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Thread: One on Two - Calvinism: Knight with assuranceagent and Ask Mr Religion

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knight View Post
    I was just teasin' ya. I love your posts!! (although a bit shorter might make the conversation more fruitful)
    Yup, I knew you were, Knight.

    AMR
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  2. #17
    ...then I woke up. Knight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
    And I, too would agree with AA's statement with the minor tweak that God's decree to permit the Fall was not a "merely" bare permission, but a decisive act of His will via His decree.
    Minor tweak???

    There's a minor ditch just north of where you live.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
    A Sam Adams is on its way to the table, Knight! AA buys the next round!
    Sweet! I will read and ponder your latest post this afternoon.

    Thanks again for the fellowship!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
    And I, too would agree with AA's statement with the minor tweak that God's decree to permit the Fall was not a "merely" bare permission, but a decisive act of His will via His decree.

    AMR
    Quote Originally Posted by Knight View Post
    Minor tweak???

    There's a minor ditch just north of where you live.

    Funny!

    I think I am being misunderstood. All I am saying is that God made a real decision to permit the Fall. I dislike the use of the term "merely" as it implies to me a casualness in the matter of God's act versus His determined will to permit the Fall. I doubt AA was implying this, but my anal-retentiveness with respect to precise speech on such sacred matters inclined me to make this more clear.

    Better?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Knight View Post
    Sweet! I will read and ponder your latest post this afternoon.
    All right. I will be out of the building until later this evening myself.

    Thanks again for the fellowship!!
    Thank you, too, Knight!

    I am thoroughly enjoying the discussion to date. It forces me to carefully consider matters in such a way such that others may also better understand them. This make us all co-travelers towards greater understanding and knowledge!

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  6. #21
    ...then I woke up. Knight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
    The Calvinist majority view is that the mind chooses according to its greatest inclinations at the moment it so chooses. This is commonly referred to as the liberty of spontaneity, or self-determined freedom. In other words, the mind’s desire always precedes the mind’s choosing.
    OK, I think I am inclined to understand that.

    Thus there is an antecedent cause for every choice made. This antecedent cause is not the determinism spoke of when we speak of choices that are controlled by external forces. Instead we choose because we are caused to choose by the inclination of our will, i.e., self-determination, or the real essence of free will. Our own inclinations are the antecedent causes of all the choices we make.

    So we can exercise genuine freedom in our choices, that is to choose according to our greatest inclinations, yet even when doing so there are still causal antecedent conditions (e.g., character, experiences, circumstances, etc.) which decisively incline our will to respond a certain way without indeed constraining it.

    From this, one can state that a morally free agent is an agent that can make decisions, choosing according to his or her greatest desires (inclinations) at the moment he or she so chooses.
    That makes sense to me. Or at least I think it does.

    There's always a reason for every choice we make. Sounds reasonable to me.

    Now I am not claiming that all choices made by a morally free agent are genuinely free. Obviously, from the definition above, someone with a gun to their head being told to “sit down”, is not making a truly “free” choice when they are forced to comply with the demand. This is because their inclinations at the moment they comply were not really their own inclinations, but were immediately imposed upon them by the presence of a deadly weapon at their head.
    Yet they are still freely choosing because they could choose to not sit and be killed. So they choose against their desire (desire to not sit) but not against their will? (I'm guessing you would agree with that right?)

    I have heard open theists make this exact same argument and I think I have opposed it, albeit semantically. In that, I DO think there is a valid meaning when somebody says…. "he was being held against his will."

    Anyway… I think I am still with you so far.

    To summarize, the majority view among Calvinists also holds that for every decision a person makes there are causal conditions playing upon that individual’s will so as to incline it decisively and sufficiently in one direction rather than another such that the agent could not have done otherwise, given the prevailing causal influences.

    AMR
    Fair enough! Based on what you have typed above I'm not sure it would be any different from what most/all open theists would say. (semantic differences aside)

    Now what? More beer?

    Based on what you are saying could you compare our lives or the history of existence as similar to a intricate domino setup where one event triggers another event, which triggers yet another event, and so on all the way down the line?
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  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
    am thoroughly enjoying the discussion to date. It forces me to carefully consider matters in such a way such that others may also better understand them. This make us all co-travelers towards greater understanding and knowledge!
    I am enjoying this as well!

    One thing I have learned in the last few years....

    Know who your friends are.

    In that, we should be able to critically determine the most important issues (the ones worth fighting about) and also determine the issues that (while they may be interesting to discuss) they are not a reasonable reason to divide the Body. I believe that you and I are on the same side. Three years ago (maybe even less than that) I think I would have considered you and I to be on different sides. I was wrong for thinking that.

    In short....
    My dogma needed obedience training.

    God bless you AMR!! I hope this thread will be a new beginning for us!
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    Wow...I think we may have a genuine "bromance" starting here.

    I've skimmed over the most recent posts (those since last night). I'll read them in more depth in a bit and respond this evening. Very busy day at the office.

    Just didn't want you guys to think I'd disappeared. As to the next round of drinks, I have a pretty distinct conviction that God decreed, from eternity past, that AMR is still up.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by assuranceagent View Post
    Wow...I think we may have a genuine "bromance" starting here.
    Oh man... you're killin' me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
    A Sam Adams is on its way to the table, Knight! AA buys the next round!
    Oh, alright. I'll pick up the next round. Just a Dr. Pepper for me though...I'm driving tonight and I hold my alcohol like Peterson holds the football...

    Anyway, AMR said this:
    From this, one can state that a morally free agent is an agent that can make decisions, choosing according to his or her greatest desires (inclinations) at the moment he or she so chooses.
    And I just wanted to interject here that, while I agree with the statement itself, I deny the application of the label "free" to such choices insofar as they represent moral choices.

    I believe that the Bible presents our moral condition as enslaved either to sin or to Christ and I believe that the implication of that is that our "greatest desire" at the moment we choose morally will reflect our master at the time.

    It's just a semantic difference, as we have mentioned a number of others are, but I feel that it is an important one, because it undergirds my view of man's depravity and the necessity of divine intervention and imposition on our will and choice if we are to be saved.

    As AMR has mentioned though, mine is not the majority view.

    Now I am not claiming that all choices made by a morally free agent are genuinely free. Obviously, from the definition above, someone with a gun to their head being told to “sit down”, is not making a truly “free” choice when they are forced to comply with the demand. This is because their inclinations at the moment they comply were not really their own inclinations, but were immediately imposed upon them by the presence of a deadly weapon at their head.
    Okay, I'll take the opportunity here to go ahead and confirm one that, for me at least, is not a misconception.

    I view the acceptance of faith as just such an "imposed" choice. This, of course, is a worthy point of debate and a distinct difference between myself and Open Theists.

    I don't believe that a man would choose God without such "imposition" acting contrary to the sinful will of the natural, fallen man. On the flip side of the coin, however, I do NOT believe that the choice to reject God is an "imposed" choice.

    I'm more than willing to discuss that a little more if you want clarification.

    As for the earlier conversation of God's decree and sin:
    Quote Originally Posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
    I think I am being misunderstood. All I am saying is that God made a real decision to permit the Fall. I dislike the use of the term "merely" as it implies to me a casualness in the matter of God's act versus His determined will to permit the Fall. I doubt AA was implying this, but my anal-retentiveness with respect to precise speech on such sacred matters inclined me to make this more clear.
    Based on that paragraph, I think we are pretty much identical on this issue. I meant to imply as much when I pointed out that God "specifically foreknew" the event yet opted not to act to alter it. I believe He not only allowed the fall, but that He knew that in creating man in the first place He was rendering it a certainty. And as I pointed out, I believe that He did so in order to achieve His higher purpose in creation and love.

    I mostly meant to highlight the mistaken idea that many non-Calvinists have that God specifically acted to bring about sin or evil, rather than consciously willing not to prevent it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Knight View Post
    Yet they are still freely choosing because they could choose to not sit and be killed. So they choose against their desire (desire to not sit) but not against their will? (I'm guessing you would agree with that right?)
    And see, I don't call that freedom. But it's really more of a semantic difference than anything. You and I define "free will" differently, but we've discussed it before and the disagreement does seem to revolve around how one defines "free will" rather than in how one exercises it.

    Based on what you are saying could you compare our lives or the history of existence as similar to a intricate domino setup where one event triggers another event, which triggers yet another event, and so on all the way down the line?
    You didn't ask me, but I thought it was an interesting question and I've been thinking about it for a while.

    I think your domino analogy works, at least to an imperfect degree, for most of the aspects of our life. But as I mentioned before, I specifically view the moral aspects of our life as governed by the master of our will: sin or grace.

    Because of that, I think the domino analogy fails because it implies that the main, or at least a major, motivation for each event are those events that precede it and help to shape our lives. In the case of moral decisions and events, I believe that the motivator for each event is rather static by comparison. Particularly before we are saved.

    I keep trying to think of a good way to illustrate that, and I'm coming up short...it's been a long day.

    In my mind's eye, though, I keep seeing a train where the engine is sin or grace and the decisions we make are the cars attached to that engine. I'm sure I'd find a number of flaws in that illustration were I to think of it a little longer and I may take it back later as I do just that...but for now, it's the thing that keeps popping into my head.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knight View Post
    I am enjoying this as well!

    One thing I have learned in the last few years....

    Know who your friends are.

    In that, we should be able to critically determine the most important issues (the ones worth fighting about) and also determine the issues that (while they may be interesting to discuss) they are not a reasonable reason to divide the Body. I believe that you and I are on the same side. Three years ago (maybe even less than that) I think I would have considered you and I to be on different sides. I was wrong for thinking that.

    In short....
    My dogma needed obedience training.

    God bless you AMR!! I hope this thread will be a new beginning for us!
    That was very gracious of you, Knight.

    We have crossed swords from time to time and not a few of those times I was not on my best behavior. I have no excuses to offer in mitigation of these actions. For those actions, I apologize. Examining myself, I have come to realize that I needed to take, and still need to remember, my own often offered admonishment to others to heart: mud slung is ground lost. I have no doubt I have on occasion lost plenty of ground hereabouts. Sigh.

    As I get on in years, I have found that time has a way of tempering my sometimes choleric nature. Of course, some righteous chastisement from our Father also helped. In recent years I have also begun to see my mortality looming large. This has caused me to become more reflective on what is important to me and what is not.

    Accordingly, I have realized I cannot have a dog in every fight. I need to focus what little energies I have remaining on things that I feel are worth wearying myself over. The rest, whether nice, shiny, topics of passing interest or the enervating, feckless, bleats of some persons, I must force myself to ignore.

    A new beginning, indeed, my friend!

    For what He did for us,
    AMR
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  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by assuranceagent View Post
    As to the next round of drinks, I have a pretty distinct conviction that God decreed, from eternity past, that AMR is still up.
    You are correct, sir!

    Quote Originally Posted by Knight View Post
    That makes sense to me. Or at least I think it does.

    There's always a reason for every choice we make. Sounds reasonable to me.
    Exactly!

    Yet they are still freely choosing because they could choose to not sit and be killed. So they choose against their desire (desire to not sit) but not against their will? (I'm guessing you would agree with that right?)

    I have heard open theists make this exact same argument and I think I have opposed it, albeit semantically. In that, I DO think there is a valid meaning when somebody says…. "he was being held against his will."
    When composing my earlier post I actually considered expanding on this example along these very lines.

    The person with the gun to their head was probably very inclined to sit. So it was their greatest inclination at that moment, in one sense a free decision, yet certainly immediately forced, thus in another sense, not genuinely free. No matter what decision that would have been made it would have been a reluctant one. The gun, while not entirely removing the willing of the person, was a constraint on the person’s ultimate decision.

    Our decisions are in large measure influenced by personal characteristics, likes, dislikes, parents, environment, etc. In other words, there are limitations on who a person is, what a person desires, and wills. Consequently, a person’s freedom is exercised within these limitations. And nothing here should be taken to imply that these limitations, and consequently our decisions formed from these inclinations, do not evolve over time.

    Based on what you are saying could you compare our lives or the history of existence as similar to a intricate domino setup where one event triggers another event, which triggers yet another event, and so on all the way down the line?
    The casual reader would infer from your description that fatalism is operative. But when we examine the decree of God and what it comprehends, this inference is shown to be incorrect.

    Instead, the Calvinist will say that the decree of God is eternal and wholly–comprehensive.

    Calvinists will further hold, in rejection of fatalism, that God’s decree determines all events according to the inherent nature of these events: actions of free agents as free, the operation of necessary causes, necessarily.

    We would point out that the decree of God also comprehends the whole system of causes and effects of every kind: the motives and conditions of free actions, including the necessary causes of necessary events. The Calvinist believes that God’s decree has from the beginning embraced and provided for the free agency of man, and the regular procedures of nature, per God’s established laws of the same. As the entire universe forms one system, if any part of the system is contingent, the whole must be. This is obvious if we consider that if one condition failed, the entire concatenation of causes and effects would become derailed.

    The Calvinist will further state that God’s decree is immutable, that the decree does not depend upon uncertainties, as demonstrated from the eternity of the decree, and from explicit Scriptural assertions, e.g., Isaiah 14:24,27; 46:10; Psalm 33:11; Proverbs 19:21; Romans 9:11; Ephesians 3:11.

    AMR
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  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by assuranceagent View Post
    Oh, alright. I'll pick up the next round. Just a Dr. Pepper for me though...I'm driving tonight and I hold my alcohol like Peterson holds the football...

    Anyway, AMR said this:
    Quote Originally Posted by ”AMR”
    From this, one can state that a morally free agent is an agent that can make decisions, choosing according to his or her greatest desires (inclinations) at the moment he or she so chooses.
    And I just wanted to interject here that, while I agree with the statement itself, I deny the application of the label "free" to such choices insofar as they represent moral choices.

    I believe that the Bible presents our moral condition as enslaved either to sin or to Christ and I believe that the implication of that is that our "greatest desire" at the moment we choose morally will reflect our master at the time.

    It's just a semantic difference, as we have mentioned a number of others are, but I feel that it is an important one, because it undergirds my view of man's depravity and the necessity of divine intervention and imposition on our will and choice if we are to be saved.
    AA,

    Indeed, I had this view of depravity very clearly at the forefront of my mind when I made the post. In fact, from my definition it remains clear that the decisions of either the lost or the saved are freely made decisions. The inclinations of the lost are wholly at enmity with God, for they serve a different master, than the saved, whose decisions are inclined very differently, per the Master that they serve.

    You just poisoned the well for when and if that topic would arise. In other words, the lost are rightfully condemned for their freely made decisions! Dang, you thunder-stealer, you!

    AMR
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  14. #29
    ...then I woke up. Knight's Avatar
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    AA and AMR... so we make decisions based on our inclinations. Seems impossible that anyone could disagree with that.

    Where do our inclinations come from?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knight View Post
    AA and AMR... so we make decisions based on our inclinations. Seems impossible that anyone could disagree with that.

    Where do our inclinations come from?
    I would say that our inclinations at any given moment are a function of things like circumstances, experience, likes, dislikes, parents, and character/nature.

    AMR
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