We're still on the subject of relationship between divine and human freedom. We've dismissed the easy answers (no God / all God), so now we'll widen our scope and consider some other possibilities.
Here's a question: what is your superpower? If you're reading this -- let alone understanding it -- you no doubt have more than one. But let's just suppose you are an animal endowed with reason. This being the case, then your superpower is rationality.
But even such a seemingly modest claim involves a host of presuppositions and entailments. It's not at all obvious how it got here -- that is, by virtue of what principle(s). Things have their reasons, and we are owed a rational explanation for our rationality.
Owed? How did this verb find its way into the cosmos? For it is an obvious departure from the natural world of mere isness, and implies the complementarity of freedom <---> obligation, in short, the supernatural world of ought. Thus, supposing you are a moral agent, then that is another literal superpower.
Backing up for just a moment, this line of thought was provoked by a passage I read about Tolkien, to the effect that The Lord of the Rings involves a "triple conflict" of "grace against nature and nature against anti-nature" -- or "between the supernatural, natural, and unnatural."
So, three levels. Everything that defines man qua man is supernatural, although obviously not "outside" nature. We're still animals, but not only animals, or we could never know it. There is no merely scientific explanation for how this can be the case, because the very conduct of science presupposes what is in need of explanation: the rational, truth-seeking scientist. The practice of natural science is already supernatural.
But for this very reason it can also be subnatural -- for example, the Nazi physician Josef Mengele, or the diabolical surgeons who are at this veery moment castrating and mutilating children a result of their own perverse ideology.
Say what you want about gender ideology, it isn't remotely natural but explicitly anti-natural, a clear example of the vertical realm that bisects the horizontal: it has an up and a down, not only vis-a-vis truth, but beauty and goodness as well.
And the superpower of freedom is precisely what allows us to ascend or descend on this scale. It is the ground of the very notion of "progress," for if one denies supernature, then progress reduces to will. Which reminds me of a tweet at Happy Acres:
How can there even exist judgmental relativists, e.g. progressives?
This is not a trivial question but a deeply metaphysical one, for it goes to the heart of progressive ideology. It is the first principle they need to defend: if there is no supernature, then why are you so agitated, insistent, and authoritarian about your imaginary "ought"? By virtue of what principle is one ought distinct from another? Supposing I am a fascist, or racist, or homophobe, why are these bad, if there is no objective truth or morality?
Me? I think racism is immoral because I believe in an objective morality that transcends nature. It's also why I know it is wrong to cut off a man's -- let alone child's -- johnson. I'm not a nihilist.
Now, way back at the top of this post we alluded to the definition of man as an animal endowed with reason. Not only does this make man supernatural, but it presupposes the supernatural ability to know abstract and immaterial essences. To put it conversely, the world is not intelligible, nor are we intelligent, if we can't know essences. But we can, and now we have to explain how this can be so.
Let's say, for example, "natural selection" is true. What is natural selection? It is essentially
Bing! Stop right there: get your own essences, because no naturalistic or materialistic metaphysic can account for them.
Once again you are presupposing what is at issue. You're begging the question. You need to demonstrate how demonstration is possible, and then how a chance animal can know necessary truth. In short, how on earth are you able to transcend natural selection and discern its essence from above? Magic?
This whole discussion is very much tied into our first -- and essential -- definition of man, that he is an animal endowed with reason. We know what animals are. What is reason?
I don't know how it happens, but the right book is always falling into my hands, in this case one called The Yves Simon Reader: The Philosopher's Calling.
We all know what "responsibility" is. Animals, for example, are not responsible for their actions, which is why we don't put them on trial for pooping on the rug. Conversely, everyone knows man is responsible for his actions, unless he is asleep or insane. But if man is responsible, it presupposes that he is free to choose between alternatives.
Now, reason as such is always tautological: premises in, conclusions out. Therefore, man is not "merely" or only rational, if only because he is free to be irrational. Which again points to the verticality of human transcendence: we can only choose rationally if we are free to do so, and we are only free to the extent that we can choose the true and good.
About this superpower of freedom. Again, what exactly is it, and how does it get here?
I have to run, so we'll continue this tomorrow, but here are a few helpful aphoristic hints. Although Dávila came up with them, credit Bob for putting them in an ascending order that even tells a kind of story (and implies the ideological anti-story):
If determinism is real, if only that can happen which must happen, then error does not exist. Error supposes that something happened that should not have.
The stone is right, wherever it falls. Whoever speaks of error postulates free actions.
To admit the existence of errors is to confess the reality of free will.In any proposition about man its paradoxical fusion of determinism and freedom must emerge.
Determinism is ideology; freedom is experience.
The permanent possibility of initiating causal series is what we call a person.Freedom is not the goal of history but the material that it works with.The free act is only conceivable in a created universe. In the universe that results from a free act.
The prestige of freedom in a society that professes scientific determinism is a Christian holdover.