The Christian Perspective
If "free will" means that the activities of the human will are not in any way caused by the God who created the humans, then humans do not have free will.
The idea of a God who causes people to exist, which people then in turn cause events to occur, and said events are not in any way caused by the aforementioned God, is completely incoherent. I cannot answer the question, because as I understand it, it is meaningless.
However, the Christian God has offered all humans, His created people, forgiveness for our disobedience through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus (John 14:6; Hebrews 10:14). If we place our trust in the Lord Jesus, we will be forgiven (Romans 3:23, 6:23, 10:13).
1) God has created humans with free will, the ability to choose between responding to His offer of, and calling to, reconciliation or rejecting Him with a resulting permanent estrangement.
2) It is Gods will that all men be reconciled to Him through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
3) God allows humans to thwart His desire. He doesn't have to, after all He is Soverign and He could force people, but, He, in His soverignity, does.
First off, let's be clear that I'm discussing Tim's views only. In that context, the distinction between "moral" and "natural" inability is irrelevant vis a vis Tim's position, and neither of your prisoner/king scenarios fully accurately captures his conception of the relationship between man and god. Remember that Tim's view is that we have no free will. Whatever we do, we do because god has "...crafted, designed and programmed" us to do it.
Your 1st question asks...
"How is it fair to blame someone for doing something they cannot help but do, given their circumstances, desires, character, beliefs etc?"
Not quite. The question is, who is responsible for our "...circumstances, desires, character, beliefs etc", and our "...motive and character" which you claim are the "...real basis for moral responsibility"?
Do we create these ourselves? Are they a result of chance? Absolutely not. In Tim's view, god has "...crafted, designed and programmed" us and our "...circumstances, desires, character, belief etc". In fact, "...the biblical god is in complete control of everything" and "...god causes whatever happens"...including people sinning. Tim states that "...god certainly causes people to sin". In Tim's view, we are just automata, incapable of doing otherwise than what god has "...crafted, designed and programmed us&
Ergo god causes us to sin. He also causes us not to sin. He also caused me to get up just now and make a cup of tea. There is no way, in Tim's view, that humans can do anything other than what god has "...crafted, designed and programmed" them to do. Ergo humans bear no responsibility and cannot be blamed for their actions because they can do nought but follow their programming as laid down by god.
Next question - "Is it fair for god to make people into "objects of wrath" made for the purpose of going to hell?"
Not only is it not fair, it is also absurd and incoherent for god to be wrathful about *anything* that happens, since he causes everything to happen and is in complete control of everything.
You said, "As I see it the basis for moral responsibility is the persons character and motives as well as what they know about a situation".
In Tim's universe, god decides what a person's character and motives are and what they know about a situation. Tim says that we are "...crafted, designed and programmed by god". Tim also says that we cannot possibly know anything other than what god reveals to us or programs us to believe. A person cannot escape the way she has been programmed by god nor can she know or find out any more abut a situation than what god permits her to know.
So god specifically crafts, designs and programs what you claim is the basis for moral responsibility i.e. a person's character and motives and what they know about a situation (cont.)
Exactly. In Tim's universe, god specifically programs us to be more or less inclined to do evil or good (Tim is particularly fond of Romans 9:18 to illustrate that point). Ergo in Tim's universe we are not accountable for our inclinations towards good or evil because these have been programmed into us by god.
As I said before, in Tim's universe we are merely automata. God "...is in complete control of everything" and he "...causes whatever happens". There is not even, as Tim has erroneously claimed, any such thing as "accidental" sin. There may be sin that man is not aware he has committed but god still caused it because god "...is in complete control of everything, he "...causes whatever happens" and nothing happens unless and until god causes it to be so (cont.)
Would it not be absurd for me to be angry with the hammer? Would it not be absurd for me to "blame" the hammer and punish it for the damage done to my toe? The hammer didn't "choose" to smash my toe. The hammer is an inanimate object and can do nothing unless and until I cause it to.
In Tim's universe, that's all we are - inanimate objects. We are not "agents". In fact, there is only one "agent" in Tim's universe - god. As Craig said, in the deterministic universe we "...are mere instruments by means of which god acts to produce some effect, much like man using a stick to move a stone".
No. You're missing the point. The hammer has no intentions or volition, and in Tim's universe, nor do we. To paraphrase Tim, "...the activities of the human will are...caused by god who created...humans" and our wills have been "...crafted, designed and programmed" by him.
Tim says that his god is "...the cause of everything that happens" and he is "...in complete control of everything".
Tim says that "The idea of a god who causes people to exist, which people then in turn cause events to occur, and said events are not in any way caused by the aforementioned god, is completely incoherent".
Ergo, in Tim's universe, humans do not, in any meaningful sense, cause events - we are merely the means by which events are caused (cont)
"A hammer is not conscious, does not have intention, does not know what is wrong etc. We on the other hand have all those things in Tim's worldview"
No, we don't. In Tim's universe, a human may indeed have the property of consciousness, but only (to use Craig's analogy) in the same way that a stick has properties that make it suitable for a person who wants to use it to do something like move a stone.
A person in Tim's universe cannot
independently and autonomously decide for herself what is right or wrong, or autonomously decide to do anything, or have intentions other than those which have been programmed into her by god.
No. In Tim's worldview, god does not simply "give" people certain properties and abilities and let them free to run about doing whatever they like in his universe. Remember, Tim's god causes all that happens and is in complete control of everything, and Tim specifically says that his god causes people to sin, even accidentally.
"If someone knows that something is wrong and they do it knowing that they could do the right thing IF THEY WANTED TO..."
Again, no. In Tim's universe, a person will do what god causes her to do, and think what god causes her to think, and want what god causes her to want. She has no control over this and it is therefore absurd, unjust, and incoherent for her to be held accountable for it.
This is absurd. How would someone, in Tim's universe, know if she should seek more knowledge on a topic? What she knows, thinks, says and does is caused and determined by god. She has no volition to decide anything. More to the point, what other possible source of knowledge could there be in Tim's universe? Tim says that is it not possible to know anything other than what god has revealed to us or programmed us to believe. Tim says that god "...ordains the means (evidence and thought processes) as well as the ends (our conclusions)". So god causes, determines and decides what we think, how we think, and the conclusions that we come to.
Yet still, somehow, absurdly, we get punished for it.
On the other hand, it does seem to follow that if there is NO cause for an intention, then that intention CANNOT begin to exist, even in Craig's view. I think you are presupposing that a LACK of cause is necessary for certain things to begin to exist, but I don't think there can be any justification for that assumption. Certainly we've never observed it to be the case.
I said that in Tim's universe, a person cannot, independently, autonomously, of her own free will, uncaused by god, decide that she needs to know more about a topic. That's because she doesn't have any free will and because nothing happens unless god causes it to happen. If, and only if, god causes something to happen will that thing happen. Having said that, a person will only know, and can ever only know, what god decides, determines and ordains she know, because, according to Tim, god "...ordains the means (evidence and thought processes) as well as the ends (our conclusions)" (cont.)
God, in Tim's universe, does of course cause people to have volition, intentions, motivations, wants, desires etc.
But what god absolutely does NOT do, in Tim's universe, is give people desires, motivations, intentions, etc and then leave them to freely gallivant around his universe, doing things outside his control and doing things which he did not cause.
Sounds to me like you agree with Sam even though you said you didn't: "A hammer is not conscious, does not have intention, does not know what is wrong etc. We on the other hand have all those things in Tim's worldview."
("Couldn't God have given us free will without giving us the desire to sin?")
"Free Will has been defined in several different ways. Some would say that free will is defined as "the ability to do what we want to do." Under this definition it's clear that we do have free will as all of us (at least on occasion) do what we want." ("Do we have free will? Please explain.")
You're so close to seeing the essential absurdity of Tim's worldview.
You said "...people do what they like (as Tim has said multiple time) but in his view god causes them to like what they like and obey the strongest motive".
EXACTLY. God causes EVERYTHING. He causes us to like what we like and dislike what we dislike. He causes us to do what we do, say what we say, and think what we think.
In Tim's universe, a person is "...just a lump of clay, animated entirely by your own creator".
Let's be totally clear about something.
Tim absolutely does NOT believe that we have free will in any meaningful way. In the question "Do we have free will? Please explain" Tim says...
"...the issue is not "Can we choose?"...the issue is "are the choices we make predetermined?", or "do we necessarily choose what we choose?" or "was it really possible for us to have chosen otherwise?"(cont.)
In Tim's universe, the words "choice" and "choose" are meaningless and when Tim uses them, it's so much smoke and mirrors. There is no difference between god causing someone to "choose" to do X, and god causing someone to do X. For Tim, the very idea of choice is an illusion. For Tim, "...the idea of autonomous (or self-governing and independent) human freedom" is "absurd".
Ergo a person can't be praised/blamed for having "chosen" what god caused them to "choose".
Adapting your example from Edwards, the more a person is inclined to treat his neighbours horribly, the less they should be angry at him. Yes - in Tim's universe, they should be angry at god for causing the person to be horrible (cont.)
I agree. So what makes a person more or less inclined to do evil or good? Easy - God is the cause of people being more or less inclined to do evil or good. God specifically creates, programs, designs and causes us to do what we do. Ergo by your own standards, in Tim's universe it is unjust of god to hold us accountable.
No apology necessary.
I think we may be talking at cross-purposes so some points for clarification.
This discussion has nothing to do with what I personally think about the issue of free will at all. What I personally think about free will is completely irrelevant to the points I am making.
I am simply trying to point out the incoherence and irrationality of divine determinism, and the absurdity and injustice of Tim's god holding us accountable and punishing us for things which he directly causes us to do.
To reiterate - my own views on free will are irrelevant to the point I'm making.
Let me illustrate.
Let's say for the sake of argument, that I agree with you and that motive and character are the basis for moral responsibility. On that basis, let me ask you a question.
In a deterministic universe (i.e. Tim's universe) where do our motives and character come from? If I have, for example, a wicked character and wicked inclinations, who or what caused me to have a wicked character and wicked inclinations?
Therefore the moral responsibility for my wickedness lies with god, not with me.
Well, there's the small matter of eternal punishment in hell...
When an author "causes" a character to sin, no-one actually sins and no-one suffers because they're figments of the imagination and words on a page. You do get that...right?
On the other hand, Tim's god allegedly creates living, conscious beings whose unalterable destiny is eternal torture in hell.
Tim's response to this objection is that it's "special pleading".
You know that special pleading is a fallacious attempt to cite something as an exception to a rule or principle without justifying the exception.
My objection justifies the exception. Ergo it's not special pleading.
Frankly, the idea that an author would somehow rejoice about a wicked character being vanquished is as bizarre as an author being angry at a wicked character that prevailed.
You said "...you don't need to be surprised about a wrong action to be angry". Not my point. It's incoherent and absurd to be angry about something that you knew was going to happen and were the sole and entire cause of happening.
"...you can even want it to happen...and still be angry". Again, this is absurd. If you want something to happen, and you cause it to happen, what precisely are you angry about? That things turned out exactly as you wanted them to?
You said "...the Creator has the right to do as he pleases with his creations".
Very nice for him I'm sure, but that just makes Tim's god the most egregious example of "might makes right"
I've been thinking of how better to explain my contention.
P1. A is culpable for X to the extent that A causes X.
P2. In Tim's universe god causes, and is the sole cause of, everything.
C1. God is culpable for everything.
Ergo it is unjust of god to blame and punish man for that for which god, and god alone, is culpable.
Maybe it was Tim when he wrote "...god is the ultimate cause of everything that occurs" and "...god causes whatever happens" and "...the biblical god is in complete control of everything" and "The idea of a god who causes people to exist, which people then in turn cause events to occur, and said events are not in any way caused by the aforementioned god, is completely incoherent"
Maybe I got the idea from other Calvinists who wrote similar things, such as...
Calvin himself, who wrote "Men do nothing save at the secret instigation of god" and "...every event comes from his intended will. Nothing happens by chance" and "...wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined" and "The will of god is the chief and principal cause of all things" (cont.)
Or J.I. Packer who wrote "God...orders and controls all things, human actions among them".
Or Edwin Palmer who wrote "All things that happen in all the world and in all history-whether inorganic matter, vegetation, animal, man or angels (both good and evil ones)-come to pass because god ordained them" and "...god decides and causes all things to happen that do happen. He is not sitting on the side-lines wondering and perhaps fearing what is going to happen next". (cont.)
In Tim's universe, premise 2 is absolutely true my friend.
He also wrote "...in total control of everything...is...a good description of god" and "god has caused everything that ever happened, intending the exact results as they occurred, and nothing else could have occurred except that which god intended and knew would occur".
If I've misrepresented Tim's views, he's free (pun intended) to correct me.
This is false.
P1. A is culpable for X to the extent that A causes X.
I don't agree. It may be true in Tony's world, but to impute it to mine is a strawman.
Most importantly, in absolutely none of Tony's plethora of quotes from me is Tony's P2 fully established. He established this portion of it, yes:
P2a. In Tim's universe god causes everything.
P2a is true, as Tony has clearly demonstrated with his utterly unnecessary plethora of quotes from me. But it is nowhere near the same thing as P2.
C1. God is culpable for everything.
This is true, as long as "culpable" merely means "responsible" and not "at fault." But this is not the same as the following:
C2. God alone is culpable and we are not.
C2 is what Tony keeps asserting is my view, and his only basis for this claim is that I plainly hold to P2a. But P2a does not establish C2, no matter how many times Tony quotes me affirming it.