Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Love on the Rocks

Reppert's post:

Harry Potter, Love Potions, and Free will

The value of free will does not end there. All sorts of relationships acquire special value because they involve love, trust, and affection are freely bestowed. The love potions that appear in many fairy stories (and the Harry Potter series) can become a trap; the one who has used the potion finds that he wants to be loved for his own sake and not because of the potion, yet fears the loss of the beloved’s affection if the potion is no longer used. For that matter, individuals without free will would not, in the true sense, be human beings at all, at least this is the case as seems highly plausible, the capacity for free choice is an essential characteristic of human beings as such. If so, then to say that free will should not exist is to say that we humans should not exist. It may be possible to say that, and perhaps even mean it, but the cost of doing so is very high.

William Hasker, The Truimph of Good Over Evil (Inter-Varsity, 2008) p. 156.
Right. So the Father could just stop loving the Son one day.

"He can't," you say? "He is love," you say? "His very nature demands that he will love the Son," you say?

The Father is not libertarianly "free" to turn his back on the Son? Refuse to love him anymore?

If he is not, and since the love is really love, genuine love, then is must not be the case that true love demands libertarian freedom.

If he is (libertarianly) free to stop loving the Son, well . . . it looks like someone's a priori philosophical assumptions has got a hold of ones orthodoxy.

Looks like we have a ridiculous view of God. Scary, actually. If the Father could stop loving the Son, how much more his created people?

Besides, I don't want to spend eternity apart from God. I'm glad he has determined things so such that I will always love him. Left to my own devices, I'd always choose me over God.

A world where God and fallen man have libertarian freedom is a world where God and fallen man are never reconciled. And if, per impossible, they could be reconciled, that world provides no guarantee that they will remain reconciled.

Just like Islam provides no eternal assurance, so does a world with libertarian free will for God and man. Funny how libertarianism ends at the same place as the hard-core conjunction of determinism and voluntarism presented in Islam.


  1. Why is there the need to define Free Will in dialectical terms between opposites?

  2. Let me frame it another way, why must you construe alternate possibilities as being a dialectic between objects that are opposites, or in other cases of differing moral value? Unless you are framing this in terms of a reductio to trap the Arminian in his own principles, then it would seem valid, but somehow I think you both hold to this same understanding of alternate objects. It seems your both working out the problem dialectically from the same principle.


  3. I don't construe them as such and to take one argument and conclude that this is "how I construe PAPs" is simply a hasty generalization.

    Although, and I thought this was clear (perhaps not!), I am issuing a reductio.

    The debate was framed as: "to love or not to love."

    I answered it on its own grounds.

  4. Paul,

    It seems implicit in your argument that this is the reason why you want to drive the Arminian to reconsider his thinking: that the Father loves the Son freely, yet He cannot do otherwise to rule out AP. This is prompted because the Arminian uses arguments that for love to be genuine it can't be forced and therefore one is free to will or reject God on their view. The Calvinist is quick to point out Eschatological arguments that one cannot deny God and heaven but one in heaven is genuinely free, in order to show that AP is not necessary for the exercise of free choice. It seems to be the case that for both Arminians and Calvints that the Saints in the Eschaton are left to a dialectical freedom in which one has free choice but not good (Origen) or is good but free choice is excluded(Augustine).

    If your argument is to show that AP is not necessary for free choice, then free choice can be defined to a dialectical construal. Would you agree with that?


  5. I am not clear on how we get from Hasker’s statements that genuine love requires LFW, particularly concerning sourcehood, to the idea that an agent with libertarian free will can do something morally bad. You draw the conclusion from LFW that it would be possible for the Father to do something bad, namely stop loving the Son, but I don’t see how that follows. In the passage you cite, where does Hasker show that LFW entails the ability to do morally evil acts?

    The Father could have LFW and yet not have LFW to sin. That too is a possibility. You are presuming that moral impeccability and LFW are mutually exclusive but so far I haven’t seen an argument for that claim. Do you think God has LFW to create or not to create?

    Do you think the Father is free to hate the Son? If not, what is the difference between that idea and the penal model of the atonement?

  6. Photios,

    My argument aims to show that even though the Father can't do otherwise than to love the Son, this doesn't make the love like some Harry Potter flick where a mage conjures up a love potion forcing another to love her. Why is his love less real if he isn't free to stop loving?


    My argument is that the Father does not have the ability to stop loving the Son, that he isn't "free" to up and stop at any time ('cause it's immoral, against his nature, whatever) he wants to. That his nature determines that he will always love the Son.

    I'm not even claiming (or assuming) that LFW is inconsistent with impeccability - though I think it is, that would be another post and another argument (I'd draw from Skinner and Huxley type stories where agents are free to do any number of things but those things they will want to do have been given to them by some kind of conditioning. I'd also argue from the negative formulation of LFW. I'm not going to flesh this out now, though).

    The claims in my first paragraph to you are uncontroversial, I think. Yet inability to stop loving the Son doesn't make the love any less real. Hasker seems to imply that one is either free to give or take away his love. But not so with Father-to-Son.

    If not so with Father-to-Son, and if Father's love is real, genuine, etc., then why is ability to love or not to love some prerequisite for true love? (And, if Father can only love, then CDO is denied, which seems inconsistent with LFW, but we'll forget that for the moment).

    This is why there are even libertarians who grant Frankfurt examples. My point undercuts the idea that there is something unworthy of moral praise when an agent loves another even though he is not libertarian free to stop. This doesn't assume that LFW means one can sin, in fact, I even granted one couldn't.

    (P.S. Not to get into another debate, I think God was free to create but that freedom was neither libertarian or compatibilistic!)

  7. Theopedia states:

    "Libertarian freedom is, therefore, the freedom to act contrary to one's nature, predisposition and greatest desires. Responsibility, in this view, always means that one could have done otherwise."

  8. "The basic idea is this: to be ultimately resonsible fo an action, an agent must be responsible for anything that is a sufficient reason, cause, or motive for the action occurring. If, for example, a choice issues from, and can be significantly explained by, an agent's character or motives (together with background conditions), then to be ultimately responsible for the choice, the agent must be in part responsible by virtue of choices or actions performed in the past for having the character and motives he or she now has. Compare Aristotle's claim that if a man is responsible for the good or wicked acts that flow from his character, he must at some time in the past have been responsible for forming the good or wicked character from which these acts flow" (Kane, Contemporary Introduction to free Will, Oxford, 2005, p.121, bold emphasis mine).

    Not only do most views of God not see him as "having a past", almost all see him as *necessarily* good. There was never any "forming" of his character. There was never a time when he wasn't good. He never made the decision to form his character to a certain mold.

    Thus, it appears, that God does not have ultimate responsibility for his actions and thus cannot be a proper subject for ascriptions fo praise.

  9. "According to Plantinga, libertarian free will is a morally significant kind of free will. An action is morally significant just when it is appropriate to evaluate that action from a moral perspective (for example, by ascribing moral praise or blame). Persons have morally significant free will if they are able to perform actions that are morally significant. Imagine a possible world where God creates creatures with a very limited kind of freedom. Suppose that the persons in this world can only choose good options and are incapable of choosing bad options. So, if one of them were faced with three possible courses of action—two of which were morally good and one of which was morally bad—this person would not be free with respect to the morally bad option. That is, that person would not be able to choose any bad option even if they wanted to. Our hypothetical person does, however, have complete freedom to decide which of the two good courses of action to take. Plantinga would deny that any such person has morally significant free will. People in this world always perform morally good actions, but they deserve no credit for doing so. It is impossible for them to do wrong. So, when they do perform right actions, they should not be praised. It would be ridiculous to give moral praise to a robot for putting your soda can in the recycle bin rather than the trash can, if that is what it was programmed to do. Given the program running inside the robot and its exposure to an empty soda can, it's going to take the can to the recycle bin. It has no choice about the matter. Similarly, the people in the possible world under consideration have no choice about being good. Since they are pre-programmed to be good, they deserve no praise for it."

    (I'm sure we're beginning to see why I am rightly confused with libertarainism . . . because of libertaians!)

  10. Plantinga: "If a person is free with respect to a given action, then he is free to perform that action and free to refrain from performing it; no antecedent conditions and/or causal laws determine that he will perform the action, or that he won’t.”

    But above we were told that the Father was not "free" to "refrain" from performing "that action" of loving the Son.

  11. Paul,
    What I am concerned with is what you posted from Hasker. Hasker seems to be focusing on the idea of sourcehood rather than alternative possibilities per se. That is why it seems to be he talks about love potions since they would imply that the person wasn’t the source of the affection.
    I agree that the Father will never and could never stop loving the Son, but there is a lot more here to consider, so let me offer some things to think about. Necessity and contingency seem to be under girding your concerns as well as concerns over possible future actions.
    You state above that the Father isn’t free to stop at “any time” from loving the Son. That seems trivially true since the Father isn’t existing at any time in the first place. So freedom won’t be related to what God does at a future time because strictly speaking on practically any traditional gloss, God doesn’t do anything at a time since God and his actions are timeless.
    As to necessity and contingency your line of thought seems to be that if God does not necessarily love the Son then he contingently does so. You are right to see this as problematic, but I think you take the wrong way out. Contingency and necessity are predicable of things that be or have being. This implies adherence to a specific and rather platonic way of thinking about deity. This way of looking at things is deeply entrenched in Augustinianism in most if not all of its varieties. I think it is better not to think of God as self subsisting being in the first place and therefore the Father does not love the Son either necessarily or contingently, but rather eternally. What that is, God knows.
    As for the idea that the nature of God determines the Father to love the Son this raises a number of problems. First, I’d need an argument to think that the relationship between essence and person was causal and deterministic, since there are lots of actions that God performs that aren’t deterministic, such as redemption and creation which are gratuitous and hence plausible candidates for not being determined by the divine nature. God could have refrained from doing them or in fact done otherwise.
    If the nature is the same between the Father, Son and Spirit, then it seems that the nature will determine the same thing with respect to the Son and the Spirit, which raises a whole series of problems. If the divine nature determines the Father to generate the Son in love, then it will equally be true that the divine nature determines Spirit to generate a person in love, ad infinitum. Moreover, the idea that the causal and explanatory power is the essence, not only seems to compromise traditional Protestant thinking on divine simplicity, but it seems to leave the divine persons as ephemeral entities and modalism, which has always been a worry in such Augustinian/Platonic formulations seems to loom on the horizon.
    I took you to be claiming that impeccability was incompatible with LFW by the following comments.
    “A world where God and fallen man have libertarian freedom is a world where God and fallen man are never reconciled. And if, per impossible, they could be reconciled, that world provides no guarantee that they will remain reconciled.”
    More generally it may be true that a morally impeccable agent may not be able to do the opposite of what is morally good, but it doesn’t follow that they can’t do otherwise than what actions they do perform. If goodness isn’t simple, contra Plato, alternative possibilities need not be opposites. I have addressed this problem in print and here as well. ( & I address the question raised elsewhere on this blog as to why God could not create persons morally impeccable.)

    As for Skinner and Huxley, I’d argue to the contrary via Kierkegaard that Original Sin renders an appeal to conditioning useless. On the traditional Reformed view, Adam was created righteous and intrinsically so and had therefore only good desires and if on your gloss the relation between character and action is deterministic, then Adam was determined to do only good things and impossible for him to do otherwise. What else on such a schema would we need to add to make Adam morally impeccable? Consequently, there is no sufficient antecedent condition that explains his actions, intrinsic righteousness, conditioning or whatever else you wish to add.

    I do think the claims of the first paragraph are uncontroversial if one accepts a specific metaphysical outlook dominant among Protestants and Catholics, but I am neither and so they are controversial to me and lots of other non-Catholics/Non-Protestants. Hasker’s point seems not to focus so much on an inability to stop loving, but rather on being the genuine source of the love in those types of situations relative to creatures than an inability to stop loving would imply. That is, if creatures aren’t the source of their love, then it isn’t their love. At some point they need to be genuine initiators of it which precludes antecedent sufficient conditions. This doesn’t imply that they can’t attain to a point later on where they then lose the ability to rescind that love, which wouldn’t by itself eliminate their freedom since they chose to do so. This is a similar principle, but working in the opposite moral direction invoked in law with people who freely choose to become intoxicated. They were responsible for ceasing to be able to do otherwise later on.
    As for Frankfurt examples, there are lots of different varieties of them and many of them are designed for specific purposes. And there is no consensus among Libertarians, let alone between Libertarians and Compatibilists and Source Incompatibilists and Hard Determinists on what exactly Frankfurt examples show. Consequently my point vacuums out any substance to your argument since the inability to stop loving doesn’t imply a loss of alternatives or ultimate sourcehood. So I take people in heaven to enjoy robust libertarian freedom but unable to sin. More to the point, the ability to sin or inability has more to do with character formation and the lack therefore at an agent’s beginning than it does with free will per se.

    If you think that God is free to create and that the conditions on his freedom are neither libertarian nor compatibilistic, what do you mean by the term “free” with respect to God creating? What are the conditions to be met?

    As for Theopedia, I don’t much care what it says as an authority. Philosophers don’t much care, except for historical purposes, what other philosophers say. What they care about is if they are in fact correct and have good arguments. I don’t think theopedia is correct. PAP correctly formulated doesn’t imply the ability to choose between opposites, just alternatives.

    The same goes for Kane, whom I know. I agree that for God there never was a time when God formed his character, but that doesn’t imply that God doesn’t enjoy LFW and doesn’t fulfill the UR condition. It only implies that God never began doing good things. Striclty speaking he isn’t an initiator of his character, but that doesn’t imply he isn’t the source of it. Kane’s conditions apply to agents who have a beginning, but God has no beginning and so he can’t fail to meet the UR conditions relative to sourcehood. And this is because God is timeless and my view of timelessness is even more radical than probably your own, which I’d guess is some version of simultaneity. I don’t think God exists in an eternal “now” since now is still a moment. God strictly speaking doesn’t exist even in an illimitable present. If God is timeless, then he is timeless.

    As for Plantinga, I think he is wrong and I have an article for review article outlining why he is so. In fact, Plantinga has since endorsed a type of Supralapsarianism so wedding him to libertarianism seems inaccurate. I’d recommend looking at Weiringa’s stuff on Divine freedom and PAP.

  12. Acolyte,

    The quote from Hasker isn't all he believes. I am entitled to bring out *implications* of people's claims given *other* claims they've made.

    I think Hasker was referring to love coming from a person who was free to not love. I didn't focus on the "potion" so much as the "the one who has used the potion finds that he wants to be loved for his own sake and not because of the potion, yet fears the loss of the beloved’s affection if the potion is no longer used," part of the claim.

    I focused on that portion where Hasker seems to indicate that the person only loved due to some determining feature ensuring the love. If this was gone, the person would not love. Thus this feature made sure the person couldn't decline to love. It seemd to me that "the potion" stood for "something forcing or determing or ensureing" the love of someone else.

    Maybe the Son would want the Father to give up his nature that is such that it makes sure, determines, etc., that he will always love the Son. Find out of the Father *would still love* even if this part of his nature were removed (per impossible).

    I find your claims about time pedantic since I've indicated that I believe God is timeless. I thought my points were made with the rough language. (But a problem here is that if God does not exist in time, then how, as libertarians want to say, is his *future* open.)

    I told you that I didn't think *all* of God's actions were determined by his nature. So you've ignored my position. My argument only needs to show *one* thing that could be determined and also praisworthy, not robotic, etc.

    I'm not interested in debating any Eastern Orthodox assumptions of the Trinity, and I fully admit there are plenty of msyteries in the trinitarian relationship. I don't see how any of that affects the *point* of my post. It's unclear to me how you think you're underming anything I've argued.

    My argument is simple: The Father is not libertarianly free to stop loving the son.

    The love is still genuine.

    I find both those points uncontroversial.

    As to Skinner and Huxley, since I didn't spell out my argument, and you don't know what it was, then your speculation is distracting. I even stated that I wasn't giving or developing the argument here. It doesn't have to do with what you seem to think it does, though.

    As to what I mean when I say God is free to create but the freedom is not compatibilistic or libertarian, all I can say is that he is not constrained or forced by anything. At this point it may well be a mystery. But since I don't think his nature determined it, and I think LFW is incoherent, but I think his act was free, then I must conclude that it was some other kind of freedom. Maybe only a freedom that a divine being could have. Doctrines of incomprehensibility would come into play here as a defeater-defelector attemtpingh to show that I *had to* provide some account.

    I didn't cite theopedia as an authority. I cited it to show that *libertarians* have been the source of my confusions about their position. I was showing that I'm not pulling these ideas out of thin air. Out of a biased compatibilist mind.

    As with Kane, see above.

    As with Platninga, see above. (And I know he has endorsed supralapserianism. But as far as I know he still claims LFW. So I'll not charge him with incoherence. He can speak for himself. His view of freedom certainly wasn't *compatibilist*! Hey, maybe it's that third kind I was talking about! :-)

    Anyway, I can only go off what I read in libertarians own works.

  13. btw, thanks for those links, I'll check them out

  14. I read your first paper, and without taking the time to comment, I find it odd that you seem to be at odds with most libertarians yet you came here and acted as if my arguments find no warrant in libertarian streams of thought. As if I was out to lunch for even thinking the way I did. As your paper states, you view is at odds with most libertarians. Indeed, almost *every single version* of the FWD says that FW implies the ability to commit evil. So I find it odd that you acted so surprised by my reasoning. I also think you would agree that my arguments work against the vast majorities of Arminians and other free will theorists. I do not think yours work but I will post on the "LFW only needs AP and those Ps good all be good" at a later date.

  15. As to your second paper, again without taking the time for a serious review: two things:

    I again find it odd that you used Hasker and libertarianism as a pretext to push your controverisal thesis. If you're familar with all of Hasker, you know he wouldn't agree.

    Secondly, you *did not* show that LFW was compatible with a sinless heaven since you didn't show that indeterminism was compatible with freedom. You took that for granted. You took for granted that a person's actions could be different given the same history and reasoning, deliberation, etc., that led up to the act/choice, and also free.

    There were many points one could debate, but I just wanted to point out that, leaving everything else aside, you only made your case by assuming that LFW was compatible with indeterminism. For that argument applies *even if* one only has good options to choose from.

    Sorry for the quick review.

  16. I'd also note that given my Calvinistic reading of the Bible, I don't agree with many of your assumptions. Thuis I didn't find your paper convincing, at all.

    I don't know why you'd come here acting as if you were united with libertarins all over yet really were peddaling a minority view undergirded by your EO assumptions.


  17. Perry wants to know how Hasker implies the arguments I give:

    "Let me put it like this: God takes risks of he makes decisions that depend for their outcomes on the responses of free creatures in which the decisions themselves are not informed by knowledge of the outcomes. For if he does this, the creatures' decisions may be contrary to God's wishes, and in this case God's intentions in making those decisions may be at least partly frustrated. ... God is a risk-taker if he endows his creatures with libertarian freedom; otherwise not" (Hasker, Contemporary Debates on Philosophy of Religion, p.219).

    Thus my argument is vindicated.

    For if man has free will in heaven, then it is possible for him to sin since God wishes he would do good and the contrary to good is not-good.

    Indeed, why would God be frustrated if a creature could only choose the good!?

    So it appears my argument finds support in Hasker's own words.

    More troubling is the fact that Hasker says God has LFW. He also says for an agent to have LFW, his choices or actions cannot be foreknown.

    But the if the Father knows any and all actions or choices of the Son, then how can the Son have LFW?

    If the Father does know any and all actions of the Son, then foreknowledge of LFW agents isn't impossible.

    Anyway, if the Father has LFW, then he could "frustrate" the Son by not loving him. Cause frustration is a necessary possibility on LFW and the risk view.

    God takes risks within the godhead!

  18. Paul,

    A little more reading material:

    I guess our point is to get you (and the Arminian) out of a pagan mode of looking at things. You can thank Rome and the filioque. ;)


  19. dogdqMore formally:

    (I find the "creature" qualification to be special pleading)

    [1] If an person has LFW then he can decide contrary to God's desires.

    [2] The Father is a person.

    [3] The Son is God.

    [4] The Son desires the Father's love.

    [5] The Father can choose contrary (not-love) to the Son's desire.


  20. Photios,

    But I haven't been convinced by your arguments.

    I have answered the Arminian on his own terms.

    At any rate, I find it funny that you think don't think LFW is a pagan notion.


  21. Try this one Perry:

    On Hasker's above definition, we know that since Jesus was truly a man, he was also a creature - with respect to his human nature.

    Since all creatures have LFW and that entails being able to "decide contrary to God's wishes," then Jesus could have decided "contrary" to the will of the Father - and chosen not to die for people.

    I think you'll be bound to agree that given all Hasker has to say on the matter, my arguments fly right through.

  22. Paul,

    I certainly do. The Arminian view of LFW is pagan as they define it because it's not Christ centered. It is man-centered. I think every paradigm that solves theological questions or "problems" apart from who Christ is and His Incarnate Economy is ultimately pagan.


  23. EP,

    I don't use compatibilism to solve problems because I don't have any. I think the Bible teaches both my conception of decree, sovereignty, and providence, and also that man is morally responsible.

    I'd be fine leaving it at that. But I invoke philosophical explanations when people invoke philosophical questions. When they have some philosophical barrier keeping them at bay. When they want and answer for how both of my views could be correct because they find it incoherent.

    Compatibilism (or semi) is useful to that end.

    So, it seems like I side step your claim by denying I'm trying to solve any problems.

    I'd also add that its disinegnuous for you to act as if you're the only biblical one here. Many people reject your EO conception of things. Its dubious that you're invoking Christ qua Christ rather than a *paradigm* you've imposed on things. This isn't to say you're wrong, just to say that I find your piousness unconvincing and a bit dubious.

  24. “No doubt he tries to meet the most stringent demands of monotheism by insisting tht the fulness of unoriginate Godhead is concentrated in the Father, Who alone is ‘the fountain-head of deity’… As it is formulated by Origen, however, the underlying structure of thought is unmistakably borrowed from contemporary Platonism.”
    -J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, rev. ed. (Peabody, MA: Prince Press, reprinted 2003), p.131.

  25. Yes SS, Origen is a platonist and was condemned by St. Justinian at the 5th Ecumenical Council with the closing of the Academy (as the handmaiden of heresy).


  26. Paul,

    Please excuse the tardiness of my reply to you. With end of the semester duties and fighting off pneumonia now for the last two weeks I have had to put all things internet related to one side.

    I agree that Hasker believes a lot of other things, many of them I do not. Let me be clear, I have zero sympathy with his Open Theism. You are right to write that you are entitled to bring out implications, but the questions I had were concerning how you got those implications from the text cited. I took Hasker to be arguing that a necessary condition for genuine love was a lack of sufficient antecedent conditions, which is why he is focusing on sourcehood. We can look at the person affected by the potion or the person given the potion but I think the result will be the same. That is just to say that Hasker’s example is intuitive purchase. In imaginative cases I think it would be right to think that without the potion the person giving it would be fearful of losing the “love” that he had. Why? Because the potion was the source and without it, there wouldn’t be love present. This shows I think what Hasker wants it to show, namely that sourcehood is a necessary condition on freedom. This leaves untouched I think your concern. Hasker isn’t attacking the claim that an unfailable love is genuine love, but rather that a love brought about by sufficient antecedent conditions isn’t a genuine love. One can have the first without the second and Hasker has written as much elsewhere. And Hasker is not alone in thinking that one can have an unfailable outcome without determinism. If you don’t think so, then Frankfurt cases go out the window since they would then, as Widerker, Kane and Co. have argued, presuppose determinism.

    I don’t know the inner workings of Hasker’s mind on Trinitarianism, but on a traditional model, the Father, Son and Spirit don’t have different wills, but only one so I don’t know how it would be possible for the Son to will for the Father to give up his nature. Your model presupposes a heterodox view of the will as hypostatic that I don’t think that even Hasker to my knowledge endorses.

    My comments about time weren’t pedantic. What they point out is that the example as you frame it is ill framed. And lots of people believe that God is timeless, but that doesn’t tell me much since there are a variety of theories on divine timelessness. Furthermore, the point was to drive the question about the coherence of libertarianism further into the doctrine of God, which is where you took it, rather than looking at it within a temporal box.

    I am not sure what problem you see concerning Libertarians wanting to say that the future is open to God. I suppose some of that turns on what constitutes openness. I do not have in mind what Hasker has in mind or Boyd or Pinnock for that matter. I suppose you are thinking that if for libertarians the future isn’t set then it isn’t set even for God and hence libertarians are committed to some form of Open Theism. For myself I think some things in the future are set irrespective of human choices and some are not. Those that are not are set by human choices, about which God knows infallibly and from which he can redirect those intentions to his intentional end (Gen 50:20) To the point, I don’t think God has a future or even a present. All that Libertarianism requires of me is that God’s actions meet the conditions on freedom. If God’s actions do, then free will can’t be essentially defined in terms of temporal conditions: God’s creation of the world is a perfect example where there are no possible temporal conditions, even more so on my more “radical” view of complete timelessness.

    If I missed your comments on your thought that not all of God’s actions were determined by his nature, then I apologize. In any case, I think your thinking so makes more problems for you than you think it solves. If God is simple, then God and his actions are the same. This comports well with the idea that the divine nature determines divine actions, but it doesn’t comport well with the idea that some divine actions are not. That will directly imply that God is composite.

    You are correct that your argument only needs to give one case where an action is determined and still praiseworthy but I don’t think you have given it since I don’t see any good reason to think that the unfailability of the Father loving the Son is an instance of a deterministic relationship and you haven’t given me any. The only reason proffered is if we don’t think of it as necessary (what kind of necessity you have in mind here is not known to me), this will make the relationship contingent. But this is only so if these categories are applicable to God. I don’t think they are.

    The counter arguments I gave were not assumptions about the Trinity, they were arguments. First, your arguments turn on controversial assumptions, platonic ones at that. Second, if we grant those assumptions we end up exploding the Trinity. If the divine essence determines the actions of the persons in the case of generation, then it will produce an infinity of persons. And I don’t see how you can appeal to the idea that these actions are not determined by the divine essence since they are just a fundamental as the idea that the Father loves the Son. The counter argument undermines your argument in the following way. You argue that if we take such and so view we end up rejecting the Trinity, so we have to take the relationship as determined. I have only given you the same argument. If we take the relationship as determined then we end up rejecting the Trinity, so we can’t take it as determined either.

    As I wrote previously, the Father loves the Son with libertarian freedom, but libertarian freedom doesn’t imply the contingency of any and all acts done by it. This is what you are assuming. Even Libertarians with whom I disagree maintain a distinction between derivative and underivative freedom, where one can choose to later give up alternatives, but the choice at a later point is still done with libertarian freedom. We can strip away the temporal language here and assume for the sake of argument a simultaneity view and speak of antecedent and consequent willing in God. God could do such and so, but given certain other conditions which God has enjoined, he could not do such and so. This is a fairly standard apparatus among the Reformed Scholstics.

    When you write that God’s freedom is neither libertarian nor compatibilistic, I can’t see that you have any coherent idea on offer. You write that God is not constrained or forced by anything, but everyone says as much. Furthermore, to speak of God as determined by his essence certainly seems to deprive him of some measure of control. And the appeal to mystery here is strikes me as rather ad hoc. And incomprehensibility may help but only at the cost of helping libertarians for they too could easily invoke it against your criticisms since our freedom is essentially divine freedom since we are made in his image. So if you don’t have to provide some account, then I can’t see why the Libertarians need to. Further, why is it that Calvinists get all bothered and claim instant victory when non-Calvinists appeal to mystery (“See! They can’t answer it, which shows that they are wrong!”) but when cornered that “M” word just falls off their lips like an April shower? I don’t mean to be rude, but this seems ad hoc.

    Theopedia is hardly a good source for working through the positions of professional philosophers. Generally reading their books and articles are. I have read Kane, talked to Kane, eaten with Kane. I think if you spent some time in his works you’d see that he’s not as easy to dismiss as you think.

    As for the posts on heavenly freedom, I do think that some libertarians misunderstand certain features of the concept. But lots of libertarians think that about other libertarians. The same goes for Compatibilists. It is not like Fischer and Ravizza agree with Frankfurt’s hierarchical account. I acted and argued that your arguments against specific points were bad ones, because I thought they were and that a more charitable read could have been given. I don’t see why I am not entitled to argue so.

    Tis true that almost every single version of the FWD defense is constructed such that it implies that FW implies the ability to do evil. And in some sense I agree. The problem is that there is an ambiguity there that has to be dissolved. Is the ability to sin essential to freedom or to something else? I think something else and it is that something else combined with freedom that makes evil possible on earth for a period of time and development, but the lack of it, that makes it not possible in heaven or with God.

    The question is not whether your claim works against lots of other positions. Your target was Libertarianism per se, which means you have to cover all of the conceptual ground, not some, just as say the deductive problem of evil has to work against all Christian conceptions of God, not just most.

    When you write something on the AP condition, please drop me a line and let me know.

    I don’t know that Hasker wouldn’t agree. In fact, I think he might and it might lead to his rejecting of Open Theism for something better. In fact he writes, when he writes, on heavenly freedom, to get close(er) to my view, though he hasn’t figured it out yet. And the question isn’t whether Hasker would agree, but whether my view is in fact right and I can show the compatibility of moral impeccability and LFW.

    Granted that I did not show that indeterminism was compatible with moral impeccability, but in my defense, that is a separate problem and is treated as such in the literature. Second, I can hardly be charged with not solving everything at once. The MIND argument aside, my work goes a long way to answering Mackie’s criticism of the FWD and that is worthwhile in and of itself since no one has been able to do it for forty years. Third, given that heavenly existence isn’t necessarily temporal, let alone governed by say Quantum Physics, to take about the same antecedent history seems, shall we say, problematic. There are more problems there than just free will. Fourth, the MIND argument has a life of its own and most people I know in the literature think, while the Luck problem and the Chance problem are significant issues to be discussed the MIND argument is pretty much done.

    It doesn’t matter if your reading of the Bible doesn’t square with my reading of the Bible or my assumptions since the matter was whether moral impeccability was compatible with LFW. If you think on my own principles I am mistaken, please point out where.

    I am united with all Libertarians on many core issues just as you are united with many Calvinists on many core issues. Does that mean you peddle here your own minority views and aren’t entitled to do so? Isn’t the question are such views true, rather than, are such views a minority position?

    As for risk taking, I find it funny that you and Hasker actually agree. You and Hasker agree that free will and divinity are incompatible so it must be one or the other. You just disagree on which horn of the dilemma you take. This shows I think that you actually share the same fundamental worldview. On the other hand, I disagree with both turns because I disagree with the fundamental assumption.

    Furthermore, you argued not just against Hasker, but from Hasker’s comment against Libertarianism per se. Citing goofy stuff Hasker says that he thinks is implied by Libertarianism is no proof that it is so. Nor is it adequat eto run back behind views specific to Hasker when the target was Libertarianism, and not all Libertarians agree with Hasker’s theological views.

    In fairness to Hasker, he doesn’t think the Trinity has LFW. Just look what he says.
    Now it is obvious that Hasker has goofed here but not in the way that you think. Hasker has actually come full circle right back to the conception of God he and others like Pinnock have been arguing against. If God is determined and free, why can’t we be? Most Open Theists I know run like the plague from this question. In any case, what this shows is that the view you defend and the view that Hasker defends share the same fundamental assumptions and at bottom are really two sides of the same coin. This shows that this perennial debate in western Christianity is seriously lost.

    On the risk view you are correct that frustration is a necessary consequence, but not for LFW, as I argued above since what makes frustration possible is only a temporary state that can be transcended.

  27. Saint and Sinner,

    It is true that Origen is very much a Platonist, but Platonism is found in lots of places in Reformed systematic theologians.

    Furher, the idea that the Father is the source of the other two persons doesn't need Platonism. The Bible often speaks this way. First in calling the Father, well, Father. Second, passages like eph 1:17 and John 14-17 have this kind of language also. The Son is begotten and the Spirit procedes *from* the Father. The relationship is not reciprocal. And that is hardly Platonism.

  28. I responded to Acolyte's above 5/29/2008 11:36 AM post on his blog. See his link at the bottom of his post.