anreizen

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  1. I don't think so, since I don't think God wanted us to suffer the effects of the Fall at all. I think he permitted us to suffer the effects of our own disobedience, and he simply alerted Adam and Eve to what some of these effects would be. It's like when your parents tell you not to have sex with prostitutes, since you'll likely get an STD. If you go ahead and embark on a life involving lots of sex with prostitutes, your parents might say "Sucks for you, dummy. Now you're going to get some STDs." If you only get a few STDs, you haven't slapped them in the face or defied their will. You just got lucky.
  2. Well, I think I addressed this a bit in my last post to Zachary, but let me say more here. I wouldn't claim that Adam and Eve were *completely* rational and logical. I haven't met anyone like that, ever. All I believe is that Adam and Eve were rational and logical (as you say, "adult") enough to merit punishment for their actions. I think that's a pretty low bar. I mean, take our criminal justice system, for example. We make exceptions for people who are minors, insane, or mentally handicapped. Otherwise, the defendant is on the hook. Is it really so hard to believe that Adam and Eve weren't minors, insane, or mentally handicapped? I don't think so. As far as I can tell, that's the traditional interpretation of this Genesis story. But, if so, it looks like they can merit punishment. But let's also be clear about this: I don't have to prove that Adam and Eve actually did merit punishment, according to the story. That is, I don't have to claim that the story entails that Adam and Eve were rational, logical, and "adult" enough to merit punishment. The burden of proof is on the person who is trying to show that God actually did something morally blameworthy, according to the story in Genesis. That person has to show that, given what the story says, God definitely did something wrong in punishing Adam and Eve. That's a heavy burden of proof to bear, since if it's even possible that Adam and Eve were "adult" enough to merit punishment, then God didn't do anything wrong. And so one must show that the text rules this out. So it's actually up to the person who is trying to show that God did something wrong here to show how the text entails that Adam and Eve were something like minors, or insane, or mentally handicapped, so that they didn't merit punishment. (And no, I don't think the fact that they hid from God demonstrates this, since the text doesn't say that Adam and Eve knew that God was omniscient.)
  3. Hi Fellside, So I was trying to understand your argument in my last post. I thought that maybe you were arguing like this: (1) God wanted the Fall to happen, allowed it to happen, and facilitated its happening. (2) The Fall brought about really, really terrible effects. (3) Therefore, God did something morally blameworthy In response, I tried to show that the inference from 1&2 to 3 is invalid by describing a counterexample: God wanted the Fall only as a means to an end. So consider this case: I wanted my wife to have a natural birth, I allowed it to happen, and I even facilitated its happening. Her natural birth brought about really, really terrible effects. But it doesn't follow that I did something morally blameworthy. For I wanted it only because she wanted it, I didn't want the bad effects as ends in themselves, and the bad effects were vastly outweighed by the good effects. You replied: It seems like you think that I was trying to argue that God didn’t want the negative effects of the Fall. But I was willing to grant that he “wanted” them, i.e. he wanted them as a means to an end. But he didn’t want them as an end in themselves. So I wasn’t trying to argue that God didn’t “want” the negative effects of the Fall. I thought we had agreed on that, given this “as an end in itself” versus “as a means to an end” distinction. Do you think that God wanted the negative effects of the Fall as an end in themselves? He didn’t permit (or, as you’d probably insist, cause) childbirth to become painful to achieve some end, for example retributive justice? Why think that? Ah, I think we might be making progress here. I think we could probably agree that it would have been alright for God to permit/cause the Fall, so long as the ends justified the means, i.e. so long as the Fall accomplished more good than evil. And you think that the Fall resulted in millions (billions?) of people being eternally damned and tortured. And you think that nothing could outweigh such heinous evil, not even the Incarnation, the Atonement, and all the stuff I’ve said about being creditable for our perfected characters in heaven. So maybe this is your argument: (1) God wanted the Fall to happen, allowed it to happen, and facilitated its happening. (2) The Fall brought about really, really terrible effects, God foresaw these effects, and these effects far outweigh the good effects. (3) Therefore, God did something morally blameworthy I think this argument is a great improvement. And it would make trouble for someone like me who was trying to wield the “principle of double effect” to get God off the hook. That is, I was trying to say that so long as God didn’t intend the bad effects, there’s no problem (that’s the reading of 1 that I’ll insist on: God didn’t want the bad effects as ends in themselves). But the principle of double effect also has a proportionality condition: the bad effect cannot be “out of proportion” to the good effect. This new premise 2 argues that the bad effects were out of proportion to the good effects. So, can we agree that this is your argument? I think we might have finally nailed it down. If so, here’s my response. I think the third conjunct of the second premise is false. That is, I don’t think that the terrible effects of the Fall far outweigh the good effects. Mostly that’s because I disagree with you that the majority of humans will suffer eternal damnation. I don’t think I’m a full blown universalist, though I do hold out *hope* for universalism (that’s the official Catholic stance on the issue: HOPE for universal salvation). Here’s some evidence that has softened me up on this issue: http://pantheon.yale.edu/~kd47/univ.htm I know that website looks like it was designed on Geocities back in the 90s, but Keith DeRose is a *super* smart philosopher at Yale, and he’s a Christian. And I mean *super* smart. Definitely among the very top tier of living philosophers, Christian or otherwise. But of course he’s not a theologian, so perhaps his Biblical arguments concerning universalism go astray in one way or another. I’d encourage you to read them, since I think this might undermine your confidence in your second premise in the above argument. Even if you don’t accept full-blown universalism, it might be that damnation is not eternal. And it might be that fewer people than we might have supposed are damned. Sure, Jesus talks about the narrow path and how only a few find it, but it’s not clear that he’s talking about heaven there, or implying that many people will be eternally damned. And I think the same goes with other verses that might come to your mind (though let me know if you have any troubling verses!). And here’s another reason that I’m not so sure about your second premise. You said this: Let me tell you a little more about this “righteous characters being creditable to us in heaven” business. First of all, Adam and Eve didn’t have perfectly formed characters, obviously, since they sinned. Yet God could have made them so that they would not have sinned. So that, when facing temptation, they had the character not even to feel the pull of the temptation. So why didn’t God make them like that? I think it’s because then THEY would not have deserved credit for their perfected characters. GOD would have, since he made them that way. They would have been little better than robots, following a program that God gave them. And that’s an OK creature for God to create, but God could have done better. And I believe he will. Let me explain. Here on Earth, we face tremendous adversity and temptation. We’re thereby given ample opportunity for “self-forming actions,” i.e. the ability to freely perform acts that slowly turn into habits that slowly turn into character traits. And some virtuous character traits, for example generosity, courage, and compassion, require for their development a fallen, sinful, evil world like ours. (How could one be courageous in a hedonistic paradise, for example?) By the time we develop those character traits, through our own volition and exertion, the character traits are credited to us, and not merely to our maker. And I think that, eventually, most if not all of us will achieve a state in heaven in which we have perfectly formed characters, and these characters are creditable to us. That’s an improvement over the Edenic state, and that was the whole point of these 80 or so years “in this vale of tears.” So there’s a bit more reason to doubt your premise 2 above.
  4. I was honestly trying to answer your question. I thought you were wondering how childbirth could possibly be natural and yet painless. I gave you a link about "orgasmic birth," also known as "ecstatic birth," to show you that natural and painless (indeed, intensely pleasurable) childbirth is not only possible but actual. Maybe, before the Fall, all birth was like that. After the Fall, not so much. http://www.orgasmicbirth.com/
  5. Sorry, but things have gotten a little out of hand. It's hard for me to sort through the back-and-forth we've been having to find your argument. So, if you wouldn't mind, would you please just carefully lay out your argument? Is it something like this? (1) God's behavior in Genesis 1&2 meets the definition of neglect. (2) Any behavior that meets the definition of neglect is morally blameworthy. (3) Therefore, God is morally blameworthy. Is that the argument? If so, then I deny either (1) or (2), since it still seems to me that any agent of the state who punishes a criminal has met the definition of neglect that you provided, and yet (at least sometimes) such behavior is not morally blameworthy. So either the definition of neglect that you provided is not correct (and so premise 1 is undermined) or premise 2 is false.
  6. We've certainly talked about this quite a bit. I'm willing to give it another try, if you'd like to talk about it some more. How about I try a new approach? Check out this article: http://dl.dropbox.co...%20Fatalism.pdf Susan Haack there argues that theological arguments for fatalism are no better than purely logical arguments for fatalism. So, if you don't like a logical argument for fatalism, you'll not like any theological arguments for fatalism. It's said that many Britons expounded a purely logical argument for fatalism in the face of the potentially paralyzing despair brought on by the Battle of Britain in WWII. They reasoned thusly: "Look, don't worry about whether you'll be hit by a bomb or not. After all, either a bomb has your name on it or it doesn't. If it does, there's nothing you can do to avoid it. And if it doesn't, well then you're home free. Either way, nothing you do matters. So no need to worry, it's out of your hands." Here's a way to formalize that purely logical argument for fatalism: (1) If it was true [false] at some time t1 that some event e would occur at some later time t2, then at t1 it was not within the power of any person to prevent [bring about] e's occurrence at t2. (2) But it is either true or false at t1 that e will occur at t2. (3) So at t1 either it is not within the power of any person to prevent e's occurrence at t2, or it is not within the power of any person to bring about e's occurrence at t2. This argument, if sound, would have us believe that ALL of our actions are out of our control. We're not free with respect to ANY future event. That's fatalism. Do you believe the conclusion of this argument, Blackstar? Are you a fatalist? If not, what goes wrong with this argument? Exactly which premise is false? (Aristotle famously denied premise 2 to avoid fatalism.) Here's what I'll try to convince you of: whatever escape hatch you open to avoid this logical argument for fatalism will be open for the theist to escape any theological argument for fatalism. As Haack argues in the article I linked to above, it looks like any theological argument for fatalism is just an elaboration on a purely logical argument, and any additional theological premise is inessential. So either both you and the theist are committed to fatalism, or neither one of you is.
  7. So, you think that it's insane to say that Adam and Eve were adults. Or, if not literally insane, at least false. Really? Do you think they were children (according to the story)? I had never considered that possibility. I guess that the text is silent on their ages, so maybe they were children. Then it would start looking like it was pretty messed up for God to punish them so severely for disobeying. But of course it's also consistent with the text (and in line with tradition!) to think they were adults. Then it's not so clear that God did something morally blameworthy. And I guess I should point out that it's not really up to me to prove that they were adults. It's up to the person making the charge that God did something morally blameworthy. That person can't just assume that Adam and Eve were children, since the text doesn't say that. Regarding the other stuff you said, I'm sure a lot has changed in the last 10 years (or however long it's been). But I don't think it's immodest to claim that I've become more informed and a clearer thinker on these issues over the last 10 years (I'm sure you have as well! It sure would be sad if we both became less informed and less clear over the passing years.). So if I used to sound persuasive and I now sound insane, I'm thinking that this is due to a change in you. You were at a place where what I was saying sounded pretty plausible, but now you're at a place where what I'm saying sounds nuts. I guess we just have to do our best to determine whether this was progress or regress on your part. And probably the best way to do that is to think carefully through some arguments, like the argument you've given above. If it really is insane to claim that Adam and Eve were adults, well then you've made progress. So let's try to establish whether that really is insane...
  8. Well, maybe we could reach an agreement if we introduce a distinction. Nobody wants chemotherapy as an end in itself. (It's not as though, if they didn't have cancer, they would still seek out chemotherapy.) People only "want" it as a means to an end. They don't want its bad effects (losing hair, nausea, infertility, etc.), though they do foresee those bad effects. They allow chemotherapy to be administered to them so as to (hopefully) bring about a good effect: destroying their cancer, restoring their health. And they may even facilitate its happening (say by driving to the hospital, rolling up their sleeves for the needle, etc.). So maybe God was in a similar position. He didn't want the Fall as an end in itself, but he did "want" it as a means to an end. He didn't want its bad effects (pain in childbirth, spiritual death, alienation of humans from God, etc.), though he did foresee those bad effects. He allowed the Fall to happen so as to bring about various good effects: the Incarnation, the atonement, and creditable characters in heaven. And God may have even facilitated its happening (say by putting a forbidden tree in the Garden, allowing a deceptive snake to crawl around, etc.). Can we agree on that? If so, maybe we can move on to an argument (from you) for the conclusion that what God did was morally blameworthy. This argument won't work: God wanted the Fall to happen, allowed it to happen, and facilitated its happening. The Fall brought about really, really terrible effects. Therefore, God did something morally blameworthy. After all, I'll say that God only wanted the Fall as a means to an end. But then there are counterexamples to the main inference in the above argument: I wanted my wife to have a natural birth, I allowed it to happen, and I even facilitated its happening. Her natural birth brought about really, really terrible effects. But it doesn't follow that I did something morally blameworthy. For I wanted it only because she wanted it, I didn't want the bad effects as ends in themselves, and the bad effects were vastly outweighed by the good effects. So what is the argument, exactly?
  9. http://www.orgasmicbirth.com/
  10. Well, it doesn't refute the original evidence, no. And it doesn't really speak to the original evidence either. What it might do, however, is disconfirm the hypothesis that the defendant is guilty. Say the defendant is a doctor who also owns an incinerator. This doctor is super smart and has access to drugs that kill quickly and painlessly. The doctor's wife was murdered on the side of a road with a hatchet, and then buried in a shallow grave. The doctor's fingerprints are on the hatchet. That evidence confirms the guilty hypothesis. No doubt about it. But I think a sensible defense attorney would point this out: had the doctor wanted to commit the murder, why wouldn't he have used those drugs he had access to, and why wouldn't he have disposed of the body in the incinerator? It just wouldn't make any sense for him to commit the murder with a hatchet on the side of the road, given the tools he had access to. I think this counts as disconfirming evidence. Don't you? (If you don't like this particular example I just made up, can you make up a better one? There must be one out there...) But if that's right, then we can agree that some considerations can disconfirm a hypothesis even without refuting or even speaking to some body of evidence that confirms the hypothesis. (Maybe this is a better, and much simpler, case: The doctor's fingerprints are on the hatchet. That confirms the guilty hypothesis. But we have 1,000 eyewitnesses and video evidence confirming that the doctor was elsewhere when the murder occurred. That strongly disconfirms the guilty hypothesis, without even speaking to the fingerprint evidence.) I'm not doubting you (you know your Bible!), but I'm wondering which verse(s) you're referring to. Seems like you're reasoning this way: (1) Subject S did not want event E to happen. (2) Consequence C is possible only if E happens. (3) Therefore, S did not want consequence C to happen. But that's an invalid inference from (1)-(2) to (3). Here's a counterexample. The soldier who jumps on the live grenade to save his buddies does not want to die. Proof: should the grenade fizzle, it's not like the soldier would find some other way to die. Yet saving his buddies is possible only if the soldier jumps on the grenade and dies. By your reasoning, it should follow that the soldier doesn't want to save his buddies. But he clearly does want to save his buddies. Therefore, your reasoning is invalid. </robot philosopher talk> So I don't think I'm advancing two contradictory arguments, as you say. I just don't think that stuff follows. :-/ And I'm saying "creditable" not "credible." I think our perfected characters in heaven will be creditable to us only if we go through something like this present life, full of self-forming, genuinely free actions, in contexts that allow for various sorts of virtues that would be impossible to develop in Eden (bravery, compassion, generosity, etc.). Think about chemotherapy. Nobody wants to go through chemotherapy. It's *awful*. People tolerate it because they want the positive consequences. It's not as though, should some other treatment render chemotherapy obsolete, people will still line up for the chemotherapy. So here's another example of an action people perform, even though they don't want to do it, and even though they want the consequences of the action. Maybe God was in a situation like that. Well, I don't think God is punishing children for their parents' actions. I think that God is permitting consequences of parents' actions to persist to the children. Say you're a school teacher. You try to convince little Adam to stay in school. He drops out, has some kids, and the kids grow up in poverty. Have you thereby punished the poverty-stricken children? I can't see how. They're just suffering as a result of their parents' actions. Now suppose you're a parent with a lot of land in a nice part of town. You invite your children to live on your land and raise families. Your son Adam decides to sever his relationship with you and move to the crappy part of town. He has some babies there, and the babies now live in poverty. Are you punishing the babies? I don't think so. It's Adam's fault, not yours. I guess this is a lot like the Parable of the Prodigal Son. You might think "Well hey man, if that were my kid, I'd go rescue him!" But that's exactly the story that the Bible tells, right? God came down and rescued us. He paid our debts, he's regenerating us from the inside, and he'll soon regenerate the fallen Earth. Yeah, that's a good question. I guess I'm not sure what to make of the genealogies. Here's one thought off the top of my head. Isn't there a consensus that those genealogies skip some generations? I thought Matthew, for example, had some interest in having 40 steps from Jesus back, even though there weren't 40 generations. "Father of" was transitive. Your grandfather counts as the "father of" you on this reading. And we can sort of hear that in English; your grandfather did beget you, indirectly. So maybe there are some pretty big jumps in those genealogies, all the way back to the first humans (which, again, I believe existed). Maybe. Do you mind if we set this issue to one side for the moment? Seems like we've already got lots of irons in the fire, as they say.
  11. Are you telling me that an adult can be a victim of child endangerment? They were full grown adults. So whatever experiences they had were exactly the sort of experiences a full grown adult would have had. Well surely they had experienced some consequences of their actions before. They pet a cute dog, and it felt soft. They walked off the edge of a rock, and they fell to the ground. They knew that actions had consequences. And they were explicitly told what the consequences of eating from the tree would be. Sure, they had never experienced those consequences for themselves, but that doesn't exculpate them. That defense wouldn't work in a criminal trial, for example. "Your honor, I don't deserve to go to prison for murder. Sure, I knew that murderers go to prison when I committed the murder, I freely admit that I committed the murder, and I understand what murder is. But I couldn't really understand the consequence of my action when I performed the action since I myself have never been to prison. Therefore, it would be immoral for you to send me to prison." I'm guessing that wouldn't fly. But then why think it flies in the case of Adam and Eve? Well I don't know the difference, because I'm not a fancy pants lawyer. ;-) Actually, I guess I sort of know the difference between tort law and criminal law. Is the definition of criminal negligence substantially different? Anyway, it seems like a bad definition of tort negligence. I agree that they don't, or at least that they clearly should not. But my point was that it sure looks like they do according to the definition you provided. So it's a lousy definition. All the reasons you gave to think that God was negligent seem to apply perfectly well to a state executioner. But since we know the state executioner isn't being negligent, let's conclude that the reasons you provided are insufficient to show that God was being negligent. I didn't see anything about attenuated links in the definition you provided. So I suppose we can agree that the definition you provided is, by itself, a bad test for negligence. So we shouldn't worry if it happens to issue to the verdict that God was negligent, since it's a bad definition of negligence. Also, what exactly do you mean when you say the link was too attenuated? I mean, I know what the word "attenuated" means, I'm just wondering why this link between parents and children is too attenuated to count as negligence. After all, it's no doubt foreseeable that some injury or other will occur in a child's future. And parents create this risk for the child by creating the child. And parents don't try to stop the creation of the child; indeed, many of them intentionally create children. That sure looks like it meets the definition of negligence that you provided.
  12. JAINN: Well, of course there are multiple senses of "child." Here are the two relevant ones: child   [chahyld] noun 1. person between birth and full growth; a boy or girl 2. a son or daughter Someone can be guilty of child endangerment only with respect to people who meet the first definition. But we are (and Adam and Eve at the time of the Fall were) "children of God" only on the second definition. So what happened to Adam and Eve, two full-grown adults, just cannot be child endangerment in the relevant sense. This seems like a pretty bad definition of criminal negligence. (So much the worse for California tort law, I guess.) The death penalty is still legal in California, right? Well then it seems like anyone who executed a criminal in California would be guilty of criminal negligence. The executioner fails to exercise due care to avoid injury. The executioner acts to create a risk (injecting the criminal with deadly substances), and it's foreseeable that the injury would occur by these actions. And this probably goes with any member of the criminal justice system who executes a sentence that leads to injury. Like handcuffing, solitary confinement, imprisonment, etc. Also, it looks like every parent is guilty of criminal negligence on this definition, just in virtue of being parents. For it's no doubt foreseeable that some injury or other will occur in a child's future. And parents create this risk for the child by creating the child. And parents don't try to stop the creation of the child; indeed, many of them intentionally create children. So, again, this definition looks pretty bad. (Let me know if I'm missing something though! I've had to write this in haste.)
  13. Well, you might consider also how much more God could have done, had he really wanted the Fall to happen. He could have planted not one but one thousand forbidden trees (cleverly disguised to look like permitted trees). He could have permitted not one but one thousand talking snakes. He could have permitted the snake to resemble himself, rather than a suspicious looking snake. He could have gotten Adam and Eve a little tipsy. Etc., etc. God certainly could have done these things; he's omnipotent, after all. So you *may* be right that the evidence you point to confirms the God-wanted-the-Fall hypothesis. But there is other evidence which counts against that hypothesis. And it seems to me that the evidence against the God-wanted-the-Fall hypothesis outweighs the evidence for it. And, again, even if we were to prove the God-wanted-the-Fall hypothesis, it doesn't follow that God did anything morally blameworthy here. Sin, I suppose. You don't need the tree, the garden, or the snake for sin. You just need immoral decisions. I'm inclined to think there was a first man and a first woman. My understanding is that's scientifically defensible. Well, try to look at the big picture, and keep in mind that our fallen state will be an infinitely small fraction of our existence in the long (long, long) run. And if you add a generous view of salvation (or even full-blown universalism), it looks even less like the cons outweigh the pros. That's true, he easily could have prevented it. But, again, I think the incarnation, the atonement, and allowing us to be creditable for our perfected characters in heaven were worth it. Well worth it. Especially, again, when you consider that the new Earth described in Revelation will last *forever*. All this suffering is just a (relatively) brief labor pain, though it certainly seems intense while we go through it. That's not very clear to me. I'll have to think about it some more. I guess right now I'm inclined to say no, God's actions wouldn't be immoral even then. He gave Adam and Eve very clear instructions. They were rational adults. They knew they were doing something wrong. Sure seems like it's their fault, not God's.
  14. I think we might have reached a bedrock disagreement. I agree that God foresaw the Fall, and permitted it with an eye towards greater goods that would be accomplished by it. He willingly permitted it. You'd like to say that he therefore wanted it to happen. Alright, so long as we're clear on what we mean here by "wanting," we can agree: God foresaw the Fall, and willingly permitted it with an eye towards the greater goods it would accomplish. The question, though, is whether God is somehow blameworthy for this. Whether he did something immoral in this. I don't think he did. Merely foreseeing and permitting a bad consequence of an action doesn't make that action immoral. My daughter, again. And the dentist, again. Something I've been meaning to mention for a while is that it's always open to you to read this bit of Genesis as cosmogony, which I believe it was. Everything that it intends to teach is true, but perhaps it was not intended to teach that there really was a tree, a garden, a snake, etc. In its structure and content, Genesis 1-3 look most clearly like a rejoinder to other Ancient Near East cosmogonies, e.g. the Enuma Elish. I'm of the opinion that that's how the original audience would have heard it. That might solve a lot of your problems with Genesis, for what it's worth. In any event, I don't think the story sounds like the Garden was a trap. Adam and Eve were adults. Fully rational, fully responsible. Read from a purely objective standpoint, they both did something seriously irrational. The guy who you know created you and everything else tells you not to eat the fruit. That should pretty much be case closed. Some weirdo snake comes up and says "Psshh, don't listen to him. Listen to me, the talking snake you've never met." To go in for that is pretty inexcusable. Now, had God allowed the snake to look and act like God, so that Adam and Eve thought God himself encouraged them to eat the fruit, that would be substantially different. That would look more like entrapment. That's probably right. But let's not put the daughter example to uses it wasn't meant for. I presented having my daughter as an example of an action I performed which wasn't immoral, even though I foresaw that it would lead to evil. That's all the example was meant to show: even if God permitted something to happen that he foresaw would lead to evil consequences, that all by itself doesn't show that God did something immoral. So reflecting on our own relationships with our children can shed some light on God's relationship with us. But of course there's a large disanalogy: we're not children, we're adults. We're rational and responsible in a way that little kids aren't. So locking my little daughter in a room with ice cream isn't really on a par with what Genesis says God did to Adam and Eve, if only because Adam and Eve were rational and morally responsible in ways that kids aren't. Also, as far as I know Adam and Eve weren't locked in the Garden (plausibly they wouldn't want to leave, even if they could). And though the fruit on that tree looked really good, it's not as though that was the only fruit around. They could have eaten from any other tree in the Garden. So, again, it doesn't look like they were coerced, or tricked, or trapped. So I'm still not seeing how God did something immoral on the pages of Genesis. Yes, if God intended only to solve a problem created by the Fall, it seems like an awful waste of time. Like intentionally allowing a pipe to break and flood the basement, only so that one could fix the pipe and drain the basement. That might be pretty dumb, I think. But I think the view of most Christian theologians is that the Fall allowed for goods that could not have been accomplished otherwise. It allows us to end up better off than where we started. Heaven will contain people whose characters have been genuinely formed through trials and temptations, who developed virtue in the fires of pain and suffering. That couldn't have happened in Eden. That might be right. But that sounds like a reason to take universalism seriously, not a reason to give up Christianity. Maybe Paul was serious when he said that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself. Lots of Christian philosophers these days are universalists, including Plantinga, Robert Kane, and Keith DeRose. And maybe Peter Van Inwagen. I think you're right. But I hope you don't think that I believe the only good accomplished by the Fall would be the good of watching Jesus walk around. I don't know that he created time. I don't know if time is the sort of thing that could be created. But maybe that's just because I have no idea what time is... Maybe the universe is infinitely old. That would certainly defuse some cosmological arguments, like the Kalam. But many other cosmological arguments were designed with an infinitely old universe in mind. Aquinas, for example, wanted his cosmological arguments to work even supposing the universe was infinitely old. But then again, maybe the Kalam could still work even if the universe were infinitely old. We still have good evidence that all matter and energy began to exist at the Big Bang, even if time never began. And we'd still wonder why that was so. Where'd all that stuff come from, and why?
  15. That sounds really, really nice. I'd love to have a stable job in a nice part of the country. But the philosophy job market has me moving around the country... If you google my name, you'll find my academic website. And there's a link there to the course website for the logic class I've taught a couple of times. And if you email me, I can send you lots of electronic copies of logic textbooks that I have. Well, you can find some papers on my academic website. I've had some pretty good luck publishing so far. "Presence at a Distance" still needs some work...