Friday, April 12, 2019

Unplanned pregnancies

Critics of Calvinism like to bring up hard cases. That's legitimate inasmuch as Calvinism can't duck the hard cases. It is, however, self-deluded for freewill theists to imagine that their alternative exempts themselves from equally hard cases. 

Let's take the case of "unplanned pregnancies". From a theological perspective, are unplanned pregnancies good or evil? 

In popular parlance, I think an "unplanned pregnancy"is generally a euphemism for a pregnancy resulting from premarital sex, extramarital sex, failure to use contraception (even though the couple didn't want a child), or contraceptive failure. From the standpoint of the couple, the pregnancy was unintended and usually undesirable. The most extreme example is a child conceived in rape.

From a human perspective, such pregnancies are unintended. But are they unintended from a divine perspective? According to open theism, just about every pregnancy is unplanned from God's viewpoint since God doesn't know the future. Exceptions might be Isaac and Jesus, although it's an interesting question how the God of open theism could promise Abraham a child if God doesn't know or control what human beings will do, including sex.

However, it's hard to see how any pregnancy can be unplanned under Molinism or Arminianism, for God's actions in creation and providence are necessary causes of every particular pregnancy, and God knows the end-results of his actions in creation and providence.

From a Reformed perspective, every pregnancy is predestined. Do freewill theists think humanly unplanned pregnancies are evil? Freewill theists often charge the God of Calvinism with hypocrisy for decreeing what he forbids. 

But that's morally complex. If a child is conceived in sin, the process is evil, but does that mean the product is evil? Do freewill theists think the child is tainted by the process (e.g. premarital or extramarital sex)? Presumably not. Does it impugn divine benevolence if God welcomes every child into the world? Presumably not. 

Assuming that every pregnancy is a providentially planned pregnancy, even if many pregnancies are humanly unplanned, the good outcome is inextricably linked to sinful causes in however many cases. Do freewill theists regret the outcome? Open theists might. 

1 comment:

  1. "Do freewill theists regret the outcome?"

    Nope. Of course I'm happy to anathematize open theists and don't know if they'd say anything different. But this freewill theist thinks that God is, in the words of an old hymn, "Ever bringing good from ill."