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#21 Fred Williams

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 01:15 PM

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Hi Dave,

Good post. I would like to start with what I think is your weakest argument, then some middle-of-the-road arguments, then close with your best argument, which if your interpretation of a certain verse is correct (spoiler – it isn’t :)) it would pose serious problems, if not outright falsify, the Open View.

First, what I view as a weak argument:

Even clearer, in John 8:58 Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”

He what? He was? No. “I am.” He is always in the past, present and future. There is no time restriction here. Transcendent of time. Outside of time.


We all have our pre-conceived bias, in this case you begin with metaphysical Einstien-Misler-4th dimension version of time, then somehow read in the text that “I Am” is a definitive, or as you state, a “clear” indication of God outside-of-time. Yet even with your version of time, this is not “clear” at all from the text, most who read it will interpret it as God saying He has always existed. If we consider my position of time as “the progression of one moment to the next”, your argument above scores absolutely no points in the convincing department, because it would be as clear as mud. :) Your argument of Genesis 1:1 is a little stronger, because at least in that case you can push that time (your version) is physical, then follow it up with God “created all things”.

BTW, if God is always in the past, will He have to watch His son die on the cross for all eternity? Are there any examples in the Bible where God visits the past?

Next, the middle-of-the road verses are all the John prophecies.

There is a lot of controversy about Revelation among those who take different views of the timing of the events – post-millennialists, a-millennialists, and pre-millennialists. I take the pre-millennial view as the correct one.

I believe that God gives us the view in Revelation that the first chapter is “what was,” the second through third chapters are “what is,” and fourth chapter through the end of the book are what must “shortly come to pass.” And that the book of Revelation is a recounting of the future 7 years of tribulation before Christ comes to reign on the Throne of David for 1,000 years.


We agree on the pre-millennial view. But obviously I will argue that “shortly come to pass” means just what it says, it hasn’t happened yet, it is not in the realm of reality until it occurs.

Rev 1:4 – “John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace [be] unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;”

Isn’t this God saying he is outside of time?


Not necessarily, its neutral territory since it could also mean that God is showing John things that will come to pass. If you answer the following in the affirmative, which I assume you will, it proves my point that neither of us can know for certain if our position is supported by the above verse. Is God powerful enough to show John a vision of the future even if it hasn’t happened yet?

Clearly, God wants John to record “all things that he saw” of future events yet to take place. But, how can that be? How can God, much less a mortal man, watch future history unfold before it even happens? That can only happen if God is outside of time.


Again, is God powerful enough to show John a vision of the future even if it hasn’t happened yet? Is God powerful enough to show us next year’s Super Bowl game, right down to the finest of details, if He wanted to? Yes. He would have to mess with free-will, but He certainly has the power to manipulate circumstances so that games play out the way he wants them, and players do whatever He wants them to do. Or, he could allow a certain amount of free-will and give a less detailed picture, and still accomplish the same result if the purpose is to show who wins the game.

And it’s instructive that John was not merely seeing these events as in a dream. He was a partaker of many of the events as they took place, even interacting with some of the participants.

Rev 5:4 – “…And I wept much, …”

Rev 7:13-14 – “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest.”

Rev 10:9-10 – “And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take [it], and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.”

John was not only privileged to view the future as it was happening, he was actually participating in it!


I like this as an argument, since this would be a good falsification. The problem is, your interpretation is just an opinion, there is no definitive evidence from the text that John is actually in the future with the angel. I looked at the first three commentaries to pop up on a Google search, and also checked Matthew Henry, and none of them supported your interpretation. Aside from those, I carefully read those passages and see no indication that John is "in the future" (aka H.G. Wells time machine), as opposed to "in the TV room".

I believe it is clearly “set in stone” that not only can God watch the future as if it was being played out on a TV screen in front of him, but he even has the power to allow a human, mortal man to do the same thing with him.

That’s why all of the “hundreds of verses” that Fred can call up to “prove” that God is limited in his omniscience must be read and interpreted with the understanding from the Book of Revelation that God can indeed see the future, and can in fact, reside in it and participate in it. Any other interpretation is agenda-driven in order to support an unorthodox view of Scripture.


I’m not trying to “prove” God is limited in his omniscience, He is completely omniscient in all that is real. Ironically, if you are suggesting the future is “set in stone” aren’t you unwittingly limiting God’s power to change the future? You already started earlier in the post that the only way God could show someone the future was if he was outside of time. This is clearly not true - even if I’m wrong about OT, God could still certainly show us something on a TV screen that hasn’t happened yet, because He is All Powerful and can make it happen, he can “bring it to pass”.

I don’t expect you to address all my replies above, but I do have two questions I would really want you to answer:

1) If the future is “set in stone”, how do you explain Hezekiah’s prayer In Isaiah 38?

2) If God is outside-of-time, how do you explain Isaiah 5:1-4, where God plainly states he expected something to happen, but instead something else happened?


Finally, I would like to reiterate something to the reader. When considering competing scriptural viewpoints, which one better fits the plain language, and which one better accommodates the scripture presented by opposition? I submit that the Open View not only matches the plain language, but easily accommodates the scripture offered in opposition. I conversely submit that Dave’s version doesn’t always match the plain text, especially when dealing with the scripture I've offered in opposition. I again ask Dave to answer my two questions above to see how well his version of God-outside-of-time handles them. Thanks,

Fred

#22 JoshuaJacob

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 09:12 PM

If God is not some how "outside" of time, then how were prophecies predicted and fulfilled in the bible? Doesn't that need an outside presence from time as we know it?

I fully believe God is not constrained by time as we know it.


Jeremiah 1:5
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.

What is the passage above saying?

Isaiah 55:8
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways, declares the LORD.

The passage above should remind Us that We will never fully understand Gods ways. We can debate until the cows come home but the fact of the matter is the finite cannot grasp the infinite.

#23 Dave

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 09:33 PM

Hi Dave,

Good post. I would like to start with what I think is your weakest argument, then some middle-of-the-road arguments, then close with your best argument, which if your interpretation of a certain verse is correct (spoiler – it isn’t  ) it would pose serious problems, if not outright falsify, the Open View.

First, what I view as a weak argument:

Even clearer, in John 8:58 Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”

1) We all have our pre-conceived bias, in this case you begin with metaphysical Einstien-Misler-4th dimension version of time, then somehow read in the text that “I Am” is a definitive, or as you state, a “clear” indication of God outside-of-time. If we consider 2) my position of time as “the progression of one moment to the next”, your argument above scores absolutely no points in the convincing department,

1) Exactly. That is why we are at loggerheads on the “time” issue. I don’t see any way to resolve it until one of us changes our mind.

2) I’ve stated over and over again that your definition of time applies only to man. God is not subject to the limitations placed on man, God has his own time frame, which is exactly to the point of what Jesus was explaining to the Jews. I score a bull’s eye on that one.

BTW, if God is always in the past, will He have to watch His son die on the cross for all eternity? Are there any examples in the Bible where God visits the past?

The question doesn’t apply if you believe that God is outside of time. It’s only a problem if you put restrictions on God like putting him in man’s limited time domain. God is all over time, simultaneously, just as he is all over space simultaneously. What a great and powerful God to be able to do that!

We agree on the pre-millennial view. But obviously I will argue that “shortly come to pass” means just what it says, it hasn’t happened yet, it is not in the realm of reality until it occurs.

Right. I agree … as far as limited man’s time is concerned. But God is about to bring John up to where the future does become reality … in God’s time.

Clearly, God wants John to record “all things that he saw” of future events yet to take place. But, how can that be? How can God, much less a mortal man, watch future history unfold before it even happens? That can only happen if God is outside of time.

Again, is God powerful enough to show John a vision of the future even if it hasn’t happened yet? Is God powerful enough to show us next year’s Super Bowl game, right down to the finest of details, if He wanted to? Yes. He would have to mess with free-will, but He certainly has the power to manipulate circumstances so that games play out the way he wants them, and players do whatever He wants them to do. Or, he could allow a certain amount of free-will and give a less detailed picture, and still accomplish the same result if the purpose is to show who wins the game.

Yes. Obviously. Because John tells us that’s what happened. I must point out, however, that John wasn’t experiencing a vision, he was watching future unfold. There is a difference.

And it’s instructive that John was not merely seeing these events as in a dream. He was a partaker of many of the events as they took place, even interacting with some of the participants.

Rev 5:4 – “…And I wept much, …”

Rev 7:13-14 – “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest.”

Rev 10:9-10 – “And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take [it], and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.”

John was not only privileged to view the future as it was happening, he was actually participating in it!

I like this as an argument, since this would be a good falsification. The problem is, your interpretation is just an opinion, there is no definitive evidence from the text that John is actually in the future with the angel. I looked at the first three commentaries to pop up on a Google search, and also checked Matthew Henry, and none of them supported your interpretation. Aside from those, I carefully read those passages and see no indication that John is "in the future" (aka H.G. Wells time machine), as opposed to "in the TV room".

(Fred, I’m sure that you don’t want to use that as proof against my view. If you do, you’d have to admit that Open Theism has no standing whatsoever because there are no standard Bibles, commentaries or conservative teachers who support OT.)

Rev 4:1 states, “After this I looked, and, behold, a door [was] opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard [was] as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.”

Do you agree that John is physically in heaven being prepared to view something?

Now, I refer you back to the verses showing John’s participating as he was watching the future. I do believe that that places him squarely in the future as it is happening, otherwise he couldn’t have taken something, eaten it, tasted the sweetness in his mouth and felt it bitter in his stomach. Any other interpretation is a whole lot of allegoricalizing going on in passages that don’t call for it.

However, that being said, in my view it is not even necessary for John to be in the future while he is watching the future unfold. It is more than enough that he is only watching the future, “in the TV room.” In either case, it is the future being played out in front of John exactly as it has already occurred in the future in God’s time.

1) I’m not trying to “prove” God is limited in his omniscience,
He is completely omniscient in 2) all that is real. Ironically, if you are suggesting the future is “set in stone” 3)aren’t you unwittingly limiting God’s power to change the future? You already started earlier in the post that the only way God could show someone the future was if he was outside of time. This is clearly not true - even if I’m wrong about OT, God 4)could still certainly show us something on a TV screen that hasn’t happened yet,[B] because He is All Powerful and can make it happen, he can “bring it to pass”.

1) But, you are. That is the whole point of Open Theism. Almost everything we’ve learned about OT here places man’s limitations on a totally sovereign God.

2) Fred, that is your qualification, not God’s. When you can define what is real to God you are putting yourself above God.

3) Not at all. God is who sets the future in stone. Only He knows what the final outcome will be. It is not in our knowledge or power to judge what God’s ultimate plan is for every single thing that happens.

4) Wow! Fred, you are almost there! The only thing I would suggest is that the “hasn’t happened yet” applies only to the perspective of us humans who are in our limited time domain. In God’s time it has already happened. He was there. He knows.

The events of Revelation 4-22 will come to pass exactly as John saw them because it was God showing it to him. Every choice by every single person during the tribulation will be made by all those people, and creatures exactly as it is played out before John. Sure, they will be exercising free will all along. But, this Book of Revelation is a rare, unique glimpse into how free will ultimately plays into God’s plan for us.

God knows the beginning from the end and we have been given the rare privilege to see it how it happens.

Dave

#24 Dave

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 09:38 PM

1) If the future is “set in stone”, how do you explain Hezekiah’s prayer In Isaiah 38?


There are many, many verses in Scripture that make it appear as if God changed his mind. However, they run smack up against verses that tell us that God does not change his mind.

For example: “And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he [is] not a man, that he should repent.” – 1Sam 15:29

So, what is a sincere Scripture reader to do with such an apparent contradiction?

I believe we must first look at the verse that describes the attribute of God that the contradictory verse applies to. In this case, the applicable attribute of God is his immutability. It is described by the 1Sam 15:29 verse above.

OK. Once we recognize that God cannot go against his own attribute, we must try to discover why the contradictory verse appears to go against what God says he cannot or will not do.

I suggest that the way we look for a clue to God’s seemingly contradictory behavior is to look for an interpretation where God’s behavior sets it up so that it gives honor and glory to Himself.

So, looking at Isaiah 38, God instructs Isaiah to tell Hezekiah to “Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live.” Hezekiah, humbles himself, and prays fervently. God hears his prayer and adds 15 years to his life.

Admittedly, this is not a good example because nowhere in the chapter does it say that God actually changed his mind, relented or repented. He merely offered Hezekiah an additional 15 years as an answer to his prayer.

Was the future set in stone concerning Hezekiah and the timing of his death? Absolutely. God knew that Hezekiah wouldn’t be dieing that day. But God wanted to see Hezekiah humble himself before Him, which gave Him glory and honor.

One thing we must be cautious of in attributing human characteristics to God is that He is way, way outside of our human range of emotions and feelings. There is a term for this that I recently learned, that I think applies here. It is called “anthropopathism.” It is a similar term to the word that we more commonly know, “anthropomorphism.” The difference is that “anthropopathism” is to human feelings, what “anthropomorphism” is to human physical characteristics.

Our human understanding of God “changing his mind” is not necessarily anywhere near what is actually happening with God’s actual feelings in relation to his actual plan. Anyone who disagrees would not be able to argue that God doesn’t really have wings, eyes, hands, etc., or that Jesus really doesn’t have a two-edged sword for a tongue.

In other words, if you accept “anthropomorphism” as a figure of speech in regard to God’s physical characteristics, then you’d have to accept “anthropopathism” as a figure of speech for God’s feelings or mental characteristics.

2) If God is outside-of-time, how do you explain Isaiah 5:1-4, where God plainly states he expected something to happen, but instead something else happened?


Fred, I don’t see the problem here. Maybe you could elaborate a bit.

Dave

#25 Fred Williams

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 06:16 PM

If God is not some how "outside" of time, then how were prophecies predicted and fulfilled in the bible? Doesn't that need an outside presence from time as we know it?

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No, not at all, or else I would not even consider the view I am presenting. Can you give me any prophecy in the Bible where God had to be outside of time to fulfill it? In other words, think about the prophecy given, and consider whether or not God can provide a vision of the prophecy and manipulate circumstances to make the prophecy come true. Surely an all-powerful God can do exactly this, no requirement from Him to be “outside-of-time”!

Jeremiah 1:5
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.

What is the passage above saying?


Well, unless you are a Calvinist or Mormon, :) who love to interpret this as knowledge BEFORE conception. There is nothing in the text to suggest he knew us BEFORE conception. He appointed Jeremiah a prophet from the very beginning of his life. Not all prophets have lived up to God’s expectations.

Isaiah 55:8
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways, declares the LORD.

The passage above should remind Us that We will never fully understand Gods ways. We can debate until the cows come home but the fact of the matter is the finite cannot grasp the infinite.


I agree that we can’t grasp everything in our fallen state. But please take this in the humble spirit intended - IMO this is verse is over-used, you usually hear it when a difficult doctrine is being discussed. It’s the God of the Gaps verse. :)

Fred

#26 Fred Williams

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 06:19 PM

1) Exactly. That is why we are at loggerheads on the “time” issue. I don’t see any way to resolve it until one of us changes our mind.

2) I’ve stated over and over again that your definition of time applies only to man. God is not subject to the limitations placed on man, God has his own time frame, which is exactly to the point of what Jesus was explaining to the Jews. I score a bull’s eye on that one.

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I agree we are at loggerhead and repeating ourselves. I will summarize my position and move on: 1) IMO your view of time as physical much more heavily relies on man’s opinion (metaphysical 4th dimension time, quantum theory, etc); 2) we have to believe that the Greek pagan philosophers, who are wrong about everything else about God, got this one right since they believed as you do, 3) there is no evidence that pre-19th century Christians had any concept of time being physical, nor is there any evidence that Jewish rabbis who should be experts in the Torah had any concept of God-outside-of-time. As C.S. Lewis once wrote: “This idea [of God’s timelessness] has helped me a good deal. If it does not help you, leave it alone. . . . It is not in the Bible or any of the creeds”.

BTW, I would be curious to hear an answer to my question of whether or not you think God, who you say concurrently lives in the past present & future, will for all eternity see His Son die on the cross.

Yes. Obviously. Because John tells us that’s what happened. I must point out, however, that John wasn’t experiencing a vision, he was watching future unfold. There is a difference.

What is the difference? You have not made a case that scripture supports your claim that John was actually PRESENT and INTERACTING in the future. Its speculation on your part.

Fred: I looked at the first three commentaries to pop up on a Google search, and also checked Matthew Henry, and none of them supported your interpretation.
Dave: Fred, I’m sure that you don’t want to use that as proof against my view. If you do, you’d have to admit that Open Theism has no standing whatsoever because there are no standard Bibles, commentaries or conservative teachers who support OT.

OK, first point noted (yow!). Nevertheless I have never heard anyone else give your interpretation that John was actually IN the future - all I really need to do is read the text and see that there is no way you can draw that conclusion definitively. I do reject your second point. OT is gaining ground. Did you know that the Southern Baptist convention initially labeled Open View as heresy, only to later (can’t remember which year) allow it as an acceptable belief, though not an endorsed belief? I also know plenty of conservative scholars who support the Open View, including Bob Hill and Bob Enyart. I also know a Bible scholar who is as prominent as the come, whose name I can’t reveal, who has voiced support for it in private circles, but is probably not ready to publicly admit it because of the negative reaction and in some cases the vitriol that occurs (which I have personally experienced). Trust me everyone – I don’t bring up this topic lightly – I appreciate guys like Dave and Joshua and everyone else here who disagree with this in a polite and civil manner.

Do you agree that John is physically in heaven being prepared to view something?

Yes, but not IN the future. Do you agree with Revelation 8:1, that time passes in heaven? – “And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.”.

Fred: God 4)could still certainly show us something on a TV screen that hasn’t happened yet,[B] because He is All Powerful and can make it happen, he can “bring it to pass”.
Dave: 4) Wow! Fred, you are almost there! The only thing I would suggest is that the “hasn’t happened yet” applies only to the perspective of us humans who are in our limited time domain. In God’s time it has already happened. He was there. He knows.

LOL! Wow! Dave, you are almost there! The only thing I would suggest is that the “hasn’t happened yet” is there. :)

Dave, I think you unintentionally side-stepped my question. Can God change the future, or is it settled?

Fred
PS. I’ll get to your follow-up post next, should be fun. I’m pretty sure I remember you reject Calvinism, but what you wrote is exactly the argument a Calvinist would make, such as were made by Deacon some time ago in the Pre-destination thread.

#27 Dave

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 07:25 PM

There is nothing in the text to suggest he knew us BEFORE conception.  Fred

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I'm sorry for butting in here, Joshua, but I couldn't resist. :)

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you."

That is absolutely, perfectly, completely understandable, in plain, simple language as God saying he knew Jeremiah before he was formed in the womb (conceived).

How can anyone even possibly deny that?

Also, Fred, I don't debate Calvinism. If that's what you are going to hang your next post on, I'll take a pass. I've told you before that there are elements of Calvinism that are right and wrong, and there are elements of Arminianism that are right and wrong. I will not condone, nor support either man's obsession with the extreme view.

I'm interested in your comments about my Hezekiah explanation, but if you call me a Calvinist this debate is over for me.

Dave

#28 Dave

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 08:00 PM

BTW, I would be curious to hear an answer to my question of whether or not you think God, who you say concurrently lives in the past present & future, will for all eternity see His Son die on the cross.


OK. If I did indeed say that God concurrently lives in the past, present and future (perhaps you can show me where I said that) it isn’t what I meant to say. God having to live anywhere in particular is strictly a human construct. I believe that God is outside of time, not subject to time, and that he can transcend time. So, even though your premise doesn’t reflect what I believe I’ll answer the question by saying God has the ability to return to the cross on Calvary whenever He wishes, but he isn’t bound to have to do that if He doesn’t wish. It's a strange question. Why would you ask such a thing?

What is the difference? You have not made a case that scripture supports your claim that John was actually PRESENT and INTERACTING in the future. Its speculation on your part.


I believe I did make the case with Scripture, twice. You just choose to not accept it.

OT is gaining ground. Did you know that the Southern Baptist convention initially labeled Open View as heresy, only to later (can’t remember which year) allow it as an acceptable belief, though not an endorsed belief? I also know plenty of conservative scholars who support the Open View, including Bob Hill and Bob Enyart. I also know a Bible scholar who is as prominent as they come, whose name I can’t reveal, who has voiced support for it in private circles, but is probably not ready to publicly admit it …


Fred, if what you say is true that is a truly very, very scary thing. However, the good news about that is that it brings us that much closer to The End because, as you know, many false teachers will arise and the church will all but apostatize just before Jesus comes. OT isn’t the only heretical theology or doctrine that is moving churches away from the Lord.

Do a careful study of the seven churches in Rev. 2&3. Compare and contrast. Which church do you want to be in when Jesus comes for his faithful?

Do you agree with Revelation 8:1, that time passes in heaven? – “And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.”.


Once again, God is outside of time, sovereign over time. I have no problem with him managing time for others, particularly for an earthly, human witness who has no choice but to be in time even if he does happen to be in Heaven with God.

Dave, I think you unintentionally side-stepped my question. Can God change the future, or is it settled?


God knows the beginning from the end. The future can change from man’s point of view, stuck in his temporal existence. From God’s point of view, atemporal and outside of time, the future happens exactly the way he wants it to.

I’m pretty sure I remember you reject Calvinism, but what you wrote is exactly the argument a Calvinist would make, such as were made by Deacon some time ago in the Pre-destination thread.


If you change this debate into an anti-Calvinism one you’ll have to find somebody else to debate with. I don’t do Calvinism vs. Arminianism debate.

Dave

#29 Fred Williams

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 08:00 PM

[Inserted: Dave, please note, I already wrote this post before I just saw yours above... Calvinism definitely does play a role in this debate, even if you are not one]

There are many, many verses in Scripture that make it appear as if God changed his mind. However, they run smack up against verses that tell us that God does not change his mind.

For example: “And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he [is] not a man, that he should repent.” – 1Sam 15:29

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So, there are hundreds of verses to your one verse above (and a few other very indirect verses), yet you seek to reconcile the problem by looking for an answer for those hundreds, and not your one? The verse above means that God will not repent as a man repents. Such an interpretation completely fits the context, as a contrast to Saul's dishonesty and wavering allegiance to God. If you look at the Hebrew for this version of 'repent' it makes perfect sense in the Saul passage:
OT:5162 nacham (naw-kham'); a primitive root; properly, to sigh, i.e. breathe strongly; by implication, to be sorry, i.e. (in a favorable sense) to pity, console or (reflexively) rue; or (unfavorably) to avenge (oneself): KJV - comfort (self), ease [one'sself], repent (-eringself,-,).

God doesn't need to try to comfort or ease himself, as Saul tried to do. Dave, I know you didn't like this when I brought it up some time ago, but it is an important observation that I'm really trying to convey with respect. You are above, it seems to me, admitting that you have to run around the plain meaning of more verses than I do?

I believe we must first look at the verse that describes the attribute of God that the contradictory verse applies to. In this case, the applicable attribute of God is his immutability. It is described by the 1Sam 15:29 verse above.


Dave, I don't mean this as an insult. If anything it's a reflection of the 2nd law taking its toll on my brain. Are you a Calvinist? (I have some VERY dear friends who are Calvinists). The reason I ask, is the statement you made above is the absolute bedrock position of all Calvinism. They live and die on the belief that God is immutable. This too, as the Calvinist Deacon admitted a few years ago on this forum, is a belief that was also widely held by Plato and Aristotle, and greatly influenced Augustine in his formulation of Calvinism. So I apologize if you are not a Calvinist, or if I'm taking your words too far. I would just be a little surprised you are using this argument that is extremely easy to refute in scripture. I agree God does not change in any of his attributes, such as justice, love, mercy, etc. But aside from the hundreds of verses where God plainly states he changes his mind, he certainly changes in his emotions (that is, he has emotion, something Calvinists deny!!), and he certainly changed to become man.

Was the future set in stone concerning Hezekiah and the timing of his death? Absolutely. God knew that Hezekiah wouldn’t be dieing that day. But God wanted to see Hezekiah humble himself before Him, which gave Him glory and honor.


First, there is no verse that claims our time of death is set in stone, misinterpretations of Psalms 139 not withstanding (its context is our time in the womb). So was God wrong when he flat out told Hezekiah he was going to die soon? Of course you don't think that, but your explanation is clearly outside the bounds of what the text clearly stated. God would not mislead us to test our humbleness. Our God is not the God of confusion, and all kinds of confusion in the Bible goes away if we can just get Christians to see that removing the assumption that the future is real before it happens allows them to take the literal, plain meaning of scripture, instead of having to run calisthenics in their brain to try to understand it. Or, they come up with words to try to explain it, such as the oft-used (and Calvinist favorite word in their vocabulary), anthropomorphism!

In other words, if you accept “anthropomorphism” as a figure of speech in regard to God’s physical characteristics, then you’d have to accept “anthropopathism” as a figure of speech for God’s feelings or mental characteristics.


We don't have to do any such thing, it's a non sequitur. You are taking the few obvious cases of symbolism (IMO mislabeled anthropomorphisms), to then use it to dismiss plain text that has no symbolic language at all, such as the following that you asked about:

2) If God is outside-of-time, how do you explain Isaiah 5:1-4, where God plainly states he expected something to happen, but instead something else happened?

Fred, I don’t see the problem here. Maybe you could elaborate a bit.


The problem is, why would God expect Israel to yield good fruit (be a good witness for Him), if His crystal ball told Him they wouldn't? The verse makes no sense if God has a crystal ball of an already settled future. This is yet another verse dismissed as, yes, an anthropomorphism.

Thanks for taking the time to read my last two posts that were probably over-verbose!

Fred

#30 Dave

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 08:05 PM

Dave, I don't mean this as an insult. If anything it's a reflection of the 2nd law taking its toll on my brain. Are you a Calvinist? (I have some VERY dear friends who are Calvinists).
Fred

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Fred, I warned you. I'm outa here.

Bye. It was indeed fun.

Dave

#31 Fred Williams

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 09:15 PM

Fred, I warned you. I'm outa here.

Bye. It was indeed fun.

Dave

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I didn't see your request until after my post. However it is a valid part of this debate, and I wasn't the one who brought up a Calvinistic POV. Sorry to see you go.

Fred

#32 Fred Williams

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 10:16 PM

I'm sorry for butting in here, Joshua, but I couldn't resist.  :)

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you."

That is absolutely, perfectly, completely understandable, in plain, simple language as God saying he knew Jeremiah before he was formed in the womb (conceived).

How can anyone even possibly deny that?

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There are many Christians who oppose Open View who also agree this is referring to the time starting from conception (particularly anti-Calvinists). I do find it ironic that the one person in this debate who admitted that he can't take the plain meaning of "many, many" scripture because of one scripture that seemingly contradicted it, and instead has to chalk them up to anthropomorphism, would think the plain rendering above has no other interpretation even remotely possible other than his own.

Its a good verse JushuaJacob brought up, and IMO it makes the most sense in the manner I have suggested in light of the other scripture that supports this. The point I'm trying to make is that for every problem verse I am presented, I have many, many more (using Dave's words) to counter it. If we kept score on which theological version takes the plain meaning, Dave's already indirectly admitted his would fall short in that score-keeping.

For the record, as I have stated before I don't presume to think I have all the answers, and somehow expect everyone to cow-tow to what I propose or think all aspects of what I've presented here is true. For me personally, it is where plain scripture, those "many, many" verses Dave alluded to, has led me. I can't simply walk away from all those scriptures I raised and wrongly dismiss them as anthropomorphisms as Dave would like me and others to do. Regardless of who is right, I find it very difficult to think that anyone could honestly tell me that I am avoiding the plain rendering of scripture more than they are.

Fred

#33 JoshuaJacob

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 10:44 PM

I try to look at God in the light that He has always been around, He was never born and always existed, how is God not above time when He created it? Without space and matter you have no time.

Just because God expected something and the expectation was not met does not mean God didn't know it was not going to be met. It just proves that man is not perfect.

Can You tell me a prophecy in the bible that didn't come to pass to the T that was told to a true prophet? To have foreknowledge You have to somehow be outside of physical time to know the future.

Do You think God cannot go back into "time" if He wanted to?

For the record I am neither a calvinist nor a Mormon :)

#34 ikester7579

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 02:22 AM

I'm sorry for butting in here, Joshua, but I couldn't resist.  :)

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you."

That is absolutely, perfectly, completely understandable, in plain, simple language as God saying he knew Jeremiah before he was formed in the womb (conceived).

How can anyone even possibly deny that?

Dave

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Here is the explanation of that. In eternity time there is no "present time". We have past, "present" and future. Heaven has only the past and future (Alpha-Omega). This does not mean God is out of time, it means he is not controlled by the laws of time. And because He sees the future, He can know someone even before they are born or conceived.

I know I have used this example before, but for the sake of anyone new I will use it again.

Think of your life as a river. When you are born you jump in, and as you age you flow down that river of time. You can see a little into your past and future but you are stuck in present time which is where you happen to be in that river of time at any given moment.

God on the other hand is not controlled by present time so He is not in that river of time. He is above it like in a helicopter. Having an eye view of your whole life. He can see where you have been, where you are, and where you are going at all times. And regardless of the freewill decisions you make, He sees the outcome of your future instantly. So God always knows what's going to happen, and we always have our freewill to choose.

#35 Fred Williams

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 07:33 AM

Hi JoshuaJacob,

I try to look at God in the light that He has always been around, He was never born and always existed, how is God not above time when He created it? Without space and matter you have no time.

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I of course agree that God has always been around and never has been born. But to say time is a created thing is an assumption, it's not in the Bible. “This idea [of God’s timelessness] has helped me a good deal. If it does not help you, leave it alone. . . . It is not in the Bible or any of the creeds”. - C.S. Lewis.

Just because God expected something and the expectation was not met does not mean God didn't know it was not going to be met. It just proves that man is not perfect.


Can't you see that, with plain language, that's a contradiction? Expect: a. To look forward to the probable occurrence or appearance of.b. To consider likely or certain. In the Hebrew dictionary, the word used is also "looked", as the KJV states "looked to bring forth".

God retains his omniscience if we remove the scriptural assumption that God is outside-of-time. It also solves the above verse, and the many others like it. God knows all things knowable, and is more than capable to "bring things to pass".

Can You tell me a prophecy in the bible that didn't come to pass to the T that was told to a true prophet?


Yes, all the yet to be fulfilled prophecies. :) For example, do you think God needs a crystal ball to proclaim that all nations will go against Israel (which we see happening before our very eyes, especially as one of the last bastions of anti-Semitism, the United States, is heading that way)? Or do you think God knew because of his infinite wisdom when he inspired the writers such as John that the world would eventually unite against his chosen people? God certainly could use man's wickedness to bring about this prophecy, just as he used Nebuchadnezzar wickedness to bring judgment to Israel. When God told John about the two witnesses, do you think He can bring about their demise without having to see in a crystal ball their demise? In fact, that one's a pretty easy prophecy to make, it would be like me prophesying that if I go to Iran and hand out Bibles, that I would lose my head. :)

Do You think God cannot go back into "time" if He wanted to?


He can if time is a created thing, he can't if previous time is not in the realm of reality. God can't do the unreal, the illogical, the contradictory. Can you find a verse in the Bible where God went back in time, or is timeless?

For the record I am neither a calvinist nor a Mormon


Neither am I. :)

Fred

#36 Ron

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 09:14 AM

My first question is: Did God not create “ALL Things” created?
(see John 1:3, Romans 11:36, 1 Corinthians 8:6, Colossians 1:16, etc…)

My second question is: Is time not quantifiable and qualifiable?

My third question is: If time IS “quantifiable and qualifiable”, is it not a phenomenon?

My fourth question is: Would time, then, be something impossible for God to create?
(see Matthew 19:26)

#37 Fred Williams

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 09:56 AM

My first question is: Did God not create “ALL Things” created?
(see John 1:3, Romans 11:36, 1 Corinthians 8:6, Colossians 1:16, etc…)

My second question is: Is time not quantifiable and qualifiable?

My third question is: If time IS “quantifiable and qualifiable”, is it not a phenomenon?

My fourth question is: Would time, then, be something impossible for God to create?
(see Matthew 19:26)

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No, maybe, yes, no.

My question to Ron and JoshuaJacob (or anyone else who wants to answer): Did God use an untruth to Hezekiah to get him to humble himself, as a previous poster implied?

If the answer is no, then it would seem you think God meant it when He said Hezekiah was going to die, yet after Hezekiah's prayer, the Living God changed the future and added 15 years to his life. How do you explain this if the future is settled?

Fred

#38 Ron

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 12:02 PM

No,

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I would have to disagree with your assessment, and agree with:

John 1:3 – “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”

Romans 11:36 – “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.”

1 Corinthians 8:6 – “yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.”

Colossians 1:16 - For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.

As testified by the scriptures; ALL things were made by God, Through Jesus.

maybe,

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I believe the answer is (according to the evidence) positively YES. But, I have no problem with saying “highly probable”, due to the fact that what we call time is “quantifiable and qualifiable” due to the facts that we can measure it, and we can measure its effects on other phenomena as well. And, like gravity is a phenomenon, time too is a phenomenon.

yes,

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On this I agree.

no.

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On this I agree as well… There is absolutely no reason God couldn’t create time.
Therefore: Because God created ALL things, and because time is a thing (a phenomenon), it is easily concluded that God created time.

My question to Ron and JoshuaJacob (or anyone else who wants to answer): Did God use an untruth to Hezekiah to get him to humble himself, as a previous poster implied?

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My answer is NO… Because there is absolutely no reason to draw such a conclusion.


If the answer is no, then it would seem you think God meant it when He said Hezekiah was going to die,

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I’m absolutely sure that God did meant it, as I have no reason that God would say anything he wouldn’t mean.

yet after Hezekiah's prayer, the Living God changed the future and added 15 years to his life.

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God didn’t change the future, God changed His mind… We have a merciful God, who answers prayer.

For example; my wife’s father was diagnosed with prostate cancer almost ten years ago. He had a PSA over one thousand, and his prostate was the size of a grapefruit. Through much prayer, and the insistent desire of his daughter (my wife), he is still with us today.

God didn’t change the future, he had mercy on a man (and in our case, a man’s daughter).

Further, there are consequences to our desires; sometimes good, sometimes bad, dependent upon our choices (and others). If you remember right, since God granted Hezekiah's prayer, the most evil and vile king of the Old Testament was born. He would not have been born, had God not answered Hezekiah's prayer.

How do you explain this if the future is settled?

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The future isn’t settled, we have the opportunity to make decisions throughout our life-times (its called free will). We are not automatons with our decisions already made, and our futures set. God does know what is going to happen, but those happenings are contingent upon our decisions.

#39 Fred Williams

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 04:49 PM

I would have to disagree with your assessment, and agree with:

John 1:3 – “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”

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I actually answered the question properly; you need to check how you asked it, as a negative question. Hence I agree with every verse you provided. God did create all things. You asked if he did NOT create all things, and hence I answered No. :)

I do not believe time is a physical thing. Only modern secular metaphysical quantum mechanics makes this claim. Nor am I claiming God is subject to time; God isn’t subject to time anymore than he is subject to the word “the” or any other abstract reference. I am simply stating that time is “the progression of one moment to the next”. You can say you are positive that “one moment passing to the next” is a created thing, but this is not very convincing to me, nor to plenty of other good Bible scholars I know, which makes me not feel so completely wacko (just partly :) :) ). So, it’s in the realm of speculation, neither side can declare their view a fact. If we completely remove any assumptions either of us make about time, and just use scripture, we’ll see that nowhere in the Bible is it definitive that God created time (as C.S. Lewis rightly pointed out).

Your answer about Hezekiah’s prayer shows we are not as far apart as I was with Dave on this. If you agree the future isn’t settled, you're closer to Open View than you think. :) But, your explanation sounds a bit contradictory. In one case you state God meant what he said about a certain event occurring in the future, only to change His mind after prayer so that event didn’t happen in the future! I guess I see little difference between God changing the future and the future not being settled.

So what about the Isaiah 5:1-4, or Jeremiah 19:5? How do you explain these verses if God knows what I submit is outside the realm of reality (aka the future)? How can God claim that an event occurred that He never expected (Jer 19:5), if He actually should have expected it because He has a crystal ball into this void called the future? Why would God claim to expect something if He already knows the result (Isaiah 5:4)? Are you also going to toss out the word anthropomorphism to try to slide out of this dilemma? Or is there a way out without using a word that is hard to spell and pronounce? :)

Fred

#40 Ron

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 08:54 AM

I would have to disagree with your assessment, and agree with:

John 1:3 – “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”

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I actually answered the question properly; you need to check how you asked it, as a negative question. Hence I agree with every verse you provided. God did create all things. You asked if he did NOT create all things, and hence I answered No. :)

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Nope, that was a rhetorical device that has only one (1) correct answer "AND" that requires further explanation from the person being asked (hence the scriptures submitted for review and reply).

My first question is: Did God not create “ALL Things” created?
(see John 1:3, Romans 11:36, 1 Corinthians 8:6, Colossians 1:16, etc…)

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The answer (with explanation) would be something like: “No, God DID create everything as the scriptures suggest”. The simple “no” answer you gave actually agrees with the negative portion of the question, not the entire question within its emblematic symbolisms and context.

Having said that, it is neither here nor there, because we actually agree with the correct answer (that being the affirmative), therefore, arguing semantics is unproductive in this case.

But, to stay on task, and furthering my original line of reasoning:

Premise 1 - God indeed created “everything”.

Premise 2 - Time can be “both” quantified AND qualified via physical means.

Premise 3 - Time therefore is a Phenomenon (a thing).

Conclusion - Therefore God, then, created time.

Further, it matters not whether you or I agree on these matters; nor does it matter what any other theistically Christian scholars, logicians or scientists posit (or submit) on these matters, as these issues do not affect our salvation, or our relationship with God and Jesus (those are different matters altogether). The only thing it may (I put emphasis on the word) affect is that of some “young Christians” trust in the writing of God’s word to Moses in Genesis Chapters One and Two.




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