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Problem of Evil

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alloneword

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« on: May 13, 2007, 03:37:49 pm »
http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/menmoved.html

   

   ' For if God can control human activities in such exquisite detail as to produce through free agents a Scripture which is verbally and plenarily inspired, then there seems no reason why He could not control human activities such that people always freely refrain from sin.'

   

   Craig makes a very good point.

   

   He doesn't give a very good answer, except to imply that God can control human activity to make a Bible that is without error, but he cannot stop human beings torturing children (or any other evil)

   

   All God can do is stop errors in the Bible. Apart from that he is helpless.....

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Will

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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2007, 03:48:37 pm »

If you buy into the logical fallacy that the will iteslf can be free...i.e., believing in self determination of the will vs. self determination (or free will vs. free agency).

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alloneword

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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2007, 11:56:46 pm »
That was a totally meaningless reply by Will.

   

   If God can prevent people getting the name of a descendant wrong in the lists of genealogies in 1 Chronicles, why can't God prevent babies from being aborted?

   

   Answer. Because there is no God to save babies from abortion.

   

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Harvey

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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2007, 02:39:47 pm »

alloneword wrote: That was a totally meaningless reply by Will. If God can prevent people getting the name of a descendant wrong in the lists of genealogies in 1 Chronicles, why can't God prevent babies from being aborted? Answer. Because there is no God to save babies from abortion.

Let me given an analogy in reply to this. A mathematician can know God's mathematical mind by following their mathematical intuition. If any errors pop up, it will soon appear to be an error because a whole series of deductions will give absurd results. So, if the "mathematicians" of the biblical era made substantial mistakes in their "deductions" of God's spiritual mind, then they would have intuitively grasped this by the spiritual signs that they would have seen through inspiration.

Now, you ask about why God can't prevent babies from being aborted. Well, notice that there's nothing in violation of how nature is seen to behave when mathematicians deduce God's mathematical thoughts, and likewise, there's nothing in violation of how nature is seen to behave with the biblical "mathematicians" writing down the spiritual mind of God.

When we talk about changing the natural order of how the universe tends[/] to operate (e.g., death and decay), then certainty plays a very important part. Miracles can and do occur, but they occur with uncertainty. Now, if God prevented abortions far and wide, then miracle uncertainty would be removed from the world by all skeptics, and this would violate the order by which revelation is to occur in our world. Therefore, God remains hidden and performs miracles (yes, even preventing some abortions) according to God's will (e.g., to help or save those who call out to God in prayer and fasting ask of God).

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Will

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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2007, 05:06:39 pm »

That was a totally meaningless reply by Will.

If God can prevent people getting the name of a descendant wrong in the lists of genealogies in 1 Chronicles, why can't God prevent babies from being aborted?



It was not meaningless, you just don't see the meaning.

My point is that the will cannot logically be determined by itself, because it would then have to determine to determine itself...the Edwardian argument.  Which is contrary to WLC's view, that is what I was referring to.

Thus, point being, is that God could and will, but at present chooses to let people govern themselves according to their own fallen nature.  
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alloneword

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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2007, 12:11:53 am »
Will wrote: [  It was not meaningless, you just don't see the meaning.  My point is that the will cannot logically be determined by itself, because it would then have to determine to determine itself...the Edwardian argument.  Which is contrary to WLC's view, that is what I was referring to.  Thus, point being, is that God could and will, but at present chooses to let people govern themselves according to their own fallen nature.   

   

   You mean that God's will is determined by something else?

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Gladius

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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2007, 08:38:13 pm »

The Edwardian Argument seems false to me because a human being is more than just a will, even an atheist would agree to that (I assume). The human being experiences emotions as well as thoughts and many other experiences which have a profound affect upon the will. Therefore, it seems to me, the will could simply be reacting to stimulus when it makes choices, it doesn't actually have to will itself to will anything; although I think it could. It's like a person at the doctor having his/her reflexes checked; one could move one's lower leg by will, or it could simply react to outside stimulus--namely, the doctor hitting the knee with a mallet--without any will being needed. I'm not sure this is true, but it seems to be a logical alternative to the Edwardian argument, in man's case and God's, at least I think so, but I'm not married to it.

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Will

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« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2007, 01:40:26 pm »

You mean that God's will is determined by something else?


No, God's will is determined by Himself and thus can't choose apart from Himself.
Will

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Will

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« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2007, 01:55:40 pm »
The Edwardian Argument seems false to me because a human being is more than just a will,



This is not even close to an accurate description of Edwards view concerning the freedom of the will.  The will is simply an element of the human which describes "his ability to choose."  The will is never thought of as the entirety of the human.  


The human being experiences emotions as well as thoughts and many other experiences which have a profound affect upon the will.


This is the exact point of Edwards.  Not that we are in bondage to external influences, but that ultimately our will is controlled by our 'self' and how it interprets both external and internal influences.  Namely, at the moment of choice that which the mind perceives as the greatest motive is what determines the will...thus the will is not free to choose apart from its supreme motive (which is contrary to libertaine freedom).

 
Therefore, it seems to me, the will could simply be reacting to stimulus when it makes choices, it doesn't actually have to will itself to will anything;  although I think it could. It's like a person at the doctor having his/her reflexes checked; one could move one's lower leg by will, or it could simply react to outside stimulus--namely, the doctor hitting the knee with a mallet--without any will being needed.


I think it is categorically confusing to speak of natural physical reactions as acts of the will...I don't think they are.  An act of the will would have to invovle the agreeable/understanding volition of the person, not a biological response to stimulai.  If you disagree, than it is just a matter of definition; but when Edwards speaks of the will being determined by the greatest motive, it involves the undesrstanding of whats going on within the agent that makes the choice.    

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Will

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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2007, 02:46:25 pm »
Quote:
You mean that God's will is determined by something else?



No, God's will is determined by Himself and thus can't choose apart from Himself.

I reread your question, and for further clarification... I must also answer yes.  God's will is not determined by "itself" (i.e. the actual will), and thus it is determined by soemthing else, namely, His self not His will.
Will

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Gladius

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« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2007, 05:38:43 pm »

Will, thank you for your response! First I would like to say that I think I was a little unclear with what I wrote, and I apologize. I haven't actually read Edwards argument, I was just responding to what you stated about it, but if turns out that my objection ends up agreeing with his argument then all the better (if it's correct, that is). Second, I wasn't trying to say that natural biological reactions are the products of wills, but rather I was making an analogy trying to show that even though you can will your leg to move, it can also move simply by reaction, without the will, which is the exact same thing I think you're saying. Again, I apologize, I shouldn't have commented on an argument I wasn't completely familiar with, but I think it turns out that we agree in the end?

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Kevin

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« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2007, 03:49:17 pm »
alloneword wrote: http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/menmoved.html

' For if God can control human activities in such exquisite detail as to produce through free agents a Scripture which is verbally and plenarily inspired, then there seems no reason why He could not control human activities such that people always freely refrain from sin.'

Craig makes a very good point.

He doesn't give a very good answer, except to imply that God can control human activity to make a Bible that is without error, but he cannot stop human beings torturing children (or any other evil)

All God can do is stop errors in the Bible. Apart from that he is helpless.....


It doesn't appear that you continued to read the article, which contains that answer in the next few paragraphs. You should realize that Craig is addressing an argument on divine inspiration given by Basinger. He's not giving his own position.

Let me quote a little more then what you gave. The quote contains what you posted with extra: "But where does this leave us? I suggested that Basinger and Basinger’s argument might be more perspicaciously understood as claiming that human evil constitutes evidence against (2). That is to say, given (2*) , (2**) is highly probable. For if God can control human activities in such exquisite detail as to produce through free agents a Scripture which is verbally and plenarily inspired, then there seems no reason why He could not control human activities such that people always freely refrain from sin. Given, then, the evil in the word, (2’) is probably true. But if (2’) is probably true, then, as argued, the doctrine of verbal, plenary inspiration is probably false.  To defeat this argument what is needed is some plausible, positive account of how God can control free human activities in such a way as to yield inspired Scripture wihout being able simultaneously to control free human activities in such a way as to prevent evil. "

Craig continues a little further along with "Here we are speaking not of simple foreknowledge, but of God’s counterfactual knowledge. It involves His knowledge of what some creature would freely do, were he to be placed in a specific set of circumstances. If God has such knowledge explanatorily prior to His creative decree then such knowledge is what theologians have called middle knowledge (media scientia)."

All you have to do is read a little more of the article.

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Bill Maloney

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« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2007, 08:25:04 pm »
harvey1 wrote:

Quote from: alloneword
That was a totally meaningless reply by Will. If God can prevent people getting the name of a descendant wrong in the lists of genealogies in 1 Chronicles, why can't God prevent babies from being aborted? Answer. Because there is no God to save babies from abortion.

Let me given an analogy in reply to this. A mathematician can know God's mathematical mind by following their mathematical intuition. If any errors pop up, it will soon appear to be an error because a whole series of deductions will give absurd results. So, if the "mathematicians" of the biblical era made substantial mistakes in their "deductions" of God's spiritual mind, then they would have intuitively grasped this by the spiritual signs that they would have seen through inspiration.

Now, you ask about why God can't prevent babies from being aborted. Well, notice that there's nothing in violation of how nature is seen to behave when mathematicians deduce God's mathematical thoughts, and likewise, there's nothing in violation of how nature is seen to behave with the biblical "mathematicians" writing down the spiritual mind of God.

When we talk about changing the natural order of how the universe tends[/] to operate (e.g., death and decay), then certainty plays a very important part. Miracles can and do occur, but they occur with uncertainty. Now, if God prevented abortions far and wide, then miracle uncertainty would be removed from the world by all skeptics, and this would violate the order by which revelation is to occur in our world. Therefore, God remains hidden and performs miracles (yes, even preventing some abortions) according to God's will (e.g., to help or save those who call out to God in prayer and fasting ask of God).


Thanks for this explanation.  I was discussing this on another thread and I could not see how free will was compatible with Biblical inerrency.

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demurph

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« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2007, 10:33:23 pm »
Will wrote:  
Quote:
You mean that God's will is determined by something else?



No, God's will is determined by Himself and thus can't choose apart from Himself.

I reread your question, and for further clarification... I must also answer yes.  God's will is not determined by "itself" (i.e. the actual will), and thus it is determined by soemthing else, namely, His self not His will.

  What does it even mean that God's "Self" determines His will?  If it's not his will, then what is it?  His mind?  His character?  His own power?  Maybe the reason that people think that your replies are meaningless is that all you give them to work with are undefined and obscure slogans.
  Furthermore, just to point something out to you, the Edwardsian argument doesn't work simply because of the fact that it depends on the Strong Principle of Sufficient Reason (not just that things need deterministic causes, but states of affairs as well; something that seems false in the quantum realm) and on treating human action as a form of event causation rather than agent causation.  
  By the way, just so you know, the Edwardsian position is a position all theists should try to avoid for two related reasons:  1.) If all wills are not self-determining, then they have to be determined by something else.  If we go all the way back, it means that we are all ultimately determined by something outside ourselves (God or natural processes) which means that our personal responsibility is compromised.  2.)  This position makes God ultimately directly responsible for the fact that there is evil in the world.  Either he directly caused the original will to do evil, or he set up a world that would eventually lead to do evil when he could have conceivably done otherwise.

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Harvey

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« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2007, 06:15:11 am »

demurph wrote: This position makes God ultimately directly responsible for the fact that there is evil in the world.  Either he directly caused the original will to do evil, or he set up a world that would eventually lead to do evil when he could have conceivably done otherwise.

There's a double or even triple evil in this for Calvinists since God not only is responsible for people's actions, He makes salvation impossible by their works alone and has only chosen a select few whom He spares the punishment of an eternal hell. Not only is God the judge, jury, prosecuting attorney, and eternal executioner, but God is also the accomplice, the stool pigeon, and the guy who frames you for the crime. It's hard to recognize this kind of God as the God that so loved the world.