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Thread: A Question for Open Theists

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    A Question for Open Theists

    If man has libertarian free will, making him accountable for his actions apart from God’s will, how do you understand/explain these texts where God is clearly the cause of the action, but the action is clearly ascribed to the human agents, attributing blame as well.

    Exodus 7:2-3; 11:9 – “But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. . . . Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Pharaoh will not listen to you, that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.’”

    Deuteronomy 2:30 – “But Sihon the king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him, for the Lord your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that he might give him into your hand, as he is this day.”

    1 Samuel 2:25 – “If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the Lord to put them to death.” (Eli’ sons)

    2 Samuel 17:14 – “And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.” For the Lord had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the Lord might bring harm upon Absalom.”

    1 Kings 12:15 – “So the king did not listen to the people, for it was a turn of affairs brought about by the Lord that he might fulfill his word, which the Lord spoke by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat” (Rehoboam did not listed to the people and his failure to do so was Gods work in fulfilling his Word).

    2 Chronicles 25:16, 20 – “But as he was speaking, the king said to him, “Have we made you a royal counselor? Stop! Why should you be struck down?” So the prophet stopped, but said, ‘I know that God has determined to destroy you, because you have done this and have not listened to my counsel.’ . . . But Amaziah would not listen, for it was of God, in order that he might give them into the hand of their enemies, because they had sought the gods of Edom.”

    Ezra 6:22 – “And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the Lord had made them joyful and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.” (the king was against this, but he changed his mind, but the Lord turned his heart—will—to give them aid)

    Daniel 11:36 – “And the king shall do as he wills. He shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods. He shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished; for what is decreed shall be done.” (Here the King does as he wills, as it was decreed that he should.)

    All the actions attributed to the parties involved were determined to come to pass according the Lord, and they are held accountable for them as well (Or shown that the Lord changes one’s will—Ezra 6:22—to conform to God’s purposes).

    I ask because in the open theist literature that I have read (Boyd, Sanders, Pinnock, Rice), none of them interact with these texts.
    If someone has addressed these already, can you provide the link on this discussion board for me? Thanks

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    See...

    Original Lamerson - Pastor Enyart Debate
    http://www.theologyonline.com/forums...ad.php?t=21711

    AMR - Pastor Enyart 1:1 Thread
    http://www.theologyonline.com/forums...ad.php?t=41620

    Also see interaction with the texts within free pdf book available for download here:

    http://www.desiringgod.org/books/beyond-the-bounds

    Have you reviewed the Open Theism archive threads, 1 through 3 here shown below?

    http://www.theologyonline.com/forums...ad.php?t=19592 6,789 Posts
    http://www.theologyonline.com/forums...ad.php?t=38999 8,096 Posts
    http://www.theologyonline.com/forums...ad.php?t=51812 3,573 Posts (18,458 posts total)

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    Great, thanks. Also, thank you for the links you PM'd to me; very good material.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianJOrr View Post
    If man has libertarian free will, making him accountable for his actions apart from God’s will, how do you understand/explain these texts where God is clearly the cause of the action, but the action is clearly ascribed to the human agents, attributing blame as well.
    Good questions.

    Exodus 7:2-3; 11:9 – “But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. . . . Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Pharaoh will not listen to you, that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.’”
    This is an idiom. It means that God did things to Pharaoh such as would cause Pharaoh not to like him. We might say 'he softened him up'. This is quite clear from the subsequent narrative: God gave Pharaoh four small plagues in the hope that Pharoah would acknowledge YHWH was God and then he said that he had given him these plagues to show him his glory. But if he did not let Israel go, then he would really start to do business. This is what is meant by 'God sustained Pharaoh' or 'God caused him to stand'. The first four plagues were tempered so that Pharoah could comfortably stand through them. This is erroneously interpreted by the Septuagint as 'God raised you up'. God of course knew that Pharaoh would not let Israel go after four small plagues (because he knew his character) but he did give him the opportunity.

    Deuteronomy 2:30 – “But Sihon the king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him, for the Lord your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that he might give him into your hand, as he is this day.”
    Same. And there are other places where this idiom has been substantially misinterpreted.

    1 Samuel 2:25 – “If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the Lord to put them to death.” (Eli’ sons)
    In other words, God did nothing to stop them being themselves. He did nothing to persuade them to repent. He showed them no sign.

    2 Samuel 17:14 – “And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.” For the Lord had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the Lord might bring harm upon Absalom.”
    Whatever God did, he persuaded them to believe that Hushai was right and Ahitophel wrong. How he did this is not stated. Notice in particular that God is here reacting to the advice of Ahitophel, which, if followed, would have led to David's demise.

    1 Kings 12:15 – “So the king did not listen to the people, for it was a turn of affairs brought about by the Lord that he might fulfill his word, which the Lord spoke by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat” (Rehoboam did not listed to the people and his failure to do so was Gods work in fulfilling his Word).
    Same as above. We do not know what God did to persuade the king not to listen. Perhaps God knew that the king would not listen to the people (through knowing his character) and just let it happen. Perhaps it was more proactive than that. I don't think it makes any difference.

    2 Chronicles 25:16, 20 – “But as he was speaking, the king said to him, “Have we made you a royal counselor? Stop! Why should you be struck down?” So the prophet stopped, but said, ‘I know that God has determined to destroy you, because you have done this and have not listened to my counsel.’ . . . But Amaziah would not listen, for it was of God, in order that he might give them into the hand of their enemies, because they had sought the gods of Edom.”
    Same. But again, Amaziah could have changed history then and there by listening and obeying and repenting. The prophet was there to give him a chance. So that no one could lay the blame on God. It was in order that he might be defeated but he could have changed that.

    Ezra 6:22 – “And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the Lord had made them joyful and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.” (the king was against this, but he changed his mind, but the Lord turned his heart—will—to give them aid)
    It's this heart idiom again. It doesn't mean that God controlled his will.

    Daniel 11:36 – “And the king shall do as he wills. He shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods. He shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished; for what is decreed shall be done.” (Here the King does as he wills, as it was decreed that he should.)
    I don't see a lot of point in commenting on a passage which in form is all future prophecy anyway.

    All the actions attributed to the parties involved were determined to come to pass according the Lord, and they are held accountable for them as well (Or shown that the Lord changes one’s will—Ezra 6:22—to conform to God’s purposes).
    The Lord made them joyful - same idiom as hardening the heart. It doesn't mean that God manipulated their heart directly to be joyful. It means God gave them cause to rejoice. Same with the heart of the king of Assyria. God gave him cause to favour the Israelites.

    I ask because in the open theist literature that I have read (Boyd, Sanders, Pinnock, Rice), none of them interact with these texts.
    Consider them interacted with!
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    Desert Reign,

    I need clarity in your first justification. After exactly four small plagues, God knew Pharaoh would respond in the way he did. That sounds more like foreknowledge than understanding one's character. Also, do you have training in LXX translation and exegesis? Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianJOrr View Post
    If man has libertarian free will.
    A man has a will. If it is not "libertarian" and "free," it is not a will.
    How do you understand/explain these texts where God is clearly the cause of the action, but the action is clearly ascribed to the human agents, attributing blame as well.
    The actions God took did not make the outcomes necessary.

    All the actions attributed to the parties involved were determined to come to pass according the Lord, and they are held accountable for them as well.
    As men should be held accountable for their choices.
    Where is the evidence for a global flood?
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    Stripe, can you elaborate more on your second comment. Thanks

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    All of humanity is born lost, already condemned and headed to hell. God doesn't harden anyone that they should not repent. He simply alows those who have already been lost to harden their resolve so to speak.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianJOrr View Post
    Stripe, can you elaborate more on your second comment. Thanks
    The actions God took, for example: initiating a plague, did not necessitate Pharoah's response.
    Where is the evidence for a global flood?
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    So, what did it necessitate? He obviously had a purpose in mind, right?

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    Stripe,

    Desert Reign said, "God of course knew that Pharaoh would not let Israel go after four small plagues (because he knew his character) but he did give him the opportunity."

    But you said, "The actions God took, for example: initiating a plague, did not necessitate Pharoah's response."

    God doesn't do things in perfect wisdom wastefully. He knew that bringing about the four plagues (as Desert Reign notes), would bring about Pharaohs response (necessarily).

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianJOrr View Post
    So, what did it necessitate? He obviously had a purpose in mind, right?
    It brought about what was expected.

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianJOrr View Post
    Stripe, Desert Reign said, "God of course knew that Pharaoh would not let Israel go after four small plagues (because he knew his character) but he did give him the opportunity." But you said, "The actions God took, for example: initiating a plague, did not necessitate Pharoah's response." God doesn't do things in perfect wisdom wastefully. He knew that bringing about the four plagues (as Desert Reign notes), would bring about Pharaohs response (necessarily).
    Not necessarily. Pharaoh always had a choice.
    Where is the evidence for a global flood?
    E≈mc2
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    Bad to swallow you whole
    Kick the clay that holds the teeth in
    Throw your trolls out the door

    "The waters under the 'expanse' were under the crust."
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianJOrr View Post
    Stripe,

    Desert Reign said, "God of course knew that Pharaoh would not let Israel go after four small plagues (because he knew his character) but he did give him the opportunity."

    But you said, "The actions God took, for example: initiating a plague, did not necessitate Pharoah's response."

    God doesn't do things in perfect wisdom wastefully. He knew that bringing about the four plagues (as Desert Reign notes), would bring about Pharaohs response (necessarily).
    yeah but, brianJ - none of that explains why God did any of that at all. i mean, why didn't God just come right out and tell us, look, if you people obey me, and do as i command, you can save everyone alot pain and anguish. i mean, why put us through all this ? why not destroy evil, right when it started ? why brianJ ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianJOrr View Post
    Desert Reign,

    I need clarity in your first justification. After exactly four small plagues, God knew Pharaoh would respond in the way he did. That sounds more like foreknowledge than understanding one's character. Also, do you have training in LXX translation and exegesis? Thanks
    Foreknowledge is not required to have present knowledge. God knew Pharaoh's character, thus He knew what to expect. But Pharaoh could have done something different than expected, as Nineveh did.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stripe View Post
    A man has a will. If it is not "libertarian" and "free," it is not a will.


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    Lighthouse, read your post again. Isn't the whole premise of LFW that one's actions cannot be predicted? Because if you think about it, if God who knows us--our thoughts, desires, strengths, and weaknesses--perfectly, and knows every possibility based on what situation he presents to us (these are all points Boyd, Sanders, and Rice affirm), then God could bring about a situation by his omnipotent will to get the intended response he desires to bring about his purposes. And God, just as Desert Reign states, knew that Pharaoh would respond after four plagues.

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