- - Endorsed
- - Indifferent
- - Contested
|The Nashville Statement
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
| Dehydration and Thirst.
|Two biologists found themselves at odds about their understanding how the whole hydration process.
The first biologist set forth his theory on thirst thus:
Biologist #1: Thirst is a choice made by the body in answer to the reality of dehydration. If the body does not realize it is dehydrated, it does not choose to be thirsty.
The second biologist rejected the first biologist's theory thus:
Biologist #2: Thirst is not a choice made by the body, but is in fact an involuntary reaction to dehydration, such that unless a body is in some way impaired so that it is unable to thirst, it will always thirst whenever it is dehydrated.
The following debate records their interaction with one another on the subject:
Biologist #1: Dear colleague, I appreciate the great love we both share for our present occupation and the science behind it. Yet in fairness to you I see in your opinion some room for instruction, and I hope you will allow me to show you what I believe to be errors in your reasoning - after which, upon seeing your errors, I am sure you will agree with my position.
Biologist #2: My esteemed companion, believe me when I say, I am ready and willing to be instructed out of my error, though I confess, I am blind to any fault in my reasoning. Perhaps you will convince me, but I hope if you fail to do so that I might examine your opinion with a similar scrutiny?
Biologist #1: oh, of course, my good man, of course. Now allow me to begin. You say that thirst in involuntary? Even a child is aware that they can deny their thirst at will, likewise, even a child is able to drink when not thirsty - you need only go to the fair and you will see many young people sipping on carbonated syrup water, not as a result of some involuntary thirst, but rather out of a plain choice to do so.
Likewise you say that unless a body is impaired in some way so that it is unable to thirst, that dehydration will always cause a body to experience thirst. What sort of nonsense is this? And forgive me my incredulity, for you seem such a bright fellow to make such a tragically avoidable error; and yet here it is: I have yet to find even one such person as you portray here - not even one sir - who has even been impaired in the manner that you describe. It is a ghost sir, a non entity, a phantom created by some warped imagination for no other reason than to create some greater link between dehydration and thirst than clearly exists (and again, forgive me my boldness for I am only so bold as I am certain that this monstrosity is by no means your own invention but you likely inherited the idea from some buffoon in your past, and have never sat down to really examine it closely).
My opinion sir, as I am sure you now realize, is quite unassailable, and having shown that thirst is clearly a choice, and furthermore that there is no good reason to believe such an involuntary link exists between dehydration and thirst as you suggest, we are left to conclude sir that thirst is entirely a choice made in response to dehydration - and not caused by it.
On that self evident point sir, I believe my case to be made and so I await your retraction with eager anticipation.
Biologist #2: Thank you again dear sir for your kind tutelage in this matter. I am of course intimidated by your great learning and insight, yet my resolve is to press on - trusting to an equally great humility you no doubt possess amidst your other fine and obvious qualities, I say, I trust that you will bear any folly that might find itself in my opinion.
Allow me to address first the gaping gulf between what I have truly said and what you have heard me to say. I do apologize for failing to communicate my thoughts as I am truly at a loss to explain how far your understanding of my words has strayed from their meaning; yet I accept the blame, and re-double therefore my efforts to be clear and unambiguous in my locution.
First, I believe I should begin by touching upon what we seem to agree upon. Like yourself, I too believe that a person is free to choose to answer or ignore his thirst, and likewise free to drink regardless of thirst. Upon this point there is no disagreement between us.
Where we disagree however is not upon the voluntary nature of choice, for surely choice is by any definition a voluntary thing. You do well to defend that point my friend, though we must caution, that since no one is contending it here, it neither negates my position nor bolsters your own - rather it merely takes up space in our discussion fruitlessly. Let us not babble on about those things that all rational people must agree upon, nor exhume them from whatever graveyard we have buried our own demons, but instead bypass them altogether in favor of those things which are pertinent to our discussion.
I agree therefore that even children can refuse to drink when thirsty, and can drink when they are not thirsty - yet we do not want to confuse our reaction to thirst with the thirst itself. To do so would be to blur apples and oranges together into one fruit. No sir, if we are reacting to an impetus, our reaction cannot be explained as the genesis of the impetus, if you follow me.
It is the same as catching a ball that is thrown to us. We may choose to catch the ball or not, but in determining to catch it, we must not imagine that our choice produced the throw. I hope that is evident.
To your other objection sir: you object to the idea that a physical impairment might dismantle one's ability to thirst based on the fact that you have never seen it happen personally, nor have heard of it happening.
I confess, that while I find you a worldly fellow, I can't be dissuaded from my point based solely on your ability to know a thing, and furthermore to retain in your memory all that you may have known, not withstanding, though this is sufficient to reject your objection, yet I can plainly give you examples that I am sure you will agree exist.
There was just last week a carriage accident, where a fine young lady took a spill and conked her brow on the curbstone sending her these three days into a state of unconsciousness. You will note that her nurses have been diligent in putting wet clothes to her mouth and allowing her to take in some hydration to avoid the dehydration. Might I draw your attention to this sir, clearly unless one is conscious to experience the sensation of thirst, one is impaired in one's ability to respond to it.
Which is to say, your objections seem to be so many empty or misdirected words. I do hope you will not object to my saying so, but will correct them where they are erroneous, or where my understanding of them has failed.
Likewise sir, I should like to state precisely my estimate of your own position, do bear with me.
Your suggestion that the body makes a choice to be thirsty, seems to be a confusion between the body and the mind - for it is the mind that makes choices and not the body, for as I have noted, it is quite possible for a body to be unconscious and dehydrated in the same moment, but in order to be thirsty one must be sensible.
Given this presumption of confusion on your part, I extend that presumption to the idea of the mind realizing it is thirsty. I agree with you that the mind must realize it is thirst in order to respond to the thirst, but again sir, I do not confuse together into one entity the notion of thirst and dehydration - for the one surely causes the other and is not to be confused with it on that account.
Your opinion sir, if I may restate it is that we "choose" to be thirsty in response to our dehydration, that our thirst is in fact a conscious decision. Here is where you confusion lies sir, and do tell me if I have identified it or nay: Are you not simply confusing the thirsting with the act of drinking? That is, we choose to drink or not to drink in answer to our thirst which we have no conscious control over.
Please let me know if I am confusing or enlightening you - of perhaps if I am sorely mistaken?
Biologist #1: Are you telling me you see a difference between the thirsting and the drinking?
Biologist #2: Yes sir, I am.
Biologist #1: Now hear me out dear sir, clearly the two are one and the same, you must see that.
Biologist #2: Actually, I do not see it. What I see is a choice to respond or not to a stimulus, and not a choice to be stimulated or not.
Biologist #1: Well sir, if you cannot see the truth for what it is, you are beyond my help.
Biologist #2: I am sorry you feel that way.
This is, of course, representative of the discussion we see again and again concerning the freedom of the will, except that it isn't as pointless, drawn out, full of out of context verses, pride and all round tomfoolery. Well, the tomfoolery might apply, but you get the point...
The Arminian sees that everyone has a choice to believe the gospel or reject it. No Calvinist would object to that. We all -do- have a choice. Yet Calvinist understands that whatever choice we do have is fenced around by the presence of thirst in our life. Am I thirsty for Christ, or not? If I am not thirsty, I may well make a choice to follow Christ, but my choice will be as vacuous as my thirst, and eventually, the soil into which the gospel seed fell will show itself wanting. Likewise, lacking a thirst I can also choose to ignore the gospel - which is really the default choice. There is freedom to choose.
But my choice does not generate the call, it doesn't generate the thirst. If I am thirsty, I can resist that thirst for a time, but eventually I will give in. That is the nature of thirst. It isn't that I don't have free will, it is that my free will eventually chooses to slake that thirst that I have no control over. Likewise, of course, I can give into the thirst without a struggle, either way, the seed will eventually find good soil.
These things are simple enough I think, yet I still have ample opportunity to see some argue that irresistible grace can only mean robotic mind control. These who have in themselves experienced thirst would never argue that answering their own desire to slake a thirst was some form of mind control - even if the nature they find themselves in possession of (that is, a body that naturally craves water when it is dehydrated) illustrates the point clearly enough - yet still they fail to see the that there is a world of difference between having the freedom to make a choice and being outside of God's sovereign control. God has sovereignly designed us to thirst for water when our fluid levels are insufficient. There is not a man alive who doesn't daily slake that thirst of his own free will - but understand this: God has willed each of us to do that, and provided the way to do that without doing injury to the freedom of our choice.
I want to repeat that in case it was misunderstood.
God ordained that all men everywhere would choose to drink liquids. God doesn't turn them into robots to make them drink liquids, he gives them a thirst, and they choose to drink of their own free will. God's sovereignty does not hijack their free will, but their free will responds to God's sovereign decree. Our God can do that. Our God -does- do that, and if anyone cannot see that, it is because they choose to be blind.
Labels: free will
posted by Daniel @
This is almost Pilgrim's Progress-esque.
I am surprised anyone read it, most people glance at the length of a post, and move on...
The free will poster freaks me out...
You never saw "Free Willy"?
Daniel: God ordained that all men everywhere would choose to drink liquids. God doesn't turn them into robots to make them drink liquids, he gives them a thirst,
Daniel that reminded me of this verse:
For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters,
And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water. Jer. 2:13
I think all men do have a thirst for God. Let me explain: Everyone has a need of God, their Creator; they just supress this need and look for other ways to satisfy their deepest hunger.
I get this from passages like Romans 1.
Romans 1:18 men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge,
32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God,
Thesse people all around us DO know the need of righteousness. They supress it. I believe that is why they are all so miserable, really. They exchanged the Fountain of life for a broken vessel that will hold nothing. Yet they are so stubborn and rebellious, that they won't come to that fountain even when they hear of it, many of them. They are used to the broken pitcher. They are used to their misery and their thirst.
I think this combined with so many passages like the following are what lead people to use the phraeseology "free will."
18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to *all men*, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to *all men*, resulting in justification of life.
I don't get the Bible saying or teaching what you say it does - not becuase [I] choose to be blind, but because of the complexities of this thing that are beyond either of our minds, Daniel.
Rose ~ Thanks for commenting! I am glad that something I said reminded you of scripture, even if the thought I was expressing was quite foreign to the scripture you were reminded of.
When I say that God has ordained that all men everywhere would choose to drink liquids, I am not offering a metaphor. I am telling you that God -has- ordained that everyone, everywhere -will- drink liquids. We do it every day. I drink milk, water, pop, etc. I drink every day, and I do so because I am designed in that way. The way I am designed is not random or arbitrary, but serves the purpose of my creator, ergo - God has ordained that I will drink. My point however is that even though God has entirely ordained this truth - that Daniel will drink - he doesn't bring about that ordination through the usurping of my will, but rather does so in full accord with my will through having designed me to naturally dehydrate, and to thirst as a consequence of that same dehydration that has been designed into me, such that every time I take a drink I am responding to God's sovereign control in my life - but not to the abuse my will.
That was the point.
The passage from Jeremiah is not talking about all men, but rather about Israel only - Israel forsook God - and pursued what is not God, that is, they forsook the fountain of living waters and made their own cisterns, which couldn't even rightly be called cisterns since they could not hold water. The idea there is not about a universal thirst, but rather Israel's rejection of God - not even the world's rejection of God, just Israel's rejection of God, and not merely a rejection, but rather a rejection that comes about through pursuing that which is -not- God, and doing so with the full knowledge that there is only one God.
I agree that all of us have a need for God, but I would not suggest that this need translates into a thirst. Scripture says that no one seeks after God, not even one. That is, to use the metaphor, no one thirsts for God, not even one.
In Romans 1:18 and 28 Paul shows that all men suppress the truth in unrighteousness - that is, Paul gives us the reason men why it is that no one is pursuing God - because everyone sees the evidence of God in creation, and suppresses that truth in order to continue in the unrighteousness that is listed in verses 29 through to 31. In verse 32 when Paul says that they know the righteous jusgement of God, he is saying, that they know full well that these things (in the list) are wrong and that God is right in condmening those who practice them.
They are not running the gambit of these sins in response to some misery they are feeling because they are failing to achieve a righteousness they know they have need of. That is quite a construct no? They -are- stubborn and rebellious, and they won't come to the fountain even when they hear of it, not because of their misery, but because that is what sin looks like. It isn't a thing we do it is a state we are in - the link between sin and death must not be missed here. Sin produces death, it doesn't merely suppress life. Where sin is found, death is found, not sickness, not weakness, not hinderance or difficulty - but death. They do not want righteousness, even if they know they need it. They don't have a thirst, that is the point. They are dead men, dead men don't thirst. Thirst is a trait that only the living possess.
In Romans 5:18 we see that through Adam's offense death came to *all* men. Amen? Who would deny this? It resulted not in a hand slap but in a universal condemnation - we are all of us condemned through the sin that none of us escapes. That is what came to all men. We are all of us, dead in tresspasses and sin. But we see that in the same way that all (who partake of Adam's sin) are condemned, so too *all* (who partake of Christ righteousness) are justified. I don't understand your stress on the word "all" - perhaps you were expecting some argument from me? Far be it from me. The free gift --was-- offered to -all- men, but that in no way negates the fact that in spite of this free gift, in spite of God holding his hand out to mankind all day long - that anyone was taking it.
We both agree that the gift is offerred to all, and we both agree that not all will take it. Where we disagree is the explanation of why that is.
I believe scripture teaches that unless God gives us life we will by no means believe; that the gospel is only effective in a heart that has been made alive by God - that is, a heart that has been given the ability to do what other dead hearts cannot do - repent.
Now, when I say repent, I don't mean "do good works in order to attain something" - what I mean is very specific: to turn away from self and place my trust in Christ's finished work on Calvary - that is, to willingly put myself back into a right, subjugated relationship with God - the relationship that I had no claim to on account of my sin, but was made available to me through the reconciling work of Christ on the cross. It isn't that I humble myself in order to receive Christ, but rather that God humbles me in order that I might believe - that is the repentance that always comes coupled with genuine faith, and is found lacking in every false way.
The point of my post was to dispel the notion that the only way God can ordain who will come to him is to do injury to the free will of those whom He draws. I believe I have demonstrated by a fair example (to all who have eyes to see it) that when God ordained that we drink liquids every day, an ordination that is evident in that we are designed to dehydrate and to thirst in response to it - he ordained it thus: we choose to do what he has ordained us to do, and we do so without compromising our will, or God's sovereignty.
There are some out there who have so misunderstand the doctrine of grace in this way - they imagine that in order for God to irresistably call a sinner, that sinner must necessarily be turned into a zombie. They make this mistake because (for whatever reason) they are unable, or unwilling to fathom the Lord ordaining a thing that man freely chooses to do. They insist that to do so would require a man to become a zombie, or a robot, or to at least on some level be "controlled" by God in a way that abuses the freedom of that person's choice. I have shown that God can be perfectly sovereign without impairing a man's choice - that a man designed by God to thirst will always "choose" to drink if he is alive to do so - but not so with the stil born babe, who is also designed to thirst, but who has no life within himself, and lacking life, he likewise lacks any capacity to act upon that principle that is given to all men - thirst, for he is too dead to be thirsty.
I hope you will see that at least some of what you seem to be rejecting is not in fact what I am saying. I agree with much of what you say, but it seems you are attributing too much power to man and not enough sovereignty to God.
Let me know if that makes sense and if I am handling your response fairly - I wouldn't want to put words in your mouth or defend against a thing you are not saying.
"if anyone cannot see that, it is because they choose to be blind."
Yes, and may we show the love and patience of Christ towards them. They are, after all, brothers and sisters in Christ. Only through love and prayer can we see them come to the truth.
A very good post, Daniel. I wish it were possible for you to be a part of Bluecollar blog.
Mark - if you ask, I will say yes. I think it is a good team, and frankly, you need a good solid dozen, and you are still at nine.
I have a sick baby today.
I completely understood that you were *not* using metaphor when you said "God ordained that all men everywhere would choose to drink liquids. God doesn't turn them into robots to make them drink liquids, he gives them a thirst." I got that.
It just reminded me of the Jer. verse, which is a metaphor, I understand that. ;~)
I also understand that when it says in that verse "my people" it is talking about Israel, the nation, the physical chosen people of God. I only was applying it to the whole poplulation of the earth in general because I think that is OK to do. Israel was a large group of people who were shown the workings of the one true God and a large subset of them chose emptiness instead of God's fellowship. In like manner, the world is a large group who has been shown the workings of the one true God and has a large subset of those in it who choose emptiness instead of God's fellowship.
The verse has an application to the world, even though I agree, it is directly about Isarel. I mentioned it because your post reminded me of it.
You and Mark are so gracious toward those who *choose* to be blind over this issue, as I hope I am with those who *choose* to be blind over it as well. :~)
rose~ you did not engage Daniel's thoughts about Romans 1:18-32. These verses clearly teach of man's rebellion against God and how the WHOLE human race, every individual, has made a contribution to that rebellion. It is not as you suggest that perhaps SOME have gone that route in search of a "missing piece". All have.
Yes, I once thought like you do now. Then came time to stop resisting what the Bible clearly taught.
IOW, my friend, Rose, how could somebody who once saw things as you do now, and who once held to all the same arguments as you do now be blind?
What excuse do you have for not being in church? ;~) I was typing my answers to Daniel's other thoughts while you were posting those comments. ;~)
It is not as you suggest that perhaps SOME have gone that route in search of a "missing piece". All have.
I am not sure what you are talking about. I think I am just going to keep the discussion going with Daniel becaue it gets confusing when I have two people throwing out things for me to answer. K? I am just one of "those", you know?I wish you could hear how that 'sounds' when you say stuff like "Yes, I once thought like you do now. Then came time to stop resisting what the Bible clearly taught." It sounds very condescending. Not that I am offended... :~)
I do appreciate what you say about repentance. That word has so many definitions flying around it boggles the mind.
Your view on this thirst, though, is rather peculair to me. You are saying that no one thirsts apart from regeneration because the dead (metaphor) do not thirst. So, when Jesus said: "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”(John 7:37)
So then you would be saying then (correct me if I am wrong) that Jesus was talking to those who were already alive? This is a sticky business you all get yourself into with this idea of regeneration preceding faith. Now you are taking it a step further - regeneration preceding thirst or need of God.
We both agree that the gift is offerred to all, and we both agree that not all will take it. Where we disagree is the explanation of why that is.
You say not all will take it because they don't thirst and some will take it because God gave them thirst.
I am saying that while all thirst, some will look for empty things to satisfy thirst and some will recieve the water which God provides because like the rest, they thirst, but ... they hear about the living water, they are convinced that their broken cistern is not satisfying and they are also convinced that the living water will satisfy. They then receive the water, never to thirst again.
Why does one receive the water and another doesn't? Is it because of God? Does this person perish because God decided that He would ... by not giving Him thirst?
Daniel, you set up this discussion (and Mark's comments follow your comments to continue your pre-supposed backdrop) that someone like me (non-C) is in rebellion against this "obvious" truth. That makes me want to drop the discussion altogether, but I almost always enjoy talking with you, so I can't do that. :~)
So why does one receive the water and another doesn't?
To answer that question, let me offer a real illustration like you have done with real water and real thirst.
God has fore-ordained that mankind will pro-create. No?
Do all individual men participate in the act that causes procreation?
Do all men have a desire or a *thirst* to participate in the act that casues procreation?
Yes (I think I can say with most certaintly that ALL men do).
Has not God given them that desire? Has He not ordained that a man and a woman will be joined to gether and procreate?
Yes, He has.
For many different reasons, men may not. Some may have made a vow of celibacy, others may be saving themselves for a wife that they never find, others may have cultivated a desire for partners of the same sex (which we know produces no offspring), others may be so timid that they never find the opportunity. Whatever it is, not all men procreate. God ordained that we, as a whole, would procreate, but not each individual takes part in it. But, because He designed us to do this, He gets a good showing and the population goes on. He has given us this responsibilty and provided the desire to fulfill it. Because some never venture out far enough to find a wife, or others do what is vile in God's sight, having *left the desire for women* or others just don't want children so they get themselves fixed having the fruitless experience of the act that leads to procreation ..... all these reasons.... many and varied ... are the answer to the question of why not every individual is a part of this thing that God has designed for mankind. He even gave the desire to all of them to do the act that leads to procreation. Yet, not all men do it. This is complex and the answer is not simple.
Now how can you say that the various and different stories of conversion that people tell - all these variables that are in their lives - the amazing way that God works in the lives of individuals who are part of humanity - is simpler than the various reasons why some men copulate and some do not?
You simplify this and say because God gives thirst to some and not to others. Daniel, if that were so, they would have an excuse for not drinking the water. And we know where that goes.
Also - when you consider the pasages that reveal this offer being made to all men (which you admit they do, to your credit) the only solution is to see that it is because God truly has opened His arms to all of mankind ... some will come and others won't ... and it will be for reasons within themselves, not eminating from God's decree. The way you look at it makes the offers of salvation that I read of in the new testament sound like a enigma wrapped un in a mystery.
I do love your posts, Daniel and your interaction is mainly quite enjoyable. I am glad for the bluecollar team that you are joining them. You will be a POSITIVE addition there.
" I am just one of "those", you know?"
Yes,you are my sister in Christ; and, after 2 years talking on blogs, a good friend.
I apologize for my tardy reply, I am (of late) frightfully busy, and carrying on any discourse comes at a cost to me, meaning only that I apologize up front for being so slow to respond.
I appreciate the peculiar nature of my post. I find that I tend to discuss what I consider to be "the truth" in the way that I understand it, and not according to the standard arguements that are typically given to defend it. Thus my take, while immediately recognizable as to which side of the fence it lies on, can sometimes draw to the light some of those things that are understood but overlooked in the presentations of others - we tend to close our ears after we have dismissed an argument, so it is good to examine these things from a fresh perspective - if for no other reason than to give God more opportunity to work truth into us - either to the fortifying of what we know, or to the dismantling of it.
When I read John 7:37-38 ( "...If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink..."), I see in it the same call that Isaiah prophesied about in Isaiah 55:1 - "come everyone who is thirsty". When I ask my self whom is being called here:  everyone or  everyone who is thirsty, the answer presents itself clearly from the text itself, requiring no sullying interpretion on my part - not everyone, but a subset of "everyone" which, to be precise would be "everyone who is thirsty". Thus the language identifies two groups, those who thirst, and  those who do not thirst. Christ doesn't identify who is who by sorting them into groups, rather he calls to all, "if anyone thirsts" - not unlike calling out in the shepfold, if any are my sheep - come follow me.
What I am saying is that in that passage the voice of Jesus was heard by both groups, but the call was directed only at those who thirst, and we do well to observe that while the call was directed at those who thirst, they were never identified directly by Christ, but indirectly, that is, those who were thirsty would know they were thirsty, just as Christ's sheep here his call, not that they hear the call and decide to follow, but rather because when they hear the call it is calling to -them-.
I am of the persuasion that regeneration cannot be properly understood if we limit our understanding of it to the physical realm. I am sure that we agree this much about regeneration: it -in no way- changed our flesh, being not a physical rebirth, but a spiritual one - not a carnal change, but a spiritual change: a change with repercussions in our physical life such as sanctification.
Likewise I am of the strong persuasion that time does not exist outside of creation - that is, both time and space are created things - and even our own sciences have shown that the two are bound together such that where you find the one, you find the other, and where you bend the one, you bend the other. Notwithstanding, I am presently convinced that we ought to be very careful therefore when we discuss or make reference to "events" which took place in eternity, even if manifestations of what took place in eternity have been found in creation's chronology. I speak of events such as the slaying of the Lamb of God before the foundation of the world. I take that to mean that the slaying of the Lamb of God (regardless of when the physical manifestation of that slaying took place in our history) by virtue of being having a defining, eternal component bound up in it - that we must first acknowledge our profound arrogance in even deigning to consider such matters with the dismal myopic perspective we posses being bound as we are to a perspective that can only speculate about eternity. Never the less, we are inclined to speculate upon these things even with the waning light that we have.
Which is my way of saying that when I think of regeneration, I understand that I come to such a weighty meditation, I come from an utterly alien perspective to what must be the actual substance of the thing. I would bind the idea into time as though such an eternal thing as my election could be bound into creation even though it is clear that the thing took place outside of time. That is, I do not insist on phrases such as, my regeneration took place at point [a] and my repentance at point [b] and my salvation at point [c] as though I use the tail of my creation specific perspective to wag the dog of eternal reality. Perhaps I am being too poetic here, so I will rephrase it in more certain language - I don't think it is correct or wise to assign chronology to events that happen in eternity. I don't line up regeneration, repentance, and faith on a time line making the one dependant upon the other - for none are dependant upon the other, all are dependant upon Christ - if we have Christ we have all of these, repentance, regeneration, faith, sanctification - if we lack Christ, we likewise lack all of these.
I know there was a day when the gospel was a formula that I understood intellectually and in that context I gave myself to it - dear God, you made this promise, I believe it is a promise, and that you are God, and that your promise will stand not because of my great belief, but because you are faithful, so I ask you to save me - etc. I know that I put my trust in such things before I was ever born again - that so long as the gospel remained an intellectual formula I had an intellectual assurance. Likewise I know that one day, on a day I wasn't looking for it at all, suddenly the gospel was presented to me, who thought I was saved already, and God opened my eyes, and it was no longer some formula that I recognized as being valid and true - suddenly it was life itself, suddenly it was the power of God unto my salvation - where before that instant I was a rebel in my heart, even if I was a Christian in my mouth - yet in that moment Christ was my Lord, my Savior, and my entirely being was utterly surrendered to Him as my God, as my King, and though moments earlier I was a beast without sense, hating the idea of surrendering to God - in utter rebellion against it - and in the next moment, through no work of my own, God was utterly real, eternally undeniable, and profoundly, almost tangibly present in me, that I suddenly was not only able to repent, the very thing I had never done, but I was burning in my heart to do the very thing with my whole being. There is a surrender that is no surrender at all. This wasn't that kind of surrender.
Now I say this to say that my repentence came in the moment of my faith, and if I wanted to answer the question about when the manifestation of my regeneration took place in creation, I could tell you it took place that day some twenty years ago now, but if you were to press me, I would tell you that it is my conviction that I was not regenerated in creation, but outside of it - that God has dealt with me throughout my life, as a son, and not as an enemy, that from the moment I was conceived I was His, and regarded as being in Christ even though chronologically speaking, I hadn't become a believer yet. Not that I would have regarded myself as such at the time - for surely I would never have thought such a thing - but now, as I have some knowledge of the Lord, and scripture, and the perspective to look backwards - I can say with some clarity in my own soul, that the Lord has had his hand upon me from the womb. Not that I am special in this, but rather that God was not one day surprised to adopt me, rather He Himself having elected me was drawing me to Himself my whole life long - and like all whom He calls, I came, because I was born "thirsty" - and eventually that thirst had to be slaked. God intensified the thirst throughout my life so that even though I had always wanted to be saved, and had pursued that course to greater or lesser success (religiously speaking), yet when God, in His profound mercy, ordained to open my eyes, it was the culmination of a lifetime's worth of preparation. Not some random event, but an appointment as certain as Paul's on the road to Damascus.
So I say, I am not too concerned, as some seem to be, about which came first, the chicken of regeneration or the egg of repentance, or the feathers of faith. Answering such a question in order to defend a theology seems all of folly to me. What is the chaff to the wheat? I am regenerate, God has shown me only favor all my life, both before and after I came into possession of my inheritance (that is, both before I was saved, and after).
When I say that not everyone will thirst because not everyone is alive, I am making a theological point rooted in the understanding that first and foremost, all are dead. It isn't that some are alive and some are dead, it is that all are dead, but God makes some alive. When scripture says that there are none who seek, that is to say there isn't even one. Not that some are seeking, and the rest are not, but that none are seeking. They cannot seek because they are spiritually dead in their tresspasses and sin. It isn't that they don't know about God and don't want the security of going to heaven - for surely many do and are engaged in the religious activity of church on that account alone - but being religious they have many leaves on their fig tree, but being deceived into thinking that their intellectual faith, and the accompanying moral changes that they themselves have worked hard to couple to their intellectual faith - being deceived I say, they have no fruit. They don't love God, they don't have joy in God, they love their religion, and take joy in being good at it. They have no peace in God, no patience no fruit. The Spirit of God is convicting them of sin and they take that to mean that the Spirit of God must be in them. The confuse the ministry of the Holy Spirit in their lives with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit - and being deceived into thinking they possess a thing they have never possessed, they no longer pursue it - but neglect it.
Tragic, and heartbreakingly so, and more so if one is zealous for this system that only produces a zealous, empty, death - and can I say, moreso if they drag others into it with themselves?
Whether you are familiar with Pascal's notion that everyone has a god shaped hole in their heart which they try to fill with other stuff, or are using a similar an analogy that is similar by chance, the thing is still skewed in that we assume that since we have a god shaped hole in our heart, that everyone must have such a hole. We assume that since we tried to fill that hole up with other things before God came to fill it, that this is what all unsaved people do. But I think that illustration is actually flawed. That those who are not thirsty do not have a thirst, or to extend Pascal's metaphor, that not everyone has a godshaped hole in their heart, such that if Christ were to have called out in John 7 using Pascal's analogy, he would have said "if anyone has a god shaped hole in their heart, come to me and I will fill it." - meaning, that not everyone who hears will have the hole.
If my pursuit of God had inclined me to the idea that all men have a God shaped hole in their heart, and trust me when I say that in the infancy of my faith, I was certainly inclined in that direction, not because I found it in scripture, but because it agreed with my world view, and my extra-biblical suppositions about who God was, etc. - I say my inclination was certainly in that direction, or said another way, if my inclination was to imagine that all men were busy hewing out broken cisterns for themselves your reasoning might have more penetrating power, but my heart is either very hard indeed, or has been inclined to what seems a more certain, more biblical, more God exalting truth - that just as only Israel were hewing out broken cisterns for themselves, and not those outside of Israel, so too only the called are thirsty, and when the called receive the living water - they never thirst again.
You ask, Why does one receive the water and another doesn't? Is it because of God? Does this person perish because God decided that He would ... by not giving Him thirst?
The premise of your question expects that all men are thirsty, but I cannot answer the question as is it premised, since I do not believe all men are thirsty. The question I would ask from my perspective is, Why do you expect God to pour water down the throats of dead men? Or if you prefer them to be alive, why do you expect God to pour water down the throats of live men who are rejecting him? Is that what Jesus did to the Pharisees? Did he pursue those who were rejecting Him? He corrected them when they spoke deceit, he warned against them that men would not fall into their error, but he did not pursue them to pour the truth into them. The rich young ruler was given a fair opportunity, but he refused the water that was offered, and Christ didn't chase after him to try and explain it better.
I don't presume that God is wringing His hands over the people who are going to hell. His soul take no delight in it, but David's soul took no delight in slaying two thirds of the Moabites either - that is, rather than kill them all as they deserved, he determined to show mercy to a third of them, and so he lined them up, and measured out the line, a third to mercy, and two thirds to justice. It wasn't that David has a special affection for the first third, nor an especial hatred of the last two thirds. It was that he extended he mercy to those whom he chose, and they received it. They didn't deserve or earn it - for all they had earned was David's wrath - yet because he was merciful he chose to save a third of those who were already condemned. You see, it wasn't that David took an innocent people and killed two thirds of them and let the third that he like best live - it was that David showed mercy to one third of a group of entirely condemned people.
It is the very picture of myopia to think that those who were spared by david were less deseriving of judgment, or that David's judgment on the rest was harsh or wrong because he had mercy on some. Nor is it that David hated only two thirds and loved the third he saved - he hated them all, but his hatred was offset by his mercy. Now David was only a man, but God can do more than merely "not hate" - he can love. He can love even those who are condemned, and give them every opportunity to turn from their sin, and I believe with all my heart that this is exactly what God does - that he regards us all as sinners who are rightly condemned - and that he extends in His mercy life to all of us - and here is the critical thing - yet we all reject the offer. At this point all of us ought to be tossed into hell, but it is at this point that God shows mercy, not while we are merely condemned, but -after- we all reject Him, that the election takes place, not that God is looking at equally innocent men and saying you I shall cause to reject me, and you I shall cause to embrace me - but that God is looking at all men who have universally rejected him already, and drawing out a line in His mercy whereby he determines to -cause- some of those who have rejected him already, to come to Him.
I don't judge God as being evil for not saving all of us in this way, though there was a time when I didn't understand justice and thought God ought to save everyone if he saves anyone - but that was a corruption in me that when I understood was taken out of my eye, and I saw clearly from that day forward that God is right to condemn who is condemned, and merciful to those whom He shows mercy - that grace is not owed to men, or it wouldn't be grace.
I appreciate your desire to persist in the discussion even though it has something of a patronizing odor associated with it. I certainly try to be fair in my discourse, and avoid being patronizing - for surely I am a child in many ways and there is much room in me for growth, so thank you for hanging in there. Be sure to call me if I insult your intelligence, or paint something you say or mean in a way that doesn't do justice.
You ask, So why does one receive the water and another doesn't?
I note that it isn't a question of receiving it, as though it were being passed out to all, rather it is always presented as you who want it, "come and get it". That is, a group is identified (those who want it) and they are instructed in how to get it (come and get it). It seems clear enough that the one who comes and gets it receives it because he came and got it, and the one who does not want it does not come to get it.
The desire to engage in acts that lead to procreation may seem similar to thirst in that both are carnally experienced. I would say that there are many in North America who have no desire to procreate whatsoever, but are pursuing with vigor the act that would normally bring it about (if our junk email, abortion statistics, and birth control statistics are any indication). Yet while the desire to engage in carnal acts is similar to being "thirsty" in that both produce a hunger in the flesh - the similarity ends there because thirst is more than a carnal desire, it signals to the individual that the they are going to die soon if they do not partake of that which continues their life. The desire to commit an act that could result in procreation can be ignored or suppressed, and doing so does not kill the person who does it.
Yes, men desire to satisfy their carnal impulses, and there are some who will become married and respond to these impulses in a way that is pleasing to God, and they still will not procreate, because it isn't the carnal act that opens the womb, God opens the womb. You see, if God didn't open the womb, then yes, the responsibility would fall to mankind to do it - and we would presume that the whole thing was an act of science, that the man's seed fertilizes the womans egg, and that if the egg finds purchase in her fertile womb, and no genetic difficulties ensue, voila! We have life whether God wants it or not. But is scripture lying when it says that God opens the womb? Can a person be born that God has not ordained? I am of the opinion that God does open and close the womb - that biology explains how God does it, but I don't let that explanation remove God from the process.
So while I appreciate your example, I see it is not terribly fair to the discussion, and if anything, I think you ought to take another swing at it with a different illustration, because the more I look at it, the more I see procreation supporting my view and not your own. For surely life is not being generated through procreation unless God ordains it - yet should we distill your line of reasoning, it seems to me that you are saying that God opens all wombs, and we close them by not procreating. But scripture teaches that God closes the womb - so that even in metaphor your position seems strained to me.
When I say that God gives thirst to some and not to others, you object by suggesting that if that were so, those who do not drink would have an excuse for not drinking, because God is to be blamed for "making them not thirsty." My position, rightly understood, is not that God doesn't offer them water, he does - and they refuse it with the same vehemence as those whom God eventually quickens. That is, all refuse the offer (none seek God, not even one). It is only after they have rejected God by choosing to pursue their own pleasure rather than a life entirely surrendered to God, only after they have pursued their own glory rather than the Lord's glory, that they come to this place - they reject the water of life which is "obedience", which is "repentance" which is surrender. They reject it and when the end comes they will not be able to say, "you made me reject it" for God did not make them reject it. They rejected it all by themselves.
On the other side, those whom God has mercy on so that they are given that life by which they may thirst, that is, those whom God is drawing to Himself through the son - those targets of God's mercy - they will not boast that they didn't reject God, for surely they rejected God. They will not say, I am going to heaven because I made the right choice, and you are going to hell because you made the wrong choice - they won't be able to boast that way because they will have to admit that they rejected the water of life when it was offered, and that had God not pursued them, they would certainly have perished - these will look at the crown on their brow and know that had not God pursued them it would not be there, and in that knowledge that God alone is the reason they stand righteous and justified - they will cast their crowns at his feet, for they were not earned, they were given.
The offer is made to all men. Make no mistake. Don't imagine that I think the offer is only being made to some - it is made to all men. But all men reject it. We don't come to God because of the offer - surely you have read - we come to God because he draws us. The offer is there for all, but God doesn't draw all men to himself, for those whom God draws will come to Him as the scriptures teach. I don't see this as an enigma wrapped un in a mystery, I see this a plain as day - simple enough for children, made complex only if I come to it with baggage.
Let me know if that helps you to understand what I am saying, and correct me if I am describing your position from a bias or skew that I am not aware of.
ah, I see as I breifly scan my hasty reply a number of spelling errors:
arguements = arguments
interpretion = interpretation
shepfold = sheepfold
repentence = repentance
tresspasses = trespasses
godshaped = god-shaped
deseriving = deserving
womans = woman's
un = up
4100+ words. Sorry about that. If I had had more time I should have shortened that to a mere 700 or 800.
Thank you, Daniel. God bless.
Your certainly welcome Rose. Hope the baby is bringing you much joy!