Re: God and nature; miracles

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. (
Date: Fri May 16 2003 - 14:45:35 EDT

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    On Fri, 16 May 2003 12:41:51 EDT writes:

    Dave Siemens wrote:

    > As to the connection between foreknowledge and causation, I have noted
    a broad implicit but unrecognized commitment to this view in many who
    connect human freedom to divine limitations. It is nowhere more extreme
    than in process theology, but its appeal is much broader. I hold it to be
    extremely mischievous.

    Wayne writes:

    I'm sorry, but in what way would this mischievous? Are there some
    examples where this leads to some serious inconsistencies? Just

    living (and lurking) by Grace,

    If, as these people hold, that the only way an infinite and omnipotent
    being can be omniscient is to be the cause of every event, then the deity
    is the immediate source of every evil and sin. Since this would make him
    more like the evil counterpart of Manicheism, etc., they deny his
    omniscience and omnicompetence, and place God in time (or some
    temporality connected to, but not identical with, time in the universe).
    A deity which cannot know the future but is involved in its ongoing
    causation is subject to surprise. Deterministic chaos (science) or
    complexity theory (mathematics) then requires the possibility
    (essentially necessity in infinite time) of catastrophe, with no
    assurance that there is a way to rescue anything from the resulting mess.

    There is also a problem with: "For those God foreknew he also predestined
    to be conformed to the likeness of his Son ... And those he predestined,
    he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified,
    he also glorified" (Romans 8:29f). In process theology and open theology,
    God couldn't foreknow anyone's glorification--unless he arbitrarily
    causes some to be redeemed and others to be damned, which is not in
    keeping with his goodness. So one has a choice between inspired scripture
    or a writer too stupid to see the consequences of his claim.

    This view also requires the identity of knowing and causing, a category
    mistake. Even the creature can know without causing, and cause without
    knowing. So I contend for traditional orthodox theology (_sensu
    strictu_). The omnipotent, omniscient, eternal Creator is fully competent
    to produce creatures with moral freedom. Of course, he sets the rules. I
    can, if I'm stupid enough or spaced out (overlap there), think I can fly
    like Superman and jump from a window. But then God's physical rules take
    over. If I decide that I'll determine how God must accept me without all
    that Jesus stuff, the consequence is not as immediately evident, but it
    is equally inexorable. As you note, it's only by grace that we live, both
    now and eternally.

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