What UNIQUELY sets apart a 'work of God' from every other common event in history?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Skandelon, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    What makes an event in history uniquely a 'work of God' in a more deterministic worldview?

    In other words, if all events, choices and acts are divinely brought to pass through His decisive conditioning of all things that occur (however you want to nuance it), then what is different about those things which God actively DOES and what he merely 'ORDAINS.'
     
  2. Skandelon

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    46 views and no takers? :(
     
  3. Tom Butler

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    I sat at my keyboard for a long time, thinking through my views on this subject. It was quite humbling to come face to face with the realization that there is something I don'tknow. And that is, how to resolve God's sovereignty and man's will. That is, does got ordain, cause and decree, or simply permit?

    I doubt if any of us really believe God is a hands-off kinda God. I certainly believe that God could prevent evil, being sovereign. But then that raises the question, why doesn't he? Or, how does God pick and choose which evil he prevents, and which he permits?

    I guess I lean toward determinism, mainly because of God's omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence, but I am reluctant to go all the way, because that can make God the author of evil..

    All I can say is, I have a lot of questions when I see Him. The line forms behind me. And I definitely am glad you raised the questions, since nobody has ever brought them up before. (Joking, of course).
     
    #3 Tom Butler, Dec 27, 2012
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  4. Skandelon

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    Refreshingly honesty. I believe we all must appeal to mystery on some level. I can live with that...

    My follow up question would be this: Why not appeal to mystery PRIOR to drawing conclusions that suggest God could be the author of evil...(i.e. deterministic conclusions such as, "if God knew it prior to creating it, then he must have determined it to be," etc.)
     
  5. OldRegular

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    I would say that the only certain event in history since the Resurrection of Jesus Christ that is the "unique" work of God is the Salvation of a person.

    The Bible is full of events that are the "unique" work of God. That does not necessarily mean that all were recognized or attributed to God at that particular time but some likely were; to those with discernment.

    I believe in the Sovereignty of God, not simply the omnipotence of God, but the exercise of that omnipotence in the governing of all things. I can point to events in the past where "I believe" that God was working or intervening but to demonstrate that they were "unique" works of God is a different story! I suspect it is unlikely an event in current history that is the "unique" work of God would be recognized as such or could be demonstrated as such other than salvation as mentioned above!.
     
  6. OldRegular

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    As I recall Job had a lot of questions!
     
  7. Winman

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    Well, I believe evil is necessary, even for God.

    Mat 18:7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

    Jesus said "for it must needs be that offences (sins) come". Sin cannot be avoided, even by God.

    If God knows that we will sin, then the only way to prevent us from sinning is to either not create us, or destroy us before we sin.

    Some would argue God could make us robots that cannot sin, I disagree. God is moral, he cannot enslave another person. It would be just as wrong for God to enslave a person as it would be for us to do so.

    In addition, God cannot create perfection, because only God is perfection. All creation must necessarily be inferior to God, it can be no other way.

    Therefore, God must tolerate and suffer sin to a degree, else he would have to destroy us all before we could sin, or not create us at all.

    That said, God is in control, he decides when he has had enough. God can also use foreknown evil to bring about his purposes such as Joseph's brothers. I do not believe God caused them to hate Joseph, or to plan to kill him. I believe that God actually countered this plan until the caravan came along, and then God put it into their hearts to sell Joseph into slavery, bringing Joseph down to Egypt as God had planned.

    But this is all too fantastic for any of us to understand.
     
  8. Cypress

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    Logically ? Nothing.
     
  9. quantumfaith

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    I am perfectly Happy to be one with many questions, many more than can even possibly be answered in my lifetime. While many are completely unanswered...I trust in God, but I will always be an inquisitive person seeking to learn and seek understanding....at least the best that I am capable of.
     
  10. Yeshua1

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    the Cross of Christ!
     
  11. Aaron

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    That's easy. The nature thereof. God ordained that Christ would die at the hands of murderers. Anyone can murder, but who could raise Him from the dead?
     
  12. Skandelon

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    So, what are you saying? The crucifixion wasn't a 'work of God' but the resurrection was? Jonah's commissioning and convincing to go to Nineveh? Paul's calling to apostleship? The writing of the Pilgrim's Progress? The writing of the scriptures? Your last evangelistic encounter where you lead someone to faith? Your last sin?

    Works of God or not? And what distinguishes them?
     
  13. zrs6v4

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    Depending on where the definition is coming from, a "Work of God" could mean:

    1. Everything that comes to pass in some way shape or form, not that we directly attribute sin to God...

    2. Not that God isn't in control and connected in some way to all things, but a work of God could be used to describe specific events such as the life of Christ, death, and resurrection. In other words a Work of God is just a way of saying, "look at what God did here" not limiting his works to those specific events labeled His works.

    3. Only certain events are works of God and other events God in His sovereignty merely ordains to come to pass.

    4. other options

    Are there any more possibilities you can come up with on how this can be defined?

    To answer your second question about the difference between what God "actively does" and "merely ordains" is not simple no matter where we come from theologically. I agree with previous posts about the mysterious side of this, we all must have some humility here. I think when we say "God actively does" we can easily see this in good things such as His leading people by the Spirit. We also see that God upholds all things together from the atom to the entire universe (control over nature, seems to be directly controlled). I do not know the details to how God does this although I believe this points to His directing and constant control over what happens. I do not believe He set up a universe that is self-sustaining apart from His power. I currently see this as God's constant ongoing command if I may word it that way. Therefore God is actively involved in all the details of nature and in mankind.
    I do not see a separation from what God ordains and what He actively does, but here me out as I explain what I mean. This is where mystery comes in and the fog becomes thick fast. We see that God does good which is no problem when we are talking about His actively doing because God is good. It becomes a problem when we see Him controlling the universe actively and children dying in natural disasters (as one example). We logically say: God controls the universe and He had control over the tornado that struck down the school, therefore God is heartless for doing such a thing. At the very least why not stop it if you let tornadoes act freely? (In my view I see God constantly connected with all workings in His creation so that while things runs freely they are under His ultimate control and by this I don't think I simply mean decree nor do I mean active control. Neither fully do justice to how I view God's control.

    The real issue at hand is God's "actively doing" and "merely ordaining" when speaking of evil. Evil such as the works of fallen angels, witchcraft, false teachers, every day wicked sinners, and even Christians who struggle daily with sin. How is God controlling evil (non good) and not merely saying, "ok, let it be done according to its own will under the authority of mine." His will merely allowing would have to be entirely shaped around a fallen world. If this is the case, and He is limited to working around what a fallen world has given Him. I am not sure how He brings about exact events (His will) when in the end His control is only over the little good that goes on. For example, Did He merely know the Jews were going to kill Christ in eternity past or did He somehow, without sinning, actively cause that to happen so they would not choose to let Christ live? There is a lot of important evil that happens by which God's will hinged on(By will I mean all events in history happen the way He has predetermined them). In my view He somehow brings about both good and evil to happen exactly according to His will. Merely saying He ordains is not sufficient nor is saying He actively causes all things because both have limitations to how things come to pass exactly how He has planned them to.

    I hope that makes sense :)
     
    #13 zrs6v4, Dec 27, 2012
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  14. Aaron

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    Let's start over. What are you saying when you say "work of God?" I made the mistake of assuming you understood the Scriptural distinction of works of men and works of God.
     
    #14 Aaron, Dec 27, 2012
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  15. Skandelon

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    Thanks for the good replies. What I'm getting to is the point of proof texting as often done by those of the Reformed persuasion who point to the crucifixion of Christ or the inspiration of scripture as supporting a more deterministic worldview.

    The argument seems to go something like this: "If God predetermined and causally brought to pass the greatest evil of all time, in the crucifixion of his Son, then that proves God causally predetermines all morally evil events in like manner."

    But this argument seems to ignore the uniquely divine nature and purpose of this particular event in human history. To suggest that God has causally determine the shooting at the school, or Dahmer's crimes or other such heinous events in our history in the same 'active' and 'sovereign' predeterminate manner that he brought about redemption by laying down his own life seems to be quite a stretch.

    I believe God did blind Israel in their rebellion so as to ensure the crucifixion and the passover, just as he blinded Pharaoh to accomplish the first passover. He does actively intervene to ensure certain redemptive purposes are fulfilled, and our doctrine has always allowed for this divine conditioning and causality regarding the human will and the divine prerogative. But, do these examples of God's active working to ensure his redemptive plan in human history somehow prove that God likewise works to ensure all evil things by those same determinative means? Doesn't the even the suggestion of that undermine the unique nature of those divine works of redemption?
     
  16. Tom Butler

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    Here is one scripture verse which may provide some help for us.
    Peter, preaching on the day of Pentecost:
    Acts 2:23
    Here, Peter is saying that God determined that Jesus would die for sinners. I think His foreknowledge is based on his determinate counsel. Since whatever God decrees, he has always decreed, this was going to happen. It was going to happen because God decided it would happen.

    But---he decided it would be at the hands of wicked men. They acted out of their own sinful inclination. We also know this because Peter called them wicked, thus holding them responsible for their actions.

    This verse is one of the reasons we have threads like this. God has determined from the foundation of the world that Jesus would die. He has determined that they will die at the hands of wicked men; he has determined who those wicked men will be. He has determined that they will be held guilty of murder.

    Can God determine the end without determining the means? Can God determine the means without determining the details?

    How do I explain it? Can't. But there it is.
     
  17. Winman

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    I disagree Tom, it says what was determined was that Jesus was delivered. It does not say God determined that these men would kill Jesus. Read again;

    Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

    Peter credits God as delivering Jesus, but then he directly blames the Jews for taking Jesus and crucifying him.

    When we read of the betrayal, we do not read that Judas was caused by God to betray Jesus, only that Jesus KNEW it would happen.

    Jhn 13:1 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.
    2 And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him;
    3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;

    This scripture says Jesus knew (foreknowledge) he would be betrayed, but it does not say God caused it. In fact, the scriptures clearly say it was the Devil who put the idea into Judas's heart to betray Jesus.

    God simply allowed Judas and the evil men to do what they decided of themselves to do. At least twice earlier the Jews had attempted to kill Jesus, but he escaped out of their hands. Why? Because it was not the proper time, the Passover when Jesus must die for our sins.

    Jhn 13:11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.

    Jhn 13:18 I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.

    Jhn 13:26 Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.
    27 And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.

    Jesus only allowed Satan to use Judas, God did not cause or determine his sin, the scriptures say God does not tempt any man to do evil. (Jam 1:13)
     
    #17 Winman, Dec 27, 2012
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  18. percho

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    I am not sure of even what I believe, therefore let me ask.

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. John 1:1-4 KJV

    Where at this time or moment or whatever it should be called was evil? Was evil there somewhere?

    John 1:5 KJV And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

    What was the darkness?

    1 John 1:5 KJV This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

    6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

    Where does the darkness come from?
     
  19. AresMan

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    Primary vs. n-level causation?
     
  20. Iconoclast

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    not a sparrow falls. to. the. ground without the father
     

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