...but what of His Holiness?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Skandelon, Feb 20, 2012.

  1. Skandelon

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    "If God is not omniscient then He is not God."

    "The Sovereignty of God is the most important aspect of who He is."

    Statements like these are often heard on sites like this, but rarely do you here people arguing in defense of God's holiness even though it is the most used divine attribute in the bible.

    "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God almighty."

    Holiness refers to God purity and separateness from that which is evil, yet it appears that some doctrinal systems are willing to sacrifice this aspect of Divine Holiness to avoid appealing to mystery in regard to logical dilemma created by this question:

    "If God fully knew every aspect of what he would create and chooses to create it anyway, then hasn't he predestined it to be?"
    1. Some answer this question with an emphatic "yes," despite the implications regarding God's holiness. The works of Jeffery Dahmer's heinous sins were just as 'predetermined' as the works of Jesus Christ under this system of thought. So, the line between that which God does and his creation does is blurred if not completely lost. (Determinism)

    2. Some answer this question with an emphatic "yes," and so deny that God really knows everything so as to deal with this issue and defend His holiness. (Open Theology)

    3. Others appeal to mystery and admit up front that God's ways are higher than ours and such things are simply beyond our comprehension. They understand that God knows things differently than men would come to know them; God makes choices differently than we do; God is infinite and eternal whereas we are bound by the linear mindset of causality and reason. Thus, they wouldn't attempt to answer such a question because in doing so they would be admitting such matters were in full view and able to be sufficiently answered and understood. Instead they maintain the revealed truth of all God's attributes; including but not limited to His sovereignty, holiness and omniscience, without drawing unfounded and unbiblical conclusions.
     
    #1 Skandelon, Feb 20, 2012
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  2. Christos doulos

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    What? Are you talking about God's sovereign will vs His permissive will?
     
  3. preacher4truth

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    Permissive = same outcome in that He still allows it to transpire, or, it is still effectual, under His control and authority.
     
  4. Iconoclast

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    The Scriptures teach that God is both benevolent [absolutely good] and also that he ordains evil deeds. The following quotation is in accord with the testimony of Scripture and deserves to be carefully studied:
    God is good, yet he ordains evil deeds. We know that these truths are compatible, for Scripture teaches both and God cannot deny himself...God can foreordain evil only if he himself is good, for in Scripture “evil” is “evil” only by contrast with the goodness of God. God is truly good only if the evil in the world is foreordained by him, for only if evil is fully controlled by God can we be confident that there is a good purpose in it, and only if there is a good purpose in it can we trust the overall good purpose of God.15
    God foreordains evil; he does not merely “permit” or “allow” it. Such wording as “God permits [allows] evil” is often used by theologians who are either seeking to avoid the idea that God is the culpable author of sin, or are using human language for want of expression.16
    God, of course, is not the author of evil in the sense that he himself is culpable [blameworthy] or tainted by sin. Such would be a denial of his inherent goodness. That God is not the author of sin may be clarified by the following considerations:
    14 It is important to note that the truth of Romans 8:28 occurs in the context of eternity, and is not limited to this earthly life (cf. v. 28–31). Further, the context contains the very worst that men can do to believers (v. 35–36).
    15 John M. Frame, “The Problem of Theological Paradox,” Foundations of Christian Scholarship, p. 321.
    16 Such language as “permit” or “allow” when used of God, although an understandable accommodation to human language and finiteness, might suggest that God is relative, i.e., there is an absolute above or beyond him to which he himself is either subject or against which he must contend (i.e., evil exists independently from God). Neither are true.
    Dr. W. R. Downing • Pacific Institute for Religious Studies
    Sovereign Grace Baptist Church of Silicon Valley 11
    1. The Scriptures hold men fully responsible for their own sins, which would not and could not be true if God were the author of sin (Acts 2:23; Rom. 1:18–32; 2 Thess. 1:7–9; Jude 14–15; Rev. 20:11–13).
    2. If God were to charge men with sins for which he were really responsible, then he would not and could not be just, indeed, he would be less than just—he himself would become a criminal, a sinner! Such would be absolutely unthinkable and unscriptural. Thus, the biblical reality of human culpability would necessarily preclude God from being the author of sin.
    3. Although God wills evil, it must not be imagined that he wills it in the same sense and manner that he wills what is righteous, holy and good. He ordains evil to exist and controls it, overruling it to the highest good and his glory (Psa. 145:17; Rom. 11:33–36; Rev. 4:11). He does not take pleasure in evil in a positive sense. Thus, it may be right for God to ordain what is not right for man to do and therefore wrong for God to command man to do under his preceptive will. The Dutch Theologian Herman Bavinck seeks to explain this truth by an illustration:
    Because man is a rational, moral being, God does not treat him as if he were a stone or a log but deals with him and addresses him in accordance with his nature. Just as a father forbids his child to touch a sharp knife though he himself uses it without injury or damage, so God forbids us to sin though He himself is able to use and does use sin as a means of self–glorification.17
    God ordains sin, but he does not command it. Sin exists as part of the Divine teleological purpose, but it is not forced upon men by necessity. Men cannot make God culpable for their own sin and breach of God’s preceptive will. They must, as moral, rational, responsible beings, bear the consequences of their own transgressions. God thus controls evil, but not in the sense that he rejoices or takes pleasure in it. To say that God does not control evil is to deny his omnipotence. To say that he wills evil in the same sense as he does what is right and holy is to deny his righteousness and holiness. To say that he controls evil in such a way that men are relieved of their moral responsibility is to deny both their free moral agency and his essential nature. To say, however, that God ordains men to contradict his Law–Word through their own willful actions, and that he controls this for the ultimate good and glory of his eternal purpose, is to assert the absolute sovereignty of God over evil and yet preserve his wisdom, righteousness and holiness. Finite creatures must leave such mystery to the infinite God.
    Donald Macleod seeks to put the matters of the fore–ordination of sin and human freedom in simple, yet profound statements, by asserting that God has fore–ordained both sin and human freeedom:
    God is not the author of sin. God has fore–ordained sin. He has fore–ordained whatsoever comes to pass, and sin has come to pass, and God’s purpose controls, limits, preserves and governs the universe even in the17 Herman Bavinck, The Doctrine of God, p. 240.
    Dr. W. R. Downing • Pacific Institute for Religious Studies
    Sovereign Grace Baptist Church of Silicon Valley 12
    presence of this fact of sin….He does not himself sin. He does not condone sin. He does not constrain to sin. He does not induce to sin. He does not tempt to sin….Fore–ordination is not destructive of freedom; God has ordained freedom…fore–ordination is what establishes freedom…nothing can take away from the human being the liberty essential to moral responsibility, because God has fore–ordained the freedom of men at the point of moral decision–making…God fore–ordains their actions, but he fore–ordains them as free actions: as things they do by their on personal volition….I am free because God fore–ordained my freedom.18
    NOTE: The above statement by Macleod must not be interpreted in the Arminian sense that “God created man with a free will and so cannot violate that will,” but in the sense that God created man as a free and responsible moral agent. God would not, yea, could not externally limit his own sovereignty in such a away as to render himself morally incapacitated or even inconsistent. He would then cease to be God.• In the great theodicy of Romans 9,19 the Apostle answers objections concerning the absolute sovereignty of God over the moral character and destiny of men. (His argument assumes three questions: Is God unfaithful to his covenant promise [v. 6–13]? Is God unrighteous in his sovereign prerogative [v. 14–18]? Is God unjust or arbitrary in holding men accountable [v. 19–29]?). He asserts that God is, indeed, absolutely sovereign in the spiritual, moral and ethical spheres, and that no one has the right to question the Divine prerogative or purpose.
    • The absolute sovereignty and moral nature of God must lead to the conclusion that God is not the author of sin because he completely controls the evil of his moral creatures. God is the one great and incomprehensible “Absolute,” the ultimate source of all meaning. In the final analysis there is no true meaning apart from God. The created universe and every fact in it (being a created fact) derives its meaning from God and must be interpreted by him. Thus, evil itself must be and can only be comprehended and interpreted in the context of God as he has been pleased to reveal himself in Scripture. Thus, rather than make God the author of sin, predestination in the context of the scriptural revelation of his nature and character, preserves God from this charge and is a guarantee of his absolute moral perfection.
    • The Christian’s faith or trust is in God as he is revealed in Scripture. His ultimate hope and comfort do not lie merely in the omnipotence or absolute sovereignty of God, although such truths are certainly comforting and encouraging. The believer’s ultimate hope rests especially in the self–consistency of God’s moral character—that he is absolutely righteous, good and truthful, gracious and merciful; that he cannot lie, and that his promises remain true. The truth, glory and hope of Romans 8:28—“we know that all things work together for good”—is that God is morally self–consistent and his purpose will infallibly result in his own glory and the
    18 A Faith to Live By. Mentor, Geanies House, Fearn, Ross–Shire: Christian Focus Publications, 1998, pp. 40–44.
    19 “Theodicy,” a defense of God, from qe?ov (theos), “God,” and dikh? (dike), “justice,” hence, an attempt to justify God in the context of the problem of evil. The apostle’s arguments are more than an attempt, however, they are inspired Scripture—and thus the final word on this subject.
    Dr. W. R. Downing • Pacific Institute for Religious Studies
    Sovereign Grace Baptist Church of Silicon Valley 13
    highest good.20 True, biblical faith is not merely or barely intellectual; it also includes an unreserved commitment to and a trust in an infinite Person and the moral self–consistency of that personality
     
    #4 Iconoclast, Feb 20, 2012
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  5. convicted1

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    So if God foreordains(stands behind the evil deeds that transpire) so that they come to pass by His active decree, then how is He not the Author of sin? Methinks, these great theologians want their cake, and to eat it too.

    God controls everything. If He wanted to, He could have stopped Hitler before He did. But He allowed Hitler's reign to run it's course, and then He stopped it. He did not set the wheels in motion to make Hitler do what He did. Hitler chose to do what he did, and God did not place that desire there. The same with O.B.L., Saddem Hussein, et.al.
     
  6. Benjamin

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    “Something is only good, but it is also evil.”

    “If something that can only do good does something that is evil you can’t blame evil on it, because that is to deny it is only good.”

    “God foreordains evil. God ordains sin and controls it. But God is not the author of sin.”

    :laugh: Whatever Icon; big surprise to see you here jumping at this opportunity to promote your… “philosophy”! :rolleyes:

    God is Only Good, and He is Truth! Deut 32:4.
     
  7. Christos doulos

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    My friend. Great point! but I do not believe that God did not intervene, in fact God had His hand in it the whole time. If Hitler had no restraint, there there would not have been one Jew left alive in Germany that were in his clutches.
     
    #7 Christos doulos, Feb 21, 2012
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  8. glfredrick

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    Indeed, the utter holiness of God... Let EVERY creature bow down before Him! As if we have a choice...

    Concerning those who worry that God has allowed great evil into this world, they seem to forget that He is utterly God to the end, and that there is no untimely nor unplanned incidence in this world. What we see as a great tragedy is merely some incident in this "pre-life" that is required in order for God to bring about His perfect will, and there is nothing nor no one who can thwart His doing precisely as He wills.

    The moment we forget that His plan is working according to His edicts, we also then begin to remember that God might be the author of evil. If we could only see the entirety of His plan, we would be silent and bow before His holiness as shown us in Scripture. We still think that we should think about being God, and often...
     
  9. Benjamin

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    I am so sure that God planned such things to last detail such as children being raped and killed etc... because He is Holy...and sovereign... :rolleyes: That's just a freakish thing to hear from one who claims to know Him!

    I hear Atheist mixing the same thoughts about bowing down to a god that is the author of evil. So sad to hear this on a Christian board. :tear:
     
  10. Skandelon

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    Icon,

    To say that God ordains men to contradict his Law/Word through their own willful actions, and that he controls this for the ultimate good and glory of his eternal purpose, is to assert the absolute sovereignty of God over evil and yet preserve his wisdom, righteousness and holiness. That is to say God CONTROLS evil yet remains HOLY (completely separate from evil).

    Finite creatures must leave such mystery to the infinite God, rather than to make such contradictory and unfounded assertions.
     
  11. Skandelon

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    Plus, can someone explain to me how an author who writes a book about some heinous evil is somehow worse (more culpable) than a Creator who first thinks of the evil intent (like the molestation and murder of a child), and then creates a world where that evil, that he thought of, will certainly happen for his own pleasure?

    Is the author of the Shack more culpable than someone who actually CONTROLS the evil from beginning to end? I'm just trying to understand what Determinists think they are avoiding by qualifying that God is not the "author of sin." I'm not seeing how 'authoring' something is somehow 'over the line' in such a deterministic world view.
     
  12. glfredrick

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    I don't recall ever saying that God was DETERMINISTIC. That is your fallacy to wrestle with. If you will check, I have said repeatedly that we are free moral agents (within certain biblically mandated limits, which preclude us being persons with libertarian free will) and that WE are culpable for our sin and for our sins. I do find it rather horrendous that YOU would dream up such an ugly argument with which to accuse me before God.

    That being said, I mentioned this perspective -- OURS from an earthly vantage point -- in my post above.

    You seem to desire to dictate to God what He can and cannot do, and also, even above that, whether what He does is in keeping with His plan instead of your own.

    Not that I advocate the evil sin that we sin against our kin on this planet. By all means no! But the fact is, we do sin against each other and in horrific ways. Those who are dead in their sin and trespasses have already, but not yet, paid for that sin in that they are already damned, so there is no further violation in a justification sense. Those who are born-again-from-above -- who may be different from those who merely give mental assent to belief in God in a religious sense, are already forgiven, but will be disciplined by our Father in Heaven.

    What further punishment for that horrific sin would you have than eternal suffering in the flames of hell? And, how would you make it different if the individuals doing so are not indeed dead in their sin and trespasses? Would you have God THROW them into hell?

    Either way, they are there (already, but not yet). Would it not the more loving and better way to in fact REDEEM those, even those with HORRID SINS? Or can you not see any hope for redemption because you wish to extract from them some form of revenge that God claims in Scripture is His own?
     
    #12 glfredrick, Feb 21, 2012
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  13. preacher4truth

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    So Jobs declaration was contradictory and unfounded assertions?

    We're explaining, and you're complaining, and it gets you nowhere. We see what God has done in Scriptures, permitting evil in creation, using secondary means (to which you've complained in times past that this is done if that somehow justifies it) and we're describing that. All you're doing here is complaining about it. At least you admit IT is a mystery, and IT is what we are alluding to, that He in fact does permit these things, and knew they would come to pass. Permit has the same end: effectual or efficacious.

    Somehow you come across as if God owes an explanation, or, at the least, like He must fit into your logic, and when He is expressed as we noted in Scripture, you're simply fighting against that, albeit it is a hard truth.
     
  14. DaChaser1

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    God predestined the outcome of all things to come to pass, its that some events He determines directly, others allows to occur , but still in control over what the final result is, and for Christians, He has the promise to predestine ALL THINGS for our good, to make us grow up into the image of Christ!

    big problem with all of this is that we are finite and based in time beings, while God knows all things, and causes all things to work according to his predestined purposes, based uon what he knows and causes.

    How can we lecture and dictate to God when we barely see a fraction of the 'big Picture?"
     
    #14 DaChaser1, Feb 21, 2012
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  15. preacher4truth

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    No one wants to address 'permit' = efficacious. They want to talk around it, quote someone, act like God turns a blind eye to things, other nonsense, anything but face it, and to top it off ignore it altogether. I take it they cannot answer what I've stated without facing facts, or without twisting it into some other area they want to argue in.

    The whole problem here is not a problem with "Calvinists" it's a problem with Truth.

    I truly think some are bitter about this aspect of God, but who are they to judge Him? As you say, how can they lecture or dictate to Him? They possess the same problem as Jobs friends.

    Hmmm.

    Interesting.
     
    #15 preacher4truth, Feb 21, 2012
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  16. glfredrick

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    THE WEAVER
    My life is but a weaving between my Lord and me,
    I cannot choose the colors He worketh steadily.

    Oft times He weaveth sorrow, and I in foolish pride
    forget He sees the upper but I the under side.

    Not till the loom is silent and the shuttles cease to fly,
    shall God unroll the canvas and explain the reason why.

    The dark threads are as needed in the Weaver's skillful hand,
    as threads of gold and silver in the pattern life has planned.

    Benjamin Malachi Franklin (1882-1965)
     
  17. Iconoclast

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    Hello Benjamin

    One day perhaps you will welcome the truth of God on this matter:thumbs:

    In the mean time.....how do you or Willis account for the fact of evil existing...as outside of God's knowledge or control???

    If there existed something outside of God's knowledge or control....there is no God.....you do not want to say that is your position...do you???
     
  18. Iconoclast

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    Willis,

    does this verse mean what it says???
     
  19. Skandelon

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    Any one want to address this?

    I honestly want to know the difference in the Calvinistic belief that God is 'sovereign over evil' or 'in control over evil' versus the claim that he is not the 'author of evil.' What is the clear distinction that makes being an 'author of evil' worse than God being in complete control of evil?
     
  20. mandym

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    We did not even get past the first response before this one got dragged off topic.
     

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