From the Comments: God can’t be both omnipotent and omniscient

One of my most faithful commenters in my Christianity category, boomSLANG (which is apparently a small venomous snake native to sub-Saharan Africa), posted a comment in my recent post about the existence of a moral law, saying that God cannot be both omniscient and omnipotent:

Let’s revisit the philosophical dilemma of a personal being having both “omniscience” and “omnipotence”:

omniscient: 1. having complete or unlimited knowledge, awareness, or understanding; perceiving all things.

omnipotent: 1. having unlimited or universal power, authority, or force; all-powerful.

By, yes, DEFINITION, if “God” is “omniscient”, then he/she/it knows everything, including ALL of his/her/its future choices. Therefore, this precludes “God” from being a free agent. A non-free agent cannot be “omnipotent”. If, at this moment, “God” knows for absolute certain all of the ultimate, future choices he/she/it will make, then his/her/its “hands are tied”, so-to-speak. To change his/her/its mind between this minute and the future would directly refute the idea that “God” knew its ultimate choice to begin with.

Fist

The Dilemma of Omniscience and Omnipotence

I’m going to put these in the form of a logical argument (using numbered points, and using my own words—boomSLANG does not like me to say I’m using his words without quoting him exactly):

  1. If God is omniscient, then he knows everything, including all of his future choices.
  2. If God knows all of his future choices, then he cannot change his mind in the future.
  3. If God can change his mind, then he cannot have been omniscient in the first place.
  4. If God cannot change his mind (i.e. his hands are tied), then he is not omnipotent.
  5. #3 and #4 cannot exist at the same time, because a person cannot both be able to change their mind, and not be able to change their mind.

Please note: I removed the language referring to being a “free agent,” because I think that my language is more clear.  Also note that I will refer to God as “he” in my answer, rather than boomSLANG’s preferred “he/she/it,” for simplicity’s sake alone.  This argument does not need to be about the God of the Bible specifically, and can be used in reference to any supposed omniscient, omnipotent being, but it’s cumbersome to type “he/she/it” each time.

So, we really have two problems/questions here:

(1) Omniscience Paradox – How can God know all of his future choices, and still change his mind?
(2) Omnipotence Paradox – How can God be omnipotent, and not be able to change his mind?

The Omniscience Paradox

This first question is fairly easy to address, and leads toward the answer to the second question.  It is answered with a question: why would an omniscient God ever need to change his mind?  If he knows everything, including all of his future choices, would any choice ever be considered a “change of mind”?  Even if a choice were to reverse direction from a previous choice, wouldn’t the omniscient God know both the original choice and the second choice beforehand?  So, to an omniscient God, there is no such thing as “changing his mind.”

The Omnipotence Paradox

The second question is more complex.  If an omniscient God is limited to his pre-determined choices, and cannot change them from what he had originally chose, then he cannot be truly omnipotent, can he?

This is a spin-off from the age-old omnipotence paradox, which began with the question, “Could an omnipotent being create a stone so heavy that even that being could not lift it?”  Or, to put it more simply, “Could God create a stone so heavy that he could not lift it?”

In this paradox, if God could create a stone that he could not lift, then he would cease to be omnipotent.  If he couldn’t create said stone, then he would not have been omnipotent in the first place.

In preparing for this response, I read a fascinating synopsis of responses to this paradox on Wikipedia, and I will summarize for you several responses that I think are helpful, attributing the answer to the appropriate philosopher.  There are many more answers to the paradox, but you’ll have to read the entry in its entirety to get a full view:

  1. St. Augustine wrote in his “City of God” that “God is called omnipotent on account of His doing what he wills” and thus proposes the definition of “God is omnipotent” means that “If God wishes to do X, then God can and will do X.”  This means that God will not do anything that he doesn’t want to do, which would include making a rock that he could not lift.  This goes against the view of absolute omnipotence that boomSLANG proposes.
  2. René Descartes, an advocate for the absolute omnipotence view, has another solution.  In this view, the absolutely omnipotent being can do the logically and physically impossible, because he is absolutely omnipotent.  In this scenario, God would create the rock that he could not lift, and then lift the rock anyways.  Such a being could also make 2 + 2 = 5, and create a square triangle.
  3. Thomas Aquinas asserts that the paradox arises from a misunderstanding of omnipotence.  He maintains that inherent contradictions and logical impossibilities do not fall under the omnipotence of God, and rejects the absolute omnipotence of God.

I would tend to agree with Augustine and Aquinas rather than Descartes.  There was also a paragraph on Wikipedia that made a lot of sense.  Instead of absolute omnipotence, there is the concept of essential omnipotence:

If a being is essentially omnipotent, then it can also resolve the paradox (as long as we take omnipotence not to require absolute omnipotence). The omnipotent being is essentially omnipotent, and therefore it is impossible for it to be non-omnipotent. Further, the omnipotent being cannot do what is logically impossible. The creation of a stone which the omnipotent being cannot lift would be an impossibility. The omnipotent being cannot create such a stone, but nevertheless retains its omnipotence. This solution works even with definition 2 [“Y is omnipotent” means “Y can do X” is true if and only if X is a logically consistent description of a state of affairs], as long as we also know the being is essentially omnipotent rather than accidentally so. However, it is possible for non-omnipotent beings to compromise their own powers, which presents the paradox that non-omnipotent beings can do something (to themselves) which an essentially omnipotent being cannot do (to itself).

 

Tying It All Together

So, if you take the view that God is essentially omnipotent, rather than absolutely omnipotent, then the question that boomSLANG proposes is easily answered.  Yes, an absolutely omnipotent God MUST be able to change his mind.  But an essentially omnipotent God’s omnipotence is constrained by his will.  If God’s will is that he not change his mind, then he will not change his mind, yet retain his omnipotence.

If God, then, has pre-determined his actions and choices, then there is no need for him to change his mind.  Therefore, there is no philosophical dilemma between God being both omniscient and omnipotent.

Questions: Do you agree with Aquinas and Augustine that God’s omnipotence is not absolute?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.

This post is in my series called “Cross Examination: Is Debunking Christianity Possible?” I’m looking at a myriad of topics in the rational examination of my faith, and will write one post per week for the next year. If you would like to read some of the previous posts in this series, click on the links below:

  • Anonymous

    Young Robert,

    This is a level of comedy that only you seem capable of delivering.

    I, for one, won’t answer your question because I, for one, no longer believe the God you worship exists at all.  Your article (and this whole series of articles) appears to me to be a charade.  I will also enumerate a list of specific Biblical claims (in no particular order) that I no longer believe (with thanks in part to Dan Barker):

    1.  The Earth and the universe were created within six literal days
    2.  A woman was crafted from a man’s rib 
    3.  A snake, a donkey, and a burning bush spoke human language 
    4.  The entire Earth was flooded to drown evil people
    5.  Sufficient land and air-dwelling animals plus 8 humans survived on a boat and repopulated the Earth
    6.  Language variations stem from the Tower of Babel 
    7.  Moses had a staff that, when raised, divided the Red Sea (or the Sea of Reeds if you like)
    8.  The Nile turned to blood 
    9.  Pharoah and his charioteers vanished in a body of water that had just been divided for the Hebrews
    10.  A stick turned into a snake and back into a stick 
    11.  Witches, wizards, and sorcerers with mystical powers really exist 
    12.  Samson killed 1,000 men with the jawbone of an ass 
    13.  Fire rained down from Heaven and consumed false prophets
    14.  Food rained from the sky for 40 years
    15.  People were cured by the sight of a brass serpent 
    16.  The sun stood still to help Joshua win a battle, and it went backward for King Hezekiah 
    17.  Men survived unaided in a fiery furnace without injury
    18.  A detached hand floated in the air and wrote on a wall 
    19.  Men followed a star which directed them to a particular dwelling
    20.  Jesus walked on water unaided 
    21.  Fish and bread magically multiplied to feed thousands of hungry folks
    22.  Water turned directly into wine 
    23.  Mental illness is caused by demons 
    24.  A “devil” with wings exists who causes evil
    25.  People were healed by stepping into a pool agitated by angels 
    26.  A disembodied voiced spoke from the sky 
    27.  Jesus vanished and later materialized from thin air 
    28.   People were healed by Peter’s shadow 
    29.  Angels broke people out of jail 
    30.  A fiery lake of eternal torment awaits unbelievers  while there is life-after-death in a city which is 1,500 miles cubed, with many rooms, waiting for Christians

    I suppose I could go on and on, but this list should suffice.  I once believed these things because my Sunday School teachers and various Pastors told me the Bible was the inerrant and infallible Word of God.  However, I no longer believe any of these things because I have never seen a single one of these things demonstrated to me.  If you have some demonstrable PROOF to offer me (aside from what the Bible claims), I look forward to reviewing it.   
     

    • Anonymous

      Here is a verbatim excerpt from the Doctrinal Statement of Grace Church of DuPage:

      “We teach that the Word of God is an objective, propositional revelation (1 Thessalonians2:13; 1 Corinthians 2:13), verbally inspired in every word (2 Timothy 3:16), absolutelyinerrant in the original documents, infallible, and God-breathed. We teach the literal,grammatical-historical interpretation of Scripture which affirms the belief that the openingchapters of Genesis present creation in six literal days (Genesis 1:31; Exodus 31:17).”

      This tells me that those who adhere to this Doctrinal Statement actually do believe the Biblical claims I enumerated (unless they wish to conveniently argue that these many miraculous claims are not to be taken literally). Otherwise, it must be something to proclaim belief  in bold claims that do not bear one shred of demonstrable evidence of being possible (then or now).

      King Hezekiah petitioned Isaiah and then the sun then moved backwards? Really? Since there is no scientific explanation for this, I suppose we should take it on faith that this really happened? Wow!

      C-O-G-N-T-I-V-E   D-I-S-S-O-N-A-N-C-E, anyone?

      • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

        Sid, could you please explain how your comment relates to the subject of this post? Thanks.

        • Anonymous

          “Sid, could you please explain how your comment relates to the subject of this post?”

          With pleasure.  

          This thread broaches the subject of your God supposedly being omnipotent. These bold Biblical claims are supposed demonstrations of your God’s omnipotence.  Therefore, I enumerated some of them as a service to your audience (just in case some of them had not read the entire Bible and were not aware of each of these Biblical claims – although this is certainly not an exhaustive list).  I also added the point that I am not aware of any demonstrable evidence that any of these claims are feasible (then or now).  I did that because I am skeptical of such Biblical claims, and I want to remain true to form on this forum.

          I remain at your service…

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Sid, this post isn’t specifically about the God of the Bible (as I stated in the post). It can be applied to the God of the Bible, as you are doing, but the post itself is about how a being (any being) can be both omniscient and omnipotent.

            How God’s omnipotence is applied is a matter for another post. Your questions/objections fall into several different categories:

            1. God’s power to create.
            2. God’s power over creation (i.e. miracles)
            3. The existence of the devil.
            4. The concept of hell.

            I assume that, at some point in this series, I will get to these questions.

          • Anonymous

            You and boom were specifically discussing the God you worship on another thread when the subject of omnipotence and omniscience was broached.  You transitioned that discussion over to this thread.  You can now broaden and generalize the discussion if you wish, but you were specifically discussing your God.

  • Anonymous

    “This first question is fairly easy to address, and leads toward the answer to the second question.  It is answered with a question: why would an omniscient God ever need to change his mind?  If he knows everything, including all of his future choices, would any choice ever be considered a ‘change of mind’?” ~ R. Ewoldt.
    First, let me say that I’m so glad to featured in your “Cross Examination”! Yippee! 

    Welp, we can all see that you’re cross examining me, because, of course, I am a non/former Christian whose views oppose your current, and evidently, your future views. You’ve got me in your seat, yes, but whether you will put yourself and your view in the “cross examination” seat is an another matter, entirely. In fact, just a cursory look at these discussions and one can see that you are a Christian apologist who has zero intention of doing such a thing. This whole “Cross Examination” is a facade…it’s poo-poo, Bob. Your religious convictions clearly come before “Truth”…. or hell, even “truth”.

    Onward toward your rebuttal:

    “why would an omniscient God ever need to change his mind?” ~ R. Ewoldt(or maybe from an apologetic website?)

    Great question, but unfortunately for you, a red herring. The point is, if an “omniscient God” wanted to use his or her “freewill” to change his or her mind – for whatever reason – then logic says that  he/she didn’t know his/her ultimate choice from the onset.

    “If (God) knows everything, including all of his future choices, would any choice ever be considered a ‘change of mind’?”

    If the future choice differs from the choice made at the onset of acquiring ALL knowledge, then YES, it in would, in fact, be considered a “change of mind”.

    “Even if a choice were to reverse direction from a previous choice, wouldn’t the omniscient God know both the original choice and the second choice beforehand?” 

    Irrelevant conclusion.  The point is,  said “omniscient God” couldn’t claim to know, or be claimed to know, its final and ultimate choice,  if said “God” were to “reverse direction” at any time between now and its (supposed) final decision. 

    ” So, to an omniscient God, there is no such thing as ‘changing his mind’.”

    So,  you’re choosing to keep “omniscience”? Fair enough.  In that case,  the “omniscient God” is an overgrown automaton, or robot. As you (should) know,  automatons are devoid of “free will”.

    Automaton: 1 a mechanical figure or contrivance constructed to act as if by its own motive power; robot.

    free will: 1 A person who does not have any commitments that restrict their actions.

    “If an omniscient God is limited to his pre-determined choices, and cannot change them from what he had originally chose, then he cannot be truly omnipotent, can he?”

    Correct, not if, by “omnipotence”, you also mean said “God” is a  “free, personal being”.  A personal being must be able to interact and make decisions based on undetermined circumstances. 

    “This means that God will not do anything that he doesn’t want to do, which would include making a rock that he could not lift.  This goes against the view of absolute omnipotence that boomSLANG proposes.”

    And this notion that “God will not do anything he doesn’t want to do” is soundly refuted, if one just accepts the Christian conception of “Justice”. It goes along the lines of this:  God doesn’t want people to go to Hell, but He must put them there because He is a Just God!.  Nevermind the fact that “God” already knows who will and will not end up in “Hell”, making our own free will an illusion, at best, and again,  patently illustrating that either the “omniscience” of “God”, or the “omnipotence” of “God”, takes it in the neck. 

    “René Descartes, an advocate for the absolute omnipotence view, has another solution.  In this view, the absolutely omnipotent being can do the logically and physically impossible, because he is absolutely omnipotent.  In this scenario, God would create the rock that he could not lift, and then lift the rock anyways.  Such a being could also make 2 + 2 = 5, and create a square triangle.”

    In the words of Sid( a frequent poster here), this is an intellectual cop-out.  If “God” doesn’t have to conform to “logic”, then maybe he fries us in Hell for the fun of it? All apologetics become meaningless. Stupid “solution”, IMO.

    “Thomas Aquinas asserts that the paradox arises from a misunderstanding of omnipotence.  He maintains that inherent contradictions and logical impossibilities do not fall under the omnipotence of God, and rejects the absolute omnipotence of God.”

    Ah, so “God” is only “omnipotent” when it doesn’t create contradictions. How Christian-like; how convenient.

    • Anonymous

      boom,

      I copied this quote by Young Robert from another blog of his:

      “As Christians, we strive to glorify God in everything that we do (1 Corinthians 10:31)…”

      It seems obvious to me what is going on re. this series.  Young Robert has been a worship leader and an active member of his church, and he set out to be a brave Christian soldier and slay dragons under the guise of “examining” his faith.  I am beginning to wonder how many of his peers actually read and follow this series of articles.  Personally, I hope many of them do.  I believe this ongoing exchange is going to be an eye-opening experience for them.  I hope more of them will join in the forum.  I look forward to the continuation of this journey… every single step of the way…

      • Anonymous

         I am beginning to wonder how many of his peers actually read and follow this series of articles. Personally, I hope many of them do. ~ Sid

        Precisely. While it is becoming clearer and clearer that we won’t make any progress, the writing is on the wall, nonetheless. There may be silent lurkers who are experiencing doubt who are actually prepared to put intellectual honesty ahead of what they desire to be true.  This whole “Cross Examination” facade may prove helpful in ways that Mr. Ewoldt never imagined it would.

        • Anonymous

          I have noticed some common occurrences on the ex-Christian website when Christian apologists pay us a visit.  Many of them are determined to think that we left the faith because of some traumatic event(s).  Many of they seem to believe we must be “damaged” people who left because we felt we were wronged in some way by our church.  Others like Young Robert apparently believe one (or more) of us we were reacting emotionally rather than applying sound reason when we decided to leave the faith.  I believe the exchanges on this forum will demonstrate to the followers here that you and I were once just like them.  We believed and we practiced the Christian faith.  It was only after we examined the evidence more closely that we decided we could not longer accept the bold claims of Christianity.  I hope the followers of this site will consider the evidence we considered and keep an open mind going forward.  Yes, I think this forum will prove helpful in ways that Young Robert never imagined it would.  I look forward to the journey… every single step of the way…

  • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

    Atheist: God’s omnipotence is absolute; therefore it is inconsistent, and he cannot be omnipotent.
    Christian: Actually, God’s omnipotence is limited by what he wills.  If he does not will something, then he cannot do it.  For example, he cannot make himself non-omnipotent.  There are limits to his omnipotence.  God cannot do something that would go against his nature.
    Atheist: That’s a really convenient argument.  How could you make Christianity seem so… compatible with logic?

    • Anonymous

      Christian:   Have faith in things unseen.  

      Atheist:  The Bible is filled with remarkable claims that have no demonstrable evidence.  I do not have sufficient demonstrable evidence to believe in the bold claims of Christianity.
       

      Christian:  B-E-L-I-E-V-E! 

    • Anonymous

      Bob’s best Atheist impersonation:  “God’s omnipotence is absolute; therefore it is inconsistent, and he cannot be omnipotent.”

      Oh, look, another strawman.

      Explanation: The argument isn’t that your biblegod “cannot be omnipotent”, or even that if he has “omnipotence”, that it must be “absolute”. He can be “omnipotent” fulltime, or just on weekends. Whatever boils his potato. Either way, just don’t try to tell me that he knows the future with absolute certainty. 

      And if you want to run with Descartes’ theory, don’t try to tell me anything about Christianity, using reason or logic.

  • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

    Sid and boom, I’m glad that you have committed to be here with me every step of the way.  You both have contributed greatly to my site, and have represented your point of view.

    • Anonymous

      “You both have contributed greatly to my site.”

      How is that?  Are you really in search of the truth or are you in search of sticky eyeballs?

      • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

        Sid, can you not take a compliment? I was thanking you for being a part of the site.

        • Anonymous

          Does this passage come to mind?

          Proverbs 25:21-22
          New International Version (NIV)

          (21) If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;  if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. (22) In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Does it feel like that to you?

          • Anonymous

            I do not believe the stated intention of this series of articles re. questioning your faith.  You have not demonstrated any willingness to embrace the possibility that Christianity is false and/or that God does not exist.  I suspect you began this series with the predetermined intention of publicly refuting every popular argument made by those who question the Christian faith.  I also suspect that you do not believe true Christians can become ex-Christians.   

    • Anonymous

      No problem, on the contributions. Plenty of material to work with, after all.

      • Anonymous

        Too true, too true.

  • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

    boom, you surmise that I got my first counter-argument from some kind of apologist website.  I didn’t, but I’m flattered that you would think so highly of the argument to say that I got it from somewhere else.

  • Ted

    I think part of the problem stems from a misunderstanding of God. Much of the ‘conversation’ here is focused around ‘future choices’ and ‘when God became omniscient’. I may fall into Renee descartes camp on this one. What comes to mind for me is that God is eternal, and therefore not partof time. This cannot to any person (along with omniscience and omnipotence) be fathomed, and must be taken on faith. A God who is outside of time did not ‘gain omnipotence’ he always had it. He does not ‘make choices’ because he is not restricted by time.
    Just my humble thoughts.

    • Anonymous

      “must be taken on faith”

      Should we also take it on faith that the list of 30 Bible claims I denoted at the top of this thread are true, or should we simply accept them as true because the Bible said so?

    • Anonymous

      “I may fall into Renee descartes camp on this one”

      Fair enough. Of course, if  God can make “2 + 2 = 5”, then if he could also make evil + good = compatible if he wanted to. Doing so would do away with all these excuses as to why God must allow “evil”. 

      “What comes to mind for me is that God is eternal, and therefore not part of time.”

      If that is true, then two things become clear: 1) God cannot interact in time-space, including, our world, since we exist in space-time, and 2) God is not “omnipresent”.

      “This cannot to any person (along with omniscience and omnipotence) be fathomed, and must be taken on faith.”

      That raises an eyebrow with me, since the blog owner/operator seems to fathom all of the attributes and motives of “God” just fine. Never once has he been stumped by those who challenge his views, and simply conceded that it is just a matter of “faith”. 

      “[God] does not ‘make choices’ because he is not restricted by time.” 

      Then “God” is not a personal being, but an automaton. If “God” can relate to and interact with us personal beings – for instance, by being merciful, vengeful, etc – then “God” needs to be a free agent who can make choices. For instance, if “God”  knows, in advance, whom he will and will not grant mercy, then “God” is like a actor following a script.

    • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc Middleton

      Well said Ted.

  • Anonymous

    “Yes, an absolutely omnipotent God MUST be able to change his mind.  But an essentially omnipotent God’s omnipotence is constrained by his will.  If God’s will is that he not change his mind, then he will not change his mind, yet retain his omnipotence.” ~ article

    This is equivocal nonsense. Seriously.  

    Let’s see,  now…”constrained” is to “omnipotent”, as “husband” is to “bachelor”. If a “husband” is constrained to his will to be married, then it would still be dishonest of him to run around telling the ladies he’s a “bachelor”.

  • PrsHim

    I think that we are created for relationship with God.  The closer we come to him, the more enlightened our minds can be so that we even think out of the box of this world’s logic and think at a higher level.  
    This discussion may be relevant to evangelists who deal regularly with people who do not wish to know God to draw them in.  However, personally, in faith I seek God to resolve these paradoxes and speak his truth to my heart and mind.  One day we will no longer see him  through a veil.   Until that day, I will ask him my questions and I will sit at his feet and wait for him to reveal what is far beyond Einstein.

    • Anonymous

      “This discussion may be relevant to evangelists who deal regularly with people who do not wish to know God to draw them in.” ~ PrsHim

      Second guessing people by assuming that if they don’t believe in “God”, then that must mean that they don’t  want to “know God”, is an ad hominem argument—not to mention,  begging the question..i.e..it asserts true the very thing that’s in question. If I told a grown adult, “Oh?…you don’t believe in Santa, eh? Well, then that must mean that you don’t want to know Him!” That would be the same type of fallacious reasoning that you’ve just demonstrated.

      • Anonymous

        boom,

        Could you drop me an e-mail if you get the chance.   Thx.

        mary_johnstone1@yahoo.com

        • Anonymous

          Done.

          • Anonymous

            I got it and sent a reply. Grazie!

          • Anonymous

            boom,

            I took a look at the blog you referenced.  I personally think you are wasting your time with that one.  That host is a whole new level of delusional.  Scary delusional…         

          • Anonymous

            Thx for checkin’ it out. Yes, pretty much a waste of time trying to get through to her. On the other hand, if there are any on-looking believers who are truly experiencing doubt, they can weigh the arguments for themselves and see which ones stack up, and which ones do not stack up. ‘Same applies here, too. 

            Peace

          • Anonymous

            I sifted through a bunch of older articles written by that lady.  I can not believe the claims she has made.  No matter how you attempt to debate her, she will ultimately fall back onto “God told me so” and “Jesus is in my heart”.  That lady is wasting your time (imo), but maybe others who visit that site will recognize the absurdity of her claims.

            Good luck!

  • Anonymous

    Bob Ewoldt’s conclusion regarding the topic at hand:

    “If God, then, has pre-determined his actions and choices, then there is no need for him to change his mind.  Therefore, there is no philosophical dilemma between God being both omniscient and omnipotent”

    If the being described above actually exists, then that precludes it from being a personal being, that is, a being with freewill who interacts with other personal, free beings. In other words, the way that Christians claim that “Jesus” interacts with them, such as answering “prayer” and granting “mercy”, etc. In order for such a being’s future choices to be known, a priori, it would need to know all future outcomes, in which case, that would include knowing all of our own future choices, too,  in which case, both party’s free will is compromised. There is no way around this. “God”, if omniscient, is bound to actions and decisions that align with the known future, the same way an actor follows a script that he or she is given beforehand. That “God” wrote “the script” is immaterial to the fact that “God” is bound to following it. If it is presumably essential that “God” be able to interact with us, then “God” is not even essentially “omnipotent”.

    • Anonymous

      Amazing how Bob “Eusebius” Ewoldt concluded that he was right all along re. this “cross-examination” article…

      BTW, you and I both know why he is digging in his heels so firmly re. the cosmological argument.  That argument is a vital first step re. their ultimate goal of demonstrating beyond a reasonable doubt that there must be a “supreme being”.   Bob “Eusebius” Ewoldt will then undoubtedly conclude in a future “cross-examination” article that one can only logically conclude that this “supreme being”  is YHWH.  What a revelation that will be!

      • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

        Sid, thanks for the encouragement. To you, the only thing that Christians can do in order to “save their faith” is to dig in their heels. However, you mistake a rigourous examination of faith for “digging in your heels.” You’ve only offered half-baked objections to the cosmological argument, so why should I come to any other conclusion than it is correct?

        Also, if you think that the cosmological argument leads directly to YHWH, then you really haven’t studied this subject as much as I thought you had.

        • Anonymous

          “Also, if you think that the cosmological argument leads directly to YHWH, then you really haven’t studied this subject as much as I thought you had.”

          And if you think that’s what Sid or I “think”, that just shows how obtuse, and/or, crappy of a reader you really are. Of course we don’t “think” that said argument “leads directly to YHWH”. However, we think that’s where you believe it leads. Note, NOT that you think it’s “proof”, but that you simply believe it.

          Connecting the theist dots. ‘Not difficult.

          • Anonymous

            Well stated. Thank you!

            “Connecting the theist dots. ‘Not difficult.”

            Agreed 100%

          • Anonymous

            Well stated. Thank you!

            “Connecting the theist dots. ‘Not difficult.”

            Agreed 100%

        • Anonymous

          “Also, if you think that the cosmological argument leads directly to YHWH, then you really haven’t studied this subject as much as I thought you had.”

          And if you think that’s what Sid or I “think”, that just shows how obtuse, and/or, crappy of a reader you really are. Of course we don’t “think” that said argument “leads directly to YHWH”. However, we think that’s where you believe it leads. Note, NOT that you think it’s “proof”, but that you simply believe it.

          Connecting the theist dots. ‘Not difficult.

        • Anonymous

          Eusebius Bob,

          “To you, the only thing that Christians can do in order to “save their faith” is to dig in their heels.”

          Yet another false accusation from Eusebius Bob.   I made no attempt to characterize all Christians as “heel-digger-inners”.  I was only referring to YOU, and I base my conclusion upon your consistent behavior here.   Despite what you may believe, I was once every bit as zealous a Christian as you now appear to be.  My convictions were transformed when I considered the evidence further.  You, however, have appeared to consistently dig in your heels when your core beliefs have been challenged throughout this series.   

          “However, you mistake a rigorous examination of faith for “digging in your heels”.”

          I don’t know how you can make that comment with a straight face.  Your most recent article re. the cosmological argument, for example, was completely biased in favor of your existing position.  

          “You’ve only offered half-baked objections to the cosmological argument…”

          I have not offered up any objections to the cosmological argument.  I said long ago that I had not taken any position for or against the notion that the universe had a beginning.  I have repeatedly restated this position for quite some time.  I was recently told by other(s) that I was being deliberately ambiguous.  Strange accusation.  I view my response as being an honest one.

          “…so why should I come to any other conclusion than it is correct?”

          You obviously came to that conclusion before you wrote the article on the subject.  Your article was nothing more than a defense of what you already concluded was true.

           “Also, if you think that the cosmological argument leads directly to YHWH, then you really haven’t studied this subject as much as I thought you had.”

          I never ONCE said that it did, Eusebius Bob.  The cosmological argument can (and should be) evaluated upon its own merits irrespective of whether anyone claims it points to YHWH or not.  However, we all know William Lane Craig DOES believe the cosmological argument ultimately points to YHWH… and so do you.

          • Anonymous

            test

          • Anonymous

            boom,

            These are four quotes copied from Eusebius Bob’s pal, Broc, from an earlier thread.  I referenced where and when each of the quotes were proffered, so I don’t want Broc or Eusebius Bob to claim I have attempted to take these quotes out of context:

            ———————
            “I am going to be put this frankly…being an Atheist, believe that there is NO god at all, and makes ZERO sense. Now, if you are simply lazy and don’t care to think about it that is one thing, but having the active thoughtfully belief that there  is NO god does not follow any form of logical thought.”  – Broc (4 months ago) on  ‘Arguments for God: What’s Wrong With Christianity?’

            “Atheists do not like to talk about how everything started because there is no other logical explanation for how life started without an eternal God.  Whether you believe in a 7 day creation or a big bang; life, matter, atoms whatever can not create itself because to create, first something must BE.  So it creates a problem, you can’t have a Big bang without matter and matter can not exist with first BEING, but how did it get there? This principal creates a need for God which is why Atheist say it doesn’t matter.”  – Broc (4 months ago) on ‘Arguments for God: What’s Wrong With Christianity?’

            “Also, biblically speaking there is no such thing as “ex-Christians”.”  – Broc (4 months ago) on ‘Arguments for God: What’s Wrong With Christianity?’

            “Morality – I generally agree with Bob on this, morality has its foundations in God.  However that fact Bob and I agree on this isn’t surprising I was raised in the same Church that he attends.  I now belong to a church plant of that mother church in a nearby town…”  – Broc (4 months ago) on ‘Arguments for God: What’s Wrong With Christianity?’
            ——————–

            I think these quotes speak for themselves.  I realize Broc and Eusebius Bob could claim they actually disagree on these issues, but I haven’t seen much evidence to suggest that they disagree re. their core beliefs.  Broc has consistently and steadfastly supported Eusebius Bob since Broc first starting sharing his opinions re. articles in this ongoing series.

          • Anonymous

            @ Sid, 

            Yes, there’s so much wrong with the above-quoted, it’s hardly worth refuting. Both Bob and Broc have inherited the family belief-system and all the apologetics that come with it. Sad. I have to keep telling myself that they are victims, just like you and I once were. On the other hand, it’s extremely difficult to have sympathy for willfull victims = /

        • Anonymous

          Eusebius Bob,

          “To you, the only thing that Christians can do in order to “save their faith” is to dig in their heels.”

          Yet another false accusation from Eusebius Bob.   I made no attempt to characterize all Christians as “heel-digger-inners”.  I was only referring to YOU, and I base my conclusion upon your consistent behavior here.   Despite what you may believe, I was once every bit as zealous a Christian as you now appear to be.  My convictions were transformed when I considered the evidence further.  You, however, have appeared to consistently dig in your heels when your core beliefs have been challenged throughout this series.   

          “However, you mistake a rigorous examination of faith for “digging in your heels”.”

          I don’t know how you can make that comment with a straight face.  Your most recent article re. the cosmological argument, for example, was completely biased in favor of your existing position.  

          “You’ve only offered half-baked objections to the cosmological argument…”

          I have not offered up any objections to the cosmological argument.  I said long ago that I had not taken any position for or against the notion that the universe had a beginning.  I have repeatedly restated this position for quite some time.  I was recently told by other(s) that I was being deliberately ambiguous.  Strange accusation.  I view my response as being an honest one.

          “…so why should I come to any other conclusion than it is correct?”

          You obviously came to that conclusion before you wrote the article on the subject.  Your article was nothing more than a defense of what you already concluded was true.

           “Also, if you think that the cosmological argument leads directly to YHWH, then you really haven’t studied this subject as much as I thought you had.”

          I never ONCE said that it did, Eusebius Bob.  The cosmological argument can (and should be) evaluated upon its own merits irrespective of whether anyone claims it points to YHWH or not.  However, we all know William Lane Craig DOES believe the cosmological argument ultimately points to YHWH… and so do you.

        • Anonymous

          “You’ve only offered half-baked objections to the cosmological argument, so why should I come to any other conclusion than it is correct?” ~ R. Ewoldt, to Sid

          At least one premise of the “Kalam” version is false. Moreover, when pointed out to you that something can, and does,  “come from nothing”, and when you then come back telling us that “the nothing” to which scientists refer “isn’t actually nothing”, but “something”(existing energy), you conveniently forget(or FAIL to realize) that this is the same type of “nothing”..i.e..condensed matter, that scientists agree preceded the “Big Bang”…or more accurately, the big expansion.

          IOW, the universe, in its current state, might very well have been “caused”, but, a) the doesn’t mean it came from “nothing”, as laymen(and WLC) utilize the term “nothing”, and b) that doesn’t mean that its “cause” wasn’t simply a natural one.

           You and your apologetic hero, WLC, are the ones with half-baked arguments. Actually, they haven’t even seen an oven. Cosmological argument: FAIL.

    • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

      You argument makes no sense, boom. You say that God has to interact with us, but he’s reading from a script that he wrote, therefore he’s not even essentially omnipotent (a paraphrase).

      Essential omnipotence means that God is bound by his will. He cannot do anything that lies outside of his will. Since his will created the “script” of the history of the universe that you propose, I would say that he has, in that “scipt,” written his will, which means that, by following that script, he is able to both interact with us, and maintain his omnipotence.

      It makes perfect sense… unless you want to redefine “essential omnipotence.”

      You want to make God into an automaton that’s only reading from a “script,” but your view of automatons is limited to non-omniscient, non-omnipotent, time-bound beings.

      • Anonymous

        “You argument makes no sense, boom.” ~ R. Ewoldt

        Oh, sure it does, and moreover, it stands up to basic logic. Keep reading.

        You insist….“Essential omnipotence means that God is bound by his will.”

        And if “God” is “bound by his will”, then accordingly, “God” can never, ever, ever,  EVER change said “will”. You think “God” would never need to change “his will”, do ya? Think again….

         Assuming that it is the will of “God” that everyone choose to accept “Him”(as I’m sure you will eagerly concede), then “God” is powerless to change the hearts/minds of people whom “God” KNOWS, per his omniscience, WILL NOT choose to accept “Him”. The only way out of this glaring quagmire is to concede that “God” didn’t want all people to accept “Him” from the onset. There is no way around this. Logic says that one or the other must be true.

        Continues…..“You want to make God into an automaton that’s only reading from a ‘script’, but your view of automatons is limited to non-omniscient, non-omnipotent, time-bound beings.”

        No. Per usual, you’ve got it the wrong way around. It is “God” being “omniscient” that makes “God” an automaton. If “God” knew from the onset that Sid and boom’ wouldn’t believe, then that foreknowledge MUST play out, in which case, that makes “God” powerless to change the hearts/minds of Sid and boom’, assuming that it was “his will” that we believe in the first place. If it’s not “the will” of your “God” that me, Sid, and countless other atheists believe, then speak right up. That would be some eyebrow-raising disclosure—-I’d love to hear a ‘True Christian’ admit this ; )

  • Anonymous

    ..

  • Anonymous

    ..

  • IsaacB

    Robert, there sure is a lot of commenting on here. I don’t necessarily want to make the comment section any longer, but I have a little something to add regarding the omnipotence paradox, specifically the common question “Could God create a stone so heavy that he can’t lift it?” This is essentially a matter of infinity. We might rephrase the question, “Could an infinitely strong being create a stone whose infinity of weight exceeds his infinite lifting ability?” Basically, can infinity exceed infinity? It’s obvious then that this is an illogical question. 

    • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

      I agree; it’s this illogical question that the other commenters here would like to say proves that God cannot be both omniscient and omnipotent.

      • Anonymous

        “I agree; it’s this illogical question that the other commenters here would like to say proves that God cannot be both omniscient and omnipotent.” ~ Robert Ewoldt

        Feel free to dig back through every comment and quote where either Sid or I……or, hell, for that matter,  where ANY of your readership, have used the “Can God create a stone so big that [etc., etc., blah, blah, blah]”, argument when attempting to prove that omniscience and omnipotence are mutually exclusive attributes. If you cannot find any such comment(s) – and to my knowledge, you won’t – then this is simply you being your typical dishonest self in these matters. Nothing new; nothing shocking.

        • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

          Let me quote you from above:

          From the post: “Thomas Aquinas asserts that the paradox arises from a misunderstanding of omnipotence.  He maintains that inherent contradictions and logical impossibilities do not fall under the omnipotence of God, and rejects the absolute omnipotence of God.”

          Your reply above: Ah, so “God” is only “omnipotent” when it doesn’t create contradictions. How typical; how convenient.

          boom, you say it’s convenient that we say that God operates within logic, and refuse to believe that our God could be logical.  I understand that.  And while you may not have used the example of God creating a rock that he cannot lift verbatim, this exact quote from you above is you using that same argument.

          • Anonymous

            “And while you may not have used the example of God creating a rock that he cannot lift verbatim, this exact quote from you above is you using that same argument.”

            No, I’m sorry, it’s NOT “the same argument”, and moreover, I haven’t used any such arguments to show how omnipotence AND OMNISCIENCE are incompatible. Again, the “rock-so-heavy” argument deals strictly with “omnipotence”. I’ll grant you that your biblegod, “Yahweh”, need not be able to create things so heavy that he cannot life them. Please set it sink in……and, oh,  please stop misrepresenting my position. Thx.

    • Anonymous

      @IssacB,

      Putting the “Stone so big” question aside for moment…since, well…since it has nothing to do with “omniscience” in relation to “omnipotence”, the compatibilist position..i.e..that omniscience is compatible with omnipotence, is soundly refuted just above your post, starting where Mr. Ewoldt is quoted as saying, “Your argument makes no sense, boom”.

      • IsaacB

        boom, 

        I see that you replied to me, but I’m not sure what you’re looking for. My comment was simply in reference to the original post where Robert was talking about that question. Did you want me to comment on the “compatibilist” position?

        • Anonymous

          No, I wasn’t necessarily looking for your sentiments on the subject. I agree that the whole argument, can God create a stone so big[ yadda, yadda], is illogical/impractical. It’s like asking, “Hey, what’s North of the North Pole?” Notwithstanding, this fact doesn’t resolve the omniscience/omnipotence dilemma, nor does it make the arguments against it, illogical. It is perfectly logical to conclude that a “God” who presumably interacts with other free, personal beings, must necessarily be a personal, free being himself/herself. And yet, this cannot be the case if said “God” possesses all knowledge(omniscience), including the future set of events.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Let me ask a clarifying question, boom. Are you now saying that God is NOT absolutely omnipotent? Because it’s that belief that leads to the “God can’t make a rock…” argument.

          • Anonymous

            I’m not saying that “God” is this, that, or the other thing. I don’t believe in “God”. You are the one insisting that a “God” exists. You insist that this “God” is a personal being with free will. You further insist that this “God” is “bound by its will”, or what you call, “essentially omnipotent”(vs “absolutely omnipotent”).

             My argument is this: whether “essentially omnipotent”, or “absolutely omnipotent”, this philosophically and logically contradicts  “omniscience”. I don’t give a rat’s hindquarters about the “God can’t make a rock”[ etc., etc] argument, or what kind “omnipotence” that would require. 

          • Anonymous

            boom,

            I think it is important for us to keep in mind that were are exchanging thoughts with a person who belongs to a church that believes the following:

            “We teach the literal, grammatical-historical interpretation of Scripture which affirms the belief that the opening chapters of Genesis present creation in six literal days.”

            “All Bible expositors agree that the natural reading of Genesis is that the entire universe was created and completed in six literal days, a relatively short time ago.”

            “Also, based upon the numerous genealogies found in scripture, again primarily in the book of Genesis, the earth is shown to be relatively young, less than 15,000 years old.”

            “The oldest historical records, apart from the Bible, only go back about 4,500 years, so it is not possible for “science” to prove earlier events or dates.”

            “In addition, we believe that the Biblical position on creation and its time frame is far more defendable, when compared to scientific fact, than any other option.”

            “At Grace Church we believe that any position that necessitates compromise of what God’s Word clearly and simply teaches, is wrong.”

            http://www.gracechurchofdupage.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/doctrinal_statement.pdf

            Should we really expect sound reasoning?

          • Anonymous

            “Should we really expect sound reasoning?” ~ Sid

            Not necessarily, no. But as I always contend, there may be silent, indoctrinated lurkers(victims) who may be currently experiencing honest doubts, just as you and I once did. For them, reading these exchanges might prove helpful for recognizing arguments that are sustained on bullsh*t, as opposed to those that align with reason and logic. Again, if a super-duper-natural being exists and he or she knows the future with absolute certainty, then the future is fixed and immovable, and thus, “free will” is an illusion at best; a lie, at worst. 

            Christianity is nonsense.

          • Anonymous

            I believe we both understand why people want to believe in a deity.  People are comforted by believing that there is a divine purpose for their life, and they are comforted by believing someone is watching over them.  I was comforted by believing those things for 35+ years.  However, after reading the entire Bible multiple times and intensely studying its content and origins over many years, I no longer understand why any rational person would believe it is the infallible, inerrant Word of God.  It is filled with an abundance of content that is simply not believable.  I wonder, deep down, how much cognitive dissonance modern believers are carrying around these days in this information age.  

            http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2007/07/why-do-christians-believe.html 

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Sid, if you would accurately portray what the position paper says, that would be nice. But, as you are looking for a way to discredit me, I understand that you have to selectively quote from those documents. Let me quote directly from the same document that you have selectively quoted from: “… as our God is both the author of the Bible and the intelligence behind all science, the two can never contradict… and they don’t!”

            My church is not anti-science… we believe that science and the Bible do not contradict each other.

            You are trying to use the church’s position paper to discredit me intellectually. This would seem to fall under several different sets of logical fallacies: most blatantly the Ad Hominem fallacy ( http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/ad-hominem.html); the Appeal to Ridicule (http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-ridicule.html); and,
            to a lesser extent, the Red Herring fallacy ( http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/red-herring.html).

            In this last fallacy that you’re using, you are diverting attention from the issue at hand (omnipotence and omniscience), and trying to place attention on the issue of evolution vs. creationism, which this thread isn’t about.

            You obviously believe that the largest argument to be made against
            Christians is that they are stupid, since your default reaction to any
            Christian posting (either here or on Ex-C) is to go out and do a search on
            the web to find out their background, and then post that on the site and
            say, “I thought this might be useful in this thread… this person used to
            be an alcoholic; or this person doesn’t have a PhD, or even a masters
            degree; or this person is associated with the U.S. military; or this person
            got a divorce; or this person is a Morman; or this person is Catholic” (a
            disclaimer is needed, of course. These aren’t your actual words; you
            haven’t actually said all of those things, or not those things exactly.
            But your role does seem to be that of “hit man” of the Ex-C site).

            If you find yourself actually thinking about the topics that are presented,
            I would love to have your continued participation on this site (though,
            from your comments on Ex-C, I kinda doubt that you’ll do that). If you
            want to continue to just try to be the “dig up the ad hominem attack” guy
            for boom, I think that’s just unhelpful to the debate. It adds nothing to
            your argument, other than further making you look like a person who
            doesn’t/hasn’t really thought through the issues (yeah, yeah, I know: you
            were a Christian for longer than I’ve been alive, but you “came to see the
            light,” etc., etc., etc).

            If you had actual counter-arguments, you would present them. Since you
            don’t, you resort to these fallacious attacks on the commenters. Now, I
            have no say over whether you create reasoned arguments in defense of your
            worldview, or whether you create fallacious arguments in defense of your
            worldview, but if I did, I would counsel you to stop the fallacious
            arguments.

          • Anonymous

            “But, as you are looking for a way to discredit me, I understand that you have to selectively quote from those documents.” – Bob

            Not so.   The subject of this thread deals with God’s omnipotence & omniscience.  I was attempting to present a brief yet inclusive codification of what I understand you accept as truth as it relates to God’s omnipotence.  You believe that miracles (including Special Creation) are a demonstration of God’s omnipotence.  Therefore, I was merely pointing out to your readers what I understand you to accept as truth re. evidence of God’s omnipotence.  You should not feel threatened by it.  Stand tall for your beliefs.

            “… as our God is both the author of the Bible and the intelligence behind all science, the two can never contradict… and they don’t!” – as quoted by Bob

            I happen to believe that scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports the claim that the universe is much older than 15,000 years.  If you feel otherwise, please feel free to galvanize the best scientific minds of Grace Church of DuPage et. al., submit a white paper to the broad scientific community for peer review, and let us see how it goes.

            “In this last fallacy that you’re using, you are diverting attention from the issue at hand (omnipotence and omniscience), and trying to place attention on the issue of evolution vs. creationism, which this thread isn’t about.” – Bob

            Not so.  See my first response above.

            “You obviously believe that the largest argument to be made against Christians is that they are stupid,…” – Bob

            Not so.  I never claimed you were stupid.  In fact, I recall saying on several occasions that I thought you seemed rather intelligent.  I certainly don’t think William Lane Craig is stupid.  However, I do believe you are being dishonest re. your claims re. “cross-examining” your faith.  You have given me and boom and others sufficient reason to conclude this for quite some time. 

            “But your role does seem to be that of “hit man” of the Ex-C site).” – Bob

            Wow!  That is really something coming from you.  The Ex-C website explicitly states its “rules of engagement”.  You have visited the website and violated those rules.  Aside from that, you welcomed boomSLANG and I to engage you in discussion.  Since then:  

            1.  You told boom and I that we lacked a good grasp of Christian doctrine.  
            2.  You glibly dismissed boomSLANG’s arguments as “half-baked”.  
            3.  You assured another Ex-C member you had “forgotten” more re. theology than they ever knew.
             
            Bob, I would be happy to post each of your specific comments re. these 3 points if you need your memory refreshed.  Your behavior has been the very essence of condescension and arrogance. 

            “If you find yourself actually thinking about the topics that are presented,  I would love to have your continued participation on this site (though, from your comments on Ex-C, I kinda doubt that you’ll do that).” – Bob

            Wow!  That is really something coming from you.  With the exception the Cosmological Argument (of which I plainly stated I had no firm opinion), I do believe I have offered feedback that was completely pertinent to each of your articles when I took the time to respond.  

            “If you  want to continue to just try to be the “dig up the ad hominem attack” guy for boom, I think that’s just unhelpful to the debate. It adds nothing to your argument, other than further making you look like a person who doesn’t/hasn’t really thought through the issues…” – Bob

            That is amusing.  However, boom doesn’t need my assistance.  He has presented arguments that appear more rational and convincing to me than yours re. every single article you posted when boom replied.  As a side note and as an FYI, I do not personally know boom.  I never met boom.  I never spoke to boom.  I do not know boom’s real name or age or where boom resides.   I did exchange ~3 e-mails with boom re. another blogger named Karla, but that is about it.  I have drawn my conclusions re. each of boom’s arguments vs. your arguments strictly upon their merits.  As far as my own professional background goes, I am a retired engineer (BS and MS) with ~30 years of engineering experience.  I understand the scientific method and how to apply it.

            “If you had actual counter-arguments, you would present them. ” – Bob

            I feel that boomSLANG has presented convincing arguments on this particular topic.  Even though you consider them to be “half-baked”, I think his arguments appear more rational and convincing than yours.

            “…I would counsel you to stop the fallacious  arguments.” – Bob

            If I were to offer you unsolicited advice,  I would counsel you to be honest.  There seems to be a broad perception among our members that you lack that quality when it comes to discussing theology.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Sid, here was the conclusion that you wrote in your comment about the position paper (and I’m quoting exactly): “Should we really expect sound reasoning?” You said nothing more. You did not draw a connection between your comment and God’s omnipotence.

            Also, I have not violated the rules on the Ex-C website. I read carefully the disclaimer that is posted there before ever commenting. It says, and I quote, “all people are welcome to join the discussions and post their ideas, thoughts, or even well thought out arguments. Discussions are permitted even if they become heated.” I have posted my ideas on the website, and have prompted some discussion on the site. Nothing that I’ve done has been against the rules of the site.

          • Anonymous

            “as our God is both the author of the Bible and the intelligence behind all science, the two can never contradict… and they don’t!”

            This might be knit-picking, but with the exception of the “Commandments”(which “God” presumably wrote himself), I thought “God” inspired man to pen the bible. Hmmm.

            But more importantly, if “God” is the “intelligence behind all science”, it sure seems very odd that the scientific method – that is, testing/falsifying, making predictions, etc –  is not applicable to “God”, and thus, said “God” cannot be verified. Again, hmmm.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            “All Scripture is God-breathed…”

          • Anonymous

            R. Ewoldt, to Sid: 

            “You obviously believe that the largest argument to be made against Christians is that they are stupid […]”

            I personally do not believe that all Christians are “stupid”. I do, however, believe that most superstitious people are ignorant, and that they employ stupid “logic” when defending their respective superstitions. 

            “[…] since your default reaction to any Christian posting (either here or on Ex-C) is to go out and do a search on the web to find out their background, and then post that on the site and say, “I thought this might be useful in this thread… this person used to be an alcoholic; or this person doesn’t have a PhD, or even a masters degree; or this person is associated with the U.S. military; or this person got a divorce; or this person is a Morman; or this person is Catholic” (a disclaimer is needed, of course. These aren’t your actual words; you haven’t actually said all of those things, or not those things exactly. But your role does seem to be that of “hit man” of the Ex-C site).”

            Interesting that you creatively list all of those things, then at the end say, “These aren’t your actual words”. 

            You seem to be extremely challenged when it comes to being able to portray your interlocutor’s words/position accurately. Could it really be that you are that incapable and/or lazy? Or is it more likely that you are simply dishonest while grasping at straws?

            As for “adding to the debate”, calling your interlocutor’s arguments “half-baked” certainly doesn’t add much, and it’s slightly hypocritical after providing a list of fallacious arguments, above. 

            BTW, according to your most recent post on the actual topic, you never picked between the options I laid  out.  At the supposed beginning of time, was it  “God’s will”  that, a) not all people believe in and accept him, or b) that his mercy and grace be powerless when it comes to nonbelievers. Well? One of the two must be true if said “God” is omniscient, including, possessing knowledge of future.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            If you want Sid’s actual words, here they are:

            About Broc: “Hopefully they will devise more apps that promote the increase of knowledge and wisdom within undereducated kids.”

            “Broc, You are not remotely qualified to act as moderator on this forum.”
            “Now, kindly run along and finish reading your comic books.”

            “It is crystal clear. Let those that have ears hear and those with eyes see and those with brain cells comprehend…”

            “Broc, I believe sound reasoning and logic appear to wasted upon you.”
            “I would like to thank you for the amusement that this article and this thread has produced. It seems you don’t grasp it, but we do… and it is really something to behold.”

            “Bob, you simply have not demonstrated the capacity to be objective.”

            “we do appreciate some comic relief from guests on this website from time to time…”

            “For that matter, if you read the entire Doctrinal Statement and the Church
            Constitution (both of which are published on his church’s website), you can
            better understand Eusebius Bob’s beliefs and his nature (assuming he
            adheres to those documents published by his church where he is listed among
            the leadership). You might be alarmed by much of the content.”

            “BTW, I did a little research. In 2006, there was a “Robert Ewoldt” who
            was listed as a resident of Wheaton, Illinois at the time. “Robert Ewoldt”
            was listed as being 23 years old in 2006.”

            “boom, You can read all about his church’s belief in “Special Creation”
            from their Doctrinal Statement…. Wow! What more can be said. Wow!”

            I did not take the time to count the number of times that Sid has made the
            “Doctrinal Statement” hit when trying to drive the conversation toward a
            debate that he’s more comfortable with.

          • Anonymous

            “All Scripture is God-breathed…”

            Saying that god “breathed” the bible is meaningless, Christianese godspeak to the unconvinced. I want to know if a “God” authored the bible, in the same context/manner in which he presumably authored the “Commandments”.

          • Anonymous

            “If you want Sid’s actual words, here they are:”

            And what’s even more perplexing is that you’ve now taken the time to post his actual words, when you could have done that the first time, but instead, wrote a lengthy list of analogous of things to make your point. IOW, your first list evidently wasn’t to save time.

          • Anonymous

            Eusebius Bob is welcome to post any quote by me.  Let him offer up the circumstances and the context and I will readily stand behind any quote I ever made on this website.  Please see my rebuttal to Eusebius Bob below.

  • Anonymous

    Eusebius Bob,

    It is perfectly fine with me if you want to post quotes made by me.  Feel free to offer up the context in which each of those comments were made and I will gladly stand behind each of them.  

    While we are exchanging quotes, here are some nuggets from you:

    ——————-
    “And, since this is a post about the Turing test, I think that you guys have pretty well proven that you don’t have a good grasp of Christian doctrine,…”  –  Eusebius Bob said to boomSLANG and sidvicious on brevis

    “However, you seem to think that you’ve “responded” to my posts on my site, and somehow proven me wrong, while I think that you’ve really done a half-baked job in presenting an opposition to my posts,… ”  –  Eusebius Bob said to boomSLANG on Ex-C

    “I have been a Christian for almost as long as you have, and I have studied the Bible and theology, and would venture to guess that I’ve forgotten more then you’ve ever known,…”  –  Eusebius Bob said to Discordia on Ex-C
    ——————

    BTW, the following is DIRECT QUOTE from the VERY FIRST LINE on the disclaimer page on Ex-C.

    http://new.exchristian.net/p/disclaimer.html

    “The ExChristian.Net/Ex-Christian.Net websites are open to all with the stipulations that they not be used for a SPAM medium or a place to verbally abuse Ex-Christians.”

    Bob, you would lying through your teeth if you intend to sit there and claim your comments to boomSLANG and Discordia on Ex-C were not abusive (and insulting).  I will leave it up to the Webmaster to decide if he will allow you to post there again.

    Eusebius Bob, you seem dishonest to us.

    • Anonymous

      Sid quotes Robert Ewoldt….

      “However, you seem to think that you’ve ‘responded’ to my posts on my site, and somehow proven me wrong, while I think that you’ve really done a half-baked job in presenting an opposition to my posts,… ”

      The interesting thing about the above ‘gem’, is that, where the topic of this thread is concerned, I *have* responded and I *have* proven that omniscience precludes the very freedom that is required for “God” to be a personal being, one who, like you, me, and Mr. Ewoldt, would need more than one option to be available to us, along with a period of time where we are UNCERTAIN of the outcome. As any thinking person can see, if one is CERTAIN of the future, then the act of choosing from such options is, at best, of no practical value; impossible, at worst.

      • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

        boom, just to clarify: are you dropping the omnipotence component of your original argument in favor of the remaining two facets (omniscience vs. free will)? It seems like you’re dropping your claim of omnipotence being the source of the problem, in favor of free will being the source of the problem. But I don’t want to assume…

        • Anonymous

          “boom, just to clarify: are you dropping the omnipotence component of your original argument in favor of the remaining two facets (omniscience vs. free will)?”

          No, I am not dropping any such thing. It should be obvious that lacking the “free will” with which to do the things that one wills, means that one isn’t “omnipotent”, and not so, even under your customized definition of the word..i.e..”essentially omnipotent”. I’ve explained it every way that I know how. It IS ESSENTIAL that “God”, who YOU insist is a personal, free being, be able to act in accordance with its own “will”. Common sense tells us this.

        • Anonymous

          Previously, R. Ewoldt:

          “boom, just to clarify: are you dropping the omnipotence component of your original argument in favor of the remaining two facets (omniscience vs. free will)?”

          My previous answer: No, I am not dropping any such thing.

          So, despite that I answered your pointed question with a clear “no” and that I also included a detailed explanation, you still decided to start another thread concerning “omniscience vs. free will”. You are really something else, Bobby. 

          If one’s “free will” is limited, then by definition, he or she cannot be “omnipotent”.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Boom, this may be a surprise to you, but most people don’t slog through 100+ comments, so when a different (important) issue arises in the comments, I create a new post to deal with it thoroughly. Since I didn’t deal with free will in this post, I thought I would do it justice in a new post.

            You say that God is limited “by definition,” but the way that I (and many, many others) define these things is different from the way you define things.

            If your argument is entirely based upon a difference in definition, and you have no interest in using a theological definition to make a theological argument, then I don’t think we have much to debate here.

            I’d be happy to hear your definition for “free will,” and your defense of said definition, on the new post.

          • Anonymous

            “Boom, this may be a surprise to you, but most people don’t slog through 100+ comments, so when a different (important) issue arises in the comments”

            If nothing else, you know for a fact that at least three of us “slog” through them, since you respond when you think you have something meaningful to say to any of said three people. So that right there disproves your flimsy excuse.

            “You say that God is limited ‘by definition’, but the way that I (and many, many others) define these things is different from the way you define things.”

            I use YOUR frickin’ definitions and descriptions on this particular topic! **See this thread, where you say that “God” is “bound by his will”, and see new thread where you provide two entries for “free will”. Your dishonesty is appalling. It really, really is.

            “If your argument is entirely based upon a difference in definition[….]”

            My argument is based on YOUR provided definitions and how YOU define “God”…..see HERE**, above

            “[…]and [if] you have no interest in using a theological definition to make a theological argument, then I don’t think we have much to debate here.”

            ‘Sorry, Hoss, but you don’t out of this discussion/debate that easily. Using the definitions that YOU provided, which I presume pass as “theological”, in conjunction with your descriptions of “God”, which is obviously “theological” – specifically, that he is “bound by his will” – you lose. The writing is on the wall for all to see.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            boom, you are NOT using my definitions. If you were using my definition of omnipotence, then you would agree that there are things that God cannot do… he cannot act against his will.

            Instead, you insist upon using your original definition of omnipotence, which requires him to be able to change his will somehow (i.e. absolute omnipotence).

            Furthermore, you define “free will” as being able to change one’s mind, which is the foundation for your argument. If you use the definition that I use for free will (being able to implement one’s will without hindrance), then there is no contradiction between free will, omnipotence, and omniscience.

            I’ll respond to your other “issues” on the free will thread.

          • Anonymous

            “boom, you are NOT using my definitions. If you were using my definition of omnipotence, then you would agree that there are things that God cannot do… “

            And yet, I do agree there are things “God cannot do”. For example, *”God” is powerless to implement “mercy” or “grace”, or anything else, to change the heart/fate of a nonbeliever. Yet, you concede that it is “God’s Will” that EVERYONE believe.

            Conclusion: “God” cannot fully accomplish what he “wills”, while you argue that “God” can *only* do what he “wills”. That contradicts.

            “[…] he cannot act against his will.”

             Right—disqualifying “God” from YOUR definition of “omnipotent”..i.e.. “essentially omnipotent”. See here*, above.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            boom, your argument here was a little convoluted. Let me see if I’m understanding it correctly:

            1. God’s will is for everyone to be saved.
            2. Not everyone is/will be saved.
            3. God’s will is not done.
            4. Therefore, God is not even essentially omnipotent.

            Is that right?

          • Anonymous

            “boom, your argument here was a little convoluted.”

            Gee, I don’t know…perhaps that’s because I’ve reworded it, literally, dozens of different ways, and you still cannot grasp it(or more likely, will not grasp it)

            “Let me see if I’m understanding it correctly:

            1. God’s will is for everyone to be saved.
            2. Not everyone is/will be saved.
            3. God’s will is not done.
            4. Therefore, God is not even essentially omnipotent.

            Is that right?”

            That is very simplified; you omit crucial premises. More like…

            1. God’s will is for everyone to believe in and accept him.
            2. God has prescience that 1 will not be realized
            3. God created, despite that knowledge
            4. God’s will is not done
            5. Either, a) God is not omnipotent, including essentially omnipotent
            or b) 1 is false

          • Anonymous

            “If you use the definition that I use for free will (being able to implement one’s will without hindrance), then there is no contradiction between free will, omnipotence, and omniscience.” ~ R. Ewoldt

            Yes there is a contradiction, and I’m happy to keep pointing out your errors as long as you’re happy to keep defending them. 

            Let’s review: 

            1. Robert Ewoldt’s theological definition of “free will”:

            “being able to implement one’s will without hindrance” 

            2. Robert Ewoldt’s theological definition of “omnipotent”, which he modified to “essentially omnipotent”:

            Being “bound” by one’s “will”…..or in context: “God is bound by his will”.

            3. The definition of  *”will”:

            Intend, desire, or wish (something) to happen: “he was doing what the saint willed”

            * In a theological sense, “will” sometimes doubles as “decree”. However, that doesn’t make the two mutually exclusive. It should be readily agreed that God isn’t going to decree something that he doesn’t desire

            4. The definition of  *”omniscient”: 

            “having complete or unlimited knowledge, awareness, or understanding; perceiving all things.”

            *By definition, “God” knows the future set of events and all outcomes.

            Logical conclusion:

            God is powerless to change the hearts/fates of nonbelievers, those whom God knew from the onset would not believe in and accept him. When it comes to nonbelievers, said God cannot implement the attributes that are presumably inherent to his very nature ..e.g..”mercy”, “grace”. If an essential part of said God is that his will be actualized, and if said God is powerless to get said will actualized, then said God is not “essentially omnipotent”, and there are limits on God’s free will. 

            Under the provided and agree-upon definitions, omniscience and omnipotence do contradict, contrary to Robert Ewoldt’s perpetual insistence that they don’t.

            Robert Ewoldt refuted.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            boom, you’re awfully dogmatic for an unbeliever.

            You say, “In a theological sense, “will” sometimes doubles as “decree”. However, that doesn’t make the two mutually exclusive. It should be readily agreed that God isn’t going to decree a something that he doesn’t desire.”
            You state that God doesn’t decree something that he doesn’t desire, and I agree. But another question that’s less obvious, and has a HUGE effect on your argument: Does God ALWAYS decree what he desires? That’s a large debate in theological circles, but you just gloss over it.

            You dogmatically assume that he does, and use that premise to make your conclusion.

            Furthermore, another question that you don’t address in your argument, but use your answer in your conclusion is this: Does God’s foreknowledge of an event mean that he causes the event to happen? In other words, does omniscience prove causality? Not necessarily. You have to prove (theologically, of course) that God causes all things before you can prove your conclusion. You have not done this.

            Being omnipotent doesn’t necessitate action. Being omniscient doesn’t necessitate action. Having a free will doesn’t necessitate action. Your conclusion is that God is “powerless to change” (i.e. powerless to act) in
            a certain manner. But you’ve done nothing to prove that any of these
            attributes (omnipotence, omniscience, free will) necessitates that certain
            action, so your conclusion does not follow.

            You have the beginnings of a good argument here; if you flesh it out a
            little bit, you might convince me.

    • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

      Sid, I have no doubt that you WILL stand behind each one of your attacks. The point was that such attacks add nothing to the debate. My saying that you and boom don’t have a good grasp of Christian doctrine may be true, but it doesn’t add anything to the debate. My saying that boom’s arguments are “half-baked” may be true, but it doesn’t add anything to the debate. My saying that I probably know more about theology than Discordia may be true, but it doesn’t add to the debate. The truth of the accusation doesn’t move the debate forward, and it doesn’t reflect kindly back on the accuser. The quality of the arguments should stand for themselves, without the aid of ad hominem attacks. I admit that I, too, have sometimes stooped to ad hominem attacks, and those attacks have not been my finest hours.

      It seems to me that the Ex-C webmaster tolerates a lot more verbal abuse than the disclaimer would seem to imply. In fact, much of the comments that I’ve seen on the site have been much more abusive than “half-baked arguments” or “I’m more theologically educated than you.” WebMDave would hardly have a site to run if he kicked out all the verbal abusers on the site.

      Oh, wait, I guess the disclaimer only prohibits “verbal abuse” from people who are not Ex-Christians. My bad.

      How ’bout this as a compromise: we both try to eliminate the ad hominem and other fallacious attacks from our rhetoric, and stick to arguments that
      pertain to the topic of debate?

      • Anonymous

        “Sid, I have no doubt that you WILL stand behind each one of your attacks.”  –  Bob

        I generally don’t attack someone unless I feel provoked.  It doesn’t personally bother me if you were to lash out in heated debate.  We are humans.  I just don’t take kindly to being told I am guilty of employing “ad hominem” attacks by someone who has employed those tactics.  For that matter, so has Broc.  Feel free to sift through some of the insults he lobbed.  

        ” My saying that you and boom don’t have a good grasp of Christian doctrine may be true…” –  Bob

        As an FYI, it is not true.

        “Oh, wait, I guess the disclaimer only prohibits “verbal abuse” from people who are not Ex-Christians. My bad.” – Bob

        The forum was devised for US.  It was intended to be a forum for US to share our experiences with one another and, where possible, to offer one another support.  If some people lashed out at you without cause, that could be construed as them being being rude.  However, they may have felt defensive toward you as an outsider.  Some of the members of the Ex-C site have had very painful experiences in life, and some may fight when challenged or questioned by guests.

         
        “How ’bout this as a compromise: we both try to eliminate the ad hominem and other fallacious attacks from our rhetoric, and stick to arguments that pertain to the topic of debate?”

        I am all for civilized debate.  However, I do not believe you are being objective in your articles.  Your entire series of articles appears to me to be a defense of your faith and not a “cross-examination” of your faith.  If you show some objectivity, you may find your captive audience just might grow.  It could be quite productive to have more regular participants.

      • Anonymous

        ‘My saying that you and boom don’t have a good grasp of Christian doctrine may be true, but it doesn’t add anything to the debate.”

        It certainly doesn’t add anything to the debate if you cannot demonstrate your claims. This goes for your entire list of examples where you suggest that said claims “may be true”.

        • Anonymous

          * I wonder about something else, too:  Is it possible for someone to “grasp” what the Christian philosophy entails..i.e.. it’s “offer” for Salvation, its supernatural claims, etc., but him or her find it lacking? Yes, or no? Anyone? ‘Listening.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Yes, absolutely.

          • Anonymous

            Oh, good.  Pt II:  Is it possible for someone to grasp the Christian philosophy as good as how you believe that you grasp it, and still find it lacking? Yes, or no?

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            If you don’t mind, let me rephrase what you’re asking in a way that I feel is more complete: Is it possible for someone to grasp the Christian philosophy as good as I believe that I grasp it, and still reject it? Yes, I do.

          • Anonymous

            I’ll buy that rephrasing, under one condition. That is, that you understand and accept that the person who finds it lacking is NOT rejecting any “God”, since it should be self-evident that if they find what Christianity offers to be lacking, that this includes the claim that the offer is  “Divinely” inspired, authored by “God”, or what you call, “God-breathed”. IOW, I find said doctrine lacking – or if you prefer, I reject it – but I also reject that it was “God-breathed”.

          • Anonymous

            I’ll buy that rephrasing, under one condition. That is, that you understand and accept that the person who finds it lacking is NOT rejecting any “God”, since it should be self-evident that if they find what Christianity offers to be lacking, that this includes the claim that the offer is  “Divinely” inspired, authored by “God”, or what you call, “God-breathed”. IOW, I find said doctrine lacking – or if you prefer, I reject it – but I also reject that it was “God-breathed”.

          • Anonymous

            While you contemplate that, I’d be curious to know what the determining factor is between someone who has a grasp of what Christianity entails, but finds it lacking, and someone who doesn’t have a grasp of what it entails, but finds it lacking. Well?  What distinct, outward signs or “red flags” reveal the one who, IYO, hasn’t grasped the Christian philosophy? This should be interesting…. 

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            I think, in some cases, they are directly rejecting God, but in other cases they are rejecting the belief system altogether, as you do, if they find it “lacking.”  Either way, it’s a rejection, right?  In that case, I would understand that they are also rejecting that the Bible is “God-breathed.”

          • O!

            You know what Bob, maybe you should spend a little less time whining about sid and what you think are ad hominem attacks and dedicate our time with providing objective evidence for your extraordinary claims and beliefs. You are not adding anything to the debate by blabbering on about sid. I could go back and find a half a dozen statements by you that could be considered ad hominem attacks but it would be a distraction from the actual debate which one might presume you are engaging in because you cannot effectively substantiate your dubious claims.

            BTW, I’m still waiting for you to fully address this post from 2 months ago.

            http://bobewoldt.com/is-there-a-moral-law/#comment-296262173

            Not to mention this post:

            http://bobewoldt.com/faith-and-belief/#comment-318030416

            And I’m sure you remember what you wrote?

            ”I will get to O’s question in a future post. And, for the record, O’s problem is not that complicated to refute”

            Still waiting for you to present Uncomplicated objective evidence that will convince us………. 
             
            Waiting and waiting and waiting………………
             
             
            “All Scripture is God-breathed…”

            All scripture? ALL? Then I guess we must conclude the Qur’an is God’s final revelation of divine guidance and direction for humanity.

            You know if ALL scripture is God-breathed.

            Ohhhhh, but ALL means just the words in your book are God-breathed.

            This is rhetorical, bob. No need to address this. Please concentrate on the other two posts you put on the back-burner, months ago.

          • Anonymous

            O!,

            I do not understand why Bob seems to chafe when I reference his home church’s doctrinal position.  When someone (e.g. Bob) chooses to publish certain views in a public forum and then welcomes people to discuss and debate those views, it seems appropriate to me that the public have a broad understanding of that person’s background and qualifications and views.  If a person were to run for public office, it would be fair for the public to demand a broad review of the candidate’s background and views.  That is what I was attempting to accomplishing by referencing Bob’s background and views.  That was not some sort of “ad hominem” attack.  It is called vetting, and it is widely considered to be fair game when someone publishes their views and openly encourages the public to discuss and debate those views.  

          • O!

            Sid,

            I completely agree.

            Again one could conclude that bob argues about this crap because he can’t defend his extraordinary claims with objective evidence.

            It’s just one more diverging trick he uses in his repertoire – you know, like evading the questions, misconstruing ones argument, answering questions with questions, creating strawmen and attacking those. Everything BUT answering the question directly.

          • Anonymous

            Either way, it’s a rejection, right?” ~ R. Ewoldt

            In light of what I’m seeing here, I’m not going to split hairs or mince words on this issue. Fine, a “rejection”. Now, I’m still curious as to the specific distinction between someone who doesn’t grasp the Christian philosophy, and rejects it, and someone who grasps it, but rejects it. ‘Listening.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            The end result is the same… there’s not much difference.

          • Anonymous

            Previously, me:  “I’m still curious as to the specific distinction between someone who doesn’t grasp the Christian philosophy, and rejects it, and someone who grasps it, but rejects it. ‘Listening.”

            you respond: “The end result is the same… there’s not much difference”

            I take it you mean both types of people get tossed in your biblegod’s chamber of horrors, AKA, **”hell”.

            In any case, that’s NOT what I asked—I did not ask, “What happens to people who reject Christianity?” I want to know how you, Robert Ewoldt, distinguish between those nonbelievers who “grasp” the Christian philosophy, and those who do not grasp it. For the record, you’ve conceded that one can “grasp” said philosophy, but still reject it. 

            **Do all occupants of “hell” deserve to be there?

            1) yes

            2) no

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Yes, all occupants of hell deserve to be there. In a related statement, most occupants of heaven DON’T deserve to be there.

          • Anonymous

            “Yes, all occupants of hell deserve to be there.”
            Then why all the fuss and ministering from Christians? Non-believers getting what they DESERVE. That falls under the very definition of JUSTICE, doesn’t it? Yes, I believe so.

            “In a related statement, most occupants of heaven DON’T deserve to be there.”

            Ah, so “God” doesn’t give ALL people what they deserve, just non-christian people. Again, so much for “God’s perfect justice”.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            boom, only in your worldview does “perfect justice” preclude mercy and grace.

          • Anonymous

            “boom, only in your worldview does ‘perfect justice’ preclude mercy and grace”

            In your worldview, when “justice” is carried out, is that end a good thing, or a bad thing? A two-word answer will suffice.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            When justice is carried out, that is a good thing.

            When mercy is given, that also is a good thing.

            When grace is given, that also is a good thing.

          • Anonymous

            “When justice is carried out, that is a good thing.

            When mercy is given, that also is a good thing.

            When grace is given, that also is a good thing.” ~ R. Ewoldt

            We will focus on the first two, since the third is simply a theological spin on the second. In fact, “Studies in the Word of God” puts it….”they are sisters”.

            justice: the administering of a deserved punishment or reward

            mercy: compassion or forbearance shown to an offender or subject; clemency or kindness extended to someone instead of strictness or severity

            These two principles cancel each other out.  If everyone is BORN condemned and deserving of “hell”, NO exceptions – and according to your twisted theology, they are – then granting clemency(“mercy”) to just one person is to subvert justice…. or, “God granting his mercy undermines his perfect justice”.   To top that off, the fact that the “judge” in all of this knew from the onset that he’d grant “mercy” to only those who believe in and accept him, is a clear-cut case of favoritism.

            favoritism:  an inclination to favor some person or group.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            You say, “God granting his mercy undermines his perfect justice.” I disagree. The giving of mercy does not undermine justice. The only thing that would undermine God’s justice is if he were to give mercy to everyone.
            I think I’ve asked you this question before, and I’ll ask it again: If an earthly judge gives mercy to someone who deserves a harsh punishment, does that nullify justice? No. If he were to give mercy to everyone that came before him, then that might undermine justice, but giving mercy out does not, by itself, undermine his justice.

            “But God ought to be more just than an earthly judge,” you might say. “He ought to have perfect justice.” To that, I say, what is perfect justice? You’re saying that perfect justice is “what I say it is”–i.e. absolute justice (no mercy whatsoever). Who’s to say that perfect justice is equal to absolute justice?

          • Anonymous

            “favoritism: an inclination to favor some person or group.” – posted by boomSLANG

            It seem crystal clear from OT manuscripts that YHWH had a special relationship with the Hebrew people:

            Deuteronomy 7:6-8New International Version (NIV)(6) For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. (7) The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. (8) But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

            Imagine that.  The God who created an unimaginable vast universe with perhaps several hundred billion galaxies each containing perhaps several hundred billions stars… and God had a special relationship with ONE tribe of people.  Those same Hebrew people declared it to be true, so it must be true…

             

          • Anonymous

            “You say, ‘God granting his mercy undermines his perfect justice’. I disagree. “ ~ R. Ewoldt

            At this point, I think it’s a given that you’re going to “disagree”. Whether you can provide good, sound, consistent reasoning for *why* you disagree, is another story altogether, and it remains to be seen. 

            “The giving of mercy does not undermine justice.”

            *I wonder—-do you have any children, and if not, nieces or nephews? Assuming that you have one or the other, or both, let’s say that a deranged man kidnapped child X in your family and he molested and later killed said child. Let’s say that he was caught, tried, and convicted of homicide. Let’s say that he was put on death row with all of the other convicted killers. 

            In your God-inspired opinion, is that a “just” sentence? Isn’t it fair to say that ALL people on death row deserve the SAME punishment…i.e..death? Assuming that your answer is “yes” to both, let’s say that moments before the execution of the guy who molested and killed your family member, the judge called and said, “Hey guys?…I’m feeling merciful today. Let the man go on his merry way!”

            Now, will you try to tell me with a straight face that you believe that “justice” was served? Will you sit there and lie through your teeth and try to tell me that since the other convicts will be put to death, that you’d accept this type of  “justice”-by-proxy? I really, really, hope not. But then again, you’ve totally shocked me before in trying to preserve your religious convictions.  

            “The only thing that would undermine God’s justice is if he were to give mercy to everyone. “ ~ R. Ewoldt

            Let’s have a look at your own words:  most occupants of heaven DON’T deserve to be there.

            Of the occupants who DO NOT deserve to be there, you’re forgetting that they have not only been spared, but rewarded. Under the definition of “justice”, a reward can be “just”, too. The occupants of “hell” have been granted mercy(spared from “hell”), while given their just reward(a life of never ending, pure, unadulterated bliss, for professing “Christ”). 

             If your counter-argument is , “Yeah, but sin MUST be punished!”, then fine, but say it truthfully and in context: “Sin MUST be punished sometimes“. If each individual is a BORN “sinner”, condemned, and deserving of “hell”, then EACH individual must be punished accordingly. There’s a reason that we don’t kill ONE death row inmate, and then abolish the law. That would be absurd.

            I think I’ve asked you this question before, and I’ll ask it again: If an earthly judge gives mercy to someone who deserves a harsh punishment, does that nullify justice? No.

             In that person’s case, yes, it does. See previous analogy, here*, above. 

            “If he were to give mercy to everyone that came before him, then that might undermine justice, but giving mercy out does not, by itself, undermine his justice.”

            What if,  out of every 1, 000  criminal arrests, Mr. “earthly judge” granted mercy to 999? Well? According to your reasoning, as long as one criminal does their time, that is “justice” by proxy for the other 999. Your reasoning is utterly preposterous.

            “[…] I say, what is perfect justice?”

            Well, for starters, it is CONSISTENT.

      • Anonymous

        “boom, you’re awfully dogmatic for an unbeliever.” ~ R. Ewoldt

        If you want call reason my “dogma”, then I accept the charge and I thank you for the complement.

        “You state that God doesn’t decree something that he doesn’t desire, and I agree. But another question that’s less obvious, and has a HUGE effect on your argument: Does God ALWAYS decree what he desires? That’s a large debate in theological circles, but you just gloss over it.

        You dogmatically assume that he does, and use that premise to make your conclusion.

        NO—I reasonably conclude that he does, and here’s why: 

        If there is a “God”, and if “Perfection” is an attribute of this “God”(as I’m sure you’ll concede), then yes, I can, and do, reasonably expect that if said perfect “God” has a “will”, then that “will” should be actualized TO perfection. If,  from the onset, said “God” decrees(desires) that its creation have “wills” of their own with which they are free to actualize as they please, but yet, this “God” had PRESCIENCE that this creation would not use their free wills to fulfill his “perfect will”, then that is a problem that falls squarely into the lap of God, since said God could have, instead, created only those whom he knew would believe in and accept him, and these believers would still retain the illusion of “free will”.

        “Furthermore, another question that you don’t address in your argument, but use your answer in your conclusion is this: Does God’s foreknowledge of an event mean that he causes the event to happen? In other words, does omniscience prove causality? Not necessarily. You have to prove (theologically, of course) that God causes all things before you can prove your conclusion. You have not done this.”

        Bull’. In my argument, I have never ONCE suggested nor conceded that just because “God” knows the final outcome, that he therefore caused it. True, omniscience might not necessarily prove causality, but it *does* prove, either a) God is not perfect after all, or b) nonbelievers are part of God’s “perfect will”. Pick one.
         
        “Being omnipotent doesn’t necessitate action. Being omniscient doesn’t necessitate action. Having a free will doesn’t necessitate action. Your conclusion is that God is “powerless to change” (i.e. powerless to act) in a certain manner.

        NOT just *any* “manner”, but in a manner in which people like YOU insist said God acts. People like you..i.e..God’s spokespeople,  insist that “God” wants/desires/decrees certain things. I’m not ARBITRARILY picking how I *think* “God” should act. YOU say God is “perfect” and desires that all people believe in and accept him. YOU say God has the power to implement things like “mercy” and “grace”. Based on THOSE claims, I follow things to their logical conclusion.

        “But you’ve done nothing to prove that any of these attributes (omnipotence, omniscience, free will) necessitates that certain action, so your conclusion does not follow.”

        Yes, I most certainly have proven it…..over, and over, and over, again. If your biblegod isn’t “perfect”, then fine, so say. If your biblegod didn’t and doesn’t care if there are nonbelievers, then speak right up. If your biblegod didn’t know from the onset that some people wouldn’t believe? THEN. SAY. SO…because if any of those things are true, then, and only then, will I retract and adjust my position. Until then, it stands. 

        “You have the beginnings of a good argument here; if you flesh it out a little bit, you might convince me.”

        There’s nothing to “flesh out”, liar.

        • Anonymous

          ‘ Anything you don’t understand about the above two posts? Have I not been a good communicator? 

          • Anonymous

            boom,

            Your communication style begets clear and concise statements, and your reasoning abilities appear to be completely sound.  In fact, your ability to communicate is top notch.  I have wondered for some time if you are an attorney.

          • Anonymous

            Haha, thanks for the kind words. And I’ve gotten the “attorney” thing before. Nope, I’m a musician.

  • Pingback: Cross Examination: Does God Have Free Will? | Brevis from Bob Ewoldt()

  • http://panic-attackrelief.com/how-to-stop-panic-attacks/ David

    At some points, God is not necessarily going to conform His nature or decisions or actions to what we think He must be or do despite the degree of confidence we may have to the contrary.

    • Anonymous

      “At some points, God is not necessarily going to conform His nature or decisions or actions to what we think He must be or do despite the degree of confidence we may have to the contrary.” ~ David(Knapp?)

      Point taken. If there is a “God”, and if this “God” is going to act in ways that are contrary to the way we’d expect him or her to act – even if those ways constituted an immoral, despicable jerk if any of our fellow human beings acted the same – then this “God” can do precisely that, if he or she desires. On the other hand, if I’m expected to worship and love such a being, and if I’m supposed to overlook this being’s atrocious behavior based purely on the virtue of him or her going by the name “God”, it isn’t going to happen.

      If there is a “God”, then surely we can all agree that this “God” would want us to understand him or her, right? I’m certainly not going enter into a relationship with anyone else I don’t understand, and I’ll wager that we all find that a reasonable stance. So, why should any of these things be different for “God”? Is there some special pleading going on here?

    • Anonymous

      “At some points, God is not necessarily going to conform His nature or decisions or actions to what we think He must be or do despite the degree of confidence we may have to the contrary.” ~ David(Knapp?)

      Point taken. If there is a “God”, and if this “God” is going to act in ways that are contrary to the way we’d expect him or her to act – even if those ways constituted an immoral, despicable jerk if any of our fellow human beings acted the same – then this “God” can do precisely that, if he or she desires. On the other hand, if I’m expected to worship and love such a being, and if I’m supposed to overlook this being’s atrocious behavior based purely on the virtue of him or her going by the name “God”, it isn’t going to happen.

      If there is a “God”, then surely we can all agree that this “God” would want us to understand him or her, right? I’m certainly not going enter into a relationship with anyone else I don’t understand, and I’ll wager that we all find that a reasonable stance. So, why should any of these things be different for “God”? Is there some special pleading going on here?