Can God Sin?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by M Wickens, Sep 2, 2002.

  1. M Wickens

    M Wickens
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    I believe God is Sovereign. I want to make that clear from the beginning. It saddens me today that in so many Baptist circles this awesome truth is not expressed more. Perhaps this is because so many fear their misunderstandings concerning Calvinism.

    Anyway, my question is can God sin? Some calvinists go as far as to say that nothing happens that God does not want to happen, by extension this would mean God commits sin. As an example, it wasn't Islamic extremists but rather God to blame for the events on 9/11. Is this really want calvinism is saying or just rumor?

    I believe God is Sovereign but the Bible seems to teach that God in His Sovereignty gave mankind a free will. This in no way detracts from the power and authority of God but is rather an expression of it. God does not want to sin or to cause sin to happen, but "allows" it to happen within His Divine will.

    Psalm 2 makes it clear that God will fulfill what He desires to fulfill but doesn't He allow us the freedom to decide concerning salvation?
     
  2. KenH

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    "Is this really want calvinism is saying or just rumor?"

    Much of what you hear non-Calvinists say about Calvinism is either misrepresentations or outright lies.

    Calvinism teaches, because the Bible teaches, that God cannot sin, nor is He the author or cause of sin. Anyone that tells you that Calvinism teaches, either directly or as some silly idea of logical extension, that God causes people to sin is either expressing their ignorance to you or lying to you. In either case, you would do well to avoid following the teaching of any such person.

    Christian regards,

    Ken
    A Spurgeonite
     
  3. Robert Nicholson

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    Amen Brother Ken!

    I am thankful for the grace of God. It is sad that Christians are divided into groups eg., Calvinists and non-calvinists. Such divisions and labels are not of God and do a disservice to our brothers and sisters in Christ who are unique individually in the body of Christ.

    Peace in his Name
    Robert
     
  4. ScottEmerson

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    If God is not the cause of sin, and He created all things, and he has control of all things, why is there sin?

    (I've also noticed that Calvinists really don't like logical extensions!)
     
  5. KenH

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    Scott,

    You are misrepresenting the Calvinist position. Please do some more reading before you make asinine statements like that.(Sound familiar? You told G4G in another thread "You're misrepresenting the Arminian position. Please do more reading before making asinine statements like that." What goes around comes around. [​IMG] )

    Christian regards,

    Ken
    A Spurgeonite

    [ September 02, 2002, 07:20 PM: Message edited by: Ken Hamilton ]
     
  6. ScottEmerson

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    Scott,

    You are misrepresenting the Calvinist position. Please do some more reading before you make asinine statements like that.(Sound familiar? You told G4G in another thread "You're misrepresenting the Arminian position. Please do more reading before making asinine statements like that." What goes around comes around. [​IMG] )

    Christian regards,

    Ken
    A Spurgeonite
    </font>[/QUOTE]I didn't say anything about the Calvinist position. I simply asked a question. The words I used came straight from your previous post.
     
  7. russell55

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    Scott,

    Just curious as to what part of that statement you don't believe....
     
  8. Bible-belted

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    "Anyway, my question is can God sin? Some calvinists go as far as to say that nothing happens that God does not want to happen, by extension this would mean God commits sin. As an example, it wasn't Islamic extremists but rather God to blame for the events on 9/11. Is this really want calvinism is saying or just rumor?"

    Just a rumour. God permits bad things to happen. That does not mean He causes them. Remember that ultimately sin is in the world because of Adam, not God. The rest is just the outworking consequences of that. Granted God allowed Adam to fall, it was still Adam's decision, and Adam's responsibility. In ther same vein, It was the Isalmic extremisst piloting the planes, not God.

    "I believe God is Sovereign but the Bible seems to teach that God in His Sovereignty gave mankind a free will. This in no way detracts from the power and authority of God but is rather an expression of it. God does not want to sin or to cause sin to happen, but "allows" it to happen within His Divine will."

    Yep, that's right. God created humanity with a Free Will. However as a result of the Fall, that Free Wil is now elnslaved to sin. Firhter, that Fall has consequences. Romans 1 uses the language of "giving over". Gos lets us experience the consequeces of our sins. That isn't to say he likes it though or is insensitive to the suffering created. That's why He sent Jesus!

    "Psalm 2 makes it clear that God will fulfill what He desires to fulfill but doesn't He allow us the freedom to decide concerning salvation?"

    We are certainly responsible to decide. But the question is: are we able to decide? In one sense, yes. We can make a decision easily enough. But are we free to choose any alternative? No. becuase of the Fall, we are now enslaved to sin, and our wills are affected by the Falll such that we do not want to please God. So while we may be able, in the boradest sense of that word, to make a choice, the fact of our bondage to sin makes it a foregone conclusion what choice we will make. We will choose sin, not God.

    Unless, that is, God breaks in and, through the Spirit, enables us to overcome the bondage of sin so that we chose Him. Once we are thus enabled we are responsible to exercise that freedom to choose God. And invariably (because of God's efffectual calling) we do just that.
     
  9. M Wickens

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    Latreia , thanks for replying concerning "Can God sin." I just had a question concerning this statement you made:

    When you speak of God's effectual calling do you mean irrisistable grace? Or the conviction of the Holy Spirit leading us to repentence?

    The reason I ask is this. One calvinist author has said that the new creation in each one of us, spoken of in II Corinthians 5:17, happens in order that we may believe, repent and be saved and not as a consequence of conviction, belief, repentence and then salvation.

    If God makes us "new creatures" prior to our making a choice then it would seem we are back to the question of us having no choice and God choosing to save some but not others. If this were the case I would not have a problem. We are God's creation so God may do to us as He desires, but we are sinful and deserve punishment. Any salvation is by grace alone.

    Though it is within God's rights to do with us as He wishes I cannot see in Scripture the case for God choosing some and not others based solely on some reason known only to God. I hope the question makes sense. I was trying to be a bit more concise but that hasn't worked. I also hope I am not being too picky about details. I just want to learn all I can about the issue so that I can make an informed decision rather than ignorantly following others.
     
  10. Bible-belted

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    Good Morning M Wickens,

    "When you speak of God's effectual calling do you mean irrisistable grace? Or the conviction of the Holy Spirit leading us to repentence?"

    Let me tell you how I understand effectual calling (which is otherwise known as Irresistable Grace). First it is a work of the Spirit in which the Spirit illuminates the mind and heart of the individual so that they can understand and respond to the Gospel. It is a special presentation of the Gospel (as opposed to the general call to faith that is found in Scripture, eg matt 11:28; Isa. 45:22, etc.) such that the individual will find it so appealing that they will believe.

    "The reason I ask is this. One calvinist author has said that the new creation in each one of us, spoken of in II Corinthians 5:17, happens in order that we may believe, repent and be saved and not as a consequence of conviction, belief, repentence and then salvation."

    This gets to the question of order. Does a person become regenerated because of their conversion, or are they converted because of their regeneration? Calvanists are not of one voice on the answer. Many calvanists answer that if we are to be consistent about toal depravity, then it would seem that regeneration is necessary for one to be converted. IOW to say that one is regenerated because of their conversion seems a denial of total depravity.

    Other Calvanists though hold that conversion is prior to regeneration. (This is what I hold to.) Scriptures used to support this include Acts 2:38; 16:31. This does not contradict total depravity. It seems to only because one confuses effectual calling with regeneration. By definition, effectual calling is itself a special call of God distinct from the genereal call to the world to believe, and a special work of the Holy Spirit. But it is not the regenerating work fo the Spirit but an illuminating work. Effectual calling then is a special work of the Spirit that results in conversion and regeneration.

    Those Calvanists that hold that regeneration must be prior to conversion may say that this makes effectual calling no different from the Arminian doctrine of "prevenient grace". And they would be right in noting a similarity. However there are two key differences between the Calvanistic notion of effectual calling and Arminian prevenient grace.

    The first is in the intended object. Arminians hold tha prevenient grace is for the world. Calvanists insist that effectual calling is ONLY for the elect. Second, is the effect. Arminians say that prevenient grace does not necesssarily lead to faith, where Calvanits say that effectual calling is truly effectual. All who are specially called through an effectual calling come to faith in Christ.

    So the long and the short of it is that the calvanist you speak of is correct to a point; some Calvanists do indeed take the stand he does. Not all do though, nor is it anecessary stance to calvanism.

    I hope that answers some of your questions. If you have others feel free to ask.
     
  11. KenH

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    "Though it is within God's rights to do with us as He wishes I cannot see in Scripture the case for God choosing some and not others based solely on some reason known only to God."

    M Wickens,

    So are you saying that God chooses based on something within the person, perhaps some merit on that person's part that another person does not have? Are you saying that one person is saved because they are smarter than another person to repent and believe, thereby showing merit for salvation?

    I know you will probably say(quite rightly) that all of the glory belongs to God in salvation. But I fail to see how you eliminate the idea of human merit if one person is saved and another is not based solely upon the response of both to the gospel if God does not enable the person saved to believe in the first place. To totally eliminate human merit, don't you have to come back to the fact that God chooses sovereignly?

    Christian regards,

    Ken
    A Spurgeonite
     
  12. M Wickens

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    Pastor Latreia,

    The idea of "effectual calling" and "general calling" is a new one to me. Does that mean that the general call is just for show?. If God knows it will not be answered, indeed wills for it not to be answered, then what is the point in it being made? And doesn't an effectual call bring us back to the notion of God only calling certain people in a certain way. i.e. choosing one above another for some reason.

    Mr Hamilton,

    From my understanding of Scripture salvation is BY the grace of God THROUGH the faith of an individual. It is a gift of God. A gift by definition requires a giver and a reciever. Unless both take part it is of no effect. Also, a gift is given, not forced onto the receiver. No merit is bestowed upon the reciever because they received, it is still wholly of the one giving. The basis for a person receiving this gift would not appear to come down to their greater IQ or anything else but rather their submission to the Sovereign will of God.

    How does it subtract from the glory and sovereingty of God if He were to give His subjects choice?
     
  13. Bible-belted

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    M Wickens,

    "The idea of "effectual calling" and "general calling" is a new one to me. Does that mean that the general call is just for show?. If God knows it will not be answered, indeed wills for it not to be answered, then what is the point in it being made? And doesn't an effectual call bring us back to the notion of God only calling certain people in a certain way. i.e. choosing one above another for some reason."

    Good question.

    No, the general call is not for show. It is a real call, and people are still responsible to respond to it. Its just that, apart from an efectual call (the elect get both) the resposne will always be negative.

    To say that God knows that a given person wil not respond properly is not the same thing as saying that God causes them to not respond correctly. The inability to not respond is a consequence of the Fall, not anything God does.

    What is the point of a general call? Well, one very important one is to incresae the liability of those who hear it. In Romans Paul mentions how all people are without excuse for not acknowledging God fro alll people without exception have some nowledge of God that they always distort. But Paul then goes on to say that the Jews are even more "without excuse" for they have the Law. The more of God you are exposed to, the more you are responsible for not acknowledging.

    And yes, effectual call is tied to election. God effectually calls only the elect. How does he determine who is the elect (what is His reason)? I don't know why he chooses one and not another. I do know why he DOESN'T make a choice. It is not based on anything in us, any work we do or any merit we might imagine we have. That's why it is grace.
     
  14. M Wickens

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    Concerning the effectual and the general call.

    In a sense could Adam be held responsible, well, the instigator anyway, for all those who refuse the general calling? (Biblically speaking we are all responsible for our own sin.) Would it then be true to say when I was born, apart from the "effectual calling", I would have died in my sins due to my inability to respond to the general calling? This in turn was due to the sinful nature passed onto me from Adam.

    Does the general calling then serve as a final nail in the coffin of unbeliever?
     
  15. Bible-belted

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    Adam's sin created the condition of salvery to sin that all people would subsequently experience as an insurmountable obstacle in responding to God appropriately.

    You and I were born dead in trespasses n sins, slaves to sin. Apart from the effectual call, we would inevitably end up receving the due punishment for sin. Our sin is the reason we cannot repsond to a general call, and the reason we go to Hell. It is not the inability to respond to a call, but the sin which makes one unable to respond to a call, which causes us to doe in our sins apart from an effectual call.

    If the above is a fair restatement of what you were saying then we are on the same page.
    As for your last question, I am not sure I understand it. Perhaps you could elaborate?
     
  16. M Wickens

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    Having read through your statement again I can see you already answered my second question. I have much left to learn but I appreciate the help you've been.

    MWickens
     
  17. Bible-belted

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    Well then, as unintentional as it was, I am glas I answered your second question!

    I am always available to help more, and I thank God for being able to help you here. Feel free to pm me if you like.
     
  18. TheRadicalOne

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    Personal attacks have no place in this forum and will not be tolerated. Talk about issues and doctrine rather than about people.

    Moderator

    [ September 06, 2002, 12:54 PM: Message edited by: Pastor Larry ]
     
  19. M Wickens

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    If nothing else I have learned of an un-Christlike spirit dominating Arminianists through this forum. If anything at the moment I would fall into the "Arminian" catergory as I do struggle with the issues of limitied atonement and one or two other staple calvinistic views.

    However, among the Arminianists I see more mudslinging than Scriptural and logical argument. I do not find Calvinists prideful or ilogical, but rather unwilling to try and fit God into a little box to suit their defintion of Him. Arminianists seem to try and put God in a box and say "Here is God, we have Him understood" and that can't be right.

    There is much to be said for both the Calvinistic and Arminianist views but there is a difinite un-Christlike spirit within the Arminianist camp.
     
  20. Bible-belted

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    In all fairness, I think you will find that kind of spirit on both sides of the theological divide. I've seen Calvanists who refer to Arminians as "Pelagians" after the heretic Pelagius, as if there were no difference between his view and teh Arminian view, which isn't so. I myself refer to it as "semi-pelagian", but even that doesn't necessarily mean a whoe lot. After all, if one is semi-pelagian, then tehy are semi-Augustinian/Calvanist as well.
     

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