Thursday, December 03, 2015

Freedom: Divine, Human, and Anti-human

For Hartshorne, God is still omniscient, in that he knows infallibly all that can be known. It's just that he can't know what can't be known in principle.

In a similar sense, he is obviously free, but not to violate his own nature. Like any other person, he is constrained by who he is!

It really comes down to freedom and creativity -- whether these words really mean what they mean, or are just nice sounding platitudes.

Is there freedom in God? Then God is undetermined to himself. Are we free? Then we are (at least partly, but genuinely) undetermined by and for God.

Thus, "Either we determine the divine knowing, in some degree, or we determine nothing at all.... if we cannot do this, then we have no freedom whatsoever."

Not only does this touch on freedom and creativity, but love and truth, for what is the merit of love if it is determined and therefore compulsory? What is its value if it isn't freely given? Is it even love anymore?

In this context, what does it mean to say God is love, if love operates like an inanimate machine? Again, it is reduced to a kind of meaningless platitude.

In my world, truth is the virtue and light of the intellect. If our beliefs are determined -- if we are not free to discover and devote ourselves to truth -- then what is its merit? Eliminate freedom and we eliminate truth.

So, all of these things -- freedom, love, truth, creativity, relationship, and goodness -- are densely connected in the divine hyperspace; each is a necessary reflection of the others. Not one of them is understandable without its sister transcendentals.

When we say that "God is unchanging," it means that he is unchanging in these necessary attributes. His love, for example, is steadfast, but steadfast is not the same as static, for how can love ever be static?

What happens when the Divine Freedom confronts the human freedom? Yes, the Incarnation, but when God incarnates he does so as man, and not just a man. Or, at the very least, we are free to participate in that ultimate drama of freedom.

I suppose there are millions of self-styled Christians who don't believe in the Trinity. To which I would say, if God isn't Trinity, then to hell with it. Who needs him?

For me, that sort of God is literally equivalent to no God. It's certainly not a God I can relate to, because there would be nothing relative in him.

Does such a vision of God limit his power or glory or supremacy? Well, what is power? Or, what would it mean to exert power but not respond to what is produced or brought about by the power?

Isn't this like a dictator or tyrant, all Who and no Whom? Yes, it's "power," but is it divine power? Which type of leader is more like God, the autocrat or the servant-leader who is intimately related to his subjects?

This touches on a quintessential difference between Christianity, on the one hand, and leftism or Islamism on the other.

For the latter two, God, or ultimate power, comes down to authority and obedience. Freedom -- and therefore truth and love -- doesn't enter into it.

Allah, whatever else he is, isn't especially lovable, as far as I can tell. Seems to me he's more interested in respect than love. And he certainly doesn't care about freedom, for in every nation dominated by Islam, freedom is conspicuously absent.

Freedom is a Christian value. Even the left's perverse version of it could only exist in a Christianized person who has simply severed it from its sister transcendentals (in particular, a prior moral responsibility without which freedom is not only inconceivable but toxic).

God is creative -- it says so in the first sentence of the Bible -- therefore he contains alternatives within himself. The world isn't necessary. He could have created another world.

But I would suggest that he cannot not create, any more than he cannot fail to love.

Again, when we speak of God's "changelessness," I think this is what we are referring to. Creating is necessary. This or that creation are contingent.

As it so happens, all this far-out Christian Duddism we've been discussing lately has profound links to Evolution 2.0, that is, the real evolution, not just the watered down Darwinian variety.

For with the God we have described above, creative evolution becomes necessary instead of an impossible absurdity (which it is for both creationists and atheistic Darwinans).

But that's the subject of a different post, one that will appear "necessarily," even if the contingent details are not worked out at this time.


Blogger julie said...

Allah, whatever else he is, isn't especially lovable, as far as I can tell. Seems to me he's more interested in respect than love.

I don't know if you could even quite call it "respect." More like subservience, maybe. Humiliation, as opposed to humility. In a pinch, stark raving terror will do just fine.

Still reeling from the attacks yesterday. That area is actually part of what I think of as "home." I had two sisters-in-law who work for San Bernardino County on lockdown; one was finally evacuated from her building after they determined there was still a bomb threat, the other was farther away. Another family member just a mile away at the time. Needless to say, they are pretty freaked out. But don't worry, CAIR has promised that Not All Muslims would do such a thing, and there's no reason to be concerned.

12/03/2015 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

We have an office not far from there -- same offramp -- but I no longer go there. Not as close to home as the Rodney King riots, in which case I was ready to load the sawed-off.

12/03/2015 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

I wondered if you ever worked out there. My one SIL works for the county outpatient psych unit. Not the same building, but very very close.

12/03/2015 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

My wife and I returned from a trip to Paris two weeks before the massacre. My neighbor met me in the street "wow you guys were lucky," he said. That was pretty much what most people said to us who knew we had traveled there. Some weren't certain if we had returned yet. It was sort of strange -- in one way, for people to even bring it up. It missed us by two weeks. But in another way, how different was it for us than someone who was 1" or 1 minute from the massacre.
Anyway, it was when my neighbor said that that it occurred to me that that is our survival strategy now. We hope to be lucky. That's what it's come to. I miss the America I once knew.

12/03/2015 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Scientists Discover Link Between Low IQ and Appeal of Deepak Chopra

12/03/2015 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Ha. Not at all surprising. I love their professional terminology; bullshit is precisely what it is.

12/03/2015 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

...for what is the merit of love if it is determined and therefore compulsory? What is its value if it isn't freely given? Is it even love anymore?

Indeed, there is no such thing as compulsory charity. God chooses to love us, and He loves us enough to leave us free to choose Him. He loves us enough to let us self-destruct, to do evil. In the end, there is no life without liberty.

As I wrote that, I started thinking that a whole bunch of somebodies are about to learn that the hard way.

12/03/2015 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Rick said, ... that is our survival strategy now. We hope to be lucky. That's what it's come to. I miss the America I once knew.

Wise words.

I'm not even sure what I have is a survival strategy. I want to go out laughing, or at least smiling.

12/03/2015 06:45:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Thank Mush.

Just a bit of clarification -- by "our survival strategy" I actually meant that it seems like our nation's reaction as a whole. That out reaction is "wow -- lucky". Like we're learning to just accept this. We must be to some degree based on those kinds reactions.
Not all of us of course.
I'm not rolling over.

12/04/2015 09:21:00 AM  

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