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RobertW
Member



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

 Re:

Quote:
If you read these verses you will discover that before your number 1, there are two previous stages



Foreknowledge, I affirm does not cause an event to happen regardless of whether the event is sure to take place. This is the mystery of God's Omniscience. The foreknowledge is of what the free decision to either submit or resist the Holy Ghost will be. The foreknowledge exercises no power to decree that future event, it merely is aware of it. If there is revealed foreknowledge (for example Prophecy), God cannot be blamed as the cause of certain events simply because He knows of them and has revealed them to us.

To many this concept is simply not possible. To them it is a contradiction; why? I have no idea. There must be some underlying presupposition in place in their logic that causes them to stumble over this. Maybe someone else could shed some light on it.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2004/12/4 15:07Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

This is my favourite quotation on foreknowledge:

"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."

Christopher Wordsworth Revelation Intro. p 154


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Ron Bailey

 2004/12/4 16:09Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Mike has just posted this quotation from A W Tozer in the devotional forum

"WHERE THERE IS NO FREEDOM OF CHOICE there can be neither sin nor righteousness, because it is of the nature of both that they be voluntary.

However good an act may be, it is not good if it is imposed from without. The act of imposition destroys the moral content of the act and renders it null and void!

Sin is the voluntary commission of an act known to be contrary to the will of God. Where there is no moral knowledge or where there is no voluntary choice, the act is not sinful; it cannot be, for sin is the transgression of the law and transgression must be voluntary."


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Ron Bailey

 2004/12/6 9:25Profile
RobertW
Member



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

 Re:

Quote:
The act of imposition destroys the moral content of the act and renders it null and void!



Hi Bro. Ron,

This is true. The finality of where Anti-paradox was heading lead inevitably to God being the author and finisher of all things; both righteous and unrighteous. The greatest error in this type of thinking in my opinion is that it makes a mockery of the Cross. For if God is the author and cause of sin then Christ would have deserved to die on the cross. This is not a non-essential issue that we can agree to disagree over or merely false doctrine; it is blasphemy!

God Bless,

-Robert


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Robert Wurtz II

 2004/12/6 10:05Profile
KeithLaMothe
Member



Joined: 2004/3/28
Posts: 354


 Re:

My regrets that our visitor seems disinclined to truly engage in this discussion (as opposed to simply stating and re-stating his position). It would seem he is a Calvinist, or a hyper-Calvinist. It may be the case that I'm being too quick to label him (his position may defy the common labels,), but I'm not exactly getting much help from the other side.

In any case, there's a question on which I wish to take a stand: did God actually [b]choose[/b] to have things turn out the way they will turn out? Note that the question is not whether He [b]knew[/b] that things would turn out the way they will, though that is an obvious pre-condition for Him to have chosen it.

I went the opening rounds of this some months ago, but did not pursue it, now I would like to do so:

First, I understand and confess that I am operating under Western philosophical and logical conventions and thought patterns. It's not exactly like I can just switch them off. Those presuppositions may (likely) need to be challenged if the result is inconsistent with Scripture, but first please evaluate the logical consistency (or lack thereof) of this argument:

1. God, pre-creation (I understand that great difficulty exists in using temporal terms here, please point out any areas where this causes problems), had an essentially infinite number of choices. He could either create, or not create. The "essentially infinite" part is in the myriad of myriad different ways in which God could have created (if the terms "Molinism" or "middle-knowledge" come to mind at this point, you're on the right track).
2. God was not restricted in His options except by the fact that He "cannot deny Himself" and "cannot lie" (or similar Scriptural restrictions, please bring up any you see as relevant), and so there are no contradictions like someone going to both Heaven and Hell for Eternity. Any objections to my affirmation of God's more or less unlimited latitude in these choices?
3. For each available option, God knew, exhaustively, every single little tiny thing that would happen as a result of creating in that manner (or not creating). Any objections to my affirmation of God's exhaustive foreknowledge of all possibilities?
4. Futhermore, since God knew what would happen by choosing a particular option, He would know if anything that would happen was unacceptable, and simply choose another (possibly extremely similar) option that differed only in that it would produce a different result in that particular respect. Any objections to this implication?
5. Since God, if He truly wanted to, could have added, removed, or altered any result He found desireable, undesireable, or in need of modification, He did in fact choose to have things happen the way they will. In other words: by not choosing any of the other options, He [b]chose[/b] this one, with [b]all[/b] its attendant results.

(And, for the astute Mr. Bailey, you don't have to count the number of "knowledge" type words in there, as you properly pointed out last time, my focus is on the "choice" type words)

For example (a very limited example, I know), take two theoretical creation plans A and B that would result in worlds extremely similar to this one, with two people named Fred and Sally; in A Fred would go to Heaven (say, under an Arminian soteriology involving libertarian free-will choices on behalf of Fred, or even a flat-out works-based one, doesn't really matter for the sake of this argument), and Sally would go to Hell; in B Sally would go to Heaven, and Fred would go to Hell. If you like, you could add C where both go to Heaven, and D where both go to Hell. If God chooses A, is God not choosing that Fred go to Heaven and Sally go to Hell? Vice versa with B.

Now that most of you are ready to lynch me :-)
Please consider these words recently posted elsewhere by Douglas Wilson (a thorough Calvinist) :
"By virtue of creation, mankind was given given a true and natural liberty with regard to all issues of good and evil. Adam, when he fell, was not coerced or dragged into that sin. The decree which God had given concerning the fall of man did not "force" Adam to sin, and neither had God implanted within Adam any program of internal coercion. Now how can a non-coercive decree be a sovereign decree? The answer to the question resides in the fact that the "causal agent" in the sovereign decrees does not inhabit the same "universe" as the thing caused. If it did, then the causation on the one hand displaces responsibility on the other. In other words, God is to the universe what Shakespeare is to Macbeth, and not what Lady Macbeth is to Macbeth. Put another way, God's relation to the universe is unlike every causal situation in the world that we know. Consequently, it is a category mistake of the first order to try to compare the two different kinds of causation."

To clarify my own position and what I'm getting at: I find Calvinism lacking as a system because, although it takes presuppositions I mostly (or perhaps fully) agree with and follows them mostly (perhaps fully) logically, some of its conclusions are unscriptural (I'm thinking of limited atonement here, and 1 John 2:2). Nonetheless, I find it impossible to logically escape the conclusion that God [b]chose[/b] [u]exactly[/u] what would happen, before any of it happened. Just because the argument is logically sound (please let me know if there are any objections on that ground) does not make it true, that depends on the truth of the premise(s). That means, more or less, that if the conclusion is unbiblical, one or more of the premises is false.

The tricky part here is that many of these premises (presuppositions) are pretty buried in centuries of Western (for me) thought tradition. And it is not sufficient, to me, to say "well, the problem is somewhere in my presuppositions" and leave it at that. If God so willed, that's ok, but except/until God makes that clear to me, I'd like to figure out where that problem is (and, of course, I'd first like to establish to the possible degree of certainty that there is/is not a [b]Scriptural[/b] problem with the above conclusion).

 2004/12/6 19:09Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Keith
I am really excited at the prospect of talking these over here. So often these things are discussed from behind the barracades and you never get to see the other person's eyes. I feel from your posting that there is a real chance here of talking over a cup of coffee, and actually enjoying the experience rather than trying to beat the enemy into the ground. Thanks for taking this slant.

I suspect, that because some of us who have thought about these things often, some will want to rush into the fray but if I can remind myself and fellow-posters that this is not really a private conversation and is conducted here specifically so that others can listen and contribute. That means we may need to be bit recursive.

Having said the above, what are your feelings about infralapsarianism and the like? :-? Is this the kind of territory that we are exploring?


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Ron Bailey

 2004/12/7 3:46Profile
RobertW
Member



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

 Re:

Hi Bro. Keith,

Quote:
God was not restricted in His options except by the fact that He "cannot deny Himself" and "cannot lie" (or similar Scriptural restrictions, please bring up any you see as relevant),



Any decision that God makes must be in harmony with His revealed personality. We cannot superimpose a personality on God that is out of step with the full counsel of His character. This absolutely must be understood or any discussion of election will surely jump the rails. This is where secular philosophers are mistaken. And invariably they turn the tables and make God into what we know as Lucifer.


Quote:
Since God, if He truly wanted to, could have added, removed, or altered any result He found desireable, undesireable, or in need of modification, He did in fact choose to have things happen the way they will.



I would object to this premise on the grounds that it superimposes on God the actions that man may take if he were omnipotent and omniscient. God's ways are not our ways and His thoughts not our thoughts. Moreover, we have moved into the realm of philosophy to which we are warned in scripture that we may be spoiled with vain deceit after the rudements of the world caused by the pride of a fleshly mind. Furthermore we are now making an examination of God's decision making faculties that will back us into the same corner as before charging God with being the author of sin and the Father of Lies. And I thouroughly reject any teaching that makes the Gospel the good news of man's damnation. Surely someone in the old days would have had enough spiritual discernment to know that this is of the Devil and gives no glory to God whatsoever.


Quote:
Now that most of you are ready to lynch me



No lynchings or burnings at the stake. No banishments or confiscations. No imprisonments. No beheadings. :-) Those who have held strong Calvinistic positions in the past centuries have surely done so. Michael Severetus was killed by Calvin at Geneva and Oldenbarnevelt was beheaded in Binnenhof in the Hague at the age of 72 years (See John L. Motley). One account I read in 1994 said that Calvin was so beaten down by his own theological conclusions that he despaired at the end even of life and looked well older than his actual age. He simply could not come to terms with what his doctrines were leading him. :-?
BTW Arminius was also of the Reform persuasion. It is a misnomer to pit him totally against Calvin to a high degree because of the many times he quoted Calvin and Augustine in his works. On the topic of Romans 7, though his position was condemned, it was in agreement with Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, Ambrose, Jerome, Clement, and a host of others. It was in step with Institutes 2.7.9, 2.7.10, 4.20.1, etc., and Augustines Epistle to Romans (To Simplicanianus). It was later in his life that Augustine wrote some retractions to these views. Anyway, the positions are not as far off as is often supposed.

Anytime you (anyone that is) start thinking that God saves one and damn another you are in danger of persecuting those who you feel are damned (reprobated). Soon any treatment is justifiable to the "wretched reprobates." Let us keep this in mind as we attend to matters in which many of the founders have greatly erred from the Love of God which accompanies the Spirit filled believer.

My official position is that I oppose supralapsarian double unconditional election.

God Bless,

-Robert


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Robert Wurtz II

 2004/12/7 8:38Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Quote:
My official position is that I oppose supralapsarian double unconditional election.


Hi Robert
this makes a great slogan if you should ever want to run for election. ;-) I have this mental picture of all your supporters chanting it. (yes, I do have a peculiar sense of humour)


_________________
Ron Bailey

 2004/12/7 9:44Profile
RobertW
Member



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

 Re:

Quote:
This makes a great slogan if you should ever want to run for election



I try not to make it a habit of defining myself by what I am not, but in this case I think I have to. To add a little clarification I want to also state that God cannot be made to be the author of sin, nor can we suggest that it was God's will that man sins or that Adam and Eve sinned. To do this is to charge God with wickedness. it would place God in violation of Romans 1:32; Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2004/12/7 10:42Profile
Gideons
Member



Joined: 2003/9/16
Posts: 474
Virginia

 Re: I'm following along albeit slowly...

Brother Robert,

And this would be called penal atonement if my terminology is correct? I believe that's the term you described above.

We're on the same page but the terminology is difficult for a lay person. I recognize the terms but I doubt I could pronounce most of the words at this point.


_________________
Ed Pugh

 2004/12/7 11:17Profile





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