I agree with your analogy, but only as it pertains to manÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s inherent nature to not seek after God, to not Ã¢â‚¬Å“chooseÃ¢â‚¬Â God
I also agree with how you say it is pertaining. I do not think that Calvinism is
Calvinism teaches Ã¢â‚¬Å“Total DepravityÃ¢â‚¬Â, that unless you have faith, everything a man does is sin. Calvinists love to hang their hat on Romans 14:23, with help from Romans 3:10-12, to defend this. The problem is that Romans 14:23 is in the context of not causing a fellow Christian to stumble. (A) Romans 3:10-12 taken alone can indeed mean that man never does any good at all. ( It can also be taken to mean that men do not seek after God and inherently head in the wrong direction, which would accommodate the occasional good act, such as helping an old lady across the street.
I highlighted two phrases in this quote with A and B, the two points you made. I only want to change one part of point A you made, to ensure accuracy to Calvinism. Take the sentence and add "without God's guidance and command" so that it should read "Romans 3:10-12 taken alone can indeed mean that man never does any good at all if its done without God's guidance and command." Anyways, You contrasted them as if they were different, or possibly that Calvinism teaches them as different. Calvinism, infact, teaches A and B as part of a similar point being made. Thus, Calvinism would not try to separate A and B, but state that both A and B are true.
I think where you and I are conflicting is in whether the situation is "black and white" or "also has a mix of grey" in it. I believe that a person is either for God, or against God, and that there is no neutral ground of people who are just in "I don't know and won't cause any harm land." I think your position might have that grey area, seeming to project the possibility of a grey area by the testimony of people doing good works even if they are not vocally "for God." I think the Bible leans more towards "black and white" rather than including grey also.
Perhaps the good samaritan is an example to show greyness. The problem with the good samaritan parable is that we do not know the samaritan's intentions, at all. We do not know if he had, for example, some level of pride in himself for helping others in need. If he had the pride, his intention was wrong. What we do know from that parable, however, is that the point was "even evil Godless people can commit seemingly good works. If a person who claims to be Christian will not do the good works, how does that make him compared to the evil Godless person?" The parable is not teaching the samaritan as a righteous man, but as a man of low quality Godliness who is yet still better quality Godliness than what some profess to be as Christians.
On the other hand, we have examples such as Cain and Able in which the grey area is explicitly exposed full of how important intention is, and how unimportant action is (if it has not the intention). Cain and Able were both to give sacrifices to God. God accepted Able's yet rejected Cain's. Why? Simply because Cain did not want to give the sacrifice. There was nothing wrong with the sacrifice itself. It was the intention that caused God's rejection of the offering. Two perfectly good actions...one rejected, one accepted. Intention is pretty key. So is action. If you lack goodliness in either of the two, the deed ultimately was not good.
What if the person did a good work with the right intent? The problem is that you have played with semantics on what Ã¢â‚¬Å“rightÃ¢â‚¬Â is
If the person did a good work with the good intention, then he has committed a good work entirely. You say I have played with semantics, but I have not. But to make things clear and concise, I use the words "good" or "right" to mean "that which God would have wanted done, and with the same intention as God." If they have not done it in that manner, then it was not done right nor good. So going back to the good samaritan, a man who, as far as we know, was not a Christian...he committed a good action for the wrong intention. Christ is telling his disciples to go do a good action, just like that samaritan, but this time...for the right intention. So no, according to Calvinism, Christ is not telling his disciples to go sin. He is telling them to fix their attitudes to get themselves out of their sinful nature by showing them how another sinful person is doing something right that they were doing wrong.
Hopefully I have helped in making it a little bit more clear why your textbook cases have err'd in condemning Calvinism. That doesn't mean Calvinism is proven right or anything, but just that the examples you gave had flaws in them that did not align them closely to Calvinistic thought.
Bah, and now I see I've already posted a response to that particular post lol. Well...time for more reading but I won't delete the stuff cuz I think there are some new pieces of information and thought that I hadn't clearly typed before. If you don't mind, I am not going to try to use the quote boxes cuz I am sure the above ones will end up wrong.
"We are actually getting somewhere with this. YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve admitted in your last post that man can do good if he is Ã¢â‚¬Å“savedÃ¢â‚¬Â - that is, Christians are capable of good, the unsaved are not. Aside from the fact that scripture doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t support this view, this completely contradicts your claim that ALL men are completely and utterly depraved." -Fred
Well, we may be getting somewhere....but wrong, wrong, wrong...lol. I admitted in my last post that man can do good if he is "saved." Absolutely. No contest. The reason why is because God gave them the ability to do it. Christians are able to do good works because God has helped us to do the good works. Without God...no good works. I specifically gave the scripture that says this view explicitly. So I don't know how you can say 'aside from the fact that scripture doesn't support this view." because its all there, black and white, word for word. And no, it doesn't contradict my claim that ALL men are completely and utterly depraved. We are all still completely and utterly depraved. Even the Christians. But God holds us up, makes the impossible good work possible through the Christian. By God's grace and power, we perform with correct intention and action according to his will. Its not a contradiction, its a fulfillment of depravity...a fulfillment that NEVER came from the hands of the depraved man himself.
"Each of these makes God look like a non-benevolent, immutable stone ogre in the sky. On the other hand, it makes man look like he canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t help his evil ways because God created him that way. Yet you canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see it is God who suffers from your view, and man is essentially given a pass because man canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t help but be bad?" -Fred (shortened clip for length issues)
Certainly I agree it makes God appear non-benevolent. But that does not make him non-benevolent. Whats the difference? The word "appear." Appearance equates to perspective. From the human welfare perspective, God appears to be non-benevolent. From the God welfare perspective, God is absolutely benevolent even after said points. I have no issue with this. I fully realize there are people out there who reject Christianity, or just plain God himself, for the fact that he brings suffering and pain into the world and they will not worship a God like that. I fully realize and acknowledge their reasons, which are rational, but not Biblical. There is only one way to ever win against that argument, and that is to have God change their hearts to see that they did not deserve any better from him at any point in their lives, and to repent their attitude towards God. Only then do they realize the benevolence of God, post-facto the knowledge of the existence of evil in the world.
"I read passages like Romans 3:12 and know it means man loves the darkness and will not seek God without GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s intervention. It canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t possibly mean that man is absolutely incapable of doing any good whatsoever since there are many, many examples in the Bible where man can occasionally do some good." -Fred
If the only reason you cannot believe Romans 3 to mean utter depravity even though it specifically states it (the use of the words "will not" are particularly powerful.) is simply because of other examples in the Bible where man can occasionally do some good...then I ask you to present the following: Passages that show mankind is doing a good work for a God-aligned purpose and intention, and explicitly states anything similar to "and this man did a good work, with good Godly intention even though he was not a Godly man and did not do it for the glory of God." If you cannot find an example that states anything similar to that, then you, indeed, have no examples of mankind doing good works in a manner appropriate to give the claim you give because every good work can be attributed to the fact that God made the man to do the good work in the first place (which there are plenty of examples in the Bible of God causing men to do good works). I guess the point is...if you want to show a man can do good works, with good intention, for the glory of God, then please cite the scripture that shows it. I do not know of a single one. Remember, I agreed mankind can do good actions without good intention. I conceeded that with no issue. So just showing good works doesn't qualify as scriptural evidence for your case. You gotta show the good actions with the good intention by a non-Christian or non-Godly person. I think its impossible, simply because good intention is defined Biblically to mean to glorify God. And just by terms, the person was non-Godly and thus not doing it to glorify God. I am sure God will get glory from it either way though, also, heh. It just wasn't intended by the person.
"I think you unintentionally contradicted yourself. The Bible says that no man seeks after God, and only by the Holy Spirit can we be drawn to Him." -Fred
"God chose certain people to seek after him" -Fred
The two statements are identical. How am I contradicting myself if you are reinforcing my point with scripture? The statements are identical, and can only be considered "not identical" if one does not believe the Holy Spirit to be God...aka part of the God-head.
When I said "There are more than just a handful of verses that proclaim the sovereignty of God over all creation, all actions, all of time. There are no verses stating that God does not have authority and power over all those said things."
You responded with
"I never said there was" -Fred
Yes you did. You said God did not create evil. Evil is a creation and/or action in our universe. There are no verses stating that God does not have authority and power over evil. So, infact, you did say it hehe. Its just something you don't consider part of God's grand scheme of things, and thus looked it over.
"but refuse to answer, or in your case avoid answering, whether or not God can change the future" -Fred
I do not recall ever being asked if God could change the future. I certainly wasn't avoiding it. I hardly doubt any Calvinists would attempt avoiding it either. Its a pretty easy answer for Calvinists. Can God change the future? Absolutely. He has total and supreme power to do so. Does he? I do not think he does. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" to the extreme comes to mind. In other words, his creation is already 100% perfect for his intentions, why would he change it? Its not that he is incapable, but that he does not desire to.
"The difference between your view and mine is that I do not beleive God himself instigates wickedness" -Fred
This may be a key element in our debate here. We should strive to focus on this one as a key point. Infact, there is a more general category to this element than just its referance to wickedness. That general category would be "The difference between your view and mine is whether God instigates, and to what level." In other words, are there any actions that occur in this world that God does not specifically make happen? I have read scripture stating that nothing in this world commits to physical action except that God guide it, even the inanimate objects as well as the animate. I just can't remember the passages and did infact try to find them for this debate. Perhaps you can think of anything? My firm belief, since ever having read those scriptures, has been that NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING in this world happens without God's guidance. If God didn't guide it to happen...it did not happen. It did not even exist. Imagine God as a being with lightning coming out of his fingertips animating the world through all its thousands of years. If at any point God stopped shooting the lightning out, the world ceased to exist.
I think your view ties closer to a deist perspective rather than the above...that though most things occur by lightning coming out of God's fingertips at all times some things occur not by the lightning coming out of God's fingertips, but rather was truely and wholly created and acted upon solely by another entity. Thus, a man could truely and wholly create and act in evil solely by his own device and entity, that God had nothing to do with that process. Almost a self-generating electric motor. You would never be able to convince me of this argument, as its not Biblical by any means.
If that is not your view, then there is a third view, which I might be willing to conceed to provided sufficient scripture. This third view would be a slight mixture of the first two. Namely, God is emitting lightning from his fingertips and that all things occur through this energy, no exception, no outter sources like the second view. However, that lightning is channeled and used by separate entities who create and act in evil via using the lightning energy granted them by God. Ultimately, this is probably what you think, and I am reluctant to believe unless an additional clause is granted stating that the lightning granted by God animated them to create and act in evil. After all, they could not have acted as so without the lightning animating them.
Ultimately, I think God created humans to fail and fall, on purpose, knowing they would. I think that was his purpose and intention. To think otherwise is to condescend to God's ability to create perfection. If we can agree on that point, then there really isn't but a drip of a drop of difference between you and I regarding this whole thread heh.
"You are claiming God ordained Susan Smith to drown her kids, ie ordain wickedness, but I had to pry it out of you to come out and say it like that." -Fred
You didn't have to pry it out of me. You could have simply asked "did God ordain Susan Smith to drown her kids?" And I would have answered "Yes, without a doubt." But that is not what you asked, what you asked is "whether Susan Smith was correct in attributing her act as a righteous act because God told her to." That statement is entirely different. Susan Smith was not correct in attributing her act as righteous, nor that God told her to. There is a BIG difference between God ordaining someone to do something, and God giving them conscious recognition and verbal instruction to them to do an act. God had to ordain something. He had to ordain her to do it, or to not do it. If he did not ordain something to happen, she would instantly cease to exist. The fact that she did it one way over the other is irrelevant to the fact that God ordained it to happen. The only proof against God ordaining something to happen is if Susan Smith magically disappeared at that moment and was never found, and thats not even proof really, as proof would require positive knowledge to her disappearance. I do not believe Susan Smith could have committed anything on her own energy, as no human has any amount of energy to put forth an action without it being granted by God first.
"It is like the abortionist who says they are pro-choice, but oppose abortion." -Fred
I am very aware of pro-choicers claiming they have nothing against life, and the dirty little trick behind it. My point and Calvinism is absolutely nothing like it. I have absolutely no issue with the Calvinistic result of God ordaining Susan Smith to kill her children. No issue. I do not think it makes God evil. I do not think it was an evil action by God to ordain it to happen. So, in essence, there is no "dirty little trick" behind it. You just asked the wrong questions. But yea, I hear ya about the abortion thing. Irritates me. I am pro-choice, absolutely! But I am more-so pro-life. Life is greater priority than choice. So really, anyone who claims to be pro-choice but yet thinks abortion should happen...is really just saying "choice is higher priority than life" but refuses to acknowledge it. Not to be off topic...
"instead of saying Ã¢â‚¬Å“God ordained all vile acts, including all violent rapes and murders, and selects people including unborn babies to go to hell and suffer torment foreverÃ¢â‚¬Â. You squirmed" -Fred
Nope, I never squirmed. You asked the wrong questions. I have no issue bringing my stance up in regards to the quote, if that is what you wish to hear.
As for God ordaining all vile acts, including all violent rapes and murders...surely. If he did not ordain them, they could not possibly have occurred or existed. They existed, musta been ordained.
As for selects people, including unborn babies, to go to hell and suffer torment forever...tough issue, will take some explaining as to my actual position...which may deviate with Calvinism but I am not sure what the Calvinistic position is. As far as the topics we have talked about, it remains true to those topics and my beliefs in those topics. Yes, I absolutely believe God hand selects certain individuals for heaven, and some for hell. The Bible makes this explicitly clear in both the OT and NT time and time again. It is not even remotely disputable by any person who claims to "read the plain clear and simple message." As for babies...well, the Bible has a lack of content for babies, and I believe there is a specific reason for it, and not a copout reason either. *Assuming* God hand selects some for fire, and some for life, and *knowing* that David presented scripture of his baby (nephew?) that had died who he had mourned for...its safe to say that at least *some* babies go to heaven. Therefore, there is definitely possibility, legalistically, Calvinistically, for babies to go to heaven. The question is whether "all babies go to heaven" or "just some babies go to heaven." That answer is absolutely not given in the Bible, not even a hint. So, its entirely possible that some babies go to hell, just as some of mankind is selected for hell and some selected for heaven. Basically, its left up to God and I do not worry about whether babies go to heaven because theres definitely a hope for it, and a knowledge of it...as well as a lack of knowledge about any particular baby. So I leave it to God, knowing he makes at the very least, exceptions for some babies. I know he is a good God, I know he will do whats right. I know that IF he has sent at least one baby to hell, it was right, even if I cannot grasp how it could be right at this point in time. I know that IF it is not right to send a baby to hell, that God has not. None of that contradicts Calvinism. But if you think it does, please exemplify the points where you think it does and I will attempt to address them as you give them. I know there are a few points out there, but I cannot recall them off the top of my head to address them.
"DoesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t this sound remarkably like free will?" -Fred (in regards to jeremiah 18)
No! lol. It sounds remarkably like predestination, absolute authority and power lol. I have yet to see a pot dance around animated, have you? lol. God is saying he can shape the pot however he likes, and he names humans as the same likeness to pots from God's perspective. How is that free will according to your concept??? I think you are a bit tied up into the second part of it all, which describes the animation God puts into the pot he himself designed. God has the ability to rebuild that pot if it should fall over. The only thing different between the pot failing and a human failing is that in order for a human to fail there need be an animation sequence to show his failure. Thats just a void in the analogy. The principle of the analogy is that God predestinates, not that man has absolute free will away from God! wow!
"It fits well with the verse I quoted earlier:
Isa 5:3-4" -Fred
Great job of taking Isaiah 5 out of context! Isaiah 5 is yet MORE evidence for predestination, not your concept of free will! Read with just what you quoted, it begs the answer to God's question is "Nothing! Something happened I did not intend! Free Will has abounded! Man has done something that I did not ordain to happen!" But that is NOT the answer to the question. Isaiah 5 infact gives the answer. God starts working at it further. He ordains results. Infact, it does not say anywhere that God could not have made the field perfect. Infact, it does not say anywhere that he designed it to be flawless and yet it still came out flawed and a failed plan. It simply says he designed it the way he did, and the results are as should be. It simply says he designed it to bring forth grapes (it doesnt say perfect grapes, it doesnt say good grapes, it just says grapes) and that those grapes turned out to be wild.
"I submit that a reasonable exegesis is that Israel became marred in the LordÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hand, and therefore God grafted out Israel and grafted the Gentiles in." -Fred
I have no issue with this. I only have issue with "how" they became marred in the Lord's hand. You claim it happened someway other than the Lord ordaining it. I claim he ordained it, and the second he didn't ordain it...they no longer exist in his hand altogether.
"It is contrary to many other scriptures that God does not resort to wickedness. Another example:
Jeremiah 19:5 they have also built the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or speak, nor did it come into My mind." -Fred
Now THAT! is a good refutation! Amen brother. I will have to review it, and of course give it to peer review. It definitely puts a sizable dent into my side of the argument. I have no refutation for that vs ordination of all events at this point. The dent it places it not in Calvinism itself, but in my personal view of ordaining things, which I may have to reconsider now. The reason it doesn't really refute predestination is because predestination can occur to some level of design while still allowing free will to occur outside of God's mind. I think that is something you agree on, as far as I have seen our conversation go.
As for Romans 8 and your statement "It doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t fit at all with the over 100 verses in the New Testament alone where God is longsuffering that ALL be saved" -Fred
Actually, it does fit completely with all of the verses of the NT about God longsuffering that ALL be saved. There has never been a contradiction between Calvinism and God longsuffering that all be saved. Calvinism (as well as other trains of thought that aren't particularly labeled as Calvinistic) goes into great scriptural detail about God's two wills, and how they are keenly presented in scripture without a doubt. I suggest you read Martin Luther's and Jonathan Edward's works on "bondage of the will" and "freedom of the will" to get a better understanding of the two wills of God. I am pretty shabby at describing them. Scripture makes it abundantly clear, though, that God does infact have two different kinds of will.
"1 John 2:2
Your Calvinist version of predestination fits this verse like a square peg in a round hole." -Fred
"It is not Calvinism to claim that manÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s free will plays a role in salvation!" -Fred
Yes it is. The problem here is in the definition of free will. Calvinists identify their definition, but when others combat Calvinism, they often use a different definition. The Calvinist definition of free will is something similar to "The man's heart agrees to it." So, if God grants man a heart that is willing to accept Christ, then the man will freely accept the offering. The non-Calvinist definition of free will is something similar to "to be able to make the choice on a person's own free mind, without the help of others." In this manner man is not able to accept Christ of their own free will, because without the grace of God to place a new heart into a man, a man will always choose to reject God. So if a man were to choose God even though his heart were against God...it would be against his will. Remember, Calvinism embraces free will, it does not abolish it! Predestination and free will are not mutually exclusive and contradictory.
"WouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t a more appropriate response be to say you simply donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t agree with this part of Calvinism?" -Fred
No, particulary because I have read John Calvin's works and John Calvin embraces free will. It would be a more appropriate response for me to say that you have a misperception of John Calvin's works (which is entirely possible since "Calvinism" doesn't always necessarily match John Calvin's works).
As for you asking for sources to show Calvin is pro-free-will...it would take me a long while to find direct quotes from Calvin himself as I would have to first find his works, and then read them. Thus far I have failed with online maneuvurs. However, I have found a legitimate site that discusses the principles of John Calvin, and hopefully that would be enough to keep your appetite?http://geneva.rutger...ty/predest.html
Infact, as I am reading this page...it is reeeally well written and gives a GREAT detailed summation of the works on all 3 authors that I pointed out. I REALLY advise you to read the entire page to get an understanding of what my beliefs are, as they line up VERY similarly to what this page describes, at least to the part labeled "Synergism" which is where I stopped reading as it was going off topic with what we are discussing.
Also, I found a pastor I enjoy listening to (his recorded sermons) that I kinda forgot about hehe. One of his sermons is on the whole "two wills" thing. I have a link for that here, it should be a great listen for you to get the jist of what I was attempting to say.http://www.desiringg...o_Wills_in_God/
After about 30-40 minutes of online searching, hoping for direct quotes of John Calvin, I haven't found any direct ones so I shall give up that attempt for now. I think the links I provided though are a very good start at the least. Also, I gotta stop for now as I am probably 2 hours into posting this one. I will have to pick up the rest of this post later sorry.