November 30, 2020

The Council

A modern day council!

Dr. Leighton Flowers continues to show that even as a Doctor he does not understand Calvinism. As he typically does, to throw meat to his savage cult-like followers. He misrepresents Calvinist doctrine.

Leighton said:

summarized: “You’re either saved or damned for all eternity because you were either saved or damned from all eternity by God.”

If he had any ability, to be honest, he would recognize that one is saved or damned based on the good pleasure of God. That’s quite common in Calvinist theology. God also has purposes for individuals as they fit into God’s plan for the universe.

Leighton said:

Good Listen. Point of clarity: I do not believe one can naturally “save themselves” but only respond to Gods gracious means of revelation

The problem is he arguing against the inherited guilt that is received from Adam. So, he because of his commitments to a strong form of libertarian freedom has to agree that men could, in fact, do the Law of God. He may deny man can do that, but his theology provides nothing to prevent it. Apart from the work of the Holy Spirit man can humble himself and believe? This is why everyone thinks he’s a semi-Pelagian at best.

Leighton said:

So the next time a Calvinist argues that “God ordains the ends as well as the means” just remember this does not avoid the charge of Theistic Fatalism but actually confirms it.

The question must be asked in what sense is the word fatalism being employed?
“Fatalism is the view that whatever is going to happen, is going to happen, no matter what we do.”. If this is what Leighton is arguing, then he’s incorrect. Under compatibilism, human actions and God’s providential plan work together to bring about events. It’s akin to someone saying “It doesn’t matter whether you know God exist or not because you are gonna be saved anyways!”. That’s not a logical implication of Calvinism. So, one Calvinist can go preach the Gospel with more confidence than any other Christian because he knows he will not fail and everyone who will believe in God will. It also should be noted that not all forms of determinism are the same.

Calvinism and Determinism

Does Leighton think that God doesn’t know who will be saved? If he does, then how could the contingent actions of men change that number? If the number cannot change, then how is Leighton’s system any less “fatalistic” as the dreaded Calvinist? Consider if all those out of reach of the evangelist are damned anyway. While unknowingly condemning another he condemns his own.

Leighton acts as if he has surpassed the argument from foreknowledge. God knows all and has known all things eternally with complete certainty. So, how could things be different from the way God knows everything will pan out? X being a choice. How could God know x will occur, while also knowing x might not occur? It cannot be based on the creature. The creature isn’t eternal and God has always known. If it is based on God, then it only furthers the case for determinism. It also should be mentioned that I’m not claiming that foreknowledge is Causal. That confused epistemological categories with casual.
Flowers tends to use God’s timelessness as a way to try to get around the problem of foreknowledge.

Basic Argument for Theological Fatalism:
(1)Yesterday God infallibly believed T. [Supposition of infallible foreknowledge]
(2)If E occurred in the past, it is now-necessary that E occurred then. [Principle of the Necessity of the Past]
(3)It is now-necessary that yesterday God believed T. [1, 2]
(4)Necessarily, if yesterday God believed T, then T. [Definition of “infallibility”]
(5)If p is now-necessary, and necessarily (p → q), then q is now-necessary. [Transfer of Necessity Principle]
(6)So it is now-necessary that T. [3,4,5]
(7)If it is now-necessary that T, then you cannot do otherwise than answer the telephone tomorrow at 9 am. [Definition of “necessary”]
(8)Therefore, you cannot do otherwise than answer the telephone tomorrow at 9 am. [6, 7]
(9)If you cannot do otherwise when you do an act, you do not act freely. [Principle of Alternate Possibilities]
(10)Therefore, when you answer the telephone tomorrow at 9 am, you will not do it freely. [8, 9]…

This solution denies the first premise of the basic argument: (1) Yesterday God infallibly believed T. What is denied according to this solution is not that God believes infallibly, and not that God believes the content of proposition T, but that God believed T yesterday. This solution probably originated with the 6th-century philosopher Boethius, who maintained that God is not in time and has no temporal properties, so God does not have beliefs at a time. It is, therefore, a mistake to say God had beliefs yesterday, or has beliefs today, or will have beliefs tomorrow. It is also a mistake to say God had a belief on a certain date, such as June 1, 2004. The way Boethius describes God’s cognitive grasp of temporal reality, all temporal events are before the mind of God at once. To say “at once” or “simultaneously” is to use a temporal metaphor, but Boethius is clear that it does not make sense to think of the whole of temporal reality as being before God’s mind in a single temporal present. It is an atemporal present, a single complete grasp of all events in the entire span of time.Aquinas adopted the Boethian solution as one of his ways out of theological fatalism, using some of the same metaphors as Boethius. One of the metaphors is the circle analogy, in which the way a timeless God is present to each and every moment of time is compared to the way in which the center of a circle is present to each and every point on its circumference (SCG I, 66). In contemporary philosophy probably the most well-known defenders of the idea that God is timeless are Eleonore Stump and Norman Kretzmann (1981), who apply it explicitly to the foreknowledge dilemma (1991).
Most objections to the timelessness solution to the dilemma of foreknowledge and freedom focus on the idea of timelessness itself, arguing either that it does not make sense or that it is incompatible with other properties of God that are religiously more compelling, such as personhood (e.g., Pike 1970, 121-129; Wolterstorff 1975; Swinburne 1977, 221). I have argued (Zagzebski 1991, chap. 2) that the timelessness move does not avoid the problem of theological fatalism since an argument structurally parallel to the basic argument can be formulated for timeless knowledge. If God is not in time, the key issue would not be the necessity of the past, but the necessity of the timeless realm. So the first three steps of the argument would be reformulated as follows:
(1t) God timelessly knows T.
(2t) If E is in the timeless realm, then it is now-necessary that E.
(3t) It is now-necessary that T.
Perhaps it is inappropriate to say that timeless events such as God’s timeless knowing are now-necessary, yet we have no more reason to think we can do anything about God’s timeless knowing than about God’s past knowing. The timeless realm is as much out of our reach as the past. So the point of (3t) is that we cannot now do anything about the fact that God timelessly knows T. The rest of the steps in the timeless dilemma argument are parallel to the basic argument. Step (5t) says that if there is nothing we can do about a timeless state, there is nothing we can do about what such a state entails. It follows that we cannot do anything about the future.In my judgment, the Boethian solution does not solve the problem of theological fatalism by itself, but since the nature of the timeless realm is elusive, the intuition of the necessity of the timeless realm is probably weaker than the intuition of the necessity of the past. The necessity of the past has the advantage of being deeply imbedded in our ordinary intuitions about time; there are no ordinary intuitions about the realm of timelessness. Perhaps, then, the view that God is timeless puts the theological fatalist on the defensive.”

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