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Thread: Unconditional Election vs. Total Depravity

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    TOL Legend Jerry Shugart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MennoSota View Post
    No
    God chose sinners. God made those who were dead in their trespasses and sins, alive in Christ so that they would have the faith to believe. This is shown very clearly in Ephesians and Colossians. Will you ignore other scripture in order to cling to your own position?
    Let's look at this verse from Ephesians which speaks on people being dead in their sins:

    "And you did he make alive, when ye were dead through your trespasses and sins" (Eph.2:1).

    Paul tells these Christians that they were previously dead in their sins. They weren't previously dead physically but instead spiritually. And they died spiritually when they sinned so that means that they were alive spiritually before they sinned.

    That can only mean that these people emerged from the womb spiritully alive. And that matches what we read here:

    "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people" (Heb.2:17).

    IN ALL THINGS. The Lord's brethren emerge from the womb spiritually alive and since the Lord was made like them "in all things" He too emerged from the womb spiritually alive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
    Let's look at this verse from Ephesians which speaks on people being dead in their sins:

    "And you did he make alive, when ye were dead through your trespasses and sins" (Eph.2:1).

    Paul tells these Christians that they were previously dead in their sins. They weren't previously dead physically but instead spiritually. And they died spiritually when they sinned so that means that they were alive spiritually before they sinned.

    That can only mean that these people emerged from the womb spiritully alive. And that matches what we read here:

    "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people" (Heb.2:17).

    IN ALL THINGS. The Lord's brethren emerge from the womb spiritually alive and since the Lord was made like them "in all things" He too emerged from the womb spiritually alive.
    No, it does not mean, nor does it imply that humans are born innocent.
    Psalm 51:5 tells us, "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me."
    We are spiritually dead at conception. We are born as rebels. Scientists have observed children as young as 6 months already deceiving their parents.

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    TOL Legend Jerry Shugart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MennoSota View Post
    No, it does not mean, nor does it imply that humans are born innocent.
    Psalm 51:5 tells us, "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me."
    In this passage David was using figurative language while confessing to the LORD his deep sense of guilt for his sin. When we examine the context where David speaks of being conceived in sin we see that David employed figurative language numerous times, or else we must believe that God breaks the bones of people when they sin or that the broken bones rejoice when forgiven.

    In order to find the truth about how people are made must look at what David said at another place about how He was created by God:

    "For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well" (Ps.139:13-14).

    What David says here matches perfectly with what we read here:

    "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people" (Heb.2:17).

    According to your ideas all people are born as rebels and in sin despite the fact that the Scriptures declare in no uncertain terms that the Lord Jesus was made like His brethren IN ALL THINGS!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
    In this passage David was using figurative language while confessing to the LORD his deep sense of guilt for his sin. When we examine the context where David speaks of being conceived in sin we see that David employed figurative language numerous times, or else we must believe that God breaks the bones of people when they sin or that the broken bones rejoice when forgiven.

    In order to find the truth about how people are made must look at what David said at another place about how He was created by God:

    "For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well" (Ps.139:13-14).

    What David says here matches perfectly with what we read here:

    "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people" (Heb.2:17).

    According to your ideas all people are born as rebels and in sin despite the fact that the Scriptures declare in no uncertain terms that the Lord Jesus was made like His brethren IN ALL THINGS!
    You say David used figurative language, but you force sin/perfection into Hebrews2:7 and demand no nuance. You then take Psalm 139, which speaks nothing about perfection and try to force it into Hebrews 2. You simply provide an example of poor hermaneutics.
    You also ignore the evidence provided by scientific observation. Children as young as 6 months reveal the corruption of their nature.
    We are in a classic nature versus nurture argument. Trace your argument back and it shows your nurture theory to be incorrect.
    As long as you insist upon creating your theology from one sentence and not the entirety of scripture, we will be at an impasse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MennoSota View Post
    As long as you insist upon creating your theology from one sentence and not the entirety of scripture, we will be at an impasse.
    One sentence?

    So far I have quoted Hebrews 2:17, Ephesians 2:1 and Psalm 139:13-14 to prove my point.

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    Over 500 post club ttruscott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clete View Post
    So once again, one of the most basic concepts of Christianity, in this case 'justice', hoists the Calvinist by his own pitard.
    Clete
    Please consider: Here's some fodder from the mill:

    Romans 8:29 For whom HE did foreknow, HE also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of HIS Son.
    From this verse we can see that the predestination of the elect is based on the foreknowledge of GOD. Now everyone admits that in this verse, the word “fore” means before life. Therefore, they think that it also means before creation as if our earthly life was the same as our created spirit life. I wonder if this is a valid and reasonable link to make?

    GOD obviously does not before life know everybody since not everyone will become like Jesus, as Rom 8:29 just said predestination means and as per Matthew 7:21–23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ which tells us what knowing means, emphasising the idea that loving is knowing and knowing about has no love. James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder.
    Jesus obviously knew about the demons and knew about the miracle workers but this knowing contained no love as it is plain, He never knew them.

    [Revelation 20:15, And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.] This means that foreknow must carry the idea of approval. As one commentator stated it, “Whom HE foreknew” is virtually equivalent to “whom HE foreloved”.

    Now this question comes to mind: if it is true that no one had been created at the time of this foreknowledge, on what basis does GOD "before life" love some and not the rest?

    1. Merit based Election before Creation?
    The basis cannot be, as some have suggested, some merit in humans, first because no one exists yet; second, because the ones HE foreloves will be just as defiled in life as any other; and third, because the Scriptures say election is not on the basis of the creature's works or choices in life, but rather on HIS unmerited favour:
    Romans 9:11 For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of GOD according to election might stand, not of works, but of HIM that calleth...

    Romans 9:16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of GOD that sheweth mercy.
    Therefore, we can surmise that GOD does not "before life" love some because HE has divined that they will have some merit in their life.

    2. Election to Damnation before Creation Serves HIS Purpose?
    Others have suggested that GOD "before life" loved only some because this is more beneficial for HIS purposes than if HE before life loved everyone. The explanation goes something like this:

    The loved ones' eternal joy is directly proportional to their knowledge, appreciation, of GOD and the wonderfulness of their salvation. Therefore an increase of good comes forth from the eternal damnation of some persons for by their damnation, that is, the outcome of Adam's decision to sin, and HIS "before life" decision not to love these persons, two types of eternal blessings supposedly occur for the rest.

    First, a fuller appreciation of several of God's attributes is made possible, which opportunity wouldn't be possible if all lived forever, that is, if HE "before life" loved them all. These attributes are usually said to be HIS justness (retribution / wrath) holiness and omnipotence.

    Secondly, the truth regarding the elects' end apart from Christ's salvation is made fully known, which full knowledge makes possible the fuller appreciation of HIS salvation, for this salvation (hence, HIS mercy too) would not be so fully appreciated without the graphic depiction of both ends.

    Others even go so far as to say that their damnation is absolutely necessary in order that the purpose of GOD be able to be fulfilled by HIS elect, and they offer this explanation:

    In order to live in eternity with GOD, we must live fully in the truth, which necessity necessitates having a perfect appreciation of GOD's attributes and HIS salvation, and that this perfect appreciation by HIS elect creatures is made possible first, only through witnessing HIS triumph over and judgement upon HIS enemies, and second, only when HIS perfection and our life in Christ are contrasted with the complete imperfections of the damned and the end we would have had, had HE not saved us.

    Now, these are very hard positions to hold, for they fail on many accounts.

    First, they both fail to answer or give a reasonable basis for why HE chose the particular ones HE did and why HE did not choose the rest. In other words, they both deny the faithful and unselfish character of GOD's love, in that they limit it without just cause and look on it as somewhat capricious.

    Secondly, they both necessitate the unproven presupposition that it is impossible for GOD to perfect HIS creatures HIMSELF, that HE needs the presence of evil in order to bring HIS creation to its highest potential. In other words we must accept, for example, that in GOD’S world one has to first be sick in order to be healthy, or sinful in order to be faultless [and the more sinful (or sick) the better].

    Third, they both fail to satisfactorily answer the question of how the damnation of millions makes us more appreciative / perfect than would be the damnation of but one, since it is the moral depravity of those in hell that is supposed to make for the increased appreciation / perfection and not the quantity of persons therein.

    Fourthly, they both put a very small value on the worth of the individual creature in the eyes of GOD.

    Well, since the reason for GOD's foreknowledge/forelove not including everyone can not be found in HIS divination of merit in some creatures and since a reasonable answer has not been put forward for why GOD does it particularly, we are left with but two conclusions: We must either look for the answer elsewhere, in some area we have not looked before, or we must put the basis of HIS foreknowledge down to unreasonable chance.

    This would mean that there is no reason for HIS particular "before life"love. [Aside: as I understand it, this is Calvin's failure to understand this doctrine correctly.] GOD's election / foreknowing is thus based on eenie, meenie, minie, mo, but how can you put your faith in a GOD like that? How much better to admit that we should start looking in some area we have not looked yet, and since we cannot find any of those, why not finally admit that we need a revelation from GOD to give us an infinitely loving answer to this problem?

    Now, according to preconception theology, the "before life" love (foreknowledge) of GOD, that is, HIS pre-human life approval of some and rejection of the rest is based on the prior uncoerced choice of the creature (in Sheol, before the creation of the physical universe) and on HIS infinite love, which means that HE will never stop loving anyone who can possibly ever come to glorify HIM. Therein is the reason why HE loved some "before this life" and why HE did not love the rest.

    Some had chosen to eternally defile themselves and some had not. Some had decided to never ever fulfil HIS purpose by choosing to sin the unforgivable sin and some were still able to fulfil HIS purpose; some willingly, (angels) and others only if HE was infallibly gracious (by means of election) to them (His fallen church). Yes, and He predestined these to be conformed to the image of HIS Son, and HE predestined the evil ones who were condemned already for the Day of Judgement and established them for the correction of the fallen elect.

    Now, I ask you, which doctrine is the more scriptural and reasonable and compatible with the attributes of GOD?


    2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to HIS own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. This Scripture does not prove that we existed before our conception as humans. The reason I am including it is that I believe that it does not invalidate pre-conception theology, and I am sure a lot of people will think that it and others like it do.

    May I submit that when the Scriptures speak of works in relation to our election, they are referring to only our works after we're born, ie, no one was elected on account of any works they would do in this life as a sinner.

    Now, if there is anyone who would like to disagree with me on this and would like to debate whether Paul intended that our pre-human life works were also to be included in the works that were excluded as part of the basis of GOD's election, I would be very interested in seeing your argument. I suppose this isn't necessary, but I would like to (first) point out that any such argument must admit to our pre-conception existence.

    The second thing I would like to point out is that we were called according to HIS purpose. This must mean so that we could fulfil HIS purpose for us. But if this is so, then there must be an uncoerced choice on our part if we are ever to have the possibility of glorifying GOD. His purpose for us necessitates a free will choice to join that purpose or it is a tape recorder, Stepford wife, type of agreement.

    Therefore I say that being called according to HIS purpose and grace is almost exactly the same as saying, being called in accord with our uncoerced choice and HIS covenant, and if making that choice is a work, since earthly works are out, then it is the same as saying, Being called in accord with a pre-conception work and HIS gracious covenant to those who performed that work.

    The third thing I would like to point out is that the angels are elected too. 1 Timothy 5:21 I charge thee before GOD and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the ELECT angels... Angels are a lot different than men (at least, that is what many believe), ie, they do not have what is usually called “racial solidarity”. This means that they have to make all their own choices. No one else can make them for them and they cannot be held accountable for someone else's evil choices. In other words, Adam's choices do not affect them at all (supposedly). Perhaps you would like to tell me on what basis GOD elected only some of them?

    If it was not on the basis of their individual choices, then they had to be elected before the satanic rebellion, at least. But if GOD's election took place before the satanic rebellion, would this not lead us into the pretty incredulous situation of some unblemished creatures being unjustly un-predestined to remain in heaven, or predestined for hell?

    And what reasonable basis can we put forward for this situation other than HE simply did not want them to be with HIM forever? This situation does not look too good, does it?

    Well then, what if no one was elected before the rebellion what if GOD's election took place after the rebellion? Then GOD's election took place after they all had made an eternal choice, and presumably that choice would be taken into account when GOD was doing HIS electing. It would have to be if HE was holy and just.
    Now, the main thing I am trying to bring out with all of this is that when we just begin to consider the election of angels, we run into some pretty unreasonable implications if we leave out their choice as being a part of the basis of their election, and the only other real alternative necessitates that we accept that their eternal choice was at least a part of the basis of their election.

    Well, if you are willing to accept the possibility of their choice / works being a part of the basis of their election, why can that not be a part of the basis of ours too?

    May I submit that the only thing going against that possibility is the presupposition that Paul, in 2 Timothy 1:9 is excluding all our works, and I have to admit, that is what it seems to say, that is, what it seems to say until we look at Paul's definition of elective works in Romans 9:11 For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of GOD according to election might stand, not of works, but of HIM that calleth.

    Now, I do not think that I will get much argument when I say that the works of 2 Timothy 1:9 are the same works as are mentioned in this verse in Romans. In other words, Paul defines works the same in both verses. And just how does he define works? Well, in Romans, Paul is referring to Genesis 25:22 And the children struggled together within her. The children are Jacob and Esau, and Paul says that at the time of GOD's statement to Rebecca, to the effect that the elder shall serve the younger, that neither of them had done any good or evil works.

    But the reason Rebecca had prayed to GOD was that she was having such a hard time of it because Jacob and Esau were fighting* so much in the womb. Now, if they were fighting, at least one, if not both, had to be being evil, that is, doing evil works, since it is impossible that both were following the Holy Spirit in their struggles with each other. So, although it is possible that neither was being good, it is impossible that neither was being evil.
    * The word is not to jostle or struggle or to wrestle but to try to crush each other to pieces! Why tame down this word? To tame down their being sinful in the womb which makes Paul, on the surface, to be a liar. Do you think he knew this quirk of logical analysis would some day come to light and put it in as a testimony to their evil pre-human conception?

    Well now, we either have a blatant contradiction and must dismiss Paul's works theology as being somewhat amiss, or we have to admit that the Pauline definition of works does not exclude pre-birth works from being a part of the basis of our election.

    In fact, by his omission of their pre-birth works in those works that are excluded as being a part of the basis of our election, he must be inferring that some pre-birth works have something to do with it. To say this all another way, what we have here in Romans is a classic example of a Scripture with some missing words, that is, what Paul is really saying is, neither having done any good or evil works (on the post-birth side of the womb) that the purpose of GOD according to election might stand, not of works (done on the post-birth side of the womb) but of HIM that calleth (when one is on the post-birth side of the womb).

    Thus we can see that Paul did not exclude our pre-human birth works from being a part of the basis of our election.
    I Champion GOD’s holiness:
    - GOD did not need evil so did not create evil for any reason.
    - All evil is creature-created.

    I Champion Our Free will:
    - All spirits created in HIS image had an equal ability and opportunity to choose either heaven or hell by their free will.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
    One sentence?

    So far I have quoted Hebrews 2:17, Ephesians 2:1 and Psalm 139:13-14 to prove my point.
    You are making Hebrews 2:17 the key verse and then trying to shove other verses in as proof. The other verses don't fit.
    The fact is that humans are sinful. Either Jesus was sinful or he was perfect. He cannot be both. If Jesus is exactly like other humans in every way, as you are claiming, then you are forced to state that Jesus was a sinner.
    My point is that you are misinterpreting Hebrews 2:17.

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    TOL Legend Jerry Shugart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ttruscott View Post
    Please consider: Here's some fodder from the mill:

    Romans 8:29 For whom HE did foreknow, HE also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of HIS Son.
    From this verse we can see that the predestination of the elect is based on the foreknowledge of GOD. Now everyone admits that in this verse, the word “fore” means before life. Therefore, they think that it also means before creation as if our earthly life was the same as our created spirit life. I wonder if this is a valid and reasonable link to make?
    If the verse which precedes the one you quoted is examined we can see that those who are spoken of as being "predestined" are actually the saved, so the "predestination" is not unto salvation.

    "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren"
    (Ro.8:28-29).

    The key to the teaching of this passage depends on an understanding of the meaning of the Greek word translated "for" found at the beginning of verse twenty-nine. The word is a conjuction which ties the two verses together, and the word means "the reason why anything is said to be or be done..it is added to a speaker's words to show what ground he gives for his opinion" (Thayer's Greek English Lexicon).

    Here is another translation which makes the meaning even more clear:

    "And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters" (Ro.8:28-29; NET).

    At Romans 8:29 Paul tells us why he says that "all things work together for good" for the saved (those who love God, those he describes as the called)--"because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son."

    The reason why "all things work together for good" in regard to the saved is because the saved are predestined to be conformed to the image of the Son. That will happen when the Lord descends from heaven and the saved will put on bodies just like his glorious body:

    "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body" (Phil.3:20-21).

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    TOL Legend Jerry Shugart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MennoSota View Post
    You are making Hebrews 2:17 the key verse and then trying to shove other verses in as proof. The other verses don't fit.
    The fact is that humans are sinful.
    But not from birth. And the verses I quoted work together to prove that people do not enter the world dead in sin and totally corrupted in both body and soul.

    Quote Originally Posted by MennoSota View Post
    Either Jesus was sinful or he was perfect. He cannot be both.
    He entered the world wonderfully made, the same way that David said that he himself was made.

    Quote Originally Posted by MennoSota View Post
    If Jesus is exactly like other humans in every way, as you are claiming, then you are forced to state that Jesus was a sinner.
    I said that the Lord Jesus is exactly like humans in every way in regard to the way people emerged from the womb. Not later after one sins.

    Quote Originally Posted by MennoSota View Post
    My point is that you are misinterpreting Hebrews 2:17.
    Then please give me your interpretation of the meaning of the verse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MennoSota View Post
    You are making Hebrews 2:17 the key verse and then trying to shove other verses in as proof. The other verses don't fit.
    The fact is that humans are sinful. Either Jesus was sinful or he was perfect. He cannot be both. If Jesus is exactly like other humans in every way, as you are claiming, then you are forced to state that Jesus was a sinner.
    My point is that you are misinterpreting Hebrews 2:17.
    What is your interpretation of Hebrews 2:17?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
    But not from birth. And the verses I quoted work together to prove that people do not enter the world dead in sin and totally corrupted in both body and soul.
    They did not prove any such thing.

    He entered the world wonderfully made, the same way that David said that he himself was made.
    David said: "For I was born a sinner - yes, from the moment my mother conceived me." (Psalm 51:5 NLT)
    Being born a sinner does not mean that we are not fearfully and wonderfully made as well. It addresses two sides of the same coin.

    I said that the Lord Jesus is exactly like humans in every way in regard to the way people emerged from the womb. Not later after one sins.
    We emerge as sinners. This puts your statement in a quandry.

    [/QUOTE]
    Then please give me your interpretation of the meaning of the verse.[/QUOTE]

    The context around the verse gives us our answer.
    14 Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. 15 Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.

    16 We also know that the Son did not come to help angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham.17 Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. 18 Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.
    The perfect God came to free the imperfect, cursed, humans. He came as a full fledged human so he could experience humanity and be a perfect high priest.
    There is nowhere in this verse any indication that humans are born perfect. You are projecting that thought into the verse.
    Jesus is fully human. He is the "second Adam" as scripture tells us.
    Hebrews is written to show how Jesus is greater than all else.
    Your interpretation leaves you in a quandry.

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    Silver Member Clete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ttruscott View Post
    Please consider: Here's some fodder from the mill:

    Romans 8:29 For whom HE did foreknow, HE also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of HIS Son.
    From this verse we can see that the predestination of the elect is based on the foreknowledge of GOD. Now everyone admits that in this verse, the word “fore” means before life. Therefore, they think that it also means before creation as if our earthly life was the same as our created spirit life. I wonder if this is a valid and reasonable link to make?

    GOD obviously does not before life know everybody since not everyone will become like Jesus, as Rom 8:29 just said predestination means and as per Matthew 7:21–23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ which tells us what knowing means, emphasising the idea that loving is knowing and knowing about has no love. James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder.
    Jesus obviously knew about the demons and knew about the miracle workers but this knowing contained no love as it is plain, He never knew them.

    [Revelation 20:15, And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.] This means that foreknow must carry the idea of approval. As one commentator stated it, “Whom HE foreknew” is virtually equivalent to “whom HE foreloved”.

    Now this question comes to mind: if it is true that no one had been created at the time of this foreknowledge, on what basis does GOD "before life" love some and not the rest?

    1. Merit based Election before Creation?
    The basis cannot be, as some have suggested, some merit in humans, first because no one exists yet; second, because the ones HE foreloves will be just as defiled in life as any other; and third, because the Scriptures say election is not on the basis of the creature's works or choices in life, but rather on HIS unmerited favour:
    Romans 9:11 For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of GOD according to election might stand, not of works, but of HIM that calleth...

    Romans 9:16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of GOD that sheweth mercy.
    Therefore, we can surmise that GOD does not "before life" love some because HE has divined that they will have some merit in their life.

    2. Election to Damnation before Creation Serves HIS Purpose?
    Others have suggested that GOD "before life" loved only some because this is more beneficial for HIS purposes than if HE before life loved everyone. The explanation goes something like this:

    The loved ones' eternal joy is directly proportional to their knowledge, appreciation, of GOD and the wonderfulness of their salvation. Therefore an increase of good comes forth from the eternal damnation of some persons for by their damnation, that is, the outcome of Adam's decision to sin, and HIS "before life" decision not to love these persons, two types of eternal blessings supposedly occur for the rest.

    First, a fuller appreciation of several of God's attributes is made possible, which opportunity wouldn't be possible if all lived forever, that is, if HE "before life" loved them all. These attributes are usually said to be HIS justness (retribution / wrath) holiness and omnipotence.

    Secondly, the truth regarding the elects' end apart from Christ's salvation is made fully known, which full knowledge makes possible the fuller appreciation of HIS salvation, for this salvation (hence, HIS mercy too) would not be so fully appreciated without the graphic depiction of both ends.

    Others even go so far as to say that their damnation is absolutely necessary in order that the purpose of GOD be able to be fulfilled by HIS elect, and they offer this explanation:

    In order to live in eternity with GOD, we must live fully in the truth, which necessity necessitates having a perfect appreciation of GOD's attributes and HIS salvation, and that this perfect appreciation by HIS elect creatures is made possible first, only through witnessing HIS triumph over and judgement upon HIS enemies, and second, only when HIS perfection and our life in Christ are contrasted with the complete imperfections of the damned and the end we would have had, had HE not saved us.

    Now, these are very hard positions to hold, for they fail on many accounts.

    First, they both fail to answer or give a reasonable basis for why HE chose the particular ones HE did and why HE did not choose the rest. In other words, they both deny the faithful and unselfish character of GOD's love, in that they limit it without just cause and look on it as somewhat capricious.

    Secondly, they both necessitate the unproven presupposition that it is impossible for GOD to perfect HIS creatures HIMSELF, that HE needs the presence of evil in order to bring HIS creation to its highest potential. In other words we must accept, for example, that in GOD’S world one has to first be sick in order to be healthy, or sinful in order to be faultless [and the more sinful (or sick) the better].

    Third, they both fail to satisfactorily answer the question of how the damnation of millions makes us more appreciative / perfect than would be the damnation of but one, since it is the moral depravity of those in hell that is supposed to make for the increased appreciation / perfection and not the quantity of persons therein.

    Fourthly, they both put a very small value on the worth of the individual creature in the eyes of GOD.

    Well, since the reason for GOD's foreknowledge/forelove not including everyone can not be found in HIS divination of merit in some creatures and since a reasonable answer has not been put forward for why GOD does it particularly, we are left with but two conclusions: We must either look for the answer elsewhere, in some area we have not looked before, or we must put the basis of HIS foreknowledge down to unreasonable chance.

    This would mean that there is no reason for HIS particular "before life"love. [Aside: as I understand it, this is Calvin's failure to understand this doctrine correctly.] GOD's election / foreknowing is thus based on eenie, meenie, minie, mo, but how can you put your faith in a GOD like that? How much better to admit that we should start looking in some area we have not looked yet, and since we cannot find any of those, why not finally admit that we need a revelation from GOD to give us an infinitely loving answer to this problem?

    Now, according to preconception theology, the "before life" love (foreknowledge) of GOD, that is, HIS pre-human life approval of some and rejection of the rest is based on the prior uncoerced choice of the creature (in Sheol, before the creation of the physical universe) and on HIS infinite love, which means that HE will never stop loving anyone who can possibly ever come to glorify HIM. Therein is the reason why HE loved some "before this life" and why HE did not love the rest.

    Some had chosen to eternally defile themselves and some had not. Some had decided to never ever fulfil HIS purpose by choosing to sin the unforgivable sin and some were still able to fulfil HIS purpose; some willingly, (angels) and others only if HE was infallibly gracious (by means of election) to them (His fallen church). Yes, and He predestined these to be conformed to the image of HIS Son, and HE predestined the evil ones who were condemned already for the Day of Judgement and established them for the correction of the fallen elect.

    Now, I ask you, which doctrine is the more scriptural and reasonable and compatible with the attributes of GOD?


    2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to HIS own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. This Scripture does not prove that we existed before our conception as humans. The reason I am including it is that I believe that it does not invalidate pre-conception theology, and I am sure a lot of people will think that it and others like it do.

    May I submit that when the Scriptures speak of works in relation to our election, they are referring to only our works after we're born, ie, no one was elected on account of any works they would do in this life as a sinner.

    Now, if there is anyone who would like to disagree with me on this and would like to debate whether Paul intended that our pre-human life works were also to be included in the works that were excluded as part of the basis of GOD's election, I would be very interested in seeing your argument. I suppose this isn't necessary, but I would like to (first) point out that any such argument must admit to our pre-conception existence.

    The second thing I would like to point out is that we were called according to HIS purpose. This must mean so that we could fulfil HIS purpose for us. But if this is so, then there must be an uncoerced choice on our part if we are ever to have the possibility of glorifying GOD. His purpose for us necessitates a free will choice to join that purpose or it is a tape recorder, Stepford wife, type of agreement.

    Therefore I say that being called according to HIS purpose and grace is almost exactly the same as saying, being called in accord with our uncoerced choice and HIS covenant, and if making that choice is a work, since earthly works are out, then it is the same as saying, Being called in accord with a pre-conception work and HIS gracious covenant to those who performed that work.

    The third thing I would like to point out is that the angels are elected too. 1 Timothy 5:21 I charge thee before GOD and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the ELECT angels... Angels are a lot different than men (at least, that is what many believe), ie, they do not have what is usually called “racial solidarity”. This means that they have to make all their own choices. No one else can make them for them and they cannot be held accountable for someone else's evil choices. In other words, Adam's choices do not affect them at all (supposedly). Perhaps you would like to tell me on what basis GOD elected only some of them?

    If it was not on the basis of their individual choices, then they had to be elected before the satanic rebellion, at least. But if GOD's election took place before the satanic rebellion, would this not lead us into the pretty incredulous situation of some unblemished creatures being unjustly un-predestined to remain in heaven, or predestined for hell?

    And what reasonable basis can we put forward for this situation other than HE simply did not want them to be with HIM forever? This situation does not look too good, does it?

    Well then, what if no one was elected before the rebellion what if GOD's election took place after the rebellion? Then GOD's election took place after they all had made an eternal choice, and presumably that choice would be taken into account when GOD was doing HIS electing. It would have to be if HE was holy and just.
    Now, the main thing I am trying to bring out with all of this is that when we just begin to consider the election of angels, we run into some pretty unreasonable implications if we leave out their choice as being a part of the basis of their election, and the only other real alternative necessitates that we accept that their eternal choice was at least a part of the basis of their election.

    Well, if you are willing to accept the possibility of their choice / works being a part of the basis of their election, why can that not be a part of the basis of ours too?

    May I submit that the only thing going against that possibility is the presupposition that Paul, in 2 Timothy 1:9 is excluding all our works, and I have to admit, that is what it seems to say, that is, what it seems to say until we look at Paul's definition of elective works in Romans 9:11 For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of GOD according to election might stand, not of works, but of HIM that calleth.

    Now, I do not think that I will get much argument when I say that the works of 2 Timothy 1:9 are the same works as are mentioned in this verse in Romans. In other words, Paul defines works the same in both verses. And just how does he define works? Well, in Romans, Paul is referring to Genesis 25:22 And the children struggled together within her. The children are Jacob and Esau, and Paul says that at the time of GOD's statement to Rebecca, to the effect that the elder shall serve the younger, that neither of them had done any good or evil works.

    But the reason Rebecca had prayed to GOD was that she was having such a hard time of it because Jacob and Esau were fighting* so much in the womb. Now, if they were fighting, at least one, if not both, had to be being evil, that is, doing evil works, since it is impossible that both were following the Holy Spirit in their struggles with each other. So, although it is possible that neither was being good, it is impossible that neither was being evil.
    * The word is not to jostle or struggle or to wrestle but to try to crush each other to pieces! Why tame down this word? To tame down their being sinful in the womb which makes Paul, on the surface, to be a liar. Do you think he knew this quirk of logical analysis would some day come to light and put it in as a testimony to their evil pre-human conception?

    Well now, we either have a blatant contradiction and must dismiss Paul's works theology as being somewhat amiss, or we have to admit that the Pauline definition of works does not exclude pre-birth works from being a part of the basis of our election.

    In fact, by his omission of their pre-birth works in those works that are excluded as being a part of the basis of our election, he must be inferring that some pre-birth works have something to do with it. To say this all another way, what we have here in Romans is a classic example of a Scripture with some missing words, that is, what Paul is really saying is, neither having done any good or evil works (on the post-birth side of the womb) that the purpose of GOD according to election might stand, not of works (done on the post-birth side of the womb) but of HIM that calleth (when one is on the post-birth side of the womb).

    Thus we can see that Paul did not exclude our pre-human birth works from being a part of the basis of our election.
    I do not read copy/pasted posts.

    If you can't make the argument yourself then don't waste all of our time with whatever you Googled.

    "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

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    Quote Originally Posted by MennoSota View Post
    The U in TULIP may also be expressed as "unmerited favor,"
    God never shows His favor on people that do not merit it first.
    Learn to read what is written.

    _____
    The people who are supposed to be experts and who claim to understand the science are precisely the people who are blind to the evidence.
    ~ Dr Freeman Dyson

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    Quote Originally Posted by MennoSota View Post
    The perfect God came to free the imperfect, cursed, humans. He came as a full fledged human so he could experience humanity and be a perfect high priest.
    Yes, he came as a full fledged human but you forgot to address the words in "bold" here:

    "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people" (Heb.2:17).

    You got it right that the Lord Jesus is a full fledged human, made like His brethren IN ALL THINGS!

    But you say that His brethren entered the world corrupt in body and soul.

    That's not "in all things."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
    Yes, he came as a full fledged human but you forgot to address the words in "bold" here:

    "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people" (Heb.2:17).

    You got it right that the Lord Jesus is a full fledged human, made like His brethren IN ALL THINGS!

    But you say that His brethren entered the world corrupt in body and soul.

    That's not "in all things."
    Therefore (3606) (hothen) is a term of conclusion. Use these terms as reminder to slow down and active engage the text and the "Illuminator," the Holy Spirit, pausing to ponder and ask relevant 5W/H questions. In this case the "therefore" explains how Jesus is going to be able to give help to the seed of Abraham (believers who like Abraham have faith).

    He had (3784) (opheilo from ophelos = profit, an increase) means to owe, and conveys the basic meaning of owing a debt and then of having a strong obligation which can be a moral obligation and personal duty. In this verse opheiloindicates a necessity, owing to the nature of the matter under consideration. In other words, Jesus was obligated (as it were) to do this in order that He might become our High Priest!

    Richards writes that words in the opheiloword group "originally expressed the idea of a legal or personal obligation. The Greeks had both financial and, later, moral obligations in mind when they used this term. (Richards, L O: Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Regency)

    The TDNT has a nice summary noting that opheilo although etymologically of uncertain origin "means “to owe someone something,” e.g. loans, debts, sums, or rents. The things owed may be spiritual, and the word is also used with the infinitive for “to be under obligation to,” “to have to.” The word is common in respect of revenge or law. Transgressors are in debt to injured parties. Secular and sacral penalties are owed. God’s goodness also makes people debtors. This gives rise to the idea of moral obligation. (Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Eerdmans)

    To be made like (3666) (homoioo from homoios = similar) means complete identification in conduct, character; condition, circumstances. Christ had to be a true man in all points, from conception to death, apart from innate sin. This required a miraculous, virginal conception, but in every other respect, he partook of true human flesh.

    Paul explains that Jesus "Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (See notesPhilippians 2:6; Philippians 2:7;Philippians 2:8)

    Christ, our Elder Brother, resembles us in reality as we shall resemble Him in the end (1Jn 3:2-note, 1Jn 3:3-note)

    In all things - Except yielding to sin the writer explaining later that "we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15-note)

    Spurgeon - As a father feels for his children because they are of the same flesh and blood as himself, so does the Lord sympathize with His people, for they are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. No father can be so thoroughly one with his offspring as Jesus is with us.

    Without sin yes, but not without temptation. Jesus knew as no other man knew what temptation was, having fought through to victory when tempted by Satan (cf Mt 4:1ff, Luke 4:1ff).
    https://www.preceptaustin.org/hebrews_216-17

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