Thursday, April 22, 2010

How Secondary Causes Don't Deal With the Problem of the Source of Evil

I was going to post on how some determinists say God is not responsible for what He decrees because He uses secondary causes and therefore the secondary causes are the real responsible parties, but a new online friend of mine has beaten me to the punch, and she has done an amazing job. Check it out here!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What is Forgiveness?

Someone in a philosophy group I just joined on Facebook asked, "what is forgiveness?" Here were my thoughts.

Forgiveness is the act of pardoning someone for wrongdoing. We are able to forgive each other for certain trespasses without payment. However, crimes against society are not so easily dealt with. A judge does not have the authority to just pardon someone for a crime, because that would make him unjust. I think to retain a proper ethic, we must maintain both virtues of justice and forgiveness. Forgiveness as individuals, justice as a society.

However, one of the things that is interesting about Christianity is that this balancing act is met on the cross of Christ. Both the love of God, from which His forgiveness flows, and His justice meet. God incarnate as Christ is able to love and forgive us and pay for the penalty that our sin incurs.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rush Thanks the President


JC Thibodaux Deals With the Transfer of Necessity Nonsense

Many Calvinists recently have latched on to the Transfer of Necessity Principle as articulated by Linda Zagzebski to try to show that divine infallible foreknowledge and libertarian free will are incompatible. JC Thibodaux deals with this nonsense here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Argument for Freedom

1) We are only morally responsible for our actions if we have freedom in the libertarian sense.

2) God says we are morally responsible for what we do.

3) God is inerrant and infallible.
4) ∴ we have freedom in the libertarian sense.

I rely on Peter Van Inwagen's consequence argument to show that premise 1 is correct. It states:
If determinism is true, then our acts are the consequences of the laws of nature and events in the remote past. But it is not up to us what went on before we were born, and neither is it up to us what the laws of nature are. Therefore, the consequences of these things (including our present acts) are not up to us.1
I think premises 2 and 3 are uncontroversial for Christian theists. Therefore, the conclusion follows deductively.

1 Peter van Inwagen, An Essay on Free Will, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983), p. 56.

Monday, April 5, 2010

William Lane Craig Cracked Me Up Today!

From his most recent post on his website Direct link to post here.

Boo hoo! Poor atheists! Big, bad Bill Craig has debate training, and that’s why they can’t even mount a decent response to the same five arguments I’ve been putting out there for 20 years!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Necessary and Sufficient Conditions vis a vis God and the Human Will

One particularly notorious determinist and I are discussing our different views on God's relation to the events in creation. He thinks that God has made any and every even that happens necessary by divine decree. I hold to libertarianism and think that God created free creatures whose actions are causally distinct from God in some circumstances.

I claim his view seems to implicate God in all sin. He asserts that I don't escape this problem because since I believe that God foreknows all things, He foreknew that the only way sin would happen would be to create free creatures, and that implicates God in their sin. As I argued in my response to James Swan (found here) this is not the case. It is logically inappropriate to transfer the responsibility for the sins of independent creatures to God simply because He foreknows them.

Consider this example that I used in response to this: If no one invented the airplane, then 9/11 wouldn't have occurred. Hence: 9/11 causally depends on the invention of the airplane. Therefore Wilbur and Orville Wright caused 9/11.

Or consider this example: The inventor of the automobile probably foresaw the potential tragedies that could come about from smashing a couple tons of steel into someone, but he obviously thought that the greater good that would come from having such a convenient form of transportation was worth it. He likewise can't be blamed for the negative future consequences that occurred because of the automobile's invention, even though he knew they most likely would occur.

This is where recognizing the difference between necessary and sufficient conditions come in. The creation of free creatures is only a necessary condition for evil. Those free creatures did not have to sin, but in order for them to sin they would have to be free. On the determinist end, however, God's decrees become the sufficient condition for sin. All that is needed for necessitated creatures to sin is the simple decree made by the determiner. The determiner is therefore the responsible party, since they are the one who has made all these events necessary, even sin.