Apparent contradiction?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Skandelon, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    Can someone explain to me how a lost person can, on the one hand, know 'what may be known about God' and clearly understand "His eternal power and divine nature" simply by the general revelation of creation, BUT on the other hand not understand the Holy Spirit inspired gospel revelation, presented in their very own language using basic terms?

    How do they understand more from what is revealed in creation than what is revealed by the Word Himself? And HOW is the claim that they CAN'T understand the gospel not giving them an excuse?



    Here is the passage I'm referring to:
    Rom 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
     
  2. mont974x4

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    There is no contradiction.

    The issue is in how we understand the word "know". There is a distinct difference being having a knowledge of and actually knowing someone. Reading through the gospel of John we see Jesus explaining in various terms how this works. He talked in the language people could understand on the physical level but unless drawn by God they would never really understand the true message of His words. To put it simply, they did not have ears to hear.

    Knowing, like hearing and believing, are active words the imply something deeper in their meaning than most people grasp.
     
  3. Iconoclast

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    :applause::applause: There is no contradiction....not all are good ground hearers....Jesus taught the parable of the sower and the seed.Only the elect who are given a new heart are good ground hearers:thumbsup:
     
  4. preacher4truth

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    You come to a fallacious conclusion that 'they' understand more by creation than by the Word. You have the cart before the horse in a sense. The entire argument posited in the OP is faulty.

    However, the premise of truth presented (in Scripture, not the OP) is that they are without excuse, a position you've struggled with in other threads you've written. For example your 'how can you blame them' thread (or similar in title).

    It's apparent that this topic is a huge stumbling block for you, but the Scriptures are plain: Sovereign God says they are without excuse, and there is absolutely no contradiction.
     
  5. Iconoclast

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    :thumbsup::applause::thumbsup:
     
  6. Skandelon

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    I understand that and agree, but the verse said they clearly saw and understood God's attributes and knew God but traded that truth in for a lie and refused to acknowledge Him as God. It doesn't say they didn't 'really understand.' The fact that they DID understand is the very thing that made them 'without excuse.' Calvinists give that excuse back by suggesting men are born unable to REALLY understand that which God has clearly made known.

    Again, I understand that too, and agree. But, in those instances Jesus wasn't addressing the natural condition of all mankind from birth, he was addressing the judicially hardened condition of the Jewish nation. The Jews had grown hardened but the 'Gentiles will listen.' (Acts 28:28 and John 12:39) Also see, Mark 4 and Matt 13 where Jesus hides the truth of the kingdom by using parables to prevent the Jewish leaders from hearing and repenting.

    The reason they did not have 'ears to hear' was because their hearts had 'grown calloused' not because they were born in that condition. Heb. 3 warns us not to allow our hearts to become like the Jews and grown hardened like theirs did.
     
    #6 Skandelon, Apr 2, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 2, 2012
  7. Martin Marprelate

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    I don't think there is any problem with this passage. The Universe and the world we live in can't have made themselves, because nothing makes itself. That is obvious. However, because men don't like the thought of God being over them (Rom 1:28), they either convince themselves that the world really did make itself or they make their own gods in their own image, or they become deists and suppose that God, having made the world has no further interest in it.

    When they do any of these things they are without excuse, because the Creation demands a Creator and they should be searching and reaching out for Him (Acts 17:27), but in fact, unless God moves someone's heart to do so, 'There is none who seeks after God' (Rom 3:11).

    That's not what the text says. The evidence of God in creation should lead men to seek God, but they won't do so.
    They can't understand because of their wicked unregenerate hearts. Their ignorance is not physical but moral. They willfully forget God (2 Peter 3:5).

    That is why the wrath of God is revealed from heaven.

    Steve
     
  8. seekingthetruth

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    You are so SPECIAL!!!!!!!!
     
  9. Yeshua1

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    natural man, person who has the nature of a sinner, can see and understand from nature that someone/something must have made the Universe,and a person can hear the Gospel and read the bible and know the facts regarding jesus, salvation, heaven, hell etc, but will not be able to make a heart commitment to the truth learned, but only a mental assent to it!

    can confess that Bible teach jesus died foe sinners, raised from dead per bible, but cannot make a heart commitment until enabled to the working of the Holy Spirit on their behalf!

    they would be as the demons, know the truth and facts of God, but refuse to acknowledge Him!
     
  10. Skandelon

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    Ok, fine, that doesn't change the fact that they knew God and understood his divine attributes simply by the revelation of creation, whereas Calvinists teach that man is born so depraved he can't even understand truth plaining and clearly spoken in our own language in such a way as to believe it.

    I agree. I just also believe that the way God has chosen to 'move' is through his appointed means: Son, Apostles, Scripture, Holy Spirit, Church

    And I believe those mean are not 'irresistible.' They are sufficient to enable a response, but not irresistible to ensure a positive one.

    This debate is really not about whether or not men seek God, we both agree that mankind doesn't. This is about man's ability to respond to a God actively seeking to save the lost.


    This is what I'm talking about. The bible clearly says they DO UNDERSTAND and that is the very reason they stand without excuse and you claim "they can't understand." The only people who can't understand are those being judicially hardened. People aren't born hardened, they 'grow' hardened.
     
  11. cyberjosh

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    I would try to draw a distinction between the eternal memorial testimony of God's handiwork in nature ("The heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech, night after night they display knowledge" - Psalm 19:1-2) and special divine revelation of truth: prophetic truth/enablement, theophanies (Yahweh appearing with two angels to Abraham by the Oak at Mamre), and the biggest revelatory evidence of His being which God has ever given to man of Himself, other than sending his Son Jesus: Yahweh descending in a dark cloud upon Mt. Sinai in the sight of 3 million Israelites for all to see with heavenly trumpets blaring, His voice booming to the congregation, and the earth shaking beneath them. I would even say that as a "believing" Jew Saul of Tarsus still came to yet see "a new light" when Jesus blinded him on the road to Damascus. Remarkably, Saul even had the wherewithall to ask "Lord, who are you?" (Acts 9:5) because he had a sense of the greatness of the One with whom he was speaking.

    All people have enough knowledge of God through creation to be held accountable, but special revelation is given only to God's people. This can be seen in the special privilege given to the Jews (mentioned just two chapters later in Romans), over against the Gentiles, of having received God's very oracles/spoken words: "What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God." (Romans 3:1-2). The Jews received special revelation of God's oracles, unlike the Gentiles. "You only have I known of all the families of the earth" (Amos 3:2). But creation itself is not a special revelation, but rather it displays memorials and testimonies of God for all men to see and understand. Does that shed any light on it?

    God Bless,
    ~Josh
     
    #11 cyberjosh, Apr 3, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 3, 2012
  12. Martin Marprelate

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    I'm sorry, I hadn't realised that this thread is another of your wretched attempts at Calvinist-beating or I wouldn't have responded. I thought perhaps you actually wanted an answer to your question.

    Carry on without me.

    Steve
     
  13. Skandelon

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    Steve, look at the top of the page and you will see this is a debate forum. We are actually supposed to present our differing views in the form of an argument (in accordance with the rules, of course). If you get in over your head it is fine to bow out or just admit you don't know how to respond, but there is no need to make unkind accusations and pretend to be righteously indignant in response to an otherwise cordial and well meaning rebuttal on a DEBATE FORUM.
     
  14. Martin Marprelate

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    I am neither righteously indignant nor pretending to be. I am just weary of these pointless threads on Calvinism. How often does one have to post the almost identical answer to the almost identical question? That this is a debate forum I know. That you have a perfect right to start the almost identical wearisome threads time after time after time I also know.

    All I'm saying is, carry on without me. That is my right. I really thought for a moment that you might have started a thread on an interesting topic here, but it was not to be.

    Steve
     
  15. Skandelon

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    Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize someone had a gun to your head forcing you to click on threads and respond. :rolleyes:

    Admittedly there is some overlap in our discussions, but many threads are derailed by things like this and the questions of the OP are buried and never fully vetted. Sometimes the issues resurface in another discussion so a new thread is started so as to address the issue more fully in its own thread. Sometimes the poster wants to delve deeper into an issue that may have been discussed previously but not as deeply as desired. That is the poster's prerogative...and he should be able to do that without having his threads derailed. If you are so TIRED of participating, may I make a suggestion? DON'T

    We can and will do that without your interruptions and insults. Just don't reply next time.

    Oh, I see, its not "interesting" unless I immediately agree with your assessment? Interesting. I thought my pressing you might actually help you to think through and better defend your views, as you would mine. Silly me. :wavey:
     
  16. Martin Marprelate

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    Shhh! You'll wake the baby!
    Actually, I'm not going to. (participate, that is).

    Steve
     
  17. Allan

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    If I may, here is my thoughts or nickles worth:

    Look at vs 19 of Romans 1 which in context is connected to vs 18:
    This portion is directly related to vs 18 which states the "wrath of God is revealed", here man knows of God's wrath or judgment.. "against all unrighteousness" ... here man knows of sin (unrighteousness) and by contrast must also know it's polar opposite - Righteousness. And His judgment revealed is against "those who hold the truth in unrighteousness" .. knowing but rejecting. But what is most interesting is that these things are made known to them BY GOD.

    Not only there but as you read the rest of Romans 1 you can see 3 interesting things that man comes to know specifically.
    1) Sin;
    2) righteousness;
    3) Judgment to come

    What makes this so interesting is that Jesus stated the Holy Spirit into the 'world' to convict the world of:
    1) Sin;
    2) righteousness;
    3) Judgment to come.

    From here it appears that man's intellect and rational ability are not enough for him to understand these things by himself. God must reveal them to man.

    Another point just as important is that mans heart once he chooses not to believe becomes darkened/hardened (vs 21), and continuing in this manner and going from bad to worse (vss 22-23), we see it was AT THIS POINT (wherefore or because of this) God gave them over... it was after their rejection of His truth(s) he turned them over to have what they wanted most (separation) from Him.

    This is important because it reveals something spectacular about God's interaction with unregenerate man.. that He not only DOES but IS doing so. It is important also because we see they weren't set aside and just left alone by God, and that God only works upon those whom will believe.

    Personally I believe this argument can and SHOULD be made by Calvinists in that God does indeed work upon the unregenerate to the point they indeed do know not only of but somewhat about Him. However it is not done in such a way that compels them to come, but to only acknowledge Him and their own lostness. In this, like the very passage in Rom 1 (and even 2 shows) they are without excuse because they knew the truth, but rejected it. I believe this is seen enough in scripture give extremely strong support for this idea (though it is not my belief), yet it is not something you very often at all, though I have run across here and there of late. Regarding this kind of view I could at least agree with them more as I don't see scripture declaring that God does not work upon those who will not believe. (as evidenced here, He does, to some degree)
     
  18. Skandelon

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    But once revealed, they have no excuse for their rebellion against such truth, right?

    How is that different than with the revelation of the gospel? Or is it different from your view point?
     
  19. Allan

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    I believe I said that didn't I?

    The gospel is the fullness of those truths, personified in Christ.
    Thus to me, no difference. God still has to bring understanding to man.
    Regardless of when you consider it happening, the fact is still the same, God is doing it - not man. Man comprehends because God has made him to know it.
     
  20. Skandelon

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    I thought so....just clarifying. Some here seem to say one thing and mean another, so you can never be too careful. ;)

    I agree. BUT... do you consider God's work in bringing man the gospel sufficient to 'bring understanding' or do you believe there must be some additional work to make the gospel understandable?
     

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