About TheSire

I'm a Christian, Trinitarian, rational scientific anti-realist, Baptist, Van Tilian, Covenant theology, Inerrancy, Cartesian dualist, Classical theist, Protestant, Reformed, and a particularist. I think often my friends have better views of me and my position than warranted and I thank them all for giving me a place to share them. 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

John 3:16

The Calvinist kryptonite has fallen upon us. The chapter and verse in which causes the terrible Calvinist to shutter in their boots.

Dr. James Anderson:

John 3:16 Teaches Limited Atonement

Brian Abasciano on John 3:16

Dr. James White/Alan Kurshner:

Radio Free Geneva: Calvinism’s Gospel Tautology Refuted

Does John 3:16 Debunk Calvinism?

A Short Reply to Brian Abasciano on John 3:16


What does Jn 3:16 mean?

Carson on cosmos

When salvation fails to save


Demonstrative love

For God so loved the kosmos

For God so loved the world

Arminian prooftexts

James Gibson:

For God so loved the world: A Calvinist Response to Richard Brian Davis

Calvinism and Analyticity

The irrelevance of ‘whoever’ in John 3:16 and what really matters: A response to Brian Abasciano

What is the Reformed Interpretation of John 3:16?

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Is Jesus a Compatibilist?

For the sake of your sanity, don’t watch the video. Leighton discusses his debate with Matt Slick and how he doesn’t fully understand Matt Slick’s argument. Leighton’s case for years has been that Libertarian freedom is a necessary condition for moral culpability. The ironic thing is Leighton said he was fine with Jesus being a human that was under determinism. But that entails that Christ wasn’t responsible for any of his actions. Even worse for Leighton’s worldview is that none of Christ actions are praiseworthy or blameworthy given his presuppositions. But if Leighton thinks Libertarian freedom is only a sufficient condition for moral culpability and Christ is culpable under a compatibilist view, then why suppose we aren’t responsible if we are determined?

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Eric Hernandez on Presuppositionalism

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Eric Hernandez went on Soteriology101 to discuss Calvinism and presuppositionalism. It wasn’t a very interesting podcast. So, I’ll state a few brief things about it and won’t waste much time about it.

1. Hernandez is simply ignorant of the actual presuppositionalist view of the role of evidence in apologetics. He thinks Van Tilians are against evidence and even quips “Elijah didn’t read Van Til”. Dr. James Anderson stated in an article about “Frequently Encountered Misconceptions of Van Til”:

1. Van Til rejected the use of evidence in apologetics
[A] minority of evangelicals continues to support retrenchment and isolationism. […] Not nearly as extreme [as the view of Eta Linnemann] but more widespread is the legacy of Cornelius van Til, longtime professor at Westminster Seminary and champion deluxe of the presuppositional approach to apologetics. Exponents of his perspective reject the kind of ‘evidentialist’ apologetics of the Tyndale House Projects (or, for that matter, of substantial portions of this book) as misguided, because they think that one cannot demonstrate the probability of Christianity apart from presupposing its truth.
(Craig L. Blomberg, ‘The Historical Reliability of the New Testament’ in William Lane Craig, Reasonable Belief, Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1994, p. 202)

[It is true that Van Til maintained “one cannot demonstrate the probability of Christianity apart from presupposing its truth”, but it doesn’t follow that historical research and evidences are worthless and inappropriate for use in apologetics. On the contrary, Van Til explicitly endorsed the use of such evidences and even admitted to employing them himself on occasions! (See the quote in section A.III.1.) His concern, however, was that since all empirical evidence is subject to interpretation according to one’s basic presuppositions, evidences presented in support of Christianity will not function as evidence for Christianity when interpreted within an anti-Christian philosophical framework (e.g., metaphysical naturalism or epistemological antirealism). Thus, one should not “talk endlessly about facts and more facts without challenging the unbeliever’s philosophy of fact.”]


2. Eric claims that presuppositionalist don’t understand the difference between ontology and epistemology. Sye stated something about logic belonging to God and thus implied atheist can’t use or know anything about logic. Eric unsurprisingly missed the point that he isn’t saying the unbeliever doesn’t know anything about logic but rather given his presuppositions or his ultimate commitments about reality he couldn’t know anything at all. It is as if Eric hasn’t read any standard presuppositionalist that labor to make this point(e.g. Frame, Bahnsen, Oliphint. Van Til, Anderson, etc). The issue is that Van Til recognized that epistemology isn’t separate(as many philosophers have thought, especially in the aftermath of Immanuel Kant). Van Til is focused on an outlook or an entire worldview in which reality is intelligible. That requires that we have a metaphysic that makes sense of the reason we can have something like logic. It can’t be narrow like the cogito ergo sum “I think, therefore I am” because it needs to unify and explain all things grounding intelligibility of everything. So, every statement about knowledge has metaphysical implications. William Dennison speaks to this issue in his work which I quote here:


3. Eric constantly can’t distinguish between evidentialism and evidence itself. He also operates off a simple-minded to positivism that makes have this “let’s just talk about the facts”. Facts are important but so is the way we interpret facts. Classical apologist thinks they can simply ignore the issue of presupposition in the midst of giving evidence. This is why Bahnsen criticized them for trying to be neutral.

4. Dr. James White states that something to the sort that TAG doesn’t work on other theists. I think he’s wrong on that and takes a strong view about what TAG can demonstrate. I’m not committed to all of Dr. White’s and Sye’s commitments.

5. They speak about the issue of determinism and whether that is inconsistent with a Holy God. If God determines everything, then he causes everything and thus is responsible for every evil deed. Leighton and the flower patch kids haven’t read anything I have written. But the issue is they don’t distinguish between causal responsibility and moral culpability. Don’t tell Leighton or Eric that because I’ve said it for going on two years now and they still haven’t listened:


A bit of irony is having a Pelagian and a Molinist speaking about how Calvinism is bad theology makes me chuckle inside.

6. They say if Calvinism is true, then they aren’t morally culpable for believing falsehoods because God caused them to believe what they do. Well, the obvious issue is they assume it is true but then compatibilism is true and they are responsible. So, they aren’t actually granting that, but the issue of why does God use falsehoods in order to save people? Well, why did they libertarian God create a world knowing that I would freely believe I lack this freedom and thus teach others they don’t have that freedom? Why have people become Christians by listening to Greg Bahnsen on freewill theism? Wouldn’t God want to reveal truths to believers instead of letting them besmirch his character? Wouldn’t it be avoided if God would’ve just said it to them in a dream Calvinism is false or do we have freewill dreams? Obviously, neither position is defeated by these more simplistic and not compelling questions. God uses falsehoods for his redemptive-historical purposes. I’m not arguing with what God decreed, I’m actually doing as God decreed me to do, but I believe that change is real. So, God can decree me to be the means to correct you and thus you can be decreed to change your mind. It isn’t even analogous to objecting to God for being morally wrong for predestining your silly philosophical speculations. Plus, when Eric debated Tyler Vela he showed that Eric was of no difference than the objector of Romans 9.

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Leighton Flowers, when pushed on the issue of whether foreknowledge is compatible with Libertarian freedom, appeals to Dr. William Lane Craig on the issue where many philosophers make a modal mistake. The issue with that response from Leighton is to assume that that is the only way Calvinist could argue for determinism is invoking the issue of necessity. But take the following argument:

    • If God timelessly knows the past,
      then God’s knowledge of the past is unalterable,

      in which case the past is unalterable.

      If God timelessly knows the future,
      then God’s knowledge of the future is unalterable,
      in which case the future is unalterable.

The issue is moved from the issue of necessity to the unalterability of God’s knowledge. This argument is also grounded in the idea that God is timeless. So, Leighton can’t appeal to Boethius to try to avoid the conclusion.

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Christianity and Idealism

1. Idealism and Christian Dogma:

I had a conversation with an idealist about if it can be reconciled with Christian thought. I figure I’d ask around and see what some more informed Christian’s thoughts about it. Here are his thoughts:

Those are incompatible. If idealism is true, then physical death is an illusion, the Incarnation is an illusion, the Resurrection is an illusion, &c.

If, moreover, God is timeless, and God is the source of what we imagine, then history is an illusion. No creation. No Exodus. No Parousia.

According to absolute idealism, there is no “physical world.” At best, there’s a dream-like simulation of a physical world. Physicality is an illusion. If, moreover, we are simply divine ideas, a psychological projection of God’s timeless mind, then time is illusory, too. This is systematically contrary to Biblical creation, history, and eschatology.


On an idealist construction, mundane reality is like a collective dream. When we dream we have simulated bodies, although the dreamer doesn’t normally see his own body. Other dream characters have simulated bodies. The dreamscape is simulated.

That renders the Incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection illusory. In theory, there could be a hypostatic union just between the Son and a human soul. But the “body” would be imaginary. The death of the body would be imagery. The resurrection of the body would be imaginary. The only thing that could “die” under that scenario would be the soul. That would temporarily dissolve the hypostatic union.

Likewise, all of Bible history would be illusory. Like a video game.

It filters the Bible through a radical hermeneutical grid, like Gnosticism or ufology.

If idealism is true, why do we suffer from excruciating physical conditions, when–in fact–there’s no physical cause? What does it mean to die if physicalism is true?

Idealism is philosophically interesting the way some skeptical thought-experiments are philosophically interesting. But that’s not a reason to think it’s realistic.

i) Why would God create a situation in which humans evidently suffer the affects of cancer cells when in reality they don’t have physical bodies with cancer cells?

ii) Idealism filters Biblical narratives through an extraneous hermeneutical filter that screens out the physical dimension. The “events” never happened as described. That’s certainly not how the Bible was meant to be understood.

It’s like ufological interpretations. Jesus was really a space alien, viz. “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

That superimposes an artificial lens on the text. That’s surely not how Scripture was intended to be read. Same with idealism.


2. Freedom of the Will:

The issue of libertarian freedom was the topic of the conversation and I think that it is incompatible with idealism. He was arguing that Calvinism is not orthodox because it is tied with determinism. For example, take the statement from Dr. Bruce Gordan:

On this view, then, what we take to be material objects are mere phenomenological structures that we are caused to perceive by God and which have no non-mental reality. They exist and are given being in the mind of God, who creates them, and they are perceived by our minds as God “speaks” their reality to us. What we perceive as causal activity in nature is always and only God communicating to us—as immaterial substantial minds whose bodies are also phenomenological constructs—the appropriate formally structured qualitative sensory perceptions.

On the idealist scheme, the world is contained in the mind of God. I think this leaves no room for categories we use such as the distinction between actual and possible worlds and contingency and necessity. Each world is necessary and each world is necessary. Each world is equally in the mind of God. So, God conceives us acting in hypothetical timelines and we have no causal power of our own. It seems to be very conducive with determinism. Each moment is as necessary as God’s thoughts are necessary. Creatures can’t choose otherwise than they are thought of acting. Any ability to do other than God thinks is impossible. There is no openness or indeterminacy in the mind of God.

3. Scientific realism:

The person I was speaking to tried to argue that Quantum Mechanics implied that no material things exist. From my understanding is that they ignore the issue of underdetermination. QM has infinite possible interpretations that are consistent with a material world exists. We distinguish models further by the metaphysical and epistemological assumptions that go into them. We can build a model around false assumptions but create an adequate model. From my understanding is that this interpretation of QM is based on two assumptions that are metaphysical and cannot be proven QM. Individuals like Inspringphilosophy assume that prior to observation objects exists in a mathematical joint superposition. Another assumption was that if the properties of an object cannot be measured or ascertained then doesn’t exist. Those are unstated assumptions behind Copenhagen interpretation that aren’t proven.

The other issue was that he was a scientific realist. But that seems problematic for the issue that scientific realists are not idealists:

Metaphysically, realism is committed to the mind-independent existence of the world investigated by the sciences. This idea is best clarified in contrast with positions that deny it. For instance, it is denied by any position that falls under the traditional heading of “idealism”, including some forms of phenomenology, according to which there is no world external to and thus independent of the mind. This sort of idealism, however, though historically important, is rarely encountered in contemporary philosophy of science. More common rejections of mind-independence stem from neo-Kantian views of the nature of scientific knowledge, which deny that the world of our experience is mind-independent, even if (in some cases) these positions accept that the world in itself does not depend on the existence of minds.


Now, they wish to maintain that the illusory world in which God simulates us in is able to be studied and so forth. The issue with that is that they have conceded that the world is illusory or is a simulation that doesn’t reflect ultimate reality. But then why should we trust it when QM is interpreted in defense of idealism? The idealist finds himself in the old problem of appearance and reality.

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Simon Gathercole on the Preexistence of Christ in the Synoptic Gospels

Simon Gathercole gave lectures on the issue of the Christology of the Synoptic Gospels:

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