Saturday, May 26, 2007

Authorized Version - Why not?

Authorized Version - Why not?

This post is a challenge and a commentary.

Why not use the Authorized Version of the Bible, i.e. the King James Version?

Is the Language too hard?
The usual response that the language is too difficult is bogus. Thousands of children read and understand KJV Bibles, and virtually all Christian children in America for the first 200 years of its settlement by Chrstians. The entire 18th century of English-speaking children grew up on the King James Version, as did most of the 19th century. Only in the 20th and 21st centuries did alternative versions provide any serious encroachment on the Authorized Version.

Is the Greek source weak?
Another response is that the KJV relies on the Textus Receptus, and that the Textus Receptus is inferior to modern critical texts, because the Textus Receptus did not take into account a handful of earlier manuscripts that have been discovered subsequent to the finalization of the Textus Receptus.

Nevertheless, while there are differences between the Textus Receptus and earlier manuscripts, it is an open question about whether the earlier manuscripts are more reliable. Indeed, it is well known that they differ as much among themselves as between themselves and the Textus Receptus.

Is the translation quality suboptimal?
Perhaps the most interesting critique is the one that asserts that there are translation inaccuraces or suboptimalities in the KJV. The KJV was an improvement on earlier English translations, and the presently accepted version reflects about 250 years of Greek and Hebrew scholarship. Nevertheless, there may be room for improvement.

Here's the challenge: Identify categories of translation inaccuracies in the KJV.

I'll start: I think the biggest areas where the KJV may contain inaccuracies are:

  1. The use of the article. Article usage is very difficult to tranfer between languages: Greek does not use articles the same way English does. A number of critics, particularly Granville Sharp have asserted that they have identified either unnecessary ambiguity in the A.V., or inaccuracies in the A.V. when it comes to the translation of the article. This issue will be dealt with in a separate post or posts. Suffice to say that there are at least some reasons to disagree with Sharp in at least some instances, but there may be other instances where Sharp was as clever as his family name suggests.
  2. The use of prepositions. Like articles, prepositions can be difficult to translate between languages. One of the particularly difficult prepositions in Greek to translate into English may be the Greek preposition en, which is often rendered "in" in the KJV. In the 20th century, and perhaps earlier, questions have been raised about whether "by" would be a better translation of many of those instances.
  3. Italicization. In certain places, words are placed in italics. The choices of which words to italicize and the sense conveyed by italicization, in some cases could be improved.
  4. Specific examples. There are certain words for which the KJV translators seem to have made a mistake. These include, most notably, the translation of Pascha in Acts 12:4 as "Easter." The translation appears to be based on showing deference to the Bishop's Bible translation.

I challenge the readers of this blog to identify other errors and alleged errors in the A.V. Let's review them and see what can be improved.


Friday, May 25, 2007

Sovereignty as applied to Land

Sovereignty as applied to Land

On another blog where I sometimes comment, one of the authors posted an entry regarding immigration that I found interesting.

The conclusion of the article was:

A law regarding illegal immigration has to be something that applies to us—what we can do, should not do, or ought to do. It can’t deal directly with this abstracted person that is not even subject to our law.
So, I suppose we have reached rock bottom finally. The question, “who is an illegal alien?” is answered by, “someone that does not have papers, whom we therefore have the right to put on a train.”

I respond:

This comment is obviously wrong. An illegal alien is a person who is in our country without permission. It's much the same as tresspass on land. A trespasser is (generally speaking) anyone who is on one's land without permission. Of course, even if the harm of illegally being on the land is remedied, the guilt remains.


Let's imagine we have farmer. We'll call him Tim. He lives an a country, which we'll call TS (Tim's State).

Suppose, for the sake of the argument, that Tim lives on the border between TS and adjacent country, which we'll call NTT (Next to Tim).

If a person (we'll call him Mike) is standing in NTT and thinking about walking across Tim's land, that person is an inchoate trespasser. Mike has not done Tim wrong yet, he's just thinking about. Maybe Mike has even put on boots and a rucksack and is headed for Tim's land. He is still an inchoate trespasser. Finally, when Mike's boot first touches Tim's dirt (or, more likely, enters the airspace above Tim's land), he becomes a trespasser, because Tim has not given him permission. Likewise, if TS has not given Mike permission to enter TS, then Mike has simultaneously become an illegal alien.

Suppose instead, that Tim had invited Mike. Well, in that case at touchdown, Mike would not be trespasser, but only an illegal alien. Similarly, if Mike had been granted visa by TS, then Mike would be only a trespasser and not an illegal alien.

There is only parcel of land! How is this possible?

The answer is that there a bundle of rights associated with the land. There are the rights that belong to Tim as landowner and there are rights that belong to TS as sovereign of the state.

If Tim were an absolute monarch, all those rights would be bundled in the possession of a single person.

If Tim were a tenant, renting the land, his rights would be distinct from those of the landowner. If Tim were a joint tenant, renting the land with a partner, his rights would still be a lesser part of the bundle. Finally, if Tim were just a guest, visiting the property, his rights would be practically zero.

In America, no one has all the rights bundled like an absolute monarch would. The "every man's home is his castle" maxim, is a pleasantry, not a reality. In a typical scenario, (leaving aside tenants and guests) a landowner has a big chunk of rights in the land, the local government (such as the city, township, county, or the like) has another set of rights in the land (think zoning rules, the right to tax the land, and so on), the state government has another set of rights in the land (think, for example, of the right to enter to enforce the laws of the state), and the federal government has another set of rights (think, for example, in this case - the right to decide who is present within the country).

The right of a state to determine who is within her borders is ancient. It was already firmly rooted in the Middle East in the time of Moses. Recall how Moses sent spies into the promised land, and how some countries refused to let the Israelites pass through their land, even along the public highway.

Given that background, I cannot see how the commenter described above can possibly presume that immigration laws cannot relate to a person being welcome or unwelcome but only with our right to remove the person.

Perhaps the commenter will explain ... who knows.


A Quick Look at a Simple Definition of LFW

(This post may get deleted, in order to harmonize the discussion on free will.)

Godismyjudge has provided a new simple definition of LFW:

An agent has free will if and only if the agent is able to do otherwise than what he will do.

This definition is not harmonious.

Let's break it down.

1) An agent has (present tense) free will This line is understandable. It is an assertion about a present state of the agent.

2) if and only if This line is also understandable. A definition is about to follow.

3) the agent is able (present tense) to do otherwise This line is mostly understandable. It is a statement about a present ability to do something, where the something is defined negatively, and we are waiting for that something. So we continue to the last line

4) than what he will do (future tense) This line by itself is understandable. What is being described is a future action of the agent.

The lack of harmony appears when we combine 3 and 4 in view of 1. That is to say, when we speak of a present quality that depends on a comparison between the present and the future.

This lack of harmony is evidenced several ways:

First: the lack of harmony is evidenced by the fact that in order for the statement to have meaning, there must be (present tense) something that the agent will do (future tense). That would suggest that the future already exists, in some sense. Such a suggestion unravels the entire sweater of LFW, as has previously been seen.

Second: the lack of harmony is evidenced by the fact that my being able to eat steak today, and my actually not eating steak tomorrow would fully qualify under the definition. In other words, if I eat steak on Friday, and not on Saturday, I have proven that I had free will on Friday, under this definition. This would suggest that a completely deterministic (even a mechanically deterministic) world would include agents with free will, because they had the ability to do otherwise than what they did do.

I call these a lack of harmony, not because the definition itself is incoherent, but because these results do not harmonize with a non-compatibilist mentality.

In other words, if the simple definition above defines LFW, then Calvinists all agree that man has LFW, because we all agree that we can do something different today than we will do tomorrow.


Murder Update - Progress with Caveat in Oklahoma

Apparently, in Oklahoma, now public money cannot be used to fund the murder of unborn children, although they can be executed for the sins of their fathers.

Here's the link.

Specifically, unborn children can be executed if their fathers committed rape or incest (with their mothers and they were the result of the crime).

This may seem strange to Americans who live in states where neither rape nor incest is a capital offense for the principals, and where federal headship is not the basis of criminal guilt for any other crimes, or even for these crimes once the child is born.

Apparently, though, such children - in the view of Oklahoma - deserve to die for the sins of their fathers.

Truly it is written: "I the Lord thy God am a Jealous God, visiting the inquity of the fathers upon the children ... of them that hate me." Therefore let us instead seize the accompanying promise: "And showing mercy unto thousands [of generations] of them that love me and keep my commandments."


Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Final (hopefully) Example to Round Things Out

A Final (hopefully) Example to Round Things Out

Here's a final example of the Presuppositional Blindness and its Impact on Epistemology, for the gentle reader (from the same thread of comments:

The commenter writes:
Yes, I misquoted. Nothing rides on this, though. Besides, Silverstein gives the impression that he was involved in the decision. “Maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it.”

What should the critical reader see? Accuracy is not that important to this commenter. If the commenter gets an impression - that's enough.

The commenter continues:
This is the scenario you weave. Silverstein gets a call from the chief who wants to consult with him about the situation. (This implies that Silverstein was no on hand.) The chief and Silverstein presumably come the conclusion that the building is going to collapse. Silverstein then advises the chief to pull out all of the firemen from the general area. The building then falls down.

Note the unnecessary pejorative "weave." Nevertheless, the general storyline rings true, and we can verify that Silverstein was not downtown at the time of the crisis.

The commenter continues:

1) How did they know the building was going to collapse? Oh, yes. Everybody could just tell. But then why does the NIST report:
“The global collapse occurred with few external signs and is postulated to have occurred with the failure of core columns.”
Let me save you some time and reply for you. “The NIST said the global collapse occurred with few external signs. But they were not expecting a global collapse; they were expecting a local one.”

Note how the commenter is not willing to wait for a response. The question was not serious. It was not an inquiry to obtain information. It was a rhetorical device. Furthermore, the commenter does not understand the NIST report. The NIST report is stating that, as the global collapse occurred, there were not external signs of why it was occurring, therefore, it must have been the result of the failure of internal columns. This is a true report, and is true regardless of whether the failure was the result of explosives, thermite, thermate, or fire and impact.

2) Since there were all kinds of people in the (police, officials, reporters), why did Silverstein only make reference to the firemen? Why not say, “hey, lets move everybody back since this thing can go at any time.”

Note how bizarre this question/comment is. Why only the firemen? Because he was talking to the fire chief. Besides, I think any normal person would recognize that if the firemen are pulling back away from a building, they're not going to leave other people behind on purpose.

The commenter continued:

3) Silverstein’s quote gives the impression that these things happened in a short sequence. Phone call, “pull it,” the building falls. On your scenario it should be, phone call, “pull it,” Larry gets a cup of coffee, he calls his insurance agent and asks him how much loot he will collect if Bldg 7 falls, he leisurely goes over the figures in his head and imagines the new Silverstein Tower that he will build on the site one day, he strolls over to the chief and they chew the fat while they wait for the building to come down.
Notice how the pretense of the question format has been abandoned. Also, notice how again the commenter's impression is more important than what is actually said. The commenter is not altogether to blame. The video clip shows Mr. Silverstein making the comment and *boom* down falls the building. More imporantly, what is the underlying theory here? The fire chief "pulled" the building with some kind of special issue detonation tools?

The commenter continues:

As to your claim that the collapse was not symmetrical, watch the many videos of. But I guess on TurretinFan’s worldview gov’t reports trump empirical experience.

And there, at the end, we start to see rationality itself fraying. If you watch the videos more closely you will notice two things. The left side core (all of the videos are from the north or northwest side of the building), i.e. the part of the building under the east side mechanical penthouse, collapses first, but the building is still standing. About five seconds go by. Then the remainder of the building collapses, apparently from the bottom (the location that the collapse is initiated is below the 20th floor or so, but the lower floors cannot be seen in the currently available videos, because of the buildings in between). That staggered collapse alone is a remarkable asymmetry. Furthermore, as already noticed, and as thoroughly documented, the collapse footprint is asymmetrical, somewhat favoring the north east side of the building. Finally, at the initiation of the collapse, a noticable fault line or kink appears asymmetrically in the building. Yet, inexplicably, the commenter's impression upon watching the video trump a more detailed analysis of the data.

Of course, there was a great deal of symmetry, and the reason why is that the building was built symmetrically with respect to the exterior of the building. On what earthly principle would one expect the building to collapse differently? On the other hand, the reason the eastern penthouse collapsed first, is that in the interior structure, there was a significant asymmetry, with greater reinforcement over the Con-Ed substation beneath the building.

I say above that the commenter's personal impressions trump a more detailed analysis "inexplicably." As I pointed out in the last two posts, that's not quite true. The explanation is presuppositions. If you presuppose a conspiracy, you will find a way to give weight to the intangible impressions you get over the facts.

I am quite sure that the commenter, in preparing a lecture or sermon would never try to determine the meaning of a text simply based on the impression he got. I seriously doubt that he would give the time of day to someone who based their Constitutional argument on the impression that they felt from reading the Second Amendment.

No, in most areas, the commenter is a completely reasonable person, but because of presuppositions, this particular commenter has headed down a path that is difficult to remedy. Next thing you know, like Dr. Steven Jones, this commenter may begin to invent non-existent substances ("super-thermate" comes to mind) when it turns out that there is no explanation that relies on actually existent substances to fit the presupposition.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, this issue is essentially trivial. If there was a government conspiracy, they did an awesome job covering it up. The vast bulk of the evidence strongly favors the official story, and while there are some loose ends to be tied, it is only someone who presupposes government complicity that would grab that loose end in the hope that it would cause the rest of the tapestry to unravel.


Epistemelogical Impacts of Presuppositions

Epistemelogical Impacts of Presuppositions

In the previous post (link here), I explored how people can be blind to their own presuppositions and blinded by their presuppositions.

Nevertheless, there is an additional effect that presuppositions can have. This effect is illustrated by some recent comments I received in the course of the same dialogue I mention above.

Here's the windup:
Let me repeat my statement ... in the form of a challenge. For, if nothing short of a full and public confession by govt insiders would make TF sceptical about the govt’s conspiracy theory, then there is no point in trading little factoids.

As a preliminary note, what the author of the quotation means by "govt's conspiract theory" is the view that radical Muslims smashed hijacked planes into both the twin towers, and that the towers fell down and took out the neighborhood.

The author of the comments seems to believe that I presuppose that the Muslim hijacking story is true. I do not. I have considered the evidence, and it is the posistion that is better supported by the evidence. I was initially skeptical regarding some things. I made the mistake of watching all the conspiracy theorist materials first. I wasted a lot of time thinking that the criticisms presented had some kind of merit.

Now, I'm persuaded that the vast bulk of the evidence supports the "official story" as most skeptics seem to prefer to phrase it. I'm not a big fan of using the term "conspiracy theory" in a non-standard way, because it muddies the waters.

In any event, the point to notice is that the commenter is right about one thing: if one holds a presupposition so tightly that no facts could shake it, then there is no point in presenting the evidence.

The challenge presented was:
So, TurretinFan, please outline an example of the kind of evidence that would change you into being a sceptic of the govt story.

At this point it is not so much the kind of evidence that is important, but the amount of good evidence. There is such an enormous weight of evidence supporting the official story that it would be hard to contradict it with only a little data. As to kinds, I find scientific and engineering data to be more persuasive than testimony by random individuals.

The trick would be finding evidence that cannot reasonably be explained consistent with the official story. This is what many of the conspiracy theorists have attempted to do. Among the most interesting of the allegedly inconsistent evidence is a newspaper report that claims that a passport of one of the hijackers was recovered from the street.

One major problem with that datum and at least most of the others that have been set forth is that they do not fit as part of a consistent whole.

The Quid Pro Quo was:
In return, I will do the same in reverse– I will give a brief outline of the kind of evidence that would remove my scepticism. Why don’t we stay with Bldg 7 on this.

Notice that this is not really "the reverse." It takes far less to create skepticism than to remove it, particularly when the skepticism is based on a presupposition. To put it another way, removing skepticism takes a lot more than removing confidence. One can raise a doubt easily, but placing things beyond a reasonable doubt is more difficult.

When one has adopted a presupposition, one has a foundation for knowledge. That foundation can be built upon, and the house of knowledge on top can be torn down or modified as necessary. Going after a foundation is much more difficult than going after the house. That's one reason why, in the American legal system there is supposed to be a presupposition of innocence.

In this case, there is enough evidence to convict the fanatical Muslims involved, but not enough evidence to convict the government. For me, it is really that simple.

If you start with an unbiased mind and analyze the official story critically, you will find that (at least on most points) it stands up to the various criticisms presented. If you consider any of the alternative hypotheses, you will immediately find an enormous number of inconsistences that do not stand up to the criticisms presented.

WTC7 may be an exception, but not all of the evidence has been released to the public yet. Although there is reason to confirm the official story, and though there are many gaping holes in the conspiracy theories, it would be nice to see the bulk of the evidence presnted before coming to a final conclusion.

So, answering the commenters challenge, I'm open to any kind of evidence, and it is not some much the kind but the quality, quantity, and consistency of the evidence that will persuade me that the facts are different than the official report.

Hopefully, everyone who is unbiased on the issue can say the same. If, however, one's epistemology is based on a presupposition of governmental guilt, one's skeptiicsm will not be easily removed.

May God give us (including the present author) wisdom both to refrain from presupposing what we ought not, and also to presuppose what we should.


Presuppositional Blindness

Presuppositional Blindness

I was recently interacting with a person who stated: "I do not know what the real story of 9-11 is, but I am confident that the official story is bogus. I would be happy to debate the issue, but I am confident that nobody will take up my offer since it would only dignify a “nut-ball” position."

As an aside, I immediately took up his offer. It's an easily winnable debate. How do I know?

I was, like many, initially skeptical that the official reports were generally correct. I watched the "squibs" of dust on the Loose Change video, and reviewed the many analyses of the various data. I read many skeptical reports, and saw the far left and the Libertarian and Anarchist right responses to the official report.

Then, I dug deeper. I spoke with a civil engineer who had the same initial reaction of "How on earth could a building fall down like that," but who was persuaded by the explanation provided. I spoke with a person who actually saw the plane fly into the side of the Pentagon. I reviewed the detractors' articles, and then reviewed the source materials.

You know what I found? Most of the detractors (not all, certainly) were willing to distort the evidence, truncate quotations, change quotations, assert scientific falsehood, and maintain not just unproven but disproven hypotheses.

In speaking with the person whom I've quoted above, one favorite tactic was to take a quotation from Mr. Silverstein (a leaseholder of the WTC complex), alter the quotation and then take it out of context! I was absolutely flabbergasted, because this man is someone who is ordinarily not just rational and cogent, but intelligent and respectable. I've enjoyed, over the years, listening to what this man has explained and reading the articles he has written. I have immense respect for this man.

I could not figure out why he would treat the evidence with such open disregard. After all, his distortions were easily identifiable. The quotation was taken from a documentary that aired on PBS in September 2002, and at least one person legally recorded the quotation and its immediate context and posted it to the Net. All I had to do was provide a link, and Mr. Silverstein could be heard, and - for part of the quotation - seen saying what he actually said.

Then, later in the discussion, a third party asked one of the frequently asked questions that one sees, because of the many deceptive web sites that claim that there are unanswered questions. The person's question related to the mechanics of the collapse, an issue that was dealt with in great depth by the NIST report on the topic, and dealt with in summary form on various web sites.

I had commented that the only way to discard the scientific arguments is essentially to have a severe prejudice against the government.

One part of the commenter's response was striking: "'Severe prejudice' might better read ‘prudent presupposition,’ given the history of our government and most others."

Leaving aside the prudence of the presupposition, I think the commenter hit the nail on the head.

The denial of 9/11 is, for many people, presuppositional. No amount of evidence will dissuade them from their tenacious denial of the facts that a group of Muslim terrorists killed thousands of people and damaged or destroyed several large buildings. There are confessions of the terrorists. There is both documentary and image evidence of the terrorists preparing for the attack and boarding the planes. There are a myriad of witnesses who actually saw the planes hit their targets. And so on, and so forth.

One of the other commenters on this same thread wrote (regarding me): "TF — I get the feeling that nothing short of a full and public confession by the responsible parties would convince you." I was amazed. In fact, we do have a fairly full and reasonably public confession by the responsible party (Al Qaeda). Yet, even THAT is not enough to convince the 9/11 conspiracy theorists.

That's when I realized why the conspiracy theorists rarely agree to debate the topic, normally avoid structured debates when they do debate the topic, and inevitably lose the debates when they do debate the topic in any structured way: their position is based on presupposition.

Presuppositions are important and useful, as long as they are correct. I am a presuppositionalist, and my presuppositions are correct. I presuppose that God exists, that He revealed Himself in His Word, and that He is True to His Word. From those presuppositions I derive my doctrine and worldview. If someone wants to debate the existence of God, I can demolish their arguments against God's existence, but I cannot positively prove my presuppositions. I can explain the usual arguments for the existence of God, including the intuitive "first cause" and "source of meaning" arguments. Nevertheless, these will only be persuasive if the person already shares my presuppositions, or if God opens their eyes to the truth.

The same is somewhat the case here as well. While the presuppositions against the U.S. government may not be as fundamental as religious presuppositions, these men have real presuppositions that should be identified and stated. The masking of these presuppositions is a great evil.

Dr. James White, a Reformed Baptist elder, likes to say that the person who denies that he has traditions is the greatest slave to them. It's a bit glib, but it is generally accurate. People who do not recognize what their presuppitions are, are to a large extent blind. The result is that they can deceive themselves, and deceive those around them. They can leave gaping holes in their arguments without even recognize that the hole exists.

This is why you see comments like this one: "I do not know what the real story of 9-11 is, but I am confident that the official story is bogus." Someone does not recognize, or is unwilling to state, his own presupposition that if something really bad happens, wickedness on the part of the government (or a puppeteer behind the government) is behind it. Even though this person recognizes that there is no coherent alternative to the official story, and even though this person cannot disprove the official story, this person is absolutely convinced that the official story cannot be true.

As such, to a limited extent, this otherwise cogent, intelligent, rational, God-fearing man is blind. He cannot see the evidence because he has already decided the issue as a matter or presupposition. He himself made the comparison between his failure to accept the evidence presented in the extensive and detailed government reports and the failure of unbelieving Jews to accept the evidence of the New Testament. I think it may be too harsh a comparison against him, because I - presuppositionally - have some hope that a regenerate man (like himself) could be fully reasonable on such matters.

But I'll tell you what doesn't help: posts like this one that call 9/11 conspiracy theorists "nut-balls," and that ridicule them. I know many intelligent, reasonable people who spin out conspiracy theories. Mocking them is not a serious response, and saying that the ridiculous deserves ridicule is not a kind and merciful remark. It does not show love.

I am happy to discuss the evidence with 9/11 conspiracy theorists, but I think the bigger point that they need to recognize is that they believe what they believe not because of the evidence, but because of their presuppositions.

And its not just a lesson for 9/11 conspiracy theorists but for others as well. If you presuppose that Joseph Smith or Mohammed was a prophet of God, or that Vatican II was a council of the godly you will reach certain conclusions regarding doctrine that are not driven by the Word, but by presupposition. If presuppose that man's destiny is not fixed in stone, you will arrive at a different conclusion from reading Scripture than if you discard that presupposition.

If you cannot identify your own presuppositions, you are - at least to some degree - blind, no matter how wise you are in general. May God enable all of us, this author included, to more clearly see our presuppositions, and to more clearly identify those presuppositions to those with whom we interact.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

No Time Like the Present

No Time Like the Present
A response to Libertarian Past-Tense Free Will


In "Through the Lookingglass," one of the characters is offered a position that provides a certain benefit "every other day." It sounds tempting, but it is then discovered that this condition "every other day" is construed with the utmost literal precision, such that the benefit never enures, because today is never any other day than today.

That kind of hyper-literal analysis is silly in a children's book, but can prove to be essential in philosophical discussions. Many things can turn on the precision of definitions, and thus we should be careful to avoid the "other day" trap.

Some advocates of Libertarian Free Will may perhaps have fallen into such a trap with loose definitions of human freedom. Either they have fallen into the trap by speaking imprecisely, or they mean something that it is totally unacceptable.

By analogy, one could say that man has freedom, under their definitions, every other day.

Freedom in the Past Time Only

One of my respected Arminian colleagues has posited the idea that the relevant sense of freedom is something that only comes before the act (e.g. choice), not something that exists at the time of the act.

Stepping back from the details for a second, this is like saying that you are free with respect to what you do tomorrow, but not today, and saying that every day. It is the "every other day" trap. You don't have freedom with respect to actions that you are doing, but only with respect to actions that you will do.

Under this system of thought, before it is time do something, you have freedom, but when it comes to actually doing it, you do it of necessity. The result of this model is that every single act is an act of necessity. Freedom is ephemeral. It dissipates just when you need it.

The Importance of the Present

The present is important, becuase it is the present that we exist, we act, we do, we think, and we choose. If we act freely, then we do so in the present. If we act of necessity, we do so in the present. If Paul someone says they "are" free, they mean at present.

When Paul speaks, in Romans 7:3 of the freedom of widows, he says that if her husband is dead, she IS free. Paul is speaking here about the Calvinistic De Jure freedom, not a Libertarian Free Will freedom (even if such a thing existed). More important, though, is Paul's explanation regarding that freedom.

While her husband lives, she is not free: if she marries another man she will be called an adulteress. Although she may be free in the future, that future freedom does not give her license to marry whomsoever she will.

The analogy is simple: whatever kind of freedom matters for us to say that we ARE free, is freedom in the present time, not freedom in the future, or freedom in the past.

Objection 1 - I don't care

This is a curious objection. The objection simply states that it makes no difference whether the acts themselves are free. The objector doesn't care whether acts themselves are free. Of course, the minute such an objection is made, one recognizes that whatever this freedom or necessity is, it is not what the Bible is talking about: it is not the freedom described in the Bible, nor is it even the kind of freedom that common sense or intution tells us we have. I "can" is present. I "am" able is present. I "have" free will is present. We could go on and on.

If, with respect to his actions at time X, man is not free, but only was free at some past point, that matter freedom is of only historical significance.

If man is not free with respect to the things he does, man is never free.

Perhaps there are more objections, we will have to see.