“Hays seems to be adopting the errant assumption that the warning of God must have 'failed' if it does not have a deterrant effect on the redeemed. Not so, warnings are not strictly deterrants, if the warning is not heeded, it is still quite effective in that the consequence it warns against will surely be carried out…Hays' displays some terrible all-or-nothing thinking of the same variety as Greg Elmquist. The old 'if a ever fails to cause b, then a can have nothing to do with b' canard. For a warning to deter someone, it must be both received and heeded, so whether it deters the agent or not is contingent upon both the warning being given and being obeyed. If the person warned does not obey it, it's not due to the warning 'failing,' but to the person disregarding it, which I address further below.”
This interpretation poses quite a problem for Arminian theology. If God knows the future, then God knows who will be deterred by his warnings, and who will not be deterred by his warnings. In that event, he never intended to deter those who would disregard his warnings. And in that event, J.C. will have to admit that a divine warning can be meaningful even though it was never meant to deter a particular set of people.
Of course, if a Calvinist were to say that, he’d be accused of turning the warnings into a charade. They are *apparently* intended to discourage people from doing x, but in reality, their ulterior purpose is…what, exactly? What is J.C’s alternative?
He says the offender will suffer the consequences. So is that the purpose of the warning? To make the offender suffer the consequences?
So, on that interpretation, God warns some people, not to deter them, but to make them suffer the consequences. That’s the intent of the warning. And that’s the effect of the warning. That’s what makes the warning effective—in those cases.
So, for that subset of humanity, God’s intention is that those individuals suffer dire consequences, and the deliberate function of the warning is to facilitate that dire outcome. The warning instrumental in effecting their sorry fate.
So, on this interpretation, God has benign intentions for one subset of humanity, and malign intentions for the other subset of humanity. He eternally intended to save one subset of humanity from the consequences while he eternally intended to make the other subset of humanity suffer the eschatological consequences.
J.C. has a remarkably supralapsarian version of Arminian theology.
“A warning can be a very effective deterrant (i.e. suitable to, and capable of performing its task) but still be presented to people who choose to disregard it.”
If they choose to disregard it, then it proved to be a very ineffective deterrent.
“If a fully capable driver ignores it and speeds on ahead to his death anyway, would we conclude that it was the sign's fault for not being an effective enough deterrent because it didn't end up saving the driver's life? Of course not.”
If the “task” of the sign is to “be a very effective deterent [sic],” and the driver ignores it, then, by J.C’s own definition, it didn’t “perform its task”—in which case it failed. If its task is to deter the driver, and it doesn’t deter the driver, then it didn’t effect the outcome which it was tasked to perform. How can a warning be a very effective deterrent if the driver is undeterred by the warning?
The only way that J.C. can salvage any semblance of consistency is to redefine the purpose of a warning so that he either (i) eliminates the deterrent intent, or he (ii) restricts the deterrent intent.
The problem with (i) is that this would be at odds with the standard definition of the word: “Advice to beware of a person or thing as being dangerous,” “Deterrent counsel: cautionary advice against imprudent action,” “An experience, sight, etc. that serves as a caution: a deterrent example” (OED).
And if he opts for (i), then he forfeits the right to accuse the Calvinist of tampering with the “plain sense” or “obvious meaning” of what a “real” or “genuine” warning amounts to.
The problem with (ii) is that this would involve him in a denial of divine omnibenevolence. God would now have a benevolent intent for one subset of humanity, but a malevolent intent for the other subset of humanity. How is that consistent with Arminian commitments to the universal love of God, including his universal salvific intent?
“The warnings need not be irresistible to be fully capable deterrants, and as stated above, they do not fail as warnings if they are ignored, for their consequences will be fulfilled.”
i) If a deterrent is resistible, then it’s incapable of fully deterring the offender.
ii) If he defines the efficacy of the warning, not in terms of its deterrent value, but in terms of the divinely foreseen consequences, then the purpose of the warning would be inculpate or aggravate the guilt of the offender.
Sounds remarkably like the Reformed doctrine of reprobation.
“Which of course explains why it talks about their part in New Jerusalem and the tree of life being taken away. There's no doubt from the context as to whom this warning and its consequence are specifically directed.”
To the contrary, it doesn’t say that anyone is in danger of losing his salvation. Rather, it threatens damnation for anyone who tampers with the prophecy.
That would include nominal believers. Indeed, the letters to the seven churches are concerned with nominal believers.
“I guess Steve didn't realize he'd lost on this point several posts back. Let's see, God's knowledge transcends the boundaries of time, therefore, no matter what choice will be made, God already knows what it will be.”
That’s an assertion, not an argument.
“Steve tried to dance around this, but was never able to explain how if the omniscient God's knowledge was not bound by time, why He would be unable to know a libertarian choice (speaking from our temporal perspective) before it is made.”
Because divine knowledge of the future commits J.C. to epistemic determinism.