God Knows!

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by Wes Outwest, Jan 1, 2005.

  1. Wes Outwest

    Wes Outwest
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    This topic has shown up in several different topics on this C/A forum, and there have been no definitive responses. Though the topic has little to do with either Calvinism or Arminianism, I find it more here then in the other forums. So, here's some questions:

    1. Does God know every single action that each individual human will ever do in a lifetime, thus God decides "before the foundation of the world" what each man can do, will do, and does do, thus determining each man's destiny before he created man?

    2. Alternatively, Does God Provide a bandwidth (environment) of latitude in which each man has freewill to chose his own actions, beliefs and destiny?

    3. If God knows, for what reason does he permit us to sin against him, and to do harm to others?

    4. And If God's stated desire that none should perish is true of God, then if he knows, why doesn't he direct each man to make the right choices, and why is finite man, in this natural lifetime, able to withstand the power of infinite God?

    That's much to discuss, so please keep to the topic of 'God Knows'!
     
  2. rc

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    1) Just because God knows the future doesn't mean He FORCES it apon you. This "foreknowing" though is not the foreknowledge of Paulinianism. The foreknowledge of Rom 8 is to forelove.

    2) This is called open theism and is a heresy.

    3)It's this new doctrine that's out there... called soveriegnty. And who are you oh man, to reply to GOD....

    4) Typical Arminian strawman set-up. As usual you take a verse out of context and build a whole doctrine on it... If God didn't want any to parrish, NONE would parrish! Not rocket science. The verse is talking about kinds of men in authority... not EVERYONE...
     
  3. Wes Outwest

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    rc,
    Appreciate your response, however, I did not specify a scripture to respond to. Granted some of my post eludes to scripture, however that was not the thrust. Let's concentrate on thinking this through.

    For example with question 1. There is a judgement for our deeds, Rev 20, If God knows before we perform a deed, whether the deeds be 'good works' or 'sins', then the judgements against us are predetermined TOO! And that leaves is no reason, or even a possibility, for us to change and avoid our predetermined judgment. There is no reason to repent! All has been predetermined. Even the Holy Spirit's intervention in our lives does not or cannot change the outcome of our lives.

    I don't care about names for beliefs, I am interested in discussing them to a conclusion, not to some Seminary definition.

    You respond to #3 by claiming a doctrine exists. Well can that change? Is it possible for that doctrine to not be cut in granite?

    #4 You call this an Arminian strawman "a fabricated or conveniently weak or innocuous person, object, matter, etc., used as a seeming adversary or argument' Please explain why this question that I have asked since a young child, and which I hear repeated often by people who are not aware of Calvin or Arminius, and over 80% of the unbelievers that I have witnessed to over the past 40 plus years. These people, most of whom have never cracked open a bible let alone read anything by or about either Calvin or Arminius, do not know why God doesn't direct us in the manner described. So it is not an arminiam strawman as you suggest! It is a valid question that you simply have no answer for.
     
  4. whatever

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    Yes

    If you mean that God doesn't know without a doubt what those choices, actions, beliefs and destinies will be then this is false. If you mean that God does know with absolute certainty what those choices, actions, beliefs and destinies will be then this is true, along with number 1.

    The best answer I can give is that He is (or will be) more glorified with the way things are than He would be otherwise.

    I disagree with the premise so I can't give an answer.
     
  5. Wes Outwest

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    Whatever,
    Can you provide us with the basis for your answers? Is there a teaching in scripture that states it clearly?
     
  6. whatever

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    I wish it were so easy. If it were clear then we wouldn't have these discussion boards, because we would all be Calvinists. [​IMG] Could you narrow it down a bit?
     
  7. Wes Outwest

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    There are four points in the first post of this topic. You responded to all four of them, but gave no basis for your thoughts. I was wondering if you would be so kind as to do so.
     
  8. whatever

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    OK, I'll try.

    First, I don't know of anywhere in the Bible where God didn't know something that someone was going to do. Second, this fits with how the Bible talks about God. For example, Paul describes God as "him who works all things according to the counsel of his will" (Eph 1:11).

    Joseph says that God intended good to come from the evil acts of Joseph's brothers (Gen 50:20). Job says that God took Job's livestock and children and health, even though we are told that Satan was behind it, and that he stirred up the thieves and the bad weather and all. We are also told that Job was correct (Job 1:22, 2:10). Peter says that Jesus was "delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God" and that the Jews "crucified and killed [Jesus] by the hands of lawless men" (Acts 2:23). The early Christians affirmed that "truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place" (Acts 4:27-28). In each of these cases the people involved were doing exactly what they wanted to do. None of them were working against their own wills. They were all choosing their own beliefs, actions and destinies, and all according to God's plan. I have no reason to think that this isn't the norm.

    In Joseph's case it was to provide food for His people during a famine. In Job's case it was to make His glory known in His sovereign control of the universe, in the big things and the little things. In Christ's case, it was to save His people from their sins. In every case it was for God's glory.

    I disagree with your interpretation of 2 Peter 3.

    Hope that helps.
     
  9. Wes Outwest

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    Well Whatever, I don't reckon I was interpreting 2 Peter 3. I simply asked some questions, that you have no answers for.
     
  10. koreahog2005

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    Wes, I’ll jump in to the discussion. You first asked the following:

    Yes, but God does not cause a particular choice when a human makes a freewill decision. He knows with certainty what freewill decisions will be made, and those decisions exactly fit into His sovereign will. Out of an infinite number of imagined beings, God created a finite number of actual beings who would do exactly what fit into His sovereign will. Psalm 139:16 answers your question:

    “Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” (NASV)

    You next asked the following:

    Your second question presupposes an “either/or” situation rather than a “both/and” situation. In other words, you are implying that either God has complete knowledge of the future or humans have free will, and therefore both cannot be true. Both five-point Calvinists and open theists hold this presupposition that complete knowledge of the future is incompatible with free will. Five-point Calvinists believe that God has complete knowledge of the future, so they deny that humans can have free will. In contrast, open theists believe that humans have free will, so they deny that God can have complete knowledge of the future. This presupposition held by both groups seems logical. How could God have complete knowledge of the future unless He also knew that He would deterministically cause (through both primary and secondary causes) every event in the future? How could He possibly know every detail of the future if any beings (including Adam and Satan) ever had free will? Nevertheless, I believe that human free will is compatible with God’s complete knowledge of the future. What seems illogical to humans is sometimes logical from God’s perspective. For instance, it does not seem logical to humans that God could create something from nothing or cause the dead to come alive, but He does those seemingly illogical things.

    Third, you asked the following:

    I think there are a couple of reasons. God is glorified when His good ultimately triumphs over evil. If evil were not allowed to exist, there would not be the glorious triumph of good over evil. Another reason is that we learn from our mistakes. Millard Erickson, 2002 president of the Evangelical Theological Society, commented on this aspect:

    Millard Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999), page 388.

    Finally, you asked the following:

    God could have forced everyone to make the right choices, but I agree with C. S. Lewis that a world composed solely of programmed beings with no free will would not be worth creating:

    C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Collier Books, Macmillan Publishing Company, 1943), page 37.

    One might ask why God did not create an actual world in which all humans and angels are elect. The Bible tells us God “desires all men to be saved” (1 Timothy 2:4), and He is “is not wishing for any to perish” (2 Peter 3:9). So, why did God not create a world in which every person is eventually saved? One can presume that the world God actually created is the one He has always known would have the best balance—the most elect people who would make a freewill choice to surrender their lives to Him (if they had the opportunity) and the fewest non-elect people who would reject Him (if they had the opportunity). Perhaps other imagined worlds had fewer non-elect people but also fewer elect people. The actions of non-elect people can be used by God to influence elect people to receive Christ as the elect people see God triumphing over non-elect people.

    In conclusion, I think it is important to understand that God intervenes in the human time line, but He also exists outside the human time line. God’s infinite knowledge goes beyond the finite concept of time. Roy Edgemon discussed God’s relation to time:

    Roy T.Edgemon, The Doctrines Baptists Believe (Nashville, Tennessee: Convention Press, 1988), page 26.

    Time is defined by change. Since God is unchanging, time had no meaning before God created the changing universe. God saved Christians “according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity” (2 Timothy 1:9). The phrase “from all eternity” is pro chronon aionion in Greek which literally means “before times eternal.” The Greek scholar Marvin Vincent in his Word Studies in the New Testament commented on verse nine:

    Thomas Lea, professor of NT at Southwestern Baptist Seminary, commented on 2 Timothy 1:9:

    Thomas Lea, “1, 2 Timothy,” The New American Commentary, vol. 34, ed. David Dockery (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1992), page 192.

    The Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest commented on 2 Timothy 1:9:

    Kenneth Wuest, "The Exegesis of II Timothy," Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1952), page 121.

    Before the creation of the universe there was no time; there was only God existing in eternity. Some people believe our universe is eternally old. If that were true, everything that could happen would have already happened. There would be no present or future, only the completed past. God’s sovereign plan to create the universe and His complete knowledge of the future were always in existence. I believe that God has the ability to view the entire human timeline from His eternal perspective. I have read on another web site that philosophers call this perspective the B-theory of time, four-dimensionalism, or eternalism. Open theists don’t agree with me on this point. They believe in a dynamic view of time called presentism or the A-theory of time. Here’s a description of open theism from the other forum:

    http://www.christianlogic.com/forums
    (Theology and Logic; Open Theism and Determinism – page 3)
     
  11. whatever

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    Where does God state a desire that no one should perish?

    Anyone can see that I answered each of your questions.
     
  12. Wes Outwest

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    Granted whatever, but I did no interpretation. I only gave a thought that happens to be recorded in 2 Peter 3. And It is Peter teaching believers that God is not being slow about returning. Remember, the persecution the New Church was under during Peter's lifetime. It is enough to make anyone eager for the Lord's return.

    However, The Son of God had previously stated a like expression in John 3:16. Jesus says, "whosoever (any out of all) who believeth should not perish." The John passage is a direct expression of God's desire that None need perish if they but believe. Peter's statement is that it is God's will or desire that none perish, therefore God is being patient so that the "whosoever believeth" can take place.

    Since God knows ALL, it is only logical that God should tarry, until the last period on the last page of His book. But he doesn't do so out of "hope" that we will become believers (God has no faith). He does so out of knowledge that many are yet to become believers so he patiently tarries, in his Grace, for their time.
     
  13. Wes Outwest

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    Koreahog2005,
    Psalm 139:16 answers no question! It is David, a chosen of God, poetically praising God, not identifying a truth about God. God elected David to be a specific person in God's overall plan for man. If David had been a puppet on a string, in the manner that your stated conviction is attempting to persuade, then David would not have taken Bathsheba as he did. That would have been outside of God's plan for David, just as sin is outside the plan of God for any of us who believe in Him. But then, since God knew that Solomon would come from this union perhaps God caused it to happen. I mean after all it was no "chance thing" that Bathsheba was exposed to David's eyes, under an All knowing God.

    For God, there are no surprises.
     
  14. whatever

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    That sounds like something a Calvinist would say. He delays judgment until all who are going to repent have repented because He doesn't want any of them to perish.
     
  15. Wes Outwest

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    Whatever,
    Just so we are clear about this, I am not Calvinist, nor Arminian, not Presbyterian, nor Baptist (though I am a member of a baptist church), not Roman or Eastern nor Byzantine Catholic, not Methodist, nor Unitarian, nor Anglican, nor Episcopalian, NOT Mormon, NOT Gnostic, NOT Pelagian, etc., etc., etc.,

    I am Christian! I am not a hyphenated Christian, just Christian.

    If what I say sounds Calvinist to you it is because you are atuned to hearing certain things said or given in a certain way, not because it comes from a Calvinist!
     
  16. Hamtramck_Mike

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    No, Wes, David in Psalm 139 is very much spelling out the full extent of God's absolute knowledge and full control over ALL THINGS that were, that are, and that ever will be since before the foundation of the world! If God is not 100% in control, we have nothing.
     
  17. Ray Berrian

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    Hamtramck,

    Do not ‘throw the baby out with the water.’

    While there are certain historical events that God has decreed would happen like the Battle of Armageddon [Revelation 16:16] and the Great White Throne Judgment,[Revelation 20:11] for example, God has nevertheless, allowed freedom of volition [John 3:18; John 5:24]in human kind so they can turn to the Lord or refuse His call to eternal salvation.

    C.S. Lewis in The Screwtape Letters ‘ . . . has two of the finest passages in print against irresistible force used on unwilling unbelievers . . . Merely to override human will . . . would be for Him useless. He cannot ravish. He can only woo.’ “The Screwtape Letters” New York: Macmillan, 1961, p.38.

    If He, as you suggest, has controls all things He by these multi-billions of decisions would countermand the efficacy of the human being created in the image of God. Plus, with this contrived view the Lord would have made Himself the Author of all sin, rebellion, and all acceptance and rejection of His Son.

    This view of sovereignty would negate God saying that His grace was a gift. [Ephesians 2:8] For a gift to maintain its own integrity it requires a willing receiver of this endowment.

    Yes, one of the attributes of God is His Omniscience; yet within His sovereignty He has allowed the free agency of the human being. It is not good to attribute fatalism to the Christian faith. That is fine in the arena of Calvinism, but is an erring view of Christianity. [​IMG]
     
  18. koreahog2005

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    Wes, you said the following:

    Your puppet comment puzzles me. God can remain in ultimate control of the universe even when people make freewill decisions. I believe that some decisions are freewill decisions (forming a bias from equipoise, the equipoise being in place when the choice is presented), but I believe that most decisions are free agent decisions (making a choice based on one’s inclinations that were present when the choice is presented).

    I disagree with you, Wes, when you say that David was not identifying a truth about God in Psalm 139:16. It seems to me that David, inspired by God in writing this Psalm, was identifying truths about God in a number of places in this Psalm, particularly in regard to omniscience and omnipresence:

    In Psalm 139:1-6, His omniscience is described. Note particularly verse 4: “Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O LORD, Thou dost know it all.” (NASB)

    In Psalm 139:7-12, His omnipresence is described.

    In Psalm 139:15-16, His omniscience is again described.
     
  19. Wes Outwest

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    Koreahog2005,
    It is Ok that you do not agree with me. I believe that David was an Elect of God, and as such He had great insight into God, but he was not speaking for God.

    It is my belief that God allows man to operate within a predetermined bandwidth of capabilities and choices and that man does so with autonomy. That bandwidth includes all that God created man to be able to do, and includes everything from very evil to near righteousness, from crawling on the floor to deep space penetration, and everthing in between. The evidence is all around us.

    Some of the things that are included in the bandwidth of man's capabilities are Hearing the Word of God, faith, mercy, repentance, love, kindness, etc. the fruit of the spirit. They are such, because we are made in the image of God.

    Man failed to retain purity and holiness, but man did not become totally depraved, incoherant, incapable, undesireable, or any other derogatory descriptor that can and has been applied to man. IF man had been changed to that extent by sinning, Not even God would try to redeem him. Look at Sodom and Gomorrah. Look at "the world" in the time of Noah. God has not done catastrophic things to man since.

    God sees us as treasure that has been "misplaced" and needs to be "found", cleaned up and restored to our rightful place.

    He accomplished this through His only begotten Son Jesus, and made it available to whosoever believeth in Him, again leaving it up to man to decide for himself, which is a capability within the bandwidth God provided.
     
  20. koreahog2005

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    Wes, you said the following:

    I don’t want to misunderstand your statement. So you might want to clarify it if I am misunderstanding you. I believe that all Scripture is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16). Literally, all Scripture is “God-breathed” ( theopneustos ), and thus all biblical writers were indeed speaking for God when they wrote the inspired words that make up Scripture. What you seem to be saying here is that David was in error when he wrote Psalm 139:16. Do you believe in the inerrancy of Scripture? Do you agree with the following relevant parts of the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy?

    http://www.reformed.org/documents/icbi.html

    The last sentence of the quote is particularly important. The Bible sometimes reports falsehoods. For instance, in Matthew 12:24, Matthew reported a falsehood: “But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, ‘This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.’ ” It is obvious, however, that this statement was being reported as a falsehood. In contrast, when David was explaining God’s omniscience and omnipotence in Psalm 139, these characteristics of God were being reported as factual, not as falsehoods. To deny that what David was saying in Psalm 139:16 is true is to deny the inerrancy of Scripture.
     

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