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BroRog
Sep 30th 2008, 01:18 AM
I believe God's foreknowledge as it relates to determinism can be explained in terms of how we experience time and what it means to know something.

Let's put aside God's foreknowledge for the moment, and just consider normal human knowledge and how it relates to the past, present, and future.

Events gain a fixity as they move into the past. Whether we consider the outcome of a football game, the outcome of a marriage proposal, or the outcome of a coin toss, these outcomes are known to us once they take place and become past events.

If we ask about the final score of a football game, the tacit understanding between us is that the game has already taken place and the outcome has been fixed in time. To know the final score, is to be aware of a fact of history in which the game has already been played and the score is fixed in time. Knowledge of the outcome of an event always implies that the event has gained a fixity that can't be changed. If the outcome could be changed, we couldn't know it with certainty or fixity. Past events are unchangeable -- fixed in time.

Given that an event capable of being known requires the fixity of that event, as in a past event, then what can we say about God's foreknowledge? For if God truly knows what will happen before it exists or takes place, the event must have fixity, otherwise he can't know it. But if he knows the outcome, the outcome has fixity; and if he knows the outcome of events that reside in our future, then events in our future must also have fixity. The difference being that God can know the outcome even if we can't.

Foreknowledge of an event implies fixity of the event, such that God knows the outcome of a future event with the same surety that we know the outcome of a past event, since a known future outcome has the same fixity as a known past event. If an actual outcome can be known, whether the outcome is in our past or in our future, it has the same fixity. Otherwise if a future event doesn't have fixity, the future can't be known in the same way that the past is known. And if so, foreknowledge isn't possible.

RogerW
Sep 30th 2008, 01:31 AM
Joshua was telling each person to make a choice between who they would serve with all their hearts, souls and minds. Anyone who would forsake idols and gives their hearts to the Lord for service would be saved. That's the perspective I'm speaking about.

Greetins Eric,

If this is true we are saved by our works of righteousness.



You took things in a completely different direction than what I was talking about. Is it possible for someone to choose to serve the LORD rather than false gods and not be saved? I'm not talking about giving the Lord lip service and supposedly serving Him for awhile and then turning back. I'm talking about an intentional surrender to the Lord while putting one's faith and trust in Him with the intention of serving Him and only Him for the rest of one's life. That is what I believe Joshua had in mind. I believe he was trying to get them to make up their minds once and for all who they wanted to serve and who they wanted to be their God (or gods).

Of course Joshua was trying to get them to trust and obey the one true God. Why? For eternal life as you suggest? That cannot be, because to love God is a commandment of God; the law. If Joshua was suggesting that they could have eternal life through obedience to the law, then Joshua is a liar. Obedience to the law can save no man. So, why was Joshua trying to get them to trust and obey the True God? So they could live long on the land of promise and continue to receive blessings and life as opposed to turning away from God, and receiving wrath, cursings and death. Obedience to the law was to show them their sin, and drive them to the Lord, but it was never given for salvation, for none of them could obey the law perfectly, which is what was required in the law. This is why none of them, though you say they could choose to serve the LORD with all their hearts, could do this through obedience to the law, and also why they died in unbelief.

Many blessings,
RW

RogerW
Sep 30th 2008, 01:48 AM
Sorry, what didn't you understand? Like I said previously, we aren't robots, we make choices, the choices are already known (by God) and predestined (by God). From our perspective, it doesn't matter if the choices are predestined or not, because we make the decision.

People tend to automatically think if we don't have free will, then we must be robots. Not true at all. A robot has NO will. What we have is an influenced (caused) will.

Greetings Legoman,

I would make the argument from this perspective. We all have a will. But the question should be what or who is our will guided by or bound by? When we remain in unbelief our will is fallen and bound by Satan, the flesh, and the world because we are servants of the devil. Every choice we make, through our own wills, is toward evil. Even what seems righteous to us, is but filthy rags to God. In truth our wills are not free because as long as they are bound by sin, we can never freely choose to come to Christ for life.

What happens to our will once we have been made alive in Christ? We have been set free from the bondage to Satan, sin and death that once held us. We are no longer bound so that every choice we make is only evil. Now we have been made free to freely come to Christ that we might have life. Christ, through the power of His Word and Holy Spirit makes us free in Him. He changed our will, making it willing to serve Him. Now we can freely choose to do the things that God has ordained we would from the foundation of the world.

Many Blessings,
RW

SW28fan
Sep 30th 2008, 03:14 AM
Wow what a thread! I just joined the forum so I missed out on the fun. I really don't have much to add to what has been said, but I have an observation. I'm a Presbyterain (PCA) and we are all fine five point calvinists, but we almost never talk about it; maybe once or twice a year it is touched on in a sermon. I assume that if everybody in a church agrees about something there is no point in having disscussions over it. The only time I ever have to get into it is when other Christians ask about it. My favorite question I was ever asked was "Are You a supralapsarian?" I had to look it up before I could reply,:bounce:
BTW I have learned that I am a Infralapsarian.
PV

threebigrocks
Sep 30th 2008, 04:39 AM
Thankyou for replying.

The problem is verse 11 doesn't say all things in christ. It just says all things. The context can only be stretched so far. Likewise, verse 10 could mean "all things are gathered together in christ", not "all things in christ are gathered together".

But suppose it does mean "all things in christ". What does verse 11 mean then? Once we are in christ, our life suddently becomes predestined according to God's plan? So does that mean God's plan changes as people "free will" themselves into salvation? If no one ever chose salvation, God's plan would be pretty thin, as he wouldn't have anyone to work in/with/through.

Sorry, I still contend verse 11 has to mean all things, otherwise it doesn't make sense.


Let's look at it like this, as a letter, as it was written:

Ephesians 1:9-12

Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

This entire portion is about through Christ. It's one continuous thought, not a bullet point of items separate from each other.

All things are through Christ. Mid paragraph:


even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.


In whom. In who? Look before the colon, meaning a continued thought. Even in him. Who is him here? It's Christ! In Him we have obtained an inheritance. In Him who we have been predestined.

Not by God having pulled our name out before the beginning, but through Christ. He did the work so we could either answer the knock at the door or turn from Him. Nothing, not a single thing can be done that the Father recognizes as "elect" except for those who believe in His Son, Christ Jesus. His work opened the door for us to choose. Not our work by choosing Him, but the work on the cross so we could have salvation.

If we each, as an individual, were predestined before time to be saved, then why would all things be through Christ? Why would we even need Christ if God already knows who will be saved and who won't? We wouldn't need a Savior if we are already predestined by the Father.

Unfortunately, we don't yet have access directly to the Father. All things, ALL things, through Christ.

chal
Sep 30th 2008, 08:19 AM
Ah ok. I could agree that they are not exactly the same thing - very closely related though. They essentially have the same effect.

My point was really to show that regardless of whether our choices are predestined, or simply foreknown - in either case - we cannot have free will (because we have to make choice A).

What are your thoughts on that?

Legoman

chal> I think that you have drawn a false conclusion through a faulty argument (non-sequitur, i.e., "does not follow"). That doesn't mean that you are wrong, but merely that you have not proven your assertion to be right.

I believe that we have the ability to choose within the framework of possibility ( I think"free will," describes this adequately) and that the argument that most people propose on both sides of this is full of holes, due to a failure to consider that God is not subject to time and by confusing predestination with fatalism. IOW, "fore," "pre," etc., mean nothing to an Omnipresent God and "ordained to", does not mean "doomed," or "fated," to. The time factor can only be considered from man's perspective.

Another point of contention is that some confuse "free will," with "unlimited choice." IOW, if I say I have free will, it does not mean that I can turn into superman and have x-ray vision and leap tall buildings in a single bound, but it does mean that I can choose which shirt I want to wear this morning or which bus to catch. God having knowledge of this through omniscience does not in any way prevent my free choice within the framework of possibility that He created. Foreknowledge is not an adequate word to describe God's knowledge of my choice, since He is not restricted by time. He knows it in perfect and pure unrestricted knowledge.

Anyway, my point was not to say that your assertion was wrong, but that you need a better way to present it. I wasn't really trying to comment on the topic directly, but to help the arguments that were already in it flow more smoothly, but since you asked, I threw in my two cents as well.

legoman
Sep 30th 2008, 12:35 PM
chal> I think that you have drawn a false conclusion through a faulty argument (non-sequitur, i.e., "does not follow"). That doesn't mean that you are wrong, but merely that you have not proven your assertion to be right.

I believe that we have the ability to choose within the framework of possibility ( I think"free will," describes this adequately) and that the argument that most people propose on both sides of this is full of holes, due to a failure to consider that God is not subject to time and by confusing predestination with fatalism. IOW, "fore," "pre," etc., mean nothing to an Omnipresent God and "ordained to", does not mean "doomed," or "fated," to. The time factor can only be considered from man's perspective.

Another point of contention is that some confuse "free will," with "unlimited choice." IOW, if I say I have free will, it does not mean that I can turn into superman and have x-ray vision and leap tall buildings in a single bound, but it does mean that I can choose which shirt I want to wear this morning or which bus to catch. God having knowledge of this through omniscience does not in any way prevent my free choice within the framework of possibility that He created. Foreknowledge is not an adequate word to describe God's knowledge of my choice, since He is not restricted by time. He knows it in perfect and pure unrestricted knowledge.

Anyway, my point was not to say that your assertion was wrong, but that you need a better way to present it. I wasn't really trying to comment on the topic directly, but to help the arguments that were already in it flow more smoothly, but since you asked, I threw in my two cents as well.

I don't think it was a faulty argument (of course :)). Perhaps I should have defined foreknowledge - you say it is not adequate, but perhaps we don't have the same definition. By foreknowledge I mean having perfect knowledge of the future - and the only way you can have that perfect foreknowledge is if you are not restricted by time, as you said. Of course only God has that foreknowledge because he is outside of time.

Anyway I think BroRog explained it nicely in his post (#251). Feel free to comment on it. (Basically the future is fixed in the same way that the past is already fixed)

Cheers,
Legoman

legoman
Sep 30th 2008, 12:44 PM
Greetings Legoman,

I would make the argument from this perspective. We all have a will. But the question should be what or who is our will guided by or bound by? When we remain in unbelief our will is fallen and bound by Satan, the flesh, and the world because we are servants of the devil. Every choice we make, through our own wills, is toward evil. Even what seems righteous to us, is but filthy rags to God. In truth our wills are not free because as long as they are bound by sin, we can never freely choose to come to Christ for life.

What happens to our will once we have been made alive in Christ? We have been set free from the bondage to Satan, sin and death that once held us. We are no longer bound so that every choice we make is only evil. Now we have been made free to freely come to Christ that we might have life. Christ, through the power of His Word and Holy Spirit makes us free in Him. He changed our will, making it willing to serve Him. Now we can freely choose to do the things that God has ordained we would from the foundation of the world.

Many Blessings,
RW

Hi Roger,

Yes that is another way to explain it. My comment: we are slaves to Satan, until God opens our eyes and sets us free. Then we become slaves to Christ.

Is that fair to say? In the sense that we still don't have free will, but now we willingly volunteer to follow Christ. We can do nothing else because God has opened our eyes.

Is that close to your view?

Legoman

legoman
Sep 30th 2008, 12:58 PM
Hi threebigrocks,


Let's look at it like this, as a letter, as it was written:

Ephesians 1:9-12

Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

This entire portion is about through Christ. It's one continuous thought, not a bullet point of items separate from each other.

All things are through Christ. Mid paragraph:
even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

In whom. In who? Look before the colon, meaning a continued thought. Even in him. Who is him here? It's Christ! In Him we have obtained an inheritance. In Him who we have been predestined.


I basically agree with you here to a point. Yes, we have obtained an inheritance in him. That was our predestination.

My contention is with the second part of verse 11 though, which can be viewed as a separate thought. It is giving a description of God and God's plan. It is a sub-thought within the main paragraph. Something like this:

Main thought: All things in Christ have been gathered in him, and this is our inheritance which has been predestined according to God's purpose.

Sub-thought: God has a purpose and works all things according to that purpose.

It is this sub-thought that is the point of discussion. If the sub-thought is as I have stated here, then it means that God predestines everything.



Not by God having pulled our name out before the beginning, but through Christ. He did the work so we could either answer the knock at the door or turn from Him. Nothing, not a single thing can be done that the Father recognizes as "elect" except for those who believe in His Son, Christ Jesus. His work opened the door for us to choose. Not our work by choosing Him, but the work on the cross so we could have salvation.
But you are ignoring the verses that say we cannot choose God, only God can choose us (John 6:44, John 6:65).



If we each, as an individual, were predestined before time to be saved, then why would all things be through Christ? Why would we even need Christ if God already knows who will be saved and who won't? We wouldn't need a Savior if we are already predestined by the Father.

Unfortunately, we don't yet have access directly to the Father. All things, ALL things, through Christ.Your question on why God would need to send a savior if everything was predestined has already been answered elsewhere in this thread.

God works through a process. He decided that there needed to be a sacrifice for sin, and that he needed to send his son to atone for our sins and be that sacrifice. Why? We can speculate on the reasons, but that is what he decided and planned.

Sure God could have snapped his fingers and saved everyone, but for some reason he didn't do that. I would guess that he did it this way so we would learn something. I'm sure God has his reasons :)

Cheers,
Legoman

drew
Sep 30th 2008, 02:11 PM
Sorry, what didn't you understand? Like I said previously, we aren't robots, we make choices, the choices are already known (by God) and predestined (by God). From our perspective, it doesn't matter if the choices are predestined or not, because we make the decision.
We need to be careful about our choice of words and what we do with such choices.

Let's be clear: If God is the fully sufficient cause for my deciding to write this very post, then my "decision" to actually type it in and send it is really no more of a decision that it is a decision for a baseball that it is hit with a bat to fly into the outfield. Like us (in your worldview), the baseball is slavishly following a destiny that it has had no control over.

Would you say that the baseball is "accountable" for its behaviour? I wouldn't.


I feel like I have been playing defense on this topic for too long. Before I dig myself in any deeper, time to go on the offensive :)

drew, what is your definition of free will?

Here is what the dictionary says:
" The power of making free choices that are unconstrained by external circumstances or by an agency such as fate or divine will."

Do you see how it is impossible that we can make a choice that is "unconstrained by external circumstances"?
It is obviously possible for agents in this universe to act freely, unless you believe that God does not act freely (perhaps you do, I will be interested to read what you say about this).

I think the dictionary definition is not that good. Here is my definition "A decision X on the part of entity A can be said to at least partly arise by A's free will if any of the causal mechanisms that lead to X are not themselves exhaustively (fully) caused by forces outside A"

I know this may seem complex, but I think it says exactly what I beleive to be the case.

Free will is a tricky concept. But unless you believe that God "has no control over what He does", you almost certainly must accept the reality of free will as a concept, even if you ascribe it only to God.

I suspect you are leveraging the appeal of "everything must be caused by something else" notion. Well that indeed has appeal. But I think that if you believe in a God, whose very actions are not fully caused by something else, then you have to bite the bullet and accept the notion of free will.

drew
Sep 30th 2008, 02:32 PM
Excellent Rhyfelwr, I think you've got it!

One minor nitpick: You don't pick choice A of your free will. You just pick choice A of your influenced will. You were never free to pick choice B, because God already knew you would pick choice A.

Cheers,
Legoman
Whoa there guys. I think that you (legoman) are not really agreeing with the redoubtable (that's a compliment) Rhyfelwr. He seems to be advocating "pre-destination is really just fore-knowledge" position, you seem to be arguing that God not merely foreknows what you will do, he causes you to do the thing that you do.

drew
Sep 30th 2008, 02:35 PM
Hi Chal,

Yes, it must follow as I stated.

Example:

You have a decision to make tomorrow - Choose A or Choose B.

God knows, right now, and since the beginning of time, that tomorrow you will Choose A.

Therefore you are not free to Choose B, because God already knows you will choose A.

Now we can debate whether it was prearranged or simply foreknowledge. But regardless of whether it was foreknowledge or predestination, you can't claim you are free to choose B.

Legoman
Actually, I think you are free to choose B in the scenario you have put forward in the "foreknowledge only" case. I used to believe exactly as you do about this until I read an argument that convinced me I was wrong. So I was dragged kicking and screaming away from the position I was so convinced was right.

And, I am sad to say, the argument that we are indeed free to choose B is complex and subtle. I am not sure I can present it, but maybe.

John146
Sep 30th 2008, 02:44 PM
I think this is the fundamental thing. Foreknowledge = predestination. I know we've discussed this before alot and don't see it the same way.

But this is how I see it: if God knows I will pick choice A, then I was never free to pick choice B.

This is exactly the same thing as predestination. If I am predestined to pick choice A, then I was never free to pick choice B.

Both cases, I HAVE NO FREE WILL BECAUSE I CAN'T PICK CHOICE B! How do you conclude that you could never pick choice B? Can't it be that you had the choice to pick either A or B? Then God, knowing everything beforehand, saw that you picked choice A, to believe in Christ, and therefore predestined you to be conformed to the image of Christ and to eternal life.


Perhaps you can try to explain the inverse: how do we have free will if God knows our choices?

Cheers,
LegomanBecause God knows beforehand the choices we make using free will. That He knows beforehand does not mean He predetermined our choices beforehand the way a programmer programs a robot to do certain things based on certain conditions. You apparently see God's relationship to us as nothing different than a computer programmer's relationship to a computer program or robot or a puppet master's relationship with his puppets. But we aren't puppets or robots. Puppets and robots don't have souls or consciences and aren't able to think for themselves as we can.

legoman
Sep 30th 2008, 02:52 PM
Actually, I think you are free to choose B in the scenario you have put forward in the "foreknowledge only" case. I used to believe exactly as you do about this until I read an argument that convinced me I was wrong. So I was dragged kicking and screaming away from the position I was so convinced was right.

And, I am sad to say, the argument that we are indeed free to choose B is complex and subtle. I am not sure I can present it, but maybe.


Morning drew,

Do you have a link to the other argument somewhere? I wouldn't mind taking a look. For me this is the ultimate logical sticking point... how can we be free to choose B if its foreknown that we will choose A.

Cheers,
Legoman

John146
Sep 30th 2008, 02:54 PM
Greetins Eric,

If this is true we are saved by our works of righteousness. Nope. Surrendering oneself to the Lord for service is not a work of righteousness, but rather is a decision to give one's allegiance to the Lord rather than to Satan or false gods. I never said it is the service itself that would save anyone. It is the heart decision to follow the Lord that God is looking for. Once that happens then He gives people the ability to serve Him by indwelling them with His Spirit.


Of course Joshua was trying to get them to trust and obey the one true God. Why? For eternal life as you suggest? That cannot be, because to love God is a commandment of God; the law. If Joshua was suggesting that they could have eternal life through obedience to the law, then Joshua is a liar. Obedience to the law can save no man. So, why was Joshua trying to get them to trust and obey the True God? So they could live long on the land of promise and continue to receive blessings and life as opposed to turning away from God, and receiving wrath, cursings and death. Obedience to the law was to show them their sin, and drive them to the Lord, but it was never given for salvation, for none of them could obey the law perfectly, which is what was required in the law. This is why none of them, though you say they could choose to serve the LORD with all their hearts, could do this through obedience to the law, and also why they died in unbelief. You completely missed the point as you so often do. I'm not talking about anyone being saved by obeying the law so please have that conversation with someone else if you find someone who actually holds that view.

John146
Sep 30th 2008, 03:04 PM
Actually I agree with pretty well all of what you state - except the condition bit. I repeat they are commands to be obeyed - when Christ comes in judgement it will not be against those who have not fulfilled the conditions - but those who have not obeyed the gospel. It's exclusively spoken of as a command - I don't believe I'm getting caught up in semantics.Again, regardless of what you want to call it, the main issue, to me, is that those who choose to not repent and obey the gospel will be punished for making that choice. Those who do choose to repent and obey the gospel will be rewarded. Agree?

9Marksfan
Sep 30th 2008, 03:15 PM
Continuing with legoman's A/B scenario, if I pick A then I have chose A of my own free will. God did not force me to do it or take over my mind. But still I was always going to choose A, God knew it before time began, I was always going to choose A as that was part of God's plan. But equally I chose to do A. I am accountable for choosing A. Just as surely as God knew I would pick A, I was free in picking A.

Like legoman said there is only one line of time in predestination. I would never have chosen B. So I have made a choice, but God's plan was never in doubt and neither was his sovereignty in the situation.

So God's plan and our choices can coincide peacefully together.

Hmm - you're forgetting the big issues which are WHY and HOW we choose God - think about it: if we are spiritually blind, how can we see unless God first opens our eyes? If we are spiritually deaf to His voice, how can we hear unless God first unstops our ears? If our minds are darkened in unbelief, how can we decide that it would be wise to follow Christ, unless God first enlightened our thinking? If we have cold and unresponsive hearts of stone, how can we respond lovingly to God, unless he first gives us a heart of flesh?

Now - a corpse cannot see, hear, think or feel - or do anything volitionally - and we are spiritual corpses - dead in trespasses and sins. So how do we choose God - something that has to happen after we see, hear, think through and feel our need to be right with God and trust in and follow Christ - unless He first works in our hearts in these spiritual ways? If we accept that He MUST work first, then we will realise not only that He chooses FIRST, but that our choice of Him is based on HIS choice of us and His subsequent decision to cure our blindness, deafness, unenlightened mind and stubborn sin-loving heart - NOT because of OUR choice of Him! We COULD not choose Him - He HAD to choose us - but His gracious working in our hearts enables us to choose Him FREELY! :pp

John146
Sep 30th 2008, 03:52 PM
Greetings Drew,

There is no doubt that Paul begins Ro 9 expressing heaviness of heart for his kinsmen according to the flesh. These are Israelites "to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises." Paul was concerned because the Word of God had come to them, but it seemed to have almost no effect, because the vast majority of them remain in unbelief.

Then Paul says something rather peculiar if his discussion pertains only to Israel of the flesh. He says, "they are not all Israel, which are of Israel." Who the heck are they then? Who is Paul referring to who are not all Israel, and yet they are Israel? Israel of God (Gal 6:16).

Ro 9:6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:

Just because they are of the seed of Abraham, that does not make them Israel. Why? Because "In Isaac shall thy seed be called." Paul is telling us that the seed of Abraham, called Israel, is not Israel...but the seed through Isaac is. This hints at the two nations, two manner of peoples, through the children of promise Jacob and Esau.

Ro 9:7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.

So children of the flesh of Abraham are not children of God, but the children of promise are counted for the seed. Two sons will be born, one son, Jacob is counted for the seed and the children of God, while the other son Esau, which are the children of the flesh. Roger, this is a case of sloppy interpretation on your part. It says "In Isaac shall thy seed be called". It's not contrasting Jacob and Esau here. It's contrasting people with faith like Isaac with those who are of the flesh who don't have faith.


If this is speaking of only Jacob and Esau as specifically Israel why does it speak of "they" instead of he, not a child, but children of the flesh, and "these" who are not the children (more than one child) of God? If Paul is speaking only of Jacob why not the child of the promise counted for the seed? This verse should convince you that Esau symbolizes "children of the flesh"(unbelievers)...instead of the child of the flesh (Esau only), and Jacob symbolizes "children of God"...instead of the child of God. I certainly hope it does.

Ro 9:8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.You have to look at the previous two verses for the context, Roger.

6Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: 7Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.

The children of the flesh refers to those who were natural descendants of Abraham, which means it's referring to Israelites. The children of the flesh are not the children of God because they are not all Israel (Israel of God) who are of Israel (the nation). Notice that it says "Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children.". In verse 8, he is only expanding on what he had just said. Therefore, "children of the flesh" are natural descendants of Abraham, which was a reference to the Israelites. But Esau was not an Israelite. The Israelites descended from Jacob.

The point of Paul saying that the children of the flesh are not the children of God is because one's lineage or nationality did not make one part of the Israel (Israel of God) which is not of the nation of Israel. Being a child of the flesh, a natural descendant of Abraham, was not what made someone a child of God as many Israelites imagined. Instead, faith in Christ Jesus makes someone, whether Jew or Gentile, a child of God (Gal 3:26-29).


Paul continues to show us there are two distinct manner of people, both called Israel. Since Jacob symbolizes the children of God, both he and they are loved by God. But Esau symbolizes the children of flesh, and not the children of God, so he and they are hated by God. No, Isaac symbolizes the children of God. It doesn't say "in Jacob shall thy seed be called" it says "in Isaac shall thy seed be called". Also, why is it that you don't refer to the verse that actually explains exactly what the two manner of people were?

Genesis 25:23
And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

Here are the two manner of people: One would be stronger than the other and the elder would serve the younger. That's it. It doesn't say anything about one being saved and the other not. Let scripture speak for itself.


Paul knew that this would be difficult to hear and anticipates the coming question. Is there unrighteousness with God? Paul says God will have mercy and compassion on whomsoever He wills.It just so happens that He has mercy upon all people.

Romans 11
30For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: 31Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
32For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

Why does God have mercy upon all people? Because He is longsuffering.

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

But, as we can see in scripture, His patience does eventually run out. But He was not obliged to be as patient and longsuffering as He is towards people, but thankfully that is His nature, otherwise no one would have any hope. Instead, everyone has hope, but God requires "all people everywhere" (Acts 17:30) to repent. He doesn't do it for us.



Certainly God's mercy and compassion is not restricted to the nation only? And this love is "not of him that willeth nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy."

Then Paul tells us how God raised up Pharaoh, further hardening his heart. Again Paul anticipates the next question. "Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?"

No man has any right to complain to God about how he was formed. God is the Potter over the clay, of which we are all made from the same lump (dust of the earth). God will show His wrath, and make His power known through those who are thoroughly complete to destruction. Did God make them thoroughly complete to destruction as you suppose He made the nation? Not according to the Genesis account, where God says, all He created was "very good." (Gen 1:31) None of that has anything to do with God forming few to be saved and the rest to be damned for eternity without giving anyone a choice in the matter. Also, God chose to show His power through Pharaoh because he had already hardened his own heart. It's not as if He just randomly chose someone through which to display His power.


Ro 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
Ro 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
Ro 9:22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted [thoroughly complete - see Strong's Greek 2675] to destruction:

God endures with much longsuffering those thoroughly complete to destruction, shewing them His wrath, and making His power known through them. Yes, but you seem to miss the fact that they, like Pharaoh, first harden their own hearts. Also, that passage is not about God creating some people who would be saved and some to be condemned. How do you go from honor and dishonor to salvation and damnation? You seem to think that God randomly chose some to salvation and the rest to damnation while using no criteria to do so. Is that something a God who is not a respecter of persons and loves the world enough to send His Son to die for their sins would do?

The context of the question "who are thou that repliest against God?" has to do with who God chooses for certain purposes, not with who God chooses to salvation or damnation. Pharaoh wasn't the only person who had hardened his/her own heart. He may have tried to ask "why are you using me to show your power instead of someone else"? Also, Esau could have tried to ask "why do I have to serve Jacob and why couldn't you have chosen to have Israel descend from me instead?". But we have no right to ask such questions because God can choose whoever He wants for His purposes.

Again, this has nothing to do with God choosing some to salvation and some to damnation without giving people any choice in the matter. That is not what Romans 9 is about.

If your explanation was true then Joshua would have been quite mistaken in telling people that they needed to choose between serving the Lord or false gods. The way you look at it, they were all chosen already by God to either serve the Lord or serve false gods so they couldn't have had any choice to do one or the other.

BrckBrln
Sep 30th 2008, 03:58 PM
Morning drew,

Do you have a link to the other argument somewhere? I wouldn't mind taking a look. For me this is the ultimate logical sticking point... how can we be free to choose B if its foreknown that we will choose A.

Cheers,
Legoman

You're exactly right. History and the future is fixed in time. Whether you believe it's fixed because of God's foreknowledge or preordination is another issue, but either way all events are fixed.

divaD
Sep 30th 2008, 04:08 PM
Morning drew,

Do you have a link to the other argument somewhere? I wouldn't mind taking a look. For me this is the ultimate logical sticking point... how can we be free to choose B if its foreknown that we will choose A.

Cheers,
Legoman



legoman, here is a question i would like to pose to you. The question is a little more complex that what it may seem. Does God deal with us in realtime? By that, I mean as in now. Let's say that an hour from now, God knows that you will choose A. Let's say choice A is not a good thing, but choice B is. Could an hour from now, since God already knows you will choose A, could He in realtime influence you to choose B? And if not, can we even claim God has anything to do with us at all, in relation to realtime, as in right now?

BrckBrln
Sep 30th 2008, 04:12 PM
legoman, here is a question i would like to pose to you. The question is a little more complex that what it may seem. Does God deal with us in realtime? By that, I mean as in now. Let's say that an hour from now, God knows that you will choose A. Let's say choice A is not a good thing, but choice B is. Could an hour from now, since God already knows you will choose A, could He in realtime influence you to choose B? And if not, can we even claim God has anything to do with us at all, in relation to realtime, as in right now?

Yes, God deals with us in real time but God is not bound by real time. If God knows someone will choose A then they will choose A. Lets say maybe the person was planning on choosing A but then something happens and then he chooses B, well then God knew all along he would choose B, so the event was fixed. So yes God can and does influence us and work with us in real time but that doesn't mean the outcome is not fixed.

John146
Sep 30th 2008, 04:31 PM
Hmm - you're forgetting the big issues which are WHY and HOW we choose God - think about it: if we are spiritually blind, how can we see unless God first opens our eyes? If we are spiritually deaf to His voice, how can we hear unless God first unstops our ears? If our minds are darkened in unbelief, how can we decide that it would be wise to follow Christ, unless God first enlightened our thinking? If we have cold and unresponsive hearts of stone, how can we respond lovingly to God, unless he first gives us a heart of flesh?Here's what I think you are not considering here. Scripture teaches that people close their own eyes and stop their own ears before God ever decides to give them over to their sin and a reprobate mind. We are not born with closed spiritual eyes and stopped spiritual ears, as you seem to be suggesting. Some people take the concept of spiritual death too far.

Matthew 13:15 (also Acts 28:27)
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

This is a quote from Isaiah 6:10. If they had not closed their own eyes, hardened their own hearts and stopped their own ears then they could have understood and been converted and healed.

Acts 7
49Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? 50Hath not my hand made all these things?
51Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

Once again, it is the religious Jews that Stephen was speaking to that resisted the Holy Spirit because of their stubborn refusal to answer His call. They remained uncircumcised in heart and ears because they hardened their own hearts and stopped their own ears.

2 Timothy 4
3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Once again, we see that people reject the gospel as a result of stopping their own spiritual ears. It is because of their own lusts that they "turn away their ears from the truth". All the responsibility for not believing is place upon man rather than saying it's only because God never gave them any ability to believe.

All people are born with the ability to make moral decisions. That everyone is spiritually dead (before being born again) does not mean we do not have that ability unless we happen to be fortunate enough to be among the few to whom God gives that ability. It is a God given ability that all people have. It's what we call the conscience.

1 Timothy 4
1Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

What does this passage mean? It means that all people have a choice that they can make using their God-given conscience. Some choose to depart from the faith as a result of giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. Are we going to try to say they had no choice but to give heed to the seducing spirits and false doctrines? Where does it say that? For some, once they make the decision to follow after seducing spirits and false doctrines, then their conscience becomes seared and they can no longer tell right from wrong and make the right decision.


Now - a corpse cannot see, hear, think or feel - or do anything volitionally - and we are spiritual corpses - dead in trespasses and sins. So how do we choose God - something that has to happen after we see, hear, think through and feel our need to be right with God and trust in and follow Christ - unless He first works in our hearts in these spiritual ways? If we accept that He MUST work first, then we will realise not only that He chooses FIRST, but that our choice of Him is based on HIS choice of us and His subsequent decision to cure our blindness, deafness, unenlightened mind and stubborn sin-loving heart - NOT because of OUR choice of Him! We COULD not choose Him - He HAD to choose us - but His gracious working in our hearts enables us to choose Him FREELY! :ppIf we can choose Him freely doesn't that also mean we could freely choose to reject Him? I believe what you're saying here is a result of not taking passages like I quoted earlier into account. Yes, we need to hear the word of God and we need the Spirit to convict us of our sin before we can ever have faith.

But God desires all people to be saved (1 Tim 2:4) and commands and desires that all people everwhere repent (Acts 17:30, 2 Peter 3:9) and therefore wants all people to hear the word of God and His Spirit speaks to all people's hearts and consciences in an effort to convict them of their sin. Unfortunately, many choose to reject the gospel and resist the Spirit. This places the blame for rejecting Christ and the gospel squarely on man, where it belongs.

Eric

John146
Sep 30th 2008, 04:35 PM
Yes, God deals with us in real time but God is not bound by real time. If God knows someone will choose A then they will choose A. Lets say maybe the person was planning on choosing A but then something happens and then he chooses B, well then God knew all along he would choose B, so the event was fixed.How was the event fixed if the person had a choice? The person is making the choice. How does this mean it was fixed just because God knew what choice they would make? God isn't making the choice for them. That would be the only way it was fixed. Instead, God is giving the person the choice and yet knows the choice they will make. That doesn't make much sense to our human understanding without considering that He works both outside and inside the realm of time.

threebigrocks
Sep 30th 2008, 04:43 PM
Hi Roger,

Yes that is another way to explain it. My comment: we are slaves to Satan, until God opens our eyes and sets us free. Then we become slaves to Christ.

Is that fair to say? In the sense that we still don't have free will, but now we willingly volunteer to follow Christ. We can do nothing else because God has opened our eyes.

Is that close to your view?

Legoman

No, we are not slaves to Christ. Look at Hagar and Ishmael. Ishmael was the son of a slavewoman or bondservant. This denies that we are not slaves but children of the almighty God. How can we be adopted as sons and daughters if we are a slave?


Hi threebigrocks,
I basically agree with you here to a point. Yes, we have obtained an inheritance in him. That was our predestination.

My contention is with the second part of verse 11 though, which can be viewed as a separate thought. It is giving a description of God and God's plan. It is a sub-thought within the main paragraph. Something like this:

Main thought: All things in Christ have been gathered in him, and this is our inheritance which has been predestined according to God's purpose.

Sub-thought: God has a purpose and works all things according to that purpose.

It is this sub-thought that is the point of discussion. If the sub-thought is as I have stated here, then it means that God predestines everything.

But you are ignoring the verses that say we cannot choose God, only God can choose us (John 6:44, John 6:65).

Your question on why God would need to send a savior if everything was predestined has already been answered elsewhere in this thread.

God works through a process. He decided that there needed to be a sacrifice for sin, and that he needed to send his son to atone for our sins and be that sacrifice. Why? We can speculate on the reasons, but that is what he decided and planned.

Sure God could have snapped his fingers and saved everyone, but for some reason he didn't do that. I would guess that he did it this way so we would learn something. I'm sure God has his reasons :)

Cheers,
Legoman

Christ being sent is only speculative??? :o We can't know why the Father sent the Son?? We can and do know from scripture.

John 6


43Jesus answered and said to them, "Do not grumble among yourselves.
44"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.
45"It is written in the prophets, 'AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.
46"Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father.
47"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.


He who believes has eternal life, through Christ. The Father draws us to the Son, but we need to believe. If we don't - there is no raising up on the last day. People can choose to run from God. Some will do so their whole lives and never believe. We are not slaves, we are free to choose.


65And He was saying, "For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father."
66As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. 67So Jesus said to the twelve, "You do not want to go away also, do you?"
68Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.
69"We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God."


Here, Peter was called and BELIEVED. And it wasn't some "Oh wow, I believe" but a conviction so strong that he can't imagine anywhere else to be but in the presence of God. Peter believed that strongly.

God wishes all to be saved. He puts forth evidence of Himself in front of us all, there is no excuse for any man to not choose to believe. Without choosing to believe God drawing us near means absolutely nothing.

BrckBrln
Sep 30th 2008, 04:44 PM
Instead, God is giving the person the choice and yet knows the choice they will make.

And therefore that choice was fixed. The person will never choose something that God didn't already know about so in the grand scheme of things, all events are fixed. God is outside of time so he knows how the future will play out but since we are in time we don't know how it will play out but we know that it's fixed. It's like in the movie The Matrix Reloaded, I believe, when the 'oracle' said to Neo that you have already made your choice, you just have to understand why. We have already made all of our choices and now we just have to live them out.

9Marksfan
Sep 30th 2008, 04:54 PM
Here's what I think you are not considering here. Scripture teaches that people close their own eyes and stop their own ears before God ever decides to give them over to their sin and a reprobate mind. We are not born with closed spiritual eyes and stopped spiritual ears, as you seem to be suggesting. Some people take the concept of spiritual death too far.

Matthew 13:15 (also Acts 28:27)
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

This is a quote from Isaiah 6:10. If they had not closed their own eyes, hardened their own hearts and stopped their own ears then they could have understood and been converted and healed.

Acts 7
49Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? 50Hath not my hand made all these things?
51Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

Once again, it is the religious Jews that Stephen was speaking to that resisted the Holy Spirit because of their stubborn refusal to answer His call. They were uncircumsized in heart and ears because they hardened their own hearts and stopped their own ears.

2 Timothy 4
3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Once again, we see that people reject the gospel as a result of stopping their own spiritual ears. It is because of their own lusts that they "turn away their ears from the truth". All the responsibility for not believing is place upon man rather than saying it's only because God never gave them any ability to believe.

All people are born with the ability to make moral decisions. That everyone is spiritually dead (before being born again) does not mean we do not have that ability unless we happen to be fortunate enough to be among the few to whom God gives that ability. It is a God given ability that all people have. It's what we call the conscience.

1 Timothy 4
1Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

What does this passage mean? It means that all people have a choice that they can make using their God-given conscience. Some choose to depart from the faith as a result of giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. Are we going to try to say they had no choice but to give heed to the seducing spirits and false doctrines? Where does it say that? For some, once they make the decision to follow after seducing spirits and false doctrines, then their conscience becomes seared and they can no longer tell right from wrong and make the right decision.

If we can choose Him freely doesn't that also mean we could freely choose to reject Him? I believe what you're saying here is a result of not taking passages like I quoted earlier into account. Yes, we need to hear the word of God and we need the Spirit to convict us of our sin before we can ever have faith.

But God desires all people to be saved (1 Tim 2:4) and commands and desires that all people everwhere repent (Acts 17:30, 2 Peter 3:9) and therefore wants all people to hear the word of God and His Spirit speaks to all people's hearts and consciences in an effort to convict them of their sin. Unfortunately, many choose to reject the gospel and resist the Spirit. This places the blame for rejecting Christ and the gospel squarely on man, where it belongs.

Eric

Hi Eric

Thanks very much foir your well-thought out and well-argued post - on first reading, there's actually very little at all that I disagree with in it! I think the only issue I would have is the Acts 7 passage - it doesn't actually say that their hearts BECAME uncircumcised - and I think that that is, er, the "heart" of the matter - it's the unregenerate heart that is the problem - so that when the eyes, ears and mind that OUGHT to respond to the promptings of conscience CHOOSE to become blind, deaf and closed, then that is the workings of our hearts - I don't deny that God has given every man the ability to make moral decisions because of the gift of conscience - and that, as you rightly say, the responsibility for rejecting Christ rests fairly and squarely with man, who freely chose to do so - ni unwillingness on God's part to save. Maybe we're not that far apart after all! :)

John146
Sep 30th 2008, 04:59 PM
And therefore that choice was fixed. The person will never choose something that God didn't already know about so in the grand scheme of things, all events are fixed. God is outside of time so he knows how the future will play out but since we are in time we don't know how it will play out but we know that it's fixed. It's like in the movie The Matrix Reloaded, I believe, when the 'oracle' said to Neo that you have already made your choice, you just have to understand why. We have already made all of our choices and now we just have to live them out.From God's perspective outside of the realm of time, we have already made our choices. But not from our perspective within the realm of time. At least you seem to agree that God allows people to make their own choices. Do you believe people are (or "were") required to make a choice regarding whether to repent and believe the gospel or not?

John146
Sep 30th 2008, 05:10 PM
Hi Eric

Thanks very much foir your well-thought out and well-argued post - on first reading, there's actually very little at all that I disagree with in it!Well, that's encouraging. :)


I think the only issue I would have is the Acts 7 passage - it doesn't actually say that their hearts BECAME uncircumcised - and I think that that is, er, the "heart" of the matter - it's the unregenerate heart that is the problem - so that when the eyes, ears and mind that OUGHT to respond to the promptings of conscience CHOOSE to become blind, deaf and closed, then that is the workings of our hearts - I don't deny that God has given every man the ability to make moral decisions because of the gift of conscience - and that, as you rightly say, the responsibility for rejecting Christ rests fairly and squarely with man, who freely chose to do so - ni unwillingness on God's part to save. Maybe we're not that far apart after all! :)I didn't mean that their hearts became uncircumcised. Sorry if it came across that way. I can see now how you could have read it that way so I changed it to say "they remained uncircumcised in heart and ears because..." instead of "they were uncircumcised in heart and ears because...". All people's hearts are uncircumcised before they are circumcised by the Spirit upon being born again and saved.

What I believe is that they hardened their own hearts, stopped their own ears and closed their own eyes just like the other passages I quoted talk about. They are called "stiffnecked" because they were stubborn and hardened their own hearts to the truth. They resisted the Holy Spirit. How could they resist the Holy Spirit unless the Holy Spirit was calling them to repentance? So, it was their choice to resist the Holy Spirit. It wasn't because they never had any ability to respond to the Spirit's call.

Rhyfelwr
Sep 30th 2008, 05:36 PM
I don't think that removing free will as we think of it may also remove our accoutability when making decisions.

Using a very vague example, say I have to make a decision, and choose either Good or Bad.

Presuming God did not influence circumstances (force His will into the matter), then I had ten points in making me choose 'God', and ten points for making me choose 'Bad'. For the sake of this example, presume I will choose the option that has the most points.

However, if we believe in predestination then it would be inevitable God's will would prevail. And say for whatever reason, God wanted me to take what appeared to be the 'Bad' decision (perhaps because in the long term He knows better and it will have positive consequences). So, God alters my situation so that there are 15 points of favour of choosing 'Bad', and 5 points in favour of choosing 'Good'. Since 'Bad' now has more points, I will definitely choose that option. And indeed that is the choice I make. God's will has prevailed. God has influenced my decision, indeed forced my decision. But equally I chose to do pick the 'Bad' option, when I believed it would have evil consequences. Therefore, I am accountable for making that wicked decision.

Any thoughts on this? I'm not trying to argue I just want to understand the issue...

drew
Sep 30th 2008, 05:51 PM
Morning drew,

Do you have a link to the other argument somewhere? I wouldn't mind taking a look. For me this is the ultimate logical sticking point... how can we be free to choose B if its foreknown that we will choose A.

Cheers,
Legoman
I believe that this is the site that, three years ago, convinced me that foreknowledge is compatible with the exercise of free will. I did not double check the content (no time), but if my memory is ok, this guy makes what I think is a slam-dunk case for the "compatibility" position.

legoman
Sep 30th 2008, 06:11 PM
No, we are not slaves to Christ. Look at Hagar and Ishmael. Ishmael was the son of a slavewoman or bondservant. This denies that we are not slaves but children of the almighty God. How can we be adopted as sons and daughters if we are a slave?


Ok perhaps slave is the wrong word. But if the predestination model is correct, then we are not "free" as in using our "free will" to choose Christ. We simply choose Christ because God first chose us, opened our eyes, and allowed us to see the truth.



Christ being sent is only speculative??? :o We can't know why the Father sent the Son?? We can and do know from scripture.
OK threebigrocks, you know what I meant. Of course we know God sent his son to save us from our sins. But why did he have to do it that why? If God is all-powerful, he could save us any way he felt like. Snap his fingers, boom we are saved. Or instead of sending his son as a mortal human for a temporary time, why not send Jesus in his spiritual immortal body, to be stationed permanently on earth, so everyone could see his glory right off the bat? That would most likely save a lot more people then, wouldn't it? But for some reason he chose to do it the way it happened.

My point is we don't know the specific reasons of God's plan, but God does. He does things for a reason, including sending his son in the flesh, to be raised again.



John 6:44-47


He who believes has eternal life, through Christ. The Father draws us to the Son, but we need to believe. If we don't - there is no raising up on the last day. People can choose to run from God. Some will do so their whole lives and never believe. We are not slaves, we are free to choose.

John 6:65-69

Here, Peter was called and BELIEVED. And it wasn't some "Oh wow, I believe" but a conviction so strong that he can't imagine anywhere else to be but in the presence of God. Peter believed that strongly.

God wishes all to be saved. He puts forth evidence of Himself in front of us all, there is no excuse for any man to not choose to believe. Without choosing to believe God drawing us near means absolutely nothing.As I read it, the intent of these verses is that no one can believe unless the Father enables him first.

If the Father enables someone to believe, then they will choose to believe for themselves. No if's, and's, or but's.

But if someone hears the gospel, and doesn't believe, I would suggest the Father has not enabled them (yet).

Just my take on those verses.

Legoman

legoman
Sep 30th 2008, 06:12 PM
I believe that this is the site that, three years ago, convinced me that foreknowledge is compatible with the exercise of free will. I did not double check the content (no time), but if my memory is ok, this guy makes what I think is a slam-dunk case for the "compatibility" position.

Did the link get deleted? If its not allowed to be posted here, maybe you can just PM it to me.

Thanks drew,

Legoman

drew
Sep 30th 2008, 06:13 PM
Did the link get deleted? If its not allowed to be posted here, maybe you can just PM it to me.

Thanks drew,

Legoman
Oooops. I forgot put the link in. I see no reason why it cannot be posted here:

http://www.sfu.ca/philosophy/swartz/freewill1.htm

RogerW
Sep 30th 2008, 07:25 PM
Hi Roger,

Yes that is another way to explain it. My comment: we are slaves to Satan, until God opens our eyes and sets us free. Then we become slaves to Christ.

Is that fair to say? In the sense that we still don't have free will, but now we willingly volunteer to follow Christ. We can do nothing else because God has opened our eyes.

Is that close to your view?

Legoman

Hi Legoman,

Nope, that's not close to my view....that's exactly my view! ;)

Many Blessings,
RW

John146
Sep 30th 2008, 07:31 PM
I don't think that removing free will as we think of it may also remove our accoutability when making decisions.

Using a very vague example, say I have to make a decision, and choose either Good or Bad.

Presuming God did not influence circumstances (force His will into the matter), then I had ten points in making me choose 'God', and ten points for making me choose 'Bad'. For the sake of this example, presume I will choose the option that has the most points.

However, if we believe in predestination then it would be inevitable God's will would prevail. And say for whatever reason, God wanted me to take what appeared to be the 'Bad' decision (perhaps because in the long term He knows better and it will have positive consequences). So, God alters my situation so that there are 15 points of favour of choosing 'Bad', and 5 points in favour of choosing 'Good'. Since 'Bad' now has more points, I will definitely choose that option. And indeed that is the choice I make. God's will has prevailed. God has influenced my decision, indeed forced my decision. But equally I chose to do pick the 'Bad' option, when I believed it would have evil consequences. Therefore, I am accountable for making that wicked decision.

Any thoughts on this? I'm not trying to argue I just want to understand the issue...How can you be made accountable for making a decision that God forced you to make? That makes no sense at all. Can you find any scripture that would suggest that what you are describing is analogous to the way it works in reality? I'm not aware of any.

John146
Sep 30th 2008, 07:39 PM
As I read it, the intent of these verses is that no one can believe unless the Father enables him first.

If the Father enables someone to believe, then they will choose to believe for themselves. No if's, and's, or but's.

But if someone hears the gospel, and doesn't believe, I would suggest the Father has not enabled them (yet).

Just my take on those verses.

LegomanSo, you don't believe that anyone closes their own eyes and hardens their own hearts to the truth after hearing it? Instead, they don't believe only because the Father has not enabled them? How then do you explain verses like these:

Matt 13:15
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

2 Timothy 4
3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Isaiah 66
3He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine's blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.
4I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.

Notice from the Isaiah 66 passage that it is the unbelievers who first choose to reject God and do their own thing. It is only sometime after that when God "will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them". The same concept is shown in passages like Romans 1:18-32 and 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12.

RogerW
Sep 30th 2008, 08:27 PM
Nope. Surrendering oneself to the Lord for service is not a work of righteousness, but rather is a decision to give one's allegiance to the Lord rather than to Satan or false gods.

Hi Eric,

How does this happen? Does our master, Satan, to whom we serve in unbelief, simply decide to let us go so we can give our allegiance to the Lord? Being dead in trespasses and sin, makes us servants of sin.

Ro 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

When we are servants of sin, we cannot do righteousness.

Ro 6:20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

We have no fruit at all when we are servants of sin, and if we remain servants of sin, in the end we have only death.

Ro 6:21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.

There is no decision to give allegiance to the Lord, while dead in trespasses and sins, while literally servants of sin. We are made free! This is deliverance and liberation not through something we do, for we can do no righteousness. WE ARE MADE free from sin, and become servants of God. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life...how? Through our decision to give allegiance to God? NO! Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Salvation is of the LORD!

Ro 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
Ro 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.



I never said it is the service itself that would save anyone. It is the heart decision to follow the Lord that God is looking for. Once that happens then He gives people the ability to serve Him by indwelling them with His Spirit.

Eric, the hearts of every man born of Adam are stony hearts. We are servants of Satan, sin and death. In spiritual bondage! We cannot make a decision to follow the Lord until God gives us a new heart and puts His Spirit in us. Then He will CAUSE us to walk in Him.

Eze 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
Eze 36:27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

Salvation is all the work of God, from start to finish. This is why the nation, though they wanted to obey the LORD with a true heart, could not, and neither can any man born in Adam before His heart is changed by God.



You completely missed the point as you so often do. I'm not talking about anyone being saved by obeying the law so please have that conversation with someone else if you find someone who actually holds that view.

Eric, you may not realize you are espousing a view that tells us our obedience saves us, but that is exactly what you are doing when you insist that the nation chose to serve the Lord for eternal life.

Many Blessings,
RW

RogerW
Sep 30th 2008, 08:31 PM
Again, regardless of what you want to call it, the main issue, to me, is that those who choose to not repent and obey the gospel will be punished for making that choice. Those who do choose to repent and obey the gospel will be rewarded. Agree?

Exactly Eric! Every single man born in Adam chooses not to repent and obey the gospel? Why? Because it is the only choice he can make in his spiritually dead free will. No man can choose to be righteous of himself. Those who do freely choose can only do so because God has changed their hearts, and made them willing to come to Him that they might have eternal life.

Many Blessings,
RW

Rhyfelwr
Sep 30th 2008, 08:48 PM
How can you be made accountable for making a decision that God forced you to make? That makes no sense at all. Can you find any scripture that would suggest that what you are describing is analogous to the way it works in reality? I'm not aware of any.

Because I still weighed up the options and selected a certain course through my own reasoning. And yet God knew what choice I would make, it was the only option I could ever have take, because it was part of his plan. But as far as I knew at the time I was choosing a wicked option, therefore I can be judged for that.

That is why people can be judged to be wicked when they are born slaves to sin. Of course, God must choose us if we are to choose Him, as only He can open our eyes.

RogerW
Sep 30th 2008, 09:04 PM
How can you be made accountable for making a decision that God forced you to make? That makes no sense at all. Can you find any scripture that would suggest that what you are describing is analogous to the way it works in reality? I'm not aware of any.

Eric,

Why would you think that God must force the decision we make to turn to Him for life? God does not force us to come to Him for life. He changes our heart, our will, and our mind; making us willing to come to Him. Does He believe for us? No way! We believe. Why? Because He changed our heart, our will and our mind; enabling us to believe that we could turn to Him in repentance and faith.

No force of God involved or even needed. All predestined from before the foundation of the world, that His elect, written in the Lamb's Book of Life would be given, not offered eternal life in Him. This is the all encompassing love that God bestows upon His people. He did not have to predestine any man to receive eternal life in Christ. In fact no man deserves this precious gift from our beloved Savior. And it certainly is not a gift we can take credit for obtaining through some imagined free will. Salvation is all of God, for His glory...to Him be all the glory...AMEN!

Many Blessings,
RW

Rhyfelwr
Sep 30th 2008, 09:24 PM
I've found more evidence in the Psalms for God choosing us, it can't get more blatant that this, Psalm 65:

4 Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.

Also what do people think of my idea on how we can still be held accountable for decisions made, while God's will remains sovereign, as is His role in salvation?

If we can be shown to be accountable for our evil decisions, then that shows how God is just in condemning us even though we are born slaves to sin.

Is it not a case of God's will and our [perceived] free will going hand-in-hand?

RogerW
Sep 30th 2008, 09:36 PM
Here's what I think you are not considering here. Scripture teaches that people close their own eyes and stop their own ears before God ever decides to give them over to their sin and a reprobate mind. We are not born with closed spiritual eyes and stopped spiritual ears, as you seem to be suggesting. Some people take the concept of spiritual death too far.

Yes, Eric this is what Scripture teaches. Do you think those Jews of Jesus' time were any different than any other man born in Adam? Don't we all close our ears and eyes before we are saved? And wouldn't we all be turned over to our sin and a reprobate mind if we remain in unbelief?



Matthew 13:15 (also Acts 28:27)
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

This is a quote from Isaiah 6:10. If they had not closed their own eyes, hardened their own hearts and stopped their own ears then they could have understood and been converted and healed.

Again, are they doing anything different than any other man born in Adam before salvation?




Acts 7
49Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? 50Hath not my hand made all these things?
51Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

Once again, it is the religious Jews that Stephen was speaking to that resisted the Holy Spirit because of their stubborn refusal to answer His call. They remained uncircumcised in heart and ears because they hardened their own hearts and stopped their own ears.

Of course they remained in rebellion because of their own willful sin. Remember the Holy Spirit did not indwell believers until after Christ sent Him at Pentecost. So, how are they resisting the Holy Spirit? Though God had given the nation His Word, and sent prophets unto them time and again, they refused to hear those the LORD had sent, and in fact persecuted and killed them. It was not that they had resisted the call unto salvation as you assume. It was that they killed the messengers who brought the Word of life.

Ac 7:52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
Ac 7:53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels (messengers), and have not kept it.




2 Timothy 4
3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Once again, we see that people reject the gospel as a result of stopping their own spiritual ears. It is because of their own lusts that they "turn away their ears from the truth". All the responsibility for not believing is place upon man rather than saying it's only because God never gave them any ability to believe.

Once again we see a people in unbelief, who cannot hear, so of course they turn away their ears from the truth. Left in unbelief is there even one man who does not do this? Absolutely the responsibility is upon them. They love the sin they are in and have no desire for Light or life. Who is any different while remaining in unbelief? It is only after the Lord makes us willing that we can hear and believe.



All people are born with the ability to make moral decisions. That everyone is spiritually dead (before being born again) does not mean we do not have that ability unless we happen to be fortunate enough to be among the few to whom God gives that ability. It is a God given ability that all people have. It's what we call the conscience.

Our conscience tells us the difference between right and wrong, but having a conscience and knowing this difference does not make us do that we know is right. We are all born in Adam in the same fallen condition. We know what is right, and we know that we should come to Christ for life, but we won't. Why? Because we have no desire to. We will only choose that which our fallen nature allows. We cannot choose against what is natural for us. Only when we have been made free in Christ, do we have the ability to choose to turn to Christ in repentance and faith. God must make us willing by changing our natural desires to supernatural Christ.



1 Timothy 4
1Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

What does this passage mean? It means that all people have a choice that they can make using their God-given conscience.

Eric, our conscience only tells us what is right and wrong. If we are in unbelief our conscience is bound by our fallen nature. Even though we know the truth, we do not want life, so we have no problem turning from the truth to a lie. In fact we find comfort in this when we are in unbelief, and as you have said we finally come to a point where our conscience will no longer teach us the difference between right and wrong, so we die in unbelief even though we knew what was truth.



If we can choose Him freely doesn't that also mean we could freely choose to reject Him?

But, here's the problem Eric. In unbelief we will always reject Him. We can never freely choose to turn to Christ while remaining in unbelief. We can only freely choose Him because He has changed our will.

Many Blessings,
RW

drew
Sep 30th 2008, 09:40 PM
How can you be made accountable for making a decision that God forced you to make? That makes no sense at all. Can you find any scripture that would suggest that what you are describing is analogous to the way it works in reality? I'm not aware of any.
I share your objection and have always found it mysterious how some can integrate moral accountability into a world view where all one's actions have been fore-ordained (in the strong "determinative" sense, not in the weak "foreknown" sense) by someone else.

John146
Sep 30th 2008, 09:42 PM
Hi Eric,

How does this happen? Does our master, Satan, to whom we serve in unbelief, simply decide to let us go so we can give our allegiance to the Lord?No, that's why there's constantly spiritual warfare going on. But who is stronger, the Lord or Satan? Are you going to suggest that the Lord is not able to overcome Satan's influence in order to influence people to want to serve Him instead?


Being dead in trespasses and sin, makes us servants of sin.

Ro 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

When we are servants of sin, we cannot do righteousness.

Ro 6:20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

We have no fruit at all when we are servants of sin, and if we remain servants of sin, in the end we have only death.

Ro 6:21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.

There is no decision to give allegiance to the Lord, while dead in trespasses and sins, while literally servants of sin.Says you. Not scripture. I'm not talking about one's ability to do righteousness. Since when is making a moral decision a work of righteousness? It's not.


We are made free! This is deliverance and liberation not through something we do, for we can do no righteousness. WE ARE MADE free from sin, and become servants of God. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life...how? Through our decision to give allegiance to God? NO! Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Salvation is of the LORD!

Ro 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
Ro 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.You deny that there is anything that a spiritually dead man can do to be saved, but scripture says otherwise.

Acts 16
30And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Acts 2
36Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
37Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.



Eric, the hearts of every man born of Adam are stony hearts. We are servants of Satan, sin and death. In spiritual bondage! We cannot make a decision to follow the Lord until God gives us a new heart and puts His Spirit in us. Then He will CAUSE us to walk in Him.

Eze 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
Eze 36:27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

Salvation is all the work of God, from start to finish. This is why the nation, though they wanted to obey the LORD with a true heart, could not, and neither can any man born in Adam before His heart is changed by God. I'm not talking about what things are like after we are born again/saved. When we are born again/saved God makes us a new creature. I'm not denying any of that, Roger. You are misunderstanding me. I'm talking about one's ability to make moral decisions to either humble themselves, repent and accept Christ or not. That we are sinners with hearts of flesh does not mean we are incapable of making moral decisions. Look at this:

Luke 18
9And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

So, what does Jesus teach here? He talks about two spiritually dead men, one of whom was a publican and the other a Pharisee. The Pharisee was proud of himself and believed he was righteous. He spoke about how he wasn't like other people and spoke about all the supposed good things that he did. The publican, on the other hand, realized that he was not righteous and humbled himself by acknowledging that he was a sinner and asking God for mercy.

Then Jesus said that the publican was justified rather than the Pharisee. Why? Because the publican humbled himself while the Pharisee exalted himself. This was by their own choice. That's why it talks in terms of a person humbling himself or exalting himself. It's not God forcing them to be humble or prideful. They humble or exalt themselves. It does not indicate that the publican humbled himself because he was first born again. You don't have to be born again to be able to acknowledge that you're a sinner in need of mercy and forgiveness. The Bible does not teach that anywhere.

The Spirit does convict people of sin, but the Spirit works on all people to accomplish this. But some people, like the Pharisees, resist the Spirit's call to repentance (Acts 7:51). That's why all the blame for not repenting and believing falls on them alone. It isn't because they had no ability to repent and believe. It is that they freely chose to stubbornly refuse to answer the call of the Holy Spirit and resisted Him instead.


Eric, you may not realize you are espousing a view that tells us our obedience saves us, but that is exactly what you are doing when you insist that the nation chose to serve the Lord for eternal life.

Many Blessings,
RWI already explained this to you, Roger, so if you want to ignore my explanation, I can't help that. It is what is in one's heart that God looks at. If one indicates a desire to give their lives to the Lord to be His servant rather than to false gods then he/she is showing that they are putting their faith and trust in the Lord. It isn't the actual serving or works of righteousness that has anything to do with being saved (Titus 3:5-7), but the attitude of the heart. The publican from Luke 18 was justified because he changed the attitude of his heart by acknowledging that he was a sinner and needed God's mercy.

John146
Sep 30th 2008, 09:45 PM
Eric,

Why would you think that God must force the decision we make to turn to Him for life?Roger, I was responding to someone else making that claim. I was speaking using the terms that he was using. :rolleyes:

9Marksfan
Sep 30th 2008, 09:57 PM
I've found more evidence in the Psalms for God choosing us, it can't get more blatant that this, Psalm 65:

4 Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.

Also what do people think of my idea on how we can still be held accountable for decisions made, while God's will remains sovereign, as is His role in salvation?

If we can be shown to be accountable for our evil decisions, then that shows how God is just in condemning us even though we are born slaves to sin.

Is it not a case of God's will and our [perceived] free will going hand-in-hand?

Perfectly said.

John146
Sep 30th 2008, 09:58 PM
Exactly Eric! Every single man born in Adam chooses not to repent and obey the gospel?Not every man continues to make that choice their entire lives.


Why? Because it is the only choice he can make in his spiritually dead free will.And this is taught where?


No man can choose to be righteous of himself.I never said anyone could. What I am claiming is that even a spiritually dead person can acknowledge that he/she is a sinner in need of God's mercy and forgiveness and salvation through Jesus Christ. Scripture clearly teaches that people are capable of humbling themselves in response to the word of God being preached to them as well as the Spirit speaking to their souls and consciences while convicting them of their sinful and lost state.


Those who do freely choose can only do so because God has changed their hearts, and made them willing to come to Him that they might have eternal life.Where does scripture teach this? If you quote the scripture that says people can only come to Christ if God draws them then realize that the scripture says nothing about this drawing having anything to do with changing people's hearts to the extent that they can't help but come to Christ.

God draws and calls many people, yet only few are chosen. What is your explanation for that? Do you believe God calls some that He never gives any chance or ability to answer the call? If so, what sense does that make?

Eric

9Marksfan
Sep 30th 2008, 10:03 PM
So, you don't believe that anyone closes their own eyes and hardens their own hearts to the truth after hearing it? Instead, they don't believe only because the Father has not enabled them? How then do you explain verses like these:

Not wanting to disappoint your earlier encouragement, Eric, but this is where we disagree - I'm with you in sinners being free to choose to reject God - that is what all your verses testify to - but on the other hand, I firmly believe that none of us will NATURALLY turn to God in the way He would have us do (ie not out of selfish desires to escape hell, be happy etc) without His intervention and enabling. Because of the inclination of our hearts towards sin and not God, I believe He MUST intervene and cause us to come to Him (Ps 65) - yet the way He does this does not mean that He FORCES us to come - rather, by placing new desires in our heart, He ensures that we freely CHOOSE to come - in line with our new, regenerated wills.

John146
Sep 30th 2008, 10:04 PM
I've found more evidence in the Psalms for God choosing us, it can't get more blatant that this, Psalm 65:

4 Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.But do you ignore the scriptures that speak of WHY God chooses us? Jesus said that many are called, but few are chosen. Why do you suppose that that many are called but still not chosen? Read Matthew 22:1-14 to find the answer.


Also what do people think of my idea on how we can still be held accountable for decisions made, while God's will remains sovereign, as is His role in salvation?

If we can be shown to be accountable for our evil decisions, then that shows how God is just in condemning us even though we are born slaves to sin.

Is it not a case of God's will and our [perceived] free will going hand-in-hand?Didn't you earlier say that God forces people to make the decisions that they make? In that case, we don't really make decisions at all because God makes them for us. This is senseless, IMO.

BrckBrln
Sep 30th 2008, 10:05 PM
On the subject of responsibility and determinism, well, I think it's obvious that the crucifixion was preordained by God, so that presumably means that the actions (even thoughts) of the men responsible for the act were also preordained by God. And I think we all would agree that these people will be held responsible for what they did to Jesus, right? So if this applies to the crucifixion then why not everyday life? Everything is preordained yet we are all responsible.

John146
Sep 30th 2008, 10:13 PM
Not wanting to disappoint your earlier encouragement, Eric, but this is where we disagree - I'm with you in sinners being free to choose to reject God - that is what all your verses testify to - but on the other hand, I firmly believe that none of us will NATURALLY turn to God in the way He would have us do (ie not out of selfish desires to escape hell, be happy etc) without His intervention and enabling. Because of the inclination of our hearts towards sin and not God, I believe He MUST intervene and cause us to come to Him (Ps 65) - yet the way He does this does not mean that He FORCES us to come - rather, by placing new desires in our heart, He ensures that we freely CHOOSE to come - in line with our new, regenerated wills.I don't see scripture, including Psalm 65, teaching such a thing. It can't be true that anyone is free to choose anything if it is God who either gives one the ability or does not give one the ability to believe in Him or not. In this scenario, God makes all the decisions and we are rendered as puppets.

Can you give me your interpretation of this passage:

Luke 18
9And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Maybe I'm missing it, but I don't see where it says God enabled the publican to humble himself while not enabling the Pharisee to do so. And why does it speak of a person humbling himself if people need God to make them humble before they can repent and believe? Seems to me that we are required to make the choice to either humble ourselves and acknowledge that we are sinners or continue to exalt ourselves as if we are not sinners in need of forgiveness and mercy.

John146
Sep 30th 2008, 10:31 PM
Yes, Eric this is what Scripture teaches. Do you think those Jews of Jesus' time were any different than any other man born in Adam? Don't we all close our ears and eyes before we are saved? And wouldn't we all be turned over to our sin and a reprobate mind if we remain in unbelief? We have the choice to close our ears and eyes to the truth or to acknowledge the truth. The reason people aren't saved is due to a stubborn refusal to accept the truth (2 Thess 2:9-10, Acts 7:51).


Again, are they doing anything different than any other man born in Adam before salvation? I believe so. I believe it is speaking in terms of people who have decided to completely reject the gospel with no intention of ever even considering whether or not to believe in it again. How can they close their eyes and ears to the truth if their eyes and ears weren't ever open in the first place?


Of course they remained in rebellion because of their own willful sin. Remember the Holy Spirit did not indwell believers until after Christ sent Him at Pentecost. So, how are they resisting the Holy Spirit? Though God had given the nation His Word, and sent prophets unto them time and again, they refused to hear those the LORD had sent, and in fact persecuted and killed them. It was not that they had resisted the call unto salvation as you assume. It was that they killed the messengers who brought the Word of life.

Ac 7:52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
Ac 7:53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels (messengers), and have not kept it. It specifically says that they, the Pharisees, as well as their fathers always resist the Spirit. How do these verses that follow say otherwise? If they hadn't freely chosen to resist the Spirit's call, look what Jesus says would have happened:

Matthew 23
37O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

They are solely responsible for their own free will decision to reject Christ. Had they not rejected Him, He would "have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings".


Once again we see a people in unbelief, who cannot hear, so of course they turn away their ears from the truth. Left in unbelief is there even one man who does not do this? Absolutely the responsibility is upon them. They love the sin they are in and have no desire for Light or life. Who is any different while remaining in unbelief? It is only after the Lord makes us willing that we can hear and believe. Where does scripture teach that?


Our conscience tells us the difference between right and wrong, but having a conscience and knowing this difference does not make us do that we know is right.It doesn't make us do what we know is right, but it means we know what is right and wrong and we have the ability to then choose to either do what is right: repent and believe in Christ or what is wrong: reject Christ.


We are all born in Adam in the same fallen condition. We know what is right, and we know that we should come to Christ for life, but we won't.We will if we are called and hear the word of God and then choose to come to Christ. Many are called, hear the word of God and choose not to come to Christ. That's why many are called, but few are chosen.


Why? Because we have no desire to. We will only choose that which our fallen nature allows. We cannot choose against what is natural for us. Only when we have been made free in Christ, do we have the ability to choose to turn to Christ in repentance and faith. God must make us willing by changing our natural desires to supernatural Christ. Where does scripture teach this? Less opinion and more scripture, please.


Eric, our conscience only tells us what is right and wrong. If we are in unbelief our conscience is bound by our fallen nature.Scripture?


Even though we know the truth, we do not want life, so we have no problem turning from the truth to a lie.Not everyone. Read Romans 1.


In fact we find comfort in this when we are in unbelief, and as you have said we finally come to a point where our conscience will no longer teach us the difference between right and wrong, so we die in unbelief even though we knew what was truth. People freely choose to follow after seducing spirits and false doctrines. God doesn't make it so that people can't help but to do that.


But, here's the problem Eric. In unbelief we will always reject Him. We can never freely choose to turn to Christ while remaining in unbelief. We can only freely choose Him because He has changed our will. Where does scripture teach this? Is this what we find in passages like this:

Luke 18
9And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

RogerW
Oct 1st 2008, 02:44 AM
We have the choice to close our ears and eyes to the truth or to acknowledge the truth. The reason people aren't saved is due to a stubborn refusal to accept the truth (2 Thess 2:9-10, Acts 7:51).

I totally agree. In unbelief we refuse to accept the truth. We couldn't accept the truth in unbelief even if we try.



I believe so. I believe it is speaking in terms of people who have decided to completely reject the gospel with no intention of ever even considering whether or not to believe in it again. How can they close their eyes and ears to the truth if their eyes and ears weren't ever open in the first place?

Every man can hear the gospel with physical hearing. But only His sheep hear His voice (Jo 10). Eric, Scripture speaks of those who understand the gospel with physical hearing, and human wisdom. Consider those standing before the Judgment Throne proclaiming to have done many good deeds in the name and character of Christ. They know the truth through man's wisdom and physical hearing, they thought doing all these good things in the name of Christ would earn them eternal life.

But salvation doesn't come through man's wisdom or physical hearing. Unless one is given the wisdom of God in Christ, through the Holy Spirit and supernatural ability to hear His voice, they are not saved. Consider those who are part of the body, appearing to truly be in Christ, but they are not believers. They know the truth enough to make believers think they too are in Christ, but they have never been given supernatural hearing. John describes believers as having "an unction" from the Holy One, and knowing all things. "Unction" is an endowment or annointing of the Holy Spirit. Some know the truth, but never receive "an unction from the Holy One."

1Jo 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
1Jo 2:20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.



It specifically says that they, the Pharisees, as well as their fathers always resist the Spirit. How do these verses that follow say otherwise? If they hadn't freely chosen to resist the Spirit's call, look what Jesus says would have happened:

Matthew 23
37O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

They are solely responsible for their own free will decision to reject Christ. Had they not rejected Him, He would "have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings".

Of course they freely rejected Him, and they are responsible for rejecting Him. This is why they are without excuse. They know the truth, and with hard disobedient hearts, willfully reject Him. Why? Because they are born of the seed of the first Adam, and they can do nothing else. Are they any different than any human born in Adam? NO! They would not let Christ gather them to Him. He wanted to but they did not! Why? Because they are born of Adam. They are dead in trespasses and sins. They love the sin they have been born in, and therefore they will not believe they are sinners in need of the Savior.

This is the state of every man. If one man, of his own will, in His own strength would come to Christ that they might have life, Christ would be willing, but they will not, and no fallen man will. This is why Christ MUST die! No man can come to Him for life, no man can be perfect in his fallen flesh to come to Him. Unless He comes to us, and supernaturally gives us eternal life, then no man would be saved!



It doesn't make us do what we know is right, but it means we know what is right and wrong and we have the ability to then choose to either do what is right: repent and believe in Christ or what is wrong: reject Christ.

Eric, because God has given us a conscience, yes we know what is right and wrong. In unbelief we make many choices, for many reasons. But the thing we cannot do in unbelief is freely choose Christ for eternal life. We will always reject, just as the Jews did when unsaved. We cannot choose Christ for life, but He chooses us.

Joh 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

Ac 9:15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

1Jo 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.

Isa 49:1 Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.



We will if we are called and hear the word of God and then choose to come to Christ.

If we hear the Word of God then choose to come to Christ it is because we received faith through hearing the Word (Ro 10:17). Once we receive faith through hearing, they we willingly come to Christ.



Many are called, hear the word of God and choose not to come to Christ. That's why many are called, but few are chosen.

Why? Because they heard the Word with physical ears, but they were not given to hear His voice. Eric, many here the gospel call with physical hearing, and come into the covenant body (church). Unbelievers unite themselves to the covenant body for many different reasons, and they too enjoy many blessings that God bestows upon His church. But these are tares growing among the wheat. Consider the parable of the wedding feast. Both good and bad are bidden (called) to come, but those without the proper covering, the king orders to be bound hand and foot and cast into outer darkness. Why? Because many are called by few are chosen.

Mt 22:9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid [call strongs #2564] to the marriage.
Mt 22:10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
Mt 22:11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
Mt 22:12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
Mt 22:13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Mt 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

Many "hear" the gospel with physical hearing, and come into the kingdom, but do not belong in His kingdom. Therefore on the last day Christ with gather out of His kingdom all things that offend and work iniquity.

Mt 13:41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
Mt 13:42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.



Where does scripture teach this? Less opinion and more scripture, please.

1Co 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Jude 1:19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual [natural man strong's #5591], having not the Spirit.

2Co 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
2Co 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.



Scripture?

Eph 4:18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

Joh 5:21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.

Ro 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.



People freely choose to follow after seducing spirits and false doctrines. God doesn't make it so that people can't help but to do that.

Of course people freely choose to follow false spirits and false doctrines, and they will be judged accordingly. God doesn't have to make people do this, we do it when we are dead in trespasses and sins, in bondage to Satan, sin and death, having been born in Adam.



Where does scripture teach this? Is this what we find in passages like this:

Luke 18
9And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

The publican recognized that he was a sinner in need of God's mercy. What does that tell you about the publican's heart? One man exalts himself, and the other humbles himself before God, what does that tell you? The pharisee thought that his good works made him just before God, but the publican was so humbled before God that he could not even look to heaven. This tells me something was very different about the hearts of these two men. What do you think made the difference?

Many Blessings,
RW

RogerW
Oct 1st 2008, 04:22 AM
Roger, this is a case of sloppy interpretation on your part. It says "In Isaac shall thy seed be called". It's not contrasting Jacob and Esau here. It's contrasting people with faith like Isaac with those who are of the flesh who don't have faith.

Okay. Wouldn't that include ALL people with faith like Isaac and ALL people who are of the flesh with no faith?



You have to look at the previous two verses for the context, Roger.

6Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: 7Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.

The children of the flesh refers to those who were natural descendants of Abraham, which means it's referring to Israelites. The children of the flesh are not the children of God because they are not all Israel (Israel of God) who are of Israel (the nation). Notice that it says "Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children.". In verse 8, he is only expanding on what he had just said. Therefore, "children of the flesh" are natural descendants of Abraham, which was a reference to the Israelites.

So, are you saying that only the natural descendants of Abraham are the children of the flesh? Is Paul telling us about Abraham's and his natural descendents for no reason? No, they are examples for US. We too are either natural or of the flesh, or we are Spiritual and of the SEED.



But Esau was not an Israelite. The Israelites descended from Jacob.

Neither was Abraham, but he is the father of the Israelite nation, and the father of the Israelite of God. Esau on the other hand symbolizes ALL unbelievers, not just the physical unsaved seed of Abraham.



The point of Paul saying that the children of the flesh are not the children of God is because one's lineage or nationality did not make one part of the Israel (Israel of God) which is not of the nation of Israel. Being a child of the flesh, a natural descendant of Abraham, was not what made someone a child of God as many Israelites imagined. Instead, faith in Christ Jesus makes someone, whether Jew or Gentile, a child of God (Gal 3:26-29).

I have no disagreement with this statement at all. Are you aware you have just made my case? For salvation extended to the children of promise is unto ALL believers, not only the remnant of believers from the nation. The same is true of unbelievers. Every unbeliever is of a natural birth, and is not a descendant of Abraham's Spiritual SEED (Christ).



No, Isaac symbolizes the children of God. It doesn't say "in Jacob shall thy seed be called" it says "in Isaac shall thy seed be called".

When we speak of the eternal covenant, we speak of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Seed of promise (Christ) comes through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and Scripture even tells us that Christ comes through the seed of David.

Ex 2:24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.

Le 26:42 Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.

2Ki 13:23 And the LORD was gracious unto them, and had compassion on them, and had respect unto them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, neither cast he them from his presence as yet.

1Ch 16:13 O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones.

Ps 105:6 O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen.

Ps 18:50 Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and sheweth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.

Joh 7:42 Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?



Also, why is it that you don't refer to the verse that actually explains exactly what the two manner of people were?

Genesis 25:23
And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

Here are the two manner of people: One would be stronger than the other and the elder would serve the younger. That's it. It doesn't say anything about one being saved and the other not. Let scripture speak for itself.

Is Paul writing these things to give us a history lesson of the nation? Or are these things written for our example? Are you really going to argue regarding physical truth or is there a message regarding spiritual truth that must be gleened from this text? What does it mean to "serve"?

Ro 9:12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.




It just so happens that He has mercy upon all people.

Then why is there a lake of fire?



Romans 11
30For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: 31Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
32For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

Let's break down the passage here and see if we can determine what Paul means by all in unbelief and mercy upon all.

Ro 11:30 For as ye [Gentile believers] in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their [national Jews; not the remnant] unbelief:
Ro 11:31 Even so have these [national Jews] also now not believed, that through your [Gentile believers] mercy they [national Jews] also may obtain mercy.
Ro 11:32 For God hath concluded them [national Jews] all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all [Jew and Gentile believers].



Why does God have mercy upon all people? Because He is longsuffering.

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

But, as we can see in scripture, His patience does eventually run out. But He was not obliged to be as patient and longsuffering as He is towards people, but thankfully that is His nature, otherwise no one would have any hope. Instead, everyone has hope, but God requires "all people everywhere" (Acts 17:30) to repent. He doesn't do it for us.

If God has mercy on all people, then all people would be saved. Why does Paul tell us that God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy? This indicates that God does not have mercy on all people. Yes, the Lord is very long-suffering toward His people, not willing that any should perish, but waiting patiently for all of His people to come to repentance.



None of that has anything to do with God forming few to be saved and the rest to be damned for eternity without giving anyone a choice in the matter. Also, God chose to show His power through Pharaoh because he had already hardened his own heart. It's not as if He just randomly chose someone through which to display His power.

Eric, it was God Who first hardened Pharaoh. Pharaoh too, like every human was born in Adam, fallen and a servant of Satan, in bondage to sin and death. And Pharaoh was a chosen instrument, from before the foundation of the world, whereby God would dsiplay His power and glory.

Ex 4:21 And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.

Let's pretend for a moment that God does indeed give every man a choice in salvation. Who will choose Christ? Who can choose Christ? How will they choose? How can they choose? There is nothing in fallen man that makes him desire Christ.

Ps 10:4 The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.



Also, that passage is not about God creating some people who would be saved and some to be condemned. How do you go from honor and dishonor to salvation and damnation? You seem to think that God randomly chose some to salvation and the rest to damnation while using no criteria to do so. Is that something a God who is not a respecter of persons and loves the world enough to send His Son to die for their sins would do?

What does vessels of wrath thoroughly complete to destruction (fitted for destruction) mean if it does not mean to be condemned? And what does it mean to be vessels of mercy ordained (He prepared) unto glory if it does not mean salvation?

I cannot even begin to understand who, or why God chose some for salvation, while leaving the rest in fallen Adam. And I have no right to ask or even to think on the things that God has not revealed in His Word. God is not a respector of persons as He was toward the Hebrews in the OT. Now salvation is unto every nation, tribe, kindred and tongue without partiality. It is in this manner that God so loves the world. He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have eternal life. And whosoever believes will be saved. Now you need only answer who will believe, and how will they believe?



If your explanation was true then Joshua would have been quite mistaken in telling people that they needed to choose between serving the Lord or false gods. The way you look at it, they were all chosen already by God to either serve the Lord or serve false gods so they couldn't have had any choice to do one or the other.

Eric, the nation was never chosen to receive eternal life. Only the remnant, who were chosen by grace through faith because they were predestined elect of God before the foundation of the world. The Jews could have chosen to serve God by keeping His commands, and they would have received abundant blessing, and long physical life in the promised land. But they too are written to be an example for us. They could not keep the perfect law of God, and no one else can either. God did not choose them to serve false gods, they choose to do this because they are born in Adam, fallen, slaves of Satan, in bondage to sin and death. Had God not chosen a remnant from the nation before the foundation of the world to be saved, then the whole nation would have perished in unbelief. But God always had His predestined, elect remnant chosen by grace to be saved. The same is true in the NT, all whom God has predestined will be saved by grace through faith.

Many Blessings,
RW

drew
Oct 1st 2008, 02:23 PM
I never said anyone could. What I am claiming is that even a spiritually dead person can acknowledge that he/she is a sinner in need of God's mercy and forgiveness and salvation through Jesus Christ. Scripture clearly teaches that people are capable of humbling themselves in response to the word of God being preached to them as well as the Spirit speaking to their souls and consciences while convicting them of their sinful and lost state.
I agree. And unless I am mistaken those who make the conclusion that unregenerate man cannot acknowledge their state and "freely" accept grace have yet to respond to following counterargument to that position:



I believe that that the "deadness" of mankind "in trespass and sin" is a "moral deadness" not a "cognitive" deadness. Our hopelessly fallen "moral" condition need not mean that we have lost the faculty to recognize ourselves as being in that state and then accept aid offered to us.

I would warn readers on all sides here to not assume that "dead" means "dead in every respect". We often use the term "dead" to refer to one aspect or dimension of a person's capacities (e.g. Fred is emotionally dead).

Consider this analogy: Let's say that my brain has been damaged in such a way that it is impossible for me to understand general relativity. Does this mean I cannot recognize and become aware of my incapacity in regard to general relativity? Obviously not. Blind people cannot see, but that does not mean they are not aware that sighted people have a capability that gives new information about the world.

In this example, I am "dead in my ignorance of general relativity", but I am not dead in other respects.

Suppose a surgeon comes along and says "We have this new operation that can fix your brain so that you can understand general relativity". Can I understand what he is claiming? Of course. Just like a blind person can understand that a certain operation might give him sight, even if he does not know what sight be like once he gets it (he has been blind from birth).

I trust the analogy is clear here. Unless it can be argued that our "deadness" extends to and includes our capacity to make judgements about ourselves and accept "a gift" that fixes our deadness, I do not see how these texts support a predestination worldview.
Now lets be fair. In the past when this material was posted, I was asked to "prove" my position that we are not cognitively dead from Scripture.

That is simply not a fair answer. You guys (RogerW et al) have made a claim - that the Scriptures teach that we cannot freely accept grace. The above argument demonstrates that this need not be so. You need to engage this argument and show its error. The argument was never intended to "prove" that we have this free will - it was provided to demonstrate the plausibility of the free will position in relation to texts that have been put forward as denying free will.

One thing at a time, please. Besides, I did respond with an argument as to why we should understand people as having free will.

legoman
Oct 1st 2008, 02:35 PM
Hi drew,

I haven't been following that side of the argument as much as RogerW and others have, but I would just make this comment:

A physically blind person knows that he is blind.

A spiritually blind person doesn't even know that he is spiritually blind - because he can't (spiritually) see his own (spiritual) blindness.

That is the difference in your analogy I think.

So when someone comes along and says, "Hey I have this new operation that will cure your spiritual blindness", the spiritually blinded person simply answers, "Bah, I don't need any operation because clearly I am not spiritually blind." In their own mind, they don't even realize they are spiritually blind.

This is why the spiritually blind cannot see, and can only be changed once that blindness is removed from them (and not of their own free will, since they would never choose it). It has to be from God to open their eyes.

Cheers,
Legoman

drew
Oct 1st 2008, 02:53 PM
Hi drew,

I haven't been following that side of the argument as much as RogerW and others have, but I would just make this comment:

A physically blind person knows that he is blind.

A spiritually blind person doesn't even know that he is spiritually blind - because he can't (spiritually) see his own (spiritual) blindness.
But you are begging the very question at issue here when you merely assert that a spiritually blind person cannot see his own spiritual blindness. Obviously, if I thought this was true, I would not have posted the argument that I did.

But the whole point of the argument is to make a case that the "deadness" we suffer is only a moral deadness, and does not extend to the cognitive domain.

And I gave an analogy. Fred can be emotionally dead and yet realize that he is dead in this way. This happens all the time.

So please explain to me why the same principle does not apply to "spiritual" deadness?

legoman
Oct 1st 2008, 03:07 PM
legoman, here is a question i would like to pose to you. The question is a little more complex that what it may seem. Does God deal with us in realtime? By that, I mean as in now. Let's say that an hour from now, God knows that you will choose A. Let's say choice A is not a good thing, but choice B is. Could an hour from now, since God already knows you will choose A, could He in realtime influence you to choose B? And if not, can we even claim God has anything to do with us at all, in relation to realtime, as in right now?

Hi divaD,

Yes I think God is dealing with us in realtime, probably every second of the day, and we just don't realize it - God is all around us.

But not in the sense you said. God doesn't need to influence us to do choice B instead of choice A. I think BrckBrln answered it well - if God wanted you to do choice B, you will do it. If you end up considering choice A, but then at the last moment decide to do choice B, then that is what God had planned from the beginning. He planned for you to consider choice A, but then reject it and do choice B.

God doesn't need to adjust his plans "in realtime" in a predestination model, because he already knows how everything will turn out. Personally, I think God draws us down different paths, so we gain experience and learn.

Then there are things like prayer where we are directly interacting with God. Any prayers we say, God already knew what they would be before the beginning of time. So he had already incorporated the responses to those prayers into his plan.

Legoman

threebigrocks
Oct 1st 2008, 03:14 PM
But the whole point of the argument is to make a case that the "deadness" we suffer is only a moral deadness, and does not extend to the cognitive domain.

And I gave an analogy. Fred can be emotionally dead and yet realize that he is dead in this way. This happens all the time.

So please explain to me why the same principle does not apply to "spiritual" deadness?

Let me ask this.

A person with a physical or mental ailment can be treated and cured by the hands of men. Surgery, medication, therapy of all sorts of varieties, treatments, etc.

If Fred has a bum knee, he knows it's messed up and needs fixing. It's appealed to through the flesh, and is nagging. Maybe Fred can't walk or sleep or do much of anything. His flesh testifies to the flesh that hey something is really wrong here. That we can cognitively reason quite easily.

If Fred has say a form of undiagnosed diabetes, he may not know it. Doesn't mean it isn't there, but there are symptoms that his flesh still sends out. He may see a urologist and general practitioner and not have a diagnosis. He knows things aren't quite right, but can't get it figured out.

Now let's say Fred one day coughs up blood. He panics as any of us would do, and gets himself to an emergency room. The doctors ask him about a million questions, and it isn't until they ask that he recognizes he did indeed have symptoms. The doctors do a bunch of tests and find out Fred has lung cancer and he dies 2 months later. Again, the flesh is still flesh although no real symptoms tipped him off to what was quite active and destroying his body.

It's the same thing with the Spirit. Some see God easily when He calls and it's an instant thing. Some need to wander around and figure it out, knowing that there is more but can't put their finger on it. Some die with no knowledge with no wake up call whatsoever. In all cases - the need for the Spirit is still there, just as the physical ailments were.

No matter what, we all have an active spirit that wants to be with God, our spirit doesn't want to perish. There is no excuse (Romans 1) for anyone to not know of salvation and that God exists. None whatsoever.

Our spiritual self is not dead. It just is seperated from God. We will remain in that state unless we accept Christ. We do nothing of ourselves, but God draws us to Himself, that's true. But just as physical symptoms can be subtle or seemingly nonexistent we need to seek and see those subtle things. He is evidenced in all His creation, His handiwork is before us daily.

All fall short of the glory of God, and it is the will of the Father that all come to Him. We are all predestined through Christ, so long as we heed the signs and evidence before our very noses. We must go through the mediator who sits in the heavenlies, there is no other way. His will is accomplished through putting Himself before us, whether it be obvious to us or not. We have no excuse.

threebigrocks
Oct 1st 2008, 03:21 PM
Hi divaD,

Yes I think God is dealing with us in realtime, probably every second of the day, and we just don't realize it - God is all around us.

But not in the sense you said. God doesn't need to influence us to do choice B instead of choice A. I think BrckBrln answered it well - if God wanted you to do choice B, you will do it. If you end up considering choice A, but then at the last moment decide to do choice B, then that is what God had planned from the beginning. He planned for you to consider choice A, but then reject it and do choice B.

God doesn't need to adjust his plans "in realtime" in a predestination model, because he already knows how everything will turn out. Personally, I think God draws us down different paths, so we gain experience and learn.

Then there are things like prayer where we are directly interacting with God. Any prayers we say, God already knew what they would be before the beginning of time. So he had already incorporated the responses to those prayers into his plan.

Legoman

What if the choice we reject is the only way to please God?

God will let us succumb to our own choices.

If God knew what we would pray, then where does the personal relationship come in? He may not script it, but if He already knows it then why would He listen? All things through Christ.

legoman
Oct 1st 2008, 03:39 PM
What if the choice we reject is the only way to please God?

God will let us succumb to our own choices.

If God knew what we would pray, then where does the personal relationship come in? He may not script it, but if He already knows it then why would He listen? All things through Christ.

Well if we are rejecting a choice, then it must have been part of God's plan, because he knew we would reject that choice.

God will let us succumb to our own choices, if it was part of his plan.

The personal relationship comes in because God cares about us and loves us. His plan is for us in as much as it is for him. God wants sons and daughters so he can be glorified. But he also wants his sons and daughters to be in the image of him. For that to happen, they need to learn and God needs to mold them.

The question "why would he listen?" is curious. Why would he not listen? He is God, he hears and knows all. Now granted, he may not respond positively to our prayer, or answer in a different way than we want. I'm sure everyone has experienced that. But it is a very personal relationship, once you realize that God has created a very personal plan just for you. And for everyone else.

There is a reason for everything that happens.

I think part of the issue of this whole discussion, is people have different ideas of what God's plan is. Some people think God's plan is flexible and changing, adjusting to the whims of man, while others think God's plan is completely fixed, and completely perfect from the beginning. I will try to expand on this in another post - it ties back to the idea of a single timeline.

Cheers,
Legoman

John146
Oct 1st 2008, 03:41 PM
I totally agree. In unbelief we refuse to accept the truth. We couldn't accept the truth in unbelief even if we try. We choose to believe or not.


Every man can hear the gospel with physical hearing. But only His sheep hear His voice (Jo 10). Eric, Scripture speaks of those who understand the gospel with physical hearing, and human wisdom. Consider those standing before the Judgment Throne proclaiming to have done many good deeds in the name and character of Christ. They know the truth through man's wisdom and physical hearing, they thought doing all these good things in the name of Christ would earn them eternal life.

But salvation doesn't come through man's wisdom or physical hearing. Unless one is given the wisdom of God in Christ, through the Holy Spirit and supernatural ability to hear His voice, they are not saved. Consider those who are part of the body, appearing to truly be in Christ, but they are not believers. They know the truth enough to make believers think they too are in Christ, but they have never been given supernatural hearing. John describes believers as having "an unction" from the Holy One, and knowing all things. "Unction" is an endowment or annointing of the Holy Spirit. Some know the truth, but never receive "an unction from the Holy One."

1Jo 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
1Jo 2:20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.That unction is given after one believes. Those who went out from them chose to do so.


Of course they freely rejected Him, and they are responsible for rejecting Him. This is why they are without excuse. They know the truth, and with hard disobedient hearts, willfully reject Him. Why? Because they are born of the seed of the first Adam, and they can do nothing else.If they can do nothing else, why should they be held responsible for not doing what they are incapable of doing? People are condemned for not believing in Christ (John 3:18). Explain to me why anyone is condemned for not doing what they never have any chance or ability to do?


Are they any different than any human born in Adam? NO! They would not let Christ gather them to Him. He wanted to but they did not! Why? Because they are born of Adam. They are dead in trespasses and sins. They love the sin they have been born in, and therefore they will not believe they are sinners in need of the Savior. It is their choice to love the sin and want to stay in it rather than acknowledge their sins and surrender their lives to Christ.


This is the state of every man. If one man, of his own will, in His own strength would come to Christ that they might have life, Christ would be willing, but they will not, and no fallen man will. This is why Christ MUST die! No man can come to Him for life, no man can be perfect in his fallen flesh to come to Him. Unless He comes to us, and supernaturally gives us eternal life, then no man would be saved! Scripture does not put it that way anywhere, Roger. Where is your scriptural support? Scripture says faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. And we know that that God calls people by speaking to their hearts.

Rev 3:20
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Notice the condition that Jesus lays out here. He says "IF any man hear my voice, and open the door" THEN "I will come in to him...". Jesus knocks at the door of every person's heart. He desires all people to be saved (1 Tim 2:4) and He died for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). We are required to open the door. We are required to stop following after Satan and the ways of the world and instead answer the call by opening the door of our hearts to Christ by willfully humbling ourselves and turning to Him for salvation.


Eric, because God has given us a conscience, yes we know what is right and wrong. In unbelief we make many choices, for many reasons. But the thing we cannot do in unbelief is freely choose Christ for eternal life.It doesn't teach that anywhere in scripture. Instead, we see Christ offering salvation freely to "whosoever will".

Rev 22:17
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.



We will always reject, just as the Jews did when unsaved. We cannot choose Christ for life, but He chooses us.

Joh 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.You are taking this verse out of context. He is speaking specifically to the disciples. He is saying He chose them to be His close disciples and they did not choose that for themselves. We know He is talking specifically to His disciples in that verse because John 15:27 says "And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. You do know that He even chose Judas Iscariot, right?

Luke 6
13And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;
14Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,
15Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes,
16And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.


Ac 9:15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: What many don't consider is that Saul, before becoming Paul, actually had a true fear and reverence for God, unlike most of the Pharisees. That's why he was so passionate about defending what He thought was blasphemy. It's also why he didn't contend with Jesus after Jesus explained the truth to Him. His heart was open to the truth but He needed help in understanding it. That's true of all of us. But it is our choice to either open our hearts to the truth or close them. Remember the passages I showed you that talk about people closing their own hearts, eyes and ears to the truth.


1Jo 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us. Of course He first loved us. He showed just how much He loved us around 2,000 years ago. This doesn't mean we don't have to choose to love Him.


Isa 49:1 Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.This verse is speaking about Christ. Therefore, it's not applicable to the discussion. In case you don't agree, read the following passages carefully:

Isaiah 49
5And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength. 6And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

Acts 2
25And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. 26And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
27And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, 28Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
30For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
31Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
32A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Here we see Simeon referring to Isaiah 49 and making it clear that the One called from the womb to be the LORD's servant was His Son Jesus Christ.


If we hear the Word of God then choose to come to Christ it is because we received faith through hearing the Word (Ro 10:17). Once we receive faith through hearing, they we willingly come to Christ. That's not what the verse says. Instead, people put their faith in Christ as a result of hearing the word of God preached to them. When they hear it, it pricks them in their hearts and they then have a choice to either respond with faith or not.

Acts 2
36Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 37Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Some people get pricked in their heart and decide to reject the word of God.

Acts 7
51Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
52Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
53Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
54When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.


Why? Because they heard the Word with physical ears, but they were not given to hear His voice.Where does it say that? Instead, we see verses like these:

Matt 13:15
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

2 Tim 4
3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Isaiah 66
3He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine's blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.
4I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.


Eric, many here the gospel call with physical hearing, and come into the covenant body (church). Unbelievers unite themselves to the covenant body for many different reasons, and they too enjoy many blessings that God bestows upon His church. But these are tares growing among the wheat. Consider the parable of the wedding feast. Both good and bad are bidden (called) to come, but those without the proper covering, the king orders to be bound hand and foot and cast into outer darkness. Why? Because many are called by few are chosen.

Mt 22:9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid [call strongs #2564] to the marriage.
Mt 22:10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
Mt 22:11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
Mt 22:12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
Mt 22:13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Mt 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

Many "hear" the gospel with physical hearing, and come into the kingdom, but do not belong in His kingdom. Therefore on the last day Christ with gather out of His kingdom all things that offend and work iniquity. If they never have any chance or ability to respond with repentance and faith then why are they even invited to the wedding and called to salvation in the first place? Your doctrine has no answer for that.


Mt 13:41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
Mt 13:42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. So they will be cast into a furnace of fire merely for not doing something that they had no ability to do. And this is just? Remember, ultimately, people are condemned for not believing in Christ (John 3:18).



1Co 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.These verses have nothing to do with salvation. Notice in verse 12 that it is after we receive the Spirit of God that we begin to really understand in a deeper way the things of God. This doesn't have anything to do with one understanding that they are a sinner in need of salvation. According to Romans 1:19-20, the natural man is expected to understand "that which may be known of God...even His eternal power and Godhead". So, 1 Cor 2 is not saying that the natural man has no ability to understand anything of God. It is specifically referring to the deeper things of God.

10But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.


Jude 1:19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual [natural man strong's #5591], having not the Spirit.Notice it says "they separate themselves". That is by choice.


2Co 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
2Co 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.Are they zombies who can't help but be blinded by Satan? No. They make themselves vulnerable to Satan's deception by closing their own hearts, ears and eyes to the truth.

That verse is not saying that the gospel is purposely hidden from some people. Is that how you read it? No. It's only saying that they can't see the truth of the gospel because they are blind. But they don't just become spiritually blind because they are powerless to be anything but spiritually blind. It is their choice to harden their own hearts and close their own ears and eyes to the truth.

Eric

John146
Oct 1st 2008, 03:42 PM
It said my last post was too long so I had to cut some of it out. Here's the rest of my response.

Eph 4:18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:Notice they are alienated through their own ignorance and the blindness of their heart. They harden their own hearts. It is only after people harden their own hearts and close their own eyes and ears that God will further harden their hearts and close their eyes and ears even more. We can see this concept described in passages like 2 Thess 2:9-12 and Romans 1:18-32.


Joh 5:21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.Who does the Son will to quicken? Those who choose to believe in Him.


Ro 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.I agree, but this says nothing about people not having a free choice to make to either accept or reject Christ.


Of course people freely choose to follow false spirits and false doctrines, and they will be judged accordingly. God doesn't have to make people do this, we do it when we are dead in trespasses and sins, in bondage to Satan, sin and death, having been born in Adam. If they are free to choose to follow false spirits and doctrines then they are also free to not follow after false spirits and doctrines. That passage didn't say that everyone chooses to follow after false spirits and doctrines.


The publican recognized that he was a sinner in need of God's mercy. What does that tell you about the publican's heart?That it was open to the truth. Christ was knocking at the door of His heart and the publican freely chose to open the door. Christ knocks at the door but He doesn't open the door for us. That is our responsibility.


One man exalts himself, and the other humbles himself before God, what does that tell you?It tells me that man must choose to do one or the other.


The pharisee thought that his good works made him just before God, but the publican was so humbled before God that he could not even look to heaven. This tells me something was very different about the hearts of these two men. What do you think made the difference? The difference was that they each made different choices.

Surely, you understand the concept of making choices. We make many choices every day. Do you think God makes all of our choices for us? If not, then think of a choice that you made, which may have had some surrounding influences, but was still ultimately your choice. Whatever that choice was that you made, you know you could have made a different choice, right? So it was with both the publican and the Pharisee in regards to either humbling or exalting themselves.

Eric

drew
Oct 1st 2008, 04:12 PM
Here is the first post in a series of two posts that go togther. I split them up only becuase of length. Even so, this first post is a tad on the long side. Sorry about that.

The purpose of this post is to analyze the text of Romans 9 and contrast two competing views about what Paul is talking about in respect to Jacob and Esau in verses 11 through 13:. Here are the 2 views as I can best characterize them:

V1: Paul is asserting that Jacob has been elected to heaven while Esau has been elected to ultimate loss.

V2: Paul is only asserting that Jacob and Esau have been elected to membership in different “groups” and what this election is “to” is given by the explanation that one group is elected to serve the other.

Posters will not be surprised to know that I believe that V2 is the correct way to see the material about Jacob and Esau.

I plan to parse the text and insert relevant comments.

I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit— 2I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, 4the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised![a (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%209&version=31#fen-NIV-28146afen-NIV-28146a)] Amen.

[Comment: I suggest that is beyond dispute that Paul here is focusing on the people of national Israel – the set of people reasonably understood to be Jew by “ethnicity” or race.]

6It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children. On the contrary, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." 8In other words, it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring.

[Comment: Paul is now suggesting that there is “another” Israel that is the true family of God, membership in which is not determined by birth – hence the denial in verse 9 that “natural” children are God’s children and the denial of family membership in virtue of being “descendents” in verse 7. While it may be true that there are overlaps between “national Israel” (the actual descendents of Abraham) and “true Israel, Paul makes it clear that there are indeed two such groups.

At this point it is important to avoid the mistake of thinking that Paul is saying that membership in true Israel is still determined “by birth”. One might be inclined to think that Paul is saying something like “It is not the all the genetic children of Abraham who are true members of God’s family, it is only Isaac’s genetic branch – and then within Isaac’s genetic branch, the genetic selectivity continues at the next generation with a distinction drawn between Jacob’s genetic branch and Esau’s genetic branch. And so on.

That kind of reading, while perhaps lending support to V1 since it suggests a kind of destiny one is born into, does not really mesh well with what Paul says here in Romans 9, and elsewhere in Romans. Note that here in Romans 9 Paul denies any sense in which birth is a determining factor of membership in God’s family when he argues that it is not by being a “natural” child (or descendent) that one becomes a member of the family of God. And this point is more strongly made in Romans 4 where Paul argues that Gentiles are included in Abraham’s true family – so clearly a genetic connection to any sub-set of national Israel is not the key. Plus, in both Romans 4 and here in verse 9, it is being the recipient of a promise that is the stated criteria for membership in Abraham’s true family.

Now to be fair, the notion of “the promise” does not rule out the possibility of election of specific individuals to membership in Abraham’s family – perhaps God only makes this promise to a pre-destined set of specific individuals. But neither does the notion of the promise endorse such a view. This is because, as per an argument set forth elsewhere, it is indeed entirely coherent for Paul to speak of a family receiving a promise without the members of that family being named. As per that other argument, God can “promise” that there will be team called the New York Yankees, who will take to the field on April 6, 2017 and yet not pre-destine any specific persons to be on that team.

And again to be fair to those who think “eternal destiny” is in view, this is indeed true to an extent. By introducing the very notion of the “true family of God”, Paul is indeed hinting at issues of who will be justified and raised to glory. And later in the chapter (verse 23 where he refers to vessels fitted for glory) he makes this explicit. But two points need to be emphasized here. First, as per the preceding paragraph, we have no firm grounds to conclude that God pre-destines the specific members of that group. Second, to this point in the argument Paul is clearly speaking at the level of groups. Although Paul “names names”, his rhetorical purpose here is clearly about groups – national Israel and true Israel.

So now we get to the stuff about Jacob and Esau:]

....see next post from me please.

drew
Oct 1st 2008, 04:13 PM
Here is the second post, to be read in conjunction with the one I just posted a minute or two ago.

9For this was how the promise was stated: "At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son."

10Not only that, but Rebekah's children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. 11Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: 12not by works but by him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger."[d (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%209&version=31#fen-NIV-28153dfen-NIV-28153d)] 13Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."

[Comment: Although it is true that membership in Abraham’s true family – by extension ultimate justification – is on the table at this point, a respect for Paul’s ability to stay “on topic” combined with looking up the Old Testament allusions, show that the issue continues to be groups here, not individuals. Although names have popped up along the way, the names only appear in service of the more fundamental argument about the two groups he wants to identify – national Israel and true Israel.

And this focus continues in the vers 9 to 13 block even though Jacob and Esau are mentioned. Paul is quoting Genesis 25 here:

The LORD said to her,
"Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger."

Paul is a clear and focused thinker and communicator. He would have to be an awfully poor writer to allude to this text, which is clearly about nations and peoples, in argument that is already focused at the “nation and people” level, if he really wanted to make a point about Jacob and Esau’s personal eternal destinies. Even if the rest of the material in my argument may be confusing, this is hopefully clear.

And this argument is only strengthened by the implicit and explicit statement that, in relation to Esau and Jacob, the “election” is an election to a purpose in this life – that one will serve the other. And this is indeed what happened – the Edomites were indeed dominated by the Israelites.

Now perhaps people will argue as follows:


Drew has already conceded that the subject of membership in the true family of Abraham is already on the table, with its implications (later confirmed in verse 23) that eternal glorification is in view;
Drew has elsewhere conceded that God does indeed “elect” groups to ultimate justification / eternal glorification;
Even if, as Drew is arguing, the main issue here is “nations and peoples”, Paul nevertheless identifies that Jacob is a “true member” of Abraham’s family while Esau is not. So Drew’s argument that groups can be elected without election of the constituting individuals seems to be on the ropes;
Therefore it is indeed legitimate to conclude that specific persons have been elected to membership that family who will, as per point 2, be given ultimate justification.

Points 1 and 2 are indeed correct. But point 3 is not. In the verse 9 to 13 block, Paul’s rather clear statement about election “of one to serve the other” make it clear that he is, in this block, illustrating the principle of selective election. But he makes it clear that, in this little block, he is not talking about election to membership in Abraham’s family (and by extension ultimate justification). He is talking about election to a particular role in this world as an example of the more general principle of God’s right to elect. And he will do exactly the same thing later in respect to Pharoah.

All this shows rather clearly that is bad exegesis to dive down into the three verses about Jacob and Esau and claim they support the notion that God pre-destines some specific persons to heaven and other specific persons to hell. The context simply does not support that reading.]

John146
Oct 1st 2008, 04:27 PM
Okay. Wouldn't that include ALL people with faith like Isaac and ALL people who are of the flesh with no faith? Sure, but what you seem to be missing is that there is no mention of Jacob and Esau at all in Romans 9:6-8. So, don't change the text by inserting them into it. Genesis 25:23 tells us what Jacob and Esau represent, but you don't want to acknowledge it.


So, are you saying that only the natural descendants of Abraham are the children of the flesh?In the context of Romans 9:6-8, yes. The point of that passage is to make a contrast between spiritual Israel and the nation of Israel (they are not all Israel which are of Israel).


Is Paul telling us about Abraham's and his natural descendents for no reason? No, they are examples for US. We too are either natural or of the flesh, or we are Spiritual and of the SEED. We know that is true from other passages like Galatians 3:26-29, but I don't believe it was Paul's point to bring that up in this particular passage (Rom 9:6-8).

I believe the scope of what he's talking about in Romans 9:6-8 is only to show that being a natural descendant of Israel, in itself, did not make it so that someone would be part of the true Israel of God. That is why he specfically said "they are not all Israel which are of Israel". That statement was the main point he was making in that passage. He then expands on that main theme in the next two verses. If that wasn't the main point he was trying to get across then why didn't he just say "they are not all Israel who are natural Jews or Gentiles"?


Neither was Abraham, but he is the father of the Israelite nation, and the father of the Israelite of God. Esau on the other hand symbolizes ALL unbelievers, not just the physical unsaved seed of Abraham. Where does scripture teach that Esau symbolizes all unbelievers? I see scripture that says he symbolized the nation of Edom. I see scripture that says Jacob represented the nation of Israel, not all of which was believers. But I see nothing that says Jacob represented believers and Esau represented unbelievers.


I have no disagreement with this statement at all. Are you aware you have just made my case? For salvation extended to the children of promise is unto ALL believers, not only the remnant of believers from the nation. The same is true of unbelievers. Every unbeliever is of a natural birth, and is not a descendant of Abraham's Spiritual SEED (Christ). See above. Paul does explain this in other passages like Galatians 3:26-29 but if it was his point to include natural Gentiles in the scope of Romans 9:6-8, then why does he specifically mention the nation of Israel and that they are not all Israel who are of the nation of Israel? Why wouldn't he have just said "they are not all Israel who are of any certain nationality because this Israel isn't based on one's nationality"? I believe Paul expands on what he talks about in Romans 9:6-8 elsewhere by showing how not only is one not a child of God by virtue of being a natural Israelite, but also not by being a Gentile, a male, a female, bond or free.


When we speak of the eternal covenant, we speak of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Seed of promise (Christ) comes through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and Scripture even tells us that Christ comes through the seed of David.

Ex 2:24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.

Le 26:42 Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.

2Ki 13:23 And the LORD was gracious unto them, and had compassion on them, and had respect unto them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, neither cast he them from his presence as yet.

1Ch 16:13 O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones.

Ps 105:6 O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen.

Ps 18:50 Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and sheweth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.

Joh 7:42 Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?Right, yet it says "In Isaac shall thy seed be called". What do you think that means? If you read Galatians 4 you can see that it means "as Isaac was, we are the children of promise". The promise was for Jew and Gentile believers alike. Paul is saying in Romans 9:6-8 that all believers, Jew or Gentile, are part of the Israel of God. I'm with you there. But, unlike Galatians 3:26-29, where he includes more detail, he is only making the point in Romans 9:6-8 that a natural Israelite was not automatically part of the Israel of God by virtue of his nationality.


Is Paul writing these things to give us a history lesson of the nation? Or are these things written for our example? Are you really going to argue regarding physical truth or is there a message regarding spiritual truth that must be gleened from this text? What does it mean to "serve"?

Ro 9:12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. It doesn't mean that the damned serve the saved. Genesis 25:23 points out that the nation that Jacob represented, Israel, would be stronger (more powerful) than the nation that Esau represented, Edom. That's all. There's no mention of salvation and damnation.


Then why is there a lake of fire? Originally, it was prepared for the devil and his angels (Matt 25:41) as a place of punishment for their rebellion. Now it's also a place of punishment for those who freely choose to reject Christ. God always has a reason for punishing people. If people are cast into the lake of fire for not believing in Christ while never having the chance or ability to believe in Him, then what is the reason they will be cast there?


Let's break down the passage here and see if we can determine what Paul means by all in unbelief and mercy upon all.

Ro 11:30 For as ye [Gentile believers] in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their [national Jews; not the remnant] unbelief:
Ro 11:31 Even so have these [national Jews] also now not believed, that through your [Gentile believers] mercy they [national Jews] also may obtain mercy.
Ro 11:32 For God hath concluded them [national Jews] all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all [Jew and Gentile believers].

If God has mercy on all people, then all people would be saved. That's not true. He has mercy on all people every day by not deciding to just go ahead and destroying everyone. He is longsuffering.


Why does Paul tell us that God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy? This indicates that God does not have mercy on all people. Yes, the Lord is very long-suffering toward His people, not willing that any should perish, but waiting patiently for all of His people to come to repentance. Why would God command "all people everywhere" to repent if He did not desire for all people to repent so that He could have mercy on them?


Eric, it was God Who first hardened Pharaoh. Pharaoh too, like every human was born in Adam, fallen and a servant of Satan, in bondage to sin and death. And Pharaoh was a chosen instrument, from before the foundation of the world, whereby God would dsiplay His power and glory.

Ex 4:21 And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.

Let's pretend for a moment that God does indeed give every man a choice in salvation. Who will choose Christ? Who can choose Christ? How will they choose? How can they choose? There is nothing in fallen man that makes him desire Christ.

Ps 10:4 The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. The wicked choose to exalt themselves and not seek after God. Yet scripture says to all people: seek the Lord while He may be found (Isaiah 55).


What does vessels of wrath thoroughly complete to destruction (fitted for destruction) mean if it does not mean to be condemned? And what does it mean to be vessels of mercy ordained (He prepared) unto glory if it does not mean salvation?

I cannot even begin to understand who, or why God chose some for salvation, while leaving the rest in fallen Adam. And I have no right to ask or even to think on the things that God has not revealed in His Word.But it's revealed all through His Word. The one who believes in Christ is saved and the one who doesn't is condemned. God predestines and elects according to His foreknowledge of what people will believe.


God is not a respector of persons as He was toward the Hebrews in the OT. Now salvation is unto every nation, tribe, kindred and tongue without partiality.Every person without partiality. Christ is the propitiation for our sins, but not ours only, Roger, the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2).


It is in this manner that God so loves the world. He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have eternal life. And whosoever believes will be saved. Now you need only answer who will believe, and how will they believe? Whosoever means just that: anyone in the world who believes. It is a choice that people must make.


Eric, the nation was never chosen to receive eternal life. Only the remnant, who were chosen by grace through faith because they were predestined elect of God before the foundation of the world.According to God's foreknowledge. You always leave that part out.


The Jews could have chosen to serve God by keeping His commands, and they would have received abundant blessing, and long physical life in the promised land. But they too are written to be an example for us. They could not keep the perfect law of God, and no one else can either. God did not choose them to serve false gods, they choose to do this because they are born in Adam, fallen, slaves of Satan, in bondage to sin and death. Had God not chosen a remnant from the nation before the foundation of the world to be saved, then the whole nation would have perished in unbelief. But God always had His predestined, elect remnant chosen by grace to be saved. The same is true in the NT, all whom God has predestined will be saved by grace through faith.

Many Blessings,
RWIt's all according to His foreknowledge. You make God out to be something other than a God of love and mercy because you say that He created most people (few are saved - Matt 7:13-14) to end up being cast into the lake of fire to be in torment for eternity as a result of not believing in Christ despite not having any ability to believe in Christ. You believe that people are condemned for not doing something that they have no ability to do. How do you explain that?

John146
Oct 1st 2008, 04:47 PM
Well if we are rejecting a choice, then it must have been part of God's plan, because he knew we would reject that choice.

God will let us succumb to our own choices, if it was part of his plan.

The personal relationship comes in because God cares about us and loves us. His plan is for us in as much as it is for him. God wants sons and daughters so he can be glorified. But he also wants his sons and daughters to be in the image of him. For that to happen, they need to learn and God needs to mold them.

The question "why would he listen?" is curious. Why would he not listen? He is God, he hears and knows all. Now granted, he may not respond positively to our prayer, or answer in a different way than we want. I'm sure everyone has experienced that. But it is a very personal relationship, once you realize that God has created a very personal plan just for you. And for everyone else.

There is a reason for everything that happens.

I think part of the issue of this whole discussion, is people have different ideas of what God's plan is. Some people think God's plan is flexible and changing, adjusting to the whims of man, while others think God's plan is completely fixed, and completely perfect from the beginning. I will try to expand on this in another post - it ties back to the idea of a single timeline.

Cheers,
LegomanIn your next post please include an explanation as to why it would have been God's plan to condemn people for not believing in Christ (John 3:18) despite supposedly never giving them any ability to do so.

John146
Oct 1st 2008, 05:06 PM
And this focus continues in the vers 9 to 13 block even though Jacob and Esau are mentioned. Paul is quoting Genesis 25 here:

The LORD said to her,
"Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger."

Paul is a clear and focused thinker and communicator. He would have to be an awfully poor writer to allude to this text, which is clearly about nations and peoples, in argument that is already focused at the “nation and people” level, if he really wanted to make a point about Jacob and Esau’s personal eternal destinies. Even if the rest of the material in my argument may be confusing, this is hopefully clear.I agree. It is clear. In no way are individual destinies in view when Paul brings up Jacob and Esau. You have to completely ignore the context of Genesis 25:23, as well as Malachi 1, to come to that conclusion.


And this argument is only strengthened by the implicit and explicit statement that, in relation to Esau and Jacob, the “election” is an election to a purpose in this life – that one will serve the other. And this is indeed what happened – the Edomites were indeed dominated by the Israelites.

Now perhaps people will argue as follows:


Drew has already conceded that the subject of membership in the true family of Abraham is already on the table, with its implications (later confirmed in verse 23) that eternal glorification is in view;
Drew has elsewhere conceded that God does indeed “elect” groups to ultimate justification / eternal glorification;
Even if, as Drew is arguing, the main issue here is “nations and peoples”, Paul nevertheless identifies that Jacob is a “true member” of Abraham’s family while Esau is not. So Drew’s argument that groups can be elected without election of the constituting individuals seems to be on the ropes;
Therefore it is indeed legitimate to conclude that specific persons have been elected to membership that family who will, as per point 2, be given ultimate justification.

Points 1 and 2 are indeed correct. But point 3 is not. In the verse 9 to 13 block, Paul’s rather clear statement about election “of one to serve the other” make it clear that he is, in this block, illustrating the principle of selective election. But he makes it clear that, in this little block, he is not talking about election to membership in Abraham’s family (and by extension ultimate justification). He is talking about election to a particular role in this world as an example of the more general principle of God’s right to elect. And he will do exactly the same thing later in respect to Pharoah.Agree


All this shows rather clearly that is bad exegesis to dive down into the three verses about Jacob and Esau and claim they support the notion that God pre-destines some specific persons to heaven and other specific persons to hell. The context simply does not support that reading.]I agree, but while Paul did teach that nations (Israel and Edom) and people (Pharaoh) were predestined and elected for certain purposes, he also taught that individuals are predestined and elected to salvation.

Romans 8
28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

1 Peter 1
1Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
2Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

Clearly, these verses are referring to individual believers. Agree? But you seem to be saying that you don't believe God predestines individuals to salvation at all. Is that true or are you only saying that's not what is taught in Romans 9:11-13?

If you agree that God predestines individuals to salvation and being conformed to the image of Christ, then we have to tackle the issue of whether or not God predestines randomly without using any criteria (or at least using criteria not specified in scripture) or if this predestination is according to His foreknowledge, with the understanding that He uses what He knows about people beforehand to determine whether to predestine them or not. I take the latter view.

Eric

legoman
Oct 1st 2008, 06:14 PM
In your next post please include an explanation as to why it would have been God's plan to condemn people for not believing in Christ (John 3:18) despite supposedly never giving them any ability to do so.

I don't know if I can give a full explanation of what are you asking here, but the scriptures do say that no one will come to Christ unless God gives them the ability to.

That is the dilemma we must resolve. The scriptures are clear, if you don't want to believe them, I can't help you.

John 6:44 "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws[greek: drags] him, and I will raise him up at the last day."

John 6:64 "Yet there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him."


These 2 from John 6 are very clear. No one can believe until God says so.


Romans 11:8 as it is written:
"God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes so that they could not see
and ears so that they could not hear,
to this very day."

Romans 11:32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

Romans 9:18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.


Now I realize some of the Romans verses are about Israel, but that doesn't mean God doesn't work that way with everyone. These are just examples of how God works in people. At the very least, you have to admit that the people of Israel have been blinded for God's purpose.


Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Romans 8:20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[i (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%208%20;&version=31;#fen-NIV-28123i)] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.


The whole creation is subjected to frustration, not by its own choice!

It is very clear, from the scriptures, that God will harden certain people, make them blind, make them not believe, etc.

I know you have a hard time believing that, but that is what the scriptures say.

RogerW
Oct 1st 2008, 06:17 PM
Sure, but what you seem to be missing is that there is no mention of Jacob and Esau at all in Romans 9:6-8. So, don't change the text by inserting them into it. Genesis 25:23 tells us what Jacob and Esau represent, but you don't want to acknowledge it.

Greetings Eric,

There is no mention of Jacob and Esau at all in Ro 9:6-8? Who is Israel? Remember the covenant to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. What name does God give to Jacob - Israel.

Ro 9:6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:
Ro 9:7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.
Ro 9:8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

Israel 2474 - of Hebrew origin (3478); Israel (i.e. Jisrael), the adopted name of Jacob, including his descendants (literally or figuratively):--Israel.

Yisra'el 3478 - from 8280 and 410; he will rule as God; Jisrael, a symbolical name of Jacob; also (typically) of his posterity: --Israel.



In the context of Romans 9:6-8, yes. The point of that passage is to make a contrast between spiritual Israel and the nation of Israel (they are not all Israel which are of Israel).

Yes it is. I agree. Both Sarah and Rebecca will have a son. The spiritual line will come first from Abraham's seed, Sarah's son, Isaac. Through Isaac the spiritual seed will continue through the birth of Jacob. But Rebecca gives birth to two sons. What about Esau, Jacob's twin brother, what will his heritage be? Only one son, Jacob is beloved of God, while Esau is hated? Why? Because the Godly line comes through Jacob, leaving Esau to be the ungodly line. As you and I agree the point of the passage is to make a contrast between the spiritual children through Christ, and the children of the flesh, who are not the children of God.



We know that is true from other passages like Galatians 3:26-29, but I don't believe it was Paul's point to bring that up in this particular passage (Rom 9:6-8).

I believe the scope of what he's talking about in Romans 9:6-8 is only to show that being a natural descendant of Israel, in itself, did not make it so that someone would be part of the true Israel of God. That is why he specfically said "they are not all Israel which are of Israel". That statement was the main point he was making in that passage. He then expands on that main theme in the next two verses. If that wasn't the main point he was trying to get across then why didn't he just say "they are not all Israel who are natural Jews or Gentiles"?

I agree this is the point of this passage of Scripture. What do you mean "why didn't he just say "they are not all Israel who are natural Jews or Gentiles"?" I believe this is what he saying.

It's not simply about the nation of Jews. Salvation is unto all (both Jews and Gentiles) who are of the Spiritual Seed that comes through Abraham, Issac and Jacob. Just as Esau's physical birth could not save him, neither does physical birth gain access to heaven. This is especially true of the Jews, who believed their birth through the seed of Abraham gave them special status with God.

Gentiles too sometime think that just because they are raised in Christian homes, or church attendance, or asking Christ into their hearts, walk an aisle, saying the sinner's pray, etc. gives them some special status or privelege before God. The Jews were wrong, and we are wrong when we think that salvation is by any means other than God's grace through faith.



Where does scripture teach that Esau symbolizes all unbelievers? I see scripture that says he symbolized the nation of Edom. I see scripture that says Jacob represented the nation of Israel, not all of which was believers. But I see nothing that says Jacob represented believers and Esau represented unbelievers.

Eric, there are only two kinds of people in the world. Those in Christ, and those in unbelief. Clearly, God has shown us that Jacob is His predestined elect, from whom the Seed (Christ) will come. This means that Esau, hated by God is not! Where does that leave Esau? He is left in unbelief, and symbolizes all who remain in unbelief, who are not among those who are beloved of God.

Paul is saying the same thing here that he says in Gal 3:26-29.



It doesn't mean that the damned serve the saved. Genesis 25:23 points out that the nation that Jacob represented, Israel, would be stronger (more powerful) than the nation that Esau represented, Edom. That's all. There's no mention of salvation and damnation.

Stronger means they will prevail, while serving means they are in bondage, and will not prevail. This is not only historically true. We can read this of Edom 2 Sam 8:14; 1 Ch 18:13. But what is the deeper spiritual truth being made known through the strength of Jacob and bondage of Esau? See Obadiah 1:1-16 to better understand the spiritual truths in this passage regarding the servanthood of Esau or Edom. Obadiah 1:2-3 "Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen: thou art greatly despised. The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground?"

Mal 1:2 I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob,
Mal 1:3 And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.
Mal 1:4 Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever.
Mal 1:5 And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The LORD will be magnified from the border of Israel.



Originally, it was prepared for the devil and his angels (Matt 25:41) as a place of punishment for their rebellion. Now it's also a place of punishment for those who freely choose to reject Christ. God always has a reason for punishing people. If people are cast into the lake of fire for not believing in Christ while never having the chance or ability to believe in Him, then what is the reason they will be cast there?

Eric, we are all messengers of Satan, if we are not messengers of Christ. We all deserve to be cast into the lake of fire in the fullness of time. No man is cast into the lake of fire because of sin. Unsaved man is cast into the lake of fire because they have no covering for thier sins. Salvation is not by chance! Salvation is of the Lord. He will give, not offer eternal life to His predestined elect people. Do believers avoid the lake of fire because they never sin again? No way! Even after salvation we struggle against sin. We must battle against the influence of the world, our own flesh, and Satan. Sometimes we don't win the struggle and cave in to temptation and sin. So if sinning is what sends people to the lake of fire, how are we any different after salvation? The difference is that we have a Savior, Who died in our place. We have a covering for the sins we commit. In Christ we can struggle and hopefully win the stuggle more and more against sinning, as we become more and more like Christ through a sanctifying life.



The wicked choose to exalt themselves and not seek after God. Yet scripture says to all people: seek the Lord while He may be found (Isaiah 55).

Yes, this is very true of the wicked. Every sinful choice they make is willful, and they will not seek God. Who is not in this same condition before we become saved? None seek God, it is God who came to seek and to save His own. Yes, as Isaiah 55 tells us all who hear, let them come to the water of eternal life freely. Who will hear in unbelief? Who can hear, as you have said the wicked exalt themselves and will not seek after God.



But it's revealed all throughg His Word. The one who believes in Christ is saved and the one who doesn't is condemned. God predestines and elects according to His foreknowledge of what people will believe.

God's foreknowledge tells us He knows His predestined elect, and they alone will believe. If God's foreknowledge tells Him some people will freely choose to come to Him for life, while spiritually dead, then God predestines and elects because He knows some will first love Him. God does not choose us, we choose Him. That makes man sovereign in salvation instead of God. How can His predestination and election be based on foreknowing we will choose Him, when Scripture clearly shows us that God knows NONE will choose Him? How do you account for God's love for Jacob and hatred for Esau without any foreknowledge they would do anything good or evil? Your idea of predestination cannot be.



Every person without partiality. Christ is the propitiation for our sins, but not ours only, Roger, the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2).

This is true Eric. Because of what Christ did all sin will be done away. Christ has given us assurance that in the fullness of time sin will be no more! The question is were are sins done away on His cross, or will they be done away in the lake of fire? One way or the other, every sin will be gone.



Whosoever means just that: anyone in the world who believes. It is a choice that people must make.

It is true that whosoever means just that. Whosoever believes will be saved. But spiritually dead people cannot choose to make themselves spiritually alive in Christ. We did not choose to be born in Adam, and we cannot choose to be re-born in Christ. We did not have the free will to accept or reject birth in Adam, and we do not have the free will to accept or reject re-birth in Christ.



According to God's foreknowledge. You always leave that part out.

It's all according to His foreknowledge. You make God out to be something other than a God of love and mercy because you say that He created most people (few are saved - Matt 7:13-14) to end up being cast into the lake of fire to be in torment for eternity as a result of not believing in Christ despite not having any ability to believe in Christ. You believe that people are condemned for not doing something that they have no ability to do. How do you explain that?

If God were not a God of love and mercy than no man would be saved. God did not create any people to be in torment. God created man "very good." Every man born in Adam is accountable for their sins, for God has clearly revealed to all man that He is. Knowing there is a God is enough reason for every man to acknowledge Him as God, and believe what He tells us in His Word. But fallen man loves their sin, and in pride they will not come to Christ for life. Every man born of Adam is in the same boat. But God....praise His holy Name...in great love for those predestined elect to eternal life, has through compassion and mercy decided that some of this fallen race of humans would be saved. If God was not a God of great love and mercy then every human would suffer everlasting death. How would the glory of God be shown if there is no man to display His glory to or through?

Many Blessings,
RW

legoman
Oct 1st 2008, 07:44 PM
Clearly, these verses are referring to individual believers. Agree? But you seem to be saying that you don't believe God predestines individuals to salvation at all. Is that true or are you only saying that's not what is taught in Romans 9:11-13?

If you agree that God predestines individuals to salvation and being conformed to the image of Christ, then we have to tackle the issue of whether or not God predestines randomly without using any criteria (or at least using criteria not specified in scripture) or if this predestination is according to His foreknowledge, with the understanding that He uses what He knows about people beforehand to determine whether to predestine them or not. I take the latter view.

Eric


Hi again Eric,

Just trying to clarify here...

Perhaps I am not understanding your position, but here you seem to agree that God predestines individuals to salvation. Yet I understand you still claim there is free will - ok. Now if I am reading you correctly, you believe we are predestined according to foreknowledge.

On this I think we are in agreement, but I would contend that its not really free will we have, as stated in other posts.

I agree God does not predestine "randomly". The verses say he predestines according to his foreknowledge in accordance with his purpose.

It seems we are mostly in agreement so far.

This foreknowledge is part of God's plan, with respect to Eph 1:11, Romans 8:28-29, etc.

From this I can conclude that God's foreknowledge = God's plan = God predestining. Effectively (not exactly literally) they are the same. Free will can't exist in this framework.

I realize you don't reach that same conclusion. To clarify your position, how do God's foreknowledge, God's plan, and God predestining all relate to each other? Is it something like this:

God's foreknowledge leads to God's plan, which leads to God predestining?

Thanks for your patience on this.

Legoman

drew
Oct 1st 2008, 08:11 PM
I agree, but while Paul did teach that nations (Israel and Edom) and people (Pharaoh) were predestined and elected for certain purposes, he also taught that individuals are predestined and elected to salvation.

<verses>

Clearly, these verses are referring to individual believers. Agree? But you seem to be saying that you don't believe God predestines individuals to salvation at all. Is that true or are you only saying that's not what is taught in Romans 9:11-13?

If you agree that God predestines individuals to salvation and being conformed to the image of Christ, then we have to tackle the issue of whether or not God predestines randomly without using any criteria (or at least using criteria not specified in scripture) or if this predestination is according to His foreknowledge, with the understanding that He uses what He knows about people beforehand to determine whether to predestine them or not. I take the latter view.
Hello Eric:

I will not, in this post, address the specific texts you posted but will give you my present position in overview and, in so doing, I will give my objection to the "pre-destination through foreknowledge" position that you seem to hold to. With respect to the texts, I will acknowledge that there is at least the appearance of pre-destination of individuals to salvation. But one thing at a time.

At least for now, I am not willing to the take the "He fully caused it to be so" out of the very concept of divine pre-destination. As a concept, pre-destination seems to entail the notion of full causal sufficiency on the part of He who does the pre-destining. So I have real trouble with the "pre-destination according to foreknowledge" position since I think it deforms the concept of pre-destination too much.

It seems that you are trying to say that "God looks ahead into the future, sees who would freely accept him and then somehow "makes" that person accept him." I think that such a position is conceptually incoherent - it seems to involve having two contradictory things about the basis for a person's salvation - that is both freely chosen and fore-ordained. Such a position seems to entail God running history through once with human freedom, seeing what happens, and then running through a second time, with God using what He learned the first time to "pre-destine" the known outcome.

Is that a correct characterization of your view? If not, what exactly does predestination consist in over and above foreknowledge? Surely it is not merely another word for foreknowledge?

So I think that when God pre-destines X, He causes X to happen. So I think that, given my take on the concept of pre-destination and my other posts, you will not be surprised to read that I claim that God does not pre-destine specific individuals to ultimate salvation.

But then again neither, I think, would you, if you accepted my take on what pre-destination actually means.

As I have argued elsewhere, I think that God does pre-destine (on my interpretation of this word) in respect to salvation, however He pre-destines groups without specifying the individual members. Like others, you may find such a position to be incoherent but I have provided an argument for its plausibility that has gone unrefuted thus far.

legoman
Oct 1st 2008, 08:47 PM
I'm not sure if everyone will be in agreement on this, but I am interested in what everyone on both sides of the debate has to say. I would like to bring a more philosophical/logical argument to the debate, and I believe it is backed by scripture.

I am proposing, because of God's foreknowledge, there is only one timeline.

What is a timeline? Well if you imagine all of the choices that people have made throughout history up till now, we would have a single timeline.

Now going forward into the future, there are potentially infinite possible timelines, based on all the possible choices everyone could make in the future. But there is only one fixed timeline in the future - this is the timeline of the choices that people will actually make.

This one fixed timeline can be viewed as equivalent to God's foreknowledge. God can look at any point on the timeline (past or future), and see exactly what people chose. This is essentially saying that the future is fixed, or already written, in the same way that the past is fixed, and already written.

Isaiah 46:10 is talking about this timeline.
10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.


God declared long ago, "from ancient times", the things that are not yet done. That is, he declared what will happen in the future. And he will bring it to pass.


This is the one timeline. So can everyone agree that there is one timeline as described here? There is only one past and one future?

If you don't agree, please explain.

Secondly, if you do agree that there is one timeline: who created it? Did man "create" the timeline by the actions of his own free will, and then God adjusted it to his plan? Or did God just declare the timeline (as in Isaiah 46:10), and it came to be that way?

Thanks in advance for your answers - I appreciate it.

Legoman

John146
Oct 1st 2008, 08:58 PM
Hi drew,

I haven't been following that side of the argument as much as RogerW and others have, but I would just make this comment:

A physically blind person knows that he is blind.

A spiritually blind person doesn't even know that he is spiritually blind - because he can't (spiritually) see his own (spiritual) blindness.

That is the difference in your analogy I think.

So when someone comes along and says, "Hey I have this new operation that will cure your spiritual blindness", the spiritually blinded person simply answers, "Bah, I don't need any operation because clearly I am not spiritually blind." In their own mind, they don't even realize they are spiritually blind.

This is why the spiritually blind cannot see, and can only be changed once that blindness is removed from them (and not of their own free will, since they would never choose it). It has to be from God to open their eyes.

Cheers,
LegomanI think what is constantly missed here is that spiritually blind people close their own eyes before God ever gives them over to their spiritual blindness.

Matt 13:15
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

If they closed their own eyes, then this implies that their eyes were open to the truth before they closed them. They weren't patient enough to find the truth before closing their eyes to it. They chose the broad

Matthew 7
13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Here is something else that is often missed. The strait gate and narrow way to life is something that must be entered and found. Jesus knocks at the door of people's hearts, but they must open the door. I believe your view removes the responsibility for choosing to believe from man and places the reason for people remaining in unbelief upon God instead because He is the one who supposedly chose to not give them the ability to believe.

Eric

RogerW
Oct 1st 2008, 09:01 PM
Hello Eric:

I will not, in this post, address the specific texts you posted but will give you my present position in overview and, in so doing, I will give my objection to the "pre-destination through foreknowledge" position that you seem to hold to. With respect to the texts, I will acknowledge that there is at least the appearance of pre-destination of individuals to salvation. But one thing at a time.

At least for now, I am not willing to the take the "He fully caused it to be so" out of the very concept of divine pre-destination. As a concept, pre-destination seems to entail the notion of full causal sufficiency on the part of He who does the pre-destining. So I have real trouble with the "pre-destination according to foreknowledge" position since I think it deforms the concept of pre-destination too much.

It seems that you are trying to say that "God looks ahead into the future, sees who would freely accept him and then somehow "makes" that person accept him." I think that such a position is conceptually incoherent - it seems to involve having two contradictory things about the basis for a person's salvation - that is both freely chosen and fore-ordained. Such a position seems to entail God running history through once with human freedom, seeing what happens, and then running through a second time, with God using what He learned the first time to "pre-destine" the known outcome.

Is that a correct characterization of your view? If not, what exactly does predestination consist in over and above foreknowledge? Surely it is not merely another word for foreknowledge?

So I think that when God pre-destines X, He causes X to happen. So I think that, given my take on the concept of pre-destination and my other posts, you will not be surprised to read that I claim that God does not pre-destine specific individuals to ultimate salvation.

But then again neither, I think, would you, if you accepted my take on what pre-destination actually means.

As I have argued elsewhere, I think that God does pre-destine (on my interpretation of this word) in respect to salvation, however He pre-destines groups without specifying the individual members. Like others, you may find such a position to be incoherent but I have provided an argument for its plausibility that has gone unrefuted thus far.

Greetings Drew,

But you have yet to explain that individual names have been written in the Lamb's Book of Life from before the foundation of the world? Surely you would agree that if God predestines groups without specifying the individual members He would not write out the names of individuals? For that matter how do you reconcile the Lord calling His sheep by name?

Many Blessings,
RW

John146
Oct 1st 2008, 09:14 PM
Hello Eric:

I will not, in this post, address the specific texts you posted but will give you my present position in overview and, in so doing, I will give my objection to the "pre-destination through foreknowledge" position that you seem to hold to. With respect to the texts, I will acknowledge that there is at least the appearance of pre-destination of individuals to salvation. But one thing at a time.

At least for now, I am not willing to the take the "He fully caused it to be so" out of the very concept of divine pre-destination. As a concept, pre-destination seems to entail the notion of full causal sufficiency on the part of He who does the pre-destining. So I have real trouble with the "pre-destination according to foreknowledge" position since I think it deforms the concept of pre-destination too much.

It seems that you are trying to say that "God looks ahead into the future, sees who would freely accept him and then somehow "makes" that person accept him."No, that is not accurate. I believe He knows who would and who does accept Him and then predestines them to be conformed to the image of Christ. He has already prepared the good works that he wants us to do. We are conformed to the image of Christ by being like Christ and emulating His life and the things He did (loving others, caring for the sick, feeding the hungry, etc.). Because of God knowing beforehand that we would accept Christ, He predestined for us to have the Spirit indwell us and make us new creatures.

Let me know if my view is still unclear and, if so, I will try to clarify further for you.


I think that such a position is conceptually incoherent - it seems to involve having two contradictory things about the basis for a person's salvation - that is both freely chosen and fore-ordained. Such a position seems to entail God running history through once with human freedom, seeing what happens, and then running through a second time, with God using what He learned the first time to "pre-destine" the known outcome.I agree. But, as I said, your understanding of my position was not accurate.


Is that a correct characterization of your view?Nope


If not, what exactly does predestination consist in over and above foreknowledge? Surely it is not merely another word for foreknowledge?See above


So I think that when God pre-destines X, He causes X to happen.Romans 8:29 suggests we are predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ. It doesn't say we are predestined to believe in Christ. That is a choice we have to make. It just so happens that God already knew the choices we would make even before He created the world. He predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son because He knew we would accept His Son and put our faith and trust in Him.


So I think that, given my take on the concept of pre-destination and my other posts, you will not be surprised to read that I claim that God does not pre-destine specific individuals to ultimate salvation.It depends on how you look at it. We can put our faith and trust in Christ all we want, but that alone doesn't save us. God still had to accept our acceptance, so to speak, and then save us by putting His Spirit within us. The amazing thing about it is that He knew of our choice before the foundation of the world and already accepted it and then predestined us to be conformed to the image of Christ, which He brings about through His Spirit dwelling in us.


But then again neither, I think, would you, if you accepted my take on what pre-destination actually means.I'm not sure I completely understand your take on it. Do you agree with my take on it now that I've explained it more clearly (hopefully, anyway)?


As I have argued elsewhere, I think that God does pre-destine (on my interpretation of this word) in respect to salvation, however He pre-destines groups without specifying the individual members.Okay, that I don't agree with. Here's why.

Rom 8:29
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Paul here is speaking of specific people, not a group of people who are yet unknown. For those God foreknew, he also did predestinate. How could God foreknow who to predestinate if their actual individual identities were not known? That doesn't make much sense.


Like others, you may find such a position to be incoherentYou're a prophet :D


but I have provided an argument for its plausibility that has gone unrefuted thus far.Until now, perhaps? :D

drew
Oct 1st 2008, 09:58 PM
But you have yet to explain that individual names have been written in the Lamb's Book of Life from before the foundation of the world? Surely you would agree that if God predestines groups without specifying the individual members He would not write out the names of individuals? For that matter how do you reconcile the Lord calling His sheep by name?
Hi Roger:

Can you provide the texts in question. As a prediction, I will bet that the texts support a foreknowledge reading - that the names are written there in virtue of foreknowledge, not pre-destination.

I am sure you are aware that it is conceptually coherent for God to foreknow the future without pre-destining it. If not, we have another issue to discuss.

drew
Oct 1st 2008, 10:09 PM
No, that is not accurate. I believe He knows who would and who does accept Him and then predestines them to be conformed to the image of Christ. He has already prepared the good works that he wants us to do. We are conformed to the image of Christ by being like Christ and emulating His life and the things He did (loving others, caring for the sick, feeding the hungry, etc.). Because of God knowing beforehand that we would accept Christ, He predestined for us to have the Spirit indwell us and make us new creatures.
OK. Got it. Just to be sure I understand though, you are saying that it is specifically the conforming to the image of Christ that is pre-destined, not the accepting of the gift of salvation through Christ. I see no reason why the Romans 8 text could not be read that way, although I have not looked at it in detail.


Romans 8:29 suggests we are predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ. It doesn't say we are predestined to believe in Christ. That is a choice we have to make.
As stated, I can see that Romans 8:29 could be read that way.


I'm not sure I completely understand your take on it. Do you agree with my take on it now that I've explained it more clearly (hopefully, anyway)?
We do have the same "take" on what the very concept of pre-destination means. Until now, I thought you believed the "funny" position on pre-destination as per my last post. Now we're clear.

I will have to get back to you on the other issues raised in your post.

RogerW
Oct 2nd 2008, 02:12 AM
Hi Roger:

Can you provide the texts in question. As a prediction, I will bet that the texts support a foreknowledge reading - that the names are written there in virtue of foreknowledge, not pre-destination.

I am sure you are aware that it is conceptually coherent for God to foreknow the future without pre-destining it. If not, we have another issue to discuss.

Hi Drew,

Only those found written in the Lamb's book of life will enter into the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.

Re 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Re 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Da 12:1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

When were the names written in the Lamb's book of life?

Re 17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

Re 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Lu 10:20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

Heb 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

There is a book of the physically living, and a book with only the names of the righteous.

Ps 69:28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.

Ex 32:32 Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.

The Lord calls His sheep by name, for He knows them, and only they hear Him.

Joh 10:3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
Joh 10:4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.

Joh 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

Ex 33:17 And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.

Php 4:3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.

2Ti 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

The Lord will cause us to hear Him.

Song 8:13 Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it.

Christ knows not workers of iniquity.

Mt 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Mt 25:12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

Lu 13:25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:

Lu 13:27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.


Blessings,
RW

legoman
Oct 2nd 2008, 02:59 AM
I think what is constantly missed here is that spiritually blind people close their own eyes before God ever gives them over to their spiritual blindness.

Matt 13:15
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

If they closed their own eyes, then this implies that their eyes were open to the truth before they closed them. They weren't patient enough to find the truth before closing their eyes to it. They chose the broad

Matthew 7
13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Here is something else that is often missed. The strait gate and narrow way to life is something that must be entered and found. Jesus knocks at the door of people's hearts, but they must open the door. I believe your view removes the responsibility for choosing to believe from man and places the reason for people remaining in unbelief upon God instead because He is the one who supposedly chose to not give them the ability to believe.

Eric

Hi Eric,

Sorry I may have missed some of your previous responses with these verses. Its tough to keep track of every post in this thread.

The key to Matthew 13:15 is found in the preceding verses, especially verse 11:
10 The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?"
11 He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.
12 Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.
13 This is why I speak to them in parables:
"Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
" 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15 For this people's heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
...

Here we can see that understanding has not been given to them, therefore they closed their eyes and don't see.

Mark 4:
10 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. 11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.



What should we make of Mark 4:10-12? Jesus specifically spoke in parables, so that the masses would not see and understand, lest they be converted and forgiven!

Even the disciples did not understand until later:

Luke 18:34 The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.

Luke 24:45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.

No one will see until God opens their minds.

drew
Oct 2nd 2008, 03:02 AM
As I have argued elsewhere, I think that God does pre-destine (on my interpretation of this word) in respect to salvation, however He pre-destines groups without specifying the individual members.

Okay, that I don't agree with. Here's why.

Rom 8:29
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Paul here is speaking of specific people, not a group of people who are yet unknown. For those God foreknew, he also did predestinate. How could God foreknow who to predestinate if their actual individual identities were not known? That doesn't make much sense.
Let me start by referring you to an argument I put forward in post 182. If the argument is correct, it demonstrates that it is possible for God to elect a "group" of persons to some fate, including salvation, without God electing specific individuals to make up that group.

The argument in Post 182 is entirely independent of the Scriptures - it merely demonstrates that what I am asserting about "electing a group without specifying its members" is possible.

Unless and until someone finds an error in that argument, I suggest that it is indeed sound.

Now let's turn to Romans 8:29. I disagree with what you say above - there is no need to read this text as speaking of specific people. In short, Romans 8:29 falls under a variant to the argument of post 182.

Suppose we consider the mathematical transformation where an integer variable "x" is subject to the mathematical operation whereby it is multiplied by 2.

As a result of this mapping, "x" is "pre-destined to be conformed to the image of an even number" (all integers when multiplied by 2 yield even numbers). Note that "x" remains a variable.

Suppose that a mathematician A asks a mathematician B to give him 10 integers to subject to the transformation. But suppose that mathematician A can also "see into the future" and know what specific 10 numbers mathematician B will give him, of course without interfering with the ability of mathematician B to freely choose his 10 numbers.

We can truthfully claim the following:

1. Mathematician A did not pre-destine the numbers that mathematician B picked.

2. Mathematician A did pre-destine that the numbers given to him by mathematician B would be subjected to transformation that will convert them into the even numbers.

We could express this in Pauline fashion as follows:

"For which numbers mathematician A did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of an even number".

Is there an error of logic or reasoning here?

I cannot see one (at least not yet - I just came up with this). If the argument works, we need not conclude that any specific individuals are being pre-destined to anything in Romans 8:29.

Equipped_4_Love
Oct 2nd 2008, 04:51 AM
Hi, Roger;

Thanks so much for responding. :) I appreciate your input. There is still much I am working out, and your thoughts engage me.


Greetings Welder,

Some will argue for double predestination. I am not among them.

What is double predestination?


I agree that God did not create any man to be damned. It is true that without Christ every man would be damned. You say we respond to Christ on our own and then the Father draws us. How can that be, since Scripture tells us that no man will come to Christ unless the Father draw him? Did you mean to say we are first drawn by the Father, hear the Word, then given eternal life through the power of the Word and Holy Spirit?

Are you talking about John 6:44?

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.

It seems that, in the context of the entire passage, Jesus was using this statement to put the Pharisees in their place, rather than to support selective predestination.

45 It is written in the prophets And they shall all be taught by God. Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.

The Pharisees had willed in their hearts to deny Jesus' Messiahship, contrary to clear Scriptural evidence. In their hearts, they refused to believe that he had come down from heaven, and was of the Father. Because of this, God did not give them the illumination that He gave those who did believe, but instead, He blinded them....but He did so because of their stubborn attitude. They had not heard and learned from the Father, but they willed themselves to remain in unbelief, so the Lord used His sovereign will to blind them.

The phrase heard and learned from the Father.....here, learning follows hearing, and I do believe that hearing here refers to a willful receptiveness, as in let he who has ears to hear, let him hear, or they have ears, but do not hear. They refuse to hear.

On the other hand, the disciples, for example, initially responded to Christ, and the Father drew them. That's why Jesus was able to Peter:

Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven......Mt. 16:17

Besides, if the Father selectively draws some, and not others, how does that reconcile with this verse?

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to myself....John 12:32

I do believe that the Father draws some and not others, depending on their response to the Gospel message. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, judgement, and righteousness, and it is up to us to respond to this conviction.

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.....John 6:44

At the time of this statement, the Holy Spirit had not been ushered in. Because Jesus rose from the dead, He draws all peoples to Himself, because the Holy Spirit testifies of Him. All men can come to Christ now because the Father draws them through the Holy Spirit....how they respond will determine their eternal fate.

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.....James 4:8

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.......Heb 10:22

Drawing near to God is completely reciprocal...as we respond to Him, He draws near to us.


Would you agree that fallen man, spiritually dead in trespasses and sins cannot respond to Him, unless we are made able?

Hmmmm....I'm not sure I understand the question. Would you not agree that man has a conscience, and that conscience is what the Holy Spirit uses to convict?


Where does Scripture tell us that Christ 'offers' eternal life to every man? Doesn't Scripture affirm again and again that the Lord 'gives' eternal life to all who believe? Why are you making salvation a mere offer that one may accept or reject?

Ummmm.......:confused




We are not condemned because we have sinned, we are condemned because we have no covering for our sins.

We are condemned for both reasons. If we weren't sinners, we wouldn't need a covering.


So are you saying that if we feel convicted and given the opportunity to make profession through an altar call, and we do not, then we are not saved?

No.......


So are you saying that if we feel convicted and given the opportunity to make profession, and we do not, then we are not saved?

.....Yes

drew
Oct 2nd 2008, 02:21 PM
Only those found written in the Lamb's book of life will enter into the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.

Re 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Re 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
Fair enough, but this text is not evidence for election. It could be taken as simply indicating that God indeed forekows who will (freely) accept the gift of salvation.


Da 12:1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
Same here. This text does not support election to the exclusion of "foreknowledg of a free will acceptance".

The rest of the texts are all vulnerable to the same critique. While they are consistent with the "election" view, they do not exclude other positions that do not involve election.

John146
Oct 2nd 2008, 06:52 PM
OK. Got it. Just to be sure I understand though, you are saying that it is specifically the conforming to the image of Christ that is pre-destined, not the accepting of the gift of salvation through Christ. I see no reason why the Romans 8 text could not be read that way, although I have not looked at it in detail.Yes, that's right. I apologize for not making that more clear before. I don't purposely intend to confuse anyone. :D


As stated, I can see that Romans 8:29 could be read that way.

We do have the same "take" on what the very concept of pre-destination means. Until now, I thought you believed the "funny" position on pre-destination as per my last post. Now we're clear.

I will have to get back to you on the other issues raised in your post.Sounds good. Take your time. I have found that I have gotten myself into too many discussions at once (not just in this forum or just about this topic) and I'm having trouble keeping up. I think I need to slow down a bit. :)

John146
Oct 2nd 2008, 07:07 PM
Hi Eric,

Sorry I may have missed some of your previous responses with these verses. Its tough to keep track of every post in this thread. I know what you mean and I intend to take a step back a bit and not try to respond to every single response made to me and every single comment made within each response. It's just too time consuming.


The key to Matthew 13:15 is found in the preceding verses, especially verse 11:
10 The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?"
11 He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.
12 Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.
13 This is why I speak to them in parables:
"Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
" 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15 For this people's heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
...

Here we can see that understanding has not been given to them, therefore they closed their eyes and don't see.I don't read it that way. I believe the reason the secrets of the kingdom are not given to them is because they closed their own eyes. You almost seem to be in denial that they close their own eyes to the truth. But that's what it clearly says.

I don't see Him as giving a chronology for how people's hearts become calloused and how their ears and eyes become closed to the truth. I believe in the verses that follow verse 11 He is explaining why it is that "the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven' are not given to them. Again, it clearly says that they close their own eyes to the truth. If their eyes had been closed by Christ then how could they close their own eyes when they would have been already closed?


Mark 4:
10 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. 11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

What should we make of Mark 4:10-12? Jesus specifically spoke in parables, so that the masses would not see and understand, lest they be converted and forgiven!That's right. His parables were only meant for believers to understand. This doesn't mean that the people who can't understand the parables did not first harden their own hearts and close their own eyes and ears to the truth.


Even the disciples did not understand until later:

Luke 18:34 The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.

Luke 24:45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.

No one will see until God opens their minds.They didn't understand everything He taught, but they had faith in Christ. That's the difference. They had faith. The unbelievers didn't. They kept their eyes and ears open to the truth but the Pharisees and people like that closed their own eyes and ears to the truth and chose to not believe in Christ.

Eric

RogerW
Oct 2nd 2008, 07:11 PM
Fair enough, but this text is not evidence for election. It could be taken as simply indicating that God indeed forekows who will (freely) accept the gift of salvation.

Same here. This text does not support election to the exclusion of "foreknowledg of a free will acceptance".

In foreknowledge God knows who He has predestined to eternal life, and has written their names in His book from before the foundation of the world. If foreknowledge means that God knows who will, of his own free will accept Christ for life, and therefore predestines them, then God MUST accept that no man will be saved.

It must be stressed again that every man is born in Adam; i.e. servants of Satan, and in bondage to sin and death. We are born dead in trespasses and sins. There is none righteous, no not one. There is none that understand, and there is none that seek after God. How can God foreknow from before the foundation of the world, and before man has done any good or any evil (Ro 9:11) who will of his own free will accept Him or reject Him? Very clearly in His foreknowledge God does know the hearts of every man born in Adam. What is His assessment? Is it that some men will of his own free will come to Him for life? How can they? Here is God's assessment of every man born of Adam,

Gen 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Ge 8:21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

Job 15:16 How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?

Ec 7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.

Ec 9:3 This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.

Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

2Co 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
2Co 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Show me one man in this mass of humanity born in Adam, spiritually dead in trespasses and sins, whose thoughts are only evil continually,...show me just one example in Scirpture of this human, who of his own free will, freely chose to turn to Christ for life. Truth is you cannot.

So what you will say is that they must hear the Word, and then they will of their own free will turn to Christ for life. I would ask how does hearing the Word give those who are spiritually dead in trespasses and sins the ability to turn to Christ for eternal life? Then I will say it is because the Word is the power of life to all who believe...and how do the spiritually dead believe...through the faith that came by hearing the Word. Now you will say, it is through their own faith that they believe. Only one tiny problem with this last thought...they are spiritually dead and have no faith, so if they are given to believe through faith it is not a faith that originates in themselves...rather it is a gift of God that no man can boast (Eph 2).

God does indeed know the hearts of every man born in Adam. If He does not intervene in the hearts of some men, then no man born in Adam will be saved, because no man born in Adam can freely come to Him for eternal life. In His foreknowledge God knows all who belong to Him. He predestinated and elected those written in the book of life to receive eternal life. All whom He foreknows will come to Him through the power of the gospel and the Holy Spirit. They won't come to Him of their own free will, He will supernaturally draw them, and supernaturally give them ears to hear the gospel, calling them by name, and give them supernatural faith to believe, repent and turn to Christ for life. Salvation is of the LORD!

Many Blessings,
RW

drew
Oct 2nd 2008, 07:30 PM
Show me one man in this mass of humanity born in Adam, spiritually dead in trespasses and sins, whose thoughts are only evil continually,...show me just one example in Scirpture of this human, who of his own free will, freely chose to turn to Christ for life. Truth is you cannot.

So what you will say is that they must hear the Word, and then they will of their own free will turn to Christ for life. I would ask how does hearing the Word give those who are spiritually dead in trespasses and sins the ability to turn to Christ for eternal life? Then I will say it is because the Word is the power of life to all who believe...and how do the spiritually dead believe...through the faith that came by hearing the Word. Now you will say, it is through their own faith that they believe. Only one tiny problem with this last thought...they are spiritually dead and have no faith, so if they are given to believe through faith it is not a faith that originates in themselves...rather it is a gift of God that no man can boast
We are going over old ground here. I have already addressed these issues as completely as I can, at least for now.

John146
Oct 2nd 2008, 07:34 PM
Let me start by referring you to an argument I put forward in post 182. If the argument is correct, it demonstrates that it is possible for God to elect a "group" of persons to some fate, including salvation, without God electing specific individuals to make up that group.

The argument in Post 182 is entirely independent of the Scriptures - it merely demonstrates that what I am asserting about "electing a group without specifying its members" is possible.

Unless and until someone finds an error in that argument, I suggest that it is indeed sound.

Now let's turn to Romans 8:29. I disagree with what you say above - there is no need to read this text as speaking of specific people. In short, Romans 8:29 falls under a variant to the argument of post 182.

Suppose we consider the mathematical transformation where an integer variable "x" is subject to the mathematical operation whereby it is multiplied by 2.

As a result of this mapping, "x" is "pre-destined to be conformed to the image of an even number" (all integers when multiplied by 2 yield even numbers). Note that "x" remains a variable.

Suppose that a mathematician A asks a mathematician B to give him 10 integers to subject to the transformation. But suppose that mathematician A can also "see into the future" and know what specific 10 numbers mathematician B will give him, of course without interfering with the ability of mathematician B to freely choose his 10 numbers.

We can truthfully claim the following:

1. Mathematician A did not pre-destine the numbers that mathematician B picked.

2. Mathematician A did pre-destine that the numbers given to him by mathematician B would be subjected to transformation that will convert them into the even numbers.

We could express this in Pauline fashion as follows:

"For which numbers mathematician A did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of an even number".

Is there an error of logic or reasoning here?

I cannot see one (at least not yet - I just came up with this). If the argument works, we need not conclude that any specific individuals are being pre-destined to anything in Romans 8:29.I suppose there might be some logic to what you're saying but I can't see it. Maybe I'm not trying hard enough, I don't know. But this isn't the way I prefer to discuss scriptural topics. Also, we're talking about one God foreknowing and predestinating, so why do you have two mathematicians in your example?

Can you make this a bit easier for me by just telling me exactly what you believe the words "foreknow" and "predestinate" mean in Romans 8:29?

I believe "foreknow" in that verse means God knew beforehand what specific people would believe. It says "for whom He did foreknow...". I believe those words "for whom" makes it personal and that's why I disagree with you on this. If He knew everything that would happen beforehand, which He did, then why wouldn't He know specifically who to predestine to be conformed to the image of His Son? This concept is supported by the fact that people's names were written in the book of life even before the foundation of the world.

I believe the word predestinate means that God, before the foundation of the world and without any possibility of anyone thwarting it, destined the specific people He foreknew would believe in Christ to be conformed to the image of Christ.

legoman
Oct 2nd 2008, 07:56 PM
Hi folks,

I created another thread on the "One Timeline" idea - since my post here got lost in the sea :)

If you have any comments on that topic, please add them in that thread - I'm really interested in what everyone here has to say.

Cheers,
Legoman

legoman
Oct 2nd 2008, 08:00 PM
I know what you mean and I intend to take a step back a bit and not try to respond to every single response made to me and every single comment made within each response. It's just too time consuming.

I don't read it that way. I believe the reason the secrets of the kingdom are not given to them is because they closed their own eyes. You almost seem to be in denial that they close their own eyes to the truth. But that's what it clearly says.

I don't see Him as giving a chronology for how people's hearts become calloused and how their ears and eyes become closed to the truth. I believe in the verses that follow verse 11 He is explaining why it is that "the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven' are not given to them. Again, it clearly says that they close their own eyes to the truth. If their eyes had been closed by Christ then how could they close their own eyes when they would have been already closed?

That's right. His parables were only meant for believers to understand. This doesn't mean that the people who can't understand the parables did not first harden their own hearts and close their own eyes and ears to the truth.

They didn't understand everything He taught, but they had faith in Christ. That's the difference. They had faith. The unbelievers didn't. They kept their eyes and ears open to the truth but the Pharisees and people like that closed their own eyes and ears to the truth and chose to not believe in Christ.

Eric

Hi Eric,

I think our argument here is partly concerning over the word "choice" or "chose". As I currently understand your position, a choice is not really a choice if it wasn't a free will choice.

My position is that we still willfully make the choice, even if it was predestined (and not of free will).

So from my viewpoint, that is how I see the verses above - yes it was their choosing, but it was effectively predestined, caused, forknown, however you want to call it.

My main argument is we don't actually have free will because of God's foreknowledge. This effectively means that we are predestined to make the choices that God already knows we will make. We willfully make those choices, but cannot make any other choice than the one that God knows.

Anyway, we have gone in enough circles on this. :)

If you have any comments on my "one timeline" idea, I would be interested to hear.

Cheers,
Legoman

drew
Oct 2nd 2008, 08:05 PM
I suppose there might be some logic to what you're saying but I can't see it. Maybe I'm not trying hard enough, I don't know. But this isn't the way I prefer to discuss scriptural topics. Also, we're talking about one God foreknowing and predestinating, so why do you have two mathematicians in your example?
The only reasons I have two mathematicians is that, in the analogy, I needed someone to be map to the human being who will freely accept the gospel.


Can you make this a bit easier for me by just telling me exactly what you believe the words "foreknow" and "predestinate" mean in Romans 8:29?

I believe "foreknow" in that verse means God knew beforehand what specific people would believe. It says "for whom He did foreknow...". I believe those words "for whom" makes it personal and that's why I disagree with you on this.
I think my argument shows that the "for whom" can be legitimately understood to be a variable - as denoting a class of persons without specificity as to who they are. The rest of your post shows that, for whatever reason, my reasoning is not getting from my brain into yours.

Do you agree that in the following mathematical expression, some un-specified number is being multipled by 2 and therefore converted into an even number

x*2

This is a perfectly legitimate mathematical statement. And one can say that this expression "pre-destines" any number that it is applied to, to be "conformed into an even number". If any number is put into a computer that implements this formula, out will come an even number. And it has been indeed pre-destined to come out that way by the person who came up with the formula.

And it maps to a perfectly legitimate concept in the "real world". I can say something like: "Whoever comes through the door first, I am going to whack on the head". Surely you do not deny that I can say this. But let's also imagine that I can also "fore-know" that a specific person Fred, of his own free will, will come through that door first.

Have I, in any sense pre-destined that Fred and not Joe will be the first person to come through the door? Obviously not.

Have I pre-destined that the next person to come through the door gets whacked? Yes I have.

I can pre-destine the "whacking in the head" of a person whose identity I fore-know, but do not pre-destine.

Can I not therefore write, in Pauline fashion:

"For whom I foreknew would come through the door, I did predestine to get a whack in the head"

Any clearer?

RogerW
Oct 2nd 2008, 08:36 PM
Hi, Roger;

Thanks so much for responding. :) I appreciate your input. There is still much I am working out, and your thoughts engage me.

Greetings Welder,

And thank you for responding also. I think I can find no greater joy in this life than engaging with other Christians the things of God. I see these discussions as iron sharpening iron.



What is double predestination?

Double predestination is the doctrine that teaches if God predestines some men to eternal life, by default He must also predestinate the rest to condemnation. It is argued that it stands to reason that if God gives only some men opportunity to receive eternal life, then it is also true that He does not give the rest of men the same opportunity. Ro 9 is often cited as one of the stronger proof texts for this doctrine. I believe this doctrine is unbiblical.



Are you talking about John 6:44?

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.

It seems that, in the context of the entire passage, Jesus was using this statement to put the Pharisees in their place, rather than to support selective predestination.

45 It is written in the prophets And they shall all be taught by God. Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.

The Pharisees had willed in their hearts to deny Jesus' Messiahship, contrary to clear Scriptural evidence. In their hearts, they refused to believe that he had come down from heaven, and was of the Father.

I certainly cannot disagree with your assessment of the Pharisees. Their refusal to believe does indeed come from their own evil hearts. Are the Pharisees any different than any other man born of Adam, or born of flesh?



Because of this, God did not give them the illumination that He gave those who did believe, but instead, He blinded them....but He did so because of their stubborn attitude. They had not heard and learned from the Father, but they willed themselves to remain in unbelief, so the Lord used His sovereign will to blind them.

Again, this is a very good assessment of not only the Pharisees, but of every man born of Adam. I also agree that it is God, Who is withholding the light of truth from them because they refused to believe. There are none so blind as men who will not see.



The phrase heard and learned from the Father.....here, learning follows hearing, and I do believe that hearing here refers to a willful receptiveness, as in let he who has ears to hear, let him hear, or they have ears, but do not hear. They refuse to hear.

I agree that they refused to hear in their unbelief. Who can hear in unbelief? Their lack of hearing is willful, and this is no different in every fallen man. We all willfully choose to supress the light God has given through creation, history and conscience when we are in unbelief. No unsaved man has ears to hear, and every unsaved man refuses to hear.

But this statement, "no man can come to me except the Father draw them" is not limited to only the Pharisees. Their is historical context to consider, but we must also remember that historical events recorded in the Bible are written for our example. Christ made a similar statement to His disciples. After saying that He is the bread of life, and that a man must eat of His flesh and drink of His blood to live for ever, many of His disciples murmured and were offended. Even to those who professed to be His disciples Jesus said, "no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father."

Joh 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
Joh 6:64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.
Joh 6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
Joh 6:66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

The Spirit must first quicken (make alive), and that is why Christ says to all men, "no man can come to me, except it were given unto him of my Father."




On the other hand, the disciples, for example, initially responded to Christ, and the Father drew them. That's why Jesus was able to Peter:

Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven......Mt. 16:17

Isn't it that the Father, through the Spirit had given Peter understanding of who Christ was? Isn't this why Christ tells him that he could not have known this through flesh and blood (himself), but only the Father in heaven could have revealed this truth to him?



Besides, if the Father selectively draws some, and not others, how does that reconcile with this verse?

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to myself....John 12:32

I don't believe Scripture teaches us that all men are drawn to Christ? How can we reconcile all men being drawn to Him with the following verses?

Joh 5:40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
Joh 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
Ps 81:11 But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me.
Mt 22:3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.

Since all men will not come to Christ wouldn't you agree that Jo 12:32 cannot be speaking of all men without exception?

Joh 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

Here we find that all the Father gives to Christ, will come to Him. Would you agree the correct interpretation is Christ will draw "all men" without distinction; i.e. not only the Jews but also Gentiles?



I do believe that the Father draws some and not others, depending on their response to the Gospel message.

I hope the Scriptures I have shown you will convince you that God draws first. When you say "their response to the gospel message" do you mean when they heard the gospel they were given ears to hear, and the gift of faith (Eph 2:8), that enabled them to turn to Christ in repentance, believing? All this not of their free will, but through the power of the Word and the Spirit?



The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, judgement, and righteousness, and it is up to us to respond to this conviction.

Can any man be convicted of sin and respond without supernatural intervention through the Word and Holy Spirit?



No one can come to me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.....John 6:44

At the time of this statement, the Holy Spirit had not been ushered in. Because Jesus rose from the dead, He draws all peoples to Himself, because the Holy Spirit testifies of Him. All men can come to Christ now because the Father draws them through the Holy Spirit....how they respond will determine their eternal fate.

I hope the Scripture I have given you will make you reconsider the opinion that all people are drawn to Christ. The Holy Spirit works through the Word; the gospel of salvation. Faith comes by hearing the Word (Ro 10:17), the Father draws His own to the Word, and gives eternal life to all who believe. Salvation is GIVEN to all who believe, and all who believe, believe because they have been GIVEN supernatural faith through the power of the Word and the Holy Spirit.



Drawing near to God is completely reciprocal...as we respond to Him, He draws near to us.

This is a true statement. Who will, who can draw near to Him unless they are enabled?




Hmmmm....I'm not sure I understand the question. Would you not agree that man has a conscience, and that conscience is what the Holy Spirit uses to convict?

Well it seems this question brings us full circle. Conscience conviction shows us what is right and what is wrong, but even knowing the difference fallen man will never choose Christ that they might have life. How can they, since they are spiritually dead in trespasses and sin, and servants of Satan, and in bondage to sin and death? No man can come to Christ unless He is enabled.




Ummmm.......:confused

I cannot find Scripture support for the opinion that salvation is only an offer to be accepted or rejected by fallen, spiritually dead man. Christ did not die to merely offer salvation, His death actually accomplished salvation for all who will believe. The gospel message is the primary means that God has given mankind to supernaturally save all who believe. The message of salvation; i.e. the gospel story is sent unto all the world, to all mankind without distinction, but salvation is not offered it is GIVEN to all who believe, through the power of the message and the Holy Spirit.






We are condemned for both reasons. If we weren't sinners, we wouldn't need a covering.

The problem I have with this understanding is that we don't stop sinning when we become saved. Temptation through the world, our flesh, and the devil is something we struggle with, and sometimes succomb to even after salvation. If we are condemned because of our sins, how are we any different than unsaved man? Easy, He is the covering for all of our sins. We still sin, but our sin does not condemn us because Christ has redeemed His people.



.....Yes

Wouldn't this make salvation dependent upon our work?

Many Blessings,
RW

RogerW
Oct 2nd 2008, 08:47 PM
We are going over old ground here. I have already addressed these issues as completely as I can, at least for now.

Hello Drew,

Does this mean that you will not or cannot address the rest of the post that deals with how you interpret God's foreknowledge? After all the purpose of the post was to rebut what I believe the abundance of Scripture clearly shows, that your opinion is based on assumption without biblical support.

Since my comments on the full context of Ro 9 is a rebuttal of both yours and Eric's intrepretation, asking for a reply from both of you does not seem an unreasonable request.

Many Blessings,
RW

drew
Oct 2nd 2008, 08:58 PM
Hello Drew,

Does this mean that you will not or cannot address the rest of the post that deals with how you interpret God's foreknowledge? After all the purpose of the post was to rebut what I believe the abundance of Scripture clearly shows, that your opinion is based on assumption without biblical support.

Since my comments on the full context of Ro 9 is a rebuttal of both yours and Eric's intrepretation, asking for a reply from both of you does not seem an unreasonable request.
I do not think you and I share the same understanding of what constitutes the proper way to conduct a debate. From my perspective, the following pattern repeats:

1. RogerW assert position X with Scriptures and argument as support;

2. Drew provides an argument as to why the Scriptures, while consistent with position X, are also consistent with position Y, which conflicts with position X.

3 RogerW does not address the arguments provided by Drew, but more or less re-asserts his position.

I will revisit your post. But if I have already fully addressed the texts, or one like it, with an un-refuted argument, then I would just be repeating myself.

But if there is something new there, I will try to respond to it.

I hope what I am about to say does not come across as condescending: I hope that you realize that a text "T" that is merely consistent with a position "P1" can not be properly deemed to support P1 if a case can be made that the text T is also consistent with a position "P2" that conflicts with P1.

If you do not agree with this, then there is no hope for any progress. This is the essence of my case here - showing that the texts you provide as support for your position do not do so to the exclusion of other competing positions.

Some people have real trouble with this concept. But it is clearly correct.

If I say: "You cannot put too much water on the nuclear core", this is consistent with two opposing interpretations:

1. The more water, the better;
2. Be careful to limit how much water you put on the core - too much is bad

This is exactly the kind of thing I am talking about. The statement is consistent with two competing interpretations.

John146
Oct 2nd 2008, 09:06 PM
I think my argument shows that the "for whom" can be legitimately understood to be a variable - as denoting a class of persons without specificity as to who they are. The rest of your post shows that, for whatever reason, my reasoning is not getting from my brain into yours. Why can't you just give me a straightforward definition of those terms as you see them in that verse? Good grief. :rolleyes: ;)

Once you do that, we can go from there and I might even understand what you're trying to say in your examples after that.

drew
Oct 2nd 2008, 09:15 PM
Why can't you just give me a straightforward definition of those terms as you see them in that verse? Good grief. :rolleyes: ;)

Once you do that, we can go from there and I might even understand what you're trying to say in your examples after that.
All right, I think I have covered this already, but I will try again. I assume that you wish to know what I think the term "foreknow" means and what I think the term "pre-destine" means.

For an agent A to fore-know that event X will occur in the future means simply that A has advance knowledge that event X will most certainly occur. Agent A need not have any causal influence at all in relation to bringing X about, Agent A merely knows about it in advance.

For an agent A to pre-destine that event X will occur in the future means simply that A fully causes that event to ultimately occur.

Of course, if agent A pre-destines event X, he obviously for-knows event X. But if agent A fore-knows event X, he need not pre-destine it.

I do not think I can be any clearer than this.

And when these definition are combined with the arguments in recent posts, I think it is clear that we need not read Romans 8:29 as suggesting that specific individuals are pre-destined to anything.

RogerW
Oct 2nd 2008, 09:33 PM
I do not think you and I share the same understanding of what constitutes the proper way to conduct a debate. From my perspective, the following pattern repeats:

1. RogerW assert position X with Scriptures and argument as support;

2. Drew provides an argument as to why the Scriptures, while consistent with position X, are also consistent with position Y, which conflicts with position X.

3 RogerW does not address the arguments provided by Drew, but more or less re-asserts his position.

I will revisit your post. But if I have already fully addressed the texts, or one like it, with an un-refuted argument, then I would just be repeating myself.

But if there is something new there, I will try to respond to it.

I hope what I am about to say does not come across as condescending: I hope that you realize that a text "T" that is merely consistent with a position "P1" can not be properly deemed to support P1 if a case can be made that the text T is also consistent with a position "P2" that conflicts with P1.

If you do not agree with this, then there is no hope for any progress. This is the essence of my case here - showing that the texts you provide as support for your position do not do so to the exclusion of other competing positions.

Some people have real trouble with this concept. But it is clearly correct.

If I say: "You cannot put too much water on the nuclear core", this is consistent with two opposing interpretations:

1. The more water, the better;
2. Be careful to limit how much water you put on the core - too much is bad

This is exactly the kind of thing I am talking about. The statement is consistent with two competing interpretations.

Drew,

In all honesty much of the time I find my head spinning trying to figure out your analogies. Is it too much to ask for you to present your arguments with the Bible? At least then I could search the Word to see if what you say is true. This is one of those times when frankly I don't know what the heck you are talking about. This is also why I don't always respond to human analogies. Your postitions X and Y and P1 P2, along with putting water on a nuclear core makes me DIZZY! This is like trying to read Greek without knowing the language. Please, please, please build your arguments from the Word of God...PLEASE!

Many Blessings,
RW

drew
Oct 2nd 2008, 09:50 PM
Drew,

In all honesty much of the time I find my head spinning trying to figure out your analogies. Is it too much to ask for you to present your arguments with the Bible? At least then I could search the Word to see if what you say is true. This is one of those times when frankly I don't know what the heck you are talking about. This is also why I don't always respond to human analogies. Your postitions X and Y and P1 P2, along with putting water on a nuclear core makes me DIZZY! This is like trying to read Greek without knowing the language. Please, please, please build your arguments from the Word of God...PLEASE!

Many Blessings,
RW
You are not playing fair Roger - if you do not understand my arguments, that's one thing. But no one, including me, gets a free pass of arguments that others put forward. And you are ignoring arguments that undermine your position. Think of how this will look to the neutral reader.

We all use "reasoning" and arguments that are more than just quoting the Scriptures. If analogy and reasoning are ruled out of bounds, then we should fold this forum up and go home.

Let's say that the Bible says this:

"Thou shalt not put too much water on thy nuclear core"

I trust you know where I am going. You cannot simply claim that it means "the more the better" when the sentence, as an English statement, is ambiguous. If I responded that it could mean "you better be careful to not put too much" - a position that conflicts with yours and is, in fact, a legitimate reading just like yours is, do you have the right to say that my counterargument is inadmissable to the debate since it is not Bible-based?

Of course not.

RogerW
Oct 2nd 2008, 09:51 PM
If I say: "You cannot put too much water on the nuclear core", this is consistent with two opposing interpretations:

1. The more water, the better;
2. Be careful to limit how much water you put on the core - too much is bad

This is exactly the kind of thing I am talking about. The statement is consistent with two competing interpretations.

Okay Drew after a bit of head scratching I think I get this. Can you show this analogy using Scripture to present your argument? For instance can you find a verse to show that God's foreknowledge can be that God knows who will respond through free will and predestines those He knows will freely choose Him? As opposed to my view that God foreknows all His predestined elect, and He will give them eternal life, not determined on them doing any good or evil. Of course one of the verses I am using is Ro 9:11 to support this claim.

Many Blessings,
RW

drew
Oct 2nd 2008, 10:08 PM
Why can't you just give me a straightforward definition of those terms as you see them in that verse? Good grief. :rolleyes: ;)

Once you do that, we can go from there and I might even understand what you're trying to say in your examples after that.
It just occurred to me that you may be assuming that the statement:

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son,

means this;

For those God foreknew would be conformed to the likeness of His Son, He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son,

If that is what the text said, then my argument would fail.

But that is not what the text says. It leaves the matter of what is foreknown unspecified.

So a perfectly legitimate reading would be this:

For those God foreknew would freely accept the gift of salvation, he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son,

I hope this clarifies my argument. Let me try another version:

The following is based on my reading (3 lines up), which is a possible reading.

Consider Fred who is a person that, at the end of history is, in fact, conformed to the likeness of Christ.

Now let's go back to the beginning of history. God foreknows something about Fred - that Fred will freely accept the gift of salvation. So God says to Himself. "Knowing that Fred has freely accepted my Son, I will actively cause (that is pre-destine) Fred to become conformed to the image of my Son."

I do not see an error of logic here. Do you?

RogerW
Oct 2nd 2008, 11:24 PM
It just occurred to me that you may be assuming that the statement:

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son,

means this;

For those God foreknew would be conformed to the likeness of His Son, He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son,

If that is what the text said, then my argument would fail.

But that is not what the text says. It leaves the matter of what is foreknown unspecified.

So a perfectly legitimate reading would be this:

For those God foreknew would freely accept the gift of salvation, he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son,

I hope this clarifies my argument. Let me try another version:

The following is based on my reading (3 lines up), which is a possible reading.

Consider Fred who is a person that, at the end of history is, in fact, conformed to the likeness of Christ.

Now let's go back to the beginning of history. God foreknows something about Fred - that Fred will freely accept the gift of salvation. So God says to Himself. "Knowing that Fred has freely accepted my Son, I will actively cause (that is pre-destine) Fred to become conformed to the image of my Son."

I do not see an error of logic here. Do you?

Drew, it does not leave the matter of what is foreknown unspecified. You are reading your opinion into the text. It says:

Ro 8:29
¶ For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Using the Concordance to establish the definition of the words in question, the verse would be rendered:

For whom he did know before hand he also did ordain fashioned like unto the image of his son that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Foreknow - proginosko to know beforehand, i.e. foresee:--foreknow (ordain), know (before).

Predestinate - proorizo to limit in advance, i.e. (figuratively) predetermine:--determine before, ordain, predestinate.

Conformed - summorphos jointly formed, i.e. (figuratively) similar:--conformed to, fashioned like unto.

Foreknowledge is God knowing from before the foundation of the world whom He did ordain to be fashioned like His Son.

Consider how Christ tells unbelievers in the Judgment that He never knew them.

Mt 7:23
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Mt 25:12
But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

God knows His own from before the foundation of the world, and in time He calls His own by name and they follow Him. But to those who are not among the predestined elect, Christ never knew them.

Many Blessings,
RW

BroRog
Oct 3rd 2008, 04:35 AM
It just occurred to me that you may be assuming that the statement:

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son,

means this;

For those God foreknew would be conformed to the likeness of His Son, He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son,

If that is what the text said, then my argument would fail.

But that is not what the text says. It leaves the matter of what is foreknown unspecified.

So a perfectly legitimate reading would be this:

For those God foreknew would freely accept the gift of salvation, he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son,

I hope this clarifies my argument. Let me try another version:

The following is based on my reading (3 lines up), which is a possible reading.

Consider Fred who is a person that, at the end of history is, in fact, conformed to the likeness of Christ.

Now let's go back to the beginning of history. God foreknows something about Fred - that Fred will freely accept the gift of salvation. So God says to Himself. "Knowing that Fred has freely accepted my Son, I will actively cause (that is pre-destine) Fred to become conformed to the image of my Son."

I do not see an error of logic here. Do you?

The problem with your logic Drew, is that Romans 8:29 contains no decision point for the glorified. Since God is the subject of the sentence and he continues to be the subject of the sentence, God is doing the action. God is the one foreknowing, preordaining, choosing, calling, justifying, and glorifying. Fred has no choice in the matter as far as I can see from Romans 8:28-29.

legoman
Oct 3rd 2008, 03:28 PM
All right, I think I have covered this already, but I will try again. I assume that you wish to know what I think the term "foreknow" means and what I think the term "pre-destine" means.

For an agent A to fore-know that event X will occur in the future means simply that A has advance knowledge that event X will most certainly occur. Agent A need not have any causal influence at all in relation to bringing X about, Agent A merely knows about it in advance.

For an agent A to pre-destine that event X will occur in the future means simply that A fully causes that event to ultimately occur.

Of course, if agent A pre-destines event X, he obviously for-knows event X. But if agent A fore-knows event X, he need not pre-destine it.

I do not think I can be any clearer than this.

And when these definition are combined with the arguments in recent posts, I think it is clear that we need not read Romans 8:29 as suggesting that specific individuals are pre-destined to anything.

Hi drew,

I think what is missing here is once agent A foreknows X, X will and must come to pass. There is no other thing that can come to pass. Given we know X will come to pass, we can say X is destined to come to pass.

Foreknowledge leads to predestination, and is effectively the same.

Now as you say, in the simple example, if agent A foreknows X, this does not imply that A predestines X. But it does imply that event X is predestined to happen.

Now look at God's foreknowledge. He not only foreknow event X, but all events leading up to and after event X. So effectively all events are predestined. Now compare God to the mysterious "agent A". :) God does indeed have the power to foreknow and predestine everything. Where as "agent A" in your definition may only know about one particular event X, and does not necessarily have any power to cause X (but none the less, once he forknows X, it is now destined to happen).

(By the way I read the link that you had posted previously - quite interesting, but I think his logic was flawed on how foreknowledge can still allow the possibility of free will. But he did have an interesting argument about why causality is required for accountability.)

Cheers,
Legoman

drew
Oct 3rd 2008, 04:39 PM
Greetings all:

While I think my argument works in respect to verse 29 viewed as an item of isolated text, I do not think it works when you look at the entire 28-30 block. I will therefore present an entirely re-worked version that I believe is a perfectly valid reading of 28-30 that does not require us to see that specific individuals have been elected to ultimate glorification.

drew
Oct 4th 2008, 05:47 PM
Sorry about the length:

Here is Romans 8:28-30;

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

This block of text describes a long list of things that God does. These things are done for a group of persons, including glorifying them – an expression which I suggest that we all see as including “being saved”.

Now, what are the criteria for being a member of this group? The Calvinist will say election or pre-destination – that these things that God does – conforming, justifying, glorifying, etc – are done for a set of specific persons that God has elected or chosen.

But what is the very first thing that Paul says about this group as he begins what is clearly a tightly integrated block of three verses? He says that they “love God”. So it is entirely reasonable to see Paul as basically saying: “Here are a bunch of things that God will do for those who love God – call, predestine to be conformed, justify, glorify.”

So he starts in verse 28 with an identification of who is talking about – those who love God. It is obvious that nothing in the statement “God works for the good of those who love him” rules out the possibility that a measure of human free will is involved in the process of getting to state where one “loves God”. In the second half of verse 28, Paul says something else about “those who love him” – he says that they are called according to his purpose.

Now the Calvinist will argue that the call is “causative” – that it brings those who love God into that state through the agency of God and God alone. But this is simply not faithful to the concept of a “call” which, in English at least, has an invitation sense which effectively pre-supposes the existence of free will on the part of the one called.

And what is the purpose toward which they are called? That they be pre-destined to be conformed to the image of his Son. So there is indeed pre-destining going on. But it is the pre-destining to be conformed to the image of the Son that is pre-destined, not acceptance of the gift of salvation.

No doubt, some will argue as follows:


Drew has granted that a set of person is pre-destined to be conformed;
This must be the same set of persons who enter the “saved” state;
Therefore, the entering of the saved state is also pre-destined.
I think such reasoning is flawed, but if you wish to challenge me on that, please do so.

So to the end of verse 29, there is nothing in the text that compels us to see any pre-destination to salvation. All we can say in respect to pre-destination is that there is pre-destination to conformity. So we can read 28 and 29 without violating a belief that people “freely” accept salvation.

And verse 30 harmonizes with this. On the eminently plausible hypothesis that the set of people Paul is talking about are those “who love God”, Paul repeats that they were pre-destined to conformity (not to salvation), and that they were called, justified, and glorified.

There is no need to understand that any of this entails pre-destination to salvation.

Now I think the error of the Calvinist is this – they simply assume that Paul is no longer talking about “those who love God” when we enter verse 29 – the Calvinist thinks that Paul’s is starting verse 29 with “people in general” as the framework. Indeed, if Paul had never written verse 28 as a lead in to the other two verses, we would quite rightly argue thus:


In verse 29, Paul identifies a set of persons (from “people in general”) pre-destined to conformity;In verse 30, Paul says that these same people are also called;
The same people who are thus pre-destined to conformity and called, and no others by strong implication, are those who end up justified and glorified.
This would seem to be a pretty good argument. The people who are pre-destined to the conformity are the only ones called, justified and glorified. After all, the Calvinist will argue, there are clear statements that those who are pre-destined (to conformity) are the same group of people who are justified and glorified. So how can they not be elected or pre-destined to ultimate justification and glorification?

However, Paul did write verse 28, and verse 28 very legitimately gives us grounds to believe that all the stuff in verses 29 and 30 is said in relation to the group he initially identifies in verse 28 - those who love God. And there is no reason to see the “loving of God” as being pre-destined. So all the things that Paul says in 29 and 30 are about a set of persons whose “loving of God” might not have been pre-destined. And all the things said about them are entirely consistent with their having “freely” entered the state of loving God.

So the entire block in no way supports the pre-destination position.

RogerW
Oct 4th 2008, 06:49 PM
Sorry about the length:

Here is Romans 8:28-30;

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

This block of text describes a long list of things that God does. These things are done for a group of persons, including glorifying them – an expression which I suggest that we all see as including “being saved”.

Now, what are the criteria for being a member of this group? The Calvinist will say election or pre-destination – that these things that God does – conforming, justifying, glorifying, etc – are done for a set of specific persons that God has elected or chosen.

But what is the very first thing that Paul says about this group as he begins what is clearly a tightly integrated block of three verses? He says that they “love God”. So it is entirely reasonable to see Paul as basically saying: “Here are a bunch of things that God will do for those who love God – call, predestine to be conformed, justify, glorify.”

So he starts in verse 28 with an identification of who is talking about – those who love God. It is obvious that nothing in the statement “God works for the good of those who love him” rules out the possibility that a measure of human free will is involved in the process of getting to state where one “loves God”. In the second half of verse 28, Paul says something else about “those who love him” – he says that they are called according to his purpose.

Now the Calvinist will argue that the call is “causative” – that it brings those who love God into that state through the agency of God and God alone. But this is simply not faithful to the concept of a “call” which, in English at least, has an invitation sense which effectively pre-supposes the existence of free will on the part of the one called.

And what is the purpose toward which they are called? That they be pre-destined to be conformed to the image of his Son. So there is indeed pre-destining going on. But it is the pre-destining to be conformed to the image of the Son that is pre-destined, not acceptance of the gift of salvation.

No doubt, some will argue as follows:


Drew has granted that a set of person is pre-destined to be conformed;
This must be the same set of persons who enter the “saved” state;
Therefore, the entering of the saved state is also pre-destined.
I think such reasoning is flawed, but if you wish to challenge me on that, please do so.

So to the end of verse 29, there is nothing in the text that compels us to see any pre-destination to salvation. All we can say in respect to pre-destination is that there is pre-destination to conformity. So we can read 28 and 29 without violating a belief that people “freely” accept salvation.

And verse 30 harmonizes with this. On the eminently plausible hypothesis that the set of people Paul is talking about are those “who love God”, Paul repeats that they were pre-destined to conformity (not to salvation), and that they were called, justified, and glorified.

There is no need to understand that any of this entails pre-destination to salvation.

Now I think the error of the Calvinist is this – they simply assume that Paul is no longer talking about “those who love God” when we enter verse 29 – the Calvinist thinks that Paul’s is starting verse 29 with “people in general” as the framework. Indeed, if Paul had never written verse 28 as a lead in to the other two verses, we would quite rightly argue thus:


In verse 29, Paul identifies a set of persons (from “people in general”) pre-destined to conformity;In verse 30, Paul says that these same people are also called;
The same people who are thus pre-destined to conformity and called, and no others by strong implication, are those who end up justified and glorified.
This would seem to be a pretty good argument. The people who are pre-destined to the conformity are the only ones called, justified and glorified. After all, the Calvinist will argue, there are clear statements that those who are pre-destined (to conformity) are the same group of people who are justified and glorified. So how can they not be elected or pre-destined to ultimate justification and glorification?

However, Paul did write verse 28, and verse 28 very legitimately gives us grounds to believe that all the stuff in verses 29 and 30 is said in relation to the group he initially identifies in verse 28 - those who love God. And there is no reason to see the “loving of God” as being pre-destined. So all the things that Paul says in 29 and 30 are about a set of persons whose “loving of God” might not have been pre-destined. And all the things said about them are entirely consistent with their having “freely” entered the state of loving God.

So the entire block in no way supports the pre-destination position.

Drew, it seems we need to get a grasp of what it means to love God. Who can love God? You believe it is possible for mankind who are born separated from God through sin, spiritually dead in trespasses and sins, even in bondage to Satan, sin and death can of his/her free will love God. According to Scripture, not Calvin, this is not possible since the fall.

Both the body and the soul are corrupted because of the fall. This does not mean that people are as bad as they can be, but rather, that the effects of the fall have completely ruined the total being of man. If is not just that man's mind is ruined, or that just his body is ruined, or that just his soul is ruined. It means the whole man is corrupted with sin. This would mean that man cannot fundamentally do anything to please God.

Isaiah 64:6, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." Genesis 6:5, "And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."

This depravity begins at conception. It does not begin when we do something bad. We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners. Psalm 51:5, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother concieve me." Depravity of the heart is completely extensive so that we cannot will to do any good. All we do is evil. All we love is ourselves. We suppress God and exalt ourselves. Without the indwelling of the Spirit, no man can love God!

Ro 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
Ro 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Ro 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.d
Ro 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Fallen man cannot do any good work.
Proof Text: Mt 7:17,18; 1Co 12:3; Jo 15:4,5

Fallen man cannot comprehend or apprehend the good.
Proof Text: Acts 16:14; Eph 4:18; 2Co 3:12-18; Jo 1:11; Jo 8:43; 1Co 1:18,21; 1Co 2:14

Fallen man cannot have any desire towards the good
Jo 3:3; Jo 6:64-65; Ezek 11:19 Eph 2:1,5

Many Blessings,
RW

drew
Oct 4th 2008, 08:19 PM
Drew, it seems we need to get a grasp of what it means to love God. Who can love God? You believe it is possible for mankind who are born separated from God through sin, spiritually dead in trespasses and sins, even in bondage to Satan, sin and death can of his/her free will love God. According to Scripture, not Calvin, this is not possible since the fall.

Both the body and the soul are corrupted because of the fall. This does not mean that people are as bad as they can be, but rather, that the effects of the fall have completely ruined the total being of man. If is not just that man's mind is ruined, or that just his body is ruined, or that just his soul is ruined. It means the whole man is corrupted with sin. This would mean that man cannot fundamentally do anything to please God.
That argument has been reponded to already. I will leave it to the reader to judge between our respective argument about the nature of the fall and the degree to which our faculties have been thereby corrupted.

But I want to be clear. Notwithstanding other texts this text - Romans 8:28-30 has, as a text unto itself I suggest, been shown to not endorse the pre-destination position.

Now if you say "well, you have to interpret scripture in light of other scriptures", I would agree with you.

But, I would then challenge what you assert above about the nature of our fallen-ness.

And then we would, I suggest, simply be repeating ourselves.

legoman
Oct 4th 2008, 08:42 PM
Hi drew,

How do view Isaiah 46:10-11?

10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.

I take this as describing God's complete foreknowledge, and in fact he declares the whole "timeline" - ie. predestines. This is further reinforced by verse 11 "I will bring it to pass" - ie. God is running the whole show according to his purpose.

Then when viewed with verses like Eph 1:11 and Romans 8:28 - it becomes clear (to me at least) that he really is predestining everything.

Legoman

RogerW
Oct 4th 2008, 09:19 PM
That argument has been reponded to already. I will leave it to the reader to judge between our respective argument about the nature of the fall and the degree to which our faculties have been thereby corrupted.

But I want to be clear. Notwithstanding other texts this text - Romans 8:28-30 has, as a text unto itself I suggest, been shown to not endorse the pre-destination position.

Now if you say "well, you have to interpret scripture in light of other scriptures", I would agree with you.

But, I would then challenge what you assert above about the nature of our fallen-ness.

And then we would, I suggest, simply be repeating ourselves.

Drew, you are right, I would certainly argue that the whole of Scripture is to be used if we are to have good theology. Perhaps you would at the very least accept that the text from Romans 8 you wish to isolate could be read in context? Looking at the whole context of Romans 8, will we find that man without the Holy Spirit can love God? We'll find the exact opposite.

Who does not walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit? Do fallen men or believers?

Ro 8:4
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Those after the flesh concern themselves with the things of the flesh, but those of the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. Do unsaved men have the Spirit?

Ro 8:5
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

Who are the carnally minded, of death, and the spiritually minded, life and peace?

Ro 8:6
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Those of a carnal mind are against God, not subject to His law, and have no ability in themselves to be.

Ro 8:7
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Who are these of the flesh who cannot please God?

Ro 8:8
So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Paul is speaking to them who are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit...if the Spirit of God is in them. But if the Spirit of God is not in them, they are none of His.

Ro 8:9
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Since man in the flesh (unsaved) do only the things of the flesh, and cannot please God...how do they love God, while remaining unsaved?

Many Blessings,
RW

drew
Oct 5th 2008, 03:37 AM
Drew, you are right, I would certainly argue that the whole of Scripture is to be used if we are to have good theology. Perhaps you would at the very least accept that the text from Romans 8 you wish to isolate could be read in context? Looking at the whole context of Romans 8, will we find that man without the Holy Spirit can love God? We'll find the exact opposite.
I agree that the rest of Romans 8 says we cannot love God without the Holy Spirit. But as has been argued elsewhere (and without refutation) there is no necessity to understand that an inability to loves means that one is unable to recognize the existence of such an inability and freely accept the grace that then leads to that ability.

Have I the ability to perform brain surgery? No.

Do I know that I lack this ability? Yes.

Could I freely agree to have somebody else's expertise about brain surgery downloaded into my brain, if that were possible.

Yes.

Therefore an inability to love does not necessitate and inability to freely accept the gift of the Spirit that then gives us that ability.

RogerW
Oct 5th 2008, 04:09 AM
I agree that the rest of Romans 8 says we cannot love God without the Holy Spirit. But as has been argued elsewhere (and without refutation) there is no necessity to understand that an inability to loves means that one is unable to recognize the existence of such an inability and freely accept the grace that then leads to that ability.

Have I the ability to perform brain surgery? No.

Do I know that I lack this ability? Yes.

Could I freely agree to have somebody else's expertise about brain surgery downloaded into my brain, if that were possible.

Yes.

Therefore an inability to love does not necessitate and inability to freely accept the gift of the Spirit that then gives us that ability.

Drew,

Is your brain surgery analogy how you see salvation? The reason I ask is because in your analogy your ability to do brain surgery does not come from within you, it is downloaded into your brain from something/someone without. This is exactly how we are saved...by grace through faith, not of ourselves, but a free gift GIVEN. You have no ability to do brain surgery, you are given the ability to do brain surgery...bingo..guess what? You're now able to operate on the brain. You have no ability to love God while spiritually dead. You are given the ability when you are born again of the Spirit...bingo..guess what? You now love God. Did you love Him before being given the ability? NO! Just like with the brain surgery, you had no ability to do brain surgery, then you were given that ability.

If you have no ability to love, not only would you not have the indwelling Spirit, but you would also have no desire to have Him. So the idea that you would freely accept the gift of the Spirit...[excuse the pun] is a no brainer impossibility!

Many Blessings,
RW

BroRog
Oct 5th 2008, 07:38 PM
Now the Calvinist will argue that the call is “causative” – that it brings those who love God into that state through the agency of God and God alone. But this is simply not faithful to the concept of a “call” which, in English at least, has an invitation sense which effectively pre-supposes the existence of free will on the part of the one called.

I would argue that Paul's wording implies that God's call is proactive rather than reactive because the set of those called is the same set as those glorified. I don't think I could argue that the "call" causes the "glorification". But at the same time, neither could I argue that God's "call" is an open invitation since each individual that he "calls" also end up glorified.

I might be able to make sense of the idea that, while his servants broadcast an open invitation to all, God's personal call to an individual is so compelling that the person will always end up glorified. The way Paul words verse 30, I can't see how anyone whom God foreknows doesn't end up glorified.

drew
Oct 5th 2008, 07:45 PM
Is your brain surgery analogy how you see salvation? The reason I ask is because in your analogy your ability to do brain surgery does not come from within you, it is downloaded into your brain from something/someone without. This is exactly how we are saved...by grace through faith, not of ourselves, but a free gift GIVEN.
Correct, and this is why the analogy is a good one.

I cannot do brain surgery without someone downloading that knowledge into my brain.

Likewise, a person cannot love God without God "downloading" the Holy Spirit into that person.


If you have no ability to love, not only would you not have the indwelling Spirit, but you would also have no desire to have Him. So the idea that you would freely accept the gift of the Spirit...[excuse the pun] is a no brainer impossibility!
No. You assume that just because I do not have the ability to love God, I would also lack the desire to be rescued from that state - to freely ask for and receive the Holy Spirit. How do you justify your assumption especially when we know that situations like the following do exist:

1. Fred lacks the ability to resist cocaine - he is hopelessly addicted.
2. Fred recognizes the disaster his life has become - he "desires" to be rescued from his state of inability.
3. Fred takes the appropriate therapy and is cured.

Your entire position here is built on an exceedingly shake premise - that the inability to love God precludes an ability to recognize and act on that state. You have given us no reason to believe this. And common sense suggests that it is possible - life is full of situations whereby people recognize the existence of an inability on their part and they take actions to get help.

drew
Oct 5th 2008, 08:06 PM
I would argue that Paul's wording implies that God's call is proactive rather than reactive because the set of those called is the same set as those glorified. I don't think I could argue that the "call" causes the "glorification". But at the same time, neither could I argue that God's "call" is an open invitation since each individual that he "calls" also end up glorified.
Where does Paul state or imply that each individual that he "calls" end up glorified. I assume it is this phrase:

And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified

I think you ignore the possibility, raised in my argument, that Paul has already told us what set of people are to be under the implications of this verse - it is the set of persons who love God (and by hypothesis are free to enter that state).

In verse 28, Paul is effecrtively saying: "Here is the group of people I am now going to say other things about - it is the set of persons who love God".

So when we get to the "those he called, he also justified", we can legitimately see the "those" that are called as being members of the set of those who love God, and this does not imply that were not others who were called and did not love God.

So from within set of persons who freely chose to love God, Paul is saying the following things: they were pre-destined, called, justified, and glorified.

The essence of your argument appears to be that "those he called" is a statement made in relation to humanity as a whole, not those "who love God". If that were the case, your argument would indeed work.

RogerW
Oct 5th 2008, 08:49 PM
Correct, and this is why the analogy is a good one.

I cannot do brain surgery without someone downloading that knowledge into my brain.

Likewise, a person cannot love God without God "downloading" the Holy Spirit into that person.

No. You assume that just because I do not have the ability to love God, I would also lack the desire to be rescued from that state - to freely ask for and receive the Holy Spirit. How do you justify your assumption especially when we know that situations like the following do exist:

1. Fred lacks the ability to resist cocaine - he is hopelessly addicted.
2. Fred recognizes the disaster his life has become - he "desires" to be rescued from his state of inability.
3. Fred takes the appropriate therapy and is cured.

Your entire position here is built on an exceedingly shake premise - that the inability to love God precludes an ability to recognize and act on that state. You have given us no reason to believe this. And common sense suggests that it is possible - life is full of situations whereby people recognize the existence of an inability on their part and they take actions to get help.

Drew, you ASSUME being hopelessly addicted to drugs is equivalent to being spiritually dead. If you can prove that hopless drug addiction is the same as being spiritually dead, then your human analogy has merit. But I suggest to you that Scripture shows the estate of fallen man is of far greater consquence than addition to drugs.

Many Blessings,
RW

drew
Oct 5th 2008, 08:59 PM
Drew, you ASSUME being hopelessly addicted to drugs is equivalent to being spiritually dead. If you can prove that hopless drug addiction is the same as being spiritually dead, then your human analogy has merit.
This cuts both ways.

While your request is indeed legitimate, the very same challenge can be set to you: "prove" that to be spiritually dead means that one cannot freely recognize and accept grace.


But I suggest to you that Scripture shows the estate of fallen man is of far greater consquence than addition to drugs.
The relevant issue is not one of the consequences, but rather of the scope of the "inability". You have never made a case that because we lack an innate ability to love God, we cannot recognize that inability, desire to escape from it, and freely accept the grace that will do this.

If you want to stand on argument of the form: "A person who cannot love cannot wish to love" and freely seek help in that regard, then by all means do so. I think such a position is demonstrably untrue.

RogerW
Oct 6th 2008, 04:27 AM
This cuts both ways.

While your request is indeed legitimate, the very same challenge can be set to you: "prove" that to be spiritually dead means that one cannot freely recognize and accept grace.

The relevant issue is not one of the consequences, but rather of the scope of the "inability". You have never made a case that because we lack an innate ability to love God, we cannot recognize that inability, desire to escape from it, and freely accept the grace that will do this.

If you want to stand on argument of the form: "A person who cannot love cannot wish to love" and freely seek help in that regard, then by all means do so. I think such a position is demonstrably untrue.

1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

legoman
Oct 6th 2008, 12:14 PM
1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Good verse Roger - I had forgotten about that one. The spiritually blind cannot see that they are spiritually blind.

Legoman

Nuweling
Oct 6th 2008, 02:09 PM
In the first place we must understand that God's never ending grace reaches to every single person on earth, we are all part of His creation and He loves us all equally. The fullness of the death of Christ lies in this, that He died so that everyone can have the choice to accept him or not. We were created to His image in the respect that we have a choice in life, where as animals don't. So, yes God knows who will be saved in the end, but He didn't choose some to be saved, but He gave us the choice and He can't do anything about the choice we make because He is full of love, God IS love but He is still fair and righteous.

BroRog
Oct 6th 2008, 02:43 PM
Where does Paul state or imply that each individual that he "calls" end up glorified. I assume it is this phrase:

And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified

I think you ignore the possibility, raised in my argument, that Paul has already told us what set of people are to be under the implications of this verse - it is the set of persons who love God (and by hypothesis are free to enter that state).

In verse 28, Paul is effecrtively saying: "Here is the group of people I am now going to say other things about - it is the set of persons who love God".

So when we get to the "those he called, he also justified", we can legitimately see the "those" that are called as being members of the set of those who love God, and this does not imply that were not others who were called and did not love God.

So from within set of persons who freely chose to love God, Paul is saying the following things: they were pre-destined, called, justified, and glorified.

The essence of your argument appears to be that "those he called" is a statement made in relation to humanity as a whole, not those "who love God". If that were the case, your argument would indeed work.

The other possibility, of course, is that we love him because he loved us first. That is, to love God is symptomatic of his actions in verse 30.

John146
Oct 6th 2008, 07:34 PM
All right, I think I have covered this already, but I will try again. I assume that you wish to know what I think the term "foreknow" means and what I think the term "pre-destine" means.Obviously. ;) Sorry it took this long to reply, but like I said, I became involved in too many discussions at once and couldn't keep up so I decided to slow down for a bit and not try to reply to everything directed at me.


For an agent A to fore-know that event X will occur in the future means simply that A has advance knowledge that event X will most certainly occur. Agent A need not have any causal influence at all in relation to bringing X about, Agent A merely knows about it in advance.Agree


For an agent A to pre-destine that event X will occur in the future means simply that A fully causes that event to ultimately occur.Agree


Of course, if agent A pre-destines event X, he obviously for-knows event X. But if agent A fore-knows event X, he need not pre-destine it.

I do not think I can be any clearer than this.This time I can understand your perspective. Thanks.


And when these definition are combined with the arguments in recent posts, I think it is clear that we need not read Romans 8:29 as suggesting that specific individuals are pre-destined to anything.You seem to make a big leap here in logic and I still don't understand where this comes from. We know God, before the foundation of the world, knew everything that would ever happen and everything that people would ever do and believe, right? The evidence of this is that all people's names were either written or not written in the book of life before the foundation of the world (Rev 17:8).

This means that God had knowledge of specific individuals even before the foundation of the world. So, it seems logical to me to take that concept and apply it to predestination by saying that those individuals who He foreknew would believe in Christ, and whose names He even wrote in the book of life, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son.

John146
Oct 6th 2008, 08:44 PM
Correct, and this is why the analogy is a good one.

I cannot do brain surgery without someone downloading that knowledge into my brain.

Likewise, a person cannot love God without God "downloading" the Holy Spirit into that person.


No. You assume that just because I do not have the ability to love God, I would also lack the desire to be rescued from that state - to freely ask for and receive the Holy Spirit. How do you justify your assumption especially when we know that situations like the following do exist:

1. Fred lacks the ability to resist cocaine - he is hopelessly addicted.
2. Fred recognizes the disaster his life has become - he "desires" to be rescued from his state of inability.
3. Fred takes the appropriate therapy and is cured.

Your entire position here is built on an exceedingly shake premise - that the inability to love God precludes an ability to recognize and act on that state. You have given us no reason to believe this. And common sense suggests that it is possible - life is full of situations whereby people recognize the existence of an inability on their part and they take actions to get help.Exactly. Here is a case in point:

Luke 18
9And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Did Jesus say anything here about God giving the publican the ability to recognize that he was a sinner in need of mercy while not giving that ability to the Pharisee? Absolutely not. The publican humbled himself while the Pharisee exalted himself. As a result, the publican was exalted (as evidenced by Jesus saying he was justified) while the Pharisee was either humbled later in his life or will be humbled at the throne of judgment on judgment day.

Now, it would seem that the typical view of one who believes in limited atonement is that people are not capable of choosing to humble themselves. The same view would try to say that people are capable of choosing to exalt themselves. But that is inconsistent.

Jesus implies here that people can freely choose to either humble themselves or exalt themselves. The publican humbled himself. He recognized that he was a sinner and then asked God for mercy.

People who take the limited atonement view try to say those who believe in free will and universal atonement give credit to man for salvation. Do those same people believe the publican had reason to boast after acknowledging to God that he was a sinner and asking for mercy and being justified for that? Of course he didn't boast. He just got done admitting that he was a hopeless sinner in need of God's mercy. Where is boasting in that? One can freely choose to repent and believe in Christ without having an attitude that he/she deserves any credit for his/her salvation.

The Pharisee, on the other hand, did not recognize or acknowledge that he was a sinner and thought he was superior to everyone. Was this because he never had any ability to choose to humble himself and ask God for mercy? And is this because the Spirit spoke to the publican's heart and conscience while not doing so for the Pharisee? I don't believe so.

Acts 7
51Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

The Holy Spirit even spoke to the stubborn and proud Pharisees hearts, but they resisted Him. I don't believe the Holy Spirit would have bothered with them if they had no ability to repent and humble themselves. They chose to refuse to answer the Spirit's call.

Look what Jesus said He would have done had the Pharisees and other religious Jews not rejected Him:

Matthew 23
37O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

Did the Jews, as a whole (not all), reject Christ because they had no ability to do otherwise? That's not what Jesus taught. Had they, as a whole, chosen to accept Him rather than reject Him then He would "have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings". He would have blessed them rather than leaving their house desolate if they only would have accepted Him as their Messiah. It was clearly their willful choice to reject Him. They "would not!".

Eric

John146
Oct 6th 2008, 09:36 PM
1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.This is yet another verse (along with Isaiah 49:1, John 15:16, Romans 9:11 and several others) that I believe you take out of context.

That verse has to do specifically with "the deep things of God" (1 Cor 2:10) that only people who have already been born again and saved can understand. What many don't realize is that Paul even includes "babes in Christ" when speaking of the natural man. He is speaking of anyone who thinks carnally and focuses on carnal things. Even Christians do that at times. Especially those new to the faith. Shortly after Paul said what he did in 1 Cor 2:14, he said this:

1 Cor 3
1And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
3For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
4For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

In 1 Corinthians 2:14, Paul is speaking of spiritual meat. The man who thinks carnally cannot understand spiritual meat, but can only understand spritual milk. This includes not only babes in Christ, but also unbelievers. Unbelievers can understand that they are sinners and are in need of forgiveness, mercy and salvation.

The gospel is preached to unbelievers who do not yet have the Spirit of God dwelling in them. Nothing in scripture says that they can't recognize their sinful state and their need for forgiveness and salvation without first being regenerated. Yes, they need to hear the word of God and need the Spirit to speak to their hearts regarding their need to repent of their sin, but that doesn't mean they need to be entirely regenerated by the Spirit in order to understand that.

If you read Romans 1:16-20 you should see that it implies that all people are expected to believe "that which may be known of God...even His eternal power and Godhead" and they have no excuse for not believing it. This would include the gospel, since Romans 1:16 says "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.

It then explains that which may be known of God is manifest in them. And yet it says later that they "changed the truth of God into a lie" and "they did not like to retain God in their knowledge". Deep down they knew God and knew that which be known of God. They knew deep down what was true. But I believe it implies that they chose to reject the truth and as a result "became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.". Notice they weren't already vain in their imaginations. They became vain in their imaginations. God didn't create them as fools who could not acknowledge the truth. Instead, "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools".

So, with all that in mind, I believe the context of 1 Cor 2:14 is the deep things of God. Those things that are even beyond "that which may be known of God...even His eternal power and Godhead". This would include deeper truths in scripture that an unbeliever could never understand because they can only be spiritually discerned. As I said before, even babes in Christ can't understand these things until they mature spiritually and stop acting carnally.

I don't believe it is Paul's point in 1 Corinthians 2 to say that the natural man is not capable, after hearing the preaching of the word of God and feeling the convicting power of the Spirit, of humbling himself, confessing that he is a sinner and is in need of salvation that can only come through believing in Christ. The Spirit can speak to people's hearts and consciences while showing them the truth of God's Word and their need to repent and believe the gospel without indwelling them. That is what you miss. The Spirit spoke to the Pharisees hearts, but they resisted Him. He did not need to indwell them in order to speak to their hearts that they needed to repent of their sins.

There's nothing in the Luke 18 passage above that indicates that the publican already had the Spirit of God dwelling in him before he responded with repentance. Did Cornelius have the Spirit of God dwelling in him before he responded to the gospel and believed? There's nothing that indicates as such. How about the prison keeper in Acts 16? Paul and Silas told him that he specifically would be saved, as well as anyone in his household, by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. This implies that Paul and Silas knew that the prison keeper, as well as everyone in his household, had the ability to put their faith in Christ despite not knowing them personally.

Eric

RogerW
Oct 6th 2008, 11:04 PM
This is yet another verse (along with Isaiah 49:1, John 15:16, Romans 9:11 and several others) that I believe you take out of context.

That verse has to do specifically with "the deep things of God" (1 Cor 2:10) that only people who have already been born again and saved can understand. What many don't realize is that Paul even includes "babes in Christ" when speaking of the natural man. He is speaking of anyone who thinks carnally and focuses on carnal things. Even Christians do that at times. Especially those new to the faith. Shortly after Paul said what he did in 1 Cor 2:14, he said this:

1Co 2:6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
1Co 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
1Co 2:8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
1Co 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
1Co 2:10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
1Co 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
1Co 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

Yes, Eric this passage does speak of our ability to know the deep things of God. The wisdom of God mysterious and hidden, unknown to the wise and prudent of this world, yet ordained to be revealed before the world was to them that love Him. This is speaking of the blessings and benefits of Christ, as the context shows. Through God's mercy to His own in Christ is to be seen, read in Scripture, and heard by preaching, what the eyes and ears of natural man cannot receive because this can only be discerned by the Spirit of God living in us.

Joh 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Mt 13:16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
Mt 13:17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

The gospel must be revealed. We must be given understanding, for the natural man cannot understand the things that are freely given by God to those who are in Him that is true.

1Jo 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

Since the gospel is unknown to natural man (it is beyond the understanding of the wisest of them), how can any unsaved man know these spiritual mysteries? The answer is that God has made a revelation of His purpose to save through the person and work of Christ, and He must reveal that Christ is just and the Justifier by His Spirit. The Holy Spirit of truth, Who the world cannot receive, but will guide believers into all truth (Jo 16:13).

Joh 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

God has given His own His Spirit of truth that we may know, understand and appreciate the gifts of His divine favor and blessings so freely given to us by God in Christ Jesus. Natural man cannot receive the things of God, for these things are spiritually discerned, His Spirit testifying to our spirit that we are the children of God.



The gospel is preached to unbelievers who do not yet have the Spirit of God dwelling in them. Nothing in scripture says that they can't recognize their sinful state and their need for forgiveness and salvation without first being regenerated.

I've just quoted a few verses that say otherwise. The Spirit must reveal spiritual things to us, but the natural man cannot receive the Spirit of truth.



Yes, they need to hear the word of God and need the Spirit to speak to their hearts regarding their need to repent of their sin, but that doesn't mean they need to be entirely regenerated by the Spirit in order to understand that.

I don't know how you can acknowledge the need to "hear" the Word of God and teh need of the Spirit enlightening the heart of the need to repent, and then say we do not need to be "entirely" regenerated by the Spirit in order to understand. It's seems you want to have it both ways. You acknowledge the Sovereignty of God through His Word and Spirit, but then take it all back by saying we don't need to be "entirely regenerated by the Spirit in order to understand." What exactly do you mean by entirely anyway? Is salvation entirely by Christ, or are you saying He needs our help to accomplish His eternal purposes to redeem a people for Himself?



If you read Romans 1:16-20 you should see that it implies that all people are expected to believe "that which may be known of God...even His eternal power and Godhead" and they have no excuse for not believing it. This would include the gospel, since Romans 1:16 says "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.

You seem to be implying "even His eternal power and Godhead" means supernatural revelation of Christ through His gospel. Godhead simply means all men are without excuse because God has fully revealed to all men His power and divinity or deity (which is what Godhead means), through creation. If the only revelation man every received is what is clearly seen in creation, history, and conscience, it is enough to make them guilty for not acknowledging Him as God, and giving Him all glory.

Paul begins Ro 1:1-17 speaking about his calling to be an apostle among the nations. He is speaking to those who are also called by Jesus Christ through the gospel. He thanks God for the ministry and tells the church in Rome that he wanted to come to them, to share even more, and receive blessings himself through their faithfulness. Paul says he is a debtor to all men and ready to preach the gospel to all knowing that it is the power of life to all who believe. The ability to believe comes from faith to faith.

Beginning in vs 18 Paul begins to warn them about the wrath of God against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. The remainder of the chapter is directed toward unrighteous men who supress the truth in unrighteousness. They are carnal man without understanding, and can never understand the spiritual things of God unless God reveals it to them. This is the condition to which every man born in Adam is born to. We would all remain in this carnal nature unless God supernaturally saves us.

Many Blessings,
RW

Marc B
Oct 7th 2008, 12:18 AM
I encourage anyone who is struggling with this doctrinal puzzle to abandon the Augustinian/Lutheran/Calvinist/Pelagian/Arminian party. Go into the Word of God and seek to know Him. As you spend time knowing God and drawing near to Him, these arguments will dissolve into nothingness.


Well said sister. :kiss:

Marc B
Oct 7th 2008, 01:32 AM
In the first place we must understand that God's never ending grace reaches to every single person on earth, we are all part of His creation and He loves us all equally. The fullness of the death of Christ lies in this, that He died so that everyone can have the choice to accept him or not. We were created to His image in the respect that we have a choice in life, where as animals don't. So, yes God knows who will be saved in the end, but He didn't choose some to be saved, but He gave us the choice and He can't do anything about the choice we make because He is full of love, God IS love but He is still fair and righteous.

Well said. In many passages the Bible speaks of God's love for all of us and His wish that we ALL come to repentance and be saved. God knows who will be saved? Absolutely! Those who repent and believe, that's who. Not Bob and Fred will be saved but Jim and Alex have a date with the lake of fire with simply no choice in the matter. Calvinism teaches God is a respecter of persons with their exclusive "club of saved souls and damn the rest" ideology which the Bible clearly says He's not. How many predestined here can say with absolute 100% certainty that they are assured salvation no matter what they do in their lives? A child of a let's say a Jew or Mormon who's family love God just as much and as sincerely as anyone here does dies in a car accident or is abducted, raped and murdered. I suppose he/she died because God predestined him/her to live a short life only to die a horrible death and spend eternity in hellfire because He knew beforehand that kid was no good? Is that God's love for humanity? To look down on the Earth at let's say a playground full of kids and say "you,you and you are in. To hell with the rest of you." Anyone want to take a stab as to why God would do this in defence of Calvinistic doctrine? :o:mad::cry::pray:

drew
Oct 8th 2008, 05:16 PM
1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
I am afraid that this text really does not make the case. As has already been argued, you are really bringing an assumption to this text. And that is that a person who is indeed incapable of "receiving the things of the Spirit is also cognitively impaired to the point where he cannot realize this and accept grace.

You almost seem to be assuming that "spiritual deadness" entails a kind of total cognitive deadness. Yet we know that the unredeemed are indeed capabile of thinking clearly. Billions of unbelievers do it everyday.

So you really cannot stand on such texts as this as if they conclusively supported the notion that a person cannot freely reach out for grace, even if they have a spiritual impairment.

Let's say that I simply have too few brain cells to understand quantum mechanics - I simply cannot, hard as I might try, understand quantum mechanics because my brain is simply not big enough.

Can I understand that my brain is too small? Of course. My brain is too small to understand quantum mechanics - it is not too small to understand that I don't understand quantum mechanics.

Can I decide to have an operation to make my brain bigger? Of course. By the same token, my brain is too small to understand quantum mechanics - it is not too small to understand that an operation can make by brain bigger.

So I could truly write the following of a "natural" man whose brain is too small to understand quantum mechanics:

But the natural man receiveth not the things of quantum mechanics: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are discerned by faculties his brain is too small to possess.

John146
Oct 8th 2008, 06:04 PM
Drew, it seems we need to get a grasp of what it means to love God. Who can love God? You believe it is possible for mankind who are born separated from God through sin, spiritually dead in trespasses and sins, even in bondage to Satan, sin and death can of his/her free will love God. According to Scripture, not Calvin, this is not possible since the fall.

Both the body and the soul are corrupted because of the fall. This does not mean that people are as bad as they can be, but rather, that the effects of the fall have completely ruined the total being of man. If is not just that man's mind is ruined, or that just his body is ruined, or that just his soul is ruined. It means the whole man is corrupted with sin. This would mean that man cannot fundamentally do anything to please God. That's not what scripture teaches.

Heb 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

One can please God by diligently seeking Him and believing that He is. Let's not get confused here by the passages that say no one seeks Him. You have to understand the context of these verses, otherwise they will seem to contradict each other. If left completely to himself, man will not seek God. But if God has the word of God preached to a man and speaks to his heart by His Spirit, then man can choose to respond by seeking God and believing the word of God. The verse above must be speaking of people who are not yet saved because a saved person would already have sought God, come to God,and believed that He is.


Isaiah 64:6, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." Genesis 6:5, "And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." In Noah's day, this was true of all people EXCEPT Noah and his family. Therefore, it must be a choice that people make, otherwise even Noah and his family would have thought of "only evil continually".


This depravity begins at conception. It does not begin when we do something bad. We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners. Psalm 51:5, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother concieve me." Depravity of the heart is completely extensive so that we cannot will to do any good. All we do is evil.This is not true. Unbelievers do good things all the time. Those things are counted as filthy rags, but you can't try to say it's not a good thing if an unbeliever helps a little old lady across the street or whatever it might be. You are taking the concept of total depravity further than scripture takes it.

People are not born in such a way that they only think of evil continually. Do you have any children? Or can you remember back when you were a child or to any time before you were saved? Were all your thoughts you ever had in your life evil continually before you were saved? No. That is just taking things too far. Being a sinner is not equivalent to not having the ability to choose to respond to the call of the gospel with repentance and faith. Scripture simply does not teach that. Scripture teaches that men become "vain in their imaginations" (Rom 1:21) and become "fools" (Rom 1:22) rather than being born that way. It is their choice to not glorify God or be thankful (Rom 1:21). It is their choice to profess "themselves to be wise" (Rom 1:22). It is their choice to change "the truth of God into a lie" and to worship and serve "the creature more than the Creator" (Rom 1:25).


All we love is ourselves. We suppress God and exalt ourselves. Without the indwelling of the Spirit, no man can love God!

Ro 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
Ro 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Ro 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.d
Ro 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. This doesn't mean that people don't have the choice between being carnally minded and loving the world or wanting to surrender their lives to God instead. Don't you know that even "babes in Christ" can be carnally minded? Do they have no choice but to remain babes in Christ or can they choose to acknowledge theirs sins and ask God to help them mature in Christ?

1 Cor 3
1And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
3For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
4For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?


Fallen man cannot do any good work.
Proof Text: Mt 7:17,18; 1Co 12:3; Jo 15:4,5Yes, fallen man cannot do any good work of righteousness. Thankfully, repentance and faith are not good works of righteousness, so fallen man can repent and believe. In fact, Jesus commanded fallen men to do so (Mark 1:15).


Fallen man cannot comprehend or apprehend the good.
Proof Text: Acts 16:14; Eph 4:18; 2Co 3:12-18; Jo 1:11; Jo 8:43; 1Co 1:18,21; 1Co 2:14None of those verses say that fallen man cannot recognize his fallen and lost state and respond by choosing to humble himself, repent of his sins and put his faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.


Fallen man cannot have any desire towards the good
Jo 3:3; Jo 6:64-65; Ezek 11:19 Eph 2:1,5Again, none of those say that fallen man cannot recognize his fallen and lost state and respond by choosing to humble himself, repent of his sins and put his faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

John146
Oct 8th 2008, 06:24 PM
This cuts both ways.

While your request is indeed legitimate, the very same challenge can be set to you: "prove" that to be spiritually dead means that one cannot freely recognize and accept grace.Your challenge can't be answered with scripture because scripture never defines being spiritually dead with being unable to respond to the call of the gospel of salvation with repentance and faith.

If that's what being spiritually dead meant then this would mean that, since many are called and few are chosen, then the ones who were called and not chosen were called for absolutely no reason at all because they supposedly had no ability to respond favorably to it.

This would suggest that God does things for no reason such as inviting (calling) people to His wedding (to salvation - Matt 22:1-14) only to tell some when they get there: "Sorry about this. I know I invited (called) you to the wedding (to salvation), but you were mistaken in thinking that you could actually accept the invitation. Sorry about the misunderstanding. I'm afraid you will now have to be taken away and cast into outer darkness since you didn't happen to be one of the lucky ones that I randomly chose to be saved.".


The relevant issue is not one of the consequences, but rather of the scope of the "inability". You have never made a case that because we lack an innate ability to love God, we cannot recognize that inability, desire to escape from it, and freely accept the grace that will do this.Exactly


If you want to stand on argument of the form: "A person who cannot love cannot wish to love" and freely seek help in that regard, then by all means do so. I think such a position is demonstrably untrue.I agree. Scripture does not teach anywhere that a person cannot recognize that something is missing in their lives and realize that what they are missing is a relationship with God and then wanting to do something about it like the publican in Luke 18:9-14 did by humbling himself, acknowledging that he was a sinner and asking God for mercy.

Eric

legoman
Oct 8th 2008, 06:34 PM
I am afraid that this text really does not make the case. As has already been argued, you are really bringing an assumption to this text. And that is that a person who is indeed incapable of "receiving the things of the Spirit is also cognitively impaired to the point where he cannot realize this and accept grace.


Hi drew,

I'm not sure how you read it, but to me it is exactly making the case.

1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

1. The natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God.
2. KEY POINT: Spiritual things are foolishness to him - that is why he cannot receive them.
3. Neither can he understand them, because he needs spiritual understanding.

He is spiritually blind because he thinks spiritual things are foolish, and therefore cannot understand. He will not realize it until God enables him to realize that spiritual things are not foolish.

Legoman

drew
Oct 8th 2008, 06:47 PM
Your challenge can't be answered with scripture because scripture never defines being spiritually dead with being unable to respond to the call of the gospel of salvation with repentance and faith.

If that's what being spiritually dead meant then this would mean that, since many are called and few are chosen, then the ones who were called and not chosen were called for absolutely no reason at all because they supposedly had no ability to respond favorably to it.

This would suggest that God does things for no reason such as inviting (calling) people to His wedding (to salvation - Matt 22:1-14) only to tell some when they get there: "Sorry about this. I know I invited (called) you to the wedding (to salvation), but you were mistaken in thinking that you could actually accept the invitation. Sorry about the misunderstanding. I'm afraid you will now have to be taken away and cast into outer darkness since you didn't happen to be one of the lucky ones that I randomly chose to be saved.".
I agree and admit that I never thought of things this way. But you do provide a powerful argument here. If we arrive at a place where things happen for no purpose - and by this I mean not that we do not know the purpose, but rather that we can definitively rule a purpose out - then we know something is amiss with our exegesis.

And if you believe that a person who is spiritually dead cannot respond to the call, and if God calls some but chooses only a subset, then those in the complementary sub-set - called but not chosen - are being called to absolutely no purpose. This shows that the view that the spiritually dead cannot respond simply cannot be correct.

John146
Oct 8th 2008, 07:18 PM
1Co 2:6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
1Co 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
1Co 2:8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
1Co 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
1Co 2:10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
1Co 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
1Co 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

Yes, Eric this passage does speak of our ability to know the deep things of God. The wisdom of God mysterious and hidden, unknown to the wise and prudent of this world, yet ordained to be revealed before the world was to them that love Him. This is speaking of the blessings and benefits of Christ, as the context shows. Through God's mercy to His own in Christ is to be seen, read in Scripture, and heard by preaching, what the eyes and ears of natural man cannot receive because this can only be discerned by the Spirit of God living in us. This does not include one recognized that they are a sinner in need of God's mercy, forgiveness and salvation. Are you going to try to tell me that the publican in Luke 18:9-14 already had the Spirit of God indwelling Him before he humbled himself and asked God for mercy? There is nothing to suggest that was the case. How about the prison keeper of Acts 16? Did he already have the Spirit of God dwelling in Him before he put his faith in Christ? I would highly doubt it since he shortly before almost killed himself over being distressed at thinking he failed to do his job.


Joh 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Mt 13:16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
Mt 13:17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

The gospel must be revealed. We must be given understanding, for the natural man cannot understand the things that are freely given by God to those who are in Him that is true. Timeout. Once again, you have taken scripture out of context. Read Matthew 13:16-17 again carefully. Did Jesus say that many unbelieving men desired to see what the disciples saw and hear the things that the disciples heard? NO. It says many PROPHETS and RIGHTEOUS MEN desired those things. It doesn't say false prophets and unrighteous men desired those things. Prophets and righteous men can only refer to BELIEVERS. Jesus was only saying that many believers who lived before the disciples wanted to still be alive when the Messiah came so that they could have the privilege of seeing Him work and of learning from Him.


1Jo 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

Since the gospel is unknown to natural man (it is beyond the understanding of the wisest of them), how can any unsaved man know these spiritual mysteries?When we first put our faith and trust in Christ, do we immediately mature in Christ so that we know Him intimately or does it take time? Read 1 Corinthians 3. People must first have spiritual milk before they can move on to spiritual meat. That verse has nothing to do with saying that unbelievers cannot respond to the gospel with faith and repentance unless they are among the few to whom God gives that ability.


The answer is that God has made a revelation of His purpose to save through the person and work of Christ, and He must reveal that Christ is just and the Justifier by His Spirit. The Holy Spirit of truth, Who the world cannot receive, but will guide believers into all truth (Jo 16:13).

Joh 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

God has given His own His Spirit of truth that we may know, understand and appreciate the gifts of His divine favor and blessings so freely given to us by God in Christ Jesus. Natural man cannot receive the things of God, for these things are spiritually discerned, His Spirit testifying to our spirit that we are the children of God. And, yet again, you have taken scripture out of context. Why can't the world receive the Spirit? Because God never wanted them to? No. Because they do not see Him or know Him. Why don't they see Him or know Him?

Matt 13:15
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Do you understand what Jesus taught in this verse? He did not teach that the reason that some people are unable to see with their eyes and hear with their ears because they are born without that ability. Instead, He taught that people harden their own hearts, stop their own ears and close their own eyes to the truth.

After much patience and longsuffering, if it serves His purposes, God will sometimes further harden people's hearts and close their eyes and ears, but Jesus isn't talking about that here. He is putting all the responsibility for people having hardened hearts and closed eyes and ears on man's choice to do so rather than being born that way. You can't try to say that some people are born with hardened hearts and closed eyes and ears to the truth because in that case it wouldn't make any sense to say that they closed their own eyes as Jesus claimed they did. How could they close their eyes to the truth if they were already closed to the truth?


I've just quoted a few verses that say otherwise. The Spirit must reveal spiritual things to us, but the natural man cannot receive the Spirit of truth. He can if He repents and believes in Christ, but HE can't if He doesn't. The world (unrepentant unbelievers) cannot receive the Spirit because of their unwillingness to heed the Spirit's call to repentance and faith. This even includes the unbelieving Pharisees. The Spirit called them but they resisted Him (Acts 7:51).



I don't know how you can acknowledge the need to "hear" the Word of God and teh need of the Spirit enlightening the heart of the need to repent, and then say we do not need to be "entirely" regenerated by the Spirit in order to understand.Because scripture doesn't teach that.


It's seems you want to have it both ways.Wrong


You acknowledge the Sovereignty of God through His Word and Spirit, but then take it all back by saying we don't need to be "entirely regenerated by the Spirit in order to understand."Nothing I believe takes away from God's sovereignty. It was His sovereign choice to offer salvation to all people.


What exactly do you mean by entirely anyway? Is salvation entirely by Christ, or are you saying He needs our help to accomplish His eternal purposes to redeem a people for Himself? God didn't need our help to decide to love the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son as an atoning sacrifice so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.


You seem to be implying "even His eternal power and Godhead" means supernatural revelation of Christ through His gospel.Col 2:9
For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

It says God's eternal power has been revealed and it also says the gospel is "the power of God unto salvation".


Godhead simply means all men are without excuse because God has fully revealed to all men His power and divinity or deity (which is what Godhead means), through creation. If the only revelation man every received is what is clearly seen in creation, history, and conscience, it is enough to make them guilty for not acknowledging Him as God, and giving Him all glory. All the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ bodily. Therefore, if man is expected to understand and believe "even his eternal power and Godhead" then man is expected to believe in Christ and has no excuse for not doing so.

If some men have no ability to believe in Christ, as you try to claim, then that would be a pretty good excuse for not believing, I'd say. An excuse they could use on the day of judgment in protest for being condemned for not believing in Christ (John 3:18) despite having not been given the ability to do so. God is fair and just. Where is the fairness in condemning people for not believing in Christ if they never even had the ability to do so? Instead, they will be found without excuse because they were responsible to make the choice to believe in Him and chose not to believe in Him instead.


Paul begins Ro 1:1-17 speaking about his calling to be an apostle among the nations. He is speaking to those who are also called by Jesus Christ through the gospel. He thanks God for the ministry and tells the church in Rome that he wanted to come to them, to share even more, and receive blessings himself through their faithfulness. Paul says he is a debtor to all men and ready to preach the gospel to all knowing that it is the power of life to all who believe. The ability to believe comes from faith to faith.

Beginning in vs 18 Paul begins to warn them about the wrath of God against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.Why would God warn believers about that? No, he is informing them about this so that they will realize the urgency of reaching people with the gospel before they ever become "vain in their imaginations".


The remainder of the chapter is directed toward unrighteous men who supress the truth in unrighteousness. They are carnal man without understanding, and can never understand the spiritual things of God unless God reveals it to them. This is the condition to which every man born in Adam is born to. We would all remain in this carnal nature unless God supernaturally saves us. Actually, instead of saying they can never understand the spiritual things of God it says that they did understand but "they did not like to retain God in their knowledge" (Rom 1:27). Clearly, that was their choice to not retain God in their knowledge and instead they chose to change "the truth of God into a lie" and worship and serve "the creature more than the Creator".

Eric

RogerW
Oct 8th 2008, 07:48 PM
That's not what scripture teaches.

Heb 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

One can please God by diligently seeking Him and believing that He is. Let's not get confused here by the passages that say no one seeks Him. You have to understand the context of these verses, otherwise they will seem to contradict each other. If left completely to himself, man will not seek God.

Amen Eric! Is this not exactly what I have said repeatedly? Spiritually dead man will not seek God...because they cannot seek God.



But if God has the word of God preached to a man and speaks to his heart by His Spirit, then man can choose to respond by seeking God and believing the word of God.

Amen again Eric! Spiritually dead man can only respond to God after hearing the Word of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. Of course we believe and choose to seek God because the Spirit has enabled us. That is why after hearing and believing we turn in repentance and faith to Christ for life.



The verse above must be speaking of people who are not yet saved because a saved person would already have sought God, come to God,and believed that He is.

We're really on a roll here, because again, I agree people without faith do not believe that He is, and therefore they are not saved, nor will they be unless they hear, believe through the power of the Holy Spirit and turn in repentance to Christ for life.



In Noah's day, this was true of all people EXCEPT Noah and his family. Therefore, it must be a choice that people make, otherwise even Noah and his family would have thought of "only evil continually".

Eric, look at the passage carefully. God sees the wickedness of man in the earth. If Noah was an exception, why doesn't God say so? God lumps even Noah in with all humanity as wickedness, and God does not say He is grieved with all man except Noah. Noah too would be destroyed but for the grace of God. Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. Why? Because Noah is among the predestined elect from the foundation of the world to receive the grace of God unto eternal life. Noah did not choose the LORD, the LORD chose Noah.

Ge 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Ge 6:6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
Ge 6:7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
Ge 6:8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.



This is not true. Unbelievers do good things all the time. Those things are counted as filthy rags, but you can't try to say it's not a good thing if an unbeliever helps a little old lady across the street or whatever it might be. You are taking the concept of total depravity further than scripture takes it.

Eric, unbelievers, according to the heart or reasoning of man do many good things to help one another. But what have they accomplished according to God? If God views righteous deeds man does as filthy rags, how do you suppose He views deeds done in unrighteousness?

Isa 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.



People are not born in such a way that they only think of evil continually. Do you have any children? Or can you remember back when you were a child or to any time before you were saved? Were all your thoughts you ever had in your life evil continually before you were saved? No. That is just taking things too far.

These passages speak of the ungodly, who are born in sin. We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are born sinners.

Isa 48:8 Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time that thine ear was not opened: for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb.

Ps 58:3 The wicked [ungodly] are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

Eph 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Eph 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Eph 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.



Being a sinner is not equivalent to not having the ability to choose to respond to the call of the gospel with repentance and faith. Scripture simply does not teach that.

Eric, we are all born by nature the children of wrath. You have already said how we are able to choose to respond to the gospel with repentance and faith. We both agree it is through "hearing" the Word, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Are you saying something different here? Are you now saying we "hear" without the power of the Holy Spirit, but rather by our free will?



Scripture teaches that men become "vain in their imaginations" (Rom 1:21) and become "fools" (Rom 1:22) rather than being born that way. It is their choice to not glorify God or be thankful (Rom 1:21). It is their choice to profess "themselves to be wise" (Rom 1:22). It is their choice to change "the truth of God into a lie" and to worship and serve "the creature more than the Creator" (Rom 1:25).

Without saving grace through "hearing" the Word, by the power of the Holy Spirit, what natural man, born of Adam will not become vain fools, turning the truth of God into a lie, will not glorify God or be thankful, who worship and serve the creature more than the Creator? Every man without grace has the same outcome...vain in their imaginations, loving themselves, pride, boastful, disobedient, serving the god of this world.


This doesn't mean that people don't have the choice between being carnally minded and loving the world or wanting to surrender their lives to God instead. Don't you know that even "babes in Christ" can be carnally minded? Do they have no choice but to remain babes in Christ or can they choose to acknowledge theirs sins and ask God to help them mature in Christ?

What does it mean to be carnally minded? When we become saved, have we instantly put away every sin of our carnal flesh? You cannot compare stuggling Christians, with the indwelling Holy Spirit to convict and guide with carnal unsaved, rebellious man, who have only themselves (fallen, spiritually dead, prideful) to be their guide. Immature babes "in Christ" can choose to please God, unsaved man cannot.



Yes, fallen man cannot do any good work of righteousness. Thankfully, repentance and faith are not good works of righteousness, so fallen man can repent and believe. In fact, Jesus commanded fallen men to do so (Mark 1:15).

Would you explain to me how fallen men can repent and believe again? I'm a little confused, because you have just said that we must "hear" the gospel through the power of the Holy Spirit to repent and believe. Now you are telling me that repentance and faith are not good works of righteousness so fallen man can repent and believe. Did you mean to say they can only repent and believe through "hearing" the gospel through the power of the Holy Spirit?



None of those verses say that fallen man cannot recognize his fallen and lost state and respond by choosing to humble himself, repent of his sins and put his faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Again, none of those say that fallen man cannot recognize his fallen and lost state and respond by choosing to humble himself, repent of his sins and put his faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Again Eric, did you mean to say that fallen man can recognize his fallen and lost state and respond by choosing to humble himself, and repent of his sins, having faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior after "hearing" the Word, the gospel of salvation, and receiving the power through the Holy Spirit? You are a bit confusing because you said above, "But if God has the word of God preached to a man and speaks to his heart by His Spirit, then man can choose to respond by seeking God and believing the word of God." This sounds more like a man who has been made spiritually alive, not a man dead in trespasses and sins.

Many Blessings,
RW

John146
Oct 8th 2008, 07:56 PM
Hi drew,

I'm not sure how you read it, but to me it is exactly making the case.

1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

1. The natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God.
2. KEY POINT: Spiritual things are foolishness to him - that is why he cannot receive them.
3. Neither can he understand them, because he needs spiritual understanding.

He is spiritually blind because he thinks spiritual things are foolish, and therefore cannot understand. He will not realize it until God enables him to realize that spiritual things are not foolish.

LegomanIf you continue reading on into 1 Corinthians 3, you can see that this even applies to babes in Christ, so this has nothing to do with people not being able to come to saving faith in Christ. All it means is that someone who is thinking carnally, including immature believers, cannot understand deeper spiritual things.

1 Cor 3
1And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
3For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
4For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

A babe in Christ is still in Christ. They are a true believer. But they are still immature and need to grow. They are still thinking carnally and therefore aren't ready yet to understand the meat of God's Word. Because they were thinking carnally at that point doesn't mean they were stuck in that condition. But, like unbelievers, no one was going to force them to stop thinking carnally. These babes in Christ had to choose that they want to mature before they could ever start understanding the meat of God's Word. Paul wasn't going to force feed it to them.

Similarly, in the case of unbelievers, they have to choose that they want to know the truth. If they see that thinking carnally and believing that the world has all they need is not true and realize that what the world has to offer is not satisfying them then they can choose to seek the truth. Their hearts are then open to the truth but they need someone to tell it to them. They need to hear the word of God because faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Rom 10:17).

John146
Oct 8th 2008, 09:01 PM
Amen Eric! Is this not exactly what I have said repeatedly? Spiritually dead man will not seek God...because they cannot seek God.I didn't say they can't seek God. You are saying that.


Amen again Eric! Spiritually dead man can only respond to God after hearing the Word of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.That's right. But nowhere does it say that man must be born of the Spirit in order to respond to the word of God. Clearly, the Spirit can speak to people without having to indwell them. We can see that clearly from verses like Acts 7:51. The Pharisees that are talked about in that verse certainly were not born again, yet they were able to resist the Spirit.


Of course we believe and choose to seek God because the Spirit has enabled us. That is why after hearing and believing we turn in repentance and faith to Christ for life. Scripture doesn't teach that God created most people (few are saved - Matt 7:13-14) to have no ability to ever repent and put their faith in Christ. God isn't a fool. He would not command "all people everywhere" to repent (Acts 17:30) if not "all people everywhere" could repent.


We're really on a roll here, because again, I agree people without faith do not believe that He is, and therefore they are not saved, nor will they be unless they hear, believe through the power of the Holy Spirit and turn in repentance to Christ for life. That's a choice they are responsible to make. That's obviously where you and I part ways on this.


Eric, look at the passage carefully. God sees the wickedness of man in the earth. If Noah was an exception, why doesn't God say so? God lumps even Noah in with all humanity as wickedness, and God does not say He is grieved with all man except Noah. Noah too would be destroyed but for the grace of God. Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. Why? Because Noah is among the predestined elect from the foundation of the world to receive the grace of God unto eternal life. Noah did not choose the LORD, the LORD chose Noah.

Ge 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Ge 6:6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
Ge 6:7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
Ge 6:8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.I disagree. Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD because he had faith in the LORD.

Hebrews 11:7
7By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.


Eric, unbelievers, according to the heart or reasoning of man do many good things to help one another. But what have they accomplished according to God? If God views righteous deeds man does as filthy rags, how do you suppose He views deeds done in unrighteousness?

Isa 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. Great, we agree that man's own righteousness is as filthy rags. You seem to have missed the point. How does man being a sinner and therefore unrighteous mean that he is not capable of recognizing that he is a sinner and then wanting mercy and forgiveness?


These passages speak of the ungodly, who are born in sin. We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are born sinners.

Isa 48:8 Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time that thine ear was not opened: for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb.

Ps 58:3 The wicked [ungodly] are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

Eph 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Eph 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Eph 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.You seem to have forgotten that we are talking in terms of people thinking evil things at all times. These verses prove that man is a sinner from the beginning but they do not mean that he always thinks of evil things at all times from the day he is born. Do you not have anything to say about what I said about what Paul taught in Romans 1:21-22, which is that men become "vain in their imaginations" and become "fools" rather than being born that way? How can man become vain in his imaginations (and all that entails as described in Romans 1) if he was already born that way? Are murderers born as murderers? Are rapists born as rapists? Clearly not. So, how do they become that way? By choice.


Eric, we are all born by nature the children of wrath. You have already said how we are able to choose to respond to the gospel with repentance and faith. We both agree it is through "hearing" the Word, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Are you saying something different here? Are you now saying we "hear" without the power of the Holy Spirit, but rather by our free will? The two go hand in hand. We freely choose to respond to the word of God that we hear as well as the convicting power of the Spirit. But some choose to reject the word of God and resist the Spirit.

2 Thess 2
9Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

This passage clearly implies that these people could have received (accepted, embraced) the truth and if they had they would be saved. Instead, they rejected it.


Acts 7
51Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

This verse clearly implies that the reason they resisted the Holy Spirit was due to their stubborn refusal to listen. That was their choice. Look what Jesus says about them had they only not chosen not to resist His Spirit and reject Him:

Matthew 23
33Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
34Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:
35That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
36Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.
37O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
38Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.



If these people never had any ability to repent and believe in Christ, why does He get so angry at them and why is He so saddened by their rejection of Him? There would be no reason for Him to be angry and saddened by people not doing something that they supposedly didn't ever have the ability to do in the first place. It is clear that His frustration with them was because of their willfull choice to reject Him and His gospel. As He said, they "would not!".


Without saving grace through "hearing" the Word, by the power of the Holy Spirit, what natural man, born of Adam will not become vain fools, turning the truth of God into a lie, will not glorify God or be thankful, who worship and serve the creature more than the Creator? Every man without grace has the same outcome...vain in their imaginations, loving themselves, pride, boastful, disobedient, serving the god of this world. But we are talking about people who once knew "that which may be known of God...even his eternal power and Godhead". Surely, not all people who know "that which may be known of God...even His eternal power and Godhead" become vain in their imaginations. Paul didn't say that. Even atheists at one point in their lives knew "that which may be known of God...even His eternal power and Godhead". But "they did not like to retain God in their knowledge". This does not mean that all people do "not like to retain God in their knowledge".


What does it mean to be carnally minded? When we become saved, have we instantly put away every sin of our carnal flesh? You cannot compare stuggling Christians, with the indwelling Holy Spirit to convict and guide with carnal unsaved, rebellious man, who have only themselves (fallen, spiritually dead, prideful) to be their guide. Immature babes "in Christ" can choose to please God, unsaved man cannot. Do you think that because there's a chapter break between 1 Cor 2 and 1 Cor 3 that what he said in 1 Cor 3 was completely unrelated to what he said in 1 Cor 2? If so, I disagree. Sometimes I wish they had not created chapter breaks in scripture. Overall, it's helpful, but sometimes it's not.


Would you explain to me how fallen men can repent and believe again? I'm a little confused, because you have just said that we must "hear" the gospel through the power of the Holy Spirit to repent and believe.I have explained this to you before. God gives all people hearts (speaking spiritually) and consciences with which people use to make decisions. If you are asking me to try to explain to you how our minds and hearts work in action, then I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed. Some things only God can understand because He made us.

What I do know is that scripture teaches that God wants all men to repent and to be saved (Acts 17:30, 1 Tim 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9) because He cares about all the people He made, as evidenced by the fact that He grieved in His heart over most people rebelling against Him in Noah's day.

When thinking about this issue, we have to take God's character, as taught in scripture, into account. His character suggests to me that He would have every right to send every person that has ever lived to hell if He wanted to. But, thankfully, He is gracious, merciful and longsuffering. And He is impartial. So, all those things together tell me that He would not just randomly choose to save some while leaving the rest in their sins without any ability to repent and put their faith in Christ. It just doesn't make any sense at all to condemn people for not believing in Christ (John 3:18) if they never had any ability to believe in Christ. I believe that contradicts God's character.


Now you are telling me that repentance and faith are not good works of righteousnessI'm telling you that because scripture doesn't teach that anywhere.


so fallen man can repent and believe. Did you mean to say they can only repent and believe through "hearing" the gospel through the power of the Holy Spirit? Yes, but our understanding of what that means is obviously different. To you it means they must be born of the Spirit before they can repent and believe. That would mean one is already in the kingdom of God even before repenting and believing, which I don't think makes a whole lot of sense. I've already explained before that I believe everyone hears the word of God preached to them and the Spirit works to convince everyone of their sins, but people can refuse to respond with faith to the word of God and can resist the Spirit.


Again Eric, did you mean to say that fallen man cannot recognize his fallen and lost state and respond by choosing to humble himself, and repent of his sins, having faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior after "hearing" the Word, the gospel of salvation, and receiving the power through the Holy Spirit? You are a bit confusing because you said above, "But if God has the word of God preached to a man and speaks to his heart by His Spirit, then man can choose to respond by seeking God and believing the word of God." This sounds more like a man who have been made spiritually alive, not a man dead in trespasses and sins. You are at least equally confusing because you want to insist that one must be made spiritually alive (which would mean they are born again and saved) before they can respond to the gospel. I don't believe scripture teaches that anywhere. I see scripture, such as Ephesians 1:12-13 and Acts 10, that indicates that one receives and is sealed by the Holy Spirit AFTER they have trusted and believed in Christ, but I don't see any scripture that says it happens before that.

I believe the onus is on you to show where scripture teaches that being dead in trespasses and sins is equivalent to one not having the ability to confess that they are a sinner and are in need of mercy, forgiveness and salvation. I don't see any scripture that teaches that. I believe people like the publican of Luke 18:9-14 and the prison keeper of Acts 16:27-34 were not yet spiritually alive before repenting and believing. It certainly doesn't say that they were.

RogerW
Oct 9th 2008, 10:51 AM
You are at least equally confusing because you want to insist that one must be made spiritually alive (which would mean they are born again and saved) before they can respond to the gospel. I don't believe scripture teaches that anywhere. I see scripture, such as Ephesians 1:12-13 and Acts 10, that indicates that one receives and is sealed by the Holy Spirit AFTER they have trusted and believed in Christ, but I don't see any scripture that says it happens before that.

The sealing (Eph 1:12,13) of the Holy Spirit is marking those who have been born again for security or preservation. The Holy Spirit eternally seals all who belong to God. If you are speaking of Cornelius in Acts 10, then you are speaking of an OT saint.



I believe the onus is on you to show where scripture teaches that being dead in trespasses and sins is equivalent to one not having the ability to confess that they are a sinner and are in need of mercy, forgiveness and salvation. I don't see any scripture that teaches that. I believe people like the publican of Luke 18:9-14 and the prison keeper of Acts 16:27-34 were not yet spiritually alive before repenting and believing. It certainly doesn't say that they were.

Eric every man "freely" chooses to reject the Lord prior to salvation. You say God has given us free will, and we can from our own hearts accept or reject Him. If some men freely choose to accept the Lord, and others don't, where is God, or I should say, what kind of God would allow those whom you say He loves reject Him? Aren't all mankind born in Adam with the same natural, fallen flesh? If some believe and some reject how can we all be the same? You say it's because some freely choose to believe, while others freely choose to reject. How can that be unless we are not all made exactly the same?

Look at the example of the Pharisees. They all, including Saul of Tarsus, hardened their own hearts, were stiff necked and refused to believe. Because of their rebellion and unbelief, the Lord hardens them further so they cannot believe. What was so special about rebellious, hard hearted, stiff necked Saul of Tarsus? He certainly did not freely choose to serve the Lord. He was in fact the most rebellious against the Lord of all the Pharisees. Saul attempted to destroy the church of his own free will. Did Saul become the Apostle Paul willingly as you suggest?

When we hold on to a doctrine that cannot be defended with all of Scripture, and in fact forces contradiction into the Word of God, our doctrine becomes more important than truth. We have discussed this doctrine time and again to no avail. You have not proven your doctrine through the Bible, and I will not be convinced through a supposed free will, that in truth is only free to reject and never free to accept.

Many Blessings,
RW

John146
Oct 10th 2008, 01:35 AM
When we hold on to a doctrine that cannot be defended with all of Scripture, and in fact forces contradiction into the Word of God, our doctrine becomes more important than truth.I agree with that, yet we disagree on which doctrine cannot be defended with all of scripture and forces contradiction into it.


We have discussed this doctrine time and again to no avail. You have not proven your doctrine through the BibleI don't believe you have proven yours with scripture, either. I guess we are at an impasse and should just agree to disagree at this point.


and I will not be convinced through a supposed free will, that in truth is only free to reject and never free to accept.

Many Blessings,
RWIf people are only free to reject and not free to accept, then explain the following verse:

Matt 23:37
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!

Jesus clearly implies here that those who rejected Him freely chose to do so. And He also says that it was possible for them to have freely chosen to not reject Him and if they had freely chosen to accept Him instead He would have gathered their "children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings".

And, of course, Jesus Himself offered eternal life freely to "whosoever will". Looks like free will to me.

Rev 22:17
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Whosoever will. Take. Freely. :hmm:

Lamplighter
Oct 10th 2008, 01:49 AM
What's the problem with Biblical predestination?

The "elect" of God is all throughout the New Testament.



ἐκλεκτός


Transliteration

eklektos

Pronunciation

ek-lek-to's (Key) (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=1588&t=KJV#)

Part of Speech

adjective


Root Word (Etymology)


from G1586 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1586&t=KJV)

TDNT Reference


4:181,505 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=1588&t=KJV#)

Vines


View Entry (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=1588&t=KJV#)


Outline of Biblical Usage


1) picked out, chosen
a) chosen by God,
1) to obtain salvation through Christ
a) Christians are called "chosen or elect" of God
2) the Messiah in called "elect", as appointed by God to the most exalted office conceivable
3) choice, select, i.e. the best of its kind or class, excellence preeminent: applied to certain individual Christians

The Preacher
Oct 10th 2008, 01:55 AM
Originally Posted by drew http://bibleforums.org/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php?p=1810149#post1810149)
It just occurred to me that you may be assuming that the statement:


For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son,

means this;

For those God foreknew would be conformed to the likeness of His Son, He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son,

If that is what the text said, then my argument would fail.

But that is not what the text says. It leaves the matter of what is foreknown unspecified.

So a perfectly legitimate reading would be this:

For those God foreknew would freely accept the gift of salvation, he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son,

I hope this clarifies my argument. Let me try another version:

The following is based on my reading (3 lines up), which is a possible reading.

Consider Fred who is a person that, at the end of history is, in fact, conformed to the likeness of Christ.

Now let's go back to the beginning of history. God foreknows something about Fred - that Fred will freely accept the gift of salvation. So God says to Himself. "Knowing that Fred has freely accepted my Son, I will actively cause (that is pre-destine) Fred to become conformed to the image of my Son."

I do not see an error of logic here. Do you?

The error lies in your misunderstanding of greek grammar and syntax. What is 'predestined" is clearly specified as being conformed to the image. One of the greatest scholars of our time,A.T. Robertson proved this in his book on historical koine greek in the new testament. Melissa Scott also has a good treatise on this passage that proves your assumptions wrong. She plays it pretty often on her teaching loop:

http://www.pastormelissascott.com/Looped_Video.asx

Don't click on the above link if you are insulted by gifted and brilliant women teachers

BroRog
Oct 10th 2008, 02:00 AM
Even as freedom of the will is a condition of man, this does not negate the concept of predestination. Joseph summarized his life as if both were true.

Genesis 50:20

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.

We see two intentions, the intent of the brothers, and the intent of God working at cross purposes, but even so, God's will was done. But I would be mistaken to think that God's efforts and effects were the exact opposite of those of the brother as if God came along after the fact to undo what the brothers did. Rather, as Joseph sees it, God was working through the actions of the brothers to accomplish his will.

If Joseph wasn't in Pharaoh's court to manage the famine, the region would have starved to death. If Joseph wasn't in Egypt to interpret Pharaoh's dream, he wouldn't have ended up in Pharaoh's court. If Joseph wasn't in prison to interpret the dreams of his fellow prisoners, his ability to interpret dreams wouldn't have attracted the attention of the Pharaoh. If the caravan hadn't come by and if his brothers had not sold him into slavery, Joseph wouldn't have ended up in an Egyptian prison.

Each event in Joseph's history depends on the previous one, and looks forward to a pivotal event in which many people are saved alive because Joseph ended up in Egypt at just the right time, due to an act of injustice coming from his brothers.

Everyone acted according to their freedom of will, but God's plans came to pass just the same.

Marc B
Oct 10th 2008, 02:31 AM
Genesis 22: 1-18
Especially verse 12.

So much for God foreknowing everything a man will do in his life. God is omniscient and omnipotent but the one thing He doesn't know in advance is what you will do moment to moment and how you will live out your life. THAT is freedom of choice. He interferes in our lives when he needs to fulfil prophecy or direct the course of our history or personal lives of those predestined for service in His kingdom like the 144,000. [Revelation 14: 1-5.] Which by the way are virgin males. If the predestined righteous are the only ones saved then every married man, single man who has lost his virginity and all women are doomed. That is a far cry from preordained destiny by the calvinists of every person ever born.

Lamplighter
Oct 10th 2008, 03:19 AM
Genesis 22: 1-18
Especially verse 12.

So much for God foreknowing everything a man will do in his life. God is omniscient and omnipotent but the one thing He doesn't know in advance is what you will do moment to moment and how you will live out your life. THAT is freedom of choice. He interferes in our lives when he needs to fulfil prophecy or direct the course of our history or personal lives of those predestined for service in His kingdom like the 144,000. [Revelation 14: 1-5.] Which by the way are virgin males. If the predestined righteous are the only ones saved then every married man, single man who has lost his virginity and all women are doomed. That is a far cry from preordained destiny by the calvinists of every person ever born.

What's your point?

God knew that Job would not betray him through his foreknowledge, and yet God still allowed Satan to besiege Job anyway. Just as God did with Abraham and Issac.

The Predestination of God's elect is written all throughout the New Testament.

The Preacher
Oct 10th 2008, 03:33 AM
The Predestination of God's elect is written all throughout the New Testament.

Show us the verses and I will show you,your misinterpretation.

Lamplighter
Oct 10th 2008, 03:44 AM
Show us the verses and I will show you,your misinterpretation.

Here goes.

Matt chapter 24. Many verses on the Elect
Mark chapter 13. Many verses on the Elect
Luke 18:7
Romans 8:33
Col 3:12
1 Tim 5:21
2 Tim 2:10
Titus 1:1
1 Pet 1:2(God's foreknowledge)
1 Pet 2:6

All of these verses deal with God's Elect in on way or the other.

Again, here is God's elect in the Greek manuscript language.

ἐκλεκτός Transliteration

eklektos

Pronunciation

ek-lek-to's (Key) (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=1588&t=KJV#)

Part of Speech

adjective


Root Word (Etymology)


from G1586 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1586&t=KJV)

TDNT Reference


4:181,505 (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=1588&t=KJV#)

Vines


View Entry (http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=1588&t=KJV#)


Outline of Biblical Usage


1) picked out, chosen
a) chosen by God,
1) to obtain salvation through Christ
a) Christians are called "chosen or elect" of God
2) the Messiah in called "elect", as appointed by God to the most exalted office conceivable
3) choice, select, i.e. the best of its kind or class, excellence preeminent: applied to certain individual Christians


In other words, the chosen by God, or the Elect.

The Preacher
Oct 10th 2008, 11:37 AM
Matt chapter 24. Many verses on the Elect
Mark chapter 13. Many verses on the Elect
Luke 18:7

The "elect" in these versions are always in the plural sense as a parsing of the greek text will show. They in no way determine that an an INDIVIDUAL is elected for salvation.


Romans 8:33
This verse simply says that God justifies his plural elect. It doesn't say that individuals are elected for salvation

Col 3:12

This verse simply tells us how we are to behave as this group called the elect

1 Tim 5:21
this verse talks about elect angels and not about man at at all

2 Tim 2:10
this verse says that the Paul endures all things for this group known as the elect

Titus 1:1
This verse says that Paul is an Apostle according to the faith of this group called the elect

1 Pet 1:2(God's foreknowledge)
This verse says that the elect have been determined by God's foreknowledge to be sanctified through Spirit unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood.

1 Pet 2:6
This verse deals with JESUS as the elect.

All of these verses deal with God's Elect in on way or the other.

Again, here is God's elect in the Greek manuscript language.

9Marksfan
Oct 10th 2008, 12:33 PM
Matt chapter 24. Many verses on the Elect
Mark chapter 13. Many verses on the Elect
Luke 18:7

The "elect" in these versions are always in the plural sense as a parsing of the greek text will show. They in no way determine that an an INDIVIDUAL is elected for salvation.


Romans 8:33
This verse simply says that God justifies his plural elect. It doesn't say that individuals are elected for salvation

Col 3:12

This verse simply tells us how we are to behave as this group called the elect

1 Tim 5:21
this verse talks about elect angels and not about man at at all

2 Tim 2:10
this verse says that the Paul endures all things for this group known as the elect

Titus 1:1
This verse says that Paul is an Apostle according to the faith of this group called the elect

1 Pet 1:2(God's foreknowledge)
This verse says that the elect have been determined by God's foreknowledge to be sanctified through Spirit unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood.

1 Pet 2:6
This verse deals with JESUS as the elect.

All of these verses deal with God's Elect in on way or the other.

Again, here is God's elect in the Greek manuscript language.

As God sees His people as an entity and comunity, it's no surprise that He views us together - this in itself is an indictment against the crass individualism of modern, Western evangelicalism. But Jesus dealt with individuals all the time - and He still does. He saves each of us personally, individually, one at a time. Groups are made up of individuals - as a group is elected for salvation, so are each of the individuals within it. What is so difficult about that?

The Preacher
Oct 11th 2008, 02:31 AM
As God sees His people as an entity and comunity, it's no surprise that He views us together - this in itself is an indictment against the crass individualism of modern, Western evangelicalism. But Jesus dealt with individuals all the time - and He still does. He saves each of us personally, individually, one at a time. Groups are made up of individuals - as a group is elected for salvation, so are each of the individuals within it. What is so difficult about that?

There's no problem if that's your position. The problem I have dealing with is the idea that God has elected some to heaven by HIS own choice and some to hell by HIS choice. This goes against the very nature of justice therefor I believe that election and predestination have another application than applying to specific individuals. However, on the practical side I have been to churches that hold this doctrine so sacred that they won't even evangelize the lost. I suggest a good book on election by Robert Shank called "Elect in the Son"

This is the real core passage on the doctrine of election:

Rom 9:11-16

11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth
12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and 16I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
17 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

It appears at first glance that this is a solid passage backing the postion that God elects some to heaven and some to hell. However this passage isn't dealing with salvation at all. He is dealing with the nation of Israel. To apply this to individual salvation is to pull the topic out of context. He has stopped dealing with predestination in 8:33( a verse I have already dealt with) and now he is moving in mourning his kinsmen and his nation..THAT is the context. To apply this to your( I am speaking in general terms and and in the socratic second person) own pet doctrine is the thing that get heretics into trouble . I am not calling anyone a heretic I am just showing the teaching methods they use.;)

RogerW
Oct 11th 2008, 01:46 PM
There's no problem if that's your position. The problem I have dealing with is the idea that God has elected some to heaven by HIS own choice and some to hell by HIS choice. This goes against the very nature of justice therefor I believe that election and predestination have another application than applying to specific individuals. However, on the practical side I have been to churches that hold this doctrine so sacred that they won't even evangelize the lost. I suggest a good book on election by Robert Shank called "Elect in the Son"

This is the real core passage on the doctrine of election:

Rom 9:11-16

11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth
12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and 16I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
17 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

It appears at first glance that this is a solid passage backing the postion that God elects some to heaven and some to hell. However this passage isn't dealing with salvation at all. He is dealing with the nation of Israel. To apply this to individual salvation is to pull the topic out of context. He has stopped dealing with predestination in 8:33( a verse I have already dealt with) and now he is moving in mourning his kinsmen and his nation..THAT is the context. To apply this to your( I am speaking in general terms and and in the socratic second person) own pet doctrine is the thing that get heretics into trouble . I am not calling anyone a heretic I am just showing the teaching methods they use.;)

Greetings Preacher,

Welcome to the discussion. Having entered a very lengthy, on-going discussion you may not be aware that the argument you present has already been thoroughly dissected. You can find my arguments against your supposition, as well as other topics that naturally resulted; i.e. foreknowledge and love, in the following replies. Referring back to arguments already presented omits the need to re-post the same arguments again and again. Refer to my arguments in replies #250, 304, 320, 325, 329, 336, 351, 356 and 359. You will also gain much insight from others who replied specifically to Ro 9 as well.

Blessings,
RW

9Marksfan
Oct 11th 2008, 03:01 PM
There's no problem if that's your position. The problem I have dealing with is the idea that God has elected some to heaven by HIS own choice and some to hell by HIS choice.

That is the doctrine of double predestination or equal ultimacy. I don't hold to that and neither does anyone else here (as far as I know). God doesn't NEED to choose some to go to Hell - they make that choice themselves.


This goes against the very nature of justice therefor I believe that election and predestination have another application than applying to specific individuals. However, on the practical side I have been to churches that hold this doctrine so sacred that they won't even evangelize the lost.

That's Hypercalvinism. I'm not aware of anyone on these Forums who holds to that.


I suggest a good book on election by Robert Shank called "Elect in the Son"

Does he believe that God chooses those who will believe in Christ BECAUSE they have believe in Him?


This is the real core passage on the doctrine of election:

Rom 9:11-16

11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth
12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and 16I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
17 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

It appears at first glance that this is a solid passage backing the postion that God elects some to heaven and some to hell. However this passage isn't dealing with salvation at all. He is dealing with the nation of Israel. To apply this to individual salvation is to pull the topic out of context. He has stopped dealing with predestination in 8:33( a verse I have already dealt with) and now he is moving in mourning his kinsmen and his nation..THAT is the context.

But the whole LETTER is about salvation! To make out that Rom 9 somehow ISN'T is REALLY to take it out of context!


To apply this to your( I am speaking in general terms and and in the socratic second person) own pet doctrine

It's not my own pet doctrine - it's something I believe, along with many other doctrines. Along with possibly millions of others since these truths were rediscovered at the Reformation.


is the thing that get heretics into trouble . I am not calling anyone a heretic I am just showing the teaching methods they use.;)

You mean taking verses out of context? Can I direct you to RogerW's excellent posts - predestination is hugely offensive to human pride and was in fact the biggest stumbling block to my becoming a Christian - I still didn't understand it for at least two years after my conversion but I now find it wholly in keeping with the overall teaching of Scripture and the NT in particular. And all the historic Confessions since the Reformation have affirmed it too, so it is in fact orthodox, Protestant doctrine. Only heresy if you are a Roman Catholic.

The Preacher
Oct 12th 2008, 03:18 AM
But the whole LETTER is about salvation! To make out that Rom 9 somehow ISN'T is REALLY to take it out of context!

Yes,it is. The letter dealt with various topics and chapter 9 was clearly dealing with the election of Israel as a nation.

drew
Oct 15th 2008, 06:31 PM
Groups are made up of individuals - as a group is elected for salvation, so are each of the individuals within it. What is so difficult about that?
What is so difficult is that this is an incorrect generalization.

It is simply and demontrably untrue that what is true of a group is also true of its members.

Let's say that the Dutch, as a group are the world's richest people. Does this tell us anything at all about the wealth status of each Dutch person.

No it does not. It could be the case, if wealth is evenly distributed among Dutch citizens, that no single Dutch person is "wealthy".

Now in the context of this discussion, it is perfectly coherent for Paul to write, as he does in Romans 9, that there is a group "elected" for salvation without necessarily implying that specific persons are thus elected.

God can pre-destine that 9 men will take the field on April 6, 2017 in the uniforms of the New York Yankees without pre-destining that any specific individuals are on the team.

That this is possible is easily seen. God can choose to ensure that 1000 specific individuals are alive and healthy and competent baseball players, and then simply pick 9 names at random to make up the team.

Has God pre-destined that there will be a team of 9 Yankees on the field on April 6, 2017? Yes.

Has he pre-destined the specific membership of that team? No.

It is an oversimplification, and a demonstrably incorrect one, to assert that the pre-destining of a group necessitates the pre-destining of specific members of that group.

drew
Oct 15th 2008, 06:38 PM
It appears at first glance that this is a solid passage backing the postion that God elects some to heaven and some to hell. However this passage isn't dealing with salvation at all. He is dealing with the nation of Israel. To apply this to individual salvation is to pull the topic out of context.
You are correct.

The context of Romans 9 is a treatment of two Israels - national Israel and "true" Israel. Calvinists will routinely over-rule what Paul clearly says both in relation to the "election" of Jacob and Esau and with respect to the "election" of Pharoah:

What the Calvinist says: Jacob has been elected to heaven, Esau to hell.

What Paul actually says: The nation of Edom (Esau) has been elected to serve the nation of Israel (Jacob).

What the Calvinist says: Pharoah is an example of a man elected to hell.

What Paul actually says : Pharoah is hardened by God to resist the exodus.

Even though it is exceedingly obvious, the standard Calvinist take on the passage you quoted is demonstrably a re-working of what Paul actually says.

drew
Oct 15th 2008, 06:45 PM
But the whole LETTER is about salvation! To make out that Rom 9 somehow ISN'T is REALLY to take it out of context!
The whole letter is not about salvation. The letter is about God has brought Jew and Gentile together in the redemptive purposes of God in a manner that is faithful to the Abrahamic covenant. There are, of course, elements of "salvation theology" in it. But there is much more going on than a treatment of salvation.

And chapters 9 to 11 in particular, while indeed dealing with salvation, also focus on God's treatment of national Israel in particular. Thus, it is national Israel, not the "pre-destined lost" who are the "vessels fitted for destruction". And Paul is not saying that all Jews are going to hell.

This approach of reading "salvation theology" into every line causes no end of trouble. It leads to, just as one example, people over-ruling Paul in respect to exactly what it is that Jacob and Esau are elected to in Romans 9.

Paul tells us what the election is about. And it has nothing to do with "eternal destiny". It has to do with the Edomites being dominated by the Israelis.

John146
Oct 15th 2008, 09:02 PM
That is the doctrine of double predestination or equal ultimacy. I don't hold to that and neither does anyone else here (as far as I know). God doesn't NEED to choose some to go to Hell - they make that choice themselves.People are condemned to hell as a result of not believing in Christ (John 3:18). If you believe that people choose to not believe in Christ then you should also believe that people avoid hell and go to heaven as a result of choosing to believe in Christ. If one supposedly can only choose to not believe then that is not truly a choice at all.

wesand24
Oct 15th 2008, 09:22 PM
Salvation is of the Lord!
Who released Jonah from the fish? Could God have left him in there? What did Jonah cry upon God's releasing him? "salvation is of the Lord!" That was a picture of our salvation, and Christ's resurrection ( the means of our salvation).
If you set a dead carcass in front of a vulture and a head of lettuce, it is going to choose the carcass everytime, likewise we will CHOOSE sin every time if God and sin are put before us, that is unless God intervenes opens our eyes and causes us to want to choose Him.
Even when we hear the gospel that is God's doing. There are many people that hear the gospel oodles of times that never actually HEAR it, because God has not opened their understanding. Their ears are dull!
Their were two men on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24 right after Christ crucifixion. Both men had seen Christ and anticipated Him to be the Messiah. On their voyage from Jerusalem to Emmaus Jesus appeared to them, but they could not recognize Him, because their eyes had been restrained. Jesus expounded the Scriptures to them the whole way to their home in Emmaus, and when they got their they invited Jesus into the house to dine. Jesus came in to the home broke bread before them, and immediately their eyes were opened. You mean to tell me that the whole time Jesus was preaching to them they just chose not to see that it was Him? NO! God opened their eyes, and they immediately believed.
"Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God" not everyone has faith, but "without faith impossible to please God." We cannot muster up faith, it comes from God. It is planted in our heart. We cannot make ourselves alive by choosing to resurrect ourselves. A dead person knows nothing about life, because he is dead in trespasses and sins.
C. H. Spurgeon demonstrates choice and predestination by drawing two parallel lines, one being the line of predestination and the other being the line of choice. He says you cannot remove one line and have the truth, you have to have both lines. Predestination is true? yes! We still have a choice is true? Yes Can anybody fully explain it? NO


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RogerW
Oct 15th 2008, 09:29 PM
People are condemned to hell as a result of not believing in Christ (John 3:18). If you believe that people choose to not believe in Christ then you should also believe that people avoid hell and go to heaven as a result of choosing to believe in Christ. If one supposedly can only choose to not believe then that is not truly a choice at all.

Eric,

People are condemned because they have no covering for their sins. Those who remain in their sins do so because they are not clothed with the righteousness of Christ. This is the fate of every man born in Adam, unless the Lord covers them with His righteousness. The only choice the unredeemed can make is to remain in unbelief. If committing sin is the reason we are condemned then even belivers will be condemned because even believers continue to sin. But the reason believers have assurance that their sins will not condemn them is because we have the righteousness of Christ covering us. Therefore we have faith, knowing that Christ has redeemed us (paid our sin debt in full) from the wrath of God.

Many Blessings,
RW

BroRog
Oct 16th 2008, 12:14 AM
People are condemned to hell as a result of not believing in Christ (John 3:18). If you believe that people choose to not believe in Christ then you should also believe that people avoid hell and go to heaven as a result of choosing to believe in Christ. If one supposedly can only choose to not believe then that is not truly a choice at all.

John, people don't actually choose to believe. In reality, people either believe or don't believe based on what seems plausible and in the realm of possibility.

However, sometimes a man will suppress evidence or repress what he already knows to be true. In this case, his refusal to acknowledge the truth in the face of what should be convincing evidence is a moral failing.

To be hardened against the truth doesn't mean he lacks the freedom of will. Rather, it means that he has discovered the truth has implications for how he ought to live and he has decided to act as if it wasn't true. Left unchecked, this self-imposed ignorance becomes permanent.

Salvation comes when the Spirit of God breaks through the walls we build.