Calvinist delimmas?

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by Timtoolman, Apr 30, 2005.

  1. Timtoolman

    Timtoolman
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    1. It is often said by Calvinists that dead men can't respond. As you say, "you are dead in your trespasses & sins." Eph. 2:1.

    In Romans 6, it says that "in the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus."

    If being dead in sin means one can't respond to God then does being dead to sin mean that the Christian cannot respond to sin?


    2. Even though God does perfectly know all human thoughts, can man have thoughts that have never been thought before (i.e. ex-nihilo thoughts)?

    If these thoughts are not free (e.g., they are determined) then has God caused all thoughts, including evil ones, which would make God the author of sin and evil and man not responsible?

    If, on the other hand, these thoughts are free, then how can God remain sovereign according to the Calvinist definition of sovereignty?


    3. The Bible says in 1 Timothy 2:4, "God our Savior wants all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth."

    It also states that God wants all men to be saved in 2 Peter 3:9, Matthew 23:37 and in Ezekiel 33:11 and 18:30. Obviously not all men are saved.

    How does Calvinism explain this? Does the God of Calvinism have two wills that are in direct contradiction and hence have a multiple personality disorder?


    4. Calvinism excludes individual faith from the salvation process, classifying such faith as a work.

    How can Calvinists classify faith as a work when Paul specifically excludes faith from works in Romans 3:27-28 and 4:5?


    5. Jonah 2:8 says that "those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs."

    If, as Calvinism teaches, God determined before time began who would be reprobates, and therefore does not extend the grace to them by which they could be saved, how logically can we understand this verse's statement that these reprobates, "forfeited the grace that could be theirs.?"


    6. The Bible says in John 6:44, "no one can come to me unless the Father who sent Me draws him." The same word "draw" is used in John 12:32 which says, "But I, when I am lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto myself." Matthew 23:37 says that men can resist God's will.

    How do you answer this problem in Calvinism?


    7. You say that even the "good" acts of sinners are "bad" because they come from a completely depraved nature. Is it a "bad" act to rationally apprehend the truthfulness of apologetics?

    If so, why has God commanded us to practice apologetics to sinners, which causes them to do a bad act? Doesn't that mean that God causes sinners' bad acts?

    If you say "yes," doesn't that make God a bad guy?


    8. When Calvinism is shown to have logical contradictions, Calvinists usually reply that God's thoughts are unsearchable, and therefore the logical problems that Calvinism has, for example divine election and human responsibility, exhaustive sovereignty and human free will, and God's having two contradictory wills, are solved by invoking the phrase, "well that's a mystery."

    If you can solve your logic problems by copping out with the term mystery, why can't the Arminian types, atheists and others pull the same move?


    9. The Bible says in 2 Thessalonians 2:10 that reprobates "perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved."

    From your Calvinistic worldview, how can it logically be said that a reprobate refuses to love the truth and so be saved, when your God determines that the reprobate can't love the truth, can't be saved, and therefore doesn't refuse God at all?


    10. You have said that nothing thwarts the will of God, and you also have said that a man's will cannot be free or else God would not be absolutely sovereign.

    Doesn't this mean that God determines (or is the cause of) evil and the evil acts of men for his sovereign pleasure?


    11. In Romans 9 where God says, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy" why do you automatically assume that God does not want to have mercy on all but only have mercy on the select few when God clearly tells us in Romans 11:32 that, "God has bound all men over to disobedience so that He may have mercy on them all?"

    If you say that all means all classes of men, but not all men in every class, then why does it not mean all classes of men but not all men in every class in Romans 3:23 where it says, "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God?"

    Does this mean some have not sinned? Perhaps, for instance, the Virgin Mary?

    http://answers.org/theology/calvinism.html
     
  2. whatever

    whatever
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    Equivocation - "count yourselves dead to sin" is not the same thing as "being dead to sin".


    Calvinists contend that God sovereignly decrees everything that happens, and that He does so in such a way that man freely chooses to do whatever man does, and that man is responsible for what he freely chooses to do.

    The whole rest of the article is filled with this kind of faulty logic and misrepresentation. I do want to address the last question, though.

    Context, context, context. Who is Paul talking about in Romans 3? The whole letter is an explanation of Paul's ministry to the Gentiles. In Romans 1 covers the plight of Gentiles, then in chapter 2 and the first part of chapter 3 he shows that Jews are no better off, in spite of all of the advantages of being God's chosen people.

    In 3:19-20, he affirms that keeping of the law is insufficient to save.

    In 3:21-22a, he affirms that righteousness has come in a different way - it has come by faith, and it has come to all who believe, whether Jew or Gentile.

    In 3:22a-24a he then affirms that there is no distinction between Jewish and Gentile believers, because

    1) they all have sinned;
    2) they all have fallen short of the glory of God; and
    3) they all have been justified by God's grace.

    If you believe that verse 23 is talking about every man in every class, instead of believers from every class, then you have no alternative but universalism. Verse 24 is addressing the exact same group as verse 23, and it clearly says that every member of that same group is justified by God's grace.

    This does not mean that some have not sinned (more faulty logic). It simply means that you can't use verse 23 to prove that evey single person in every class of men has sinned. You have to get your proof from somewhere else.
     
  3. webdog

    webdog
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    quote:
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    2. Even though God does perfectly know all human thoughts, can man have thoughts that have never been thought before (i.e. ex-nihilo thoughts)?

    If these thoughts are not free (e.g., they are determined) then has God caused all thoughts, including evil ones, which would make God the author of sin and evil and man not responsible?

    If, on the other hand, these thoughts are free, then how can God remain sovereign according to the Calvinist definition of sovereignty?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    <<Calvinists contend that God sovereignly decrees everything that happens, and that He does so in such a way that man freely chooses to do whatever man does, and that man is responsible for what he freely chooses to do.>>

    How can man truly be responsible for what he freely chooses if it has been "sovereighly decreed"? This doesn't make much sense to me.

    Deuteronomy 30:19 "This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live"
     
  4. russell55

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    Because he makes those choices by considering the options and choosing one from his own motives--his own heart. We are responsible for what comes out of our own hearts.
     
  5. russell55

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    I have no idea what this question means. Men's thoughts are caused in the sense that they are responses to various things around us.

    God does not directly cause evil thoughts. He is, of course, the root cause of everything. He, at the very least, started the whole ball rolling in his ex nihilo creative act.

    God chooses when to act to restrain evil and when to let the evil acts occur. And he chooses according to his plan for the history of the world, which is just another way of saying that he chooses according to what he's decreed.

    There are things that God desires that he does not bring about in human history. I'm sure at some level, he desired to spare his Son from the agony of the cross, nevertheless, he did not prevent that from happening; in fact, he worked it--he handed Christ over according to his predetermined plan.

    No it doesn't. Faith is a necessary step in the salvation process. The faith that we have, however, is worked within us by God. Faith isn't a work, because faith comes through grace--it's a gift

    First of all, Calvinism teaches that we are all reprobates, and God chose to save some out of the whole group of reprobates. He does not choose a group to reprobate. Reprobation is the preexisting condition of all men when he considers whom to work salvation in. God does not decided NOT to extend grace to anyone, he decides TO extend grace to some.

    Secondly, God does respond with grace to anyone who wants it, so those who don't receive it do indeed "forfeited the grace that could be theirs" if they wanted it, but they don't.

    Yes, but exact meanings of words are determined by the way they are used in their particular context. In John 6:44ff, Jesus says that the one drawn by the Father in the way Jesus is using the word in this context is raised to eternal life on the last day. Grammatically, the him being drawn is the same him as is being raised on the last day. This is a drawing that is successful at working faith, and through that faith working salvation.


    The "good" acts of sinners are "bad" because they don't come from right motives--"that which is not of faith is sin". They are not bad in the sense that they harm someone else, but just in the sense that they fall short of God's standard of righteousness, which demands that acts be done out of faith--for God's glory.

    God commands us to preach the gospel because the preaching of the gospel is the means by which he saves. It's not the preaching of the gospel that causes anyone to reject God, they reject him (and the gospel) of their own bias against him.

    No one has ever shown Calvinism to have a logical contradiction. In other words, no one has ever shown that Calvinism makes A=nonA, which is the form all true contradictions can be put in.

    God is rational, so we can no that he is not logically contradictory. He is, however, infinitely rational, while we are only finitely rational, which means there are going to be things we cannot wrap our minds around. There can't be, however, things we can prove to be contradictions.

    God doesn't keep the reprobate from loving the truth, the reprobate themselves do. They can't because they won't--because they constantly choose to refuse God. They could be saved it they wanted to be saved. They perish because "they refused to love the truth and so be saved".

    God chooses to allow certain evil acts because they are used to work his good plan for human history. In this passive sense, yes, God is a cause of evil acts of men. Christ's death was carried out by God's hand on the basis of God's determination (in other words, God caused it) but it was also quite certainly an evil act for those who did the dirty work of crucifying him. God caused it out of good and perfect motives, those who crucified him did it out of evil motives.

    In the context of Romans 9--which is where one would go to determine what that phrase means--it tells us that God "mercies" whom he wants and he hardens whom he want. Those two things are contrasted in this passage. God mercies some and hardens some.

    In the context of Romans 11, I think "all" means both Jews and Gentiles. The hardening of the Jews means the gospel goes to the gentiles.

    It means Jews and Gentiles there, too--but every single one of them, because right before it says "all have sinned", it says "there is none righteous, no not one." Context determines exact meaning. Always.
     
  6. natters

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    But how does motives and what's in his heart get there, unless God ultimately puts it there?
     
  7. russell55

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    Our hearts are the way they are (our natural hearts, that is, the one's we're physically born with) as a result of Adam's sin. These motives come from God only in the "hands off" sense. God chose not to prevent (or restrain) Adam from sinning, and he chose to let the natural consequences of Adam's corruption spread naturally to all Adam's descendents.

    Sin--and sinful motive, etc--come from the absence of God's direct influence. Only God is good, so only actions and motives directly influenced by God are good, while any not directly influenced by him are necessarily not good--since he is the source of all righteousnes.

    (I'm off for the day now and may not get back to respond again until Monday.)
     
  8. natters

    natters
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    russell55, I don't get it. Other Calvinists in this forum (and from what I've read from you in the past) are arguing that God is sovereign and that we can do nothing, nothing, without God predetermining that we do it - that there is no such thing as "the absence of God's direct influence", only that it appears that way sometimes.
     

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