Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Further Response to Godismyjudge

Chronology of directly related posts on Libertarian Free Will (LFW)

(TF), (Dan), (TF), (Dan), (TF), (Dan), (TF), and (Dan).

I had written recently:

Given that we are Trinitarians, there is no reason to hold to a view that God has ever been inactive, such that there was a "first act" of God. (link)

Previously I had written:

Although there was no action before Creation, nevertheless God's nature and counsel, being eternal, preceded the first action. (link)

This apparently (and understandably) confused Dan. Dan wrote:
Before you seemed to be denying action regressed infinitely, and affirming a first act. Now you seem to be asserting an infinite regression of actions, and denying a first act. This is an important point to clarify as your comments above shaped my question. How do you reconcile these two statements?
I answer:

Creation is the first action of which there is any record: it is the first action in time, as opposed to eternity. It can be viewed as a first action, and yet the Trinitarian council can reasonably be viewed as eternally active - in other words there is no reason to suppose that the Trinity was eternally inactive - that there was no eternal divine communion of the persons of God. There was no physical activity, and no activity that involved any sort of change. I hope that is enough reconciliation, but if not ... I'd be happy to elaborate where anything is unclear.

Dan wrote:
The idea that God’s nature causes His action (an idea that I previously understood you to assert) seems inconsistent with the idea of an infinite regression of actions. This seems circular. Since we are talking about a logical order (I assume that’s what you mean) an infinite regression seems like a denial of a logical foundation. For my part, since God is one and simple, His nature logically precedes His actions. The persons in the Trinity and their actions are logically subsequent to God’s essence. The opposite opinion seems in opposition to God’s aseity and simplicity.
Any action before the creation of time, i.e. in eternity past, would not have been temporally sequentially. Whether or not there was a "first action," however, God's nature is logically prior to his actions, on that much we have agreement. Thus, presumably this issue of a first action verses continual eternal action is a non-issue.

Dan continues:
This answer effects how I should respond to what you said about a cause of the first act and foreknowledge.
Hopefully the above sufficiently clarifies.

Dan continues: "Perhaps I can clarify one point. You said: The "had to" vs. "did" is falsely dichotomous at least in connotation. We would not say that God "had to," because that would seem to suggest something external to God forcing God to do the thing."

ok

Dan again:
Within the context of “before God’s first act” no one else exists to force God’s actions. “Had to” in the context of before God’s first act is a question of God’s intrinsic abilities. Either God was unable to do anything else (i.e. He had to what He did), or He was able to do other things. But again, this point may be moot, if God doesn’t have a first act.
Before Creation no one else exists to force God's actions, whether or not Creation is the "first act" or God has been eternally active. So, no ... I don't think the "first act" issue renders anything moot.

Again, as noted above, if there is no one else to force God's action, using "had to" is at least a little misleading - even if God's nature could be said to render him unable to do something else.

Dan again:
Sure is hard for Calvinists and Arminians to find some common ground to hold a discussion on, so I appreciate your effort. If you wish, we can go back to proof texting out of context at each other. I’ll start. Christ says “ye do error, not knowing the scriptures or the power of God”. With statements this obvious, how then to you stick to Calvinism?
I suppose that this was intended to be humorous. I can't think of a witty comeback, though, so I'll have to leave it at that. Eventually I hope that you'll be sufficiently satisfied with the answers to the questions that you get to get back to some of those more interesting issues we were discussing before.

-TurretinFan

3 comments:

natamllc said...

Yes, I agree with TF Dan.

Paul wrote as much as did Jude to both issues which it seems you do need to seek the understanding of. With all you seeking, seek understanding.

Here is Paul's point:

1Co 15:45 Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
1Co 15:46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual.
1Co 15:47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.
1Co 15:48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.
1Co 15:49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.


Here is Jude's:

Jud 1:24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,
Jud 1:25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Now to point to that part of Paul:

"so also are those who are of heaven."

Those who are of heaven. Paul came into the revelation of being called and elected before the foundation of the world. I am settled into this calling and election now myself.

Now to point to that part of Jude:

" before all time"

There is according to Jude a "first action". I am settled into this understanding of a first action, that is, the Word of God:

Gen 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Gen 1:2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
Gen 1:3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.

Godismyjudge said...

Dear TF,

I gabbed away back on my blog.

God be with you,
Dan

Godismyjudge said...

Dear Michael,

The passage in Jude and also in 2 Timothy 1:9 are highly interesting with respect to God and time. I think the "before" is time-promorphic and relates to a logical order. But for obvious reasons, I am not dogmatic about that.

God be with you,
Dan