Skandelon and I were having a good debate when the thread was closed. I'd like to pick it up here. The quotes are mine. The unquoted statements are Skandelon's. So, why earlier in our discussions did you also appeal to mystery regarding the origin of evil? By this standard why didn't you just say that God gave Satan the intent to rebel, and Adam the intent to rebel but for a good motive? Also, can you explain how this isn't equal to God' authoring evil? An author writes an evil intent into the lives of his made up characters and that seems to sum up exactly what you believe God has done to his creatures. How is that not the case? I used the word even because what you are saying is much more than mere tempting them to evil, it is giving them the motive or intent for evil. How can God not tempt men to do evil while giving them the intent to do evil and why would James even go to the trouble of saying this if what you believe about God's determining their sinful intent is true? Go back to the cookie jar illustration with the PILL of inability. If you gave your daughter a pill making her unable to resist the temptation of cookies, and you put the cookies in her line of site and even planned for her to walk into the kitchen and see the cookie jar with the intent that she would certainly attempt to steal a cookie, what would be the point in saying that you didn't even tempt her to eat the cookies? It makes no sense to me. Can you explain that? I agree. One is much, much, much worse and you have attributed it to a holy, holy, holy God. Think about it. If a man merely tempts a woman to commit adultery with him, that is bad, but how much worse is it for him to slip her a drug where she cannot willingly refuse his advances thus determining her to commit adultery? Determination is much much worse than tempting. Plus, in your system, where ALL THINGS are determined, how do you separate out all the temptations from God's 'sovereign control?' When a woman tempts a man, wasn't that equally 'ordained by God' to unchangeably happen according to his predetermined plan? Again, I'm not seeing how your view escapes God being the tempter and ultimately the tempted, as HE, not the sinning agent, make the determining choice. What does holiness mean if not 'separate from sin,' yet you have God determining all sin for all time. It's one thing to say God intervened for the sake of redemption by merely hiding truth or blinding Israel to ensure the crucifixion, and its a whole other to take that to mean God actively determines the sinful intent of every human and every act of sin for all time. So do you just ignore this one text? We are blind in the sense we do not know the truth, but as scripture teaches, "the truth will set you free." And as Paul explains, "how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?" IN that sense, they are blind. They can't come to the wedding banquet unless someone invites them first. But, your view goes beyond this 'blindness' and beyond scripture to insist that even when one is confronted by the powerful Holy Spirit wrought Gospel appeal for reconciliation, they remain blind to that revelation and unable to respond. That is NEVER taught in scripture. You use proof texts such as the ones quoted below, but notice what they all have in common! They are talking about the condition of lost man WITHOUT THE GOSPEL. For example... Is this talking about none understanding God's special revelation of the gospel and their inability to attain righteousness by Grace through faith in Christ? Of course not. Read on in the chapter and verse 21 shifts from the righteousness thought to be attained by Law through works to the righteousness attained by Grace through faith. You wrongly apply versus 10ff as proof texts against man's ability to attain righteousness by grace through faith, when clearly he is speaking of their inability to attain righteousness by works of the law. Right. Their deeds, as revealed by the LAW, are evil and they can't measure up. So what is the solution? THE GOSPEL, which teaches us that we can be saved regardless of how evil our deeds are and how much we continue to fail. Correct. So what is the solution? The Gospel. The appeal from God to be reconciled from their desperately wicked and deceitful condition. To insist that the gospel can't reconcile an enemy because they are born an enemy doesn't make much sense. Its like saying the cure for cancer can't cure a man born with cancer because he was born with too much cancer. That not much of a cure, just like that's not much of a gospel. I mean think about it, what is good about that news really for the mass of humanity? Right. And how does God discern the things of His Spirit? I'll let you pick: 1. He regenerates a select few, effectually causing them to just know it when they hear it. or 2. He chooses a messenger from his elect nation (like Paul or Peter) inspires them to preach and record God's very words in human language, which calls all men everywhere to be reconciled to God through repentance and faith in Christ. You seem to think God's work in inspiring the recording of his words isn't a sufficient enough work of discernment, but that God needs to do more to make his message clear to man. That teaching only provides an excuse to those who never accept His clearly revealed truth for all they have to say on that last day is, "I couldn't really understand the gospel because it wasn't ever spiritually discerned for me." You said originally, "The Gospel has the power, when effectuated by the Spirit, to regenerate every single person in the world. The Gospel opens blinded eyes." Notice the phrase 'when effectuated by the Spirit.' That is your caveat to include regeneration, which means that the gospel for those who are unregenerate is powerless. So, to 'blind' a person from the gospel would merely mean to 'not regenerate them.' Right? Leave them alone. You don't need to 'send them a spirit of stupor' or 'speak to them in parables lest they repent and be forgiven,' you just don't regenerate them. That is what you are not addressing. You also said, "God does not blind them to keep them from being saved." But then I quoted you Jesus' actual words which say, "to those on the outside everything is said in parables (blinded) so that, " 'they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!' " So, if he isn't blinding them to keep them from being forgiven, then why is he blinding them? Why doesn't he just leave them alone in their 'natural' condition? Why speak in parables when they couldn't have understood anyway? Why send a spirit of stupor when they are born "totally stupid"? This is what you haven't explained.