Hi Pilgrim,

Two quick things:

1. We're talking past each other on omnipotence. I said that God "considered" these other options, but language is limited when trying to discuss God's decrees. Strictly speaking, this is false of course. (Strictly speaking, lots of things we say about God's decrees are false. For instance, it was false that they were made "before" the creation of the world. They were only "logically prior" to the creation of the world. Most people are willing to give others a break when they talk loosely like this.) The idea is, as I expressed more fully in my clarifications about "possible worlds", that God knows all the things He "can do" in His absolute power, and He chose only to create the actual world. There is a sense in which God can do anything that is not contradictory. Accordingly, if it is within his power to make antlers and to make humans, and if it is within his power to make antlers grow out of a human skull, then there is a sense in which it is possible for God to make humans with antlers. Of course, that isn't what most glorified Him, but neither is raising up from stones children to praise Him--He could do that, though. All those things that God could have done in His absolute power are described by many Christian philosophers as "possible worlds". Whether you like the language or not, I'm not saying anything theologically shocking.

2. As for the word "character": this is a fine word for a Calvinist to use. "Nature" is equivocal. It means more than one thing. In some senses it means "essence". Human nature in this sense is not sinful--it was created by God. Sinful homosexual acts, for instance, are "against nature" in this sense. These same homosexual acts, however, are in accord with "nature" in a different sense, namely, in accord with the deep and unchangeable (without God's grace) dispositions to do what is sinful. It is perfectly fine to call these deep and general dispositions to sin a person's "character". In fact, Webster's Dictionary even defines (the first definition listed, too!) a person's 'character' in terms of a person's 'nature'. Consider:

"the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of a person or thing." (From Random House Webster's College Dictionary)

So, while I am using language that is more familiar to contemporary ears, I have not departed from an orthodox, Calvinistic understanding of human nature/character: it is deep, it is bad, and it can't be changed without God's grace.


Last edited by jmp; Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:49 AM.

"He that hath light thoughts of sin, never had great thoughts of God." ...John Owen