1. Joined
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    This is an argument aimed at a theist who is committed to all the following (1) through (4):

    (1) God is, by definition, all-knowing.

    (2) God is, by definition, perfectly rational.

    Freedom of will is of an incompatibilist sort, one which entails at minimum the ability to choose otherwise. So in particular:
    (3) If God freely chose to A, then He could have freely chosen not to A.

    Freedom of will is necessary for moral responsibility. So in particular:
    (4) For God to be an appropriate object of praise or blame regarding His choosing to A, it must be that God freely chose to A.

    So here is how my formulation of the argument would continue (perhaps still somewhat under construction):

    (5) Suppose God chose to A.

    (6) From (1), God knew all relevant reasons for or against His choosing to A.

    (7) From (2) & (5) & (6), it follows that, on the basis of all relevant reasons, the reasons for God's choosing to A outweighed reasons against God's choosing to A.

    (8) From (7), it is not the case that, on the basis of all relevant reasons, the reasons against God's choosing to A outweighed reasons for God's choosing to A.

    (9) From (2) & (6) & (8), God could not have chosen not to A.

    (10) From (3) & (9), it is not the case that God chose freely to A.

    (C1) Therefore, God's choice to A was not free.

    (C2) From (C1) & (4), God is also not an appropriate object of praise (or blame) regarding His choosing to A.

    ==========================

    In short version summary:

    If the theist is committed to God's being all-knowing and perfectly rational by definition; and if this theist is committed to a version of freedom that requires the ability to have chosen otherwise; then this theist should also be committed to the idea that God is not free with respect to His choices. This is so because such a God must (at pain of contradicting the concept's definition) choose in accordance with the net weight of relevant reasons, of which He has full access and knowledge. If this theist is also committed to the idea that freedom of will is necessary for moral responsibility; then as a further corollary, this theist should be committed to the idea that God is not worthy of moral praise for His choices.

    Ways out of this would be to jettison or revise one or more of commitments (1) through (4); or show that they are not typically representative of many theists, such that the argument is moot. Alternatively, of course, find and point out some error(s) within my argument.
  2. Joined
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    01 Apr '14 01:152 edits
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    This is an argument aimed at a theist who is committed to all the following (1) through (4):

    [b](1)
    God is, by definition, all-knowing.

    (2) God is, by definition, perfectly rational.

    Freedom of will is of an incompatibilist sort, one which entails at minimum the ability to choose otherwise. So in particular:
    (3) If God freely ...[text shortened]... rgument is moot. Alternatively, of course, find and point out some error(s) within my argument.[/b]
    This assumes god is rational, rationality is a human concept. God to me does not appear "rational".

    The logic assumes that a choice must be made and that one choice must in some way be better than the alternative

    Righteousness is a state of being, not a state of doing
  3. Standard membersonshiponline
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    01 Apr '14 02:55
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    This is an argument aimed at a theist who is committed to all the following (1) through (4):

    [b](1)
    God is, by definition, all-knowing.

    (2) God is, by definition, perfectly rational.

    Freedom of will is of an incompatibilist sort, one which entails at minimum the ability to choose otherwise. So in particular:
    (3) If God freely ...[text shortened]... rgument is moot. Alternatively, of course, find and point out some error(s) within my argument.[/b]
    LemonJello, I would have to study this argument for an hour or more to understand really well.

    My initial concern is with Jesus going through what He went through. He apparently believed in the need for my salvation very strongly. Maybe you have read the accounts in the Gospels of His praying that if possible the Father would remove the cup from Him - (the cup of the redemptive act He was to pass through). The accompanying torture, nails, six hour hanging plus being cut off from the Father as divine judgment fell upon Him for the sins of the world - He took so seriously.

    He did not have to go through that. He voluntarily went that.
    The theist which most impresses me is this One calling Himself the Son of God.

    If there was any argument, and rational, any clever philosophical insight or logic by which He could have reasoned that this act of His crucifixion was unnecessary, He would have taken that route out, I think.

    If Jesus thought that God's alleged lack of true freedom was an issue which made His redemptive death unnecessary, I think He would have taken that logic.

    Pontius Pilate sought as hard as he could to let Jesus go. When Jesus told him that whoever delivered Him to the Roman Governor bore the greater guilt, Pilate sought all the more to release Him. He had never met a man on the way to execution like this.

    Pilate therefore entered again into the praetorium and called for Jesus. And he said to HIm, You are the King of the Jews?

    Jesus answered, Are you saying this of yourself, or did others tell you about Me?

    Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Your nation and its chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done ?

    Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My attendants would be struggling so that I would not be delivered to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not from here." (John 18:33-36)



    If Pilate who had the authority to free Jesus could not convince Him to take an escape route, do you think you could take Jesus aside, explain to Him your philosophy, and persuade Him His act of redemption was illogical and unnecessary ?

    You explain some things about God above. Jesus knew a lot about God. He called God His Father. Do you think your argument could have been able to do what nothing else seemed to do? That cause Him to reconsider the necessity of dying for us on Calvary for our salvation.

    If you think you would not be able to change His mind about "drinking the cup" which He was convinced He HAD to drink that you would be saved, you have to wonder that possibly He knew something that you don't.

    Now if you think you could have reasoned with Him from your rational philosophical argument, then maybe you have a higher truth that He could have realized - saving Himself from that awful cup. But if you don't think you could have gotten Him to change His mind, you have to wonder, I think.

    Maybe He was aware of the truth about us and God to a deeper degree. And then maybe your clever argument is just not the truth.
  4. Joined
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    01 Apr '14 17:192 edits
    Originally posted by divegeester
    This assumes god is rational, rationality is a human concept. God to me does not appear "rational".

    The logic assumes that a choice must be made and that one choice must in some way be better than the alternative

    Righteousness is a state of being, not a state of doing
    This assumes god is rational, rationality is a human concept. God to me does not appear "rational".


    So you would deny (2). Fair enough.

    The logic assumes that a choice must be made and that one choice must in some way be better than the alternative


    The argument does not assume this. That God has made a choice is taken on supposition for the sake of the argument (premise (5) ). Then, if God is perfectly rational (you already deny this) and all-knowing, it follows that this choice, or reasons thereof, adhere to certain norms. That is all.
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    01 Apr '14 17:25
    Originally posted by sonship
    LemonJello, I would have to study this argument for an hour or more to understand really well.

    My initial concern is with Jesus going through what He went through. He apparently believed in the need for my salvation very strongly. Maybe you have read the accounts in the Gospels of His praying that if possible the Father would remove the cup from Him - ( ...[text shortened]... about us and God to a deeper degree. And then maybe your clever argument is just not the truth.
    I'll wait until you have time to digest the argument. Then, if you think it is unsuccessful, I would like to know which premise(s) you would reject and why. I myself am still trying to understand if I think the argument is successful or not; or whether it actually applies to a significant subset of theists.
  6. Territories Unknown
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    01 Apr '14 17:45
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    This is an argument aimed at a theist who is committed to all the following (1) through (4):

    [b](1)
    God is, by definition, all-knowing.

    (2) God is, by definition, perfectly rational.

    Freedom of will is of an incompatibilist sort, one which entails at minimum the ability to choose otherwise. So in particular:
    (3) If God freely ...[text shortened]... rgument is moot. Alternatively, of course, find and point out some error(s) within my argument.[/b]
    Where does "bound by one's own insoluble attributes" enter into your formula?

    If a person cannot lie, are they free to lie?
    If a person can only do good, are they free to do evil?

    If I am free to choose between Jill and Julie which one I will love, if I chose to love Jill, am I also free to love Julie?
  7. Standard membersonshiponline
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    01 Apr '14 17:576 edits
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    I'll wait until you have time to digest the argument. Then, if you think it is unsuccessful, I would like to know which premise(s) you would reject and why. I myself am still trying to understand if I think the argument is successful or not; or whether it actually applies to a significant subset of theists.
    (1) God is, by definition, all-knowing.

    (2) God is, by definition, perfectly rational.

    Freedom of will is of an incompatibilist sort, one which entails at minimum the ability to choose otherwise. So in particular:
    (3) If God freely chose to A, then He could have freely chosen not to A.

    Freedom of will is necessary for moral responsibility. So in particular:
    (4) For God to be an appropriate object of praise or blame regarding His choosing to A, it must be that God freely chose to A.


    Well, I have no completely digested it. But I think I stop right about here and wonder.

    There are certain things God is just not going to do, freedom of no. The Bible seems to say there are some things impossible for God to do.

    I don't know what this does to any nothing of freedom to do all.
    God cannot lie - "things in which it is impossible for God to lie" (Heb.6:18)

    So I don't know why I have to force myself to imagine "freedom" to choose anything means God can choose what is impossible for Him to do - lie.

    It is impossible that God should die. So I don't know how I am suppose to think for "freedom's" sake God would choose the impossible thing of dying - apart from being incarnated as a man who can die.

    So the "freedom" matter is a concern. You see this kind of argument is designed to counter creedal like statements. Creeds, to me, are secondary. The Word of God, the Scripture is primary.

    I don't believe any theological creed should be placed on the same level as the Scripture in what it states. Theological creeds proclaiming in some systematic way - 1. 2. 3. are human inventions. And while they may be helpful I would not elevate any theist creed to be as important as statements of the inspired Scripture.

    So that someone in his cleverness could design an argument that exposes some logical inconsistency of some creedal formula is not that big a deal with me.

    IE. "If God can do anything can God create a rock too heavy for God to lift?"

    Some theists would say "all knowing" in fact does not mean that God knows absolutely everything. I never felt that I had to take a firm position on it. It sounds good that Omniscience is an attribute to God. But does it mean that there is nothing that God doesn't know ? Some theists would say no.

    Omnipotence - does it mean that God can do the logically impossible like make a square circle ? Some say no, of course not.

    So an attack on a theological formula creed as you have set up to go after, only carries so much significance with me.

    Maybe I'll pass on your post to a Christian philosopher for a comment or two.
  8. Joined
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    01 Apr '14 18:313 edits
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    Where does "bound by one's own insoluble attributes" enter into your formula?

    If a person cannot lie, are they free to lie?
    If a person can only do good, are they free to do evil?

    If I am free to choose between Jill and Julie which one I will love, if I chose to love Jill, am I also free to love Julie?
    Where does "bound by one's own insoluble attributes" enter into your formula?


    In premises (1) and (2). After all, those are the only premises here that purport to ascribe such attributes. You are of course free to deny one or both of these; but in that case, I would appreciate explanation for why you do not think they apply.

    What you bring up are specific local instances of limitations on God's freedom. Like, if God essentially cannot lie, then He is not free to lie. Okay, so perhaps you are already committed to certain local limitations on God's freedom. However, the point of this argument is to show that you have a much more systemic, global problem for God's freedom of which you are not presently aware. If, for example, you are committed to (1) & (2) & (3), it would seem to follow that God cannot choose other than how He does in fact choose and hence is not free with respect to those choices. That is a very global problem for His freedom, according to the conception of freedom at issue.

    Which premise(s) would you deny and why?
  9. Joined
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    01 Apr '14 18:33
    Originally posted by sonship
    [quote] (1) God is, by definition, all-knowing.

    (2) God is, by definition, perfectly rational.

    Freedom of will is of an incompatibilist sort, one which entails at minimum the ability to choose otherwise. So in particular:
    (3) If God freely chose to A, then He could have freely chosen not to A.

    Freedom of will is necessary for moral responsibility. ...[text shortened]... ance with me.

    Maybe I'll pass on your post to a Christian philosopher for a comment or two.
    I'm confused: which premise(s) are you denying?

    You bring up some objections similar to that of Freaky. So, also, please see my above clarification addressed to Freaky.
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    01 Apr '14 18:39
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    This assumes god is rational, rationality is a human concept. God to me does not appear "rational".


    So you would deny (2). Fair enough.

    The logic assumes that a choice must be made and that one choice must in some way be better than the alternative


    The argument does not assume this. That God has made a choice is ta ...[text shortened]... knowing, it follows that this choice, or reasons thereof, adhere to certain norms. That is all.
    For the sake of this discussion, isn't "supposition" the same as "assumption"?
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    01 Apr '14 18:41
    Originally posted by divegeester
    For the sake of this discussion, isn't "supposition" the same as "assumption"?
    Basically the same, yes. But the assumption here for the sake of the argument is that God has chosen to A, not "that a choice must be made and that one choice must in some way be better than the alternative."
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    01 Apr '14 19:46
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    Basically the same, yes. But the assumption here for the sake of the argument is that God has chosen to A, not "that a choice must be made and that one choice must in some way be better than the alternative."
    Then 6 is not vaidid is it?
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    01 Apr '14 19:595 edits
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    This is an argument aimed at a theist who is committed to all the following (1) through (4):

    [b](1)
    God is, by definition, all-knowing.

    (2) God is, by definition, perfectly rational.

    Freedom of will is of an incompatibilist sort, one which entails at minimum the ability to choose otherwise. So in particular:
    (3) If God freely ...[text shortened]... rgument is moot. Alternatively, of course, find and point out some error(s) within my argument.[/b]
    Let's see, you seem to have wrapped a lot of nonsense around the following:

    God knows all the relevant reasons.

    God weighs the relevant reasons.

    God perfectly rationally chooses based upon the weight of the relevant reasons.

    Ultimately you seem to be arguing that choosing perfectly rationally somehow precludes free will. Thus far you've gotten nowhere in a very roundabout way.
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    01 Apr '14 20:16
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    Where does "bound by one's own insoluble attributes" enter into your formula?


    In premises (1) and (2). After all, those are the only premises here that purport to ascribe such attributes. You are of course free to deny one or both of these; but in that case, I would appreciate explanation for why you do not think they apply.

    What yo ...[text shortened]... om, according to the conception of freedom at issue.

    Which premise(s) would you deny and why?
    I guess--- if I have to choose the most best--- it would be (2), as it requires God to adhere to something outside of Himself.

    We think in terms of duality, whereas the only dichotomy for God is what is not Him.
    There is perfection and then (outside of Him) there is what agrees with Him and that which does not.

    We use our faculties to adapt actions to an end; His thinking needs no adaptations.
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    01 Apr '14 21:161 edit
    Originally posted by divegeester
    Then 6 is not vaidid is it?
    Sure it is valid: it follows directly from (1) and (5).

    If (5) is satisfied but (6) is not, then God made a choice on incomplete knowledge of the relevant reasons for and against that choice. That is not consistent with (1), with His being all-knowing.

    I do not understand why you think the argument "assumes that a choice must be made and that one choice must in some way be better than the alternative". That does not in any way follow from any of the individual premises of the argument; nor does it in any way follow from the conjunction of all the premises. The argument only assumes that if S chooses to A; and, if further, S is all-knowing and perfectly rational; then it follows that S's choice to A adhered to certain norms, such as that the relevant reasons for S's choosing to A outweighed the relevant reasons for S's not choosing to A. If you have some issue with that, then I would be interested to hear your objection. But that sounds like a very reasonable requirement of what perfect cognition coupled with perfect rationality requires of S's choice. The argument also assumes that S cannot, while being all-knowing and perfectly rational, choose not to A if the reasons for S's choosing to A outweigh the reasons for S's choosing not to A. Again, seems reasonable.

    I suppose here you could object that S, even if all-knowing and perfectly rational, could choose to A even if the reasons for and against that choice are perfectly balanced. First, I am not sure I agree with that, since it is not prima facie clear to me that is consistent with perfect rationality. Second, even if true, that would only cover a very limited subset of possible choices, and they would be choices that are essentially arbitrary, at the whim of this agent, since there are by supposition no net reasons for or against such a choice.
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