What is Fatalism?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by reformedbeliever, Jan 23, 2007.

  1. reformedbeliever

    reformedbeliever
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    As a five point Calvinist, I've been accused of being a fatalist. I want to look at what fatalism is, and prove that as one who believes in an absolute sovereign God, I can not be fatalist.

    This is from Wikipedia;
    Fatalism is the view that human deliberation and actions are pointless and ineffectual in determining events, because whatever will be will be.
    One ancient argument, called the idle argument, went like this:
    • If it is fated for you to recover from your illness, then you will recover whether you call a doctor or not.
    • Likewise, if you are fated not to recover, you will not do so even if you call a doctor.
    • So, calling a doctor makes no difference.
    Arguments like the above are usually rejected even by causaldeterminists, who may say that it may be determined that only a doctor can cure you. There are other examples that show clearly that human deliberation makes a big difference - a chess player who deliberates should usually be able to defeat one of equal strength who is only allowed one second per move.
    Determinism should therefore not be mistaken for fatalism. Although determinists would accept that the future is, in some sense, set, they accept human actions as factors that will cause the future to take the shape that it will - even though those human actions are themselves determined; if they had been different, the future would also be different.
    Arguments for fatalism, although rarely accepted, do have a bearing on discussions about the nature of truth. The logical argument for fatalism says that, if there will be a sea battle tomorrow, and someone says "there will be a sea battle tomorrow" then that sentence is true, even before the sea battle occurs. But given that the sentence is true, the sea battle could not fail to take place. This argument can be rejected by denying that predictions about the future have to be true or false when they are made - ie, rejecting bivalence for sentences about the future, though this is controversial. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatalism

    Wikipedia also says that fate is actually destiny, which is predetermined events.

    Most non Calvinist view election as God foreseeing who would believe and then basing salvation upon what He forsaw man would believe. This would be predestination according to most non Cals. That is teaching fate or destiny, as what a man will do, or some would claim that is God seeing what man will do.... and then predestinating them to it. This is exactly what Gordon has claimed, among others. This is fatalism. This is caused by what man will do, not God. This is impersonal fate. Fatalism.

    The Calvinist view is that election begins with God. Election is God's gracious choice of individuals to salvation. This election is not arbitrary, but according to God's perfect will.... and for His glory. This is not simple fate, but God's action in saving people who would have gone to hell if not for His intervention.

    Ok....... the debate is on. Prove me wrong.
     
  2. MB

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    Hi Reformedbeliever;
    Personally I don't like labels. They tend to alienate the person whom the labels is attached to. The idea of fatalism is that no matter what we do we can't escape the final destination to any given situation. This label isn't pretty but, doesn't this belief you have of God's foreknowledge and predestination, have the same out come?. A destination or fate of what will be, regardless of what we do because God has foreknowledge or has predestined, or ordained, or appointed, it to be. Fatalism is believing that every event is controlled and has this final result that no one can change. Not even God because, God doesn't change.
    MB
     
  3. Benjamin

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    God is in control but not all events are predetermined so Calvinist determination doctrine is false and fatalistic. Proof??? Here it comes!

    Is God responsible for everything that happens including evil and sin to be in control or does He allow His creatures the freedom to choose within His will and maintain control? A doctrine that all events are predetermined and are unalterable by man must conclude both “everything is predetermined” and that “God is the author of sin.”

    According to Calvinist doctrine for God to be sovereign He must have predestined everything, true?

    1) Necessarily God has fore determined everything that will happen
    2) God has determined X
    3) Therefore it is necessary that X will happen

    Is it not theological fatalism to this doctrine of determinism to conclude that anything that happens has not been predetermined by God? Let’s prove it then and let’s see you deal with it.

    In conclusion of the sovereignty doctrine that God must have predetermined everything before it will happen and totally deny man having any free will to alter the future as not a possible sovereign decision of God presumably because of lack of control then one must agree that God is responsible for all happenings regardless of the origin being good or evil.

    Also God would have to foreknow all things in advance being responsible for predestinating them. I would suggest God may have a greater knowledge than mans simple understanding of foreknowledge to allow for things to happen freely but yet He can know what the future will bring and still be able to interact with His creatures to conform them to His will as He pleases; can He not be sovereign in this way?

    God does allow within His control for man to freely make choices and is able to have knowledge greater than our understanding to both know the future and yet allow it to change in truth being undetermined as He pleases.

    The following scripture is a good example that God has allowed man to make a change in his own destiny freely and although within His will and sovereign ability to control He forgoes foreknowledge and predestination to serve His purpose. Man’s ability of free will is seen while God communicates to David the truth as far as what has been determined up the point before Saul comes down, but David changes the circumstances, not God. If God had the circumstances predetermined then one would have to conclude God lied to David, I think not. God instructed David in the truth within the circumstances at hand and David chose of his own free will to change them.

    Note: David inquired of the Lord and received clear truthful instructions in he circumstances that existed at the time that he asked. Later David changed the unfavorable circumstances of his own free will because of the knowledge God gave to him as truth and this shows David had a choice and freedom to do so.



    (1Sa 23:1) Then they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines fight against Keilah, and they rob the threshingfloors.

    (1Sa 23:2) Therefore David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the LORD said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah.

    (1Sa 23:3) And David's men said unto him, Behold, we be afraid here in Judah: how much more then if we come to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?

    (1Sa 23:4) Then David inquired of the LORD yet again. And the LORD answered him and said, Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into thine hand.

    (1Sa 23:5) So David and his men went to Keilah, and fought with the Philistines, and brought away their cattle, and smote them with a great slaughter. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.

    (1Sa 23:6) And it came to pass, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David to Keilah, that he came down with an ephod in his hand.

    (1Sa 23:7) And it was told Saul that David was come to Keilah. And Saul said, God hath delivered him into mine hand; for he is shut in, by entering into a town that hath gates and bars.

    (1Sa 23:8) And Saul called all the people together to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men.

    (1Sa 23:9) And David knew that Saul secretly practiced mischief against him; and he said to Abiathar the priest, Bring hither the ephod.

    (1Sa 23:10) Then said David, O LORD God of Israel, thy servant hath certainly heard that Saul seeketh to come to Keilah, to destroy the city for my sake.

    (1Sa 23:11) Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as thy servant hath heard? O LORD God of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant. And the LORD said, He will come down.

    (1Sa 23:12) Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul? And the LORD said, They will deliver thee up.

    (1Sa 23:13) Then David and his men, which were about six hundred, arose and departed out of Keilah, and went whithersoever they could go. And it was told Saul that David was escaped from Keilah; and he forbore to go forth.

    (1Sa 23:14) And David abode in the wilderness in strongholds, and remained in a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand.




    Hmm, guess that’s that; the Calvinist view of determinism is fatalistic according to your own explanation and the above scripture?


    :tear: :flower:
     
  4. reformedbeliever

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    No sir. Fatalism is simple fate. What will be will be. I believe in a sovereign God that determines things with His perfect knowledge. It is not mans mere fate, but God that determines. The non cal thinks this is unfair, or "not my God". They are held to God seeing what man will believe, and that determines their fate.... fatalism. Calvinist on the otherhand, attribute it to God's perfect knowledge... not what we will believe or do.
     
  5. reformedbeliever

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    Sorry, I don't buy it. God's determining something is not simple fate, it is Almighty Sovereign God determining it.

    Are you trying to say that God did not use men's evil for good? Joseph is a perfect example. God creates evil. He indirectly or directly causes all things to happen. That is how he can cause all things to work together for the good of those who love Him. Not all things will be good, but He causes them to work for the good.
     
  6. reformedbeliever

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    No evil happens without God's permission. See Job.

    Ecclesiastes 7: 13. Consider the work of God, For who is able to straighten what He has bent?
    14. In the day of prosperity be happy, But in the day of adversity consider-- God has made the one as well as the other So that man will not discover anything {that will be} after him.

    God is not the author of sin. See the bible.
    Read Psalms 139.
     
  7. reformedbeliever

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    Quote:
    The logical argument for fatalism says that, if there will be a sea battle tomorrow, and someone says "there will be a sea battle tomorrow" then that sentence is true, even before the sea battle occurs. But given that the sentence is true, the sea battle could not fail to take place.




    No, it is determined by God's perfect will, not simple fate.
     
  8. donnA

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    by the defination of fataliam it can not be assigned any christian view, fatalism assumes either there is no God in control of the universe, or there is a God, and He takes no part in the universe, He created and set things on their way and lets whatever hapen happen. Kind of like good luck, everything is by chance, no plan exsists. We know from scripture this isn't true. apparently someone misused the word fatalism.
     
  9. reformedbeliever

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    I agree with you Donna. If any one of the two views comes closer to fatalism however, it would be the view that God sees what man will believe and then base election upon that. It would be man's fate, the truth of what he will choose, that would determine his fate.

    The Calvinist view has God as the first cause. That view gives God all the credit. That view has God planning for His glory.
     
  10. skypair

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    Reformo

    My bad :laugh:
     
    #10 skypair, Jan 23, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2007
  11. webdog

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    How does the non cal side come closer to fatalism if God being the first cause, would be the first cause of the very sin man is held responsible for?
     
  12. J.D.

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    Good posts. This goes right along with the issue of the "foresight only" view of foreknowledge. If God only foresees the future, but has not determined the future, then the future is determined by some impersonal, fixed series of events known as "fate".

    The line between fate and biblical determinism may seem thin on first observation, but it is an absolutely critical distinction. We believe that God predestines the means to the outcome as well as the outcome itself. If a doctor prescribes a medicine that cures the disease, we see that God has not only decreed the cure, but has predestined the doctor's work and knowledge and the manufacture of the medicine. This is not the do-nothing mentality that anti-calvinists believe the doctrine of predestination brings about.
     
  13. Benjamin

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    And there you have it! Right out of the Calvinist mouth! The inexorable conclusion of determinism!

    Well that aside; I’m not going to go in circles through your whole theism smoke screen of Calvie proof texting. I offered you up scripture that shows what God had told David would happen was not predetermined as it did not HAPPEN. NOW, deal with it! And try doing it without calling God a liar, which is against His nature, or maybe you want to show me that He was wrong and therefore doesn’t have exhaustive foreknowledge, you CAN’T and hold on to your determinist views in light of this scripture, therefore your view is fatalistic. The answer is that we have free will and God interacts with us within the truth of His nature, He is Love, Truth, He does not lie, and He created time with a purpose to interact with His creatures for the good. God is Good.
     
  14. reformedbeliever

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    You, my friend are the one calling God a liar. Read Isaiah 45:7

    7. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.

    He creates calamity because of His righteous judgement. If you want to call Calvinist liars because they believe the Bible...... go ahead.
     
  15. skypair

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    Dearest reformbeliever...

    Let's first stick with the definition you gave and not go wandering into uncharted territory by making fatalism = fate.

    Precisely! Have you ever read Oedipus Rex? In it, the protagonist feels he is freely choosing his every move and yet he ends up fulfilling EVERY prediction of the fate the gods had planned for him.

    This is what Calvinism says as well. That we freewillers only think that we are choosing but our fate is determined by God and unchangeable. Calvinism is Greek mythology "warmed over" for "Christian" consumption!

    See, this is just using words to smear someone. You go totally away from the definition you provide to say that man is the author of his fate and then calling that fatalism instead of what it is -- free will. In terms of logic, fatalism and free will are exact opposites, reformo. Fatalism says there is nothing man can do -- free will says man chooses his own fate.

    You'd have done well to quit after your definition cause you managed furthermore to bolux up God's sovereignty as well. Think about it this way -- under fatalism, it is God who decides everything. Under free will, God allows/permits man personal sovereignty and authority in realms like family, work, self, etc. such that God Himself doesn't make your wife do anything. She responds to YOU free will-wise. She's (we're) NOT "born fatalists" and that is part of the light God has given us, right?

    skypair
     
  16. skypair

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    J.D. -- so you really can't see that fatalism means that man has NO choices?? In your description of it, you admit that man would be able to choose which means what you describe is NOT fatalistic -- that man can choose to go to heaven just as God offered. "Behold I offer you life and death. Choose life." God said! That is NOT God determining (fatalism). That is God allowing man to choose.

    skypair
     

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