God is too big?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Chick Daniels, Nov 2, 2001.

  1. Chick Daniels

    Chick Daniels
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    Recently I was conversing with an Arminian who, when confronted with the potential that Arminians make man to great, replied with the idea that Calvinists go to far the other way and commit the sin of making God too big (great). In other words, the Calvinist makes God too powerful, too sovereign, too able to do what He wills. I am just curious, are there any Arminians on this board who would concur with my Arminian friend and affirm your belief that God can be said by a human being to be greater than He really is?

    I guess as a soteriological Calvinist I find it hard to envision myself weeping at the Judgment Seat of Christ having committed the sin in this life of saying that God was greater than He turned out to be.

    Any thoughts?

    Chick
     
  2. Chris Temple

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    I've got thoughts - but I'm not an Arminian! :D
     
  3. Jeff Weaver

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    Dear Mr. Daniels

    I don't know your friend, but if someone told me that I would think they were a sandwich short of a picnic. Course I would be classified as a Calvinist.

    Jeff Weaver
     
  4. jmbertrand

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    I've heard the same thing from frustrated Arminians -- but in all honesty they tend to be Arminians by upbringing rather than conviction. It would be a difficult statement for a person who has really thought about theology to make, no matter what (orthodox) conclusion he has arrived at. Surprising, though, that Arminians are the ones always telling each other, "Your God is too small!" Makes you want to say, "Take a look at mine." [​IMG]

    Mark
     
  5. Don

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    Do we agree that God created the universe and everything in it? Down to the smallest detail?

    I guess the answer to that would evaluate how big you really think God is....
     
  6. Daniel Davidson

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    No, Don. I don't. God did not create evil. The Calvinist makes God too big in the sense that he credits God with willing and creating evil.

    Rather than just screaming at me, just answer these questions.

    1. Is there evil in the world?
    2. Does God will evil?
    3. If God does not will evil, then how did it get here? (If you disbelieve free will, then you can not say because of man's rebellion.)
    4. If God does will evil, is He the Christian God?
     
  7. Chris Temple

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Daniel Davidson:
    No, Don. I don't. God did not create evil. The Calvinist makes God too big in the sense that he credits God with willing and creating evil.

    Rather than just screaming at me, just answer these questions.

    1. Is there evil in the world?
    2. Does God will evil?
    3. If God does not will evil, then how did it get here? (If you disbelieve free will, then you can not say because of man's rebellion.)
    4. If God does will evil, is He the Christian God?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Daniel:

    1. In your mind, si there a difference in a God who wills that evil be, and one who cna stop evil but allows it to be?

    2. Would you rather have a God who controls evil, or one who responds to it?

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> One of the burdens of this Conference, and certainly one of the burdens of my life, is the recovery of a
    "God-entranced world-view." "Evangelicals Seeking the Glory of God," in my understanding, means "evangelicals seeking a God-entranced world view." But what I have seen over 18 years of pastoral ministry and
    six years of teaching experience before that, is that people who waver with uncertainty over the problem of God’s sovereignty in the matter of evil usually do not have a God-entranced world view. For them, now God is sovereign, and now he is not. Now he is in control, and now he is not. Now he is good and reliable when things are going well, and when they go bad, well, maybe he’s not. Now he’s the supreme authority of the universe, and now he is in the dock with human prosecutors peppering him with demands that he give an account of himself.

    But when a person settles it Biblically, intellectually and emotionally, that God has ultimate control of all things,
    including evil, and that this is gracious and precious beyond words, then a marvelous stability and depth come into that person’s life and they develop a "God-entranced world view." When a person believes, with the
    Heidelberg Catechism (Question 27), that "The almighty and everywhere present power of God . . . upholds heaven and earth, with all creatures, and so governs them that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and
    barren years, meat and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, yea, all things, come not by chance, but
    by his fatherly hand" – when a person believes and cherishes that truth, they have the key to a God-entranced world view.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> John Piper, in Is God Less Glorious in that He Ordained that Evil Be?
     
  8. Daniel Davidson

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>1. In your mind, si there a difference in a God who wills that evil be, and one who cna stop evil but allows it to be? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Yes.

    Are you really stating, with this question, that you believe in a God who has evil intentions?
     
  9. dfd2

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    Rather than just screaming at me, just answer these questions.

    1. Is there evil in the world?
    2. Does God will evil?
    3. If God does not will evil, then how did it get here? (If you disbelieve free will, then you can not say because of man's rebellion.)
    4. If God does will evil, is He the Christian God?

    1. Is there evil in the world? Yes there
    is.
    2. Does God will evil? Yes He does.
    4. Yes God is God

    Let me ask youa question in explaining my second answer. Did God will that Jesus die for your sin? I think that would be a yes.
    Isnt the killing of Jesus the greatest evil ever? Yes. So therefore does God will evil? Yes. Here is the question How can God will and allow evil while remaining a perfect God? I think first of we cant look at what God does and say what is right and what is wrong. The human idea of what is fair is not the same as God's. God's ultimate aim in His creation is for His own glory. So for whatever reason God did create evil for His own ultimate glorification. This can be seen in the crucifixion. God is ultimatly glorified in the fact that Jesus was the atonement for His elect. In the use of evil means God brought about ultimate good. In our own human reasoning this isnt right, but to God it is. I dont think that you would say that the death of Jesus was by accident. God planned and forordained that. That Judas, by evil, would betray Christ; that the soldiers, by evil, would mock and crucify Christ. So yes god wills evil, but not just for evils sake. God wills His glorification and as clearly shown throughout the Bible, He uses evil as a means sometimes to display His glory.
     
  10. Chris Temple

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Daniel Davidson:


    Are you really stating, with this question, that you believe in a God who has evil intentions?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    No, that is a non sequiter. God has willed evil for good intentions - the glory of His name and mercy. Did you read the article by Piper?
     
  11. Chris Temple

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by dfd2:
    So yes god wills evil, but not just for evils sake. God wills His glorification and as clearly shown throughout the Bible, He uses evil as a means sometimes to display His glory.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Very good answer.
     
  12. Daniel Davidson

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Chris Temple:


    No, that is a non sequiter. God has willed evil for good intentions - the glory of His name and mercy. Did you read the article by Piper?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


    No. What do I care about any man's opinion as opposed to the Word of God? I read the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Ch 2. The Lord our God is ... most holy<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    dfd2 says his god wills evil.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Ch 9. God hath endued the will of man with that natural liberty and power of acting upon choice, that it is neither forced, nor by any necessity of nature determined to do good or evil. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    And here's an explanation for evil. (Alert Alert Alert ... Baptists do not believe God forces men to do evil through necessity of nature ... Alert Alert Alert)

    1 Cor 13:6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

    We are called to rejoice in the works of the Lord. We are forbiddedn to delight in evil. This one really isn't that hard to figure out.

    Chris - you say you hold to the Second London Confession. Please tell me where that document states "God has willed evil." I must have missed it.
     
  13. Chris Temple

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Daniel Davidson:

    And here's an explanation for evil. (Alert Alert Alert ... Baptists do not believe God forces men to do evil through necessity of nature ... Alert Alert Alert) <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    You again, make the common error of believing God "forces" people to do things. This makes God's Decretive Will inseparable from his Providential Will, and secondary causes inseparable from primary causes. Men make decisions according to their nature, yet God has ordained all that men will do.

    Did God "force" the biblical writers to write Scripture? They wrote it as led by the Holy Spirit, using their own minds and wills and experiences, yet they wrote down the exact words of God. Why is that acceptable and not the fact that God has ordained all things which occur, including evil?

    You quote 1 Cor 13:6 out of context and inapplicable to the discussion. The admonition is toward humans, not God, and God does not delight in evil, nor answer to man, but uses evil for the glory of His own name so that He and His elect may delight forever in HIM.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>We are called to rejoice in the works of the Lord. We are forbiddedn to delight in evil. This one really isn't that hard to figure out.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    No. its not. Who has suggested delighting in evil? We are to delight in GOD and ALL His ways, which are perfect and sovereign and beyond the judgments of sinful man .

    Psalms 145:17 The LORD is righteous in all His ways, Gracious in all His works.

    Rom 9:20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?"
    21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
    22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,
    23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory


    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Chris - you say you hold to the Second London Confession. Please tell me where that document states "God has willed evil." I must have missed it.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Yes, you sure have.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Ch III, Article I. God hath decreed in Himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely and unchangeably, all things, whatsoever come to pass;[1] yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin nor hath fellowship with any therein;[2] nor is violence offered to the will of the creature, nor yet is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established;[3] in which appears His wisdom in disposing all things, and power and faithfulness in accomplishing His decree.[4]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Your opening statement "What do I care about any man's opinion as opposed to the Word of God?" is also a non sequiter, prejudging that a man's opinion is opposed to the word of God. To actually adhere to this position, you would need to listen to no sermons, read no books, and not participate on a discussion list. Someone's opinion matters to you - even if it is only your own, or you wouldn't post messages. What you really mean is that you do not care about a man's opinion which is not how you interpret Scripture.

    God has given us godly teachers and theologians that we can learn from them. Wise Bereans are commended to study the Scriptures to see what they say agress with Scripture. No one is correct 100% of the time, but discussion and education among believers is how these things are examined and worked out.

    [ November 05, 2001: Message edited by: Chris Temple ]
     
  14. Daniel Davidson

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Chris Temple:
    You again, make the common error of believing God "forces" people to do things<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Um, actually, I don't. I've been saying all along that God does not force people to do evil. You might have me confused with dfd2 who said

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Does God will evil? Yes He does.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    So which is it? 1689 says very clearly that man is not forced by necessity of nature to commit evil. I think you must misread the parts of 1689 you have quoted to conclude that man is forced to commit evil. It is a paradox and a mystery that God does not will evil, yet He knows that it will happen.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Your opening statement "What do I care about any man's opinion as opposed to the Word of God?" is also a non sequiter<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Of course it is! But I see statement like it so often on this board that I though I would try it once myself lol! You caught me. ;)
     
  15. Chick Daniels

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    The crucifixion of our Saviour is the example par excellence of an evil perpetrated by men responsible for their actions, but indeed was an evil that God had pre-determined from the foundation of the earth.

    The Old Testament is full of examples where God ordains an evil to take place as part of His master plan. The Babylonians for instance, sacked Jerusalem, took away prisoners, and left the holy temple in ruins. No doubt a despicable evil. These attackers did their work with a lusty desire for conquest and death of their enemy. In their limited understanding, they no doubt did these things in an apparent free will. Yet, years earlier, Isaiah reavealed that God Himself would call upon Babylon to come and to this at His bidding. God compelled the Babylonians to the battle, and then later punished them for what they did, because they were responsible for their actions!

    It is amazing that so many of the threads that start on issues of Calvinism/Arminianism devolve into a discussion of the problem of evil. Scripture is so clear that God is a sovereign architect of the human race. He is Creator, Sustainer, Saviour, The All-sovereign God -- Who repeatedly utilizes evil in His plan to bring about His ultimate glory.

    Remember what Joseph said of his brothers: you meant it for evil, but God for good.

    Also a good read: D.A. Carson, How Long O Lord? Reflections on Suffering and Evil.

    Chick
     
  16. Chris Temple

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Daniel Davidson:


    Of course it is! But I see statement like it so often on this board that I though I would try it once myself lol! You caught me. ;)
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


    Daniel:

    did you not say:

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> And here's an explanation for evil. (Alert Alert Alert ... Baptists do not believe God forces men to do evil through necessity of nature ... Alert Alert Alert)

    1 Cor 13:6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

    We are called to rejoice in the works of the Lord. We are forbiddedn to delight in evil. This one really isn't that hard to figure out. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I read that as claiming that you believe the only two options are either freewill or God "forcing" people to do either. Neither is correct.

    Then you said:

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>So which is it? 1689 says very clearly that man is not forced by necessity of nature to commit evil. I think you must misread the parts of 1689 you have quoted to conclude that man is forced to commit evil. It is a paradox and a mystery that God does not will evil, yet He knows that it will happen. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Where did I conclude that man is forced to commit evil (a point you just said you did not make)? :confused:

    The LBCF cannot be clearer; God has ordained ALL thigns, including evil, though he is not its author.
     
  17. Chris Temple

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    Absolutely correct Chick. Thanks. [​IMG]
     
  18. Daniel Davidson

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    Really, Chris, if you don't want me to infer your beliefs you really should refrain from inferring mine. That's just good manners. And I'll stop too.

    I would be interested in your answer to your first quetsion: In your mind, is there a difference in a God who wills that evil be, and one who cna stop evil but allows it to be?

    My quick response to your question about why discussion about Calvinism deteriorate into discussions on the origin of evil is that Calvin reinvented dualism and in doing so invented another dualist god. In normal dualism, like the Cathars preached, there are evil and good gods each with their own creative powers. In Calvinism, there is one god with both evil and good intentions. As the bible say, God wills that all men be saved. As dfd2 and Calvin say, God will that some men be damned. Calvin's god is a god at cross purposes with himself - he desires both good and evil.

    (What this usually means in the mind of beleiving Calvinists is that God wills good things for "us" and evil things for "them." "Them" are usually our neighbors, frequently our poorer neighbors and more often than is polite our dark skinned neighbors. PS - No, I am not a white-skinned northern European.)
     
  19. Chick Daniels

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    Daniel,

    You are the first person I have ever seen to bring race into the discussion!

    Furthermore, you seem to be suggesting that the battle between good and evil is larger than God Himself. Arminianism naturally leads to dualism, not Calvinism. The Arminian god is one who battles evil, but is not sovereign over it. Completely separating the God of the Bible from the construct of evil sets up a power that acts outside of God. The all-sovereign God of the Bible is the omnipotent God that not just allows evil to happen, but rather utilizes evil for His Own sovereign purposes. Hence, my repeated appeals to the examples from Scripture mentioned earlier:
    Jesus' crucifixion
    The Babylonian captivity
    Joseph's wicked brothers

    Add to the list:
    The God-ordained evil that befell Job
    Balaam the wicked prophet who tried his hardest to curse Israel, only to bless them.
    I can add hundreds other examples.

    I think that most Arminians miss that point as to what evil is all about. If human beings got what we deserve, we ALL would be tortured for eternity in the flames of the lake of fire. Anything short of this is to say that we deserve to be cut some slack, and therefore there can be things that happen to us that are unfair--and thereby God is unfair, and so therefore, God cannot be associated in any way with evil.

    Thankfully, God dispenses his grace, which so many treat so cheaply as to assume that somehow man deserves it.

    Chick

    [ November 06, 2001: Message edited by: Chick Daniels ]
     
  20. Daniel Davidson

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>you seem to be suggesting that the battle between good and evil is larger than God Himself<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Sorry, I didn't mean to.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Arminianism naturally leads to dualism, not Calvinism. The Arminian god is one who battles evil, but is not sovereign over it.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I never heard that before, from an Arminian. Could you point me to an Arminian source that says this please. Much of what I read about Arminianism on the web is really a caricature of it, written specifically to discredit it. The same, sadly, is true of Calvinism.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>The all-sovereign God of the Bible is the omnipotent God that not just allows evil to happen, but rather utilizes evil for His Own sovereign purposes.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I don't think any Arminians would disagree with you.
     

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