divine sovereignty and human responsibility

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by soninme, Nov 11, 2007.

  1. soninme

    soninme
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    What does the bible teach on this subject .

    i believe romans 9 and various other scriptures teach us that . god has elected or chosen certain individuals to belong to himself . but the same bible that teaches gods's sovereign election also teaches human responsibility . while it is true that god elects people salvation, it is also true that they must choose to be saved by a define act of the will . the divine side of salvation is seen in the words " all that the father gives me will come to me " the human side is found in the words that follow " and the one who comes to me i will by no means cast out " ( john 6:37)
    we can rejoice as believers that god chose us in christ before the foundation of the world ( eph 1:4) but we believe just as surely that whoever will may take of the water of life freely ( rev 22:17) . D.L. Moody illustrated it the 2 truths this way :when we come to the door of salvation , we see the invitation overhead , " whosoever will may come " when we pass through , we look back and see the words , " elect according to the foreknowledge of god " above the door . thus the truth of mans responsibility faces people as they come to the door of salvation . the truth of sovereign election is a family truth for those who have already entered.
    how can god choose individuals to belong to himself and at the same time make a "bona fide " offer of salvation to all people everywhere . how can we reconcile these two truths ? the fact is that we cannot . to the human mind they are in conflict . but the bible teaches both doctrines , and so we should believe them , content to know that the difficulty lies in our minds and not in gods . these twin truths are like two parallel lines that meat only in infinity .

    altough god chooses some men to be saved , he never chooses anyone to be damned. to put it another way , though the bible teaches election , it never teaches divine reprobation . but some may object , " if god elects some to blessing , then he necessarily elects others to destruction " but that is not true . the whole human race was doomed to destruction by its own sin and not by any arbitrary decree of god . if god allowed everyone to go to hell- and he could justly have done that - people would be getting exactly what they deserved . the question is , " does the sovereing lord have the right to stoop down and select a handful of otherwise doomed people to be a bride for his son ? " the answer , of course, is that he does .
    so what it boils down to is this : if people are lost , it is because of their own sin and rebellion ; if people are saved , it is because of the sovereign electing of god .
    there are two dangers to be avoided in connection with this subject . the first is to hold only one side of the truth - for example , to believe in gods sovereign election and deny that man has any responsible choice in connection with his salvation. the other danger is to over emphasize one truth at the expense of the other . the scriptural approach is to believe in gods sovereign election and to believe with equal force in human responsibility . only in this way can a person hold these doctrines in their proper biblical balance .
     
  2. Amy.G

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    Excellent post! :thumbs:
     
  3. Brother Bob

    Brother Bob
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    If God "allows" sin, and is still Sovereign, then why can't He allow "repentance" and still be Sovereign????

    BBob,
     
  4. soninme

    soninme
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    i think you misread the post bob , or missed the point . :thumbs:
     
  5. Alex Quackenbush

    Alex Quackenbush
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    You cannot reconcile them perhaps, but others have. Of course they do not hold to your erring position on election, hence they do not suffer the self-inflicted wound of incompatible tenets in their theology.

    While there is a recognizable tension for humans regarding capacity for conceptualizing, they (Divine Sovereignty and Human Volition) are quite harmonious in their operation and the conflict exists only in the minds of those who have hold to conflicting theological beliefs.
     
  6. soninme

    soninme
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    some have tried to reconcile soverein election and human responsibility by saying that god forknew who would trust the savior and that those are the ones whom he elected to be saved .they base this on romans 8 :29( 2 whom he forknew he also predestined " )and 1 peter 1:2 ( "elect according to the foreknowledge of of god " ) . but this overlooks the fact that god's foreknowledge is determinative . it is not just that he knows in advance who will trust the savior , but that he predetermines this result by drawing certain individuals to himself .
     
  7. Alex Quackenbush

    Alex Quackenbush
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    God, logic and His attributes

    This discussion has taken place recently. The end of your argument places God as an agent of His foreknowledge and unable to act outside of it but forced to acquiesce.

    In the thread a person asked how God relates to His attributes (particularly foreknowledge) and my response was:
    The poster's response to this was very astute:
    And

    Applying what has been said before we can say, God's foreknowledge did not determine who these elect were. It gave Him the capacity to accomplish the election, but not the mentality to determine the elect." A brilliant enlightenment from this poster.
     
    #7 Alex Quackenbush, Nov 11, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2007
  8. soninme

    soninme
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    Hmmmmmmmmmmm......... This scripture comes to mind ........
    1 corinthians 1 : 27But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
     
  9. TCGreek

    TCGreek
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    Scripture is on your side. :thumbs:
     
  10. Amy.G

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    Exellent choice of scripture. :thumbs:

    Q's posts make me go.....
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  11. Alex Quackenbush

    Alex Quackenbush
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    Yes, and are you familiar with its context? Or is this just a verse you use to bow out of a dialogue you initiated that possibly you imagined was impenetrable only to discover you are in the midst of a collapse?

    You see friend, though YOU are not comfortable with having to think through what I have said and someone else has said in response (though your rather verbose OP came with the imposition on everyone else to read and consider your heavy dialogue) others have had no problem following it, responding to it and benefiting from it.

    So possibly, instead of vainly imagining you are ready for the meat of the Word and then choking on that meat you might want to have it chewed by someone else next time before trying to consume it instead of taking a passage of God's precious Word out of context to feign weakness and solicit pity. And for the record, it appears you are the one confounded right now (as the passage you pointed to states).
     
    #11 Alex Quackenbush, Nov 11, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2007
  12. Andre

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    I think that you raise some important and interesting issues, although I do not share your view on a number of points. In this post, I repost something I posted in another thread when the subject of Romans 9 was brought up. I trust that you and others will not see this counterargument as an "attack" but simply as my contribution to our collective effort to work all this stuff out. Here goes:

    Romans 9; 20-23 is not about God's treatment of individuals but is rather about his treatment of national Israel.

    Romans 9 is about how God has been faithful to the covenant with national Israel and, more specifically, the "potter's account" in verses 20 - 23 is Paul's explanation of how God "has the right" to use national Israel for a specific purpose in his redemptive plans. It has nothing to do with matters of individual persons being elected to receive or not receive faith.

    The fact that Romans 9 and 10 is all about the covenant with national Israel is clear and I suggest that the evidence for this is overwheming. I shall return to this. In a context where Paul is clearly explaining things about national Israel, it makes no sense to have him suddenly go off on a tangent and make theological statements about individuals being pre-destined to saving faith (whether Jew or Gentile or whatever).

    What has Paul been talking about just prior to his giving the potter account? He has been talking about a hardening - the hardening of Pharoah. Why has Pharoah been hardened? To effect a great act of redemption of God's part - the deliverance of the Hebrews out of Egypt. It then follows that Paul's giving of the potter's account should also address a hardening that takes place in order to effect great redemptive purpose. Who is being hardened? Israel is being hardened. What is the great redemptive act? - accumulating the sin of the world onto national Israel so that it can then be transferred onto her Messiah. I will provide arguments for all this in other posts.

    Now back to Romans 9 (and 10) being all about the covenant: Note the following from Romans 10:

    "But the righteousness that is by faith says: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Christ down)"or 'Who will descend into the deep?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,"that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming."

    Now consider the following from Deuteronomy 30:

    It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, "Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, "Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.

    Is anyone going to deny that Paul is "transcribing" from this text in Deuteronomy. But what is Deuteronomy 30 all about?

    It is about covenant renewal. Starting at verse 1 we have

    When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come upon you and you take them to heart wherever the LORD your God disperses you among the nations, 2 and when you and your children return to the LORD your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, 3 then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes [a] and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you.

    This clear reference to the covenant - and specifically the element of covenant renewal - comes at the end of a retelling of the covennat story that begins in Romans 9. Its all there - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and the disobedience of the people to the covenant, exile, and here in this text - covenant renewal.

    If you come to Romans 9 wanting it to affirm a belief that you bring to the text about individuals being predestined, you can always come to vv 20-23 and claim that your belief is supported. But you do so at the price of ignoring a powerful body of evidence that shows this material is about the "election" of Israel. If one ignores context, almost any position can be argued for.
     
  13. Alex Quackenbush

    Alex Quackenbush
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    Though you and I may or may not agree on one or more doctrines (I don't know if we do or don't I am simply making a qualifier here), your statement is universally prescriptive and fundamental to grasping the context of any passage, particularly controversial ones.
     
  14. Brother Bob

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    No, I got the point, but being this thread is about Sovereignity of God, I been wanting to ask this question.

    Question; If God "allows" sin, and is still Sovereign, then why can't He allow "repentance" and still be Sovereign????



    BTW; I believe God is Ominipresent. He don't have to look down through time, He sees all, knows all.

    BBob,
     
    #14 Brother Bob, Nov 11, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2007
  15. Andre

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    I do not think that Ephesians 1 makes a case for "election" of individuals generally unto salvation.

    In this present post, I intend to demonstrate the mere plausibility of the following claim: Paul’s identification, in parts of chapters 2 and 3, of a well defined set of “prophets and apostles” serves to specifically determine who exactly is being pre-destined as per the material in Ephesians 1.

    Please note that in verses 3-12 of chapter 1 Paul continuously refers to an “us” that has been the recipient of numerous blessings, including, I fully admit, a seemingly clear statement that this “us” has indeed been pre-destined to membership in the covenant family.

    But, and this is key, a person that is coming to the text unbiased by previous commitments must concede that “us” need not necessarily refer to all people generally – it may refer to a very specific subset of Paul’ contemporaries. In this regard, I will assert that in 21st century evangelicalism we tend to implicitly assume that all Scriptural teaching is being delivered to all human beings “across the gulf of the centuries” as if writers such as Paul were not also sending specific messages to specific people in their own time and culture. Remembering that Ephesians was written to a real set of people 2000 years ago helps us realize that Paul might indeed not be making statement of universal applicability when he talks about an “us” being pre-destined.

    Here is Ephesians 2:19-20

    Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.

    This text shows that Paul certainly does see the set of “apostles and prophets” as a distinct group of persons and at least proves that we cannot simply assume that in the first 3 chapters of the book, Paul is simply making declarations about what is true for all people. We are being made aware that Paul sees the apostles as a distinct group.

    And in Ephesians 3:4-5, Paul writes:

    By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit

    Again, we have Paul identifying a well-demarcated subset of all human persons. Of course, this and the 2:19-20 proves nothing for the present over and above showing that Paul has in mind this very specific set of persons as a distinct group. In later posts, the case will be made that the pre-destination spoken of in 1:4-5 and 11 is indeed specific to this small group.

    To summarize what I claim this post has done: It has been shown to be at least plausible that the “us” who are predestined (as per chapter 1) are in fact the set of “prophets and apostles” later clearly identified as a distinct group (in chapters 2 and 3).

    The task of making this particular case that Ephesians 1 does not support the doctrine of election requires a number of posts. I may follow up with more. I assume that arguments that neither Romans 9 nor Ephesians 1 supports election are relevant to this thread.
     

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