Defining the DECREES OF GOD

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Skandelon, Mar 2, 2011.

  1. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    Would you agree or disagree with this definition of God's decrees:

    The decrees are eternal (Acts 15:18; Eph. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13), unchangeable (Ps. 33:11; Isa. 46:9), and comprehend all things that come to pass (Eph. 1:11; Matt. 10:29, 30; Eph. 2:10; Acts 2:23; 4:27, 28; Ps. 17:13, 14). The decrees of God are (1) efficacious, as they respect those events he has determined to bring about by his own immediate agency; or (2) permissive, as they respect those events he has determined that free agents shall be permitted by him to effect.

    If not, what is wrong with it?

    If so, can you list some events that fit under his "efficacious" decree and some events that fit under his "permissive" decree? How are they different?

    I'd like to especially hear from Luke on this subject since he uses this term quite regularly. Thanks
     
  2. Skandelon

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    anyone???????
     
  3. Skandelon

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    Ok, but anytime any of you use the phrase "God decrees all things" I'm referring you back to this thread. You have been warned. ;)
     
  4. glfredrick

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    What is "wrong with that" is your statement about the actions of free agents in concert with God's decrees. I never noticed that He said such. Nice try though.
     
  5. Skandelon

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    I read your reply 5 times but I cannot for the life of me figure out what you are talking about. Do you mind rewording it or expounding? Thanks
     
  6. Ron Wood

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    All the decrees of God are efficacious. He does as He pleases in the armies of Heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth and none can stay His hand or say to Him "What are you doing?"
    Whatever He purposes shall come to pass. Man's will operates inside the decrees of God. While He does permit the evil of man He does so in such a way as to bring to pass what He has decreed efficaciously. Man's evil does exactly that which God intended for it to do. The wrath of man shall praise Thee and the remainder of wrath Thou shalt restrain. Psa. 76:10


    What is wrong with your statement? It is a trap.
     
  7. Skandelon

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    Why do you even bother with the word "permit" here? How does God merely permit that which he has efficaciously determined?

    For example, let's suppose I plan to shoot my dog tomorrow (i.e. I have efficaciously determined that I will do this act). But when talking to my neighbor I say, I foreknow that my dog is going to get shot tomorrow, and I'm going to permit it." Why? Why use that language? Why not just say, "I'm going to shoot my dog?" The ONLY reason the idea of foreknowledge and permission is mentioned is because it answers the issue of divine culpability, but when you theological construct insists that foreknowledge equals predetermination then you leave no room for the concept of God merely permitting anything and you are left with a big issue of divine culpability for sin.
     
  8. Luke2427

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    I posted my answer to this question a day or so here.
     
  9. Skandelon

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    I copied and pasted it here so we could respond:
     
  10. Skandelon

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    If Piper were here I would pose the same question to him I have posed to you Luke. How do you define the words "decree" and "ordain."

    He, like you, speaks about both God's decreeing or ordaining sin, but never (at least in this particular quote) defines what those terms actually mean.

    When I have asked for a definition before you told me to pick a theological dictionary, so I did. Above is the definition of decree from a theological dictionary and now I'm asking you, just as I would ask Piper, would you accept this definition?

    If not, what is wrong with it? How would you change it.

    If so, can you list some events that fit under his "efficacious" decree and some events that fit under his "permissive" decree? How are they different?
     
  11. Luke2427

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    The first thing you need to do is admit that you have misunderstood Edwards.

    Edwards CLEARLY believed, in total opposition to your previous claims, that God decrees sin. You said neither Calvin nor Edwards nor any other Reformed person has purported such and I have proven that you are unmistakably wrong.

    But as if that were not enough the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith reads:

    And concerning God's Providence:

    God is not the author of sin, as I have pointed out repeatedly from Edwards remarks, in the sense that he ordains sin for sin. He CANNOT do this.

    But God does not decree sin by only BARE PERMISSION, either. He brings to pass via his providence the sinful actions that men willfully choose- but God brings them to pass for holy purposes.

    God does not approve of sin as sin. But he decrees that it exist for holy purposes. God is not the author of sin since God CANNOT himself sin but He uses secondary causes to bring sin to pass.
     
  12. Skandelon

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    Luke, friend, you keep avoiding the simple request to DEFINE your terms. I know what these confessions say. I've read them and quoted from them dozens of times in my doctoral work.

    I notice that none of them say things like God does it but its not sin because its a right motive. In fact, if that were true then these confessions wouldn't need to say, "as the sinfulness of their acts proceedeth only from the creatures, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin."

    I thought God having the right motive made him holy and righteous? Why would it be necessary to show that the acts proceedeth only from the creatures, when if they proceedeth from God who has a pure motive that would be sufficient to deny culpability? That is the part I was asking you to provide support for.

    I know Edwards is not Arminian Luke, but I also know that the particular quote you provided from him with regard to the origin of sin was "consistent with the Arminian divines" and your quotes were not.

    Oh, and the quote says, "not by BARE permission" which still acknowledges that permission is involved, as Edwards explained, it is not permission alone, I concede that point. But what is permitted in a world where everything is decreed by God; if decrees don't include both which God accomplishes through his active agency and what he accomplishes through "the acts proceeding only from the creatures?"
     
  13. Luke2427

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    You asked for definitions. These are the finest defintions for decrees ever recorded by mortal man.

    And in these definitions it says what you earlier denied- that GOD decrees sin and NOT just by BARE PERMISSION.
     
  14. Luke2427

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    And you misquoted the confession. It does not say "acts which proceed only from the creatures" it says "the sinfulness of the acts proceeding from the creatures."

    This is a HUGE difference and considering the nature of the debate you ought to be more thorough.
     
  15. Skandelon

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    I see absolutely no difference in the intent. Feel free to assume I included the entire quote because it doesn't change the point of my post in the least. If it is such a huge difference why don't you explain how it removes the idea that God's right motives make even the "sinfulness of the acts" not sinful?

    Plus, once again you avoid providing a simple definition for the terms. Why are you avoiding such a simple request? I'm not being mean to you. I've been respectful and patient. You told me to use a dictionary and I did and you won't confirm or deny the definition I provide. You just talk right past me as if I never asked. Why is that? Do you not have a definition for the word decree? Is it meaningless? Just define it.
     
  16. Luke2427

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    It does not make sinfulness less sinful. That's silly.

    God's empowerment and bringing to pass of the wicked actions of man is simply not sinful. That is clear in the above confession.
     
  17. Skandelon

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    By the way "not by bare permission" is just another way of saying "not by permission alone" which I conceded to several weeks ago when we were discussing Edwards quote which talked about God permitting sin and disposing event so that they would inevitably come to pass, remember?

    Just didn't want you to think this is some new ground we are covering or anything. The confessions don't define the terms, they just use the terms. I'm asking you to define the term decree.
     
  18. Skandelon

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    HUH? Are we in the same conversation?

    You have continually argued that God does acts (that if we did them they would be sinful...like deceiving a prophet) but they are done with pure motives, so they are not sinful, but this confession says, "as the sinfulness of their acts proceedeth only from the creatures, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin."

    You have the sinfulness of their acts proceeding from God, but you argue that is ok because he has pure motives and they don't. Are you following me?
     
  19. Luke2427

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    What you need to do at this point Skandelon is withdraw the remarks you made about me not knowing what Reformed people believe and my views not being consistent with them.

    That would be the most honorable thing for you to do at this point.
     
  20. Skandelon

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    I'm not the one accusing you of not "getting Edwards" over and over, you are the one accusing me. I've attempted to keep things civil and ask you clarifying questions and for a simple definition of terms.

    You ignore this most basic of requests proving yourself to be unwilling to honestly and objectively engage in a real discussion about our points of disagreement.

    I understand that different Reformed scholars believe differently and define their terms with different nuances, just as Arminians do, but what is abundantly clear about the quote from Edwards that started this discussion is that it is consistent with Arminianism (by his own admission) and your quotes are not consistent with Arminianism.

    What is also clear is that your terms and explanations don't seem to leave any distinction between God's permissive will and his active agency. If I'm wrong, fine, but simply explain that distinction as is clearly laid out in the definition I provided of the word "decree."

    With regard to the discussion on motive, my question, which you still haven't addressed, is this: If indeed God COULD actively (with a first cause act) do a "sinful deed" with a right motive (making it not sinful), then what is the purpose in speaking of God's use of "second causes" and clearly declaring that "the sinfulness of their acts proceedeth only from the creatures, and not from God?" If the sinful act can proceed from God, but with the right motive making it not sinful, then why would the confessions say this? Why not just say it like you do? Can you explain that?
     

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