Has God determined all things?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Herald, Nov 25, 2012.

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  1. Herald

    Herald
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    In another thread this comment was made:

    First, let me correct a fallacy. Those who hold to the DoG believe that God ordains all things (I'll explain why I favor the word "ordain" over "determine" later in this post) for His own reasons (Eph. 1:11). He does not ordain anything because He foreknew it. He ordains a thing as a result of the counsel of His will (again, Eph. 1:11). God's decrees, choices, ordinations, determinations etc. have been made in eternity; they happen in time.

    God's ordaining manifests itself in different ways. There are times when God is the first cause of a particular thing; i.e. creation, dividing the Red Sea, and causing Balaam's donkey to speak. God also uses second causes - the actions of others in order to accomplish those things He ordains. Pharaoh in Romans 9 is a perfect example. Nebuchadnezzar as judgment on Israel is another. Second causes include a myriad of choices by the individuals involved. Only God is able to anticipate and navigate through the intricate web of human involvement in order to accomplish His will through second causes.

    DoG'ers believe that God's Word clearly makes the case that God causes all things to happen for His own reasons, and those reasons have been settled in God's mind independent of any foreknowledge of future events. The only mystery in all of this is in our limited understanding of God and His ways. He does not reveal all things to us, but that doesn't mean that He isn't in control of all things.

    In the end the final arbiter is the Word of God, not any epistemological or philosophical exercise.
     
  2. preachinjesus

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    Foreknowledge doesn't equal determination.

    If God has determined everything than this is all pointless. The idea of mindless automatons seems contradictory to the Gospel.
     
  3. AresMan

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    Who said anything about "mindless automatons"?
     
  4. Benjamin

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    Please name the fallacy? Because the only fallacy I see being expressed here is one involving that you prefer to use semantic ambiguity as in God did not “determine” all things, He “ordained” them, or He “decreed” them, or “God “causes all things” to happen for His own reasons.” And you go on to say to God’s “determinations” have been made in eternity but they happen in time citing Eph 1:11.

    Eph 1:11 speaks of election and the order in which this happens is given in context if one will just read two lines further: In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (Eph 1:13). Eph 1:13 clearly puts the responsibility on you to respond after having trusted in the Word of Truth; this negates “determination”. Eph 1:11 says you “obtained” an inheritance which relates to speaking of being pre-destined “in Christ”, not you being “pre-destined” which could not have any other meaning by your reasoning that God must have “determined/ordained” whatever you want to call it that which you would believe.

    If so, what happens to the volition of man? Because my quote you began with in context claims volition and determinism are mutually exclusive and also that Calvinist/DoG determinism is rooted in Divine Foreknowledge which you seem to have just agreed with by saying God’s determinations where made in eternity. Sorry, but I’m seeing a pattern of semantic ambiguity going on here in an attempt to fallaciously try to avoid the same logical conclusions.

    You go on to suggest another way God can “ordain” things without “determining” :confused: them by expressing belief in Compatibilism:

    And second causes are a logical way to maintain that the choices of man are not determined upon them??? God accomplishes those things He ordains onto men according to His will, those “determinations made in eternity” but you prefer to say that these were not “determined” but “ordained” is not a fallacy???

    Exactly how does this your reasoning not affect the volition of men in exactly the same way with exactly the same outcome that these things are being determined?

    Second causes???:rolleyes: Pffft!!! ;):)

    “Free will should be defined as volition and this sustains the meaning that a creature has the ability to consciously choose; one can not do both, have this ability and not have this ability in any logical sense. If creaturely response is determined by causal means to have an irresistible effect on the creature then creaturely volition logically becomes void.”



    Kinda begs the Question being that you believe the Word of God expresses determinism.
     
    #4 Benjamin, Nov 25, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2012
  5. preachinjesus

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    Just covering my bases...:smilewinkgrin:
     
  6. jonathan.borland

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    God has not determined man's choices. Justin Martyr in the mid-2nd century is classic on this.

    Justin, 1 Apol. 43 (ANF 1:177)

    Next, Justin appeared to think the topic so important that he ended his dialogue with Trypho with the following.

    Justin, Dial. 140 (ANF 1:269–70)

    Just great, classic, no-nonsense stuff.
     
  7. Herald

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    I'm going to keep my responses simple for right now, if only because it's difficult to deal with each post in kind before I get on the road this morning.

    First, dispense with the notion I am advocating fatalism. Fatalism can only occur when the end of a thing is known. We see in a mirror dimly (1 Cor. 13:12), we cannot know all ends. God uses our choices to accomplish His desired end (His will). Judas always was going to be the son of perdition. Not just a son of perdition, but the son of perdition. In other words the Judas of the Bible was the only one who could have filled that roll. How many choices in human history, from Adam to Judas, had to take place in order for Judas to come on the scene and fulfill prophecy? All of those countless choices worked within God's overall plan.

    Justin Martyr is a wonderful read. So are most of the early church fathers. Of course they must be read carefully, mostly because their theology was all over the map on many different issues. I follow the school of thought that the early church fathers are good for adding texture to our study. But these men were often at odds with themselves over baptism, the work/role of the Holy Spirit, continued revelation et. al.

    The "fallacy" is partly what I lifted from the other thread Benjamin participated in; the generally held accusation by most who disagree with the DoG that God foreknew all things, therefore He determined all things. That is not what I believe, nor the vast majority of others who believe the DoG. I would argue that there is no blade so fine as to be able to dissect God's knowledge of what will happen from His decree of what is going to happen. This is the testimony of scripture (Is. 46:10).

    Benjamin's "Pffft" over second causes may adequately express his scorn over such ideas, but it certainly doesn't add to the discussion. Is it too hard for God to incorporate man's choices into His overall plan? Must that make man into a robot as "preachinjesus" suggests? There are two ways of looking at God's dealing with men. 1. God will bring to pass all that He has ordained. 2. God works in and through man's choices to accomplish what He has ordained. Whether it be His plan for our individual life, or His overall redemptive plan, what God ordains will come to pass. We are not alleviated of the command to follow Him. We will bear the responsibility for our own choices. We are not automatons or robots. We are not fatalists (or at least we shouldn't be). If not even a sparrow falls dead in the forest (Mat. 10:29), is it too much to affirm that God has every moment in His hand?
     
    #7 Herald, Nov 26, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2012
  8. Van

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    The answer to the question as indicated in the OP is yes, but God uses "second causes" so that God is not the author of sin.
    If God ordained before creation whatsoever comes to pass, then God is the author of sin. To avoid this logical necessity, yet another "moving the goal posts" argument is made. Somehow, and only God knows how, people choose to act in a way as ordained by God but not in a way where God predetermined their choice. Give me a break!

    The actual answer from scripture is God has not ordained, predestined, caused directly or indirectly all our choices. God sets before us the choice of life or death and begs us to choose life. If that choice had been preordained, then it would not be a choice. Therefore scripture must be rewritten, and words redefined such that choice means non-choice.

    1) Only after we have been spiritually placed "in Christ" do we obtain an inheritance.

    2) The inheritance was predestined before creation for anyone placed "in Christ"

    3) God does work all things according to His will, thus God either causes or allows whatsoever comes to pass.

    Nowhere in this verse is there any actual support for exhaustive determinism. Zip, nada, none.
     
    #8 Van, Nov 26, 2012
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  9. MB

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    I agree; Especially the part about how early church fathers were all over the place. Since his DoG comes from early church fathers. I can only assume it's an admission that his doctrine is all over the place.
    MB
     
  10. Herald

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    My doctrine comes from the Word of God.
     
  11. Herald

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    As an aside, building your doctrine on the writings of the early church fathers is not wise. This caution applies to both sides of the free will debate. Some of the early church fathers could advocate sound doctrine in one paragraph and near-heresy in another. They are a great source of history and allow us to see the progression of church doctrine.
     
  12. Benjamin

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    You want to know how I know when someone really doesn't even want a "discussion"? It is when they focus on a little thing like a rhetorical "Pffft" while completely ignoring the other issues raised against what is actually only their "declarations". ;)
     
  13. Herald

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    That's not the point. If you were paying attention to what I wrote my point was that there are a myriad of choices that man makes. Most of those choices are sinful. Still God's purpose is not thwarted.

    I'd love to give you a break, but you're not making it easy for me. Since you're an Open Theist it is only natural for you to be stymied by the idea that God knows the actions and choices of people, and uses them as part of His grand design.
     
  14. Herald

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    No, Benjamin. I was so awed by your seminal wit that I just didn't know what to say *rolls eyes*

    I don't have time to address every point in every post, and that's the truth. Once in while my schedule allows me to come up and get some air and I usually post in a flurry. I picked out the "highlights" of the posts that were made and responded accordingly.

    Now it's back to my real life outside of the cyber world. I'll come up for air again soon.

    Ta.
     
  15. MB

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    No Offense, but Calvinism is not from scripture. Since not one pedal of the tulip can be sited from scripture. Every bit of it comes directly from Augustine. Oh it has been embellished since it was first penned but, it is not from scripture and not one Calvinist here has ever shown that it is. Yes they give various scriptures as proof text but, when studied closely it clearly isn't saying what Calvinist claim.
    MB
     
  16. Van

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    I am not a Fully Open Theist, but I believe the future is not fixed and settled, thus I am not a Closed Theist either. The Bible tells us that God can know what people will do, given a circumstance. For you to suggest I do not believe in the clear revelation of the Word of God is without merit.

    Your view makes God the author of sin, however God is not the author of sin. The only way to look at the reality presented in scripture, where things happen by chance, is to accept that all things have not been predetermined by God. He either causes or allows whatsoever comes to pass.

    I do not understand why all of us cannot find this truth in scripture? For example God desires all men to be saved, yet all men are not saved. The only way to reconcile this is to accept that God allows men to choose death rather than the life He desires for us to choose. If God ordained our choice of death, then scripture would be broken, i.e. God ordaining death while desiring life, and scripture cannot be broken.
     
  17. Iconoclast

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    Actually ....you have not come close to understand the biblical teaching ,much less show where it is not the exact teaching of scripture.
    When you want to try and discuss it, you will be given many answers from the biblical believers here. I have only seen you make comments against the idea of it and not actually get specific.
     
  18. OldRegular

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    Scripture teaches the Sovereignty of God. Scripture teaches the Omniscience of God. That being said folks can debate whether or not God ordains all things that happen. However, one thing is certain and clearly established by Scripture: God chose before the foundation of the world those He will bring to Salvation in Jesus Christ.
     
  19. Iconoclast

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    Benjamin,

    You seem happy with quoting yourself here. The statement is flawed and will not stand.You offer a definition that none of us hold to ,and expect us all to interact with this flawed premise.



    Who says?Definition of VOLITION
    1
    : an act of making a choice or decision; also : a choice or decision made


    Such a choice can be made even if a persons will is not free.They do not necessarily require the persons nature to have an uncontrolled and absolute freedom for a choice to be made.It is two different things. You ignore this.
    You say that Calvinists play semantic games...not using your prefered terms...determinism, Compatibilism:
    I do not think you can address Heralds points without setting out your philosophical web as you like to do. You deflect from the main discussion, set out your trap...if no one takes the bait you claim it is them who do not want to engage the topic.
    I find this happens often as you use this method of accusing us of doing the very thing you do. You project your own method on us.

    Benjamin...address Heralds points scripturally and see if you can resist your previous MO. I will just observe as an impartial observer.
     
    #19 Iconoclast, Nov 26, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2012
  20. Iconoclast

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    Yes....

    To say that something takes place that was not ordained or is outside God's control is an absurdity.:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
     
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