The weak foundation of free will

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by npetreley, Feb 26, 2006.

  1. npetreley

    npetreley
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    I find it fascinating that so many of the arguments for free will hang on single words. The problem is that advocates of salvation by free will choice give meaning to these words that the words do not have on their own.

    Just to cite two examples:

    John 3:16, "whosoever" means that salvation is available to all

    2 Peter 3:9 "any" means ALL men who ever lived, lives, or will live

    These words are open to qualification, and advocates of free will are qualifying them according to their own views. These words do not dictate these views. Words like "whosoever", "any", "all" can all be qualified different ways. Any of whom? All of whom? Whosoever of whom?

    You can just as easily say "Whosoever is 6 feet tall or taller" and suddenly the word "whosoever" no longer dictates the interpretation that it is open to everyone.

    You can easily say "any of the citizens of Newark, NJ" and suddenly "any" no longer dictates the interpretation that it refers to all men who lived, live or will live.

    You can say "all of those who ate spinach for dinner" and suddenly "all" does not dictate all men who lived, live or will live.

    Someone will say that advocates for election responding to these claims argue an interpretation of these words based on their views. Fair enough. But these are responses to arguments for free will. If I'm wrong, show me, but I do not see advocates of election hanging their soteriology on their private qualification of single words like "whosoever", "any" or "all".

    To be fair, free will advocates do not base their soteriology entirely on private interpration of single words. They also base it on their private interpretation of what God would do. "Why would God say choose if He didn't give us the ability to choose?"

    But again, this is the weakest of all foundations for drawing any conclusions about anything. God is not subject to what we think He would or would not do.

    I, for one, would like to see free will argued strictly from scripture without any added opinion or qualification. Let me give a counterexample:

    Romans 8:29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

    I don't see how one can state election more clearly. None of the above words need to be qualified in order for election to stand. The only word that can be misinterpreted by free will advocates is the word "foreknew", and that is only possible because the English is open to debate. But the meaning of this word in the Greek is not open to debate. It is proginosko, which means to know intimately beforehand (not to know what they were going to choose).

    There is a mountain of scripture like the above. But where are the verses in the Bible that state free will just as clearly? Where are the verses that say, "For God saved those who chose of their own free will to believe?" Or does free will really hang on the private interpretation of single words, and private intepretations of what God would do because "I know what God would or would not do".
     
  2. Sularis

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    npet = welcome back

    as im low on time - ill say we non-calvinists have posted verses over and over and over again

    both sides have - if you really really want to pursue this - ill post em again - and i swear before Almighty God that I will deal with each and everyone of your points if you will do likewise - that's EVERY point - EVERY verse. and may God deal ever so harshly with the one who does not do so.
     
  3. standingfirminChrist

    standingfirminChrist
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    npetrely,

    not a good argument. very weak.

    In John 3:16, the Greek word for whosoever is the word 'pas' and can be interpred to mean

    ncluding all the forms of declension; apparently a primary word; all, any, every, the whole:--all (manner of, means), alway(-s), any (one), X daily, + ever, every (one, way), as many as, + no(-thing), X thoroughly, whatsoever, whole, whosoever.

    that covers the whosoever. Jesus was including all of manking in the whosoever.

    The Greek word for 'any' is translated as 'tis' meaning

    an enclitic indefinite pronoun; some or any person or object:--a (kind of), any (man, thing, thing at all), certain (thing), divers, he (every) man, one (X thing), ought, + partly, some (man, -body, - thing, -what), (+ that no-)thing, what(-soever), X wherewith, whom(-soever), whose(-soever).

    Any means whoever. Covers every individual.

    For good measure, timtoolman posed this question that no Calvinist can truthfully seem to face up to.

    If man has no ability to respond to God on his own because he is dead in sin, why does God at times harden man's heart?
     
  4. whatever

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    God at times hardens man's heart for specific purposes. Speaking of Pharoah in Exodus 4:21, God told Moses "But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go." This hardening was not to prevent Pharoah from being saved.

    Here are some similar passages:

    Deu 2:30 - But Sihon the king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him, for the LORD your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that he might give him into your hand, as he is this day.

    (speaking of the Caananites) - Jos 11:20 - For it was the LORD's doing to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle, in order that they should be devoted to destruction and should receive no mercy but be destroyed, just as the LORD commanded Moses.

    This one shows a man whose heart was hardened in order that he would come to trust in God:

    Daniel 5:18-21 - O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father kingship and greatness and glory and majesty. And because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whom he would, he killed, and whom he would, he kept alive; whom he would, he raised up, and whom he would, he humbled. But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him. He was driven from among the children of mankind, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. He was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will.

    Interesting, isn't it?

    This brings a question to my mind - if God is so interested in letting man have his own way then why does He harden anyone's heart at all?
     
  5. saturneptune

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    Since many Scriptures can be looked at in different ways, and this calvinist non-calvinist thing has gone on and on and on and on, and the difference goes on between people with degrees or so called degrees, I will tell you what amazes me is created man, regardless of how smart or how much hebrew and greek, debates the Mind of the Almighty God. What a futile endeavor.

    I know that Jesus Christ saved me by His grace, and that I am, as God allows me to be used to bring others to Jesus. That is where the time and effort is needed.
     
  6. npetreley

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    Your assumption is that God harden's man's heart in order to block his innate ability to respond to God. I believe that is an invalid assumption, and I would normally ask you to back it up with scripture. However, I would ask you this instead: If your assumption is true, then how do you reconcile it with other free will claims? If God hardens the hearts of some in order to block their innate ability to respond to the Gospel, then how can you possibly say that God is not willing that any should perish?

    You are saying in one breath that God is not only willing that some should perish but MUST actively block any possibility that they are saved, because unless God blocks this ability, they still stand a chance of being saved.

    Then in the next breath you are saying that God is not willing that ANY should perish? If you can't see the contradiction introduced by your first (invalid) assumption, then there's no hope of dialog on this topic.
     
  7. Timtoolman

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    God at times hardens man's heart for specific purposes. Speaking of Pharoah in Exodus 4:21, God told Moses "But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go." This hardening was not to prevent Pharoah from being saved.

    Here are some similar passages:

    Deu 2:30 - But Sihon the king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him, for the LORD your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that he might give him into your hand, as he is this day.

    (speaking of the Caananites) - Jos 11:20 - For it was the LORD's doing to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle, in order that they should be devoted to destruction and should receive no mercy but be destroyed, just as the LORD commanded Moses.

    This one shows a man whose heart was hardened in order that he would come to trust in God:

    Daniel 5:18-21 - O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father kingship and greatness and glory and majesty. And because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whom he would, he killed, and whom he would, he kept alive; whom he would, he raised up, and whom he would, he humbled. But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him. He was driven from among the children of mankind, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. He was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will.

    Interesting, isn't it?

    This brings a question to my mind - if God is so interested in letting man have his own way then why does He harden anyone's heart at all?
    </font>[/QUOTE]Now this leads us to another question. Does God cause sin? Or Even more so is God a someone who would call all to repent or even obey. Tell men what to do, then make them so they can't or will disobey? THEN pusnish him for doing so?!!!
    My opinion is that man harden his heart against God first, as stated with Phaoroh, and once the heart is set against God's word is does harden it. The difference being that man harden first, or rejected the conviction of the HS and Or His word.
     
  8. standingfirminChrist

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    Amen, Timtoolman!

    Man's heart is deceitful above all and desparately wicked. Many feel the drawing and conviction of the Holy Spirit, but also hear the voice of satan telling them they will have to give up all their pleasures and treasures if they accept Christ. They harden their hearts against God and follow the lusts of the flesh.
     
  9. whatever

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    I see two problems with that. First, God told Moses that He would harden Pharoah's heart before Pharoah even knew that Moses was coming to ask for the Israelites freedom. I don't know of anywhere in the Bible that it says it in the order that you do.

    Second, I don't know of anywhere that the Bible talks about rejection of Christ in those terms.

    If God wanted to make someone for the express purpose of showing His wrath against unrighteousness then there would be no injustice, acording to Paul. You seem like you would have a problem with that. Was Paul wrong?
     
  10. Timtoolman

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    Neither is really a problem. One when God told moses he wouild harden Pharoah's heart. Had He already done it? That is really not nec. the order of things. Let me say though whatever if you read my earlier post I do believe God's word does harden hearts. Just like it softens.

    Number two is not a problem for free will in that yes God created them knowiing of thier own free will they rejected HIm so it was thier choice to be vessels of wrath. I think God is answering the question "if God knows some will not accept Him then isn't He condemning them to hell because He knows they WILL NOT"? Non Cals realize that it is still man's chouice that sends him to hell. Under calvinist God made them soloely for hell. He made them without the ability to repent or believe, unless He forced His grace on them, therefore He made them for Hell. It was His sole purpose to create some, actually the majoity of people for Hell! Calvinist admitt there is and never was any hope or grace for those, NEVER!
     
  11. whatever

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    Tim,

    If God knows that a person will never repent no matter what He does for that person, then that person's destiny is absolutely fixed. How does it help you to say "yeah, but He gave them a choice"? Their destiny is fixed, and nothing God does is going to change it. There's no way that they are going to choose contrary to what God already knew when He created them. Either He doesn't create them, or they are bound for Hell. There's no way around it.

    By the way, Calvinists also say that it is man's choice that sends him to Hell.
     
  12. johnp.

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    Reason alone dictates that omniscience must now depart or God isn't as nice as some thought. :cool:

    The end of the line I think. :cool: There's no way around it.

    But standingfirm, your reply to npetreley's pointed contradiction of yours, you don't seem to answer. If, as you say, man must have an innate ability to respond to God why does He harden some if He doesn't interfer with people's will?

    No Tim, God's word accomplishes what He sent it to do, it is Him that hardens and softens. ...But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. Exodus 4:21 explicitly says that it is God that will harden Pharaoh's heart not His words. I will harden it God says. I will harden it so that he will disobey my commands. That's what it says and you kid no one saying it doesn't say God hardened Pharaoh's heart.

    Hardens his heart and then commands him to do that which He has hardened him not to do, obey, and then smashes him to peices just to demonstrate to you He can do as He pleases. He is God after all.

    You are in great darkness thinking so highly of God, He never was as nice as you.
    RO 9:19 One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?" 20 But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, `Why did you make me like this?' " 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

    No? Why no? Why the question Tim? "Why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?"

    Who resists his will?"
    Who resists his will?"
    Who resists his will?" If His will does not interfer with us? Why do we not get an answer but a warning, But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Take the warning personally. You are treading on Sovereignty.

    john.
     
  13. drfuss

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    Being new to this type topic, I may be asking a question that has been answered many times. However, there is something I do not understand about the idea of no free will.

    If man does not have a free will, then man has no choice. If man has no choice, then there is no sin. If there is no sin, then there is no need for a savior. So, why did Jesus die for our sins? Or are you suggesting that Adam is the only one that had a choice?

    Perhaps the Calvinists have an easy answer to this. I would like to know it.

    Thanks.
     
  14. Calvibaptist

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    Ahhh, so it begins again! :D

    Well, I'm not going to argue against your statement here. What I am going to say is that the fact that the word is 'pas" which has the basic meaning of "all" means absolutely nothing in regard to free will. In fact, it means nothing in regard to sovereign grace, either.

    The Greek phrase is 'pas ho pisteuon.' Literally translated, this means "all the believing ones." So, everyone who believes has everlasting life. I think we all agree with the content of this phrase. Notice what this phrase does NOT say. It does not say that absolutely every person who ever lived has the same opportunity to believe. Obviously, that can't be true, because many people never even hear the gospel. BUT, it also does not say all of the elect (which I do believe from other Scriptures).

    It says, "all the believing ones." Everyone who believes is saved. This is true whether you are a Calvinist, as I am, or not. The one thing that we all need to make sure is that we don't make a verse say more than it does.
     
  15. whatever

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    Hi drfuss,

    It really all depends on what you mean by "free will", so you may find different answers to your question depending on who you read. If one Calvinist affirms free will and another denies it then they are probably working from different definitions.

    What Calvinists mean is that we are all by nature in bondage to our sins, so that sin is all that we ever choose. Even when a lost man does something that appears to be a good thing, like tell the truth or avoid some sin, his impure motives make that thing a sin. As Romans 14:23b says, "whatever does not proceed from faith is sin." We all naturally and freely choose sin, and no one will ever choose otherwise unless God intervenes.

    Many non-Calvinists would agree with that. Where we usually differ is in defining the nature and extent of that intervention. Non-Calvinists usually speak of "wooing" or "convicting" or such, but that's as far as they will usually go. Calvinists teach that unless God goes further and brings the lost man to life then he will never freely turn from sin to God. Once God brings the lost man to life he will always freely choose to believe.

    I hope this helps.
     
  16. Calvibaptist

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    There is no easy answer to anything ;) Firstly, let me answer with saying that we do not say that man does not have a will. Men make choices all the time. What we say is that man does not have a FREE will. That is, man's will is not completely free of any other influences. The Bible is very clear that man's will is in bondage to his sinful nature.

    Genesis 6:5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

    God says "every INTENT of the THOUGHTS of [our] heart [is] only evil continually." I think that pretty much answers the question of our will being free. We always choice according to our nature. This is why the miracle of regeneration (a change of nature) is necessary for anyone ('pas' in John 3:16) to ever believe.

    God did not create us this way. Adam and Eve had a free will and chose sin. Since Adam's sin, every human ever born has been born dead in tresspasses and sins. As Martin Luther said, their will is in bondage to their sin nature (my paraphrase of his view).
     
  17. Me4Him

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    God uses "evil against evil", but if the matter was totally "up to God", would there be any evil??

    The "Son of predition" was lost; THAT THE SCRIPTURES MIGHT BE FULFILLED.

    Do you know "WHY" the scriptures must be "fulfilled"??

    "EVIL AGAINST EVIL", but suppose the whole world "believed" and was saved, NO EVIL, would the "Beast" still ascend from the bottomless pit to carry out the destructions of "Unbelievers"?? (remember there is no unbelievers)

    God has a "HEDGE" around believers, you have to break down that hedge before satan can bite you.

    Ec 10:8 and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.

    God isn't "PROACTIVE" with sin, (causing sin) God sowed "Wheat", Satan sowed the "Tares".

    God "REACTS" to sin, we sow, (spirit/Flesh) but we reap according to what we sow and God's word.

    The "GOSPEL" explains the consequences of sowing to the Spirit or Flesh, but the choice is man's to make and for which he will be Judged accordingly.
     
  18. Me4Him

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    Ge 3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

    Ge 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil:

    and now,

    lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

    "WHERE" did man lose the ability to "KNOW GOOD" from "EVIL"??
     
  19. StraightAndNarrow

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    When reading the Bible (or another book) typically the best way to interpret words is in light of their normal usage and in light of the context. Therefore, the sun means the central star in our solar system not a sun in a far off galaxy. The word all must be interpreted in light of its context. Thus, saying that the President proposed a new law that would reduce taxes for all would be interpreted as all tax payers. The burden of proof would be on the person who claims that this normal usage isn't correct and that a word like all means something other then what it obviously means.

    In the same way, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life," means just what it says. Whosoever means whosoever. The burden is on you, not the other way around, to prove that the obvious meaning isn't correct.


    2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

    Once again, the best interpretation is the straightforward one. It is the Calvinists who twist the meaning of passages like these to conform to their theology.

    Give the Bible to a child to interpret. Christ said that if we did not become like a child (simple faith not complex theology) we would not enter His kingdom.
     
  20. johnp.

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    Again you have avoided answering a straight forward question.
    Did God know before He created a man where the man would end up standingfirm, Tim, yes or no please?


    john. :cool:
     

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