Does God Ultimately Determine Everything?

by Max Andrews

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 Goddetermining 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)


3 Comments to “Does God Ultimately Determine Everything?”

  1. Max,
    I have aquestion, I have read the Middle knowledge concept and I agree (mostly) with the thought, it confirms the view I have of Gods knowledge for sometime now. The questions are:

    Is there a proplem for me to state that God knows, everything we would do intrinsicly because of His omniscience? Why must God set circumstances to aid His will, according to another post Ive read here, God places circuntances rightly so that we may make the decisions He wills, then to me it seems to be manipulation rather then true free will, even if the decision is made freely, it was sort coerced by God setting certain circumstances?

    Could it just be that God, has in some way allowed the free will, given a limited set of options of course, and that those free choices, ultimately fullfills what He knows will happen. Since knowing does not imply doing? However ultimately free will brings about His purpose.

    I am not at a scholar in these matters so I apologize if im misundertanding the whole concept 🙁 or misrepresenting the molonist view.

    • Hey Juan,

      It’s a great question and hits at the heart of libertarian freedom. The conditions prior to someone’s decision, a la God placing them in a circumstance to choose something, will certainly influence our decisions. It being cold outside might have an influence on me not going out in shorts and a tee. However, I still have the freedom to do that. Each of our decisions ultimately rest with us as the origin of that decision. So, that would include intuition or, seemingly, non-circumstantially driven. So, circumstance driven and spur of the moment choices are categorically the same–each have their ultimate origin from the person. One just has circumstantial influence that may incline us to act in certain ways but God knows both of these decision, whether it’s circumstantial or not. Does that help?

      • Yes it does, thank you.

        This maybe simplistic, but often as a father of three toddlers, I know my kid will choose the wrong thing (Free Will) given the opportunity (circumstances), which is always there. I manipulate circumstances, and communicate to him what my will is; very well knowing that he will choose the very thing I am trying to prevent by warning him and by changing circumstances to his aid. I of course can’t control His will, but what I find most amazing is that God can! But he won’t. His desires us to freely choose His will. This to me is one of the greatest demonstrations of His love towards us, as our creator and heavenly father. “After all a gift that is demanded is no gift at all” – God made you special Veggie Tales 😉

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