The Fall and Free Will

General discussions about Christianity including salvation, heaven and hell, Christian history and so on.
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August
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#46

Post by August » Tue Nov 14, 2006 3:26 pm

Byblos wrote:
FFC wrote:
August wrote:I fail to see how they were in a no-win position if they were one of the pivotal pieces in making God's plan happen.


I'm talking specifically about the test of obedience in the garden. God told them that they could eat from every tree of the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and that in the day that they did they would surely die. Whether it was part of His plan or not (which, believe it or not, I agree with you that it was) God knew that they would fail and not obey Him and die. That may have been a win win situation for God and those who would believe in him through his Son, but it certainly wasn't for Adam and Eve, because there was never a chance that they could obey. The "win Win" situation was contingent that they "lose lose"...which they did.

I understand that God is sovereign and He can do whatever He wants to do, and that whatever He does is good, but like Byblos, my finite mind has trouble comprehending it all.


I guess what it boils down to is the following:

1) Was there a possibility that Adam and Eve would not have fallen?
2) If yes, would that have constituted a change to God's plan to be glorified?

From what I gathered so far is that even though Adam and Eve were created sinless, they were also created with the propensity for temptation. It was that propensity for temptation that proved to be uncontrollable. With this line of thinking God's plan to be glorified is never in jeopardy and at the same time, evil, not God, is made to be the architect of sin. Brilliant!
Gents, this is not a new discussion. In fact, Augustine (no relation), already spoke about the 4 states of man in 415AD.

He said the 4 states of man are:
1. Pre-fall man: posse peccare, posse non peccare - able to sin, able not to sin
2. Post-fall man: non posse non peccare - able to sin, unable not to sin
3. Reborn man: posse non peccare - able to sin, able to not sin
4. Glorified man: non posse peccare - able to not sin, unable to sin

FFC, in answer to your question, you assume up front that it was a losing proposition for Adam and Eve. But put yourself in their shoes for a second. You are created fully human, able to sin or not sin. You know that God is good, and that He has a plan for you. The plan is spelled out for you when He told you to rule over His creation on His behalf.

Along comes a snake, who uses your ability to sin. What have you lost? You have not lost anything up to now, you have gained knowledge and experience of good and evil. Along comes God, who demands to know what is going on. Now you seek cover, and try to blame your wife and the snake. This is all your own doing. God gave you a unique human nature, that you can choose whether to sin or not. You choose to sin.

Things start going downhill fast from here, or so it seems. God doesn't buy your blame-shifting efforts, and the three of you have to bear the consequences of what you did. The snake gets to eat dirt, Eve gets to have painful childbirth, and you get to slog away to make a living. What did you lose?

Well, you did lose the easy life, and direct companionship with God. Ah, and God did say that He was closing the doors on eternal life. But did you, and those that are to be born out of you, really lose eternal life? Nope. But you do have to do a couple of things to get it, and this is where the gospel comes in. The "punishment" of life on earth is a small test to see if you will repsond to God's call, or if you will try to blame-shift, like Adam did.

In addition, from the sinful loins of Adam and Eve came Jesus, the very atonement for the sins they committed and caused all of humanity grief. That is a win, just like being a part of the plan here and now is a win.

Let me add one more thing here. We have the benefit of hindsight, so we can easily look at this situation and say that it was unfair. However, Adam and Eve did not know they were going to sin. Their expectations were different to the different scenarios we can now speculate on.
Acts 17:24-25 (NIV)
"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. [25] And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else."

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#47

Post by FFC » Tue Nov 14, 2006 4:12 pm

Yes, but it was still all predetermined, correct? From the foundation of the world? God doing all according to His good pleasure...totally apart from man's efforts or ability?
"Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible." - Corrie Ten Boom

Act 9:6
And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?

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#48

Post by August » Tue Nov 14, 2006 5:25 pm

FFC wrote:Yes, but it was still all predetermined, correct? From the foundation of the world? God doing all according to His good pleasure...totally apart from man's efforts or ability?
Sure, but I still don't follow how that ends up in a moral condemnation of God. All is for His glory, and He planned it so that His glory will be maximized.

What you seem to be saying is that God was morally wrong to create humans as He did to have His plan come into fruition.

The reason I jumped on to this thread is that I saw God being put in the dock as the accused. God does not need me or anyone to defend Him, but you should be aware that by accusing God, you are putting yourself above Him.
Acts 17:24-25 (NIV)
"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. [25] And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else."

//www.omnipotentgrace.org
//christianskepticism.blogspot.com

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#49

Post by Jac3510 » Tue Nov 14, 2006 5:30 pm

Not that FFC needs me to defend him, August, but surely you can see that he's not "accusing" God, but rather a particular interpretation that people have come up with about Him. Secondly, this interpretation is by far not universal. By your logic, if I want to justify some action, I can just label it "God" or "God's will" and it becomes unasailable, as I have no moral right to "judge" that concept.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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#50

Post by August » Tue Nov 14, 2006 5:38 pm

Jac3510 wrote:Not that FFC needs me to defend him, August, but surely you can see that he's not "accusing" God, but rather a particular interpretation that people have come up with about Him. Secondly, this interpretation is by far not universal. By your logic, if I want to justify some action, I can just label it "God" or "God's will" and it becomes unasailable, as I have no moral right to "judge" that concept.
And if you read carefully, I did not say that FFC was accusing God. I said that the reason I jumped on the thread was that I saw it may lead to that position. From his latest post, and some previous, I know that he is struggling with the whole concept of the fall, and trying to figure out how it happened. That kind of struggle can easily lead one to say that it was immoral for God to use Adam and Eve in that way.

What interpretation is not universal? I am well aware that not everyone regards God as sovereign, if that is what you mean. I took great care in explaining everything I said so that we can understand what happened where.

As for "my logic", do you then reserve the right to morally judge what God did? God does not need my, or anyone's justification for what He does. By all means, go ahead and make moral judgments on God if it makes you happy.
Acts 17:24-25 (NIV)
"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. [25] And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else."

//www.omnipotentgrace.org
//christianskepticism.blogspot.com

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#51

Post by Jac3510 » Tue Nov 14, 2006 5:48 pm

No one doubts that God is sovereign, and no one is making moral judgments on God. However, those of us who do not hold to Calvinism, strict or otherwise, do have a moral problem with the idea that God predetermined Adam's fall for whatever reason. Again, by your logic, I can claim anything I want and put it under "God" and you can make no moral argument whatsoever.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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#52

Post by August » Tue Nov 14, 2006 6:12 pm

Jac3510 wrote:No one doubts that God is sovereign, and no one is making moral judgments on God. However, those of us who do not hold to Calvinism, strict or otherwise, do have a moral problem with the idea that God predetermined Adam's fall for whatever reason. Again, by your logic, I can claim anything I want and put it under "God" and you can make no moral argument whatsoever.
Let me first aplogize if my language came across as a bit strong. I did not mean anything malicious, and I'm sorry if I offended you or anyone else. In retrospect, it may seem that way.

I honestly did not even think that this had anything to do with Calvinism. As far as I know, all schools of doctrine acknowledges God's predestination to some extent. It is either based on God's plan that has been in place since the beginning of time, or on His foreknowledge of what humans will decide sometime in future. If you hold to a position that differs from either, then I'd be interested to hear about it. If one does not acknowledge God's preplanning, then you are in effect saying that God's plan can be frustrated, or that God is reactive, and therefore not sovereign.

I think that you are being somewhat disingenous here. I spent a lot of time and space to explain why I thought it happened like it did. I did not just put out a one-liner and said it was God's will, now all of you be quiet. You seem to say that it is my logic, or my opinion, and that since I am, in your opinion making a false claim or claims here, I need to bulletproof it by saying that it is God's will. If you have specific disagreements, then voice them.

On what basis, or by what standard, do you wish to make moral arguments in cases like this? In this specific discussion, what is being discussed is whether there could, or should have been any other outcome than what actually happened. Since it happened as it did, we then have to believe that it was because God willed it to be so, and therefore it is good for His ultimate purpose. Do you disagree with that?
Acts 17:24-25 (NIV)
"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. [25] And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else."

//www.omnipotentgrace.org
//christianskepticism.blogspot.com

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#53

Post by FFC » Tue Nov 14, 2006 6:22 pm

You can relax, August, I'm not morally accusing God or even heading in that direction. I just have questions that sometimes appear that way because I'm still trying to sort the whole issue out in my mind. I pose the same questions to Him in prayer and I think He is okay with that. I'm sorry if I came off too abrupt. :(
"Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible." - Corrie Ten Boom

Act 9:6
And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?

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#54

Post by August » Tue Nov 14, 2006 6:27 pm

FFC wrote:You can relax, August, I'm not morally accusing God or even heading in that direction. I just have questions that sometimes appear that way because I'm still trying to sort the whole issue out in my mind. I pose the same questions to Him in prayer and I think He is okay with that. I'm sorry if I came off too abrupt. :(
I'm sorry if it came across as me accusing you. That was not the intent. I just wanted to alert you, and everyone else, on a sensitive topic like this that it may lead to us putting God in the dock. I believe I saw the signs that it may go there, so that is why I jumped in.
Acts 17:24-25 (NIV)
"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. [25] And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else."

//www.omnipotentgrace.org
//christianskepticism.blogspot.com

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What if Adam & Eve had obeyed?

#55

Post by DonCameron » Tue Nov 14, 2006 7:00 pm

August asked,

If (Adam had obeyed God) , how would we have been able to tell people that God is good, and that He awaits us with open arms if we turn to Him and accept His free gift?


Seems to me if Adam had continued to obey God then nobody would need to "tell people that God is good" because everyone would already now that He is good because everyone would be living forever in peace, perfection and happiness on a paradise earth.*

Also: Did you ever consider that if Adam and Eve had remained faithful the earth may have become comfortably filled** before we were born and therefore we who are alive today may never have come into existence?

Just another weird though of mine.

Don
_____________
* This assumes that since God said that death would only happen if Adam disobeyed, therefore if he obeyed he (and his discendents) would not die.

**God told Adam and Eve to multiply and fill the earth. Eventually the earth would become filled to capacity. If that happened before we were born then there woudn't have been any place to put us.

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#56

Post by Jac3510 » Tue Nov 14, 2006 7:05 pm

Well, apologies all around the board, then - I was writing at work, so I had to keep my comments very short and to the point, which made them come across more pointed than intended.

Anyway, August - you should be familiar with my views on the predestination of individuals as it relates to salvation. Those ideas are applicable, though not directly transferable, to OT saints. The predestination of events is of a very different nature, and my view is somewhat different than the way I've usually heard it taught. But, my view is also completely based on an atemporal God and a "static" view of time (modified, again - K and I had a good discussion on that).

I don't have the time to argue it in detail, but if you want, I can lay out the position for you to consider. And as for your last question, the only thing I would disagree with is the word "willed" - I see a difference in the active and passive (or permissive) will of God. Most people - most notably Arminians - who take that stance DO have a reactionary God. I don't think I do, as I see God's plan first in which He knows how people will react to it and allows their choices.

ANYWAY - I'm in a bit of a rush, so I have to run.

God bless
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: What if Adam & Eve had obeyed?

#57

Post by August » Tue Nov 14, 2006 7:08 pm

DonCameron wrote:August asked,

If (Adam had obeyed God) , how would we have been able to tell people that God is good, and that He awaits us with open arms if we turn to Him and accept His free gift?


Seems to me if Adam had continued to obey God then nobody would need to "tell people that God is good" because everyone would already now that He is good because everyone would be living forever in peace, perfection and happiness on a paradise earth.*

Also: Did you ever consider that if Adam and Eve had remained faithful the earth may have become comfortably filled** before we were born and therefore we who are alive today may never have come into existence?

Just another weird though of mine.

Don
_____________
* This assumes that since God said that death would only happen if Adam disobeyed, therefore if he obeyed he (and his discendents) would not die.

**God told Adam and Eve to multiply and fill the earth. Eventually the earth would become filled to capacity. If that happened before we were born then there woudn't have been any place to put us.
Don, looks like you have the quoting thing down.

If Adam continued to obey, how we would have known good? You can only know that something is good if you also have knowledge of bad. The only way that they received that knowledge was through experience, by eating from the tree.

You are probably right in your second point. The earth would have filled up pretty quickly in between painless childbirth and no death.
Acts 17:24-25 (NIV)
"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. [25] And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else."

//www.omnipotentgrace.org
//christianskepticism.blogspot.com

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Re: What if Adam & Eve had obeyed?

#58

Post by Byblos » Tue Nov 14, 2006 7:16 pm

August wrote:You are probably right in your second point. The earth would have filled up pretty quickly in between painless childbirth and no death.


Well the universe is pretty large. As necessity is the mother of invention, I'm sure we would've found a way to colonize it by now :wink:. After all, all the geniuses ever born would still be alive today (scary thought, really).
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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Re: What if Adam & Eve had obeyed?

#59

Post by FFC » Tue Nov 14, 2006 7:40 pm

Byblos wrote:
August wrote:You are probably right in your second point. The earth would have filled up pretty quickly in between painless childbirth and no death.


Well the universe is pretty large. As necessity is the mother of invention, I'm sure we would've found a way to colonize it by now :wink:. After all, all the geniuses ever born would still be alive today (scary thought, really).
Byblos takes on a Sci Fi flavor :lol:
"Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible." - Corrie Ten Boom

Act 9:6
And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?

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#60

Post by ttoews » Tue Nov 14, 2006 8:26 pm

August, earlier you had said
August wrote::

Are you saying that God should just have:
1. Never created mankind, so we could have avoided all this unpleasantness?
2. Created mankind already fallen, so that He could show His grace, and avoid the "test"?
3. Created mankind but as emotionless automatons or robots, that had no ability to choose anything?

The answer to 1. is that God created because He wanted to. It was His wish to do so. And He did.

As for 2., that is simply impossible. God could not have created anything not good, that is contrary to an all-righteous God.

3. means that God could never be loved, and that means that He could not love. We know God is love, so through His love, He wants to be loved. We see in numerous places that God commands us to love Him. He cannot be truly loved if it is a forced love.
...and a little later you also said:
Gents, this is not a new discussion. In fact, Augustine (no relation), already spoke about the 4 states of man in 415AD.

He said the 4 states of man are:
1. Pre-fall man: posse peccare, posse non peccare - able to sin, able not to sin
2. Post-fall man: non posse non peccare - able to sin, unable not to sin
3. Reborn man: posse non peccare - able to sin, able to not sin
4. Glorified man: non posse peccare - able to not sin, unable to sin
I note Psalms 139:13 which reads: For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.

and I note Romans 9:20-21 But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'" Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

from these verses I gather that God is currently in the business of creating/knitting/making post-fall man.....who, by Augustine's categories is the most "not good" of the four varieties, and so it would seem that your statement that "God could not have created anything not good,"must be incomplete (somehow). (I figured I should muddy the waters with this point as I don't want FFC to become too confident in his understanding of this matter. :lol: ) would you care to elaborate?

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