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Predestination & Free Will


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#21 Ray Martinez

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 06:46 PM

I am getting more than a little worn out with this question. This is now the umpteenth time I have been asked the same thing.


I've scanned the entire debate and cannot find where this particular verse was addressed much less inquired about. Did I miss it somewhere ?

Ray M.

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 07:26 PM

Sorry, Ray. I didn't mean for it to sound like you weren't paying attention. Before the board crashed there was a lengthy discussion of the point, and somewhere in here there is a shorter version. And over the course of years I have heard that same argument more times than I can remember.

The thing I am driving at is that there is nothing at all that God does not know despite the ocassional use of a Hebrew idiom that, unless one knows how to handle it, can make it appear that He is lacking in the knowledge department.

There is only one living and true God, Who is infinite in being and perfection, a completely pure spirit, invisible, unchangeable, immensely vast, eternal, beyond our understanding, almighty, completely wise, completely holy, completely free, and completely absolute. He works everything according to the purpose of His own unchangeabe and completely righteous will for His own glory. God Almighty does not require man, His own creation, to inform Him on any point at any time.

#23 Ray Martinez

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Posted 20 April 2005 - 04:55 PM

The thing I am driving at is that there is nothing at all that God does not know despite the ocassional use of a Hebrew idiom that, unless one knows how to handle it, can make it appear that He is lacking in the knowledge department.


Thats NOT what the verse says.

Deuteronomy 8:2 says God led Israel in such a way as to find out IF they would follow His word or not.

Thats what it says.

The whole Bible says this in different ways.

You must assert verses do not mean what they say.

Where is the FIRST sin in the Bible ?

Answer: Where ever the FIRST question mark is found.

Serpent: "Hath God said.......?"

The Serpent went on to convince Eve that God did not mean what He said.

Whats the point ?

Whoever says God does not mean what He says = voice of Satan.

Ray M.

#24 Richard

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 04:49 AM

IMO, the most telling verse in the Bible concerning God's Sovereignity and man's will is Genesis 50:20 where Joseph explains to his brothers God's plan in their evil. Joseph says:

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good,...

Joseph's brothers of course had excercised their free will with the intent to kill Joseph. But somehow, their free will which was evil, was in God's Sovereign plan. Their evil was God's good.

This explains, IMO, the debate between freewill and Sovereignity better than any verse in the Bible. In the Bible, we often see one side or the other, but rarely do we see, both juxtapositioned against one another like we do here. And, what we see is that even in evil acts of freewill, for which man is accountable, God is completely Sovereign.

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 05:31 AM

Thats NOT what the verse says.

Deuteronomy 8:2 says God led Israel in such a way as to find out IF they would follow His word or not.

Thats what it says.

The whole Bible says this in different ways.

You must assert verses do not mean what they say.

Where is the FIRST sin in the Bible ?

Answer: Where ever the FIRST question mark is found.

Serpent: "Hath God said.......?"

The Serpent went on to convince Eve that God did not mean what He said.

Whats the point ?

Whoever says God does not mean what He says = voice of Satan.

Ray M.

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Ray, you can argue that God is some sort of dummy who requires the instruction of men if you want to, but I have a little more regard for Him than that. What you are claiming is that the made object is telling the maker of it what it will and will not do. That won't work.

#26 Ray Martinez

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 12:14 PM

Ray, you can argue that God is some sort of dummy who requires the instruction of men if you want to, but I have a little more regard for Him than that. What you are claiming is that the made object is telling the maker of it what it will and will not do. That won't work.

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I said or argued no such thing.

If I actually did you would of pasted my quotes.

In reality, I agree with you:

God is omniscient because the only source we have about Him says so.

However, while the source/Bible says He is as such, there are many other verses which clearly make ONE exception. IOW, the verses which clearly say He knows ALL things mean exactly that and have an invisible asterisk attached - the invisible asterisk are the verses which state the exception and the narrow context.

IOW, many Bible verses declare God omniscient while many provide ONE NARROW exception = God is omniscient with one exception.

Genesis 22: 12 SAYS "now I know" which clearly implies that just prior God did not know something. THATS WHAT THE VERSE SAYS.

Deuteronomy 8:2 and 13:3 clearly have God saying He is testing Israel in such a way as to know/find something out.

John 21 has Jesus asking Peter three times: "Do you love Me ?"

These verses and their context are the ONE exception to God's omniscience.

Abraham: God found out that he feared Him = thats what it says.

Go to Bible Gateway and review every translation available there = they all agree - there is no disparity on Genesis 22:12.

In Deuteronomy God plainly tells Israel that He is testing them as to whether they will follow His word or not and whether they love God or not and that is determined via whether they follow His word or not in a horrible place called the Wilderness of Zin (sin).

Jesus asked Peter IF he loved Him because Jesus didn't know.

What do all three of these texts have in common ?

Answer: God wants to know something and in Abraham's case He found out.

The narrow context of what God doesn't know is if we love Him.

Love is defined as following/doing what God says.

The Israelites failed in the Wilderness. The generation which came out of Egypt constantly saw their circumstance and not God's promises. Judgement was rendered at Kadesh Barnea.

Peter proved he loved Jesus via choosing to follow the path that Jesus said was going to be where he didn't want to go.

CONCLUSION:

The Bible clearly reveals God does not know for sure what we will do given the opportunity to do otherwise. The narrow context is to trust Him or not. God is prepared to react in either case but He doesn't know FOR SURE if man will trust Him or not given the freedom to do otherwise.

Why ?

Answer: Because we have the ability to change our minds at will.

Abraham was at least 120 years old before God concluded "now I know thou fearest God."

The Israelites were given 10 tests in the Wilderness before God concluded in Hebrews 3 that they shall not enter into His rest (promise land) because they departed from God via an "evil heart of disbelief" which placed God on trial when it was they who were on trial.

Peter proved he did indeed love Jesus by following the path that led to martyrdom.

We know Paul said Demas did not love Jesus having forsaken him by "loving this present evil world."

The gospel is the way of faith - the good news which is freedom to relate to God apart from the impossible code of conduct called the O.T. law.

Choosing to trust God via a promise (the gospel) is what God wants to find out about us.

The one thing God does not know (if we love/trust/fear Him or not) is the one thing He cannot create (love/trust) = exception to His omnipotence.

But His omnipotence can arrange circumstances and events to find out what His omniscience does not know. Thus God's omniscience is delayed.

Ray Martinez

#27 chance

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 02:02 PM

IMO, the most telling verse in the Bible concerning God's Sovereignity and man's will is Genesis 50:20 where Joseph explains to his brothers God's plan in their evil. Joseph says:

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good,...

Joseph's brothers of course had excercised their free will with the intent to kill Joseph. But somehow, their free will which was evil, was in God's Sovereign plan. Their evil was God's good.

<snip>

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Do I understand you correctly in that you are proposing a sort of:

‘Two wrongs can make a right’, or
‘I have to ‘suspend good temporarily, then perform evil for good to triumph’.

Apologies if the above is not very clear, having a bit of difficulty in formulating my thoughts into words.

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 02:20 PM

Ray Martinez said,

"God is omniscient because the only source we have about Him says so."

Then he says this,

"However, while the source/Bible says He is as such, there are many other verses which clearly make ONE exception. IOW, the verses which clearly say He knows ALL things mean exactly that and have an invisible asterisk attached - the invisible asterisk are the verses which state the exception and the narrow context.

IOW, many Bible verses declare God omniscient while many provide ONE NARROW exception = God is omniscient with one exception."

The problem is obvious. God is either omnicient or He isn't. There are no degrees of omniscience: it is all or nothing. The argument above is akin to attaching a modifer to the term "unique". That, too, is a word which can not have a modifier of any kind because something is either unique, meaning "the only one of it's kind", or it is not unique.

#29 chance

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 08:02 PM

The problem is obvious. God is either omnicient or He isn't. There are no degrees of omniscience: it is all or nothing. The argument above is akin to attaching a modifer to the term "unique". That, too, is a word which can not have a modifier of any kind because something is either unique, meaning "the only one of it's kind", or it is not unique.

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A quick aside but related to the definition of omniscience and unique – I agree with The Deacon that it’s an all or nothing situation you are either omniscient or not.

One often sees arguments like “If god is omniscient can he make a rock so heavy he cannot lift it”? I however do not consider a paradox as a valid form of argument in that context, as by definition a paradox is unsolvable (by God or mortal). Omniscience is not tested by paradox.

P.S. The Deacon what happened to Ray Martinez’s post you are replying to, is it in another thread? Because I’m not sure what verse is being referred to.

{Edited by the Deacon for clarity of quote attribution.}

Edited by The Deacon, 22 April 2005 - 05:16 AM.


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Posted 22 April 2005 - 05:17 AM

Chance, the post is #26. The material in question is near the top. The rest of it is 'justification' for partial omnicience.

#31 Richard

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 06:26 AM

Do I understand you correctly in that you are proposing a sort of:

‘Two wrongs can make a right’, or
‘I have to ‘suspend good temporarily, then perform evil for good to triumph’.

Apologies if the above is not very clear, having a bit of difficulty in formulating my thoughts into words.

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First, I don't claim to understand the mystery of God's Sovereignity. That is made even harder for you (unless I am mistaken) since you begin as a philosophical atheist and presuppositionally reject transendence altogether.

So for me, all I can do as a believing mortal man is take the revelation given to me (The Bible) and try to understand the attributes of the Supreme Being -- not an easy task as demonstrated by the disagreement on this thread by those who have philosophical and presuppositional agreement on things transcendent.

Having said all that, I think you're characterization of Genesis 50:20 is incorrect on couple of fronts, but does touch on some truth. Let me summarize the salient part of the verse:

You meant it for evil: God meant it for good

What we have here is two wills, two intents and two outcomes -- all of which are diametrically opposed to one another.

The intent and will of Joseph's brothers excepting Ruben, was to kill him initially and then to leave him for dead. Everyone agrees that this was an evil intent. The "free-will" of Joseph's brothers was evil.

Where it turns into mystery is that apparently, even the evil that men do is at once their free-will and at the same time part of God's Sovereign plan. I don't pretend to be able to lay out an equation for how this works.

Where it even becomes more fantasitcal is that men are held accountable (by both God and man), for the evil they do even if its in the greater plan of God. I believe all things, no matter how inconsequential they appear are in the greater plan of God.

So, your characterization was a bit simplistic, but did touch on a mystery in that God does allow evil to take place. Knowing whether or not God foreordains it or simply sees it from eternity past and intertwinds it into his plan is beyond my pay grade.

I think if one believes the Bible, one must accept that God is Sovereign over all. If there is one tiny sphere where God is not in control, then He is not Almighty, and if He is not Almighty, He is not the God of the Bible.

#32 Geezer

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 10:26 AM

I think if one believes the Bible, one must accept that God is Sovereign over all. If there is one tiny sphere where God is not in control, then He is not Almighty, and if He is not Almighty, He is not the God of the Bible.


VERY well said, Richard. People's innate desire is to not have a soverign.

#33 Geezer

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 10:29 AM

Ray Martinez said,

"God is omniscient because the only source we have about Him says so."

Then he says this,

"However, while the source/Bible says He is as such, there are many other verses which clearly make ONE exception. IOW, the verses which clearly say He knows ALL things mean exactly that and have an invisible asterisk attached - the invisible asterisk are the verses which state the exception and the narrow context.

IOW, many Bible verses declare God omniscient while many provide ONE NARROW exception = God is omniscient with one exception."


Ray,
Could you clarify this? I am truly not comprehending what you are getting at here.
Thanks so much.

Do you mean this?

Deuteronomy 8:2

And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, TO KNOW what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.


G-d always knows the outcome - still He would give the chance to do what is right in His eyes. Otherwise, it is not free will.
Perhaps you could expound further?

*edited to add last paragraph*

#34 Fred Williams

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 01:06 PM

One must always keep in mind that God knew beforehand what He was going to do, and when He was going to do it.

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I agree in principle with this, there are many places where the Bible says God’s plans will prevail and he will “surely bring it to pass”. But I believe these Old & New testament passages discussed in this thread show that God in his Sovereignty did create a somewhat counter-intuitive part of His grand plan – he planned it so that men had the capability to reject His love, or His will in the sense of His desire that all men be saved (I realize we have already covered this ground, but I think it is again worth noting that it doesn’t make sense for God to be “longsuffering” [2 Peter 3] for something he shouldn’t have to suffer over if he has already determined who will be saved).

It was His will that they should be told of their sin and the danger they were in, and by this means be brought to repentance, and the wrath of God be avoided. So that there was a change, not of His mind and will concerning them, but of His outward dispensations towards them. This is exactly the same thing that the ministry of the word does to this very day.


I agree His will was they be warned, and His will was also for them to repent. But through His Will he allows them to accept (repent) or reject his warning. That is what is somewhat counter-intuitive here – God wills it that His will, when it comes to man’s choice to respond, can be thwarted if man so decides (Isaiah 5:4, Luke 13:34, etc). To state differently, man cannot thwart God’s plan, and part of God’s plan was to allow men to accept him or reject him (counter-intuitive, but a Sovereign God can set the rules as he wishes – allowing free will is just part of the plan). We know God will not allow man to thwart His will on all other matters, such as His salvation plan, His various dispensations, etc. But like a gentlemen, he will invite people to his house and encourage them with great longsuffering that they come, but he will not force them to join the free party (it is His Will to not force them). They have to say yes. Note that it isn’t “works” to say yes to a free offer, especially when you don’t deserve that free offer.

The Calvinist position on the other hand is that God planned for the people of Nineveh to repent, they had no choice in the matter but to repent because God’s will in this matter would not be thwarted. But the text does not support this in any straightforward way that I can see. It still has to be allegorized to get around this textual problem.

Another verse to throw into the mix:
And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. - 1 John 2:2:

It would seem difficult to say this verse applies only to “the elect”, or those chosen for salvation. It just doesn’t fit the “limited atonement” of Calvinism.

I think these numerous Old Testament passages we are discussing coupled with over 100 “all” verses in the New Testament (such as 1 John 2:2, 2 Peter 3, etc), do not fit well in a system where God picked individuals beforehand for hell, and others for heaven, without any chance whatsoever for man to have any say in that outcome. Without a say, it strips love, because love is impossible where there is no free will. Let me reiterate that the Bible makes it clear that we cannot attain our salvation, God has to draw us, but God did grant us the right to reject or accept the free gift (a free gift does not require works to obtain it).

I think men desire that God be persuadable so that they can be participants in salvation. Of course that denies the fall, or that the fall was complete.


That is true, there likely are those wanting to be able to persuade God to be participants in salvation, but the reverse argument could also be said and so neither one could really prove anything. The real problem is that the majority of men will concoct their own god (or gods). I’ve long said that Satan’s biggest lie is not evolution, but instead that “being good” gets you to heaven; an extension of which is “many paths lead to heaven”.

It is quite true that Augustine agreed with Plato on the matter of immutability, but he certainly did not settle on it because of him.


I’m no expert on Augustine, but I have heard that he did settle on this because of immutability. I found this blurb by Pastor Bob Hill at biblicalanswers.com ( link): “Because of this Greek philosophical influence, Augustine thought the idea of a mutable God was an absurdity. Augustine was able to accept the Catholic faith only after Ambrose (340-397), Bishop of Milan, allegorized the Old Testament Scriptures which revealed a mutable God. Ambrose spiritualized the offending Scripture passages of the Old Testament in his sermons. When Augustine heard these sermons, he was able to accept the Christian God. He wrote,
For those absurdities which in those Scriptures were wont to offend me, after I had heard divers of them expounded properly, I referred now to the depth of the mystery: yea and the authority of that Book appeared so much the more venerable, and so much more worthy of our religious credit. [Augustine. St. Augustine's Confessions I, Loeb Classical Library, Book VI, p. 285.]


Fred: This pagan influence is just a point to ponder, and worth considering in light of 1 Cor 1:20, where God makes foolish the wisdom of the world. I’ve been amazed how consistently anything that comes from the “world” on matters of God and origins is invariably always wrong, and why I raise this as a yellow warning flag as something we should at least consider and be aware of. It doesn’t by itself disprove immutability (and consequently Calvinism), but it’s just another piece of the puzzle that fits better with the non-Calvinist position, though it is extra-Biblical.


The world is not the source for knowledge of God beyond the fact that He is. What is the source? Jesus said, "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4). Someone will say that that does not preclude the wisdom of the world, but it does because the world is fallen and completely corrupt. It His Word that will prosper, not the words of the world (Isaiah 55:11).


It seems you are agreeing with me here that we can’t trust any idea that comes from the world; hence, you must now denounce Calvinism since immutability was widely taught by Greek Pagan philosophy. :o

Fred

#35 Geezer

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 01:19 PM

I have read Augustine extensively. You need to read his entire body of work, however, to even come close to understanding his position as he changed the more he matured Biblically.
Not unlike all of us.
Shalom Shabot to everyone.

#36 Fred Williams

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 01:54 PM

Where it even becomes more fantasitcal is that men are held accountable (by both God and man), for the evil they do even if its in the greater plan of God. I believe all things, no matter how inconsequential they appear are in the greater plan of God.

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I probably have a slightly different view on this, though I agree it is somewhat of a mystery when God allows evil (but He is not the author of it – i.e. Psalm 5:4). But I submit certain things were not part of God’s greater plan, such as Dahmer killing and eating people, Susan Smith drowning her kids, abortion, etc. For example consider this verse:

…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

I think if one believes the Bible, one must accept that God is Sovereign over all. If there is one tiny sphere where God is not in control, then He is not Almighty, and if He is not Almighty, He is not the God of the Bible.


Very true, I just want to reiterate what I mentioned to Deacon (see this post), and of course my position is from a non-Calvinist POV: God in His Sovereignty has every right to permit his creation to have free will, if God so chooses. This doesn’t make Him less Sovereign, Almighty, and All Powerful. He can do with His creation as he pleases. He can grant free will and still remain in complete Authority over His creation. Man will never control God, but God does give man the ability to control their own lives. Man rejected God. So God intervened, as is His right, and brought about His plan of salvation, a plan he foreknew. Man is so self-centered that God ahs to work to draw men to Him, but he still ultimately permits them to accept or reject His free gift of life. Through this process God remains Sovereign and in complete control.

Fred

#37 Fred Williams

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 02:00 PM

I have read Augustine extensively. You need to read his entire body of work, however, to even come close to understanding his position as he changed the more he matured Biblically.
Not unlike all of us.
Shalom Shabot to everyone.

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Yep, like I said I'm no expert on the guy. But isn't it at the very least widely accepted he was influenced by Plato regarding God's immutability? What impact this had on him as a Bible student I leave to the experts to debate. :o

Fred

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 02:12 PM

WARNING: Verbosity Alert :)


I agree in principle with this, there are many places where the Bible says God’s plans will prevail and he will “surely bring it to pass”. But I believe these Old & New testament passages discussed in this thread show that God in his Sovereignty did create a somewhat counter-intuitive part of His grand plan – he planned it so that men had the capability to reject His love, or His will in the sense of His desire that all men be saved (I realize we have already covered this ground, but I think it is again worth noting that it doesn’t make sense for God to be “longsuffering” [2 Peter 3] for something he shouldn’t have to suffer over if he has already determined who will be saved).


We are not as far apart as I once thought. Let's look at it from a slightly different angle. Romans 1:18-21 makes it clear that men have all they need right in front of their eyes. They can receive and accept it if they want to. They have a choice of the will. Their problem is that their wills are so corrupted that they absolutely will not have God to rule over them. Apart, that is, from a regenerating of the heart which God must do before a man can receive him. We are, as the Scriptures repeatedly teach, "dead in sins", and dead men have no power of self-revival. In 1 Peter 2:6-8 we have this (emphasis added), "Because it is contained in scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: And he that believeth on him shall not be put to shame. For you therefore that believe is the preciousness: but for such as disbelieve, The stone which the builders rejected, The same was made the head of the corner; and A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence; for they stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed." Appointed. I.E. selected by God for disobedience. The reflexive position is obvious: God also chose some for obedience. Soverign election, Fred, wherein the wills of the elect are restored to their pre-Adamic condition, able to freely choose God.

... But like a gentlemen, he will invite people to his house and encourage them with great longsuffering that they come, but he will not force them to join the free party (it is His Will to not force them). They have to say yes. Note that it isn’t “works” to say yes to a free offer, especially when you don’t deserve that free offer.


Those who say yes do so by their free will. But only after they have been made able. And I am in certain agreement with you that such acceptance is in no way a work. On the other hand, those who presume on the Lord, are unrepentant, disobedient, etc., etc., but who style themselves Christians because they are church members, are guilty of trying to appropriate salvation by a work of their corrupt and fallen wills. Thier lives deny their confession.

The Calvinist position on the other hand is that God planned for the people of Nineveh to repent, they had no choice in the matter but to repent because God’s will in this matter would not be thwarted. But the text does not support this in any straightforward way that I can see. It still has to be allegorized to get around this textual problem.


Allegorized? Not at all. God wanted them to repent and gave them the hearts necessary for it. All this is obvious from what we know with certainty of the fallen nature of man. All men are called to repent, but only those whom God has, to quote Peter, "appointed", will actually do so.

Another verse to throw into the mix:
And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. - 1 John 2:2:

It would seem difficult to say this verse applies only to “the elect”, or those chosen for salvation. It just doesn’t fit the “limited atonement” of Calvinism.


Au contraire, mon ami. It fits beautifully. Bear with me because at this point I am going to get all scholarly.

but also for the sins of the whole world; "the Syriac version renders it, "not for us only, but also for the whole world"; that is, not for the Jews only, for John was a Jew, and so were those he wrote unto, but for the Gentiles also. Nothing is more common in Jewish writings than to call the Gentiles עלמא, "the world"; and כל העולם, "the whole world"; and אומות העולם, "the nations of the world" (l); See Gill on John 12:19; and the word "world" is so used in Scripture; see Joh_3:16; and stands opposed to a notion the Jews have of the Gentiles, that אין להן כפרה, "there is no propitiation for them" (m): and it is easy to observe, that when this phrase is not used of the Gentiles, it is to be understood in a limited and restrained sense; as when they say (n),

"it happened to a certain high priest, that when he went out of the sanctuary, כולי עלמא, "the whole world" went after him;''

which could only design the people in the temple. And elsewhere (o) it is said,

"amle ylwk, "the "whole world" has left the Misna, and gone after the "Gemara";''

which at most can only intend the Jews; and indeed only a majority of their doctors, who were conversant with these writings: and in another place (p),

"amle ylwk, "the whole world" fell on their faces, but Raf did not fall on his face;''

where it means no more than the congregation. Once more, it is said (q), when

"R. Simeon ben Gamaliel entered (the synagogue), כולי עלמא, "the whole world" stood up before him;''

that is, the people in the synagogue: to which may be added ®,

"when a great man makes a mourning, כולי עלמא, "the whole world" come to honour him;''

i.e. a great number of persons attend the funeral pomp: and so these phrases, כולי עלמא לא פליגי, "the whole world" is not divided, or does not dissent (s); כולי עלמא סברי, "the whole world" are of opinion (t), are frequently met with in the Talmud, by which, an agreement among the Rabbins, in certain points, is designed; yea, sometimes the phrase, "all the men of the world" (u), only intend the inhabitants of a city where a synagogue was, and, at most, only the Jews: and so this phrase, "all the world", or "the whole world", in Scripture, unless when it signifies the whole universe, or the habitable earth, is always used in a limited sense, either for the Roman empire, or the churches of Christ in the world, or believers, or the present inhabitants of the world, or a part of them only, Luk_2:1; and so it is in this epistle, 1Jo_5:19; where the whole world lying in wickedness is manifestly distinguished from the saints, who are of God, and belong not to the world; and therefore cannot be understood of all the individuals in the world; and the like distinction is in this text itself, for "the sins of the whole world" are opposed to "our sins", the sins of the apostle and others to whom he joins himself; who therefore belonged not to, nor were a part of the whole world, for whose sins Christ is a propitiation as for theirs: so that this passage cannot furnish out any argument for universal redemption; for besides these things, it may be further observed, that for whose sins Christ is a propitiation, their sins are atoned for and pardoned, and their persons justified from all sin, and so shall certainly be glorified, which is not true of the whole world, and every man and woman in it; moreover, Christ is a propitiation through faith in his blood, the benefit of his propitiatory sacrifice is only received and enjoyed through faith; so that in the event it appears that Christ is a propitiation only for believers, a character which does not agree with all mankind; add to this, that for whom Christ is a propitiation he is also an advocate, 1Jo_2:1; but he is not an advocate for every individual person in the world; yea, there is a world he will not pray for Joh_17:9, and consequently is not a propitiation for them. Once more, the design of the apostle in these words is to comfort his "little children" with the advocacy and propitiatory sacrifice of Christ, who might fall into sin through weakness and inadvertency; but what comfort would it yield to a distressed mind, to be told that Christ was a propitiation not only for the sins of the apostles and other saints, but for the sins of every individual in the world, even of these that are in hell? Would it not be natural for persons in such circumstances to argue rather against, than for themselves, and conclude that seeing persons might be damned notwithstanding the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ, that this might, and would be their case. In what sense Christ is a propitiation; see Gill on Rom_3:25. The Jews have no notion of the Messiah as a propitiation or atonement; sometimes they say (w) repentance atones for all sin; sometimes the death of the righteous (x); sometimes incense (y); sometimes the priests' garments (z); sometimes it is the day of atonement (a); and indeed they are in the utmost puzzle about atonement; and they even confess in their prayers (:o, that they have now neither altar nor priest to atone for them."
(l) Jarchi in Isa. liii. 5. (m) T. Hieros. Nazir, fol. 57. 3. Vid. T. Bab. Succa, fol. 55. 2. (n) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 71. 2. (o) T. Bab. Bava Metzia, fol. 33. 2. (p) T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 22. 2. (q) T. Bab. Horayot, fol. 13. 2. ® Piske Toseph. Megilla, art. 104. (s) T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 90. 2. & Kiddushin, fol. 47. 2. & 49. 1. & 65. 2. & Gittin, fol. 8. 1. & 60. 2. (t) T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 48. 1. (u) Maimon. Hilch. Tephilla, c. 11. sect. 16. (w) Zohar in Lev. fol. 29. 1. (x) Ib. fol. 24. 1. T. Hieros. Yoma, fol. 38. 2. (y) T. Bab. Zebachim, fol. 88. 2. & Erachin, fol. 16. 1. (z) T. Bab. Zebachim, ib. T. Hieros. Yoma, fol. 44. 2. (a) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 87. 1. & T. Hieros. Yoma, fol. 45. 2, 3. (:D Seder Tephillot, fol. 41. 1. Ed. Amsterd.

See? All it takes is a little knowledge of Jewish idiom.


I think these numerous Old Testament passages we are discussing coupled with over 100 “all” verses in the New Testament (such as 1 John 2:2, 2 Peter 3, etc), do not fit well in a system where God picked individuals beforehand for hell, and others for heaven,


Even though that is exactly what the Bible says He did?

...without any chance whatsoever for man to have any say in that outcome.


What is often overlooked here is that men are born dead in sin. They are guilty from the womb. "As in Adam all died". God owes the guilty nothing except justice. That he has chosen to have mercy on some, but not on others is by no stretch of the imagination unfair. I know that is difficult, but I didn't say it.

Without a say, it strips love, because love is impossible where there is no free will.


The natural man does not, indeed can not, love God. If it were not that God loved us even when we were His enemies all would be lost. But you are right: without free will love is impossible. Fallen man can and does exhibit worldly love, but love toward God is a gift of the Spirit. Love toward God is part of the package received at the moment of conversion and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It is not something the spiritually dead man can conjure up on his own.

Let me reiterate that the Bible makes it clear that we cannot attain our salvation, God has to draw us, but God did grant us the right to reject or accept the free gift (a free gift does not require works to obtain it).


God does draw us. But why did Jesus say, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who hath given them unto me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand (John 10:27-29, emphasis added) if we are not a chosen gift?

The real problem is that the majority of men will concoct their own god (or gods). I’ve long said that Satan’s biggest lie is not evolution, but instead that “being good” gets you to heaven; an extension of which is “many paths lead to heaven”.


True. Very true.

The world is not the source for knowledge of God beyond the fact that He is. What is the source? Jesus said, "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4). Someone will say that that does not preclude the wisdom of the world, but it does because the world is fallen and completely corrupt. It His Word that will prosper, not the words of the world (Isaiah 55:11).


It seems you are agreeing with me here that we can’t trust any idea that comes from the world; hence, you must now denounce Calvinism since immutability was widely taught by Greek Pagan philosophy. :)


Now Fred, that is a nice try but I ain't buying it. Every doctrine I teach is heavily supported by scripture. But you already know that. And immutability is no different. I close with this demonstration of that fact: Hebrews 13:8, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and to-day, yea and for ever.

#39 Fred Williams

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 04:47 PM

Whew, you weren’t kidding about the verbosity alert! :)

I do appreciate your exegesis of this and the time you put in to it. However, I still have a problem with it (shocked, ed? :)), which is two-fold:

1) If this “whole world” passage were isolated or rare, I would have much less a problem with it. But the problem is that there are over 100 of these “all” and “whole world” passages. Of the verses that seem to, on the surface, support “limited atonement”, the numbers are few. So I could also offer a similar exegesis on those “limited atonement” verses and show where the surface interpretation does not necessarily fit the context (some we have already covered to some extent, ie Ephesians 1)

2) It seems more clear language could have been used to convey “limited atonement”. For example, replace “whole world” with “elect”. You have to admit this seems like to our fallible intellect that it would have alleviated a lot of confusion if limited atonement were true. We both agree God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor 14:33). One of my favorite passages in scripture is Proverbs 8:8-9

“All the words of my mouth are with righteousness; Nothing crooked or perverse is in them. They are all plain to him who understands”.

I truly realize that you agree with this in principle. We just see the plain rendering on this topic differently. The plain rendering to me does not support limited atonement. Instead “verbose” posts are needed to explain it. :) Let me put it this way. When the average Joe reads the Bible, he would come across far more surface texts that contradict limited atonement than support it. In order to believe “limited atonement” he would have to have a Calvinist explain it to him. :)

On the other hand, of the fewer number of surface texts that seem to support “limited atonement”, I believe they are easier to explain and reasonably fit the context of the passage. Let’s consider your latest example:

God does draw us. But why did Jesus say, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who hath given them unto me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand (John 10:27-29, emphasis added) if we are not a chosen gift?


I don’t see a problem with this being interpreted that God gave to Christ those who accept the free gift. On the other hand, this to me isn’t that great a verse for the Calvinist position, since it doesn’t plainly state that God is making an arbitrary choice. A predestined choice perhaps (if taken as a body this would still fit with many non-Calvinist positions), but it doesn’t plainly indicate an arbitrary choice.

BTW, I do think this passage makes a reasonable case for the ‘P’ in the tulip (preservation of Saints), which is the one I probably have the least amount of trouble with. :) The jury is still out on that one for me. In know there are passionate views on this from both sides of this issue.

And immutability is no different. I close with this demonstration of that fact: Hebrews 13:8, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yea and for ever.


I completely agree with Hebrews 13:8, I’d better! :) We just see it slightly different. God is a living God whose attributes and character never change, but this can be true and we can still have a living God with emotion. If you take Hebrews 13:8 or Malachi 3:6 too far, then God can’t be emotional, yet the Bible says he is (there are in fact Calvinists who deny that God has emotions - I think Augustine was one of them but I could be wrong).

Every doctrine I teach is heavily supported by scripture. But you already know that.


That is why this debate is difficult, because we both have plenty of passages we can appeal to. Bottom line for me is that I find it much easier to explain the difficult passages on predestination that to justify the passages supporting Calvinism, particularly unconditional election, limited atonement, and irresistible grace. Here is a website I found recently that I think sums it up well, though there are a few items I could take some issue with:

http://www.biblehelp.org/sumsel.htm

Fred

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 07:28 PM

Whew, you weren’t kidding about the verbosity alert! :)

I do appreciate your exegesis of this and the time you put in to it. However, I still have a problem with it (shocked, ed? :)), which is two-fold:

1) If this “whole world” passage were isolated or rare, I would have much less a problem with it. But the problem is that there are over 100 of these “all” and “whole world” passages. Of the verses that seem to, on the surface, support “limited atonement”, the numbers are few. So I could also offer a similar exegesis on those “limited atonement” verses and show where the surface interpretation does not necessarily fit the context (some we have already covered to some extent, ie Ephesians 1)


Did you somehow miss my exposition of the idiom "whole world"? I would be pleased to have it shown me where it is incorrect. :)

2) It seems more clear language could have been used to convey “limited atonement”. For example, replace “whole world” with “elect”. You have to admit this seems like to our fallible intellect that it would have alleviated a lot of confusion if limited atonement were true.


I could possibly be mistaken, but I don't think you have dealt with 1 Peter 2:6-8.

We both agree God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor 14:33). One of my favorite passages in scripture is Proverbs 8:8-9

“All the words of my mouth are with righteousness; Nothing crooked or perverse is in them. They are all plain to him who understands”.


I like that passage too. But it is Solomon speaking with reference to his own wisdom, not God.


I truly realize that you agree with this in principle. We just see the plain rendering on this topic differently. The plain rendering to me does not support limited atonement. Instead “verbose” posts are needed to explain it. :)  Let me put it this way. When the average Joe reads the Bible, he would come across far more surface texts that contradict limited atonement than support it. In order to believe “limited atonement” he would have to have a Calvinist explain it to him. :) 


Actually, the bulk of that post was aimed at explaining the use of Jewish idiom because it is a misunderstanding of that idiom that leads to misinterpretation.

I don’t see a problem with this being interpreted that God gave to Christ those who accept the free gift.  On the other hand, this to me isn’t that great a verse for the Calvinist position, since it doesn’t plainly state that God is making an arbitrary choice. A predestined choice perhaps (if taken as a body this would still fit with many non-Calvinist positions), but it doesn’t plainly indicate an arbitrary choice.


I again appeal to 1 Peter 2:6-8.

BTW, I do think this passage makes a reasonable case for the ‘P’ in the tulip (preservation of Saints), which is the one I probably have the least amount of trouble with. :)  The jury is still out on that one for me. In know there are passionate views on this from both sides of this issue.


Yes, there is disagreement here as well. It seems to me obvious that unless God is able to secure His gift to His Son, then the plan of salvation is dependent upon men rather than upon God.

I completely agree with Hebrews 13:8, I’d better! :) We just see it slightly different. God is a living God whose attributes and character never change, but this can be true and we can still have a living God with emotion. If you take Hebrews 13:8 or Malachi 3:6 too far, then God can’t be emotional, yet the Bible says he is (there are in fact Calvinists who deny that God has emotions - I think Augustine was one of them but I could be wrong).


Anthropomorphic language is frequently used to describe God's attributes because we can relate to it. Example: When the Scripture speaks of God's eyes it doesn't mean He has actual physical eyes. It is a reference to His unobstructed view of all things. I will not argue for God not having emotions, but a good case can be made for it. A being, any being, that operates even partially based on emotions becomes subjective at some point. God is not subjective; that is a human failing.


You referenced Proverbs 8:8-9. Much better, for the purpose of this discussion is the next verse: (8:10) "Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold." :)




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