Friday, 28 March 2014

If man was created by God from *nothing* - how can Man *defy* God?

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Short Answer: Man could not defy God if Man was made by God from nothing (that is ex nihilo).

Man could defy God only if there was some-thing in Man which was autonomous from God - some-thing that did the defying.

Yet Man does defy God (life is full of it; the Bible is full of it).

Therefore Man was NOT made by God from nothing, and there is Some-Thing in Man which is autonomous from God.

This is the only metaphysical assumption which makes plain sense of the fact that Man does indeed - really and truly - defy God.

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9 comments:

  1. "Short Answer: Man could not defy God if Man was made by God from nothing (that is ex nihilo)."

    Show your work. That man in made by God does not mean that man just is God; that's a strange kind of reductionism. Why is it impossible for God to create a will ex nihilo?

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  2. @josh - There is no working! - and no need for working: I am just talking about plain sense/ simple logic.

    If somebody makes everything about something (including the total environment) then the maker is responsible for what the made-thing does - nothing comes-out that was not put-in.

    For classical theology with an omnipotent-conceptualized God here is NO explanation for how God could create free will in Man - it is just stated to be a mystery, do-able because God can do anything.

    But that, of course, isn't an explanation.

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  3. "If somebody makes everything about something (including the total environment) then the maker is responsible for what the made-thing does - nothing comes-out that was not put-in."

    But one of the things that is "put in" is a will and one of the things that the made-thing does is choose!

    I think there are not-so-hidden materialist assumptions about the nature of things in your argument.

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  4. @josh - If you continue to think about what is put-into the will, how the will might be supposed to work (independently of God, heredity and the environment) I think you will see that you are just inserting a black box/ mystery into the argument.

    Aquinas explicitly acknowledges this mystery element, I believe.

    There is nothing wrong about this 'mystery' move, and many people are satisfied by it - but it is NOT an *explanation* - it is simply a way of not-explaining 'free will' - while acknowledging that its reality is vital to Christianity.

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  5. But, by that standard nothing is actually an explanation of anything. Preexisting wills is also not an explanation of free will. There is also no explanation beyond a black box of how a will and a body are combined.

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  6. @Josh - No, you are wrong.

    We assume by common sense that different people have different wills - because they are different people.

    It's part of what being a different person actually is.

    This is just an extension of that perfectly standard, built-in reasoning.

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  7. I wrote on this recently. We either fit ourselves into the world, or we assume we control the world through ourselves.

    The latter is the path of a defiant Satan or a passive-aggressive liberal. The problem is that, even if God is "wrong" in our view (or in reality), the power structure is as it is for a reason. Without it, collapse happens.

    Thus, assuming that Satan was correct and God was somehow in error, Satan's act of defiance was more destructive than allowing a single temporary injustice to pass. Satan had infinite chances after that event to be chosen for any number of tasks, and yet in that moment, his heart turned against the idea of order itself.

    Similarly, liberals are keyed on the "one event" situation. When one injustice occurs, they use it to write off power/hierarchy and support anarchy, even though that results in everyday injustices, plural.

    The point of defying God is not so much to defy literally, but to affirm this passive-aggressive order: I was wounded once, thus I will stop paying attention to reality because it is bad, and instead will construe it as is convenient for me. Victimhood + aggression in one handy package.

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  8. "For classical theology with an omnipotent-conceptualized God here is NO explanation for how God could create free will in Man - it is just stated to be a mystery, do-able because God can do anything."

    Suppose we grant this: there's no classical explanation, or no explanation that any human being can think of perhaps. What follows? Does it follow that God _did not_ create free will in man? Or that God _could not_ do so? That seems like a non sequitur. The mere fact that we have no explanation for some fact F (or could not possibly conceive of one) doesn't logically imply that F is not possible or even that F isn't actually the case (or even that it isn't explainable).

    And yet in your post you do seem to say that, as a matter of logic, we are forced to conclude that God _did not_ create free will in man. Not merely that we don't know how God did that, or whether God did that, etc.

    By the way: THANK YOU for your fantastic daily thoughts and arguments and speculations. They have been of immense value to me intellectually and spiritually and morally.

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  9. @Jasper - I don't regard theology/philosophy as a primary thing in Christianity - what is important is the story.

    But given that people seem to want theology- even to demand theology, at some level; I am fighting a corner to demonstrate the great advantages of a pluralist and dynamic theology of the the classical (almost) static monism

    (ie I am defending a Mormon theology - at least as it is in some versions of Mormon theology such as Sterling McMurrin - because there is also a tradition of Classical theology in Mormonism.)

    The intractable problems and weaknesses of Classical theology are in fact the two points where a Christian theology ought to be strongest - explaining free will and pain/ suffering/ evil.

    Classical theology is all about explaining existence - it is creation orientated, about the necessity for everything to be as it is, and an explanation of God's omnipotence.

    For Classical theology it is more important that the Holy Trinity be ONE entity, whereas for pluralist theology it is more important that they be THREE personages. Classical theologians are happy to accept, indeed MUST accept, mysterious/ nonsensical definitions of the Trinity. But a pluralist can accept the Trinity as three personages in complete unity and harmony of mind and action - and leave it at that.

    But in my opinion these are problems that don't need to be solved, and which most Christians do not feel any great desire to solve - so Classical Theology is strong where there is no need to be strong, and weak exactly where simple power is needed.

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