logic does not always work. Consider the following:

"This sentence is false".

Now if the sentence is true it is false and if it is false it is true.
But wasn't it human logic that enabled you to understand the impossibility of this sentence being either true or false?
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 81.

User avatar
Paidion
Posts: 4910
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 10:22 pm
Location: Back Woods of North-Western Ontario

Re: Foreknowledge = Determinism? And God's Character.

Post by Paidion » Thu May 03, 2018 12:09 am

If someone believes God is the first cause of all creation, and believes in meticulous foreknowledge, I don't see how it is logically possible to believe in anything but God as the cause of all events that come to pass. I don't see how you can possibly separate the two logically. Either God allows for there to be true forks in the road, where we can choose to go left or right, or else everything was set in stone the first moment, and all of our choices are illusions.
Some would say that God "allows for there to be true forks in the road, where we can choose to go left or right" but He just happens to have the ability to know in advance which fork we will choose to take. (That is not my position, but I understand how someone could think that way). I have explained in a previous post above why it would be impossible for anyone to know in advance which fork a person will choose to take.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 81.

User avatar
Paidion
Posts: 4910
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 10:22 pm
Location: Back Woods of North-Western Ontario

Re: Foreknowledge = Determinism? And God's Character.

Post by Paidion » Thu May 03, 2018 12:26 pm

Human logic does not always work. Consider the following:

"This sentence is false".

Now if the sentence is true it is false and if it is false it is true.
Here's another similar example:
It was once thought that a set can be defined that would apply to anything that you described. Even the set of pink elephants that are in your kitchen! The empty set can be used to apply to them.

However, some genius described a set that CANNOT exist:

Let X represent the set of all sets and only those sets which are not members of itself. Then ask yourself, "Is X a member of itself?
Suppose X is a member of itself. But that cannot be since X is defined as containing only sets which are NOT members of itself.
Okay, then suppose X is not a member of itself. But that cannot be either! For X is defined as containing ALL sets which are not members of itself.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 81.

User avatar
Homer
Posts: 2604
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 11:08 pm

Re: Foreknowledge = Determinism? And God's Character.

Post by Homer » Thu May 03, 2018 2:48 pm

Psalm 145:3 (NASB)
3. Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised,
And His greatness is unsearchable.


Romans 11:33 (NASB)
33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!


IMO in this discussion far too much weight is given to logic and too little to exegesis of the scriptures.

Earlier I had referenced the following:

Romans 8:28-29 (NASB)
28. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;


Ephesians 1 says much the same. And in Revelation we find there are names in the book of life from the foundation of the world; people foreknown by God:

Revelation 17:8 (NASB)
8. “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come.

Reading Calvinists regarding God's foreknowledge will show that they have a coherent, plausible explanation of predestination. They believe God both chose and caused certain people to be saved. I do not accept their exegesis as correct for several scriptural reasons. My own view would probably be considered classic Arminian. I believe, as previously explained, that by God's foreknowledge He knew before the foundation of the world who would be saved and His knowing had no causal relationship to their being saved. I believe the Arminian position is supported by the scriptures. I would like to see those posting here exegete these scriptures to show how open theists explain them.

User avatar
Paidion
Posts: 4910
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 10:22 pm
Location: Back Woods of North-Western Ontario

Re: Foreknowledge = Determinism? And God's Character.

Post by Paidion » Thu May 03, 2018 5:42 pm

Hi Homer, you wrote:I believe, as previously explained, that by God's foreknowledge He knew before the foundation of the world who would be saved and His knowing had no causal relationship to their being saved.
What scripture have you found that states "by God's foreknowledge He knew before the foundation of the world who would be saved "?
Here are the only passages in the New Testament that contain the phrase "before the foundation of the world":

From the EMTV:
Joh 17:24 ¶ Father, I desire that those also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, so that they may behold My glory which You gave to Me; because You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
Eph 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him in love,
1Pe 1:20 having been foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, He was made manifest in these last times for you,
Re 13:8 And all those who dwell on the earth shall worship him, whose name is not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
The one in 1 Peter speaks of Christ as having been foreknown before the foundation of the world.

The one in Ephesians indicates that God chose US in Him before the foundation of the world. Who is this "US"? We tend to be too individualistic. I think that Paul simply means that from all the peoples of the world, God chose to have a people who would serve Him and be "holy and blameless before Him in love." In no way does it imply that He picked individuals before the foundation of the world—long before those individuals were born.

The very next verse is misleading in many translations:
having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will...
The word "predestined" also suggests individuals being placed into sonship according to God's will, but perhaps apart from their own wills. The word "pre-appointed" would be a correct translation. You might have an appointment with the dentist, but you don't HAVE to keep that appointment.

As I see it, there is NOTHING in these verses which affirms that God knows in advance what the individual choices of people are.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 81.

Si
Posts: 95
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2016 1:03 am
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Foreknowledge = Determinism? And God's Character.

Post by Si » Thu May 03, 2018 7:01 pm

Homer,

I certainly appreciate your use of Scripture, but we all use our logic and human reason to make things fit together, whether we are trying to harmonize two verses, or trying to make sense of the big picture. Arminianism and Calvinism are both man-made systems that use a logical framework to see the bigger picture of Scripture. I have heard for years purely philosophical arguments for Arminianism and against Calvinism based on God's character. I have watched or listened to many hours of debates and lectures on the subject, and the more time that went on, Arminianism and Calvinism seemed much closer to one another, with the real distinction being between them on one hand, and open theism on the other. Scripture is surely central to our faith but there is a place of reason and philosophy as well.

I intentionally started this thread laying out these thoughts I have had on this issue, and while Scripture can surely supplement the discussion, it was this philosophical discussion that I had in mind. Your scriptural references are surely noted, but if you have any objections to the logical or philosophical ideas I have had on the matter, I would be interested in that input as well, because it was that side of the issue that I had in mind. While any sound position surely needs Scripture to back it up, it needs to be logically sound as well.

User avatar
robbyyoung
Posts: 811
Joined: Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:23 am

Re: Foreknowledge = Determinism? And God's Character.

Post by robbyyoung » Thu May 03, 2018 8:37 pm

Si wrote:While any sound position surely needs Scripture to back it up, it needs to be logically sound as well.
Hi Si,

If God put man in a confined or bordered world/existence bound by laws, rules, and discernable/repeated consequences, then, logic can only be ascribed to the limitations of this known existence. Therefore, when God acts outside of our logical world or existence, not every “sound” position can be logically explained. For instance, believing in miracles is a “sound position” but they’re also a prime example of irrational/illogical processes to our realm of existence; because, they break every law or rule known to man. I contend the supernatural is irrational against the known laws of the universe, but aren’t they nevertheless still true? Likewise, determinism, as depicted by the OP, is not associated with our natural world, i.e. humans do not possess this trait; therefore, it is supernatural and by default irrational to our realm of existence—but, does that make it not true?

Some things are very difficult or impossible to rationalize, but not understanding “the how” question in the face of illogical conundrums doesn’t necessarily invalidate one’s argument of a proposition being true. IMO, the supernatural and natural cannot be conflated in logical arguments that try to explain the world as we know it. The supernatural will always subordinate our knowledge of higher truths beyond our existence. I'm reminded of Rom 11:33 "Oh, the depth of the riches [fn]both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!".

Blessings.

User avatar
Homer
Posts: 2604
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 11:08 pm

Re: Foreknowledge = Determinism? And God's Character.

Post by Homer » Thu May 03, 2018 9:45 pm

Very well said Robby!

There may not be a more objective statement in the scriptures than Romans 8:29. Paul informs us that "whom He foreknew (beforehand) He predestined. Regarding foreknew it is the Greek word proginosko, pro, "before", and ginosko, to "know". Ginosko is used in the NT more than 80 times with a person as the object. The open theist may argue that Paul's reference is corporate, the church. as though God could foresee the church but not who might be in it. Then this brings up the question of how individual names might have been written in the "book of life from the foundation of the world".

Post Reply

Return to “Calvinism, Arminianism & Open Theism”