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Friday, November 24, 2006

Why do you believe...?

It seems it is impossible to discuss sin without considering the will of God. Do you find the scripture to indicate God’s will is determinate or permissive? Do you have some other understanding?

Why do you believe that “God's will is that which does occur and prevails at all times”.

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51 Comments:

Blogger señor jefe said...

I think it is impossible to discuss sin without considering the will of man (in relation to the will of God). That's really where sin comes from, right? Man, exalting his 'will' above God's will?

And while I believe man's disobedience is a choice that is independent from God's 'will', it is not independent from His sovereignty. In His infinite wisdom, He can utilize our bad choices without sanctioning them. (ie- look at all the 'sin' in Jesus' direct ancestry...)

Psalm 115:3- But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.

Psalm 103:19- The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all.

11/24/2006 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

While I agree with Jefe, you cannot discuss sin without discussing the 'will' of man (man freely wills to sin, in this regard, I do believe in freewill), while I agree with him, I think that the question above doesn't necessarily deal with the will of God in the same respect.

When we say the will of God, we are discussing what God wants, rather than what God does. Usually, when we are discussing what man wills, we are likewise discussing what man does. Man wills to bake him some brownies, hence he acts and bakes him some brownies.

But with God it is somewhat different. It is God's will that man bake himself some brownies. We can then either say that (a) man then wills himself to bake brownies and acts by baking brownies or (b) despite what God wants, man chooses not to will to bake brownies and therefore doesn't bake brownies.

Most people would say both alternatives are possible given man's freechoice. I however, as a determinist would say only the first is actual. But that is superfluous to the conversation. I was merely attempting to show that God's will is what will occur (in my opinion) or what may occur (according to most people, it may occur if man is obedient). But the 'will' of God is what He 'wants' to occur. That would probably be a better way of phrasing it.

With all that said, to answer your question Kc, you asked: 'Why do you believe that “God's will is that which does occur and prevails at all times”.'

I think I can safely assume this question is directed towards the determinist definately and Calvinist at least. For those who adamently hold to the freechoice of man, and the absolute freedom of man would never say that what does occur is what God wills, or what God wills will occur. That would blasphemous to the great freechoice (we don't want that).

But the reason I believe that what does occur is what God wills to occur, and what God wills to occur is what will occur is because of Scripture. Take a journey with me, lets go back.

Job 42:2 I know that You can do anything and no plan of Yours can be thwarted. Here we see Job's confession and belief that no plan of God's can be thwarted. If God plans for Abraham to take his son upon the mountain, nothing will stand in the way of this plan. Not Abraham's choice to disobey or anything.

Solomon says: Pro 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD. Here we see that even the most random act of the lot being cast is decided by God. If man throws the die, the outcome is from God. Considering this idea, let us then look at another biblical example.

Judas had betrayed the LORD and murdered himself. The 11 disciples then needed to fill the vacancy (why they couldn't stay with 11, who knows? I like 11 more than 12 myself...) The decision was between two men, they casts lots to see who the decision would go to Act 1:26 Then they cast lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias. So he was numbered with the 11 apostles. Here we see that God's ordaining hand was involved in this. (For a future question, Kc, you might ask why we don't use such tactics as this in church ministry. Why would we never even dream of casting lots to see who the next deacon or elder should be??? It is biblical.)

And the kicker: Act 2:23 Though He was delivered up according to God's determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail Him to a cross and kill Him. We see here that the 'choice' of man (if you choose to call it such) was inline exactly with God's determined plan. We would normally look at this act, completely divorced from all context, and say that the murdering of a man could NEVER be within the will of God. God would NEVER want such to occur. But we see that this act was according to God's plan and will and that it was exactly what God wanted to occur. Given the context of it all of course...

11/24/2006 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger señor jefe said...

But if all we determine to be free-choice is actually God's will, isn't the entire conversation superfluous? (Unless of course, God wants us to be having this conversation).

...personally, I want to be a "real boy", Geppetto.

11/24/2006 12:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Three words:

Sock. Pup. Pet.

11/24/2006 12:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can both sides of the argument be right? Does God's Will have to entail every seemingly mundane detail, or can it be more classified as a "sheparding"? In thinking like a parent, there are battles I MUST win, while at other times their will is sufficient right or wrong.

11/24/2006 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger señor jefe said...

Using Missy's example, wouldn't a determinist viewpoint assume that as a parent, she would choose (beforehand) which child she loved, and that would be the child she would also choose to be obedient and submissive.

Then she would choose which child she would NOT love, and that child, through no choice of his/her own, would be rebellious and unforgivable.

Good parenting...

When I consider Christ, his attitude of compassion, love and sacrifice for us, determinist theology makes no sense. I mean, John 3:16 says that those who believe in Him shall have eternal life... not those whom God chooses.

God has set before us life and death, blessings and cursings. Then He instructed us to choose life, "that both you and your seed may live".

These verses clearly indicate God's M.O. They also identify "what He wants", and that is for us to "choose life".

Clearly, all men have not done His will, as outlined in scripture. Clearly, God wants "brownies" and many have chosen to "bake cookies".

Permissive.

Wouldn't the world be a boring place if all we had were brownies? ;)

11/24/2006 09:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was that what I was saying, senor? Maybe you were just using my example.

Could it be possible that God has intentionally designed things so my actions simply do not interfere with His will?

In this way, I have free will AND “God's will is that which does occur and prevails at all times”.

11/24/2006 10:49:00 PM  
Blogger señor jefe said...

Sorry Missy. I didn't intend to be confusing. I simply used your example, as it pertained to the concept of determinism versus God's permissive will, as stated earlier.

To answer your question, I believe that God is all-powerful and sovereign. His
"will" or "what He wants" can occur, despite our disobedience.

I mean, He's God. If we refuse to participate with Him, I have no trouble believing that He could have a plan "b", "c" or "z", for that matter. But ultimately, I believe He wants to include us in His plans, making us participants, not interferences in His purposes.

However, like Moses (striking the rock), our disobedience can affect God's "will" in our individual lives. Through our disobedience, we might personally miss out on the "Promised Land". But just because we messed up doesn't mean that God doesn't have a "Joshua" waiting in the wings, to step in & finish the job.

Moses' disobedience didn't affect God's promise to the nation of Israel. But it screwed it up for himself pretty badly.

Sorry for any confusion with my original comments.

11/24/2006 11:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, jefe. I see what you are saying and tend to agree. However, I also tend to think God does not have a plan "b", etc. I think God is much bigger than that and we are much smaller than we will usually admit. I read the Bible as though it is a story of man's relationship with God. I recognized long ago, that God's story was a very simple one and always stayed the same. Man, however had a plot line that diverged like crazy.

So, to answer the question on what I believe, I use an example of a freeway - one simple wide-lane path that stretches between two points. It cuts through mountains, traverses over rivers. Man are the vehicles traveling on and/or off this freeway. Free will is available by the exits and entrances to the freeway. These are the most dangerous points for the travelers - where the most accidents occur. Close up, it will appear as though the activity of the traffic is important to the operation of the freeway - but as we zoom out, we see first that the traffic continues to move unaffected in most areas. As we zoom further out, you can't even see the cars anymore, just the path of the freeway. Soon enough you cannot even see the exits and entrances, only the one path.

In my example, I believe God created the entrances and exits, allowing us a choice to be a part of his will. Others argue that man builds them. Maybe it could be both. In either belief, it is interesting to note, that these entrances and exits are not found very frequently or at all when the terrain is too difficult - over bodies of water, mountains, etc.

I believe that God loves us dearly and invites us to join in His Will, but because it is just that - GOD's WILL - it never changes, as he never changes, and this is why it prevails. I believe that man's will changes moment to moment - and this is why it can never prevail - only momentarily appear to.

11/25/2006 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger Ron said...

Hello all! First, I hope everyone enjoyed your Thanksgiving. Next, I love this blog, because I find so many interesting thoughts here! Nonetheless, here I go with my two cents worth.

It was not God's will that man should sin. In fact, it was His will that man should dress and keep the garden, as He directed. That did not occur, because God will not impose His will upon man. Paul told Timothy that it is God's will that every man be saved. Will that occur? From previous discussions, I think we all can agree that every man will not be saved, because again God will not work His will over man's will. Having said that, I want to make it clear that when I say that God will not impose His will upon man, I mean that He will not impose His will on an individual. God will allow us to behave any way we desire to behave.

I do see a distinction, not a difference, in God's will for an individual and His will for a group of people. Consider Jonah. It was God's will that Jonah speak to the people of Ninevah. Individually, Jonah resisted. God did not impose His will upon Jonah when Johah resisted; however, Jonah's disobedience was not going to prevent God's will for the people from occurring.

Those who love God and wholly submit their lives to Him and submit to His will will see everything that occurs as being His will. Nothing that Jesus did was outside the will of His Father.

I could say much more, but it would take too long to type! (I really am not a fast typist!) Kc, thank you for allowing this type of dialogue to occur. I enjoy meeting other sons of God in this forum, and I pray that His work will continue through each and every one that participates in this blog.

11/25/2006 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger H K Flynn said...

I think God's will can be divided into different categories, like the will He desires in an ideal sense and the will he chooses to unfold because the angels and man has fallen.

11/25/2006 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/25/2006 11:02:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Kc, I was going to withdraw from this conversation. I didn't think I would have time to combat all the strawmen that were just presented above, nor all that will of course follow. But I decided to take a different route. You always love to discuss Scripture, let us do so. Let us not drudge down the conversation with mud being slung at the determinist or strawmen being propped up against them, or terms like 'OpenTheist' or 'Pelagian' being thrown rightfully back at the non-determinist. Let us just discuss Scripture.

I presented initially the passage within Acts. I have not yet seen that passage dealth with. I have only seen people attack their ideas of what they fallaciously think determinist theology teaches, rather than the passages I presented. Let us discuss the passage. I'll post it again.

Act 2:23 Though He was delivered up according to God's determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail Him to a cross and kill Him.

You asked whether God's will was permissive or determinate. Here I see it is determinate. I'll attempt to explain why.

If we were to assume that God looked into the future, and saw that these men would raise Jesus up and crucify Him. And if we were to assume that God then planned for this to occur, given that He foresaw (foreknew) that it would occur. Then we would have God's plan being according to the foreknowledge of the actions of these men. Luke would tell us that 'according to the foreknowledge of the actions of these men God planned that these men would raise Jesus up'. But that is not what we Luke saying.

However, if we were to assume that perhaps God planned for a certain act to be committed by certain men. And if we were to assume that at the determined time these men acted according to this plan of God. Then we would have these men acting according to the plan of God. Strangely, that is what we find Luke specifically saying. We have Luke telling us that Jesus was raised up (the acts of these men) according to the plan of God.

The question still is left concerning the 'foreknowledge' aspect of it all. Why would Luke say that these men acted according to the plan of God and the foreknowledge of God? What is God's foreknowledge? I thought God created time; I thought God was timeless and eternal and hence not 'before' anything. For being 'before' things denotes being within time. What does God's 'foreknowledge' entail?

We could spend all day discussing that one little word. But for the purpose of the question that was asked by you, Kc, I do not think that it is pertinent here. For whatever God's foreknowledge is or entails, I do not think that it could possibly change what Luke says in the rest of this verse.

Whatever it means for God to 'foreknow', or for men to act according to God's 'foreknowledge', it does not change the fact that Luke says here quite specifically and unequivocally that these men acted according to God's plan, NOT that God planned according to their actions.

Therefore, I think this is undeniable SCRIPTURAL (not strawman attacks) showing that God's plan determined what would occur.

11/25/2006 11:42:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Everyone, I am always humbled by the knowledge, character, wisdom and love of those who comment here and I sincerely thank you for your willingness to share in your understanding no matter how sharply it may contrast my own. Welcome Missy! I’m really grateful for your thoughts and I hope you’ll always feel free to join in. Jodie it’s always great to have your thoughts here and I’m praying for your current venture that the truth will prevail! Jeff, Dorsey, Ron and Adam, where would I be without your guys?

Adam, your attitude in this clearly illustrates what makes us all of one mind. As much as we might enjoy our own theology and philosophy we all subject it to the scripture. Your devotion to truth ranks very high among the many characteristics you posses that endear you to me personally. It seems to me you’ve set yourself on another quest for it here and I know you will not rest until you find an understanding of why God’s foreknowledge is critical in perceiving both His will and His plan in this verse. If you share your deliberations then I will follow them closely to see where my own perception is askew.

I would like to offer two other translations of this verse for consideration here.

“Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:” (KJV)

“this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.” (NASB)

It seems clear to me in this verse that it was God’s will to deliver our Lord over to these whom He foreknew would crucify Him. This illustrates His permissive will and is consistent with my understanding that God interacts with man as opposed to acting on him. It is through foreknowledge that His action determines His will is accomplished.

This is not to say that man can do all that he will but that he can do all that he will within the boundaries established for him by God. It is within these boundaries that God determined he must make choices and permits him to do so.

I am of the opinion that God’s will is permissive but absolute in that it is all encompassing. I do not find that He has an “ultimate” will.

To address your particular thoughts:

“If we were to assume that God looked into the future, and saw that these men would raise Jesus up and crucify Him. And if we were to assume that God then planned for this to occur, given that He foresaw (foreknew) that it would occur. Then we would have God's plan being according to the foreknowledge of the actions of these men. Luke would tell us that 'according to the foreknowledge of the actions of these men God planned that these men would raise Jesus up'. But that is not what we Luke saying.

However, if we were to assume that perhaps God planned for a certain act to be committed by certain men. And if we were to assume that at the determined time these men acted according to this plan of God. Then we would have these men acting according to the plan of God. Strangely, that is what we find Luke specifically saying. We have Luke telling us that Jesus was raised up (the acts of these men) according to the plan of God.”


This verse states it was God’s plan to deliver Christ over and His foreknowledge of these that would crucify Him that assured His absolute will be accomplished.

“The question still is left concerning the 'foreknowledge' aspect of it all. Why would Luke say that these men acted according to the plan of God and the foreknowledge of God? What is God's foreknowledge? I thought God created time; I thought God was timeless and eternal and hence not 'before' anything. For being 'before' things denotes being within time. What does God's 'foreknowledge' entail?”

This verse does not indicate that these men acted according to the will of God. Only Christ’ election was determined before the foundation of the world and according to God’s plan our election is determined positionally in time. We can only be elect in Christ and if we are not in Christ then we are not elect.

“We could spend all day discussing that one little word. But for the purpose of the question that was asked by you, Kc, I do not think that it is pertinent here. For whatever God's foreknowledge is or entails, I do not think that it could possibly change what Luke says in the rest of this verse.”

I agree it does not change what the verse relates but I disagree that it is not pertinent to understanding the verse. I know full well you will not rest until you have an understanding of God’s foreknowledge. ;-)

“Whatever it means for God to 'foreknow', or for men to act according to God's 'foreknowledge', it does not change the fact that Luke says here quite specifically and unequivocally that these men acted according to God's plan, NOT that God planned according to their actions.”

Would it be too much to hope that I have at least cast some shadow of doubt on this? ;-)

11/26/2006 05:03:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Kc, you said:

It seems clear to me in this verse that it was God’s will to deliver our Lord over to these whom He foreknew would crucify Him. This illustrates His permissive will and is consistent with my understanding that God interacts with man as opposed to acting on him. It is through foreknowledge that His action determines His will is accomplished.

Here I think you are misreading. You cannot divorce the foreknowledge and the plan from each other. I only did so to illustrate that even without the foreknowledge, the act was still subsequent to the plan. But if we are going to be truthful to the Scripture, we need see that the plan and the foreknowledge are given together, and must be held together.

Do you understand?

You are saying that God's plan was based upon the actions that He foreknew. But the Scripture says that the actions were based upon the plan and the foreknowledge of God. We shouldn't try to reverse the order given. Whatever translation we quote, we still have the actions being according to, or by, the plan and foreknowledge of God. NOT the plan and foreknowledge of God being according to or by the actions of men.

This is not to say that man can do all that he will but that he can do all that he will within the boundaries established for him by God. It is within these boundaries that God determined he must make choices and permits him to do so.

Let me ask you if God does know what will occur? And further, does God EVER determine what will occur?

You say that God wills that man have a certain set of outlets that He may take, and God further wills that man must take one of these outlets.

This I understand. It is not as though God hasn't any power over the man, or man has all-encompassing freedom to do whatever the heck he so favors. But your opinion would be that God limits the options so as to get the desired outcome, without limiting the options so finely so as to get only one desired outcome (as I would say). I would claim that God does not allow man a left and right to choose to take, but rather only sets before man a single path that man will walk.

The question though I have for you is if God knows what man will choose? God sets before man a left and right road to choose, but does God know that man will choose left and not right? Or is God left in the dark unaware as to what will occur?

And my second question was whether it is possible, in your mind, for God to set before the man no diverging paths whatsoever? Is there ever an instance wherein God can limit man's options to only one (at which time it would cease to be 'options') and make it so that man can only walk down one path? Or is this in complete violation to your idea of freedom and humanness?

This verse states it was God’s plan to deliver Christ over and His foreknowledge of these that would crucify Him that assured His absolute will be accomplished.

Actually the verse says that the actions of men were according to God's plan and foreknowledge. God planned that these men act in this certain way, and then these men acted according to this plan and the foreknowledge of God.

This verse does not indicate that these men acted according to the will of God. Only Christ’ election was determined before the foundation of the world and according to God’s plan our election is determined positionally in time. We can only be elect in Christ and if we are not in Christ then we are not elect.

Oh stop with your collective election, it is boring. No fun, no fun. :)

And yes this verse does too indicate that these men acted according to the will of God. Unless of course you think that God's plans are sometimes in opposition to the will of God? I was under that opinion that God planned what He willed and willed what He planned.

Perhaps so though. Would you agree though that this verse does quite unequivocally indicate that these men did act according to the plan of God? I mean, that is what the translation I provided says. Unless of course you think you or I would be better at translating the greek than the scholars that did this translation. They felt it correct to say that the action of these men were according to the plan of God. Let us agree with them.

I agree it does not change what the verse relates but I disagree that it is not pertinent to understanding the verse. I know full well you will not rest until you have an understanding of God’s foreknowledge. ;-)

I have a simple understanding of God's foreknowledge. And let me see if you would agree with it.

As God is being outside of time, He is not before or after anything. We have discussed this. Technically, He is not simultaneous with anything either, as this is temporality speaking again.

So if God is outside of time, we cannot speak of Him 'looking into the future', or 'foreseeing', or 'predicting'. As these all involve the idea that God is before these actions and is looking forward into time at these actions.

My opinion is that God's 'foreknowledge' is not an idea of God predicting the future, or knowing the future, but involves something so greater than that...perhaps a relational aspect of God's knowledge. Perhaps what God 'foreknows' is to be seen in the same light as when the Scripture states that a man laid with a woman and 'knew' her...Wouldn't this give incredible light and an entirely different meaning to the idea of being 'foreknown' in Christ?

11/26/2006 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Adam thanks once more for your thoughts. I’d like to clarify a few things. You said;

“Here I think you are misreading. You cannot divorce the foreknowledge and the plan from each other. I only did so to illustrate that even without the foreknowledge, the act was still subsequent to the plan. But if we are going to be truthful to the Scripture, we need see that the plan and the foreknowledge are given together, and must be held together.”

It is not the plan and foreknowledge that I separated but rather the will of God from the action of men. This verse says that it was according to the will and foreknowledge of God that Christ be delivered up but even the translation you offer clearly states it was the “you” being addressed who did these things. Even the Apostles made no secret of the fact that it was Israel who was guilty of crucifying our Lord, not God.

“You are saying that God's plan was based upon the actions that He foreknew. But the Scripture says that the actions were based upon the plan and the foreknowledge of God. We shouldn't try to reverse the order given. Whatever translation we quote, we still have the actions being according to, or by, the plan and foreknowledge of God. NOT the plan and foreknowledge of God being according to or by the actions of men.”

I am saying that God’s plan is based upon His will and foreknowledge of all things including and especially the will of men.

”Let me ask you if God does know what will occur? And further, does God EVER determine what will occur?

God knows all and that includes what will occur. God determines all that He does. To repeat, God's will is not based upon His foreknowledge. It is assured by it. He does not look "ahead" into time to see an event, He simply looks "at" the event. His will is absolute but all encompassing in that it allows for an infinite number of possibilities. Logic is not limited to "if", "then" and "or" but also includes "not", "and" and "else".

With regard to your remaining questions I think for the sake of brevity I can offer a summation. God has established boundaries for all men and It is appointed to all men to die once and then to be judged. I find no evidence in scripture to indicate that anything else is determined on man. I do have a very strong suspicion that the grace of God appears to all men and that all men must determine to accept His grace through faith or reject it as false.

“Actually the verse says that the actions of men were according to God's plan and foreknowledge. God planned that these men act in this certain way, and then these men acted according to this plan and the foreknowledge of God.”

You must impose your philosophy on this verse to read it as saying such. Christ’ deliverance was in accordance with God’s plan and foreknowledge that those who crucified Him would act on their own accord and are so accused in this very verse!

“And yes this verse does too indicate that these men acted according to the will of God. Unless of course you think that God's plans are sometimes in opposition to the will of God? I was under that opinion that God planned what He willed and willed what He planned.”

I think God’s plan is accomplished in spite of the actions of men. You seem to think that a man’s action could thwart God’s plan. Is this so?

“Perhaps so though. Would you agree though that this verse does quite unequivocally indicate that these men did act according to the plan of God? I mean, that is what the translation I provided says. Unless of course you think you or I would be better at translating the Greek than the scholars that did this translation. They felt it correct to say that the action of these men were according to the plan of God. Let us agree with them.”

Perhaps it is plain English that is in question and not Greek. ;-)

At least we would agree that God’s foreknowledge is intimate. If only now we could agree that the will of man is bound to God only through submission and that God is powerful enough that He need not control a man in order to accomplish His will. ;-)

11/26/2006 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

It is not the plan and foreknowledge that I separated but rather the will of God from the action of men. This verse says that it was according to the will and foreknowledge of God that Christ be delivered up but even the translation you offer clearly states it was the “you” being addressed who did these things. Even the Apostles made no secret of the fact that it was Israel who was guilty of crucifying our Lord, not God.

Christ was delivered up by the actions of men. These actions were according to the plan and foreknowledge of God. The verse is clear.

I am saying that God’s plan is based upon His will and foreknowledge of all things including and especially the will of men.

So God's plan is based upon the actions of men?

God knows all and that includes what will occur. God determines all that He does. To repeat, God's will is not based upon His foreknowledge. It is assured by it. He does not look "ahead" into time to see an event, He simply looks "at" the event. His will is absolute but all encompassing in that it allows for an infinite number of possibilities. Logic is not limited to "if", "then" and "or" but also includes "not", "and" and "else".

Here we could quibble about the philosophical idea of possible worlds. I don't necessarily think it would benefit much.

I do want you to think though what the purpose in knowing what could occur would be? You would acknowledge that God does know what will occur, or what does occur. God knows that Abraham Lincoln would be shot. What good would it do for God to know that Abraham Lincoln could have been handed roses or baked a cake by Booth? Isn't that like speaking about angels and pin heads?

You see, I would rather focus upon what is. God knows what is. God knows that Abraham took Isaac upon the mount, and God knows that Moses did strike the stone. God knows that you replied to my last reply. All these things are true as they did occur. They are reality, and God knows reality.

I have never seen the point on insisting God know counterfactuals or 'could bes'. God knows that you replied to my reply, why must we insist that God likewise know that you could have sent me a hotdog within the mail? Isn't that dwelling upon false realities that are quite superfluous to anything?

With regard to your remaining questions I think for the sake of brevity I can offer a summation. God has established boundaries for all men and It is appointed to all men to die once and then to be judged. I find no evidence in scripture to indicate that anything else is determined on man. I do have a very strong suspicion that the grace of God appears to all men and that all men must determine to accept His grace through faith or reject it as false.

Could I ask how you deal with the passages within Proverbs that seem to give the hint of the idea that God determines a little more than simply that man die and be judged?

Pro 16:9 A man's heart plans his way, but the LORD determines his steps.

Pro 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.

You must impose your philosophy on this verse to read it as saying such. Christ’ deliverance was in accordance with God’s plan and foreknowledge that those who crucified Him would act on their own accord and are so accused in this very verse!

Friend, no I mustn't. The verse says quite specifically that Christ's deliverance was in accordance with God's plan and foreknowledge. It says Christ was delivered up according to God's plan.

Act 2:23 Though He was delivered up according to God's determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail Him to a cross and kill Him.

I am really hitting my head here in confusion. The verse says that Christ was delivered up according to God's plan and foreknowledge. How can you say that my philosophy must be imposed to say that the actions of these men of delivering Christ up was according to God's plan?

Are we to assume that somehow Christ could have been delivered up, without these men acting? How could God have planned for Christ to be delivered up, without planning that men deliver Him up? Perhaps the birds were to lift Him up? I really do not understand...

I think God’s plan is accomplished in spite of the actions of men. You seem to think that a man’s action could thwart God’s plan. Is this so?

Again. God's plan was for Christ to be delivered up. Could you present at least a simple theory of how this could have been done in spite of the actions of men?

You say that God's plan is accomplished in spite of the actions of men. Perhaps you know of some way where God's plan could be accomplished (Christ could be delivered up) without men acting to do the delivering up. I can think of none.

And no, I don't think that man's actions could thwrate the plan of God, Job 42:2 attest to this fact quite nicely. I do think however that given that Luke says specifically that man's actions were part of God's plan, then God's plan is accomplished by man's actions without the responsibility of man being delinquished.

At least we would agree that God’s foreknowledge is intimate. If only now we could agree that the will of man is bound to God only through submission and that God is powerful enough that He need not control a man in order to accomplish His will. ;-)

Yes, God is so powerful. He is even powerful enough that He could save His elect without the usage of preaching. But He so uses preaching to accomplish His goal. Likewise, God COULD perhaps not control a man and yet have His will accomplished, but this doesn't mean that He does not.

When will you stop with your incessive obsession on counterfactuals and 'what ifs'. Focus on reality my friend, quit dwelling within alternate dimensions and possibilities. God is real, He is not a counterfactual.

11/26/2006 01:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a wonderful dicussion on this topic with my husband - thanks so much to you KC, by the way, for giving us something to chew on. He's a big sci-fi fan, so I should not have been surprised by his thoughts, but he's a star in my eye's so I never expect him to say, "I don't know."

His response, in a little more detail, was that God is the 'Beginning and the End' and we cannot comprehend beyond our own timeframe. Therefore we just cannot understand how both our own will and God's will can coexist, even though scripture indicates it must. He said he will add it to his list of things to ask God when he gets to Heaven. I think I'll try my best to be in on that discussion!

Thanks for the welcome and allowing me a little "low-brow" bantering.

11/26/2006 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Adam I finally see where the confusion is. It was God that delivered up or “gave” His only begotten Son to be crucified. Christ submitted to God’s will but it was men who crucified Him. Does that help to clarify my reasoning?

Proverbs 16:9 highlights the necessity of God’s guidance in following His will.

Proverbs 16:33 removes the possibility of chance.

“When will you stop with your incessive obsession on counterfactuals and 'what ifs'. Focus on reality my friend, quit dwelling within alternate dimensions and possibilities.”

Moi? ;-)

Adam Jesus taught us to think in terms of potentiality. “With God all things are possible”. If all things are possible then why say only one thing is possible? Why would we even want to attempt it?

Missy you’re very welcome. The "low-brow" stuff has been elevated to an art-form here but it’s always offered with great affection. ;-)

11/26/2006 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Adam I finally see where the confusion is. It was God that delivered up or “gave” His only begotten Son to be crucified. Christ submitted to God’s will but it was men who crucified Him. Does that help to clarify my reasoning?

Partly. I think that you will see though that the 'delivering up' although perhaps done by God is a description as well of acts of men. You accused me earlier of having to read my philosophy into this verse to get my interpretation, can I ask you why you are immune from this charge? Does this passage say that the 'raising up' was done by God? or does it say it done by man?

Peter here is accusing the Jews of their henious deed. He tells them that they crucified the LORD. He tells them that even though their acts of crucifying the LORD was part of God's determinate plan and foreknowledge, it was still done by wicked hands. Even though their act was determined by God to occur, it was evil and they are guilty of sin.

This interpretation is just as viable as your's. Why should we accept one rather than the other?

Proverbs 16:9 highlights the necessity of God’s guidance in following His will.

Highlighted necessity of God's guidance by saying quite specifically that the steps of a man are determined by God? Are we, whenever we are confronted with Scripture that says God 'determined' assume that this really means only that it is necessary to follow God's guidance?

We read here that, 'Because the dream was given twice to Pharaoh, it means that the matter has been determined by God, and He will soon carry it out (Gen 41:32).'

Are we to read this story with the understanding that God determining the matter (the famine) really means that God necessitates following His guidance through the famine? :D

Adam Jesus taught us to think in terms of potentiality. “With God all things are possible”. If all things are possible then why say only one thing is possible? Why would we even want to attempt it?

Oh my friend, you are much brighter than that. You know what Jesus saying 'all things are possible' is not to be ripped from context and applied to every whimsical thing of fantastical imagination. Do you really think 'all things are possible'?

Am I to then tell that to the homosexual that wants to live with his lover? 'Well, all things are possible! Therefore it is not impossible to think that God would shine favor upon your relationship and think the act of homosexuality to be something that brings Him great joy!'

Am I to tell it to the one who doesn't believe Jesus to be God? 'Well, all things are possible with God, therefore it is quite possible that Jesus was not God. Who are we to say something is impossible?'

Perhaps to the one who denies that Jesus was risen. 'All things are possible, it is quite possible that Jesus actually was never brought back to life'.

Friend, let us not use such cheap arguments. God saying 'all things are possible with Him', does not mean we need to fix our minds upon the imaginary and 'possible'. We shouldn't live our lives in constant thought of fanciful worlds wherein unicorns and leprachauns exist. We should dwell upon reality, for reality is truth. What could be, or could have been is not truth. It is false. It is false to say that Lincoln was baked a cake by Booth. Yes, it may have been possible. But it is false. Let us think on truth.

11/26/2006 04:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it wise to remember that even the most intelligent person is so very limited when determining something to be false. If it is possible, by definition, it cannot be ruled as false anymore than it can be ruled as truth - it can only be determined true or false if it is found to be so.

11/26/2006 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Adam I see progress being made.

”Partly. I think that you will see though that the 'delivering up' although perhaps done by God is a description as well of acts of men. You accused me earlier of having to read my philosophy into this verse to get my interpretation, can I ask you why you are immune from this charge? Does this passage say that the 'raising up' was done by God? or does it say it done by man?”

Verse 24 clearly identifies God as raising Jesus up from the dead. It is just as impossible for man to do that as it is for man to take hold of the Son of God and subdue Him. Perhaps I miss your point here.

“Peter here is accusing the Jews of their henious deed. He tells them that they crucified the LORD. He tells them that even though their acts of crucifying the LORD was part of God's determinate plan and foreknowledge, it was still done by wicked hands. Even though their act was determined by God to occur, it was evil and they are guilty of sin.”

The accusation against the Jews is the crucifixion. The deliverance of Christ into the hands of men and His resurrection from the dead are of God alone.

”This interpretation is just as viable as your's. Why should we accept one rather than the other?”

I had hoped it would be obvious by now. ;-)

“Are we, whenever we are confronted with Scripture that says God 'determined' assume that this really means only that it is necessary to follow God's guidance?”

Even if I were to concede that this verse were to be interpreted as you say, it still falls far short of proving that God determines all things. I have yet to see that in any of the scripture you’ve offered.

”Oh my friend, you are much brighter than that. You know what Jesus saying 'all things are possible' is not to be ripped from context and applied to every whimsical thing of fantastical imagination. Do you really think 'all things are possible'?

I agree this understanding should be kept in context. I avoided the context of this passage because you specifically asked me to do so. Since you insist I will then place it in context. Jesus was speaking specifically on eternal life. When the pure and perfect young ruler could not merit eternal life His disciples then wondered who could. Jesus did not tell them, “those chosen of God” nor did He say, “the elect shall be saved” but replied thusly, “with God, all things are possible”.

This leaves us then to reason. If the elect are determined to eternal life before the foundation of the world then how could it be possible for anyone but the elect to receive eternal life? Jesus could not say all things are possible in this context because it would be impossible to go against the determination of God. We can only conclude that it is not the will of God to elect specific men to eternal life, otherwise all things could not be possible.

”We should dwell upon reality, for reality is truth. What could be, or could have been is not truth. It is false. It is false to say that Lincoln was baked a cake by Booth. Yes, it may have been possible. But it is false. Let us think on truth.”

We must then say that, within the context of eternal life, the truth is that all things are possible. ;-)

11/26/2006 06:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Missy's Husband said...

I am often one to just sit on the side for these posts. However, I felt compelled to join this discussion.

Anything is possible with God. Jesus himself taught that someone who has faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain. Traditional reality infers that it is impossible for an individual to move a mountain. Faith, however, has split a sea, had normal men walk on water, and healed plenty throughout the bible. (How many times did Jesus say, “Your faith has healed you,” in the New Testament?)

So is anything possible with God? Most definitely! As far as whimsical fantasies, think of the creatures presented to John in the book of Revelations. True or not, we do not know…yet.

11/26/2006 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Welcome Missy's husband and beware. I had a similar compulsion over a year ago that resulted in this blog! ;-)

Thanks for the great thoughts from you both.

11/26/2006 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Adam, thanks for the loan of your great thinker too. ;-)

11/26/2006 07:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anything is possible with God. Jesus himself taught that someone who has faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain.

Precisely why this line of reasoning is a perversion of the scriptures. Jesus was very clearly relating the simple fact that we should not doubt the power of god on account of other factors (like personal failings, lack of ability, or over-whelming 'odds'). To attempt to argue, as kc has, that this verse somehow supports the notion of a maleable will of god is at best misguided.

It's hyberbole. Moving on...

11/26/2006 11:32:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Brandon, thanks for your input. Please don't move on just yet.
It may be helpful to know that I did not use the mustard seed verse in my argument against determinism. It may also be helpful to realize that I did not indicate in any way that God’s will is malleable, in fact, I stated the very opposite.

What I am attempting to show you, among other things, is that we have an advocate with God in Christ Jesus and that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. These things being true then it is also true that God could not have determined all things from before the foundation of the world unless His will were malleable. ;-)

11/27/2006 04:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am no theologian - and have only been a christian for a few years, so be assured I am not trying to convince anyone to agree with me. I love how these discussions are making me think and study and keep me daily in His Word!

I clearly see a theological debate going on that is above my head. But I have a question.

I have often seen in scripture that God is persuaded by man to change his intended plans, i.e, Eden, Sodom & Gomorah, the book of Judges. In these instances, if God's has already determined that he will be persuaded, wouldn't his threats then be lies, manipulations or simply material to make the stories better? It seems like a very dishonest thing for God to do - make us believe we have a choice or that our prayers and petitions make a difference.

11/27/2006 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Missy, you said;
"I am no theologian"
and
"I clearly see a theological debate going on that is above my head. "

You then offered evidence to the contrary. I would disagree with your understanding on those two points.
;-)

I think your insight on this is very clear and clearly not above your head. I am anxious to hear an answer to your question.

11/27/2006 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Missy, everyone, Christian or non-, is a theologian. The question is then how much theological jargon one can speak, or how dilluted one's speech can become with insane thoughts that profit man very little. The more dillusion, the more the theologian.

To your question.

I confess that I have always been baffled by the idea of God 'determining' His change of mind. What on earth does this mean and how can this be anything but manipulative.

If God was to determine that He would see the people of Israel rebel against Him. And if He was further to determine that He would burn with anger against their rebellion and in His anger tell Moses that He would destroy them because of their rebellion. And if God was to know (determine) that Moses would react as Mediator. And further still if God was to determine that seeing Moses's reaction, God Himself would repent of the anger He said He was to commit. Then, it would appear that the entire thing was nothing more than a ruse. God's anger and God's repentance was an act. It was all a charade. God is the divine manipulator who sets up circumstances and plays men as puppets.

This is the argument of the Open Theist. And I confess the argument has much appeal and sounds very convincing. However, this argument is not directed only to the Determinist. It is not only the God that determines His anger and repentance that is cast into questionable light.

You see, the story, if read through the lens of a non-determinist, does not fair too well for God either.

God is all-knowing. There is nothing without of God's reach to know. And even as Kc says, God not only knows what is and will be, but what could be. Therefore God knew, long before the mountain experience, that the people of Israel would behave as they did. So the whole burning with anger thing did not catch Him by suprise, He knew all along that they would behave as such, and He would react as such.

And God knowing what could-be or might-be, God knew that if He were to react in anger towards this people, then God knew that given Moses' love for the people, Moses would stand in the way. Moses would attempt to reason with God and persuade Him differently. And God would know that if Moses did step in the way, that given the mediatorial role that mimics so wonderfully that role of Christ, God would necessarily repent of His anger. God knew all this was to occur. God knew it, and yet proceeded with it. He proceeded to be 'angry' and to voice His anger and say He would destroy the Israelites, even though He knew all along Moses would stand up and He would not really destroy Israel.

You see either way, whether it be the ordination of God (as the determinist says) or the foreknowledge of God (as the non-determinist would claim), both have God saying He is going to destroy the people, knowing the response this would invoke within Moses, and He knew (determined) that He really would not do what He said He would do in His anger.

So here the Open Theist has us both by the throat. Here God's intentions are left questioned. And here I say that the Open Theist's argument is very powerful.

I would simply ask you, since we seem to be in the same boat, how do you respond to the charge against the Christian God?

The Open Theist says that God neither determined that He would repent, nor did He know that He would repent. He didn't even know what Moses would stand up. He didn't even know that He would grow angry with Israel, because He didn't even know that Israel would sin like such.

When Israel did sin, His emotion of anger was genuine, and unplanned or unknown prior. And when Moses stood up in attempt to protect Israel, this took God by suprise. And since God didn't know that Moses would do such, God was moved with compassion and recanted of what He said He would do.

You are very right. The determinist cannot elleviate the discrepency here brought upon God. If the determinist is true, then God is a manipulator. But you have stopped shy. For it is not only the determinist's God that is a manipulator, but any idea of God wherein He knew what would occur, that is your's my friend. Therefore if we claim that God knows the future, or determines the future, then the Scripture apparently paints a God that manipulates the circumstances to get what He desires.

How to you alleviate the difficulty?

11/27/2006 11:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nathaniel - I guess my answer to your question developed as I read your answer to mine. My thought was consistent and simple - there is definitely a difference between knowing and determining.

I will use my kids again to explain my thought. There are situations where I KNOW what decisions my kids are about to make, and often times the consequence that will occur. I do not have the omnipotent power of God, but I know my children and the laws of physics! Although I can tell before he/she does it, and often warn him/her to stop, my child child will jump out of a tree, run down the stairs, or hit a sibling. I know these things are about to happen, but I do not determine that they will. AND, although I knew it would happen, I still get angry that they made that choice.

BTW - your alias "sofyst" - how did you come up with that?

11/27/2006 12:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kc,

23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

This is the verse to which I assume you were directly refering, and my argument still stands. I think it is painfully obvious that Jesus is indicating to his disciples simply that what looks insurmountable from a human perspective is completely achievable if god has said, "it is so."

Let's look at the verse: Jesus begins by asserting that rich men, with all the world has to offer at their finger-tips, will find it very challenging to see the things of the kingdom of god as valuable. His disciples respond by saying, "Well, holy crap, Rabbi! How is anyone supposed to be saved if the world is so tempting?" To which Jesus replies, "Silly disciples! Of course this seems over-whelmingly impossible for a man to do in his own power, but if god is in it, then of course his power is sufficient to save men drunk on the things of the world!"

Again, you stated, "Jesus taught us to think in terms of potentiality. “With God all things are possible”. If all things are possible then why say only one thing is possible? Why would we even want to attempt it?" Because Jesus wasn't talking about every literal possibility being fair game in the mind of god - he was encouraging the disciples to faith despite what seemed like bad odds for faith is not in things seen but in things unseen, namely, the power of god to do what he very well pleases. One thing is possible because if two things or a thousand things or an infinity of things were possible, then Jesus would have had to concede to his disciples, "You know, you're right; how shall such men be saved? It is not possible for my Father to save such men in his own power - it's possible they may reject me." But that isn't what Jesus said! He said that with god involved, it doesn't matter if a man loves the world! With god it is possible for such a sinner to be saved!

11/27/2006 01:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

adam said,
If the determinist is true, then God is a manipulator.

I ask, "what is so wrong with that?" You speak of manipulation as though it is naturally a bad thing; always evil/wrong. I submit that we are all manipulators, every one of us, and it actually is a good thing. I manipulate my friends, my wife, this keyboard, my body, and, likewise, god manipulates us and the world we live in. To manipulate is merely to interact with to achieve a desired reaction/result.

I have wickedly manipulated if I, say, convince my wife that I shouldn't have to change diapers because god has put me in authority over our household - that would be an evil manipulation. But there are many manipulations which are good and beneficial to those manipulated. For instance, I am attempting to manipualte you right now. Through the process of argument I am attempting to change your mind to the end that you interact with me and we come to a better understanding of truth. Likewise, you are manipulating me, employing rhetoric in order to make points and influence opinions. You don't do this maliciously; you mean to benefit everyone by promoting clear and logical thoughts about god.

As far as the manipulations of god, how can we not see the benefit? The people of Israel had not faith in their god, and of this god was fully aware. So he tells Moses the consequence of such things, declares his wrath towards the children of Israel and waits for Moses to react (knowing the response, of course). Moses learns something about god in flinging himself at the feet of god to beseech mercy on his people, and the people of Israel learn something also about self-less love and intercession on their behalf. This was not an evil manipulation, it was a method of teaching that benefitted Israel that day and still benefits true Israel today! God has interceded for us in Christ while we were yet deserving wrath.

I don't think it evil to manipulate people into seeing the truth - isn't that what rhetoric is all about?

11/27/2006 02:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just so you know... :D

It is possible to pass a camel through the eye of a needle - all you need is a distant perspective, i.e., God's perspective..

I think this verse refers to man's will changing, not God's.

11/27/2006 02:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My concern is not that God is manipulating. I agree that there are good and bad connotations of this word. Discipline, by definition is a form of manipulation. And on that note, I would prefer God's manipulation in my life.

However, I also believe His to be an honest manipulation, or discipline, that may force events and occurances in my life, but is it not still my will in the response?

11/27/2006 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

"Therefore if we claim that God knows the future, or determines the future, then the Scripture apparently paints a God that manipulates the circumstances to get what He desires.

How to you alleviate the difficulty?"

Is their difficulty? I have no problem 'painting' God "manipulating" circumstances. However, I see no where that God actually "determines" the actual will of man to do anything other than what man wills to do. I believe that God does actually manipulate circumstances through the spirit world to accomplish His desires.

God caused an evil spirit to torment king Saul. He "manipulated" or "allowed" or "determined" to have an evil spirit cause Saul to """self-destruct""". I see no where that God manipulated Sauls "will" apart from Sauls own willingness to be manipulated. The same Saul who willingly did not believe or obey God when God told him to kill all the Amalekites and Agag is the same Saul who willingly became jealous of David and the evil spirit sent by the Lord tormented him into self-destruction.

Was it God's desire that Agag be killed? Of course it was, but God did not manipulate Sauls will to accomplish it. Samuel ended up doing it and God's will was accompished without the tension of Sauls will not being Saul's actual willingness to disobey.

Did God "desire" that Saul disobey and not kill all the Amalekites? I don't think He did. He only desired the Amalekites be punished for their unbelief and therefore "unwillingness" to let the Israelites pass through from Egypt and His desire was carried out despite Saul's unwillingness to do it. Did God desire that Saul 'self'-destruct to enable the throne to be passed down to David? I think He did, but only after Saul willingly refused to obey.

Does that make sense?

11/27/2006 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

Boy, this is really good! Kc, God has given you a wonderful vehicle by which we can all communicate.

I want to refer back to something that Nathaniel said earlier.

"The decision was between two men, they casts lots to see who the decision would go to Act 1:26 Then they cast lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias. So he was numbered with the 11 apostles. Here we see that God's ordaining hand was involved in this. (For a future question, Kc, you might ask why we don't use such tactics as this in church ministry. Why would we never even dream of casting lots to see who the next deacon or elder should be??? It is biblical.)"

I read this with great interest. There were two things I saw in this. First, when men cast lots, they are technically engaging in an act of chance. That is because they have no idea of what the outcome will be. In this case, we agree that God's will caused the lot to fall upon Matthias. It was the same way with Jonah. Now, could I use that same justification to say, play the lottery? I would say no, because my intent is to satisfy myself, not the will of God.

Second, and here is the other important point, they were willing to accept the result of the lots being cast as God's will. It really comes down to a matter of intent. What does God intend to occur? What do we intend to occur?

I also have another question - what is a determinist? This seems to be a part of this discussion, and I want to make sure I understand the terminology.

11/27/2006 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Missy, I think the analogy of your knowledge of your children's actions breaks down in the fact that you may be wrong. You may 'know' that your child is about to run down stairs to hit a sibling, but there is always the chance that you are mistaken. For some reason you may have been deceived into thinking it would happen, and it doesn't.

The same though is not true of God. His knowledge is infallible. If He knows that Moses would react in the way He did, then it is truth that Moses will.

And I came about by the name of 'sofyst' by my own christening. I am a sofyst, not a sophist.

Brandon, So it is your opinion that God manipulated the circumstance so as to get a desired outcome? Interesting.

Kris, you said:

However, I see no where that God actually "determines" the actual will of man to do anything other than what man wills to do.

I am determinist, and never have I thought that God determines the actual will of man to do anything other than what man wills to do. God does not want Esau to rebel and yet Esau want to obey. God determines that Esau would disobey, and Esau, of his own volition and freewill, freely disobeys.

Ron, I would leave the defining of 'determinst' up to those like Kc or Kris who are less verbose than myself, but I thought it would be better coming from an actual determinist. I would let them define the silly theological positions they hold, rather than attempting to speculate it ( :D ), so I'll do the same.

If Brandon wants to have a go at defining 'determinism', then by all means, go for it my friend.

However, I don't think I could accurately do so here. I can point you to theopedia.com, wherein if you search for 'predestination' or 'calvinism', you would probably get a good idea of 'determinism'.

I ask as well that after you do some reading, you come back and ask questions of me. Please do not assume that simply because myself and another call ourselves 'determinist' that we hold to the same belief. There are many false ideas of determinism that are thrown around (look at the beginning of this thread for a few), and there are many ignorant people who think they know what it teaches and yet have some fallacious strawman that they are attacking (again, beginning of this thread).

http://theopedia.com/Predestination

11/27/2006 05:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nathaniel (or Adam? - let me know), I would certainly agree that I could be mistaken as you described above, it has happended many times. It was a simple illustration used only to clarify my question and to illustrate my opinion that just because God might know someone will sin does not necessarily mean he would not then get angry.

However, my lack of accurate foreknowledge still does not make what God knows equal to what he determines (in my opinion).

I feel I am missing the logic on how the two become the same.

(What is a 'sofyst'?)

11/27/2006 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Brandon thanks for sticking with this. I think you’ve highlighted a few of the critical differences in our understanding.

You say; “…for faith is not in things seen but in things unseen, namely, the power of god to do what he very well pleases” where I would say, “for faith is not in things seen but in things unseen, namely, the power of God to do what he has said He would do”.

You also said, “One thing is possible because if two things or a thousand things or an infinity of things were possible, then Jesus would have had to concede to his disciples, "You know, you're right; how shall such men be saved?” I find your logic faulty here. If all things are possible then nothing must be conceded other than that which is determined impossible.

We would agree in that you say, “…Jesus wasn't talking about every literal possibility being fair game in the mind of god…” but you then seem to indicate that there is only one possibility; that which is predetermined by God. Would this not remove the possibility of salvation for any other than those predetermined by God to be saved? If we say yes then we must also say it is not possible for any of those predetermined to be saved to not be saved and we are left with the task of trying to resolve how a man predetermined to be saved is already condemned having not believed on the name of Lord Jesus Christ. Would you consider this one of the “all things” that are possible; for a man to be condemned already and yet not condemned? Perhaps then it is likely that one of these “all things” is also for those elect in Christ to be elect apart from Christ as well. Would this be your position?

I think it more consistent with the referenced text to say, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” than to say, “For God sent His Son to save those predetermined to be so”.

To all:

Wikipedia offers a good outline on the ideology of Determinism. I would also offer a word of caution concerning the discussion on manipulation that we avoid any inference that God cannot be believed under any circumstance.

11/27/2006 11:03:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Kc, there is a consistent theme throughout Scripture wherein God is shown as one that is merciful to the repentant. God says repeatedly (or maybe just once, the idea is repeated though) that if you return to Him, He'll return to you. The idea of God being longsuffering and merciful to those that turned from their ways is repeatedly shown in the Writ.

Therefore, if one is confronted with a decree of condemnation upon them by God, they should heed this decree with utmost urgency (as the Ninevites did). If one does turn from their ways, God may be merciful and forgive their iniquities and 'repent' of His anger and wrath (as God did towards the Ninevites).

The idea that God is merciful does not discredit or make less severe the condemnation of God.

This is the beauty of the gospel message.

God is angry with humanity for their sins. God is going to punish humanity and pour out His wrath upon them.

This decree should be taken seriously and with urgency and fear should be within the hearts of all.

The goodnews though is that God is merciful and will turn His anger if repentance is had (or merely faith for the freegracers - I had to get my jab in ;)).

The goodnews of God's merciful character does not in any way relinquish the seriousness of His judgment upon humanity.

Understand?

If we were to assume that determinism is not true (for the sake of argument - it is, but we can pretend for a little can't we?), if we were to pretend it wasn't true, we would still know that God does know who will come to Him and who will not. God is not ignorant of who will believe in Him and who won't. He knew you would believe in Him before you believed in Him. But the idea of God knowing who would believe in Him does not mean that when He set forth His judgement upon you (before you believed) that this judgement was unmeant or without validity and reality.

11/28/2006 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Missy, you may call me Adam, or Nathaniel for short. Whatever your preference be.

God's accurate knowledge does not make what He foreknows equal to what He predetermines, but by accurately knowing it, it does make it set to occur.

God cannot be mistaken. Therefore, if He knows that 'on date d action a will occur', then this must occur. It must occur because God knows that it is true. God cannot be mistaken.

God's knowledge does not determine the action to be true. It is not as though by knowing God 'determines' it to happen. But by God knowing, He does fix the event to happen. It is as if God were a book that was recording reality. Him being the most accurate and perfect of all would be unable to record inaccurately reality. Therefore, if He knew that 'on date d action a will occur' this is as if He is recording this. He records this as reality, as true.

Understand yet?

A sofyst is a perversion of the term sophist. I did not like the connotations associated with the sophists, but I did love their love for wisdom, and their ability to argue. Therefore, I used sophistry to manipulate the word so that it still sounds the same, but spelled differently it connotes an entirely different meaning (what meaning? - whatever I so choose it to mean! MUAHAHAHAHA)

11/28/2006 09:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adam - I cannot argue with your logic here, even if I cannot yet agree with some of your conclusions derived from this logic. I appreciate your tenacious effort in making your thoughts clear.

You frequently refer to "strawmen" in your speech. It seems a derogatory term, but I am not quite catching your meaning or of whom you are referring to. Could you clarify? And do you use the term "fallacious" to mean these individuals are simply mistaken or that they are intending to deceive?

I know I am asking a lot of "off the mark" ?'s, but I try hard not to make assumptions.

11/28/2006 10:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Missy,

A strawman argument is one which asserts that the opponent has used an argument which he has not and thus proceeds to attack a position which no one has taken.

Imagine it as a man standing in a field ready to fight. I walk up with some wood, cloth,and hay and proceed to build a strawman. I then set the strawman up next to my opponent, draw my sword, and skillfully attack and dispatch the strawman. Destroying it I then declare myself victorious over the man. It's illogical - I didn't defeat the man, but a self-made characterization of him.

11/28/2006 06:02:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Missy, Brandon does a good job of describing what a strawman is. When I was referring to the 'strawmen' used here, I was referring to the references to Pinnochio or sockpuppets. It is much easier to attack the idea that we are puppets or robots (strawmen propped up against determinism) then it is to actually attack determinism. Most who are unable to debate with determinism resort to arguing against the sockpuppet or robot theology. Therefore presenting themselves as victorious as such theology is never presented within Scripture.

When I say 'fallacious', I usually mean that the arguer is presenting a wrong argument (therefore they are wrong). I do not usually assume they do so intentionally.

awaiting the hope,
Adam

11/28/2006 08:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

KC, please forgive me that I go off in tangents on your blog, but I feel developing these comments a little further helps me to grasp the discussion a little better.

Adam, also please forgive me if you feel I am targeting you in any way, you just happen to be presenting a viewpoint I am not familiar with, and you are graciously responding to my infant-like inquiries. I read my Bible, have a fair grasp of language and grammar, and grab books now and then that relate to struggles I deal with. I do not ascribe to any specific theologies that I could put a name to and have never had a desire to seek one out.

“It is much easier to attack the idea that we are puppets or robots (strawmen propped up against determinism) then it is to actually attack determinism. Most who are unable to debate with determinism resort to arguing against the sockpuppet or robot theology.”

Essentially you are saying, “argue with me, not what you think I believe,” right? It is a fair request, but your use of this defense seems rather childish to me – please do not think that I mean to say you are childish, but rather the use of it detracts from your argument. After going back to review the points that this accusation is used against, the argument was always directly related to what you had argued, not the theology you may or may not represent. I do not believe you were the only one to use childish tactics either (sorry – it’s the mother in me).

BTW, I have not looked up any info on who are what a “determinist” is or believes, so as not to influence my understanding of the topic of discussion. Although the discussion clues me in some – and the theology seems to hinge on this very topic we have been discussing (I may be wrong).

Your logic is very reasonable to me in many ways, but I do have some difficulty reconciling that your argument also seems to hinge on God existing in linear time, with a past, present and future. I am not convinced of this, and your reasoning relies on it to be true. I also have difficulty, as I said before (but will word more appropriately this time), because Jesus teaches us to raise up our voice in prayer and petition to God – and without any other option than that which is pre-determined, why would he give us this example?

I am not “throwing the baby out with the bath water,” so to speak, as I intend on looking into this more. I feel very inspired by the speakers here and hope to glean as much knowledge as you will allow me.

11/28/2006 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Missy,

Essentially you are saying, “argue with me, not what you think I believe,” right? It is a fair request, but your use of this defense seems rather childish to me – please do not think that I mean to say you are childish, but rather the use of it detracts from your argument. After going back to review the points that this accusation is used against, the argument was always directly related to what you had argued, not the theology you may or may not represent. I do not believe you were the only one to use childish tactics either (sorry – it’s the mother in me).

Could you explain this more. I do not understand what you are saying. Above people attacked 'determinism' by attacking some idea that determinism doesn't even teach. They attacked 'fatalism' truthfully and labeled it as 'determinism' because they knew NOBODY is a fatalist, as it is clearly unscriptural. I simply got annoyed and wanted the discussion to be between determinist and non-determinist (what Kc and I seem so able to do always) without sinking to such ignorant argument techniques. I don't understand how this is 'childish'. Do inform me.

Your logic is very reasonable to me in many ways, but I do have some difficulty reconciling that your argument also seems to hinge on God existing in linear time, with a past, present and future. I am not convinced of this, and your reasoning relies on it to be true.

This may be you misunderstanding what I have been saying, or this may be because I have not conveyed the thought correctly enough. But most who are determinist are also of the opinion that God is completely outside of time. I am of this opinion. So it would be hard to see how my argument for determinism is one where I argue for a temporal God.

I think that you are confusing arguments though, my apologies for not being clear here. When I argued for God 'knowing' the future, or foreknowing what Moses would do, I was arguing as one who was not a determinist. I was arguing for one who believed God to be more temporal than the determinist do.

I was arguing such to show that even if one wasn't a determinist, and believed God to be more temporal than the determinist believe, they would nonetheless run into the difficulty of God 'manipulating' the situation. The determinist are not alone in this line of thinking.

I also have difficulty, as I said before (but will word more appropriately this time), because Jesus teaches us to raise up our voice in prayer and petition to God – and without any other option than that which is pre-determined, why would he give us this example?

The reason is because prayer is for us, it is not to govern what will occur. When we pray we do so as a spiritual discipline to grow ourselves. When we pray we should have faith that what we ask of our LORD will come true, but this doesn't necessarily mean that we should falsely assume that we are going to change the plans of God or change the future.

11/29/2006 08:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adam, I mean to say your accusation seemed an unneccesary defense. Although some of the responses were also made in a childish manner, they were directly related to the course of conversation and very accurately portrayed issues I also had with your reasoning. I think you were doing a good job of putting your ideas out there very calmly and logically, but when holes openned up and commenters leapt through them, you seemed to pout and loose your composer. Even the best arguments will have holes when expressed, but defensive pride obscures the message. I am trying desperately not to offend, yet still be a sister in Christ.

Because I am unaware of these theologies, maybe I am in the wrong forum to participate in the discussion. It is very confusing to me that you switch back and forth between ideologies you do not agree with, while presenting them as though you do. It is more helpful to me when you explain your own reasoning and how you come to it, rather than set up, as you say, "strawmen" arguments to shoot down opposing ideologies.

Why I cannot consistently reconcile your arguments relays back to your first comment on this post.

You seem to take the position that God's will superceeds man's will by defining "will" differently for each: what God wants vs. what man does. Therefore by giving the same word a different meaning, this is the way you explain that God's will always prevails. Am I following this so far?

You go on to illustrate that if it is God's will for man to make brownies, but not man's, man will still make brownies.

Yet, you also say that you believe man has freewill to sin. This is where I can't get past your reasoning. Sin, in of itself, is to go against God's will. Therefore, by your definition, it seemed to me that you were saying God's will only prevails until man sins.

I know, logically, this is not what you mean, but this is where your reasoning leads me everytime.

I would love to have further discussions with you concerning the prayer issue I mentioned and my ideas of God and temporal time, so I registered on your blog! You are also welcome on mine anytime - no registration necessary!

11/29/2006 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Missy, I tried to go to your blog, but did not find a link from your profile. What is your blog's address?

I think that you may be mistaken concerning the first actions of this thread. It was not as though anyone was attacking holes in my arguments. They were not. Hence my 'childish antics'. If they were attacking holes in my arguments, I would defend my arguments, or attempt to explain away the holes. I guess it is just that you have not been so privy to witness the countless arguments I have had in which I hope to discuss determinism, but end up defending myself against the false claims of fatalism.

I do apologize as well for the manner in which I discuss. Some are unaware of what I truly believe because of the way in which I argue for different beliefs which I never would dream of holding to. It is not as though I am using strawmen tactics, but rather, playing too gleefully devil's advocate.

The problem I think that is constantly confronted is the idea of 'will'. I have a will to do something, but I then will myself to do it. If I was one who believed in choice, I would say that I have a will to do something, and then I choose to do it.

Edwards defines 'will' as 'that by which the mind chooses'.

Will is used interchangeably to define the thing which determines the action, and the process of the action as well. For sake of clarity, I will henceforth attempt (attempt!) to use 'will' as the thing that determines man's actions, and use act as the thing man does. I may even concede momentarily and say 'choose' is the thing man does. Man wills to do something, and then chooses to do it. But I doubt I could stoop to such levels. :D

Will that help?

We then when discussing God's will and man's will understand that I do see God's will as superceding man's, but not overriding it. Here I am referring to 'will' as what man, or God, wants to do.

It is not as though God wants man to do one thing, and yet man wants to do another, and God gets what he wants and man is forced to do what he doesn't want. If this was so, I would understand the charge of fatalism or of man being a sockpuppet or pinnochio.

The idea rather is that God wants man to do one thing, and man is in the situation where he wants to do the thing as well, and man then acts according to his desire and God's wants are accomplished as well. (Pardon the roughness in these ideas, it is hard to change terminology midstream).

You go on to illustrate that if it is God's will for man to make brownies, but not man's, man will still make brownies.

Here you misunderstood me. I did not mean to convey that I believed God's will would be for man to make brownies and yet man's will not be the same, and man be forced to make the brownies. I wouldn't want that to be conveyed.

I was attempting to throw up two ideas. One I agreed with, and the second where everyone else would agree with, and I would not.

The idea is that God's will is for man to make brownies.

I would say that man's will would be to make the brownies as well, and therefore man would make the brownies. Man's will would not be to not make the brownies. Man's will would not be in opposition to what God's will would be.

Everyone else however would say that man's will can either be to make the brownies, or not make the brownies. If man's will was to make the brownies, this is what we talk about when man is doing the will of God. If man's will was not to make the brownies, this is what we talk about when we say that man sins, or is outside the will of God.

Understand? You read my presention of both ideas and blended them together. I would never say that God's will was for man to make the brownies, and yet man's will was to not make brownies, but seeing as how God's will was for him to make brownies, man would be forced to make the brownies. I would never say that.

The reason I would never say that is because I would never say that man's will was in opposition to God's will. If God wants man to make the brownies, man is going to want to as well...

Yet, you also say that you believe man has freewill to sin. This is where I can't get past your reasoning. Sin, in of itself, is to go against God's will. Therefore, by your definition, it seemed to me that you were saying God's will only prevails until man sins.

I would not define sin as going against God's will, but rather sin as doing that which is against God. His person. It is doing anti-God. If that makes sense. God is truth, therefore sin is not doing the truth, or saying the truth or being truthful. Understand?

Now here I think is where a little light will go on in your head and you will see where I am coming from, and where most here would disagree with me.

Are you ready for it? Are you sitting down? :)

With this in mind, I would then say that God's will may be that man do something against Him. God may will man to sin, and by man sinning, man act according to his will (man's will - which is tainted and wants to sin) and yet also act according to God's will (man is doing exactly what God wants Him to do in one sense).

This is why you have the passage in Acts where Kc and I have had disagreement.

The passage states that Christ was delivered up according to the plan of God.

I interpret 'delivered up' to describe the actions of the men, them crucifying and wrongly killing Christ. Kc, however, interprets 'delivered up' to describe the act of God whereby He offered up Christ as a sacrifice.

Therefore, Kc understands God's act of offering up Christ as sacrifice to be part of God's plan (or will). Whereas, I understand man's act of delivering Christ up, wrongfully - as in murdering Christ, to be part of God's plan (or will).

You would understand why I would be willing to interpret it as such, and Kc would be unable to. Kc believes that man's will to sin cannot be part of God's will. God cannot want man to sin.Therefore, when he reads a passage that says Christ was delivered up according to God's will, Kc would be unable to interpret it as I am.

However, since I believe that God can want man to sin, I would be willing to read the passage as such. I could see 'Christ was delivered up according to God's plan' and read it as 'Man murdered Christ according to God's will'.

I know you are now thinking that this paints God as a sadistic God, or even an evil God. Perhaps within your mind it does. But I hope you will not discredit me completely right now or shut off your quest to learn what I believe. I hope you are more open minded than that.

If time allows, and if the LORD does tarry, hopefully you will understand me better and be able to dialogue further with me. As Kc does frequently.

If you have anymore objections or questions, please do ask. I love to discuss!

awaiting the hope,
Adam

11/29/2006 11:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you! I get it now (trumpet if you got one)!

At this time, I think I am more in line with KC's beliefs, but I think I more clearly understand your position. I just worked through my struggles in accepting and believing God's love and good plans for me. You are right that this does not jive with my conclusions to that long battle.

But, again, thank you so much for being patient with me. I am sorry if my "rebuke" was out of place. You are right - I am completely unaware of the battles you have fought.

11/29/2006 11:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh. I do not list my blog, so it does not show up on my profile with Blogger. From my profile, you can select "My Web Site" and it will take you to my blog, or go directly there: Texas Chilly.

11/29/2006 11:48:00 AM  

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