All Possibilities were Actualized

in God’s Eternal Decree

by Pastor George D. Cutler

Grace Gospel Ministry


One of the most intriguing questions that can be posed is: is God the impetus of all possibilities and if so are all possibilities actualized in God? In general, most of the discussions involving these questions have reverberated more around technical metaphysical issues than the Scripture’s declaration of such. Rather than engage the divers’ philosophical and theological discussions surrounding the physiological processes that focus on the questions of “what is …. why is…and how can……… it must be comprehended that the prevailing cogitation should not be how does God relate to mankind, as this is certainly not central to the process of why things are or how things happen or happened? When the Scriptures are diligently searched, the metaphysical status of eternal objects is obviously not so, nevertheless, even such questions do have spiritual importance. The crux of reasoning in the doctrine of eternal objects is their annihilation of the importance of what creatures in and of themselves do in time. The doctrine certifies that God has eternally accomplished all that creatures are believed to contribute to God. That is, if every possibility in all its detail is already established in God’s Decree, what difference does it make that these possibilities are exemplified in creation?

The proper exegesis of I Corinthians 16:5 exudes amply explication (from the Greek Text), “And I will come to you when I have passed through Macedonia, for I am going through Macedonia.” Note how the coordinating conjunction de. (theh) rendered “and” linkis the statement eleu,somai pro.j u`ma/j (ehl•ehv•so•meh pros ee•mahs) rendered “I will come unto you” to the gleanings of the antecedent context of verses. Here the Greek verb eleu,somai (ehl•ehv•so•meh) rendered “will come” is in the indicative mood and future tense, taking its inference (a future fact) from the certainty of the previous expressions. Paul’s conveyance is, “I purpose to come unto you.” He had apparently expected on a previous occasion, to see them on his way to Macedonia but on some account, had been induced to abandon that design (II Corinthians 1:15-17). In this conveyance, Paul is convinced that the planning in this instance fully aligns with the Decree of God, as he conveys the indicative/present by expressing Makedoni,an ga.r die,rcoma (Mahk•ehth•on•ee•ahn gahr thee•ehr•khom•ah) rendered “for I am going through Macedonia.” Thus this design was his present intention. Though due to some cause, he had abandoned his original plan of passing through Corinth on his way to Macedonia, yet he had confidence in the design itself, as it was still his intention to go there. 

The scriptural reasoning of what really appears in this way is the difference between the possible and the actual ……….. in terms of the indefiniteness and definiteness of occurrences. As viewed in human cogitation, possibilities are vague and nonspecific.  On the other hand, actualities are exactly what they are. In other words, the eternal objects are exactly what they are. In that case, they would all be actualized in God. Hence, there can not be any distinguishing of actuality and possibility exclusively in that way. In manifestation, forms may appear to be very precise, in particular shades of color for example. In this view, such are humanly construed as possibilities for ingression into actual occasions of experience but in and of themselves are not “actual.” The same remains true if the colors are combined with shapes, sounds and emotional tones, etc. In other words, whatever the details of complex possibilities or however fully such are defined, they remain simply as possibilities. As construed in their manifestations, until these forms characterize actual occasions of experiences, they are not actualized. Hence, the answer at this level is quite clear, i.e., when viewed as such, possibilities are not actual in God but rather in human perceptions, which are further authenticated as actuality.

Hence, there is no intrinsic value in those things that are just merely possible, in that they are no better nor worse in themselves, although their ingression of actualization will certainly affect the authenticity of occasions in which they are perceived to occur. When forms are entertained apart from their actualization in God’s Decree, their attributive values are viewed only in the sense that creatures in and of themselves are perceived to actualize. Corroboratively speaking, this flawed perception does not occur when one embraces the Doctrine of Eternal Ontology (actually being brought into existence). Even those inclined to consider the adaptation of divinely embedded actualizations, are however, puzzled about this doctrine. Some that have been inclined to assume some aspects of actualization in eternity construe that the way eternal objects are in God are merely as data of conceptual feelings. In this view, conceptual feelings constitute the mental pole of creatures, as the Primordial Nature, i.e., the repository of eternal objects in the conceptual pole of God. Hence, they construe that the only way eternal objects are in creatures is as the data of conceptual feelings. An example of this is the way that mathematicians think about divers’ mathematical forms without any ingression in mind.

I Corinthians 16:6 parallels this (from the Greek Text), “and perhaps I may stay with you or even spend the winter that you may send me forth wherever I may go.” Here the coordinating conjunction “de. (theh) rendered “and” conveys the continuity of this verse in the context, as it is linked with the Greek participle tuco.n (tee•khon) rendered “perhaps, perchance or it may be.” Note that this participle is in the aorist tense and active voice as Paul gives inference of his pending status of abiding with them in Corinth as a foregone conclusion based upon certainty of the transpierces (penetrating activities) of the proceeding context, thus his abode with them exudes a stronger connotation than a fortuitous occurrence. This is supported by the inclusive structuring of the indicative future verb paramenw (pahr•ahm•ehn•o) rendered “I will abide”; hence establishing the factuality of this ensuing action. In fact, he further states that he would even be with them in the winter, as the Greek verb paraceima,sw (pahr•ahkh•ee•mah•so) rendered “winter” or “spend the winter”, is also an indicative future construction.   

In observation of the final phrase of I Corinthians 16:6, i[na u`mei/j me prope,myhte ou- eva.n poreu,wmai (een•ah ee•mees meh prop•ehm•psee•teh oo eh•ahn por•ehv•om•eh) rendered “that you may send me forth wherever I may go,” note that its conveyance is linked to the antecedent phrase via the word i[na (that), which is a subordinating conjunction. Hence all that follows the conjunction is categorized in the sphere of probability but its aorist (past completed) and present actions are dependant upon the factuality of what precedes it. Accordingly, the sentence structure exemplifies that Paul is obviously following the leading of the Lord or those things that have already been established to transpire. Here the Greek verb prope,myhte (prop•ehm•psee•teh) “may send forth”, as used in this context, apparently expresses Paul’s purpose in remaining with them for this time, i.e., in order that they might furnish and equip him with what would be needed for his ministry, as ou- eva.n poreu,wmai (oo eh•ahn por•ehv•om•eh) is rendered “wherever I may go” (Titus 3:13). 

From the earthly vantage-point, eternal objects are merely objective species, i.e., possibilities that cannot be characterized as subjective. In this sense, the postulation that actual occasions can only mirror the possibilities of human awareness; depends upon human conceptions for subjective formulations. Thus human awareness indeed is construed as the datum (that which is relied upon or admitted especially as a basis for reasoning or inference of calculating or measuring). It is factual to postulate that such a datum has to be somewhere or in someone because no existence can be apprehended at all without such. But as simply a pure possibility, an eternal object does not exist because its existence resides in its actuality in God Decree. Here the problem of human conceptualization arises in the assumption that God contains eternal objects through conceptual feelings, which induces the question, where do they exist for God? This inculcates infinite regressions, which mean that the mode of being of eternal objects cannot be viewed as data of conceptual feelings.

Another possibility inferred by the text is that the problem may not be as much the sheer "existence" of possibility as possibility but its relevance. The sheer existence of the eternal objects then is they manifest solely in regards to God's entertainment of them, as there is no accessibility of possibilities for creatures otherwise. Human’s accessibility of things and occurrences require God's ordaining of them. It is as they are designed and ordained by God that they function as data of creaturely conceptual feelings. In this case, this is the best interpretation of the text, as there could not be anything if such were merely God's conceptual feeling of wholly un-ordained eternal objects. They exist not merely in conceptual feelings but His ontological essence of them, as it is exclusively that by which they are thereby actualized. They are in God as the square is in mathematics complexly related to all possibilities but simply as actualities. There is in God the subjective form of the actualization of possibilities, i.e., that the subjective form is actualized in God. But possibilities are not when they are perceived to be actualized by creatures or in creation. God's desire is always fulfilled, as humans under no circumstances contribute to the designs of life.   

Manifestations of occasions of experiences engender terms for the indivisible entities exhibiting world functioning in the Time Capsule. Human thoughts and philosophies opinionate some ideas as to what kinds of entities are "actual" rather than abstract or imagined.  In such philosophies, "actual entities" are construed as "substances," i.e., things that exist in and of themselves, independently of anything else. Instead, in reality (which is in God), "actual entities" must be ontologized enactments of events, occurrences or happenings. Unit events are termed “actual occasions” such that all actual entities are actual occasions. Unlike manifested substances, actual occasions are composed of their relations to actual entities. Hence, actual occasions must be something that are experiences but such are not ontologized (come into being) other than in God’s Decree, the essence of "occasions of experiences.”  Combining the two expressions into "actual occasions of experiences" of which “human experiences;” encompass moment by moment durations, such are essentially the manifestations of occasions of experiences to which one has direct access.

I Corinthians 16:7 is a vivid illustration (from the Greek Text), “For I do not wish to see you now while passing by, for I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits.” This verse opens with the enigmatic phrase ouv qe,lw ga.r u`ma/j a;rti evn paro,dw| ivdei/n (oo Thehl•o gahr ee•mahs ahr•tee ehn pahr•oth•o eeth•een) rendered “for I do not wish to see you now while passing by.” Note the Greek expression evn paro,dw| (ehn pahr•oth•o) rendered “while passing by” may also be rendered “in passing or going by.” Here we observe that this word function is a noun as this represents a puzzling inference that is injected in the context; as the question is, what does Paul have reference to in stating, “while (in) passing by?” Here we focus on the two verbs in the phrase, namely, qe,lw (Thehl•o) rendered “will, wish or desire,” which is in the indicative mood and present tense, connoting Paul’s factual determination that he would be passing by or near Corinth in his immediate traveling plan, as well as the aorist infinitive ivdei/n (ee•theen) rendered “to see” or “on seeing” as it may express the foregone conclusion that his immediate visit is ou (oo), “not” going to occur. In this sense, the statement may be “I will not see you now by the way” or literally "I do not wish to see you this time in passing"; i.e., to not currently render what would merely be a passing visit as he did in his second journey (II Corinthians 12:14).                    

Eternal entities expose manifested occasions and events as merely materialized forms. For example, colors, shapes and numbers express physicality’s formations, whereas manifested experiences emphasize emotions of feelings such as anger and joy. Of course, there are complex combinations of these elementary forms.  Every philosophy has some account of these forms in contrasting doctrines, wherein some envision forms of physicality as having superior and independent existence, whereas others envision such as existing only in actual entities. However, the Scripture’s views place the fallacy of all such postulations in realistic perspective. The thought that "actual entities" merely transcend actual occasions as possibilities for future actualization would still have no effect in actual occasions if they did not already exist as "actual entities" in God’s Decree. Such would simply be projections "objects" because they would have no subjectivity and hence no actuality in themselves. The statement that things are "eternal" emphasizes that they are completely unaffected by the possibilities of their manifestations as occurrences and events of creation in time.

The mental (or conceptual) pole’s terminology of experiences isn’t capacitated to apprehend eternal objects as possibilities. Many aspects of human experiences have formulations of actualities that require occasions to have characteristics in distinction from others. But eternal entities are not viewed sequentially in roles. An occasion of experience entertains possibilities as well as formulates already existing actualities.  Human possibilities are for the most part abstracted from eternal actualities and entertained solely as possibilities for un-chartered actualization and such possibilities as entertained are never rendered as fully actualized.  Factually, human experiences imagine much that does not ever happen. The entertainment or apprehension of forms, possibilities or eternal objects is the mental aspect of the human occasion. In factual occasions, the mental (or conceptual) pole plays a very small role but In the majority of human experiences, its role is very large. Indeed, much philosophy devotes itself exclusively to the analysis of the data of the mental (or conceptual) pole, e.g., what is given in vision, color and shapes. 

Humanly distinctive contributions ground mental poles of occasions in manifestation of experiences macerating as actual entities, in testimony solely of the physical pole. God’s mental or conceptual pole of vertical-Heavenly-vantage-point envisagement of the whole range of possibilities are determinatively incorporated in His actualization of eternal objects. Mankind’s horizontal-Earthly-vantage-point envisagement of daily human experiences entertain only a very small selection of eternal objects if any. All eternal objects are envisaged by God, for He has ordained them in such a way that they are available as relevant possibilities for actual occasions.  This envisagement constitutes the mental (or conceptual) pole of God, which is eternal and unchanging.  Hence, reality demands the term "primordial," i.e., existing in or persisting from the beginning, which resides exclusively in the mental pole of God ……… in His inherent capacity, as All Possibilities were Actualized in God’s Eternal Decree.