Thursday, March 3, 2011

Determinism, Compatibilism & Free Agency

Calvinist God: “You may choose between (a) or (a), and you're free to choose whichever is most compatible and consistent with your nature, but you're not free to abstain from choosing, and the choice that you make, will ultimately be YOUR choice. So what's your choice?”

Person: “I guess I choose (a).”

C God: “Great. Now I will reveal the gracious gift or perhaps, just punishment for choosing (a).”

Person: “Whoa…wait...what?”

C God: “You made your choice! YOU chose it out of your own free agency!”

Person: “Wait! All I had was choice (a). What other choice COULD I make?”

C God: “What choice DID you make?

Person: “I chose (a).”

C God: “Exactly!”

Person: “But what choice did I HAVE?”

C God: “Apparently, the choice that you MADE.”

Person: “But it wasn’t MY choice.”

C God: “Sure it was.”

Person: “But I couldn’t choose anything OTHER THAN (a), so how was that MY choice?”

C God: “You admitted it yourself. You chose (a). You said so yourself.”

Person: “Ok, I chose it, but I didn’t have any OTHER choice.

C God: “Exactly! Finally you admit it.”

Person: “But my choice wasn’t REALLY a choice, since I had no OTHER choice.”

C God: “Would you like to know the ramifications of your choice?”

Person: “Not really.”

C God: “I chose to be gracious towards you.”

Person: “You did?”

C God: “I did.”

Person: “Wait! See, YOU’RE the One who did the choosing.”

C God: “I never said that I didn’t make a choice. I simply said that you ALSO had a choice, and YOU made your choice.”

Person: “Well, I guess it turned out ok, so I’m happy.”

C God: “Good. I’m glad that you’re happy.”

Person: “What about these others?”

C God: “I chose something different.”

Person: “Are they happy with THEIR choice?”

C God: “No.”

Person: “Well…they made their choice. They should just accept that.”

Calvinist God: “Exactly!”

I wonder if Calvinists were on the losing end of secret selection, that they would feel differently? Calvinists have postulated whether their children could be predestined to Hell, but they don’t seem to be bothered too much by it. In fact, Erwin Lutzer supposed that since his children were born into a Christian home, that his children must be “one of the elect,” which is rather silly when considering the term, “PK.” No offense to Preachers. I’m just pointing out the fact that simply by virtue of being born into a Christian home, does not automatically guarantee spiritual victory. So Lutzer’s comment seems odd. The prevailing attitude seems to be, “God picked me, so why should I care? Why should I be an advocate for Reprobates? After all, they made THEIR choice.”

* At this point, I should probably define what (a) actually represents. (a) represents a sequence of events. Determinism & Compatibilism have no problem explaining why a person follows sequence (a), but conversely is absolutely terrible at explaining why a person did NOT choose sequence (b) through (z). All Compatibilism really serves to do is to camouflage raw Determinism, so as to make it *appear* as though a person had a choice in choosing sequence (a), when in fact, their choice of (a) was both divinely purpose-driven and predetermined, and thus excluding (b) through (z) from any possibility of ever occurring, and thus a person's freedom to do it, must by necessity be excluded. Remember that according to Calvinism, sin has a "purpose," and thus if there is a divine purpose in (a), then a person's freedom to do (b) through (z) would conflict and obstruct (a)'s alleged purpose, and thus anything other than (a) could never come about, and any choice to the contrary would be a mere illusion of Compatibilism. On the other hand, if God was determining events for you based upon what He foreknows about you (i.e. Middle Knowledge), then that's fine, because God would be acting in connection to something undetermined, unscripted and unncessitated about you. In other words, God is saying, "Since that is how you've chosen to be, here is what I will do." You see this demonstrated beautifully at Jeremiah 18:1-13, which is not one of the Calvinists most often quoted "Potter" passages. Arminians love to remind Calvinists of it, when discussing the Calvinist's most often cited proof-text passage, Romans 9, and Calvinists often insist that the Holy Spirit is bringing about a "new truth" at Romans 9, and thus Jeremiah 18:1-3 becomes irrelevant. Anyway, that's one defense. Not all Calvinists think alike; that you can be absolutely sure of. That's why I crack up whenever I hear a Calvinist insist that they've been "misrepresented," since Calvinists vary so much with each other! Even Calvinist, Phil Johnson, admitted that if you had a room full of 100 Calvinists, you'd be hard-pressed to find just 2, that believed exactly the same way in everything. Often Calvinists will chide other Calvinists as not being "truly Reformed." That's the whipping stick used to keep renegade C's in line.