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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Hell: did Jesus die for those burning..?

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RobertW
Member



Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Hi Svineklev,

Quote:
You cannot simply ignore those verses that go against your thesis:



I don't ignore these passages, but I interpret them in light of God's revealed personality. I refuse to come to any conclusion that is not in harmony with God's revealed personality. When it comes to reconciling my interpretation of a certain passage and God's revealed personality; God's revealed presonality has the preeminence. I will not adjust God's personality to fit my interpretation or hermeneutical deduction.


Quote:
Though logically such a conclusion is easily reached, there are many other considerations. I won’t get into all of the argumentation here, but Infralapsarianism is undoubtedly philosophically tenable.



It may be philosophically tenable, but is it Biblically accurate.

Excerpt:

2. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (I Corinthians 2:6-9)

Here we see:

a. The mysteries of God are not understood by mere observation.

b. Men commit abominable crimes against God in ignorance of His mysteries.

c. The wisdom of this world shall come to nothing.

d. Apart from divine revelation, the heart is empty and the senses are dull to the mysteries God.

3. Men are not satisfied that they are ignorant of the manifold wisdom of God and seek to understand Him on the basis of the afore mentioned faculties of impotence and ignorance. God’s revealed character and attributes are necessarily compromised or discarded to accomidate the anomalies of certain of men’s explainatians of the workings of God in order to apprehend mysterious passages of scripture. If we know in 'part' we do not have all the pieces of the 'puzzle.'


I think it is a dangerous thing to theorize about God and then allow that theory to dictate how scripture is interpreted. Theories stand or fall based upon their success of application. To what point of the decimal can we prove the theory? If there are anomalies to the theory, the theory is wrong. Yet, for the sake of teaching and trying to have a mental understanding they continue to be used. Case in point; the Newtonian model of an atom. High School science depicts a solar system looking atom- yet when you get to college and study quantum physics you learn that things on a micro level do not behave after the Newtonian model (particles act like waves, etc.). My point is this, science can get away with misrepresenting reality for the sake of teaching; but we are talking about God Almighty and His word. Can we take such an approach towards teaching about God, knowing there are anomalies to the teachings? things are not as 'cut' and 'dry' as we would like them to be. So when in doubt, take the most disciplined route. That route should always preserve what we know of a certainty about God's personality. God has revealed Himself as a loving and merciful God. He is a God of holiness and righteousness. His love is the primary characteristic He has revealed to us. He has revealed that He is willing to do whatever it takes apart from violating His own attributes or our free moral agency in order to save us. His grace is over all.

God Bless,

-Robert


_________________
Robert Wurtz II

 2004/12/28 8:36Profile
philologos
Member



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

 Re:

Quote:
Keith wrote:
Did God have to let that sin occur?

Robert replied:
Hmmm. I have thought through this before. If man had chosen to love God verified by complete obedience love could have existed in sinless perfection throughout the ages. Yet, certain parameters and variables have to be in place in order to allow the real possibility of not loving God. Satan provided the alternate option (sin). This invariably leads to a discussion of the origin of sin itself. We will have to save that for another post.



I am a little behind things here, but am slowly working through some of the older stuff to see if I can make any contributions.

My answer to this would be, it depends on the kind of universe He wanted to create. Perhaps I am being too simplistic here, but a universe with the potential for virtue must surely be a universe with a potential for vice; otherwise what virtue is there in virtue?

In my understanding there has to be a potential for sin if there is to be any virtue in virtue. We come back to my problems with 'the will'. If there is choice there has to be ability to choose, otherwise I don't understand what choice means.

The word to Adam was 'thou shalt not eat of it'. This was clearly a command to Adam and not a decree. God could have said 'you're not going to eat of it' I'll put it too high, or make it impossible to take from the tree', but He commanded and did not decree that Adam must not eat of it.

It spite of this Adam was fully able to eat of the tree. He made his choices and there has been a worldwide consequence. Adam could easily have been programmed so that he never ate of the tree, but then he would not have been 'man' but something quite different. God created and placed man into a world which made development possible, for good or ill.

At this point of man's history there were no prohibitions other than the fruit of this tree. In a sense there was no other way that man could sin than by eating this tree, as everything else was declared edible. Everything else was within the permitted will of God. But if there is to be any virtue in Adam he must choose between something which is according to the will of God or according to his own self-interest. He made his choice, that is part of what it means to be human.

We may say that God gave man full opportunity to sin, but this is not predetermining that event, or even 'allowing it to happen'. And I can think of no sense of justice where the man with apples in his garden could be blamed for being the source of the temptation to the man who stole them.

I know I frequently return to this but Adam's sin was not the original sin; it was the first human copy. Original sin was angelic rather than human, and Adam's disobedience introduced Satan and his sin into the human race.

Yes, God could have prevented all this by making men like rocks without personal accountibility; but God chose to create man in His own image and likeness and that surely must include choice.


_________________
Ron Bailey

 2004/12/28 12:27Profile
RobertW
Member



Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Hi Bro. Ron,

Quote:
The word to Adam was 'thou shalt not eat of it'. This was clearly a command to Adam and not a decree. God could have said 'you're not going to eat of it' I'll put it too high, or make it impossible to take from the tree', but He commanded and did not decree that Adam must not eat of it.



I have a simple little way I describe the progression of any sin:

1) I
2) NO
3) SIN
4) EVIL

When "I" say "NO" to God I "SIN" and that sin introduces "EVIL." Evil is the consequence of SIN. Sin is the result of saying NO to God. Saying no to God is the choice I made. My choice was not God's decree.

This agrees with your statement:

Quote:
It spite of this Adam was fully able to eat of the tree. He made his choices and there has been a worldwide consequence.



One of the things tthat has really made me rethink my position on the 'flesh' has been the fact that Adam and Eve were temptable with lust of eyes, lust of flesh, and pride of life.

1) Things
2) Illicit Experience
3) Ascendancy

Quote:
At this point of man's history there were no prohibitions other than the fruit of this tree. In a sense there was no other way that man could sin than by eating this tree, as everything else was declared edible. Everything else was within the permitted will of God.



Also every tree in the Garden was beautiful to the eyes. There was nothing special about the 'looks' of the tree. The enemy did not catch Eve on a full stomach which in my opinion is still a strategy of his; yet I concur with those who say the attraction was much more than that.

What were the ingredients in his recipe of temptation?



_________________
Robert Wurtz II

 2004/12/28 13:38Profile
Svineklev
Member



Joined: 2004/12/14
Posts: 74


 Re:

Robert--

Do you still not get it? You frustrate me. Every Calvinist [i]also[/i] interprets Scripture in the light of God's revealed personality. We see [i]you[/i] as "adjusting" God's character to fit your hermeneutic.

This is a dead-end road you've gone down, my friend. Can we use more productive avenues?

Calvinism is not exactly the "wisdom of this world." Compatibilism is rejected out of hand by modern philosophy as illogical. The mystery of God and of his revelation is in no wise ignored in Reformed Theology. Can you quit with the ceaseless mischaracterization?

I agree that each of our systems is too simplistic and not at all "cut and dried." Please see this as something we [i]all[/i] do.

You [i]theorize[/i] about the character of God and then interpret Bible passages accordingly. We all do it. We cannot [i]not[/i] do it.

Quite honestly, I believe there is very little real difference between Arminianism and Calvinism. (I do not [i]hate[/i] Arminianism. In general, do not find it contrary to the revealed personality of God. I do not think of it as unbiblical (except in some ultimate sense known perfectly only to God, where I do believe Calvinism comes closer to his truth and is thus [i]more[/i] biblical).

Calvinism is a slant on God's truth that emphasizes humility (we bow before a sovereign Lord) and assurance (He will not let us go).

Do these notions really offend you so much?

Arminianism emphasizes man's responsibility for holy living and his freedom in Christ.

I think those are terrific!

What concerns me is Arminianism's tendency toward legalism (man's efforts rather than God's) and subjectivism (the freedom of the individual to interpret for himself).

What concerns me about Calvinism is its tendency toward antinomianism (God will take care of it) and objectivism (Since we cannot "know that we know" the voice of the Spirit, let's drop him out of the equation entirely.)

What concerns me most, however, are those Arminians who hate Calvinism and those Calvinists who hate Arminianism. (The old adage from the American Revolutionary War comes to mind: "We must all hang together or assuredly we shall all hang separately." –Benjamin Franklin)

In significant ways, we abide and grow in Christ through our own efforts. Those efforts, however, we recognize as altogether futile without him. Our academic pursuits of exegetical excellence must be thoroughly bathed in prayer and the Spirit.

Calvinists must [i]evangelize[/i] with every sinew of their being. (This is after all, our heritage: Carey, Brainerd, Edwards, Whitefield, et al.)

Arminians (especially Charismatics) must bring their spirituality under the [i]objective[/i] Lordship of Christ and his church. (I have actually heard that this is happening and that--for example--Charismatics in significant numbers are opting for Reformed seminaries.)

I am in no way denigrating Charismatic seminaries, but they simply do not stress objectivity and accountibility as much.

I firmly hope that the Third Great Awakening will spring out of the Reformed camp...and that the greatest exegetes of the 21st Century will be Charismatic.

Ciao,

--Eric

 2004/12/28 13:52Profile
RobertW
Member



Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Hi Svineklev,

Quote:
Do you still not get it? You frustrate me. Every Calvinist also interprets Scripture in the light of God's revealed personality. We see you as "adjusting" God's character to fit your hermeneutic.

This is a dead-end road you've gone down, my friend. Can we use more productive avenues?



I certainly am not trying to be frustrating. Maybe I have read one too many old polemic books on these issues. I am drawing from those memories. One thing I will say, those men were pretty smart. They knew their Bibles. I still havn't seen works that quite so impressed me as the debates between the Calvinists and the Remonstrants.

Let me characterize my position and see if we are on the same page or not. I believe that God has revealed Himself primarily as a God of love. All of His attributes must be seen in that light. I believe God desires all men to be saved. I do not consciously think about who will or will not make it when I minister. I feel everyone, while breath is in their lungs, have a chance to repent.

I know that there were some great Calvinists who preached revival. I tend to lean towards Finney on revival, but would also love to see a modern day Hebrides revival. As a matter of fact, I don't care how it comes so long as it comes.

I also want to give God ALL the glory. Our mischaracterizations of each other go both ways. I want to live a life that authenticates my worship by demonstration of genuine reverence for God every second of the day. When someone repents, I give God all the glory. So on and so forth.

Are we in agreement so far?

God Bless,

-Robert


_________________
Robert Wurtz II

 2004/12/28 14:15Profile
KeithLaMothe
Member



Joined: 2004/3/28
Posts: 354


 Re:

One of the interesting underlying issues we're dealing with here is the validity (or lack thereof) of human reasoning ("philosophy", partly) in theological enquiry. I am sensitive to the heavily "philosophical" nature and tenor of some of my arguments, and how that may be unsettling to those (like myself) who get unsettled when processing a theological argument that goes more than about two paragraphs without quoting Scripture. I meant to address that at some point, but Brother Ron has already said much of what I would say in a recent post in another thread (which was very helpful, thank you, Ron).

Quote:
[i]Ron:[/i] (some emphases mine)
It is not unbelief or backsliding to ask questions.
...
We were created with the power of reason, and [b]the need to link cause and effect[/b]. Somehow we have always known that [b]every event must have a cause[/b]. This is the admission of every child who asks a question beginning with the word ‘why’. ‘Why’ demands that there is a reasonable basis to our universe. Some Christians shrink from such questions; they feel that somehow the question is impertinent. The command to [b] ... love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, [u]and with all thy mind[/u]; and thy neighbour as thyself. (Luk 10:27 KJV)[/b] undercuts that escape from reason.

The mind or understanding however needs more that raw data to make its right deductions; it requires revelation.

As for the justification of applying our reasoning at all, I appeal to the highlighted section of Luke 10:27.

The specific kind of reasoning I applied earlier in this thread is readily seen as rooted in the assumption Ron pointed out: every event must have a cause. I'm wary of explicitly (or implicitly) importing Plato into any discussion like this, but I think one concept from him is inescapable: God is the uncaused cause. There are two parts to this: first, that God was not "caused", that is, He has simply always existed and does not derive His existence from anything else; and second, that God is the root cause of everything else that exists. Is there any disagreement here on the first? (I should hope not, frankly) And what about the second?

Deuteronomy 4:35 KJV
Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him.

Romans 11:36 KJV
For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

Lamentations 3 KJV
37 Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not?
38 Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?

Lamentations 3:37 really gets at what I've been talking about. To back up and summarize:

Foreknowledge of "x" + Ability to prevent "x" = Choice of whether or not "x" will occur
In sentence form: If person "p" has foreknowledge of "x" and ability to prevent "x", "p" has a choice whether or not "x" will occur.
If there is any disagreement on this, please bring it up now, as discussion of things based upon this will probably not be fruitful if we do not agree on the basis.

Therefore, if "x" occurs and God had both foreknowledge of "x' and the ability to prevent "x", then God chose for "x" to occur.
(Note that this does not work out the same in application to humans, as humans lack perfect foreknowledge and ability.) In any case, do we agree that this is true in the case of God? Again, disagreement here needs to be dealt with before anything later.

Example implications:
Substitute "Saul's existence" for "x" (still agree?)
Substitute "Paul's Salvation" for "x" (still agree?)
Then, substitute "Judas's Damnation" for "x" (still agree?)
Finally, substitute "Everything other than God" for "x" (still agree?)

Truly, shall anything come to pass "and the Lord hath not done it?"

To clarify, I am not saying that God necessarily "does" these things in the same sense that a man "does" them (though Jesus' actions during the incarnation would come closer to that), in that He is not morally responsible for all the events that occur, but that nonetheless He is in some sense responsible for their occurrence because He chose not to prevent them.

Also, backing up two verses I think we see (though we may not need much reminding) that these things which "cometh to pass" are not necessarily what He "approveth":

Lamentations 3
35 To turn aside the right of a man before the face of the most High,
36 To subvert a man in his cause, the LORD approveth not.
37 Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not?

Thinking about it, I suppose there's some question as to what injustice is being referred to in 35-36, and whether God even permits it to occur. Perhaps someone has a way of showing 37 as meaning something different in context than I've taken it to mean. But even then, is it even conceivable that a thing would come to pass without the Lord's permission? And how could a thing even come up for "permission" if it had not been caused by something else? And on down the line (perhaps through many indirections involving human natures, circumstances, and human choices), until one is left with the conclusion that it, like everything else, has its root cause in God. In Him we have our very [i]being[/i], how could any of our choices not be grounded in Him in some sense?

And that is the mode of many of these arguments: proof by the absurdity of the contrary. To the orthodox Christian, it is absurd to think that there is another ultimate source than God (there may be, as I believe Ron pointed out, subordinate "sources" that God creates, but they in turn have Him as their source), and thus I find it sufficient proof of my point to show that the contrary would be to assert the existence of another such ultimate source (a known falsehood). I might go so far as to say that monotheism (even Trinitarian monotheism) is inherently deterministic to some degree, but I haven't thought it through enough to be sure.

And, as I said before, it doesn't so much matter (for the sake of the argument) whether God chose to save some through a way that resembles Reformed theories, or Arminian theories, or Pelagian theories, or Roman Catholic theories (mixtures though they are), or something distant from all those systems; it would still remain that God chose to save, how to save, when to save, and who to save, simply because God chose everything anyhow. The Reformed position would seem to be the most honest reflection of that reality, were it the case, as ultimately the choice of who to save ("election") would be conditional only upon those things which have their root cause in Him (which is to say, everything), and are thus in that sense "unconditional", because (as I understand it) the Reformed never meant "unconditional" to mean "arbitrary" or "random" or "not based upon any condition whatsoever," but merely "conditioned upon the approval of God's most holy and wise will."

I feel like a broken record here, having restated the above so many times, and I do not wish to weary you all with this, but I think this is a basic question that must be addressed before we can make headway in many of these other issues:

Did God foreordain whatsoever comes to pass?

Did He at least choose it? (is there a difference?)

As for the recurring objections that are essentially questions in the form "How is that consistent with His character?," I think the questions being asked by the Biblical characters Ron referred to (Jeremiah, Asaph, etc) were questions of [i]why[/i] rather than [i]whether[/i] God had ordained the calamity before them. I contend that they were not at all confused about [i]who[/i] was ultimately responsible for what was happening, about [i]who[/i] they should ask about it, but instead they were confused about [i]why[/i] He had made such things come to pass, because they had difficulty seeing how it could be reconciled with His character. Similarly, Jesus did not tell His audience that God had nothing to do with the tower of Siloam incident, but instead pointed out that their deductions of God's motives in the matter were too simplistic.

And if the question is not [b]whether[/b] God has done a thing, but [i]why[/i], then that is an issue that must be taken up with Him, for I can but guess (and guess poorly at that).

I expect all of you (even Eric) to disagree somewhere above, my question is: where, exactly, do our paths part? I've taken some effort to be roughly linear in my reasoning, so if you disagree with the conclusion there should be some point along the line where you think I've taken a logical misstep or misinterpreted a fact (premise).

Thanks again, and may the Lord's will be done in and through us all,
-Keith

 2004/12/28 21:15Profile
ZekeO
Member



Joined: 2004/7/4
Posts: 1014
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

 Re: I'm jousting with a toothpick!

Quote:

philologos wrote:
Be prepared to learn from all, especially those who oppose you. Josiah threw away his life because he did not learn this lesson. (2Chron 35:22) Be prepared to learn from all but be careful who you commend, even to yourself.



So are you saying that this is not my battle?:-) Thats fine, my theological training stretches about as far as my own study, so all the isms are interesting in regards to History.

Romans 14:22... whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.

I know the context is a little different, but this is one of the watchdogs that I use in any discourse on areas of truth. In this context about the talking about the same coin just from the perspectives of the East and the West. One mans faith allows him to eat everything and anothers faith is strictly vegetarian, thats in regard to truth, I mean. Do not by what you approve condemn another who may not have the same faith as you.

Quote:

Remembering always that sparkle of wisdom that I saw on a bumper in Oregon… if you haven’t changed your mind recently, how do you know you still have one?



That all depends on whether we accept the authourity of that which is challenging our minds. 8-) To let you know that I have had my mind challenged by you theological space cadets, and sometimes there has been change.

p.s. I am using 'you' as in a general one, not to you Ron. :-?


_________________
Zeke Oosthuis

 2004/12/29 2:59Profile
philologos
Member



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

 Re:

Quote:
Foreknowledge of "x" + Ability to prevent "x" = Choice of whether or not "x" will occur
In sentence form: If person "p" has foreknowledge of "x" and ability to prevent "x", "p" has a choice whether or not "x" will occur.
If there is any disagreement on this, please bring it up now, as discussion of things based upon this will probably not be fruitful if we do not agree on the basis.



Hi Keith
As requested I will bring it up NOW.
I don't think your algebra is right here.
foreknowledge of 'x' plus ability to prevent x only equals choice if 'x' has no power of choice itself.

If I see a cup rolling across a table and do not catch it, I have made a choice, but my choice was 'not to prevent' the event. You might call this my permissive will. But if I see someone about to jump into a crocodile infested river my 'choices' will be limited by 'his choices'. Certainly I could stop him temporarily but if he sets his mind to it do I have the right to stop him?

I have a mentally handicapped daughter. Sometimes I reduce her choices by standing in a doorway that I don't want her to enter. I do this reluctantly because I know I am violating her choices. I do it for her safety because her mental powers do not equip her to make a reasoned decision.

In the creation of mankind God invested man with certain 'rights' of choice and gave him the mental powers to make a reasoned decision. To do so and then prevent their use and man's choice would be to defeat the whole purpose of man's creation in the image and likeness of God.

God's will, in the sense of His revealed will in commands, is often 'not done'. Every sin is a command of God 'not done'. God has limited Himself by His decisions in full knowledge of the outcome of those decisions. My favourite example of this is the 'colt tied at the crossroads'. Through Zechariah God had limited Himself to a triumphal entry in Jerusalem on the back of a colt. Having made this decision, He must keep to it. We then have the astounding comment of the Lord concering the colt 'the Lord hath need of him'. The concept of the Lord needing this creature is staggering and thrilling.

In terms of personal destiny God does not impose His will upon another but seeks his cooperation. Hence the picture of Abraham's servant speaking with Rebekah and saying 'wilt thou go with this man?. Although everything is set and all the power brokers in the deal have had their say, they have need of Rebekah's consent.

This is the way God has made human beings. In terms of our personal destiny 'the Lord hath need of thee' because He has chosen to have need of thee. This does not diminish God's greatness. God's allowing of Adam to behave as a human being is not God's choice for Adam's destiny, but God's respect for human beings in their integral 'rights' to behave as human beings and not as automatons.

God's acknowledgement of a human's right to their own choice is very moving. Have you ever noticed Jer 2 where God remembers Israel's choice to follow Him into the wilderness and describes it as 'Israel's kindness'; not Israel's obligation, though it was that too.. but Israel's kindness. The idea comes earlier in the story of Ruth who makes the 'choice' to attach herself to Boaz. You might think 'she knew a good thing when she saw it' but Boaz describes it as her 'kindness'.

When we choose to obey God and follow Him, God does not take it for granted and say 'and so you ought' He welcomes us with all the excitement of the prodigal's Father and heaven shares His infectious joy.

There can be no choice unless God takes the initiative but there will be no joy unless man makes the right choice.

Quote:
Did God foreordain whatsoever comes to pass?

Did He at least choose it? (is there a difference?)


What about the next step> If He allows it does that mean the same thing as Him choosing it? Did He choose monarchy for Israel or permit it?


Quote:
God is the uncaused cause. There are two parts to this: first, that God was not "caused", that is, He has simply always existed and does not derive His existence from anything else; and second, that God is the root cause of everything else that exists. Is there any disagreement here on the first? (I should hope not, frankly) And what about the second?



If one of my children sins against me did I 'cause' that sin by 'causing' my child? Will God hold me responsible for that child's sin? There is a independent integrity in the child's person-hood that makes him 100% responsible for his own actions.


_________________
Ron Bailey

 2004/12/29 4:32Profile
KeithLaMothe
Member



Joined: 2004/3/28
Posts: 354


 Re:

Quote:
As requested I will bring it up NOW.

Thank you :-)
Quote:
I don't think your algebra is right here. foreknowledge of 'x' plus ability to prevent x only equals choice if 'x' has no power of choice itself.

If I see a cup rolling across a table and do not catch it, I have made a choice, but my choice was 'not to prevent' the event. You might call this my permissive will. But if I see someone about to jump into a crocodile infested river my 'choices' will be limited by 'his choices'. Certainly I could stop him temporarily but if he sets his mind to it do I have the right to stop him?

But do you not see that there your choices are not limited by his choices? They are, in fact, limited by [i]your[/i] choice to restrain yourself (which was in turn based upon [i]your[/i] choice to respect his rights; not that I disagree with having that kind of respect, but I do believe it is a choice). If you had not [i]chosen[/i] to restrain yourself, his choices would not limit yours at all except in matters of ability (i.e. he could do things in such a way as to preclude your [i]ability[/i] to interfere, but that's not the scenario I'm talking about: none can preclude God's [i]ability[/i] to interfere). You're still choosing 'not to prevent' the event, even though you have a reason for that choice.

Quote:
I have a mentally handicapped daughter. Sometimes I reduce her choices by standing in a doorway that I don't want her to enter. I do this reluctantly because I know I am violating her choices. I do it for her safety because her mental powers do not equip her to make a reasoned decision.

To care for a fellow human in such a way is a fearsome responsibility... but here we see that it is not the other person's choices that limit our choice, but rather [i]our[/i] choice to grant (or not grant) them the liberty to choose as they will. We operate with standards of what kind of choices we will not interfere with and what kind of choices we will try to interfere with, but the limitation upon our choices comes from [i]our choice[/i] to adopt those standards, not from the other people involved.

Quote:
In the creation of mankind God invested man with certain 'rights'

Sorry to cut your sentence in half but I wanted to focus on this: God [i]chose[/i] to invest man with these rights, intending full well to [i]choose[/i] to honor those rights in the future, and God made this choice knowing full well the consequences (good and bad), but He deemed them acceptable. God was not limited in His choices here, those limitations came about as a result of His choice, and thus He was choosing then "not to prevent" everything that He would be unable to prevent later as a result of those limitations. It's indirect, of course, but it's still choice, no?

Quote:
To do so and then prevent their use and man's choice would be to defeat the whole purpose of man's creation in the image and likeness of God.

I'm not sure that it would defeat the entire purpose, but I think I agree with the substance of this. God chose before the foundation to do things this way, to make us the way He made us, to give us the rights and abilities He gave us, to respect those rights even when it grieved Him, and He will not go back on His word. But no one forced Him into this, He chose this way.

Quote:
God's will, in the sense of His revealed will in commands, is often 'not done'. Every sin is a command of God 'not done'. God has limited Himself by His decisions in full knowledge of the outcome of those decisions.

I agree in full. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I again emphasize that God [i]chose[/i] to limit Himself in this way.

Quote:
My favourite example of this is the 'colt tied at the crossroads'. Through Zechariah God had limited Himself to a triumphal entry in Jerusalem on the back of a colt. Having made this decision, He must keep to it. We then have the astounding comment of the Lord concering the colt 'the Lord hath need of him'. The concept of the Lord needing this creature is staggering and thrilling.

Indeed, "staggering" and "thrilling" are very apt words, to which I could only add "glorious" and perhaps "mysterious". I have thought much in the recent past on what glorious use God has made of weakness (primarily our weakness, as in the weakness through which His strength is shown most clearly), and how creation as we know it seems utterly impossible without God making thorough use of the weak and limited (which furthers my suspicion that our omnipotent, infinite God is distinctly fond of irony).

But is it not plain that this glorious event would not have taken place if God had not ordained it?

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In terms of personal destiny God does not impose His will upon another but seeks his cooperation.

Granting this (and I don't disagree), is there not something being glossed over here? Whose cooperation is God seeking? A man's. Who chose to give this man the right and ability to choose (for example, to cooperate or not cooperate)? God.

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In terms of our personal destiny 'the Lord hath need of thee' because He has chosen to have need of thee.

Exactly.
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This does not diminish God's greatness.

Of course not.
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God's allowing of Adam to behave as a human being is not God's choice for Adam's destiny, but God's respect for human beings in their integral 'rights' to behave as human beings and not as automatons.

Again, God [i]chose[/i] to respect those rights (and indeed He [i]chose[/i] to give them to begin with, and for that matter He [i]chose[/i] to make Adam in the first place), and Adam's destiny would have been quite different (or altogether nonexistent) were it not for God ordaining (choosing) that it be thus, no?

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God's acknowledgement of a human's right to their own choice is very moving. Have you ever noticed Jer 2 where God remembers Israel's choice to follow Him into the wilderness and describes it as 'Israel's kindness'; not Israel's obligation, though it was that too.. but Israel's kindness. The idea comes earlier in the story of Ruth who makes the 'choice' to attach herself to Boaz. You might think 'she knew a good thing when she saw it' but Boaz describes it as her 'kindness'.

Ruth's kindness to Boaz really moved me, thank you for bringing up the similar passage connecting that idea to God's relationship with His people. The depth of the love He offers and asks (indeed, asks, for it is different than mere obligation that binds us) is, to use the above word, staggering. It really struck me when listening to Wilkerson's sermon on "Christ and His harlot Church" from this site all the way back at the beginning of this year. The exchange of grace, kindness, and blessing... in a word, love... that He has made possible... it is too wonderful for me. But has it come to pass and He has not ordained it?

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When we choose to obey God and follow Him, God does not take it for granted and say 'and so you ought' He welcomes us with all the excitement of the prodigal's Father and heaven shares His infectious joy.

Amen, for this is part of His glorious plan.

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There can be no choice unless God takes the initiative

That's at the root of my point.

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but there will be no joy unless man makes the right choice.

I'm not sure about no joy at all, but I think I agree with what you're getting at. God has chosen to have a lot riding on man's choices, that is not at all inconsistent with what I think I've been saying.
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Did God foreordain whatsoever comes to pass?
Did He at least choose it? (is there a difference?)


What about the next step> If He allows it does that mean the same thing as Him choosing it? Did He choose monarchy for Israel or permit it?

He chose to permit it :-) But to restate the earlier point: whose actions was He allowing? The Israelites? Who gave the Israelites the ability and right to choose a king if they really wanted one (and indeed, had control before the foundation of the world over whatever might influence them towards wanting or not wanting a monarchy)? God.


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If one of my children sins against me did I 'cause' that sin by 'causing' my child?

You did not foreknow that sin before the child was conceived, though you probably had a pretty good guess that something of the kind would eventually happen, and you did have the ability to prevent the possibility by not having the child, but you chose (presumably) to accept the possible consequences (and praise God for that), but you are nonetheless obviously part of the causation chain. Are you necessarily morally culpable for what your child does? Of course not, though a wise society will rightly look askance to the parents (moreso than others) if a child really goes off the deep end.

And, of course, you did not 'cause' your child in quite the same way that God did so. Is He part of the chain of causes? Undoubtedly He is the root of it. Is He morally culpable for any of the results? Of course not. If someone goes totally wicked and wreaks all manner of evil, the people would be right to turn to God and ask "why?" (in the right spirit, of course), for He is the one to ask (even the wicked person may be in the dark regarding his motives, and certainly God's motives), but they would be dead wrong to blame Him.

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There is a independent integrity in the child's person-hood that makes him 100% responsible for his own actions.

Of course, God made him that way, according to His own good pleasure.

One day, I will learn brevity.

 2004/12/29 7:03Profile
RobertW
Member



Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

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This is the way God has made human beings. In terms of our personal destiny 'the Lord hath need of thee' because He has chosen to have need of thee.



I think this to be one of the greatest demonstrations of His sovereignty and power.


********


As I read through Bro. Keith's thread I am reminded of an old math problem of Einstein's that was impossible to make work. No matter how many times you added it up, 2+2 = 5 (so to speak). So we have to look into where we are going wrong here. The only way we will be able to do it is with imperfect illustrations that can be discounted. After all, understanding is not necessarily that you "figure every thing out", but it is a state in which you are content to go on the facts without asking any more questions. Understanding is a state of mental contentment, in this case, that cannot be achieved without the ingredient of faith. By faith we understand, etc.

We may be called to serve God with all our mind, but we are also told not to lean on our own understanding. The Hebrew there is Sha`an and it means to 'support yourself' or to 'trust in'- as one would trust in God. The word for heart is leb and it means; the inner man, mind, will, heart, and understanding. I must not trust in my understanding in the same way as I would trust in God. When my logical deductions do not jibe with God's revelation- trust and faith must kick in to bring me into a state of mental contentment.

************

On "Permissive Will"

When I was kid I used to hear stories of a great great uncle of ours that was very jealous. He lived out in the woods with his wife and for fear she would run off with another man or have another man in the house he would pad lock the woman inside. It is said that once he came home and saw foot prints in the snow coming from the house and went in and beat her up thinking they were another man's. He was filled with a controlling jealous rage. Later he realized they were the prints he himself made when he left for work earlier that morning.

If the day ever came when he felt secure enough to leave the pad lock off the door and his wife made off with another man, was the chice he made in any way the cause of her infidelity? Would he be in any wise culpable? What would be the nature of the culpability? Culpable neglegence? Culpable deriliction of duty? Culpable carelessness? Did he tempt her to commit the act by leaving the lock off?


Now I must ask, who can come up with a scenerio where this man would not be blamed no matter what he did? If he leaves the lock on we say he is a madman. If he takes it off we say it was his fault she committed adultery. What is the solution? The woman must do her duty and maintain her fedility. That is the only scenerio that will work. Otherwise we get to what ends up being the general answer for the disaster; "Well, they say, it was his fault for marrying her."


God Bless,

-Robert


_________________
Robert Wurtz II

 2004/12/29 8:25Profile





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