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Exegete
February 14th, 2005, 03:55 PM
Hello all! I'm new to the board and look foward to getting to know you. :)

When I was in college (10 plus years ago) I was introduced to Calvinism and accepted its teaching because I was convinced it was biblical. Sense then I have done some much more extensive study on the topic and found the system to be inaccurate both logically and biblically.

I would love to discuss this with someone who consider themselves Calvinistic and able to defend the system's tenets.

Is this the appropriate place to make that request? Thank you.

Turbo
February 14th, 2005, 04:12 PM
Welcome to TOL, Exegete.

Yes, this is an appropriate forum for this topic.

Exegete
February 14th, 2005, 05:24 PM
Well, Sozo I guess that would depend upon the perspective. :D

Thanks for the welcome...

Any takers?

Poly
February 14th, 2005, 06:27 PM
Originally posted by Exegete


Any takers?

Sorry, you won't find a person on here more anti-calvinistic than me. Clete Pfeiffer will try and say differently but don't listen to him. :D

Although if you're interested in reading exceptional arguments for Open View (anti-Calvinistic as well as anti-Armininian) I highly recommend Clete's stuff. It's awesome!!

But I'm sure it won't be long before the takers come along. :)

Knight
February 14th, 2005, 06:42 PM
Originally posted by Exegete

Hello all! I'm new to the board and look foward to getting to know you. :)

When I was in college (10 plus years ago) I was introduced to Calvinism and accepted its teaching because I was convinced it was biblical. Sense then I have done some much more extensive study on the topic and found the system to be inaccurate both logically and biblically.

I would love to discuss this with someone who consider themselves Calvinistic and able to defend the system's tenets.

Is this the appropriate place to make that request? Thank you. If you are not a Calvinist how would you describe yourself?

Exegete
February 14th, 2005, 07:29 PM
Non-Calvinist? or Christian? or Biblicist?

I'm not really Arminian, but I'm also not into the "Open" view.

billwald
February 14th, 2005, 07:34 PM
Calvin's "Institutes" is the most internally logical theology I have read.

It was slightly distorted after his death. <G>

Exegete
February 14th, 2005, 09:28 PM
Billwald,

Are you a Calvinist?

swanca99
February 15th, 2005, 04:20 AM
Welcome to TOL. I'm sorta new here myself.

What do you mean by Calvinism?

Turbo
February 15th, 2005, 09:01 AM
Originally posted by Exegete

Non-Calvinist? or Christian? or Biblicist?

I'm not really Arminian, but I'm also not into the "Open" view. What's left?

Sold Out
February 15th, 2005, 09:18 AM
Swanca99.....this is a description of Calvinism:

T – Total Depravity - Calvinists believe man is in complete rebellion to God, and by his free will CANNOT and will never make a decision for CHRIST even when presented with the GOSPEL. However, that is unscriptural. Whereas it is true that all men are in complete rebellion to God (See - Rom 3:10-12), it is not true that men cannot respond positively to the GOSPEL when it is presented to them. According to John 12:32, every man is drawn by the power of the GOSPEL and can be saved if he so chooses. That is why salvation is a “whosoever will.” (See - Rev 22:17 & Jn 3:14-16 & 4:14 & 11:25,26 & 12:46 & Acts 2:21 & 10:42,43 & 13:26 & Rom 9:33 & 10:9-11,13 & I Jn 5:1)

U – Unconditional election - Calvinists believe man obtains salvation because God choose him for salvation before the world began. They believe that God has chosen some people for heaven and the others to hell. However, that is unscriptural. According to Acts 2:36-40, Peter pleads with the Jews to “save yourselves” from the hell to come. Men do have a choice in salvation because it was offered to ALL (See - Mt 28:19 & Lk 2:10 & Jn 3:16 & II Pet 3:9). To say that God chooses some to go to heaven and others to go to hell is to breach the very nature of God (See - Ezk 18:23).

L – Limited Atonement - Calvinists believe CHRIST only died for those who would be chosen for salvation. However, that is unscriptural. According to John 1:29, John the Baptist proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the SIN (singular) of the world.” CHRIST died for the whole sin package. Salvation is not limited to a few, but is freely offered to ALL (See - I Jn 2:2 & II Cor 5:14,15,19 & I Tim 2:6 & 4:10 & Titus 2:11 & II Pet 3:9).

I – Irresistible grace - Calvinists believe man can do nothing to resist salvation if God has chosen him. However, that is unscriptural. According to Genesis 1:26, man is made in the image of God. Like God, man has a “mind” to process thoughts, a “heart” to stimulate those thoughts, and a “will” to activate those thoughts. If irresistible grace is true and man has absolutely no power to decide concerning salvation, then he was not made in the image of God. The problem with irresistible grace in Calvinism is that it is built on a misunderstanding of the doctrine of man. Man does have a choice in salvation. It is a part of his three-part nature (See - Mt 19:16-22 & Acts 26:19-28).


P – Perseverance of the saints - Calvinists believe that Christians will persevere to the end of their lives because their salvation is dependent upon God’s irresistible grace. However, that is unscriptural. According to II Tim 4:10, Demas, an earlier co-laborer of Paul’s, left the faith because of the allurement of the world. Obviously, Demas was not able to “persevere.” Whereas every Christian is eternally secure, not every Christian finishes his or her race. Even the great apostle Paul worried about finishing his race (See - I Cor 9:27) (See also - Acts 5:1-11 & I Cor 11:30 & I Jn 5:17,18).[B]T -

swanca99
February 15th, 2005, 11:31 AM
Thanks, Sold Out.

But I'm wondering what Exegete means by a Calvinist.

Some consider simply a belief in individual election to be "Calvinism." Some consider those who buy the whole TULIP thing to be "HyperCalvinists" or "Extreme Calvinists."

I don't believe in Limited Atonement but I DO believe in the other 4 points. On that basis, some have refered to me as a "4-point Calvinist," some have refered to me as an "Arminian," and some have called me other things which are less kind (although not on this board...yet).

The term is used so differently that when somebody asks a question like Exegete did, I always feel I need to get THEIR definition of it.

But thanks...it looks like you put a lot of time into that and whenever it comes up again, we'll be able to say, "Look at Sold Out's post in that other thread."

Exegete
February 15th, 2005, 03:24 PM
I'm referring to TULIP. Some Calvinists differ on their view of the atonement, but if you hold to an idea that God only selected a particular number to save before time and passed over the rest, then you can pretty much call yourself a Calvinist.

God_Is_Truth
February 15th, 2005, 03:29 PM
Originally posted by Exegete

Non-Calvinist? or Christian? or Biblicist?

I'm not really Arminian, but I'm also not into the "Open" view.

do you believe that the future is settled (i.e. closed) in that all that is to come is set in stone and unchanging?

Exegete
February 15th, 2005, 04:37 PM
I believe the future is known by God, but only the past is set in that it has been determined. Foreknowing something doesn't determine it.

Poly
February 15th, 2005, 04:43 PM
Originally posted by Exegete

I believe the future is known by God, but only the past is set in that it has been determined. Foreknowing something doesn't determine it.

I'm having a little trouble following you. Are you saying that God sees the future but might change something He foresees?

Knight
February 15th, 2005, 04:45 PM
Originally posted by Exegete

I believe the future is known by God, but only the past is set in that it has been determined. Foreknowing something doesn't determine it. Do you think God's foreknowledge is exhaustive and perfect?

God_Is_Truth
February 15th, 2005, 04:53 PM
Originally posted by Knight

Do you think God's foreknowledge is exhaustive and perfect?

open theists believe in that you know. the difference is not in knowledge, but what that knowledge entails.

God_Is_Truth
February 15th, 2005, 04:54 PM
Originally posted by Exegete

I believe the future is known by God, but only the past is set in that it has been determined. Foreknowing something doesn't determine it.

how does God see the future? does he see it as complete and settled (in terms of what will or will not come to pass)? or does he see it as open and unsettled (in terms of what might or might not come to pass)?

swanca99
February 15th, 2005, 06:34 PM
Originally posted by Exegete

...but if you hold to an idea that God only selected a particular number to save before time and passed over the rest, then you can pretty much call yourself a Calvinist.

Then the answer to the question posed in your thread title is "Yes."

<8^)

Seriously, though, if it were that simple, we wouldn't have so many discussions on it.

If you read the Scriptures as they are, not as a theology textbook, what conclusions do you reach? That's what you should go with. You may reach different conclusions than I did. Sure, I could delve into theology textbooks and commentaries, and come up with all sorts of arguments, but so could those who don't believe in election (Wesley is the best I've seen at defending his position - he's quite eloquent and persuasive).

If you are a believer in Christ, you have eternal life, regardless of whether you believe you were elected to it from the foundation of the world or not.

If I believe I was elected to eternal life from the foundation of the world, that does not mean that I have eternal life without exercising saving faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

billwald
February 15th, 2005, 06:41 PM
>Billwald,

>Are you a Calvinist?

Yes.

TULIP was created after Calvin was dead.

billwald
February 15th, 2005, 06:43 PM
I think that God has selected a vast majority for salvation.

Clete
February 15th, 2005, 08:31 PM
Originally posted by Exegete

Hello all! I'm new to the board and look foward to getting to know you. :)

When I was in college (10 plus years ago) I was introduced to Calvinism and accepted its teaching because I was convinced it was biblical. Sense then I have done some much more extensive study on the topic and found the system to be inaccurate both logically and biblically.

I would love to discuss this with someone who considers themselves Calvinistic and able to defend the system's tenets.

Is this the appropriate place to make that request? Thank you.

Greetings Exegete and welcome to TOL.
I wish you good luck with your quest to find a Calvinist who is able to defend the system. I personally don't think that the system is defensible at all, so you might be in for a long wait. ;)

Open Theism has been mentioned already on this thread and you have denied being in that camp. I'm curious about that because I consider the two (Calvinism and Open Theism) to be near perfect opposites and have found that most everyone falls into one or the other camp. Even Arminians, who hate Calvinism, are very Calvinistic in much of their theology about the nature of time and whether or not God exists within or outside of it, etc. The bottom line is that one of two things is true...
1. We can choose to do or to do otherwise. In which case we are free and the future cannot be known and is therefore 'open'.

or...

2. The future is known or at least knowable (by what means is a secondary issue). In which case, we cannot do otherwise and we do not have a free will.

I do not know of a third option, which makes this a real easy thing to figure out because the whole theme of the Bible is God's relationship with mankind. Relationship is impossible without a free will, or at least a loving relationship is, because love must be volitional, it must be freely chosen. Thus option two is impossible and the future must therefore be at least partially open.

I don't know the exact nature of the problems which you have with Calvinism, but I suspect that if they are problems based upon sound reason (logic) and the plain reading of Scripture, then you will find that you are more "into the "Open" view" than you think you are.

I certainly hope you decide to stick around; it would be interesting to discuss the Open View with someone who is at once intelligent, articulate and not Calvinist.


God bless and again, welcome to TOL!

Resting in Him,
Clete

Turbo
February 16th, 2005, 07:22 AM
Originally posted by billwald

I think that God has selected a vast majority for salvation. :nono:

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Matthew 7:13-14


According to this Jesus, the majority reject Him and the salvation He offers.

Also, Jesus is telling people that they should choose "the strait gate." If God had predetermined who will be saved and who won't, it was pointless for Jesus to say, "Enter ye in at the strait gate."

Exegete
February 16th, 2005, 10:37 AM
Clete,

I do not support the Open view because I do not believe it is biblical. I don't reject biblical doctrines simply because I don't fully understand them, such as the doctrine of the Trinity or foreknowledge. Clearly both are taught throughout scripture but I don't pretend to know how they work exactly.

I do believe that men have libertarian free will in that they can choose other than what was chosen. (contra-causaul choice) But I do not see how foreknowledge hinders that freedom in any way.

This might be a problem if we denied that God's knowledge of such events was really FOREknowledge. To know before is not equal to know after. After something has happened it can't be done differently and thus is determined. The knowledge we have of the past is knowledge based about something that is set and determined, but knowledge of something yet to come is not. To have foreknowledge is to know what will occur prior in time to its occurrence and before it has been determined. To know it before is not equal to determining it to be. I can foreknow that the sun will rise in the morning. My knowledge is based upon prior experience and a bit of faith, but nothing in my foreknowledge of the sun rising suggests that I determine it or cause it to rise.
God's foreknowledge is different obviously, not in its being foreknowledge, but in the basis of his knowledge. My foreknowledge is based on experience, whereas his is based in the event itself. But this knowledge does not determine the event, anymore that my foreknowledge determines the rising of the sun, regardless of what that foreknowledge is based upon. We will do what God knows we will do, which is to say, "we will do what we will do." But nothing about his prior knowledge of what we do determines what we do any more than my prior knowledge of the sun's rising determines what it will do.

Our free actions determine God's foreknowledge of those actions, not vice versa. Thus, while it is true that whatever God knows about the future will in fact occur, this fact poses no threat to my claim that our future free actions are truly free.

Exegete
February 16th, 2005, 10:43 AM
Plus, consider this. If foreknowledge of an event is what determines the event to occur then we should arrest Psychics who foretell of future crimes?

Sold Out
February 16th, 2005, 10:58 AM
Or arrest those who are about to commit those crimes....remember the movie Minority Report?

Knight
February 16th, 2005, 11:02 AM
Originally posted by Exegete

Plus, consider this. If foreknowledge of an event is what determines the event to occur then we should arrest Psychics who foretell of future crimes? Yet if the foreknowledge were exhaustive and perfect the foreknowledge would include the arrest.

Get the point?

God_Is_Truth
February 16th, 2005, 01:05 PM
Exegete, i'm still waiting for a response to this:


Originally posted by God_Is_Truth

how does God see the future? does he see it as complete and settled (in terms of what will or will not come to pass)? or does he see it as open and unsettled (in terms of what might or might not come to pass)?

Exegete
February 16th, 2005, 05:42 PM
This post didn't answer that question?



Originally posted by Turbo

:nono:

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Matthew 7:13-14


According to this Jesus, the majority reject Him and the salvation He offers.

Also, Jesus is telling people that they should choose "the strait gate." If God had predetermined who will be saved and who won't, it was pointless for Jesus to say, "Enter ye in at the strait gate."

SOTK
February 16th, 2005, 06:02 PM
Question: How new is Open Theology? It's a pretty new position isn't it? Whereas I've heard of Calvinism (the term) for quite some time, I had never heard of Open Theology until coming here. According to Clete, Calvinism isn't defensible nor biblical. If Open Theology is biblical and easily defended, why is it such a new Theology? The Bible is pretty old. You mean to tell me that we people of the One God have had it wrong for thousands of years? Furthermore, that the truth of Open Theology has alluded us for that long?

God_Is_Truth
February 16th, 2005, 07:53 PM
Originally posted by Exegete

This post didn't answer that question?

if that's for me, then no.

God_Is_Truth
February 16th, 2005, 07:58 PM
Originally posted by SOTK

Question: How new is Open Theology? It's a pretty new position isn't it? Whereas I've heard of Calvinism (the term) for quite some time, I had never heard of Open Theology until coming here. According to Clete, Calvinism isn't defensible nor biblical. If Open Theology is biblical and easily defended, why is it such a new Theology? The Bible is pretty old. You mean to tell me that we people of the One God have had it wrong for thousands of years? Furthermore, that the truth of Open Theology has alluded us for that long?

since when is the truth of something determined by the amount of people who believe in it or the amount of time by which it is believed?

something completely false can be believed by many people for many years. people used to believe that the earth was the center of the universe and that it was flat.

truth is not a popularity contest. what we learn about the world changes and so does our understanding of scripture. we should not hold on to a doctrine (like a settled future) because the "fathers" held to it or because it's been held to for a "long time". we should only hold to it if we believe it is scripturally backed and isn't logically absurd...

SOTK
February 16th, 2005, 08:13 PM
Originally posted by God_Is_Truth

since when is the truth of something determined by the amount of people who believe in it or the amount of time by which it is believed?

something completely false can be believed by many people for many years. people used to believe that the earth was the center of the universe and that it was flat.

truth is not a popularity contest. what we learn about the world changes and so does our understanding of scripture. we should not hold on to a doctrine (like a settled future) because the "fathers" held to it or because it's been held to for a "long time". we should only hold to it if we believe it is scripturally backed and isn't logically absurd...

That's not my argument. My point is that it appears as arrogance to dismiss Calvinism as not biblical or as not defensible. If you want to say that Open Theism has more biblical truth for you, than fine. I can handle that, but it's awefully arrogant to say Calvinism is not biblical or defensible when the Theology you subscribe to is awefully new. It's a really bold statement.

God_Is_Truth
February 16th, 2005, 08:29 PM
Originally posted by SOTK

That's not my argument.

i apologize then. that's how it came off though.



My point is that it appears as arrogance to dismiss Calvinism as not biblical or as not defensible. If you want to say that Open Theism has more biblical truth for you, than fine. I can handle that, but it's awefully arrogant to say Calvinism is not biblical or defensible when the Theology you subscribe to is awefully new. It's a really bold statement.

we don't say that one doesn't have biblical support for it in terms of finding verses that give merit to the ideas of calvinism. what we say is that the use of those verses to support calvinism is unmeritted either because of the context of the verse itself or because it is illogical or for some other reason.

you have to keep in mind, for the longest time in history, the only people who had bibles were the church leaders. commoners did not have access to it. what the pope said was the rule. further, you did not question what the church said or you would be likely excommunicated. thus, it's not suprising that for much of church history, there is little debate except against clear heresies. there were no "alternate" ways of looking at scripture and one could not tell the church they were wrong. this is precisely why Martin Luther started up such a revolution by pointing out 93 things that were doctrinally questionable. it simply was not done.

even after Luther, many people did not have their own bibles and few even then understood much of what they read. people were not as educated then, they didn't have "bible studies" or "theological seminaries" to look at things up close. most people were busy making ends meat. so even the things that calvin and luther and wesley taught should be looked at biblically to see if they hold up.

the ideas of open theism have been recorded as early as the 4th century actually (Calsidius) though greater recordings are found in the 19th century up to present day. so yes, open theism is "new" in that most people have not heard of it until this century, but the ideas are old in at least some sense (Calsidius).

bear in mind again, that a doctrine is new or old tells us nothing of the validity and truth of it. bottom line, is it scritpural and logical are the two questions we ask when considering any theology. if it's lacking in either of those, we discard it.

SOTK
February 16th, 2005, 09:30 PM
Originally posted by God_Is_Truth

that's how it came off though.

To you.


Originally posted by God_Is_Truth
we don't say that one doesn't have biblical support for it in terms of finding verses that give merit to the ideas of calvinism. what we say is that the use of those verses to support calvinism is unmeritted either because of the context of the verse itself or because it is illogical or for some other reason.

Yeah. That may be true for you, but not for some others.


Originally posted by God_Is_Truth
you have to keep in mind, for the longest time in history, the only people who had bibles were the church leaders. commoners did not have access to it. what the pope said was the rule. further, you did not question what the church said or you would be likely excommunicated. thus, it's not suprising that for much of church history, there is little debate except against clear heresies. there were no "alternate" ways of looking at scripture and one could not tell the church they were wrong. this is precisely why Martin Luther started up such a revolution by pointing out 93 things that were doctrinally questionable. it simply was not done.

even after Luther, many people did not have their own bibles and few even then understood much of what they read. people were not as educated then, they didn't have "bible studies" or "theological seminaries" to look at things up close. most people were busy making ends meat. so even the things that calvin and luther and wesley taught should be looked at biblically to see if they hold up.

the ideas of open theism have been recorded as early as the 4th century actually (Calsidius) though greater recordings are found in the 19th century up to present day. so yes, open theism is "new" in that most people have not heard of it until this century, but the ideas are old in at least some sense (Calsidius).

bear in mind again, that a doctrine is new or old tells us nothing of the validity and truth of it. bottom line, is it scritpural and logical are the two questions we ask when considering any theology. if it's lacking in either of those, we discard it.

We've had access to the Bible for hundreds of years. Setting aside even that, you can't dismiss the fact that the Open View is new. Because it is new, it comes off as arrogance to state that Calvinistic points are "not defensible and not biblical". Furthermore, it's a poor way to get one to take a hard look at an opposing view. I find it interesting how much Calvinism is attacked around here. Usually the truth, if something is the greater truth, shines on its own.

godrulz
February 17th, 2005, 12:21 AM
Originally posted by billwald

I think that God has selected a vast majority for salvation.


If God is love, and love is impartial, why would He damn many that He could save? This is arbitrary and indefensible.

godrulz
February 17th, 2005, 12:30 AM
Originally posted by SOTK

Question: How new is Open Theology? It's a pretty new position isn't it? Whereas I've heard of Calvinism (the term) for quite some time, I had never heard of Open Theology until coming here. According to Clete, Calvinism isn't defensible nor biblical. If Open Theology is biblical and easily defended, why is it such a new Theology? The Bible is pretty old. You mean to tell me that we people of the One God have had it wrong for thousands of years? Furthermore, that the truth of Open Theology has alluded us for that long?

It has been formalized and popularized in the last 30 years. It has had aspects hinted at throughout church history. Something old or new is not proof of truth or not. This is the chronological logical fallacy. What is the Scriptural evidence? The philosophical and historical evidence is secondary, but also supportive.

Origen believed in the preexistence of souls. His antiquity does not make it biblical. The nature of time and eternity is relevant to Open Theism. Eternity as endless duration predates the philosophically tainted 'eternal now' in Judeo-Christianity.

Predestination/sovereignty and free will were not controversies in the early church, yet are highly debated later in church history. This is also very relevant to Open Theism. Classic doctrines like 'strong' immutability are also problematic and are more Platonic than biblical.

Infamous Plug
February 17th, 2005, 12:36 AM
Originally posted by Exegete

Non-Calvinist? or Christian? or Biblicist?

I'm not really Arminian, but I'm also not into the "Open" view.



I always thought if someone asks you "Are you a Christian"one of the better replies is"I sure hope so"

godrulz
February 17th, 2005, 12:42 AM
Originally posted by Infamous Plug

I always thought if someone asks you "Are you a Christian"one of the better replies is"I sure hope so"

I John 5:11-13 We do not just need to hope so. We can know (present tense) that we have eternal life. Life is in the Son. If we are in Him and remain in Him, we have assurance from the Spirit that we are children of God.

God_Is_Truth
February 17th, 2005, 02:37 AM
Originally posted by SOTK
We've had access to the Bible for hundreds of years. Setting aside even that, you can't dismiss the fact that the Open View is new. Because it is new, it comes off as arrogance to state that Calvinistic points are "not defensible and not biblical". Furthermore, it's a poor way to get one to take a hard look at an opposing view.

4th century is new?



I find it interesting how much Calvinism is attacked around here. Usually the truth, if something is the greater truth, shines on its own.

no, it's that many people are calvinists just because they were raised in it. we believe the open view is more biblical and we are passionate about the truth of God.

Clete
February 17th, 2005, 06:56 AM
Originally posted by Exegete

Clete,

I do not support the Open view because I do not believe it is biblical. I don't reject biblical doctrines simply because I don't fully understand them, such as the doctrine of the Trinity or foreknowledge. Clearly both are taught throughout scripture but I don't pretend to know how they work exactly.
Exhaustive foreknowledge is not taught in Scripture but of course the Trinity is and so I see your point. I'm not suggesting that one has to completely understand everything about a particular topic before accepting it as true. What I am saying is that the Bible and the true doctrines therein are not logically incoherent; they are not self contradictory, they do not beg the question, or engage any other fallacy of logic. If they did, then they are not true at all regardless of how well we understand them, for all truth is logical.


I do believe that men have libertarian free will in that they can choose other than what was chosen. (contra-causaul choice) But I do not see how foreknowledge hinders that freedom in any way.

This might be a problem if we denied that God's knowledge of such events was really FOREknowledge. To know before is not equal to know after. After something has happened it can't be done differently and thus is determined. The knowledge we have of the past is knowledge based about something that is set and determined, but knowledge of something yet to come is not. To have foreknowledge is to know what will occur prior in time to its occurrence and before it has been determined. To know it before is not equal to determining it to be. I can foreknow that the sun will rise in the morning. My knowledge is based upon prior experience and a bit of faith, but nothing in my foreknowledge of the sun rising suggests that I determine it or cause it to rise.
God's foreknowledge is different obviously, not in its being foreknowledge, but in the basis of his knowledge. My foreknowledge is based on experience, whereas his is based in the event itself. But this knowledge does not determine the event, anymore that my foreknowledge determines the rising of the sun, regardless of what that foreknowledge is based upon. We will do what God knows we will do, which is to say, "we will do what we will do." But nothing about his prior knowledge of what we do determines what we do any more than my prior knowledge of the sun's rising determines what it will do.
Our free actions determine God's foreknowledge of those actions, not vice versa.
Thus, while it is true that whatever God knows about the future will in fact occur, this fact poses no threat to my claim that our future free actions are truly free.


If God's foreknowledge was like your knowledge of the future rising of the sun then I would agree that there is nothing that would hinder our freedom, but it is not the same. The first reason you've pointed out yourself. God's foreknowledge as presented by Calvinism is not merely a prediction as your knowledge of the rising sun is, it is firm knowledge. Firm knowledge and free will cannot coexist because for freedom to be real there must be an ability to do, or to do otherwise. If God's knowledge of the future is firm and what He knows will happen, cannot not happen (sorry about the double negative there), then there is no possibility of my doing otherwise, and so my freedom is an illusion.
The second reason your rising sun example doesn't work is because the sun is an inanimate object with no will to begin with free or otherwise. God can very easily know absolutely what an inanimate object will do in the future. All He would have to do is follow the causal chain of events to whatever point in the future He wanted to know about and as long as there was no possibility of a free will agent changing something in that causal line then His knowledge would be quite absolutely firm and certain. It is only when we are talking about creatures that have been given (by God Himself) the ability to choose their own actions that God cannot know absolutely what the future will bring. He is, of course, God and knows every available fact that might have bearing on a future event including what we are LIKELY to do (He knows us better than we know ourselves), and He is able to interact and influence people by various means as well, so God can indeed predict the future with an accuracy that only the true and living God could possible dream of achieving. But still, predicting and knowing are not the same thing. One preserves free will, the other destroys it.

Resting in Him,
Clete

godrulz
February 17th, 2005, 07:59 AM
Modal logic distinguishes between necessities, certainties/actualities, and possibilities.

Exhaustive foreknowledge of future free will contingencies is an absurdity or logical contradiction (even for an omniscient being).

I would like to hear a coherent explanation of the Arminian view of 'simple foreknowledge'. What is the mechanism? I understand Calvinism's determinism and how it would support certain knowledge, but at the expense of libertarian free will.

Exegete
February 18th, 2005, 09:35 PM
Originally posted by Clete Pfeiffer

Exhaustive foreknowledge is not taught in Scripture but of course the Trinity is and so I see your point. I'm not suggesting that one has to completely understand everything about a particular topic before accepting it as true. What I am saying is that the Bible and the true doctrines therein are not logically incoherent; they are not self contradictory, they do not beg the question, or engage any other fallacy of logic. If they did, then they are not true at all regardless of how well we understand them, for all truth is logical.


Is the eternal existance of God logical? Is infinite space logical? Is the trinity, 3 but 1, logical? What is logical? Is it the same for us as it is for God? I wouldn't put too much stock in it.


If God's foreknowledge was like your knowledge of the future rising of the sun then I would agree that there is nothing that would hinder our freedom, but it is not the same. The first reason you've pointed out yourself. God's foreknowledge as presented by Calvinism is not merely a prediction as your knowledge of the rising sun is, it is firm knowledge. Firm knowledge and free will cannot coexist because for freedom to be real there must be an ability to do, or to do otherwise. If God's knowledge of the future is firm and what He knows will happen, cannot not happen (sorry about the double negative there), then there is no possibility of my doing otherwise, and so my freedom is an illusion.
The second reason your rising sun example doesn't work is because the sun is an inanimate object with no will to begin with free or otherwise. God can very easily know absolutely what an inanimate object will do in the future. All He would have to do is follow the causal chain of events to whatever point in the future He wanted to know about and as long as there was no possibility of a free will agent changing something in that causal line then His knowledge would be quite absolutely firm and certain. It is only when we are talking about creatures that have been given (by God Himself) the ability to choose their own actions that God cannot know absolutely what the future will bring. He is, of course, God and knows every available fact that might have bearing on a future event including what we are LIKELY to do (He knows us better than we know ourselves), and He is able to interact and influence people by various means as well, so God can indeed predict the future with an accuracy that only the true and living God could possible dream of achieving. But still, predicting and knowing are not the same thing. One preserves free will, the other destroys it.

Resting in Him,
Clete

I agree that we could do anything other than what he already knows we are going to do, but that doesn't mean we are not able to do other than what we do. He knowledge of our actions don't determine our actions, we do. His FOREknowledge is based upon what we determine, not vise versa. I you knew without any doubt whatsoever what your eldest daughter was going to do tomorrow at noon, would that mean you had determined her to do it? Of course not. That is what seperates foreknowledge from predetermination. If you make the former mean the latter then the what meaning does the latter have? See my point?

God_Is_Truth
February 18th, 2005, 10:17 PM
Originally posted by Exegete

Is the eternal existance of God logical? Is infinite space logical? Is the trinity, 3 but 1, logical? What is logical? Is it the same for us as it is for God? I wouldn't put too much stock in it.

do you believe in an illogical God?



His FOREknowledge is based upon what we determine, not vise versa.

so he wouldn't know things we haven't yet determined right? have i determined what i'll eat for breakfast tomorrow? no, so then even by your statement, God would not have foreknowledge of it right? since his foreknowledge is based upon what we determine, it can't exist until we determine it. but if it waits until we determine it, why would it be called foreknowledge?

godrulz
February 19th, 2005, 12:53 AM
Originally posted by Exegete

If you knew without any doubt whatsoever what your eldest daughter was going to do tomorrow at noon, would that mean you had determined her to do it? Of course not. That is what seperates foreknowledge from predetermination. If you make the former mean the latter then the what meaning does the latter have? See my point?

How can you know as a certainty what a person will do tomorrow? There may be possibilities, probabilities, patterns, etc., but if the person is a free moral agent, they must be able to chose between alternatives, even at the last second. There is nothing inherent in the situation to know as a certainty/actuality before it happens. If it is based on probability, it is still a proximal situation. Try extrapolating this to a distal circumstance trillions of years ago.

There is nothing in eternity past to be an object of knowledge, even for an omniscient being, who will win the Stanley Cup or Superbowl in 2012. Was it predictable or knowable that there would be no Stanley Cup in 2005 trillions of years ago. There were no men, no such thing as hockey, and endless variables that could make a game or season go one way or another. Unless God actively interferes in gambling, sports events, etc. things are only know as possibilities until they become certainties as the event unfolds. God correctly knows reality as it is. He distinguishes possibilities, contingencies, certainties, and actualities. If there is freedom in moral and mundane choices, there cannot be simple or exhaustive foreknowledge without determinism.

Clete
February 19th, 2005, 08:45 AM
Originally posted by Exegete

Is the eternal existance of God logical?
Not only is it logical, it is THE ONLY logical conclusion one could come to about the existence of God.


Is infinite space logical?
I don't see anything illogical or self contradictory about the idea of infinite space but it is interesting to point out that no one has proven that space is in fact infinite and so the question I think is moot.


Is the trinity, 3 but 1, logical? What is logical? Is it the same for us as it is for God?
Yes it is. Again, not only is it logical, it is a logical necessity!


I wouldn't put too much stock in it.
Nothing about Christianity is fundamentally illogical, the way most Christians think and study the Bible not withstanding. Any so called 'truth' that can be demonstrated to engage a fallacy of logic is not true. It may not be completely wrong but the presents of a logical fallacy does prove that there is something about it that is not correct. All truth is logical; that's part of what it means for something to be a truth.


I agree that we couldn't do anything other than what he already knows we are going to do, but that doesn't mean we are not able to do other than what we do. He knowledge of our actions don't determine our actions, we do. His FOREknowledge is based upon what we determine, not vise versa. I you knew without any doubt whatsoever what your eldest daughter was going to do tomorrow at noon, would that mean you had determined her to do it? Of course not. That is what seperates foreknowledge from predetermination. If you make the former mean the latter then the what meaning does the latter have? See my point?
Yes, I see your point, this is why it is so terribly inaccurate when someone referrs to an Open Theist as an Arminian or implies that Open Theism is a form of Arminianism. In fact, I think it to far more accurate to say that Arminianism is really just a form of Calvinism because the logical conclusion of both is determinism and a detruction of any and all meaning of God having created us in the first place.

Time is short and so I won't respond fully to the rest of this last paragraph. GIT and godrulz pretty well hit the nail on the head with their responses anyway. Anything else from me would be redundant.

Excellent post, by the way. This is fun! :thumb:

Resting in Him,
Clete

godrulz
February 19th, 2005, 09:15 AM
Revelation > reason.

Revelation may be beyond natural reason (we would not know God is triune from looking at the Creator's creation necessarily), but it is not unreasonable. We accept revelation from God by faith, until our understanding catches up. Some think that logical contradictions and absurdities are possible just because God is involved. Unresolved issues that do not make sense are not always a 'mystery'. Sometimes our theology is simply wrong, hence the aversion to some aspects of Calvinism here. Clark Pinnock (Open Theist) rightly observes that Scripture leaves God's sovereignty and human freedom in tension without a definitive, systematic resolution. However, Open Theism goes beyond the other views and gives a more cogent explanation of what God's sovereignty entails (providential vs meticulous control/determinism). It is also able to show how free will contingences can be maintained in light of God's omniscience (it understands the nature of time vs eternity and recognizes two motifs in Scripture: some of the future is 'predestined' and settled; much of the future is unsettled/open/contingent).

I differ slightly from Clete's assessment on Open Theism/Arminianism (though he is a great thinker for the most part). Most prominent Open Theists consider themselves more in the Armininian than Calvinistic camp...i.e. both views promote free will theism (Wesleyan, Armininian, etc.). However, Armininianism still ends up with some of the same problematic issues. For my thinking, I would say Open Theism is similar to Arminianism (sub-type) in SOME aspects, but different in many other aspects (especially simple, exhaustive foreknowledge...which is a core issue).

Clete
February 19th, 2005, 10:33 AM
Originally posted by godrulz

Revelation > reason.

Revelation may be beyond natural reason (we would not know God is triune from looking at the Creator's creation necessarily), but it is not unreasonable.

Have you ever heard of Euthyphro's dilemma?

The specifics of the doctrine of the Trinity may not be a logical necessity but plurality within God is. Euthyphro's dilemma was presented as an argument against monotheism by Aristotle and his logic is perfect and undeniable. The only way Christianity escapes is through the doctrine of the Trinity, without it Christianity would be crushed by this dilemma, along with Islamic monotheism and any other "purely monotheistic" system of belief.

Resting in Him,
Clete

godrulz
February 19th, 2005, 11:15 AM
Originally posted by Clete Pfeiffer

Have you ever heard of Euthyphro's dilemma?

The specifics of the doctrine of the Trinity may not be a logical necessity but plurality within God is. Euthyphro's dilemma was presented as an argument against monotheism by Aristotle and his logic is perfect and undeniable. The only way Christianity escapes is through the doctrine of the Trinity, without it Christianity would be crushed by this dilemma, along with Islamic monotheism and any other "purely monotheistic" system of belief.

Resting in Him,
Clete


http://www.str.org/free/commentaries/apologetics/evil/euthyphr.htm


This seems to be a Platonic (polytheism= original context) issue about morality, not monotheism. Could you clarify its application to monotheism/Trinity? It does not seem to address a necessity for a compound unity vs solitary being. This dilemma seems to be about lex rex vs rex lex (law is king or king is law).

The triune God revelation shows that love, relationship, communication, fellowship, etc. are eternal. God was not 'alone' for trillions of years.

Rolf Ernst
February 19th, 2005, 12:52 PM
The arguments against the Reformed faith are based on a general lack of Bible knowledge. If you study with the works of both Reformed and the Arminian/OV theologians in hand for purposes of comparison, it will soon become apparent that when the Arminian/OV theologians deal with those texts which clearly present God as absolutely sovereign, such as Romans chapter nine, you will see the Arminian/OVers begin to rationalize, departing from the scripture itself to fall back on human reasoning.

On the other hand, when Reformed people are dealing with texts which SEEM to support the Arminian/OV view of Scripture, the Reformed people never resort to rationalizing away the clear words of Scripture. Instead, Reformed people look more deeply into the text and more widely into the context and the whole of scripture.

Therefore, one of the mose enlightening ways of determining which doctrinal view is correct is to observe the way Reformed people deal with those verses which the opposite camp puts forth as proof of their view, and the way the Arminian/OVers deal with those texts which Reformed people put forth as proof of their doctrinal view.

I myself have posted on TOL the proper interpretation of verses that Arminians like to use and through them, I have shown that the Arminian views of those texts are erroneous--that the texts do NOT support the Arminian view, but instead, when the texts are properly considered, support and prove that the Reformed view of Scripture is the Biblical view.

What I said above about Arminians and OVers finding it necessary to fall back on rationalizing and reasoning in defense of their position is clearly demonstrated on this forum as those with false views of Scripture OPENLY maintain that the logic of fallen men with their rationalizations and reasonings are guidelines by which scripture texts much be considered. That amounts to men sitting in judgement on God's Word BUT THE SCRIPTURE SAYS THAT "In the WISDOM OF GOD THE WORLD BY WISDOM KNEW NOT GOD" AND THAT "THE WISDOM OF MEN IS FOOLISHNESS TO GOD."

Perhaps the clearest evidence against the gross distortions of Scripture presented by the Arminan/OV theologians is the way they find it necessary to leave numerous texts of scripture in a contradictory tension with one another; and invariably they give the greater weight to those scriptures which would, if they were interpreted in accord with their views, dishonor God.

Examples of that are often seen when God's attributes of His immutability--the immutability of both His being and His purposes--and His omniscience are under consideration.

Clete
February 19th, 2005, 12:52 PM
Originally posted by godrulz
Could you clarify its application to monotheism/Trinity? It does not seem to address a necessity for a compound unity vs solitary being. This dilemma seems to be about lex rex vs rex lex (law is king or king is law).

The triune God revelation shows that love, relationship, communication, fellowship, etc. are eternal. God was not 'alone' for trillions of years.

From Does God Exist? - Battle Royale VII - Bob Enyart vs. Zakath Post 7b...


Originially Posted by Bob Enyart
God’s Accountability to an Unchanging Standard: This section goes beyond the point in the Absolute Nature of Laws section above, where Zakath said that I hold to an “anything goes” morality and that for this morality, “by definition, good and evil exist only at the whim of the deity.” (Interestingly, atheists often do this with humans, justifying homosexuality as an inborn nature, denying the personal responsibility of drug addicts, and some even defending rapists and murderers as simply living out their natures.) Zakath then carried this one step further claiming that therefore: “…no action performed by God can be out of his character;” that is, because if God does something, then by definition it is in His nature to do it, and we theists would also declare anything He does as righteous. So Zakath misrepresented my position by implying that I had not already responded to this. He ignored an important clarification in my post:

Bob: “God could not do evil (anything against the present description of His nature), and remain holy.”

Why did I insert the word present into the above sentence? Zakath, if you read carefully, I will resolve Euthyphro’s Dilemma for Plato and Socrates, and deny you the honest use of it in the future. But Zakath, if while reading this section you allow your mind to fly through a thousand counter arguments, without discipline, you will once again fail to even understand the point. So please put your auto-pilot Bible rebuttal mode in its upright and locked position, and first comprehend this new material.

God’s nature is not sufficiently pliable that it could embrace truth and perjury, private property and theft, loyalty and disloyalty, and punishing and rewarding of the same behavior. Thus, God could conceivably violate His own nature, because once His nature is described (in what becomes a definition of righteousness), then anything God does contrary to that description would correctly be deemed as unrighteous. For example, using the biblical paradigm, if Jesus Christ gave into temptation by submitting to evil and worshipping Satan, then He would not have remained righteous.

It is not that anything God conceivably could do would therefore be moral, just because He did it. It is that we expect God to remain steadfastly good, consistent with the existing description of His nature. God does not save those who trust Him because He has no choice, but because He wills to, but if He willed to embrace evil (as described currently by His nature) then He would no longer be the righteous God. Quoting the overlooked sentence again:

“God could not do evil (anything against the present description of His nature), and remain holy.” Thus, moral inconsistency is an absolute determinant for wrong. Plato and Socrates missed this important test partly because their dialogue was replete with mentions of Greek gods who, as Socrates noted, contradicted one another as to goodness. Thus the contradictions within the mythical pantheon of Greece falsified any claim of absolute morality made by Euthyphro on behalf of his gods and goddesses. But Plato recorded this dialogue without the knowledge that you possess Zakath, that of the claim of a Christian God who has no such internal inconsistency. God does not fight within Himself about what is right and wrong; but if He ever did, then He would no longer remain the holy God. And there is nothing remotely circular about this. We look for inconsistencies in courtroom testimony because inconsistencies reveal lies and deceptions. Thus consistency is a necessary property of righteousness (and thus of being right). “A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness will utter lies [and inconsistencies]” (Proverbs 14:5). Again, moral inconsistency is a litmus test for evil. Thus a religious book like the Bible generally claims in forty passages that the steadfast love of the Lord never changes in that He is faithful, that is, He is consistent.

Humans are social beings, and our morality magnifies itself in our actions toward others. But because we are social beings, even actions committed against ourselves affect others, as for example when we hurt ourselves to manipulate others, like Gandhi did; or even the person seeking to escape his own pain by committing suicide, who hurts those around him. Thus because morality is social, a social God who interacts with multiple persons has an additional context in which to objectively demonstrate His morality. Let me illustrate the implications of this using the Christian conception of the Trinitarian God, Father, Son and Spirit, three persons in one God. If God is a Trinitarian God, then He has an eternal track record of interaction between the persons of the Godhead. And if during that eternal fellowship, if any moral inconsistency appeared, then God would be objectively evil. But an atheist may ask, “What if there was no inconsistency because this God is consistently evil?” A God with other persons to interact with has other frames of reference, that is, other perspectives from which to declare Himself. Thus if the Son willingly submits to the Father, because He implicitly trusts the Father from whom He has never experienced harm, and the Spirit brings glory to the Son, because He has never felt threatened by the Son, and the Father loves the Son and the Spirit, never having His wellbeing jeopardized by either, then “by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.” Thus even though it is the only standard He has ever known, God the Father can determine that His own standard is righteous because He has never violated it, and because the independent persons of the Son and the Spirit testify that the Father has never violated their own self-interests [Luke 16:12].

This process is greatly amplified when God creates other beings, and as He reveals Himself to them in various ways. For, He must behave toward them in their own best interest, or else He violates His own standard of love. And He must punish those who hurt others, or else He violates His own standard of justice. And if God’s intention was not for the welfare but for the harm of created eternal beings, then He would have violated His own declared standard.

Thus while moral inconsistency indicates wickedness, eternal consistency proves either continuous good or continuous evil; and multiple perspectives from independent persons provide information regarding whether God acts on behalf of, or against, their best interests. Of course, an atheist will accuse the Bible’s God, if He exists, of endless evils, but since atheists deny any system of absolute morality, for their logical argument to succeed, they would have to show that the concept of the Christian God is internally inconsistent, violating His own standard of righteousness.

In his talk, “Why I Am Not a Christian,” Bertrand Russell wrote that: “if you are quite sure there is a difference between right and wrong, then you are in this situation: Is that difference due to God’s fiat [arbitrary decree] or is it not? If it is due to God’s fiat, then for God himself there is no difference between right and wrong, and it is no longer a significant statement to say that God is good. If you are going to say, as theologians do, that God is good, you must then say that right and wrong have some meaning which is independent of God’s fiat, because God’s fiats are good and not bad independently of the mere fact that he made them. If you are going to say that, you will then have to say that it is not only through God that right and wrong came into being, but that they are in their essence logically anterior to God.”

Plato, Socrates, Bertrand Russell… morons. (Actually, I’m just quoting from Princess Bride, one of our favorite movies.) Well, not morons, but fools yes, because they denied the Creator. Because of their prejudice against God, their fertile minds did not conceive of the simple possibility that a description of God’s nature is independent of His nature itself, and thus, God could hold Himself to that description of His nature, which description I admit initially existed only within Himself, but after Creation it would exist in any of the manifest ways in which God has revealed Himself. And so, right and wrong are not due to God’s arbitrary decrees, but flow from the description of His nature, a description which He could theoretically violate. Thus, the system of morality based upon God is not logically unsound as claimed by atheists.

Because Zakath uncritically accepted the popular atheist use of the Euthyphro Dilemma, he summed up its challenge this way: “In the question of whether or not God can be the source for ‘absolute morals,’ the choice for the theist boils down to this, choose between: admitting that he has no real standard of morality, only a morality based upon the slavery of blindly following orders; or admitting that God is not the source of morality.”

Zakath, do you agree that I have solved Euthyphro’s Dilemma by observing that, if God exists, a description of God’s nature can be independent of His nature itself, and thus there is no logical contradiction in the possibility that God’s nature defines an objective moral standard?

If there were no God, then absolute right could not exist. Thus, atheists reason correctly from their atheistic premise when they declare that absolute right and wrong do not exist, for if God did not exist, neither would right and wrong. Thus, for the reader questioning the existence of God, weigh the evidence: ask yourself, is it really wrong to rape a woman, lynch a black, torment a child, or are these not absolutely wrong, but simple valid preferences of others. If such crimes are not really wrong, then there is no God. If crimes are truly wrong, then a personal, loving, and just God does exist and you should ask Him for forgiveness for the hurt that you have inflicted upon others.

Also, you attempted another slight of hand with this: If “‘God is good’ [and] if god is the standard of goodness… then to say “God is good” is merely to say “God is god.”“ Oops. You are confusing the property of an entity with the entity itself. If the boss is also the janitor, you do state a pointless tautology by substituting one for the other to get the boss is the boss. But to say that the boss is the janitor speaks volumes. And to say God is love [meaning that His nature defines commitment to others], or that Michael Jordan is the standard [meaning that he has defined basketball skill], does not require us to reduce either to God is God or Michael is Michael, as though nothing real is being communicated. Otherwise, you make the bizarre claim that no aspect of a thing could ever conceivably set a standard. For example, by your faulty logic, the speed of light cannot even theoretically be an absolute, because then all Einstein said was, “the speed of light is the speed of light.”

(I can already hear the atheists in the Grandstands whining: “Wha wha wha, none of that proves that God exists!” Quick, somebody call them a whambulance! I offer the above not as proof but to rebut this argument of atheism.)

Zakath explains what Euthyphro's Dilemma is very nicely in his 7th post of that debate if you're interested. You can see the entire debate, which is well worth reading in spite of its length, here (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=7709).

Resting in Him,
Clete

godrulz
February 19th, 2005, 01:19 PM
Originally posted by Rolf Ernst

The arguments against the Reformed faith are based on a general lack of Bible knowledge. If you study with the works of both Reformed and the Arminian/OV theologians in hand for purposes of comparison, it will soon become apparent that when the Arminian/OV theologians deal with those texts which clearly present God as absolutely sovereign, such as Romans chapter nine, you will see the Arminian/OVers begin to rationalize, departing from the scripture itself to fall back on human reasoning.

On the other hand, when Reformed people are dealing with texts which SEEM to support the Arminian/OV view of Scripture, the Reformed people never resort to rationalizing away the clear words of Scripture. Instead, Reformed people look more deeply into the text and more widely into the context and the whole of scripture.

Therefore, one of the mose enlightening ways of determining which doctrinal view is correct is to observe the way Reformed people deal with those verses which the opposite camp puts forth as proof of their view, and the way the Arminian/OVers deal with those texts which Reformed people put forth as proof of their doctrinal view.

I myself have posted on TOL the proper interpretation of verses that Arminians like to use and through them, I have shown that the Arminian views of those texts are erroneous--that the texts do NOT support the Arminian view, but instead, when the texts are properly considered, support and prove that the Reformed view of Scripture is the Biblical view.

What I said above about Arminians and OVers finding it necessary to fall back on rationalizing and reasoning in defense of their position is clearly demonstrated on this forum as those with false views of Scripture OPENLY maintain that the logic of fallen men with their rationalizations and reasonings are guidelines by which scripture texts much be considered. That amounts to men sitting in judgement on God's Word BUT THE SCRIPTURE SAYS THAT "In the WISDOM OF GOD THE WORLD BY WISDOM KNEW NOT GOD" AND THAT "THE WISDOM OF MEN IS FOOLISHNESS TO GOD."

Perhaps the clearest evidence against the gross distortions of Scripture presented by the Arminan/OV theologians is the way they find it necessary to leave numerous texts of scripture in a contradictory tension with one another; and invariably they give the greater weight to those scriptures which would, if they were interpreted in accord with their views, dishonor God.

Examples of that are often seen when God's attributes of His immutability--the immutability of both His being and His purposes--and His omniscience are under consideration.

There are some broad generalizations here that do not seem to be fair or are the pot calling the kettle black.

Both camps affirm God's absolute omniscience. The question is what are objects of knowledge and whether everything is a certainty or if there are genuine contingencies/possibilities.

Strong immutability is not even held by classical theologians. It is a Platonic idea, not a biblical one. God is unchanging in His essential nature and character. He is changing in His relations and experiences (or He would not be personal). The nature of time and eternity is also relevant. Open Theism has rightly pointed out verses that should be taken literally (God changing His mind, etc.), but are figuratively dismissed by traditional views.

We should not underestimate our bias or preconceived theology when we come to the text. All camps claim to do sound exegesis, but the tendency is still to proof text.

e.g. Just because God knows or predestines some of the future, does not necessitate that He knows all of it.

Just because God is unchanging in some ways, does not mean He is unchanging in all ways.

Just because God corporately elects Israel and the Church, does not mean that this can be extrapolated to individual predestination and reprobation (Rom. 9-11 context= election of Israel, not individuals to salvation from all eternity).

godrulz
February 19th, 2005, 01:21 PM
Originally posted by Clete Pfeiffer

From Does God Exist? - Battle Royale VII - Bob Enyart vs. Zakath Post 7b...



Zakath explains what Euthyphro's Dilemma is very nicely in his 7th post of that debate if you're interested. You can see the entire debate, which is well worth reading in spite of its length, here (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=7709).

Resting in Him,
Clete

I read the whole debate previously:up:

I think Enyart's argument is about the nature and being of God, but not directly related to whether He is triune or not (He is).

Clete
February 19th, 2005, 02:05 PM
Originally posted by godrulz

I read the whole debate previously:up:

I think Enyart's argument is about the nature and being of God, but not directly related to whether He is triune or not (He is).

In relation to resolving Euthyphro's dilemma his argument had everything to do with the Trinity, that was the whole point. As I said and as Bob points out in his argument Aristotle thought he was really sticking it to the monotheists of his day but failed to anticipate the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity. The argument is basically that without the relationships that exist within the Triune God, God could not know whether or not He was really good. Such a lack of knowledge would be fatal to any religious system.
Likewise, polytheistic systems are logically inconsistent for other reasons and so atheists love to use Euthyphro against Christians because it's easy for them to get a Christian to accept the falsity of polytheism and pantheism and they think that Euthyphro destroys Christianity by destroying monotheism. What they end up doing instead though, is logically proving that Christianity is the only logically consistent worldview and thus the only belief system that could possibly be true. They end up cutting off their own nose to spite their face and I enjoy every moment of it!

Resting in Him,
Clete

godrulz
February 19th, 2005, 03:02 PM
Originally posted by Clete Pfeiffer

The argument is basically that without the relationships that exist within the Triune God, God could not know whether or not He was really good. Such a lack of knowledge would be fatal to any religious system.
Resting in Him,
Clete

Why would an omniscient, holy, good, loving solitary being not know righteousness from evil. Would not the Father alone know truth and absolutes, even if there was no Son or Spirit (which there is)? "Could not know" does not seem self-evident for a solitary being. It may be confirmed by all members of the Godhead, but why, inherently, could not a solitary God NOT know that He was good? We have moral capability as an individual. Why is a compound unity essential to knowledge of good and evil? The one God knows His being and character is the ground for absolutes and the Law. His will is not arbitrary, but based on what is inherently right/holy. If we just emphasize the ONE true God, knowledge should still exist (whether we emphasize His personal distinctions or not...the one nature of God is the issue, not the fact He is triune).

I have not heard this line of argument before (could not know if not triune), so I am trying to understand why it is necessary. It seems to me that monotheism, properly understood (lex rex vs rex lex), resolves the 'dilemma' (whether God is triune or not...the fact He is triune may prove the point all the more...2 or 3 witnesses?).:help:

Emo
February 20th, 2005, 07:27 PM
This is somewhat a repost from a different thread w/ some slight alterations. Forgive me for lacking creativity, it's the weekend. :D


Would you want to take a test when someone other than yourself has already predetermined whether you fail or not? Would you run in a race that you know you are guaranteed to finish last? Would you drive your car to work tomorrow knowing that someone was planning on shooting you in the head at a stoplight? What would be the point of prayer as well? For me, prayer strengthens & deepens my relationship with God. Why do Calvinists waste their time praying if they don't even know that they are saved. How can one truly dive into a love relationship with God when they aren't sure that it is genuine? God desires an intimate relationship with His creation. Why not? He didn't seek to destroy mankind again, instead He made the incomparable sacrifice & has given mankind the amazing gift of grace. I love God all the more for His grace that I don't even deserve. Christ can set you free, make you righteous & the Holy Spirit is there to sanctify you. The work is done. The key is to lose yourself. Salvation is for everyone & who shall limit that or take it away from God. No one!

b-baggins
February 20th, 2005, 08:09 PM
Why do Calvinists waste their time praying if they don't even know that they are saved.

Because you'll never meet an unregenerate Calvinist. Anyone who subscribes to Calvinism automatically assumes they are one of the elect. In fact, it's requisite. In other words, they came to the Calvinist position precisely because they are elect. It's quite a nice circular argument.

godrulz
February 20th, 2005, 08:13 PM
Originally posted by b-baggins

Because you'll never meet an unregenerate Calvinist. Anyone who subscribes to Calvinism automatically assumes they are one of the elect. In fact, it's requisite. In other words, they came to the Calvinist position precisely because they are elect. It's quite a nice circular argument.

It reminds me of the JWs 144,000. How do they really know they are part of the heavenly class? How do Calvinists know they are elect? If they fall away, they would say they were never elect. How do they know they will not fall away?

Clete
February 20th, 2005, 08:22 PM
Originally posted by godrulz

Why would an omniscient, holy, good, loving solitary being not know righteousness from evil. Would not the Father alone know truth and absolutes, even if there was no Son or Spirit (which there is)? "Could not know" does not seem self-evident for a solitary being. It may be confirmed by all members of the Godhead, but why, inherently, could not a solitary God NOT know that He was good? We have moral capability as an individual. Why is a compound unity essential to knowledge of good and evil? The one God knows His being and character is the ground for absolutes and the Law. His will is not arbitrary, but based on what is inherently right/holy. If we just emphasize the ONE true God, knowledge should still exist (whether we emphasize His personal distinctions or not...the one nature of God is the issue, not the fact He is triune).

I have not heard this line of argument before (could not know if not triune), so I am trying to understand why it is necessary. It seems to me that monotheism, properly understood (lex rex vs rex lex), resolves the 'dilemma' (whether God is triune or not...the fact He is triune may prove the point all the more...2 or 3 witnesses?).:help:
The answer to your question is in the following three paragraphs of Bob's post...

Humans are social beings, and our morality magnifies itself in our actions toward others. But because we are social beings, even actions committed against ourselves affect others, as for example when we hurt ourselves to manipulate others, like Gandhi did; or even the person seeking to escape his own pain by committing suicide, who hurts those around him. Thus because morality is social, a social God who interacts with multiple persons has an additional context in which to objectively demonstrate His morality. Let me illustrate the implications of this using the Christian conception of the Trinitarian God, Father, Son and Spirit, three persons in one God. If God is a Trinitarian God, then He has an eternal track record of interaction between the persons of the Godhead. And if during that eternal fellowship, if any moral inconsistency appeared, then God would be objectively evil. But an atheist may ask, “What if there was no inconsistency because this God is consistently evil?” A God with other persons to interact with has other frames of reference, that is, other perspectives from which to declare Himself. Thus if the Son willingly submits to the Father, because He implicitly trusts the Father from whom He has never experienced harm, and the Spirit brings glory to the Son, because He has never felt threatened by the Son, and the Father loves the Son and the Spirit, never having His wellbeing jeopardized by either, then “by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.” Thus even though it is the only standard He has ever known, God the Father can determine that His own standard is righteous because He has never violated it, and because the independent persons of the Son and the Spirit testify that the Father has never violated their own self-interests [Luke 16:12].

This process is greatly amplified when God creates other beings, and as He reveals Himself to them in various ways. For, He must behave toward them in their own best interest, or else He violates His own standard of love. And He must punish those who hurt others, or else He violates His own standard of justice. And if God’s intention was not for the welfare but for the harm of created eternal beings, then He would have violated His own declared standard.

Thus while moral inconsistency indicates wickedness, eternal consistency proves either continuous good or continuous evil; and multiple perspectives from independent persons provide information regarding whether God acts on behalf of, or against, their best interests. Of course, an atheist will accuse the Bible’s God, if He exists, of endless evils, but since atheists deny any system of absolute morality, for their logical argument to succeed, they would have to show that the concept of the Christian God is internally inconsistent, violating His own standard of righteousness.

Without a relationship with the other two persons of the Trinity, God could know is that He had been consistent, but He would not know whether He had been consistently good or consistently evil. The whole concept of good and evil assumes the existence of relationships between two or more persons.

Resting in Him,
Clete

godrulz
February 20th, 2005, 08:31 PM
The triune nature of God shows that love, communication, relationship, etc. are eternal. I do not see that it is self-evident that a solitary being (if God was not triune) could not know truth, righteousness, holiness, etc. if He is all-wise and all-knowing. Even without other witnesses in the Godhead, a solitary God would still know that He is righteous, chosing the highest good for Himself. Not being able to discern good from evil is not a quality of God, whether solitary or triune. The triune God adds the dimension of love and further witness, but does not change essential wisdom and knowledge of truth/error, right/wrong.

Clete
February 21st, 2005, 12:22 PM
Originally posted by godrulz

The triune nature of God shows that love, communication, relationship, etc. are eternal. I do not see that it is self-evident that a solitary being (if God was not triune) could not know truth, righteousness, holiness, etc. if He is all-wise and all-knowing. Even without other witnesses in the Godhead, a solitary God would still know that He is righteous, chosing the highest good for Himself. Not being able to discern good from evil is not a quality of God, whether solitary or triune. The triune God adds the dimension of love and further witness, but does not change essential wisdom and knowledge of truth/error, right/wrong.

Then I dare say that you do not understand Euthyphro's dilemma. I suggest rereading Zakath's presentation of it and Bob's response. I'll try to find something else on it as well, but I'm not sure what else can be said. It seems pretty clear to me.

Rolf Ernst
February 22nd, 2005, 11:18 AM
Godrulz--concerning your post #54--STRONG immutability not held by classical theologians? There is no fuller statement of the Reformed faith than the
Westminster Confession of Faith. Check what IT says about God's immutability; better yet, refer to the Bible.

godrulz
February 22nd, 2005, 11:52 AM
Originally posted by Rolf Ernst

Godrulz--concerning your post #54--STRONG immutability not held by classical theologians? There is no fuller statement of the Reformed faith than the
Westminster Confession of Faith. Check what IT says about God's immutability; better yet, refer to the Bible.

e.g. Num. 23:19 (will not vs cannot); I Sam. 15:29; Mal. 3:6; James 1:17;

These verses affirm that God is not fickle or capricious, because He is faithful. It refers to His moral character and essential attributes, not His relations and experiences which are dynamic and responsive. Other verses show that God can and did change His mind in response to changing circumstances (e.g. Gen. 6:5-8; I Sam. 15:10,39; Jonah; Hezekiah; Jer. 18).

The Westminister Confession is not infallible (can you link or quote the relevant section in context?). It is a statement of Calvinism, though much of it is biblical. What Bible verses do you use to support strong immutability (if you even know what I mean by this term).

Strong immutability is Platonic or Thomas Aquinas. Even Calvinistic theologians can support 'weak' immutability (see IVP Jay Wesley Richards "The Untamed God: A philosophical exploration of divine perfection, simplicity, and immutability"). Richards rightly sees that there are two ways to be unchanging (immutable): contingently or essentially. The incarnation and Flood is proof that God is changing in some senses. Strong immutability is problematic in that it makes God static and impersonal, less free than His creation (among other biblical and philosophical issues).

Clete
February 22nd, 2005, 01:20 PM
Originally posted by Rolf Ernst

The arguments against the Reformed faith are based on a general lack of Bible knowledge. If you study with the works of both Reformed and the Arminian/OV theologians in hand for purposes of comparison, it will soon become apparent that when the Arminian/OV theologians deal with those texts which clearly present God as absolutely sovereign, such as Romans chapter nine, you will see the Arminian/OVers begin to rationalize, departing from the scripture itself to fall back on human reasoning.
Romans 9 is the strongest chapter in the Bible to argue against Calvinism and predestination in particular.
Care for me to prove it? (Again)


On the other hand, when Reformed people are dealing with texts which SEEM to support the Arminian/OV view of Scripture, the Reformed people never resort to rationalizing away the clear words of Scripture. Instead, Reformed people look more deeply into the text and more widely into the context and the whole of scripture.
This is bull if I ever heard it. Practically the whole Christian church is Reformed to one degree or another and almost none of them even knows that Jeremiah has an 18th chapter much less what it actually says and wouldn't know what it means if they did know. And this includes you! Did you know that Romans 9 is making the exact same point that Jer. 18 is making before you read it in one of my posts?


Therefore, one of the most enlightening ways of determining which doctrinal view is correct is to observe the way Reformed people deal with those verses which the opposite camp puts forth as proof of their view, and the way the Arminian/OVers deal with those texts which Reformed people put forth as proof of their doctrinal view.
Which way is that exactly? It seems to me that I take your proof texts as figures of speech and you take my proof texts as figures of speech. The difference is that I can explain what the figures mean and you cannot. You simply relegate them to meaningless babble or ignore them altogether while I explain what they mean and why.


I myself have posted on TOL the proper interpretation of verses that Arminians like to use and through them, I have shown that the Arminian views of those texts are erroneous--that the texts do NOT support the Arminian view, but instead, when the texts are properly considered, support and prove that the Reformed view of Scripture is the Biblical view.
That's impossible, although I have the feeling that you believe that you have actually done so.
I have yet to find a single Calvinist who was able to explain any number of texts at all, much less explain them in such a way as to actually support their theology. Generally when asked to explain what these verses mean I get silence, they don't even try to answer at all and when I do get an answer its always an explanation of how the verse means the precise opposite of what it says.


What I said above about Arminians and OVers finding it necessary to fall back on rationalizing and reasoning in defense of their position is clearly demonstrated on this forum as those with false views of Scripture OPENLY maintain that the logic of fallen men with their rationalizations and reasonings are guidelines by which scripture texts much be considered. That amounts to men sitting in judgment on God's Word BUT THE SCRIPTURE SAYS THAT "In the WISDOM OF GOD THE WORLD BY WISDOM KNEW NOT GOD" AND THAT "THE WISDOM OF MEN IS FOOLISHNESS TO GOD."
This statement is question begging Rolf. It's self contradictory but I don't expect for you to see it. It's a subject for another discussion.


Perhaps the clearest evidence against the gross distortions of Scripture presented by the Arminan/OV theologians is the way they find it necessary to leave numerous texts of scripture in a contradictory tension with one another; and invariably they give the greater weight to those scriptures which would, if they were interpreted in accord with their views, dishonor God.
Okay Rolf, read my lips. THERE ARE NO CONTRADICTIONS IN THE BIBLE! NONE! ZERO! ZIP!
The Bible means what it says. If you have a doubt about what a passage means you can generally read it to a third grader and ask him what it means and whatever he says will almost certainly be correct. Such a "third grader hermeneutic" is not possible in the Calvinist worldview because there are simply thousands of passages that cannot mean what they say.


Examples of that are often seen when God's attributes of His immutability--the immutability of both His being and His purposes--and His omniscience are under consideration.
This would be funny if it weren't so tragically hypocritical. The Calvinist doctrine of the immutability of God can be directly traced to pagan Greek philosophy, to man's faulty logic which you so adamantly railed against only two paragraphs ago. :rolleyes:

Resting in Him,
Clete

Rolf Ernst
February 22nd, 2005, 04:42 PM
Cleter uses a lot of assertions in his posts, but scripture references are few. And those he does use, he is not willing to stick around long enough to discuss fully.

Ecumenicist
February 22nd, 2005, 04:57 PM
Question:

Is there any way that Peter could not have betrayed Christ, as Christ
prophesied? Is there any way that Judas could have not betrayed
Christ, as his betrayal was a necessary part of the entire Passion?

Dave

Clete
February 22nd, 2005, 05:26 PM
Originally posted by Dave Miller

Question:

Is there any way that Peter could not have betrayed Christ, as Christ
prophesied? Is there any way that Judas could have not betrayed
Christ, as his betrayal was a necessary part of the entire Passion?

Dave

Yes. Peter could have repented just as Nineveh did. The same is true of Judas who's betryal WAS NOT "a necessary part of the entire Passion."

Resting in Him,
Clete

Clete
February 22nd, 2005, 05:42 PM
Originally posted by Rolf Ernst

Clete uses a lot of assertions in his posts, but scripture references are few. And those he does use, he is not willing to stick around long enough to discuss fully.

You are a liar and a fool. You will recant this statement or we are finished with this discussion. I quote scripture all day long or else allude to it in some obvious manner and when I do not I use sound reason. I take Martin Luther's statement as my person motto...

"Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason...my conscience is captive to the Word of God."

Man! This sort of crap really pisses me off! I have no idea how many dozens of hours I've spent replying to these same arguments over and over and over again, much of which was in direct response to you personally! What do you think; that all the thousands of posts on this board that I have written suddenly disappear because you can't find a way to defeat me in a debate? People don't even have to read all my post! All one has to do is look at one single thread for crying out loud and they'll see my rebutting your exact arguments only about a dozen different times in a half dozen different ways. I've refuted Calvinism so many times I'm sick to death of it! How many ways can one guy find to repeat himself before he has to blow his brains out just to dull the boredom!
I'm not kidding, you will either recant this idiotic statement or I've responded to you for the last time.

Resting in Him,
:Clete:

Delmar
February 22nd, 2005, 05:44 PM
Originally posted by Clete

Yes. Peter could have repented just as Nineveh did. The same is true of Judas who's betryal WAS NOT "a necessary pat of the entire Passion."

Resting in Him,
Clete I have asserted the same thinghere (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=17506&perpage=15&highlight=&pagenumber=25) .

Clete
February 22nd, 2005, 05:46 PM
Originally posted by deardelmar

I have asserted the same thinghere (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=17506&perpage=15&highlight=&pagenumber=25) .

I think you're right but I think Peter could have repented right up to the point just before he denied Christ for the third time. Peter would not have ruined the Bible or thrown God for a loopty loo if he humbled himself and repented.

Delmar
February 22nd, 2005, 06:02 PM
I agree. I was just offering one example.

Rolf Ernst
February 24th, 2005, 10:57 AM
Clete-- Concerning your post #70: you haven't refuted Calvinism. You only THINK you have because of your faulty interpretations of the few scriptures you use. Of all the people on this forum, you are the one who most often responds to the posts of others with vehement personal opinions without any scriptural basis. Just as you are so inclined to call others liars and fools, so you have done so again. Aren't we surprised! Have you never read the warning by Jesus that he who calls anyone a fool is in danger of hellfire, Clete?

It was only about a week ago that you called me a liar because of my assertion that I had used the same scriptures Arminians and OVers used as their proof texts to show that those same scriptures themselves not only do not support the arminian/ov heresies, but actually DISPROVE them. You called me a liar for saying so. Well, I have done some digging in past threads which knight (an arminian/OVer, of course) chose to REMOVE FROM THE LISTS OF THREADS. Apparently they made him uncomfortable. NOW--since you laid a charge against me of being a liar, my FRIEND, I will for your personal benefit, repost those same threads whose existence you vehemently denied. For SOME reason, Mr. Clete, you found nothing you could say in response to some of those posts. Please don't suddenly get to busy at work to be involved here now.

Clete
February 24th, 2005, 12:21 PM
Originally posted by Rolf Ernst

Clete-- Concerning your post #70: you haven't refuted Calvinism. You only THINK you have because of your faulty interpretations of the few scriptures you use. Of all the people on this forum, you are the one who most often responds to the posts of others with vehement personal opinions without any scriptural basis. Just as you are so inclined to call others liars and fools, so you have done so again. Aren't we surprised! Have you never read the warning by Jesus that he who calls anyone a fool is in danger of hellfire, Clete?

It was only about a week ago that you called me a liar because of my assertion that I had used the same scriptures Arminians and OVers used as their proof texts to show that those same scriptures themselves not only do not support the arminian/ov heresies, but actually DISPROVE them. You called me a liar for saying so. Well, I have done some digging in past threads which knight (an arminian/OVer, of course) chose to REMOVE FROM THE LISTS OF THREADS. Apparently they made him uncomfortable. NOW--since you laid a charge against me of being a liar, my FRIEND, I will for your personal benefit, repost those same threads whose existence you vehemently denied. For SOME reason, Mr. Clete, you found nothing you could say in response to some of those posts. Please don't suddenly get to busy at work to be involved here now.

:wave2:

Rolf Ernst
February 24th, 2005, 12:25 PM
In response to Clete's frequent charges against me of being both a liar and a fool, I will let posts placed long ago stand as my defenders against his charges. Clete said I was a liar because I claimed to have used the very scriptures Arminians/OVers use as proof of their position to show that rather than proving Arminianism or OVism, they instead proved the Reformed faith to be the scriptural view. Below is the text I posted on the Attributes of God Forum on 02-22-2004 as a
new thread titled: 2 Pet. 3:9 Defeats the Arminian/ Open Theist View of Scripture.

"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise as some count slackness, but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." 2 Pet. 3:9

This verse is used by many to claim that the reformed (Calvinistic) view of scripture is not biblical; but to the contrary, when it is fully considered, it proves that Calvinism is scrioptural and that the Arminian/Open View of scripture is not biblical.

Chapters two and three show Peter's concern about false teachings. In the second chapter he uses examples to show that God is able to punish or reward all according to their deeds. In the third chapter, he deals with one error in particular: unbelievers will scoff at what they consider the overdue promise of His return. Peter's response to the scoffing is that God is not slack concerning it. He then shows the reason He has not yet returned. Rather than being slack, He, in longsuffering, is giving a space for repentance because He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

The typical Arminian/Open Theist reaction to this: "see, He is not willing that any individual of mankind perish. He wants all (each and every one) to come to repentance.

My, my. We do have a problem here. If He is delaying that coming in judgement because He doesn't want any in the arminian sense (according to their understanding) to perish then His measure of longsuffering is self defeating because the fact is that every day in every age, the broad road that leads to destruction has many more on it than the narrow road that leads to life. The longer He withholds His coming, the greater the number who DO perish. A great number each day are perishing--some estimate at least 95% of those who die. Therefore the Arminian understanding of why God has not yet returned in judgement shows the motive of His longsuffering to be self defeating.

The Reformed view does not at all see God's longsuffering as self defeating. It views God's longsuffering as performing exactly what He purposed in it. Who is He longsuffering toward? He is longsuffering to "usward": towards the elect; those whom He chose in Christ before the foundation of the world and promised to Christ as His seed whom He wouild see (Isa. 53:10) and be satisfied. He is not willing that ANY of those to whom Christ is the "Everlasting Father; the Prince of Peace" should perish. He will withhold His coming until they ALL come to repentance, no matter how many of the non-elect perish.

And that is exactly the outcome of His longsuffering. As Paul says in
verse 15, "consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation."

The only view of scripture which is in full accord with this text is the Reformed (calvinistic) view.

Rolf Ernst
February 24th, 2005, 12:33 PM
In post #70 above, Clete responds to my charge that he makes many assertions but uses few scriptures by calling me a liar and a fool, saying he quotes scripture all day long but if you check Clete's response to my post on 2 Pet. 3:9, this is what you will see:

"Typical calvinism!

Take the plain simple reading of the text and figure out how it means the exact opposite of what it says.

Brilliant! You've probably convinced everybody with your theologiucal back flip!

The fact is that reformed theology is not even based on Scripture in the first place. Augustine is the one that really got this particular ball rolling and he based his ideas solely on the teachings of aristotle and Plato. He actually refused to become a Christian until his bishop (I think his name was ambrose) explained that all of the talk in the old testament about God changing inmanyways. (including changing His mind) didn't really mean what they said. Augustine didn't become a Christian..."

yatta, yatta, yatta. On and on he goes. If you check the post he offers to refute my view of 2 Pet. 2: 3-9 you will not find ONE SCRIPTURE USED BY CLETE. Then he calls me a liar and a fool for simply pointing that out. EXCUSE ME!! BUT WHAT IS THIS FORUM ABOUT?? The scripture, or baseless assertions people
want to make against others who use scripture? Don't be a bully, Clete!!!!!!!!!!!!

Clete
February 24th, 2005, 01:33 PM
Originally posted by Rolf Ernst

In post #70 above, Clete responds to my charge that he makes many assertions but uses few scriptures by calling me a liar and a fool, saying he quotes scripture all day long but if you check Clete's response to my post on 2 Pet. 3:9, this is what you will see:

"Typical calvinism!

Take the plain simple reading of the text and figure out how it means the exact opposite of what it says.

Brilliant! You've probably convinced everybody with your theological back flip!

The fact is that reformed theology is not even based on Scripture in the first place. Augustine is the one that really got this particular ball rolling and he based his ideas solely on the teachings of Aristotle and Plato. He actually refused to become a Christian until his bishop (I think his name was Ambrose) explained that all of the talk in the old testament about God changing in many ways. (Including changing His mind) didn't really mean what they said. Augustine didn't become a Christian..."

yatta, yatta, yatta. On and on he goes. If you check the post he offers to refute my view of 2 Pet. 2: 3-9 you will not find ONE SCRIPTURE USED BY CLETE. These he cxalls me a liar and a fool for simply pointing that out. EXCUSE MEN!!! BUT WHAT IS THIS FORUM ABOUT?? The scripture, or baseless assertions people
want to make against others who use scripture? Don't be a bully, Clete!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rolf,

This will be the last post I make in response to you.

I just want to say clearly and emphatically that you, based on these last two or three posts alone, are, in fact, both a liar and a fool and I feel exact zero obligation to explain or prove why; its enough that you know that what I’m saying is the truth.
In addition, I stand behind every word of every post I've ever made. I am by no means perfect and have made more than one mistake but I have also been quick to acknowledge those errors and recant them when they are pointed out to me. I am, without a doubt, one of, if not the most intellectually honest person on this website and I am not afraid to either call them like I see them, or admit when I am wrong.
In addition to being both a liar and a fool, you are also a colossal jerk and I'm sorry to say an even larger waste of my time. If you don't like such things being said about you, perhaps you should complain to the one whom you believe predestined it all in the first place, or else change the way you act and think.
Until such time as that happens, I say good riddance!

Resting in Him,
:Clete:

Rolf Ernst
February 24th, 2005, 07:07 PM
Why, my goodness--how typical of you, Clete! Why don't you trot out by your own hand the response you made to my post on
2 Peter 3:2-9? And don't edit it to add some bible verses. Just show everybody how "intellectually honest" you are by reposting your response to my post on that text as you originally made it. You claimed to quote scripture all day, and you claim my post was not scriptural YET not ONE verse by you to demonstrate where I was on any point wrong in my post which showed that 2 Pet. 3:2-9 did not prove the Arminian, but the Reformed view of scripture.
If my post was so full of doctrinal errors, surely you can find at least ONE verse to respond with!

Why don't you stick around? I have other posts of yours which prove the point I made about your heavy use of assertions which you could not back up with scripture. I am just beginning to demonstrate that some verses you claimed supported arminian/OV do not do so, but instead prove the Reformed view of scripture is biblical.

Hey!! Clete!! is the kitchen getting too hot for you? You accuse people of being liars and fools and then when they just BEGIN to show how unjust your accusations are, you take a hike. Why not stand your ground? I have posted just ONE of a number of my posts to demonstrate to the people before whom you
called me a liar and a fool that your accusation was unjust and now you run off.

SUGGESTION: Since you claim to cite scripture so frequently, why don't you prove your point by trotting a few of your old posts out?? Demonstrate where you have a practice of citing scripture to back up your many assertions. We are waiting breathlessly.

swanca99
February 24th, 2005, 08:35 PM
I know TOL encourages debate, but...DUDES!

I have been watching the exchange between Rolf and Clete in this thread and the one about Calvinism making Knight furious, and have even made a few replies. I have not bothered to reply again to Clete's replies to me because the Scriptures I would use to support my belief in God's omniscience and sovereignty are the same, most likely, as those that Rolf has used, or at least they would be nothing that Clete hasn't seen before.

I have been reading this forum for 2-3 months and I am coming to a greater understanding of the "Open View." I just tried reading Romans 9-11 with "Open View" glasses on, and I can see how the passage could be interpreted as consistent with that view. I suppose if I read it with "Reformed" glasses on, I would find an interpretation consistent with those offered by their commentators. I would like to think that my interpretation of that passage is based on reading it with clear glasses, but I'm honest enough to admit to you, and myself, that I am probably reading it with "Dispensationalist/4-point Calvinist" glasses on. I think we all tend to read and interpret the Scriptures in light of the system we've accepted, and that we all tend to think our system is the right one. I have seen only a handful of people change systems in my 30+ years as a Christian.

If it were possible to wipe the slate clean and base a system upon a book-by-book, chapter-by-chapter, verse-by-verse study of the Scriptures, I wonder what we'd REALLY come up with? Perhaps no system at all...

Rolf and Clete, I gather that you both believe in the deity of Christ, the literal resurrection of Christ, and salvation by grace through faith, and have many other important beliefs in common. I consider both of you to be within the boundaries of orthodoxy, consider both of you to be my brothers in Christ, and expect to meet both of you in eternity someday.

Do you consider each other to be brothers in Chirst?

Do you think that either of you live your life differently than the other because of your differing beliefs?

godrulz
February 24th, 2005, 11:12 PM
I am reading D.A. Carson's "Exegetical Fallacies".

Ideally, we should exegete relevant Scriptures on various issues. We tend to degenerate into personal attacks and create more heat than light. To teach, we should be teachable. None of us are immune to exegetical fallacies (e.g. root fallacy...pineapple is not an apple on a pine tree yet we sometimes artificially divide Greek words up with the result of a false meaning...e.g. 'monogenes'...does not mean only begotten/beget, the two root words....the combined word means more like unique, one and only).

God_Is_Truth
February 25th, 2005, 12:50 AM
Originally posted by swanca99
I think we all tend to read and interpret the Scriptures in light of the system we've accepted, and that we all tend to think our system is the right one. I have seen only a handful of people change systems in my 30+ years as a Christian.

would you believe that the first time i heard of calvinism, i had to sit down and look very hard at Romans 9-11 to even understand how they could interpret it in such a way?

by the way, though i was not raised calvinist, i did use to believe in a settled future, whereas now i am an open theist.



If it were possible to wipe the slate clean and base a system upon a book-by-book, chapter-by-chapter, verse-by-verse study of the Scriptures, I wonder what we'd REALLY come up with? Perhaps no system at all...

open theism isn't so much a system as it is just the belief in a partly open/partly closed future that God knows as such.



Do you think that either of you live your life differently than the other because of your differing beliefs?

the question is really, do they live according to how they believe? are they consistent outwardly with the inwardly? i'm not sure how one would live if they acted like everything was predestined by God. you'd have to ask Rolf on that one. but living through the OV is easy, because it's what everyone already does.

swanca99
February 25th, 2005, 03:24 AM
Originally posted by God_Is_Truth

would you believe that the first time i heard of calvinism, i had to sit down and look very hard at Romans 9-11 to even understand how they could interpret it in such a way?



Although those three chapters contain some things that could support individual election, I don't think that's really the purpose of the passage. I see them more as answering the question, "What is the relationship of Israel to the Gospel in the present age?", with one of the key phrases being "that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in." (11:25b).

Just my take on it...

Clete
February 25th, 2005, 06:58 AM
Originally posted by swanca99

I know TOL encourages debate, but...DUDES!
I know! I don't like it eiher.


I have been watching the exchange between Rolf and Clete in this thread and the one about Calvinism making Knight furious, and have even made a few replies. I have not bothered to reply again to Clete's replies to me because the Scriptures I would use to support my belief in God's omniscience and sovereignty are the same, most likely, as those that Rolf has used, or at least they would be nothing that Clete hasn't seen before.
While you're probably right, I wouldn't have minded. I've responded many time before and I'm sure I'll respond many more times in the future to the same arguments again and again. Calvinism is almost ubiquitous in the Church today, even people who think they aren't Calvinists have been dramatically influenced by the doctrine, so it's impossible to avoid. I consider TOL practice for when I get the opportunity to confront the error in my "normal life", so bring it on!


I have been reading this forum for 2-3 months and I am coming to a greater understanding of the "Open View." I just tried reading Romans 9-11 with "Open View" glasses on, and I can see how the passage could be interpreted as consistent with that view. I suppose if I read it with "Reformed" glasses on, I would find an interpretation consistent with those offered by their commentators. I would like to think that my interpretation of that passage is based on reading it with clear glasses, but I'm honest enough to admit to you, and myself, that I am probably reading it with "Dispensationalist/4-point Calvinist" glasses on. I think we all tend to read and interpret the Scriptures in light of the system we've accepted, and that we all tend to think our system is the right one. I have seen only a handful of people change systems in my 30+ years as a Christian.
In one respect or another I've "changed systems" a few times myself. I was a hard core Calvinist for a long time but was not always a dispensationalist during that time. For a while I even thought that Herbert Armstrong was right on most of his theology. I had been lured in by him with his escatology which appealed to me as a teenager for some reason. Anyway, the system I hold to now allows me to read the Bible and take the vast majority of it at face value. If I have "glasses" on at all, they don't have much tinting. That is what attracted me so much to the Open View and Acts 9 Dispensationalism. There simply is no need to study every relevant passage, look up the original language, and meditate for hours on the three verses before and the three after in order to be able to read and understand what the Bible is saying in practically every passage. Now don't misunderstand, I don't think there's anything wrong with doing that stuff; in fact, there's a great deal to be learned from that sort of Bible study. But some people act as if you don't have the standing to even have an opinion about what the Bible is saying at all unless you've done such things and that just isn't the case. Generally speaking, if you cannot sit down and read the Bible like you would any other book without your eyes glazing over in confusion, then you've missed the whole point of God having written it in the first place.


If it were possible to wipe the slate clean and base a system upon a book-by-book, chapter-by-chapter, verse-by-verse study of the Scriptures, I wonder what we'd REALLY come up with? Perhaps no system at all...
The key is getting a handle on the overview, the plot of the Bible. Once you've done that, the details basically fall in your lap. Don't do it the other way around. If you attempt to get all the details right and then to draw conclusion about the overview based on them, you'll end up being confused. The proof is that this is precisely the way pretty much the whole church approaches Bible study and the result is thousands of divisions, many of which are utterly unresolvable as long as one party or the other remains focused on their pet detail.


Rolf and Clete, I gather that you both believe in the deity of Christ, the literal resurrection of Christ, and salvation by grace through faith, and have many other important beliefs in common. I consider both of you to be within the boundaries of orthodoxy, consider both of you to be my brothers in Christ, and expect to meet both of you in eternity someday.

Do you consider each other to be brothers in Chirst?
Yes.
This is an interesting question to be asked to (or by for that matter) a Calvinist. By it's very nature, Calvinism makes it utterly impossible to know for certain whether one is saved (a member of the elect) or not. One must simply wait until judgement day to find out.


Do you think that either of you live your life differently than the other because of your differing beliefs?
How could we not? In my view, everything I do say or think has real consequences that I am personally responsible for whether good or bad. In Calvinisms view, I can do nothing that was not already predetermined before even I came on the seen!



Above and again in other posts Romans 9 has come up a couple of times and so it seems apropriate to repost my own understanding of the chapter. Note, while reading the following, how the simple surface meaning of the text is preserved and how it strongly argues against Calvinistic predestination...

From post 1593 (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?postid=659408#post659408) in the "ARGH!!! Calvinism makes me furious!!!" thread...

ROMANS 9 IS JERIMIAH 18

The ninth chapter of Romans is speaking about the cutting off of Israel. It is painfully clear that Paul is making a case that God cut off Israel and turned instead to the gentiles and that God is justified in having done so.
It helps to see it if one looks at the introduction and summations of the chapter. In the first few verses it is clear that Paul is speaking of Israel and that he is upset by their condition of unbelief...
Romans 9:1 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, 4 who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; 5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.

And then in the last few verses Paul sums up the point of what he's just been saying...

Romans 9:30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. 33 As it is written:
"Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,
And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."

Now that by itself is enough to make it clear what Paul is talking about but what really nails it down is his reference in the body of the chapter to the potter and the clay story. This story is a reference to a passage in Jeremiah let's take a look at it so that we can be on the same page that Paul was on when he made reference to it. Perhaps that will shed additional light on the point he was making.

Jeremiah 18:1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying: 2 "Arise and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause you to hear My words." 3 Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.
5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: 6 "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?" says the LORD. "Look, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel! 7 The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, 8 if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. 9 And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, 10 if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.

Hmm! :think:
Imagine that! Jeremiah was making the very point that Paul is making! No wonder Paul referenced this passage, it applies directly to the subject he was dealing with! It IS the subject he was dealing with! Romans 9 and Jeremiah 18 are making the exact same point, they both use the same analogy for the same reasons. For all intent and purposes Romans 9 and Jeremiah 18 are the exact same chapter! The only difference is that Romans 9 applies the principle described in Jeremiah 18 directly to the nation of Israel.
Romans 9 is not about predestination at all. Paul didn't start talking about Israel and then suddenly change the subject to predestination and then just as suddenly change the subject back again to Israel. The whole thing is on one issue and one issue only. That being God's absolute right to change His mind concerning His blessing of a nation that He promised if that nation does evil in His sight. It's no more complicated than that.

Resting in Him,
Clete

godrulz
February 25th, 2005, 09:10 AM
Originally posted by swanca99

Although those three chapters contain some things that could support individual election, I don't think that's really the purpose of the passage. I see them more as answering the question, "What is the relationship of Israel to the Gospel in the present age?", with one of the key phrases being "that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in." (11:25b).

Just my take on it...

Exactly. The election of Israel is the context (Paul is answering the Jewish Christians in Rome who cannot understand why Israel is on the backburner and the Gentiles have received the promises), not elect vs non-elect of individuals.

Rolf Ernst
March 11th, 2005, 12:25 PM
Godrulz and Clete--your comments concerning Romans chapter nine are misguided and cannot stand up to real scrutiny.

Clete
March 11th, 2005, 01:00 PM
Originally posted by Rolf Ernst

Godrulz and Clete--your comments concerning Romans chapter nine are misguided and cannot stand up to real scrutiny.

What scutiny? Just read it. It's only as crystal clear as it could possibly be. The only way to get confused about it is to ignore the fact that Paul quotes from Jer. 18. Avoid that one error and the rest takes about as much effort as falling off a log.

Resting in Him,
Clete

godrulz
March 11th, 2005, 02:40 PM
Preconceived theologies and eisegesis are pitfalls we all need to guard against.

swanca99
March 11th, 2005, 09:31 PM
Originally posted by Clete

By it's very nature, Calvinism makes it utterly impossible to know for certain whether one is saved (a member of the elect) or not. One must simply wait until judgement day to find out.


Clete

You say you were once a Calvinist, so I'm not doubting that you've heard such things before. Have you found this to be common among them? I've met many who are much more extreme in their "Calvinism" than I am, but the ones I have known feel certain of their salvation because they are in Christ, not because they think they are part of the elect.


Originally posted by Clete

In my view, everything I do say or think has real consequences that I am personally responsible for whether good or bad. In Calvinisms view, I can do nothing that was not already predetermined before even I came on the seen!

Clete

Every Calvinist I have met would agree with your first statement as well. To varying degrees, they may agree with the second one also.

You have apparently come into contact with a different breed of Calvinism than what I've encountered. I'm trying to find time to re-read some of the theology books I have hanging around the house -- maybe I'll find that some of the Calvinists have views like the ones you've encountered and for some reason or another I just never noticed it before. It's been twenty years or more since I've used some of those books for anything other than reference when studying the actual books of the Bible...which I generally find more enjoyable anyway.

godrulz
March 11th, 2005, 09:49 PM
Hyper-Calvinism, 4-point, 5-point, etc. There are varieties of Calvinists, Arminians, and Open Theists. We should watch stereotyping/caricaturing.

However, just as most Arminians emphasize free will, most Calvinists emphasize a narrow view of the sovereignty of God. Open Theists are refreshing because they understand that God is sovereign in providential vs meticulous control.

swanca99
March 12th, 2005, 02:38 AM
Originally posted by Clete

What scutiny? Just read it. It's only as crystal clear as it could possibly be. The only way to get confused about it is to ignore the fact that Paul quotes from Jer. 18. Avoid that one error and the rest takes about as much effort as falling off a log.



Paul quotes a lot of OT Scriptures in Romans 9, but when he does it's pretty obvious. I don't think he is quoting Jeremiah 18. In fact, I don't even think he's alluding to it. I suppose it's possible...however, the image in Jeremiah 18 is of the potter using the material of a marred vessel to make another vessel. The image in Romans 9 is that of a potter making two vessels from one lump of clay: one unto honour, another unto dishonour. And the way Paul applies that image in verses 22-24 looks a lot like individual election to me, even though Paul's purpose in the entire passage (Chapters 9-11) is not to talk about individual election.

One of these days I should try to put together my own exposition of Romans 9-11. But that would take quite a bit of time, and then it may be too long to post. Oh well...we'll see.

Clete
March 12th, 2005, 09:12 PM
Originally posted by swanca99

You say you were once a Calvinist, so I'm not doubting that you've heard such things before. Have you found this to be common among them? I've met many who are much more extreme in their "Calvinism" than I am, but the ones I have known feel certain of their salvation because they are in Christ, not because they think they are part of the elect.
Most Calvinists haven't thought the issue through and so I'm sure most FEEL quite certain of their election but when pressed they can find no logically sound basis for that certainty. It's difficult to find a distinctly Calvinistic theological position that is not unfalsifiable; the doctrine of election is only one of them. If more Christians were aware of this fact, there would be far fewer Calvinists.


Every Calvinist I have met would agree with your first statement as well. To varying degrees, they may agree with the second one also.
Yes. Calvinists always give lip service to both ideas. Again, it's a situation where most haven't thought the issue through. They compartmentalize doctrinal positions and rarely if ever think through how one affects another and so can easily go years and years without ever realizing the logical contradictions inherent in much of their theology.


You have apparently come into contact with a different breed of Calvinism than what I've encountered. I'm trying to find time to re-read some of the theology books I have hanging around the house -- maybe I'll find that some of the Calvinists have views like the ones you've encountered and for some reason or another I just never noticed it before. It's been twenty years or more since I've used some of those books for anything other than reference when studying the actual books of the Bible...which I generally find more enjoyable anyway.
Well, I'll be the first to admit that I couch Calvinism in terms that virtually all Calvinist would find distasteful and would not agree with as stated. However, it's not that I am presenting Calvinism inaccurately, it's just that I present these ideas in such a way as to make the error most obvious. In other words, I see clearly the self contradictory and otherwise illogical nature of what Calvinism teaches and the things I say about Calvinism reflect that understanding and so are not at all the same as what someone who believed in the system would say or agree with.

Do you have any specific question about other things I've said about Calvinism? Perhaps I could explain why I say what I do and it'll be easier to see how what I've said applies to virtually all Calvinist and not just some 5 point hardliners.


Paul quotes a lot of OT Scriptures in Romans 9, but when he does it's pretty obvious. I don't think he is quoting Jeremiah 18. In fact, I don't even think he's alluding to it. I suppose it's possible...however, the image in Jeremiah 18 is of the potter using the material of a marred vessel to make another vessel. The image in Romans 9 is that of a potter making two vessels from one lump of clay: one unto honour, another unto dishonour. And the way Paul applies that image in verses 22-24 looks a lot like individual election to me, even though Paul's purpose in the entire passage (Chapters 9-11) is not to talk about individual election.

One of these days I should try to put together my own exposition of Romans 9-11. But that would take quite a bit of time, and then it may be too long to post. Oh well...we'll see.
Have you ever heard of "Law of First-Mention" or "First-Occurrence Principle"? If not, do a Google search on either or both of those terms and you'll quickly learn more than you wanted to know about it.
Here's what Benjamin Willis Newton (Brethren movement, 19th century), wrote about this principle:

"I find in Scripture a principle of interpretation, which I believe, if conscientiously adopted, will serve as an unfailing guide as to the mind of God as contained therein. The first mention of a thing, the very first words of any subject of which the Holy Spirit is going to treat, is the keystone of the whole matter."

Not only does your comment ignore this principle of hermeneutics but it seemingly intentionally ignores the context of the passage. You said, "And the way Paul applies that image in verses 22-24 looks a lot like individual election to me, even though Paul's purpose in the entire passage (Chapters 9-11) is not to talk about individual election.

That's a pretty big "even though" don't you think?! I mean it's only three consecutive chapters for crying out loud. What purpose could be served in ignoring such a vast amount of context, not to mention time tested principles of Biblical hermeneutics, except to force the Bible to teach a pet doctrine? Like I said, if one avoids the error of ignoring the fact that Paul utilizes Jer. 18 to make his point, it's really obvious what Paul is talking about and the passage converts from being the Calvinists "big guns" to one of their biggest hurtles. And what's more is that this conversion takes place while totally preserving the surface meaning of the text.

Resting in Him,
Clete

swanca99
March 12th, 2005, 10:56 PM
I've reread your comments a few posts back, and your latest post, but I'm still not understanding how you are interpreting this passage. For the sake of my slow, aging brain, let's try taking it one small step at a time, if you don't mind.

To what part of Romans 9 are you applying the Law of First Mention principle? Or are you applying it to Jeremiah 18?

swanca99
March 12th, 2005, 11:43 PM
I've done a little more googling on the Law of First Mention (between job abends and tape mounts), and I think I know what you're getting at, but I'll wait for your answer...

Clete
March 13th, 2005, 09:27 AM
Originally posted by swanca99

I've reread your comments a few posts back, and your latest post, but I'm still not understanding how you are interpreting this passage. For the sake of my slow, aging brain, let's try taking it one small step at a time, if you don't mind.

To what part of Romans 9 are you applying the Law of First Mention principle? Or are you applying it to Jeremiah 18?
The first mention principle is what I am employing to say that Paul's use of the Potter and the clay story is a reference to Jer. 18. Jer. 18 is where we first hear about the Potter and the clay and so when Paul mentions it, he is clearly making reference to that passage. The first mention principle would say that the Potter represents God the first time it is mentioned and so it represents God throughout the Bible, unless explicitly stated otherwise. Likewise, the clay represents Israel and so on. So the fact that Paul doesn't use the exact same details in the story doesn't change the fact that he was clearly talking about God's dealings with Israel not individuals. It isn't necessary for him to have quoted Jeremiah verbatim, only that he use the imagery of the Potter and the clay. There are a hundred different illustrations that Paul could have used to make whatever point he was making; the fact that he uses the Potter and the clay is hermeneutic proof that he was not taking about individual election or predestination but about God and His dealing with Israel. Not only that, but the rest of the context of that whole section of Romans (as you pointed out yourself) has nothing to do with the predestination of individuals, it has to do with God's dealings with the nation of Israel. In short, Paul is making the same point in Romans 9 that Jeremiah made in chapter 18 of his book. For all intent and purposes they are the same chapter. Paul is making a Biblical case for why God cut off the nation of Israel and turned instead to the Gentiles.

Resting in Him,
Clete

P.S. I know that this post was a bit repetitious but I just wanted to make sure I was being clear.

godrulz
March 13th, 2005, 10:29 AM
"First mention" is a principle, not a law. It does not always prove accurate. Each context stands on its own merits, regardless of the first use of a word or concept.

Clete
March 13th, 2005, 04:18 PM
Originally posted by godrulz

"First mention" is a principle, not a law. It does not always prove accurate. Each context stands on its own merits, regardless of the first use of a word or concept.
Yes of course but it is a principle that has stood the test of time and as long as there is not compelling reason to reject it then it should be utilized, especially when the context supports such usage.

In this case, I consider Paul's use of the Potter and the clay story as PROOF that he was not speaking about individual election/predestination.

Resting in Him,
Clete

swanca99
March 13th, 2005, 07:13 PM
Clete,

Thanks for your post 94. In light of that understanding, can you explain in a little more detail what you believe Romans 9:21-24 to be saying? Here are the verses:

21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

Thanks again for your patience...
Swanca

Clete
March 15th, 2005, 09:34 PM
Originally posted by swanca99

Clete,

Thanks for your post 94. In light of that understanding, can you explain in a little more detail what you believe Romans 9:21-24 to be saying? Here are the verses:

21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

Thanks again for your patience...
Swanca

Sorry for the delay in responding, I anticipated that this response would take some time and so I put it off until I had the time to think it through properly (Tuesdays are typically the night I have the most time, so if I ever leave you hanging don't get worried until after the following Tuesday. If it goes longer than that, PM me or something because I've likely forgotten about or missed your post).

Okay, first of all you can't start at verse 21 and have prayer of figuring this out; verse 10 is much better...

10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac 11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), 12 it was said to her, "The older shall serve the younger." 13 As it is written, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated."

"Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated." This could be one of the most important phrases in the whole Bible when it comes to understanding God and the Bible. I think that if we discover what is being said here we will have the answer to your question as well.

This is yet another instance when Paul quotes from the Old Testament. Now relying again on the old trusty first mention principle we should go right away to Gen. 25...

21Now Isaac pleaded with the LORD for his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22But the children struggled together within her; and she said, "If all is well, why am I like this? " So she went to inquire of the LORD.

23And the LORD said to her:
"Two nations are in your womb,
Two peoples shall be separated from your body;
One people shall be stronger than the other,
And the older shall serve the younger."

Now, I trust you noticed right away that this passage is not talking about God loving one little unborn baby and hating the other; that, in fact, it isn't talking about babies at all, it's clearly talking about two nations.

"Two nations are in your womb,
Two peoples shall be separated from your body;"

Since it's perfectly obvious that God was talking about nations because the text explicitly says so, we can be confident that Paul was also. In fact, that's what the whole 9th chapter of Romans is about, including the section you've asked about. From every conceivable angle it can be seen that this chapter very simply cannot be talking about individual election or predestination. It is talking about God's dealings with nations, specifically the nation of Israel vs. the gentile nations (i.e. everybody else). It simply couldn't be any clearer. That is as long as you stay on the same page (literally) that Paul is on and follow him to the Old Testament when he goes there.

So in short, to answer your question directly, the "vessels" made of clay are nations and/or groups of people. Until Paul it was almost entirely nations, now all nations have been committed to disobedience that He might have mercy on all, and so we are no longer dealt with by God as part of a nation but part of a group, the Body of Christ, which is one of several points that Paul will make later in Romans based upon the ground work he is laying here in chapter 9.

I hope this answers your question. Let me know if anything needs clarification.

Resting in Him,
Clete

swanca99
March 16th, 2005, 08:38 AM
Thanks for your answers, Clete. In fact, you seem to have anticipated and answered, at least in part, the next question I was going to ask.

If you are saying that verses 10-13 deal with the election of Jacob/Israel over Esau/Edom as God's chosen nation, then I agree with you.

I'll ask three questions in this post. Feel free to answer them in separate posts as you have time...you have been patient with me, I'm more than happy to return the favor.

Question #1: Do you view Romans 9:9-29 as related in any way to Paul's assertion in v. 6, "Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel?"

Question (or request) #2: Can you continue on in explaining verses 14-18? Is God speaking of nations in this passage as well?

Question #3: Am I correct in understanding that, in vs. 21 through 24, according to your understanding, the "vessels of wrath" refers to the nation of Israel, and the "vessels of mercy" refers to the church as a whole, or have I missed something in your explanation?

Please answer in any order you think the most appropriate, and thanks again for taking the time, and being so willing, to explain your understanding of this important passage.

Yours because His,
Swanca

Clete
March 16th, 2005, 01:42 PM
Originally posted by swanca99

Thanks for your answers, Clete. In fact, you seem to have anticipated and answered, at least in part, the next question I was going to ask.

If you are saying that verses 10-13 deal with the election of Jacob/Israel over Esau/Edom as God's chosen nation, then I agree with you.
Good! :up:


Question #1: Do you view Romans 9:9-29 as related in any way to Paul's assertion in v. 6, "Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel?"
I don't think I understand the question. OF course they are related, they're like one sentence apart from each other. I don't think I understand what you're getting at.


Question (or request) #2: Can you continue on in explaining verses 14-18? Is God speaking of nations in this passage as well?
Yes! Of course he is. Pharaoh was the leader of the nation of Egypt. The plagues were given to the nation not just Pharaoh and the whole context of the chapter insists that the topic here is nations not individual people.


Question #3: Am I correct in understanding that, in vs. 21 through 24, according to your understanding, the "vessels of wrath" refers to the nation of Israel, and the "vessels of mercy" refers to the church as a whole, or have I missed something in your explanation?
It’s not "my understanding", it's just what the text is talking about. Who is the vessel of honor and who is the vessel of wrath in Jeremiah 18? Find the answer to that question and you'll have the answer to your question as well. As I’ve said, Romans 9 and Jeremiah 18 might as well be the same chapter. They are talking about the same subject and making the same point.


Please answer in any order you think the most appropriate, and thanks again for taking the time, and being so willing, to explain your understanding of this important passage.
You’re quite welcome. Keep em comin'

Resting in Him,
Clete

swanca99
March 17th, 2005, 04:48 AM
Thanks, Clete. I'm getting closer to understanding your interpretation of this passage.

The alligators have been snappin' strong at work tonight, and tomorrow night will probably be just as bad, but I'll try to jump back in over the weekend (I get three nights off...unless they call me in for overtime...again...).

swanca99
March 19th, 2005, 05:01 AM
Well, I'm back...

First, let me clarify my question #1 from post 99.

In 9:6-7, Paul makes the assertion, "Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isacc shall thy seed be called."

He uses Scripture, to support his assertion about Isaac, in verses 8 and 9.

I see him going on, in the following verses, to support his assertion, "They are not all Israel, which are of Israel." I think this is one of his primary purposes at least through 9:29, and perhaps this is still at least one of his purposes all the way though 11:10. Do you see that as well?

And I have two additional questions:

#4 - Could Isaiah 29:16 and/or Isaiah 45:9 be considered as "first mentions" of the potter/clay symbol, rather than (or perhaps in addition to?) Jeremiah 18, and if so, would that change anything in your interpretation of this passage (i.e., Romans 9-11)?

#5 - In Romans 11, who (or what) is the "remnant according to the election of grace" in verse 5 and "the election" in verse 7?

As I stated in my last post, I'm understanding your interpretation of this passage more and more as you answer my questions. Hopefully other readers are benefitting as well.

Yours because His,
Swanca

Clete
March 20th, 2005, 09:33 PM
For now, just one answer to one question. I'll get to the rest as time permits.


Originally posted by swanca99
#4 - Could Isaiah 29:16 and/or Isaiah 45:9 be considered as "first mentions" of the potter/clay symbol, rather than (or perhaps in addition to?) Jeremiah 18, and if so, would that change anything in your interpretation of this passage (i.e., Romans 9-11)?
Well, yes and no.

Isaiah 49 definitely not because it is not the first time it is mentioned but the passage in Isaiah 29 could be yes although the passage in Jeremiah is much clearer and explained in much more detail.

The passage in Isaiah 29 is defiantly talking about Israel.
If we take a look at verse 1 we see clearly a reference to Jerusalem

1 "Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt!
Add year to year;
Let feasts come around.


And the last portion of verse 8 clearly refers to Israel as well...

"So the multitude of all the nations shall be,
Who fight against Mount Zion."


And if we look at the whole section of Scripture in which verse 16 occurs, it is also clearly not talking about individuals but a nation (i.e. Israel)...

13Therefore the Lord said:
"Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths
And honor Me with their lips,
But have removed their hearts far from Me,
And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,
14Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work
Among this people,
A marvelous work and a wonder;
For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
And the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden."
15Woe to those who seek deep to hide their counsel far from the LORD,
And their works are in the dark;
They say, "Who sees us?" and, "Who knows us?"
16Surely you have things turned around!
Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay;
For shall the thing made say of him who made it,
"He did not make me"?
Or shall the thing formed say of him who formed it,
"He has no understanding"?


So, can this be used as a foundational "first mention" of the potter and the clay? Yes, it certainly can, but as I said. The passage in Jeremiah makes more sense in the context of a discussion on Romans 9 because first of all Jeremiah doesn't teach something different than the passage in Isaiah and it makes the point in a much clearer, more detailed way, and secondly because the two chapters are making the exact same point.

Resting in Him,
Clete

P.S. Congratulations on being the only participant on this forum who has ever noticed that Jeremiah is not the very first time that 'the Potter and the clay' is mentioned in Scripture. I've wondered for some time whether anyone would ever ask this question. So far as I am aware, you are the first! I'm impressed! :BRAVO:

Clete
March 23rd, 2005, 01:13 PM
Originally posted by swanca99
#5 - In Romans 11, who (or what) is the "remnant according to the election of grace" in verse 5 and "the election" in verse 7?

There is no short answer to this question that wouldn't open a gigantic can of worms that has little or nothing to do with Romans 9.

I refer you to this article by Pastor Bob Hill in which he address your question and this passage in particular...

Your Election by God - 1 Thessalonians (http://www.biblicalanswers.com/predestination/IThessalonians.htm)

Resting in Him,
Clete

Clete
March 23rd, 2005, 01:16 PM
Originally posted by swanca99
In 9:6-7, Paul makes the assertion, "Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isacc shall thy seed be called."

He uses Scripture, to support his assertion about Isaac, in verses 8 and 9.

I see him going on, in the following verses, to support his assertion, "They are not all Israel, which are of Israel." I think this is one of his primary purposes at least through 9:29, and perhaps this is still at least one of his purposes all the way though 11:10. Do you see that as well?
I suppose so, I'm not sure what your point is though. In other words, so what?
My point is that Romans 9 cannot be correctly used to teach that God predetermines which individuals will be saved and which will not because Romans 9 is about Israel, about nations, groups, not individuals. Who exactly comprises Israel or the seed of Abraham and why makes no difference. Whoever Israel comprises, that is who Paul is talking about in chapter 9, not Mr. John Q. Somebody who lives down the street.


Resting in Him,
Clete

godrulz
March 23rd, 2005, 01:48 PM
Predestination/election is corporate vs individual.

God predestined that all who believe would be part of the elect. Conversely, all those who reject Him will not be part of the corporate elect. All those who believe are predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ. God sovereignly established the plan of salvation, including room for free, loving relationships that are not deterministic.

swanca99
March 23rd, 2005, 05:49 PM
Clete and Godrulz,

I'll give you a little further explanation of why I asked this question:


Originally posted by swanca99

In 9:6-7, Paul makes the assertion, "Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isacc shall thy seed be called."

He uses Scripture, to support his assertion about Isaac, in verses 8 and 9.

I see him going on, in the following verses, to support his assertion, "They are not all Israel, which are of Israel." I think this is one of his primary purposes at least through 9:29, and perhaps this is still at least one of his purposes all the way though 11:10. Do you see that as well?



If Paul is giving arguments to support this assertion, the argument flows much better (IMHO) if we understand him to be speaking of individual election in those verses we have discussed. He narrows it down as he goes: from corporate (i.e., Israel) election to individual election, showing that God has spoken of a remnant from among His chosen nation, and that there are still some, including Paul himself, who were called from among that chosen nation who, along with those of us called from among the origianally unchosen (corporately) gentiles, make up "the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory."

The above paragraph is a REALLY short blurb, off the cuff, intended just to give you a little idea of what I meant by that question. I'll try to give a better explanation sometime showing how I trace the argument through these three chapters, but I'm in the middle of several other projects right now and by the time I get done with those this thread will probably have died. If so, I'll just put it in a different or new thread.

I have said before that proving the idea of individual election is not what this passage (Romans 9-11) is all about. However, by understanding Paul to be refering to individual election in those verses we have discussed, it contributes to his support of his assertion that "they are not all Israel, which are of Israel."

Clete, you've answered my questions to the point where I now have a good understanding of how you, and probably others who hold you views, interpret this passage. I appreciate the time and effort you have put into it, and as I said before, I hope there are people reading this thread who, although they may not be participating, have at least gotten some benefit in reading our exchange.

Yours because His,
Swanca

Clete
March 25th, 2005, 05:56 PM
Clete, you've answered my questions to the point where I now have a good understanding of how you, and probably others who hold you views, interpret this passage. I appreciate the time and effort you have put into it, and as I said before, I hope there are people reading this thread who, although they may not be participating, have at least gotten some benefit in reading our exchange.

And an enjoyable exchange it was! :up:
I am curious, however, to know whether I've convinced you of anything or was this simply an academic excerise?

Either way, I, for one, hope you don't stay gone long. It's refreshing to have someone new with which to discuss these things. I like it when someone actually sees and understands my reasoning and who responds accordingly whether they agree with it or not. In short, you're intellectually honest, or at least you have been in this discussion, and so I would love for you to stick around.

Resting in Him,
Clete