The false charge of fatalism

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by ~JM~, Feb 12, 2007.

  1. ~JM~

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    Calling the Doctrines of Grace/Calvinism fatalism is a false charge that consulting Wikipedia could clear up, but we hear and read it repeated over and over again.

    From Wikipedia: Determinism should therefore not be mistaken for fatalism. Although determinists would accept that the future is, in some sense, set, they accept human actions as factors that will cause the future to take the shape that it will - even though those human actions are themselves determined; if they had been different, the future would also be different.

    A little more...

    The number one question I get asked goes something like this, "What is the point of evangelising, if it is already decided who is to be saved?"

    I found the following answers helpful:

    WHY BOTHER VOTING? The Bible says that the powers that be are ordained of God (Romans 13:1) God says, By Me, king's reign and princes decree justice (Proverbs 8:15)

    WHY BOTHER PRAYING? God knows what we have need of before we ask (Matthew 6:8) He declares in the most definite of language, And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. (Isaiah 65:24)

    WHY BOTHER SOWING? God says that the harvest will not cease (Genesis 8:22)

    WHY BOTHER STAYING SAFE AND HEALTHY? The day of your death is appointed of God (Hebrews 9:27) You will not die one split second before your God ordained time. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. (Psalm 91:7)


    So back to the question, why bother proclaiming the Gospel? Because it pleases God by the foolishness of preaching to save those that believe (1 Corinthians 1:21) That these believing souls have been ordained to such saving faith is undoubtedly true ( Ephesians 1:4) That they will infallibly come is also true (John 7:37a - the bit many folk leave out) but they will come through the means of our evangelism, therefore we do not quit evangelising and seeking by all means to save some, just as we do not quit voting etc., just because the result is ordained of God.

    Peace,

    ~JM~

    ___________

    Remarks in green are taken from: here
     
  2. skypair

    skypair
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    JM,

    I appreciate the effort but in order to see that determinism and fate are the same "fatalistic" thing, just consult Greek mythology -- Oedipus Rex. In it, Oedipus only thought that his human actions were having an effect (much as Calvinists do). In truth, what he thought to be free will was actually all scripted and choreographed before he was born.

    In other words, you evangelize or pray or stay healthy because, according to God's ordination, there is really no other choice!

    skypair
     
  3. ~JM~

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    "...determinists think the future is fixed because of causality, whereas fatalists think it is fixed in spite of causality."

    There is a difference.

    http://www.vincentcheung.com/2005/05/14/determinism-vs-fatalism/
     
    #3 ~JM~, Feb 12, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2007
  4. skypair

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    JM,

    I guess the result is the same either way -- fate "rules!" No free will. Creation is merely God's version of "Greek tragedy" and Greek mythology was the true "religion" all along!

    skypair
     
  5. J.D.

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    No, it's NOT the same.

    You believe in a literal creation, right?

    It's like this:

    FATE - The "big bang" was bound to happen eventually based on an infinite array of impersonal mechanical possibilities. It was fated.

    DETERMINISM - The whole creation was INTELLIGENTLY DESIGNED by an infinitely Wise Being known as God. It didn't just happen. It was not fate. It was determined.

    DETERMINISM IS NOT UNIQUE TO CALVINISTIC THEOLOGY!! All the theologians and philosophers in history had a view of determinism. Fate vs determinism was one of the key features of the work of Plato.

    No serious thinker will accuse calvinism of teaching fatalism. Buy hay, what a convenient diversion it provides. We love to stick ugly labels on people, don't we.
     
  6. ~JM~

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    I like how Cheung sums it up, "What are people going to accuse me of now? I can’t be accused of teaching fatalism, since I am saying that fatalism is too weak!"

    :praying:
     
  7. J.D.

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    Hello JM, I understand that argument, and it's a good one.
     
  8. Martin

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    I think the reasons "some" people bring up the fatalism charge in response to the Biblical teaching of election are:

    1. They don't understand election.

    2. They don't want to understand election because, if they did, they would have to deal with it honestly.

    3. They don't believe in a Sovereign Almighty God.

    4. They believe in almighty mankind.

    5. They don't trust God.

    I sure there maybe other reasons but, in my opinion, many of those who resort to the fatalism charge in response to the Biblical teaching of election will fall into one or more of those groups.
     
  9. MB

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    Hi JM;

    Because we are to be submisive to the powers that be.

    Because we have been told to not because it was predestined.
    Commandments!
    Hebrews 9:27 doesn't say that at all but says;
    Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
    This is a long way from a time of death. Then you use;
    Psa 91:7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
    This doesn't say anything about our being predestined to die at a certain time either.
    Neither of these verses say anything about being ordained or appointed to Salvation.

    I don't try to call people something insulting and then try to convert them to my point of view. So I'll not call Calvinism fatalism. However that doesn't mean I agree with there interpretation of what predestination really is.
    I don't believe God's foreknowledge has anything to do with the out come of our lives. Predestination of the individual isn't necessary for God to accomplish His general plan on how things are suppose to be, because God created all things to be just as they are. Where we disagree is that some are predestined to Salvation yet I don't believe you can show one scripture that says so. This predestination below isn't to Salvation but after it.
    Eph 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

    So many Calvinist seem to believe that they were predestined to be saved. We just aren't saved by the predestination of God. We are saved by the Faith of Jesus Christ that doesn't mean our own faith. We are saved when we repent. Then we can put on the righteousness of Christ.

    2Co 7:10
    For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.


    The reason people call Calvinism a fatalistic view is because of an inability to show it in scripture.
    Anyone can take a scripture and elaborate on it and make it appear it says something it clearly doesn't.
    I know Calvinist mean well. They are sincere in there beliefs. But there meaning well and there sincerity isn't the truth of scripture.
    MB
     
  10. ~JM~

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    Your answers agree with Calvinism, we are the means to the end, both the means and the end are determined by God. It's already been shown Calvinism is not fatalistic and you are correct, election "unto" salvation isn't the only way in which we read about predestination in the Bible.

    Predestination...

    Exodus 9:16 & Romans 9:17
    - for this purpose have I raised thee up

    Deuteronomy 2:30
    - God harden the heart to direct history

    Joshua 11:20
    - harden those hearts

    1 Samuel 2:25
    - Jehovah was minded to slay them

    Proverbs 16:4
    - God made the wicked
    - God made the wicked for the day of evil

    Matthew 11:25
    - hide these things from certain people

    Matthew 13:10-15 & Isaiah 6:9-10
    - spoke in parables to conceal the truth
    see also Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10; John 12:40; Acts 28:27; Romans 11:9-10. It should be clear, the evangelical proclamation hardens some hearts.

    Luke 2:34
    - was set up for falling

    John 9:39
    - made blind

    John 12:39-40
    - they could not believe
    - God blinded their eyes
    - God harden their hearts

    Romans 1:28
    - God gave them over
    - to do the things that are not fitting

    Romans 9:22-23
    - fitted for destruction, or prepared for destruction
    - He (God) prepared for destruction to show His glory

    2 Thessalonians 2:11
    - God will send them strong delusion
    - in order for them to believe the lie

    1 Peter 2:8
    - those who rejected Jesus
    - were appointed

    Jude 4
    - marked out
    - for THIS condemnation

    2 Peter 2:12
    - made to be taken
    - and destroyed, hence made for destruction
    - will perish

    Revelation 13:8
    - names were not written in the book of life

    Revelation 17:17
    - put in their hearts
    - to fulfill His will

    or, to state it a different way:

    “Jehovah hath made everything for its own end; Yea, even the wicked for the day of evil,” Prov. 16:4.

    “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence; for they stumble at the word, being disobedient; whereunto also they were appointed,” I Peter 2:8.

    “For there are certain men crept in privily, even they who were of old written of beforehand to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ,” Jude 4.

    “But these, as creatures without reason, born mere animals to be taken and destroyed, railing in matters whereof they are ignorant, shall in their destroying surely be destroyed,” II Peter 2:12.

    “For God did put in their heart to do His mind, and to come to one mind, and to give their kingdom unto the beast, until the word of God should be accomplished,” Rev. 17:17.

    We also see “vessels of wrath” which by the Lord were “fitted unto destruction,” were “endured with much long suffering” in order that He might “show His wrath, and make His power known”; and with these are contrasted the “vessels of mercy, which He afore prepared unto glory” in order “that He might make known the riches of His glory” upon them (Rom. 9:22, 23).

    “God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting,” Rom. 1:28; and the wicked, “after his hardness and impenitent heart treasures up for himself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,” Rom. 2:5.

    “God sendeth them a working of error, that they should believe a lie,” II Thess. 2:11.

    “Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish; For I work a work in your days, A work which ye shall in no wise believe, if one declare it unto you,” Acts 13:41.

    “For this cause they could not believe, for that Isaiah said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and He hardened their heart; Lest they should see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, And should turn, And I should heal them,” John 12:39, 40.

    “Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the Devil and his angels,” Matt. 25:41

    “For judgment came I into this world, that they that see not may see; and that they that see may become blind,” John 9:39.

    “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these things from the wise and understanding, and didst reveal them unto babes,” Matt. 11:25.

    “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before swine,” Matt. 7:6.

    “But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let you pass by him; for Jehovah thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that He might deliver him into thy hand, as at this day,” Deut. 2:30.

    “For it was of Jehovah to harden their hearts, to come against Israel in battle, that He might utterly destroy them, as Jehovah commanded Moses.” Joshua 11:20.

    “For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, For this very purpose did I raise thee up, that I might show in thee my power, and that my name might be published abroad in all the earth,” Rom. 9:17 (see also Ex. 9:16)

    We can be sure at least one was elected never to come to Christ, the son of perdition in John 17, he was lost for fulfill Scripture.

    "... And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? ..."

    "Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia" (Acts 16:6)

    ~JM~
     
  11. webdog

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    So, the sin I commit is determined by God, and the rejection of Christ by the reprobate are also determined. This is double predestination...hyper calvinism, and like johnp sees it, the only correct and logical conclusion to the false doctrine known as calvinism.
     
  12. ~JM~

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    The Reformed doctrine of predestination includes double predestination, not just hyper forms of Calvinism believe in this doctrine. Nice try...but if you want logical conclusions, here we go...

    The non-Calvinist claims God knows who will believe and accept the Gospel offer and election is then based on God’s foreknowledge, but this doesn’t deal with the problem of double predestination. God still created a mass of human kind that He knew would never accept the Gospel offer, He never foreknew them to have faith, so God [logically] did not create them with election in mind. God created them knowing He would never elect them.

    God knew that He was creating people that would never be saved…

    ~JM~
     
  13. dwmoeller1

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    All who believe in the full omniscience of God are either fatalist or determinists.

    1) If God is fully omniscient, then He knows with 100% accuracy if Bob will die tomorrow or not.
    2) This beings so, there is nothing Bob could possible do to change this knowledge - whether Bob will die or not die tomorrow is either fated or determined already.
    3) Thus one who believes in a fully omniscient God must accept either fatalism or determinism

    So, if one wishes to fault Cism for its 'fatalism', then I fault them either for their hyprocrisy or their rejection of God's full omniscience.
     
  14. skypair

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    You mean it doesn't deal with the "problem"/issue of "double-foreknowledge." In Rom 8:29-30 we see foreknowledge and predestination to heaven and not to hell. It tells that all whom God foreknows will believe, He predestines a plan for their every move, just like a parent would even to the point of cutting the rebellious child loose (1Cor 5).

    No -- that twists the meaning of foreknowledge. You go from treating foreknowledge as "foresaw" to treating it as if it were predestination. He created ALL "with election in mind." It's just that most never chose God. What you just did is take the responsibility of their going to hell OFF of the non-elect and put it ON God. They don't go for anything they have or haven't done -- they go merely because God made them go.

    We all ought to go to hell, right? It is no mere coincidence that BELIEVERS are the "elect" who go to heaven -- it is the PURPOSE of God! ONLY believers go to heaven and believing is NOT something God can do for you or to you. How do you conceive that God could "wire" your brain or spirit to believe and you not be better than someone else? Someway God has to "trigger" your spirit to respond from the same point that someone else doesn't, right? And Calvinists call this "irresistible grace," right?

    In truth, at some point in time, God's grace is irresistible to you. That point is when YOU BELIEVE, JM. When you are convicted from God that you are a sinner and YOU turn to God. He doesn't turn to you with a special "dog whistle" only the "elect" can hear (as it seems Calvinists would have it) -- you turn to Him. YOUR choice, NOT God's.
    Have you turned from self to God, JM? Or were you told you didn't need to -- it's not up to you anyway -- your election is as good as your "holiness" thereafter?

    In the paradigm of "foreknowledge," no. God foresaw them when they were born and throughout their lives. He let them choose to believe and it was those that He foresaw as the "elect." Or, if they didn't believe, those He foresaw as "non-elect."

    As a general truth, yes. As a individual truth, no.



    skypair
     
    #14 skypair, Feb 14, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 14, 2007
  15. ~JM~

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    Yup, that sounds about right.
     
  16. skypair

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    dw

    All who believe in the full omniscience of God are either fatalist or determinists.

    1) If God is fully omniscient, then He knows with 100% accuracy if Bob will die tomorrow or not.

    2) This beings so, there is nothing Bob could possible do to change this knowledge - whether Bob will die or not die tomorrow is either FOREKNOWN AND ORDAINED -- NOT FOISTED ON ONE FOR NO APPARENT REASON.

    3) Thus one who believes in a fully omniscient God must accept either fatalism or determinism

    I think you will notice my revisions, d-dub. You see, Bob died for a reason. The cause wasn't God -- Bob might have been, say, a drunk driver. Or he might have been "wrong place - wrong time. Either way, God did not kill Bob. He FOREKNEW of Bob's death but didn't "pull the trigger" as one might think a Calvinist would see it (seeing as how they can't explain for our side how one gets saved :laugh: )

    Ergo -- fatalism IS determinism!

    skypair
     
  17. dwmoeller1

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    So it seems that you agree that all who believe in the full omniscience of God are either fatalists or determinists. K, lets not see you faulting any Cists for being determinists/fatalists then :)

    So...explain the death of all the first born in Egypt or the slaying of all people in Jericho in those terms please. Wrong place - wrong time maybe?

    So then you are both a fatalist-determinist then? I am not really having a problem with the label as long as we all understand that all of us fit that category. Once that is settled, then we can move on to discussion of the things on which we really disagree.
     
  18. ~JM~

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    Another good post.

    :godisgood:
     
  19. skypair

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    Sorry -- I guess you didn't notice that I amended your words so that I could "swallow" them to some degree. I'm not sure you agreed with my revisions, however.

    God ordains the CONSEQUENCES of sin and rebellion -- even if the sin belongs to someone else. It is not fatalistic to say that choices have consequences so long as we have choices.

    Therefore, what you are doing is comparing situations where people had no choices with situations where they do (like salvation) and you are saying they are equal. Not true.

    No. But the 2 terms, IMO, are synonymous.

    skypair
     
  20. GordonSlocum

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    There is a difference in fatalism of the world of which they do not refer to themselves as Children of God.

    If we take all the meanings we can find in the dictionaries they will mostly support a non-Christian world view of fatalism.

    Those of us who see Calvinism as a "form of fatalism". There are characteristics of its philosophy that lend itself to what I would call a modified form of the fatalism.

    I would agree that Calvinism is not, in its philosophical view of the Bible, totally akin to the secular definition of "fatalism". It has it own version or definition.

    I would agree that to argue from a purely secular understanding of the word is lacking in identifying the difference that the fatalistic Calvinistic Philosophy teaches.

    Where as the "fatalistic Calvinistic philosophy" permits God to give blessings to a few of the many - that in and of itself - is one difference. Also, the concept of sin as the reason that all who are fatalistically damned to hell by the Calvinistic philosophy of which they - the damned - do not have any part in or say in the matter is different from the stand point that it is contrasting or comparing God with man. Because the god of "fatalistic Calvinistic philosophy" see God as hostel to the lost that are not elect or specifically picked in eternity that this is a different twist in the concept of fatalism. The Calvinist philosophy takes fatalism and modifies it to fit their philosophical theology. If you think about it to posit that God loves all, died for all, desires all to be saved then refuses to save all and only saves some of the all is a rather fatalistic view of life. If however, God - in his love - saves all who call on his Name and the ones that don't but can then the concept of any form of "fatalism" vanishes.

    Secular fatalism has no hell, no God, and all end up in the same state - back to nothingness - where as "fatalistic Calvinistic philosophy" provides a worse scenario for the fatally damned who are not pick for heaven.

    In this sense the "fatalistic Calvinistic philosophy" is more sever on the damned than secularistic fatalism, because secular fatalism has not hell or heaven. It all ends when it ends.

    Gordon
     

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