Author Topic: Free will and foreknowledge  (Read 1449 times)

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #75 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 courseŚlet 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.


« Last Edit: November 10, 2018, 06:45:13 PM by Pon de Replay »
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Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #76 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.   
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP
 
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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #77 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.


« Last Edit: November 10, 2018, 09:16:16 PM by Pon de Replay »
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Offline Gardener

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #78 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..."

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Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #79 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. 
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Offline Davis Blank - EG

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #80 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"?
 

Offline Michael

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #81 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.
 

Offline Davis Blank - EG

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #82 on: November 11, 2018, 03:36:16 AM »
How can an event be uncaused?
 

Offline Michael

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #83 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.
 

Offline Davis Blank - EG

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #84 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?
 

Offline james03

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #85 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.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2018, 10:40:32 AM by james03 »
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

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Offline james03

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #86 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.
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #87 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.
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Offline james03

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #88 on: November 11, 2018, 11:24:14 AM »
Quote
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.
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #89 on: November 11, 2018, 11:31:35 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.

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?
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