Origins of Evil and Will of Man

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James K's picture
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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.

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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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.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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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.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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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?

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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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.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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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.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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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

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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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?

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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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.).

My Blog: www.sacredpage.wordpress.com

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

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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.

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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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 — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — 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.

My Blog: www.sacredpage.wordpress.com

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 ;) ).

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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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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Alex Guggenheim wrote: Why is

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
Why is it presumed that divine sovereignty is the "first cause" of things?

Please tell us who or what is if not God.

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Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

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Greg Long wrote: Alex

Greg Long wrote:
Alex Guggenheim wrote:
Why is it presumed that divine sovereignty is the "first cause" of things?

Please tell us who or what is if not God.
My interest is not in presuming anything rather in discovering why the argument(s) which exist in the minds of others which presumes divine sovereignty to be the first cause of things (and when the expression " first cause of things " is used I understand that to mean or have in view any or all things and not just some things which if only some things were in view my question would change). So I resubmit the question with the hope that one of the "us" to whom you refer will make the case.

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Causal Necessity

I can only provide a very brief arguement on this point.

1 All things that have come into existence must have had a cause.
2. Sin came to exist.
3. Therefore sin must have had a cause.

Now, what or who was that cause? Can a cause be the cause? How can a cause cause a cause if a cause even could cause a cause? That deserves an award.

Perhaps this is enough to give James something to wrestle with.

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

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Alex, because it fits a

Alex, because it fits a predetermined system read onto Scripture.

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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Ed, sadly you never answered

Ed, sadly you never answered that question and still did not answer that question when given yet another opportunity. This is the problem with being learned in systematic theology as priority over scripture. You know the talking points but not how to actually answer.

You know very well what I have affirmed. What you accuse me of is sheer nonsense and demonstrates you are left to attacking me personally rather than answer my question.

I will further point out again to you that you are arguing for compatibilism, not calvinism. There are plenty of calvinists who would call you arminian.

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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Greg, Paul was not addressing

Greg, Paul was not addressing my question in Romans 9.

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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I will sum up this whole

I will sum up this whole argument.

Things we all agree on:

1. God is sovereign
2. God's sovereignty includes power over all of His creation
3. God is in absolute control
4. Nothing can exist outside of God's control
5. God knows all thing, actual and possible, including every thought and desire of man
6. Sin did not thwart God
7. Sin did not call into question God's being

Things we do not all agree on:

1. How God controls all things
2. How God can be/not be the author of sin

I hope we can move past some of the childishness that is thrown around so lightly.

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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James - my answer

I provided you with the answer from several perspectives and even include voluminous Scriptural examples that you did not bother to provide a legitimate alternative interpretation. I cannot help it if you are less than pleased or satisfied with my answer. But to accuse me of not answering you is patently untrue. I don't anyone could read this string and agree that I really never answered your question.

Concerning the compatibilist issue, it is tired and old.

Concerning a personal attack, I deny. However, I do apologize if that is how you really feel. There is no place in these discussions for personal attacks.

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

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Already answered

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
Greg Long wrote:
Alex Guggenheim wrote:
Why is it presumed that divine sovereignty is the "first cause" of things?

Please tell us who or what is if not God.
My interest is not in presuming anything rather in discovering why the argument(s) which exist in the minds of others which presumes divine sovereignty to be the first cause of things (and when the expression " first cause of things " is used I understand that to mean or have in view any or all things and not just some things which if only some things were in view my question would change). So I resubmit the question with the hope that one of the "us" to whom you refer will make the case.

Post #112, nobody even responded to it; it was just simply ignored. I know that this is a rather large discussion, so it was (assuming the best of people) probably just missed. God being the first or ultimate starting point for causality is a complete given if one endorses creation; I believe that no one in this thread has denied this in the least. As all things other than the eternal self-existent God are creation, then it follows that He is the first cause of all things. Please see post #112, as I don't wish to repeat the whole thing. In philosophical terms, post #112 is also a Biblical metaphysical argument against libertarian freedom, for if libertarian freedom is uncaused, then it simply does not exist in God's universe.

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Clear dodge (red herring)

James K wrote:
Ed, sadly you never answered that question and still did not answer that question when given yet another opportunity. This is the problem with being learned in systematic theology as priority over scripture. You know the talking points but not how to actually answer.

You know very well what I have affirmed. What you accuse me of is sheer nonsense and demonstrates you are left to attacking me personally rather than answer my question.

I will further point out again to you that you are arguing for compatibilism, not calvinism. There are plenty of calvinists who would call you arminian.


James, he did answer the question. Perhaps you could actually deal with the issue of Acts 4, that Ed raised, instead of dodging it.

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#4?

James K wrote:
I will sum up this whole argument.

Things we all agree on:

1. God is sovereign
2. God's sovereignty includes power over all of His creation
3. God is in absolute control
4. Nothing can exist outside of God's control
5. God knows all thing, actual and possible, including every thought and desire of man
6. Sin did not thwart God
7. Sin did not call into question God's being

Things we do not all agree on:

1. How God controls all things
2. How God can be/not be the author of sin

I hope we can move past some of the childishness that is thrown around so lightly.


Concerning #4: If you agree that nothing can exist outside of God's control, then upon what grounds can you hold to libertarian freedom. Libertarian freedom is by definition uncaused, which means that it is outside of God's control. You may counter by saying that control and cause are two different things. And I would respond that you are speaking of "existence" in which causality is a massive component. Does the will of man exist, of itself, or autonomously; or does it exist dependently in which it needs a cause for its existence? If God is that cause, then how can man will contrary to his own existence? His will cannot be otherwise than what it is, which is what God has caused it to be if you do hold to #4.

I often run into this exquisite blind spot on the part of libertarian free will advocates.

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Caleb S wrote: James K

Caleb S wrote:
James K wrote:
Ed, sadly you never answered that question and still did not answer that question when given yet another opportunity. This is the problem with being learned in systematic theology as priority over scripture. You know the talking points but not how to actually answer.

You know very well what I have affirmed. What you accuse me of is sheer nonsense and demonstrates you are left to attacking me personally rather than answer my question.

I will further point out again to you that you are arguing for compatibilism, not calvinism. There are plenty of calvinists who would call you arminian.


James, he did answer the question. Perhaps you could actually deal with the issue of Acts 4, that Ed raised, instead of dodging it.

Caleb, Acts 4 is not Gen 3. Ed did not answer anything unless your definition of answer is bringing up unrelated passages.

Let me restate yet again.

We are told by compatibilists that God is the first cause and yet NOT the author of sin. No attempt is made to reconcile this. It is just affirmed by the WCF. Usually that is all calvinists need, but I am not all that impressed with it, so I will go back to scripture for truth. I don't believe God waiting post reformation for His truth to be known.

If sin is going against God's will, then Adam sinned. Well sort of. Because in the compatibilist construct Adam was doing EXACTLY what God wanted him to do.

The compatibilist is left with the additional difficulty of explaining how sin can really even be sin now. Because in the compatibilist construct:

1. Adam was created very good.
2. Adam had 2 opposite wills to obey.
3. Adam's failure would bring death and a curse upon everyone.
4. God used uneven weights and balances, something we know God hates.

This is EXACTLY why compatibilists opt for mystery.

Now, my question is this:

How did Adam sin when he did the sovereign will of God?

Ed, Caleb, and others, if you think you answered this question, point me to the post and I will look it up. Otherwise, stop saying you answered it in so many ways with all this scripture.

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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Caleb S wrote: James K

Caleb S wrote:
James K wrote:
I will sum up this whole argument.

Things we all agree on:

1. God is sovereign
2. God's sovereignty includes power over all of His creation
3. God is in absolute control
4. Nothing can exist outside of God's control
5. God knows all thing, actual and possible, including every thought and desire of man
6. Sin did not thwart God
7. Sin did not call into question God's being

Things we do not all agree on:

1. How God controls all things
2. How God can be/not be the author of sin

I hope we can move past some of the childishness that is thrown around so lightly.


Concerning #4: If you agree that nothing can exist outside of God's control, then upon what grounds can you hold to libertarian freedom. Libertarian freedom is by definition uncaused, which means that it is outside of God's control. You may counter by saying that control and cause are two different things. And I would respond that you are speaking of "existence" in which causality is a massive component. Does the will of man exist, of itself, or autonomously; or does it exist dependently in which it needs a cause for its existence? If God is that cause, then how can man will contrary to his own existence? His will cannot be otherwise than what it is, which is what God has caused it to be if you do hold to #4.

I often run into this exquisite blind spot on the part of libertarian free will advocates.

The funny thing about categories is when people don't fit in them. I have not been advocating libertarian free will. Methinks you have me confused with Jay C.

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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Incoherence

Here we go again with categories. Like it or not, you fit somewhere. We are either regenerate or unregenerate, right? Imagine an unregnerate person using this tactic. I am not born again nor "un" born again. I am in a different category altogether. Perhaps we could use T.D. Jakes as an example. He is not a trinitarian nor is he a non-trinitarian. I am sorry, but sooner or later, either/or will indeed press for a decision.

Notice what James did not make any assertions about in his most recent post: he made no assertions about sin or the fall. To say that God is in absolute control means that Adam's sin was absolutely controlled by God. Adam's fall was absolutely controlled by God. Satan's fall, as mysterious as it was, was in the absolute control of God.

Control: power or authority to guide or manage.

Absolute: free from imperfection.

God is perfecting controlling all that was, is, and ever shall be. Since this control is perfect, it never ceases to be anything but true, genuine control.

Libertarian freedom: the will of the human is completely free of any and all causes.

Absolute control and libertarian freedom are radically antithetical to one another.

Question: How is it that God is perfectly controlling all things that come to pass, yet somehow sin managed to enter outside of that control? By your own definition one must conclude that sin came about by the perfect control of God Himself. How He did it is not the question. That He did it cannot be denied.

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

James K's picture
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Since 8/29/10 19:10:56
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Ed, all that typing and you

Ed, all that typing and you couldn't answer the question or point me to the post where you previously did?

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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Since 8/13/11 09:56:36
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Did Not Judas Do Precisely What God Willed Him to Do

You fail to make good on your indictment of compatibilists sir. You impugn us for special pleading (musterion) and yet when we point to Judas, somehow that is different. It could not be more obvious that Judas was sinning by betraying Christ and yet at the very same time in that sinful act, he was doing exactly what God had planned he would do.

If God is perfectly controlling everything as you say He is. Everything INCLUDES sin! Does it not? Answer that question, James. If God is not in perfect control of sin, then He is NOT in perfect control of everything.

I grow weary of writing term papers in answer to your charges only to have you ignore them, refuse to interact with them, reject any challenge to articulate an alternative, and then accuse me of not answering your question.

God is able to be the primary cause of sin without also being the immediate cause or author of sin. To be VERY clear, the Scripture used to support that idea that God cannot be the primary cause of sin does not assert any such thing. Exegetically, James 1:13 does not teach that God is not the primary cause of sin. What does it assert? In James 1:13 it is revealed to us that God cannot be tempted with evil. Secondly, it is revealed to us that God does not actually engage in tempting man to sin Himself. God Himself does not actually engage in the immediate act of tempting man to evil. That is far different from saying that God is not the primary cause of sin, being God, the primary cause of all that has come to be. So we can safely say that God is not the tempter in the case of sin. The real issue James is getting at is a view that may move toward a fatalistic attitude toward the nomos. Hence, a kind of antinomianism seems clearly to emerge in James. James 1:13 must be understood in that context. If we can actually blame God for our sin, then how can we be held responsible. Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die.

The Greek word ἀρχηγός appears four times in the NT (Acts 3:15; 5:31; Heb. 2:10; 12:2). Twice it is rendered Prince and twice it is rendered author. Nowhere in Scripture is it actually said that God is NOT the primary cause of sin. When we say that God is not the author of sin, we intend to convey the meaning that sin does not have it's root in God. It's root is outside of God, located someplace else. When we introduce musterion, we intend to acknowledge our limitations in understanding and recognize that God mysteriously brought about sin, located outside Himself, in a way that we are simply not capable of fully comprehending. We understand that God must have had something to do with sin's existence because nothing exists outside of His sovereign control. However, we also understand that God Himself does not tempt anyone and therefore we understand that great care is required when discussing and thinking about these matters.

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

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Since 5/6/09 20:45:47
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Ed

Ed, that's the whole point. If Judas had to do what God willed him to do, then he cannot be responsible for his actions or behavior. James K, John Piper, and others of us believe that God can and does control sinners without resorting to fatalism.

You keep making accusations and comments about things that neither James K or I are saying.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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Since 6/2/09 13:04:13
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Quote:If Judas had to do

Quote:
If Judas had to do what God willed him to do, then he cannot be responsible for his actions or behavior.
I am desperately trying to stay out of this (even though I think there is a lot of confusion being spread), but I must ask why not?

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Since 6/5/09 14:45:31
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terminology vs argument

James K wrote:
Caleb S wrote:
James K wrote:
I will sum up this whole argument.

Things we all agree on:

1. God is sovereign
2. God's sovereignty includes power over all of His creation
3. God is in absolute control
4. Nothing can exist outside of God's control
5. God knows all thing, actual and possible, including every thought and desire of man
6. Sin did not thwart God
7. Sin did not call into question God's being

Things we do not all agree on:

1. How God controls all things
2. How God can be/not be the author of sin

I hope we can move past some of the childishness that is thrown around so lightly.


Concerning #4: If you agree that nothing can exist outside of God's control, then upon what grounds can you hold to libertarian freedom. Libertarian freedom is by definition uncaused, which means that it is outside of God's control. You may counter by saying that control and cause are two different things. And I would respond that you are speaking of "existence" in which causality is a massive component. Does the will of man exist, of itself, or autonomously; or does it exist dependently in which it needs a cause for its existence? If God is that cause, then how can man will contrary to his own existence? His will cannot be otherwise than what it is, which is what God has caused it to be if you do hold to #4.

I often run into this exquisite blind spot on the part of libertarian free will advocates.

The funny thing about categories is when people don't fit in them. I have not been advocating libertarian free will. Methinks you have me confused with Jay C.


Then you are clearly in error when you write that these are things that are agreed upon by all. You state, "Things we all agree on." Apparently, according to your own admission, Jay C does not agree upon this point.

Furthermore, you do not agree; nor have you actually dealt with the "content" of what I wrote. Yes, you can distinguish yourself from the point of libertarian freedom, but then you cannot distinguish yourself from the argument made. You can dodge the term, but you cannot dodge the argument. Upon what grounds, then, do you disagree with compatibilism at all if you agree that "Nothing can exist outside of God's control". There is no need to even deal with Genesis 3 or Acts 4, for you already agree with Compatibilism, but at the same time you disagree (self-contradiction). And again, focusing upon the terminology while ignoring the argument is yet another dodge.

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Since 6/5/09 14:45:31
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Jay C. wrote: Ed, that's the

Jay C. wrote:
Ed, that's the whole point. If Judas had to do what God willed him to do, then he cannot be responsible for his actions or behavior. James K, John Piper, and others of us believe that God can and does control sinners without resorting to fatalism.

You keep making accusations and comments about things that neither James K or I are saying.


Who in the world is resorting to fatalism? (straw man)

Fatalism: This is both impersonal, and it is a view where one's actions are not necessary, for they will not affect the future in any way.

Compatibilism: This affirms both God's absolute sovereignty over all things, and it affirms man's actions, wills, and responsibility.

Even at a casual glance one can see that Compatibilism is neither "impersonal"; nor does compatibilism exclude the means from the end. Human actions are very important in compatibilism. One's actions clearly affect future outcomes because the means are included in the ends, as both are ordained. Calling compatibilism "fatalism" is a very poor straw man. It is easy to see why people fail to distinguish, for when one sees any kind of determinism period, then knee jerk-reaction is to cry fatalism. However, this completely ignores the clear lines of distinction between the two by focusing on only one point of similarity. Further, it is also easy for a libertarian free will advocate to continually beg the question of libertarian free will, even while defining another view. If libertarian freedom is lost, then it is assumed that there is no will at all, but this is patently not true. The reason for this is that compatibilism advocates another view of the will that is "compatible" with God's sovereignty over all things. All of that was simply meant to support the point of "straw man".

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