Yep that sounds a bit like something I might write.
In my view these two views do not exclude each other but are rather complementary.
Indeed, God endows humans with freedom and call us to freely love it, and thus participate in God’s interior triune life, which is essentially relationship.
I can freely reject to enter in relationship with God. But this does not thwart God’s plan: it only means that another will take my place in heaven. He will have a Name for ever, and I will remain without Name, be no-one. At the end all places in heaven will be occupied.
So Got ensures that the “cosmos does what He wills” but He let us free to decide by which way the cosmos does what God wills: Among the “ensemble of seemingly inexhaustible possibilities” (described by “All-possible-worlds” and statement E2 of @mitchellmckain) I freely decide which possibility I want for me.
I agree: God created the physical universe to make “humankind in the image of God”. And God became human flesh in order human flesh can become in the image of God.
Extraordinarily God makes miracles, not to show His absolute control but to remember us that we are called to eternal life and happiness. And also to make it clear that the big miracle is the ordinary physical world with its repeatable patterns: God created and sustains it in order we all can have a happy life on earth.
That doesn’t make any sense.
Either things happen which God does not like or they don’t. It is only one or the other. You can say that He makes some things happen according to His will, no problem. But if God ensures everything does what He wills then how can you say that anything happens which God does not like? Are you saying that God likes to torment Himself or that He goes ahead and does evil even though He doesn’t like it later. Is God a split personality psychopath?
But that freedom means that humans can refuse His call, hating Him and what He has given, destroying that which is good – i.e. do things which God will not like.
Ahhh… now that is different.
“Does not thwart Gods plan” does not equal “ensuring that everything in the cosmos goes according to what He wills.”
Plans can certainly incorporate contingencies. No problem.
What I do not agree with is that God plays a pretend game with a sham of empty freedom by setting us up to fail and go against His will just so He can get some one-up-manship on everyone to show that He is in control no matter what we do. That sounds more like the behavior of the devil. It is the devil who seeks to make people feel worthless and powerless. God seeks to empower us to show that our bad habits can be dispensed with His help to liberate our previously chained potential for good.
My comment was within the context of the regularities we observe in the universe and how events such as the resurrection of Christ can be understood as included in God’s will from the beginning. This notion fits within the doctrine of the acts/energies of God while we understand the simplicity and transcendence of the Godhead.
On God liking and hating, my response is scripture, where Christ prayed to the Father, if possible let this cup pass, but YOUR will be done. I do not think God ‘liked’ seeing His Son crucified, but God loves us so much that He was willing to defeat death and the power of sin, so we may be saved. AND Christ had faith that God would resurrect Him.
But getting back to the discussion, I am going through your publication on many worlds (I feel my age as I have not followed much of what you write, so it will take me some time to digest what I can) - I feel that your ‘things from the outside’ may resonate with the theological doctrine of the uncreated energies and the distinction with the essence.
Yes, that is what I mean!
I share your disagreement with such a view of God.
I find your description of the devil excellent!
To be in hell means to feel worthless and unimportant forever.
Yes, this is the meaning of “All-possible-worlds”, and your statement E2, as I understand it.
If I make a choice against God, the story where I would have made a choice to love God is a real possibility in God’s mind. So it is me who freely decide to be in a branch of all the possible worlds where I become unknown for God, someone without name, no-one.
Nonetheless God seeks again and again to restore the “love story”, to empower me and help me to liberate my potential for good.
If in the end I decide to remain outside God’s knowledge, unimportant forever, I will not thwart God’s plan: someone other will take my place and receive “an everlasting name”. In this sense, in the end, it will happen what God wills.
Interesting. This sounds a bit like something I would say which is the choice between good and evil is only a side effect of our free will. It more about choosing among the endless possibilities open to goodness. Sin is self-destructive particularly destructive of free will itself and the destructive nature of evil has a decidedly narrowing effect.
This is the part which makes no sense to me.
To be sure, God’s providence does not depend on us and any role in His work will indeed have someone else to take our place if we reject it. But I would not take this to the extreme your words suggest, as if we are completely replaceable and our damnation makes no difference to anybody but ourselves. We are not factory designed cogs in some great machine made to specification in that way. I do not agree with that.
I fear that is what damnation is all about!
Psalm 9: 5-6:
you have blotted out their name for ever and ever. […] even the memory of them has perished.
Psalm 34: 16:
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to blot out their name from the earth.
But all sinners will be destroyed; there will be no future[e] for the wicked.
May they be blotted out of the book of life, and not be listed with the righteous.
They are like a dream when one awakes; when you arise, Lord, you will despise them as fantasies.
Don’t buy it. Sounds like an empty threat to the wicked and reflects rather negatively on everyone else, particularly on a God who would do such a thing. It is too dishonest. I can see the reason for thinking this way and I don’t accept the basic premise that heaven is a place with only positive feelings. Oblivion is preferable to such a fake-life.
I find this to be dubious as well.
All you need to do is look at our earthly versions of hell as represented by prisons, and what you see is not a bunch of people who feel worthless. Some may, but most have an exaggerated sense of self-importance. I wondering if you are projecting. Those who do feel worthless are ripe for the gospel, don’t you think? So I would tend to expect to find people like that in heaven rather than hell.
Many thanks for your interest for my publication.
Yes, I think like you that “influences coming from outside the space-time” may resonate with Palamas’ “uncreated energies”. In any case quantum experiments clearly demonstrate that the physical phenomena in the ordinary world around us cannot be explained exclusively by means of materialistic connections propagating in the space-time. For me this is one of the two great upshots of the quantum description of reality.
In this sense I agree to your statement:
Regarding to your statement:
The second great upshot of the quantum description is that there is NOT ONLY ONE physical reality but different parallel ones. In the end of the day, physical reality consists in a manifold of observations, and thus there can in principle be different physical realities depending on different groups of observers (Pentecost is paramount in this respect!).
There is certainly the ordinary physical reality we are used to, which is characterized by repeatable patterns we can grasp by means of scientific experiments and mathematical algorithms; it is the realm where the results of experiments are the same for all observers, the realm we are capable to master by unfolding useful technologies. But there are many other possible extraordinary realities beyond our operational capabilities: The Resurrection of Christ, Pentecost, and other miracles are undoubtedly among them.
The ordinary reality and the extraordinary ones together, build the full physical reality. This is contained in God’s mind from the beginning, in form of your “seemingly inexhaustible possibilities”, or my “all-possible-worlds”. God bounds the ordinary phenomena to our operations regardless of we are believers or unbelievers, so that everyone can happily live on earth. By contrast miracles aim specifically our eternal happiness and God may let them depend on our faith and prayer. But God shape both, ordinary and extraordinary phenomena, for the sake of mankind’s happiness. This is the only “inexorable law of nature”, which miracles fit perfectly to!
I agree - just one point on semantics; I prefer to mention the creative acts of God as knowable, and not use the phrase “in the mind of God” or such words. Theologically we cannot know the essence of God but come to knowledge through acts attributed to God and revelation, esp of Christ and scripture.
The two following statements of yours seem somewhat to contradict each other:
Is the devil seeking to make people ripe for the gospel?
I would like to understand well what you mean.
Thanks in advance for clarifying.
Yes they do, and I think it means that the situation is more complicated than the second statement suggests.
It seems we need to distinguish between the healthy and unhealthy roles of negative feelings. We can see it in the role of pain in life. Pain serves a useful role in warning us away from harmful things and signaling to the body the need to take care of damage (and we know from leprosy how destructive the elimination of pain can be). But pain doesn’t always serve a useful purpose in this way for it can not only be a chronic pain that serves no purpose, but it can even cause or exacerbate other problems.
In the same way we can distinguish between healthy and unhealthy cases of feeling bad about yourself. There is not only the question of whether it is appropriate but also how we respond to it. It is appropriate to feel bad in response to destructive behavior especially if it motivates us to change. But when we are made to feel bad about things we cannot or should not change then it is not so healthy.
You might suggest there is a matter of quantity and degree. In some sense, feeling bad enough to motivate you to change means that in some sense you don’t feel completely worthless. Though this is hard to judge because it varies between people. How bad do you have to feel before you are motivated to change? And how bad before you just give up? And I wouldn’t be too sure that there is always something in between, for it seems sometimes finding your way through this contradiction takes a bit of miracle.
So I think we can conclude that it is not always the devil who makes us feel bad, and that even feeling worthless can be somewhat relative to a lot of other things.
I use the phrase “the full physical reality is contained in God’s mind from the beginning” in the same sense as St. Paul in Acts 17:28:
For in him we live and move and have our being.
How would you formulate this idea?
Thanks in advance.
I too would prefer Acts17:28, Gen 1:1, John 1 as examples - scripture is always preferred.
My preference regarding the physical reality is that God is the creator and sustainer. The rest of my discussion would be placed under that phrase.
We can know some things theologically of God’s essence through revelation, do you mean? God is love and God is spirit – both are essential attributes, or attributes of his essence, and we learn of them through revelation (not by theological deduction).
We attribute Love, Mercy, Justice, Creation and so on to God. These are due to our language and way we communicate - yet God is not composed of these but His essence is simple, and we speak of One God as the Trinity is identical in essence.
I am not a theologian and it is better if those interested consulted appropriate writings on this.
His essence is simple, but it has attributes.
I agree, and would like to add a further reflection to this discussion:
To understand what salvation and damnation is all about one should consider that in the beginning when God decides to create humanity in his image, God really wants that humans correspond to his love and expects a history without sin.
So a history without sin is present in God as a real possibility. It is this history that defines the number of those who will enjoy God forever, the number of “places in heaven”, and the everlasting names assigned to them.
In the history we are involved humans sinned and sin. But for each sin I do, God gives me opportunity to repent so that at the end, if I want, I can reach “a place in heaven” and receive an everlasting name. If I reject God definitely at the moment of death, then I will remain outside God’s knowledge and without name forever. Nonetheless history will go further in such a way that “all places in heaven” will be filled in the end, as it would have been the case in the history without sin God wanted in the beginning.
It is not that we are “replaceable”, but that I will receive an everlasting name and be someone, only when I get into relationship with God forever through my transformation into Jesus Christ. Strictly speaking, while I am on earth, I have not yet a name but am struggling to have one, to be someone.
Absolutely, but the same way you state that
one can as well state that:
The full physical reality (i.e.: the ordinary reality and miracles together) is included in God’s will from the beginning.
Do you agree?
I agree that all are in accordance with God’s will.