Thus in granting God this kind of freedom, to do anything he chooses, he must be free to be unforgiving, malevolent, cruel, petty, sadistic, and evil, if he so chooses to be? Although he has the ability to be good, He is free to refrain from being good if and as he so chooses?
Absolutely! This doesn’t mean that He doesn’t have very good reasons to choose good over evil. But that is in the difference in the natures of good and evil and not because God has no choice. It certainly is not my argument that God has to be equally likely to choose evil as to choose good. In fact, it is my argument that an infinite God who has all power and knowledge is most naturally motivated to give of His abundance to another and thus God is motivated to create others to whom He can give of Himself.
And the same argument goes for mankind that our freedom of will doesn’t requires us to be equally likely to choose good as to choose evil either. I would actually say, that this ability to choose between good and evil is only a side effect of free will rather than its main purpose, and that it is more about choosing between all the infinite possibilities of goodness. And I would also argue that evil is shortsighted, parasitical, and irrational since it can ultimately only bring destruction and nothingness. Good is an infinitely branching tree, while evil is a rather singular hole. And yet because of the self-destructive habits of sin which destroys free will because of its addictive nature, people will nevertheless choose evil even though it is irrational and ultimately pointless.
@David_Wood, I just read your profile. Interesting–maybe you would like to post a thread on the implications of evolutionary psychology on faith some time.
What do you think of Justin Barrett’s and others’ contributions on Cognitive Science of Religion? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwqMarigC1A
From this my feeling is that we are saying more or less the same thing but we express ourselves differently. Discussion of choices, to me, always implies a limitation to this or that, whereas I cannot infer such limitations to God. But otherwise, ok.
I think this language is incorrect, as we cannot grant anything to God (albeit we may reason on matters discussed as pertaining to God or gods), nor @mitchellmckain can we give God a character that resembles human attributes.
This is a difficult statement - we may hear the Gospel and respond according to our understanding and inclination. I do not understand how 'God actuates attributes towards …".
God is infinite justice so I cannot understand this comment also. Human justice is often faulty because we at times do not have a complete understanding of events and people. God can see and understand what is in our hearts, mind, intentions, and with this complete understanding comes divine justice, grace, repentance and forgiveness.
Describing God as consisting of a number of characteristics is difficult for us. God is infinite goodness and the font of all goodness. This brings a ‘oness’ when we discuss God, whereas we tend to discuss separate ‘things’ consistent with human reason and understanding.
Yes, I thought that might be your objection from your first comment which is why I replied to this here. But perhaps you had some difficulty understanding that explanation and thus felt a need to touch base with the more important things of the gospel. Perhaps you should read that first response and see if it makes more sense in the light of the explanations which followed. To summarize, it looks to me like a choice between limitations upon God by theologians or limitations upon God by His own choices. I find the latter more acceptable than the former.
this is precisely why I like the doctrine of the Trinity – not at all resembling the way it is for human beings and yet not limiting God to make Him less than human beings. That is what I insist on. Not that God be like us but that God not be less than us by some inability to do what any human being can do.
“Grant” as in “to admit or concede; accept for the sake of argument.” Perhaps more clear if I said, “if we grant that God has this kind of freedom…”
I still don’t think it works out as neatly as you seem to think. For instance, You affirm God is infinite.
Are you thus telling me he has no choice but to be infinite? He couldn’t choose to be finite in his very nature? He couldn’t choose to entirely forgo his inherent infinitude once and for all and become just as finite as the rest of us? He must always and forever be infinite in his being and he has no choice in the matter?
Nope. God can choose to be a helpless finite human infant. And guess what? He did.
Yes He could and He did.
Yes He could. But you not completely correct about our nature. We are finite in actuality but infinite in potentiality – made for an eternal parent-child relationship with an infinite God, where there is no end to what God can give and no end to what we can receive. This is what it meant for God to make man in His own image. And in the person of the Son, God became completely 100% human.
But God could not only become just as finite as the rest of us but He could do both – become just like the rest of us AND remain infinite, and that is what He did. Not because He had to, but because that is what best served His purpose, which was an eternal parent-child relationship with us.
But if God did abandon His purpose and become only one human person. Does that mean He would cease to be God? No. This is because unlike the foolish thinking of people obsessed with power, God is not defined by power. God would no more cease to be God without power and knowledge than a man would cease to be a man if he lost a leg and the power to walk or if he lost a memory and the knowledge He once had. In that case, God becoming as He chooses is an expression of His power – fully able to be as He chooses, whatever that may be.
No, you are incorrect. Power over oneself is the most important power of all. God cannot be be called omnipotent without it.
But in one sense and only in one sense you are correct. We cannot choose the nature of our existence to begin with. Existence precedes essence. We can only make choices because we exist and have the power of choice. God is indeed infinite by nature, with the power to do and be anything He chooses. And it is also true that God cannot cease to be who He is . That is a logical impossibility and an incoherent suggestion – words without any meaning whatsoever. But God could become finite in His being forever afterward because He does have that choice and in doing so He would not cease to be God. He would only cease to be infinite and all powerful.
Though the effect upon us of God doing such a thing is a very different question… That involves a number of curious questions because time is not absolute.
God identifies Godself as I AM WHO I AM (Exodus 3:14.) This means that God, YHWH) does whatever YHWH chooses to do and is Whomever YHWH wants to be.
Therefore the question is not what can or cannot YHWH do, but what does YHWH actually do, because this indicates Who YHWH is. If God loves it is because God wants to love and because God must love. If God wants to love, then why would YHWH hate? etc.
In this way YHWH God does not have to do anything, but is the faithful God of the Bible because of God’s character, which we know as the result of the experience of the Bible and Jesus Christ.
Precisely the point… I grant of course that Christ in his human nature was finite, mortal, and limited in knowledge, power, and presence.
But in the same way you assign “infinitude” to God, and don’t see that as impugning his freedom to choose to be otherwise (the very nature of God himself he could not cease being who he is, if he is in fact infinite)…
This is the same way traditional theologians understand him as being omniscient and knowing all things absolutely, including the future, or omnipresent… It is not something they arbitrarily assign him because of their self-constructed categories, but something they believe to be inherent in his very nature.
As they understand it, God could no more choose to cease knowing all things so as to give someone “privacy” as he could cease to be infinite or eternal (leaving aside of course they specific manner in hutch he became these things in the incarnation.)
You may disagree with their reasoning, of course. But I wonder if we might agree that when we ascribe attributes to God, whether infinitude or all-knowing omniscience, these are both attempts to describe God’s very nature as what it is. And the fact that he could not choose to lack knowledge in his essential being and nature is no more a “weakness” than his inability to cease being infinite, no?
Simply put, if it is the case that God literally knows all things by his very nature, then similarly, “God cannot cease to be who He is.” But this no more “limits” his choices any more than his infinitude limits him, given he can’t cease to be who he is.
Why would God want to know future events before the happen unless we and our universe is simply acting out a scrip that God wrote “before the creation of the world.” Are we living in God’s beta release of his program?
Yes, I most certainly do. They put their definitions above God to say God cannot, and I think that is very foolish. I put God above any definitions to say God can.
Yes indeed. But is God no more than what theologians define God to be, limited to the nature they assign Him? Or is God what He chooses to be? By defining God as power and knowledge, then effectively enslaving God to them, these theologians have made power itself the god they worship. I refuse to do that. I worship the person God who is what He chooses to be and what God chooses is love over power, freedom over control. But if you want to twist this around and say I have made love my god, then truth be told, I have no problem with that. I am quite happy with the choice to worship and revere the God of love and freedom, rejecting completely the god of power and control who I think is no more than the god of this world, the devil and Satan.
Does “Omega point” refer to the heat death of the universe?
“Omega point” comes from the writings of Teilhard de Chardin and refers to the ultimate goal of creation, the culmination point towards which he saw all of creation evolving.
God is what he by nature is. The “definitions” that theologians use about God are attempts to describe what he in fact is or has revealed himself to be, using words and definitions are not attempts to impose on him what he must be.
When I say “the sky is blue”, I’m not forcing my definitions on it, but rather recognizing it to be as it is. If I say “God is omnipresent”, I am describing something I understand God to have revealed his very nature to be, I am not imposing on him some concept which I arbitrarily prefer.
If God has in fact revealed himself as having all power and knowledge, then they are simply recognizing and following what he revealed himself to be and worshipping the God who is.
Good insight. But then we are left with you choosing a view of God based on personal preference.
So you prefer to worship a God of love and freedom. For the sake of argument let’s say I prefer to worship a God of power and control.
So how, exactly, do we determine which of us has a correct and true view of God? You have your preference, I have mine. On what basis do you claim that the God you believe in, based on your preferential choice, is more real or true than my view ofmGod, based on my preferential choices?
In other words, why do you suggest that my preferences are invalid but yours are the path to absolute truth?
So you say and thereby enslave God. I say instead, God is what He chooses to be. That is a God enslaved to nobody and thus ultimately more powerful. Power over oneself is the most important power of all.
The sky is an inanimate object and that is what you reduce God to. Now consider what you are saying when it is a person instead…
When I say “John is weak”, I’m not forcing my definitions on him, but rather recognizing it to be as he is. If I say “John loves pain”, I am describing something I understand John to have revealed his very nature to be, I am not imposing on him some concept which I arbitrarily prefer.
Oh… that is a very different kettle of fish, isn’t it? You are indeed forcing your perceptions and judgments upon John and imposing your conceptions and preferences indeed!
You are free to make your choices and I am free to make mine, because it is ultimately about who we are. You can choose to be the person who worships power and control and I will choose to be the person who worships love and freedom. Playing Pascal’s game and considering the different possibilities, you can say that you are covered either way, kowtowing to a god of power and control gets you in the monster god’s good graces and if it is the god of love instead then all is good, right? Except… that is the wager of a sniveling worm, who will serve whatever god comes along. I will not do that.
So basically my answer is that I care more about being on the side of goodness, love, and freedom than I care about what sort of character God may have. The devil god will never get my regard and I will go with Sisyphus hopelessly pushing a rock up a hill forever rather than selling out to evil just because it has the power. That, my friend, is the REAL difference between faith and legalism.
Your original edit was better… If John told me “I am feeling weak,” or he told me he loved pain… then insofar as I trust him to be spekaing the truth, then if I said “he is feeling weak” or “he loves pain”, I am simply relaying the same information that he revealed. I am allowing HIM to define for himself who he is or what he feels… and I am respecting his own words by accurately relaying his perspective.
If I tell you, “I like banana pudding,” and you tell someone else, “Daniel likes banana pudding,” in what world of logic could anyone conceivably think that you were forcing your perceptions and judgments on me, imposing your preferences and conceptions? Would not anyone recognize that you were simply relaying information about me that I relayed to you?
But the reality is that we only have hearsay not actual testimony, and people pushing their interpretations, like a gaggle of lawyers and politicians doing their best to put their own spin on what was said to push their point of view.