Monday, July 14, 2014

The Man upstairs

Brian Abasciano Roger Olson • a day ago
Well if a timeless God can reach into time to act, then he can reach into time to interact, and he can be affected by time bound creatures. On that view, God can be influenced and affected by prayer. I don't see it as making God any less personal at all. That seems like saying that because he can create out of nothing he is less personal or because he is invisible he is less personal.
  • Roger Olson
  • Mod Brian Abasciano • 5 hours ago
  • Not at all. But a "person" who cannot be acted upon by others does not seem personal to me.

This exchange, between two prominent Arminians, compactly and nicely illustrates one of the core confusions of Arminian theology (and so much freewill theism generally). It fails to appreciate the fundamental asymmetry between the creature and the Creator. The notion that to have a "personal" relationship with God, we must be in a position to influence God, just as we influence our friends and family members. The influence must go both ways.

But the assumption that we can and should be able to influence God tacitly assumes that God doesn't know what is best unless and until we inform him and educate him. They seem to view God as  basically a human with superhero powers. 


  1. The anemic/nonexistent Creator/creature distinction is exactly what leapt to my mind as I read the exchange before seeing your unpacking of the comments.

    There's also, in my estimation, a general tendency within Arminian circles to overemphasize divine immanence at the expense of transcendence.

    I think this tendency is another logical outworking of consistent libertarian freewill theism.

  2. Replies
    1. Nor much time reflecting upon the troublesome outworking of their theological constructs.