Tuesday, February 04, 2014

The cosmic crap-shooter

God’s middle knowledge is His knowledge of all contingently true conditional propositions in the subjunctive mood, including propositions about creaturely free actions. For example, logically prior to His creative decree, God knew that if Peter were in circumstances C, he would freely deny Christ three times. Such subjunctive conditionals are often called counterfactuals. These counterfactuals serve to delimit the range of possible worlds to worlds which are feasible for God to actualize. For example, there is an intrinsically possible world in which Peter freely affirms Christ in precisely the same circumstances in which he in fact denied him; but given the counterfactual truth that if Peter were in precisely those circumstances he would freely deny Christ, then the possible world in which Peter freely affirms Christ in those circumstances is not feasible for God. 
So there are worlds which are intrinsically possible but which God, given the counterfactuals that happen to be true, is not capable of actualizing and which are therefore, in Flint’s terminology, infeasible for God. Notice that because counterfactuals of creaturely freedom are contingently true, which worlds are feasible for God and which are infeasible is also a contingent matter. It all depends on how creatures would freely behave in various circumstances, which is beyond God’s control. 

I don't see that Craig's conclusion follows from his set-up. Human agents are like fair dice. God can actualize circumstances, and God can actualize possible agents. By actualizing an agent, God indirectly actualizes the agent's choice–whatever choice that happens to be. 

However, God can't guarantee which choice the agent will make. Since Peter has libertarian freedom, he could do the same thing given the same antecedent conditions, or something different given the same antecedent conditions. If God rewound the tape, he might get the same result or a different result. 

Suppose God wants Peter to deny Christ. God might get lucky. He might get Peter to deny Christ on the first throw. But the outcome is beyond God's control. If God threw the dice 10 times, Peter might deny Christ three times in a row, or affirm Christ twice in a row, or alternately affirm and deny Christ. 

In principle, God could get the desired result by rewinding the tape (i.e. annihilating each failed outcome) until he hits on the desired result. God could serially ensure the outcome by instantiating and annihilating actualized possible worlds until the odds align with God's desired result. 

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