“Worship Me Or Burn’ – The Oversimplification Of An Atheist Meme

“Worship Me Or Burn’ – The Oversimplification Of An Atheist Meme

Atheists frequently mock God through memes or tweets or social comments that basically go something like the following; “God says ‘Love me or I’ll torture you forever!’ such a good God”, “Worship me or burn!”, or “Believe and worship me, or be punished forever! Ahh…such love.” The implication in these sarcastic posts is that God is an evil, self-serving monster. He demands worship and adoration and if you don’t give it to Him, watch out! He’ll throw you in the lake of fire to experience agonizing, unending torture! The problem with this tactic is that it grossly oversimplifies God’s judgment of unbelievers and fails to understand precisely what the problem of sin and Hell are. It fails to understand why idolatry is a sin worthy of punishment. It’s easy to make an idea look silly if you oversimplify it, and social media atheists are known for their oversimplification of Christian doctrines. 

Worship Is A Sin Not Because God Is An Egomaniac, But Because He Deserves It

God is, as Alvin Plantinga’s Modal Ontological Argument demonstrates, a Maximally Great Being, or to use Anselm’s words “The Greatest Conceivable Being”. He is, therefore, the highest Good. We should expect that a perfectly good Being would want us to focus our utmost devotion to that which is the highest Good. God is just that. God is the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, perfectly good, necessarily existent Being who created everything. God is literally the greatest Being in the universe. So, by definition, God is therefore both deserving of and worthy of worship. 

If God is deserving of worship, and we don’t give it to Him, I think that would be wrong. I don’t think it’s okay to deprive someone of something that is rightfully theirs. 

To put it in syllogistic form, 

1: It is unjust to deprive someone of something they deserve. 

2: God deserves worship. 

3: Therefore, it is unjust to deprive God of worship. 

I think premise 1 is intuitively obvious. If you are entitled to something, it would be unjust for someone to deprive you of that something. If I work 75 hours a week, I both deserve and expect to get paid on payday. After all, I didn’t have to work for my employer. I could have been someone else’ employee or even stayed at home. In fact, I wouldn’t be working at all if I didn’t need money to buy food and keep the lights on. If I’m not getting what I need, I won’t work for employer X. I’ll do something else that helps keep me financially afloat. Work without pay is an injustice because, as The Bible says “The worker deserves his wages” (Luke 10:7, cf. 1 Timothy 5:18). We all recognize that it’s unjust to deprive someone of what they deserve. Or if lend you money, I deserve to be paid back eventually. If I write a song and record it, I deserve to get credit for it. It would be unjust for you to steal my song and claim that you wrote it. Plagiarism is unjust because it doesn’t give credit where credit is due. I don’t think premise 1 will be all that controversial, but then again, I could be wrong. Craig never thought the first premise of The Kalam Cosmological Argument would be controversial either. 

Premise 2 is backed up by both The Bible and The Ontological Argument For God’s Existence which entails Perfect Being Theology, and which itself entails that worship is something God deserves. God doesn’t need our worship, but He does deserve it. As C.S Lewis once put it, “A man can no more extinguish the glory of God by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can extinguish the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.” God doesn’t need our worship, but He does deserve it. God doesn’t need our love, but He does desire it. God doesn’t need us to tell Him how great He is (as an omniscient Being, He knows how great He is). And God doesn’t need us to give him credit for creating the universe or saving us. However, God deserves all of these by the very fact that He is who He is and is what He is; a Being of which no greater can be conceived. 

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” – Revelation 4:11 (ESV)

“And they sang a new song: ‘Worthy are You to take the scroll and open its seals, because You were slain, and by Your blood You purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” – Revelation 5:19 (ESV)

As you’ve probably heard many preachers say, we all worship something. It’s true. We all have something to which we give our highest devotion. God demands that you give your devotion to the summum bonnum (the highest good), which is Himself. 

The Problem Of Sins

 Additionally, mankind is guilty of the whole host of other wrongs besides a refusal to acknowledge their Creator. You only need to flip on the news to see how saturated our world is in evil and immorality. Truly the words of Psalm 14:2-4 and Romans 3:23 ring true. Moreover, if anyone doubts that they are a sinner, one simply needs to walk them through The Ten Commandments and if they’ve never broken them. I’ve never had someone come out with a perfect score of keeping ten out ten their whole life. 

Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our wrongdoings so that God wouldn’t have to. He took our place, suffering the wrath of God so we wouldn’t have to suffer it (Isaiah 53, John 3:16, 1 John 2:2, 1 Peter 3:18). If we confess our sins and turn from our sinful ways, we will be forgiven (1 John 1:9, Isaiah 55:7). But if we refuse to repent, we will have to face the penalty ourselves (John 3:18, John 3:36, Revelation 20). Jesus didn’t have to become incarnate and suffer the wrath of the Father, but He did anyway. That looks like love to me. Indeed. A love of which there is no greater (John 15:13). Jesus died on the cross for every human being who ever was, is, or will be (John 3:16, Romans 5:18, 1 John 2:2, Hebrews 9:6, 1 Timothy 2:4-6, 1 Corinthians 5:18) for every sin every person has ever committed from white lies to mass homicide.  

However, to those who resist The Holy Spirit’s drawing (Acts 7:51) and refuse to repent of their sins, then Jesus’ righteousness won’t be imputed to them and they will have to experience the punishment for their sins themselves. God must do this because He is just (see Psalm 9:7-8, Psalm 9:16, Psalm 10, Psalm 11:16, Psalm 103:6), but God doesn’t want to because He is loving (1 John 4:8, 1 John 4:16), which is why He gave us a way out; the cross of Christ. The cross was where, as Jonathan Edwards put it, the justice and mercy of God kissed.

Conclusion

It’s easy to make fun of something if you oversimplify and caricature it. The mocking implication that God is a narcissist or evil by employing a “worship me or be punished forever!” ultimatum is an extreme oversimplification of the problem of sin and a complete lack of understanding of who and what God is. 

Liked it? Take a second to support Evan Minton on Patreon!

This Post Has 68 Comments

  1. Dog

    Of the problem of sin, couldn’t god just not make sin? Sure if we turn the news on and see bad things happening, isn’t god just letting it happen? If it’s satan causing it, wouldn’t that mean that god is out of his jurisdiction here on earth, therefore has no power here?

    1. Evan Minton

      Sure, God could prevent everyone from sinning, but then he would override Free Will which is necessary for true love relationships between human beings and between humans and God. God did not create us to be robots who fall in line and do what we are programmed to do. He wants us to be genuinely loving towards him and towards each other. Free Will is impossible without that. I’ve written about this a little bit on this website and other articles, but I think Tim Stratton does a really good job in this article here.

      https://freethinkingministries.com/harley-quinn-the-joker-true-love/

  2. Dog

    Wow. If you have you have to moderate your comment section, you are truly being intellectually dishonest

    1. Evan Minton

      I get a lot of spam. My comment section gets more Bots than a sci-fi movie.

  3. Gordon

    If God can threaten us into loving him by proximately giving us a nature of sin which “forces” him to torture us forever if we aren’t purged of it in a small time span full of distractions, then yes, he can make us love him willfully. Love under threat is no more or less real than love by design.
    Adam and Eve, the mechanics of sin and atonement do not change the underlying point of “love me or suffer.” That’s the whole gospel.

    1. Evan Minton

      Who said God “gives” us the sin nature? Not only can I think of no scriptural support for that, but I can think of no theologian who would say that either. Not even Calvinists. The sin nature is inherited all the way back to Adam. But even then, although we are inclined to sin, we’re not forced to sin. 1 Corinthians 10:13 makes it clear that *whenever* we are tempted, God doesn’t allow us to be tempted beyond our capacity to resist. He gives us “A way of escape” so we can endure temptation and not give in. Genesis 4:7 is another relevant verse. In this verse, God is warning Cain. He tells him “Sin is crouching at your door. It desires to rule you, but you must rule over it instead.” Of course, as we read on, we find that Cain didn’t heed God’s warning. He let his vengeful feelings toward Abel get the better of him, resulting in Cain choosing to kill Abel. But the point here is that God presupposed that Cain could have chosen an alternative course of action in Genesis 4:7. While sin broadly speaking may be inevitable, no individual sin is. Every individual sin can be avoid because God gives us “the way of escape”.
      .
      you wrote \\”Love under threat is no more or less real than love by design.”\\ — Why do you think that? I think I know what you’re implying, but I’d just like to make sure before formulating a response.
      .
      \\”Adam and Eve, the mechanics of sin and atonement do not change the underlying point of ‘love me or suffer.'”\\ — But the understanding the mechanics of sin and atonement do make God look less petty than the Reddit atheist likes to make him out to be. God is not some petty tyrant. He is the Maximally Great Being who is deserving of our utmost devotion (i.e love and worship). And if one agrees that it is unjust not to give someone that which they deserve, then it logically follows that it is sinful to not give the Maximally Great Being your utmost devotion.

      1. Gordon

        God doesn’t give us a sinful nature? Haven’t you read the Psalmist? ‘surely I was conceived in sin, born in iniquity’ (Ps. 51) and ‘you knit me together in my mother’s womb,’ (139.) there is not one of us born of Adam and Eve that is not God’s creation. He decided to create us with original sin in us. Otherwise, it wouldn’t happen. He did it by proxy of course, using the devil, but it was still his will.

        As for the way of escape, yes, he gives us that, but only enough to ensure that we don’t have an excuse. We get tempted by the nature that he arranged for us, and if there’s the slightest possibility of resisting, then we’re guilty (since it by definition wouldn’t be a sin if you could not morally resist performing an action.)
        Love by design versus under threat is between loving because you have no choice (being designed to / a robot) versus loving because you have a choice and the alternative is infinitely unpleasant (threatening us with hell). Since agápē really means “preferential treatment” and not “affection,” (philia) given how it’s used in other literature, this makes sense. We don’t have to feel affection towards God to prefer him once we’re trained to know that it is for out own good.

        The thing is, talking about the morals behind the situation does not change it from the beginning, unto now of God’s mood: to expect perfection of an imperfect creature (everyone after Adam) cursed unwillingly with a moral defect, born in ignorance and unable to govern themselves, much less render to God anything flawless, which is as easy as dividing by zero. We are finite, and created finite. God demands the infinite. The atonement does little more than funnel a few escapees from this situation.

        1. Evan Minton

          TO GORDON
          .
          First, yes I have read the psalmist. Have you read exegetes who don’t think that that’s teaching we get a sin nature at conception?
          .
          Check out this article. –> https://crosstheology.wordpress.com/king-david-said-in-sin-did-my-mother-conceive-me-but-its-no-support-for-a-sinful-nature-ps-515/
          .
          Now, I disagree with this author that the sin nature doesn’t exist at all. He seems to think it does. But I do think he’s correct in arguing this verse from Psalms 51 cannot be used in support of that. I highly doubt that at this stage in Biblical history, people had a well-developed Theology of sin other than the fact that people did bad things and whenever they did, they needed to ask God to forgive them. This seems to be a development that reached its climax in New Testament times. So we can find a lot of support for the sin nature in the New Testament, but it’s scanned in the Old Testament. This should not be surprising as most Christians, including myself, believe that the Bible is progressive revelation. If we knew everything we needed to know from the Old Testament, we wouldn’t need a new testament. The only reason we have a new testament is that God had some more things he wanted to tell us.
          .
          I would like for you to read my conversation with Sam Burke in this very same comment section. It’s a little long (to put it mildly), so you don’t have to read the whole thing if you don’t want to. But find the part where I talk about the sin nature being, not some magic force that we can get at birth that God can extract Like a surgeon extracting a tumor. Rather, it’s a part of Who We Are. It’s a part of our personality, our character. So God cannot take it away, he has to change it away. And that’s what sanctification is all about. Now, how do we GET the sin nature? I’m not sure. We may inherit it shortly after birth after the first sin we ever commit. Or maybe we are born with it. I’m open to either possibility. There’s nothing in The ecumenical Creeds that would commit me to one view or another and put me in danger of heresy. So if the Augustinian view of being born with a sin nature is problematic either exegetically or logically, I’m quite willing to abandon it. And indeed, a lot of Christians have abandoned it. I think of people like Leighton Flowers for example. The sin nature is just something I need to spend more time philosophizing about with regards to its origin.
          .
          I am just not convinced that if we have an inclination to sin (I.e a sin nature), then the game is rigged and God is unfair to hold us accountable. As long as any individual sin could have been resisted, and 1st Corinthians 10:13 says just this, at least with regards to Christians, then we have the ability to sin or not sin at any given point. And as long as we have a the ability to sin or not sin at any given point, then if we do sin, then it’s our fault. We had the ability to choose not to sin but we chose not to take the way of escape. And therefore God can hold us accountable for not taking the way of escape. And all this talk about there being way too many temptations in life, and about God being obligated to give us only one temptation so we can have the ability to choose him or not choose him, I just am not buying it. I’m referring here to the ongoing conversation I am having with Sam in another thread in this blog post’s comment section. I’m just not convinced by the arguments that God has set us up to fail. But in any case, he has offered a way to receive forgiveness. And really that’s the most important thing isn’t it? That’s what the gospel is all about. Jesus took our punishment and if we believe in him, we will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). This gift is available to all people because God is not willing that any should perish but for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:4-6).
          .
          Regarding love for God being coercive. I wrote a blog post a few months back explaining how I think Divine hiddenness actually is God’s way of keeping the choice between Heaven and Hell from being a course of choice. I recommend that you read it. Click here to read it –> https://cerebralfaith.net/how-an-atheist-helped-me-overcome-the-divine-hiddenness-objection/
          .
          There’s one more thing I would like to express before I hit the reply button. This whole blog post is about whether or not God is egotistical for demanding worship. What’s up with all this debate throughout this lengthy comments section about the sin nature, whether or not we can avoid committing the sin, Free Will and Evil,.? What does this have to do with whether or not my argument for a maximally great being being deserving of worship is valid or not? Sam and I debated this topic in this comment section, we we’re kind of debating two things at once. But you seem to have ignored the subject altogether brought up others material. Subjects that are important to talk about, to be sure. But it seems like it should have been posted in the comment section of a different blog post. Maybe in the comment section of a blog post about free will or the problem of evil or something. I was so busy responding to you guys that I forgot to ask what this had to do with what I was talking about in the OP.

          1. Gordon

            Now wait a minute.
            “Rather, it’s a part of Who We Are. It’s a part of our personality, our character.”
            That’s what I’m saying. It’s a flaw that we are created with that’s ensured that we all are guilty, and therefore held at the gunpoint of hell.
            “And as long as we have a the ability to sin or not sin at any given point, then if we do sin, then it’s our fault.”
            Exactly! We don’t have to be presented with an impossible challenge, because if it were impossible not to do some particular sin, we wouldn’t be guilty. Instead, we’re just bombarded with enough opportunities to sin to ensure that we do so, and it’s worked 100% of the time. “all have sinned.”
            And since sin is so easy and natural, but technically possible to avoid, yet God finds us less-than-worthless if we aren’t redeemed (because sin is so, so repulsive to him,) we’re now pinned under his thumb. Perfection is too hard to achieve but never too hard to be impossible.
            So now God has trapped us in his infinite and unending hatred of our sin, thus legally has all the leverage he needs to justify owing us nothing, and demanding everything, under threat of hell. That’s what the Law is.
            Now that justice is thoroughly against us by Law, no matter how unfair it is, is still Law. Jesus is the escape clause we’re given, and we better be thankful for the mercy we have been given when God has the legal right to shoot us. Right? That’s the Gospel since, probably Augustine.

          2. Evan Minton

            TO GORDON
            .
            Maybe I’m missing something, but I just don’t feel the force of the objection. In fact, other than the argument that God allows us to be tempted to many times in a lifetime and this has “rigged” the game, I don’t really I don’t really see much of an argument at all. It’s just emoting whilst painting a derogatory (and innacurate) way to paint the gospel.
            .
            That’s for the actual Jackson, no one has to commit any sin they actually commit because provides a way of escape so that we can endure the temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13, c.f.. Genesis 4:26-27, Deuteronomy 30:15-19). God has granted us libertarian free will. Everything I have ever committed could have been avoided. And this goes for everyone. 1st Corinthians 10:13 makes it very clear that if I give into temptation, I cannot make an excuse to God saying that it was just too powerful for me to resist.
            .
            Some of your derogatory and almost angry sounding phase of painting just what the gospel is I think is derived from a mishmash of statements that you probably heard from Christian preachers and Christians on the internet. I don’t really think you truly understand the gospel.
            .
            You wrote //”And since sin is so easy and natural, but technically possible to avoid, yet God finds us less-than-worthless if we aren’t redeemed (because sin is so, so repulsive to him,)”// — This is not true. God does NOT find you worthless despite the fact that you don’t know Him and are not reconciled to him by the blood of Jesus. Jesus, who is God (John 1:1-3, John 10:30, Hebrews 1) loves even his enemies (Matthew 5:53-48), and even asked The Father to forgive those who were torturing and mocking Him (Luke 23:23). Romans 5:8 says that “God shows his love for us in this; that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God does NOT consider ANYONE worthless. God wants ALL PEOPLE to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth as 1 Timothy 2:4 says. That’s why “Christ gave Himself as a ransom for all people” (1 Timothy 2:6). God The Son demonstrated the love of which there is no greater (John 15:13) for the whole world (1 John 2:2). God finds you by far and not worthless. You are precious to Him. And He will pursue you until the day you die.
            .
            You wrote //”Perfection is too hard to achieve but never too hard to be impossible.
            So now God has trapped us in his infinite and unending hatred of our sin, thus legally has all the leverage he needs to justify owing us nothing, and demanding everything, under threat of hell.”//
            .
            — It’s true that God’s moral standard demands Perfection. Any sin is enough to make us morally culpable before him and to make us unfit for his presence. But because God loves us, despite all of our flaws and all of the things we’ve done (God loves even the worst of the worst people on this planet), He became incarnate and took our punishment on the cross (Philippians 2:5-8). And, your comment about him not owing us anything is absolutely correct. God does not owe us anything. God would be perfectly just to condemn everyone to Hell (which I believe is annihilation not unending conscious torture and I defend this across three chapters in my book “Yahweh’s Inferno”). But fortunately He loves us, so much that He was willing to endure the agony of Hell itself as our penal substitution.
            .
            The situation is not hopeless. The game is not rigged. All have the opportunity to be justified, sanctified, and ultimately glorified. God’s intent for creating mankind was to have a personal relationship with them and the other creatures who bear his image in the Heavenly realms (the divine council). That was lost through sin (Genesis 3) and the whole (meta)narrative of of The Bible is God working in the world to get us to new Eden.

          3. Gordon

            I well and truly hope that I don’t “understand the gospel,” because that’s the logical conclusion that came from the gospel of my upbringing:
            •that we are without dignity and worth because we’re imperfect, and born thus,
            •it’s impossible not to sin, but it’s still our infinite fault if we do,
            •any attempt to do good without having the password to heaven is as good to God as “filthy rags” used to bandage leprosy or monthly flux,
            •that God has no responsibility for our existence despite creating every cell in our body and foreseeing our every breath blink and twitch,
            •that God has restricted humanity’s salvation from an infinite punishment (for being morally imperfect) to a single name and some magic words (sinner’s prayer.)
            •and that those who don’t are “loved” yet are hardened in the heart, reserved for judgement, and then sustained in immortality in infinite torture instead of being euthanized or reformed.

            Yes, I hope I misunderstand the gospel! I want to believe that this is a false gospel. I hate it, yet it has been drilled into my head, and is difficult to extract without causing further damage.

            I want to believe that God is loving, fair and kind, but what I’ve been taught is the atheist’s paradise. And when I start looking to non-Augustinian visions of the Gospel, (or even non-Pauline,) the ‘gospel’ inside me tells me that my depraved mind should stop thinking and ‘just believe.’ The doublethink of western Christianity is intolerable, yet I am held back from looking elsewhere by its prominance within and without.
            Why do we teach that God is love when his hatred has made the way so narrow?
            I honestly wish to believe think that the pitiful moslem who knows nothing about Isa’s true nature but wants to find a better Allah is closer to heaven than the ‘family man’ who has his Jeezus-card to excuse himself for sodomizing his progeny.
            And I find it insane that only the Atheists understand what I’m seeing. The only thing crazier is that I’m insane enough to keep looking for a Christian God that I can love. Can no one see how this all logically stems from what we’re told in Church, and by GotQuestions, DesiringGod, GraceToYou, CARM, and others’ self-contradictory ideas that they dismiss with the mystery card? I can’t be the only one seeing this for what it is, prodding into others to see if they can, and yet still being poked by angels and the spirit.
            Either I’m a heretic, or you’re all heretics.

          4. Evan Minton

            Yeah, you have definitely misunderstand the nature of God and the gospel, and based on how you characterized it, I can definitely understand why! And I think that the Calvinists are to blame for this ugly picture of God and his justice system. I’m basing this suspicion on the basis of the names you mentioned DesiringGod (John Piper’s ministry), GraceToYou (John MacArthur’s ministry), CARM (Matt Slick’s ministry), and GotQuestions. Although that last one isn’t as loud about it.
            .
            This is one of the primary reasons why I have argued against deterministic T.U.L.I.P soteriology (a.k.a Calvinism) in a PLETHORA of blog posts and podcast episodes here on Cerebral Faith. I plan on making some YouTube videos debunking it at some point too. I believe this soteriological system is a slander on God. And I think the way Calvinist preachers have characterized Arminians and Molinists (like myself) constantly may be why, whenever you think of an alternative picture of God than the one these men presented you with, “the ‘gospel’ inside me tells me that my depraved mind should stop thinking and ‘just believe.’” Let me go through some of your bullet points where you articulate “the gospel”
            .
            1: \\\“that we are without dignity and worth because we’re imperfect, and born thus,”\\\ — This is definitely false. As far as dignity goes, Genesis 1:26-27 says that all people are made in God’s image; male and female. This has connections to Genesis 1 being a “cosmic temple” and would have been radical to the minds of ancient audiences, but for the sake of this discussion, I won’t go down those rabbit trails. The point here is that all people are made in God’s image and because of that, all people are inherently valuable and of worth. We have reason to think the image of God didn’t vanish in the fall because later in Genesis 9:6, God prescribes the death penalty to anyone who murders another innocent human, and the rationale God gives is “For in the image of God, God made man”.
            .
            And again, although those T.U.L.I.P people would deny it, The Bible teaches emphatically God’s universal love for human beings.Jesus, who is God (John 1:1-3, John 10:30, Hebrews 1) loves even his enemies (Matthew 5:53-48), and even asked The Father to forgive those who were torturing and mocking Him (Luke 23:23). Romans 5:8 says that “God shows his love for us in this; that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God does NOT consider ANYONE worthless. God wants ALL PEOPLE to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth as 1 Timothy 2:4 says. That’s why “Christ gave Himself as a ransom for all people” (1 Timothy 2:6). God The Son demonstrated the love of which there is no greater (John 15:13) for the whole world (1 John 2:2). God finds you by far and not worthless. You are precious to Him. And He will pursue you until the day you die.
            .
            2: \\\”it’s impossible not to sin, but it’s still our infinite fault if we do,”\\\ — Whether or not it’s ACTUALLY impossible to not sin in this fallen state, I don’t know. I do know that all individual sins we could have comitted could have been avoided (as 1 Cor 10:13 would suggest). So we might infer that the whole collection of sins could have been avoided as well. Maybe. But maybe it’s just the individual parts of the whole that could have been avoided, and not the whole. I try to be careful of commiting the fallacy of composition when it comes to this topic.
            .
            In any case, the idea that ANY sin is of our “infinite fault” is unbiblical. I devote a whole chapter in my book “Yahweh’s Inferno” which I do recommend you read, but rather than make you buy the book, I’ll just tell you two passages that mitigate against the idea that all sin is equally evil in God’s sight (equally evil and infinitely evil). Luke 7:40-50. The context is Jesus having a meal with one of the religious leaders and an adulterous woman came in and was kissing His feel and washing them with her tears and drying them with her hair. The Pharisee is upset that Jesus wouldn’t send this sinful woman away. Jesus tells her that her sins are forgiven and then tells the religious leader an illustration. In this illustration, Jesus is speaking of two people who owe their master money. One owes 50, the other owes 500 gold coins. However, the master forgave both their debts equally. Jesus asks him which one will love their master more and the guy answered “the one who owed him the most money”. Jesus here seems to be saying that there are some people who are more in debt to God then others.
            .
            Exodus 32:21, Moses asked Aaron: “What did this people do to you, that you brought so great a sin upon them?” Obviously, this is comparative language, indicating that Aaron’s sin was more evil, or had greater implications than some other sin. In the New Testament, we have Matthew 5:19, in this verse, Jesus said that whoever breaks “the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven.” Clearly, certain commandments were considered “least” and, by comparison, others must have been considered “greater.” In Matthew 23:23, Jesus chastised the Pharisees for “neglecting the WEIGHTIER MATTERS of the law: justice and mercy and faith.” His point was obvious, the failure to tithe a rather small amount of spices was much less of a sin than the failure to administer justice and mercy to one’s fellow man.
            .
            3: \\“any attempt to do good without having the password to heaven is as good to God as ‘filthy rags’ used to bandage leprosy or monthly flux,”\\ — Well, this part is actually correct, and I don’t see an issue with it. If you commit a terrible crime, it doesn’t matter how many good deeds you try to do to make up for it. You’re still going to go to prison. Someone who is brought before a judge on charges of a grizzly murder can try to get himself off the hook by pointing to how much he gives to charity every year, all the help he does for the elderly and the poor, and so on. But the judge will say “That’s all good and well, but you still put a guy through a wood chipper. You need to pay for that.” Your good deeds cannot erase your bad deeds.
            .
            Fortunately, we don’t have to obsess over getting ourselves clean. God has offered to do it for us. As 1 John 1:7-9 says “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
            .
            4: \\“that God has no responsibility for our existence despite creating every cell in our body and foreseeing our every breath blink and twitch,”\\ —I’m sincerely hoping this is a misunderstanding on your part and not on the part of a bad Bible teacher! I’ve never heard ANYONE say that God is not responsible for our existence. He’s not responsible for our actions, but the fact that we exist is definitely up to Him. John 1:3 is clear that there is not anything that came into being which did not come into being by the Word (who 2 verses earlier, He identified as being “God”).
            .
            5: \\“that God has restricted humanity’s salvation from an infinite punishment (for being morally imperfect) to a single name and some magic words (sinner’s prayer.)”\\ –
            .
            I initially thought this was about unconditional election and limited atonement. I thought to myself “More damage control I have to do thanks to the Calvinists”. However, as I thought about this a little longer, I suspect that this is an objection to Jesus being the only way to salvation. Is that correct?
            .
            6: \\“and that those who don’t are ‘loved’ yet are hardened in the heart, reserved for judgement, and then sustained in immortality in infinite torture instead of being euthanized or reformed.”\\ – And this is again, unbiblical and probably thanks to the hermeneutically inept Calvinists. God does not “harden” peoples’ hearts in the way that the Calvinist characterizes it. This is not the place to go into an indepth discussion on that. I just recommend reading my two blog articles titled “What Is Romans 9 Really About?” and “Did God Harden Pharoah’s Heart?”
            .
            And the idea that the damned are infinitely tortured, while a widespread teaching about Hell, is not actually what The Bible teaches. In Matthew 10:28, Jesus said that the damned will be destroyed in both body AND soul. If both body and soul are destroyed, then there is nothing left of the person! This is a clear picture of annihilation. 2 Peter 2:6 and Jude 7 both say that what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah served as an example of what is to happen to the ungodly on the final day of judgment. We read in Genesis 18-19 what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah; they were completely incinerated by fire from heaven! If Hell consisted of eternal consious torment rather than annihilation, Sodom and Gomorrah’s incineration would be a huge disanalogy! It would be comparing apples to oranges! Moreover, in John 3:16, the most famous verse in The Bible, Jesus says “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” If the eternal torment view were true, no one would perish. EVERYONE would have eternal life. It would just be a matter of where one spends their eternal life. To paraphrase Chris Date, eternal torment view of Hell reduces the gospel to a matter of real estate. But the reality is that it is literally a matter of life and death. Traditionalists have to do a lot of illogical contortions to get around the obvious meaning of this text. A lot more could be said about this, and I cover it in “Yahweh’s Inferno: Why Scripture’s Teaching On Hell Does Not Impugn The Goodness Of God”. That book not only deals with this, but a plethora of objections to the doctrine of Hell, including the problem of the unevangelized which, based on the wording of a couple of parts of your comment, I think you struggle with. I say that because that’s usually the real reason why people have problem with Jesus being the only way to Heaven. And I totally get that.
            .
            And before I end my comment, let me just say that you are not the only one who has wrestled with what we find in the text with the morally perfect character of God. As I recount in my book, one of the major spells of doubt in my life (and there have been several) concerned the doctrine of Hell. Others concerned some of the seemingly harsh things God did in the Old Testament. But I found answers that satisfied my intellect. Not all apologists are created equal, and not all apologetics are created equal. I would recommend you spend time checking out resources like Cerebral Faith (you are here), Reasonable Faith (William Lane Craig’s ministry), CrossExamined, BioLogos, Inspiring Philosophy, and Capturing Christianity. They’re going to give much more logical (and more biblical) answers than the fundamentalist Calvinistic resources you mentioned like DesiringGod, GraceToYou, and CARM.

          5. Gordon

            “I suspect that this is an objection to Jesus being the only way to salvation. Is that correct?”
            As is presented by our teaching, yes, I do object to that, based off the assumed answers to the question: “What is Jesus’ name?” Yes, Jesus is the only way to the father, but is the church the only way to Jesus?
            Or in other words, (watch me go all poetical, because I’ve been thinking about this for years–)
            Is Jesus/ Ihesus/ Ἰησοῦς/ Yeshûâ‘/ Yehôshuâ‘ a group of over-used and heavily mutated syllables, derived from across several languages, connected to a Da Vinci painting that uses some sexy Italian as a model to represent the God-Man born in a barn off a Judaean suburb, whose trademark is owned by one of a couple of ex-puritan splinter denominations sawed off from the church’s cross by the protestant reformation’s wood-shredder off the rotting western half of the crossbar?
            Or is Jesus’ name his reputation, which has been slobbered on with blood, j**z, the cremated bone fragments of thought-criminals, the skulls of a thousand fake witches resting in the riverbed, and a mountain of children’s shoes behind the iron-wrought gate under the letters “ARBEIT MACHT FREI”, dusted with innumerable books eternally lost to time, turned to fuel for the Grand Inquisitor’s fireplace?
            If I am evangelized by those who have abused me, is it now the name of Jesus that has been openly slandered, my only way to heaven?
            Does the Moslem who obeys Jesus without knowing what Christians say about ‘Isa really have all their virtues counted as filth, while the well-churched family-man who beats his wife and touches his kids may waltz his way past the pearly gates with total impunity? Are we karma-houdinis because of our Jeezus-card?
            “What is this ‘repentance’ s**t anyways?” he says. “It’s all forgiven for me. The Bible says so! So what if I ‘slip up?’ I’m covered and God says so. You’re the one going to hell, not me!” He planned to live his life like this off insurance fraud and get by with a death-bed conversion at his last rites.
            Unfortunately for my grandfather, he went senile before this happened. He was stuck in the ’70s before he died. I was too young to remember, but he almost got me too.
            Or perhaps Jesus’ name is something that can be found without being evangelized by your abuser. Didn’t Paul say something similar when talking about circumcision?
            Some say that he is indeed unpunished because of the blood of Jesus. The universalist’s answer is that hell is purgatory, and the old man will be there paying it down for a lot of αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. Others say he was never saved, or elected, or regenerated, that his soul will burn like asbestos. I suspect hell is purgatory, and there won’t be anything left of him to salvage that isn’t dross and slag. What about the Moslem, though? His mosque and government are run by Muslims ranting about how evil the Jews are, while the Moslem is just hoping that Allah finds him useful. What does Jesus say to him at the door?

          6. Evan Minton

            I think you probably don’t know what is meant by “the name of Jesus”. The “name” in the cultures that produced The Bible was not a combination of syllables, but it was the presence and power of Yahweh. Michael Heiser has a whole section on this in his book “The Unseen Realm: Recovering The Supernatural Worldview Of The Bible.” This is called “Name Theology” in biblical scholarship. One example is in Exodus 23:21, where God says to Moses concerning The Angel Of The Lord that “Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since my Name is in him.”
            .
            I’m pretty sure God wasn’t telling Moses that The Angel of Lord would be carrying a big name tag that said “Yahweh Elohim”. That’s not what his “Name” being with him meant.
            .
            Likewise, when Peter says “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12), he isn’t referring to “Jesus/ Ihesus/ Ἰησοῦς/ Yeshûâ‘/ Yehôshuâ‘ a group of over-used and heavily mutated syllables, derived from across several languages,” He’s referring to the power of the second person of the Trinity.
            .
            \\”Does the Moslem who obeys Jesus without knowing what Christians say about ‘Isa really have all their virtues counted as filth, while the well-churched family-man who beats his wife and touches his kids may waltz his way past the pearly gates with total impunity? Are we karma-houdinis because of our Jeezus-card?”\\ — I would be suspiscious of the salvation of anyone who takes the attitude of the hypothetical (?) abuser of which you speak. The Bible teaches that if we truly love Jesus, we will strive to do His will. We will try to please Him rather than displease Him. Jesus said “If you love me, you will obey my commandments” (John 14:2) and He said “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.” (John 14:23) and the apostle John said in his first epistle “In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,” (1 John 5:3) John said in his second epistle “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” (2 John 1:6). So, if a person loves Jesus, he will do everything he can to make Him happy, and it will grieve him when he fails at
            that goal. If a person thinks he can just sin, and sin, and sin, and sin, and not make ANY effort to do better, thinking he can simply get off the hook with God by frequently saying “I’m sorry”, I would conclude that that person does not love Jesus, because if he did love Jesus, he wouldn’t take such a blasé approach to his sinful lifestyle.
            .
            This isn’t to deny that salvation is by faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), but rather a TRUE saving faith will produce results contrary to what you just described (see James 2). Even Satan believes God exists, and probably affirms all the other things in the ecumenical creeds as well. Yet Revelation 20:10 tells us of his fate. Anyone who treats Jesus as a sort of get-out-Hell free card that they can flash to the Father after living the most heinous life has neither understood the love of God nor the gospel, but is just trying to manipulate the system. God is omniscient. He can see right through that. “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”. – 1 Samuel 16:7
            .
            Both the Muslim AND the abuser are doomed without Christ. The abuser’s sins are clearly far worse than the Muslims’ so his damnation will be far far worse (he’ll suffer a lot more during the annihilation process – in other words, a far more violent execution), but both are imperfect sinners in need of Savior. Now, if the Muslim comes to Christ through a non-conventional method (e.g Jesus appears to him in a dream and the Muslim decides to follow him) he could get saved that way, even if he never meets an Evangelist. In fact, Dr. Craig and I were talking about this very thing on my live broadcast yesterday (see here). All of this is also covered in Yahweh’s Inferno.

          7. Gordon

            One more before I pry into your book.
            So the antinomian and the moslem are both doomed. That is well, but what of this gospel? What do we have now?
            If the only person who told me about Christ is one who raped me, am I at fault for rejecting the god associated with him in spite of a slight tingle from the Holy Spirit weakly tapping at the door to my heart? Has he damned me? What of the pious and unsatisfied moslem who was evangelized by an MH-60’s collateral damage?
            “I could go on a damning spree! I’ll take down as many souls with me to hell as I possibly can! God won’t stop me; he didn’t stop those who came before me.
            “All I gotta do it tell them about Jesus, and when they’ve been told, they have no choice but to believe, because if you reject the gospel after you hear it, you’re going to hell. They’re pinned. If my victim rejects Jesus because of my ripping her lungs out, I just jousted God’s plan and have sent her straight to hell. Jesus never says at the door, ‘I know you, though you don’t know me. Come inside and learn what you have missed.’ He only says ‘I never knew you,’ or ‘well done.'”
            The gospel is now a weapon, since Jesus has come and sealed off the way to heaven to all the righteous pagans who might have been invited by God before the crucifixion. But now, only those who seek God, traverse the narrow way, AND have the Jesus card are allowed in. This is the gospel, isn’t it? No, this is the fælspel. It is the bad news, and only bad news, not good news. Once you hear it, you’re trapped. Indeed, even if hell is destructive, and not as ridiculous as infinite torture, the gospel is still the only way to Jesus, the only way to the Father.
            What now? We control the gospel, and we control heaven.
            Believe or Burn.

          8. Evan Minton

            Do you mind if I ask you something? You’ve referred to a sexually abusive father in past comments, and in this one, made reference to a morbid description of telling someone about Jesus, ripping her lungs out, and then God damning her for rejecting Christ. I get the feeling that you were abused by someone (Father, grandfather?) and this has caused a deep feeling of anger and passionate hatred of God and Christianity. Is this correct?
            .
            Your comments both seem extremely specific, not to mention that your anger is just bursting through your written text.
            .
            I guess I would say, yes, you are responsible for rejecting the gospel. Jesus is the only way, and rejecting Him is rejecting the only means by which God can cleanse you from your sins. But you don’t need to respond to the gospel preached by someone who was an absolute scum bag. I’m sure you’ve had the gospel given to you by many good and decent people throughout your life. I do like to think I’m one of them. But since you don’t know me from Adam, that’s not really helpful. But besides that, Christianity is either true or false regardless of the moral character of those who proclaim it. I’ve been abused by Christians too. Not sexually, not in childhood, but I have been badly treated by those who claimed not only to be Christians but my friends! There was this one guy who cyber bullied me for two years straight and wrote a slanderous lying article about me on his blog. I finally confronted him and he took it down. Fortunately, I haven’t heard from him sense and I pray to God that I never do. But I’m a still a Christian? Why? Because it’s true! How do I know it’s true? Well, there are plenty of good arguments and evidence that it’s true. I’ve blogged, podcasted, and YouTubed about all of this for years. Someone once paraphrased Ghandi and said “If you like our Christ and not our Christians. Follow our Christ and not our Christians.”

          9. Gordon

            I am pushing and goading you to extremes, because, as you said, Jesus’ opinion of you when you die is indeed a matter of life and death, and because I have see and heard of theese extremes.
            I myself have not been abused in such a way, but I’ve seen what can happen to the gospel when it happens.
            I’ve come to conclude that Jesus being the only means more about following him, even if that person has never seen his face. I think those who have had Jesus blasphemed before them by the Christian’s actions are still unreached, therefore at Jesus’ mercy as any pagan from beyond the Gospel’s reach.
            I think Jesus might invite the Moslem to heaven, for the Moslem was been seeking Him his whole life, while the lawless Christian never loved Jesus at all, just as you say.
            I’ve come to believe that we spread the good news that samples the tree’s fruit, not the ultimatum of the altar call.
            Christianity is our celebration of God’s truth, that those who call on the authority of God for mercy shall be saved, not the boarding pass to heaven. That’s what faith in Christ must be. Nobodt knows everything.
            Imagine I was taught that “Lucifer” is the Christ and that “Jesus” is the Devil. Will I be told that because I got their names backwards I’m damned?
            Christianity’s supposed to be the key to figuring out How God reaches us and how he is merciful to us, not how we can access it. Otherwise, God is playing favorites.

          10. Evan Minton

            \\”I myself have not been abused in such a way, but I’ve seen what can happen to the gospel when it happens.”\\ — I’m glad to hear that. I was beginning to suspect that this might be an extremely emotionally charged issue for you than something you could dispassionately discuss, and that I should therefore shift from “Apologist Mode” to “Pastor Mode” as I like to call it.
            .
            \\”I think those who have had Jesus blasphemed before them by the Christian’s actions are still unreached, therefore at Jesus’ mercy as any pagan from beyond the Gospel’s reach.”\\ — I need not dispute this. But why think that that one horrible person is the only exposure to Jesus they’ll ever get? It may leave a sour taste in their mouth that will take some doing. It may, unfortunately, make them more resistant to the gospel. But when a kind soul comes into that person’s like and preaches the gospel by both their words *and* deeds, that person is no longer unreached, are they?
            .
            \\”I think Jesus might invite the Moslem to heaven, for the Moslem was been seeking Him his whole life, while the lawless Christian never loved Jesus at all, just as you say.”\\ — Well, it depends on whether this person heard the gospel and rejected it. I have said in my own writings of the topic of the unevangelized (chapter 7 of “Yahweh’s Inferno”) that God will judge people to what revelation they do have (nature – Romans 1:20, and conscience – Romans 2:14-15). But most Muslims are not like the primitive tribesman in a 4th world country who never even heard the gospel, or like a native American prior to Christian europeans coming on shore. Most of them have been exposed to both general AND special revelation.

          11. Gordon

            “But why think that that one horrible person is the only exposure to Jesus they’ll ever get?” Ultimately, yes, the only one that matters. Do you become friends with a man whose messenger rapes your daughter? kills your family? ruins your business? cheats on, divorces, and leaves you broke?
            “God will judge people to what revelation they do have”
            And therefore, believe or burn!
            I share the gospel with you, the highest revelation there is: you have no reason whatsoever to believe me because actions speak louder than words; if you reject the formula for a ticket to heaven, (among the many, many other formulæ from many more virtuous people,) you are then damned.

          12. Evan Minton

            I would become friends with a man who loves me so much that he was willing to be tortured and killed so that I could have eternal life in a renewed creation. And I would not turn him away because of evil people who *claimed* to know Him. And as I said before, such is not a hypothetical. I’ve been treated terribly by people who claimed to be Christians (and who claimed to be my friends). Though certainly no evil to extremes you’re listing. But even then, I wouldn’t blame God. I would conclude that anyone who would do that isn’t a Christian brother. Because I know my Bible. “By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” (1 John 3:10)
            .
            “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” – Matthew 7:21-23
            .
            Your objections continue to have no substance. You’re just emoting.

  4. Sam Burke

    “Who said God “gives” us the sin nature? Not only can I think of no scriptural support for that, but I can think of no theologian who would say that either. Not even Calvinists. The sin nature is inherited all the way back to Adam.”//-Who made the rule that if Adam and Eve at the apple they and their descendants would inherit a sinful nature?

    “But even then, although we are inclined to sin, we’re not forced to sin. 1 Corinthians 10:13 makes it clear that *whenever* we are tempted, God doesn’t allow us to be tempted beyond our capacity to resist. He gives us “A way of escape” so we can endure temptation and not give in.”//-That verse isn’t necessarily talking about non-Christians. It is a reassurance to a Christian church, it would actually make sense if they were offering them a way of escape that is not “common to man” to deal with the temptations that are “common to man.” It could go either way. But regardless, do you think that it is possible for people to be sinless their whole lives?

    “But the understanding the mechanics of sin and atonement do make God look less petty than the Reddit atheist likes to make him out to be.”//-Not really. Sacrificing yourself to yourself in order to allow yourself to forgive others is pretty petty and ridiculous. Why doesn’t he just pardon people if they repent like presidents and governors do? (The power is vested in the governor/president not the judge, so don’t bother with that analogy.) And why does he care if we have the exactly correct beliefs such as the trinity, Jesus, etc.?

    “God is not some petty tyrant. He is the Maximally Great Being who is deserving of our utmost devotion (i.e love and worship). And if one agrees that it is unjust not to give someone that which they deserve, then it logically follows that it is sinful to not give the Maximally Great Being your utmost devotion.”//-Assuming that he wants it. If he for example has a better reason to create humans then to spend eternity constantly worshipping him and thanking him, then it would make sense for humans to do that instead. It does seem hard to see why he would want that unless it has to do with ego. If I created intelligent ants with free will, conscience, etc., then it doesn’t follow that I want them to worship me, or that it would be unjust for me to do so. It would only be unjust if I want them to and they refuse. But me wanting them to would stem from a very strong ego, and it would be incredibly pathetic. If I created them for a relationship with me, why on earth would I want them to spend eternity worshiping me? That would be annoying to me, even though I have issues with pride.

    1. Evan Minton

      You wrote \\\”That verse isn’t necessarily talking about non-Christians. It is a reassurance to a Christian church, it would actually make sense if they were offering them a way of escape that is not “common to man” to deal with the temptations that are “common to man.” It could go either way. But regardless, do you think that it is possible for people to be sinless their whole lives?”\\\ — Yes, it is to Christians. One cannot neccesarily extract it to non-Christians. That’s why we have to look at other places in The Bible. And when we do that, we find places like Genesis 4, where God tells Cain basically “Hey look, you’ve got some vengeful feelings towards Cain rising up in you. Better take care of that before it drives you to do something bad” but he doesn’t, and he does something bad (kill his brother). That God even bothered to tell Cain implies that Cain’s murder of Abel wasn’t something God, neurophysiology, or even a sin nature compelled him to do. His sin of murder was not inevitable.
      .
      Later in the Old Testament, we have Deuteronomy 30:15-19 which has Moses saying to the Israelites See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” – Deuteronomy 30:15-19
      .
      In this passage, Moses was clearly giving the Israelites a choice to serve God or to serve idols. Now, the choice set before them is clearly a moral one; to worship Yahweh or commit idolatry. In this passage, Moses was saying “I set before you A and Non-A. I’d prefer it if you chose A”. If they did not have free will in an ability-to-do-otherwise, then Moses and consequently God, was lying.
      .
      Perhaps you’d include these Israelites in the body of believers since they are the people of Israel after all. Well, being part of that ethnic group didn’t necessarily make one regenerate. But let’s say they were. Let’s just fastforward in time to when we have Israel being heinous idol worshippers who burn their children in a fire to Molech like the Canaanites before them. By the time we get to the major prophets, we have God pleading with the people to turn from their wicked ways and live (e.g Ezekiel 18) which they evidently don’t do, resulting in the Babylonian exile. I don’t know about you, but I won’t call these Baal and Asherah and Molech worshippers true believers. But God’s constant pleaing with the apostate Israelites implies that they did not have to do what they were doing. They did not have to sin, they could have chosen not to sin. They could have chosen to worship Yahweh and cast aside their idols. So, looking beyond 1 Corinthians 10:13 we find that even non-Christians aren’t compelled by their sinful nature to sin.
      .
      \\\”Not really. Sacrificing yourself to yourself in order to allow yourself to forgive others is pretty petty and ridiculous. Why doesn’t he just pardon people if they repent like presidents and governors do?”\\\ — As I’ve told you before, I haven’t been able to study the atonement from a philosophical perspective as much as I’d like beyond a couple of William Lane Craig lectures. I don’t know the answer to this question. But I have faith that were an atoning sacrifice not necessary, God never would have done it. Jesus certainly didn’t want to. He asked the Father if there was another way and if they could do that instead (see Mark 14:36, Luke 22:42). Evidently, there wasn’t. However, God has always been able to forgive sin long before Jesus died. Jesus’ death had a retroactive effect to those who expressed believing loyalty in Yahweh in Old Testament times. If you haven’t read it, see my article “How Did People Get Saved Before Jesus Came?” —> https://cerebralfaith.net/how-did-people-get-saved-before-jesus/
      .
      But the atonement is largely unimportant to this discussion. Gordon brought it up, so I included it in the quote, but an understanding of the gravity of sin is what’s most important here. Answering questions like “What is sin to God and why does He take it so seriously?
      .
      \\\”Assuming that he wants it.”\\\ — There’s no assuming here. This is literally the first commandment (Exodus 20:3). God has revealed He wants worship. And exclusive worship at that. No other gods.
      .
      \\\”It does seem hard to see why he would want that unless it has to do with ego. If I created intelligent ants with free will, conscience, etc., then it doesn’t follow that I want them to worship me, or that it would be unjust for me to do so.”\\ — False equivalence fallacy. You aren’t the ground of reality, the hight and source of all that is good, the very reason anything other than yourself exists, nor do you have great making properties to the greatest extent possible; omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, moral perfection, necessary being. So of course we’d have no reason to expect your ants to worship you.
      .
      Now, why does God *want* worship? I would say it’s because as the ground of morality, the moral law giver, God wants us to do everything that is good and to refrain from what is evil. What is good is worshipping the highest good. As preachers often say (and they are quite correct), we all worship something. But God doesn’t want us worshipping lesser goods like money, sex, power, (in modern times) or created elohim (as in ancient times). He wants us to worship the greatest good, which is Himself. Worshipping the highest good is what’s best for us. But at a more fundamental level, God is deserving of it, and again, I think it’s unjust to deprive someone of something they deserve. Now maybe you disagree that God really is deserving of worship for some reason, but surely you would agree that if God deserved it, then it would immoral not to, right?
      .
      My point is that it has nothing to do with ego. It has to do with (1) Us appropriating our worship to the correct object, which would be the greatest good and not lesser goods (2) God desiring everyone to get what they deserve, including Himself. So I’ve just seen no good reason to doubt either premise in this article’s syllogism and until I do, I can’t get on board with the “God wants worship because He’s a narcissist” bandwagon.

  5. Sam Burke

    *Unjust for them to do so.

  6. Sam Burke

    *Unjust for them to not do so. Hopefully I have it right this time!!

  7. Sam Burke

    “Yes, it is to Christians. One cannot necessarily extract it to non-Christians. That’s why we have to look at other places in The Bible. And when we do that, we find places like Genesis 4, where God tells Cain basically “Hey look, you’ve got some vengeful feelings towards Cain rising up in you. Better take care of that before it drives you to do something bad” but he doesn’t, and he does something bad (kill his brother). That God even bothered to tell Cain implies that Cain’s murder of Abel wasn’t something God, neurophysiology, or even a sin nature compelled him to do. His sin of murder was not inevitable.”//-Ok, do you believe that a non-Christian can go their whole life without committing even one sin?

    “But the atonement is largely unimportant to this discussion. Gordon brought it up, so I included it in the quote, but an understanding of the gravity of sin is what’s most important here. Answering questions like ‘What is sin to God and why does He take it so seriously?'”//- Ok.

    “There’s no assuming here. This is literally the first commandment (Exodus 20:3). God has revealed He wants worship. And exclusive worship at that. No other gods.”//-Obviously I am aware that God wants it. What I am saying is that if he didn’t want it, it wouldn’t be unjust to not do it. So, you cannot use the idea that it is unjust to deprive God of something he deserves as an explanation of why he wants it. I would agree that showing gratitude is just independent of whether God particular wants it, at least occasionally.

    “False equivalence fallacy. You aren’t the ground of reality, the height and source of all that is good, the very reason anything other than yourself exists, nor do you have great making properties to the greatest extent possible; omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, moral perfection, necessary being. So of course we’d have no reason to expect your ants to worship you.”//-On the contrary, I would have reason to expect them to devote their lives to doing what I want, as I was the one who created them and to be grateful for what I am done. But if I don’t want them to, they have no such obligation, although justice would require being grateful to appreciate the good they have received. You are also missing my larger point my analogy is meant to make about justice.

    “Now, why does God *want* worship? I would say it’s because as the ground of morality, the moral law giver, God wants us to do everything that is good and to refrain from what is evil. What is good is worshipping the highest good. As preachers often say (and they are quite correct), we all worship something. But God doesn’t want us worshipping lesser goods like money, sex, power, (in modern times) or created elohim (as in ancient times). He wants us to worship the greatest good, which is Himself. Worshipping the highest good is what’s best for us.”//-I assume you are using worship to mean “give your highest devotion to.” People can obey the moral law, if they know it innately without worshiping its source, or even knowing where it came from. Why is it so important that people devote themselves to God rather then lesser goods? It’s probably good to devote yourself to God, but the assumption that we must be constantly devoted to the greatest good constantly is questionable. A possibly better argument might be that God would want a relationship with us, and that since loyalty is a virtue, he demands it. You could also argue that the relationship could not be egalitarian because God is much better then us and he is the ultimate authority anyway.

    1. Evan Minton

      You wrote \\\”Ok, do you believe that a non-Christian can go their whole life without committing even one sin?”\\\ — I believe every individual sin that comprises the sum total of sins committed in the lifetime could have been avoided. Does that mean the collection itself could have been avoided, I doubt it. But the latter has been used by a lot of Calvinists to argue that we don’t have the freedom to not sin. And that’s just fallacious. That’s the fallacy of composition, inferring something about the whole based on its parts. Just because an entire elephant may be heavy doesn’t imply every one of its constituent parts is heavy. Similarly, that sinning at point in some way is inevitable doesn’t mean all your sins are. And if you could have avoided all of them, then you are morally culpable for all of them.
      .
      You wrote \\\”Obviously I am aware that God wants it. What I am saying is that if he didn’t want it, it wouldn’t be unjust to not do it. So, you cannot use the idea that it is unjust to deprive God of something he deserves as an explanation of why he wants it.”\\\ — Ok, but my point in my last comment was that it would be problematic for God not to want it if He truly deserves it. If God were apathetic or even disdainful of receiving worship, when it’s rightfully His and when worshipping lesser goods cause us harm, then He would be unjust. He would either be ok with or desire that at least one person not getting what is rightfully theirs.
      .
      And if God were unjust, He wouldn’t be morally perfect, and if He weren’t morally perfect, He wouldn’t be maximally great.

      \\\”On the contrary, I would have reason to expect them to devote their lives to doing what I want, as I was the one who created them and to be grateful for what I am done. But if I don’t want them to, they have no such obligation, although justice would require being grateful to appreciate the good they have received.”\\\ — I think at minimum it would require that they be grateful to you for giving you life, but you would nowhere near be deserving of WORSHIP. Respect, maybe honor and gratitude, but worship? Should I worship my parents because they played a pivotal role in bringing me into being? No.
      .
      And again, you’re comparing a space-bound, time-bound, limited-in-power, limited-in-knowledge, morally flawed being like yourself to God and some lab ants to human creations. This just seems like an apples to oranges comparison. Being their maker would require the ants to be respectful of you and honor you like you might respect and honor your parents, but it wouldn’t entail full blown worship. God is different however, and for the reasons I gave. So if the ants were to start worshipping you and you told them “Please don’t do that”, then you’re right, it wouldn’t be unjust for them to do so. But that’s an entirely different and only vaguely similar situation to our relation to Yahweh Elohim.
      .
      Finally, if the moral law demands worshipping the moral law giver, because part of what we know of the law written on our hearts is that it’s unjust to deprive someone of something they deserve, then worshipping The Maximally Great Being, ground of all reality, would be a part of obeying the moral law. Indeed, Jesus said that “Loving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind” and “loving your neighbor as yourself” are the two greatest commandments (see Mark 12:28-31). And if you do these, you don’t have to worry about the rest. “The law and the prophets hang on these two commands”. If you perfectly obey these two commandments, you’ll just obey the rest naturally.
      .
      It makes sense when you think about it. If you love your neighbor to the same degree as yourself, you won’t kill him, you won’t steal from him, you won’t rape or molest him, or sleep with his wife, or do anything that would harm your fellow man in any way. If you love the Lord your God with all your heart, you’ll not commit idolatry, and you’ll want to obey the moral law (see John 14:5, John 14:23, 1 John 5:2-3). So it seems to me that worship (what else would loving someone with your entire being be defined as?) is one of the two commandments upon which perfectly obeying all of God’s moral laws hang upon. Not that we CAN do this perfectly, as I said in the first paragraph of this comment. I’ve tried being perfect. I can’t do it. Thank God that Jesus did it for me and is sanctifying me day by day! But theoretically, if you worshipped God and considered your neighbor’s wants and needs to the same degree as your own, and you did this perfectly, the moral law would be perfectly obeyed all the time. You wouldn’t have to keep a list of all of God’s “thou shalts” and “Thou shalt nots”. You’d just obey them as a consequence of those first two “greatest commandments”.
      .
      \\\”A possibly better argument might be that God would want a relationship with us, and that since loyalty is a virtue, he demands it. You could also argue that the relationship could not be egalitarian because God is much better then us and he is the ultimate authority anyway.”\\\ — I would agree that these could be additional reasons why He would want it. Yes.

  8. Sam Burke

    “Does that mean the collection itself could have been avoided, I doubt it. But the latter has been used by a lot of Calvinists to argue that we don’t have the freedom to not sin. And that’s just fallacious. That’s the fallacy of composition, inferring something about the whole based on its parts. Just because an entire elephant may be heavy doesn’t imply every one of its constituent parts is heavy. Similarly, that sinning at point in some way is inevitable doesn’t mean all your sins are. And if you could have avoided all of them, then you are morally culpable for all of them.”//-Two points, first if people are doomed to sin eventually, it implies that God has rigged this life against people. Second, the fallacy of composition charge is nonsense. It is completely incoherent for someone to have to sin at some point in their lifetime, while not being made to sin at any point. To illustrate this, lets simplify it to 10 sins. If you have to sin after being tempted 10 times, if you haven’t sinned after 9 times, you have to sin the tenth time. The same principle would apply to 10,000, a million, or a trillion sins. (Wrongly) accusing someone of committing the fallacy of composition doesn’t make the problem go away.

    “Ok, but my point in my last comment was that it would be problematic for God not to want it if He truly deserves it. If God were apathetic or even disdainful of receiving worship, when it’s rightfully His and when worshipping lesser goods cause us harm, then He would be unjust. He would either be ok with or desire that at least one person not getting what is rightfully theirs.” My position is very simple: it would be unjust to not give him worship if he wanted it. Hypothetically, if he doesn’t want it, why would it be unjust to not give it to him?

    I will drop the ant-analogy because it isn’t helping.

    The rest of your comment stands or falls depending on whether on not the previous arguments of this comment stand.

    1. Evan Minton

      We’re back to the whole rigged argument I see. Like I’ve said in past discussions, I don’t think removing the sin nature would make that much of a difference. Of the enemies Christians have to face, we’d still have the world and the devil. We’d have a plethora of sinful people who would be a bad influence on us, and we would have unseen supernatural enemies bent on our destruction.
      .
      Let’s not forget that Adam and Eve fell because Satan tempted them, not because they were inherently inclined to disobey God. Would not having a sinful nature really make avoiding sin for a lifetime possible? I’m skeptical that it would.
      .
      I also think that we need to stop thinking of “The sin nature” as some magic force inside of us. We should think of sinfulness as an character trait, a part of our personality, like any other. A person who has character trait X as a part of who they are will find it difficult to *consistently* act contrary to X. They certainly can, but it will require a lot of work. But if they can purge X from their personality, then acting contrary to X will be easier.
      .
      So for example, a person who is naturally kind will find acting consistently cruel difficult. They will have to kill their heart of gold if they want to be a monster. I’m thinking right now of some anime characters who found their good personality traits to be a hinderance to obtaining power and strength. Some of them later found that those traits were actually what made them strong to begin with. Now, these folks were trying to act contrary to their nature in the other direction – good to bad. But the point is that you have to change yourself if you want to be *consistently* good or bad, rather than occasionally one or the other.
      .
      In my own life – and this is also the testimony of others – I have found that praying for the people who are my enemies is usually difficult at first, but overtime, through repetitious action, my heart softens towards them. I begin to actually care for these people.
      .
      I think this is why God deals with our sinfulness via the process of sanctification. Since the sin nature is not some magic force controlling us that God can simply extract like a tumor, but is actually a part of **who we are**, God cannot just simply *take* the sin nature away. He’s got to change it away in the hearts of those who yield to them.
      .
      You wrote \\\”Second, the fallacy of composition charge is nonsense. It is completely incoherent for someone to have to sin at some point in their lifetime, while not being made to sin at any point. To illustrate this, lets simplify it to 10 sins. If you have to sin after being tempted 10 times, if you haven’t sinned after 9 times, you have to sin the tenth time. The same principle would apply to 10,000, a million, or a trillion sins.”\\\ — I see a modal fallacy committed here. It confuses “would” with “could”. Theoretically, since every sin in the collection of sins we commit could have been avoided (1 Corinthians 10:13, Genesis 4), the entire collection could have been avoided. There is no force that makes us commit any sin at any point. But inevitably, I think one born into this world eventually will sin.
      .
      Perhaps using death as an analogy will help. We all agree that death is inevitable, right? We’re all going to die someday. But does that mean that whatever kills me couldn’t have been avoided (with the exception of extremely old age)? If I die from a bus accident, a murder, or high cholesterol, does that mean that it was impossible for me to have avoided dying at that specific time? Of course not. Had I not been on the bus when it crashed, had I been able to run faster than the guy with a knife, or if I took better care of my heart, I would have been able to live a little longer. Just because death is inevitable, that doesn’t entail that every cause of death was inevitable (again excepting old age). Likewise, that it’s inevitable that a person will sin doesn’t mean that any particular sin he commits was inevitable.
      .
      Put another way, just because he could avoid all temptations doesn’t mean he would. So, no, it’s not that “you avoided sin 9 times and now you HAVE to sin the 10th time.” That would imply that he couldn’t resist the 10th time. He could avoid all 10 times, but he wouldn’t. He would give in at least once.
      .
      Now, back to the topic of God desiring worship. My position is simple: God would be immoral if he deserved worship but was ok with people not giving it to him. He would be ok with someone not getting what they’re entitled to (in this case, Himself).
      .
      Perhaps another syllogism will help.
      1: It is immoral to not give someone that which they deserve.
      2: God deserves worship.
      3: Therefore, it is immoral to not worship God.
      4: A perfectly good God would want not want people to do anything immoral – like depriving people of what they deserve – to occur.
      5: Therefore, a perfectly good God would desire people to worship Him.
      .
      3 follows from 1 and 2. 5 follows from 1 and 4. This is my argument, and I think I’ve made a good case for all of the premises. Premise 2 asserts that God deserves worship. What God deserves is not dependent on what God wants. Actually, there are a lot of cases in which what any individual deserves is not dependent on what they want. If I work a whole week for someone, I deserve my paycheck whether I care about getting paid or not. If a man commits a murder, he deserves either the death penalty or life in prison regardless of whether or not he wants to die. God inherently deserves worship, whether He would want it or not. But being a good God, He wants EVERYONE to get what they deserve. He doesn’t except Himself from this.
      .
      As I was thinking about this conversation, I discovered perhaps the most powerful objection to my argument, one that made me thing I ought to just abandon it, one that should have been obvious, and that is *drum roll* The forgiveness of God. If God is so adamant about everyone getting what they deserve, then why isn’t reverse universalism true (i.e everyone goes to Hell and no one goes to Heaven?). Reverse Universalism is obviously false, so that can’t be the solution. If we say that God makes exceptions, then you can rightfully ask “Well, why doesn’t God make an exception regarding his right to be worshipped?” If we deny premise 1 entirely, then the whole argument falls apart because we both know that for an argument to be sound, EVERY premise must be true.
      .
      I spent probably 30 minutes wracking my brain over this issue. In puzzling over it (whether the argument can be salvaged or whether I should throw it in the trash), it occurred to me that it may indeed be ok to not give someone what they deserve sometimes. It may be ok to deprive someone of what they deserve if and only if there are overriding reasons for making the exception.
      .
      We all deserve God’s wrath because of our sins. But Jesus paid the penalty on our behalf on the cross because He loves us. Since Jesus paid the penalty, if anyone believes in Him, Christ will be registered as their substitute. Jesus would have paid the fine, so to speak. Now, even though we technically would still deserve damnation, it would be immoral for God to damn us. Why? Because making Reverse Universalism true would make Jesus’ atoning death pointless. God The Son would have subjected Himself to suffering all for naught. This truly would be double jeopardy. Because if I have faith in Christ, then His death is registered to my account. It is as though I’ve served the sentence my sins deserve. If God goes ahead and punishes me, He would be punishing my sins twice over. To avoid the immoral judgment of double jeopardy, God pardons those whose sins are covered by the blood of Christ. Double Jeopardy doesn’t entail universal salvation though, because Christ’s death is only reckoned to people upon faith. Recall my soap analogy in my blog post “Responding To The Double Payment Argument”, where I deal with the Calvinist arguing that if Jesus died for all, then either all must be saved or else God is punishing sins twice.
      .
      In this case, I’m arguing that double jeopardy would indeed follow if God the Son died for the sins of anyone, and then that person has his sins paid for by coming to faith, but then God sends him to Hell anyway. He does deserves damnation. The fact that Jesus died in his place doesn’t change that fact. Jesus got what I deserved and now I won’t. But now, if God were to send me to Hell, He would be judging my sins twice, and that’s unjust. So in the case of damnation, this would be a morally justified exception to giving someone what they deserve.
      .
      Now the question is; can any overriding reasons be found for depriving God of worship? Are there any reasons that would make refusal to give God what He deserves a “morally justified exception”? I can’t think of any, but maybe you can.
      .
      I apologize for the essay, but after coming up with an objection to my own argument, I thought I would bring it up and then respond to it. I really love our discussions. It makes me think. I might not have even encountered that glaringly obvious rebuttal if we didn’t have this conversation. This is because something I typed caused it to dawn on me. I’m looking forward to hear your thoughts.

  9. Sam Burke

    “We’re back to the whole rigged argument I see. Like I’ve said in past discussions, I don’t think removing the sin nature would make that much of a difference. Of the enemies Christians have to face, we’d still have the world and the devil. We’d have a plethora of sinful people who would be a bad influence on us, and we would have unseen supernatural enemies bent on our destruction.

    Let’s not forget that Adam and Eve fell because Satan tempted them, not because they were inherently inclined to disobey God. Would not having a sinful nature really make avoiding sin for a lifetime possible? I’m skeptical that it would.”//-Well, 2/3rds of the angels did not fall, so some created entities apparently can avoid sinning. Perhaps this was due to not having as many temptations. I mean, you can rig the situation by giving someone so many temptations that it is impossible, or virtually impossible to avoid sinning. That isn’t any better then having a sin nature that does the same thing.

    “I also think that we need to stop thinking of “The sin nature” as some magic force inside of us. We should think of sinfulness as an character trait, a part of our personality, like any other. A person who has character trait X as a part of who they are will find it difficult to *consistently* act contrary to X. They certainly can, but it will require a lot of work. But if they can purge X from their personality, then acting contrary to X will be easier.”//-I wasn’t thinking that the sin nature is a magic force, I think of it as either a predisposition or a moral inability, or a sort of corrupting tint or stain in an otherwise pure human nature.

    “I see a modal fallacy committed here. It confuses “would” with “could”. Theoretically, since every sin in the collection of sins we commit could have been avoided (1 Corinthians 10:13, Genesis 4), the entire collection could have been avoided. There is no force that makes us commit any sin at any point. But inevitably, I think one born into this world eventually will sin.”//-I am getting a bit tired of being wrongly accused of logical fallacies. I was under the impression that you were saying that we have to sin. I have seen your discussions with Calvinists, and you agreed that people are not able to perfectly obey God’s law. A Pelagian could perfectly agree that everyone will sin eventually, as God foresees this and Kerrigan Skelly at least believes this. (See his video “Why I am not an Open Theist”) I don’t even know why you bothered to mention the series, if you meant would. Why don’t you just say that God knows that everyone will sin? Do you mean that God knows that you will sin in any possible world when you have a certain amount of chances?

    “Now, back to the topic of God desiring worship. My position is simple: God would be immoral if he deserved worship but was ok with people not giving it to him. He would be ok with someone not getting what they’re entitled to (in this case, Himself).

    Perhaps another syllogism will help.
    1: It is immoral to not give someone that which they deserve.
    2: God deserves worship.
    3: Therefore, it is immoral to not worship God.
    4: A perfectly good God would want not want people to do anything immoral – like depriving people of what they deserve – to occur.
    5: Therefore, a perfectly good God would desire people to worship Him.

    3 follows from 1 and 2. 5 follows from 1 and 4. This is my argument, and I think I’ve made a good case for all of the premises. Premise 2 asserts that God deserves worship. What God deserves is not dependent on what God wants. Actually, there are a lot of cases in which what any individual deserves is not dependent on what they want. If I work a whole week for someone, I deserve my paycheck whether I care about getting paid or not. If a man commits a murder, he deserves either the death penalty or life in prison regardless of whether or not he wants to die. God inherently deserves worship, whether He would want it or not. But being a good God, He wants EVERYONE to get what they deserve. He doesn’t except Himself from this.”//-The murder example is irrelevant, because punishment is not a right. The wages argument would imply that letting someone do volunteer work for you is wrong. Thus, I would only accept premise 2 if you changed it to “God deserves worship if wants it.”

    “As I was thinking about this conversation, I discovered perhaps the most powerful objection to my argument, one that made me thing I ought to just abandon it, one that should have been obvious, and that is *drum roll* The forgiveness of God. If God is so adamant about everyone getting what they deserve, then why isn’t reverse universalism true (i.e everyone goes to Hell and no one goes to Heaven?). Reverse Universalism is obviously false, so that can’t be the solution. If we say that God makes exceptions, then you can rightfully ask “Well, why doesn’t God make an exception regarding his right to be worshipped?” If we deny premise 1 entirely, then the whole argument falls apart because we both know that for an argument to be sound, EVERY premise must be true.

    I spent probably 30 minutes wracking my brain over this issue. In puzzling over it (whether the argument can be salvaged or whether I should throw it in the trash), it occurred to me that it may indeed be ok to not give someone what they deserve sometimes. It may be ok to deprive someone of what they deserve if and only if there are overriding reasons for making the exception.”//-I would agree, such as God genuinely not wanting worship because having a lower being spend eternity groveling to him would seem pathetic.

    “We all deserve God’s wrath because of our sins. But Jesus paid the penalty on our behalf on the cross because He loves us. Since Jesus paid the penalty, if anyone believes in Him, Christ will be registered as their substitute. Jesus would have paid the fine, so to speak. Now, even though we technically would still deserve damnation, it would be immoral for God to damn us. Why? Because making Reverse Universalism true would make Jesus’ atoning death pointless. God The Son would have subjected Himself to suffering all for naught. This truly would be double jeopardy. Because if I have faith in Christ, then His death is registered to my account. It is as though I’ve served the sentence my sins deserve. If God goes ahead and punishes me, He would be punishing my sins twice over. To avoid the immoral judgment of double jeopardy, God pardons those whose sins are covered by the blood of Christ. Double Jeopardy doesn’t entail universal salvation though, because Christ’s death is only reckoned to people upon faith. Recall my soap analogy in my blog post “Responding To The Double Payment Argument”, where I deal with the Calvinist arguing that if Jesus died for all, then either all must be saved or else God is punishing sins twice.

    In this case, I’m arguing that double jeopardy would indeed follow if God the Son died for the sins of anyone, and then that person has his sins paid for by coming to faith, but then God sends him to Hell anyway. He does deserves damnation. The fact that Jesus died in his place doesn’t change that fact. Jesus got what I deserved and now I won’t. But now, if God were to send me to Hell, He would be judging my sins twice, and that’s unjust. So in the case of damnation, this would be a morally justified exception to giving someone what they deserve.”//-I have two things to say:

    1. We would not deserve to have someone relieve us of the penalty we deserve. Thus, even if Jesus could reasonably take our penalty upon us, it would be unjust of him to take on our guilt, as we do not deserve to have it relieved.

    2. We have discussed your refutation of the Calvinists Double Payment argument before. The problem with the soap analogy is that it fails on the crucial point. The Calvinist is objecting that under the view that Jesus died for everyone, the sins of the damned are punished (“washed”) twice. Jesus doesn’t merely offer to be punished for your sins, no he is punished for them even if you don’t accept it. In order for the soap analogy to work, you would have to directly wash the sins of the dirty person, (not just offer them a bar of soap) and then demand they take a second bath if they don’t “accept” you giving them the bath you have already given them. The Calvinist would then be asking, why does the person need a second bath if they have already been washed clean?

    “I apologize for the essay, but after coming up with an objection to my own argument, I thought I would bring it up and then respond to it. I really love our discussions. It makes me think. I might not have even encountered that glaringly obvious rebuttal if we didn’t have this conversation. This is because something I typed caused it to dawn on me. I’m looking forward to hear your thoughts.”//-I don’t mind essays, although it may mean I will take me a while to sit down and respond to the whole thing. I am glad our conversations have helped you think, our conversations have had the same effect on me. I have learned to think a lot more logically and rigorously over the last few years.

    1. Evan Minton

      1: But also remember that a third of the angels did fell. That may not seem like much, but it’s a lot. How much of a lot is unknown. The total number of the heavenly host given in the Bible is not given, leading to speculation. If the total number of angels were say, 2 billion, then 1 third of the angels would be 666666666.667. If there’s only 9,000, then 1 third would be 3,000. However you slice it, the sum total of rebellious angels would be quite large relative to the sum total.
      .
      But would being in an environment really be a “rigged” situation? I really doubt it. Yesterday before I commented, I came up with a thought experiment (which I elected not to include in my previous comment for the sake of length) where people were not born with situations, but were born completely clean slates like on a Pelagian framework. But because all of them are born into a world of people who obtained their sinful nature sometime after birth, and people everywhere are sinning, they are surrounded by temptations left and right. These people will most likely not be able to go their whole lives without sinning. Now despite not having a sin nature right from the get-go, having as much autonomous free will as Adam, you’d STILL say they were set up? Really? This is one of those times where I think God just can’t win with you. He’s damned if He does and damned if He doesn’t. The only alternative I can think of is remove the system of free will entirely and just force everyone to do the right thing all the time. But of course, we’ve had enough discussions for me to know that you’re aware of the problems I find with that.
      .
      For me, it is enough that a person is able to not commit a sin. And if they do, then they’re culpable for it, and need to repent or else perish.
      .
      2: Ok. I wasn’t saying you did, but a lot of people seem to think of it that way, even Christians (Self included). We tend to think of it as like an evil supernatural parasite living inside us. When the sad reality is, it’s who we are.
      .
      3: My apologies. I didn’t mean to upset you. I had thought the misperception was due to poor communication on my part, not any fault in your own intellect. But I did mean “would” instead of “could” this whole time. But often we use modal language even when we don’t really mean we have no ability to do the thing we say we can or can’t do. Like when a man says to his young daughter “I can’t play with you now, I have work to do.” he doesn’t mean that he is physically or mentally unable to leave his desk and pick up a doll. Sometimes we use modal language colloquially and I had wondered if some of what I wrote in the past possibly muddied the waters, resulting in a modal fallacy.
      .
      But no, I’m not saying “We HAVE TO sin.” but that “We will certainly sin.” And it will be extremely difficult for us not to because it’s who we are. We’re fighting against our own flawed character. Praise be to God that He hasn’t left us to do it alone. He proves the “way of escape” (1 Corinthians 10:13), and empowers us by His Spirit to overcome temptation.
      .
      4: Worship Of God – \\”The murder example is irrelevant, because punishment is not a right. The wages argument would imply that letting someone do volunteer work for you is wrong. Thus, I would only accept premise 2 if you changed it to ‘God deserves worship if wants it.’”\\ — I guess we fundamentally disagree then about the nature of what it means for someone to “deserve” something. I for one think someone can deserve something whether they want it or not. I just don’t see the force of your argument. :-/
      .
      \\”I would agree, such as God genuinely not wanting worship because having a lower being spend eternity groveling to him would seem pathetic.”\\ — Wow. So evidently you think Christians are pathetic grovelers? I’m “groveling” when I worship God from the praise prayers out of the prayer book my Anglican friend gave me or when I sing along with “How Great Is Our God” on Amazon Music Unlimited? That’s a little insulting. It seems to me that there’s nothing aberrant about maximally admiring the maximally admirable.

      5:
      Reverse Universalism, The Atonement, And Sinners Deserving Death
      .
      Your first point of response is something I’m not equipped to handle, since the philosophy of the atonement is something I’ve only dabbled in. I hate that, but that is the outcome of being a finite being only able to deeply study but so many subjects at any given time. All I do can at this point is fall back on my faith that “The judge of all the Earth will do what is right” (Genesis 18:25). As much as I hate doing that, at some point one has to say that they don’t know how to explain or make sense of a certain part of their worldview. And that’s ok as long as I have good arguments and evidence to believe the overall worldview is true. All of my other objections to Christianity have been answered over the past 10 years of intellectually engaging my faith, so I’m confident that whenever I get around to digging deeper into this subject, it will too. I have faith that the atoning work of Christ is not unjust. That it somehow in some way manages to wash away my sins and the sins of all who put their faith in Him. It’s a faith, but it’s a reasonable faith. I think of it as like an unexplained anomaly in a scientific theory that is otherwise firmly established (i.e has loads of evidence for it elsewhere).
      .
      With regards to your second point, I think both you and the Calvinist misunderstands how the non-Calvinist views penal substitution. Jesus was not punished for specific sins, but for sins generally. Let me put it this way; Christ died for all sin; that is, His sacrifice was completely sufficient to pay for the sins of the entire world. But Jesus wasn’t dying for the specific sin of say, King David murdering Uriah or someone in the 21st century viewing pornography. And here, yeah, the soap analogy breaks down. Because in this case, you’d have someone taking a bath in the place of all dirty people, but not bathing to get rid of specific kinds of filth. And taking a bath on someone else’ behalf doesn’t really make any sense.
      .
      In the case of generalized atonement, perhaps the fine analogy works better. Jesus is like a billionaire that cashes a check big enough to cover any given debts you might owe, whether you’re drowning in credit card debt, can’t pay your property taxes, or owe some gangster thug a lot of money. All you need to do is accept the cash and you can pay for any specific debt you may owe rather than face the consequences of not paying them. The amount of money you’ll receive is big enough to cover it.

  10. Sam Burke

    “But would being in an environment really be a “rigged” situation? I really doubt it. Yesterday before I commented, I came up with a thought experiment (which I elected not to include in my previous comment for the sake of length) where people were not born with situations, but were born completely clean slates like on a Pelagian framework. But because all of them are born into a world of people who obtained their sinful nature sometime after birth, and people everywhere are sinning, they are surrounded by temptations left and right. These people will most likely not be able to go their whole lives without sinning. Now despite not having a sin nature right from the get-go, having as much autonomous free will as Adam, you’d STILL say they were set up? Really? This is one of those times where I think God just can’t win with you. He’s damned if He does and damned if He doesn’t. The only alternative I can think of is remove the system of free will entirely and just force everyone to do the right thing all the time. But of course, we’ve had enough discussions for me to know that you’re aware of the problems I find with that.”//-What I was referring to is the possibility that God could give everyone only a few temptations, rather then hundreds of thousands, millions or however many people on earth go through.

    “My apologies. I didn’t mean to upset you. I had thought the misperception was due to poor communication on my part, not any fault in your own intellect. But I did mean “would” instead of “could” this whole time. But often we use modal language even when we don’t really mean we have no ability to do the thing we say we can or can’t do. Like when a man says to his young daughter “I can’t play with you now, I have work to do.” he doesn’t mean that he is physically or mentally unable to leave his desk and pick up a doll. Sometimes we use modal language colloquially and I had wondered if some of what I wrote in the past possibly muddied the waters, resulting in a modal fallacy.”//-It’s fine, it’s just that if it’s a clarification issue, that would be a misunderstanding not a fallacy. It genuinely seemed to me that you thought people have to sin, for the reasons I explained earlier.
    .
    But no, I’m not saying “We HAVE TO sin.” but that “We will certainly sin.” And it will be extremely difficult for us not to because it’s who we are. We’re fighting against our own flawed character. Praise be to God that He hasn’t left us to do it alone. He proves the “way of escape” (1 Corinthians 10:13), and empowers us by His Spirit to overcome temptation.”//-Ok.

    “I guess we fundamentally disagree then about the nature of what it means for someone to “deserve” something. I for one think someone can deserve something whether they want it or not. I just don’t see the force of your argument.”//-I don’t deny that someone can deserve something whether they want it or not. It’s just that this applies to bad things. If someone deserves a good thing, how would it be just to give it to them despite their expressed opposition to it?

    “Wow. So evidently you think Christians are pathetic grovelers? I’m “groveling” when I worship God from the praise prayers out of the prayer book my Anglican friend gave me or when I sing along with “How Great Is Our God” on Amazon Music Unlimited? That’s a little insulting. It seems to me that there’s nothing aberrant about maximally admiring the maximally admirable.”//-Well, I don’t see anything wrong with admiring God, but I see the idea of an infinite intelligence wanting beings so much lower then him to constantly admire him as pathetic, yes. I don’t tend to see it as pathetic for Christians to worship, but I do see it as pathetic for God to want Christians to constantly worship him, yes.

    “Your first point of response is something I’m not equipped to handle, since the philosophy of the atonement is something I’ve only dabbled in. I hate that, but that is the outcome of being a finite being only able to deeply study but so many subjects at any given time. All I do can at this point is fall back on my faith that “The judge of all the Earth will do what is right” (Genesis 18:25). As much as I hate doing that, at some point one has to say that they don’t know how to explain or make sense of a certain part of their worldview. And that’s ok as long as I have good arguments and evidence to believe the overall worldview is true. All of my other objections to Christianity have been answered over the past 10 years of intellectually engaging my faith, so I’m confident that whenever I get around to digging deeper into this subject, it will too. I have faith that the atoning work of Christ is not unjust. That it somehow in some way manages to wash away my sins and the sins of all who put their faith in Him. It’s a faith, but it’s a reasonable faith. I think of it as like an unexplained anomaly in a scientific theory that is otherwise firmly established (i.e has loads of evidence for it elsewhere).”//-Ok.

    “With regards to your second point, I think both you and the Calvinist misunderstands how the non-Calvinist views penal substitution. Jesus was not punished for specific sins, but for sins generally. Let me put it this way; Christ died for all sin; that is, His sacrifice was completely sufficient to pay for the sins of the entire world. But Jesus wasn’t dying for the specific sin of say, King David murdering Uriah or someone in the 21st century viewing pornography. And here, yeah, the soap analogy breaks down. Because in this case, you’d have someone taking a bath in the place of all dirty people, but not bathing to get rid of specific kinds of filth. And taking a bath on someone else’ behalf doesn’t really make any sense.

    In the case of generalized atonement, perhaps the fine analogy works better. Jesus is like a billionaire that cashes a check big enough to cover any given debts you might owe, whether you’re drowning in credit card debt, can’t pay your property taxes, or owe some gangster thug a lot of money. All you need to do is accept the cash and you can pay for any specific debt you may owe rather than face the consequences of not paying them. The amount of money you’ll receive is big enough to cover it.”//-So, Jesus died for sin in general, how does that make sense? How can you die for sin in general?

    1. Evan Minton

      \\\”What I was referring to is the possibility that God could give everyone only a few temptations, rather then hundreds of thousands, millions or however many people on earth go through.” – I think that would be difficult to do in a world with free creatures (not just other humans who could tempt you, but evil spiritual beings). Sin nature aside, I think God would have to be constantly intervening to keep you from exceeding an X number of temptations. Kind of reminds me of those old cartoons where someone had to constantly intervene to keep a sleep walker from getting seriously injured. God would be like “Uh oh. This sexy woman is about to hit that married man over there. I’d better strike her down so she doesn’t tempt him to commit adultery because he’s already been tempted to do different sins like, 10 times today.”
      .
      Moreover, I have to question the ability of us humans to know exactly how many tempting situations is too many. Assuming there is a number where it would be fair for God to permit us to be tempted, and unfair if that number were exceeded, (1) what is that number, and (2) how do you know God hasn’t actualized a world that number is met?
      .
      And why think of it in terms of a numbers game? Maybe it’s more of the STRENGTH of the temptation that matters, such as what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:13 – you won’t be tempted in such a powerful way that it will be impossible for you to do anything but cave into the pressure.

      You wrote \\”It’s fine, it’s just that if it’s a clarification issue, that would be a misunderstanding not a fallacy. It genuinely seemed to me that you thought people have to sin, for the reasons I explained earlier.”\\ — Well, actually, you can commit a fallacy because you misunderstood, at least I think so. Take the straw man fallacy for example. I’ve committed this fallacy before, but I’ve never done it on purpose. As soon as someone told me “This is not what I believe, I believe X”, I apologize, try to get as clear as I can (e.g I repeat the argument back my opponent and say “Did I get it right this time?”) and then proceed to knock down the real argument. Of course, straw men can also be attacked on purpose (like in a political debate where two candidates are grabbing for power), but I think in most discussions the fallacy is committed innocently.
      .
      I tend to think of fallacies as simple mistakes in reasoning, and who makes a mistake on purpose?

      \\”I don’t deny that someone can deserve something whether they want it or not. It’s just that this applies to bad things. If someone deserves a good thing, how would it be just to give it to them despite their expressed opposition to it?”\\ — Why think that though? If we were discussing the issue of people *deserving* X, Y, or Z outside of the context of this discussion, would you really take that stance? If God never even entered the discussion would you still say that…for example… a murderer deserves capital punishment even if he doesn’t want to die, BUT…a woman doesn’t necessarily deserve to be treated like a human being instead of a sex object even if she gets pleasure out of being demeaned?
      On the one hand we have

      1: A murderer deserves capital punishment — something bad.
      2: A woman deserves to be treated as a human being and not a sex object — something good.

      And because the second example is good, then she doesn’t necessarily deserve to be treated with respect unless she actually desired to be respected.
      This just seems like a dubious position to take.
      .
      \\\”So, Jesus died for sin in general, how does that make sense? How can you die for sin in general?”\\\ — Good question. But how could Jesus die for specific sins of mine and get me off the hook? Beats me. I’m sure God knows, and I’m content with that for now.

  11. Sam Burke

    “I think that would be difficult to do in a world with free creatures (not just other humans who could tempt you, but evil spiritual beings). Sin nature aside, I think God would have to be constantly intervening to keep you from exceeding an X number of temptations. Kind of reminds me of those old cartoons where someone had to constantly intervene to keep a sleep walker from getting seriously injured. God would be like ‘Uh oh. This sexy woman is about to hit that married man over there. I’d better strike her down so she doesn’t tempt him to commit adultery because he’s already been tempted to do different sins like, 10 times today.'”//-10 times a day? I wasn’t thinking that many times in a lifetime!! I was thinking something along the lines of having one temptation like Adam and Eve did, and if they choose not to eat the apple (I know Genesis doesn’t specify that its an apple, but its how I have generally heard the story told, I like that version…it’s fine) then they choose God. If they fail, this would be given other options to repent and accept Jesus.

    “Moreover, I have to question the ability of us humans to know exactly how many tempting situations is too many. Assuming there is a number where it would be fair for God to permit us to be tempted, and unfair if that number were exceeded, (1) what is that number, and (2) how do you know God hasn’t actualized a world that number is met?”//-Continuum fallacy. Not being able to draw an exact line between what is an acceptable and unacceptable amount of temptation doesn’t mean that I cannot see the clear cut cases where there is too much temptation, or what would be small enough. You may as well argue that it is impossible to give an exact number of hairs that are required for you to have a beard, (one hair won’t do it, two hairs won’t, three hairs won’t…) so beards don’t exist. Other examples of this fallacy include saying that the categories of day and night don’t exist because the line between day and night at certain points during the sunset and sunrise are not clear. Or saying that the biological classifications of male and female don’t exist, or aren’t relevant, because some intersex people are hard to put in either category and its hard to draw an exact line. See here: https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Continuum_fallacy

    “Why think that though? If we were discussing the issue of people *deserving* X, Y, or Z outside of the context of this discussion, would you really take that stance? If God never even entered the discussion would you still say that…for example… a murderer deserves capital punishment even if he doesn’t want to die, BUT…a woman doesn’t necessarily deserve to be treated like a human being instead of a sex object even if she gets pleasure out of being demeaned?”//-Let’s divide good things people deserve into two classifications. 1. Things that people deserve that can be waived. 2. Things that cannot. I would argue that giving someone the praise they deserve falls into 1. If I do you a huge favor, and I ask you not to praise me for it, it would not be unjust for you to not do so. Yes, I am aware that humans and God are not the same, but the basic rule about praise should still apply.

    1. Evan Minton

      Only once in a lifetime? Well, that just compounds the problem even worse if God wants a world with free creatures. He’d have to keep all of the demons pinned down 99.99999% of the time. Humans too, since we can (whether intentionally or unintentionally) tempt each other to do sin. If Bob is going to break out the champaign in front of his friend who’s a recovering alcoholic, God would have supernaturally burst the bottle to keep Bob’s friend from doing the sin of drunkeness again (Galatians 5:21).
      .
      The continuum fallacy. I don’t think I committed that fallacy. I didn’t say there was no line to be drawn, or that you could never get there, I merely asked how you knew God created a world where that line was crossed. Asking a couple of questions is not fallacious. Because as Cameron Bertuzzi often says “Questions aren’t arguments” and a Clinton Wilcox is apt to remind us, only arguments can be fallacious. The questions asked were (1) How many times are too many times and (2) How do we know God hasn’t created a world where we haven’t exceeded the number? In light of your most recent comment, question 1 has been answered. I now know that you see more than once to be excessive.
      .
      You wrote \\”Let’s divide good things people deserve into two classifications. 1. Things that people deserve that can be waived. 2. Things that cannot. I would argue that giving someone the praise they deserve falls into 1. If I do you a huge favor, and I ask you not to praise me for it, it would not be unjust for you to not do so. Yes, I am aware that humans and God are not the same, but the basic rule about praise should still apply.”\\
      .
      Ok, but I guess I would still have to disagree. Here’s a thought experiment: Let’s say my car goes caput, and I can’t afford to buy another one at this point. Out of the immense kindness of your heart, you decide to buy me one. But not just any car to get me from point A to point B, you buy me a sports car. A real chick magnet. Now suppose you say “No need to thank me.” but I thank you anyway. Then you get mad and say “I said ’No need to thank me.’” but I continue to express my gratitude. Then you get mad and say “Dang it! I said don’t thank me!” For some reason, you don’t want any gratitude. Now suppose you do this enormously generous thing and I don’t thank you. Since you don’t want any thanks, you’re totally chill with me not giving a single thank you. But everyone else in my family, everyone at my church, all of my friends, they’re all appalled at my apparent ungratefulness. They would all intuitively (and I would say rightly), that you deserved to be thanked AT LEAST once. At least one single solitary “Thank you. That was really kind of you.” If all I did was shrugged my shoulders at the sight of the car and said “Cool.” and did or said nothing else, people would see something morally wrong with me. Names like “Entitled punk” might start floating around my community. If I defended myself by saying “He told me not to thank him”, I don’t think that would give me a pass. My mother would probably yank me by the ear and drag me to your house so I could thank you properly.
      .
      I don’t think the fact that you requested for me not to thank you would really affect the situation. I at least believe you objectively would be deserving of *at least* ONE thank you at MINIMUM, whether you wanted it or not. And I think most people would recognize that fact.

  12. Sam Burke

    “Only once in a lifetime? Well, that just compounds the problem even worse if God wants a world with free creatures. He’d have to keep all of the demons pinned down 99.99999% of the time. Humans too, since we can (whether intentionally or unintentionally) tempt each other to do sin. If Bob is going to break out the champaign in front of his friend who’s a recovering alcoholic, God would have supernaturally burst the bottle to keep Bob’s friend from doing the sin of drunkeness again (Galatians 5:21).”//-Um yeah, he would have to keep Satan and the demons locked up, or at least away from humans. Sounds good to me!! I was basically thinking, do the apple situation again and again for each person, or something similar to what the angels went through. (And 2/3rds of them obeyed). If people fall, give them more chances via Jesus’s sacrifice.

    “The continuum fallacy. I don’t think I committed that fallacy. I didn’t say there was no line to be drawn, or that you could never get there, I merely asked how you knew God created a world where that line was crossed. Asking a couple of questions is not fallacious. Because as Cameron Bertuzzi often says “Questions aren’t arguments” and a Clinton Wilcox is apt to remind us, only arguments can be fallacious. The questions asked were (1) How many times are too many times and (2) How do we know God hasn’t created a world where we haven’t exceeded the number? In light of your most recent comment, question 1 has been answered. I now know that you see more than once to be excessive.”//-On the contrary, asking a question can be fallacious. The loaded question fallacy is a good example of this: “Have you stopped beating your wife?” But the point is that asking where do draw the line, and demanding that I give you a specific number, is a fallacious question. Similarly if someone asks how many hairs are enough to make a beard, and demands that you give them an exact answer, then that is the continuum fallacy. Perhaps you weren’t demanding that but you did literally say: “How many times are too many times and (2) How do we know God hasn’t created a world where we haven’t exceeded the number?” This seems to assume that I need to get an exact number. Well, the point is that I don’t need to know that exact number I just need to know that: 1. Having enough temptations to make it nearly impossible to not sin is to much. 2. Having one temptation that isn’t very strong is not to much. I don’t need to give you an exact number of temptations in order to make this point.

    “Here’s a thought experiment: Let’s say my car goes caput, and I can’t afford to buy another one at this point. Out of the immense kindness of your heart, you decide to buy me one. But not just any car to get me from point A to point B, you buy me a sports car. A real chick magnet. Now suppose you say “No need to thank me.” but I thank you anyway. Then you get mad and say “I said ’No need to thank me.’” but I continue to express my gratitude. Then you get mad and say “Dang it! I said don’t thank me!” For some reason, you don’t want any gratitude. Now suppose you do this enormously generous thing and I don’t thank you. Since you don’t want any thanks, you’re totally chill with me not giving a single thank you. But everyone else in my family, everyone at my church, all of my friends, they’re all appalled at my apparent ungratefulness. They would all intuitively (and I would say rightly), that you deserved to be thanked AT LEAST once. At least one single solitary “Thank you. That was really kind of you.” If all I did was shrugged my shoulders at the sight of the car and said “Cool.” and did or said nothing else, people would see something morally wrong with me. Names like “Entitled punk” might start floating around my community. If I defended myself by saying “He told me not to thank him”, I don’t think that would give me a pass. My mother would probably yank me by the ear and drag me to your house so I could thank you properly.”//-Well, I am not objecting to thanking God. I am talking about praising him constantly and devoting yourself to him. One thank you is a different story, but even that could be justly waived under the right situation. If I recall correctly, in the David Wood video on the Ravi Zacharias situation, David Wood mentioned that he gets uncomfortable when people praise him. It gives him the urge to do something that will make the person not want to praise him. If I was like that and specifically asked you not to praise me because it made me uncomfortable and I really didn’t like it, I think that would justify you not praising me. If I was next to you when other people asked why you didn’t thank me, and I explained that, I think they would understand why you aren’t doing it. But that isn’t necessary, the point is that most people would not expect you to constantly shower praise on me in normal circumstances.

    1. Evan Minton

      1: So basically your solution is for God to lock up all the fallen angels and demons (they are distinct in biblical theology – the latter being dead Nephilim, just in case you’re wondering why I mention them in conjunction). Ok. Well, what about humans? Your solution takes the devil out of the picture. Now what about the world and the flesh? Well, the flesh needs to be changed away, as I said before, since it’s basically a flawed character trait like I said before. So that’ll take some time. But taking even that out of the list of the tripartite enemies of Yahweh followers, you’re still left with the world. Human beings. Is God going to get rid of all of them too? Or will He control them like puppets? Or strike them dead so they can’t tempt other humans?
      .
      Your solution is basically a denial of free will yet again. Basically just have God interfere to such a severe extent that having free will is functionally equivalent to not having it at all.
      .
      2: Ok, but I didn’t ask a loaded question. Basically all I did was ask you to back up your claim that God allows way too many temptations to enter people’s life. Because God has let too many temptations afflict us, God has “rigged” the game, set us up to fall. That was your argument. I didn’t know it was a fallacy to ask someone to back up their claims. It seems to me that if someone is going to claim that N is too high of a number for anything, he ought to have some basis for making that claim. I wasn’t contesting the claim that there could be too many, anymore than I would contest that there are never enough hairs to make a beard or increments of time to get from dawn to dusk. But if someone is going to put his finger on a specific number, even if it’s just a ballpark number, does logic really demand me to keep my mouth shut? I don’t know, bro. Kind of sounds like “Stop asking questions and just trust me.” If someone said “One million hairs make a beard”, am I really not allowed to ask “How did you come to that conclusion?”
      .
      But anyway, this is really all moot since you’ve already made your position clear. Anything more than 1 temptation a lifetime is too many.
      .
      3: Well, let’s say David Wood bought me the sports car. I would still contend that he would objectively deserve praise. Even if he didn’t want it. Although, since Wood is a special case with his psychopathy and all, I think we would have this what I talked about several comments ago. A few comments ago, I talked about it being just in some circumstances to not give someone something they deserve if there are overriding reasons which would justify the deprivation. And I gave the example of God not punishing sinners because (1) Jesus paid it all for those who believe, I’m not sure how it works, but I believe it does, and (2) It would render Christ’s death pointless. The Father would be doing injustice to the Son for having him crucified for naught. In Wood’s case, making him so uncomfortable that he would be prone to act out would be a reason to justify not giving David Wood what he deserves. And he would indeed deserve it. I still hold that he would objectively deserve praise irrespective of his desires. But in this case, there’s something that overrides my obligation to praise him, and that and would actually make it immoral to praise Wood.
      .
      It’s the whole issue of respecting “The Weaker Brother”. http://www.discipleshipphilippines.org/weaker-brother/

  13. Sam Burke

    “So basically your solution is for God to lock up all the fallen angels and demons (they are distinct in biblical theology – the latter being dead Nephilim, just in case you’re wondering why I mention them in conjunction). Ok. Well, what about humans? Your solution takes the devil out of the picture. Now what about the world and the flesh? Well, the flesh needs to be changed away, as I said before, since it’s basically a flawed character trait like I said before. So that’ll take some time. But taking even that out of the list of the tripartite enemies of Yahweh followers, you’re still left with the world. Human beings. Is God going to get rid of all of them too? Or will He control them like puppets? Or strike them dead so they can’t tempt other humans?”//-No, just put humans in the garden of Eden like Adam and Eve, or something similar. Then give them one temptation, that allows them to choose between obeying God (and preserving their relationship with him) and not doing that.

    “Your solution is basically a denial of free will yet again. Basically just have God interfere to such a severe extent that having free will is functionally equivalent to not having it at all.”//-Not even close. They get the opportunity to choose between obeying God and having a relationship with him and not doing so.

    “I didn’t know it was a fallacy to ask someone to back up their claims. It seems to me that if someone is going to claim that N is too high of a number for anything, he ought to have some basis for making that claim. I wasn’t contesting the claim that there could be too many, anymore than I would contest that there are never enough hairs to make a beard or increments of time to get from dawn to dusk. But if someone is going to put his finger on a specific number, even if it’s just a ballpark number, does logic really demand me to keep my mouth shut? I don’t know, bro. Kind of sounds like ‘Stop asking questions and just trust me.’ If someone said “One million hairs make a beard”, am I really not allowed to ask ‘How did you come to that conclusion?'”//-It’s not a fallacy to ask someone to ask someone to back up their claims. It’s a fallacy to say that if I can’t draw an exact line between too much temptation and to little temptation, then my argument that tempting someone to the point where it is almost impossible for them to not sin (something that is clearly to much temptation) is invalid.

    “Well, let’s say David Wood bought me the sports car. I would still contend that he would objectively deserve praise. Even if he didn’t want it. Although, since Wood is a special case with his psychopathy and all, I think we would have this what I talked about several comments ago. A few comments ago, I talked about it being just in some circumstances to not give someone something they deserve if there are overriding reasons which would justify the deprivation. And I gave the example of God not punishing sinners because (1) Jesus paid it all for those who believe, I’m not sure how it works, but I believe it does, and (2) It would render Christ’s death pointless. The Father would be doing injustice to the Son for having him crucified for naught. In Wood’s case, making him so uncomfortable that he would be prone to act out would be a reason to justify not giving David Wood what he deserves. And he would indeed deserve it. I still hold that he would objectively deserve praise irrespective of his desires. But in this case, there’s something that overrides my obligation to praise him, and that and would actually make it immoral to praise Wood.”//-Ok. I suppose that makes sense. I guess God does deserve our gratitude on a fairly regular basis.

    1. Evan Minton

      I can easily imagine another skeptic jumping into the middle of this conversation and disagreeing with your solution. He could say something like the following: “Well even one temptation is too excessive even if the temptation takes exactly the same form of Adam Eve’s temptation in Genesis 3. What God should have done is not allow any humans to ever be tempted AT ALL by ANYONE. Even allowing Adam and Eve to be tempted by Satan back in Genesis 3 was unfair for God to do. He rigged the system. He set Adam and Eve up to fail. He knew they would believe the serpent’s lies, but He didn’t do anything. He didn’t slap the Apple out of their hands. He didn’t cause the serpent to not be able to talk or anything. Mr. Burke, I respect you as a fellow skeptic. But you’re wrong. Even giving every individual one forbidden tree type circumstance per lifetime crosses the line.”
      .
      And then I can imagine you and him arguing about this. And I’d just be sitting back reading comment shaking my head. You both would have differing solutions and your whole debate would stem from the same problem:
      .
      You think you can do a better job than God. If you were God, you’d do it differently. The way God chose to do it obviously wasn’t the right way. You and this hypothetical skeptic would each do things your own way. Different from each other and certainly different from God. I for one think that it’s hubris to think that we could manage the whole cosmos for the whole of history from The Big Bang to the present day better than an OMNISCIENT being.
      .
      Now I’m not saying it’s wrong to question God’s ways or to try to make sense of them. Abraham did this to God’s face in Genesis 18 when God told Abraham he was about to incinerate Sodom, and we don’t see any indication of irritation on God’s part. God answered all His questions as Abraham kept lowering the number of hypothetical righteous people who could be in the city.
      .
      So I am not at all against questioning God, wanting some logical explanations as to why he does some of the things he does. I’ve done that many times in my life. I talked about this and both of my books that I wrote on the doctrine of Hell. Both the old one in which I defended eternal torment and the latter one which I do defend annihilationism. The doctrine of Hell really bothered me as a young Christian and I just didn’t know how to make sense out of how God could torment someone forever (which I now know he will not do), or why He would create those He knew would reject Him, the problem of the unevangelized, and other issues I cover in “Yahweh’s Inferno”. If I thought even bringing these issues up was something you youth not do, I wouldn’t be a Christian Apologist at all.
      .
      But at some point we go from honest inquirers trying to make sense out of why God does what He does to being judges who assert “Unless he does it the way *I* think he should, He’s not that good of a God.” It reminds me of the Bruce Almighty movie where God (Morgan Freeman) gives Bruce (Jim Carrey) some of his power, and God basically tells Bruce “Look, if you think you can do a better job, go for it.” And what happens? Well, I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie, but to keep it spoiler free, chaos ensues. He does not do a good job at being God for a day. For example, one of things that causes chaos is answering “Yes” to ALL petitionary prayer. Another thing he does is bring the moon very close to the Earth which causes massive tidal waves in other countries.
      .
      I could spend probably a thousand more comments trying to justify God for you and trying to show why your alternatives to his ways are not good ones. But rather than continually treat the symptoms, I’d like to go after the cause. Stop thinking that you can do a better job than an omniscient and omni-benevolent Being.
      .
      I will bring up one more thing that I think is pertinent to this discussion. That is Tim Stratton’s “Three Circles Model” he uses to address “all the problems of evil”. I talked about this in my two recent videos on the Problem Of Evil on the Cerebral Faith YouTube channel. Part of his proposal is that it is possible that in any feasible world that God could create with creatures who have libertarian free will, they would all be worlds in which people take a suffering free state of affairs for granted. As a result, they would sin and introduce suffering to the world. Having learned from how stupid and painful sin is, we won’t take a suffering free State of affairs for granted. Ergo, although we COULD sin in the new heavens and Earth, we never WOULD sin. This is how, Stratton argues, we can have free will in Heaven and yet not have to worry about anyone abusing it. It may be the case that in any feasible world that God could create in which he does this thing that you think He should have done – I.e just give everyone their own personal Garden of Eden and recreate the serpent “you won’t die.” situation – that we all would eat the forbidden fruit, thus disobeying God, becoming guilty before Him, and being in need of salvation. I don’t know if this is actually the case or not. I don’t know if every single person in the world would do exactly the same thing if they found themselves in Adam and Eve’s shoes, but it is possible. And while I don’t know if you or I would do exactly what Adam did if we found ourselves in an identical circumstance to his, God does. God has middle knowledge. God knows what I would do in any given circumstance I might find myself in. He knows whether or not I would listen to The Serpent if he had put me in the Garden of Eden instead of Adam. God knows what would happen if He recreated the Garden of Eden Temptation circumstance for every individual person throughout history, while keeping them isolated from all other people and demons so as to not multiply The Temptations (because according to you that’s a No-No). Maybe God knows but even though everyone could pass the test, no one would. Perhaps everyone would be in need of the justification that comes from Jesus’s blood and the sanctification that comes from the power of the Holy Spirit. Maybe. Just maybe. The way that God did it in the actual world was the right way to do it.
      .
      Back to the issue of God deserving worship: Do you now see that a person can deserve something good irrespective of their desires?

  14. Sam Burke

    “I can easily imagine another skeptic jumping into the middle of this conversation and disagreeing with your solution. He could say something like the following: ‘Well even one temptation is too excessive even if the temptation takes exactly the same form of Adam Eve’s temptation in Genesis 3. What God should have done is not allow any humans to ever be tempted AT ALL by ANYONE. Even allowing Adam and Eve to be tempted by Satan back in Genesis 3 was unfair for God to do. He rigged the system. He set Adam and Eve up to fail. He knew they would believe the serpent’s lies, but He didn’t do anything. He didn’t slap the Apple out of their hands. He didn’t cause the serpent to not be able to talk or anything. Mr. Burke, I respect you as a fellow skeptic. But you’re wrong. Even giving every individual one forbidden tree type circumstance per lifetime crosses the line.'”//-Well, in reality I would agree with him!! I don’t buy the idea that we need Libertarian Free Will to have love, so yeah, I would tend to agree that God shouldn’t give us any free will, or more accurately that he shouldn’t give any free will to choose between good and evil. I am only agreeing for the sake of argument. But if it is necessary, then having people have one temptation would be justified as necessary.

    “And then I can imagine you and him arguing about this. And I’d just be sitting back reading comment shaking my head. You both would have differing solutions and your whole debate would stem from the same problem:

    You think you can do a better job than God. If you were God, you’d do it differently. The way God chose to do it obviously wasn’t the right way. You and this hypothetical skeptic would each do things your own way. Different from each other and certainly different from God. I for one think that it’s hubris to think that we could manage the whole cosmos for the whole of history from The Big Bang to the present day better than an OMNISCIENT being.”//-I think that the alleged actions of the Biblical God don’t make sense. I am only assuming Christianity for the sake of argument, if I was seriously convinced that it was true, because of strong evidence or whatever, I would probably just accept that I don’t know. The evidence would outweigh this doubt. But that isn’t the case, so the doubt has more merit.

    “Now I’m not saying it’s wrong to question God’s ways or to try to make sense of them. Abraham did this to God’s face in Genesis 18 when God told Abraham he was about to incinerate Sodom, and we don’t see any indication of irritation on God’s part. God answered all His questions as Abraham kept lowering the number of hypothetical righteous people who could be in the city.

    So I am not at all against questioning God, wanting some logical explanations as to why he does some of the things he does. I’ve done that many times in my life. I talked about this and both of my books that I wrote on the doctrine of Hell. Both the old one in which I defended eternal torment and the latter one which I do defend annihilationism. The doctrine of Hell really bothered me as a young Christian and I just didn’t know how to make sense out of how God could torment someone forever (which I now know he will not do), or why He would create those He knew would reject Him, the problem of the unevangelized, and other issues I cover in “Yahweh’s Inferno”. If I thought even bringing these issues up was something you youth not do, I wouldn’t be a Christian Apologist at all.”//-All I am doing is asking for logical explanations, the ones Christians have offered so far don’t work.

    “But at some point we go from honest inquirers trying to make sense out of why God does what He does to being judges who assert “Unless he does it the way *I* think he should, He’s not that good of a God.” It reminds me of the Bruce Almighty movie where God (Morgan Freeman) gives Bruce (Jim Carrey) some of his power, and God basically tells Bruce “Look, if you think you can do a better job, go for it.” And what happens? Well, I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie, but to keep it spoiler free, chaos ensues. He does not do a good job at being God for a day. For example, one of things that causes chaos is answering “Yes” to ALL petitionary prayer. Another thing he does is bring the moon very close to the Earth which causes massive tidal waves in other countries.”//-I am not saying my way or the highway, I am proposing an alternative that is made to get around the problems you have raised for God making the world better and using that to point out problems in them.

    “I will bring up one more thing that I think is pertinent to this discussion. That is Tim Stratton’s “Three Circles Model” he uses to address “all the problems of evil”. I talked about this in my two recent videos on the Problem Of Evil on the Cerebral Faith YouTube channel. Part of his proposal is that it is possible that in any feasible world that God could create with creatures who have libertarian free will, they would all be worlds in which people take a suffering free state of affairs for granted. As a result, they would sin and introduce suffering to the world. Having learned from how stupid and painful sin is, we won’t take a suffering free State of affairs for granted. Ergo, although we COULD sin in the new heavens and Earth, we never WOULD sin. This is how, Stratton argues, we can have free will in Heaven and yet not have to worry about anyone abusing it.”//-Simple rebuttal: God can give people the opportunity to choose a relationship with him, and then make it so that once we choose such a relationship, we are choosing a permanent irreversible relationship with him that is “locked” in once chosen. (And that we know this). Thus, eliminating the issue of us having the free will to choose between God and evil in Heaven. Heck many of your fellow Christians believe this (they just think that it is done over the course of many decisions rather than one).

    Another problem is that Stratton’s theory is that if the fear of returning to suffering, or appreciation of a better life doesn’t eliminate free will to sin that means that at any time there is a chance that we will sin. Over infinite opportunities, there is a literally infinite chance that we will eventually sin. Unless of course the fear or appreciation makes it impossible in the sort of moral inability sense Edwards believed in. (It being a strong enough motive to dominate you more then any competing temptation, to the extent that it makes it impossible to take this temptation. This would basically overpower our free will.) Or do you think it is possible for us to have free will to sin without their being any chance for us to sin?

    “It may be the case that in any feasible world that God could create in which he does this thing that you think He should have done – I.e just give everyone their own personal Garden of Eden and recreate the serpent “you won’t die.” situation – that we all would eat the forbidden fruit, thus disobeying God, becoming guilty before Him, and being in need of salvation. I don’t know if this is actually the case or not. I don’t know if every single person in the world would do exactly the same thing if they found themselves in Adam and Eve’s shoes, but it is possible. And while I don’t know if you or I would do exactly what Adam did if we found ourselves in an identical circumstance to his, God does. God has middle knowledge. God knows what I would do in any given circumstance I might find myself in. He knows whether or not I would listen to The Serpent if he had put me in the Garden of Eden instead of Adam. God knows what would happen if He recreated the Garden of Eden Temptation circumstance for every individual person throughout history, while keeping them isolated from all other people and demons so as to not multiply The Temptations (because according to you that’s a No-No). Maybe God knows but even though everyone could pass the test, no one would. Perhaps everyone would be in need of the justification that comes from Jesus’s blood and the sanctification that comes from the power of the Holy Spirit. Maybe. Just maybe. The way that God did it in the actual world was the right way to do it.”//-If every single one just happened to make the exact same choice in the exact same circumstances just out of pure free will that would be nothing short of a miracle. Assuming our desires for both choices were set at 50-50 for both God and the fruit, then we would have a 50-50 chance of choosing either one. If this was extended to billions of people (nay, to every single person that could have been created, an infinite amount of people) the idea that everyone would make the same result would be basically impossible. If you then give the people who don’t make the right choice the first time even 500 chances to repent, (far lower then the average person has in this world) with desires that are equally inclined to both repentance and non-repentance, the odds that more then a few people would not eventually accept Jesus are incredibly low.

    “Back to the issue of God deserving worship: Do you now see that a person can deserve something good irrespective of their desires?”//-I always agreed with that. I also now agree that gratitude is one of those things.

    1. Evan Minton

      Well, if you really think a meaningful true love relationship doesn’t require free will, how about you go get a sex robot instead of marrying a real woman? I’m not sure how far robotics have progressed – although Sophia is scary advanced. She’s just so human like. Perhaps when the day comes where Robotics are so Advanced that they can make robots that are indistinguishable from humans in every way except when you open them up and look at their insides, perhaps you will want a robot woman instead of a human woman. Why not? Unlike pesky human beings and their free will, robots can be programmed to behave however you want. You never have to worry about her nagging you too much. Just program her do not nag you. You never have to worry about her cheating on you. Just program her to be faithful. You never have to worry about her divorcing you, taking the kids, and taking half of what you own. Just program her to be incapable of divorcing you. You never have to worry about her not giving you enough sex. Just program her to say yes whenever you ask. And unlike boring human women, a robot woman will probably come in with a built-in MP3 player. She might have a speaker under her armpit that can blast your favorite music. Oh and unlike human women who can be smoking hot today, and decrepit old ladies tomorrow, robot women never age. She’ll be an eternal babe.
      .
      Really, the only con I see is that any “love” she would show you would be programmed by you, and not freely given by her. She cannot defy her programming. My personal preference is that I want women to be with me because they want to be with me and don’t have to be with me. So not having libertarian Free Will would be a deal-breaker for me. 1 star on Amazon. Headline of my review: “No free will. Dont waste your money.” But since you think true genuine Bonafide love can exist whether libertarian Free Will is present or not, it seems to me like you ought to prefer a robot rather than a human. Now, maybe you would prefer a human at this point because they’re not quite as expensive or hard to get as robot women. All you have to do is find one and ask them. And maybe at this point in the game Robotics are not quite advanced enough to recreate the experience of being with an actual human. But once they are, and it seems to me like it’s only a matter of time before we get there, then what’s the issue? Seems to me like a robot woman is superior to a human woman in every single way…….except for the fact that she’s pretty much my slave rather than a lover. A glorified blow up doll.
      .
      I suppose thought experiments can only go so far. For some people, I guess they really need to feel the emptiness of being in a relationship with a creature whom they causally determined to love them.
      .
      You wrote: //”I think that the alleged actions of the Biblical God don’t make sense. I am only assuming Christianity for the sake of argument, if I was seriously convinced that it was true, because of strong evidence or whatever, I would probably just accept that I don’t know. The evidence would outweigh this doubt”// —

      Two things; first, If you really mean that, then maybe we should stop debating the problem of evil, things about hell, and things about Old Testament Theocratic law right now, and instead just focus on Arguments for God’s existence, the historical reliability of the Old and New Testaments, the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. I’m quite more than happy to do that. And we have done that a lot. We debated The Contingency Argument for God once, The Kalam Cosmological Argument at least twice I think, we’ve discussed The Fine-Tuning Argument once, and we have discussed the Moral and Ontological Arguments a plethora of times.
      .
      Maybe we should revisit these topics sometime. But also, I think we should discuss the topic we’ve never discussed even one; the resurrection of Jesus. So let’s not do it here as that would derail the thread into a completely unrelated topic. Perhaps in the comment section of one of the YouTube videos I made on this?
      .
      Secondly, I don’t see why you would need to believe that God exists in order to accept the proposition that if he does, then given that is omniscient and omni-benevolent, he probably knows how to run the universe better than we do. Let’s imagine that we have a book that records a war between two nations. And the general of Army 1 makes some tactical decisions that look questionable to us. We don’t know how to make sense of them. The book doesn’t explicitly tell us why the general is having his soldiers do the things that he does. It really looks like he doesn’t know how to lead an army. But we read from the text that all of his men highly respect him and we read at the very end of the book that he won the war, his nation is prosperous, and even today, hundreds of years after the fact, the people in the nation whose war he won have statues dedicated to him. Now, there is debate in scholarship among whether or not this General really existed in history and really lead this war. A lot of scholars say he did. Other Scholars say he didn’t. Both sides have arguments that they employ to support their position. But, do you really need to fall on one side of the scholarly debate or the other to make an assessment of this character’s ability to lead an army? Perhaps you could accept that he wasn’t out of his mind when he made his soldiers do bizarre things that “No GOOD General would do”. Maybe they use swords in close hand-to-hand combat in one of their battles in which long range Arrow attacks would seem to make more sense. But then, you are not a general of an army. And you’re certainly not a general of an army who lived in a different nation hundreds of years ago. Maybe the general had very well-thought-out reasons for doing what he did, and if we only knew those reasons we would agree with him and we would applaud him. We don’t know anything about how to lead an army, and even if we did, we would only know what strategies would be best to employ for our specific situations, in the environments in which we are fighting, and the specific enemies we are facing.
      .
      Now I realize that this is by far not the best analogy I could come up with, but hopefully it gets the point across. You don’t have to believe the general was a real person to think that IF he was, maybe he knew better how to lead his army, in his culture, in his country, against the specific enemies he was waging war against, than you. Maybe he knew his enemies better than you. Maybe the reason, for example, that he had his soldiers fight with swords at one point instead of with bow and arrows, is that there was a lack of material fit for metallurgy in the land, and they had used up all their arrows by the time of this specific battle. They had to use some of the metal making material to make swords and shields. Or maybe the general knew that a plague had previously struck the land of Army B and most of the truly adept swordsmen of the land had been killed. Ergo, most of this general’s enemies were not very good at sword fighting. Ergo, to come at them with swords would place them at a tactical advantage. Or maybe it had something to do with the environment in which they were fighting in. Maybe the environment was very windy that day (like mountainous regions) and it would make archery a lot more difficult. Maybe it’s all of the above! None of these things are explicitly explained in the hypothetical history book. But perhaps they can be inferred from looking at the cultural context of texts written at the time these wars were recorded, or maybe just a closer look at details within the narrative will shed light. Or maybe they’re all just speculations. But what we can see in this illustration is that the general did win the war, his men respected him, no one in his day thought that he was out of his mind with some of the things he commanded them to do. Moreover, he was much better versed in the art of warfare than you and I. So maybe, let’s say I believe this General exists and you think he was a mythological figure. Why couldn’t we both agree that he probably knew what he was doing even if we didn’t? He was in a better vantage point than you and I to make judgement calls.
      .
      Ok, now onto Stratton’s proposal. First, I think you’re making the same error you made in one of our Facebook discussions on the evidential problem of evil. You said something like “If God had a 50/50 chance for allowing any instance if suffering, then we apply that to every instance of suffering that ever occurred, then the probability of God allowing the sum total of all suffering is 0.” I’m not trying to disparage you here. I don’t think it’s a terrible objection, just not a successful one. But it is a well-thought-out objection and that’s why I included the objection and how I responded to it in my recent video “The Evidential Problem If Evil – Answered” on the Cerebral Faith YouTube channel. But secondly, I’m not saying that every person really would do exactly the same thing that Adam and Eve did if we found ourselves in the circumstance that they found himself in in Genesis 3. But I am saying that it is possible that we all would. Maybe it isn’t probable that we all would oh, but it is logically possible. I’m pretty sure that Tim Stratton was responding to the logical versions of the problem of moral, natural, and gratuitous evils. That’s why I brought it up in my video on The Logical version of the problem of evil, but only briefly alluded to it in the video dealing with the evidential version of the problem of evil.
      .
      But I do think that there’s something to be said for placing a probability judgment on whether or not we all would take a suffering Free State of Affairs granted especially if we had never experienced suffering before. Common experience shows us that when we receive something easy, if we don’t have to wait for it very very long time, or if we don’t have to work very hard to get it, we take it for granted. Whatever good thing you might want to put in the blank here. But in contrast, if we have to wait a long time for something good, or if we have to work really really really hard to obtain it, we cherish it immensely. For example, people who win the lottery are people who literally have an insane amount of money dropped in their laughs out of the clear blue. And they usually don’t handle it really well, and eventually there is poor and they were before they won the lottery or even worse. But people who become rich through hard work, studying business in college, working hard to make your business work and earn those big bucks, they are usually a lot better at handling their money then people who just had it dropped in their laps. Or at the very least, they’re wise enough to know that they need to hire someone who can help them manage it. The person who became a billionaire through hard work is much more likely to STAY rich than some who got rich because they won the lottery. A child who has to mow a lot of lawns 4 several months in order to buy an expensive toy he wants is much more likely to take care of that toy then someone whose parents just get it for him when they ask.
      .
      There are exceptions to all of these circumstances, of course. I take extreme care of my MacBook Pro even though I got it through a generous donor because I know that if anything happens to it, I’m going to have to wait very long and work very hard to be able to afford another one. So I don’t want anything bad to happen to this one. I know what it’s like to not have a computer that can make videos the way this one can. But in a way, this is kind of similar to Salvation. Jesus Christ gives me eternity in uninterrupted bliss. It’s not really something I had to work for. But it is something I’m probably going to have to wait a long time for. Assuming that I die as an old man in the 2090s or Christ doesn’t return tomorrow afternoon, I’m probably going to have to wait a long time before I experience that. So once I finally get there, I’m certainly not going to take it for granted. I know what living in a fallen world is like and I never want to live in a place like this again. And I never want to live with people like this again. People who seem to only know how to kill, rape, maim and scream at each other. People who at first appear to be friends but turn out to be enemies. I know what it’s like to live in a world like this, and once I enter a world totally opposite to this, I will cherish it for all eternity. I can assure you of that. But had I been born in a perfect pristine condition like Eden, I wouldn’t have anything to compare the perfect pristine condition to. And therefore I would probably take it for granted and mess it up in 1 way or another

  15. Sam Burke

    “Well, if you really think a meaningful true love relationship doesn’t require free will, how about you go get a sex robot instead of marrying a real woman? I’m not sure how far robotics have progressed – although Sophia is scary advanced. She’s just so human like. Perhaps when the day comes where Robotics are so Advanced that they can make robots that are indistinguishable from humans in every way except when you open them up and look at their insides, perhaps you will want a robot woman instead of a human woman. Why not? Unlike pesky human beings and their free will, robots can be programmed to behave however you want. You never have to worry about her nagging you too much. Just program her do not nag you. You never have to worry about her cheating on you. Just program her to be faithful. You never have to worry about her divorcing you, taking the kids, and taking half of what you own. Just program her to be incapable of divorcing you. You never have to worry about her not giving you enough sex. Just program her to say yes whenever you ask. And unlike boring human women, a robot woman will probably come in with a built-in MP3 player. She might have a speaker under her armpit that can blast your favorite music. Oh and unlike human women who can be smoking hot today, and decrepit old ladies tomorrow, robot women never age. She’ll be an eternal babe.

    Really, the only con I see is that any “love” she would show you would be programmed by you, and not freely given by her. She cannot defy her programming. My personal preference is that I want women to be with me because they want to be with me and don’t have to be with me. So not having libertarian Free Will would be a deal-breaker for me. 1 star on Amazon. Headline of my review: “No free will. Dont waste your money.” But since you think true genuine Bonafide love can exist whether libertarian Free Will is present or not, it seems to me like you ought to prefer a robot rather than a human. Now, maybe you would prefer a human at this point because they’re not quite as expensive or hard to get as robot women. All you have to do is find one and ask them. And maybe at this point in the game Robotics are not quite advanced enough to recreate the experience of being with an actual human. But once they are, and it seems to me like it’s only a matter of time before we get there, then what’s the issue? Seems to me like a robot woman is superior to a human woman in every single way…….except for the fact that she’s pretty much my slave rather than a lover. A glorified blow up doll.”//-Ok, is she conscious? Does she have feelings, such as affection? Is she and her feelings toward me reason responsive? (Ex. Is her love based on how I treat her, rather than just blindly programmed?)

    “Two things; first, If you really mean that, then maybe we should stop debating the problem of evil, things about hell, and things about Old Testament Theocratic law right now, and instead just focus on Arguments for God’s existence, the historical reliability of the Old and New Testaments, the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. I’m quite more than happy to do that. And we have done that a lot. We debated The Contingency Argument for God once, The Kalam Cosmological Argument at least twice I think, we’ve discussed The Fine-Tuning Argument once, and we have discussed the Moral and Ontological Arguments a plethora of times.

    Maybe we should revisit these topics sometime. But also, I think we should discuss the topic we’ve never discussed even one; the resurrection of Jesus. So let’s not do it here as that would derail the thread into a completely unrelated topic. Perhaps in the comment section of one of the YouTube videos I made on this?”//-I have actually tried to discuss the issue with you a couple of times, or at least preliminary questions about miracles. I don’t have a general response to the argument, yet, although I believe I can poke some holes in it and argue about miracles here.

    “Secondly, I don’t see why you would need to believe that God exists in order to accept the proposition that if he does, then given that is omniscient and omni-benevolent, he probably knows how to run the universe better than we do. Let’s imagine that we have a book that records a war between two nations. And the general of Army 1 makes some tactical decisions that look questionable to us. We don’t know how to make sense of them. The book doesn’t explicitly tell us why the general is having his soldiers do the things that he does. It really looks like he doesn’t know how to lead an army. But we read from the text that all of his men highly respect him and we read at the very end of the book that he won the war, his nation is prosperous, and even today, hundreds of years after the fact, the people in the nation whose war he won have statues dedicated to him. Now, there is debate in scholarship among whether or not this General really existed in history and really lead this war. A lot of scholars say he did. Other Scholars say he didn’t. Both sides have arguments that they employ to support their position. But, do you really need to fall on one side of the scholarly debate or the other to make an assessment of this character’s ability to lead an army? Perhaps you could accept that he wasn’t out of his mind when he made his soldiers do bizarre things that “No GOOD General would do”. Maybe they use swords in close hand-to-hand combat in one of their battles in which long range Arrow attacks would seem to make more sense. But then, you are not a general of an army. And you’re certainly not a general of an army who lived in a different nation hundreds of years ago. Maybe the general had very well-thought-out reasons for doing what he did, and if we only knew those reasons we would agree with him and we would applaud him. We don’t know anything about how to lead an army, and even if we did, we would only know what strategies would be best to employ for our specific situations, in the environments in which we are fighting, and the specific enemies we are facing.

    Now I realize that this is by far not the best analogy I could come up with, but hopefully it gets the point across. You don’t have to believe the general was a real person to think that IF he was, maybe he knew better how to lead his army, in his culture, in his country, against the specific enemies he was waging war against, than you. Maybe he knew his enemies better than you. Maybe the reason, for example, that he had his soldiers fight with swords at one point instead of with bow and arrows, is that there was a lack of material fit for metallurgy in the land, and they had used up all their arrows by the time of this specific battle. They had to use some of the metal making material to make swords and shields. Or maybe the general knew that a plague had previously struck the land of Army B and most of the truly adept swordsmen of the land had been killed. Ergo, most of this general’s enemies were not very good at sword fighting. Ergo, to come at them with swords would place them at a tactical advantage. Or maybe it had something to do with the environment in which they were fighting in. Maybe the environment was very windy that day (like mountainous regions) and it would make archery a lot more difficult. Maybe it’s all of the above! None of these things are explicitly explained in the hypothetical history book. But perhaps they can be inferred from looking at the cultural context of texts written at the time these wars were recorded, or maybe just a closer look at details within the narrative will shed light. Or maybe they’re all just speculations. But what we can see in this illustration is that the general did win the war, his men respected him, no one in his day thought that he was out of his mind with some of the things he commanded them to do. Moreover, he was much better versed in the art of warfare than you and I. So maybe, let’s say I believe this General exists and you think he was a mythological figure. Why couldn’t we both agree that he probably knew what he was doing even if we didn’t? He was in a better vantage point than you and I to make judgement calls.”//-That’s not a very good analogy, it’s not just that it breaks down at some point. It fails in the crucial area. If the general had an incredibly overwhelming army and had incredible knowledge of the enemy (a really good spy network) and the enemy was puny and yet the general barely won, and didn’t even do an impressive job in winning, then that would be a good analogy. Of course, that would make me somewhat skeptical, or at least would make me think the general isn’t very competent.

    ” First, I think you’re making the same error you made in one of our Facebook discussions on the evidential problem of evil. You said something like “If God had a 50/50 chance for allowing any instance if suffering, then we apply that to every instance of suffering that ever occurred, then the probability of God allowing the sum total of all suffering is 0.” I’m not trying to disparage you here. I don’t think it’s a terrible objection, just not a successful one. But it is a well-thought-out objection and that’s why I included the objection and how I responded to it in my recent video “The Evidential Problem If Evil – Answered” on the Cerebral Faith YouTube channel.”//-I did remember that you answered that. I didn’t remember what your response was, but finding it would have taken quite a while. I will have to watch the video and see if the response is correct and relevant to my current argument.

    “But I do think that there’s something to be said for placing a probability judgment on whether or not we all would take a suffering Free State of Affairs granted especially if we had never experienced suffering before. Common experience shows us that when we receive something easy, if we don’t have to wait for it very very long time, or if we don’t have to work very hard to get it, we take it for granted. Whatever good thing you might want to put in the blank here. But in contrast, if we have to wait a long time for something good, or if we have to work really really really hard to obtain it, we cherish it immensely. For example, people who win the lottery are people who literally have an insane amount of money dropped in their laughs out of the clear blue. And they usually don’t handle it really well, and eventually there is poor and they were before they won the lottery or even worse. But people who become rich through hard work, studying business in college, working hard to make your business work and earn those big bucks, they are usually a lot better at handling their money then people who just had it dropped in their laps. Or at the very least, they’re wise enough to know that they need to hire someone who can help them manage it. The person who became a billionaire through hard work is much more likely to STAY rich than some who got rich because they won the lottery. A child who has to mow a lot of lawns 4 several months in order to buy an expensive toy he wants is much more likely to take care of that toy then someone whose parents just get it for him when they ask.
    .
    There are exceptions to all of these circumstances, of course. I take extreme care of my MacBook Pro even though I got it through a generous donor because I know that if anything happens to it, I’m going to have to wait very long and work very hard to be able to afford another one. So I don’t want anything bad to happen to this one. I know what it’s like to not have a computer that can make videos the way this one can. But in a way, this is kind of similar to Salvation. Jesus Christ gives me eternity in uninterrupted bliss. It’s not really something I had to work for. But it is something I’m probably going to have to wait a long time for. Assuming that I die as an old man in the 2090s or Christ doesn’t return tomorrow afternoon, I’m probably going to have to wait a long time before I experience that. So once I finally get there, I’m certainly not going to take it for granted. I know what living in a fallen world is like and I never want to live in a place like this again. And I never want to live with people like this again. People who seem to only know how to kill, rape, maim and scream at each other. People who at first appear to be friends but turn out to be enemies. I know what it’s like to live in a world like this, and once I enter a world totally opposite to this, I will cherish it for all eternity. I can assure you of that. But had I been born in a perfect pristine condition like Eden, I wouldn’t have anything to compare the perfect pristine condition to. And therefore I would probably take it for granted and mess it up in 1 way or another.”//-I am not denying any of that. That doesn’t refute either of my arguments.

    Here is what I wrote: “Simple rebuttal: God can give people the opportunity to choose a relationship with him, and then make it so that once we choose such a relationship, we are choosing a permanent irreversible relationship with him that is “locked” in once chosen. (And that we know this). Thus, eliminating the issue of us having the free will to choose between God and evil in Heaven. Heck many of your fellow Christians believe this (they just think that it is done over the course of many decisions rather than one).

    Another problem is that Stratton’s theory is that if the fear of returning to suffering, or appreciation of a better life doesn’t eliminate free will to sin that means that at any time there is a chance that we will sin. Over infinite opportunities, there is a literally infinite chance that we will eventually sin. Unless of course the fear or appreciation makes it impossible in the sort of moral inability sense Edwards believed in. (It being a strong enough motive to dominate you more then any competing temptation, to the extent that it makes it impossible to take this temptation. This would basically overpower our free will.) Or do you think it is possible for us to have free will to sin without their being any chance for us to sin?”

    1. Evan Minton

      \\”Ok, is she conscious? Does she have feelings, such as affection? Is she and her feelings toward me reason responsive? (Ex. Is her love based on how I treat her, rather than just blindly programmed?)”\\ — Would that make a difference? It wouldn’t for me. A self-aware emotional robot who still couldn’t do anything but love me in response to my conditioning her to love me by treating her really well would…well…. *Rick Sanchez impression* that seems like programming her to love you with extra steps.
      .
      \\”I have actually tried to discuss the issue with you a couple of times, or at least preliminary questions about miracles. I don’t have a general response to the argument, yet, although I believe I can poke some holes in it and argue about miracles here.”\\ — What issue? The resurrection?
      .
      \\”That’s not a very good analogy, it’s not just that it breaks down at some point. It fails in the crucial area. If the general had an incredibly overwhelming army and had incredible knowledge of the enemy (a really good spy network) and the enemy was puny and yet the general barely won, and didn’t even do an impressive job in winning, then that would be a good analogy. Of course, that would make me somewhat skeptical, or at least would make me think the general isn’t very competent.”\\ — Well, if you’re going to make the general an omniscient being, that just strengthens the analogy. If you made the general an omniscient being, that would make me all the more hesitant about judging his ability. Because, since he’s omniscient and I am not. Maybe he knows things that I don’t. And maybe judging him is wrongheaded to put it mildly. Thank you for making my point stronger.
      .
      \\”I did remember that you answered that. I didn’t remember what your response was, but finding it would have taken quite a while. I will have to watch the video and see if the response is correct and relevant to my current argument.”\\ – Ok.
      .
      Ok, now to Tim Stratton’s proposal. I question the wisdom of making probability judgments about free choices. The choices I make in life can’t be calculated like dice rolls. You can put numbers on them if you like (50/50 chance you’ll choose to sin at some point), but how do you know those numbers are accurate? Or am I committing the beard fallacy by even asking this question?
      .
      Could you really calculate the probability that I’d start handling my Mac carelessly one of these days? Or is this the beard fallacy again.
      .
      Keeping the could/would distinction in mind, what is the probability that, instead of interacting with your points, in my NEXT response, I just decide to post a bunch of memes? Even if we debated for all eternity, so you’ve got “infinite chances” that I would freely choose to post memes at some point, what is the probability? Remember, I’m not a pair of dice being rolled over and over. Maybe you could say I *would* never do that (even though I *could*) because trolling just isn’t something Evan Minton *would* freely do. Ever. Because it’s a bad witness. Sure, since we’re debating for eternity, there’s an infinite number of chances that *could* do it, but what are the chances I *would* do it?

  16. Sam Burke

    “Would that make a difference? It wouldn’t for me. A self-aware emotional robot who still couldn’t do anything but love me in response to my conditioning her to love me by treating her really well would…well…. *Rick Sanchez impression* that seems like programming her to love you with extra steps.”//-It would make a difference, the programming is still meaningful, without the cold emotionlessness of robots.

    “Well, if you’re going to make the general an omniscient being, that just strengthens the analogy. If you made the general an omniscient being, that would make me all the more hesitant about judging his ability. Because, since he’s omniscient and I am not. Maybe he knows things that I don’t. And maybe judging him is wrongheaded to put it mildly. Thank you for making my point stronger.”//-Ah, but on the contrary, its a hypothetical general. If he makes a decision that seems very bad, and leads to very bad results that greatly frustrate his alleged goals, given his extensive power and knowledge, then that would make it seem very improbable that he did that.

    “I question the wisdom of making probability judgments about free choices. The choices I make in life can’t be calculated like dice rolls. You can put numbers on them if you like (50/50 chance you’ll choose to sin at some point), but how do you know those numbers are accurate? Or am I committing the beard fallacy by even asking this question?

    Could you really calculate the probability that I’d start handling my Mac carelessly one of these days? Or is this the beard fallacy again.”//-No. It’s not the beard fallacy and you can’t calculate it. You don’t need an exact number, you just need to calculate it, you just need to know there is some probability above zero and it will eventually happen over infinity.

    “Keeping the could/would distinction in mind, what is the probability that, instead of interacting with your points, in my NEXT response, I just decide to post a bunch of memes? Even if we debated for all eternity, so you’ve got “infinite chances” that I would freely choose to post memes at some point, what is the probability? Remember, I’m not a pair of dice being rolled over and over. Maybe you could say I *would* never do that (even though I *could*) because trolling just isn’t something Evan Minton *would* freely do. Ever. Because it’s a bad witness. Sure, since we’re debating for eternity, there’s an infinite number of chances that *could* do it, but what are the chances I *would* do it?”//-It very well may be the case that it isn’t compatible with your freely chosen nature to do that as a form of witness. And it may be the case that as time goes on, it indeed becomes impossible for you to do that. But if it always remains possible, then yes, over eternity it would eventually happen.

    1. Evan Minton

      I suppose if we were treating free choices as deterministic or chance driven processes, then the time scale of infinity would matter. But they aren’t. By this logic, given this reasoning, there’s a non-zero probability that Yahweh will decide, at some point in the new heavens and earth, to create a race of chicken people whose sole reason for being is to make covers of Elvis Presley songs, which are they able to do perfectly because they all sound exactly like Elvis Presley. Why not? God *could* do it because God Himself has free will. Nothing’s stopping Him. But why *would* He?
      .
      Applying probability to the “chances” of something happening in a non-chance driven system just doesn’t seem sound.
      .
      As for robot love being genuine, I just don’t see how not being “emotionless” makes a difference. Besides making the illusion of it being real easier to buy into. But an illusion of real love is just that, an illusion.

  17. Sam Burke

    “I suppose if we were treating free choices as deterministic or chance driven processes, then the time scale of infinity would matter. But they aren’t. By this logic, given this reasoning, there’s a non-zero probability that Yahweh will decide, at some point in the new heavens and earth, to create a race of chicken people whose sole reason for being is to make covers of Elvis Presley songs, which are they able to do perfectly because they all sound exactly like Elvis Presley. Why not? God *could* do it because God Himself has free will. Nothing’s stopping Him. But why *would* He?”//-I mean yes God might do that. I mean, he might do it simply because it is funny. If I went to Heaven, I might want to see that. But if you have no reason to do something, can you really even do it? If there is no temptation on one side of the decision, with a motive on the other side, then the chances of you doing it are zero.

    Another point: My argument about how it isn’t necessary for us to have free will in Heaven because of making a free choice on earth to choose God that “locks in” once the choice is made. It is a self induced and freely chosen inability to not love God.

    “As for robot love being genuine, I just don’t see how not being “emotionless” makes a difference. Besides making the illusion of it being real easier to buy into. But an illusion of real love is just that, an illusion.”//-There would be affection, there would be a mental resolve to seek your own wellbeing, all in response to how you treat it and who you are.

    1. Evan Minton

      \\”But if you have no reason to do something, can you really even do it? If there is no temptation on one side of the decision, with a motive on the other side, then the chances of you doing it are zero.”\\ — Alright then. What reason would the redeemed in new creation have to sin?
      .
      \\”Another point: My argument about how it isn’t necessary for us to have free will in Heaven because of making a free choice on earth to choose God that ‘locks in’ once the choice is made. It is a self induced and freely chosen inability to not love God.”\\ — In his blog post “Free Will In Heaven?” on the FreeThinking Ministries website, Stratton calls this his “Fallback Position”. I’ve brought it up myself on this blog as a possibility, but since I think Stratton’s proposal is workable, it should be preferred. You’ve tried, but not succeeded in convincing me it isn’t workable. It seems better if God can manage to get people to perpetually freely love Him in a ability-to-do-otherwise scenario.
      .
      \\”There would be affection, there would be a mental resolve to seek your own wellbeing, all in response to how you treat it and who you are.”\\ — You would have the appearance of perfection, and a being programmed to seek your wellbeing, having been programmed via conditioning. Something very reminscient of Stockholm Syndrome.

  18. Sam Burke

    “Alright then. What reason would the redeemed in new creation have to sin?”//-I don’t know. Wait, if Heaven is temptation free and that still counts as freely choosing God, then that defeats Stratton’s proposal too. And it also defeats the need for everything else. On the other hand if there is some temptation, my point stands.

    “In his blog post “Free Will In Heaven?” on the FreeThinking Ministries website, Stratton calls this his “Fallback Position”. I’ve brought it up myself on this blog as a possibility, but since I think Stratton’s proposal is workable, it should be preferred. You’ve tried, but not succeeded in convincing me it isn’t workable. It seems better if God can manage to get people to perpetually freely love Him in a ability-to-do-otherwise scenario.”//-I don’t see why constantly making the same commitment again and again is better than making a permanent commitment.

    “You would have the appearance of perfection, and a being programmed to seek your wellbeing, having been programmed via conditioning.” No, there would be the literal feeling of affection.

    “Something very reminiscent of Stockholm Syndrome.”//-You mean aside from the lack of abuse? I mean Darkmatter 2525 has argued that Christians basically have Stockholm Syndrome, in real life (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hm4GtxOOqeI) and that the God Christians believe in is fits the description of an abuser. but whether or not that is true, this wouldn’t apply in the scenario I am arguing for.

    1. Evan Minton

      \\”I don’t know. Wait, if Heaven is temptation free and that still counts as freely choosing God, then that defeats Stratton’s proposal too.”\\ — Why does a temptation free state make sin impossible? Satan lived in a temptation free state before he fell. Evidently, there doesn’t need to be an infinite regression (nor can there be) of external temptations to bring about sin. Satan is evidence that one can be an untempted tempter.
      .
      \\”I don’t see why constantly making the same commitment again and again is better than making a permanent commitment.”\\ — I can. I’d rather have a woman freely choose to be married to me for the rest of her life, always having the ability to choose not to be with me, then to choose to marry, and having made that choice, I put a mind control chip in her head cementing that decision.
      .
      \\”You mean aside from the lack of abuse?”\\ — I said it was reminiscent of Stockholm syndrome, not exactly like it. You’d be manipulating this robot’s emotions (artificial emotions mind you) in such a way that resistance wouldn’t be possible. Conditioning her to “love” you. Something similar to wooing, but not really, because in real life, wooing can always be resisted. Just like God’s attempts to woo us (Acts 7:51). Externally, it would appear no different than winning the affection of any other woman. Suppose you introduced me to this extremely realistic robot under the pretense that it was a real human woman with libertarian free will. I successfully woo her ignorant of the fact that she couldn’t do otherwise. I would find that meaningful. But it would ruin the illusion once I found out that she was actually just a robot programmed to irresistibly respond to certain stimuli.

  19. Sam Burke

    “Why does a temptation free state make sin impossible? Satan lived in a temptation free state before he fell. Evidently, there doesn’t need to be an infinite regression (nor can there be) of external temptations to bring about sin. Satan is evidence that one can be an untempted tempter.”//-I was referring to both external and internal temptation. If there is internal temptation in heaven the problem I raised still remains.

    “I can. I’d rather have a woman freely choose to be married to me for the rest of her life, always having the ability to choose not to be with me, then to choose to marry, and having made that choice, I put a mind control chip in her head cementing that decision.”//-That’s not a good analogy. The analogy was her choosing and thus, willfully locking her own mind into this commitment.

    “I said it was reminiscent of Stockholm syndrome, not exactly like it. You’d be manipulating this robot’s emotions (artificial emotions mind you) in such a way that resistance wouldn’t be possible. Conditioning her to “love” you. Something similar to wooing, but not really, because in real life, wooing can always be resisted. Just like God’s attempts to woo us (Acts 7:51). Externally, it would appear no different than winning the affection of any other woman. Suppose you introduced me to this extremely realistic robot under the pretense that it was a real human woman with libertarian free will. I successfully woo her ignorant of the fact that she couldn’t do otherwise. I would find that meaningful. But it would ruin the illusion once I found out that she was actually just a robot programmed to irresistibly respond to certain stimuli.”//- The emotions would be real. They would literally exist. If someone was so overwhelmed with desire to be with me that they couldn’t resist (couldn’t do otherwise) that would be pretty cool. That said, having free will in some sort of way that doesn’t involve a direct decision related to accepting God might solve the issue of artificiality. (Free will that involves decisions that effect the type of personality/character you have.) These wouldn’t necessarily be moral, but they would effect the type of preferences you have. Thus, the preferences would not be artificial.

    1. Evan Minton

      //”I was referring to both external and internal temptation. If there is internal temptation in heaven the problem  I raised still remains.”// – you argued that if there was no motivation or Reason to do anything, then no one would act (actually you used the word “could”, but I let it slide, but I do think it overstates). I argued that there isn’t merely a lack of the motivation to send in heaven, but there’s very strong motivations not too. We have lived in this horrible horrible sin filled fallen world and we know how crappy it is. Not that we CANNOT, but we WILL not. Why WOULD we? What possible reason would I ever have to turn against God a trillion, a quadrillion, or even 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years from now? 
      .
      And yeah, given an infinite amount of time any nonzero probability event will occur. But again, free choices of personal agents are not chance events.
      .
      //”That’s not a good analogy. The analogy was her choosing and thus, willfully locking her own mind into this commitment.”// – Well, it would have been a good analogy if I had not make the mistake of omitting the detail that the mind control chip placed on her was something she asked me to do.
      .
      //”If someone was so overwhelmed with desire to be with me that they couldn’t resist (couldn’t do otherwise) that would be pretty cool.”// – I just don’t get the appeal of having a robot enslaved to their conditioning. 🤷

  20. Sam Burke

    “you argued that if there was no motivation or Reason to do anything, then no one would act (actually you used the word “could”, but I let it slide, but I do think it overstates). I argued that there isn’t merely a lack of the motivation to send in heaven, but there’s very strong motivations not too. We have lived in this horrible horrible sin filled fallen world and we know how crappy it is. Not that we CANNOT, but we WILL not. Why WOULD we? What possible reason would I ever have to turn against God a trillion, a quadrillion, or even 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years from now?”//-The reason is the temptations are well, tempting.

    And yeah, given an infinite amount of time any nonzero probability event will occur. But again, free choices of personal agents are not chance events.”//-Free choices are indeterministic events. There are possibilities on either side. Possibility entails at least some probability that is non-zero probability. Thus it will inevitably happen. I am not saying it is a chance event in the sense of an uncontrolled flipping of the dice. It is however, a chance in the sense that there are probabilities and possibilities. If you deny that our choices can be influenced by the desires you have in a probabilistic way (one option being made more likely for you to choose by a stronger level of temptation compared to the level of temptation for the other option) then I would ask how you could possibly explain the large amount of predictability of human volitions without resorting to determinism.

    I would recommend reading Daniel Dennison Whedon’s book The Freedom Of The Will As A Basis Of Human Responsibility And A Divine Government. He has a very good explanation of why the fact that human behavior is so predictable is compatible with Libertarian Free Will. (He didn’t use that term.) And his account highly depends on the probabilities idea although many other components are added as well, but the account is hopeless as an explanation of reality without it. But regardless, my views on free will are highly, highly influenced by his work. This is why I said you are unable to choose something if you have no motive to do it. And I mean you are literally unable to choose it. The probability (and therefore the possibility) is literally zero. Of course, if you at one point had such a motive and rejected it, (or had the possibility to develop the motive and refused to develop it) your inability is self induced and therefore you are responsible for it as self induced inability is no excuse.

    “Well, it would have been a good analogy if I had not make the mistake of omitting the detail that the mind control chip placed on her was something she asked me to do.”//-Still not a good analogy. The analogy would be her choosing you once, knowing that the choice essentially locks her in, as God designed her that way. Once she commits herself to you, that choice is permanent, and she knew that when she made this choice.

    I would argue that it is better to have a relationship with someone who has through their own choice removed any kind of tendency to not wish to be with you. Her having perfected her commitment through free choice to the point where she is psychologically unable to revoke it, is far better then a weaker commitment that can be revoked at any time even if you know it never will be.

    The solution advocated above and the one advocated below are separate to be clear.

    “I just don’t get the appeal of having a robot enslaved to their conditioning.”//-The appeal is in the person being irresistibly interested in you. (Literally). That said, I will admit that programming someone to love you specifically isn’t very appealing, not because it is unfree, but because it is narcissistic and pathetic to program someone to love you. Hence the need for quantum indeterminacy or free will choices that indirectly shape your preferences, attractions, etc.

    1. Evan Minton

      Ok, I admit that that is a pretty powerful rebuttal. I’ve been talking with Stratton over Messenger to see how he’d deal with it, and I don’t find his answers very compelling.
      .
      However, as I’ve taken the time to think this over, I’ve come to think that Stratton’s model could possibly be revised. We don’t need to resort to his “Fallback position”, having God become a cosmic magnet with us as “iron filings”. Stratton’s model could work, but it would indeed require a slight revision. That revision would mean giving up of PAP freedom (regarding moral choices at least) in the new creation. And we’d be left with soley sourcehood LFW. Thus, there’d be a zero probability of sin occurring. Moreover, I think the revision to Stratton’s proposal is found in your own comment. You said //“This is why I said you are unable to choose something if you have no motive to do it. And I mean you are literally unable to choose it. The probability (and therefore the possibility) is literally zero. Of course, if you at one point had such a motive and rejected it, (or had the possibility to develop the motive and refused to develop it) your inability is self induced and therefore you are responsible for it as self induced inability is no excuse.”//
      .
      Perhaps by having endured this horrible world and experienced so much evil, suffering, sin, what it’s like to be without God, et. al. that when we experience the renewed Eden, our motivation to avoid going back to a world like that is so extremely powerful and overwhelming that we just could never bring ourselves to ruin the sin-free state of affairs. “Been there, done that. It was horrible.” It would be the case that introducing sin to the new heavens and earth would be impossible. It would not be compatible with our natures. We’d still have PAP freedom to do plenty of other things (play chess with the apostle Paul or Tennis with C.S Lewis), but turning our back on New Eden would not be among what we’re able to choose.
      .
      This has the advantage of being a SELF-INDUCED inability, like you said. God would not render us unable by divine intervention, it would simply be that the trauma of living in a fallen world makes the idea of going back there as unthinkable as eating feces.
      .
      Moreover, if one believes this inability is a result of glorification, and one believes that glorification is the result of a completed process of sanctification, this is STILL a self-induced inability. And this has the advantage over your proposals because it would explain why, upon saying “Yes” to Christ, God doesn’t automatically remove our freedom to sin. Perhaps it is God’s will that one day we are as unable to sin as He is, but He wants this inability to be self induced, not done by a miraculous snap of His fingers. Now, whether or not we’d need some time post-mortem to complete the sanctification process is up for debate. Michael Jones of Inspiring Philosophy, in his video “What is Heaven?” would extend suffering time to the intermediate state, as would philosophers like Jerry Walls.
      .
      Either way, we’d be unable to sin, this ability would be self-induced, and it wouldn’t be because God removed our freedom. We freely chose to render ourselves unable to sin. And, this can’t be done immediately. It has to be a process. Hence why God doesn’t just do the 1 temptation per lifetime thing. Or any other “one time” choice that “locks us in”.
      .
      \\”The appeal is in the person being irresistibly interested in you. (Literally)”\\ — Maybe, provided she made a series of free choices that rendered her irresistibly interested in me. If it was self-induced during a PAP period like in the soteriological scenario I described above.
      .
      \\“I will admit that programming someone to love you specifically isn’t very appealing, not because it is unfree, but because it is narcissistic and pathetic to program someone to love you.”\\ — Well, I agree. But I think you may have inadvertently provided another rationale for why God might prefer a world with free creatures, i.e because He’s not a narcissist nor is He pathetic. If I can get someone to be my friend of their own free will, I’m more glorified than if I have to force him, mind control him, or psychologically condition him to do nothing but hang out with me and feel fond of me.

  21. Sam Burke

    “Ok, I admit that that is a pretty powerful rebuttal.”//-Thank You, I appreciate that.

    “I’ve been talking with Stratton over Messenger to see how he’d deal with it, and I don’t find his answers very compelling.”//-Alright. I would be interested in knowing his what his responses were though.

    “However, as I’ve taken the time to think this over, I’ve come to think that Stratton’s model could possibly be revised. We don’t need to resort to his “Fallback position”, having God become a cosmic magnet with us as “iron filings”. Stratton’s model could work, but it would indeed require a slight revision. That revision would mean giving up of PAP freedom (regarding moral choices at least) in the new creation. And we’d be left with soley sourcehood LFW. Thus, there’d be a zero probability of sin occurring. Moreover, I think the revision to Stratton’s proposal is found in your own comment. You said //“This is why I said you are unable to choose something if you have no motive to do it. And I mean you are literally unable to choose it. The probability (and therefore the possibility) is literally zero. Of course, if you at one point had such a motive and rejected it, (or had the possibility to develop the motive and refused to develop it) your inability is self induced and therefore you are responsible for it as self induced inability is no excuse.

    Perhaps by having endured this horrible world and experienced so much evil, suffering, sin, what it’s like to be without God, et. al. that when we experience the renewed Eden, our motivation to avoid going back to a world like that is so extremely powerful and overwhelming that we just could never bring ourselves to ruin the sin-free state of affairs. “Been there, done that. It was horrible.” It would be the case that introducing sin to the new heavens and earth would be impossible. It would not be compatible with our natures. We’d still have PAP freedom to do plenty of other things (play chess with the apostle Paul or Tennis with C.S Lewis), but turning our back on New Eden would not be among what we’re able to choose.

    This has the advantage of being a SELF-INDUCED inability, like you said. God would not render us unable by divine intervention, it would simply be that the trauma of living in a fallen world makes the idea of going back there as unthinkable as eating feces.”//-Why would you want someone to love you because of “trauma?” I think I would take programming my phone to say “I love you” over someone loving me out of the fear and trauma of the situation they would be in if they rejected a relationship with me. Even the Bible, agrees that this isn’t love, and certainly not perfect love. 1 John 4:17-18: “This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” This is another reason why Stratton’s proposal doesn’t work.

    “Moreover, if one believes this inability is a result of glorification, and one believes that glorification is the result of a completed process of sanctification, this is STILL a self-induced inability. And this has the advantage over your proposals because it would explain why, upon saying “Yes” to Christ, God doesn’t automatically remove our freedom to sin. Perhaps it is God’s will that one day we are as unable to sin as He is, but He wants this inability to be self induced, not done by a miraculous snap of His fingers. Now, whether or not we’d need some time post-mortem to complete the sanctification process is up for debate. Michael Jones of Inspiring Philosophy, in his video “What is Heaven?” would extend suffering time to the intermediate state, as would philosophers like Jerry Walls.

    Either way, we’d be unable to sin, this ability would be self-induced, and it wouldn’t be because God removed our freedom. We freely chose to render ourselves unable to sin. And, this can’t be done immediately. It has to be a process. Hence why God doesn’t just do the 1 temptation per lifetime thing. Or any other “one time” choice that ‘locks us in’.”//-Well, if instead of trying to get people to love him out of intense fear of the alternative, God simply had people love him by making a choice to love him, the sanctification process wouldn’t be necessary. Then once you choose him, the choice would be to form a permanent, (psychologically) irrevocable commitment to him. It would still be self induced, even if just once.

    “Maybe, provided she made a series of free choices that rendered her irresistibly interested in me. If it was self-induced during a PAP period like in the soteriological scenario I described above.”//-I guess that does sound better.

  22. Sam Burke

    Although the need for a “series” of free choices isn’t something I concede. If one choice to have a permanent, (psychologically) irreversible commitment would result in such self induced love, that wouldn’t be any worse than having this love be self induced by a series of choices. In fact, the strong, deep love and commitment being developed immediately, would be more appealing then slow progress over time, although both work.

    1. Evan Minton

      We don’t love God because of Trauma. We refuse to commit various kinds of sins because of trauma. Although because God is the ground of all reality, ultimate and perfected happiness can only be found in right relationship with Him. “EVERY good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17).
      .
      Knowing what kind of world we humans (and angels who follow suit) create when we try to live without God, we won’t choose to live without God. We won’t want a world like that. Trying to be autonomous just brings misery. That’s what happens when you try to live counter to reality and its ground. We will live according to what we were created for.
      .
      Although I wouldn’t deny that God can use suffering to freely get us to choose to come to Him. I’ve said as much in my theodicy videos and blog posts. But that’s not the same as loving God *in order to avoid* suffering. “Better love God real good today so bad stuff doesn’t happen.” No. I don’t do that now and I won’t do that in eternity. I mean, I STILL suffer in this world as a Christian, but I still love God. I don’t praise Jesus so that disaster doesn’t fall upon me. Pagans and their allotted lesser gods have historically had that relationship, but that is not is not the relationship the Christian has with Yahweh. I still suffer in this world as a Christian, but I still love God. God just allows my suffering for different reasons now than He did back when he was trying to save me from eternal damnation. My love for God is not driven by a desire for Him to keep me from suffering.
      .
      I’ll send you a PDF with my conversation with Tim over Facebook.
      .
      \\”Although the need for a “series” of free choices isn’t something I concede.”\\ — Well, you should. Because remember when I said WAAAAAY back earlier in this conversation that the sin nature isn’t some magical force God can extract like how a doctor extracts a tumor. It needs to be CHANGED away. Although I suppose God could always turn us into puppets. But you know my problem with that. And evidently, you too see a problem with that. As you said that to program someone to love you is a sign of being pathetic and a narcissist. So God’s other option is sanctification, which is…a process….not a one time decision.

  23. Sam Burke

    “We don’t love God because of Trauma. We refuse to commit various kinds of sins because of trauma. Although because God is the ground of all reality, ultimate and perfected happiness can only be found in right relationship with Him. “EVERY good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17).”//-Ok, that is better. However, the point about there perfect love in Heaven (which according to the Bible entails that there is no fear) remains.

    “Although I wouldn’t deny that God can use suffering to freely get us to choose to come to Him. I’ve said as much in my theodicy videos and blog posts. But that’s not the same as loving God *in order to avoid* suffering. “Better love God real good today so bad stuff doesn’t happen.” No. I don’t do that now and I won’t do that in eternity. I mean, I STILL suffer in this world as a Christian, but I still love God. I don’t praise Jesus so that disaster doesn’t fall upon me. Pagans and their allotted lesser gods have historically had that relationship, but that is not is not the relationship the Christian has with Yahweh. I still suffer in this world as a Christian, but I still love God. God just allows my suffering for different reasons now than He did back when he was trying to save me from eternal damnation. My love for God is not driven by a desire for Him to keep me from suffering.”//-Ok, but the problem is with God using trauma in Heaven, when the Bible says that perfect love will exist in Heaven, and that perfect love drives out fear.

    “Well, you should. Because remember when I said WAAAAAY back earlier in this conversation that the sin nature isn’t some magical force God can extract like how a doctor extracts a tumor. It needs to be CHANGED away. Although I suppose God could always turn us into puppets. But you know my problem with that. And evidently, you too see a problem with that. As you said that to program someone to love you is a sign of being pathetic and a narcissist. So God’s other option is sanctification, which is…a process….not a one time decision.”//-Several responses here. 1. God is omnipotent, so he can change who we are as a person if he wants to, as long as it doesn’t involve a contradiction. 2. My solution involves God having created us so that once we make the decision to love him, that this decision is to make a long term commitment to him, and to reorient our nature (who we are) towards a perfectly godly version of ourselves. Once again, God is omnipotent, so unless this involves a contradiction, God can do it.

  24. Sam Burke

    And just to get this out of the way, point 1 involves us having agreed to let God completely and immediately change us as a person of our own free will, so this isn’t equivalent to us being puppets. But then again, I endorse the solution in point 2 anyway. I still think the solution in point 1 is defensible, but I prefer the point 2 one.

    1. Evan Minton

      \\”Ok, that is better. However, the point about there perfect love in Heaven (which according to the Bible entails that there is no fear) remains.”\\ — Who said there’d be fear in Heaven? A strong aversion to ruining creation again =\= fear. If I’ve learned from mistake X, and therefore choose not to make X again, that doesn’t mean I’m fearful of *anything*, it just means I’m smart enough to avoid doing what causes I or others to suffer. A child whose learned not to touch a hot oven doesn’t mean he’s got a phobia of kitchen appliances.
      .
      \\”Ok, but the problem is with God using trauma in Heaven, when the Bible says that perfect love will exist in Heaven, and that perfect love drives out fear.”\\ — Again, where’s the fear? Our love for God isn’t driven by fear or trauma. Neither is our love for one another. But having learned that trying to live autonomously from God brings suffering, and since we’d rather not go through that again, we’ll avoid it. That’s not being fearful, that’s just being smart!
      .
      \\”Several responses here. 1. God is omnipotent, so he can change who we are as a person if he wants to, as long as it doesn’t involve a contradiction.”\\ — And that’s the puppet option. Or really the robot option since that involves a massive reprogramming of our nature. Regardless of whether or not God does it in response to “Please God, take away my free will and make me do what you want all the time”.
      .
      \\”2. My solution involves God having created us so that once we make the decision to love him, that this decision is to make a long term commitment to him, and to reorient our nature (who we are) towards a perfectly godly version of ourselves.”\\ — Is it possible that maybe God sees that it’s better for creatures to morally GROW into that kind of creature than to miraculously snap his fingers and make us like that – even if it was solicited by us?

      1. Evan Minton

        God seems to like to work through processes. Even creation was a long drawn out process of development as science has shown over the last 200 years. God didn’t poof creatures into being. They evolved. The Kingdom of God, says Jesus, starts off tiny and insignificant like a mustard seed, but it grows into a large tree with huge branches. It’s like a bit of yeast that slowly works it way through the dough. (Matthew 13:31-32, 33). God has chosen to make His children the people He wants us to be in the way that He He has chosen to do it. It’s too bad you don’t like it, but that’s how it is.

  25. Sam Burke

    “Who said there’d be fear in Heaven? A strong aversion to ruining creation again =\= fear. If I’ve learned from mistake X, and therefore choose not to make X again, that doesn’t mean I’m fearful of *anything*, it just means I’m smart enough to avoid doing what causes I or others to suffer. A child whose learned not to touch a hot oven doesn’t mean he’s got a phobia of kitchen appliances.”//-You did, when you referred to it as “trauma.” But regardless, a strong aversion could be helpful although a self induced moral inability via loving God to much might be a better source. I would rather someone respect the rules of a relationship out of love for me rather than an aversion to the consequences of not being with me. Wouldn’t you?

    “And that’s the puppet option. Or really the robot option since that involves a massive reprogramming of our nature. Regardless of whether or not God does it in response to ‘Please God, take away my free will and make me do what you want all the time.'”//-It’s more like “God I don’t want to be like this anymore. Please change me and take my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh.”

    “Is it possible that maybe God sees that it’s better for creatures to morally GROW into that kind of creature than to miraculously snap his fingers and make us like that – even if it was solicited by us?”//-If he is omnibenevolent, he won’t do that at the price of bone cancer in children, pedophilia, the majority of people going to Hell, (Matthew 7:13-14) etc. It just isn’t worth it.

    1. Evan Minton

      A child might be traumatized by getting injured from doing a dangerous activity. He learns from his mistake and never does it again. But it doesn’t mean he’s living in fear. There are lots of sin that bring misery to the human race besides choosing to not love God. But sin’s ultimate origin finds itself in wanting to be autonomous from God. That’s the takeaway point from the three rebellions in The Bible’s primeval history which I’ll be presentation on YouTube soon and, someday, will write a book on. The sin of Adam and Eve and Nachash, the sin of Watchers, the rebellion at Babel, they all stem from the same problem of “My way, not God’s”. And in New Eden, we’ll have learned not to do that. Murder, lust, theft, idolatry, jealousy, self-centeredness all stem from a broken relationship with the God of all reality.
      .
      I do “respect the rules of a relationship out of love for me rather than an aversion to the consequences of not being with” God. As I said in my previous comment, I’m in a relationship with the Triune God because He’s just an awesome person (err personS), not because I’m afraid of anything bad happening to me if I don’t appease Him. My God is not like the gods of the pagans. He doesn’t roll like that. I don’t worship him for fear that my crops might not get rain. For God “causes His rain to fall on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45)
      .
      \\\”It’s more like “God I don’t want to be like this anymore. Please change me and take my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh.”\\\\ — Nah, it’s solicited robotic reprogramming.
      .
      \\\\”If he is omnibenevolent, he won’t do that at the price of bone cancer in children, pedophilia, the majority of people going to Hell, (Matthew 7:13-14) etc. It just isn’t worth it.”\\\\ — Yeah, and you can say that because you know the content of all feasible worlds. You know how each of our choices affects all future events, and how those events affects others, and how those events affects others. You know how all free choices, contingent events, determined events, supernatural events, natural events, etc. etc. etc. intertwine in the complex web of cause and effect all across the globe from the beginning of the cosmos’ history to the end. You know precisely what would happen if each individual were never born. You know what would happen if individuals who won’t ever exist were born. You knew the ending to the movie Sliding Doors before watching it to the end, for you knew what that one tiny instance of making it through the subway doors would be. You didn’t have to watch it, or read its plot on Wikipedia.
      .
      You were there when God laid the foundations of the earth. You know who marked off its dimensions. Of course you do. You know who stretched a measuring line across it. On what precisely its footings were set, or who laid its cornerstone. You know which possible world God should have actualized because you are so full of understanding.

  26. Sam Burke

    “I do “respect the rules of a relationship out of love for me rather than an aversion to the consequences of not being with” God. As I said in my previous comment, I’m in a relationship with the Triune God because He’s just an awesome person (err personS), not because I’m afraid of anything bad happening to me if I don’t appease Him. My God is not like the gods of the pagans. He doesn’t roll like that. I don’t worship him for fear that my crops might not get rain. For God “causes His rain to fall on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45)”//-Ok, then why can’t that be the motive in Heaven, eliminating the need for aversion to the consequences of sinning?

    “Nah, it’s solicited robotic reprogramming.” Yeah, and? I don’t see anything wrong with a conscious robot with free will choosing to ask me to reprogram it to obey me, have a relationship with me, etc.

    “Yeah, and you can say that because you know the content of all feasible worlds. You know how each of our choices affects all future events, and how those events affects others, and how those events affects others. You know how all free choices, contingent events, determined events, supernatural events, natural events, etc. etc. etc. intertwine in the complex web of cause and effect all across the globe from the beginning of the cosmos’ history to the end. You know precisely what would happen if each individual were never born. You know what would happen if individuals who won’t ever exist were born. You knew the ending to the movie Sliding Doors before watching it to the end, for you knew what that one tiny instance of making it through the subway doors would be. You didn’t have to watch it, or read its plot on Wikipedia.

    You were there when God laid the foundations of the earth. You know who marked off its dimensions. Of course you do. You know who stretched a measuring line across it. On what precisely its footings were set, or who laid its cornerstone. You know which possible world God should have actualized because you are so full of understanding.”//-Um no. Not claiming that at all. Nor is that relevant to my claim. My claim is that if God made it so that people can choose to form a permanent commitment to him, via one choice that “locks you in” then this eliminates the need for a lot of suffering that Tim’s model is supposed to justify.

    1. Evan Minton

      \\\”Ok, then why can’t that be the motive in Heaven, eliminating the need for aversion to the consequences of sinning?”\\\ — It will be one motivation. A child can also obey a parent out of love and respect in addition to knowing the consequences of disobeying them. “Man, last time I didn’t take my Dad’s advice, I got into some real trouble.” But we all know that most of us learn things the hard way. Sometimes disobeying your parents and really feeling the consequences of your actions (eating too many jelly beans and getting sick) is sometimes the only way we’ll learn.

      \\”Yeah, and? I don’t see anything wrong with a conscious robot with free will choosing to ask me to reprogram it to obey me, have a relationship with me, etc.”\\ — Well, good for you.

      \\”Um no. Not claiming that at all. Nor is that relevant to my claim.”\\ — Kinda is, bro. I said “Is it possible that maybe God sees that it’s better for creatures to morally GROW into that kind of creature than to miraculously snap his fingers and make us like that – even if it was solicited by us?” You claimed it wasn’t worth it. In fact, you take issue with a lot of things God does. So I take it you must have access to even greater level of knowledge than God does to know that your way is just so much better than His. That He cannot possibly know something you don’t. I don’t know how or when you became such a god-like being, or why a god like yourself would bother with internet debates, but surely you know the exhaustive content of all feasible worlds to know that the one Yahweh chose to actualize just isn’t the right one.
      .
      No, the right one is one where God magically makes people perfectly obedient slaves upon conversion. There can’t be any reason why that’s not inferior to sanctification and people freely render THEMSELVES unable to sin.

  27. Sam Burke

    “It will be one motivation. A child can also obey a parent out of love and respect in addition to knowing the consequences of disobeying them. “Man, last time I didn’t take my Dad’s advice, I got into some real trouble.” But we all know that most of us learn things the hard way. Sometimes disobeying your parents and really feeling the consequences of your actions (eating too many jelly beans and getting sick) is sometimes the only way we’ll learn.”//-That’s great, but if people perfectly love God, their is no need for such additional motivation. As the Bible is quite clear that people who love God obey him, and that there will be perfect love between God and his creatures.

    “Kinda is, bro. I said “Is it possible that maybe God sees that it’s better for creatures to morally GROW into that kind of creature than to miraculously snap his fingers and make us like that – even if it was solicited by us?” You claimed it wasn’t worth it. In fact, you take issue with a lot of things God does. So I take it you must have access to even greater level of knowledge than God does to know that your way is just so much better than His. That He cannot possibly know something you don’t. I don’t know how or when you became such a god-like being, or why a god like yourself would bother with internet debates, but surely you know the exhaustive content of all feasible worlds to know that the one Yahweh chose to actualize just isn’t the right one.”//-I don’t need to be omniscient to know that wanting to have people grow isn’t worth bone cancer, child rape, and the majority of people going to Hell. Stratton’s solution to the problem of evil doesn’t work, just admit it. There are better solutions, but his isn’t one of them.

    “No, the right one is one where God magically makes people perfectly obedient slaves upon conversion. There can’t be any reason why that’s not inferior to sanctification and people freely render THEMSELVES unable to sin.”//-Or there is the option of people changing themselves by choosing a permanent commitment to God. And thus indeed rendering themselves unable to sin instantly.

    1. Evan Minton

      \\”That’s great, but if people perfectly love God, their is no need for such additional motivation.”\\ — Let’s go over the planks of the three circles model again. I say “again” because I’m sure you’ve run into it either by watching my videos, reading my paper “Why The Problem Of Evil Is A Failed Argument For Atheism” or by following Tim Stratton’s work.
      .

      a) Suffering, whether it be moral evil, natural evil, or seemingly gratuitous evil, points us to the way things ought to be (we learn from suffering and evil that it ought not be).
      .
      b) The “way things ought to be” is an eternal love relationship with God and all people in a perfect state of affairs. This is what we refer to as “Heaven.”
      .
      c) Libertarian freedom is necessarily required for true love.
      .
      d) Finite creatures who possess libertarian freedom learn over time.
      .
      e) Supernatural “zaps” of knowledge do not work. Most created beings must attain experiential knowledge (See Can God Create a Morally Perfect Creature?).
      .
      f) Adam, Eve, Satan, and a third of all the angels took suffering-free states of affairs for granted, and freely chose to “wreck” it.
      .
      g) You and I have experienced evil, suffering, and affliction — and we are aware of so much more. Because of our experiences with evil and suffering, you and I will not take suffering-free states of affairs for granted because we have genuinely learned from our experiences.
      .
      h) Because you and I have learned how stupid evil is, although we possess the same ability to “wreck” a perfect state of affairs, God created a world in which He knew that we we will always freely choose to love God and all people exactly as God intends us to for eternity. (That is to say, although we could “wreck it” and sin as Adam did, God knows that we never would or will sin into the infinite future after experiencing limited amounts of evil on earth.)

      – “3 Circles & ALL The Problems of Evil” by Tim Stratton.
      .
      or if you prefer
      .
      h*) by having endured this horrible world and experienced so much evil, suffering, sin, what it’s like to be without God, et. al. that when we experience the renewed Eden, our motivation to avoid going back to a world like that is so extremely powerful and overwhelming that we just could never bring ourselves to ruin the sin-free state of affairs. It would be the case that introducing sin to the new heavens and earth would be impossible. It would not be compatible with our natures. We not only would not choose to “wreck it”, we cannot choose to “wreck it”.

      i) Some creatures have freely chosen not to learn from evil. They will be eternally separated from those of us who have.

      Look at plank F. I would contend that for all we know, it is infeasible for God to actualize a world in which everyone takes their suffering free state of affairs for granted, having never experienced it before. We’ve experienced it now, hence the statement of G.
      .
      \\\”I don’t need to be omniscient to know that wanting to have people grow isn’t worth bone cancer, child rape, and the majority of people going to Hell. Stratton’s solution to the problem of evil doesn’t work, just admit it.”\\\ — Ok. You don’t need to know the content of all feasible worlds. You don’t need to know how each of our choices affects all future events, and how those events affects others, and how those events affects others. No need to know how all free choices, contingent events, determined events, supernatural events, natural events, etc. etc. etc. intertwine in the complex web of cause and effect all across the globe from the beginning of the cosmos’ history to the end. You don’t need to know precisely what would happen if each individual were never born. You don’t need to know any of this stuff to know that the world you would actualize if you were God is better than the one God chose to actualize.
      .

  28. Evan Minton

    One more thing, I can agree that Stratton’s proposal doesn’t answer the problem of evil on its own. I don’t think any theodicy completely does. I incorporate it, as can be seen in my recent videos on the POE, as part of a cumulative theodicy. The model certainly is sufficient to refute the LOGICAL version of the problem of evil, which is why I included it there. Maybe it falls hard on its face when its brought over to address the evidential version. But it at least succeeds in the logical version. Because all that needs to be the case is that the model be logically possible.
    .
    But even with the evidential version, I think it works if it’s taken in tandem with all of the points I made in “The Evidential Problem Of Evil – Answered”. And if I’m not mistaken, I think this model was formulated to answer the logical version. To deal with moral, natural, and gratuitous evil (assuming there is such a thing). Since, after all, The Free Will Defense can only address moral evil. This is why I included it in my video “The Logical Problem Of Evil – Answered” in the section in which I tackle natural evil after playing a clip by Neil deGrasse Tyson giving the objection.

  29. Sam Burke

    “Let’s go over the planks of the three circles model again. I say “again” because I’m sure you’ve run into it either by watching my videos, reading my paper “Why The Problem Of Evil Is A Failed Argument For Atheism” or by following Tim Stratton’s work.”//-I have read Stratton’s mode and your paper. Haven’t gotten around to watching your videos on the problem of evil, since I have read your writings on it and debated it with you multiple times. Therefore I have considered watching it to be a low priority, since I assumed it was likely repeating what you have said on the subject before.

    f is irrelevant, because my argument is that if people choose to form a permanent commitment to God, that would solve the issue. If some people fall, they can accept Jesus as their savior in the future, which would have the same result.

    “Ok. You don’t need to know the content of all feasible worlds. You don’t need to know how each of our choices affects all future events, and how those events affects others, and how those events affects others. No need to know how all free choices, contingent events, determined events, supernatural events, natural events, etc. etc. etc. intertwine in the complex web of cause and effect all across the globe from the beginning of the cosmos’ history to the end. You don’t need to know precisely what would happen if each individual were never born. You don’t need to know any of this stuff to know that the world you would actualize if you were God is better than the one God chose to actualize.”//-Exactly. I don’t need to know any of that. My solution is quite simple.

    “One more thing, I can agree that Stratton’s proposal doesn’t answer the problem of evil on its own. I don’t think any theodicy completely does. I incorporate it, as can be seen in my recent videos on the POE, as part of a cumulative theodicy. The model certainly is sufficient to refute the LOGICAL version of the problem of evil, which is why I included it there. Maybe it falls hard on its face when its brought over to address the evidential version. But it at least succeeds in the logical version. Because all that needs to be the case is that the model be logically possible.”//-Ok. I don’t endorse the logical problem of evil. I haven’t thought that the existence of evil was logically incompatible with God’s existence since long before our first conversation.

    1. Evan Minton

      Yeah, I do cover a lot of the same ground. I didn’t know you read the paper though. Look, this conversation has been going on for 46 comments (47 if you count this one), and I’m just kind of tired. As always, it’s been stimulating and enjoyable, but I think this conversation has run its course. So, I’m just going to let you have the last word.

Leave a Reply to Sam Burke Cancel reply