In Peirce’s modal ontology, he prescinds from categories of possibility, actuality and necessity to those of possibility, actuality and probability. This move precisely affirmed a realist stance toward reality’s probabilities (not unrelated to Scotus’ formal distinction), but allows us to remain metaphysically agnostic as to which such probabilities refer to ontological regulators (various teloi, e.g. teleopotent, teleomatic, teleonomic, teleodynamic) and/or mere epistemic regularities (observer artifacts).
We can also remain agnostic regarding which of those teloi, in any given instance, would be distinguished essentially (i.e. absolutes, necessities, eternalities) and which emergently (e.g. thru cosmopoiesis, biopoiesis, etc).
That’s to say that we can realize human values, probabilistically, employing only vague phenomenological categories, even as we remain in search of a metaphysic (e.g. the most robust root metaphors).
We recognize that chance and necessity, pattern and paradox, order and chaos, symmetry and asymmetry, the random and systematic, determinacy and indeterminacy, regulators and regularities, all play real roles in reality when we prescind, ontologically, from modal necessities to probabilities. The semiotic grammar changes from a reality, where noncontradiction and excluded middle both hold to one where noncontradiction certainly still holds, but excluded middle folds.
We don’t thus solve Hume’s problem of induction, speculatively, but we recognize that, practically, a fallibilist, probabilistic approach fosters human value-realizations because, if epistemology indeed models ontology, human inference will work just fine if teloi indeed correspond, ontologically, to an axiological sufficiency of actual regulators.
Still, regarding freedom, we don’t refer to reality’s teloi univocally, in my view. There’s a radical discontinuity, qualitatively, between the nonalgorithmic, teleodynamic, anthroposemiotic freedom made possible by human symbolic language, and the more algorithmic, teleonomic, biosemiotic freedom gifted by sentience, which is merely iconic and indexical.
When I conceive of divine constraints relative to human freedom, I imagine omniscience, omnipathy, omnibenevolence, omnipresence and omnipotence as those divine attributes greater than which could not be conceived without otherwise violating the internal coherence and consistency or external congruence and consonance between reality’s essential divine and metaphysical logics, kenotic included.
But it is only human freedom that, for me, is at stake and inviolable, a freedom that emerged rather recently. I say emerged, phenomenologically, grinding no metaphysical axes vis a vis philosophy of mind, such as to characterize it in panpsychic or nonreductive physicalist terms, for example.
Suffering, to me, is a tehomic artifact that God only ever alleviates, save for essential constraints, never using it instrumentally by design even though He’ll always transformatively exploit it for Her ends and our ultimate good.
I believe God has coaxed some regularities forth, while others might logically inhere in various tehomic multitudinae. Those regularities with which God cannot interfere, in my view, are those which would be indispensable to each human’s freedom. When natural or personal evils cause human suffering, God’s only constrained by inviolable tehomic logics or His own essential kenosis vis a vis human, teleodynamic freedom (but not vis a vis teleonomic, teleomatic or teleopotent teloi of lesser ontological densities or metaphysical complexities than the imago Dei).
The above has been my defense to the logical problem of evil. I remain agnostic regarding evidential theodicies. I believe there’s a plurality of reasons that God’s wholly exculpable, that the approaches of Augustine, Plantinga, yourself (Oord) and others could be sufficiently nuanced for a defense, logically.
Evidentially, cumulative case apologetics can provide at least a modicum of equiplausibility vs alternative cosmogonies, but reality remains way too ambiguous for us and way too ambivalent toward us to “coerce” one belief vs another, which leaves us with normative justifications of faith rather than epistemic warrants, in other words, with forced, vital but live options, which may be quite to the point and in service of human freedom.
Regarding the divine essence, hypostases and energies, our partaking and participation in the energies remains an established THAT, theologically, but, as to HOW, again I’m metaphysically agnostic. Exactly what might be predicated of both God and creatures, I don’t know. All such predications, though, cannot be merely equivocal or analogical rather than univocal or we’ll introduce insurmountable causal disjunctions.
I believe God authors many more miracles than most imagine but, on the other hand, remains constrained way more, in certain ways (essentially, metaphysically or kenotically) than classically conceived by most. I am deeply sympathetic to your (Oord) project and strongly resonant with your approach.
I give human freedom inviolability via essential divine kenosis but don’t univocally predicate freedom or emergent teloi up and down the phylogenetic ladder or great chain of _____.
Because God’s nature is love, God always gives freedom, agency and self-organization to persons.
We encounter a plurality of teloi in the regularities of nature, perhaps some
1) tehomic (whether from co-eternal, procreative and/or creative origins), perhaps others coaxed forth by divine energies, perhaps some
2) eternal, static or universal, others temporal, dynamical or local,
3) some robustly telic, teleodynamically (end-intended), others moderately so, teleonomically (end-directed), others weakly finious, teleomatically (end-stated) or variously indeterminate, teleopotently (end-un/bounded).
We may encounter a plurality of divine constraints, voluntary (beyond any essential kenosis, superabundantly) and involuntary (externally, due to inviolable metaphysical logics, which would lapse into incoherence and inconsistency, whatever their origins, and internally, by an essential kenosis).
God sustains the teleodynamic, end-intended, regularities of nature, as comprised in the essence of personal freedom, but otherwise opportunistically will suspend any of reality’s violable regularities in service of the divine will.
Any lack of divine intervention to prevent evil results only from involuntary constraints, whether kenotic or metaphysical.
God otherwise invariably intervenes in teleonomic, teleomatic and teleopotent realities in service of the divine will, except for when they are necessarily entwined in sustaining any particular teleodynamic regularities, which would be essential for any person’s freedom.
We encounter regularities without knowing their precise origins and natures. The above rubrics would be consistent with any number of creation accounts.
Contribution to discussion of Oord’s Uncontrolling Love:
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