Is man's choice more precious than God's?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by canadyjd, Jul 5, 2012.

  1. canadyjd

    canadyjd
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    Arminians argue that man must have free will to decide whether to choose to love God, or not, otherwise such love would be meaningless. If a man is irresistibly drawn by the Spirit to Christ and must respond in faith to such a work of Holy Spirit, as the (so-called) "Calvinists" believe, then such faith means nothing because it didn't originate within the man, but with God.

    If we assume the argument of the Arminians is correct, then it raises Questions:

    1. Is God bound (in a sense) to always act according to His nature... which is Holy and righteous and pure? Can God act contrary to His nature?

    2. Does God have the "free-will" to choose not to love man, even if that man calls on the name of Christ for salvation?

    3. If God always acts according to His nature, which is Holy and righteous and pure, does that make the love He shows toward us meaningless since He could not have chosen otherwise but to love us according to His nature?

    4. Is the love of man toward God, then, more precious than the love of God toward man, because the love the man shows toward God had to be chosen and God could have been rejected, whereas the love of God toward man is according to the nature of God and could not have been otherwise?

    peace to you:praying:
     
  2. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    No, actually we argue, as Calvinists do, that our view is best supported by scripture. This argument is simply another justification for why our interpretation of scripture is most likely the correct one. A created being made to love or hate, through effectual means, is certainly viewed by most people as being less than genuine.


    Even Arminians believe that faith comes from God, just not effectually so. Faith cometh by hearing.

    No God will not act contrary to His nature. He will always do that which is Holy and pure.

    God is free to do whatever he wishes, but he will always do what he has promised and if indeed he has promised to save whosoever genuinely calls upon Him for salvation, then He will not break that promise.

    Who says that God had to choose to save those who call on Him? That was his free choice to make that promise.

    Again, I'm not sure where you are drawing the conclusion that God's love for us couldn't have been otherwise?
     
  3. OldRegular

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    God cannot act contrary to His nature.

    I believe so and this appears to be born out by the following Scripture:

    Hebrews 12:14-17
    14. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
    15. Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
    16. Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.
    17. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

    Romans 9:13-15
    13. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
    14. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
    15. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.


    I am not going to pretend I understand all that is stated in the above Scripture but it says what it says.

    The great love with which He loves His elect is demonstrated in the incarnation and the cross!

    1 John 4:19. We love him, because he first loved us.
     
  4. canadyjd

    canadyjd
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    Your view is that man is being "made" to love or hate by "effectual" means.

    Do you believe that the love of man toward God in the "calvinistic" system is meaningless because God "made" him show that love and that the man could not do otherwise?

    Do you believe that the love of man toward God in the "arminian" system is genuine because the man had to make a choice to accept or reject God and that without the "choice", the love is not genuine?

    peace to you:praying:
     
  5. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    No, that's the Calvinistic view.

    I wouldn't call it meaningless, it would mean whatever God effectually made it to mean...I guess. I believe it wouldn't be a genuine love. It would be more like his 'making the stones to cry out.' The rocks may be actually singing His praises, but wouldn't anyone prefer a free creature who chooses to do so, rather than some object made to do so?

    God can do whatever He wants and I suppose if he wanted to make creatures who genuinely love him and don't have a choice to do otherwise, He could. After all, He is God. I don't make the same mistake as some Calvinists by denying the possibility that God is able to make things differently than what I believe them to be. I believe what I do about the genuineness of love and the freedom of man because of what scripture teaches.
     
  6. Luke2427

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    Good responses- all. Except the first. Canady (sp?) was saying that you (meaning, I suppose, most Arms) believe that our view of invincible grace causes man to love God in a way that is not real love.

    The idea I have seen argued on here and elsewhere, and that I myself argued years ago, is that if man does not choose of his own free will to love God being perfectly free to love or not love God, then it is not real love.

    This is very flawed, of course.

    God does not have such freedom. He cannot choose to NOT love the Son as well as choose TO love the Son. Since he is not equally free to NOT love the Son, does this mean that His love for the Son is not real love?

    Of course not.

    So that argument does not stand.

    Man can be totally changed apart from his free choice and made to love God and that love for God be real love- as real as the love of God the Father for God the Son.
     
  7. Skandelon

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    First, let's all agree that "true love," is whatever God says it is, whether "effectually caused," or a "free response." The only point of debate is what does scripture reveal about "true love." Obviously I believe scripture teaches my view of love.

    Plus, in regard to the idea that one must be "able to do otherwise" for a choice to be real and for love to be true falls short of the true meaning of LFW and my views in particular. As I've explained numerous times on this forum, I define contra-causal freewill as:

    ""A choice to act is free if it is an expression of an agent's categorical ability of the will to refrain or not refrain from the action (i.e., contra-causal freedom)."

    With regard to divine choice, Luke, you and I have both said that such things are 'anthropomorphic' to some degree and that we couldn't begin to define them with our limited finite terms.
     
  8. Luke2427

    Luke2427
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    Ditto.

    Right. The idea is that the LFW view is not saying that a man can do whatever he wills to do (fly though he has no wings, walk forward though a brick wall prevents him, etc...)

    The idea is that circumstances providing a man can chose to do one or the other without something causing him to choose what he chooses.

    I think, as you know, that that is impossible. If we asked the man WHY he chose what he chose instead of the other possible choice- he could give no rational reason, were LFW the case.

    There is no REASON why a man chooses one thing over the other. If he says, "Because I don't like onions," then he identifies a cause which ultimately is outside of himself (not immediately; ultimately). His dislike of onions CAUSED him to make the choice he made. When asked why he dislikes onions, you'll get an answer. When you ask why THAT is so, you'll get an answer. Eventually you will get to the wisdom and power of God, which is the ultimate cause of all things, in my view.

    Right. But we don't abandon the issue to mystery BEFORE scripture dictates. We go as far as Scripture allows. Scripture does teach that God, being omniscient does know all there is to ever know about everything past, present and future- in my view.
     
  9. percho

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    We love him, because he first loved us.

    And even gave us the means to do so.

    And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us.


    If born from above is an exact analogy of being born below, then man could have no more to do with the first as he had to do with the second.

    Which of you had anything to do with your conception or of your being brought forth from the womb?

    BTW does the second birth have a womb?
     
  10. quantumfaith

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    :thumbsup:: ^nth (exponent)
     
  11. MorseOp

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    Calvinists do not believe that saving faith means nothing. On the contrary, Calvinists believe that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Without faith it is impossible for a person to be saved.

    Well, I do not assume that, so I have no questions to raise.

    Blessings.
     
  12. OldRegular

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    Not being a Calvinist I am not sure I should respond but I will anyhow.

    As a young believer [not in age] I was once like you Skandelon. Though I always believed that Salvation was a supernatural experience the doctrine of election was abhorrent to me. In time study of Scripture, understanding myself, and observation of people brought me to a better understanding of God's purpose in Salvation. Scripture clearly teaches what I and other Baptists correctly call the Doctrines of Grace: Salvation, from election before the world was to glorification in the future, is the work of the Sovereign God.

    [I would add that Spurgeon stated that the word Calvinism was a nickname for these Doctrines of Grace. Sadly, however, that name has become a pejorative among Baptists though at one time it was the belief of the majority of Baptists!]
     
  13. Skandelon

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    Yes, well, I'd say "without something outside himself causing him to choose what he chooses"... We believe the agent causes the choice. An actor determines his act. So we are not advocating uncaused choices, but instead "self caused choices." Compatibilitist attempt to make the same claim by suggesting men are doing what they want and thus must be self determined, but when you ask what determines the agents desires you get the real answer as to who is really determining every choice in that system.

    No more so than if you asked God the exact same question. Because an created being may not be able to perfectly measure, record, observe and define every influential factor in a decision making process doesn't mean the default answer must be that God determined his decision. The answer to your question is that the agent determined his choice but as humans we don't have enough knowledge or ability to understand exactly how he does so. We simply appeal to mystery as to how a free moral agent determines his free moral choices. What we DON'T do is make the assumption that God must have determined the choices (choices like Dahmer molesting, killing and eating victims for example). Instead, we accept the biblical teaching that God is perfectly Holy and has nothing to do with the cause of sin or even the tempting of men toward sin and we appeal to mystery as to how and why the intent to sin originated and was actuated in the life of a free moral creature. (which if you remember even Calvinists appeal to mystery when it come to the origin of sin, so this is really nothing new)

    I agree, but I don't believe scripture does explain to us how God makes choices while knowing what he will choose prior to making the choice. That is linear thinking, not infinite/eternal thinking. We can't reduce God's ways to our ways by imposing our linear logical constructs and cause/effect rules upon his knowledge, choices and actions. We simply have to appeal to mystery.

    I affirm divine omniscience. But I don't believe that works like you think it does. Your view seems to treat divine omniscience as if a man was given omniscience. Like if a man was given a magic crystal ball and could see the future and then started making decisions based upon his knowing of what was coming. That is obviously not the way divine omniscience works. I don't believe omniscience has to be viewed in a linear (before/after: cause/effect) way. I believe it can be seem from the "eternal I AM" perspective in that God knows all things because he is at all places at all times.

    So, in my view, God's knowledge of all things is not fixed knowledge (like our knowledge of past events or a man's knowledge of what he foresees in the crystal ball), but instead God's knowledge is like our knowledge of what is happening right NOW. You know I wrote NOW in all caps not because you experienced it NOW. That is PRESENT knowledge. God's omniscience is in the eternal present, since he is the "I AM." We can't understand that fully, and we certainly can't speculate how that logically dictates or determines things within a finite linear world...so why guess at it? Appeal to mystery and never go beyond what scripture actually reveals.
     
  14. canadyjd

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    The focus is on why the person makes one decision rather than another. One course rather than the other.

    The choices of the "will" are not free from influences, both good and evil. Do you agree? If fact, the choices of the "will" are always and completely influenced in one direction or the other... it is impossible for the "will" to act without some influence to direct it? Do you agree?

    For the "will" to act without any influence upon it would make any decision made by a person to be simply random acts without regard to good or evil.
    Well, no. We rely on scripture which tells us that those who sin (which means everyone) is the slave of sin. That the natural man is unable to understand the things of the Spirit because they are spiritually discerned. That those who are born again come to that state of being by the will of God, Holy Spirit. And so on....
    Dangerous thinking, and contrary to scripture, imho.

    peace to you:praying:
     

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