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Predestination & Free Will


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#61 Fred Williams

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 10:22 AM

I'm picturing a bell curve. Extreme Calvinism on one end, extreme Arminianism on the other end. Missler, et al, say that both ends are wrong. But, there is the hump in the middle where Calvinism and Arminianism sort of blend together, and where they are both right. Cut the ends off, and you have some sound doctrine.

Do you suppose that is possible?

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That’s a good analogy. I guess my only problem comes down to semantics. If you look at the Westminster Confession (the Calvinist’s manifesto :) ), there is plenty to agree with in there, such as Christian essentials like the Trinity and Christ dying for our sins. Countic16 gives an analogy that I agree with as it pertains to man’s inherent nature to drift the opposite direction of God, but this really isn’t Calvinism. Another example of a problem with semantics is if I say I think the ‘P’ is wrong (Perseverance of Saints), it does not necessarily mean I think you can lose your salvation via “works”. It’s the truly Calvinistic ideas as described by the “TULIP” I believe are wrong.

What I heard once in a debate and find interesting is the 5 ‘TULIP’ tenets are so intertwined that if any one is wrong, they all are. If any one is right, the rest fall in line. I hope what I just said makes more sense as we go through this. Just consider the ULI in the TULIP (Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace). They all make sense together, but they all crumble if any one of them is wrong. The T and P are less obvious in this intertwined “all-or-none” connection, but I believe nevertheless also stand or fall with the rest.

Countic16 raises the valid point that beliefs vary among those who are Calvinists. Following is what Calvinists generally believe. If there are any of these COuntic16 rejects, then we can skip them:

General beliefs:
1) (T) Total Depravity: Man is totally depraved, and has no capacity to do something truly good in God’s eyes. Everything man does if it isn’t by “faith” or intended for God’s glory, is a sin. So if a man out of reaction pulls a child from the path of a moving car, it is a sin unless that person has “faith”.
2) (U, L) Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement: God chooses certain people to go to hell, others to go to heaven. In other words, God created some babies to suffer eternal punishment in hell, including those killed in the womb. They were essentially created for the sheer purpose of eternal damnation, all for “God’s glory”. a. It therefore follows that God ordains or predestines wickedness. Calvinists think all literally means a totality when Paul wrote “all things work together for good to those who love God (Rom 8:28)”, including when a man, even a Christian, rapes and murders a woman. They think that is all part of God’s plan. Sadly most Christians, even those who say they deny Calvinism, believe all means a literal totality in Romans 8:28, yet scores of scriptures contradict this (more later – one thing to note: it is very easy to make a case that all usually does not mean a total ‘all’ in the Bible, just do a search of the word and see if you think it means a literal ‘all’, all the time).
b. God predestined individuals, not groups.
3) (I) People have absolutely no control in the matter of salvation. Thus, the free gift can’t be accepted by the saved person, since they believe “accept” is a form of works. The person is therefore predestined to accept the gift. They have no power to resist it.
4) (P) Since a person is predestined, they will persevere in the faith with no free will of their own to decide they don’t like God anymore.
5) God ordains everything, even this debate. Thus, if I am wrong, then I can’t help it because I never had a say in the matter! :rolleyes:
6) God is completely immutable, even to the point that God has no emotions.

Note that the Calvinist I debated to start this thread, from what I gathered from the debate, believes all that I spelled out above. Countic may reject some of the above, but I submit (and will hope to demonstrate going forward) if he rejects any of the TULIP the rest should logically crumble along with it.

Fred

#62 Countic16

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 01:07 PM

Fred, I would like to start off that you did not respond to the scripture I posted. I think it is reasonable to address it, and you may yet be getting around to that. If so, please say so that I do think you are attempting to dodge a few bullets, but indeed busy or unable to address it all at once. The scripture I gave directly refutes some of the things you said. Not all of it, not most of it, just some of it.

I believe that some of the things you have said were truths were based off of human logic and not scripture, though your initial base was scripture. For instance, the way it seems to be going, you believe X scripture to be true, and X scripture could not possibly coincide with Y belief, even though Y belief is specifically stated as a truth in scripture. Therefore, scripture must have meant something else than Y when it said Y. Filling in the variables: Scripture says man has free will. Your human logic concludes free will and predestination cannot co-exist. Scripture says predestination exists. Therefore, scripture on predestination must have meant something else.

You will find my position very different. I believe both free will and predestination exist, and they are not contradictory. Whenever you post scripture showing free will, it does not counter my position of predestination. In order to counter my position of predestination, you need to cite scripture that says predestination is false. Why? Because my position comes directly from scripture saying predestination is true. I gave the scripture, you thus far have not addressed it.

As for addressing your overall post and questions of how I align with Calvinism, I will go point by point with it. I will expect that you show how, because I reject some of the things you pointed out, it makes the rest of them fall and false using scripture:

"1) 1) (T) Total Depravity: Man is totally depraved, and has no capacity to do something truly good in God’s eyes. Everything man does if it isn’t by “faith” or intended for God’s glory, is a sin. So if a man out of reaction pulls a child from the path of a moving car, it is a sin unless that person has “faith”."

True. If the man did it for selfish reasons such as his own love for the baby, his intentions were wrong, and thus sinful. If he had done it as an act following God's Love...then it was not sinful. That aside, it is completely understood that the act he committed can very well be a positive one. God does, afterall, turn to good what others intended for evil.

"2) 2) (U, L) Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement: God chooses certain people to go to hell, others to go to heaven. In other words, God created some babies to suffer eternal punishment in hell, including those killed in the womb. They were essentially created for the sheer purpose of eternal damnation, all for “God’s glory”."

True, partially. The concept is right. God chooses some for heaven, some for hell. Scripture specifically states this, despite your resentment. I will be happy to provide it if need be. For now I will not, as it will require a little leg work. However, the comment about babies was below the belt, and quite possibly false too. Baby salvation is a questionable topic in which it may be possible that all babies that die go to heaven. In other words, using babies was not appropriate for the definition because they are an added variable. It would be much easier to simply say that all humans were chosen to go to one place or the other by God, and that such decision brings glory to God.

"(2a) It therefore follows that God ordains or predestines wickedness."

True. It does mean God ordains evil to occur. Again, you will find tons of scripture to support this. There are countless times where God specifically inflicts individuals with all sorts of evil that their faith might grow, and God be greater glorified. I humbly admit this does not sound like a positive thing from the human perspective. But when evaluating scripture, I do not use just the human perspective, but the God perspective. In the end, my desire to say God could not do such things was the result of only a selfish heart on my end, when I deserved nothing.

"3) (I) People have absolutely no control in the matter of salvation. Thus, the free gift can’t be accepted by the saved person, since they believe “accept” is a form of works. The person is therefore predestined to accept the gift. They have no power to resist it."

True, partially (False, partially). It is true that people have absolutely no power in their depraved position to accept the free gift. They have the free choice, the free will. They just never choose it. God must initiate with a new heart first. Then, with the new heart, their depraved position is elevated. Again, they still have the very legitimate free will, but this time the heart has eyes to see the wisdom of God. When that happens, the heart always freely chooses, in all cases, the free gift. So where they have the choice, they lack the power. In your statement about a saved person accepting the free gift would be a form of works, I will assume you mean "the predestined to be saved person", as in they do not need to accept the gift twice. If that is the case, then the statement is correct, yes. Again, scripture even specifically states this. Scripture specifically states:

Ephesians 2:8-10 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."

Thus, it is plainly spoken in scripture. If you disagree with 2a, then please provide scripture that contradicts it and makes abundantly clear that Ephesians 2 must mean something entirely different than the obvious. In other words..."explain it away."

"4) (P) Since a person is predestined, they will persevere in the faith with no free will of their own to decide they don’t like God anymore."

False. 100% false. Predestination, again, does not mean no free will. The predestination GRANTS the heart the free will to worship. It releases the heart from the bondage of sin. This, again, is scriptural. However, your 4P position is not scripturally backed. It was a logical conclusion you made, or read, based on human logics, not scripture. You may want to evaluate that position with scripture.

"5) God ordains everything, even this debate. Thus, if I am wrong, then I can’t help it because I never had a say in the matter!"

Just a spin-off of 4.

"6) God is completely immutable, even to the point that God has no emotions"

False, 100%. God certainly has emotions. The Bible is riddled with such examples. No Calvinist would deny that. You simply implemented it as your human logical conclusion. 6) Is 100% not of Calvin. It is your own prediction and beliefs derived from Calvinism, despite the fact that Calvin himself would say God has plenty of emotions. However, as far as his Will goes, and his plans...correct, they are not changeable.

Ultimately, Fred...this issue will lay on the fact that Predestination and Free Will are not contradictory. The Bible says they are not. You seem to be unwilling to relent to that. Feel free to give more examples of why you feel they cannot be reconcilable, and thus why the Bible must be wrong in certain scriptures. I will be more than happy to point out the failures of human logic in trying to keep the two separate.

#63 Fred Williams

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 03:28 PM

Countic16, going forward I would like to suggest that within our posts, we highlight up to 3 specific questions we would like answered. This puts a little structure around the debate, without letting it get too formal.

A child is presented with the option to eat green beans or a cookie. The child absolutely loves cookies, and hates green beans. Every time that child is given the choice by his mother "would you like green beans or a cookie?" the child chooses the cookie. He absolutely always makes that choice, never sways. Now, would you say the child did not have the option to eat green beans? Absolutely not. The choice was there, it was never made for green beans.

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I agree with your analogy, but only as it pertains to man’s inherent nature to not seek after God, to not “choose” God. But you are missing my point. Calvinism teaches “Total Depravity”, 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. 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. So to get the context we should look at the entire passage, and especially the entire Bible. We know from surrounding passages that breaking just one law is all it takes to fall short of the glory of God. We also know from the Bible that there are occasional examples of good deeds by unbelievers.

A proper refutation would be to cite scripture in which a human had done a good work for the wrong intent, and yet pleased God.


What if the person did a good work with the right intent? The problem is that you have played with semantics on what “right” is, then create an unfalsifiable position. We have plenty of examples of good deeds in the Bible from unbelievers, with no indication God viewed it as “sin”. A classic example:

Luke 10:33-37 But a certain Samaritan , as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.' So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?" And he said, "He who showed mercy on him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."

If the Calvinist is to take his position seriously, then Jesus is really telling him, “Go and sin likewise”. :rolleyes:

QUESTION #1: Countic, how do you reconcile the good Samaritan with Total Depravity?

Me: "It [Susan Smith being predestined to drown her kids] is refuted by scores of scripture, literally the whole Bible." -Fred

Countic16: Right, /agreed. And thus why it does not hold as a Calvinist position, as a Calvinist position always does its best to uphold scripture.


Please do not take this in a combative way, it is meant with respect, but this is a textbook case of “begging the question”. You reject this as a Calvinist position because you assume Calvinism upholds scripture. I know many a Calvinist who believe all things are predestined, not just a person’s salvation. If you do not that is fine, but you cannot claim this isn’t what Calvinism teaches just because you agree it doesn’t jive with scripture. Calvinism does teach all things are predestined. Consider:

“This prescience extends to the whole circuit of the world, and to all creatures. By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man.” – John Calvin. http://www.layman.or...destination.htm

Me: "Easy, it’s a matter of semantics. The Hebrew word used for evil in this verse can also mean"

Thats pickin' an choosin'. It also means straight evil. The scripture also states he creates darkness and scripture is riddled with the contrast of darkness and the light meaning good and evil. It takes a lot of "explaining away" to make the passage mean something other than what it says.


Would you agree that ‘pickin' an choosin' is when you pick exceptions to try to prove the rule? It is you who is doing this, not me. Would you like to keep score. :) I only gave you two verses when I could have given you dozens more. But I really only need one verse, that you already admitted poses a contradiction. Whereas my position is not in contradiction, since you have also admitted that evil can also mean calamity. Only one position prevents a contradiction.

QUESTION #2: Do you think the word evil in Isaiah 45:7 is essentially equivalent to “despicable, wicked act”? If not, please explain why.

The reason I want to emphasize this is because I don’t necessarily disagree with your “hot/cold” “light/darkness” treatise; I do however disagree with the Calvinist belief that God will himself resort to wickedness to bring about a greater good. Way too many passages refute this. Another example:

Jer 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.

This passage also strongly refutes the Calvinist who believes God ordains all things. Can God allow wickedness to occur to achieve a greater good? Yes, as Job and Joseph are good examples. But did God predestine the wickedness, no.

I would like you to address Ephesians 1:4: "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love."


This passage would be very hard for my camp to explain if it where not for two key words in this passage: “in him”. Why do you think the Holy Spirit injected these two words? If your position is correct, these words are not needed. What these words do is allow the possibility that God’s plan of a Savior was predestined. I’m not claiming this refutes your position, but I hope you at least see that it allows for another conclusion.

I posted Ephesians 1:4 in the last post, but really, 5 and 6 are really important also. So when I asked you to address Ephesians 4, please extend that to 5 and 6 as well, as they are abundantly clear that predestination is a truth of the Bible. Infact, it is brought up a couple more times in the following verses as well, if you feel the need to read further.

Ephesians 1:4-6 "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved"


It further explains what I have alluded to, that predestination is about groups and not individuals. Notice the plural in this passage. God predestined “us”, those who accept Jesus’ gift, into the adoption of Jesus. Again, if this is about individuals, why didn’t the Holy Spirit explicitly say so? This passage clearly allows for the possibility that God predestined Jesus to die for our sins, and therefore predestined those who believe in Jesus to be adopted into Christ.. The predestined is the entire group of believers, not a list of individuals like “Fred, Counitc16, …”.

We therefore need to go to the rest of the Bible to find out if it refers to individuals, or groups. How about Romans 9, the Calvinist heavy artillery? Within the Calvinist own favorite stomping grounds is where we can determine if groups are being talked about, or individuals. Would you like to try to make a case that God hated Esau the individual? (Rom 9:13)?

I would also like you to address the passage John 6:44 "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day" which is specifically saying that God initiates all salvation, and no man can choose prior to that.


I agree completely, this has nothing to do with Calvinism, and everything to do with Armenianism theology, which as I mentioned earlier I also believe is unscriptural. :)

Me:
"But wait a minute. Isn’t Israel the “elect”? It says so in Isa 45:4 and Isa 65:9. But here you say Israel isn’t the elect? You Calvinists are so silly."

This isn't an issue just for Calvinists again. It would be an issue for all Christianity. However, I believe I have answered the question with the above, since the scripture I gave specifically states that "Not all of Israel is Israel."


That we are “the new Israel” is a whole other debate that maybe we can visit some other time or in another thread. I will say that you dodged the problem. :) If you read the context of Isaiah 45:4, all indications are that it refers to the nation as a whole, and not just the faithful remnant. For example: “Isa 45:4 have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.”

God created Satan to do exactly as he does….God must have created him, and with that very intention as ordained. Its a hard concept to swallow.


It’s hard to swallow because it’s not scriptural. :) In light of Prov 8:8-9 and 1 Cor 14:33, if something is "hard to swallow" its probably becuase its wrong. Where does the Bible say God created Satan to commit wickedness?

Consider the following, and note that God "chose" Satan!

Ezek 28:14-16 "You were the anointed cherub who covers;
I established you;
You were on the holy mountain of God;
You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.
You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created,
Till iniquity was found in you.
"By the abundance of your trading
You became filled with violence within,
And you sinned;


God did not cause Satan to sin, Satan chose to sin. Just read all of Ezek 28 and it becomes very clear.

Ezek 28:2, Biblical version: "Because your heart is lifted up, And you say, 'I am a god, ...".
Ezek 28:2, Calvinist version: "Because I caused your heart to be lifted up, And I caused you to say, 'I am a god, ...".

QUESTION 3: If God predestined individuals for heaven and hell, how do you reconcile this belief with Matt 23:37:

Matt 23:37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! ”

Thanks again for your patience.

Fred

#64 Countic16

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 03:43 PM

Great post, and words. It has brought some scripture to attend to that makes your point one worth noting. I will have to take some time to chew on all that you said, so expect a little break until I officially respond!

#65 Countic16

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 07:13 PM

I've really gotta take this in small chunks, so you will not see me addressing every point tonight. As is usual, each post from any poster makes the next post's response longer lol. Eventually one starts to dread posting because of the length alone. But here are some of my initial thoughts, to chew on:

Your question about the Samaritan answered:

Verse 36 and 37 says "Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?and he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise."

It is key to note that the moral of this passage is not of what was done for God, his glory, and ultimate righteousness. The moral of this passage was to emphasize brotherly love. Brotherly love, in and of itself, is a good moral, a good deed. The Samaritan, if he did not do the act for the glory of God, did infact sin. He still did a morally good act, but with the wrong intention (perhaps to feel good about himself and develop a sense of rebellious pride? The Bible does not say in this specific example, as the topic being discussed was not the emphasis in Christ's teaching at this point).

"If the Calvinist is to take his position seriously, then Jesus is really telling him, “Go and sin likewise”." -Fred

No, the action was always good. The intent was wrong. When Jesus commands him to do the action, he is commanding him to do a good action, with good intent (God's glory), thus the only truly righteous deed possible.

"but this is a textbook case of “begging the question”." -Fred

I refuted your point, though. If "begging the question" is the best you can refute with, then that just means the mind who "begged the question" didn't think it through thoroughly. In math we are told to "check" our answer by plugging it back into the equation to see if it comes out right. That is what a person must do here, to determine causation vs potential relation. You may have found some sort of relation, but not causation. If there is relation, they may both have a similar cause and both be effects of that cause. So let us see how that plays out:

Susan Smith believes she is doing the work of God as she drowns her children. Her logic contradicts scripture, because scripture says not to murder. Sin, therefore, has some sort of reign over her, whether it be deception, insanity, hatred for her children, etc etc...thus she is totally depraved and commits an act due to her total depravity and inability to be righteous and/or follow the law of God.

How is that against scripture? How is that against Calvinism?

Your original point was that "if she believes her intent was Godly, that makes the action Godly." and that said point was Calvinistic. It is not Calvinistic. Calvinism makes no such claim that intent for God automatically = righteous. The action itself must be Godly, the intent must be Godly, and it must follow Godly guidelines...aka scripture. To suggest that intent = turns any act into righteous with no restrictions is equating Calvinism to Atheism in which any moral can be made up by any individual to be righteous. You know as well as I do that Calvinism makes no such claims. Calvinism claims predestination. Predestination is nothing similar to "Free Will to turn intent into righteousness."

"Would you agree that ‘pickin' an choosin' is when you pick exceptions to try to prove the rule?" -Fred

No, I do not. If there are blatant exceptions, then the exceptions as well as the general rule must be incorporated together. Regardless, what I meant by "pickin and choosin" was that you are choosing an interpretation that is "off of the plainly clear." You had stated you always prefer to believe what is the plainly clear. The plainly clear is that evil is what it says....evil. The plainly clear is that if scripture says God ordained evil, then God indeed did ordain evil. That you wish to believe it to mean something else is to stray away from what was plainly clear. In addition, I am fully aware that there is plenty of scripture that separates God from evil in the same way that righteousness is separate from evil. You, with human logic, have assumed that those two verses are contradictory, if to be taken "plainly as written", and therefore use a different interpretation away from what is said. I, however, do not take "God created evil" to be contradictory to "God is righteous and apart from evil." Just the same as I do not take predestination to be a contradiction to free will. You make this abundantly clear in admittance with:

"Whereas my position is not in contradiction, since you have also admitted that evil can also mean calamity. Only one position prevents a contradiction." -Fred

So I would like to, at this point, emphasis the point that "God ordaining evil to exist" does not contradict "God being righteous and apart from evil." The burden of proof would lie in your hands to show that the two are a contradiction, but I will go into explanation of it myself.

The problem lies in the 3-O God and the existence of evil. The points made:

Omnipotence: All powerful
Omniscient: All knowing
Omnibenevolent: All Good

Problem: Evil exists.

Question: How can a 3-O God exist if evil exists? Would not an all powerful God use his power to prevent evil if he knew how, which an omniscient God would know how, assuming he wished for goodness to abound?

Any persons attempt as resolving the problem will result in redefining/attacking one of the 3-O principles, as no theist is willing to acknowledge evil's non-existence.

The Armeniast attempt at solution: Attack/redefine Omnipotence. In this case, introduce free will, and state that God is either unwilling to control free will (moderate) or that God is unable to control free will (extreme). (A) If he is unwilling, it is for some other higher priority (perhaps his own glory by demonstrating contrast between good and evil, to thus show his own greatness). Keep that moderate view in mind for later purposes. If he is unable, then this is a direct attack against his omnipotence, and anti-Biblical.

The Calvinist attempt at solution:

Attack/redefine Omnibenevolence. In this case, the typical understanding of omnibenevolence by a natural rational human mind is to consider human welfare as God's top priority. "Whatever is best and most favourable for humans is what is most benevolent." (B) However, the Calvinist's approach is not human welfare, but God's welfare. In otherwords, omnibenevolence is "Whatever is best and most favourable for God" particularly his own glory, as he has no direct needs.

If we assume the said position, (B), then whatever demonstrates God's glory the best would be the most omnibenevolent circumstance. It is perfectly rational to the human mind, through our own experiences, that the things we appreciate the most are the things that we have only for a temporary period, in which we have periods without those things and thus realize our affection for them. When we lack the things we desire, we appreciate them more. Thus, the introduction of evil in our lives gives us the opportunity to more greatly appreciate righteousness. Thus, God is glorified more greatly.

If you will notice, I labeled two parts, A and B. Compare them side by side. A is an Armeniast standpoint, B is a Calvinist standpoint. Notice how similar they are? Infact, they are nearly identical. They both re-define omnibenevolence in the same manner, though one makes a point of it while the other does not. They would be totally identical if not for one exception...the armeniast standpoint detriments God's omnipotence. Infact, the Calvinist point can be done and retain God's true omnipotence, and thus has less limitation against God...yet having all the same positives of the (A) position of Armeniasts. Less limitations against God *always* is a better avenue.

So you see, its entirely possible for God to be omnibenevolent and yet be the author of all things good and evil in this world. Scripture does, afterall, explicitly state it in *exactly* that manner.

"Can God allow wickedness to occur to achieve a greater good? Yes, as Job and Joseph are good examples. But did God predestine the wickedness, no." -Fred

Scripture says otherwise, plainly. But you have to interpret away from the plain in order to believe otherwise.

Ok, onwards to the next section in which you address some scripture I posted. Mainly, on the "in him" parts of the text.

"If your position is correct, these words are not needed" -Fred

No, if my position is correct, these words are still needed. "In him" is referring to the necessity of grace, not anything else. The context is pretty "plain" about this. However, your reasoning was:

"What these words do is allow the possibility that God’s plan of a Savior was predestined" -Fred

Not that I disagree with the fact that Christ as our Saviour was a predestined plan, but that is not what this text is saying...at all. "In him" is a preposition. The basic sentence structure is "he hath chosen us...before the foundation of the world." That is THE basic statement being proclaimed. I am not ignoring the "in him" part, just purifying the origin. The "in him" adds detail to the statement being made, but does not defract the meaning behind the statement. In the end, the "in him" does not add any actual possibility of different meaning. It adds some details on top of an already plain meaning. Remember...the importance of the sentence is "he has chosen us" and "he has done that before the foundation of the world". To think it means anything else is to interpret it very differently than what it actually says.

"It further explains what I have alluded to, that predestination is about groups and not individuals." -Fred

I am not exactly sure what you mean by your statements about groups vs individuals, nor its relevance so please go into more detail. The Bible is a book that speaks to Christians as a whole. It would be hard for God to communicate an individual book for each individual person with the way our world is designed. I do not recall any part of the Bible talking to "Aron" or "Fred", let alone a whole book designed and tailored for each one of us specifically. So I am not sure where you are going with it, as obviously the Bible must use the word "us" to refer to any and all Christians regarding any and all messages it proclaims. In the end...I fail to see how this devalues predestination.

"The predestined is the entire group of believers, not a list of individuals like “Fred, Counitc16, …”." -Fred

Riiiight...and I am failing to see how this is against predestination in general. In order to predestinate a group of people, he would have to fill that group with individuals. A group without individuals is, afterall, empty. If he predestinates a group, he would have to hand select each and every person of that group. Otherwise its just a concept, not an actual body. Scripture does not suggest or even hint at God predestinating a concept to salvation...but a very live and living physical body of people.

"Would you like to try to make a case that God hated Esau the individual?" -Fred (Referring to Romans 9:13)

God said it, not me. "As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated."

Are you seriously asking me to defend the plain written word? I mean...you are asking the exact question that the very next 3 verses answers:

Romans 9:14-16 "What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy."

I don't have to defend it. Its doing its own defending very well, heh. I mean, I can understand that you resent what the very word itself says, but that doesn't make you right. This is touching on the ultimate root of evil in man, pride...aka rebellion. Man deserves nothing from God. Man's heart is utterly vile. Thats scripture's word, not mine.

Genesis 8:21 "for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth"

Psalm 51:5 "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me."

Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"

Romans 3:10-18 "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one."

Now, I know previously you have argued that "all" does not always mean "all" and rightly so. But the above passage is making explicit case that when God says all he meant all, because he uses the negative to show no exception.

Romans 7:18 "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not"

Thus, there is plenty of scripture proving total depravity. I do not know how you can read it any other way. It is plainly stated as so. Infact, here is a neat insert and thought from a website I found:

"Total? or Absolute?
Yet, despite these clear teachings of Scripture, many try to evade and even deny this self-evident truth. It has been taught that man is totally depraved but not absolutely depraved. Although the phrase "total depravity" ought to allow no shadow of doubt concerning the corrupt state of man, some still insist that there is some goodness in natural man. They insist therefore that man is not absolutely depraved. The illustration is used of a bushel of rotten apples. That bushel could be described as totally rotten if each apple had some rotten spot -- yet perhaps also had some good parts. The bushel of apples would be absolutely rotten if each apple were wholly rotten. So it is said that each part of man's being is touched by the rottenness of sin -- but each part is not necessarily completely corrupt. This whole idea is an attempt to deny total depravity and yet retain the term. Man is either depraved, and that is complete -- or he is not depraved."

http://www.prca.org/...amphlet_45.html

Now, relate back to Paul in Romans 7:18, and which is Paul describing? He, without a doubt, is describing absolute depravity in the sense that the entire batch of apples is wholly rotten.

"That we are “the new Israel” is a whole other debate that maybe we can visit some other time or in another thread. I will say that you dodged the problem. If you read the context of Isaiah 45:4, all indications are that it refers to the nation as a whole, and not just the faithful remnant." -Fred

I do not disagree that Isaiah was referring to the nation as a whole. The point is the Bible has cases where it means the nation as a whole, the bloodline as a whole, and sometimes just the spiritual chosen. The Bible does a pretty good of differentiating each of them. It was not a dodging of the problem, but stating that the Bible differentiates them, and even explicitly differentiates them. I don't know about you, but again its pretty plain when plainly read "Not all of Israel is of Israel." Infact, even in the OT God is seen consistently "choosing" one child of a Jew over his brother for which the spiritual covenant will be continued through.

"God did not cause Satan to sin, Satan chose to sin. Just read all of Ezek 28 and it becomes very clear." -Fred

It definitely is not clear that God did not ordain Satan to becoming a sinful creature. You assume it is, because that is how you interpret it. The plain text does not reveal causation...at all. How are you reading it as so? It is entirely possible (and has nothing to say either way, as this specific scripture does not intend to express the point) that God ordained Satan to be exactly how he is, and that at one point, Satan fulfilled that which was ordained, and thus found.

But incase you think otherwise, how could you possibly read:

Matthew 4:10 "Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."

Notice how this is a command, from Christ himself. If this is a command, and Satan is not obeying it, then what does this say about God's authority and power? Could it be that Satan's evil works are done as a servant to God, by his ordained view of the operation of the world, as the part that Satan is intended to play?

Or how about Jesus and Judas?

"Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly."

But just incase you still think the animate objects of this world do not do God's command in obedience by his power and authority: (The Centurion)

Matthew 8:9-10 "For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel."

"If God predestined individuals for heaven and hell, how do you reconcile this belief with Matt 23:37:" -Fred

Have you not read the literary works of Christians that explains God's Two Wills? His Sovereign Will, and the Will of his desire? Note: The works use scripture to give point-by-point reasoning as to why there are, infact, two wills, when scripture describes God's Will...literally to the point that the scripture says God has two wills. If you have not read the material, including the scriptural comparisons, then it makes sense that you have a hard time reconciling predestination with Matthew 23. However, predestination is certainly reconcilable with the fact that God has not chosen all of those who he wished to save. He wishes to save all, but in order to maintain his ultimate O "omnibenevolence"...he must choose some to perish, to not give them the gift of a new heart.

Keep in mind, when scripture says "and ye would not!" it does not serve as contradiction to predestination, because like I have previously posted...Calvinists still uphold free will as well as predestination. So it is, indeed, very real that the people choose to reject God as scripture says, and yet not a contradiction to predestination.

*Edit* So much for small chunks....lol

#66 Fred Williams

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 10:49 PM

It is key to note that the moral of this passage is not of what was done for God, his glory, and ultimate righteousness. The moral of this passage was to emphasize brotherly love. Brotherly love, in and of itself, is a good moral, a good deed. The Samaritan, if he did not do the act for the glory of God, did infact sin.

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Consider what you just said here, then consider what you later wrote about “total depravity”. According to you no one is capable of doing any good whatsoever. You cited the well-known “no one does good” and the “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” passages. If we take those verses in the literal wooden sense which you insist we should do, then the Samaratan not only was incapable of doing a good act, he was incapable of glorifying God while he was doing the act! You say it’s not a sin if he glorifies God, but you later say no man can glorify God because man is totally corrupt! So which is it? ;) Do you ever get a headache with the calisthenics you have to go through to support Calvinism. :)

Regarding the “no one does good” verses, when taken in the context of the entirety of the Bible they refer to man’s fallen state and his inward desire to seek darkness rather than light. Man is ultimately doomed and can’t save himself (thank God for Christ who can save us). But to say man is incapable of doing any good whatsoever in God’s eyes is not only against common sense, it’s refuted by scores of verses. I already gave the classic good Samaritan example. Here is another one: Was King David absolutely and utterly depraved? If so, why did God say that David was a man “after his own heart” (Acts 13:22). Or do you believe only the saved and “faithful” are capable of “doing good”?

Question 1a: Was King David totally and absolutely depraved?
Question 1b: Have you ever done anything to praise God? If so, are you still totally and absolutely depraved?


"but this is a textbook case of “begging the question”." -Fred
I refuted your point, though.


A logical fallacy can never be a refutation, but I don’t want to go down this path because debating philosophies of logic will only detract from the debate. Post your comment on another forum that discusses logic and you’ll find out quickly that it was indeed a fallacy. :)

Your original point was that "if she [Susan Smith]believes her intent was Godly, that makes the action Godly." and that said point was Calvinistic. It is not Calvinistic.


That was not my point at all. Calvinism claims that our very lives are predestined, even our actions (I was even predestined not to believe in Calvinism:) ). God supposedly also predestined our death, which would therefore mean he ordained every murder that ever occurred. Thus, God, before the foundations of the earth, predestined Susan Smith to kill her kids. Calvinists misuse Psalms 139 and Romans 8:28, among other scripture, to support such a frankly blasphemous claim.

You had stated you always prefer to believe what is the plainly clear. The plainly clear is that evil is what it says....evil. The plainly clear is that if scripture says God ordained evil, then God indeed did ordain evil. That you wish to believe it to mean something else is to stray away from what was plainly clear.


You are misusing (spinning) the intent of the “plainly clear” passage that I cited (Prov 8:8-9), by changing its meaning to embrace everything as wooden literal. Do you think Jesus is made of wood? (John 10:9). Of course not. You recognize that John 10:9 plainly means that Jesus is the path to salvation, just as you should recognize that Isaiah 45:7 plainly means calamity (unless you want to ignore scores of verses that contradict your position that evil=wickedness in Isaiah 45:7).

Here are the facts regarding Isaiah 45:7 that are worth re-visiting one more time:

1) You’ve already admitted that there are other verses that seem to contradict that God would do “evil”.
2) You’ve already admitted the word “evil” used in the Isaiah 45:7 could just as easily mean calamity, and even allude to the fact that God “allows” evil (which I agree with). Yet you later contradict yourself when you say that “Scripture does, afterall, explicitly state it in *exactly* that manner.” [that God is the “author of all things good and evil”]. So you return to saying “evil” in Isaiah 45:7 can’t mean calamity, despite the scores of other verses that say God is not the author of any kind of wickedness.
3) You refused to answer my direct question (recall that I asked at the very least we answer three highlighted questions in the post). Do you think the word evil in Isaiah 45:7 is essentially equivalent to “despicable, wicked act”? It’s a simple yes/no question.

Regarding your discourse on God’s sovereignty, a Calvinist favorite maneuver, I would like to counter with the following questions:

“Is God incapable of allowing man’s free will to play a role in salvation”? “Is God incapable of changing a predestined future?” If God is incapable of these things, doesn’t this challenge His sovereignty?

No, if my position is correct, these words are still needed. "In him" is referring to the necessity of grace... In the end, the "in him" does not add any actual possibility of different meaning.


Do you really think that if “In him” is left out of Ephesians 1:4-6, that Calvinism would fall? Sometimes in a debate it’s OK to say you just aren’t sure and need to research or think about it further. :rolleyes:

There clearly is a possibility this verse could refer to a group (the Body of Christ) being predestined, and not each individual separately. It’s fine to disagree with the possibility I gave, but to claim this verse disallows the possibility would lead me to believe you have no intention of giving up the sacred cow and have already made up your mind despite the literally thousands of scriptures I can use to refute the 5 major tenets (TULIP) of Calvinism.

If he predestinates a group, he would have to hand select each and every person of that group. Otherwise its just a concept, not an actual body.


Not true, I can give you many analogous examples. For example, Amtrak plans ahead many of its routes. It “predestines” a train to go from Denver to Kansas City. Amtrak knows people will be on the train, but doesn’t “need” to individually pick them. Instead, people can choose whether or not they take the train to KC. God predestined a group (the Body of Christ) to be saved “in Him” (Christ). God need not hand-pick the individuals who get saved. In fact we know clearly this cannot be the case since Christ died for all, not just the “chosen” (Now we are getting into the ‘U’ and ‘L’ in Calvinism, Unconditional Election & Limited Atonement). There are over 100 verses in the New Testament alone that Calvinists have to re-interpret to get around this problem. For example,

Question 2: Please explain to the audience the meaning of the following verse:

“And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. ” - 1 John 2:2

This is a direct refutation in scripture of Limited atonement. After this, we could go through over 100 more in the New Testament alone, if you would like to exercise your calisthenics further. :)

Me: Would you like to try to make a case that God hated Esau the individual?" (Referring to Romans 9:13)

God said it, not me. "As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated."

Are you seriously asking me to defend the plain written word? I mean...you are asking the exact question that the very next 3 verses answers:

Romans 9:14-16 "What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy."


Since Paul is quoting the Old Testament, I would hope you would agree that it would be a good idea to go to the source of the quote to get the context. This is a direct quote of Malachi 1:2-3. If you read this chapter, it is indisputable that God is referring to Jacob and Esau as nations, not the individuals themselves. Now that we have the proper context, Romans 9:14-16 makes a lot more sense. We don’t have to scratch our heads and wonder how God could show mercy on one unborn baby, and not another. You objected to this argument earlier, but it’s part of what Calvinism teaches (that God chooses certain unborn babies to suffer torment in hell forever), which further illustrates that this is not the God we read about in the Bible. If you do not believe this, fine, as we’ve already acknowledged that not all Calvinists believe all things Calvinism. But it is a Calvinist teaching nonetheless, and unless you believe as they do (no age of accountability) you are not being consistent with your position. Why would God need an age of accountability if He is going to pick and choose before the foundation of the world who gets to go suffer in hell?

I mean, I can understand that you resent what the very word itself says, but that doesn't make you right.


Let’s try to stick to scripture and not emotion. I don’t “resent” scripture any more than I think you do.

He wishes to save all, but in order to maintain his ultimate O "omnibenevolence"...he must choose some to perish, to not give them the gift of a new heart.


Caustic16, do you seriously think this is the straightforward interpretation of Matt 23:37? I’ll post it for people to make up there own minds:

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” - Matt 23:37-38

It sure sounds like the people were willfully rejecting God, and were not ordained to reject God by God. Your version just doesn't fit. It’s why you need to suggest to me that I go and read “literary work of Christians” instead of reading the Bible and trusting the clear, plain, straightforward meaning.

The plain text does not reveal causation...at all. How are you reading it as so? It is entirely possible … that God ordained Satan to be exactly how he is, and that at one point, Satan fulfilled that which was ordained, and thus found.


It’s not possible because if God ordained Satan to create evil, then the Bible is in contradiction. Everything in Ezek 28:14-16 points to Satan bringing about his own doom, only a Calvinist trying to fit a round peg in a square hole would see otherwise. I came up with a good motto for the Calvinists to use. Instead the devil made me do it, “God made me do it!”

Question 3: If God ordains everything, then how do you explain the following verse:

Isa 5:3-4 "And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, Judge, please, between Me and My vineyard. What more could have been done to My vineyard That I have not done in it? Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes ,Did it bring forth wild grapes ?”

Fred

#67 Countic16

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 04:26 PM

"You say it’s not a sin if he glorifies God, but you later say no man can glorify God because man is totally corrupt! So which is it?" -Fred


The two are not opposites. I do not see why a person has to choose one or the other. Its completely fine, and scriptural, to say a man cannot glorify God (on his own, without already having the faith in God...if specifics are needed), and that glorifying God is not a sin. Infact, thats the essence of the gospel message. So I am left to wonder if you meant to write your thoughts differently than you did? Because the two things you stated...are not even *apparently* contradictory. They go hand in hand.

"According to you no one is capable of doing any good whatsoever" -Fred


Well, now, lets be fair. According to the Bible. I gave the passages. The passages were clear, simple, and plain. I do not take credit for the claim. Personally, if I were to have it my way, I would probably make the world so that people were "generally good." But I'm not God. I don't have that ability. But thats how I would want to think of things, from my perspective.

"Do you ever get a headache with the calisthenics you have to go through to support Calvinism" -Fred


I do get a headache from time to time trying to figure out the mysteries of God, for sure. But I do not do it in defense of Calvinism. I simply state what scripture says. Sometimes there are *apparent* contradictions that are not true/absolute contradictions in the Bible. In those cases, we as Christians are left to use a little reason to figure out how it all works together. One of the basic principles on which I revolve my thinking is that of "do as much as possible to find an explanation that does not limit God, his authority, his power, his benevolence." It is, infact, the highest and utmost priority that I have when applying reason. The second priority, a close second, would be to try to make the Bible make sense with human logics and emotional responses. If a person puts emotional response and personal opinion/reflection first, they will often come up with the armeniast point of view. If they put God first, they will come up with the Calvinist point of view more often. One tries to compensate "goodness" according to the human perspective when they try to explain things like how God could let evil exist. Unfortunately, there is very little wiggle room. So who/what suffers? The principle in the person's head? Or God? Who takes the fall in negotiation cutbacks of logic? Ultimately, I do not put human principle ahead of God principle. And in the process, I try to keep personal opinion out of it as best as I can.

"But to say man is incapable of doing any good whatsoever in God’s eyes is not only against common sense, it’s refuted by scores of verses" -Fred


Again...scripture says it. Not me. Paul makes it abundantly clear, context and all, that man is incapable of doing any good whatsoever. It is EXPLICIT. I gave the verses. I do not know how to make those verses any more clear than they are already written:

Romans 3:12 "All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one"

Romans 7:18 "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not."

So let us put the process together:

Unsaved Man: Cannot glorify God. Acts not by the spirit. Everything he does is of the flesh and sinful. No, not one single act is ever glorifying God.

Saved Man: Can still dishonor God. But can also glorify God. As far as physical actions go, his flesh will still screw up. However, his heart is aligned with God. Even when his flesh does wrong, his heart wishes it not. Thus, God is glorified by the intention, intention leads to repentance, repentance to forgiveness....all through grace. This does not make every action a saved man does as righteous. It simply reflects the intention of the spirit of the man in at least attempting to do what is right, even if he fails.

The key thing people do not understand about the "salvation: a ticket to sin" concept is that the heart is changed in man when he is saved. He is guided by the spirit. He wishes no longer to do evil. Being that he is not under the law, he could technically very well do sinful things and get away with it (thus the ticket to sin part...). However, even with the opportunity, the saved man will never choose that path. His flesh may catch him up in it, but the saved man's spiritual heart NEVER chooses the unrighteous path away from God. Thus, the guidance of the Holy Spirit and its strength. So though there is that *potential* for a ticket to sin, its never realized. And its never realized because of a very free will and desire to choose righteousness on behalf of the saved spiritual heart.

I know it was important to you (not to me really, but it was to you) that the predestination verse I gave had "in him" in it. You gave a hussle about it. Well, I found another verse using predestination...and this time without the "in him."

Romans 8:30 "Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified"

"Here is another one: Was King David absolutely and utterly depraved? If so, why did God say that David was a man “after his own heart” (Acts 13:22). Or do you believe only the saved and “faithful” are capable of “doing good”?" -Fred


David, prior to God giving him a righteous heart, definitely would have been totally and utterly depraved. It is an abundantly clear theme in the OT that those of the "chosen" bloodlines to uphold God's convenant were not blood-related at all, but rather spirit-related. God chose certain people to seek after him. God chose David to be one of those people. I also believe that "the chosen" people of the OT are those who followed God faithfully knowing there would be a savior to spare them from judgement to come in the future...and thus still saved "Christians." of that time. No, it does not reflect the entire bloodline of the Jewish heritage. It reflects the "chosen ones" to keep God's covenant as God specifically declares in OT scripture. Thus, since David is one individual of God's chosen body (we now call Christians) he definitely had capability of glorifying God.

"Question 1b: Have you ever done anything to praise God? If so, are you still totally and absolutely depraved" -Fred


Absolutely. I have done things to praise God, after I was saved. Before I chose salvation I did not do one thing, no not a single action, in my entire life to praise God. If I did anything "for good" it was really just to glorify myself in some manner. It was to cater to my own personal pride. Pride...the worst vice a human can have. The essence and cause of rebellion. By experience, I can verify that I was "totally and absolutely depraved." When I received Christ, was given a new heart, my spirit was no longer dead to the flesh. Though the flesh is T&A depraved, my new heart does the Will of God and gives him glory, and finally makes me capable of doing "truly good things."

"A logical fallacy can never be a refutation" -Fred


You never presented a logical fallacy. You presented your personal thoughts. I refuted them with scripture. If you wish to verify and prove your thoughts as right, then do so. Thus far you haven't. I see you do not wish to go down that path, which is respectable. But until that path is walked, you cannot state it as a logical fallacy. Thoroughness is important.

"Calvinists misuse Psalms 139 and Romans 8:28, among other scripture, to support such a frankly blasphemous claim" -Fred


If its scripture stating it plainly, it cannot be blasphemous. The only thing being blasphemed in a case such as that, is blasphemy against your personal convictions. 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 are misusing (spinning) the intent of the “plainly clear” passage that I cited (Prov 8:8-9), by changing its meaning to embrace everything as wooden literal" -Fred


I am not spinning anything. It is said as it is said. If I could choose to have it my way, I would try to play it off that God was not the ordinator of all things good and evil in this world. The Bible, however, has a different view. It was a view I had to conform to, with difficulty. Its never easy for a person to grasp the true power and nature of God when it means recognizing the origin of evil and its required purpose.

"You recognize that John 10:9 plainly means that Jesus is the path to salvation, just as you should recognize that Isaiah 45:7 plainly means calamity" -Fred


No, its very easy to recognize the allegory plainly in John 10:9, as it is very easy to recognize the word "evil" to mean "evil" in Isaiah 45:7. It is even clarified right afterwards when God proclaims he is the creator of all light and darkness, amongst countless scriptures that refer to darkness as absolute evil, separation from God. Its only not easy to recognize this plainly when one has a fixation in their mind of a God who could not have been the ordinator of evil without contradicting their own personal beliefs.

"unless you want to ignore scores of verses that contradict your position that evil=wickedness in Isaiah 45:7" -Fred

I wish to see them, then. Because I know you are going to bring up verses such as "for what does good have to do with evil?" in the New Testament. There is a difference between ordaining evil to exist, and God committing evilness. Infact, it is against God's nature to commit evil. The very definition of evil, from a God perspective, is to do "that which is against God." Its a self-contradiction. Cannot be done, by nature of essence. If (an extreme case) God murders a person, its not a sin. The point is that God needs no lawyer to defend himself from humans. Again, plenty of scripture specifically stating that: The pot may not demand from the potter. Please don't put human concepts of "right and wrong" morals above God. I forget which line of Greek philosophy that follows, but it essentially deifies certain moral rules as innately true. The Bible does not teach such principles. The Bible teaches that "What God ordains is what is morally good or evil." Good and Evil do not have innately true moral values outside of what God defines them as.

"You’ve already admitted that there are other verses that seem to contradict that God would do “evil”." -Fred

According to the rational human perspective. Do not neglect important fundamentals. I never remotely admitted an *actual* contradiction, from the Biblical perspective...outside of human bias.

"You’ve already admitted the word “evil” used in the Isaiah 45:7 could just as easily mean calamity, and even allude to the fact that God “allows” evil (which I agree with). Yet you later contradict yourself when you say that “Scripture does, afterall, explicitly state it in *exactly* that manner.”" -Fred

No. I stated it *could* mean calamity, correct. I also very keenly pointed out that the context around the word makes it abundantly clear that calamity was not what was meant, but that the whole absolute value to the word "evil" was meant, which includes calamity under its umbrella. There was no contradiction. There was articulation, clarification, and specification...all done by scripture, not me.

"So you return to saying “evil” in Isaiah 45:7 can’t mean calamity" -Fred

I never said that. Please don't put words into your opponent's mouth. I said it meant evil, and calamity can certainly fit under that word, as PART of the meaning of its whole value. Why are you arguing semantics when the semantics were made abundantly clear? This type of argumentation is getting frighteningly similar to the methods you describe atheists and evolutionists use against creation. You haven't found a way out of the scripture I presented, so are you trying to re-write what I said to hopefully get a different meaning out of it?

Please, I ask of you only what you ask of evolutionists and atheists: Provide the scriptural refutation. So far, you have given an abundance of scripture that you considered "contradictory to my beliefs" but thus far are wholly incorporated in my beliefs. The Bible says both predestination and free will exist. You say they cannot exist together. That is an assumption made by you, of which there is no scriptural referance to base that assumption on. Nowhere in the Bible is there a statement made anywhere close to saying either 1) Predestination and free will cannot co-exist or 2) that the world and all in it is not predestined in its future. Please understand that...you give NO scriptural referance for it. You made a bridge in human logic to try to debase 1 of 2 major concepts of sovereignty, but that bridge has no scriptural pillars under it. I only take refutation by scriptural pillars, not from human logic bridge assumptions.

"Do you think the word evil in Isaiah 45:7 is essentially equivalent to “despicable, wicked act”? It’s a simple yes/no question." -Fred

Yes. I believe I have answered it very clearly in the past. God ordains it to occur due to its presence being required to magnify his glory.

"Is God incapable of allowing man’s free will to play a role in salvation" -Fred

Absolutely not. Infact, its against scripture. God absolutely allows man's free will to play a role in salvation. It is scriptural that man freely chooses or rejects God's free gift. There is no denial of that. It also does not contradict predestination, so quit using it as your sole hope of trying to prove predestination as unscriptural.

I gotta stop here and will address the rest later on, as I have some real life duties to take care of. God Bless.

Edit ikester7579: I edited in quote boxes to show how only ten quote boxes will work at a time. What goes over ten quotes, you can also use the code command to make a box. Or split the post into two posts.

#68 ikester7579

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 11:17 PM

In case you are wondering why the quote boxes don't always work. The forum progarm only allows 10 quotes per post. This is written into the program code and there is no option for us to change it. So everyone is stuck with that 10 quote deal. So when you post more than ten, you have to split your post into two posts so that the quote boxes will work. Other wise they won't. And we have no problem with split posts. You can also use the code command to make quote boxes that are more than ten as shown above.

#69 Countic16

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 06:43 AM

In case you are wondering why the quote boxes don't always work. The forum progarm only allows 10 quotes per post. This is written into the program code and there is no option for us to change it. So everyone is stuck with that 10 quote deal. So when you post more than ten, you have to split your post into two posts so that the quote boxes will work. Other wise they won't. And we have no problem with split posts. You can also use the code command to make quote boxes that are more than ten as shown above.

View Post


No it wasn't that, I just had an issue with cutting and pasting and using the commands to get it to work right. Basically, when I split it up, I find it hard to manually use the commands properly. Its just a learning thing.

#70 Fred Williams

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 09:31 AM

The two are not opposites. I do not see why a person has to choose one or the other.

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We are actually getting somewhere with this. You’ve admitted in your last post that man can do good if he is “saved” - that is, Christians are capable of good, the unsaved are not. Aside from the fact that scripture doesn’t support this view, this completely contradicts your claim that ALL men are completely and utterly depraved. You’ve now added an exception (being a Christian) to Romans 3:12, yet in the same breath you say your are taking the simple, plain, and clear meaning which implies NO exceptions. One of the things I will continually point out is that when trying to defend Calvinism, due to what I beleive is a scitsofrentic nature at its core, you will have to stumble around "apparent" contradiction upon contradiction. B)

One of the basic principles on which I revolve my thinking is that of "do as much as possible to find an explanation that does not limit God, his authority, his power, his benevolence."… So who/what suffers? The principle in the person's head? Or God?


This is a good question to ask! Just look at your answers to see who is glorified – God, or man. You claim God:

1) creates people for hell,
2) ordains rapes and murders,
3) created the devil and man to be evil. Man and the devil can’t help but be bad, God created them that way.

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 can’t help his evil ways because God created him that way. Yet you can’t see it is God who suffers from your view, and man is essentially given a pass because man can’t help but be bad?

The passages were clear, simple, and plain.


Indeed they are clear and plain, provided you are careful to recognize common language techniques such as hyperbole. I read passages like Romans 3:12 and know it means man loves the darkness and will not seek God without God’s intervention. It can’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. It’s no different than the 2nd law of thermodynamics. The sum of all entropies over time will increase, but there can be occasional entropy decreases provided the net total over time is still increasing. Man over time will do evil, head downhill, with possible occasional good deeds. The Bible supports such an entropic analogy, since it provides similar examples!

Isa 51:6 The earth will grow old like a garment, And those who dwell in it will die in like manner;
Rom 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs

God chose certain people to seek after him.


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. To me this further shows when hoops must be jumped through, tripping up is inevitable. :D

Question 1: The Bible says God chose Saul to be king, Balaam as a prophet, and Aaron’s sons to be priests. Yet you equate the word “chosen” with saved. Are they saved, or not? If not, given their ungodly behavior, what evidence from scripture do you have that God forced (ordained) them to choose the path of unrighteousness?

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.


I never said there was. God can do anything He wants, including allowing man to have free will to reject Him. Calvinists often try to claim they have the higher ground on God’s sovereignty, but refuse to answer, or in your case avoid answering, whether or not God can change the future.

Question 2: Can God change the future, or is all set in stone (everything is already predestined)?

There is a difference between ordaining evil to exist, and God committing evilness. Infact, it is against God's nature to commit evil.


I agree completely! I agree God ordained evil to exist!!! The difference between your view and mine is that I do not beleive God himself instigates wickedness. God ordained that man would have free will and the ability to reject Him, and in his infinite knowledge knew that evil would exist because man would choose evil. Thank God God pre-destined Christ to save man. But in no way did God ever ordain a certain rape/murder to occur, all to somehow "bring Him glory".

But you again are trying to skirt around the issue. 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. It is like the abortionist who says they are pro-choice, but oppose abortion. They avoid the dirty little truth of their belief, where in reality they should say “By pro-choice I mean I support the right for a mother to kill her living, breathing, baby”. It’s no different than the Calvinist who says “God predestines all things!”, instead of saying “God ordained all vile acts, including all violent rapes and murders, and selects people including unborn babies to go to hell and suffer torment forever”. You squirmed when I used the baby reference earlier, but this is exactly what Calvinism teaches. It’s an inconvenience Calvinists avoid or deny, which further shows just how contradictory the theology is. It contradicts their very concsience of who they beleive God is. God did after all give us our conscience, and His law is written on our minds.

Again, plenty of scripture specifically stating that: The pot may not demand from the potter.


Perhaps we should visit the potter and the clay verse. No, not just Romans 9 that the Calvinists yank out of context, but the Old Testament version the apostle Paul is well-versed in that provides the proper context:

Jer 18:1-10 The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying: "…I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter ; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter ?" says the LORD. "Look, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel! The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, 10 if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.

Doesn’t this sound remarkably like free will? It fits well with the verse I quoted earlier:

Isa 5:3-4 "What more could have been done to My vineyard That I have not done in it? Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes ,Did it bring forth wild grapes ?”

I submit that a reasonable exegesis is that Israel became marred in the Lord’s hand, and therefore God grafted out Israel and grafted the Gentiles in. That’s what Romans 9 through 11 is all about, Israel's rejection and subsequent replacement by the Gentiles in the tree! (An Israel remnant will be grafted back in later).

Why are you arguing semantics when the semantics were made abundantly clear?


OK, point taken so I’ll rephrase. The illustration I am trying to make is that if a piece to the puzzle fits in one spot, but not another, it must be discarded. Your Isaiah 45:7 and the surrounding verses is a puzzle piece that indeed will fit with Calvinism. However, it also easily fits the anti-Calvinist view. God can remove light to “create” darkness, he can cause a calamity such as a flood to bring judgment, but this does not mean God ordained all rapes and murders. 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.

Question 3: If God ordained all wickedness, how do you explain Jeremiah 19:5?

I submit it is time to discard the puzzle piece you find fits with Isaiah 45:7, since it fits like a square peg in a round hole with Jeremiah 19:5. On the other hand, my piece fits nicely into both spots!

Romans 8:30 "Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified"


This is another example of a piece you have that fits the Calvinist view (that God chooses individuals). The problem is, it also fits non-Calvinism. If you read Romans 8:28-30, the context is the body of Christ, which I already agree is something God predestined. So we have to go elsewhere to see if the Calvinism piece (that individuals are chosen) fits. It doesn’t fit at all with the over 100 verses in the New Testament alone where God is longsuffering that ALL be saved, including the verse you did not answer in my last post even though it was one of my three highlighted questions:

“And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. ” - 1 John 2:2

Your Calvinist version of predestination fits this verse like a square peg in a round hole.

"Is God incapable of allowing man’s free will to play a role in salvation" -Fred

Absolutely not. Infact, its against scripture. God absolutely allows man's free will to play a role in salvation. It is scriptural that man freely chooses or rejects God's free gift. There is no denial of that. It also does not contradict predestination, so quit using it as your sole hope of trying to prove predestination as unscriptural.


It is not Calvinism to claim that man’s free will plays a role in salvation! Wouldn’t a more appropriate response be to say you simply don’t agree with this part of Calvinism? Again, the problem of trying to get around and stumbling over a contradiction rears its head again. I’ve read your prior posts about how pre-destination and free will go hand in hand, and it’s frankly, nothing personal, equivocal nonsense. :) It’s not even Calvinism (if it is, the onus is on you to provide the proper citations to establish your claim).

gotta stop here and will address the rest later on, as I have some real life duties to take care of. God Bless.

I completely understand how this can be time consuming. So I again ask for brevity’s sake that we highlight 3 questions within our posts that we especially want answered (and perhaps again include them at the very end of the post). We should answer these questions first, and if we have time we can respond to whatever we chose in the rest of the post. Otherwise our posts will continue to grow larger and larger. You chose not to answer two of my three questions in the last post, so I’m going to include those two with the three new ones in this post below. I’ve tried to answer what I thought were your heavy-hitter questions, such as your question regarding Romans 8:30.

Penultimate post:
Question 2: Please explain to the audience the meaning of the following verse: “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. ” - 1 John 2:2
Question 3: If God ordains everything, then how do you explain the following verse: Isaiah 5:3-4 "And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, Judge, please, between Me and My vineyard. What more could have been done to My vineyard That I have not done in it? Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes ,Did it bring forth wild grapes ?”


Current post:
Question 1: The Bible says God chose Saul to be king, Balaam as a prophet, and Aaron’s sons to be priests. Yet you equate the word “chosen” with saved. Are they saved, or not? If not, given their ungodly behavior, what evidence from scripture do you have that God forced (ordained) them to choose the path of unrighteousness?
Question 2: Can God change the future, or is all set in stone (everything is already predestined)?
Question 3: If God ordained all wickedness, how do you explain 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
PS. Good idea on using CODE isntead of QUOTE to get around the 10 quote max problem!

#71 Dave

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 11:13 AM

I know this is not my debate, but I feel burdened once again to insinuate myself into it with some more thoughts.

I'm still having a hard time understanding why there is this debate at all. The Bible very, very clearly illustrates that God predestines and man exercises free will. Both. This is a concept that is difficult to internalize, but it's there nevertheless.

I'll illustrate by asking some questions:

Does anyone disagree that God has foretold the beginning from the end in the Bible?

Does anyone disagree that prophecy is a predistination of God?

Does anyone disagree that there are hundreds of fulfilled prophecies, some 800 just about the first coming of Jesus Christ?

With all the people involved in all the prophecies that were fulfilled, were any under some kind of robotic spell, lacking free will to conduct themselves as they wish? Or, did they have free will? Adam and Eve, David, Sampson, John the Baptist, Judas and Peter come to mind. There are many more.

Would it have forced God to cause the Bible to be re-written if an important biblical character had decided to exercise his free will differently than what God predicted through prophecy?

Did Jesus know beforehand (predestined) that Peter would deny Him, and Peter excercised his free will to do just that? Or could Peter have made Jesus out to be a liar by not denying Him when the time came?

Does anyone disagree that God has written extensively about the end times? Does anyone disagree that the characters who will be instrumental in performing end times functions (antichrist, etc.) will be growing up exercising free will, but will eventually lead themselves into those funcitons?

Could they possibly make God out to be a liar by refusing to step up to their destiny, and cause the Bible to be a false document? Totally change the end times from what God has pre-ordained? Can it possibly happen?

OK. You see where I am going with this. God has predestined (prophesied) virtually every stage in the world's history along the way from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. That's a fact. He has used a multitude of human characters, all of whom had the same free will to live their lives as we do. None of them made God out to be a liar. That's a fact.

God knows the beginning from the end. It is etched in stone. The Bible is like a checksum on human existance. Everything has to fall in place the way God said it would.

If you deny predestination, then you deny the authority of God's word in the Bible. If you deny free will, then you deny that man is able to make choices for his own destiny. So, somehow, predestination and free will work hand in hand to ultimately perform God's will.

That's why I don't understand the debate -- unless it's just a debate about what this Calvin guy said, and what this Arminian guy said. Ironically, both those guys now know the truth. And here we (humans) are, still arguing about it. Weird.

Dave

#72 Fred Williams

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Posted 09 December 2007 - 09:22 PM

Hi Dave,

All good points, though you might be surprised at some of my answers (see below). I know I may have come across a little harsh with some of my comments in the last post, and I don’t pretend to have all the answers though it may appear I think I do. :D My biggest concern isn’t necessarily the difficulty around predestination and free will, it’s been a struggle for theologians for centuries. The problem is Calvinism in general. I believe it is a dangerous doctrine, more dangerous than some and perhaps less dangerous as others, but dangerous nonetheless and we are called to stand against false doctrines regardless of the type (2 Cor 10:5, 2 Tim 4:2, Titus 2:15, etc). I won’t hide behind the fact that I consider my forum a stand not only against evolution and various old earth theologies, but also against Calvinism.

Besides the problems I’ve mentioned ascribing God to things like rape and murder, creating Satan for the sole purpose of doing evil, and sending unborn babies to hell, Calvinists also have a convenient excuse to avoid something that is uncomfortable and difficult for every last one of us to do – evangelize. Why bother, if people are predestined anyway? At the very least it’s a subconscious stymieing effect. I can only think of one individual who benefits from this, and that would be the prince of the world, Satan (being tactful isn’t always a strength of mine :) ).

Now to the good questions you raised. There is a theology we have discussed in this forum previously that accommodates every question/problem you raised, and it is a big reason why I lean toward that theology. It is a growing theology that on the surface is very troubling because of the way we’ve been reared in Christendom, but even the Southern Baptists recently removed from their list of “heresies”. It might be out of my own cowardice to avoid being thrown out and stoned that I just don’t come out and say I support it 100% :), but Openness Theology (OT) answers all your questions in your post (word of caution: like Calvinism or any other theology, OT has its variations, so I ask the reader to not assume I hold to every position or claim made about OT).

IMO the primary concept of OT is this: the future doesn’t exist until it happens. Right now the future is no more real than Santa Claus. If you believe God can change the future, then you are not so far from OT theology as you might think. Consider this – what if God, instead of sitting outside of time and peering into the future and declaring what is going to happen, as most Christians believe he does, instead declares what is going to happen then carves out history as it happens? God said:

Isa 46:11 Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass .
I have purposed it; I will also do it.


This verse and so many others like it supports OT. If Calvinism is true, the above verse should read: “…I have brought it to pass.” But it doesn’t. It is in the future tense. God is going to make it happen. Calvinists invoke their favorite word, anthropomorphism, to write this verse off and so many others like it off.

Now consider the following verses, that I mentioned in the post to Countic:

“Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes ,Did it bring forth wild grapes ?” - Isaiah 5:3-4

“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.”? - Jeremiah 19:5


The only way these verses make sense is that the future doesn’t exist until it happens. Otherwise, like so many others we have to essentially dismiss them as anthropomorphisms. Why would God do this, he could just as easily explain it in a Calvinistic or traditional settled view way. Anthropomorphisms simply aren’t needed.

Now to your questions, with my OT hat on :) :

Does anyone disagree that God has foretold the beginning from the end in the Bible?


It depends. The Bible doesn’t say that God foretold every last event in history. He foretells what he needs to, for reasons we don’t always understand. We do know God uses prophecy to prove to us He is the true God (i.e. Isaiah 48:5).

Does anyone disagree that prophecy is a predistination of God?


Yes, I disagree. Prophecies and predestination can work together, as is the case with the predestination of Christ and the associated prophecies, but they are not required to go hand-in-hand. For example, God prophesied that Ninevah would be wiped out. After Jonah warned them, they repented, and as scripture says God “repented” (withheld what He said he would do; this is the plain rendering of scripture). If Ninevah had been predestined to be wiped out as God said he would do, why weren’t they wiped out?

Does anyone disagree that there are hundreds of fulfilled prophecies, some 800 just about the first coming of Jesus Christ?


All true. God spoke it, and brought it to pass. Which brings God more glory, God carving out history as it happens, or God predestining (pre-programming) everything? IMO carving it out as it happens is more challenging than either 1) pre-programming everything (Calvinism), or 2) peering into the future and telling us what is going to happen (settled view).

With all the people involved in all the prophecies that were fulfilled, were any under some kind of robotic spell, lacking free will to conduct themselves as they wish? Or, did they have free will? Adam and Eve, David, Sampson, John the Baptist, Judas and Peter come to mind. There are many more.


The beauty of OT is that we don’t have to resort to anthropomorphisms, euphemisms, etc. We can take scripture at face value.

Would it have forced God to cause the Bible to be re-written if an important biblical character had decided to exercise his free will differently than what God predicted through prophecy?


I just can’t see how it hurts God’s character if God works with history and decides as history unfolds what additional things to document and what not to document. A great example is Saul. Had he wiped out the Amelekites like he was commanded to do, Ruth would not have been needed by God to take care of the problem, and hence the book of Ruth would not have been needed. I also will again appeal to the Jonah/Ninevah account. If Ninevah had not repented, perhaps God would have opted to leave the book out, or perhaps it would have been included to further document God’s judgment against Ninevah. IMO Jonah/Ninevah serves as a testimony to God’s mercy and patience, so if they had not repented maybe God would have used another situation to document his amazing mercy and patience. Who knows. The point is, God did not need to predestine His prophesies, since many of them were conditional (Ninevah, Hezekiah’s health, etc).

Did Jesus know beforehand (predestined) that Peter would deny Him, and Peter excercised his free will to do just that? Or could Peter have made Jesus out to be a liar by not denying Him when the time came?


You assume Peter was predestined to deny Christ, but there is another possibility. Couldn’t God, with his infinite wisdom, look into Peter’s heart & mind and know with certainty Peter would deny him? The Calvinist often claims such a statement denies God’s sovereignty, but doesn’t it also deny his sovereignty to say He can’t look into a person’s thoughts and know how they are going to react to certain situations? I think every person in the world have certain thoughts that betray them to God such that God knows with 100% certainty how they will react to certain situations.

Does anyone disagree that God has written extensively about the end times? Does anyone disagree that the characters who will be instrumental in performing end times functions (antichrist, etc.) will be growing up exercising free will, but will eventually lead themselves into those funcitons?


All good points that I agree with, but I perhaps get there differently than you do. Since people are generally wicked, it is real easy for God to use them as instruments to bring about what He has planned. Pharaoh is a great example. The guy was so full of himself, it was easy for God to use Him in the manner he did. Note that God did not harden Pharaohs heart by direct intervention, by personally grabbing hold of it with some magic dust and making Pharaoh do what he did. Instead, every time the Bible says God hardened Pharaoh’s heart was right after God performed a miracle. The miracles made Pharaoh mad because it challenged Pharaohs standing as “god”. God used Pharaoh’s free will because God knew Pharaoh’s innermost thoughts and knew with complete certainty how he would act.

OK. You see where I am going with this. God has predestined (prophesied) virtually every stage in the world's history along the way from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. That's a fact. He has used a multitude of human characters, all of whom had the same free will to live their lives as we do. None of them made God out to be a liar. That's a fact.


I essentially agree with you, we just reach this conclusion in a different manner. I would again point out that predestination and prophecy need not be synonymous (when the prophecy is conditional then they are in fact opposites!). God knows the future in the sense He knows what He is going to do and is going to make it happen, but He lets free will exist such that not every single event that occurs was made to occur by God. We know for example that God’s plan to die for our sins was not going to be thwarted by man’s free will. But we also know that God did not plan out every rape and murder, but this was instead entirely attributable to man’s wickedness.

I appreciate your time to respond, and always value your input! In fact any Christian reading this should feel free to chime in. I will stand by the following principle: If its reasonable, consider it as a possibility, if it is not reasonable, reject it as a possibility. The verses used to support a Calvinistic predestination can be reasonably explained as predestination of groups and not individuals (namely that God foreknew there would be followers of Christ who would be the “chosen”). Calvinists cannot offer a reasonable explanation of scores of verses that contradict predestination of individuals. If they can, then by all means let them post the explanation here and let the reader decide. I submit they will have to ignore them, essentially mark them out of their Bible and chalk it up to anthropomorphism. Here’s the challenge. I would especially like Countic or anyone else to answer the five questions in my last response to Countic. Or at the very least, explain what Isaiah 5:3-4 & Jeremiah 19:5 mean if God ordained evil and/or predestined the future in its entirety. If their answer sounds like spin, or they reply that “God’s ways are higher than our ways”, then you know they do not have a reasonable answer, and you have to ask yourself which position stands on solid scripture and which does not.

For those who read this far, thank you.

Fred

#73 ikester7579

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 03:31 AM

With all the people involved in all the prophecies that were fulfilled, were any under some kind of robotic spell, lacking free will to conduct themselves as they wish? Or, did they have free will? Adam and Eve, David, Sampson, John the Baptist, Judas and Peter come to mind. There are many more.


Hi Dave,

Not trying to gang up on you, but I found that each person you brought up was an interesting thing to ponder. Predestination without choice is what is wrong. Predestination with choice is OK. Every Calvinism person I have ever debated always says that we are predestined without choice.

1) Going to hell, and there is nothing you can do to change that..
2) Going to heaven, and there is nothing you can do to change that.

Calvinism:

A system of Christian interpretation initiated by John Calvin. It emphasizes predestination and salvation. The five points of Calvinism were developed in response to the Arminian position (See Arminianism). Calvinism teaches:

1) Total depravity: that man is touched by sin in all parts of his being: body, soul, mind, and emotions,

2) Unconditional Election: that God’s favor to Man is completely by God’s free choice and has nothing to do with Man. It is completely undeserved by Man and is not based on anything God sees in man (Eph. 1:1-11),

3) Limited atonement: that Christ did not bear the sins of every individual who ever lived, but instead only bore the sins of those who were elected into salvation (John 10:11,15),

4) Irresistible grace: that God's call to someone for salvation cannot be resisted,

5) Perseverance of the saints: that it is not possible to lose one's salvation (John 10:27-28).

Some of the above states that man does not have a choice if God decides to do something with them, or has choosen them. It also states that man has no choice once he has accepted Christ, and there is basically nothing man can do to change that.

What's wrong with the doctrine of hands:

John 10: 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

30 I and my Father are one.

The bases of number 5 is based on the word "hand" meaning salvation, or being in the body of Christ. If you research the word hand, and how it is used in God's word. You will find that it has "nothing" to do with salvation, or being in the body of Christ (same thing). In fact hands are used for blessings and cursing.

1) Left hand = cursing.

mt 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

2) Right hand = blessing.

mt 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

So the hand plucking deal is "only" about judgement. Not salvation. The first example of this is when Christ died on the cross. There were two other people with him who died as well. One on His left, and one one his right.

mk 15:27 And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left.

mt 27:38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.

One went to heaven, the other went to hell.

lk 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

The two thieves were judged right on the cross.

So why cannot man be plucked out of God's hand? Because everyone: sinner, saved, or fallen away. Will be judged. There is no way out of judgement. But there is a way out of salvation.

1) Fall away:

lk 8:13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

2thess 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

heb 6:6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

2pet 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

2) Astray:

mt 18:12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

mt 18:13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.

1pet 2:25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

2pet 2:15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;

The last verse, notice the word Balaam. Did you know there is a doctrine of Balaam that God's word warns about?

rev 2:14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

Doctrine of Balaam is where Balaam (currupt prophet) told Balac (king) to make it sound OK to sin, and still be righteous in the eyes of God. That they were choosen (predestined), therefore could not go to hell. Balac sent women to God's choosen to temp the men into fornication.

Example of the choosen going to hell: When Moses came down from the mountain and saw God's people in sin. And the ground opened up, and fire spewed out and swallowed the ones who would not walk towards Moses. Where do you think those people went? You don't descend into heaven. Unless you consider hell a heaven.

3) Stumblingblock: Sinners cannot stumble, for they have nothing to stumble from.

rom 14:13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.

1cor 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of your's become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.

rev 2:14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

4) liberty to sin:

First understand that when salvation is accepted, bondage of sin is no longer.

8:21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

But, this liberty can also harm the ones who are weak.

1cor 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of your's become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.

1pet 2:16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.

This shows that salvation cannot be used as a ticket to sin, as I have heard preached by calvinist preachers. And those doctrines that believe osas (once saved always saved).

5) Fall from grace: The sinner does not have the grace of God to fall from. And since we are saved by grace, salvation cannot exist where grace is no longer.

gal 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

And there are even "two" unforgiven sins.

1) Blaspheme the Holy Ghost:

mk 3:29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.

lk 12:10 And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.

2) Putting Christ to open shame:

Hebrews 6: 1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

3 And this will we do, if God permit.

4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

Verse 4 starts a subject. For it is impossible for someone to get all these things:

1) once enlightened.
2) have tasted of the heavenly gift.
3) were made partakers of the Holy Ghost.
4) tasted the good word of God.
5) powers of the world to come.

And then: If they shall fall away.

It is impossible to do what?... to renew them again unto repentance.

Because to do it does what?... seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

So what this here proves is that there is also a point we can reach, in our walk with Christ, that if we fall we cannot come back. But that is only if you receive those five things above. Which is all that God has to give us here on earth.

What do those 5 things mean?

1) Once enlightened: Is to become aware of the truth about God.
2) Tasted of the heavenly gift: The gift of salvation.
3) Made partakers of the Holy Ghost: To be baptised in the spirit.
4) Tasted the good word of God: Have you eyes opened to God's word.
5) Powers of the world to come: The gifts of God.

The gifts are:

1 Corinthians 12:8-11 :
words of wisdom;
words of knowledge;
faith;
healing;
miracle-working;
prophecy;
distinguishing of spirits (good and evil);
tongues;
interpretation of tongues

So upon getting all this, and turning away. Puts Christ to oepn shame and ensures a person eternal damnation because they can never be renewed when this happens.

Very few people reach this point in their walk with Christ. And God protects us from this, not being able to be renewed, by not allowing us to experience all that there is upon being saved.

#74 Countic16

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 03:15 PM

I agree with your analogy, but only as it pertains to man’s inherent nature to not seek after God, to not “choose” God

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I also agree with how you say it is pertaining. I do not think that Calvinism is

Calvinism teaches “Total Depravity”, 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.

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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 “right” is

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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. You’ve admitted in your last post that man can do good if he is “saved” - that is, Christians are capable of good, the unsaved are not. Aside from the fact that scripture doesn’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 can’t help his evil ways because God created him that way. Yet you can’t see it is God who suffers from your view, and man is essentially given a pass because man can’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 God’s intervention. It can’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

vs

"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 “God ordained all vile acts, including all violent rapes and murders, and selects people including unborn babies to go to hell and suffer torment forever”. 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.

"Doesn’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 Lord’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 doesn’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

How so?

"It is not Calvinism to claim that man’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.

"Wouldn’t a more appropriate response be to say you simply don’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.

#75 Fred Williams

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 10:32 PM

Welcome back Countic,

I read your post in its entirety but for brevity’s sake will only focus on a few things. Regarding total depravity, I think we’ve beat that dead horse enough.

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...


Calvinists always squirm with this issue, and often claim that on this one issue they may veer from Calvinism. Why? Because in their heart they know it contradicts the God of Love that the Bible describes throughout its pages.

In your response to Jeremiah 18, you avoided the most important part that follows the potter and the clay:

Jer 18:7-10 The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.

Why would God have to relent from doing something if it has already been ordained??? It is very clear that He is going to render judgment on the free-will actions of these nations. It makes no sense for God to pre-ordain a nation to do evil, only to turn around and tell the nation that if it doesn’t do evil He won’t judge them. Here’s how silly Calvinism is:

God: OK, before I create the earth, I’m going to ordain the town of Nineveh to do evil. But I’m going to write in my Bible that I won’t do evil to Nineveh if they obey me, even though I already made it where they won’t obey me! I hope they don’t think I am the author of confusion. :rolleyes:

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.


Wow. You need to get out some serious glass washer to clear that Calvinist fog that is on your spectacles. :D How in the world did you pull "God designed it that way" out of that passage? You are reading something into the text that isn’t even remotely there and somehow I am the one taking it out of context? Let the reader decide (but then why should we, since according to Calvinism they were pre-destined to believe what they believe anyway! :)). Like I said from the very beginning, plain meaning of scripture goes out the window when Calvinists try to explain away the virtually countless texts that contradict their doctrine. Let’s look at the key passage:

Isa 5:4 Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, Did it bring forth wild grapes? [emphasis added]

First, the Hebrew words clearly support good vs bad grapes (the Hebrew word for wild is “poison”), and hence why most translations correctly insert ‘good’. Plus the entire context is about the disobedient Israelites (who Calvinists think were pre-programmed to be disobedient). Regardless, if God designed it so that Israel would reject him, why would God "expect" Israel to turn to him? Please explain the word “expected” in this verse.

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.


Thank you for the candid and honest admission. But I can tell you what “peer review” is going to tell you. Your Calvinist friends and pastors are going to introduce you to the word “anthropomorphism”, which is a code word for “we can’t explain this obvious contradiction to Calvinism”. If we get deeper into this you’ll find yourself needing to appeal to this word over and over and over again. Here is another refutation that all things are pre-destined. WHen I asked if God could change the future, you said yes but but doesn’t need to, which would be consistent with your adherence to “all things pre-destined”. Problem is, it doesn’t fit at all with the Bible. I can give you many, but here is my favorite:

Isa 38:1 In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, "Thus says the LORD:'Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.'"

Now we only have a couple possibilities here:
1) if all things are pre-ordained, then Hezekiah should soon die.
2) if all things are not pre-ordained, then Hezekiah's prayer could change history!

Let’s see what happens:

Isa 38:2-6 Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the LORD, and said,"Remember now, O LORD, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what is good in Your sight." And Hezekiah wept bitterly. And the word of the LORD came to Isaiah, saying, "Go and tell Hezekiah , 'Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: "I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days fifteen years.

God can and does change the future. He does listen to our prayers and we can have an affect on Him. If everything were pre-ordained, such prayers become meaningless.

(Ironically, Hezekiah's 15 years were, to put it kindly, less than productive, which in itself is additional evidence of free-will :)).

Fred

#76 deadlock

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 07:59 AM

I dont know if anyone has thought about this, but if someone has any opinion I would like to know.

Why GOD didnt want that we had the Knowledge of Good and Evil ? doesnt Free Will depend on that ?

#77 Hawkins

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 11:14 PM

This is my opinion;

Calvinism made an assumption that pre-destination means you have only one choice;

One choice : Since you are the selected, you choose God (no other choice)


But in my opinion, number of options is not a necessity for pre-destination. Which is, you are pre-destined in a way that you have multiple options. The trick is, you can never escape God's foreknowledge, which is part of His omniscience. Yet His 'omnisciense', in my opinion, is not what we commonly defined.

Your are pre-destined in a way that at every turning point of your life, you have very limited options, that you have to choose one out of the few options in accordance to those factors which affect your decision.

Your destination is made of thousands of these turning points. Out of those turning points, your option is also limited but rather abandoned comparing to your options in the turning points.

Your options in those turning points are specially designed, those options can be decided by your tendency of making decisions, those options can be guided by the Holy Spirit, those options can be misled by the other side (temptations) as well.


About His omniscience, He knows whatever He wants. That is, He knows whatever His freewill wants to know. If He wants to know everything in details (our concept of His omniscience, as a logical subset), He CAN. If on the other hand, if He doesn't want to know <anything>, He CAN too. So when He calls for a total separation, He means it. In a total separation from God, He knows nothing about you, you are simply the forsaken.

In summary, your destination is defined by a chain of turning points where your options are specially defined (pre-defined and thus pre-destined), you have to make a choice out of a few options. God knows the future if He wishes to, while He might not want to know anything when He's in a rest (the seventh day after creation).

Whatever your choices are, you can't escape His foreknowledge, as long as His freewill wants to pay attention to your decisions. While He promises that your prayers will not be missed out.

His Elect
His elect are those who once upon a time were foreseen and were written down in the Book of Life, while He reserves the right to remove anyone from the list when He sees fit.


Our Freewill
Our freewill is not unlimited, first we can't process through unlimited options, can we? Second, our wills will never supercede God's will. Our freewills are within the scope which He allows. If 'good' and 'evil' are not allowed to be in our option list, all of us will be 'saved', thus Eden and Earth are not needed, only Heaven needs to be built.

In my personal opinion;
Perhaps this is not realistic to be applicable to humans with their allowable freewills. God built Eden to prove that once 'good' and 'evil' are applied, some of the humans will decend even in the presence of God. Perhaps only those who willingly choose God even in His absence (Faith) deserve a seat in the final and eternal Heaven.

My 2 cents.

#78 Fred Williams

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 12:10 PM

I dont know if anyone has thought about this, but if someone has any opinion I would like to know.

Why GOD didnt want that we had the Knowledge of Good and Evil ? doesnt Free Will depend on that ?

View Post


That’s a good question and I’ll give it a shot. Adam & Evil had free will. They were told not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. If they ate of the tree, they would become aware of the law. God knew that, due to temptation of the law, they would succumb and fall under it. God didn’t want us under the law. Things seem to become more appealing to us if it is forbidden – We are easily enticed! Whereas if there isn’t something to cause us to be enticed, we tend to stay away from it. The idea that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is really the Law is discussed in this thread:

http://www.evolution...p?showtopic=204

Sorry I didn’t try to answer your question posted there.

Fred

#79 Fred Williams

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 12:23 PM

Countic, there was something I wanted to add to my last response but forgot. You claimed: “Evil is a creation and/or action in our universe.” I once heard evil described the following way – evil is not some intrinsic property; instead, just like darkness and cold, it is the absence of its opposite. For example, we know from physics that darkness cannot be created, it is simply the absence of light. You cannot shine a “flashdark” (as opposed to a flashlight) into a lighted room. If man were to invent a “falshdark” he would have to make the “beam” remove the light in its path. It would have nothing to do with creating some tangible property of darkness. It would be all about removing the property of light. When you turn the light on in a dark room, darkness flees every time! Same can be said about ‘cold’. You cannot create cold, you can only remove heat. Cold is not a physical property, but heat is. You can create heat, you cannot create ‘cold’.

Evil is simply the absence of good. When good is removed, evil exists. When good is shined into a room, evil flees. God did not create evil. Our refusal to do good is what “creates” evil.

Calvinism essentially claims that God occasionally removes good. Whereas the Bible really says that God works our failures to shine light into the mess, and if we do his will and allow the light to shine in, evil will flee.

Fred

#80 deadlock

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 02:32 PM

That’s a good question and I’ll give it a shot. Adam & Evil had free will. They were told not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. If they ate of the tree, they would become aware of the law. God knew that, due to temptation of the law, they would succumb and fall under it.  God didn’t want us under the law. Things seem to become more appealing to us if it is forbidden – We are easily enticed! Whereas if there isn’t something to cause us to be enticed, we tend to stay away from it. The idea that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is really the Law is discussed in this thread:

http://www.evolution...p?showtopic=204

Sorry I didn’t try to answer your question posted there.

Fred

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But wouldnt it be easier not to give the access to the tree ?

I think there is a difference between the knowledge of good and evil and the good and evil acts.What I mean is if we dont know what is good and evil , does that stop us from acting evil ? What does GOD want ? That we become perfect or that we cant be blamed ? I dont know why but sometimes I feel that evil is necessary in GOD´s plan.There is a role for evil.That´s why HE created the material universe, because evil cant exist in HIS presence.So, HE created a place where evil may exist for some purpose..




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