The doctrine of Hardening

Discussion in 'Calvinism/Arminianism Debate' started by The Biblicist, Dec 11, 2013.

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  1. The Biblicist

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    Ro 9:18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

    1. Hardening has its only internal source with the fallen human nature.

    2. Hardening is a process and is progressive rather than a punctilliar event - Rom. 1:18-32. In Romans 1:18-32 suppression of the truth and digression in to hardening is the only option mentioned as this is necessary response of the fallen nature due to what it is.

    3. Every member of the fallen race when the facultiy of conscience and intellect are sufficiently mature to comprehend and recognize light as light always respond initially by resistance and rejection due to what fallen nature "IS" - Rom. 8:7-8; Jn. 3:19-20.

    4. Every cognant fallen member of the human race is in the process of hardening.

    5. The process or progression is mapped out for us in Romans 1:21-32 and Psalms 1:1 and all fallen cognant mankind is somewhere in this process.

    6. Spiritual ability or the ability to see, hear and respond to light is only and inseparably inherent in the new heart given by God - Deut. 29:4; Ezek. 36:26-27; 2 Cor. 4:6; etc.

    7. The climax of hardening is found described in Romans 1:32 and Psalm 1:1c. God can save fallen man even in the final stage as Paul was so hardened to the light that he expressed himself in its uttermost form - destroying God through killing those expressing that light through them. He can also freely choose to not save them but glorify himself in their just damnation.

    CONCLUSION; The fallen nature is the source and cause while hardening is the necessary consequence and is contempoary with the fallen nature. The extent of hardening is due to exposure to light and the kind of response (searing, choosing to directly confront and/or deal with the light they are exposed to).
     
    #1 The Biblicist, Dec 11, 2013
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  2. The Biblicist

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    Natural versus Supernatural sight is the distinction between the faculty of conscience in the fallen man (Rom. 2:15) and the new heart (Deut. 29:4).

    The faculty of conscience is designed by God to RECOGNIZE light and thus this is the capabiliity of SEEING and HEARING light. Hardening is the response of a fallen nature to exposure to such light.

    Spiritual perception, ears to hear and eyes to see has to do with the new heart (Deut. 29:4) and refers to the POSITIVE RESPONSE or abililty to respond positively to light.

    The fallen nature has no such SPIRIUTAL ability in regard to POSITIVE RESPONSE - Rom. 8:7-8; 3:9-18. Thus the fallen nature is spiritually dead or without the ability of POSITIVE RESPONSE but not without the ability of RECOGNITION of light and NEGATIVE response - Rom. 8:7.

    Hardening is the ONLY response to light by the fallen nature due to what it "IS" by character - Rom. 8:7-8.

    Hence, a SPIRITUALLY blind and deaf man can RECOGNIZE light as light but cannot respond positively (Jn. 3:19-20) but can respond in keeping with the very nature of his fallen condition (Rom. 8:7-8). He progressively shuts his eyes or the ability of recognition of light by his progressive negative reaction to light as he is exposed to it and how he reacts to it.

    Negative reaction can be ignoring it, creating or conforming to a false religion or philsophy to explain away that light or by directly confronting and continuing to fight it.
     
  3. psalms109:31

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    Hebrews 3:8
    do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness,

    Hebrews 3:15
    As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”

    Hebrews 4:7
    God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

    2 Peter 3:16
    He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

    Mark 6:34
    When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

    Ezekiel 11:19
    I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh

    To be more accurate with all of scripture to harden heart is to give over to their own evil desire with no compassion for anyone but your own desire.
     
    #3 psalms109:31, Dec 19, 2013
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  4. Skandelon

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    A few clarifying questions, if I may:

    1. Can you specifically define and describe the DIFFERENCE in the abilities of one who has not progressed through this hardening process and one who has? Are both equally unable to hear, see, understand and turn to God for healing? If so, what is the progression to which you refer? Is someone born totally blind becoming blinder still?

    2. You argue that exposure to light necessarily will hardened the fallen man, like the sun would hardened clay. So, does that mean prior to the coming of the light that the may have seen, heard, understood and turn to God for healing as Paul said they might do? Likewise, was Jesus' use of parables actually preventing understanding so as to prevent the Jewish leaders from repentance, or was that just an 'exaggeration' of sorts?
     
  5. Skandelon

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    Additionally, I'd like to add:


    My conclusion: Hardening seems to be a progress that is propelled or continued by the hearers willful rebellion of revelation (light), right? So, to PRESUME, as I believe you do, that the hearer is born ONLY ABLE to rebel REGARDLESS of the nature and purpose of the revelation (light) is simply unfounded.

    For example, the revelation of the law (lists and lists of impossible rules for us to follow) would potentially seem to have a different effect on man than the revelation of grace in the gospel, which is a loving appeal from the father who sent his very son to fulfill all those rules for us.

    So, we aren't only addressing the nature of the object being exposed to the LIGHT, but the nature of the LIGHT itself. What PURPOSE does the light have when God sends it?

    Law is light, right? But light for what purpose?
    Gospel is light, right? But light for what purpose?

    See the difference? You seem to presume that because the light of law hardens man, that the light of grace will NECESSARILY have the same effect. But suppose that the nature of grace actually ENABLES responsibility, where as the nature of law doesn't. Instead the nature of law's light only serves to harden and reveal mankind's shortcoming and need of grace. Is that possible? I'm not asking for agreement. I'm just asking you to consider this. Is that POSSIBLY what God is doing?
     
  6. The Biblicist

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    That is spelled out in Romans 1:18-32 in regard to Gentile heathens hardening to light - Just look at the obvious progressive digression - it is obvious!

    Can you find ANY OTHER RESPONSE than hardening even mentioned in this passage??????

    That is spelled out in Romans 2:1-5, 17-3:8 in regard to Jewish hardening to light - Philosphical and Religious hypocrisy are form s of hardening

    That is spelled out in Psalm 1:1 in regard to progressive hardening.

    Hardening progresses in multitudes of different areas of a person's life.


    Can you find any other response but hardening mentioned in Romans 1:18-32??? Where is your theological position of alternative response to light other than hardening in Romans 1:18-32?????



    Look at the preceding context in Matthew 8-12 - there is progressive hardening among them. Note they were not as hardened in Matthew 8-10 as they are in Matthew 11-12. In Matthew 12 they came to the apex of hardening by blaspheming the Holy Spirit - Matthew 13 is EXPLANATORY of Matthew 8-12 and the progressive hardening toward Christ His teaching.
     
  7. The Biblicist

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    So find your idea in Romans 1:18-32 where clear progressive and digressive hardening is spelled out in no uncertain terms? Where is your alternative response to light to be found here? Answer: NOWHERE!
     
  8. Skandelon

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    Biblicist,

    I asked you, "can you specifically define and describe the DIFFERENCE in the abilities of one who has not progressed through this hardening process and one who has? Are both equally unable to hear, see, understand and turn to God for healing? If so, what is the progression to which you refer? Is someone born totally blind becoming blinder still?"

    And you answer by stating...

    I'm sorry, but you may find the answers to that question in those verses but I do not. Can you clearly and specifically quote the text and spell out the answer to the question in your own words? Please?

    I'm really wanting to know the difference of abilities in one fallen but not yet hardened, and one fallen but fully hardened.

    Person 1: Fallen, but not hardened yet.
    Person 2: Fallen, but fully hardened.

    Can you clearly distinguish for me the difference in abilities, if any, between person 1 and person 2? If there is NO difference, then what is PROGRESSING?

    That is an argument from silence. To say that all MUST necessarily grow hardened to the light of the gospel because these being addressed here have grown calloused to the revelation through creation, or law doesn't follow. They are too different kinds of revelation because they carry a different PURPOSE.

    Plus, we KNOW as a fact that some people weren't hardened in the OT times (like Rahab for example). Why not? That is the actual point of our contention. Why don't all people grow hardened over time? Responsibility or Effectual Grace?

    But, you can't carry a premise that all ARE hardened and given over if all aren't, you can only PRESUME that those who aren't were effectually graced so that they wouldn't do what they would have inevitably done otherwise, which is nothing but question begging since that is the very point up for debate. Do you understand?

    "Abraham believed and it was credited to him as righteousness."

    "By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient."

    "But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." [how does one come into the light, by accepting the truth.]

    "But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away." [how is the veil taken away so as to let in the light? By turning to the Lord.]

    And the ones already discussed...Acts 28, Mk 4, Matt 13, Rom 11, etc.


    Its comments like this that makes me wish you'd restate what you think I believe, because you do know I affirm progressive hardening, right? That has been my argument all along. People GROW or BECOME calloused to revelation (light) when they choose to continue to 'trade the truth in for lies'. The longer they rebel the harder their hearts become to truth. But I'm not sure what you think is actually 'progressing' since I see no distinction in the abilities of one not yet hardened and one fully hardened in your system.
     
  9. The Biblicist

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    Hardening has to do directly with the conscience and its ability to recognize and discern between light and darkness. The fallen nature has ability to recognize and discern between light and darkness when mental faculties mature sufficiently to interact rationally with conscience. This is SIGHT of recognition of light as light. This is not SIGHT of spiritual enlightenment which gives growth in spiritual understanding. The fallen nature has ability to recognize what it hates but it does not have ability to submit to what it hates. It can SEE light for what it is but it cannot SEE light for what it provides.

    Since light comes from many different avenues (creation, cultural mores, direct and indirect revelation) and comes in many different degrees of light it is possible that a person can digress in a specific area of revelation while completely open in other areas where light has not yet been confronted. So digression can be completed in one area and not another area. So those completely hardened in one area of contact with light may not be hardened in other areas that have yet to be confonted with light and the same process of hardenng can yet occur in other areas.

    The difference between a person just maturing to the ability of recognition of light but who has not gone to the end process of hardening is the differenence between a fallen nature which will not be subject to the Light and experience of conscience being exposed to the light. Experience of being exposed to the light results in progessive hardening according to the intensity of light being exposed to.

    The fallen nature has no ability to submit to light although it has ability through the faculty of conscience to recognize light. Hardening is that process whereby the faculty of conscience loses the ability to recognize light and discern between truth and error. However, the fallen nature never has the ability to receive what it recognizes or comprehend it with understanding that makes it of value to growth.

    Hence, the sight of conscience is not ability to submit to light but only to recognize light as light. Hardening is the loss of ability by the conscience in whatever specific area it is confronted by light to recognize it as light. Therefore, this SIGHT is not spiritual sight that comes only by new birth or a new heart that understands and perceives and receives truth.
     
  10. Skandelon

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    I'm going to attempt to fairly restate what I've heard you say and you correct me if I'm misunderstanding, okay?

    1. Those who have not gone through the hardening process yet have the "ability to recognize and discern between light and darkness."

    2. But even though they have the mental capacity to discern between right and wrong (light and darkness), but they do NOT have the ability to submit to the light because they hate it.

    3. The fallen man who has not grown calloused to the light is equally unable to see, hear, understand and turn as one completely calloused, but the difference is that the un-calloused man can still recognize the light as light and the darkness as darkness. It doesn't help that he is able recognize light as light because he is equally unable to see, hear, understand and turn.

    Am I correct in my understanding?
     
  11. The Biblicist

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    Correct

    The "mental capacity" is in connection with the faculty of conscience rather than merely a mental ability. It is true the faculty of conscience alone cannot function properly without mental maturity but it is not the function of the mind but of the conscience that recognizes light to be light.



    Ability to recognize light as light is one thing, but ability to perceive, hear, and understand light SPIRITUALLY is not possible as their spirit is "dead" and separated from God.

    Generally speaking yes. I would add that the unexposed fallen man is a man not matured mentally to recognize light. The first exposure to light is uncomfortable and always is responded by some measure of resistance. In addition the process of hardening is varied between persons and between various aspects of life.
     
  12. Skandelon

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    Question 1: What is the purpose in being able to recognize light as light when unable to respond to that light?

    Question 2: Why does Paul specifically say they 'might turn and be healed' if that is never within their ability?
     
  13. Yeshua1

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    Is there anyhting within sinful people that can even freely respond to Jesus?
     
  14. The Biblicist

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    There is no favorable response to spiritual light. However, they do and can respond to moral light or else immediate self-destruction of civilization would occur. The LIMITED ability to recognize and respond to moral light is essential for SELF-existence. Cultural mores and civil laws can be recognized and seen as necessary for SELF-preservation.

    Progressive hardening is a further plus that preserves civilizations from immediate destruction.



    I have already fully addressed this statement. You interpret this as a proving a possibility whereas, I treat it as proving an impossibility, if this were case but it is not. In the immediate context (Mt. 13) it refers to hardening in the sense of blaspheming the Holy Spirit of which there is no forgiveness in this age or the age to come (Mt. 12).
     
  15. Skandelon

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    So, the 'light of civilization' is able to heeded, but not the light of God? I'm not understanding how the ability to see but not heed God's light, especially his gospel light, has any purpose?

    Because it says they 'might turn' which clearly indicates a possibility. You impose your system onto that clear statement...

    so the verse SHOULD have said, "I speak to them in parables because ________________? Why? Just to confound the already totally confounded?

    "Israel has become calloused, otherwise they might see, hear, understand and turn to be healed. So I'll take the message to the Gentile, they will listen."​


    This verse is interpreted by a "Biblicist" to mean, "Israel has become calloused, otherwise they might see, hear, understand but only in a mental capacity, and they certainly wouldn't be able to turn and be healed. So, I'll take the message to the Gentile, who are in the exact same predicament."

    Is that about right?
     
  16. The Biblicist

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    Moral light and spiritual light are not the same. Moral light is the product of conscience and intellect on the life of men. It can vary from one person to another and from one culture to another. It may be morally wrong to kill your mother but not someone elses mother in another tribe.

    Spiritual light comes directly from God and is unchangable and absolute and received only by direct revelation through the spirit of man made alive to God. Neither conscience or intellect are essential to comphrend spiritual light as it comes directlly from the Spirit of God to the spirit of man by revelation.
     
  17. The Biblicist

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    They had been calloused to the point of blaspheming the Holy Spirit which by divine decree is not forgivable in this age or the next. Those not calloused to that degree are subject to possible salvation as all men are hardened to some degree and this is not an hindrance to God's grace or purpose of grace. But God has sovereignly decreed that blaspheming the Holy Spirit, which consists of light in MIND; intent to intentionally ascribe the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan and commitment to kill Christ.
     
  18. Skandelon

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    So non-elect individuals of the Calvinistic system are 'subject to possible salvation?' I'm not understanding this point.

    I believe blaspheming the HS has to do with continued unbelief...rejecting the HS inspired truth that would save you and remaining in unbelief until death.
     
  19. The Biblicist

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    Did I ever use the term "non-elect"??????? Where do you get the justification to impute that terminology to anything I said? I never said anythng about election or non-election!!!

    Here is a good example how you take my words and twist them toward the point you wish to make but completely contrary to a single word I said.

    Those who blasphemed the Holy Spirit are non-elect by anyone's definition of election but that does not mean all others are elect or non-elect.

    You are certainly free to believe what you like but that does not mean you are correct. Any careful reader can see a process of hardening in the leaders and crowds from Matthew 8-11 which ends in blaspheming of the Holy Spirit.

    This blaspheming has to do with intentionally attributing the works of the Holy Spirit that were designed to prove Jesus was the Son of God and true Messiah. They were already in UNBELIEF and resisting His every word but they had not yet blasphemed the Holy Spirit. Blasphemey requires light in the MIND, malice in the heart in ultimate hardening (Mt. 12) and that is the condition Isaiah is referring to that charaterized the leadership of Israel and the nation as a whole (Mt. 13).
     
  20. Skandelon

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    Well, you said all those not yet hardened were subject to possible salvation, so I assumed that included everyone...and not everyone in your system is 'subject to salvation...

    Bro, don't take it this way... I'm asking a clarifying question about your answer as it relates within your system. You don't need to be quite so accusatory and defensive...remember, pretend we are sitting across from each other at starbucks. You'd be kind to me there, so be kind here...and don't read a nefarious intent into everything.

    Maybe we need a break?
     
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