A Response

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Skandelon, Jan 15, 2011.

  1. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    You had responded on the thread "Balanced Calvinism" but it was closed by the time I got back from a trip:

    I'll respond to your quotes here:

    Calvary had the purpose of accomplishing redemption for the world and God's intervention in hardening Israel (hiding the truth so they would continue in their rebellion) is not equivalent to your claims of God determining all man's sinful choices and actions.

    Further explanation HERE

    God being in complete control by creating beings with free agency while being powerful enough to accomplish his ultimate purposes despite their rebellion.

    . By comparing the two events you seem to suggest that God's intervention in hardening the Jews to accomplish redemption for the world on Calvary is like His determining the very thought and act of Dahmer, which (1) undermines the supernatural and unique attributes of God involvement at Calvary by suggesting this the manner God has brought about the every sinful act of mankind...and (2) impugns God's holiness by suggesting he is the cause of sin.

    As explained above, God doesn't have to ACTIVELY CAUSE or DETERMINE sin to accomplish Calvary, but he did intervene by judicially hardening people, but is there any biblical support that suggests God has likewise intervened in all other sins of mankind, like those of Dahmer? Certainly Dahmer's murders didn't bring about redemption of the world, so that couldn't be the purpose.

    Could it be that it was a sinful act of a man that God is able to work together for good and not the original thought/action/determination of our holy and sinless God?

    His choice not to intervene and stop the sin is a far cry from his thinking up and predetermining the sin, don't you think? You seem to be arguing that my belief in the former somehow justifies your belief of the latter, but it does not.
     
  2. quantumfaith

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    Excellent insight!!!
     
  3. slave 4 Christ

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    You put words in my mouth.
    God did not force the wicked hands at Calvary, nor Dahmer's.
    You have falsely assumed the decree of God, that is Him being ultimate cause, to mean force by God's immediate power.
    God not only can be, but is the ultimate cause of all things in His creation. Doing so without being the immediate cause of sin in His creatures.

    Illustration: (Joesph) In the same action [ultimate cause, God] / [immediate cause, his brothers]


    If this is true, then did His "ultimate purpose" come before or after the actions of man's free agency?

    1) If God's "ultimate purpose" came after the actions of man's free agency, then by default man determines God's purposes.
    If this is true then Ephesians 1:11 cannot be true.
    In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,
    God works all things after the counsel of His own will (ultimate purpose).

    2) If God's "ultimate purpose" is precedent to the actions of man's free agency, then man's choices must accomplish God's ultimate purpose.
    God accomplishes His ultimate purposes by being the ultimate cause of everything. Yet in so doing God does not violate the choices of man.

    BTW. Your terminology, "ultimate purpose" puts one in mind of God's decree.

    You rightly formed your statements by, "seemed to suggest".

    Do you believe God forced the "very thought and act" of the wicked men at Calvary?
    Of course not, and neither do I.
    Emotional rebuttals cannot stand in the face of Biblical precedent.

    I presented a biblical argument, that stated God had a predetermined plan that included the actions of sinners.
    The Bible states, Jesus was delivered up by the definite plan of God, into the hands of wicked men.
    Was Calvary God's plan? Yes
    Did His plan include using sinful men? Yes
    Where their actions truly sinful? Yes

    When God's word tells us God did a thing with Job, with Joesph, or even with His own Son Jesus, a precedent for God's dealings with men is set.
    Therefore it is extremely presumptuous to say, "God does not do this".

    Calvary was the greatest purpose that God ever brought to pass!
    But all His purposes, though not equally comparable to Calvary, are still glorious.


    In Eph. 1:11 Paul tells us about the purpose of God.
    "...the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,"
    Notice the extent of His purpose, works all things according to....His will.
    Yes, God has a purpose in the horrible and wicked actions of sinners.

    Theological rules of thumb:
    Rule #1: God works all things after the counsel of HIS own will.

    Rule #2: If it seems to me that can't be God's will. See rule #1.

    This is a good debating tactic. Answer a question by asking a question.
    In my post there were some sound arguments presented. Please address these below.
    BTW, God is not in heaven thinking up anything. You know this is an unfair assessment of the doctrine of Grace.
    The below are fair questions that deserve fair answers.

    From post #174 A Balanced Calvinism
    This is the problem with the free will system. God knows about wicked acts, such as Dahmer's, but either cannot or will not stop it.

    If He cannot stop Dahmer, then this god is not sovereign and, frankly, is not God.
    But on the other hand, if He will not stop Dahmer, then is God guilty of neglect, uncaring, no love, hate, blind eye, etc.?

    Why did God, if He could, not stop this murderous fiend?
    Is He so bound to man's will that he would not step in to prevent such an insidious act?
     
  4. Luke2427

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    Very excellent insight! :thumbs:
     
    #4 Luke2427, Jan 16, 2011
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  5. BobinKy

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    #5 BobinKy, Jan 16, 2011
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  6. Earth Wind and Fire

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    This apparently isn't your first Rodeo.
    Blessings
     
  7. Salty

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    Off topic

    Since you all "quoted" the entire previous posts - I just breeze by.

    The OP sounded interesting, but these "full Quotes" just make it very hard to read......

    and now back to - well what ever they were arguing about....
     
  8. Skandelon

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    So you don't believe "God [is] determining all man's sinful choices and actions"?

    That was the crux of the discussion from the last thread that you certainly seemed to be defending, was it not?

    Obviously the creator of any created thing is in some way the "ultimate cause" of all that the created thing does, however when that created thing is a free moral agent who is held accountable for his/her decisions it takes on a whole other dynamic. Thus, I must press you on your view of God's involvement in the act of sin. Please answer these questions:

    1. When Dahmer sinned, could he have done otherwise? Could he have willingly resisted the temptation?

    2. If not, why? What "forced" him to do what he could not have resisted doing?

    3. If yes, then why did he choose sin instead of resisting? Who or what determined his choice to sin? And by admitting that he could have willingly done otherwise haven't you affirmed libertarian free will?

    A question about which came first with regard to God's eternal/timeless plan is nonsensical. He works out his ultimate purpose in, through, and despite the actions of the free moral agents. There is certainly an element of mystery in that, but no need to impugn God's holiness by even hinting that He somehow authors/causes/decrees or determines the sinful actions of man. Why are Calvinists fine with accepting such mysteries as the triune nature of God but not the mystery of a self determined choice of a free moral agent within time and space?

    Then who or what did? Where did such sinful thoughts originate? If you say MAN then haven't you undermined the very definition of Sovereignty that you seek to defend by allowing mankind to "control" or "originate" something?

    The emotional nature of a rebuttal doesn't determine its value or its relevance, neither of which was addressed by your response.

    I've emboldened and underlined the significant point of our contention. I would also answer "yes" to all of these questions, but your view (from my understanding of what you and other Calvinists have argued) is not that God has merely USED sinful men. Calvinistic dogma claims that God "...from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass..." (Westminster Confession)

    Now, I would presume that "whatsoever" would include the sinful thought/temptation of Dahmer, right? So, God is not merely USING a sinful man in this case, He has unchangeably determined the actual heinous thought and then subsequent act of Dahmer.

    Most Calvinists (from my experience) aren't satisfied with merely saying that God "allows" or "permits" whatsoever comes to pass, so I'm not sure why you think the argument that God merely "uses sinful men" to accomplish his plan actually supports the Calvinistic claims. It actually supports my view.

    That really doesn't address the argument regarding the uniqueness of God's intervention regarding Calvary as it relates to other sinful actions of men such as Dahmer.

    My point was to show that you undermine the unique divine nature of such things like Calvary or the Inspiration of Scripture or the calling/inspiring of the Prophets/Apostles when you insist all things are determined by God in the same manner as these things. Follow me on this.

    If God decrees whatsoever comes to pass then what makes the scripture any more special than a good biblical commentary? Aren't they both true? Aren't they both "decreed by God?"

    What makes them different is that in scripture God divinely and sovereignly intervened to ensure its inspiration and truthfulness. God did it. The commentary was a work of a man who follows God, period. If God did EVERYTHING then that undermines the uniqueness of that divine act of inspiration.

    In the same way, if God ordained the sin of Dahmer in the same manner that he intervened to ensure Calvary then you have undermined the significance of God's work of redemption. I believe that what you are doing when you point to Calvary as a defense for your position regarding Dahmer's sin. You really didn't address that point.


    But what does that mean brother? What does it mean for God to work all things after the counsel of His own will? Does it mean that God came up with all his choices and man's choices before the world began and just made it happen accordingly? Or could it mean that he chooses to sovereignly bring about his purpose (to be Glorified) despite the free rebellious choices of man?

    In the first option you have God originating the thought of rape, murder, abuse and the other heinous sins of mankind and I don't see such a teaching in scripture.

    I'm like Jesus in that way. :tongue3:

    Then who did "think" these up?



    I believe I did address these, but I don't mind going over it again. We both agree that he could have stopped it but chose not to.

    Neither of us believe that, no. However, this is not about what God has merely allowed, this is about what God has "unchangeably ordained/decreed/determined." I thought that was clear, which is why I asked you, "His choice not to intervene and stop the sin is a far cry from his thinking up and predetermining the sin, don't you think?" But if you don't think that is a fair question I'll reword it to match a historical Calvinistic document's wording, okay? ...

    His choice not to intervene and stop the sin is a far cry from his unchangeably ordaining the sin to come to pass, don't you think? You seem to be arguing that my belief in the former somehow justifies your belief of the latter.

    Now it is your turn to address my argument.
     
  9. Allan

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    Agreed.. looks like he's going to loose this one also.
    :) sorry.. that got the better of me and just had to say it :)
     
    #9 Allan, Jan 19, 2011
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  10. Jarthur001

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    wait....

    are you saying a Rodeo is a game?

    That shows you what I know. Me is a city boy
     
    #10 Jarthur001, Jan 19, 2011
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  11. Allan

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    lol.. hehehe.
     
  12. zrs6v4

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    Skandelon, Im interested in your responses to my answers here for the heck of it:

    So you don't believe "God [is] determining all man's sinful choices and actions"?


    It seems as though God knows which actions He will permit and which actions He will not. God chooses all actions that are to be done.

    1. When Dahmer sinned, could he have done otherwise? Could he have willingly resisted the temptation?


    Yes and No. Yes in the sense that God left Dahmer free to his own evil desires and temptations. Dahmer was able to resist and to run if he chose to. No because God is sovereign over all choices. God desired to allow Dahmer do what he did, although God very well could have stopped Dahmer if He chose to.

    2. If not, why? What "forced" him to do what he could not have resisted doing?


    Dahmer was a slave to his own nature and temptation. Maybe demon possessed? either way Dahmer was doing the sin in the level God allowed him to fall to. God did not force, tempt, or do anything to control Dahmer. There is much mystery, but God was sovereign over the events as they were not out of His hands.

    3. If yes, then why did he choose sin instead of resisting? Who or what determined his choice to sin? And by admitting that he could have willingly done otherwise haven't you affirmed libertarian free will?

    Dahmer chose to sin because Dahmer is evil in heart like the rest of mankind. Dahmer chose to sin because he was left up to himself and whatever other force might have led him. My view (which is a weak attempt in understanding God) would argue that God controls things sovereignly by His goodness and grace. What I mean by this is that we evil sinners are not as bad as we could be because God's grace prevents us from falling to the levels or below Dahmer and Hitler. Yet, God seems to control these things by letting their "free will fall" if you will. In any case God has control over the evil that goes on, but not directly as many try to pin on the Calvinistic approach. Yes free will is true, yet falls under the sovereign hand of God.

    I would argue that the fall of Adam was a great example of God's sovereignty over evil events. God knew it was coming, God decided to allow Satan enter the garden to tempt Adam, God did not protect Adam from sinning, Adam ignorantly sinned, and sin entered. God easily could have prevented the event and preserved Adam as He will preserve us one day in heaven. Yet God sovereignly brought sin into the world. Yes you can say God was the ultimate deciding factor, but God did not sin or have any part of it. In fact in chapter 6 we see God's mourning over the wickedness of mankind. God hated it, yet willed it to be.
     
    #12 zrs6v4, Jan 20, 2011
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  13. Tom Butler

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    I'm coming late to this thread, mainly because I don't have any answers that will settle the questions.

    A couple of observations, if I may:

    Acts 2:23 Peter is preaching on the day of Pentecost.
    "Him (Jesus) being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye (the Jews) have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain."

    God (actually the Trinity, I think) decreed from eternity that the Son would come to earth, die for sinners, and rise from the dead. The decree (determinate counsel) is the basis for God's foreknowledge that this would happen. And it included the certainty that Jesus would be crucified by people Peter described as wicked.

    In other words, not only would these wicked men crucify Jesus exactly as God had decreed, they would do it willingly out of wicked hearts.

    Here then is God's sovereignty and man's responsibility in the same verse. Anything beyond this is above my pay grade.

    Could God have prevented anybody from sinning? Yeah, he could have killed them, and we'd all be dead before the day is over. Then what?

    I've said this before, and I'll say it again. When we all get to heaven, I have about a thousand years worth of questions for the Lord. Y'all willl have to get in line behind me.

    Or, maybe I'll just find Paul and get all the answers from him. And I definitely want to ask Peter what he understood about Acts 2:23.
     
    #13 Tom Butler, Jan 20, 2011
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  14. Skandelon

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    I didn't ask about God's permitting or allowing sinful actions. I asked about his determining them to be. Please answer the question.

    1
    Got to stop you there.

    Where did those "evil desires and temptations" originate in your system? If they are original with Dahmer then haven't you undermined your view of sovereignty by which God must "ordain/decree/determine whatsoever comes to pass?" If they originate with God then how do you avoid the accusation of God being the author of sin and the tempter of man?

    Nice dance move, but was he able to choose to do otherwise? If yes, then you have affirmed Libertarian Free Will. If not you have to deal with the problem you are dancing all around here with regard to divine culpability.

    Again, it doesn't address the real question of God's determination. We both agree He could have stopped Dahmer and didn't, this is about where the temptation or thought even originated, because THAT is the ULTIMATE CAUSE of his sin. Did God first think up that heinous deed or did Dahmer? It's one or the other?

    Which originated where?

    So, demons (created by God), originated the thought? Where did they get it? Demons or God originated the thought? Doesn't avoid the problem, just moves it back one more step.

    Sounds like we agree after all. So, you don't believe God has "ordained/decreed/determined whatsoever comes to pass," but instead He "permits/allows whatsoever comes to pass?"

    Please expound.
     
  15. slave 4 Christ

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    If this created thing, as you call it, is "free morally" then no law or Law-giver can be his judge. He is "free". His actions are controlled and governed by his own mind, emotion, and will. If, as you suggest, God gives a "free" moral agency, then God cannot in any way bind that "created thing". For if God does, He will by your definition violate "freedom" of the creature.
    The very idea of free is able to do whatever the created thing so desires.

    However, God in His infinite and Holy wisdom and counsel has created man with "moral agency", but not "free" moral agency.
    This moral agency of man is bound by the Decrees of God.
    There was no "free" moral agency even in the garden of Eden.
    Adam was bound by God's decree. Both God's revealed decree, ie. "do not eat", and God's hidden decree, ie. "in Adam all are condemned".
    Does one find in the biblical narrative Adam saying "no God please don't force me to eat that fruit".
    No, of course not. Adam with his God given "moral agency" chose, within the bounds of God's decree, to willingly partake.
    Therefore, God is not responsive,(ie. reacting to Adam's sin) and Adam is responsible, he willingly sinned.

    These questions are not valid; because they assume if man does not have "free" will, then God is responsible "directly" for sinful actions..

    Here is why these questions are not valid. I can ask the same type questions.
    1) When Dahmer sinned, could God have caused him to do otherwise? Shouldn't God have given Dahmer strength to resist temptation?

    2) If not, why? Is God not powerful enough to stop a murderous man?

    3) If yes, then why, if God could have stopped Dahmer, did God allow Dahmer's murderous actions? Who or what determined God's choice to allow these murders? And by admitting that God could have willingly done otherwise haven't you affirmed Dahmer's "free" will controlled God?

    We now have a set of questions that neither can or will answer.
    Therefore, repeating them will be a waste of time and energy.

    The non-reformed view has God "foreseeing" man's actions.
    I do understand this view has God "seeing" the action before it actually takes place. But even in God's foreseeing, invariably man's choice is first.
    Therefore, this view still has God acting antecedent to man's choices, which causes God to act in response to man.
    The "clay" is molding the "Potter".

    If God works "despite" the actions of "free" moral agents, then God takes no regard for "free" will. God does what He whats to do.
    I do understand. It is impossible to fully reconcile "libertarian free" will with God's sovereignty.

    Joesph said to his brothers, your thoughts were evil, but God's thoughts were for good.
    Your persistence in separating this Biblical precedent is frustrating.
    The sinful thoughts were products of the brothers fallen moral agency.
    God aggravated this moral corruption by giving Joesph a dream.
    Thus was God's decree put in motion.
    The brothers are acting "in" their moral corruption. God is acting through their moral corruption.

    You said, "I would presume...".
    Your presumption is wrong.

    In Isaiah 10:5-7, God gives us a glimpse into the counsel of His will.

    5Ah, Assyria, the rod of my anger;
    the staff in their hands is my fury!
    6Against a godless nation I send him,
    and against the people of my wrath I command him,
    to take spoil and seize plunder,
    and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.
    7But he does not so intend,
    and his heart does not so think;
    but it is in his heart to destroy,
    and to cut off nations not a few;

    In verses 5 and 6 God is moving Assyria for His wise and perfect purpose, but in verse 7 Assyria has her own purpose.

    How about II Corinthians 12:7? Another glimpse into the counsel of His will.
    7So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.

    God's purpose is wise and perfect, the "messenger of satan's" purpose for evil.

    By complete trust in God's revealed actions, in these as well as other Biblical situations.
    I will, without reserve, say God had a "wise and perfect" purpose in Dahmer's evil actions.
    We have no right to question the "liability" of God when we are so in the dark concerning His purpose in this situation.
    Especially when the Bible gives many instances of God's purpose being accomplished by the hands of wicked men.

    Are you contending that without the "free" will of man we cannot trust the scripture?

    God reveals the Inspired infallibility of His written word.
    God does not do this with commentators.

    Your analogy is a gross mis-representation of the decrees of God.

    God decreed the "fallibility" of man, that His sovereign Glory might be revealed in His infallible written Word.
    What causes us to believe a fallible man wrote the Words of God?
    God's sovereign control in the lives of His men.
    20knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

    BTW, If a commentator rightly divides scripture, then those words of the commentator express God's truth. But the commentary is never the final authority.

    All of God's decrees have a purpose.
    Some, like Calvary, have an infinitely greater purpose.
    But nothing God does is without a wise and perfect purpose!




    In conclusion, you are assuming that "free" will is necessary to culpability of man and release of responsibility of God.
    "Free" will is not necessary. God has given man moral agency, but even so He very often commands the impossible by human means.
    God commands men not to murder. Some rebelliously murder anyway. Are these senseless crimes?
    Or does God have a wise and perfect purpose in the actions of wicked men?

    In fact, God does choose some murderous men to be His witnesses.
    15For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard......19And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: 20And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him. 21And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.

    One last thing, since there is absolutely no way you nor I can know the purpose of God in Dahmer's heinous murders.
    Let's keep our debate centered in scripture.
     
    #15 slave 4 Christ, Jan 20, 2011
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  16. zrs6v4

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    Skandelon- I'm at work I'll hit the questions later.

    Tom- I like the first sentence of your post. My conviction of Gods sovereignty comes from scripture and it does not answer a lot of these questions. These are great questions that must be worked out with that kind of humility. I do think these questions lead to logical answers that may or may not do Justice to working out facts about God and The "how's"... With that said our logic can lead us to right answers or deceivingly to wrong answers if we wonder off beyond what God has revealed.. I'll try to be careful
     
    #16 zrs6v4, Jan 20, 2011
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  17. zrs6v4

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    My response was to show that God’s determination seems to have a lot to do with His permission. That is why I answered as I did. So Yes to your question. God does determine which sinful actions happen because He chooses which He will permit. I understand the number of difficult questions that then arise, therefore I want to make it clear that I don’t want to try to box this mystery in with my simplistic statement.


    The man’s heart and/or demonic influence. They were not instilled by God because God doesn’t tempt or cause man to do evil. When I say God ordains/decrees/determines all that comes to pass (our topic is evil, therefore God’s actions are very different here) I mean: God has a purpose in all evil from eternity past by which the events are foreordained. God knows all possibilities before creation and permits only the ones He chooses to allow. That is a general statement, so again, I am not trying to claim to know exactly how God determines evil in eternity past so that He sovereignly controls all evil events. If God knows and determines these events by means of His permission and denial to evil, then He controls evil by His grace upon sinners in all likeliness. With this view, God does not primarily sin or tempt anyone, but determines the degree of their fall.


    Thanks. Yes and no. It really depends on the influence. God did not cause Dahmer to do what he did. God could have prevented it, but God chose to allow it to happen. Dahmer could have been getting sifted like wheat by demonic influence to a degree that Dahmer could not resist what he did. If it were Dahmer all alone, he could have done a lot worse or chose to do something lesser, but he did exactly what he did.

    Its easy to say that God prevented a worse event from happening but how did God sovereignly have control over the event not being a lesser evil? What if Dahmer wanted to do something smaller but God wanted something a little worse? Does that mean that God is sitting back at the mercy seat of Dahmer to do something really evil? God cannot make a sinners choices worse, unless He permits a fallen angel, so I am not sure how exact evil events happen as God has chose them to without becoming the primary influence. It is easy to say that God ordains good works only by accomplishing His good will in spite of them. That begs a deeper question as well. What if Adam didn’t fall or if Satan chose not to tempt Adam? Then how can God sovereignly bring Christ. Surely the sending of His Son wasn’t plan B to creation was it?

    I agree with the first part. I am not sure whether or not God thought up the heinous sin or Dahmer. Surely God creates beings for a purpose before they are born. When He created Satan God surely knew what Satan would do and that was His reason for creating Him. God didn’t try to make Satan for a good purpose and Satan hinder God’s purpose. So did God know why He created Satan? Yes Did God want Satan to fall? Well no but that was His purpose. Did God have multiple plans that could happen around the event of Satan? Plan A- If Satan falls then Ill do this. Plan B- If Satan doesn’t Ill do this… Did God think up Satan’s heinous deeds before Satan and create him for that purpose? That is mindboggling..

    Satan, his own desires, not God. I stated above that it is a tricky question to answer from both sides of our debate. If we say God, then it seems we label God as tempter, which may not be the case at all. If we say, not God, then we risk saying that God’s will is at the mercies of man’s free evil choices (in eternity past). Thus, both are possible in my mind, it is just very difficult to explain “how God can remain sovereign over each evil event” in my definition.



    That is if you define ordained, decreed, determined as meaning God originated the thought. As I said, that is the most difficult question for both of us.

    Lets let this play out in reality. Lets look at creation for the topic. I believe the centerpieces of God’s purposes were for His glory and for the Godhead to be revealed. Lets say God ordains based on Libertarian free will (speaking of evil only). How does God control what good He in His primary causes if He cant control the evil in His secondary causes? It puts God in the mercy seat of what evil people and creatures do in order to establish His purposes. If we say He does simply work His good purposes through evil then what if Satan didn’t fall, Judas didn’t betray, or Adam didn’t sin? Well, if Satan didn’t fall then Adam wouldn’t sin, and Jesus wouldn’t have come. God couldn’t bring about His good sovereignly without somehow mysteriously controlling evil apart from being evil Himself. How would you explain this? In my mind He controls it all or "possibly" nothing at all. I say this with the intention of working out any issues I may have or you may have so we can both come to a better understanding of God's ways. At least I hope :)

    Along with the highlighted question how do you define sovereign?
     
    #17 zrs6v4, Jan 22, 2011
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  18. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    Clearly we need to define some terms for these conversations to go anywhere.

    Slave4: Please define you understanding of a "free moral agent" and your view regarding man's freedom or lack thereof. You appear to argue on the one hand that men aren't free but then define freedom to the ability "to do whatever the created thing so desires." Please explain before we move on so that we don't talk in circles.

    zrs: Can you define "determined?" Because if by "determine" you simply mean God is "choosing that which He will permit," then we don't have any disagreement. In my mind, and in the minds of most everyone with which I've discussed this subject there is a distinction between God's determination of something and he permitting of something. You don't seem able (or maybe willing) to draw that distinction. I suspect that is because you have become uncomfortable with the implications of a system that has God determining the heinous sins such as those of Dahmer.
     
  19. zrs6v4

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    I don't mean to come across in a bad way, but I explained my position in my previous reply. God simply decides what is going to happen beforehand, both good and evil and does it according to His choice. Please answer my questions I asked at the end of my last post. I stated clearly that both views become very intricate and dangerous at a certain point of our reasoning. Therefore, yes, I am very careful in my conclusions. There are clearly some difficulties when trying to understand how God decrees evil events without ceasing to be good. We both have uncomfortable areas in our systems because we don't have God completely figured out as we desire to :). You and I both go through a series of emotional swings when trying to think deeply in God's ways.
     
    #19 zrs6v4, Jan 23, 2011
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  20. Skandelon

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    You are not coming across badly. I understand your frustration, but honestly you and I don't seem to be in disagreement with most of your explanations. Most of the time you seem to argue for the less deterministic view of God's foreknowing and permitting evil rather than his determination of it. I'm simply asking for your definition of determination so as to find some distinction between our views because as of now we appear to be on the same side of this argument.

    I asked you about where the thought of Dahmer's heinous sin originated for a very specific reason. If God didn't FIRST think of this act then SOMETHING is "out of his control." That is not to say that he couldn't stop it, we both affirm he could have stopped anything. Instead, it is something that was created by someone other than God and thus not controlled by God. He has the power to stop it, but that is different from being in control of it. See the distinction I'm drawing?

    I believe that God has created beings with the ability of "first cause" choices.

    Now, we all acknowledge that God is able to make a first cause choice, meaning He, the choosing agent, is the first cause in the line of all resulting outcomes...(i.e. God chose to create the earth...no one asks, "What or who caused God to choose to create, because we just accept that He is the cause of his own choices, period...mystery accepted and we move on.) But in the case of a created being the question is this: Is God powerful enough to create a being with the ability to make first cause choices...(choices caused/determined only by the one making the choice and not by some other outside force or predetermined trait)? I believe God is powerful enough to do just that, don't you?

    If God, like an author who writes a novel, thought of the character named Jeffery Dahmer and thought up those horrific deeds and then created him so that he had to simply do that which was determined for him to do then obviously you have some issues of divine culpability to deal with...

    If however, God created Jeffery Dahmer as a free moral creature who can make first cause choices then God isn't the one who first came up with the sins (he may have foreseen them and let them happen, but they didn't originate with God). Some may think that makes God less "sovereign" but I disagree...it really is all perspective. Make sense?
     

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