One comment

  1. Hi Christopher,
    Love your articles!!

    Wouldn’t you say this topic falls under the category of the “mechanism” Calvin’s god uses to “render certain” events? The “mechanism” in Calvinist determinism seems to be a question Calvinists will seek to evade like the plague.

    Calvinists intuitively know that determinism is by its very nature mechanical. As Calvinist Paul Kjoss Helseth enunciates in “Four Views on Divine Providence” and William Lane Craig picks up on –quote: “Helseth’s response: The mechanics of how god can be the efficient cause of sin without actually doing and being culpable for sin are inscrutable”.

    This is in fact the rub for Calvinists – and what makes outsiders call it a puppet/robot theory. Determinism is the thesis that every event is caused by an antecedent action. The Calvinists (as did the Stoics) in order to evade the unpalatable aspects of determinism, seek to argue there are breaks the chain of causation which allow for events to be self-caused. The Stoics posed this line of argument to protect Zeus/Jupiter from culpability, and Calvinists follow the same.

    Logic dictates, there must be some “Transmission” mechanism which transfers the force of the antecedent to the consequent. Calvinists want to argue Calvin’s god causes people to do what he determines without forcing them. But they don’t want to argue that the immutable decrees have no force. Since they must acknowledge the immutable decrees have force, then there must be a “Transmission” mechanism that transmits that force from the antecedent to the consequent in order for determinism to be affirmed.

    In the “puppet” model of force transference – the string the puppeteer pulls is the transmission link. In the “robot” model of force transference, we have the program which the robot must follow and the allowance for the robot to make IF-THEN decisions. But the results of those decisions are again the consequent of the antecedent (the program). In both cases, we have the classical logical analysis – what William Lane Craig for example provides “Universal Divine Determinism nullifies human agency, since our choices are not “up to us” but are caused by God, human beings cannot be said to be real agents.

    Any time you want to have fun – ask the Calvinist – if the immutable decrees (applicable to people) have force, then what is the “mechanism” by which that force is transferred? The typical response “scripture doesn’t tell us”. Answer – but that doesn’t stop Calvinists from manufacturing a labyrinth of other imaginative theories – why nothing on this one? :-]

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