The irony of our discussion is that I, as a Calvinist, am in the position of arguing for free will, and you, as an Arminian (I think), are in the position of arguing against free will (on the grounds of assuming divine determinism to be true). In this strange discussion, we have somehow forced one another to argue from what is usually considered to be the other side!
Just to be extremely and redundantly clear about my position … it boils down to the following:
1. Scripture and the believer’s experience support both divine determinism and genuine free will of some sort (though not exactly the libertarian variety).
2. An omnipotent God is capable of rendering us genuinely free while determining everything (without introducing any real contradiction from His own perspective).
I will be unambiguously stalwart in refusing to ascribe any–even apparent–contradiction to God’s perspective; He sees everything with crystal clarity. Yet I am not at all shy about ascribing great limitations and even apparent contradictions to our perspective. Our paradoxical human perspective is even expressed in Scripture:
Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.”
I ask myself: How does God view the “many plans” in our minds, from which we are choosing, in light of His ONE purpose (“THE purpose of the Lord”) that stands?
And I answer: In a divine way that is outside of my comprehension, because I am siting here looking ahead at my “many plans,” and behind at His “the purpose” that has stood.
(yes, I talk to myself)
This is not really a rebuttal or defense — I am just re-clarifying my position so that you do not find yourself unintentionally arguing against a “straw man” version of it.
By the way, in your last post I found both your point about the mad scientist and your distinction regarding foreknowledge to be very powerfully argued. Purely from a “debating” standpoint, these were excellent responses!
Great idea to collect and re-post the whole conversation. We have covered some ground that would seem to be rarely addressed in these types of discussions.
Now I will be quiet again and listen to your further thoughts . . .
Thank you and God bless,
PS – I hope your trip is going well.