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RobertW
Member



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

 Re:

Quote:
If it is a crime to choose to create a universe that would (at some point) have sin in it, while knowing of that resulting sin beforehand, then is there any way at all that the God of the Bible can be exonerated of that charge?



If we must pass beyond the teachings of scripture to try and imagine a scenerio where these things would be possible based upon the restrictions placed upon a 'logical' view of God I would have to appeal to the fact that all of our experience in this cosmos is His creation, including time.

Quote:
if God didn't want it to happen, why did it happen?



Let me split the horns of your options if I may. We have reduced our options to saying that either 1) God "ordained" sin or 2) He "willed" sin to exist. I will offer the option I believe as closely as possible fits what happened in the form of a scriptural analogy. He knew man would sin and permitted it to happen but it was NOT His will. Just as it is not God's will that any perish, but ALL come to repentance. If it is not God's will that they perish and they do, then how can this be? To follow out the logical conclusions of scripture at times can lead a person to say, "let us do evil that good may come." (who's damnation is just)

God does not revoke the free moral agency that He gave man even though He GREATLY desires for man to be saved- He will not REVOKE that 'license.' He may lay a million roadblocks to Hell in the street, but He will not revoke the "right to drive."


Some things are not to be taken to their logical conclusions because we don't know all the variables. We are playing with 3 deminsions of space and a deminsion of time. God is unlimited in His possibilities and cannot be made subject to the laws of His creation.

Was it not Calvin that said it is impossible to know any more about God than He has chosen to reveal to us? If, as Bro. Ron frequently points out that things are on a "need to know" basis, we must not take our speculations too seriously. We are trying to answer quantum algebra equations with 1st grade math. We can no more understand God with what variables we know than a man could understand quantum mechanics using Newton's laws. We are at the 'macro' level trying to understand 'micro' issues. We simply can't know for sure. If we knew it all as well as we had liked we had not needed faith.



God Bless,

-Robert


_________________
Robert Wurtz II

 2004/12/8 15:24Profile
KeithLaMothe
Member



Joined: 2004/3/28
Posts: 354


 Re:

Quote:

RobertW wrote:
If we must pass beyond the teachings of scripture to try and imagine a scenerio where these things would be possible based upon the restrictions placed upon a 'logical' view of God

I'm not trying to imagine a scenario with that particular question, we're living within that scenario: God created a universe, and now there's sin in it. Did God know that sin would happen? (I won't assume you would answer yes, but I would) Did God have to let that sin occur? (in other words, was there something He wanted to happen that even He could not make happen without allowing sin?)

If He didn't have to let it happen, yet knowingly did, would that fit your definition of "author of sin"?

Or would any of those questions in there net the answer "We don't know"? Such is quite valid, but it would leave us at something of an impasse (quite understandable, considering the topic).

Quote:
I would have to appeal to the fact that all of our experience in this cosmos is His creation, including time.

Meaning that we wouldn't know enough to make the charge? I wasn't really saying any of us could make that charge, or any other, against God, I was asking whether or not God would be guilty if that kind of choice was a crime. Not that anyone can accuse God of wrongdoing in any event.

Quote:
Quote:
if God didn't want it to happen, why did it happen?

He knew man would sin and permitted it to happen but it was NOT His will.

Then why did He permit it? Was He compelled to by some outside force? (of course not) Was He compelled to do so by His character? If so, then it was consistent with His desires (which are dictated by His character, no?), and in what sense could something be consistent with His desires and not His will? Or, as I would guess, He found it intolerable (due to His personality) to let two aspects (at least) of His character go unrevealed to His creation, namely His wrath and His mercy, and permitting sin was the optimal means of allowing those aspects to be revealed in the way He desired to reveal them. That's just a guess, of course.

Quote:
Just as it is not God's will that any perish, but ALL come to repentance. If it is not God's will that they perish and they do, then how can this be?

That's partly the question I've been asking. Historically, some have answered by saying there are two or three "wills" of God, like the "Sovereign" or "decretive" (Decree-tive) will of God, which is simply what actually happens; the "Moral" will of God, which is what God would not be angry about happening; and the "Perfect" will of God, which is what He would most prefer to happen. I don't really like the idea of splitting it up into all that, seems contrived to answer objections. So the question is, if God doesn't will something to happen, not even in the most indirect of ways, how can it possibly happen?

Quote:
To follow out the logical conclusions of scripture at times can lead a person to say, "let us do evil that good may come." (who's damnation is just)

Taking one part of the Word (even if it is dozens of passages), extrapolating with human (i.e. fallible) reasoning, and failing to check that extrapolation against the rest of the Word before acting on the conclusion... well, "foolishness" would be a polite term. But in the case of "let us do evil that good may come" it isn't at all hard to see why such a conclusion is false: 1. Our obligation is to obey God and follow His plan, not to follow our own plan because we think it will result in good ("for there is a way that appears straight before a man..."), 2. The rest of Scripture is pretty clear about what happens to evildoers, even if the particular evil they are doing was necessary ("It is necessary that offenses come, but woe unto them by which they come..."). Should we expect the Scriptural refutation of determinism (or, at least, the logical extent of the argument I've been presenting, whether or not that fits the normal definition of "determinism") to be similarly clear? I'm asking because I see this headed in the direction of "we don't know how, we can't know how, but that conclusion incorrect and we can't expect any kind of clear reason as to why it's incorrect;" I won't reject that idea out of hand, but is that where we're headed in this discussion?

Quote:
God does not revoke the free moral agency that He gave man even though He GREATLY desires for man to be saved- He will not REVOKE that 'license.' He may lay a million roadblocks to Hell in the street, but He will not revoke the "right to drive."

I understand that possibility, but even if it is so, what bearing does that have on the conclusion that "Nothing happens without God choosing to have it happen"? So what if God chose to have certain of the beings He created be free moral agents? He knew what they would do given the set of circumstances He created alongside them, He could have created those circumstances (or those agents) differently in such a way as to produce different "free moral choices", but He chose to go with these free moral agents, these circumstances, and these resulting consequences, [b]including[/b] sin and people going to Hell (by their free moral choice, despite the millions of non-efficacious roadblocks, if you're correct). Is He, or is He not, responsible for these consequences? If responsible, in what sense? If not, then what's the problem?

To restate: God doesn't have to [b]revoke[/b] free will to get His way, He's the one who [b]gave[/b] free will in the first place, and if doing so was not going to suit His purposes, why did He give it to begin with? If free will was a desirable thing to give, but it would have certain undesirable effects (i.e. sin, damned people) under certain circumstances, why did He not alter the circumstances? Or is free will such a thing that it necessarily would result in sin and people going to Hell, such that even God could not create circumstances in which such results would not occur?

Quote:
Some things are not to be taken to their logical conclusions because we don't know all the variables.

I agree, and humbly accept that my conclusion may be wrong because of something that none of us knows about or will ever know about. That's part of the reason I have not embraced the logical conclusions of what I am presenting, because I'm pretty sure I'm wrong even though I can't figure out how or why. Nonetheless, I would like to make reasonably sure that there's no accessible refutation before accepting "well, I don't know why, but it's wrong."

Quote:
God is unlimited in His possibilities and cannot be made subject to the laws of His creation.

The argument is not based on subjecting God to the laws of His creation, in fact it is largely based on the idea that God [b]is[/b] unlimited and thus has complete, utter control over everything and that nothing occurs unless He (at the very least) causes something to happen (e.g. causes a human being, a free moral agent, to come into being), that causes something else to happen (e.g. the human being picks a fruit from the wrong tree), which causes something else to happen (e.g. the whole human race falls), which causes something else to happen (e.g. sin, damnation, etc...). Just because He "permits" rather than directly "causes" the last step doesn't seem (to me) to be any less an instance of Him "choosing" for that thing to occur. It still wouldn't have happened if He really wanted to stop it.

I understand that some/all of that conclusion may be abhorrent to some of you, but (as I've probably said a dozen times) it does not seem to me that there is any logical alternative. Part of what I'm trying to do here is see if any of you can show a logical alternative. If not (though that obviously would not absolutely demonstrate the lack of such an alternative), I'd pretty much be left with the choice of accepting the conclusion, or rejecting logic as a reliable means of determining truth (either because it's just wrong, or because I can't know enough to use it reliably in certain areas, like this one). As a Christian, I've already subordinated logic to Scripture in any case, but there is something of a problem in that it's not exactly possible to interpret Scripture with "no presuppositions" or without some use of logic.

Quote:
Was it not Calvin that said it is impossible to know any more about God than He has chosen to reveal to us?

I think that's a correct attribution of the quote. He catches a lot of flak for that sort of thing from non-Reformed circles; one of my favorite phrasings of the objection was by an elder in my church: "The 'mind of God' is the rug under which theologians sweep their dirt." What's being objected to often follows the pattern of an initial statement that (for instance) "God elects some to salvation and some to damnation, but God also loves everyone" followed by the rebuttal "But how is such a contradiction reconciled?" followed by the response "In the mind of God, we can't figure it out." Is such a response valid? If not, is your appeal to our lack of knowledge a valid defense of "some things happen without God choosing that they happen"? (or is that not what you're defending?) If such responses are valid, then how would you reply to the double predestinarian that uses one?

Quote:
If, as Bro. Ron frequently points out that things are on a "need to know" basis, we must not take our speculations too seriously.

I agree on not taking all this too seriously, I'm already out on a limb of a limb of a limb here...

And, somewhat on that note, I would like to bring up some Scripture so as not to be totally off in philosophy-land...

I have taken some effort to make sure I'm not totally ripping these out of context, but please check for yourselves and bring up any context that you believe to be relevant.

(and yes, I'm aware that the English word "evil" may well be the KJV rendering for multiple Hebrew words, and so closer scrutiny is called for than a simple "what would this mean if I wrote it?" approach)

One last disclaimer: I'm not advocating taking these Scriptures, apart from the rest of the Word, to their "logical conclusion," but I believe they do demonstrate a tension from Scripture against which anyone who wants to make statements like "That theology makes God the author of sin" need to reckon with. In the same vein, there are Scriptures with which any would-be "determinist" must reckon.

Amos 3:6 (KJV)
Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and [b]the LORD hath not [u]done[/u] it[/b]?

Isaiah 45 (KJV)
6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.
7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and [b]create evil[/b]: I the LORD do [b]all[/b] these things.

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

Isaiah 63:17 (KJV)
O LORD, [b]why hast thou [u]made[/u] us to [u]err[/u][/b] from thy ways, and [b]hardened[/b] our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants' sake, the tribes of thine inheritance.

2 Samuel 12 (KJV)
11 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, [b]I will raise up evil[/b] against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.
12 For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.

Isaiah 30 (KJV)
27 Behold, the name of the LORD cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire:
28 And his breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, [b]causing them to err[/b].

2 Samuel 24:1 (KJV)
And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and [b]he moved David[/b] against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.

1 Peter 2 (KJV)
6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, [b]even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: [u]whereunto[/u] also they were [u]appointed[/u][/b].

Romans 11 (NKJV)
30 For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience,
31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy.
32 For [b]God has [u]committed[/u] them all to disobedience[/b], that He might have mercy on all.

Proverbs 16:4
The LORD hath [b]made all things[/b] for himself: yea, [b]even the [u]wicked[/u] for the day of evil[/b].

I could quote more, but this post is already a few miles long...

Thank you for engaging me in this discussion, these are issues which I have never fully resolved, and I greatly appreciate the assistance in exploring them.

May God guide us all, both to will and to work according to His good pleasure,
-Keith

 2004/12/9 1:09Profile
philologos
Member



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

 Re:

Hi Guys
Have you ever come across Amyraldianism

Sorry, Delboy!

There is a paper by a Theological Student with some interesting tables here. Sometimes these kind of things can be helpful in clarifying our own thinking. I


_________________
Ron Bailey

 2004/12/9 4:39Profile
RobertW
Member



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

 Re:

Hi Bro. Keith,

Quote:
Did God know that sin would happen?



Yes.

Quote:
Did God have to let that sin occur?



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.

Quote:
If He didn't have to let it happen, yet knowingly did, would that fit your definition of "author of sin"?



No. It would not. If Satan is the Father of lies God cannot be charged with Satan's actions anymore than you or I could be charged for someone else.


Quote:
Or would any of those questions in there net the answer "We don't know"? Such is quite valid, but it would leave us at something of an impasse (quite understandable, considering the topic).



We know enough to safely trust in Him.



Quote:
Meaning that we wouldn't know enough to make the charge? I wasn't really saying any of us could make that charge, or any other, against God, I was asking whether or not God would be guilty if that kind of choice was a crime. Not that anyone can accuse God of wrongdoing in any event.



Meaning we don't know enough nor do we have the mental capacity to process the wonder of God. We don't possess enough hard drive, RAM, or processor speed. ;-)


Quote:
Then why did He permit it? Was He compelled to by some outside force? (of course not) Was He compelled to do so by His character? If so, then it was consistent with His desires (which are dictated by His character, no?), and in what sense could something be consistent with His desires and not His will?



The same way that spanking a child should never by our 'will' but it is for a purpose. This is an imperfect illustration, but we can apprehend these things enough to satisfy our questions and come back when we have more understanding.


Quote:
Then why did He permit it? Was He compelled to by some outside force? (of course not) Was He compelled to do so by His character? If so, then it was consistent with His desires (which are dictated by His character, no?), and in what sense could something be consistent with His desires and not His will?



Because it is the price of genuine love; and it indeed is a high one, the highest price of all.



Quote:
hould we expect the Scriptural refutation of determinism (or, at least, the logical extent of the argument I've been presenting, whether or not that fits the normal definition of "determinism") to be similarly clear? I'm asking because I see this headed in the direction of "we don't know how, we can't know how, but that conclusion incorrect and we can't expect any kind of clear reason as to why it's incorrect;" I won't reject that idea out of hand, but is that where we're headed in this discussion?



I would answer by saying that we can know enough to apprehand and not fully comprehend. (see similar arguments above) We can know enough to safely trust in Him, but we will not know everything here by any means and will likely marvel at His wonder for all eternity. :-)


Quote:
It still wouldn't have happened if He really wanted to stop it.



But to stop it would revoke our free will and therefor void the authenticity of real love for God.


Quote:
As a Christian, I've already subordinated logic to Scripture in any case, but there is something of a problem in that it's not exactly possible to interpret Scripture with "no presuppositions" or without some use of logic.



Again, this is a good idea because we are trying to run MS Windows on a TRS-80 machine. In BASIC cannot comprehend DOS, etc.


Quote:
"The 'mind of God' is the rug under which theologians sweep their dirt."



I would despair if I served a God i could explain!


Quote:
If not, is your appeal to our lack of knowledge a valid defense of "some things happen without God choosing that they happen"? (or is that not what you're defending?) If such responses are valid, then how would you reply to the double predestinarian that uses one?



By making what we don't know subservient to what we DO know and not the other way around.



Quote:
I could quote more, but this post is already a few miles long...



Ah we have arrived at these passages. I pondered them last night even again. I have a response, but will not give it now. I will get back to it today Lord willing.


_________________
Robert Wurtz II

 2004/12/9 8:41Profile
KeithLaMothe
Member



Joined: 2004/3/28
Posts: 354


 Re:

Quote:
From Bro. Ron:
Have you ever come across Amyraldianism

Thank you for pointing us at those tables. I'd already seen a version of the S/I/A/A one, but not the other tables. The paper is a helpful summary of the distinctions between those systems.

I suppose Amyraldism is closer to my position than either Calvinism or Arminianism, because it affirms the basic predestinarian view that I hold, yet also accounts (or at least tries to account) for those passages (1 John 2:2, again, I could go to others) that certainly seem to prohibit the usual formulation of "limited atonement". The remaining difficulty would be that I'm basically a Remonstrant Arminian when it comes to "Perseverance of the Saints", which is to say that there are passages (James 5:19-20, Galatians 5:19-21, etc, I can dig through the old OSAS thread for the long list I tended to quote on that topic) that make me sufficiently unsure of the "P" that I can't affirm it as true.

To clarify, I am not "personally" uncomfortable with Limited Atonement or Perseverance of the Saints, it wouldn't bother me emotionally or anything like that if they were true, and they certainly do follow from a logical approach starting from the standard Reformed presuppositions (most or all of which I agree with). In short, they appear adequate to me in every attribute except that of being Scriptural :-)

One thing that the paper reminds me of: it refers to a "Divine" monergistic sotieriology as giving all the glory to God, and a synergistic sotieriology as giving part of the glory to God and part of the glory to man. Do you agree with that? (I'm guessing no) In either case, it's that kind of thing that I was getting at when I said that it may be better to think of Reformed Theology in terms of the five "solas" ("Sola Scriptura", "Sola Gratia", "Sola Fide", "Solus Christus", "Soli Deo Gloria", if I remember correctly) rather than the five "points" from Dordt. The formative principle, Sola Scriptura, reveals to us that salvation is by Grace alone through Faith alone in Christ alone, and thus that ALL the glory belongs to God, not merely part. The question, then, is whether or not a synergistic sotierology (for anyone just jumping in, that more or less means, in this context, "plan of salvation") would give God all the glory. The response I'm prone to (even as a monergist) is that the glory belongs entirely to God even if salvation were works-based, because "all good and perfect gifts come from God" and without such gifts the man would not be able to perform those works. But the Apostle Paul didn't seem to agree with that, but I'll get into those passages another time (probably next time).

Quote:
From Bro. Robert:
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.

That is getting at a very important part of this discussion: if God is not the origin of evil (of which sin is a manifestation), then where did it come from? I think it is a matter of recognizing that "good" and "evil" are not ontologically equal, and their relation is perhaps most analagous to "light" and "darkness", and that evil is essentially the "absence of good" or, perhaps, "absence of God"; I'd say more specifically that evil is the result of a free moral agent choosing autonomy instead of theonomy: choosing to obey one's own desires (the "way that appears straight before man") rather than God's commands. It is because of this that I believe it can be said that Adam "sinned" even before he had the "knowledge of good and evil", it was simply a matter of Adam choosing to do what was right in his eyes, rather than obey the command of God. Satan, on the other hand, may have had the knowledge of good and evil before he fell (which might, perhaps, explain why no reconcilliation has been offered him that we know of, but this is speculation upon speculation). In any case, this topic deserves a far more thorough treatment than I can give it right now. Suffice it to say as far as our discussion goes that God knew the evil would come to pass as a result of certain actions of His (i.e. creating free moral agents, angels and men, in the circumstances which He also created), and yet He still took those actions.

Quote:
We know enough to safely trust in Him.

Amen, that is not at all in dispute here. Even if it came to this: "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him..." (Job 13:15a, the context is interesting there, though)

Quote:
Meaning we don't know enough nor do we have the mental capacity to process the wonder of God. We don't possess enough hard drive, RAM, or processor speed.

Quite true. Essentially my question is, whether or not He hard-coded it or whether He used a tremendous amount of indirection and compiled it with/without optimizations, didn't He write all the code? Or even if He wrote routines to generate code generators (i.e. free moral agents) which in turn generated their own code (i.e. free moral actions), was He not fully aware of what the results would be when He wrote the initial stuff?

(If you didn't understand that last paragraph, it's because I was using a fairly involved Computer Science analogy)

I would respond to the rest of your post, Brother Robert, but I need to get going.

Thanks again.

His will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven,
-Keith

 2004/12/9 12:52Profile
Delboy
Member



Joined: 2004/2/8
Posts: 199
Worthing UK

 Re:

Hi Ron
Seroiusly, don't apologise,I'm drinking this all in,even if its a sip at a time :-)
I do want to comment bro Rob thanks for your imput
now taking second sip !! ;-)


_________________
derek Eyre

 2004/12/9 13:05Profile
philologos
Member



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

 Re:

I’ve not added much to this stage of the debate; partly because Keith answers most of his own questions in the way that I would have. I find myself listening and half-thinking of my response, only to find you get there before me.

Quote:
Keith wrote…To clarify, I am not "personally" uncomfortable with Limited Atonement or Perseverance of the Saints, it wouldn't bother me emotionally or anything like that if they were true, and they certainly do follow from a logical approach starting from the standard Reformed presuppositions (most or all of which I agree with). In short, they appear adequate to me in every attribute except that of being Scriptural

Yes, it’s a pity that! I think we have all been there. We develop a thrilling theory only to find that the book seems to ignore it.


Quote:
Keith wrote… One thing that the paper reminds me of: it refers to a "Divine" monergistic sotieriology as giving all the glory to God, and a synergistic sotieriology as giving part of the glory to God and part of the glory to man. Do you agree with that? (I'm guessing no) In either case, it's that kind of thing that I was getting at when I said that it may be better to think of Reformed Theology in terms of the five "solas" ("Sola Scriptura", "Sola Gratia", "Sola Fide", "Solus Christus", "Soli Deo Gloria", if I remember correctly) rather than the five "points" from Dordt. The formative principle, Sola Scriptura, reveals to us that salvation is by Grace alone through Faith alone in Christ alone, and thus that ALL the glory belongs to God, not merely part. The question, then, is whether or not a synergistic sotierology (for anyone just jumping in, that more or less means, in this context, "plan of salvation") would give God all the glory. The response I'm prone to (even as a monergist) is that the glory belongs entirely to God even if salvation were works-based, because "all good and perfect gifts come from God" and without such gifts the man would not be able to perform those works. But the Apostle Paul didn't seem to agree with that, but I'll get into those passages another time (probably next time).

I like your Five Solas which means most Calvinists would think them too loose. If they let me in, they have failed. The only alternative would be Sola Mio; isn't that an musical item?

‘Synergy’ is a great word and thoroughly biblical; it is used, together with its noun, quite frequently in scripture Mar 16:20; Rom 8:28; Rom 16:3; Rom 16:9; Rom 16:21; 1Co 3:9; 1Co 16:16; 2Co 1:24; 2Co 6:1; 2Co 8:23; Phi 2:25; Phi 4:3; Col 4:11; 1Th 3:2; Phm 1:1; Phm 1:24; Jam 2:22; 3Jo 1:8;

One reference is particularly interesting; [b]And we know that God causes all things [u]to work together[/u] for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Rom 8:28 NASB)[/b] This actually says that it is God who does the synergising! God causes synergy. In fact, I think that God demands synergy and makes it possible and because it is possible He demands it... and if we refuse to cooperate we incure sin.

I have a favourite scripture that I turn to again and again in this issue. It comes from the provision of David for the building of the Temple.
[b] Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for things to be made of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and the brass for things of brass, the iron for things of iron, and wood for things of wood; onyx stones, and stones to be set, glistering stones, and of divers colours, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance. Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, Even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses withal: (1Ch 29:2-4 KJV)[/b]

From this we see the energy and determination that David put into this project. However David, like Paul, was very aware of the source of the energy and commitment.

[b] Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee. (1Ch 29:11-14 KJV)[/b]
This is total ‘sole deo’.

But it this insight that grips me…
[b] O LORD our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own. [u]I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart[/u], and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee. (1Ch 29:16-17 KJV)[/b]
David is conscious of his own efforts, conscious that God has sourced the whole thing, and yet also conscious that God is ‘trying the heart’. The word means to test, to assay. In other words David says ‘I know you have given all this into my hand to see what I will do with it’.

I believe that faith is God’s gift, but I see that with gifts it is required that a man be a good steward, and that the man will be held to account for his stewardship. I’ve just done a little Christmas meditation on John 1, but have deliberately omitted the ‘human response’ section. I want to get back to that and work through its implications for the ‘receiving Christ’ school of preaching.

One of the things that sometimes irks me is that the Calvinist control the agenda, apparently. I read another article on the web about Amyraldism; the writer simplified things neatly… there are, he said, no such things as Amyraldists or 4 point Calvinists, just confused Arminians. There, that’s easy to grasp isn’t it? ;-) I always have to start this discussion by saying ‘I don’t believe…’ which is not where I like to start my discussions. Predestination, for example, are we sure that its target is personal salvation? For many years I thought that my thoughts that ‘predestination has more to do with service than salvation’ were original, until I discovered Tozer, Campbell Morgan and Oswald Chambers saying the same thing.

I have to say that even thought the Calvinist says he does not mean literal decrees, the whole concept of God pre-ordering the pattern of salvation is very strange to me. I struggle to see the point as to why we should try so hard to analyse how God has thought only to say, but of course, God doesn’t think processes like this. It’s like hunting some fabled beast. It behaves like this and this and this, but of course it doesn’t really exist. Perhaps I have no imagination. I am tempted to cry ‘mind your own business; what has this got to do with you?’ Isn’t this really a kind of arrogance?

The article I quoted had a nice line; [i]Much confusion exists over the terms foreknowledge, predestination, election, and reprobation. These terms are theologically sequential. They are not chronologically sequential, nor are they synonymous.[/i] It sounds good until you ask ‘what does it mean?’ Sequence has to do with time; otherwise why all the fuss about the order of the decrees. Sequence means coming after or before. What is a theological sequence?

The article goes on to state; [i] Foreknowledge means that God knew beforehand (i.e., had intimate, personal relations with [e.g., Gen 18:19; Jer 1:5; Psa 1:6; Amos 3:2]) certain individuals (Rom 8:29; 11:2; 1 Pet 1:1-2). Its basis is not explicitly clear in Scripture though it is clear that its basis is not mans foreseen choice or works (Rom 9:11, 16). It does not refer to an educated guess (like a medical prognosis) or prescience (foreseen faith). God foreknew people themselves not their faith (Rom 8:29-30) Foreknowledge is the basis for predestination and election (1 Pet 1:1-2; cf. Eph 1:4-5).[/i] God knew people, not their faith? What can this mean? What did he know about people? Was there something He did not know about people? The word ‘foreknowledge’ used in these verses; Act 26:5; Rom 8:29; Rom 11:2; 1Pe 1:20; 2Pe 3:17; I think reading these verses shows that it is exactly the ‘behaviour’ of people that is ‘foreknown’.

Anyway, that’s my own little rant. Now I’ll wait…
(I’m enjoying this, not the contest, the comradeship. :-D


_________________
Ron Bailey

 2004/12/9 14:53Profile
RobertW
Member



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

 Re:

Quote:
Perhaps I have no imagination. I am tempted to cry ‘mind your own business; what has this got to do with you?’ Isn’t this really a kind of arrogance?



This speaks well to the feelings I get when I investigate these topics. I have the feeling I get when I step into someone's bedroom. There is a feeling of not belonging, even though you are there by innocent invitation. I can't help but feeling, "You don't belong in here- not get out of here!"

******************
"Apprehending When We don't Comprehend"
(Enguage Thinking Cap)


I have a neat analogy I have not shared yet that I learned a long time ago from some apologists I studied who were physicists. I hope I can articulate this as I really need to do it by demonstration.

1) Imagine a linear line drawn on a sheet of paper sitting on a desk.

2) Imagine two stick figures have been drawn of equal size; side by side on the same sheet (all of these items are drawn in parallel).

3) Imagine two identical childrens dolls standing upright at the end of the paper.


The line (we will call the line 'he') "looks over" and sees what appears to be a line just like itself. From the lines perspective, there is only 1 linear line beside him because after all, 'he' is a 'line' and he has a one dimensional and limited perspective. The stick figures try and try and try to tell the 'line' that there are two of them (stick figures) and even explain the shape of themselves as containing area, but it is to no avail, because the line simply cannot comprehend a two dimensional world.

Now, the stick figure looks to the left and sees the line and comprehends it; then it looks to the right and sees the doll and thinks it sees a two dimensional object like itself. It sees only what it is capable of "comprehending" and that is two dimensions. The dolls try to explain that they have an added dimension that gives them volume, but it is of no consequence because the stick figures are only capable of understanding 2 dimensions. The dolls (for the sake of argument) can comprehend both the line (1 dimension) and the stickfigures (2 dimensions) as well as themselves (3 dimensions).

We now come to another law that states no two objects can occupy the same space. What is the answer to this problem? Add a dimension of time. Now the two objects can occupy the same space, but not at the same time.

This simple example shows us how we may not understand certain things about God, but we can apprehend them, or in other words, we can recognize how they can be true though we cannot visualize that truth. We are the doll's who understand the line and the stick figures but cannot understand beyond that. We see the ignorance of the line towards the stick men and see our own ignorance of things greater than we.

God Bless,

-Robert




_________________
Robert Wurtz II

 2004/12/9 16:27Profile
RobertW
Member



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

 Re:

Quote:
‘Synergy’ is a great word and thoroughly biblical; it is used, together with its noun, quite frequently in scripture Mar 16:20; Rom 8:28; Rom 16:3; Rom 16:9; Rom 16:21; 1Co 3:9; 1Co 16:16; 2Co 1:24; 2Co 6:1; 2Co 8:23; Phi 2:25; Phi 4:3; Col 4:11; 1Th 3:2; Phm 1:1; Phm 1:24; Jam 2:22; 3Jo 1:8;




Quote:
One reference is particularly interesting; And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Rom 8:28 NASB) This actually says that it is God who does the synergising! God causes synergy. In fact, I think that God demands synergy and makes it possible and because it is possible He demands it... and if we refuse to cooperate we incure sin



Thanks Bro. Ron. I wondered if we would delve (dive) into this synergy stuff. :-? You give a great answer here. I'll remember it well. I despair to discuss the topic with some who even suggest that repentance is 'works' and that after a certain place in acts, repentance is no longer mentioned as a requirement of salvation. Some kind of dispensationalism I think. This type of theology comes out of a certain Theological Seminary in our town. They even have a radio station. It used to be fairly edifying, but now it is called, "positive Christian radio." :-( The official position on the Baptism of the Holy Ghost is that the topic is "not up for discussion."


I also appreciate the philostorgos (brotherly kindness) this thread has yielded. I appreciate Bro. Keith's questions and have gleaned from his views also. To God be the glory!



_________________
Robert Wurtz II

 2004/12/9 16:44Profile
KeithLaMothe
Member



Joined: 2004/3/28
Posts: 354


 Re:

I'm into finals week now here at UGA, so not as much time to post, but here goes:

Quote:
from Bro. Robert:
Quote:
"The 'mind of God' is the rug under which theologians sweep their dirt."

I would despair if I served a God i could explain!

I wasn't necessarily saying that having such leftover theological "dirt" is an avoidable thing, and neither was the person I was quoting (so far as I know), but he was objecting to people (Calvinists, in this case) placing an issue under that "rug" and acting like he could not continue to question it further because it was "reconciled in the mind of God." I think that is a valid objection, and cuts both ways. On the other hand, I don't demand that a theological system provide answers to every such question, indeed I would be quite suspicious of any (human) theological system that could provide neat, comprehendable answers to every such question.

But what I've been mostly arguing up to this point isn't about how determinism would reconcile with the Biblical evidence, but rather that, given standard western presuppositions about God (namely, His omniscience, including exhaustive foreknowledge, and omnipotence) and the nature of time (namely, that it is linear, and that God is outside of it), determinism is an inescapable conclusion. The Westminster divines phrased it that God "hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass" (WSC, answer to Q.7). I've heard Calvinists, who would undoubtedly subscribe to that chatechism (or at least the vast majority of it, including that answer), object to the term "determinism". I fail to see the semantic difference between "everything that happens was caused by God" and "God hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass," but if I'm just missing it and someone can point out that difference, I would be thankful.

So my point isn't so much that one must affirm determinism if one believes the Bible, but that one must affirm determinism if one believes the Bible and approaches it with the presuppositions of classical western theism. If you follow the Platonic road, don't be surprised if you find a suspiciously Platonic God at the end.

Quote:
from Bro. Ron:
Yes, it’s a pity that! I think we have all been there. We develop a thrilling theory only to find that the book seems to ignore it.

Quite a frequent experience. However, I would point out that Perseverance of the Saints, at least, is certainly not a thought ignored by the Scripture; John 10:28, Philippians 1:6, etc. are very strong texts for their position. Nonetheless, I find there to be enough uncertainty that I cannot say for certain that someone, once regenerated, cannot later die spiritually. The case of King David (and perhaps also King Solomon) is enough to cause such concern, in the light of Galatians 5:19-21 and (particularly) 1 John 3:15.

Quote:
One reference is particularly interesting; And we know that God causes all things [b]to work together[/b] for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Rom 8:28 NASB) This actually says that it is God who does the synergising! God causes synergy. In fact, I think that God demands synergy and makes it possible and because it is possible He demands it... and if we refuse to cooperate we incure sin.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good [b]to those who love God[/b], to [b]those[/b] who are [b]called[/b] according to [b]His purpose[/b]. (Rom 8:28 NASB)

Romans 3 (NASB) (caps theirs, indicating OT reference)
10 as it is written, "THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;
11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;

"to those who love God"; who loves God? Do any non-Christians? Certainly not (would any of you say otherwise?). The Calvinist would likely (at least, I get this impression) affirm that God and the Christian work synergistically in Sanctification, but that Justification (where God is dealing with a non-Christian) is purely a monergistic matter. They would also be likely to ask a rhetorical question like "is the sinner dead in his sins, or merely sick?" Whereupon we might discover just how far from the "T" our beloved brother Ron has slid :-)

Further, what does the passage say further about "those who love God"; they are "those who are [b]called[/b] according to [b]His purpose[/b]." Where did that calling originate? (God, I imagine, will be the unanimous answer) Who was called? (here many will say, "everyone," or do you?) Do some refuse this call?

Let's look a couple verses further.

Romans 8 (NASB)
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
29 For [b]those[/b] whom He [b]foreknew[/b], He also [b]predestined[/b] to [b]become conformed to the image of His Son[/b], so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
30 and these whom He [b]predestined[/b], He also [b]called[/b]; and these whom He called, He also [b]justified[/b]; and these whom He justified, He also [b]glorified[/b].

The calling, it seems (please correct me if I'm missing something), is based upon predestination, which is in turn somehow based upon foreknowledge (which may mean here the very intimate sense of "know", as in how Adam "knew" his wife, rather than a mere "knowledge" as we tend to think of it). I believe the Calvinist would have a battle to fight about how the relationship of foreknowledge and predestination not being some kind of deal where God "foreknows" whether we will respond and then predestinates us accordingly. I don't feel compelled to fight that battle at this particular time, as I think it's fairly clear that either way God is predestining a certain (indeed, limited, it would seem) group of people to "become conformed to the image of His Son" (sounds like salvation/justification&santification to me), then calls them, and justifies them (if there was any doubt about justification), and indeed will glorify (though the verb appears to be past tense, even) them. Does this look like synergistic, or monergistic, justification? And, in either case, is not salvation clearly presented here as the choice of God? (I raise this question because of previous objections to the idea that God predestines people to heaven, and thus either explicitly or implicitly leaves the rest to hell) Or would you argue something along the lines of "He predestines/calls everyone, but some resist to the point that they are not actually justified"? If so, how do you square that with the above passage?

As usual, you have much more for me to respond to, but I should get going. Thank you again :-)

 2004/12/13 21:54Profile





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