Both must be true

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Lorelei, Dec 30, 2003.

  1. Lorelei

    Lorelei
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    This is one of my main problems with Calvinism, they proclaim that both of these statements must be true, yet it is impossible for them both to be true.

    If God has elected some people to damnation then they can't be responsible for believing. In order to be responsible, one must be able to respond.

    When non-Calvinists point out that one can not be held responsible for what they are not able or allowed to do, we are said to have misrepresented what they believe.

    Both of these can not be true. It defies not only the very definition of responsibility but the very character of a just God. Justice demands responsibility before a conviction can be made.

    It would be like God saying in the OT that in order for sins to be forgiven one must sacrifice a waterballoogabasson. Of course there is no such creature as a waterballoogabasson so no one is ever forgiven of their sins. To say it is the fault of man for never sacrificing a waterballoogabasson is silly! They can't sacrifice what doesn't exist! If He were to make this creature only seen by some people, it still is unfair and unjust to hold those who can't see the waterbballoogabasson responsible for their inability to see it.

    It would be unjust of God to demand something impossible. God has every right to send everyone to hell for sinning, that is true. However, to say that His mercy has allowed for them to be forgiven if they only believe is NOT merciful and just if he will not allow them the capability to do so. His justice would have been in tact if He would have just sent us ALL to hell. But when He sent His Son and said that if we believed in Him we would be saved, that is only just if we can all believe. Otherwise He could have just said that I am saving only those I wish. It would have been his right to do so. However, He clearly said that one must believe in Christ to receive that salvation, so not allowing everyone the capability to do so is not a just a thing to do.

    ~Lorelei
     
  2. Pastor Larry

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    First, let me address the paragraph briefly. I am not convinced of double election though as I said yesterday Rom 9 is the difficult passage. I am rather of the opinion that election is to salvation; preterition is the word we use for others. It means God simply passed them over and lets them do what they want to do.

    But let's move on. Let me ask you this: By what standard do you declare that both of these cannot be true? What is the standard of your belief?

    Let me caution you about determining theological issues from secular dictionaries. It doesn't work well.

    Has God ever required anything that man could not do?? Absolutely. He requires us to be perfect (Matt 5:44). He required Israel to keep the whole Law (too many texts to mention). He has made numerous impossible requests of us.

    They are responsible. But here you must understand that inability is a moral issue, not a natural one. They can do whatever they want. Their moral nature is what makes it impossible for them, and that moral nature is their sin problem.

    Consider Rom 8 where we are told that unsaved man cannot please God, he cannot subject himself to the law of God, he is not even able to do so. These are words of impossibility; yet it does not absolve him of responsibility.

    By what standard do you impose something on God to call him unjust? Are you not asserting something over God by forcing him to submit to a standard other than himself??

    Orthodox theology holds that God is the standard of right. He is pure and just. Whatever he does is right, becuase he does it. He cannot sin. Therefore, if God demands something impossible (which he does as we have shown already), then it is just for him to do such.

    Without responding to each individual line (though there is much that I could say), let me focus on the "standard" issue ... by what standard do you impose a definition of "just" on God. Surely you would not argue that dictionary.com is something God must conform to.

    Secondly, understand that unsaved man is unsaved because he does not want to be saved. God is not forcing him to sin or forcing him to reject Christ. HE does that on his own. Too many people have the notion that man is morally neutral, on a flat plane with no inclinations either way. Yet the Bible declares that man is on a downhill plane away from God. He is by nature a child of wrath (Eph 2:1-3); he is a sinner who does not desires God or good (Rom 3:10-12); he is unable ot please God (rom 8:5-8); He is uncable to come to God (John 6). So what does God do?? He simply let him do what he wants to do. God is not forcing him to hell. Man does that all by himself.
     
  3. PastorGreg

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    Lorelei, by your reasoning, God is unjust if anyone ever goes to hell who has not heard the gospel. How can He hold them responsible? The issue is - God is God. By definition we cannot understand or explain everything about Him.
     
  4. Aaron

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    Romans 8:19 [Lorelei] wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

    Answer:

    Romans 8:20 Nay but, O [woman], who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
     
  5. russell55

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    Well, for one thing, remember that God is considering people as fallen when he makes His choice. So, even though the choice is made before the foundation of the world, the choice to save someone involves choosing to rescue them from certain and utterly deserved death. And the choice to leave someone to their deserved damnation is just that--a choice to leave them in the condition they already are in, a condition that came about because of human wrongdoing. God's election (even if he elects people to damnation) makes no one's condition WORSE than it would be without His choice.

    Furthermore, the requirement to be righteous by always trusting and perfectly obeying their Creator was given to human beings from the very start, and at the start they were able to do it, but chose not to. This choice of A and E to distrust and disobey corrupted them and permanently corrupted their condition such that they kept on being unwilling to trust and perfectly obey, and by natural progeneration they had descendents who were just like them--corrupted and permanently unwilling to do as they ought.

    Human beings (as a whole) have changed, but the standard of righteousness hasn't been (and can't be) changed. We keep on being responsible to fulfill that standard, even though we have become permanently unwilling (the "can't" or "unable" comes from the permanent nature of the unwillingness). For at first, we (as a whole) could fulfil the standard, and any loss of ability to be willing results from what we (as a whole) chose to do.

    Perhaps I can illustrate. Let's say there are several men with families. All of those men are responsible to support those families, but they all make the choice to get involved in crime and end up--as a consequence of those bad choices--in prison. They are now unable to fulfill their duty to support their family. Does that remove that duty from them? Does their inability to any longer fulfill that just requirement due to their own foolishness, give them an excuse for not fulfilling that requirement? When they find out their child is in poverty, can they rightly say, "Hey! That's not my fault. I'm in jail."?

    Anyway, the illustration is simply to show that inability does not necessarily negate responsibility.

    And God's choice not to intervene on someone's behalf doesn't mean they are any less responsible for their own condition. We can use the same illustration, I suppose. If the governor choses to pardon a couple of those prisoners so that they can begin to support their families, does that excuse the others? Can they say, "Hey, not it's really not my fault. I was left to serve out my whole sentence!"?

    I think it is possible for those two statements (God's choice of who to save, and human responsibility to believe) to be true. It all hinges on how we got to be intransigently unwilling to believe.
     
  6. Me2

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    When I hear of double predestination. there is evidence written by paul himself:

    Rom 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
    Rom 9:14 What shall we say then? [Is there] unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
    Rom 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
    Rom 9:16 So then [it is] not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
    Rom 9:17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
    Rom 9:18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will [have mercy], and whom he will he hardeneth.
    Rom 9:19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
    Rom 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed [it], Why hast thou made me thus?
    Rom 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
    Rom 9:22 [What] if God, willing to shew [his] wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
    Rom 9:23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
    Rom 9:24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

    In pauls comparison of Jews and Gentile. One follows the law to please God, while the other follows faith.

    It is the same today.

    We have "jews" and "gentiles" sitting in our pews. one group follows their own formulations of rules to please God while the other relies on the mercy of God by faith.

    if we follow pauls reasonings he concludes of the Jews who followed Law:

    Rom 11:9 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them:
    Rom 11:10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.
    Rom 11:11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but [rather] through their fall salvation [is come] unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

    furthering his reasoning:

    Rom 11:15 For if the casting away of them [be] the reconciling of the world, what [shall] the receiving [of them be], but life from the dead?
    Rom 11:16 For if the firstfruit [be] holy, the lump [is] also [holy]: and if the root [be] holy, so [are] the branches.

    Is he stating that those of the carnal jews who followed the law is part of the Whole reasoning of God

    Rom 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
    Rom 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:


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


    If God calls the jews to live under the law without the spirit of life (which gives eternal life) yet at the conclusion of this mystery..states that even the jew who lived under the law SHALL BE SAVED.

    this idea can also be interjected into our society today. into our very pews of our churches. there are jews who choose to live by their interpretation of rules to please God. And there is the gentiles who follow Christ by faith to please God.

    the two groups later in the NT are called children of obedience and disobedience. both called of God, yet the two follow different pathways to please God.

    again they are called vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy. same applies. God chose this method of opposing mindsets and attitudes to compete for correct interpretations and instructions of God.

    This is the only way double predestination could ever work.

    God chooses both groups of followers.

    those who plead for mercy by faith. and those who demand justice under the law.

    and through their communications and interractions. they teach and observe viewpoints from each other. how law and grace interracts and opposes each other.how mercy can be offered and forgiveness expressed.

    yet there can be no mention of other humans outside the church walls. for the bible manly focuses on these two parties and their outcomes.

    this plan of opposing forces also can be seen in other parts of the bible under the descriptor of the "mystery of iniquity".

    the question referrs to:
    why God hardens HIS childrens hearts?.
    why are those children locked into their incomplete conclusions and beliefs until they have fulfilled their part in Gods methods of teaching his children right from wrong.
    Gods very methods offer some children TO BE loved and offered mercy and forgiveness

    like the disobedient jews who lived under the OT law. so are the NT children of disobedience today.

    yet I get worried when believers follow their judgements today. they think that the battle is between the church and the outside world.

    The battle is not outside the walls of the church. It is inside the church and sitting in the pews.
    the two predestined parties designed by God to allow the two parties to agree and disagree amonst themselves.


    double predestination concerns two opposing groups of believers.

    flint and steel.

    and like the OT jews being saved for following the law. so it is with the NT disobedient following the law. difference is when the disobedient are called. they received the spirit of Christ within them. and they dont understand, or believe it.

    Me2

    the potter has a plan..yet its a mystery.

    Me2
     
  7. Ignazio_er

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    That is quite perceptive. I once read an analogy between Calvinism and old dualistic religions that goes something like this: Dualists teach that there are two gods, one well-intentioned on one ill-intentioned, each with the power to create. Christianity came along and enlightened the and taught that only one God had creative powers, and He is well-intentioned God could create. 1500 years later, Calvinism came along and taught that only one god had creative power, but he is well- and ill-intentioned. In summary,

    Dualism: good god has creative power; evil god has creative power.

    Christianity: good god has creative power; evil god does not.

    Calvinism: god with creative power has both good and evil intent.

    Anyway, just something I read, not necessarily my belief.
     
  8. Chet

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    Pastor Larry said:
    The law was their schoolmaster to lead them to the one who could fulfill the entire law. It showed their complete inability to obtain salvation without God. Jesus confirmed this with the Jews, in their attempt to follow the law, by stating that such methods would require them to be perfect. You simply can’t use this as evidence that God calls man to do something he cannot do. Regardless, if this were the case, he has provided them with the solution.

    This is one of those illogical things we discussed in the other thread. They can’t be held responsible. God asking/demanding that man repent knowing full well they are incapable of repenting couldn’t possibly be taken seriously. Try this in any court of law; it would be thrown out instantly. Let’s say that someone was charged for a crime. Upon investigation they were found with an unquestionable alibi. They are no longer responsible. Yet they stand condemned before a judge and jury? God could just as well be saying that I have to flap my arms and start to fly to enter heaven and am fully responsible to do so. If God does not give me the ability to fly, how am I responsible? Furthermore, an immoral, degenerate sinful man is capable of making good moral decisions every day, as illustrated throughout Scripture. One can not equate sinful or even sin nature with inability to respond positively to the gospel, especially when it is the power unto salvation.
     
  9. Chet

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    russell55 said:
    But we are told in Scripture that God does not take pleasure in the death of the unrighteous. God choosing to select only some and leaving the rest remain in their dead spiritual state without really giving them an opportunity to be redeemed is contrary to the whole of Scripture. Now you may think God is giving them an opportunity; but giving them a verbal opportunity, without giving them the ability to respond positively to the gospel, is not an opportunity at all. Imagine going in for a job interview thinking you had an opportunity for the positioin when all along the employer had already picked who he/she wanted to fill the job, and it was not you. On top of that, it would somehow be your responsibility for not getting the job.
     
  10. Lorelei

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    By God's standard. The Bible tells us about God and defines him as not only loving but says He IS love. The Bible says God is loving, just, merciful...etc. I am only taking what we know God has said about Himself. God inspired the writers of the Bible, and if the Bible says God's judgements are "just" or "righteous" then we must believe He meant what He said. It would be unjust of Him to hide the meaning of the word from us, realizing we define the word differently than He. I have to believe God inspired certain words for certain reasons.

    I used the dictionary to define a word that a Calvinist used to describe God. If you are going to suggest that when a Calvinist says "responsibility" it doesn't mean the same thing that every other English speaking person means when they use the word, then maybe they should find a different word to use.

    ~Lorelei
     
  11. Lorelei

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    But we can understand what He has shared with us about Him. The Bible says it is impossible for God to lie. According to this reasoning, God CAN lie, it's just not considered a lie if God does it.

    ~Lorelei
     
  12. Lorelei

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    They are in jail because of a choice they made, so it is ultimately their fault.



    But that is not what the Bible says God has done. It does not say that God chosen to save some and left the others for hell. It says that God would save those who believed in His Son, Jesus Christ. Now, there is a stipulation made to the pardon. He isn't simply going to pardon prisoners at random, He is going to pardon those who believe. Those who don't will be left. They are responsible for remaining there because they refused to accept the pardon. They are offered a choice in the matter. God could have simply pardoned whom He wanted at His own whim, but He did not choose to do it that way.

    I repeat, God could have simply saved whom he wanted at a whim and that would have been within His right and remained within His character (as defined in the Bible). However, when he stated the stipulation of belief, it is then unjust to only allow some to actually be able to believe and yet say they are responsible for not doing what God would NEVER allow them to do anyway.


    ~Lorelei
     
  13. Pastor Larry

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    Exactly my point. They were called to do something it was impossible for them to do.

    Just as he has for all men. Anyone who wants to accept Christ can accept him at anytime they choose to.

    Why??? God takes it seriously. I don't understand how you can say that God doing something can't be taken seriously.

    The Scriptures declare God's requirement that man be perfect before him or repent and accept Jesus Christ. The same Scripture declare man's inability to please God, and their willful pursuit of self and disobedience. I don't have a problem saying that God is perfectly fair to do this.

    But the sinner has no alibi. He is a willful sinner. He is not being forced to sin. God is not forcing him to reject him. He is willfully rejecting God.

    Actually he can't. Sin is a capital offense deserving of death. It cannot be paid for by rising up and flying.

    But remember from our discussions about the nature of man, making good moral decisions is not what's at issue. Sinful man is not incapable of good moral decisions. He is incapable of pleasing God or of doing anything to gain acceptance with God. Here, you are saying something we agree on.

    Why not?? Scripture does.
     
  14. Pastor Larry

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    Right ... and my point is that God defines himself as one in Scripture who requires things that man is unable to do and holds them accountable when they do not do it. Therefore, he is just in such action.

    He is loving. He gives unbelievers life and breath and all things (Acts 17). He sent his son for the world. These things are not some smoking gun that Calvinists have never thought of. They have long been answered from Scripture.

    Dictionaries don't give the context of a word's use. The theological context of usage brings something that most dictionaries do not address.

    But, being the ever diligent student (when I feel like it), I went back to look at dictionary.com for a definition of "responsible" since that was your source. Here is what I found.

    1. Liable to be required to give account, as of one's actions or of the discharge of a duty or trust.
    2. Involving personal accountability or ability to act without guidance or superior authority: a responsible position within the firm.
    3. Being a source or cause.
    4. Able to make moral or rational decisions on one's own and therefore answerable for one's behavior.
    5. Able to be trusted or depended upon; reliable.
    6. Based on or characterized by good judgment or sound thinking: responsible journalism.
    7. Having the means to pay debts or fulfill obligations.
    8. Required to render account; answerable: The cabinet is responsible to the parliament.

    Clearly, numbers 1 and 8 are within the scope of the Calvinist definition of responsible.

    To give a real life illustration, several years ago at tax time, I found I had a $1500 tax bill plus 200 and some in late fees and penalties because I didn't pay quarterly taxes through the year. I called the IRS and said "I had no idea I had to pay that." It was just as well, because at the time of the quarterly payments, I was unable to pay it. They said, "Sorry." Clearly, in the court of law, I was responsible for it although I was both ignorant and unable.

    In the spiritual realm, all men know that God exists and all willfully reject him. They willfully choose to sin and go their own way. At anytime they desire, they can turn and accept him. The difference between us and you is the question of "What brings that desire?"
     
  15. Aaron

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    Oops. I see I posted the wrong Scripture references above. They should be Romans 9:19,20.

    Yes. God is love. Divine love, not what men think or understand as love.

    The Bible says God is loving, just, merciful...etc.

    God is just. But again, men have a faulty view of justice. Was God an unloving God for pouring out judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah? Was He unjust for not sending them a prophet, as he did to Nineveh, to warn them of their pending doom?

    Is the Creator unjust to fashion a vessel destined for wrath and another destined for glory? Is it not His right to do His will with his own? Is your eye evil because He is good?


    I am only taking what we know God has said about Himself.

    It seems you're selecting those portions that seem agreeable to you and ignoring the others. You're applying your own reasoning to God's revelation and claim to be thinking God's thoughts.
     
  16. Lorelei

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    First of all, God is not defined in scripture as requiring man to do what he is unable to do. Secondly, the definition of just doesn't change simply because God did it. To suggest otherwise means that God holds us to a higher standard than He does Himself, an unjust thing to do.


    So it would have been loving of Usama Bin Laden to give some food to a person before he tortured and killed them? Is that your definition of love?



    No, they are explained away by stating that God can do an unjust thing and call it just because He is God. God doesn't have to live by the set of rules that He SAYS he lives by. He can therefore lie, even though HE has said it is impossible for Him to do so.



    This doesn't work. First of all, the law is available for you to read if you want to. You were required to live by the law, it was your responsibility to KNOW the law. IF the tax laws were purposly hidden from yet you were expected to know them, THAT would be unjust. As it were, ignorance is not an excuse WHEN you have the choice and/or opportunity not to be.

    Secondly, because you should have known the tax laws you should have been prepared to pay them. You are taxed off of money you make. The tax does not exceed the amount you make, if it did that would be an unjust law. However, the amount of the tax is only a portion of the income you made. Had you done the research and known the law you SHOULD have set aside the money and been prepared to pay it. By not doing so, you have to pay the fine, the penalty, if you will. The penalty was fair and just because you had the ability to avoid it, but instead you decided not to do the research and find out what rules you were expected to live by. (Not that one can fault you, I assure you, the IRS is not as fair as God in sharing the truth with us all!)

    God does allow people to stay in their ignorance, but He has given them a geniune opportunity to not be.

    You can't willfully reject something that you can't willfully accept. Without a choice it isn't a willful rejection.

    ~Lorelei
     
  17. Lorelei

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    So when God says this is what love is, is it really what love is?

    If this is what love is, then when God tells us He IS love, I would expect He meant that. I would expect that HIS definition of love is what He meant when HE said it.

    I honestly didn't realize until this thread how words have no meaning to Calvinists in relation to God. It appears they believe that although He described himself in terms we know, He doesn't define those terms the same way we do. The God I know, would use the words we use knowing how we use them. They would have a purpose, not be something you toss aside when it conflicts with your belief because after all, He's God. He's the boss, He can break His own rules if He wants to. Well yes He can if He wants to, but the character of the God I read about in the Bible doesn't do that.




    No, because he didn't say that he would NOT do it If they did something that they were UNABLE to do. He just put forth his justice.

    You keep missing the point, it isn't the justice of God that we object to, it's ignoring the stipulation he set for people to avoid that justice. Once the stipulation is set, it is then and only then that it is unjust to put forth that stipulation and hold accountable those who don't abide by it when they were never able to do so. The just thing to do would have been to bypass the stipulation. If after all, God was going to merely save whom he wanted to, there was no need to "pretend" that everyone must believe in order to receive the pardon. Instead He could have just said I am going to have my Son pay the penalty for a certain few, the rest are left destined to hell. But to then blame them for going to hell, not simply for sinning, but for rejecting the pardon he NEVER offered to them, THAT is unjust.

    No, I am just not throwing reason out and giving God unloving and unjust characteristics and calling them love and justice. God NEVER described Himself in such a way.

    ~Lorelei
     
  18. Pastor Larry

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    So when God said "Be perfect as your father in heaven is perfect," he recognized in man the ability to be perfect? When he said "keep the law so that you may live" he realized that man was able to keep the law perfectly?

    I hardly think either of those is true. If you think man has the ability to be perfect, then you have a much higher view of man that Scripture does. If you acknowledge that man can't be perfect, then it seems your options are to say that God really didn't require it or that your assertion that God never requires anything impossible is wrong. Are there other options?? I doubt you want either of these. How would you reconcile this?

     
  19. Ransom

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    Lorelei said:

    First of all, God is not defined in scripture as requiring man to do what he is unable to do.

    Pastor Larry responded:

    So when God said "Be perfect as your father in heaven is perfect," he recognized in man the ability to be perfect?

    I suppose that by this logic, when God challenges Job to explain all sorts of things that are beyond his ability or experience, it proves that Job really did have the ability to answer after all. Or in Isaiah, when God challenges the false gods to prove themselves worthy of worship, they must really have been able to do it. [​IMG]

    I have (finally!) been reading Luther's The Bondage of the Will over the holidays, and it so happens that I reached the part yesterday where Luther answers this very argument: that a command to do something implies the ability to obey it. Not so, Luther argues - in human discourse we often issue challenges to other people that cannot be met, for the express purpose of proving that point.

    Luther is right, and the parts of Scripture I listed above demonstrate that God is not above using the same rhetoric.

    Furthermore, if command implies ability, then the whole point Paul makes about the Law in Romans and Galatians is lost. Obedience to the Law is commanded. But the Law cannot be obeyed, and in fact the attempt even makes men into sinners. The true purpose of the Law is to show what sin is, demonstrate man's utter helplessness to please God through his own efforts, and drive him to seek God's mercy through faith in Christ.

    (As an aside, Luther also argues that all of Erasmus' proof-texts are commands. Had they been in the indicative mood, they would have been statements of fact and made his point; however, the commands do not prove man's ability, but God's expectations. Apparently Erasmus [and his present-day disciples] seems to have forgotten what even schoolboys know.)
     
  20. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    Do you honestly think this is a good way to put this??? I daresay that there is no Calvinist here who will accept that, and in fact, all of us here can show you that it is not true. We do believe that words have meaning. But we believe that God, not dictionaries, get to define what those words mean.

    The God I know used these words more than 2 millennia ago to desribe himself. Are you suggesting that God should bend his vocabulary to 21st century?? Would not it be better for us to bend ours to God, if we are going to understand him??

    This is a classic situation that breeds confusion. As the reader of a finished work, we must adjust our understanding to the author's intention, not the other way around. God is under no compulsion to use words as we use them. We are under compulsion to use them as he uses them, at least when we are talking about him.

    This is precisely what we believe you should not do. We think you are tossing aside God's definition of love and justice because it does not conform to what you in the 21st century think it should be. We do not believe God has broken his rules at all. We believe that, if you look at what God said about himself, what he has done is perfectly consistent with that.

    But the stipulation you said was to believe. These people have not believed. The stipulation was not "believe if you are able." I don't see that said anywhere in Scripture. I do see "believe if you will" (essentially though reworded). These people did not believe.

    But what makes you think this was a "pretend"? God was serious when he said this. And all who would be pardoned must believe.

    Some would argue with scriptural support that this is what he said.

    But he did offer it to them. Why do you think we disagree with that?? He offered it to "whosoever will." He commands "all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17). They rejected it because they don't want it.

    And we would agree. We have not thrown reason out. We should instead subject reason to Scripture. When God says he is just and when God acts, then that act is be definition just. I think this is the argument of Rom 9, regardless of how you understand the particulars. It is also the argument of Rom 3:1-9 where God's fairness is questioned in a hypothetical statement by Paul.
     

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