The subject of Hardenig in its connections

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by The Biblicist, Jul 27, 2013.

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  1. The Biblicist

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    The classical example of hardening in scripture is the case of Pharoah. Pharoah is said to have hardened his own heart. Pharoah is said to have been hardened by God.

    Israel is described as becoming hardened during the ministry of Christ.

    What are you throughts on the subject of hardening?
     
  2. The Biblicist

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    My position is that hardening has to do with DEGREE of enmity toward God whereas total depravity simply means that our whole nature is INCLINED against God.

    To illustrate this, the three persons raised by Christ were all EQUALLY dead but they were not all equally corrupt. Hardening has to do with the degree or corruption by sin and resistance to God.

    All sinners are born totally depraved in all their faculties but hardening is a process in direct exposure to light.

    God hardens people by simply exposing them to more light. Man hardens himself by his own reaction to light.

    The same sun that melts the butter hardens the clay. Israel had been exposed to light more than any other nation. However, the more exposure to light a clay nature receives the more harder it will become.

    On the other hand, make the tree good and the fruit will be good. Reborn persons melt under the same exposure that lost depraved sinners harden under.
     
  3. The Biblicist

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    One poster suggested, and I might add, rightly suggested that Israel during the time of Christ had come to a crisis point as a nation in their hardened condition against God revealed in their rejection of Christ.

    That same poster implied that the nature of the Father's giving, drawing and teaching in John 6 is to be interpreted in light of the hardened condition of the Jewish audiance he was speaking to. I beleive he is implying that such a background would require a different treatment and application of John 6:36-65 and especially John 6:44-45. However, the utlimate goal, I believe was to suggest that this condition of hardening is a special argument that would deny that man comes into the world totally depraved in all of his faculties. Thus this made this audiance a special case different from Gentile sinners and thus may even deny the condition of the nature of man as they come into the world. If I am mistaken in this last drawn conclusion, then I am sure it will be pointed out.

    However, I believe he is confusing the STATE of sin with the PROGRESS of Sin in the life of unbelievers. The STATE of sin is EQUAL regardless if you are an infant, adult, female, male, Gentile or Jew - Romans 8:7. However the PROGRESS of sin in the life of a person or nation depends upon the amount of light the fallen nature is exposed to. In regard to the nation of Israel and its individuals therefore, the exposure was far more than gentiles. They had become so hardened that God was going to give them up as a FAVORED nation and transfer the external covenant blessings of Israel to the New Tesament Church among the Gentile nations. The church would be the new public "house of God" with its public ordinances, and public ministry and public mission into all the world.

    This was done to make Israel Jealous and prepare it for a later time of greater redemption as a nation (Rom. 11:25).

    However, hardening does not effect the fallen nature at all. Rather it is the progression of its manifest sinfulness in response to light.
     
    #3 The Biblicist, Jul 27, 2013
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  4. Skandelon

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    Judicial Hardening = God's active blinding people from seeing, hearing or understanding the truth lest they believe it...

    Total Inability (Calvinism) = People are born totally unable to see, hear, or understand the truth and thus believe it...

    Which is it? Either men are born unable to see, hear, understand and turn or they become/grow hardened thus making them unable to see, hear, understand and turn. It cannot be both.

    Please explain.
     
  5. Skandelon

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    Paul draws the clear distinction when he writes:


    "26 " 'Go to this people and say, "You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving." 27 For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.' 28 "Therefore I want you to know that God's salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!""

    Notice what the Israelites, who were not born hardened, but who BECOME HARDENED might have been able to do..."they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn."

    That clearly tells us the natural (not yet hardened) man's ability. He even goes as far to say so when he speaks of taking the truth to those not yet hardened, "to the Gentiles, they will listen."
     
  6. Allan

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    Just a point to note. Scripture states that Pharaoh hardened his heart first.. and afterward God hardened his heart. God hardening his heart was to show forth His glory and power in Egypt and there was more to come. This is the same course scripture follows in consistent, repetitive fashion... Man rejects, God hardens. (Prov 1, Rom 1, 2 Thes 2:10-12, etc...)
     
    #6 Allan, Jul 27, 2013
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  7. Skandelon

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    I agree.

    The best illustration of this I've heard is like when a cop hides his presence so that you will keep speeding. The cop is not making you speed. He is merely hiding the truth (that he is watching) so that you will keep doing what you already want to do. That is a perfect example of judicial hardening.

    God didn't have to make Pharaoh want to keep his slave labor. God merely had to hide the truth being clearly revealed in the plagues so that Pharaoh would continue to do what he already wanted to do. Likewise, God hid the truth of Christ (in parables, for example) so the Jews of that day wouldn't believe before redemption was accomplished.

    Is God just to do this? That is the real question Paul is answering in Romans 9.
     
  8. The Biblicist

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    I am not suggesting that some Calvinists may interpret "hardening" as "total inability" but I certainly do not. So please do not attribute that definition to me.

    Total inability has to do with the fallen sin nature which is EQUAL in extent in all fallen men. However, that does not mean all men are equally corrupt or equal in their progression of corruption.

    Hardening is in DEGREES.

    All lost men are equally spiritually dead but not equally corrupt in their sins. Total inability has to do with your NATURE whereas hardening has to do with your PROGRESSION IN SIN.

    Hardening proceeds form a fallen nature but is not the fallen nature only its product in response to exposure to light. Pharoah hardened himself as a consequence to being exposed to light but his fallen nature was the source of that hardening.
     
  9. The Biblicist

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    Hardening was the reaction of his fallen nature to light of God through Moses. Therefore, God hardened his heart by merely exposing it to light while at the same time He hardened his heart in reaction to light.

    This is always the reaction of fallen man to light (Jn. 3:19-20; Acts 7:51; Rom. 8:7-8) unless God intervenes by His grace.
     
  10. The Biblicist

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    Nothng prevents the salvation of the worst sinner but his own depraved determined will to resist. Hence, he has no one to blame but himself for condemnation and if God saves him in spite of himself he has no one to glorify but God's grace.

    As the fallen nature is more exposed to light the more resistant it becomes (Jn. 3:19-20) as it will not come to the light. Only a divine act of God can change that direction of will.

    In regard to Isarel, they had been exposed to the light more than any people on earth and they had come to the point of judgement by God when they rejected the "light" of the world living among them.
     
  11. Skandelon

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    Can you offer a different definition because this definition is based directly from what the scripture says in Acts 28 and elsewhere as explained in the other post?

    Can I assume you agree with this definition of Total inability? If not, why not? What is wrong with it? And what is specifically unacceptable about the definition of hardening given what scripture says about those who have become hardened and their abilities otherwise?

    I get that. I'm not attempting to claim that you believe everyone is as bad as they can be. I'm talking specifically about one's RESPONSIBILITY...meaning 'ability to respond.' I'm talking about the ability to willingly respond to God's revelation. Clearly one is not able to respond to something they are blinded from, but the question is can he respond to something that he is NOT blinded from? Scripture, as presented, says that they 'might see, hear, understand and turn' had they not grown calloused/hardened. You and you dogma seem to say otherwise but without biblical support...at least none which contradict what I've presented.

    I disagree. It has to do with their ability to hear, see, and understand God's revelation, just as Paul explains. Granted, one who has grown calloused/hardened/blind to God's revelation will naturally become more immoral but that doesn't change the meaning of the word hardening. The word Blinding is often used interchangeably and that should tell you clearly that it has to do with ability to see/understand revelation, which is the exact same meaning of Total Inability. Calvinists, whether they are willing to admit it or not, believe that all men are born totally hardened/blinded and thus unable to see, hear, understand and believe. That is in clear contradiction to the text which says that these people have BECOME HARDENED but the Gentiles will listen.
     
  12. Skandelon

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    Light is grace...you seem to forget that. God doesn't owe us light. He doesn't owe us the gospel...that is a work of grace in and of itself. For God to produce, preserve and send the gospel to all the world is a gracious intervention of God. These verses you list teach us what men's condition would be if left to themselves, but it doesn't teach us men's ability to respond to God's gracious appeal to be reconciled.

    From John 3, Jesus states, "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." and "For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."

    We are held RESPONSIBLE for our response to His light. Why? Because we are response-able.
     
  13. Skandelon

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    A will preset from birth due to God's choice to condemn all of mankind to a totally depraved condition as a punishment for the Fall.

    If you punished your child for his rebellious deed by giving him a drug making him unwilling to repent even if you begged him to repent, would you then condemn him for not repenting after you begged him? That is ridiculous, yet that appears to be what you think God does to most of those he created in His image.

    To say that there is nothing but his own rebellious will that prevents his salvation is antithetical to Calvinism's core beliefs. Why?

    1. Most 5 pointers deny that God has paid for the sins of all individuals, thus it wouldn't just be man's unwillingness preventing them from being saved, but they would also lack an atoning sacrifice.

    2. According to most Calvinistic scholars, man's will is determined by his nature which is determined by God. To say that man is free to do whatever he wants is meaningless in a world where what he wants is predetermined by God.

    3. God had to decide what the result of sin would be, thus He had to decide that all mankind would be born in a state of total inability to willingly respond to His appeal for reconciliation. This makes God seem disingenuous at best and at worst, monstrous.

    So, you're saying God condemned them for doing what they were made by Him to do? God is the one who decided to make people become hardened when exposed to light, right? If so, then he is condemning them for doing what He made them to do. He is condemning them for HIS OWN doing. How do you get around that clear fact?
     
  14. The Biblicist

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    I am not a supralapsarian Calvinist. I make a distinction in the decrees of God in regard to permissive will toward sin and will of good pleasure toward righteous intents. I reject election to damnation but see election to salvation and vessels of mercy presuspposing the fall and the just condemnation of men.

    I believe the will of man is as free as the will of God. So all your arguments listed do not apply to me. Sorry but I don't fit a classification.

    Look at my post in Revmitichells "Can we know the Mechanics of Salvation"
    where I lay out my view of salvation if you want to understand my perspective.
     
  15. Skandelon

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    I'm not sure how that explains away the fact that in your system God made a choice to condemn all of mankind to a totally depraved condition as a punishment for the Fall. Is your position that man's condition from birth is not within God's sovereign plan? Please explain.

    Even if you affirm freedom of the will in the fall, you still have to do something with the condition of man. Who, if not God, decided that the result of the Fall would be total inability to willingly respond to God's own appeal to be reconciled?
     
  16. Winman

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    Not to distract from the thread, but God cursing man to have a sin nature is very illogical if God hates sin.

    We throw criminals in prison to restrain them from committing more crime. Why would God curse Adam's posterity to be sinners if God hates sin and does not want sin to occur? This is not only illogical, but seems to pit God against himself, something Jesus said God never does.

    If God is going to take away our freedom, it would make more sense for God to take away our freedom to do evil, no?

    Just something to think about.
     
  17. The Biblicist

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    Total inability has to do with the STATE or CONDITION of the fallen nature that is the SAME in all fallen men. Hardening is a consequene of that state and is PROGRESSIVE and not the same in all fallen men. More exposure to light increases hardening but makes no change to the total inaiblity or fallen nature.



    John 6:44 and the words "no man can come to me" is the assertion of universal spiritual inability that has no other solution but to be drawn. Therefore prior to being drawn all human beings are without spiritual abiltity.

    This has to do with man's fallen NATURE. Hardening has to do with the REACTION of the fallen nature to light. More light on a fallen nature more hardening due to the negative nature of man toward God (Rom. 8:7).

    The description of the fallen nature is as follows:


    Eph. 4:18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

    This is another description of inward spiritual inability which is not reversed by anything other than by the creaive command of God through the gospel:

    For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. - 2 Cor. 4:6
     
  18. The Biblicist

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    Try being response-able to this command:

    "Be ye therefore perfect EVEN AS God is perfect"

    "Be holy EVEN AS I am Holy"

    These are commandments of God and we are held accountable for obedience to them but we do not have the ability to obey these commandments apart from sinless perfection - 1 Jn. 1:8-10.

    Second, to argue we are not accountable for our own inability is to argue we are not responsible for our sinful condition but God is. If we are responsible for our inability then no one is to blame but the sinner (Rom. 5:12-19). The whole human nature existed in Adam and Eve and they acted as the respresentatives of humanity just as Christ acted in behalf all who are in him as the "second man" or second Adam. Mankind sinned in Adam just as Levi paid tithes in Abraham (Heb. 7).
     
  19. The Biblicist

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    Partial repost found in another thread:

    I would simply add to the above at this precise point where you left off that God's purpose of election is to salvation not to damnation as the very expression "election to salvation" and "vessels of mercy" presuppose the fall and that all men are justly condemned to eternal hell and are totally depraved due to the fall (Rom. 5:12-19).

    Therefore, Christ did not come into the world to condemn the world because the world was "condemned already." Therefore, according to justice all men equally are condemned "already" and deserve hell and their mindset is at enmity with God and is not subject to the law of God and neither indeed can be." Thus if God simply left all men alone in their sins that would be perfectly just. However, if God sovereignly elected some to salvation it could not possibly be due to anything found in them as they are no different from those who continue in their sin. Hence, neither justice upon the non-elect or mercy upon the elect makes God a respector of persons as both equally deserve condemnation and neither deserve mercy.

    However, God has equallly chosen the means to bring the elect to salvation and it is "through the sanctification of the Spirit (setting apart by regeneration) and belief of the truth of the gospel. God has also chosen the foolisness of preaching to save his chosen people from their sins. Whenever we preach the gospel we are victorious whether men receive it or reject it as it glorifies God when they reject it as much as when they receive it:

    2 Cor. 2:14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.
    15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?

    We preach the gospel to all men calling them to repent and beleive in Christ but the gospel comes to the elect NOT IN WORD ONLY as it does to others, but "in power and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance" (1 Thes. 1:4-5).

    However, all men under the sound of gospel preaching are equally responsible and called by the gospel to repent and believe and the only thing that prevents any man from doing so is His own refusal to do so due to his own depraved nature due to his own sin in Adam (Rom. 5:12-19). Nothing prevents the most depraved sinner from coming to Christ but his own resistant will (Rom. 8:7).

    Therefore, all who go to hell have none to blame but their own choice and none who go to heaven have anything to boast about but the grace of God.
     
  20. Skandelon

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    You keep saying that but without addressing Paul's actual words as presented on several occasions now. Hardening is specifically about inability of men to see, hear, understand and repent and Paul specificially tells us that had the Jews not been blinded/hardened they might have seen and turned. You have not rebutted that biblical point yet...

    You have only restated your unfounded view...of which I used to believe and teach myself...I don't need more lessons, I need you to support your case after refuting mine.
     
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