Then, what is the difference between God...

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Greektim, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. Greektim

    Greektim
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    May 22, 2010
    Messages:
    3,143
    Likes Received:
    118
    ordaining sin and creating sin and authoring sin and the ultimate cause of sin.

    Please focus this thread to this question. Primarily for Calvies

    God ordained all that came to pass, therefore:
    (1) in some sense then he is the ultimate cause of sin (whether the remote or proximate cause, if that even alleviates the tension)
    (2) If he ordained it and is the ultimate cause of sin, what is the difference then saying he scripted (as in authored) it?
    (3) If he is the author of sin, then is he not its creator?

    To say God ordained something is to imply that he ultimately created it, no?

    Is it legit to say that God ordained sin and evil making use of remote or secondary causation thus not tainting his holy character??? Or is that simply a philosophical posit that puts our minds and theology at ease?
     
  2. HeirofSalvation

    HeirofSalvation
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2012
    Messages:
    1,962
    Likes Received:
    1
    As this is primarily for Calvies...I will only attempt to add a little and will not debate or continue to comment. I would only say this:

    Some Calvies actually DO admit as much (more or less)...Someone on your other thread said "No Calvinist and no confession states that God is the author of sin" (paraphrased) ....Confession, no, but some rather prominent Cal Theologians have essentially stated as much, and Calvin is actually argued to have been one of them. There are essentially no Cals on this board who will "admit" (I as a non-Cal call it) or "say" as much...but there are prominent Calvinist Theologians who have.

    I suppose your OP states the debate quite succinctly:

    As far as this goes....The average Calvie usually takes refuge with the idea that God is only a proximate and secondary or even tertiary "Cause"...and that is usually sufficient for them. Most non-Cals usually don't buy that...There is an analogy of a stone shattering a window. The immediate "cause" of the shattered window is the stone...but, the stone was struck with a stick (a secondary cause) ...but the stick does not move of it's own accord any more than the stone does. Therefore it is the motion of the arm swinging the stick, or even farther along...It will always ultimately boil down to the will of the mind behind the arm which swung the stick, which hit the stone...and I guess you get it by now. Creation (ex nihilo) is only properly understood this way IMO...There MUST ultimately be a "un-moved mover". I think that is what you are saying.

    The eternal question (I would guess)....I am glad that you are considering these things. As a non-Cal, I personally find this idea to be a fatal flaw in the Calvinist system...but I think you are good to consider these things....Either this may urge you towards abandoning some previous assumptions, or....you will find sufficient Calvinistic explanations to give you "peace" I will call it with this no doubt difficult question....I pray you will find a satisfactory answer, and if the result is that you are either
    1.) inclined to either change or nuance some of your views of Reformed Theology...
    OR
    2.) More well-grounded and convinced of your Theology, I think you have done yourself nothing but a good turn to work through it:

    INDEED!!! Some Calvinist Theologians have indeed essentially accepted the idea that God is (something like) the "Ultimate Cause" of sin, and have found a way to reconcile it for themselves...Here, I am thinking (unless I am mistaken in my History) Theodore Beza, Hoeksema, Calvin and others. Of course, they won't use the word "author"...but they will express what amounts to it.

    Obviously, the non-Cal thinks so....but, Great OP, and I will enjoy reading what your fellow Calvinists have to say about it :thumbsup: Hope it becomes a fruitful thread for you. :thumbsup:
     
  3. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    18,927
    Likes Received:
    96
    Tim, are you writing a paper?
     
  4. Greektim

    Greektim
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    May 22, 2010
    Messages:
    3,143
    Likes Received:
    118
    No... I restrict my field of research to NT studies, Greek, OT in the NT, and biblical theology. I'm no systematician. I think I am demonstrating quite ably that my powers of thinking are not so attuned for that field/branch of theology.

    I'm just trying to ponder out loud and seek the help of others on this mental exercise.
     
    #4 Greektim, Sep 26, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 26, 2012
  5. Greektim

    Greektim
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    May 22, 2010
    Messages:
    3,143
    Likes Received:
    118
    Thank you for the post... I haven't had dialogue between a non Cal like this in... EVER! Oh that we could all extend this kind of grace to each other. Thank you, HoS!
     
  6. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    18,927
    Likes Received:
    96
    OK then for the record, I will give you my take,

    You are veering into pantheism - to make God, and not man, the real author or cause of sin, and thus to destroy the distinction between right and wrong. This appears in such unguarded and unscriptural expressions as "the absolute predestination of all things"; "God predestines sin in the same way He does holiness." "Sin is a creature of God, and is a very good thing in its place."

    Nothing from my prospective can be more false and blasphemous than to call sin a creature of God, when it is rebellion of the creature against the Creator, the creature's transgression of the law of the Creator.

    Does that answer your question?
     
  7. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    18,927
    Likes Received:
    96
    Nice blanket statements but no hard evidence in the form of any quotes. If you want to be scholarly, then produce statements by Calvin & others as hard facts evidence to back up your statements. Start with Calvin please.
     
  8. Greektim

    Greektim
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    May 22, 2010
    Messages:
    3,143
    Likes Received:
    118
    Sorta but no. I don't think it is veering into Pantheism however it maybe leads to similar results. But even then, I don't think I would end up at those results no matter what. So even that is more of a non-issue.

    How would you answer the original question in the OP: the distinction between ordaining all things and creating and etc...
     
  9. WITBOTL

    WITBOTL
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2009
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    0
    could we not say that just as there is a difference in causing by doing and causing by allowing there should be the same distinction in planning to cause by doing and planning to cause by allowing? In terms of God's holiness don't either of these propositions land us in the same place? Ie. whether evil was allowed or planned to be allowed.

    So then what is it in the allowing or in the planning to allow that would implicate God's holiness? Or put the opposite way, why in the allowing or planning to allow is God's holiness intact?

    Perhaps it lies in a misnomer about God "inventing" evil by planning to allow it. Perhaps it is that in creating beings that are free moral agents (ie. before sin) evil becomes a possibility. Does that which is possible in an infinity of time then become certain? So then if it is God's will to have creatures with free moral agency then evil becomes a certainty which he can either act to prevent thereby weakening the free moral agency of his creatures, or plan to allow and plan to redeem, judge etc. Thereby in God's wisdom he retains creatures with a free moral agency, communicates the aspects of his nature such as justice, wrath, love etc. and secures a people who are justified (declared righteous) ultimately rendering sin impossible but preserving free moral agency. This then is the wisdom in his decree to plan to allow evil. His decrees are not sequential, but eternal, so in decreeing the existence of evil, there is also and in the same decree the plan to effectively judge that evil.

    Could we not say then that evil is not the "invention" and specific intention of God, but a consequence of the nature of his creatures not of accidence or any kind of surprise to God, but that the decree that evil would be possible and allowed was not in God willing it to be so for its own sake.

    In this way there is not impeachment upon the holiness of God.

    just thinking out loud...
     
  10. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    18,927
    Likes Received:
    96
    God ordained all that came to pass, therefore:
    (1) in some sense then he is the ultimate cause of sin (whether the remote or proximate cause, if that even alleviates the tension)

    Tim, do you believe that God ordained all things to come to pass? Including Evil?
     
  11. HeirofSalvation

    HeirofSalvation
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2012
    Messages:
    1,962
    Likes Received:
    1
    On another thread, I might...but, Greek is not asking for that. I will not debate it. This is primarily a thread for him to seek the advice of fellow Calvinists....when HE (and not you) requests confirmation...he knows how to use "Google". I will not debate here. I gave my take....and stated I would not debate it further. I will respect his wishes. Please do likewise.
     
  12. Greektim

    Greektim
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    May 22, 2010
    Messages:
    3,143
    Likes Received:
    118
    I would actually prefer if someone took on the OP... is there a difference between God ordaining something and authoring or creating it.
     
  13. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    18,927
    Likes Received:
    96
    Knowing that, then YOU should have never opened your mouth to begin with. Now go & prove yourself on the a thread dedicated to your ramblings.
     
  14. convicted1

    convicted1
    Expand Collapse
    Retired Staff

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2007
    Messages:
    9,011
    Likes Received:
    3


    Brother, being in the FW camp, all the way back in the Garden, there is something there that has caused me much grief(not in a bad way, either). In the Garden, God told them what they could eat, and NOT eat. So, the thing that cuts at me is "why did God put the tree of knowledge of good and evil" there with them? We know that God tempts no one, so why was it there? Why not just have the Tree of Life there to sustain them?


    If God did not have some "desire" for this to come to pass, He would not have placed BOTH trees in the Garden to begin with. I can not wrap my finite mind this, but it is what it is. Who has known the mind of the Lord, or who can be His counsellor"?


    If we could truly answer "why did God put both trees in the Garden?", then we might could give a true biblical answer to the OP.
     
  15. WITBOTL

    WITBOTL
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2009
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    0

    Yes, there is a difference.

    author as in aitios - which implies guilt and responsibility
    author as in archegos - which speaks of leadership, founding pioneering
    author as the one who wrote it down.

    all of these I say no, God is not the author of sin or evil


    the difference really is in the active nature of these words. God was in no sense active and direct in the existence of sin and that is an important distinction.

    creating also is about an active and direct action something God did not do with respect to evil.


    ordain however is a different concept that of decree, appointment, order (as in set in order)
    diatasso - arrange or appoint in accordance with decrees
    kathistemi - appoint as by petition, constitute

    The difference is in the active nature of the one compared to the other, and that is the critical point I believe.

    Of course God is the ultimate cause of all things in creation and this has nothing to do with determinism, it is an expression of God as the only eternal and all else came to be as a direct act of creation or as a consequence of one and all that in the context of God's divine decree. Otherwise evil and sin would be co-eternal with God making it equal with God and that is unacceptable.


    The idea of secondary causes is not just a semantic convenience. We see God directly active in working good it is in his nature to act good and act holy. If God merely allowed good or allowed holiness without directly acting good and holy could he truly be said to be holy? The same applies to evil in the negative. There is no evil in God, he does not act evil and unholy because he is not. He cannot be accused of evil because there is no working of evil in him. The working of good in God is critical to him being good, not that working good makes him good, but that goodness is part of his nature he acts in accordance with it. That evil is not in his nature he cannot act in accordance with evil...
     
  16. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    18,927
    Likes Received:
    96
    As a point of introspection here Tim after contemplating your question, I know that I cannot offer you a concrete answer......now I do know that as soon as I begin to think that God owes me something or that God must do something, I limit Him & diminish His glory. So at times, I have to remind myself that God is absolutely free & sovereign. He can & must be glorified for example in the damnation of the reprobate as well as the salvation of the elect. Gods justice & mercy are both glorious because they both demonstrate His divine sovereignty.

    You quoted Genesis a while back, 18:25: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? .....well this displays that you already understand that you are in the hands of a just & holy God, and that you (we) are without any hope of salvation apart from His free and utterly sovereign intervention, then we will call for mercy which is the only right response.... BTW thats my own salvation story, praise God.

    Lastly, The Westminster Shorter Catechism plainly states & teaches -- "Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever" .... I gotta keep reminding myself of that. :love2:

    Good night! :sleeping_2:
     
  17. convicted1

    convicted1
    Expand Collapse
    Retired Staff

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2007
    Messages:
    9,011
    Likes Received:
    3
    Could there be a distinction between God ordaining something coming to pass, vs Him decreeing it?
     
  18. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Messages:
    17,080
    Likes Received:
    49
    God has predetermined His response to ALL possibilities , from our perspective past/present/future, but to Him, its all 'right now"...

    he can chose to either directly dtermine/cause what happensto occur in his predestination, or else factor in others decisions/choices, but always will be sovereign over the final results, as he will allow those decisiions that meet what he has decided will get done...

    per man, he had predetermined before the fall jesus would come as our Saviour, but Humans still accountible for being sinners by both birth and choice...

    God does NOT author sin and Falls of satan/Adam, but He indeed uses that fir His ultimate purpose and glory...
     
    #18 Yeshua1, Sep 27, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 27, 2012
  19. quantumfaith

    quantumfaith
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    6,890
    Likes Received:
    0
    A modern advocate of Augustine's view can be found in Alvin Plantinga (God, Freedom and Evil, 1974) who claimed that for God to have created a being who could only have performed good actions would have been logically impossible. Here are his basic points:


    God may have good reasons for permitting EVIL


    Free Will demands the possibility for EVIL


    God could not make Humans free and guarantee no EVIL (no sin)

    TRANS WORLD DEPRAVITY:


    This is the idea that humans sin in all possible worlds or else


    God is not all good or not all powerful


    God can not create a world with moral Good and without moral EVIL

    Therefore, every world that God creates must have not only the possibility of evil in it but actual evil as well.

    *****************************************

    “The Free Will Defense” by Alvin Plantinga

    Summary by Meghan Ramsay (QCC, 2004)

    In examining the Problem of Evil, Alvin Plantinga holds that the Free Will Defense is an acceptable method for overcoming the claim that the Problem of Evil negates the existence of God. Plantinga outlines the Free Will Defense as stating, “A world containing creatures who are significantly free (and freely perform more good than evil actions) is more valuable than a world containing no free creatures.” Plantinga also states that in order to create creatures that are freely capable of committing morally good acts, He must also create creatures that are simultaneously just as capable of committing morally evil acts. Additionally, God cannot simultaneously give these creatures the freedom to commit evil and yet prevent them from doing so. One objection to the Free Will Defense is that it is possible for beings that are capable of committing evil to never do so. Based upon God’s omnipotence, it is possible that a world full of such creatures could exist. Those who object to the Free Will Defense use this line of argument to assert that either God is not wholly good or that God is not omnipotent. Plantinga also offers the argument of Leibniz who stated that since before creation, God had the choice of creating any one of a multitude of worlds, and since the omnipotent and all good God chose to create this world, it must be the best possible world. Plantinga asserts, however, that neither argument is correct, and that even though God is omnipotent, He could not just call into existence “any possible world He pleased.” Due to the fact that humans are free to make choices based upon experiences, whether or not humans perform good or evil is ultimately up to the human, not God. Although there are many possible worlds that contain moral good without moral evil, this world does not have to be the best of all possible worlds. Additionally, due to the freedom of action ascribed to humans, God could not create any one of a multitude of worlds, however, He does retain omnipotence.

    In response to the claim that god could have created a world containing moral good but no moral evil, Plantinga argues that in creating a world in which God actively causes people to do good, they are no longer free. Plantinga brings about the idea of transworld depravity, and argues that if a person suffers from transworld depravity, God cannot actualize a world in which that person maintains his/her freedom and yet does no wrong. In order to create a world containing only moral good yet also containing people suffering from transworld depravity, God would have to create people who were significantly free but at the same time would, by virtue of their transworld depravity, at some point commit evil in regards to at least one action in any possible world. Thus, the consequence of creating a world in which these sufferers of transworld depravity commit moral good is creating a world in which these persons commit at least one morally evil act.

    Plantinga, Alvin. God, Freedom, and Evil. Harper and Row, 1974.
     
  20. 12strings

    12strings
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    Messages:
    2,743
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think this, along with Quantumfaith's ideas from plantinga, are some of the most helpful things I've read on this issue in a long time.

    Regardless of one's view of free will & determinism, this fact remains: If God was at one time, the singular existance in the world...and then he created all things, and some of those creatures committed evil...then God is necessarily the ultimate cause of evil...because if he had not created anything...there would be no evil.
     

Share This Page

Loading...