Sunday, February 08, 2015

Fischer's "helpful replies"

Is Austin Fischer the best that SEA has to offer? 

As to the issue of where Calvinism and any sort of classical theism are really much different, in that in both views there are creatures created who will end up in hell, I think the nub of the issue is this. In Calvinism, God WANTS people (usually the majority of humanity) to be damned forever for his glory.
It's more accurate to say he decrees their damnation for the benefit of the elect. 
In classical theism, God does not want anybody to be damned forever…
What does Fischer have in mind when he refers to "classical theism"? Is Augustinian theism an example of classical theism. If so, does the God of Augustinian theism not want anybody to be damned? 
Is Thomism an example of classical theism? If so, does the God of Thomism not want anybody to be damned?
…and then puts his money where his mouth is by dying on a wooden stake.
Doesn't the Calvinist God put his money where his mouth is by dying on a wooden stake? Calvinism affirms the crucifixion of God Incarnate. So what is Fischer even talking about? 
Reasonable minds can differ here, but I think there’s all the difference in the world between a God who wants most humans to be damned forever (and renders it certain via compatibilism) and a God who doesn’t but cannot avoid the possibility of damnation given the contingencies of a world with meaningful created freedom.
That's confused in several respects:
i) Even if libertarian freedom is true, what's the basis for assuming there are no possible (or feasible) worlds in which everyone freely loves God?
ii) And even if freewill theism excludes universalism, to say that God can't save everyone doesn't entail that God must damn anyone. Does Fischer think God is forced to create humans whom he knows that he will damn? Why can't the God of freewill theism prevent their damnation by preventing the damned from existing in the first place? Did they put a gun to his head?
In other words, in Calvinism people are damned because God wants to flex his wrath muscle (for the good of the elect). In classical theism, people are damned because God wants a world where love, meaning, and relationship [sic] are possible. 
Of course, that begs the question. 
As to foreknowledge, the key (as I point out in the response to Kevin) is that God’s foreknowledge is not determinative. There is some mystery here, but nothing logically incoherent.
Foreknowledge isn't "determinative" in the causal sense, but it renders the outcome certain. 


  1. Even if you posit that for some reason God had to create those whom He knew would not believe, why does He have to damn that at all in Austin's world? Why not give them an afterlife full of all the pleasures He provides in this life? Why punishment? According to Austin's standards is it damnation (not election) that is not fitting for a loving God?