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RogerW
Jul 27th 2009, 09:00 PM
According to Molina, God has three kinds of knowledge: natural, middle and free. For those following Molinism, please explain how Scripture supports "middle knowledge".

Middle knowledge states that God cannot know the future free acts of men in the same way He knows other things absolutely. Thus, this middle knowledge is dependent upon the free acts of what men will do. God, in His “omniscience”, waits for men to act and then will choose them to be saved based on their choice to be saved???

God, then, becomes dependent upon the acts of men instead of on His own eternal decrees. And since the actions of men are contingent, the knowledge of such acts would be contingent as well. The free acts of men cannot be true acts until they are actually acted. Thus, God cannot know something as true until men, in time, act out their free choices. Then God’s knowledge becomes true. How does middle knowledge respond to the following passages?

Isa 46:10-11 “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: 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.”

Acts 17:24-25, “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.”

Col. 1:17, “And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.”

Acts 17:28, “…for in Him we live and move and have our being…”

Rom. 11:33-34, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor?”

Psalm 147:5, “Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.”

Heb. 4:13, “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

Acts 15:18, “Known to God from eternity are all His works.”

Ezekiel 11:5, “Then the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and said to me, "Speak! 'Thus says the LORD: "Thus you have said, O house of Israel; for I know the things that come into your mind.”

Many blessings,
RW

RabbiKnife
Jul 27th 2009, 09:15 PM
I am basically a classical Arminian (who believes that Arminius IS an reformed theologian!) and I do not subscribe to Molinism.

I don't see any limitation on foreknowledge that requires such a strained position.

BrckBrln
Jul 27th 2009, 10:07 PM
I'd be interested in any replies by Molinists. I don't know a whole lot about it, but from listening a bit to William Lane Craig - he sounds like a regular Arminian. I've heard Molinism described as philosophically sophisticated Arminianism. :dunno:

grit
Jul 28th 2009, 01:23 PM
I would agree that Molinism is philosophically sophisticated Arminianism. Perhaps it's not being completely fair to the valiant attempt of Molina to reconcile these two basic conundrums which have fractured Christianity for so long - God is sovereign, man is responsible - but I find Molinism and the middle knowledge argument a failed though admirable attempt.

RogerW
Jul 28th 2009, 05:13 PM
I would agree that Molinism is philosophically sophisticated Arminianism. Perhaps it's not being completely fair to the valiant attempt of Molina to reconcile these two basic conundrums which have fractured Christianity for so long - God is sovereign, man is responsible - but I find Molinism and the middle knowledge argument a failed though admirable attempt.

Greetings Grit,

Well from what I understand thus far, I would agree! "Sophisticated Arminianism"...it's what I refer to as 'learned theologianese'. :D Or an attempt to find harmony between grace and free will. "Can't we just all get along"...I mean what's the big deal anyhow? Why is it so wrong to present the gospel in a way that makes salvation by grace, but surely man must co-operate??? Right!

Thanks for your input.

Many Blessings,
RW

RogerW
Jul 28th 2009, 05:15 PM
I am basically a classical Arminian (who believes that Arminius IS an reformed theologian!) and I do not subscribe to Molinism.

I don't see any limitation on foreknowledge that requires such a strained position.

What do you think that Jacobus Arminius was just not properly understood???

Many Blessings,
RW

RabbiKnife
Jul 28th 2009, 05:30 PM
I believe that the Council of Dorts, like rabid Calvinist today, were all to willing to label someone a heretic for not swearing allegiance to Calvin's 5 principles jot and tittle, instead of being willing to say "Grace, faith, free will, and sovereignty are all true and all a great divine mystery." Arminius was certainly not a Roman Catholic-- he was by definition a part of the Reformation. He didn't even agree with Luther and Zwingli on everything. He attempted, although dying before he could complete his work, to describe the complex relationship between grace, faith, free will, and sovereignty. To accuse Arminius of not believing in the sovereignty of God, as I hear the claim from many Calvinists, is simply untrue.

Arminius was not nearly the heretic he was accused of being. The difference between Arminius and Calvin was as much semantic and rhetorical as theological. They agree on 99%+ of doctrine, yet the entire church goes to war over the 1%.

BadDog
Jul 28th 2009, 07:37 PM
According to Molina, God has three kinds of knowledge: natural, middle and free. For those following Molinism, please explain how Scripture supports "middle knowledge".

Middle knowledge states that God cannot know the future free acts of men in the same way He knows other things absolutely. Thus, this middle knowledge is dependent upon the free acts of what men will do. God, in His “omniscience”, waits for men to act and then will choose them to be saved based on their choice to be saved???
OK BrckBrln, I am an avowed Molinist, FWIW.

Actually, Middle Knowledge does not state any such thing as Roger posted above. Middle Knowledge says that God has and uses knowledge far more than we usually give Him credit. What MK does is explain how God is sovereign over the actions of men without strictly overriding every act. IOW, as you posted in another thread recently, God can use the evil acts of men, and plan them as well, without being responsible for the actual acts. That is hard for many to swallow. But MK gives a vehicle for explaining how that could be.

Can you give us a quote on the bold above? What MK does say is that IF God did not know certain free knowledge kind of knowledge He could still be sovereign. Of course God DOES know such free knowledge, or else he would not be God. Have you been researching sites which oppose MK and which don't really know what it teaches or going to those which support it? I'd suggest the latter. MK doesn't limit the knowledge (or actions) of God, it expands it. Other views of God's knowledge either say He has no such knowledge (open theism, for e.g.) or that God doesn't avail Himself of it (Reformed view).


God, then, becomes dependent upon the acts of men instead of on His own eternal decrees. And since the actions of men are contingent, the knowledge of such acts would be contingent as well. The free acts of men cannot be true acts until they are actually acted. Thus, God cannot know something as true until men, in time, act out their free choices. Then God’s knowledge becomes true. How does middle knowledge respond to the following passages?
Don't confuse the philosophy of middle knowledge with the theological stances of election or free will.

Whether or not God becomes dependent on the acts of men does not depend on MK any more than it depends upon the simple foreknowledge viewpoint or the Calvinistic-Augustinian viewpoint. These are simply views regarding God's omniscience/knowledge. What we do with them depends upon our personal theology.


Isa 46:10-11 “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: 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.”

Acts 17:24-25, “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.”

Col. 1:17, “And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.”

Acts 17:28, “…for in Him we live and move and have our being…”

Rom. 11:33-34, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor?”

Psalm 147:5, “Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.”

Heb. 4:13, “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

Acts 15:18, “Known to God from eternity are all His works.”

Ezekiel 11:5, “Then the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and said to me, "Speak! 'Thus says the LORD: "Thus you have said, O house of Israel; for I know the things that come into your mind.”

Many blessings,
RW
Roger,

You should carefully research Molinism before starting a thread and posting inaccurate data about what middle knowledge teaches. What you have posted here is not correct. BTW, you posted those scriptures as if in some way they contradict the philosophy of Molinism (middle knowledge).

BD

BadDog
Jul 28th 2009, 07:55 PM
I'd be interested in any replies by Molinists. I don't know a whole lot about it, but from listening a bit to William Lane Craig - he sounds like a regular Arminian. I've heard Molinism described as philosophically sophisticated Arminianism. :dunno:Hmmm, well I am a Molinist, and that sure doesn't work for me.

Molinism is a philosophy, not a theology. It is a description regarding God's knowledge or omniscience. Personally I like it because of my particular view of election/free will... I have always seen both as biblically supported. But there seemed to be contradiction for this to be so. Middle knowledge provided a philosophical background for explaining this mystery. There's an excellent book to check out 4 of the knowledge of God positions:

Divine Foreknowledge, Four Views - edited by James K. Beilby & Paul R. Eddy.

It has 4 viewpoints to foreknowledge and omniscience. The resident expert of a particular view gave a brief explanation of his view, and then the 3 other views explained the problem, from their perspective, with that particular view. Very handy, and fair treatment. The 4 viewpoints were:

1 - Open Theism by Gregory Boyd
2 - The Simple-Foreknowledge View by David Hunt (Generally the Arminian position)
3 - Middle Knowledge by William Lane Craig (Also called Molinism after a 16th century Catholic priest, Luis Molini, who debated with another priest on this.)
4 - The Augustinian-Calvinist View by Paul Helm.

FWIW, MK limits God's knowledge less than any of the other 3 views above. That's one reason I feel comfortable with it. BTW, many highly respected theologians and philosophers hold to middle knowledge within Arminianism, Calvinism, Roman Catholicism, etc.. People from Liberty Seminary, Dallas theological Seminary, Talbot Seminary, etc..

I recommend anyone seriously interested in researching this to get this book. It is a fair treatment of the four common positions on God's knowledge. Then you can decide for yourself. But be prepared to learn new terms IOT be prepared to study this area of Christian philosophy such as compatibalism, free knowledge, necessary knowledge, middle knowledge, counterfactuals.

I think I should make a short post giving an example, from scripture, of middle knowledge. There seems to be a lot of confusion.

BD

BadDog
Jul 28th 2009, 07:59 PM
I believe that the Council of Dorts, like rabid Calvinist today, were all to willing to label someone a heretic for not swearing allegiance to Calvin's 5 principles jot and tittle, instead of being willing to say "Grace, faith, free will, and sovereignty are all true and all a great divine mystery." Arminius was certainly not a Roman Catholic-- he was by definition a part of the Reformation. He didn't even agree with Luther and Zwingli on everything. He attempted, although dying before he could complete his work, to describe the complex relationship between grace, faith, free will, and sovereignty. To accuse Arminius of not believing in the sovereignty of God, as I hear the claim from many Calvinists, is simply untrue.

Arminius was not nearly the heretic he was accused of being. The difference between Arminius and Calvin was as much semantic and rhetorical as theological. They agree on 99%+ of doctrine, yet the entire church goes to war over the 1%.Amen!

Jacobus Arminius graduated from a Calvinist seminary. He had some issues with some of the teachings of Calvinism. But he agreed with much more than he objected to. What bothers me is when Calvinists assume if someone is not a 4 or 5 point Calvinist that they are Arminian.

BD

BadDog
Jul 28th 2009, 08:01 PM
Greetings Grit,

Well from what I understand thus far, I would agree! "Sophisticated Arminianism"...it's what I refer to as 'learned theologianese'. :D Or an attempt to find harmony between grace and free will. "Can't we just all get along"...I mean what's the big deal anyhow? Why is it so wrong to present the gospel in a way that makes salvation by grace, but surely man must co-operate??? Right!

Thanks for your input.

Many Blessings,
RWSalvation IS by grace. And just what is cooperation anyway? Is it cooperation to acknowledge that you are a sinner? ...that you need to be saved? ...to believe what you have been told about your sin and Jesus Christ is true? It does not make it less of grace that God allowed mankind a choice in the matter.

BD

BrckBrln
Jul 28th 2009, 08:07 PM
Molinism is a philosophy, not a theology. It is a description regarding God's knowledge or omniscience. Personally I like it because of my particular view of election/free will... I have always seen both as biblically supported. But there seemed to be contradiction for this to be so. Middle knowledge provided a philosophical background for explaining this mystery.

Calvinists have also provided a philosophical solution to the theological problem as well.


I think I should make a short post giving an example, from scripture, of middle knowledge. There seems to be a lot of confusion.

That would be nice. For some reason I have trouble understanding it.

holyrokker
Jul 28th 2009, 08:08 PM
There's an excellent book to check out 4 of the knowledge of God positions:

Divine Foreknowledge, Four Views - edited by James K. Beilby & Paul R. Eddy.

BD
Thanks for the recommendation.

BadDog
Jul 28th 2009, 08:43 PM
I would like to give a brief intro to middle knowledge (MK). But first I need to ask Roger why he created a thread on middle knowledge including my name (BD) in the thread name and yet never let me know that he had done so? I am particularly perturbed because what he has posted here regarding middle knowledge is simply not what MK teaches. That was neither fair to the philosophy of MK or myself. Before you put something down, find out what it really teaches first.

Some of you, likely most of you, have struggled to reconcile the apparently opposing ideas of God's predestination and election and man's free will. One such attempt to do so is referred to as "middle knowledge." Personally, I don't like the name, as I think if misunderstood it misrepresents the view of the knowledge and omniscience of God in that system, while IMO it is perhaps higher there than in any other theological system.

I imagine that there are varieties of "middle knowledge," and my own position on the matter will be yet another as well. :D Some oppose "middle knowledge," saying that it places God at the whim of man. As I understand it, it does not. Instead, in this system some see God as having chosen to give man the ability to choose - He created man in His image, and that's part of the package. In one sense, He didn't exactly do that with angels - I'm not sure of all the distinctions. Yet even angels have the ability to choose. You see, what one does with this philosophy depends on your particular theology. MK is not a theology. It is a philosophy regarding God's knowledge. Those who hold to God's sovereignty and election simultaneous to man's free agency might say then that God remains fully sovereign and need not act independent on others within His creation. Just as God knows the future, His knowledge of possible futures is part of His omniscience, and should not be ignored. The fact that He is intimately aware of things we have no idea about and makes decisions and acts based on such knowledge out of compassion is not capricious by any means.

The foundation for MK is that God holds different kinds of knowledge. God has what is termed necessary knowledge – that is knowledge that can never be false. This encompasses things like the laws of physics and basic mathematical truths, for example. God also has free knowledge. But free knowledge is knowing the world as it actually is – including the past, present and the future as well.


The difference between free knowledge and necessary knowledge, though, is that "God could lack [specific free] knowledge and still be God. He must have this sort of knowledge to be God, but its content would be different. For if he would have created a different world, his free knowledge would be different."
The Only Wise God, by William Lane Craig

If actions are truly free, some argue that they cannot exist until the person choosing them makes that choice. Since they don't exist, there is nothing for God to know. That is the foundation for a theological view of God's knowledge called "open theism." IMO, it does not necessarily follow that because a choice has yet to be made that God cannot know future contingent events and even what the person will choose as well. Augustinian-Reformed adherents typically say such knowledge does not exist, unless it actually happens. Yet God's Word supports His knowledge of contingencies. Knowledge of such contingent events (which may or may not actually happen) is what is referred to as middle knowledge.

For example, in 1 Samuel 23:6-13 we read about an instance in which Saul had been pursuing David, who was hiding with his few men in the city of Keilah.

1 Samuel 23:6-13 (HCSB)So David rescued the inhabitants of Keilah. Abiathar son of Ahimelech fled to David at Keilah, and he brought an ephod with him.

When it was reported to Saul that David had gone to Keilah, he said, "God has handed him over to me, for he has trapped himself by entering a town with barred gates." Then Saul summoned all the troops to go to war at Keilah and besiege David and his men.

When David learned that Saul was plotting evil against him, he said to Abiathar the priest, "Bring the ephod."

Then David said, "Lord God of Israel, Your servant has heard that Saul intends to come to Keilah and destroy the town because of me. Will the citizens of Keilah hand me over to him? Will Saul come down as Your servant has heard? Lord God of Israel, please tell Your servant."

The Lord answered, "He will come down."

Then David asked, "Will the citizens of Keilah hand me and my men over to Saul?"

"They will," the Lord responded.

So David and his men, numbering about 600, left Keilah at once and moved from place to place. When it was reported to Saul that David had escaped from Keilah, he called off the expedition.

In this story, Saul heard that David was hiding in Keilah. David discovered that someone had told Saul this. Then He asked God what would happen if... we see here that God knew that if David were to remain at Keilah, then Saul would come to get him, and that if Saul were to come to get David, then the men of the city would hand him over to Saul. You can see why MK is referred to often as the knowledge of "would-of"s - of counterfactuals.

David specifically asked God, if such-n-such happens, then will this transpire, and God answered him. So God does know the possibilities - all of them. That's why I do not prefer the name "middle knowledge," for this system has a very high view of the knowledge of God, yet often when people first hear this name they assume that in some way that such a view has a limited view of God's knowledge. The reason I object to open theism is because it is contradicted by such examples as this one in 1 Samuel. In open theism, God cannot know the future. But since He understands our present world, and knows everything that has ever happened, He makes really good guesses. :P (Please do not confuse open theism and middle knowledge. Actually, the Reformed viewpoint is closer.)

Some assume that all genuine knowledge is based on either immediate perception or some causal inference. IOW, we can only know something if we experience it or experience its effects. But that is thinking like men. God is not a man. He is sovereign over His creation.

Another example of God's free knowledge can be found in Isaiah 45, where God speaks directly to Cyrus, the conqueror of Babylon 150 years before he was born! Craig says regarding such free knowledge, "God’s knowledge seems to encompass future contingencies: God foreknows Nebuchadnezzer’s divinations to determine his battle routes (Ezekial 21:21-23). Even more remarkably, just as God knows the thoughts that humans have, so he foreknows the very thoughts they will have." Psalm 139 is a powerful testimony to God's knowledge of man's thinking and future actions

So God knows every single event in human history - even the smallest detail... past, present, and future. That is some pretty awesome knowledge! That also includes every detail of the entire universe, as well as every single thought and attitude that every single one of us thinks, how the insects will move, what every creature on this earth will do - there is nothing outside His knowledge.

Isaiah 55:8, 9 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways," says the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts."

God knows all truth. If reality were in some way different, though, God’s knowledge would be different as well, of course. God not only knows the truth to be true and what will happen, but as I said earlier, He also Knows all possibilities in the web of life.

Perhaps I should explain a few other things that "middle knowledge" (I'll refer to it as MK) does not teach first.

MK also does not say that God knows what future choices men will make (accumulated), and hence simply works so as to cause things to work out based on this knowledge - that He is unable to override mankind. He is able, and often does. Thank God He does, or so many of my poor choices would come back to haunt me! I mean, there is some truth to that statement. The difference is in God's choosing to give mankind freedom to choose - the ability to make decisions and act on those decisions, within the framework of the personal control that God has allowed each individual. God remains sovereign though. And again, the previous was but the babbling of someone who holds to election and free will simultaneously... MK is not a theology and does not teach the above. It provides a framework for some who attempt to understand how it could be.

One thing which MK does do is help explain how God can be sovereign, causing evil events to occur as well as good ones, and yet not be responsible for such actions. That is why some reformed theologians have embraced MK.

But there is no way to discuss God's sovereignty and ignore His tremendous knowledge. Just read Psalm 139 and it blows you away. Yet there is no way to logically not hold God responsible for man's bad choices otherwise - if we say that God completely ignores man's desires and intentions to act, and forces or manipulates him to do what He wants in every instance. Also, there is no way that scripture would command man to do something that he is not capable of doing - in such a theology.

If one does not accept some form of MK, then he must say that God resists all of man's choices, and forces him to do something else, sometimes evil, IOT accomplish a purpose to choose some of mankind for salvation. That simply cannot be supported from scripture, and paints a picture of God which is neither accurate nor very attractive.

Now we know that God does work based on His knowledge of man's choices, as we see many examples of this in scripture. That does not make Him the puppet of man. To deny this does make man the puppet of God. God commanded man to be fruitful and multiply and to rule over His creation. Obviously, God allowed man to make choices in order to do so. MK helps us to understand how this can be so and yet God remain sovereign.

The most obvious example of God's working with the knowledge of what man will do is the Son of Man accomplishing God's plan while here on earth. Pilate convicted Jesus of a capital crime - or I suppose you could say that he refused to release Him even though he found no fault deserving crucifixion in Him. Jesus told him that if this were His kingdom, that the angels would fight to release Him from Pilate's power. And you can bet that God knows such things as well as you know your name! That's what MK is saying - merely explaining what we see happening in scripture.

Otherwise, what you have is God forcing Pilate to do what he did, then holding him accountable for his robotic actions orchestrated by God Himself. I refuse to believe that God works in such a subversive manner. That's my problem with the understanding of God's sovereignty that many hold.

So MK does not simply say that "God chooses, plans, and works based on Man's choices." It allows for those who claim that God has chosen to give man a free will (or "free agency") so as to make choices. MK assumes a knowledge of God much more comprehensive than Christians often assume. "Open theism," OTOH, assumes a knowledge of God much more limited than usually assumed by Christians. That's why I have a real issue with OT and I do not with MK.

MK is not simply a system based on God's foreknowledge. Some Arminians essentially say that God's election and His predestining is essentially only foreknowledge, not real predestination. They speak of a corporate election rather than an individual election. MK does not say either of these things. That is a critical distinction. God is sovereign. He does interact actively in this world. But just how He interacts is based on His understanding of all the possibilities out there. To say that He does not do so is to say that either His omniscience or that His mercy and love are limited - that He simply does not care about the consequences of His choices and will. With God's omniscience, there are many, many ways He could accomplish any particular desire He way have. But we should not assume that He is not aware of all of the interactions of His choices and actions. Of course He is aware of it - every last detail of it. He is God. He is sovereign. He certainly could force any of us to do what He wants regarding any particular part of that plan, but He chooses to give us freedom of action and choice.

Do you see how such a view of God has an elevated understanding of His omniscience and wisdom and His love and mercy, as well as His sovereignty?

One of the biggest issues with the point-of-view that it is God's sovereign edicts that govern all of man's choices is that this is essentially just fatalism. If God is the one who is making man choose this way or that, as most Calvinists propose, then should man really be held responsible for acting on those choices? (Some Calvinists are proponents of MK.) Are they truly choices at all? Undeniably, if God is forcing every man to choose a particular way, then no man has it in his own power to even choose otherwise. And if there are no options but one, then there really isn't a choice at all, ever - man is merely acting out a design preordained in God's play... Act 12, scene 47.

It is one thing to say that man cannot choose to do any good - it is quite another to say that man cannot choose... at all.

And regarding MK, many hold to election and free will simultaneously, yet never try to rationalize the apparent contradiction of their views - merely saying that they accept both freewill and election at the same time. Well, MK is an attempt to make some sense out of it.

Thx,

BD

BadDog
Jul 28th 2009, 08:44 PM
Calvinists have also provided a philosophical solution to the theological problem as well.



That would be nice. For some reason I have trouble understanding it.

BD: :rofl: Well, the various philosophies of God's knowledge are very difficult for me to follow! The only advantage I may have is that I have been reading up on it for a few years now.
BrckBrln,

Yes, you're right. I did not mean to imply otherwise. There are many philosophies regarding God's knowledge.

BD

BrckBrln
Jul 28th 2009, 09:43 PM
BD, I don't know if you have K. Scott Oliphint's book Reasons For Faith: Philosophy in the service of Theology, but it deals with the Reformed response to this problem among other things. I think the real problem here does go down to theology. Reformed believers agree with the WCF when it says,

God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established. WCF 3.1

I assume you do not, right? Anyway, Oliphint offers the Reformed solution like this,

(x1) God ordains 'whatsoever comes to pass'

and

(x2) Adam freely and responsibly decided to eat the forbidden fruit

These seemingly incompatable things need something to unite them, that is, God's Providence. Here's a quote:

'God's decree, itself eternal and necessary, is unified with our human decisions by way of God's providence. God's providence both carries out the details of that decree and establishes the contingency and freedom, as secondary causes, that take place in this world according to that decree.'

He goes on to say with regard to Plantinga and his Free Will Defense and I think it might apply to your assumptions as well (I don't know),

'libertarian freedom, together with its concomitant notion of incompatibilism, is a rock-bottom and necessary assumption.'

And Richard Muller says that Molinism consistently applied leads to Socinianism.

BadDog
Jul 28th 2009, 09:51 PM
God knows all truth. If reality were in some way different, though, God’s knowledge would be different as well, of course. God not only knows the truth to be true and what will happen, but as I said earlier, He also knows all possibilities in the web of life.

We often think, "God knows what's going to happen." Well, that's true, but much more is true, because He was responsible for what is going to happen! He predestined it!

Some are strongly convinced about the sovereignty of God, and have reasoned that in order for this to be true that man cannot ultimately have a free will. Others are strongly convinced that the ability and responsibility of man to make certain righteous choices is clearly taught in scripture, and hence have reasoned that God is not really fully sovereignly predestining what happens - He simply knows beforehand what will happen. IMO both have compromised the clear teachings of scripture. We need a "Certs" approach ("Certs is two mints in one.")

How can we possibly discuss God's sovereignty and yet ignore His tremendous knowledge?

In the "simple foreknowledge" view God is justified for holding man accountable for his actions, but in that view God is not really fully sovereign, He does not really predestine, but merely foreknows what will happen and the election of those who trust in Christ is either seen in a corporate manner or weakened to reveal a God who chooses those He knows are going to have chosen Him first. So who's really running the show in such a view? Neither extreme approach is logically reasonable or biblically based on the whole counsel of God IMO.

If one accepts election on an individual plane and does not accept some form of MK, then he must eventually be brought to the place of at least implying that God resists man's choices, and causes him to do something else, sometimes evil, IOT accomplish a purpose to choose some of mankind for salvation. That paints a picture of God which is neither accurate nor very attractive. The exercises taken to avoid such a conclusion that I've heard just don't make sense.

We know that God does work based on His knowledge of man's choices, as we see many examples of this in scripture. I gave a few examples in an earlier post. To acknowledge this does not make God the puppet of man. But to deny this does make man the puppet of God.

Now I recognize that the Reformed approach says that the actual choice does not need to be truly available to an individual in reality in order for him to be accountable for his actions. In a system in which man does not have free will some such reasoning must be made. With MK, the choices are truly available to him, and God is truly sovereign, predestining this world precisely as it is.

OTOH it is true that "God chooses, plans, and works based on Man's choices," but we must remember that God is actualizing a world precisely as He would have it, allowing us to freely choose at the same time. Look at Proverbs 21:1...

Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.

Here we see that God turns the water of the king's heart (King Solomon, who wrote this, is speaking of himself here) the same as you can determine where water will go by digging a channel for it. OTOH, you could say that water determines that it would go whichever way led downhill more directly... yet the canal-digger actually is the predeterminer of that. This is a beautiful picture of the sovereignty of God - the ultimate Canal-Digger.

Look at what the Bible Knowledge Commentary says on this:

BKC:
The heart of the king is in God’s hand (cf. Ecc. 9:1) as are the plans of all people (cf. Prov. 16:1, 9). A farmer directs water by digging canals. Similarly the Lord directs the hearts of kings, as, for example, Pharaoh (Ex. 10:1-2), Tiglath-Pileser (Isa. 10:5-7), Cyrus (Isa. 45:1-6), and Artaxerxes (Ezra 7:21; Neh. 2:1-8). God is sovereign (cf. Prov. 21:30).
Walvoord, John F., and Zuck, Roy B., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, Inc.) 1983, 1985.

Ecclesiastes 9:1 For I have taken all this to my heart and explain it that righteous men, wise men, and their deeds are in the hand of God. Man does not know whether it will be love or hatred; anything awaits him.

Proverbs 16:1, 9 The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.

The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs [determines] his steps.

OK, let's look at the classic example of God's sovereign control of a man - Pharaoh:
Exodus 10:1, 2 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may perform these signs of Mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians, and how I performed My signs among them; that you may know that I am the Lord.”

But if we look at Pharaoh, it is clear that it was his choice to refuse to let the people go - he hardened his own heart. His own servants later asked him, "How long will this man (Moses) be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the Lord their God. Don't you realize that Egypt is in ruins?" So Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron and they brought them back. Pharaoh seems so determined, that there appears to be no way of diverting him. IMO, though God certainly hardened his heart, it was his own free choice to harden it. Look at how Pharaoh responded to Moses when they returned:

He said to them, "Go, serve the Lord your God! Uh, BTW, just who is going?”

Moses said, "Our young and our old; with our sons and our daughters, with our flocks and our herds we will go - every last one of us!" (BadDog's Free Translation - BFT)

Then Pharaoh responded to Moses, “You know, I'll let you all go, sure... the day hell freezes over!" Then he said, "Watch it, bud. I know exactly what you're trying to do, and it ain't happening! So get out of here, and all of the the men among you, you can go and serve this Lord of yours... you say that's what you want to do. (But I know better - this is just a trick.)" Then Pharaoh had them driven out of the throne room. (BadDog's Free Translation - BFT)

Here we can see how God used events and people to so infuriate Pharaoh that his heart became hardened and he was determined to refuse to let Israel go, beyond all human reason. Egypt lay in ruins and he was still refusing to budge.

Look at Isaiah 10 - there we see how God uses nations to accomplish His purpose, though they do not realize what He's doing. God used Assyria to accomplish His purpose in Israel and other nations as well:
Isaiah 10:5-7 Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger and the staff in whose hands is My indignation, I send it against a godless nation and commission it against the people of My fury to capture booty and to seize plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets. Yet it does not so intend nor does it plan so in its heart, but rather it is its purpose to destroy, and to cut off many nations.
Amazing... God used Assyria in working on the hearts of the Israelites. As far as Assyria was concerned, it was just doing what it does.

Look how God predicted 150 years in advance how He would use a king not yet even born to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. He is specifically prophesied by name!
Isaiah 45:1-7 Thus says the Lord to Cyrus His anointed, whom I have taken by the right hand, to subdue nations before him, and to loose the loins of kings; to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: “I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze, and cut through their iron bars. And I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden wealth of secret places, In order that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name."

“For the sake of Jacob My servant, and Israel My chosen one, I have also called you by your name; I have given you a title of honor though you have not known Me. “I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; that men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, the One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these."

What a powerful description of God's sovereignty! Yet as far as Cyrus is concerned, he decided to send people back to Jerusalem along with Ezra to re-build the Jewish temple... and he sees it as his own decision to do this. In fact... it was. He chose to do it. Yet also God predestined that he would do so-also true.

Proverbs 21:30, 31 There is no wisdom, no understanding and no counsel against the Lord. The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the Lord.
God is ultimately sovereign - His plans will be accomplished.

In each of these examples we see the middle knowledge view of the sovereignty of God illustrated. Many have struggled over the centuries to explain how it could be said that God hardened Pharaoh's heart, if He truly manipulated Pharaoh - forced him to do His will. If He changed Pharaoh's heart so that he would do His will, then how can that be described as good? But when we view this through the eyes of middle knowledge, it is biblical and reasonable.

In scripture, I see clearly taught that God is completely sovereign over the affairs of men... Yet I also see that men have a free moral will/free agency to choose to do whatever they will. That is not contradictory - we merely need to understand how God has chosen to do things. Middle knowledge is simply one tool in the effort to comprehend.

Thx,

BD

BadDog
Jul 28th 2009, 09:56 PM
BD, I don't know if you have K. Scott Oliphint's book Reasons For Faith: Philosophy in the service of Theology, but it deals with the Reformed response to this problem among other things. I think the real problem here does go down to theology. Reformed believers agree with the WCF when it says,

God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established. WCF 3.1

BD: Thx for the reference.

I assume you do not, right? Anyway, Oliphint offers the Reformed solution like this,
BD: Actually, I do agree.

(x1) God ordains 'whatsoever comes to pass'

and

(x2) Adam freely and responsibly decided to eat the forbidden fruit BD: Somesay that Adam did have a freedom that since the fall others have not had.

These seemingly incompatable things need something to unite them, that is, God's Providence. Here's a quote:

'God's decree, itself eternal and necessary, is unified with our human decisions by way of God's providence. God's providence both carries out the details of that decree and establishes the contingency and freedom, as secondary causes, that take place in this world according to that decree.'

He goes on to say with regard to Plantinga and his Free Will Defense and I think it might apply to your assumptions as well (I don't know),

'libertarian freedom, together with its concomitant notion of incompatibilism, is a rock-bottom and necessary assumption.'

And Richard Muller says that Molinism consistently applied leads to Socinianism.
BrckBrln,

Thx. I do agree with this. But it just says that A and B are both true, though they seem to be irreconcilable. That's been my position for years. What MK does is provide a framework for making sense of it all. So whether you hold to incompatibalism or compatibalism an understanding of middle knowledge can help one in reconciling his framework.

BD

BrckBrln
Jul 28th 2009, 10:04 PM
BrckBrln,

Thx. I do agree with this. But it just says that A and B are both true, though they seem to be irreconcilable. That's been my position for years. What MK does is provide a framework for making sense of it all. So whether you hold to incompatibalism or compatibalism an understanding of middle knowledge can help one in reconciling his framework.

BD

I must have not made it clear. There is a framework for making sense of it. God's providence. That would be U, the unifying factor, so to speak. To be clear, you do agree that God has decreed 'whatsoever comes to pass'?

BadDog
Jul 28th 2009, 10:08 PM
And Richard Muller says that Molinism consistently applied leads to Socinianism.
What?!? Then Richard Muller is completely ignorant either of Molinism or Socinianism!

Wikipedia:
The Socinians believed that God's omniscience was limited to what was a necessary truth in the future (what would definitely happen), and did not apply to what was a contingent truth (what might happen). They believed that, if God knew every possible future, human free will was impossible; and as such rejected the "hard" view of omniscience.

BD: Actually, this is what the RC priest who was debating with Molini said as well as some Reformed theologians have stated. Middle knowledge, quite the contrary, says just the opposite. Middle knowledge on the contrary emphasizes that God not only DOES know contingent truth ("middle knowledge") but uses it in actualizing what actually happens. The whole point of middle knowledge, regarding the issue of election/free will, is that God can be fully sovereign and predetermine His will since he knows what people would do if this or that circumstance were in place. God operates knowing the would-ofs could-ofs of life. Reformed theology says that He does not make decisions based on contingent knowledge. Isn't that closer to Socinianism?

The Socinians held that Jesus Christ did not exist until he was conceived as a human being. This view differed from the orthodox view, which holds that Christ (the Logos) is God and therefore uncreated and eternal; it also differed from the Arian view, which held that Christ (the Logos) preexisted the human life of Jesus but nonetheless was a creature created by God.
The 2nd portion above shows how Socinianism led to Unitarianism. Clearly that was not to what Muller was referring. But Muller is completely wrong here. The Augustinian-Reformed view is closer to such than Molinism, but I would never accuse them of any such error.

BD

RogerW
Jul 29th 2009, 03:32 AM
I would like to give a brief intro to middle knowledge (MK). But first I need to ask Roger why he created a thread on middle knowledge including my name (BD) in the thread name and yet never let me know that he had done so? I am particularly perturbed because what he has posted here regarding middle knowledge is simply not what MK teaches. That was neither fair to the philosophy of MK or myself. Before you put something down, find out what it really teaches first.

Greetings BD,

Please accept my humble apologies. I began this thread specifically to involve you, in the hopes that you, (rather than someone who would most likely speak so far over my head I would never be able to understand MK) would explain simply, and clearly what MK is. And you are right! I was going to personally let you know I began this thread, but quite honestly I first wanted to give you a chance to see it. But since I began this topic I have been very busy with other priorities, therefore time has not permitted me to post. I should have considered how busy this time of year can be for me before I began a new thread. I am very glad that you have decided to give me another chance by giving us an introduction of MK. I know you are busy, and I really appreciate your time spent in this and our other discussion. Since I know very little about MK, I promise I will read with an open mind. But I must warn you, I am pretty convinced about what I believe and why I believe it ;).

Thanks again,
Many Blessings,
RW

Redeemed by Grace
Jul 29th 2009, 03:39 PM
OK BrckBrln, I am an avowed Molinist, FWIW.

Actually, Middle Knowledge does not state any such thing as Roger posted above. Middle Knowledge says that God has and uses knowledge far more than we usually give Him credit. What MK does is explain how God is sovereign over the actions of men without strictly overriding every act. IOW, as you posted in another thread recently, God can use the evil acts of men, and plan them as well, without being responsible for the actual acts. That is hard for many to swallow. But MK gives a vehicle for explaining how that could be.

Can you give us a quote on the bold above? What MK does say is that IF God did not know certain free knowledge kind of knowledge He could still be sovereign. Of course God DOES know such free knowledge, or else he would not be God. Have you been researching sites which oppose MK and which don't really know what it teaches or going to those which support it? I'd suggest the latter. MK doesn't limit the knowledge (or actions) of God, it expands it. Other views of God's knowledge either say He has no such knowledge (open theism, for e.g.) or that God doesn't avail Himself of it (Reformed view).


Don't confuse the philosophy of middle knowledge with the theological stances of election or free will.

Whether or not God becomes dependent on the acts of men does not depend on MK any more than it depends upon the simple foreknowledge viewpoint or the Calvinistic-Augustinian viewpoint. These are simply views regarding God's omniscience/knowledge. What we do with them depends upon our personal theology.


Roger,

You should carefully research Molinism before starting a thread and posting inaccurate data about what middle knowledge teaches. What you have posted here is not correct. BTW, you posted those scriptures as if in some way they contradict the philosophy of Molinism (middle knowledge).

BD

Hi BD,

Hope all is well... In reading this post I have a question as to where do you stand on the following section of the Westminster Confession...

III. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels[6] are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.[7]



6. I Tim 5:21; Jude 1:6; Matt. 25:31, 41

7. Eph. 1:5-6; Rom. 9:22-23; Prov. 16:4


For all that I have read of Middle Knowledge, each proponent has declared in effect that God - in certain conditions - reacts to man's will?

By prophesies being fulfilled, like Judas betraying Jesus, Jesus being crucified, King Cyrus allowing the temple to be rebuilt... how does man's actions, translate that to free will -- fit the middle knowledge position -- if God sets all future events to happen?

Blessings...

RbG

RogerW
Jul 29th 2009, 11:32 PM
I imagine that there are varieties of "middle knowledge," and my own position on the matter will be yet another as well. :D Some oppose "middle knowledge," saying that it places God at the whim of man. As I understand it, it does not. Instead, in this system some see God as having chosen to give man the ability to choose - He created man in His image, and that's part of the package.

Hi BD,

I'm finding it difficult to make sense of "middle knowledge." It makes no sense to difine the knowledge of God in this way, therefore I cannot help but think it was invented as a way to try and find harmony or companionship between sovereignty and free will. But these two are polar opposites, so when you try to fit them together you must sacrifice one for the other. There will never be harmony in conflicting systems. I know you don't see this, because you believe Scripture teaches man has freedom of will.

While I agree that God did give man the ability to choose [freedom of will], and man was created in the image of God...you cannot deny that man lost that freedom when he fell, and became in bondage to Satan, sin and death. Immortal was changed into mortal, and incorruptible into corruptible. Man had been created in the image of God, but what happened to that image, and likeness when man fell? What of His image and likeness was lost in the fall? If the image of God remained unchanged after the fall, why is it necessary that we be born again in the image of Christ?

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.

1Co 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

2Co 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.



MK is not a theology. It is a philosophy regarding God's knowledge. Those who hold to God's sovereignty and election simultaneous to man's free agency might say then that God remains fully sovereign and need not act independent on others within His creation. Just as God knows the future, His knowledge of possible futures is part of His omniscience, and should not be ignored. The fact that He is intimately aware of things we have no idea about and makes decisions and acts based on such knowledge out of compassion is not capricious by any means.

This is the kind of philosophical reasoning, according to man that need not be read into Scripture. God is The Sovereign over the universe. He knows when a sparrow falls from a tree, He's numbered the very hairs on my head, He counts the sands of the seashore, and names every star, in other words God knows all things from the beginning to the end. Speaking of "His knowledge of possible futures" IMO intimates that the choices man makes could cause God to adjust the future to accomadate for man's free will. Would this not be God bending or changing His mind according to the will of fallen man?



The foundation for MK is that God holds different kinds of knowledge. God has what is termed necessary knowledge – that is knowledge that can never be false. This encompasses things like the laws of physics and basic mathematical truths, for example. God also has free knowledge. But free knowledge is knowing the world as it actually is – including the past, present and the future as well.

Why not simply say God has ALL knowledge? Why use man's philosophical reasoning to confound the knowledge of God?



Yet God's Word supports His knowledge of contingencies. Knowledge of such contingent events (which may or may not actually happen) is what is referred to as middle knowledge.

For example, in 1 Samuel 23:6-13 we read about an instance in which Saul had been pursuing David, who was hiding with his few men in the city of Keilah.

In this story, Saul heard that David was hiding in Keilah. David discovered that someone had told Saul this. Then He asked God what would happen if... we see here that God knew that if David were to remain at Keilah, then Saul would come to get him, and that if Saul were to come to get David, then the men of the city would hand him over to Saul. You can see why MK is referred to often as the knowledge of "would-of"s - of counterfactuals.

David specifically asked God, if such-n-such happens, then will this transpire, and God answered him. So God does know the possibilities - all of them. That's why I do not prefer the name "middle knowledge," for this system has a very high view of the knowledge of God, yet often when people first hear this name they assume that in some way that such a view has a limited view of God's knowledge.

I am a simpleton! But this knowledge of "would-of's" - "of counterfactuals" is nowhere in the text you've provided. Since God knows ALL THINGS, and David is very much aware He does, but David has no such knowledge, David seeks God to know whether to flee from the city or to stay. To try to make this into a scenario where David might have done something differently, and then God would have to react is reading into the text what is not there.



Some assume that all genuine knowledge is based on either immediate perception or some causal inference. IOW, we can only know something if we experience it or experience its effects. But that is thinking like men. God is not a man. He is sovereign over His creation.

Why aren't you using this same logic with this man-made philosophy regarding God's knowledge? MK is thinking like men, and appears to attempt to make God think like men also???



God knows all truth. If reality were in some way different, though, God’s knowledge would be different as well, of course. God not only knows the truth to be true and what will happen, but as I said earlier, He also Knows all possibilities in the web of life.

If reality were in some way different, could it still be called reality? How does changing the reality of something change the knowledge of God?



The difference is in God's choosing to give mankind freedom to choose - the ability to make decisions and act on those decisions, within the framework of the personal control that God has allowed each individual.

It is true, mankind has freedom to choose, as you have said within the framework; or what Scripture calls natural man or spiritual man. In his natural state man has freedom to choose whatever pleases him/her...except he/she cannot freely choose Christ for eternal life, and he cannot choose to love or serve God. In the natural state, man is without Spiritual life, therefore he is in bondage to whatever his flesh desires. In the natural flesh, man cannot freely choose to make himself Spiritually alive. OTOH, Spiritual man, because he is spiritually alive in Christ is able to choose to walk in the Spirit, and sin not, or he can choose to go back into bondage and serve the natural flesh. So we have to define freedom to choose within the framework of what sayeth the Scripture.



One thing which MK does do is help explain how God can be sovereign, causing evil events to occur as well as good ones, and yet not be responsible for such actions. That is why some reformed theologians have embraced MK.

Why do you think we need MK to explain this? Is not the Bible able to teach us this? In my opinion the Bible most certainly does.



But there is no way to discuss God's sovereignty and ignore His tremendous knowledge. Just read Psalm 139 and it blows you away. Yet there is no way to logically not hold God responsible for man's bad choices otherwise - if we say that God completely ignores man's desires and intentions to act, and forces or manipulates him to do what He wants in every instance. Also, there is no way that scripture would command man to do something that he is not capable of doing - in such a theology.

Man must have free will, or God is responsible for man's bad choices??? This is a gross misunderstanding of Scripture! God commands man to do things he is not capable of doing, and still holds man accountable. For instance God commands men everywhere to repent and believe the gospel, but then He tells us there are none righteous, none that understand, none who will seek Him. Man MUST believe, but man CANNOT believe! Yet, God still holds man accountable for not believing! How can that be? What kind of God would do this?

Is it the fault of God, or the fault of man that he cannot believe? God made man "very good", did God force him to disobey, or did he freely choose to disobey, and at the same time plunge the whole human race into bondage? Even so, God has given every man knowledge of His existance through creation, conscience, and history. Therefore man ought to acknowledge Him as God, and glorify Him as such. Instead, man freely choose to serve the serpent, and obey his voice rather than the voice of God. Therefore man is without excuse, and will be accountable in the Day of Judgment.



If one does not accept some form of MK, then he must say that God resists all of man's choices, and forces him to do something else, sometimes evil, IOT accomplish a purpose to choose some of mankind for salvation. That simply cannot be supported from scripture, and paints a picture of God which is neither accurate nor very attractive.

This too is a gross misunderstanding of Scripture! God resists man's choices, and forces him to do evil??? Is that what happened in the garden? A&E had a choice to obey or disobey God, they freely chose to disobey. God did not force them to disobey, but God was not surprised by their disobedience, and this is why Christ is the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world. God knew sin would enter His "very good" creation when He allowed the serpent to deceive Eve. As we talked about in the other thread, evil has always been something that God utilizes to accomplish His purposes for humanity. However, God does not tempt any man to sin, nor does He cause man to sin. Man freely chooses to sin because he loves his sin and hates God.

It is true, after the fall man's freedom of will is bound, therefore, unlike A&E man cannot freely choose God. But this does not make God responsible for what A&E freely choose in the garden. It was man's choice to become in bondage to Satan, sin and death, he has no one to blame but himself. While natural man is not accountable for the sin that A&E committed, humanity, as heirs of Adam all receive of his nature, and are bound with him.



Now we know that God does work based on His knowledge of man's choices, as we see many examples of this in scripture. That does not make Him the puppet of man. To deny this does make man the puppet of God. God commanded man to be fruitful and multiply and to rule over His creation. Obviously, God allowed man to make choices in order to do so. MK helps us to understand how this can be so and yet God remain sovereign.

God's works in regards to redeeming man was finished from the foundation of the world. His work in saving a people for Himself is not now, nor has it ever been based on His knowledge of man's choices.

Heb 4:3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

God knew sin would enter in, and before creation He provided Himself the Lamb slain as the remedy for sin. From the foundation of the world, God presdestined an elect number of people to receive eternal life. Their names were written in the Lamb's Book of Life from the foundation of the world. All of creation was the means by which God would have a people for Himself throughout eternity. Salvation is of the Lord alone, not by the choices of fallen natural man. This you say shows man to be God's puppets??? This IMO shows the love, mercy, compassion and grace of a God Who will have a people for Himself despite their wickedness.



The most obvious example of God's working with the knowledge of what man will do is the Son of Man accomplishing God's plan while here on earth. Pilate convicted Jesus of a capital crime - or I suppose you could say that he refused to release Him even though he found no fault deserving crucifixion in Him. Jesus told him that if this were His kingdom, that the angels would fight to release Him from Pilate's power. And you can bet that God knows such things as well as you know your name! That's what MK is saying - merely explaining what we see happening in scripture.

This shows God's all knowing Sovereign will being accomplished in the exact manner He ordained from before the foundation of the world. You're turning a statement Jesus made into a contingency, or dependent upon chance to try to prove there is some value in man's philosophy called MK.



Otherwise, what you have is God forcing Pilate to do what he did, then holding him accountable for his robotic actions orchestrated by God Himself. I refuse to believe that God works in such a subversive manner. That's my problem with the understanding of God's sovereignty that many hold.

God does not have to force Pilate to do His Sovereign will! Pilate, just like Pharaoh chooses evil because they are already sinners on their way to hell and damnation. God uses the wickedness of these two men to accomplish His purposes. These are prime examples of how God allows and even uses evil to accomplish His will. Pilate is not God's robot, nor is it God's fault that he is evil to the core. God orchestrated His will through this evil man, He did not make him evil, or force him to crucify Christ. Pilate, in his evil heart willingly committed this evil, and God knowing he would, used him to accomplish His purpose.



He certainly could force any of us to do what He wants regarding any particular part of that plan, but He chooses to give us freedom of action and choice.

Remember our freedom of choice is dependent upon our nature, as such our choice is bound by sin, death and servants of Satan, or we are bondservants of Christ. While I do acknowledge a certain amount of freedom of will, I honestly fail to see how one could argue that man's will is completely free in this world.



And regarding MK, many hold to election and free will simultaneously, yet never try to rationalize the apparent contradiction of their views - merely saying that they accept both freewill and election at the same time. Well, MK is an attempt to make some sense out of it.

Thx,
BD

Election and free will are NOT compatible...how could they be? MK does not make sense out of it, but instead causes greater confusion IMO!

Many Blessings,
RW

RogerW
Jul 30th 2009, 12:41 AM
God knows all truth. If reality were in some way different, though, God’s knowledge would be different as well, of course. God not only knows the truth to be true and what will happen, but as I said earlier, He also knows all possibilities in the web of life.

BD, it must be frustrating trying to explain these things to a simpleton...but please tell me how does the statement in bold hold any logic? Since God knows all things how is God's knowledge affected by different realities? God's knowledge always knows all things!



We often think, "God knows what's going to happen." Well, that's true, but much more is true, because He was responsible for what is going to happen! He predestined it!

Are you saying God is responsible for the evil that man commits? Would you not agree that Scripture shows us that God does ordain certain things to come to pass, through evil, but He is not responsible for the evil that man commits?



We know that God does work based on His knowledge of man's choices, as we see many examples of this in scripture. I gave a few examples in an earlier post. To acknowledge this does not make God the puppet of man. But to deny this does make man the puppet of God.

God works (in salvation) based on the knowledge of His choices, not mans. God foreknows His elect, because He has predestined them for eternal life from the foundation of the world. He knows they will choose Him because He will change their hearts of stone, making them willing to come to Him for eternal life. This is not making man the puppet of God, this is God extending grace, compassion, love and mercy to His people.



OTOH it is true that "God chooses, plans, and works based on Man's choices," but we must remember that God is actualizing a world precisely as He would have it, allowing us to freely choose at the same time. Look at Proverbs 21:1...

Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.

Here we see that God turns the water of the king's heart (King Solomon, who wrote this, is speaking of himself here) the same as you can determine where water will go by digging a channel for it. OTOH, you could say that water determines that it would go whichever way led downhill more directly... yet the canal-digger actually is the predeterminer of that. This is a beautiful picture of the sovereignty of God - the ultimate Canal-Digger.

Yes this is a beautiful picture of the sovereignty of God! And trying to turn it into God using the choices (water determines) of man makes a mockery of the sovereignty of God.



Ecclesiastes 9:1 For I have taken all this to my heart and explain it that righteous men, wise men, and their deeds are in the hand of God. Man does not know whether it will be love or hatred; anything awaits him.

Proverbs 16:1, 9 The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.

The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs [determines] his steps.

OK, let's look at the classic example of God's sovereign control of a man - Pharaoh:
Exodus 10:1, 2 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may perform these signs of Mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians, and how I performed My signs among them; that you may know that I am the Lord.”

But if we look at Pharaoh, it is clear that it was his choice to refuse to let the people go - he hardened his own heart. His own servants later asked him, "How long will this man (Moses) be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the Lord their God. Don't you realize that Egypt is in ruins?" So Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron and they brought them back. Pharaoh seems so determined, that there appears to be no way of diverting him. IMO, though God certainly hardened his heart, it was his own free choice to harden it. Look at how Pharaoh responded to Moses when they returned:

Yes, God hardened Pharaoh's heart, and yes Pharaoh did choose to harden his own heart. Who is responsible? Again this is a classic example of how God uses an evil, hell bound sinner to accomplish His purposes. Did God hardening Pharaoh's heart cause Pharaoh to be condemned in the lake of fire? NO! He was already condemned because his sins were not atoned for. So God used this condemned sinner to reveal His glory unto all the earth. Pharaoh was created for this very purpose because he was never among the elect of God predestined to eternal life.



In each of these examples we see the middle knowledge view of the sovereignty of God illustrated. Many have struggled over the centuries to explain how it could be said that God hardened Pharaoh's heart, if He truly manipulated Pharaoh - forced him to do His will. If He changed Pharaoh's heart so that he would do His will, then how can that be described as good? But when we view this through the eyes of middle knowledge, it is biblical and reasonable.

God did not manipulate or force Pharaoh to do His will. Pharaoh, who was in bondage to Satan, sin and death did what he desired to do. God did not have to change Pharaoh's heart to do His will. Pharaoh's heart was already evil. God knew Pharaoh's heart was bent on doing evil, so God further hardened him in the thing he already delighted in doing...wickedness, and evil. I don't need MK to tell me that God knowing all things, determined from before the foundation of the world, that Pharaoh, who was naturally born in bondage to sin, would be the instrument that God would use to accomplish His purposes to free His people from slavery as well as to demonstrate His glory throughout the earth.



In scripture, I see clearly taught that God is completely sovereign over the affairs of men... Yet I also see that men have a free moral will/free agency to choose to do whatever they will. That is not contradictory - we merely need to understand how God has chosen to do things. Middle knowledge is simply one tool in the effort to comprehend.

God could not be completely sovereign over the affairs of men if men, through free will, could choose to do whatever they will. And trying to use the philosophy of man, so-called MK is simply IMO another futile attempt to make free will compatible with sovereign grace in election and predestination.

Many Blessings,
RW

BadDog
Jul 30th 2009, 12:33 PM
Greetings BD,

Please accept my humble apologies. I began this thread specifically to involve you, in the hopes that you, (rather than someone who would most likely speak so far over my head I would never be able to understand MK) would explain simply, and clearly what MK is. And you are right! I was going to personally let you know I began this thread, but quite honestly I first wanted to give you a chance to see it. But since I began this topic I have been very busy with other priorities, therefore time has not permitted me to post. I should have considered how busy this time of year can be for me before I began a new thread. I am very glad that you have decided to give me another chance by giving us an introduction of MK. I know you are busy, and I really appreciate your time spent in this and our other discussion. Since I know very little about MK, I promise I will read with an open mind. But I must warn you, I am pretty convinced about what I believe and why I believe it ;).

Thanks again,
Many Blessings,
RWRoger,

Thank you for your gracious and humble response. Apology accepted, and no big deal. It is good that you have strong convictions.

I think one issue here is that people who embrace Molinism tend to more likely be of Arminean persuasion, regarding election/free will. They use Molinism to help support free will along with God's sovereign control. (The same could be said of those with a Reformed persuasion, if they see evidence of man's free agency in scripture, and desire to better reconcile it with God's sovereign election. That would be closer to my position, though I am certainly not a classic Calvinist.)

But strictly speaking, Molinism is a view of God's knowledge, God's omniscience. Various people will use it in different manners. When we start talking about the specifics of free will and election/sovereignty of God we are really talking about the application of Molinism.

Some will disagree with my application of Molinism, though I suspect that many of those support the concept that God has middle knowledge and uses it in His sovereign actions/decisions.

Take care,

BD

RogerW
Jul 30th 2009, 01:14 PM
For all that I have read of Middle Knowledge, each proponent has declared in effect that God - in certain conditions - reacts to man's will?

By prophesies being fulfilled, like Judas betraying Jesus, Jesus being crucified, King Cyrus allowing the temple to be rebuilt... how does man's actions, translate that to free will -- fit the middle knowledge position -- if God sets all future events to happen?

Blessings...

RbG

Greetings RbG,

This is also the way I am seeing MK. It seems to make God reactionary rather than Sovereign. I cannot see how God could still be The Sovereign over His creation if He reacts according to the actions of man. Maybe its just that I'm not gettin MK though :help:.

Many Blessings,
RW

BadDog
Jul 30th 2009, 01:15 PM
Hi BD,

Hope all is well... In reading this post I have a question as to where do you stand on the following section of the Westminster Confession...

III. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels[6] are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.[7]



6. I Tim 5:21; Jude 1:6; Matt. 25:31, 41

7. Eph. 1:5-6; Rom. 9:22-23; Prov. 16:4
Hi RbG,

I think the issue here is that what we often read regarding MK is not so much its tenets as application of it. Perhaps you (or others here) generally agree with the precepts of MK yet not to many of the applications of it by those with more of an Arminean persuasion.

Now first I must add that the Westminster Confession endorsed an infralapsarian position, which does not support the election by God of those who are lost, though it assumed that they are responsible for their own choices. It's not exactly a single election position, but was distinctly not supralapsarian.

Now, strictly speaking, and I would probably have to qualify it, I agree that God is sovereign, and such sovereignty extends to both groups. Of course, I also hold to man's free agency, through my Molinism philosophical persuasion, simultaneously to God's sovereignty - with no conflict.


For all that I have read of Middle Knowledge, each proponent has declared in effect that God - in certain conditions - reacts to man's will?

By prophesies being fulfilled, like Judas betraying Jesus, Jesus being crucified, King Cyrus allowing the temple to be rebuilt... how does man's actions, translate that to free will -- fit the middle knowledge position -- if God sets all future events to happen?

Blessings...

RbG
To say that God reacts to man's will is simply to acknowledge that God certainly does not act independent of His knowledge, which includes MK. The use of the word "react" is probably not the best, since we are then speaking from the viewpoint and thinking of men. (What else can we do, of course? :P ) IMO it would even be irresponsible and wrong for God to act completely independent of such knowledge. Makes sense to me. As many apply MK they argue that since God knows the would-ofs of various situations facing people, He works within that framework to actualize a world which accomplishes precisely His will. I am absolutely certain that someone like William Lane Craig, for example, would not use the expression "react" there. We have to look at things from the big picture framework. That sounds like someone without a solid understanding of Molinism applying it to his theology.

Now regarding Craig's theology, FWIW, he is an apologist first and theologian second. Actually, he is not a theologian but a philosopher. He got his doctorate in philosophy of religion. He is generally recognized as the foremost apologist today. If you are looking for help regarding debates with atheists and regarding the resurrection, for example, there are none better to research.

If you research apologetic debates online, you will find more of his debates recorded there than all others combined I would surmise. (I am speaking from personally having done just that. If you want to read some debates online of apologists regarding either the existence of God or the resurrection of Christ, you will find most of those are by Craig.) The point is that by far his interest is not in the election/free agency debate as in defending the faith. What he has done on that issue was specifically for application with those who argue that God cannot exist. (They argue that a God cannot exist who is benevolent and yet allows evil to exist.) He has debated Anthony Flew several times (once the foremost atheist alive) and had a big impact on his eventually coming to accept a theist approach. (He introduced Flew to Hugh Ross, whose view of progressive creationism finally convinced Flew, the foremost atheist alive, and number one opponent of theism in debates, of the existence of God. Pretty cool.) My point is that you may not agree with some of Craig's theology (my position) yet don't throw out the baby in the bath water.


Anyway, the example of Judas is clear in that in some places we read of God's sovereignty in that it was prophesied, as you point out, yet in others we read things to clearly indicate Judas' choices and thinking which led to his decision to betray the Son of God into the hands of men.

Regarding King Cyrus, the point I made above is that when we read the prophesies God specifically says that Cyrus does not know he is performing God's will when he writes a decree to rebuild the temple. There it is clear that from the perspective of Cyrus he is acting completely on his own initiative, while clearly God is using him to perform His will. This is not merely foreknowledge.

And such examples are significant since they show how God can hold man responsible for the evil he does while yet God remains fully sovereign over the acts of men. It's beautiful.

Hope this helps. Remember, those articles and books you are reading are likely by people with more of an Arminian position than myself, regarding election/free will. That will affect how they apply Molinism.

Take care,

BD

BadDog
Jul 30th 2009, 01:32 PM
Boy Roger... I just do not have time for this right now. But I'll do my best to deal with some of it.


God knows all truth. If reality were in some way different, though, God’s knowledge would be different as well, of course. God not only knows the truth to be true and what will happen, but as I said earlier, He also knows all possibilities in the web of life.


BD, it must be frustrating trying to explain these things to a simpleton...but please tell me how does the statement in bold hold any logic? Since God knows all things how is God's knowledge affected by different realities? God's knowledge always knows all things!
You must remember that this is ME trying to explain MK so as to make some sense. The best person to read on it is Craig, though I must warn you that philosophy is very difficult to follow without really immersing yourself in it.

OK, All that is saying is that if what is actually happening, reality, were different - a different world had been actualized, then God's knowledge would be different. This is apparent. How can it not be true? This was actually taken out of its context.


We often think, "God knows what's going to happen." Well, that's true, but much more is true, because He was responsible for what is going to happen! He predestined it!

Are you saying God is responsible for the evil that man commits? Would you not agree that Scripture shows us that God does ordain certain things to come to pass, through evil, but He is not responsible for the evil that man commits?
No, Roger. Not at all. I am simply saying that God IS sovereign over the acts of men. Again, go back and read that in my context, and I think it should be clear. The point is that God does have Mk and that does affect the world he chose to actualize.


We know that God does work based on His knowledge of man's choices, as we see many examples of this in scripture. I gave a few examples in an earlier post. To acknowledge this does not make God the puppet of man. But to deny this does make man the puppet of God.


God works (in salvation) based on the knowledge of His choices, not mans. God foreknows His elect, because He has predestined them for eternal life from the foundation of the world. He knows they will choose Him because He will change their hearts of stone, making them willing to come to Him for eternal life. This is not making man the puppet of God, this is God extending grace, compassion, love and mercy to His people.
Must stop here for now. I must disagree with the underlined above. For God to do so would make Him irresponsible. And where can you find any such idea in scripture? That is logically derived.

We read regarding the example of Cyrus how God worked specifically knowing what Cyrus would do. If God knew how Cyrus would react in certain circumstances, which He certainly did know, then how could God act independent of that knowledge? Why would He? What is to be gained by such? Such a theology presents a God who doesn't care about how people think, and One who is not influenced by such. He does care. That does not prevent Him from accomplishing His will. He does not need to act independent of the knowledge of people's wills IOT accomplish precisely what He has determined to do. But such can be best argued from a MK perspective of God's omniscience. One beauty of the Mk philosophy is that it clarifies the caring God we all know, within the framework of His sovereignty. That's one reason I love Mk so much. It clarifies how God need not be some Monster in accomplishing His will IMO better than other philosophies available.

Regarding the puppet idea, what I said was, "To acknowledge this does not make God the puppet of man. But to deny this does make man the puppet of God." In context I was saying that to acknowledge that God knows the thinking of man and the "counterfactuals" of life does not mean that God's actions are determined by man. Why would God act independent of knowing the complete consequences of any of His actions? IMO to recognize that God does operate within the framework of His knowledge is essential, and if we deny that, then though we may intend to create a philosophy within which God is not evil, yet we will make man not much more than a puppet. Of course I do not believe that is the scenario and such a view is not at all evidenced in scripture, but that it would necessarily be so if we say that God ignores middle knowledge. We see some specific examples in which he clearly worked within the framework of such counterfactuals - I gave a few examples of such - hence does it not seem reasonable that this is how God operates? To acknowledge such is not to say that God does not predestine things, but only foreknows all, and hence works within that framework. That is the "simple foreknowledge" viewpoint with its typical "corporate election" framework for election - not mine.

BTW, I think it is difficult for one who has a MK philosophy to also have a strong Arminian view regarding election/free will.

Take care,

BD

BadDog
Jul 30th 2009, 01:36 PM
BrckBrln,

Thx. I do agree with this. But it just says that A and B are both true, though they seem to be irreconcilable. That's been my position for years. What MK does is provide a framework for making sense of it all. So whether you hold to incompatibalism or compatibalism an understanding of middle knowledge can help one in reconciling his framework.


I must have not made it clear. There is a framework for making sense of it. God's providence. That would be U, the unifying factor, so to speak. To be clear, you do agree that God has decreed 'whatsoever comes to pass'?Yes, I do agree fully with this. He is fully sovereign over the actions of people.

But let's not assume that he has accomplished His will without being aware of all the possibilities, how man will respond given this or that, and yet has not acted responsibly with such knowledge. IOW, God can work His will within the framework of allowing man to have certain creature freedoms.

BD

BadDog
Jul 30th 2009, 03:14 PM
OTOH it is true that "God chooses, plans, and works based on Man's choices," but we must remember that God is actualizing a world precisely as He would have it, allowing us to freely choose at the same time. Look at Proverbs 21:1...

Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.

Here we see that God turns the water of the king's heart (King Solomon, who wrote this, is speaking of himself here) the same as you can determine where water will go by digging a channel for it. OTOH, you could say that water determines that it would go whichever way led downhill more directly... yet the canal-digger actually is the predeterminer of that. This is a beautiful picture of the sovereignty of God - the ultimate Canal-Digger.

Yes this is a beautiful picture of the sovereignty of God! And trying to turn it into God using the choices (water determines) of man makes a mockery of the sovereignty of God.
??? You must explain. Each person has natural proclivities and God is aware of them in intimate details. To say that God knows that if he "digs a canal" in such-n-such a manner that the water will follow a certain path simply says that by doing so God accomplishes precisely what He will while not overwhelming man, like a puppet. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. If God chooses to work in such a fashion, and I have given specific examples in which He did do so, who are we to say, "Stop, what are you doing, God?" It does not make a mockery of the sovereignty of God. It acknowledges God's knowledge in a manner that other philosophies do not, and it also lifts up the love and compassion of our Lord.

If God acts completely independent of our desires and actions, then we must be mere puppets. To say "nay" to this does not make it so. God has chosen to act thus, He is not compelled to do so, and scripture has numerous examples of God acting so as to countermand the effect of individuals... He is sovereign - that must be a given. But we must also give Him the right and freedom to do as He pleases!


Ecclesiastes 9:1 For I have taken all this to my heart and explain it that righteous men, wise men, and their deeds are in the hand of God. Man does not know whether it will be love or hatred; anything awaits him.

Proverbs 16:1, 9 The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.

The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs [determines] his steps.

OK, let's look at the classic example of God's sovereign control of a man - Pharaoh:
Exodus 10:1, 2 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may perform these signs of Mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians, and how I performed My signs among them; that you may know that I am the Lord.”

But if we look at Pharaoh, it is clear that it was his choice to refuse to let the people go - he hardened his own heart. His own servants later asked him, "How long will this man (Moses) be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the Lord their God. Don't you realize that Egypt is in ruins?" So Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron and they brought them back. Pharaoh seems so determined, that there appears to be no way of diverting him. IMO, though God certainly hardened his heart, it was his own free choice to harden it. [edited-added: God was working within the counterfactuals of life.] Look at how Pharaoh responded to Moses when they returned:

Yes, God hardened Pharaoh's heart, and yes Pharaoh did choose to harden his own heart. Who is responsible? Again this is a classic example of how God uses an evil, hell bound sinner to accomplish His purposes. Did God hardening Pharaoh's heart cause Pharaoh to be condemned in the lake of fire? NO! He was already condemned because his sins were not atoned for. So God used this condemned sinner to reveal His glory unto all the earth. Pharaoh was created for this very purpose because he was never among the elect of God predestined to eternal life.
There is no question regarding who is responsible for the evil done - the hardening of Pharaoh's heart - he was responsible for his own hardening.

And I agree regarding Pharaoh's condemnation. Man has chosen to rebel against God.

Isaiah 59:1, 2 Indeed, the Lord's hand is not too short to save, and His ear is not too deaf to hear. But your iniquities have built barriers between you and your God, and your sins have made Him hide [His] face from you so that He does not listen.

I love the HCSB translation here. God was not obligated by any sense of justice to cause Pharaoh to not harden his own heart. Pharaoh is responsible regardless. The fact that God did choose the Israelites to save them is evidence of God's tremendous mercy. That goes without saying. I agree with everything you've said here.

Remember that MK is not a theology of election/free will. It is a philosophy regarding God's omniscience and how He works within that knowledge.

Thx,

BD

BadDog
Jul 30th 2009, 03:27 PM
In each of these examples we see the middle knowledge view of the sovereignty of God illustrated. Many have struggled over the centuries to explain how it could be said that God hardened Pharaoh's heart, if He truly manipulated Pharaoh - forced him to do His will. If He changed Pharaoh's heart so that he would do His will, then how can that be described as good? But when we view this through the eyes of middle knowledge, it is biblical and reasonable.

God did not manipulate or force Pharaoh to do His will. Pharaoh, who was in bondage to Satan, sin and death did what he desired to do. God did not have to change Pharaoh's heart to do His will. Pharaoh's heart was already evil. God knew Pharaoh's heart was bent on doing evil, so God further hardened him in the thing he already delighted in doing...wickedness, and evil. I don't need MK to tell me that God knowing all things, determined from before the foundation of the world, that Pharaoh, who was naturally born in bondage to sin, would be the instrument that God would use to accomplish His purposes to free His people from slavery as well as to demonstrate His glory throughout the earth.
Well, what the scripture says is that God hardened Pharaoh's heart, and it is clearly implied that if he had not that Pharaoh would have let the people go.

What you are expressing is closer to the Arminian simple foreknowledge viewpoint of this, FWIW.

Regarding the underlined above, well good. But do not ignore that this knowledge also included intimate details of how Pharaoh, and others, would respond if He had Moses do this or that.


In scripture, I see clearly taught that God is completely sovereign over the affairs of men... Yet I also see that men have a free moral will/free agency to choose to do whatever they will. That is not contradictory - we merely need to understand how God has chosen to do things. Middle knowledge is simply one tool in the effort to comprehend.

God could not be completely sovereign over the affairs of men if men, through free will, could choose to do whatever they will. And trying to use the philosophy of man, so-called MK is simply IMO another futile attempt to make free will compatible with sovereign grace in election and predestination.

Many Blessings,
RW
I disagree. God can and does. You OTOH are significantly limiting what God can do. From man's perspective, I agree - a Superman God could not do this. But God is not merely a super human. His knowledge is incredible, and he continually operates within that framework.

You are saying that they are "incompatible," just FYI. I say that they are "compatible" when we expand our understanding of the amazing omniscience of God. FYI the Reformed position is one of incompatibleness. Molinism says that God operates within certain "necessary" knowledge, which in general must be true. Of course there are exceptions, such as the day in which God caused the earth to stand still in its rotation for 24 hours. God is not bound to even such necessary knowledge, and let's face it: He is the creator and determiner of all such necessary knowledge. God predetermined each of the "laws of nature." Now your position would be then to say that the only relevant other knowledge is "free knowledge," which is free in the sense that God has chosen to freely work in this framework. IOW you in general restrain Him to free knowledge. Though He can and does modify necessary knowledge, that is by and far the exception. In your case, He would need to continually modify necessary knowledge every moment. I allow that God also works within "middle knowledge," and hence has much greater control of the events of history than otherwise. I do not limit in any way how God works, or His sovereignty; I have simply noted, as is clear from scripture, that in general He acts such as to not directly overwhelm man's free agency - by His choice. He has done so by His own choice - it is the sort of world which God has chosen to actualize. Man in no way has forced God's hand.

Take care,

BD

BadDog
Jul 30th 2009, 04:13 PM
I imagine that there are varieties of "middle knowledge," and my own position on the matter will be yet another as well. Some oppose "middle knowledge," saying that it places God at the whim of man. As I understand it, it does not. Instead, in this system some see God as having chosen to give man the ability to choose - He created man in His image, and that's part of the package.

Hi BD,

I'm finding it difficult to make sense of "middle knowledge." It makes no sense to difine the knowledge of God in this way, therefore I cannot help but think it was invented as a way to try and find harmony or companionship between sovereignty and free will. But these two are polar opposites, so when you try to fit them together you must sacrifice one for the other. There will never be harmony in conflicting systems. I know you don't see this, because you believe Scripture teaches man has freedom of will.

BD: I imagine that was its origin. When you find a paradox in scripture, it makes sense to try to reconcile scripture. But I haven't researched the original debates involving Luis de Molina, so I would just be guessing ,such as yourself. And the fact remains that it is a view regarding God's omniscience, and that people from Arminians to Calvinists have embraced it.

While I agree that God did give man the ability to choose [freedom of will], and man was created in the image of God...you cannot deny that man lost that freedom when he fell, and became in bondage to Satan, sin and death. Immortal was changed into mortal, and incorruptible into corruptible. Man had been created in the image of God, but what happened to that image, and likeness when man fell? What of His image and likeness was lost in the fall? If the image of God remained unchanged after the fall, why is it necessary that we be born again in the image of Christ?

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.

1Co 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

2Co 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Yes, I can deny the bold above. Man has certain freedom, though his sin nature obviously greatly impacts the choices available to him... without the working of God in his heart and mind. I do not think you will disagree with this.

Regarding the underlined portion above:

1 Corinthians 11:7 A man, in fact, should not cover his head, because he is God's image and glory, but woman is man's glory.

Man is still in the image of God. That is why he still rules over God's creation.


MK is not a theology. It is a philosophy regarding God's knowledge. Those who hold to God's sovereignty and election simultaneous to man's free agency might say then that God remains fully sovereign and need not act independent on others within His creation. Just as God knows the future, His knowledge of possible futures is part of His omniscience, and should not be ignored. The fact that He is intimately aware of things we have no idea about and makes decisions and acts based on such knowledge out of compassion is not capricious by any means.

This is the kind of philosophical reasoning, according to man that need not be read into Scripture. God is The Sovereign over the universe. He knows when a sparrow falls from a tree, He's numbered the very hairs on my head, He counts the sands of the seashore, and names every star, in other words God knows all things from the beginning to the end. Speaking of "His knowledge of possible futures" IMO intimates that the choices man makes could cause God to adjust the future to accomadate for man's free will. Would this not be God bending or changing His mind according to the will of fallen man?
Calvinists and Arminians as well as a variety of others all have their own particular philosophies, and they all use them in trying to reconcile scripture. Where have I read something into scripture?


The foundation for MK is that God holds different kinds of knowledge. God has what is termed necessary knowledge – that is knowledge that can never be false. This encompasses things like the laws of physics and basic mathematical truths, for example. God also has free knowledge. But free knowledge is knowing the world as it actually is – including the past, present and the future as well.

Why not simply say God has ALL knowledge? Why use man's philosophical reasoning to confound the knowledge of God?
Well, that is obviously true. But most people set up their theologies without acknowledging counterfactuals.


I think I should re-post something I said in my first post to explain the concept of MK:

Perhaps I should explain a few other things that "middle knowledge" (I'll refer to it as MK) does not teach first.

MK also does not say that God knows what future choices men will make (accumulated), and hence simply works so as to cause things to work out based on this knowledge - that He is unable to override mankind. He is able, and often does. Thank God He does, or so many of my poor choices would come back to haunt me! I mean, there is some truth to that statement. The difference is in God's choosing to give mankind freedom to choose - the ability to make decisions and act on those decisions, within the framework of the personal control that God has allowed each individual. God remains sovereign though. And again, the previous was but the babbling of someone who holds to election and free will simultaneously... MK is not a theology and does not teach the above. It provides a framework for some who attempt to understand how it could be.
What I have said in bold above is a clear distinctive of MK. Some of you may think that MK is a philosophy in which God is subject to man. Well, that is certainly NOT what is taught in that philosophy. You are simply imposing your own views on top of MK. You may not agree with their logic, just as I do not agree with some of the reasonings of Calvinists regarding election/free will. But I do recognize that in their perspective, God is not some Monster, and He is not causing us to be puppets... I just think that the logic used doesn't work fully. But I try to be careful not to put words into their mouths... don't always succeed. :P

I am not trying to convert anyone to Molinism. Just as Jesus said that He spoke in parables so that only those seeking truth would understand, so I only wish to clarify the concept of middle knowledge. None of you needs to agree with the reasoning. I really could not care less. The only reason I came here is because some things were presented that supposedly MK teaches which was simply very far from the truth. I think I've clarified that to an extent, so I'm satisfied.

Thx,

BD

BadDog
Jul 30th 2009, 04:38 PM
For those who are interested in researching "middle knowledge" (Molinism), the following is a good link, though it does have some flaws. But it implies that the purpose of its development was to reconcile election and free will scriptural concepts:

The Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Middle Knowledge (http://www.iep.utm.edu/m/middlekn.htm)

And here's a nice quote from that link:

If Aristotle had not been a student of Plato, then would Aristotle have chosen to start his school at Lyceum? If you believe God knows the answer to this question, you probably believe God has middle knowledge. Middle knowledge is a form of knowledge first attributed to God by the sixteenth century Jesuit theologian Luis de Molina. It is best characterized as God’s prevolitional knowledge of all true counterfactuals of creaturely freedom. This knowledge is seen by its proponents as the key to understanding the compatibility of divine providence and creaturely (libertarian) freedom.

Now, just curious, which of you do not believe that God has such middle knowledge as described above? If you do believe it, then you are close to being a Molinist, though you may not apply such understanding about God's knowledge in the same manner as I, or others, do. :D If you agree that God has such knowledge, yet does not consider such things when making decisions, then you are not a Molinist, though I certainly do not understand how someone could think such.

Here's another significant quote:

The theory of middle knowledge presents a picture of divine omniscience which includes not only knowledge of the past, present and future, but also knowledge of conditional future contingents (propositions which refer to how free creatures will choose in various circumstances), counterfactuals (propositions which refer to how things would actually be if circumstances were different than they are or will be), and counterfactuals of creaturely freedom (propositions which refer to what a free creature would have chosen (freely) to do if things had been different). This knowledge, together with natural knowledge, informs God's decision about what He will do with reference to creation.
Notice what I put in bold? What God knows, including middle knowledge, does not direct what God will do... it informs God's decision. Roger has already said here that in his opinion middle knowledge did not affect what God would do as in his opinion such resulted in God being directed what He would do. That is NOT what MK teaches. I just want to be clear there. Mk merely informs God'sdecisions - He does not ignore such knowledge, just as with any other knowledge.


One of the most useful concepts for the explanation and evaluation of middle knowledge is that of possible worlds. The basic belief that things could have been different is commonly described as belief in many possible worlds. Each complete set of possible states of affairs (or way things could be) is a possible world, and although there is an extremely large number of possible worlds, it is not infinite (some states of affairs are impossible), and only one is actual (the way things are).
It is good to think about the philosophy of MK in terms of possible worlds vs. what God actualized, because to do else would result in misunderstanding how God uses such knowledge, and why MK allows God to allow creaturely freedoms (by His choice).

Edited-added: BTW, one more comment regarding Arminianism and Calvinism and middle knowledge. It is on the rise in both circles. Also, it is not generally known that Jacobus Arminius was not an adherent of "simple foreknowledge," which most Arminians adhere to today, but was very familiar with the debate between Molina and Suarez on middle knowledge and was in fact an adherent of middle knowledge! Also, contrary to most people's understanding of Arminius, he did not hold that God's predestination were based upon simple foreknowledge, but he specifically stated that it was based upon middle knowledge. Arminius was a Calvinist, in training, and those who have followed him have gone far beyond what he ever argued.

Following is an article by John D. Laing, a Calvinist, on middle knowledge, which he supports:

http://www.etsjets.org/files/JETS-PDFs/47/47-3/47-3-pp455-467_JETS.pdf

In this article he says, "More and more Calvinist thinkers are attempting to incorporate middle knowledge into their systems of thought."

The Calvinist view of middle knowledge is even referred to often as "Calvinist middle knowledge" vs. "Molinist middle knowledge." I am not sure of all of the differences, though I suspect it has to do with what is required for creaturely freedom.

Take care,

BD

Brother Mark
Jul 30th 2009, 05:32 PM
BD,

Thanks for taking the time to write this stuff out. I have never heard of such a thing before. But I do know I believe God is completely sovereign and that man does choose. I see both of those in scripture and I simply believe both. It has always fascinated me why men try to ignore one or the other in a demand that God make perfect sense to them. If my mind sees a contradiction where there is none, the problem is with my mind. As I have grown in the Lord, that has been my take on scriptures. It seems to me to ignore one or the other teachings concerning God's choice and man's choice is to leave out significant portions of scripture.

It seems molinism has tried to balance both and I suppose that is a good thing. If nothing else, it reveals the limitations of our understands that God has constantly warned man about in scriptures. We are brutish in his sight and it would be generally wise to approach scriptures with that idea in mind.

Thanks for your efforts.

Grace and peace,

Mark

BadDog
Jul 30th 2009, 06:03 PM
BD,

Thanks for taking the time to write this stuff out. I have never heard of such a thing before. But I do know I believe God is completely sovereign and that man does choose. I see both of those in scripture and I simply believe both. It has always fascinated me why men try to ignore one or the other in a demand that God make perfect sense to them. If my mind sees a contradiction where there is none, the problem is with my mind. As I have grown in the Lord, that has been my take on scriptures. It seems to me to ignore one or the other teachings concerning God's choice and man's choice is to leave out significant portions of scripture.

It seems molinism has tried to balance both and I suppose that is a good thing. If nothing else, it reveals the limitations of our understands that God has constantly warned man about in scriptures. We are brutish in his sight and it would be generally wise to approach scriptures with that idea in mind.

Thanks for your efforts.

Grace and peace,

Mark
Mark,

Thx for the encouragement. I think that many others are in your position. I once was, and I typically just quoted Isaiah 55:7, 8 which says simply that God's thinking and ways of doing things was not like ours.

Take care,

BD

Redeemed by Grace
Jul 30th 2009, 06:17 PM
Hi BD,


Saw your reply back and thanks... will need to set some time later today to read it for understanding.

I guess now would be a good time to understand how you define Free Will.

Then also, take that understanding and apply it to man, maybe even Adam and Eve, before and after the fall, if it effects your definition of free will.

Thanks!

John146
Jul 30th 2009, 06:29 PM
Greetings RbG,

This is also the way I am seeing MK. It seems to make God reactionary rather than Sovereign. I cannot see how God could still be The Sovereign over His creation if He reacts according to the actions of man. Maybe its just that I'm not gettin MK though :help:.

Many Blessings,
RWCan you explain exactly how God reacting to the actions of man somehow would make Him less than Sovereign? I think your definition of the word sovereign is flawed. To be sovereign does not require controlling every action and thought of man and does not mean that God can never react to the actions of men. How do I know this? Because scripture is filled with examples of God reacting to the actions of men! Sending the flood upon the wicked in Noah's day. Sending fire and brimstone down upon Sodom and Gomorrah. Refraining from destroying Nineveh, as He said He was going to do, once He saw that they repented of their sins (Jonah 3:8-10). The list goes on and on.

I do believe that things can only happen if God allows them to happen. God does directly make many things happen, but not all things. That is how we should understand His sovereignty rather than thinking it means that He controls or causes every thought and action of man. With this understanding of God's sovereignty in mind, we should see that it does not go against God's sovereignty for Him to allow man to have freedom of choice, including the freedom to choose whether or not to repent and whether or not to have faith in Christ.

Without freedom of choice there is no responsibility. Yet we can see very clearly that man is held responsible for his beliefs and actions as we know that every person will have to give an account of themselves on the day of judgment (Romans 14:10-12, Acts 17:30-31).

If God does not react to the actions of man, does that mean He does not answer/react to our prayers?

BrckBrln
Jul 30th 2009, 06:40 PM
I've been reading up on Molinism the past few days and I find it completely unnecessary, that is, unnecessary for someone who is Reformed. It fits more with the Arminian view of God than the Reformed view. God's natural knowledge (knowledge of all things possible) and His free knowledge (knowledge of all things actual) cover all knowledge, there is no need for a third category of knowledge, unless you are looking to find a way to keep your libertarian free will. The Reformed are big on the Creator/creature distinction and the two types of God's knowledge fit that perfectly. Natural knowledge, God's knowledge based on Himself, His Omnipotence (possible), and His free knowledge, based on His decree (actual). Introducing middle knowledge just introduces more problems for anybody who is Reformed.

John146
Jul 30th 2009, 06:49 PM
I allow that God also works within "middle knowledge," and hence has much greater control of the events of history than otherwise. I do not limit in any way how God works, or His sovereignty; I have simply noted, as is clear from scripture, that in general He acts such as to not directly overwhelm man's free agency - by His choice. He has done so by His own choice - it is the sort of world which God has chosen to actualize. Man in no way has forced God's hand.Yes, by His own gracious and sovereign choice. So, if He sovereignly chose to allow man to have free agency, then that means He is sovereign over man having free agency. So, the fact that man has free agency was God's sovereign decision, not man's. So He is sovereign over man's free agency and at the same time does not make man's decisions for him (except in certain cases such as when he hardened Pharaoh's heart).

Athanasius
Jul 30th 2009, 06:56 PM
I've been reading up on Molinism the past few days and I find it completely unnecessary, that is, unnecessary for someone who is Reformed. It fits more with the Arminian view of God than the Reformed view. God's natural knowledge (knowledge of all things possible) and His free knowledge (knowledge of all things actual) cover all knowledge, there is no need for a third category of knowledge, unless you are looking to find a way to keep your libertarian free will. The Reformed are big on the Creator/creature distinction and the two types of God's knowledge fit that perfectly. Natural knowledge, God's knowledge based on Himself, His Omnipotence (possible), and His free knowledge, based on His decree (actual). Introducing middle knowledge just introduces more problems for anybody who is Reformed.

If you hold a reformed epistemology then chances are that Molinism isn't for you. BadDog has done a good job so far of explaining it and correcting the misconceptions in RogerW's OP. I would be a Molinist, following after Craig.

BrckBrln
Jul 30th 2009, 07:14 PM
BD and Xel, do you agree with this paragraph that I took from the article on Molinism from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

First, it is assumed that for an action to be free, it must be determined by the agent performing the action. This means that God cannot will a free creature to act in a particular way and the act still be free. Free actions must be self-determinative. This assumption may appear self-evident to some, and quite controversial to others. While it must be admitted that God could certainly desire a creature act in a particular way and the choice remain free, it is difficult to see how He could cause the choice and it still be free in a meaningful way. Proponents of middle knowledge do not deny that God may influence a free choice or persuade an agent to act in a particular way, but such influence and persuasion cannot be determinative if the action performed is to be free. In addition, middle knowledge requires freedom of a libertarian nature. That is, free creatures have the ability to choose between competing alternatives, and really could choose one or the other of the alternatives.

Athanasius
Jul 30th 2009, 07:28 PM
BD and Xel, do you agree with this paragraph that I took from the article on Molinism from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

First, it is assumed that for an action to be free, it must be determined by the agent performing the action. This means that God cannot will a free creature to act in a particular way and the act still be free. Free actions must be self-determinative. This assumption may appear self-evident to some, and quite controversial to others. While it must be admitted that God could certainly desire a creature act in a particular way and the choice remain free, it is difficult to see how He could cause the choice and it still be free in a meaningful way. Proponents of middle knowledge do not deny that God may influence a free choice or persuade an agent to act in a particular way, but such influence and persuasion cannot be determinative if the action performed is to be free. In addition, middle knowledge requires freedom of a libertarian nature. That is, free creatures have the ability to choose between competing alternatives, and really could choose one or the other of the alternatives.

I don't see anything too disagreeable.

BrckBrln
Jul 30th 2009, 07:39 PM
I don't see anything too disagreeable.

So would this statement by R. Scott Clark be true, then?

It seems to me that if I can find one case of a divine determination of any free agent then MK fails and there are dozens of such cases explicitly revealed in scripture.

Athanasius
Jul 30th 2009, 08:04 PM
So would this statement by R. Scott Clark be true, then?

It seems to me that if I can find one case of a divine determination of any free agent then MK fails and there are dozens of such cases explicitly revealed in scripture.

As I understand Molinism, not necessarily, no.

RogerW
Jul 30th 2009, 08:07 PM
Originally Posted by RogerW
God works (in salvation) based on the knowledge of His choices, not mans. God foreknows His elect, because He has predestined them for eternal life from the foundation of the world. He knows they will choose Him because He will change their hearts of stone, making them willing to come to Him for eternal life. This is not making man the puppet of God, this is God extending grace, compassion, love and mercy to His people.

Must stop here for now. I must disagree with the underlined above. For God to do so would make Him irresponsible. And where can you find any such idea in scripture? That is logically derived.

We read regarding the example of Cyrus how God worked specifically knowing what Cyrus would do. If God knew how Cyrus would react in certain circumstances, which He certainly did know, then how could God act independent of that knowledge? Why would He? What is to be gained by such?

Greetings BD,

Of course God knew specifically what Cyrus would do. Because God stirred up the spirit of Cyrus to do His will. It wasn't because the will of Cyrus fit what God wanted to accomplish, so God used him. That would make God dependent upon the will of man to accomplish His purposes. When God ordained He would use King Cyrus 150 years before he was born, it was not God knowing what Cyrus would do, and then reacting according to the will of Cyrus. NO! God knew what Cyrus would do because He would move him to accomplish His good pleasure.

2Ch 36:22 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,
2Ch 36:23 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.



Such a theology presents a God who doesn't care about how people think, and One who is not influenced by such. He does care. That does not prevent Him from accomplishing His will. He does not need to act independent of the knowledge of people's wills IOT accomplish precisely what He has determined to do.

God does not act according to His knowing the will of people. People are moved to act according to the will of God.

Da 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

Isa 14:24 The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:

God uses people to accomplish whatsoever He wills. And even knowing the will [heart] of the one He uses, He does not act according to man's will, He interacts to accomplish His will...always.



Regarding the puppet idea, what I said was, "To acknowledge this does not make God the puppet of man. But to deny this does make man the puppet of God." In context I was saying that to acknowledge that God knows the thinking of man and the "counterfactuals" of life does not mean that God's actions are determined by man. Why would God act independent of knowing the complete consequences of any of His actions?

He doesn't.



IMO to recognize that God does operate within the framework of His knowledge is essential, and if we deny that, then though we may intend to create a philosophy within which God is not evil, yet we will make man not much more than a puppet.

I haven't a clue what you are talking about.:confused Who and why would anyone argue that God does not operate within the framework of His knowledge? :confused

Many Blessings,
RW

Brother Mark
Jul 30th 2009, 08:10 PM
So would this statement by R. Scott Clark be true, then?

It seems to me that if I can find one case of a divine determination of any free agent then MK fails and there are dozens of such cases explicitly revealed in scripture.

I think this is where both sides make major mistakes in theology. BD has shown in scripture where God responds and tells people "If you do X, then I will do Y, but if you do Z then I will do A". IOW, where God "reacts" to man's choices. On the other hand, there are ample passages about how God predetermines what he will do.

I think any theology that leans to one side or the other has to come up with a way of thinking that will either explain away some portions of scripture, or disbelieve them. It seems to me that BD is using monilism to try and incorporate all of scripture. For me, I don't need a philosiphy, though I find it interesting, to rationalize things. I just know that my mind is lesser than God's so I see no need to make all of scripture fit into my understanding. I do see a need to make sure I accept all of scripture and believe it. And it seems that both "free will" (which is a bad choice of words, IMO) and God's will and choice both exists.

One of the dangers of the quote you mention is this... If I can show one example where it is not sin to eat the show bread, does that make eating the show bread OK in all situations? Of course not. But it does mean there is an exception in that one case for a very valid reason. Perhaps that reason will occur again in the future. And in the overall framework of scripture, mercy overrides the thou shalt not eat the show bread. But it was a clear violation of the law to some folks. So finding exception doesn't always nullify the original doctrine or law, it just expounds upon the greater context of what God intended.

Grace and peace,

Mark

Athanasius
Jul 30th 2009, 08:19 PM
Bill Craig explains it well here (http://www.rfmedia.org/RF_audio_video/Defender_podcast/20040321TheDoctrineofGodPart8.mp3) (Quicktime audio).

BrckBrln
Jul 30th 2009, 08:21 PM
I think that it's clear that the real issue here is our theology. If your Reformed you have no business accepting Molinism, but if your an Arminian it seems perfectly acceptable, if not preferable, to adhere to Molinism. If you don't mind, here is a quote by R. Scott Clark in his article on Molinism.

The great and quite influential 17th-century Dutch Reformed theologian Gijsbertus Voetius spoke of God’s “natural necessary knowledge” (scientia necessaria naturalis) as that ”which precedes every act of will in the order of nature, and by which God knows at the first direct and highly necessary act (a) Himself in Himself and through Himself; then (b) all things possible, not in themselves but in His essence as their necessary cause, and (c) scientia libera [free knowledge], by which after the decree of His will He knows determinately all matters existing, in whatsoever difference of time they are, whether present, past or future.”

No need for MK, in my opinion.

RogerW
Jul 30th 2009, 08:45 PM
Well, what the scripture says is that God hardened Pharaoh's heart, and it is clearly implied that if he had not that Pharaoh would have let the people go.

But BD, Pharaoh did finally let the people go. God's further hardening Pharaoh's heart was not ultimately to keep him from letting the people go. If it had been then Pharaoh would never have let them go, even after the final plague. The further hardening of his heart that was already hard was done so God's power, through all the signs and wonders done, would be made known unto all the world, and His glory unto the ends of the earth.

So God didn't harden his heart because He knew Pharaoh might let them go if He hadn't. He further hardened his heart so Pharaoh would do according to God's will.



What you are expressing is closer to the Arminian simple foreknowledge viewpoint of this, FWIW.

I don't think so.



Regarding the underlined above, well good. But do not ignore that this knowledge also included intimate details of how Pharaoh, and others, would respond if He had Moses do this or that.

You are introducing this "what-if" senario into the text that simply is not there. God will accomplish whatsoever He wills regardless of how they would respond, because God is not dependent upon the will of man to do His will.



I disagree. God can and does. You OTOH are significantly limiting what God can do. From man's perspective, I agree - a Superman God could not do this. But God is not merely a super human. His knowledge is incredible, and he continually operates within that framework.

God operates according to His Sovereign good pleasure. His will be done!

Many Blessings,
RW

Athanasius
Jul 30th 2009, 08:51 PM
You are introducing this "what-if" senario into the text that simply is not there. God will accomplish whatsoever He wills regardless of how they would respond, because God is not dependent upon the will of man to do His will.


He's not introducing a "what-if" scenario into the text. He's explaining how someone who adheres to a Monilist view of God would view the text.

Redeemed by Grace
Jul 30th 2009, 09:08 PM
Greetings BD,

Of course God knew specifically what Cyrus would do. Because God stirred up the spirit of Cyrus to do His will. It wasn't because the will of Cyrus fit what God wanted to accomplish, so God used him. That would make God dependent upon the will of man to accomplish His purposes. When God ordained He would use King Cyrus 150 years before he was born, it was not God knowing what Cyrus would do, and then reacting according to the will of Cyrus. NO! God knew what Cyrus would do because He would move him to accomplish His good pleasure.

2Ch 36:22 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,
2Ch 36:23 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.



God does not act according to His knowing the will of people. People are moved to act according to the will of God.

Da 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

Isa 14:24 The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:

God uses people to accomplish whatsoever He wills. And even knowing the will [heart] of the one He uses, He does not act according to man's will, He interacts to accomplish His will...always.



He doesn't.



I haven't a clue what you are talking about.:confused Who and why would anyone argue that God does not operate within the framework of His knowledge? :confused

Many Blessings,
RW

I'm right beside you Roger on this tenet... For I see God as the subject and man as His object.

MK, as I'm reading BD and others, still positions God as the object to man's free will of action before God, and not even as a reaction to God. My contention goes back to Proverbs 16:9 whereas man plans his ways, but those ways are under the hand of God.


My heart - seeing the words of your opening post with the scriptures you used in questioning Molinism - jumps with excitement to see God's providence and sovereignty in all and everything... , mixed with the mild contention that all that man is -- is because of what God gives him, yet man thinks, plans and does and thus man says, I must have 'free will'? Molinism, as I see it in print and being discussed here, positions God's sovereignty in response to his created...

If all things are created and are actively sustained by Him, and not passively as I see being missed within the discussion.... for.... by His will, we live, by His will, we think, by His will we have been planned for, and by His will all things work together for His glory.


I wrote a thread about a year ago entitled iRobot, for many folks found it horrible to think that God is involved within the hearts and minds of men -- even to go as far as to label this thought in the negative as being as robots or puppets, yet would rather think that God reacts to man than for God to work on the hearts of man.

All the good any man would do, is of God, for today - all men have the action of His Spirit upon them. For every man today has the benefit of His grace of the risen Christ to one degree or another, temporal for the all, eternal for the few... for if not -- how can an unbeliever love his wife, and do good deeds and yet not love Christ and believe? Thus - not everyman has the regeneration of His Spirit unto salvation, for God has made some for honor, and some for common.

So middle knowledge brings an uncertainty to God's plan, IMO, and thus, as a Sovereignist, can't see scripture stating that God responds to man's will, even if it were to call upon Him for salvation, for no man can come to God unless God draws them to Himself.


Again, I think defining what is free will, will bring more light as to what man has been given or not.

For His glory,

RbG

RogerW
Jul 30th 2009, 09:28 PM
Regarding the underlined portion above:

1 Corinthians 11:7 A man, in fact, should not cover his head, because he is God's image and glory, but woman is man's glory.

Man is still in the image of God. That is why he still rules over God's creation.

BD, 1Co 11:7 is not telling us that fallen man is the image of God. It is Christ, Who is the image and glory of God. The uncovering of a man's head represents his Head, Christ, Who is the Image and Glory of God.

1Co 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

2Co 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

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.

Col 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
Col 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
Col 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

Col 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Heb 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Heb 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

The image of God refers to the fact that man was made in the likeness of his Maker (Gen 1:27). But after the fall man is born after the image of their human father, not after the image of God.

Ge 5:3 And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:



Calvinists and Arminians as well as a variety of others all have their own particular philosophies, and they all use them in trying to reconcile scripture. Where have I read something into scripture?

Your particular philosophy attempts to read Scripture in a way that makes free will compatible with the Sovereignty of God. Since God is Sovereign, free will is a myth.




I am not trying to convert anyone to Molinism. Just as Jesus said that He spoke in parables so that only those seeking truth would understand, so I only wish to clarify the concept of middle knowledge.

"Those seeking truth"? There are none who seek truth! Salvation is all of grace from beginning to end. God initiates it, not fallen man, and even faith is a gift from God.



None of you needs to agree with the reasoning. I really could not care less. The only reason I came here is because some things were presented that supposedly MK teaches which was simply very far from the truth. I think I've clarified that to an extent, so I'm satisfied.

I presented statements from the opposing side so you could show me what they are not understanding and how they are wrong about MK. I really do appreciate the time you have taken to try to help me to understand this philosophy. Frankly, I find it confusing and totally unnecessary, and in fact see it as an attempt to reconcile free will with Sovereignty. All we really need to know about what God knows is that He is all knowing from beginning to end, there is nothing that surprises God, and He is not moved to act or react according to the will of fallen man.
Many Blessings,
RW

BadDog
Jul 30th 2009, 10:09 PM
So would this statement by R. Scott Clark be true, then?

It seems to me that if I can find one case of a divine determination of any free agent then MK fails and there are dozens of such cases explicitly revealed in scripture.BrckBrln,

Well one thing I can confidently say is that apparently there are a lot of people out there, theologians and what not, who think they understand Molinism and its claims, while they clearly do not.

Sorry, but R. Scott Clark apparently fits in this group, for such a statement just demonstrates ignorance. Now I recognize that there are many versions of "middle knowledge," which I stated in one of my first posts here. But Molinism does not claim that God cannot directly determine His will. There are numerous instances of this in scripture of this, and though many of them are perhaps done without intervening in a person's free will, certainly not all of them.

I think we can confidently say that the vast majority of God's working is without contravening man's free will, because He has chosen to do so, not because He will never do so, there are instances in which God does superimpose His will. I have no problem with that. Perhaps some Molinists do - can't speak for everyone, but certainly that is not true in Calvinist middle knowledge.

I should add that "necessary knowledge" (natural knowledge) is typically stated as something which God cannot change because it is simply a statement of logical realities. (IOW, for example to say that 2 + 2 =4, which is simply a statement of realities) As I view it, God is the determinant of all knowledge. Personally I think a better example would relate to God's attributes, such as His honesty... God cannot lie. That is inherently true based on who he is. But regarding necessary knowledge, He has determined in this actualized world in which we live that 2 + 2 does indeed = 4. He cannotchange His attributes of love, justice, mercy, etc.. Perhaps those are betetr examples of necessary knowledge - the understanding that God will always work within that framework.

Now I read in another post that you felt that MK was unnecessary. Fine. All I can say is that I find Reformed foreknowledge explanations completely lacking and unconvincing for me. That is one reason why I pursued this issue once I first heard about MK about 5 years ago.

Take care,

BD

BrckBrln
Jul 30th 2009, 10:17 PM
BrckBrln,

Well one thing I can confidently say is that apparently there are a lot of people out there, theologians and what not, who think they understand Molinism and its claims, while they clearly do not.

Sorry, but R. Scott Clark apparently fits in this group, for such a statement just demonstrates ignorance. Now I recognize that there are many versions of "middle knowledge," which I stated in one of my first posts here. But Molinism does not claim that God cannot directly determine His will. There are numerous instances of this in scripture of this, and though many of them are perhaps done without intervening in a person's free will, certainly not all of them.

I think we can confidently say that the vast majority of God's working is without contravening man's free will, because He has chosen to do so, not because He will never do so, there are instances in which God does superimpose His will. I have no problem with that. Perhaps some Molinists do - can't speak for everyone, but certainly that is not true in Calvinist middle knowledge.

I should add that "necessary knowledge" (natural knowledge) is typically stated as something which God cannot change because it is simply a statement of logical realities. (IOW, for example to say that 2 + 2 =4, which is simply a statement of realities) As I view it, God is the determinant of all knowledge. Personally I think a better example would relate to God's attributes, such as His honesty... God cannot lie. That is inherently true based on who he is. But regarding necessary knowledge, He has determined in this actualized world in which we live that 2 + 2 does indeed = 4. He cannotchange His attributes of love, justice, mercy, etc.. Perhaps those are betetr examples of necessary knowledge - the understanding that God will always work within that framework.

Now I read in another post that you felt that MK was unnecessary. Fine. All I can say is that I find Reformed foreknowledge explanations completely lacking and unconvincing for me. That is one reason why I pursued this issue once I first heard about MK about 5 years ago.

Take care,

BD

Do you agree with that paragraph I posted on libertarian free will?

BadDog
Jul 30th 2009, 10:44 PM
BD, 1Co 11:7 is not telling us that fallen man is the image of God. It is Christ, Who is the image and glory of God. The uncovering of a man's head represents his Head, Christ, Who is the Image and Glory of God.

1Co 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

2Co 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

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.

Col 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
Col 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
Col 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

Col 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Heb 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Heb 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

The image of God refers to the fact that man was made in the likeness of his Maker (Gen 1:27). But after the fall man is born after the image of their human father, not after the image of God.

Ge 5:3 And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:
Roger, these are just examples of a word translated as "image" in English used in a different manner than God intended in Genesis. The word "image" in English can be used various ways, and the same is true in English. I tried to carefully select an example that was applicable. In 1 Corinthians 11:7 we read that man is made in God's image. It was applied to people after the fall. IMO those verses you quoted are not relevant. Our image is certainly severely tarnished, but we are still created in His image IMO.


Your particular philosophy attempts to read Scripture in a way that makes free will compatible with the Sovereignty of God. Since God is Sovereign, free will is a myth.
At the heart of Molinism is the concept that God is completely sovereign and also that man is free in a libertarian sense. You're right that the Molinist is trying to avoid theological "fatalism." Libertarian free will means that our choices are free from being determined or constrained by human nature and also free from any predetermination by God.

This does not mean, from a middle knowledge point-of-view, that God is constrained in what He can do based on our wills. Not so. That limits God. The Reformed view of free "agency" is one which views that we are still accountable even if we are constrained to do what we do by God.


"Those seeking truth"? There are none who seek truth! Salvation is all of grace from beginning to end. God initiates it, not fallen man, and even faith is a gift from God.

BD: Well, all i can see is...
"If you seek me you will find Me if you seek me with all your heart."

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you."

"How can you believe? While accepting glory from one another, you don't seek the glory that comes from the only God."

"After these things I will return and will rebuild David's tent, which has fallen down. I will rebuild its ruins and will set it up again, so that those who are left of mankind may seek the Lord--even all the Gentiles who are called by My name," says the Lord who does these things, which have been known from long ago.

"From one man He has made every nation of men to live all over the earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live, so that they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us."

"Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him."

OT:
"But from there, you will search for the Lord your God, and you will find [Him] when you seek Him with all your heart and all your soul."

"Search for the Lord and for His strength; seek His face always."

"Now determine in your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God."

"So now in the sight of all Israel, the assembly of the Lord, and in the hearing of our God, observe and seek after all the commandments of the Lord your God so that you may possess this good land and leave it as an inheritance to your descendants forever."

"If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever."

"If My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land."

"Those from every tribe of Israel who had determined in their hearts to seek the Lord their God followed the Levites to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the Lord God of their ancestors."

"Rehoboam did what was evil, because he did not determine in his heart to seek the Lord."

"He told [the people of] Judah to seek the Lord God of their ancestors and to carry out the instruction and the command."

"If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you abandon Him, He will abandon you."

"Then they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their ancestors with all their mind and all their heart."

"Yet even in his disease he didn't seek the Lord but the physicians."

"However, some good is found in you, for you have removed the Asherah poles from the land and have decided to seek God."

"In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still a youth, Josiah began to seek the God of his ancestor David, and in the twelfth year he began to cleanse Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherah poles, the carved images, and the cast images."

"The hand of our God is gracious to all who seek Him, but His great anger is against all who abandon Him."

"But if you earnestly seek God and ask the Almighty for mercy, if you are pure and upright, then He will move even now on your behalf and restore the home where your righteousness dwells."

"The humble will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the Lord will praise Him."

Enough on this. The point is that God appeals to mankind to seek Him numerous times in scripture. He would not require what could not be delivered.


I presented statements from the opposing side so you could show me what they are not understanding and how they are wrong about MK. I really do appreciate the time you have taken to try to help me to understand this philosophy. Frankly, I find it confusing and totally unnecessary, and in fact see it as an attempt to reconcile free will with Sovereignty. All we really need to know about what God knows is that He is all knowing from beginning to end, there is nothing that surprises God, and He is not moved to act or react according to the will of fallen man.
Many Blessings,
RW
Thx Roger. It is typically an attempt to reconcile man's free will, which is clearly taught in scripture (IMO) and God's sovereignty (which is also clearly taught in scripture). IMO we must either compromise one or other teaching. By recognizing God's MK, we do not need to do so.

I think I'm about worn out in trying to address so many questions! I appreciate your patience.

Take care,

BD

RogerW
Jul 30th 2009, 11:32 PM
I think I'm about worn out in trying to address so many questions! I appreciate your patience.

Hi BD,

I hear ya! I need my head examined for starting this topic during harvest season. The fruit won't wait, and boy or boy is it time consuming. Maybe if we try to focus on one or two questions at a time it won't be so time consuming?:idea:

You're right that the Molinist is trying to avoid theological "fatalism."[/quote]

I know there are those who like to claim the Reformed doctrine of Sovereign grace is a fatalistic doctrine. Truth is that is because they simply (1) don't really understand Reformed doctrine or (2) understand it, can't biblically refute it, and so label it fatalistic so it appears to be the doctrine of men rather than God. This is an age old ploy, when you can't biblically refute slander the message and the messenger.



Libertarian free will means that our choices are free from being determined or constrained by human nature and also free from any predetermination by God.

I'm really surprised by this statement, since you acknowledge that man cannot come to Christ unless God intervenes. Am I confusing you with another? Didn't you say that only those drawn by God will come to Him? And that only the elect will believe? If that isn't due to fallen nature, to what would you attribute it?



This does not mean, from a middle knowledge point-of-view, that God is constrained in what He can do based on our wills. Not so. That limits God. The Reformed view of free "agency" is one which views that we are still accountable even if we are constrained to do what we do by God.

I have never heard of "Reformed view of free agency". If one professes to support and defend the Reformed doctrine of Sovereign grace and still believes in "free agency" or "free will", very clearly they are not Reformed.



BD: Well, all i can see is...
Enough on this. The point is that God appeals to mankind to seek Him numerous times in scripture. He would not require what could not be delivered.

So there is no contradiction in the Scripture, how do you reconcile all of these passages with others that tell us no man will seek God, and no man can come to Christ? BD, you are just plain wrong in thinking that God does not command fallen man to do what he cannot do. I've already shown this when He commands all men to repent and believe the gospel. There is also the command to sin not, yet who is able to obey and sin not? You only tell part of the story when you quote passages that tell us to seek Him. You've left out the part of the story that tells us how fallen sinners, dead in trespasses and sin are made able to seek Him. And when using the OT passages be careful to consider those passages spoken to those who are already in covenant with God. Don't confuse passages commanding obedience to His covenant people.



Thx Roger. It is typically an attempt to reconcile man's free will, which is clearly taught in scripture (IMO) and God's sovereignty (which is also clearly taught in scripture). IMO we must either compromise one or other teaching. By recognizing God's MK, we do not need to do so.

It isn't necessary to reconcile man's free will and God's sovereignty. Only one of these things truly exists, the other is a myth. Attempting to reconcile something that is a myth with God's Sovereignty causes all manner of confusion about God's knowledge. I wish I could say I understand why you would want to hold on to MK, but of a truth I don't understand. To me it makes no sense at all. But again I do thank you for taking the time to respond. You have helped me to understand that MK IMO is as clear as mud, and just as logical.

Many Blessings,
RW

Athanasius
Jul 30th 2009, 11:39 PM
It isn't necessary to reconcile man's free will and God's sovereignty. Only one of these things truly exists, the other is a myth. Attempting to reconcile something that is a myth with God's Sovereignty causes all manner of confusion about God's knowledge. I wish I could say I understand why you would want to hold on to MK, but of a truth I don't understand. To me it makes no sense at all. But again I do thank you for taking the time to respond. You have helped me to understand that MK IMO is as clear as mud, and just as logical.

Many Blessings,
RW

Such an extremist:rolleyes:

Redeemed by Grace
Jul 30th 2009, 11:47 PM
BrckBrln,

Well one thing I can confidently say is that apparently there are a lot of people out there, theologians and what not, who think they understand Molinism and its claims, while they clearly do not.

Sorry, but R. Scott Clark apparently fits in this group, for such a statement just demonstrates ignorance. Now I recognize that there are many versions of "middle knowledge," which I stated in one of my first posts here. But Molinism does not claim that God cannot directly determine His will. There are numerous instances of this in scripture of this, and though many of them are perhaps done without intervening in a person's free will, certainly not all of them.

I think we can confidently say that the vast majority of God's working is without contravening man's free will, because He has chosen to do so, not because He will never do so, there are instances in which God does superimpose His will. I have no problem with that. Perhaps some Molinists do - can't speak for everyone, but certainly that is not true in Calvinist middle knowledge.

I should add that "necessary knowledge" (natural knowledge) is typically stated as something which God cannot change because it is simply a statement of logical realities. (IOW, for example to say that 2 + 2 =4, which is simply a statement of realities) As I view it, God is the determinant of all knowledge. Personally I think a better example would relate to God's attributes, such as His honesty... God cannot lie. That is inherently true based on who he is. But regarding necessary knowledge, He has determined in this actualized world in which we live that 2 + 2 does indeed = 4. He cannotchange His attributes of love, justice, mercy, etc.. Perhaps those are betetr examples of necessary knowledge - the understanding that God will always work within that framework.

Now I read in another post that you felt that MK was unnecessary. Fine. All I can say is that I find Reformed foreknowledge explanations completely lacking and unconvincing for me. That is one reason why I pursued this issue once I first heard about MK about 5 years ago.

Take care,

BD


Hi BD,

Since you have introduced 'natural knowledge' to the thread, I'd like to have your critique to the following rebuttal reference.

http://www.apuritansmind.com/PuritanWorship/McMahonHeresyMiddleKnowledge.htm

If as you say most proponents of MK are not as you see it, I need to have your help in seeing the differences, and this link being from the reformed eyes, may give Roger and I a starting point to see how you differ from traditional MK as this author positions.


Thanks

Athanasius
Jul 31st 2009, 12:08 AM
Hi BD,

Since you have introduced 'natural knowledge' to the thread, I'd like to have your critique to the following rebuttal reference.

http://www.apuritansmind.com/PuritanWorship/McMahonHeresyMiddleKnowledge.htm

If as you say most proponents of MK are not as you see it, I need to have your help in seeing the differences, and this link being from the reformed eyes, may give Roger and I a starting point to see how you differ from traditional MK as this author positions.

Thanks
Lastly, middle knowledge states that God cannot know the future free acts of men in the same way He knows other things absolutely. Thus, this middle knowledge is dependent upon the free acts of what men will do. God, in His “omniscience”, waits for men to act and then will choose them to be saved based on their choice to be saved.
As has already been stated, the above is a misunderstanding of Molinism. Without getting into the technicalities of counter-factuals (or trying not to, anyway), Molinism states that God knows every free action a person may take, regardless of the circumstances that man or woman is in. Imagine person 'A,' this person is born in 1979. Having been born in 1979, God is aware of every choice person 'A' will make. God is even aware of every choice person 'A' will make if the circumstances of their life were different. For instance, if person 'A' was born in 1079 instead, God would still know every choice person 'A' makes. As a working example, imagine person 'B'. It so happens that this person, if born in 2007, will not accept God. However, God is aware that person 'B,' if born in the year 4, will accept God. Thus, person 'B' is born in year 4. Imagine now person 'C'. No matter what period of time person 'C' is born in, he will not accept God. As a result, person 'C' is born into some lost tribe of the Amazon. Sorry, not so much a believer in irresistible grace.

William Lane Craig explains as much (probably more clearly and better) in the following audio link (http://www.rfmedia.org/RF_audio_video/Defender_podcast/20040321TheDoctrineofGodPart8.mp3).

The article only goes on to refute a caricature and misunderstanding of Molinism.

BrckBrln
Jul 31st 2009, 12:17 AM
Imagine now person 'C' (this is the example that offends Calvinists). No matter what period of time person 'C' is born in, he will not accept God. As a result, person 'C' is born into some lost tribe of the Amazon.

It doesn't offend me, it astounds me. Are you saying that every person (or most persons) who will never in any case use his or her libertarian free will to come to God will therefore be born in a jungle or some other place that won't ever hear the gospel? Again, it all goes back to our theology and Craig is no friend to Calvinism.

Athanasius
Jul 31st 2009, 12:22 AM
It doesn't offend me, it astounds me. Are you saying that every person (or most persons) who will never in any case use his or her libertarian free will to come to God will therefore be born in a jungle or some other place that won't ever hear the gospel? Again, it all goes back to our theology and Craig is no friend to Calvinism.

That's the line of thought. Though to make clear, I haven't heard Craig defend it (I've heard him suggest it), nor would I stand behind such a belief. At least at this point.

RogerW
Jul 31st 2009, 12:30 AM
Can you explain exactly how God reacting to the actions of man somehow would make Him less than Sovereign?

Hi Eric,

Sorry I was slow to respond, we've been really busy with the fruit harvest. God does not react, He acts to bring about His purposes. He does use humans to accomplish His will, but He does not use them because He knows they will do A, He knows they will do A because He directs them.



I think your definition of the word sovereign is flawed.

That's entirely possible! How would you define not simply sovereign, but sovereign as it applies to God?



To be sovereign does not require controlling every action and thought of man and does not mean that God can never react to the actions of men.
How do I know this? Because scripture is filled with examples of God reacting to the actions of men! Sending the flood upon the wicked in Noah's day.

God creates man, and man becomes wicked, but God was not surprised by this. Remember Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. That means that God has provided a remedy for the problem of sin before sin existed, so clearly God knew man would be wicked. What does that tell us? Was the flood reactionary because of man's wickedness, or was the flood planned by God before creation, to begin anew? If God left mankind in this absolute wickedness, perhaps God knew that Christ would not come through the promised seed, because the seed would be cut off through the wickedness of man. I would suggest that the flood was not reactionary, but rather ordained from eternity.

Pr 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.



I do believe that things can only happen if God allows them to happen. God does directly make many things happen, but not all things. That is how we should understand His sovereignty rather than thinking it means that He controls or causes every thought and action of man.

Where did you get the idea that I believe God causes every thought and action of man? The way I understand the Sovereign God is that what He wills, or purposes, will be done.



With this understanding of God's sovereignty in mind, we should see that it does not go against God's sovereignty for Him to allow man to have freedom of choice, including the freedom to choose whether or not to repent and whether or not to have faith in Christ.

You don't seem to fully understand God's sovereignty IMO. Our choices are bound, not free. Man's will is never truly free, it is enslaved either to Satan or the Holy Spirit. Human will is completely fallen, being dead in trespasses and sin.



Without freedom of choice there is no responsibility. Yet we can see very clearly that man is held responsible for his beliefs and actions as we know that every person will have to give an account of themselves on the day of judgment (Romans 14:10-12, Acts 17:30-31).

Man has been given enough knowledge of God through creation, conscience and history to make him without excuse. Man knows that God exists, and that he should honor and worship Him, but man freely chose to turn away from God, and listen to and serve the creature rather than the Creator. So now every man is bound to the created being, Satan, sin and death. The question is when we stand in the Judgment will we be clothed in immortality and incorruption, or will we still be clothed in our body of sin and death?



If God does not react to the actions of man, does that mean He does not answer/react to our prayers?

God knows the actions of man. To say that God reacts to the actions of man, implies that God does not know the beginning from the end, and that He must constantly adjust His plans for humanity to accomodate man's actions. According to you God has plan A, but man's actions could interfer with God's plan A, so God must change His plan because man was able to thwart what God planned. That does not describe The Sovereign, All Knowing God.

We don't pray hoping to change God's mind, or hoping He will change His mind, and do our will. We pray that God's will be done. And God tells us the prayer of the righteous man avails much.

Many Blessings,
RW

Athanasius
Jul 31st 2009, 12:36 AM
God knows the actions of man. To say that God reacts to the actions of man, implies that God does not know the beginning from the end, and that He must constantly adjust His plans for humanity to accomodate man's actions. According to you God has plan A, but man's actions could interfer with God's plan A, so God must change His plan because man was able to thwart what God planned. That does not describe The Sovereign, All Knowing God.

Not at all, actually. To say that God reacts to the actions of man implies that God reacts to the actions of man. He still knows the beginning from the end. He's still omniscient. Molinism is not Open Theology. The Calvinist is wrong in stating man has no freedom of the will just as the Arminian is wrong in trying to state God does not interfere in human affairs. God's plan all along took into account the actions of man, reinforcing God's sovereignty (unless you take to the extreme position that we have no free will, *cough). But this does not mean God can't involve Himself in our affairs, quite the opposite.

What you're saying is simply non-sequitur.

RogerW
Jul 31st 2009, 12:49 AM
I'm right beside you Roger on this tenet... For I see God as the subject and man as His object.

MK, as I'm reading BD and others, still positions God as the object to man's free will of action before God, and not even as a reaction to God. My contention goes back to Proverbs 16:9 whereas man plans his ways, but those ways are under the hand of God.

My heart - seeing the words of your opening post with the scriptures you used in questioning Molinism - jumps with excitement to see God's providence and sovereignty in all and everything... , mixed with the mild contention that all that man is -- is because of what God gives him, yet man thinks, plans and does and thus man says, I must have 'free will'? Molinism, as I see it in print and being discussed here, positions God's sovereignty in response to his created...

That's exactly how I see it! God can never actually ordain anything to come to pass without taking into consideration man's free actions. Doesn't Scripture show us that God knows man is fallen, and that what He ordains will come to pass in spite of man's actions. Where do we read that God will change what He has ordained to adjust for man's actions? Isn't He aware of man's actions when He ordains what will come to pass? Whew....I'm gettin dizzy!



If all things are created and are actively sustained by Him, and not passively as I see being missed within the discussion.... for.... by His will, we live, by His will, we think, by His will we have been planned for, and by His will all things work together for His glory.

Precisely...Amen!



I wrote a thread about a year ago entitled iRobot, for many folks found it horrible to think that God is involved within the hearts and minds of men -- even to go as far as to label this thought in the negative as being as robots or puppets, yet would rather think that God reacts to man than for God to work on the hearts of man.

All the good any man would do, is of God, for today - all men have the action of His Spirit upon them. For every man today has the benefit of His grace of the risen Christ to one degree or another, temporal for the all, eternal for the few... for if not -- how can an unbeliever love his wife, and do good deeds and yet not love Christ and believe? Thus - not everyman has the regeneration of His Spirit unto salvation, for God has made some for honor, and some for common.

So middle knowledge brings an uncertainty to God's plan, IMO, and thus, as a Sovereignist, can't see scripture stating that God responds to man's will, even if it were to call upon Him for salvation, for no man can come to God unless God draws them to Himself.

Again, I think defining what is free will, will bring more light as to what man has been given or not.

For His glory,

RbG

RogerW
Jul 31st 2009, 01:01 AM
Not at all, actually. To say that God reacts to the actions of man implies that God reacts to the actions of man. He still knows the beginning from the end. He's still omniscient. Molinism is not Open Theology. The Calvinist is wrong in stating man has no freedom of the will just as the Arminian is wrong in trying to state God does not interfere in human affairs. God's plan all along took into account the actions of man, reinforcing God's sovereignty (unless you take to the extreme position that we have no free will, *cough). But this does not mean God can't involve Himself in our affairs, quite the opposite.

What you're saying is simply non-sequitur.

Greetings Xel'Naga,

Scripture does not tell us that man has no freedom of the will. What we learn from Scripture is that natural man, who is dead in trespasses and sins, is only free to choose according to whom he is bound by. The unregnerate are bound by Satan, sin and death, so they have absolutely no freedom to choose Christ for eternal life. Man's will is never absolutely free; it is enslaved either to Satan, sin and death or the Holy Spirit.

I would say that God plans all along regardless the actions of man.

Many Blessings,
RW

Athanasius
Jul 31st 2009, 01:14 AM
Greetings Xel'Naga,

Scripture does not tell us that man has no freedom of the will. What we learn from Scripture is that natural man, who is dead in trespasses and sins, is only free to choose according to whom he is bound by. The unregnerate are bound by Satan, sin and death, so they have absolutely no freedom to choose Christ for eternal life. Man's will is never absolutely free; it is enslaved either to Satan, sin and death or the Holy Spirit.

I would say that God plans all along regardless the actions of man.

Many Blessings,
RW

What you are saying then is two different things. With reference to man's freedom, you said previously:

It isn't necessary to reconcile man's free will and God's sovereignty. Only one of these things truly exists, the other is a myth. Attempting to reconcile something that is a myth with God's Sovereignty causes all manner of confusion about God's knowledge.
The conclusion, of course, being that 'man's free will' is a myth. Now, however, you're stating man does have free will (as scripture doesn't teach the opposite), however, his choices being restricted by his fallen nature. I'm going to assume you've always meant the latter explanation, which actually, as it relates to Molinism, is a separate issue altogether. Man would still posses a freedom of the will, however it would be between sin 'A,' sin 'B,' and sin 'C,' for instance. I don't believe anyone will state man has an unrestricted will.

Sirus
Jul 31st 2009, 03:40 AM
What we learn from Scripture is that natural man, who is dead in trespasses and sins, is only free to choose according to whom he is bound by.Where do we learn that?

Sirus
Jul 31st 2009, 03:42 AM
I don't believe anyone will state man has an unrestricted will.Depending on what you mean by that, I'd say it's very possible there are many here that would say just that.

RogerW
Jul 31st 2009, 03:55 AM
What you are saying then is two different things. With reference to man's freedom, you said previously:

It isn't necessary to reconcile man's free will and God's sovereignty. Only one of these things truly exists, the other is a myth. Attempting to reconcile something that is a myth with God's Sovereignty causes all manner of confusion about God's knowledge.
The conclusion, of course, being that 'man's free will' is a myth. Now, however, you're stating man does have free will (as scripture doesn't teach the opposite), however, his choices being restricted by his fallen nature. I'm going to assume you've always meant the latter explanation, which actually, as it relates to Molinism, is a separate issue altogether. Man would still posses a freedom of the will, however it would be between sin 'A,' sin 'B,' and sin 'C,' for instance. I don't believe anyone will state man has an unrestricted will.

Greetings Xel'Naga,

Let me just get right to the point. When I say man's will is not free I mean fallen man does not have free will to accept or reject Christ. This is what I mean when I say man's free will is a myth. Man is so completely fallen that he is altogether unable to freely choose to turn from sin and embrace the truth of the gospel of his own will.

What Molinism, specifically MK, wants us to believe is that we can and should find harmony between man's free will and election (Sovereignty of God) by imagining that what God knows and decrees is in some way determined by the actions of man. But there is no harmony, and there can never be harmony because the ultimate decision of who is to be saved belongs to God. And this is not determined by what God knows about man's actions, but determined by the providence and will of God in predestining, and electing whosoever He wills to everlasting life from the foundation of the world. Just as He chose Jacob and rejected Esau before they were born, having no knowledge of any good or evil from either of them. Chosen simply to show the sovereignty of God in election. This is why I say since God is sovereign, free will is a myth. Only by God's direct intervention is a man able to have faith and set his mind on what the Spirit desires, and whether God intervenes or not is not determined by man's actions.

Many Blessings,
RW

Sirus
Jul 31st 2009, 04:09 AM
Of course God knew specifically what Cyrus would do. Because God stirred up the spirit of Cyrus to do His will. It wasn't because the will of Cyrus fit what God wanted to accomplish, so God used him. That would make God dependent upon the will of man to accomplish His purposes. When God ordained He would use King Cyrus 150 years before he was born, it was not God knowing what Cyrus would do, and then reacting according to the will of Cyrus. NO! God knew what Cyrus would do because He would move him to accomplish His good pleasure.

2Ch 36:22 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,
2Ch 36:23 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.



God does not act according to His knowing the will of people. People are moved to act according to the will of God.

Da 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

Isa 14:24 The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:

God uses people to accomplish whatsoever He wills. And even knowing the will [heart] of the one He uses, He does not act according to man's will, He interacts to accomplish His will...always.I have a question. Since all the examples here are God being faithful to Israel and using heathen kings to bringing about His purpose, Christ coming in the flesh through Israel, why do you apply this to all people? How is His use of heathen kings to bring Christ paralleled to how God saves all people? When God brought Christ He brought salvation. Where are similar instances where people are saved? I know of two in the NT you could mention and neither set a precedence for all.

Athanasius
Jul 31st 2009, 04:12 AM
Depending on what you mean by that, I'd say it's very possible there are many here that would say just that.

That we are completely free from influence, 'clean slates'. If there are people who would say that, they are mistaken.


Greetings Xel'Naga,

Let me just get right to the point. When I say man's will is not free I mean fallen man does not have free will to accept or reject Christ. This is what I mean when I say man's free will is a myth. Man is so completely fallen that he is altogether unable to freely choose to turn from sin and embrace the truth of the gospel of his own will.

What Molinism, specifically MK, wants us to believe is that we can and should find harmony between man's free will and election (Sovereignty of God) by imagining that what God knows and decrees is in some way determined by the actions of man. But there is no harmony, and there can never be harmony because the ultimate decision of who is to be saved belongs to God. And this is not determined by what God knows about man's actions, but determined by the providence and will of God in predestining, and electing whosoever He wills to everlasting life from the foundation of the world. Just as He chose Jacob and rejected Esau before they were born, having no knowledge of any good or evil from either of them. Chosen simply to show the sovereignty of God in election. This is why I say since God is sovereign, free will is a myth. Only by God's direct intervention is a man able to have faith and set his mind on what the Spirit desires, and whether God intervenes or not is not determined by man's actions.

Many Blessings,
RW

Which is why I ain't so much a Calvinist ;)

Sirus
Jul 31st 2009, 04:13 AM
And this is not determined by what God knows about man's actions, but determined by the providence and will of God in predestining, and electing whosoever He wills to everlasting life from the foundation of the world.We see this all the time. Two words to one end. For example someone starts a thread with predestination in the title, then we find they really want to talk about election. What's up with that?

Sirus
Jul 31st 2009, 04:22 AM
That we are completely free from influence, 'clean slates'. If there are people who would say that, they are mistaken.Well that makes it even more bizarre than I thought! Adam was not free from influence of both good (God) or evil (serpent). He was told to guard, protect, keep his dominion and to subdue....what?
He also had a clean slate. Then he sinned and we see his sons talking to God. Were they free from influence of both good (God) or evil (serpent)? Not to mention all men are born with the truth, the knowledge of God, and are w/o excuse.

So who was ever free free from influence and who was born w/o clean slates, guilty of another? Where is imputed sin in Scripture?

Don't worry RogerW, I won't turn this into a sin nature thread.

Aliosias
Jul 31st 2009, 04:54 AM
Roger W.

None of the scriptures in your post indicate God's desire to short circuit man's free choice decisions to affect his future. Some of the future has to be unsettled and not necessarily foreknown by God simply because of man's dominion (free choice) given to him by God in Genesis 1:26.

The Lord regretted His decision to make Saul king of Israel. While having a king was never God's first choice, the appointment of Saul could have worked out well. Indeed, Scripture tells us that God had intended to bless him and his household for many generations (1 Samuel 13:13).

Unfortunately, Saul chose to forsake God's way and to pursue his own agenda. When Saul's heart changed, God's plan for him changed; he was no longer going to bless Saul. Instead, God removed him from his appointed office and allowed his sin to take its course. Saul had gotten so wicked that the Lord said, "I regret that I made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me" (1 Sam 15:10). The point is reiterated for emphasis several verses later, when Scripture says, "the Lord was sorry that he had made Saul king over Israel" (1 Sameul 15:35).

One must wonder how the Lord could truly experience regret for making Saul king if He was absolutely certain that Saul would act the way he did. Could God genuinely confess, "I regret that I made Saul king" if he could in the same breath also proclaim, "I was certain of what Saul would do when I made him king"? I don't see how.

Albert Finch

Redeemed by Grace
Jul 31st 2009, 11:55 AM
I still think that there needs to be a biblical defining to the free will of man.

My contention is that God did not not give man 'free will' [as most would define free will] - that by Adam and Eve disobeying God, being that God placed them in the garden, giving them a job to do in tending to the garden, and gave condition of obedience not to touch one tree... they couldn't be free in all they willed to do, but were restricted by God, and that they couldn't discern between listening to God or to Satan, and for some reason, listened to Satan in eating from that tree. Adam's sin was in also listening to Eve over God.

So the underlying issue with Molinism focuses on the 'the free will of man', which to me, makes this man-centered and not God-centered. If we go back and say, I think and plan and do things in life, and many things go as I planned, but say as Paul does within Acts, if God so wills, thus all things are under His control and direction, yet my mind sees it as my own.

The sovereignty of God always places God as the subject, man as His object, so we need to see that God gives life, gives placement, gives purpose, gives instructions, gives limitations, and sustains all things for himself in himself.

RabbiKnife
Jul 31st 2009, 01:09 PM
I have studied these issues for years, and for the life of me, I absolutely cannot understand how anyone can oppose the biblical concepts that
a. God is absolutely sovereign
b. Man is created with free moral agency and the ability to choose, and
c. The God's sovereignty is not impacted in the slightest by man's free will and man's free will is not impacted in the slightest by God's sovereignty.

I've just never seen a contradiction were none exists.

Jesus is God. Jesus is human. There is no contradiction in the incarnation, unless one wants to view incarnation from only a human perspective.

God is One, yet three in person. There is no contraction in the trinity, unless one want to view the Godhead from only a human perspective.

I really don't see a contradiction between sovereignty and free will at all, unless you wish to limit God to man's understanding and ability and knowledge.

But this is a very interesting conversation.

Athanasius
Jul 31st 2009, 01:12 PM
Well that makes it even more bizarre than I thought! Adam was not free from influence of both good (God) or evil (serpent). He was told to guard, protect, keep his dominion and to subdue....what?
He also had a clean slate. Then he sinned and we see his sons talking to God. Were they free from influence of both good (God) or evil (serpent)? Not to mention all men are born with the truth, the knowledge of God, and are w/o excuse.

So who was ever free free from influence and who was born w/o clean slates, guilty of another? Where is imputed sin in Scripture?

Don't worry RogerW, I won't turn this into a sin nature thread.

Not even Adam had a clean slate when it came to his choices; he was influenced by God.

RabbiKnife
Jul 31st 2009, 01:18 PM
I don't understand the concept that "free moral agency = without any external influences or restrictions". That doesn't make any sense to me.

In my understanding, "free moral agency" means the ability to choose, knowing that one is being influenced but having the ability to accept or reject those influences.

Redeemed by Grace
Jul 31st 2009, 01:41 PM
I submit for consideration that Adam and Eve didn't choose evil over good, for they didn't have that understanding within them before the fall.

In reading the word - they disobeyed God through listening and following the serpent's instructions, and not by choice that they knew the difference between God their creator and the serpent of the ground: for they were told by the serpant that she wouldn't die, [saying God's a liar], that she would be as God, knowing good from evil, [making Eve and Adam as God], and when she saw that tree was good for food, a delight to the eyes, and desirable to make one wise.... and viola`.... their eyes were opened and then they knew right from wrong.

So to free will and choices, I don't see Adam and Eve having the discernment to make a choice based on logic of good or bad, but after their disobedience, they then knew good from bad, right from wrong, shame from honor.

So any freedom any one has has been polluted by the sin of the garden, and the will we have is not self-determined as we think. As God placed Adam in the garden, and then put guard up to keep him out, he, as the earthly father of all men, is restricted by God.

I agree that man has the ability to make willing choice today in life, mainly because of the fall, and with the capabilities to now understand, but the lust of the heart and the desires of the flesh still hold man away from and accountable to God, and it's through Jesus Christ that God calls the few to the wisdom of salvation's calling.

RabbiKnife
Jul 31st 2009, 01:53 PM
See, that a non starter for me.

God says.."Do not eat of that tree." Do we then assume that Adam is such an intellectual reject that he doesn't understand what that means? "For in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die." Do we really assume that Adam did not know what "die" meant?

Eve certainly had the ability to make a choice. She made one; a bad one.
Adam had the ability to make a choice. He made one; a bad one.

If I take the premise offered, I must believe that God is the originator of sin, because Adam and Eve had no real choice. That makes no sense.

Adam and Eve knew who God was. They knew what he had told them. They chose to do something different. That was a choice.

I don't see how we can say that Adam and Eve had no free will.

Even the angels in heaven had free will, and 1/3 made a very bad choice.

Redeemed by Grace
Jul 31st 2009, 02:28 PM
I hear what you are saying... but we assume Eve made a choice, having the discernment to know good from bad.

Look to a 2 year old... mom and dad say 'don't touch'... now do you think this young child knows right from wrong in not to touch? I'd say [s]he knows who mom and dad is, and probably what no touch means, but do you think [s]he knows why to not touch outside of being told no? And [s]he touches based on knowing good from bad?


See, I say we read into the text to say that this is choice, free choice, and that Eve made a bad choice in touching the tree. I say it wasn't a choice that she made at all, but to listen to a stranger over God and count that stranger as being not a danger to her.

To Middle Knowledge, this position states that God reacts to man's choices, and based on those choices - God moves. I am saying that God gave man obedience to listen and follow, and man didn't choose good over evil, but listened to the last voice he heard... For if Adam and Eve knew right from wrong at this point, then they would have corrected Satan and stated... stay away stranger! Jesus, when tempted in the garden, responded correctly with the word of God and thus correctly refuted and resisted the wiles of the devil, as Adam and Eve would have done if they just listened to God. But by choice, they couldn't based on not knowing good from evil before their disobedience before God.

So free will is not our birthright and is not something that God gave man. He gave man charge to be obedient, man failed, sin entered, all have been polluted and our nature is sinful. God reaches back to man through His Son and brings atonement for sin, and yet man still does not seek after God, for sin has given knowledge of good and evil, but also gives lust for evil. It's not until God reaches the heart of the elect and births them again that a man can relate back to God, by His Spirit residing in those who are saved.

RabbiKnife
Jul 31st 2009, 02:34 PM
I am reading your words, and I truly mean no disprect, but the argument that Adam and Eve did not have free will makes absolutely no sense to me.

We'll just have to disagree.

Redeemed by Grace
Jul 31st 2009, 02:39 PM
Is God the originator of sin?

This is a very deep question... but if God created all things, and all thing were declared good... how does sin come into play?

We know that Lucifer fell quickly at the beginning, but why?

We can only speculate, but I would say that sin, although not of God, is within the plan of God to use to show His glory, mercy and grace.

We know that Jesus defeats sin's results through His resurrection, and we know that one day the Devil, his angels and all that do not have faith in Christ will be put away forever... and we do know that God uses sin's results to accomplish His will...


Aint our God BIG???? Whew! My mind cannot fully comprehend the magnitude of who He is.... but fall down and say, glory, glory, glory!


For His Glory....

Redeemed by Grace
Jul 31st 2009, 02:46 PM
I am reading your words, and I truly mean no disprect, but the argument that Adam and Eve did not have free will makes absolutely no sense to me.

We'll just have to disagree.

No problem... these things happen....

My point if one is free to do anything he wills to do, then Adam would have chosen not to be placed in the garden, and he didn't sin against God in listening to Eve and the devil, for he was free to listen to whomever he wanted to and not be accountable.

If you and I have freewill, then what if your and my wills colide? Who's will wins?

Thanks for the chat...

RabbiKnife
Jul 31st 2009, 02:51 PM
Ah, I see the disconnect.

In my world, "free will" does not mean "free to do anything one wants, to be one's own sovereign, without consequence." I don't know any Arminian who believes such. That to me is a forced definition that creates a straw man.

Freedom of the will for me means the ability to make choices as a free moral agent, recognizing that I and I alone will bear either the reward or the detrimental effect of those choices, and that the ability to make that choice is, of course, an innate part of my being created imago dei.

Redeemed by Grace
Jul 31st 2009, 03:07 PM
Ah, I see the disconnect.

In my world, "free will" does not mean "free to do anything one wants, to be one's own sovereign, without consequence." I don't know any Arminian who believes such. That to me is a forced definition that creates a straw man.

Freedom of the will for me means the ability to make choices as a free moral agent, recognizing that I and I alone will bear either the reward or the detrimental effect of those choices, and that the ability to make that choice is, of course, an innate part of my being created imago dei.

Not to pick on words but free goes to being unencumbered and will means [determined] purpose... so straw man is a misnomer IMO.

But do you think any of your choices are guided by God? And then do you pray and ask God that He change someone elses mind or heart?

Brother Mark
Jul 31st 2009, 03:28 PM
See, that a non starter for me.

God says.."Do not eat of that tree." Do we then assume that Adam is such an intellectual reject that he doesn't understand what that means? "For in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die." Do we really assume that Adam did not know what "die" meant?

Eve certainly had the ability to make a choice. She made one; a bad one.
Adam had the ability to make a choice. He made one; a bad one.

If I take the premise offered, I must believe that God is the originator of sin, because Adam and Eve had no real choice. That makes no sense.

Adam and Eve knew who God was. They knew what he had told them. They chose to do something different. That was a choice.

I don't see how we can say that Adam and Eve had no free will.

Even the angels in heaven had free will, and 1/3 made a very bad choice.

Agree. Adam was smart enough to name all the animals in a day but too dumb to obey?

The NT says that Adam was not deceived. It also says he was disobedient. That means he chose wrong when he knew the right choice. Doesn't mean he knew fully about good and evil, but he certainly wasn't deceived about what he should and should not do. The NT tells us that.

Grace and peace,

Mark

Brother Mark
Jul 31st 2009, 03:34 PM
Two of the biggest issues I have with this whole debate.

1. Some would make God the author of sin by saying he forced it upon his creation.

2. No matter how many verses that state God changed his mind, relented, repented, etc. they will never agree with those verses and instead, change those verses to fit their doctrine by simply disregarding them or giving them an entirely different meaning.

IMO, better to say "I can't reconcile" and accept scripture as written than to explain away that which disagrees with our point of view.

Athanasius
Jul 31st 2009, 03:48 PM
I have studied these issues for years, and for the life of me, I absolutely cannot understand how anyone can oppose the biblical concepts that
a. God is absolutely sovereign
b. Man is created with free moral agency and the ability to choose, and
c. The God's sovereignty is not impacted in the slightest by man's free will and man's free will is not impacted in the slightest by God's sovereignty.

No one is opposing those biblical concepts. At least, I don't think so...

RabbiKnife
Jul 31st 2009, 03:52 PM
No one is opposing those biblical concepts. At least, I don't think so...

I didn't think so either until I was informed that (b) free will is a myth and (c) that if man has free will then God is not sovereign.

I am really confused by all the bizarre definitions of "sovereign" and "free will" floating around. No wonder this is such a cluster.

Matthehitmanhart
Jul 31st 2009, 03:56 PM
Two of the biggest issues I have with this whole debate.

1. Some would make God the author of sin by saying he forced it upon his creation.

2. No matter how many verses that state God changed his mind, relented, repented, etc. they will never agree with those verses and instead, change those verses to fit their doctrine by simply disregarding them or giving them an entirely different meaning.

IMO, better to say "I can't reconcile" and accept scripture as written than to explain away that which disagrees with our point of view.

Amen! I'm with you brother.

BrckBrln
Jul 31st 2009, 04:00 PM
I am really confused by all the bizarre definitions of "sovereign" and "free will" floating around. No wonder this is such a cluster.

Agreed. In threads like this it would seem important to define our terms at the outset. I posted a definition of (libertarian) free will earlier and Xel found it agreeable. I don't know if BD or anybody else would, though. Also, I think the Calvinist definition of 'sovereign' is different from the Arminian/Molinist definition.

Matthehitmanhart
Jul 31st 2009, 04:00 PM
I don't understand the concept that "free moral agency = without any external influences or restrictions". That doesn't make any sense to me.

In my understanding, "free moral agency" means the ability to choose, knowing that one is being influenced but having the ability to accept or reject those influences.

Yeah, I don't understand that either. Definitions like that just muddy the waters of the discussion and make polarizations where there shouldn't be any.

Redeemed by Grace
Jul 31st 2009, 04:02 PM
God does not sin, nor does He tempt anyone to sin.

But why does He allow sin to be? So that His glory may be revealed fully!

And to comment that God changes His mind is ascribing human attributes to God, which is known as Anthropomorphism....

When we read that Jesus sits at the right hand of The Father, does God have hands? Does God change His ways? His Mind? His being? Those comments miss this and position's men's attributes in describing as best they can who God is and good exegesis of scripture will bring this out.

Brother Mark
Jul 31st 2009, 04:04 PM
And to comment that God changes His mind is ascribing human attributes to God, which is known as Anthropomorphism....

Scripture itself says God changes his mind and repents. Everyone gets the point about God's right hand and what that means. But when God repeatedly says he changes his mind, repeatedly demonstrates that man's actions influence him, then I think we should take note. God doesn't change his mind like a man does but he still changes it, as the word states repeatedly.


God does not sin, nor does He tempt anyone to sin.

But why does He allow sin to be?I don't deny that he allows sin. I do deny that he forced it upon his creation.

Redeemed by Grace
Jul 31st 2009, 04:29 PM
So if God changes His mind, and if God repents and He doesn't know what to do next until man make's up His mind, then is He truly soveriegn and provident in all things?


Numbers 23:19 "God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent;
Has He said, and will He not do it?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

Hebrews 6:17, 18
17 In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath,
18 so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us

Titus 1:2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,

Brother Mark
Jul 31st 2009, 04:35 PM
So if God changes His mind, and if God repents and He doesn't know what to do next until man make's up His mind, then is He truly soveriegn and provident in all things?

Even a sovereign can changes his mind, as scripture states in MANY places.

Ex 32:14
14 So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.
NASU


Numbers 23:19
"God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent;
Has He said, and will He not do it?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? I think the proper understanding of this verse is "He is not a man". He won't do things like men do them. But since we have so many scriptures where God repents, relents, changes his mind, etc. then we know he will do so. There are many, many, many examples of God saying he repented, relented, etc.



Hebrews 6:17, 18

17 In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath,
18 so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us When he makes an oath, it's done. There won't be any changing at that point. Like when he said "I swore in my wrath..." or the covenant he made with Noah.


Titus 1:2
in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,Changing one's mind is not lying. ;)

But anyway, now we are getting way off course. This is one issue I have with reformed theology. The other, as mentioned previously, is that God pre-ordained and thus forced, man to sin. If we met a mom that poisoned her children so as to make them well with her attention, love and care, we would convict her of child abuse. Yet, in some reformed circles she is only doing the same exact thing that they teach God has done.

Redeemed by Grace
Jul 31st 2009, 05:13 PM
Even a sovereign can changes his mind, as scripture states in MANY places.

Ex 32:14
14 So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.
NASU

I think the proper understanding of this verse is "He is not a man". He won't do things like men do them. But since we have so many scriptures where God repents, relents, changes his mind, etc. then we know he will do so. There are many, many, many examples of God saying he repented, relented, etc.


When he makes an oath, it's done. There won't be any changing at that point. Like when he said "I swore in my wrath..." or the covenant he made with Noah.

Changing one's mind is not lying. ;)

But anyway, now we are getting way off course. This is one issue I have with reformed theology. The other, as mentioned previously, is that God pre-ordained and thus forced, man to sin. If we met a mom that poisoned her children so as to make them well with her attention, love and care, we would convict her of child abuse. Yet, in some reformed circles she is only doing the same exact thing that they teach God has done.

The sum of thy word is truth.... so if one sees scripture and it says God changes His mind, and yet another verse says He does not... which then is it?


For if there is just one verse that is out of skew within our theology, then our theology is out of skew.

God say he does not change His mind... so He does not change His mind. He also states that he does not lie, meaning saying he will do one thing, but then does another, that He is consistant, the same yesterday today and forever, and that what He declares stays what He declares



And to your mom story, if God knows the fate of every man born, why does He still let those be born if they die for hell?

So to MK, He does not wait upon man to decide and the act, He acts to make man to decide, subtily without conflict to man's own ways He has given him.

RabbiKnife
Jul 31st 2009, 05:18 PM
The sum of thy word is truth.... so if one sees scripture and it says God changes His mind, and yet another verse says He does not... which then is it?


For if there is just one verse that is out of skew within our theology, then our theology is out of skew.

God say he does not change His mind... so He does not change His mind. He also states that he does not lie, meaning saying he will do one thing, but then does another, that He is consistant, the same yesterday today and forever, and that what He declares stays what He declares



And to your mom story, if God knows the fate of every man born, why does He still let those be born if they die for hell?

So to MK, He does not wait upon man to decide and the act, He acts to make man to decide, subtily without conflict to man's own ways He has given him.

God himself says that "it repented him that he had made man." God changed his mind about the destruction of Lot because of Abraham's intercession. He changed his mind about the destruction of Nineveh because of the people's repentence in response to Jonah's message.

Where does God say that we will never change his mind? I think Bro Mark covered that pretty well.

Brother Mark
Jul 31st 2009, 05:18 PM
The sum of thy word is truth.... so if one sees scripture and it says God changes His mind, and yet another verse says He does not... which then is it?

For if there is just one verse that is out of skew within our theology, then our theology is out of skew.

I agree with the above.


God say he does not change His mind... so He does not change His mind. He also states that he does not lie, meaning saying he will do one thing, but then does another, that He is consistant, the same yesterday today and forever, and that what He declares stays what He declares

I think God clarified the way he doesn't change his mind. There are literally dozens and maybe over a hundred verses that say God relented, or repented, or changed his mind. That pretty much sums it up for me. How many verses do I need? There are a handful that talk about how he doesn't change his mind, which to me, qualifies what he means. He won't lie. He won't break a promise. He won't be double minded like men can be.


And to your mom story, if God knows the fate of every man born, why does He still let those be born if they die for hell?

So to MK, He does not wait upon man to decide and the act, He acts to make man to decide, subtily without conflict to man's own ways He has given him.

I don't know. But I do know he doesn't force his creation to sin, for that would make him the author of it. As I have said before, there is mystery in God and we are all brutish in his sight. Better that we draw mystery where scripture draws it than to "reconcile" away clear meaning.

Grace and peace,

Mark

Redeemed by Grace
Jul 31st 2009, 05:35 PM
I agree with the above.



I think God clarified the way he doesn't change his mind. There are literally dozens and maybe over a hundred verses that say God relented, or repented, or changed his mind. That pretty much sums it up for me. How many verses do I need? There are a handful that talk about how he doesn't change his mind, which to me, qualifies what he means. He won't lie. He won't break a promise. He won't be double minded like men can be.



I don't know. But I do know he doesn't force his creation to sin, for that would make him the author of it. As I have said before, there is mystery in God and we are all brutish in his sight. Better that we draw mystery where scripture draws it than to "reconcile" away clear meaning.

Grace and peace,

Mark

The handful of scriptures is exactly my point... for if one verse speaks in contrary to your doctrine, then you hold the wrong doctrine... You can't say you agree that the sum of thy word is truth, and yet agree that there are but a handful that are outside of your doctrines.

And to be clear, 'forcing to sin' is your concept, not what I have been saying nor what is within the word. But do note that God uses sin to His glory.... He used the sin of Judas to set the stage of the sin of the Jews to crucify Jesus, and it Please God that Jesus died for the sins of many.


God created some vessels for honor, and some for common. So men were born to be leaders, others were born to be labors... and to each man's heart, think it's their own way... The dialog regarding MK is that God revolves around man, and my contention that that logic is flawed and backwards, for God works within a man's heart to do His will.

So God wanted sin to be present, but God is not sin's author nor its mover, but He uses sin to bring Himself Glory, for if not, He could easily remove sin today, but chose to keep it for now.

RabbiKnife
Jul 31st 2009, 05:37 PM
God "wanted sin to be present?" Really? Really?

I mean, REALLY?

Brother Mark
Jul 31st 2009, 05:42 PM
The handful of scriptures is exactly my point... for if one verse speaks in contrary to your doctrine, then you hold the wrong doctrine... You can't say you agree that the sum of thy word is truth, and yet agree that there are but a handful that are outside of your doctrines.

EXACTLY! So why deny that God repeatedly states in his word that he changes his mind? The few verses that talk about how he doesn't change his mind simply clarify the other ones, not contradict them. And yet, the reformed view doesn't believe the verses that say God changes his mind. Why not believe all the scriptures? God doesn't lie. He doesn't throw away an oath. He is not double minded. But he will repent and change his mind as he demonstrated in his word many, many, many times.


And to be clear, 'forcing to sin' is your concept, not what I have been saying nor what is within the word. But do note that God uses sin to His glory.... He used the sin of Judas to set the stage of the sin of the Jews to crucify Jesus, and it Please God that Jesus died for the sins of many. I agree that God uses sin. But if Adam didn't choose to sin and it was predetermined that he would sin, then he was forced to sin.


God created some vessels for honor, and some for common. So men were born to be leaders, others were born to be labors... and to each man's heart, think it's their own way... The dialog regarding MK is that God revolves around man, and my contention that that logic is flawed and backwards, for God works within a man's heart to do His will.

So God wanted sin to be present, but God is not sin's author nor its mover, but He uses sin to bring Himself Glory, for if not, He could easily remove sin today, but chose to keep it for now.And there is where we have issue. I don't see anywhere in scripture that suggest that God wanted sin to be present. Everything I read seems to suggest that God desires to purge sin from his creation.

Redeemed by Grace
Jul 31st 2009, 05:59 PM
EXACTLY! So why deny that God repeatedly states in his word that he changes his mind? The few verses that talk about how he doesn't change his mind simply clarify the other ones, not contradict them. And yet, the reformed view doesn't believe the verses that say God changes his mind. Why not believe all the scriptures? God doesn't lie. He doesn't throw away an oath. He is not double minded. But he will repent and change his mind as he demonstrated in his word many, many, many times.

I agree that God uses sin. But if Adam didn't choose to sin and it was predetermined that he would sin, then he was forced to sin.

And there is where we have issue. I don't see anywhere in scripture that suggest that God wanted sin to be present. Everything I read seems to suggest that God desires to purge sin from his creation.

Mark, Verse 19a states God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent;


God does not change His mind, so he cannot and does not repent... The better understanding for all of scripture has been given a page or so ago, and you rejected it, for as written, men write from their perspective, even with the Holy Spirit behind their writings, and when we see figures of speech, we realize that for which they are.

As far as sin not being on the earth, why then didn't God warn Adam and Eve to stand clear of the serpent? For if God stopped sin from being on the earth, then God didn't have to send His Son to the earth, right? So Did God decide after Eve took of the tree to then send His Son to save man from the effects of sin, or before Adam and Ever were created?

Which came 1st -- Adam and Eve's 'choosing sin' over God, or God's plan to send Jesus to redeemed those who are chosen from before the foundation of the world?

Brother Mark
Jul 31st 2009, 06:07 PM
Mark, Verse 19a states God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent;


God does not change His mind, so he cannot and does not repent... The better understanding for all of scripture has been given a page or so ago, and you rejected it, for as written, men write from their perspective, even with the Holy Spirit behind their writings, and when we see figures of speech, we realize that for which they are.

I suppose we could go round and round. You choose to take 1 or 2 verses at a very literal reading over the dozens or hundred that suggest otherwise at a very literal reading. I choose to go with the preponderance of evidence in scripture where God said he repented, changed his mind, relented, etc. I mean there are TONS of verses that says he does these things. That one verse you quoted was simply comparing God to man and showing how he is different. That is the biggest point of the verse. Not that he never changes his mind. For scripture shows repeatedly that God has and does change his mind. But those verses don't count, I guess.


As far as sin not being on the earth, why then didn't God warn Adam and Eve to stand clear of the serpent?

First, you don't know that he didn't. Arguing from absence is not always the best way go to. Having said that, God gave all the warning that he needed to. "Don't eat the fruit." What more needed to be said?


For if God stopped sin from being on the earth, then God didn't have to send His Son to the earth, right? So Did God decide after Eve took of the tree to then send His Son to save man from the effects of sin, or before Adam and Ever were created?

Which came 1st -- Adam and Eve's 'choosing sin' over God, or God's plan to send Jesus to redeemed those who are chosen from before the foundation of the world?

Does it matter? The point is, that God didn't predetermine that Adam sin. Knowing he would and planning for it, is not the same as predetermining and forcing sin upon his creation.

Why not leave the mystery where scripture leaves it? Why go so far as to say that God wanted sin in the earth when ALL of scripture is about God's plan to cleanse earth of sin?

Those are big issues for me and others when it comes to some of reformed theology.

BadDog
Jul 31st 2009, 06:13 PM
Guys,

We have already demonstrated that God has middle knowledge and operates on the basis of this middle knowledge, as well as all knowledge in general. That is obvious, and is not the issue here. Molinism is not, strictly speaking, a view that can be debated strictly on biblical grounds. Molinism is a philosophical theology that has been used to argue that both the sovereignty of God and the free will of man are true simultaneously, without conflict. Due to God's middle knowledge, sovereignty and free will are compatible. One can find biblical arguments for the existence of both of these elements in scripture.

But I am convinced that it is simply not possible to either fully defend or refute this on a strictly biblical basis. It needs to be evaluated biblically but also philosophically.

I suppose one might say that biblically speaking, Molinism is more in line with an Arminian viewpoint, since Calvinism says that free will and election are incompatible. Yet Molinism does not claim that God chooses who will be saved because He knows who would choose Him - the "simple foreknowledge" view. Some who oppose Molinism think that this is the approach. But in Molinism God’s decisions are not determined by man’s decisions since God’s middle knowledge is not solely derived from His necessary and free knowledge of the world. He would not ignore such consequences of His actions.

The Bible teaches that God is sovereign over all things, even human decisions and thinking. Simple foreknowledge cannot address this.

Although God does not stir up people to sin (James 1:13), He still works everything to the end that He has purposed (Isaiah 46:10-11). And God’s ultimate purposes are not predetermined solely by man (Acts 17:24-27). Now without a middle knowledge viewpoint, this would seem to preclude free will. But God can accomplish His perfect will regardless of man's free will due to His perfect understanding in the area of middle knowledge.


But there is something which is being ignored so far in this thread. That is the logical order in which God created the world... (ordo partum ? :P ) In Molinism God, using his omniscience including both middle knowledge and foreknowledge, surveyed all possible worlds and then actualized a particular one. One in which the best possible results would occur for humanity and for His glory. Why can I have confidence of this? Because God is righteous, just and loves mankind. God's middle knowledge of counterfactuals and contingencies must have played a critical role in this selection, or actualizing, of a particular world.

Molinism argues that a logical order of events for creation would have to be the following:
1. God's knowledge of necessary truths, including anything that stands by itself.
...
2. God's middle knowledge, (including counterfactuals).
3. The actualized world is brought into existence.
4. God's free knowledge (of the actualized world).

The placing of God's middle knowledge between God's knowledge of necessary truths and God's creative decree is crucial in avoiding a paradox. If God's middle knowledge was after His decree of creation, then God would be actively causing what various creatures would do in various circumstances IOT sovereignly bring about His purpose and hence libertarian type freedom would not really be possible, as some of you have insisted. But does it make sense that God would not have thoroughly thought through all of the consequences of His actions as well as those of all of His soon to be created beings? So by placing middle knowledge and God's knowledge of counterfactuals before He created this world, God has actualized a world system in which He purposefully allowed for freedom in the libertarian sense. This enabled God to survey all of the possible possible worlds and decide which world to actualize. Now, if that is not pretty intense sovereignty, I do not know what is.

This distinction is similar to the one between supralapsarianism and infralapsarianism among Calvinists. (Every Calvinist should know where they stand there.)

Thx,

BD

Redeemed by Grace
Jul 31st 2009, 06:15 PM
God "wanted sin to be present?" Really? Really?

I mean, REALLY?

Before you blow a gasket :), think about when Jesus was planned to come to the earth... was it before sin happened or after?

Don't you think God knew what sin was and it's effect would be and that by just His word, would eliminate it without it's effect within heaven and earth, yet He allowed it, He uses it, and He yet condemns it, judges it, and eventually, eliminates it.

For I'm not saying He is the author of sin, so don't even go there, I'm saying that God's plan from the very beginning of creation was to redeem man from sin.... God has no plan B, His will is being done, and I can't take this much further for it gives me a brain cramp... but to say that He never thought sin would enter His plan, or that it thwarts His will, is to say that sin is outside His will... and read that to say that the whole bible deals with How God deals with sin and disobedience and faith, and that this was planned before the world began.

Now I need to go take two aspirin.

Brother Mark
Jul 31st 2009, 06:19 PM
For I'm not saying He is the author of sin, so don't even go there, I'm saying that God's plan from the very beginning of creation was to redeem man from sin.... God has no plan B, His will is being done, and I can't take this much further for it gives me a brain cramp... but to say that He never thought sin would enter His plan, or that it thwarts His will, is to say that sin is outside His will... and read that to say that the whole bible deals with How God deals with sin and disobedience and faith, and that this was planned before the world began.

Now I need to go take two aspirin.

I think God's plan was to create man in his image. The tree was placed there to test Adam and to grow his character by teaching him to say no to himself as Jesus did. Redemption only needs to be a part of the plan if sin is involved. Redemption begins God's work with man now, but it is only the beginning, not the end. There is far more in God's plan than redemption, though it is a HUGE act.

Saying God wanted sin in his creation is where many disagree with some reformed theology.

grit
Jul 31st 2009, 07:14 PM
It's true what they say, asprin does grow on trees... in willow bark. Yes, I think perhaps the willow was placed in the Garden especially for philosophy students. :yes:

John146
Jul 31st 2009, 07:23 PM
You are introducing this "what-if" senario into the text that simply is not there. God will accomplish whatsoever He wills regardless of how they would respond, because God is not dependent upon the will of man to do His will. You speak as if that is always the case. If that was always the case, explain verses like this:

Matt 23:37 O 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!

Of course, this is a case of what Jesus desired to do. We have to differentiate between God's desires and His will. You seem to think that He can not have desires that depend upon the actions of men in order to be fulfilled, but verses like this one show otherwise.

BrckBrln
Jul 31st 2009, 07:46 PM
Maybe we can restart this discussion by defining God's sovereignty and mans free will? Here's a definition of the sovereignty of God by Arthur Pink.

'The Sovereignty of God. What do we mean by this expression? We mean the supremacy of God, the kingship of God, the god-hood of God. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that God is God. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Most High, doing according to His will in the army of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, so that none can stay His hand or say unto Him what doest Thou? (Dan. 4:35). To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the Possessor of all power in Heaven and earth, so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purpose, or resist His will (Psa. 115:3). To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is "The Governor among the nations" (Psa. 22:28), setting up kingdoms, overthrowing empires, and determining the course of dynasties as pleaseth Him best. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the "Only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords" (1 Tim. 6:15). Such is the God of the Bible.'

And here is the definition of libertarian free will I posted earlier.

'First, it is assumed that for an action to be free, it must be determined by the agent performing the action. This means that God cannot will a free creature to act in a particular way and the act still be free. Free actions must be self-determinative. This assumption may appear self-evident to some, and quite controversial to others. While it must be admitted that God could certainly desire a creature act in a particular way and the choice remain free, it is difficult to see how He could cause the choice and it still be free in a meaningful way. Proponents of middle knowledge do not deny that God may influence a free choice or persuade an agent to act in a particular way, but such influence and persuasion cannot be determinative if the action performed is to be free. In addition, middle knowledge requires freedom of a libertarian nature. That is, free creatures have the ability to choose between competing alternatives, and really could choose one or the other of the alternatives.'

If you don't agree with these definitions then, if you would, please provide your own definition. Maybe this will clarify out discussion on how, or if, these two things are compatible.

Redeemed by Grace
Jul 31st 2009, 07:56 PM
I don't think the thread is about God's declarative will and His secret will, but about man influencing God's reactions as described via middle knowledge.


Literary form takes many shapes, and we have seen elsewhere that Jesus as well as Paul invoke sarcasm here and there to emphasis a point.

We see within Acts as well as within Peter that God desires all men to repent and believe, but then we see within Romans that all men are sinners, and that none seek after God or of righteousness.... good healthy contention that drives us to seek diligently for the truth... but at the core of salvation is God's revelation to man, that of Jesus, and that by His Spirit within the true believer. As one digs deeper, one should see more God as the architect of a regenerated life, and digging deeper still, should find that God within a believer is in communion with God the Redeemer, and our role is to live in the faith He has given us and to walk in the works He has prepared for us to walk in. God plans us and presents us to Jesus who saves us, through the word of the Gospel testified by the Holy Spirit within us.

For a man's salvation is for God, by God, of God, in God, through God, because of God, least any man should boast

John146
Jul 31st 2009, 08:00 PM
God creates man, and man becomes wicked, but God was not surprised by this. Remember Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. That means that God has provided a remedy for the problem of sin before sin existed, so clearly God knew man would be wicked. What does that tell us? Was the flood reactionary because of man's wickedness, or was the flood planned by God before creation, to begin anew? If God left mankind in this absolute wickedness, perhaps God knew that Christ would not come through the promised seed, because the seed would be cut off through the wickedness of man. I would suggest that the flood was not reactionary, but rather ordained from eternity. Do you have any scripture to back that up? If that was His plan from the beginning can you explain why it grieved Him that He had made man? What reason would there be for Him to be grieved if everything went exactly according to His plan?


You don't seem to fully understand God's sovereignty IMO. Our choices are bound, not free. Man's will is never truly free, it is enslaved either to Satan or the Holy Spirit. Human will is completely fallen, being dead in trespasses and sin. Show me where it teaches that when we are dead in trespasses in sin it means we are nothing more than walking zombies without consciences and without an ability to reason and without an ability to recognize our sinfulness and need for forgiveness and salvation? Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. So, where does it say that only certain sinners dead in their trespasses and sins have the ability to respond to the preaching of the gospel with repentance and faith while the rest do not have that ability?


Man has been given enough knowledge of God through creation, conscience and history to make him without excuse. Man knows that God exists, and that he should honor and worship Him, but man freely chose to turn away from God, and listen to and serve the creature rather than the Creator. So now every man is bound to the created being, Satan, sin and death. The question is when we stand in the Judgment will we be clothed in immortality and incorruption, or will we still be clothed in our body of sin and death? You say "man freely chose to turn away from God". You don't really believe that, though. You don't believe that man has a free choice between accepting Christ or rejecting Him. You believe that some men are given faith to accept Christ and the rest are not. There is no free choice involved in your doctrine at all.


God knows the actions of man. To say that God reacts to the actions of man, implies that God does not know the beginning from the end, and that He must constantly adjust His plans for humanity to accomodate man's actions. According to you God has plan A, but man's actions could interfer with God's plan A, so God must change His plan because man was able to thwart what God planned. That does not describe The Sovereign, All Knowing God. Explain these passages then:

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.

Jonah 3
8But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.
9Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
10And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.


We don't pray hoping to change God's mind, or hoping He will change His mind, and do our will. We pray that God's will be done. And God tells us the prayer of the righteous man avails much.No, we don't pray hoping to change God's mind. Of course not. But that doesn't mean God doesn't react to our prayers.

James 1
5If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
7For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

Do you think if someone lacks wisdom that it will just automatically be given to them? Or should we do as James says and pray and ask for it? If we ask for it and believe that it will be given to us then it will. But what if we don't ask or if we ask without faith? What then? It's not given. You are absolutely wrong if you think that God does not hear our prayers and react to them. He reacts to them as He wills, but He does react to them. It may be His will to give wisdom to someone but He wants that person to first ask for it in faith. If that person does then God reacts and gives it to that person. If that person does not ask or does not ask with faith, then it is not given.

And notice that a person is responsible to ask in faith. Your doctrine takes all responsibility away from man and says that God does everything for him. That is exactly why we say that your doctrine turns us into nothing more than mindless puppets with no ability to make moral decisions and no ability to repent and put our faith in Christ without God doing it for us.

John146
Jul 31st 2009, 08:25 PM
See, that a non starter for me.

God says.."Do not eat of that tree." Do we then assume that Adam is such an intellectual reject that he doesn't understand what that means?:lol: I, for one, don't think of Adam that way. You can't be made in God's image and be "an intellectual reject".


"For in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die." Do we really assume that Adam did not know what "die" meant?It would be silly to think he didn't know because that would make God look bad for telling that to Adam without ever also telling him what in the world He meant by that.


Eve certainly had the ability to make a choice. She made one; a bad one.
Adam had the ability to make a choice. He made one; a bad one.

If I take the premise offered, I must believe that God is the originator of sin, because Adam and Eve had no real choice. That makes no sense. Agree.


Adam and Eve knew who God was. They knew what he had told them. They chose to do something different. That was a choice.That should be obvious, yet it's not for some. Go figure.


I don't see how we can say that Adam and Eve had no free will.

Even the angels in heaven had free will, and 1/3 made a very bad choice.Agree.

John146
Jul 31st 2009, 08:38 PM
Two of the biggest issues I have with this whole debate.

1. Some would make God the author of sin by saying he forced it upon his creation.

2. No matter how many verses that state God changed his mind, relented, repented, etc. they will never agree with those verses and instead, change those verses to fit their doctrine by simply disregarding them or giving them an entirely different meaning.

IMO, better to say "I can't reconcile" and accept scripture as written than to explain away that which disagrees with our point of view.I agree. Well said.

For example, we see that God planned to destroy Nineveh and then changed His plans when they repented of their sins and He ended up not destroying the city (Jonah 3). But a Calvinist would say it was God's plan all along to not destroy them and He made it so that they would repent. But that makes no sense, IMO.

Same with the flood. It was God's plan all along for all but 8 people in the world to not accept Him and reject Him? Really? If that was His plan all along then why did it grieve Him that He had made mankind?

John146
Jul 31st 2009, 08:53 PM
Mark, Verse 19a states God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent;


God does not change His mind, so he cannot and does not repent...We have scripture that clearly says otherwise.

Jonah 3
8But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. 9Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
10And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Tell me, was it God's plan to destroy Nineveh? This clearly says it was. If it wasn't then He wouldn't have said that He was going to destroy them. Did He destroy them? No. Why not? Because that was His original plan? No. Again, it clearly says He originally planned on destroying them.

He didn't destroy them because "they turned from their evil way". It was their decision to turn from their wickedness that caused God to change His mind. It was God's sovereign decision to handle the situation in that way by giving them the option of being destroyed if they did not repent or having their lives spared if they did repent.

grit
Jul 31st 2009, 09:37 PM
“He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?
Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD, or what man shows him his counsel?
Whom did he consult, and who made him understand?
Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding?” (Isaiah 40:11-14, ESV)

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” (James 1:17, NASB)
“For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.” (Malachi 3:6, NASB)

God has knowledge of all things, and such knowledge is grounded in His decrees according to His own will and good pleasure. His knowledge of counterfactuals, if indeed it may be shown that there are any, subsists wholly in Himself.

God is not the "author" of sin because he does not commit sin. It is impossible for God to act contrary to His own will. He is neither a voluntary person committing sinful acts, nor a coercer of any creature into sin against their own volition.

“All knowledge, all wisdom, and all understanding have their source in God alone. Hence, not only is God’s nature self-existent, but his knowledge is from himself, being wholly independent of the creature.” - Stephen Charnock, Discourses upon the Existence and Attributes of God

:hug:

Athanasius
Jul 31st 2009, 10:34 PM
I didn't think so either until I was informed that (b) free will is a myth and (c) that if man has free will then God is not sovereign.

I am really confused by all the bizarre definitions of "sovereign" and "free will" floating around. No wonder this is such a cluster.

Ah okay, I see what you're saying. Sorry, I'm a bit dull in the morning.

Aliosias
Aug 1st 2009, 04:11 AM
Freedom is the ability to choose between various possibilities.

For example: You are free to cheat on your taxes or not --only because it is possible for you to cheat on your taxes or not. But if the fact that you will cheat on your taxes in the year 2010 is written in God's book of foreknown knowledge, and God can't possibly be wrong, then it is not possible for you not to cheat on your taxes.

Hence you cannot be free to choose between the possibilites of cheating or not cheating. In other words, you can't be free.


Albert Finch

Athanasius
Aug 1st 2009, 11:42 AM
Freedom is the ability to choose between various possibilities.

For example: You are free to cheat on your taxes or not --only because it is possible for you to cheat on your taxes or not. But if the fact that you will cheat on your taxes in the year 2010 is written in God's book of foreknown knowledge, and God can't possibly be wrong, then it is not possible for you not to cheat on your taxes.

Hence you cannot be free to choose between the possibilites of cheating or not cheating. In other words, you can't be free.

Albert Finch

Albert Finch is incorrect.

Redeemed by Grace
Aug 1st 2009, 12:23 PM
We have scripture that clearly says otherwise.

Jonah 3
8But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. 9Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
10And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Tell me, was it God's plan to destroy Nineveh? This clearly says it was. If it wasn't then He wouldn't have said that He was going to destroy them. Did He destroy them? No. Why not? Because that was His original plan? No. Again, it clearly says He originally planned on destroying them.

He didn't destroy them because "they turned from their evil way". It was their decision to turn from their wickedness that caused God to change His mind. It was God's sovereign decision to handle the situation in that way by giving them the option of being destroyed if they did not repent or having their lives spared if they did repent.

Not so... For the Ninevites were persecutors of Israel, and they were hated by Israel for what they did to Israel. Jonah, knowing God's nature, knew that if God sent him to Nineveh to preach the Gospel, that God had designs to save these people.... So that's why Jonah 'ran' away.

Ahh but we know that God called this group of Ninevites to salvation, based on the determined plan of God by sending a reluctant preacher, and just as Jonah had feared, they heard the preaching, they repented and they believed.

So God knew exactly, God didn't repent as a man, for He knew exactly and even planned for it. God sent Jonah, Jonah rebelled; God chastens Jonah, Jonah repented [you know - the big fish]; then Jonah did what God called him to do, then the Ninevites also did what God called them to do, they repented and believed; then God chastens Jonah again with a plant and teaches Jonah that Salvation is of the Lord!

Later on in history - the future generations of the Ninevites were annihilated by God for their torture on the Jews

BadDog
Aug 1st 2009, 01:10 PM
This has been an interesting thread. With school starting up next week, i don't have much time for such things right now.

I found an article by William Lane Craig regarding the exclusiveness of Christ as the only way to God from a MK perspective. I imagine you guys have experienced people asking you if Christ is the only way, and obviously a high percentage of people never really had an opportunity to trust in Him, if this is a good reflection on a caring, loving God.

I realize that all are without excuse. Also, some will come to Christ as a result of God's drawing of them through the testimony of the natural universe, though that must be rare. For those interested, following is Craig's analysis of this from a MK perspective:

"No Other Name":A Middle Knowledge Perspective on the Exclusivity of Salvation Through Christ Dr. William Lane Craig
(http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/middle2.html)
Following is the summary of that article:


In conclusion, then, I think that a middle knowledge perspective on the problem of the exclusivity of the Christian religion can be quite fruitful. Since all persons are in sin, all are in need of salvation. Since Christ is God's unique expiatory sacrifice for sin, salvation is only through Christ. Since Jesus and his work are historical in character, many persons as a result of historical and geographical accident will not be sufficiently well-informed concerning him and thus unable to respond to him in faith. Such persons who are not sufficiently well-informed about Christ's person and work will be judged on the basis of their response to general revelation and the light that they do have. Perhaps some will be saved through such a response; but on the basis of Scripture we must say that such "anonymous Christians" are relatively rare. Those who are judged and condemned on the basis of their failure to respond to the light of general revelation cannot legitimately complain of unfairness for their not also receiving the light of special revelation, since such persons would not have responded to special revelation had they received it. For God in His providence has so arranged the world that anyone who would receive Christ has the opportunity to do so. Since God loves all persons and desires the salvation of all, He supplies sufficient grace for salvation to every individual, and nobody who would receive Christ if he were to hear the gospel will be denied that opportunity. As Molina puts it, our salvation is in our own hands.

In the italicized sentence above, Craig reasons that it is not possible (actually in the article) for God to save all people in any actualized world, since some would not come to Him regardless of circumstances or opportunities. If God could actualize a world in which all who would come to Christ are given such an opportunity, would He not do so? God is not willing that any should perish. Makes sense. Of course this is not a purely biblical approach but one involving philosophy as well - but this question cannot be thoroughly analyzed from the Bible alone.

Gotta go! Catch you guys later.

Take care,

BD

RogerW
Aug 1st 2009, 01:43 PM
Two of the biggest issues I have with this whole debate.

1. Some would make God the author of sin by saying he forced it upon his creation.

2. No matter how many verses that state God changed his mind, relented, repented, etc. they will never agree with those verses and instead, change those verses to fit their doctrine by simply disregarding them or giving them an entirely different meaning.

IMO, better to say "I can't reconcile" and accept scripture as written than to explain away that which disagrees with our point of view.

I want to reply directly to this post to make a point, but to the rest, since most of the arguments being made come from the notion that God changes His mind, I will simply reply to once.

BrotherMark, your's is the kind of reply that does not engage in the on-going discussion. Instead you interject your opinion as though these things have actually been argued. It is not being straight forward, or even honest to say anyone in this debate has argued that God is the author of sin by forcing it upon His creation. Nor has anyone in this discussion attempted to change verses to make them fit their doctrine, or disregarded verses.

This technique is called a straw-man arguement because it attempts to disquise the true arguements of opposing views by infering they are so far removed from Biblical truth they really must be discarded. I, for one, really dis-like this method of arguing.

And one thing you need to accept is that it is your view of God relenting that cannot be reconciled with all of Scripture. Because if your view is correct and God changes His mind based on the actions of man, we must conclude that there is contradition in Scripture. As RbG has already shown, you must reconcile ALL of Scripture or there is something wrong with your understanding.

Many Blessings,
RW

RogerW
Aug 1st 2009, 02:52 PM
This has been an interesting thread. With school starting up next week, i don't have much time for such things right now.

I found an article by William Lane Craig regarding the exclusiveness of Christ as the only way to God from a MK perspective. I imagine you guys have experienced people asking you if Christ is the only way, and obviously a high percentage of people never really had an opportunity to trust in Him, if this is a good reflection on a caring, loving God.

I realize that all are without excuse. Also, some will come to Christ as a result of God's drawing of them through the testimony of the natural universe, though that must be rare. For those interested, following is Craig's analysis of this from a MK perspective:

"No Other Name":A Middle Knowledge Perspective on the Exclusivity of Salvation Through Christ Dr. William Lane Craig
(http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/middle2.html)
Following is the summary of that article:

In conclusion, then, I think that a middle knowledge perspective on the problem of the exclusivity of the Christian religion can be quite fruitful. Since all persons are in sin, all are in need of salvation. Since Christ is God's unique expiatory sacrifice for sin, salvation is only through Christ. Since Jesus and his work are historical in character, many persons as a result of historical and geographical accident will not be sufficiently well-informed concerning him and thus unable to respond to him in faith. Such persons who are not sufficiently well-informed about Christ's person and work will be judged on the basis of their response to general revelation and the light that they do have. Perhaps some will be saved through such a response; but on the basis of Scripture we must say that such "anonymous Christians" are relatively rare. Those who are judged and condemned on the basis of their failure to respond to the light of general revelation cannot legitimately complain of unfairness for their not also receiving the light of special revelation, since such persons would not have responded to special revelation had they received it. For God in His providence has so arranged the world that anyone who would receive Christ has the opportunity to do so. Since God loves all persons and desires the salvation of all, He supplies sufficient grace for salvation to every individual, and nobody who would receive Christ if he were to hear the gospel will be denied that opportunity. As Molina puts it, our salvation is in our own hands.
In the italicized sentence above, Craig reasons that it is not possible (actually in the article) for God to save all people in any actualized world, since some would not come to Him regardless of circumstances or opportunities. If God could actualize a world in which all who would come to Christ are given such an opportunity, would He not do so? God is not willing that any should perish. Makes sense. Of course this is not a purely biblical approach but one involving philosophy as well - but this question cannot be thoroughly analyzed from the Bible alone.

Gotta go! Catch you guys later.

Take care,

BD

Greetings BD, and thank you. "As Molina puts it, our salvation is in our own hands." This reply has given me a good place to sum up, (for anyone interested) my opinion of Molinism, especially as it pertains to so-called God's middle knowledge. It's simply Semi-Pelagianism (Arminianism) re-packaged. It is one more effort to find some middle or common ground between Augustinianism (Calvinism), and Free-will. The common cry is, "Let's find a way to all get alone, after all we are brothers and sisters in Christ, and we're all gonna be spending eternity together."

Sorry, but I don't buy into this! Doctrinal purity and truth matters. It's not that we must have all knowledge, and know all the doctrines perfectly to be saved. No, we are not saved by what we know, but Who we know, or rather Who we are known by. So what's the point? What does it matter if one says salvation is of the Lord alone, and the other says, yes, salvation is of the Lord, but man has a responsibility to help God by co-operating with God's grace?

Scripture tells us not only to be careful in how we hear, but also what we hear. God will not share His glory with another. He will not hold guiltless the man who believes he MUST do one thing to aid in his salvation, because this is robbing God of glory that is due Him alone. I'm reminded of the man who picked up a few sticks on the Sabbath, and of the man who simply reached out his hand to keep the ark from falling from the cart. These too thought they needed to assist the God of all glory. They discovered, like Nadad and Abihu that God will not accept any help from man's invention because He alone is The Sovereign, all knowing, all powerful, Supreme God - Alone!

So what is this Semi-Pelagianism that is in fact Molinism? First what it is not. It is not Pelagianism, which is named after a monk, Pelagius (c. 354-420), and condemned as heresy by the church Council of Orange (529). Pelagius taught (1)that the fall affected only Adam, and that human will was not negatively affected by the fall. (2) There is no such thing as original sin (3) the most important element in salvation is man's free will (4) man can achieve sinless moral perfection, through his own efforts. Therefore grace is not necessary for salvation. Man can earn salvation by his works independent of God (5) the ultimate decision of who is to be saved belongs to man, not God. Man has a free will to accept or reject Christ. To be saved man must exercise faith by the exertion of his will. The work of the HS is not a necessary precondition for faith. Pelagianism goes to far for Arminius, or Molina, so they re-package it into something not quite so heretical labeled Semi-Pelagianism (Arminianism/Molinism).

The near cousin of Pelagius is Semi-Pelagianism (Arminianism) named after the Dutch Theologian Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609) differs only in degree from Pelagianism, and therefore it too was condemned as heresy by the Synod of Dort (1618-1619).

Molinism is just another name given to Semi-Pelagianism (SP). Like SP, Molinism teaches (1)the fall and original sin affects all, but man's will is not completely fallen (2) man is not dead in trespasses and sin, only fallen, and in need of God's help because man is not totally enslaved to sin or totally depraved in his nature (3) the single most important element in salvation is man's free will (4) grace is necessary for salvation; but man still has a remnant of virtue hidden in his soul whereby he can accept or reject God's mere offer of eternal life; man still has the moral power to incline himself to the things of God (5) the ultimate decision of who is to be saved belongs to man, not God; man has free will to accept or reject Christ; to be saved man must exercise faith by the exertion of his will; the work of the HS is not a necessary precondition for faith; faith must come before regeneration.

Molinism is the same Semi-Pelagianism supported and defended by Jacobus Arminius, re-packaged with a new name. It denies that human will is completely dead in trespasses and sins, without ability to save itself. It denies that fallen man cannot refrain from sin. It denies that salvation is all of grace from beginning to end. God initiates it, not fallen, spiritually dead man, and it denies that even faith is a gift from God. Molinism denies man is so completely darkened in his heart, mind and will by sin that he is unable to turn from sin and embrace the truth of the gospel and obey God's commandments. It denies that only by God's direct intervention is a person able to have faith and set his mind on the things of the Spirit. Finally it denies the ultimate decision of who is to be saved belongs to God, not to man; and since God is sovereign, free will to be saved is a myth; man's will is never truly free; it is enslaved either to Satan or to Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Be weary of any new thing, new doctrine that come down from the minds of men.

2Ti 4:3 For 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;
2Ti 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Many Blessings,
RW

BrckBrln
Aug 1st 2009, 04:39 PM
Following is the summary of that article:

In conclusion, then, I think that a middle knowledge perspective on the problem of the exclusivity of the Christian religion can be quite fruitful. Since all persons are in sin, all are in need of salvation. Since Christ is God's unique expiatory sacrifice for sin, salvation is only through Christ. Since Jesus and his work are historical in character, many persons as a result of historical and geographical accident will not be sufficiently well-informed concerning him and thus unable to respond to him in faith. Such persons who are not sufficiently well-informed about Christ's person and work will be judged on the basis of their response to general revelation and the light that they do have. Perhaps some will be saved through such a response; but on the basis of Scripture we must say that such "anonymous Christians" are relatively rare. Those who are judged and condemned on the basis of their failure to respond to the light of general revelation cannot legitimately complain of unfairness for their not also receiving the light of special revelation, since such persons would not have responded to special revelation had they received it. For God in His providence has so arranged the world that anyone who would receive Christ has the opportunity to do so. Since God loves all persons and desires the salvation of all, He supplies sufficient grace for salvation to every individual, and nobody who would receive Christ if he were to hear the gospel will be denied that opportunity. As Molina puts it, our salvation is in our own hands.
BD, do you really believe this paragraph? That implicitly says that God is not sovereign. He can't save people. Period. He can only re-arrange state of affairs so that as many people as possible use their free will to save themselves, essentially. Disgusting.

Athanasius
Aug 1st 2009, 04:48 PM
[/indent]BD, do you really believe this paragraph? That implicitly says that God is not sovereign. He can't save people. Period. He can only re-arrange state of affairs so that as many people as possible use their free will to save themselves, essentially. Disgusting.

Where do you see that implication?

BrckBrln
Aug 1st 2009, 04:54 PM
Where do you see that implication?

Those who are judged and condemned on the basis of their failure to respond to the light of general revelation cannot legitimately complain of unfairness for their not also receiving the light of special revelation, since such persons would not have responded to special revelation had they received it. For God in His providence has so arranged the world that anyone who would receive Christ has the opportunity to do so.

This implies that God can't save people, so He does the next best thing. Arrange circumstances so that people will save themselves.

As Molina puts it, our salvation is in our own hands.

And that speaks for itself. I don't know if this is the standard Molinist position or if it's just Craig's Arminianism, but it's disgusting either way.

Sirus
Aug 1st 2009, 05:21 PM
BrckBrln, you're not understanding. God gave man everything he needs. Faith, the truth, knowledge of Him, and is created with these and a spirit for the purpose of knowing Him and having an releationship. Man uses what God gave him, he's not using himself to save himself. In other words God 'put salvation in mans hands' to keep, which no man does, then to either receive it again by faith, or discard it.

Athanasius
Aug 1st 2009, 05:24 PM
Those who are judged and condemned on the basis of their failure to respond to the light of general revelation cannot legitimately complain of unfairness for their not also receiving the light of special revelation, since such persons would not have responded to special revelation had they received it. For God in His providence has so arranged the world that anyone who would receive Christ has the opportunity to do so.

This implies that God can't save people, so He does the next best thing. Arrange circumstances so that people will save themselves.

As Molina puts it, our salvation is in our own hands.

And that speaks for itself. I don't know if this is the standard Molinist position or if it's just Craig's Arminianism, but it's disgusting either way.

Seems to me to be a denial of irresistible grace, rather than God's sovereignty.

Sirus
Aug 1st 2009, 05:25 PM
Not even Adam had a clean slate when it came to his choices; he was influenced by God.I didn't know clean slate was referring to influence. True. He was also influenced by the serpent. Why would you leave that out?

Brother Mark
Aug 1st 2009, 05:32 PM
And one thing you need to accept is that it is your view of God relenting that cannot be reconciled with all of Scripture. Because if your view is correct and God changes His mind based on the actions of man, we must conclude that there is contradition in Scripture. As RbG has already shown, you must reconcile ALL of Scripture or there is something wrong with your understanding.

Many Blessings,
RW

This is RW, my thoughts do reconcile it. If you can't reconcile scripture, best to do what David did and say "I don't mess with things too great for me". It seems to me that dozens of verses that indicate that God changes his mind and repents, show that he does indeed do these things. I believe them just as I believe the verses that state he doesn't change his mind like men do or that he doesn't lie. There is no contradiction because he does change his mind, just not for the same reasons men do.

Now, we can throw out tons of verses in the name of reconcilation if we desire to, but that doesn't seem right to me. Better to believe them than to reconcile them away as if they don't mean what they say. The verses do state that God changed his mind and repented RW. That's what they say. Yet, some will argue and say that God doesn't change his mind nor repent even when the clear written word says he does. That's not reconciling scripture. That's ignoring it, IMO.

Grace,

Mark

Sirus
Aug 1st 2009, 05:33 PM
Is God the originator of sin?

This is a very deep question... but if God created all things, and all thing were declared good... how does sin come into play?

We know that Lucifer fell quickly at the beginning, but why?

We can only speculate, but I would say that sin, although not of God, is within the plan of God to use to show His glory, mercy and grace.When it says 'I created evil' it means He created the environment, choice, and possibility of good and evil. That was good. He didn't say it is perfect. Just good.

We don't know Lucifer fell quickly. I have no idea how you'd come to that conclusion.

Sin had to be a possibility in His plan or sin wouldn't have happened and sin wouldn't happen.

Athanasius
Aug 1st 2009, 05:43 PM
I didn't know clean slate was referring to influence. True. He was also influenced by the serpent. Why would you leave that out?

Blatant oversight in my part.

RogerW
Aug 1st 2009, 06:06 PM
So how do we reconcile, so there is no contradiction found in Scripture, the verses telling us God repented with the verses that tell us God does not repent?

Ge 6:6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

How does it make any sense to say the LORD 'changed His mind' about having made man on the earth because of the actions of man, since the answer for man's problem of sin was established in heaven through Christ, the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world? There would be no reason that God would be sorry or change His mind about having made man on the earth. So what was it about man that so grieved God's heart? It was, and always has been sin of man that so grieves God.

This does not mean that God is surprised by man's wickedness. Why would God have a remedy for sin (the Lamb slain) before any sin existed if He was surprised by man's wickedness? The LORD was not changing His mind because of the actions of man, but was speaking comfort or consolation for Himself over the destruction of all flesh He would bring upon His creation. We see this truth abundantly in the covenant God gave to Noah and all flesh after the flood.

Certainly if God had changed His mind about making man on the earth because of his great wickedness, God would not say even though "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". That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever! God is sorry He made man in the earth, and changes His mind because of man's wickedness, but then says, "never mind, I know you're evil from your youth, but still I will not destroy again as I have done"??? If God was sorry and had changed His mind, why let Noah and his sons reproduce more of the same?

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.
Ge 8:22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

Nu 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

1Sa 15:29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.

De 32:35 To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.
De 32:36 For the LORD shall judge his people, and repent [console/comfort] himself for his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left.
De 32:37 And he shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted,
De 32:38 Which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? let them rise up and help you, and be your protection.

The definition helps us to understand how it can appear that God changed His mind, when "repent" is properly translated. For the same word 'nacham' can also be translated in a favorable sense:

The Hebrew word translated "repent" from Strong's Concordance - 5162 nacham - a primitive root; properly, to sigh, i.e. breathe strongly; by implication, to be sorry, i.e. (in a favorable sense) to pity, console or (reflexively) rue; or (unfavorably) to avenge (oneself):--comfort (self), ease (one's self), repent(-er,-ing, self).

When the word 'nacham' is translated comfort does it mean that God has changed His mind concerning Noah? Of course not! Was Rebekah concerned because Esau was changing his mind about purposing in his heart to kill his brother? Of course not!

Ge 5:29 And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort [nacham] us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed.

Ge 27:42 And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah: and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort [nacham] himself, purposing to kill thee.

Comfort/Console - to make Him feel less sad or disappointed.

One has said that God changed His mind about having chosen Saul to be king because of Saul's disobedience. It was argued that the appointment of Saul could have worked out well. And it was stated "Indeed, Scripture tells us that God had intended to bless him and his household for many generations" (1Sa 13:13 And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever).

Notice that Saul's appointment as King came with stipulations. The nation pleaded for a king so they could be like all the other nations. So God gave them Saul, "whom ye have chosen, and whom ye have desired".

1Sa 10:23 And they ran and fetched him thence: and when he stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward.
1Sa 10:24 And Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the LORD hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king.

1Sa 12:1 And Samuel said unto all Israel, Behold, I have hearkened unto your voice in all that ye said unto me, and have made a king over you.
1Sa 12:2 And now, behold, the king walketh before you: and I am old and grayheaded; and, behold, my sons are with you: and I have walked before you from my childhood unto this day.

1Sa 12:13 Now therefore behold the king whom ye have chosen, and whom ye have desired! and, behold, the LORD hath set a king over you.
1Sa 12:14 If ye will fear the LORD, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the LORD your God:
1Sa 12:15 But if ye will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall the hand of the LORD be against you, as it was against your fathers.

1Sa 12:24 Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.
1Sa 12:25 But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king.

1Sa 13:14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.

1Sa 15:26 And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.

1Sa 15:28 And Samuel said unto him, The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou.
1Sa 15:29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.

1Sa 15:35 And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.

1Sa 16:1 And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.

Samuel had warned them that if they turned away from God, and failed to keep His commandments then the hand of the LORD would be against them and their king, whom they had chosen. How is fulfillment of His promise for disobedience God changing His mind regarding the kingdom and Saul?

Albert Finch - "One must wonder how the Lord could truly experience regret for making Saul king if He was absolutely certain that Saul would act the way he did. Could God genuinely confess, "I regret that I made Saul king" if he could in the same breath also proclaim, "I was certain of what Saul would do when I made him king"?"

Is this true? Did God regret making Saul king? He doesn't sound very remorseful when He chastens Samuel for continuing to mourn for Saul, telling him, "How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons." If 'repent' in 1Sa 15:35 should be interpreted as regret or God changing His mind, then why does 15:29 say, "the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent [regret]: for he is not a man, that he should repent [regret]"?

If you consider the whole of Scripture, remember that Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Christ must come through the royal line, He must come through the seed of David, and the tribe of Judah. When we remember the Covenant of Redemption was established in heaven before the world began, then we see clearly that God did not have a plan A that Christ would come through the line of Saul, but if Saul sins and messes up God's Covenant God would have to go to plan B with David; His chosen (not chosen by the people, but by God). There are more than 950 verses that speak of David, but David is plan B???

God is not a man that He should change His mind!

Many Blessings,
RW

Athanasius
Aug 1st 2009, 06:32 PM
Poor translation of the Hebrew, 'grieved' instead of 'repented' for instance. Other than that, anthropormophic language.

Sirus
Aug 1st 2009, 06:40 PM
Seems better to say poor exegesis. Hebrew shûb is the one we should be looking at concerning turn, return.....

1Ki 8:47 Yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness;

RogerW
Aug 1st 2009, 06:45 PM
Poor translation of the Hebrew, 'grieved' instead of 'repented' for instance. Other than that, anthropormophic language.

Greetings Xel'Naga,

But what is God grieved over? Is He grieved that He made man on the earth, because of their sin... or is He grieved over sin that had wholly consumed them? Does His grief show He changed His mind, or that sin always grieves the heart of God, and there are always consquences for sin? Was God surprised in any way that the wickedness of man was great in the earth? The same with Saul. Did God change His mind, or regret making Saul king... or had God given them what they desired, and then used their asking for a king, when He was their Great King, as a way to show them He is not a God Who changes His mind? When He says what will happen and then it happens, can we really say this is God regretting what He promised or changing His mind?

Many Blessings,
RW

Sirus
Aug 1st 2009, 06:47 PM
If that instance was a change of God's mind he wouldn't have saved Noah and his family. He would have wiped out all men. THat would have been repenting in the Hebrew shûb sense.

Athanasius
Aug 1st 2009, 07:02 PM
Greetings Xel'Naga,

But what is God grieved over? Is He grieved that He made man on the earth, because of their sin... or is He grieved over sin that had wholly consumed them? Does His grief show He changed His mind, or that sin always grieves the heart of God, and there are always consquences for sin? Was God surprised in any way that the wickedness of man was great in the earth? The same with Saul. Did God change His mind, or regret making Saul king... or had God given them what they desired, and then used their asking for a king, when He was their Great King, as a way to show them He is not a God Who changes His mind? When He says what will happen and then it happens, can we really say this is God regretting what He promised or changing His mind?

Many Blessings,
RW

God is grieved over the sinful, rebellious actions of men. I don't think that necessarily means God changed His mind, simply that the coming to pass of such events does cause God grief, disappointment (in us), righteous anger, whatever you want to call it.

Redeemed by Grace
Aug 1st 2009, 07:23 PM
//

We don't know Lucifer fell quickly. I have no idea how you'd come to that conclusion.

//



I’d be glad to show you…

John 8:44 "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

1 John 3:8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.

Athanasius
Aug 1st 2009, 07:48 PM
I’d be glad to show you…

John 8:44 "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

1 John 3:8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.

What Sirus is saying is that we don't know how long it took Satan to rebel. Just because those verses say 'from the beginning' does not mean he fell quickly.

Redeemed by Grace
Aug 1st 2009, 09:54 PM
What Sirus is saying is that we don't know how long it took Satan to rebel. Just because those verses say 'from the beginning' does not mean he fell quickly.

Hi X'N

Didn’t think I’d ever have to define and defend when the beginning was… LOL.

Oh well, be happy again to point it out…

Moses wrote that the beginning of the heavens and earth took 7 literal days…


Let’s begin verse 1.

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Day one:
Genesis 1:3-5
3 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.
4 God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
5 God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

Day two:
Genesis 1:6-8
6 Then God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters."
7 God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so.
8 God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

Day three:
Genesis 1:9-13
9 Then God said, "Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear"; and it was so.
10 God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.
11 Then God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them"; and it was so.
12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.
13 There was evening and there was morning, a third day

Day four:
Genesis 1:14-1914 Then God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;
15 and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and it was so.
16 God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.
17 God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,
18 and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.
19 There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

Day five:
Genesis 1:20-23
20 Then God said, "Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens."
21 God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
22 God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth."
23 There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

Day six:
Genesis 1:23-31
23 There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.
24 Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind"; and it was so.
25 God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."
27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
28 God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
29 Then God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;
30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food"; and it was so.
31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.


Now look at this next verses…

Genesis 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts.
Genesis 2:4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven.

Do I need to continue?

Sirus
Aug 1st 2009, 10:09 PM
Well this is all totally off topic, but you debunked yourself here
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Day one:
Genesis 1:3-5 v1 isn't a part of day one

also your trans says ....account?
Genesis 2:4 This is the accountThat's not at all accurate. It is in fact generations or births. For example it's the same word used in Gen 5:1. None of my 7 translations say account.

What Moses said was
Exo 20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. not
Moses wrote that the beginning of the heavens and earth took 7 literal days…Why is both made a create found in the 'creation account'? Two words, two meanings. Why? :idea:

If you reply to this I will not respond and continue to derail this thread. Be happy to discuss it in another thread though :)

RogerW
Aug 1st 2009, 11:27 PM
Ah, I see the disconnect.

In my world, "free will" does not mean "free to do anything one wants, to be one's own sovereign, without consequence." I don't know any Arminian who believes such. That to me is a forced definition that creates a straw man.

Freedom of the will for me means the ability to make choices as a free moral agent, recognizing that I and I alone will bear either the reward or the detrimental effect of those choices, and that the ability to make that choice is, of course, an innate part of my being created imago dei.

Greeting RK,

This really doesn't make any sense to me. If one has the ability to make choices as a free moral agent, recognizing their choice to reject Christ will be detrimental and in fact means damnation, what free moral agent in his/her right mind would willfully choose that which will be detrimental and in fact damnation knowingly?

So I tell you if you don't believe Christ you are going to be eternally condemned, and you simply say "so be it", knowing it is truth? Who, being free moral agents, knowingly chooses condemnation? I've heard of men willing to die for the truth, but willing to die, knowing they can choose the truth and have eternal life, but willfully choose to die anyway??? Strange doctrine indeed!

Many Blessings,
RW

Athanasius
Aug 1st 2009, 11:58 PM
Hi X'N

Didn’t think I’d ever have to define and defend when the beginning was… LOL.

Oh well, be happy again to point it out…

Moses wrote that the beginning of the heavens and earth took 7 literal days…

Let’s begin verse 1.

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Day one:
Genesis 1:3-5
3 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.
4 God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
5 God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

Day two:
Genesis 1:6-8
6 Then God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters."
7 God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so.
8 God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

Day three:
Genesis 1:9-13
9 Then God said, "Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear"; and it was so.
10 God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.
11 Then God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them"; and it was so.
12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.
13 There was evening and there was morning, a third day

Day four:
Genesis 1:14-1914 Then God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;
15 and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and it was so.
16 God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.
17 God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,
18 and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.
19 There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

Day five:
Genesis 1:20-23
20 Then God said, "Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens."
21 God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
22 God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth."
23 There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

Day six:
Genesis 1:23-31
23 There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.
24 Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind"; and it was so.
25 God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."
27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
28 God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
29 Then God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;
30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food"; and it was so.
31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Now look at this next verses…

Genesis 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts.
Genesis 2:4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven.

Do I need to continue?

I didn't ask you to explain when the beginning was. In addition to what you've posted above, in Job we're told the angels were worshiping God as He created (Job 38:4-7)? Angels were created before the world was created. Whether that was a day, a hundred years, a million years before, we don't know. If you want to opt for 'shortly before the earth was created' then that's your prerogative. As Sirus pointed out however, we're now derailing the thread.

Sirus
Aug 2nd 2009, 04:27 AM
Greeting RK,

This really doesn't make any sense to me. If one has the ability to make choices as a free moral agent, recognizing their choice to reject Christ will be detrimental and in fact means damnation, what free moral agent in his/her right mind would willfully choose that which will be detrimental and in fact damnation knowingly?

So I tell you if you don't believe Christ you are going to be eternally condemned, and you simply say "so be it", knowing it is truth? Who, being free moral agents, knowingly chooses condemnation? I've heard of men willing to die for the truth, but willing to die, knowing they can choose the truth and have eternal life, but willfully choose to die anyway??? Strange doctrine indeed!

Many Blessings,
RWRomans 1 is a strange chapter to many. For some reason, many think the wrath of God is revealed from heaven to those that do not know the truth. However that is not what it says. In fact it says the opposite.
Why is this a strange doctrine? Man is w/o excuse because he knows the truth and rejects it.

John146
Aug 2nd 2009, 04:04 PM
Not so... For the Ninevites were persecutors of Israel, and they were hated by Israel for what they did to Israel. Jonah, knowing God's nature, knew that if God sent him to Nineveh to preach the Gospel, that God had designs to save these people.... So that's why Jonah 'ran' away.

Ahh but we know that God called this group of Ninevites to salvation, based on the determined plan of God by sending a reluctant preacher, and just as Jonah had feared, they heard the preaching, they repented and they believed.

So God knew exactly, God didn't repent as a man, for He knew exactly and even planned for it.I didn't say anything about God repenting as a man as if He did something wrong. Is that what you're saying? We're talking in terms of God changing His plan and/or giving people conditions and carrying out His plan based on the actions of those people and not in terms of God repenting of doing something wrong.


God sent Jonah, Jonah rebelled; God chastens Jonah, Jonah repented [you know - the big fish]; then Jonah did what God called him to do, then the Ninevites also did what God called them to do, they repented and believed; then God chastens Jonah again with a plant and teaches Jonah that Salvation is of the Lord!

Later on in history - the future generations of the Ninevites were annihilated by God for their torture on the JewsYou apparently completely missed my point. Did God not have a plan to destroy Nineveh? Jonah 3:10 says that He did. Yet He didn't carry out that plan? Why not? Because they repented of their sins. Did God force them to repent or did they repent by choice? If God made or forced them to repent then it would make no sense for Him to have originally planned to have destroyed them.

RogerW
Aug 2nd 2009, 04:29 PM
Romans 1 is a strange chapter to many. For some reason, many think the wrath of God is revealed from heaven to those that do not know the truth. However that is not what it says. In fact it says the opposite.
Why is this a strange doctrine? Man is w/o excuse because he knows the truth and rejects it.

That's exactly my point Sirus! You say man has everything he needs to put his faith in Christ for eternal life. If that's the case then man is certifiable! Even a hardened criminal will do good if they know there is something in it for them. But Ro 1 tells us that man in unbelief not only know the truth, but they suppress it, knowing that it will lead them to eternal condemnation. That makes the mass of humanity dumber than a doorknob for not freely choosing life if they could. Something is quite amiss in this doctrine.

The answer is really very simple, man in unbelief do not have faith, and without faith it is impossible to please God. How does man in unbelief receive the faith necessary for obtaining eternal life? Through hearing the gospel. How does hearing the gospel give faith to those in unbelief, by grace, faith is the gift of God and comes by hearing. Either this is true, or we have to accept that even though God makes man very good, and gives him everything needed to obtain eternal life, and God also shows them through conscience and creation the consequences of unbelief, man freely chooses to suffer eternal damnation rather than to believe? That is absurd!!! No man will freely choose to die when he has a way to live.

If your doctrine were truth, then every man would choose life, and there would be none who willfully, knowingly, freely choose to suffer everlasting condemnation and death. But since that is not the case, we know there is something terribly wrong in your doctrine.

Many Blessings,
RW

Athanasius
Aug 2nd 2009, 04:49 PM
No man will freely choose to die when he has a way to live.

Don't tell that to Adam.

RogerW
Aug 2nd 2009, 05:03 PM
I didn't ask you to explain when the beginning was. In addition to what you've posted above, in Job we're told the angels were worshiping God as He created (Job 38:4-7)? Angels were created before the world was created. Whether that was a day, a hundred years, a million years before, we don't know. If you want to opt for 'shortly before the earth was created' then that's your prerogative. As Sirus pointed out however, we're now derailing the thread.

Greetings Xel'Naga,

Job 38 is a highly symbolic chapter. I don't think a case can be made that it speaks of literal angels being created before all things were created. For Moses tells us that all things in heaven and earth were created in the six days creation. That would of necessity have to include the angels.

Ex 20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

The following comes from an article that helped me to better understand the symbolic imagery of Job 38. The article gives this author's opinion of who the sons of God are. http://mountainretreatorg.net/faq/nephils.html:


Job 38:7

"When the morning star sang together, and all the Sons of God shouted for Joy."
The passage in Job 38:7 may be a little more difficult to understand, but the chapter becomes clear once we compare scripture with scripture. The entire chapter is speaking in symbolical terms. God talks about where the foundations of the earth are fastened together (or sockets been sunk). The Earth isn't sunk by sockets. It says who laid the corner stone. The earth wasn't laid on corner stones. It says the sea is shut with doors. The sea doesn't have any doors on it. It says the sea bursts forth as a womb. The sea is not a womb. It talks of the clouds as a swaddling bands, and bars being set, God talking and commanding the morning, taking hold of the wings or ends of the earth, it being as a clothes or a garment, a broken arm, etc., etc., etc. The point I'm making is, all these things symbolize something. It's not a literal broken arm in view here, or literal bars and doors or literal stars bursting forth singing. So why should we take this alone to be literally angels, when everything else in the chapter speaks symbolically? This all has a Spiritual significance no doubt, which is beyond the scope of this study. But God is talking about His Creation process and using spiritual language of creation, stars and sons to signify Christ and His kingdom. Stars don't literally sing, nor the world literally sat on stones. God says these things to paint a spiritual picture puzzle which we must discern by rightly dividing the word. God has always used the stars as tokens for believers, just as He uses the Sun to signify Christ. These significations or symbolic terms started from the very beginning in Genesis. The stars are part of the lights of the world created from the Beginning, and all are symbolic of the light of the lord! Likewise, those in Christ are called by these things. lamps, candles, stars, etc., because we are reflections or vessels of Christ. The House or Temple of the lord. It's these "Spiritual Things" which so many Theologians don't really comprehend. But this is the House of God, the sons of God, the foundation laid. Consider Chapters like Ezra and compare scripture with scripture knowing that the Lord does nothing by accident.

RogerW
Aug 2nd 2009, 05:07 PM
Don't tell that to Adam.

Greetings Xel'Naga,

Would you not agree that Adam, alone, being created "very good", and originally without sin, is the exception? If this is true we must acknowledge that something happened to all of man created in the image and likeness of their father Adam...would you agree?

Many Blessings,
RW

Athanasius
Aug 2nd 2009, 05:26 PM
Greetings Xel'Naga,

Would you not agree that Adam, alone, being created "very good", and originally without sin, is the exception? If this is true we must acknowledge that something happened to all of man created in the image and likeness of their father Adam...would you agree?

Many Blessings,
RW

I would agree it's the exception in the sense that Adam was initially without sin, but I think that only goes to prove the point further.

Sirus
Aug 2nd 2009, 06:34 PM
That's exactly my point Sirus! You say man has everything he needs to put his faith in Christ for eternal life.I said what Romans 1 does, so I didn't say it, did I?



If that's the case then man is certifiable!Exactly!



Even a hardened criminal will do good if they know there is something in it for them.Well, when I was a hardened criminal I found it good to turn to Jesus and put my faith in Him, instead of myself and the world, for the remission of my sins, that neither I or the world could take away. Again, you are correct.



But Ro 1 tells us that man in unbelief not only know the truth, but they suppress it, knowing that it will lead them to eternal condemnation. That makes the mass of humanity dumber than a doorknob for not freely choosing life if they could. Something is quite amiss in this doctrine.Dumb? Wicked? Both? it plainly says they are fools while professing to be wise.



The answer is really very simple, man in unbelief do not have faith,Unbelief in God doesn't mean one can't trust at all, or put their trust in something or someone other than God



How does man in unbelief receive the faith necessary for obtaining eternal life? Through hearing the gospel. How does hearing the gospel give faith to those in unbelief, by grace, faith is the gift of God and comes by hearing.Here we are again with you thinking faith is the gift instead of it being the means which the gift of salvation by grace is attained. You argue from a false premise. Hearing the gospel stirs up our faith. From your pov, how come everyone that hears the gospel doesn't receive some-thing called faith, since grace has appeared to all men by Jesus Christ? Maybe because they are foolish with foolish hearts that are darkened while they think they are wise?



Either this is true, or we have to accept that even though God makes man very good, and gives him everything needed to obtain eternal life, and God also shows them through conscience and creation the consequences of unbelief, man freely chooses to suffer eternal damnation rather than to believe? That is absurd!!! No man will freely choose to die when he has a way to live.Absurd? The word says it and as pointed, out Adam did it. In fact we all do, but not the same as Adam. Adam receive the commandment from God Himself. We have all sinned against God's Law -of conscience.



If your doctrine were truth, then every man would choose life, and there would be none who willfully, knowingly, freely choose to suffer everlasting condemnation and death. But since that is not the case, we know there is something terribly wrong in your doctrineIf your doctrine were true, everyone that hears the gospel, by grace seen by all, would be given faith. Oh, but I forgot, God only gives some faith and damns the rest. Right.....uhhu...sure....:B

Sirus
Aug 2nd 2009, 06:46 PM
Ex 20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

The following comes from an article that helped me to better understand the symbolic imagery of Job 38. The article gives this author's opinion of who the sons of God are. http://mountainretreatorg.net/faq/nephils.html:This simply comes down to whether the first day started in v1 or v3. Since Isaiah 45 says He did not created the earth in vain (tôhû), why is it found in that state in Genesis 1:2 (tôhû -without form)? It says the earth became (hâyâh -was) that way from its former created state (v1). "God said" in v3, starting the first day, dividing the light from the darkness, which day ended in v5.
"And the evening and the morning were the first day."
It doesn't say the creating of heaven and earth and the evening and the morning were the first day!
The days start with -God said

Sirus
Aug 2nd 2009, 06:55 PM
If your doctrine were truth, then every man would choose life, and there would be none who willfully, knowingly, freely choose to suffer everlasting condemnation and death. But since that is not the case, we know there is something terribly wrong in your doctrineI'll admit, it takes 'some kind of faith' to believe God only gives faith to some, it not being found in scripture. It's far easier to believe scripture that says man is made upright, fearfully and wonderfully made, knowing right well.

BroRog
Aug 2nd 2009, 07:06 PM
Romans 1 is a strange chapter to many. For some reason, many think the wrath of God is revealed from heaven to those that do not know the truth. However that is not what it says. In fact it says the opposite.
Why is this a strange doctrine? Man is w/o excuse because he knows the truth and rejects it.

Yes, but isn't it the force of Paul's argument here, and the basis for the doctrine of Total Depravity the universal aspect of the man's rejection of God? While Calvinists would agree with everything you said here, they would say your view didn't go far enough because God's wrath is revealed against the entire human race since the entire human race has suppressed knowledge of God's existence and seeks not to understand him. Doesn't Paul drive the point home just two chapters later when he cites various passages of scripture that seem to place all of us in the same boat with regard to our rebellion, i.e. there is none righteous, no one seeks to understand, and etc.?

Sirus
Aug 2nd 2009, 07:31 PM
Yes, but isn't it the force of Paul's argument here, and the basis for the doctrine of Total Depravity the universal aspect of the man's rejection of God? While Calvinists would agree with everything you said here, they would say your view didn't go far enough because God's wrath is revealed against the entire human race since the entire human race has suppressed knowledge of God's existence and seeks not to understand him. Doesn't Paul drive the point home just two chapters later when he cites various passages of scripture that seem to place all of us in the same boat with regard to our rebellion, i.e. there is none righteous, no one seeks to understand, and etc.?Well see that's the funny thing. Total Depravity is not what is described here. The process of every man rejecting God and truth is, I agree, but there's no implication of original sin/sin nature -Total Depravity. In fact it says man is going against his nature. One must possess the truth and know it in order to suppress it.

RogerW
Aug 2nd 2009, 07:36 PM
This simply comes down to whether the first day started in v1 or v3. Since Isaiah 45 says He did not created the earth in vain (tôhû), why is it found in that state in Genesis 1:2 (tôhû -without form)? It says the earth became (hâyâh -was) that way from its former created state (v1). "God said" in v3, starting the first day, dividing the light from the darkness, which day ended in v5.
"And the evening and the morning were the first day."
It doesn't say the creating of heaven and earth and the evening and the morning were the first day!
The days start with -God said

Sirus, vs 1 of Gen 1 is a simple statement telling us what God did out of nothing. Vs 2 following show us how God did that. The earth did not 'become' without form and void, it 'began' without form and void, shrouded in darkness. Then God spoke saying, "Let there be"...."and it was so". Then the formless [desolation, lie waste, empty place, worthless thing] void [emptiness] and darkness [misery, destruction, ignorance, death], by the Spirit of God gave it light [illumination, brightness, clear, morning], and it was no longer formless, dark and void. God saw the light was good and divided the light from the darkness, and the evening and the morning were the first day.

Many Blessings,
RW

Sirus
Aug 2nd 2009, 07:47 PM
Great! Now we have the two opposing views posted.
So? Which day was Lucifer created and which day did Lucifer fall? :idea:

RogerW
Aug 2nd 2009, 08:01 PM
Unbelief in God doesn't mean one can't trust at all, or put their trust in something or someone other than God

Well Sirus, man has faith in lots of things. The example of flying in an airplan is often cited. The passenger (man) has faith that the one flying the plane (pilot) can indeed navigate the plane, and he believes the pilot will safely carry him from one place to another...that's natural faith, and we all have that kind of faith for sure.



Here we are again with you thinking faith is the gift instead of it being the means which the gift of salvation by grace is attained. You argue from a false premise. Hearing the gospel stirs up our faith.

Sirus, it is not what I am thinking, it is what the Bible says! I don't want my natural faith (described above) stirred up. I want a supernatural faith that endures forever. Sometimes my natural faith can be so weak I couldn't even fly in a plane because I could easily convince myself that the pilot cannot be trusted. Supernatural faith that brings eternal life will not fail, but my natural faith, if that's all I have can and often does.



From your pov, how come everyone that hears the gospel doesn't receive some-thing called faith, since grace has appeared to all men by Jesus Christ? Maybe because they are foolish with foolish hearts that are darkened while they think they are wise?

Scripture also says that all flesh shall see the salvation of God (Lu 3:6). Does that mean that all flesh will be saved? All that means is that the plan of salvation in not limited to only the Jews, but that it is revealed to the whole human race that all who believe will be saved. Every man is in the same spiritually dead condition (foolish hearts darkened) before regeneration. But not every man is given the gift of eternal life by grace through the gift of faith.



Absurd? The word says it and as pointed, out Adam did it. In fact we all do, but not the same as Adam. Adam receive the commandment from God Himself. We have all sinned against God's Law -of conscience.

Adam disobeyed God before having any knowledge of good or evil. So Adam had no way of knowing that disobedience to God's command would cast him forever away from God, bringing him to eternal condemnation.



If your doctrine were true, everyone that hears the gospel, by grace seen by all, would be given faith. Oh, but I forgot, God only gives some faith and damns the rest. Right.....uhhu...sure....:B

Yes Sirus, God gives the gift of faith unto eternal life to His elect, who were written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world.

Many Blessings,
RW

Sirus
Aug 2nd 2009, 08:10 PM
that's natural faith, and we all have that kind of faith for sure. Here we are again, yet you have not provided scripture for more than one type of faith. Forget that demons stuff, that's not going to cut it.



Sirus, it is not what I am thinking, it is what the Bible says!Look, like I said we've been here a few times and it's a waste of time. If you can't see 'through faith' is a means, not the gift which is salvation, there's nothing else to discuss.




But not every man is given the gift of eternal life by grace through the gift of faith. You have two gifts there from one verse :confused How does that work?
The gift of salvation is offered to all...whosoever..that IS the grace of God that appeared to all.
Every man does not receive Christ by faith.
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus, so ye walk in Him. (by faith)
Isn't that what it says? Faith is the means of obtaining the gift. It is not the gift in that Ephesians verse.

RogerW
Aug 2nd 2009, 08:30 PM
Great! Now we have the two opposing views posted.
So? Which day was Lucifer created and which day did Lucifer fall? :idea:

Do you mean the serpent we find in the garden, who deceived Eve? If that's who you mean, he would have been created along with the beast of the field, and humans which the LORD God had made, that would be the sixth day.

Ge 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

I do not believe Satan is a fallen angel. I believe he is created exactly as God intended, more subtil (cunning - in a bad sense, crafty, prudent) than any other beast of the field. Satan is created an adversary of good, a false accuser, slanderer, ruler of this world, a spirit now working in the children of disobedience. He is the ruler of darkness of this world, not flesh and blood, but spiritual wickedness, a principle or high power we wrestle against.

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 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Spirits can be either demonic or angel, and God created them both, for God created all things in heaven and earth.

If Lucifer is the name given Satan, why doesn't God speak to him by name?

Job 1:7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

Many Blessings,
RW

301
Aug 2nd 2009, 08:45 PM
A short booklet I'm currently trying to digest on this ageless debate.... please pardon the interuption to the logical flow of the on-going discussion.


FREE WILL VS. OWNERSHIP - Stephen E. Jones

The Question of Free Will

I believe this booklet will be helpful in understanding the sovereignty of God and the entire question of free will. Every Christian, it seems, believes that God is sovereign in the universe. On the other hand, man's theology also seems to deny His sovereignty when we question them on the details. God is sovereign, they tell us, yet for whatever reason, God has chosen to relinquish His sovereignty, or His control over His creation, in order to give man a free will.

To complicate matters further, many believe that one of God's top angels decided, by his own free will of course, to overthrow God. This Lucifer, or the devil (according to the commonly held view) was also endowed with a free will, and he convinced other disgruntled angels who were jealous of or angry with God for reasons unclear, to join the rebellion. The bottom line is that it is commonly believed that both men and angels have a free will and can sin or not sin by their own decision.

We do see in the Bible that man is told to choose what is right and to shun that which is wrong. Man does have a will; there is no question about that. It is commonly believed that if man has a will at all, then it must be totally free. The problem is that we are told in John 6:44 that no man is able to come to the Father except the Father drag him. The Greek helkuo means “to drag.” It is translated in the King James as “draw.”
John 6:44

44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
NT: #1670

helkuo (hel-koo'-o); or helko (hel'-ko); probably akin to NT:138; to drag (literally or figuratively).
You will find this same word used in other parts of the Bible, such as John 21:6,
John 21:6

6 And he said unto them, “Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find.” They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.
The same idea is expressed when fishermen drag their nets. There are fish in the net, and the fish do not have a whole lot of free will to escape once they are caught in the net. The fish do not know this, but we of higher intelligence know it. You also find this same word in James 2:6,
James 2:6

6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?
Do the rich and powerful oppressors come knocking on your door and say, “You have a choice here. We would like you to come down to our court because we want to sue you.” I do not think they give anyone the free will option to decline. They put the handcuffs on you and drag you into court. That is the theme in James 2 – it means “to drag.” To drag implies that they do not have much free will in the matter. They may fight and scream all they want, but it is not their decision to make. Someone of a higher authority has already made the decision for them, and they are forced to comply.
John 12:32

32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
Here, Jesus uses that same word – drag. It does not sound like men have much to say in the matter. In other words, if the expression “to drag” implies the rich and powerful are dragging you into court or the net is dragging fish into the boat, then the ones being dragged are having their "free will" overruled by a higher will. Therefore we can say that if Jesus was lifted up, that is on the cross – which He was – He will drag all men unto Himself just as He plainly said He would do.
What does this do to free will? The word “draw” really does not allow much in the way of free will.
John 6:37

37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
Whomever the Father has given to Christ will come to Him. In other words, those who decide to come to Christ by their own “free will” are the people whom the Father has given Him already. There is Someone behind the scenes Who has called these people, and therefore their response is, “I think I want to come to Christ.” They think it is all by their own free will, but yet God has played a hidden role in the background, choosing to remain anonymous.

God has chosen them, so they will in turn choose God seemingly of their own free will. God preserves this illusion of free will, and this gives us the idea that we all have decided our own course. We hold this illusion of free will in our immaturity. Once we begin to understand who God is, and see His sovereignty and His glory and understand that He really is the Sovereign of the universe, then we begin to see that our will is merely a response to His will. The more we come to know Him, the more sovereign He seems to become, and the less free our will seems to be.

So the question becomes, why do men feel the need to question God's sovereignty and establish the idea of their own free will? What is behind this need to question God's sovereignty? What is the motive behind it that is so strong that people feel absolutely obligated to maintain free will, and without it their entire universe falls apart? There are three basic motives for the maintenance of free will among men.

The first element is human pride and man's need to do something in himself in order to be saved. Man wants God to think that he (man) has come to Him on his own initiative, so that God will be pleased with man's decision. In other words, “I have some participation in my salvation. It is a cooperative effort between God and me. God can do nothing without me, as much as I can do nothing without God.” We hear much about this cooperative effort. Well, I agree that on one level it appears that we need to cooperate with God – at least on the surface – and I have no real problem with that. My question is: Who is it that implanted the idea within our heart to make us cooperate with God?

The second motive behind the idea of free will is that the Adamic self-life is still very much alive. The self-life wants to maintain itself and survive. It does not want to die. It is the carnal mind, and it uses man's ego to focus upon man. It makes man's will the originator of all his decisions. Man becomes the measure of all things, as philosophers have said. Essentially, at its core it is a humanistic view of the world.

Thirdly, and perhaps most important for our purposes, the reason for the free will idea is the need to explain the existence of evil in the world in a way that does not make God liable for it. In other words, if God is sovereign (we are asked), then why does He allow all this human suffering to take place? People always bring up all of the terrible events that happen and continue to happen. If God really were sovereign, then why does He not do something about the world's problems? Surely He cannot be held responsible!

Christian theologians and philosophers have proposed two opposing solutions to this third question. On e group says that they do not really understand God's purpose for evil, but they know that God will work all things out for good (Romans 8:28). The other solution is that God is not really responsible, that it is all caused by mankind and the devil who inspires them. Jeremiah had something to say about this:
Jeremiah 31:18-19

18 I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; “Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the LORD my God. 19 Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth.”
By the Spirit, Jeremiah heard Ephraim praying “as a bullock” that was plowing a field that God would turn him because then he would be turned. To turn means to repent, to go in another direction. In other words, the farmer is the one responsible to turn the bullock in the right direction as it is plowing the field. The problem is that this particular “bullock” is the tribe of Ephraim, or the nation of Israel in general, and they were not accustomed to being obedient to God, the Farmer.

Ephraim goes on to say that after God turned him, he turned, or repented. The passage does not say that Ephraim repented and then God turned him, as if God were reacting to His “bullock.” God is clearly shown to be “at the reins,” so to speak. He is the One in control of the bullock. So Jeremiah is showing that God has to initiate everything – otherwise it will not be accomplished.

None of us will be saved unless God has initiated it first. No man can come to the Father, except the Father drag him. If God has ordained some event from the beginning (call it “predestination” if you want – the “P” word); if He has determined something and ordained it, then it is going to happen, BUT it will seem as if we did it all by ourselves.
Jeremiah 17:14

14 Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.
Again, who is the cause and what is the effect? Man's flesh cannot initiate any good thing. In my flesh is no good thing. James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above.” One of the greatest gifts God can give us is the gift of repentance. Romans 2:4 that “the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.” If God leads us to repent and begins to drag us to the Father, then we should stop taking credit for our repentance and begin to praise and thank God for giving us this good and perfect gift.
If God does not turn us – which causes us to respond by turning to Him – we simply will not turn to Him. So between this reality and the word “drag,” we can ask the question: Is this really free will? Man would always like to take credit for his turning to God, his acceptance of Jesus Christ as his Savior, as if his salvation is based upon his own free will decision. To many theologians this is the only thing that gives salvation any legitimacy. They believe that if God exercises His will or interferes in any way with man's decision to come to God, then somehow this goes against the nature of God.
1 John 1:11-12

11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Thus far it sounds like man has free will. But then John says in verse 13,

13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
It is not the will of the flesh; it is not the will of man; it is not blood lineage. It is done only by the will of God. Of all the gospel writers, John makes the clearest case for God's sovereignty. Was John unaware of the debate over free will? No, for this issue was debated just as hotly in his day as it is in ours. There were three Judean schools of thought in those days. The Essenes believed that God was totally sovereign. The Sadducees believed that man had total free will. The Pharisees were in the middle, believing that God “helps” people to do good. These same schools of thought have come down to us today.

Of course you recall in Ephesians 1:11 that God does all things by the counsel of His own will.
Ephesians 1:11

11 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.
To absolve God of any responsibility for evil in the world, many Christian theologians today feel the need to take back most of God's sovereignty. First they attribute the sovereignty to God, and then they take it all back and give most of it to the devil and to man. Free will, when taken to its logical conclusion, removes all sovereignty from God leaving Him totally impotent to do anything but stand on the sidelines and threaten people with ever-increasing punishment. He stands there and hopes and hopes and hopes that somebody will listen, but He is impotent to actually do anything. Little wonder, then, that so many Christians live in fear of the devil, rather than by faith in God. While they express faith in God with their lips, they go home believing that God is in serious need of help to accomplish His goals on earth.

I think that most people agree that God did not have to do it this way, if He had so chosen at the beginning. But, most of them say that God did do it this way, because, for some mysterious reason not explained in the Bible, He had to preserve man's free will. Some go so far as to insist that God had to preserve the free will of angels also. Remember we are taught often that the devil sinned by his own free will.

It is interesting to me that God has to stand on the sidelines wringing His hands, hoping that people will turn to Him. He stands there in despair when things do not go His way, but the devil has no such constraints. “The devil made me do it,” because (they say) the devil is not a gentleman, but God is. God set the rules limiting Himself and His own will in the affairs of men, so He cannot do anything about our decisions. However, the devil has free will, they say, even if God does not. The devil has not set any rules for himself, so he is free to impose his will upon everyone.

When the spirit of God inhabits your body, you still sin because of your own free will, right? But when the devil inhabits your body and you still sin, then you have no free will – the devil made you do it. Why is this? We are told that the devil can override your free will, but then God cannot. Is that not interesting? Is it any wonder that in the end the devil wins at least 99% of humanity?

301
Aug 2nd 2009, 08:47 PM
...continued

Who is Really Sovereign Here on Earth?

Has the devil taken sovereignty, and has God abdicated? Is that the kind of God we serve? When you stop and think about it, to leave free will intact in man creates a very scary situation in the world, because if God is on the sidelines and cannot override man's free will, then how can God prophesy anything? There are books out there today that even agree with that premise. They say, “That's right, even God does not know what is going to happen yet because man has not decided, and the devil has not decided.” It is all a tactical matter, and God has no control over the situation.

We might ask ourselves, how much free will did the Apostle Paul have when he was converted. A light came and threw him on his back, the light shined in his eyes, and a voice out of heaven spoke to him. Put yourself in his shoes. Would you have said “no”? Paul called himself the chief of sinners in 1 Timothy 1:15. God saved the chief of sinners by throwing him down on the ground, conscripting him, and saying, “You will follow Me from now on,” totally overruling Paul's free will. This may be treated like an exception to the rule. But ask yourself one thing: what if God did that to every human being in the world? How many non-Christians would the world have today?

If the rules of free will have been established, then apparently God set aside those rules when it came to the Apostle Paul. This is not fair. How can anyone believe that God really does want to save all mankind, and yet He reveals Himself to only a few? If He really loved all mankind, would He not do with all men as He did with Paul?

The fact of the matter is that if God wanted to save everybody on this very day, He could do so very easily. All He would have to do is to repeat what He did to the Apostle Paul. Throw everyone down and say, “I am Jesus, the One that you are persecuting.” Who would argue with Him? In fact, look at some lesser situations. Every time there is a genuine revival meeting, where the Holy Spirit moves in power, you see them turning to Him and repenting. Why does God not do this all of the time? We would not have the situation in the world today if He did, but He has chosen not to do so.

When the world comes along and says that it does not believe in a God who would allow all of these evil things to happen, they may have a point because God could stop it at any point that He so chose. But the church does not like that solution. Their solution is that God is not responsible because God is basically helpless. Be assured: God is not helpless; God is sovereign, and He can change the effects of evil any time He wants. The world is often more justified than the Church, because they at least assume that God must really be sovereign if He is God at all. The Church often wants to water down His sovereignty to the point where God is totally impotent, a helpless giant in the sky.

The question is not resolved by removing sovereignty from God; the question is resolved by understanding why God does things the way He does. That takes more study and work and knowing who God is in order to understand the real solution to the world's problems.

Sin is Reckoned as a Debt

We know that all sin is reckoned as a debt. When we sin, we obtain a debt to the law. The law has set up its liability laws so that if you sin against your neighbor, you owe them restitution. Therefore, it is reckoned as a debt. This is why Jesus taught the disciples to pray, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). Luke's version of it says, “Forgive us our SINS; for we also forgive every one that is INDEBTED to us.” God reckons sin in terms of debt.

In man's way of thinking debt continues forever and ever. It is always eternal punishment. But God's laws are not that way. (And man has the nerve to say that the Old Testament God was merciless and unloving!) We are like the man in Matthew 18 who owed ten thousand talents, a huge debt that he could not pay. So the man, his wife, his children, and all that he had, were sold for payment.
Matthew 18:23-25

23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
Think about this. Adam was given a wife, children, and dominion over all the earth. This represented “all that he had” – the whole earth. When he sinned, all that he had was sold to sin, and sin held the debt note until Christ paid that debt. Because Christ paid our debt note, we have now become His servants just as Paul described himself in Romans 1:1,
Romans 1:1

1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God . . .
The Jubilee Ends All Debt
How long was the debt to last for the man in the parable of Matthew 18? There is a year of Jubilee that limits all liability for debt. This is God's law. We do not have the authority or the sovereignty that would allow us to sell ourselves into debt so far that the year of Jubilee could not free us. We do not have that right; nor did we ever have that right or authority, because we do not own us. You do not own yourself. You have limited authority over yourself, and when you marry, you relinquish to your spouse even more of your authority.

Ownership is ultimately from God. God owns; we have only limited authority. When we talk about ownership – such as when we say that we own our land or we own our house – we must recognize that in the eyes of God we do not really own the property. God owns all the land (Lev. 25:23). We have authority over it that is always limited by God's sovereignty and His law. God has laws that limit our liability for debt. When we go into debt, there is a time in which to pay the debt. But there is a Jubilee year that limits the liability for all debt.

That is done out of God's sovereignty. It is a comfort to me to know that when all the evil is happening out there in the world, all this debt to sin is being incurred by so many people, it makes no difference if they owe a trillion dollars or six dollars. The Jubilee can handle all of it. There is no amount of debt where the law of Jubilee no longer applies to you. The Jubilee will cancel a six-dollar debt and a trillion-dollar debt equally well with one stroke of the pen. It is called God's law, and His law is so merciful.

So we raise the question: Could God save every man by the same method that He saved Paul? Or, were the rules of free will set aside in the case of Paul? Did Paul receive preferential treatment? If God demonstrated His ability to turn the chief of sinners and cause him to repent, why does He not do it more often? So if God does not exercise His sovereignty and save everyone now as He did Paul, who is liable for lost souls?

The Creator Has Land Laws

I want to shift this whole issue of free will to what I believe is the real issue. The question of free will is a side issue. It is not a question of free will, it is a question of ownership. We will go through the Scriptures and the law to show you this.
Genesis 1:1

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
This is always a good place to start – the beginning. Do we all believe that God was the Creator? Or, do some people believe that the devil created the earth? The ancient Greeks believed that the devil was the one responsible for the creation of matter (material things) because they believed that matter was inherently evil. They could not see how a good God would create evil matter. Their basic premise was incorrect. Physical matter was created and pronounced “good” at every stage of creation (Gen. 1:10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31).

As Christians, we believe that God is the One who created. He is a good God, not a bad God, and that this God of the Old Testament is not different from the God of the New Testament. There are some who claimed to be Christians in the early church, some sects, who believed that the God of the Old Testament was a vengeful, hateful God, but the God of the New Testament, Jesus Christ, is a God of love. They believed these were two different gods opposed to each other.

To me, that is blasphemy. God created all things, including man. In Chapter 2, verse 7, we read the following:
Genesis 2:7

7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Note here that man was formed of the dust of the ground. This ground, or this earth from which man was formed, was something that God had created in Genesis 1:1. So, the devil did not create; God created the earth and then formed and shaped man out of this material that He had created. That is why it is “dust to dust, ashes to ashes.” When we die, our bodies return to dust. They return to the elements of the ground from which our bodies were originally created. Turn to Leviticus 25:
Leviticus 25:23-24

23 The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me. 24 And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land.
These are God's land laws. The land must always be redeemed. This is God's law. On what basis does God have land laws? Remember when Israel went into the land of Canaan, Joshua divided up all the land among the citizens of Israel – first among the tribes and then to each family. They all had a land inheritance. Yet even though they inherited the land, they were not given absolute sovereignty over their land. They were tenants on God's land. There were conditions to which they were subjected. Man had authority over the land, but God retained sovereignty.
Today, we call it “eminent domain.” The government claims eminent domain over your land so that if it wants to build a highway, it can come in and condemn your land. Basically, they come in and buy it. You are subject to them, and you do not have a whole lot of choice in the matter. Ultimately the government claims eminent domain over your land.

In the same way God claims eminent domain over your land as well. This is based upon the fact that He created all things. We own what we create, and the labor we put into any project is the basis of our ownership. Even so, God owns all of the earth because He created all of the earth. It is very simple. His ownership is based upon the fact that God put His labor into creating all things. Sovereignty is based upon ownership. Authority is a lesser form of sovereignty that is limited by the power that is above it.
So when Israel was given land as their inheritance, they were given only limited authority over that land. They were not given sovereignty. God retained sovereignty; man was given limited authority. Everyone needs to know that distinction. Authority is always limited by the will of the one who is sovereign.
It is Not a Question of Free Will: It is a Question of Ownership

God created man out of the dust of the ground. If God owns all the land by right of creation, and we are made of the dust of the ground, God owns you and God owns me. It is not a question of whether or not you have a free will; it is a question of who owns you. By right of creation, can anyone deny that God owns the dust of the ground? Did God form man from this very dust? Does anybody deny that God created all things? If God created all things, then He owns all things, and there is where we find the crux of the whole matter.

We can argue all day long, back and forth, about whether or not man has free will. That debate makes for good mental gymnastics, but the whole issue is really beside the point. The point is, who owns all things?
Why do we say that?

Turn to Exodus 21.When you begin to look at the laws of liability, then ownership becomes very, very important. Remember, we are asking ourselves this basic question: Who is liable for the evil that is done in the earth? The church has developed the idea of free will in order to explain evil and remove the liability from God's shoulders. They do not want God to be responsible for anything bad that is happening, and to do this they put the responsibility upon man and the devil. Is that not the basic motive? If that is the basic motive, then free will teaching does not solve the problem that it was intended to resolve.

Who created the devil? Who created man? God did not have to create the devil, nor was He compelled by external force or coercion to create man. But because He did so, He owns and is responsible for that which He has created. If either man or devils have done evil, the owner is legally liable, regardless of their “free will.”

....to be continued...

301
Aug 2nd 2009, 08:48 PM
..continued..

God's Liability Laws Based upon Ownership

To prove this liability, let us look at some of the laws of ownership:
Exodus 21:33-34

33 And if a man shall open a pit, or if a man shall dig a pit, and not cover it, and an ox or an ass fall therein; 34 the owner of the pit shall make it good, and give money unto the owner of them; and the dead beast shall be his.
The liability here is based upon ownership. If a man digs a pit and does not take the necessary steps to cover it and an ox comes along and falls in by his own free will or by his own stupidity, guess who is liable according to God's law? This is the law that sets the standard of liability. It is the owner of the pit who is liable, and he must then buy the dead ox for himself. The owner has to pay for it as though it were a live ox, and the dead ox is his.

Back in the Garden of Eden, God dug a “pit.” He did not cover it up, and man fell. Why did man fall? Why did he die? He died because God planted a couple of “trees” in this garden and gave man the “free will” to make the decision, fully aware what decision Adam would make. Yet God did not cover the pit to prevent Adam's fall. He did not take the precaution in this case. He did not build a ten-foot fence around that tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Man fell because God did not take the proper precautions that would have been necessary to prevent man from sinning.

Could God have prevented man from sinning? Of course He could have. He did not have to plant the tree in the first place, or if He did, He did not have to omit the fence. Even then, He did not have to create a tempter and allow him entrance into the garden. Did the tempter come in without God's knowledge? Did God turn off the security alarms and somehow the devil entered the garden without God's knowledge? Did God say “oops!”? Is God really that ignorant?

The fact is that God knew the end from the beginning. He was not taken by surprise. He dug that pit and left it uncovered because He had a plan, and the plan called for man to fall. And so he did. By God's own liability laws, then, He is responsible. So what did God do about it? He sent His only begotten Son who was lifted up on the cross in order to drag all men to Himself. He paid for the sin of the whole world because all of creation became subject to death through Adam's fall. He bought the dead ox. The ox is now His.

Do you realize what this means? He bought all who fell, and they are now His. Has anyone escaped falling? At the present time it may not look like all mankind is His, but the fact is that God created them and therefore, by His own liability laws, He purchased the world. In doing so, He fulfilled the law perfectly. This is the Good News of the New Testament. His blood was sufficient and worth enough to pay for the sin of the whole world.
1 John 2:2

2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
Let us take a closer look at the law regarding the ox in the pit. It is obvious that under normal circumstances, the ox simply did not see the pit or got too close to it. At any rate, the ox fell into the pit by his own free will or by his own blindness or stupidity. In such cases, the law clearly says, the one who dug the pit (its “owner”) would be liable to pay for the ox.

But suppose I had pushed the neighbor's ox into this pit. Would that make any legal difference? Well, it does not say anything about that, because that point is legally irrelevant. If he pushed the ox into the pit, he may perhaps owe the owner five oxen (Ex. 22:1). But even if it were totally accidental, the owner of the pit is liable because he owns the pit. Either way, the owner of the pit is liable. The issue is not whether the ox fell by his own free will or if someone (like the devil) nudged him into it. The question remains the same: who owns the pit? It is not a question of the ox's free will; it is a question of ownership.

Let us look at another liability law that came from the mind of God:
Deuteronomy 22:8

8 When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence.
According to this law, all you have to do to be liable is fail to build a railing on the roof of the house. In those days the people built houses with flat roofs, because they liked to fellowship in the cool of the evenings on the top of the house. Because of this, God required them to put a railing (“battlement”) around the roof, so that people would not accidentally fall. If there were no railing, and if someone were to fall off the roof, who is liable?

If a man pushed his neighbor off the roof, of course, he would be held liable for murder. But our issue is not whether he fell by accident or if someone pushed him deliberately. There is liability either way, and the only difference would be the degree of liability. Our issue is whether or not the man could have prevented the death of his neighbor by building a railing around the roof of the house. The fact is that if you own the house, you are responsible for putting those safety precautions into place. If you do not do so, “it was an accident” does not remove all liability from your door.

God's house is the whole heavens and the earth. His abode is in the heavens now, but He is making His home in the earth, and that is why He is coming – to make His home here. The problem is that when He built this house, man fell off the “roof.” Who is liable? We agree that God did not PUSH Adam off the “roof.” One cannot blame God for murder. Yet we cannot simply blame the devil in order to remove all liability from God. We cannot merely claim that man was careless and fell off by his own free will. To say it was totally man's fault is not a lawful answer. Ownership of the house makes God liable by His own liability laws.

There is another liability law that should help us understand this issue.
Exodus 22:5

5 If a man shall cause a field or vineyard to be eaten, and shall put in his beast, and shall feed in another man's field; of the best of his own field, and of the best of his own vineyard, shall he make restitution.
What happens if an ox tears down a fence by his own free will, plods into another field, and eats his neighbor's grass? Who is liable to pay for the grass? The owner of the ox, of course. The law is clear.

Suppose the owner of the ox opens the fence, pushes the ox into the neighbor's field, and pushes the ox's nose to the ground, saying, “Now you eat this grass, or I will beat you to death.” The ox is forced to eat the grass and has no free will in the matter. Who is liable? The owner of the ox. The only difference in penalty is that if the offense is deliberate, he would have to pay at least double restitution. If the ox committed the offense by his own “free will,” the owner has reduced liability. But he is still liable either way. To insist upon putting the entire blame upon the ox does not solve the problem of ownership. Whether that ox got in there by his own free will or whether the ox was pushed to go in against his free will, does not free the owner of liability itself. Ownership itself brings liability.

The theologian's insistence upon man having a free will may reduce the problem of God's liability, but it can never eliminate it altogether. This reminds us of the theory of evolution. The evolutionists insist that life came into existence by random particles coming together in the ocean at the same time. Yet they can never answer the question of how matter came to exist in the first place.

Likewise, the ancient Greeks attempted to reduce God's liability for creating “evil” physical things by postulating a lesser evil god who created evil matter. They called him the Demiurge (sort of a “devil” figure). But this did not solve their problem either, for they could never figure out how a good God could create the evil Demiurge! By making the Demiurge to be the creator of evil matter, they only succeeded in reducing God's liability and hoping no one would notice that it was still there.
Ownership is the only relevant, legal issue. Can you see that? That is why the question of free will really doe s not enter into the problem because putting free will upon man or the devil does not absolve God of liability according to His own law. It does not make any difference from a liability standpoint. Look at Exodus 22:6,
Exodus 22:6

6 If fire break out, and catch in thorns, so that the stacks of corn, or the standing corn, or the field, be consumed therewith; he that kindled the fire shall surely make restitution.
What if I light a fire and deliberately do so in order to burn another man's field of grain, what is the penalty? Obviously, I may have to pay double restitution for the field, because I stole his grain and burned it. But what if I accidentally burned the neighbor's crop? Does this absolve me of liability? Absolutely not. If I lit the fire, I own the fire. It all boils down once again to a question of ownership. The liability laws show that free will does not even enter the picture in God's court of law.

That is why I say that free will is a side issue for philosophers to debate. From a legal standpoint dealing with liability, declaring man's “free will” does not do what they say it is supposed to do. The idea of free will was developed primarily to absolve God of liability for man and his actions. It is inadequate to the task. It does not do what it is intended to do. The only real issue is this: Did God create man, and could He have created man in such a way that would prevent him from falling into sin? The answer is “yes” on both counts. This makes God liable by His own concept of liability, as stated in the divine law.

So free will is not the central issue, ownership is. All through the law, and the New Testament as well, God claims ownership of all that He has created. On that basis God takes responsibility for all that He owns. He wrote the laws on liability, so that we would have the revelation to understand that He legally obligated Himself to purchase the whole world. That is why He paid for the sins of the whole world and not just for the sins of two percent of humanity. The Bible never, never says that He only paid for the sins of a few. He paid for the sin of the whole world, and when He did so, He absolved and justified Himself as Creator and Owner of the Universe.
Conclusion

God has created this whole situation, and for whatever reason, it was His will to create vessels of honor and vessels of dishonor. We may not understand this, and if we do not understand, then, as Paul says in Romans 9:20, we are not to question God. Shall the clay say to the potter, why have you made me thus? That is enough of an explanation for those who cannot understand these in-depth things. But ultimately, as we come to know the mind of God, we ought to begin to understand why He created man the way He did – and why evil was allowed to invade the earth.

We do know that all things are going to work out for good – and that the sufferings of this present age are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to come (Rom. 8:18). That we know. I do not have an explanation for each piece of evil in the earth. I do not understand it all, but I do know one thing. My faith is in God. I know that He created. I know that He is sovereign. And I know that He will work it out for good. It may not be much of a solution today as people are going through problems and going through the horrendous things in their lives. But I know that on the last day we will look back on all that has happened and we all will be able to say that God is justified in all that He has done. That much I know, and that is a matter of faith.

I have faith that God knows what He is doing, and I have faith that God is a good God. Every injustice that is in the world, He will rectify. He will make it good. He will turn it into a good thing. How He will accomplish this, I do not know, but that is where my faith lies. I believe in a sovereign God who knows what He is doing. He has not relinquished any control over the creation, even though He has indeed given man authority. We have authority over our land, but we do not have sovereignty. Our authority is limited. As we have shown before in the land laws, there is always to be a redemption allowed for the land. But even if redemption does not take place in the time of redemption, all will be set free in the year of Jubilee (Lev. 25:54). That is a law that God has established, and no man can thwart that ultimately.

BroRog
Aug 2nd 2009, 09:38 PM
Well see that's the funny thing. Total Depravity is not what is described here. The process of every man rejecting God and truth is, I agree, but there's no implication of original sin/sin nature -Total Depravity. In fact it says man is going against his nature. One must possess the truth and know it in order to suppress it.

To what, if not Total Depravity, do you ascribe man's universal suppression of the truth? If every human being on the planet always rejects the truth, how can you say that man is going against his nature when he does reject the truth? It would seem to me that if 100% of all human beings share the same trait, this trait would qualify as being a part of human nature not contrary to it.

Sirus
Aug 2nd 2009, 10:18 PM
To what, if not Total Depravity, do you ascribe man's universal suppression of the truth? If every human being on the planet always rejects the truth, how can you say that man is going against his nature when he does reject the truth? It would seem to me that if 100% of all human beings share the same trait, this trait would qualify as being a part of human nature not contrary to it.Well, again, Adam did the same (and worse) and he didn't have a sin nature.....right?

Man was left to himself, certain to sin and die, because of Adam's sin.
It is not because of his nature but because of relationship, or rather, the lack thereof. Jesus, being just the second man in Relationship, did not sin as Adam. Proving Adam did not have to sin.
What trait? Not the same trait, the same condemnation - judgment - which is death, which is by sin, because of a lack of relationship. Truth is not a nature trait.
Certainly w/o God we are nothing. In that sense, yes, Totally Depraved, but that's not the doctrine.

RogerW
Aug 3rd 2009, 12:42 AM
..continued..

God's Liability Laws Based upon Ownership



Greetings 301 & Welcome to the Community!

I have never heard of Stephen E. Jones, but I thought his article was very good. God's Laws based upon ownership has shown me something I had never before considered.

As I began to contemplate why God would create all things "very good", yet make the serpent cunning, and crafty in a bad sense, then leave Adam and Eve without knowledge of good and evil...I began to understand that God has always had a reason for allowing evil, and God has used sin from the beginning to redeem a people for Himself. God is not the author of sin, nor does He tempt anyone to sin. But He turns sin and evil to good for those who love Him. What man and the devil think to use for evil, good uses to accomplish good.

Thinking about good and evil, one wonders why God would create man without knowing them. But it occurs to me that perhaps these things cannot be created in human because the only way humans can really understand good and evil is experiencially. It seems that man had to experience for themselves how good and evil impact their lives in every way. For instance, I am convinced that unless humans understand evil it would be impossible for them to know the depth of love (good). To know the depth, breath, and span of God's all encompassing love for His elect people, evil and sin had to enter into His "very good" creation. If man had not fallen, and continued in a state with no knowledge of good or evil, this to me would indeed be a pathetic, puppet life existance, never experiencing love, joy, happiness, peace etc. What kind of existance would that be? Thank God I never have to find out!

Many Blessings,
RW

Sirus
Aug 3rd 2009, 01:49 AM
A short booklet I'm currently trying to digest on this ageless debate.... please pardon the interuption to the logical flow of the on-going discussion.


FREE WILL VS. OWNERSHIP - Stephen E. Jones

The Question of Free Will

I believe this booklet will be helpful in understanding the sovereignty of God and the entire question of free will. Every Christian, it seems, believes that God is sovereign in the universe. On the other hand, man's theology also seems to deny His sovereignty when we question them on the details. God is sovereign, they tell us, yet for whatever reason, God has chosen to relinquish His sovereignty, or His control over His creation, in order to give man a free will.

To complicate matters further, many believe that one of God's top angels decided, by his own free will of course, to overthrow God. This Lucifer, or the devil (according to the commonly held view) was also endowed with a free will, and he convinced other disgruntled angels who were jealous of or angry with God for reasons unclear, to join the rebellion. The bottom line is that it is commonly believed that both men and angels have a free will and can sin or not sin by their own decision.

We do see in the Bible that man is told to choose what is right and to shun that which is wrong. Man does have a will; there is no question about that. It is commonly believed that if man has a will at all, then it must be totally free. The problem is that we are told in John 6:44 that no man is able to come to the Father except the Father drag him. The Greek helkuo means “to drag.” It is translated in the King James as “draw.”
John 6:44
44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
NT: #1670
helkuo (hel-koo'-o); or helko (hel'-ko); probably akin to NT:138; to drag (literally or figuratively).Hi 301. IMO the booklet starts on a false premise (in blue above). This post here
http://bibleforums.org/showpost.php?p=2149821&postcount=128
should explain what I mean. Scroll down til you see red -Joh 6:45.

The gospel drags men, and the Son lifted up drags all men to the Son, either to salvation or damnation -judgment, for it is by the complete work of Jesus He is Judge of the quick and the dead and every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord to the glory of the Father.
Joh 12:28 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.
Joh 12:29 The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.
Joh 12:30 Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.
Joh 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
Joh 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

301
Aug 3rd 2009, 02:25 AM
Roger,

Thank you so much for the welcome ! No other topic has so captivated me in my walk with the Lord in my 25 years. I found in Dr. Jones booklet something I have not found in the many books and articles written on the topic of God's Sovereignty. I'm still chewing on it. I've read through it 4 times now and am finding more each time a peruse it. The concept of "ownership" tends to put a different focus on the subject. The pit and ox section was particularly compelling.

Sirus,

Sorry you have found the article not to your taste right out of the gate. I assume then, that you did not continue on further ? Having done my own study of "draw" / "drag", I am convinced that it is the case that "no man seeks after God" and only His intervention can cause me to embrace Christ.

So... the debate and the journey continues I suppose ? I myself, am finding year by year, attributing more to the soveignty of God and less to my "will". I find over and over in Scripture, God "causing" this or that to happen... Calling his "enemies" "My servant Nebucadnezzer"....or "my armies" .... the Roman armies etc. "Causing" His "vessels of dishoner" to perform actions that bring about His will and good purpose which He foreknew.

Blessings to all as we seek Him and His face !

Redeemed by Grace
Aug 3rd 2009, 02:36 AM
In my search for Stephen E Jones, I found this article out on his 'God's Kingdom Ministries' web site and as I began reading the full article - I'm thinking there is something strange [to me at least] going on here with this author....

As I'm reading, he states "As we have shown in other writings, God will reveal Himself to all men in due time. He has not chosen to burn the majority of men in hell forever, as a hard-core Calvinist would teach...."

So 1) he's teaching universal salvation and 2), I see no doctrinal statement at this site, or not where he has been educated and taught as a Dr. so I'm thinking he might even be a JW.... for which if so... :hmm:

Look deeper Roger, look deeper... :saint:

301
Aug 3rd 2009, 02:50 AM
Indeed. Test all things for sure. Extrabiblical writings can be a diversion and deception. I have not found all of Mr. Jones writings in agreement with my current views, but I have found them challenging and cause me to re-evaluate my position. Not all men will have all truth. Eat the fish and spit out the bones.

Sirus
Aug 3rd 2009, 02:57 AM
Sirus,

Sorry you have found the article not to your taste right out of the gate. I assume then, that you did not continue on further ? Having done my own study of "draw" / "drag", I am convinced that it is the case that "no man seeks after God" and only His intervention can cause me to embrace Christ.

So... the debate and the journey continues I suppose ? I myself, am finding year by year, attributing more to the soveignty of God and less to my "will". I find over and over in Scripture, God "causing" this or that to happen... Calling his "enemies" "My servant Nebucadnezzer"....or "my armies" .... the Roman armies etc. "Causing" His "vessels of dishoner" to perform actions that bring about His will and good purpose which He foreknew.No I didn't continue much further. He immediate jumped elsewhere to prove his point, which is only necessary if you ignore the context and Jesus saying 'Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father"

Whether man seeks after God is irrelevant to the gospel being preached to them, which is the means He has chosen to intervene and drag. Faith comes by hearing the word.

Over and over God did in fact sovereignly cause the coming of Christ in the flesh through Israel (Ro 9:5 :)). How this has anything to do with how all man accept or reject the gospel is another subject entirely. In other words, because, by His sovereignty, God was faithful in fulfilling the promise of the seed of the woman, does it demand He continue working that way for all mankind once the gift that must be accepted has come? Why take a handful of examples of heathen kings and apply them to receiving His gift of salvation? Very strange IMO.

Redeemed by Grace
Aug 3rd 2009, 03:03 AM
Indeed. Test all things for sure. Extrabiblical writings can be a diversion and deception. I have not found all of Mr. Jones writings in agreement with my current views, but I have found them challenging and cause me to re-evaluate my position. Not all men will have all truth. Eat the fish and spit out the bones.

Test all thing for sure... So I'm assuming you have searched and have background info on this man that you can share, like doctrinal statement, Church affiliation, Education? You know stuff that for a man with many books should be easy to find....?

I don't want to draw the line to JW yet because I can't be sure if this Stephen E Jones is the same as you are using... but if you know his background it will help me spit all the bones out.... ;)

RogerW
Aug 3rd 2009, 03:11 AM
In my search for Stephen E Jones, I found this article out on his 'God's Kingdom Ministries' web site and as I began reading the full article - I'm thinking there is something strange [to me at least] going on here with this author....

As I'm reading, he states "As we have shown in other writings, God will reveal Himself to all men in due time. He has not chosen to burn the majority of men in hell forever, as a hard-core Calvinist would teach...."

So 1) he's teaching universal salvation and 2), I see no doctrinal statement at this site, or not where he has been educated and taught as a Dr. so I'm thinking he might even be a JW.... for which if so... :hmm:

Look deeper Roger, look deeper... :saint:

Greetings RbG,

As I read the article some things made me too wonder whether or not Jones might be a universalist. Having said that, I still thought the article over all good, and quite thought provoking. I think there is some times truth to be gleened while discarding the rest. That is why I wanted to better understand Molinism. Unfortunately in that I found it to be simply re-packaged semi-pelagianism. But I am very grateful to have a friend in you, who cares enough to remind me to be cautious. I promise not to leap into the deep end of the pool without wearing my life jacket. :kiss: Thanks!

Many Blessings,
RW

Sirus
Aug 3rd 2009, 03:17 AM
That is why I wanted to better understand Molinism. Unfortunately in that I found it to be simply re-packaged semi-pelagianism.Yep, it just doesn't go far enough :lol:
:rofl:

Redeemed by Grace
Aug 3rd 2009, 12:48 PM
Greetings RbG,

As I read the article some things made me too wonder whether or not Jones might be a universalist. Having said that, I still thought the article over all good, and quite thought provoking. I think there is some times truth to be gleened while discarding the rest. That is why I wanted to better understand Molinism. Unfortunately in that I found it to be simply re-packaged semi-pelagianism. But I am very grateful to have a friend in you, who cares enough to remind me to be cautious. I promise not to leap into the deep end of the pool without wearing my life jacket. :kiss: Thanks!

Many Blessings,
RW

Morning Roger,

Me too... interesting that no one has brought any data yet about his background, which make me wonder all the more.

Have a great day as God directs...

RbG

RogerW
Aug 3rd 2009, 02:20 PM
Hi 301. IMO the booklet starts on a false premise (in blue above). This post here
http://bibleforums.org/showpost.php?p=2149821&postcount=128
should explain what I mean. Scroll down til you see red -Joh 6:45.

The gospel drags men, and the Son lifted up drags all men to the Son, either to salvation or damnation -judgment, for it is by the complete work of Jesus He is Judge of the quick and the dead and every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord to the glory of the Father.

Joh 12:28 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.
Joh 12:29 The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.
Joh 12:30 Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.
Joh 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
Joh 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.


Greetings Sirus,

Joh 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

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.
Joh 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
Joh 6:39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
Joh 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Joh 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

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 6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

Song 1:4 Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee.

Jer 31:3 The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

Joh 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me.

Isa 49:6 And 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.

It is the work of God that any man believe on Christ. Those given Christ from the Father will come to Him, because Christ came to do the will of the Father. And it is the Father's will that of all whom have been given Him, He will lose none, but will raise them up on the last day to everlasting life. No man can come to Christ for eternal life unless he has first been drawn by the Father. How does the Father draw them to Christ? Through His Spirit, for the flesh would never come to Christ apart from the work of the Spirit. This is why Christ says a second time, "no man can come to Me, except it were given unto him of My Father."

We would never have any interest in hearing the gospel, receiving the gift of faith and turning to Christ if we have not first been drawn by the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit. When Christ speaks of His death on the cross drawing all unto Him, He is not saying that every man is drawn to Him by His death. Isaiah shows us that His death would be a light also unto the Gentiles so that He might bring salvation unto all of His people unto the end of the earth. Not all 'men' inclusively [every man] will be drawn by His death, but all who are drawn are drawn by the Father to His cross, because Christ came to do the will of the Father, and it is the Father's will that none whom He has given to Christ will be lost.

Many Blessings,
RW

BroRog
Aug 3rd 2009, 02:27 PM
Well, again, Adam did the same (and worse) and he didn't have a sin nature.....right?

Man was left to himself, certain to sin and die, because of Adam's sin.
It is not because of his nature but because of relationship, or rather, the lack thereof. Jesus, being just the second man in Relationship, did not sin as Adam. Proving Adam did not have to sin.
What trait? Not the same trait, the same condemnation - judgment - which is death, which is by sin, because of a lack of relationship. Truth is not a nature trait.
Certainly w/o God we are nothing. In that sense, yes, Totally Depraved, but that's not the doctrine.

Adam wasn't the only one to have a relationship with God. But Adam and Jesus were not the same. Adam had a sin nature; Jesus did not.

John146
Aug 3rd 2009, 02:54 PM
You have two gifts there from one verse :confused How does that work?
The gift of salvation is offered to all...whosoever..that IS the grace of God that appeared to all.
Every man does not receive Christ by faith.
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus, so ye walk in Him. (by faith)
Isn't that what it says? Faith is the means of obtaining the gift. It is not the gift in that Ephesians verse.Exactly. Salvation is the gift that is given by grace through faith in Christ. Jesus said "whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life". He didn't say, "whosoever is given faith in Him should not perish but have everlasting life".

John146
Aug 3rd 2009, 03:10 PM
Greetings Sirus,

Joh 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.You are taking this verse out of context.

John 6
27Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
28Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
29Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

The context is established in verse 27. Jesus says that one must labor "for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life". Then in verse 28 they asked him what labor did God require them to do. Then He answered that question in verse 29. The answer to the question of what labor/work God required them to do in order to obtain everlasting life was "believe on him whom he hath sent". He wasn't teaching anything different here than what He taught in John 3:15-18. One must believe in Christ in order to obtain everlasting life. He never says that God does this for us.

When it says "this is the work of God" in John 6:29 it's not saying that believing on Christ is the work of God. That is ridiculous. Notice they ask "what shall we do". He didn't correct them and say "there's nothing you need to do". No, Jesus was telling them "this is what God requires you to do" in order to labor "for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life". They needed to "believe on him whom he hath sent".


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.

Joh 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
Joh 6:39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
Joh 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Joh 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.Who does the Father draw to Christ? John 6:40 has the answer to that question: "every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him.".


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.Well, of course we can't make ourselves spiritually alive. That doesn't mean we aren't responsible for repenting and putting our faith in Christ.


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.

Song 1:4 Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee.

Jer 31:3 The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

Joh 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me.

Isa 49:6 And 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.

It is the work of God that any man believe on Christ. You say that because of your misinterpretation of John 6:29.


Those given Christ from the Father will come to Him, because Christ came to do the will of the Father. And it is the Father's will that of all whom have been given Him, He will lose none, but will raise them up on the last day to everlasting life. No man can come to Christ for eternal life unless he has first been drawn by the Father. How does the Father draw them to Christ? Through His Spirit, for the flesh would never come to Christ apart from the work of the Spirit. This is why Christ says a second time, "no man can come to Me, except it were given unto him of My Father." What you fail to mention, though, is that the Father uses certain criteria for determining who to give to Christ. Again, it tells us in John 6:40. It is "every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him.".

RogerW
Aug 3rd 2009, 07:01 PM
You are taking this verse out of context.

John 6
27Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
28Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
29Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

The context is established in verse 27. Jesus says that one must labor "for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life". Then in verse 28 they asked him what labor did God require them to do. Then He answered that question in verse 29. The answer to the question of what labor/work God required them to do in order to obtain everlasting life was "believe on him whom he hath sent". He wasn't teaching anything different here than what He taught in John 3:15-18. One must believe in Christ in order to obtain everlasting life. He never says that God does this for us.

When it says "this is the work of God" in John 6:29 it's not saying that believing on Christ is the work of God. That is ridiculous. Notice they ask "what shall we do". He didn't correct them and say "there's nothing you need to do". No, Jesus was telling them "this is what God requires you to do" in order to labor "for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life". They needed to "believe on him whom he hath sent".

Who does the Father draw to Christ? John 6:40 has the answer to that question: "every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him.".

Well, of course we can't make ourselves spiritually alive. That doesn't mean we aren't responsible for repenting and putting our faith in Christ.

You say that because of your misinterpretation of John 6:29.

What you fail to mention, though, is that the Father uses certain criteria for determining who to give to Christ. Again, it tells us in John 6:40. It is "every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him.".

Greetings Eric,

It is always good to consider the context when forming our opinions of passages. I think if we consider even more of the context, we just might understand how any man can believe.

Beginning in vs 15 we find these Jews sought to make Jesus a king because they had seen the miracle He performed when He multiplied the bread and fishes. They were ready and willing to follow anyone who could feed them physical food.

When the crowd, whose hearts were set on making Christ their king saw He was gone, but He hadn't left in the boat with the other disciples, they too got into the boats and went to Capernaum. When they found Him they asked, 'Master, when and how did you get over here?' Instead of explaining to them how He had walked on water, He showed them that He knew their motives and desires. Though they appeared to honor Him, they were only interested in the physical, "Ye seek Me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled." They had no concern for their souls nor their relationship with the living God.

Joh 2:23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.
Joh 2:24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men,
Joh 2:25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.

In vs 27 the word 'labor' signifies intense and earnest desire and effort towards obtaining that which is of eternal value - the true bread of life, or the salvation of souls. We are foolish when we are more concerned about earthly things, which will perish.

Mt 6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
Mt 6:32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
Mt 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Mt 6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Salvation is NOT by our labor or works, but is the gift of God. The Lord tells us, "that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed"...the Father has given Christ all authority to GIVE eternal life to all the Father has given Him.

Joh 17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
Joh 17:2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Those who enter into eternal life do so willingly, by grace through the gift of faith. Those who receive the Son do so lovingly by grace through the gift of faith. Those who feed upon the True Bread of Life that comes down from heaven do so earnestly and fully committed to seek Him by grace through the gift of faith. Those who are saved call upon Him, and those who have entered strive in Him by grace through the gift of faith.

Our Lord calls us to a work of faith, not our own, but the gift of grace, the owning and acknowledging of Him to be the True Messiah, and embracing and receiving of Him as the only Redeemer, we love Him because He first loved us. This is what God requires of sinners; that they believe on the One whom He has sent into the world to save His people from their sins. But it is not a work that originates from within. It is the faith of Christ that saves, and the work of Christ in us that causes us to continue in this faith we have received by grace.

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Ro 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,

When they ask in vs 28, "What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?" This is the question from self-righteousness of natural man who is always occupied with their own doing. Natural man always supposes we must do some good work for God in order to obtain His blessing and eternal life. Natural man wants to make God the debtor and reckon the reward to be of works and not of grace. This is clearly shown by the rich young ruler (Lu 18:18), the Jews at Pentecost (Acts 2:37), and the Philippian jailer (Acts 16:30).

But the Lord calls us to a work we have never heard or thought of...faith that He alone gives by grace.

Many blessings,
RW

RogerW
Aug 3rd 2009, 07:03 PM
What you fail to mention, though, is that the Father uses certain criteria for determining who to give to Christ. Again, it tells us in John 6:40. It is "every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him.".

Eric, those given to Christ are the elect of God, whose names were written in the Lamb's Book of Life from the foundation of the world.

Many blessings,
RW

BadDog
Aug 3rd 2009, 11:46 PM
[/INDENT] BD, do you really believe this paragraph? That implicitly says that God is not sovereign. He can't save people. Period. He can only re-arrange state of affairs so that as many people as possible use their free will to save themselves, essentially. Disgusting.I noticed that you said "implicitly" rather than "explicitly." Well, I don't know what you were reading, but
1) It does not say that God cannot save people.
2) He does not merely rearrange "states of affairs so that as many people as possible use their free will to save themselves."
3) It is disgusting only because you are attributing to people what they have neither said nor implied.

It did not explicitly say any of that because that was not what was intended. You inferred what you think is taught. I am sorry. But I am really getting tired of people taking what others have said and rearranging the words so that they can put it down as Pelagianism or semi-pelagianism or Arminianism or antinomianism. You guys are good at name-calling. Please just take people at what they say.

You know what irks me? I don't see semi-pelagianists or Pelagianists or Arminians or Catholics or antinomians doing this... so why does it happen with people with fairly solid doctrine quite often in threads such as this one? It's a shame.

Do we see people starting threads and saying that Calvinists claim that we are all but puppets, or that the Reformed God is mean and doesn't love everyone in the world? Do they say that Calvinists preach a gospel that is by faith plus works? OK, we probably do see some threads like some of those, I suppose.

You won't hear me saying any of those things because I know that the intentions of Calvinism is to lift up the sovereignty and grace of God. Whether I agree with all of their theological arguments, I keep firmly in mind the intentions of those whose theology may differ in areas from my own, and I try to listen carefully to what they do actually say, not what I infer them to mean. For example, Roger said, "He will not hold guiltless the man who believes he MUST do one thing to aid in his salvation, because this is robbing God of glory that is due Him alone." Clearly his concern is regarding God's glory. I think he is misunderstanding what William Lane Craig and other Molinists believe, but I recognize his heart is to honor our Lord, and I gotta respect that.

Now what Roger did was quote a sentence from William Lane Craig regarding Molina: "As Molina puts it, our salvation is in our own hands." (I personally would have said something like "from man's perspective ... while actually, from God's perspective, salvation is of God.")

Remember that Molina (and Craig) were speaking from the perspective of us, as humans. Craig holds to free will and election simultaneously. But Roger has misinterpreted what Molina said and intended to be understood. He then referred to him as an Arminian (Molina was not - he was a Roman Catholic priest, so yes then, he most definitely was not Reformed. :P ) and has referred to WL Craig as Arminian. Well, I suppose he does have a bent toward Arminianism, but he does not refer to himself as Arminian, and we should respect that. Roger also referred to Jacobus Arminius as a Pelagian... mind you, not a semi-pelagian but a Pelagian - which is simply ridiculous! You guys do not have to agree with his theology, but please be accurate. Semi-Pelagian - perhaps... depends on how you define it. Pelagian? Get real.

What is Pelagianism?

Wikipedia
It is the belief that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without special Divine aid. Thus, Adam's sin was "to set a bad example" for his progeny, but his actions did not have the other consequences imputed to Original Sin. Pelagianism views the role of Jesus as "setting a good example" for the rest of humanity (thus counteracting Adam's bad example) as well as providing an atonement for our sins.
Pelagianism is a doctrine that makes a very weak statement regarding the depravity of man, essentially saying that he is not depraved at all! No way Arminius was a Pelagianist! (Differing only in degree, it was said.) Arminius was no where near a Pelagian. Now I imagine that Arminius, who was a tremendous theologian, would have strongly disagreed with a SP claim as well. But like I said earlier, depends on how you define it. As it was denounced in councils - no.


What is semi-pelagianism? Well, that depends a lot upon who is defining it. :D

[Semi-Pelagianism], while not denying the necessity of Grace for salvation, maintained that the first steps towards the Christian life were ordinarily taken by the human will and that Grace supervened only later.
{Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. F.L. Cross, Oxford Univ. Press, rev. 1983, p.1258}


Semi-Pelagianism (or Cassianism) is a teaching that sought to explain the relationship between the work of God in salvation and the activity of the sinner. This view argues that God's action may at times follow the sinner's repentance and at other times may precede it. (Our Legacy, the History of Christian Doctrine, Dr. John Hannah)

BD: It was condemned in the 6th century, but had become wide-spread again before the reformation.

Semi-Pelagianism was recognized as a heresy by the RCC even, though defined in a way that essentially said that man does not need God to miraculously draw people to Himself, initially. Real SP is not simply a doctrine that says that we cooperate with God in our salvation, meaning that we respond as God draws us to His Son. It says that we can come to Christ without God's initiating it.

Here's what Wikipedia says about semipelagianism:

Semipelagian thought stands in contrast to the earlier Pelagian teaching about salvation (in which man is seen as effecting his own salvation), which had been dismissed as heresy. Semipelagianism in its original form was developed as a compromise between Pelagianism and the teaching of writers such as Augustine of Hippo, in whose work salvation is seen entirely as the free gift of God. In Semipelagian thought, therefore, a distinction is made between the beginning of faith and the increase of faith; while the latter is the work of God, the beginning of faith is an act of free will.
IOW, what was recognized as heretical in councils was the idea that we initiate coming to Christ, not that there is cooperation with God in our initial salvation. That is solely reformed theology. IOW SP teaches that man can (unaided by grace) make the first move toward God, then God gets involved. That was not how Arminius believed. Not sure about Molini.


"It denies that human will is completely dead in trespasses and sins, without ability to save itself. It denies that fallen man cannot refrain from sin. It denies that salvation is all of grace from beginning to end."

OK, that is not what SP teaches, precisely. It does teach that the human will is not completely dead... without ability to save itself. What you are expressing here is strictly Reformed theology. 90% of Protestantism does not agree with your statement, FWIW. It is not SP to hold what you said above. Neither is it Arminianism. It is simply non-Calvinist.

Roger also said, "God initiates it, not fallen, spiritually dead man, and it denies that even faith is a gift from God." I agree with the underlined portion. Now non-Reformed theology, again 90% of Protestant evangelical Christianity denies that faith is purely a gift from God.

Roger also said, "Finally it denies the ultimate decision of who is to be saved belongs to God, not to man; and since God is sovereign..." Now Molinism does not deny any such thing underlined above. It does not deny that God is sovereign either. I understand that in your interpretation of their teaching it comes down to that essentially, but no way that Craig (or I) holds to such a thing.

Let me give an example: IMO the Reformed view of eternal security is essentially not eternal security. It is salvation by works. That's how i see the theology working out - as I see it. Of course no Calvinist is thinking any such thing! That si the farthest from their mind, and if I were to make such a claim, they would be shocked and outraged. So yes, I disagree with how Reformed theology handles the whole eternal security question, in general. But I'm not going to put my words into their mouths. That would misrepresent them.

And that is precisely what has happened in several of the posts on this thread: Molinism (middle knowledge) and William Lane Craig (as well as myself) have been misrepresented.

Well, personally I have lost all interest in discussing this anymore. I really do not care what you guys think about Molinism. I've tried to make my understanding of Molinism clear and how I believe it helps us to understand God's sovereignly at work. Hopefully those lurking here can follow things well enough to discern what Molinism actually teaches from what others infer it teaches.

BTW, strictly speaking (IOW correctly speaking), Molinism does not strive to find common ground between the sovereignty of God and free will of man... it attempts to reconcile the omniscience of God with human free will. Here's that book again which compares 4 views of God's omniscience:

Divine Foreknowledge, Four Views - edited by James K. Beilby & Paul R. Eddy.

It has 4 viewpoints to foreknowledge and omniscience. The resident expert of a particular view gave a brief explanation of his view, and then the 3 other views explained the problem, from their perspective, with that particular view. Very handy, and fair treatment. The 4 viewpoints were:

1 - Open Theism by Gregory Boyd
2 - The Simple-Foreknowledge View by David Hunt (Generally the Arminian position)
3 - Middle Knowledge by William Lane Craig (Also called Molinism after a 16th century Catholic priest, Luis Molini, who debated with another priest on this.)
4 - The Augustinian-Calvinist View by Paul Helm.


Thx,

BD

BadDog
Aug 3rd 2009, 11:58 PM
Those who are judged and condemned on the basis of their failure to respond to the light of general revelation cannot legitimately complain of unfairness for their not also receiving the light of special revelation, since such persons would not have responded to special revelation had they received it. For God in His providence has so arranged the world that anyone who would receive Christ has the opportunity to do so.

This implies that God can't save people, so He does the next best thing. Arrange circumstances so that people will save themselves.

As Molina puts it, our salvation is in our own hands.

And that speaks for itself. I don't know if this is the standard Molinist position or if it's just Craig's Arminianism, but it's disgusting either way.
BrckBrln,

Understand your concerns here. I only quoted the summary of that article. Actually, what Craig is saying is that God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Hence he reasons that if God could have actualized a world in which all were saved and yet given people free will as He desired He certainly would have done so. Then He reasons that God actualized a world in which the best situation for mankind came about, as well as maximizing His glory. Now the Bible does not say anything specifically regarding this of course. I just found it interesting to see how Molinism helps us to explain how God can be loving and yet send some people to hell.

I myself am not so sure about that particular article... but it was interesting. IMO Calvinism does not have a good answer for this. To simply say that God can do whatever he pleases, and that since we are all sinners, that He saved anyone is pure grace. Of course that is true. It certainly does not explain how God is loving and no respecter of persons. Molinism takes a good shot at it.

As the universally recognized foremost apologist today, William Lane Craig has much to say regarding apologetics - defending the faith. For those interested in some of his articles:

http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/

Here's an example of one of his articles:

'Men Moved By The Holy Spirit Spoke From God' (2 Peter 1.21)
A Middle Knowledge Perspective on Biblical Inspiration
Scriptural inspiration has traditionally been understood by Christian theologians to be plenary, verbal, and confluent. But how is the plenary, verbal inspiration of Scripture compatible with Scripture's being a truly divine-human product? How can one hold to the verbal inspiration of the whole of Scripture without lapsing into a dictation theory of inspiration which, in effect, extinguishes the human author? A theory of divine inspiration based upon God's middle knowledge is proposed, according to which God knew what the authors of Scripture would freely write when placed in certain circumstances. By arranging for the authors of Scripture to be in the appropriate circumstances, God can achieve a Scripture which is a product of human authors and also is His Word. Such a theory is compared and contrasted with similar views expressed by Lessius and Wolterstorff.

Take care,

BD

BrckBrln
Aug 4th 2009, 12:10 AM
Do we see people starting threads and saying that Calvinists claim that we are all but puppets, or that the Reformed God is mean and doesn't love everyone in the world? Do they say that Calvinists preach a gospel that is by faith plus works? OK, we probably do see some threads like some of those, I suppose.

We see it all the time here. Even Craig seems to misunderstand Calvinism, saying that he sees no difference between Calvinism and Hyper-Calvinism, saying that he doesn't like Calvinists because they follow John Calvin, and implying that Calvinism makes God into the devil.

You can't be too upset that people misrepresent your views. Aren't you the one who said your Molinism is different from the normal type? And it's not something that's widely known like Arminianism and Calvinism. I mean, you may not like it or admit it, but the Molinism of Craig is the outworking of the theology of Arminianism.

BadDog
Aug 4th 2009, 12:22 AM
We see it all the time here. Even Craig seems to misunderstand Calvinism, saying that he sees no difference between Calvinism and Hyper-Calvinism, saying that he doesn't like Calvinists because they follow John Calvin, and implying that Calvinism makes God into the devil.

You can't be too upset that people misrepresent your views. Aren't you the one who said your Molinism is different from the normal type? And it's not something that's widely known like Arminianism and Calvinism. I mean, you may not like it or admit it, but the Molinism of Craig is the outworking of the theology of Arminianism.BrckBrln,

Thx. Understood and appreciated. There are Reformed middle knowledge views as well, and it is rapidly growing in popularity among Calvinists.

But my concern is that what was quoted of Molini and Craig was not correctly reflected in posts. There are certainly some things that you, and I as well, will disagree with them in their theology. Molini was a RC priest, so we would not agree with many of his soteriological thoughts. But let's just look at what they actually said... regarding God's omniscience and free will.

Thx,

BD

BrckBrln
Aug 4th 2009, 12:30 AM
BrckBrln,

Thx. Understood and appreciated. There are Reformed middle knowledge views as well, and it is rapidly growing in popularity among Calvinists.

I think another R. Scott Clark quote would be appropriate here.

First, as I’ll argue below, I have no idea what “Calvinist” MK is. So far as I know, the Calvinists of the 17th century, who faced the doctrine of MK directly, rejected it thoroughly. Second, that some evangelicals are embracing MK says more about the nature of contemporary evangelical theology, piety, and practice than it does about Calvinism or Reformed theology.

Are you a 'Reformed Middle Knowledge' person? Or are you a classic libertarian free will William Lane Craig Molinist?

Sirus
Aug 4th 2009, 01:06 AM
Adam wasn't the only one to have a relationship with God.I didn't say he was. Man continued having a relationship with God after Adam sinned.
I don't have scripture that says Adam had the Spirit. You don't have any that says he didn't. Why wouldn't he have?



But Adam and Jesus were not the same.What scripture says they were different? Not 1Cor 15. The natural/earthy and spiritual/heavenly......is that before or after Christ's baptism or resurrection? I say after.



Adam had a sin nature; Jesus did not.What scripture says Adam's nature was what caused him to sin and Jesus' nature is what cause him to not sin?

BroRog
Aug 4th 2009, 03:43 AM
I didn't say he was. Man continued having a relationship with God after Adam sinned.

I realize I always have a hard time following you, but I insist you did say that Adam was the only one to have a relationship with God.

You said,


Man was left to himself, certain to sin and die, because of Adam's sin.
It is not because of his nature but because of relationship, or rather, the lack thereof. Jesus, being just the second man in Relationship, did not sin as Adam. Proving Adam did not have to sin.

What else could this mean except that no other men other than Adam and Jesus had a relationship with God? If Adam was the first and Jesus was the second, this leaves no room for any other person to have a relationship with God.


I don't have scripture that says Adam had the Spirit. You don't have any that says he didn't. Why wouldn't he have?

The point at issue is my contention that the Bible teaches us human beings, including Adam, have a strong predilection toward rebellion against God by nature as evidenced by a self evident universal human condition and the divine revelation that corroborates this.


What scripture says Adam's nature was what caused him to sin and Jesus' nature is what cause him to not sin?

The Bible confirms that which we observe for ourselves that a strong correlation exists between our rebellious actions and our human nature. However, a strong correlation is not the same thing as a cause. If I were to argue that we sin because of our nature, then I would essentially place man among the animals who act on instinct alone. This is not the case.

Nonetheless, the Bible doesn't give the specific cause for why all human beings who ever lived, except Jesus Christ, have sinned and fallen short of God's glory. But it insists that this insufficiency of glory is indeed a common human condition, whatever the cause.

The question is this. Does this substandard human condition include an incurable blindness such that divine aid is the only remedy?

Athanasius
Aug 4th 2009, 04:01 AM
We see it all the time here. Even Craig seems to misunderstand Calvinism, saying that he sees no difference between Calvinism and Hyper-Calvinism, saying that he doesn't like Calvinists because they follow John Calvin, and implying that Calvinism makes God into the devil.

I don't think it's that Craig misunderstands Calvinism as much as it's Craig taking the doctrines of Calvinism to their logical conclusion (the pejorative term hyper-Calvinism). I haven't heard him say he doesn't like Calvinists because they follow John Calvin, but I do understand where he may be going if he's implied that Calvinism makes God look like the devil, if indeed he actually said / implied such a thing.



You can't be too upset that people misrepresent your views. Aren't you the one who said your Molinism is different from the normal type? And it's not something that's widely known like Arminianism and Calvinism. I mean, you may not like it or admit it, but the Molinism of Craig is the outworking of the theology of Arminianism.

Nothing wrong with that ;)

BadDog
Aug 4th 2009, 04:16 AM
I think another R. Scott Clark quote would be appropriate here.

First, as I’ll argue below, I have no idea what “Calvinist” MK is. So far as I know, the Calvinists of the 17th century, who faced the doctrine of MK directly, rejected it thoroughly. Second, that some evangelicals are embracing MK says more about the nature of contemporary evangelical theology, piety, and practice than it does about Calvinism or Reformed theology.

Are you a 'Reformed Middle Knowledge' person? Or are you a classic libertarian free will William Lane Craig Molinist?Well, haven't studied the reformed free will position - but it could be very interesting. I've mainly studied Craig directly, and what others say about it (who disagree). My position is a bit different in that I am stronger in God's necessary working in an unbeliever's heart to bring it about that he is responsive to the gospel. I refer to such as conviction and illumination rather than regeneration, and my ordo salutis is essentially Arminian (it is different). But Craig is not classical Arminian by any means, though he does not hold to the security of the believer.

I find myself wording things significantly different from Craig in some of his articles, but IMO that's the place to start. I do not hold to libertarian free will, but instead to compatibilistic free will (it is compatible with divine sovereignty-election), since with MK it does not conflict with God's sovereignty. But Craig holds to libertarian free will. What he refers to as such is a free will to make any sort of choice, while compatibilist free will is typically limited to just the degree of choices to make since they see conflict otherwise. I do not see such conflict.

Some Calvinists who hold to MK refer to it as "compatibilist middle knowledge." Though IMO virtually all MK should be such.

Tiessen has indicated that there is a vast misunderstanding of MK among Reformed... "the affirmation of divine middle knowledge is both consistent with and beneficial to the traditional Calvinist belief in meticulous divine sovereignty." Robert Dabney asserted that the "history of the controversy on scientia media presents an instance of the rule that usually mischievous errors have in them a certain modicum of valuable truth. Without this, they would not have strength in them to run, and do mischief."

Tiessen refers to his view as "soft-determinism." Here's a quote by Tiessen on this:

The significant difference between the Molinist and the Calvinist proposals is that Molinists believe that moral creatures are libertarianly free (that is, that they have the power of contrary choice), whereas Calvinists assert that moral creatures have the liberty of spontaneity. This difference in the definition of creaturely freedom is important because it enables Calvinists
to insist that creaturely freedom of a morally responsible kind is compatible with divine determination, whereas Molinists believe these two to be incompatible. For this reason, compatibilist freedom is also labelled "soft-determinist" freedom as opposed to the indeterminist kind of freedom which Molinists believe in.
As I read this I gotta say that at first it looks like I am a Reformed middle knowledge guy, since I definitely hold to soft-determinism in the sense of holding that divine determinism is not contrary to "creaturely freedom." Yet I do hold that we can do more than just be spontaneous. We have contrary choice.


Tiessen:
Where Molinists and middle knowledge Calvinists are agreed, however, is that God's knowledge of what particular creatures would do in all possible circumstances is immensely useful to God. It enables him to choose the world history best suited to his nature and purposes for the world without having to force his will upon his creatures. In knowing how a particular creature would act in a given set of circumstances, God is able to choose the world in which the combination of the actions of God and his creatures would eventuate in exactly what God willed but this could be brought about with minimal direct intervention and, thus, God need not force or coerce his creatures to have things turn out as he wished.
I imagine that Tiessen's position is not nearly as contrary for you guys as Craig's.

Hmmm

BD

BrckBrln
Aug 4th 2009, 04:16 AM
I don't think it's that Craig misunderstands Calvinism as much as it's Craig taking the doctrines of Calvinism to their logical conclusion (the pejorative term hyper-Calvinism). I haven't heard him say he doesn't like Calvinists because they follow John Calvin, but I do understand where he may be going if he's implied that Calvinism makes God look like the devil, if indeed he actually said / implied such a thing.

Conversely, couldn't I say that I see no difference between Arminianism and Open Theism? The latter being the logical conclusion of the former? And that it makes God human, essentially?


Nothing wrong with that ;)

There's definitely something wrong with Arminianism. ;)

Sirus
Aug 4th 2009, 04:50 AM
I realize I always have a hard time following you, but I insist you did say that Adam was the only one to have a relationship with God.I apologize. I have stated my view on this so many times (15 threads -Search "veiled" and "Sirus"), that being confident I have seen you reading those threads, I thought you understood my position enough to know that is not what I was saying. Maybe I was wrong. I should have been more clear yet again, I guess.



What else could this mean except that no other men other than Adam and Jesus had a relationship with God? If Adam was the first and Jesus was the second, this leaves no room for any other person to have a relationship with God.What I call veiled and unveiled relationship. Adam and Jesus, being w/o sin, had an unveiled relationship.
If Adam also had the Spirit, that's yet another way his descendants relationship would differ. This again being speculation.



The point at issue is my contention that the Bible teaches us human beings, including Adam, have a strong predilection toward rebellion against God by nature as evidenced by a self evident universal human condition and the divine revelation that corroborates this....and why didn't Jeus have this and why do you call this a sin nature?



The Bible confirms that which we observe for ourselves that a strong correlation exists between our rebellious actions and our human nature.Question being for Adam, not us, Adam, and why not Jesus?



Nonetheless, the Bible doesn't give the specific cause for why all human beings who ever lived, except Jesus Christ, have sinned and fallen short of God's glory. But it insists that this insufficiency of glory is indeed a common human condition, whatever the cause.Us yes, not Adam and Jesus. Us, Adam, and Jesus had flesh, but what did they have they we don't is the question. That is why all have sinned.



The question is this. Does this substandard human condition include an incurable blindness such that divine aid is the only remedy?Said above, and God said that substandard human condition is good. Adam and Jesus had it as well, but I believe they also had the Spirit and an unveiled relationship because they had no sin, which is what separates (not severs) us from God.

RogerW
Aug 4th 2009, 02:56 PM
Well, haven't studied the reformed free will position - but it could be very interesting.

Greetings BD,

I would argue there is no such thing as a Reformed free will position. One is either Reformed or free will...there can be no in-between.

If Molinism would simply stop at; God, in His Sovereign foreknowledge, knows all the choices man could make and He knows all the choices man would make, and this from before creation...that would be a good start. But Molinism doesn't stop there because the doctrine seems to negate that God has from before the foundation of the world ordained a plan to redeem a people for Himself. And this He did without considering the choices man would or could make (counterfactuals). In His Sovereign good pleasure, God chose some men from the foundation of the world, not based on knowing they would/could choose Him, but simply because He desired a people for Himself, and He knows no man would or could choose Him while still dead in trespasses and sins.

God doesn't consider counterfactuals, regarding what man could or would do in redeeming a people for Himself. He doesn't, because He knows from eternity that every man would, (not could) reject Him if God had left the choice with man, who is dead in trespasses and sins. Not merely wounded or in need of some help, altogether dead!

The notion that God somehow works with man through this supposed middle knowledge implies that God is reactionary (what could/would man do 'if' (counterfactuals) in salvation rather than sovereign.



My position is a bit different in that I am stronger in God's necessary working in an unbeliever's heart to bring it about that he is responsive to the gospel. I refer to such as conviction and illumination rather than regeneration, and my ordo salutis is essentially Arminian (it is different).

Yet how can you explain conviction and illumination apart from regeneration? God working in an unbeliever's heart to bring about a response to the gospel is regeneration whether you want to call it something else or not.



I do not hold to libertarian free will, but instead to compatibilistic free will (it is compatible with divine sovereignty-election), since with MK it does not conflict with God's sovereignty.

If God is sovereign in election, and His elect are predestined from the foundation of the world (He is, and they are), it makes no sense to say God through MK considers what man could and would do. The fact that God has predestined an elect people to receive eternal life from the foundation of the world proves that "the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth". God did not elect some people based on knowing what they could or would do, taking into account counterfactuals or certain conditions. God calls His elect, not based on knowing that man could choose Him under certain conditions. He chooses knowing that no man could or would choose Him under any condition or counterfactual. Until God gives man life, he remains dead in trespasses and sins, whereby he is unable in every counterfactual to turn to Christ for eternal life.



Some Calvinists who hold to MK refer to it as "compatibilist middle knowledge." Though IMO virtually all MK should be such.

Again, I would argue that many claim to hold to the Reformed doctrine of Sovereign Grace, but if one claims to be Reformed and holds to the doctrine of MK, he is not truly Reformed. Because he does not believe that God, from the foundation of the world has predestined an elect people to receive eternal life in Christ, apart from any counterfactual or circumstances.



Tiessen has indicated that there is a vast misunderstanding of MK among Reformed... "the affirmation of divine middle knowledge is both consistent with and beneficial to the traditional Calvinist belief in meticulous divine sovereignty."

In saying this, I would argue that Tiessen apparently has a vast misunderstanding of Reformed doctrine of Sovereign Grace or true Calvinism.



As I read this I gotta say that at first it looks like I am a Reformed middle knowledge guy, since I definitely hold to soft-determinism in the sense of holding that divine determinism is not contrary to "creaturely freedom." Yet I do hold that we can do more than just be spontaneous. We have contrary choice.

Sorry BD, but there is no such thing. Since you are definately not Reformed, I am persuaded to place you squarely in the semi-pelagian or Arminian camp, although you do defect from following completely. In all honesty you appear to understand and want to acknowledge that God is Sovereign, but you are having a real hard time totally grasping what that means. Because you still want to find harmony between man's free will and God's Providential Sovereignty....sorry there can never be harmony between the two.

Many Blessings,
RW

BadDog
Aug 4th 2009, 06:36 PM
I found the following in an article by Tiessen, a Reformed proponent of middle knowledge:

God deliberately permitted Josephs brothers to sell him to traders headed for Egypt and he permitted Satan to put ideas into Judas' heart, but he knew all of the individuals involved in these situations so completely that he knew exactly how they would respond, if left to themselves, in each case. Thus, in my middle knowledge Calvinist model, before God decides what he will do by way of creating a world and ordering its history, God knows how particular creatures would act if they found themselves in particular sets of circumstances. It is precisely this knowledge that enables God to choose a world whose history is exactly the history that he wisely purposes but to bring about that history through a combination of the morally responsible actions of rational creatures and God's own actions. God does this in such a way that all glory for everything good must be attributed to God but all culpability for evil done by creatures justly lies in the will of those creatures. God is able to choose a great number of people to salvation, but then to bring about their salvation in such a way that all who are saved by grace contribute nothing to their salvation which would give them ground for boasting, and no one is condemned who does not freely choose to reject Gods grace.
So far, I have found Tiessen to be interesting and logical reading.

BD

RabbiKnife
Aug 4th 2009, 06:39 PM
It's all in the definitions.

Depending on how the terms "free will" and "sovereign" and "foreknowledge" are defined, we can great any philosophical position we want to defend our beliefs.

BadDog
Aug 4th 2009, 07:20 PM
Conversely, couldn't I say that I see no difference between Arminianism and Open Theism? The latter being the logical conclusion of the former? And that it makes God human, essentially?
BrckBrln,

There is a huge difference between open theism and Arminianism! Open theism greatly limits what God knows, even saying that God does not know the future because it is not knowable. How is that the "logical" conclusion of Arminianism?! (Actually, if you think about it, it's closer to what some Calvinists do than Arminianism. Some Calvinists say that God does not know middle knowledge kind of knowledge. Arminians restrict what God predestines, not what He knows.) If you're going to make such statements at least try to support it. This is essentially just name calling (an Ad Hominem argument).

That would be like me saying that fatalism is the natural conclusion of Calvinism. Of course, your statement was more extreme and illogical, as many people hold to what I just hypothetically said, but I've never heard anything like what you just stated. And I will not say such a thing... would be wrong to do so - that would just be a red herring kind of attack (not relevant, side-tracking), and then someone might think that I was simply dodging the issue.

This thread isn't about Arminianism or open theism, but middle knowledge. I am interested in what you think about the middle knowledge views of Reformed theologians such as Tiessen... if you're going to genuinely consider what they say and not jump to unnatural conclusions. I've posted a couple of comments by Paul Helm and Terrance Tiessen... thought you and Roger (and any other Calvinists here) might be interested. I think that JI Packer is also showing an interest in this matter.

Take care,

BD

BadDog
Aug 4th 2009, 07:25 PM
It's all in the definitions.

Depending on how the terms "free will" and "sovereign" and "foreknowledge" are defined, we can great any philosophical position we want to defend our beliefs.Agreed! That book I recommended earlier does just that - each person carefully defines such terms, especially regarding "foreknowledge" or "omniscience." In Christian philosophy you must very carefully define your terms.

Take care,

BD

John146
Aug 4th 2009, 07:32 PM
In vs 27 the word 'labor' signifies intense and earnest desire and effort towards obtaining that which is of eternal value - the true bread of life, or the salvation of souls.Why would Jesus speak in those terms if eternal life is just given randomly to certain people?


Salvation is NOT by our labor or works, but is the gift of God. The Lord tells us, "that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed"...the Father has given Christ all authority to GIVE eternal life to all the Father has given Him.The gift of God that He gives to those who "believe on him whom he hath sent".


Joh 17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
Joh 17:2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Those who enter into eternal life do so willingly, by grace through the gift of faith. Those who receive the Son do so lovingly by grace through the gift of faith. Those who feed upon the True Bread of Life that comes down from heaven do so earnestly and fully committed to seek Him by grace through the gift of faith. Those who are saved call upon Him, and those who have entered strive in Him by grace through the gift of faith.No, it never says such a thing. This "gift of (saving) faith" concept is foreign to scripture.


Our Lord calls us to a work of faith, not our own, but the gift of grace, the owning and acknowledging of Him to be the True Messiah, and embracing and receiving of Him as the only Redeemer, we love Him because He first loved us. This is what God requires of sinners; that they believe on the One whom He has sent into the world to save His people from their sins.Yes, that they believe. That's something one must actively do and not just sit around and one day receive the gift of saving faith.


But it is not a work that originates from within. It is the faith of Christ that saves, and the work of Christ in us that causes us to continue in this faith we have received by grace.

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.Salvation is the gift of God. Salvation is by grace. Salvation is through faith in Christ, as taught in many scriptures such as John 3:15-18, Romans 10:9-13, Acts 16:30-31, Gal 3:26, etc.


Ro 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, That it is of faith. Faith like "the faith of Abraham". Abraham believed God and his faith was counted to him for righteousness. It doesn't say that God gave Abraham faith and that was accounted to him for righteousness.


When they ask in vs 28, "What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?" This is the question from self-righteousness of natural man who is always occupied with their own doing.Say what now? Jesus had just told them to labor "for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life". He was clearly speaking of some sort of labor that they had to do. That is why they asked "what shall we do". They wanted to know what He meant when He told them to labor "for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life". They were saying "Yes, we'd like to labor for that meat that endureth unto everlasting life, but how do we do that?". And what He told them they had to do was "believe on him (Jesus) whom he (God the Father) hath sent".


Natural man always supposes we must do some good work for God in order to obtain His blessing and eternal life.Why didn't Jesus tell them "there is nothing you can do, but here is what God will do"?


Natural man wants to make God the debtor and reckon the reward to be of works and not of grace. This is clearly shown by the rich young ruler (Lu 18:18), the Jews at Pentecost (Acts 2:37), and the Philippian jailer (Acts 16:30). Scripture only speaks of salvation not being a result of works of the law (Rom 3-4) or works of righteousness (Titus 3:5-6) and never says it is not by the "work of faith".

1 Thess 1:3
3Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

Notice that our work of faith is related to our "labour of love and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ". The work of faith is not the kind of work that is mentioned in Romans 3-4, Eph 2:8-9 or Titus 3:5-6.


But the Lord calls us to a work we have never heard or thought of...faith that He alone gives by grace.That is not taught anywhere in scripture.

BrckBrln
Aug 4th 2009, 07:32 PM
BrckBrln,

There is a huge difference between open theism and Arminianism! Open theism greatly limits what God knows, even saying that God does not know the future because it is not knowable. How is that the "logical" conclusion of Arminianism?! If you're going to make such statements at least try to support it. This is essentially just name calling (an Ad Hominem argument).

That would be like me saying that fatalism is the natural conclusion of Calvinism. Of course, your statement was more extreme and illogical, as many people hold to what I just hypothetically said, but I've never heard anything like what you just stated. And I will not say such a thing... would be wrong to do so - that would just be a red herring kind of attack (not relevant, side-tracking), and then someone might think that I was simply dodging the issue.

This thread isn't about Arminianism or open theism, but middle knowledge. I am interested in what you think about the middle knowledge views of Reformed theologians such as Tiessen... if you're going to genuinely consider what they say and not jump to unnatural conclusions. I've posted a couple of comments by Paul Helm and Terrance Tiessen... thought you and Roger might be interested. I think that JI Packer is also showing an interest in this matter.

Take care,

BD

I think you should read my post as a contra reply to Xel. I wasn't making unsubstantiated claims or name calling because I would never make the claim or name call.

I must have missed your Helm quotes, but he is not a Molinist.

BroRog
Aug 4th 2009, 08:16 PM
BrckBrln,

There is a huge difference between open theism and Arminianism! Open theism greatly limits what God knows, even saying that God does not know the future because it is not knowable. How is that the "logical" conclusion of Arminianism?!

The logical conclusion of Arminianism is open theism because Arminianism teaches that God's foreknowledge is simply a matter of God going to the future to find out by inspection what the outcome will be. Granted, Arminians say that God CAN know the future by inspection, while open theists are more logical to say that God can't know the future at all.

Those who believe in the autonomous free will of man, can draw no other conclusion but to say that God can not know the future, since in order for man to have autonomous freedom of will, God can't know what hasn't yet been decided.

We can draw an analogy from our own experience as we think about the difference between the past and the future. Consider the flip of a coin. The mathematical odds of any particular flip is 50/50. Fifty times out of a hundred the coin will land heads up rather than tails up. And if we actually flipped the coin one hundred times our actual results would be very close to 50/50 and the more we flipped the coin the closer the results would be to 50/50.

Suppose that on flip 42, the coin landed heads up. This being a past event, the outcome is certain and fixed. Historically speaking, the outcome of flip 42 was heads, and nothing at all can change history. The past is fixed.

But as we hold a coin in our hand, the probable outcome of our next flip is uncertain though predictable. The outcome of a future flip, assuming there is one, is uncertain, not established, and unknowable. Nothing can change the mathematical probablity of the outcome: the outcome of the coin flip is unknowable because it remains a 50/50 probablity. It can go either way.

Likewise, those who believe in autonomous free will of man affirm the essential principle that man's freedom to choose logically and necessarily implies that he could have chosen otherwise. Prior to his choice, all possible choices must remain available to him in order for him to claim his choice was freely made.

Consequently, if a man's choices were not the result of divine determinism in some fashion, they remain unknowable until a man makes his choice. In other words, a man's choice remains ambiguous while it remains in the future, and only becomes fixed in history once he makes the choice. God can not know the future, especially as it pertains to men with the ability of autonomous choice, because the future is not fixed such that it can be the subject of inspection. God can't go and look at the future because the future doesn't exist yet. To say that God can know the unknowable isn't a meaningful statement, but a nonsensical statement.

Though Arminians would not affirm that God can't know the future, their theology logically leads to that conclusion.

RogerW
Aug 4th 2009, 08:32 PM
I found the following in an article by Tiessen, a Reformed proponent of middle knowledge:

So far, I have found Tiessen to be interesting and logical reading.

BD

"God deliberately permitted Josephs brothers to sell him to traders headed for Egypt and he permitted Satan to put ideas into Judas' heart, but he knew all of the individuals involved in these situations so completely that he knew exactly how they would respond, if left to themselves, in each case. Thus, in my middle knowledge Calvinist model, before God decides what he will do by way of creating a world and ordering its history, God knows how particular creatures would act if they found themselves in particular sets of circumstances. It is precisely this knowledge that enables God to choose a world whose history is exactly the history that he wisely purposes but to bring about that history through a combination of the morally responsible actions of rational creatures and God's own actions. God does this in such a way that all glory for everything good must be attributed to God but all culpability for evil done by creatures justly lies in the will of those creatures. God is able to choose a great number of people to salvation, but then to bring about their salvation in such a way that all who are saved by grace contribute nothing to their salvation which would give them ground for boasting, and no one is condemned who does not freely choose to reject Gods grace. "

BD, what is Tiessen saying exactly? Wouldn't you agree that if God deliberately permits, knowing what each individual would do, it is because God has ordained what will come to pass? The plan to use them comes from God, therefore it is He that orchastrates all the circumstances so each one will do exactly what God has ordained from before the foundation of the world they would do. Is this not exactly what we see in the example of Pharaoh, and the examples Tiessen gave above? It makes no sense to say they were each left to themselves, God knowing how they would respond.

Either God, in His Providence is guiding and directing each step they take to accomplish His purposes, or He is reactionary in His Providential planning according to what man will do, then planning accordingly. This makes man the sovereign, and God plans according to the will of man. But Scripture knows no such Sovereign God. God plans and God purposes not through a combination of the morally responsible actions of rational creatures and His own actions, but through His Providence alone; i.e. His Sovereign good pleasure. We are but clay in the Potter's hand to do with whatsoever He wills, and whatsoever He wills each of us to accomplish will be done because God in His Providence will orchastrate our lives in such a way to carry out His purposes. We find this Providential guidance in the lives of Joseph, Judas, and Pharaoh.

In all this man is still without excuse because he natually knows about God through what He has created. God Himself is invisible, but His power, majesty and glory shine forth in what He has made. God gave every man eyes to look about them, above them and around them to behold His glory. But man willfully chooses not to walk in the light which they have, they should love God, but they will not, so they are without excuse. There is no excuse to live immorally, in a conscience state of sin when we know it is wrong. Every man has more than enough to render him inexcusable before God, for it is every man's duty to make good use of the light God has given them, and when they do not the cause is not of God, but their own evil hearts.

Every man freely chooses to reject God's grace! For this reason God has purposed from before the foundation of the world to redeem a people for Himself. No man will willingly comes to God for life, so God providentially works in the lives of men, orchastrating all things according to His purpose. Why? Because God will have a people for Himself, a people who will sing forth the praises and glory of God. Therefore knowing no man would/could come to Christ for eternal life, God providentially works in men to bring about His purpose, that is to save His people from their sins. I know you like to present this as God is our puppet master forcing man to do whatsoever He wills. I know this to be The God of love, Who will redeem a willfully, stubborn, rebellious people just so He can shower them with His great mercy, compassion, and all encompassing love. And we'll just have to leave in the hands of God who and why He saves whom He saves while leaving the rest in their willful rejection of His light and love.

Many Blessings,
RW

RabbiKnife
Aug 4th 2009, 08:52 PM
The logical conclusion of Arminianism is open theism because Arminianism teaches that God's foreknowledge is simply a matter of God going to the future to find out by inspection what the outcome will be. Granted, Arminians say that God CAN know the future by inspection, while open theists are more logical to say that God can't know the future at all.

Those who believe in the autonomous free will of man, can draw no other conclusion but to say that God can not know the future, since in order for man to have autonomous freedom of will, God can't know what hasn't yet been decided.

We can draw an analogy from our own experience as we think about the difference between the past and the future. Consider the flip of a coin. The mathematical odds of any particular flip is 50/50. Fifty times out of a hundred the coin will land heads up rather than tails up. And if we actually flipped the coin one hundred times our actual results would be very close to 50/50 and the more we flipped the coin the closer the results would be to 50/50.

Suppose that on flip 42, the coin landed heads up. This being a past event, the outcome is certain and fixed. Historically speaking, the outcome of flip 42 was heads, and nothing at all can change history. The past is fixed.

But as we hold a coin in our hand, the probable outcome of our next flip is uncertain though predictable. The outcome of a future flip, assuming there is one, is uncertain, not established, and unknowable. Nothing can change the mathematical probablity of the outcome: the outcome of the coin flip is unknowable because it remains a 50/50 probablity. It can go either way.

Likewise, those who believe in autonomous free will of man affirm the essential principle that man's freedom to choose logically and necessarily implies that he could have chosen otherwise. Prior to his choice, all possible choices must remain available to him in order for him to claim his choice was freely made.

Consequently, if a man's choices were not the result of divine determinism in some fashion, they remain unknowable until a man makes his choice. In other words, a man's choice remains ambiguous while it remains in the future, and only becomes fixed in history once he makes the choice. God can not know the future, especially as it pertains to men with the ability of autonomous choice, because the future is not fixed such that it can be the subject of inspection. God can't go and look at the future because the future doesn't exist yet. To say that God can know the unknowable isn't a meaningful statement, but a nonsensical statement.

Though Arminians would not affirm that God can't know the future, their theology logically leads to that conclusion.

This entire thesis is based on a presumption that God is limited in his foreknowledge and that he is limited to knowing things subject to the current time-space continuum. The future is not subject to inspection by man, but God is not limited in such a manner, at least not God as I understand him.

John146
Aug 4th 2009, 08:54 PM
Every man freely chooses to reject God's grace! If it truly is a free choice then there must be at least one other viable option: the opposite of rejecting God's grace would be accepting God's grace. If there was only one option then there would really be no choice at all. For you to say that man has a free choice but can only choose one option doesn't make any sense. How can you call that a free choice? What kind of free choice is that when you say it isn't even possible for them to make any other "choice"?

Let's look at a verse where Joshua gives people some choices of who to serve:

Joshua 24
14Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. 15And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Joshua tells them to serve the LORD. That is option 1. If they decide not to serve the LORD then they are given two other options of who to serve: "the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood or the gods of the Amorites".

So, they have these 3 options that Joshua gives them. So, tell me. It was entirely possible for them to freely choose any of the 3 options, was it not? Joshua certainly believed so or else he wouldn't have given them those choices.

In the same way, all people are given two choices regarding Christ: to accept Him or to reject Him. I see no scripture anywhere that says some have no ability to accept Him and can only reject Him even after hearing the word of God (faith comes by hearing...). Everyone has heard but not everyone has believed (Rom 10:16-18). Since faith comes by hearing and everyone has heard then it must be that hearing the word of God alone is not what leads to faith, but instead accepting and embracing what one hears is the way in which "faith comes by hearing".

BadDog
Aug 4th 2009, 10:40 PM
I think you should read my post as a contra reply to Xel. I wasn't making unsubstantiated claims or name calling because I would never make the claim or name call.

I must have missed your Helm quotes, but he is not a Molinist.
BD: You're right. He does not hold to middle knowledge views of any sort. I guess I was remembering that he presented the Augustinian-Reformed position for omniscience in the book I recommended.
Understood. But regardless Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism are clearly related, one being an extreme regarding the creation and God's double election at that time, while open theism and Arminianism are so far removed and not in any way related to one another that one could not be considered as taking the other one to its logical conclusion. As I mentioned before, if anything the Reformed-Augustinian view is actually slightly closer to such than Arminianism since some Calvinists limit God's access to knowing about possible results (MK), though neither are anywhere near open theism.

I'll just assume that you were making a point about the seriousness of Craig not distinguishing between hyper-C and Calvinism. I'm not convinced that he confuses Calvinism and hyper-C without some text, FWIW. Craig is a Christian philosopher, not a theologian - those are his strengths - so I could see such confusion occurring. But he is careful about what he claims various people teach, quoting them carefully, which is why I am a doubter about this.

You did make a few comments which were way off based which were either your own or quotes.

Thx,

BD

BroRog
Aug 4th 2009, 11:15 PM
This entire thesis is based on a presumption that God is limited in his foreknowledge and that he is limited to knowing things subject to the current time-space continuum. The future is not subject to inspection by man, but God is not limited in such a manner, at least not God as I understand him.

If man has autonomous freedom of choice, then the future does not exist such that God could go and look at it. It's not a matter of God being limited. It's simply the fact that the conclusion follows inescapably from the premise. God can not know the unknowable. To suggest otherwise is self-contradictory.

BrckBrln
Aug 4th 2009, 11:20 PM
Understood. But regardless Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism are clearly related, one being an extreme regarding the creation and God's double election at that time, while open theism and Arminianism are so far removed and not in any way related to one another that one could not be considered as taking the other one to its logical conclusion. As I mentioned before, if anything the Reformed-Augustinian view is actually slightly closer to such than Arminianism since some Calvinists limit God's access to knowing about possible results (MK), though neither are anywhere near open theism.

I'm not so sure that Arminianism and Open Theism are so far apart as you think, but this doesn't really matter. The point is that OP and HC are extremes not logical conclusions of Arminianism and Calvinism.


I'll just assume that you were making a point about the seriousness of Craig not distinguishing between hyper-C and Calvinism. I'm not convinced that he confuses Calvinism and hyper-C without some text, FWIW. Craig is a Christian philosopher, not a theologian - those are his strengths - so I could see such confusion occurring. But he is careful about what he claims various people teach, quoting them carefully, which is why I am a doubter about this.

You're right that Craig is a philosopher and not a theologian and that, in my opinion, is part of the problem. I don't know where Craig said he sees no difference between C and HC, I heard it on James White's program. If you want to doubt that then that's fine.


You did make a few comments which were way off based which were eitehr your own or quotes.

What do you mean?

Brother Mark
Aug 4th 2009, 11:38 PM
If man has autonomous freedom of choice, then the future does not exist such that God could go and look at it. It's not a matter of God being limited. It's simply the fact that the conclusion follows inescapably from the premise. God can not know the unknowable. To suggest otherwise is self-contradictory.

Thing is, as BD pointed out in an earlier post, God has told people the outcome of their choices for each choice. So he does know what would have happened if people had chosen differently. BD gave a very good discourse early on in the thread about how God knows multiple futures based on which direction is taken.

http://bibleforums.org/showpost.php?p=2152834&postcount=14

There are other examples in scripture but BD did such a good job with it, it's worth posting a link to again.

Grace and peace,

Mark

RogerW
Aug 5th 2009, 12:09 AM
If it truly is a free choice then there must be at least one other viable option: the opposite of rejecting God's grace would be accepting God's grace. If there was only one option then there would really be no choice at all. For you to say that man has a free choice but can only choose one option doesn't make any sense. How can you call that a free choice? What kind of free choice is that when you say it isn't even possible for them to make any other "choice"?

Because that is the choice fallen man freely makes. Either man makes the choice or he is coerced to choose against his will. But fallen, spiritually dead men are not coerced in any way to willfully make the choice to reject God. He chooses quite naturally, being dead in trespasses and sins, and in bondage to Satan, sin and death, the only choice he can make, which is always against God. For fallen man to make another choice, for God, that would certainly be against his natural will. So when man makes a choice for God, he does so because God has changed His natural will, giving Him a new nature, making him willing.



Let's look at a verse where Joshua gives people some choices of who to serve:

Joshua 24
14Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. 15And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Joshua tells them to serve the LORD. That is option 1. If they decide not to serve the LORD then they are given two other options of who to serve: "the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood or the gods of the Amorites".

So, they have these 3 options that Joshua gives them. So, tell me. It was entirely possible for them to freely choose any of the 3 options, was it not? Joshua certainly believed so or else he wouldn't have given them those choices.

In the same way, all people are given two choices regarding Christ: to accept Him or to reject Him. I see no scripture anywhere that says some have no ability to accept Him and can only reject Him even after hearing the word of God (faith comes by hearing...). Everyone has heard but not everyone has believed (Rom 10:16-18). Since faith comes by hearing and everyone has heard then it must be that hearing the word of God alone is not what leads to faith, but instead accepting and embracing what one hears is the way in which "faith comes by hearing".

Eric if we've looked at this passage in Joshua once, we've done so many times. You cannot use a passage that calls the covenant people of God to obedience to prove man can freely choose for God. As the covenant people of God they already know God, and they know what God commands. Now Joshua gives them an ultimatum...they can choose the same gods their father's served, or the gods of the Amorites, or they can serve the True God, whom they already know. To choose the false is to receive the same judgment and death their father's received. But to choose to do what they already know to do means to receive God's blessings and long life in the land of promise.

Yes faith does come by hearing the Word. So why do some people hearing the Word remain in unbelief? The word preached does not profit some, because it is not mixed with faith in some who hear the gospel. Why is hearing the gospel not mixed with faith in some who hear, since faith comes by hearing? Remember believing means to have faith. Faith however is moral persuasion, especially reliance upon Christ for salvation. Once we have been persuaded [receive faith] of the truthfulness of God through the hearing, we can believe. Not all people hearing the gospel are given this gift of moral persuasion [faith] by grace.

Many Blessings,
RW

BroRog
Aug 5th 2009, 12:13 AM
Thing is, as BD pointed out in an earlier post, God has told people the outcome of their choices for each choice. So he does know what would have happened if people had chosen differently. BD gave a very good discourse early on in the thread about how God knows multiple futures based on which direction is taken.

http://bibleforums.org/showpost.php?p=2152834&postcount=14

There are other examples in scripture but BD did such a good job with it, it's worth posting a link to again.

Grace and peace,

Mark

But I'm not arguing that God can't know the logical outcome of various choices. I'm suggesting that given these two premises from Arminianism: 1) God knows the future by inspection, and 2) man has autonomous freedom of choice, God can not know the future since the future doesn't exist.

Arminians argue from the premise that God's foreknowledge is simply his ability to know what I am going to do before I do it as he looks at the future from some vantage point outside of time. However, the fact that God is outside time doesn't matter since the future doesn't exist. That is, the future is indeterminate because man hasn't determined it yet. For an Arminian, the concept that man determines his own future is paramount. Man must have the ability to make an autonomous free will choice, with the possiblity that he could have done otherwise.

Well if he could have done otherwise then whichever way he goes can not be known until he chooses, because until then it always remains to be done. What would have happened is not the same thing as what will actually happen.

As for the concept of Middle Knowledge . . . Yes, Jesus says that if his miracles were done in Sodom they would have repented. But they weren't and they didn't. Middle knowledge attempts to find a way that God's soverienty might be compatible with Man's free will. It suggests that God explored all the possible outcomes of his creation and picked the best of all possible worlds.

As an example, after his calculus he discovered a possible outcome in which Mr. Green would believe in him, and so since in his sovereignty he wanted Mr. Green to be saved, he chose to cause this particular creation in which Mr. Green is saved. Consequently, this is the best of all possible worlds since Mr. Green chooses to believe and God remains soveriegn.

But, in the best of all possible worlds in which Mr. Green believes, it just so happens that Mrs. White doesn't believe. And since God decided that it was the best of all possible worlds for Mr. Green to be saved, God also decided that it was the best of all possible worlds for Mrs. White to go to hell. After all, God could have calculated another world in which both people were saved, or even calculated a world in which everyone is saved.

I don't see how this is much different than the Calvinst view, except it seems too complex to be the real way God did it.

Redeemed by Grace
Aug 5th 2009, 01:09 AM
Agreed! That book I recommended earlier does just that - each person carefully defines such terms, especially regarding "foreknowledge" or "omniscience." In Christian philosophy you must very carefully define your terms.

Take care,

BD

Hi BD,

But then doesn't that make truth relative?

BadDog
Aug 5th 2009, 11:53 AM
Hi BD,

But then doesn't that make truth relative?
Well, those philosophers know how each uses and defines terms. And there are some set definitions for terms such as counterfactuals, for e.g..

BD

BadDog
Aug 5th 2009, 11:58 AM
I'm not so sure that Arminianism and Open Theism are so far apart as you think, but this doesn't really matter. The point is that OP and HC are extremes not logical conclusions of Arminianism and Calvinism.
Well, regarding God's knowledge they are way off anyway.



You're right that Craig is a philosopher and not a theologian and that, in my opinion, is part of the problem. I don't know where Craig said he sees no difference between C and HC, I heard it on James White's program. If you want to doubt that then that's fine.
Well, I suppose he may have been speaking regarding their views of God's knowledge. But regarding God's actualizing the present world system, there would have to be a difference.


You did make a few comments which were way off based which were either your own or quotes.


What do you mean?
I'd have to go back to the posts and quote them. At work now. Will do later I guess. But 2 or 3 of your comments reflected on groups kinda in an extreme fashion without explaining.

CYL,

BD