Thibodaux: The Saga Continues

J.C. Thibodaux has responded to my refutation:

Before we get to that, his big objection in his initial post was that the Arminian view of free will would somehow ‘explain’ God’s attributes. Though I expressed that his objection about people ‘explaining’ God’s attributes wasn’t clear, instead of any clarification we get this:

The problem with the second point is that it is clearly incorrect. It is relevant because it still shows that Arminians have tensions in their worldview.

He’s still not clear what he means by this, but suffice to say that complaining about creation ‘explaining’ God’s attributes without even defining his objection proves neither tension nor relevance.

It is clear that J.C. doesn’t understand what explanations are. For example, the Leibnizian cosmological argument is an argument about explanations. It asks the question about the necessary foundations of reality. Why is there something rather than nothing? Explanations are reasons for why something is the case. So, we are asking the same metaphysical question about God’s being(mainly his attribute of omniscience).  The fact remains that what makes it the case that God knows a person’s future choice is grounded in the fact that they will choose such and such. It isn’t grounded or explained by God. The reason for which God knows certain things are thus grounded not in himself but in the world.

We also went a little bit into the nature of God and time. I mentioned John Frame….

I should also point out the fact that John Frame is a Calvinist.

Hmmm…so he is… Hey, wait! Maybe that’s why I cited him when I mentioned, “Calvinists are no strangers to the idea of God’s transcendence over time…!”

My statement was only at a slight pass implying that Frame’s view simply implies Calvinism anyways, but nothing that I wish to argue here because the amount of time dedicated to J.C. has surpassed productivity.

Since God on Frame’s view exists both timelessly and at every point in time, then we can still ask at any moment, how he knows future choices from that specific moment….

He seems to think God in his temporal existence is located everywhere throughout time. So, God simply observes each moment and therefore knows what we are going to do. The problem with that answer is how at any moment in the past can he know what a human will choose?

And he’ll get the same answer that I gave before: “God also exists outside of time, and is therefore not limited by time or the ‘present’ as we see it….” 

It makes one wonder how our objector can read that God knows because He exists outside of time (transcendence) and conclude that we’re arguing He knows because He exists within time (immanence)?

While my question still stands, is God temporally not omniscience? So, if the answer is yes, then I don’t understand why my question of why God knows a future moment from a past or present moment he is in is not relevant.  If God’s timelessness grounds his omniscience, then what about God in his immanence? But stating God is timeless doesn’t undermine my argument showing that his foreknowledge is dependent upon the creation. So, the argument is in need of some clarifications. 

Furthermore, if he tries to appeal to the “Eternal Now” view, then I’ve on other occasions have provided resources showing the faults in those theories:

The other problem is that of time. Does Thibodaux hold to an A series or a B series of events? If A theory is true, then the future is unreal. So, God would only be located in the present or only in the past and the present.

The answer to that should already be obvious. Between the two, only the B theory of time allows for God to exist in a state ‘above time,’ as it were.

I’ve asked Dr. Poythress(Dr. John Frame’s right-hand man) about which theory of time he holds. He maintains an A theory of time. So, it is a fair question to ask because people that hold your position about God’s relation to time still disagree with you.

He calls my argument “noob arguments” in his moment of class and maturity but as I’ve pointed out on other occasions many philosophers throughout time have discussed these issues. They know the difficulty of dealing with future contingents.

Of course there’s some difficulty in describing things that don’t fit in with the normal human experience and perception of time (even some things observable by science such as gravitational time dilation). However, the idea of God’s transcendence in relation to time is already quite well-known as a defeater argument against determinist objections to the Almighty’s abilities, rendering his protests mere cringeworthy noobie mistakes.

This is freewill theist pandering and it isn’t worth addressing. It isn’t becoming of a “veteran” debater that he is contending to be.

How in the world can anyone read, “If God did not create the world, there would be no human persons to be faithful to, but that would not detract from His faithfulness.“, and conclude that it means ‘divine goodness is dependent on us’?

He states that I’m not paying attention but it seems that he isn’t tracking my argument. The point is the same argument that he produced about Faithfulness and Omniscience can equally be made about God’s goodness. It is an analogous argument. That means if he wishes to make those arguments then he is committed to the other arguments in principle. 

No one is arguing that God’s nature has changed or acquired new attributes, but as I argued, the “relational, optional specifics encompassed by those attributes” do change. When God chose to create the world, He chose to involve people as objects of certain of His attributes, and said attributes come to involve people.

God is eternally faithful whether we exist or not. God has chosen to create man and made covenants with him. God’s faithfulness has not changed, who God is faithful tohas changed. God knows all that is whether He creates the world or not. God has chosen to create a world with free agents. God’s omniscience has not changed, who God knows about has changed. That is an important distinction, and the point of confusion that our dear objector is stuck on and talking past in his objections to what no one is arguing.

All of these are just Cambridge changes and have nothing to do with what we are discussing. The topic is about the nature of god’s attributes and the explanations of them. I’ve presented a model where God is ‘Self-Contained’ no explanation extends beyond God himself. Freewill theists wish to agree with that sentiment but are inconsistent when it comes to grounding God’s knowledge of future contingents in the random and arbitrary choice of human agents. So, either he has missed the argument I provided, or his argument about God’s attributes has zero relevance. If they were relevant, then God’s attributes would be explained by divine actions of being faithful, or good, or whatever. But very few people think we ground God’s characteristics via his actions.

The last thing he brings up is that God’s foreknowledge can’t be innate(or grounded) in God because it would imply it essential then for God to create us. I think this is simply a denial of aseity because it is him admitting that characteristics of God are not innate to him but something he takes on. The question of necessitarianism becomes relevant. What kind of freedom does God possess? Others have talked about that:

But it seems clear. J. C. thinks that necessitarianism is problematic. If some of God’s characteristics are contingent upon the world, then wouldn’t that imply on his view the world is necessary for God to have certain qualities? Seems to me that he has his own problem of necessitarianism arising from his commitments.

Further Suggestions:


Arminianism and Aseity

Thibodaux’s Cooked Goose


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About TheSire

I'm a Christian, Trinitarian, rational scientific anti-realist, Baptist, Van Tilian, Covenant theology, Inerrancy, Substance dualist, Classical theist, Protestant, Reformed, and a particularist. Here is a place where I take information from many different sources and place them in a useful format. My influences are Steve Hays, Dr. James Anderson, Dr. Greg Welty, Dr. Vern Poythress, Dr. John Frame, R. C. Dozier, Dr. Greg Bahnsen, Ronald W. Di Giacomo, R. C. Sproul, Dr. James White, Dr. Paul Helm, Dr. Jonathan Sarfati, Paul Manata, Turretinfan, Milton Friedman, James A. Gibson, and others. " You're one of the most intricate thinkers I know so if you believe something I would like to understand why and be challenged to think about it." Tyler Vela I'd like to thank Vincent Ransom for the profile picture.

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  1. Pingback: Tackling Calvinist Errors on Omniscience & Aseity (Plus a Deductive Proof) | Arminian Perspectives

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