Comments on An Analogy for God's Providence

I find that the pseudomathematics that disguises the “real” situation makes the analogy more difficult to understand than if you had merely explained it in ordinary terms. Perhaps a physicist would be less put off by it.

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It’s not pseudo mathematics. This is common language used in analytic philosophy papers for the sake of clarity.


I can only report my personal reaction. For me it hinders clarity.


Regarding free will, there are compatibilists (those that think free will is compatible with determinism).

You could think of it this way.

Compatibilism defines free will as the ability to do things consistent with one’s own nature.

Perhaps you like the color red, and less so green.

So most days, you choose to wear red, and less so green - consistent with you and your preferences.

Contrast this to a scenario where every decision you flip a random coin for your decisions.

What is free will? Acting in accordance to your own nature, or doing things because your quantum randomiser chose for you what to do?

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Correct me if I’m wrong, but couldn’t some people ask this question within a naturalistic framework, as well, and think/claim “my genes made me do it,” or “my environment/upbringing/circumstances led to those particular decisions.”? Christian philosophies are not the only places where such difficult questions arise.

Stopping Adam and Eve would have stripped them of their free will.

Per @AllenWitmerMiller’s description of Molinism God sees all of their choices and the choices of all humanity from the beginning to the end of all time.

God knew that humanity would fall, but created us and loved us in spite of our failings. God created us with the solution to those failings in mind: His self sacrifice on the Cross, and He showed us the possibility for our future with His Resurrection


Yes, but his description also said that he chose the very best possible pathway. Are millennia of sin and separation after a fall really the very best he could arrange? Why not just create Adam and Eve to be better people. Wouldn’t you agree that some people act more morally than others? Or why not arrange it so the snake couldn’t tempt them, or put up a fence around the tree, or any one of millions of things that wouldn’t have robbed the couple of their free will but still would have prevented the disaster that happened? Would those all have resulted in something even worse?


The Dominoes view of “God’s providence”.

God sets up a large table of domino bricks with a goal in mind, creates gravity, then tips one over to start the whole thing and watches what happens as they all topple each other one by one.

If at some point it God can see that a domino doesn’t behave like God wants (presumably because of someone’s free will or something?), he pauses time and adjusts either that domino or other surrounding dominoes, then hits play again. I to mention that I wonder why the divine interventions are even necessary, since God is supposedly able to set up a table with perfect knowledge of how all the bricks will fall even to begin with.

God has set up the table such that when the coronavirus domino tips over, it knocks over the mRNA vaccine domino. Praise be upon Him.

Some of us wonder why there’s a coronavirus domino in the first place, and even more so why this entire circus has to play out for God to make the nice picture he wants it all to culminate in anyway, but I digress.


I’d say that ALL of us (or at least almost all of us) wonder that very same “Why?” question.

The history of theology and philosophy is full of such pondering.


Not possible? No other way?

It appears to me that every notion you are attributing to God with these apologetics, but particularly the one quoted above, has the unintended (I presume) consequence of making Him more human and less omnipotent.


The ability to create people with free will and then developing them to want to become perfect as He is perfect does not make God less omnipotent. It makes Him more like a loving parent who teaches and mentors His children. It is not possible to make a square circle

A picture of God’s love from today’s Our Daily Bread:

Why cannot an omnipotent being create them in an already developed state? It seems illogical that an omnipotent being would need to create a Universe to achieve a purpose that he could not achieve directly. That is clearly not omnipotence.

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Maybe that would be possible, but it’s hard to imagine how. If God created a world without free will that therefore had nobody hurting each other, then you and I would not exist in that world, would we? God could have made us with implanted memories of our past experiences through which we had learned how to be better people, but we would still have those memories of pain

Why need God create a world at all? Why not simply create a heaven containing those he knows will be saved?

Does Free Will exist in heaven? If it does, then the only alternatives would appear to be either sin exists in heaven (unlikely theologically), or that Free Will does not require sin.

If it doesn’t, it raises the question of whether Free Will is in fact as valued as Christian theology makes out.

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Part of “being saved” involves wanting (free will) to be with God. Since God is perfect, being in His presence requires perfection, which means we also need to want to do what is perfect, which is God’s will. We need to learn that our will is not as good as God’s will, which requires some difficult life experiences. When we make mistakes we learn about what “better” would look like, which makes us long for God’s perfection

Not a great analogy, because when you stop hitting yourself with a hammer your head still hurts, which will not be the case in heaven

This would have the benevolent advantage that those of us that are going to Hell need not exist in order for those of us going to heaven to learn these painful lessons from them.

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Incidentally, was that a “yes” or a “no”?


I see two problems with this:

  1. It implies that God cannot make perfect people. This impinges upon omnipotence.

  2. If it is our experiences that make us “learn that our will is not as good as God’s will”, there appears to be no good reason why cannot God simply create us with the memories of these experiences.

I cannot help but think that this makes all of physical reality to be analogous to a book God wrote, where he knows the entire plot, and the ending, but insists on publishing in serial form.

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How do you even know its a plausible explanation?

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