Interesting discussion, of course. You did say something, though, upon which I would appreciate some discussion:
Are you stating, that as humans we have the capability of thwarting God’s plan, and simply lack the knowledge? How? How could a human mess up God’s plan merely by obtaining more knowledge?
Secondly, doesn’t this introduce a reason for God to be deceptive? If the only thing preventing us from causing God to not be able to do what God wants to do is knowledge, and the only way in which God can prevent us from obtaining that knowledge is by deliberately withholding it, in the event someone DID discover such knowledge, God would be inclined to deceive the person?
This makes knowledge the ultimate weapon (poor choice of words, but still…) against God. Making secrets and deceit the tools by which God could achieve his plan.
Thanks, in advance, for your explanation.
1.We can only resist a plan if we know what the plan is. Only knowledge of the plan would supply a definite objection to rebel against.
If God decreed that I make a left turn at a certain time and place, I could only do otherwise if I knew the content of the plan. It’s the knowledge of A that generates the hypothetical alternative (non-A).
The possibility of resistance is relative to the object of resistance. If I know that I’m “supposed” to make a left turn, then I can think of making a right turn instead of a left-turn in defiance of the plan.
2.It’s not that human beings are able to thwart the will of God.
Rather, the decree is only possible under certain conditions. If those preconditions are withdrawn, then it isn’t possible to decree the outcome.
So I’m not stipulating a decree, and then saying that, given the decree, along with other variables, it’s possible to frustrate the decree.
Rather, I’m saying that predestination is no longer possible if certain preconditions are removed.
3.Now, in principle, it would be possible for God to exhaustively reveal his decree (not that we could process that amount of information), and still determine the outcome.
He could simply override the will of the agent, or box him by various circumstances.
In other words, the alternative to predestinarian determinism is fatalistic determinism.
The textbook case is Greek fatalism. Croesus and Oedipus know their fate. They make very effort to escape their fate. And they fulfill their fate in the very effort to evade their fate.
A modern variant is the B-movie “Final Destination.”
Ironically, this is how the open theist enables God to control the outcome. In open theism, God doesn’t know the future, and so he cannot predetermine the outcome, but he can still determine the outcome by outmaneuvering the human (or diabolical) agent.
So open theism exchanges predestination for fatalism.
There is also a fatalistic quality to Molinism. It endows the agent a libertarian freewill. But the agent has no control over what possible world is instantiated.
Given a choice, he’d prefer to be instantiated in a world where he goes to heaven rather than hell.
So Molinism gives the agent a free “will” without the freedom of opportunity to actually choose otherwise.
4.In Calvinism, by contrast, the agent is not trapped in a scenario against his will. He is not consciously fated to do one thing when he would do otherwise if only given the chance.
So there is, in Calvinism, no tension between what we want to do and what we’re going to do.
5.There’s a distinction between deception and concealment. While some forms of concealment amount to deception, concealment is not inherently deceptive.
And there can be many good reasons for withholding information.
For that matter, there are circumstances in which outright deception is licit, viz., the stock example of hiding Jews from the Nazis.
6.It’s not as if God must intervene, by some special action, to prevent us from discovering the contents of the decree.
The decree is not an object of natural knowledge. We are not privy to the mind of God.
The only possible source of knowledge about the decree would come by way of divine disclosure.
7. As a matter of fact, Scripture does attribute deception to God, via a secondary agent (1 Kg 22:23; Ezk 14:9; 2 Thes 2:9-11).
But God only deceives the reprobate, not the elect.
Indeed, the elect are divinely shielded from deception (Mt 24:22; Rev 20:3).