Freewill Dilemma

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Hardsheller, Apr 25, 2003.

  1. Hardsheller

    Hardsheller
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    If a man can make Free Will choices and decisions then how can God possibly know all of them in advance?

    The following statement is from a leading proponent of Open Theism or Openness Theology.

    "Decisions not yet made do not exist anywhere to be known even by God." - Clark Pinnock

    The author argues that if God knows every future decision and choice a person will make can it really be said that that person is really "free" to make those decisions?

    I restate my earlier belief that Free Will doctrine ultimately leads its proponents into Open Theism or Openness Theology. :eek:
     
  2. Paul of Eugene

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    Some day theologians will become cognizant of the new quantum mechanic physics. Then they will realize that all the possibilities exist at once. It is only from our viewpoint embedded in time that there appear to be alternatives which we equate with free will that dissapear as we choose them.

    Say we view a choice coming up as a fork in the road. Do we turn left or right? The choice is made and we procede.

    If there are in fact no forks and it is all one line, then we have no free will.

    If it is only a single fork in life that is hardly enough to make for free will either. Is a giant fork in space time more impressive than a single giant line? More conducive to consciousness and awareness?

    But if the topology becomes infinite . . . this is apparantly adequate to make a difference.

    SOMEHOW God has succeeded in setting us up to be responsible for our choices and to be in His image. I take my own inner conviction that I am more than just a set of conditioned reflexes going down a preset path as testimony to this truth. The many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics provides a milliu in which such a view is more reasonable.

    God knows all and He knows ALL the alternatives. But they remain as alternatives for us after all.
     
  3. swaimj

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    That's a fair question to direct at a non-calvinist.
    That's an heretical statement because it denies God's sovereignty.
    Yes, the person is still free.
    Since Pinnock's statement is not the only reasonable answer to the question, it is unfair and inaccurate to assume that everyone who is a non-calvinist agrees with it and is therfore heretical. Non-calvinsts could also say that calvinism leads people to be cold and unloving and not to care if their neighbors go to hell or not because after all they are not elect, God doesn't love them so why should I? But that would not be a true statement about calvinists or even about most calvinists. Essentially you are setting up a straw-man argument which you can easily destroy. If you want to criticize Clark Pinnock, go ahead, I'll help you. If you want to accuse me of agreeing with Pinnock because I disagree with you, you are simply mistaken.
     
  4. Yelsew

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    Heresy is in the mind of the accuser!

    One who does not agree with Calvin is not a heretic, except to Calvinists. Calling other persons on a BBS heretic, are words of foolishness!
     
  5. Helen

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    Because He's God.

    Others have heard this, but let me try it again...

    When each of my children was about four, and regular naps were drawing to a close, each in his or her turn was allowed to freely make a decision: do you want to take your regular nap now and be able to stay up later with daddy and mommy tonight, or do you want to skip your nap and go to bed at the regular time?

    Each was absolutely, totally free to make whichever choice they wanted. I presented the options fairly and did not endeavor -- except for one child -- to sway the decision. But I knew my children, and I knew in advance what each child would decide. That did not stop the choice from being free. And it did not lessen my control of the situation or the day itself. It would only have been if I was unsure of my ability to control the situation that I would have denied my children free choice.

    And God knows each of us ever so much better than we know our children.

    Free choice (and there are only limited choices, by the way, in any situation -- they are never inifinite!) and foreknowledge and God's over-reaching sovereignty all work at the same time with no contradictions at all, except in the minds of some.
     
  6. KenH

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    I agree, Helen, that man has free choice. Free will, however, implies infinite choices which you admit man does not enjoy. We are free to choose but our choices are restricted by our nature. I submit that before man is regenerated by the Holy Spirit, he can only make choices within the parameters of his sin nature. Upon regeneration, then in his new nature he makes the choice to come to Jesus in repentance and faith.

    I have used the following illustration before, but please permit me to do so again. If you put a buzzard in a Kansas wheat field without access to meat, he will starve to death in the middle of plenty of nourishing food. Why? Because it is not the nature of a buzzard to eat wheat. He eats meat.

    Thus unregenerate man within the sin nature will always refuse to come to Jesus because it is not in his sin nature to come to Jesus. The "want to" is not there, just as the "want to" does not exist within the nature of the buzzard to eat wheat.
     
  7. tyndale1946

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    Why don't we go to the crucifiction of Jesus and see if there is an opportunity for free will... Two thieves were crucified on either side of Christ... One on the left and one on the right.

    If free will existed in an eternal sense it would have existed here... There is no free will presented here only election... One of the thieves heart was changed even though both accused him... If thou be the Son of God... Save thyself and us?

    If there is free will why did not Jesus say to the other thief... If you believe in me like this other man you will be in paradise too?... He didn't say it because he didn't belong to him.

    The Calvinist and Primitive Baptist and those who believe in the Sovereignty of God and election know that free will is untrue in the eternal realm. Free will never brings one to God until the heart is changed and one is born again... When they are born again how can you call it free will?

    Is it the free will that thrust the babe into the natural world?... If it is would not the babe have the recollection of the decision made by them to be thrust forth?... I don't remember making that decision to be born do you?... I also don't remember not believing there was a God... Or being born of the spirit... Was I born of the spirit when I joined the church and was baptised?

    I had the free will to join or not join... If I did not join would that make the born again experience of non effect?... Or is the baptism and joining with others of like belief just the evidence of being born again?

    If it is Christ that brings forth the new birth by his baptism where is the free will?... Can you refuse the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost when it is Christ that does the baptism?... John baptism was with water and for repentance... Since the gifts and calling of God are without repentance... What is the purpose of Christ baptism?

    Free will took of the forbidden fruit and did eat... When God commanded them not to!... The penalty was DEATH... Would God use free moral agency again to keep the law that none could keep?... If free will is true!... Why Jesus Christ and him crucified? :confused: ... Brother Glen [​IMG] & [​IMG] Sister Charlotte [​IMG]

    [ April 25, 2003, 09:22 PM: Message edited by: tyndale1946 ]
     
  8. Frogman

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    AMEN!
    The regenerated spirit rejoices in truth proclaimed, while the flesh finds offense and man defamed.

    God Bless.
    Bro. Dallas
     
  9. Paul Wayne

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    Hmmm.... Interesting debate.
    What about John the Baptist? Did he have free will to reject God even though it was fortold what he would do? It seems he was called to do a task and not chosen because he did it. What about Pharoah? The Bible says God hardened his heart even though most preach in error he harded his own heart; what choice did he have when God was hardening his heart?

    couple of verses I would have problems with if I believed free will.

    Romans 9

    10: And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;
    11: (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
    12: It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
    13: As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

    17: For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
    18: Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

    21: Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
    22: What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
    23: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

    John 15:16
    Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

    Eph 1:4
    According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love


    Now, if God looked down thru time and looked at what we did and chose us based on that, then salvation is no longer by grace but works because it would be based on something we did.
    We will not seek God on our own. He comes to us.

    Roman 3:11
    There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

    Its not a big issue for me; election doesn't effect my walk in any way other than providing comfort and encouragment. The great commision still stands and I'm called to take his message to the world and my labour will not be in vain because hes doing all the work.
     
  10. BobRyan

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    The answer is easy.

    Although opinions may vary - it is certainly the case that BOTH Arminians and Calvinists "can agree" that God is all knowing and can agree on the total depravity of man. (in the BEST case).

    I certainly agree to those points as an Arminian.

    Since God has ABSOLUTE knowledge of ALL - then He also knows ALL things about Christ and even about HIMSELF. This is the WORST form of "Free will" to know your OWN every move in the future and NOT be able to avoid doing what you KNOW you must do at EVERY point along the way.

    So.. Did Christ have "free will"? YES and perfect foreknowledg of the Father about the Son did not stop the Son from having FREE WILL.

    Just because neither Calvinist nor Arminian can "explain" how infinite God can STILL have "Free will" in that case - does not obliterate free will.

    It merely shows that "NOT BEING GOD" is enough of a handicap to PREVENT our discovering HOW FREE WILL exists in the realm of Perfect Perceived Foreknowledge. A Case where we KNOW and all AGREE Free Will exists. So we have NO BASIS to go on from there and argue that FOREKNOWLEDGE alone - STOPS free Will.

    This is an argument from the "boundaries" rather than an argument based on "Being God" and "showing how God does it" - as Calvinism constantly tries to do.

    In Christ,

    Bob

    [ April 26, 2003, 08:21 PM: Message edited by: BobRyan ]
     
  11. Ray Berrian

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    The following statement is from a leading proponent of Open Theism or
    Openness Theology.

    "Decisions not yet made do not exist anywhere to be known even by God."
    - Clark Pinnock

    It sounds like you have read "Predestination & Free Will" from Inter Varsity Press. On the back inter-cover of the book it says, 'Clark H. Pinnock is presently professor of theology at Mc Master Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario. Prior to this he taught at Regent College, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and the University of Manchester from which he earned his doctorate in New Testament studies. He is the author of several books, including Biblical Revelation, Reason Enough and the Scripture Principle. He was once a Calvinist.'

    Hey, cut the man some space. At least he ran from the error of Calvinism; it takes a little time to get all the 'kinks out.' His view as you indicated above is in error and is at best a hybrid view wrongly entered under Arminian theology. Arminian belief does not condone "Open Theism" as you implied. If you read closely the other three men had some error also, namely, Drs. John Feinberg, Norman Geisler and Bruce Reichenback. Dr. Feinberg is the most deeply involved in error. He is involved with philosophical/theological determinism which lends itself to predeterminism by God making him into a Divine Puppeteer on the stage of world history, so unlike what He says in the Bible about welcoming all to come to Him. [John 3:16; Titus 2:11; I Tim. 2:4 & 6]
     
  12. Ray Berrian

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    Tyndale 1946,

    God elected nothing or no one on the Cross. Jesus said, 'Today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise,' but He could not and never said this until one of the men on the Cross asked for Divine help and grace. Are you in another book than the Bible? God's Word says that the man on the cross said, 'Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom.' The man used his free will by asking for spiritual help and grace.
     
  13. KenH

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    God is almighty and He is the only one who can say what He will not do. Man could not and cannot limit his Creator. I find this to be one of the main problems with Arminianism as it wants to tie God's hands as to what He can do. Do you really think that God would leave something with eternal ramifications in the weak hands of His sin-soaked creatures and in essence say that "If they can't pull it off, there's nothing I can do about it"? God forbid!
     
  14. Helen

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    I agree, Helen, that man has free choice. Free will, however, implies infinite choices which you admit man does not enjoy. We are free to choose but our choices are restricted by our nature. I submit that before man is regenerated by the Holy Spirit, he can only make choices within the parameters of his sin nature. Upon regeneration, then in his new nature he makes the choice to come to Jesus in repentance and faith.

    I have used the following illustration before, but please permit me to do so again. If you put a buzzard in a Kansas wheat field without access to meat, he will starve to death in the middle of plenty of nourishing food. Why? Because it is not the nature of a buzzard to eat wheat. He eats meat.

    Thus unregenerate man within the sin nature will always refuse to come to Jesus because it is not in his sin nature to come to Jesus. The "want to" is not there, just as the "want to" does not exist within the nature of the buzzard to eat wheat.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Ken, there is actually nothing I disagree with in your post. I think there is a difference in our ideas here:
    I believe the parameters of possible choices are wider than you think for the unregenerate. The rain falls on all the fields, right? There is, according to Paul's implications in Romans 1, at least some truth given to all men which they can accept or reject and suppress.

    I just had a thought, in between paragraphs there, staring out the window and thinking...

    Maybe the clue is not in what we think it is right now. Maybe the clue is whether or not a man is willing to be uncomfortable. The truth to the unregenerate is not a comfortable affair, no matter how it is presented, or in what part. I'm not talking about data, which we all have access to, but of what the data means -- the truth of any given matter.

    I think all men want the truth -- at least insofar as it seems to benefit them! Parents want the truth out of their children, scientists want the truth of what they are examining, etc. I don't think anyone can deny that. But it's what we do with the truth, in ANY form, that counts. For instance, I have found, working in science first as a teacher, then an editor, and now Barry's wife, that there is a great deal of evidence against both long ages and evolution itself. But any truths there are extraordinarily uncomfortable to mainstream scientists, as you will see if you peruse the creation-evolution forum. So they reject them in favor of....what? Not pursuit of the truth, but of buttressing their own arguments and, basically, feeling comfortable.

    I remember how difficult it was to change from evolution to creation, and then from old age to young age. It took a number of years of reading and studying and exploring and asking questions and praying for wisdom....it was really, really hard. And I had to be willing to be uncomfortable in my search for the truth.

    But, as I found and accepted it, the result was that I ended up realizing even more the Bible is truly God's Word start to finish! This is kind of what I have been referring to a number of times when I talk about a person who wants the truth will be led eventually by God to Christ. I am convinced of that. They were not looking for God, but that is what they found if they kept accepting the truth and were willing to be uncomfortable.

    All of which leads up to this thread -- perhaps free will, or free want -- whatever you wish to call it -- has more to do with the willingness to be uncomfortable. The more you desire comfort and reassurance, the less you will be in touch with the truth, for, as sinful beings from the start, we will be more comfortable with the lie.

    I have never disagreed with the Bible's declaration that no one seeks God. But I know many who are unregenerate do seek the truth about various matters in various fields of interest. Jesus said "Seek, and you will find." And each does find some amount of truth. What will they do with it then is, perhaps, the big question, isn't it? Long before they understand the connection between Truth and God, they must decide just how uncomfortable they are willing to be.

    This ties in with a couple of other things I can think of: first is C.S. Lewis' comment (from somewhere!) regarding reading the Bible -- that we need to pay most attention to those parts which do make us uncomfortable, for those are the areas in which we need to change ourselves.

    But second is from Jesus Himself. He came for the sick, not the 'healthy'. Those who have lived lives of discomfort might be much more inclined to accept further discomfort in finding the truth than those who have lived pampered and comfortable lives, don't you think? I know there is not a total exclusion or inclusion there, but I do think we can spot a general trend in real life which we can certainly see indicated in the Bible as well.

    So perhaps the parameters of free will are not exactly how you are defining them. God does call the sinner in Isaiah 1:18 -- there is no doubt that He is not talking to the redeemed there! So there must be the ability on the part of the unredeemed to respond.

    I wonder....could the key be in the degree of discomfort one is willing to undergo? That would have nothing to do, actually, with being a slave to sin, would it? But it might have a great deal to do with something in Proverbs which advocates disciplining our children...! If they do not know the discomfort of discipline for the sake of their own good, and for the sake of truth, as they grow, what will their reaction be to the truth later?

    ====

    I just read this to Barry and he stopped and thought and said, "I think there is more." Here are some of his thoughts on this:

    Jesus said, "If you seek you will find," and I have a number of instances where I've had friends who had been seeking in a hopelessly wrong direction, and yet they found Christ, because He is the Seeker of the seekers. I have a friend, one in particular, who knew something was wrong in his life, and he was seeking through Buddhism and martial arts, and through a series of circumstances he eventually became confronted with Christ and it was at that point he had to make the choice. He knew that he could either live a lie or accept the truth.

    I asked Barry, "Why did he make the decision he did?"

    Barry responded, "He made the decision he did because he could see the affect Christ had made on the lives of others he knew. He could see the overflow of love he had never seen before."

    Barry continues: I have another illustration, but it is difficult to put into words. A very wild, profligate man who had resisted the Gospel for many years was brought low through sickness and other circumstances. In his helplessness he found his strength wasn't in himself at all and that, ultimately, there had to be a Creator, and he turned to God.

    From Helen again: Barry has a point. It's not just our personal reaction to the truth, but the evidence of what we see around us as well. Our personal lives and testimonies as Christians really will draw people to Christ, or at least introduce the truth of Him to people. And, perhaps, lure them past their zones of discomfort into submission to our Lord and the death of their old selves and reception of the new life Christ gives.

    =========

    edit: Barry doesn't want me using my hand much today so it can heal in peace and quiet -- so he is getting me out of the house for the day! I'll see you folks later and see what responses there are here. I'll have to get back to the thread I started later, too, and I will.
     
  15. Ray Berrian

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    Ken the Spurgeonite,

    You suggested that 'God is almighty and He is the only one who can say what He will not do. Man could not and cannot limit his Creator.'

    Your argument is plausible but it is not found on or backed by Scripture. And since Christians demand this you view is extra-Biblical.

    God knows that we are sin-soaked as you said. If you can get out of your theological rut long enough you will also see that every human is created 'in the image of God' and enjoys God blessing of conscience, intelligence and a will to decide many things. God, in His sovereignty, has willed that human beings can freely receive Himself and His grace, especially when prodded by the Divine Holy Spirit.

    A man or woman is not vain for yielding to the ministry of the Spirit or by inviting Jesus into his or her life. It is the Divine plan for humans to respond to the general call of the Gospel. This is why He died, that He might save all who come to God through the Son. God is not the only one to say what a man will do. Again, you cannot just quote, 'Today, thou shalt be with Me in paradise,' without also echoing what man said from the heart before God said 'Today thou shalt . . . '

    The request of the sinner on the cross was acknowledged by the Lord. In other words a petition was made to our Lord. The sinner's heart and or will had to acknowledge Christ before He granted anything to said sinner. Notice it was a exclusive request; this sinner could not make a appeal for the other sinner on the cross. The second sinner was in rebellion and said sinner made his decision to not believe in Jesus Christ. God does not give us any reasons why the second sinner did not respond to Him in the right way. In Luke 23:39 we see that the one sinner only wanted to save 'his neck.' He wanted to be saved from physical death, whereas, he apparently had little thought about God saving his eternal soul. On the other hand, the sinner who was saved wanted security for his never-dying soul. So he said, 'Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom.'

    What makes salvation so superlative is in the fact that Jesus has done everything that men and women need for final redemption, apart from human works. [Eph. 2:9] We contribute nothing to make ourselves fit for Heaven, because He makes us ready for everlasting life. [Rom. 4:5]

    God's only request for the sinner is that ' . . . whosoever shall call on the Name of the Lord shall be saved.' [Acts 2:21; Acts 16:31]

    Only a Christian who was foolish could think that he or she could lift himself up 'by his boot straps' in an effort to try to make Heaven his home. All of His salvation is of God!
     
  16. KenH

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    You are incorrect, Ray.

    Daniel 4:35(NASB)
    35 “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
    But He does according to His will in the host of heaven
    And among the inhabitants of earth;
    And no one can ward off His hand
    Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’
     
  17. BobRyan

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    As stated previously. The opening scenario applies to Christ as God knew Christs EVERY action - and YET Christ had "free will".

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  18. KenH

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    Christ is God. God has free will.
     
  19. Helen

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    Then, Ken, how do you explain that submission in the Garden the night before the Crucifixion?

    Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.

    Does God have two wills?
     
  20. KenH

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    Jesus was also human. As a human, he would not want to undergo the physical torture He was about to suffer.

    Helen, is there ever discord among the members of the Godhead?
     

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