God is in control but not all events are predetermined.

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Benjamin, Apr 20, 2006.

  1. Benjamin

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    Is God responsible for everything that happens including evil and sin to be in control or does He allow His creatures the freedom to choose within His will and maintain control? A doctrine that all events are predetermined and are unalterable by man must conclude both “everything is predetermined” and that “God is the author of sin.”

    According to Calvinist doctrine for God to be sovereign He must have predestined everything, true?

    1) Necessarily God has fore determined everything that will happen
    2) God has determined X
    3) Therefore it is necessary that X will happen

    Is it not theological fatalism in this doctrine to suggest that anything that happens has not been predetermined by God? Let’s see.

    In conclusion of the sovereignty doctrine that God must have predetermined everything before it will happen and totally deny man having any free will to alter the future as not a possible sovereign decision of God presumably because of lack of control then one must agree that God is responsible for all happenings regardless of the origin being good or evil.

    Also God would have to foreknow all things in advance being responsible for predestinating them. I would suggest God may have a greater knowledge than mans simple understanding of foreknowledge to allow for things to happen freely but yet He can know what the future will bring and still be able to interact with His creatures to conform them to His will as He pleases; can He not be sovereign in this way?

    God does allow within His control for man to freely make choices and is able to have knowledge greater than our understanding to both know the future and yet allow it to change in truth being undetermined as He pleases.

    The following scripture is a good example that God has allowed man to make a change in his own destiny freely and although within His will and sovereign ability to control He forgoes foreknowledge and predestination to serve His purpose. Man’s ability of free will is seen while God communicates to David the truth as far as what has been determined up the point before Saul comes down, but David changes the circumstances, not God. If God had the circumstances predetermined then one would have to conclude God lied to David, I think not. God instructed David in the truth within the circumstances at hand and David chose of his own free will to change them.

    Note: David inquired of the Lord and received clear truthful instructions in he circumstances that existed at the time that he asked. Later David changed the unfavorable circumstances of his own free will because of the knowledge God gave to him as truth and this shows David had a choice and freedom to do so.


    (1Sa 23:1) Then they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines fight against Keilah, and they rob the threshingfloors.

    (1Sa 23:2) Therefore David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the LORD said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah.

    (1Sa 23:3) And David's men said unto him, Behold, we be afraid here in Judah: how much more then if we come to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?

    (1Sa 23:4) Then David inquired of the LORD yet again. And the LORD answered him and said, Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into thine hand.

    (1Sa 23:5) So David and his men went to Keilah, and fought with the Philistines, and brought away their cattle, and smote them with a great slaughter. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.

    (1Sa 23:6) And it came to pass, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David to Keilah, that he came down with an ephod in his hand.

    (1Sa 23:7) And it was told Saul that David was come to Keilah. And Saul said, God hath delivered him into mine hand; for he is shut in, by entering into a town that hath gates and bars.

    (1Sa 23:8) And Saul called all the people together to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men.

    (1Sa 23:9) And David knew that Saul secretly practiced mischief against him; and he said to Abiathar the priest, Bring hither the ephod.

    (1Sa 23:10) Then said David, O LORD God of Israel, thy servant hath certainly heard that Saul seeketh to come to Keilah, to destroy the city for my sake.

    (1Sa 23:11) Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as thy servant hath heard? O LORD God of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant. And the LORD said, He will come down.

    (1Sa 23:12) Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul? And the LORD said, They will deliver thee up.

    (1Sa 23:13) Then David and his men, which were about six hundred, arose and departed out of Keilah, and went whithersoever they could go. And it was told Saul that David was escaped from Keilah; and he forbore to go forth.

    (1Sa 23:14) And David abode in the wilderness in strongholds, and remained in a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand.
     
  2. Calvibaptist

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    David did not change the future by his free will. David asked God if the men of Keilah would deliver Him. God said they would. David left.

    Notice that there is an unwritten assumption in this story. The unwritten assumption in the question of David is "if I stay in the city, will the men deliver me?" Does anyone believe that if David was in Vermont that God would tell him the men of Keilah would deliver him? God was answering his question of what the desire of the men of Keilah would be if he stayed there.

    One thing I would point out is that God directed all of this conversation in order to get His desire - David out of Keilah when Saul showed up.

    Another little tidbit - Don't use stories of the Old and New Testaments to formulate doctrine. Use the doctrinal sections. Use the clear statements (some of which are in stories) to determine doctrine and then interpret the stories from those.
     
  3. epistemaniac

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    Eph 1:11 esv In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,

    all things... unless you want to say that "all" doesn't mean "all" ;)

    blessings,
    Ken
     
  4. Benjamin

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    You ask me to assume it is unwritten and then make your own assumption to put in the word “if” as if it is OK to add to God’s word to fit man’s doctrine. I would suggest to you this is a poor methodology to interpret scripture by assuming things because preconceived notions of what you think it should have said may work its way in your mind.

    God was answering direct questions with direct answers just as He previously was when He told David, and then reassured him, that the Philistines would be delivered into his hand. God told David that Saul would come down and he would be delivered into his hand in the same manner, no ifs, ands or buts in either account as it is written.

    As for the little tidbit of advice, 2Tim 3:16 says all scripture is profitable for doctrine, not that some scripture is just stories and fit your doctrine into it the way it suits you to interpret it.

    You assume that David did not change the circumstances on his own volition so show me where God told him that he should depart. God told him the truth as per the circumstances that existed, that’s all, lets leave out the preconceived assumptions.

    You have not proved to me that David did not change the circumstances from his own volition upon receiving the truth that God gave him.
     
  5. Benjamin

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    Sorry, but I am not going to debate every proof text or the meaning of “all” throughout scripture, in this case I have already have agreed that God is in control of all things according to His will. Where I take issue is what His purpose and will consist of and the limitation of His sovereignty to not include free will and holding Him responsible for sin by your doctrine. So, do you agree with the following formula or not?

    According to Calvinist doctrine for God to be sovereign He must have predestined everything, true?

    1) Necessarily God has fore determined everything that will happen
    2) God has determined X
    3) Therefore it is necessary that X will happen

    … then one must agree that God is responsible for all happenings regardless of the origin being good or evil.

    Does God hold men responsible for sin when they do not have the volition to change the circumstances? If so, is God the author of sin?
     
  6. Calvibaptist

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    God answered David plainly. David was, in effect, asking God what he should do. Should I stay or should I go? What would happen if I stay? Answer: the men of the city will deliver you up. This is so obvious that the only way you could come up with David changing the future is to say that God really didn't know the future.

    This is why I say that, although you can gain doctrinal understanding from stories, you should not let stories be the basis of your doctrinal learning.

    For instance, God clearly states (through Moses) that He does not change His mind.

    Numbers 23:19 "God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

    This is a didactic statement. We take this as a truth and then filter what we read in the stories through this truth. So, when we come to a story that looks like God changing His mind, we have to filter it through this didactic statement.

    You cannot take a story where it appears that God changes His mind and make that the didactic section and filter the verse that says God does not change His mind through that. That is the problem with Open Theism.

    This is no way denies 2 Timothy 3:16. But you have to interpret Scripture in the literary format it was written. If you try to interpret stories as didactic teaching sections you get into trouble.

    The statements of Scripture says that God has declared the end from the beginning. The statements of Scripture say that God works all things according to the counsel of His will. The statements of Scripture say that God does not change like a man.

    You have to filter this story through those clear statements or you make a big interpretive mistake.

    So, in this situation with David, do you think God (at the very least) did not know the future? Do you think God was wrong and that David was able to change the future by making a free-will decision? At best, your interpretation of this story makes God an idiot because He didn't know the future. At worst, it makes God a liar because He told Him something that was not true (the people of the city did not turn him over because he wasn't there).

    Isn't it a lot more biblical to see this as an illustration of God giving man limited knowledge of what would happen given a specific set of circumstances in order to cause him to choose a different set of circumstances? This makes God's plan the determining factor (which is much more in line with the entirety of Scripture) rather than David's decision.
     
  7. whatever

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    Benjamin,

    First, you are confusing determination with responsibility. God determined that the Chaldeans would utterly destroy Jerusalem and that they would be held responsible for doing so. The fact that God determines something does not make Him responsible for it.

    Second, if God knows what will come to pass then those things will come to pass, and nothing can change that. Therefore the free choices of man are determined. God knows what would happen if David stays, and what would happen if David leaves, and He knows exactly what David will do and exactly what will happen, and it is all determined and will come to pass exactly as God knows.
     
  8. genesis12

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    A young man in our church was visually attracted to a young lady. He approached me to say "I think God wants us to sin." Testosterone aside, I could not give him scripture to support his contention, much to his dismay. It wasn't long before the young lady was having thoughts very similar to his. They eventually become "of age" and tied the knot.
     
  9. whatever

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  10. Benjamin

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    I think a lot of doctrinal presumptions fall into the finite logic of what kind of knowledge God must have to be able to determine the future of His creatures. Above I’m told, “At best, your interpretation of this story makes God an idiot because He didn't know the future.” But I think God determined that He wanted His creatures to freely come to Him and this is shown all through scripture and has a purpose that’s a lot to get into but has to do with love and truth (the truth of love is it can not be forced and God’s nature abides in truth) Man has developed a doctrine using his understandable logic of how God determines the future and I think one would have to consider God incapable thereby limiting His sovereignty to think that God cannot create His creatures to have free will and still know the future and that doctrine makes God out to be an “idiot”.

    I believe God interacts with His creatures within time and is able to do so working all things according to the counsel of His will as He pleases but of coarse He is not limited to time. I also believe God is omnibenevolent in His truth nature and within that self existent nature He does not lie or sin, possibly being limited within His own truth not to have an evil nature by His own choice of what His unchanging truth is.

    God certainly does not have to give way to man’s will but at His pleasure He can allow or not allow man to change the circumstances in his life and choose the treasures of his heart and this does not equate to weakening God’s sovereignty for blessing His creatures that He chose to make in His likeness with free will but more so confirms it.

    My point is that when God told David that Saul would come He was not lying and can not lie but was telling David the truth as He knows all and within that truth, which I believe includes free will, He allowed David to change the circumstances, knowing all, right on through any given set of circumstances including any circumstances that can arise what will happen. God is in control but not forcing it by having predetermined it but allowing it to happen according to His purposes and will and no doubt that is exactly how it will happen. God abides within the truth of nature as He set forth and He may abide within time to interact with His creatures at His pleasure. Saying He gave free will and determined everything that will happen before it does is like saying He can make a rock so big He can’t lift it.
     
  11. Timtoolman

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    Great thought and post from them Ben.
     
  12. whatever

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    No, choices certainly can be both determined and free. There was no chance that Pharoah would not harden his heart and try to keep Israel. Pharoah's actions were predetermined, and he was also acting freely. It's not an either/or situation. You don't have to choose "determined" or "free".

    Who took Job's camels?
     
  13. Benjamin

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    Whatever,

    When you say there was “no chance” that Pharaoh would not harden his heart it appears you deny he has freedom? These passages prove that Pharaoh had the free will to be disobedient and sin against God even though it was His will that His people be set free, although He did used it for the good to suit His purpose.

    If you use the term “predetermined” as in “arranged in advance” or “fixed” in regards to his own actions being divinely preordained then he is not acting freely and I disagree. If you said He had no chance because God knew his heart and how he would react from the circumstances He was to presently set in motion to accomplish the desire of His will, I would agree.

    I think part of everything God knows is possibilities, so is not about whether God is omniscient but about the content of divine omniscience and the truth about what reality actually is concerning foreknowledge within the truth of God’s nature.

    Whether or not the future already exist depends on whether God fully determined (fixed) the end, or partially determined the end and controls within time the direction it will go allowing His creatures to freely interact; it also depends on whether or not He created his creatures with undetermined free choices and I guess that depends on ones perception of what God’s plan, purposes, and nature consist of.
     
  14. whatever

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    Benjamin,

    I said Pharoah "was acting freely". I'm not sure why you say "it appears you deny he has freedom". I explicitly affirmed his freedom. Please, respond to what I say and not what you think I should have said.

    Who took Job's camels?
     
  15. doulous

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    Mmmm....really tough question, "Is God the author of sin?" This question is the 3rd rail of Christianity. Some texts to consider:

    John 1:3 3 All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

    Colossians 1:16 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been created by Him and for Him.

    I suppose we need to ask a question: "Is there anything, spiritual or physical, that God did not create?" If God did not create all things (and going forward this will include the spiritual and all things physical), what are the ramifications of that belief?

    The passage in John clearly states that all things that have come into being have been created by Him (Christ). I suppose one could argue what is included in the word being. Paul seems to expound on John's claim when he writes,"For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible..." Paul reveals plainly what John alludes to. All things were created by Christ. This includes heavenly things and earthly things. And just so the reader is not confused Paul drills down to the micro by telling us "visibile and invisible." Paul is revealing Christ's creative powers of both the material world that we see around us and the spiritual world, which would include the angelic realm. Up to this point I'm sure most of us would pretty much agree. But we're still left with the question, "Did God create sin?"

    If the only proof that is sufficient is a verse that says, "God created ain" then the answer would be no, God did not create sin. But that is not intellectually honest to the text. The bible doesn't say there is a trinity but we hold it as an essential truth of orthodoxy. We do know, from the two texts shared in this post, that God created all things...physical and spiritual.

    One of the assumptions made is that if God created sin then sin must be present in God. Put another way, sin is part of God's character. Perish the thought! The bible tells us that God is holy (Lev. 11:44; 1 Pet. 1:16). Could God be holy if part of His character was sinful? No. But does this mean that God did not create sin? Could God have created sin as a means of proclaiming His glory and His holiness while not being sinful in His nature? Once again, a 3rd rail question.

    One of the proof-texts that has been used to support the assumption that God did not create sin is found in the first chapter of James. James 1:13 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. If we take the verse at face value, all it says is that God cannot be tempted by evil and that He does not tempt others. It does not answer the question of whether God created sin (evil)*.

    I am going to attempt to answer a question that I asked earlier. If God did not create all things, what are the ramifications of that belief? And for the sake of the discussion I will include sin in "all things." If God did not create all things then we are left to conclude that someone else has creative powers. If someone else has creative powers then God is not omnipotent or omniscient. We cannot attribute creative powers to Satan. He was created himself. Satan certainly has powers...angelic powers that far exceed mortal man. But Satan's powers are limited. There is no record in scripture of Satan ever creating anything ex nihilo (out of nothing). Sin just didn't happen. It did not pop out of thin air. Someone had to create sin. Some have said, "Sin was created by the first act of disobedience. It is the opposite of holiness and righteousness." Agreed. Sin is the opposite of holiness and righteousness. But sin is not an abstract concept. Sin is reality. It is a spiritual force that separates us from God.

    This is enough for now. I am sure this will give us plenty to discuss. One question we will have to wrestle with is, "If God did create sin, why did He create it?"

    *I have used "evil" and "sin" interchangeably in this post
     
  16. Benjamin

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    If you’re not sure why I said “it appears you deny he has freedom” it is because you have not at all “explicitly” defined what you perceive to be his freedom being inclusive with predetermination. As I said, “ If you use the term “predetermined” as in “arranged in advance” or “fixed” in regards to his own actions being divinely preordained then he is not acting freely and I disagree.” This was in regards you’re precious general statements:

    You say, “It's not an either/or situation. You don't have to choose "determined" or "free".”

    Determinism and free will are mutually exclusive, propositions that cannot logically both be true. Predestination of all things by God cannot be true if He allows man his own volitional decisions.

    I have and you want to go forward on what? The premises you’re riding at this point are nothing more than a smokescreen and you are attempting to skip on by with general terms defining free actions and predetermination and now want to take a quick left and jump on to other roads arguing senselessly without out either of us knowing where you’re at?
     
  17. Benjamin

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    Thank you Tim, you probably would have enjoyed a few of my responses that never made it to the “reply quick” :D [​IMG]
     
  18. whatever

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    You've not, you've only made circular arguments, but let's start here - who took Job's camels?
     
  19. Benjamin

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    Hello doulous and welcome to the board.

    I look at God being omniscient and self derived as knowing that evil would exist in the truth of nature as He made it in order for good to exist.

    Some of what we know about His nature from the Word is that He is Love, Truth, and also that He hates evil. So why would He create something that He hates and is against His nature?

    When an all-loving and only good God created the world it was for the good; if there was Adam all by himself and nothing to compare against him; a world with a population of one how could it logically be good without a comparison.

    I think about God creating the world and saying in was good. He also said it was not good that man should be alone and He created BOTH male and female. He placed the tree of knowledge in the garden and said do not eat of it but I’m sure being omniscient knew with the circumstances He created what the result would be. This is where free will comes in for me; did He create man to be both good and evil or did He create man as good but allowed evil to exist knowing within the circumstances of Truth as He created His creatures that evil would exist in order for man to be made in His likeness being blessed with a free spirit to choose between good and evil.

    He knew of coarse that man would fall with the knowledge of good and evil because WHO can compare himself against God who is the Only all Good, again referring back to the logic of good existing without a comparison of evil. To be in God’s kingdom we must be in His Spirit and that is why I think He planned before the foundation of the world with the grace of His love to give His only Son that we could come to be with Him in the spirit of perfection and gave us a choice within our freedom as He created us to be with Him.

    So in a nutshell I think He allowed evil to exist as a truth in the nature that He created to provide for a world with a population of more than one creature with a spirit. I do not think God was the author of sin but allowed it for His purposes and pleasure to create a world with creatures in His likeness and I’m glad he did considering the alternative.
     
  20. Benjamin

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    You've not, you've only made circular arguments, but let's start here - who took Job's camels? </font>[/QUOTE]Sorry, but you have no premise to begin with if you refuse to define between free actions and determinism and it is not me that wants to go into circles disregarding the logic it takes to have this discussion in a rational way.
     

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