Monday, April 9, 2012

Turretinfan's Rebuttal: The Bible Teaches Libertarian Free Will Debate (Part 7 of 12)

So far in this debate we are still without an affirmative presentation in favor of actual incompatibility between divine determination and human free will.  The first section  of the rebuttal dealt with accusatory comments alleging that my use of words is abnormal.  But in fact my use of the word choose has no sense of being incompatible with divine determination.  That’s the same as all those dictionary definitions we heard earlier.  In fact, they all flow negative, because not one of those definitions both the normal use of the word, the way I use the word, which is normal, and the way in which the scriptures use the word,  not one of those meanings is incompatible with divine determination.  In other words, even though in the context of a philosophical discussion or in the context of trying to answer a precise question, one might place careful qualifications to make sure that the meaning of one’s words is properly understood, still the meaning of the word choose simply refers to man’s ability.  It does not have any comment on whether or not God’s determination is able to produce that effect of choosing. 

And of course that’s key.  The affirmative has to show that the bible teaches libertarian free will not just that it teaches free will; not just that it teaches choice, but that our choices are incompatible with divine determinations.  This burden hasn’t been met yet.  It hasn’t been met in the affirmative constructive and it hasn’t been met in the affirmative rebuttal.

There was a claim that one has to use equivocation to survive and one example that was provided was that a man in a comma can eat.  Of course a man in a comma can’t eat.  And the reason why he can’t eat is because it’s physically impossible for him to do so.  His brain is not in a conscious state.  This prevents him from doing such simple tasks as eating.  It also prevents him doing lots of other things and it does not particularly indicate he has no free will at the time.  He certainly has no ability to exercise any will that he has.  But his inability to exercise is a physical defect.

The claim was made that in order for an alternative or possibly to be real it must exist.  But this is sort of a curious thing about a possibility existing.  Of course a possibility is only an abstract idea.  It’s something that may or might happen upon some hypothesis occurring.  So in fact every possibility is hypothetical by definition. It’s built right into the word itself, which brings us right back to my point about definitions.

My esteemed disputant has suggested I didn’t have a definition handy for Deuteronomy 30. Of course I tried to go through the text and explain what the term meant from the text and context, and the exegetical explanation was completely blown off.  He just wanted to hear if I had a source that said that it means such and such in this text.  And I didn’t have one.  He wasn't interested in the exegesis or how I arrive at the conclusion I arrive at.  That’s a little unfair. 

Let’s turn over the point in Proverbs [21:1].  This king who’s heart should be, according to my esteemed disputant, turned. Well in fact, if you look at the passage in which that’s found, the passage includes things like,  “the horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD [Proverbs 21:31]” “A wicked man hardeneth his face: but as for the upright, he directeth his way. There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.” [Proverbs 21:29-30]  These are the kinds of issues that are presented in the context of this particular proverb.  So it’s a little surprising to hear this is a laudatory idea.  In fact, the very next verse after:

“The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”


“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts”.

So in fact, verse 1 is about what the Lord does, not what man should do.  Just as the next verse is not about what man’s possibilities are or what his objectives are, but instead is about what God’s abilities are.  The point is that God is in control; His sovereignty is the point of the verse.  Based on this context, based on this chapter. Yes there are some verses about what a King ought to do, what a good king would do.  But this is not talking about what a king will do, but what God will do.

Interestingly the interaction of Daniel is oddly fatalistic.  It’s as though God hasn’t determined the way the result will happen, but only the result that will happen.  But that’s not really a fair reading of the text.  We already read the text once, I won’t trouble you with reading it again.  But go back and look and see if there is some indication in the text that the determination only refers to the final outcome or if it refers to the entire course of events.  It would be odd for a prophecy to be simply about the conclusion but to specify the means to the conclusion.  Never the less, if my esteemed disputant could somehow establish that we would be very interested. 

It is also interesting that we skipped over the lot and the animals and the allegation was well they don’t have free will.  Well perhaps they don’t but the interesting thing is that God takes credit for those things just as much as He takes credit for human actions, which suggests that libertarian free will isn’t the sort of free will that men have.

1 comment:

Theodore Oney said...

Glad to know that you always update us with this topic. I really learn a lot from you.

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