Once again, thanks to Lydia for her excellent insights, questions and comments, which supply me with an indefatigable supply of metaphysical material for this blog!
This is a reply to her comment on the previous post. Thanks, Lydia!
I want to clarify something. I am not denying the functional reality of a past and future, both of which can be proven by events in the “present” (whatever that is…present seems to me to be of infinite existence with zero “duration” (that is, proper time), however, we know a present must exist because because “to be” is a static term; in other words “to be” implies eternal “now”, I think. Anyway; the present is where the visceral creates reality…where things happen, I suppose). So, I am not saying that the future and past aren’t real to man. Man’s existence implies a past and future, even though, strictly speaking, “past” and “future” are abstract truths. They cannot be experienced directly. All of man’s functional reality occurs in the “now”, I submit (I have a lot on this subject; will post later). Past and future are always outside of man; they are a function of HOW he is able to exist.
In relation to God, however, since He is His own space and is the entire sum of His existential reality, there can be no past or future to God because NOTHING is outside of God. God is never separated by an abstract concept from His own reality. God is God, the I AM; the fullness of His existence is perpetually and eternally visceral. He IS, and thus He is always NOW. So when we speak of God “knowing” the future, then, in light of the fact that God has NO future, what can be said about this? He cannot know man’s future because man’s future is man’s future, not God’s future, because God does not require a future to exist, like man does. So whatever reality man’s volition and choice creates as a “future” event is wholly man’s doing. God intervening in man’s life is a function of His power of creation, not “controlling” events that lead to a point in an abstract theoretical future.
What events along the line of “time” did God have to control to create Creation in the first place? The answer is: none. He just made it. There was no “when”, before Creation, because there is no “before” with God. There is just NOW. So why do we assume that God’s power–now that Creation exists–has to be as a function of knowing the future, or controlling or determining events that lead to another inexorable event that God is creating as a function of controlling other events (does that even make sense?)? Why would the God who made the Earth out of ZERO now need to control events to lead to a future that he already knows? (Which means…er, it’s already real, no? Since God KNOWS it, it must BE true, and so, how is God’s controlling events, which He knows, lead to another event which already exists, and that he ALREADY knows is real…how is that NOT the definition of redundancy?)
God can create anything anywhere, and He always creates NOW, because it is HE creating. He does not create or control along a line of time (past/future) because THAT is not a function of His existential reality. Control and knowledge of future and past are strictly functions of man. God’s power and existential reality precludes the relevance of either “control” or “future knowledge”.
If God speaks to man as “knowing the future”, I submit it is to make Himself accessible and comprehensible to man; or, man is misunderstanding or misinterpreting what God is saying.
I do not mean this to be arrogant, and I’m not directing this at you, Lydia, but I defy anyone to explain to me how God can know a future of man that He did not already per-determine? And if He did determine it, then how can we believe that man has any will of his own?
This is why I vehemently disagree with people, even friends and like-minded anti-Calvinist Christians, who argue that the “paradox” of predestination/free-will is unsolvable, unknowable, and ultimately, what we simply have to live with. I especially see red when it is declared that it is an unimportant, tertiary, secondary, disputable matter in the grand debate with neo-Calvinist/Reformed despots.
This could not be further from the truth! If we concede that God KNOWS man’s future and that predestination is a reality of Christian doctrine and philosophy in any sense where God preordains in any way, then free will is a lie and the Calvinists are right. Unless we can effectively argue for God’s metaphysical existential DIFFERENCE in such a way that “fore-knowledge” is LOGICALLY and understandably reconciled with the free volition of man–which MUST be true for man to even EXIST if we believe in God–then for all of our talk of sanctification, justification, the Cross, antinomianism, and whatever else we make the primary issue, we will ALWAYS lose to Reformed foundational suppositions. Again, IF God foreknows in a way where God declares the future real BEFORE it exists to MAN, then man is determined…he is not Himself, and can do nothing that is not ultimately directly controlled by God, including “obey” in sanctification and “choose” in salvation. So, IF we concede that free-will/predestination is a paradox…that is, BOTH are true, then one half of the equation isn’t real. God is either dead or man is dead. You cannot have both predestination and free-will be true and have both man and God be real. It is logically, metaphysically, and rationally impossible. If we accept the “paradox” of free-will/predestination then Christianity is a religion founded upon a complete contradiction of all of reality, and it SHOULD be rejected because it CANNOT be true. It is the last refuge of the desperate or the spiritually/theologically insane…or both.
But…there is an answer. The answer is in understanding that God is what He declares: I AM.
Not I WAS, or I WILL be…no, God says He is the “I AM”. Or He says “was, is, and is to come”, which means what? Means NOW. Means God IS an IS forever. EVERYTHING is now to God, there is no future to know because the existential reality of God is always and only and ever NOW. So the way God “foreknows” events is because they are NOW to Him. In other words, the NOW of when they happen is when God knows them. So, God can only know future events and choices when they happen, or you make them because YOU make them; and you make them when to God? NOW! God doesn’t see your choices in the “future”; He sees them the only way He CAN see them, which is NOW. Your choices are free until you make them, and once made, they are part of the NOW of your own total existence, from start to finish, because the choice and your making it is NOW.
And here it is: Since we CAN show metaphysically, rationally, logically, theologically, and philosophically that free-will/predestination is NOT paradoxical NOR contradictory but is merely a function of the existential reality of God versus man–and we CAN–then Reformed theology is DEAD. It is dead now, and forever. If it can be proven that man’s will MUST be free as a function of metaphysical logic, and that this not only corresponds with God’s eternal nature (His I AM existence) but is a RESULT of it, then Calvinism has no foundation whatsoever. Any of its cornerstones, foundations, or pillars rest on a grave.
We can prove that determinism is a lie; and we can show that there is no way God can know the “future” until it IS, without He determining it. Thus, we can show that Reformed theology is a lie. Which it is.
The fact MUST BE that the future CANNOT exist until it is the present; and it cannot exist until Creation ACTS to manifest it because everything creation does is its own and is NOW to God, and this especially applies to man’s CHOICE. The only way God can know man’s choices is after man makes them. Anything else is determinism.
To repeat and reiterate: What is AFTER to God? There is no “when” with God, so there is no after, or before. There is only now. If God declares that He knows what you “will” choose in the future it is because He sees it NOW; and if He sees it now, then YOU are MAKING it, even though, to you, you may have not made it yet. But that does not mean that the choice is any less yours.
Now, please…I am not conceding the premise. I am not simply creating another way of saying that God knows your choices before you make them. I’m saying that YOU must FREELY make the choice “before” God can know it. So, when you make a choice, THAT is WHEN God knows it, even though He may have declared it to you “before” (“Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”)…but remember, there is no “before” with God, or “after” so when He reveals His knowledge to you about a choice of yours is irrelevant to God’s metaphysical “time”–for by definition, God can know NOW “whenever” He wants as far as you are concerned–and it does not mean He knows it BEFORE you make it; no, it is just that the WHEN is a function of your life, not His. Again, when you make a choice, THAT is the only way God can know it without it being determinism. But how His knowledge looks to you when He interacts with you may seem as though God “knows” the “future”. But knowledge of the future is utterly impossible, and incompatible with God’s existential nature.
It is confusing, I know, but again…I defy anyone to do better. Someone…anyone, please tell me how God can know man’s future before it exists unless He determined it. And if He did, and we concede this, then man is determined and Calvinism is right.
1 thought on “Response to Lydiasellerofpurple: Destroying the Free-Will/Predestination “paradox” is the ONLY way to ultimately dismantle Reformed determinism (and more on the Divine existential nature)”
Ok, You realize this thinking goes against every Sunday School 101 class! Which means it will be a horribly hard thing to communicate. I keep an open mind because I want folks to understand it is not blasphemous for us to discuss such things. God designed our brain and our senses to be curious, seek knowledge, etc. I am totally sick of the closing of the mind going on. And the idea such discussions disrespect God. I think jsut the opposite as we seek to know and understand Him. And take responsibility for it!
But I conceed that anything else is determinism. I do agree with that because it leaves God in a spot of allowing evil to roam free when he has the power and forknowledge to stop the wreck havoc on his children. Then, there is the problem of it meaning he turns his back on his command for us at creation which was to take dominion. I do not think that command was retracted after the fall at all. It was corrupted, but not retracted or made impossible. What does it mean to have dominion? Does it mean God had planned the future? I don’t think so. In fact, I think this theme was picked up on again in God’s interaction with Abraham and giving him the land, father of many nations, etc. This whole convo has taken me back to Gen and Job. Gen to understand purpose for creation and Job for the problem of evil. Which brings up the whole free will thing with Satan, too. Do we forget that God was going to dwell with us before the fall? Then He dwells with us in a temple and then as Jesus Christ and finally through the Holy Spirit. That is something to consider here also and how it fits into this convo. In a way he has brought himself into our time/space NOW. Do you follow what I mean here?
I have to think this through. The time/space stuff totally flummoxes me. I have shied away from the typical evangelical constructs of heave and hell over the last few years. And am embarking on understanding the concepts from a pre enlightenment view which seemed to be much more comfortable with metaphors, hyperbole, etc. Yes, I believe there will be separation from God that is horrible and we go to paradise to be with Christ when we die and then live in the New Jerusalem described in Revalation, etc.
I bring this up because I am thinking this inability to understand the thinking before the enlightenment of left brain concrete thinking might also help with understanding the concept we are discussing. Would an ancient Isrealite think God knew the future? Interesting question.