What "eternity" is in the hearts of the reprobate?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by webdog, Nov 23, 2005.

  1. webdog

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    Ecc 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

    I would like to know from a calvinist's perspective how God could create a man for hell, in essence, and still put that longing for eternity in their hearts. If salvation is out of the question for the "non elect", what eternity is in their hearts, the longing to suffer forever? If not, this sounds like a monsterous and barbaric God.
     
  2. Helen

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    Webdog is asking a good question that needs to be responded to.
     
  3. canadyjd

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    When you frame a question in such a way that grossly misrepresents another's views, don't expect a whole lot of responses.

    peace to you [​IMG]
     
  4. Helen

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    I don't see anything wrong with the question. It is presenting a Bible passage and asking how this squares with Calvinism. Perfectly legit. question.
     
  5. Ed Edwards

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    When you frame a question in such a way that grossly misrepresents another's views, don't expect a whole lot of responses.

    peace to you [​IMG]
    </font>[/QUOTE]when you fail to specify the version of the
    Bible you got your verse from,
    don't expect a whole lot of responses

    Here is how to cite your version
    (not how different our versions read :confused: )

    Ecc 3:11 (KJV1611 Edition):
    He hath made euery thing beautifull in his time:
    also hee hath set the world in their heart,
    so that no man can finde out the worke that
    God maketh from the beginning to the end.
     
  6. Helen

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    Ed, the word translated 'eternity' in the NIV and other editions is 'olam' in the Hebrew. It is used 440 times in the Old Testament.

    In Psalm 93:2
    "Your throne was established long ago;
    you are from all eternity (olam)"

    In 1 Chronicles 16:36
    "Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
    from everlasting (olam) to everlasting (olam)."

    The actual word chosen by the Hebrew scholars in the Alexandrian LXX can translate 'the whole world' or 'the ages'. The indication is at the very least, all of time as man reckons it.

    One thing that 'olam' does NOT mean, is the world itself and/or worldly things! It is a time element and the KJV1611 translators were wrong to translate it the way they did.
     
  7. HankD

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    I'm no calvinist but I'll give my answer.

    I see this passage as presenting an ability that man has, that is to be able to conceive of eternity.

    Animals for instance can't conceive beyond the moment of the here and now.
    Even "tomorrow" is an impossible concept for them.

    However even so He has put this eternity in our heart we are still not able to figure it all out.

    We can conceive of eternity but then get all confused when we try to figure out how He made this place in 6 days which seems to be so very very old.

    Also, I don't see your question as one that is any more or less difficult for the subcribers of the theories of Arminius to answer (and I am no Arminian).

    Either way, (By God's decree or by man's choice) the ones who turn out to be reprobate will go on into this eternity separated from God.

    What will it matter to them in their misery and will the ultimate plan of God and His innate character be any different?

    The ultimate destiny of each individual is what it is and known only to God ultimately.

    Yes, I know that sounds like fatalism but perhaps it's not because There has been or will be a choice on someone's part (God or man).

    My head says God.
    My heart says man.

    HankD
     
  8. webdog

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    Sorry, Ed. It's from the ESV.

    Hankd, you said a lot without answering the question. This question is not difficult for Arminians or non calvinists as we agree that God has given ALL MEN a choice in accepting His free gift...because of eternity being "set" into our (all men) hearts. If a man is created without given the chance to experience eternity with God, what "olam" is set in their hearts? Destruction?
     
  9. webdog

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    When you frame a question in such a way that grossly misrepresents another's views, don't expect a whole lot of responses.

    peace to you [​IMG]
    </font>[/QUOTE]Explain which view was misrepresented...that by default unconditional election teaches that men were created with the sole purpose of spending eternity in hell, or God elects arbitrarily giving some no chance of spending eternity with Him?
     
  10. HankD

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    I did answer, not the description of eternity but the concept of eternity itself.

    As I said, my cat can't even comprehend tomorrow.

    You and I on the otherhand can conceive of eternity (boundless time) and/or infinity (boundless space) in your mind.

    The natural inclination of the unregenerate heart concerning death is annihilation not eternal suffering.

    HankD
     
  11. Helen

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    I like Hank's reponse. I had never thought of that passage in those terms. I'll enjoy chewing on this one awhile!

    A blessed Thanksgiving, folks.
     
  12. webdog

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    I would disagree. You can go up to anyone on the street and ask them what happens when they die. The majority will say "Heaven", some will bring up reincarnation, and some will bluntly say hell. The fact is, all men have an inborn desire to live forever. This is what separates us from animals. If we don't know what happens when we die, we hope that it is something good, but we still believe there is "something". I don't believe God intended this verse to be anything other than what it says at face value: He has put eternity in our hearts. If there was no eternity (regardless how we perceive it) for all men, God would not have put it there in our hearts to think about.
     
  13. HankD

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    I think we might have reached an agreement (at least for the most part).

    Yes, here in the Judao-Christian culture you would get that answer because of the influence of these belief systems.

    But actually the world majority believe otherwise. Even here in America, I have encountered many in my discussions with others who say things like "you die like a dog" or "they put you in the ground and it's the end of you"

    But as to the religions of the world:
    Hinduism teaches transmigration of the soul but it eventually leads to (according to their doctrine) a total surrender of "self" and a the release or annihilation of the soul never to be reborn.

    Also the Nirvana of Buddhism (which comes out of Hinduism) is a kind of annihilation of the soul as well as animism or ancestoral worship, death involving a kind of mind meld of all spirits (everything has a "spirit" even a rock), another form of annihilation (a lose of either self-consciousness or self-identity).

    "Hell" is somewhat peculiar to semitic and our Christian belief (although Zoroasterism had/has a form of "hell", probably due to semitic influence).

    Christianity alone teaches Eternal life of the person without lose of self conciousness or self-identity. Some forms of Judaism a possible exception.

    All others teach the possibility of immortality (and there is a difference between immortality and eternal life) or some form of annihilism such as a spiritual reabsorption into the universe or an ancestoral mind meld.

    Immortality is life to the end of the world or the end of time after which is annihilation.

    I would be more inclined to agree with your latest post:
    Eternal life is the life of the Eternal One infused into those born of the Spirit.

    Technically, Eternal life has no past, present or future but is a state of being of the children of God without lose of self consciousness or self-identity and exists beyond the limits of time.

    "Eternal" life is the absolute and unique teaching of Jesus Christ which can only be known by the special revelation through Him by the Word of God and the Spirit of God.

    All other religions have not this special revelation, and you are correct, they are pining away, laboring to fill the gap He has put into our hearts.

    John 17
    2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
    3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

    Matthew 11
    27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

    28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
    29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
    30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

    However, I repeat (in slightly different words), IMO your premise of God being "monstrous and barbaric" is no more or less a problem for the calvinist or the Arminian because the reprobate will suffer this agony and misery whether God is a calvinist or an arminian.

    HankD
     
  14. StraightAndNarrow

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    Actually, I don't think man has any concept about the infinite or the eternal. We don't have any experience with the eternal. We have only dealt with things that happen in a finite period of time.

    What happens to time in eternity? Does it go on or stop? Can we really conceive of being tortured to an extent that would have killed us over and over again and yet in Hell that will occur? Will things change in eternity or will it always be the same?

    The Calvinist answer to your question is that God chose the elect before the beginnings of time. It's obvious that if you're not one of the elect then you're eternally damned and it was a direct result of God's action since there are only two possible states, the elect and the non-elect. They argue that all would be lost without God's chosing some to live and therefore He does not chose some to die (the second death).

    This is a ludicrous argument to me and I don't accept it. If he preordains some to live then he preordains some to die.
     
  15. HankD

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    This would be true SN except the Scripture says that He has put eternity in our hearts. He does what He pleases whether we accept it or not. Remember all the questions to job?

    For instance Job 38 (NKJV)
    4 " Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.
    5 Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it?
    6 To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone,
    7 When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
    8 "Or who shut in the sea with doors, When it burst forth and issued from the womb;

    Besides, if we didn't have any concept of the eternal what are we doing talking about it and why did Jesus Christ offer us something we couldn't conceive of, eternal life?

    Without the understanding of the eternal the Gospel of eternal life would make no sense to us.

    HankD
     
  16. GeneMBridges

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    When you frame a question in such a way that grossly misrepresents another's views, don't expect a whole lot of responses.

    peace to you [​IMG]
    </font>[/QUOTE]Explain which view was misrepresented...that by default unconditional election teaches that men were created with the sole purpose of spending eternity in hell, or God elects arbitrarily giving some no chance of spending eternity with Him?
    </font>[/QUOTE]That's a misrepresentation.

    A. Men that are reprobated are left in their sins.

    B. Election is not "arbitrary."

    C. Arminianism agrees with Calvinism that some are created with the sole purpose of spending eternity in hell.

    There is a sense in which mercy is arbitrary in a way that justice is not, for mercy, by definition, is undeserved, and not, therefore, obligatory. Reformed theology does not teach there is no selection criterion at all. It is merely hidden and undisclosed. We do not tell God He is arbitrary for what not disclosing His reasons. Is a storm that God causes “arbitrary?”

    To say that it is arbitrary in the above sense is not to say that it's unjust or unfair, for inequality of treatment is only unjust when it denies a party his just claims to something. But, by definition, no one has a just claim on the "mercy" of God. All are condemned as sinners and deserve death. (cf. Romans 3).

    If the purpose of reprobation is to manifest the mercy and justice of God (Romans 9), then how is that arbitrary? By attacking the doctrine of reprobation and election, your own assertion has just supplied a reason for reprobation. Something would only be arbitrary if it had no rationale, no overarching aim.

    What is arbitrary has no reason or criterion and therefore no purpose. Scripture declares in Ephesians 1 that we have been predestined according to the kind intention of God’s will, and Romans 8 says that part of the reason has to do with God’s intention that Christ be the firstborn of many brethren and that part of this purpose extends to us being conformed to Christ’s image. Therefore, election/predestination is in no way “arbitrary” because it is not random or purposeless.

    On the contrary, in the Arminian view, damnation is completely arbitrary. The Calvinist says that God creates the damned as a means of manifesting his attribute of justice. By contrast, Arminians can't give any reason for why God would make men knowing they would sin and fall under condemnation and never believe and be saved.

    Moreover, since God is not actively foreknowing and predestinating people, in the Arminian system, we see real impersonal determinism working itself out by way of real fatalism. Their definition of free will is "indeterminate" free will, and thus chance alone and impersonal forces can sway the will, not the desires of the heart or even God; in fact such things are deemed "unjust" and "unmerciful," if they determine our choices. Thus the free will position that seeks to preserve man’s freedom of choice is, in reality, impersonal and fixed, thus being both deterministic and fatalistic. The only way to make it less fixed is the way of Open Theism, which denies the omniscience and omnipotence of God! The Calvinist position is personal, and God is active in the lives of people who make real choices with real moral boundaries. Calvinism is thus inherently personal for both God and man! We agree with Arminians that real, impersonal determinism and fatalism are repugnant to God and man and perversion of the gospel. We thank them for pointing this out. Why then, we ask, do they believe that very thing themselves?

    Also mainstream Calvinism affirms unconditional election, but it denies unconditional reprobation that is brought to pass in the same manner (equal ultimacy). For Calvinism says that sin is a necessary, albeit insufficient, condition of reprobation. No one deserves salvation whereas everyone deserves damnation. The reprobates are also sinners. Election is a result of direct intervention. Reprobation is passive.

    Salvation as election and reprobation as preterition are unconditional, meaning they find their ground in God, not in foreseen faith or wickedness. In Romans 9, we are told, 11for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls.” However, election as justification requires effectual calling (Romans 8:29-30, John 6:37-45, 65). Men are regenerated and believe (1 John 5:1) as a result, and they are justified as a result. Reprobation as condemnation requires only men sin, which they do according to their own natures. No matter whether one accepts the imputation of Adam’s sin or not, it is undeniable that men are all guilty of sin on their own. God simply passes the reprobate over, and all of them willfully sin.

    If God hardens them, He is not violating their wills in the process. He is only giving men what they desire. Isn’t the Arminian doctrine of the will designed to say that God is only justified if he acts according to men’s free will decisions? Since rejection of Christ is the de facto position of all men apart from grace (John 3:18) electing and calling them, then how can the Arminian object to reprobation or hardening, since God is giving men what they already desire and honoring their “free will” decision?

    Calvinists deny that men who want into the kingdom are kept out and those who do not want in are "dragged kicking and screaming into the kingdom." To allege otherwise is a straw man.

    How is it unmerciful or unjust for God to elect some and pass by others? In fact, I would say, your position is the unmerciful one. Mercy and justice are separate categories in ethics. To be merciful something must be undeserved. To be “just” either a standard of justice must be satisfied or something must be deserved. Mercy can satisfy justice if somebody else takes the penalty for a wrong act so that the Judge can extend mercy to somebody else. The Arminian, by grounding election in foreseen faith ultimately makes God unjust, because all people believe for different reasons. In fact, it is the same kind of favoritism that James condemns, because this faith arises as an intrinsic foreseen characteristic in those persons. This is not true equality. Calvinists believe the ground, or anchor, the reason for electing (choosing) (by the way, “elect” is another Bible word, thus election is a doctrine taught in Scripture) some and allowing others to continue in sin is found only in God and is not done with respect to either foreseen faith or foreseen wickedness. (Eph. 1, Romans 9). This is truly "just" because people are all in the hands of a God who alone is perfectly just and loving and does nothing arbitrarily and will always do the right thing.

    Calvinism is unfair. So is Arminianism. If God was fair, everybody would go to hell. We do not want God to be fair!

    Additionally, since the cross is the place where justice for sins is satisfied for Christians, justice is satisfied for them there . . . in hell for unbelievers. This makes every part of salvation, from beginning to end, a matter of pure mercy that God extends to every sinner as He so chooses. If people are somehow owed a chance to hear the gospel and accept or reject Christ, then how is this merciful? Thus, the free will position, not the Calvinist position, is the one grounded in justice alone but not in mercy at all. Salvation, by definition, is not about justice. It is about mercy.

    Therefore, in Calvinism, salvation is about mercy. In Arminianism it is the result of God responding to men’s wills and thus in the category of justice not mercy. Arminianism is thus unmerciful, because it puts salvation out of the category of mercy altogether. Mercy is about what you do not deserve. Justice is about obligation, e.g. what you deserve. If regeneration is a response to faith, then this is the beginning of salvation by merit, which is in the category of justice, because God has responded to your free will choice and given you the fruit of your labor. This is in the category of justice, not mercy. If regeneration is monergistic and precedes faith, then God has acted unilaterally to save a person and convert them, a person, remember, who deserves only damnation in hell, he does not deserve this. This is, therefore, an act of pure mercy. It is the free will argument that makes God unjust, unloving, and unmerciful, not the predestinarian argument.
     
  17. Helen

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    oh help...!

    I'm glad I'm not Calvinist or Arminian...just count me as Biblical!

    God is not willing that ONE should perish.

    That's a true fact.

    The other true fact is that many do perish.

    THEREFORE, there are other wills at work, ALLOWED by God.
     
  18. GeneMBridges

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    Where does the text speak of a "longing" for eternity. It merely speaks to a concept of eternity. This is an example of common grace. Calvinists, except those in the Protestant Reformed Churches, do not deny the reality of common grace.

    This text simply manifests the truth Paul expounds in Romans 1. "For the wrath of God is revealled from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what is know about God is evident within them, for God made it evident to them, for since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."

    You're simply inferring that God would not do it there if it doesn't have something to do with their ability to believe. A command to do a thing proves the ability to do it. E.g. God would not command us to do what we cannot do, or God would not give us such grace if it didn't have some salvific significance.

    Actually, it's given to show man that there is a Lawgiver over Him. Your objection is irrational. Nothing can be deduced about abilities from a command. One can command someone to do something to show them their inability and increase their guilt.

    If you believe a command infers the ability to do it, well how about here? God commands, in Ezekiel 18:31, “Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit.” Can we do this? No! Though it is a command, God must do this himself: Ezekiel 36:26: I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. So a command to believe, a command to choose, does not imply we are able to do this.
     
  19. GeneMBridges

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    You quoted only the second half of the text. The full text includes the words in the first phrase, “God is longsuffering toward you;” some translations (KJV) use “us” or “usward.”

    Begin your examination of the text of 2 Peter 3:9 by reading the full text and asking to whom “you/us” refers.

    You're committing the extensional fallacy Christians who deny special redemption typically appeal to the “pantos” (“all”) passages of Scripture. But this confuses extension (referent) with intension (sense). A universal quantifier has a standard intension, but a variable extension. And that follows from the nature of a quantifier, which is necessarily general and abstract rather than specific and concrete marker. That’s what makes it possible to plug in concrete content. A universal quantifier is a class quantifier. As such, it can have no fixed range of reference. In each case, that must be supplied by the concrete context and specific referent. In other words, a universal quantifier has a definite intension but indefinite extension. So its extension is relative to the level of generality of the reference-class in view. Thus, there is no presumption in favor of taking “all” or “every” as meaning everyone without exception. “All” or “every” is always relative to all of something. By now, you should have a pretty good idea...Arminians employ this fallacy repeatedly.

    In this text: “any” and “all” are both universal class quantifiers. What is the referent? Answer: “You/us” delimits “any” and “all.” However, unless there are other clues in the text itself, these delimiters could be out of place and the text could be universal. Are there any additional clues? Yes!

    In 3:3-7 Peter sets up an “us/them” dichotomy. “Them” refers to unbelievers, specifically false teachers, who have risen up and are preaching against the Second Coming. They are mockers, “following after their own lusts,” and making light of the promise of Christ’s return. Peter speaks of this happening in “the last days,” and, since these kinds of men have risen up throughout history, we know Peter thinks of the present day as the last days. In verse 8, Peter directs his message to his audience, telling them not to let what follows escape their (“your”) attention. “You” is his audience, whom he clearly says in 1:2 have received Christ and in 1:10 are “brethren,” and in 3:1 are “beloved.” You, which is delimiting “all” and “any” refers to the brethren, beloved, those who have received Christ.

    Peter is teaching that, contrary to the mockers and false teachers, God is not at all slow concerning His promise. What promise? Answer: the return of the Lord, and He is patient toward you (beloved) not desiring that any (of you) perish, but all (of you) come to repentance. To come and not perish to repentance is defined in v.14: that Christians be found by Christ in peace, spotless, and blameless, and on guard against error. Peter is teaching two things: (1) God is holding off the Second Coming until all those who have been chosen for salvation according to His plan and that (2) God is being kind toward those living at the time of His coming, commanding them to be ready and prepared.


    If any/all refers to all men without exception, then this text means the world will never end, because new people are being born all the time. If the reference is to God’s people, the world will end when the last of the elect (a large, but finite number) has repented and believed.

    It's true that God is does not delight in the death of the wicked, but rather the wicked turns from his evil way and live...but that infers nothing about His decree to redeem them. It refers to the sincerity and universality attached to a command, not the plan of redemption itself. Faith in Christ and repentance is the duty of all persons, on the basis that it is a command, not a simple request. God is under no obligation to any man for them to hear the gospel, much less save them. Arminians must agree that the masses of men who were damned apart from ever hearing the gospel were created for hell, to say they can be saved on another basis than Christ is to negate the one way of salvation.

    [ November 27, 2005, 07:59 PM: Message edited by: GeneMBridges ]
     
  20. webdog

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    OK, using your own definition of the passage, why would God put a "concept of eternity" into the hearts of the reprobate if they were created for damnation? What exact "concept of eternity" do they have...suffering forever? This would make the "god" of calvinism a monster.
     

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