Thursday, June 20, 2019

Grace and theories of time

  1. All grace received is given through Christ’s work of salvation.
  2. Christ’s work of salvation happened in the first centuries AD and BC.
  3. One cannot give something through something that does not exist.
  4. Abraham received grace prior to the first century BC.
  5. So, Abraham’s grace was given through Christ’s work of salvation.
  6. So, it was true to say that Christ’s work of salvation exists even when it was yet in the future.
  7. So, presentism and growing block are false.


GermyClean said...

I've actually been wondering about the connection between Christ's grace and eternalism too, so it's good to see that I'm not just connecting dots where there aren't any. :P

Dragoo said...

Hi Alex, interesting argument.

Question 1: Is receiving grace through Christ’s work of salvation same as saying that Christ’s work of salvation is the cause of people receiving a grace?
Question 2: Is Christ’s work of salvation a contingent being?
Question 2: How do you prove the statement: "All grace received is given through Christ’s work of salvation."?

Objection: It would seem that not all graces are given through Christ’s work of salvation. The help of grace is the movement of God which propels a creature to a supernatural end. God is moving humans in such a way that he creates an inclination in the human. So, what is essential to moving (ie. to giving grace to someone) a human toward the supernatural end is God's power of creating an inclination and not Christ’s work of salvation.

Michael Gonzalez said...

According to Romans 3:25, "in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished". So, God exercised forbearance, awaiting the sacrifice of Jesus, and forgave sins on the basis of what He knew would eventually occur.

If the sacrifice is on an ontological par with the sin, from an eternalist standpoint, then why the need for "forebearance" at all, on God's part?

As Swinburne has often emphasized, one of the best reasons for a Christian theist to reject eternalism is the language of Scripture: God changes His mind and lets His heart be softened by the repentance of people (Judges 2:18; Jonah 3:8-10; 2 Chronicles 33:13); He comes to know certain things with regard to our free actions (Gen. 22:12; 18:20, 21); He even seems to say outright that other times do not exist, even though He may speak of them with certainty as though they do (Rom. 4:17).

Alexander R Pruss said...

The Church Fathers consistently interpret texts about God changing his mind non-literally, e.g., as descriptions of changes in what activity God engages in in this world. A literal reading of some of these texts would contradict omniscience as always understood by the Church.

Michael Gonzalez said...

Fair enough, but does an Eternalist God ever actually change His activity in the world? Is He not always and unchangingly doing this "over here" (at the 4d coordinates of Manasseh sinning) and that "over there" (at the 4d coordinates of Manasseh repenting)? I think what Swinburne is emphasizing is that the God of the Bible seems actively engaged with what His creatures do, and genuinely changes as a response to their choices.

Alexander R Pruss said...

Again, the Church Fathers interpreted this non-literally, because they were classical theists and hence held that God is immutable. However, the view is open to some of God's actions in the world being responses to creaturely choices.