Apparently there is one thing God can't do.

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Skandelon, Apr 13, 2004.

  1. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    Apparently, God could not have created beings with true free will while remaining sovereign over them. I guess that is the one thing God just couldn't pull off. At least that is what our Calvinistic brethern seem to think.

    Your thoughts?
     
  2. Hardsheller

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    Please define "true free will" and "sovereign."

    The problem with statements like this is our constant usage of terminology that we understand and use differently.
     
  3. Pastor Larry

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    God did create beings with true free will while remaining sovereign over them. I think you are still reaching for any possible idea to try to strengthen your position. Calvinists believe that man has free will, just like God does. He can do anything that is a proper object of his nature and power.

    However, there is at least one thing God can't do ... He can't sin.
     
  4. Skandelon

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    You're right. I mean "free will" in the context of our discussion concerning salvation. Man is not free to do all that God could do because man's powers are limited. So when I say "free will" I mean man's ability to decide whether or not to follow Christ as his disciples. Just as Christ calls a man to consider the cost of being a disciple and compares that to a man building a tower or going to war. We have the ability to "consider the cost" and to reason based upon what has been revealed to us and we can decide to follow or not to follow. We are free to do either once presented with the gospel message.

    Sovereign simply means that God maintains control over all happenings. I do not mean by that He causes all things but instead that he oversees and must permit all things to happen. For example, he did not cause the 9/11 attack but He certainly allowed it. That is sovereignty.

    I hope that helps.
     
  5. Skandelon

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    Good, I'm glad we agree. When I find another Calvinist on this board who argues that God couldn't be sovereign if men have free wills then I will send them to you so you can straighten them out. [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Larry you have absolutely no room to talk. Its been my experience with you that you bail everytime a discussion goes beyond your surface pat answers. We all know that you just poke your head in every once and a while to take a stab and run away to hide behind your "busy schedule" and "8000+ posts" instead of defending your position with any consistancy. In fact, I'd be surprised if you even respond to this post.

    But to each his own. :rolleyes:

    Yes, and I believe it is within mankinds nature and power to respond to his creator. You don't and you have absolutely no biblical support for your beliefs. Instead you have an old dogma you use to prop up your system.

    Of course he can't, if He did it wouldn't be sin would it. He defines sin by his nature and His actions. He can do anything, He chooses not to do certain things by his own will. But that is just a semantical and circular arguement that leads us to the same place. God doesn't sin, period.
     
  6. Pastor Larry

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    The problem is that you don't know what free will is. YOu think man can't be free unless he can act outside of his nature. That is simply wrong. By your definition, God is not even free. Man can decide whether or not to follow Jesus. In his unregenerated state, he will always decide not to.

    Free will means that man can do whatever is the proper object of his nature and power, just like God can. Free will is not the ability to do anything at all.

    Man can choose at any time he so desires to follow God. We emphasize the "will." He must "will" to follow God. God will not save anyone against their will. When man doesn't want to be saved, God will not force him to be.

    Your experience is faulty. I haven't run from anything. I get tired of talking to people who won't listen. But you can be surprised now. (It is nice to see that the personal attacks waited until this far into the thread to start.)

    This very thread is proof that you are not listening to what we say. Why should I spend a lot of time talking to people who do not want to listen and do not want to interact? Can you not see that that is a waste of time?

    This is simply evidence that you are not listening. If you believe that our beliefs have no biblical support, then you are not listening. You may disagree with the support, but it is simply false to say that there is none. I am not so dense as to say your beliefs have no biblical support. I think it is misused and misguided. I think it is ripped from its context. I think it is an abuse of Scripture. I think it compromises the character of God. But it is there.

    We have given the proof many times. You are simply unprepared to change your beliefs.

    God cannot sin. The Bible says it is impossible for him to do so. That means it is not a semantic game. It is a clear, undeniable statement of something God cannot do. It is kind of hard to get around the word "impossible."
     
  7. Skandelon

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    This is simply a semantical game that Calvinists play to avoid the obvious objections to their system. "He will always decide not to" is the same as "he is unable to decide to follow." Answer this simple question with a "yes" or "no." Can mankind choose to follow Christ? No doubt you will say that YES he "could" but he "won't." Right? "He is able but just not willing." Right?

    We'll then don't use verses like John 6:44 which speaks of man's ABILITY as proof texts for your doctrine. Because if you believe they are able then why do you use verses that speak of their inability to prove your point?

    That is what I said. Man can only act within the nature and power granted to him and I believe God has granted all mankind the nature and power to respond to his universal call of the gospel. You don't. You believe the fall damaged man's nature and power so completely that he cannot even respond to God's solution to their plight, the powerful gospel message.

    Oh, like everyone else on the Baptist Board just accepts everything you say as truth and listens so much more intently than I do. :rolleyes:

    You started it. [​IMG]

    Are you so ego driven that you think you speak for all the Calvinists on this board? I started this thread in response to my discussion with other Calvinists who seemed to be arguing that man's ability to choose in regard to salvation would impede God's sovereignity in some way. You're the one who hasn't been "listening;" otherwise you would have corrected their interpretation of "free will" as you have mine.

    And, no, I don't expect you to read every post but if you start accusing me of "not listening" and pretend as if you speak for all Calvinists I'm going to call you on it!


    Larry's defination of "not listening" = "not argreeing with Larry"

    Larry's defination of "not interacting" = "making arguments Larry hasn't ever dealt with before and can't be responded to with his pat answers."

    Ok, I take it back you have misguided, misused, non-contextual, scripturally abusive dogma to support your beliefs. I just thought it was easier to say it wasn't biblically supported. Please forgive me. :rolleyes:

    Wrong! When I have asked for you to show me where the bible teaches fallen men are unable to willingly respond in faith to the gospel message you have pointed to texts that speak about the man's inabilities in relation to the law, receiving the deep things of God or pleasing God while remaining in the flesh, but you have yet to provide one single text that teaches what you believe.

    You say, and I agree, that God can't sin. So, I guess you would believe that God can't lie. Would you consider an empty threat a lie? Like when God tells people if they do something then He would do something in return to them. Calvinists at the Synod of Dort, the place where the five points were given their names, supported the view that God makes empty threats. Wouldn't that be lying?
     
  8. Hardsheller

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    You're right. I mean "free will" in the context of our discussion concerning salvation. Man is not free to do all that God could do because man's powers are limited. So when I say "free will" I mean man's ability to decide whether or not to follow Christ as his disciples. Just as Christ calls a man to consider the cost of being a disciple and compares that to a man building a tower or going to war. We have the ability to "consider the cost" and to reason based upon what has been revealed to us and we can decide to follow or not to follow. We are free to do either once presented with the gospel message.

    Sovereign simply means that God maintains control over all happenings. I do not mean by that He causes all things but instead that he oversees and must permit all things to happen. For example, he did not cause the 9/11 attack but He certainly allowed it. That is sovereignty.

    I hope that helps.
    </font>[/QUOTE]You seem to be saying that God does not pre-plan anything that a man does but rather allows a man complete autonomy in his choices and yet still maintains control over everything that happens?

    Is that correct?
     
  9. Skandelon

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    I guess that would depend upon what your defination of "plan" is. If you mean that God plans as in causes mens actions that is one thing and if you mean plan as in knows men's actions and then plans accordingly that would be another. I think God does interact at times with men "causing" them to act or not act according to his will in order to accomplish a purpose. We see that with Pharoah and we see it with the Jews in the first century. But in general I don't believe God causes men's actions and choices. I believe he leaves a certain amount of freedom, we probably just disagree as to the level of freedom men are granted.
     
  10. Hardsheller

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    I guess that would depend upon what your defination of "plan" is. If you mean that God plans as in causes mens actions that is one thing and if you mean plan as in knows men's actions and then plans accordingly that would be another. I think God does interact at times with men "causing" them to act or not act according to his will in order to accomplish a purpose. We see that with Pharoah and we see it with the Jews in the first century. But in general I don't believe God causes men's actions and choices. I believe he leaves a certain amount of freedom, we probably just disagree as to the level of freedom men are granted. </font>[/QUOTE]So the Biblical evidence says that God has caused certain men to act or not act according to his will in order that his Purpose might be accomplished but that is not generally the case.

    Did he do this up to a point and then stop? Or has he continued this pattern into this age?

    If he has stopped the former and only operates by the latter method, when did he stop and what was his purpose in stopping?

    If he has not discontinued his occasional causation in certain cases how do we determine the identity of those cases and what do we make of them? Does their mere existence mean that man is incapable of making certain types of decisions?

    This is a very interesting discussion and I appreciate you starting this thread.
     
  11. BrotherJoe

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    Brother Skandelon,

    I posted this answer to you in the "Nuts For Arminians to Crack" topic but it is quite relevant here as well.


    YOU:God could not have created beings with true free will while remaining sovereign over them. I guess that is the one thing God just couldn't pull off. At least that is what our Calvinistic brethern seem to think.

    ME: It is easy to be a calvinist and still maintain unregenerated man has a free will. Why? Because free will IS the ability to choose what we want. R.C. Sproul stated,******** "free will is the ability to choose according to our desires." What determines our choices is our desires. So, the problem with unregerated mankind isnt having a lack of choice, but rather having evil desires that produce evil choices.****** Scripture tells us our, " heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (Jer 17:9) and "5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5) and finally, "

    "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one." (Job 14:4)


    YOU:Sovereign simply means that God maintains control over all happenings.

    ME: Man is free, but within limits and it has to be this way. Why? "Human freedom can never restrict the sovereignty of God. That is what sovereignty is all about. If God's sovereignty is restricted by man's freedom, then God is not sovereign, man is sovereign." (Sproul, Chosen By God).

    *******I liken it to a parent child relationship. The child is free, but within limits of his parents boundaries. For example the child may ask to take the car out 5 days in a row and be granted permission. On the sixth day his father refuses. The boy is free, but within the sovereign rule of his father. On the other hand, if the boy could refuse to obey his father, take the car, and get away with it, thus ultimatly controlling the car, then a strong arguement could be made that it is in fact the child who is sovereingly ruling his father.**********

    Saved by grace,

    Brother Joe
     
  12. Skandelon

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    Truth has the ability to change man's desires. There are things God has put on this earth that are here to provoke our will and influence our choices. There are worldly influences but there are also God's influences. If God did not influence us then YES we would be helpless and depraved beyond all hope of salvation. But he doesn't leave us alone and I think that is what Calvinists miss. The take passages that speak of man's plight had God not interviened with Christ, the apostles and the gospel message and use those passages to prove that mankind cannot be influenced to believe even in light of these Godly influences. Why do you think the number of people saved in a Christian nation are much greater than in a pagan nation? Its the influences of those who surround us. The gospel brings the knowledge of the truth and the truth is a provoker of man's will. Jealousy is also used to provoke man's will as seen in Romans 11. Signs and wonders provoke man's will as does many other factors throughout our life. 9/11 provoked many, death and suffering often provokes people, a sunrise and the creation provokes the will of man. You cannot ignore what God has done to remedy our plight and say that it too is insufficient to bring one to faith in God. The scripture never teaches us that.

    I agree.

    Don't have a problem with that either. But I don't believe God allowing man to choose whom they will worship in this life consistutues restricting God's sovereignity, especially in light of the fact that God want us to make that choice.

    The assumption that men have a real choice and the ability to change his desire based upon what has been revealed to him in no way impedes God's sovereignity.

    A father doesn't stop being the father when a child disobeys and takes the car for a joy ride. In fact, if the father were all knowing and all powerful he might allow that child to go ahead and take the joy ride eventhough he didn't want him to do it. Why? Because maybe the father knows that the child grows through suffering which comes often in rebellion. The father hasn't lost control simply because he premits his child to disobey and God certainly doesn't lose control by allowing his creation to disobey and then repent on their own volition.
     
  13. Skandelon

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    I think that would be an accurate statement. I believe God oversees all happenings and is sovereign but I also see that he steps into time and space on occasions to accomplish specific tasks. Its certainly possible that He does this much more frequently that I or anyone else could imagine, but from what I can tell in the biblical account God only intervenes at key points to accomplish a specific purpose. Examples: Creation, the flood, the Exodus, Christ's life, etc.

    Like I said, I'm sure God is working around us all the time at some level. But in regard to his causing a man to have a hardened heart so as to hold captive a group of people as was done with Pharoah...or God hardening a nation in their rebellion so as to ingraft the world into his covenant as was done with the Jews...things like that I don't see God still doing in that way, if He was it would be speculation on our part. He will come again and that will be God "stepping in" again so to speak.

    This question leads me to think that you may misunderstand my position. I'm not argueing that God used to save people like Calvinists believe and now he doesn't. I believe God has always saved people by Grace through faith...and I believe all have the capasity for faith in God based upon his revelation to them. God intervenes to accomplish his ultimate purposes, ie the Exodus and that foreshawdowed Redemption. He "stepped in" to accomplish these things and in doing so he hardened hearts, which were already in rebellion mind you, and he certainly used evil for good in accomplishing his overall purposes. I have no problem with that because that is what Paul is defending in passages such as Romans 9.

    Calvinists make the mistake of appling Romans 9 to there doctrine which teaches men are born hardened and will die condemned because God didn't choose them, when that is not what Paul is teaching. Instead Romans 9 is clearly teaching that the Jews are being temporarly hardened, after rebelling in the face of God's patient long-suffering, in order to ingraft the Gentiles and accomplish his purpose of redemption on the cross. Of that hardened nation he reserved a remnant whom he individually chose and I believe even effectually called to take the message of redemption to the world. But proof that God has sovereignly chosen and effectually called his divine messengers in no way proves that he has called and chosen the individuals in their audience in the same manner.

    We identify them with scripture. I guess there may be certain types of decisions men cannot make...I'm not sure what you are asking on this one.

    Thank you and I appreciate your dealing with me in a civil manner. [​IMG]
     
  14. BrotherJoe

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    Brother Skandelon,

    YOU: Truth has the ability to change man's desires.

    ME: If you really believe what you said above is true, please read your next statement keeping in mind what you just affirmed.

    YOU: There are things God has put on this earth that are here to provoke our will and influence our choices. There are worldly influences but there are also God's influences. If God did not influence us then YES we would be helpless and depraved beyond all hope of salvation.

    ME: If (as you previously affirmed) God changes man's desires by external influences he puts outside of us, then wouldnt you have to conclude that God has predestinated those who are saved by surrounding them with the necessary external means to change his desires and thereby change his choices? That would amount to a form of calvinism- God intervening and changing our wills.

    Saved by grace,

    Brother Joe
     
  15. Skandelon

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    Joe,

    That would assume that the all external influences were directly caused by God in every instance, which would mean Christian don't have volition either and don't determine how they live and influence those around them. Their seems to be a measure of responsiblity placed upon the messengers within scripture. It would be the same today, right?
     
  16. Hardsheller

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    Henry Blackaby says that Truth is a person. To be more specific, Jesus Christ.

    Skandelon, you said that "Truth has the ability to change man's desires."

    Would you define Truth as Blackaby defines it or do you have a more expanded definition?
     
  17. Skandelon

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    I'm fimiliar with Henry's teaching and I don't believe he is intending to limit the defination of truth to the person of Christ. While it is true that Christ is truth that doesn't mean that all truth is Christ.

    The statement, "George Bush is our president" is true.

    Words can be true without being a person. But on the other side Jesus is the Word and I think words have power because they contain truth. Jesus spoke about the Spirit being in his words and thus the gospel, which is made up of words, contains the Spirit and its power. This is why I believe the gospel has the power to bring a man to salvation independantly of any extra or irresistable working of God.
     
  18. BrotherJoe

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    Brother Skandelon,

    YOU:That would assume that the all external influences were directly caused by God in every instance

    ME: I too do not believe God directly causes all external factors, but I do believe he permits all external factors to occur. Do you? And IF YES, then wouldnt it also hold true (according to your belief) that God must WILL TO PERMIT a sufficient amount of external factors in one individuals life to accomplish a change in their desires therby allowing them to choose to be saved, but on the flip side it must also be concluded that God also WILLS NOT TO PERMIT another individual to be exposed to these very same external factors (which had they been exposed to them it would have resulted in them accepting Christ)? (Excuse the very long run on and poorly phrased sentece.)

    Saved by grace,

    Brother Joe
     
  19. BrotherJoe

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    Brother Skandelon,


    YOU: But on the other side Jesus is the Word and I think words have power because they contain truth. Jesus spoke about the Spirit being in his words and thus the gospel, which is made up of words, contains the Spirit and its power. This is why I believe the gospel has the power to bring a man to salvation independantly of any extra or irresistable working of God

    ME: Then why doesnt everyone get saved that is exposed to the most powerful external factor-the Word of God? Have we not all the same nature?

    Saved by grace,

    Brother Joe
     
  20. Skandelon

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    Joe,

    There are two possible answers to your question:

    1. Because God didn't want them to be saved.

    or

    2. Because they didn't want to leave behind their sin so they could be saved.

    Which answer is biblical?

    The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 1 Peter 3:9

    For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 2 Tim 2:4

    For God so loved the world... Jn 3:16

    Ps 36:7 -
    How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.

    23:37
    "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God's messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn't let me.
     

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