Are you resolving on the computer thing? That's a good idea. Good luck with it if that is your plan. I'll not expect to hear back from you on this necessarily, but I'll give a few of my thoughts.
The main thing I would say is that this whole discussion for me shows that this issue is not clear and easy. You are quite convinced you are being perfectly logical and Biblical. It seems to me not to be the case. And more than that, this argument has been going on for some time, between holy good people with great minds. For me looking at how the first Christians understood these questions is important just because this kind of difficulty arises, and I think on issues that are significant. Of course every individual thinks things like baptism of infants are clear issues in one way or another - but if true, the people who think the other way should be clearly misguided, or dumb, or something. I don't see that that is the case.
What's more, you've said that understanding what Scripture means requires study. Typically that includes study of what the people who wrote it thought. Rejecting free will seems pretty far from their minds.
Isn't this even more damning for free will? It makes free will irrelevant, because if every choice comes to pass no matter what the decision is, what's the point of choosing? It doesn't change the outcome, which will always be multiple outcomes, so the choice is just as illusory as in Calvinism. A person choosing not to kill will still kill in one reality, and not in the other. Anyone's being a saint or a sinner will be simply an accident of which reality they popped into at God's instantiation - not a result of freely choosing good or evil. You could say of Mother Theresa "Well, mathematically speaking she had to do a lot of good in SOME life, but I must have done just as many good works in some other reality, and she must have been a killer".
It could be, it would depend. Are the people who make each decision the same person who was presented with the decision? Will they all be judged as one individual? Who knows? I can't think of any good way to tell.
It means that in certain limited aspects, God has no sovereignty, and humans have little "pockets" of sovereignty. If any part of the Godhead retained sovereignty over human will it wouldn't be free, so it must disappear entirely from the Godhead insofar as it applies to human will. And I'm not sure that incomplete sovereignty is even a coherent concept.
But the human free will would disapear if God didn't will it, which seems to be an expression of his sovereignty rather than something which detracts from it.
I'm confused again. It sounds like you're saying God has to contort His plans for history to accommodate free will, which is not how He describes His actions in Scripture. The pattern is "I do whatever I want", not "I work my purposes out as long as I can work it around people's choices, and sometimes I have to change things around a bit because nobody's choosing to act as I need for X to happen". What about "A man's mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps"?
I think both those things are true. God's purpose is increase of love, increase of beauty, increase of self-conciousness, increase of awareness. As such, his plans are whatever optimizes that.
I'd say God is "above the way He expects humans to operate justice", and "above the way God expects humans to operate mercy", but not above those qualities per se. I covered this a bit in my last post to Thao.,
OK. THat may be inevitable if you say God properly has attributes - it's something I've been thinking about. But I don't see it as in line with what the first Christians or even the Jews thought.
Yes. Just as He told Pharaoh to let the Israelites go, but then hardened His heart - in that case, for the explicit purpose of making His power known among the Egyptians (some of whom may have joined Israel as a result). Why is it a "problem"?
Because what God says and does are not divided.
Because SS allows for the validity of reasoning as an epistemic tool. Catholicism, at any rate, doesn't. You say it allows it in some circumstances, but it seems that creates more problems than it solves - is there an infallible list of circumstances in which it's OK and in which it isn't - not to mention an explanation for those delineations? I've read blanket statements by Catholics on this subject all over the place - including one of those books that was approved by the Vatican - and never seen exceptions to the rule that reasoning and Scripture are unreliable mentioned. Do you have an "official" source for it?
I'll have a look and send you a link. Dh just got home after 3 months so I don't want to spend to long on internet stuff now. But I'm quite sure someone has said something a bit confusing/ poorly presented.
Happy New Year!