Friday, October 6, 2017

Classical Apologetics

I've been greatly enjoying the Sunday School lectures of Dr. Travis Campbell on apologetics. I've been listening to them during my work commute.

I plan to begin reading Dr. Tim and Lydia Mcgrew's work on epistemology. It should be quite fascinating.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Open Theism

In my judgment, propositions are either true or false. Either this or that. I don't understand a proposition being neither true nor false. If a proposition can be neutral it seems to make no assertion or statement of fact. But this seems to be self-refuting in virtue that the proposition "all future contingent propositions are neutral" is not neutral.

I'm willing to make the model claim the law of contradiction obtains in all possible worlds; I guess that implies I shoulder the burden to prove the same for bivalence. Perhaps. But I too affirm God possesses non-propositional knowledge. I concur one can deny bivalence. I think open theists do this since they think it entails fatalism. I don't buy it. I think it's a logical leap.

The main contention with open theism is whether propositions of future contingents can be known. I see no reason to deny this. But what is the difference between a truth and a truth that is logically possible to know? The open theist is free to attempt to argue such truths are logically impossible to know. At best I think she can argue God does not know future contingent propositions but this is a far cry from the stronger claim it is logically impossible for Him to know them.

I do think the open theist conception of God is deficient. In open theism God is ignorant of many truths yet considered omniscient. Omniscience is taken as a model notion by the open theist when it is, in fact, a categorical notion. God doesn't merely have the 'ability' to know only and all possible truths; he knows only and all truths.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Divine Foreknowledge

How is man free if God foreknows all things (i.e. states of affairs that will happen)?

Middle knowledge and Simple Foreknowledge affirms libertarian freedom (LF), commonly called liberty of indifference. The position can be construed, roughly, that a person is free if she can choose equally options A or B as the primary source of her choice. She is the first cause of her choice in that she creates the causal chain between actions and acts. This construal of freedom may be the case without the principle of alternate possibilities (PAP). Moreover, it denies the logical possibility of LF and determinism to be compatible, thus named incompatabilism.

The alternative takes compatibilist freedom (CF) as true. This approach argues freedom is best formulated as liberty of inclination. A person is free if she can choose her strongest inclination either option A or B without coercion or constrain. This view allows for hypothetical alternate possibilities.  However, it concedes, all things considered, determinism and freedom (i.e. as so defined) are compatible.

If the first approach is true then God's foreknowledge is not equated with foreordination. God knows things intuitively and exhaustively either by simple foreknowledge  or middle knowledge. So God's foreknowledge is causally inert.

God's knows all true necessary and contingent propositions qua omniscient. Any given proposition is known by God:

(1) God knows P will obtain

But this does not logically entail:

(1)* God knows P must obtain

(1) is a contingent proposition while  (1)* is a necessary proposition. For example, God knows John will choose to eat a cheeseburger for lunch at T1. If John at T1, chose otherwise (e.g. Chicken Strips) then God would have known prior to T1. God's knowledge of free creatures is, in some significant sense, dependent upon their choices.

If the second approach is true then God's foreknowledge is grounded in foreordination. God knows things intuitively and exhaustively since He directly or indirectly determines the truth value of all contingent propositions. God determines all things such that it preserves liberty of inclination.

If, indeed, a person denies (1) he then affirms libertarian free choices are excluded from bivalence thus have no truth value until they obtain. Thus the future remains open. God's omniscience is revised. God only knows what is logically possible which excludes libertarian free choices.

Some problems with the open-theist that denies (1):

Open-theism's denial of the principle of bivalence is implausible. Propositions cannot be neutral, like concepts, since they bear truth value. Hence, a proposition is either true or false--despite it being indexed--thus bivalence applies to future contingent propositions.

If open theism is true then God is the most perfect being yet learns what free creatures will do. This seems contradictory to God as the greatest conceivable being.

Middle Knowledge is a creative attempt to reconcile meticulous providence with libertarian freedom. I agree with the Molinist it is not logically contradictory to say God determines the outcome of a free creatures decision. Perhaps some Molinist ideas can be used by the compatibilist as a heuristic device (e.g. Bruce Ware). However, in my judgement, Molinism does not reconcile the two. In fact, it compounds the problem. It adds mystery with mystery. The Molinist does not explain precisely how God knows what all free creatures will do in all circumstances. Some molinists assert God's knowledge penetrates to the very essence of free creatures. Yet this remains a mystery. But then we are asked, by Molinists, to affirm God knows what all free creatures would do in all circumstances. Two mysteries without parsimony or comprehensive explanatory power and scope.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Criticisms of Clark

Why not follow Gordon Clark or Cornelius Van Til's apologetic methodology? I think they both had strengths and weaknesses. Robert Reymond constructed a synthesis of their strengths. Dr. Reymond's book is available for free entitled "The Justification of Knowledge".

Criticisms of Dr. Clark's Philosophy 

(1) Arbitrary Axiom 
(1)* Scripturalism is self-refuting (e.g. AquaScum)
(2) Robust Thomistic divine simplicity with its inherent denial of the Trinity.
(3) Denial of the free offer of the gospel.
(4) Voluntarism 
(5) Eternal generation of the Son from the Father. The Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit eternally derived/proceed from the Father as the original source. This derivation is conditioned upon the Father's decree. 
(6) Necessitarianism with its entailed dependence upon creation
(7) Continuous creation with its denial of personal identity through time
(8)Unlivability. Basic knowledge (e.g. non-propositional knowledge of self) cannot be known only asserted as mere opinion.
(9) The three Persons of the Trinity are merely instances of a genus, namely, God. Hence, a Quadrinity.
(10) The obscurity of Clark's epistemology. Clark demands a definition of sensations from empiricists but does not explain precisely how humans come to know propositions via divine illumination through recollection/reminiscence. 
(11) Incompatibilism (Hard Determinism)
(12) Saving faith is merely understanding and assent
(13) The Son within the incarnation there possessed two distinct natures with two minds. This sounds awfully close to Nestorianism without the proper nuances (e.g. Thomas Morris).
(14) Primacy of the intellect
(15) Occassionalism
(16) Univocal knowledge of God
(17) Denial of theological paradoxes
(18) Supralapsarianism