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Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
My complete profile...
Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich
His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole
[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos
Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead
There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
| Just the facts please...
|I must be having a very slow week, as it seems I can't have an original thought unless I borrow it from Jim over at Faith Classics. Bear with me Jim ;-)
Jim asked a rather baited question, and rather than answer it directly which would be rather foolish, I thought it would be better to ask a similarly baited question ...
Tell me, is it theologically correct to tell people Jesus' death on the cross has already paid for their sins?
Yes or No, please cite your appropriate chapter and verse(s).
posted by Daniel @
I am interested in the Arminian take on this of course...
Daniel, if I can help you with your blog I am honoured.
You know, I find it kind of funny that Calvinists proudly fly their flags while I have yet to see a full fledged Arminian? Is there an Arminian creed that some people are promoting?
Jim, I don't know where I would be this week without you. ;-)
I would expect the "five points of the remonstrance" to serve as the classic Arminian's creed, though I expect most arminians today would be more rightly called "Wesleyans"
Either way I would be interested in knowing your thoughts - would you be able to say to an unbeliever that Jesus has already paid for his or her sins?
An interesting link... here
J.I. Packer is endorsing someone's book of course...
Daniel, you are good...answering a question with a question. I don't remember you giving your opinion on my question. :)
OK, I will try to find an answer for this one.
"Either way I would be interested in knowing your thoughts - would you be able to say to an unbeliever that Jesus has already paid for his or her sins?"
Daniel, you know that's a good question. While I think a sinner must know they're lost before they can get saved, if the offer of forgiveness is not valid then the salvation is not valid.
I think this verse in John 2:2 somewhat explains Christ's payment for our sins.
"And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
I don't have a Bible handy right now, so I can't quote chapter and verse. But I think that when Jesus said "It is finished," then the payment was made once and for all. I was saved by grace alone even before I had knowledge of who God was or any concept of faith in Jesus. In the fullness of time, God revealed Himself to me, but that revelation did not precede my salvation which was purchased at Calvary. The payment came first.
It's a "chicken or the egg?" thing.
Jennifer, chronologically speaking you're absolutely correct - the question is a bit subtle though; it isn't asking when does Christ's propitiation for our sins take place - rather it is asking whether it is legitimate to say to an unbeliever that Jesus has already paid the penalty for their sins without knowing whether they will be saved or not.
Check out Jim's blog to see the context - it'll shed some light on what I am getting at.
It seems like you and I have talked about this before. :~)
This is a pivotal, key issue to me, in many ways.
You say you want the Arminian take. I am not an Arminian, but I will give you a Bible-believing, born again Christian's take on it:
Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.
The sin has been taken out of the way, already, like Jennifer points out. By the way, to anticipate your challenge, what does "sin" entail? It doesn't say "sins," does it? "Sin" ... this sounds like a totality to me. He did away with "sin." Your sins? My sins? No ... "sin." Something to think about.
"would you be able to say to an unbeliever that Jesus has already paid for his or her sins?"
Absolutely not! I don't understand why we get so hung up on telling someone that "Jesus died for you." Is it so offensive to simply tell them that Jesus died for all who believe? Of course, that is just my "Bible-believing, born again Christian's take on it."
I love this exercise. Driving us (me) into our (my) Bibles.
Initially, I searched for Propitiation in my concordance, but it wasn't there. A search for "sins" led me to Ephesians 1:7: "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace..."
But then I looked back. In that same chapter, verses 4-5 it says: "...just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will..."
Sounds plain to me. Our sins were paid for in advance - predestined. Not just foreknowledge. Fore-planning.
Christ's ultimate sacrifice on the cross paid that price for every elect person enslaved by sin, buying them out of the slave market. Through God's sovereign will before the creation of the world, therefore independent of human influence or merit (as if there could be any), those who are saved were saved from the "foundation of the world."
Oh. Oops. Of course, I answered before reading the comments section. You're not really seeking a Calvinist affirmation, but an Arminian's take. I also haven't checked out Jim's blog yet, but will crawl over there now.
Sigh. I ought read better before I leap. But if I'm a fool, at least I'm a fool for Jesus.
I see Jennifer read your question as I did. Perhaps if the italics and color change were on the word "their" in your question (rather than on the words "has already paid for"), the point of your question would be more obvious.
In thinking on this question (it's a good one), aren't you really directing it in fact at Calvinists, since we (counting myself among them, even though not very well read on Calvinism - yet) believe in monergism and election. So when one (if a Calvinist) tells a lost soul that Jesus paid for that person's sins in particular, the issue would be whether or not it is in fact true. So the problem in using those words rest with the Calvinist.
Whereas to the Arminian (in my limited understanding), who follows synergism, the lost person could indeed CHOOSE, and therefore it wouldn't be inappropriate for the Arminian (in his mind) to say that, would it?
I looked up John 2:2, because I thought what Jim said is good, but John 2:2 states "Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding." Oops.
But what if, as a Calvinist, I cited John 3:16 and 17 to a lost soul, it wouldn't be inappropriate, would it?
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that woever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."
That's Truth. Even if all of the world will not be saved (of course).
Then continue to stick solely to Scripture and not insert my own thoughts and words. Let the Holy Spirit convict, which only He can do anyway.
Isn't that what we all should do, in fact - whether Arminian, Calvinist, or other flavor?
What am I believing? Is it not that Jesus paid it all? I believe that He took my place in judgement and by receiving His propitiatory gift of forgiveness I have eternal life.
Why would we plead for mercy if there was no possibility of pardon?
I don't know Daniel, do you mean . . . "sufficiently" or "efficiently"--relative to the extent of Christ's sacrifice?
Or is this typical Calvinistic distinction just a semantic smoke and mirrors--that really means "hypothetically" (i.e. hypothetical universalism) Christ's atonement "could've" paid for all sins--but in "reality" only paid for the elects?
So as Jonathan explicitly admits, Christ really did only die for the elect--so, IMO, the Calvinist should give up the faulty distinction of "sufficient" and "efficient" and be genuine and up fron in there communication relative to the atonement. Quit playing word games, but then again this might cause problems, if the Calvinist doesn't have this distinction in place when trying to interpret passages like I Tim. 4:10b, cf. ". . . because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.".
From my perspective Christ's atonement is really sufficient (not just hypothetically) and efficient for all who will believe. But we all know there are other logical premises feeding our understanding here.
I agree with Jim's comment above . . .
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"
I take this to mean God has removed through Christ the personal barrier between Him and sinful humanity so that He can draw them to Christ and His eternal life.
This is a question that shows how many Calvinistis are actually are in the Amyraldianism camp ;)
BTW, that essay by Packer is included in his book on the Puritians called "A Quest for Godliness", which is an awesome book on the Puritians.
For every sin that every human being who has ever lived. Effectively. Completely. Totally. Without limit.
1 John 2:2
Daniel, pardon the long quotation, but I find it helpful in this discussion. Is the atonement a "provision" or "potential"?
"'Provision' has the idea of tentativeness or a conditional quality. Being tentative, a provision is subject to change or withdrawal. The ‘supply,’ however, is more potential – possessing a definite applied quality in its final state. The potential is not creative (that is, it does not come about when a person believes the Gospel). It is already existent as a result of the finished work of Christ.
It is not, however, a possession of the unsaved elect. The unsaved elect have none of the intimate benefits until they are applied by the Holy Spirit at salvation. The potential is not tentative, it is definite. The intent or design of the decretory will of God is not frustrated. The supply was not made blindly, but purposefully. The potential supply is mainly in reference to the elect alone – since nearly all of the aspects of the remote area are presently realized by all of mankind individually and corporately (whether or not they are aware of it). The remaining supply (such as the final redemption at resurrection) is in an intermediate state. Eventually, it shall be actualized or realized - not one aspect shall be withdrawn or changed. The potential needs only to be applied . . .
The indefinite atonement adherent (the classical ‘unlimited atonement’ theologian) holds to a nebulous blob of salvation awaiting the exercise of faith – a supply beyond God’s determinate application – a tentative force which will not be fully realized.” Bill Barrick, The Extent of the Perfect Sacrifice of Christ, 6-7.
It's sort of revealing to me that you would be 'interested in the Arminian take' on this question as you said in your first comment. It seems to me, the Arminian is about all Calvin can defend himself against anymore. It's hard for me to believe there are actually Arminians anymore, as it is for me to believe there are Calvinist's. Have you decided whether you are talking about believers or unbelievers yet in your main question? Or are they all the same to Calvin?
In other words, who are the 'their' in your question? I'm not really looking for a response, telling you that information is just what I would need to know to make it a more functional question. Foremost, enjoy your Sun.
"The unsaved elect have none of the intimate benefits until they are applied by the Holy Spirit at salvation. The potential is not tentative, it is definite. The intent or design of the decretory will of God is not frustrated. The supply was not made blindly, but purposefully. The potential supply is mainly in reference to the elect alone – since nearly all of the aspects of the remote area are presently realized by all of mankind individually and corporately (whether or not they are aware of it). The remaining supply (such as the final redemption at resurrection) is in an intermediate state. Eventually, it shall be actualized or realized - not one aspect shall be withdrawn or changed. The potential needs only to be applied . . ."
He really only reflects this approach to theology:
" An alternative paradigm, advocated here, is that Luther's greatest concern in his early reforming work was to rid the church of central Aristotelian assumptions that were transmitted through Thomistic theology. To the degree that Luther failed-measured by the modern appreciation for these Thomistic solutions in some Protestant circles-a primary thrust of the Reformation was stillborn. The continued use of Aristotle's works by Protestant universities during and after the Reformation promoted such a miscarriage. Despite claims to the contrary by modern proponents of an Aristotelian Christianity, Aristotle's works offered much more than a benign academic methodology; instead, as we will see below, his crucial definitions in ethics and anthropology shaped the thinking of young theological students in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries who read the Bible and theology through the optic of his definitions. Luther recognized that Aristotle's influence entered Christian thought through the philosopher's pervasive presence in the curricula of all European universities. In his scathing treatise of 1520, To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, Luther-who for his first year at Wittenberg (1508-9) lectured on Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics four times a week-chided educators for creating an environment "where little is taught of the Holy Scriptures and Christian faith, and where only the blind, heathen teacher Aristotle rules far more than Christ." (Quote taken from: Ron Frost, Aristotle's Ethics: The Real Reason for Luther's Reformation? Trinity Journal 1997, Link: http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3803/is_199710/ai_n8776993)
The Bible does not speak of a Decretive God, Aquinas and Beza do; The Bible does not speak of potential and actual, Aquinas and Turretin do; The Bible does not engage in speculative negative theology, Aquinas and Hodge (of Princeton) do; The Bible does not speak of atonement or grace in terms of quantifiable substances (see Jonathan's quote above), Aquinas and Calvinist theology does.
The Bible speaks in terms of relationship relative to the atonement and grace (Jn 17; Rom 5:8; Phil 2:5-8; Eph 5).
Why should I follow a system that turns scriptural categories into a hybrid--and does not allow it to speak on its own terms?
Todd - the 'their' in my question refers to the unsaved person being spoken to. That is, can I say to an unsaved person that "their" sins are already paid for?
Not can I offer them the reality of their sins being paid for already should they come to Christ - but rather can I say that even if they do not come to Christ that their sins are already paid for.
The answer is no, I cannot say that.
Perhaps the question was not stated very well?
The question is diagnostic - it allows us to see past the fluff, and look at what we truly believe.
I hold to a modified form of infralapsarianism, not that I learned it from any man, but that I have taken what I know of scripture and laid it together in a way that seems coherent to me.
Specifically, I believe that God created Adam knowing that Adam would fall. That God gave Adam free will, knowing beforehand that Adam would use it to rebel against Him and damn the whole human race. God knew all this before creation began - and that means that had God wanted to - He could have created Adam with free will and organized creation in such a way that Adam did not sin - but God didn't do it that way.
Thus I recognize that God determined for Adam to sin before Adam was ever created - yet God created Adam in such a way that Adam was responsible for his own rebellion and not God.
That might be a bitter pill for some to swallow - but I make no apologies - it is simply the truth as I see it.
In this same way, I believe that God determined to offer salvation to all men, knowing full well that sinful man would never receive it - that is, knowing that even though the offer is made to all - none will seek after God, not even one.
God, knowing beforehand that no one would accept this salvific offer determined to call a people to Himself from amongst those who rejected Him - quickening them so that they respond to the call.
God determined to send His son Jesus Christ to redeem those whom he elected.
Thus the gospel call is given to all, and all reject it except the elect.
It makes perfect sense to me, and allows me to honestly offer salvation to everyone, not that I try and second guess whether they are "elect or not" - as though the offer were only valid if one is elect - the offer is not made because of election; rather election was determined because the offer is rejected.
When I share the gospel therefore I don't imagine for a second that the offer is only valid for the elect; that is crazy. The offer is valid for everyone, but everyone is going to reject it except those whom God quickens.
So when I offer the gospel, I don't tell people that Christ has died for their sins, I tell them they are a sinner and if they are willing to accept Christ they can be saved from the consequences their sin has earned for them. I am not offering them a "bogus" offer - if they turn they will be saved. Just because I know that NO ONE WILL EVER TURN ON THEIR OWN doesn't make the offer invalid. They reject it to their own damnation.
Let me know if that makes sense or not.
Make sense? Absolutely perfect sense.
"That God gave Adam free will,..."
"Thus I recognize that God determined for Adam to sin before Adam was ever created - yet God created Adam in such a way that Adam was responsible for his own rebellion and not God."
That, God had to 'determine' that Adam sinned, may be a little suspect, because it suggests that Adam had his own ability to not sin, which God had to counterinfluence beforehand.
Also, I'm not sure why God would have to determine that Adam sin. Knowing that is what Adam would chose is one thing, but determining that it happen through His own will? Adam would have no free will under that circumstance, would he?
A free will that was reponsible for his own rebellion would be a powerful thing, especially with the empowerment of man being created in the image of, and with all the fullness of God.
God determining ahead of time that Adam sin takes it out of the realm of first, Adam's responsibility, and second, Adam's free will. Don't you think?
I was kind of hoping that my wondering about your statements on Adam/God/sin was too intriguing to go unanswered. False?
Todd - you bring out a good point - one that highlights how we understand the nature of God.
Throughout the bible we see examples of God influencing men in order that His will be accomplished. I am certain that this is a truth you are already fully aware of.
I for one do not imagine that God made Pharoah a robot when God hardened Pharoah's heart. Nor do I think Samson was a robot when He acted in accord with God's will when God was looking for an opportunity against the Philistines. Nor was Abimelech a robot when God "withheld [Abimelech] from sinning against [Him]."
That is, I don't for one moment imagine that the free will of a man is in anyway compromised by God's sovereignty. God is perfectly able to have his will done while in a man either to keep him from sin, or to keep him from repentance (as in the case of Pharoah) - just as scripture teaches. God is not limited to the laws that govern creation.
It would be impossible for -me- to force my will on another person unless I compromised that other person's free will. The moment I so compromised anyone's free will, I would become culpable for whatever they did, since they would be doing so against their own will. Scripture shows us that this limitation doesn't apply to God. He can harden Pharoah's heart without being culpable because the hardening, although the will of God - did not in any way compromise Pharoah's free will.
Man would be a lot more wicked if God's Spirit weren't constantly restraining us (not only believers, but unbelievers too).
So in answer to your question, "I don't think" - God is not subject to the laws that govern us, and when we understand that we drop those limitations that we place on him that paint him as unable to do what scripture clearly shows He has done.
If that makes any sense.
You mentioned how God can and has influenced people's will through history. Instances where God influences specific moments of their lives towards His own plan.
I see what you're saying in the first paragraph above, that God influences men according to His will in those specific instances
Now, not from the above but from all your studies, you've concluded that God determined that Adam would sin. Not giving Adam the chance to enact his own will but determining it for Adam. Therefore, I guess, you would be left with God determining Adam's rebellion. Now whether or not that is what you mean, or are trying to say, isn't that what your words are saying? Wouldn't that just be the beginning of a very quirky situation that God created that he is holding Adam and all of mankind responsible for?
"It would be impossible for me to force my will on another person unless I compromised that other person's free will. The moment I so compromised anyone's free will, I would become culpable for whatever they did, since they would be doing so against their own will. Scripture shows us that this limitation doesn't apply to God."
You cannot compromise anyone's free will. The physical free will, yes. Their psychological free will, only to a point. But neither in the same way God would exert influence. His would be from the inside out, ours from the outside in. Granted alot of people assume limitations on God in various ways, but I don't think my own placing of limitations on God is getting in my way of having difficulty with the language in your statement about Adam/God/sin/will:
"That God gave Adam free will,..."
"Thus I recognize that God determined for Adam to sin before Adam was ever created - yet God created Adam in such a way that Adam was responsible for his own rebellion and not God."
I mean, if He determined him to sin, how could there be any responsibility left on Adam? Surely God foreknew everything, but determining a person do something that He then holds that person accountable for would be very confusing in a negative sort of way.
Well, I have to go. Out for the day. If you get a chance anytime this week, it would be interesting to hear back. Take care.
Todd - the distinction being whether God ordained Adam's sin, or simply noted it.
My understanding of God is this: He can make me do something entirely according to his own will in such a way that I do it entirely out of my own free will - and that I and only I am morally responsible for what I have done, and not God.
When that is understand the rest is child's play. The problem when we insist that God is not able to do something just because we aren't able to do something, is that we limit God. In this case I say that just as I cannot be one person and three people at the same time, but God can and is - in this same way God is able to force Adam to sin, but not be held responsible for it since the practical outworking of that ordination is that Adam sins of his own free will.
If I say that Adam's will is compromised by God's acting upon it, I am saying that God can't do what scripture shows he has done.
Let me know if this makes sense?
"My understanding of God is this: He can make me do something entirely according to his own will in such a way that I do it entirely out of my own free will - and that I and only I am morally responsible for what I have done, and not God."
I see. I don't remember God ever influencing anyone to sin and then disavowing responsiblilty for it. Pharoah? He told us the times that He hardened Pharoah's heart. I think God overtly claims responsibility for having the Jewish leadership kill Jesus. God picked Judas, and so on. To determine that Adam sin and then not make that clear to us I tink would be a new one. I don't think He explicitly, or implicitly tells s that anywhere. If God makes me do something 'according to His own will', 'entirely out of my own free will', God did it. I think you would open the door for some people to interprete that as justification to blame those types of actions on God. I think a potentially fuzzy message like that would confound our understanding.
Oh nuts, I do have to dash off again, so I'll leave this, and if you don't mind, I'll pursue this a little further with you next time.
Todd - are you not sidestepping the point? Is God sovereign or not? If God is sovereign he is in control. According to your reasoning that makes God morally responsible for everything - and I appreciate the linear nature of that line of thought. I suppose it is because I cannot subscribe to such linear models that we are at odds on this point. You conclude that if God is truly sovereign (in the way I paint that sovereignty) that God --must-- be held morally responsible. I do not draw the same conclusion you do - rather I insist that God is able to be sovereign without being culpable for sin. It is only "fuzzy" if we think that God has to follow the rules that bind us.
let me know... ;-)
Well sure, sovereignty is sovereignty is sovereignty, it is all God's sovereignty. But how does He implement His sovereignty in this instance with Adam and the fruit? I want Him to implement his sovereignty like I want Him to implement it, and you want Him to implement it like you want Him to implement it, but He wants us to have an understanding of how He implements it with His chosen, and He wants that understanding to be coherent and coming from His word.
He did not ordain it, or simply note Adam's sin, but, according to your statement, determined it or willed it. Doesn't that necessarily unfold like is:
God told Adam that His will was for Adam not to eat the fruit. He concomitantly determined(willed) that Adam would eat the fruit. Adam would be faced with knowing that God told him not to eat the fruit, yet determined that he would. This, to Adam's understanding, and his audience, would be inconsistent. So, one of Adam's first lessons would be then that God lied to Him, telling him that it was His will that Adam not eat the fruit, and then made him eat it, unto severe punishment. And then go on to strongly reinforce to Adam and all of mankind that it was not His will, but Adam's and now Adam and mankind would have to pay. Isn't that what your belief statement translates out as? Or are we to make sense of it in some oher way?
Wouldn't this scenario of Adam be what you are left with?
And isn't your following statement a little dificult to make sense of?
"...entirely according to his own will in such a way that I do it entirely out of my own free will."
That's two entirelys in your statement. I don't think you can do that.
And instead of just going to really unusual assertions like the next one...
" when we insist that God is not able to do something just because we aren't able to do something, is that we limit God.
Let's assume for a minute that I'm a little bit smarter than that, and that I can see that difference between God and myself. And putting all of your other general statements aside as well, because anyone can throw around generalities, can you tell me what you believe and why, about your Adam scenario, knowing this. That first, if you believe it, then let it be true. I don't want you to believe anything else. I have no desire to change your mind or persuade you otherwise. You said what you believe, put it up for scrutiny and asked for feedback. You asked if it made sense or not. You also stated somewhere in your comments that you don't think it's important for Christians to beleive the same thing. So knowing all of that, I'm following up on your invitation to question what is underneathe your belief, just as someone would by coming to my blog.
So not caring to change your mind, all I'm wondering is, is that it? Is that what is underneathe your belief about the forementioned relationship between Adam and God. That God is in control, is sovereign, is in control, ad infinitim, and my and Adam's reasoning is all just 'linear' and 'limiting'? And I'm just 'sidestepping', and the devil didn't make Him do it, God did?
Is there anything more to it or is that it?
There are many different ways we recieve from God's word as to the different ways in which He foreknows, predetermines,is omniscient, cannot be limited, and so on. And there are many more ways in which He is, and does, all of those things that, we are not told about in His word. Where does He tell us about your understanding between His will and Adam's will in the eating of the fruit?
Can you take our God's word and make your notions come any clearer to me or is that it?
> But how does He implement His
>sovereignty in this instance with
>Adam and the fruit? … coherent
>and coming from His word
Consider Philippians 2:12b-13– “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”
This verse teaches the work that our salvation generates ought to be done with “fear and trembling” (reverential awe) because while we may be doing it, it isn’t simply our own work - but God’s work – God being the one who has ordained His will to be done in and through us. Whatever motive we imagine is drving us, we must understand that –God- has put it there. We are afterall, “[God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
The text does not say that “all things fall out together for good to those who love God , to those who are called according to His purpose” - rather it says that all things “work together for good” – this rending in the English language is in the passive tense – that is, it lacks the subject that doing the action – but that doesn’t mean the action is accomplished spontaneously – rather it means the subject who performs the action hasn’t been mentioned. In this case the subject must be assumed. We therefore understand it to be saying that “God” works all things together for good – as opposed to all things working together for good spontaneously and without cause.
This is why Paul insists in 1 Corinthians 12:6 that God “works all things in all persons” and the author of Hebrews declares that God works in us what is pleasing in his sight (Hebrews 13:21).
My understanding, based upon these texts, and similar texts (the hardening of Pharaoh c.f. Ex 4:21 “I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go”; the hardening of the Canaanites c.f. Joshua 11:20, “For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that He might utterly destroy them, and that they might receive no mercy, but that He might destroy them”; etc.) is that God is not (and cannot be) held accountable for ordination in these events.
Either God is always sovereign, or He is never sovereign – there can me no middle ground. I believe that scripture plainly shows God -is- sovereign, and while these verses are suffice to demonstrate that, they are by no means exhaustive.
You ask how God implements His sovereignty in the garden? My answer is that scripture elsewhere demonstrates God’s sovereignty in the affairs of men – and that men are indeed held culpable – such that we reasonably (rightly) conclude that God (by definition) was sovereign in Adam’s rebellion – though Adam was culpable for it.
>…according to your statement, [God]
>determined it or willed it. Doesn't
>that necessarily [make God both unjust and a liar]?
I paraphrased that last part to save space.
Let us put aside the “what that would make God” style of reasoning for a second and ask instead if God’s sovereignty is biblical. I say it is, and I gave some texts above to demonstrate that I am not pulling such an idea out of thin air, but out of scripture.
Now rather than ask “wouldn’t that make God a liar and unjust?” let’s ask instead, “How can that be true if God never lies and God is perfectly just?”
Well, first thing we would do is ask – Who determines what is just? God of course. Is what is just for God just for mankind? No. While it is right for God to worship Himself (Christ worshipped God the Father after all), but it is not right for –us- to worship ourselves. We could give hundreds of examples I suppose, but the point is made - God isn’t righteous because he lives up to a standard – rather the standard we have is defined by the character of God. That means that we cannot reason whether something is just based upon an external morality – rather we judge whether something is just by whether or not God has done it (not whether he could do it).
Secondly we would examine whether God has ever ordained something He didn’t will… and I need not show you from scripture (I hope) that this very principle abounds. So we need not charge God with lying if he ordains something to take place that doesn’t agree with His will.
>Let's assume for a minute that I'm
>a little bit smarter than that, …
My assumption is that you are perfectly capable of understanding what I am saying, and that what I am saying is not being “pitched” as though the only way I could “get it past you” would be if you were somewhat lacking intellectually. You seem bright enough to me. ;-)
>Is that what is underneath your
>belief about the forementioned
>relationship between Adam and
>God. That God is in control, is
>sovereign, … ad infinitum, and
>my … reasoning is just 'linear'
>and 'limiting'? And I'm just
>'sidestepping', and the devil didn't
>make Him do it, God did?
That depends on what you mean by when you say that God made him do it. It seems to me that inherent in your language is the connotation that God “forced” Adam to do it rather than that God designed creation in such a way that Adam would do it of His own free will. In distilling the essence of what I am trying to say, you are ready and quick to remove the idea that Adam and only Adam is culpable for the sin of Adam, while I am insist that this model is nothing more a framework wherein God is utterly sovereign and Adam is utterly culpable.
>Where does [God] tell us about your
>understanding between His will and
>Adam's will in the eating of the fruit?
God’s word shows (see above) that God is sovereign even in the will of man. I have taken it for granted that you are already familiar with Adam’s culpability from scripture, and that I need not rehearse it to you. Given these, I hope I have addressed this to your satisfaction.
>Can you take our God's word and
>make your notions come any clearer
>to me or is that it?
You tell me. My premise is simply – God’s word shows that God is sovereign even in the will of man – and that Adam is culpable for His own sin. I have tried to model that because while scripture explains that this is what it is – it doesn’t give us a coherent model that agrees with our creation-o-centric perspective.
Let me know if that helps
Thanks Daniel, I'll be back tomorrow night or sat. aft. Talk to you then.
I'm wiped out from work. Going to have to make it Sun. or Sun. night.
My other job, single Dad, makes it hard come up with extra time sometimes.
"Philippians 2:12b-13– “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”
To me, this verse is a nice verse for showing Paul's emphasis to 'obey' the message that he carries to us from Christ, and, while Paul is not in their presence, God's power and Spirit are. If only the script in Paul's statement, "...for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure", was explicit enough to ell us how that power is working in us, to the point where more than just a few people could agree on what sort of doctrine to render from it. In this passage, Paul is referring secondarily to God's working and willing, to the extent that he is encouraging them by reminding them it is there, but not in the way of exactly how that power and will were actually being exerted.. So it is no help to me when I try and apply that verse as a part of your 'sovereignty' model, or how it is at work in His relationship with Adam and Adam's sin. The manner in which "...His will (is) to be done in and through us" is open to broad speculation but not explicitly stated in scripture. It would be nice if it were, but I don't want to do what would appear to me to be forcing it, if it is not expressly stated in scripture.
It's not clear exactly how or what good works God prepared beforehand for us to walk in, so I am content with knowing that I should constantly be seeking to walk in them, mind towards the Spirit, knowing that it is Christ in me that is responsible for them, and He that gets he credit for any good work I would do. The good in me, or that I do, that rises to God's standard of good, comes from the influence of His Spirit. So while I agree that God is working His will in and through us, it is the 'how' that I view differently from you. I think I don't claim to know about as much of the 'how' as you do, because I am not comfortable that scripture has told us perhaps as much as you believe it has.
"it says that all things “work together for good” – this rending in the English language is in the passive tense – that is, it lacks the subject that doing the action – but that doesn’t mean the action is accomplished spontaneously – rather it means the subject who performs the action hasn’t been mentioned. In this case the subject must be assumed."
Fine then, "God works all things together for good." But there is a vast amount of room for speculation as to how He does it. Once I start trying to piece it together from the information given, I come up with an endless amount of possibilities of which I cannot be sure, and not expressly the way in which He does 'work all things together for good'. I can see the many ways in which He does but hesitate to commit to a precise model because it seems as though He does not ofer such a model.
"Either God is always sovereign, or He is never sovereign –"
In His sovereignty, entitled to do as He wills, He can will and provide for us to have a hand in our own salvation. That would not violate His sovereignty. He has informed us that He is the All-mighty One true sovereign God, and we cannot place any restrictions on how He wishes to be so, knowing that in the end, it works out for good. I just can't embrace what appears to me to be your boxed in idea of His sovereignty. I don't think we know enough about His sovereign workings to even apply he word 'accountable' to Him. To me, He is accountable for what He tells us, but for what He does, who are we to ask Him, or explain what He has not expressly told us.
">…according to your statement, [God]
>determined it or willed it. Doesn't
>that necessarily [make God both unjust and a liar]?"
I'm showing here how the lesson, viewed according to your doctrine, would leave Adam and his audience-to-come, with a very odd scenario to try and gain a lesson from. I'm saying there would be no coherent message to Adam, or us, from Adam's travail other than "God is sovereign". That He would 'will' you do something some time, yet it is you doing it, and you who are responsible for doing it, is not a sensible or coherent foundational relationship between God and man/sin from which man can proceed from with an understandig about his own responsibility for his own actions. God's sovereignty would be strikingly real, but man's certainty about his own accountability would be a mess.
I have no problem with God permitting things that He does not will, but not ordaining/determining things He does not will. He can permit, yet easily turn any bad thing into any good purpose He wants, towards the fulfillment of His plan. He can foreknow and yet not have to predetermine all events, and accomplish any kind of plan vey andily.
I see your framework, I just don't see what holds it up. I don't see how His sovereignty demands that He predetermine everything to still be sovereignt. For that I would return the charge that you would be limiting Him. Your sovereignty model seems like a bold attempt to state, I might better say to force, how God is sovereign in the will of man. But it then presents major problems when the next believer, faced with all the same evidence, does not share your same, what seem to me to be, purely imaginative propensities.
So anyway, enough hammering on topic for now. Naturally, I would be interested in what you think of all of that, but I think we've pretty much said it. And I can thoroughly relate to your need to take a break from blogging because it is simply time consuming. It's a great venue for learning and discussing, but then a person has to leave some time for the 'doing'.
Talk to you again.
Brother in Christ, Todd