Origins of Evil and Will of Man

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James K wrote:Charles, while

James K wrote:
Charles, while I am glad to interact on this, please remember that I did not make up this conflict and that Calvin called compatibilism foolishness.

Previously I showed that Edwards argued that man will do whatever his greatest desire is. God created Adam very good without evil or evil desire. Where did Adam's desire to sin come from?

James,
I'm coming back to this. I asked the question about Adam for a reason. Scripture says that we sin when we are drawn away of our own lusts. We also know that we sin when we are tempted. Christ was tempted, and the desires by which he was tempted were not ungodly desires, but rather the means were unauthorized. How is this any different? You are describing the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil so that the only manner in which it could appeal to Adam was in that it afforded to Adam the ability to sin. I do not see this.

So this is why I want to come back to Adam. You say in post 65 that to sin, Adam had to desire to do evil, but based on how I understand you to mean this, this would also mean that when Christ was tempted, for him to be truly tempted, he would have had to desire to do evil and then to resist that. Where did this desire arise within Christ. You say that using Satan as the catalyst is just a temporary foil, because it pushes things up the ladder one rung, but you are presuming that righteous knowledge and the environment cannot interact within a man to cause him to desire something. So, I'm still not sure you've provided any proof that what was working in Adam was a desire to sin (in the sense that you are using the terms). Can you clarify that?

Thanks,
Charles

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Man's Free Will Contrasted With God's

Jay,
Can you clarify within your view the difference between Adam's ability to will and God's?

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Ed, this is what I posted

Ed, this is what I posted once before:

Quote:
It is easy to conclude how foolish and frail is the support of divine justice by the suggestion that evils come to be not by His will, but merely by His permission. Of course, so far as they are evils... I admit they are not pleasing to God. But it is quite a frivolous refuge to say that God otiosely permits them, which Scripture shows Him not only willing but the author of them.

taken from Calvin's "Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God.

I did give the reference. Do you need a page number too? I see I forgot that.

Calvin was talking about libertarian freedom. However, he was talking about how foolish it is to think that evil could come to pass merely by permission. He calls God the author of evils who willed them to be. So I stand by what I said. He was either confused or changed his mind.

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Quote: You and Jay C have

Quote:
You and Jay C have been asked repeatedly to show how God's sovereignty actually violates James 1:13, which is being lifted out of context to begin with, and you have yet to provide one plausible statement to that end. You have been shown and even admitted that God, through a variety of antecedents involving sin, brought about the crucifixion of Christ, the betrayal by Judas, the calamity of Job, the deception of Jacob, the humiliation of the great Pharaoh, and even the union of David and Bethsheba. And the best you can do in your responses is to say, "I disagree because of James 1:13." You nor Jay C have provided not one viable alternative that does not deform God by downgrading His knowledge and sovereignty.

Ed, I am not arguing that God's sovereignty violates James 1:13. The issue is not sovereignty vs James 1:13 to me at all. Maybe Jay is arguing that to you, but I have repeatedly affirmed otherwise. You should read more carefully what I am saying instead of thinking I am arguing something I am not because I am outside your box.

We are discussing God's sovereignty, knowledge, and how they harmonize with the revelation that God, not theological speculation.

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Quote: This conversation is a

Quote:
This conversation is a perfect example of how Liberal theology is the natural logical outworking of Arminian theology. Libertarian freedom is the sacred idol. It must be preserved at all costs. So God ends up being the tortured victim of all kinds of wild speculations.

Ed, if you can seriously conclude that I am arguing for liberal or arminian theology, then you are simply not paying attention or don't understand. I have engaged Calvin, RC Sproul Sr and Jr, and Tom Schreiner.

1. Calvin calls your view foolish.

2. RC Sproul SR says he has never known anyone to explain this.

3. RC Sproul JR says God is the "culprit."

4. Tom Schreiner says that there are logical problems in this system.

Those are 4 calvinists who either admit failure or make aggressive statements on this. You can't simply write them off as liberal or arminian.

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Quote: This is just a

Quote:
This is just a sampling of Scripture that very simply says God really, truly does whatever He wants.

None of which I am arguing against. I affirm every one of those verses. Please interact with what I am actually saying.

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Quote: While the decrees

Quote:
While the decrees occurred in eternity past and there is no order to them from a temporal perspective, to say there was no order of decrees at all is untennable. There was most certainly, by necessity, a logical ordering of the decrees.

I will defer to you in speculative theory since I don't base theology in it. The scriptures refer to God's eternal purpose, but nothing about an order of decrees. That is speculative theology that logically works backward where God has not taken us. The even sanctified but fallen mind of man who delves into the unknown will not produce revelation from God. This is so crucial to so many theologians, but I am amazed how quickly they abandon sola scriptura for it.

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Again real quick, I do not

Again real quick, I do not agree with Jay or his line of argument here. Nothing personal Jay.

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Charles, for Adam to have

Charles, for Adam to have sinned, he had to have desired to sin. If I made it seem like a valid temptation requires a chance to fall, then I mistyped something.

Christ was indeed tempted, but had no capacity to sin, ever.

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Ed if possible, I would like

Ed if possible, I would like you to interact with Post 65 some. That might help this come back to a helpful discussion.

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James K wrote: Charles, for

James K wrote:
Charles, for Adam to have sinned, he had to have desired to sin. If I made it seem like a valid temptation requires a chance to fall, then I mistyped something.

Christ was indeed tempted, but had no capacity to sin, ever.

James,
No, not a chance to fall, but an additional step.

Christ
1. Man is tempted by desire
2. Man rejects desire
3. Man does not sin

Adam
1. Man is tempted by desire
2. Man gives in to desire.
3. Man sins.

What you are saying:

Adam
1. Man is tempted by desire
2. Man also desires specifically to sin
3. Man gives in to desire to sin
4. Man sins.

I don't see this. Because I am fallen, there are times where the lust that I am drawn away with is simply to rebel. Where I am willing to not get something I desire simply out a desire to rebel. Jesus Christ could not even be tempted with this at all, because he never desired this. I do not have a reason to believe that Adam could be tempted with this desire either.

Am I missing something?

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Flaming the Opposition

Jay C. wrote:
I'd just like to note that I have no problems with any of the verses that Ed cited in post #88 as a non-Calvinist/Arminian. As I have repeatedly said, God can and does use anything He pleases, but that does not mean that man's ability to chose as a free moral agent is negated. Nor does it necessitate the error of open theism.

Furthermore:

Quote:
Concerning Edwards' comments regarding the will, I have some familiarity with Edwards and I think everyone should read his material, especially his views on the freedom of the will. He says that will does what the mind thinks is best. The human mind, in its fallen condition is constricted in its actions by a mind that is darkened, blind, and without understanding making it impossible for fallen man to will the good concerning God. The mind is now hostile to God. Prior to the fall, the mind was free to think God's thoughts after Him or to think autonomously. The will was still captive to the mind, but since the mind was free, the will also was free, but not free in any libertarian sense. The mind lost this freedom as a result of the curse inflicted on it in the fall.

I am agree completely with the bolded, but would disagree with the section that is underlined because the Calvinist argues that man was not free in "any libertarian sense" yet cannot bring themselves to vocalize the conclusion that God is ultimately culpable since man can only do God's foreordained will.

Finally, I've yet to read a Calvinist author who didn't resort to flaming the 'opposition', and it's interesting to see that pattern manifest itself yet again.

I am not sure what flaming the opposition means. Given the context, it seems you might be offended by something I have said. If this is true, then point to it specifically. Don't beat around the bush. It wastes time. I have made no personal insults. Ideas have consequences, some more severe than others. No man is free to believe whatever he wishes. You cannot hold to sovereignty and libertarian freedom, such a view is indeed severely untennable. Perhaps you have a different understanding of libertarian freedom? The notion of libertarian freedom contends that acts of the human will are uncaused by anything outside itself. In other words, the will itself is determinative. I would have to say that such a view is perposterous in light of the nature of man. Calvinist contend that the will is free, if by free you mean that it is free to do as the mind pleases or thinks is best. But to say the will is completely set loose from cause is nowhere demonstrable in Scripture's revelation of the nature of man. From the bolded section above one necessarily MUST conclude that the underlined is true. Edwards is contending that the will is captive to the mind. This is a direct refutation of the idea of libertarian freedom! In libertarian freedom, the will is not beholden to anything.

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James K wrote: Quote: This

James K wrote:
Quote:
This conversation is a perfect example of how Liberal theology is the natural logical outworking of Arminian theology. Libertarian freedom is the sacred idol. It must be preserved at all costs. So God ends up being the tortured victim of all kinds of wild speculations.

Ed, if you can seriously conclude that I am arguing for liberal or arminian theology, then you are simply not paying attention or don't understand. I have engaged Calvin, RC Sproul Sr and Jr, and Tom Schreiner.

1. Calvin calls your view foolish.

2. RC Sproul SR says he has never known anyone to explain this.

3. RC Sproul JR says God is the "culprit."

4. Tom Schreiner says that there are logical problems in this system.

Those are 4 calvinists who either admit failure or make aggressive statements on this. You can't simply write them off as liberal or arminian.

First, Calvin does not call compatibilism foolish because of the different nuances bound up in the word "permit." What Calvin references is the attempt to preserve libertarain freedom with sovereignty in the very manner in which you are attempting. When the Calvinst says "permit" and the Arminian says "permit," we are not saying the same thing. Second, Calvin is speaking of Liberarian freedom and the word permit in that context is very much different from reformed language. Finally, since Calvin is dealing with libertarian nonsense, he does not think my view serious. I have two different versions of the Institutes and his commentaries. I know what he says as a whole. There is no doubt he would be classified as a modern day compatibilist. I quoted Paul Helm in a previous post. He is probably at the top of the list for reformed Christian philosophers and theologians. He has written much on Calvin and knows him very well. You just keep saying the same thing over and over. From what I see, you have not offered up on defense of sovereignty as you define it. I believe this is because you cannot do so. Yet, it has been demonstrated in multifarious ways how God's sovereignty does not violate James 1:13 in any way. Either God determined his plan or someone else did or perhaps these is no plan. God has determined all that is, ever has been, and ever will be. He alone is sovereign. There can be only one.

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Lgical Problems

James K wrote:
Quote:
This conversation is a perfect example of how Liberal theology is the natural logical outworking of Arminian theology. Libertarian freedom is the sacred idol. It must be preserved at all costs. So God ends up being the tortured victim of all kinds of wild speculations.

Ed, if you can seriously conclude that I am arguing for liberal or arminian theology, then you are simply not paying attention or don't understand. I have engaged Calvin, RC Sproul Sr and Jr, and Tom Schreiner.

1. Calvin calls your view foolish.

2. RC Sproul SR says he has never known anyone to explain this.

3. RC Sproul JR says God is the "culprit."

4. Tom Schreiner says that there are logical problems in this system.

Those are 4 calvinists who either admit failure or make aggressive statements on this. You can't simply write them off as liberal or arminian.

Furthermore, the logical problems that exist have nothing to do with God or contradictions in Scripture. Neither do they have anything to do with logic. The logical problems are with us and our finite understanding of the intrumentality of the case. How did God pull this off? We know He did it without forcing or tempting Adam to sin. We know He did it without surrending control or compromising sovereignty. But we know He did it. We just don't quite understand how. And that is not the problem of logic, revelation or God. It is the problem of finite, limited understanding that often seems to demand more of God than He is very frequently unwilling to give. Humility is the way out. Humility and faithfulness!

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CharlesChurchill wrote: What

CharlesChurchill wrote:
What you are saying:

Adam
1. Man is tempted by desire
2. Man also desires specifically to sin
3. Man gives in to desire to sin
4. Man sins.

No, I am not saying this.

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James K wrote: Mostly I have

James K wrote:
Mostly I have been interacting with compatibilism beliefs. I would like to ask the following of those who hold to that belief:

1. Does permission factor at all in your beliefs? If yes, is it because God decreed that He would be permissible?

2. Since nothing happens except by decree, how do you reconcile that with the fact that God "passes over" the nonelect based on their own wickedness? It gives the impression of conditional reprobation.

3. Do you agree with the following quote of Calvin where he says compatabilism is foolish:

Quote:
It is easy to conclude how foolish and frail is the support of divine justice by the suggestion that evils come to be not by His will, but merely by His permission. Of course, so far as they are evils... I admit they are not pleasing to God. But it is quite a frivolous refuge to say that God otiosely permits them, which Scripture shows Him not only willing but the author of them.

taken from Calvin's "Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God.

Before I can answer your question, you will need to define for me, as technical as you can, what you mean by permit. For it is most often that case that what the Calvinist intends with that word is not at all the same as what the Arminian intends.

Concerning (2), how could God base an eternal decree on future events? Decrees are eternal, based in God's eternal unchanging will. This is how God acts. This would introduce contingency, would it not? God's decree cannot be based on anything outside of Himself. While there is a logical order to the decrees, and there is a temporal manifestation of each one, the decee of God, as I understand is one event. The only intervals in the decrees is to be located in their execution according to Shedd (Dogmatic Theology, p. 312)

Concerning clarity around Calvin's remarks, he deals with this at length in book I, chapter XVIII, section 1 of the Institutes,

Quote:
Yet from these it is more than evident that they babble and talk absurdly who, in place of God's providence, substitute bare permission - as it God sat in a watchtower awaiting chance events, and his judgments thus depended upon human will.

I would like you to answer my response to 1 and 2 and provide with your own explanation for how God acts. Specifically, does God act by decree? Does God decree all that happens? If He acts outside of decree, how?

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James K

James K wrote:
CharlesChurchill wrote:
What you are saying:

Adam
1. Man is tempted by desire
2. Man also desires specifically to sin
3. Man gives in to desire to sin
4. Man sins.

No, I am not saying this.

Then please explain how you can justify your statements in #63 that it is necessary for God to put the desire to sin in Adam. The difference in temptation between Adam and Christ is that Adam was not able to resist giving into what he desired and Christ was, not that Adam had a desire to sin in him and Christ didn't (that is however a difference between Christ and me).

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Ed, in Calvin's quote, which

Ed, in Calvin's quote, which again I will repost, he argues that to think God is not the one who wills evil or that He is not the author is foolish. That is exactly what you and other compatibilists have been saying. The only way this applies to libertarian freedom is to say that evils began with man. Again, that is what you are saying. Either Helm doesn't know Calvin as well as you think, or Calvin changed his mind.

Quote:
It is easy to conclude how foolish and frail is the support of divine justice by the suggestion that evils come to be not by His will, but merely by His permission. Of course, so far as they are evils... I admit they are not pleasing to God. But it is quite a frivolous refuge to say that God otiosely permits them, which Scripture shows Him not only willing but the author of them.

We are to the stage where you seem to keep accusing me of things I don't believe in in order to trump up your position. I am probably done unless you respond to post 65. I have answered all your questions and given the thoughts of other calvinists on your view. You are not dealing with what I am saying.

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Charles, I was explaining the

Charles, I was explaining the logical fallacy of compatibilism, not giving my own view.

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James K wrote: Ed, in

James K wrote:
Ed, in Calvin's quote, which again I will repost, he argues that to think God is not the one who wills evil or that He is not the author is foolish. That is exactly what you and other compatibilists have been saying. The only way this applies to libertarian freedom is to say that evils began with man. Again, that is what you are saying. Either Helm doesn't know Calvin as well as you think, or Calvin changed his mind.

Quote:
It is easy to conclude how foolish and frail is the support of divine justice by the suggestion that evils come to be not by His will, but merely by His permission. Of course, so far as they are evils... I admit they are not pleasing to God. But it is quite a frivolous refuge to say that God otiosely permits them, which Scripture shows Him not only willing but the author of them.

We are to the stage where you seem to keep accusing me of things I don't believe in in order to trump up your position. I am probably done unless you respond to post 65. I have answered all your questions and given the thoughts of other calvinists on your view. You are not dealing with what I am saying.

I just responded to post 65. It seems your only agument for incoherence in compatiblism is that "it has to be inconsistence because I disagree with it." That is not an argument James. In showing how compatibilism fails, you should attempt to show how your view ????? does not fail. I put questions marks because I have no idea what you believe. I only know what you do not believe. That is such an easy position to argue from and I am at the end of it.

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Ed, I must have simply passed

Ed, I must have simply passed right over it.

1. Permission: authorization to do something.

2. So then do you believe in double predestination, that God chose who would not be saved?

I am trying to understand more of where you are coming from. Most compatibilists make the argument that God didn't decree their eternal state but simply passed over them because of their own sin. That paints a picture of conditional reprobation when election is unconditional. It sounds like you are saying that God election and reprobation are both unconditional.

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quick comment

I wish that I had noticed this discussion sooner (haven't looked into the theology section for some time). This is the kind of stuff that is a hobby of mine. I hope to contribute something sooner or later, but right now other things are too pressing. I'll leave with this simple passing comment on causality.

No one denies God's causal connection to creation's beginning in the Christian realm. However, once creation takes place, then there is disagreement. Since no one denies creation, then it is without protestation that creation's beginning is "dependent" upon God for its beginning. The deist makes this the only point at which God is in the picture; he assumes the "independence" or "self-sufficiency" of creation from that point. Causality functions in the realm of a self-sufficient universe. Many continue with this idea (of a self-sufficient creation), but they see in Scripture something different and agree that God is much more involved than at just merely the beginning. However, while God is involved in a much greater sense (Carson calls this a "God of the gaps" view; and Richard Dawkins hammers this view in The God Delusion), the assumption is still in place. Creation is self-sufficient; it is autonomous; it is independent. It really doesn't need God in order to exist. I would suggest that this assumption is Biblically false. God's word does not hide the fact that creation is not only completely dependent upon God for its beginning, but it is also completely dependent upon God for its moment-by-moment existence. This quick "post and run" will end with a few Scriptures that support the above point: namely, that creation is not autonomous.

Acts 17:24-25 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.

Hebrews 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Colossians 1:16-17 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities- all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

No one will debate God's causal connection to "creation" in the beginning, but many have problems with God's causal connections later. If these verses (and many others) declare a causality where all of creation needs God as its Sustainer, then it does appear that people's problem with causality is actually a problem with God's word. The question can be narrowed. Is man's will autonomous? Is it dependent upon God for its moment-by-moment existence? Is the will caused to continue to exist? How then can the freedom of the libertarian view be maintained? How then can the view of responsibility, that libertarian freedom uses (especially to critique compatibilism), be maintained?

This posting is all that I have time for, and I will not respond again for several days (probably). Thanks for reading this. Feel free to disagree, but then by all means SHOW how the Scripture verses quoted above do not demonstrate the point explained above. Please make the actual meaning of Scripture primary in the response. Thanks.

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James K wrote: Ed, I must

James K wrote:
Ed, I must have simply passed right over it.

1. Permission: authorization to do something.

2. So then do you believe in double predestination, that God chose who would not be saved?

I am trying to understand more of where you are coming from. Most compatibilists make the argument that God didn't decree their eternal state but simply passed over them because of their own sin. That paints a picture of conditional reprobation when election is unconditional. It sounds like you are saying that God election and reprobation are both unconditional.

Based on your definition, God did permit the fall since He did not force or coerce it. However, to permit is not inconsistent with decree for what God decreed to happen He certainly permitted to happen, for instance, the sinful act of murdering the Son of God was both decreed and permitted. Does God turn loose and say, as was Calvin's concern, go do whatever you want and sit in His tower as a passive by-stander, reacting now and then to the acts of free creatures? Me Genoitai! May it never be.

Double predestination is spoken of in a much softer tone because it involves the frightening judgment of God upon wicked men. If everything that happens, happens by decree, then it follows that men are passed over by decree. God decreed to leave men in their sin, withholding from them that grace that would result in their regeneration and restoration. This is His divine perogative. Did God force men into their predicament? Absolutely not! Did He force this upon the unwilling creature? Not a chance. In some things God's providence works directly, such as regeneration, while in others there is an intermediary, such as anything involving sinful acts. Compatiblist typically soften the rhetoric in the area of reprobation because of the nature of that doctrine, but when pressed on the matter, the consistent Calvinist compatibilist will answer as I have or someplace close.

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Ed, thanks for the

Ed, thanks for the discussion, you are trying to be more consistent than most compatibilists. I respect that. I hope you have been edified.

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Double predestination

I agree with Ed. Any consistent Calvinist will have to acknowledge that double predestination is correct. It is also pretty clear from Romans 9.

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Good Question

CharlesChurchill wrote:
Jay, Can you clarify within your view the difference between Adam's ability to will and God's?

Charles,

God created Adam as a free moral agent, with the ability to choose both for good or evil. When Eve sinned, she offered the fruit of the tree to Adam, who willingly took the fruit and ate (Gen. 3:6). God knew that Adam would be faced with that choice, and knowing that Adam would fully and willingly choose to sin, had decided on a plan to redeem mankind before that occurrence (Genesis 3:16, Matthew 25:34, Luke 11:50, Eph. 1:4, I Peter 1:20, Rev. 13:7-9), and put it into motion.

God does whatever he pleases, and does that with full and perfect knowledge of all things that both do and can occur. He also works within that realm (Gal. 4:4-7) to accomplish His plans.

My contention is simple - If God forces mankind to act in a specific way (as both determinists and double-predestination people believe), then He is ultimately culpable for man's 'decisions' - for how can someone be held responsible if God decrees that they must disobey?

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not forced

Jay C. wrote:
My contention is simple - If God forces mankind to act in a specific way (as both determinists and double-predestination people believe), then He is ultimately culpable for man's 'decisions' - for how can someone be held responsible if God decrees that they must disobey?
I'm still not willing to accept your notion that Calvinism affirms that God forces mankind to act in a specific way. Mankind acts freely within the construct's of their nature. Since all men have a sinful nature until they become a new creature in Christ, they will freely act in that nature.

I have the freedom at lunchtime to go wherever I want to go to eat. However, my freedom has limitations; how much time I have, how much money I can spend, etc. So my free will choice for where I go to eat lunch is not a libertarian free will choice, as there are constraints placed on it.

In the same manner mankind does not have an unfettered free will - it is constrained by his nature. God doesn't force mankind to do evil or good (to act in a specific way); mankind acts in the way his nature forces him to. Therefore God is not culpable for man's decisions.

http://www.theopedia.com/Libertarian_free_will ]Theopedia on Libertarian free will

Quote:
Libertarian free will means that our choices are free from the determination or constraints of human nature and free from any predetermination by God.

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JohnBrian wrote: Jay C.

JohnBrian wrote:
Jay C. wrote:
My contention is simple - If God forces mankind to act in a specific way (as both determinists and double-predestination people believe), then He is ultimately culpable for man's 'decisions' - for how can someone be held responsible if God decrees that they must disobey?
I'm still not willing to accept your notion that Calvinism affirms that God forces mankind to act in a specific way. Mankind acts freely within the construct's of their nature. Since all men have a sinful nature until they become a new creature in Christ, they will freely act in that nature.

I have the freedom at lunchtime to go wherever I want to go to eat. However, my freedom has limitations; how much time I have, how much money I can spend, etc. So my free will choice for where I go to eat lunch is not a libertarian free will choice, as there are constraints placed on it.

In the same manner mankind does not have an unfettered free will - it is constrained by his nature. God doesn't force mankind to do evil or good (to act in a specific way); mankind acts in the way his nature forces him to. Therefore God is not culpable for man's decisions.

http://www.theopedia.com/Libertarian_free_will ]Theopedia on Libertarian free will

Quote:
Libertarian free will means that our choices are free from the determination or constraints of human nature and free from any predetermination by God.

OK, I'm fine with that - and do agree with you that libertarian free will is key.

How would you define Calvinism, then? Most Calvinist works I've read say exactly what I've been claiming they say, which is why I quoted Boettner earlier in the thread.

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Jay C. wrote: God created

Jay C. wrote:
God created Adam as a free moral agent, with the ability to choose both for good or evil. When Eve sinned, she offered the fruit of the tree to Adam, who willingly took the fruit and ate (Gen. 3:6). God knew that Adam would be faced with that choice, and knowing that Adam would fully and willingly choose to sin, had decided on a plan to redeem mankind before that occurrence (Genesis 3:16, Matthew 25:34, Luke 11:50, Eph. 1:4, I Peter 1:20, Rev. 13:7-9), and put it into motion.

God does whatever he pleases, and does that with full and perfect knowledge of all things that both do and can occur. He also works within that realm (Gal. 4:4-7) to accomplish His plans.

So, I don't see anything in the above that is in disagreement with the classical Calvinistic position. There are relevant details that you don't mention. But before we talk about that, let's focus on this first.

What I meant when I asked you to contrast man's ability to will with God's is to ask you, what is the difference between man choosing and God choosing something.
And to deal with that, you have to think about the nature of the garden's and Adam's perfection and what it means for Adam to be perfect. We have in our mind a confusion between the concept of Adam's perfection being in context and the idea of perfection meaning that Adam was superman. And Adam was not superman. The reason Adam did not get sick was not because of his invincible immune system, but because he was placed in a garden where virii and bacteria were not trying to invade his system. Adam's skin was not impenetrable to the teeth of a tiger, but rather, the tiger did not seek to kill and eat Adam. Adam's perfection was in part due to the garden's perfection. It was a good place for Adam. God could not have placed Adam as he was made into the bowl of a volcano and told him to be fruitful and multiple and not expect Adam to die a horrible lava-induced death.

So here are some questions along these lines to think about:
If Adam was hungry could he choose to not eat indefinitely? (if not, he doesn't have libertarian free will, but God does)
Did Adam get tired and need to sleep? (if so, he did not have a libertarian free will, but God does)
Was Adam required to react to the decisions of others or were his decisions able to made independently of others decisions (for instance, when Eve ate the fruit, she was going to die. Could the fact that she was going to die, influence Adam's decisions in any way? Because God knows all things from the beginning and can ordain all things, there has never been a point where the outcome to one of his decisions or the decisions of anyone else would alter any of his choices. God has absolute libertarian free will. Does Adam?)

Let me know if this makes sense or if this is not useful.

Thanks,
Charles

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Treading cautiously

CharlesChurchill wrote:
So, I don't see anything in the above that is in disagreement with the classical Calvinistic position. There are relevant details that you don't mention. But before we talk about that, let's focus on this first.

What I meant when I asked you to contrast man's ability to will with God's is to ask you, what is the difference between man choosing and God choosing something.
And to deal with that, you have to think about the nature of the garden's and Adam's perfection and what it means for Adam to be perfect. We have in our mind a confusion between the concept of Adam's perfection being in context and the idea of perfection meaning that Adam was superman. And Adam was not superman. The reason Adam did not get sick was not because of his invincible immune system, but because he was placed in a garden where virii and bacteria were not trying to invade his system. Adam's skin was not impenetrable to the teeth of a tiger, but rather, the tiger did not seek to kill and eat Adam. Adam's perfection was in part due to the garden's perfection. It was a good place for Adam. God could not have placed Adam as he was made into the bowl of a volcano and told him to be fruitful and multiple and not expect Adam to die a horrible lava-induced death.

So here are some questions along these lines to think about:
If Adam was hungry could he choose to not eat indefinitely? (if not, he doesn't have libertarian free will, but God does)
Did Adam get tired and need to sleep? (if so, he did not have a libertarian free will, but God does)
Was Adam required to react to the decisions of others or were his decisions able to made independently of others decisions (for instance, when Eve ate the fruit, she was going to die. Could the fact that she was going to die, influence Adam's decisions in any way? Because God knows all things from the beginning and can ordain all things, there has never been a point where the outcome to one of his decisions or the decisions of anyone else would alter any of his choices. God has absolute libertarian free will. Does Adam?)

Let me know if this makes sense or if this is not useful.


I really need to think this through carefully because I've never gone here before, but let me take a quick stab at your question - do we possibly err when we talk about God "making a choice" and compare His choice to human choice? After all, God knows everything, is all wise, and all powerful. It seems to me that we have to make choices because we are finite and do not see or comprehend things like Him and therefore have to make decisions on what we think is going to have the best outcome. God, on the other hand, has no deficiencies that would cause Him to do that. Yet there are passages where God clearly speaks of "choosing" something - Romans 9, for example - but that's a lot different because of who God is (self-sustaining) and who we are (unsustaining); it's also different because God's ability to select is simply based on who He is. We choose things because we are not sure what the outcomes are and therefore have to make a decision based on the information that we do have at hand.

I do not mean to imply that Adam is somehow 'superman' or 'superhuman' unless you compare him to any other human. Since Adam was created without sin, and all other humans are dead in sin because we have all descended from him (Romans 5:12-19), Adam's body and physical abilities were probably superior to ours - again, because he was created by God prior to the Fall, but I do not think that there is any difference in Adam's ability to reason and think and choose (so long as you leave the corruption of the sin nature out of it - which is a whole other discussion that would need to occur).

As for your questions, if Adam does have libertarian free will (to borrow JohnBrian's term), then yes, I do think that Adam would have the ability to refuse to eat if he was hungry, or to skip sleep if he was tired. I do think that his decision to sin was different from Eve, who has said that was deceived. Besides, Adam, as the head of the First Family, was ultimately responsible to God for his behavior. Adam could have chosen to sin because Eve didn't die immediately after eating the fruit. Adam could have chosen to sin because he was hungry. Adam could have chosen to sin because he honestly believed the serpent...I can't speak as to why or how Adam came to his decision, but I do know that Adam's sin was no surprise or shock to God, who is able to comprehend a reality where Adam rejected Eve's offer (leaving us in a world where Eve sins but he does not), or where Adam kept Eve from sinning (so neither sin), or something else.

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Choice?

JohnBrian wrote:

In the same manner mankind does not have an unfettered free will - it is constrained by his nature. God doesn't force mankind to do evil or good (to act in a specific way); mankind acts in the way his nature forces him to. Therefore God is not culpable for man's decisions.

[Emphasis above mine. ]

But of course, except for Adam and Eve, none of us had a choice in having a sin nature -- it was forced upon us. If we can freely act within the bounds of that nature, but not outside of it, i.e., we cannot choose good, how is that a real choice? We are then sinners before we are even cognizant of it, not because of our own will. Of course, we will to sin afterward, but does that really make a difference at that point if we are already condemned?

Dave Barnhart

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Jay C. wrote: I really need

Jay C. wrote:

I really need to think this through carefully because I've never gone here before, but let me take a quick stab at your question - do we possibly err when we talk about God "making a choice" and compare His choice to human choice? After all, God knows everything, is all wise, and all powerful.

I think that one of the distinctions that Calvinism attempts to make is that our ability to choose and God's ability to choose are indeed different. This is where the discussion about what "free will" means comes from in part. Calvinism would affirm that man has free will within a context of freedom whereas God's will is free to do exactly and completely what he desires. And God is the only being that can behave so freely.

Jay C. wrote:
It seems to me that we have to make choices because we are finite and do not see or comprehend things like Him and therefore have to make decisions on what we think is going to have the best outcome. God, on the other hand, has no deficiencies that would cause Him to do that. Yet there are passages where God clearly speaks of "choosing" something - Romans 9, for example - but that's a lot different because of who God is (self-sustaining) and who we are (unsustaining); it's also different because God's ability to select is simply based on who He is. We choose things because we are not sure what the outcomes are and therefore have to make a decision based on the information that we do have at hand.

I don't think it is true that for a choice or a decision to actually be a decision that there had to be two options. If I pulled out a gun and aimed it at you, I do not know if you are currently so depressed that you will just sit there and say, "Go ahead and shoot", or if you are in a healthy state of mind and will try to get out of the way or attack me. But the fact that I'm not sure what state you are in does not mean that you in reality you "could be" in either state (some indeterminate state). In reality, you are in one state and under those exact circumstances with the same information, the same amount of time to respond, you would make one single choice. Anyone who tries to argue, "Well, I could be completely happy and just choose to let you shoot me" needs to sit down and really think about what they are saying.

Jay C. wrote:
I do not mean to imply that Adam is somehow 'superman' or 'superhuman' unless you compare him to any other human. Since Adam was created without sin, and all other humans are dead in sin because we have all descended from him (Romans 5:12-19), Adam's body and physical abilities were probably superior to ours - again, because he was created by God prior to the Fall, but I do not think that there is any difference in Adam's ability to reason and think and choose (so long as you leave the corruption of the sin nature out of it - which is a whole other discussion that would need to occur).

As for your questions, if Adam does have libertarian free will (to borrow JohnBrian's term), then yes, I do think that Adam would have the ability to refuse to eat if he was hungry, or to skip sleep if he was tired. I do think that his decision to sin was different from Eve, who has said that was deceived. Besides, Adam, as the head of the First Family, was ultimately responsible to God for his behavior. Adam could have chosen to sin because Eve didn't die immediately after eating the fruit. Adam could have chosen to sin because he was hungry. Adam could have chosen to sin because he honestly believed the serpent...I can't speak as to why or how Adam came to his decision, but I do know that Adam's sin was no surprise or shock to God, who is able to comprehend a reality where Adam rejected Eve's offer (leaving us in a world where Eve sins but he does not), or where Adam kept Eve from sinning (so neither sin), or something else.

What I mean by Adam being superman, is that his excellence is in his body. Superman doesn't need to breathe or eat. he is dependent on nothing. His skin is impenetrable. He can't be affected by things that would affect lesser men.

But here is where you have to think about it some more:
Christ and Adam are clearly contrasted, to the point that Christ is called the second Adam (and we know that Christ exceeded Adam, He being also God). So. if Adam could choose to not eat, could Christ? Was Christ's hunger and thirst on the cross mere pageantry? In what way was Christ's perfection different from Adam? We seem to get the indication that when Christ fasted for 40 days that he was in a state that made him more vulnerable, that his not eating made him better able to identify with our sufferings and our pains, and this his ability to resist temptation at that point was more significant because he had been so weakened. Also in contrast to Adam, Christ was clearly not in the same type of "good" environment that Adam was. Had Christ's flesh been affected by sin or did he have the same time of flesh as Adam? (consider Romans 6 & 7, my understanding is that Paul is telling us that our spirit has been freed from bondage from sin, but our flesh has not been redeemed in that way yet - so in that vein, was Christ's flesh in bondage to sin as mine is?) In the same way that Adam's perfection as the man who would fall was in context, I would argue that Christ's perfection as the Messiah who would not fall was also in context. Sometimes when we think of Christ being perfect, we think that he could do anything better than anyone else, but I don't think that makes sense from the way Scripture talks about goodness. Christ would not have made the best center the NBA had ever seen. He could not have replaced a linebacker in the NFL. He was physically unremarkable, and this was a part of his being a perfect Messiah (had he been extremely attractive, the crowds following him might be dismissed as being for charismatic reasons). He was placed into Israel at a specific point in history.

Anyway, I think all of these things are related. For me, I held a wrong idea of the perfection of Adam for a very long time and it caused some real problems with how I thought about and interacted with the gospel. It caused some problems with how I thought about Christ.

I hope this is useful,
Charles

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JohnBrian Quote: Since all

JohnBrian

Quote:
Since all men have a sinful nature until they become a new creature in Christ, they will freely act in that nature.

How is this helpful in explaining the fall since Adam did not have a sin nature?

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Endless Debate?

There is no contradiction between freedom and foreknowledge unless one insists on libertarian freedom which is denied throughout Scripture. God is not culpable for Adam's sin unless God coerced or forced Adam to sin. You have never demonstrated the contrary.

Now, to show why anyone should continue listening to your argument, you need to show that libertarian freedom is true. It is not enough to just say so. You must show how an exegetical analysis of Scripture leads to a libertarian freedom in man. Then you must show how that position in no way contradicts all the Scriptures that speak about God's absolute and sovereign control over all things. He is LORD over all actually is more than just a name or a title. It has significance, far more than western minds realize.

I don't mean to be rude in any way. I am just tired of hearing all about what people don't believe and what can't be true when they don't have the courage to tell us what is true and why, in thier opinion, the bible teaches it to be true.

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Back to the questions

edingess wrote:
There is no contradiction between freedom and foreknowledge unless one insists on libertarian freedom which is denied throughout Scripture. God is not culpable for Adam's sin unless God coerced or forced Adam to sin. You have never demonstrated the contrary.

Now, to show why anyone should continue listening to your argument, you need to show that libertarian freedom is true. It is not enough to just say so. You must show how an exegetical analysis of Scripture leads to a libertarian freedom in man. Then you must show how that position in no way contradicts all the Scriptures that speak about God's absolute and sovereign control over all things. He is LORD over all actually is more than just a name or a title. It has significance, far more than western minds realize.

I don't mean to be rude in any way. I am just tired of hearing all about what people don't believe and what can't be true when they don't have the courage to tell us what is true and why, in thier opinion, the bible teaches it to be true.


Ed,

We could go round and round for ages on this - it's obvious that you have no desire to cede any ground to the libertarian free will position, and I and others have already asked several questions that we'd like to see you answer. Here they are again; if you've answered them, please let me know:

1. Furthermore, what's the point in praying when God already knows and has perfectly foreordained everything that will occur? (Post #28) By this I mean, what is the purpose of prayer if God has perfectly ordained everything that will come to pass? I am not arguing that we should not - I am arguing why would God ask us to pray when our prayers will or will not be efficacious and He knows that in advance?

2. Wait a second - where does it say anywhere in the Scripture that it was God's will for Adam to sin and bring spiritual death into the world? (Post #34)

3. So you do believe that God can (and does) command demons to sin against Him?

That passage, by the way, is not causative. It is the demonic spirit that offers to lie, and God who says that he will be persuasive and prevail and to go. God never explicitly tells the demon to lie to Ahab.

By the way, who or what is the demonic spirit persuasive over? It is not referring to Ahab's decision making ability? - Post #74, asked of Charles C but I'd like to hear your answer.

4. My contention is simple - If God forces mankind to act in a specific way (as both determinists and double-predestination people believe), then He is ultimately culpable for man's 'decisions' - for how can someone be held responsible if God decrees that they must disobey? - Post #116

5. Not my question, but both James K. and I would like to see an rebuttal to post #65.

Oh, and by the way -

#88 wrote:
You and Jay C have been asked repeatedly to show how God's sovereignty actually violates James 1:13, which is being lifted out of context to begin with, and you have yet to provide one plausible statement to that end. You have been shown and even admitted that God, through a variety of antecedents involving sin, brought about the crucifixion of Christ, the betrayal by Judas, the calamity of Job, the deception of Jacob, the humiliation of the great Pharaoh, and even the union of David and Bethsheba. And the best you can do in your responses is to say, "I disagree because of James 1:13 ." You nor Jay C have provided not one viable alternative that does not deform God by downgrading His knowledge and sovereignty.

If I have argued - anywhere - in this thread that God is not sovereign or omniscient, quote it. That's an untrue statement, and you should know that. I've even supplied Scripture that teaches it.

@James K., re: #98 - no problem. I'm actually enjoying this because it's making me think about it and defend what I believe to be the best position, and I know it's nothing personal. Maybe God has foreordained that I change my mind as a result of this... Biggrin

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Another Quote

From Dr. Robert L. Reymond's A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith, 2nd Edition, p. 356:

Quote:
The Bible nowhere suggests that men are free from God's declarative will or providential governance. In fact, everywhere it affirms just the contrary. It teaches that God's purpose and his providential execution of his eternal purpose determine all things. This is why Calvin wrote:

Calvin wrote:
God's will is, and rightly ought to be, the cause of all things that are. For if it has any cause, something must precede it, to which it is, as it were, bound; this is unlawful to imagine. For God's will is so much the highest rule of righteousness that whatever he wills, by the very fact that he wills it, must be considered righteous...

This is in accord with the plain teaching of Scripture. In fact, it is amazing how willing the Bible is to affirm the fact of God's all-encompassing decretive will and his 'holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all His creatures and all their actions.' Certainly the Bible is more willing to do so than some theologians who altogether deny such things, thinking when they do so that they do God service.


If you want to hold to reprobation or determinism, that's fine; I still think you're wrong. Just own all the parts of the system you like and avoid the ones you don't. That's all I'm saying.

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Ed, I am not sure if you were

Ed, I am not sure if you were directing that last post to me or not. You keep saying "libertarian freedom" in your posts. By that do you mean a Pelagian view that allows for the goodness of man to freely do anything, including choose good? If that is what you mean, then I doubt anyone has been arguing that.

By the way, I have been interacting with compatibilism. Giving my view on this very complex structure doesn't change my examination of your view. I have stayed away from it because it would take the focus off what I was here to do. It isn't a courage issue, it is an I want to stay focused issue.

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Jay C. wrote: edingess

Jay C. wrote:
edingess wrote:
There is no contradiction between freedom and foreknowledge unless one insists on libertarian freedom which is denied throughout Scripture. God is not culpable for Adam's sin unless God coerced or forced Adam to sin. You have never demonstrated the contrary.

Now, to show why anyone should continue listening to your argument, you need to show that libertarian freedom is true. It is not enough to just say so. You must show how an exegetical analysis of Scripture leads to a libertarian freedom in man. Then you must show how that position in no way contradicts all the Scriptures that speak about God's absolute and sovereign control over all things. He is LORD over all actually is more than just a name or a title. It has significance, far more than western minds realize.

I don't mean to be rude in any way. I am just tired of hearing all about what people don't believe and what can't be true when they don't have the courage to tell us what is true and why, in thier opinion, the bible teaches it to be true.


Ed,

We could go round and round for ages on this - it's obvious that you have no desire to cede any ground to the libertarian free will position, and I and others have already asked several questions that we'd like to see you answer. Here they are again; if you've answered them, please let me know:

1. Furthermore, what's the point in praying when God already knows and has perfectly foreordained everything that will occur? (Post #28) By this I mean, what is the purpose of prayer if God has perfectly ordained everything that will come to pass? I am not arguing that we should not - I am arguing why would God ask us to pray when our prayers will or will not be efficacious and He knows that in advance?

2. Wait a second - where does it say anywhere in the Scripture that it was God's will for Adam to sin and bring spiritual death into the world? (Post #34)

3. So you do believe that God can (and does) command demons to sin against Him?

That passage, by the way, is not causative. It is the demonic spirit that offers to lie, and God who says that he will be persuasive and prevail and to go. God never explicitly tells the demon to lie to Ahab.

By the way, who or what is the demonic spirit persuasive over? It is not referring to Ahab's decision making ability? - Post #74, asked of Charles C but I'd like to hear your answer.

4. My contention is simple - If God forces mankind to act in a specific way (as both determinists and double-predestination people believe), then He is ultimately culpable for man's 'decisions' - for how can someone be held responsible if God decrees that they must disobey? - Post #116

5. Not my question, but both James K. and I would like to see an rebuttal to post #65.

Oh, and by the way -

#88 wrote:
You and Jay C have been asked repeatedly to show how God's sovereignty actually violates James 1:13, which is being lifted out of context to begin with, and you have yet to provide one plausible statement to that end. You have been shown and even admitted that God, through a variety of antecedents involving sin, brought about the crucifixion of Christ, the betrayal by Judas, the calamity of Job, the deception of Jacob, the humiliation of the great Pharaoh, and even the union of David and Bethsheba. And the best you can do in your responses is to say, "I disagree because of James 1:13 ." You nor Jay C have provided not one viable alternative that does not deform God by downgrading His knowledge and sovereignty.

If I have argued - anywhere - in this thread that God is not sovereign or omniscient, quote it. That's an untrue statement, and you should know that. I've even supplied Scripture that teaches it.

@James K., re: #98 - no problem. I'm actually enjoying this because it's making me think about it and defend what I believe to be the best position, and I know it's nothing personal. Maybe God has foreordained that I change my mind as a result of this... ;D

1. God has ordained prayer as one means by which He providentially carries out His decree. Moreover, we are commanded to pray and pray is an indication of our complete reliance and dependence on God.

2. Nothing happens outside of God's pleasure. God works everything according to the purpose of His plan and good pleasure. He does as He pleases. I provided numerous passages of Scriptures to this end in a previous post. IF YOU DENY THIS, YOU DENY SOVEREIGNTY. If you say that anything happens outside of God's sovereign decree,-double you are denying sovereignty.

3. God COMMANDS no one to sin against Him. Who in the world says such nonsense? God does not force anyone to sin. God does not coerce anyone to sin. Yet, sin cannot exist outside of God decreeing it. Otherwise, God is not sovereign. Sin entered and He was helpless to stop it. God wanted to stop sin, but did not know how? God wanted to stop sin, but was not powerful enough?

4. Calvinist DO NOT BELIEVE GOD FORCES ANYONE TO ACT IN A SPECIFIC WAY. It has been stated REPEATEDLY that this is the case and you simply don't seem to be listening or just plain don't understand. Either way, you are frustrating the daylights out of me by your constant refusal to listen.

How did sin enter the world without God?

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choices - real or not

dcbii wrote:
If we can freely act within the bounds of that nature, but not outside of it, i.e., we cannot choose good, how is that a real choice? We are then sinners before we are even cognizant of it, not because of our own will. Of course, we will to sin afterward, but does that really make a difference at that point if we are already condemned?
We have freedom within the bounds of our nature. God also is bound by His nature. He does not have the freedom to do that which is against His nature, such as lie. Back to the eating out illustration - once I choose KFC, for example, I am limited in my lunch choices to that which KFC offers - I cannot choose KFC and then choose hamburgers (to my understanding, libertarian free will insists that we can choose KFC and hamburgers).

We are sinners from our inception (Psalm 51:5) and are justly condemned. Adam represented us well, and it is because we had a representative who turned us away from God, that we can have a 2nd representative that will turn us back to God (1 Cor. 15:21-22).

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defined

Jay C. wrote:
How would you define Calvinism, then?
With regard to the issue of the existence of sin, I believe that it's existence serves a purpose as the only other option is sin that is purposeless. Since I affirm that God is most interested in His glory, I conclude that God receives glory for exhibiting His justice and wrath on the unregenerate, while receiving glory for exhibiting mercy and grace on the regenerate.

There are a number of illustrations from Scripture that have already been pointed out in this thread that show that very thing. The case of Joseph and his brothers is one. Both Joseph and his brothers sinned, but their sin was the means God used to take the people into Egypt. The crucifixion of Jesus is another. In Peter's Acts 2 sermon (Acts 2:14-39), he shows that God's purpose regarding Jesus is accomplished by the "lawless hands" of the people. God didn't force them to crucify Jesus, but at the same time His purpose was accomplished.

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yesterday from Triablogue

Steve Hays posted some comments from an article he linked to.

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2012/01/5-boilerplate-objections-to-calvi... 5 boilerplate objections to Calvinism .

Since it has bearing on this thread here is 1 of the comments (emphasis mine):

Quote:
If you believe in the omnipotence and omniscience of God (in the classical senses), then you believe in a form of determinism. To flesh that out: if God is omnipotent and omniscient, then every event in the history of the universe is either caused by God or permitted by God. And because God is omniscient, He knows exactly how His decisions to cause, prevent, and permit events will shape the course of history. Therefore, God knows the exact Universe that His own actions will result in, and so every single event in the history of the Universe, down to the proverbial “fall of a sparrow”, is in a sense “caused”, “decreed”, or “ordained” by God. Ephesians 1:11 seems to support this conclusion.

Within this framework, the decisions of agents are in a sense predetermined. Since God has complete knowledge of the psychology of all agents and has complete control over all the factors that influence a given decision, He can manipulate the Universe in order to determine the outcome of the decision. There are numerous suggestions throughout the Bible that God is sovereign over human decisions, from the classic example of the hardening of Pharoah to the many mentions in the Prophets of God “raising up nations” to do His bidding.

If I am correct in all of this so far, then classical Arminianism does not solve the essential problem of God desiring all people to be saved and yet not saving all people. Open Theism, which modifies the traditional understanding of God’s omniscience, is the only way to preserve truly libertarian free will. Otherwise, we must choose between either pure determinism or a form of compatiblism that appeals to antinomy. Due to the Scriptural emphasis on human responsibility, I opt for the latter.

Comment by Stephen Hesed — December 27, 2011 @ 7:03 pm

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Bravo John

JohnBrian wrote:
Jay C. wrote:
How would you define Calvinism, then?
With regard to the issue of the existence of sin, I believe that it's existence serves a purpose as the only other option is sin that is purposeless. Since I affirm that God is most interested in His glory, I conclude that God receives glory for exhibiting His justice and wrath on the unregenerate, while receiving glory for exhibiting mercy and grace on the regenerate.

There are a number of illustrations from Scripture that have already been pointed out in this thread that show that very thing. The case of Joseph and his brothers is one. Both Joseph and his brothers sinned, but their sin was the means God used to take the people into Egypt. The crucifixion of Jesus is another. In Peter's Acts 2 sermon (Acts 2:14-39), he shows that God's purpose regarding Jesus is accomplished by the "lawless hands" of the people. God didn't force them to crucify Jesus, but at the same time His purpose was accomplished.

Bravo! Exellent post.

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Not the question

JohnBrian wrote:
Jay C. wrote:
How would you define Calvinism, then?
With regard to the issue of the existence of sin, I believe that it's existence serves a purpose as the only other option is sin that is purposeless. Since I affirm that God is most interested in His glory, I conclude that God receives glory for exhibiting His justice and wrath on the unregenerate, while receiving glory for exhibiting mercy and grace on the regenerate.

There are a number of illustrations from Scripture that have already been pointed out in this thread that show that very thing. The case of Joseph and his brothers is one. Both Joseph and his brothers sinned, but their sin was the means God used to take the people into Egypt. The crucifixion of Jesus is another. In Peter's Acts 2 sermon (Acts 2:14-39), he shows that God's purpose regarding Jesus is accomplished by the "lawless hands" of the people. God didn't force them to crucify Jesus, but at the same time His purpose was accomplished.


I agree with all of this; it's pretty clear that God uses all things - including the murder of His Son (Acts 2:22-24) to bring Himself glory (Romans 8:28-29)

Could you please define Calvinism?

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Roudabout point

dcbii wrote:
JohnBrian wrote:

In the same manner mankind does not have an unfettered free will - it is constrained by his nature. God doesn't force mankind to do evil or good (to act in a specific way); mankind acts in the way his nature forces him to. Therefore God is not culpable for man's decisions.

[Emphasis above mine. ]

But of course, except for Adam and Eve, none of us had a choice in having a sin nature -- it was forced upon us. If we can freely act within the bounds of that nature, but not outside of it, i.e., we cannot choose good, how is that a real choice? We are then sinners before we are even cognizant of it, not because of our own will. Of course, we will to sin afterward, but does that really make a difference at that point if we are already condemned?


Some kids are told from the outset that there is no Santa Clause. This would be my case. I never even considered the idea as true. However, some kids are told that there really is a Santa that climbs down chimneys, places presents around the Christmas tree, knows if you have been naughty or nice, likes cookies and milk, etc. Suppose, for a second that we are flies on the wall of a fictional conversation. The two characters will be John & Doe.

J: Do you believe in Santa?
D: No way. That is make believe.
J: Are you kidding? How can you say that? Of course Santa is real!
D: No he isn't.
J: How then do the gifts get under the tree then?
D: Our parents! Duh!
J: But my parents told me that Santa is real, so they can't be the ones that put the presents there.
D: Well, there is no Santa. I watch my parents put the presents under the tree every year, and there are no new ones.
J: The reason why there are no new ones is that you are naughty not to believe in Santa.
D: You can't say that. Now, you are calling my parents liars.
J: You started it when you said Santa was make-believe.
D: How about this? Stay up and listen for movement outside of your room, and when you hear people and presents moving, then open the door and see your parents putting the gifts out.
J: That is pointless because Santa is the one that puts the gits out.
D: This is going in circles. I'm done.

The point of this little conversation is to demonstrate how John keeps assuming Santa; this belief colors his assumptions about Doe and his parents. In short, the question of Santa's existence keeps getting begged over and over. It is a belief that determines how other things are viewed.

The conversation so far has been like that. This is a comparison using "like" or "as". (C=compatibilist; A=against compatibilism)

C: Compatibilism is true. The Bible declares it.
A: It cannot, for this would make God to force us, and then He would be culpable. Compatibilism is false.
C: No one is saying that God is forcing anyone; He is not culpable.
A: Yes He is focing because He is not giving men a choice.
C: No one is saying that God is not giving people choices; an ordained choice is still a choice.
A: but did they have the choice to be ordained or not?
C: You are assuming a libertarian view of the will, choice, and responsibility then. This is an absurd view.
A: No, your view is absurd, for it makes God culpable for man's sin.

I'm sorry for any misrepresentation. Please take this conversation only in-so-far as it correctly represents the discussion so far. I have brought up these "conversations" so as to point out one simple little things. Libertarian freedom keeps getting begged over and over against the Compatibilist, when the Compatibilist is using and functioning off of another view of the will, choice, and responsibility. You must first establish libertarian freedom in order to critique compatibilism; you cannot just keep begging the question of its supposed reality over and over. The Compatibilist will keep responding to you that your assumptions are falsely built off of an imaginary Santa Clause that is no where in the Bible. You cannot keep assuming, over and over, the standards and rules of libertarian freedom and its view of responsibility in the discussion. Please validate it.

I will end this posting with a simple quote from a book, where I believe he nails the fact that libertarian freedom not only does not help regarding the issue of responsibility; but rather this assumption actually makes the matter worse. The following is a quotation from Bertrand Russell. Before I begin, I must make a request. Please, and I do not know if you will do this, but please do not resort to the guilt by association tactic if you decide to respond to this. Yes, he was a bad man (an atheist), but the point at issue here is not his character and its association, but the point at issue in this quote is the argument made with respect to the chance view of the will (libertarianism). This is made as an argument where Russell appears before God at the judgment.

“Now, I realize I was wrong about there not being any God, but I don’t quite see how you can send me to hell. After all, you created me with a free will and never made any effort to prevent me from acting in accordance with its dictates. This free will has always been autonomous from any previous causation and from your control in particular. Although I have often thought that perhaps it would be better if my free will acted according to my intellect, sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t. In fact, it doesn’t seem to act according to any pattern at all. Because it is an uncaused cause of my actions, it seems totally random, and therefore unpredictable. I have had no real control of it at all, since you created it autonomous. I am simply not responsible for chance events that I cannot control or predict. How can you send me to hell for actions arising from a free will which, because it is free, is also not under my control?”
=====================
The quote from Bertrand Russell was taken from the following book. R. K. McGregor Wright, “No Place For Sovereignty: What’s Wrong with Freewill Theism” (Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 1996), p. 48.

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Mildly disagree

Good post, and I think it's a fair summation of the thread so far. I do have a mild disagreement with you, though. When you write:

Quote:
You must first establish libertarian freedom in order to critique compatibilism; you cannot just keep begging the question of its supposed reality over and over. The Compatibilist will keep responding to you that your assumptions are falsely built off of an imaginary Santa Clause that is no where in the Bible. You cannot keep assuming, over and over, the standards and rules of libertarian freedom and its view of responsibility in the discussion. Please validate it.

The problem with your assertion is that in order to do what you want, we must essentially acknowledge the compatibilist view as true; for how else could I explain the libertarian view and contrast it to the compatibilist without acknowledging the superiority of compatibilism? The onus for assertions lies on the one who makes the assertion - in this case, both parties of asserters.

When dealing with issues of worldview, everyone - especially compatibilists - make assumptions; that's why I've intentionally tried to supply as much Scripture as I can in this thread. There's no way around that. So I find that it is a little silly to say that only libertarian free will has to defend it's existence and compatibilism doesn't.

Is that helpful to you?

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An Example

As a single example of unspoken assumptions by compatibilists, I present this post.

Post 34 wrote:
edingess wrote:
James K wrote:
Jay, to your point, I think there is more to it. Adam would have been doing the will of God.

The secret things belong to the Lord. If this logic is permitted to stand, then sin does not exist. There is the will/plan of God and the will/revealed of God in which God commands men. Just as Judas and the men God predetermined to kill Christ sinned by violating God's revealed will, so to did Adam.

Wait a second - where does it say anywhere in the Scripture that it was God's will for Adam to sin and bring spiritual death into the world?


The compatibilist automatically assumes that God willed Adam's sin into existence - a fact that has been documented by several Calvinist/Compatibilist Thinkers on this thread. The Arminian/Libertarian Will believer does not.

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Jay C. wrote: Good post, and

Jay C. wrote:
Good post, and I think it's a fair summation of the thread so far. I do have a mild disagreement with you, though. When you write:
Quote:
You must first establish libertarian freedom in order to critique compatibilism; you cannot just keep begging the question of its supposed reality over and over. The Compatibilist will keep responding to you that your assumptions are falsely built off of an imaginary Santa Clause that is no where in the Bible. You cannot keep assuming, over and over, the standards and rules of libertarian freedom and its view of responsibility in the discussion. Please validate it.

The problem with your assertion is that in order to do what you want, we must essentially acknowledge the compatibilist view as true; for how else could I explain the libertarian view and contrast it to the compatibilist without acknowledging the superiority of compatibilism? The onus for assertions lies on the one who makes the assertion - in this case, both parties of asserters.

When dealing with issues of worldview, everyone - especially compatibilists - make assumptions; that's why I've intentionally tried to supply as much Scripture as I can in this thread. There's no way around that. So I find that it is a little silly to say that only libertarian free will has to defend it's existence and compatibilism doesn't.

Is that helpful to you?

Wrong Jay. You need to establish the truthfulness of libertarian freedom on its own steam and that proof must be exegetical. This, sir, with all due respect, you CANNOT do. Arminius could not do it. The Remonstants could not do it. Your best theologians, Norm Geisler and Bill Craig have not been able to do it. But I would like to see your argument just to see if you have thought of something that those fellows have overlooked.

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Does a person have to

Does a person have to exegetically prove that creationism is true in order to refute the idea that a giant kangaroo did a magic trick on a sleeping turtle to create our universe? I say sleeping turtle, cuz an awake turtle in that situation would not have worked.

Of course that is nonsense. I can say that 5 + 7 does not equal 10 without proving that it equals 12.

I can argued that compatibilism is not consistent with revelation without getting into everything I believe. My purpose here has been to point out the inconsistencies of compatibilism. Yet I am not the only one. I have provided quotes from compats who admitted exactly my point.

So to review, I find it inconsistent and some well known compats find it inexplainable or inconsistent. The combats who have admitted my point have impeccable Calvinist credentials. The arguments against arminians have nothing to do with my point.

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not sure

Jay C. wrote:
Could you please define Calvinism?
Not sure exactly what you are looking for in a definition, as I thought I had defined it in relation to this thread

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James K wrote: Does a person

James K wrote:
Does a person have to exegetically prove that creationism is true in order to refute the idea that a giant kangaroo did a magic trick on a sleeping turtle to create our universe? I say sleeping turtle, cuz an awake turtle in that situation would not have worked.

Of course that is nonsense. I can say that 5 + 7 does not equal 10 without proving that it equals 12.

I can argued that compatibilism is not consistent with revelation without getting into everything I believe. My purpose here has been to point out the inconsistencies of compatibilism. Yet I am not the only one. I have provided quotes from compats who admitted exactly my point.

So to review, I find it inconsistent and some well known compats find it inexplainable or inconsistent. The combats who have admitted my point have impeccable Calvinist credentials. The arguments against arminians have nothing to do with my point.

That is all fine and well James, but we are not here to engage in endless and empty speculation. You have said a million times you find compatibilism inconsistent, but you have not even begin to show WHY it is inconsistent. The best way to show that 5+7 does not equal 10 is to show that it equals 12. Otherwise, after you have shown it does not equal 10, someone else will demand that you show that it does not equal 14, 15, 16.....This is not how we approach questions concerning God's truth or any truth as far as I know, by speculating about what we think is inconsistent. What a waste of time! The only way you know something to be inconsistent is because to believe SOMETHING else to be true. Otherwise, your position is in danger of being classed as irrational. Why don't we just start with the millions of gods that man worships and show, one by one, why we think that one is not the one. I have to be honest with you James, that is one of the mist absurd ideas I have seen. Or we could presuppose the God of Scripture to be true and therefore, by inference, every other god is false. That is much easier.

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Couple of things here Ed. 1.

Couple of things here Ed.

1. I have given you affirmations and denials.
2. None of the scriptures you posted contradict anything I believe.
3. You have repeatedly projected ideas on me that I do not hold to.
4. I have quoted other compats who have admitted it is illogical.
5. You are arguing closer to a hard determinist than a compatibilist.
6. You have appealed to mystery.

In light of that...

1. This is not about what God has the right to do or is able to do. This is about what God DID do.
2. Some people push sovereignty so far, that it is fatalism. I know most calvinists back off from that, because you recognize that we are not automatons.

I argue from the perspective that there was never at any time in the mind of God uncertainty about our world that He created. There is no timeline prior to the creation of time. This includes what He does, how He does it, what the angels do, what man does, what the animals do... God is actively involved in and both causes and directs events. Sometimes, God causes things to happen because He has set natural laws in place. Other times He suspends His own laws to cause and allow other things to happen. God knows our world and every possibility of other worlds. Exactly how God's sovereignty and knowledge work together is the mystery to us, not His character.

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mystery!

James K wrote:
6. You have appealed to mystery.

Exactly how God's sovereignty and knowledge work together is the mystery to us, not His character.

I'm puzzled here.

Your view allows for mystery, but you refuse to accept that compatibilism allows for mystery!

http://www.theopedia.com/Compatibilism ]Theopedia contrasting compatibilism & libertarian free will:

Quote:
Compatibilism, in contrast to Libertarian free will, teaches that people are free, but defines freedom differently. Compatibilism claims that every person chooses according to his or her greatest desire. In other words, people will always choose what they want— and what they want is determined by (and consistent with) their moral nature. Man freely makes choices, but those choices are determined by the condition of his heart and mind (i.e. his moral nature). Libertarian free will maintains that for any choice made, one could always equally have chosen otherwise, or not chosen at all.

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Compatibilists Consistency

First, the Scriptures I quoted demonstrate that the only view that can be true is compatibilism because those Scripture plainly reveal 1) God does everything He pleases and nothing happens outside His sovereign decree. 2) Man freely chose, without coercion or compulsion to choose autonomy over submission. THAT IS COMPATIBILISM! What Scripture does not provide is the intricacies for how God brought the fall to eventuation. No compatiblist I know would ever admit the view to be actually inconsistent in any way. What they say is that it involves paradox which is to say that it can give the appearance of inconsistency or contradiction but it is not. My answer to this charge is so too does the trinity and the hypostatic union and even the idea that God can condescend in a way to be involved in time. Secondly, I charge those who wish to make human reason the magistrate over faith with idolatry. Reason was never meant to lord it over faith. To say our faith is reasonable is backwards. We do not have a reasonable faith. Rather, we engage in faithful reasoning. The entire fact of our existence is a mystery. Reason is not able to account for that no more than it is able to account for God. Overreliance on reason leads men to all sorts of pernicious and wicked errors.

Secondly, it seems to me that God chose to make the creature in order to display Himself in all His glory. Moreover, it seems that God's attributes, His being, His character are put on display in creation, the election, in the atonement, the law, reprobation, eternal punishment, Israel, the Church, etc, etc. Everything that is, is because God wanted to display His holiness, power, love, grace, mercy, kindness, justice, tenderness, etc, etc, etc. When we look at events, we should always ask the question, "what does this say about the King, the God of all creation?"

We get to this place by a simple and honest exegetical study and humble reception of all that His revelation tells us. We do NOT subject that revelation to any human magistrates, be it reason, science, or any other idolatrous method we have managed to conjure up. What that revelation teaches us, we simply bow the knee and faithfully say, glory to God in the highest who was, is, and is to come. Praise His name forevermore.

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@JB

JohnBrian wrote:
James K wrote:
6. You have appealed to mystery.

Exactly how God's sovereignty and knowledge work together is the mystery to us, not His character.

I'm puzzled here.

Your view allows for mystery, but you refuse to accept that compatibilism allows for mystery!


JohnBrian-

The compatibilist view uses 'mystery' as a dodge for avoiding the things they don't want to say - namely, that God mandated sin occur. That's why James and I have provided so many quotes - because if you're going to say that, then just say it and make it part of what you own. Don't take God to that point and then insist that God is still blameless when man obeys God.

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The Arrogance of Ripost Against God

For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.”
18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?”
20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?

Paul takes us to the very same point the compatibilist takes us. He demands that God is sovereign, that man is responsible, and that we have absolutely NOTHING to say about it. Our duty is to simply say "yes Lord." How dare we respond to God with a challenge and say, well, if God decreed it, then Adam is not responsible and that makes God immoral! Paul says, God decreed it, man is sill responsible, and open not thy mouth. The minute we attempt to go beyond the text, we sin. This is Paul's whole point here. If God's sovereignty cannot be impugned in Pharaoh's case, it logically cannot be impugned in Adam's fall.

There you have it fellows: Paul was a compatibilist! He stopped at the very same place modern compatibilist stop. The funny thing is that he was dealing with the same old opposing arguments that James and Jay are making here even though they don't quite agree on other things, they seem to have more in common here than not.

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John, this whole discussion

John, this whole discussion is about where the mystery is. Paul even referred to mystery, so that isn't a problem. Is the mystery about God's character or in our understanding of how sovereignty and knowledge work together?

Since revelation removes the doubt about God's holiness, right doctrine would demand the mystery is in the latter.

Ed, if you think that text has any bearing on what I am saying, then you just don't understand what I am saying. Maybe that is my fault. You just keep glossing over what I keep saying because it does not fit within your system.

The question is not about what God has the right to do or what God can do, but what God DID do. I am not impugning the sovereignty of God. You are impugning the holiness of God by making Him responsible for sin if you are consistent. Since that is contrary to Scripture, I must reject your view. Doctrine must line up with godliness. You might prefer speculative decrees and theories, but I will not base theology in them. I further do not pick one attribute over the others and demand that the others submit to my idea of it. I will not trump all attributes in favor of love, though God is love. I will not do the same to holiness or sovereignty.

So it is wrong to question God's will, to fault God, to resist God, or to answer back to God. I have not done any of that.

Jay is not making the same arguments as me. I have said that more than once and have even cautioned Jay. You are not reading very carefully.

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God IS blameless!

Jay C. wrote:
The compatibilist view uses 'mystery' as a dodge for avoiding the things they don't want to say - namely, that God mandated sin occur. That's why James and I have provided so many quotes - because if you're going to say that, then just say it and make it part of what you own. Don't take God to that point and then insist that God is still blameless when man obeys God.
I admit that you have provided many quotes. What I'm not convinced of is that when those quotes are taken in the full context of the writing which they are taken from that they say what you say they say.

God did allow sin and since all He does, and even all He allows, is for the ultimate goal of His glory, I will continue to insist that God is still blameless and is not the author of sin.

Any alternative is unacceptable, as from my viewpoint, it must necessarily take away from God being a sovereign ruler.

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consistent

James K wrote:
You are impugning the holiness of God by making Him responsible for sin if you are consistent.
You insist that such is the case, but in actuality it is your view of compatibilism, that insists that consistency requires making God responsible for sin. The Canons of Dort, and the 1689 Baptist Confession specifically dispute your contention.

I recognize that you have provided quotes from some compatibilists that "seem" to affirm your point, but I am not convinced that a fuller reading of the material would establish such.

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Quote: The question is not

Quote:
The question is not about what God has the right to do or what God can do, but what God DID do. I am not impugning the sovereignty of God. You are impugning the holiness of God by making Him responsible for sin if you are consistent. Since that is contrary to Scripture, I must reject your view. Doctrine must line up with godliness. You might prefer speculative decrees and theories, but I will not base theology in them. I further do not pick one attribute over the others and demand that the others submit to my idea of it. I will not trump all attributes in favor of love, though God is love. I will not do the same to holiness or sovereignty.

James, the entire reason I provided Paul's treatment on this is that Paul in fact deals with what God DID in fact do with Pharaoh. At a minimum, if Paul believed God could do it with Pharoah without culpability, which he clearly does, then what would be the problem with making the same contention with Adam? God punished Pharaoh specifically for refusing to let Israel go! And it was for this very reason God raised him up, so that he WOULD refuse to let Israel God. God hardened His heart and then punished him for doing exactly what He had raised him up to do.

I think I am finished with this discussion. I wish you well in your search for truth. I was converted in 1979 at 14 years of age. It took me 20 years to fully arrive at the truth in reformed theology.

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JohnBrian wrote:James K

JohnBrian wrote:
James K wrote:
You are impugning the holiness of God by making Him responsible for sin if you are consistent.
You insist that such is the case, but in actuality it is your view of compatibilism, that insists that consistency requires making God responsible for sin. The Canons of Dort, and the 1689 Baptist Confession specifically dispute your contention.

I recognize that you have provided quotes from some compatibilists that "seem" to affirm your point, but I am not convinced that a fuller reading of the material would establish such.

Fine John, feel free to go read the books for yourself. When you have discovered the "fuller reading of the material," you can contribute something rather than just questioning my accuracy.

Further, I am fully aware of the confessions and canons that calvinists look to for doctrine. They state both the affirmations without trying to harmonize them. I already dealt with this as well. Asserting a position does not make it doctrine.

By the way, have you looked into some of the other contradictions in the 2nd LBCF?

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One major different between

One major different between Adam and Pharaoh is that Adam was created very good with no knowledge of sin. Pharaoh was a pagan worshiped as a god. One reason to take him down was to also assault the Egyptian gods (which the plagues did).

Compare apples to apples.

I think there is truth in reformed theology. Reformed theology does not have truth locked in a tower kept all to itself though.

I feel like Michael Corleone. Every time I try to leave, I get sucked back in. If there is anything substantial, I will get back in.

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Another reason Pharaoh doesn't work...

I just reread the first couple of plagues in Exodus (7-9). For the first five plagues, the narrative at the end of the plague narrative is either 'Pharaoh hardened his heart' or 'Pharaoh's heart was hardened'. It isn't until the reader gets to the sixth plague that the narrative shifts and declares explicitly that God Himself hardened Pharaoh's heart.

JohnBrian, I would be more that happy to get your take on the Boettner or Reymond passages that I quoted earlier in this thread. I am very disappointed that you're resorted to accusing James K. and myself of misrepresentation, especially when we're provided pretty clear links or citations to the quoted sections.

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no misrepresentation

Jay C. wrote:
I am very disappointed that you're resorted to accusing James K. and myself of misrepresentation, especially when we're provided pretty clear links or citations to the quoted sections.
I have not accused either of you of misrepresentation. What I have said is that I am not convinced that a fuller reading of the text will establish your arguments. I affirm the clear statements of the Canons of Dort, and the 1689 Baptist Confession, that state that God is NOT the author of sin. You and James insist that compatibilism must necessarily affirm that God is the author of sin.

At this particular time I do not have the time nor energy to examine Boettner or Reymond, so maybe we should lest this thread pass away peacefully.

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Actually Jay God tells Moses

Actually Jay God tells Moses that He is going to harden Pharoah's heart before Moses even goes to him the first time.

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Greg

Greg,

Yes it does say that God will harden Pharoah's heart before Pharoah ever meets Moses. It also says that Pharoah hardened his own heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, but let's look at what Exodus says:

Exodus 3:16-22 wrote:
Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, “I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt, and I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.”’ And they will listen to your voice, and you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; and now, please let us go a three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.’ But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand. So I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all the wonders that I will do in it; after that he will let you go. And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and when you go, you shall not go empty, but each woman shall ask of her neighbor, and any woman who lives in her house, for silver and gold jewelry, and for clothing. You shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.”

God reveals that Pharaoh will not let the people go until he was compelled by a 'mighty hand'. That's a part of His omniscience. It does not say that Pharaoh has no opportunity to repent at all.

Moses' command was to go and announce that God demanded the release of his people. Pharaoh refused. Moses turned the rivers to blood, and Pharaoh refused to take heed and hardens his heart (7:21-23).

Moses returned a second time, Pharaoh refused, God brought frogs on all the land. Pharaoh 'hardens his heart and would not listen to them' (8:14-15).

Moses returned a third time, Pharaoh refused, God sent lice/gnats. 'Pharaoh's heart was hardened and he would not listen to them, as the Lord said' (8:18-19).

Moses returns a fourth time, Pharaoh refuses, God sends flies. Pharaoh hardens his heart this time also, and did not let the people go (8:32).

Moses returns a fifth time, Pharaoh refuses, God sends a plague, killing the livestock. Pharaoh's heart was hardened (9:7).

Moses returns a sixth time, Pharaoh refuses, God sends boils AND explicitly hardens his heart to continue in his rebellion (9:12).

The pattern here in Exodus is pretty clear, and matches up nicely with Romans 1. Sinful man hardens his heart against God, and God punishes in return. Sometimes that punishment is ramped up to the point where they have so hardened their own heart that God removes their ability to repent, if God doesn't opt to bring about their death entirely (Ananias and Sapphira). That's what I see going on here.

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It is a nonissue as to when

It is a nonissue as to when Pharaoh's heart was hardened.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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God told Moses he would

God told Moses he would harden Pharoah's heart. Therefore, Pharoah's heart would be hardened. It was decreed, determined, ordained...just like Joseph's brother's actions, just like the things that happened to Job, just like God's "servant" Cyrus who punished God's people, just like the death of Jesus, and just like countless other examples in Scripture from beginning to end.

Romans 9 has already been mentioned in relationship to Pharoah, and to me it couldn't be clearer. What also couldn't be clearer are the statements in Acts regarding the parallel truths of divine sovereignty and human responsibility in the most heinous sin to ever occur in human history, the death of Christ (forgive me if these have been mentioned already):

Quote:
Acts 2:22-23
22 "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. NIV
Jesus was handed over to the Jews to be condemned to death by God's set purpose and foreknowledge, therefore, it was predestined to happen. And yet those who handed him over and those who put him to death are "wicked men" responsible for his death.

Quote:
Acts 4:27-28
Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. NIV
God decided beforehand it would happen, and so it happened. And yet Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles, and the Jews were guilty of conspiring to kill Jesus.

These two parallel truths of divine sovereignty and human responsibility help us understand every sin that has ever occured throughout human history.

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James K wrote: It is a

James K wrote:
It is a nonissue as to when Pharaoh's heart was hardened.

Well, OK then.

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Another example

Greg Long wrote:
God told Moses he would harden Pharoah's heart. Therefore, Pharoah's heart would be hardened. It was decreed, determined, ordained...just like Joseph's brother's actions, just like the things that happened to Job, just like God's "servant" Cyrus who punished God's people, just like the death of Jesus, and just like countless other examples in Scripture from beginning to end.

Greg, the point that I've been making is that God knows what will happen, but not that God will cause it to happen; if God causes man to sin by forcing it to occur so that His plan can unfold, the He becomes the ultimate source of that sin. That's not Biblical; how can God justly judge the world for sin that He made them do? I'm not going to expand on that any further because I've covered it on some of the earlier posts; I've been pretty clear (I think) that just because God knows something doesn't mean that it is brought about by God. That's why my first question in this thread was asking for Scriptural support for God's foreordination that Adam would sin (I think it's post #34). I have yet to receive a satisfactory response to that question, although hours have been spent defending the theological system of compatibilists (and, to a lesser extent, Reformed Theology). James and I have even quoted leading Reformed theologicans, including Calvin himself.

I was listening to John MacArthur this morning, who was preaching on this passage:

Jeremiah 5:20-31 wrote:
Declare this in the house of Jacob; proclaim it in Judah: “Hear this, O foolish and senseless people, who have eyes, but see not, who have ears, but hear not. Do you not fear me? declares the Lord. Do you not tremble before me? I placed the sand as the boundary for the sea, a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass;
though the waves toss, they cannot prevail; though they roar, they cannot pass over it. But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; they have turned aside and gone away. They do not say in their hearts, ‘Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives the rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain, and keeps for us the weeks appointed for the harvest.’ Your iniquities have turned these away, and your sins have kept good from you.

For wicked men are found among my people; they lurk like fowlers lying in wait. They set a trap; they catch men. Like a cage full of birds, their houses are full of deceit; therefore they have become great and rich; they have grown fat and sleek. They know no bounds in deeds of evil; they judge not with justice the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper, and they do not defend the rights of the needy.

Shall I not punish them for these things? declares the Lord, and shall I not avenge myself on a nation such as this?”

An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?


If compatibilist (or Calvinist) is right, the response that I would get is that God ordained or brought about their rebellion. But if they did not have the choice to sin or rebel, how could God justly bring punishment for their choices? How can this people be faulted for having a 'stubborn and rebellious heart' if God decreed that they should have it?

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Jay, the Bible clearly states

Jay, the Bible clearly states that God not only knew what Joseph's brothers, Pharoah, and Jesus' murderers would do, He caused it to happen. And yet they were responsible for their own sin. You might think it means God is responsible for sin, but the Bible affirms otherwise.

I'm sorry to respond with a passage that has already been used, Jay, but your question is exactly the question Paul answers in Romans 9!!! Again, if language means anything, I can't possibly imagine how Paul could have answered your question any more clearly than he does.

Quote:
Rom 9:17-24
17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

19 One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?" 20 But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'" 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

22 What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath — prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory -- even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? NIV

(BTW, John MacArthur would agree with me on this. Or should I say, I agree with John MacArthur. Lol

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Greg

Greg,

There's a difference there that you (and others) are assuming. You are assuming that because God raised Pharaoh up as an example that God mandated Pharoah sin. I reject that bit of extrabiblical logic. The reason why I quoted the Exodus narrative is that it does not explicitly say that God hardened Pharaoh's heart until the sixth plague (unless the Hebrew specifies otherwise - which it might).

I am totally comfortable with saying that God knew ahead of time that Pharaoh would harden his heart and would subsequently be used as a foil for His Power. I'm also saying that God did not cause Pharaoh to sin; that Pharaoh brought it on himself by the repeated refusal to obey. That's an Scriptural concept (Deut. 15:7, I Sam. 6:6, II Chron. 36:11-14, Is. 63:17, Ps. 95:7-10, Hebrews 3:7-10, 15, 4:7).

Are there clear examples where God hardens someone's heart? Yes ,there is! I do not disagree with that. I do not, however, want to start assuming that God mandates obedience and then makes it impossible for people to repent, as Compatibilism (Calvinism?) teaches.

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But Jay, If God declared to

But Jay, If God declared to Moses ahead of time that He would harden Pharaoh's heart, that precludes your understanding of the first five plagues, unless God could have somehow been mistaken. Your view says Pharaoh could have relented in the first five plagues making God a liar. Is this really the position you wish to take?

I don't see how your view can end up anywhere other than open Theism. If man has every opportunity to make his own decision independently of God, then God cannot know anything with certainty. If God can know with certainty, then man cannot truly make decisions independently of God.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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Romans 9:17 (NIV) For the

Romans 9:17 (NIV) For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."

“I raised you up”: (ἐξήγειρά) exēgeira )– means arouse or incite (any Greek source you wish).

The use of this word which is translated "I raised you up" in attempting to connect it to some preformed plan of God's creative purpose for Pharaoh is to violate its defining property. It simply is used to refer to the arousing or inciting of someone. In other words it could have been just as accurately translated, “I incited you for this very purpose”.

And God incited Pharaoh, thus causing him to become embittered and hardening his heart, precisely what God knew would happen. And through the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart which resulted in Pharaoh not cooperating with God but maintaining his refusal, God showed his power via the plagues. And then, when he relented and let them go, Pharaoh did so reluctantly and evidently disingenuously and in his stubbornness, Pharaoh chased Moses and company resulting in God’s power, again, being shown through the parting of the sea and the destruction, after a safe crossing of the Israelites, of the Egyptians army.

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@Chip

Chip-

Good question, and I do appreciate it. I know that you and other readers are concerned that I may wind up rejecting everything entirely for open theism. For whatever this is worth, I adopted this view of libertarian free will more than a decade ago, and while I have read Greg Boyd's " http://www.amazon.com/God-Possible-Biblical-Introduction-Open/dp/0801062... ]God of the Possible " back in 2004, I am absolutely convinced that Boyd is dead wrong on his theology and his exegesis. As a matter of fact, I am looking forward to reading Piper's " http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Bounds-Undermining-Biblical-Christianity/dp... ]Beyond the Bounds " in the future (if God wills ;) ). I also reject Pelagius' error in arguing that man is fully and freely able to accept salvation without any enablement by the Holy Spirit (John 6:44).

I would rather say that I do not understand and that there is tension there - which there is! - than agree with compatibilists (Calvinists?) who logically make God the first mover in a situation where man is forced to sin because God ordained it. I take comfort in the fact that I am not the only believer that rejects this logical construct; I know that for a fact.

The Bible is very clear that God cannot sin and that He is not the source of sin (James 1:13). It also is clear that God is too pure to behold evil (Habakkuk 1:12-17), and that He will ultimately judge and punish sinners by putting them under His righteous and eternal wrath for that sin (Rev. 20:11-14). It's also very clear that each man, woman, and child will be required to account for their own sin (Romans 14:12, Hebrews 4:13, I Peter 4:5). Those are all Scriptural passages that I am in complete agreement with, and until I can see someone explain to me that God did cause Adam to sin and still remain pure, or that Boettner and Calvin were misunderstood by me, or something along those lines, I cannot and will not adopt the Compatibilist / Determinist view. That's why I don't call myself Reformed - because my understanding is that I have to adopt that in order to be considered as 'Reformed', and I can't do that in good conscience. It would be nice to 'belong' to the 'Reformed' crowd - but I'm not sacrificing my beliefs for it.

That's where I stand. I'm not budging, I'm not moving, I'm not altering my position one iota until someone can demonstrate where I'm wrong or where I've been misunderstanding that position. I've offered quotes in context that have been ignored, I've asked questions about passages that I've struggled with to no avail, and I've taken more than a few arrows from people who have called me everything from ignorant to an apostate in the process. But my conscience is clear, and I'd rather throw up my hands and say "I can't explain everything perfectly" than say God causes Man to sin. That's where I stand, and I'm not moving.

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John Piper:

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The Payoff

Jay C. wrote:

I would rather say that I do not understand and that there is tension there - which there is! - than agree with compatibilists (Calvinists?) who logically make God the first mover in a situation where man is forced to sin because God ordained it. I take comfort in the fact that I am not the only believer that rejects this logical construct; I know that for a fact.

I think we've come to the payoff, Jay C. You have put it this way: Either tension or compatibilism. But you have not correctly represented compatibilism. Compatibilism affirms several things, which require quite a bit of "tension":

1. God ordains (in some sense) events of sin. (Really, this is a particularization of "God ordains all things.")
2. God is not the author of sin.
3. God does not approve of sin.
4. Man will necessarily sin when God has ordained so.
5. Man is not forced to sin, but is entirely free in doing so.

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from the link provided by Greg in post #165

http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/conference-messages/is-god-l... ]Is God Less Glorious Because He Ordained that Evil Be?

Is God the Author of Sin?

Quote:
Edwards answers, "If by 'the author of sin,' be meant the sinner, the agent, or the actor of sin, or the doer of a wicked thing . . . . it would be a reproach and blasphemy, to suppose God to be the author of sin. In this sense, I utterly deny God to be the author of sin." But, he argues, willing that sin exist in the world is not the same as sinning. God does not commit sin in willing that there be sin. God has established a world in which sin will indeed necessarily come to pass by God's permission, but not by his "positive agency."

God is, Edwards says, "the permitter . . . of sin; and at the same time, a disposer of the state of events, in such a manner, for wise, holy and most excellent ends and purposes, that sin, if it be permitted . . . will most certainly and infallibly follow."

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2nd question

Why Does God Ordain that there Be Evil?

Quote:
It is evident from what has been said that it is not because he delights in evil as evil. Rather he "wills that evil come to pass . . . that good may come of it." What good? And how does the existence of evil serve this good end? Here is Edwards' stunning answer:

It is a proper and excellent thing for infinite glory to shine forth; and for the same reason, it is proper that the shining forth of God's glory should be complete; that is, that all parts of his glory should shine forth, that every beauty should be proportionably effulgent, that the beholder may have a proper notion of God. It is not proper that one glory should be exceedingly manifested, and another not at all. . . .

Thus it is necessary, that God's awful majesty, his authority and dreadful greatness, justice, and holiness, should be manifested. But this could not be, unless sin and punishment had been decreed; so that the shining forth of God's glory would be very imperfect, both because these parts of divine glory would not shine forth as the others do, and also the glory of his goodness, love, and holiness would be faint without them; nay, they could scarcely shine forth at all.

If it were not right that God should decree and permit and punish sin, there could be no manifestation of God's holiness in hatred of sin, or in showing any preference, in his providence, of godliness before it. There would be no manifestation of God's grace or true goodness, if there was no sin to be pardoned, no misery to be saved from. How much happiness soever he bestowed, his goodness would not be so much prized and admired. . . .

So evil is necessary, in order to the highest happiness of the creature, and the completeness of that communication of God, for which he made the world; because the creature's happiness consists in the knowledge of God, and the sense of his love. And if the knowledge of him be imperfect, the happiness of the creature must be proportionably imperfect.

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#4 is the issue.

Charlie wrote:
Jay C. wrote:

I would rather say that I do not understand and that there is tension there - which there is! - than agree with compatibilists (Calvinists?) who logically make God the first mover in a situation where man is forced to sin because God ordained it. I take comfort in the fact that I am not the only believer that rejects this logical construct; I know that for a fact.

I think we've come to the payoff, Jay C. You have put it this way: Either tension or compatibilism. But you have not correctly represented compatibilism. Compatibilism affirms several things, which require quite a bit of "tension":

1. God ordains (in some sense) events of sin. (Really, this is a particularization of "God ordains all things.")
2. God is not the author of sin.
3. God does not approve of sin.
4. Man will necessarily sin when God has ordained so.
5. Man is not forced to sin, but is entirely free in doing so.


Charlie - my whole point is that I disagree with #4 (hence the added emphasis). I do not believe and do not see any Scriptural support for God ordaining (by which I mean determining / mandating) that man should sin; that was the point of http://sharperiron.org/comment/40004#comment-40004 ]my first question to Edingess (and others). If God is perfectly and intrinsically righteous and holy and loving, He cannot force man to do something unrighteous. That has to come from the free will actions of a human being.

As I wrote in #165:

Quote:

The Bible is very clear that God cannot sin and that He is not the source of sin (James 1:13). It also is clear that God is too pure to behold evil (Habakkuk 1:12-17), and that He will ultimately judge and punish sinners by putting them under His righteous and eternal wrath for that sin (Rev. 20:11-14). It's also very clear that each man, woman, and child will be required to account for their own sin (Acts 2:22-24, Romans 14:12, Hebrews 4:13, I Peter 4:5). Those are all Scriptural passages that I am in complete agreement with, and until I can see someone explain to me that God did cause Adam to sin and still remain pure, or that Boettner and Calvin were misunderstood by me, or something along those lines, I cannot and will not adopt the Compatibilist / Determinist view.

If you want to believe that, go ahead, but I don't see how God can 'ordain' that man sin and still be perfectly righteous. Calvin and Boettner can seemingly synergize this (by calling it a "mystery" instead of just admitting what I'm saying), but there's no mystery about it...God must be at fault if His creation has no choice other than to sin against Him.

You say that I have to be either a compatibilist or 'have tension'. I do have tension - I don't understand how free will and sovereignty work together either. But I'd rather opt for something that seems (at best) unworkable or confusing than go with the whole "Adam sinned because God declared it must happen" Reformed-speak.

BTW, Greg and JohnBrian - I almost quoted that Piper article this morning...Must be one of God's foreordained coincidences Smile

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Other passages

Charlie,

How do you interpret passages like this?

1 Samuel 23:1-5, 9-14 wrote:
Now they told David, “Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are robbing the threshing floors.” Therefore David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” And the Lord said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah.” But David’s men said to him, “Behold, we are afraid here in Judah; how much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?” Then David inquired of the Lord again. And the Lord answered him, “Arise, go down to Keilah, for I will give the Philistines into your hand.” And David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistines and brought away their livestock and struck them with a great blow. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah...

David knew that Saul was plotting harm against him. And he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod here.” Then said David, “O Lord, the God of Israel, your servant has surely heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city on my account. Will the men of Keilah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? O Lord, the God of Israel, please tell your servant.” And the Lord said, “He will come down.” Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?” And the Lord said, “They will surrender you.Then David and his men, who were about six hundred, arose and departed from Keilah, and they went wherever they could go. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up the expedition. And David remained in the strongholds in the wilderness, in the hill country of the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God did not give him into his hand.


2 Kings 20:1-11 wrote:

In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.’” Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, saying, “Now, O Lord, please remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. And before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: “Turn back, and say to Hezekiah the leader of my people, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord, and I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city for my own sake and for my servant David’s sake.” And Isaiah said, “Bring a cake of figs. And let them take and lay it on the boil, that he may recover.”

And Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “What shall be the sign that the Lord will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the Lord on the third day?” And Isaiah said, “This shall be the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do the thing that he has promised: shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or go back ten steps?” And Hezekiah answered, “It is an easy thing for the shadow to lengthen ten steps. Rather let the shadow go back ten steps.” And Isaiah the prophet called to the Lord, and he brought the shadow back ten steps, by which it had gone down on the steps of Ahaz.

I'd like to see you interpret those passages. How can God declare that the men of Keilah will surrender David to Saul if He knows that David will leave the town? How can Hezekiah change the course of foreordained actions by praying that it not occur and then having God acquiesce to his prayers?

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Necessity vs. Force

Jay,

I think we've come to the heart of it. When you hear, "Man must necessarily do X," you infer, "Man is forced to do X." But a compatibilist rejects that force or coercion is the same thing as metaphysical necessity. You can do freely what you do necessarily. The greatest example of this is God. God is necessarily good; he does not have the option of being evil. But he is the most free being in the universe. This goes all the way back to Augustine; it's not just a Calvinist thing. And, of course, there are many compatibilist philosophers who are not religious at all.

As for the first passage, I don't see the problem, b/c I don't see divine knowledge of counterfactuals as problematic for any of the major philosophical viewpoints.

As for the second, the only two options are 1) to admit that underneath seemingly unconditional statements are implicit conditions or 2) to embrace an open theism or process theology view of God. That is, either 1) God told Hezekiah what he told him in order to provoke the response that it did, or 2) Hezekiah actually changed God's mind, which is not compatible with any strand of orthodox theology (Catholic, Eastern, Lutheran, Calvinist, etc.).

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It is worth noting that John

It is worth noting that John Piper is not a compatibilist. If you are, then using him to defend your view is ignorant.

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The Heart...

Quote:
When you hear, "Man must necessarily do X," you infer, "Man is forced to do X." But a compatibilist rejects that force or coercion is the same thing as metaphysical necessity.

So metaphysical necessity is not some form of coercion by an all knowing, all powerful, all sovereign Deity? If we were comparing man to man, then I'd see your point, but we're comparing man to God - which is a whole different issue.

The compatibilist argument is that whatever God knows must occur (See http://sharperiron.org/comment/39920#comment-39920 ]#6 and #7 , http://sharperiron.org/comment/40075#comment-40075 ]#53 , and http://sharperiron.org/comment/40106#comment-40106 ]#65 ). Yet the compatibilist violates their own logic by saying that whatever must occur must do so because God declared it and then insisting that something occurred that God did know about and yet didn't bring about Himself, making God limited in either His knowledge or in His power. Or they cop out entirely and go the 'it's a mystery' route, which seems to be the most popular option these days.

Charlie wrote:
As for the first passage, I don't see the problem, b/c I don't see divine knowledge of counterfactuals as problematic for any of the major philosophical viewpoints.

I agree with you there :)
Quote:
As for the second, the only two options are 1) to admit that underneath seemingly unconditional statements are implicit conditions or 2) to embrace an open theism or process theology view of God. That is, either 1) God told Hezekiah what he told him in order to provoke the response that it did, or 2) Hezekiah actually changed God's mind, which is not compatible with any strand of orthodox theology (Catholic, Eastern, Lutheran, Calvinist, etc.).

I may not understand this section clearly, but if what you are saying is that God says something will occur without telling us that there is an implicit condition that it might not, then how is God truthful? I'm not talking about telling us 'part of the plan' (like when you tell your kid that you're going out for the day and don't say that he's going to the dentist for part of it) - I'm talking about God telling Hezekiah "Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover [note the double emphasis there ])" and then saying, "I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord, and I will add fifteen years to your life."

That leads me to adopt an unstated third option here, namely that Hezekiah, grieved at the report of his own impending death, pled with God to spare him and God graciously chose to do so. God had decided to act in a specific way, and then when Hezekiah prayed, God relented. This shouldn't be a new thing; we see it elsewhere in Scripture (Exodus 32:1-14, for example).

This does not mean - as Boyd would suggest - that God did not know that Hezekiah would pray or that God was unwilling to spare Hezekiah. It means that God was moved as a result of the worries/cares of this person and chose to alter His plan/intent as a result of the free will request of Hezekiah. That's in line with another slew of Scriptural passages on how and when we should asking God for certain things (Mt 21:22, Acts 12:5, 2 Cor. 1:11, Philippians 4:5-7, James 5:17-19, 1 Pet. 3:11-13).

"Our task today is to tell people — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells
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please define free will or point me to where you have

Jay,
I've been away for a while, so I apologize if I've missed where you've already done this. One of the things that keeps coming up in this discussion is your assertion that man must choose to sin with a free will. I've posted a few comments to you talking about libertarian free will and how we think about the will, but I'm not aware of a point where you've defined with any precision what you mean by a "free will" that is consistent with your views.

Thanks,
Charles

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A few things

1) Necessity vs. force. Saying that God's decree makes something metaphysically necessary is not the same as saying God is the direct efficient cause of X or that he forces X to happen. Analytic philosophers have examples of this that I simply can't go into here, but if you don't accept it ... fine, but realize that compatibilists (and others) do distinguish between necessity and causality.

2) On the Hezekiah situation, I don't know that you've sufficiently appreciated Boyd's position. Because your own position seemingly has God being untruthful. You believe that God knows the future. So, God knew before he told Hezekiah that he would die that Hezekiah would pray and that God would ... change his own mind. So, if God knows that he is going to change his mind and let Hezekiah live, he is still lying when he says "You will not recover." By the way, I think the idea that one can know that one is going to change one's mind is absolutely incoherent. If I think X, but I know tomorrow I will be convinced of Y, then really, I am already convinced of Y. "Changing my mind" is a function of temporal existence and lack of foreknowledge. So, my alternative is that God told Hezekiah truth, but not the whole truth: "You will not recover (unless you repent)." God sometimes tests people in this way - Abraham and Isaac, Jonah at Ninevah. In any case, it's not possible for God to have exhaustive foreknowledge and change his mind. That's Boyd's point and my point.

3) I never heard back on God's freedom. I think it's a crucial issue. It was crucial for Augustine during the Pelagian controversy. Everyone in orthodox Christianity agrees that God not only does not sin, but cannot sin. Sin is not an option for God. So ... does God lack free will? If so, then free will is actually a bad thing, since God has (is) all possible perfections. But no, that's silly. God is free, so the correct definition of freedom must be modeled on God. Freedom then, is the ability to act 1) in accordance with my will and 2) in keeping with what is good. Augustine uses the saints in heaven as a similar but lesser example. Saints in heaven do not have the ability to sin (non posse peccare); but they are the most free of all of us! Or, if you insist that they are not free, then freedom as you define it isn't something we want or need. I think this is the most important piece of the argument, because it is explicitly theological, not just something that analytic philosophers can wrangle about endlessly.

This conversation comes at an interesting time for me. I'm enrolled in a predestination/freedom/moral-effort class with a Lutheran professor at a Catholic university. It's fun.

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Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

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What is Freedom?

Charlie-

I'm glad you're interested and that this is helpful; I know that I'm being stretched and thinking through a lot of stuff that I hadn't really considered before. One of those things that you mentioned is this:

Quote:
God is free, so the correct definition of freedom must be modeled on God. Freedom then, is the ability to act 1) in accordance with my will and 2) in keeping with what is good. Augustine uses the saints in heaven as a similar but lesser example. Saints in heaven do not have the ability to sin (non posse peccare); but they are the most free of all of us!

First off - let me tread carefully here; this is something that I'm just starting to think about.

I'm not really sure that I agree with this on first consideration. Freedom, http://oed.com/view/Entry/74375?rskey=s7yjiV&result=1&isAdvanced=false#eid ]as defined by the OED , is defined as "Not subject to the control or influence of something abstract". They use sin as an example, but we all agree that the OED is wrong on that point Scripturally.

Paul talks about being mankind being either slaves to either goodness or wickedness (Romans 6:20-23). So then, what is "freedom"?

Mankind may be the only creation with the ability to discern and choose between doing what is evil and doing what is right. God, obviously, cannot choose to do evil, for He would then violate His commands and cease being God. Nor is Satan 'free' to choose to do right, even though his actions serve to further God's (good!) plans. Humans, on the other hand, are given passages like:

Joshua 24:14-18

Quote:
“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods, for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed. And the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.”

So maybe we need to go deeper into the rabbit hole and try to figure out what 'freedom' and 'choice' actually mean as they are used in the Bible. For me, 'freedom' and 'choice' imply ability - even ability to the contrary. Of course, that opens up the whole can of worms regarding 'If man is able to choose contrary to God, then is God limited in His ability' (and we begin this thread all over again ;) ).

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I am both amused and puzzled

I am both amused and puzzled at how quickly some are to post what others have to say about scripture, but don't actually engage the scripture for answers. Throughout this whole thread, compatibilists have affirmed:

1. God is sovereign first cause of all things
2. God is not the directly responsible person for sin

It is an obvious logical error. They then appeal to mystery. For proof that they are right, they will quote Piper (not even someone who agrees with them), the WCF (which didn't even bother to acknowledge the error), or something else.

Here once again is the question that NOT A SINGLE COMPATIBILIST HAS TRIED TO ANSWER THIS ENTIRE THREAD:

If nothing happens apart from God's will, and Adam's sin was in line with God's will, why was Adam's sin wrong? In other words, if Adam was simply doing what God willed for him to do, why is Adam wrong to do God's will?

The answer cannot be that God said it was sin because then God has 2 conflicting wills, putting Adam in a no win situation, and therefore having unjust weights and balances, something God hates.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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Why is it presumed that

Why is it presumed that divine sovereignty is the "first cause" of things?

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James K wrote:I am both

James K wrote:
I am both amused and puzzled at how quickly some are to post what others have to say about scripture, but don't actually engage the scripture for answers. Throughout this whole thread, compatibilists have affirmed:

1. God is sovereign first cause of all things
2. God is not the directly responsible person for sin

It is an obvious logical error. They then appeal to mystery. For proof that they are right, they will quote Piper (not even someone who agrees with them), the WCF (which didn't even bother to acknowledge the error), or something else.

Here once again is the question that NOT A SINGLE COMPATIBILIST HAS TRIED TO ANSWER THIS ENTIRE THREAD:

If nothing happens apart from God's will, and Adam's sin was in line with God's will, why was Adam's sin wrong? In other words, if Adam was simply doing what God willed for him to do, why is Adam wrong to do God's will?

The answer cannot be that God said it was sin because then God has 2 conflicting wills, putting Adam in a no win situation, and therefore having unjust weights and balances, something God hates.

Talking about going round and round in ciricles James. God willed men to murder the Son of God. These men will be judged for their wicked deed EVEN though that sinful deed was predetermined from eternity past. Moving this from Adam to the Christ event does nothing to solve the problem you have created for yourself. As a compatibilist, I answered your queston a dozen different ways and then some. You just refuse to listen. There is nothing I can do about that. You are left with a God who cannot control His creation. Calvinists are left with something we can't quite fully explain...like God...like the Trinity...like the hypostatic union...like the very existence of sin....like divine aseity....et cetera. But at least we know nothing happens that God has not ordained to come to pass and knowing that, we have great peace and confidence in our Maker!

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. III John 4

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James K wrote: I am both

James K wrote:
I am both amused and puzzled at how quickly some are to post what others have to say about scripture, but don't actually engage the scripture for answers. Throughout this whole thread, compatibilists have affirmed:

1. God is sovereign first cause of all things
2. God is not the directly responsible person for sin

It is an obvious logical error. They then appeal to mystery. For proof that they are right, they will quote Piper (not even someone who agrees with them), the WCF (which didn't even bother to acknowledge the error), or something else.

Here once again is the question that NOT A SINGLE COMPATIBILIST HAS TRIED TO ANSWER THIS ENTIRE THREAD:

If nothing happens apart from God's will, and Adam's sin was in line with God's will, why was Adam's sin wrong? In other words, if Adam was simply doing what God willed for him to do, why is Adam wrong to do God's will?

The answer cannot be that God said it was sin because then God has 2 conflicting wills, putting Adam in a no win situation, and therefore having unjust weights and balances, something God hates.

Yes, it's a good thing no one has thought of this "problem" and answered it, like say, Paul the apostle in Romans 9.

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