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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Piper on Predetermined sin

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Joined: 2010/6/26
Posts: 9

 Re: the major issue

The main point is the following:

is God the cause of bad things?

Israel at one time held this belief.

The Israelites believed God was cruel - a killer: see Num. 14:3

Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?" (ESV)

Please realize the similarity of this verse to the idea that God causes bad things to happen to His people. That is what this verse tells us the people believed about God: that God led them out of Egypt to kill them in the wilderness; i.e., that God was the cause of their problems.

What did God think of this belief - that God is the cause of their problems?

He didn't like it. God wanted them to believe that He would be good to them.

How long will they refuse to trust me in spite of all the miraculous signs I have done among them? Num 14:11

The signs were evidence of God's goodness. He delivered them from oppression, brought them through the Red Sea.

Does the report that God causes bad things, wills bad things, for Christians and innocent children, - does such a report, like the report of the verse below, cause people to question God's goodness and to turn against God?

The answer is obvious. The posts here on this issue prove these ideas DO cause questions.

(GNB) The men Moses had sent to explore the land brought back a false report which caused the people to complain against the LORD. And so the LORD struck them with a disease, and they died. Num. 14:36

How many people have heard such, that God causes everything bad, and decided (quite logically) that God was evil, and decided to have nothing to do with such a God?

IF they believed this then the logical, and the moral, thing to do would be to conclude that this supernatural being was evil, and to resist the evil, and to do good instead. IF God was this way, then God would be capricious, a respecter of persons, unjust, and in general, evil. They may think, it would be good to oppose such evil.

Sadly, the God these people may reject is NOT this evil one, but the "GOOD Lord".

How many innocent seekers for truth have been led to reject God, because of such attribution of evil to God?

What are we doing to promote the gospel when we teach God causes bad things?

The Bible tells us that no man has seen God at any time - BUT that Jesus has declared God to us. "See" means understand in this context.

So, Jesus showed us the true nature of God.

Jesus did NOT make people sick - He healed them.

THAT is the true nature of God.

- I am the GOOD shepherd (NOT the one that seeks out the one lost sheep, so I can torture it)

He said that whoever had seen Him (Jesus) had seen the Father.

 2010/7/12 16:36Profile

Joined: 2007/4/3
Posts: 293


Act 2:22 "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know--

Act 2:23 "this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

These passages would sum up what Piper means.

 2010/7/12 16:48Profile

Joined: 2010/7/12
Posts: 65

 Re: Piper on Predetermined sin

I think it comes down to why did God allow evil to come into the world? I know that arminians and calvinist have argued about such things for centuries.I don't believe either one gives a complete answer. Both sides tend to cherry pick verses. It might take eternity to find some of these things out:) While I tend to lean reformed I believe that somehow both sides are true. Yeah I know thats hard to explain :), but hey the Glory of God in the Gospel of Christ is hard to explain. I mean it is so simple in one way and soo infinitely complex in another way. Now for sure it is truth we know and have to stand on; our solid rock. But it is infinite in its wonder and our little minds can't come close to comprehending all the wonders of God in Christ. God is righteous, morally perfect; we must never waver on that. However God is sovereign as well. Ariminians tend to say that God in His foreknowledge knew who would choose Him and who would not. I agree that He does foreknow however that doesnt explain it; because God is the one who has set everything in motion; albeit he does not sin. He created the ones who would choose Him or not. He doesnt only know the future but He is Lord over it. I don't know why God allowed Satan to fall or why He created a world that He knew would decend into depravity except that the riches of His grace might be made known through Christ. It's not because He was lonely but rather out of His abundance and pleasure did He create us. The Scriptures says that God tempts no man; its also says that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him. I know that He is righteous and hates sin, I know He is in control, I know He has made a way for us to be reconciled to Him. The Lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world! I know I cant blame Him for my sin, God forbid, and that it is only by His grace that I came repentance and faith.
Somehow God is sovereign and yet man is responsible for his sin. Can't fully explain it; but I can't explain how God created everything from nothing either :)But its true! It just hit me that when Christ heard Lazarus was ill He stayed two more days where He was and Lazaruz died. Christ said that this was that He might be glorified by it! Then Christ demonstrated His compassion by weeping and His divinity by raising Lazarus from the dead!


 2010/7/12 19:43Profile

Joined: 2010/6/26
Posts: 9

 Re: Lazarus and God's glory

Look at the verse again, KJV:

Joh 11:4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.

We recall that punctuation was added later (not in the original manuscripts) and not inspired; so, what if this could be something like below:

Joh 11:4
When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death.

But for the glory of God [Jesus also said] that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.

In other words, the connection between the sickness and the glory may not be there. In other words, the meaning might be something like this:

Jesus said, "The sickness is not unto death. Also, God is going to be glorified by the healing."

It seems to me that the glory may not HAVE to be from the sickness, or the death - but could be from the healing! Especially, if we change the punctuation - which is not in the original inspired text anyway. (Punctuation was added later.)

This is a distinction that I think worth considering. This may be wrong - if so, someone let me know! But I do think it seems a possibility, at least until someone points out why not.

 2010/7/13 2:29Profile

Joined: 2010/6/26
Posts: 9

 Re: Lazarus and God's glory

In looking over my last post, I see a single word at the end of the verse, that may seem to contradict the interpretation I gave.

The word is "thereby" - so God was going to be glorified "thereby". The question becomes, "by what?"

Although the obvious answer may seem to be, "by the sickness," there IS another possibility: "by the [fact that the] sickness is not unto death."

It does seem more glorifying to God

that a sickness is not unto death,


that there is a sickness.

Also, it seem more in line with the nature of God as a loving, good God. (See my previous few posts on the goodness of God.)

 2010/7/13 2:37Profile

Joined: 2010/6/26
Posts: 9


To draw together some ideas, we can say the following:

- God is good
- God is glorified by the works of God
- Satan is glorified by the works of Satan
- sickness (stealing, killing, destroying) are the works of Satan
- giving life, and that more abundantly, healing, etc. is the work of God
- bad things did happen at times
- bad things have been caused by man, accident, the devil, etc.
- bad things were not caused by God

A comment on the last point: even all the bad things that happened to Job, the classic example of bad things happening to a good person, were caused by Satan, not by God. The book of Job is quite clear on this. Job, however, did say that God had caused his problems - shot arrows at him, etc.

BUT, look at what God said to Job in Job 38:2

(CEV) Why do you talk so much when you know so little?

(GNB) Who are you to question my wisdom with your ignorant, empty words?

(GW) "Who is this that belittles my advice with words that do not show any knowledge about it?

God said, Job didn't know what he was talking about. So, when Job said things like, "The Lord taketh away," maybe that wasn't exactly correct.

Job answered God in Job 42:3

(CEV) You asked why I talk so much when I know so little. I have talked about things that are far beyond my understanding.

(BBE) Who is this who makes dark the purpose of God by words without knowledge? For I have been talking without knowledge about wonders not to be searched out.

(DRB) Who is this that hideth counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have spoken unwisely, and things that above measure exceeded my knowledge.

God and Job both seem to agree that Job didn't know what he was talking about.

So, when we hear, "The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord," we ought to remember that it was Job who said this, not God, and Job spoke "unwisely." PART of this statement is true - the part about God giving - but the part about God taking away is not true.

John 10:10 contrasts the work of Satan and the work of God:

(BBE) The thief comes only to take the sheep and to put them to death: he comes for their destruction: I have come so that they may have life and have it in greater measure.

 2010/7/13 2:58Profile

Joined: 2007/4/3
Posts: 293


Subpolar- You're trying too hard. You're taking Scripture and trying to make it work with your ideas of what a "good" God would do. Change your definition of good to be anything that the Lord does and you will have an easier time of it. If God destroys wicked men, it is good. If God sends a pestilence it is good. If God prolongs a man's days, it is good. If he cuts them short by sending a wasting disease it is good. We are too small minded to take that truth in and make sense of how bad things can at one and the same time be turned for good from God's perspective. He does not desire or do evil obviously but he does control its occurrence. At some point, you have to trust God and not our own ability to reason a truth out. The Bible is too full of God's providential work in the events of life ( all of them ) and too plain speaking about God controlling the extent and effect of evil's work for anyone to argue against it. Satan definitely is not sovereign yet people subconsciously or consciously make him so in order to avoid the truth that God doesn't react to events, he brings them to pass.

 2010/7/13 7:00Profile

Joined: 2009/12/12
Posts: 592


SP, the verse says it was sovereign in design as it is interpreted by scripture itself. Please consider some words from Ps. 105:

16 Moreover He called for a famine in the land;
He destroyed all the provision of bread.
17 He sent a man before them—
Joseph—who was sold as a slave.
18 They hurt his feet with fetters,
He was laid in irons.
19 Until the time that his word came to pass,
The word of the LORD tested him.
20 The king sent and released him,
The ruler of the people let him go free.
21 He made him lord of his house,
And ruler of all his possessions,
22 To bind his princes at his pleasure,
And teach his elders wisdom.

This should be posted in the great quotes thread:

"Change your definition of good to be anything that the Lord does." ~ whyme


 2010/7/29 0:59Profile

Joined: 2009/5/15
Posts: 1042
Pacific Ocean

 Re: Piper on Predetermined sin

I am sorry moreofHim, I cannot make this short, the nature of this discussion requires the application of the mind. But I will try to keep it simple. And I will attempt to address the issues as they arose in the video.

I would draw your attention to start with that when Dr. Piper referred to Acts 2:23, He inserted the names of Herod, and Pilate. The verse speaks generally about God's plan and foreknowledge. It does not mention names. In other words, it was in fact pre-ordained that Christ would suffer, but there is nothing in that passage that says that God particularly ordained Pilate or Herod, or any particular other Human being to be the one who committed the "greatest sin ever." It is a nut and shell game. What the word says actually is that it was "lawless" men. How could a man be "lawless" if he was only subject to a "law" of Gods sovereignty through "Pre-Determined" sin? Now that Is a much bigger pickle to munch on if you ask me.

Spurgeon has no authority from scripture anywhere to suggest that God pre-determines where a dust mote floats. Having taken calculus based physics, and having read the Bible numerous times I have not found a verse anywhere that says God micro-manages each particle collision, I would be keeping my antennae up for such statements, yet I have read theologians on numerous occasions make such statements. The thought is purely philosophical. And I believe stems from Greek oriented fatalistic philosophy.

In the Old Testament it was commonly practiced, and people were even encouraged to cast lots or read the lights in the Urrim and the Thummim. This was an old covenant practice done away with in the New Testament. The practice was used to determine the will of God on a matter. So that could be what Solomon was referring to in Proverbs 16:33, which by the way, "Dice" is the wrong word, I am not sure what translation he was referring to that used such a word. Dice probably did not even exist. Not even the ESV uses the word Dice, only lots. It does not seem to me that Solomon is making a statement about God controlling the randomness of "lot Tosses" in and of themselves, but for a purpose to determine God's will.

God is perfectly capable of "sovereignly" designing randomness into his creation. Physics proves this principle over and over and over again. As a matter of fact "Randomness" or Entropy, through the second law of thermodynamics is one of the most reliably provable laws of physics known to man. A lot of what you hear about in science is what is called 'theory.' When something in the scientific realm is called a theory, and is accepted generally by the big minds, it is considered to be a valid idea. But underlying a theory there is a doubt because it may not be provable. However, when something becomes a "Law" in the scientific realm, there is no questioning it whatsoever. Randomness through entropy is a fact, because thermodynamics, and particularly the second law is a law, not a theory. God programed randomness on the non-biological particle level, period. So to make a statement about scripture theologically deduced from flawed logic, causes one to see the scriptures through "mote colored glasses."

The Bible never articulately says anywhere EVER that God pre-determines believers to sin. It is a pre-determined view and theological slant that interprets difficult verses toward that viewpoint. The Bible does clearly say however that God hardens already hard hearts to use as his chosen weapon of judgment. If you can show me chapter and verse where the bible does in fact, clearly, state "God Pre-determined your sin." I will recant and ask humbly for forgiveness to speak as boldly as I am.

I love How Ravi Zacharias worded his commentary on Balaam, when he asked God over and over again if he could go out and be a prophet for Hire. He raised the question as to why God allowed it. He said, "If you want to sin and beg God repeatedly for permission to do so, He will step aside and second your motion." Or he said something similar to that, I am quoting from a rusty memory. Ironically we are told on two occasions in the New Testament to not commit the error of Balaam. So I guess then, if my sin is "pre-determined" I cannot obey a verse that tells me not to do the exact thing Balaam did which was to "Pre-Determine" his own sin. God did not do that BALAAM DID! Don't go after the error of Balaam. The idea's behind fatalism are a small portion of Balaam's error wrapped in prettier cellophane. (Balaam's error was more than this, particularly using his giftings to prostitute them for cash being the major one, but I believe what I am also suggesting is true.)

The bible also never directly says that God pre-determines someone to sin whom did not already have a hard and rebellious heart and then hold them accountable for it. The only two examples I can think of are Pharoah and Assyria in the book of Isaiah. But both cases where God used them as they sinned was because they were already rebellious wicked sinners.

I would concede that there seems to be the possibility that non-believers in the Bible, particularly rebels against the ways of God, are subject to principalities we cannot fully comprehend. However, for a Christian to Ever think that God may be wanting them to sin for his glory is to completely and utterly pull down the pillars of the Gospel message.

I never comment on these kinds of threads because I love my brothers who think this way even if I think they are very wrong. I worry for younger people in the faith, it seems very stumbling to me to introduce such ideas into the mind of a young impressionable believer. This kind of thinking could keep someone stuck in pornography addiction for their entire life, never knowing the grace of God once for deliverance.

I apologize if my comment is too long moreofHim. It is not a simple task to deal with. But I felt the need to de-construct the philosophy so that you do not have to ask the question you asked. I am trying to say that the question you pose about the adultery being sanctioned by God is just simply not a valid question, nor is it ever a biblical question. This is why systematic theologies are dangerous and distracting.

Please do not misunderstand me, I love Dr. Piper, I think he has some very beneficial things to say, and has been a blessing to the body of Christ through His calls to taking the call seriously. I just do not see the dogmatism behind fatalism. It just seems purely antithetical to the gospel, at least the way I understand it. I do not discuss this because I like to debate doctrine, as a matter of fact, debating doctrine makes me sick. I love the Bible, I love believers, why would I ever want to argue with someone over scripture? However, I have no problem discussing what appears to be bad philosophy, which is not doctrine. People may think this is a doctrinal issue but it is not. It is a distraction from the simplicity which is in Christ. It concerns me deeply that a Pastor would cause someone to ask these kinds of questions, or even introduce such stumbling possibilities into the minds of "little ones."

In light of all these things, heed the words of our heavenly Father, "This is my beloved Son, Listen to Him." -Mark 9:7 Theologians are not our point source of authority. Jesus is.

To any on here whom may agree with the ideas of fatalism, know that I am your brother, I love you. But scripture tells me to defeat vain philosophies. I feel I am being obedient to the word, have spent time in prayer over this and Colossians 2:8 commends me, at least I believe it does in faith. 1 Timothy 2:6 says we are to shun vain babblings that increase ungodliness. How does fatalism not have the utter potential to increase ungodliness?

Jeremiah Dusenberry

 2010/7/29 2:55Profile

Joined: 2007/4/3
Posts: 293



You made the statement that God does not use the casting of lots in the NT to inform His people of the direction they should go. That isn't accurate. The apostle Matthias was chosen by lot In Acts. As for God not controlling dust or any other detail of life, I won't go through the myriad of Scripture verses proving otherwise only to say that he controlled the dew on Gideon's fleece when there was none on the ground otherwise. That is pretty minute detail.

 2010/7/29 9:31Profile

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