The Evangelical Universalist Forum

If God values free will...

Many would agree with the gist of that. For example the following thread i’ve been reading recently, especially posts by “Jason0047”: … m.8024186/

I like the forum chap, with the Bugs Bunny avatar, called jimmyjimmy - Pardoned Rebel :smiley:

Can it be shown that there is ‘nothing in between’ determinism and LFW? No. A case has been made for each, and the other side has not been able to demolish it.
I realize that LFW is the lynch-pin of certain theodicies, most notably as put forth by Plantinga. And he makes a good case in his attempt to address the Problem of Evil; however his Free Will Defense is only as strong as its weak link, which is the unprovable LFW axiom.
All that being said, I lean (slightly) toward LFW, but it’s a matter of taste, not of necessity.

Actually, Dave - from the standpoint of professional philosophy at, they have this outlined discussion:

I’ve read a lot of professional philosophy, from the pre-Socratics to the present over the past 35 years or so, still haven’t spotted that elusive proof. Of anything. :smiley:

If you make a salve of Limburger cheese…like Curly does in the Three Stooges… rub it all over the body…and walk into a sauna…I can prove that you will have the sauna - all to yourself. :laughing:

That was YOU that grossed us all out the other day? :laughing:

Apropos to the discussion of free will and other philosophical knots, here’s a note from MavPhil today:

begin quote
"Philosophers contradict one another, but that is not the worst of it. The grandest philosophical conclusion is and can only be a proposition about reality and not reality itself. But it is reality itself that we want.

Can religion help? Its motor is belief. But belief is not knowledge, either propositional or direct. And if an appeal to divine revelation is made, then the question inevitably arises: how does one know that a putative revelation is genuine?

If you certify the revelation by appeal to the authority of your church, then I will ask how you know that your church is the true church. After all, not every Christian is Protestant or majuscule-‘o’-Orthodox . Are those stray dogs who refuse Rome recalcitrant rebels who simply reject the truth when it is plainly presented to them? I think not.

The motor of philosophy is discursive reason. The motor of religion is belief and obedient acquiescence in authority. Neither Athens nor Jerusalem seems to be a wholly satisfying destination. Nor is straddling them with a leg in each a comfortable posture.

That leaves Benares.

The motor of mysticism is meditation. Its goal is direct contact with ultimate truth. Direct: not discursive or round-about. Direct: not based on testimony.

So should we pack for Benares? Not so fast. It has its drawbacks." - end quote

Well, Dave. You mention philosophy, reality and mysticism. I look at theology, philosophy and mysticism - as tools - to understand reality…And our place in it.

In fact, I distinctly remember a philosophy professor at College of Dupage. She had been ordained at a seminary. But was working towards a PhD in philosophy. In order to better defend the Christian faith. Very interesting.

And that brings up to Immanuel Kant - who is a personal favorite of mine (from

Perhaps - in Mexico - instead of a philoosphy professor, we should seek out a Nagual (see

A Nagual would have a different perspective…then the ordained seminary Christian…who would soon have a PhD in philosophy. But both have their place.

Just like I studied with the academics (i.e. philosophy, theology, literature and psychology)…the Native American medicine men and women…and true saints from the east…

I visited an Anglican church, that also has a Charismatic component. In other words, they believe in the gifts - of the spirit. Actually, I hung around a Roman Catholic priest, who had the gift of healing and hearing God speak. He has since moved to Wisconsin - a different state. Anyway, I did enjoy the service. And will probably go back. They also bought a former manufacturing plant. And converted it to a church.

I asked a pastor if they believed in the real communion presence (see And if so, do they side with the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox or Lutheran explanation,

And I accept the Eastern Orthodox perspective:

Which means that Lutheran and Anglican clergy - can invoke the real presence. And the Eastern Orthodox, chalk up the process to divine mystery. Kind of like Medieva alchemy (see As talked about, in the Morning of the Magicians at

Perhaps the real communion presences, is like Kant’s thing-in-itself.

We may never arrive…at the thing-in-itself…but getting close to it…from different perspectives and traditions…is the next best thing.

Here’s an email I’ve sent out, to a church I visited yesterday:

Hello everyone:

I just visited your church this Sunday. Just let me add a few observations:

I value churches that:

Honor the real presence in communion
Acknowledge the charismatic elements
Follow a conservative theology

You manage to blend:

The conservative Anglican tradition, as found in All Souls
With the apparent group creation, as found in Parkway community church

I classify myself as a Charismatic Eastern Anglo-Catholic. Which for me means:

I honor the Charismatic elements. In fact, used to attend the healing masses, of a Roman Catholic priest. He had the fit of healing and hearing the voice of God
I try to first find theological answers, via renown Anglican scholars - like C.S. Lewis or N.T. Wright.

If I can’t find satisfactory Anglican answers - via noted conservation scholars, I look to:

The Eastern Orthodox / Eastern Catholics - first and foremost
An answer from the Roman Catholic church

The only objection I had, was an element in the bishop’s Sunday homily. He implied that demon possession might be widespread - in modern times. I’ll just note the Roman Catholic position - on exorcisms. Before the Roman Catholic church gets involved, they first rule out:

An organic disease cause, as determined by a general practitioner and/ or medicinal specialists.
A psychiatric disease cause, as determined by a psychiatrist.

In other words, rule out scientific causes, before seeking a supernatural one.

The only other element I add, is that I value contemplation (as found in RC and EO churches) - for the laity.

I like to use the RC terms of “having a dialogue”. So I will continue my visits and continue to “have a dialogue”.

I did speak briefly, with clergy member Dan - during my first visit.

Hey Gabe.

I think this depends heavily on what is meant when you say that God “values” free will. How and why does God value “free will”? It can’t be that “free will” is an end in itself, (except in the sense that we must ultimately arrive at a state where our will freely chooses God). “Free will” must have a purpose; it must be a means by which we come to God. As such, the valuing of free will as if it cannot ever be disturbed by God or anything ‘external’ of ourselves is probably idolatry. On the other hand, to argue that God has made us without a single iota of free will is just as problematic, if not more so.

There’s a lovely little contrast I find in Acts 17:26-27 - “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.” There is a distinction there made between God’s own workings, which cannot be undermined, and the initial liberty of will that He gives humanity, a will that exists so that we ultimately choose God. As George MacDonald argues, in creating us for Himself, God must, in some sense, separate us from Himself so that we may ultimately learn to consciously choose Him.

I believe we have enough will to be able to choose to act towards and ‘take part’ in the will of God. The natural limitations of our relationship to the world and to nature, as well as the possibility of divine intervention of course mean that our will is not unrestrained. I do not, however, think that this undermines the value of free will, the value of which is built on us ultimately becoming one with God.

Yes, it can be shown—and very simply.

  1. You either possess libertarian free will or you don’t. If you have it, then LFW is true. If you don’t have it, then all of your actions are determined by prior causes. Thus determinism is true. How can there be an “in between”?

It might be compared with having a new car or not. You either have a new car or you don’t. Or is having a used car “in between”?

Some suppose compatibilism is “in between” determinism and free will. But it isn’t. Compatibilism is just a particular way to express determinism—a way in which one has the illusion of free will, although one’s actions are just as pre-determined as with classic determinism.

A criminal is no more responsible for his actions if compatibilism is true, than he is if determinism is true.

Don, I don’t think the underlined section is true, or logical, or necessary.
Would you accept free will, without that pesky ‘libertarian’ burdening it down?

Paidion wrote:

  1. You either possess libertarian free will or you don’t. If you have it, then LFW is true. If you don’t have it, then all of your actions are determined by prior causes. Thus determinism is true. How can there be an “in between”?

Don, I don’t think the underlined section is true, or logical, or necessary.
Would you accept free will, without that pesky ‘libertarian’ burdening it down?

Of course! Why can’t we have limited free will subject to God intervening on occasion? Generally the biblical use of “free will” simply means that we can make choices as God often encouraged us to do in scripture. But also in scripture God intervened when it suited his purposes.

Some Christians believe that LFW & determinism are both true. You can call that illogical, but they call it a Biblical “mystery”. Some things are mysteries than cannot be explained logically, e.g. the existence of God, endless past time, why there isn’t nothing, etc.

Would that “limited free will” be Libertarian or determined by other causes?

Re choices, animals make choices but do not have LFW. So i suggest the Biblical references to choices do not prove man has LFW.

BTW, Martin Zender does not approve of the idea of LFW :laughing: … solute.pdf

[size=150]Yep…[/size] that’s where I’m at; pure and simple IMO, it’s a no-brainer. :sunglasses:

Yes, but only because I see no difference between the two. To me, “free will” or “libertarian free will” signifies the ability to choose. I think we have absolute ability to choose (and thus libertarian ability). Of course, that does not imply that we can actually carry out our choices. I cannot fly over a house top by waving my arms. However, I could choose to do so, if I had the ability. However, a determinist (or compatibilist) believes that when I make a “choice” it is not a genuine choice, for what seems to be an act of my own choosing has actually been brought about by prior causes, such as my disposition that was caused by biological factors or parental training, etc. or developed tastes (If offered blueberry pie or apple, I would choose blueberry every time).

My concept of free will or libertarian free will is that if I have chosen some action to perform or object to peruse (say X) at time T, I COULD HAVE CHOSEN, not X at time T instead.

Steve, give a clear example of “limited free will.” Does that mean that there are things we will to do but cannot actually carry them out? Or does it mean that sometimes we can choose something, and other times we do not have the ability to choose?

Like I’ve said before - I think - LFW and determinism are just concepts we use to interpret situations; as well, they serve to reinforce a theology we’ve already chosen.
It’s my feeling that either ‘extreme’ locks a person into philosophical/theological knots that cannot be solved. For that reason I don’t take sides or make it an issue that divides people.
For me, it’s common-sensical to believe that we have ‘free-will enough’ to do our duty and to love our neighbor. About the rest of it I have no real opinion.