God's coercion of the thoughts of men.

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Jope, Jul 29, 2013.

  1. Jope

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    Do you think, that a proper conclusion of the Lord's foreknowing of Peter's denial is that God coerces the thoughts of men?

    Do you think that's what these proverbs teach?

    Proverbs 16:1 KJV
    The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.

    Proverbs 19:21 KJV
    There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.

    Proverbs 20:24 KJV
    Man's goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?​

    If not, how is it that the Lord knew that Peter would deny Him?

    (What about Judas' betrayal too?).

    Did Peter have the thought to deny the Lord before he denied Him?

    (If Peter had the thought to deny the Lord before he denied Him, would not God have put that thought in his mind, if this thought was necessary to cause such a denial?).

    ------------------------------​

    Also, how many here are familiar with Boethius?
     
    #1 Jope, Jul 29, 2013
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  2. Scarlett O.

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    [FONT=&quot]God knew about Peter and Judas because God is omniscient. God did not “coerce” Peter to deny Christ nor Judas to be a devil. They had choices.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]
    [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Jesus even said so. He told Peter that satan had asked to “sift him as wheat”, BUT when he (Peter) had recovered, so to speak, he would be a teacher to others. It wasn’t God who “made” Peter deny Christ. It was satan. But God know about before satan even asked permission to torment Peter this way.

    Also, the Bible says that the devil entered into Judas when it came time for the betrayal. God didn't coerce Judas.
    [/FONT] [FONT=&quot]
    [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Let me give you three verse to consider.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]
    [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Psalm 44:20-21 – “If we had forgotten the name of our God Or extended our hands to a strange god, Would not God find this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart.”[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]
    [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Proverbs 15:2-3 – “The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, But the mouth of fools spouts folly. 3The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Watching the evil and the good.”[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]
    [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Psalm 139:1-8 – “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.... Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.”[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]Can God coerce the hearts of humanity? Yes. But He doesn't manipulate in situations like you are talking about.
    [/FONT]
     
    #2 Scarlett O., Jul 30, 2013
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  3. InTheLight

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    I've always wondered about Judas in the light of this verse:

    Acts 4:27 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.

    Seems to say that God predestined some people to conspire against Jesus. Judas betraying and then kissing Jesus to identify him for the Roman soldiers would fall under "conspire against Jesus" wouldn't it?
     
  4. Van

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    Scripture teaches that God knows how people will react given a circumstance. Thus Jesus said if people in another town had seen His miracles, they would have repented. This is not thought coercion, it is simply reading a person or peoples heart attitudes and knowing how they would react to a given circumstance.

    Proverbs 16:1 teaches we make autonomous plans, but God "gives the ability to articulate and accomplish those plans" or not. (Quote from Zondervan study notes.) To be dogmatic, God either causes or allows whatsoever comes to pass.

    Proverbs 19:21 teaches the same truth, we make plans in our heart, but God must allow them to come to fruition, or they do not. His counsel will stand.

    Proverbs 20:24 again teaches God is sovereign over our lives, either causing or allowing whatsoever comes to pass. Since God and not ourselves is in control, we cannot understand our way, how our past or future will be shaped by God.

    God chooses well those who will carry out His purpose. Judas was a scoundrel before he was picked to be the "betrayer." And Peter, whose love for Christ was growing, was picked to illustrate how we can fail big time, yet still be restored and used in a mighty way by our Almighty God.

    Final point, God bringing about His specific prophecies (betrayer and denier) in no way demonstrates that He coerces every thought of every person.
     
  5. Jope

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    Hey Van.

    Quite an interesting read on your first paragraph here. I'll just say that much. :p

    Concerning the rest of your post:

    If the thought of denial was mandatory for the fruition of such denial, and Jesus foreknew Peter's denial, that would mean that God foreknows our thoughts, correct?

    If it is God who causes men's actions to fruit (Pr. 20:24), and He already knows what actions are going to take place in the future, and the thought of, say, eating an apple, needs to be present before eating that apple, that must mean that God coerces the thoughts of men, right?
     
    #5 Jope, Jul 30, 2013
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  6. Jope

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    I agree.

    (See also 1Pet. 2:8).
     
  7. Dr. Bob

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    Is anyone here saying God is NOT omniscient or that God is NOT the sovereign in control of all things (including orchestrating the copious events of Jesus' crucifixion)?

    Don't think even the most "open theist" would attack the very attributes of God.

    But then, I've been on the BB 13+ years and . . .
     
  8. Jope

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    John Locke said that "I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts".

    It says in the Proverbs, that "as he thinketh in his heart, so is he" (23:7, KJV).

    This scripture is in reference to the man that has an evil eye though. Do you think that this has a wider application, so that, the action of men always follows thoughts?
     
    #8 Jope, Aug 1, 2013
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  9. Winman

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    God does not even tempt any person to do evil.

    Jam 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

    God in his foreknowledge simply knew Judas would not believe and would betray him, and allowed it to bring forth his purpose.

    Jhn 6:64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.

    Does this verse say Jesus caused Judas to betray him? NO, it simply says he "knew from the beginning" that Judas would not believe and would betray him. This is God's foreknowledge.

    Another example where God is often falsely charged with evil is when he allowed a lying spirit to speak in the mouths of Ahab's false prophets.

    1 Kng 22:19 And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.
    20 And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.
    21 And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him.
    22 And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.

    God had already determined that evil Ahab would die for killing Naboth and taking his property in chapter 21. Now he asks his angels "Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead?"

    Did God ask or command anyone to lie here? NO.

    In verse 21 we see a spirit come forth and volunteer to be a lying spirit in the mouth of Ahab's prophets. This was completely the angel's own idea.

    In verse 22 we see that God simply allowed this angel or spirit to be a lying spirit in Ahab's prophet's mouths.

    Does this make God guilty of lying to Ahab? NO, God revealed this entire story to Ahab, and if Ahab would have listened to God and not gone to battle he would have lived! Despite being told that all his prophets were lying to him and that he would fall at Ramothgilead, he went anyway, and just as God foretold, a man shot an arrow at a venture that fatally wounded Ahab.

    But God did no evil whatsoever here, he did not command or order this spirit to lie, he simply allowed it to bring about his purpose.
     
    #9 Winman, Aug 1, 2013
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  10. convicted1

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    God, not being evil whatsoever, can not coerce us to have an evil thought, imo. That comes from a corrupted heart, that came from Adam, and not God.
     
  11. Van

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    God could certain know what thought or thoughts He planned to instill in us. But that speaks to capacity, rather than referencing a specific verse that says God does that all the time. OTOH, scripture specifically says we make plans, indicating at least some of our thoughts are autonomous. So Jesus would have known, given the circumstances that arose, that Peter would deny Him, simply by knowing Peter's heart. We know that Jesus could do that because He knew the people would repent if they saw His miracles.

    The verse does not say that!! It says a man's steps are by the Lord, meaning God either causes or allows whatever steps we take.

    No, God allows us to formulate at least some of our thoughts autonomously, i.e. we make plans but God directs our steps.

    When we choose to sin, did God coerce that choice? Is God the author of sin?
     
  12. Jope

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    God made Israel wander from His ways:

    Isaiah 63:17a, ESV
    O Lord, why do you make us wander from your ways
    and harden our heart, so that we fear you not?​

    God is responsible for the evil done in a city:

    Amos 3:6, NKJV
    If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid?
    If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it?​

    If it it not God that brings about this evil mentioned below, "who else could it be"?

    Job 9:24, NKJV
    The earth is given into the hand of the wicked.
    He covers the faces of its judges.
    If it is not He, who else could it be?​

    God makes darkness and calamity:

    Isaiah 45:7, NKJV
    I form the light and create darkness,
    I make peace and create calamity;
    I, the Lord, do all these things.’​

    Both Satan and those he deceives belong to God:

    Job 12:16b, NKJV
    The deceived and the deceiver are His.​

    He formed the crooked serpent.

    Job 26:13, KJV
    his hand hath formed the crooked serpent.​

    I did a post a while back explaining how evil is attributed to both Satan and God, here's the link.
     
    #12 Jope, Aug 9, 2013
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  13. Jope

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    Psalm 33:11 says that "The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
    The plans of His heart to all generations" (NKJV).

    In the case of Amaziah, since he sinned (idolatry, cf. 2Chron. 25:14-16), his disposition "came of God", so that Amaziah would be destroyed (2Chron. 25:20). See also 1 Kings 12:15.

    Mark Driscoll either quoted someone or made this up himself, he said that the will of God and the will of man are like a bicycle pedal. As the one pedal goes, the other goes with it (both work with each other and cannot function without the other). I think that sums it up pretty well and is what Proverbs 19:21 and 20:24 are saying.
     
    #13 Jope, Aug 9, 2013
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  14. Bluefalcon

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    Jope,

    Would you have God coercing all the thoughts of men, both good and evil, due to his foreknowledge of said thoughts? It sounds like that's what you're saying, but just want clarification.
     
  15. Jope

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    Precisely. :)
     
  16. Inspector Javert

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    My answers will sound as though they are trite and dismissive, but they aren't intentionally so. I would say this:
     
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  17. Luke2427

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    It is not coercion.

    co·erce
    /kōˈərs/
    Verb

    Persuade (an unwilling person) to do something by using force or threats.
    Obtain (something) by such means.




    God does not have to "force" an "unwilling person" to do his will.

    He can bring his will to pass at all times without having to force anyone to do it against their will.

    He can simply make somebody willing.



    THE HORNETS

    Sung to the tune of "This Is Like Heaven To Me.

    When the Canaanites hardened their hearts against God
    And grieved Him because of their sin,
    God sent along hornets to bring them to time,
    And help His own people to win.

    The hornets persuaded them that it was best,
    To go quickly, and not to go slow;
    God did not compel them to go 'gainst their will,
    But He just made them willing to go.

    Chorus

    He does not compel us to go, No! No!
    He does not compel us to go.
    He does not compel us to go 'gainst our will
    But He just makes us willing to go.

    If a nest of live hornets were brought to this room
    And the creatures allowed to go free,
    You would not need urgings to make yourself scarce,
    You'd want to get out, don't you see.
    They would not lay hold and by force of their strength
    Throw you out of the window, Oh No,!
    They would not compel you' to go 'gainst your will,
    But they'd just make you willing to go.

    Chorus

    When Jonah was sent to the work of the Lord,
    The outlook was not very bright;
    He never had done such a hard thing before,
    So he backed and ran off from the fight.
    But God sent a big fish to swallow him up,
    The story I'm sure you all know;
    He did not compel him to go 'gainst his will,
    But He just made him willing to go.

    Chorus

    When Moses was sent to lead Israel out,
    To Canaan's rich fruit-bearing land.
    Resisting His Spirit they worshiped a calf,
    But refused to obey God's Command.
    God did not compel them to go to the land,
    Which with wine, milk, and honey did flow,
    But fed them on manna for forty long years,
    'Till He got them all ready to go.

    Chorus

    When Balaam was sent to the Moabite king,
    And wanted things run his own way,
    His mule, ever faithful, spoke at the right time,
    Made him willing God's Will to obey.
    God can use any man, since He used Balaam's mule,
    For He is Almighty you know;
    He does not compel us to go 'gainst our will
    But He just makes us willing to go.

    Read more: http://www.city-data.com/forum/chri...lieve-moses-israel-worship.html#ixzz2blMr2xT3
     
    #17 Luke2427, Aug 12, 2013
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  18. Jope

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    James is probably combating the belief that, God brings about the evil that I am doing, so how can I stop God's plan (cp. Romans 9:16-24)?

    The recipients of the Roman letter were dealing with this same issue. Paul predicts that his recipients would say “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” in response to the sovereignty of God's plan:

    Romans 9, NASB
    18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
    19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?”​

    (In the previous verse, Paul speaks about how God used Pharaoh for His sovereign purpose).

    The solution to the problem, is that God is not the immediate cause of the evil that a person is doing. The evil is coming from the sinful nature of the man, which finds its roots all the way back to Satan, which, not immediately, is traced back to God, who is responsible for the evil done.

    James said, that God "Himself does not tempt anyone" (Italic emphasis mine):

    James 1, NASB, bold emphasis mine
    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. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.​

    To say that when I sin, God is the immediate cause of the evil done, is to say that God's (immediate) plans towards me are not for good, but for evil. Such a belief would contradict Romans 9:22-23; Galatians 6:8-10; 1 Peter 1:13 and Jeremiah 29:11.

    Paul speaks against this kind of thinking:

    Romans 3, NASB
    5 But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? (I am speaking in human terms.) 6 May it never be! For otherwise, how will God judge the world? 7 But if through my lie the truth of God abounded to His glory, why am I also still being judged as a sinner? 8 And why not say (as we are slanderously reported and as some claim that we say), “Let us do evil that good may come”? Their condemnation is just.​

    When a sinner repents and God works on that sinner to turn him into a vessel fitted for honour, it demonstrates the righteousness of God. God, who is the potter, takes pleasure in doing this (Philippians 2:13). It demonstrates, to reiterate for emphasis: His righteousness (1Cor. 1:30; Romans 9:22-24; 11:30-32; Eph. 2:8-10). Thus, God's plans are for good for the saint. The evil that a man does before he becomes a saint, or the evil that the saint does before maturation is not in God's immediate plan, seeing as the merit of that evil is evil (Gal. 6:8-9), and not good (or how can God's plans be good for the saint if He intends the saint to abound in sin, when the result of that sin is evil - Gal. 6:8-9?).
     
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  19. Jope

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    That's the thing with online interactions eh? Words without tone, emotion or facial expression are subject to multiple interpretations. :)

    Certainly sounds trite and dismissive to me :p

    Teehee.

    If thoughts are mandatory for actions, then God must have planted the thought of denial in Peter's mind.

    Where I was sort of stuck, was, with the context rule and Proverbs 23:7. It's immediate context is the man with the evil eye (a greedy man), yet I do think it has wider application and that John Locke is at least partially correct. The exception maybe being, (1), that an action done by someone can have multiple interpretations to a subjective outside viewer of those actions and (2), perhaps someone does something without even thinking about it, so that thoughts don't need to be present for these oblivious actions.

    I think that the thought originated with Peter and God:

    IMO, Boethius' philosophy/theology of fate is crucial for understanding a passage like David's prayer to "turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness" (2Sam. 15:31, KJV).

    The thoughts of those who heard Ahithophel's counsel must have been coerced by God. It was "good counsel" that Ahithophel gave (2Sam. 17:14, KJV), and his counsel was known to be extremely wise (2Sam. 16:23), yet his counsel was rejected by his audience (2Sam. 17:14).

    Not sure what you mean by "a-temporally" here. Perhaps you could re-word this.

    It sounds to me like you're stating Boethius' philosophy/theology. :)

     
    #19 Jope, Aug 12, 2013
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  20. Jope

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    So, God, in the immediate sense, has plans for good for the saint (Jer. 29:11; Romans 9:22-23). But Satan and his evil, an instrument of God in the distal, is used by God to work righteousness in the saint (Rom. 11:32). The thought shouldn't be to sin more so that more glory abounds to God who is merciful and does take pleasure in working in the saint (Rom. 3:7; 5:20; Philippians 2:13), but rather to work out our own salvation, to labour so that there will be a better rest in the coming age (Heb. 4:9-13). God Himself does not tempt anyone, but the evil that is done is attributed to God (who formed that crooked serpent - Job 26:13) in the distal.
     
    #20 Jope, Aug 12, 2013
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