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Are you a sincere seeker who has questions about Christianity, or a Christian with doubts about your faith? Post them here to receive a thoughtful response.
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JCSx2
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Check this view

#1

Post by JCSx2 » Fri Feb 15, 2008 4:22 am

This is a copy and paste from another forum, how would you respond to this line of questioning. (yes this is a call to arms from my fellow Christians)

Thanks for the assistance
Interesting that people rabbit on about free will, seek and you will find etc.... But the bible doesn't exactly paint that picture.

And if anyone can provide decent answers to my questions it would be really appreciated:

Question 1: Who did Jesus die for?

Answer 1:

John 3:15 "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.[/b]

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Jesus died for those that believe in him

Question 2: How do you believe?

Answer 2:

Acts 13:48 "And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed."

Eph.1:4-5 "He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will."

Eph 1:11 "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will"

2 Tim.1:9 "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began."

So believers are predestined by god (even before the world was created) and not by free will; so therefore it is god who decides who shall be saved and who shall not.

Likewise non-believers have been predestined to an eternity of torment and suffering in hell..... (no parole there then!)

Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.[/u]"

So in conclusion.....

To have believe in Jesus as the son of god and the saviour of mankind you need to have faith.

To have faith you need to have been predestined by god to believe.

If you are bad you were predestined by god to be bad and ungodly.

So were is the free will?

How can one search for something if you were not predestined to search & believe?
EDIT: MY response was

Even non believers can become believers, you have that free will. YOU can choose.

Not much of an argument But true.
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Re: Check this view

#2

Post by FFC » Fri Feb 15, 2008 7:23 am

Yes, we have had this very debate on several other threads on this board. Maybe one of our esteemed moderaters can suggest a good one. All I know is that although I lean towards believing in free will, I can also see the other side in scripture. My biggest problem is what the notion and logical conclusion of a God who predectinates both good and evil does to His charactor.

Sin nature or not, how can we be blamed or judged if we had no ability on our own to choose good or evil? It is true that we all deserve hell now because of Adam and Eve's sin, but what of Adam and Eve's choice that resulted in sin passing on to them. Many Calvinists say that even that was predestinated, as well as Lucifer "decision" to rebel against God and cast out of heaven. Does this not make God the author of sin? Does this not also take the shine off of His Love and mercy? Yes, I know that God can do whatever he wants to do with his creations..potter and clay and all that...but where is the mercy and love in predestinating a person to choose to sin and then judging and condemning that person to hell?

I do respect the viewpoint of the Calvinist, and can even see the logic and scriptural evidence...I just cannot get by what it does to God's charactor.
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Re: Check this view

#3

Post by Kurieuo » Fri Feb 15, 2008 5:32 pm

Firstly, a correction. Christ died for all of us, Christian and non-Christian alike: "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8). Yet, relationally, reconciliation with God can only happen with those who accept and place their faith in Christ. God may be able to forgive all the sins in the world, however God can not force people to love Him back.

That said, the case for both our free will and God's predestining us still remains, for both concepts are supported in Scripture. Therefore one either must believe Scripture contradicts itself by supporting both ideas as true, or otherwise one must believe there is not necessarily a contradiction between predestination and free will where touched upon in Scripture. I am a compatibilist and see no contradiction between the two.

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Re: Check this view

#4

Post by B. W. » Sat Feb 16, 2008 9:40 am

This is where people miss it on the subject of predestination as discovered in Genesis 3:9, “But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, "Where are you?" ESV

Simply stated God's 'all powerfulness, all knowingness, and everywhereness' must be taken together and not argued, as is the manner of some, that any of these attributes of God are more superior than another. That is what happens in Hyper-Calvinism. The subject of predestination argues in support that God's sovereign 'all powerfulness' supersedes God's 'all knowingness, and everywhereness,' and in fact ends up, knowing or unknowingly, excluding these when explaining predestination.

Read Genesis 3:9 again: “But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, "Where are you?" ESV

Ask yourself what would have happened if God never said a word — called out to Adam and Eve?

Would humankind be able to save themselves if God never spoke a word to humanity? The answer is NO.

Since God did speak to Adam and Eve and continues to do so would not God also know our responses to his call before we were ever born? Then shape us individually based upon his foreknowing all things and also be more than able to fashion anyone according to his plans and own purposes?

Note - Jeremiah 1:5, “"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations." ESV

You see, God is so all powerfully powerful that he foreknows all things — before anything ever was. God calls out to everyone already knowing if they'll hear or if they'll refuse to hear. He does so letting his Glory be known:

Psalms 96:10, “Say among the nations, "The LORD reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity."

The Glory that reveals his equity and fair/upright judgments — That He is a God of absolute equity, and fair uprightness…This is something that only God can do.

It is God's word — his call that engages and actually violates free will with a choice — return to the Lord or reject him altogether. He already knows the answers but He still calls nevertheless proving what about God? Sin remains the creatures own...salvation belongs to the Lord.

Ask yourself what would have happened if God never said a word — called out to you or I? Where would we be? What choice would we have had then? What predestined fate would we have then…-
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PS--It is his call — that engages a free mind to decide…from this God already knows our answers and can shape events and people's lives according to his own will and plans…rightly, fairly, equitiously, etc and etc proving his Glory and that He is God worthy to be praised.…
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Re: Check this view

#5

Post by FFC » Sat Feb 16, 2008 8:33 pm

I am a compatibilist and see no contradiction between the two.
I believe that in my heart too...but i would be lying if I said I understood it.
"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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Re: Check this view

#6

Post by Kurieuo » Sat Feb 16, 2008 9:05 pm

FFC wrote:
I am a compatibilist and see no contradiction between the two.
I believe that in my heart too...but i would be lying if I said I understood it.
I see there are adequate explanations out there which shed light on the compatibility of the two. However, even without, I think it is often better to accept two seemingly contrary things which ring true even without really understanding how it can be so.

For example, in this case, there are good sounding reasons for lifting up God's sovereignty (which is really what predestination comes down to for many) for it means God is in control of all that goes on no matter how bad things seem, yet there are also good points for lifting up our freedom to choose where we just know we ought to be held responsible and accountable for our decisions and actions. If one finds their self swinging back and forwards as they read, for example, Calvinist vs Armenian (and all in between) debates surrounding this issue, then it seems to me such a person is simply better off accepting both as true even if they can not explain how.

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Re: Check this view

#7

Post by Jac3510 » Sat Feb 16, 2008 9:58 pm

k wrote:such a person is simply better off accepting both as true even if they can not explain how.
I read this, and my first thought was, "Wouldn't this be sort of intellectually dishonest?"

It's one thing to accept things on authority. But it is quite another to accept to contradictory ideas on authority, even if that authority is the same for both statements. Are there any other areas in our lives where we are just content living with internal contradictions?

Meh, maybe it's just too easy for me to dismiss the whole thing, given my views that I've gone over more than several times on these boards. To me, the self-contradiction is proof that the underlying assumptions are wrong. It doesn't do any good, in my view, to be so spiritual as to just live with contradictions by labeling them paradoxes that we just can't understand . . .

But to add real value: why not just suggest that Christ died for ALL people, and that ALL people's sins have already been forgiven, because that is what Christ's death was designed to do? Then get rid of the assumption that sins are what send a person to Hell, and you avoid the charge of universalism. Instead, accept the proposition that our position in Adam (thus, our deadness) is what condemns us. Finally, separate election and predestination as distinct doctrines.

Election: God chooses all those who are in Christ for salvation.
Predestination: God predestines those individuals He decided to save with redemption, adoption, rewards, etc.

How do you get "in Christ"? Through faith. Thus, free will stands in complete harmony with God's sovereignty. I don't want to debate the issue. We've done that too many times. I just thought I'd lay out in bare-bones format my response so the OP can have another view.

God bless
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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: Check this view

#8

Post by Kurieuo » Sat Feb 16, 2008 10:42 pm

Jac3510 wrote:
k wrote:such a person is simply better off accepting both as true even if they can not explain how.
I read this, and my first thought was, "Wouldn't this be sort of intellectually dishonest?"

It's one thing to accept things on authority. But it is quite another to accept to contradictory ideas on authority, even if that authority is the same for both statements. Are there any other areas in our lives where we are just content living with internal contradictions?
Meh, maybe it's just too easy for me to dismiss the whole thing, given my views that I've gone over more than several times on these boards. To me, the self-contradiction is proof that the underlying assumptions are wrong. It doesn't do any good, in my view, to be so spiritual as to just live with contradictions by labeling them paradoxes that we just can't understand . . .
Cut my words up if you like, but many should and ought to take what I said as a whole. Any one reading my words carefully, I believe should be able to see I am not here advocating an intellectual dishonesty.

"I think it is often better to accept two seemingly contrary things which ring true even without really understanding how it can be so."

"in this case, there are good sounding reasons for lifting up God's sovereignty... yet there are also good points for lifting up our freedom to choose..."

People often assume, and I believe unjustifiably so, a priori contradictions exist on certain issues. Often it is an ignorance or lack of understanding on behalf of the person who assumes internal consistencies exist. For example, the Trinity or Christ's incarnation (fully divine and fully human) are often declared to be logically inconsistent. JWs say it is illogical to say there exists three Gods yet one God, yet this is a mis-portrayal of what Trinitarians believe as being three in one.

Predestination and free will is one such issue I believe is declared to be internally inconsistent by many without proper reasons for doing so. It is not obvious to me that ones action being predestined is inconsistent with one choosing to do that action. It is not obvious to me that God electing some to be saved is inconsistent with those people God elected freely choosing God. Thus, if one intuits truth exists on both sides (such as FFC), why should FFC not embrace a compatibilist position? This is hardly being intellectually dishonest.

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Re: Check this view

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Post by B. W. » Mon Feb 18, 2008 12:16 am

+
For, we, humans, our finite minds seem fixated on only understanding things in a black / white either or manner. When it comes to predestination, this is apparently so, so much so that people forget this: For God to be absolutely sovereign involves him knowing all things absolutely and being omni presently everywhere totally.

God's sovereignty is not threatened or deemed weakened by human choice — how could it be since God knows everything about a person before they were ever born [Jeremiah 1:5]? Without his word, his call, every one of us would be damed. Now that God has called in various ways and means declaring his Word, we now have a choice thrust upon us midst our hiding in sin. That choice is initiated by God and not man — is it not?

Lay aside the black / white either or of Calvinism verses Arminanism and simply ponder this: God absolute sovereignty involves him knowing all things absolutely and being omni presently everywhere totally.

God is a just potter saying too the clay: “"O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand.... 7 If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, 8 and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it,” Jeremiah 18:6-8 — ESV

Notice: God is the potter — he speaks — if repentance is true — punishment is relented.

Next:

Jeremiah 18:9-10
, “And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, 10 and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it. “ ESV

If a people fail to do what? Be puppets on strings? Or fail to listen to God voice?

Before God shapes the clay — he speaks to it - keep reading...

Isaiah 42:9, “Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them." ESV

This is a theological principle — God declares his word and how people respond to the choice God offers determines how he shapes the clay - never forget he foreknows our answers before we ever came to be — now continue to read:

Isaiah 45:9-10, "Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, 'What are you making?' or 'Your work has no handles'? 10 Woe to him who says to a father, 'What are you begetting?' or to a woman, 'With what are you in labor?'" ESV

Context is crucial to understand the Potter and the wheel. Problems begin with the doctrine of predestination because many stop here shouting 'eureka' reading no further and miss the point. However for you please precede a few verse further in same chapter:

Isaiah 45:19-23, “...I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, 'Seek me in vain.' I the LORD speak the truth; I declare what is right. 20 "Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, you survivors of the nations! They have no knowledge who carry about their wooden idols, and keep on praying to a god that cannot save. 21 Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me. 22 "Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. 23 By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: 'To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance...'” ESV

God confronts humanity forcing a choice upon us all. God speaks to the clay before shaping it — what manner of vessel will you be — one of honor or wrath? Read Jeremiah again as well as the Isaiah quotes again and you'll unlock what Paul is really saying Romans 9. Never forget that God already knows our answers before he even speaks to us and can so shape destinies of men for his own purposes before our time began

God already foreknew all our answer but he still asks — unstopping the ears or hardening the heart…

Keep pondering this mystery: Since God's absolute sovereignty involves him knowing all things absolutely and being omni presently everywhere totally he can also preordain without any violation of justice toward the creature he endowed with his gift of an intelligent reasoning mind. Sin remains the creature's own; thus, God righteously requires an account. Before that accounting comes, he speaks, shaping the clay.

Now that is sovereign!

We serve a truly great God!
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Re: Check this view

#10

Post by Canuckster1127 » Mon Feb 18, 2008 9:23 am

I've long been convinced that much of the Arminian - Calvinism conflict is an artificial one rooted in our finite nature attempting to understand the immutable characteristics of God, which are infinite and not completely understandable by us from our perspective.

It's important. There are strong Scriptural supports for all elements appealed to on both sides. Where we get into difficulty is when we lift one or two elements of God's nature over the others and on that basis we proof text a systematic theology which we then camp in and defend stubbornly. I try very hard not to make it a cop-out or to dismiss any scriptural defenses on either side, but I agree that there is a great deal of value in stepping back, and not relying upon our understanding for the final understanding of this. I Corinthians applies not only outside the church in terms of the folly of relying on our own understanding but also within the Church when we attempt to make intellect the foundation of our theology.

Mystery is to be embraced by the Christian. It is the foundation of our faith in many regards. It is the gospel itself. It is why Christ is foolishness and a stumbling block to all.

Ironically, I see it much differently when it comes to Young Earth vs Old Earth Creationism. In this regard I see that scripture is being abused by YEC and further science abused and a stumbling block set up that is not Christ and further is not necessary nor tied at all to the Gospel message.

Now that I've rambled and probably confused the issue more here than needed, I'll end. ;)
Dogmatism is the comfortable intellectual framework of self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is more decadent than the worst sexual sin. ~ Dan Allender

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Re: Check this view

#11

Post by JesusSmiles » Thu Mar 13, 2008 2:08 pm

JCSx2 wrote:EDIT: MY response was

Even non believers can become believers, you have that free will. YOU can choose.

Not much of an argument But true.
It IS true and no argument would really be needed.

God planned for each man to serve Him and complete their mission on an individual basis.
God knows in advance who will and who won't.
Those who 'will' took advantage of their free will and are now predestined to do great things and be with God for all of eternity.
Those who 'won't' took advantage of their free will and are now predestined to be fail and be separated from God for all eternity.
God is Great, and therefore He will be sought.
Good is Good, and therefore He will be found.
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Re: Check this view

#12

Post by fdesilva » Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:22 pm

I tend to think Gods knowing , to be the most perfect knowing that we also have in a more imperfect way.
For example if I had to go to the corner store and buy some bread. I will be able to predict most aspects of my journey fairly accurately. Intelligence by its very nature is prophetic. So the perfect intelligence of God is perfect in prophecy.
Now lets take a father or mother who has just had an infant baby. The parents of the baby will know that the baby is going to start walking in the near future. However the baby in order to walk will need to use his/her free will and help from the parents. When the baby does walk it will always surprise the parents. The fact that they new does not take away the joy of the parents or of the baby. The baby had to use its free will and do the hard walk.
I think God knows what our future in the same way. His knowing has no bearing on our free will as much as a parents knowing has no bearing on the Childs free will.
Finally take any person on earth and ask them do you have the ability to say something like “Jesus if you are real save me” most honest people will say yes, they have the free will to say it. The fact that they can say it if they wanted to is what shows they have free will.

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