Two major objections against Non-Calvinists answered

Discussion in 'Calvinism/Arminianism Debate' started by Skandelon, Nov 15, 2013.

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  1. Skandelon

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    The two accusations I hear most from the Calvinistic types against non-Calvinists are: (1) You lesson the Sovereignty of God and (2) you have too high of a view of man.

    But I contend, and will attempt to illustrate, that just the opposite is true!!!

    Our view of God's sovereignty is greater in its scope than the Calvinist and our view of man's nature is LOWER, not higher, than Calvinism. This can be illustrated in two ways.

    1. Sovereignty = power over creation

    Which is more powerful? A man who ensures victory by playing both sides of the chessboard, or the man who ensures victory by his sheer power over his free and independent foe?​

    2. The Nature of Man = the level of lost man's corruption

    Which is worse? A man who is born with defect making him unable to control his behavior so he kills another, or a man who is born with all his capacities and freely chooses to maliciously murder another?

    Which is worse? A man who hates and rejects a creator who hated him first and who made him for eternal torment so as to bring himself glory, or a man who hates and rejects a creator who loves him, provides salvation for him and genuinely appeals for his reconciliation?​
     
  2. Reformed

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    Neither to both illustrations. You posit there is only an either/or answer to your questions.
     
  3. Reformed

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    By the way, you wrote that you will attempt to illustrate the opposite is true. You went on to posit two illustrations without a conclusion. Would you care to share how the opposite is true? Thanks.
     
  4. Skandelon

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    I think those without the Tulip colored glasses on can clearly see the point of the illustrations. If you genuinely cannot see the application as it relates to our perspectives please let me know and I will attempt to lay it out more clearly.
     
  5. Reformed

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    Skan, when the nature of God is being discussed there should never be ambiguity, intended or otherwise.
     
  6. Skandelon

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    I don't believe I am being ambiguous. Are you still having trouble relating the meaning of my analogies to our respective views, or are you simply denying that the analogies correctly illustrate my point? I'm not opposed to explaining further but I'd like to know you are actually engaging me in discussion so I'm not wasting my time. The point seems very straight-forward to me. I'm not expecting you to necessarily agree with it, mind you, but it is always nice to know your understood.
     
  7. Winman

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    Skan, don't be naive, they KNOW what you are saying.

    Of course someone who fights and defeats a real opponent is greater than someone fighting a "fixed" fight.

    And of course a man who has ability to choose God but refuses and rejects God is much worse than a man who has no ability to choose God.

    They get it, but they are not going to tell you are correct, even though you are.
     
  8. Skandelon

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    Ok, Let's start with the first one regarding the scope of Sovereignty. We all affirm that God is sovereign, we just disagree regarding the scope of that sovereignty...agreed?

    Calvinists tend to believe they hold to a greater or higher scope of Sovereignty than do non-Calvinists. I disagree, for I believe as AW Tozer so eloquently put it:

    "God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to exercise moral choice, and man from the beginning has fulfilled that decree by making his choice between good and evil. When he chooses to do evil, he does not thereby countervail the sovereign will of God but fulfills it, inasmuch as the eternal decree decided not which choice the man should make but that he should be free to make it. If in His absolute freedom God has willed to give man limited freedom, who is there to stay His hand or say, 'What doest thou?' Man’s will is free because God is sovereign. A God less than sovereign could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures. He would be afraid to do so." - A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy: The Attributes of God​

    The illustration of a man playing both side of the chess board to ensure victory parallels the Calvinistic concept that God decrees whatsoever comes to pass, even the evil choices of his creatures. In other words, God is determining not only HIS moves in the Universe, but the moves of his opponents. To me that is a smaller view of sovereignty, not a greater one.

    I believe a Chess Master who is so wise, experienced and gifted at Chess that He is able to ensure victory regardless of what an independent opponent may choose to do is a much greater display of power. In our world view God is determining His moves, but not the moves of his opponents, YET because he is so wise, omnipotent and good He is able to ensure His victory despite what move they make. To me that is a much greater demonstration of power and thus Sovereignty.

    I believe most objective observers would agree.
     
  9. Skandelon

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    Winman, sometimes you know how to get to the point of the matter in a much clearer fashion than I ever could...thanks :wavey:
     
  10. Winman

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    If you think being nice and talking like a gentleman is going to get these guys to come around to your view (and mine), you are sadly mistaken. Oh, there might be one out of a hundred, but most folks never change their views.

    It is that one out of a hundred you have to work for. :thumbsup:

    Don't be too nice, they interpret that as WEAKNESS.
     
  11. Reformed

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    I believe you are being ambiguous. Perhaps "imprecise" would be a more accurate term. You offer two illustrations and do not explain them. Then you act a bit surprised that I called you out on that. All I am asking you to do is to be reasonable. Yes. Of course I am going to disagree with you. You know that and I know that. That does not mean we cannot have profitable discourse. I am not trying to trap you. I mean what I wrote. When the discussion centers on the nature of God we should never assume that the other person understands what we are saying. We should be precise. We should explain our terms. When we do not it is right that someone insists that we do.

    I am okay with you not engaging with me on this topic. Really, I am. I will be satisfied if you will consider explaining your conclusions to your illustrations so that they are clear to all and not left to assumptions.
     
  12. Reformed

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    Thank you.

    See? That is all I asked for. No hidden agenda.
     
  13. Winman

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oA1jHU49c9E
     
  14. The Biblicist

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    A straw man argument that perverts our view and YOU KNOW IT. We believe NEITHER! The will of fallen man is as free as the will of God in regard to choice but no more free. Your concept of free will is an isolated entity that is not controlled by anything external or internal to a being and that simply does not exist as it would require the will itself to be an independent creature.



    Another straw man argument. We believer NEITHER! The whole of human nature existed and acted in the Person of Adam at that point when Adam acted as our representative in the divine test. We sinned when Adam sinned and we fell when Adam fell and thus we are responsible for our own fallen condition and that is precisely why the consequences of sin are immediate even in the womb for still born infants. If they did not participate in Adam's sin they would not participate in the immediate and temporal consequences of Adams sin. However, God is gracious who will not judge individuals to eternal hell based merely upon corporate action of the human nature but sends to hell only on the basis of individual sins done in our own body according to our own works. Thus dying infants and others incapable of personal choice are saved by Christ exactly as they were condemned in Adam so that where sin abounded grace did much more abound. The atonment of Christ reconciled the whole world to God by removing the eternal penalty (not the temporal consequences) due to Adam's sin (Jn. 1:29).


    Another straw man argument! Election is NEVER to damnation but only to salvation. Christ did not come to condemn any man because they were condemned already. Election to salvation infers an already fallen condition or there is no need election "to" salvation. Vessels of "mercy" demands even that the elect were "children of wrath even as others" and undeserving of salvation and justly merited condemnation as "mercy" is not getting the justice they deserved.
     
  15. The Biblicist

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    Let's talk about Tozer's statement. First, Tozer abuses the Biblcial statement which he partly paraphrases and partly quotes "who is there to stay His hand or say, 'What doest thou?" In context this applies ONLY to God's own will not to man's or to the freedom or limits or characteristics of man's will. However, that is how Tozer twists it and applies it. So Tozer is guilty of misapplying the very scripture he quotes to prove his point.

    Second, Baptists of my flavor do not oppose the idea that God has sovereignly decreed that man was created purposely to exercise moral choice. However, when Tozer says, "When he chooses to do evil, he does not thereby countervail the sovereign will of God but fulfills it, inasmuch as the eternal decree decided not which choice the man should make but that he should be free to make it" does not provide the correct view of scripture entirely as he fails to distinguish between things that differ.

    The Scriptures make it clear that the choice to do evil ALWAYS violate the REVEALED will of God in Scriptures. Hence, one must make a clear distinction between the REVEALED will of God which is always violated by the choice and actions of evil versus the soverign will as spelled out in Isaiah 46:10 and the words:

    My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

    This sovereign will of God does limit the actions of men and their choices to sin as David plainly states:

    Psa. 76:10 Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.

    In other words, what reactions by men are not keeping with the eternal purpose of God which works all things together for his ultimate glory He prevents from occurring. Thus in regard to sin and evil there is clearly the PERMISSIVE WILL of God. Thus this is one aspect of God's sovereign will that places LIMITATIONS upon the freedom of man's moral choices. However, this does not prevent man from choosing to THINK contrary but it does prevent him by PROVIDENTIAL LIMITATIONS to ACT any way he chooses.

    This brings us to the PROVIDENTIAL LIMITATIONS of God's Sovereign will that God imposes upon EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE. Every circumstance in time provides only a LIMITED AMOUNT of alternative options, all of which are controlled by God's sovereign wil. Again, these LIMITED OPTIONS provided by divine providence does not limit man from contrary thoughts but it does limit possible actual active choices.

    Hence, what God has done by Sovereign choice is LIMITED all possible alternatives through divine providence. Thus the life of every man is something like a maze of dead ends and reroutes that allow for only one possible entrance into life to one possible exit out of life. In between that determined entrance and exit point are a limited number of alternative routes some of which lead to dead ends and forced retreats, to other routes that simply take him eventually back to the only route leading out of life. There may be many numbers of dead end, reroutes but all of which lead to one possible exit point in life. Man's freedom of will is restricted to God's Providential limited alternatives in every single circumstance where choice is made. Man's freedom is limited within this sovereignly designed maze of providentially limited options.

    Hence, in this fashion man fulfils God's soverign decree for free moral choice within the limited potential alternatives provided by Divine providence.

    However, this deals with only the possible alternative options for moral choice but not with what influences the will to make any given choice and here is where we come to strong disagreement.

    The arminian concept of the will is one of an isolated freedom from external or internal MORAL influences. No such will exists in or outside of God's creation. The will has no existence apart from the MORAL NATURE of the being exercising it whether it is God, angels or men. Indeed, the will is not an isolated faculty but merely the expression of a morally inclined intellect or emotions. This is proven by the fact that the Greek New Testament provdes only two possible terms translated "will":

    1. Boulomai - intellectual determination
    2. Thelomai - emotional determination

    It is impossible to make any choice that is not either/or/and intellectual or emotionally driven. You NEVER choose anything other than by intellectual or emotional determination or a combination of both.

    God's moral nature is the limitation within which his moral choice operates and cannot possibly exceed. That is why the Bible says HE CANNOT LIE because his power of moral choice forbids it. The Bible does not say God MAY NOT lie but CANNOT lie. The inability is due to his righteous nature.

    Contrariwise, the fallen nature of man is the direct opposite of God and when a man is lost he is said to be a "SERVANT OF SIN" and "FREE FROM RIGHTEOUSNESS" whereas a born again man in regard to his REGENERATED NATURE is said to be a "SERVANT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS" and "FREE FROM SIN."

    Even in a born again man there exists the fallen nature within the domain of his physical body identified as the "law of sin" which the regenerated man does not have the WILL POWER to overcome:

    Rom. 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

    Even in a born again person the "how to perform" is not found in the power of his will "For it is God that worketh in you both TO WILL and TO DO of His good pleasure" - Phili. 2:13. Thus, the will of the fallen nature is BOUND by sin and a SERVANT of sin without DESIRE and thus without POWER to choose that which is good IN GOD'S SIGHT.

    This brings us to the ultimate problem of the will in fallen man. His wicked heart is evil by nature and thus his choices NEVER originate from the right motive, which is whatever you do or say, do all for the glory of God and that is why Paul can say universally "ALL men have sinned and come SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD" - Rom. 7;23. They cannot choose anything righteous because every choice originates from the wrong motive and thus they are sinners BY NATURE and that is why they are sinners BY CHOICE.

    Important is this point. Man's inability is due to his unrighteous desires. He cannot because his heart is at war with God or as Paul says the carnal mind "IS enmity with God" and thus "IS not subject to the law of God" and thus "indeed CANNOT." Notice that inability is the result of the fallen moral nature not vice versa. He cannot because He will not and He will not because his heart is wicked.
     
    #15 The Biblicist, Nov 16, 2013
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  16. Reformed

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    I do not agree with your assertion. Neither do the Particular Baptists of the 17th Century who wrote:

    God is not the author of evil and sin, although He uses both for His purposes (Jas. 1:13; 1 JN. 1:15; Rom. 9:17).

    I disagree. God does no violence to the will of man. Again, from the 1689 LBC:

    God uses second causes, in this case the choices of men, to accomplish His sovereign plan (Acts 4:27, 28; JN. 19:11). Both God's sovereign plan and man's freedom of choice are preserved.

    Respectfully, this part of your post is not a biblical argument but a personal, subjective, commentary.
     
  17. Skandelon

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    Several points here:

    1. I never said the word 'author' because I know Calvinists avoid that term (not sure why), but for some reason that word is excluded, while just about any other implication about God's complete control over evil choices is still maintained.

    2. It doesn't appear logical as even the document you site seems to be claiming: "A, but not A"

    3. I agree that God uses evil for his purposes, but that is a far cry from His being the origin of man's desires and thus evil choices. Calvinists typically maintain that man cannot originate anything, including evil desires, because that would necessitate God is 'informed' by something outside himself. You make take a different approach, I don't know?

    Compatibilistic Calvinism, which is the most common, maintains that a choice is free as long as it is 'what the agent wants'...or 'in accordance with the man's desire.' They teach men will choose according to their greatest desire and that God, the creator of their natures, is the ultimate determiner of those desires. So, even though man is acting 'freely' (according to his greatest desire, and doing what he wants), it was God's determination of that man's nature and thus desires which ensured which choice would be made, and it could not have been other than what it was.

    Calvinists can claim that view of 'free will' is not violated all day long, but I maintain that a will whose desires are determined by someone other than himself, is not a free will. Claiming that the will is free so long as the man is doing what he wants means little when what he wants is ultimately determined by someone else.

    Your post is very respectful, and well presented. I VERY MUCH appreciate that! And you are right. This is my commentary, but I certainly could take the time to show many places throughout scripture where God doesn't appear to be manipulating, controlling or in any way dictating his opponents wills, but still He is able to use those evil choices (as you stated) to accomplish His purposes. I can show other times where God is presented as being upset or frustrated with men's choices, and desirous of them to change...even making appeals for them to change and 'holding out his hands to them' or 'longing for them to come.'

    I believe these types of passages support my analogy...in fact much of what you quoted from the confessions of old very much support my position, but sometimes words need to be defined to know what is really meant by them. To claim that 'free will,' for example, is not violated means little with that term hasn't been defined. I believe compatibilistic free will is a violation of free will and could argue that point further if necessary.
     
  18. The Biblicist

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    These are indisputable facts that no one seems to want to address. So I repost it again.
     
  19. Winman

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    Dude, do you know how absolutely arrogant you come across? Your views are very DISPUTABLE.

    Your problem is that you think your views are established fact when they are not. That is why not everyone is a Calvinist like you, because we believe the scriptures are teaching something quite different from your interpretation of scripture.

    Any of your points can easily be contested, and many easily refuted. For example;

    This is easily refuted in Romans 8;

    Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

    We have been made free from the law of sin in our members.

    I believe you do not understand the concept when Paul speaks of being a servant of sin, or a servant of righteousness. He is not saying he is compelled to sin, but he is OWNED by sin. He has been SOLD under sin like a slave in the markets.

    Rom 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

    This is proof that Paul is not speaking from the perspective of a saved person in Romans 7:14-25, but from the perspective of an unregenerated man. A Christian is not "sold under sin", Paul repeatedly says we have been made free from sin.

    Rom 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
    18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

    Before you were saved you belonged to sin, just like a slave in the market. And the wages of sin is death. This doesn't mean you are compelled to sin, a slave can disobey his master. But you are owned, you are held in bondage which you cannot escape, and the only wage you will ever receive from sin is death.

    Now you belong to Jesus, you are his slave or servant, and the gift of Jesus is eternal life.

    But again, a slave or servant is not compelled. You have to obey Jesus willingly, and that is what we are told to do.

    All this to show you that there are other "scriptural" points of view. You have by no means proven your position.
     
    #19 Winman, Nov 17, 2013
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  20. The Biblicist

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    The only way my views presented above can be "easily disputed" is by the use of eisgesis or poor Biblical methods of interpretation as illustrated in your response. Irrationality and a hardened heart against the truth cannot be corrected by anyone but God and so I leave you in his hands. It does no good to point out the flaws in your method of interpetation as you are willingly blind and want to remain so. Anyone who denies the presence of indwelling sin within the child of God lives in delusion. Neither Romans 6 or Romans 8 deny it. Indeed, the very exhortations in Romans 6 and Romans 8 demand it as those absolutely free from indwelling sin would need no such exhortations to yeild to the Spirit and deny the flesh would they????
     
    #20 The Biblicist, Nov 17, 2013
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