Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I have decided to post some of the questions that I have been extensively researching for about a ten years now. The main thing I have learned is that these questions are more complicated than they may seem at first glance. The greatest benefit to this study has been finding that many of my initial assumptions were incoherent and contradictory. While I have refined my own thinking over the years, I do not yet feel comfortable that a definitive conclusion has been reached and for that I am glad. Part of me even fears reaching a conclusion because then this marvelous journey would end. There have been times when I felt like an inevitable conclusion was at hand, but then another door would open and cast doubt upon my current location. One of the ways I judge my progress is by seeing how long a lean in a certain direction lasts. I have been in one of those leans now for about three years, but just today I found something that has me rethinking and retracing my steps to make sure I did not make a wrong turn along the way. Maybe my skepticism is just a coping mechanism to make sure the journey does not end, or maybe I truly do fear the consequences of arrival.

It is amazing to learn how much pragmatism and an affinity toward certain thinkers can really influence the conclusions one reaches in study. Even when you think you are being objective and free of bias, it can rear its ugly head. I have learned that the search for truth does come with a price and one that is worth paying. The benefits you receive come from the search more so than the destination. The skill and knowledge you gain along the way make you a better person and more honest with yourself.

The first part of 2013 has been a fruitful time of study and much progress has been made in clarifying many of the issues. Now I sense I am entering a time where I will take a step back and let everything simmer for a while. Partly because I have a lack of new information to ingest and partly because I am tired. All my searches for new books and papers have come up empty. I am anticipating some new work that should be published early next year. 

For clarification, I am looking for a unified theory that avoids as many contradictions as possible. So here are my questions and feel free to chime in:

Does granting humans freedom limit God's control over human affairs?
To the extent that God grants freedom to creatures, must he relinquish control?
Does foreknowledge ultimately lead to determinism?
In Calvinism, does God giving you strong desires and you acting on them freedom? Can we really be morally accountable in Calvinism?
Is science really moving from a determined view to indeterminism?
Doesn't saying that God uses a “time telescope” to see the future contradict the traditional understanding of omniscience?
Does simple foreknowledge give God any creative benefit?
Does it make any sense to say “I must do A and do it freely”?
Is A or B theory of time true?
Is the universe a four dimensional block?
Is the future comprised of what “will” “would”, or “might” happen?
Does God know reality for what it is or as something different?
Is omniscience a matter of God knowing all that can be known or is it exhaustive?
Does God self-restrain or limit himself on our behalf?
Should we reject the perfect being philosophy of Plato, Anselm, and Aquinas? Has their thinking played too big a role and changed the way the Bible is read and interpreted?
Are the answers to deep questions only beyond reason or could they be against reason?
What is the difference between foreknowledge and foreordination?
Is God sovereign over all things or just some things?
Does God interact with every moment in time at once in a simultaneous eternal now?
Is there a true biblical consensus on foreknowledge and providence?
How can we have moral accountability if we are not free in a libertarian sense?
How does God get knowledge?
Can God gain knowledge?
By placing God outside time, did Boethius really solve any problems?
Does the incarnation present a problem for believing in an impassible and timeless God?
Is there a difference between God controlling contingent facts versus people?
Are there divisions or parts to God's existence? Is it an imperfection for God to change or gain knowledge? Is it an imperfection for God to have a past, present, and future?
Does the biblical narrative represent God as having a real temporal narrative?
Does the grounding objection present a real problem for Molinism?
Has the personhood and love of God been diminished by traditional theology and perfect being philosophy?
Does bivalent omniscience negate “would” counterfactuals?
Can one live consistently with a deterministic or Molinist worldview?
Can foreknowledge only be used in a providentially beneficial manner if there is a time at which what is foreknown can influence a divine decision that is not itself also foreknown?
If the potter has coercive control over the clay, why aren't we better than we are?

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what an incredible list of thought provoking questions! I have just begun my own journey of systematically evaluating my theological beliefs. A pastor friend of mine was discussing how systematic theology often asks questions that the Bible does not answer, whereas biblical theology builds belief out of what the Bible says. Either way, it sounds like you have put a lot of thought into these matters.