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Thread: Openness Theology - Does God Know Your Entire Future? - Battle Royale X

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    Round IV

    Battle Royal X
    Round IV




    I am suffering a little this week. My little girl is getting ready to go away to college. Sure, the college is only about thirty miles away, but she will be living in the dorms and I, being the overprotective Dad that I am, feel a little apprehensive (though I certainly shouldn’t, given that God will take care of her). My wife, Cindy, is feeling the same way. This wonderful creature that God has given to us is now making her way out into the world. On that note, I know that most of you know Rev. Enyart better than I do, so I wonder, Bob, if you would be so kind as to tell me (and perhaps others who don’t know you as well) about your wife and children (I won’t count it against your word number count).

    Observations

    There are a few things that I should get out of the way up front. First, Rev. Enyart asks about extending the debate both in terms of time and word count. I must reply in the negative to this proposal. I planned the time for this debate so that I would have as few conflicts as possible. To extend the debate is simply not possible for me with fall classes about to begin. I simply cannot, given the duties that will I have here at school once the semester starts, allow it to extend into the semester any more than it already will. You will notice that the post is much shorter this time. I believe that the length of the posts has created a lack of clash and I can only hope that this will not be the case in round IV.

    Rev. Enyart claims(several times and in several ways) that he has won the debate. I don’t believe that he is correct. As a matter of fact I believe that his use of words like “resistance is futile” and “checkmate” are simply uncalled for. After all what are we here for? Are we searching for truth or only to add another notch to our “debate gun belt?” My intent here is not to win, but as I said in my first post, to allow truth to win.

    Here is my challenge to Rev. Enyart: If you are really sure that you have already won the debate then let us stop now. I will promote the debate as I have opportunity, you can package and sell the debate as you see fit. Bob, If you really believe the debate is over you should have no problem with this. As a matter of fact I would think that you would jump at this chance particularly with the claims that you make in that last post of yours. So, what about it? Are you that confident that you have finished me off?

    If you decide to continue on, you must not be quite as confident as your last post claims. Let me say again that I do not agree that Bob has won and believe that many readers of the first four posts would agree. I believe that Bob’s claim to victory rests on an incorrect assumption. He assumes that since I believe that God’s attributes do not change that I lose because of Christ’s incarnation. His assumption is that everyone believes that Christ “gave up” some of his attributes. While this is one view, it is certainly not the only one. There are numerous Christians who hold that Christ did not give up any of his attributes for the incarnation (thus he was and is fully God/fully man).

    At any rate here is the first challenge. If Bob really believes that he has won the debate he should have no problem ending the debate here. If he continues, it is evident that he does not believe that he has won.

    I see now one of the strategic errors that I have made. I was using a formal understanding of what constitutes a debate (a disciplined discussion in which arguments are answered and/or extended upon). Bob on the other hand sees the debater as only needing to answer the questions of the opposition, rather than the arguments and then only when he gets to them and feels them worthy of his attention.

    As of now, I will make sure that I place any argument that I have in the form of a question and that I make sure to number them in sequence. I will not simply put forth arguments (as I have in every other debate that I have participated in), and expect my opponent to deal with the arguments. In every debate that I have engaged in the cross examination time (questions) were used to clarify arguments, not to make them. That is the reason that I quoted from the textbook (Argumentation and Debate) in the last post. That work is a standard text in college debate classes and is in no way viewed as idiosyncratic in its views. Be that as it may, I will attempt to be clear in what I would like Bob to answer.

    As I say above, I am not going to be taking up the entire six-thousand words allotted to this post. I feel that I don’t need to do so until the arguments that I have made are answered. I will clarify those arguments in the form of questions in the last part of the debate. Note that I am attempting to focus the debate as Bob has requested. To that end, I am simply going to answer his questions


    Enyart’s Questions

    BEQ1: Sam, do you agree with me that the classical doctrine of utter immutability needs reformulation in order to explicitly acknowledge that God is able to change (for example, as Ware says, especially to allow for true relationship)?

    SLA-BEQ1- The problem with this question is that the phrase “utter immutability” is not self-defining. Bob states that I am here engaged in “a textbook case of non responsiveness” despite the fact that I reference a document that Bob brought into the debate. It has become clear to me now that Bob has not read Dr. Reymond’s book and only used it in the first post as a straw man. How am I unresponsive if I state clearly that I agree with the definition cited in a textbook that Bob brings up?

    As I stated in my last answer, the one which Bob charged was non responsive, the definition is needed. Here is my answer in my last post: “I don’t mean to dodge your question, and I did answer it based upon the definition given in Dr. Reymond’s book. Perhaps it would be helpful for you to tell me what about Dr. Reymond’s definition you disagree with.”

    I don’t think that this is too much to ask. Given the fact that Erickson lists ten definitions of change in his book on God (God the Father Almighty, pp. 100-101), this term “utter immutability” is not self-defining. Bob tries to force me into a yes/no answer without giving me a definition. I simply cannot answer until I know what Bob means by the term.

    BEQ7: Sam, since your answer (SLA-BEQ1) restated my question, I am asking you to answer it again, without using the word “total.” [And I repeated BEQ1, with its emphasis on classic immutability being reformulated to allow for relationship, which was the subject of Ware’s article!]

    Bob clarifies: I’m asking if the classic doctrine of immutability, the one held for centuries, if it needs to be (or perhaps in some circles, properly has already been) reformulated to allow for God to be able to change, at least so that He can be relational with His children:

    SLA-BWQ7 Bob acts as if the doctrine of immutability is one that has been agreed upon by the church at large as to its meaning. It has not been, many debates, down through the ages have centered upon exactly what “immutability” means. All that I am asking for is a specific definition of what Bob means when he uses the term.. Please Bob, give me a definition and I will give you an answer.

    BEQ9: Sam, do you agree with me that the classical doctrine of utter immutability needs to be clearly taught as now reformulated in order to explicitly acknowledge that God is able to change, even if only, for example, as Ware says, to allow for true relationship?

    SLA-BEQ9: If by this you mean that the doctrine that God is “timeless” needs to be reformulated, I have already agreed. I am not sure that the classic doctrine of immutability would always be seen as not allowing God to have a true relationship.

    BEQ10: Offer to Sam: Do you want to waive my fourth-round time and word count restraints, for me to answer all 54 of your remaining questions, plus those you officially ask as numbered questions in Post 4A, and reply seven days later?

    SLA-BEQ10- No. Other commitments simply will not allow this.

    BEQ11: As in my section, How to Falsify Openness, can you indicate how Scripture could theoretically falsify (prove wrong) the Settled View?

    SLA-BEQ11- Let me state that I do not agree that the three options you list are the only ways (or even the best ways) to falsify openness. As to falsifying the traditional view here is my second challenge:

    Bob, would you be willing to pick out the three best passages of Scripture for the openness view? I will agree that if I fail to show how those passages fail to show that God did not know the future then I lose the debate.

    I then will stick with the three pericopes that I have already mentioned: The Matthew passage (which Bob says he felt “he was doing me a favor by not answering”); Peter’s denial; and Judas’ betrayal.

    In focusing on these six passages the debate will move forward as each person extends and responds to arguments rather than stir mud. I don’t mean this as a personal attack. I think that both of us have been unwittingly guilty of misunderstanding each other and thus clouding the issues rather than debating them.

    BEQ12: Are foreordination and foreknowledge the same thing?

    SLA-BEQ12-I agree with the Westminster Confession here.

    The Westminster Confession states it this way: III.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: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.”

    BEQ13: Is my conclusion above (from FDR) true that, “prophecies of future events do not inherently provide evidence of foreknowledge?”

    SLA-BEQ13-Not if the prophecies are known by God without possibility for error. That is if they must come to pass exactly as expected without any chance for change or error.

    BEQ14: Is it theoretically possible for God to know something future because He plans to use His abilities to bring it about, rather than strictly because He foresees it?

    SLA-BEQ14-There is a logical problem here. I am not sure that one can separate the two. Specifically, if a perfect being who is incapable of holding a false belief foresees something, that event must come to pass regardless of who causes it.

    BEQ15: Is NOAH a clear and specific method of interpretation: The New Openness-Attributes Hermeneutic resolves conflicting explanations by selecting interpretations that give precedent to the biblical attributes of God as being living, personal, relational, good, and loving, and by rejecting explanations derived from commitment to the philosophical attributes of God such as omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, impassible, and immutable.

    SLA-BEQ15-No. This is not a clear and specific method of interpretation. I asked in my second post about how this interprets God’s command to Joshua to kill women and children in the battle of Jericho. I have not seen an answer. This method assumes the very question that is open for debate by rejecting the attribute of omniscience.

    BEQ16: Does the Incarnation show that God the Son divested Himself in some significant degree of knowledge and power, but explicitly not of His goodness?

    SLA-BEQ16-No. God cannot divest himself of any of his attributes, therefore the Son did not divest himself of knowledge or power.

    My Questions-

    SLQ8 -Bob would you please respond specifically to the exegesis of Matthew 6:8, in particular my claim and arguments that this passage does not only speak of present knowledge?


    SLQ9 -Would you please respond specifically to my exegesis of the prediction of Peter’s denial taking into account the points that I have made in the first post?

    SLQ10- Would you please respond to my charge that you have misread whatever Greek lexicon that you are using when you speak of dei in Acts 2? Would you please list the name of the lexicon, the date, and the edition number along with the page that you are citing?

    SLQ-11 Would you please respond specifically to the exegesis showing that Jesus based proof of his deity on the correct prediction about Judas?

    SLQ12 -Would you please respond specifically to the exegesis showing that Judas did not have the ability to choose otherwise, particularly the exegesis found in Post III.


    SLQ13 -Would you agree that if Peter and/or Judas did not have the ability to choose otherwise then your definition of free will (or will as you put it) is flawed? If not, why not?

    SLQ14 -Would you explain (given your response in Post II) how it is possible for Jesus (whom we both agree is God) to be wrong and yet for God to hold no false beliefs?

    Conclusion

    Bob, I truly believe that you are a kind person and that you believe that you are defending the truth of Scripture. I hope that you will agree that dealing with the passages from the Word of God will be the best method of real interchange in this debate. We both love the word and both believe that it is truth. Therefore can we agree to each choose three incidents or passages and by doing this increase the light and decrease the heat of this exchange? I call this an exchange, rather than a debate, because it is unlike every other debate that I have engaged in.

    Again I would like to thank those who are reading this and especially Knight and the others who are hosting the exchange. I would ask your prayers for me. It is very easy for the evil one to sow seeds of pride or discord in a debate like this. I ask that you pray that this will not be the case in my posts and that I would, most of all, seek to glorify God and his word, not myself or my own opinions. Thank you very much and may God's truth win.

    Sam Lamerson
    Last edited by Knight; August 16th, 2005 at 11:24 AM.

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    Your powers are weak, old man. Knight's Avatar
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    PLEASE NOTE: Bob's 4th round post has been deleted due to technical difficulties at TOL. The formatting of his post was a bit off and I tried to fix it for him as I did with Sam's post but by accident I messed up Bob's post big time!

    I apologize for this error.

    Because of this error I have asked Bob to reformat his post using the standard TOL text editor (it's safer that way). None of the content of Bob's post will be altered.

    Bob will repost the post ASAP and I will extend Sam's time accordingly.

    I am sorry for the inconvenience.
    Also be sure to.... Join TOL on Facebook | Follow TOL on Twitter
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    Gold level Subscriber Bob Enyart's Avatar
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    Battle Royale X: Openness Theology, Enyart's Post 4B

    I send out a heartfelt thank you to Jefferson, the one who arranged this contest, and a hardworking TOL super-moderator! Sam, thanks for asking questions that keep the debate focused! In this post I directly answer all of the official questions that my Settled View opponent has put to me, including Christ’s prediction of Peter’s denials. Regarding other arguments you’ve made, for space constraints I’ve cut for now my answers to your unofficial questions about non-prophesies and Psalm 139, leaving just barely enough room for two replies:

    Conditional Prophecy

    It is obvious that the message Jonah preached to Nineveh and thus the prophecy of God allowed for repentance. If not there is no reason to send Jonah, and no reason to give them forty days. -Sam, 3A

    Sam, by your own rationale, therefore all prophecies of warning allow for repentance, for they are (1) delivered, and (2) given prior to the threatened judgment. Either that, or you were just being argumentative, and reject your own logic. That all prophetic warnings allow for repentance is explicitly: affirmed by the Open View, denied by Calvinists, and tolerated by Arminian Settled Viewers (as with Judas, Mark 14:21).

    Problem of Evil

    [The Open View] does not solve the problem of evil. Think, for example, about the planes flying into the twin towers. Even if God is limited to the present, he knew of the plot and knew that the planes were flying toward the towers. He did not stop them… I believe that at some point God will reveal to us why he allowed[/U that to happen and it will, in the end, glorify him. -Sam, 3A (emphasis added)

    Sam, I’ll pardon you for this logical error, since it exists in the Openness camp also. A righteous Creator has two obligations: (1) to do rightly, and (2) to judge rightly (see obligation #1). Do Right refers to His own actions, and Judge Rightly as here is specifically His final response to wrongdoers. The Creator cannot reduce suffering by insulating His moral creatures from harming one another, as with an eternal bubble law. You can’t out-think God. Before Creation, God realized that to make us incapable of harming one another would not alleviate but increase the hurt. For it is our very concern for others (which is called love), that is one of the greatest motivators to not harm ourselves. Thus Jesus quoted the Mosaic Law (Lev. 1918), saying, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself,” (Mark 12:31). When a man’s heart has grown so cold that he will indiscriminately hurt others, he no longer loves himself either, and he can apply for a job with Al Qaeda. Imagine the horror that a typical American husband would become if nothing he did could hurt his wife or child! That is the epitome of well-meaning but misguided judgment, illustrated today by the counter-productive “deterrence” of left-wing governments trying to make it so that a man can not, rather than will not, commit crime. The epidemics of selfishness, unfaithfulness, and slothfulness would explode to a magnitude otherwise known only in hell, if our own sin could not hurt others. And then that child, whom you thought your bubble-law could protect, will grow up worse than his father, raised by a monster and unrestrained from childhood by any fear of hurting others.

    The pagan Greek culture viewed misfortune (even the word reeks of Hellenism) as being hurled at them by God for inexplicable and often arbitrary reasons. Augustine imported this into Christian theology by way of utter immutability (Arminians please note, as it turns out, this is what demands an entirely settled future). Thus Augustine interpreted his “toothache” (Confessions, 9, iv) as coming from God, rather than from excessive sweets and poor hygiene; whereas for an unfathomable reason, God today desires less glory from cavities from those who floss. And speaking of the Reformed Aristotelian God, though His reasons for having plagued modern sailors with scurvy may elude human comprehension, the use of vitamin C has stopped the practice. For the Greeks thought Zeus threw lightening bolts as divine judgments, and after thousands of years of homes being hit, Benjamin Franklin devised the lightning rod, which has succeeded in foiling the aim of the Calvinist God.

    The desire for human love that God gave us comes with the requisite risk of hating and of being hated. The capacity for fellowship necessitates the risk of hurting and being hurt. And God can rightly grant mercy to wrongdoers, patiently giving men around the world time to repent, without violating His righteousness. God would violate His own righteous nature, if He Himself orchestrated evil (like deciding how many times to have a child sodomized in a particular porn video scene, as Calvinists believe He does), or if He used patience as an excuse to allow injustice to go eternally unpunished, thus wrongly giving precedence to the merciful aspect of love over His own righteousness. And finally, everyone should understand the code word “allowed,” as used by Calvinists and even at times by Arminian Settled Viewers, and as just used by Sam, that “at some point God will reveal to us why he allowed that to happen,” by which they mean that God specifically decided that this particular sin was preferable to repentance and holiness, such that this particular rape is preferable because it glorifies God. I rebuke that.

    On How to Make a Rooster Crow

    The entire Peter matter comes down to the rooster. How’s that? Because if my debate opponent (like many Calvinists and Settled Viewers) raises the objection that apart from exhaustive foreknowledge God would really have a problem getting a rooster to crow on cue, then their losing position should be obvious. And this is what Open Viewers have to put up with, for if our opponents feign disbelief that God could cue a rooster, how can they possibly consider the Scriptural argument of God's insight and ability to influence human action?

    And once again, I am embarrassed to have to give this response. But since Sam in round one presented the rooster as an actual dilemma, I’ll have to address it; and I’ll do that in spades:

    [Openness author John] Sanders’s answer…, simply pushes the problem back a step. He posits that all that God needed to determine “in this case would be to have someone question Peter three times and a rooster crow.” The problem is obvious. How is it that God can be sure that one or two of those three people will not decide, at the last minute, not to question Peter? How is it that God can be sure that the particular rooster will not oversleep, or even be killed by its master? -Sam, Post 1A

    As all birds sing, a rooster crows, and does so to remind competitors to stay out of his territory. Science still ponders what sets his internal clock, called a circadian rhythm, for he crows anticipating the sunrise to start a new day of hunting. Sometimes a rooster will crow early, whether from a fast clock or an empty stomach I haven’t learned, commonly prompting others to follow suit, for not uncommonly, roosters live within earshot of each other.

    (By the way Sam, you asked about our family. Let me say here that Cheryl and I named our youngest son Dominic, and just tonight lying with him on our trampoline at dusk, he said, “the moon pulls the stars out.” He’s four. We named Dominic after my great-grandfather who was born in Italy, surnamed Galluccio, from the Italian Gallo, meaning rooster! And when we go to Jerusalem, we especially enjoy visiting the church of Saint Peter de Gallicantu, where the rooster crowed, the location being reasonably established. So perhaps I bring some family pride to the rooster matter ).

    Now, Sam asks me, apart from exhaustive divine foreknowledge, how “God can be sure” that a rooster will crow when God wants it to crow. And I guess the best answer is that God can tell the rooster to crow, as He told Balaam’s donkey to speak. But in a serious debate on whether God is free to do brand new things, or whether His entire future for all eternity is already settled, I have to take this further, because I’m informed that perhaps a hungry farmer would have eaten the rooster. Well… I suppose God would overcome that challenge by having another rooster crow. Their society was agrarian, after all, and the high priest’s complex outside the city walls accommodated much livestock as known by an extant first century inscription there. When doubting if God could make a rooster crow on cue, we should remember that we’re talking about the God who MADE the rooster. And He spun the earth on its axis, and gave the rooster its circadian rhythm, and made the SUNRISE which the rooster forecasts! But what if all nearby roosters keeled over and died that night? What if a worldwide bird flu, a rooster pandemic, took every potential crower? Then God could make another from the dust of the ground. But the Settled Viewer will object that long ago God rested from creation. So then He could make a donkey crow like a rooster.

    Did God predict Israel’s escape through the Red Sea because He just happened to foreknow that it would suddenly part that day? Did God instruct Joshua to march around Jericho seven times because He was killing time? But wouldn’t God’s prompting the rooster to crow be a fundamental violation of its will, thereby violating the tenets of Openness, “making the problem more difficult rather than less so?”

    With all Calvinists, Sam believes that God caused everything that will ever happen to happen not because He exhaustively foresaw it, but by His determined will. Otherwise, Calvinists have the Arminian problem of simple foreknowledge, with God being just another being caught up in an eternally-settled fate, unalterably written in stone, before there even was stone, written before the ages of the ages, but not by Him. So, I am going to ask Sam to concede that even apart from exhaustive foreknowledge, God can be far more competent, powerful, able, and effective, than could any human being under the same constraint.

    Open Viewers everywhere battle such non sequiturs, and not just from rash or unlearned Settled Viewers, but from experts who pretend that both camps inexplicably believe that God is powerless to intervene, and becomes a mere spectator. They should find deists to debate if they’re dying to use those arguments! So what would be the purpose of arguing God’s insight and influence regarding humans with someone who denies His ability to squeeze a rooster? So then, as I don’t allow my opponent’s flaws to cause me to avoid substance, I will proceed as though Sam has conceded that even without exhaustive foreknowledge, God has the ability to make a rooster crow.

    Sanders… posits that all that God needed to determine “in this case would be to have someone question Peter three times and a rooster crow.” The problem is obvious. How is it that God can be sure that one or two of those three people will not decide, at the last minute, not to question Peter? How is it that God can be sure that the particular rooster will not oversleep… It seems that Sanders’s answer has only made the problem more difficult rather than less so.” -Sam, Post 1A

    Even if all men were utterly impotent to influence others, God is not. The typical person who hung around Caiaphas’ household would be inclined of his own accord to question Peter, and Satan would likely reinforce such inclinations, adding his influence to pressure Peter to turn on Jesus, as Lucifer had already asked to “sift” Peter (Luke 22:31). Jesus made the prophecy not to prove His deity (He had just raised a man from the dead), nor to mock, but to encourage Peter to realize that even though the Lord knew his weakness, the Messiah would still stand by him, looking not to Peter’s internal fortitude, but to Peter’s learning that apart from trusting God, he would only fail, whereas with God, all things are possible!

    Scripturally, God, demons, and people all use the power of suggestion. Since Sam will admit that, I’ll save words and skip right to an example from when I wrote for the Ziff-Davis publication PC Week as a Senior Technical Analyst. At an exclusive Comdex party of 200 conventioneers in an executive suite at Caesar’s Palace, all influential computer industry geeks, I watched as a professional hypnotist had $100,000-a-year professionals behaving like fools, barking like dogs and diving over furniture. Did he do this as his nightly performance because he had exhaustive foreknowledge, and since he always seemed to foreknow when folks would behave this way, he simply predicts it, and voilà, everyone applauds seeing his prophecy fulfilled? George Lucas granted this power, at a more spiritual level, to Obi-Wan Kenobi as a Jedi mind trick, and the audience loved it because we can all relate to how easily weak minded people are manipulated. Subtle influence often compels with great force, especially for those not walking with the Lord, and though I waste words to point this out, both Lucifer and God understand the power of suggestion better than mere men. So, God made us with will, and the ability to think, to communicate, to recollect, and to persuade. And yet Janet Jackson can go on MTV with a ring through her nose, and millions of young people in unison as if on cue begin piercing their bodies, all to show that they are unique. And yet in discussing the accusations leveled against Peter in the courtyard across that fire of coals, Settled Viewers assume it inconceivable that accusations might fly, even though in this case, EVERYBODY wants them to, the devil, his demons, those at the compound, and God! Between the bunch of them, I wonder if anybody can resurrect an accusation? The only one in the whole of creation that wouldn’t want the question asked would be Peter! And he was too scared to influence anybody.

    Jesus had been telling His disciples that He Himself would soon be killed (Mark 9:31, etc.), and that some of His disciples also would be killed (John 16:2) and even crucified (Mat. 23:34)! None of this phased Peter, until He saw Jesus arrested, and fled with the rest (Mark 14:50), but then followed Jesus at a distance. But how could Jesus know that Peter would not die for the cause? Well let’s see. Is that a difficult judgment to make? Do you know anyone who believes that abortion is murder, who is not willing to die for the cause? Jesus wouldn’t need omniscience, just rudimentary discernment. But what if the prophesy failed? What does God value more: holiness or fulfilled prophecy? But was this a conditional prophecy? Sam, let me try to quote you but from memory, I think you wrote, without looking (promise):

    It is obvious that the prophecy Jesus gave to Peter allowed for repentance. If not there is no reason for Jesus to make it, and no reason to give Simon until the rooster’s crow. –Sam, 3A, as per Bob’s recollection

    Did God make man for the Sabbath, or Peter for the prophecy? Or did He make the prophecy for Peter’s sake? If in the last minute, Peter cried out to God, then he would have said, “Yes, yes, I do know Him! I follow Him. He is my Lord.” And then his love for God would have turned into love for his neighbor. “Please tell your cousin I was wrong to strike him. And to you all… I lied when I said I don’t know Jesus. I am weak, but He is strong. You should trust Him, because He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God!”

    And just then the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And:

    It displeased Him exceedingly, and he became angry. So He prayed to His Father, “I know that You are a gracious and merciful God.” And His Father said to Him: “Is it right for you to be angry? Is it right for you to be angry about the prophecy?”

    And if Calvin could answer for the Messiah, he would just quote Jonah:

    “It is right for me to be angry!” But the Father replied, “Should I not pity Peter?”

    And if Peter had not denied Christ, and Calvin were later angry, the Lord’s words to the ungrateful laborers would apply: “I am doing you no wrong… Or is your eye evil because I am good?”

    Sam, you might accuse me of flights of fancy, making up such extra-biblical stories about Judas and Peter as some kind of apocryphal proof-texts. But in 30 years of Bible teaching, with thousands of copies of my manuscripts, CDs and DVDs in circulation, I’ve never before told these stories. In the past I have said only that Jesus would be pleased if Judas had repented, and Peter had trusted. In 1A Sam, you challenged me, “Thus if Jesus was unsure about the future actions of Peter, then one must face the possibility that he could have been mistaken.” So I faced it. And you too can see the face of God in the mercy He holds out, as Jesus said to Jerusalem, “How often I wanted to gather your children… but you were not willing!” (Mat. 23:37). They ask, “How could Peter possibly have trusted God?” Calvinism has made trusting God the only unthinkable act! But hey, while I’m at it, let me predict that when we all get to heaven, we will learn that John Calvin had confessed to the men of Nineveh, when first he saw them, that secretly he was angry too, like Jonah, wishing that salvation had never come to them, because he had valued the prophecy more than their souls. And then he saw his legacy, upon all Calvinists and most Arminians, whom he taught to strain at roosters and swallow whales.

    Sam wrote that the prediction of Peter’s behavior: “might, I suppose, be only a result of the knowledge of Peter’s personality.” Jesus knew Peter was too weak to give his life, and yet impetuous. Though fearful, Simon was the kind of person who would jump out of a boat in a storm, and then sink from a lack of faith. And during the Passover, Jerusalem swelled to a million people. If the Magi could find the Babe in a manager, then whether Peter went to Bethany on the far side of Olivet, or back into the city, God would be able to produce accusers. And those accusations would not be temptations to do evil (James 1:13-14), but simple questions of whether Peter knew the Lord.

    Jesus would have been forgiving Peter’s seven denials, if God hadn’t caused the rooster to crow just then. So does God have a reasonable expectation that He can see this prophecy through? Peter was scared but curious; the rooster was in the wings; and then by the time two of the accusations had already landed:

    One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of him whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?”

    Peter then denied again; and immediately a rooster crowed. -John 18:26-27

    So God knows the hearts of men (as all sides agree), and He has influence and power to intervene (as all sides agree), and God would especially intervene to fulfill prophecy (as all sides agree)! So now, what was that we were arguing over? Oh yes… so, that is how to make a rooster crow!

    On Declaring Victory

    With any disagreement, but importantly in debates over the most vital matters, the argumentation can crescendo to where the truth is staring both sides in the face. And if that moment passes, the debate will degenerate into comparatively unimportant matters. (Denying some of the most basic truths of God’s nature and the Incarnation versus Can God get a rooster to crow on cue?)

    It became obvious that Sam would continue to reject that God’s righteousness is more fundamental than His sovereignty. And it became clear that He was heading to reject basic Incarnation truth (as various Settled Viewers do also), perhaps even by denying that God the Son became significantly more mutable when He “became flesh.” Thus it was crucial to declare victory because most readers would not realize what had just happened. The turning points of many struggles, like WWII’s Battle of Midway, etc., are decisive even though one side still may need convincing. I am sorry, though, as I’ve posted in the Grandstands, that I flaunted my position with the resistance and checkmate lines (which by the way I attribute primarily to my flesh, an attempt at Star Trek humor, and writing at 2 a.m., whereas you must attribute them primarily to God’s eternal decree; see, even in our weakness, we are stronger ).

    And the reason I pointed out Sam’s credentials twice while making these points is this: it is not the newcomers to Calvinism that most resist these simple truths of God’s nature, but it’s the theologians, the authors, the senior pastors, the professors, the standard-bearers. The argument that the attributes of goodness, etc. take precedence over power, etc. is so utterly true on the face of it. Yet Arminian Settled Viewers follow Calvinists in resisting such fundamental truth, because they intuitively see that it will undermine exhaustive foreknowledge.

    For THE PRECEDENCE OF GOD’S ATTRIBUTES IS THE ULTIMATE HERMENEUTIC!

    Not all things divine are equal. For, “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice,” (Prov. 21:3). That is, not all of God’s pronouncements are created equal, because various commands reflect different aspects of His attributes. God has power, but “He loves righteousness and justice,” (Ps. 33:5). Sam, if you ever admit that God’s being relational, good, and loving takes precedence over power and knowledge, (which Scripture teaches and the Incarnation proves), then together we can interpret the relevant passages with this hermeneutic, and see that the declaration of victory was made at the right moment.

    Questions and Answers

    In round five I plan to show (space permitting) how Augustine redefined the Christian God based on utter Greek immutability, and how the Reformation broke with Rome but not Greece, and extended the 1,000-year Hellenist grip on theology. Then I will have completed the first half of the debate showing the precedence of God’s deeper attributes (goodness over power, love over knowledge, etc.), countering Settled View proof texts, and showing the philosophical origin of Calvinist and Arminian exhaustive foreknowledge. So then in round six, I plan to present the Open View argument.

    Bob Answers Sam’s Questions

    SLQ8 -Bob would you please respond specifically to the exegesis of Matthew 6:8, in particular my claim and arguments that this passage does not only speak of present knowledge?

    BEA-SLQ8: I answered this with BEA-SLQ0 regarding the present-tense scope of Mat. 6:8, Chrysostom (347-407 AD), and the Gnostic Thomas (~150 AD). If you are asking me to respond to your “second-temple” (500+ BC - 70 AD) argument from silence, my answer is BEA-SLQ0.

    SLQ9 -Would you please respond specifically to my exegesis of the prediction of Peter’s denial taking into account the points that I have made in the first post?

    BEA-SLQ9: Jesus could predict Peter’s denials and their timing because God knows the hearts of men (as all sides agree), and He has influence and power to intervene (as all sides agree), and God does especially intervene to fulfill prophecy (as all sides agree). For a full treatment see above, On How to Make a Rooster Crow.

    SLQ10- Would you please respond to my charge that you have misread whatever Greek lexicon that you are using when you speak of dei in Acts 2?

    Sam, you wrote of “several serious problems” including “that the lexicon does not say what Bob quotes it as saying.” I posted this scan in the Grandstands the day you made this accusation to minimize doubts about my reliability or integrity. My Greek lexicon is an older, hardcover edition of the standard Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, written in German by Bauer, and translated and adapted by Arndt and Gingrich, (or BAG, before Danker added his initial). Here’s the entry I was quoting from, on p. 171 of the 1957 edition:



    Readers will notice something quite unusual (and I’m grateful to you Sam for pointing it out to me). The lexicon gives two different meanings for the exact same word in the same sentence! Dictionaries commonly give multiple meanings for a word, depending upon the context, but this is the first time I have ever noticed a lexicon giving two meanings for the same instance of a word. When I found Acts 1:16 listed under the heading I expected to find it under, “what is fitting,” I failed to look further (something that would never have occurred to me), to make sure it didn’t also appear with another definition. (I’d been bagd!) What does two definitions for the same word indicate? Of course it proves my point from the introduction to my first post that, “words have a range of meaning” and that you cannot understand the use of a word “simply by taking the words literally or interpreting them solely by their immediate context.” At “times, the meaning comes through knowing the true nature of God, and the overall message of the entire Bible.” Your questions to me have admitted how centrally important a hermeneutic is to decide how to interpret a word or passage. Surely, our whole debate, the entire question of Openness Theology: Does God Know Your Entire Future?, comes down to the right method of determining which meaning to select for a passage! Yet while I have provided a specific method for doing that (NOAH, whether you agree with it or not), the closest I can find from your posts is, “the study of the historical Jesus” will give confidence to “hermeneutical decisions,” (Post 1A), which is true, though not a functional hermeneutic.

    Not even the dictionary can distinguish between the meanings of such passages, apart from interpretation based upon presuppositions regarding the nature of God. Even BAG and BAGD, whom you agree are “the leading authority for Koine [biblical] Greek,” remain non-committal on whether Peter indicated Judas’ action was required by “divine destiny,” or merely “fitting.” The only way to adjudicate this is by submitting the meaning to the constraints of the true nature of God, and not the expert lexicographer, but the careful student of God’s Word is most qualified to decide this. Context is so compelling that, forgive the hyperbole, you should know the meaning of even a completely foreign word in a sentence.

    Because Calvinism and the Settled View give precedence to the Greek-influenced, quantitative, lesser attributes of control (sovereignty), immutability, power, and knowledge, you interpret that Judas was utterly compelled to sin. Giving precedence to God’s being relational, good and loving, I interpret that Judas had the ability to decide otherwise, thus understanding δει here as meaning “what is fitting.” (If you prefer I will list here BAG’s longer but obfuscatory category title, “of the compulsion of what is fitting;” but I also reasonably shortened my reference to your preferred first category, intentionally leaving out the word fate, which smacks of Greek philosophy.) My interpretation preserves God’s goodness and the principle that as authority flows downhill, responsibility climbs upward. And finally, above any linguist’s definition of a word, is the actual use of the word by the same author. I gave many examples where δει meant anything but BAGd’s “divine destiny,” highlighted by Luke quoting, “Jesus saying the Pharisees should love and do justly (Luke 11:42, which they did not do).”

    SLQ-11 Would you please respond specifically to the exegesis showing that Jesus based proof of his deity on the correct prediction about Judas?

    BEA-SLQ11: The only significant part of your Judas argument I can find that I did not address in my section titled, “Did Judas Have A Necessary Role?,” is as in 3A, where you quoted the Lord at the Last Supper from John 13:18, “‘that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘HE WHO EATS MY BREAD HAS LIFTED UP HIS HEEL AGAINST ME.’”, although I don’t think that He yelled it . And you continued with verse, “19 ‘From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He.”

    Regarding you claim that εγω ειμι (ego eimi) here clearly refers to Christ’s deity, you can take it that way interpretatively if you’d like. However the translators of the KJV, my NKJV, and your NIV disagree with your grammatical claim, and translate it not as in John 8:58, with the divine title, I AM. Rather, they supplied the predicate nominative as is so common (otherwise we’d have various gods running around the New Testament). So the translators render this, “I am He,” which here can mean that He is the Christ.

    In your published paper, The Openness of God and the Historical Jesus (from Nov. 16, 2001 which you delivered in Colorado Springs at the annual convention of the Evangelical Theological Society), you acknowledged, “one could argue that Judas had already made up his mind, and that knowledge of Judas's present state was open to God.” You could have said this more definitively, since Judas had already arranged the betrayal (Mat. 26:14-16; John 13:2). If Judas broke down and repented at this moment, He would have said, “The Lord is right, and I am so sorry! I know I will never deserve your trust, nor even your forgiveness. I’m so sorry.” And the Judas aspect of Christ’s statement would have been thereby corroborated. Then Sam, you went on to say that, “this will not answer the question of how Jesus would have known the ultimate outcome (i.e., [His] death) of the betrayal, nor the question of what might have occurred had Judas changed his mind.” I answered these in 2A.

    SLQ12 -Would you please respond specifically to the exegesis showing that Judas did not have the ability to choose otherwise, particularly the exegesis found in Post III.

    BEA-SLQ12: Please see BEA-SLQ11.

    SLQ13 -Would you agree that if Peter and/or Judas did not have the ability to choose otherwise, then your definition of free will (or will as you put it) is flawed? If not, why not?

    BEA-SLQ13: Yes.

    SLQ14 -Would you explain (given your response in Post II) how it is possible for Jesus (whom we both agree is God) to be wrong and yet for God to hold no false beliefs?

    BEA-SLQ14: I have explained this in [BEA-]SLQ7 (I forgot to put the BEA-, which convention makes searching for answers really easy). Rather than me explain my explanation, Sam, per common debate practice, you should point out a disagreement with my explanation, which I can respond to.

    Questions in Search of an Answer

    BEQ17: Sam, In the tradition of BEQ1, BEQ7, and BEQ9, I ask: Is God able to change such that He can have true relationship:
    A: within the Trinity?
    B: with His creatures?

    Sam, if ever I debate Reymond, I’ll ask him his position on immutability. I’m debating you. You of course are free (at least that’s what I believe) to quote whomever you would like.

    BEQ18: Please answer BEQ11.

    Sam, the Grandstands are restless, wondering why you avoid answering, and after a lifetime of debating Calvinists, I reply: it’s not by eternal decree, it’s the questions! I asked, BEQ11, “…can you indicate how Scripture could theoretically falsify (prove wrong) the Settled View?” And you non-answered, “SLA-BEQ11- Let me state that I do not agree that the three options you list are the only ways (or even the best ways) to falsify openness.” Sam, you misread what I wrote. I said, “Let me give examples of the kind of passages Sam could quote,” etc. I’ve now devoted much space to answering your big three: Mat. 6:8b, Judas, and Peter; probably 3,000 words more than the scant attention you’ve paid to my argument. If you want more, you’re going to have to specifically identify an area of your argument I’ve not addressed, or offer a rebuttal to my points. But don’t worry, we’re not done with the historical Jesus, we’re coming back to the Gospels… like a tsunami.

    BEQ19: Please answer BEQ12: Are foreordination and foreknowledge the same thing?

    I appreciate the succinct quote of SLA-BEQ12 which discredited the Westminster Confession as confused and self-contradictory. But neither did you nor that quote answer BEQ12 nor even mention foreknowledge. A yes or no could answer. I am grateful that you’re pasting my questions, so that all can see plainly you’re not answering.

    BEQ20: Please answer BEQ13, which I’ve here unnecessarily clarified: Is my conclusion above (from FDR) true that [as a general rule], “prophecies of future events do not inherently provide evidence of [exhaustive] foreknowledge?”

    Your circular non-answer hurt my head. A yes or no could answer.

    Next, it’s been exciting for Openness readers to see, even in this debate, that the erroneous monolithic doctrine of God’s timelessness has cracked. Our side vigorously opposes timelessness (which flows from Greek immutability) as irrational and anti-relational. (In 1B I referred to “the power of relationship,” and the historical march of the force of relationship, long held hostage by cold pagan philosophy, is now taking captives.) Twice you’ve acknowledged, “I agree that God is not timeless” (3A), and that “the doctrine that God is ‘timeless’ needs to be reformulated, I have already agreed” (4A). Those admissions will illustrate to you why humanist philosophy led to timelessness, when I ask you:

    BEQ21: Has it ever been possible for God to change anything that will happen in eternity future?

    BEQ22: Sam, do you agree that God did not ordain Peter’s rooster to crow because He eternally foresaw it, but because He willed it?

    BEQ23: Sam, even if God were not to rely on exhaustive foreknowledge (for example, when He ordained the Body of Christ, etc.), God can be far more competent, powerful, able, and effective, than could any human being who does not have exhaustive foreknowledge?

    BEQ24: will you agree that even apart from exhaustive foreknowledge, God can be far more competent, powerful, able, and effective, than could any human being who does not have exhaustive foreknowledge?

    BEQ25: If a passage can be interpreted in an Open or Settled way, please provide a general hermeneutic that students can use to determine which may be the correct interpretation.

    As you know by now, I believe the Open View results from giving precedence to God’s greater attributes of goodness, etc., over the quantitative attributes of how much unchangeableness, etc., God possesses. From the start of this Battle I’ve been showing that from platonic Augustine, through Calvin, till today, immutability has been overstated, and is the source of a cascade of beliefs that undermine belief in the true nature of the biblical God. So after I present the Open View in Round Six (given the space), I would LOVE for the last four rounds (40%!) of the debate to wrestle over the foundation. Do God’s attributes of relationship, goodness and love take precedence over immutability, power, and (quantities of) knowledge, and did Christ think it not robbery to be emptied of these? For He willingly humble Himself, thereby identifying the lesser attributes by what He relinquished.

    Finally, I had asked in “BEQ16: Does the Incarnation show that God the Son divested Himself in some significant degree of knowledge and power, but explicitly not of His goodness?” And Sam answered:

    SLA-BEQ16-No. (emphasis added)

    SAM! Thank you for the direct answer. The lines are drawn! You added, “God cannot divest himself of any of his attributes, therefore the Son did not divest himself of knowledge or power.” From your first post we’ve been trying to draw you out on this, and get you to take a stand, and we sense that this debate has forced your hand. In 1A you seemed to leave the question open writing: “If Jesus believed that either his Father knew the future or he himself knew the future…,” suggesting that you were non-committal as whether the Son had divested Himself of omniscience through the Incarnation! So in the first paragraph of my discussion of the first OMNI, of my first post, I wrote that God the Son, “‘emptied Himself’ (Phil. 2:7 ASV; Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich; etc.) of qualities such as power, presence, and knowledge, but not of love,” trying to pull you out. By the way Sam, I was at the Broadmoor Hotel in the Springs in 2001 the same time you were, and I heard John Sanders give his wonderful defense of Openness in person, but I did not read the paper you presented there until this summer. And in your published Openness paper, you referenced the Lord’s remarks about His Second Coming, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father, (Mark 13:32; Mat. 24:36), and you wrote that this, “would indicate that Jesus felt no shame in admitting that his knowledge was limited in at least one area.”

    So, Sam, when you published your paper, The Openness of God and the Historical Jesus, you did not take the position you’ve just made in TOL’s Battle Royale X, round four, when you rejected that Jesus humbled Himself, in part by relinquishing omniscience. Rather, you undermined that position. Please expect upcoming questions probing the absolutely foundational, decisive issue of Christ’s humility in the Incarnation. For now:

    BEQ26: Can you deny, or affirm by giving an example from Dr. Kennedy’s program, or in a past published paper, etc., whether previously you have ever publicly identified yourself as rejecting that the Son relinquished (emptied Himself, held in abeyance, divested, lessened, your choice) omniscience (or any of the OMNIs or IMs) for the purpose of His Incarnation?

    In Christ,
    Pastor Bob Enyart
    Denver Bible Church
    The Bob Enyart Live talk show airs at KGOV.com weekdays at 5 pm E.T. Also, same time, same station, check out Theology Thursday (.com) and on Fridays, Real Science Radio (.com) a.k.a. rsr.org. All shows are available 24/7 and you can call us at at 1-800-8Enyart.

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    That's it for round number four.

    Round five has begun and Dr. Lamerson is now on the clock and has until August 22th 1:26PM (MDT) to make his 5th post.

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    Battle Royale
    Round Five



    I am a little shaky this morning. As I was driving here (I drive by highway 30 miles to my office) a truck pulling a trailer was in front of me, one lane over. The axle broke on the trailer sending one wheel in front of my car, the trailer flipping and the truck upside down. While I was bumped from behind by another car and the truck ended up completely upside down, no one was badly hurt. I thank God that he was watching out for me. To be consistent, though, I must say that had I been injured or killed, I would thank God for that as well.

    Lest you think that I have had a life without tragedies and this word is only a hollow song, let me say that I have had some very difficult times in my life. My sister was killed in a car accident when I was a teenager; my mother and father died within eight months of each other when I was in my early twenties and my house was destroyed by a car accident the day my father died. Meanwhile my wife was pregnant and we were pastoring a small church that could not afford to pay mea living wage, much less insurance.

    I say all of this to let you know that as I faced these difficult times in my life, the fact that God knew and planned all of this before eternity was comforting. Comforting because I know that someday I will come to know how all these seeming tragedies ultimately glorified God.

    ROUND 5

    As of this round I plan to continue to ask Rev. Enyart the questions that I have been raising since the first round. While I do not mean to be personal in my attack, but to only attack the ideas and answers of Rev. Enyart, it is unfortunate that he has chosen to engage in what are clearly fallacious tactics such as:

    Loaded Language- Do not make your argument look good by mocking or distorting the other side.

    Enyart- I appreciate the succinct quote of SLA-BEQ12 which discredited the Westminster Confession as confused and self-contradictory.

    Lamerson-Notice that Enyart does not tell us why the confession (which is held to by thousands and by major denominations, as well as by some of the finest theological minds in the last two hundred years) is confused and self-contradictory.

    Red Herring: introducing and irrelevant or secondary subject and thereby diverting attention from the main subject.

    Enyart- In round five I plan to show (space permitting) how Augustine redefined the Christian God based on utter Greek immutability, and how the Reformation broke with Rome but not Greece, and extended the 1,000-year Hellenist grip on theology.

    Lamerson-We have agreed from the start of the debate that there is one question and that this question will be decided from the viewpoint of God. That is from the Scripture. Rev. Enyart continues to want to smuggle in whatever paper he has written about Greek philosophy but it has nothing to do with this debate. I am not quoting Plato or Augustine but Jesus.

    Straw Man: caricaturing an opposing view so that it is easy to refute.

    Enyart- The entire Peter matter comes down to the rooster.

    Lamerson- As anyone who read my first post about Peter knows, the comment about the rooster was simply a small joke (not a good one, or a funny one, but a small one). The real issue here is how Jesus could know that Peter would betray him if he did not know the future. Rev. Enyart has yet to deal with my analysis.

    STRATEGY FOR THE REST OF THE DEBATE

    From now on I will simply outline the arguments that I have already given. I will allow Rev. Enyart to state that “he is embarrassed to have to answer these arguments.” Nonetheless, I want them, the true arguments, answered. Until Rev. Enyart answers the arguments that I have put forth in my first and second posts, I will continue to post the same questions again and again. Rev. Enyart can claim victory all that he wants to but he has not been victorious until he answers the arguments.

    Thesis:
    This is the thesis that I put forward in post one.

    The argument is relatively simple: If Jesus believed that either his Father knew the future or he himself knew the future about any particular issue that involves free human choices, then one is forced to either construct a theology that allows for error on the part of Jesus, or admit that God cannot be said to have been “open” on those issues.

    Argument from Matthew 6:8

    1. First, to see this text as stating that God knows perfectly the present but does not know the future seems to be a case of reading the text in an anachronistic fashion. I have found nothing in second-temple literature which would lead me to believe that a first-century Jewish person listening to this saying of Jesus would have thought anything but that God knows the future.

    2. Second, we should note that many of the requests in the model prayer that follows look toward the future (Kingdom come, keep us from the evil one) and involve, on some level, the actions of free human wills.

    3. Third, I quote from the Gospel of Thomas. I have gotten so much heat for this I thought that I should explain. It is common convention for historical scholars to look at sources from the same time period to determine meanings of words. Any lexicon (including the outdated one that Rev. Enyart quotes from, it is outdated because there has been much linguist work done in the last fifty years and because the lexicon has gone through two more editions) looks at other literature to help determine what words and phrases mean.

    4. Bob says that I had defeated my own argument with the following passage:

    Bob might argue that this passage simply teaches that God knows the present thoughts of man. Therefore, he would know what a petitioner was about to ask, because he knows the present, not the future. The problem is that this works against the argument that God’s openness gives great incentive to prayer. Bruce Ware shows this quite succinctly when he points out that not just in the classic view, but even the in the open view, “[i]t is strictly speaking impossible for human beings to inform God of their thoughts, concerns, longings, feelings and requests” (because all these things exist in the present).

    As you can see this is not the case.

    Peter

    1. Jesus makes a very specific prediction about what Peter will do within the next 24 hours. This prediction is found in all four of the Gospels ( Pericope 315; Matt 26:34; Mark 14:30; Luke 22:34; John13:38). The question that this issue raises is obvious. If God’s inerrant foreknowledge violates the free will of the object of that knowledge, and if God will not violate the will of any free creature, how is he able to unerringly predict the actions of one of those free creatures?

    2. Second, the prediction is very specific not just as to action (which might, I suppose, be only a result of the knowledge of Peter’s personality) but to time as well. How did Jesus know that these events would take place within the next few hours?

    3. Third, it might be countered that the crucifixion is the most important event in the history of redemption; therefore we might expect to see unusual things happening as God brings his plan to fruition. The problem is that Peter’s denial is in no way integral to the crucifixion itself.

    4. Fourth, there are only two options open to Jesus when he makes this statement. He is either sure that this event will take place or he believes (but is uncertain) that it will happen. If he is sure, then God has apparently violated the free will of Peter (by the openness definition of free will). If he is not sure then one must construct a theology in which Jesus could possibly be mistaken. Bob is willing to say that Jesus was possibly mistaken. If so then what else was he mistaken about?

    5. Fifth, the so-called “ignorant son” passages (Matt 24:36; Mark 13:32) would indicate that Jesus felt no shame in admitting that his knowledge was limited in at least one area. Yet he makes a very specific prediction here. If Jesus had been unsure it seems that he would not have made such a prediction. Thus the evidence seems to point very clearly to the fact that Jesus believed that he could accurately predict future actions of a free agent, yet that agent was still responsible for the evil which he committed.

    Rev. Enyart accuses me of changing my position here but I have not, please see below.


    Judas (from post III)

    1. First, Jesus speaks very clearly about being handed over by one of the twelve. In verse 26:24 Matthew quotes Jesus as saying "The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him;.” Davies and Allison see the term translated here as “go” as a euphemism for dying. Thus Jesus is seen very clearly making a prediction not just about the fact of the betrayal, but about the outcome of the betrayal as well. While one could argue that Judas had already made up his mind, and that knowledge of Judas’s present state was open to God, this will not answer the question of how Jesus would have known the ultimate outcome (i.e., death) of the betrayal, nor the question of what might have occurred had Judas changed his mind.

    2. Second, one of the more serious problems for Bob is that in John’s gospel Jesus links his prediction about the actions of Judas to the proof of his own deity. In John 13:18-19, Jesus links his prediction about Judas to his own claim of Deity. There are several important points here.

    A. The Ego Eimi passage here without a predicate nominative is a claim to Deity. I teach Greek for a living, have published a book on Greek with a major publisher, and in this area I am certain. Jesus is basing his claims on his prediction.

    B. Bob claims that this passage only means “I am he” or that “I am the Christ.” The claim to be the Christ was a claim to Deity, thus even by Bob’s analysis the prediction is a claim to Deity.

    3. Third, it is a serious problem for Bob that in Matthew’s gospel the betrayal of Judas is said to be a fulfillment of prophecy (Matt 26:54-56). Bob argues that the use of fulfillment language in Matthew is not about future events but that Matthew is using the word to illustrate rather than predict. While it is true that Matthew’s use of the term “fulfillment” is very nuanced, this does not mean that he always uses the term to imply a topological event rather than a future one. As Matthew 26:24 indicates, Jesus was saying that the Scriptures had predicted that the events “must happen this way.” Thus, it seems that the evidence is very strong in favor of seeing Judas’s action as having been foreseen by both the Father and Jesus.

    Bob uses Micah 5:2 as an example of a “predictive prophecy.” This raises a number of issues: Did Mary and Joseph have the choice not to go to Bethlehem? What would have happened if they had chosen to ignore the census? Was the census ordained by God? It seems that this prophecy begins to violate the will, or at least limit the choices of those involved.

    4. The passage in Acts 1:16 where Peter says that "Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.” This is a very important passage and Bob makes an attempt to deal with it in an exegetical manner (I appreciate the fact that we both respect the Word and are both attempting to deal with what it actually says). There are, however, several serious problems with Bob’s response.

    Bob’s choice of a single definition when there were two offered in the text, and then to leave out some of that definition because “it was so Greek sounding” is problematic. At the very least we would expect a lexicon of the Greek language to have some “Greek sounding” (whatever that is) definitions.

    Bob does not deal with the analysis of Greek scholar Dan Wallace which I offer on this word dei. He offers what he says is a use of the word by the same speaker and then quotes from Luke. Surely Bob believes that these words were spoken by Peter and thus one should look at Peter’s use of the word rather than Luke’s.

    The preaching of Peter in the next chapter of Acts (vv. 22-23) show two things: First, that Jesus death was a part of the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God” and Second, that those who participated in his death were still guilty.


    Lamerson’s Questions- some from the last post

    Again, let me say that until these questions are answered I will simply re-post them in every round.

    SLQ8 -Bob would you please respond specifically to the exegesis of Matthew 6:8, in particular my claim and arguments that this passage does not only speak of present knowledge?


    SLQ9 -Would you please respond specifically to my exegesis of the prediction of Peter’s denial taking into account the points that I have made in this as well as the first post?

    SLQ-11 Would you please respond specifically to the exegesis showing that Jesus based proof of his deity on the correct prediction about Judas?

    SLQ12 -Would you please respond specifically to the exegesis showing that Judas did not have the ability to choose otherwise, particularly the exegesis found in this post as well as post III

    SLQ15-Would you be willing to pick out three passages or pericopies as I have done above and let the debate center on the word of God and what the word tells us about God?


    Enyart’s Questions

    BEQ17: Sam, In the tradition of BEQ1, BEQ7, and BEQ9, I ask: Is God able to change such that He can have true relationship:

    SLA-BEQ17 This has been asked and answered. God can and does have true relationships with his creatures. God is not timeless. All that I have asked you for is an As to Reymond’s position, you are the one who brought up the systematics. It seems poor form to me to bring up the book as an example of what should not be taught, and the refuse to specifically cite what is wrong with it.

    BEQ19: Please answer BEQ12: Are foreordination and foreknowledge the same thing?

    As the Westminster confession makes clear, I believe that God has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass. Has he foreseen that as well? Yes, but this does not mean that he did not ordain it.

    BEQ26: Can you deny, or affirm by giving an example from Dr. Kennedy’s program, or in a past published paper, etc., whether previously you have ever publicly identified yourself as rejecting that the Son relinquished (emptied Himself, held in abeyance, divested, lessened, your choice) omniscience (or any of the OMNIs or IMs) for the purpose of His Incarnation?

    I find this question offensive. Is my word not good enough? I believe that Jesus was both fully God and fully man. As a man he could and did speak of things that he did not know. As God he knew all things. This view is standard and is held by such theologicans as Reymond, Grudem, Erickson, and others. I have held this view since I was in seminary. The question of what Christ emptied himself of is clear when on realizes that Paul, in Phillippians is echoing a passage from Isaiah 53:12 where it is said that the Christ will be "poured out" for us. Christ did empty himself of his blood for our redemption, but not of any of the attributes of God.

    That is my word on the subject. If my word is not good enought then the debate is over. Again, for Rev. Enyart to ask for proof is highly offensive.

    It is important to realize that the reason I brought this up was to add weight to the predictions that Christ did make.


    Again, I feel that this debate is quickly getting off topic. I have attempted to put forward my answers as well as my arguments. I am sure that there are things that I have missed. Rev. Enyart, if you will pick out a few passages that you believe show that God does not and cannot know the entire future this debate can be of value to those who really want to know the biblical answers to these questions. As men who believe in the word of God, let us use that as our touchstone.

    I ask that you will continue to pray for me. Class is getting ready to start and I count the teaching of the Word as a very, very serious thing. Thank you to all who have given of their time so that this debate might take place. I appreciate you all, agree with me or not. Thanks for caring about the Scripture, there are too many who do not.


    Tolle Lege,

    Sam

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    Battle Royale X: Openness Theology, Enyart's Post 5B

    In this post, the unmovable stone wall (of the Settled View) meets the unstoppable force (of Relationship). One of the forces that threatens both the doctrine of Simple Foreknowledge and Calvinism, is: Google! This post will demonstrate that as the web delivers the world’s knowledge to each student, immutability’s origins in pagan Greek philosophy will be increasingly recognized, and Christians who have read for themselves the original source documents referenced below will be liberated to look anew at what the Bible says for itself!

    Sam, you just called this a Red Herring! Years ago I read a college textbook on logical fallacies, so I am glad you’re trying to call me on any inappropriate argumentation, because if I am guilty of any, I will not be able to claim ignorance. In 1B, I asked rhetorically, “has pagan philosophy colored the Christian doctrine of God? The evidence that this has happened is startling, compelling, and requires a reconsideration of the Scripture after consciously rejecting all Greek influence.” In 2A you complained, not that this was irrelevant, but on the contrary, that Bob “offers no evidence,” and said that this claim “scream[s] out for evidence and argument.” You would have made neither remark had I just introduced an irrelevant topic (say, that our murder rate was much lower a century ago when Coloradoans owned more guns per capita). In 3A, you did not judge this irrelevant, but: “It is not that I am unfamiliar with the work of those who make this claim (Boyd, Sanders, Pinnock, Rice, and others) it is that I am unconvinced by them.” Now I go to work.

    My Assessment of the First Half of Battle Royale X

    Rather than opening by framing the debate or providing a foundation for the Settled View, Dr. Lamerson stepped somewhere into the middle of the issue and presented three lines of evidence for exhaustive foreknowledge (one irrelevant, and two fascinating arguments regarding Peter and Judas). In post 1B, I selected the one thing from Sam’s first post that gave me anything to be responsive to and at the same time present my own opening statement providing the debate’s bigger picture. By replying to Sam’s official SLQ2 which asked how do we interpret biblical figures of speech about God, I also answered his first unofficial question from his introduction as to what hermeneutic will be used to resolve the entire Openness issue. Sam has provided no specific hermeneutic. I have answered that we must interpret all Scripture through a proper understanding of the divine hierarchy of God’s attributes, giving precedence to relationship and goodness over the OMNIs and the IMs.

    By the fourth round, Sam had already violated the only hermeneutical direction he had provided. Earlier he had written that, “the study of the historical Jesus can be of help here,” yet if he is willing to discount Christ’s direct statement that “no one knows, not even… the Son,” showing that Jesus, as the Son, lacked omniscience, then Sam has surrendered any appeal to the historical Jesus. Sam has demonstrated the claim from my first post’s introduction, that the Settled View’s commitment to Greek philosophical concepts take precedence over Scripture’s clear statements.

    Sam wrote, “If the exegete can determine the view of Jesus on divine foreknowledge, she may then have strong warrant for her hermeneutical decisions…” (By the way… well… oh… on second thought, never mind…) There is nothing more explicit regarding Christ’s view of His own knowledge than the Lord’s remarks about His Second Coming, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 13:32). I have irrefragably argued that the proper interpretation of all Scripture must submit itself to a right understanding of God’s attributes, and that very idea also provides the most precise focus conceivable for assessing Openness theology. But why does Sam say that this plainly worded and extraordinary statement by Jesus does not provide reliable guidance on the Son’s foreknowledge? He can see the writing on the manger. He resists acknowledging the divine hierarchy of God’s attributes, because he intuitively realizes that if true, the Settled View crumbles, taking Calvin with it. So even against clear Scripture, with countless Settled Viewers, Sam now must argue the immutability of the Baby in Bethlehem.

    Exhaustive Foreknowledge comes from Greek Philosophy

    Plato and Aristotle, with neo-platonists after them, presented to the world the classic arguments for immutability. Saint Augustine’s extraordinary commitment to pagan Greek philosophy survived his conversion with only some repositioning. As the most influential Christian theologian, Augustine based much of his theology on his commitment to the pagan doctrine of immutability and he bragged about this in his writings, and refers to the arguments of Plato and neo-platonic philosophers explicitly in defense of immutability and a Settled Future (which the Greeks referred to as fate and sometimes as providence). Scholars credit Augustine with preventing Christianity from being “cut off from the Classics.” Christian monks and theologians through the Middle Ages gave enormous priority to the study of Greek classics, and Christianity even fiercely maintained a Greek cosmology, all of this directly following Augustine. Like their leader, Monks would sanitize Greek ideas by twisting a few verses into proof-texts, as quoting that the sun rises and sets in defense of Aristotle. (Incidentally, ascetic monasticism itself was an eastern pagan influence on the church, with no scriptural support for monasteries, and Greek thought erased any biblical balance to denying one’s self, for “Plato viewed asceticism as a means of… conditioning the body… to a point at which the soul… could be free.”) Overcoming extraordinary intellectual repression, Christians like Copernicus, Kepler, and Newton were more committed to Scripture than to the Greeks, and as Galileo’s character Simplicio (Simpleton) played the Aristotelian, they consciously broke with Aristotle’s stifling defense of geo-centrism. And Christian theology will be as muddled as our dark-ages cosmology had been, until our ministers likewise deliver themselves from the bondage of pagan humanism. The Reformation broke with Rome, but not from Greece. The lead Reformer, Augustinian monk Martin Luther, was annoyed with Kepler’s scientifically liberating laws of planetary motion, preferring to ignore the proof because Aristotle’s circular orbits had a single divine center, while Kepler’s elliptical orbits had two centers; and evidence or not, passionate Greek commitment does not die readily. The Reformation was tainted with neoplatonism from the start. The great educational establishment of the Reformation was built by neo-platonists, who of course taught Scripture and Greek philosophy together, confidently writing and teaching from textbooks on the Classics. At the time, the study of Greek philosophy was fondly, but properly, called humanism. Reformation theologians and ministers were trained in their own colleges, which were established to teach Scripture as Augustine taught it, by defending their theology with Greek philosophy, and by promoting significant neo-platonic influence on Christianity.

    Sam denies this.

    My Settled View opponent has yet to identify his hermeneutic for interpreting everything consistent with exhaustive foreknowledge, so until he provides one, I will do so for him to the best of my ability. The Settled View Hermeneutic is Commitment to Augustinian Tradition. And continuing, the following quotes and summaries are not taken out of context, but come from passages regarding God’s fundamental nature.

    Divine Immutability

    Plato: “The gods are themselves unchangeable;”he changes not.”
    Aristotle: “it is impassive and unalterable;” The divine mind “does not change
    Plotinus (father of neoplatonism): “knowing nothing of change;” “that Being… neither in process of change nor having ever changed;” “never varying
    Augustine: “absolute unchangeableness
    Aquinas: “God alone is altogether immutable;” “God is supremely immutable
    Luther: Immutablity” is the core of his entire Bondage of the Will
    Calvin: “God, it is certain, is absolutely immutable;” “God remains unchangeably the same
    Scripture: A thousand verses, corroborated by the Incarnation, prove that God changes. We should trust Christ because of God’s commitment to righteousness, not because immutability makes it impossible for Him to turn against us.

    Divine Immobility

    Plato: the Creator is “immovably the same.”
    Aristotle: “there is something which moves without being moved;” [God] “does not change, for change would be… a movement.”
    Plotinus: “Life [i.e., God is] changelessly motionless;” “nothing in it ever knows development
    Augustine: God is “without movement;” “Neither is there any growth;” “without any movement
    Aquinas: “God cannot be moved
    Luther: “Immovable Thyself
    Calvin: “he remains unmoved;” He “is incapable of every feeling”
    Scripture: The Spirit of God moved over the face of the waters. God the Son came down from heaven. We have emotion because God is passionate. He experiences love and anger, grief and joy.

    Remember, the Greeks were talking about a pagan deity, but for these Christians, it seems like I lifted these excerpts from their descriptions of a stone idol, but I have not misquoted them.

    Divine Timelessness

    Plotinus (father of Augustine’s neoplatonism): “What future… could bring to that Being anything… that standing present… it cannot include any past… Futurity, similarly, is banned”
    Augustine: “whereas no time is all at once present” “not in our fashion does He look forward to what is future… nor back upon what is past
    Aquinas: “The idea of eternity follows immutability” “eternity is simultaneously whole
    Scripture: God’s “years” (Ps. 102:27; Heb. 1:12) never end. Jesus is waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. God is not co-eternal with creation, but made heaven and earth, which are not eternal. He created in the past, somberly looked forward to the crucifixion, endured the cross, which He suffered once for all time and does not continually hang on the cross, and now looks forward to Judgment Day.

    Implications

    Aristotle: The divine mind “does not change, for change would be for the worse…”
    Augustine: He “beholds all things with absolute unchangeableness” “nor does His present knowledge differ from that which it ever was or shall be”
    Aquinas: “just as His substance is altogether immutable… so His knowledge likewise must be altogether invariable
    Luther: “the immutably of His foreknowledge;” “God foreknows nothing contingently
    Scripture: In Scripture God presents Himself as making creatures that can be creative and themselves bring brand new thoughts and actions into existence.

    The Incarnation shatters all this Greek philosophy.

    Only time and space limits kept me from adding so many more quotes. The closest concept scripturally to the philosophic perversion of immutability is the eternal steadfastness of the Living God (Dan. 6:26). Period. No twisted metaphysical contortions are required. Biblical immutability speaks of the God’s commitment of God’s will to righteousness (Heb. 6:17-18), His eternal existence (Ps. 102:27); His faithfulness to Abraham (Mal. 3:6); His resolute commitment to truth (Heb. 13:8-9); and His trustworthiness to do only good (Jam. 1:17). And unlike Sam’s typical Settled View rational in Post 2B, none of this is because God can not but because He will not do evil. But when Sam denies the very Strength of Israel, which is God’s will to do right, reducing Him to a being who simply has no choice in the matter, no wonder Sam now thinks that every filthy perversion flows as a command from the mind of God (resisting Jer. 19:5; 32:35). Rather, God provides our salvation in righteousness, which He maintains immutably only by the commitment of His will, thus, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast,” (Heb. 6:19).

    This frees the student of God’s Word to begin again at Genesis, and read through, seeing the glory of a relational God, actually uncompromised by evil, fully engaged and greatly affected by our love and hurt by our disobedience. Now, let’s fill in some particulars.

    Plato (B.C. 427–347)

    Plato had a high IQ, as do many who hate God and righteousness, and yet the Open View does not say that unbelievers are always wrong. Hollywood ends their blockbuster movies with the wicked punished, and the righteous vindicated, even though they hate themselves for it. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. So we can take an occasional illustration from Hollywood, and benefit from the scientific observations of atheists, but for Christians to allow Plato to influence their doctrine, as otherwise insightful Arminian Settled Viewers do, is downright foolishness. But what can it be called, other than the irony of the ages, when Sam with all five-point Calvinists who say they believe in Total Depravity, conform God’s Word to the influence of pagan Greek philosophy?

    Plato by his darkened mind, gave the classic argument for immutability, arguing that God cannot change at all because God must be perfect, and any change could only be “for the worse [thus…] it is impossible that God should ever be willing to change…

    But he forgot to consider acorns. And perfect oceans, and perfect stars, and perfect newborn babies. For the Living God mirrored His own vitality in His creation. However by Augustine’s lifetime commitment to philosophy, he imposed Plato’s perspective on Christianity. But Augustine loved the guy, so perhaps he’s not so bad? Well, he will remind us why God despises paganism, by this glimpse into his Greek mind, from Plato’s Republic, Book VI. For Plato recommended a utopian state in which he would require for the philosophers and the soldiers:
    that the wives of our guardians are to be common, and their children are to be common, and no parent is to know his own child, nor any child his parent… [and] a woman, I said, at twenty years of age may begin to bear children to the State, and continue to bear them until forty.”
    But what if a teenager or a fortyish woman becomes pregnant? Plato has a delicate solution: just kill the baby. For if he became ruler (the wise philosopher king), Plato would allow childbirth:
    “only to those who are within the specified age [with] strict orders to prevent any embryo which may come into being from seeing the light; and if any force a way to the birth, the parents must understand that the offspring of such an union cannot be maintained, and arrange [that is: kill it] accordingly.
    It is this same Plato of whom we read, by Augustine, City of God, Book VIII, Ch. 4:
    But, among the disciples of Socrates, Plato was the one who shone with a glory which far excelled that of the others, and who not unjustly eclipsed them all… To Plato is given the praise of having perfected philosophy… We must, nevertheless, insert into our work certain of those opinions which he expresses in his writings, whether he himself uttered them, or narrates them as expressed by others, and seems himself to approve of,-opinions sometimes favorable to the true religion, which our faith takes up and defends, and sometimes contrary to it… Plato… is justly preferred to all the other philosophers of the Gentiles…
    Sam, if the doctrine of exhaustive foreknowledge has developed directly from Christianity's mingling with pagan philosophy, then the force of the entire story of the Bible makes it abundantly clear that the future is open and both man and God change it continually.

    Aristotle (B.C. 384-322)

    Neoplatonism won the theologian’s popularity contest over Aristotle, but he still left his mark. He is famous for the unmovable mover, the Source of all is that which is eternal and unmovable and so our theological giants in unison chant: God is unmovable. Aristotle was against divine change (which is required for Life), and he described four species of movement: change in location, alteration, diminution, and growth. And thus to classical and reformed theology, the enemy of God’s glory is not—ordaining evil—it’s change!

    Plotinus (A.D. 204-270)

    The father of Augustine’s beloved neoplatonism, Plotinus wrote in Enneads III, Ch. 7, sec. 3:
    Then we reconstruct… a sole Life in the Supreme… a Life never varying, not becoming what previously it was not, the thing immutably itself… and knowing this, we know Eternity. We know it as a Life changelessly motionless…; not this now and now that other, but always all; not existing now in one mode and now in anothernothing in it ever knows development: all remains identical within itself, knowing nothing of change, for ever in a Now since nothing of it has passed away or will come into being, but what it is now, that it is ever. … “…the Identity in the Divinehas no futurity… and could it come to be anything which it is not once for all? …it cannot include any past; … Futurity, similarly, is banned; … that which enjoys stable existence as neither in process of change nor having ever changed- that is Eternity. Thus we come to the definition: the Life- instantaneously entire, complete, at no point broken into period or part- which belongs to the Authentic Existent by its very existence, this is the thing we were probing for- this is Eternity.”
    All of Christianity went after pagan Plotinus, who declared, God as “that which neither has been nor will be, but simply possesses being,” whereas the true God reveals Himself as, “Him who is and who was and who is to come” (Rev. 1:4)!

    Augustine (A.D. 354-430)

    As God made the heavens and the earth, He “saw that it was good,” and immediately after the great sixth day of creation, God rejoiced at the work of His hands, for “God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good!” But the cold pagan Greek conception of God could allow the deity no such enjoyment, or enrichment, or appreciation, or increase, by His becoming the Creator. But if the Son could become flesh (one of the greatest conceivable changes), then surely God could become the Creator, and He did, and He enjoyed it! But for centuries, Christian theology could not allow that such to be said of God, because Plato once uttered a similar sentiment, but Augustine was wise enough to know his true meaning, that God’s immutability would not allow Him even to be blessed by the work of His hands, and so interpreting Moses by Plato’s principles, Augustine, City of God, Book XI, Ch. 21:
    …when the universe was completed… Plato was not so foolish as to mean by this that God was rendered more blessed by the novelty of His creation… For He… beholds all things with absolute unchangeableness… -Saint Augustine
    Absolute unchangeableness? Absolute unchangeableness? Sam, that sounds just like “utter immutability,” doesn’t it? (And by the way, below I’m finally going to quote Reymond, but about the Greeks.) So neo-platonic thought permeated Augustine’s hermeneutic, and those committed first to God will search for that intellectual virus and eradicate it and its symptoms from Christian theology.

    And finally, in City of God, Book V, Ch. 9:
    Now the expression, "Once hath He spoken," is to be understood as meaning "immovably," that is, unchangeably hath He spoken, inasmuch as He knows unchangeably all things which shall be, and all things which He will do.
    That means that? Sam, meet Sam. That means that only if you’re a neo-platonist. Yet in this chapter Augustine says, “to deny that He has foreknowledge of future things, is the most manifest folly.” This Greek philosopher is unqualified to make that judgment! He’s too biased.

    Martin Luther (A.D. 1483-1546)

    The Reformation’s theology and education was co-mingled with neoplatonism. Martin Luther, himself an Augustinian monk, worked to bring Humanism (Greek philosophy), into the service of the Gospel. He wrote of his primary ally, Philip Melanchthon, “This little Greek even surpasses me in theology”, for Melanchthon took a Greek name for himself as part of his studies in Humanism. Melanchthon, sometimes called the “father of evangelical theology,” wrote the first great confession of the Reformation, Confessio Augustana, and the first summary of Reformed theology. Also influenced by Aquinas, Melanchthon developed the concept of the modern high school, and wrote many “textbooks and founded schools” all influenced by Greek philosophy, and once planned, but never produce, a “genuine text of Aristotle,” although throughout his life was identified with Humanism.

    Calvin (A.D. 1509-1564)

    Writing about God’s eternal foreordination of the elect and the damned, Calvin quoted Augustine and then summed up his influence from, and personal allegiance to, Augustine:

    Were we disposed to frame an entire volume out of Augustine, it were easy to show the reader that I have no occasion to use any other words than his [than Augustine’s!]” -Calvin’s Institutes, Book 3, Chap 22, Sec 8

    Neoplatonism disallows God changing, moving, emoting, knowing something different, etc., therefore when the Bible says that God repents, Calvin insists that is only a figure of speech meaning that He does not repent, and here he offers the rationale that since there is no “emotion in him” and yet the Bible says often God exhibits emotion, thus we should interpret all such passages as mere figures of speech:

    God “is incapable of every feeling… when we hear that God is angry, we ought not to imagine that there is any emotion in him, but ought rather to consider the mode [figure] of speech…” -Calvin’s Institutes, Book 1, XVII, xiii

    Calvin used not a biblical but a neo-platonic hermeneutic. Thus:

    When it is said that God repented of having made Saul king, the term change is used figuratively. Shortly after, it is added, "The Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent; for he is not a man, that he should repent," (1 Sam. 15:29.) In these words, his immutability is plainly asserted without figure. -Calvin’s Institutes, Book I, Ch. 17

    The historical context shows that God actually did repent of offering Saul a perpetual dynasty, and God will not “repent” of having actually repented concerning His offer to Saul. Calvin can ignore the historical context because he prioritizes neo-platonic immutability above all.

    Secondary Sources

    Microsoft’s Encarta encyclopedia entry for Philosophy, Western, Medieval:
    The religious teachings of the Gospels were combined by the Fathers of the Church with many of the philosophical concepts of the Greek and Roman schools… which drew upon metaphysical ideas of Aristotle and Plotinus to establish important Christian doctrines…

    Clement (d. 215), head of the Christian Catechetical seminary in Alexandria, extolled “the divine character of the philosophy of Plato.”

    Thomas Aquinas (A.D. 1225-1274), the father of Christianity’s enormously influential scholastic movement, which was a renewed effort to merge Greek philosophy with Christian theology. Aquinas was “emphatically Aristotelian” with neo-platonic influence having written many volumes on philosophy, including thirteen “commentaries on Aristotle.”

    The scholarly textbook you teach from, Sam, A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith, written by your former professor, Dr. Reymond, has a section about those who deny either Christ’s deity or His humanity, so it is not indexed or directly related to this topic of Greek philosophy, but thankfully, in a 1,200 page book, I happened upon it. Covering A.D. 325-451 on the controversy among church fathers about who Christ is, Reymond writes:
    …their creedal terms were sometimes the terms of earlier and current philosophy, those terms nonetheless served the church well… [and the terms included] “without change” (or [without] transmutation)… -Reymond, p. 1,096
    And not speaking of himself, Reymond describes “a modern dissatisfaction with [these church father’s] usage of Greek philosophical terminology…” (ibid.). And Reymond describes that earlier church period, “A.D. 418,” as exhibiting the church’s “best creedal moments” (ibid. p. 468) for “every Christian should be in this sense ‘Augustinian’ in his soteric [salvation] beliefs.”

    While Reymond treats the historical development of theology at length including positive and negative influences, of the major Greek thinkers his Index of Persons has only a single, solitary entry under just one philosopher, Plato, pointing to a positive influence. His Index of Subjects makes no mention of any related topic such as Aristoteleanism, Platonism, neoplatonism, etc. And in his section on the teachings of Christ from the apostolic fathers, Reymond writes (p. 585), “we find nothing doctrinally definite, (that is, definitive) in regard to… the relationship of the divine and human in his person.” And later he writes about Origen (d. 254 A.D.):
    Origen became the greatest biblical scholar… and philosopher-theologian (see his De principiis) of his day. But regrettably it must be acknowledged that Origen’s writings are seriously flawed due to his commitment to Platonism.

    [And though] a Christian theologian… his depiction of God was in some significant respects more Greek than biblical.

    [Yet] he continues to hold a place in the front ranks of early Christian theologians simply because he is so important to an understanding of the history of Christian doctrine that followed him. -Reymond, pp. 593, 595
    Christian theology began amidst a crisis of pagan Greek influence, and that crisis entered Roman Catholicism unabated, and was welcomed into the Reformation. And if not for the Openness movement authors and unknown heroes, virtually all Christians today would still be completely unaware of the pagan Greek heritage preached from the pulpits.

    World Book Encyclopedia 1986, Reformation Schools, "Protestant leaders… promoted literacy, an educational curriculum based on ancient Greek and Roman literature…"

    When I call Augustine the most influential Christian theologian, that is true even if you include the prophets and the apostles who wrote the Bible, because Christianity filters biblical truth through his platonic commitments. However, if we broaden the potential candidate list to include pagans, then indisputably Plato, the pagan Greek philosopher, is the most influential Christian theologian.

    Summation

    So, how do we sum this up? Oh yeah, Settled Viewers deny there is a problem here.

    Right now, I happen to be debating a Calvinist, but for the Settled View Arminian reader, please take to heart the pagan source of immutability and exhaustive foreknowledge. I am glad that Scripture teaches that God can change the future! It’s liberating to trust Him! Arminius did well fighting to recover God’s righteousness, human responsibility and true relationship, but his reforms, like Luther’s, failed to break with Greek philosophy.

    Let me illustrate Sam’s contradictions, whose philosophical loyalty has sacrificed the ability to apply Judaeo-Christian reason and biblical truth (lower case t, as in non-contradictory logic), such that he claims (in my words, not his) that:
    God alone, originally, intentionally and specifically ordained all hatred, murder, filth, and adultery, yet He is not the author of sin.
    What does it take to swallow that? Determined commitment to irrational Greek immutability!

    Further, Sam has a will, and so he gets to exercise it by determining which text he will use to interpret the other: Calvin’s, or God’s? John Calvin who wrote, “God in his eternal and immutable counsel determined once for all those whom… it was his pleasure to doom to destruction,” (Calvin’s Institutes, Book III, Ch. 21, vii). Yet all along, before neoplatonism, God declared, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (-God, Ezek. 33:11). So honoring his neo-platonist commitment, Sam takes Calvin’s passage literally, and the inspired passage as figurative.

    Sam, you wrote that you believe in free will. But you didn’t volunteer to the reader what that means to a Calvinist. Here is an example of what you call free will: God unalterably and irresistibly ordained that a certain man will murder an Idaho mother, kidnap her children, torment and kill the son, molest and then rape the little girl, orchestrating this to the number of penetrations, and the man has no ability to desire otherwise, or to do otherwise, or to resist this causal predestination in anyway whatsoever, and you call that free will. As you wrote in Post 1A:
    In fairness I will state that I believe free will indicates that an agent will always be free to do what he or she chooses. -A Calvinist[/INDENT]
    Fairness? Sam, the more committed you are to fundamentally irrational Greek philosophical ideas, the more discernment you lose concerning related matters, such that you think it glorifies and brings God pleasure to have men sodomize children, and you attribute wickedness to His foreordination, thereby embracing the greatest contradictions the mind can conceive of. Why would you think that God would want you to be fair? You think God ordained David’s adultery and murder which destroyed his family and even his nation. Perhaps God will ordain you to murder one of your unsaved loved ones? And you think that would bring Him pleasure. So if God could ordain His servants to murder and rape, then duplicity in debate could glorify Him too! No? Especially in defense of changelessness! Fairness? Fair to the naïve reader who thought he was reading your actual definition of free will? Fair?

    Jesus warned:
    Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? … “Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” -Mat. 15:3, 9b
    Last year, on our Bible Tour of Turkey, we went to Iznik, (Nicea, where Emperor Constantine possibly presided over the first draft of the Nicene Creed), but more excitedly, to a dozen biblical locations, including the city of the Colossians (on the road to Efes, the city of Ephesus, which anciently was their nearest metropolitan center of Greek culture). At the Hotel Colossae, a few of us from Denver Bible Church witnessed for ninety minutes to Professor Vishal Gujral, the son of the just-replaced Prime Minister of India, and when his world-class education and humanist beliefs left him unable to figure out why communist countries all turned their nations into prisons, with guards shooting those trying to escape, we left him with a Bible verse. Sam, I end with the same verse for you:
    Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8
    Questions and Answers

    Sam, this is going to be strong. Please brace yourself. I think you’ve used a ploy in your latest round. To minimize attention to, and even justify, your own unresponsiveness, you’ve decided to claim that I’m simply not answering your questions, let alone addressing your arguments. I make a promise to the readers: I will directly reply to any part of my rebuttals that Sam specifically challenges. On the other hand, I’d rather not burn words explaining my explanations unless Sam specifically challenges a point with something other than that he disagrees. And Sam, if you can be thankful for a tanker taking out your house, a bit of gratitude for my debate style must not be too much to ask . After all, we’ve trained signed, notarized Assignments of Copyright so that both sides have the right to publish the debate. And my trademark argument as to who wins a debate has long been, dating from before Battle Royale VII, that whoever promotes the finished debate may not have won, but at least he thinks he won! And whoever forgets about the debate, thinks he lost. So, since I’m planning on promoting the living daylights out of this thing, Sam, I’m hoping you can argue hard to help me find any errors in my position so that I can correct them before Round Ten!

    Sam’s Questions Answered

    Sam, please ask more specific questions. I have to guess what among hundreds of words you want addressed, and then repeat your argument so that the reader knows what we’re talking about. Also, if you are going to change or add to a question, please use a new number. You ask general questions, and I answer yours. I ask specific questions, and you don’t answer mine.

    SLQ8- Bob would you please respond specifically to the exegesis of Matthew 6:8, in particular my claim and arguments that this passage does not only speak of present knowledge?

    BEA-SLQ8-B: BEA-SLQ8 addressed all your arguments except for the future aspects of Lord’s Prayer, to which I reply that God can answer, “Thy will be done,” without violating human will because He wills to reward those who repent, and punish those who do not. That requires neither exhaustive foreknowledge, nor violation of human will.

    SLQ9-B- Would you please respond specifically to my exegesis of the prediction of Peter’s denial taking into account the points that I have made in this as well as the first post?

    BEA-SLQ9-B: I’ll reply to the only new issue you raise, that my verse list from Luke’s books failed to make my point. I showed that ??? does not always mean had to, as in divine destiny or fate, but it also means had to, as in what is fitting, what behooves, what ought to be done, etc., as in, “we had to throw a party, it was his birthday!” For this extremely common word, you said since I only quoted Luke’s uses, and not Peter’s, my argument failed (since Peter is the one Luke quoted in Acts 1:16). Sam, I did list a verse that Peter spoke, Acts 5:29, and his use of ??? there also doesn’t mean fate or divine destiny, it means that we Christians should obey God, which often we do not. By the way, toward the “all things work together for good,” goal, perhaps the elders of DenverBibleChurch.org will authorize the purchase of a new BGDA lexicon (it’s $125 on Amazon) since you dissed my old one .

    SLQ-11- Would you please respond specifically to the exegesis showing that Jesus based proof of his deity on the correct prediction about Judas?

    BEA-SLQ11-B: Regarding your claim that John 13:19 is a deity verse, I answered BEA-SQ11. I’m surprised that you, being a Greek teacher, are trying to justify your translation with the claim that to be the Christ is de facto “a claim to Deity.” I already had said, “you can take it that way interpretatively,” (which is what you are doing). But you were claiming grammatical justification, and you just made a non-grammatical argument, and Sam then you used the “trust me” defense because you’ve been published (which I respect). But an expert with an answer would have responded to my two substantive rebuttals, that (1) the KJV/NKJV/NIV translators are not “certain” as you are but render as I’ve defended; and (2) “we’d have various gods running around the New Testament” if we translated the word GOD, per your predicate nominative “rule.” Finally, you would mark as incorrect any student’s translation of ??????? (Christ) as God, rebutting your own latest argument.

    SLQ12-B- Would you please respond specifically to the exegesis showing that Judas did not have the ability to choose otherwise, particularly the exegesis found in this post as well as post III.

    BEA-SLQ12-B: In addition to BEA-SLQ11 and BEA-SLQ12, I add BEA-SLQ11-B, and finally… I bring to bear the honest [BEA-]SLQ4! There! Oh, and to that I might as well add the venerable BEA-SLQ2 and the vigorous [BEA-]SLQ7! Sam, I’ve already asked you not to request that I explain my explanations without you specifically rebutting SOMETHING. I challenge your answers specifically, perhaps you can try doing likewise. It’s fun! It shows me whether or not I actually have an answer, which self-evaluation I find rewarding, and also, the readers will enjoy a more robust debate!

    SLQ13- Would you agree that if Peter and/or Judas did not have the ability to choose otherwise then your definition of free will (or will as you put it) is flawed? If not, why not?

    SLQ14- Would you explain (given your response in Post II) how it is possible for Jesus (whom we both agree is God) to be wrong and yet for God to hold no false beliefs?

    SLQ15- Would you be willing to pick out three passages or pericopes as I have done above and let the debate center on the word of God and what the word tells us about God?

    BEA-SLQ15: Not at this time. You stated in round one that we can both list our own verses as proof texts, but the question of Openness “centers upon hermeneutics,” for “the question, of course, is which set of passages will be used to interpret the other.” -Sam 1A.

    Sam, your “question” has not become less central since you put it into the introduction of your first post. However, the Settled View’s general discomfort with such fundamental matters is illustrated by your avoiding what matters most. Sure we can get racquets and bat around a few verses, but by me pressing toward the heart of the matter, the readers will learn which position has biblical answers and which avoids questions as we probe and defend our underlying principles.

    Questions for Sam

    Sam, I’m asking this question again, because from my understanding, it goes to the heart of the debate. I am NOT asking if God is timeless. I am NOT asking if God can have relationships. I am asking whether God is able to change, such that He can have relationships. This really is a yes or no question. Also, an “I don’t know,” or “I don’t want to answer because I’m not sure where that will lead us,” would also be truthful. So please, if only to humor me, please Sam, could you answer?

    BEQ27: In the tradition of BEQ1, BEQ7, BEQ9, and BEQ17, I ask: Sam, is God able to change such that He can have true relationship:
    A: within the Trinity? and,
    B: with His creatures?

    Next, I wrote that your quote from the Westminster Confession proved it was confused, and you objected that “Enyart does not tell us why.” But you missed my evidence, I said that it was “self-contradictory,” meaning that it was contradictory on the face of it. In your quote from debate authority Dr. Zarefsky, you indicated that when something “is self-defeating on its face,” no burden of disproof exists. I count nine contradictions in this brief quote, and I’ll underline the words that illustrate only contradiction.

    The Westminster Confession states it this way: III.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: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.”

    Calvinists commonly admit such contradictions by happily referring to them as antinomies, as did pastor Leonard Coppes, a member of the NKJV translation team, when I brought up God’s righteousness at a church picnic. After all, neo-platonic Augustine wrote, “we embrace both,” willing to undermine God’s evident goodness to uphold neo-platonic immutability.

    So, toward all things working together for good, let’s try to further the debate even from my missing the humor in your Peter argument:

    BEQ28: Sam, now that you have agreed that without exhaustive foreknowledge, God can make a rooster crow, then do you also agree that God could employ His abilities in various other ways toward fulfilling prophecies, similarly without relying upon exhaustive foreknowledge?

    Sam, I can relate to your displeasure when one’s integrity is challenged for no good reason. Your taking offense alerted me to the way that BEQ26 could be easily misconstrued. I had a different reason for asking whether you could point to a previous public stand on the issue (on TV, in a paper, and I should have added: a lesson taught to your class, which would have shown that I was not distrusting your word, since that would not have been otherwise easily verifiable.) People who are forced by argument to change some position they hold typically don’t even admit to themselves that they have changed that position. To overcome that common human tendency, I was trying to push you to think hard about what you have said publicly about this issue, and not allow you to just assume my question merited only passing attention. I want to establish with certainty your current and previous positions on the attributes of the Incarnation. You know that I believe that this topic addresses the core issue in this debate. And since you found my ambiguous question “offensive,” that would make it all the more difficult to find the commitment to an introspective answer. I really hope to be assured in that, so while your answer indicates that you have always personally held this position, let me ask you:

    BEQ29: Have you previously specifically taught others, your students, or your family, or your friends, that God the Son did not in any way give up in any degree any of the divine attributes?

    BEQ30: Sam, do you agree that Christianity should make a conscious effort to identify pagan Greek influence on Augustine and other leading Christians, and if any is found, to re-evaluate related doctrines on strictly biblical grounds?
    Last edited by webby; August 24th, 2005 at 08:33 PM.
    The Bob Enyart Live talk show airs at KGOV.com weekdays at 5 pm E.T. Also, same time, same station, check out Theology Thursday (.com) and on Fridays, Real Science Radio (.com) a.k.a. rsr.org. All shows are available 24/7 and you can call us at at 1-800-8Enyart.

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    That's it for round number five.

    Round six has begun and Dr. Lamerson is now on the clock and has until August 26th 10:15AM (MDT) to make his 5th post.

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    Post 6


    First of all let me say that I really appreciate many of you in the grandstands that are watching the debate and trying to follow the arguments. I know that the vast majority of you love Rev. Enyart and have been greatly blessed by his teaching. I know how difficult it must be to try to keep an open mind to the arguments when you have such respect for Rev. Enyart. I am only writing with the hope that some of you will see that the position I am espousing is Biblical. That, after all is the ultimate test.

    Second, I must apologize for two things, first the caustic method in which I treated one of the questions from the last round. I see now that the intent was not to question my integrity and I apologize for making that assumption (insert your own joke here). Second for the formatting of this post. I am using a new version of Note Bene (my word processor) and am having a little trouble with double and single spacing.

    Third, there is a hurricane bearing down on us here at the seminary. I would ask that you pray that God would keep us all safe, and that our buildings would be without damage. I know that we have a different idea about what prayer accomplishes (for a great book on the many different ideas about what prayer actually does see “Providence and Prayer” by Tiessen) but we both agree that God has commanded it, and that God uses it so I would appreciate your prayers for the students, faculty and staff. As you might imagine, I have a few other things on my mind this morning, and don’t know how long our network will hold out so I wanted to get this off. This is not an excuse or a request for more time! The response is what I want it to be.

    ON HERMENEUTICS

    Rev. Enyart asks about my hermeneutic. Let me say that in a nutshell my hermeneutic is to find out what the author (both earthly and heavenly) intended to communicate by his writing. Note that this is what Rev. Enyart did as well when we actually engaged on a particular text (Acts 1). He went to a lexicon to determine the meaning of a word (more on that later). More specifically, however, hermeneutics is a complex subject that many books have been written about. There are questions like “Does Paul mean for us to keep slaves?” and “Is it wrong to wear gold jewelry?” Only a very carefully crafted hermeneutic can answer those questions.

    Because hermeneutical decisions do not take place in a vacuum, texts must be chosen and dealt with. The only way to tell the value of anyone's hermeneutic is to apply it to a text. This is the reason that I as Rev. Enyart to choose three passages (note passages, not just a verse or two). And so Rev. Enyart, I put the question to you again. given the above statements about Hermeneutics .

    BEA-SLQ15:

    The purpose of the debate, as I see it, is to have clash over major issues. As the debate progresses the issues should not widen but deepen. That is the debaters should choose their best arguments and attempt to extend on them. The problem here is that Rev. Enyart and I disagree over what the most important issues are. I believe that the Bible teaches that God knows the future. I have put forward two specific instances of free agents to prove this and I do not believe that Rev. Enyart’s answers have come anywhere near adequately dealing with my arguments.

    I will attempt to put forth more evidence for my claims that the three passages that I have chosen show that God foreknows the decisions of free agents. At this point I am not willing to move on to other passages simply because these arguments (in my opinion) have not been answered.

    PRAYER AGAIN

    First let me respond to the fact that Rev. Enyart has argued that this prayer only means that God knows the present. All that Jesus says is that the Father knows our needs before we ask. But our needs may very well exist before we ask God to meet them (or even know of them ourselves). Thus might it not be the case that what God knows are needs that we currently have before we bring to God in prayer? In that case, his would be a marvelously comprehensive knowledge of the present circumstances of his children, but not foreknowledge.

    In response, I would argue that the context of Matthew 6 does not support the elimination of a future aspect to God's knowledge. Jesus' affirmation of the Father's knowledge is meant to move his disciples to prayer, and, especially in Matt 6:32, to turn to prayer as an antidote to anxiety. But what are we not to worry about? Matt 6:25 and 31 specify things like food, drink and clothing. But are these only present concerns? The parallel command in Matt 6:34 ("Do not worry about tomorrow") puts a future orientation to the issue of worry vs. prayer for the disciples of Jesus. Certainly we are not to worry but rather to pray about our present needs and concerns (cf. Matt 6:11, "Give us today our daily bread"). But this does not eliminate the importance of our praying about our future needs. These too are to be entrusted to God in prayer in obedience to Jesus command not to worry about tomorrow (Matt 6:34). All of this is to say that the needs the Father knows we have (6:32) even before we ask him (6:8) include future needs. Thus the Father's knowledge of our needs does indeed include his knowledge of future events.

    But for our discussion, the question still needs to be asked. Does this foreknowledge of the Father include free human decisions? A moment's reflection will indicate that our future needs are shaped and determined by a whole host of free human decisions or potential free decisions. Take, for example, the issue of whether I will have enough food to eat at some point in the future. The answer to that is in part determined by what appear at first glance to be non-human factors like the weather (e.g. will there be a drought or not?). Yet even here, there certainly exists the possibility that freely chosen human actions might in fact influence the weather (e.g. the use of fossil fuels that contribute to global warming). And there are a myriad of other human decisions that will enter into the equation as well. Will there be a war that will interfere with the supply of food? Will I decide to get/keep a job to earn the income to buy food? Will an employer hire me? And on and on and on. Thus, if God knows in advance what all our needs will be, he must know all the free decisions (and potential free decisions) that will shape those needs. And if, as this passage clearly seems to imply, God also knows in advance what will best meet those needs, there are a whole host of other free decisions he must know. Therefore, I would argue that the kind of divine foreknowledge that Jesus is appealing to here in the Sermon on the Mount does in fact include God's foreknowledge of free human decisions.

    In order to make these questions clear I will begin numbering these questions by the argument.

    Prayer-1: Would you agree that Jesus’ claim that our “Father in heaven knows what we have need of before we ask?” includes the Father’s knowledge of future events?

    Prayer-2: Would you agree that Jesus’ claim includes knowledge of future events that include free human decisions?



    PETER AGAIN

    At the risk of causing some in the grandstands to call for my head on a silver platter, I must again say that Rev. Enyart has not answered my questions concerning Peter. To avoid confusion, and aid Rev. Enyart in following the questions (he asks in his last that I make my questions more specific and that I respond to his answers).

    Here again is what I have already shown:

    Just prior to his prediction of Peter’s three-fold denial, Jesus described the spiritual attack Peter would undergo

    “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” But [Peter] replied, “Lord I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” (Luke 2:31-32)

    Thus immediately prior to Jesus’ specific prediction of Peter’s denials that would result from this Satanic sifting, Jesus also predicted Peter’s ultimate repentance from his sin (“when you have turned back”) and the nature of his future ministry (“strengthen your brothers”). Thus the text describes Jesus as having absolute knowledge that Peter would sin, how often he would sin, when he would sin, and that he would repent.
    Rev. Enyart has argued that God was orchestrating all of these circumstances so as to make certain that Peter would deny him (or more correctly that a rooster would crow, since he really avoids the question of Peter). For God to orchestrate all these factors (fleeing of other disciples, betrayal of Judas, Peter being left alone, Peter being asked the question three times) he would have to overrule human freedom on many, many occasions. If God did orchestrate all of these events then was God actively involved in trapping Peter in sin?

    Peter-1 Did Jesus know in advance that Peter would betray him?

    Peter-2: Did Jesus know in advance the time that Peter would betray him?

    Peter-3 If Jesus could have been wrong about this prediction what else could he have been wrong about?

    Peter-4 If Jesus knew in advance that Peter was going to betray him, was Peter still responsible for his actions?

    Peter-5 Did God orchestrate the events that would cause Peter to betray Christ?

    JUDAS AGAIN

    Again, Rev. Enyart has not dealt with the arguments that I put forth. Look again at the prediction found in Matthew’s Gospel

    When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.” They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely not I, Lord?” Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born. Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” Jesus answered, “Yes, it is you.” (Matt 26:20-25)

    There are several elements of this passage that are worthy of comment. (1) Jesus’ prediction moves from general to specific. To the Twelve, Jesus says first of all, “One of you will betray me.” At this point, it could be any of them, as evidenced by their questions to Jesus in vs. 22. Jesus’ second statement, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me,” is no less general. For all who were eating with Jesus would have dipped their hands into the bowl with him. Jesus’ point here seems not to specify the one particular individual who would betray him, but to highlight the fact that the betrayer “is a friend, someone close, someone sharing the common dish, thus heightening the enormity of the betrayal.” The specific identification comes in Matt 26:25, in which Judas asks specifically if it is he, and Jesus responds, “Yes, it is you.”

    (2) The interaction between Jesus and Judas in Matt 26:25 likely took place quietly, as is suggested by John 13:27-28. Blomberg notes that if vs. 25 was a private conversation, it would mean that Judas was sitting next to Jesus, in one of the two most favored positions, either on his right or his left. This would speak to the love Jesus had for the one he knew would betray him, and his efforts to try to dissuade Judas from his course of betrayal.

    (3) Jesus’ words in vs. 24 affirm both the definite certainty of Judas’ betrayal and the grave moral guilt incurred by the one who betrayed his Master. The certainty of the betrayal is owing both to the necessity of the fulfillment of Scripture (“The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him”) and to the sovereign, redemptive decree of God (Luke 22:22, “The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed”). Yet this divine necessity does not invalidate the freedom and moral responsibility of Judas, for Jesus pronounces a woe on him.

    Judas 1-If the dei in Acts 1:16 does not mean “it is necessary” was Peter mistaken about the prophecy of David? Keep in mind that he does not say “someone” but that the prophecy was about “Judas.”

    Judas 2- You mention that you want to follow the NKJV which translates the text as “Scripture had to be fulfilled.” Can you let me know how that allows for a non-fulfillment?

    Judas 3-The next time we see Peter speaking about the death of Christ is in Acts 2:23 where Peter again says that Christ’s delivery to be crucified was the plan of God, but that the men who engaged in it were still responsible. Is this not a clear indication of God’s preplanning an event and yet still holding those who engaged in the evil event responsible?

    Judas 4-Does Christ base his deity on the accuracy of his predictions (John 13:19; please see response below)?

    Here is your response to the former question:

    BEA-SLQ11-B: Regarding your claim that John 13:19 is a deity verse, I answered BEA-SQ11. I’m surprised that you, being a Greek teacher, are trying to justify your translation with the claim that to be the Christ is de facto “a claim to Deity.” I already had said, “you can take it that way interpretatively,” (which is what you are doing). But you were claiming grammatical justification, and you just made a non-grammatical argument, and Sam then you used the “trust me” defense because you’ve been published (which I respect). But an expert with an answer would have responded to my two substantive rebuttals, that (1) the KJV/NKJV/NIV translators are not “certain” as you are but render as I’ve defended; and (2) “we’d have various gods running around the New Testament” if we translated the word GOD, per your predicate nominative “rule.” Finally, you would mark as incorrect any student’s translation of cri~to~ (Christ) as God, rebutting your own latest argument.

    SL RESPONSE

    I am afraid that Rev. Enyart’s lack of training in linguists and in Biblical Greek betray him here. I don’t blame him for that, he is obviously brilliant in other areas. I am not brilliant in the area of Biblical Greek, but I am well trained by people whose brilliance I would never contest (Murray Harris, Scot McKnight, Grant Osborne, and D.A. Carson for example). I list these names not to show off, but to let you know that I have been well trained by a number of men whose work cannot be questioned.

    There are a number of problems with Rev. Enyart's answer:

    1. I did not say that when anyone claimed to be Christ that they claimed deity (though many others did as a reading of Josephus will show) but that when Jesus claimed to the be the Christ that he was claiming deity for himself.

    2. The grammatical justification for arguing this as a claim to deity was not “listen to me, I am an expert” but was that the context of the passage demands it. What else would Christ be claiming to prove? That he was Jesus? Certainly not!

    3. As to your statement about my “predicate nominative rule” again you simply don’t understand the nature of the language. I never argued that every ego eimi should be taken as a claim to deity. I did argue that this one should. Thus your claim that “we would have different gods running around the New Testament” shows that you simply didn’t read my argument carefully.

    4. As to allowing Greek students to translate Christ as God, you must realize that simply because two words happen to overlap in a language does not mean that they are always transferable.

    In short your denial that Jesus is claiming deity here is mistaken. Let us now look to more evidence that Jesus was claiming his own deity.

    Here Jesus is telling his disciples the reason for his predictions of Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial. It is to prepare his disciples for what is to come, with the goal of preserving and strengthening their faith. He knew that their faith might well be shattered by the events that would soon transpire. But, as Morris writes (in his commentary on John 13:19),

    "The prediction altered all that. It ensured that, on reflection, they would continue to see His mastery of the situation. When He was betrayed into the hands of His enemies it was just what He had foretold. He was not the deceived and helpless Victim of unsuspected treachery, but One sent by God to effect God’s purposes going forward, calmly and unafraid, to do what God had planned for him to do."

    But Jesus was not only concerned to sustain and to strengthen the faith of his disciples. He was also concerned with the content of their faith. His goal was that, after the unfolding events would prove his predictions to be accurate and true, his disciples would believe that ego eimi (“I am he”). Jesus had previously claimed this title for himself in John 8:24, 28 and especially in 8:58. This expression has massive theological significance in the LXX. It is used to translate the name God gave to himself in Exod 3:14 (“I am who I am” = ego eimi ho on). And the LXX uses ego eimi to translate the equivalent Hebrew phrase ’enî h in Deut 32:39; Isa 4:4; 43:10; 46:4; Ezek 24:24; etc. All of these passages involve Yahweh’s claim to be the one true and living God. The point in John 13 is clear. What Jesus is seeking to sustain and to strengthen through is predictions is precisely his disciples’ faith in his own deity. This concern of Jesus is strengthened by the very high Christological claim that Jesus makes in the very next verse. “Whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me” (John 13:20).

    The parallels of John 13:19 with the LXX’s (Greek translation of the OT from about 300 BC) rendering of Isa 41:4 (“Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD – with the first of them and with the last – I am he [ego eimi].”) and Isa 43:10 (“You are my witnesses, declares the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he [ego eimi].”) are especially important, for they come in contexts where Yahweh’s foreknowledge is the evidence he cites of his unique and unrivaled deity. Thus in the same way that Yahweh appeals to his foreknowledge and his ability to predict the future in Isaiah 40:48 to demonstrate his deity, so here in John 13 Jesus appeals to his foreknowledge of Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial and to his ability to tell his disciples of these events before they happened as supreme evidence of his deity. Just as Yahweh stakes his claim to deity on his foreknowledge of the free actions of Cyrus, so here Jesus stakes his claim to deity on his ability to foreknow and to predict the free actions of Judas and Peter.

    It is exceedingly hard to see why Jesus would do this if all he possessed were a probabilistic forecast based on his insight into the character of Judas and Peter.

    Judas-5 Jesus states in his prayer that “None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. “ Does this indicate that Judas was doomed to destruction while Christ was praying? Before Christ was praying?

    Non-Answered Questions:

    Note that (unless I missed them and that is possible) Rev. Enyart has failed to answer SLQ13; 14 as well as being unwilling to pick out a few passages. It is my contention that the only way this debate will ever make progress is for both Rev. Enyart and myself to “do hand to hand combat” over particular texts. This, in my opinion, is where the debate should be headed.


    Answers to Bob Enyart’s Questions

    BEQ27: In the tradition of BEQ1, BEQ7, BEQ9, and BEQ17, I ask: Sam, is God able to change such that He can have true relationship:
    A: within the Trinity? and,
    B: with His creatures?

    As I have mentioned there are a variety of different meanings for the word change. He can certainly have a relationship within the Trinity and with his creatures. I have affirmed that, perhaps not as clearly as I should have.

    BEQ28: Sam, now that you have agreed that without exhaustive foreknowledge, God can make a rooster crow, then do you also agree that God could employ His abilities in various other ways toward fulfilling prophecies, similarly without relying upon exhaustive foreknowledge?

    As I have mentioned above, if one wants to take this approach (and I don’t because a rooster is not a free human being) it does not solve the problem and makes God guilty of entrapment (unless you accept my definition of free will). I see no need for this because I believe that God ordains all things.

    BEQ29: Have you previously specifically taught others, your students, or your family, or your friends, that God the Son did not in any way give up in any degree any of the divine attributes?
    Since I have thought through the issue (probably around 1990) I have always believed and taught that Jesus did not give up any of his divine attributes.

    BEQ30: Sam, do you agree that Christianity should make a conscious effort to identify pagan Greek influence on Augustine and other leading Christians, and if any is found, to re-evaluate related doctrines on strictly biblical grounds?

    Since I believe and have argued from the Bible I certainly want to hold to nothing but what the Bible teaches. I believe all Christians should always hold Scripture in authority over any creed, confession, church father or pastor.

    Conclusion:

    Again, let me thank all of you and ask that you do your best to see the argument from my side. I know that this is as difficult as it would be for me to ask my students to examine openness from Rev. Enyart’s side. Believe it or not, I do try to present the best arguments for the opposition that I can when I am in class. To do otherwise is dishonest. If I have missed or misrepresented any of the questions that Rev. Enyart has asked, it has been because of my own frailty, not out of a desire to avoid them.

    May God’s Love Be With You Rev. Enyart and With All Who Read This,

    Samuel Lamerson

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    Gold level Subscriber Bob Enyart's Avatar
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    Battle Royale X: Openness Theology, Enyart's Post 6B

    First, let me send a sincere thank you to Pastor Bob Hill of Derby Bible Church for introducing me twenty years ago to the truth that God is free to change the future, demonstrating that the Open View scriptures represent the obvious story of the whole Bible and corroborating my understanding of a holy and relational God. A month later, I dropped out of Arizona State University and left a job designing simulation software for the Apache Helicopter to move my family to Colorado so that I could study Scripture with Bob at his unaccredited Derby School of Theology (which for thirty years has provided unequivocally the strongest Greek education available in Colorado, and in my opinion, the best theological training in America). Again, thank you Bob, you have my love and respect forever!

    And Sam, thank you for sharing about your family. The loss of loved ones is so difficult, but when they know the Lord, we can be thankful that we will enjoy them forever, and not “sorrow as others who have no hope.” Some of my best friends are Settled Viewers , and I would love to meet you in person and fellowship over a meal.

    I’ve promised that in the sixth round, I would present the argument for the Open View. Sam, you were exactly right when you said of my New Openness Attribute Hermeneutic, that “By calling itself an ‘openness’ hermeneutic, it assumes the very question that is up for debate.” Of course, that would be called circular reasoning. I presented the NOAH hermeneutic not to prove openness, but so that you or any reader could use it to determine the Openness interpretation of any passage. I decided to not even attempt to establish the Open View in the first half of the debate, for before I could even try that, I first had to get non-committed readers to at least be willing to question the Settled View. We should have the courage to challenge our own views, asking if the Bible really teaches various doctrines. So I addressed your proof texts about Judas and Peter arguing that, just like Nineveh, God values human beings and repentance more highly than proving He could predict the future. My argument is that general immutability is not biblical but pagan, and that God’s actual attributes have a divine hierarchy, and “beyond all contradiction the lesser” must not take precedence over the greater, and proper interpretation will reflect this. You have rejected my attributes argument. However, in addition to Creation, and all of God’s other accomplishments, the Incarnation blasts immutability to shreds, God the Son eternally existing as spirit, becoming flesh and now forever existing as a Man, represents infinite mutability and is the third greatest conceivable change (there are two greater still). So, to defend your view that Jesus did not empty Himself of any of the traditional quantitative attributes, you have to successfully argue, against the weight of the Gospel, that God the Son was as immutable, through the Incarnation, as you claim for the Father, eternally. That cannot be done.

    So now I will give you the hermeneutic that can be used to prove Openness. Noah showed that God could repent from being merciful when man continues in sin. Jonah showed, more gloriously, that God could repent by being merciful when man repents. And the Babe in Bethlehem showed us who God truly is, for wise men came to the stable, to “worship Him” (Mat. 2:2). Yet that Infant was God the Son, who had just undergone extraordinary change, in order to become our Savior. The hermeneutic to prove Openness is JONAH!

    Jehovah’s Obvious Nativity Attributes Hermeneutic


    Holding her cooing newborn, any mom can tell you her baby’s attributes, of being living, personal, relational, and loving. But the sin inherited by the baby through the father will eventually express itself, and lead to death. And Mary would recognize an additional attribute in her Baby, because she did not conceive by a sinful man but of God as a virgin, therefore she could add to those four attributes: absolute goodness! For the angel promised her:
    “The Holy Spirit will… overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God!
    And then:
    The Word became flesh…

    and dwelt among us!
    He is alive, active, and capable, and so He could experience this extraordinary change, for “He humbled Himself!” and He “was made a little lower than the angels!”
    “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men!”
    This verse, Luke 2:52, shows change also in the Father! As with any good father, the blessing His Son brought to Him was not static (as would be insisted by Plato and Augustine), but increased! For He must increase! For He is God!

    So while Jesus explicitly disavowed omniscience (Mark 13:32), God’s love for man through the Incarnation disproves the controlling doctrine of general immutability. So to Mary, and believers 2,000 years later, the Babe in the manger possessed the obvious attributes of being living, personal, relational, good, and loving. And by the Nativity itself, careful Bible students, along with mom, will reject general immutability! So, the obvious attributes of Jehovah God that the Son brought with Him through the Incarnation are those that all Christians readily admit were present in the manger!

    Just as the results of the Flood, obvious worldwide, remind us that God repents, so too NOAH helps us see God’s Openness throughout Scripture. And appropriately, JONAH explains to us the reason why God values human souls more than fulfilled prophecy: because relationship and love are more important than immutability, knowledge, and power.

    Now we can present Openness Theology, not rejecting but glorying in the divine attributes hierarchy. So let us throw off pagan preconceptions, and see how God reveals Himself to us, not just in three passages, but in His entire Bible, divided into thirds. For “in the volume of the book it is written of Me!”

    Behold thy God:

    The Open View

    • The Trinity fellowshipped through eternity past, “before the foundation of the world.” John 17:24
    • God created the universe, doing a new thing, which He could because He is living and active.
    • God declares that He created matter and space, light, and life (Gen. 1:1, 3, 11, 20, 24, 26) but not time.
    • God created thrones, dominions, principalities, powers, and authorities, not hoarding but delegating power.
    • God “moved upon the face of the waters,” for He is not immobile, not timeless, and thus not immovable.
    • God rejoiced at the work of His hands because He could increase in blessing.
    • God is relational, thus interactive, for the persons of the Trinity willed to make man in “Our likeness!”
    • God created sequentially, the earth before the fish, etc., and ceased from creating on the seventh day.
    • God could create creatures “in His likeness,” themselves willful and creative!
    • God gave mankind a vegetarian diet (which after the Flood he expanded to include every animal).
    • God then for joy “brought [the animals] to Adam to see what he would call them!
    • God put the Tree in the midst of the garden, as an unlocked door, giving man the choice to stay or leave.
    • God showed providence in giving the earth to Adam and warning him that if you disobey, “you will die.”
    • God put the archangel Lucifer in Eden not as tempter but as “the anointed Cherub who covers.”
    • Lucifer fell “in Eden” saying “I will ascend into heaven… above… the clouds” to be like God.
    • Eve joined the rebellion, not following a command that originated in God’s mind, but obeying fallen Lucifer.
    • God did not attribute Adam’s sin to His own inexorable decree, but you “heeded the voice of your wife.”
    • God’s providential warning proved true as death came to mankind as a result of their disobedience.
    • Sin broke the perfection of God’s cosmos, so the Son by a prophetic Christophany confronted the rebels.
    • Goodness exhibits loyalty; thus God declared that the Fall put enmity between Lucifer and Eve. Gen. 3:15
    • God’s love restrained His swift vengeance, as He promised a Redeemer in the woman’s Seed.
    • God considered the possibility (contingency) that man would avoid death by eating from the Tree of Life.
    • God thus exiled Adam “lest he put out his hand and take also of the Tree of Life, and eat, and live forever.”
    • When Cain murdered Abel God forbade the death penalty (which prohibition He reversed after the Flood).
    • Mankind multiplied and filled the earth with wickedness, perversion, and the murder of the innocent.
    • Man’s sin did not please God but “grieved” Him, and He was “sorry that He had made man on the earth.”
    • “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth” but He was not sorry for every man.
    • “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD,” so God saved his family though they too would sin greatly.
    • The Canaanites were cursed from their inception, not by arbitrary decree, but by Ham’s incest. Lev. 20:11
    • God gave Abram the Covenant of Grace for “he believed,” and God “accounted it to him for righteousness.”
    • God put the H sound of His own name into the names of Abram and Sarai, renaming His friend Abraham.
    • And God soon took Abraham’s name to Himself, repeatedly calling Himself: “the God of Abraham!”
    • God gave Abraham circumcision, the cutting off of the flesh, in the Covenant of Circumcision. Gen. 17
    • “He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your silver must be circumcised” or will be “cut off!”
    • God the Son fulfilled Circumcision by Incarnation and Crucifixion: born in the House of Israel; purchased with their silver; and “cut off” in the flesh.
    • Abraham became “the friend of God” who believed he could possibly persuade God to spare Sodom.
    • God said “you are a dead man” to Abimelech, who then justly blamed Abraham for concealing his marriage.
    • God did not take Abimelech to an early day of reckoning, but only chastised him, until Abraham intervened.

    Thus ends the first third of human history.

    Why did God break open the fountains of the great deep? Not because He was sorry nor because He had repented of making ALL of mankind. For He was pleased with Noah and did not destroy his family “from the face of the earth.” Thus God’s repentance was not that He had even made mankind AT ALL! For He had already taken blessed Enoch to be with Him, and was enjoying the fellowship of men like righteous Abel. And if God had repented of making all men, He would have killed all men. Rather, mankind provoked Him [Jer. 25:6], abusing His merciful patience, by being fruitful and multiplying and filling the earth… with violence. It was this slowness of wrath that God repented of by destroying almost all mankind.

    The floodwaters stored underground for contingent judgment killed even the unborn and newborns, toddlers, and young boys and girls, who were innocent! Augustinian tradition through Rome, Luther and Calvin misinterprets these deaths in that they deny the innocence of the children, contrary to Romans 9:11; 7:9-11; 1:21; 5:16, 18; Ezek. 18:20; etc. And Calvinistic protestants along with other Augustinians and Thomists, think that this judgment, and especially the killing of children, answers any moral objections against God decreeing wickedness and perversion. Remember, the theological defense of God’s righteousness, since the hellenization of Christianity, has been deemed trivial, eclipsed long ago by the all-consuming defense of changelessness. The argument goes like this: if you admit that God killed babies in the Flood, then you should have no problem with Him ordaining children being raped, etc. However, the judgment of the Flood was neither wicked nor perverse, and in no way can be compared to adultery, murder, pride, and child molestation. For even considering the children, God exercised His lawful right as Creator, depriving their wicked parents of the chance to destroy their own children and mercifully taking these little ones into His own righteous hands.

    A common Hebrew word, nacham, used 108 times in Scripture, is translated repent about forty times, and according to the authoritative Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, “The majority [26] of these instances refer to God’s repentance, not man’s.” A few instances indicate circumstances in which God will not repent (as under pressure from a king), and most show that He can and does repent (responding to obedience or sinfulness). This word used of man shows that it has the common meaning of repent (Ex. 13:17; Job 42:6; Jer. 8:6; 31:19). In the alphabetical listing of Bible words, the name Noah is only one entry away from the similar word nacham, and is a close derivation being the verb repent turned into a name (Gen. 5:29). This linguistic derivation plus the First-Use hermeneutic, that students should especially consider the Bible’s first use of a word or concept, here links the core meaning of biblical repentance with that of Noah’s Flood! Far from being a special case or unusual, for the remaining 1,180 chapters of the Bible after the Flood, our God Himself has fundamentally demonstrated the very definition of full repentance, to feel remorse, to change one’s mind, and to reverse direction! The only difference regarding divine and human repentance is that God does not repent like a man does, that is, from doing evil or under ungodly pressure. Thus God here repented in that He was “grieved,” and changed His mindset that allowed these men to fill the earth, and then He reversed course and depopulated the world! He did all this not by His original plan, or His eternal decree, but specifically because of man’s sin. As Noah’s story punctuates Openness in the first third of human history, showing a God who can repent, Abraham’s story does the same in the second third, by showing an intimate God blessed when He sees His friend Abraham is willing to sacrifice everything for the LORD!

    • God planned to work through Abraham’s descendants for 2,000 years till the fullness of time at the Cross.
    • God therefore asked Abraham to do just what He Himself planned to do: to offer His own Son on Mount Moriah!
    • God knew of His friend’s deep faith, but tested whether Abraham loved his own son Isaac more than God.
    • Not until the knife was raised did God say, “now I know” that you would not withhold your own son from Me.
    • Abraham then and only then also learned that in righteousness he would obey the call for ultimate sacrifice.
    • So a ram with its head caught in the thorns died instead, the crowned Christ dying willingly as the antitype.
    • And for the next 2,000 years, when His wrath burned hot against wicked Israel, God remembered Abraham!
    • The sacred record of history unfolded not with divine perfection, but evil, upon evil, upon evil marks Israel’s history.
    • Of Isaac’s twins, God called Jacob, not to salvation but as the “nation” through whom the Seed would come.
    • Reuben was the first to lose Israel’s tribal contest in which they unknowingly vied for the Messianic blessing.
    • God disqualified Jacob’s firstborn after Reuben violated his own father’s bed. Gen. 49:3-4; 1 Chr. 5:1
    • Through Jacob God gave the birthright to the tribe of Joseph who also lost it. Gen. 48; 1 Chr. 5:1-2; Ps. 78:67-68
    • Next, Pharaoh “hardened his heart,” and as God showed Himself stronger, pride further hardened Pharaoh’s heart.
    • God said that He will “test them [Israel], whether they will walk in My law or not.” Ex. 16:4
    • God gave Israel the Mosaic Law (based on Circumcision), symbolized not by Isaac but by Ishmael of the flesh! Gal. 4:22-24
    • After first giving a vegetarian diet, then adding every animal, now God limits Israel’s diet to “clean animals.”
    • God, provoked by Israel, threatened to destroy all the tribes and raise up a new nation out of Levi. Ex. 32:10
    • Like Abraham, Moses believed He could change God’s mind, and indeed His prayers stayed God’s hand. Ex. 32:11-13; etc.
    • “For I was afraid [that] the LORD was angry with you, to destroy you. But the Lord listened to me.” Deut. 9:19
    • “So the LORD relented [repented] from the harm which He said He would do to His people.” Ex. 32:14
    • God chose the sons of Aaron to “serve Him forever” (Deut. 18:5) and then killed two of them! Ex. 28:1; Num. 26:61
    • Most of the priests whom God chose to “serve Him forever” went to hell. Neh. 9:34; Lev. 10; 1 Sam. 2; etc.
    • God “will without fail” cast out the Canaanites, but then left them as a punishment. Josh. 3:10; Deut. 12:29; Jud. 2:3
    • The book of Judges documents the wickedness of the Twelve Tribes, showing Judah to be the least undesirable.
    • Yet God offered Benjamin the Messianic throne, the last-born tribe replacing the firstborn Reuben, by making Saul king.
    • God’s chosen king, “Saul, whom the LORD chose” (2 Sam. 21:6) “established his sovereignty,” but God “repented” of offering him Israel’s perpetual dynasty.
    • Samuel said to Saul, “You have not kept the commandment of the LORD” thus “the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue…” 1 Sam. 13:13-14
    • Although He offered Saul Israel’s perpetual dynasty, God later repented and had His own chosen king killed.
    • Finally, “Judah prevailed over his brothers,” the least undesirable tribe, therefore “from him came a ruler” 1 Chr. 5:1; Jud. 1; etc.
    • David did not fulfill an eternal decree by adultery and murder, but thereby gave “great occasion to the enemies of the LORD.”
    • God will not bless rebellion, thus by their sin His people “limited the Holy One of Israel.” Ps. 78:41
    • Israel’s sin made God “furious” (Ps. 78:59), for He is not “impassible,” but we have emotion because He has passion!
    • God sent most His Chosen People to hell. (See Gen. 12 through to Romans 11, including Isa. 1:4; Rom 9!)
    • For, the elect, who are beloved for Abraham’s sake, were enemies even of the Gospel. Rom. 11:28
    • God prophesied that Nineveh would be destroyed in forty days, but in mercy “God repented” and “did not do it.”
    • God told Nebuchadnezzar He would give him the spoils of Tyre, yet then reported that it never happened. Ezek. 26:12; 29:18
    • Though rejected later by Calvin, God declares, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.” -LORD GOD, Ezek. 33:11
    • After pouring His love into Israel, God “expected it to bring forth” repentance but it brought “forth wild grapes [unbelief]” (Isa. 5:4)! God’s knowledge is perfect, and when producing an expectation, His love influences that knowledge, so that He can hope even against a mountain of foreboding knowledge. For love “hopes all things” (1 Cor. 13:7) WHICH EXHAUSTIVE FOREKNOWLEDGE CANNOT DO!!
    • God said of southern Israel that Judah will “‘return to Me [future tense],’ but she did not,” Jer. 3:7, which contradicts the Settled View but with an Open future, hope and love can influence His expectation!
    • God told Hezekiah he would die, which would have been a lie by the Settled View, and then He strengthened the king to live longer, which turned out disastrously for Jerusalem.
    • God said the Israelites “provoke Me to anger,” not by His decree but “according to their own thoughts.”
    • Later, Nahum got a city named after him, Capernaum, when by his prophecy God finally did destroy Nineveh. (If Israel loved mercy, they would have named the place, Kafer-Jonah.)
    • God indicated that people in a deep relationship with Him sometimes influenced His mind and thus His future actions, saying, “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before Me, My mind would [still] not be favorable toward this people!” –GOD, Jer. 15:1
    • God hates all paganism (not only Plato’s) thus He warned Israel not to do as the Canaanites who burn their babies to Molech (Deut. 12:29-31), “which I did not command or speak, nor did it come into My mind.” Jer. 19:5
    • Yet Israel did burn their babies to Molech, manifestly NOT by God’s eternal decree, but by following paganism. Ezek. 32:35
    • God as the Potter threatened Israel, as the clay, that if they disobeyed He would not deliver their promised kingdom, but rather mold them “into another vessel” (not for honor but now for dishonor, Rom. 9:21) repenting from that which He originally “thought” and “said” He would do! Jer. 18:1-10

    Thus ends the second third of human history.

    The Plot of the Bible portrays an unscripted future. Either that or the playwright prefers evil more than goodness! The LORD loves righteousness, yet billions of people hate God and use each other, and the vast majority of historical events are wicked. If we take God as the author of biblical history (let alone all human history), we see that He is obsessed with confusion, divorce, envy, murder, covetousness, homosexuality, blasphemy, backbiting, selfishness, abortion, drunkenness, disunity, kidnapping, racism, perjury, teen pregnancy, idolatry, thievery, hatred, division, cursing, adultery, wickedness, heresy, betrayal, pride, and lewdness, far beyond any interest in things pure and holy. The pagan Greek notions of immutability and fate have led Augustinian theologians to recast the Creator into a voyeur, ordaining bestiality for His pleasure. Whereas by the God’s Word, the idea of a scripted future is foreign to the story of Scripture!

    The Settled View virtually ignores one of two main ways that the Bible reveals God. Scripture reveals Him through its teachings (like He is a vengeful God), and through accounts of centuries of intervention in history (like sending the Flood). This second method of God’s self-revelation is like a computer’s error correction system. When a computer adds numbers we typically trust the results even though errors commonly occur to our data in RAM, in storage, and in transmission over the Internet, but still we trust the results because computers check for errors, and daily correct billions of such problems without us humans even aware of the process. God put a wildly sophisticated error-correction scheme in our DNA, and He put another such system in the Bible. Hinduism teaches about God from a purely intellectual perspective, even though human beings easily disagree on everything, let alone pure ideas. A “matter shall be established” by the testimony of “two or three witnesses,” so in addition to the Creation and the Incarnation, God reveals truth in Scripture through pure ideas (the “dead shall live,” Isa. 26:15), and through His intervention in history (raising a man during his burial, 2 Kings 13:21). Thus, the Sadducees who rejected the resurrection could do so more easily if they ignore, reject, or interpret away the historical accounts of Scripture.

    To arrive at the Settled View, that the future is locked, and neither God nor man is able to change anything that is unalterably eternally foreknown, Augustine had to discount virtually the entire historical record of Scripture, preferring instead to force all verses to submit to stagnant platonic immutability. And with this, Christianity took a giant step toward pagan occultism, as evidenced by the superstitious obsession with trying to interpret God’s meaning in everything that happens: Why did God make it rain on my wedding rehearsal? Why did the chicken entrails fall that way? Why did the tire go flat on my way to this job interview? Why do did the tea leaves make that pattern? Why did God give me this toothache?

    So Sam, along with millions of Settled Viewers, you discount the historical error correction regarding the LORD repenting. God established Saul as king, and offered him Israel’s perpetual dynasty, and provoked by Saul’s disobedience God repented (1 Sam. 15:11) that He had ever made Saul king in the first place. Then when Saul begs for God to retract his punishment (2 Sam. 15:22-28), Samuel says that God “is not a man that He should repent” (1 Sam. 15:29, that is, God doesn’t repent like a man, foolishly, or under pressure from the king, etc). And then God again emphatically declares “that the LORD repented that He had made Saul king” (1 Sam. 15:35). Yet Calvin ignores God’s error correction by succumbing to Augustine’s platonic immutability! And he so totally ignores the context, that CALVIN REFERS TO THE HISTORICAL EVENTS AS A FIGURE OF SPEECH (!!!!!!!!!!), and then he takes God’s refusal to recant His repentance as supposedly revealing the actual truth that He can’t repent!

    Remember, Calvin wrote:
    When it is said that God repented of having made Saul king, the term change is used figuratively. [Woe!] Shortly after, it is added, "The Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent; for he is not a man, that he should repent," (1 Sam. 15:29.) In these words, his immutability is plainly asserted without figure. [The second Woe!!] -Calvin’s Institutes
    So Sam, what is the hermeneutic that Calvin used there? The First Use principle? The Double Reference principle? Or the Commitment to Augustinian Tradition principle? Please notice that whichever hermeneutic he consciously or subconsciously used, the net effect was simply to blow off God’s revelation of Himself through historical intervention. For these three passages form a repent sandwich. Yet the Settlers ignore the undeniable historical reality that God had chosen Saul and offered him a dynasty, revoked that offer, refused to recant on His new course of action, and finally declared again that He repented from making Saul king, dethroning him eternally. And the Bible contains so very many stories like this, which make it such a thick book, in proportion to our skulls. Yet the Settled View almost entirely ignores God’s historical error-correcting mechanism. But for all the true reversals and changes God exhibited in the Old Testament, the most harm results when Calvinist and Arminian Settled Viewers overlook God changing His course in the New Testament!

    • God the Son became flesh, showing infinite change through humility, and now forever remains a Man! John 1:14
    • The Incarnation is the third greatest conceivable change, that God the Son would eternally take on human form! 1 Tim. 2:5
    • The Twelve were not looking for Jesus, so “You did not choose Me but I chose you” to be disciples. John 6:70; 15:16
    • Jesus was sent to Israel only. Mat. 15:24; 10:5-6; 19:28; Luke 7:3-5; Acts 3:25-26; 10:36; Isa. 59:20; etc.
    • “The… lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized.” Luke 7:30
    • “By chance [lit., coincidence] a certain priest” came down the road to Jericho and saw the man left for dead. -Jesus, Luke 10:31
    • To the superstitious question, “Who did sin, this one or his parents, that he should be born blind?” Jesus answered “Neither!” Put a period right there. Then realize that the Lord next began a new sentence: “But that the works of God may be manifested in him, it behooves me to do the works of Him who sent Me…” God is not like the dysfunctional nut who lets the air out of your tires, to gain your friendship later by offering to pump them up.
    • Jesus predicted the betrayal of Judas and the denials of Peter, but God always prefers obedience to fulfilled prophecy (see Nineveh, and principles like the Sabbath being made for man and not vice versa, Mark 2:27, and consider what Saul ignored, that “to obey is better than sacrifice” 1 Sam. 15:22). So God would have been glorified far more if either would have trusted Him.
    • Jesus repeatedly promised to return soon (giving the apostles the hope they displayed in Acts of His imminent return).
    • “There are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”
    • “I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”
    • “This saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say… he would not die, but, ‘If I will that he remain till I come…’”
    • “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things [Second Coming prophecies] take place.”
    • “For three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree [figuratively, Israel] and find none. Cut it down… But he answered and said, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’”
    • God would soon fertilize Israel by pouring out the Holy Spirit (but no national fruit of the spirit would result).
    • Just days before His death, Jesus prepared His disciples to suffer the great tribulation. Mat. 24; etc.; John 16:2-5
    • 490 years were “determined for [Israel]… until… Messiah shall be cut off” followed by a 7-year tribulation. Dan. 9:24-27; Mat. 24:3, 15, 34
    • The Father poured wrath on “His Son,” then “Christ died” (Rom. 5:8), and then He was justified (MAJOR changes)!
    • Jesus suffered the cross “once” in history and will not be hanging there forever in an Augustinian/Platonic “eternal now.” Heb. 9:27-28
    • The Crucifixion is the second greatest conceivable change, that God the Son would become sin and a curse for us.
    • Thus “God our Savior… desires that all might be saved” in part because of the ultimate price He paid! 1 Tim. 2:3-4
    • Calvinist “limited atonement,” that Jesus died only for the elect, would actually limit God, for it ignores both that The Son IS the atonement, and that Peter described the wicked as those who deny “the Lord who bought them.” 2 Pet. 2:1; Acts 20:28
    • God did not create time, but as a non-spatial irreversible continuum, time is an attribute of God’s Attributes, including Him being relational, and so God can not go back in time to prevent Adam from sinning (H.G. Wells notwithstanding), and neither can He go forward into the non-existent future to “see” who will eventually get saved, so that He could then limit His death for the “elect” only.
    • Whereas a stone idol which cannot become flesh, the Living God changed infinitely to save us, for “He became their Savior.” Isa. 63:8
    • Because Jesus had told them to expect the Great Tribulation and His soon return, in preparation, the Twelve Apostles administered a Last-Days economy of selling all private property.
    • “All who believed… sold their possessions. Acts 2
    • “All who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and laid [the proceeds] at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each.” Acts 4:34-35
    • Limiting God’s ability to give Israel the blessing of their Earthly Kingdom, the nation rejected the preaching of the risen Christ. Acts 2-5
    • God had warned Israel saying: "the instant I speak concerning” building your kingdom, if you do evil, “then I will repent” and not give you your kingdom! Jer. 18:9-10
    • Jesus had spent three years of earthly ministry looking for faithfulness in Israel, and found almost none. Luke 7:9
    • Israel now has “become the betrayers… who have received the law… and have not kept it.” Acts 7:52-53
    • Israel’s leaders plotted persecution, they killed their first Messianic believer, and then extended their persecution Acts 6-8
    • Peter please with the men of Israel that, even though Jesus has ascended into heaven, if they will repent, God will send the Lord back to establish Israel’s kingdom!
    • “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration…” Acts 3:19-21
    • “Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days.” Acts 3:24
    • The Apostles were themselves expecting to see Jesus return, by the promise of angels (Acts 1:11), and by the Lord’s word.
    • However, Israel ignored God’s warning, thinking it an idle threat (Jer. 18:18), but because they rejected Christ, God therefore cut off Israel, and in this the nation cannot resist His will.
    • God has mercy on whom He wills, and since He wills to give mercy only to those who trust Christ, He therefore cut off Israel, molding her into a vessel for dishonor rather than the vessel for honor He had originally hoped to form. Rom. 9
    • For unbelief, God “cut off” Israel’s Covenant of Circumcision, and turned “to the Gentiles” Rom. 11:20-25
    • They of “the election” [Israel], beloved for Abraham, had become “enemies” of the “gospel.” Rom. 11:28
    • [Israel’s] “being casting away is the reconciling of the world [i.e., the Gentiles, through the Body of Christ, which is not Israel]. Rom. 11:15
    • Therefore “wrath has come upon them [Israel, v. 14] to the uttermost” having been cut off. 1 Thes. 2:16
    • God tells the Twelve Apostles, and the Jews generally, that He has gone to the Gentiles. Acts 10:28; 11:18; 13-14
    • God continues teaching truth by changing symbolic rules, including reversing for the Body His demand for circumcision.
    • From a vegetarian diet, to every animal, to only clean animals, and now God allows the Body to eat every animal again.
    • The changes in the house rules, from the House of Israel, to the Household of Faith (the Body) created friction between the Apostles.
    • “To his face,” Paul called Peter a “hypocrite,” because Simon was being untruthful about “the Gospel.” Gal. 2:11-14; etc.
    • The Twelve sanctioned “the Gospel of the Uncircumcised.” Gal. 2:7 (KJV!, Greek is genitive, not dative); Acts 15:23-29; etc.
    • God changed the rules for the Body as in reversing the law against eating meat sacrificed to idols. 1 Cor. 8
    • After working with the Body, God will return again to Israel (Rom. 11:23-31, which prevents Martin Luther-style rabid anti-semitism).
    • Jesus is NOW in heaven “waiting till His enemies are made [figuratively] His footstool.” Heb. 10:13
    • The Book of Revelation indicates a return to the Mosaic dietary law during Israel’s future great tribulation. Rev. 2:20; 7:4-8; Jer. 30:7
    • Revelation speaks of time in heaven, with sequential seals, trumpets and bowls (not to mention the thunders).
    • In heaven believers experience time: in temporary silence, anticipation, delay, waiting, fruit coming ripe, etc.
    • And the Book of Revelation ends with the future Open and God inviting, “Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely!”

    Thus ends the final third of human history as told in Scripture.

    The apostles administered a communistic economy, relieving their followers of lands and homes, not because they were charlatans, but to ready themselves for the violence of the Great Tribulation and because Jesus promised to restore such private property when He returns to establish Israel’s kingdom, and to set the Twelve Apostles on twelve thrones to rule over the twelve tribes of Israel (Mat. 19:28-29). Calvinists typically reject the literal nature of numerous apparently literal passages, as does covenant theology. Covenant theologians, in defense of immutability, deny or deemphasize that God significantly changed the rules and even reversed some of His important commands, and they especially oppose distinguishing between Israel and the Body of Christ by “rightly dividing the Word of Truth” (1 Tim. 2:15). Thus Sam, since you are a Calvinist, and a covenant theologian, I know that you spiritualize much of the outline of biblical history in the above bullets, in order to defend Augustinian immutability, thus allowing your philosophy to constrain your understanding of sacred history, rather than allowing the Bible’s history to correct theological errors.

    Of the numerous literal passages that Calvinists take figuratively, they spiritualize God’s promise of an Earthly Kingdom to Israel (Gen. 15:18; Jer. 18:6 10; 23:5-8; Joel 3:17; Mat. 6:10; 10:23; 16:28; 25:31 34; Mark 10:29-30; Acts 1:6-7, 11; Rev. 21:1-2, 14; etc.), and increasingly, they spiritualize away virtually the entire book of Revelation. But Daniel’s prophecy correctly dated Christ’s crucifixion, to be followed by seven years of Tribulation (Dan 9:24-27; Mat 24:15; Rev. 11:2-3; etc.). Jesus repeatedly promised to return soon; the Holy Spirit endorsed the communal living of the Messianic Jews in Acts during the year after the Resurrection; and the Twelve Apostles’ expected to suffer through the Tribulation. And while Jesus was temporarily in heaven, if the men of Israel would repent, God would send Jesus back, and establish their kingdom! This was prophesied, not by Enoch, Abraham, or Moses, but beginning with Samuel (the prophet of Israel’s earthly kingdom, who anointed their first king, and who anointed their great king David, and whose book revealed God’s prophesy of David’s perpetual throne, 2 Sam. 7:16)! The false General Theory of Immutability leads Calvinists and covenant theologians to deny these overarching historical developments in the story of the Bible. They feel compelled to deny the literal implications of so much of the earthly and historical teachings of Scripture because otherwise, The Plot of the Bible overwhelms their theology and reveals God interacting with men bringing about an Open future.

    Finally, let me give a word to my Arminian friends who reject the concept of total predestination, but still oppose Openness, believing instead that not even God can change the future because it has always been eternally settled in His mind. Have you been disappointed thinking that I have spent too much time trying to refute predestination, because this is not a debate about Calvinism, but exhaustive foreknowledge!” It is good that I am debating Dr. Lamerson, an Augustinian five-point Calvinist who sees no problem in the historical influence of Plato on Christian theology, because that is the very source of this theological debate! Remember that Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation broke with Rome and not Greece! So too the Herculean effort (pardon the pun) of Arminius to restore true relationship with God and to defend His righteousness did not sufficiently identify the root cause of the errors he saw. He rightly sought to break with the pagan Greek belief in a future that had been pre-scripted. However, he should have realized that the Greek’s Three Fates (i.e., Christian predestination), though daughters of Zeus, still controlled even Him as the father of the gods! And by retaining simple foreknowledge and an exhaustively settled future, Arminians unwittingly succumb to the ubiquitous influence of Plotinus, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, and Calvin, promoting an immutable God who is unable even to change the future. Thus, while throughout I’ve tried to show the connection to the Arminian Settled View, the real enemy is Greek fatalism imported into Christianity.

    Questions and Answers

    Regarding whether I answered SLQ13 & SLQ14, I did, directly, in round four. In answering all your fifth-round questions, at first I didn’t realize that you had copied them from your fourth round, and that confusion led to me copying and leaving in my post some of your previous questions. Also, FYI, soon I’ll have to enter a shorter post to stay within the 6,000-word post average for the Battle. And to allay any concern, I had never previously written a paper on Greek philosophy, but wrote every word of that post in round five, just as I wrote this post on the Open View in round six, as I’ve done with virtually the entire debate (I drew the heaviest from existing notes in round one on the Attributes, but the great majority of that post was also newly written).

    Sam, your claim here illustrates the difficulty I am having getting you to acknowledge even my basic argument. You wrote:
    Rev. Enyart has argued that God was orchestrating all of these circumstances so as to make certain that Peter would deny him (or more correctly that a rooster would crow, since he really avoids the question of Peter). -6A, emphasis added
    Actually, I utterly disagree that God wanted Peter to deny Christ AT ALL, let alone “make certain” of it. We are not communicating well. The hermeneutic I spent my first 6,000 words developing, and my entire treatment of Judas, both directly indicate my position on Peter also. As for your rooster clarification here, you said that I really argued primarily about the rooster, and avoided the question of Peter. This is a perfect example showing that my arguments are being mostly ignored. The section On How to Make a Rooster Crow is 26 paragraphs and about 2,400 words, and most of that was about Peter, his accusers, and what God hoped would come of it. The first ten paragraphs consisting of about 1,000 words were about the rooster, leaving the majority of the section, 16 paragraphs of about 1,400 words to discuss directly the question of Peter, which you say, “he really avoids.”

    Thus, Sam, when you ask your Peter questions 1-5 (and Judas 1-4, and Prayer 1-2), my frustration is that I have answered these questions, and you do not “clash” over my answers, but mostly ignore them. Even still, I will answer yet again all these questions. In the first round, I promised that I would answer all your questions by round two, and I did. Now, I again ask for one round’s worth of patience, and I promise to answer all your sixth and seventh round questions in my next post.

    BEQ31: As per BEQ1/7/9/17/27, Sam, I accept that you say you believe that God can have relationships, but I’m asking you something different: Is God able to change such that He can have true relationship:
    A: within the Trinity?

    And as part two of the same question,
    B: with His creatures?

    BEQ32: Considering not verbal revelation, but actual divine historical intervention, Sam, can you indicate if this statement is true: When God intervenes in history, the actual intervention itself cannot be a figure of speech!

    In Christ,
    Bob Enyart
    KGOV.com
    Last edited by Bob Enyart; April 1st, 2008 at 09:28 AM. Reason: typo: took s off of represents
    The Bob Enyart Live talk show airs at KGOV.com weekdays at 5 pm E.T. Also, same time, same station, check out Theology Thursday (.com) and on Fridays, Real Science Radio (.com) a.k.a. rsr.org. All shows are available 24/7 and you can call us at at 1-800-8Enyart.

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    DING - DING -DING

    That's it for round number six.

    Round seven has begun and Dr. Lamerson is now on the clock and has until August 31st 8:29AM (MDT) to make his 7th post.

    If you wish to participate in Battle Royale X we have two options for you:

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    Battle Royale
    Round VII



    First let me tell you that I saw a message or a shout that made me laugh out loud. Someone (can’t remember who right now) said “I love it when I see things out of the corner of my eye. For a minute I thought I saw that Bob Enyart was debating Sam Kennison.” That is FUNNY. DON’T MAKE ME SCREAM IT AGAIN! For those of you unfamiliar with Kennison, please excuse me, but that was funny.

    On another note, I thought that I might let you know what other things I am working on at this point in my life. I am writing a paper that I will read at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society’s annual meeting. The paper will deal with demon possession and exorcism in the Gospels and Acts compared and contrasted to today. I am looking specifically at M. Scott Peck’s book “Glimpses of the Devil.” This Sunday I will finish up a five week series of messages on the parables with a message on Matthew 25 and the parable of the sheep and goats. Classes have started here at Knox and students are on their way to learning to read the Greek New Testament. This is one of my favorite tasks in life. To teach students to read the text in the language in which it was written and hopefully kindle a fire of love both for the Word, and for the God who wrote it.

    Rev. Enyart explains that he will have to make his last few posts a little shorter in order to fit into the “average of 6,000 words.” Bob, does this mean that I have the right to make my last few posts longer in order to use up my allotted word numbers?

    Now on to the debate.


    OBSERVATIONS

    1. To those who said that my hermeneutic of “authorial intention” was nothing more than stating the obvious, I would ask that you become more familiar with current hermeneutical battles before making such statements. There are many today who would argue that attempting to find the author’s intent is foolishness (see, for example Stanly Fish’s now classic “Is There A Text In This Class?”. This is the very battle that Kevin Vanhoozer’s work “Is There A Meaning In This Text?” takes up.

    2. To those who seemed to think that Christ at times spoke out of his humanity and at other times spoke out of his divinity was some new idea that I had just pulled out of my hat, please understand that this is the position taken by theologians Warfield, Berkhoff, Erickson, Reymond, and Grudam. This position has a long and noble heritage (though it is not the only answer to the “Son does not know” passage, there are others that preserve Jesus’ omnipotence in other ways) and to react to it as if it is mere folly is to fail to understand an important Scriptural position.


    BOB’S RESPONSE IN ROUND VI

    1. To say that I am disappointed by the lack of response in Rev. Enyart's post simply does not get to the issue. It seems that Bob and I are speaking past one another rather than to each other. I will take some of the blame for this, but it seems clear to me that anyone who read my post VI could clearly see that I had extended and sharpened each of my arguments, and yet Bob does not respond to them.

    2. Rev. Enyart, with all due respect, simply saying that you have answered my arguments does not do the trick. You argue that God could have had another rooster crow if the first one had been eaten. I grant that. The problem is this: Jesus predicted the actions of Judas and Peter; these actions took place as he had predicted; either Jesus knew that these actions would take place or he did not. If he did not, then he would not have based his divinity upon them. I clearly proved in the last round that Jesus based his divinity upon his predictions. Your answer is that “God would have been happy if either Peter or Judas had repented.” But they did not repent. Jesus had predicted in advance that they would not repent. Please take these arguments seriously. I spent a great deal of time and effort extending and clarifying the arguments in my last post only to have them ignored. You have told us stories about what it might have been like if Judas had repented, but you have failed to respond to my analysis of Peter’s preaching in Acts which clearly says that these things “had to happen.”

    3. Rev. Enyart misunderstands the linguist evidence again. Having taught Hebrew, I am familiar both with the language as well as with the source he cites. His argument that Noah’s name is only one entry away from a similar word, thus making it a close derivation is simply wrong. He quotes from the Wordbook of the Old Testament and calls it “authoritative.” Having studied under two of the three authors of the book, I looked up the context (funny that that word should come up again). The proper names that flow from this word are listed and Noah is not among them. Noah comes from the Hebrew word for rest. Not only does Rev. Enyart misspell transliteration of the Hebrew word, he misuses the article and directly contradicts the author’s intention. This is a direct quote from the article (V. II, p. 571) “When naham is used of God, however, the expression is anthropopathic and there is not ultimate tension. From man’s limited, earthly, finite perspective it only appears that God’s purposes have changed.” Please, we must all be more careful in the citing of works that are called “authoritative.”

    4. Rev. Enyart’s post puts me in a difficult position. He promises to answer the arguments that I put forward “in the next post.” This again (at the risk of being called a whiner by the grandstands) leaves me to argue that the conclusions that I stated in my last post (that both Judas’ and Peter’s behavior was predicted in advance by Jesus and could not have occurred any other way) stand. Bob spends over 7,000 words in this last post and does not deal with one of the questions that I asked. I really do not understand how this can be called a debate.

    5. As to the repentance of God, I will offer my analysis of what this word and figure of speech means. I will deal with several passages as space permits


    Lexical Considerations

    The repentance of God is primarily expressed in the OT through the Hebrew verb naham. For our purposes, the most important usages of the verb come in the niphal and hithpael stems, where an element of change is denoted by the verb.

    Space limitations will prevent a thorough discussion of all 35 passages in which God is the subject of naham and of other passages that deal with the theme of divine repentance but do not use the word. The crucial question we will be considering throughout is whether God’s emotional or mental or directional change indicated by his naham demands a non-exhaustive view of his foreknowledge.

    Hermeneutical Considerations

    A far preferable hermeneutical approach, given the number of times that God is said not to repent or change his mind, is to take the whole of biblical revelation into account in trying to determine what is similar and what is different between divine and human repentance. This is what Rev. Enyart has tried to do, and so I feel justified in using the same technique. This will include the vast amount of Scripture that teaches or illustrates God’s foreknowledge of free human decisions (such as Judas and Peter, but there are many others). And it also includes the incredibly significant use made of such foreknowledge by Yahweh in Isaiah 40-48 and by Jesus in John 13:19. Yes, the repentance of God is a significant biblical metaphor, as Rev. Enyart and others have helpfully argued. But its frequency of usage is dwarfed by the 2,323 predictive prophecies in Scripture that concern free human decisions or events that have such decisions as a causal component. Thus we must be careful not to interpret the metaphor of divine repentance in such as way that it diminishes the far more frequent metaphor of divine foreknowledge. Both metaphors must be understood to be reality depicting, but the extent and intensity of the biblical portrayal of divine foreknowledge must in no way be diminished. The witness of all of Scripture lends considerable weight to understanding the relationship of divine knowledge to divine repentance as fundamentally different than that of its human counterpart.

    So how should we understand the repentance of God if we affirm his foreknowledge of free human decisions? I would suggest that divine repentance denotes God’s awareness of a change in the human situation and his resulting change of emotions and/or actions in light of this changed situation. This change in the human situation could involve human sin (as in Gen 6:6; 1 Sam 15:11, 35; Jer 18:9-10) and/or human repentance (as in Jonah 3:9; Jer 18:7-8) and/or human intercession (as in Ex 32:14; Amos 7:1-6; 2 Kgs 20:1-6). And in his repentance, God changes his emotions and/or actions as is appropriate and fitting in light of these changed circumstances. But this does not necessarily imply that the changed human circumstances were unforeseen by God and that God has learned something new as a result of these free human decisions.

    Clearly this is a different kind of repentance than what we experience as humans. We cannot conceive of ourselves responding with genuine grief and regret over sin that we infallibly foreknew would happen and responding with a genuine change of action in response to a situation we infallibly foreknew. Rev. Enyart might claim that I am not reading the texts in a “straightforward fashion.”

    Serious problems come when we try to apply this “straightforward hermeneutic” to other passages of Scripture. Consider, for example, Gen 3:9-13, which records God’s actions after the fall of Adam and Eve. After their sin, Adam and Eve tried to hide from God among the trees of the garden. Then we read, “But the LORD God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’” (vs. 9). Following openness suggestions to “simply accept the plain meaning of Scripture,” this text seems to imply that God does not know the present location of Adam and Eve. And as the narrative of Genesis 3 proceeds, another problem emerges. In vs. 11, God asks Adam, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” Does not a “straightforward” reading of this verse lead to the conclusion that in this case God was ignorant of what Adam had done in the past? And God’s similar question to Eve in vs. 13 (“What is this you have done?”) seems to imply a similar divine ignorance of the past as far as Eve’s actions were concerned. Thus reading Gen 3:9-13 in the same manner that open theists encourage us to read Gen 22:12 seems to result in a denial of God’s exhaustive knowledge of both the present and the past.

    REV. ENYART’S QUESTIONS

    EQ31: Is God able to change such that he can have true relationship:

    A: within the Trinity?

    B: with His creatures?

    SLA-BEQ31: Again, I must say that I thought that I had already answered this. Depending upon what one means by the word change, yes. The word change is not self-defining. I have always believed that God can and does have a true relationship within the Trinity and with his creatures. This change however must be carefully defined. It does not mean that he ceases to give up any of his attributes or in any way ceases to be God.

    BEQ32: (please forgive me for not cutting and pasting the entire question, we have been having trouble with our network since the storm and I don’t have an electronic version of post VI available). Can you indicate if this statement is true: When God intervenes in history, the actual intervention itself cannot be a figure of speech!

    SLA-BEQ32: George B. Caird says, in his classic The Language and Imagery of the Bible that “all, or almost all, of the language used by the Bible to refer to God is metaphor.” No doubt this is true because of the infinite qualitative difference that exists between the Creator and his creation.

    Thus through metaphorical language, something that is well-known becomes a window through which we can gain insight into something that is lesser known. But since no one thing is exactly identical to another thing, every metaphor expresses both similarities and differences between the two objects.

    Note that this does not mean that the event did not occur. It only means that our methods for speaking of God’s intervention are imperfect because of the Creator/creature distinction.

    Psalm 17 shows some examples of this. In verse 6 the author asks God to “incline his ear” which clearly means to hear his prayer. Are we to say that God has actual ears? In verse 7 we are reminded that God’s love is shown to those who take refuge “at Thy right hand.” Are we to think that God, when he protects us, actually uses his hands? In verse 8 David asks that God would “hide me in the shadow of Thy wings . . .” Does God have both hands and wings?

    Lest Rev. Enyart argue that this is poetry and not a genuine account of God’s intervention, notice that this is a prayer for specific protection from oppressors.

    Conclusion

    Let me say again, that I do not doubt that Rev. Enyart believes that he is being Scriptural and that he is winning the debate. I, on the other hand do not agree with either of these two conclusions. I will certainly do all that I can to promote this debate, although I am not sure that it is a good model due to the lack of clash on important issues. As I have said before, at this point in the debate we should be dealing with very specific issues and narrowing the field of argument rather than widening it.

    I will not ask more questions ( with the exception of the one that I ask at the start of the post, i.e., can I use the same "averaging" technique as you in my last three posts?) but will wait patently until Rev. Enyart decides to answer the ones that I put forward in my last post. I would only ask that he seriously consider the evidence that I put forth from the Greek text as well as the LXX and deal specifically with the questions.


    God’s blessings to all who are reading this. May he make his truth plain and clear. May we all seek not to master the Word, but to be mastered by it.

    Sam Lamerson

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    Battle Royale X: Openness Theology, Enyart's Post 7B

    Sam, now that you’ve admitted that God is able to change in relationship, in round eight we can focus on the implications of that on the traditional doctrines of immutability and foreknowledge, since this is the heart of the Openness debate! Let’s look at the Incarnation and Crucifixion, staying in the heart of your area of expertise: the Gospels.

    This post reviews your arguments and accusations, and answers anew all the questions at length that you’ve basically resubmitted (Prayer 1-2, Peter 1-5, Judas 1-5). But first:

    Appealing to Non-Scriptural Authority

    I will establish, first by indirect and then by direct evidence, that Sam is the one who has been appealing to non-scriptural authority. Indirectly, I judge that Sam’s blatant contradictory reasoning is explained by his commitment to humanist philosophy. Then objectively, by direct evidence, I will prove that even in this short debate, and under the blind eye of the Settlers in the Grandstands, that Sam has heavily appealed to non-scriptural authority.

    In round two I defined will. And Sam replied:
    Here Bob puts his finger on the real issue of this debate. Does ‘will’ include the ability to do otherwise? This is a hinge upon which much of this discussion swings.
    Now, I submit the following quote as anecdotal evidence of the negative effects that commitment to humanist philosophy can have on human reason. A few rounds back Sam wrote:
    The cheating man does what he wanted to do, simply because he could not have done otherwise does not mean that he did not freely choose to cheat on his wife… -Sam, Post 3A, emphasis added
    Pagan Greek philosophy makes one mad! (And if not Sam, then me!) This Calvinist claim, while logically and linguistically contradictory, agrees with the Westminster Confession. And in its defense, Sam wrote in 5A that the Westminster Confession “is held to by thousands and by major denominations, as well as by some of the finest theological minds.” Yes, and if God did not ordain, and does not derive pleasure and glory from a homosexual sodomizing a five year old boy, then they are all wrong, and egregiously so.

    The direct evidence identifies Sam’s use of a tactic common to the Settled View, of projecting your own biblical weakness onto your opponents. Sam, you have falsely implied that I am the one who uses extra-biblical sources for my position, by projecting onto me your own routine practice! You contrast my argument on “Greek Philosophy,” and your declaration “up front that I will be using only one text to argue my case.” By the typical Settled View gambit, Calvinists divert attention from their preoccupation with extra-biblical authorities by accusing Open Viewers of not sticking with Scripture! After carefully scanning the entire debate so far, I submit that the Open View side has only appealed to Scripture, while the Exhaustive Foreknowledge side has heavily leaned on extra-biblical sources and authority. Note this, the Open View justifiably appeals to outside sources to expose the Settled View, whereas the Settled View improperly appeals to external sources to defend exhaustive foreknowledge. Here is my objective evidence of your heavy appeal to extra-biblical sources:

    You have appealed to many extra-scriptural, outside sources and authorities in defense of your Settled View position! You appealed to:
    1. The Gnostic Gospel of Thomas
    2. All Second-Temple Literature (taken as a whole)
    3. Davies and Allison (who declare the purpose of prayer)
    4. Chrysostom (Homily on Matthew)
    5. Reymond (who I raised in refutation, and you appealed to)
    6. Erickson (God the Father Almighty, on the issue of change)
    7. “Thousands [of Christians]”
    8. “Major denominations”
    9. “Some of the finest theological minds”
    10. The beliefs of an average “first-century Jewish person” (assuming validity)
    11. Bruce Ware (on what would be “strictly speaking impossible for human beings”)
    12. Four Greek Experts, “men whose work cannot be questioned” (Why? Were they inspired?)
    13. Morris (interpretation of John 13:19)
    14. Theologians Warfield, Berkhoff, Erickson, and Grudman (“noble heritage”)
    15. George B. Caird (virtually all bible language about God is metaphoric)
    16. And finally, you boldly appealed to the Westminster Confession (and “the finest theological minds” who agree with it)!

    Sam, “simply saying” that you and the Settled View only appeal to Scripture “does not do the trick”. Settled Viewers appeal to extra-biblical authorities so habitually, they are not even aware of it! (Tolle Lege anyone?). Sam, you’ve had a hard time restraining yourself from outside appeals even in a carefully observed debate while claiming to do otherwise! You quote Caird that “all, or almost all, of the language used by the Bible to refer to God is metaphor.” Sam, what an example of blind trust in extra-biblical authorities! Trusting Caird as an extra-biblical authority explains but does not excuse you from overlooking that the overwhelming preponderance of biblical references to God are not metaphors! I briefly scanned the Bible, including a list of “God is” passages, and here are a few of the literal descriptions of God that Caird missed, that God is:
    Living, Eternal, Creator, Mighty, Witness,
    Good, Exalted, Great, Loving, Jehovah,
    Gracious, Spirit, King, Righteous, True,
    Powerful, Wise, Blameless, Lord, Known, Just,
    Awesome, Merciful, Judge, Holy, and Savior!
    But Sam you say we should believe that the majority of what the Bible says about God is otherwise, that it is metaphorical, because Caird said so! And this is why the Settled View survives, because its adherents demand as prerogative to take anything the Bible says about God as metaphor, including historical intervention (!!!!!), since after all, really, “all” or virtually everything said about God “is metaphor!” This devastating falsehood you so eagerly promote allows maximum interpretive flexibility to follow the Greeks and Augustine straight to exhaustive foreknowledge. This example shows that the Open View flows from a far more literal, and properly literal, biblical understanding of God than does the Settled View! Sam, have you ever corrected Caird on this blunder?

    I have exposed that the OMNIs and IMs are “propped up with [‘a handful of’] weak proof-texts.” I asked you to demonstrate with Scripture the appeal to extra-biblical authority when you claimed that “Dr. Reymond cites no less than 24 passages of Scripture” for immutability, indicating that God is “unchangeable in his being.” Having debated Settled Viewers for 20 years, I knew this would expose your unmerited trust in extra-biblical authority. So, here’s one of the immutability proof-texts lurking within your outside authority, which you listed by reference only:
    And his sons would go and feast in their houses, each on his appointed day, and would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did regularly. -Job 1:4-5
    So, that’s an immutability proof-text huh? And Settled Viewers don’t prop with a handful of weak proof-texts their Latin and Greek philosophical OMNIs and IMs? That was the 23rd passage cited. Others are worse (like Jonah 3:3-5, 10)! Thank you Sam and Dr. Reymond for strengthening my claim that the Settled View survives only on texts twisted to support Augustinian/Greek tradition.

    Now, you rightly anticipated objections since these verses do not indicate immutability in His being, but speak of God’s love and commitment to righteousness. So you used the homiletical approach, “when your point is weak, pound pulpit,” asserting the extra-biblical, “trust us” approach. And as Settlers will do, you think that by chaining together non-biblical sources, you multiply their authority! (Actually, by the flesh, this tends to have an inverse relationship to truth, the more extra-biblical authorities chained together, the more likely you err.) For example, you as a professor quoted an expert theologian, who gives careful analysis, which follows the Westminster Confession:
    Dr. Reymond argues this very strongly… Reymond does not simply cite the passage, he goes into some careful analysis of it. …outside of the discussion which Dr. Reymond engages these passages might not be as easily understood in terms of the “unchanging being” of God’s nature. It should also be noted that Reymond… (is following here the Westminster Confession).
    Move over Augie. There’s a new true Confessions book coming out!

    Now here is the list of all of the sources and authorities I have appealed to in support of Openness:

    1. Scripture

    I have only referenced non-biblical sources to expose your position and arguments!

    (I’ve ignored references to lexicons and to illustrations such as your Landlady and my answers to your “what if” objections, etc., but even there I think this general observation would still hold.)

    Openness actually does that which the Settled View claims but does not do! And in Battle Royale X, I have done what you have accused me of not doing: I have argued the Open View position only from Scripture. So Sam, when I ask you, “Are foreordination and foreknowledge the same thing?” and you answer, “I agree with the Westminster Confession here,” that’s not only unresponsive, it is appealing to extra-biblical authority.

    The Silent Scream

    Sam said that my accusations regarding the pagan Greek origin of the Settled View “scream out for evidence and argument.” Then after my teaser, he added, “It is not that I am unfamiliar with the work of those who make this claim… it is that I am unconvinced by them.” So, in the first half of BRX, I committed 5,362 words, mostly in Post 5B, toward providing the evidence that the Settled View is based on pagan philosophy which Commitment to Augustinian Tradition props up with out-of-context proof-texts. After I provided such evidence, by the truckload, Sam decided to completely ignore the evidence he had demanded, and simply avoided the argument. In 6A, Sam quoted my question:
    BEQ30: Sam, do you agree that Christianity should make a conscious effort to identify pagan Greek influence on Augustine and other leading Christians, and if any is found, to re-evaluate related doctrines on strictly biblical grounds?
    And he not only gave an unresponsive answer, but blew off my entire argument with less than forty words:
    Since I believe and have argued from the Bible, I certainly want to hold to nothing but what the Bible teaches. I believe all Christians should always hold Scripture in authority over any creed, confession, church father or pastor.
    Sam, I didn’t ask you if you believe in the Bible. I didn’t ask you if you want to hold to anything but Scripture. I asked you if Christianity should make an effort to identify pagan influence, and if finding any, deal with it, to give God the respect He is due.

    Sam, you had already stated about the historical evidence and argument for philosophical contamination of Christianity: “that I am unconvinced by them.” Why Sam? There is much at stake here. The reader deserves to hear why you have no concern regarding the powerful evidence for this charge:

    1. Pagan Greek culture concocted the notion of the Settled Future (which they called Fate or Providence).
    2. Intentionally or not, Plato, Aristotle and Plotinus devised a philosophy compatible with their culture’s fatalism.
    3. Greek philosophy settled on the divine attributes of utter immutability and timelessness.
    4. Augustine put these pagan teachings into the heart of Christian doctrine.
    5. Aquinas, Luther, and Calvin gloried in Augustine’s Greek doctrines.
    6. The educational institutions and curriculum created by the Reformation was heavily influenced by neoplatonism.
    7. Until this very day our seminaries, rather than expose all this, have complicity in the scandal by propping up the Latin and Greek philosophical OMNIs and IMs with a handful of twisted proof-texts, giving pagan philosophy precedence over the biblical attributes of God being Living, Personal, Relational, Good, and Loving.

    After promising in 3A, “I will have a number of responses,” to this accusation of Greek infection, instead Sam you subtly contrast your commitment to Scriptures with mine, writing “I am a Christian who follows the word of God,” and in 5A, “I am not quoting Plato or Augustine but Jesus,” and thus you followed my devastating exposé with only this, “I believe and have argued from the Bible.” Now, after screaming for evidence, Sam, your silence is deafening.

    Three Proof-Texts Deal

    Sam asked me:
    SLQ15 Would you be willing to pick out three passages or pericopes as I have done…?
    Sam, I am prepared to give you three proof texts for us to focus on for the last third of the debate, but I want to get something from you first. You see, I believe that the Settled View position is biblically indefensible, and to demonstrate that, I want the readers to see the inability of any hermeneutics, other than Commitment to Augustinian Tradition, to uphold your case. Sam, in your email of April 21, you complimented the person who would “argue hard and then love much.” I can do nothing better for you nor the readers than to glorify God by exposing the stone-cold pagan roots of exhaustive foreknowledge. So, I’m taking this painful step, to emphasize as best I can, the inability of the Settled View to prevail once the Greek origin of its true hermeneutic has been exposed. Pardon the pop psychology, but in a subconscious way, I think you know this, and throughout have instinctively avoided discussion of our underlying hermeneutics, preferring the comfort of batting proof texts back and forth while suppressing any discussion of the fundamental issues. So, to demonstrate that, I will offer you exactly what you’ve been asking for, to pit my three proof-texts against yours, but first, you must reveal to the readers the hermeneutics that help you decide which texts rightly interprets which. And so that the reader can know that I have actually selected them, the references to my three proof texts fit the following pattern of book name. ch:vv.
    ~~~~ #:##, ~~~. #:#, and ~~~. ##:# - ##.
    Remember, you are not debating someone who thinks the author’s intent is unknowable. That is the purpose of revelation. So, please give us your hermeneutics, your statement of principles that we can apply to determine the meaning of our texts, and which set of three, if either, should be used to interpret which. By the way, if you call, email, or post your agreement to reveal your specific hermeneutics, I will immediately post my three proof-texts in the BR-X Critique Thread. Thus we can make the most of three rounds (that’s potentially over 36,000 words) making sure the debate deepens instead of widens.

    I will use JONAH and NOAH to decide which interpretations and proof-texts to select. We can test our opposing hermeneutics, and demonstrate to the readers which best explains both sides’ proof and problem texts. And Sam, I know you disagree with JONAH and NOAH. But the real purpose of debate ultimately is to test one another’s method of interpretation. I’ll demonstrate how my hermeneutics function, and if you will present yours, we will make progress.

    If you can show me that JONAH does not establish the validity of NOAH (obviously, in a way that I can agree with), then I will concede Battle Royale X.

    On the other hand, if JONAH does establish the validity of NOAH (which I believe it does), we can then apply the NOAH hermeneutic to your three passages (and to all the Settled View proof texts) to repair misinterpretations.
    Jehovah’s
    Obvious
    Nativity
    Attributes
    Hermeneutic
    JONAH demonstrates that attributes like relationship and love take precedence over immutability, knowledge, and power, thereby establishing the truth of Openness by obliterating the only justification for the Settled View.

    And by JONAH, we can therefore use NOAH, the:
    New
    Openness-
    Attributes
    Hermeneutic
    NOAH resolves conflicting interpretations by selecting those which give precedence to the biblical attributes of God as being living, personal, relational, good, and loving, and by rejecting explanations derived from commitment to the philosophical attributes of God such as omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, impassibility, and immutability.

    Sam, my hermeneutics are explicit, testable, and applicable, and are in black and white, and available for anyone to analyze. In 6A you wrote:
    “my hermeneutic is to find out what the author (both earthly and heavenly) intended to communicate by his writing.”
    Of course, that is not a hermeneutic, but it is the goal of a hermeneutic. The New Bible Dictionary defines hermeneutics as the “statement of the principles on which a text is to be understood.” Sam, you cannot establish that your hermeneutics are the right ones if you do not identify them. So if you will provide a hermeneutic or two, that is, specific “statements of principles (or rules or methods)” by which we can attempt to interpret our texts and understand the author’s intent, then we can apply both parties’ hermeneutics, to see if either will appear valid. We have both identified from the beginning that it is the proper hermeneutic that will determine whether Openness is right or wrong. I just scanned through a Hermeneutics textbook I used in Bible college in 1977, and I can’t identify any hermeneutic you can suggest that will benefit your side over mine. The only one that does (which is not listed in that textbook), which I believe is the hermeneutic you actually use, is Commitment to Augustinian Tradition.

    Sam, please list your specific hermeneutics, and then I will identify my three Openness proof texts, ~~~~ #:##, ~~~. #:#, and ~~~. ##:#-##. Otherwise, as you correctly pointed out, we will simply be listing “our own verses as proof texts” and with bravado tossing them at each other.

    Questions and Answers

    Sam, your helpful question titles work great in combination with these numbered prefixes. The numbers help also when listing a range of questions. So far I’ve directly answered SLQ1 – SLQ26, and you have [I]not yet answered[I] BEQ11/12/13/14/18/19/20/21/23/25/28/30 and 32. I hope you will. This list of unanswered BEQs does not refer to answers I disagree with, but to your unresponsive replies and to completely ignored questions . Everything below I’ve directly answered already and now again. So Sam, if you want to further our progress, you will have to either agree with me on a point, or specifically challenge my answers and my rebuttals to your previous claims.

    Prayer

    SLQ16-Prayer-1: Would you agree that Jesus’ claim that our “Father in heaven knows what we have need of before we ask?” includes the Father’s knowledge of future events?

    BEA-SLQ16: No. The passage does not indicate that God has knowledge of all future events from eternity past, nor even from before Creation, but that we can be confident in Him because He knows our needs before we ask Him to meet them. Thus we should trust Him because He is wiser (and more aware) than we are.

    SLQ17-Prayer-2: Would you agree that Jesus’ claim includes knowledge of future events that include free human decisions?

    BEA-SLQ17: No. Not in the way you mean. A godly king, without being omniscient, knows what his subjects will need in the future, whether they live or die. God knows better what we will need. If we die, we continue to need God’s love, etc., and if we live, we need air, food, water, etc. To live righteously we need His wisdom, etc. When God planned the creation, He knew what we would need and He providentially provided the earth, etc. for us (but that did not include methamphetamines). I have already answered these questions in BEA-SLQ0/8 and in 3B on How to Falsify Openness.

    Peter

    Sam, from my perspective, finally, in 7A you came close to actually responding to my argument when you wrote:
    Your answer is that ‘God would have been happy if either Peter or Judas had repented.’ But they did not repent. -Sam
    It almost took my breath away (okay, so I get a bit invested) when it seemed that you were going to address my argument. And then you just dropped it. Everybody agrees they did not repent. Sam, you are supposed to either agree, or specify why you disagree with my argument. Instead, you just dropped my argument, and repeated your argument, which I see pleases the Calvinists in the Grandstands, but results in me burning 900 words in this section on Peter repeating myself without the benefit of being challenged.

    SLQ18-Peter-1 Did Jesus know in advance that Peter would [deny] him?

    BEA-SLQ18: No. Knowledge and expectations are different. Love “hopes all things,” which exhaustive foreknowledge cannot do. (Sam, this is a point you should concede, and failing that, you should challenge it so we can test it.) God’s knowledge is influenced by His love, to produce His hopes and expectations. He then reveals those expectations to man, hoping for the best, even when delivering that hope as a prophecy of destruction or warning.

    SLQ19-Peter-2: Did Jesus know in advance the time that Peter would [deny] him?

    BEA-SLQ19: No. Not if you mean that He knew this in a way that He preferred the certainty of Peter’s lack of faith over the alternative of Peter actually trusting Him that night. Prophesy is God’s word, delivered to man, and the primary goal of prophecy is to produce obedience in man. Sam, you should address my explicit rebuttals, which you have not. I suggest you re-read my “Rooster” section, beginning where I explicitly challenge your formula for dismissing Nineveh as a parallel to Peter, and where I argued that “Lucifer had already asked to ‘sift’ Peter,” thus this wasn’t just a prediction out of the blue that Peter would be tested. Sam, I apply your words and your exact 3A argument to determine what you would say if Peter had trusted God: “It is obvious that the prophecy Jesus gave to Peter allowed for repentance. If not there is no reason for Jesus to make it, and no reason to give Simon until the rooster’s crow!” Sam, you have committed the logical fallacy of special pleading, and by so doing you have undermined the Petrine centerpiece of your entire three-pronged defense. You need to own up to this contradiction, and correct either your Nineveh explanation, or admit the Peter prophecy was also conditional by your own criteria. God greatly prefers men trusting Him to the fulfillment of prophesy, especially the fulfillment of prophecies of warning and destruction.

    SLQ20-Peter-3 If Jesus could have been wrong about this prediction what else could he have been wrong about?

    BEA-SLQ20: Everything that He wanted to be wrong about, including that the Jewish leaders would likely persecute His followers, and that many will be deceived by “false christs” who will “deceive, if possible, even the elect.” As with the purpose of all prophetic warning, Jesus prophesied this in hopes of preventing it! The Lord indicates this by continuing, “See, I have told you beforehand. Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look…,’ do not believe it.” That is: I am telling you this “beforehand,” not to prove that I foreknew or predestined it, but hoping that it will not happen!

    SLQ21-Peter-4 If Jesus knew in advance that Peter was going to [deny] him, was Peter still responsible for his actions?

    BEA-SLQ21: BEA-SLQ19. Further, any created being could only be responsible for its action if the Creator had enabled it possibly to do otherwise (Gen. 2 - Rev. 22). This SLQ21 ignores my [I]entire position[/I, and also my BEA-SLQ3 definition of will already informed you of my answer. A sinless Adam could have heeded God and obeyed His commands, but “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it,’” (Gen. 3:17) therefore God held him accountable! See also Deut. 11:26-28; Neh. 9:30; Ezek. 18:20, 23, 25; Rom. 1:21; etc.

    See also, BEA-SLQ13 and recall from my third paragraph of 1B, that with “the Settled View… a question arises as to whether God wills for evil to occur, regarding human versus divine responsibility for sin… The Open View, alternatively, reports that the future is not settled, and that the responsibility for wickedness thus lies obviously with those in rebellion against God, for cruelties are not required to occur as in the Settled View.” And to the Arminians, if you carefully re-read that paragraph, you will see that I did not indict you for teaching that God ordains sin, but neither could I acquit you from teaching that God created an existence which became marked by sin and suffering, yet no one, and not even He Himself, can ever change the eternally settled future. That irrationality is inherent in your position, and like dividing by zero, it produces undefined results in which God cannot be definitively absolved of responsibility for sin. Thus, only the Open View, on its face and thus obviously, shows God innocent.

    SLQ22-Peter-5 Did God orchestrate the events that would cause Peter to [deny] Christ?

    BEA-SLQ22: Cause, as in causal? No. The Lord’s prediction regarding Peter is just like His other prophetic warnings. God makes predictions of bad behavior for two reasons, both as a deterrent, and as an encouragement to trust Him. First, as a deterrent, God hopes that men will repent and obey. Second, as an encouragement, if those involved fail to repent, then God hopes that the prophesy will encourage those willing to learn to trust His insight. But in all such prophesies of warning, let me make an application of Samuel’s words, “to obey is better than sacrifice,” that is, God prefers to win men’s hearts than to see fulfilled prophecy, and He would rather have men obey, than to sacrifice their obedience to chalk one up for immutability. And any concern that if God had to prompt an accuser to challenge Peter, that would be a temptation to sin and a violation of James 1:13, is ill-conceived. Asking Peter to admit He is a follower of Christ is not evil; it is not a temptation to sin; it is an honorable test, which he failed. Those questions were an opportunity for Peter to grow in his faith, which was the preferred outcome, but failing that, Christ’s fulfilled prediction showed Peter that Jesus still loved and needed Simon, even though the Lord knew His weakness.

    Judas

    SLQ23-Judas 1-If the dei in Acts 1:16 does not mean “it is necessary” was Peter mistaken about the prophecy of David? Keep in mind that he does not say “someone” but that the prophecy was about “Judas.”

    BEA-SLQ23: Peter was not mistaken when he indicated that Judas illustrated David’s messianic non-prophesy. God orchestrated parallels to Old Testament messianic illustrations, in order to demonstrate that Jesus gave up His life willingly, and was not a victim of circumstance. God used non-prophesies and not specific predictive prophesies because otherwise Lucifer, the high priest, the king, the governor, and others would have especially resisted helping God achieve His ends. Here I’ll address two other related questions you’ve asked:
    I have never heard the term ‘non-prophecy’ used to refer to that which is not predictive… I would like to see some criteria for determining a “predictive prophecy” as opposed to a “non-prophecy. -Sam, 3A
    A predictive prophecy explicitly makes a prediction. A non-prophecy makes no explicit prediction, but later can be seen to have illustrated a future event (as Hosea 11:1 with Mat. 2:15). But why use non-prophecy? Why not just say typology, or non-predictive prophecy? Such terms are too imprecise. All non-prophecies are types (symbols, illustrations, shadows), but not all types are non-prophesies. Not every type refers to a future event. When Moses struck the rock (Ex. 17:6) that type symbolized the crucifixion; but the Rock itself was not a symbol of a future event, but of a person, for “that Rock was Christ,” (1 Cor. 10:4), which though not predictive encourages the believer! The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil can be seen as a type of the law [Deut. 1:39; Rom. 3:20; 5:18 & 20; 7:7, 10; Luke 11:52]. Some types can be a “shadow of the heavenly things” (Heb. 8:5). Thus many types do not qualify as non-prophecies (which must “illustrate future events,” by definition). Prophecy is anything spoken by a prophet, and so the excellent term non-predictive prophecy doesn’t specifically refer to non-prophecies since it also includes past-tense reminders of God’s deeds. If you Google “non-prophecy,” you will see that Jewish “anti-missionaries” currently own the term, trying thereby to discredit most Christian prophecy. Just as homosexuals with worldly wisdom (Luke 16:8b) appropriated and redefined stigmatizing terms with extraordinary effect, Christians should refer to non-predictive prophesies that in hindsight illustrate future events as non-prophesies. The term non-prophecy exposes the modern error that you are echoing Sam, which views all prophecy as predictive, and far from being “blunt,” the term is instructive, extremely specific, and fills the students’ need to distinguish between classes of prophecies. And hey, it’s better to have a term to identify a class of objects than not, especially when it helps clarify theological debates which confuse predictions with illustrations. Sam, if you know of a better term that specifically refers to a non-predictive prophecy which illustrates a future event, please suggest it.

    And you asked, “Did Mary and Joseph have the choice not to go to Bethlehem?” Yes. “What would have happened if they had chosen to ignore the census?” While it is unlikely that a young betrothed pregnant couple would risk death by obstinately disobeying the decree of the brutal Augustus Caesar, still, if they were so inclined, I am sure that God would have then asked them to go. At other times, he directed them by vision or dream. I am sure D. James Kennedy can carefully select new-hires, and confidently send them out on a ministry trip. Sam, I’m sure you would honor a request from Dr. Kennedy to go on a business trip, even without a concurring decree from Caesar or angelic visitation. And if any of you refused, Samuel, Mary, or Joseph, God and Kennedy could deal with it. “Was the census ordained by God?” Yes. The Holy Spirit inspired Korah (not the one swallowed alive into hell) to prophesy (interpretation in brackets):
    And of Zion it will be said, “This one [David] and that one [the Son of David, the Christ] were born in her [Bethlehem]; and the Most High Himself shall establish her [Bethlehem, the city of David].” The LORD will record, when He registers [Caesar’s census] the peoples [throughout the ruling empire]: “This one was born there [to document Micah 5:2].” -Ps. 87:5-6
    God planned to persuade the future emperor to conduct a census. See the section on Roosters for a discussion of the divine power of persuasion. My initial presentation of NOAH, non-prophesies, and my discussion of Judas had already answered these questions. Sam, when I disagree with your answers, I am still thankful that you have at least answered. Please try to distinguish between unanswered questions, and answers you disagree with.

    SLQ24-Judas 2- You mention that you want to follow the NKJV which translates the text as “Scripture had to be fulfilled.” Can you let me know how that allows for a non-fulfillment?

    BEA-SLQ24: I never said I “follow the NKJV.” I use the NKJV. In 5B I mentioned my informal debate with a Calvinist from the NKJ translation team who defended his Settled View doctrine with a common Calvinist argument that contradictions, which they call “antinomies,” are acceptable. Most translations, including the NKJ, were translated by men Committed to Augustinian Tradition, and show their bias. For more, please see BEA-SLQ23, [BEA-]SLQ10 specifically on Acts 1:16, and my 2A section titled, “This Scripture had to be fulfilled… concerning Judas,” where I defended at length my answer that, “it was fitting that Old Testament passages about betrayal illustrated Judas.” Sam, if you disagree with my answer, it is reasonable for you to explain why. It is not reasonable to just ask the questions again as though I have not responded.

    SLQ25-Judas 3-The next time we see Peter speaking about the death of Christ is in Acts 2:23 where Peter again says that Christ’s delivery to be crucified was the plan of God, but that the men who engaged in it were still responsible. Is this not a clear indication of God’s preplanning an event and yet still holding those who engaged in the evil event responsible?

    BEA-SLQ25: Yes it is clear that God planned the cross, and holds responsible the participants. But by this question you meant to ask something that you forgot to bring out, your assumption that if God planned an event, that means He must have compelled all the eventual participants. Why would this be? Men plan events all the time, from class meetings to Super Bowls to wars, which involve dozens, or thousands, or millions of free will agents, and we make stuff like this happen all the time. Why do you suppose God would be incompetent apart from foreknowledge? Was it foreknowledge, or His own creative genius that enabled Him to design DNA? You know that it wasn’t foreknowledge, that He just peaked ahead to see how proteins would be assembled, and then took the credit for designing the process. Remember Sam, if you want to use these kinds of arguments, you need to find a deist to debate, because these arguments are largely irrelevant to Open theism. We only reject exhaustive foreknowledge, yet the Settled Viewer then assumes that God would become incapable of most any accomplishment, whereas they all believe that He was capable of designing and implementing the ENTIRE CREATION, not because he foresaw how the moon produces the tides, but because He designed and brought it to pass. So the Father planned the crucifixion, by His “determined purpose and foreknowledge,” but did not compel any individual to participate, not even His own Son, who went to the cross willingly. This has been my answer all along.

    SLQ26-Judas 4-Does Christ base his deity on the accuracy of his predictions (John 13:19; please see response below)?

    BEA-SLQ26Regarding concern over the accuracy of Christ’s predictions, please see my three previous answers, BEA-SLQ23/24/25, and for deeper treatment see [BEA-]SLQ4/11, and the 4,030 words in 2B about Judas which all four of these Judas answers essentially repeat.

    Regarding Sam’s continued argument that John 13:19 specifically claims deity, any reader who sees this as an unfortunate rabbit trail is correct, for both sides agree that Jesus is God, and are wasting words on the grammar here. I have no choice but to continue this because of Sam’s harsh attack on my credibility, which could undermine a reader’s confidence in my entire presentation. So, I take Sam on in his special area of expertise.

    Readers unfamiliar with language studies may have difficulty following this disagreement, and since you teach Greek, they’ll probably think you are right, especially with you asking things like:
    What else would Christ be claiming to prove? That he was Jesus? Certainly not! -Sam
    Of course not. But why did you reverse the natural order of the name and title of the Lord, and imply that I was arguing something silly, instead of giving the reader the benefit of you confronting my actual argument, which you should have represented like this:
    “What else would Jesus be claiming to prove? That he was the Christ? Well, that is possible!” -Bob reveals Sam’s obfuscation
    And Sam for all your rebuttals you have ignored my first and strongest argument on this from BEA-SLQ11, that regarding this verse teaching Christ’s deity:
    you can take it that way interpretatively if you’d like. However the translators of the KJV, my NKJV, and your NIV [and NASB] disagree with your grammatical claim, and translate it not as in John 8:58, with the divine title, I AM. Rather, they supplied the predicate nominative as is so common… So the translators render this, “I am He,” which here can mean that He is the Christ.
    Not that He is the Jesus, which is belittling. In 3A readers easily could have been mislead to think that based upon Greek grammar, this must be a claim to deity:
    what we have here is a clear instance of the lack of a predicate nominative. That is, Jesus does not say “I am he” he simply says, “I am.” -Sam
    Then you built your Judas argument upon this erroneous grammatical claim, that this is therefore a “claim to deity,” and “John has reported to us the use of the phrase ‘I am,’” which the KJV, my NKJV, and your NIV and NASB disagree with! By the way, of the 14 Bible translations that come with my $600 industry-standard Logos software, only one used your “certain” translation: The Good News TranslationYikes! The others all agreed with me.

    So, I did not argue that Jesus is not God, nor that the Christ is not God, I was merely pointing out that you can take it that way “interpretatively,” with the GNT, which would follow because Jesus is Christ and God. But the grammar does not require the translation that you said was “certain,” and as the KJV/NKJV/NIV/NASB/ASV/ISV/NRSV/etc. translators disagree with!

    I can even quote you to prove my point, for in 2A you quoted the text and then immediately misquoted it, with most readers not noticing. Here’s your quote, and misquote:
    “you may believe that I am He.” The “I Am” passage”
    What I AM passage? It’s not in your text (unless the period was a version switch to the GNT). Sam, you are putting me down, for my rock-solid correction of your grammatical overstatement, and you have done so before readers unfamiliar with basic Greek, saying: “Enyart’s lack of training in linguists and in Biblical Greek betray him,” while openly allowing your bias to insist upon a “certain” interpretation:
    “The Ego Eimi passage here without a predicate nominative is a claim to Deity. I teach Greek for a living, have published a book on Greek with a major publisher, and in this area I am certain… -Sam
    And then you gave the switcheroo of name and title to make my argument look ridiculous. But in 2A, without informing inexperienced readers, you simply omitted the “He,” and in 3A, you used a purely grammatical argument, saying:
    not every occurrence of “ego eimi” …is indicative of Jesus’ claim to deity. …but what we have here is a clear instance of the lack of a predicate nominative. That is, Jesus does not say “I am he” he simply says, “I am.”
    That is misleading to those who haven’t studied language since it is common, including in Greek, to say, “I am,” meaning, “I am he.” And of course the Greek translation of the Septuagint rendered God’s name as εγω ειμι. I know that Jesus is God, so we are back where I started, in that I will agree that you can indicate this refers to His deity, interpretatively. Sam, lets get off this rabbit trail.

    Noah’s Name

    I’ll say here Sam, by standard linguistic scholarship and reference works, you are correct and I am wrong about my claim that there is a derivative relationship between the verb for repent/comfort nacham and the name Noah (both of which appear in Gen. 5:29, and then nacham in 6:6 and 6:7). However, linguists can sometimes miss the forest for the trees, overlooking the text by bogging down in phonetics. So, as a lifelong student of Scripture with no Hebrew training (and only a few years of Greek), in the next round I’ll present the biblical linkage between Noah and nacham. (Oh, and as for Mr. “Forgets-to-run-the-spell-check,” accusing me of misspelling my transliteration of nacham, Sam uses naham (for people familiar with guttural Hebrew), whereas nacham is a common spelling for unfamiliar readers to sound out the word. Stick a C pretty much anywhere to help you get that Hebrew throaty thing going .)

    Questions for Sam

    Sam, you wrote:
    If I have missed or misrepresented any of the questions that Rev. Enyart has asked, it has been because of my own frailty, not out of a desire to avoid them. -Sam, 6A
    Thanks for offering! Please copy the complete original questions, and answer:

    Missed
    • Has God ever been able to change the future? BEQ21
    • Can God be more effective than people are without using foreknowledge? BEQ23
    • Like making a rooster crow, could God fulfill some prophecy with His abilities rather than by foreknowledge? BEQ28

    Misrepresented
    • Can God know something future because He plans it rather than sees it? BEQ14
    • Do prophecies of the future inherently prove foreknowledge? BEQ13/20
    • Are foreordination and foreknowledge the same thing? BEQ12/19
    • Offer a theoretical falsification of the Settled View. BEQ11/18
    • Should Christianity make an effort to identify pagan influence? BEQ30
    • Provide specific hermeneutics (more than find out what the author meant) BEQ25
    • Is it true that non-verbal, actual divine intervention cannot be a figure of speech? BEQ32

    BEQ33: In Battle Royale X, the side that has often appealed to extra-biblical sources in defense of it’s position is:
    A: The Open View
    B: The Settled View

    BEQ34: Sam, can you identify any curriculum resource at Knox (Reymond’s text, etc.), that explicitly affirms to your students that God is able to change?

    BEQ35: Sam, to my question, “Is God able to change such that He can have true relationship,” you answered “yes” but added “depending upon what one means by the word change,” and then you withheld from the readers whatever you mean by change! Please clarify.
    The Bob Enyart Live talk show airs at KGOV.com weekdays at 5 pm E.T. Also, same time, same station, check out Theology Thursday (.com) and on Fridays, Real Science Radio (.com) a.k.a. rsr.org. All shows are available 24/7 and you can call us at at 1-800-8Enyart.

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    DING - DING -DING

    That's it for round number seven.

    Round eight has begun and Dr. Lamerson is now on the clock and has until September 6th 7:45AM (MDT) to make his 8th post.

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    Battle Royale X
    Round 8



    I am posting early, not for any tactical reason but simply because my schedule has become much more demanding now that school has started. I would not be able to post tomorrow morning so there is no point in just holding on to this. I could say that I am posting early in order to give Rev. Enyart the weekend next time, but that would not be the truth, so I won’t say it.

    I cannot help but think that again, we are simply talking past one another. I am sure that there will be claims of victory by both sides depending upon who reads the transcript. What I am not sure about is that there has been very much real clash. One of the things you will find me pointing out in this post are all of the things that Rev. Enyart has failed to respond to. He will point out those same things in his post and on we will go. I should say that I am going to hold Rev. Enyart to his promise of an average of 6,000 words. I have carefully kept track of the numbers and will let the reader know, in post nine how many words he has left. On to the salt mines.

    Appealing to Non-Scriptural Authority

    This argument is flawed on a number of levels. I will mention two:

    First, realize that cited or not Rev. Enyart has used the ideas and teachings of many people. He says this:

    Now here is the list of all of the sources and authorities I have appealed to in support of Openness:1. ScriptureI have only referenced non-biblical sources to expose your position and arguments!

    Rev. Enyart seems to have forgotten a few things. He mentions his pastor from whom he learned the OV, John Sanders, specific web sites on logic and others. The point of course is that neither one of us mentions anyone is the same sense that we appeal to Scripture.

    Second, I believe that there are many who are smarter than I am. God has blessed many people in the church with the ability to understand Scripture. To ignore the work that has been done before us is to be foolish. That is, unless we know more than anyone who has come before us. I don’t, and I don’t believe that Rev. Enyart would say that he does either. That is the reason that he dropped out of school and went to Colorado to study.

    Rev. Enyart Commits the Cardinal Error

    It has become clear to me as this debate proceeds that Rev. Enyart has not read Dr. Reymond’s systematics. It is the cardinal error of debate to attack a source which one does not know. Remember that he is the one who brought up Reymond’s work not I. Again, I simply say that this is not a debate. It is a nice forum for Rev. Enyart to put forth whatever ideas he may have, but it is not a debate.

    On Specific Responses

    ON THE HEBREW WORD

    As to the spelling issue I apologized to using that argument and apologize again. The only problem was that Rev. Enyart quoted a source and misspelled the very word he was talking about. That, along with the very important part of the quotation that was left out (notice that he did not even mention this in his last post) indicate to me that he was not trained in Hebrew. If we are going to quote sources, let us at least quote them fairly. In both cases (Hebrew and Greek) when Rev. Enyart has quoted a lexicon he has mis-quoted it.

    ON THE USE OF “I AM”

    Notice that Rev. Enyart does not really deal with the arguments here. He simply wants to call this a “rabbit trail.” It is not a trail at all, but is central to the debate. I have proven that Jesus uses his ability to predict the future to show his deity. Rev. Enyart is simply not qualified to deal with this area of specialized Greek studies. He does not refute my arguments but simply points out what other English versions translate the passage as (and makes a very unfair jab at the NLT). The point is this: IN THAT PASSAGE JESUS VERY CLEARLY TELLS HIS DISCIPLES THAT THEY WILL KNOW THAT HE IS GOD BY THE FACT THAT THE PREDICTIONS COME TRUE.

    ON PETER AND JUDAS

    Again there is simply no clash. There is no getting around the fact that Jesus predicted the sin of both Peter and Judas. Say what you will, ridicule me, laugh and poke fun, but that is what the text says.

    The reason that this is so important is because of the warrant for the OV. The warrant is simply that God values freedom so much that he cannot know the future actions of free human agents. I have shown that God can and indeed does know the actions of agents and in so doing have undermined the basis for all of Rev. Enyart’s argumentation.

    Note that Rev. Enyart never responds to the specific charge that Peter is the one speaking here and that he very clearly claims that the death of Jesus was known and planned by God. Yet despite the fact that this death was known and planned by God, the men who committed this crime are still responsible. Thus the following statement is true: God knew both who would kill Jesus and how they would kill him, thus those men had no other choice. Yet because they did what they wanted to do (not because they had the ability to do otherwise) they are held guilty for their crime.

    Rev. Enyart claims that Jesus did not know that Peter would deny him. When asked what else Jesus could have been wrong about he responds “Everything that He wanted to be wrong about . . .” First of all this statement has serious logical problems. Secondly in every example that Rev,. Enyart gives “ the Jewish leaders would likely persecute His followers, and that many will be deceived by “false christs” who will “deceive, if possible, even the elect.” there is not one case in which Jesus was wrong. Did Jesus make false statements? According to Rev. Enyart he wanted to, it’s just things did not work out that way.

    When asked about Peter’s responsibility under these circumstances Rev. Enyart has this to say, “any created being could only be responsible for its action if the Creator had enabled it possibly to do otherwise (Gen. 2 - Rev. 22)” At least he gave me a specific reference.

    Rev. Enyart goes on with his semantics when answering SLQ22-Peter-5 Did God orchestrate the events that would cause Peter to [deny] Christ?BEA-SLQ22: Cause, as in causal? No

    Maybe it is just me, but that seems to be avoiding the question.

    On the Judas questions things don’t get any better. On SLQ23-Judas 1-If the dei in Acts 1:16 does not mean “it is necessary” was Peter mistaken about the prophecy of David? Keep in mind that he does not say “someone” but that the prophecy was about “Judas.”BEA-SLQ23: Peter was not mistaken when he indicated that Judas illustrated David’s messianic non-prophesy.

    The point here is that Peter specifically states that these things were specifically foretold “through the mouth of” David. Calling it a “prophetic non-prophecy” simply does not deal fairly or accurately with the text.

    OTHER PASSAGES

    I have done my best to keep the discussion focussed. I have nearly begged Rev. Enyart to give me his three best passages but he seems to want to guard them as if they are state secrets. That is he will not give them to me until I give him my hermeneutic. How about this: I USE THE HISTORICAL GRAMMATICAL METHOD TO DETERMINE THE INTENTION OF THE AUTHOR.

    Since others watching the debate have wondered why I do not use other passages, I have decided to do so. Here are other passages that prove the fact that God knows the future.

    MICHA 5:2

    Notice that Rev. Enyart has called Micah 5:2 a “non-prophecy.” This is simply not the case. In this passage, the prophet Micah predicts, among other things, the birthplace of the Messiah – Bethlehem, the city of David. This verse is quoted in Matt 2:6 and alluded to in John 7:42.


    This verse follows a description of Israel’s present distress (Mic 4:11-13) and especially with the humiliating and degrading insult given to the king of Judah (Mic 5:1), thus making the future greatness of its role in Israel’s salvation all the more striking. The city of Bethlehem is personified and addressed directly with the dual designation, “Bethlehem, Ephratha.” The key contrast within the verse itself is between the smallness and relative insignificance of Bethlehem as a town with the greatness of its future role as the birthplace of the Messiah.

    For our purposes, it is important to note that the fulfillment of the prophecy of Mic 5:2 in the birth of Jesus was brought about by a myriad of free human decisions. These include, among others, the decision of Caesar Augustus to issue his decree to tax his entire empire (Luke 2:1-3) and Joseph’s decision to obey the decree and to travel with pregnant Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem, where the birth of Jesus occurred (Luke 2:4-7).

    That Mic 5:2 points to God’s foreknowledge of his Messiah, the place of his birth, and all the circumstances that brought about that birth in that particular place is shown by the reference at the end of the verse to Messiah’s origins being “from of old, from ancient times.” There has been considerable debate over whether these phrases refer to the eternal nature of the Messiah or to his antiquity in time. But under each understanding, these terms do denote God’s foreknowledge and fore-planning of his Messiah.

    I Peter

    1 Pet 1:2 is very similar to Rom 8:29 in that the objects of God's foreknowledge are persons, his chosen people, and that God's foreknowledge is seen to be the basis of his electing choice. Often Arminian interpreters understand this verse to mean that God's choice of an individual to be saved is based on his foresight of that person's faith. Thus in a very real sense God's choice is a ratification of the individual's [logically] prior and ultimately autonomous choice of whether or not to believe. Perhaps most to the point in 1 Pet 1:2 is that human faith is best seen here as part of our "obedience to Jesus Christ." And Peter says that we were chosen for such obedience, not because of it.

    Later in this chapter, Peter uses the verb which means to foreknow or to forelove. Speaking of Jesus Christ as "a lamb without blemish or defect," whose precious blood has redeemed his people, he says, "He was chosen [lit. foreknown] before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake." Once again the object of God's foreknowledge is personal, in this case his eternal Son. This foreknowledge could hardly be understood as prior cognition of Christ's faith or any other action or attribute of his. Rather, as one can see in the case in Pauline usage, the divine foreknowledge refers to a previous loving commitment (between members of the trinity) and the Father's pre-determination to bring redemption to his people through his Son.

    These factors lead us to understand God's foreknowledge of his chosen people in 1 Pet 1:2 as is typical of the SV God's foreknowledge is lovingly personal, he chooses people as part of his determination to bring them to faith and to all the glories and benefits of Christ's work.

    MATTHEW 25

    In Matt 25:34, Christ as Judge invites his people, who have demonstrated their true identity and spiritual life by giving food, drink, and clothing to “one of the least of these brothers of mine” to come and “take your inheritance prepared for you since the creation of the world.” This is a very strong statement. It seems to state that God has had a place prepared for each of these sheep from before the creation of the world. Of course, one could argue that the fullness of God’s kingdom was indeed planned and prepared before the creation of the world in the hope that sin would never occur and that all people would ultimately inherit it. Yet if the kingdom in Matthew is a reality that one enters into through repentance (cf. Matt 3:2; 4:17; 5:3-4) and if this kingdom has indeed been prepared for God’s people “since the creation of the world,” we should infer that God foreknew the sin that would need to be repented of when he was preparing the kingdom for those he would redeem. That this happened before the creation and before the fall clearly shows that God knew the future sin of free human creatures.

    On “Tolle Lege”

    I just couldn’t let this go. Rev. Enyart uses this as a means of proving how much I have been influenced by Greek.

    1. The phrase is Latin, not Greek.

    2. The person who wrote the phrase (Augustine) hated theGreek language.

    3. The phrase means “take up and read” and in the context of Augustine’s confessions it means “take up a read the Bible.” I hardly see how a call for anyone to take up and read the Bible is proof of how much I have been influenced by Greek.

    Greek Philosophers

    As to my not responding to the high number of words that Rev. Enyart spends on the Greek philosophers maybe I misunderstood something. At the start of the debate when Rev. Enyart did not respond to my arguments I was told that only specific questions needed to be responded to. Since there were no specific questions, I did not respond. I believe that the rules apply to both of us, don’t they?


    Answers to Rev. Enyart’s Questions

    Missed• Has God ever been able to change the future? BEQ21

    Since I believe that the future is settled, God knows the future without error and therefore has never changed it.

    • Can God be more effective than people are without using foreknowledge? BEQ23

    Of course, but the question assumes that God can cease to use foreknowledge which I do not believe.

    • Like making a rooster crow, could God fulfill some prophecy with His abilities rather than by foreknowledge? BEQ28

    I am not quite sure what you mean here by “abilities” but again, since I believe that God cannot cease to have foreknowledge, the question assumes a non-reality for my position.
    Misrepresented• Can God know something future because He plans it rather than sees it? BEQ14

    Again, according to my position, the two are not separable.

    • Do prophecies of the future inherently prove foreknowledge? BEQ13/20

    No, there are false psychics who get things correct sometimes. Prophecies of the future dealing with free agents and without error do prove foreknowledge.

    • Are foreordination and foreknowledge the same thing? BEQ12/19

    No

    • Offer a theoretical falsification of the Settled View. BEQ11/18

    Show me a false prediction made by Jesus.

    • Should Christianity make an effort to identify pagan influence? BEQ30

    Yes.

    • Provide specific hermeneutics (more than find out what the author meant) BEQ25

    I will use the grammatical historical method in an attempt to determine what the author meant by his written words.

    • Is it true that non-verbal, actual divine intervention cannot be a figure of speech? BEQ32

    I am not quite sure what you mean here. When I stated that almost all that we know about God is in some sense a figure of speech, I meant that we have to realize that there is a huge gap between the creature and the creator. You mention, for example, God as King as a non figure of speech. Yet was God born like a king? Does he live in a palace? Does he have a queen for a wife? Does he wear a literal crown? Does he wear clothes? Does he get old like a king?

    The point is that there is a difference between God and Man that can never be overcome. We use human language to speak of God but he is so much greater than us that our language always falls short of a totally accurate picture (and even the word picture is a figure of speech).

    Given that when the Scripture says that God “struck down” a people, does that mean that they felt a fist? You see, we are always struggling to speak of a God who is wholly other, yet use human words.

    BEQ33: In Battle Royale X, the side that has often appealed to extra-biblical sources in defense of it’s position is:A: The Open ViewB: The Settled View

    I have consistently put forward three passages of Scripture and begged you to do the same so I will say B (as the crowd goes wild with fury).


    BEQ34: Sam, can you identify any curriculum resource at Knox (Reymond’s text, etc.), that explicitly affirms to your students that God is able to change?

    We all teach that depending upon what a person means by change, God is able to have a relationship with his creatures, and thus able to change.

    BEQ35: Sam, to my question, “Is God able to change such that He can have true relationship,” you answered “yes” but added “depending upon what one means by the word change,” and then you withheld from the readers whatever you mean by change! Please clarify.


    You were the one who asked the question, would you please clarify what you mean by change?

    Questions

    SL27-Have you read Plato’s republic? If so in what translation?

    SL28-Please share with me what book of Aristotle you have read and in what translations.

    SL29-Can you give me one instance of a false statement by Jesus?



    Conclusion

    Rev. Enyart, in his last post says that I have put forth a “ harsh attack on my [Rev. Enyart’s] credibility” I certainly never intended to be harsh in my attack. I apologize if I seemed so. I believe that the record will show to anyone who reads through the debate that I have tried not to be harsh. Again, I apologize for any harshness that I have been guilty of.

    The problem is that Rev. Enyart wants to play both sides of the game. He tells us in one post about his “Greek from twenty years ago.” Then a few posts later he tells us that he has had one of the best Greek educations in Colorado. All I asked, and continue to ask is that Rev. Enyart reply to my specific arguments. I have made every attempt to number them and to make them clear.
    My point was, and is, that while Rev. Enyart certainly has many gifts from the Lord, his gifts are different from mine. One of my gifts is in linguistics. Rev. Enyart is simply wrong in this area. Jesus very clearly meant to claim that his deity rested upon his ability to predict the future. The grammar proves this.

    Again, I don’t mean to flaunt my education. Education is not the same as wisdom and wisdom comes from the Lord. He does, however, often use other people to teach it to us. My education is in the languages of the Scripture. I know them well and teach them. I listed a number of reasons why Rev. Enyart’s assertion about the passage did not stand up. He did not specifically respond to any of them. At any rate, I hope that you will see that I never meant to be harsh or unkind in any way.

    Blessings,

    Sam

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    Battle Royale X: Openness Theology, Enyart's Post 8B

    In this round I heavily respond to Sam’s latest post and questions, and present the Open View from the Life of Christ as revealed in the four Gospels. But first:

    Sam’s Two Denials

    Settled View’s greatest authors have always openly indicated the logical source of the Settled View. Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, etc., have all openly defended the closed future based upon the OMNIs and IMs. Immutability is ultimately the core, and is the rationalization most often given by the inventor and the primary defenders of the Settled View. But since the other OMNIs and IM flow from immutability, they also list some of those attributes to prove that the future is a closed matter. Martin Luther wrote:
    “the prescience [Omniscience] and Omnipotence of God, are diametrically opposite to our ‘Free-will.’” -Bondage, 10, xciii

    BUT it is this, that seems to give the greatest offence to common sense or natural reason, - that the God, who is set forth as being so full of mercy and goodness, should, of His mere will, leave men, harden them, and damn them, as though He delighted in the sins, and in the great and eternal torments of the miserable. To think thus of God, seems iniquitous, cruel, intolerable; and it is this that has given offence to so many and great men of so many ages. And who would not be offended? I myself have been offended more than once, even unto the deepest abyss of desperation; nay, so far, as even to wish that I had never been born… For after all, a conscious conviction has been left deeply rooted in the heart both of the learned and the unlearned, if ever they have come to an experience of these things; and a knowledge, that our necessity, is a consequence that must follow upon the belief of the prescience [Omniscience] and Omnipotence of God. -Bondage, 10, xciv
    Sam, you have repeatedly denied that God’s goodness and love take precedence over his quantitative attributes of how much power, change, and knowledge God has.

    You also deny that the Settled View logically depends upon prioritizing the OMNIs and IMs above God’s being relational, good and loving. But on your side, “the finest theological minds” all disagree with you. I’ll quote myself when I properly referenced Confessions (7, xxxi) to expose the Settled View, that Augustine:
    had just repeated one of his favorite themes, that God is “unalterable and in no way changeable,” and then as he's struggling to understand the nature of sin, Augustine wrote: “Whatever [the cause of evil] I saw that no explanation would do which would force me to believe the immutable God mutable.” Translation: Augustine was prepared to sacrifice any teaching, including on God’s righteousness, to preserve utter immutability. -Enyart, 2B
    The Openness movement has identified the pagan Greek origin of exhaustive foreknowledge. And as demonstrated herein, we have amassed much biblical material in support of Openness, and easily correct many Settled View misinterpretations. But now, to further the cause of truth, the Openness movement will begin to sharpen its focus theologically, taking aim specifically at the Settled View’s elevation of power above goodness, and knowledge above love.

    I have argued without refutation:
    Quantity will always be second to quality. God is love, not data. And though I have all knowledge, but have not love, I am nothing (1 Cor. 13:2). -2B
    When Paul writes that “though I have… all knowledge… but have not love, I am nothing,” he is contrasting quantity to quality. “God is love,” in that the Persons of the Trinity care for the well-being of each other, and the well-being of their creatures. “God is good,” in that He has never violated His own character, the description of which is the eternal definition of righteousness. God has not sinned (by doing or thinking anything contrary to His own righteous nature). And that is affirmed by the biblical and eternal standard of proof, which requires “the testimony of two or three witnesses.” Greek Augustinian Calvinism has not cared much for any actual defense of God’s righteousness, of course, preferring instead to defend his unchangeableness, arguing that He ordains Jeffrey Dahmer to rape and cannibalize other homosexuals for God’s pleasure and glory, because “anything He does” is fine, and “who is man to question Him?” However, God cannot go against His own righteousness and remain holy! For God’s ways are higher than our ways (Isa. 55:9), but they are not lower!

    Thus “all” knowledge (quantity) contrasts to “love” (quality) which flows from goodness (quality). Likewise, Paul states that “though I have prophecy… but have not love, I am nothing.” The Settled View exaggerates knowledge into a perversion of prophecy, confusing it for a proof of immutability rather than seeing it as a measure of God’s love. Thus even Arminians have formed the Christian God into the image of Zeus, being trapped Himself, and unable to change the eternally settled future. However, again, we cannot properly refute the Settled View by focusing on Arminius, because he did not establish the biblical proofs for immutability and omniscience, but merely retained the philosophical errors of Plato, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther and Calvin. The Calvinists have the greater guilt, for they portray our heavenly Father as the explanation for Greek Fatalism, and by the pagan belief in stone-cold immutability.

    And I can prove Sam’s position wrong by His own admission. After I asked six times, Sam finally agreed, with caveats, that God changes at least for the purpose of relationship. Thus, even “immutability” is a quantitative matter. For Calvinists can be forced into accepting a certain amount of change or change in certain aspects of God such as change for the Incarnation, change for relationship, etc. However, surely Sam will agree with the scriptural truth that Jesus could not have sinned in the least, and still have remained qualified to provide salvation. For if our Lord committed the tiniest wrongdoing, then the cross would not have offered an innocent sacrifice, and Jesus would have died for His own sin and not for others, and God would have come undone. Thus, under pressure the Settled View admits immutability is not absolute, and Openness establishes that God’s goodness is unqualified. Thus JONAH is affirmed, Jehovah’s Obvious Nativity Attributes Hermeneutic, for when the Son became flesh, any holdout commitment to general immutability was shattered, such that JONAH is established by the Incarnation itself.

    The Proof of Openness

    The proof of openness lies in establishing:

    • that God changes (Living, Personal, Relational) and,
    • that His commitment to goodness (Good, Loving) far exceeds any hesitancy to change.

    Beyond this, the Open View needs merely to mop up:

    • put back into context the very few Calvinist/Arminian immutability and omniscience “proof texts”
    • remind everyone (as Sam admitted) that prophesies of warning are conditional
    • demonstrate various Openness proof texts of God hoping against knowledge, etc. and finally,
    • show that The Plot of the Bible, its overall story, corroborates an open future.

    Thus Calvinists sacrifice God’s biblically self-evident holiness to the philosophical “consequences of the omniscience and omnipotence of God.”

    Three Openness Proof Texts

    The three proof-texts that I will now be happy to focus the debate on are:

    • John 1:14: The Incarnation disproves General Immutability, showing that God is infinitely changeable.
    • Rom. 5:8 The Crucifixion proves Special Immutability, showing God’s utter commitment to goodness.
    • Jer. 18:1-10 God as the potter, attempts to mold Israel (and by extension, all people) into a vessel for honor (being utterly committed to goodness), but if the clay (a nation or an individual) is marred in His hand (willfully resists), then God will make that one into another vessel of a different kind (for He is changeable), a vessel for dishonor. Thus, when God thinks that He will bless Israel, and He then says so, if she rebels however, then He will “repent,” and not do that which He had “thought” He would do, and will not do that which He had “said” He will do, showing Himself alive, personal, relational, temporal, good, responsive, and loving, and specifically not omniscient and generally immutable.

    Literal interpretation is best, and correct when it fits the immediate and greater contexts, and is consistent with the nature of God. Therefore, because the Incarnation disproves General Immutability, the Christian can interpret literally all the divine repentance, hope, learning, and expectation passages, and we turn most of the Settled View problem texts of failed prophecies into successful Openness prophecies that produced repentance.

    Contrariwise, Sam has demonstrated through seven straight rounds the extreme anxiety with which the Settled View guards General Immutability. Calvinists typically fear giving an enlightening, forthcoming answer to describe how God can change. But perfect love casts out fear. And the brilliance of God’s life, dynamic, changing, creating, increasing, knowing, loving, and becoming, crushes the pagan foolishness of immutability in the divine being. Hundreds now reading this, and Lord willing, thousands soon, are learning for the first time that Calvinists have sacrificed God’s self-evident righteousness for the worthless pagan Greek lie of General Immutability, long since smashed by the Incarnation. But Calvinists proudly and readily charge God with ordaining every cruel act and originating every filthy thought, yet they are desperately hesitant to admit He changes. The great loyalty of the Calvinist is not to God’s honor, but to changelessness.

    God’s Special Immutability, that is, His total commitment to goodness, is established by His willingness to sacrifice that which is dearest to Him, His own Son, for the good of others. Thus, from the Incarnation (John 1:14) we know that God can change without limit, and from Christ’s death (Rom. 5:8) we know that the Father is immutably, by His will, committed to goodness, not that He cannot, but that He will not, commit evil.

    God’s Openness by the Gospels

    This outline of God’s experience on earth will seem vaguely familiar, for even the darkest philosophy cannot mask all truth. Yet the Settled View has mostly stripped this divine drama out of the Gospels, by:

    1. overlooking the risk taken by the Holy Spirit when He narrowed the messianic bloodline unalterably into one person
    2. pretending that the Son gave up nothing of substance to become flesh and to live the human experience for Himself
    3. minimizing the extraordinary change that occurred in heaven when the Son came down to earth
    4. ignoring the concern that the wicked now could actually kill the Father’s Son, whose well-being He placed into the hands of human parents
    5. denying the Father’s enhanced blessing, aggrandizement, and increased joy as He watched His Son grow
    6. gutting the lifelong and wilderness temptations of Jesus into nothing more than a mere formality
    7. revising Christ’s prayer in Gethsemane to censor His actual fear and plea for reconsideration
    8. turning Christ’s crucifixion into a mere reenactment of something actually done before the foundation of the earth
    9. discounting the Son’s anguish when He became sin for us as the Father forsook Him
    10. limiting the infinite change that God endured when the Father poured wrath onto the Son who gave His life for us
    11. neglecting the role of the Holy Spirit in justifying the Son after He had taken upon Himself the sin of the world (1 Tim. 3:16)
    12. disregarding the greater sacrifice of the Father, preferring instead to sanitize His role through General Immutability

    God’s Knowledge

    The Settled View has a siege position which declares that the Son did not empty Himself by humbly giving up any of His attributes of power and knowledge. Jesus, though, said this:
    “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father, (Mark 13:32; Mat. 24:36).
    Here Christ flatly admits that He does not have omniscience. So this verse alone proves JONAH, and therefore, NOAH.

    Philosophical commitments, though, die hard. So in desperation, Settled Viewers attempt to deal with such “difficulties” by an extraordinarily unbiblical secondary assumption that splits Jesus into two, like a Messianic multiple personality syndrome, perhaps more accurately described by today’s psychiatric term Dissociative Identity. As though in heaven, if you go to God’s throne room (I despise even having to speak like this), you can see Jesus sitting on His throne, and through a window also see Him outside picking fruit from the Tree of Life. God the Son has eternally changed forms, and has indwelt the image God had created for Him, and through the Incarnation has given evidence of infinite mutability, forever taking upon Himself humanity, not only so that He could save us, but also so that we could better relate to Him! But even if that unbiblical concept happened to be true by the chance of a wild guess, still Jesus spoke of “the Son,” lacking this foreknowledge, not “the Christ.”

    The Lord’s words make it clear He spoke of Himself in His exalted deity. Notice the progression. Of that day, first, “no one” no people know; secondly, not even “the angels;” thirdly, nor “the Son;” but only “the Father!” Jesus could have referred to Himself from the perspective of His emptied Self who by the Incarnation was made “a little lower than the angels” (Heb. 2:9), as “the Son of Man.” But here He refers to Himself in all His divine glory, above the angels, and second, by His will, only to the Father! So, and of course, God the Son lacked this knowledge.

    Sam has twice referenced, but has not explained this important Mark 13 verse. A Settled Viewer who is timid will intuitively sense his vulnerability, and reveal as little as possible of his beliefs. Consider Sam’s statement regarding the Son’s claim that He knew not the Day of the Second Coming:
    Jesus felt no shame in admitting that his knowledge was limited in at least one area.
    One area? At least one area?. Area? One?Think this through. Consider the Calvinist who believes that God has micromanaged all eternity, and the Arminian who believes that God microscopically foreknows all eternity. And they are trying to spin this, and contain the threat to immutability and omniscience, by minimizing what is unknown here.

    NOT KNOWING the Day of the Second Coming is utterly debilitating toward anything like exhaustive foreknowledge. Without knowing that Day, far more than 99.99999999999999999999999% of the future would be unknowable. Knowledge heavily interacts. And the more central the knowledge, the more other data depend upon that information. For example, is it possible for someone to know everything, or almost everything, or even most things, about the year 2001, but NOT KNOW the day that Al Qaeda attacked America? Of course not. On September 10, Wall Street ran normally; September 12, Wall Street could not function, and the Twin Towers were gone. By the concept of omniscience, “mostly omniscient” is not an option. If the “one area” of missing knowledge was something as relatively unimportant as yesterday’s commodity price of pork bellies, even still, a multitude of other dependant information would also be unavailable, such as short-range economic trends, financial risks and opportunities, the net worth of millions of businesses and individuals.

    Now, suppose that God the Son (or for the sake of argument, as Sam implies, the human side of Jesus) retained most of His omniscience (whatever that would mean), but had “limited” knowledge in at least this “one area.” What would that produce at the micromanaged/microscopic level? Nothing less than a virtual information blackout that lasts through eternity future! Turning the Living God into a Settled metaphysical equation produces bizarre consequences. In reality, God’s confidence flows from His wisdom and planning, which are never darkened! The Day of Christ’s Second Coming is central to End Times eschatology. From the Settled side, imagine if Jesus knew pretty much everything in the future, except that piece of data! The Second Coming stops “the kingdoms of this world” in their tracks. The wicked can no longer slaughter the innocent. The timing of the Second Coming affects everything from the world’s economy, to the procreation of eternal human souls, to the destruction of this earth!

    Further, as God the Son grew, from conception through infancy into boyhood, His mental faculties grew also, and He obtained access to memories He had shared with the Father from before the foundation of the world. Those were cherished memories, and He also recalled specifics, like that He only supernaturally helped one widow in the time of Elijah, and one leper in that of Elisha (Luke 4:26-27). Thus, if He had known the day of His Return eternally, then He would have had to specifically forget that. Omniscience is so unreasonable.

    The Lord’s words in Mark 13 are a gift to those struggling to put aside the pagan notions of immutability and exhaustive foreknowledge. Because He makes it evident that God has not micromanaged, nor microscopically sees, all of eternity future.

    Contingency of the Second Coming

    As to the Father, how is it that He could know the Day and the Hour? It is because the decision is His to make! He will decide when to send Christ back! The entire Second Coming itself is a contingency. As Jesus so clearly said of the Last Days:
    "For then there will be great tribulation… Mat 24:22 "And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened. -Mat. 24:21-22
    And rather than write that the Day is in stone, Peter himself followed Christ by writing that “the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night” (2 Pet. 3:10), so you ought to be holy:
    looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved… -2 Pet. 3:12
    Hastening.

    Not only the hour and the day, but the Father had not definitely selected which year, decade or century. As for which season the midpoint of the Tribulation would arrive during, Jesus knew such timing to be unsettled, instructing them to “pray that your flight may not be in winter” (Mark 13:18). Calvinism, even more than Arminianism, have MAJOR problems justifying the purpose of prayer. But how about here? The Calvinist says God wants us to pray, not that our love can touch His heart, nor our words affect His mind, nor our pleas move His hand, but because “I said so.” Like make-work in boot camp, digging a hole to fill it in. The Arminian says, less callously but with as much irrationality, that God wants us to pray, because although He has eternally known all outcomes, including exactly when the Second Coming would occur, He previously factored in our prayers. This is not The Relational God; it is the Previously Relational God, now stuck. The New Testament story shows that the Father retains the freedom to send Christ back upon His say so. It is not as though He lost the God prerogative eons ago, and now He’s eternally stuck with His ancient decisions. No! For He is ALIVE.

    Sam, you answered BEQ11/18, in which I asked how the Settled View could be falsified, and you answered: “Show me a false prediction made by Jesus.”

    I answered this in 6B. Sam, you could have taken any number of bullets from my list of the last third of Bible history, and furthered the debate by clashing over them. And since I’m afraid you may not go back to look at them, I’m forced to take a huge hit on word count and repeat selected ones here.

    God declared in Jeremiah 18 that even if He thought to give Israel their kingdom, and even if He said He would give Israel their kingdom, if they rejected the King, then He would repent. Then He would NOT give them that which He thought He would, nor that which He said He would! God does not make idle threats.

    I’ve slightly updated these bullets, which indicate (grammatically, historically and overwhelmingly), that Jesus had promised to return quickly with power to establish Israel’s kingdom. But most Christians have never even seen these related verses collected like this, and thus they have never even considered this collected biblical material, because the Settled View so biases them, that they do not easily retain in their memory passages that seem to contradict it. Thus the multitude of Christians have not evaluated these passages, and interpreted them otherwise. By the darkening of Settled View bias, THEY HAVEN’T EVEN NOTICED THEM YET! Nonetheless, as central to the story of the entire Bible, after Israel rejected their risen Messiah (and of course not possibly before), God cut off Israel’s Covenant of Circumcision, and grafted in the Body of Christ, where for the first time since Abraham there is “no difference between Jew and Gentile.” While these bullets were mostly ignored by the Settlers two rounds ago, perhaps now as an answer to Sam's question, they'll be considered:

    • Jesus repeatedly promised to return soon (giving the apostles the hope they displayed in Acts of His imminent return).
    • “There are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”
    • “I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”
    • “This saying went out among the brethren that [John] would not die. Yet Jesus did not say… he would not die, but, ‘If I will that he remain till I come…’”
    • “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things [Second Coming prophecies] take place.”
    • “For three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree [Israel] and find none. Cut it down… But he answered and said, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’”
    • God would soon fertilize Israel by pouring out the Holy Spirit (but no national fruit of the Spirit would result).
    • Just days before His death, Jesus prepared His disciples to suffer the great tribulation. Mat. 24; etc.; John 16:2-5
    • 490 years were “determined for [Israel]… until… Messiah shall be cut off” followed by a 7-year tribulation. Dan. 9:24-27; Mat. 24:3, 15, 34
    • Because Jesus had told them to expect the Great Tribulation and His soon return, in preparation, the Twelve Apostles administered a Last-Days economy of selling all private property.
    • “All who believed… sold their possessions. Acts 2:45
    • “All who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and laid [the proceeds] at the apostles’ feet” Acts 4:34-35
    • Limiting God’s ability to give Israel the blessing of their Earthly Kingdom, the nation rejected the preaching of the risen Christ. Acts 2-5
    • God had warned Israel saying: "the instant I speak concerning” building your kingdom, if you do evil, “then I will repent” and not give you your kingdom! Jer. 18:9-10
    • Jesus had spent three years of earthly ministry looking for faithfulness in Israel, and found almost none. Luke 7:9
    • Israel now has “become the betrayers… who have received the law… and have not kept it.” Acts 7:52-53
    • Israel’s leaders plotted persecution, they killed their first Messianic believer, and then extended their persecution Acts 6-8
    • Peter pleaded with the men of Israel that, even though Jesus has ascended into heaven, if they will repent, God will send the Lord back to establish Israel’s kingdom!
    • “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration…” Acts 3:19-21
    • “Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days.” Acts 3:24
    • The Apostles were themselves expecting to see Jesus return, by the promise of angels (Acts 1:11), and by the Lord’s word.
    • However, Israel ignored God’s warning, thinking it an idle threat (Jer. 18:18) deluding themselves into thinking that God was a slave to His promise, regardless of their response
    • Because Israel rejected Christ, God therefore cut her off, and in regard to being cut off, in this Israel cannot resist His will
    • God has mercy on whom He wills, and since He wills to give mercy only to those who trust Christ, He therefore cut off Israel, molding her into a vessel for dishonor rather than the vessel for honor He had originally hoped to form. Rom. 9
    • For unbelief, God “cut off” Israel’s Covenant of Circumcision, and turned “to the Gentiles” Rom. 11:20-25
    • They of “the election” [Israel], beloved for Abraham, had become “enemies” of the “gospel.” Rom. 11:28
    • Therefore “wrath has come upon them [Israel, v. 14] to the uttermost” having been cut off. 1 Thes. 2:16
    • Israel’s “being cast away is the reconciling of the world [i.e., the Gentiles, through the Body of Christ, which is not Israel]. Rom. 11:15

    What could Jesus be wrong about? Everything He wanted to be wrong about. While He promised Israel to return to establish their kingdom, He would not be taken for a fool. So Jesus cut off Israel, and delayed His return indefinitely, working instead with the Body, and waiting until the fullness of the Gentiles comes in before He returns to His plan for Israel (Rom. 11:22-31; 9).

    Errors multiply. The Settled View is producing preterists who believe that the Great Tribulation prophecies were mostly fulfilled by A.D. 70, but Jesus predicted a “great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Mat. 24:21). If this were not a false interpretation, it would have been a false prophesy.

    The Christ Child

    God invested everything He had in providing our salvation, and that included His Son. God the Son became flesh and Mary “brought forth her firstborn Son” and Joseph “called His name JESUS.” Now God the Son had a birthday, a new name – and human parents! The Father, entrusted the care of Jesus into the hands of Joseph and Mary! Of course, the Holy Spirit was looking out for Him. But they were raising Him! And for the first time, God the Son was vulnerable to wicked men, WHO COULD KILL HIM IF THEY GOT THEIR HANDS ON HIM!

    The Father experienced the kind of intense concern for His Child that we experience if our children are in danger:
    … an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”
    So Joseph fled Judea “by night,” and remained in Egypt “until the death of Herod.”

    Because God is relational, the changes the Son experienced deeply affected the Father. What good dad does not revel in his son’s first word, or step, or sentence, or joke, or insight, or prayer? And God the Father experienced all this, not less then men do by some perverse impassibility, but far more than we can, because His ways are higher than our ways, and His feelings deeper, and His love stronger! Thus:
    Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. -Luke 2:52
    Jesus changes, God changes, for Jesus is God.

    Once we see the magi justly worshipping Baby Jesus, we can codify a hermeneutic, for the attributes that Baby did not possess are not the essential attributes of His worthiness. Sam began this debate defending his strategy to focus on, and has selected his primary three arguments from, the Gospels. What if we had stayed in the Gospels throughout? For Sam to win, by my judgment, he would have had to present proof-texts for the OMNIs and IMs (for this debate is about omniscience) from the Gospels, as he has in fact pulled out a few passages trying to argue omniscience. (However even if those arguments were perfect, Sam’s evidence is NOT for exhaustive knowledge from eternity past, which is what he’s supposed to defend in this debate, but he’s arguing evidence from a couple hours or a few centuries earlier, and hoping to finesse that into a victory by an undeclared major extrapolation, and I’ve been waiting all this time for him to declare and justify that assumption.) Per JONAH, the Open View would have to prove, above any interest in the quantitative attributes, that the four Gospels emphasize God’s biblical attributes. So, which set do Matthew, Mark, Luke and John emphasize?

    To determine this, I uncap a new yellow marker and begin looking for passages to highlight which emphasize God as being living, personal, relational, good and loving. And after about three hours… I give up!

    Because my hi-liter is out of ink.

    More than a Conqueror

    God the Son had never followed a forerunner before. He had never worn sandals. He had never experienced the physical human needs for food and water, shelter and sleep. He had never been tempted before. Temptation becomes a sin when a man is “drawn away” and “enticed,” as our Lord never was. But the Settled View, which by its nature depersonalizes God, lures people into minimizing God’s accomplishments as a way, they think, of exalting Him. Consider creation and temptation. Christians say: “God could have created everything in one second if He had wanted to,” and by that they think they are exalting God. But there are two statements to that equation. The first is God’s glory, and the second is His accomplishment. To suggest that Creation for God was as difficult as a yawn is not inherently glorifying to Him, as though He could not conceive of a challenge! To describe Christ overcoming temptation as a mere formality, as a mere property of His existence, in which He could not have done otherwise, is not to elevate Him, it is to diminish His love for us, and His accomplishment.

    God the Son Lowered Himself

    The Incarnation smacks the daylights out of General Immutability. Let it go! God is Alive. Calvinists and Arminian Settlers should just let it go. But they will not, because of their Commitment to Augustinian Tradition. Tolle Lege.

    Showing the stuff of real theology, Jesus prayed:
    And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
    What Jesus had given up to come to save us was many of His prerogatives as God! Sam’s claim on this is desperate. Psalms, Hebrews and Philippians teach explicitly what other books imply, that God would lower Himself to become our Savior (but would afterward thereby be exalted). In order to come “in the likeness of men,” (Phil. 2:7) Jesus “did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,” for He had the right of ownership to the divine attributes, and likewise, since He owned them, it would not be a case of robbery to empty Himself of them, for He also had the right to divest Himself of them [Mat. 20:15]. Sam’s claim on this shows the Settler’s loyalty to immutability at the expense of what God actually sacrificed for us:
    “Christ did empty himself of his blood for our redemption, but not of any of the attributes of God.” -Sam
    Of course Scripture speaks of Christ pouring out His blood. But the divestiture that Paul writes of was done so that God could take “the form of” and come “in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:7). The lowering, call it what you will, the emptying, the giving away one’s reputation, that was done for the Incarnation, which is not the same thing as the Crucifixion.

    God’s glory comes from His attributes. And God the Son had divested Himself of some of the attributes that had shown His eternal glory.
    "And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” John 17:5
    Not before, but now! Now that His thirty-three years on earth were soon to end, Jesus asked His Father to restore the eternal glory they shared. When Sam denies Christ’s direct teachings on the Son’s limited knowledge, and His diminished glory (which comes from His attributes), we see that his appeal to extra-biblical sources takes precedence over the lessons of the “historical Jesus.”

    God the Son knew everything knowable that He wanted to know. But through the Incarnation, He emptied Himself of vast resources of knowledge and power. However Jesus remained in communion with the Holy Spirit, and so had access to God’s power, and to His knowledge on a need-to-know basis. Sometimes He knew men’s thoughts, but most likely not supernaturally, but by His perfection, wisdom, and discernment (Luke 9:47). And when do human thoughts become knowable by God? Of course, when we think them. As “when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered" them.
    Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a little child and set him by Him, and said to them, “Whoever receives this little child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me.” -Luke 9:47-48
    God is, above all: Relational, Good, Loving. Christ’s repeated teaching that God will save whoever believes, receives, seeks, etc., is interpreted away in order to preserve pagan General Immutability, which creed should have been crushed by the Incarnation. Superstition angered Jesus, so He rejected the interpretation that God directed the fall of the Tower of Siloam to kill and punish the worst sinners (Luke 13:4-5), and as Columbine dad Brian Rohrbough pointed out, He would give the same answer today regarding any superstitious Calvinist interpretation of tragedy. Settled View proponent Billy Graham, greatly influenced by Augustinian tradition, repeatedly declares, as after 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina, that evil is a complete mystery to him. Contrast that to the Bible’s clear and confident explanation of evil that it results from men and angels who disobey God. The lost evangelistic opportunity is incalculable, with Graham only a high profile example of thousands of Christian leaders who cannot even explain to the lost the nature of the war between good and evil because they think it has a behind-the-scenes purpose greater than the clear explanation that God revealed in Scripture, beginning explicitly with Adam’s Fall.

    (By the way, by intention or oversight, Sam never responded to Mr. Rohrbough even though Brian addressed Sam in round four. That’s too bad because many readers, including me, were interested in Sam’s thoughts about that letter.)

    So Jesus rejected superstition, and yet He comfortably described a priest coming upon a crime victim “by chance” (Luke 10:31), and He intentionally illustrated love by the action of an unbeliever, not by the chosen priest, but by “a certain Samaritan,” of whom Jesus said that they, “worship… what [they] do not know” (John 4:22). Jesus did not suggest that men could not fathom ultimate divine goodness (which to Calvinists appears like filth and cruelty), but rather, as throughout the Bible, Jesus affirmed that God’s goodness is comprehensible even to wicked men. For, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give” good gifts (Luke 11:13)? But by immutability’s interpretation, watch out, this might mean that God will cause a father, even a Calvinist, rape his own daughter!

    Augustine told those who believe in Greek fatalism to keep their belief but change their vocabulary. However the Christian veneer of new terminology is insufficient to mask the pagan wickedness of the Settled View’s origins. Immutability here turns Jesus into a liar, because He said that if we ask God for a fish, he will not give us a serpent, whereas the Calvinist says that the serpent is the fish, and that the wrong is the right, and the incest is the pleasure and the glory, and the evil is for the good!

    There is so much more in the Gospels, but for now, suffice it to say that they manifestly DO NOT reveal immutability, nor exhaustive foreknowledge, but:
    “the gospel of Christ …is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first [dispensationally] and also for the Greek [Gentiles of the Body]. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed… (Rom. 1:16-17)
    Responding to Sam’s 8A

    Thanks for answering BEQ33, “the side that has often appealed to extra-biblical sources in defense of it’s position is: A: The Open View B: The Settled View”
    Sam’s answer: “I will say B [The Settled View]”
    GWIMW!

    Sam, you tried to counter my demonstration of the sixteen extra-biblical authorities you have heavily appealed to by claiming I appealed to three, my pastor, a logic website, and Sanders. I mentioned Pastor Hill not in argument but in a thank you. I linked to the definition of the logical fallacy known as Special Pleading to expose your contradiction, which you’ve not rebutted, on why the prophecy to Nineveh was conditional but not those to Judas and Peter. And except for one, I referred to Sanders only within quote marks quoting you. My one infraction of appealing to extra-biblical authority came in 4B when I described the 2001 conference we both attended saying “the same time you were [there] I heard John Sanders give his wonderful defense of Openness,” which claim, though not made in argument for my position but in an effort to expose yours, could try to subtly sway the reader. Thus the reader can judge whether you answered BEQ33 rightly, regardless.

    We should not “ignore the work” of learned men. But to avoid appealing to external authority, the correct use of that education is to put forth the biblical lessons we’ve learned; the bad use is to respond to accusations of weak immutability proof-texts by claiming “Reymond cites no less than 24 passages,” only to have the Openness side call for those passages, and expose them as weak, unrelated, or worse.

    Regarding your Tolle Lege signature, I have not accused the Settled View of being influenced by the Greek language, but by the Latin and Greek philosophical OMNIs and IMs through Augustine. So Sam, far from exculpatory, it helps make my point when you write that, “The phrase is Latin, not Greek… [and] the person who wrote the phrase [is] Augustine.”

    Sam, you wrote of me: “At least he gave me a specific reference,” listing my “Gen. 2 – Rev. 22,” but you left out the five specific passages I referenced in that short BEA-SLQ21 answer.

    I understand memory errors, thus I agree with everything in your four paragraphs about Micah, except for their occasion. For you incorrectly wrote that, “Enyart has called Micah 5:2 a ‘non-prophecy,’” whereas a month ago I wrote in 2B, “A predictive prophecy is one that specifically foretells the future such as Micah 5:2,” as you quoted me in 3A and 5A.

    The NIV versions I’ve looked at differ from your quote of Mat. 25:34, “take your inheritance prepared for you since the creation,” which leaves out the words “the kingdom,” as in, “the kingdom prepared for you.” An interpretation of this verse should not be based on those missing words. You wrote that this “strong statement… seems to state that God has had a place prepared for each” of us. But I checked 14 English translations and a few Greek texts, and they all retain “the kingdom” (one says the reign), which is what God prepared for the righteous, not personalized two-room condos overlooking the sea of glass, but the kingdom (of which He is the literal king)! And of course the Father knew the Son before Creation, and together they foreordained that the Son would offer Himself for the salvation of any people who rebelled. Regarding God’s foreknowledge of human fellowships alive in Him, yes, this was the reason for Creation, so Openness can strongly concur that God predestined fellowships, but not individuals, regardless of whether sin occurred or not.

    I had stated that after screaming for evidence, your unresponsiveness regarding the evidence for Greek influence on Augustine, Catholicism and the Reformation, was telling. Now you rightly point out that “only specific questions needed to be responded to.” Sam, if you’ll notice, this entire section of mine is responsive, even though none of this appeared in official questions. It’s “clash,” and I have responded this way to the great majority of your arguments, even when they have not appeared as numbered questions. If you have a response, and you would like the readers to know your answer, you are not prohibited from offering it apart from a numbered question! I summed up my entire pagan philosophy accusation into one question which you didn’t answer. BEQ30: “do you agree that Christianity should make a conscious effort to identify pagan Greek influence on Augustine and other leading Christians, and if any is found, to re-evaluate related doctrines on strictly biblical grounds?” While I asked you to “please copy the complete original questions, and answer,” you instead answered an easy “yes” to an abbreviated “should Christianity make an effort to identify pagan influence.” So this round, I will ask again, with a follow-up.

    Oh yeah, and I floated Noah to 9B .

    Bob Answers Sam’s Questions

    SLQ27-Have you read Plato’s republic? If so in what translation?
    SLQ28-Please share with me what book of Aristotle you have read and in what translations.

    BEA-SLQ27/28: I have never read a lengthy work of Plato or Aristotle cover to cover. (I have read through some Cliff Notes of their works, but figure that’s not cheating since I’m not in school !) I never logged my hours. But for twenty years I have been casually reading pagan philosophy in the interest of exposing the danger of Martin Luther’s Augustinian commitment, and all the books I’ve purchased during that time (more than pictured here, as they are scattered through bookshelves and boxes on three floors of my home).

    I’ve read excerpts of Plato’s Republic in a translation by Benjamin Jowett, and another by Francis Cornford, and when reading online, I have never kept track of which translations I had ever read. I don’t know which translation of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics Cliffs Notes used, but since they reference Cornford, it may have been his. (And no, I don’t recommend the book as a good read.) My primary text on Aristotle’s works is listed as translated by E. M. Edghill.



    I realize the question of which translation to quote from is relevant. Old and New Testament words for letters or writing properly get rendered into the English word “Scripture” by Bible translators, even though the original words themselves are phonetically unrelated to our word Scripture. They do so because they know that the “writings” being referred to equate to the English word “Scripture.” So when I quote Augustine, I prefer F. J. Sheed, because where another translator has the overly literal rendering: “whatever truth I had read in the books,” as though Augustine might even be speaking of Scripture, Sheed clarifies this, and if Augustine is referring to Greek philosophy, he more informatively translates that, “whatever truth I had read in the Platonists.”

    SLQ29-Can you give me one instance of a false statement by Jesus?

    BEA-SLQ29 No. Above I responded to your other challenge: “Show me a false prediction made by Jesus.” God had promised all along (Jer. 18:1-10) that He would not fulfill the promise to give Israel their Kingdom if in fact they rejected the King. Thus, by the Settled View, it was another failed prophecy when Christ did not quickly returning to establish Israel’s Kingdom; but by Openness, God’s goodness takes precedence over His knowledge, which changes continually, and thus contingency itself flows from our Living God as a glory, not as a problem text.

    Questions for Sam

    BEQ36: Please explicitly answer BEQ30: Do you agree that Christianity should make a conscious effort to identify pagan Greek influence on Augustine and other leading Christians, and if any is found, to re-evaluate related doctrines on strictly biblical grounds?

    BEQ37: Please explain why you do not concur with my 5B evidence of direct pagan philosophical influence on Augustine and other leading Christians.

    BEQ38: Regarding anti-openness author Bruce Ware’s publication of a paper calling for a reformulation of the doctrine of immutability (and your own acknowledgement that God is able to change in relationship), please inform me and the readers as to whether immutability, as taught by Calvin and Calvinists now for centuries, has always explicitly declared that God is able to change, or is it a newer theological development to explicitly declare that?

    BEQ39: If you agree that Bruce Ware was calling for a reformulation of immutability for a valid reason, that is, because the doctrine had not previously explicitly declared that God is able to change in relationship, does that indicate an extraordinarily fundamental theological shift which will require a reconsideration of other doctrines which have been based upon immutability?

    BEQ40: I obtained a copy of Reymond’s 1,200-page textbook used by Knox a few days after this debate began, and if you recall, I only submitted a scan from his Table of Contents to illustrate that immutability is Calvinism’s core teaching regarding God’s nature. I have only read dozens of scattered pages, and have been unable to find Reymond declaring that God can change in relationship. Whether he has or not will be instructive regarding Calvinism’s coming to terms with the problem of General Immutability. Please indicate if Reymond addresses this, and if so, please cite him.

    BEQ41: When you answered BEQ21 regarding the future that God “has never changed it,” I’m sure that you meant to say that God has not changed what would have been other than when He originally foreordained all of eternity future. Otherwise, the Bible’s God would be almost exactly like Zeus, stuck in a Fate that even He Himself did not ordain. Please indicate if this more accurately reflects your position, or if not, please explain how the future came to be settled.

    In a carefully watched and critiqued debate that will be published (in some form or other), which has already garnered about 40,000 Internet views of the debate and the Grandstands (not hits, but more significantly, views), Sam is demonstrating the kind of waffling that Calvinists famously employ. For when your position is one of contradiction (God ordains evil, yet without blame), of necessity one becomes comfortable with inconsistency. Sam, your unresponsive answers to BEQ14/23/28 indicate that our Rooster agreement is falling apart! If you recall, your unnumbered answer to my BEQ22/28 was that if the original rooster God wanted to crow had died, that “God could have had another rooster crow… I grant that.”

    Next, you said in 5A that “the comment about the rooster was simply a small joke,” but this gag has come back to roost. You see Sam, you have flip-flopped. Openness would have a difficult time debating whether God could influence the high priest or Judas, apart from exhaustive foreknowledge, unless you first agreed that at the very least, He could make a rooster crow, BEQ28: by “His abilities… without relying upon exhaustive foreknowledge.” So Sam, you had granted that in 7A! Now in 8A, you still refuse to answer BEQ14/23/28 because “I am not sure what you mean here by ‘abilities’ but again, since I believe that God cannot cease to have foreknowledge, the question assumes a non-reality for my position.” Then Sam, you shouldn’t have granted your answer to BEQ22/28 as you did. So now I need to know if the joke is on me, or not. For example, when God designed DNA, I assume you do not believe that He simply peeked into the future to see how a protein would function, and then simply claimed credit for being the Creator, by ripping off the design of evolution. Thus, God has the ability to do things, such as ordain His own plans, and create the universe, apart from simply doing that which He has passively foreseen. As you’ve rightly answered [SLA-]BEQ12/19: “No,” foreordination and foreknowledge are NOT the same thing! And with that you’ve thrice contradicted yourself on this issue. Either [SLA-BEQ22/28] God CAN make a rooster crow apart from foreseeing it; or foreknowledge ([SLA-]BEQ14) is “NOT separable” from God’s foreordination; or ([SLA-]BEQ12/19) foreordination and foreknowledge are NOT the same thing. You can’t eat your cake, sell it, and have it too.

    BEQ42: Sam, I need a clarification, can God apart from reliance on foreknowledge make a rooster crow? If possible, please unequivocally answer yes or no.

    BEQ43: In [SLA-]BEQ13/20, you wrote, “Prophecies of the future dealing with free agents and without error do prove foreknowledge.” Please indicate how you could rule out divine foreknowledge for FDR, who declared from the bombing of Pearl Harbor that America would win WWII, asserting on December 8, 1941 that, “the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory. …we will gain the inevitable triumph,” even though the decisions and actions of millions of independent humans, including the nations of the world, were required for the eventual fulfillment of FDR’s prophecy. (And I’m not sure if you can find an FDR prophecy which did not come to pass, like Nineveh’s, but if so please indicate how you can know it was not conditional.)

    BEQ44: Please answer BEQ32: Considering not verbal revelation, but actual divine historical intervention, Sam, can you indicate if this statement is true: When God intervenes in history, the actual intervention itself cannot be a figure of speech!

    BEQ45: Sam, I am curious, when you re-claimed Isaiah 40-48 as indicating exhaustive foreknowledge in 6A and 7A, why would you do so without addressing my extensive rebuttal of that argument in 3B?

    BEQ46: Sam, using the very first definition for change from Webster.com, “to make different in some particular,” please answer forthrightly, “Is God able to change such that He can have true relationship?”
    The Bob Enyart Live talk show airs at KGOV.com weekdays at 5 pm E.T. Also, same time, same station, check out Theology Thursday (.com) and on Fridays, Real Science Radio (.com) a.k.a. rsr.org. All shows are available 24/7 and you can call us at at 1-800-8Enyart.

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