Monthly Archives: November 2012

Cosmic Chattel Slavery?: The pervasive and false understanding of divine ownership of man.

1 Corinthians, Chapter 6 is a well-recognized chapter of the New Testament.  Arguably the most famous verses within this text are 19 and 20:

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” NKJ version

Now, I understand that there are several ways we can approach addressing these passages, and I think in some cases addressing the subtle vagaries of the practical and spiritual implications of sharing your body with the Holy Spirit is highly appropriate.  However, the angle I wish to take in this post is a straightforward assault upon the unsettling idea that somehow these verses are intended to mean that God actually claims man as some kind of personal property.  That is, I would like to dismantle the idea that “you are not your own” means what some members of the more fundamentalist sects of our religion interpret it to mean:  cosmic chattel slavery.  Man as property of another; in this case, God (or even worse, man in effect possessed by God).  I will point out why this is simply not a possible interpretation of these verses in light of God’s omnipotence and perfection.  Metaphysically, it is impossible that “ownership” of man can be interpreted this way.

On the one hand, we have a version of 1 Corinthians, Chapter 6, which some interpret as nothing more than proof of man-as-property, without rights to his body or mind, in the tradition of chattel slavery, or even (for those spiritual teachers who deign to provide a gentler approach) some form of perpetual, spiritual, indentured servitude.  And yet the Bible speaks of our friendship with Christ, and the light burden, and the Truth setting us free so that we may be free indeed.  Now,I have a B.S. Ed. degree from Shippensburg University, perhaps the finest teaching university in the country, with a specialty in the Civil War (and early 20th century Irish affairs) and I can tell you that from my understanding of forced servitude in this country the concepts of “friendship”, “light burden”, and “freedom” have approximately zero to do with that institution.  So, why then do so many seem to persist in holding, to at least some degree, the idea that man is actually God’s personal property in the tradition of human-to-human chattel slavery?  Why do so many seem to agree that God owning man is essentially the same thing as His owning the “cattle on a thousand hills”?  The answer is simple.  They have conceded a specific definition of Christian “orthodoxy” which is rooted in the Reformation, which arose from the Catholic church, both of which have foundations within the Augustinian merging of Greek philosophical gnosticism and Christianity.  In fact, if one were to attempt to summarize the whole of Christian “orthodox” theology into one single-sentence definition, be it Catholic or Reformed, I believe it would be best described as:

“You are a bystander to yourself because you are owned and controlled by powers which are inexorably beyond you; and these powers are both mitigated by and flowing from the conduit of your arbitrary human authorities, which are likewise beyond you.”

Certainly we have a Master in heaven, that much I do not deny.  If one cannot properly refer to the omnipotent Creator as “Master”, then I’m not quite sure who in heaven or in earth can ever fit that description.  For God is nothing if not a literal Master over all He sees and all He creates; and even over His very Self.  Even the Son refers to his authority as having  been given by God (the Father).  But He is not like any earthly master.  He is, for one thing, not present in body.  This creates a strange dynamic in the “conventional” owner/slave sense.  As human beings, we have been given many charges…responsibilities of necessity (that is, things which must be done in order to live and thrive, e.g.: working, resting, using wisdom, diligence, stewardship, justice, mercy, honesty, even paying taxes to “Caesar”), not the least of which is to “rule and subdue”.  In this sense, it seems apparent that man, by the very nature of his own environment, reason, mortality and morality is responsible for the management of his life on earth, and the day-to-day practicalities which make that life something other than misery and/or death.  Of course, Jesus counseled us not to worry about our needs, but this simply cannot be interpreted as an absolving of man of his personal responsibility for his earthly welfare.  That would be a stretch so large that I doubt even the neo-Calvinists would concede it.  But, it would take a lot to strain credulity when considering their “doctrine”, I admit, so I won’t take any bets.

In light of this, then, how do we square the idea of a heavenly Master with a physical master in the chattel slave sense (or in the sense of any “authority” whatsoever, even down to something as seemingly innocuous as your boss at work)?  We have no master present and yet some would say we are to function as though we do.  But this hardly seems reasonable.  The implicit idea in this interpretation of divine ownership is that we are slaves who must figure out how to walk in our slavery while being functionally free, responsible for doing both our work and His, without even a clear delineation of which is which, because the whole doctrine confuses the issue.  Provide for yourself by denying that you have any right to do so whatsoever.  Not only does this not make any sense, but seems very little like the “light” kind of burden our Lord spoke of.

Whether our determinist friends in any school of thought—be they neo-Calvinist despots or scientific determinist hypocrites, or whomever—choose to accept it or not, the reasonably verifiable fact is that it is NOT God doing all the providing for man.  Man is the one who provides for himself; who reaps and sows according to his due diligence and reason and morality and awareness of the divine directive to exercise wisdom in taking control and ownership of his life.  Certainly God’s grace provides in times of trouble as the manna in the desert and the feeding of the five thousand demonstrate.  However, unless otherwise instructed by the Spirit, or moved upon by Him due to special circumstance, we are to take our welfare upon ourselves, willfully and personally and purposefully implementing the Truth God gives, which we grasp by our reason, in organizing our world and lives.  In short, we have all the tools we need to do for ourselves.  And the Bible is not bereft of warnings and rebukes for those who are lazy in this regard.

In light of the biblical mandate that man take ownership of and responsibility for his life on earth, it is not difficult to see how the traditional understanding of human-to-human enslavement and other forms of servitude breaks down, and breaks down immediately.  Nevertheless, this obvious and Biblical rebuttal to the idea of cosmic chattel slavery continues to elude the philosophy of many believers.  This is due, in large part, to the disturbing trend of Christians accepting that the proof-text is the gold standard of Biblical exegesis (known in cohesive form as Systematic Theology), which in my observation more often than not exaggerates and makes inappropriately literal a simple and contextually specific theological point or points.  In regards to the issue at hand, the point is the Pauline declaration that “you are not your own”.  Somehow, by some strange and distorted idea of humility (which is really, in neo-Calvinist circles, merely a rank hatred of humanity no matter who it is, what they believe, or what they are doing), this statement gets translated as:  “God owns you, so don’t even pretend to think for yourself, or delude yourself into thinking that you are capable of doing anything to please God by yourself in any way at all; you better just sit down and wait until God (or rather, your local church “authority”) tells you what to think and do.”  And God, instead of the “friend” which Jesus spoke of and the One who cares for widows and orphans, is the invisible, dour and cold Master, using the whip of discipline (church discipline IS God’s discipline; there is no distinction by those who believe in the false idea that the church has any authority to FORCE outcomes in believers’ lives) and the chain of guilt to compel his brutes to stay with the herd, nodding and joyful and oblivious to anything that smacks of themselves (because they are mere bystanders to their own lives) …yes, going along with the crowd which is compelled ultimately by threat and force into “sound doctrine”.  And who, absent the Master in body, are the shepherds of the herd on earth, standing in the stead of the divine Herder?  Why, your local neo-Calvinist/neo-reformed pastor (or “elder), of course!

This is undoubtedly where the logic always leads:  You don’t own yourself.   WE do.  Not God, because, look around…He is not here.  And anyway, He is too Holy to deal with the likes of sinful, wicked, depraved YOU; and that is why he left US in charge.

Yes.  This is exactly where the logic always leads.  You are a slave, not to God, but to man.

The local church “authority” becomes slave-master proxy.  And voila!  In one cold and lonely proof-text we have managed to light the bonfires gnostic, deterministic control of the masses.

So, now that we have shown what 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 is not, let’s examine what it actually is.  First, we must acknowledge, in light of the metaphysical reason of God’s omnipotence, that He cannot in fact own you as chattel slave-type property.  The idea of God owning creation should not been seen in this kind of earthly and human context because of this metaphysically reasonable point:   An omnipotent God, by definition, does not need to own anything at all, because He is all that he needs; and all that He needs is perpetually found in Himself.  Because of this, He could not have created all Creation in order to own it, but ownership, rather, has to do with the broader command God gives to man regarding the right to claim ownership of one’s work. In effect, man’s right (via God’s declaration that HE worked, so HE owns his work) to own his labor and thus own its fruits.  And by this, it is obvious that man must certainly own himself.  For if his work is his own and the product of the work is his own then it is obvious that man must also own himself.  You cannot separate the individual from his labor and its product.  It is simply not morally or metaphysically possible (why we as Christians, at least ostensibly, decry communist governments; they are simply UNBIBILCAL).  This is the fundamental premise behind the idea of God’s “ownership” of man.  (More on this in a moment).

At any rate, to declare man divine property introduces a redundancy in man’s very creation by a perfect God.  Man was created to be free because God’s perfection means that man could never have been created to be owned, because God by definition needs nothing at all; there this is absolutely no reason God can create man for the purpose of owning him which does not make God a hypocrite.  So there is a fundamental dichotomy in the idea of ownership.  On the one hand, God is morally bound to declare ownership of His own labor, which is Creation, including man.  This is just and right; for an ownership of labor is an ownership of self.  And yet by definition there is no metaphysically reasonable way that God can create man for the objective of owning him in the master/slave sense.  It simply cannot be.  If man was not created to be free to own himself the way God owns Himself then man simply could not have been created at all.

“The earth is mine and everything in it” is not a declaration that God is some kind of cosmic loan officer, either.  Or that man is simply watching God’s storehouse, or declaring his own work and its fruits as merely a stewarding God’s property.  On the contrary.  If man built the storehouse, filled it, maintained it, and has the deed to it, it means, by even Biblical definition that it belongs to the man.  Does this make man a robber of God?  It does not.  On the contrary, it affirms God’s divine purpose for man, and God’s righteous declaration that the earth, the product of His labor, and everything in it belongs to Him.  And here we see another obvious reason why God would declare Creation His own.  By God saying “mine”, He proclaims that He is Truth.  When He assumes the right of ownership of His work, he declares that He is in fact the One, true Creator; and thus all that He says and commands and instructs is Truth.  He states loudly by His self-bequeathed right to own His work that He alone may literally declare what IS and what IS NOT.  And thus, he anoints Himself…well, God.

And in this sense, Creation and man do indeed belong to Him.  And thus He rightly declares by all just and reasonable and moral prerogative that He is at liberty to do as He pleases with what He has built.  But we cannot stop here because this logic inevitably leads us to another important metaphysical question:  Just what is God pleased to do with his Creation?  The answer is that He is again bound to what His own perfection and omnipotence demand of Him; what God is morally obligated to by His own definition of moral purity, and His embodiment of perfection which man grasps via his reason, that God may show Himself faithful to his divine and Holy status, and make thus all men liars who oppose Him; and it is important to remember that man’s reason is something which God also created.  Man approves of God according to His word of Truth by a faculty which man wholly owns and controls, and yet, God has made for such a purpose…and this is of course proof of God’s utter confidence that He is in fact who He says He is:  by the fact that He has provided man a way to INDEPENDENTLY know it and see it and affirm it.  (Yes, I said it.  Independently.  I utterly deny and renounce the doctrine of Total Depravity, along with the other four points of TULIP.)

But back to the question.  What is it that God is pleased to do with Creation?  It is simply this:  That Creation be itself.  Acting by itself, of itself, according to itself, and yes, owning itself.  In other words, what pleases God is to create something that is not God.  Therefore, divine ownership of man effectively equals releasing man to be himself and to own himself.  The Fall makes us slaves to the moral law, and eternally condemned by it, but Christ has returned us to our original status before God.  And that original status is to be “free indeed”.  Free of slavery; of the waggling finger of the other “power” which once held us captive in the chains of spiritual slavery to the Law.  And if we are now free indeed, then what must that freedom imply?  Or rather, what is that freedom exactly?  More slavery?  More chains from the divine Master, claiming complete authority to rule our minds and bodies, contrary to His very perfection?  Not at all.  The freedom, again, is simply that man does indeed own himself.  He is free to be man.  He is free to be NOT God.  Innocent of the law.  Walking in the freedom of good works, which we as Christians do because we are not liars or hypocrites before the moral law of good and evil which we are still consciously aware; and which is why we can still sin and yet our innocence of the moral law means we are no longer condemned by it, nor by God.

Redemption does not mean slavery to God.  Yes we are bought with a price, and yes God is entitled to the product of His labor, which is all of Creation and man. But what truly is the metaphysically reasonable understanding of our redemption in light of God’s purpose for His work in the first place?  Freedom.  And freedom means this:  That a man (or woman, for all the complimentarians) is never owned by any other man, or any group of men, or by a “biblical role”, or even by God Himself.  That man was created to own himself and his work just as God owns Himself and His work.

To summarize, we have an all-powerful and perfect God, who owns Creation as the fruit of His labor; and His labor is Himself, just as man’s labor is himself.  Thus, the idea of divine ownership of man and Creation is the idea of personal property born out of the necessary truth of God creating something that is not Himself, which is that the One, and the one (man) is the sole owner of his work, and so must be the sole owner of himself. But at the same time, God is not a hypocrite, therefore, it must be true that man was created to own himself.  God can never be removed from his perfection and perfect power.  Because He is perfect, He needs nothing, and therefore He simply cannot use creation for his OWN end, which is always the perfect end, which is Himself.  So Creation and man can have but one purpose:  to be free.  Free to be themselves.  To own themselves.  Because this is God’s love; and something created in love cannot be made a slave to Him which created it.

Man was created to be free and to own his body, mind, and life, and to taste God’s love and blessings thus by pursuing Him and His Truth as the very definition of freedom, by his own volition.

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Dismantling Scientific Determinism: The fallacy of natural law (or particle law) as functional “predestination” (Part 2)

We will begin this section of Dismantling Scientific Determinism by discussing miracles, and then move on to a broader discussion of “cause” and “effect”.

In light of scientific determinism (which I defined in my previous post), it is reasonable and natural to ask what the point of, or even the possibility of a true, genuine miracle—a suspension of the natural, or a suspension of how people understand and organize their world by grasping abstract truths and a knowledge of probabilities—yes, what is the point and possibility of a miracle?   Would not scientific determinism contradict the idea of a miracle; and would not a miracle then contradict the idea of scientific determinism?  How is it that the predictable-thus-determined future of the universe’s particles can be usurped by a divine intervention?

You might say:  “Easy.  God can intervene in the life of man and Creation. He’s God.  He can do anything, after all.  Look…it’s in the Bible.”

Yes…it might be that easy.

The only problem is that it’s not.

The main problem with determinism and it’s overarching theological construct, Calvinism, is that both are extremely cohesive (notice I didn’t say “true”, just cohesive).  They make so much plain, common, obvious sense from the perspective of those (which comprise most of us) who are told to accept that such matters are best left to those in positions of ecclesiastical “authority”, and the scholars of divinity.  In this way, they are very good philosophies (notice I didn’t say “true”, just good; as in effective in generating followers).  This makes deconstructing them hard, because deconstruction takes an enormous amount of thinking; of parsing the carefully crafted nuances, semantics, circular arguments, and premises which are, to some degree or another, almost universally accepted by all church denominations as “orthodox” (ideas such as “original sin”, election, “pervasive depravity”, God’s direct control of Creation, etc.), all of which have been organized by reformed theologians to create the extremely effective illusion of an indefatigable philosophical juggernaut.  Getting to the roots and pulling them up can be done, but not without a LOT of digging.

At any rate…if we concede the possibility of a miracle, a true miracle—a divine intervention upon men and nature—then we are forced to concede that particles are NOT determined.

Let’s explore this in broader detail.

If we, as loyal and motivated scientific determinists, declare that God in His infinite power and knowledge pre-ordained the miracle upon the particle or particles in question, as part of their determined future, then we should quickly realize that what we are calling a “miracle” is not a miracle at all, but merely part of the overall universally determined equation.  A predetermined act cannot be a contrary action to the rest of the likewise predetermined universe; this constitutes a logical impossibility.   Miracles preclude determinism and determinism precludes miracles.

Now, with respect to the human observers of the “miracle”:

If a human response to a “miracle” is predetermined, then we run into the same logical problem we have with a predetermined “miraculous act” superimposed upon the backdrop of similarly predetermined universe.  In light of all actions of man and Creation being determined, there can be no true or actual awareness on the part of an observer that a miracle is in fact a miracle at all, regardless of whether or not the observer claims that he or she “sees” the miracle.  Determinism precludes this from being the case; what the observer thinks or professes is irrelevant.

So, not only is any response of an observer to a “miracle” a mere fabrication of the mind, but any response to anything at all can be nothing more than a predetermined action carried out by another predetermined object in imaginary response the first predetermined action.  Within the framework of determinism there can be no true response to anything, because a response implies that the action of responding is predicated on an event.  That is, without the event, there is no response.

Or, better:  without the cause, there is no effect.

But since the cause is predetermined, and the effect must also be predetermined, there is in reality no such thing as cause and effect.  Cause and effect is merely an illusion of the human mind.  In such a case, the effect is not an effect, but simply a predetermined singular act dictated by either God or a law of nature, which is so inexorable that, as a determined act, it would not matter if the initial cause ever existed at all (and likewise, the cause would still occur even if there was no request effect).  If the effect is determined, then again, it is singular, and is not dependent on anything except whatever external force has already declared it as existing by inexorably predetermining it.

So, in other words, there can be no determined effect to an undetermined cause, like a human response to a “miracle”.  And thus, the converse is true:  there can be no determined cause which produces an undetermined effect.  If determinism is true, then they are both actions which, in reality, are completely unrelated to one another.

Now, proponents of scientific determinism will try to argue that natural law is cause and effect, it’s just that the effect is utterly predictable (I know there are caveats to this argument, but let’s keep it simple; the proponents of Calvinism who use scientific determinism as proof of divine determinism do not accept that anything is not already determined by God, the only difference is that for some redundant reason God uses the laws of nature to control, and not his Power of creation…don’t ask me how they get away with this rational larceny (thanks to John Immel who coined that phrase)). But what we are really dealing with, again, is an impossible contradiction.  The law says that every effect to a cause of any particle anywhere is utterly predictable, and so the future of everything is utterly predetermined.  So every single “cause” and every single “effect” must be only what it is, and nothing else, by definition.  If that is the case, then what happens if one action, either a cause or effect is removed from the equation?  The answer is: nothing at all.  By definition, everything is already predetermined, inexorable, utterly knowable. Therefore, one must look at each action of every particle as being utterly singular; complete in itself; and completely non-dependent on any other action or response of any other particle anywhere in the universe.  All of reality is predetermined by God, through the laws of nature, so the idea of either a cause or effect not existing, or not occurring, is impossible.

Why?

Here is where it gets ironic.

Because if one is a scientific determinist, the laws of nature, which are defined as cause and effect laws, actually declare that there can be NO such thing as a cause or effect.  Like I said, everything is merely a singular predetermined act.  And because of this, any “cause” and “effect” MUST occur, because it is a singularly predetermined act, not a cause or effect at all.  You see, within determinism, you have this paradox: Cause and effect are irrelevant concepts.  Without one “cause” or “effect”, by definition, everything must continue on as it is predetermined to be; thus, there is in reality no such thing as cause and effect at all.

Now, this also presupposes that it is impossible to consider a cause or effect of any particle as not occurring (hence the irony), because each cause and effect, again, is a singular predetermined act, so it is impossible that it cannot occur.  All of the universe is a preset IS. Again, this means that there can be no real cause or effect of anything because a.  Without a “cause” or “effect”, the rest of creation must continue to function, uninterrupted and unchanged, as if nothing was missing, because ALL is predetermined by the law or God, and b. because, by definition, if all is predetermined, then it is impossible that any act could not occur.  And both of these cases mean that the concept of cause and effect is a lie.

Therefore, in light of all of that, there can be no such thing as a natural law, because natural laws presuppose actions of particles which are responses to other actions.  But by their very own definition, then, scientific determinists actually deny that this is possible at all.  Thus, scientific determinism is merely another way of arguing banal Calvinist predestination (for those Christians who hold to the idea; for the secular scientists, they are just fine living with impossible contradiction I suppose…which leads one to ask: how good can their science really be?)

If we agree that there is cause and effect, even if we argue that the effect is utterly predictable, then we cannot say that reality is predetermined.  We agree that there is true cause and effect, and as such, there can be no determinism, because the implication then is that it is the cause and the effect which creates reality, not the natural law itself or God which has “predetermined” it.  So, the idea of natural law destroys the concept of determinism.  If we can say that causes generate effects which generate new causes, then predeterminism goes away.  All we have is a set of natural laws which guide the existence of the universe.  Objects are utterly free to do what they do, and interact, apart from the fetters of determinism, even if the laws themselves are predictable. Even if they are utterly predictable.

Laws of nature enable true and actual cause and effect, not a predetermining of the future. The fact that we can reasonably know what will happen next doesn’t make the event which happens next as already having happened.  It doesn’t make the “not yet” real.  And if this is true, and it IS, then we can say that if you interfere with the cause, you can reasonably know that you will have genuinely altered the effect which otherwise would have happened another way.  And, lest the determinist try to cut me off here, let me say this:

To say that a person’s interfering with the first cause is merely the result of another predetermined act (the determined laws of biology, behavior, genetics, etc…which are inextricably linked with particle determinism, because if they weren’t, then human interaction with the rest of the universe must be random) takes us right back to the irrational idea of determinism. Arguing such means saying, again, that cause and effect are lies, and as such there is no natural law, and as such, there is no true cause and no true reaction or effect that you can ever predict.  The future is utterly unknowable.  Your ability to predict or know it is a total illusion.  Because natural law is an illusion AND because even your prediction—the thought in your head—is merely a predetermined act which is limited to the present moment, and by definition can go no farther.

I submit that nothing has happened until it happens, regardless of whatever predictable results we can reasonably assume.  This fact is proven by quantifiable natural laws, not refuted by them.  And if we can say that there is such a thing as a true effect, and so nothing happens until it happens, we are free to reasonably assume that whatever action man takes to interfere with the laws which guide our universe, or to use them to effect his own ends, must be free, and must generate real outcomes which would not have occurred otherwise, by definition of natural law.

In summary, to make the connection between a law which allows for the reality of cause and effect and allows for the existence of Creation and man, and the inexorable determinism of the future is a logical leap that has no rational basis.  It is the worst sort of “scientific” assumption imaginable, and this idea should be rejected by rational people, especially scientists, outright.   The predictability of particle actions is irrelevant.  The law that guides means Creation is free.  And if it is free to do what it does, then we must assume that man is free to interact with it in ways which are truly random, in the sense that man can interfere with both causes and effects to help effect his own reality.

At the end of the day, scientific determinism is nothing more than old fashioned, Augustinian/Platonic divine determinism, which forms the basis for gnostic, nihilist Calvinism, which forms the basis for mystic despotism (more thanks to John Immel for this excellent term).  And we are thus back to the whole free will vs. election debate all over again.

Scientific determinism in the hands of Calvinists is just one more caveat to their irrational philosophical arsenal; another impossible contradiction; another argument of purposefully obfuscated semantics; another euphemism for their Five Points.  Another subterfuge; another mirror; another bit of smoke.  Designed to give the illusion of their intellectual monopoly of Christian theology.  In the end, it’s nothing more than the same old tired argument of “sit down and submit; anything we do to you or demand of you is God’s will, you wicked, depraved sinner”.

In the next post, we will continue this line of thinking, and reflect more on the idea of “miracles”.

Dismantling Scientific Determinism: The fallacy of natural law as functional “predestination”

Recently I had the honor of being patronized by a physicist who is also a devout five-point Calvinist and an utter determinist.  He has yet to respond to any of my questions, choosing rather to level a specious and banal critique of my theology, punctuated with “typical Arminianism”…which makes sense of course, because for the determinist Calvinist, there can be no relevance to any discussion of any kind, so engaging in the arena of ideas (as John Immel describes the place the fights happen), is an exercise in futility.  Everything is already “determined” you see; everything is God’s will.  So, it’s easier to just declare the non-Calvinist a blind fool, attempting to wield truth with about as much skill as a three year old wields a flaming sword…the opinion being that  sooner or later they’ll cut their arm off, and burn for eternity to boot.  Of course, the Calvinists never see the irony in thinking that they–self-described  totally depraved sinners who’s every work and thought is shot through with sin–can claim any TRUTH of any kind, ever, because TRUTH is the perpetual White Whale of the spiritually insane.  But, whatever.   Consistency of functional premises, among other things, has never been a Calvinist priority.

So I thought for a moment about how someone reportedly so intelligent could behold himself to a philosophy that is so metaphysically redundant as to almost be incoherent when you look behind the phylacteries of their cohesive heresy.    I remembered hearing something about scientific determinism a few weeks ago; and also having read about it recently in a Stephen Hawking book.

Anyway, Scientific Determinism, in a nutshell, is the idea that every particle in the universe must obey a natural law, which makes its future almost totally predictable.  The logical extension of this philosophy is that if you are God, you designed the laws, and implicit in that fact is the idea that you must then know and have predestined everything to act in a specifically determined way that you are categorically and perpetually aware of.  Thus, the natural laws which declare every particle’s future known before it happens is the scientific proof that God must have created existence already predestined to do what it will do.

Now, there are about one million metaphysical inconsistencies and irrationalities in that understanding.  I will explain them all fully in a more complete post on this issue (because, this issue begs for an in-depth rebuttal and a razing; if for no other reason than those who profess it think that it is nothing short of an invincible argument for either a. determinism (read Calvinism), or b. atheism).  But here are some of the highlights of my refutation, in numbered fashion.  This forms a logical progression of roughly half of my overall argument against Scientific Determinism.  As I said, I will post a longer essay on the subject later.

1.Natural law precludes divine control, direct or otherwise, of Creation.  Meaning, if God has at His disposal the power of creating (the power to make something out of nothing, for any reason He chooses) by which He can directly control His Creation, then natural laws are, by definition, redundant and thus impossible.

2.The divine determining of Creation through natural laws is functionally the same thing as directly controlling Creation; so if we declare that God uses natural law to control Creation, we are contradicting ourselves, and creating a metaphysical redundancy.  Therefore, the only metaphysically rational conclusion is that God cannot directly control Creation because the fact of the existence of natural laws preclude this.  If God directly controlled, there would be no natural laws guiding Creation, because they would be pointless, as I said, thus, impossible for God to effect.

3. The only reasonable conclusion then that we can thus derive from the reality of natural laws is that they mean Creation must have been purposefully designed to act on its own, and do what it does, by its own power, apart from God’s divine determinism.

4.  If God then does not determine via natural laws or direct control, how then can it be relevant that God know the future of Creation before it happens?  By their own admission, Scientific Determinists state that the argument for God’s divine preordaining is that natural laws mean that the future can be perfectly predicted by God, who knows what all particles in the universe are doing at any given moment; this perfect prediction, to them, is proof that the universe and all in it are predestined along a determined path by GOD…again, God is using natural laws to exercise His control of the universe so that it does precisely what He wants it to do.  As I said, this constitutes a huge logical inconsistency.  God does not need natural laws to control Creation (which “natural laws” did He use to part the Red Sea, or stop the sun in the sky, or turn the water into wine?), so natural laws for this purpose are redundant and impossible, thus the reality of natural law cannot mean direct control; cannot mean determinism.  Scientific Determinists (or Calvinists who use Scientific Determinism to defend their interpretation of predestination/election) have yet to explain this contradiction.  This is because the real answer is not one consistent with their ideas.  The real answer is that, by definition, the One who possesses the power to create has no relevant need to know the future.  Furthermore, if God’s intention for Creation is to act on its own, as is proven by the existence of natural law, then God’s active knowledge of the future (or, more specifically, knowledge of the future as the proof of His determinism, which must equal control) is even more irrelevant; and likely, impossible.

5.  However, we need to acknowledge of course that God is omnipresent, and thus, can never be unaware of anything in Himself or in Creation, because with God, there is, by definition, no such thing as before or after in any sense that we can comprehend with our frame of reference, because God does not exist according to our physics of time, but exists solely in Himself, outside of time, and is perpetual, without beginning or end.

6.  This being the case, it is a legitimate question, in light of metaphysical reason and natural laws which guide our existence as creations of God, to ask ourselves just when, then, can God know what will happen? And also, why should we assume that He must know BEFORE it happens if the concept of before is impossible as a means to describe God’s existence?  Why can we not assume that, in light of God being outside of time, He can create something or someone, knowing what they will do, because they already did it, freely of themselves?  In other words, the determinists say that He MUST know BEFORE something happens.  But why can’t it be said that, on the contrary, He MUST ONLY know AFTER it happens?  To an omnipresent and omnipotent God, what is the difference?  The only meaningful difference is to be found in understanding how it is metaphysically reasonable and thus possible for Creation to exist, without being redundant as either a. a thing which God is actively possessing, or b. a thing which God is actively controlling; neither of which, possessing or controlling, require Creation.  God has a perfect objective and perfect control utterly within Himself.  In other words, He does not need Creation as a means to either Himself, or to control Himself.  Thus, the only metaphysically rational explanation for Creation is that it was made to exist on its own, apart from
God, and to do what it does via itself.  I submit that the existence of natural law is PROOF of this.  This is fundamentally different from how determinists see it.

7.  In light of all of the aforementioned (proof of natural law, the acts of Creation being of itself, freedom of Creation to exist apart from God, the necessary absence of a time reference in relation to God’s existence), the answer to the question “When can God know?” can certainly, reasonably, be claimed as:  God can only foreknow and predestine Creation because it has already acted on its own, as it was created to do; man has already chosen…on his own, apart from God, as his creation as a rational being culpable for his deeds and thoughts demands. (This forms a functional premise of how I reconcile the free will versus election debate, incidentally.)

This is the only logical and reasonable explanation we can have if we claim that God is just, and God is perfect, and God is the Creator.  If determinism is real, then metaphysically, Christianity cannot be TRUTH.  From this, we can clearly see that Scientific Determinism as a defense of Calvinist predestination theology must be a lie.

Retroactive Inevitability of Choice: Preliminary statement on what we must know and what we cannot know according to metaphysical reason

As we move to unravel the seemingly contradictory co-existence of the doctrines of election (or predestination) and free will (man’s unlimited volition of the self), it is important to state what I think will be a natural question for most readers at the end of the entire essay:

How can God do that?

Let me say this in preemptive response:  That is not the right question.

When we move to questions of “how” God does something in regards to a given doctrine we have come to a place where contradiction (I submit that election/free will are not paradoxical doctrines, but contradictory, thus, this is the term I will use…more on this later) is no longer contradiction.  It is not contradictory to say that God can do something from a power which human beings do not understand.  On the contrary, that is categorically reasonable. For no one can understand the “how” of God’s omnipotence; but it is the “why” which we must understand.  If we can reduce our doctrines down to the “how” of God’s power, we will have effectively unlocked whatever contradictions may be found in any given doctrine; and what remains is merely the power of God to do what man cannot do.

This fact is obvious and perfunctory.  For we all know we are here, for example, and before we were not here, and the only way we as Christians can explain it is to conclude that God can do something we cannot do: create something from nothing; call something that is not, IS.  And the explanation of God’s power of doing, then, is always going to be “because He is God”; because in order for us to understand it, God’s power would need to conform to the laws that guide our creation and existence…and this is not possible.  So, being in the place of not knowing “how” God’s power works is reasonable and, moreover, must metaphysically be the case.

But being in the place where we do not understand “why” is not reasonable; and we should never accept not knowing as an answer for questions concerning the “why” of our doctrines, particularly when those doctrines, without a reasonable metaphysical explanation, are impossibly contradictory.  And moreover, even if we do not know why we don’t know something specifically, we must be able to reasonably explain WHY we don’t know why according to reasonable metaphysics.  I know this seems tediously semantic, but there is a huge distinction.  What I’m saying is that the answer to the “why” can never be: because He is God.  “Because He is God” is an answer metaphysically reserved exclusively for the “how” of God’s power.

I might have gotten ahead of myself.

Okay, let’s go back to the start, after having said all of that.

First, for frame of reference purposes, let me summarize what I consider man’s reason for those of you who have not had a chance to read the post on Ability.

Man’s reason is what I refer to as the soul of man; the chief ABILITY (what I consider the reference ability), which is the core of man’s being; the IS which can never be made NOT.

Okay, now, moving on.

To acknowledge that God has a power to act and create which is beyond man’s reason—beyond his capacity to apprehend—is metaphysically reasonable.  I would argue that it is in keeping with the very essence of reason to recognize that man cannot comprehend how God does what he does.  For we have no frame of reference from which to understand how God acts.  That is, I mean literally we have no place, either tangible or abstract, to even begin to understand.  That being the case, the question of how God acts is the end of the search, itself.  The question serves as its own answer: how God acts is how God acts.  Not knowing is the only reasonable knowledge man can have for the question of how God does what he does.  It is beyond our context, senses, and soul to know.  It is beyond relevance, as well.

Let me say that last part again:

It is beyond relevance to know how God does what he does.

Therefore, if it is not relevant to man, then there is no reason God would grant that it is within man’s ABILITY to understand it.  If He did, He would be perpetrating an act of redundancy which, in light of His perfection, is metaphysically impossible. Thus, resolving all contradictions down to the “how” of God’s power is in fact resolving the contradiction down to a perfectly logical metaphysical answer.  In short, if all that remains is “how”, then we have succeeded in reasonably explaining the doctrine.  There is no longer any contradiction.

As an aside, now would be a good time to mention that I understand there are those of you who are reading this who are saying to yourselves “It’s a paradox.  A paradox is NOT a contradiction.”  I beg to differ…not in the definitions, but in how the word paradox is applied.  In the faith sense, there can be no paradox, there can only be a lack of understanding.  Of course, people do not like to admit a lack of understanding, so “paradox” is much easier to feed the laity and the seekers than “contradiction”.  Contradiction raises eyebrows of doubt and cynicism.  Paradox sounds heady and intellectual.  Appealing to all the people in all the right ways, ostensibly.  The intellectuals nod and say, “Good word.  Heady.  Yes…a paradox.”  Those who do not lean towards intellectualism say “Good enough for me.  Sounds complicated.  But I understand that God is God and can do anything.”  (Which, no, He can’t, but more on that later.) So paradox has been the word to mask the contradiction for as many centuries as the issue has been debated.  If you look up “paradox” in the dictionary, I submit that none of the definitions proffered is true for the co-existence of election and free will.  It has never been found to be anything but contradictory in any discussion when  you get to the root of the matter.

Our religion is either true or it’s not.  Its premises are either rational or they are not.  And appeals to God’s omnipotence do not make contradictions paradoxes.  Contradictions are contradictions until they aren’t.  And they are not only when reason says they are not.

The ability to understand why God does what he does is arguably the MOST important function of man’s inherent reason; because the “why” will always apply to man.  What do I mean by this?  It sounds a little “man-centered” doesn’t it?  And isn’t “man-centered” doctrine purely heretical? If it’s not “all God”, then surely the theology must be errant at its core.  Well, I’ll leave it to the reader to decide what they would like to consider heretical (cries of heresy don’t matter so much to me), but what I mean is that all of God’s relevance to US, which is to say, all of God’s functional relevance,  is because of US.  The things about God that are not relevant to US are not our concern at all…for we couldn’t understand them should we want to, and frankly, we shouldn’t want to because it is an utterly futile pursuit. But what is absolutely true, and what so many are so terrified to admit is that the only reason God is relevant to us is because we exist, not because God exists.  And if that is the case, then everything we know about God MUST in some way have to do with our existence…in how WE are defined, in what WE think, and in what WE do.  Outside of that, God is functionally useless to man.  This is not to diminish His importance.  Of course not!  He is God.  But His being God is only important to us in light of our own being; our own life as humans who have been intentionally created by Him with the sole idea behind our creation being that we have been granted our own lives that we must be free to live, and God’s purpose is to show us how we are to do that for our own sakes, in light of His perfection and love.  And because the aspects of God that have nothing to do with us are by definition beyond our capacity to apprehend, the only relevance God can have must have to do with us existing.  Christianity is, then, metaphysically man-centered, not God centered.  God does not need man to be perfect, God does not need anything in creation to be what He is.  He is utterly and completely Himself, within Himself.  Nothing can add to God at all; that is the metaphysical definition of God.  NO need of any kind outside of One’s self.  Any act of creation by God is done out of one reason and one reason alone:  love.  Thus, our relationship is free to be all about us (in light of Him) because God needs nothing from us.

I recognize that this idea warrants a date with the burning stake in some fundamentalist reformed circles.  No matter how well the metaphysics laud, prove, and point to God’s unequivocal omnipotence and mercy beyond anything the neo-Calvinist crowd’s false doctrines can approximate, these nihilist gnostics will declare it arrogant and proud and all of the other heinous things they swear is to blame for Katrina and post-modernism and gay marriage and dying humpback whales and every other banal cliche their narrow minds can conjure up as an insult.

So, yes, I know them and their vitriol.  But beyond the doctrinally insane, I also know that too many other Christians who are supposed to stand in awe of God’s stark power and stability have decided that His sensibilities are so delicate that we dare not speak of what we know deep down must be true.  The truth is, though, that this is not what God wants: timid followers who invent false doctrine and put on patronizing displays of pure groveling (no matter how well-intentioned) that some in the neo-Calvinist camp irrationally equate with true humility. Instead, God wants us to understand that we are important.  What we think and know and do is important to Him, and makes a real and functional and tangible difference in creation and in the existence of ourselves and in others…that nothing is determined beyond our own free acts in our lives.

He understands His place in our lives.  We exist to be free, to be ourselves; that is the point of our creation to begin with; God doesn’t need Himself in His creation; by definition He IS, and is ALL Himself.  And we cannot be free to be ourselves if we build our faith around an idea of God that cannot possibly have a thing to do with human beings.  Christianity is not all about God; it is about people who exist as creatures of God… or it is pointless.  If Christianity is primarily about God and not about man in light of God, apart from God, then God has performed a redundant act, and thus, He is not metaphysically or logically perfect, and therefore, He’s is not God.

Understanding the “why” of the ways and truths of God, then, are necessary for God to be God.  Without a grasp of the “why”, man has no practical use for God.  And so “paradox” or contradiction can never be used to explain the “why”.  The lack of an explanation that adheres to the metaphysically reasonable truths of man’s particular existence can only then exist in our faith once the line is crossed from what is relevant about God to man, to what is NOT relevant about God to man. That is where you find the “how”—at the level of God’s omnipotence.  At the place where no man can find understanding because it is impossible for him to grasp it by his innate reason; and this because, again, it is a frame of reference that is outside the ability of man to exist (man cannot metaphysically BE in the place where that question can be discovered by him…thus, THIS is where we will find a true paradox, if there can be said to be one).   Therefore: “How does the act of God create the result (e.g. how does God do what He does)?” has no answer for man, because, again, the only metaphysically reasonable answer is no answer at all.

Now, if we concede that election and free will are both true, and are stated as clearly true in scripture, the questions regarding how these seemingly contradictory doctrines exist together cannot be rooted in “how” but only “why” as far as unraveling the metaphysical problem goes.  And by that I mean there must be a metaphysically reasonable answer to the question:  Why are they both true, and both in the Bible, even though they are ostensibly contradictory?

Moving on.

What we have done here in separating the “how” from the “why” of the problem is the first step.  It is also the easiest.  Resolving the “why” of the contradiction takes a LOT of work.

When I have discussed this issue with others and expressed my determination to resolve this glaring doctrinal contradiction at its metaphysical root—a contradiction which has wreaked havoc upon the Christian faith for centuries and destroyed countless lives through “election’s” most egregious application, found most relentlessly and dogmatically applied in neo-Calvinism—I was often met with this reply:  “People have been debating that for centuries.”

This is a common statement; not just aimed at me, but at anyone who thinks about the question beyond a superficial acknowledgement of the “paradox”.  It is also an irrelevant statement.

What they say when they declare that the debate has been going on for centuries and what they mean are two entirely different things.  What they say— that is the words—ultimately means nothing.  When they say that great scholars have been debating this question for centuries, the only sensible reply is: so what?   For clearly, what those words “people have been debating that for centuries” reasonably amount to is zero.  How long had people been debating whether or not man could fly until the Wright brothers put an end to the debate?  How long had people been debating whether an atom could be split until the city of Hiroshima was turned to dust in an instant?  How long had people been debating that the world was flat, or that the earth was the center of the universe?  And it is my guess that people will be debating whether Christ is the One true Messiah up until the very moment He returns in glory with a sword in his mouth.

You see my point?

Debates of any philosophical or scientific significance have always gone on for long periods of time.  This is nothing new.  This fact only serves to highlight the gravity of the questions, and the interest they compel in people who understand the importance of such issues.

So, the real question isn’t in that statement…that is, the superficiality of the words alone.  What people mean when they utter the statement “people have been debating that for centuries” is that there is no answer to the problem.  The answer is found, thus, in the fact that there has been none found, strangely enough.  And what this means is: there is NO answer whatsoever to that question.  It is true simply because it’s in the Bible, and there is little if anything more to it than that.

The “why” of the doctrine is effectively answered with a shrug.  What people say are the words “they’ve been debating that for centuries; the greatest minds have found no consensus…who can understand God’s ways?”.  What they mean is the shrug.  Thus, we are left to conclude that the shrug is how Christians have resolved the contradiction of “how can God both singularly determine the final outcome of every single human life He created and yet hold man morally culpable for his choices…to the tune of an eternity in hell?”

This is the sum of our so-called superior faith’s philosophical and metaphysical answer to that inestimable question.  The shrug.  And we wonder why, in this ever increasingly skeptical and cynical world, Christianity in America is on the decline and looks more and more like dubious mysticism than it does a world philosophy of merit.  And where it isn’t viewed this way, the hordes of spiritual despots and pseudo-intellectual “yes men”—neo Calvinists masquerading as “gospel-centered” men of “humility”—are trampling humanity under hoof and spear with utter remorseless relentlessness, pulling dollar after dollar from the bodies they fling indifferently to the ditches.  And the rest of us, even though we believe what we believe with every good intention, have contented ourselves with answering perhaps the most fundamental questions of our faith with this: “Because it’s in the bible, and the bible is infallible”.  Or “because God says so. God said it, I believe it, that’s the end of it.”  And so the “why” of arguably the core of our religion (Why is man morally culpable in light of “election”?)  is found in a resounding and glittering impossible contradiction, resolved only by shrugging our shoulders and conceding that beyond all the talk of love and grace and mercy and sacrifice lay nothing more than plain old fashioned fatalistic determinism.

Yes, with one shrug we rip the Bible to shreds, declare God useless to man, make a mockery of the cross of Christ, and define man as an irrelevant episode in a sea of cosmic irrelevancy.

So, I submit that it is immeasurably dangerous to continue to allow contradiction to define our faith, because if it does, then our faith becomes only as strong as the contradiction.  The abdication of reason cannot be a foundation of our relationship with God because God is defined by that same reason!  If we declare reason null and void in any doctrine that concerns us and Christ then we declare God Himself null and void to us! (This is one of the points I make in my post on Job.)  God cannot ever be defined contrary to the rational truths that make our very existence possible; and even HIS existence in light of our existence.  As I have declared before:  a violation of man’s reason is a violation of God Himself.  Thus, we must resolve the contradictions.  If we want to appeal to God’s power as the reason for the contradiction then we must resolve with reason the “why” and reduce the question to a question of the “how” of God’s power.  And again, the “how” needs no explanation because it does not matter to man.  If it did matter, we would possess the ability to apprehend it.  But it doesn’t, and so we don’t, because if we did, God is the creator of redundancy; and that is impossible.

We MUST resolve the contradiction.  Claiming the inability of man to comprehend “why” God does what He does is the very opposite of worshiping the One True God because it makes Him moot; thus, no worship is needed or even useful.  For if we content ourselves to include contradictions of “why” questions in our faith, then faith ceases to be faith and becomes, instead, suspension of disbelief.  And what this means is that there is no longer anything reasonable to our faith.  Instead, our faith is based on what can only be described as the very antithesis of how we know essentially everything else in our world; things we must know in order to survive and thrive.  So, in the one issue—the most important part of our mortal existence: our worship of the Creator—we find belief in Him defined by an impossible contradiction  that resembles nothing like the conceptual truths we know exist; and it is a contradiction which can have no bearing on the rational truths and laws we use to organize our world; and also, incidentally, to apply the commands and instructions of our Lord.

So in light of that fact, does the Christian appeal to metaphysical contradiction then make sense to anyone?  Does it make sense that at the core of our faith is a contradiction that stands opposed to the rational laws and truths of our world and universe?  A world and a universe which HE DESIGNED to be governed distinctly by NON-contradictory truths, LOGICAL cause and effect concepts, and RATIONAL natural laws of physics and chemistry?

In order to keep to God’s very design of our own reality, Christians must strive to find a metaphysically reasonable explanation of every “why” question we find in our faith.  If any “why” question falls outside of reason, then Christian Metaphysical and Epistemological Truth Number 3: “A violation of man’s reason by God is a violation of Himself” is in effect

(Incidentally, Truth Number One: God will not create a thing to do something He can better do Himself; which is everything; and Number Two: Nothing exists in the future until it is in the present; there is no future until it is the present, and once it is in the present it moves directly and irrevocably to the past, where it is, was, and will be forever inevitably fixed in time).

Again, the question we are presently concerned with, once again:

Why is there both election/predestination and free will of man expressed as functional, applicable biblical truths together, and co-existing in Scripture, when they are ostensibly metaphysically and logically contradictory?”

Let me make this next point very clear, because I understand how tempting an argument God’s power can be for everything we decide we don’t and can’t understand:

Appealing to God’s omnipotence is NOT a reasonable answer to that question.  “Because He is God” is a non-answer; completely useless, patronizing, lazy, and a terrible exegesis of scripture; and dreadfully destructive to both the believer and the lost. In pointing to God’s power, we are attempting to answer a “why” question as if it were a “how” question (how is God able to both predestine and hold man culpable for his own choices?).  This is logical nonsense.  This cannot possibly be.  There has to be a reasonable, no-nonsense metaphysical and logical answer to the “why” question, and it must be addressed as a “why” question, NOT a “how” question.

The question itself is not inconsistent; the scriptural treatment of the doctrines is not inconsistent.  Therefore, our explanation of it must also NOT be inconsistent.  Logical consistency is demanded for all “why” questions of our faith.  In other words, if reason does not define the metaphysics and philosophy of our faith from back to front, then Christianity can no longer be claimed by any believer to be TRUTH; and certainly no more truth than any other religion.  The believer can no longer claim to know that he/she knows.  The statement “I can’t prove it, but I know it’s true” becomes a farce once you concede metaphysical contradiction in your faith…once you surrender reason, you surrender your claim to a rational belief in what you “know” to be true and how you know it.

Just think for a moment.  How do you know anything you know?

Here’s the answer:

Reason.

You reason that it is true!  It isn’t blind faith.  On the contrary,  you recoil when non-Christians accuse you of such superficial hope as blind faith. But if your response to the world’s tough doctrinal questions is merely sanctimonious circular argument when compared to all of the logic and reason that define the laws of our very existence, the world, and universe, then how in heavens can you claim to know that you know?  Thus, the only reason you can ever know you know anything is because of your ability to reason; your ability to grasp conceptual, abstract truth.  Your REASON…your understanding of the fact that you can know what you know is only because it makes rational sense to your mind and soul!  So I ask, how can we claim this kind of answer—“I know that I know”—and then  rush headlong into rank doctrinal hypocrisy with lightning speed when confronted with a difficult metaphysical question like predestination versus free will; and, in startling irony, proceed to argue our doctrinal perspective by conceding that it is actually impossible that we can know anything at all?

And we wonder why the world thinks Christians are weak-minded. We claim to have the salvation of the world and the Spirit of the All Powerful God in our very bodies—that we are a temple of the living God—and yet we cannot even escape from our own logical inconsistency; our own irrational answers for the most important issues and doctrines of the faith.

Fatalistic determinism; irrelevancy of man and God; salvation without salvation; perfunctory and redundant sacrifice of God the Son; the idea that the Cross does not make election possible but that election makes the Cross, if it needs to have a place at all, a mere obligatory and bloody sideshow in the timeline of man’s pointless existence…all of these issues are wiped away with a gesture of doctrinal shrugging and dead-eyed indifference at best. And at worst, the non-logic and pointless platitudes of: “Who can understand His ways?”  I cannot believe these answers don’t make every skeptic declare to the masses in broad daylight that Christianity a farce .

And by the way, the answer to that question, “Who can understand His ways” is this: Apparently no one, not even God; for if election is true, then it must be arbitrary.  (Yes it must.  ALL men are equally vile.  “There is none who choose God; not even one”.  There is nothing in man that would set one apart from the other, thus God cannot have even His own reason; for His own reason should tell Him that all men are equally sinful, thus, there is no logical rationale for “electing” one over the other.)

So, we as Christians concede with our appeal to God’s power that we understand nothing of our own philosophy.  Now, that may say “piety” to some Christians, but what it says to the question-asking world is this: Christians do not possess the most basic logical consistency with which to ward off a metaphysical impossibility so glaring that any a ten year old with a good grasp of common sense could dismantle it utterly in the time it takes his mommy to grill a cheese sandwich.

To begin to conclude this segment of my essay, I want to be clear about my intent for the forthcoming essay:  I will answer definitively the “why” of these doctrines.  I will identify and argue fully my reason-based defense of the symbiosis of these doctrines, predestination and free will of man.

I am not doing this out of a desire to simply “break new ground”, but for the sake of working towards the goal of creating a completely reasonable answer for our faith, based on metaphysical logic…that we may truly give an answer for our what we believe and the hope that we have, with a logical philosophical rationale.  This, I submit, is impossible with the current “orthodox” understanding of the issues.

I will answer the “why” of the simultaneity of election and free will…why they are both true, because they must both be true to be in keeping with metaphysical reason; and why they are not  contradictory but work together in a dependent relationship, which takes both the free will of man and the omnipotence of God into account.

I will dismantle and destroy the false contradictory doctrine that currently surrounds this question, and in doing so will prove than man has full volition in accordance with God’s omnipotence and foreknowledge, not in opposition to it.

This is something which must be done, and should have been done a long time ago, frankly.  It is to our shame as Christians that we have allowed such important core doctrines of our faith to be so misinterpreted for centuries, much to the detriment of humanity and to the maligning of God’s perfect, infallible, inerrant power.  It has been put upon the shelf of incoherent mysticism for far too many eons.

“Why do you believe what you believe?”

This is the root question of every question that is asked of us as Christians.  For far too long this question and others has been answered with nonsensical appeals to God’s divinity, whims, capriciousness, purely arbitrary will, man’s ignorance and stupidity, God’s vacillating and aimless acts of random omnipotence…all of that, and culminating with the false label of “paradox”.  And all of these so-called answers are merely masks for the one true answer which runs through them like spiritual formaldehyde through a cadaverous interpretation of our doctrine; an answer as embarrassing as it is anemic:

“I don’t know.”

And if this is our response—a NON-response—to this eternally important question, then how can we expect to give “an answer for the hope” that we have?!  It seems to me that it’s rather obvious that one cannot satisfy a question if one has no answer to give.  And appealing to contradiction or shrugging our shoulders in metaphysical and theological surrender to what should be seen as the most perfunctory question of our faith (how is man culpable AND God omnipotent), again, is not an answer.  It is, to be blunt, madness.

I apologize if I have offended (oh…I heartily include myself in my harsh assessment of our apologetics on this matter; remember I was a young, restless and reformed drone for years upon years; I blame only myself), but the fact of the matter is that when we agree to giving circular logic or equivocation as an answer for the hope we have to those who live in the world of reason—who can see cause and effect with their very eyes and feel its truth permeate their very existence, and recognize that they have a mind apart from God and the rest of creation—we come across as insane.  And that makes Christianity about as attractive to non-believers as the philosophy of a babbling child (if not more dangerous).  At best, we come across as ones who can offer the suffering in this world nothing but more suffering in the form of confusion.  This confusion may be seen by some potential converts as a “spiritual” and “enlightened” escape, but for most, they see it for the snake oil that it is.

We ask for everything and offer nothing; and then we have the gall to compound this nonsense with the mixed approach of the new Calvinists, where the theology makes perfect the demanding of blind obedience and emotional submission, and decrees ecclesiastical ownership of each follower’s personal property.  And this brainwashing and larceny of the soul and the wallet are done with the lording of “church discipline” (i.e. tyrannical threats) hanging over the heads of the sheep like pianos on dirty, fraying rope.

This “discipline” is, in truth, the worst sort of emotional and psychological torment imaginable: the mystic.  But it is hard to ascribe a moral value to behavior that is supported by doctrine that makes absolutely no appeal to reason or rational consistency.  And lest those of us who categorically reject Calvinist hedonism become too comfortable in pointing fingers, we must realize that when we do not use reason to resolve the contradictions in our own beliefs, we are only slightly better.

In light of this, who can blame the majority from turning on their heels and mocking us in scorn?  And if a non-answer is our answer, those who mock us and see us as pointless lunatics are not wrong.  Because they have seen that due to our inability to make rational sense of what we believe, our faith becomes utterly irrational at the place where it matters most:  the practical application of it.  We apply it, as they see it, like an infant excitedly tearing out the pages of a book with pudgy, random fists because he hasn’t the first clue as to what he is really supposed to do with it.

And truly, this is what we are like when we attempt to apply our faith and yet cannot explain, in light of “election”, why we apply it.  By that I mean:  what is the point to applying a faith that has already had its predetermined impact upon our spiritual and eternal life? For, in light of this view of election, the only answer is, again, a non-rational one:  There IS no practical reason to do ANYTHING at all…for election IS determinism.  That is ALL it is when we subscribe to traditional orthodox views of the doctrine.  So, again, what are we really able to offer the wanting world?  Only this: A faith based on a philosophy which can in no way help to practically organize or explain the world in which humanity struggles.

With an understanding of who is watching us and who we are to reach out to and love–the lost–by divine, Messianic commission, how can we as Christians live any longer as people who have no moral problem with allowing functionally irrational, impotent theology to define our faith and our philosophy?

We seem to have zero problem with the poor metaphysics of what we believe…and this is shocking.  For vain philosophy is what we are commanded by Paul to avoid!  And what is a faith defined by contradiction and nonsense if not vain?!   But, alas, in bed with the purveyors of vain philosophy (reformed churches, new Calvinist preachers, among others) is precisely where we find ourselves.  We are taught by our gnostic, authoritarian, “divinely inspired” oligarchs to EXPECT and to DESIRE the root doctrines of our Christian faith to be logically desperate.  The more metaphysically impossible the better!  The more irrational the more you are approved by God as being “spiritually minded”!  Again, this is madness.

We accept, consciously or subconsciously, that forsaking reasonable truth makes us “good” followers of Christ (read: good followers our gnostic “superiors”).  We are happily going about proclaiming loudly and proudly that incongruent and dissonant understanding of ourselves and God and holding relentlessly to contradictory doctrine is in fact a prerequisite for following Christ; that we, if we want to be approved by God, must somehow recognize that the way to get truth is to agree that we can never know truth; and that God acts in ways which cannot be defined as “truth” by man because man cannot even know his own, immediate, reasonable conceptual truths; and that the cause and effect constructs we apprehend by our ability to reason, and which makes our existence and the organization of our world possible, is either an illusion or is irrelevant (or both), and that our ability to reason—our ability to grasp rational truths that govern the universe and our interactions with it—is really spiritual depravity (our “sin nature”) and as such, is dead to God.

And this being the case, I understand completely the resistance I will face when attempting  to appeal to reason as the basis for our faith…the platform upon which our understanding of God and man and the relationship between them stands, and stands strongest.  Yes, I understand the difficulty that defines encroaching on the members of the “hope-at-the-expense-of-reason” church orthodoxy; and how of all the people in the world, the irrationally religious are those most likely to resort to the churlish depths of “worldly” attitudes and violent reactions, throwing aside with startling speed their views on the sanctity of life when their beliefs are challenged by the “heretics”.  Indeed, the bloodlust which is deeply rooted in these contradictory doctrines, and which bubbles to the surface when pricked by a strong counter viewpoint, is enough to unnerve even the bravest of personalities.   And the irony we Christians cannot see as we appeal to God as the foundation of our philosophical insanity, and the irony of the comparison of our own incomprehensible doctrines to Godliness and life, is that we often conclude that they are part and parcel of God’s divine purpose.

There aren’t words to describe this kind of nonsense.

But the idea that man has no faculty of reason at all by which he may independently grasp truth means that there can be no purpose of God for man whatsoever, and that man’s only purpose then is to be God for Him, as an extension of Himself, come heaven or hell; which also means that God can have no rational purpose for even HIMSELF as far as man is concerned, because man’s entire existence is irrelevant to the core.

So yes, I understand the difficulty to be found in this endeavor.  I understand how hard it is to convince people of faith through reason in light of the things which they assume to be orthodox…and, to them, orthodox means biblical, and biblical means infallible, which is equal to God Himself.  Yes, it is difficult indeed to reason with such a mindset.  A mindset that says the only way to live is to deny your own physical senses which feed the building blocks of truth to your mind, and then declare, contrary to what Jesus teaches, that only the blind may truly see.

But, I ask: what is the alternative to reason as a platform for offering a contrary understanding of doctrine?  One cannot use nonsense to combat nonsense. If one does, then he or she is in agreement with the premise of the opposition already.  There is nothing to argue because the arguments themselves are pointless.  So, the only alternative then is reason.  One must use the root ability of reason to give an argument to another man, woman, or child for the hope of the faith in Christ that they have.  There is no other avenue that is truly coherent; that truly matters.  No other choice that works.  If reason cannot explain our faith, then our faith is dead because WE do not exist.  All we believe is “true” is outside of anything having to do with man.

But I will argue that, instead of proclaiming that the doctrines of election and free will are paradoxical (contradictory),  that God’s foreknowledge and predestination must take into account that which must be true about man for God not to be a hypocrite and the Maker of the greatest redundancy in the history of the universe. And that is this:  man has free volition of self, based on his knowledge of self as utterly separate from the rest of creation and God; and based on his knowledge of God, the understanding of relationship between two rational beings and that the relationship must be comprised of the free volition of the two participants for there to be meaning and relevance to either (e.g. for God I mean this: if He creates to control creation or to determine it, He cannot be God, because this constitutes redundancy).

So, because reason is the tool God has given man to know both Him and other men, it is to reason that I will appeal.  For our arguments are not about theological interpretative vagaries; they are completely about truth versus lies.  The possibility of God and man, versus the impossibility of both in a rational sense; which is to say, in a real, TRUE, sense.  And this in order to free the minds that are enslaved (as mine was, but is no longer, thanks to God and the wisdom He so richly gives to those who ask) to an incoherent faith, which more often than not favors the “authorities” and destroys those who fund them.

The best place to start then, with reason in hand, is to destroy the ridiculous and humanity-wrecking concept of divine determinism.  And the best way to do that is to answer the “why” of election/predestination and the free will of man.  Which is, after all, what this essay is all about.

And we shall now begin again where we left off a while ago:  by looking at time, but leaving physics, per se, and discussing what it means for God to “predict” the future.

Given my historic stance on metaphysics and faith, I’m sure it will come as no surprise to you to learn that I believe it impossible for God to predict the future; and even, in that sense–the prediction sense–to know it.

Allow me to explain…