The Freedom of the Will

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by The Biblicist, Jul 12, 2013.

  1. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
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    I hate the name "Calvinist" but unfortunately that is the theological tag that many place on me. My position on the will is that it is not an agency independent of the divine or human nature. It is merely the servant of the intellectual and emotional aspect of human nature. The freedom of the will consists in the fact that no external coercion determines choice but it is the expression of internal coersion of mind or feelings.

    Furthermore, God does not have an absolute free will as God cannot choose to sin, to lie, to create another everlasting God as these things are contrary to His own nature and/or illogical. God's will is the expression of His nature and can never express anything contrary to His own nature.

    The same is true of fallen man. The will is in bondage to the fallen sinful nature not due to any external coercion but due to internal coersion of the law of indwelling sin (Rom. 7:18; 8:7; etc.).

    God according to His nature freely chooses whatever HE WANTS but His "wants" are determined by his righteous nature.

    Man according to his nature freely chooses whatever HE WANTS but his "wants" are determined by his sinful nature.

    Neither has a will that can act independent of their own nature at any time as that would be the creation of a differnt entity distinct from their own being as their nature defines their being.

    Therefore, fallen man freely chooses to always resist the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51) because that is the dictates of his fallen nature. That is why a person "must be born again" as the fallen nature NEVER will choose to love or obey God's will (Rom. 8:7) without being given a NEW HEART (new man, new want to, new thinking and emotions and thus a new will) - Ezek. 36:26-27
     
  2. Revmitchell

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    I would be very careful of trying to explain just how God's will works (ie God does not have absolute free will) as scripture does not speak directly to the issue. Knowing that God cannot sin does not do enough to try to explain the infinite God. We need to learn to be comfortable with saying "We just do not know" when it comes to aspects of God and salvation.


    We do not know how God's will works and just how free it is. Neither do we know the mechanics of salvation. We know that God provided it, We do know that without God we could never come to Him for it. And we do know that we have a responsibility to respond to His call. And lastly we know that we are to preach the gospel to everyone.

    Trying to go beyond what is clearly spoken of in scripture leads to all sorts of weird doctrines that force men to use logical gymnastics to accomplish their presuppositions.
     
  3. The Biblicist

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    In regard to many things about God, your caution is well warranted. However, in regard to the freedom of God's will there is abundant Biblical evidence that he does not have an aboslute free will that can act in any way contrary to HOLINESS. That is why he CANNOT sin because He is HOLY and RIGHTEOUS. The scripture is very clear there is no "shadow of turning" in regard to his nature and therefore His will is the slave of his nature. He has no potential to be evil and therefore no ability of choice to choose evil - simply because there is nothing in him that either desires or determines such a choice.

    The presence of sin and evil is due to secondary causes by necessary permission but even the sin and evil that come into being is restricted by God (Psa. 76:10) within the perimeters of ultimate good for His people (Rom. 8:28) and His ultimate glory and the rest is RESTRAINED by God's sovereign power.

    The idea that the will is independent from the intellect or emotional nature of man is simply rediculous.
     
    #3 The Biblicist, Jul 12, 2013
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  4. agedman

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    This is an interesting aspect which I have pondered, too.

    Here are a few of the scattered thoughts I have had over the years.

    Often believers would seem to attempt discerning the mind and ways of God, and He states that is a futile effort. (Isaiah 55:9 for example)

    Believers also can ask questions and seek discernment from God. That is right and should be done in every aspect of living. (Daniel seeking God's answer, David in the psalms)

    What I enjoyed about your post is taking what evidence is presented as to the nature of God, and bringing some practical application with Scriptural support.

    It was an interesting read.
     
  5. The Biblicist

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    Those who oppose irresistable grace view the will as capable and independent from the mental and emotional fallen nature of man. They somehow imagine that the will is not in the same bondage of sin as the human heart (mind/emotions). They imagine that somehow the human will is freed from the mind and emotional bondage to sin and acts independent of both by prevenient grace and thus acts as an independent entity/agency from fallen human nature. Such is not true. Indeed, both Greek terms translated "will" in the Scriptures are words tied to either the human intellect or the human emotions (thelema; boulomai). The former (thelema) is the will driven predominately by emotions while the latter is the will driven predominately by determinism of mind. Be sure to note the word "predominately" as neither is completely free of the other aspect of mind or emotions.
     
  6. Revmitchell

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    I believe you are using semantics to create a doctrine here (not meant as an attack). What i am suggesting is that there may be more to God with regard to this issue than we know. Trying to explain his will in relationship to His holiness is above our pay grade and beyond scripture. No where in scripture does it say "God does not have absolute free will". Therefore we need to be very careful about dogmatism on this issue and just be comfortable with understanding that we just may not know.
     
  7. Revmitchell

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    This is an incorrect claim based on how you personally view this doctrine. I do not agree with your statement and it is not the only possible explanation. My view is that God's grace is not irresistible simply because God has not made it as such. I hold that God initiates salvation (John 4:19) and he opens up the heart of man to simply enable man to respond to His calling (John 1:12). If God has not done this we would not be able to respond to His calling (John 1:13). He who has the power and authority to offer salvation gets the credit regardless of the response of man.

    Being graceful to other views means that you do not impose your personal logic on their view so as to explain for them why they hold to their position. To do so is arrogance. (not meant as an attack)
     
  8. The Biblicist

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    As I said, you are correct when it comes to "more to God" but I am not speaking of God in general but in specific to His will. The Bible provides clear and abundant information that God cannot sin, he cannot lie, and the Bible gives the specific reason why he cannot - because his nature is holy and there is nothing in him that is condusive to promote any choice to sin. Jesus said the same thing of himself. The divine nature is INCAPABLE of sin due to the character of the divine nature. The will of God is in servititude to His nature. No being in the universe possesses a will that can act as an independent agency apart from their nature - that is impossible as that would be the creation of another entity called "will" distinct and separate from what and who they are by nature.

    This is explicitly stated about fallen man many times over "neither indeed CAN be" and that speaks directly to ability. That is a clear and explicit just as Romans 7:18 is equally clear and explicit that the human will has no ability to overule fallen nature EVEN IN A REGENERATED MAN. There would be no need for the expression "for it is God who worketh in you both TO WILL and to do of His good pleasure" if the human will even in the REGENERATED man had inherent capability to overule the fallen nature.
     
  9. Revmitchell

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    I agree


    Scripture please

    Incapable based on what? Scripture does not specify


    This is an assumption not clear scripture.



    You do not know that. This is an assumption.

    The problem you have here is that you are comparing the nature and will of fallen man with the nature and will of God. This in my view is in error and cannot be justified by scripture.
     
  10. The Biblicist

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    Your explanation is precisely what I was describing. You believe that somehow God neutralizes the bondage of sin in which the entire nature of man is controlled by. He somehow temporarily frees the depraved heart from its own sinful nature when the Bible says that is impossible "indeed neither CAN be" but requries that God give a NEW heart which is a believing heart (Ezek. 36:26-27). Read Deut. 5:29 and 29:4 and he is speaking of Israelites in their fallen nature and the clearly states that he must first give them a heart or they will not respond. That is the line of demarcation between us is it not???

    Please do not start down this line of accusation. I have been extremely graceful in my responses to you. You have presented your convictions and I have presented mine. I have been on your side of the fence but you have never been on my side. I understand the other side but I am not sure you understand it. I presented your side correctly. You believe God temporarily frees the human nature from the bondage of sin in order that it can choose contrary to that nature. That is impossible as that requires a change in that nature to be something it is not by nature. It requires the human will to be released from the bondage of sin. It requires the fallen nature to be released from the bondage of sin even if only temporarily. It is a irrational and illogical position. It is as if the lepord could temporarily change its spots or the ethiopian could temporarily change its skin and the answer is "neither indeed CAN be." The only solution is Ezek. 36:26 - the only solution is "ye must be born again" (Jn. 3:3) and then we will talk about freely choosing Christ (Jn. 3:16) as an inseparable reaction of the new heart.
     
  11. MB

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    You just don't seem to understand what human freewill is. It is not limited to a sin nature actually there is no such thing in scripture. I will admit that all men from Adam on down have or had a propensity towards sin. I include Adam because he had to have the same propensity as the rest of us or he would not have sinned.
    To say we have inherited this propensity is correct. Yet you have to realize that we were created with it. Not only that everyone still sins even after Salvation. Here we have become new creatures all things are new about us except this blasted propensity to sin. The propensity has nor had any control over our desires. Only we have control over our desires other wise sin is not sin with out the choice to commit it.

    What a statement God has no control !. The truth is there is nothing impossible with my God. Because He does not choose to sin does not mean He can't if He so desired. Simply God has chosen not to sin. To say God can't is diminishing His supreme power.

    Then why not the opposite when we are saved? We have a new nature. We have been regenerated by the power of God. We are in effect in bondage to Christ but we can still sin. Maybe this bondage to sin you talk about doesn't have full control over us.
    True but you're contradicting your self here.
    Absolute nonsense. Men have been making choices for good since the beginning. It's your blindness to the truth that is your stumbling block.
    To prove this is true you have a lot of work to do. Man does not have a fallen nature. He has a propensity that has no control over the man.
    Not true at all There is no such thing as a fallen man unable to surrender or, desire a change for himself.
    MB
     
    #11 MB, Jul 12, 2013
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  12. convicted1

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    ^^^Uhhhhhhh, MB, Jesus told the woman at the well in John 4, "God, who CAN NOT lie".....and lying is a sin. God can not sin and never has had that ability.
     
  13. Revmitchell

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    No it wasn't

    That is right God somehow... since He does not go into details of the mechanics of salvation.

    Since God is soveriegn I beleive He can do it just however He wants to.


    Interesting...you are the very first reformed brother to even begin to offer a scriptural support for this view. The typical answer is..."well I just know from the whole of scripture". The problem here is you assume that any new heart has to be able to go all the way to the point of salvation. Again the mechanics are not given.

    What we do know is that God opens the heart and man can respond.



    I am sorry but your imposition of logic on my view which misrepresents my view is offensive.

    Inconsequential

    This is where the offense comes in and any reasonable discussion breaks down. My side and your side is not monolithic. Your view of each side is myopic and incorrect.


    But that is not what I objected to. What I objected to was:

    That statement is not what I believe and imposes your personal logic on my view and is contrary.


    You do not know that. Again your logic which is not found in scripture.

    Says you and quite frankly offensive. This is one more example why discussions around here break down. It is a lack of grace and common courtesy.

    I said nothing about "temporary". So long as man lives and the gospel is preached the Holy Spirit goes out with the gospel the offer stands. Your analogy fails as well because the gospel and the HG do not work to effect the spots on a leopard

    Again scripture does not ever say that the new heart and salvation are in an order or evev separate.
     
  14. Revmitchell

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    The problem with discussions on the board is there are those who believe that there is only one true set of logic and it belongs to them and their logic is just as infallible as the word of God. So they impose it on the views of others and create strawmen arguments that others do not make in order to win a debate.

    Arguing what is logical or illogical does not prove what scripture says and is in no way a proper debate form.
     
  15. The Biblicist

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    but you go on and agree with how I presented your position - just read your own words that follow.



    See what I mean? You agree with my description of your position and you defend it.




    With the heart man believeth but not with the "old" heart! That is why God must give a "new" heart and that is why faith is a "gift" of God and it comes inherent in the new heart (Deut. 5:29; 29:4; Ezek. 36:36). All the fruits of the Spirit originate in the "NEW" man or "NEW CREATION" but not the "old" man or the fallen nature. Nothing good originates in the fallen nature (Rom. 7:18).

    the heart that is opened by God is the "new" heart not the "old" one. The Opening is merely it given expression of faith in the gospel (Jn. 6:44-45; 64-65).





    I have no intent to offend you. I sincerely believe that my explanation correctly represents your view and so it is a conflict of beliefs between us without any intent to offend you. I reject your explanation because I sincerely beleive it is irrational and illogical but necessary for your to maintain your position.



    My experience may be inconsequential to you but not to me as it gives me perpsective from both sides. However, I am not going to stoop to charge you with being ungracious toward me.



    That is your opinion and belief which I do not share. The offense is not due to intentional misrepresentation but to intentional difference of opinion with full understanding of what you actually believe. I understand your position and I understand your explanation but sincerely disagree with both your position and explanation.

    You are turning this into a personal argument instead of a doctrinal disagreement. I have no desire to make any attack on your person. I simply disagree with your explanation, understanding and position. I have nothing personally against you as a person and if my disagreement offends you then you must be offended.
     
    #15 The Biblicist, Jul 12, 2013
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  16. Revmitchell

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    It is also offensive to say that since you were once a non cal that you understand my view and maybe better than me. You do not know that. I do not hold a view based on the systems of theology that you have ascribed to in the past or do so now. The non cal view is not the same for every non cal. I study the word for myself not systems of theology. I am not held to one single monolithic view that cals want to impose on me.

    In order to be respectful and graceful in responding to me you need to consider that I have done my own study and I am not dependent on any particular system of theology. Therefore you cannot understand my view better than me in such an arrogant manner.
     
  17. The Biblicist

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    No, that is not the only problem! The problem is that you refuse to allow another person the right to disagree equally with both your explanation and position without making it a personal issue. You refuse to allow another person to regard your explanation as irrational and unreasonable from THEIR PERSPECTIVE as that is the ONLY PERSPECTIVE they can reason from IF they believe your perspective is irrational. That is mere honest disagreement and differnce of oppinion whether you like it or not.

    You are trying to turn this thread into a personal vendetta. I have no wish to offend you or to attack your person. However, I do intend to attack your explanations and position as I sincerely believe they are wrong, they are irrational and fall short of the Biblical data available. if that offends you then there is no other option but to offend you. I acknowlege your difference of explanation and opinion but disagree with it and view it as irrational FROM MY PERSPECTIVE and the Biblical data
     
  18. Revmitchell

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    I will try this one more time. That is not what I said you imposed on my view. The following are your words and is not what I believe:






    Apart form God's intervention (John 1:12)

    You are arguing semantics and mechanics not given in scripture.





    When I tell you it does not then you need to concede to that. And further insistence after that is offensive and arrogant.


    And your logic is not infallible. And unless you are willing to admit that you are without grace in your responses.



    That may be but when you use that to suggest you know my view better than me you are now posting without grace. You are not me you cannot possibley know my view better than me. That attitude is arrogance.



    The offense is imposing your opinion of what I believe on my view. That is not logical as not all non cals hold to the exact same view on the will of God or man. Such an idea is myopic. Whatever you believed before was what you believed. But that does not determine what I hold to.
     
  19. Revmitchell

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    And thanks for proving my point and why these discussion go the way the go.
     
  20. The Biblicist

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    I understand your explanations and your views and your rationalizations. I accept this is your position. I do not deny this is your explanation, your rationalization, your position. I get that. However, I do not accept your rationalization to be true but erroneous. That is my privilege to disagree and view your rationalization, explanations and position as false. I believe you are sincere but sincerely deceived. If that offends you then it offends you. I did not merely make this statement as I have here, but I gave what I believe are valid reasons why your explanation, rationalizations and position are incorrect.

    If in your mind, I must acknowledge that you may be right and I may be wrong in order to be gracious then you are correct, I am not gracious and have no plans to be gracious by that standard.
     

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