July 14th, 2016
My move to supralapsarianism is pretty recent. I remember discussing and debating with my Calvinist friends back in the dorm rooms during my undergrad years. One thing was this issue of infra/supralapsarianism and I would debate it. Ironically, in debating against supralapsarianism for so long I started to see the harmony with it. To be clear, I don’t think any amount of biblical exegesis can derive the logical order of the fall and election. These types of positions are supported by exegesis and arrived via theological reflection.
I can see the tension between libertarian free will and supra. This is how I understand it: Logically prior to the creation of the universe (natural knowledge and middle knowledge, moments 1 and 2), God chose to create to glorify himself and to share the intratrinitarian love between the godhead. His chosen method was to redeem a people to himself. What are the necessary conditions for this redemption (remember, necessary conditions are the consequent in a conditional statement, so: If X obtains, then redemption [where X is the sufficient condition])? There must be evil/sin and consequently death. So since God’s decision to redeem a people to himself, there had to be sin. Is God the direct cause of sin? No. I think that’s metaphysically absurd. What must be required? Free agents.
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April 18th, 2016
For the last couple years I’ve been back and forth about infralapsarianism and supralapsarianism. In my pursuit to hold to consilient views, I’m starting to lean and adopt the supralapsarian position.
From the Latin, supra (prior to, below, before), lapsis, (fall). A term used to denote the logical moment of God’s election of the saints. Supralapsarianism if the belief that God chose the elect logically prior to the fall of man.
Supralapsarianism is generally held by Calvinists and a few Molinists. Supralapsarianism places the moment of divine election logically prior to the fall of Adam as opposed to logically posterior to the fall, which is known as infralapsarianism. When God chose the elect he did so without viewing them or considering them in their fallen state. God chose them in a pre-fallen state. This position can create controversy and may have unsavory implications.
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February 4th, 2016
In a non-Everettian context (Hugh Everett) identity may be understood in different ways. Consider David Wallace’s example of the ancient pot (P2). An antiquities specialist informs you that your P2 is the same as P1, a famous pot owned by Emperor Tiberius in ad 30. There is a four-dimensional tube P in spacetime extending from P1 toP2—a spacetime worm. The matter of the tube has certain structural and dynamical connections running along it. If we write P(t) for the contents of P indexed at time t, the specialist’s claim is underwritten by the existence of some structural-dynamical relation R holding, for each t, between P(t) and P(t + δt), with δ signifying a difference or change in time. Each indexed moment along P(t) would simply be a stage of the pot’s existence.
There are two basic philosophical conclusions about the identity of the pot being the same pot. The first is called the Worm View as I’ve previously alluded to. Under this view, P is the pot and P1 and P2 are just different names for the pot (literally, P1 = P2). The second view that the P1 and P2 are the same is the Stage View. The pot appears as an instantaneous three-dimensional object: P1 = P(AD 30); P2 = P(AD 2016). Thus, to say that P1 and P2 is the same pot, it means: P2 is linked to P1 by a continuous chain of R-related pots.
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February 2nd, 2016
There have been quite a few tech issues with the site lately and I’ve been quite busy being in the last few months of my PhD so I apologise for not having posts as frequently as I would like. Over that last few months it has finally become official that I’m teaching the MA in Theology and Apologetics programme.
In a world that seems increasingly hostile not only to religion in general, but Christianity in particular, the new Oklahoma Wesleyan University Master of Arts in Theology and Apologetics, will prepare the student to not only defend their faith, but have a clear understanding of how to share their faith in a shifting world.
This program is built around the Four Pillars of OKWU; The Primacy of Jesus Christ, The Priority of Scripture, The Pursuit of Truth, and the Practice of Wisdom. Three classes will be taken supporting each pillar, and will leave the student grounded theologically and apologetically.
The MA in Theology and Apologetics is particularly enriched by our connection to the Josh McDowell Institute of Apologetics here at Oklahoma Wesleyan. Not only will the student be able to participate in the annual Apologetics Conference in person, by podcast or live streaming, but it is very possible the student will be able to take a class written, and or taught, by such noted apologists as Josh McDowell, William Lane Craig, Abdu Murray and more.
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January 15th, 2016
I recently became interested in A Song of Ice and Fire and the HBO adaptation Game of Thrones within the last year. While LOST will always have a sentimental and special place in my heart, I must concede that this is perhaps the most well-written show I’ve ever seen. LOST is still very well written and tops a close #2 on my list even though I think it is much more philosophical.
Tyler D. McNabb and I have coauthored a chapter for the forthcoming 2016 book The Ultimate Game of Thrones and Philosophy published by Open Court Press. The chapter title is “Belief and Trust in the Fog of War and Lies: The Case of Catelyn and Brienne”. Naturally, I’m not an epistemologist–that’s Tyler. I’m the metaphysician, which made Tyler lead but the contribution by both of us were balanced and equal.
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December 7th, 2015
I had recently received a message from a young gentleman named Erik who sent me the following message:
As an undergrad in philosophy the question of God almost always came up during class. During those times I took a lot of pleasure in using the problem of evil to dismiss the idea of the Christian God.
That was when I was an Atheist. Months later I reconverted to Christianity, but for a while up until yesterday I never understood the problem of evil…which really does come down to the problem of pain. I never really could understand why God allowed for suffering, until yesterday.
I had been praying for the past couple of months for God to reveal Himself to me. I would pray for hours, tears running down my face because I never would get an answer. I was depressed, I had fallen into nihilism because I didn’t feel like anyone cared about me…
I got into a pretty bad car wreck the other day. I should’ve been killed based off of what the Officer said, but I had been able to swerve and avoid colliding head on with a telephone pole. I had fallen asleep, and woke up just in time for me to swerve out of the way. Only the rear of my car was destroyed, but if I hadn’t woken up in time I wouldn’t be here typing this.
When the car finally came to a stop I was able to crawl out and call for help. When I was in the hospital I began to receive calls and visits from friends, family, and complete strangers. Never before had I received such an outpouring of love…
It was then that I realized that God had used this instance of evil to bring about a greater good. Even though I screwed up, God was there.
Through this instance of evil God answered my two prayers. He revealed Himself to me through the miracle of surviving, and he answered my prayers on not feeling like anyone cared for me… through the amount of love I received. I’m telling you this mainly because of your book on suffering. I read about your own personal struggles and how they have brought about changes to your character. Through this instance God has changed mine in a way that I would’ve never thought possible.
So now I understand why there’s suffering in the world. I would’ve never understood it until I as an individual went through it. Now I know God cares for me and exists, now I know that I am loved and have friends and family. All through this instance of pain, and personally I would go through it again each and every time because what it has done for me. Once again, thank you for your book, because it did help bring about more understanding.
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November 30th, 2015
Suppose you go back in time to 1941 Germany or anywhere occupied by the Nazis. You have the same memories and knowledge that you have now. You are capable of disabling or shutting down a concentration camp but the only way of successfully doing so requires the 5 Nazi soldiers and doctors must die. Do you kill the Nazis or let them murder the prisoners?
Remember, these soldiers are executing people regularly and these doctors are performing human tests and forced sterilisation at best. However, if you do kill the Nazis, it’s still likely that the prisoners will still die whether it’s because they die of exposure out on their own or they’re killed by others in the near future. It seems you have four choices:
- Kill the Nazis and save the prisoners
- Do nothing
- Help the Nazis
- Try to change the laws so the prisons are illegal (it may take decades)
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