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philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Foreknowledge or Predetermination

I know we have visited this topic in different ways but I wanted to concentrate on this aspect of the Calvinist/Arminian 'discussion'.

I share in a couple of other website forums and someone quoted Luke 22:22 And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! The writer said that it was a valuable verse for putting God's predetermination alongside man's responsibility. I replied and thought my reply might produce some profitable debate here.

The word 'determined' in Luke 22:22 is an intriguing one. orizO is the word we get horizon from. It implies the setting of boundaries. The question is did God set the boundaries or did He specifically determine that Judas should betray him? I have a suggestion from that famous 'God hardening Pharaoh’s heart' passage. The reference to 'hardening' could be translated 'strengthening'. I suspect that there would be much more sin except that people's hearts grow faint and they don't have the gall to carry on what they would have liked to do. Could it be that God strengthened Pharaoh so that Pharaoh could carry out his desires, whereas ordinarily a man might have stopped in fear or exhaustion? God thereby supplies Pharaoh with the dynamic but the desire and the choice is Pharaoh's rather than God's predetermining. So Pharaoh remains fully culpable for the action, but God has enabled it to fulfil His wider purposes.

There is a possible support for this idea in the current activities of Satan. In Christ everything is sustained (consists). All power is His. He gives and sustains life; this is orthodox teaching so far. Where is Satan getting his energy from? We don't believe in a wind-up cosmos where God has initiated things and is leaving them to run their course. Surely it must be that Satan's dynamic is coming from God? Not the desire or the choice but the dynamic that allows Satan to continue as he does. Has God predetermined that Satan should behave in the way he does? Personally, I think not. Foreknowledge is not the same as predetermination. I may have foreknowledge that my house is going to be broken into, but that does not mean that I have fore-ordained it and predetermined it.

So how do I see such prophetic words as in Luke 22:22? I think Christopher Wordsworth expressed it well. "God's foreknowledge sees everything and forces nothing. It leaves the liberty of the human will untouched. Whatever is foretold by God will be done by man; but nothing will be done by man because it is foretold by God." (Wordsworth Revelation Intro. p 154.)

Well, what do you think?


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Ron Bailey

 2004/1/14 15:48Profile
moreofHim
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Joined: 2003/10/15
Posts: 1632


 Re: Foreknowledge or Predetermination

Quote:
"God's foreknowledge sees everything and forces nothing. It leaves the liberty of the human will untouched. Whatever is foretold by God will be done by man; but nothing will be done by man because it is foretold by God."


I'm not much into doctrine and theology but this would be the best way to explain how I believe. I have never really studied any theologies or doctrines. What I have pretty much comes solely from the Lord himself- what He has revealed to me.

The only thing I could put into words was that I was a huge believer in 'sovereignty". I have always had the "childlike faith" that He is in charge and that is that. :-)

So, what I believe- there's actually a name for it? who knew! :-o

~Chanin


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Chanin

 2004/1/14 16:25Profile
nobody
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Joined: 2003/9/16
Posts: 64


 Re:

You already know what I think, Philologos! If God had left my will untouched I'd be in Hell by now! I practiced sin and therefore was a slave to it. I did not rationally choose God. I was in the midst of my rebellion when I was suddenly drawn by God. The Kingdom of God came to me and made me aware of the horrible crippling sin in my life. He showed me that I am not good enough and that I am inescapably damned unless I am covered by Christ's robe of righteousness. He then brought me into spiritual life, gave me the Spirit, gifted me, and gave me a hunger for the Word and for righteousness. I'm not basing my beliefs on my experience, but surely my experience agrees with my belief of what Scripture teaches.

 2004/1/14 20:01Profile
-David
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Joined: 2004/1/9
Posts: 27


 Re:

There are a number of questions which I feel should be "required pondering" for all Christians when it comes to Gods foreknowledge / Predetermination / predestination etc. Since the primary question from Arminians apposing Calvinism seems to always hover around "Does God elect to reprobation?" It would make sense to at least consider the thought / question and try to arrive at some sort of conclusion since it is a valid topic. My own views on this do fall on the Calvinistic side strongly in so far that I do not feel there is anything "good" or even remotely righteous left in the will of humanity since the fall. If sin is truly damaging to the entire human then we would have to say that sin did effect our capacity to make good judgments using our sinful human will. Therefore since our will is corrupt and sinful how could it be said that a sinful man can reach up to a Holy God?



Arminianism seems to have a problem with leaving a Holy, Righteous, Perfect, and Just God in command when it comes to over-riding the sinful, corrupt, totally depraved human will with regards to election. Arminians feel that the Calvinists have a lot to explain when it comes to the reprobates yet they fail to see their theory also has a question along the same lines in that if man of his own free will reaches up to God for salvation and God knows beforehand who will and who will not reach up to Him then why did God create those whom He knew would never be saved? Wouldn't that place it on par with the Calvinistic understanding of election to reprobation?



In one way or another both Calvinism and Arminianism have a sort of election to reprobation; Calvinism would say God decides out of His own good pleasure who to reach down to and who to pass-over, nevertheless creating both the saved and the reprobate. Arminianism would say man of his own free will reaches up to God to take that which is freely offered to all men, nevertheless God knows who will and who will not reach up to take the free gift of salvation and yet God created both the saved and the un-saved. So in the end the question would be; who’s will would you rather place your eternity in? Your own corrupt, sinful will or the Holy, Righteous, Perfect, and Just will of God?



Did God make Adam and Eve sin in the garden? Did Adam and Eve sin of their own free will? I say Adam and Eve sinned of their own free will according to the sovereign will of God. God is always in total control of His creation, He is never surprised or shocked and never caught off-guard. How could it be both free will and the sovereign will of God? If God does not reach down to save man from our own will then we remain bound to our corrupt free will with no desire to part from it. Apart from God man is totally depraved and corrupt, if God chose to save no one and all went to hell He would still be just since that is our due penalty for sin. It is by the pure unmerited GRACE of God that anyone at all is saved, not anything the dead will of sinful man contributed, controlled or earned.



I should add here that though I said "my views on this fall on the Calvinistic side" I would not and do not consider myself to be a "Calvinist" in that they tend to feel they have the answers to questions left unanswered by God in His Holy Word. Here I take the very strong stance of Luther (I am Lutheran, LCMS) and I say it is a mystery as to why God elects some but appears to over-look others. I can not say God elects some to hell as in forcing their hand since the scriptures choose to leave it a mystery. Scripture does make it clear however that God does elect unto salvation those whom He chooses according to His own good pleasure. The key word there being "GOOD".




Salvation is purely the unmerited grace of, by, and for the glory and pleasure of a Holy, just, pure and perfect God.



-David

:-o NOTE
I did edit this post for clarity since reading it myself I noticed a few things I did not wish to imply. Proper wording when discussing the Calvinism and Arminianism debate is very important and somewhat hard to obtain. wooooooooooooooo

 2004/1/15 1:19Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

nobody wroteYou already know what I think, Philologos! If God had left my will untouched I'd be in Hell by now! I practiced sin and therefore was a slave to it.

nobody,
BTW I actually knew somebody whose proper name was 'nobody'. He was a Zimbabwean who worked on a farm where I spent some time teaching in a Bible School. I actually have a picture of "nobody receiving his wages" :-D

anyway, I am going to be little mischievous now. There have been so many books written about the bondage/freedom of the will but I have a question, "can you give me a biblical definition of the will and some scriptures to back it up?"


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Ron Bailey

 2004/1/15 5:12Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

your quote I do not feel there is anything "good" or even remotely righteous left in the will of humanity since the fall

David
Please see my note to nobody. You are cordially invited to join the party. :-P


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Ron Bailey

 2004/1/15 5:15Profile
nobody
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Joined: 2003/9/16
Posts: 64


 Re:

It is a simple argument that many make showing that man's will- or capacity to choose- always follows his nature. Just as God always acts in accordance with His nature, we do likewise. It is not hard work to find scriptural support for the idea that man's nature has been absolutely turned to pure evil from the fall. Unless we are given a new nature we run towards hell like the lemmings towards the water.

Proverbs 16
9A man's heart plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps.
Luke 12
18So he said, "I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry."' 20But God said to him, "Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?'

These show that although we can will to do certain things we cannot actually carry them out. Our will is bound in that we can't bring to fruition whatever we would like to.

Genesis 6
5Then the LORD[2] saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Romans 3
10As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; 11There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. 12They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one."[2] 13"Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit";[3] "The poison of asps is under their lips";[4] 14"Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness."[5] 15"Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16Destruction and misery are in their ways; 17And the way of peace they have not known."[6] 18"There is no fear of God before their eyes."[7]

Jeremiah 13
23Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil.

These are self-explanatory

John 8
42Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 43Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God."

If God's election doesn't causally precede man's reponse then Jesus sure said many things strangely. He told people that their choices were the outcome of their election or lack thereof, not vice versa.

If the Arminian view of everyone having sufficient grace to respond is true then the explanation of Jesus concerning His parables was rather odd. It was not given for some not to see and it is given for others to see. According to the Arminian all should see equally well and then just make a choice one way or the other. Jesus didn't do it that way.

 2004/1/15 9:26Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Hi nobody
I'm just going to concentrate on the first paragraph.
It is a simple argument that many make showing that man's will- or capacity to choose- always follows his nature. Just as God always acts in accordance with His nature, we do likewise. It is not hard work to find scriptural support for the idea that man's nature has been absolutely turned to pure evil from the fall. Unless we are given a new nature we run towards hell like the lemmings towards the water.

I think I am probably one of the strongest believers in congenital sin on this forum so you don't have to convince me of the Sin. You refer to 'capacity to choose'. What is involved and what are the constituent parts of that 'capacity'? I'm genuinely looking for some scriptural guidelines here. I presume we are talking about capacity to make 'moral' choices, between things 'right and wrong'?

Where does that take place in me? Please don't say 'in your will'. ;-)

If I spoke of man's heart, mind, soul, spirit, body, imagination, conscience... these are all scriptural terms and I would know what someone meant who used them. but 'the will'?? Where is this thing and why doesn't the Bible talk about it?


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Ron Bailey

 2004/1/15 11:53Profile
forhim
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Joined: 2004/1/15
Posts: 1


 Re:

Dear Chanin
God's foreknowledge sees everything and forces nothing. It leaves the liberty of the human will untouched. Whatever is foretold by God will be done by man; but nothing will be done by man because it is foretold by God."

Dont let this little qoute poison you its not true! Especially if you believe in Gods sovereingty! God is all knowing! He knew you before the foundation of the earth.Liberty of the human will stinks without the Lords intervention! I am certainly glad God did not leave my will untouched. I would only choose evil and there would be no good in me at all!


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James

 2004/1/15 16:04Profile
-David
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Joined: 2004/1/9
Posts: 27


 Re:

philologos said: "Please see my note to nobody. You are cordially invited to join the party."

Ok, this may be long so work with me here... I feel the single best Biblical representation of the human will is the following:

Gen 3:6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make {one} wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

Gen 3:7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.

Gen 3:8 ¶ They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

Gen 3:9 Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?"

Gen 3:10 He said, "I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself."

Gen 3:11 And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?"

Gen 3:12 The man said, "The woman whom You gave {to be} with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate."

Gen 3:13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

We see a good example of the human will in Gen 3:8. The will of man when left to it's own has nothing to do with "drawing near to God". Then in Gen 3:9 we see a good example of God doing what we could not do which is finding us. If our will was left to itself then we would continue to hide from God, if God did not come to us we would never be able to bring ourselves to Him. He must come and draw us to Him, we can never let it be said that we draw God near to ourselves. In Gen 3:9 why would God need to look for us when before the sin we did not hide from Him? We hide from Him after sinning. So we can and must assume that something happened to our will so as to make us want to be apart from God.

Phil 2:12 ¶ So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;

Phil 2:13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for {His} good pleasure.

Phil 2:14 ¶ Do all things without grumbling or disputing;

Phil 2:15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,

In Phil 2:12 we are told to "work out your salvation with fear and trembling", then in Phil 2:13 we are informed "it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for {His} good pleasure."... At first this could seem to be a contradiction but if you understand that the will apart from the working of God can do nothing pleasing to God, Phil 2:12 becomes a bit more clear. It is only after God is at work in us that our will becomes inclined to His will in our life. Before God called you or I, we only did what we were inclined by our sinful nature to do. After God calls someone He is then at work in us to conform us. Well if He is not conforming our will then what else is there to "conform"? Conform by definition is the bending or shaping of something so as to make it fit or work.

If it is out of our own free will while still in sin that we are able to reach up to God and take His hand then that must mean there is still something untouched by sin in us (i.e. our free will)... The clear teaching of scripture alone demands the acknowledgement of total depravity because of sin, therefore sin has touched all of our humanity and nothing good remains.

If our free will does play a role in our coming to Christ then we should ask what percentage does our will play in it? Is it 99.9% God and 0.1% man? 0.1% man is the smallest workable percentage allowable by reason so even with that one percent it must mean that there is 0.1% of us which was not touched by sin. If someone who was not Christian were to tell you they were only 99.9% effected by sin what would your reaction be? Well if you hold to mans free will playing any part in salvation you would have to agree with him. Does the Bible say man was "partially" effected by sin?

R.C. Sproul had a very good analogy; he said he once heard someone compare salvation to a drowning man and throwing him a life preserver... The only problem is that the Bible does not teach man is in the process of dying or drowning, the Bible teaches we are already dead! How many dead men do you know of that could reach out to accept any form of help at all?

Salvation has to be the complete work of a Holy God since man has long since been dead in sin. A man who has died in the emergency room does not ask to be resuscitated. The Doctor always assumes the full, complete, and total responsibility of initiating resuscitation. The patient be resuscitated does absolutely nothing during the process since he has died and is in need of being saved even if it is against the dead mans "free will"...

-David

*All Scripture quotes were taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB)

 2004/1/15 20:23Profile





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