PS: For anyone else who might be interested, the site we're talking about is Christian Classics Ethereal Library.
Hello again, Alex!
The concept that man lost the ability, as a consequence of Adam’s sin in the garden, to, of himself, believe the gospel, is not found in any Christian literature prior to the time of John Calvin. Nonetheless, Calvin taught that concept and argued that God is absolutely sovereign and that God determined, by His own choice, before the foundation of the world, who will saved—and who will not be.
Does man have a free will, to choose to do good or evil, to choose to serve Satan or to serve God? What saith the Scriptures to these questions?
Gen. 1:26. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27. God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Adam, in the garden, according to the Scriptures, had the ability to choose to do good or evil, to choose to serve Satan or to serve God.
Gen. 3:1. Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”
2. The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;
3. but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’ “
4. The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!
5. “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6. When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
Adam sinned, and there were consequences,
Gen. 3:7. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.
8. They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
9. Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”
10. He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”
11. And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
12. The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.”
13. Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
14. The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life;
15. And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”
16. To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.”
17. Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.
18. “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field;
19. By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.”
20. Now the man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living.
21. The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.
22. Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—
23. therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.
24. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.
Was one of the consequences of Adam’s sin the loss of his free will? Genesis does not say that it was.
But you may ask, “How about Gen. 6:5 and 8:21,
6:5. Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
8:21. The LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.”
These verses teach that man became very evil, but they do not tell us how or why.
How about the rest of the Hexateuch (Genesis – Joshua, studied today by Old Testament scholars as a literary unit)? No, not so much as a hint that Adam lost his free will when he sinned in the garden. Indeed, the Hexateuch teaches us that man retained his ability to choose to do good or evil, and to choose to serve Satan or to serve God,
Deut. 30:19. “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants,
20. by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”
Joshua 24: 14. “Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.”
Later in the Scriptures, however, we do find that in two, isolated cases, God intervened and altered the heart of an individual, thereby influencing their will,
Prov. 21:1. The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.
Ex. 9:12. And the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the LORD had spoken to Moses.
Rom. 9:17. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.”
18. So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
Nonetheless, it is very clear that, from the point of view of Judeo-Christian theology during the Biblical period, man has a free will to choose to do good or evil, to choose to serve Satan or to serve God.
Ecclesiasticus 15:14 Hee himselfe made man from the beginning, and left him in the hand of his counsell,
15 If thou wilt, to keepe the Commandements, and to performe acceptable faithfulnesse.
16 He hath set fire and water before thee: stretch forth thy hand vnto whether thou wilt.
17 Before man is life and death, and whether him liketh shalbe giuen him.
18 For the wisedome of the Lord is great, and he is mighty in power, and beholdeth all things,
19 And his eyes are vpon them that feare him, & hee knoweth euery worke of man.
20 Hee hath commanded no man to do wickedly, neither hath he giuen any man license to sinne. (Apocrypha, King James Version, 1611)
Ecclesiasticus 15:14. It was he who created humankind in the beginning,
and he left them in the power of their own free choice.
15. If you choose, you can keep the commandments,
and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice.
16. He has placed before you fire and water;
stretch out your hand for whichever you choose.
17. Before each person are life and death,
and whichever one chooses will be given.
18. For great is the wisdom of the Lord;
he is mighty in power and sees everything;
19. his eyes are on those who fear him,
and he knows every human action.
20. He has not commanded anyone to be wicked,
and he has not given anyone permission to sin. (Apocrypha, New Revised Standard Version)
(All quotations are from the NASB, 1995, unless otherwise noted)
The number of times the Lord, in scripture, said, "Choose...." is staggering in the face of those who claim we have no freedom of choice/will.
Calvinism is an inherently contradictory doctrine. At once it is presumed that men are not just "totally depraved" (on which we all agree), but also "totally unable" --- thus, sequence being critical in the doctrine, men are regenerated BEFORE belief. From that supposedly sovereign and non-participatory regeneration faith either irresistibly flows or is gifted TO men BY God, and men then are preserved BY God. Some of the contradictions are the assertion that "Men cannot do good by themselves, cannot ever seek God unless God changes them first". Romans3:10-12 is thought to assert that. But they back-pedal when discussing those in Luke8:13 who "believed joyfully" (but "obviously were never REALLY saved evidenced by their falling away!"), and those in 2Pet2:20-21 who "escaped defilements through the true-saved-knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus" (well, it couldn't be SAVED knowledge evidenced by their falling away --- they were never REALLY saved in the FIRST place). So a person cannot seek God or believe in any measure without sovereign election and monergistic (one-sided) regeneration, unless they seek God and believe SUPERFICIALLY. And apart from Jesus they can do nothing, unless they desire to escape defilements (why would they???) and ACHIEVE that without Jesus!
Because eventual "falling-away" proves a person was only deluded/never-saved, clearly no Calvinist can know he or she IS saved, until the moment of death, proving by perseverance "election"! Those in Luke8:13 didn't know they were not saved, they began the same as those in Lk8:15; only perseverance revealed who was REALLY saved. According to the doctrine.
Other contradictions are things like Matt9:12-13 --- Jesus came not for the healthy/righteous, but for the sick/sinners. So how does the Spirit's regeneration connect? Calvinism has no connection! Under Calvinism, Jesus' coming is USELESS for the unregenerated (who cannot respond!), and equally useless for the REGENERATED (who are righteous already and do not need salvation!). What is the connection? (Hint --- it's belief; those who believe and receive Jesus, and the Spirit, are then regenerated!).
The biggest problem is that it ruins the whole point of the Final Judgment --- does God judge us on our own choice, as Paul states in Romans2:6-8? Or does God hypocritically judge us on HIS prehistoric choice/election? Please see how Acts10:34-35 positions God as receiving the attentions of men who come to Him with reverence and righteousness-seeking! The opposite of that (which is the backbone of Calvinism), is God being partial, which Peter says He is not!
Look also at Deut30:11-20 (especially 12, a foundational refutation of Monergistic Regeneration); note it connects directly with Romans10:6-10 (Rm10:6 is Deut30:12, Rm10:8 is Deut30:14).
Now --- there is a time when it matters, and a time when it does not. Calvinism is one of three views which comprise "OSAS" (Once Saved Always Saved), though Calvinists do not like to be labeled that. Antinomianism (which always matters, "sinfully-saved"!) and "Eternal Security" are the other two. Calvinism and ES don't matter if we agree on the foundation of salvation, that is "Christ in you". If we agree on that, and that we cannot walk in sin (which is Antinomianism/Gnosticism), then we can fellowship as believers, expecting to be together when Christ returns.
It only matters for each of our individual walks; and there are dozens of verses that really warn against us becoming deceived away from Jesus and salvation! Look at 2Cor11:3, we're at the same risk of deception away from Jesus, as Eve was away from God!
Calvinists emphatically assert support of “free will” --- but this is redefined into ”men freely will, but only according to their natures; if left unregenerate they freely will to disbelieve, if sovereignly and monergistically regenerated they freely will to believe!”
Thus, “free will, which has only one choice”. Clearly a will that can make only one choice is not free! Free will is clear in Rev22:17, in Jn7:17, and in many other passages. This is a redefinition of “free will”.
There are many “redefinitions”; ALL MEN (in 1Tim2:4) becomes “only some of all types, not literally all”. “World” (1Tim4:10, 1Jn2:2) becomes “some few”.
A couple of very Scriptural concepts are completely at odds with “predestination” --- the clear dictate of persuasion, that is one can be persuaded into believing the Gospel --- Acts16:28-29, Jn20:31. And the idea of “believe-because-of-seeing”, plain in Jn10:38, and Jn20:29 (where unseen belief is GREATER than seen belief --- how can that be if belief is “predestined/God-decided”?). The only way these verses work, are with “free will” --- completely free, not “freely choosing but only bound to God’s-predestined-ordained-nature”.
PS: The TULIP acronym was supposed to mirror the 5 points of Calvinism (ie Calvin's teachings.)
I had always thought there was a lot of stereotyping and false ascribing of what John Calvin wrote, and in many respects he is no different that a John Piper, RC Sproal, John MacArthur are today, but folks get all stuck on the rumors and half truths without digging into the data for themselves, and call it bad and evil, thus button hole, with bias-laden, stereotypical attitudes, putting into boxes without biblical support... but so far I see it - there is a lot of Paul within his preaching.
It's both. "Faith" is not a gift from God, as most Calvinists misperceive Eph2:8; faith is something God receives from men.
"He who comes to God must believe God is (must come BY faith), and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him". Heb11:6.
Sequence is the issue --- which comes first, "belief/faith", or "regeneration"? Calvinists perceive that a nonbeliever is sovereignly regenerated --- he's just walking along his sinful way and ZAP! God changes his heart, faith and salvation follow essentially immediately.
Romans3:10-12 is thought to support this; "men cannot do anything". But that passage from Romans was not Pauline writing, it is a Davidic lamentation, quoting Psalm 14 and 53 -- not meant to assert "no man anywhere any time ever seeks God". Please see Matt7:14 --- "Few are those who find (salvation) by diligently seeking". Using "Heurisko", find-by-diligently-seeking. This fits Romans 2:6-8, those who BY perseverance in doing good seek glory honor and immortality receive eternal life.
(Another "lamentation" is in Genesis6; all men were evil --- but Noah was righteous.
Men's thoughts (in general, lamentation) were only evil continually; but one was righteous.
No one seeks God (in general, lamentation); but those who seek Him will find Him. Jer29:11-13!)
To take Romans3:10-12 "no one seeks God, no one does good" as absolute (no one EVER does good or seeks God), we would have to throw out verses like Luke6:33 where Jesus said: "Sinners do good"!
The word "regeneration" is rare in Scripture; it's in Titus3:5-6, where we were saved by the washing of regeneration by the Spirit whom God poured on us through Jesus OUR SAVIOR. It is by the poured Spirit that we are regenerated, and the Spirit is poured through Jesus our Savior. The sequence is clear:
1. Believe in Jesus and receive Him as Lord and Savior
2. Through belief, receive the Spirit
3. It is the received Spirit who brings regeneration
Now --- you ask "is faith-to-salvation natural or learned?" Paul answers that clearly:
"Since childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures which are able to give you wisdom that leads to saving-faith in Christ Jesus." 2Tim3:15.
Where does saving-faith come from? It comes from wisdom, conviction, on studying Scriptures! It is learned! This fits directly with what Jesus said in the rebuke of John5:39-47, they studied Scripture but refused to come to Jesus to have life. Why did they refuse? Jesus plainly stated --- they refused to believe Moses, and they didn't really have God as their Father; had they believed/loved God, and believed Moses, then they would have believed/loved Jesus.
Another thing on "sequence" --- no Calvinist has ever denied that "regeneration" is inseparable from "made-alive". One cannot be regenerated without being made-alive, nor can one have life without being regenerated. So in Jn5:40 where "coming to Jesus" (denoting faith!) comes before "having-life", the sequence is rock-solid. It's the same thing in John20:31, where John wrote the text that the reader would believe in Jesus, and believing he may (then!!!) have life.
"Believing" comes before "having-life", and before "regeneration"; one believes to be regenerated. Read again Deuteronomy30:12, the word-of-faith is NOT in Heaven that one must go GET it and give it to us, to make us hear it that we may observe it. Does everyone realize that is the full opposite of "Monergistic Regeneration", the basis of Calvinism? Monergistic Regeneration asserts the word-of-faith IS in Heaven, and God must reach down and GIVE it to us (sovereignly! Apart from faith!) to MAKE us hear it that we may observe it! Deuteronomy says "No it's not!" And Paul agrees, connecting directly in Romans10:6-10, it's the same word of faith with Jesus' gospel!
Someone find an argument for this, I'd love to hear it!
What are you implying? That an unregenerated man is a "1-year-old", and cannot choose? We must understand Scripture accurately. About the only verse attempted to prove "unregenerate men cannot believe savingly", is 1Cor2:14. Please read verses 9-15 --- the THINGS that natural men do not understand, are revealed in verse 12 by the received Spirit; one must believe and be saved, receive the Spirit, only THEN are those "things" revealed. Therefore "things" cannot include saving-faith in Jesus, because "things" are only given to SAVED BELIEVERS.Quote:
Asked another way..... Does a 1 year old choose between something because of knowledge or the lack of knowledge?
Show me any verse that says "unregenerates cannot believe and be saved".
We are commanded to preach the Gospel to the world; what is it that Calvinists preach?
"Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved; well, if you're PREDESTINED, then you will believe and no one can thwart God's sovereign will, but if you're not WANTED by God then sorry you're outta luck there's nothing you can do to escape the fires of Hell...."
What kind of gospel is that? No, belief is a choice, and it's something we can learn or we can choose not to learn. That's the only way "persuasion" works in Acts16:28-29, and John20:31. It's the only way "believe-because-seeing" works in Jn10:38, and Jn20:29. And in no way can unseen belief be better than seen belief, if all saving-belief is God-caused and ordained and sovereignly wrought!
I've tried to assemble a solid structure with precise Scriptures; can anyone find any cracks in how these verses fit together? Am I misunderstanding something?
If God predestines men to be saved, then He predestines the time of their salvation.
Can a Calvinist please explain why then don't most people believe from childhood?
Why does God want people to live in sin (and possibly suffer damage from sinful living!) for so long before being saved?
...things that make ya' go "HMMMmmmmmm...."