God in Sequence

I had an exchange with Brian Wagner on Ephesians 1:4. It instantly turned into a debate about time and God’s knowledge:

Brian Wagner:

When God supposedly “chose” you before creation, where you unchosen at some point and then chosen? What did God see when He supposedly chose you… just your name, your life up to the point where He decided He wanted to get involved noticeably to you, your whole life forever and all His involvement in it already? What did “you” mean when He chose “you” back then before you existed?

TheSire:

We know the “us” refers to those that receive the heavenly blessings. So, we know it is believers. We know he chose them before the creation event. If your worldview was true, then God only chose a hypothetical group of individuals but without knowing that any of them would exist.

If B-theory is true then you always exists in your own temporal moments.

But God chose persons. People. That means that he chose them to be saved in the outplaying of events. Since God is timeless we were never at any time unchosen.

Brian Wagner:

fantasy… for why are we not cogniscient of our future moments right now?

Ps 90, 2 Sequential Reality

There are two definitions for “time”. One is connected only to creation… it is the measurement of matter in motion. The other is connected to reality which is from God’s nature.

Reality is sequential events… befores and afters going backwards infinitely and forwards infinitely. “from everlasting to everlasting” (Ps 90:2)… “who was and is and is to come” (Rev 4:8). There were events of communication, relationship, and decision making in the Godhead before creation of space and matter… right?

A reality that is sequential and non-sequential for God at the same “time” is a logical contradiction borrowed into Christianity from neo-platonism. The Scripture gives no other “competing” reality for God’s presence, which is contradictory to the word “reality” anyway.

His foreknowledge is dynamic therefore and not static. His understanding is infinite (Ps 147:5). He knows all the possibilities that still exist and all things that are already determined that limit those possibilities.

*********** 

Some like the illustration of God as a blimp watching the full parade below. But for a blimp to watch a parade, the full parade has to exist. The future does not exist as a completed entity to watch either as a place or in God’s mind.

Reality is only sequential, and comes from God’s eternal nature – “from everlasting to everlasting” (Ps 90:2), “who was and is and is to come” (Rev 4:8). Relationship and communication in the Godhead before creation were sequential (befores and afters). 

The underlying important issue is – does God’s mind reflect univocally the sequential reality of His Word, or have scholars discovered in their philosophical reasoning that God hid from Scripture His perspective of reality? It would be a perspective that also makes man’s perspective in Scripture actually faulty, for Scripture makes the future as not yet existing, but in reality it is already existing as completed (forever), for God’s reality is the only true one.

TheSire:

Do you think the Kalam argument is true? That everything to begin to exist has a cause.

Brian Wagner:

Everything that needs a cause to exist has a cause. 😉 But you didn’t answer my question. Why are we not knowing/recognizing the reality of the future that you think we already exist in the moments of?

TheSire:

I’m not sure you answered my question either. I asked if you affirmed the Kalam. B theory doesn’t state that every moment is the same but merely that they’re equally real. So, there’s no reason to suppose B theory would entail us remembering events that come later in the story. My point is going to be that you have problems with infinite regression.

Brian Wagner:

TheSire an infinite God doesn’t… 😊

TheSire:

Well, then you do because God couldn’t be thinking or have created the world because an infinite amount of time hasn’t been transversed. So, either infinite regressions are good or they’re problematic.

Brian Wagner:

So God can’t do what you think is impossible, even though He declares it in His Word… hmmm?

TheSire:

I asked if you thought the Kalam argument was true. I don’t think the bible says God transverses infinite regressions.

Brian Wagner:

Psalm 90:2 NKJV — Before the mountains were brought forth,
Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

Sounds to me like He clearly does!

TheSire:

Brian Wagner quotes Psalm 90 as proof of this sequential theory of divine time.

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were born
Or You gave birth to the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

It is hard to see how stating that God is “everlasting to everlasting” is inconsistent with the theory that God is timeless. The Psalm is about contrasting the Eternal God with the fleeting lives of humans. Commentators on the psalms can’t find this inconsistency:

And so the final affirmation of this little hymnic section keeps our attention on his eternality: “from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” The doctrine of God in Scripture asserts that God has no beginning and no end—he is eternally present. Interestingly, although the Greek version incorrectly read the word “God” (72$) as the negative (‘78) and joined it to the next verse, it made perfectly good sense to the translator to read the remaining words as “from everlasting to everlasting you are.” There is no other god who can compare. There is no other god.

Allen Ross-A Commentary on the Psalms: 90-150 (Kregel Exegetical Library)(Page 29).

The point is that God never came into being nor can he cease being who he is. The other verse mentioned was Revelation 4:8.

And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say,

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almightywho was and who is and who is to come.”

Arminian scholar and commentator Grant Osborne get the exact opposite interpretation then Brian Wagner:

Finally, the living beings celebrate the eternality of the one ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος (ho ēn kai ho ōn kai ho erchomenos, who was and is and is to come), following the title used in 1: 8 rather than that in 1: 4, which reversed the past (“ who was”) and the present (“ who is”). The emphasis is on the God who sovereignly controls past, present, and future. Each aspect should not be overly stressed (contra Thomas 1992: 363, who says the past is emphasized and the future relates to the longing of creation for redemption), but the effect of the whole predominates. God is eternal and sovereign. Mounce (1998: 126) may be correct in calling this an expansion of the interpretation of “Yahweh” in Exod. 3: 14, “I AM WHO I AM.” The eternality of God is repeated twice more in 4: 9, 10, “him who lives forever and ever.”

Osborne, Grant R.. Revelation (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) (Kindle Locations 5504-5511). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

An expert commentator on the book of Revelation G. K. Beale comes to the same conclusion as Osborne:

The use of “the Lord God Almighty” in v 8c is based on its recurrent use in the LXX (e.g., Amos 3:13; 4:13; 5:14–16; 9:5–6, 15; Hos. 12:6[5]; Nah. 3:5; Zech. 10:3; Mal. 2:16). The second name for God—“the one who is and was and is coming” (v 8d)—as observed in regard to 1:4, is based on OT and Jewish exegetical tradition. The threefold title expresses an idea of divine infinity and sovereignty over history. Furthermore, in the light of 11:17, the last clause of the formula, ὁ ἐρχόμενος (“the one coming”), expresses a future, once-for-all eschatological coming of God (see on 11:17 and 1:4).
The significance of the two titles “Lord God Almighty” and “the one who is and was and is coming” is to emphasize that the God who transcends time is sovereign over history. But this is no abstract theology of God. Through John the readers are being given information from the heavenly, secret council room of the Lord. The titles show that the intention of this crucial vision is to give the supra-historical perspective of “the one who is, was, and is coming,” which is to enable the suffering readers to perceive his eternal purpose and so motivate them to persevere faithfully through tribulation. As with the uses of both titles in the OT and as already seen in 1:4 and 1:8, so here God is able to fulfill his prophetic purposes and deliver his people despite overwhelming odds (for the background and significance of the two titles see further on 1:4 and 1:8).

Beale, G. K. (1999). The book of Revelation: a commentary on the Greek text (pp. 332–333). Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press.

So, Brian has to further explain God’s relationship to this dimension God resides in. Where did time come from? If God is subject to time, then it doesn’t originate from him. This leaves him needing to explain where did God’s domain come from. Why is there a divine being in an infinite regress of time rather than nothing? Another issue is why does the bible always paint the sole ultimate reality as Yahweh alone and not Yahweh in some temporal dimension? What was God doing for this actual infinite of time? 

http://spirited-tech.com/COG/2018/12/21/creator-over-all/

Further Suggestions:

Wagering Wagner

 

The Book of Eli

Recently. Eli Alyala had a conversation with a popular Atheist YouTuber Tom Jump. I’ll give my thoughts about this conversation.

Others have commented about the conversations Tom Jump have had at other times.

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2019/03/is-there-no-evidence-for-gods-existence.html

The conversation starts with the issue of the foundation of ethics(metaethics). Tom Jump is a moral realist that bases his metaethical view on the basis of human intuition and consensus. Eli presses on the issue of subjectivity. Many people don’t have those intuitions and completely different intuitions. So, why privilege Tom Jump? Why does his intuition have the final say? Tom responds that most people have the same intuitions as him. So, he simply has no means to argue it with Eli. That leaves many questions as to why think Human intuitions are apt towards true ethical norms. Why suppose the majority of human intuitions are correct?  Furthermore, Tom Jump is simply ignorant of the other arguments for moral realism. Dr. James Anderson that moral realism is necessary for rationality:

https://www.proginosko.com/2016/08/atheism-amoralism-and-arationalism/

There are other issues to be discussed  about the issue of the foundation of ethics but I’ve argued that issue elsewhere has a Christian foundation:

http://spirited-tech.com/COG/2018/01/12/absolute-personality/

Tom Jump states that the problem of evil(logical) shows that the Christian God can’t exist. Eli does a fine job of pointing out the flaws in that objection. Tom Jump simply presupposes that God could have higher morally superior reasons compared to the morally sufficient reasons he has. But he bases this all on his intuition. For further reflection on the problem of evil:

http://spirited-tech.com/COG/2018/01/18/problem-of-evil/

This leads us to a conversation about what are presuppositions. Tom Jump states that they are merely unjustified assumptions. Eli agrees with him on this and this is where I disagree with them both. There are different theories about what presuppositions are:

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/presupposition/

We have no reason to accept that definition. The presupposition of scripture is justified by God’s own self-testimony. I’ve discussed that while discussing revelational epistemology:

http://spirited-tech.com/COG/2018/07/04/parsing-revelational-epistemology/

http://spirited-tech.com/COG/2018/12/01/meals-on-wheels/

Tom Jump appeals to Descartes to find something he knows apart from the evil world of ontology. Eli wisely asked him “How do know reality isn’t such a way that that is impossible to know?” and I’m not sure if that ever gotten responded to. Eli raises questions of what the “I” means. I’ve discussed the continental rationalist elsewhere:

http://spirited-tech.com/COG/2018/03/17/the-continental-rationalist/

Tom Jump is a bit of a Kantian. He maintains that he can’t know anything about ontology but merely the world of appearances. He says that he doesn’t hold to an ontology but that seems rather impossible to pull off. Imagine Heraclitus’ Flux. If knowledge can change to non-knowledge, then how can Tom Jump maintain that he has knowledge?

Tom Jump mentions that presuppositionalist has no real response against say a Muslim. The issue with that response is that it is silly. He is saying that another theist could simply make the same argument. But that applies to any argument. The ability to take the same form of an argument doesn’t mean each argument is equally sound. You could argue that the Flying-Spaghetti-Monster is necessary for rationality but it will be very difficult to show that logic depends on his noodles.

He mentioned that he has the moral intuition that it is never okay to take the life of an infant. Many atheists are abortionist and are perfectly fine with the taking of the life of infants. So, it seems like many “superior” minded atheist would disagree with him. But let’s suppose a thought experiment:

A woman is going to die by giving birth to an infant. The woman is unconscious and has moments to live with no close relatives to make a decision for her. Who does Tom Jump choose to live? If he chooses the woman, then he admits that infant mortality is acceptable for the equal good of a woman surviving. If he chooses the baby, then he is saying that a woman’s death can play to either the equal or greater good of her child surviving.

So, when Tom Jump answers he then allows for God to have morally superior reasons to his for choosing one to live and another to die.

Tom Jump appealed to naturalistic panentheism. If this force that permeates and pervades all things in the world is the case, then it permeates evil. Why trust a force that is known to also be evil? The other issue is if such a force existed, then how do you preserve individuality? If we are this “one” force, then how can we draw distinctions that aren’t merely illusory? How can science be possible if change is illusory? I’ve talked about this here:

http://spirited-tech.com/COG/2017/10/12/panentheism-and-christian-theology/

I’ve also talked about this issue here while discussing Spinoza:

http://spirited-tech.com/COG/2018/03/17/the-continental-rationalist/

Beta-Male Abortionist

I’m going to share an edited version of the conversation I had with an abortionist over Twitter. Twitter isn’t the best format for these kinds of conversation. So, I have edited my statements to be clearer and left his alone. I also was asked to remove his name and he is fine with being referred to as Beta-Male from now on. The original conversation can be found here:

 Beta-Male:

And to be clear, I can’t get pregnant at all. Neither can you. Only a woman can get pregnant. What does she need for that to happen? A man to ejaculate into her vagina. It’s not going to happen without that. The man who does that is responsible for the pregnancy.

TheSire:

It probably the case that women should start wanting their children and become good mothers instead of murderers. That is another option. The morally superior option because to imply women are not responsible for their sexual activities is ridiculous.

Secondly, you conflate causal categories with moral categories. It doesn’t always follow that if you’re casually responsible that you’re morally culpable.

Third, why suppose he is culpable for anything given your worldview? Isn’t he simply a byproduct of evolution? He is biologically determined to act that way.

Beta-Male:

No. The morally right option is for the man to not impregnate the woman when she doesn’t want to be pregnant. Men are the cause of all abortions. Every baby murdered is their fault.

TheSire:

That’s hardly self-evident. What if he uses protection and it fails? How is he faulty? What if she agrees to have unprotected sex? That imply she voluntarily acquired that risk by participating in those activities.

Secondly, you’ve conceded the mother is murdering her child. So, the real statement here is that you’re in favor of a women’s right to murder their children.

Ironically, the people that benefit most from abortion laws are men.

Beta-Male:

I have no problem with people sleeping with whoever they want. I just think pregnancy should be kept for when people want to be pregnant. I think men should be implanted with a chemical birth control, that can only be removed when a woman consents to becoming pregnant by him,

You also need to provide an argument for your belief. For the same reasons of being uninteresting.

TheSire:

I believe women should be forced to give birth to their children. So, telling me what you think isn’t interesting unless with an argument

My argument was provided in the article I linked you:

http://spirited-tech.com/COG/2019/05/25/the-pro-life-catalogue/

I think it is rather obvious when you conceded that mothers murder human babies earlier that abortionist are doing something they ought not to be doing. Unless you maintain murder is morally acceptable there is nothing else to say.

Beta-Male:

A man is obligated to not impregnate a woman, who doesn’t want to be pregnant, IF he is against women having abortions. That’s pretty obvious. If he is okay with abortion, it’s more of a grey area, but still probably better that he didn’t inflict a medical procedure on a woman.

TheSire:

A man’s not obligated to not impregnate a woman. If the women allows for unprotected sex then it’s her fault. If the protection fails, then it isn’t his fault. A man’s obligated to try not getting the woman pregnant. If he goes through the precautions then it’s hard to see it as his fault. The logic of your entire case can be reversed. If women didn’t engage in sexual activities with men, then no unwanted pregnancies would have occurred. Therefore women are only culpable for the child.

Beta-Male:

So the man is never responsible for a pregnancy?

TheSire:

On my worldview, parents are obligated to their children. That implies the mother is obligated to her children aswell. Are fathers culpable for unwanted children? If a child is unwanted, then can the mother kill it?

Why suppose a man is ever responsible for anything on your worldview? If a mother isn’t obligated to the unborn baby, then it seems inconsistent to make three father culpable.

Beta-Male:

No, I blame men for men’s poor choices.

TheSire:

Yep, and you make excuses for women’s poor choices.

Wagner’s Open Theism

Brian Wagner is a common face in internet circles that I remain in. But he is often overlooked because Leighton is more popular, while he is more heretical. He has an odd position on Open Theism. He never responded to my article on Open Theism and I doubt he ever will. I asked him what his form of Open Theism was and he responded:

Well, there are many errant definitions of open theism out there, and many open theists that do not believe in inerrancy, like I believe in it. Inerrancy is not foundational to the definition of open theism, but the rejection of it by many of them has given it a bad rep.

That’s probably because most Open Theist are liberals. So, it more results in them creating a religion to suit their intuitions about what God ought to be instead of believing in a book. Or they realize that LFW agents can corrupt the Bible and therefore have no ability to affirm doctrines like inerrancy. How does Brain know the originals weren’t corrupted from the beginning by the authors?

The ETS accepts open theist members who hold to inerrancy, and many good theologians (like Erickson and Smith) see it as welcome to the biblical/theological discussion of God’s nature.

ETS can let anyone in that it desires. It is a different question of whether they should or not. But frankly, I don’t care if they do.

The encyclopedia of philosophy gives it this definition – “Open Theism is the thesis that, because God loves us and desires that we freely choose to reciprocate His love, He has made His knowledge of, and plans for, the future conditional upon our actions. Though omniscient, God does not know what we will freely do in the future.”

Basically, this definition isn’t that precise because it doesn’t fully explain why LFW is incompatible with exhaustive Foreknowledge. Open Theists give different answers to that question.

If that is what you were thinking when you thought I was an “open theist”, then you are correct, if limited to that definition. I like term “dynamic omniscience” better. I would even add the words to the last sentence “…God does not know *the outcome of* what we will freely do in the future, *but He knows all the possibilities He and we will have to choose between in the future.”

Wagner settles for something called “sequential thinking” for God. He has stated that elsewhere but not here. Now, that doesn’t mean anything to me as it probably doesn’t for you. Does it mean God thinks only one thing at a time? What about prior to creation? Doesn’t Wagner think that God is timeless sans creation? So, does Wagner think God didn’t think apart from creation?

God knows everything possible but not the future. How can an Open Theist God know every possibility? What does it mean that something is “possible” on Wagner’s scheme?

Further Suggestions:

TheCouncil:

Wagering Wagner

America’s Idols

America has a habit of protecting it’s idols. MLK in liberal states is treated as if he was an omni-benevolent force for good. They leave out that he was a heretic, theological liberal, alcoholic, woman beating, fornicator, and possible rape accessory. This is the same for others like JFK and such. They protect their own in their shrine to themselves.

Fisher’s Reality

Here’s a collection of articles in response to the worldview of Chris Fisher:

TheCouncil:

Why I’m not an Open Theist

God isn’t Open

Open gods and Closed Minds

Fisher on Divine Simplicity

Fishing for God

Fisher on Metaphysics

Is Open Theism a Proper Representation of the God of Scripture? Matt Slick vs Will Duffy

Triablogue:

Open theism’s blind watchmaker

Sleeping with a python

Wagering Wagner

I am creating a collection of articles that are in response to Professor Brian Wagner or the positions he takes. He’s an Open Theist professor from Veritas Baptist College. He’s also a close friend to Leighton Flowers.

TheCouncil:

Wagner on Calvinism

For he chose us in him

Fishing for God

God isn’t Open

Why I’m not an Open Theist

Leighton Flowers on Romans 8

Wagner’s Open Theism

God in Sequence

His positions are often similar to Leighton Flowers. So, here are refutations to him:

Soteriology101

Cranman’s Achilles

This is a sequel to my previous article:

http://spirited-tech.com/COG/2019/05/31/traditionalist-and-eisegesis/

Chris Harris shows a major flaw in the position of Leighton Flowers and John Cranman’s interpretation of Romans 9. They believe Calvinists interpretations of Romans 9 require Paul to eisegete the Old Testament. Chris Harris shows that their method of argumentation is hypocritical given the fact they state and apply the same method Calvinist do and then denounce the method when used by a Calvinist. In Romans 9:25, Paul begins quoting the OT and this starts with a quotation from Hosea 2:23 and 1:10. Hosea is writing about the restoration of Israel. New Testament writers understand it to be speaking of the inclusion of the Gentiles(Ro 9: 25– 26; 1Pe 2: 10). The point is that if Leighton and John wish to denounce a typological interpretation, then passages like Romans 9:25 and Matthew 2:15 will become nearly impossible to interpret without concluding the absurd or simply the NT writer misquoted the OT. This is how Dr. Douglas Moo put the issue:

But a potentially more serious instance of what seems to be arbitrary hermeneutics on Paul’s part is his application of these Hosea texts to the calling of Gentiles. For the prophet Hosea is predicting a renewal of God’s mercy toward the rebellious northern tribes of Israel: those whom God rejected and named lō-ruhamah, “not pitied,” and lō-ami, “not my people” (the symbolic names given to Hosea’s children [1: 6– 9]) are again shown mercy and adopted again as God’s people. The problem disappears if Hosea is including the Gentiles in his prophecy; 10 but this is unlikely. Others avoid the difficulty by arguing that Paul applies these passages to the calling of the Jews rather than the Gentiles. 11 But the explicit reference to Israel in the introduction to the Isaiah quotations in v. 27 suggests that Paul views the Hosea quotations as related to the calling of the Gentiles. Others think that Paul may imply an analogy: God’s calling of Gentiles operates on the same principle as God’s promised renewal of the ten northern tribes. 12 But Paul requires more than an analogy to establish from Scripture justification for God’s calling of Gentiles to be his people. Therefore we must conclude that this text reflects a hermeneutical supposition for which we find evidence elsewhere in Paul and in the NT: that OT predictions of a renewed Israel find their fulfillment in the church. 13 Moreover, Paul’s use of these texts may further his effort to break down the boundaries between the Jews and other peoples that were so basic to Jewish thinking. The geographical references in Paul’s quotation of Hos. 1: 10—“ in the place where  …  ,” “there”— are puzzling. In Hosea, these probably refer to the land of Israel’s exile: “in the place” where God said to the exiled Jews, “You are not my people” he will intervene to take them to himself once again. 14 If Paul finds any particular meaning in the language (rather than simply preserving it as part of the text he quotes15), he probably intends a similar application but this time with reference to the Gentiles: it is in the land of exile, the dispersion, that God will call out a people for himself.

Moo, Douglas J.. The Epistle to the Romans (The New International Commentary on the New Testament) (pp. 613-614). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. Kindle Edition.

The fulfillment is found in the fact that the Christian gentiles and Christian Jews are eschatological Israel.

Chris Harris:

Who are the people according to Hosea? They aren’t Gentiles like us…… can’t lose that part of the original context…… Paul must have a different way he uses “Gentile”….

Bottom line is if you take John Cranman and Leighton’s view, and I thought you did, then consistently apply it to the Hosea quote, you come away with Paul’s use of “Gentile” actually means a scattered Jew…. but you switched the hermeneutic there, and complain when we remain cons

Nathan Hellrung:

You guys use his OT references a way that he never does or clarifies in the context. That is a huge difference than how we are using them.

Chris Harris:

Let me try to simplify. In Hosea, the people who are not My people are not Gentiles, they are Israelites who are scattered among the Gentiles. They can even be called “Gentile” but they are Jews. Why would that be left out according to your hermeneutic of earlier interpretation?

John Cranman:

Chris, you are misunderstanding our hermeneutic then. Even in the video I did with Flowers I explain that Paul can, and does, use OT passages beyond just their original context for prophecy, allegory, etc.

The key difference is that there is some indicator in the text that Paul is doing that, unlike Romans 9. Just because Paul mentions God’s “sovereign choice” (we both agree it’s mentioned) this isn’t a sufficient indicator that the “choice” is unto unconditional election.

Chris Harris:

Why leave out the context of Hosea?

Nathan Hellrung:

I’ll answer ONE last time. Because Paul clarifies his use of it. Ignore Paul’s obvious summary, clarification, etc. if you want.

Chris Harris:

How does he clarify it? By using the term “Gentile”? I’ve already told you that according to the context of Hosea that refers to a scattered Israelite…. why can’t Paul mean that. Your answer is insufficient.