Debate on Calvinistic Compatibilism Part 19: Derek Responds

 

Matt,

Thank you for these additional comments and questions. How is it possible you still aren’t persuaded? ;)

Well, to be honest, you are a great challenger and make excellent use of logic in your argumentation.

In the interest of being very clear, I need to mention that my view is definitely not libertarian free will, although it obviously contains certain similarities or elements of agreement. No libertarian is going to affirm meticulous divine Providence/predestination/pre-determination, etc. as I do. I could be wrong, but in my understanding the advocate of libertarian free will is always an incompatibilist.

In my view the decree does not affect what we are capable of doing, inherently. It speaks to what we will do, but not in a “constraining” way because we will do it freely.

As a further disclaimer, we haven’t even gotten into the ways human depravity hijacks our abilities and choices. I am approaching this from the broadest perspective of what it means to be human, rather than the narrower perspective of what it means to be a fallen human.

You said: “You just can’t have it both ways Derek!”

The question is not whether I can have it both ways, but whether God can create it both ways. Can He? If He can’t, what are His limitations?

I maintain He can run the universe in a way that:

A) Conforms to His Word; and
B) Might ultimately be beyond the reach of our logical limitations

To concisely answer your three questions: I cannot imagine what things might look like from “God’s decretive perspective.” I do not have access to this angle, and it is simply beyond my comprehension. Except as God has revealed His mind in His Word, I have only the human perspective to go on. While I do not deny that God’s perspective is reality, our access to that reality is limited to the window He has provided through His revelation in Scripture and in nature. Beyond this, it is all just mystery and speculation.

Finally, what do you make of this passage:

Acts 4:27-28 “for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.”

Were Herod, Pilate, the Gentiles and peoples of Israel acting “freely” and in an “unconstrained” way when they did whatever God’s hand and plan had predestined to take place? Were they doing God’s will? Were they sinning? Did they have the ability to do otherwise?

Whose mind was the logical origin of the great sin they committed in “gathering together against God’s holy servant”? Would they have done this (and could they have done this) if God had not planned and “predestined” for it to happen? On your view, was God the “author” of their sin? How was He not the author, on your view, if He planned and predestined what they did?

The revealing window of Scripture clearly gives us some heavy things to wrestle with! Do you think simple libertarian freedom, or simple determinism, is sufficient to account for all of the complexities God expresses in His infallible Word? Or do we need to wrestle our way toward something much more comprehensive, much more nuanced, and much more mysterious?

Thanks again for all of your thoughtful challenges and questions.

Blessings,
Derek

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About StriderMTB

Hi, I'm Matt. "Strider" from Lord of the Rings is my favorite literary character of all time and for various reasons I write under the pseudonym "StriderMTB. As my blog suggests I seek to live out both the excitement and tension of a Christian walk with Christ in the 3rd world context of Asia. I am unmarried yet blessed to oversee an orphanage of amazing children in South-East Asia. I hate lima beans and love to pour milk over my ice-cream. I try to stay active in both reading and writing and this blog is a smattering of my many thoughts. I see the Kingdom of God as Jesus preached it and lived to be the only hope for a broken world and an even more broken and apathetic church.
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