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*Acts9_12Out*
July 6th, 2004, 02:49 AM
In this continuing discussion, I'm interested to find out how the determinists here define God's knowledge of "all things" in Scripture.

Us OV'ers argue God's knowledge of "all things" is defined as knowledge of "all things" that are knowable.


1 John 3:20
20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.

The calvinists here seem to believe that "all things" refers to everything, including an unknowable future. For sake of this discussion, I would like to know if the calvinists here believe Christ also has unlimited knowledge of "all things," inclluding an unknowable future... Peter's own words state that Christ knows "all things" in John 21.


John 21:17
17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep.

If God knows "all things" (1 John 3:20), and Christ knows "all things" (John 21:17), do the Father and Son share knowledge of the same "all things" referenced above?

Thoughts anyone?

--Jeremy Finkenbinder

lee_merrill
July 6th, 2004, 05:19 PM
H Jeremy, :wave:

I was about to post a post saying "Where did everybody go?"


The calvinists here seem to believe that "all things" refers to everything, including an unknowable future.

I would agree. Only I wouldn't call the future unknowable, because I believe God knows it!


If God knows "all things" (1 John 3:20), and Christ knows "all things" (John 21:17), do the Father and Son share knowledge of the same "all things" referenced above?

I believe Jesus had indirect access to all knowledge while he was on earth, and direct access to all knowledge after his resurrection, with the possible exception of the time of his return. So basically, yes...

I think this is the toss before the serve, though... :aimiel:

Blessings,
Lee

*Acts9_12Out*
July 7th, 2004, 02:23 AM
Hi Lee,

I must say, you answer is a bit confusing. I see this is going to be just like the "Without Fail" thread awhile back. We asked tough questions, and none of your calvinist cohorts came to join you. I thank you for at least having the courage to attempt to address the issuses.

I guess what confuses me the most is, you answer "yes" to my question, but the reality of your explaination forces a "no" response. I asked,


If God knows "all things" (1 John 3:20), and Christ knows "all things" (John 21:17), do the Father and Son share knowledge of the same "all things" referenced above?

You answered,


I believe Jesus had indirect access to all knowledge while he was on earth, and direct access to all knowledge after his resurrection, with the possible exception of the time of his return. So basically, yes...

Notice the confusion highlighted by me above. I asked if Christ knows "all things" in the same manner in which the Father knows "all things" and you said, So basically, yes... but with exception. How can Christ know "all things" with an exception? Either He knows "all things" or He doesn't. If there is one thing Christ does not have knowledge of, then He does not know "all things," right? Wouldn't the "time of His return" be included in "all things" if Christ has knowledge of "all things" just as Peter stated?

Secondly, you claim that God knows the future. How is an unknowable future included in "all things" that God knows? Doesn't God know "all things" that are knowable? If the future is unknowable, how can God know it?

God Bless, --Jeremy

Clete
July 7th, 2004, 05:36 AM
Jeremy,

First let me say, cool thread! I too was beginning to think everybody was on vacation or something.

Allow me to play devil's advocate and anticipate at least part of Lee's response...

By what means have you determined that the future is unknowable? It seems at this point that the premise that God cannot know the future is based upon this single assumption. Can you establish that the future is, in fact, unknowable?

Resting in Him,
Clete

lee_merrill
July 7th, 2004, 06:22 PM
Hi everyone,


Jeremy: If there is one thing Christ does not have knowledge of, then He does not know "all things," right?

The Father would tell him if he asked! Even while he was on earth:

John 11:22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.

So potential knowledge of all things, and actual knowledge of all but this, or maybe Jesus knows this now, that is possible, too.


Jeremy: Secondly, you claim that God knows the future. How is an unknowable future included in "all things" that God knows?

Clete: Can you establish that the future is, in fact, unknowable?

You took the mouth right out of my words! If you are playing devil's advocate, does that make me the devil, though? :shocked:

God does know some of the future, he is certain of it, and is not guessing:

Genesis 17:20 I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers.
Genesis 18:18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation...
Isaiah 39:6 The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your fathers have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon.
Jeremiah 30:10 "'So do not fear, O Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, O Israel,' declares the LORD. 'I will surely save you out of a distant place, your descendants from the land of their exile. Jacob will again have peace and security, and no one will make him afraid.
Acts 11:14 He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.
2 Corinthians 1:22 ... and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Thus I think we may conclude that the future is not unknowable, and that "all things" includes the future, too.

Blessings,
Lee

Clete
July 7th, 2004, 07:23 PM
Originally posted by lee_merrill
You took the mouth right out of my words! If you are playing devil's advocate, does that make me the devil, though? :shocked:
:shut:


God does know some of the future, he is certain of it, and is not guessing:

Genesis 17:20 I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers.
Genesis 18:18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation...
Isaiah 39:6 The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your fathers have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon.
Jeremiah 30:10 "'So do not fear, O Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, O Israel,' declares the LORD. 'I will surely save you out of a distant place, your descendants from the land of their exile. Jacob will again have peace and security, and no one will make him afraid.
Acts 11:14 He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.
2 Corinthians 1:22 ... and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Thus I think we may conclude that the future is not unknowable, and that "all things" includes the future, too.

Blessings,
Lee
I do not believe the Biblical evidence is sufficient to prove that the future is knowable in the way you suggest (exhaustively).
The future is, however, DEFINATELY predictable!
The more information you have at your disposal the more predictable the future becomes. God is able to know all things that are knowable and thus He is able to very accurately predict the future. He is also able to interact with His creation and work to bring about certain things that He wishes to have happen. There are, however, Biblical examples of God predicting things that do not end up happening and situations were God regrets having done something or where God changes His mind, none of which would make any sense, even if figuratively interpreted, if God knows the future exhaustively. Therefore we can say that God is quite certain what will happen, at least in general terms, but to say that He knows the future exhaustively is an overstatement and is at odds with Scripture.

Resting in Him,
Clete :Clete:

lee_merrill
July 8th, 2004, 06:09 PM
Hi Clete,


The more information you have at your disposal the more predictable the future becomes. God is able to know all things that are knowable and thus He is able to very accurately predict the future.

But these above verses show God being certain about the future, in areas that involve human choices, and some in areas where OV people hold that God will not force the issue:

Acts 11:14 He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.

Are you saying that God can be certain about human choices, sometimes? But how can God be certain about the choices of people who are not yet in existence?

Genesis 18:18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation...

That involves lots of human choices, mostly with people not yet born.


There are, however, Biblical examples of God predicting things that do not end up happening and situations were God regrets having done something or where God changes His mind, none of which would make any sense, even if figuratively interpreted, if God knows the future exhaustively.

Well, let's deal with them! But if God can guarantee the future, then certainly God is not estimating...

Here is are two verses that needs addressing:

Jeremiah 3:7 I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it.

Jeremiah 3:19-20 I thought you would call me 'Father' and not turn away from following me. But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you have been unfaithful to me,

"Thought" can be "said," though, and "but" can be "and." As in these translations:

"And I say, after her doing all these, Unto Me thou dost turn back, and she hath not turned back." (Young's)

"And I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from following me. Surely as a woman treacherously departeth from her companion, so have ye dealt treacherously with me." (Darby)

Now if she does return in the future, and does not turn away forever, then what God said is true, and is not a mistake:

Jeremiah 31:18 I have surely heard Ephraim's moaning: "You disciplined me like an unruly calf, and I have been disciplined. Restore me, and I will return, because you are the Lord my God."

Blessings,
Lee

Clete
July 8th, 2004, 08:50 PM
Originally posted by lee_merrill

Hi Clete,



But these above verses show God being certain about the future, in areas that involve human choices, and some in areas where OV people hold that God will not force the issue:

Acts 11:14 He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.

Are you saying that God can be certain about human choices, sometimes? But how can God be certain about the choices of people who are not yet in existence?

Genesis 18:18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation...

That involves lots of human choices, mostly with people not yet born.



Well, let's deal with them! But if God can guarantee the future, then certainly God is not estimating...

Here is are two verses that needs addressing:

Jeremiah 3:7 I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it.

Jeremiah 3:19-20 I thought you would call me 'Father' and not turn away from following me. But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you have been unfaithful to me,

"Thought" can be "said," though, and "but" can be "and." As in these translations:

"And I say, after her doing all these, Unto Me thou dost turn back, and she hath not turned back." (Young's)

"And I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from following me. Surely as a woman treacherously departeth from her companion, so have ye dealt treacherously with me." (Darby)

Now if she does return in the future, and does not turn away forever, then what God said is true, and is not a mistake:

Jeremiah 31:18 I have surely heard Ephraim's moaning: "You disciplined me like an unruly calf, and I have been disciplined. Restore me, and I will return, because you are the Lord my God."

Blessings,
Lee

Why jump through all the hoops trying to get a perfectly plain passage of scripture to say the exact opposite of what it is clearly trying to communicate?
Why?
Why is it so odious to believe that God does not know precisely what will happen in the future?
What damage does it do to God to see Him as a person who is trying His best to do what can be done to save as many of His lost creation as possible?
Isn't it a lot easier just to take the Bible at face value and believe in a God who can be surprised and who can change His mind and who can make decisions that He later regrets and who genuinely interacts on a personal level with creatures whom He has given a genuinely free will?
I really don't get it? Why is this idea of God being a know-it-all, so important to you Calvinist types?

And there are lots more passages that you would have to deal with than the couple you mentioned.
Here’s a few for you to mull over…

Genesis 6:6 - And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.

Exodus 32:14 - So the LORD changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.

Deut. 32:36 - Indeed, the LORD will judge his people,
and he will change his mind about his servants,
when he sees their strength is gone
and no one is left, slave or free

I Samuel 15:35 - And Samuel went no more to see Saul until the day of his death. Nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul, and the Lord regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.

2 samuel 24:16 - When the Lord's angel was about to destroy Jerusalem, the Lord changed his mind about punishing the people and said to the angel who was killing them, "Stop! That's enough!" The angel was by the threshing place of Araunah, a Jebusite

Jer. 15:6 - You have forsaken me and turned your back on me," says the LORD. "Therefore, I will raise my clenched fists to destroy you. I am tired of always giving you another chance.

Jer. 18:8, 10 - and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will repent of the evil that I intended to do to it. and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will repent of the good which I had intended to do to it.

Jer 26:3 It may be they will listen, and every one turn from his evil way, that I may repent of the evil which I intend to do to them because of their evil doings.

Jer 42:10 If you will remain in this land, then I will build you up and not pull you down; I will plant you, and not pluck you up; for I repent of the evil which I did to you.

Joe 2:13 and rend your hearts and not your garments." Return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and repents of evil.

Amo 7:3 The LORD repented concerning this; "It shall not be," said the LORD

Jon 3:10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God repented of the evil which he had said he would do to them; and he did not do it.

And in regards to thwarting the will of God…

Proverbs 1:24 Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded, 25 Because you disdained all my counsel, And would have none of my rebuke,

John 5:40 “But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
Acts 7:51 “You stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.

And there are many more! Indeed, there are whole books of the Bible that simply make no sense if God exhaustively knows the future!

Resting in Him,
Clete

P.S. I generally avoid proof texting as it tends to bog down the discussion. Please don’t feel obligated to respond to each verse. I only posted them to show that I can proof text with the best of them. The real catch is that I have as many proof texts as there are verses in the Bible! I simply do not have any problem texts! You brought up a few that you believe cause the OV a problem but there isn’t anything in them that requires a belief that God knows the future in advance. There are at least a thousand different things that could have come about that would have fit into the verses that you site. Things did not have to happen precisely the way they did in order for those “prophecies? to come true. And even if they hadn’t come true at all, it would not have been the first time or the last. Prophecy is not prewritten history!

freelight
July 8th, 2004, 11:59 PM
Originally posted by *Acts9_12Out*

In this continuing discussion, I'm interested to find out how the determinists here define God's knowledge of "all things" in Scripture.

Us OV'ers argue God's knowledge of "all things" is defined as knowledge of "all things" that are knowable.



The calvinists here seem to believe that "all things" refers to everything, including an unknowable future. For sake of this discussion, I would like to know if the calvinists here believe Christ also has unlimited knowledge of "all things," inclluding an unknowable future... Peter's own words state that Christ knows "all things" in John 21.



If God knows "all things" (1 John 3:20), and Christ knows "all things" (John 21:17), do the Father and Son share knowledge of the same "all things" referenced above?

Thoughts anyone?

--Jeremy Finkenbinder



)========== Hello Jeremy and all,...................it would appear that Christ could no more know the unknowable future(exhaustively) any more than God the Father knows it - of course Jesus the Man would have a lesser degree of knowledge with his mortal limitations.

The examples in both of your scriptural references in no way implies an exhaustive knowledge necessarily...but are more likely relative to the context in which these statements are made - In 1 John 3:20......the indication is being that God knows our hearts......'all' that is in them. John 21:17 also implies that Jesus being who he is ( more spiritually developed and keen than himself) knows what is truly in his heart (if he loved him or not).
Therefore these verses do not and cannot necessarily prove any exhaustive knowledge of God...they are merely assumed suppositions relative to their immediate context.

I propose/assume that because God is truly transcendent and supreme in his divinity and knowledge.....that to Man it is logical to assume He knows 'all things'.....for all things are ever before him within the scope of His divine Consciousness. God is ever knowing all past and currently present events/realities AS they have transpired and ARE transpiring. These are knowable and currently known realities - actuals that are actually existing and coming into existence from moment to moment...and obviously all that is past. However it is evident that God does not know exhaustively the future....as many variables exist that help shape/govern how potentialities become actualities...in the spontanaeity of Life as it ever unfolds - among these are free agency(free will). We can say that God certainly knows all potentials in existence...and possible outcomes....for He dreams these into being and wills that His free will creatures will coordinate their wills with His....in mutual cooperation...so that both enjoy continued pleasures thru-out eternity. It stands to reason God cannot know all things exhaustively. 'All knowing' refers to his transcendent knowledge...for all things are ever transpiring and being born(arising) within His divine Consciousness - in this sense certainly Deity is all knowing. He is ever knowing all things past, present....and all future potential destinies. God is Supreme, goes without saying. So...He is indeed all knowing...knowing all things that are within his field of knowing. It must be frightening for some to consider that God may even face the unknowable! Well......the unknowable is ever present within the unfolding sequence of potentials turning into actuals from moment to moment within a certain dimension-frequency that is coming to be known...but the near and far future events as they transpire cannot be known exhaustively because they are not yet 'actual' or 'actualized' in the most concrete sense. Gods knowledge forever of course far transcends mans for Gods universality and supremacy is multi if not trans-dimensional. One must consider the coordinates of free will within the Universe of God.....as factoral in the conditioning of laws that govern potentials turning into actuals in the unfolding of time. While God may never be 'surprised'.....I believe He still maintains a degree of wonder and awe with-in His creation and ever anticipates how the universes and his free will creatures shall fare in their spiritual journeys....as they expand in accordance to his divine Will, plan, hopes and dreams.
The whole establishment of 'covenants' are premised upon the principle of free agency and cooperation. With these dynamics at work within the unfolding of time-space events and realities as they come into being.....God cannot know the future (as it will unfold in minute detail and perfection)...for such potentials have not yet become actuals.

I am content currently to know that Gods knowledge is vastly superior to Mans........and in that I am sure to trust in His divine Providence...knowing that His Will is ever good and true. He knows all the plans and dreams that He has for Man...and is ever dreaming the expansion of infinite joy and pleasure for all his creation. All potentials and actuals are ever arising in His divine Consciousness.....in eternal revolution. God knows His Will indeed. God knows all that is past. God knows all that is occuring NOW(present). God is coming to know all future unfoldings/events as they become actual.



paul

lee_merrill
July 9th, 2004, 07:12 PM
Hi everyone,

Stop smacking the truth, Clete! You're s'posed to believe it! :)


Clete: Why jump through all the hoops trying to get a perfectly plain passage of scripture to say the exact opposite of what it is clearly trying to communicate?

It's not clear, though! "Thought" is Hebrew "davar," which normally means "said." Thus "thought" is an unusual meaning here. The word "but" is usually "and," again, we have the secondary meaning. So your interpretation has hoops here, too. The normal, everyday meaning of these words does not result in absurdity, these choices appear in some translations, even.


I simply do not have any problem texts!

I think the verses I quoted are problems for your view, though!


Why is it so odious to believe that God does not know precisely what will happen in the future?

Because Scripture says he does! He says "surely this," and "certainly that."


What damage does it do to God to see Him as a person who is trying His best to do what can be done to save as many of His lost creation as possible?

Then maybe we can do better! Or some other god...

2 Kings 1:2 So he sent messengers, saying to them, "Go and consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, to see if I will recover from this injury."


Isn't it a lot easier just to take the Bible at face value and believe in a God who can be surprised and who can change His mind and who can make decisions that He later regrets and who genuinely interacts on a personal level with creatures whom He has given a genuinely free will?

We have to take all the verses, though! And that's not always easy...


And there are lots more passages that you would have to deal with than the couple you mentioned.

We're done with the toss, I think, here's the serve! I will pick the ones I think are especially difficult, and not address them all, as you suggested further down...

Genesis 6:6 - And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.

Genesis 6:6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. (NIV)

Exodus 32:14 - So the LORD changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.

Exodus 32:14 Then the Lord relented ... (NIV)

The battle of the translations, here...

Deut. 32:36 - Indeed, the LORD will judge his people,
and he will change his mind about his servants,
when he sees their strength is gone
and no one is left, slave or free

Deuteronomy 32:36 The Lord will judge his people and have compassion on his servants ... (NIV)

I Samuel 15:35 - And Samuel went no more to see Saul until the day of his death. Nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul, and the Lord regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.

1 Samuel 15:35 And the Lord was grieved that he had made Saul king over Israel. (NIV)

2 samuel 24:16 - When the Lord's angel was about to destroy Jerusalem, the Lord changed his mind about punishing the people and said to the angel who was killing them, "Stop! That's enough!" The angel was by the threshing place of Araunah, a Jebusite

2 Samuel 24:16 When the angel stretched out his hand to destroy Jerusalem, the Lord was grieved because of the calamity ... (NIV)

Jon 3:10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God repented of the evil which he had said he would do to them; and he did not do it.

Are you saying that God thought the Ninevites would not repent? Then Jonah had a better grasp of the situation than God! "Is this not what I said when I was still at home?" (Jon. 4:2). Then we should consult disobedient prophets, instead of God, sometimes. "Go and consult Baal-Zebub..."


And in regards to thwarting the will of God…

John 5:40 “But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life."

This doesn't imply that they will never come...

Acts 7:51 “You stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you."

I believe we may hope that all will be saved. Thus they will not resist forever...

Romans 11:31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God's mercy to you.


Paul: God is coming to know all future unfoldings/events as they become actual.


Clete: You brought up a few that you believe cause the OV a problem but there isn’t anything in them that requires a belief that God knows the future in advance. There are at least a thousand different things that could have come about that would have fit into the verses ...

Let's just pick one of these...

Acts 11:14 He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.

Now I don't see any way to avoid the conclusion that he and he household would indeed all be saved, when Peter brought his message. And this is certainly knowledge of the future in advance.

I recommend to you a search on the word "surely." I chose a small selection of prophecies! Prophecies that involve human choices, too, and even choices about salvation...

Blessings,
Lee

GodsfreeWill
July 10th, 2004, 12:47 AM
Originally posted by lee_merrill

You took the mouth right out of my words! If you are playing devil's advocate, does that make me the devil, though? :shocked:

God does know some of the future, he is certain of it, and is not guessing:

Genesis 17:20 I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers.

If God says HE will make somebody fruitful, He's going to do it. This has nothing to do with foreknowledge. God obviously foreknows decisions He's made Himself. I think this principle is explained in Isaiah 46:

9 Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, 'My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,'


Genesis 18:18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation...

Once again, God can say this because He already said He would do this. If you remember in Genesis 15, where God told Abraham (Abram) "Then He brought him outside and said, "Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be." This was an unconditional covenant to Abraham. Again in Genesis 17:6 God says to Abraham "I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. " So once again the principle in Isaiah 46 applies.


Jeremiah 30:10 "'So do not fear, O Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, O Israel,' declares the LORD. 'I will surely save you out of a distant place, your descendants from the land of their exile. Jacob will again have peace and security, and no one will make him afraid.

Same thing here. "I will surely save you"


2 Corinthians 1:22 ... and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Once again, God has Himself guaranteed our salvation after He baptizes us with the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 13:12, Eph 4:30, Eph 1:13,14)


Acts 11:14 He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.

Now this is a good one. On a side note, I believe you are a calvinist (please correct me if I'm wrong), but this verse disproves Total Depravity. In Acts 10:1-2, we find out that Cornelius fears God.

1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, 2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.

Also in verse 3 and 4 an angel of God tells him that his prayers and alms have been heard by God.

3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, "Cornelius!" 4 And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, "What is it, lord?" So he said to him, "Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.

So we have a man who fears God and prays to God, but is not yet saved by the words in Acts 11:14. I thought Totally Depraved men could not do this Lee?

Anyways, Cornelius is what we would call a "proselyte at the gate." He feared God, but had not yet heard the message of salvation, to which God sent Peter to preach to him. Cornelius is on the brink of being saved. He's ready to be saved, God knows this, and therefore sends Peter to preach the message to him. He knows Cornelius' heart and therefore knows he's ready to be saved. He doesn't need to have foreknowledge to know Cornelius' will be saved once he hears the message of salvation.


The battle of the translations, here...

Well, no need for a battle here. All the verses Clete mentioned contain the exact same hebrew word "nacham." Our english translations want to translate this one word numerous different ways. Well, the meaning of "nacham" is simply repent, or change of mind. It means repent or change of mind in EVERY instance Clete mentioned. God changes His mind. This is the very core of the open view, and hence, the biblical view of God. God changes His mind, and therefore, as Clete mentioned, prophecy is not prewritten history. If God changes His mind, then the future is not exhaustively settled.

GodsfreeWill
July 10th, 2004, 12:51 AM
Excellent post Paul. I don't agree that God knows all future possibilities, but your post was well-written and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

GodsfreeWill
July 10th, 2004, 12:55 AM
Originally posted by lee_merrill

Here is are two verses that needs addressing:

Jeremiah 3:7 I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it.

Jeremiah 3:19-20 I thought you would call me 'Father' and not turn away from following me. But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you have been unfaithful to me,

"Thought" can be "said," though, and "but" can be "and." As in these translations:

"And I say, after her doing all these, Unto Me thou dost turn back, and she hath not turned back." (Young's)

"And I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from following me. Surely as a woman treacherously departeth from her companion, so have ye dealt treacherously with me." (Darby)

Now if she does return in the future, and does not turn away forever, then what God said is true, and is not a mistake:

Jeremiah 31:18 I have surely heard Ephraim's moaning: "You disciplined me like an unruly calf, and I have been disciplined. Restore me, and I will return, because you are the Lord my God."

Blessings,
Lee

Lee, these verses are not at the heart of the open view, but I'm interested in how changing "thought" to "said" changes anything about the intended meaning the OVer is trying to portray. Whether or not God "said" she would return , or "thought" she would return, the fact remains, SHE DID NOT RETURN, by the words of God Himself. If God actually meant SHE WOULD RETURN SOMeWHERE IN THE DISTANT FUTURE, why would He bother saying, "I said she would return, but she did not."?

lee_merrill
July 10th, 2004, 07:58 AM
Hi Doogieduff,


If God says HE will make somebody fruitful, He's going to do it. This has nothing to do with foreknowledge. God obviously foreknows decisions He's made Himself.

But making someone a great nation involves lots and lots of human choices.


Same thing here. "I will surely save you"

Doesn't that involve decisions on their part though? They could rebel, each time God set out to save them.


2 Corinthians 1:22 ... and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Once again, God has Himself guaranteed our salvation after He baptizes us with the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 13:12, Eph 4:30, Eph 1:13,14)

Have a flower! That's the "P" in TULIP. Most free-will people don't hold to that, though.


Acts 11:14 He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.

Now this is a good one. On a side note, I believe you are a calvinist (please correct me if I'm wrong), but this verse disproves Total Depravity. In Acts 10:1-2, we find out that Cornelius fears God.

Yes, I am a (four-point) Calvinist, without the limited atonement petal on my tulip. Cornelius didn't start out that way, though! I believe conversion is a process, and it usually doesn't all happen in one moment.


So we have a man who fears God and prays to God, but is not yet saved by the words in Acts 11:14. I thought Totally Depraved men could not do this Lee?

Well, again, I believe conversion involves a process, usually, even with Paul, he met Christ dramatically, most people place his conversion there, yet Ananias tells him to get up and be baptized, and wash away his sins.


Anyways, Cornelius is what we would call a "proselyte at the gate." He feared God, but had not yet heard the message of salvation, to which God sent Peter to preach to him. Cornelius is on the brink of being saved. He's ready to be saved, God knows this, and therefore sends Peter to preach the message to him.

I agree...


He knows Cornelius' heart and therefore knows he's ready to be saved. He doesn't need to have foreknowledge to know Cornelius' will be saved once he hears the message of salvation.

I think OV has to call this an estimate here, though, not a sure prediction. And his household would be saved, too, when Peter brought his message. There are definite predictions in Scripture, which are not conditional, implying real knowledge of the future, even when human choices are involved that God will not override (according to the OV, as in the area of salvation):

ISA 45:17 But Israel will be saved by the Lord with an everlasting salvation; you will never be put to shame or disgraced, to ages everlasting.


Well, no need for a battle here. All the verses Clete mentioned contain the exact same hebrew word "nacham." Our english translations want to translate this one word numerous different ways. Well, the meaning of "nacham" is simply repent, or change of mind.

There's more possible meanings, though! You can't snip those out. It can also mean "grieved," or even "console oneself."


It means repent or change of mind in EVERY instance Clete mentioned. God changes His mind. This is the very core of the open view, and hence, the biblical view of God.

I could speak similarly, too, though! "It means 'grieved' in every instance Clete mentioned, God does not change his mind, this is thus the biblical view of God." But interpreting Scripture often involves making judgment calls, we have to seek the most probable meaning, based on the context, and on other pertinent passages of Scripture.


God changes His mind, and therefore, as Clete mentioned, prophecy is not prewritten history. If God changes His mind, then the future is not exhaustively settled.

But prophecy is prewritten history, when those prophecies are not conditional:

ISA 46:10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.

God makes a special note of saying that the other "gods" cannot do this!

ISA 41:23 ... tell us what the future holds, so we may know that you are gods.

This cannot mean "estimate the future," because everybody does that, I do that all the time, sometimes I am correct, too! But this has to mean really predict the future, and not be mistaken, that is why God presents his predictions as proof of his divinity.


I'm interested in how changing "thought" to "said" changes anything about the intended meaning...

It does make quite a difference! If God thought X, and Y happened, then God certainly was mistaken. If God said X, and Y happened, but eventually X happened anyway, then God was not mistaken...

Blessings,
Lee

GodsfreeWill
July 11th, 2004, 12:48 AM
Originally posted by lee_merrill

Hi Doogieduff,

But making someone a great nation involves lots and lots of human choices.

Not with God. If you going to force God into having to have foreknowledge to make a promise like that, you're limiting Him very much. God is definitely powerful enough to make a promsie like that, make it come to pass, and do all that without foreknowledge.


Doesn't that involve decisions on their part though? They could rebel, each time God set out to save them.

Well they could, but that's not realistic. Who's going to rebel when someone's going to save them? By the way, since we're ont he topic of God doing things for a nation, and the possibility of them rebeling, let's look in Isaiah 5, where God expected good grapes from Israel, but recieved wild grapes. He even asked what more HE could have done to Israel that He had not done. Well I guess HE could have predestined it or foreknown it huh lee? I still can't figure out how God can expect something and not recieve it if He has exhaustive divine foreknowledge.


Have a flower! That's the "P" in TULIP. Most free-will people don't hold to that, though.

Actually no it's not. I'm starting to doubt your version of calvinism after this post. The sealing of the Holy Spirit is only for the body of Christ. Israel ont he other hand had to endure to the end for their salvation to be sure. That's why Peter says to Israel to make their calling and election sure. (2 Pet. 1:10) It wasn't sure lee!


Yes, I am a (four-point) Calvinist, without the limited atonement petal on my tulip. Cornelius didn't start out that way, though! I believe conversion is a process, and it usually doesn't all happen in one moment.

Well, you must hold to the "lee version of total depravity" as calvinism clearly holds to the fact that the unregenerate man cannot understand the things of God, nor can God even communicate to an unregenerate man for the things of God are foolishness to him, and therefore a man must be regenerated (saved) before God can even start to work with him. There's no process with calvinism.


Well, again, I believe conversion involves a process, usually, even with Paul, he met Christ dramatically, most people place his conversion there, yet Ananias tells him to get up and be baptized, and wash away his sins.

Actually Paul was saved before Ananias baptized him.


I think OV has to call this an estimate here, though, not a sure prediction. And his household would be saved, too, when Peter brought his message. There are definite predictions in Scripture, which are not conditional, implying real knowledge of the future, even when human choices are involved that God will not override (according to the OV, as in the area of salvation):

Well, you don't believe that cornelius had free will. I believe he did, and that he could have rejected this message. Obviously God knows us better than we know ourselves, and knew Cornelius' heart so well He knew he was ready to be saved, and that he would believe this message if he was preached it. Similarly, Christ knew that Peter would deny Him 3 times if he were tempted. 1 John 3 and John 21 are both talking baout God's incredible understanding of our hearts. It's amazing to watch psychologists make incredible predictions about people just by getting to know them and their habits. They don't have foreknowledge, yet they can do those things. What's even more amazing is what God can do as He knows our hearts PERFECTLY. You can do a lot with that.

As for Cornelius' household, the same things apply. Acts 10:1 clearly states that Cornelius feared God ALONG WITH HIS HOUSEHOLD. They were all ready lee.



There's more possible meanings, though! You can't snip those out. It can also mean "grieved," or even "console oneself."

That's fine by me, but if you hold to the passibility of God, as do I, you must throw away your calvinist beliefs. calvinism MUST hold to the impassibility of God in order to remain consistent in their theology. As far as I know, all calvinists do.


I could speak similarly, too, though! "It means 'grieved' in every instance Clete mentioned, God does not change his mind, this is thus the biblical view of God." But interpreting Scripture often involves making judgment calls, we have to seek the most probable meaning, based on the context, and on other pertinent passages of Scripture.

Ok, I'd argue that the best translation based on context is "repent." King James sure got it right.


But prophecy is prewritten history, when those prophecies are not conditional:

ISA 46:10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.

God makes a special note of saying that the other "gods" cannot do this!


ISA 41:23 ... tell us what the future holds, so we may know that you are gods.

This cannot mean "estimate the future," because everybody does that, I do that all the time, sometimes I am correct, too! But this has to mean really predict the future, and not be mistaken, that is why God presents his predictions as proof of his divinity.[/quote]

Oh no no no. Not once in Isaiah 46 does it talk about God "predicting" future events. Read His word carefully. "I will do all My pleasure,' Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it." He clearly says that He will Himself bring about the things He says will come to pass. You can't pull the calvinist wool over my eyes on this apssage.


It does make quite a difference! If God thought X, and Y happened, then God certainly was mistaken. If God said X, and Y happened, but eventually X happened anyway, then God was not mistaken...

Blessings,
Lee

You're only stretching here, and that's ok. If God says something will happen, and then turns around and says "I said this would happen, but it did not!" No man in their right mind will interpret this as God saying He said it would happen int he future. That's crazy. Your logic may seem to work here, at least for you, but it does not stand up on the whole of scripture. That's why God SAID He would give Nebuchadnezzar Egypt, but Neb never got it. And based on your reasoning, it cannot come true, since Neb is now dead.

lee_merrill
July 11th, 2004, 07:01 PM
Hi Doogieduff,


Lee: making someone a great nation involves lots and lots of human choices.

DD: Not with God. If you going to force God into having to have foreknowledge to make a promise like that, you're limiting Him very much. God is definitely powerful enough to make a promise like that, make it come to pass, and do all that without foreknowledge.

I don't see how this explains how God deals with lots of human choices, though. I agree that God is powerful enough to fulfill his promise, but I don't think OV can say the result is at all certain. Some OV folks say God may override free-will, is that what you mean here? With that ticket, that's practically predestination. Have another tulip!


Lee: Doesn't that involve decisions on their part though? They could rebel, each time God set out to save them.

DD: Well they could, but that's not realistic. Who's going to rebel when someone's going to save them?

2CH 36:15 The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent word to them through his messengers again and again...

MT 21:35-36 The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way...


By the way, since we're on the topic of God doing things for a nation, and the possibility of them rebeling, let's look in Isaiah 5, where God expected good grapes from Israel, but recieved wild grapes. He even asked what more HE could have done to Israel that He had not done.

God wasn't asking for advice on gardening, though! He doesn't wait for an answer, either, and goes on to tell them what more he is going to do. I think the point here is that good fruit from people doesn't come from unvarying pleasant circumstances:

HEB 12:11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces the fruit of righteousness and peace...


The sealing of the Holy Spirit is only for the body of Christ. Israel on the other hand had to endure to the end for their salvation to be sure. That's why Peter says to Israel to make their calling and election sure. (2 Pet. 1:10)

But Peter was writing to all believers, this verse is not just to Israel. And people who are called will indeed be saved (Rom. 8:30), this cannot be a general call, for they must have heard the gospel already. People aren't saved because they are Jewish! Even if they hold on to what they believe. That's just Paul's point in Rom. 9:6,31, etc.


Lee: I believe conversion is a process, and it usually doesn't all happen in one moment.

DD: Well, you must hold to the "lee version of total depravity" as calvinism clearly holds to the fact that the unregenerate man cannot understand the things of God, nor can God even communicate to an unregenerate man for the things of God are foolishness to him, and therefore a man must be regenerated (saved) before God can even start to work with him. There's no process with calvinism.

But God starts his work in peoples' hearts long before they are "born again." I would say that God working in an unbelievers' heart can be the start of the process of conversion, and I don't think that is inconsistent with total depravity. The work in the heart is still God's, resulting in saving faith, but this process of bringing a person to saving faith doesn't happen in a moment.


Lee: And his household would be saved, too, when Peter brought his message. There are definite predictions in Scripture, which are not conditional, implying real knowledge of the future, even when human choices are involved that God will not override (according to the OV, as in the area of salvation)...

DD: Well, you don't believe that cornelius had free will. I believe he did, and that he could have rejected this message.

But then God is estimating here, but I don't think that will do, he says what will happen, not what might happen, or even what will probably happen.


Lee: [Nacham] can also mean "grieved," or even "console oneself."

DD: That's fine by me, but if you hold to the passibility of God, as do I, you must throw away your calvinist beliefs. calvinism MUST hold to the impassibility of God in order to remain consistent in their theology. As far as I know, all calvinists do.

I don't know why this is required for Calvinism, though. I think it is a mistake. How anyone can look at the cross, and the "Man of Sorrows," and claim that God is impassive...


Lee: ... we have to seek the most probable meaning, based on the context, and on other pertinent passages of Scripture.

DD: Ok, I'd argue that the best translation based on context is "repent." King James sure got it right.

Your translations against mine, then. :) We have to look elsewhere to resolve this issue. How about here?

NU 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.

This is the same word "nacham," but clearly the context does not allow "grieved" or "sorry." Balak is trying to get God to change his mind, and Balaam says he won't do it. He can't do it! We have the reason here, too, it is because he is not like us! Not because in this special situation, he has made a firm decision.


Lee: God makes a special note of saying that the other "gods" cannot do this!

ISA 41:23 ... tell us what the future holds, so we may know that you are gods.

Lee: This cannot mean "estimate the future," because everybody does that, I do that all the time, sometimes I am correct, too! But this has to mean really predict the future, and not be mistaken, that is why God presents his predictions as proof of his divinity.

DD: Oh no no no. Not once in Isaiah 46 does it talk about God "predicting" future events.

Well, let's see...

ISA 46:1 Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low...

ISA 46:4 Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

ISA 46:11 From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.

ISA 46:13 I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed. I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to Israel.

Lots of predictions, just in this chapter! And all through the book of Isaiah. And this is God's claim to divinity, that he can predict the future, all the other candidates had their predictions, and they were not perfect, but God says they didn't know about what he is saying here, and he is different, what he predicts will happen! As you note, in verse 10...


That's why God SAID He would give Nebuchadnezzar Egypt, but Neb never got it. And based on your reasoning, it cannot come true, since Neb is now dead.

Conquering a kingdom is a hard thing to find a record of in a brick wall, though. They used the say the Hittites were a Biblical fiction, until they dug some more. We do have verification of lots of prophecies from archeology, so let's not argue from silence in the record. And let's check prophecies we can examine today, and see how they hold up. For instance, the kingdoms that were to follow Babylon, so far so good, and lots of tries to have another kingdom like Babylon or Greece, etc., but all failures so far. Another prophecy is that Babylon will never be rebuilt, so far, so good on that one, too. Another prophecy is that Jerusalem will always be inhabited, and that's still true.

Blessings,
Lee

godrulz
July 11th, 2004, 07:44 PM
Originally posted by *Acts9_12Out*

In this continuing discussion, I'm interested to find out how the determinists here define God's knowledge of "all things" in Scripture.

Us OV'ers argue God's knowledge of "all things" is defined as knowledge of "all things" that are knowable.



The calvinists here seem to believe that "all things" refers to everything, including an unknowable future. For sake of this discussion, I would like to know if the calvinists here believe Christ also has unlimited knowledge of "all things," inclluding an unknowable future... Peter's own words state that Christ knows "all things" in John 21.



If God knows "all things" (1 John 3:20), and Christ knows "all things" (John 21:17), do the Father and Son share knowledge of the same "all things" referenced above?

Thoughts anyone?

--Jeremy Finkenbinder

It is not just Calvinists who believe that God knows the future exhaustively. The Arminians also believe in exhaustive foreknowledge, but for different reasons.

1. Did God from all eternity DECREE whatever will come to pass?

Yes= Calvinism= no contingencies/no uncertainties

No= Arminianism
*alternative (Open Theism)= contingencies

2. Is everything CERTAIN in God's mind from all eternity (exhaustive foreknowledge)?

Yes= Calvinism= decree

Arminian= simple foreknowledge (certainties)

No= * alternative/Open Theism (uncertainties)

God is resourceful, creative, and omnicompetent in His sovereignty. He does not rule free moral agents by meticulous control.

As omnipotence means that God can do anything logically possible to do, so omniscience means that God knows everything knowable. Future free will contingencies are not logically knowable as a certainty from eternity past (absurdity; logical contradiction).

There are 2 motifs in Scripture: God knows SOME things as a certainty and some as open. He has declared them and will bring them to pass by His great ability apart from other moral agents (e.g. First and Second Coming of Christ). God knows free moral choices as possibilities until they become actualities after the choice. He knows the past and present perfectly, and knows the future as it really is (much of it is open and unknowable).

This is not a deficiency in God, but the reality of an open creation that He chose to make. The alternative was to make deterministic robots who could not love in relationship.

lee_merrill
July 12th, 2004, 06:36 PM
Hi Godrulz,


God knows free moral choices as possibilities until they become actualities after the choice. He knows the past and present perfectly, and knows the future as it really is (much of it is open and unknowable).

That's 1st OpenView 8:15, though. How can God be sure of the future, where it involves human choices, and make prophecies where he says "surely" and "certainly"?

MT 26:34 "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times."

Jesus said "truly, truly," which is his way of saying "this is very certain," this was not a guess, or an estimate! And Jesus said Peter would return, too, and I think Peter found comfort in knowing Jesus said that. Not guessed he would return. That wouldn't be very comforting...


This is not a deficiency in God, but the reality of an open creation that He chose to make. The alternative was to make deterministic robots who could not love in relationship.

That's 1st OpenView 12:17. But that's not a Scripture verse! Yes, God frees people when he saves them, then they can have a relationship with him and others. But they're not free before then!

2 Peter 2:19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity ...

John 8:36 ... if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Blessings,
Lee

godrulz
July 12th, 2004, 11:06 PM
Is that Calvinism 101 or from the book of Hezekiah?;)

lee_merrill
July 13th, 2004, 04:50 PM
Just trying to read it from the Bible book, but glad to hear where I am wrong, if I am mistaken! I think your claim is from the Open View books, and is not a verse, I would ask again, how can God be sure of the future, where it involves human choices, and make prophecies where he says "surely" and "certainly"?

Blessings,
Lee

Clete
July 13th, 2004, 05:51 PM
Originally posted by lee_merrill

Just trying to read it from the Bible book, but glad to hear where I am wrong, if I am mistaken! I think your claim is from the Open View books, and is not a verse, I would ask again, how can God be sure of the future, where it involves human choices, and make prophecies where he says "surely" and "certainly"?

Blessings,
Lee

How do you deal with prophecies that use such terms that do not come to pass?

Jos 3:10 And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God [is] among you, and [that] He(God) will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.

Resting in Him,
Clete

godrulz
July 13th, 2004, 11:43 PM
Originally posted by lee_merrill

Just trying to read it from the Bible book, but glad to hear where I am wrong, if I am mistaken! I think your claim is from the Open View books, and is not a verse, I would ask again, how can God be sure of the future, where it involves human choices, and make prophecies where he says "surely" and "certainly"?

Blessings,
Lee

Which prophecies specifically? Let's look at them in context from differing schools of thought. Some prophecies are conditional, while some are certain due to God's intent and ability to bring things to pass apart from human agency (certain due to His omnicompetence, not His so-called simple foreknowledge).

lee_merrill
July 14th, 2004, 06:03 PM
Hi everyone,


Clete: How do you deal with prophecies that use such terms that do not come to pass?

Jos 3:10 And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God [is] among you, and [that] He(God) will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites...

But he did! They aren't there now...


Lee: how can God be sure of the future, where it involves human choices, and make prophecies where he says "surely" and "certainly"?

Godrulz: Which prophecies specifically?

Here is a survey:

Hebrews 6:14 "Surely I will bless you and multiply you."

Deuteronomy 31:29 For I know that after my death you will surely act corruptly and turn aside ...

Jeremiah 32:4 Zedekiah king of Judah will not escape out of the hands of the Babylonians but will certainly be handed over to the king of Babylon, and will speak with him face to face and see him with his own eyes.

Jeremiah 38:3 Thus says the Lord: "This city shall surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon and be taken."

Amos 5:5 "... for Gilgal shall surely go into exile, and Bethel shall come to nothing."

Amos 7:17 Therefore this is what the Lord says: "Your wife will become a prostitute in the city, and your sons and daughters will fall by the sword. Your land will be measured and divided up, and you yourself will die in a pagan country. And Israel will certainly go into exile, away from their native land."

Matthew 24:2 Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.

Matthew 26:34 Jesus said to him, "Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times."

Here are two verses I need to address, in this connection, though:

Isaiah 63:8,10 For he said, "Surely they are my people, children who will not deal falsely." And he became their Savior. ... But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit ...

But this was God's work, and not their choice, primarily:

Isaiah 63:17 Why, O Lord, do you make us wander from your ways and harden our hearts so we do not revere you?

Zephaniah 3:7 I said, "Surely you will fear me; you will accept correction. Then your dwelling would not be cut off according to all that I have appointed against you." But all the more they were eager to make all their deeds corrupt.

I would take these verses as a prophecy about their future obedience, which will happen in spite of their rebellion:

Isaiah 45:17 But Israel will be saved by the Lord with an everlasting salvation; you will never be put to shame or disgraced, to ages everlasting.

Blessings,
Lee

godrulz
July 14th, 2004, 07:12 PM
These prophecies can be made based on perfect knowledge of the past and present (character, circumstances, etc.). They deal with proximal issues/lifetime (near knowledge), and cannot be extrapolated as proof texts that God knows EVERY detail of EVERY free choice from trillions of years ago to trillions of years in the future, even before the existence of something to be known (remote knowledge). He does know much of the future and foreknows it prophetically (judgments, etc. under His control). This does not mean He knows every moral or mundane choice every person will make from trillions of years ago (no proof texts for that).

The prophecies are also things that are within God's control to bring to pass. Am intent to judge an evil nation in the near future based on perfect past and present knowledge is not a basis to argue that God knows who will win the Superbowl in 20 years or if person x will or will not chose Christ even before the person exists (unless you are a hyper-Calvinist, which is not defensible).

Clete
July 14th, 2004, 09:20 PM
I asked lee...
How do you deal with prophecies that use such terms that do not come to pass?

Jos 3:10 And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God among you, and [that] He(God) will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites...

Lee responded...

[i]Originally posted by lee_merrill
But he did! They aren't there now...

Not because God removed them from before Israel!

This answer is not acceptable Lee! It is trite and disengenuous at best! God did not do as He said He would because of Israel's disobedience to Him, which you seem to be suggesting cannot happen.
You need to read Jer. 18. It is perhaps the single most important chapter in the entire Bible!

Resting in Him,
Clete

godrulz
July 15th, 2004, 12:16 AM
What is the rest of the story with Joshua 3? What happened historically, and what is the Open view explanation (I am not clear about your point)?

God_Is_Truth
July 15th, 2004, 01:45 AM
Originally posted by godrulz

What is the rest of the story with Joshua 3? What happened historically, and what is the Open view explanation (I am not clear about your point)?

nor am i. please explain clete.

*Acts9_12Out*
July 15th, 2004, 02:32 AM
godrulz said,


What is the rest of the story with Joshua 3? What happened historically, and what is the Open view explanation (I am not clear about your point)?

GIT followed with,


nor am i. please explain clete.

I know Clete won't mind that I jump in here...

Let's look at the "history" of God's people and what He says He will do for them...

Exodus 33:2 - "And I will send My Angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanite and the Amorite and the Hittite and the Perrizite and the Hittite and the Jebusite.

Exodus 34:11,24 - Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I am driving out from before you the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Perrizite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.
24 For I will cast out the nations before you and enlarge your borders; neither will any man covet your land when you go up to appear before the LORD your God three times in the year.

Jos 1:4-5 From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory.
5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so shall I be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.

Jos 3:10 - And Joshua said, By this you shall know the living God is among you, and that He will WITHOUT FAIL drive out from before you the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Hivites and the Perizittes and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Jebusites.

God said that He would drive all these nations out. But later we see these passages...

Jos 15:63 - As for the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Jerusalem to this day.

Jos 16:10 - And they did not drive out the Canaanites who dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites to this day and have become forced laborers.

Judges 2:1-3 - Then the Angel of the LORD came up from Gigal to Bochim, and said, "I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, "I will never break My covenant with you.
2 And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars." But you have not obeyed my voice. Why have you done this?
3 Therefore I also said, "I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you."

Judges 2:19-22 - And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they reverted and behaved more corruptly than their fathers, by following other gods, to serve them and bow down to them. They did not cease from their own doings nor from their stubborn way.
20 Then the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and He said, "Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers, and has not heeded My voice,
21 I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died,
22 so that through them I might test Israel, whether they will keep the ways of the LORD, to walk in them as their fathers kept them, or not."

Judges 3:1-6 - Now these are the nations which the LORD left, that He might test Israel by them, that is, all who had not known any wars in Canaan
2 (this was only so that the generations of the children of Israel might be taught to know war, at least those who had not formerly known it),
3 namely, five lords of the Philistines, and all the Cannanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who dwelt in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal Hermon to the entrance of Hamath.
4 And they were left, that He might test Israel by them, to know whether they would obey the commandments of the LORD, which He had commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.
5 Thus the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites.
6 And they their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons; and they served their gods.

The main questions I have are -

Why did God say He would WITHOUT FAIL drive them out, and then did not?

Why did God need to test Israel?

godrulz & GIT,

Be especially mindful of Judges 2:1-3. God explains the "history" of this entire event in those 3 verses...


Judges 2:1-3

1 Then the Angel of the LORD came up from Gigal to Bochim, and said, "I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, "I will never break My covenant with you.
2 And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars." But you have not obeyed my voice. Why have you done this?
3 Therefore I also said, "I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you."

God said He would WITHOUT FAIL drive out the nations, but the children disobeyed. God, once again, changed His mind about what He said He would do. I am confident that God would have been successful in driving out the nations IF His children would have obeyed.

Clete's point about Jeremiah 18 (and Ezekiel 18 for that matter) fits quite nicely here.

God Bless, --Jeremy Finkenbinder

*Acts9_12Out*
July 15th, 2004, 02:48 AM
Lee,

One quick thing for you... You said,


Your translations against mine, then. We have to look elsewhere to resolve this issue. How about here?

NU 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.

This is the same word "nacham," but clearly the context does not allow "grieved" or "sorry." Balak is trying to get God to change his mind, and Balaam says he won't do it. He can't do it! We have the reason here, too, it is because he is not like us! Not because in this special situation, he has made a firm decision.

*Emphasis above in Blue is mine...

God can't do something? Wow!

Lee, are you implying that God is unable to do something? Are you now saying he is no longer "all powerful?"

Secondly, what amazes me is, you actually understand the context of Numbers 23:19 in light of Numbers 22:1-23:19. I appreciate that. Take your logic one step further though...

You are correct when you state "Balak is trying to get God to change his mind, and Balaam says he won't do it." God will not be bribed in this situation. God is standing frim and will not change His mind about His decision to bless Israel. No matter what Balak promises to God, no matter how many times Balak bribes God, God will not change His mind.

With that said, why do you understand Numbers 23:19 to be a universal truth about God's character? You seem to imply that God will not (can not?) change His mind... Ever???

This is completely and utterly false. There are over twenty instances in God's Word where He does indeed change His mind. Doogie has referenced a couple, Clete added Jeremiah 18. Believe me, there are many more.

Back to the logic of Numbers 23:19... Numbers 23:19 is not a universal truth about the character of God. Again, God is saying He will not change His mind in this specific situation. We have a similar situation in 1 Samuel 15.

God sends Samuel to inform Saul that He is taking the throne from Saul. God "repented" (nacham) that He set up Saul as king (1 Sam 15:11). Saul lies to Samuel and has a false repentance. Saul asks Samuel to return with Him and worship God. How does God respond? God says He will not change His mind about His decision. God has already decided to take the throne from Saul, and will not make an exception (1 Sam 15:29). God will not "repent" (nacham) in this instance either. After Samuel does what Saul should have done (killed Agag), Samuel went away. God again "repented" (nacham) that He set up Saul as king (1 Sam 15:35).

Lee, why does God "repent" (nacham) twice in this passage, and not "repent" (nacham) once? I thought God was unable to "repent" (nacham), but He does it here twice in 24 verses...

God Bless, --Jeremy

*Acts9_12Out*
July 15th, 2004, 02:56 AM
This thread has flown off topic a bit from my original post. I am guilty as well...

The point of this thread was to find out if "all things" that God knows and "all things" that Christ knows can be limited in any way. I referenced 1 John 3:20 and John 21.

Lee, if Christ knows "all things" and God knows "all things," why doesn't Christ know when He will return? Wouldn't that "future" event be part of "all things" from the calvinist / arminian view point?

--Jeremy

Clete
July 15th, 2004, 05:34 AM
Jeremy,

Post # 28 is POTD (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?postid=561078#post561078)

You may feel free to "jump in" any time you like! There's simply no way I could have answered their question nearly as well as you did!

Brilliant!!!

Resting in Him,
Clete

godrulz
July 15th, 2004, 10:24 AM
Originally posted by *Acts9_12Out*

This thread has flown off topic a bit from my original post. I am guilty as well...

The point of this thread was to find out if "all things" that God knows and "all things" that Christ knows can be limited in any way. I referenced 1 John 2:20 and John 21.

Lee, if Christ knows "all things" and God knows "all things," why doesn't Christ know when He will return? Wouldn't that "future" event be part of "all things" from the calvinist / arminian view point?

--Jeremy

The incarnation/kenosis is the usual answer why Christ on earth did not know (veiled omniscience). The Open View would also suggest that at that point it was not certain when Christ would return. Paul expected the imminent return of Christ in his day. The Father will have Christ return in the fullness of time.

godrulz
July 15th, 2004, 10:26 AM
Originally posted by Clete Pfeiffer

Jeremy,

Post # 28 is POTD (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?postid=561078#post561078)

You may feel free to "jump in" any time you like! There's simply no way I could have answered their question nearly as well as you did!

Brilliant!!!

Resting in Him,
Clete

So Joshua 3 is another example of a prophecy (cf. Hezekiah) that appears unconditional on the surface, but was actually conditional? This is reasonable in light of Hebrew style and context.

Clete
July 15th, 2004, 11:00 AM
Originally posted by godrulz

So Joshua 3 is another example of a prophecy (cf. Hezekiah) that appears unconditional on the surface, but was actually conditional? This is reasonable in light of Hebrew style and context.

Yes and it's also reasonable in light of the fact that it didn't come to pass as prophesied. :thumb:


Resting in Him,
Clete

God_Is_Truth
July 15th, 2004, 11:04 AM
Originally posted by Clete Pfeiffer

Yes and it's also reasonable in light of the fact that it didn't come to pass as prophesied. :thumb:


Resting in Him,
Clete

so this could also be used as evidence against those who say prophecies are based solely on foreknowledge. clearly this one was not. right?

Big Finn
July 15th, 2004, 01:08 PM
Clete,

As I'm not an OV'er I'm curious about something. Why do OV'ers make the assumption that foreknowledge requires causation? Is this just a gut reaction to the CV?

Even I, as a non-genius human being, can predict future events with some sort of certainty given the right soft of circumstances and understanding of human nature. It seems a credible idea to me that God, being Creator of all, with an inifinite, intimate, perfect knowledge of everything involved leading to future events should be able to predict future events with great precision.

Hey, I've even been able to predict what words, or kinds of words, would be spoken in certain situations by certain people years in advance, and I don't know them nearly as well as God does.

I'm just curious as to why an infinite God could not, in the OV way of looking at things, foresee events based upon His infinite mental capabilities, and infinite knowledge of everything on earth and in the universe.

godrulz
July 15th, 2004, 01:26 PM
Contingent events have an equally possibility of happening or not. If they are free, they are unknowable, though potentially predictable to some degree. God does know the past and present perfectly, and can extrapolate to high probability some future things (proximal). This is not the same as knowing everything as a certainty trillions of years before these knowable factors are available as objects of knowledge (remote).

Clete
July 15th, 2004, 01:38 PM
Originally posted by Big Finn

Clete,

As I'm not an OV'er I'm curious about something. Why do OV'ers make the assumption that foreknowledge requires causation? Is this just a gut reaction to the CV?

Even I, as a non-genius human being, can predict future events with some sort of certainty given the right soft of circumstances and understanding of human nature. It seems a credible idea to me that God, being Creator of all, with an infinite, intimate, perfect knowledge of everything involved leading to future events should be able to predict future events with great precision.

Hey, I've even been able to predict what words, or kinds of words, would be spoken in certain situations by certain people years in advance, and I don't know them nearly as well as God does.

I'm just curious as to why an infinite God could not, in the OV way of looking at things, foresee events based upon His infinite mental capabilities, and infinite knowledge of everything on earth and in the universe.
Excellent question!
I can't speak for all OVer's but I personally believe that what you've described is precisely the way in which God "knows" the future. But that is precisely the point. A prediction is not the same as the Armenian idea of foreknowledge. Armenians do not believe that God knows future events as mere possibilities but as future unalterable facts. Predicting is not the same as knowing for certain, even if you are 99.99999% sure.
You point out that God has perfect knowledge of both the past and the present. I think this is somewhat of an overstatement. There are passages in Scripture that clearly indicate that there are things that God is not aware of and the He has to investigate to find out. It is my belief that the Biblical data best supports the position that God knows all that is knowable that He wants to know. God is not obligated to be a present first person witness to every detail of every vile act committed by all the perverted sinners on this planet. God is where He wants to be and knows what He wants to know.
He is however supremely wise and has available to Him every bit of information that He might need in order to make very accurate predictions about what will happen in the future. In addition to this, God is able to interact with His creation in order to leverage situations and steer things in some particular direction which He might want for things to go. So God and God alone is able to make prophecies that no other god or angel or man could ever dream of being able to make.
This is the Open View as I understand it and it is what I personally believe. What do you think?

Resting in Him,
Clete

Big Finn
July 15th, 2004, 06:44 PM
Clete,

No biggie to me. I do believe God knows the future simply because the Bible says that the way I read it. I subscribe to no one system of theology.

It's just to me that God, with His infiinite capabilities, can factor in everything down to which sperm will mate with which egg, what the resulting genetic information will be, and from that know exactly what a person will be like. And then with that knowledge know exactly how that person will interact with his/her surroundings. I believe His capabilities are just being sold short by saying something is unknowable for Him is all. After all, He is infinite, and the very act of saying something isn't knowable is a limitation. It's saying that God is infinite in His ability, well, except for this area.

It's as I said before, I've predicted behavior really accurately years in advance, and I'm like an insect compared to God in intelligence. Neither do I have the wealth of knowledge and experience that God has. I would think that for Him such an expercise is childs play. After all, He can reach into the human heart and regnerate it. After that nothing else is much of a miracle when placed beside it, at least not to me.

All of us simply speculate about this so one theory or the other doesn't make that much difference in how God knows the future, except for a theory that says God is doing this in a way that will violate the basic core of His character, which I believe the CV does by making God some type of micromanager who forces all to obey Him and then punishes those who obey His commands for them to do evil things. I find such a god reprehensible and not to be found in scripture, except as the enemy of the one true God.

lee_merrill
July 15th, 2004, 07:15 PM
Hi everyone,


Godrulz: These prophecies can be made based on perfect knowledge of the past and present (character, circumstances, etc.).

Perfect knowledge of the present does not give information about the choices of people not born yet, though.

PS 22:29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship...


Godrulz: The prophecies are also things that are within God's control to bring to pass.

But these predictions are partly or solely about human choices! Not just God's choices:

Deuteronomy 31:29 For I know that after my death you will surely act corruptly and turn aside ...


Clete: God did not do as He said He would [in Josh. 3:10] because of Israel's disobedience to Him, which you seem to be suggesting cannot happen.

I'm not saying Israel had to obey, I'm saying God did drive out the Canaanites.


Clete: You need to read Jer. 18.

I have addressed Jer. 18 before! With Jeremy and others. In a thread about driving out these very Canaanites here (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=13871). And I agree that God left Canaanites in the land to test Israel. But he drove them out, too! Afterwards, like he said. They aren't there now, folks...


Jeremy: God can't do something? Wow!

Lee, are you implying that God is unable to do something? Are you now saying he is no longer "all powerful?"

God cannot contradict himself, or sin, or lie. Or change his mind, yes, I hold to that, the ability to be mistaken is not having power!


Jeremy: why do you understand Numbers 23:19 to be a universal truth about God's character? You seem to imply that God will not (can not?) change His mind... Ever???

Yes, the reason is given here, and it's not because in this particular instance, God has made a firm decision. It's because he is not like us! So this does imply a universal truth about God.


Jeremy: Lee, why does God "repent" (nacham) twice in [1 Sam. 15], and not "repent" (nacham) once? I thought God was unable to "repent" (nacham), but He does it here twice in 24 verses...

We have to take both, don't we! So we may take "nacham" as "grieved" when it speaks of God's decision to make Saul king, and "repent" when it speaks of him changing his mind.


Jeremy: if Christ knows "all things" and God knows "all things," why doesn't Christ know when He will return? Wouldn't that "future" event be part of "all things" from the calvinist / arminian view point?

As far as Christ's knowledge while he was on earth, I would chime in with what Godrulz said, and say that Jesus did not have direct access to all knowledge then, but he did have indirect access to all knowledge, by asking the Father. After the resurrection, he may have assumed his direct knowledge of everything, with the possible exception of the date of his return, which again, the Father would tell him if he asked!

JN 11:42 I knew that you always hear me...


Clete: It is my belief that the Biblical data best supports the position that God knows all that is knowable that He wants to know.

But then we dare not hope in God, when he says he will accomplish a given purpose that involves human choices, which God must estimate. But that's not Scriptural!

ISA 19:22 The Lord will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the Lord, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them.

Blessings,
Lee

godrulz
July 15th, 2004, 08:34 PM
Originally posted by lee_merrill


But then we dare not hope in God, when he says he will accomplish a given purpose that involves human choices, which God must estimate. But that's not Scriptural!

ISA 19:22 The Lord will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the Lord, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them.

Blessings,
Lee

In either view, the main reason we CAN HOPE in GOD is due to His omnicompetence (perfect wisdom, ability, power, resourcefulness, creativity, etc. His 'estimates' are very precise. Foreknowledge is not a prerequisite for competence. In fact, the chessmaster or coach who does not know all the moves/plays in advance is the more competent one since he can respond to every contingency without studying the foregone conclusion for years).

Is. 19 is based on God's perfect knowledge of hearts and character. He is in control of the exercise of His judgments. It does not necessarily mean that every individual will return to God, but that the group as a whole would. Regardless, we cannot use this as a proof text to extrapolate who will receive or reject Christ even before they were born.

Clete
July 15th, 2004, 08:39 PM
Originally posted by Big Finn

Clete,

No biggie to me. I do believe God knows the future simply because the Bible says that the way I read it. I subscribe to no one system of theology.

It's just to me that God, with His infiinite capabilities, can factor in everything down to which sperm will mate with which egg, what the resulting genetic information will be, and from that know exactly what a person will be like. And then with that knowledge know exactly how that person will interact with his/her surroundings. I believe His capabilities are just being sold short by saying something is unknowable for Him is all. After all, He is infinite, and the very act of saying something isn't knowable is a limitation. It's saying that God is infinite in His ability, well, except for this area.

It's as I said before, I've predicted behavior really accurately years in advance, and I'm like an insect compared to God in intelligence. Neither do I have the wealth of knowledge and experience that God has. I would think that for Him such an expercise is childs play. After all, He can reach into the human heart and regnerate it. After that nothing else is much of a miracle when placed beside it, at least not to me.

All of us simply speculate about this so one theory or the other doesn't make that much difference in how God knows the future, except for a theory that says God is doing this in a way that will violate the basic core of His character, which I believe the CV does by making God some type of micromanager who forces all to obey Him and then punishes those who obey His commands for them to do evil things. I find such a god reprehensible and not to be found in scripture, except as the enemy of the one true God.

It seems we are mostly in agreement on many aspects of what we beleive. However, I would like to know just exactly what do you think it means to say "God is infinite in His ability"?
It seems to be self evident that God cannot do anything and everything that one can imagine. For example, God cannot make a sphere with sharp edges, or squares with no corners. God cannot do the logically absurd. Thus, is follows that God cannot know the unknowable. If He could then it would not be unknowable and if it is truly unknowable then to say that God knows it anyway would be a logical obsurdity.
So we know at least that God is limited to reality (logic being a fundamental aspect of reailty).
Further, we have Biblical evidence that gives direct testimony on this very issue.
I'll give you one example...
Gen 18:20 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 21 I (God) will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.

This is perhaps the clearest example of a situation where God had appearantly chosen to turn His back on the evil of the situation and reacted to the prayers of His people and investigated the accusations that has been brought before Him.

Now I'm not saying that God would have been incapable of having known well in advance of the evil Sodom would come to be guilty of, I'm simply saying that God chose not to know. I am not willing to tell God that if He is not fully informed of every detail of every evil and vile act on the planet that He is no longer qualified to be God. Nor is it required for Him to be omni-informed for Him to maintain my trust and adoration. Nor is there anything in the Bible that logically demands a belief that God either foreknows or foreordains every event that ever happens, indeed quite the reverse. There are of course things which God has foreordained and other things that He knows full well are going to come to pass, but conceding such a point in no way requires the acceptance that God knows everything.

Also, from a very basic and technical point of view, the future is either open or it is not. Either every single event that will ever occur is set in stone as an unalterable fact of future history in which case it would be closed, or else it is open to contingency, to maybe this or perhaps that. If there is even one single event that might or might not happen then the future is open. It is truly an all or nothing senerio. Even a partially openned door is not closed.

Resting in Him,
Clete

Clete
July 15th, 2004, 08:48 PM
Originally posted by God_Is_Truth

so this could also be used as evidence against those who say prophecies are based solely on foreknowledge. clearly this one was not. right?

I haven't heard anyone make such a statement but yes, this event would blow that idea right out of the water! :up:

Clete
July 15th, 2004, 08:51 PM
Originally posted by *Acts9_12Out*

This thread has flown off topic a bit from my original post. I am guilty as well...

The point of this thread was to find out if "all things" that God knows and "all things" that Christ knows can be limited in any way. I referenced 1 John 3:20 and John 21.

Lee, if Christ knows "all things" and God knows "all things," why doesn't Christ know when He will return? Wouldn't that "future" event be part of "all things" from the calvinist / arminian view point?

--Jeremy

Jeremy,

I'm curious how you would answer your own question, from an OVer's point of view.

Big Finn
July 15th, 2004, 10:51 PM
Clete,

As I said before, as long as one's determination as to whether God knows everything in the future or not is of no real importance to me, as long as the theology doesn't try to make God into something He says He isn't.

As to saying that what I said means that everything is set in stone or denies all free will it doesn't do that at all. It takes into account man's choices and leaves him making his own choice, for good or for evil.

My take on this is sort of like an article I read in the Scientific American back in the 80's on fractal geometry. Using the computers of those days it was possible to determine traffic flows in any given place at any given time. It was possible to show where congestion would occur, how long it would last, and how bad it would be. Now, this ability to predict this flow of traffic was possible even though the guys that did the predicting had no influence over any person's choices as to where they would go, what route they would choose, nothing. They had control over no ones choices, yet could predict very accurately how traffic would flow.

Now, the ability that these guys had is miniscule in comparison to God's abilities. So, I can imagine by faith that God can know just what choices will be made and what people will do before they do it. That doesn't mean our future or anyone else's is set in stone, but that God can just see what we're going to choose. We still make our own freely determined choices, it's just that God has the ability to see what we will do because He knows us so well. He doesn't isn't causal in anything other than He works through the Holy Spirit to share and direct events.

As to the texts where God says, Now I know.... I don't see a great problem with that for I see it just as a figure of speech that He uses with us. I believe the tests that are given us, i.e. Job and Abraham, are given so that we and others might learn about ourselves, good and evil, and God. Thus they are all for our ultimate good and instruction not God's.

See it's like Abraham's test to offer Isaac. He unknowingly prophecied about God sending His Son when he told Isaac, God will Himself provide a lamb. Abraham referred to the sacrifice he and Isaac were going to perform, but in that experience Abraham came to personally understand the heartbreak that the Father would undergo in sacrificing His Son. I beleive that after that experience Abraham's knowledge of God took on a brand new experience. God knew Abraham would pass the test, but Abraham didn't. He needed to pass through the trial for him to be able to understand what was to come. Jesus said, Abraham saw my day and was glad. The Mount Moriah experience was Abraham's glimpse of the day of Christ. He knew what was going to happen and he knew the heart break of the Father in giving up His son to keep His promise to us. Thus this whole experience wasn't about God wanting to Abraham commit murder to prove his faithfulness, but about teaching us through this object lesson just how much the Father sacrificed and about the Father's love for us.

I don't believe causation is necessary for knowledge. However, that's just me. I still get a lot out of your posts, I just happen to disagree with you on what I see as a minor point of theology.

God_Is_Truth
July 16th, 2004, 01:25 AM
Originally posted by Clete Pfeiffer


Also, from a very basic and technical point of view, the future is either open or it is not. Either every single event that will ever occur is set in stone as an unalterable fact of future history in which case it would be closed, or else it is open to contingency, to maybe this or perhaps that. If there is even one single event that might or might not happen then the future is open. It is truly an all or nothing senerio. Even a partially openned door is not closed.


can you explain that a little more?

Clete
July 16th, 2004, 06:33 AM
Originally posted by God_Is_Truth

can you explain that a little more?

Maybe I could!

and then again...

maybe not!


:chuckle:

God_Is_Truth
July 16th, 2004, 12:19 PM
Originally posted by Clete Pfeiffer

Maybe I could!

and then again...

maybe not!


:chuckle:

har har :D

ok, so here is my understanding. if the future was closed then nothing could be changed, everything is set in place and just played out. if it's open, then there is contingency, choice, freedom and uncertainty.

i guess i was getting confused about having closed things (like the rapture) in an open future. the rapture will happen, so in that sense it's closed, but as to when it will happen, it's open. right?

Clete
July 16th, 2004, 02:50 PM
Originally posted by God_Is_Truth

har har :D

ok, so here is my understanding. if the future was closed then nothing could be changed, everything is set in place and just played out. if it's open, then there is contingency, choice, freedom and uncertainty.

i guess i was getting confused about having closed things (like the rapture) in an open future. the rapture will happen, so in that sense it's closed, but as to when it will happen, it's open. right?

Yeah, you have the right idea. There are certain things that God has said He will bring to pass that don't have anything to do with what us humans do or don't do, the glorification of the Body of Christ, and the destruction of this world by fire, for a couple of examples. These things will happen, but the exact circumstances surrounding these events are not necessarily set in place just because the main event itself is. There is simply nothing biblical that demands that we beleive in a God who has predetermined every event that has or will ever happen, its just not in there.

Resting in Him,
Clete

lee_merrill
July 16th, 2004, 08:33 PM
Hi everyone,


Godrulz: In either view, the main reason we CAN HOPE in GOD is due to His omnicompetence (perfect wisdom, ability, power, resourcefulness, creativity, etc.) His 'estimates' are very precise. Foreknowledge is not a prerequisite for competence. In fact, the chessmaster or coach who does not know all the moves/plays in advance is the more competent one ...

But if God can fail in his estimate (the point of this thread), then we dare not hope in him, when he makes a prophecy that is an estimate, and might be wrong. Precise estimates do not guarantee an outcome! And more than great skill is required, perfection is, if such prophecies are not to fail.

And on another note, how does God win, in the area of men's salvation, according to the Open View? What is the criterion for winning? One person turning? Then the devil wins, too, if one person doesn't turn, if that is what it means to win. And if God does his best, and then takes whatever comes, then God wins practically any way he chooses, if one or a few persons come to him. But how is that a special demonstration of God's strength and wisdom, if "do your best and take what comes" is the definition of winning? By that definition, no one ever lost a chess game, on either side...


ISA 19:22 The Lord will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the Lord...

Godrulz: Is. 19 is based on God's perfect knowledge of hearts and character. He is in control of the exercise of His judgments. It does not necessarily mean that every individual will return to God, but that the group as a whole would. Regardless, we cannot use this as a proof text to extrapolate who will receive or reject Christ even before they were born.

But more than one person will certainly come! "They" in reference to a nation even implies most of them, actually. So how can this be guaranteed, before they are born? This has not yet been fulfilled, either, I think, so this prophecy is thousands of years old.


Finn: ... which I believe the CV does by making God some type of micromanager who forces all to obey Him and then punishes those who obey His commands for them to do evil things.

I believe that it is the motive God judges, and not the deed per se. I mentioned this idea in a previous thread, and rejected it, but now I think I believe it. I'm trying it on, anyway. If you see someone commit a crime, and rejoice in it, then that is a sin, even though you didn't do any part of the crime yourself. So if God ordains a sinful action, and the person does it, and rejoices in it, then that rejoicing in it is similarly a sin:

ISA 10:12 When the Lord has finished all his work against Mount Zion and Jerusalem, he will say, "I will punish the king of Assyria for the willful pride of his heart and the haughty look in his eyes."

Not for all the bad stuff he did, per se! For willful pride, and haughtiness, for his attitude in his heart. So I believe that people are sources of their motive, God can influence peoples' motives and hearts, but for sinful actions, the source of the motive, for which they are judged, comes from the peoples' hearts.


GIT: ... if the future was closed then nothing could be changed, everything is set in place and just played out. if it's open, then there is contingency, choice, freedom and uncertainty.

This difficulty is not so difficult (so to speak) if God is not in time, though. Thus he can make free choices, and know others' choices, and not set them in stone in advance.


Clete: There is simply nothing biblical that demands that we believe in a God who has predetermined every event that has or will ever happen...

I agree, I think Scripture teaches that believers can really choose!

JN 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Blessings,
Lee

Clete
July 16th, 2004, 11:00 PM
Originally posted by Big Finn

Clete,

As I said before, as long as one's determination as to whether God knows everything in the future or not is of no real importance to me, as long as the theology doesn't try to make God into something He says He isn't.
That's excellent really. As Armenians go, you're pretty radical though. You're so close to being an open theist I'm having a hard time finding anything to disagree with you about. Most of the time there's only a dime's worth of difference between the Armenian’s version of God and the Calvinist’s. Yours is by far the most palatable version of Armenianism I've come across yet!
I do, however, see some logical problems with your position that I will point out, perhaps you will agree, perhaps not. Either way, it's refreshing to find someone I can count as an ally in my fight against the unjust God of Calvinism.


As to saying that what I said means that everything is set in stone or denies all free will it doesn't do that at all. It takes into account man's choices and leaves him making his own choice, for good or for evil.
Yes, I understand that this is your position. It is a basic Armenian tenant. My minds eye is drawn to something that is logically inconsistent with this though that I will point out in a moment.


My take on this is sort of like an article I read in the Scientific American back in the 80's on fractal geometry. Using the computers of those days it was possible to determine traffic flows in any given place at any given time. It was possible to show where congestion would occur, how long it would last, and how bad it would be. Now, this ability to predict this flow of traffic was possible even though the guys that did the predicting had no influence over any person's choices as to where they would go, what route they would choose, nothing. They had control over no ones choices, yet could predict very accurately how traffic would flow.
A brilliant analogy! However, this is not at all the way the average Armenian believes. Armenians believe that God exists outside of time and can see all of history at once and that He therefore knows what will happen in advance. I know that you don't actually consider yourself to be an Armenian necessarily; I just bring it up to show how far you are from the standard Armenian position. Your position is nearly identical to the Open View position in that what God knows, He knows through prediction and deduction from available information, not by peaking into the future or anything like that.


Now, the ability that these guys had is miniscule in comparison to God's abilities. So, I can imagine by faith that God can know just what choices will be made and what people will do before they do it. That doesn't mean our future or anyone else's is set in stone, but that God can just see what we're going to choose. We still make our own freely determined choices, it's just that God has the ability to see what we will do because He knows us so well. He doesn't isn't causal in anything other than He works through the Holy Spirit to share and direct events.
Okay, this is I think were your logic is flawed.
Let's first define terms so as to make sure we aren't misunderstanding each other.
When you say, "God can just see what we're going to choose", it seems to me like you are saying that God knows absolutely what we are going to do. That He isn't simply predicting based upon the available evidence and information, but that God has followed in His mind a causal pathway from event to event that will inevitably lead to a certain, specific outcome. If this is in fact what you are saying then freewill has just left the building!
There are at least two reasons that freewill cannot exist with this version of perfect foreknowledge.
First of all, freedom is the ability to choose to do or to do otherwise. If someone, namely God, knows with absolute certainty what I am go to do then my ability to do otherwise does not exist and thus neither does my freedom.
Secondly, the idea that we do the things we do entirely because of the events and circumstances that lead up to those actions also removes the "to do otherwise" part of what is means to be free. Even if you add in a complete knowledge of our personality it doesn't help. You've increased the complexity by doing so, but at the same time you would readily acknowledge that God would not have a problem dealing with even the most outrageous complexity so you are left with the same problem.
I submit that even if every possible detail of a given situation is known and the person involved is intimately and utterly known by God that any one particular decision that a person will make cannot be known with absolute precision. No matter how complete ones knowledge, there is always a degree of uncertainty. This is the nature of being free. Without it we are not free, whether God knows things in advance or not.


As to the texts where God says, Now I know.... I don't see a great problem with that for I see it just as a figure of speech that He uses with us.
Could you explain what that figure of speech means? Figures are supposed to explain and illustrate some aspect of what is being said. It should communicate something other than what the plain meaning of the words say. So with that in mind, what does the figure "now I know" mean?


I believe the tests that are given us, i.e. Job and Abraham, are given so that we and others might learn about ourselves, good and evil, and God. Thus they are all for our ultimate good and instruction not God's.
It is clearly for our learning, but I see no reason to ignore what the passage clearly says about God testing Abraham so that He could see whether or not He would pass.


See it's like Abraham's test to offer Isaac. He unknowingly prophesied about God sending His Son when he told Isaac, God will Himself provide a lamb. Abraham referred to the sacrifice he and Isaac were going to perform, but in that experience Abraham came to personally understand the heartbreak that the Father would undergo in sacrificing His Son. I believe that after that experience Abraham's knowledge of God took on a brand new experience. God knew Abraham would pass the test, but Abraham didn't. He needed to pass through the trial for him to be able to understand what was to come. Jesus said, Abraham saw my day and was glad. The Mount Moriah experience was Abraham's glimpse of the day of Christ. He knew what was going to happen and he knew the heart break of the Father in giving up His son to keep His promise to us. Thus this whole experience wasn't about God wanting to Abraham commit murder to prove his faithfulness, but about teaching us through this object lesson just how much the Father sacrificed and about the Father's love for us.
Except for the one sentence I highlighted, I think you're right. Why throw in "God knew Abraham would pass the test, but Abraham didn't."? Everything you've said is in agreement with the text except this one sentence. The text says the exact opposite.
In addition to that there is the passage that I mentioned in my previous post where God says...
Gen 18:20 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 21 I (God) will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.
Notice the future tense "I will know". How is this sort of statement reconciled with a God who knows everything in advance?


I don't believe causation is necessary for knowledge. However, that's just me. I still get a lot out of your posts, I just happen to disagree with you on what I see as a minor point of theology.
Well, I agree with you that considering what all I've seen you post and what you apparently believe about who God is and why, this particular point of theology is a minor one.
You've shown an ability to think clearly and articulate yourself well, two things which I respect greatly. That will continue to be so whether or not you ever come to agree with me on this one point of logic.

God bless!!!

Resting in Him,
Clete

godrulz
July 16th, 2004, 11:11 PM
Many prophecies are forthtelling, not foretelling. They are conditional calls to repentance and faith.

Other prophecies are vague or general and within God's ability to orchestrate things or bring to pass apart from human agency (e.g. Revelation; Messianic prophecies).

A few specific prophecies may involve an exceptional case of God suspending free will (e.g. non-moral issue like naming of Cyrus).

Certainly, Open Theism must give a cogent explanation of prophecy. Each one must be looked at with possible explanations. Foreknowledge is not the only legit. explanation (e.g. Is. 46 specifically says things will come to pass because of His ability, not His foreknowledge).

Big Finn
July 17th, 2004, 06:16 AM
Clete,

I have another analogy for you because I think you are missing my point. It's flawed in some ways, but I think it makes my point.

Let's say you're with several of your very close friends and they are playing poker. Not trying to say you're a gambler, smoker, etc..... ;) While you're sitting there, for some reason or other you are given the ability to see all cards in the deck and in each person's hand. So, you now know who has been given what cards, what cards will be dealt to what people, and since you know the personalities involved, i.e. which people are assertive, passive, tentative, etc... you know how the hands will be played out. Thus you know the outcome of each hand before it is played.

Does your perfect knowledge of each hand mean that you are limiting the free will of the players involved?

Big Finn
July 17th, 2004, 06:40 AM
Clete,

Sorry in advance, but I just couldn't resist. :D :D

I didn't know Armenians had their own special view of God, or that I am even faintly related to Armenians (http://hyesingles.com/homepages/75Index.cfm?affiliateID=google4Ar ), however, I see they do have their own dating service. :D :D :D

Big Finn
July 17th, 2004, 07:26 AM
Let's first define terms so as to make sure we aren't misunderstanding each other.
When you say, "God can just see what we're going to choose", it seems to me like you are saying that God knows absolutely what we are going to do. That He isn't simply predicting based upon the available evidence and information, but that God has followed in His mind a causal pathway from event to event that will inevitably lead to a certain, specific outcome. If this is in fact what you are saying then freewill has just left the building!

Just what evidence is available to God, and how much can He see? That's the question. How much can God figure out based upon infinite knowledge? Can he figure out what genes will match up when two people have a child? If not, why not? And, if He can does that make Him the cause of the specific genes matching up?

God can read our thoughts, so when I have a conversation with someone He knows just as well as I do what I will say. Does that mean He is taking away my ability to think and choose because He knows what I'm about to say? Hardly. Can He influence what I'm about to say? Yes. Can He have enough influence to cause me to change my mind and say something other than what I had intended to say? Based upon past experience... Yes. Can He influence my choices? Yes. I believe He influences the choices of all men much more than we recognize. However, there is a difference between such influence and causation such as CV'ers believe in.

Clete
July 17th, 2004, 08:49 AM
Originally posted by Big Finn

Clete,

I have another analogy for you because I think you are missing my point. It's flawed in some ways, but I think it makes my point.

Let's say you're with several of your very close friends and they are playing poker. Not trying to say you're a gambler, smoker, etc..... ;) While you're sitting there, for some reason or other you are given the ability to see all cards in the deck and in each person's hand. So, you now know who has been given what cards, what cards will be dealt to what people, and since you know the personalities involved, i.e. which people are assertive, passive, tentative, etc... you know how the hands will be played out. Thus you know the outcome of each hand before it is played.

Does your perfect knowledge of each hand mean that you are limiting the free will of the players involved?
What I'm saying is that no matter how much information you have there is always some uncertainty. People are free to do something that they would not normally do without any reason except that they just decided to go against the grain for once. Or it might not even be against the grain. There are situations where the odds that someone will do one thing or another are completely equal, given a certain set of circumstances.
The point is that people’s free will actions are unknowable. They are predictable, perhaps very accurately, but predicting is not the same knowing.

Resting in Him,
Clete

Clete
July 17th, 2004, 08:50 AM
Originally posted by Big Finn

Clete,

Sorry in advance, but I just couldn't resist. :D :D

I didn't know Armenians had their own special view of God, or that I am even faintly related to Armenians (http://hyesingles.com/homepages/75Index.cfm?affiliateID=google4Ar ), however, I see they do have their own dating service. :D :D :D

:doh:

Clete
July 17th, 2004, 09:08 AM
Originally posted by Big Finn

Just what evidence is available to God, and how much can He see? That's the question. How much can God figure out based upon infinite knowledge? Can he figure out what genes will match up when two people have a child? If not, why not? And, if He can does that make Him the cause of the specific genes matching up?
That depends upon if He is predicting it or if He KNOWS it. He can physically cause one specific sperm to meet with one specific egg and there by control which genes come together in order to get a particular type of person but I don't have any reason to think that He is doing this normally.
Once a sperm and egg come together God is able to know all sort of things about the child, I'm sure more than we realize, but until they actually do come together, I don't think God knows which will come together; certainly not millennia or even weeks in advance. I don't know enough about how the delivery system works to be able to say for sure whether He has enough information to know once the sperm are on their way to the egg but I would strongly suspect that in nearly all cases He simply does care. He lets things happen as they happen and works with things as they are.


God can read our thoughts, so when I have a conversation with someone He knows just as well as I do what I will say. Does that mean He is taking away my ability to think and choose because He knows what I'm about to say? Hardly.
Hardly is right! Does your own knowledge create of freedom issue? No! And as you said, God knows as well as you do, perhaps better in some situations, but God does not KNOW what you will say or do until you do (Gen. 22:12)

Can He influence what I'm about to say? Yes. Can He have enough influence to cause me to change my mind and say something other than what I had intended to say? Based upon past experience... Yes. Can He influence my choices? Yes. I believe He influences the choices of all men much more than we recognize. However, there is a difference between such influence and causation such as CV'ers believe in.
I completely agree with you on this point! :up:

Resting in Him,
Clete

godrulz
July 17th, 2004, 10:19 AM
"If an act be free, it must be contingent. If contingent, it may or may not happen, or it may be one of many possibles. And if it may be one of many possibles, it must be uncertain; and if uncertain, it must be unknowable."

Clete is correct to recognize the differences between certainties, necessities, possibilities, and probabilities.

"A certain event will inevitably come to pass, a necessary event must come to pass, but a contingent event may or may not come to pass. Contingency is an EQUAL possibility of being and of not being."

Freedom<...> contingency.
Determinism is not freedom (nor love, nor relationship).

God_Is_Truth
July 17th, 2004, 10:56 AM
Originally posted by lee_merrill




This difficulty is not so difficult (so to speak) if God is not in time, though. Thus he can make free choices, and know others' choices, and not set them in stone in advance.


if we genuinely have free will, then God cannot know what we are going to do before we do it. it does not matter if he is in time or outside of it.

if God knows in any way (in time or out) what we are going to do before we do it, then we are not free. it simply cannot be.

Big Finn
July 17th, 2004, 11:19 AM
Clete is correct to recognize the differences between certainties, necessities, possibilities, and probabilities.

I'd agree with with this. My point, such as it is, is that what is unknowable for me, and for the rest of humanity because of our finiteness, may very well not be un-knowable for an infinite being. And, since all human philosophy is based upon human knowledge our definitions may not be complete.

Now, I do agree that the Bible comes down on both sides of this issue. First, a text that seems to strike a death blow to determinism as taught by Calvinism:
Ecc 9:11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.


... to the prophecy of Cyrus' words long before he was born. So, is this the result of being very confident in the ability to influence people and events, or is it the result of knowing how to see things that humans would think it impossible to see?

I really don't know. I just take it by faith that God is able to do it one way or the other. It's far beyond my ken. Maybe some day in heaven God will teach me how He did this, but until then it will remain a mystery to me. It's an interesting sidelight, but not, to me, of major importance in the conflict between good and evil, and Christ and Satan.

lee_merrill
July 17th, 2004, 12:23 PM
"If an act be free, it must be contingent. If contingent, it may or may not happen, or it may be one of many possibles. And if it may be one of many possibles, it must be uncertain; and if uncertain, it must be unknowable."

Does knowing a past decision make it not have been a free action, though?


Lee: This difficulty is not so difficult (so to speak) if God is not in time...

GIT: if we genuinely have free will, then God cannot know what we are going to do before we do it. it does not matter if he is in time or outside of it.

Well, it does seem to me that part of the difficulty is caused by saying God knows today what he (or someone else) will choose tomorrow. "Before Abraham was, I am," Jesus said, implying that God's experience of time is more "present tense"than "past, present and future,"and "a thousand years are like a day," and vice versa, too, again implying that God's experience of time is quite different than ours.

But does knowing an event make it not free? If so, then why not insist that only 50/50 chances are really free, as someone posted? Therefore virtually nothing is free, because no chance is exactly 50%.


Clete: The point is that people’s free will actions are unknowable. They are predictable, perhaps very accurately, but predicting is not the same knowing.

Then how does God make predictions where he says "surely" and "certainly"? How is he laying special claim to divinity when he makes these predictions, if he is only estimating, like everyone else?


Big Finn: ... what is unknowable for me, and for the rest of humanity because of our finiteness, may very well not be un-knowable for an infinite being. And, since all human philosophy is based upon human knowledge our definitions may not be complete.

That's a good point, just because we don't see how it could happen, doesn't mean it's impossible. Which also applies to free choices versus God's foreknowledge!


Ecc 9:11 ... but time and chance happeneth to them all.

I don't know that you want to build a case from a verse in Ecclesiastes, though! This is Solomon's Disillusionment From Man's Perspective.


... to the prophecy of Cyrus' words long before he was born. So, is this the result of being very confident in the ability to influence people and events, or is it the result of knowing how to see things that humans would think it impossible to see?

God claims divinity when he makes such predictions, though!

Isaiah 43:9 All the nations gather together and the peoples assemble. Which of them foretold this and proclaimed to us the former things?

Isaiah 41:23 tell us what the future holds, so we may know that you are gods.

Now if God is only estimating, and could be wrong, how is this special proof of his divinity? God may know a lot more than we do, but God is saying his knowledge of the future is more fundamentally different, if he is only estimating, we might admire him like we do with Einstein, but we wouldn't worship him...

And if God can possibly be wrong, then we may decide to turn elsewhere, not unreasonably, if his strength and wisdom can fail us:

2 Kings 1:2 "Go, inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this sickness."

Blessings,
Lee

Clete
July 17th, 2004, 03:19 PM
Originally posted by lee_merrill
Does knowing a past decision make it not have been a free action, though?
How would know something after the fact effect whether or not it was free? The past is gone! It's done and over with. It is, indeed, permanently set it stone, thus its ability to be known. If the past were mutable then it would be as unknowable as the future.


Well, it does seem to me that part of the difficulty is caused by saying God knows today what he (or someone else) will choose tomorrow. "Before Abraham was, I am," Jesus said, implying that God's experience of time is more "present tense" than "past, present and future, "and "a thousand years are like a day," and vice versa, too, again implying that God's experience of time is quite different than ours.
Your reading into the text again and for no other reason except to prop up a faulty theology. The Christian faith does not require the belief that time itself is even something that has an independent existence. Time is nothing more that a frame of reference that a thinking mind can use to keep track of when something started, how long it lasted and when it was finished. Time is sequence and duration, nothing more than that. It is not something that be entered into or exited from or even traveled through.
This is why we have no precedent for anyone praying for God to go back in time and change the way things turned out. In fact, we have just the reverse. We have God dealing with situations that He wishes hadn't happened just is if going back in time to change them was not an option.


But does knowing an event make it not free? If so, then why not insist that only 50/50 chances are really free, as someone posted? Therefore virtually nothing is free, because no chance is exactly 50%.
Freedom is the ability to do something in opposition to the odds. Just because people do things in patterns that make them predictable doesn't mean that have to do so every time. In fact, they will not do so every time, which is what makes people unpredictable to one degree or another. If things were always exactly 50-50 you could predict the behavior even more easily than you can now.


Then how does God make predictions where he says "surely" and "certainly"? How is he laying special claim to divinity when he makes these predictions, if he is only estimating, like everyone else?
Well because He not everyone else! He is much starter and wiser than everyone else. He also has access to every conceivable piece of pertinent information that could have bearing on this event being prophesied about. Plus, He is very skilled at interacting with us in such a way as to steer things in the direction in which He wishes them to go.
Even with all this, however, it is not guaranteed that just because God said it is going to happen a certain way, that it is in fact going to do happen that way as I have mentioned before. Prophecy simply cannot be considered to be prewritten history. It just doesn't work that way.


That's a good point, just because we don't see how it could happen, doesn't mean it's impossible. Which also applies to free choices versus God's foreknowledge!
If God can know it, it is not unknowable. The whole point of saying something is unknowable is to say that it cannot be known, period.


God claims divinity when he makes such predictions, though!
That's because He makes predictions that do in fact come true that no one but Him could have made. It's not like we are saying God has a bad track record when it comes to prophecy, indeed, quite the reverse. God does so well at it that it would be wrong, in the normal course of speaking, to say that if God said it, that settles it. We are just pointing out that to insist upon perfection with regards to predicting what people will do is a much higher standard that the Bible demands or demonstrates.


Now if God is only estimating, and could be wrong, how is this special proof of his divinity? God may know a lot more than we do, but God is saying his knowledge of the future is more fundamentally different, if he is only estimating, we might admire him like we do with Einstein, but we wouldn't worship him...
The problem with this statement is that God is so far above Einstein that its impossible to express in words! God makes prediction that ONLY GOD could make. That's how how it's proof. No one but God can read our thought, no one but God can know everything, no one but God can be everywhere at once. No one is, therefore, even remotely capable of make the sort of predictions that only God Himself can make.


And if God can possibly be wrong, then we may decide to turn elsewhere, not unreasonably, if his strength and wisdom can fail us:
:shocked: Holy cow! Good grief man, watch what you say! There are unfulfilled prophecies in the Bible you know. Don't base your faith on a sign Lee, that's not reasonable at all!
There are many reasons why this would not be reasonable, not the least of which is that one of God's prophecies not come to pass speaks more about us than it does Him (Jer. 18). But even if that weren't the case, you will be made to give an account of every idle word you speak. Until you've put that last nail in the coffin on this issue and laid it completely to rest, I recommend being careful about saying such things.

Resting in Him,
Clete

godrulz
July 17th, 2004, 03:46 PM
Originally posted by lee_merrill

Does knowing a past decision make it not have been a free action, though?

Blessings,
Lee

Nope. The past is fixed, the present is now and real, the future is not yet. The past and present are knowable, but the nature of the future in relation to free choices must be unknowable (it is a logical contradiction or absurdity for man or an omniscient being to know free will acts trillions of years before they are made).
The past is not the present or future, so all ideas are not parallel between them. Time is unidirectional moving from the present into the fixed past. It is the actualization of the POTENTIAL future into the FIXED past. The future is not there in reality (for God or man). Time travel is an impossibility (except in sci-fi). Time is not a thing or space. Confusing these concepts leads to incoherent conclusions.

godrulz
July 17th, 2004, 04:09 PM
Clete: Great minds think alike. We typed similar responses about the past at the same time.

Clete
July 17th, 2004, 06:09 PM
Originally posted by godrulz

Clete: Great minds think alike. We typed similar responses about the past at the same time.

:thumb:

I actually got the "sequence and duration" phrase from you. I think that is one of the best descriptions of what time is that I have ever heard.

godrulz
July 17th, 2004, 07:43 PM
Time=sequence, succession, duration.

I think Wolterstorff, Olson, and others used these words. Time is an aspect of a personal being since will (act), intellect (think), emotions (feel), creation, incarnation, etc. require duration.

J.R. Lucas "A Treatise on Time and Space"

"Some theologians say that God is outside time, but it cannot be true of any personal God that He is timeless, for a personal God is conscious, and time is a concomitant (accompany) of consciousness. Time is not only the concomitant of consciousness, but the process of actualization and the dimension of change."

The alternative is that God is impersonal, static, absolutely immutable (vs character, attributes, but not relationships, experiences). God is dynamic, responsive, creative, and alive.

God_Is_Truth
July 18th, 2004, 12:16 AM
Originally posted by lee_merrill
Well, it does seem to me that part of the difficulty is caused by saying God knows today what he (or someone else) will choose tomorrow. "Before Abraham was, I am," Jesus said, implying that God's experience of time is more "present tense"than "past, present and future,"and "a thousand years are like a day," and vice versa, too, again implying that God's experience of time is quite different than ours.

but Jesus said "before abraham was, i am" while on earth! so you have a big problem if that phrase means "outside of time" because you'd have to explain how Jesus could've said it while in his ministry. he would've been both in time and out of time, at the same time! :confused:

also, if you are going to try and say that because God views things in a "eternal present" then he doesn't "foreknow" anything and thus no problem with free will, you would be quite mistaken. because if all things are a present to God, then they have already taken place too! so not only have our decisions been known and made before we do them, they've already been done! free will is thus really out the window and you are essentially down to calvinism where God brings all things to pass.



But does knowing an event make it not free? If so, then why not insist that only 50/50 chances are really free, as someone posted? Therefore virtually nothing is free, because no chance is exactly 50%.

why would a 50/50 chance not be free? besides, there is always a third choice which is to do nothing at all. and sometimes there is a 4th one which is to do both.

godrulz
July 18th, 2004, 12:44 AM
"I am" is a tensed phrase (present) and implies self-sufficent one, etc. It does not mean timeless being. Jesus is the "I am" of Exodus and the NT.

cf. Rev. 1:8 the Alpha and Omega= who is (present), who was (past), and who is to come (future). God exists in an endless duration of unidirectional time. Eternity is endless duration with no beginning or end. Eternity does not have to mean timeless (false assumption). He is not a timeless 'eternal now' with no sequence, duration, succession. Rev. 1:8 indicates tense and time expressions about the Almighty (3 verses in Rev. also show that there is time in heaven: 6:10; 8:1; 22:1,2).

Chileice
July 18th, 2004, 07:15 AM
Please excuse me for being a Johnny-come-lately to the discussion, but I have found your discussion and reasoning fascinating. I have always viewed God as beyond time, not trapped by it. In fact I have always viewed heaven as the freedom from the time aspect. However, in the discussion I have read things that have challenged my thinking and that have even led me to propose some other possibilities, if nothing else than for argument and to get my mind clear on the subject.


Originally posted by Clete Pfeiffer

Also, from a very basic and technical point of view, the future is either open or it is not. Either every single event that will ever occur is set in stone as an unalterable fact of future history in which case it would be closed, or else it is open to contingency, to maybe this or perhaps that. If there is even one single event that might or might not happen then the future is open. It is truly an all or nothing senerio. Even a partially openned door is not closed.


First I began thinking about this statement by Clete. The more I thought about it the more I wasn't 100% sure it was true even though on the surface, it seems to be a logical necessity. But what about a conditional closed system? Could it exist? I have always been a strong supporter of free will and that God does not have it all figured out ahead of time.

But reading II Cor. 5 made me think something a bit different. I hate to quote such a large passage but I'm afraid no one will read it otherwise:


Originally posted by Paul
1Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. This seems to denote foreknowledge. How can God guarantee anything if He cannot know it will happen?


Originally posted by Paul

6Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7We live by faith, not by sight. This seems to denote free will and unknowing... especially on our part. We live by faith... not a pre-determined immutable life-plan.


Originally posted by Paul

8We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. This certainly says we are responsible for our decisions. How could we make them and be responsible if we did not have freedom of choice. As Clint and others have said God would be unjust, or at least unjust to our earthly form of logic.


Originally posted by Paul

The Ministry of Reconciliation

11Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
If men can be persuaded to come to Christ they must have the free will to chose. Paul really WAS an idiot if he went to all that trouble just to call people who were predetermined not to accept the Lord.


Originally posted by Paul

16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

But here is something that caused me to think of a new track. I want to put these verses together with the card game analogy. Maybe there are many tracks which in the end sum up to two: winners and losers. God sees the hands and knows that he holds four aces and a joker and that no one can beat Him. They can draw all the cards they want, but the only way to "win" is to fold... even if you have a straight flush. By folding God gives you part of the jackpot... you become a coinheritor of the universe. Now ALL things become new. Now you have a new path with a new destiny. In the new destiny some things ARE certain. Some are guaranteed by the presence of the Spirit. In some ways, after coming to Christ I would WANT my freedoms limited, like my fredom to get unsaved again. I don't want the freedom to "unfold" my hand.


Originally posted by Paul
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Now we have a new purpose and direction. How it is lived out is still up to us... we can gain rewards or go to heaven by the skin of our teeth. But do we have PERFECT freedom or are we limited to a controlled freedom because of our union to Christ? I'm not saying I know. I am truly asking what you think. I'm trying to figure this all out (as if it were truly knowable from this earthly perch).

Chileice
July 18th, 2004, 07:26 AM
Originally posted by godrulz

"I am" is a tensed phrase (present) and implies self-sufficent one, etc. It does not mean timeless being. Jesus is the "I am" of Exodus and the NT.

cf. Rev. 1:8 the Alpha and Omega= who is (present), who was (past), and who is to come (future). God exists in an endless duration of unidirectional time. Eternity is endless duration with no beginning or end. Eternity does not have to mean timeless (false assumption). He is not a timeless 'eternal now' with no sequence, duration, succession. Rev. 1:8 indicates tense and time expressions about the Almighty (3 verses in Rev. also show that there is time in heaven: 6:10; 8:1; 22:1,2).

You may be right, but it is interesting to note that in Hebrew, tense is only denoted by context. That is why you will see so much variation in translation... especially in poetic sections of the Psalms. Here is but one example from Psalm 94:

NKJV-
16 Who will rise up for me against the wicked?
Who will take a stand for me against evildoers?
17 Unless the LORD had given me help,
I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.
18 When I said, "My foot is slipping,"
your love, O LORD , supported me.
19 When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought joy to my soul.

NASB-
16 Who will stand up for me against evildoers?
Who will take his stand for me against those who do wickedness?
17 If the LORD had not been my help,
My soul would soon have dwelt in the abode of silence.
18 If I should say, "My foot has slipped,"
Your lovingkindness, O LORD, will hold me up.
19 When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your consolations delight my soul.

Both start in past tense. NKJV stays there, NASB switches to present. Both can be correct because in Hebrew you have to decide from context and either could fit.

Greeks thought linearly, but Hebrews did not. I think it IS possible that God sits outside of time. I'm a bit challenged by the theologian who said that would make him impersonal. But I don't think He has to be. I think time may just be a purely human method of marking changing perceptions.

godrulz
July 18th, 2004, 09:41 AM
Time has subjective measures like seconds, moons, suns, harvests, etc. These are 'created' or invented, but 'time' has always existed. Regardless how or if we measure it, there is duration/sequence/succession in reality (endless duration with no beginning or end vs timelessness=eternity).

The reason God can guarantee our ultimate resurrection and glorification, is that this is something within His ability to do. Foreknowledge is not necessary when one is omnicompetent (He does foreknow many things, like judgments, that He is in full control of...the exact people who will be in heaven or hell is not foreknown from all eternity unless Calvinism's odious predestination/election/TULIP doctrine is true). Other verses show the conditionality of salvation and the need for us to continue in the faith. Freedom of choice is why we are accountable, responsible, praiseworthy, or blameworthy. Morals involve choice. If we abide in Christ, then the promises hold true. God will raise us up in the end. If we reject Him, the consequences are also true. The sovereign God will Judge some to eternal life and others to eternal death depending on their ultimate choices.

lee_merrill
July 18th, 2004, 01:16 PM
Hi everyone,


Lee: Does knowing a past decision make it not have been a free action, though?

Clete: How would know something after the fact effect whether or not it was free?

Godrulz: The past is fixed, the present is now and real...

But the claim seemed to be that merely knowing about how a free choice would be made, made it not be a free choice. But we know about past free choices! So more work needs to be done here, that's all I'm saying.


Lee: "Before Abraham was, I am," Jesus said, implying that God's experience of time is more "present tense" than "past, present and future, "and "a thousand years are like a day," and vice versa, too, again implying that God's experience of time is quite different than ours.

Clete: Time is nothing more that a frame of reference that a thinking mind can use to keep track of when something started, how long it lasted and when it was finished. Time is sequence and duration, nothing more than that.

Time is not so easy to understand! Check with your local physics professor. It's almost like another spatial dimension, in some senses, so I hear.


GIT: Jesus said "before abraham was, i am" while on earth!

Yes, the point of reference is Abraham's day, not the time when Jesus was making his statement.


GIT: if all things are a present to God, then they have already taken place too!

Well, they can't be both present and past at the same time, I think you are sneaking the idea of time in by the back door here.


GIT: free will is thus really out the window and you are essentially down to calvinism where God brings all things to pass.

Calvinism has the same problem, though! God knows his own free choices that he will make, within time, in the future. So I plead a mystery here, you may ask of the Lord how he knows and yet makes his decisions freely, but I can't explain this myself. I can't even explain how I decide something, not really.


Godrulz: "I am" is a tensed phrase (present) and implies self-sufficent one, etc. It does not mean timeless being.

Why not? "Abraham was" is a tensed phrase, thus we should have the tenses agree, "I was [too]." The question Jesus was answering was about pre-existence, not self-sufficiency, if Jesus was making a statement about self-sufficiency, he addressed a different question than the one they asked.


Clete: If things were always exactly 50-50 you could predict the behavior even more easily than you can now.

GIT: ... there is always a third choice which is to do nothing at all. and sometimes there is a 4th one which is to do both.

One of the quotes I was addressing said that only a 50-50 chance was a really free choice, i.e. if a choice is very predictable, doesn't that mean it is less free? There's some causation going on here, it seems. Thus it does seem that only a 50-50 chance is a really free choice, and those are the most unpredictable events, not the most predictable ones. And then there are virtually no free choices, not really free ones. And more choices means they all have to be equal probability to be free, thus there is still the same problem, I think.


Lee: Then how does God make predictions where he says "surely" and "certainly"? How is he laying special claim to divinity when he makes these predictions, if he is only estimating, like everyone else?

Clete: He is much smarter and wiser than everyone else. He also has access to every conceivable piece of pertinent information that could have bearing on this event being prophesied about. Plus, He is very skilled at interacting with us in such a way as to steer things in the direction in which He wishes them to go.

Yes, but how does that prove divinity? If that is what God is arguing for us to believe, then professors are more divine than students, and research scientists more divine than professors, especially if God can be wrong, just like us. What you are saying is not essentially different than what we do, only God has more information, and is smarter, but is not essentially different than us. But God claims to be essentially different, and his claim is based on accurate prophecy.


Clete: God is so far above Einstein that its impossible to express in words! God makes prediction that ONLY GOD could make. That's how it's proof. No one but God can read our thought, no one but God can know everything, no one but God can be everywhere at once. No one is, therefore, even remotely capable of make the sort of predictions that only God Himself can make.

This is better, yes if God can demonstrate omnipresence or mind-reading through prophecy, then that is different. But I don't know of any prophecies that require the conclusion of omnipresence! And fortune-tellers say they can read minds. Maybe the devil can. So I don't think that is the point of the prophecies, I think God is telling us he has special access to knowledge of the future, and that is his claim to divinity (Isa. 46:10; 41:22,26).


Chileice: If men can be persuaded to come to Christ they must have the free will to choose. Paul really WAS an idiot if he went to all that trouble just to call people who were predetermined not to accept the Lord.

Jeremiah did that!

Jeremiah 7:27 When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you; when you call to them, they will not answer.

Moses did that!

Exodus 4:21 But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.

Jesus did that, even:

John 8:43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say.

Yet he was speaking to them, though they were unable to hear. I believe that we may hope that everyone will eventually repent, and that this is up to God, thus this is not all in vain, or senseless. But that's a different topic!


Clete: If God can know it, it is not unknowable. The whole point of saying something is unknowable is to say that it cannot be known, period.

Yes, but I think Big Finn was saying that just because we don't understand how something could be possible, doesn't make it utterly impossible! Like with quantum physics, your coffee cup can slide through your saucer, so I'm told...


Until you've put that last nail in the coffin on this issue and laid it completely to rest, I recommend being careful about saying such things.

But you said previously that God may hide information from himself, so if my child got lost on the streets of Sodom, I had better check with whoever might be best-informed about the actual situation there now. That might be Baal-zebub, and not God, if what you say is true. Strong words! But if God's strength and wisdom and foresight can fail, then we may reasonably turn elsewhere, especially if we see a way that someone else might do better, as in the above example.

Blessings,
Lee

godrulz
July 18th, 2004, 01:49 PM
"I am"= self-existent one. Jesus also pre-existed His incarnation. He is uncreated.

The past is not the future (ideas about free will in the past are not identical to the future).

Theoretical physics relating to space and time is complicated, speculative, and bizarre. Ideas and theories conflict and are rethought continuously. Stephen Hawking is making a major shift in his thinking on black holes costing him an old bet. Physics (often looks for ways to negate God the Creator) is not on par with divine revelation.

The simple Hebraic view of time and history for God and man is valid. All personal beings experience an endless duration of time, with God being the only one with no beginning. The past, present, and future are real to God and man and are corrrectly perceived as such.

Pinnock: "The distinction between what is possible and what is actual is valid for God as well as us. The past is actual, the present is becoming, and the future is possible."

godrulz
July 18th, 2004, 02:00 PM
Two models:

i) sovereign and transcedent (Greek philosophy; classical theism)

ii) sovereign/transcendent and immanent (biblical)

Clark Pinnock:

"Aspects of the future, being unsettled, are not yet wholly known even to God. It does not mean that God is ignorant of something He ought to know, but that many things in the future are only possible and not yet actual. Therefore, He knows them correctly as possible and not actual."

(He knows all that is knowable)

2 motifs in Scripture:

i) some of the future is open (nature of His creation)= genuine freedom

ii) some of the future is settled= sovereign (= love vs control; providential responsiveness vs meticulous control; ability vs foreknowledge)

*Acts9_12Out*
July 19th, 2004, 01:11 AM
I said,


The point of this thread was to find out if "all things" that God knows and "all things" that Christ knows can be limited in any way. I referenced 1 John 3:20 and John 21.

Lee, if Christ knows "all things" and God knows "all things," why doesn't Christ know when He will return? Wouldn't that "future" event be part of "all things" from the calvinist / arminian view point?

Clete asked,


Originally posted by Clete Pfeiffer

Jeremy,

I'm curious how you would answer your own question, from an OVer's point of view.

Clete,

The point of my question was to show that knowledge of "all things" is limited to all that is knowable. The key word here is limited. Just as the Father knows all that is knowable (which does not include unknowable future events), the Son's knowledge is limited to all that is knowable to Him as a man. Christ "emptied Himeslf" of some atributes of Deity and was limited in knowledge.


Philippians 2
2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
2:6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
2:7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

However, we must rightly identify what "all things" encompasses since Peter stated that Christ did indeed know all things. Christ Himself states that He is limited in knowledge.


Mark 13:32
"But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

It doesn't matter what verbal gymnastics are used to explain why Christ did not know the day or the hour, the point still stands... Peter said Christ "knows all things," and by our Lord's own admission, His knowledge is limited in at least one area.

So, what types of things are limited in the Father's knowledge of all things? Conditional Prophecy for one (Jer 18, Eze 18) and man's free will choices for another. As you well know Clete, there are certain portions of the future that God does know. How does He know them? Well, it's not the way the calvinists says He knows them...

God does not sit outside of time in an Eternal Now looking at the Book of Revelation unfolding. Rather, when His time comes, He will take control and bring those portions of the future He determines to pass. God will violate certain people's free will. For instance, in the Battle of Armageddon, God puts hooks in the jaws of Gof and Magog and drags them up to Jerusalem. If that doesn't violate free will, I don't know what does.

God Bless, --Jeremy

*Acts9_12Out*
July 19th, 2004, 01:41 AM
Lee,

You said,


I have addressed Jer. 18 before! With Jeremy and others. In a thread about driving out these very Canaanites here. And I agree that God left Canaanites in the land to test Israel. But he drove them out, too! Afterwards, like he said. They aren't there now, folks...

Let's test your logic Lee... Joshua 3:10 posted on page 2 of this thread states,


Joshua 3
10 - And Joshua said, By this you shall know the living God is among you, and that He will WITHOUT FAIL drive out from before you the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Hivites and the Perizittes and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Jebusites.[/i]

Your response to the Biblical proof that Israel disobeyed and God chose to test Israel is,


I agree that God left Canaanites in the land to test Israel. But he drove them out, too! Afterwards, like he said. They aren't there now, folks...

But wait... Didn't God also say,


Judges 2
1 Then the Angel of the LORD came up from Gigal to Bochim, and said, "I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, "I will never break My covenant with you.
2 And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars." But you have not obeyed my voice. Why have you done this?
3 Therefore I also said, "I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you."

Notice verse 3 Lee... God also said "I will not drive them out." If God makes this statement, and you said He did drive them out, then by your line of reasoning, God lied. God said He would not drive them out, and you said He did... Once again, context determines everything Lee. Why did God not drive them out? The passage tells us! They disobeyed, so God changed His mind about driving them out. It really is quite simple Lee... You continue,


God cannot contradict himself, or sin, or lie. Or change his mind, yes, I hold to that, the ability to be mistaken is not having power!

How can an all powerful God not have the power to do something? It doesn't compute... The god of the calvinist is a weak god. The God of the Bible is powerful enough to have the ability to "contradict himself, or sin, or lie," but does not choose to do those things. God governs Himself by His own moral law. Why doesn't God lie? It's not because He's unable... God is so righteous and governs Himself by His own moral standard, that He remains the "unlying God."


Titus 1
2 in hope of eternal life which God, the unlying, promised before age times,

Sorry Lee, your weak god is forced to script out his entire plan, choosing who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. Your god does things for no other reason than it's his pleasure. The God of the Bible is powerful enough to give man free will and still remain in control... You included "changing His mind" with things God cannot do. How would a change of mind violate God's moral law? It doesn't, so He does... Next, I asked about Numbers 23:19 and you responded,


Yes, the reason is given here, and it's not because in this particular instance, God has made a firm decision. It's because he is not like us! So this does imply a universal truth about God.

Just because you say so does not make it true. Feel free to back up your position with Scripture. Again, the context is very clear. I have already covered it in my last post to you. Suffice to say, God will not repent (nacham) about His decision to bless Israel. You never told me how you deal with the over 20 times where God does repent (nacham). Next,I asked,


Lee, why does God "repent" (nacham) twice in [1 Sam. 15], and not "repent" (nacham) once? I thought God was unable to "repent" (nacham), but He does it here twice in 24 verses...

You responded,


We have to take both, don't we! So we may take "nacham" as "grieved" when it speaks of God's decision to make Saul king, and "repent" when it speaks of him changing his mind.

You miss the point again... Is 1 Samuel 15:29 another universal truth about God? If so, since God does not "repent" (nacham) ever, verses 11 and 35 say He does whatever you say He does not ever do in verse 29. To make it simple, verse 29 says He does not "nacham". Verses 11 and 35 say He does "nacham". I don't care what English words you put in, the point still stands. Again, God "nachams" over 20 times in the Bible. You say He never "nachams". I'll go with God on this one... You continue,


As far as Christ's knowledge while he was on earth, I would chime in with what Godrulz said, and say that Jesus did not have direct access to all knowledge then, but he did have indirect access to all knowledge, by asking the Father. After the resurrection, he may have assumed his direct knowledge of everything, with the possible exception of the date of his return, which again, the Father would tell him if he asked!

See above... If Peter says Christ knows "all things," and you admit that "all things" is limited, then I've made my point... "All things" is limited in scope, no matter what context it's used in...

In Christ, --Jeremy

God_Is_Truth
July 19th, 2004, 12:15 PM
Lee,



Yes, the point of reference is Abraham's day, not the time when Jesus was making his statement.


ok, let's think this through. Jesus said "before abraham was" indicating a past thing. it was something long ago. so, way back when, in the past "i am". if am is a present tense here, he's saying that way back then, he presenty exists. so, he would be saying "before the time of abraham, i presently exist".

now i have a hard time believing Jesus was saying that he was both present in his time and the time of abraham at the same time. the people would've thought he was off his rocker! plus, the following verse presents a big problem if Jesus was talking about time and existence.

"59At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.

now WHY would they pick up stones to stone him if he was talking about existing at the same time in 2 different times? clearly he was claiming the title "i am who i am" that YHVH gave to Moses at Mt. Sinai and that is why they intended to stone him--for blasphemy.

there is no reason why we need to interpret "before abraham was, i am" as meaning a present existence in both abraham's time and Jesus's time or that God exists in some sort of "eternal now". either of those is reading far too much into the text than is needed.



Well, they can't be both present and past at the same time, I think you are sneaking the idea of time in by the back door here.


well, it'd be in a sense "done" for us because what is yet to come for us, would be really present for God. and if it's present to God, then you also believce it won't change. and since it couldn't change, then nothing we could do, could change it. thus, our future (God's present in your view) would be totally fixed and frozen. and if it's fixed, it's closed and we obviously could not have free will.



Calvinism has the same problem, though! God knows his own free choices that he will make, within time, in the future. So I plead a mystery here, you may ask of the Lord how he knows and yet makes his decisions freely, but I can't explain this myself. I can't even explain how I decide something, not really.


the answer is that God doesn't know his own decisions before he makes them unless he wants to ;)



One of the quotes I was addressing said that only a 50-50 chance was a really free choice, i.e. if a choice is very predictable, doesn't that mean it is less free? There's some causation going on here, it seems. Thus it does seem that only a 50-50 chance is a really free choice, and those are the most unpredictable events, not the most predictable ones. And then there are virtually no free choices, not really free ones. And more choices means they all have to be equal probability to be free, thus there is still the same problem, I think.


i'm sorry but i haven't thought about that enough to say one way or the other.

God bless

GIT

lee_merrill
July 19th, 2004, 07:06 PM
Hi everyone,


Godrulz: "I am"= self-existent one. Jesus also pre-existed His incarnation. He is uncreated.

But again, the people were asking if Jesus had seen Abraham. They weren't asking if he had been created...


The past is not the future (ideas about free will in the past are not identical to the future).

That's fine, but why doesn't knowing a past choice make it not free, if mere knowledge of a choice is said to do this?


Lee: Yes, the point of reference is Abraham's day...

GIT: so, he would be saying "before the time of abraham, i presently exist". now i have a hard time believing Jesus was saying that he was both present in his time and the time of abraham at the same time.

No, I believe Jesus was "in time" here on earth, thus he wasn't "omnipresent in time," just as he wasn't omnipresent in space, during his incarnation.


GIT: clearly he was claiming the title "i am who i am"

I agree! And this title implies more than just eternal existence, because of the change in tenses in Jesus' statement. So Jesus answered more than the question they asked, though his answer included their question, too.


GIT: our future (God's present in your view) would be totally fixed and frozen. and if it's fixed, it's closed and we obviously could not have free will.

Lee: Calvinism has the same problem ... God knows his own free choices that he will make...

GIT: God doesn't know his own decisions before he makes them unless he wants to.

But for God to make a decision at all, he cannot know it before he makes it, according to the "foreknowledge makes it not free" view. Thus God cannot know his decisions before he makes them, even if he wants to, according to this view.


Jeremy: God also said "I will not drive them out." If God makes this statement, and you said He did drive them out, then by your line of reasoning, God lied.

Not at all! Let's read further:

Judges 2:23 The Lord had allowed those nations to remain; he did not drive them out at once by giving them into the hands of Joshua.

Here is a further explanation, the promise was delayed, but not canceled.

Joshua 23:5 The Lord your God himself will drive them out of your way. He will push them out before you, and you will take possession of their land, as the Lord your God promised you.


Lee: ... the ability to be mistaken is not having power!

Jeremy: How can an all powerful God not have the power to do something?

Hebrews 6:18 ... it is impossible for God to lie ...

The word here is "adunatos," which means the power is not there, God could not lie, even if he wanted to. And God cannot contradict himself, either:

2 Corinthians 1:19-20 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not "Yes" and "No," but in him it has always been "Yes." For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God.

But no, being able to believe I am Napoleon is not having power, God does not have or need such possibilities in order to be all-powerful...


Jeremy: Next, I asked about Numbers 23:19 ...

Lee: the reason is given here, and it's not because in this particular instance, God has made a firm decision. It's because he is not like us!

Jeremy: Feel free to back up your position with Scripture. Again, the context is very clear.

I did pick my reason from this verse, though. Thus I think I have used the context, and given the reason that this verse gives, as to why God cannot change his mind. You must erase (even contradict!) this reason, and say God is like us. And you also need a verse that says God changes his mind like we do...


Jeremy: Is 1 Samuel 15:29 another universal truth about God? If so, since God does not "repent" (nacham) ever, verses 11 and 35 say He does whatever you say He does not ever do in verse 29.

You have the same difficulty, though! And you must add a qualifier in verse 29 and say "does not change his mind [this time]." This word has a range of meanings, and it is not inappropriate to choose different meanings in different instances. I think we have an indication as to how to translate "nacham" in verse 11, too:

1 Samuel 15:11 Samuel was troubled, and he cried out to the Lord all that night.

I think this shows that Samuel was of the same mind as God was here, that Samuel was grieved too, not that Samuel changed his mind as well.


Jeremy: If Peter says Christ knows "all things," and you admit that "all things" is limited, then I've made my point...

This is post-resurrection, though, and I think the disciples' comment at the Last Supper referred to Jesus' knowledge during his incarnation, and I believe that Jesus had indirect access to all knowledge, even then:

John 11:22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.

Blessings,
Lee

God_Is_Truth
July 20th, 2004, 01:24 AM
No, I believe Jesus was "in time" here on earth, thus he wasn't "omnipresent in time," just as he wasn't omnipresent in space, during his incarnation.


then you agree that the title "i am" doesn't refer to an eternal now?



I agree! And this title implies more than just eternal existence, because of the change in tenses in Jesus' statement. So Jesus answered more than the question they asked, though his answer included their question, too.


ok, we agree that he used it to claim he was God. but do we agree that it does not refer to an eternal present as well?



But for God to make a decision at all, he cannot know it before he makes it, according to the "foreknowledge makes it not free" view. Thus God cannot know his decisions before he makes them, even if he wants to, according to this view.


the problem is exhaustive foreknowledge, not foreknowledge in general. if God knows exhaustively what he is going to do, then he is stuck by his own knowledge and not free. if he knows it as simply what he's planning to do, then there's no problem.

GodsfreeWill
July 20th, 2004, 01:16 PM
Originally posted by lee_merrill

Not at all! Let's read further:

Judges 2:23 The Lord had allowed those nations to remain; he did not drive them out at once by giving them into the hands of Joshua.

Here is a further explanation, the promise was delayed, but not canceled.

Joshua 23:5 The Lord your God himself will drive them out of your way. He will push them out before you, and you will take possession of their land, as the Lord your God promised you.

You must not have understood Jeremy's point.

Your logic states, "If God says something, for example, 'I will drive out,' this must come to pass. You claim it did since they do not exist there today. (Of which by the way you can't even prove.) So to remain consistent lee, if we have a verse where God states 'I will no longer drive them out' you must claim that they have to live there today in order for this to be true. God didn't say 'I will not drive them out for the time being,' He said 'I will NO LONGER drive them out.' Your logic is very faulty. BTW, if God says He will no longer do something, whatever that something may be, that is a change of mind of a previously stated action. To "no longer" do something menas a previously stated intent of doing something, aka " a change of mind."


Hebrews 6:18 ... it is impossible for God to lie ...

The word here is "adunatos," which means the power is not there, God could not lie, even if he wanted to. And God cannot contradict himself, either:

Actually it's properly translated "the unlying God."



I did pick my reason from this verse, though. Thus I think I have used the context, and given the reason that this verse gives, as to why God cannot change his mind. You must erase (even contradict!) this reason, and say God is like us. And you also need a verse that says God changes his mind like we do...

Wrong. There is no contradiction no matter what the translation. Nor do I have to say God is like us, because in many ways He is not. The verse says He is not a man that HE should change His mind after being bribed by a mere man. Nothing else. It doesn't say He cannot repent because He is not a man. That's foolish. As for finding a verse that says God repents like we do....why? God repents numerous times biblically, and that's enough for it to be truth. Whether or not He repents like we do is irregardless of the situation. If we define "nacham" as it's most absic menaing "turn" well then man "nachams" (Job 42:6) the same as God "nachams"
(Gen. 6:6.)


You have the same difficulty, though! And you must add a qualifier in verse 29 and say "does not change his mind [this time]." This word has a range of meanings, and it is not inappropriate to choose different meanings in different instances. I think we have an indication as to how to translate "nacham" in verse 11, too:

1 Samuel 15:11 Samuel was troubled, and he cried out to the Lord all that night.

I think this shows that Samuel was of the same mind as God was here, that Samuel was grieved too, not that Samuel changed his mind as well.

We don't need to add a qualifier, the text speaks for itself. Aren't you the one adding qualifiers in the Joshua and Judges verses about "driving out?"

You seem to not understand that grieving here is a change of mind. God handpicked Saul to be king. You seem to forget that this means your calvinist views cannot be true as God handpicked Saul to be king, and then Saul failed. God then changed His mind about picking Saul as king. His grieving, or regretting of picking Saul as king is the exact opposite in mindset, of the mindset when He personally chose SAul to king. We define this as " a change of mind."

godrulz
July 20th, 2004, 01:24 PM
Open Theism takes both sets of passages literally (God changing His mind, etc.), while recognizing figurative language in other areas (e.g. personification of wisdom in Proverbs). The closed view takes these figuratively without warrant. We should accept the face value revelation of God's nature and ways, rather than our preconceived ideas about Him.

GodsfreeWill
July 20th, 2004, 01:30 PM
Lee, I almost forgot the entire reason I was responding to you. According to your logic, if we have a verse that says God does not do something because He is not a man, then He can NEVER do it. Well this logic once again doesn't work in Hosea 11:8-9. This passage states that God is God and not man, and He will not come in wrath. Yet the verse prior states He will not again destroy Ephraim, which brings a problem to your "God and not man" theory, and what do we do with the coming wrath in the book of the revelation? Is it just one big joke lee? I think not...

lee_merrill
July 20th, 2004, 06:56 PM
Hi everyone,


Lee: I believe Jesus was "in time" here on earth

GIT: then you agree that the title "i am" doesn't refer to an eternal now?

No, I believe in Abraham's day, Jesus' experience of time was different that when he was on earth.


GIT: ... we agree that he used it to claim he was God. but do we agree that it does not refer to an eternal present as well?

No, I believe Jesus gave them more of an answer than they were asking for, because of the change in tenses.


DD: God didn't say 'I will not drive them out for the time being,' He said 'I will NO LONGER drive them out.'

He said both!

Judges 2:23 The Lord had allowed those nations to remain; he did not drive them out at once by giving them into the hands of Joshua.

So we must take both verses, and the second adds "at once," so that is how we must understand verse 3 in the same chapter.


Hebrews 6:18 ... it is impossible for God to lie ...

Lee: The word here is "adunatos," which means the power is not there ...

DD: Actually it's properly translated "the unlying God."

No, that's Titus 1:2. Heb. 6:18 has the word "unable" or "no power" right there in plain view.


Lee: You must erase (even contradict!) this reason [in 1 Sam. 15:29], and say God is like us. And you also need a verse that says God changes his mind like we do...

DD: The verse says He is not a man that HE should change His mind after being bribed by a mere man.

Well, that's actually not what the verse says, you have added a whole clause here. Maybe Num. 23:19 could be interpreted that way, but how is Saul trying to bribe God in 1 Sam. 15:29?


DD: then man "nachams" (Job 42:6) the same as God "nachams"
(Gen. 6:6.)

But God says he doesn't "nacham" because he is not a man, implying that when God "nachams," it's indeed not the same as man does.


Lee: And you must add a qualifier in verse 29 and say "does not change his mind [this time].

DD: We don't need to add a qualifier, the text speaks for itself.

Great! Then without the qualifier, we have "does not change his mind." Glad to agree!


DD: God then changed His mind about picking Saul as king.

But how could God make this promise about Solomon?

1 Chronicles 17:13 I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor.

If God is taking chances with each king, how could he promise this?


Godrulz: We should accept the face value revelation of God's nature and ways, rather than our preconceived ideas about Him.

I agree!

James 1:17 ... the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.


DD: this logic once again doesn't work in Hosea 11:8-9. This passage states that God is God and not man, and He will not come in wrath. Yet the verse prior states He will not again destroy Ephraim ...

That's a good point! But to be a passage parallel to 1 Samuel 15:29, we would need to have here, "God is not a man, that he should become angry." What we actually have is "I will not come in wrath," referring to a specific event, and (as you say) because of God's nature, but we do not read "I do not come in wrath," which would then be parallel to 1 Samuel.

Blessings,
Lee

God_Is_Truth
July 21st, 2004, 10:53 PM
Originally posted by lee_merrill

Hi everyone,

No, I believe in Abraham's day, Jesus' experience of time was different that when he was on earth.



No, I believe Jesus gave them more of an answer than they were asking for, because of the change in tenses.




ok, now i am confused. let's start again. what Jesus said "before abraham was born, I AM", what do you believe he meant?

godrulz
July 21st, 2004, 11:10 PM
God would not change His mind in some specific cases, because He is not fickle or capricious like man can be. It is not that man can change his mind, but God cannot not (will and intellect are aspects of a personal being). This does not mean that He cannot change His mind (immutable) as He does in some verses like about Hezkiah, but that He would not in that case (Numbers, etc.).

lee_merrill
July 22nd, 2004, 09:11 PM
Hi everyone,


Lee: I believe Jesus gave them more of an answer than they were asking for, because of the change in tenses.

GIT: let's start again. what Jesus said "before abraham was born, I AM", what do you believe he meant?

They were asking "have you seen Abraham?" And Jesus didn't just say "Yes!" He didn't say "Before Abraham was, I was" either. Now how are we to understand him saying "before X, I am"? This is not just claiming the divine title spoken to Moses, though Jesus is doing that, too. That would have been "before X, I was 'I am'".

That's what I think Jesus was not saying. Here is what I think he is saying: "I am" means that God is not just experiencing points of time like we do, that if you pick any point in time, Jesus is there, present there, in a way different than Abraham could be present at a moment in time.

Jesus may be claiming he is present in the past here! I think that's possible. "Before Abraham was, I [still] am."


Godrulz: God would not change His mind in some specific cases, because He is not fickle or capricious like man can be.

But that's not what this is saying:

Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

If God says "X will occur," and then really changed his mind, then what he said previously was not true, thus that was a lie, if God knew it might not be true, and said it was true. But God does not lie, and thus he does not really say "X will occur," and change his mind.

"Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?"

If God can change his mind, then the answer is yes, yes he does, actually...

Blessings,
Lee

*Acts9_12Out*
July 23rd, 2004, 12:58 AM
Lee,

Finally... You throw your cards on the table. You said,


If God says "X will occur," and then really changed his mind, then what he said previously was not true, thus that was a lie, if God knew it might not be true, and said it was true. But God does not lie, and thus he does not really say "X will occur," and change his mind.

Let's test your theory...

God says "X will occur..."


Exodus 32
9 And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people!
10 “Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.?

God changed His mind and "X did not occur..."


Exodus 32
14 So the Lord repented from the harm which He said He would do to His people.

God says "X will occur..."


Numbers 14
11 Then the Lord said to Moses: “How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them?
12 “I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.?

God changed His mind and "X did not occur..."


Numbers 14
20 Then the Lord said: “I have pardoned, according to your word;
21 “but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord—

God says "X will occur..."


2 Kings 20
1 In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.’ ?

God changed His mind and "X did not occur..."


2 Kings 20
5 “Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord.
6 “And I will add to your days fifteen years. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake, and for the sake of My servant David.? ’ ?

God says "X will occur..."


Jonah 3
1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying,
2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.?
3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent.
4 And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!?

God changed His mind and "X did not occur..."


Jonah 3
10 Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.

Notice the end of verse 10 Lee... "He did not do it!" I thought God was "unable" to change His mind, ever....

I ask again, did God change His mind or not? You maintain that Numbers 23:19 and 1 Samuel 15:29 are universal truths about the character of God. You claim that God is "unable" to change His mind. By your line of reasoning, the above passages show God to be a liar. You are stuck in your deterministic box with a weak god who cannot do something. Unfortunately, I have given you 4 instances where God says He will do something, and He does not do it.

If you argue that God has complete prescience / foreknowledge of these situatiuons, then you're still stuck. If God already knew Moses would pray (twice!), already knew that Hezekiah would pray and already knew the people of Nineveh would repent, then God's initial statements are lies.

Think about it... If God already knew Moses would pray on behalf of the people, then when He said, "Let Me alone," so that He could destroy the people, He didn't really mean it because He knew Moses would intercede.

If God already knew Hezekiah would pray, then God lied when He said, "Set your house in order for you shall surely die and not live." He already knew Hezekiah would "cry out" to Him, and the initial statement would be false.

If God already knew that the people of Nineveh would repent, then when He instructed Jonah to say, "Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown," that was a lie too. God told Jonah to tell a lie because He already foreknew / predestined the people of Nineveh to repent so He never really intended to overthrow them.

See how foolish that is? Numbers 23:19 and 1 Samuel 15:29 are instances where God shows us He cannot be bribed by man. God will not change His mind about His previously stated intent (Numbers 23 - His intent to bless Israel; 1 Samuel 15:29 - His intent to take the throne from Saul).

The OV contends that God definitely intended to destroy Israel (Ex 32; Nu 14), definitely intended that Hezekiah would die (2 Kings 20) and definitely intended to overthrow Nineveh. However, God remains true to His word, and if a person / nation repents, then God will change His mind concerning the evil He once intended (Jer 18; Eze 18).

Why did God say He was going to destroy Israel, allow Hezekiah to die, overthrow Nineveh and then change His mind? Along with the principles I've already mentioned we find,


James 2
13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

God bless,

--Jeremy Finkenbinder

godrulz
July 23rd, 2004, 01:12 AM
Numbers and Samuel are to be understood as follows: in those 2 specific cases (in context), God WOULD not change His mind. What He determined will come to pass. It does not mean that metaphysically He COULD not change His mind. This is the only way to reconcile, without contradiction, the passages given as evidence for God changing His mind (conditional prophecies, etc.). One could say those passages are figurative, but they can be taken at face value if one is willing to jettison tradition to embrace a more biblical understanding of the nature and ways of God (i.e. the openness of God's creation).

*Acts9_12Out*
July 23rd, 2004, 01:56 AM
Lee,

One more thing... I can't let your faulty representation of Hebrews 6:18 slide... You said,


Hebrews 6:18 ... it is impossible for God to lie ...

The word here is "adunatos," which means the power is not there, God could not lie, even if he wanted to. And God cannot contradict himself, either:

Consider the context...


Hebrews 6
17 Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath,
18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.

God is clearly stating that it is impossible for Him to lie concerning two immutable things! What are those two immutable things? His oath and His immutable counsel. This passage is simply stating that if God makes an oath and counsels (boulh) something to come to pass, He will not lie. We are to have strong consolation that He will do what He says when He decrees an oath and wills (boulh) the event to come to pass. This fits perfectly with what we've been arguing all along. There are certain future events that God has foreknowledge of. How does He have foreknowledge? Because He decrees an oath and wills (boulh) it to be done (Isa 46:9-11).

Next time, try not to rip a passage out of the context and make it a pretext.

--Jeremy

lee_merrill
July 24th, 2004, 10:17 AM
Hi everyone,


Lee: If God says "X will occur," and then really changed his mind, then what he said previously was not true, thus that was a lie, if God knew it might not be true, and said it was true.

Jeremy: Let's test your theory...

Exodus 32:14 So the Lord repented from the harm which He said He would do to His people.

Deuteronomy 10:10 Now I had stayed on the mountain forty days and nights, as I did the first time, and the Lord listened to me at this time also. It was not his will to destroy you.

Moses' prayer was part of God's plan not to destroy them! He didn't change his mind here, "said" can be "threatened," but it doesn't tell us God's plan, you can threaten someone with a plan to cause them to change.

2 Kings 20:1 In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.’ ?

I think we have "die" here in two senses, Hezekiah needed to get his heart in order or he would die physically. He died to self instead, and thus he died in another sense, in order to live:

Isaiah 38:13 day and night you made an end of me.

Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live...

Isaiah 38:17 Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.

Jon. 3:4: "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!"

Jonah 3:10 Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.


Notice the end of verse 10 Lee... "He did not do it!" I thought God was "unable" to change His mind, ever....

I ask again, did God change His mind or not?
No, he didn't! I shall ask you my Jonah questions:

If it was God's plan to destroy the Ninevites, then why did he send Jonah, and spoil his plan? How can we trust God, if he says X will happen, and then he may act himself, and cause X not to happen? Why didn't God destroy them right away? Why did Jonah seem to have a better grasp of the situation than God did? He thought the Ninevites would probably repent, and thus he ran. Why did the Ninevites seem to know better than God did? They thought they could repent, and God, apparently, did not. Why didn't God keep the Ninevites from repenting after Jonah preached to them, like he did with the sons of Eli (1 Sam. 2:25) and with Amaziah (2 Chr. 25:16)?

And they were overthrown, like with Hezekiah, by repentance, and not by destruction.


You maintain that Numbers 23:19 and 1 Samuel 15:29 are universal truths about the character of God. You claim that God is "unable" to change His mind. By your line of reasoning, the above passages show God to be a liar.

Actually, I think it is you who has to answer that charge. How is God not lying, if he says "X will happen," and he knows X might not happen? How is that not a lie?


Think about it... If God already knew Moses would pray on behalf of the people, then when He said, "Let Me alone," so that He could destroy the people, He didn't really mean it because He knew Moses would intercede.

He did destroy them, though. But not at that time. When God said "they will wander 40 years and fall in the desert," Moses left God alone, and that judgment happened.


Numbers 23:19 and 1 Samuel 15:29 are instances where God shows us He cannot be bribed by man. God will not change His mind about His previously stated intent (Numbers 23 - His intent to bless Israel; 1 Samuel 15:29 - His intent to take the throne from Saul).

Num. 23:19 might be read that "God will not be bribed." But not 1 Sam. 15:29!

1 Samuel 15:29 ... for he is not a man, that he should change his mind.

The reason is clearly that God is not like man, not that in this instance God has made a firm decision. How are you getting that from this text? Or that Saul was trying to bribe God?


Jeremy: The OV contends that God definitely intended to destroy Israel (Ex 32; Nu 14), definitely intended that Hezekiah would die (2 Kings 20) and definitely intended to overthrow Nineveh. However, God remains true to His word, and if a person / nation repents, then God will change His mind concerning the evil He once intended (Jer 18; Eze 18).

Godrulz: This is the only way to reconcile, without contradiction, the passages given as evidence for God changing His mind (conditional prophecies, etc.).

But then he didn't change his plan! According to your view, he changed his response. That's almost what I believe, when the threat is conditional, or when a promise is conditional. I also believe God knows how they will choose, though.


Jeremy: Why did God say He was going to destroy Israel, allow Hezekiah to die, overthrow Nineveh and then change His mind?

Well, we can't take that route, because of verses like this one:

"Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?" (Num. 23:19)

Again, if God can change his mind, then the answer is yes he does, actually...

James 2:13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Here's a verse like that!

Romans 11:32 For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.

Thus when mercy triumphs, we may maintain that that was actually God's plan.


Hebrews 6:18 ... it is impossible for God to lie ...

Lee: The word here is "adunatos," which means the power is not there, God could not lie, even if he wanted to.

Hebrews 6
17 Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath,
18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie...

Jeremy: What are those two immutable things? His oath and His immutable counsel.

If God's purpose is immutable, then we have another verse saying God doesn't change his mind, by the way.

"'So that' introduces the purpose God had in swearing the oath. It gave men 'two unchangeable things,' the promise and the oath. Once God had spoken, it was inconceivable that either should alter. It is impossible for God to lie." (Expositor's Bible Commentary)

This commentary says the "two things" are his promise and his oath. Now are we to understand that when God makes a promise and gives an oath, or when God makes a promise and has it in his plan, that then, and only then, God cannot lie?

I think the point here is because God cannot lie, we may trust his oath and his promise. Not the other way around, somehow. And God didn't swear to us about his purpose for the hope we have! So how is this encouragement to us? Or to the original readers of this letter? Unless we have an oath, God might be lying. No, that won't do, and that can't be the meaning here...

Blessings,
Lee

GodsfreeWill
July 26th, 2004, 10:28 PM
Lee, you have no idea how thankful I am that you at least dialogue with us OV'ers here on the web. It's good to see you defend what you believe. It's also challenging for me none the less, and I appreciate it because if I am wrong, I definitely want to know!


Originally posted by lee_merrill

Hi everyone,

Exodus 32:14 So the Lord repented from the harm which He said He would do to His people.

Deuteronomy 10:10 Now I had stayed on the mountain forty days and nights, as I did the first time, and the Lord listened to me at this time also. It was not his will to destroy you.

Moses' prayer was part of God's plan not to destroy them! He didn't change his mind here, "said" can be "threatened," but it doesn't tell us God's plan, you can threaten someone with a plan to cause them to change.

Well, I think ye may be reading too much into the text. The Deut. 10 passage uses the Hebrew verb "avah" which can be understood as point action, similar to the aorist tense in greek. This makes sense to me that the verse is clearly saying that it was not God's will to destroy them (point action) when He repented of the destruction He previously said. Meaning, this verse does not have to be taken that it was God's will from before the foundation of the world not to destroy them, but rather, when God repented of the harm He said He woudl do, at that time, it was not His will to destroy them.

Now, you definitely cannot prove that Moses' prayer was part of God's plan. We don't have scripture for that. You even admitted that we didn't know God's plan. I could argue that it was not God's desire (will) to destroy them, but He was going to anyways, because they deserved it.

As for said being "threat," I'd tend to agree with you. Although, I don't think that would change much of anything. Your logic fails miserably in this instance. You say, "you can threaten someone with a plan to cause them to change," yet in this story, God is telling Moses about His threat to kill the people, not the people themselves. God even repents of the threat without the people ever knowing about the threat, much less repenting themselves! He said He would spare Moses and make of him a great nation, so why exactly, according to your view, did He even threat to kill the people if He wasn't going to tell them to get them to repent? Did He spare Moses and make of him a great nation?


2 Kings 20:1 In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.’ ?

I think we have "die" here in two senses, Hezekiah needed to get his heart in order or he would die physically. He died to self instead, and thus he died in another sense, in order to live:

Isaiah 38:13 day and night you made an end of me.

Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live...

Isaiah 38:17 Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.

It sounds good, but the context just doesn't support it. Your biggest problem is that God "added" 15 years to his life. What does this mean lee? Why nothing more than He actually WAS going to die. For God to ADD 15 years to his life shows a change in how God dealt with Hezekiah.


Jon. 3:4: "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!"

Jonah 3:10 Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.


No, he didn't! I shall ask you my Jonah questions:

If it was God's plan to destroy the Ninevites, then why did he send Jonah, and spoil his plan? How can we trust God, if he says X will happen, and then he may act himself, and cause X not to happen? Why didn't God destroy them right away? Why did Jonah seem to have a better grasp of the situation than God did? He thought the Ninevites would probably repent, and thus he ran. Why did the Ninevites seem to know better than God did? They thought they could repent, and God, apparently, did not. Why didn't God keep the Ninevites from repenting after Jonah preached to them, like he did with the sons of Eli (1 Sam. 2:25) and with Amaziah (2 Chr. 25:16)?

And they were overthrown, like with Hezekiah, by repentance, and not by destruction.

This one is easy for me. First question, what was God's original plan? Was it to destroy ninevah within 40 days if they did not repent, or was He just saying that in 40 days, they will repent? Let's look and see...

"Then he cried out and said, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!" ... the people of Nineveh believed God ... the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, ... let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands ... Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish? ... Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it."

Well, the king understood God's decree as " He will destroy us" as verse 9 says, jonah understood God's decree as " He will destroy them" as in 4:2 jonah calls God "One who relents from doing harm," so it seems to me that noth the king and jonah understood that god said He woudl destroy them physically, not that they would repent in 40 days and that this was their overthrow. I guess we could say that jonah and the king were wrong, but I just can't do that, especially without scripture backing it up. It's clear to me what God's intended plan was.


Actually, I think it is you who has to answer that charge. How is God not lying, if he says "X will happen," and he knows X might not happen? How is that not a lie?

God's present intended plan is just that, His present intended plan. If God's changes His mind of His now past intended plan, that does not nullify the truth and validity of His once present intended plan.


He did destroy them, though. But not at that time. When God said "they will wander 40 years and fall in the desert," Moses left God alone, and that judgment happened.

Question for lee:
A. Moses said to God "nacham from this harm to Your people!"
B. God "nachamed from the harm which He said He would do to His people"

1. What was Moses asking God not to do, which the text says He did not do?



Num. 23:19 might be read that "God will not be bribed." But not 1 Sam. 15:29!

1 Samuel 15:29 ... for he is not a man, that he should change his mind.

The reason is clearly that God is not like man, not that in this instance God has made a firm decision. How are you getting that from this text? Or that Saul was trying to bribe God?

Saul was trying to persuade God to give him back the throne. He tried to blame the people for not "utterly destroying" everything. He grabbed and tore Samuel's robe as he walked away. Saul, by his words, was trying to bribe or persuade God to go back on his decision, and God is not like man, to be bribed or persuaded in this manner. The most wicked king of all time, Manassah, repented, and God gave him back the throne. Had mManassah tried to persuade or bribe God to give him back the throne, God would not have "nacham."


But then he didn't change his plan! According to your view, he changed his response. That's almost what I believe, when the threat is conditional, or when a promise is conditional. I also believe God knows how they will choose, though.

If God knows how they will choose, the promise is no longer truly conditional, as they have no choice to choose one way or the other, nullifying for certain one end of the condition.



Well, we can't take that route, because of verses like this one:

"Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?" (Num. 23:19)

Again, if God can change his mind, then the answer is yes he does, actually...

I disagree based on this simple conclusion: Whenever God speaks, He also acts. Sometimes His action is repenting, sometimes His action is not-repenting. Whenever God promises he always fulfills. You said it yourself, God makes conditional promises. Everytime He makes a promise, He fulfills by either repenting based ont he condition, or not-repenting based otn eh condition.



If God's purpose is immutable, then we have another verse saying God doesn't change his mind, by the way.

No, that's only true if you can prove that every single thing, down to the tiniest piece of dust falling in the air is God's purpose.


BTW, why didn't you answer Numbers 14 in jeremy's last post?

lee_merrill
July 27th, 2004, 07:48 PM
Hi Doogieduff,

I enjoy dialoguing with you all too, and I'm here to learn as well as share what I (think I) know!


Exodus 32:14 with Deuteronomy 10:10 "It was not his will to destroy you."

Lee: Moses' prayer was part of God's plan not to destroy them!

DD: ... this verse does not have to be taken that it was God's will from before the foundation of the world not to destroy them, but rather, when God repented of the harm He said He would do, at that time, it was not His will to destroy them.

Here is a verse which shows that this may indeed be a continued decision:

2 Kings 13:23 But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion on them and turned to them because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them or cast them from His presence until now.


Now, you definitely cannot prove that Moses' prayer was part of God's plan. We don't have scripture for that. You even admitted that we didn't know God's plan. I could argue that it was not God's desire (will) to destroy them, but He was going to anyways, because they deserved it.

But the condition "let me alone" (implying that Moses' prayer was required) gives us the conclusion that his prayer was in God's plan. Without the prayer, they would have been destroyed, but this was not God's will. If God was already planning to act against his desires, then how did Moses' prayer persuade him?


You say, "you can threaten someone with a plan to cause them to change," yet in this story, God is telling Moses about His threat to kill the people, not the people themselves.

But God must have forgiven them after Moses came down from the mountain, and judgment had fallen, with a possibility of more to come:

Exodus 32:30 The next day Moses said to the people, "You have committed a great sin. But now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin."

So I think it is plausible to hold that the threat produced a change in the people, at least in those who were spared.


Lee: I think we have "die" here in two senses [in 2 Kings 20:1], Hezekiah needed to get his heart in order or he would die physically.

DD: It sounds good, but the context just doesn't support it. Your biggest problem is that God "added" 15 years to his life. What does this mean lee? Why nothing more than He actually WAS going to die. For God to ADD 15 years to his life shows a change in how God dealt with Hezekiah.

Yes, I agree, God meant physical death, and he meant dying to self. It was one or the other, as in Romans 8:13.


DD: Well, the king understood God's decree as " He will destroy us" as verse 9 says, jonah understood God's decree as " He will destroy them" as in 4:2 jonah calls God "One who relents from doing harm," so it seems to me that both the king and jonah understood that god said He would destroy them physically, not that they would repent in 40 days and that this was their overthrow.

I take the same approach here as I did with Hezekiah, though, and say it was either/or, not just one sense of "overthrow" here. And you skipped all my Jonah questions! Why did God send Jonah, and spoil his plan? How can God be trusted, if he plans A, and then acts so as to spoil the plan himself? I really think the interpretation that God changed his plan with the Ninevites has insurmountable difficulties.


Lee: How is God not lying, if he says "X will happen," and he knows X might not happen? How is that not a lie?

DD: God's present intended plan is just that, His present intended plan. If God's changes His mind of His now past intended plan, that does not nullify the truth and validity of His once present intended plan.

Yes, but the difficulty remains, how is saying "X will happen," when you know X might not happen, not a lie? Your plan may well include the possibility that X might not happen, but that doesn't make the statement "X will happen" true.


A. Moses said to God "nacham from this harm to Your people!"
B. God "nachamed from the harm which He said He would do to His people"

1. What was Moses asking God not to do, which the text says He did not do?

Moses was asking God to not judge the people...


1 Samuel 15:29 ... for he is not a man, that he should change his mind.

Lee: The reason is clearly that God is not like man, not that in this instance God has made a firm decision.

DD: Saul was trying to persuade God to give him back the throne. He tried to blame the people for not "utterly destroying" everything. He grabbed and tore Samuel's robe as he walked away. Saul, by his words, was trying to bribe or persuade God to go back on his decision, and God is not like man, to be bribed or persuaded in this manner.

I agree that God cannot be bribed. But I don't think Saul was appealing to God, he was appealing to Samuel.

1 Samuel 15:30 Saul replied, "I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord your God."

"Honor me," Saul was concerned about being dishonored, and "the Lord your God," not "my God" here.


Lee: I also believe God knows how they will choose, though.

DD: If God knows how they will choose, the promise is no longer truly conditional, as they have no choice to choose one way or the other, nullifying for certain one end of the condition.

I believe the condition is oftentimes from our perspective, and again, the threat is given to bring about the desired result.


"Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?" (Num. 23:19)

Lee: ... if God can change his mind, then the answer is yes he does, actually...

DD: I disagree based on this simple conclusion: Whenever God speaks, He also acts. Sometimes His action is repenting, sometimes His action is not-repenting. Whenever God promises he always fulfills. You said it yourself, God makes conditional promises. Every time He makes a promise, He fulfills by either repenting based on the condition, or not-repenting based on the condition.

What you all are saying is different than a conditional promise, though! If God plans X unconditionally (or gives a condition, and the condition is met), and says X will happen, and then changes his mind, then he spoke and did not act, he promised, and did not fulfill.


Lee: If God's purpose is immutable, then we have another verse saying God doesn't change his mind [in Heb. 6:17-18].

DD: No, that's only true if you can prove that every single thing, down to the tiniest piece of dust falling in the air is God's purpose.

No, this is God's purpose I am referring to, not the extent of his control. If God's purpose cannot change, then he cannot change his mind, this verse implies.


DD: BTW, why didn't you answer Numbers 14 in jeremy's last post?

Here's a try...

Numbers 14:19 Please pardon the iniquity of this people, according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you have forgiven this people, from Egypt until now.

I would say here that Moses considered this similar to the other instances where God gave a condition such as "leave me alone," and hoped there was a condition, and there was one.

Blessings,
Lee

GodsfreeWill
August 1st, 2004, 12:01 AM
Originally posted by lee_merrill

Here is a verse which shows that this may indeed be a continued decision:

2 Kings 13:23 But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion on them and turned to them because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them or cast them from His presence until now.

Not really. I agree that the Lord was gracious to them, had compassion on them, and turned to them AFTER Moses prayer.

One thing you may not realize is that a big part of the OV is that God does indeed threat, warn, etc. HOPING to get men and nations to repent. This is my response to you with Jonah and Ninevah. In Jer. 18 it says that God will DECLARE a nation to be destroyed or built up and if that nation hears His DECLARATION, and repents, He will not destroy them. God is 100% righteous. God has never killed a righteous man or nation. Now in this instance we have no scripture showing that God HOPED Moses would prayer. He may or may not have. But he question for you Lee is this, did God mean what He said when He told Moses "Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation"? I would like a yes or no answer lee. Did God truly intend to destroy these people, spare Moses and make of him a nation greater then they?


But the condition "let me alone" (implying that Moses' prayer was required) gives us the conclusion that his prayer was in God's plan. Without the prayer, they would have been destroyed, but this was not God's will. If God was already planning to act against his desires, then how did Moses' prayer persuade him?

How do you get from point A. to point B.? How does "let me alone" imply a prayer? If I had a son and he got caught shoplifting, and the police brought him home, I would turn to my wife(if I had one) and tell her "Let me alone, that I may punish our son for what he has done." I'm not trying to get my wife to change my mind, i don't even know what she'll say. My intentions are pure, and i would be punishing our son with reason. If she responded to my honest threat (which i wholeheartedly intended to do) and explained to me that we shouldn't punish him the way I had said, I may change my mind. Why does "let me alone" imply anything except "let me alone?"


But God must have forgiven them after Moses came down from the mountain, and judgment had fallen, with a possibility of more to come:

Exodus 32:30 The next day Moses said to the people, "You have committed a great sin. But now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin."

So I think it is plausible to hold that the threat produced a change in the people, at least in those who were spared.

No no no. The people never heard the threat lee. God threatened in verse 10 and repented in verse 14. Moses even asked God to repent. Wht would he do this lee if God doesn't repent? Moses knew God as a friend, spoke to Him face to face (Ex. 33:11). Do you mean to tell me that you happen to know God on a more personal level than Moses did? It's clear, moses knew God as a God who repented. That's why He asked Him to repent. You don't ask God to do something that you know He does not do.



Yes, I agree, God meant physical death, and he meant dying to self. It was one or the other, as in Romans 8:13.

You seem to find it perfectly fine to take a strictly New Testament idea and apply it all the way back int he OT. I find this hard to do. "Dying to self" is not an OT idea, therefore I find no reason to apply it here. Furthermore, you've admitted that God changed His mind. If God meant that Hezekiah was going to die physically (which you've admitted He meant above) then when God added 15 years to Hezekiah's life, He was changing when Hezekiah was actually going to die. God stated Hezekiah would die at point A. This was literally true because of Hezekiah's current physiocal, sick state. Hezekiah prayed, and God healed him, and ADDED 15 years to his life, now saying, Hezekiak will live until point A. plus 15 years. The text is clear.


I take the same approach here as I did with Hezekiah, though, and say it was either/or, not just one sense of "overthrow" here. And you skipped all my Jonah questions! Why did God send Jonah, and spoil his plan? How can God be trusted, if he plans A, and then acts so as to spoil the plan himself? I really think the interpretation that God changed his plan with the Ninevites has insurmountable difficulties.

I don't see any difficulties. God hopes that all men are saved lee! (1 Tim. 2:4) That includes Ninevah! God sent Jonah to forewarn them of their impending destruction HOPING they would repent. If they didn't repent at Jonah's preaching, God would have destroyed them!


Yes, but the difficulty remains, how is saying "X will happen," when you know X might not happen, not a lie? Your plan may well include the possibility that X might not happen, but that doesn't make the statement "X will happen" true.

How is saying "X will happen" (Hezekiah will die physically) when you know "X WILL NOT happen" (Hezekiah will live 15 more years) not a lie? When God says "X will happen" He means just that "X will happen." His present stated intention is 100% true. Luckily God will repent if we repent, changing the original stated intention of "X will happen" because God will not kill a righteous man. What does God do lee if an unrighteous man repents and becomes righteous? If God declares an unrighteous man destruction, and that man repents unto righteousness, does God now kill a righteous man and fall from moral perfection? Well, no He changes HIs mind based on His own set principles laid out in Jer. 18 and Eze. 18.




Moses was asking God to not judge the people...

That's weak. Moses was asking God to "Turn from Your fierce wrath, and repent from this harm to Your people." The harm was utter destruction. Because of Moses prayer God "repented from the harm which He said He would do to His people."



I agree that God cannot be bribed. But I don't think Saul was appealing to God, he was appealing to Samuel.

1 Samuel 15:30 Saul replied, "I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord your God."

"Honor me," Saul was concerned about being dishonored, and "the Lord your God," not "my God" here.

God spoke to Saul through Samuel. Saul spoke to God through Samuel. It's that simple. Let me ask you this. In verse 25 Saul says to Samuel "Now therefore, please pardon my sin, and return with me, that I may worship the Lord." Now lee, does Samuel have the power to forgive sins? I think not...




I believe the condition is oftentimes from our perspective, and again, the threat is given to bring about the desired result.

If the future is foreknown and therefore set in stone, then there is no thing as a true conditional prophecy. Even though we have no knowledge of the future, we are still slaves to the future that is foreknown by God. Just because the future cannot be seen from our perspective doesn't negate the fact that it is set in stone, and therefore we have no free will to choose other than what is foreknown by God. We may think we're choosing freely, but that's only because the set future is out of our perspective.



What you all are saying is different than a conditional promise, though! If God plans X unconditionally (or gives a condition, and the condition is met), and says X will happen, and then changes his mind, then he spoke and did not act, he promised, and did not fulfill.

Repenting from a prestated harm is indeed acting. That's what Jer. 18 and Exe. explicitly state.




No, this is God's purpose I am referring to, not the extent of his control. If God's purpose cannot change, then he cannot change his mind, this verse implies.

What purpose is this verse speaking about? Every little choice God makes? No. God is speaking of salvation after endurance. "But imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises" (vs. 12)



Here's a try...

Numbers 14:19 Please pardon the iniquity of this people, according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you have forgiven this people, from Egypt until now.

I would say here that Moses considered this similar to the other instances where God gave a condition such as "leave me alone," and hoped there was a condition, and there was one.

Blessings,
Lee

Nice try, but it doesn't seem to work.

1. How is "let me alone" a condition?
2. Where is the condition in Numbers 14?
3. Did God mean what He said in verse 12, when He said, "I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they."?

lee_merrill
August 1st, 2004, 02:41 PM
Hi Doogieduff,


Lee: Here is a verse which shows that this may indeed be a continued decision:

2 Kings 13:23 But the Lord was gracious to them ... and would not destroy them or cast them from His presence until now.

DD: Not really. I agree that the Lord was gracious to them, had compassion on them, and turned to them AFTER Moses prayer.

But you haven't shown how 2 Ki. 13:23 is consistent with your position. I need an explanation of this verse, not a restatement of your view of the meaning of Dt. 10:10. But about Dt. 10:10! Are you saying it was not God's will to destroy them, after Moses' prayer? Why would Moses mention that, though? He had already said the Lord listened to him. I think the plain sense here is that the Lord listened, because it was not his will to destroy them.


DD: ... did God mean what He said when He told Moses "Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation"?

Yes, he meant the threat, and the condition (we can't leave that out!). The condition was from Moses' perspective, because God knew what Moses would choose. Again, the summary statement here is "it was not his will to destroy them," I believe we should interpret all this account in light of this statement.


Lee: ... the condition "let me alone" (implying that Moses' prayer was required) gives us the conclusion that his prayer was in God's plan.

DD: If she responded to my honest threat (which i wholeheartedly intended to do) and explained to me that we shouldn't punish him the way I had said, I may change my mind. Why does "let me alone" imply anything except "let me alone?"

"Let me alone" implies that if Moses does nothing, the people will be destroyed. There is a condition here, "If you leave me alone, I will destroy them." Thus your analogy is different than the situation with Moses, God did not wholeheartedly intend to destroy the people. That is what I hold here, and I think this is a consistent view of the passage. Even in your analogy, "let me alone" implies that you thought your wife might try and change your mind, I think. Why would you tell her, "let me alone," if you thought she wouldn't interfere, or that even if she did, it wouldn't make any difference?


Lee: But God must have forgiven them after Moses came down from the mountain, and judgment had fallen, with a possibility of more to come:

Exodus 32:30 The next day Moses said to the people, "You have committed a great sin. But now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin."

DD: The people never heard the threat lee. God threatened in verse 10 and repented in verse 14. Moses even asked God to repent.

Deuteronomy 10:10 Now I had stayed on the mountain forty days and nights, as I did the first time, and the Lord listened to me at this time also.

This shows that Moses' prayer, and the Lord listening to him, was after he came down from the mountain, after the Levites went through the camp putting flagrant sinful people to death, and after Moses went back up the mountain again, to pray for them. Thus I think Ex. 32:14 refers to Dt. 10:10, and is a glance ahead, in this account. Otherwise you must say God listened, then he changed his mind back, and then listened again.


Lee: Yes, I agree, God meant physical death, and he meant dying to self. It was one or the other, as in Romans 8:13.

DD: "Dying to self" is not an OT idea, therefore I find no reason to apply it here. Furthermore, you've admitted that God changed His mind.

No, I'm saying God meant "one or the other," though Hezekiah may have only understood physical death. Thus God changed his response, but not his plan, since he knew the effect of what he said, and how Hezekiah would choose. And why is dying to self not for OT saints, too?

Isaiah 38:15 I will walk humbly all my years because of this anguish of my soul.

You have to hold either that OT saints didn't have a sinful nature, or that their sinful nature did not need to be put to death, for them to be able to overcome sin, or that they weren't able to overcome sin.


Lee: Why did God send Jonah, and spoil his plan? How can God be trusted, if he plans A, and then acts so as to spoil the plan himself?

DD: I don't see any difficulties. God hopes that all men are saved lee! (1 Tim. 2:4) That includes Ninevah! God sent Jonah to forewarn them of their impending destruction HOPING they would repent. If they didn't repent at Jonah's preaching, God would have destroyed them!

Then God didn't change his overall plan! I agree! And his plan succeeded. Only I hold that God wasn't hoping...


Lee: ... how is saying "X will happen," when you know X might not happen, not a lie?

DD: How is saying "X will happen" (Hezekiah will die physically) when you know "X WILL NOT happen" (Hezekiah will live 15 more years) not a lie?

When "die" can have two different senses:

John 11:25-26 He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.


DD: When God says "X will happen" He means just that "X will happen." His present stated intention is 100% true.

But I'm not talking about God's intent! I'm talking about statements about the future, about predictions. If God makes a prediction, with no conditions (that's what the OV says about Jonah, or at least they used to say that), all the while knowing that the prediction may indeed not turn out, that is telling a lie, plain and simple.


Lee: I agree that God cannot be bribed. But I don't think Saul was appealing to God, he was appealing to Samuel.

DD: God spoke to Saul through Samuel. Saul spoke to God through Samuel. It's that simple. Let me ask you this. In verse 25 Saul says to Samuel "Now therefore, please pardon my sin, and return with me, that I may worship the Lord." Now lee, does Samuel have the power to forgive sins?

I would say that Saul was confused here. But he was indeed asking Samuel, not God. Are you saying Saul was asking God, through Samuel, to forgive him? Without mentioning God? And even seeming to be asking for Samuel to forgive? That's very strained, I think...


Lee: I believe the condition is oftentimes from our perspective, and again, the threat is given to bring about the desired result.

DD: If the future is foreknown and therefore set in stone, then there is no thing as a true conditional prophecy. Even though we have no knowledge of the future, we are still slaves to the future that is foreknown by God. Just because the future cannot be seen from our perspective doesn't negate the fact that it is set in stone, and therefore we have no free will to choose other than what is foreknown by God. We may think we're choosing freely, but that's only because the set future is out of our perspective.

I believe that believers can choose! And that God knows their choices, thus there are real conditions. But not for unbelievers.

I believe God know his future choices! And yet he chooses freely. Do you hold, even in the OV, that God cannot know any of his decisions, before he actually makes them? That he finds out what he is going to decide, at the moment of his decision, and not before?

Let's take the creation of the world as an example. Did God not know, before the exact moment when he said "Let there be light!" that he was going to create the world? If he did know this, was his decision to create, at that moment, not a free decision?


Lee: If God plans X unconditionally (or gives a condition, and the condition is met), and says X will happen, and then changes his mind, then he spoke and did not act, he promised, and did not fulfill.

DD: Repenting from a prestated harm is indeed acting. That's what Jer. 18 and Exe. explicitly state.

But what if the promise is that God will act? A threat of judgment, re Jer 18. And he decides not to? Then did he still act somehow? I don't think this will do.

The plain meaning here is "does he promise, and not fulfill?" i.e. does he say X unconditionally, or with a condition, that is then fulfilled, and not do [b]what he promised[b]? Not something else. Otherwise this statement is meaningless, actually, "does he promise X, and then never do anything afterwards?"


Lee: If God's purpose cannot change, then he cannot change his mind, [Heb. 6:18] implies.

DD: What purpose is this verse speaking about? Every little choice God makes? No. God is speaking of salvation after endurance. "But imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises" (vs. 12)

But if "purpose" means "purpose in this instance," then what assurance did Abraham have? The promise to him was to bless him and give him many descendants. How does that assure us of God's unchanging purpose for us? The only way this works, I think, is if God's purpose, in any area, never changes. Then we can see Abraham having confidence in God's promise, and apply this to ourselves.


Numbers 14:19 Please pardon the iniquity of this people, according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you have forgiven this people, from Egypt until now.

Lee: I would say here that Moses considered this similar to the other instances where God gave a condition such as "leave me alone," and hoped there was a condition, and there was one.

1. How is "let me alone" a condition?
2. Where is the condition in Numbers 14?
3. Did God mean what He said in verse 12, when He said, "I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they."?

1. "Let me alone" is a condition in that, if Moses were to let God along, the judgment would come. If Moses were not to let God alone, then the judgment could be averted.

2. I agree there is not a stated condition in Numbers 14, but as I said, Moses apparently hoped that there was one, and he was correct.

3. God's threat certainly brought to mind previous instances where he had said this, and the previous instances had the condition stated. If there was a condition here (Moses thought there was), then God meant the whole statement, with the condition...

Blessings,
Lee

GodsfreeWill
August 6th, 2004, 12:01 PM
Originally posted by lee_merrill

Hi Doogieduff,
But you haven't shown how 2 Ki. 13:23 is consistent with your position.

2 Kings 13:23
23 But the Lord was gracious to them, had compassion on them, and regarded them, because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not yet destroy them or cast them from His presence.

This verse is simply stating facts. The Lord was gracious to them. Why? Moses prayed and told God of His previous covenant. The Lord had compassion on them. Why? Moses prayed and told God of His previous covenant. The Lord regarded them. Why? Moses prayed and told God of His previous covenant. So what's our conclusion from this account of what happened in Exodus 32? The Lord would not yet destroy them or cast them from His presence because Moses prayed to God of His covenant.


I need an explanation of this verse, not a restatement of your view of the meaning of Dt. 10:10. But about Dt. 10:10! Are you saying it was not God's will to destroy them, after Moses' prayer? Why would Moses mention that, though? He had already said the Lord listened to him. I think the plain sense here is that the Lord listened, because it was not his will to destroy them.

I've already explained it and you've failed to deal with the Hebrew language of this verse. The Deut. 10 passage uses the Hebrew verb "avah" which can be understood as point action, similar to the aorist tense in greek. This makes sense to me that the verse is clearly saying that it was not God's will to destroy them (point action) when He repented of the destruction He previously said. Meaning, this verse does not have to be taken that it was God's will from before the foundation of the world not to destroy them, but rather, when God repented of the harm He said He would do, at that time, it was not His will to destroy them. The Lord listened to Moses prayer, because that's what our God does. He listens to our prayers.


Yes, he meant the threat, and the condition (we can't leave that out!). The condition was from Moses' perspective, because God knew what Moses would choose. Again, the summary statement here is "it was not his will to destroy them," I believe we should interpret all this account in light of this statement.

As I've dealt with before, it was not God's CHOICE to destroy them. This is the proper translation form the Hebrew "avah." Check out the NKJV.

Deut 10:10 (NKJV)
10 "As at the first time, I stayed in the mountain forty days and forty nights; the Lord also heard me at that time, and the Lord chose not to destroy you.

It was a choice at the time of Moses prayer. God chose not to destroy them at the time of Moses prayer. If you know a little greek and understand the aorist tense, this will make beautiful sense. Point action. If you know spanish, let me know, there's another very good way to explain this hebrew tense with spanish, that we don't have in the english language.


"Let me alone" implies that if Moses does nothing, the people will be destroyed. There is a condition here, "If you leave me alone, I will destroy them." Thus your analogy is different than the situation with Moses, God did not wholeheartedly intend to destroy the people. That is what I hold here, and I think this is a consistent view of the passage. Even in your analogy, "let me alone" implies that you thought your wife might try and change your mind, I think. Why would you tell her, "let me alone," if you thought she wouldn't interfere, or that even if she did, it wouldn't make any difference?

I obviously would tell her to let me alone so that she would not have to witness me punishing our child. Obvisously, God is going to utterly destroy these people. This wouldn't include Moses, nor would Moses want to witness such an event.

Your conclusion doesn't make sense to me. Why would God leave it up to Moses to determine these wicked people's fate? How does that work? We don't seem to have a biblical basis for God repenting in this manner. Just because He tells one man, who's righteous, that if he prays, He will no longer destroy a bunch of unrighteous men. Also lee, if God DID NOT intend to destroy them, then why He did He destroy 3000 of them still? Also, the text clearly says thrice, that God was filled with wrath. (vs. 10, vs. 11, vs.12) How can God be filled with wrath, if indeed He intends not (as you say) to even destroy these people? Nothing adds up here lee.

What does it mean lee that He repented of the harm He said He would?
If God is truly filled with wrath, can't we conclude that He does intend to destroy these poeple?
Doesn't the fact that He destroyed 300 of these people further show that he did intend to destroy these people, and truly was filled with wrath?
According to your view, why did God repent if indeed the people hadn't even heard the threat?


Deuteronomy 10:10 Now I had stayed on the mountain forty days and nights, as I did the first time, and the Lord listened to me at this time also.

This shows that Moses' prayer, and the Lord listening to him, was after he came down from the mountain, after the Levites went through the camp putting flagrant sinful people to death, and after Moses went back up the mountain again, to pray for them. Thus I think Ex. 32:14 refers to Dt. 10:10, and is a glance ahead, in this account. Otherwise you must say God listened, then he changed his mind back, and then listened again.

We can talk translations again. I think the proper translation here is heard, not listened. God heard Moses prayer again, because He prayed again. See NKJV again. We don't want to imply that God has selective hearing, nor that Moses can tell God what to do and God listens to him like he has some authority over Him. God heard His prayer again, because he prayed again. It's very simple to me. God can't hear a prayer if we don't indeed pray.


No, I'm saying God meant "one or the other," though Hezekiah may have only understood physical death. Thus God changed his response, but not his plan, since he knew the effect of what he said, and how Hezekiah would choose. And why is dying to self not for OT saints, too?

Isaiah 38:15 I will walk humbly all my years because of this anguish of my soul.

You have to hold either that OT saints didn't have a sinful nature, or that their sinful nature did not need to be put to death, for them to be able to overcome sin, or that they weren't able to overcome sin.

So your changing your mind now? You said He meant both, now you seem to be retracting that statement. Well, lee, I've proven that God HAD to have meant physical death, because He indeed ADDED 15 years to Hezekiah's life. You need to deal with the text. As for the text meaning "dying to self" I don't feel we have any reason to believe that this is the case here. Let me show you why. First and foremost, the text in Isaiah 38 and 2 Kings 20 CLEARLY state Hezekiah was PHYSICALLY sick.

2 Kings 20:2 In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death.
2 Kings 20:5 "I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you.
Isaiah 38:5 surely I will add to your days fifteen years.
Isaiah 38:9 This is the writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick and had recovered from his sickness

Hezekiah was physically sick, God told Him He would die physically, Hezekiah feard death, and prayed and cried because God said this. God heard His prayer and healed him, and ADDED 15 years to His life. The future is open.


Then God didn't change his overall plan! I agree! And his plan succeeded. Only I hold that God wasn't hoping...

But He did change His plan of destroying Ninevah in 40 days.


When "die" can have two different senses:

John 11:25-26 He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.

What are the two senses lee and how do they fit into the story of Hezekiah?


But I'm not talking about God's intent! I'm talking about statements about the future, about predictions. If God makes a prediction, with no conditions (that's what the OV says about Jonah, or at least they used to say that), all the while knowing that the prediction may indeed not turn out, that is telling a lie, plain and simple.

Prophecy is not predictive. That's your misunderstanding of scripture. The God of the Bible does not predict.


I would say that Saul was confused here. But he was indeed asking Samuel, not God. Are you saying Saul was asking God, through Samuel, to forgive him? Without mentioning God? And even seeming to be asking for Samuel to forgive? That's very strained, I think...

I would say Saul wasn't confused. He was speaking to God through Samuel.


I believe that believers can choose! And that God knows their choices, thus there are real conditions. But not for unbelievers.

I believe God know his future choices! And yet he chooses freely. Do you hold, even in the OV, that God cannot know any of his decisions, before he actually makes them? That he finds out what he is going to decide, at the moment of his decision, and not before?

Let's take the creation of the world as an example. Did God not know, before the exact moment when he said "Let there be light!" that he was going to create the world? If he did know this, was his decision to create, at that moment, not a free decision?

But we aren't really choosing lee. In that case, we think we're chossing, but the fact that the future remains out of our perspective makes us think we're choosing, when in reality we're just doing what God foreknows we will do. I will aslo argue that god chose to create the world BEFORE He foresaw Himself creating. This is something you have to deal with. What came first? Did God foreknow the future exhaustively, including foreseeing Himself creating the universe, before He ever made the free will decision to actually create the world?

lee_merrill
August 7th, 2004, 10:27 AM
Hi Doogieduff,


2 Kings 13:23
23 But the Lord was gracious to them, had compassion on them, and regarded them, because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not yet destroy them or cast them from His presence.

DD: This verse is simply stating facts. The Lord was gracious to them. Why? Moses prayed and told God of His previous covenant.

But this covers more than just the incident with Moses, this states that this was God's continuing attitude, he "would not yet destroy them" up to this time, in 2 Kings. Thus God's decision with Moses could well be a continuing one, and Moses' prayer could be part of that plan.


Lee: He had already said the Lord listened to him. I think the plain sense here is that the Lord listened, because it was not his will to destroy them.

DD: I've already explained it and you've failed to deal with the Hebrew language of this verse. The Deut. 10 passage uses the Hebrew verb "avah" which can be understood as point action, similar to the aorist tense in greek.

Deut 10:10 (NKJV)
10 "As at the first time, I stayed in the mountain forty days and forty nights; the Lord also heard me at that time, and the Lord chose not to destroy you.

It was a choice at the time of Moses prayer.

Yes, but the same exact word and verb form is used in 2 Kings 13:23. Thus this does not necessarily mean point action in Dt. 10:10, as in the ESV, NASB, UNASB, and the NIV:

Deuteronomy 10:10 "… the Lord was not willing to destroy you." (UNASB)


Lee: Even in your analogy, "let me alone" implies that you thought your wife might try and change your mind...

DD: I obviously would tell her to let me alone so that she would not have to witness me punishing our child. Obviously, God is going to utterly destroy these people. This wouldn't include Moses, nor would Moses want to witness such an event.

Then we should have "hide your face," not "leave me alone."


DD: Why would God leave it up to Moses to determine these wicked people's fate?

No, it was God's plan not to destroy them, and Moses' prayer was part of that plan. God knew how Moses would respond.


DD: … if God DID NOT intend to destroy them, then why He did He destroy 3000 of them still? Also, the text clearly says thrice, that God was filled with wrath. (vs. 10, vs. 11, vs.12) How can God be filled with wrath, if indeed He intends not (as you say) to even destroy these people?

Not his intent to destroy them all, the mercy was for the nation Moses was leading, but not for every individual. And God's wrath is against sin, but it was turned aside.

Psalm 78:38 Yet he was merciful; he forgave their iniquities and did not destroy them. Time after time he restrained his anger and did not stir up his full wrath.


DD: According to your view, why did God repent if indeed the people hadn't even heard the threat?

There was more work to be done after Moses came down! Judgment, then Moses went back up again, and prayed, and then God turned from all his anger.


DD: I think the proper translation here is heard, not listened.

But God did listen as well as hear! And Moses refers to the whole sequence here, I think, in Dt. 10:10, and not to God changing his mind, then changing it back, and then Moses prayed, and God changed his mind again.


Lee: I'm saying God meant "one or the other," though Hezekiah may have only understood physical death.

DD: You said He meant both, now you seem to be retracting that statement. Well, lee, I've proven that God HAD to have meant physical death, because He indeed ADDED 15 years to Hezekiah's life.

I thought I meant "one or the other" all the way through! Sorry if I didn't express my thoughts clearly. And yes, physical death was meant, if Hezekiah didn't change. How is it impossible that two senses were meant here, and it was one or the other?

Genesis 2:17 "… for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."

Two senses here! Die physically, later on, and die spiritually, immediately.


Lee: When "die" can have two different senses:

John 11:25-26 He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.

DD: What are the two senses lee and how do they fit into the story of Hezekiah?

I take "live, even though he dies" as referring to physical death, and "never die" as referring to spiritual death. Thus death in the story of Hezekiah could have meant "it will be physical death, or death like this":

Galatians 2:19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God.

Isaiah 38:16 "O Lord, by these things men live; And in all these is the life of my spirit; O restore me to health, and let me live!

Life in two different senses here! "My spirit lives," "let me live [physically]".


Lee: Then God didn't change his overall plan! I agree!

DD: But He did change His plan of destroying Ninevah in 40 days.

Not if he knew the outcome! And gave the threat to bring it about.

Jonah 4:2 And he prayed to the Lord and said, "O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country?"

Jonah thought it would turn out this way, too!


Lee: But I'm not talking about God's intent! I'm talking about statements about the future, about predictions.

DD: Prophecy is not predictive. That's your misunderstanding of scripture. The God of the Bible does not predict.

Isaiah 46:10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.

Isaiah 41:22-23 Bring in your idols to tell us what is going to happen. Tell us what the former things were, so that we may consider them and know their final outcome. Or declare to us the things to come, tell us what the future holds, so we may know that you are gods.

That's prediction!


Lee: If God makes a prediction, with no conditions, all the while knowing that the prediction may indeed not turn out, that is telling a lie, plain and simple.

It is lying, sorry, but it is. You did skip this point...


I would say Saul wasn't confused. He was speaking to God through Samuel.

I don't think this will appear in the commentaries, though!

"At first Saul's plea to Samuel for forgiveness (v. 25) falls on deaf ears (v. 26)" (Expositor's Bible Commentary).

No, Saul is not praying, but trying to reverse the rejection by Samuel, he already says "the Lord your God," not "my God" here.


DD: What came first? Did God foreknow the future exhaustively, including foreseeing Himself creating the universe, before He ever made the free will decision to actually create the world?

I believe that God is not in time, "Before Abraham was, I am!" (Jn. 8:58). So God does not move through time like we do (it's sort of another dimension, says relativity, and God is omnipresent), thus there is not the dilemma of knowing a decision at one moment, and making it the next.

Blessings,
Lee

godrulz
August 7th, 2004, 11:38 AM
Rev. 1:8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."

These are tensed expressions. God is everlasting, experiencing endless succession, duration, and sequence because He is personal.

Timelessness or 'eternal now' are Greek philosophical concepts (Augustinian; Platonic) and contradict the Hebraic revelation of how God experiences reality in relation to the universe.

I am= God is the self-existent one, uncreated, with no beginning or end.

lee_merrill
August 8th, 2004, 01:25 PM
Hi Godrulz,


Rev. 1:8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."

Godrulz: These are tensed expressions. God is everlasting, experiencing endless succession, duration, and sequence because He is personal.

Timelessness or 'eternal now' are Greek philosophical concepts (Augustinian; Platonic) and contradict the Hebraic revelation of how God experiences reality in relation to the universe.

I am= God is the self-existent one, uncreated, with no beginning or end.

Well, once you have foreknowledge, you have "eternal now." So I don't think the philosophers are required.

Isaiah 46:10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.

Not "a specific end," but "the end," choose an ending point! And God can tell you what will be there. And just to make it clear!

Isaiah 46:10 I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.

"All I please," thus no detours, and no mistakes, God is speaking of all his purposes, and thus, I think, includes all the future in his previous statement. For if God could not know all the future, then he could be mistaken, and his purpose would not always stand, as the OV teaches…

Blessings,
Lee

godrulz
August 8th, 2004, 09:18 PM
Is. 46 and 48 are favorite texts of Open Theists. Read the verses in context carefully. The reason His purposes come to pass is due to His omnicompetence and ABILITY, not His supposed 'foreknowledge'.

There are 2 motifs in Scripture. Some of the future is open and unknowable as a certainty/actuality until it happens. They are correctly known as possibilities before that (most free will mundane and moral choices). Some of the future is predestined and known, because God intends to bring certain things to pass, regardless of what man or Satan does or does not do. To only quote the last group of 'proof texts' and to ignore the other motif leads to an imbalanced view of predestination and foreknowledge. Foreknowing future contingencies is a logical contradiction/absurdity. Omnipotence is the ability to do all that is logically doable. Omniscience is to know all that is logically knowable. It is not a deficiency in omniscience to know a nothing. God correctly knows reality as it is, distinguishing past, present, and future (not experiencing it in a philosophical instant).

lee_merrill
August 9th, 2004, 06:41 PM
Hi Godrulz,


Is. 46 and 48 are favorite texts of Open Theists. Read the verses in context carefully. The reason His purposes come to pass is due to His omnicompetence and ABILITY, not His supposed 'foreknowledge'.

I agree that foreknowledge is not the primary basis on which God accomplishes his purposes.


There are 2 motifs in Scripture. Some of the future is open and unknowable as a certainty/actuality until it happens. They are correctly known as possibilities before that (most free will mundane and moral choices). Some of the future is predestined and known, because God intends to bring certain things to pass, regardless of what man or Satan does or does not do.

How do we know the difference, though, how can we tell which promises and prophecies are sure, and which are estimates, which may be incorrect?


To only quote the last group of 'proof texts' and to ignore the other motif leads to an imbalanced view of predestination and foreknowledge.

But what are the texts which show that the future is unknowable, from God's point of view?


Foreknowing future contingencies is a logical contradiction/absurdity. Omnipotence is the ability to do all that is logically doable.

Why isn't knowing a past decision absurd too, then? Why doesn't that knowledge make the choice not have been free? If merely knowing a decision makes it somehow not free…

Blessings,
Lee

godrulz
August 9th, 2004, 10:20 PM
"God of the Possible: A biblical introduction to the open view of God" by Dr. Gregory Boyd Baker Books

This will develop the Scriptures about the 2 motifs.

www.gregboyd.org

(click on Open View theism link for biblical support)

Prophecies must be interpreted in each context. Some are unconditional declarations of judgment, while others are contingent on the response of the recipients (open).

The past is fixed and is a certain object of knowledge. God cannot time travel back to change the choices. The past is actual, the present is becoming, and the future is possible. The past is not the future. God knows the past perfectly without having to interfere with it. He observes the present moving into the fixed past. The possible becomes actual. The future is different. The only way He can know it is to determine it. He choses to not determine all free will contingent choices.

Clark Pinnock: "Aspects of the future, being unsettled (unlike the settled past- rulz), are not yet known even to God. It does not mean that God is ignorant of something He ought to know, but that many things in the future are only possible and not yet actual. Therefore, he knows them correctly as possible and not actual." (He knows all that is logically knowable= omniscience)

lee_merrill
August 10th, 2004, 06:04 PM
Hi Godrulz,


Lee: How do we know the difference, though, how can we tell which promises and prophecies are sure, and which are estimates, which may be incorrect?

Godrulz: Prophecies must be interpreted in each context. Some are unconditional declarations of judgment, while others are contingent on the response of the recipients (open).

But almost all prophecies and promises are contingent on a human response! At least the ones that concern us the most. So we wind up building on the sand, after all, and not on a rock.

Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Doesn't this promise almost always involve human decisions? How can we depend on it? Or is this a guess or an estimate?


Lee: But what are the texts which show that the future is unknowable, from God's point of view?

Godrulz: "God of the Possible: A biblical introduction to the open view of God" by Dr. Gregory Boyd Baker Books

I'm not going to do your homework for you, though! That's your job. :)


Lee: Why isn't knowing a past decision absurd too, then? Why doesn't that knowledge make the choice not have been free? If merely knowing a decision makes it somehow not free…

Godrulz: The past is fixed and is a certain object of knowledge.

So is the future, according to Calvinism! So why doesn't knowledge like that, about the past, make a choice not free? If knowledge like that about the future does this?

Blessings,
Lee

godrulz
August 10th, 2004, 11:00 PM
Calvinism is wrong, as is exhaustive foreknowledge of future contingent choices. There is scriptural support for this (see the hundreds of books on the subject), but it is also in the realm of godly philosophy (modal logic, etc.).

Phil. 4 is in a context of finances. God is a responsible, providential Creator. He can use humans or He can intervene directly. His creation provides us food. He gives strength to work. These are all related to His creative and omnicompetent ABILITY and are not dependent on His 'foreknowledge' or lack thereof. We are finite and limited, and should be careful we do not unintentionally limit God by comparing him to our limited frame of reference.

God is faithful and creative. His promises are trustworthy and He has plans for every contingency. One way or another, He can and will meet our needs.

lee_merrill
August 11th, 2004, 05:04 PM
Hi Godrulz,


Godrulz: Prophecies must be interpreted in each context. Some are unconditional declarations of judgment, while others are contingent on the response of the recipients (open).

Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Lee: Doesn't this promise almost always involve human decisions? How can we depend on it? Or is this a guess or an estimate?

Godrulz: Phil. 4 is in a context of finances. God is a responsible, providential Creator. He can use humans or He can intervene directly. His creation provides us food. He gives strength to work. These are all related to His creative and omnicompetent ABILITY …

But isn't this a promise that is contingent on human responses? Thus it may not turn out.


God is faithful and creative. His promises are trustworthy and He has plans for every contingency. One way or another, He can and will meet our needs.

This is not an unconditional declaration of judgment, though! You mention "every contingency" here can be addressed. Then why are the contingent promises not always fulfilled as well? And thus they are all certain, if they are unconditional, or if the condition is fulfilled.

And again, back to the future! Calvinists say the future is fixed and known, and we are told that that makes choices not be free. Then why doesn't the past being fixed and known cause the same effect?

Blessings,
Lee

godrulz
August 11th, 2004, 05:17 PM
Time is unidirectional moving from the present to the fixed past. I do not understand your last point, and you do not understand my explanations. The past should not be confused with the future (they are different). The past is done, the future is not yet. There are philosophical and logical answers for your comment, but I cannot seem to explain it clearly (I tried by sharing the nature of time). Modal logic and definitions of contingencies, necessities, possibilities, etc. are needed. This is an area with many academic papers and books. It is technical, so justice cannot be done with a simplistic post.

We should not underestimate God's omnicompetence (wisdom, power, ability, knowledge, etc.), nor should we overestimate man's finite abilities that have inherent limitations. This should resolve your concerns about man throwing a wrench into things. A proper understanding of the nature of free will, contingencies, etc. is also needed. Calvinistic assumptions lead to confusion and wrong conclusions.

lee_merrill
August 12th, 2004, 05:34 PM
Hi Godrulz,


The past should not be confused with the future (they are different). The past is done, the future is not yet.

Oh, I agree! I'm not saying they are the same. I am saying that Calvinists believe the future is as fixed as the past, and that God knows the future in every detail, exactly like he knows the past in every detail. Is this not your view of Calvinism? Then we are told that the future being fixed and known makes decisions not be free. So my question is, if this is true, then why doesn't knowing a past decision, that is fixed, also make it not have been free?

In this aspect of being fixed and known, knowledge of the past is just like the future knowledge, that we are told voids free will.

To phrase this question another way, how is God's knowledge about the past different from God's knowledge about the future, according to Calvinism?


We should not underestimate God's omnicompetence (wisdom, power, ability, knowledge, etc.), nor should we overestimate man's finite abilities that have inherent limitations. This should resolve your concerns about man throwing a wrench into things. A proper understanding of the nature of free will, contingencies, etc. is also needed.

I agree that God will not be thwarted, and that he will accomplish all his purposes! Have a tulip! This sounds pretty close to Calvinism to me, if you hold to free will, but free will cannot cross God's plans…

Blessings,
Lee

godrulz
August 13th, 2004, 10:38 AM
I have given this summary before:

1. Did God from all eternity DECREE whatsoever will come to pass?

Yes= Calvinism (no contingencies; no uncertainties).

N0= Arminian; Open Theism (alternative= contingencies).

2. Is everything CERTAIN in God's mind from all eternity?

Yes= Calvinism (based on decree or predestination).

Arminianism (based on simple foreknowledge, not determinism which negates genuine free will).

NO= Alternative= uncertainties


Is God resourceful, creative, personal, providential, omnicompetent? Or is He a meticulously controlling sovereign? I think the alternative view is the only way to reconcile God's sovereignty and man's free will (equally valid truths).

Two problems:

- The assumptions of Calvinism are not biblical (I suppose the past is as certain as the future if all moral and mundane choices are determined by God= compatibilism...how this preserves any sense of free will moral agency is beyond me).

- The philosophical 'eternal now'/timelessness is not biblical, so speculating on past, present, future with this model of God leads to confusion. The Hebraic view of God's experience is unidirectional time...an everlasting duration of sequence or succession.

lee_merrill
August 14th, 2004, 08:44 AM
Hi Godrulz,


Is God resourceful, creative, personal, providential, omnicompetent? Or is He a meticulously controlling sovereign? I think the alternative view is the only way to reconcile God's sovereignty and man's free will (equally valid truths).

There is another option! If really free choices can be made within God's will, if unbelievers can't choose, but believers can, then there is free will, as well as sovereignty.


- The assumptions of Calvinism are not biblical (I suppose the past is as certain as the future if all moral and mundane choices are determined by God= compatibilism...how this preserves any sense of free will moral agency is beyond me).

No, I believe Scripture teaches that believers can make real choices, and that God knows what they will freely choose, just as God knows what he will freely choose. Again, why doesn't knowing a past choice void free will, if knowing a future choice does that?


- The philosophical 'eternal now'/timelessness is not biblical, so speculating on past, present, future with this model of God leads to confusion. The Hebraic view of God's experience is unidirectional time...an everlasting duration of sequence or succession.

We have discussed this before! There are verses that support this concept. And if you become convinced that God knows the future, then "eternal now" is a pretty plain deduction, just as a person can "relive the past," knowing all the details of the future is virtually the same as being there. Especially if God can affect the future, and see the results!

Blessings,
Lee

godrulz
August 14th, 2004, 09:21 PM
The universe is not a completed 'film' that one can watch (past, present, future). Time is unidirectional. The past can be fully known in memory and the 'film' viewed. The future is not yet. Time is unidirectional. It is not a completed line. This would confuse time with space and make duration, sequence, succession a 'thing' or a place. These concepts are why time travel is an absurdity. The future is being created and 'filmed' moment by moment. The acting and play creates new reality turning possibilities into actualities/certainties.

Compatibilism, contrary to logic, tries to make God's control and human freedom in sync. The loophole proposed is that believer's have free will, but sinners do not. This is not biblical, nor logical. It is a Calvinistic assumption (Calvin did not believe in a limited atonement, nor irresistible grace...these were added later by others; total depravity is Augustinian).

Imagine there is no God or distinctions between believers and unbelievers. What differs in our humanity between a religious or pagan person. We are in the marred image of God now, but still have personal qualities like will, intellect, emotion (believer and unbeliever). We are free moral agents, as is Satan and demons. Contingencies are real for believers and unbelievers. We can both brush our teeth when we want, we can drive cars, we can have sex, we can fornicate, love, hate, murder (or not) due to free will. So, on a fundamental level, humans (believers and unbelievers) have free agency (cf. Adam ff.). I understand the bondage and character formation that sinners end up with. Without God, no one is righteous. This does not mean salvation is a physical change of our bodies or wills that makes it impossible for us to sin, or unbelievers to not take steps of repentance and faith in response to the conviction of the Spirit and the Word.

lee_merrill
August 15th, 2004, 12:45 PM
Hi Godrulz,


The universe is not a completed 'film' that one can watch (past, present, future).

Well, we don't know that, actually.


Time is unidirectional. It is not a completed line. This would confuse time with space and make duration, sequence, succession a 'thing' or a place.

There is space-time! Time is actually kind of another dimension. It really is.


The loophole proposed is that believer's have free will, but sinners do not. This is not biblical, nor logical.

I think it's Biblical!

John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Implying they weren't free before then. And why is this not logical? Prisoners are not free, when they are released, then they are free.


So, on a fundamental level, humans (believers and unbelievers) have free agency (cf. Adam ff.).

That's the appearance! "I was one of his best little servants" (Tom Papanya, speaking of his days in the mafia, when he thought he was doing what he wanted, not what the devil wanted). Just because a person thinks they are choosing, doesn't mean they are choosing, though.

Isaiah 10:6-7 I send him against a godless nation … but this is not what he intends …


I understand the bondage and character formation that sinners end up with. Without God, no one is righteous. This does not mean salvation is a physical change of our bodies or wills that makes it impossible for us to sin, or unbelievers to not take steps of repentance and faith in response to the conviction of the Spirit and the Word.

I agree that no one is righteous apart from God, but I do believe salvation involves a change in our wills:

Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

But I agree that believers can sin, and that unbelievers can take steps towards God, though having the life of God within us is the only way not to sin, and in submission to God, that is the only place where we can really choose…

Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.

Blessings,
Lee

godrulz
August 15th, 2004, 06:12 PM
"Wills" are not in the realm of anatomy or physiology. There is not a fundamental change in our wills. It is a change of use of our wills. We change our ultimate intention from living for Self to living for God. We line our wills up with His will and Word, instead of using our wills for the flesh. We need the help of the Spirit in doing this. The Son sets us free from the penalty of death and puts us in the kingdom of light. Whether believer or unbeliever, our self-determination originates in our wills that allow for contingent choices. This is why we are culpable, accountable, responsible for what we do or do not not (believer or unbeliever).

Theoretical physics is very speculative. Stephen Hawkings just recanted a long held view about black holes and information. Einstein's theories are not infallible. Confusing the measure of time with a literal place ('the future') leads to specious conclusions.

lee_merrill
August 16th, 2004, 06:55 PM
Hi Godrulz,


Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

"Wills" are not in the realm of anatomy or physiology. There is not a fundamental change in our wills. It is a change of use of our wills.

Well, if God works in us "to will" then our will is affected, not just our use of the will, otherwise "to act" is redundant, I think.


Theoretical physics is very speculative. Stephen Hawkings just recanted a long held view about black holes and information. Einstein's theories are not infallible. Confusing the measure of time with a literal place ('the future') leads to specious conclusions.

But space-time is pretty firmly established, though I agree that the theory is not infallible, and thus I would state that as evidence, not proof…

Blessings,
Lee