When the Bible Blows Your Mind

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Monergist, Jun 6, 2003.

  1. Monergist

    Monergist
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    From http://www.desiringgod.org/library/fresh_words/2002/121102.html
     
  2. William C

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    Tim,

    God's act of "hiding" these things is often referred to in scripture as hardening. Most of the Calvinists on this board apparently don't think that topic fits in with our discussion here. Personally, I think its the Calvinists biggest blind spot. Most of them I speak to know everything about Romans 8 and 9 but you question them about Romans 10 and 11 they go dumb. Calvinists love John 6 but they avoid John 12. They speak about Arminians not having a full knowledge of the scripture but when pressed on the doctrine of judicial hardening they take off.

    Maybe you'll have better luck with this issue. [​IMG]
     
  3. Monergist

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    I'll discuss John 12 with you. ;) How about we start with verse 39.

    (ESV)
    Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, "He has blinded their eyes
    and hardened their heart...



     
  4. Eric B

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    OK, fine, but then don't cause unnecessary out of syncness by reading unsupported interpretetions into some scriptures. Even if at face value it may look like it says something, we must remember Peter's significant warning (2 Pet. 3:15,16) about Paul's writing, upon which most of these concepts have been drawn. Many of these scriptures are simply being twisted, and we are cautioned here that it is easy to misuse Paul's writings because of the deep, hard to understand topics he addresses. The biggest example is
    The context is not talking about choosing people for salvation, so you can't claim it is "out of sync" with what we draw from the rest of scripture.
     
  5. Major B

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    I just checked my library, and Calvin, Luther, Gill, JFB, MacArthur, J.M. Boice, Lloyd-Jones, Hodge, Haldane, and Poole, seem to have spent quite a bit of time on chapters 10 and 11 of Romans. They and Pink do not seem to have neglected John 12. When I preached verse by verse through Romans, I don't recall leaving any of it out...
     
  6. William C

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    I'll discuss John 12 with you. ;) How about we start with verse 39.

    (ESV)
    Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, "He has blinded their eyes
    and hardened their heart...
    </font>[/QUOTE]Love to. Do you believe Calvinism's teaching of Total depravity which says that men are born totally unable to believe the gospel message? If so, can you expound any and tell us how that relates to the scriptural teachings on hardening. Thanks.
     
  7. William C

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    I was speaking about Calvinists on this post when I question them about these passages. When I speak of a "blind spot" I don't mean all scholars ignore these passages any more than Arminian scholars ignore Romans 8 and 9 or Eph. 1. By "blind spot," I mean that Calvinists don't seem to see the contradiction of their doctrine of Total Depravity and the scriptural teachings of judicial hardening.
     
  8. Major B

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    There are a couple of possibilities here. First, let me say that I believe in Total Depravity AND Judicial Hardening, because both are taught by the Bible. There are two possibilites why some people can't handle this.

    1. Maybe some calvinists (and others) don't understand the doctrine of total depravity. It means that every part of every person born into this world as a child of Adam is depraved and ruined, including the will, which is free, but only free to do whatever a lost person's nature is to do. It does not mean that every person is totally depraved to the nth degree in every part, but that every part is depraved enough to not be able to relate to God.

    2. It may be that some are over-concerned about a supposed contradiction in logic, which frankly, doesn't bother me. If I find two things in the Bible which seem logically inconsistent, and after studying them out, I find they are true and still seem logically inconsistent, I write that off to the flaws of human logic.
     
  9. Monergist

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    Yes. Regeneration by the Holy Spirit enables man to believe.

    In this passage the scripture is so clear that it hardly needs expounding.

    1. Isaiah under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit had foretold that this particular group would hear and be unable to believe, so

    2. God, as He had directed Isaih's words, had foreordained that this would happen.

    3. The scripture tells us that He had blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts so that they were unable to believe.

    4. I take that to mean that he purposely withheld His effectual call from them that would have both allowed and caused them to believe.

    5. I don't see anything in this passage that would indicate that this is an exception and not the rule.

    6. I don't see anything here that suggests that those individuals had hardened their own hearts to the point that God was unable to save them. Isn't he able to save those of the hardest heart?

    Man in his depraved, unregenerate state is hostile toward God, unable and unwilling to believe. When God purposes to harden someone, it seems to me that He simply passes over that person and allows them to continue in their rebellion. Their further rebellion results in an even harder heart.
     
  10. William C

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    Scriptural support for this?

    Specifically supply scriptural support that teaches man is so ruined and depraved from birth that even when confronted with the Holy Spirit inspired gospel he cannot believe it or understand it. Thanks.

    I don't believe that God is the author of confusion but of peace. I also find that when something is difficult the apostles took the time to explain it. The difficulty here is created by the Calvinistic dogma which ignores the historical context of judicial hardening and the unique and divine calling of the selected apostles.
     
  11. Major B

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    Here are some verses that might help.

    Gen 6:5 "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."

    Gen 8:21 "And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done."

    Job 14:4 "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one."

    Job 25:4-6 "How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? 5 Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. 6 How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?"

    Psa 14:1-3 "To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. 2 The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. 3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one."

    Psa 51:5 "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me."

    Psa 53:1-3 "To the chief Musician upon Mahalath, Maschil, A Psalm of David. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good. 2 God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. 3 Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one."

    Psa 58:3 "The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies."

    Isa 64:7 "And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities."

    Jer 13:23 "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil."

    Mat 7:17-20 "Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."

    Mat 12:34-35 "O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things."

    Mat 15:19 "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:"

    John 3:19 "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."

    John 6:44-45 "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me."

    John 6:63-65 "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. 65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father."

    John 8:30-47 "As he spake these words, many believed on him. 31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 33 They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? 34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. 37 I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. 38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. 39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. 41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. 42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. 46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God."

    John 14:17 "Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."

    Acts 8:23 "For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity."

    Rom 3:9-19 "What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes. 19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God."

    1 Cor 2:14 "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

    2 Cor 4:3-4 "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."

    Eph 2:1-3 "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others."


    Eph 4:17-19 "This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness."


    Col 2:13 "And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;"

    2 Tim 2:24-26 "And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."

    I agree that God is not the author of confusion. However, that doesn't mean that we can figure out everything there is to figure out. Nobody understands the Trinity. Nobody understands HOW Jesus can be God and Man. There are lots of things that are impossible to make add up according to human logic, which is faulty at best. If the Bible teaches a doctrine, and it SEEMS to contradict a doctrine which is just as plainly taught, the problem is not with the doctrines or with the Bible, but with our feeble minds.
     
  12. William C

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    Thanks for the verses. Once again I didn't see any that taught mankind cannot believe the gospel.

    I agree that we can't fully understand all that there is to understand. But I do feel that we can understand that which he reveals to us to be true. And I don't believe the paradox that Calvinism creates was ever intended by the writers of the NT. It causes confusion and divison among believers, not peace.
     
  13. Major B

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    Thanks for the verses. Once again I didn't see any that taught mankind cannot believe the gospel.

    I agree that we can't fully understand all that there is to understand. But I do feel that we can understand that which he reveals to us to be true. And I don't believe the paradox that Calvinism creates was ever intended by the writers of the NT. It causes confusion and divison among believers, not peace.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Well, you need to read them again. Rom 3:9-12 in particular, along with Eph 2:1-3, and 1 Cor 2:14, and several of the other ones are pretty definite.

    "Calvinism" that is, the Reformed faith as opposed to Pelagianism, does not create any paradox. The paradox exists in the Bible. It is only a paradox because we can't do the math.
     
  14. William C

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    Thanks for the verses. Once again I didn't see any that taught mankind cannot believe the gospel.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Well, you need to read them again. Rom 3:9-12 in particular, along with Eph 2:1-3, and 1 Cor 2:14, and several of the other ones are pretty definite.

    "Calvinism" that is, the Reformed faith as opposed to Pelagianism, does not create any paradox. The paradox exists in the Bible. It is only a paradox because we can't do the math.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Look at what I asked for once again Major. I'm looking for verses that teach man cannot BELIEVE. The word believe is not even in Romans 3, Eph. 2 or 1 Cor. 2:14, not to mention the fact that none of these verses even address man's ability to respond to the Holy Spirit inspired gospel message. You're going to have to show me where these verses say man cannot believe the gospel because of this inborn nature. I just don't see it.
     
  15. Major B

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    So a spiritually deaf, dumb, blind, completely insensitive to God and spiritually dead person can believe?

    When none seek, when none understand? (Rom 3:9-12)

    John 8:42-47 "Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. 46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God."

    Interesting that the only ones who do believe were the ones who were pricked in the heart (Acts 2:37), Drawn and taught by God (John 6:44-45), had truth revealed to them by God (Mat 16:17), had the light of God shine through their blindness (2 Cor 4:5-6), had God supernaturally intervene (Acts 8:26-40), who had God supernaturally intervene to bring preachers to them AND open their heart (Acts 16:1-14--the ONLY verse that speaks of opening the heart), who were appointed (Acts 13:48), who were made alive by God (Eph 2:4-7), who were purposed, foreknown (ginosko, to know experientially), predestined, called (Rom 8:28-29), a chosen generation called out of darkness (1 Pet 2:9)...
     
  16. Monergist

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    Bill, I just want to point out the verse I quoted above Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, "He has blinded their eyes
    and hardened their heart...
    .
     
  17. Eric B

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    Hey, Bill, you missed this one:
    So, this active move ascribed to God is really a passive preterition; but then they didn't do it to themselves so God must have did it to them. [the issue is not God's ability to save someone who hardens themself beyond a certain point, but that H draws the line where if they cross, they get no more mercy]. But no, they are "totally depraved", which means they did do it to themselves and God just let them.
    Also, if this hardening [i.e., becoming worse] was just from allowing all "non-elect" people to continue in rebellion, then all unsaved people would be getting worse (more blind or depraved), but that is not necessarily the case. For one thing, as Bill has been asking, how can you make someone "more" blind"? It's true that a person can have some sense of the truth, but not come all the way into the faith, and then "even that which he has shall be taken away" (Matt.13:12). Now to square this away with Total Depravity and eternal decrees, Calvin had to suggest that God gives people partial faith and then takes it away. But it seems most of you here do not want to touch that, because you know you could never pass that off as "passive" preterition.
    Once again, Bill, how could you let that get by?
     
  18. Eric B

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    On top of all of this, we have
    But as we see above, man's "feeble mind", and "flawed logic" is coming up with certain suppositions about what various scriptures teach, and then reading them into the Bible, and when contradictions result, then we claim "oh, it's only our "feeble human minds" which can't understand it, to silence any objection. But should't we question the interpretations our human minds came up with before we get to that point? If I must "just accept" the double talk I addressed in the post above, then anyone can come and read any teaching into the Bible and claim we can't understand it because of our frail minds or flawed logic.
     
  19. Monergist

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    Eric, I don't understand what you're saying in that post above. Maybe you can explain it a little more clearly; I'll try to expain what I meant in the post you quoted.

    I believe unregenerate man is in a hardened, depraved state. He is totally depraved.

    I believe God calls some (the elect) and passes by others.

    Those He passes by grow harder of heart as the continue to reject God and truth. God hardens them, by the means of their already stubborn heart.

    Having said that, I will confess, I have questions regarding the role God plays in "hardening" and "blinding." I know that in passing them by it may be a form of "passive" hardening. My struggle is, does the Bible teach that God "actively" hardens sinners? If I see that it does, I must accept it without a fuss, however difficult it may seem.

    BTW, Bill--- You asked for scripture teaching that unregenerate people can not believe. I gave you one,--- twice now. Is that what you were looking for?
     
  20. Eric B

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    The problem is, this assumes that all people who do not repent are continuously getting harder, [in order for God to be "hardening" them simply by "letting them continue the way they're going"] but the Bible does not specify this, and while it may be hypothetically possible to look at it like that, it does not carry enough weight of solid support to build a legitimate "biblical paradox" that one must just accept without question off of it. It too must stand questioning, and studying to possibly find a better interpretation of the various scriptures involved.
     

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