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Re: Van Til+Plantinga=?



I once wrote, in a fit of modal muddle-headedness:

> > Plantinga, on the other hand, is firmly persuaded [...] that a
> > libertarian, incompatibilist position is correct. [...] Plantinga's
> > classic Free Will Defence (against the deductive atheistic argument
> > from evil) [...] presuppose[s] a libertarian conception of human
> > freedom. [...]

Paul points out:

> This is incorrect; Plantinga's free-will defense is perfectly
> consistent with no one's being, in fact, libertarian free. This is
> just to misunderstand the nature of a defense here.

Jim Mitchell has pretty much taken the words out of my mouth, but for the
record:

1. Technically, you're absolutely right.  I slipped up.  Rats.  :)

2. I can reassure you that I don't misunderstand the nature of a defence,
but I grant that my statement above was certainly inconsistent with that
understanding.  ;)

3. My main point was simply that Plantinga favours a libertarian view of
human freedom.  Since he's stated that explicitly in many of his
publications, I don't think that's in question.  Neither is the claim
controversial that his view on this issue has influenced much of his work.

4. Plantinga's FWD may not presuppose the *actuality* of libertarian
freedom, but it surely presupposes its *possibility* (in the broad, logical
sense).  However, even that is at odds with the Reformed tradition.  If God
is sovereign in the sense that Calvinists have invariably affirmed, and
essentially so, then libertarian freedom is not exemplified in *any*
possible world -- in which case: RIP, FWD.

5. To insist that the FWD is consistent with no one being *actually*
libertarian free, while strictly correct, only serves to blunt the
apologetic relevance of the argument.  So there are some possible worlds in
which both God and evil coexist, by virtue of the fact that evil arose
unavoidably through the exercise of libertarian freedom.  All well and good;
but what about *this* world?  If there is evil in *this* world but no one
who is *libertarian* free, then the problem is right back in our laps, as
big and ugly as ever.  The relevant question simply moves on from "Is God's
existence logically compatible with the existence of evil?" to "Is God's
existence logically compatible with the existence of evil and the absence of
libertarian free creatures?"

Cheers,
James




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