Origins of Evil and Will of Man

This is split off from the http://sharperiron.org/filings/1-6-12/21320]John Piper: Salvation Not 'A Decision' Filing thread in order to more fully discuss the origin of evil and the will of man.

Edingess wrote:
James K wrote:
Edingess wrote:
Of some things we can be sure. Others remain a mystery. The things certain do not make the things mysterious less mysterious. We have certain revelation of the essence, being, and character of God. Some of these things we know with certainty. Any view that compromises God's revealed essence, being, character, is a view that deserves criticism and condemnation. God, in His wisdom has provided us with some of the answers. Some answers remain obscure and in the dark. We are better off taking the humble route in such cases and admitting that we simply cannot say for sure how or why some things are the way they are. God is the ultimate cause of all things. God is not the author of sin. These are answers God has clearly revealed in Scripture. Shall we impugn either of them because 1) we don't like what they imply or 2) we can't harmonize them as completely as our sinful intellect desires?

1. I am glad you agree that we must put God's revelation above our own thoughts. God has indeed revealed himself to be absolutely holy who cannot sin or even tempt with sin.

If we stop right there, then we can answer my original question: God is not the first cause in Adam's sin.

2. "God is the ultimate cause of all things. God is not the author of sin." While you agree they are answers clearly revealed, why the hesitation regarding answering the question? It is because such a view does not conform well to reformedspeak, which has to see God as the first cause in all things or he isn't really sovereign. Further, if there is one area he isn't sovereign in, then he isn't sovereign at all. Systems based in logic do not appreciate thinking outside the box or questioning those super smart WCF authors. Your own answer is doubletalk. God cannot be the ultimate cause of all things and not also be the cause of sin.

When I ask you why Adam sinned, you could simply answer: because God is the ultimate cause of all things.
yet
When I ask you why Adam sinned, you simply say: it is all a mystery.

There is no mystery to God's character Ed. All you have succeeded in doing is reemphasizing the doublespeak of compatibilism. Your allegiance is to a system.


God has also revealed Himself to be absolutely SOVEREIGN! Therefore, God is the ultimate cause of all that happens, though not the immediate cause. Secondly, there is no hesitation on my part to answer your question. Perhaps you should consult the meaning of ultimate cause and sovereignty. Soveregnty and Ultimate Cause are interchangable. You are arguing that an event can exist that ultimately God did not bring about! Scripture knows nothing of this god. In your attempt to preserve human freedom, you have compromised the divine!

God predetermind that Judas would betray Christ. (ultimate cause)
Satan entered Judas, leading him to betray Christ. (intermediate)
Judas betrayed Christ. (subordinate)

Who was the ulimate cause of Judas' betrayal of Christ? God, Satan, or Judas?

Ever heard of a se? "God is independent, all sufficient in himself, and the only source of all existence and life. [Bavinck] God depends on nothing. You are implying that God depends on the cooperation of libertarian freedom in creatures in order to accomplish His purpose. A frustrated deity is no deity. In your efforts to protect God from your own false conclusion that Calvinism impugns Him, you end up robbing Him of His sovereignty. You employ a strategy for this error by repainting the aseity of God as the mere product of human logic rather than the result of revelation. Your view appears to introduce passive potency into God's knowledge. This makes God less than independent. As one theologian put it, God is either determining or determined; there is no alternative. W.L. Craig admits that this thinking compromises God's pure actuality, but thinks nothing of it. Since all the divine perfections are included in aseity, if it be compromised or downgraded, it necessarily takes God with it. How much of God's absoluteness can we give up before He stops being God? My answer is NONE! How far can man move from the divine revelation of God's absoluteness before His god is clearly NOT the God of revelation?

If you wish to continue this discussion, it probably deserves its own thread.

11205 reads
Greg Long's picture

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.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Alex Guggenheim's picture

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.

edingess's picture

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

James K's picture

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.

James K's picture

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.

James K's picture

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.

James K's picture

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.

edingess's picture

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

Caleb S's picture

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.

Caleb S's picture

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 S's picture

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.

James K's picture

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.

James K's picture

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.

edingess's picture

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

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.

edingess's picture

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

Jay's picture

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

Larry's picture

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?

Caleb S's picture

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.

Caleb S's picture

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".

edingess's picture

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.

At this time I will make a plea for specifics. Anytime anyone accuses someone else of "making accusations," I think it proper to point to the exact quote so that it can be addressed. This should apply to all of us. Otherwise, I am assigned to the world of the befuddled when I read statements like this. And in the world of the befuddled, taxes are higher, gas prices are higher and there are no books. Smile It is almost like purgatory.

James and Jay, much of my responses and challenges deal with the logical conclisions of your argument or reasoning, stated or not. So if you can grant that, perhaps we can make this a tad more fruitful, which is the ultimate goal I think.

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

Jay's picture

Actually, Caleb, I do agree with everything on James K's list (which you quoted in post #200). Sorry to take the wind out of your sails.

You're right - fatalism isn't the term I should have used. I am referring to Determinism, not fatalism.

Finally, someone (can't find the post now) made a post last night asking about something that they said LFW advocates have never been able to adequately answer. I would like that person to read http://sharperiron.org/comment/40706#comment-40706 ]Post #171 and let me know if that is helpful in dealing with their objections.

"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

Greg Long's picture

James K wrote:
Greg, Paul was not addressing my question in Romans 9.

Yes he was. He was addressing the exact question of why God can hold anyone responsible if he has created them to sin as he did with Pharoah.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Jay's picture

Since you asked for specifics on accusations...

Quote:
#001 - Unless you are a consistent Calvinist, I will show that God is frustrated in your view. You just refuse to admit it.

#012 - In your view, sin entered the world apart from God's control. If God could have stopped it from happening and He did not, then you are no better off. You end up with a God who is not only not sovereign, but not omnipotent either. At the end of the day, even in your view of downgraded sovereignty, God is still just as culpable for sin as in the Calvinist scheme. However, the difference is that in the Calvinist scheme, nothing is outside of God's control. Not even sin.

#014 - James, if there is any abstruseness on my part regarding your view, whose fault is that? You seem to dance ever so slowly around what it is you believe. You continue to offer assaults on how things are not without providing any hint of how you think they are.

#023 - James, I would like to see your response to my comments around the efficacy of God's decree and cause. Please respond. Sooner or later, you have to start defending something, otherwise I am going to conclude you don't like how anyone positions the fall but you don't have a position of your own.

#088 - You nor Jay C have provided not one viable alternative that does not deform God by downgrading His knowledge and sovereignty.

Larry - I understand you trying to stay out of this thread; I thought that the discussion had ended but now it looks like that was just a lull in the action. Two posts that may answer your question (at #199) are http://sharperiron.org/comment/39990#comment-39990 ]#28 and http://sharperiron.org/comment/40075#comment-40075 ]#53

"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

Caleb S's picture

James K wrote:
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.


Yes, Acts 4 is not Genesis 3! We are completely agreed on that point, and it was never disputed. However, it would be a complete error to say that Acts 4 does not deal with the issue that you raised concerning Genesis 3. We must get past hyper-superficial points (like Gen3 and Acts4 being different) and deal with the content of the posts. Therefore, your point here is a complete red herring. That you call it unrelated does not make it unrelated. Further, others have made arguments that clearly make it related. I will repeat one of those arguments in this post. Will you ignore it again is the question?

"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." This is a flat out lie. Compatibilists, in this thread, have been continually making arguments from Acts 4 and sinful acts being predestined. They have been making arguments concerning the nature of human freedom that in turn affects how responsibility is viewed. They have been making arguments from God's providence (my post) that God's causality is utterly unavoidable ("This is the day that the LORD has made . . ."). They have been making distinctions between different types of causality. Etc. To say that no attempt has been made to reconcile this is to lie to yourself and others, and this is very clearly unChristian.

"It is just affirmed by the WCF." This is a hasty-generalization. I have not affirmed the WCF; nor has that ever been a point of my argument. This is too broad of a brush that you are using.

"I don't believe God waiting post reformation for His truth to be known." This is a historical anachronism, an error in time type of argument. You are assuming that Scripture, which clearly predates the reformation, is not advocating the truth that compatibilists have been pointing out. Perhaps you could go to Isaiah 10 and deal with the Hiphil participles where God is describing the king of Assyria as a tool in His hand, and then in the same passage God condemns the king for the pride in his heart. God Himself holds the king responsible for what God caused him to do. Since, the book of Isaiah predates the reformation by hundreds of years, then your historical anachronism is seen.

Caleb S's picture

(this is a continuation of post #205)

"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 failure here is to distinguish between the descriptive and prescriptive will of God. This is something that Arminians themselves must do, or their own system falls to the ground. This is part of the reason for my post on the verse that says "God is not willing that any should perish". If God's will is that none, without exception at any point in human history, are to perish; then why do people perish? We are told that God is omnipotent; we see in Scripture that none can thwart God's hand. "I know that You can do anything and no plan of Yours can be thwarted. (Job 42:2)" So we are faced with a similar issue. Some will affirm that God wills in a higher way that people are given freedom from Him; therefore, this "will" is higher than His will to save all. So, God's will is ultimately not thwarted. Piper's article, "Are There Two Wills In God," is a prime example of how one deals with this issue. What I just mentioned was the Arminian solution to the problem. The Calvinist can respond in at least two ways. In this thread we have see how the universality of the word "any" can be called into question. This is one solution. The other is that the Calvinist can do the exact same thing that the Arminian did. He can posit that God's will to be glorified is higher than His will that none should perish. Personally, I prefer the language of competing desires, rather than two wills. However, the point communicated is the same. However, you will most certainly say that this issue is not the same. No one ever said that it was the same in every detail. However, the similarity of thought and the principles established are parallel. So then, how does God related to sin? Certainly, it is true that God is against sin. This is what many call the prescriptive will of God. He commands men to not do a great many different things. However, even the non-Calvinist has to concede that God permitted Satan to do all the things that he did to Job. God, by permission, in the non-Calvinist view, willed that Job would be tempted by Satan, by his flesh in the exceedingly horrific situation, by the loss of his family and possessions. So God, even on the non-Calvinist view both willed in a prescriptive sense that Job should not sin, but He also willed in a descriptive sense that Satan would cause so much havoc in Job's life leading to temptation after temptation. Further, God knew infallibly that this was to be the result of His permission. This is the same distinction that Calvinists make, when they say that God will's righteously what men do wickedly. They are affirming that God is against sin in a prescriptive sense, but has ordained that sin be in a descriptive sense. There is no contradiction. Even non-Calvinists are forced (unless becoming Open Theists) to concede the point. Therefore, the opening quote of the paragraph fails to make a very necessary distinction. For further argument on this point, I would recommend reading John Piper's article already mentioned in this paragraph.

"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
." Perhaps you could actually quote compatibilists on this little point by point, so that you are not creating a straw man. Where do compatibilists say these things? What post in this thread is this in? Or what book, author, page # are you getting point #2 from? Further, what exegetical support are you providing to (probably) assume that the "very good" was an ethical goodness rather than another form?

"How did Adam sin when he did the sovereign will of God?" Again, this is why Acts 4 keeps getting brought up and subsequently ignored. In Acts 4 we see these words.

Quote:
For, in fact, in this city both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, assembled together against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place.
(Act 4:27-28)
One can see that individuals are mentioned: Herod, Pontius Pilate. We can see other people involved: Gentiles and the people of Israel. We can see that this group of responsible individuals were gather together against Jesus. We know from many different accounts of the Crucifixion that these people were involved in it. We can also see that these responsible people, according to the text, did exactly what "Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place." Please note the aorist active infinitive at the beginning of verse 28: "to do". This means that their doing was predestined by God to take place. This is what the text is saying. They could not have done otherwise, for they were "predestined" "to do". Again, the text assumes that they were responsible people. Therefore, we can ask the exact same question that you have asked. How did Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel sin when they did the sovereign will of God? Will you continue to ignore the point that people keep bringing up to you? Will you deny Scripture and accuse Scripture of saying that Scripture makes people not responsible or that they did not sin because of their deeds were being ordained? How did Adam sin when he did the sovereign will of God? We respond, who are you to say against Scripture that Adam was not sinning even though he did the sovereign will of God (in the descriptive sense)? Why must you fight against the Word of God on this point and ignore post after post showing the relevance of Acts 4 with Gen 3?

Caleb S's picture

Jay C. wrote:
Actually, Caleb, I do agree with everything on James K's list (which you quoted in post #200). Sorry to take the wind out of your sails.

You're right - fatalism isn't the term I should have used. I am referring to Determinism, not fatalism.

Finally, someone (can't find the post now) made a post last night asking about something that they said LFW advocates have never been able to adequately answer. I would like that person to read http://sharperiron.org/comment/40706#comment-40706 ]Post #171 and let me know if that is helpful in dealing with their objections.


Saying that you agree with the point and dealing with the argument made against libertarian freedom are two different things. The wind is still blowing with a mighty gale!

JohnBrian's picture

edingess wrote:
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.
Which is exactly the point that Paul refutes in Romans 9:19-21

[quote=NKJV ][sup ]19[/sup ] You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” [sup ]20[/sup ] But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” [sup ]21[/sup ] Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?

Notice Paul doesn't say that he is being misunderstood. He affirms that God is sovereign and man is responsible.

edit - just noticed that Greg provided the same response in post #203

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edingess's picture

JohnBrian ][quote=edingess wrote:
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.
Which is exactly the point that Paul refutes in Romans 9:19-21

NKJV wrote:
[sup ]19[/sup ] You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” [sup ]20[/sup ] But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” [sup ]21[/sup ] Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?

Notice Paul doesn't say that he is being misunderstood. He affirms that God is sovereign and man is responsible.

edit - just noticed that Greg provided the same response in post #203

Yes. It seems that it matters not how many times we point to Paul's argument in Romans 9, it falls on deaf ears. The basis for rejecting sovereignty is no different than the basis for rejection creation ex nihilo. Men cannot rationalize it within their own rules (self-authority) and so they reject it. The truth is that we can no more explain God's sovereignty and human responsiblity than we can explain how God could take nothing and make everything. It is a mystery how God could do such a thing. So too, it is a mystery how God is absolutely and perfectly sovereign and man is completely responsible. We humbly accept Paul's argument. The dangerous thing in my mind is that Paul warns against impugning God as a result of His sovereignty. But the Arminian blazes right past that warning and does it anyhow.

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

James K's picture

Greg Long wrote:
James K wrote:
Greg, Paul was not addressing my question in Romans 9.

Yes he was. He was addressing the exact question of why God can hold anyone responsible if he has created them to sin as he did with Pharoah.

Greg, you apparently don't understand my question if you still think this is what I am asking even after I told you it wasn't. Go back and reread what I actually asked.

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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