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The Church Courtyard => The Sacred Sciences => Topic started by: Michael on April 15, 2018, 02:30:07 AM

Title: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Michael on April 15, 2018, 02:30:07 AM
It's been quite a long time since I've posted on here. I was a Catholic who attended the Latin Mass at SSPX chapels. Previously, I went to Indult Masses, and prior to that, the Novus Ordo.

I have now apostatized. I'm a future-theist: I don't believe that God exists now, but that He will exist in the future. To quote Quentin Meillassoux, "The God worthy of hoping for is the one who has the excuse of not existing." I think the argument from evil proves beyond any doubt that God does not exist. No God would allow children to starve, get beaten, the Holocaust, and many other sufferings. A loving God would put us in Heaven right away. I'm aware that oceans of ink have been spilled on the problem, but I don't think any of it is successful.

I think the Free Will Defense fails for multiple reasons. I think the notion of free will is incoherent. Your will operates on the calculations made by the intellect. The intellect perceives something as desirable, and the will acts on it. To put it simply: you do what you desire. You can't choose what you desire, and even when it seems you can, that "choice" would be random or based on what you desire to desire -- and this leads to a regress.

Adam sinned because he desired to, and you can't choose what you want.

But worse than that, and the point of this thread, is the incompatibility of libertarian free will with divine (or any) foreknowledge. To have free will, X and ~X both have to be possible. Now if God knows I will do X, then doing ~X is only a perceived possibility, not an actual one. If it were actual, then it would be possible to change God's foreknowledge, which is absurd. But then I don't have free will, since doing ~X is not possible.

Some may try to escape this by saying "if you chose ~X, God's foreknowledge would have been different." This is a slimy non-answer. The world where you do ~X is a different world, in which case doing X would be impossible, for in that world too, you can't change what God foreknows. The foreknowledge is in place before, during, and after the decision. So any appeal to "would have" is irrelevant: it's not going to be different from what it in fact is.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Daniel on April 15, 2018, 07:51:47 AM
God's necessary existence is proven through reason.
God's omnibenevolence is also proven through reason.
Yet there is evil.
The question, then, shouldn't be whether a good God exists (that much is already known)... the question is what accounts for evil?

I think the Free Will Defense fails for multiple reasons.
I agree, the 'free will defence', taken by itself, does not suffice. But not for the reasons you gave.

Your will operates on the calculations made by the intellect. The intellect perceives something as desirable, and the will acts on it. To put it simply: you do what you desire. You can't choose what you desire, and even when it seems you can, that "choice" would be random or based on what you desire to desire -- and this leads to a regress.
This isn't how it works at all. The way it works is, there's first some object which draws or repels the person's lower appetite. (We will call this a 'lower desire'.) The person's intellect then tries to figure out whether this lower desire is something reasonable (i.e. in accordance with truth and reality). The will then makes a choice. (We will call this choice the 'higher desire'.) If the intellect is wrong and the will goes along with it, then the choice is evil (through a kind of 'ignorance'). Likewise, if the will fails to conform to the intellect, the choice is evil (through a kind of 'weakness'). But if the intellect is not mistaken, and the will goes along with it, then the choice--the higher desire--is good. Thus we can't control our desires on the lower level, but we can control them on the higher level, and it is the higher desires which are morally-good or morally-evil acts.

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Adam sinned because he desired to, and you can't choose what you want.
He desired the apple on the level of the lower appetite, but his intellect told him that this desire was wrong. Yet despite his good judgement, he still chose the apple (desired it on the higher level). And that was his sin.
(There is, however, some mysteriousness as to why he desired the apple even on the lower level, given the fact that his lower appetites were not yet thrown out of order by the Fall...)

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But worse than that, and the point of this thread, is the incompatibility of libertarian free will with divine (or any) foreknowledge. To have free will, X and ~X both have to be possible. Now if God knows I will do X, then doing ~X is only a perceived possibility, not an actual one. If it were actual, then it would be possible to change God's foreknowledge, which is absurd. But then I don't have free will, since doing ~X is not possible.

Some may try to escape this by saying "if you chose ~X, God's foreknowledge would have been different." This is a slimy non-answer. The world where you do ~X is a different world, in which case doing X would be impossible, for in that world too, you can't change what God foreknows. The foreknowledge is in place before, during, and after the decision. So any appeal to "would have" is irrelevant: it's not going to be different from what it in fact is.
It is true, if God knows that you will choose X, then you certainly will choose X. You cannot possibly choose not X.
But that doesn't mean you have no choice. The very fact that God knows that you will freely choose X (in the libertarian sense) proves that you will in fact make a free choice (in the libertarian sense). If there was no choice on your part, then to say that God knows you will choose X is a false statement. We could only say that God knows that you will do X, not that you will choose X.
(Boëthius also brings up another puzzling issue: How is it even possible that the temporal choices we make can cause God's eternal foreknowledge? To this paradox I have yet to find the answer, but I am quite certain that it can be resolved.)
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Kreuzritter on April 15, 2018, 07:59:08 AM
But worse than that, and the point of this thread, is the incompatibility of libertarian free will with divine (or any) foreknowledge.

We'll see.  You could start by precisely defining "freedom", "will" and "knowledge", because it's obvious from what follows that you have no well-defined concepts in mind but only murky ideas wallowing in numerous metaphysical presuppositions and choices to use the words in apparent senses that beg the question.

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To have free will, X and ~X both have to be possible.

Your first blunder. There's no logical implication that my ability to freely will to do something depends upon the possibility of my being able to do it. You just made this up. It is sufficient, for me to will something, that the willed "act" be cognitively meaningful, that is, it needs to be a purely logical "possibility", but it doesn't need to be possible in a contingent sense: I can't will to "construct a square circle" because "square circle" is a nonsensical pairing of words and there is no object of my will as a result; however, I can very well will to sprout wings and fly like a bird, despite it being an impossibility contingent upon nature, and there is no basis upon which to assert that the fact of this impossibility means I can't have willed this freely.

The underlying confusion here is apparently in an equivocation of two distinct meanings of "freedom", namely, of "freedom" that is impinged upon by the existence of boundaries with "freedom" that is impinged upon by determinism. "Freedom of the will", as used in metaphysical discourse, is referring to the latter kind of freedom, and while you could only have had the former in mind, knowlingly or not, in this part of your argument, you freely switch between the two concepts whenever you need to, resulting in one long fallacy of equivocation.

Yawn.

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Now if God knows I will do X, then doing ~X is only a perceived possibility, not an actual one.

Firstly, you haven't demonstrated this, only asserted it; indeed, you haven't even defined the distinction between a "perceived" and "actual" possibility.

Secondly, it doesn't follow from this what I haven't willed freely.

Finally: God knows that I will do X because I choose to do X and he is transcendent. If my doing "~X" (this is a nonsensical use of logical connectives, but be that as it may) is only a "perceived possibility", then that is because my of MY choice to do X. That God knows this by virtue of His transcendence IN NO MANNER IMPINGES UPON THE CAUSAL PROCESS BY VIRTUE OF THIS KNOWLEDGE ALONE.



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If it were actual, then it would be possible to change God's foreknowledge, which is absurd.

I'd say that's a non sequitur, but then again, you have not defined "actual possibility", so it's difficult to say.

One more time for you: GOD'S FOREKNOWLEDGE OF AN ACT CANNNOT EO IPSO IMPINGE UPON THE ONTOLOGY OF THAT ACT - THAT is absurd. What power does foreknowledge in-and-of itself have over the causal structure of that act? What causal influence does it have that it could annihilate ones free choice in a matter? (of course there is a hidden mechanstic assumption in such arguments which regards foreknowledge as possible only due to events being predetermined - but this is question begging, and it has nothing to do with foreknowledge that is a result of transcendence or of scientia media)

There isn't any sound argument of the form "I can't have freely chosen X because God foreknew this".


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But then I don't have free will, since doing ~X is not possible.

Addressed in the first part.

This is number one bullshit, in the words of a wrestler from Dagestan.

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Some may try to escape this by saying "if you chose ~X, God's foreknowledge would have been different."

I  don't need to "escape" this because it's utterly inconsequential to freedom of will.

Be that as it may ...

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This is a slimy non-answer.

No, it's a perfectly legitimate answer.

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The world where you do ~X is a different world, in which case doing X would be impossible, for in that world too, you can't change what God foreknows.

The foreknowledge is in place before, during, and after the decision. So any appeal to "would have" is irrelevant: it's not going to be different from what it in fact is.

The foreknowledge is only "in place before, during, and after the decision" because of the decision. What part of this do you not understand? I make a FREE choice IN TIME, and that choice is therefore DETERMINED ETERNALLY outside of time, regardless of whether there is a God or there is not, and God, being transcendent, therefore has "foreknowledge" of the act. You are committing a category error in placing in approachign that foreknowledge from a temporal perspective instead of from a transcendent one.

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I think the Free Will Defense fails for multiple reasons. I think the notion of free will is incoherent.

I think the notion of causation is incoherent without reference to the power of free agents as an analogue.  See David Hume for where that leads to.

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Your will operates on the calculations made by the intellect.

The intellect cannot operate without acts of will, indeed, it is regularly invoked by an act of will. If you want to talk about a "regress", there you have one: the intellect prompting the will to prompt the intellect to be used.

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The intellect perceives something as desirable, and the will acts on it. To put it simply: you do what you desire.

Simply bullshit. I regularly ignore what I "desire" or do its exact opposite: it's called being a human being, not an automaton.

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You can't choose what you desire,

I can and do, Q.E.D.. An assertion to counter an assertion.

But it's obvious we have here the second equivocation: confusion of "desire" as a purpose to which I will to direct myself, as a positive judgment of my intellect which may or may not become such an object fo my will, and as motions of the body and soul over which may or may not become objects of intellection, judgment and will - depending upon my choices.

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and even when it seems you can, that "choice" would be random or based on what you desire to desire 

No, that choice would be an act of my free will - see how easy this is?

What do you mean by "random"? More to the point, since you insist upon determinsim, please define what it means for something to be determined and how this happens. Please explain what a "cause" is and how "causes" determine their "effects" - please don't beg the question or appeal to the existence of mathematical formulae which describe mechanicla actions but can't account for why they do.

For my part, I have the analogue of my willing as an immediate object of my experience by which to account for such concepts, but you, placing the cart before the horse and at least implicitly asserting that this experience is illusory, have no such basis.

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-- and this leads to a regress.

Only because you're begging the question through a bunch metaphysical presuppositions.

That evident in your "regress" - it's because there is a MECHANISTIC assumption underlying your entire discourse, which can conceive of no DETERMINED processes but mechancial ones and therefore regards the question like "what caused the will to choose x" to be a demonstration fo an infinite "regress" in the concept of freedom of will. No, RANDOMNESS (however you actually define it) is not the only possible UNCAUSED phenomenon: the choices of the will themselves are also UNCAUSED. You, of course, deny this, but you deny it implicitly in the hidden assumptions udnerlying your attempted proof that "free will" is "incoherent". Such sophistry only impresses the faithless.

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Adam sinned because he desired to, and you can't choose what you want.

You sin because you freely choose to and you will be held accountable to the Ancient of Days for it at the end of time, oh idolater of your own deeply flawed intellect.

Mental illness. That is what the denial of the PHENOMENOLOGICAL FACT, self-evident to the subject, of his own free agency would be if any of the "intellectuals" who denied it actually LIVED as though they believed their own bullshit. But, of course, none of them take their own assertions seriosuly enough to live by them. Yes, yes, ye olde reductionism. Ye olde denial of the experience of the subject in favour of a theoretical world constructed by his intellect. Sights, sounds, emotion, nothing is real except except some abstract world I can write down in equations on a piece of paper. I experience my existence as an I, an existential subject, who is free, but so what: that theoretical world is more real than the self-evidently real - it's the "true" one.

But what's the point of arguing? I'm just an automaton.


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No God would allow children to starve, get beaten, the Holocaust, and many other sufferings.

And you know this because ... human beings have magical intrinsic value in as cosmic accidents in a godless world, which you then project upon a world in which your idea of "God" would exist in order to state what he would or would not do? Sure. "Evil" doesn't exist in a godless world, yet here you are appealing to its existence to demonstrate that God doesn't have any ... pat yourself on the back, why dontcha?

To the contrary, I say: humans are vile, disgusting creatures, who deserve much worse than they get, and the fact that this world which utterly rejects Him is a lot less bad than it ought to be is the surest sign that God IS benevolent and merciful: God may be "omnibenevolent", but one first has to define that term and determine where and to whom such "benevolence" would "rightly" apply - it's semantics. I don't truck with sophists. Q.E.D.

I'll leave it to you amateur "philosophers" to squabble it out - I have better things to do with my time than argue with a "future-theist" who thinks that OUR ideas are "absurd".
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Kreuzritter on April 15, 2018, 08:19:26 AM
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A loving God would put us in Heaven right away.

Justice aside, how is that supposed to work in the first place when the will rejects God?

No, seriously: Heaven is a theosis, an eternal union with the divine, to which an eternal union of the subject's will with that of God, indeed of his spirit with the divine spirit, is not just necessary but essential. Thus bringing a person into that state forever, contrary to his will, would consitute an everlasting annihilation of him as a subject, to whom will is something essential - in other words, it is in principle impossible (subjecthood, consciousness, will - these are inseperable, one cannot have one without the other).

God will allow us in a point at which this is possible, and for the reprobate it will never be possible because of his bad will. Suffering is natural consequence of this rejection and those of good will will be purified by it, while those of bad will will cry "How dare you!". You're overestimating mankind's own justice in insisting that a loving God would definitely treat them like you believe you would (of course you wouldn't - if you or any other human including myself had God's power I would shudder to see what the world would look like).

But then that's something underlying every "argument from evil": presumption. Presumption of how God would or would not act, and also a bunch of semantic issues that turn the whole issue into a sophistic game.

Of course you deny free will, so the point is probably moot ...
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: An aspiring Thomist on April 15, 2018, 11:19:18 AM
Michael, you don’t seem to have a good conception of God’s transcendence and how His foreknowledge would work with free beings. Firstly, knowledge does not necessarily imply causality as you will admit. I know a ball will drop to the ground without even touching it if I see someone else drop it. Therefore, how is Gods knowledge of free events self contradictory of them being free? Your hidden assumption is to make God much like us except Ge knows how everything works. So in you view a God may know how anything determinate might work, but how could He know a future free choice? He can’t know like a scientist knows how such and such natural event occurs and will occur. How could God know a free choice unless he completely determines it or it is completely determined and therefore not free?

Here’s how. God is outside of time. Hence, there is no future to Him. Everything is present to Him in eternity. Your future free choice is present to Him “now”. So, God knows you will freely choose X because you will. But you do not freely choose X because God determines you to do so. God’s knowledge is not always casual. You could do or not do X in an ontological way. Considering you alone, you may or may not choose X. But God considering your actual future choice which is present to Him, knows what you will do. So there isn’t a possibility frond God’s point of view for you not to do X. Here is an analogy: you see a man sitting on a chair. He freely chose to sit. Yet, you have knowledge of him doing so and furthermore, he could have chosen not to. Your sight has no casual relationship to his free choice and yet your knowledge is more or less certain. God foreknowledge of free choice is similar. It’s only strange to us because we are in time unlike God and therefore cannot “perceive” those future things “present” to us like God can.

Also the problem of evil is not incompatible with a good God logically speaking. There a thread not to long ago on it. Basically, you would have to prove it is evil for God to allow an evil for a greater good or prove that in a specific case there is no possible greater good which could come from some evil. You can’t proof the former logically and your can’t prove the latter unless you are all knowing.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on April 15, 2018, 06:10:54 PM
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I think the argument from evil proves beyond any doubt that God does not exist. No God would allow children to starve, get beaten, the Holocaust, and many other sufferings.

Quit virtue signaling.  If you want to shreak against God, at least use a massacre the size of what the Chicoms did, or the Russians.

The argument from evil proves one thing: Free Will.  Free Will is the prime directive.

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I think the notion of free will is incoherent. Your will operates on the calculations made by the intellect. The intellect perceives something as desirable, and the will acts on it. To put it simply: you do what you desire. You can't choose what you desire, and even when it seems you can, that "choice" would be random or based on what you desire to desire -- and this leads to a regress.
  I desire to romp with a bunch of whores.  It would be fun, and I'd like a few lines of coke to go with it.  I don't do that.  You leave out "emotions", which are about 95% material, and well studied.  Desire comes from your emotions.  Your intellect many times presents a case against what you desire.  You freely choose one way or the other depending on how strong you are in the virtues.

The infinite regress falls on the side that denies Free Will.  Take the case of Trying Again.  You now will need another "decider machine" to counter the "decider machine" that chose to give up.  If you give up again, then try again, you will now need yet another "decider machine".  As you can see, this leads to an infinite regress, only limited by death.  Free Will exists.

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But worse than that, and the point of this thread, is the incompatibility of libertarian free will with divine (or any) foreknowledge. To have free will, X and ~X both have to be possible. Now if God knows I will do X, then doing ~X is only a perceived possibility, not an actual one. If it were actual, then it would be possible to change God's foreknowledge, which is absurd. But then I don't have free will, since doing ~X is not possible.

A complete blunder.  God is outside of time, and technically doesn't have "foreknowledge" -- He's already there.  Inside of time, you have autonomy and Free Will.  God gives Grace to those He will save, unto salvation.  Those who are not saved He leaves to their own machinations after they reject Grace.  Omnipotence does not mean God can deny Truth, because He is Truth itself.  He can not deny Himself.  He can not make a circle a square, for example.  He does not violate His decree of Free Will.  He saves whom He will save based on His Sovereign Plan.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on April 15, 2018, 06:14:57 PM
Michael,
Will you grant that it is a reasonable belief on my part that if Stalin, Hitler, and Mao had been killed by God I would not have been born?

I hold it is more than just reasonable, it is basically 100% assured that I would never have been born considering my families involvement in the wars.

So why are you trying to convince me that God not killing these historical figures is bad?  Are you saying I should never have been born?
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Kirin on April 15, 2018, 09:10:04 PM

So why are you trying to convince me that God not killing these historical figures is bad?  Are you saying I should never have been born?

1 Person never being born
vs
80 Million lives lost during WW2 and could have been saved had Hitler, Mussolini, Mao, Stalin etc never come to power.

Is there really a competition here? Your savior gave his own life to save humanity purportedly didn't he? You wouldn't wish the same?
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on April 15, 2018, 11:40:55 PM
Only 1?  How about no one alive today would exist.  There would be humans, but they wouldn't be the people alive today.

God permits the evil that originates from Free Will to achieve His purpose.  The Prime Directive is Free Will.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on April 15, 2018, 11:42:51 PM
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You wouldn't wish the same?
If the choice was either I go to hell and all of humanity is saved and goes to heaven, or I go to heaven, and all of humanity, including my family, goes to hell, I would choose heaven.

Hell is for eternity, as you will soon find out.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Xavier on April 16, 2018, 01:06:32 AM
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. From beginning to end. The more important is, why. Why did you apostatise, as you proudly declare you have? Were you praying the Rosary regularly? Was there was some sin you were habitually attached to? Did you go to confession and Mass often?

Now. Reason proves that God is essential and immutable Goodness in many ways, we will make use of only 1 here. (1) Man discerns a natural moral law on his conscience. (2) this moral law is unvarying and immutable. (3) it proves that there is a moral lawgiver, who is immutably and essentially good. (4) and this Goodness is Whom we call God.

Now, 1 is a fact. Whenever atheists say "oh look, that's evil", they themselves bear witness that the natural law is inscribed on all hearts, as the Apostle says, even those without grace. What atheists fail to realize is this awareness of moral good and evil must necessarily lead them to God. 2 is shown by the fact even atheists recognize somethings are objectively and intrinsically evil. 3 and 4 folliow.

Rightly, therefore does the Catechism say "deep within his conscience man discerns a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he knows to hold him in obedience."

1. Now, since God is Goodness itself in Whom there is no darkness or deceit, it follows that it is as foolish and absurd for you to say, God may be good when things are good, but he is bad if things are bad; as it would be for one to say, the sun exists when it is day but doesn't when it is night; the sun always exists whether you see it or not; and God's Goodness is always manifest in the law in our hearts that urges us to choose the good and eschew evil; since reason proves God is necessarily good, we know He is eternally and immutably such.

God made our first parents good; they could have chosen a different path and then there would have been no suffering and death. But they chose to learn the knowledge of evil and to sin; where there is sin, there must be suffering. Only suffering wilfully borne can expiate all sin and lead us back to paradise. Since no man could bear the full burden of sin, God sent His Son, born of a Virgin, as He foretold on the day our first parents sinned, to deliver us from the curse of sin and the suffering it must necessarily engender.

2. Your foreknowledge argument commits an elementary fallacy called the modal fallacy. Look it up. It confuses the truth value of a proposition with its modality. From the fact that God knows X, all that follows is that X is actually true; not that it is necessarily true. X comes to pass within time contingent upon the events that freely led to it only. When life and death, heaven and hell are placed before you, ypu know from conscious first hand experience that you can choose which one you want; for that matter, if tea and coffee were placed before you, you could. So, you know your intellect can weigh two choices rationally and your will can choose between them freely. That is all the God-given and naturally innate power of free will implies.

We have free will because we are not mere matter; mere matter would operate without freedom. God is the source of freedom and He made us free in His own image. The soul He breathed into us is endowed with the natural faculties of the intellect and the power of free will. Ndes confirm that the soul exists.

It escapes you that you fall into the greatest difficulties by denying free will. Doing so necessarily leads to both intellectual and moral nihilism. You have no way of knowing the output of your cognitive faculties is reliable if they are irreversibly determined by blind forces as you believe; nor can you ever make a truly moral choice if there is no real possibility of choosing in the first place. A tree is not a moral agent; if it falls and crushes someone, it did so necessarily, given the laws of physics. If everything is necessary in like manner, there is no morality possible and your question collapses. Atheism refutes itself and reduces to absurdity.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Xavier on April 16, 2018, 07:09:52 AM
So, no surprise - Michael held to Gerry Matatics' ecclesia vacantism and to Jansenist lite anti nfp extreme opinions not very long ago. From such a "rigorist" position, he's now fully lapsed, losing faith not only in Jesus Christ Our Lord, but even in any notion of God as Creator of us all; is the pattern of the road leading to apostasy becoming clear, folks? For the love of God, remain SSPX or Indult traditionalists. That is the correct position and helps you keep the Faith for life and your soul for eternity.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on April 16, 2018, 10:59:10 AM
Xavier,
I believe you are wasting your time.  Most heathens are midwits with normie IQ.  They believe professing their heathen beliefs makes them sophisticated.  The higher IQ heathens readily convert and would not make the errors we see on this thread.

For example, note the hypocrisy.   There is no "Problem of Evil" on the Theist side.  We know that this is proof that we have free will.  The "Problem of Evil" is a big problem for the heathen.  Just mentioning "Evil" shows their contradiction. 

And I've already pointed out that the infinite regress lies with them.  "Changing your mind" and "Trying again" sets up an infinite regress for a deterministic system. 

And do you really believe Michael doesn't believe in Free Will?  At most, he hopes he doesn't have free will, but he knows he is free to believe and do whatever he wants.  Next Michael will be offering us shares in the Brooklyn Bridge to purchase.

The higher IQ sincere heathens can be easily converted by pointing out the immaterial world and philosophy.  They will get it.  The normie heathens who are sincere can be easily converted by pointing out THEIR problem of evil, since being sincere, they will readily admit evil exists.  This is why Jordan Peterson is so popular.  The sincere heathens know that their beliefs are flawed, but they haven't had much in the way of a rational presentation of God up to now (to the shame of the Catholic Church).

It looks like Stefan Molineux and Mike Cernovich have both left behind their heathen beliefs.  Or are at least far down the road to conversion.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Xavier on April 18, 2018, 05:22:25 AM
Hi James. I've seen 5 people come to the Church personally. : ) It usually takes a lot of prayer for them, and a little patient explaining. Of course a dose of good will and openness to God's grace on their side never hurts! My personal goal is to help 10000 people come to Christ or return to the Church over the next 10 years. Either in person or through a website I intend to start for that purpose. You may have seen people convert also; usually more souls convert when times were better in the Church.

St. Apollonius, whose feast we celebrate today, was a tireless apologist for the Church. He helped souls come to Christ. May he pray for Michael.

As for Michael, we can only hope that God's grace works on him and he comes back to the Church. Imo, those who've tried to be Catholic, but failed - especially because the current situation in the Church can perhaps be partially exculpatory - should be helped by us to the extent we can. Let's pray Michael and all we know to have left the Faith come back.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Michael on November 07, 2018, 01:32:46 AM
Your will operates on the calculations made by the intellect. The intellect perceives something as desirable, and the will acts on it. To put it simply: you do what you desire. You can't choose what you desire, and even when it seems you can, that "choice" would be random or based on what you desire to desire -- and this leads to a regress.
This isn't how it works at all. The way it works is, there's first some object which draws or repels the person's lower appetite. (We will call this a 'lower desire'.) The person's intellect then tries to figure out whether this lower desire is something reasonable (i.e. in accordance with truth and reality). The will then makes a choice. (We will call this choice the 'higher desire'.)(emphasis added)

Okay, but why does it choose one way rather than another? Let's say you have a choice between A and B (e.g. to sin or to not-sin), and reason-desire sets for both of them, RD-A and RD-B. You proceed to choose A. Why did you choose A? You might point to RD-A to explain it, but RD-B was there as well, so why did RD-A take priority over RD-B?

If your answer is free will, then you fell into the circle: You chose A because you chose A. This is indistinguishable from randomness -- RD-A and RD-B are necessary conditions for A and B, but neither leads to the outcome, so the agent (or the "self" or agent-self) randomly lands on one desire over the other.

If your answer is that RD-A was stronger, then you couldn't have done otherwise given your mind's purpose of acting on the stronger set of reasons. If you could choose B despite RD-A being stronger (i.e. if the purpose is not fixed), then the strength of RD-A doesn't fully explain why you chose A rather than not.

If there is no answer why you chose one rather than the other, then "free will" is randomness.

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Thus we can't control our desires on the lower level, but we can control them on the higher level, and it is the higher desires which are morally-good or morally-evil acts.

Do we have control over the way we control our higher desires? On what basis do we choose to perform good over evil?

Susan Wolf: "In order for an agent to be autonomous, it seems, not only must the agent's behavior be governable by her self, her self must in turn be governable by her self — her deeper self, if you like — and this must in turn be governable by her (still deeper?) self, ad infinitum."

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Adam sinned because he desired to, and you can't choose what you want.
He desired the apple on the level of the lower appetite, but his intellect told him that this desire was wrong. Yet despite his good judgement, he still chose the apple (desired it on the higher level). And that was his sin.

Why did he choose to eat the fruit rather than not? Did he want to "desire it on the higher level"? Or was it random?

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It is true, if God knows that you will choose X, then you certainly will choose X. You cannot possibly choose not X.
Ok.

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But that doesn't mean you have no choice.
If by choice we mean having two or more alternative possibilities, then clearly you don't have a choice. I don't have the freedom to invalidate what God already knows. Tell me how to get to heaven if God already knows I'm going to hell.

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The very fact that God knows that you will freely choose X (in the libertarian sense) proves that you will in fact make a free choice (in the libertarian sense).

The compatibility of free will and foreknowledge is the very thing in dispute, so you can't assume it to prove it.

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If there was no choice on your part, then to say that God knows you will choose X is a false statement.


If by choice, you mean free choice, then it is a false statement -- because free will and foreknowledge are not compatible. If by choice, you mean a mental event that generates an intention, then God could foreknow that -- the question is whether the choice is determined or free (or random).
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Michael on November 07, 2018, 01:47:07 AM
Basically, you would have to prove it is evil for God to allow an evil for a greater good or prove that in a specific case there is no possible greater good which could come from some evil. You can’t proof the former logically and your can’t prove the latter unless you are all knowing.

God in His omnipotence does not need child rape and sex trafficking to accomplish His ends. Even if child rape were necessary for some greater good X (which would deny free will), we can still ask the question, is X necessary (and for what?)? Since God is omnipotent, He could make us all happy right away without allowing child rape, and happiness (or agent satisfaction) is all that really matters. So even if permitting some evil R is needed to bring about "greater good" X, X is not needed to bring about God's happiness (as He is perfectly happy eternally) nor our happiness, so X itself (and by extension, R) is not necessary.

So kindly quit making excuses for the existence of rape and abuse. If police officers can stop it, your god surely can.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Davis Blank - EG on November 07, 2018, 07:16:49 AM
Michael,

How would you like God to stop child rape?  Strike each person dead?  Where would you draw the line?  Strike dead for child rape, how about normal rape?  Adultery?  Lying, theft?  Should He block some evils but allow other evils?

How do you define evil?
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Daniel on November 07, 2018, 07:47:00 AM
Michael - I apologize... I didn't know what I was talking about before. And I still don't know what I'm talking about, so take this reply with a grain of salt. But I am now of the opinion that free will needs to be compatibilistic. Otherwise we run into the exact contradiction you mentioned in your earlier post. (We also need to deny the principle that "ought implies can", since we know that 1.) God punishes people for not choosing rightly, and 2.) God is not unjust, so 3.) there's no injustice in God's punishing a person for failing to choose rightly when that person could not possibly have chosen rightly.)

As for child rape - we probably need to just accept the fact that God wills it, even though we don't know why God wills it. That's what St. Augustine implies, anyway.

Maybe we could say that God does not will the evil, but that God wills that some men will the evil. (Rather, He wills all men to will evil, except those men to whom He gives His grace.)
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 07, 2018, 09:11:02 AM
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Since God is omnipotent, He could make us all happy right away

Evil comes from Free Will.  It is that simple.  Evil proves we have Free Will.

Free Will is easily proven by considering "Try Again" and "Changing your Mind".  If you model this with a State Machine you end up with an infinite machine if you insist on determinism.  If you accept Free Will you end up with Emotion, Intellect, and Decider.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Daniel on November 07, 2018, 09:18:03 AM
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Since God is omnipotent, He could make us all happy right away

Evil comes from Free Will.  It is that simple.  Evil proves we have Free Will.

Free Will is easily proven by considering "Try Again" and "Changing your Mind".  If you model this with a State Machine you end up with an infinite machine if you insist on determinism.  If you accept Free Will you end up with Emotion, Intellect, and Decider.
How so? The determinist says that if you could try again, you wouldn't change your mind.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Xavier on November 07, 2018, 11:04:55 AM
Our conscience - the innate moral awareness given to us by our Creator - is first witness that God exists and is Good. His Law is written on our hearts, as the Apostle says. St. Francis Xavier used this fact as a proof when evangelizing non-Christians in Japan; they had been wondering how the Ten Commandments could be observed by non-Christians. The Apostolic man showed them that, as all Tradition teaches, and as reason itself shows, each of us have an innate awareness of the moral law of God, that teaches us to distinguish good and evil just as we would light and darkness, and an impulse of conscience to choose the good rather than the evil. This fact shows it was Goodness that made us, and that the Being Who made us and gave us is our conscience is always good and the Source of that Law. Atheistic and evolutionary theories to account for conscience and moral awareness are rather absurd and always fall short. God gave you knowledge of right and wrong so that it may, when you reflect on and ponder it, lead you back to Him. Atheism fails poorly.

Atheism cannot even begin to say "but that is good and this is evil" without falling into error and contradiction. If we are all brute, purposeless beings who came into existence through sheer chance, there is no purpose, no morality and no good and evil.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Michael on November 07, 2018, 01:56:48 PM
Evil comes from Free Will.  It is that simple.  Evil proves we have Free Will.
Why did the first person to commit evil choose to do evil?
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Michael on November 07, 2018, 02:02:31 PM
But I am now of the opinion that free will needs to be compatibilistic.

I don't understand why any theist (who affirms hell) would be a compatibilist. That means God punishes people for acting on the desires He predetermined for them to have in the first place. They couldn't refrain. It is manifestly absurd. God might as well punish people for where they were born or their race, as you can't choose your race anymore than you choose your inevitable desires.
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As for child rape - we probably need to just accept the fact that God wills it, even though we don't know why God wills it. That's what St. Augustine implies, anyway.
Or we could accept that there is no God.

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Maybe we could say that God does not will the evil, but that God wills that some men will the evil. (Rather, He wills all men to will evil, except those men to whom He gives His grace.)
Pay no attention to the puppetmaster behind the curtain.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 07, 2018, 02:22:09 PM
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Why did the first person to commit evil choose to do evil?
Pride.

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How so? The determinist says that if you could try again, you wouldn't change your mind.
If decider 1 says to take the heroin, along with decider 2,3,....20.  Then you have to have decider 21 that chooses to quit.  Everytime you try, or "fight the urge", you have to have another decider machine, and this is potentially infinite, limited by life expectancy.

If you change your mind, you have free will.  If you "try again" after failing (e.g. quit heroin), then you have free will.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Daniel on November 07, 2018, 03:54:28 PM
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How so? The determinist says that if you could try again, you wouldn't change your mind.
If decider 1 says to take the heroin, along with decider 2,3,....20.  Then you have to have decider 21 that chooses to quit.  Everytime you try, or "fight the urge", you have to have another decider machine, and this is potentially infinite, limited by life expectancy.

If you change your mind, you have free will.  If you "try again" after failing (e.g. quit heroin), then you have free will.
Either I'm not understanding you, or that makes no sense.

For your heroin example, there are two separate and simultaneous desires in the addict who wants to quit: there is the desire to quit the heroin (drawn by reason), and then there is the desire to continue using it (drawn by passion). For the first 20 tries, the passion-drawn desire wins out. Then on the 21st try and all subsequent tries, the reason-drawn desire wins out. Why? Determinism says that the stronger desire always wins out. For the first 20 tries, the passion-drawn desire was stronger, so the addict was unable to quit. But on the 21st try and afterwards, the reason-drawn desire wins out, and the addict finally quits. Why? Christian determinism says that it's because of grace: For the first 20 tries the addict lacked the grace-to-quit, and so he was therefore unable to quit. But the grace-to-quit was then given to him on the 21st try, and from then on he quit. There appear to be only two causes at work: 1.) the lack of grace-to-quit and 2.) the grace-to-quit. Not infinite "decider machines" as you suggest.

If I've completely misunderstood your point, please clarify.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Daniel on November 07, 2018, 04:02:52 PM
I don't understand why any theist (who affirms hell) would be a compatibilist. That means God punishes people for acting on the desires He predetermined for them to have in the first place. They couldn't refrain. It is manifestly absurd.
It's only absurd if the principle of "ought implies can" is true. As I said before, I think the only way this would work is if we deny that principle. Once you deny that principle, there's no contradiction. God does not will evil, but He causes man to will either good or evil (good, by giving man the grace necessary to will good, or evil, by not giving man the grace necessary in order to will good). If man wills evil, God punishes man... and the punishment is just, because it was man who willed the evil. The fact that man could not have possibly willed good doesn't matter, since we've denied the principle that "ought implies can". Man is bound to will good, even if man cannot will good.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Gardener on November 07, 2018, 04:39:57 PM
I don't understand why any theist (who affirms hell) would be a compatibilist. That means God punishes people for acting on the desires He predetermined for them to have in the first place. They couldn't refrain. It is manifestly absurd.
It's only absurd if the principle of "ought implies can" is true. As I said before, I think the only way this would work is if we deny that principle. Once you deny that principle, there's no contradiction. God does not will evil, but He causes man to will either good or evil (good, by giving man the grace necessary to will good, or evil, by not giving man the grace necessary in order to will good). If man wills evil, God punishes man... and the punishment is just, because it was man who willed the evil. The fact that man could not have possibly willed good doesn't matter, since we've denied the principle that "ought implies can". Man is bound to will good, even if man cannot will good.

No, not even close. You're turning God into a shady Jewish lawyer trickster. "Father" would be a joke in such a case, like a parent who beats their child for not eating dinner, despite not having served dinner to the child. If a human father acted like this, he should be locked up in prison or an insane asylum.

God is ready to give grace to all and to save all, but has decreed not to do this against man's will.

St. Thomas covers this issue in SCG, Book III, Q159:

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Chapter 159
THAT IT IS REASONABLE TO HOLD A MAN RESPONSIBLE IF HE DOES NOT TURN TOWARD GOD,
EVEN THOUGH HE CANNOT DO THIS WITHOUT GRACE


[1]I As we gather from the foregoing, since one cannot be directed to the ultimate end except by means of divine grace, without which no one can possess the things needed to work toward the ultimate end, such as faith, hope, love, and perseverance, it might seem to some person that man should not be held responsible for the lack of such aids. Especially so, since he cannot merit the help of divine grace, nor turn toward God unless God convert him, for no one is held responsible for what depends on another. Now, if this is granted, many inappropriate conclusions appear. In fact, it follows that he who has neither faith, hope, nor love of God, nor perseverance in the good, is not deserving of punishment; whereas, it is clearly stated in John (3:36): “He who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” And since no one reaches final happiness without the aids that we have mentioned, it follows that there are certain men who neither attain happiness nor suffer punishment from God. The contrary of this is shown from the statement in Matthew (25:34, 41) that to all who are present at the divine judgment, it will be said: “Come... possess you the kingdom prepared for you” or “Depart ... into everlasting fire.”
[2] To settle this difficulty, we ought to consider that, although one may neither merit in advance nor call forth divine grace by a movement of his free choice, he is able to prevent himself from receiving this grace: Indeed, it is said in Job(21:34): “Who have said to God: Depart from us, we desire not the knowledge of Your ways”; and in Job (24:13): “They have been rebellious to the light.” And since this ability to impede or not to impede the reception of divine grace is within the scope of free choice, not undeservedly is responsibility for the fault imputed to him who offers an impediment to the reception of grace. In fact, as far as He is concerned, God is ready to give grace to all; “indeed He wills all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth,” as is said in 1 Timothy (2:4).But those alone are deprived of grace who offer an obstacle within themselves to grace; just as, while the sun is shining on the world, the man who keeps his eyes closed is held responsible for his fault, if as a result some evil follows, even though he could not see unless he were provided in advance with light from the sun.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 07, 2018, 08:17:51 PM
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For the first 20 tries, the passion-drawn desire wins out.
  There's your error, imprecision.  What do you mean it wins out?  We have an intellect that knows heroin is wrong.  We have an emotional part that wants the heroin.  We then have a decider circuit (logic) that decides, which we label Decider1.  It decides to use the heroin.

Try 2, we have the same conditions.  You still know it is wrong (the heathen will never contemplate what "you" means), your emotion side still wants it, and in this case some other circuit steps in and chooses to forgo the heroin.  We call that Decider2. 

I can set up an infinite series.  Suppose a war breaks out between D1 and D2?  I'll need a D3 to cast the winning vote, ad infinitum.

Here's the deal, most heathens are simpletons.  For example, do they even know what a deterministic system is?  I'll give you an example.  I have a drive way alert system with a light beam going across the driveway to alert me if the Feds are coming.  Their car breaks the beam.  The receiver closes the relay (a deterministic  (IF-THEN) ).  The relay lights up a warning strobe in the house.  THAT is a deterministic system.

If you have to decide, it is not deterministic.  If you deliberate, it is not deterministic.  If you can change your mind, it is not deterministic.  If you can "try again" and again, and again, it is certainly not deterministic.   Everyone knows the feeling of "having to decide" and deliberating.  And we have women who can't decide; until their husband gives it to them.  They are anti-deterministic.

Therefore you have Free Will.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 07, 2018, 08:23:02 PM
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And since this ability to impede or not to impede the reception of divine grace is within the scope of free choice,
  So much for Banez.  I need to tuck this one away for later use.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Gardener on November 07, 2018, 08:47:07 PM
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And since this ability to impede or not to impede the reception of divine grace is within the scope of free choice,
  So much for Banez.  I need to tuck this one away for later use.

The Banezians would just say that because man was empowered by sufficient grace, despite being metaphysically unable to choose the good without God so moving him, then said man is indeed culpable for a freely willed choice.

In his treatments on these issues, Garrigou-Lagrange tap dances around such quotes from St. Thomas with some pretty hardcore sophistry, or he just omits them entirely in order to reach his desired conclusion in line with Banez. Fr. William Most, in his book on Predestination, exposes them to the light and shows why the issue of sufficient/efficacious grace is actually missing from Thomas' writings and St. Thomas never really had a coherent teaching on the subject because when he adhered to Scripture, he necessarily moved away from the Augustinian position -- itself largely a vociferous, overly emotional reaction to the Pelagians.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Michael on November 07, 2018, 11:41:33 PM
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Why did the first person to commit evil choose to do evil?
Pride.
Why did he choose to act on the pride rather than not?

I don't understand why any theist (who affirms hell) would be a compatibilist. That means God punishes people for acting on the desires He predetermined for them to have in the first place. They couldn't refrain. It is manifestly absurd.
It's only absurd if the principle of "ought implies can" is true. As I said before, I think the only way this would work is if we deny that principle. Once you deny that principle, there's no contradiction.

Why deny such an intuitive principle instead of affirming atheism or some version of theism without hell? God is literally punishing people for what He predetermined for them to do. Why on earth would you worship a god who sets up rampant child sex abuse (in his own church), the Holocaust, famine, disease, and tortures people forever for what they couldn't help doing?

I am not responsible for my race, my gender, my place of birth. But somehow God is going to punish me for acting on the desires (which I'm not responsible for) that He set me up to have. That's absurd, and if you want to worship such a monster, I think that says something about your character.

God does not will evil, but He causes man to will either good or evil (good, by giving man the grace necessary to will good, or evil, by not giving man the grace necessary in order to will good).

You can play all the word games you want, but on divine determinism, God does will everything that happens. If He didn't want something to happen, it wouldn't happen.  Even if evil is a privation, by intentionally withholding the grace required to do good, God is causing people to sin. He arranged all the dominos, so to speak, and left empty spots knowing full well that it would lead to "evil."




If man wills evil, God punishes man... and the punishment is just, because it was man who willed the evil.

The will necessarily acts on the strongest, proximate desire -- that isn't man's fault. And the desires man has -- he didn't choose to have them. No fault + No fault = No fault. Man willed the evil, but he couldn't help but will it. The reprobate are victims of circumstance. Again, you might as well punish people for having light skin, "because it was man who had the light skin."

The fact that man could not have possibly willed good doesn't matter, since we've denied the principle that "ought implies can". Man is bound to will good, even if man cannot will good.

I deny that 2+2=4. Have fun worshiping your sadistic puppetmaster who wants rape to happen.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Daniel on November 08, 2018, 07:34:11 AM
james03 -

Looking back on it, I see that my dichotomy was wrong. The two competing classes of desire are not "the desire to quit the heroin" (drawn by the intellect) and "the desire to use the heroin" (drawn by the passions) as I had originally suggested; rather, the two competing desires are "the desire to quit the heroin for love of God" (this desire is drawn by God) and "any desire, not for love of God, to use the heroin or to quit the heroin" (this desire is drawn by creatures without God). Grace alone causes the former while both the intellect and the passions contribute to the latter: the addict who overcomes his emotional desire and chooses to quit using the heroin because he knows that it's bad is still making a "wrong choice" if his choice is motivated by his own health or his finances rather than for the love of God.
(This dichotomy might still be wrong, but I think it's at least less wrong than the other one I'd posted...)


Regardless, I'm still having a hard time following your argument, but I think I can sort of see what you're saying about the infinite states. However, there seem to be a couple of discrepancies between what I'm saying and what you're saying.

First,
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There's your error, imprecision.  What do you mean it wins out?  We have an intellect that knows heroin is wrong.  We have an emotional part that wants the heroin.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but you are taking the two desires to be boolean values. Each is either "present" or "absent". I, however, am taking them as magnitudes. Both desires can be present, but one is going to be greater/stronger than the other. That's what I mean when I say "wins out". The "decider" isn't a black box; it always chooses the stronger desire. So if D1 chooses to use the heroin, and if the "initial states" do not change, then D2 will also choose the heroin, and D3 will also choose to use the heroin, and so on.

Second,
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If you have to decide, it is not deterministic.  If you deliberate, it is not deterministic.  If you can change your mind, it is not deterministic.  If you can "try again" and again, and again, it is certainly not deterministic.
It seems you're overlooking the fact that our decisions are made in time, and that over the course of time our desires can (and do) change. Even from one moment to the next, our desires change. Since the "initial states" are in flux (e.g. passions might be really strong one moment and considerably weaker the next moment; or our intellectual knowledge can change from moment to moment due to new information being brought to our attention which we hadn't considered just moments earlier; and at any moment God could give us grace or we could lose grace), then the "decision" is going to go back and forth for some time until it eventually settles on something. This is why D1 chooses to use the heroin but a moment later D2 chooses to not use the heroin: because the initial states have changed in that time. And even once the will has stopped wavering, the man can still look back on his decision with regret, since his "initial states" may have changed again since then.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Xavier on November 08, 2018, 08:47:52 AM
Quote from: Michael
Why did he choose to act on the pride rather than not?

He freely chose to act out of pride, rather than obey the voice of God. Just like obstinate atheists do. Free will is the ultimate explanation of an evil action. God left us to determine for ourselves whether we will love Him and our neighbor and be good, or fight against Him and forget our duties and become evil.

Sir 15:14 "God made man from the beginning, and left him in the hand of his own counsel.
15 He added his commandments and precepts.
16 If thou wilt keep the commandments and perform acceptable fidelity for ever, they shall preserve thee.
17 He hath set water and fire before thee: stretch forth thy hand to which thou wilt.
18 Before man is life and death, good and evil, that which he shall choose shall be given him:"

If the will is not free, then nobody should take anything you say seriously, as you are just predetermined by blind matter to do and say all that you do - which means neither morality nor rationality, both of which presuppose the possibility of a real choice, would exist.

You are the charioteer and you can, if you would only make the effort, move the horse to the left or the right. But you are like a man who wants to throw away the reins and be freely led astray by every passion rather than control and direct the horse part of the chariot (as the spirit does and should control and direct the flesh in man) where it should go.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 08, 2018, 12:59:28 PM
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The "decider" isn't a black box; it always chooses the stronger desire.

Addiction is not the best example, because it is questionable whether it is mortal sin.  Let's use stealing.

Intellect:  This is not good.  There is a desire to do the good, but it is not emotional.  It is instead love of God, even for the heathen, since God is the Form of the Good.
Emotion + Intellect:  The money buys me nice things, which I want.

I don't see these conditions changing.  The intellect is correct in desire 2, the money buys nice things.  And the emotion doesn't change.  Having the nice thing gives the person happiness.

And yet the person can change his mind and quit stealing.  A deterministic machine will never choose otherwise, because it can not apprehend the immaterial.  What is the FEELING of happiness?  That is immaterial.  The deterministic machine would just have an electrical resistance at a certain level which prevents the movement of an electron.  What is "the good"?  You'd have to think up of some "evolution survival strategy" which again must be reduced to a resistance to an electron in a separate neural circuit.  These don't change, and yet people try again, or decide differently.  If I am a heathen, I can then introduce an override decider which functions on separate circuits to overcome some of the problems with the deterministic model, however I'm now on the path to infinite deciders (and I haven't solved the immaterial reality present, but that is a different topic). 

We know, because "we"/ "you" contain immaterial souls (and these are the pronouns that refer to the immaterial soul), that this view of life is wrong.  There is a Love of Goodness (God) and there are feelings, which are immaterial interpretations of material neural patterns.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 08, 2018, 01:25:49 PM
You know now that you have me thinking about this, I'm sniffing out a logical fallacy: begging the question.

The heathens argument is summarized as this:  Because we don't have free will, anything bad that befalls us  due to bad choices is evil.  But in your view God is omnipotent, so this reduces in the end to God being the source of evil.  This is a contradiction in Christian belief, therefore Christianity is revealed to be false.

This is known as "begging the question" (which is usually erroneously used for "raising the question").

We prove that God exists and is Good through other arguments.  This is the argument the heathen must deal with.

Since God exists and is Good, it is necessary that we have free will.

To complicate matters, Free Will lives in the immaterial realm, and science has no tools to deal with the immaterial world.  What is an immaterial impediment to immaterial Grace in material terms?
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Michael on November 08, 2018, 02:25:04 PM
Quote from: Michael
Why did he choose to act on the pride rather than not?

He freely chose to act out of pride, rather than obey the voice of God. Just like obstinate atheists do. Free will is the ultimate explanation of an evil action. God left us to determine for ourselves whether we will love Him and our neighbor and be good, or fight against Him and forget our duties and become evil.
But what is the explanation for the initial choice to be evil? If pride, then that begs the question of why he acted on the pride rather than not. If free will, then that begs the question of why he used his free will to choose evil rather than good.

On what basis did the will swerve towards evil over good? Just saying "free will" doesn't answer it, since I'm asking why the free will did what it did. That's just saying "he chose A because he chose A," but what was the explanation?

The will moves based on what the intellect perceives as being valuable or desirable in some sense. To be free, it seems like you'd have to choose what you desire, and that choice itself would be baseless or based on a 2nd-order desire. If there is no second-order desire to act on desire A rather than B, then it seems like a roll of the die which one wins out. The agent-self, in a state above its two initial desires, suddenly lands on one rather than the other, because...zilch.

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If the will is not free, then nobody should take anything you say seriously, as you are just predetermined by blind matter to do and say all that you do - which means neither morality nor rationality, both of which presuppose the possibility of a real choice, would exist.
One can be an atheist determinist without being a materialist. There's also idealism, panpsychism, and substance dualism. I oscillate between materialism, panpsychism, and idealism. 

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You are the charioteer and you can, if you would only make the effort, move the horse to the left or the right. But you are like a man who wants to throw away the reins and be freely led astray by every passion rather than control and direct the horse part of the chariot (as the spirit does and should control and direct the flesh in man) where it should go.

So the charioteer has control over the horse, but does the charioteer have control over the way it controls the horse? The charioteer's manner of control is based on its nature, so to be ultimately responsible, it seems like the charioteer must have a deeper self that controls how the self behaves, but then the charioteer inside the charioteer will move the inner horse based on its nature -- so to responsible, there must be an inner, inner charioteer that controls how the inner one behaves. Regress. Or it moves without basis -- randomly.

We prove that God exists and is Good through other arguments.  This is the argument the heathen must deal with.
Those arguments have been dealt with, actually. Plus, one can be a theist (or supernaturalist) and a moral nihilist at the same time. So even if God exists, the argument against free will is still there.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Daniel on November 08, 2018, 03:39:24 PM
Why deny such an intuitive principle instead of affirming atheism or some version of theism without hell? God is literally punishing people for what He predetermined for them to do. Why on earth would you worship a god who sets up rampant child sex abuse (in his own church), the Holocaust, famine, disease, and tortures people forever for what they couldn't help doing?
Atheism is not an option since the existence of God is proven.
Theism without hell - I don't know. But subjectively speaking, why not go with Pascal's wager? If hell doesn't exist, we suffer no harm in falsely believing that hell exists.
Why worship the puppet master? Because man owes worship to God. God's being a puppet master is irrelevant.
But as I said before, I myself am not certain that compatibilism is correct, and neither am I certain that what follows (that God is a puppet master) is correct. Compatibilism is my current opinion as a non-philosopher/non-theologian who hasn't extensively studied these things--my opinion very well may change as I receive new information: I will gladly switch back to libertarianism if the libertarianists can show that God's foreknowledge is not incompatible with libertarian free will.


Intellect:  This is not good.  There is a desire to do the good, but it is not emotional.  It is instead love of God, even for the heathen, since God is the Form of the Good.
Emotion + Intellect:  The money buys me nice things, which I want.

I don't see these conditions changing.  The intellect is correct in desire 2, the money buys nice things.  And the emotion doesn't change.  Having the nice thing gives the person happiness.
Think of them as magnitudes. Maybe one day my desire for nice things is twice as strong as my desire to do the good, so I am willing to steal. But the next day my desire for nice things decreases and my desire to do the good increases, so I'm no longer willing to steal.

To add complexity, usually there are more contributing factors than just two. I might have a desire for nice things, a desire to do the good, a fear of going to prison if I'm caught, a fear of the dishonour it could bring me, a perceived yet false need for money, etc., all of which contribute to my desire to steal or not to steal. If any one of these contributing factors changes, and if the will is deterministic, then the choice of the will could change.

And if St. Augustine is right, the only contributing factor which is morally relevant is grace. Because again, given the correct starting conditions,  determinism would say that pretty much anybody--with or without grace--can refrain from stealing. But only those with grace can make a good choice. It follows that those who lack grace, who nevertheless refrain from stealing, are not making a good choice. (Of course, to refrain from stealing is less evil than stealing, but it's only good if done with grace. To say otherwise is to suggest that some good things come from man rather than from God.)


On what basis did the will swerve towards evil over good? Just saying "free will" doesn't answer it, since I'm asking why the free will did what it did. That's just saying "he chose A because he chose A," but what was the explanation?

The will moves based on what the intellect perceives as being valuable or desirable in some sense. To be free, it seems like you'd have to choose what you desire, and that choice itself would be baseless or based on a 2nd-order desire. If there is no second-order desire to act on desire A rather than B, then it seems like a roll of the die which one wins out. The agent-self, in a state above its two initial desires, suddenly lands on one rather than the other, because...zilch.
The will (according to libertarianism) is self-moving. Desires draw the will, but the will alone is what makes the decision.

If you think that this is a problem, I'll point out that determinism isn't any better off:
If the will's choice follows deterministically from desires, then this begs the question, What accounts for the desires?
If you're not a theistic compatibilist, you'll end up in an infinite regress.
If you're a theistic compatibilist, you'll arrive at God as the first cause, which begs the further question, Why does God cause desires?
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 08, 2018, 05:00:31 PM
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Think of them as magnitudes. Maybe one day my desire for nice things is twice as strong as my desire to do the good, so I am willing to steal. But the next day my desire for nice things decreases and my desire to do the good increases, so I'm no longer willing to steal.

So "Freedom of Desire" instead of Freedom of the Will?  Call it what you want.

But the choice for stealing is a calculation that doesn't change.  What can change is the desire to do Good (Love God), and yes that comes from Grace.

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If free will, then that begs raises the question of why he used his free will to choose evil rather than good.

Do you see the layering you are doing?  "He" "uses" his free will.  I love how the heathen has to resort to theistic ideas, because there's no way to escape reality.

No, he chooses to do evil and reject God.  What free will means is that he is under no compunction to do this.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 08, 2018, 05:03:23 PM
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It follows that those who lack grace, who nevertheless refrain from stealing, are not making a good choice.

It is a good choice, but it is not a supernatural good since it lacks Charity.  It still has merit in this world and the next.  However it does nothing w.r.t. getting you to heaven.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Michael on November 08, 2018, 05:25:44 PM
Why deny such an intuitive principle instead of affirming atheism or some version of theism without hell? God is literally punishing people for what He predetermined for them to do. Why on earth would you worship a god who sets up rampant child sex abuse (in his own church), the Holocaust, famine, disease, and tortures people forever for what they couldn't help doing?
Atheism is not an option since the existence of God is proven.
It isn't.

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Theism without hell - I don't know. But subjectively speaking, why not go with Pascal's wager?
Really? You got Catholics who hold that Protestants go to hell, and vice versa. Then you have Islam. And if God foreknows I am hellbound, I can't change His foreknowledge. Also, there could be a trickster god who only lets atheists into heaven. You may say that's absurd, but it's no more absurd than a god who claims to be just but punishes people for what He made them do in the first place.

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I will gladly switch back to libertarianism if the libertarianists can show that God's foreknowledge is not incompatible with libertarian free will.
Not going to happen.

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The will (according to libertarianism) is self-moving. Desires draw the will, but the will alone is what makes the decision.
Why does the will self-move towards evil over good? Just saying "free will" doesn't tell me anything. If the will determines how the will moves, that leads to A regress. Why did the will will itself to will A? Did it will itself to will itself to will A? At some point, you're going have to choose based on the initial nature of the will or it's moving to A over B inexplicably. Randomly.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Michael on November 08, 2018, 05:43:25 PM
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Do you see the layering you are doing?  "He" "uses" his free will.  I love how the heathen has to resort to theistic ideas, because there's no way to escape reality.

I'm simply asking for the explanation for the first evil choice -- the first evil act of will. You haven't given one; you've just told me that free will was involved, but you haven't told me why the free will did A over B.

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No, he chooses to do evil and reject God.  What free will means is that he is under no compunction to do this.
He chose evil. Why did he choose evil?
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 08, 2018, 07:01:54 PM
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He chose evil. Why did he choose evil?
Pride.  He chooses what he wants over what is good, that is, he rejects God.

But let's be very precise:

He chooses NOT to cooperate with grace because he rejects God.  He prefers the evil act, which he would have to give up.

When the heathens take over a government and invariably come to the conclusion that millions must die, they KNOW it is evil.  When heathen women dye their hair blue, dress like crap, then scream their vitrole against the patriarchy, by which they mean Christendom, they know they are vile.

It is a demonic hatred against God.  They reject His Grace.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Michael on November 08, 2018, 07:42:33 PM
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He chose evil. Why did he choose evil?
Pride.  He chooses what he wants over what is good, that is, he rejects God.

Granted the pride, why did he choose to act on it and rebel instead of resisting it and obeying? If the pride caused him to rebel, then he couldn't have done otherwise unless he freely chose to be prideful. If he could have done otherwise, then pride doesn't fully explain why he chose to rebel, since he could have chosen to obey with the pride still in place.
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He prefers the evil act, which he would have to give up.
Well you can't choose your preferences, or life would be a lot easier. I could just choose to prefer work over leisure, or the taste of feces over ice cream...
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 08, 2018, 08:02:17 PM
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Granted the pride, why did he choose to act on it and rebel instead of resisting it and obeying?

I having problems with your terminology.  Act on "it"?  There is no "it".  He chooses to turn his back on the good and picks to do the evil, because that is his preference.  We call that pride.

All humans have this defect.  Those who are Predestined are saved from this flaw in the end (we sin 7 times a day at least), those who aren't are left in their natural state.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on November 08, 2018, 08:55:23 PM
You guys are going around in circles.  "Why did A do B?"  "Because he chose to do B."  "Why did he choose to do B?"  "Because he has free will and made that choice."  "Why did he make that choice?"  "Because that was his preference."  "Why was that his preference?"  "Because that is what he chose to do."  Etc.

Here's the conundrum.  Thomism/scholasticism simply doesn't have the answer.

The only rational explanation for why a will chooses evil over good, or good over evil, is because it is desired (e.g. valued) more.  If there is no rational explanation for why a will chooses what it does, then humans are simply not rational animals.  Their choices are simply random.  Which makes Christianity a farce - evil deeds as well as good are at bottom the result of bad luck.

But, if desires are chosen by the will, that leads to an infinite regress.  The desire chosen is the desire that is desired more.  And that desire is the desire that is desired more.  And on to infinity.

And, if desires are not chosen by the will but are random, but the will must act according to them, then at bottom choices are still random even if there exists a first-order explanation.

All this forces the conclusion that there is something in humans that 1) is not an act of the will, 2) determines acts of the will by determining desires, and 3) is self-explanatory.

Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Daniel on November 08, 2018, 09:53:44 PM
All this forces the conclusion that there is something in humans that 1) is not an act of the will, 2) determines acts of the will by determining desires, and 3) is self-explanatory.
If the will has libertarian freedom, wouldn't the answer to all that simply be the will? 1.) "Acts of the will" follow from the will. So the will itself is not an act of the will. 2.) The will determines the acts of will. How so? By determining its "desires" (i.e. by choosing which desires are to be pursued and which desires are to be rejected). 3.) The will is self-explanatory: Why does the will will A over B? Because it wills A over B.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Michael on November 08, 2018, 11:05:28 PM
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Granted the pride, why did he choose to act on it and rebel instead of resisting it and obeying?

I having problems with your terminology.  Act on "it"?
Acted on his pride. Why did he choose to go with his evil desire instead of his good desire? If he only had an evil desire, then he couldn't have done otherwise.
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There is no "it".  He chooses to turn his back on the good and picks to do the evil, because that is his preference. [emphasis added] 
If his preference made him rebel, then how could he have possibly obeyed? If his preference was somehow up to him (or under his control), then begs the question of why he rebelled rather than not.

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We call that pride.
Ok, let's be extremely precise: Did Satan feel prideful, then choose to rebel because of the pride? Or did he choose to rebel, which made his character prideful?

If the former, then that means he doesn't have free will. He suddenly feels prideful, which leads him to rebellion. If the latter, that means his behaviour was akin to a roll of the dice, since there's no cause for him doing A over B.

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Those who are Predestined are saved from this flaw in the end (we sin 7 times a day at least), those who aren't are left in their natural state.

This doesn't seem to fit with free will either. If God predestines person X, that entails X goes to heaven. If God doesn't predestine person Y, that entails Y goes to hell. Given the inescapable entailment, you have no power to decide your fate. A premise outside your control (God's predestining you or not) is the ultimate decider of whether you get saved.

You guys are going around in circles.  "Why did A do B?"  "Because he chose to do B."  "Why did he choose to do B?"  "Because he has free will and made that choice."  "Why did he make that choice?"  "Because that was his preference."  "Why was that his preference?"  "Because that is what he chose to do."  Etc.
The libertarian is the one who falls into a regress. I'm just putting it on display.

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The only rational explanation for why a will chooses evil over good, or good over evil, is because it is desired (e.g. valued) more.  If there is no rational explanation for why a will chooses what it does, then humans are simply not rational animals.  Their choices are simply random.  Which makes Christianity a farce - evil deeds as well as good are at bottom the result of bad luck.

Right. Your will moves based on the strongest, proximate desire apprehended by the intellect -- or it moves randomly. Either way, there is no reason for God to punish, if He or She exists.

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But, if desires are chosen by the will, that leads to an infinite regress.  The desire chosen is the desire that is desired more.  And that desire is the desire that is desired more.  And on to infinity.

Well, some desires might be under the control of second-order desires (or third-order desires). That doesn't necessarily lead to an infinite regression, so long as there is a fixed desire somewhere in the chain.

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All this forces the conclusion that there is something in humans that 1) is not an act of the will, 2) determines acts of the will by determining desires, and 3) is self-explanatory.

This forces the conclusion that no one is morally responsible for what they do.  ;)

1.) "Acts of the will" follow from the will. So the will itself is not an act of the will.

That means the will must act based on the way it is, and its movement will simply be a reflection of the composition of the agent. That is, unless you can choose the type of will you have, but then you'd have to create the initial state of your will, which is impossible, since you'd have to create yourself.

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2.) The will determines the acts of will. How so? By determining its "desires" (i.e. by choosing which desires are to be pursued and which desires are to be rejected).
Why does it choose to go with desire-set A over desire-set B? Unless there's a fixed second-order desire to go with A over B, it's random which way the agent exercises its agent-causal power. So even if the choice is determined by the agent, it's still a matter of luck which choice the agent generates.

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3.) The will is self-explanatory: Why does the will will A over B? Because it wills A over B.
That just means you don't have an explanation. If I ask "why did the rockslide happen?" it's not an answer to say "Because rocks slid down the hill." That's just changing the interrogative into a declarative sentence.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 09, 2018, 12:56:05 AM
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This doesn't seem to fit with free will either. If God predestines person X, that entails X goes to heaven. If God doesn't predestine person Y, that entails Y goes to hell. Given the inescapable entailment, you have no power to decide your fate. A premise outside your control (God's predestining you or not) is the ultimate decider of whether you get saved.
  Yes, God is the ultimate decider.  However He wills all men to be saved and gives Grace to everyone.  Think of it this way, the more you put in, the more likely you will be saved.  But there is no assurance.

On the devil, we have such scant information there is no way I can reply.  Keep it to humans.

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Acted on his pride. Why did he choose to go with his evil desire instead of his good desire? If he only had an evil desire, then he couldn't have done otherwise.
  We'll talk about the man who chooses evil and knows it is wrong.  The fact that he knows it is wrong is the source of his guilt.  Now the degree of that guilt varies.  If he was sodomized all during his childhood, his guilt might be very small, if any.  If he has a normal upbringing, but still chooses some evil, his guilt is heavy.  This factors into his judgment (along with number and severity).  But the key point is knowing something is wrong.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Michael on November 09, 2018, 01:13:00 AM
Quote from: Yours truly
This doesn't seem to fit with free will either. If God predestines person X, that entails X goes to heaven. If God doesn't predestine person Y, that entails Y goes to hell. Given the inescapable entailment, you have no power to decide your fate. A premise outside your control (God's predestining you or not) is the ultimate decider of whether you get saved.
  Yes, God is the ultimate decider.  However He wills...
Only antecedently. Not consequently, and hence, not in reality.
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...all men to be saved and gives Grace to everyone.
It doesn't matter if God gives everyone grace if He doesn't give them the necessary grace to be saved. He only gives the necessary grace to the Elect, which makes His love a bigoted love, a discriminatory love.

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Think of it this way, the more you put in, the more likely you will be saved.  But there is no assurance. [emphasis added]

What's the point of following a religion if it can't give me assurance? I'd rather be a Calvinist than a Catholic.

Quote from: james03
Quote from: Yours truly
Acted on his pride. Why did he choose to go with his evil desire instead of his good desire? If he only had an evil desire, then he couldn't have done otherwise.
  We'll talk about the man who chooses evil and knows it is wrong.  The fact that he knows it is wrong is the source of his guilt.  Now the degree of that guilt varies.  If he was sodomized all during his childhood, his guilt might be very small, if any.  If he has a normal upbringing, but still chooses some evil, his guilt is heavy.  This factors into his judgment (along with number and severity).  But the key point is knowing something is wrong.

None of that answers my question. It just describes making an evil choice and feeling guilty about it. But why did he make the evil choice?
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Daniel on November 09, 2018, 08:21:31 AM
That means the will must act based on the way it is, and its movement will simply be a reflection of the composition of the agent. That is, unless you can choose the type of will you have, but then you'd have to create the initial state of your will, which is impossible, since you'd have to create yourself.
The will is the agent. But the libertarians say it is a free agent. So its movements are free.
Of course the will does not will itself into existence, but I'm not seeing why this is a problem. God brings the will into existence, and the will then wills as it will.

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Why does it choose to go with desire-set A over desire-set B? Unless there's a fixed second-order desire to go with A over B, it's random which way the agent exercises its agent-causal power. So even if the choice is determined by the agent, it's still a matter of luck which choice the agent generates.
. . .
That just means you don't have an explanation. If I ask "why did the rockslide happen?" it's not an answer to say "Because rocks slid down the hill." That's just changing the interrogative into a declarative sentence.
The question, "Why did the rockslide happen?" is essentially a different kind of question than, "Why did the will choose A over B?". The former has a cause (and so we can give an explanation) whereas the latter does not have a cause (and is thus self-explanatory).
Strictly speaking, even in the rockslide example you'll run into the same problem if you eliminate all the mediate causes. e.g. The rockslide happened because of an earthquake. But this earthquake doesn't sufficiently explain the rockslide, since you still need to explain what caused the earthquake. So the earthquake happened because of the earth's geology. But, again, this doesn't explain the earthquake (much less the rockslide), since you now need to give an explanation for the earth's geology. So the geology happened because of the Big Bang or God or whatever. Yet this also does not answer the question, since you now need to account for the Big Bang or for God. And so on.
If your view is atheistic you end up in an infinite regress and will never find the cause since you have to keep tracing it back further and further, never arriving at the beginning.
If your view is theistic then you avoid the regress, yet you are still left without a cause, because everything can be traced back to God who has no cause. Similarly, the will (according to libertarianism) is like God. It moves but is not moved. (Though unlike God, the will's existence is caused.)
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 09, 2018, 01:49:45 PM
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It doesn't matter if God gives everyone grace if He doesn't give them the necessary grace to be saved. He only gives the necessary grace to the Elect, which makes His love a bigoted love, a discriminatory love.
  I don't follow Banez.  Since we sin 7 times a day, He is continually sending Grace.  For some, He leaves them after a certain point.  I've used the example of Hitler, a baptized baby.  God could have saved him easily with a childhood disease.  However, if Hitler did not do what he did, I would not exist.  So Hitler was permitted to exist and do what he did.  (This example is to show the limits of Omnipotence.  If I CAN'T exist, how can I exist?  God is limited by Himself, Who is Truth.)

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What's the point of following a religion if it can't give me assurance? I'd rather be a Calvinist than a Catholic.
  What's the point?  If I give you an option of belonging to a religion which gives you a 99% assurance of heaven vs. not belonging which is 100% hell, and you said "What's the point of joining?", you'd be an idiot.  As far as Calvinists, if you like being lied to, then you are like the women who love Oprah.

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But why did he make the evil choice?
Because humans prefer the short term gain of evil.  We are fallen.  If you doubt that, read Atlas Shrugged.  Her dystopian world sure looks a lot like what we have today.  Or read 1984.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Pon de Replay on November 09, 2018, 02:55:20 PM
It's difficult to see why free will is so important, since the eternal fate of many souls is not dependent on free will at all.  Nature terminates more than a third of pregnancies, and this, combined with the high child mortality rate throughout most of history, has claimed a huge chunk of souls before they reached the age of reason.  Of these, the unbaptized go to Limbo (an eternal state of perfect natural happiness), and the baptized go to Heaven (an eternal state of bliss and the beatific vision).

None of the aforementioned souls exercised their free will in choosing Limbo or Heaven.  Their fate was determined, not effected.  So clearly God has created worlds without suffering and populated them, gratis, with souls.  But the existence of this world, with its sufferings and with the very likely probability of our free will choosing hell (viz., the fewness of the saved (https://www.olrl.org/snt_docs/fewness.shtml)) is inexplicable given the existence of the other two worlds, Limbo and Heaven.  The best thing to hope for, in the Catholic scheme, is to die before you can use your free will to determine your eternal fate.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 09, 2018, 03:20:54 PM
Have  you ever worked on an all-male crew on a grueling project with a lot of hardship?  If not, then you can not know what it feels like when you win.  Now if you ask any of those men if they enjoyed it, e.g. working in 35F temperature while it was raining, they would say they hated it.  If you told them if they had the chance, would they go back and not do it, they would say no.  In fact they would say it was one of the best things that happened in their life.

Sadly for the aborted babies in Limbo, they miss out on a lot.  I'd rather be in heaven with the merits of the good that I have chosen before me for all eternity, ever present.  I will be grateful that God allowed life to be a challenge.

edit:  'You've never lived until you've almost died. For those who have fought for it, life has a flavor the protected shall never know.'
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Pon de Replay on November 09, 2018, 03:34:24 PM
But the souls in Limbo don't know what they're missing out on, otherwise they would experience the pain of regretting their loss of heaven (a loss that was no doing of theirs).  And if they experienced pain and regret, then Limbo would not be a state of perfect natural happiness.  It is fine if you prefer the world of the trial.  If you think that is the best way to go (reaching the age of reason and going for the brass ring against all odds), then why do you suppose God denies it to so many through no fault of their own?

In any case, the baptized child who dies before the age of reason receives Heaven without any use of his or her free will.  Is Heaven therefore not as heavenly to such a soul?  How can the beatific vision vary?  Is there less than the full apprehension of God in Heaven?  Nevertheless, I would prefer to have died before I was seven.  If you give me a choice between 1. Heaven, calibrated down a notch, or 2. Heaven, after a trial in which my odds of success are very small ("few there are who find it"), then I will absolutely take door number one.  To not take it is insanity.


Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Michael Wilson on November 09, 2018, 03:58:53 PM
But the right use of free will, is the way that God intended men and angels to arrive at the possession of Heaven. The existence of Limbo, and the ability of babies and idiots to attain to Heaven, is an exception that God in His mercy has prepared for those who ordinarily would not attain to happiness either natural or supernatural. Since the number of angels is much greater that the number of men; then, free will is supremely important in their salvation. In the case of men, the number of those who reach the age of reason, is also greater that those who do not; so again, free will is also (along with grace) the necessary component that determines their eternal destiny.
The degree of happiness in Heaven does vary in intensity depending on the degree of Charity of the soul or angel. Since God is infinite, a creature, no matter how perfect, can never entirely grasp or apprehend all the beauty and goodness of God. Would those who fell into Hell, be better off if they had never lived? Our Lord in reference to Judas Iscariot, said as much.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Pon de Replay on November 09, 2018, 04:24:56 PM
But the right use of free will, is the way that God intended men and angels to arrive at the possession of Heaven. The existence of Limbo, and the ability of babies and idiots to attain to Heaven, is an exception that God in His mercy has prepared for those who ordinarily would not attain to happiness either natural or supernatural. Since the number of angels is much greater that the number of men; then, free will is supremely important in their salvation. In the case of men, the number of those who reach the age of reason, is also greater that those who do not; so again, free will is also (along with grace) the necessary component that determines their eternal destiny.
The degree of happiness in Heaven does vary in intensity depending on the degree of Charity of the soul or angel. Since God is infinite, a creature, no matter how perfect, can never entirely grasp or apprehend all the beauty and goodness of God. Would those who fell into Hell, be better off if they had never lived? Our Lord in reference to Judas Iscariot, said as much.

Point taken, Michael Wilson: the angels, indeed, are also souls who populate either Heaven or Hell.  But in human terms, there is a high rate of souls who end up in Limbo or Heaven through no will of their own, and therefore cannot really constitute an exception.  Roughly a third to a half of all fertilized eggs do not reach term—and that's just speaking naturally, not taking abortion into account.  Then, for those who make it out of the womb alive, the historically high child mortality rate adds greatly to the number.  The problem with free will is that we don't have the free will to choose being born as imbeciles, or as children who will die as children

The angels, on the other hand, get to use their free will in the most benevolent scenario: they are created in Heaven and given the simple choice of loving God or refusing him.  That is a perfectly fair scheme for exercising free will.  They make their choice perceiving the irrefutable existence of God.  It's a choice that doesn't depend on whether their parents are Catholic, or whether they're born into a pagan tribe in the pre-colonial New World—or whether they're Catholic but come to doubt the existence of God because they begin to suspect it unlikely due to considerations such as those in this very thread!  In the earthly scheme, birth (and life) is a lottery.  I agree with you (and Christ) completely that those who end up in Hell would be better to have never lived.  I would wish for either non-existence or a death before age seven, over reaching adulthood in the Catholic scheme.  Preferring an entry into the "fewness of the saved" trial is insanity, if there are other options on offer that are guaranteed wins.


Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 09, 2018, 04:48:41 PM
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It is fine if you prefer the world of the trial.  If you think that is the best way to go (reaching the age of reason and going for the brass ring against all odds), then why do you suppose God denies it to so many through no fault of their own?
  So that I could be born.  Truth exists.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Pon de Replay on November 09, 2018, 04:54:51 PM
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It is fine if you prefer the world of the trial.  If you think that is the best way to go (reaching the age of reason and going for the brass ring against all odds), then why do you suppose God denies it to so many through no fault of their own?
  So that I could be born.  Truth exists.

I don't understand.  God denied them the trial so that you could be born?  What makes you more special than them?  This all seems rather capricious.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Pon de Replay on November 09, 2018, 05:00:54 PM
I guess there are several schemes created by God.  Given the existence of all four schemes, I fail to see an overarching fairness.

1.  Conception, and death as an unbaptized person prior to the age of reason.  Result: Limbo.  Free will: none.

2.  Conception, and death as a baptized Christian prior to the age of reason.  Result: Heaven.  Free will: none.

3.  Creation as an angel, seeing Heaven and knowing without question the existence of God.  Result: Heaven or Hell.  Free will: perfect.

4.  Conception, and life on earth past the age of reason.  Result: Heaven or Hell.  Free will: compromised.


Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Michael on November 09, 2018, 11:00:00 PM
What's the point?  If I give you an option of belonging to a religion which gives you a 99% assurance of heaven vs. not belonging which is 100% hell, and you said "What's the point of joining?", you'd be an idiot. [emphasis added]


Where did you pull 99% from? On Catholicism, no matter how good you live, you could commit a mortal sin before you die, and then all that work and sacrifice were for nothing. The coin could flip tails. I might as well live as I please, since nothing I do will change God's foreknowledge.

Quote from: Yours truly
But why did he make the evil choice?
Because humans prefer the short term gain of evil.

If such a preference causes one to choose evil, then they could not have done otherwise. If one can choose good with that preference in place, then that preference doesn't explain why they chose evil over good.

Choice A: Prefer evil and choose evil
B: Prefer evil and choose good

Why A over B?
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Davis Blank - EG on November 10, 2018, 01:58:25 AM
The problem of evil and the question of free will vs. determinism.  I do wonder how apostates were ever serious adult Catholics to let these one day be the rational cause for apostasy.  When I converted from atheism to theism and finally Christianity these, among others (like hiddenness), were things I pondered long and came to terms with.  How did you all one day decide this disproved anything?

“The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.”


Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Pon de Replay on November 10, 2018, 09:52:34 AM
The problem of evil and the question of free will vs. determinism.  I do wonder how apostates were ever serious adult Catholics to let these one day be the rational cause for apostasy.  When I converted from atheism to theism and finally Christianity these, among others (like hiddenness), were things I pondered long and came to terms with.  How did you all one day decide this disproved anything?

“The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.”

The quote you ended with is apt.  People will naturally come to traditional Catholicism from a variety of ways.  For me, the attraction was aesthetic and cultural and political.  Liturgical solemnity, hierarchical ordering, self-abnegation, and venerable ancestral traditions—there is a definite "rightness" to these things, and for someone reeling in disgust and disillusionment from the modern world, traditional Catholicism is one of the very few authentic options on the menu.  After that, faith is not something arrived at logically.  If it was, we would simply call it "fact" and not "faith."

So what happens is that one assumes grace is supplying their faith in spite of their doubts.  And I don't think anyone with a so-called "mature faith" is entirely without doubt (even St. Augustine said, "O Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief").  But what is actually going on is something else: it is deciding that something must be true because you want it to be true.  It's not unlike falling in love at the beginning of a romantic relationship.  And with religion, more so than with romance, comes an aspect of filial loyalty.  You almost must compartmentalize certain things; to do otherwise would be a betrayal.  So you content yourself with "God's ways are not our ways" and "the wisdom of men is foolishness to God"—or, "it is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head.  And it is his head that splits."

It's not a matter of one day waking up and questioning God's goodness.  It's more the effect of a cumulative mass of problems eventually coming to a head.  All the compartments have become completely full, and so they burst.  You realize that you had been squirreling away more doubts than you could possibly carry.  But there is no way to have known this would become the case without having first been so much of a cautious skeptic that you wouldn't make the leap in the first place.  Thus an endeavor of many years becomes another life lesson.

"Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and Saint, and heard great Argument
About it and about; but evermore
Came out by the same Door as in I went.
"
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 10, 2018, 10:09:42 AM
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Where did you pull 99% from? On Catholicism, no matter how good you live, you could commit a mortal sin before you die, and then all that work and sacrifice were for nothing. The coin could flip tails. I might as well live as I please, since nothing I do will change God's foreknowledge.
  99% is not 100%, so falls short of an assurance.  If a religion gives you a 99% chance of getting to heaven, you'd be an idiot not to join.

As far as changing God's Sovereign Plan, no you can not change it.  However He may have incorporated into His plan an action on your part that leads to your salvation.


Quote
If such a preference causes one to choose evil, then they could not have done otherwise. If one can choose good with that preference in place, then that preference doesn't explain why they chose evil over good.

Choice A: Prefer evil and choose evil
B: Prefer evil and choose good
  A sinner would go with Choice A do to selfishness.  The core of sin is a preference for your own inordinate desire over God.  Now you can avoid evil without Grace.  And you can even do natural good on your own, like St. Thomas's example of building something.  However eventually you will fall.  We are a fallen race.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 10, 2018, 10:13:12 AM
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I don't understand.  God denied them the trial so that you could be born?  What makes you more special than them?
If I exist then I am special, along with billions of others.

The point being that I believe in hylomorphism vs. Cartesian dualism.  I'm not some ectoplasm spirit that God can insert into any body robot.  Therefore if Stalin hadn't lived and did what he did, I COULD NOT exist.  So in some small way I am thankful for Stalin as I love living.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Pon de Replay on November 10, 2018, 10:31:14 AM
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I don't understand.  God denied them the trial so that you could be born?  What makes you more special than them?
If I exist then I am special, along with billions of others.

But these other souls also exist, therefore they must be special, too.  The difference between them and you is that they never get to exercise their free will to effect their salvation.  Personally, I think they're more fortunate than you.  They are assured happiness or heaven.  But you prefer to undergo the test (a test from which even the theologians say a minority of Christians emerge triumphant.  I think your 99% figure there is suspect).

So why do some undergo the test, and others receive eternal happiness gratis?  If I had any free choice in the matter, I would choose the latter.  My free will, sadly, is constrained as far as that goes.

I'm not some ectoplasm spirit that God can insert into any body robot.  Therefore if Stalin hadn't lived and did what he did, I COULD NOT exist.  So in some small way I am thankful for Stalin as I love living.

Living has its positives, I grant you (depending on your lot in life), but not to the extent that I'd be thankful to Stalin for killing millions just so I could live and take my pleasures.  I would opt for non-existence over that equation.  To prefer otherwise seems the height of selfishness.


Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 10, 2018, 10:37:09 AM
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So why do some undergo the test, and others receive eternal happiness gratis?
Because existence is the ultimate complex system.  You have to make a baby.  That effects existence.  If a baby dies, that has an effect.  God is Truth, He can not deny Himself.  Therefore if it takes Stalin to make me exist (and billions of others), and it is His Will that we exist, then He will permit Stalin to slaughter.  Of course we don't know the eternal disposition of his victims either.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 10, 2018, 10:40:46 AM
I view existence as a highly constrained optimization problem.  The optimum is some blend of maximum souls saved, with maximum souls in Limbo, with a minimum of suffering in hell.  Major constraints are physical laws and Free Will.  If human suffering leads to a better optimum, it is allowed.

I also view uncoverted heathens as slack variables.  God can off load a bunch of entropy on them.

I don't insist this is reality, but no one can say it is wrong either.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Pon de Replay on November 10, 2018, 10:49:44 AM
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So why do some undergo the test, and others receive eternal happiness gratis?
Because existence is the ultimate complex system.  You have to make a baby.  That effects existence.  If a baby dies, that has an effect.  God is Truth, He can not deny Himself.  Therefore if it takes Stalin to make me exist (and billions of others), and it is His Will that we exist, then He will permit Stalin to slaughter.  Of course we don't know the eternal disposition of his victims either.

This is getting a little weird.  Yes, babies get made, and that effects existence.  Everything effects everything else.  We have no argument on this.  My point, however, is that in choosing to create this world, where half of all human lives end in eternal happiness (without using any free will of their own), and where the other half must endure a test in which they have to overcome their very nature in order to succeed (and most of these souls will emphatically not succeed), God has ensured that there is a systematic unfairness at play.

If you will acknowledge this imbalance, then we might proceed from there.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 10, 2018, 10:56:58 AM
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If you will acknowledge this imbalance, then we might proceed from there.

I acknowledge the imbalance.  I don't call it unfair, which is synonymous with unjust.  God owes us nothing.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Pon de Replay on November 10, 2018, 01:26:52 PM
I acknowledge the imbalance.  I don't call it unfair, which is synonymous with unjust.  God owes us nothing.

How do you not consider it unfair?  "God owes us nothing" is certainly compatible with an impersonal God: one who places us in a cruel universe, makes a lottery of our birth, and gives us no revelation.  But it does not seem applicable to a God who is likened to a loving father.  At least you have conceded the imbalance.  Do you consider it fair for a father to freely give one son eternal happiness while, for another son, holding back eternal happiness and only granting it if he succeeds in a test he is likely to fail?

If you can square such a situation with fairness, then I will be that much closer to comprehending your theology.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Sempronius on November 10, 2018, 02:50:49 PM
From Pierre Bayle

1. The natural light and revelation teach us clearly that there is only one principle of all things, and that this principle is infinitely perfect; 2. The way of reconciling the moral and physical evil of humanity with all the attributes of this single, infinitely perfect principle of all things surpasses our philosophical lights, such that the Manichean objections leave us with difficulties that human reason cannot resolve; 3. Nevertheless, it is necessary to believe firmly that what the natural light and revelation teach us about the unity and infinite perfection of God, just as believe by faith and submission to divine authority the mysteries of the Trinity and the Incarnation.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Michael on November 10, 2018, 04:51:58 PM
As William Lane Craig pointed out, to have an explanation for something, you don't need an explanation for the explanation. Even if the earthquake was uncaused and random, it still explains the rockslide.

But since nothing causes the agent to will A over B, then there is no explanation. It's a random thing you have no control over. You're not responsible.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Michael Wilson on November 10, 2018, 05:12:56 PM
P.L.R. stated:
Quote

Point taken, Michael Wilson: the angels, indeed, are also souls who populate either Heaven or Hell.  But in human terms, there is a high rate of souls who end up in Limbo or Heaven through no will of their own, and therefore cannot really constitute an exception.  Roughly a third to a half of all fertilized eggs do not reach term—and that's just speaking naturally, not taking abortion into account.  Then, for those who make it out of the womb alive, the historically high child mortality rate adds greatly to the number.  The problem with free will is that we don't have the free will to choose being born as imbeciles, or as children who will die as children.

The angels, on the other hand, get to use their free will in the most benevolent scenario: they are created in Heaven and given the simple choice of loving God or refusing him.  That is a perfectly fair scheme for exercising free will.  They make their choice perceiving the irrefutable existence of God.  It's a choice that doesn't depend on whether their parents are Catholic, or whether they're born into a pagan tribe in the pre-colonial New World—or whether they're Catholic but come to doubt the existence of God because they begin to suspect it unlikely due to considerations such as those in this very thread!  In the earthly scheme, birth (and life) is a lottery.  I agree with you (and Christ) completely that those who end up in Hell would be better to have never lived.  I would wish for either non-existence or a death before age seven, over reaching adulthood in the Catholic scheme.  Preferring an entry into the "fewness of the saved" trial is insanity, if there are other options on offer that are guaranteed wins.
First, an aside; I was always fascinated by your "nom-de-guerre"; and I thought it was something very exotic. So when I read that all it meant was:  "hit the replay button" in Spanish, I started laughing! I didn't see it, because it wasn't what I expected. :laugh:  Now back to our regular program:
re. The trial of the Angels, the angels did not have the beatific vision, and their belief in God was analogous to that of our first parents; that is, they had evidence of God's existence, but they had to accept it on faith; the same for their trial. God gave them the choice of submitting to Him in an act of faith and Charity or suffering the penalty of being separated from Him forever. The angels fully understood the consequences of their choice, but yet it was still and act of faith.
In the case of men. God in His original plan, that is before the sin of Adam and Eve; would have had all men reach the age of adulthood, or at least the full use of reason, before being given a choice of salvation or perdition; so the existence of idiots, and infant mortality, and abortion, is not the doing of God, but the free choice of man. God on the other hand drew good out of evil, by giving those souls that never would reach the age of reason, because of the consequence of sin, the opportunity to either enjoy the gift of the beatific vision, or natural happiness in Limbo. The existence of both is an effect and proof of the love of God and His mercy.
Re. Pagans and those not born of Catholic parents etc. etc. God who tells us that He wills the salvation of all men, provides sufficient grace to every man who reaches the age of reason, to attain eternal salvation. St. Thomas in an article in the Summa explains how the first act of each and every man reaching the age of reason, is either an act of love directed towards God at least implicitly, and which obtains Sanctifying Grace for the soul, or an act of selfishness, rejecting God and therefore falling into Mortal sin. So no man falls into Hell without being truly culpable. The same goes for those who would lose their faith when adults. God sees all, even the most secret thoughts of men; if they are truly faultless, God will not hold them responsible, as God did not send His beloved Son to die on the Cross in order to condemn men, but to give men the greatest possible opportunity to attain to eternal salvation.
 Now I agree that a life in Limbo or going to Heaven by Baptism, before reaching the age of reason is preferable to Hell; but the reward of Heaven for those who use God's graces correctly, will many times over, compensate for the pains and sufferings and sacrifices that they will have to undergo to attain to their eternal reward. St. Teresa of Avila was reputed to have appeared to a nun of her order after her death and told her that she would gladly undergo all the torments of Earth, from then to the end of the world, for the exchange of the increase in happiness in Heaven given in reward for the recitation of one more Hail Mary. 
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Michael Wilson on November 10, 2018, 05:26:38 PM
P.D.R. stated:
Quote
How do you not consider it unfair?  "God owes us nothing" is certainly compatible with an impersonal God: one who places us in a cruel universe, makes a lottery of our birth, and gives us no revelation.  But it does not seem applicable to a God who is likened to a loving father.  At least you have conceded the imbalance.  Do you consider it fair for a father to freely give one son eternal happiness while, for another son, holding back eternal happiness and only granting it if he succeeds in a test he is likely to fail?
If you can square such a situation with fairness, then I will be that much closer to comprehending your theology.
James is right in stating that "God owes us nothing"; but God does owe it to His own goodness and perfect justice, to provide all men with the sufficient means to obtain eternal salvation. Our birth is a lottery, but God is not undone or His providence frustrated by any accident of birth, place or circumstance. God provided and still provides for the most remote savages and even the most aloof skeptics, the graces they needed and need to attain to salvation. God does not lie, and He indeed tells us that He is "Our Father"; but who can imagine a good Father giving some of his children a comfortable home and sufficient love and education in order to attain success in life, and others kicking them out of the house with none of these and for no reason whatsoever. If there are any children who have left the house of their father and abandoned His love, it is because they, like the prodigal son, have left of their own accord and decided to find their happiness in things that are not in accord with God's plan. 
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Michael Wilson on November 10, 2018, 05:43:56 PM
Michael stated:
Quote
I thought the whole point of free will is being able to choose to accept or reject God. On your version of free will, it's inevitable what I choose. It's in line with what I desire (so "free" in one sense), but my desires aren't up to me in an ultimate sense.
That is the correct definition of free will; man must be free to choose between one thing or another in order for his will to be truly free. That is one of the criticisms leveled at the Banezian system of Grace; in this system, man's will is not truly free to accept or reject God's grace as Trent taught.
Our choices are truly free, but God also knows by His eternal transcendent knowledge what choices we will make. He does not force us to choose, and He provides us with the graces necessary to make the right choices; but ultimately the choices are ours and therefore we will have to accept the responsibility for those choices before God.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Pon de Replay on November 10, 2018, 06:29:58 PM
First, an aside; I was always fascinated by your "nom-de-guerre"; and I thought it was something very exotic. So when I read that all it meant was:  "hit the replay button" in Spanish, I started laughing! I didn't see it, because it wasn't what I expected.

Greetings, Michael Wilson.  "Pon de Replay" was a regrettable choice.  It's the name of a hip-hoppish pop song by the so-called artist Rihanna; it is possibly one of the most annoying songs I've ever heard.  I think it means "put on the replay" in some Caribbean patois.  It was not my original user name.  I took it in a fit of pique, at a point when I was objecting to traditional Catholics being okay with hip-hop.  I no longer care about that particular development, of course—let traditional Catholics be as worldly as they please.  There was a memorable post here once when someone called St. John Chrysostom "proto-Islamic" because of his hatred of dancing.  "Proto-Islamic" would probably be a good user name for me, but I will stick with "Pon de Replay" to remind myself that mistakes are forever.

We can probably set the discussion of angels aside for the time being, but thank you for your explanation.  St. John the Divine said the rebellion of the fallen angels took place in heaven, and I may've been recalling Milton overmuch in my understanding of their knowledge of God.  For the sake of the argument, it's fine if, as you say, "their belief in God was analogous to that of our first parents; that is, they had evidence of God's existence, but they had to accept it on faith; the same for their trial."  In that case, we can just include the angels in the same category as the humans who are given a trial to effect their salvation using their free will.  So we can winnow things down to just two categories:

1.  Angels and humans who choose their eternal destination using their own free will.

2.  Human souls who are granted either Limbo (eternal happiness) or Heaven (eternal bliss) without using their free will.

God does not lie, and He indeed tells us that He is "Our Father"; but who can imagine a good Father giving some of his children a comfortable home and sufficient love and education in order to attain success in life, and others kicking them out of the house with none of these and for no reason whatsoever. If there are any children who have left the house of their father and abandoned His love, it is because they, like the prodigal son, have left of their own accord and decided to find their happiness in things that are not in accord with God's plan.

Just to make clear: my objection is not necessarily to those who choose Hell from their own free will.  That would be fair enough if everyone was subjected to the same test.  My objection is to why some are left to their own free will while others are spared that same trial, and given either happiness or bliss.


Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Michael Wilson on November 10, 2018, 07:03:33 PM
Pon,
 thanks for your further clarification on your user name; great story.
Quote

My objection is to why some are left to their own free will while others are spared that same trial, and given either happiness or bliss.
If some are given a "bye", its not because of God's original plan, but because of the injection of the "x" factor of sin into that plan. In other words, all would have been given a test to attain to eternal happiness or sadness if Adam had not sinned. But sin introduced such things as sickness and death, that would not have been present if Adam had not failed. Since not all men will reach the age of reason in order to make a responsible decision, God mercifully provided for an "second" or "exceptional" way for souls to attain to eternal happiness. This speaks greatly of His mercy and benevolence.
God can do this justly, because in effect, Christ "paid" the price of the "get out of jail free, card", on Mt. Calvary, for all those who do not deliberately reject His offer of friendship. Thus God gives a free pass to all who cannot afford to pay, drawing from the "bank account of the infinite merits of His divine Son.   
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Pon de Replay on November 10, 2018, 09:10:26 PM
If some are given a "bye", its not because of God's original plan, but because of the injection of the "x" factor of sin into that plan. In other words, all would have been given a test to attain to eternal happiness or sadness if Adam had not sinned. But sin introduced such things as sickness and death, that would not have been present if Adam had not failed. Since not all men will reach the age of reason in order to make a responsible decision, God mercifully provided for an "second" or "exceptional" way for souls to attain to eternal happiness. This speaks greatly of His mercy and benevolence.
God can do this justly, because in effect, Christ "paid" the price of the "get out of jail free, card", on Mt. Calvary, for all those who do not deliberately reject His offer of friendship. Thus God gives a free pass to all who cannot afford to pay, drawing from the "bank account of the infinite merits of His divine Son.

Gracias, Michael.  I fear we are simply re-framing the problem without resolving it.  But at least we are closer to the OP, because God's foreknowledge of "the injection of the 'x' factor into his plan" surely renders this "x" factor part of his plan.

I agree with you that God providing eternal happiness to those who die before the age of reason bespeaks his mercy and benevolence.  The problem is that none of us have any say in whether we die before that age.  We cannot exert our free will to that end.  So in principle we still have the same difficulty: that some are given eternal happiness whereas others are subject to the trial.  Whether we push it back one step or not, it remains the will of God.  It is God's permissive will that this all occurs.

Since God has made it such that some could be given eternal happiness without deliberately rejecting him, it raises the question of why in his foreknowledge he did not simply make his entire creation such: eternal happiness for all.  In that scheme, I think, (and only in that scheme) would there be divine omnibenevolence.


Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Gardener on November 10, 2018, 09:22:47 PM
I maintain that the name Pon de Replay fits your Benjamin Eleazar-like attitude of "Bahhh!" well.

"It's still not Him..."

 :cheeseheadbeer:
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Michael Wilson on November 10, 2018, 09:50:49 PM
Pon,
 thanks for your response; God did make it His plan for everyone to enjoy eternal happiness; but He created creatures with freedom to love or reject Him. The admittance of a creature into the intimate life of God, is such a great privilege, that it is not forced on anyone. Also, because God is infinitely just, He would not do that which would be contrary to justice by admitting those into His friendship who would not have earned it. The reason infants are now admitted, is because of the merits of Our Divine Savior.
There is still omnibenevolence, its just that we wont see it completely until the final judgement, when all the secrets of God's goodness and the ingratitude of those who rejected Him will become manifest. 
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Davis Blank - EG on November 10, 2018, 09:53:14 PM
As William Lane Craig pointed out, to have an explanation for something, you don't need an explanation for the explanation. Even if the earthquake was uncaused and random, it still explains the rockslide.

But since nothing causes the agent to will A over B, then there is no explanation. It's a random thing you have no control over. You're not responsible.

How do you define random?

What is the logical path from "I do not understand the cause of this event" to "this event is thus random"?
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Michael on November 10, 2018, 10:33:18 PM
As William Lane Craig pointed out, to have an explanation for something, you don't need an explanation for the explanation. Even if the earthquake was uncaused and random, it still explains the rockslide.

But since nothing causes the agent to will A over B, then there is no explanation. It's a random thing you have no control over. You're not responsible.

How do you define random?

What is the logical path from "I do not understand the cause of this event" to "this event is thus random"?

Random as in uncaused and no reason for one thing occurring rather than another. On libertarian free will, there is no reason why the agent does one thing rather than another. It's random, which by definition means you can't control the outcome. Free will: God hands the angels a coin and punishes them if it lands on heads.

If there is a cause for the will's movement, then it's not random, but it's also not free, since it couldn't have done otherwise...unless you chose the cause of your choice, which starts a regress. That prior choice would be random or caused by something else, and so on.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Davis Blank - EG on November 11, 2018, 03:36:16 AM
How can an event be uncaused?
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Michael on November 11, 2018, 04:33:01 AM
How can an event be uncaused?

I'm not saying there are or aren't. I'm saying there's no free will either way: your choices are either caused by something you didn't choose, or they're inexplicable and arbitrary.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Davis Blank - EG on November 11, 2018, 04:58:34 AM
Why does inexllicable mean its arbitrary?  Why can it not simply be that the mechanics of free will are inexpliccable, yet known to be free?
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 11, 2018, 10:30:25 AM
Quote
Do you consider it fair for a father to freely give one son eternal happiness while, for another son, holding back eternal happiness and only granting it if he succeeds in a test he is likely to fail?

If you can square such a situation with fairness, then I will be that much closer to comprehending your theology.

So the two kids are Bill and Frank.  Bill is baptized, but then dies from shaken baby syndrome in strangercare.  He goes to heaven.

Frank lives a Catholic life, and goes to heaven.  Frank's kids are good Catholic kids, who influence their friends who also become good Catholics.  They all go to heaven.

Case 2:  Bill lives, and Frank dies right after baptism.  Bill cooks meth and pimps whores.  He dies childless and goes to hell.

Is it fair that God "is chosed" for the former case?  Yes, because it provided the outcome He willed.  But whatever God chooses is "fair", since He doesn't owe you anything.  If you are having problems with this, the parable of the various workers, one group starting at 6 a.m. and the final group starting at 5 p.m., but getting the same pay must freak you out.  However by the laws of justice, it was fair and just.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 11, 2018, 10:38:51 AM
The other thing, your joy in heaven increases with the Charity you develop on Earth.

Even Dutch Schultz, who was a Catholic for perhaps a few hours has more joy in heaven then a recently baptized baby that dies.

As far as dead fertilized embyo's like in the fertility clinics, they are in Limbo.  I don't think it is possible for them to experience what we would consider "joy".  They don't suffer.

Would I rather be a fertilized embryo existing in Limbo, or Dutch Schultz?  The answer is obvious.

The more you love God, which is loving Goodness, the more Charity you develop.  So when the veil is lifted and the Highest Good is before you to finally see, then the fact that you chose to do Acts of Charity to love this Good will bring you the greatest joy.  Dutch Schultz had only one act of Charity, he called for the priest.  It will bring him great joy in heaven, but he could have attained a whole lot more.

This is part of the optimization problem.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Pon de Replay on November 11, 2018, 11:17:49 AM
God did make it His plan for everyone to enjoy eternal happiness; but He created creatures with freedom to love or reject Him. The admittance of a creature into the intimate life of God, is such a great privilege, that it is not forced on anyone. Also, because God is infinitely just, He would not do that which would be contrary to justice by admitting those into His friendship who would not have earned it. The reason infants are now admitted, is because of the merits of Our Divine Savior.
There is still omnibenevolence, its just that we wont see it completely until the final judgement, when all the secrets of God's goodness and the ingratitude of those who rejected Him will become manifest.

I think we've arrived at the heart of this dilemma, Michael Wilson.  First, we can logically follow the scenario where God has provided many souls with eternal happiness without any use of their free will: we can follow this to the simple conclusion that it does not contradict the notion of an omnibenevolent God.

Then, we can look at the scenario where God has created a scheme were there is suffering, even eternal suffering, and see that this does, at least, prima facie, contradict the notion of an omnibenevolent God.  It remains possible, of course, that there is some unknown way that God could create this and still be omnibenevolent.  But that claim is suspect, as it appeals not only to what we do not know, but also to what appears paradoxical and illogical.

Therefore, absent faith by grace, wouldn't the logical conclusion of finding a world with suffering be that it was not wrought by an omnibenevolent deity?  An omnibenevolent diety would, definitionally, give to all created souls eternal happiness, gratis.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 11, 2018, 11:24:14 AM
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Therefore, absent faith by grace, wouldn't the logical conclusion of finding a world with suffering be that it was not wrought by an omnibenevolent deity?  An omnibenevolent diety would, definitionally, give to all created souls eternal happiness, gratis.

No, that would be an error.  The error is dualism.  How could I exist if my parents didn't live their lives?  For that matter, how could they exist if my grandparents hadn't lived their lives, and on it goes.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Pon de Replay on November 11, 2018, 11:31:35 AM
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Do you consider it fair for a father to freely give one son eternal happiness while, for another son, holding back eternal happiness and only granting it if he succeeds in a test he is likely to fail?

If you can square such a situation with fairness, then I will be that much closer to comprehending your theology.

So the two kids are Bill and Frank.  Bill is baptized, but then dies from shaken baby syndrome in strangercare.  He goes to heaven.

Frank lives a Catholic life, and goes to heaven.  Frank's kids are good Catholic kids, who influence their friends who also become good Catholics.  They all go to heaven.

Case 2:  Bill lives, and Frank dies right after baptism.  Bill cooks meth and pimps whores.  He dies childless and goes to hell.

Is it fair that God "is chosed" for the former case?  Yes, because it provided the outcome He willed.  But whatever God chooses is "fair", since He doesn't owe you anything.  If you are having problems with this, the parable of the various workers, one group starting at 6 a.m. and the final group starting at 5 p.m., but getting the same pay must freak you out.  However by the laws of justice, it was fair and just.

I think you're overcomplicating things.  If a father wants his children to experience eternal happiness, and it exists within his power to grant them that, then why (if he is a loving father) would he not grant it to all of them?

The basic question still stands.  Why would an loving father grant one child eternal happiness, gratis, and then make a second child's eternal happiness contingent on passing a test that he is likely to fail?  The question is really that simple.  Some get a free pass, some get the test.  Why?
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Pon de Replay on November 11, 2018, 11:32:26 AM
The other thing, your joy in heaven increases with the Charity you develop on Earth.

Even Dutch Schultz, who was a Catholic for perhaps a few hours has more joy in heaven then a recently baptized baby that dies.

As far as dead fertilized embyo's like in the fertility clinics, they are in Limbo.  I don't think it is possible for them to experience what we would consider "joy".  They don't suffer.

I am merely appealing to Catholic theology, James.  The Catholic Encyclopedia entry (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09256a.htm) says that the souls in the limbo of infants "enjoy and will eternally enjoy a state of perfect natural happiness."  I am not disputing that limbo is less than heaven.  It doesn't have to be as good as heaven to still be preferable to risking heaven in a trial where the odds of success are slim.  It's better to fold and cut your losses than to go all in on a junk hand.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Pon de Replay on November 11, 2018, 11:37:17 AM
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Therefore, absent faith by grace, wouldn't the logical conclusion of finding a world with suffering be that it was not wrought by an omnibenevolent deity?  An omnibenevolent diety would, definitionally, give to all created souls eternal happiness, gratis.

No, that would be an error.  The error is dualism.  How could I exist if my parents didn't live their lives?  For that matter, how could they exist if my grandparents hadn't lived their lives, and on it goes.

It doesn't have anything to do with parentage.  We can use the angels as an example.  They are created, not born.  Just consider a basic thought experiment: there's a world populated with angels that contains suffering.  How would you say their creator is omnibenevolent when he could've just placed them in a world without it?
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 11, 2018, 11:48:35 AM
You answer your own dilemma.  God didn't create angels with parentage.  So there was no need for parents to be born.

So your question is really this:  Why did God create both men AND angels?

Unfortunately I can't answer that.  This is not a cop out however.  We have minimal (bordering on non-existent) information on angels, so it is impossible to say how they differ from us in every way.  Logic would dictate that we have some advantage over angels while they have some advantage over us and thus God created both.  I think we got the better deal as we have Confession or even a sincere Act of Contrition.  In a Word (pun intended), we have Jesus Christ.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 11, 2018, 11:49:59 AM
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It's better to fold and cut your losses than to go all in on a junk hand.

It's less risky FOR YOU, but is screws over all the people that won't be born or saved as a result.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Pon de Replay on November 11, 2018, 01:30:04 PM
You answer your own dilemma.  God didn't create angels with parentage.  So there was no need for parents to be born.

So your question is really this:  Why did God create both men AND angels?

Unfortunately I can't answer that.  This is not a cop out however.  We have minimal (bordering on non-existent) information on angels, so it is impossible to say how they differ from us in every way.  Logic would dictate that we have some advantage over angels while they have some advantage over us and thus God created both.  I think we got the better deal as we have Confession or even a sincere Act of Contrition.  In a Word (pun intended), we have Jesus Christ.

The dilemma pertains, ultimately, to omnibenevolence, not men and angels.  I was just proposing the thought experiment to get you over the hurdle about birth.

Maybe we can work this out by appealing to first principles.  I think we can agree on two things.  First, the empirical fact that we find ourselves in a world that contains suffering.  Second, that we can logically assume an uncaused cause, a prime mover of the universe that we can call God.

My question, then, is: how (absent faith by grace) can we logically conclude that this world is the willful and deliberate creation of God, and that God is by nature omnibenevolent?
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Pon de Replay on November 11, 2018, 01:37:27 PM
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It's better to fold and cut your losses than to go all in on a junk hand.

It's less risky FOR YOU, but is screws over all the people that won't be born or saved as a result.

You mistakenly seem to assume in this equation that all who are born will be saved.  That is not the case.  I am not screwing anyone over by giving them non-existence.  Non-existence is neither a positive or a negative; it's a zero.  The majority of souls go to hell, and non-existence is preferable to hell ("woe to that man by whom the Son of man shall be betrayed.  It were better for him, if that man had not been born").
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Michael Wilson on November 11, 2018, 01:43:55 PM
P.D.R. Stated:
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Then, we can look at the scenario where God has created a scheme were there is suffering, even eternal suffering, and see that this does, at least, prima facie, contradict the notion of an omnibenevolent God.  It remains possible, of course, that there is some unknown way that God could create this and still be omnibenevolent.  But that claim is suspect, as it appeals not only to what we do not know, but also to what appears paradoxical and illogical.

Therefore, absent faith by grace, wouldn't the logical conclusion of finding a world with suffering be that it was not wrought by an omnibenevolent deity?  An omnibenevolent diety would, definitionally, give to all created souls eternal happiness, gratis.
Pon,
I would respond that even good parents and good governments are forced to punish erring children and citizens. The presence of free will includes the freedom to do wrong and to violate justice and charity. Just as it would be wrong for a parent not to punish an errant child, and a governor, the criminal, so it would be wrong for God not to punish (at least in the end) the unjust and sinful creature.
The presence of Hell not only does not signify that the deity is not omnibenevolent, but only if the deity in question were to send an undeserving soul there; the same could be said of a parent or of a governor in dealing out punishment to their children or citizens.   
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Pon de Replay on November 11, 2018, 02:00:51 PM
I would respond that even good parents and good governments are forced to punish erring children and citizens. The presence of free will includes the freedom to do wrong and to violate justice and charity. Just as it would be wrong for a parent not to punish an errant child, and a governor, the criminal, so it would be wrong for God not to punish (at least in the end) the unjust and sinful creature.
The presence of Hell not only does not signify that the deity is not omnibenevolent, but only if the deity in question were to send an undeserving soul there; the same could be said of a parent or of a governor in dealing out punishment to their children or citizens.   

Michael, I think we are missing each other on "the presence of free will."  Free will is clearly not necessary to attain eternal happiness or the beatific vision; the souls of the unbaptized in limbo and the baptized in heaven who died before the age of reason show this. 

There would be no need to for the Omnibenevolent to punish any errant children since, by virtue of his omnibenevolence, he would logically have given everyone eternal happiness without bringing choice into the equation.  The present question is why he did not do that.  The results of doling out free will are: a systematic unfairness and gratuitous suffering.


Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Michael Wilson on November 11, 2018, 02:51:21 PM
Pon,
 I'm all talked out on this subject. If I haven't convinced you so far, then I'm certainly not going to do so by repeating what I already wrote. Thanks for the responses and I enjoyed our exchanges, the only thing that was missing, was a good bottle of Bourbon and a good cigar.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Pon de Replay on November 11, 2018, 04:22:22 PM
Pon,
 I'm all talked out on this subject. If I haven't convinced you so far, then I'm certainly not going to do so by repeating what I already wrote. Thanks for the responses and I enjoyed our exchanges, the only thing that was missing, was a good bottle of Bourbon and a good cigar.

Yes, we appear to have reached a stalemate.  I suspect this might be a "faith by grace required" problem to solve, though I take the ancillary point that you and James are making about the necessity of the earthly sojourn in order to maximize the beatific vision for those who are saved.  I think I understand that better.  Gracias.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Pon de Replay on November 11, 2018, 04:28:15 PM
Oh wearisome Condition of Humanity!
Born under one law, to another bound:
Vainly begot and yet forbidden vanity,
Created sick, commanded to be sound:
What meaneth Nature by these diverse laws?
Passion and reason, self-division cause.
Is it the mark, or Majesty of Power
To make offences that it may forgive?


Baron Fulke Greville (1554 – 1628)
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 11, 2018, 04:30:21 PM
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Michael, I think we are missing each other on "the presence of free will."  Free will is clearly not necessary to attain eternal happiness or the beatific vision; the souls of the unbaptized in limbo and the baptized in heaven who died before the age of reason show this.

The level of Charity in the baptized baby is minimal.  In fact, it is probably thought of as one-way, the Charity God infused at Baptism.  This baby still has free will, but it wasn't used much, if any.  The multi-celled embryo, which is still a human person, never loved God, nor was God's Charity poured into it.

The man who tried and fell, then got back and freely chose to try again because he loved virtue filled his heart with Charity for God.  His joy in heaven will be far greater.  This is only possible with Free Will.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 11, 2018, 04:37:40 PM
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My question, then, is: how (absent faith by grace) can we logically conclude that this world is the willful and deliberate creation of God, and that God is by nature omnibenevolent?
  You can arrive at some knowledge of God from nature.  We see that in every culture.  All are given actual graces, and for those that cooperate with Grace, God will give them additional Graces then a miracle to save them.  How often do they make it?  No one knows, which is why we try to get everyone baptized.

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Is it the mark, or Majesty of Power
To make offences that it may forgive?

A denial of Free Will.

A better phrase would be:  "Is it the mark, or Majesty of Power, to make Virtues that it may forgive?"  This would be closer to reality, however God's motivation is wrong.  God "makes" Virtues because He is the Form of the Good.  Out of Mercy, He forgives when we transgress virtue.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Pon de Replay on November 11, 2018, 04:40:43 PM
The level of Charity in the baptized baby is minimal.  In fact, it is probably thought of as one-way, the Charity God infused at Baptism.  This baby still has free will, but it wasn't used much, if any.  The multi-celled embryo, which is still a human person, never loved God, nor was God's Charity poured into it.

The man who tried and fell, then got back and freely chose to try again because he loved virtue filled his heart with Charity for God.  His joy in heaven will be far greater.  This is only possible with Free Will.

Then you are claiming God created a system that would deny billions of soul the ability to choose him freely, and deny them that greater joy through no fault or doing of their own.  How do you reckon this is fair?
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 11, 2018, 05:11:46 PM
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Then you are claiming God created a system that would deny billions of soul the ability to choose him freely, and deny them that greater joy through no fault or doing of their own.  How do you reckon this is fair?

Because He is in no one's debt, so it is fair.

If you have Free Will, this is the result.  I've said elsewhere, Free Will is the Prime Directive.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Pon de Replay on November 11, 2018, 05:22:24 PM
Thank you, James. I guess all I can say is that the loving father metaphor does not seem to be well sustained in an "I owe my children nothing / I'm in no one's debt" mode.  If the question can't be got at using first principles, then this is surely a "faith by grace required for understanding" problem and I'm willing to let it rest at that.  Pax.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on November 11, 2018, 05:51:55 PM
I frankly don't have the answer regarding free will.  I think it remains an unsolved philosophical problem.  Perhaps the best answer is that we can control our wishes, though not our desires.  But it's not entirely satisfactory.

But I'll say this.

If Christianity is true, then d*mn straight God owes me something.  And all the more if He expects to be called Father, and Love.  If not, Christianity is the biggest lie ever foisted upon mankind.

Of course, as usual, religion loves to talk the talk, but cries foul when made to walk the walk.  It's all great when it can be used for purposes of power and manipulation, to get ourselves to beat ourselves on the head with how awful we are after all God has done for us, but all of a sudden after we bring up what God actually has done for us insofar as we can expect something from it, then it doesn't count, and how dare we expect something from God, Who "owes us nothing".

If it is really true that God-made-man died on the Cross for my salvation and that this sacrifice is of infinite value, and that Christ has willed (as it were) His merits over to me, then I have the same claim upon God that Christ does.  And if we have really and truly received the spirit of adoption, and if God really did so love the world as to not spare His own Son but deliver Him up for us all, and that He has, with Him, given us "all things", then I have the right to expect "all things".  I have the right to expect, not merely the graces which MIGHT lead me to salvation, but the graces which WILL lead me to salvation.  Not of course, because I have earned these all by my lonesome, but because Christ has earned them for me; and moreover, because that is what a good Father should do.

Don't bother to accuse me of "presumption" or to cite the Council of Trent on predestination or talk about "cooperation" with grace or any of the hackneyed other 1001 arguments that could be raised.  Above all, don't make me laugh by saying, Thomist-style, that Christ only merited salvation "in potency", or that He only merited the merits but not their specific application to specific individuals.  (Yes, you indeed paid the fine for your friend John, but see, he's still in jail because the "merits" of the payment haven't been "applied" to him.) 

Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 11, 2018, 06:50:07 PM
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If Christianity is true, then d*mn straight God owes me something.  And all the more if He expects to be called Father, and Love.  If not, Christianity is the biggest lie ever foisted upon mankind.

Shocking from you, and I mean this in sincerity, no rhetoric.  These are the words of a simpleton.

You don't know the difference between Mercy, Justice, and Charity?  If so, then why did you write such trash?

Precision is absolutely called for in this age of error.  The classic example is the term "Social Justice".  Hey, guess what, in a society of social justice, crippled people starve to death.  Add in mercy and Charity, and they don't.  So let's not scream about "Social Justice" as a big problem.

So yes, in JUSTICE God owes you absolutely nothing.  In Mercy and Charity He provides you with abundance, and even the Beatific Vision.

Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 11, 2018, 06:53:01 PM
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Thank you, James. I guess all I can say is that the loving father metaphor does not seem to be well sustained in an "I owe my children nothing / I'm in no one's debt" mode.

See the above.  In Justice He owes you nothing.  Through His Love He wants your salvation, and in Mercy He sends Graces.  He is properly called a loving Father.

Here's a good way to learn this.

Tonight, get on your knees and pray this:

"Father, treat me only in Justice.  Give me all that I deserve.  I only want Justice so suspend your Mercy and Charity.".  Good luck with that.  I hope you see the point.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Michael Wilson on November 11, 2018, 06:55:43 PM
If man truly has free will, then the graces that God gives us that are sufficient for salvation can also be thrown away; and if man doesn't have free will, then there is no point to all this discussion.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on November 11, 2018, 08:29:34 PM
Shocking from you, and I mean this in sincerity, no rhetoric.  These are the words of a simpleton.

You don't know the difference between Mercy, Justice, and Charity?  If so, then why did you write such trash?

Yes, I know the difference, thank you, and stand by what I wrote.

Now I ask you, if someone writes me into their will, am I entitled in justice to what is bequeathed to me after he dies?  Or do  I get it only due to the "mercy" and "charity" of the government?  If that is your answer, it is YOUR sense of justice which is awry.  Granted, I had no claim antecedent to his decision to write me in his will.  So in THAT sense it is mercy and charity.  However after the will is made it IS justice.  I have a claim IN JUSTICE to the government to execute the will as written.

Yet, this is precisely the analogy made (a will/testament) to the death of Christ in Scripture.  So no, I had no claim antecedent to the sacrifice of Christ in justice.  However, I do consequent to the sacrifice.

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Precision is absolutely called for in this age of error. 

Absolutely.  So please have some.

That God owes me nothing simply in virtue of who I am, admitted at least on the supernatural level; that God owes me nothing taking into account the sacrifice of Christ, denied.  Or would you say that, even though I am legitimately arrested for a crime, that after someone else pays my bail (or fine) and therefore satisfies justice I am not owed my freedom?  If so, it is YOUR sense of justice that is awry.

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The classic example is the term "Social Justice".  Hey, guess what, in a society of social justice, crippled people starve to death.  Add in mercy and Charity, and they don't.  So let's not scream about "Social Justice" as a big problem.

This is why conservative Christians, who should in theory be the most concerned with the lot of the less fortunate, scream "SOCIALISM!!!" and "REDISTRIBUTIONISM!!!" whenever there is any question of government taxing the rich more and helping the less fortunate - because they have no right "in justice", so they say.  After all, the less-powerful simply have no claim whatsoever on the more-powerful, by this logic, except for commutative justice.

Catholic moral theology however includes a concept called distributive justice - what a society owes its members - and it will say that a society owes even its crippled members the opportunity to decently earn a living - and thus, in justice, yes, IN JUSTICE, it can require businesses, etc., to make accommodations for the handicapped - and yes, IN JUSTICE, it can fine them if they fail to do so.

Again, if you think it "unjust" and "Socialism" for the government to do this, it is your own sense of justice which is awry.


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So yes, in JUSTICE God owes you absolutely nothing.  In Mercy and Charity He provides you with abundance, and even the Beatific Vision.

Get your tenses correct.  He oweD me nothing prior to the sacrifice of Christ.  But now, He does owe me, due to what the sacrifice of Christ has merited in justice, and strict justice, for me.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on November 11, 2018, 08:40:06 PM
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Thank you, James. I guess all I can say is that the loving father metaphor does not seem to be well sustained in an "I owe my children nothing / I'm in no one's debt" mode.

See the above.  In Justice He owes you nothing.  Through His Love He wants your salvation, and in Mercy He sends Graces.  He is properly called a loving Father.

Oh please.  Does a father not owe his children anything?  Is it only through "love" and "mercy" that a father provides for his children?  How, then, can we call parents criminals who do not provide for their children?

Yet, apparently the most perfect Father of all does not owe His children a d*mn thing, and He can do anything He wishes to them without failing in duty or justice.

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Here's a good way to learn this.

Tonight, get on your knees and pray this:

"Father, treat me only in Justice.  Give me all that I deserve.  I only want Justice so suspend your Mercy and Charity.".  Good luck with that.  I hope you see the point.

I challenge you.  I will say this prayer on the condition that if I am not struck down dead on the spot you will immediately concede the argument.


Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Davis Blank - EG on November 11, 2018, 09:16:22 PM
I hope this thread doesn't morph into economics.  Please resist the urge, folks!

Also I do not think it good to tempt God or induce other men to tempt God.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Arvinger on November 19, 2018, 11:27:37 AM
Don't bother to accuse me of "presumption" or to cite the Council of Trent on predestination or talk about "cooperation" with grace or any of the hackneyed other 1001 arguments that could be raised.  Above all, don't make me laugh by saying, Thomist-style, that Christ only merited salvation "in potency", or that He only merited the merits but not their specific application to specific individuals.  (Yes, you indeed paid the fine for your friend John, but see, he's still in jail because the "merits" of the payment haven't been "applied" to him.)

That is incorrect understanding of the Atonement. Your argument is valid against the Reformed understanding of the Atonement, i.e. Penal Substitutionary Atonement. Your analogy - paying the fine for your friend - is a perfect example of penal substitution, for you bear financial punishment instead of John. In that case, it is indeed a problem, because if Christ bears punishment for us on the cross then all people He died for must necessarily be saved, for sending them to hell would mean that their sins were punished twice (first time in Christ, second time by sending sinner to hell). This is one of the reasons why Reformed theology holds to limited atonement and claims that Christ did not die for everyone (if He died for everyone, under penal substitution nobody could go to hell).

So, your argumnt is valid against Protestant doctrine of the atonement, but not against Catholic doctrine, which is Satisfaction Atonement, in which Christ does not bear punishment for our sins, but rather through self-sacrificial love undoes the effects of sin and reconciles us to God.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on November 19, 2018, 03:25:44 PM
That is incorrect understanding of the Atonement. Your argument is valid against the Reformed understanding of the Atonement, i.e. Penal Substitutionary Atonement. ...

So, your argumnt is valid against Protestant doctrine of the atonement, but not against Catholic doctrine, which is Satisfaction Atonement, in which Christ does not bear punishment for our sins, but rather through self-sacrificial love undoes the effects of sin and reconciles us to God.


No, it's valid against any version of the atonement which has Christ meriting the salvation of all and makes the non-necessity of salvation depend on those merits not being "applied", whether punishment is brought into it or not - because the very concept of merit necessarily entails that of application - if I merit something for you, that entails the merits are applied to you.  Bringing in substitutionary vs. satisfaction atonement only refutes the specific example of a fine being paid because a fine is punitive.  But money can be paid for other things, and the base of the argument still stands.  Yes, I know John paid the bill for your carry out order in advance, "meriting" the food, but we won't give you the food because, you see, the merits haven't been "applied" to you.

You can argue that in reality what happens is that some refuse to go to the restaurant and pick up the order, rather than the restaurant failing to provide the food for those that do go.  But also then, in reality, John didn't actually merit the food for you - he wanted to do so and did what he was able to do, but was prevented by something outside of his control.  John merited the food for you conditionally on you going to the restaurant.  But God's actions can't be conditional on something else outside of Him - that would violate Divine sovereignty and aseity.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 23, 2018, 01:27:15 PM
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I challenge you.  I will say this prayer on the condition that if I am not struck down dead on the spot you will immediately concede the argument.
  Why would I concede the argument?  You'd go to hell.  There's a slight chance that you would be struck dead, but that would be unlikely.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 23, 2018, 01:32:28 PM
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Granted, I had no claim antecedent to his decision to write me in his will.  So in THAT sense it is mercy and charity.
  That's my point.

As far as salvation, even there we have no claim on God the Father; and we have been talking about the Creator, who is the Father.  Our Justice is Faith in Christ.  And yes we do have a claim via the New Covenant based on Faith.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Michael on November 24, 2018, 01:26:54 AM
Quit virtue signaling.  If you want to shreak against God, at least use a massacre the size of what the Chicoms did, or the Russians.
I could use a pinprick as well, since even that would be pointless suffering given that God could put everyone in heaven from the get-go.

The argument from evil proves one thing: Free Will.  Free Will is the prime directive.

Free will = Random will. No responsibility.

I desire to romp with a bunch of whores.  It would be fun, and I'd like a few lines of coke to go with it.  I don't do that.
That's because you have stronger desires which outweigh the desire to snort coke. Perhaps you desire to not put your life in ruin, or you desire to not disobey God. 
You freely choose one way or the other depending on how strong you are in the virtues.
If your virtues or lackthereof determine your choices, then your choices aren't free.

The infinite regress falls on the side that denies Free Will.  Take the case of Trying Again.  You now will need another "decider machine" to counter the "decider machine" that chose to give up.  If you give up again, then try again, you will now need yet another "decider machine".  As you can see, this leads to an infinite regress, only limited by death.  Free Will exists.
I think Daniel responded to this well.

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But worse than that, and the point of this thread, is the incompatibility of libertarian free will with divine (or any) foreknowledge. To have free will, X and ~X both have to be possible. Now if God knows I will do X, then doing ~X is only a perceived possibility, not an actual one. If it were actual, then it would be possible to change God's foreknowledge, which is absurd. But then I don't have free will, since doing ~X is not possible.

A complete blunder.  God is outside of time, and technically doesn't have "foreknowledge" -- He's already there.
If God timelessly knows our "future" choices, that means He could create an object before you are born, with all your actions written on it. You wouldn't be able to do anything not written on the stone, for that would prove God wrong. (These objects are called "freedom-denying prophetic objects" by the open theist Peter van Inwagen.)

Also, I think a tenseless theory of time rules out free will because it implies the universe is a static, frozen cube. Free will requires a genuine locus of indeterminacy that is then settled by an agent. Freezing (open) to frozen (closed). But on B-theory, the whole thing is eternally settled, forever in stone. It is one overall state, rather than a freezing state followed by a frozen one.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 24, 2018, 12:17:05 PM
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If God timelessly knows our "future" choices, that means He could create an object before you are born, with all your actions written on it. You wouldn't be able to do anything not written on the stone, for that would prove God wrong.
  It's an interesting thought experiment with the change made.

However you now have different worlds, one without the stone, which God is viewing, and one with the stone.  So it is invalid if you believe in forms and matter.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 24, 2018, 03:07:21 PM
There are two concepts that you will have to understand in order to have an intelligent conversation:

1.  Free Will:  A Catholic does not mean randomness by this.  Instead this is a view counter to the Calvinist view that we are puppets.  Free Will means we are not compelled by God.  Catholics have no problem with the idea that upbringing will effect your choices.  A serial killer who was raped every day in his youth might be in heaven.  We don't know.  In fact, that is why we have the teaching on venial vs. mortal sin.

2.  Omnipotence:  This does not mean God is free to do anything, including creating a contradiction.  The limit on God is God Himself, which is Truth.  Therefore it is impossible for God to make a circle a square at the same time.  That would be a lie.  For the thought experiment you proposed, what you have set up are two IDENTICAL worlds that are DIFFERENT.  That's a contradiction, and therefore impossible.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 24, 2018, 03:11:19 PM
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Also, I think a tenseless theory of time rules out free will because it implies the universe is a static, frozen cube.
But you have a hidden premise:  God and man are the same.

Man is inside of time, God is outside of time.

To Man, the universe is undetermined.  To God, the universe is frozen, because He is already "there", at every point, and every "time", unchanged.  So we have Free Will for Man, and "fore"knowledge for God.

edit:  (From other thread, trying to consolidate):

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Well, there's also the incompatibility of free will and foreknowledge, which completely refutes your religion.
So there is no incompatibility, and our religion is not refuted.  A statement that starts with "I think" does not "completely refute" anything.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Matto on November 24, 2018, 03:16:45 PM
I have a question. Which existence would you prefer? One where you have free will but lose your soul and are damned to eternal hellfire? Or one where you do not have free will but are numbered among the elect and are blessed with eternal heaven? I do believe in free will but it comes at such a high price of eternal pain and suffering.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Daniel on November 24, 2018, 03:21:43 PM
Free will = Random will. No responsibility.
Why do you keep saying that free will = random will? If the will were "random" then it would not be libertarian but deterministic (i.e. determined by indeterministic causes outside of the will itself). I can see what you mean when you say libertarian free will is inexplicable or impossible, but I'm not seeing where you're getting this idea of "random" from.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 24, 2018, 03:22:10 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that Peter van Inwagen, who I am not familiar with, was trying to prove Free Will.  It appears that his opposition would be Calvinists.  I actually agree with the point he is making: if God merely revealed things to man, this would change things.  This disproves determinism and "puppetry", so I agree with him.  In a nutshell, man has a part to play.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on November 24, 2018, 03:24:11 PM
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Or one where you do not have free will but are numbered among the elect and are blessed with eternal heaven?

This is an impossible choice.  Love is not possible without Free Will.  Heaven would be sterile for a puppet.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Michael on November 28, 2018, 12:37:34 AM
Quote from: james03
However you now have different worlds, one without the stone, which God is viewing, and one with the stone.  So it is invalid if you believe in forms and matter.
The stone doesn't cause anything, so it makes no difference to our choices whether He makes it or not. The mere fact that He could make one entails we don't have free will.

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Free Will:  A Catholic does not mean randomness by this.  Instead this is a view counter to the Calvinist view that we are puppets.  Free Will means we are not compelled by God.

In another thread you said:

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Free will has historically meant absence of coercion, nothing more.
Which is exactly what Calvinists say. They say we have free will because God doesn't force us to do anything against our desire. We still can't do otherwise since we always act on what we most desire.

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To Man, the universe is undetermined.  To God, the universe is frozen, because He is already "there", at every point, and every "time", unchanged. 

That just means Man's perspective is wrong. Two contradictory perspectives can't both be true. If, from God's eyes, all our choices are frozen eternally, then it was never open for us to do otherwise, even if it appears so.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Michael on November 28, 2018, 12:52:59 AM
Quote from: Daniel
Why do you keep saying that free will = random will?

There's no reason the agent chooses A over B. It's a flip of the coin. The coin may have been thrown (and hence "caused") but it wasn't caused to land on a particular side.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Daniel on November 28, 2018, 08:50:25 AM
Quote from: Daniel
Why do you keep saying that free will = random will?

There's no reason the agent chooses A over B. It's a flip of the coin. The coin may have been thrown (and hence "caused") but it wasn't caused to land on a particular side.
Well that's a kind of indeterminism, but it's not libertarianism. Libertarianism says that you can trace the choice back no further than the will itself. If the choice is ultimately traced back to "randomness" (something outside the will), then we're no longer talking about libertarianism but some sort of compatibilism.

But here's a thought experiment: Suppose some person is going to eat breakfast and he chooses to eat the cereal rather than the waffles. But then then afterwards you send him back in time and you watch as he makes the choice again. And then you send him back in time again, and again, and so on. Will he ever choose the waffles?

I would say, if it's up to "randomness", he would sometimes choose the waffles. If it's up to deterministic causes, he would never choose the waffles. And if it's up to his own will, then I'm not sure... but I would think he'd never choose the waffles since he'd have no reason to change his mind.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Arvinger on December 16, 2018, 06:21:31 PM
That is incorrect understanding of the Atonement. Your argument is valid against the Reformed understanding of the Atonement, i.e. Penal Substitutionary Atonement. ...

So, your argumnt is valid against Protestant doctrine of the atonement, but not against Catholic doctrine, which is Satisfaction Atonement, in which Christ does not bear punishment for our sins, but rather through self-sacrificial love undoes the effects of sin and reconciles us to God.


No, it's valid against any version of the atonement which has Christ meriting the salvation of all and makes the non-necessity of salvation depend on those merits not being "applied", whether punishment is brought into it or not - because the very concept of merit necessarily entails that of application - if I merit something for you, that entails the merits are applied to you.  Bringing in substitutionary vs. satisfaction atonement only refutes the specific example of a fine being paid because a fine is punitive.  But money can be paid for other things, and the base of the argument still stands.  Yes, I know John paid the bill for your carry out order in advance, "meriting" the food, but we won't give you the food because, you see, the merits haven't been "applied" to you.

You can argue that in reality what happens is that some refuse to go to the restaurant and pick up the order, rather than the restaurant failing to provide the food for those that do go.  But also then, in reality, John didn't actually merit the food for you - he wanted to do so and did what he was able to do, but was prevented by something outside of his control.  John merited the food for you conditionally on you going to the restaurant.  But God's actions can't be conditional on something else outside of Him - that would violate Divine sovereignty and aseity.

Going to the restaurant to pick up the order is precisely what application of merit is. If you refuse to do so, merit which has been obtained through payment will not be applied to you - that does not mean that John did not merit food for you. So, you conceded that the food would indeed be merited, but the merit not applied (while earlier you argued against the merited/applied distinction itself), and move to a different argument, namely that it would be conditional and mean that God's actions would be conditional on actions of a creature. But that is a separate issue, and has to do with the fact that we will never fully understand predestination (no matter how you slice it, taken to its logical conclusion it ends up either with semi-Pelagianism or Calvinism - but both are wrong), and its best to leave it as a mystery, which you agreed with some time ago in a thread on predestination. Therefore, you don't seem to present any meaningful argument here. If you concede that there is an ontological difference between meriting something and application of these merits (and, by the way, the Holy Mass is an example of application of merit), then your objection is void.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: james03 on December 16, 2018, 11:01:51 PM
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That just means Man's perspective is wrong. Two contradictory perspectives can't both be true. If, from God's eyes, all our choices are frozen eternally, then it was never open for us to do otherwise, even if it appears so.

It is not about perspective.  We are two entirely different beings.  We are inside of time.  He is outside of time.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on December 17, 2018, 07:56:38 PM
Going to the restaurant to pick up the order is precisely what application of merit is. If you refuse to do so, merit which has been obtained through payment will not be applied to you - that does not mean that John did not merit food for you.

So, you conceded that the food would indeed be merited, but the merit not applied (while earlier you argued against the merited/applied distinction itself), and move to a different argument, namely that it would be conditional and mean that God's actions would be conditional on actions of a creature.

So what are you arguing precisely here?  That "application of merit" is in reality a human action (going to the restaurant)?  If so, I have no argument against it per se, except I believe it a rather novel interpretation of the phrase as the plain meaning is an action of God.  Or are you arguing that it is actually an action of God conditional on actions of a creature, which is philosophically impossible.

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But that is a separate issue...

If you are proposing the impossible as a solution to the problem, it is a hardly a "separate issue" to bring up the impossibility.

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...and has to do with the fact that we will never fully understand predestination (no matter how you slice it, taken to its logical conclusion it ends up either with semi-Pelagianism or Calvinism - but both are wrong), and its best to leave it as a mystery, which you agreed with some time ago in a thread on predestination.

Then you are saying Catholicism is logically incoherent and self-contradictory, and it's game over for all future debates.

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Therefore, you don't seem to present any meaningful argument here. If you concede that there is an ontological difference between meriting something and application of these merits (and, by the way, the Holy Mass is an example of application of merit), then your objection is void.

If "application of these merits" is in reality just a fancy name for a human action, admitted; if a separate Divine action (which is what is naively understood by the words), denied.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Arvinger on December 20, 2018, 03:55:35 PM
So what are you arguing precisely here?  That "application of merit" is in reality a human action (going to the restaurant)?  If so, I have no argument against it per se, except I believe it a rather novel interpretation of the phrase as the plain meaning is an action of God.  Or are you arguing that it is actually an action of God conditional on actions of a creature, which is philosophically impossible.
False dichotomy - necessity of human action does not preclude God's grace as the reason for this action taking place.

Quote from: Quareperemulisti
If you are proposing the impossible as a solution to the problem, it is a hardly a "separate issue" to bring up the impossibility.

As above, I don't.

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
Then you are saying Catholicism is logically incoherent and self-contradictory, and it's game over for all future debates.

Absolutely not. I am saying that predestination is a mystery which either cannot be understood by human reason, or we have not found the right explanation yet. Essentially, the problem boils down to this: God who is omnipotent and without whom we can't do anything pleasing to Him, wants to save everyone, yet He does not predestine everyone. That seems contradictory, but it is not. So far we don't have an explanation - Thomism, Banezianism and Molinism all fail on different, but crucial points, as their logical conclusions lead to Calvinism or semi-Pelagianism. However, we know that there is no contradiction between God wanting to save all and God not predestining all, because the Church teaches both (and the Church cannot contradict herself). So, predestination remains a mystery, but there is no contradiction, and there cannot be.

This again highlights the problem with your epistemology. Essentially, you promote rationalism - for you to accept a doctrine taught by the Church you must first judge it on the basis of your reasoning and your evaluation whether it corresponds to your understanding of logic and reality. That makes you rather than the Church the final authority (just like in case of indefectibility - you reject Church's teaching because it does not match your interpretation of events in the Church, instead of submitting to Church's teaching and acknowledging that indefectibility is true and therefore there has to be some explanation of current crisis consistent with this doctrine, even if your reason did not find it yet). Also, you cannot expect to be able to rationally evaluate and understand everything the Church teaches - in such case faith would no longer be faith.

Pope Pius IX condemned rationalism in Syllabus of Errors:
"4. All the truths of religion proceed from the innate strength of human reason; hence reason is the ultimate standard by which man can and ought to arrive at the knowledge of all truths of every kind."

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
If "application of these merits" is in reality just a fancy name for a human action, admitted; if a separate Divine action (which is what is naively understood by the words), denied.
It is both - every good we do is a grace of God, including actions which lead to application of the atonement to us.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Daniel on December 25, 2018, 10:00:21 PM
I realized today that I was mistaking the Thomist position of predestination for the Molinist position this entire time. It's the Molinist position which is metaphysically impossible. The Thomistic one seems ok.

But now I'm a pretty confused. Apart from the lip service, how exactly is the Thomistic position any different from the condemned Augustinian/Calvinistic position? If everyone is damned by default (the "massa damnata"), and God chooses the elect, then He necessarily also chooses the damned. Because there are only two kinds of people, damned and elect. Not three.

I suppose we could shift the blame onto Adam since Adam is the cause of the massa damnata... but that just pushes it back a step: there still remains the question of how the fall is compatible with God's foreknowledge. Either the fall caused God's knowledge, or else God caused the fall. The former is metaphysically impossible, so it can't be that. That leaves "God caused the fall" as our only option. But if we say that God caused the fall, the Thomistic position would seem identical to the condemned Calvinistic position.
edit - Could it be that my division is non-exhaustive? Maybe it's neither the case that the fall caused God's knowledge nor the case that God caused the fall: maybe there just isn't any causal relationship. Though I'm not sure how that would work.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: awkwardcustomer on December 26, 2018, 06:22:58 AM
I realized today that I was mistaking the Thomist position of predestination for the Molinist position this entire time. It's the Molinist position which is metaphysically impossible. The Thomistic one seems ok.

But now I'm a pretty confused. Apart from the lip service, how exactly is the Thomistic position any different from the condemned Augustinian/Calvinistic position? If everyone is damned by default (the "massa damnata"), and God chooses the elect, then He necessarily also chooses the damned. Because there are only two kinds of people, damned and elect. Not three.

I suppose we could shift the blame onto Adam since Adam is the cause of the massa damnata... but that just pushes it back a step: there still remains the question of how the fall is compatible with God's foreknowledge. Either the fall caused God's knowledge, or else God caused the fall. The former is metaphysically impossible, so it can't be that. That leaves "God caused the fall" as our only option. But if we say that God caused the fall, the Thomistic position would seem identical to the condemned Calvinistic position.
edit - Could it be that my division is non-exhaustive? Maybe it's neither the case that the fall caused God's knowledge nor the case that God caused the fall: maybe there just isn't any causal relationship. Though I'm not sure how that would work.

How about -

God created angels and men with free will.  Free will necessarily includes the freedom to choose evil.  A third of the angels exerted their free will and rebelled against God. Adam and Eve exerted their free will and ate the apple.  Neither the angels nor Adam and Eve were fallen when they chose to rebel.

God knew this would happen.   God created rational beings, knowing that a sizeable proportion of those rational beings would exert their free will by choosing evil and rebelling against Him.

What is the puzzle here? Rational creatures who aren't fallen can also choose to rebel against God.  Free will necessarily includes the freedom to choose evil.  Those who choose evil are rejected by God.

Although I can't help wondering why hell has to be so awful for them. Or maybe it's not so awful for them as it would be for us.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on December 26, 2018, 03:26:38 PM
False dichotomy - necessity of human action does not preclude God's grace as the reason for this action taking place.

No it doesn't, but that still doesn't mean you've exactly defined "application of merit" in any coherent way.  Because according to this now it is something before John goes to the restaurant to pick up the order, whereas before you said it was John going to the restaurant to pick up the order.  So it is either:

1) An act of God prior to any human action;
2) A human action;
3) An act of God subsequent to a human action.
4) Other.

Which is it?

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Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
Then you are saying Catholicism is logically incoherent and self-contradictory, and it's game over for all future debates.

Absolutely not.

That is what you said.  You said predestination logically entails either semi-Pelagianism or Calvinism.  Glad to see you've backtracked from that.  For if that were the case, Catholicism would be self-contradictory.

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I am saying that predestination is a mystery which either cannot be understood by human reason, or we have not found the right explanation yet. Essentially, the problem boils down to this: God who is omnipotent and without whom we can't do anything pleasing to Him, wants to save everyone, yet He does not predestine everyone. That seems contradictory, but it is not. So far we don't have an explanation - Thomism, Banezianism and Molinism all fail on different, but crucial points, as their logical conclusions lead to Calvinism or semi-Pelagianism. However, we know that there is no contradiction between God wanting to save all and God not predestining all, because the Church teaches both (and the Church cannot contradict herself). So, predestination remains a mystery, but there is no contradiction, and there cannot be.

Yes, but you refuse to take this a step further and realize that the problem must therefore be with our understanding of what it means for God to be "omnipotent", to "want to save everyone", or to "predestine" someone.  For, according to the common (naive) understanding of the terms, there is a contradiction which simply can't be waved under the catch-all rug of "mystery".  That's where my argument lies.

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This again highlights the problem with your epistemology. Essentially, you promote rationalism - for you to accept a doctrine taught by the Church you must first judge it on the basis of your reasoning and your evaluation whether it corresponds to your understanding of logic and reality. That makes you rather than the Church the final authority (just like in case of indefectibility - you reject Church's teaching because it does not match your interpretation of events in the Church, instead of submitting to Church's teaching and acknowledging that indefectibility is true and therefore there has to be some explanation of current crisis consistent with this doctrine, even if your reason did not find it yet). Also, you cannot expect to be able to rationally evaluate and understand everything the Church teaches - in such case faith would no longer be faith.

No, rather, I insist that interpretation of Church teaching (by theologians, say) cannot be irrational, and must conform to sound logic and reality, and refuse to admit (as certain Protestants would have it) that my epistemological faculties are so weakened by original sin that I am unable to discern sound logic and reality, and that all that exists in reality is my subjective "understanding" of such.  If such interpretation turns out to be irrational then it must be thrown out.


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Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
If "application of these merits" is in reality just a fancy name for a human action, admitted; if a separate Divine action (which is what is naively understood by the words), denied.
It is both - every good we do is a grace of God, including actions which lead to application of the atonement to us.

But now, again, you're making the "application of the atonement" an act by God subsequent to a human action.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Arvinger on December 26, 2018, 04:59:45 PM
That is what you said.  You said predestination logically entails either semi-Pelagianism or Calvinism.  Glad to see you've backtracked from that.  For if that were the case, Catholicism would be self-contradictory.

You misunderstood me. I wrote that all theological systems attempting to explain predestination (Thomism/Banezianism, Molinism) logically lead to Calvinism or semi-Pelagianism - all of them fail, which is why I say that predestination remains a mystery. I never said that predestination itself entails Calvinism or semi-Pelagianism.

I will answer to the rest later.
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on December 26, 2018, 05:40:19 PM
That is what you said.  You said predestination logically entails either semi-Pelagianism or Calvinism.  Glad to see you've backtracked from that.  For if that were the case, Catholicism would be self-contradictory.

You misunderstood me. I wrote that all theological systems attempting to explain predestination (Thomism/Banezianism, Molinism) logically lead to Calvinism or semi-Pelagianism - all of them fail, which is why I say that predestination remains a mystery. I never said that predestination itself entails Calvinism or semi-Pelagianism.

That is what you wrote in the previous post I responded to.  It might not be what you intended to write, or what you thought you wrote.  But it is what you wrote.

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But that is a separate issue, and has to do with the fact that we will never fully understand predestination (no matter how you slice it, taken to its logical conclusion it ends up either with semi-Pelagianism or Calvinism - but both are wrong)...

Anyway, all theological systems fail to explain predestination.  Why am I not justified in throwing all of them out?
Title: Re: Free will and foreknowledge
Post by: Arvinger on December 26, 2018, 06:38:19 PM
That is what you wrote in the previous post I responded to.  It might not be what you intended to write, or what you thought you wrote.  But it is what you wrote.

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But that is a separate issue, and has to do with the fact that we will never fully understand predestination (no matter how you slice it, taken to its logical conclusion it ends up either with semi-Pelagianism or Calvinism - but both are wrong)...

Indeed, that was poorly worded by me. What I meant is that if you try to explain predestination through a theological system it ends up either in Calvinism or semi-Pelagianism - but of course we know that explanation exists, whether we are capable of understanding it in this world or not. I wrote more specifically later on:

Quote from: Arvinger
So far we don't have an explanation - Thomism, Banezianism and Molinism all fail on different, but crucial points, as their logical conclusions lead to Calvinism or semi-Pelagianism. However, we know that there is no contradiction between God wanting to save all and God not predestining all, because the Church teaches both (and the Church cannot contradict herself). So, predestination remains a mystery, but there is no contradiction, and there cannot be.


Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
Anyway, all theological systems fail to explain predestination.  Why am I not justified in throwing all of them out?

You are, the Church never made a definitive pronouncement in regard to how predestination works, so there is no binding system we have to adhere to. And I agree with you that all theological systems proposed so far which attempt to explain predestination are flawed (I think you argument against Thomism/Banezianism is irrefutable).