Jordanjapo

  • *
  • 4 Posts
    • View Profile
A Discussion on The Lost and God's Middle Knowledge
« on: August 06, 2015, 12:13:30 am »
I'm listening right now to WLC defend his view of those who are lost. He states that there is a seeming problem that there are certain people who die without ever having heard the Gospel who would have heard the Gospel had they heard it.

He responds that there are no lost people who would have believed the Gospel had they heard it. If hearing the Gospel would have saved someone, God would have brought it to them. So far, so good.

He then asks: well then, how does God do this? And his answer comes down to the idea that God can place people in various points throughout history. He argues that if God knows someone would respond to the Gospel, he ensures that they are born into a place in which they do in fact hear the Gospel.

Now this, I feel, raises an odd question: under a Middle Knowledge perspective, what tools are available to God to decide when a person is born? Does God have a pool of people available to him that he could create? And what is that pool based on -- is it determined by the counterfactual propositions of how men and women would procreate in any feasible circumstance? This certainly seems odd to me. Furthermore, this argument assumes God has this ability to place people in different situations. Given this, why didn't God only create people he knew would respond? Why didn't he only take those people out of the pool of people? Or to put it another way: why is it necessary that people die? Is it to create the circumstances in which people who would respond will respond.

To anyone reading this: don't feel obligated to answer everything. I'm just trying to stimulate conversation.

Any thoughts?

1
Re: A Discussion on The Lost and God's Middle Knowledge
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2015, 10:24:15 am »
I really would like to know the answer to this as well.  Middle Knowledge is a very compelling idea, but Im still very much confused on these same type of questions concerning the topic.

2
Re: A Discussion on The Lost and God's Middle Knowledge
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2015, 10:30:26 am »
I actually posted a similar question in the thread right before yours, asking almost the same thing. I check the forums here and there to see if an activity has occurred.  I guess there isn't anyone that knows the answer.

3
Re: A Discussion on The Lost and God's Middle Knowledge
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2015, 10:31:16 am »
Here is the link to my post if you are interested...


http://www.reasonablefaith.org/forums/providence/middle-knowledge-and-the-grounding-objection-6030896.0.html

4

Vimbiso

  • **
  • 357 Posts
    • View Profile
Re: A Discussion on The Lost and God's Middle Knowledge
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2015, 10:16:52 am »
Quote
what tools are available to God to decide when a person is born? Does God have a pool of people available to him that he could create?


Middle knowledge, as you may well know, is simply knowledge of the counterfactuals i.e. what would have happened. The way I understand God’s ordering the world to achieve His purposes is as follows. God’s will is free in that He is free to create or not create a world of creatures with free will, but once God creates a world of creatures endowed with moral worth, moral responsibility and freedom of the will, His purpose with regards to their creation is immutable i.e. His plan for them doesn’t change which is have a nation of people who freely choose to come into an everlasting relationship with Him, the ultimate Good. So you have two immutable constraints to human history i.e. the creation of the world on one end and the divine fulfilment of human history on the other end i.e. God’s purpose for creating humanity. This is why God is called the beginning and the end in that human history proceeds from Him and He is its ultimate fulfilment.

So then what happens in between these two events i.e. the creation of humanity and the fulfilment of human history in God. This is when all the free creaturely decisions occur. But we need to take a step back. Human history consists of two things, free human actions and free divine actions. Middle knowledge dictates that God knows all the possible outcomes bounded by the two constraints i.e. His creation of humanity and the fulfilment of human history in Him. Intertwined with free human decisions are God’s free acts such as commanding Adam, calling Abraham, creating the nation of Israel, the captivity of the Israelites, Jesus coming in the flesh and dying on the cross, the resurrection, sending the Holy Spirit, inspiring the Holy Bible among many others. These acts also form the world that would be actualised.

To answer your question directly, God may have a range of possibilities available to Him based on the two constraints and His free actions which may deliver to Him the set of events that need to occur for His purposes to be fulfilled. If person A being born in 1950 means that person is lost but that person being born in 1951 means they would be saved, prior to the creation of the world, God knows what type of world he needs to create that would generate the necessary events including the billions upon billions of free will decisions that need to be made by all the individuals that predate Person A in order for that individual to be placed within the circumstances that would lead them to freely place their faith in Christ. God not only does this for Person A but does it for every person that will ever exist. Therefore the world we perceive today was created to possess the right attributes for everyone to be placed in the circumstances right for them to freely choose to place their faith in God. However, that is not a guarantee that the person will freely choose Christ. So it goes beyond my example in that God places us in the circumstances He knows are sufficient for us to freely choose Him. Therefore to readjust my example, Person A being born in 1950 may mean they are doomed to condemnation by necessity whereas if being born in 1951 may mean they have sufficient resources to freely believe in God, then God will at the inception of the world tune all its complex parameters so that all the events that occur incorporating human free decisions, lead up to the events that make it possible for people to be born at the right time and place for them to be in sufficient circumstances for them to freely place their faith in Christ. It's almost as if God has rigged the odds in our favour but some still choose to reject God.

Quote
Furthermore, this argument assumes God has this ability to place people in different situations. Given this, why didn't God only create people he knew would respond? Why didn't he only take those people out of the pool of people? Or to put it another way: why is it necessary that people die? Is it to create the circumstances in which people who would respond will respond.

If God looked at this very world (let’s call it World 1) prior to creation and decided that remove all the people that reject Him, then a different set of events would occur (let’s call this world 2) and it may mean some people who in world 1 would have accepted Christ may reject Him or are never born in world 2? The question then is why should God disadvantage those that would freely choose to accept Him for the sake of those that would freely choose to reject Him? The flipside may be that if God were to create a world in which those who in world 1 reject Him (let’s call this world 3) they would all still reject Him. Because if any in world 3 would freely choose Him then God would create instead a world 4 in which those who would choose Him in worlds 1 and 3 would choose Him in world 4. In my opinion, this world can be seen as the optimal world. It is possible that there are other worlds that could have achieved God’s purposes just the same but I am not going to lie saying I know why He would create this one instead of the other ones but since He is morally perfect, we can be rest assured that He has not blundered.

To answer your penultimate question, “why is it necessary people die?” It is not necessary that people die. Remember, God did no create human life for it to be extinguished but for people to live with Him forever. We only die now because the world we live in is suffused with death and suffering but this is only temporary and God may allow it because, perhaps, it serves a purposes in cultivating our characters in our quest to be transformed by God from people oriented towards self to be people oriented towards God.
Pro Nostrum Invisitatus Redemptor

5

jayceeii

  • **
  • 435 Posts
    • View Profile
Re: A Discussion on The Lost and God's Middle Knowledge
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2020, 08:41:59 am »
It’s been obvious to me from the outset that WLC is a hidden cognoscente, slicing up his actual knowledge into tiny bits deemed appropriate to his audience. Whether he can return to his original knowledge is a question of mine, a possibility I’ve been doubting. Here you have trapped him in a conundrum, where trying to make disparate areas of Christian doctrine fit together he has lost logical consistency. The Christian doctrine of one life is false, so it is inevitable as the knowers continue to interact with humans, such inconsistencies appear. Actually Christianity has always been loaded down with these, but humans can generally be trusted not to look too hard or to ask the correct questions.