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Does Open Theism Question/dispute the Omniscience of God

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  • #46
    Originally posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
    Being an open theist requires rejecting original sin as well as the omniscience (knowing all things past, present, and future) of God. And that is just for starters. The meaning of both terms have to be re-defined by the unsettled theist (open theist) in order to give the appearance of orthodoxy in discussions.
    I disagree. I hold to the doctrine of original sin. I don't redefine omniscience — it always means complete knowledge. I don't think I would even redefine original sin.

    Originally posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
    From Scripture we find the following abilities possess by all mankind:

    Pre-fall -- able to not sin -- able to sin
    Post-fall-- able to sin -- not able to not sin
    Regenerate-- able to sin -- able to not sin
    Glorified-- not able to sin -- able to not sin
    The only issue I would take with this is that there's some equivocation inherent in the descriptions, and I think the descriptions are descriptive, not prescriptive.

    For example the "not able to not sin" of the post-fall man and the "able to not sin" of the regenerate man might in practice look like exactly the same thing.

    What if two men, one from each camp, commit the same sin? How would the difference in the descriptions here make any difference unless you think it is possible that regenerated men cannot sin?

    Sent from my SM-A520F using Tapatalk
    Where is the evidence for a global flood?
    E≈mc2
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    • #47
      Originally posted by Stripe View Post
      I disagree. I hold to the doctrine of original sin. I don't redefine omniscience — it always means complete knowledge. I don't think I would even redefine original sin.

      The only issue I would take with this is that there's some equivocation inherent in the descriptions, and I think the descriptions are descriptive, not prescriptive.

      For example the "not able to not sin" of the post-fall man and the "able to not sin" of the regenerate man might in practice look like exactly the same thing.

      What if two men, one from each camp, commit the same sin? How would the difference in the descriptions here make any difference unless you think it is possible that regenerated men cannot sin?
      The difference is that the post-fall regenerate is able to not sin. Yes, we believers (the regenerated) will sin, that is not in dispute.

      However, the post-fall man (not regenerate) is can only sin. Being at enmity with God, the unregenerate possesses no ability to do what he ought to do: glorify God. Hence the need for God to act firstly for the unregenerate man, quickening him (Eze. 36:26; Eph. 2:4-5) such that he is now morally able to not sin.

      If you do not redefine original sin then you admit the total inability of fallen man in Adam (Jer. 17:9; Mark 7:21-23; Eph. 2:2; Eph. 2:4-5; Titus 3:5; John 3:19; Rom. 3:10-12; Rom. 5:6; Eph. 2:1; Psalm 51:5; Psalm 58:3; Eph. 2:3;1 Cor. 2:14; Rom. 6:16-20).

      I must say that is was wonderful to read this!

      AMR
      Embedded links in my posts or in my sig below are included for a reason. Tolle Lege.



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      • #48
        Originally posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
        Your problem is with a bizarre form of Calvinism, hyper-Calvinism, a heresy, as well as obvious disagreement on exactly what the fall of Adam entailed as relates to his progeny. Per the Reformed view, as a result of the fall of Adam all are born sinners in Adam. They do not become sinners by sinning later. Hence the lump of clay contemplated by God was a fallen lump of clay out of which a great multitude no man can number were elected unto salvation, the remainder left in their sins.

        Master the distinctions:
        http://www.romans45.org/articles/sup_infr.htm
        https://www.monergism.com/search?key...ism&format=All
        Hmmm. None of your options say, "cause the fall." I wonder why?

        The only form of Calvinism I'm familiar with is that promoted by the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF). If you want to call that hyper-calvinism, that's up to you. The WCF says that God pre- (from all eternity) ordained all events ("whatsoever may come to pass"), which must include Adam's sin, NOT based on foreknowing what's going to happen, but based on something else. That something else can't be anything from Adam, who didn't yet exist. Who did it come from? On what basis did God know the future of Adam, if not by foreseeing it?

        God, if He preordained the sin of Adam, had to preprogram Adam with the sin in order for God to know that he would sin, when he would sin, and how he would sinned, UNLESS you're saying He looks forward into time to see if Adam falls. It's that "whatsoever" that trips you up here. deciding when God starts to know what's going to happen in the future is a non-starter, unless you think God starts out as an open theist until man falls. Then he can lapse into some version of lapsarianism. But I think we can both agree that God doesn't change how He views the future.

        That statement from the WCF sounded so much like God is the author of sin that the authors of the confession had to make sure nobody thought that was what they meant, so they included the statement that "yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin". And it also sounded so much like men had no will of their own that they included the statement that "nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures".

        As I pointed out before, it is logically consistent that God makes everything come to pass, and that's how He knows what's going to happen. But the Confession won't go that far (fortunately). But there's a decided tension in those sections of Chapter III, you must admit.

        Being an open theist requires rejecting original sin as well as the omniscience (knowing all things past, present, and future) of God. And that is just for starters. The meaning of both terms have to be re-defined by the unsettled theist (open theist) in order to give the appearance of orthodoxy in discussions.

        AMR
        I'm not sure why you say open theists all reject the doctrine of original sin. I haven't. Maybe that's just me thinking open theists don't all have to agree on everything. I wonder that you impose so great a burden on open theists that you aren't willing to accept for Calvinists.

        Maybe I reject some of your proposed results of original sin, though. But there again, you don't even expect all Calvinists to agree with you 100%, do you?

        And I think the straw man of rejecting the omniscience of God has been sufficiently dealt with in this thread.

        Comment


        • #49
          Originally posted by Derf View Post
          The only form of Calvinism I'm familiar with is that promoted by the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF). If you want to call that hyper-calvinism, that's up to you. The WCF says that God pre- (from all eternity) ordained all events ("whatsoever may come to pass"), which must include Adam's sin, NOT based on foreknowing what's going to happen, but based on something else. That something else can't be anything from Adam, who didn't yet exist. Who did it come from? On what basis did God know the future of Adam, if not by foreseeing it?
          While it admirable you have taken up the WCF, try to study the entire WCF before drawing wrong conclusions. There is even a nice exposition of the WCF here so that you can check your conclusions against that which has withstood the test of time and cross-examination by the saints.

          WCF Chapter 3. Of God’s Eternal Decree
          1. God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: (Eph. 1:11,Rom. 11:33, Heb. 6:17, Rom. 9:15,18) yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, (James 1:13,17, 1 John 1:5) nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established. (Acts 2:23, Matt. 17:12, Acts 4:27-28, John 19:11, Prov. 16:33)


          Spoiler

          God knows all possible things, because he knew those things which he has created, before they were created, when they were yet in a possibility. If God knew things before they were created, he knew them when they were in a possibility, and not in actual reality. It is absurd to imagine that his understanding did lack after the creatures, and draw knowledge from them after they were created. It is absurd to think that God did create, before he knew what he could or would create. If he knew those things he did create when they were possible, he must know all things which he can create, and therefore all things that are possible.

          To conclude this, we must consider that this knowledge is of another kind than his knowledge of things that are or shall be. He sees possible things as possible, not as things that ever are or shall be. If he saw them as existing or future, and they shall never be, this knowledge would be false, there would be a deceit in it, which cannot be. He knows. those things not in themselves, because they are not, nor in their causes, because they shall never be: he knows them in his own power, not in his will: he understands them as able to produce them, not as willing to effect them. Things possible he knows only in his power; things future he knows both in his power and his will, as he is both able and determined in his own good pleasure to give being to them. Those that shall never come to pass, he knows only in himself as a sufficient cause; those things that shall come into being, he knows in himself as the efficient cause, and also in their immediate second causes. This should teach us to spend our thoughts in the admiration of the excellency of God, and the divine knowledge; his understanding is infinite.

          Src: Charnock, The Existence and Attributes of God, in particular here.


          God's decree includes the liberty of spontaneity of the moral agents created, their free-will, the ability to choose according to their greatest inclinations when they so choose. Indeed, the decree establishes that very liberty such that no violence is done to the will of the moral creature. God knows because He has ordained. Just because God knows Peter will sin is not a predication that Peter cannot refrain from sinning. Instead it is a predication that if God foreknew Peter would sin, then Peter does not refrain from sinning. Yes, God created Peter knowing that Peter, not God, will sin. God’s foreknowledge is not, simply considered, the cause of anything. It puts nothing into things, but only beholds them as equally vivid among all things God foreknows, and arising from their proper causes.
          God decrees to make a rational creature, and to govern him by a law; God decrees not to hinder this rational creature from transgressing his law; and God foresees that what he would not hinder, would come to pass. Man did not sin because God foresaw him; but God foresaw him to sin, because man would sin. If Adam and other men would have acted otherwise, God would have foreknown that they would have acted well; God foresaw our actions because they would so come to pass by the motion of our freewill, which he would permit, which he would concur with, which he would order to his own holy and glorious ends, for the manifestation of the perfection of his nature (Charnock, op. cit)

          God did not foreknow the actions of man, as necessary, but as free; so that liberty is rather established by this foreknowledge, than removed. God did not foreknow that Adam had not a power to stand, or that any man hath not a power to omit such a sinful action, but that he would not omit it. Man hath a power to do otherwise than that which God foreknows he will do. Adam was not determined by any inward necessity to fall, nor any man by any inward necessity to commit this or that particular sin; but God foresaw that he would fall, and fall freely; for he saw the whole circle of means and causes whereby such and such actions should be produced, and can be no more ignorant of the motions of our wills, and the manner of them, than an artificer can be ignorant of the motions of his watch, and how far the spring will let down the string in the space of an hour; he sees all causes leading to such events in their whole order, and how the free-will of man will comply with this, or refuse that; he changes not the manner of the creature’s operation, whatsoever it be. (Charnock, ibid.)

          The remainder of your post (e.g., your casuist programming bit) simply compounds the error of your understanding of the WCF's summaries of the teachings of Scripture as relates to the decree of God and the fall of man.

          Originally posted by Derf View Post
          I wonder that you impose so great a burden on open theists that you aren't willing to accept for Calvinists.
          ...
          Maybe I reject some of your proposed results of original sin, though. But there again, you don't even expect all Calvinists to agree with you 100%, do you?
          Yes, within Reformed and/or Calvinist thinking there are intramural debates about various topics, none of which entail casting aside the essentials. Accordingly, there is no disagreement within either camp as relates to the essential matter of original sin. In fact, if you could find a Calvinist denying the total inability of the unbeliever, which is the direct result of the fall of Adam, you have stumbled across someone who is a Calvinist in name only.

          By the way, I would like to find a nice systematic of open theism that lays out the doctrinal essentials that all open theists would agree upon. About the only single item I have divined on my own accord from years of study of open theism is that all open theists do not actually understand the doctrines of their polar opposites — Reformed / Calvinists.

          AMR
          Embedded links in my posts or in my sig below are included for a reason. Tolle Lege.



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          • #50
            Originally posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
            We believers (the regenerated) will sin, that is not in dispute.
            The problem is there is no functional difference between this state and the state of being "not able to not sin," unless there is equivocation on what constitutes sin.

            However, the post-fall man (not regenerate) is can only sin. Being at enmity with God, the unregenerate possesses no ability to do what he ought to do: glorify God. Hence the need for God to act firstly for the unregenerate man, quickening him (Eze. 36:26; Eph. 2:4-5) such that he is now morally able to not sin.
            And this, I think, exposes the equivocation. A man can perform acts that are good regardless of his state. Post-fall, a man could help an old lady across the street. The regenerate man can obviously do the same thing. This would be "good." So you must be talking about a metaphysical state, rather than an ability to perform action A or B.

            If you do not redefine original sin then you admit the total inability of fallen man in Adam (Jer. 17:9; Mark 7:21-23; Eph. 2:2; Eph. 2:4-5; Titus 3:5; John 3:19; Rom. 3:10-12; Rom. 5:6; Eph. 2:1; Psalm 51:5; Psalm 58:3; Eph. 2:3;1 Cor. 2:14; Rom. 6:16-20).
            None of those describe a "total inability" to perform action A or B. They point to the work of Jesus Christ as being the only power to save.

            I must say that is was wonderful to read this!
            Don't celebrate yet.
            Where is the evidence for a global flood?
            E≈mc2
            "the best maths don't need no stinkin' numbers"

            "The waters under the 'expanse' were under the crust."
            -Bob B.

            Comment


            • #51
              Originally posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
              WCF Chapter 3. Of God’s Eternal Decree
              1. God ... did ... ordain whatsoever comes to pass.
              2. God [is not] the author of sin.
              3. [No] violence offered to the will.
              Here's the problem: Those three things are not logically compatible and the only one that can be safely done away with is No. 1.

              So my options are either:
              A. Accept a logical contradiction, or
              B. Believe that God did not set every event in place.
              Where is the evidence for a global flood?
              E≈mc2
              "the best maths don't need no stinkin' numbers"

              "The waters under the 'expanse' were under the crust."
              -Bob B.

              Comment


              • #52
                Originally posted by Stripe View Post
                Here's the problem: Those three things are not logically compatible and the only one that can be safely done away with is No. 1.

                So my options are either:
                A. Accept a logical contradiction, or
                B. Believe that God did not set every event in place.
                Exactly. God is not the author of confusion.

                Comment


                • #53
                  Originally posted by Stripe View Post
                  And this, I think, exposes the equivocation. A man can perform acts that are good regardless of his state. Post-fall, a man could help an old lady across the street. The regenerate man can obviously do the same thing. This would be "good." So you must be talking about a metaphysical state, rather than an ability to perform action A or B.
                  There are no "good" acts performed by the unregenerate. Here, "good acts" does not mean acts of civil good, like helping the old lady across the road, giving to charity, etc.. Doing "good", not sinning, is glorifying God. The man helping the old lady has no such motives for what he does. He hates God with every breath he takes. The metaphysical distinction to obviate the position is irrelevant, for man is body and soul, a unit. Both are corrupted in the unregenerate state.

                  AMR
                  Embedded links in my posts or in my sig below are included for a reason. Tolle Lege.



                  Do you confess?
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                  AMR's Randomata Blog
                  Learn Reformed Doctrine
                  I fear explanations explanatory of things explained.
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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
                    There are no "good" acts performed by the unregenerate. Here, "good acts" does not mean acts of civil good, like helping the old lady across the road, giving to charity, etc.. Doing "good", not sinning, is glorifying God. The man helping the old lady has no such motives for what he does. He hates God with every breath he takes. The metaphysical distinction to obviate the position is irrelevant, for man is body and soul, a unit. Both are corrupted in the unregenerate state.

                    AMR
                    But that would not be the case pre-fall. It had to be the action, not a metaphysical state, that was the sin.

                    Sent from my SM-A520F using Tapatalk
                    Where is the evidence for a global flood?
                    E≈mc2
                    "the best maths don't need no stinkin' numbers"

                    "The waters under the 'expanse' were under the crust."
                    -Bob B.

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
                      There are no "good" acts performed by the unregenerate. Here, "good acts" does not mean acts of civil good, like helping the old lady across the road, giving to charity, etc.. Doing "good", not sinning, is glorifying God. The man helping the old lady has no such motives for what he does. He hates God with every breath he takes. The metaphysical distinction to obviate the position is irrelevant, for man is body and soul, a unit. Both are corrupted in the unregenerate state.

                      AMR
                      I think "good" is defined fairly well--"loving one's neighbor" is an example. We can postulate that unregenerate man never "loves his neighbor" without a foul motive, but I think there are reasonable arguments against that position. Sometimes people that are not believers (and therefore unregenerate, right?) do things to help others because others are in danger or need help. The good Samaritan parable was just such an example. The Samaritan, for all the Jewish leaders knew, was outside of the believing community. You can propose that he was actually regenerate, but then you have to propose that Muslims, Buddhists, and Wiccans are also sometimes regenerate.

                      If "good" is only defined in a metaphysical sense, then Christians don't need to actually perform acts of love toward their neighbors, they just have to convince God they are hating their neighbors for a good cause. That's exactly where the Lawyer was coming from:

                      [Luk 10:25 KJV] And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
                      [Luk 10:26 KJV] He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
                      ...
                      [Luk 10:37 KJV] And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

                      It was the one that showed mercy, the supposed unbeliever, not the believers that had some kind of unrealized good thoughts in their hearts for him.

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Stripe View Post
                        But that would not be the case pre-fall. It had to be the action, not a metaphysical state, that was the sin.
                        Adam sinned before taking the first bite of the fruit offered to him by Eve. Moral actions do not exist independent of volition unless someone has neurological disorders.

                        AMR
                        Embedded links in my posts or in my sig below are included for a reason. Tolle Lege.



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                        AMR's Randomata Blog
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                        The best TOL Social Group: here.
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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
                          While it admirable you have taken up the WCF, try to study the entire WCF before drawing wrong conclusions. There is even a nice exposition of the WCF here so that you can check your conclusions against that which has withstood the test of time and cross-examination by the saints.

                          WCF Chapter 3. Of God’s Eternal Decree
                          1. God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: (Eph. 1:11,Rom. 11:33, Heb. 6:17, Rom. 9:15,18) yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, (James 1:13,17, 1 John 1:5) nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established. (Acts 2:23, Matt. 17:12, Acts 4:27-28, John 19:11, Prov. 16:33)
                          [MENTION=4167]Stripe[/MENTION] handled this admirably.


                          God knows all possible things, because he knew those things which he has created, before they were created, when they were yet in a possibility. If God knew things before they were created, he knew them when they were in a possibility, and not in actual reality. It is absurd to imagine that his understanding did lack after the creatures, and draw knowledge from them after they were created. It is absurd to think that God did create, before he knew what he could or would create. If he knew those things he did create when they were possible, he must know all things which he can create, and therefore all things that are possible.

                          To conclude this, we must consider that this knowledge is of another kind than his knowledge of things that are or shall be. He sees possible things as possible, not as things that ever are or shall be. If he saw them as existing or future, and they shall never be, this knowledge would be false, there would be a deceit in it, which cannot be. He knows. those things not in themselves, because they are not, nor in their causes, because they shall never be: he knows them in his own power, not in his will: he understands them as able to produce them, not as willing to effect them. Things possible he knows only in his power; things future he knows both in his power and his will, as he is both able and determined in his own good pleasure to give being to them. Those that shall never come to pass, he knows only in himself as a sufficient cause; those things that shall come into being, he knows in himself as the efficient cause, and also in their immediate second causes. This should teach us to spend our thoughts in the admiration of the excellency of God, and the divine knowledge; his understanding is infinite.

                          Src: Charnock, The Existence and Attributes of God, in particular here.
                          I guess Charnock thinks God is an open theist, at least before He created. Why does God change to be a settled theist when he creates something?
                          God's decree includes the liberty of spontaneity of the moral agents created, their free-will, the ability to choose according to their greatest inclinations when they so choose.
                          So God preordained the inclinations? The inclinations then precede the man. And who is responsible for creating man with those particular inclinations?
                          Indeed, the decree establishes that very liberty such that no violence is done to the will of the moral creature. God knows because He has ordained.
                          I agree with this--that's what I've been saying. That God knows because He ordains, and not ordains because He knows. But ordaining something to happen or somebody to do something, before the players are created limits the agents in the play to just God, if the play is fully ordained.
                          Just because God knows Peter will sin is not a predication that Peter cannot refrain from sinning. Instead it is a predication that if God foreknew Peter would sin, then Peter does not refrain from sinning. Yes, God created Peter knowing that Peter, not God, will sin. God’s foreknowledge is not, simply considered, the cause of anything. It puts nothing into things, but only beholds them as equally vivid among all things God foreknows, and arising from their proper causes.
                          Yes, but we're not just dealing with God's foreknowledge, but His preordination, which DOES put something into things, if that preordination comes before the things are created. Else He doesn't know that the things (creatures) will actually perform what He has preordained for them. He can't preordain a bird to fly without giving it wings (or some other means of flight). He shouldn't punish a snail for not flying.

                          What he gave man was a brain and the ability to use it to create things, not ex nihilo (as far as we know), but from the materials He provided. If He decided whatsoever man was going to create, and when He was going to create it, man's not doing the creating, he's following a script

                          God decrees to make a rational creature, and to govern him by a law; God decrees not to hinder this rational creature from transgressing his law; and God foresees that what he would not hinder, would come to pass. Man did not sin because God foresaw him; but God foresaw him to sin, because man would sin. If Adam and other men would have acted otherwise, God would have foreknown that they would have acted well; God foresaw our actions because they would so come to pass by the motion of our freewill, which he would permit, which he would concur with, which he would order to his own holy and glorious ends, for the manifestation of the perfection of his nature (Charnock, op. cit)
                          I think this does away with the "whatsoever" part of III.1. I can understand if God foresaw that man would eventually sin (a general foreseeing), and dealt with that eventuality, but there are a whole lot of potential other things that God would have to preordain to foreknow "whatsoever" would come to pass, like when Adam would rub his eyes, or notice that he can wiggle his toes, or try doing a back flip, or...


                          God did not foreknow the actions of man, as necessary, but as free; so that liberty is rather established by this foreknowledge, than removed. God did not foreknow that Adam had not a power to stand, or that any man hath not a power to omit such a sinful action, but that he would not omit it. Man hath a power to do otherwise than that which God foreknows he will do. Adam was not determined by any inward necessity to fall, nor any man by any inward necessity to commit this or that particular sin; but God foresaw that he would fall, and fall freely; for he saw the whole circle of means and causes whereby such and such actions should be produced, and can be no more ignorant of the motions of our wills, and the manner of them, than an artificer can be ignorant of the motions of his watch, and how far the spring will let down the string in the space of an hour; he sees all causes leading to such events in their whole order, and how the free-will of man will comply with this, or refuse that; he changes not the manner of the creature’s operation, whatsoever it be. (Charnock, ibid.)
                          Not "whatsoever it be" but "whatsoever it will be". But since the creature is not yet created when God does this ("from all eternity") what exactly is He not changing?

                          God foreknew actions of men as free? Free of what, the man himself? The actions must precede the man if God knows them before the man is created--therefore the man is not free. His actions "whatsoever" of them, are foreknown, and thus, according to the confession, predetermined.




                          The remainder of your post (e.g., your casuist programming bit) simply compounds the error of your understanding of the WCF's summaries of the teachings of Scripture as relates to the decree of God and the fall of man.


                          Yes, within Reformed and/or Calvinist thinking there are intramural debates about various topics, none of which entail casting aside the essentials. Accordingly, there is no disagreement within either camp as relates to the essential matter of original sin. In fact, if you could find a Calvinist denying the total inability of the unbeliever, which is the direct result of the fall of Adam, you have stumbled across someone who is a Calvinist in name only.
                          Even Calvinists will allow for some ability, even if it is an ability to withhold from a particular sin, at least for awhile. I would prefer that Calvinists would instead concentrate on the inability of the unbeliever to save themselves, rather than to do good. It's much more consistent with Paul in Rom 2:14.

                          By the way, I would like to find a nice systematic of open theism that lays out the doctrinal essentials that all open theists would agree upon. About the only single item I have divined on my own accord from years of study of open theism is that all open theists do not actually understand the doctrines of their polar opposites — Reformed / Calvinists.

                          AMR
                          I've heard you voice this before. I guess then you wouldn't have to deal with the real me, just the confessional me. I can understand that sentiment, as I'm using the WCF to help you see what you believe.
                          Last edited by Derf; August 17th, 2018, 05:23 PM.

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Derf View Post
                            So God preordained the inclinations? The inclinations then precede the man. And who is responsible for creating man with those particular inclinations?
                            I agree with this--that's what I've been saying. That God knows because He ordains, and not ordains because He knows. But ordaining something to happen or somebody to do something, before the players are created limits the agents in the play to just God, if the play is fully ordained.
                            You continue to hang your arguments on the premise that something must actually exist in temporal time. Such is the presupposition of the open theist, who can go on to declare the future does not exist, so God does not know anything about it. I have answered this fallacy previously above. I cannot say more than to remind you to consult Charnock or others so linked earlier.

                            Inclinations spring from one's nature, expressed as actions, the fruits of the will, which is attached to nature. God has established the free will of the person. God knows AMR will refrain from this or that, or do this or that. God is not proximally causing me to do or not to do. Certainly God is the first cause. But His antecedent causation is done within the realm of necessary, contingent, and free secondary occurrences.

                            This "must exist first" harangue appears to be a stumbling block for you. I advise again that you take up and read other materials on the matter. You could not make this argument time and again if you had actually read, say Charnock, or others. At the least you would interact with these arguments pointedly to make your case. As things stand, you are repeating yourself and I am not obliged to do the heavy lifting for you. That said, I do take the time to provide plenty of external materials and other readings that are contained in the links of my posts for those that want to do some individual research and become more informed.

                            Again, the links I provided treat these issues in painful detail. Moreover just because these links are at an obvious "settled theist" site does not mean they take the usual tactic of what one finds in your posts and that of others and can just be summarily dismissed because of one's own biases.

                            In fact, you will find in most Reformed materials that no one has overlooked one of the most important axioms of serious polemical theology. If you aim to win over as many opponents as possible, you must prove yourself capable of understanding and articulating that opponent’s position at least as knowledgeably and convincingly as he or she—and only then refute it. If instead just a few of your opponents recognize their own position in your description (caricature?) of it, you’re unlikely to gain a respectful hearing from those who, on your assumptions, must actually need it.

                            Originally posted by Derf View Post
                            I can understand if God foresaw that man would eventually sin (a general foreseeing), and dealt with that eventuality, but there are a whole lot of potential other things that God would have to preordain to foreknow "whatsoever" would come to pass, like when Adam would rub his eyes, or notice that he can wiggle his toes, or try doing a back flip, or...
                            As a thought experiment, how does the open theist escape the same complaint? Open theists will affirm that God will ultimately achieve His end for His creation. Apparently at least one thing is actually settled concerning the future, no? If not, what is the Biblical hope we are confident will actually take place?

                            So how exactly does God pull that off given all the myriad of contingencies that are involved? Is God just biding His time awaiting for all these things to fall into place, never inclining the will of others via secondary means because the open theist "will" is the Holiest of Holies? For that matter, what guarantee exists that all these apparently autonomous occurrences will ever come to be? It sounds like the old erroneous nonsense of a million monkeys typing forever will inevitably type out Encyclopedia Brittanica.

                            In the final analysis, your position is one seeking to understand how exactly God pulls it all off, reconciling total sovereignty with human responsibility. Let me say quite clearly that no answer is given us in Scripture. What Scripture should teach us about the matter is that the same God that created all that exists in our temporal universe did so by mere speech act. We should thus be confident that this same God is able to rule as He sees fit to rule, yet justly hold man accountable. Both are affirmed in Holy Writ. We should not strive to dilute one in favor of the other. As Spurgeon once noted, there is no need to reconcile these friends in Scripture.

                            AMR
                            Embedded links in my posts or in my sig below are included for a reason. Tolle Lege.



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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Derf View Post
                              I think "good" is defined fairly well--"loving one's neighbor" is an example. We can postulate that unregenerate man never "loves his neighbor" without a foul motive, but I think there are reasonable arguments against that position. Sometimes people that are not believers (and therefore unregenerate, right?) do things to help others because others are in danger or need help. The good Samaritan parable was just such an example. The Samaritan, for all the Jewish leaders knew, was outside of the believing community. You can propose that he was actually regenerate, but then you have to propose that Muslims, Buddhists, and Wiccans are also sometimes regenerate.
                              You appear to have waved off or overlooked my response on the matter of "good". You are arguing that "good" civil acts are actually "good" in the eye of God when done by the non-believer; that there is come condign merit at play. You ignore the motives of these actions, which in no way are aligned with our highest good.

                              1. That which is our salvation, glory, strength, shield, and, indeed, all things whatsoever are necessary to our blessedness, that is our highest good.
                              2. God alone is our salvation, glory, strength, shield and all things whatsoever are necessary to our blessedness:
                              3. Therefore God alone is our highest good.

                              AMR
                              Embedded links in my posts or in my sig below are included for a reason. Tolle Lege.



                              Do you confess?
                              Founder, Reformed Theology Institute
                              AMR's Randomata Blog
                              Learn Reformed Doctrine
                              I fear explanations explanatory of things explained.
                              Christian, catholic, Calvinist, confessional, Presbyterian (PCA).
                              Lex orandi, lex credenda: everyone is a Calvinist on their knees.
                              The best TOL Social Group: here.
                              If your username appears in blue and you have over 500 posts:
                              Why?


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                              • #60
                                Originally posted by Stripe View Post
                                Here's the problem: Those three things are not logically compatible and the only one that can be safely done away with is No. 1.

                                So my options are either:
                                A. Accept a logical contradiction, or
                                B. Believe that God did not set every event in place.
                                A third option is to understand what the decree of God actually means and entails. Unfortunately, not a few anti-Calvinists hearing the word "ordain" immediately move to odd notions of fatalism because they have not taken the time to understand this important theology proper (being, attributes, works of God) topic.

                                http://theologyonline.com/showthread...=1#post2251901

                                AMR
                                Embedded links in my posts or in my sig below are included for a reason. Tolle Lege.



                                Do you confess?
                                Founder, Reformed Theology Institute
                                AMR's Randomata Blog
                                Learn Reformed Doctrine
                                I fear explanations explanatory of things explained.
                                Christian, catholic, Calvinist, confessional, Presbyterian (PCA).
                                Lex orandi, lex credenda: everyone is a Calvinist on their knees.
                                The best TOL Social Group: here.
                                If your username appears in blue and you have over 500 posts:
                                Why?


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