Jag Levak says:
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 2:52pm
Regarding the second red herring, I’ve seen you make the limited perspective appeal when punting on the matter of reconciling apparent evil with God’s ultimate goodness (eg. your example of the child’s perspective of the doctor who rebreaks a bone that is not healing properly). So if it’s okay for you, why isn’t it okay for Calvinists?
And I don’t see why your arguments would favor Arminianism over Calvinism. As I understand it, the Calvinist position is that anybody may be among the elect, while the Arminian position constrains the grace of God, making it conditional on belief (which is just tough for those who never got to hear the word). The Calvinist position is that grace is enduring and irresistable–once saved, always saved–while the Arminian position is that anyone can fall from grace (a notion which would appear to be incompatible with belief in God’s perfect foreknowledge).
To me, it looks like all your arguments from benevolence would favor Calvinism over Arminianism. It would also appear your arguments much more strongly favor universalism over either Calvinism or Arminianism, but if that’s your position, I have to wonder what sort of weird sect of Baptism you belong to which preaches universalism while simultaneously excluding people who haven’t had the right sort of baptism.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 3:50pm
“So if it’s okay for you, why isn’t it okay for Calvinists?”
Limited perspective is not a plausible appeal to explain just anything. For example, I have consistently spoken out against biblical genocide. I don’t buy for a second claims that genocide can sometimes be a good thing and we just lack the perspective to see how. On the contrary, the evidence strikes me as overwhelming that genocide is always a supremely wicked act.
I agree that the Calvinist can make an appeal to God’s ways being higher than ours. But I don’t find that appeal plausible at all. There is simply no reason at all to think that damning some people to the utmost horrific tortures for eternity is necessary for the rest of us to grasp God’s glory more fully. That is horrendous, disgusting and stupifyingly implausible. So while I can see the plausibility of the evil allowed for greater good that you reference, I find no initial plausibility to the Calvinistic claim.
Jag Levak says:
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 4:36pm
So, you would say the limited perspective argument is entirely reasonable and plausible in cases like where God pops the cork on a volcano and wipes out cities or even an entire civilization (eg. Minoan Crete) –no problem for the omnibenevolence of God there–but you think it unimaginable that God could ever have condoned genocide because you find the evidence overwhelming that it is always a supremely wicked act.
I don’t really see the basis of your distinction, other than your view that you find one plausible and the other not. But if you are justifying what you believe on the basis of what you find plausible, then it looks like that would leave the door wide open for anyone to believe anything they find plausible. Even Calvinists.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 5:11pm
There is a difference between God foreknowing that certain natural events will lead to suffering and God commanding people to engage in acts of butchering entire populations of non-combatants. Here’s one obvious difference: God importunes human agents to engage in genocide, but God does not importune human agents to engage in acts of volcano erupting.
Jag Levak says:
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 7:39pm
“There is a difference between God foreknowing that certain natural events will lead to suffering and God commanding people to engage in acts of butchering entire populations of non-combatants.”
One difference, at least, seems clear. If God rains millions of tons of searing hot pyroclastic death down on the heads of people, the outcome is certain and irresistible, whereas delegating the job of mass killings to supposedly freewill humans could result in a failure to do the job, and would give those marked for death at least some chance of fighting back. But presumably, in both cases, God would have foreseen and approved the slaughter as part of his grand plan (unless you want to posit that “certain natural events” happen which are contrary to what God wanted). And in both cases, the doomed wind up equally dead. So really, it looks like the biggest moral difference would be the possible psychological distress which the poor butchers might suffer as a result of all their killing, pillaging, and general mayhem. But it isn’t clear why a God who can approve of mass death could not similarly approve of mass discomfort.
“Here’s one obvious difference: God importunes human agents to engage in genocide, but God does not importune human agents to engage in acts of volcano erupting.”
That was humor, right? From the outside, it all looks rather silly, so sometimes it’s hard to tell what bits were meant seriously.