“As far as Rom. 9:19, 20, I am interested in your interpretation. You faulted Brennon for robotic metaphor. Why exactly? Why is robotic metaphor not reprehensive of your view? You appeal to Rom. 9 as a reference to absolute determinism. Therefore, you have God forming the clay just as He wants down to every thought, motive, and decision the ‘clay’ makes. “
If Paul makes favorable use of a “deterministic metaphor” (i.e. the potter/clay metaphor), while an Arminian uses a deterministic metaphor (i.e. puppet/robot) as a pejorative metaphor, then the Arminian objection is impious. A robotic metaphor is just a hitech variation of the potter/clay metaphor. Likewise, a puppet/puppeteer metaphor is just a variation on the same theme.
If Scripture uses “deterministic metaphors” with positive connotations, while Arminians use deterministic metaphors with negative connotations, then that is sacrilegious.
“You then have God (through Paul) rebuking the clay for ‘answering back’ to the Potter when the Potter specifically formed the clay to answer back to God in such a way that the clay could no more avoid answering back than a robot can go against its programming. Why then the bristling against robotic metaphor?”
My disapproval is only inconsistent on the Arminian assumption that libertarian freedom is a necessary precondition of blame.
“Also, you compare our lives to scripted characters in a book. Can a scripted character do anything other that the Author who writes the script causes them to do? If not, then how is that any different than robots or puppets that can likewise do nothing other than what the puppet Master or Programmer irresistibly controls them to do?”
i) Metaphors are open-textured. They have a range of connotations. If an Arminian is going to use a robotic metaphor, he needs to demarcate the range of the intended comparison.
For example, one of the stock themes in science fiction is the point at which robots enjoy human rights. A mere machine does not enjoy human rights. If, however, the robot has an AI program, then does the cross a moral threshold? If the robot is a conscious machine, with adaptive programming, then the contrast between men and robots breaks down–at which point it becomes question-begging to keep using “robot” as a pejorative metaphor. Same thing with puppets.
ii) I’d also add that Arminians have a habit of using metaphors as a substitute for arguments. To assert that a predestined agent is equivalent to a puppet or robot, then brandish that metaphor as if it disproved predestination, is not a reasoned argument. Rather, it’s an intellectual shortcut on the part of Arminians who can’t turn their metaphors into arguments. Metaphors should illustrate arguments, not deputize for arguments.
Arminians simply trade on the invidious connotations of their chosen metaphor. But that’s hardly an intelligent objection to Calvinism.
“I'm not looking for a debate, I really haven't got the time. I'm just curious why Calvinists get hyped up about Arminians using puppet or robot ‘metaphors’ and yet Calvinists use metaphors (e.g. an Author scripting a character, a Potter forming clay) which boil down to the exact same thing? Why do Calvinists get hyped up about Arminians supposedly ‘answering back to God’ when we are doing just what the Potter formed us to do according to His good pleasure?”
i) The potter/clay metaphor is authorized by Scripture. Scripture also uses literary metaphors to describe God’s creative role. So that doesn’t require a separate justification.
At the same time, Biblical metaphors involved a controlled correspondence between one thing and another. The scope of a Biblical metaphor isn’t wide open. And it would be inappropriate to press a Biblical metaphor in unintended directions.
Moreover, if Scripture makes approving use of a metaphor, then it’s impious for an Arminian to make disapproving use of a comparable metaphor.
ii) In addition, something can be wrong in and of itself, but contribute to a larger good.
“Shouldn’t you rather feel sorry for us that God has caused us to do such things and formed us in such a way? But of course, you can just say that your indignation is likewise ‘scripted’, etc. Do you feel tremendously lucky, in contrast, that the Potter formed you to defend the truth rather than ‘answer back’ to God?”
“Luck” is hardly equivalent to predestination. Luck is random. Impersonal.
If I get lucky with a pair of dice, that’s not because the dice intended to do me any favors.