Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Answering Mark Sinclair From the Comment Section

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Mark Sinclair responds to a recent article on Metacrock's Blog: "Why did God Create: Atheist Assumptions about Free Will Defense."

In that discussion I defended by version of the free will defense, Soteriolgoical Drama in which I argue that God must allow the world to run on in a neutral fashion with traces of the ultimate truth available but they must be dug out in an all out search for truth. The reason for this is that only such a search allows one to internalize the values of the good. What I mean by this is that unless we experience the search ourselves they wont be our values. The values we come to learn and hold as a result of seeking truth must be obtained personally, they can't be spoon fed because they would not be our values. When Jesus said "he who has been forgiven much, loves much" he's getting at the idea that unless you really experience the journey yourself its not as meaningful. God can't prescribe that we get into sinful paths in order to experience redemption, that's how Rasputin got started. The next thing over from that is search for the truth, which does not necessitate sin. Mark Sinclair requires further elucidation.

None of your explanations work. If God wanted us to truly internalize our beliefs or choices, since He is all powerful, could He simply not make it so? Does He not have the ability to do anything? If so why not, accomplish all His goals simply through His will? Why does He watch us suffer, when by definition, He could accomplish his goals, simply by willing it so.

I'm not mocking, I desperately want an answer, I want to believe, but it's so hard with all these logical inconsistencies and doubts.
In answer to this earnest plea I will go into greater detail than I did in the answer box of the comment section. Let's break it down:

If God wanted us to truly internalize our beliefs or choices, since He is all powerful, could He simply not make it so?
Obviously if God wanted us to hold certain values in a superficial way, just knowing the concepts, he could put the concepts in us. That would not be the same thing. You cant' have your cake and eat it too. you can't think for yourself and have others spoon feed your ideas to you. In order to learn the values of the good we must experience the search for the truth. Hidden behind Mark's talk of "all powerful God" is probably the assumptino that all powerful means being able to do nonsense like have your cake and eat it too. This is why modern theologians don't use the "omnis" they speak of "maximal greatness" rather than "allow powerful" becasue it communicates more. Why should "all powerful" be construed as the ability to do nonsense or the arability to violate deductive logic?

The notion that God should be able to violate logical necessity is not mandated by scripture and there's just no reason to accept it. A lot of atheists think it's cleaver to propose ideas like this.

Skeptic: Can god smell next Thursday?

Believer: days of the week don't have smells

Skeptic: so God can't smell next Thursday right?

Believer: I guess

Skeptic: Then there's soemthing God can't do so he's not God.


I don't find that cleaver I think it's silly. Nothing in the Bible says "God can violate logical necessity." Nothing in the Bible says "God is 'all powerful' in the sense of doing nonsense." It implies that God is able to do anything logically doable that doesn't mean God can do nonsense or violate logical necessity. No reason to think God can create square circles. That's not reasonable. That sort of thinknig that says "yes, God can smell next Thursday," is not Biblical but comes from Aristotle's unmoved mover. There's no reason to think that God can put personal experiences in us without us experiencing them and no reason for us to avoid the search. Jesus says "seek and ye shall find." Not only is the search mandated by Christ but it's also promised that if we are sincere we ill find the answer.

Sinclair again:

Does He not have the ability to do anything?
Not if by anything you mean logically contradictory stuff and nonsense.



If so why not, accomplish all His goals simply through His will?
Because smelling next Thrusday is not one of his goals. God as the wisdom to set goals he can accomplish, that means all of his goals make sense. "Redeem mankind, move humans along the road of progress until the make the world a decent place, crate an online privacy policy that doesn't' born one to tears in the reading, create a modern version of old sixties tv shows that done tear the heart out of the original concept. Although that latter one might be beyond the pale of logical necessity.

Why does He watch us suffer, when by definition, He could accomplish his goals, simply by willing it so.
Because he can't, because it's a nonsense goal. To have a moral universe there must be free will. To have free will one must actually be free. If your will is given you and it only has the appearance of freedom then it's not truly free. moralty is decision making, so it must done freely. That means God must risk the realty of people screwing themselves over with bad choices. That the risk comes to fruition is not a defeater for the plan. It doesn't negate the purpose. Free will is met and those who choose the good freely choose the good and the purpose of creation has been reached. The reality of a moral universe comes at the expense of human pain and suffering.

fortunately God is in the redemption business. All pain and suffering will be redeemed and we have a whole eternity to do it in. Now one might say, as the atheitws my previous blog spot said (see above)

(1) If God exists, then he would ensure that the best possible world exists.
(2) Because God is maximally great, the possible world containing God and nothing else is the best possible world.
(3) Therefore, if God exists, he would not create anything.
That's not a valid conclusion. That would only be the case if we could calculate all variables and weigh every reality and every possibly. Only God can do that. that's not a logcial contradiction so maximally great creator can do it. We must have the faith to assume that he did and that he knows the price of creation is worth it. We can know that too by placing our faith in Christ.

2 comments:

Kristen said...

Yes. Mr. Sinclair's question is, in essence, Can God make a creature who has experience, but has never experienced anything? No, because the definition of the first, is the second.

Metacrock said...

"Yes. Mr. Sinclair's question is, in essence, Can God make a creature who has experience, but has never experienced anything? No, because the definition of the first, is the second."

good point Kristen