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Battle Royale X Critique thread - Does God Know Your Entire Future?

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  • It seemed at first that Bob was writing his own agenda. But I think I finally understand what he was doing. In Sam's recent post he cites that his hermeneutic is to "find out what the author intended…" That isn't a hermeneutic…that is the REASON for a hermeneutic. I see now that Bob's reason for writing a brief "history" of how pagan philosophy has infiltrated the minds of bible students is to show Sam that when he tries to "find out what the author intended…" he is doing so with pagan Greek philosophical "glasses" on!

    Take the "glasses" off Sam. When you read your three proof-texts you are interpreting them through the lens of Greek philosophy…and NOT using the entire Bible as the context. If you were to use the entire Bible as the context you would see the contradiction in you stating, by agreeing with the Westminster Confession, that everything (even evil) is "planned…before eternity" (as stated in the third paragraph of your round five post) and you asking us to pray that God would "keep us all safe." (As stated in the third paragraph of round six). Can prayer change God's mind Sam? Has God EVER changed something…anything…as a result of prayer? Using your Greek "glasses" you will have to say no. Using the Bible as context you will see that yes is the correct answer.

    Now for Bob.

    Bob has made a case for showing the pagan roots of believing the idea that God does know and has planned out the entire future. Now that Bob has established the pagan roots maybe he could address the ideas of "The Gospel In The Stars" and "The Flood". What does this have to do with God knowing the future? You (Bob) teach that constellations tell the story of the gospel…the star of Bethlehem being Jupiter in conjunction with another planet in the constellation of Leo or something along those lines. Since God made the planets and stars before man…why would he spell out the gospel in the stars if he didn’t already know that he would need a Star of Bethlehem? This isn't that big of deal because if man hadn't fallen then we would never have known that the gospel was in the stars.

    But a more serious critique is with The Flood. You (Bob) teach that the triggering mechanism of The Flood was the nations of the Earth marching into the Garden of Eden and cutting down The Tree of Knowledge. The tree having grown so big and roots growing so deep it plugged up the river that watered the Earth and therefore caused a drought. When the nations cut it down the fountains of the great deep burst forth (like popping a zit!)

    God planted the Tree in the garden…again before mankind fell. But even after man fell God wouldn't know that he was going to destroy the world with a flood according to the OV position because man may not have become so wicked. Did God have the tree grow large and stop up the river "just in case" man became so wicked that he would destroy the world with a flood?

    Thanks to Bob and Sam for your time. I am learning so much.
    fidelis usque ad mortem


    • Sam,

      Thanks for your last (6th) post, it was great. I enjoy the focus of the debate on scripture, and trying to understand specifically what it says.

      Two things you did were particularly helpful to me. First, your exegesis on your scripture passages really helped me see that they clearly indicate that Jesus did rest his own claims to deity on foreknowledge. If that is so, and I believe you showed it clearly, then the possibility of him being wrong would invalidate his deity.

      Second, your argument that these prophecies of Jesus means that either he could have been wrong about them or that he (or the Father) forced the issue, leaves the openness view with one of the main problems they claim Calvinist have. Namely, that if God worked it out that Peter or Judas had to sin for the prophecy to be true then that makes God the author of evil. This seems to violate the principle of freedom that the openness view cherishes so much.

      Finally, thank you again for sticking with scripture and explaining it clearly. I for one think your explanation of scripture is very clear, and I do not see how any of your exegesis on these particular passages rests on anything other than an honest attempt to understand the passages in their own context without reference to outside philosophies.


      • Dr. Lamerson said: 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 find this a bit insulting, whether Dr. Lamerson was meaning to speak to me specifically or not. The idea that anyone who supports his opponent’s position is not being objectionable is a known logical fallacy known as “mudding the water”. Perhaps you are familiar with it?

        I support the Open position, not because I follow Mr. Enyart, but because it appears to be the more biblical position. I have journeyed to it’s camp by reading authors like Norman Geisler’s book “Chosen but Free” (which is not about Open Theology but began my pilgrimage) and was startled by read Bob Hill’s pamphlet on this website. I immediately conforted myself by running out and reading books against Open Theism by Bruce Ware and others. Eventually kicking and screaming I read books by John Sanders, Clark Pinnock, Richard Rice, and yes, even checked out Mr. Enyart’s Predestination and Free Will album. I am not easily moved from a doctrinal point, but I was moved there by a large amount of evidence, not because of any close personal feelings I had for Mr. Enyart and I resent the insinuation Dr. Lamerson. I think the backhanded insult Dr. Lamerson flings deserves an apology and I, personally, rebuke you for it.

        Actually, that I was lead here based on evidence should give you some hope. If you have evidence against, it might persuade me (and those like me) to return back from our pilgrimage. Certainly, I have lost friends and churches because of my beliefs and realize that I will always be in the minority and persecuted for my beliefs. I am not one who revels in being at odds with everyone else, thus I would like very much to be in the more “comfortable” position, if only my conscious could be given a reason to let me.

        Unfortunately, Mr. Lamerson, I haven’t considered you as wining this debate from the second round on because your arguments are somewhat weaker than Mr. Enyart's. For instance, in this post you even feigned ignorance of the menaing of the word “hermeneutic”, and actually sighted it’s definition as the means you used, obviously in order to slip out of the question. That’s fine, it’s not my question, but that’s an example of the bad arguments you’ve been using. You claims Mr. Enyart didn't answer your question on Peter, and give as proof an exmaination of a phrase that you never before mentioned as evidence in any previous post (I looked). You would have been more honest to say that you still had other questions regarding this issue, instead of implying that Mr. Enyart hadn't answered the questioned you did ask.

        I’m also uncertain why you have a disdain for the rules of the debate. It’s not as if these rules favor one person over another. Do you feel that the rules are the reason you are losing? For which rules you are breaking this round, please note the following:

        Rule 3:
        Question Numbering: To help focus the opponent on the topic(s) of a particular post, and to enable readers to follow the debate more easily, participants will sequentially number their questions using TOL’s Battle Royale convention of first and last initial, a Q for question, an A for answer, and then the question number. Samuel Lamerson and Bob Enyart would identify their questions with SLQ1, SLQ2, BEQ1, and would mark any answer given with BEA-SLQ1 (Bob Enyart answers Dr. Samuel Lamerson’s first question), SLA-BEQ1, etc. After reading a post of, say, fifteen paragraphs, without such a convention, it may be unclear to the audience and even to the opponent exactly what is being asked. So this also saves participants time in evaluating an opponent’s post. And it discourages unresponsive replies that focus for example on rhetorical questions or incidental details while ignoring the primary challenges. Of course there can be valid reasons why an opponent may refuse to answer a given question.
        This is the second time you’ve shown contempt for the rules of the debate. Why didn’t you settle your beef with the rules before the debate began?
        A 'touchy-feely' CNN reporter, while interviewing an Army sniper asked, "What do you feel when you shoot a terrorist?" The Soldier shrugged and replied..... "Recoil."


        • On Prayer
          In light of Matthew 6:8, Dr. Lamerson's position is that to not worry about "food and clothing" requires foreknowledge.


          I have many children and I do not have foreknowledge. So are you saying I don't know that they need food and clothing next week?

          If I have $1000 in the bank and loose my job, I go to find another one, because even I, without foreknowledge know that in a few weeks, when the $1000 is gone, my children will still need food and clothes.

          You seem to me to have a very poor opinion of God's intelligence to suggest He needs foreknowledge to know people's future needs of food and clothing.
          A 'touchy-feely' CNN reporter, while interviewing an Army sniper asked, "What do you feel when you shoot a terrorist?" The Soldier shrugged and replied..... "Recoil."


          • Bob Enyart said:
            Actually, I utterly disagree that God wanted Peter to deny Christ AT ALL, let alone “make certain” of it.
            Since the Lord would not do anything to tempt Peter unto denying the Lord Jesus then let us examine the answers that Bob Enyart gave in regard to the Lord’s prediction about Peter’s denials.He said:
            But how could Jesus know that Peter would not die for the cause? Well let’s see. Is that a difficult judgment to make?
            According to Bob the Lord Jesus would know that Peter would not risk his life for Him.But is this idea supported by the Scriptures?

            Of course not!

            We can see that Peter did just that when he boldly cut off the ear of one of those who had come to seize the Lord Jesus:

            ” And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear”(Mt.26:51;Jn.18:26).

            So Bob is wrong when he assumes that Peter would not die for the cause,and upon that false assumption his whole case comes tumbling down like a child’s house of cards.He continues,saying:
            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).
            Bob’s answer here is based on the “assumption” that the Lord Jesus would know that Peter would go to the household of Caiaphas.But if the Lord knew that Peter would not die for the cause then why in the world would the Lord Jesus think that Peter would go to the one place where he would be easily identified as a disciple of Jesus Christ?

            If anything would place Peter in danger it would be for him to go to the household of the high priest where the servant whose ear he cut off would likely to be and where he would most likely to be identified as a disciple of the Lord.So according to Bob’s ideas (that Peter would not die for the cause) this is the last place where the Lord Jesus would have imagined that Peter would have gone.But despite this Bob has no problem in thinking that somehow the Lord Jesus would predict that Peter would go to a place where he would be in danger.

            And how would the Lord Jesus know that Peter would be asked if he was the Lord’s disciple exactly three times?Since Bob has not answered that perhaps Bob thinks that He just made a good guess.But whether or not the Lord Jesus was right in his predictions seems to matter little to someone who has no problem in saying that the Lord Jesus could have just been in error.Instead of looking for explanations that support the idea that the Lord Jesus was never in error he jumps at any verse where he can attempt to prove that the Lord Jesus made mistakes.In that way he can cling to his mistaken views taught by this brand of Open Theology.

            I believe that the future is open but this is not the way to attempt to prove it.The God that Bob presents to the world more closely resembles the gods of mythology who were oftentimes in error themselves.

            In His grace,--Jerry
            ”Dispensationalism Made Easy”


            • Haven't critiqued the last post from Bob or Sam, so I'm going to jump in and take a whack at this one from Bob, round 6!

              In his third paragraph, Bob makes an outstanding summary of his case up to this point, while at the same time responding to some of Sam's broader criticisms. He effectively shows how he has had this whole thing mapped out from way back. At every stage, Bob has known not only where he's coming from, but where he is, and where he's going. And this clear, comprehensive yet concise summary leads to the introduction of Bob's positive case for the Open View.

              The JONAH concept is good, I like it. It's not as fleshed out as the NOAH concept, so it's not as strong, but it's a good follow-up. Perhaps Bob will further explore this in rounds to come? Even if not, it's a useful sequel to NOAH, making a more complete overall hermeneutical approach to God's nature and character.

              I really enjoyed the summarization of the first and second thirds of the Bible. While it's not a posting of scripture itself, this is a useful technique I have also used many times (not to this extent) to help communicate the flow of the big picture in the Bible. Because of the size of the Bible, it's so easy to focus in on specific parts. It can be very challenging to tie everything together across the board, like this. So, this is indeed a very useful tool, imho. Granted, you have to be prepared to defend your presentation of it. It goes without saying that anyone who uses this technique will be writing it from their own bias. I can just see Sam criticizing that. Well duh, does anyone not know that at first glance? Of course it's presented from a biased view. Nevertheless, it is the audience's job to judge how it's done. So, if Sam has a criticism of something specific therein, that's fine, he can "bring it." But I hope he doesn't criticize just the basic principle of this presentation of biblical history. Does he never do this while teaching about the life of Christ? I'd find that very hard to believe.

              Folks, please do not skip over this historical summary. Read every line. It is worth it!

              Bob draws a great contrast between divine foreordination of sin, and His wrath in the Flood. Great point, simply and easily conveyed.

              I loved how Bob pointed out that "nacham" isn't used only for God, but is used a number of times to describe men repenting and changing their minds, as well! The settled viewers reading this debate would do well to take note of this! I've heard it said recently here that "nacham" is used for God while some other word is consistently used for when men repent. Guess what? Hogwash, my friends. "Nacham" is used when men repent and change their minds. So, when God said of the Israelites, "... lest they change their minds," He was using the same word that's used to describe Himself repenting 26 times in the OT! That isn't a statement from man's perspective, but from God, Himself.

              The second third of human history, same as above, great stuff!

              Bob also makes a poignant point about the real, every-day pagan influence that infiltrates the lives of ordinary, average Christians all the time. Finding divine meaning in everything that happens to us. "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?" Boom, ties it right back to Augustine's silly statement that God gave him that toothache. Priceless.

              In the next section, I wouldn't have said that the incarnation shows "infinite" change. I would have used "extreme" or something like that. But "infinite" is a kind of hyperbole that actually falls a little flat, here. But, it's not too bad. "... the third greatest conceivable change" is a much better way to put it, which he does the very next thing.

              Bob also makes a big deal about the unfulfilled prophecy about the impending tribulation and return of Christ. This, however, is risky particularly because Lamerson may very well be a preterist like his boss Kennedy. And if he is, then Lamerson will simply respond, "Well yes, and Christ did come back exactly as He said He would, in the 1st century, and the tribulation happened back then!" Which then opens that whole can of worms. Of course, if Lamerson isn't a preterist, then this is more of a problem for him. I guess we'll see!

              A partial remedy for this would have been if Bob had taken a moment to point out that the 70th week was supposed to include the destruction of Jerusalem, which rather did not occur until 70 AD, and then only because those events had already been set in motion before the prophecy was put on hold at the time of Israel's failure of her election.

              It is interesting, though, to then see Bob go into a very summarized explanation of the setting aside of Israel from the Mid-Acts dispenstional view. Nicely done, although yet another potential can of worms. That could potentially become a mess, with only 3 remaining rounds (not including the conclusion round). I don't think I would have gone that route, probably would have left that out. But hey, we'll see! So, overall, the last third of human history here is a bit bumpy, but I'm hopeful! (To be honest, I think it would work only if it is the major centerpiece of the case from here till the end. But I dont' expect that to be the case.)

              In relation to that, I would also note, however, that some of us believe that the Open View and Mid-Acts Dispensationalism go perfectly hand in hand, and shouldn't even ideally be separated. They are very much tied to each other, despite the fact that none of the three great Openness theologians are dispensational, with the possible exception of Boyd since he's a Baptist, so he might be an Acts 2 guy or something, but even then just barely. (Does anyone know?) One of the most monumental examples (if not the most!) about God changing His mind is the setting aside of Israel, and the subsequent calling of the Body of Christ being grafted in, in her place, as the unnatural branch! These two views should be seen as so closely tied, that the founder of the ministry I work in actually coined the term "Open Dispensationalism," which perfectly sums that up. And I think that is what Bob is ultimately driving at here, in this summarized narrative of the last third of history! I'm just not certain that the remaining 3 rounds will be enough to explore that even nearly as much as it should be. But, as I said, I'm hopeful!

              And finally before the questions, Bob makes a good point to the Arminian audience about why almost everything in this debate is relevant to them, too. That was an important point to make, although I wish he had made it a lot earlier in the debate.

              Now, for the questions!

              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.”
              Right on the money! Great way to point out Lamerson's "utter" inability to really comprehend what Bob has been arguing in this debate, even though it's been quite clear to most of us. Just more evidence that Lamerson came into this debate thinking he knew what to expect, only to be blindsided by some extremely new and fresh ways of presenting the Open View.

              It makes me think of an actor who shows up at the playhouse, only to discover that everyone is putting on a different play than the one he's been memorizing at home. LOL Doh!

              As for BEQ1/7/9/17/27/31... I really think Bob needs to let this go, and let the audience judge Lamerson for the willful cop-out he's been giving us throughout this debate on this question. An "utterly" clear and straightforward question, and he pretends he still doesn't understand what the question means? C'mon, doctor, this is just plain unreasonable. You are flat out ignoring the key parts of the question, and then acting innocently naive. You are better than that. That is beneath you. My advice to Bob is to drop it and let the audience convict Lamerson of this wrong. That's their job, Bob! Not your job, but theirs. It's a waste of time and energy and word-count to harp on this for 6 rounds. We all get it it. (Even those of us who don't want to admit it.) My advice to Sam, of course, is to answer the flipping question. CHANGE, doctor. He asked you about change. Repent of your copping out, answer it, get it over with, like tearing off a bandaid, just get it over with.

              Bob has only one other question to put to Sam at this point. With the debate stagnating at little at this point (again, due to Lamerson doing everything he can to respond as little as possible), I think we need some new challenges thrown out. Bob should have had at least a couple more questions for the doctor. But, cest la vie.

              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!
              Great question, I wish I could say I look forward to the answer, but I expect little at this point. But I pray (genuinely, not exaggerating) that Sam will honestly respond to this.

              For a second, I thought Bob was pulling a Lamerson and skipping responding to the doctor's list of questions from the first half of this round.

              But then I remembered, Sam didn't include a list of questions at the end of his last post. Doh. If you don't ask, doctor... you won't get an answer. You know the rules of the debate. No one can say it was done out of ignorance. When someone on Jeopardy doesn't answer in the form of a question, guess what? BRRZZZT! Same thing here, brother. You know that. Please don't mess around with the rules. There's just no point to it.

              I'm done.

              P.S. I almost forgot to mention that I am again disappointed that Bob didn't respond to Lamerson's incredible claim that when Christ "emptied Himself," that it meant He was emptying Himself of His blood. That screamed for a response, and we haven't seen one. Even a brief one would do, and I hope Bob gets to that. It shouldn't go unanswered. (Personally, I've never even heard of such a thing! Where did that claim come from? Who believes that...?)
              1 Corinthians 13:2
              And though I have ... all knowledge... but have not love, I am nothing.


              • It's obvious that Bob is stunned... Quick, someone throw in the towel and save him!

                Who is Bob talking to?

                I read all the way through Bob's post, and didn't see him even remotely address a hint of Sam's 6th post until the last few paragraphs at the end. And what he did address concerning Sam's post was pathetic. He basically said he'd get back to Sam. But how is Sam suppose to continue a debate when Bob is posting gibberish, and then, concerning the real meat of Sam's post, says he'll 'eventually get to it'?

                Bob said:

                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!

                Huh? Has Bob been reading Sam's post? No where have I ever read in Sam's post that his source for the debate comes from Plato's philosophy. Sam has done nothing BUT argue from Scriptures! Wake up Bob! Get with the program and start debating here. I'm getting tired of reading your dislike of Greek philosophy. Who cares? Sam wants some answers to Biblical evidence that he suggests proves that God knows the future. Refute them, or throw in the towel (which in your case, would be to continue to discuss irrelevant issues about philosophy and the history of Scripture, and how roosters crow, and how lovely it would of been for Judas to repent, and yada yada yadda.....).
                Question what you believe in, and then you'll know.


                • I can critique Bob's entire post with this one example. Since the past is fixed and nothing can be done to change it: Can it truly be said that man or God, for that matter, had any free will, or any ability to change or repent in it. If yes, then that is exactly how God sees and acts in the future, and man acts.
                  If no, then that is what Bob is claiming concerning the future. He is unable to see or understand that God can see the future and yet He can and does react to us as we react to our "present" dilemnas, in the present with us. This despite the fact that he has already seen us do what we are about to do.
                  The past tells us exactly how God will react in most circumstances, and we can base our actions upon His immutable characteristics.

                  If Bob could see this, and Dr. Sam could express this better, without his Calvinistic blinders, we could have a better debate on the topic at hand. There are many interesting scriptural and related philosophical points that could be explored.

                  I have Sunday school to teach, homeschooling and of course WORK. With the change of seasons upon us my priorities have changed. I for one will check back in a few weeks when the debate is over. It has lost my interest for now, for the reasons that I have critiqued.


                  • Re: Bob Enyart's 6th post.


                    The JONAH hermeneutic is great. Good memorable way to express it. Using the Baby Jesus as an example is clever, and works well. I like it!

                    The Summary of Biblical history emphasizing the real Biblical attributes of God is incredible. Should be required reading for all Christians. It would be an awesome thing to include in any study Bible. An honest look at this is very convincing for the Open View. You don't have to spiritualize or explain away these verses. You can actually believe what the Bible says in the Open View! "Settlers" Must find most of these confusing, and/or irritating, even if they refuse to admit it.

                    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!
                    I brought in the quote because I will fail to do it justice, but pointing out how evil man's overall history is, and considering the idea that some people believe God planned it for His glory, is extremely hard hitting. You have to have some pretty thick Calvinist colored glasses on to look at this God and see Him as righteous. With an unbiased honest look at it, one would have to conclude that God is not truly good. Explain it to your unsaved neighbor. "God plans rape and bestiality for His glory, want to meet Him?" See if he wants to go to church with you. Even the unsaved know that this cannot be right. The God of Calvin and Augustine uses what we know to be wicked for His glory more often that not.

                    If the Calvinists are right, and God is truly this way, I hope He predestined me to love Him, because otherwise I am in big trouble. Thank God, the Bible clearly shows otherwise!

                    Great Post Bob.

                    Marge: "Aren't you going to give him the last rites?"
                    Rev. Lovejoy: "That's Catholic, Marge - you might as well ask me to do a voodoo dance."

                    "Oh bother" said Pooh, as he chambered the next round.

                    Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. - Benjamin Franklin


                    • I think Sam's exegesis of the "I am" passages has merit. Greek has many nuances that may be missed by someone who studied it years ago (Bob).

                      The philosophical influences on Christianity merely scratched the surface. There is much more evidence than space allowed. We should not underestimate the potential for bias and preconceived theologies that have questionable roots.
                      Know God and make Him known! (YWAM)

                      They said: "Where is the God of Elijah?"
                      I say: "Where are the Elijahs of God?" (Ravenhill "Why Revival Tarries")

                      Rev. 1:17, 18; Jer. 9:23, 24

                      "No Compromise!" (Keith Green)

                      The Pledge: He died for me; I'll live for Him.


                      • This is for Sam, assuming you are reading this "critique" thread. Job well done on post #7. I think you did a good job on stating what you believe and more importantly, WHY you believe it. I am an open theist, and am OPEN to changing my mind on the issue of divine foreknowledge. You mentioned Judas and Peter once again in post #7. One comment on this for you and everyone reading. The debate IS titled "Does God know your ENTIRE future?" (caps mine) I emphasize the word "entire" because I think that is key in this debate. You have yet to prove that God foreknew the future exhaustively from before the foundation of the world. Until this is shown to me, I will be an open theist. The issue of Peter and Judas does not hurt or harm the OV until it's shown that God did indeed foreknow Peter's three denials or Judas' betrayal from before the foundation of the world. For God to foreknow something a day, a week, or even a year in advance does not prove the Calvinist view on God's foreknowledge, I'm sorry. I appreciate your arguments Sam, I really do, but I think thus far, you have missed the crux of the entire debate, which of course is God foreknowing the ENTIRE future.
                        "Ignorance sustained by denial is crippling this nation's response to abortion. When something is so horrifying that we can't stand to look at it, perhaps we shouldn't be tolerating it." -Gregg Cunningham (Center for Bio-Ethical Reform)


                        • Based on the this debate up through Sam's VII round post, I think Bob either needs to make an argument dismissing the importance of the Peter and Judas prophecies or answer Bob's questions. I don't particularly think its fair to answer questions presented by your opponent one round later because, as Sam has pointed out, this leads to talking past each other. I understand Bob's want to make an all inclusive case for God not knowing the future but in doing so by jumping from topic to topic, the debate is becoming scattered from Bob's viewpoint. By round seven we should be getting into some real depth but instead we have Sam doing the best job he can to just get a rebuttal and we have Bob not responding to direct questioning. Sam could just have easily, I'm sure, made huge posts on all sorts of other subjects and scripture that point to God's knowing the future. This would accomplish what Bob is doing now and the reader would be left to determine which is right. The point of the debate, however, is to continue after certain points until someone's argument comes up faulty. Making different, broad points in every post leaves no room or time to refute the entire argument and the debate becomes mundane and hard to follow.


                          • Dr. Lamerson, in his 7th round post said, " ... I am disappointed by the lack of response...", I have to say, as for me on the issue of Greek influence in Christianity, the feeling is mutual.
                            Help for

                            "...the Reformation broke with Rome but not Greece..." - Bob Enyart


                            • Understating the Obvious

                              By now I would have to assume that many people will set their clocks to ring once the debate concludes in it's entirety.

                              I for one am tired of hearing how important it is to have a clash of ideas and yet I find no evidence of Sam attacking Bob's hermeneutics which include NOAH, JOHAH and the concept of lesser and greater attributes...etc.

                              While I sit and wait for Sam's responses I am eager to read something new or that directly challenges Bob's approach. I am a staunch openviewer and I believe that Bob is doing a fine job at presenting the case for OV.

                              If you have been involved in debating or discussing this issue over the past few years you will have read nothing from Sam that is unique, except for the possibilitiy of ultimately denying that Christ emptied himself of the lesser attributes.

                              Please Sam, I beg you to attack Bob's position and stop whining about how Bob is ignoring your position.

                              Please comment specifically about how Greek philosophy played no part whatsoever in the historical declaration of theological constructs involving the character or attributes of God.

                              Please show that the NOAH and JONAH hermeneutics are deficient and ill equipped in rightly interpreting the totality of scripture and that it is NOT evidence that GOD does not know the future completely.

                              Please show how it is necessary that the Lord have foreknowledge to ensure a future outcome. Why isn't unilateral foreplanning sufficient to guarantee a specific outcome?


                              This is debate is already over unless there is a clash of ideas. If all you can do is rely on old rehashed arguments in the midst of a plethora of new, how can anyone come to the conclusion that not only that you won the debate, but that you are actually right.

                              Consider the possibility that what was predermined before the foundation of the world was that it wasn't predetermined before the foundation of the world...


                              • I for one am truly baffled by Lamerson's continued complaints of non-responsiveness on Bob's part. How far down into the ground does Bob have to pummel Lamerson's arguments before he will consider them responded too?

                                My recommendation to Bob at this point, since he needs to make a shorter post or two in the next couple of rounds is to take each one of Lamerson's questions and answer them as you would if answering to a 3rd grader. Perhaps then he'll get it.

                                Originally posted by Samual Lamerson
                                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?
                                YES! Of course! By all means! Please take all the words you need to post something substantive in response to Bob's posts. I, for one, would be willing at this point to completely wave the word limitation for Dr. Lamerson altogether. It would be difficult if not impossible for him, given the time constraints, to ever approach an average of 6000 words per posts even if he wanted to at this point.

                                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.
                                Dr. Lamerson. Guess what, you are not debating the grandstands, you are debating Bob, despite your protestations to the contrary. You are free to post responses of this nature in the grandstands yourself if you like but it seems out of place (to me) for this to be in the main debate thread.

                                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.
                                Nice. I don't care what Warfield, Berkhoff, Erickson, Reymond, and Grudam taught, I care about what the Bible teaches. Quoting a bunch of names does not establish anything except that perhaps several people can be right or wrong together on a particular issue. Why didn't you spend any time at all establishing your position here Biblically? It's not as if you were close to going over the word limit or anything. Did you expect that simply spouting of a list of names that most people have never heard was enough to establish your position? Surely not.

                                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.
                                I say get over it Dr. The fact that you seem incapable of getting the thrust of Pastor Enyart's rebuttal of your arguments doesn't mean they haven't been rebutted. He has responded to them multiple time now. It really makes one wonder if you are even trying.

                                2. Rev. Enyart, with all due respect, simply saying that you have answered my arguments does not do the trick.
                                It does if it's the truth Dr. Simply saying that Bob has been unresponsive doesn't "do the trick" either. You need to keep in mind that this entire debate is right here in front of us and we are more than capable of reading. All one has to do is go back and read posts 2b, 3b, 4b, or 5b to readily see that Bob has not only responded to your argument but demolished it.
                                I think the problem you have is that Bob Enyart is about a thousand times more aggressive than you are and you expected to be able to control the direction of the debate because you happen to win the right to post first. Bob didn't allow you advantage to keep him from presenting his side of the debate and you've been sulking ever since. Please will you just get over it and debate the issues that have been raised. You don't even have to debate them all just pick something and actually debate it. Bob is presenting everything under the sun because you are allowing him too by sitting over in the corner with your arms crossed insisting that you get your questions answered in the fashion you want them answered or else your just going to keep repeating yourself until he does. That sort of behavior is, I think, is beneath a man of your intelligence, education and position.

                                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.”
                                Here you immediately concede the point (or one of them anyway) that crushes your argument and then act as though Bob didn't even respond to the argument! How is it possible for someone to do that? I don't get it?

                                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.”
                                This is laughable. No response here is even warrented except to say that you seem to have intentionally ignored or else completely missed Bob's point.

                                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.
                                The word that comes to mind is, hypocrite. Bob put you in a difficult position by not responding? That would be funny it wasn't so ridiculous.

                                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.
                                If you had treated the rest of Bob's argument with this much respect and responded with this much substance this would have been the greatest debate on Open Theism of all time. If you will commit to doing so through out the rest of the debate perhaps it can still be salvaged.

                                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.

                                Mrs. Ketlle meet Mr. Black.

                                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.
                                Well no duh! Has anyone suggested such a thing?
                                And I think we can use just the normal definition of the word change. If that word doesn't do it for you then find another word. You aren't Webster nor are you English language oracle of theological definitions. You have no authority nor cause to redefine the meaning of perfectly understandable and totally common English words. Words mean what they mean, live with it or find another word to express you ideas.

                                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.
                                I'll take this to mean that you think that such occurrences are simply figures of speech then.

                                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.
                                No one has even hinted that there are no figures of speech in the Bible and Bob has at least presented something that might potentially be used to determine what is and is not a figure. Oh, how I wish you could be persuaded to do the same.


                                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.
                                Yeah well, you are Dr. You lost at about the 2nd round.

                                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.
                                First of all I'll believe it when I see it in regards to your promoting this debate. And the lack of clash is your fault not Bob's. Bob clashed your position into oblivion about 5 posts ago.

                                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.
                                Well then pick one and lets get focused? Why do you feel the need to wait on Bob? Just do it.

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