Does unconditional election make God partial?

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by 4His_glory, Aug 5, 2005.

  1. 4His_glory

    4His_glory
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    A common objection to unconditional election is that it makes God a respecter of persons and a demonstrator of partiality. They often appeal to Acts 10:34

    (NKJV)

    While it is true that God is no repecter of persons, it is not a sound arugment against the biblical truth of unconditional election.

    This is an unvalid objection, because there is nothing in man that determins God's choice of certain individuals to salvation. This is why it is a work of grace and purely unconditional.

    I quote Augusts Strong on pg. 786 of his Systematic Theology.

    Praise God for His amazing grace to which I am forever in debt!
     
  2. Matt Black

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    Yes, it does make God partial.

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  3. 4His_glory

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    How?
     
  4. Andre

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    I do not that think this is a workable claim. First of all, it is merely asserted, without actual defence. More importantly, however, it does not appear appear to hold up when one tries to analyze the concept of the basis for election of certain individuals.

    I am going to assume that we will agree that God presumably has some basis for choosing Jones and not Smith - the only other alternative solution to this (that is intelligible to us) is that the selection is arbitrary - and this seems wildly counterintuitive (although, to be fair, a possibility).

    If the selection is not arbitrary, the basis for selection must indeed have something to do with the individuals involved. I think the key is to understand the very foundational issue about what makes Jones Jones and what makes Smith Smith (if you follow this turn of phrase). It seems to me that even God is forced to see Jones distinctness from Smith specifically in terms of constitutional information about each of them.

    If Jones and Smith were not represented in the mind of God through a "list" of differentiating attributes (such as Jones is tall, Smith is short, Jones lives in London, Smith in NY, etc.) then Jones and Smith would blend into an undifferentiated blob, even in the mind of God. In other words, it is simply not possible to perform any act that discriminates between Smith and Jones without grounding that choice in something about Smith and Jones as individuals.

    This kind of argument gets very philosophical and I admit that the above may need a lot more work.

    Even if my argument works and is understood, some may respond that this is "human" reasoning and that God somehow "magically" chooses between Smith and Jones without in any way basing this decision on "Jones-specific" or "Smith-specific" information. That is, of course, your right. However, you would then forfeit the right to make statements like "there is nothing in man that determins God's choice of certain individuals to salvation". My reasons for saying this would take too much more room. So I will, for the present, leave this last claim undefended.
     
  5. 4His_glory

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    Andre,

    First of all, the statment is not merely asserted. There is not any biblical evidence that God elects based on what he sees in certain men. All are depraved sinners, all are deserving of judgment, therefore any election to salvation is unconditional and completly of grace.

    That any should be saved is amazing in and of it self.

    Secondly election can not be arbitrary, since it is a free choice of God's sovereign will. The reasons though for this choice are unkown to us other than for God's glory. God will always glorify Himself.

    In other words, I would agree that there is somthing involved in God's choice, but that invovlement is not found in the one chosen as you state must be the case. The reason is found in Him who is DOING the choosing- that being God.

    So I can fairly say there is nothing in man that determins God's choice, since all are sinners and deserving of judgment. If one throws out the truth that all men are depraved sinners and thus deserving of judgment, then what you say could be true. However, men are depraved sinners, therefore there is nothing good in any of them that determines God's choice, it is purely of His sovereign will.
     
  6. Andre

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    This is merely a claim - there is no underlying argument. In my post, I provided some reasons that underly my position. Should you not also be doing this? - Biblical texts, deductions from assumption - something. Perhaps you can point out specifically what is wrong with my argument?

    Why is this true? You say nothing in man determines God's choice since all are sinners and deserving of judgement. Can you explain exactly what justifies this "since" - why, exactly, is it that our status as sinners allows you to conclude that nothing in man determines God's choice. I will assume that you will argue that we are all on "equal footing" as sinners. I would agree - we are indeed all sinners. But such an argument does not in any way touch the issue of the basis for choosing among us, admitting that we share a common attribute-that of being sinners.
     
  7. 4His_glory

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    The underlying evidence is found in the depravity of man. I could give biblical referance to this if you desire. Plus I did give deductions based on mans depravity. here is again what I said:

    There is not any biblical evidence that God elects based on what he sees in certain men. All are depraved sinners, all are deserving of judgment, therefore any election to salvation is unconditional and completly of grace.

    Because all are depraved sinners and deserving of judgment, God's election to salvation is unconditional. There is no reason for Him to save any, since all are in the same state.

    You made this statement:

    You are assuming that the "somthing" that is the basis must be found in the individuals, I say no, it can be found in He who is doing the choosing. That reason as the Bible states is "To the praise of His glory."

    You assume correctly. I am glad you agree. However this has everyhting to do with the basis for God's choosing. Sovereign election is a act of grace, since all are on "equal footing". There is not reason IN man for God's choice. There is reason found in God for His choice, and as Paul points out it is "to the praise of His glory." Thats whole reason God saves sinners, and election being part of that salvation finds its reason there as well.
     
  8. webdog

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    ...but God DOES elect based on what He sees...their heart, their faith in Him. This is the condition for election: believe and you will be saved! There is no arbitrary election, not "mysterious" reasons for election. The Bible tells us who is "elected" to Heaven. Those who have faith in His Son!
     
  9. webdog

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    Explain which situation is partial

    a. I am choosing players from high school to play a pickup basketball game. The only requirement is all of the kids must have done their homework. Out of a group of 10 kids, I pick out 5 who did their homework, after only telling them the requirements. All kids did not have the same chance, even though the 5 I picked met the requirements. Am I showing any kind of partiality to the 5 I picked?

    b. Same scenario. Same requirement, except instead of pulling 5 aside to tell them the requirements, I make an announcement to all 10 that they have to do their homeowork in order to play. Of the 10, only 5 do their homework, and I pick the 5 that did. All kids had the same chance, although I picked the 5 that met the requirements. Am I showing any kind of partiallity to the 5 I picked?
     
  10. Andre

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    The problem that I have with the above is that it seems to fly in the face of the dictates of the conceptual system that we use to represent our world - it demands something of us that we cannot legitimately give.

    This is not to say that I disagree with the statement that we are all sinners and in the same state in that respect. My issue lies in the very fundamental concept of how any conceivable being can make choices (even God - whom we must represent in terms that are understandable to us - in this we have no option).

    I believe that there is a famous philosophical problem about a hungry donkey who is presented 2 buckets of oats. However, the buckets are, in every sense, identical. The argument goes that the donkey has no mechanism to discriminate among the 2 and hence dies of starvation.

    The point is that it is in the very foundational nature of "selection" or "choice" that such choice must be based on criteria that discriminate among the available options - and these discriminating properties must inhere in the objects being arbitrated among, not in the agent who is doing the arbitrating (selection). If there really is nothing inherent to A and B that distinguishes A from B then, in a very real sense, they cannot be claimed to be individuals.

    As you will see by now, my objections to the original post are based on non-Biblical issues. I just cannot bring myself to believe something that seems so obviously to not "play by the rules" of the conceptual system we use to represent and reason about the world.
     
  11. Matt Black

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    How? </font>[/QUOTE]Er...because He's choosing some people over others.

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  12. Jarthur001

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    ...but God DOES elect based on what He sees...their heart, their faith in Him. This is the condition for election: believe and you will be saved! There is no arbitrary election, not "mysterious" reasons for election. The Bible tells us who is "elected" to Heaven. Those who have faith in His Son! </font>[/QUOTE]This view above is very, very unbiblical. This shows God only loving us because we would some day love Him. What kinda love is that? Gods love has no condition.

    We are told to love our wives as Christ loved the Church. If we take on the view posted above, we would not love until we got love back. This is not the view of Gods love.

    Anything we do ...as good as one can be...brings with it NO reason for God to love us. God is not needing our love to love us. Grace is unconditional. I'm not sure if i would call Gods love arbitray, but i can see why you say this. Election happens not in a arbitray way, but with a propose. That propose is Gods love for us. Closing your eyes and picking out of random would be arbitray. God choose us for not what we did, nor for what we may do, nor in blindness, but out of love.


    "We love, because he first loved us."

    Why did he love me? I have no idea. I have not the works to boast in. I have not the looks to boast with. I have not the money..i have nothing. I was a poor sinner...just as Paul. If God picked us for our works, Paul would have been left behind. Not just Paul, but me as well.

    Grace is unconditional.


    In Christ...James
     
  13. Jarthur001

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  14. Andre

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    This is a perfectly legitimate claim to make - that you have no have no idea why God loved you (and if I may presume to infer that you are a "pro-election" person), you also have no idea why God chose you and did not choose "Fred" (to pick a name).

    It is important to draw a distinction between an unknown reason for one's election and the claim that one's election is not based "something about you". It is simply unintelligible that God's selection of you rather than Fred has nothing to do with something inherent in you that distinguishes you from Fred (as I have argued earlier - can you point out the flaw in my reasoning?).

    It is easy claim that one's selection has nothing to do with one's own characteristics or attributes. I just don't think that such a claim can be made without some kind of dramatic revision to the fundamental way we conceive of the world.
     
  15. Pastor Larry

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    Unconditional election is not partiality. It is just the opposite. If God elected on teh basis of man, then he would be partial to those who chose him, or were smart enough to believe, lucky enough to be born in a gospel preaching area, etc.

    Think of it this way: If election depends on belief (something the Bible never says), then God would be partial to those born in 21st century America as opposed to those born in 15th century BC Africa. Those in 21st century American have a much better chance to hear the gospel.

    The impartiality of God requires unconditional election.
     
  16. Pastor Larry

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    Andre, you are once again entering the faulty area of arguing on what "seems intelligible" to a depraved and deceitful mind.
     
  17. Andre

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    I certainly think what you are saying above has merit - I can find nothing self-contradictory or otherwise problematic in your statement.

    However, I need to point out that you are talking about something other than what I am talking about. I am simply dealing with the OP claim (as I understand it, anyway) that there is "nothing inherent about us" that contributes to our salvation. I hope you can the see the real but subtle distinction. In particular, I need to stress that my preceeding posts are entirely consistent with a belief that "man's sin nature will not let him choose God". My objection has to do with the unintelligibility of choosing between A and B, without basing such a decision (at least to some degree) on properties that are inherent to A and B.

    Unless of course, we abandon some very deeply held concepts about how we view the world - concepts like the existence of distinct "objects" (including persons) that have distinct properties that can be meaningfully said to "inhere" in those objects.

    By the way, good to meet you too.....
     
  18. Scott J

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    This whole idea of not allowing God to be partial needs to be weighed against the whole of scripture.

    Was God partial to Isaac over Ishmael? Jacob over Esau? Israel over the pagans? Judah over the other tribes?

    Was He not partial to the disciples over all of the other fishermen, tax collectors, et al? Was He not partial to Paul versus the other pharisees? How about the Ethiopian eunich?

    Romans 9 pretty much answers the arminians directly. God can show or deny favor wherever, whenever, and however He wants. He doesn't answer to their standard of "fairness".
     
  19. Pastor Larry

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    Scott,

    The point of partiality, as I understand it, is that God shows that favor for his own purposes for his own desire. It has nothing to do with man.
     
  20. Andre

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    I think I know what you are saying here. And this is indeed a possibility. However, I have a number of objections.

    1. If I were cynical, I might suggest that someone finding themselves without much of an argument can all too easily claim that their "opponent" (who has an argument) simply has a "defective" reasoning engine.

    2. Much more importantly, I do not see how your assertion cannot be equally applied to the worldview that any of us, even a fully "Bible-believing" christian, has adopted. Presumably, you will agree that your "mind" is inherently no less "depraved and deceitful" than mine. How can you trust your own thoughts if I cannot trust mine? If you respond with something like "God has placed my mind in subjection to the revealed word of God and this is something I can trust", I would then reply something along the lines of the following. "The same thing has happened to me but I am up front about the fact that the world is such that we need to bring some concepts to our interpretation of the Scriptures - and to take the position that we can disentangle our "mental infrastructure" (including such concepts) from the words of Scripture is simply not true to reality".

    3. Human history shows the incredible power of logical, careful thinking. I would be very reluctant to dismiss this human faculty in the light of so much evidence of its utility.

    At the end of the day, however, what you are saying is indeed possible - I could be relying on a "faulty" mind that should not be trusted. One problem is that those (such as yourself) who seem to claim that we cannot trust in "human" reasoning seem (and I say "seem" because I do not know you) to use the self-same "human" reasoning tools - logic, consistency, concept analysis, deduction, etc. all the time in the business of simply getting through life - and even in carrying out these kind of discussions. In short, I think that the idea that we can shed ourselves of human reasoning simply does not work (you never said this direcltly, I admit).

    [ August 05, 2005, 02:44 PM: Message edited by: Andre ]
     

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