Overpower – Is God Ultimately Responsible for Everything?

by Max Andrews

This is in response to Rick’s comment regarding middle knowledge.  I’ll quote the section of his comment below for context and I’ll give a brief summation of the issue here.  The question is whether everything that happens in the actual world is ultimately determined by God and if so, is God thus responsible for everything including [Rick’s examples of] reprobation, evil, making libertarian freedom illusory, etc.

This question is incredibly vague and it depends on how one defines responsibility in the question.  I’ll just get to the real question like Rick gave, is God ultimately responsible for evil knowing what will happen?  No.  In Rick’s question he excludes the use of middle knowledge in God’s knowledge. It wouldn’t be determinism either, it would be fatalism.  The difference between fatalism and determinism is that fatalism suggests that events happen necessarily but are not causally bound whereas determinism is causally restricted.  The events in this world happen logically prior to God’s creative decree.  So, what will happen since God’s decision to create has already been factored into every state of affairs based on human free decisions for how they would respond to the circumstances they find themselves in.

God’s responsibility for creation is a governing responsibility.  Consider creation as an open system within a closed system.  God could have created a world in which everyone never sinned, but that world may not have been feasible.  God is responsible in causal sustaining sense as well, but that’s different from an actualizing sense.  God weakly and strongly actualizes every state of affairs.  As Plantinga defines the terms:  God weakly actualizes S iff there is an S* such that God strongly actualizes [direct causation] S* and S* → S, where → is “counterfactual implication” (Let S be a state of affairs).

So am I free to break the predicted pattern?  Well, the future is going to happen necessarily, but only because it will be a result of what we would do.  Remember, God’s foreknowledge is a reflection of what we would do.  In order to have an answer to that question, it depends on what I would do in whatever circumstance, that free choice will determine what will happen.  In the words of William Lane Craig, “If God simply foreknows that man will sin, then it’s too late, so to speak, to do anything about it, since it’s logically impossible to change the future.”  That’s why simple foreknowledge and Arminianism fails in my opinion.  For further elaboration see why I’m not an Arminian.  So is God responsible for everything in creation? Yes, but that does not include God determining everything in creation.

In the words of C.S. Lewis, “If God thinks this state of war in the universe a price worth paying for free will…then we may take it it is worth paying.” (Mere Christianity)

Question reference:

Calvinism—Arminians object that, if God determines everything, He is to blame for everything; we don’t really have a choice in what we do, and thus we aren’t responsible ultimately for our actions. Molinists want to protect our (libertarian) freedom. But since God is the one who chose the possible world He wanted, and there is some way He could know that libertarianly free people will choose one thing over another, then He is ultimately responsible for all that happens after all. He could have chosen a possible world where Bill Smith would accept Christ rather than reject Him.Molinism seems to entail determinism after all. If God knows for certain (without possibility of being proved wrong) that I will act in certain ways given certain circumstances, a particular history, certain background beliefs, etc., then that implies that in that situation I can only act in one way, the way God foresaw. I am not truly free to break from the predicted pattern. If God can somehow know the future without in some way determining it, then I don’t see what Molinism gives that Arminianism doesn’t.

6 Responses to “Overpower – Is God Ultimately Responsible for Everything?”

  1. Thank you for this post! I hate how so many people want to take power from God when it is his! God is responsible for everything that happens, including things we don’t want to happen. This includes suffering on earth, and in hell. God from the beginning of time designed it, so that most people, 100s of Billions when you look at all of history, went to Hell to suffer forever, suffered because God ultimately wanted them to. We don’t want to think about it, but it is true, and God does it because he loves us. It would be kind of like having 5 children, and planning for 3 of them to fall into a furnace and burn and die, so that the other 2 would see how much you cared for them, because you didn’t choose for them to be the ones to burn. We don’t want to look at it that way because it makes us feel uncomfortable, but in the end it shows how God loves us so much that he didn’t send US to hell!

  2. when i was a child of about 12, i used to ask in my thoughts how the outcome of this life is going to be. eventually i read in portions of most scriptures that the actions of nations and individuals have been successfully predicted by prophets, seers and psychics. i have had dreams which have been fulfilled.
    am 50 this year, and my conclusion is that God has allowed each of us, including animals, to come into this life to play roles, consciously or unconsciously, to express an aspect of his attributes: mercy, wrath, love, anger.
    this is the revelation that Jesus brought. i was humbeld by this revelation, i stopped condemning others, because i am what i am not because of my intelligence but because God gave me hard circumstances and gave me unique brains to overcome those circumstnaces. he knows us years before we are borne.
    most persons are glad when isaiah the prohet speaks of christ 700 years before his sayings were fullled, but when you tell them God knew Judas just as He knew Christ 700 years, they try to explain it. but Jesus himself said on many occasions that these things must be fulfilled.
    finally, whatever you think, the truth is, you cannot surprise God with anything. HE knew Jacob will be greater than Esau.
    He knew Jesus will be stabbed in the rib.
    He knew Jesus will be smite on the cheek.
    He knows the number of hairs on your head.
    He knew Paul before he was converted.
    May be we should hope HE is merciful on us to count us worthy of such revelations…

  3. Yes. God is responsible for everything. He created everything and he abused lucifer by ordering him to worship man. You have to know the whole story. God offended lucifer then allowed him to murder the lesser. Great God; indeed! And; God is searching for those who will stand with truth. He knows most of you primates pray only for your gain. If you want to know God then call him out tot truth. If you pray selfishly God will hand you over to mammon and the fractional debt/banking system with a lucifer on top. I told God to erase me because I don’t approve with his wickedness …. I am still here!

  4. Mohism says that Heaven is NOT responsible for everything. When Mozi got sick, one of his disciples asked him how he could get sick if Heaven rewards and punishes good and bad behavior. Mozi replied that there are many factors at play other than Heaven’s justice. Does this imply that Tian is not all powerful? The Mozi doesn’t address the issue, which means you can “increase what should be increased, and decrease what should be decreased.(Ch 44, para 16)”

    Oh, Molinism. Never heard of it. But I’ve heard of CS Lewis and his argument. LIke many other Christian arguments it places the active ingredients unassailably off stage. You don’t get to look at why God gave Man free will, but it’s the magic answer.

    Maybe God’s infinite power is matched exactly equally by “his” effort to create an also infinite multiverse, which means there are imperfect worlds which require time (and human assistance) to fix up. That would be God’s supposed attributes and supposed personality being conjibed, eh? But that would mean throwing out the Bible, since it does not have provisions to stretch that far.

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