June 4, 2020

The Council

A modern day council!

I’ll be looking at another article from the Arminian perspectives website.

Aseity is defined as, “existence originating from and having no source other than itself.” God, according to all branches of orthodox Christian theology, is the only Being who is self-existent. The issue at hand, briefly, is that if God has endowed His creations with a measure of free will, then the creatures’ own actions come from themselves (i.e. from their own self-determination) and hence the transcendent God’s knowledge of what they will do apparently is also rooted in that self-determination. Determinists such as Mr. Prussic contend that God’s knowledge being rooted in anything men will or do somehow attacks His aseity, since this would imply a dependency relationship, viz. God being dependent upon man for knowledge (of what that man will choose, specifically).


This is basically him summarising the argument against Arminians. If it is the humans choice at that particular moment that makes it true that he will make that choice, then how can God know beforehand what they are going to do? From a perspective of prior to creation, it is hard to see how it is coherent to suppose God knows something that is either false or has no truth value. That doesn’t come from Calvinist but from Open Theist philosophers like Swinburne, Van Inwagen, Tuggy, etc. So, leading philosophers take that approach. God’s knowledge is something dealing with the being of God. Van Til thinks of aseity as God being self-contained. Nothing can further explain God other than himself but on Thibodaux scheme, God being is explained by creatures. But how can a being that is a se or self-explained be further explained by created things(people and their choice)? How could non-existent things ground God’s knowledge? It is easy to see on a Calvinist scheme that God simply thinks of agents making particular choices and that is what makes it’s true. 

For starters, God clearly isn’t dependent upon man for His existence. God having freedom of His own will entails that He didn’t have to create mankind at all. Clearly, knowledge derived from what created men do is no threat to His self-existence. The only objection the determinist could offer here would be a knowledge dependency -God using men to be omniscient concerning men’s wills. Would that be tantamount to saying that one of God’s attributes (His omniscience) comes from man? Not at all: such a scenario would imply that God had to create man to become omniscient, but this clearly isn’t the case, since God would have been all-knowing even if He had never created man at all.

The only dependency upon man (i.e. God knowing what a man will choose due to the man himself) is itself rooted in God’s will to create man in the first place, so no such dependency can exist apart from God’s being willing that it exist. Asserting that God entering into such a dependency relationship somehow attacks His self-existence apparently doesn’t follow from any sound argumentation.

Nobody is making the argument that free will requires us to create God’s being. But it is nonetheless the case that God’s knowledge is dependant upon future choices of creatures. Some of God’s knowledge is dependant and explained by our actions. That clearly makes some aspect of God dependant on my choices. Also, God creates these agents but their choices are what grounds these future contingents. If their choices ground these future contingents, then how can God know prior to what they are going to do before they choose to do it? It’s a short walk to Open Theism at this point. The dilemma either an essential attribute of God is dependant on human choices or God simply doesn’t know the future.

Let’s look at another one of God’s attributes: faithfulness. God is indeed called “faithful and true” (Revelation 19:11, see also Deuteronomy 7:9, Isaiah 49:7, 1 Corinthians 10:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:24, 2 Thessalonians 3:3). Knowing this, I ask, has God ever made a promise or oath to anyone? He certainly has. His covenant with Abraham and his descendants is a prominent example (Genesis 22:16-18). Second question: for God to remain faithful to what He has promised, does the one(s) to whom He made such promises have to exist? I would think so: Abraham and his descendents apparently must exist for God to remain faithful to His promises that He made to them.

So then God’s attribute of faithfulness actually does depend upon His creations (their existence in this case), provided that He has chosen to make a promise to them. This type of dependency wouldn’t attack God’s aseity, as making the promises in the first place (and thus establishing that dependence) was His decision alone. This clearly wouldn’t imply that He has some innate need of creation, but would definitely indicate that such a dependency exists according to His will.

God’s faithfulness comes from His Holy nature. For example, God is faithful between the persons. Aseity is connected to the fact God is a trinitarian being. God isn’t dependant on the world to be faithful. Its seems rather obvious that God’s moral character isn’t dependant upon the world. 

Ironically, a much larger problem lies with the determinist view of God where the origins of sin are concerned. If all of God’s knowledge necessarily comes from Himself, then everything He has knowledge of must also arise from within Himself -that includes sin. Such a view inevitably ends up making God the author of sin and the source of every lie, evil motive and abominable thought. This stands in complete contrast with the apostle John, who declares,

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)

The “Authorship of Sin” objection is an overplayed ambiguous objection that is repeated but it never lands:



Further Readings:


Can God break his promises?

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