Why Debate in Defense of Free Will?

Later today Dr. Johnathan Pritchett and I will be debating in defense of the biblical teaching of mankind’s free will (the liberty of the will to choose between available options.) You can watch the debate here:

I just returned from a trip to Israel with some great apologetic leaders and I had the opportunity to discuss this upcoming debate with them. Of course, most of our conversations centered around the teachings of Jesus while we traveled the streets of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Capernaum, Caesarea and Joppa. This discussion of man’s free will, however, is not at all unrelated to what we learned about in our travels. In fact, I suggest this issue is foundational to understanding the heart of God in the incarnation and crucifixion of Christ.

This debate, whether one recognizes it or not, centers around the Holiness and Goodness of God as demonstrated in the very words and actions of Christ Himself. Allow me to explain why I believe this to be true.

Over the years in discussing this topic I have been accused of “worshipping the idol of human autonomy.” But, have those who bring this kind of harsh accusation really unpacked the meaning of these terms, or sought to understand our intentions? I suspect most have not.

Websters defines “autonomous” simply as “undertaken or carried on without outside control.” The term “autonomous” describes things that function separately or independently. For instance, once you move out of your parents’ house, and get your own job, you will be an autonomous member of the family. This adjective autonomous is often used of countries, regions, or groups that have the right to govern themselves. Autonomous is from Greek autonomos “independent,” from autos “self” plus nomos “law.” <link>

Some wrongly assume that my use of this term is meant to suggest that mankind’s existence, sustenance and natural abilities are independent of God altogether. This is absurd, of course. Paul asked his readers, “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7), which strongly implies that all our abilities, including the ability to make choices, is given to us by a good and gracious God.

We can affirm that “God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him,” (Ps. 115:3) while still holding on to the equally valid truth that, “the highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to mankind” (Ps. 115:16). This means it pleases God to give man a certain level of “autonomy” or “separateness.”  This is a biblical view of divine sovereignty and human autonomy.  As A.W. Tozer rightly explains:

“God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to exercise moral choice, and man from the beginning has fulfilled that decree by making his choice between good and evil. When he chooses to do evil, he does not thereby countervail the sovereign will of God but fulfills it, inasmuch as the eternal decree decided not which choice the man should make but that he should be free to make it. If in His absolute freedom God has willed to give man limited freedom, who is there to stay His hand or say, ‘What doest thou?’ Man’s will is free because God is sovereign. A God less than sovereign could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures. He would be afraid to do so.” – A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy: The Attributes of God

Some Calvinists have wrongly concluded that the Traditionalist seeks to downplay the sovereignty of God and highlight the autonomy of man, when in reality we seek to maintain the right biblical understanding of man’s autonomy so as to better highlight the Sovereignty, Love and Holiness of our God.

I have already unpacked the attribute of God’s Sovereignty HERE and God’s Love HERE, so I would now like to turn our attention to the attribute of God’s Holiness.

If you notice that the Tozer quote above is from his book, “The Knowledge of the Holy.”  Tozer’s intentions, like that of the Traditionalist, is in defense of God’s Holiness, not an attempt to undermine other equally important attributes of our good God.

I suspect that Tozer, like myself, would wholeheartedly agree with John Piper’s teaching on God’s Holiness here:

“Every effort to define the holiness of God ultimately winds up by saying: God is holy means God is God. Let me illustrate. The root meaning of holy is probably to cut or separate. A holy thing is cut off from and separated from common (we would say secular) use. Earthly things and persons are holy as they are distinct from the world and devoted to God. So the Bible speaks of holy ground (Exodus 3:5), holy assemblies (Exodus 12:16), holy sabbaths (Exodus 16:23), a holy nation (Exodus 19:6); holy garments (Exodus 28:2), a holy city (Nehemiah 11:1), holy promises (Psalm 105:42), holy men (2 Peter 1:21) and women (1 Peter 3:5), holy scriptures (2 Timothy 3:15), holy hands (1 Timothy 2:8), a holy kiss (Romans 16:16), and a holy faith (Jude 20). Almost anything can become holy if it is separated from the common and devoted to God.

But notice what happens when this definition is applied to God himself. From what can you separate God to make him holy? The very god-ness of God means that he is separate from all that is not God. There is an infinite qualitative difference between Creator and creature. God is one of a kind. Sui generis. In a class by himself. In that sense he is utterly holy. But then you have said no more than that he is God.” – John Piper (emphasis added) <link>

Notice the common term used to describe God’s Holiness and man’s autonomy? The word “separate” is referenced in both definitions. This is significant.

Some Calvinists fail to see that the Traditionalists defense of man’s separateness (autonomy) is actually in defense of God’s Holiness, or as Piper put it, God’s separateness “from all that is not God.” But, in a world of divine meticulous control of all things, what is left to be considered “separate” in any meaningful sense of the word?

One would think that sinful intentions would be included in “all that is not God,” yet many Calvinistic scholars affirm that man’s sinful intentions are unchangeably predetermined or brought about by God so as to glorify Himself (see HERE).

We must understand that John Piper, while holding to the same definition of Holiness as Tozer (or Traditionalists), comes to a very different conclusion about the nature of our thrice Holy God.

Continuing with the quote above, Piper concludes:

“If the holiness of a man derives from being separated from the world and devoted to God, to whom is God devoted so as to derive his holiness? To no one but himself. <link>”

Piper fails to relate his understanding of God’s Holiness (separateness) to the nature of morally accountable creatures (as autonomously separate), but instead uses this attribute to emphasize his Calvinistic view of God’s self-seeking nature. Piper is arguing that God is all about Himself because there is no “higher reality than God to which He must conform in order to be holy.” In other words, God is all about God because there is nothing more Holy than God. But, what does this even mean unless you establish that which God has separated Himself from in the meticulously determined world of Piper’s Calvinism? How can one celebrate God being about God unless you separate that which is not about God from that which is about God? What exactly can be deemed as “separated” in a worldview where absolutely everything is brought about by God for God? Holiness loses its meaning in a deterministic worldview because nothing can be described in any significant way as being “separate” from God and His will.

It is senseless to speak of God’s Holiness (as separateness) unless there is something outside of God from which to separate. God cannot be separated from Himself or His own choices. And if you insist on the one hand that God is unchangeably determining all creature’s sinful inclinations so as to glorify Himself, then how can you on the other hand claim that God is wholly separate from those same sinful, yet self-glorifying means?  You might as well be claiming A is not A (God is separate but not separate).

Listen, either God is implicated in moral evil or He is not. He is either Holy or He is not. He is either separate (an affirmation of both Divine Holiness and human autonomy) or He is not (a denial of both Divine Holiness and human autonomy). Do not allow the Calvinists to have their cake and eat it too on this point.

John Piper takes the attribute of Holiness to teach that “God is all about Himself.” Whereas, Tozer takes the attribute of Holiness to teach that while God would be perfectly just to be all about Himself and His own glorification, He graciously chooses to glorify undeserving creatures who have separated themselves from Him through autonomously sinful choices.

Traditionalists, like myself, simply believe that Tozer is right and Piper is wrong.

————

To hear why Dr. Ravi Zacharias believes Free Will is essential in a biblical defense of God’s existence and His goodness please watch this:


(portions of this article are taken from an earlier blog post)

503 thoughts on “Why Debate in Defense of Free Will?

  1. Yes sir….. gotta go with Tozer not Piper on this. Nice post Leighton.

    Too bad that Tozer does not have a blog, webmaster, and videographer to promote his cause. Tozer kind a gets lost in the din of perpetual noise being made by newly-minted, cage-rage, Internet-savvy, YRR youngsters!

    But, as I have stated many places on your site, Piper doesn’t really believe (practice) what he says cuz he is regularly encouraging us with “don’t waste your life”—- as if man has choices….and indeed he does!

    Yesterday I quoted Piper…. “Paul knew that his faith in Christ would be utterly inauthentic and false, if he abandoned the pattern of life set by Jesus and no longer cared for other people” (showing that Paul was partly responsible for the authenticity, and non-abandonment of his faith.)

    Previously I have mentioned Piper’s “Satan’s 10 Strategies against you” message, which is Traditionalist, even Arminian to the core.

    With the plethora of writing done by front-line Calvinists, it is no challenge at all to find multiple places where they are inconsistent…. or even consistently Arminian!

      1. Ha! Truly the internet has put all positions on steroids!

        Thirty plus years ago arriving on the mission field we saw people working together from all stripes and types.

        Now…..buzz phrases like “are they filled with the Spirit?” (meaning exhibit sign gifts) or “do they believe in the Doctrines of Grace?” (meaning Calvinist) are the get-in-the-club cards.

        You used to have to read (poorly-printed) books about extra, new ideas on the Spirit (“How to Be Filled”), and certainly it was hard to find anyone who could go deep into Calvinism (the chosen were frozen back then, and Pink, vanTil, and Boettner were dusty on the top shelf in the reference section).

        But now….thanks to the speedy internet, you can become a name-calling, brow-beating, heresy-labeling, club-member, expert on any position in a matter of days.

        Get to it! Crash-course, face-feed yourself on any one view (do NOT go to sites that offer a different perspective!) and you will be hip in no time!

        Put down your Bible —-and certainly no reading of big chunks at a time! Meditate on the few verses (or half verses) we supply you with….and pull those babies out anytime anyone says anything.

        And by all means filter all reading of the Word (that you may stumble upon) through the lenses we have provided on our web site!

  2. WHAT IS A PARALOGISM:

    A paralogism is a mistake in rational reasoning, forwarded by an arguer, which the arguer is convinced is rational. In other words, paralogism is a manifestation of self-deception, which employs rhetorical devices designed to give an unsound argument the appearance of soundness.

    The language tactics of the paralogism are often tactics in which words, which have unpalatable meanings, are replaced with words that have palatable meanings – but the palatable meaning is a ruse. In this tactic, the replacement word is equivocal.

    The recipient interprets the replacement word with its palatable meaning, while the arguer secretly attributes the unpalatable meaning of the word replaced to the new word. In this way, the replacement word functions as a masquerade.

    The recipient, typically on the basis of unfounded trust, may then be lured in. And by accepting the ruse as sound reasoning, may thus be lured into embracing the arguer’s irrational conceptions through the “Trojan Horse” of the paralogism.

  3. Dr. Flowers writes, “I have already unpacked the attribute of God’s Sovereignty HERE.”

    I see a simple misunderstanding that can be corrected. In the referenced article Dr. Flowers gets it right, “”…a distinction has to be drawn between the endless power of God and how He chooses to use that power…” and then forgets what he said and gets it wrong, “It is the Calvinist who denies the eternal attribute of omnipotence, by presuming the all powerful One cannot refrain from meticulous deterministic rule over His creation.” The distinction here is “…how He chooses to use…” His power. God is sovereign and is always in control of His creation – even meticulous control as the Calvinist maintains – but God varies the manner in which He exercises His power under that control or the degree to which He interferes in the affairs of men.

    Examples: (1) In the garden, God is present but does not interfere in the temptation – yet God is still exercising meticulous control in that situation as Satan cannot enter the garden unless God decrees so and God chooses not to help Adam/Eve. (2) Satan cannot touch Job until God removes His protection of Job. God is in control and removes His protection of Job and sets boundaries on what Satan can do. (3) The crucifixion of Christ is according to God’s decree, but accomplished as God gives Satan freedom to enter Judas to betray Jesus and then God does not interfere with the Jews as they get Pilate to order the crucifixion. To show that God is in control, we read that the Jews were not able to touch Jesus earlier because it was not His time. I tend to think that there is general agreement by all parties on sovereignty if we distinguish between God’s absolute control over His creation and the exercise of His power as part of this control.

  4. Dr. Flowers writes, “…many Calvinistic scholars affirm that man’s sinful intentions are unchangeably predetermined or brought about by God so as to glorify Himself”

    Dr. Flowers holds that God is omniscient, so he agrees that God predetermined all things when He created the universe. The disagreement is over the manner in which events are predetermined and God’s control over these events as they come about. We know that God is always present at every event and can interfere in the affairs of men )e.g., to destroy Sodom, protect Joseph, impregnate Mary) or not interfere (e.g., the temptation of Eve; the stoning of Stephan). The objection seems to be the Calvinist claim that God exercises meticulous control through His decrees to interfere or not interfere in the affairs of people. Of course, whatever God does is, by definition, done for His glory.

  5. Reading trough the Bible and today is Ezekiel, Heb 7, Ps 105, Pr 27.

    Ezekiel (talking about the prophets of the day)
    ——-
    13:6 Instead, they have told lies and made false predictions. They say, ‘This message is from the Lord,’ even though the Lord never sent them. And yet they expect him to fulfill their prophecies! 7 Can your visions be anything but false if you claim, ‘This message is from the Lord,’ when I have not even spoken to you?

    8 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because what you say is false and your visions are a lie, I will stand against you, says the Sovereign Lord.
    ——-

    One of the hundreds of time where the Lord call Himself “Sovereign Lord” and then goes on to be clear that people (even the prophets of His *chosen* people) are doing something that He did NOT tell them to do.

    In what way can people defend the philosophy that everything that happens was predetermined by God?

    He states clearly—– hundreds of times (not in proverbs about casting lots) —- stamping it with His seal “Sovereign Lord” —- that He in no way told these people to do these things.

    And yet…… and yet….. people continue to impugn His holiness by attributing all evil thoughts and actions to Him.

    Now ….wait for a response to this (quoting of Scripture many places) to be some sort of “since God is sovereign [in the way that we want to interpret sovereignty] then He ‘necessarily’ must have predetermined all thing, even evil.”

    Why? Because a man-made philosophy says so.

    1. Great post FOH!

      I totally agree.

      Calvinism co-opts the language of scripture because Calvinism’s primary power is the manipulation of language.

      Subjectively deduced interpretations masquerading as objective compulsory interpretations are simply dishonest.
      Calvinism is untrustworthy.

    2. FOH writes, “In what way can people defend the philosophy that everything that happens was predetermined by God? ”

      That our sovereign God predetermines everything means that He has the final say on all that happens – false prophets could not tell lies without God decreeing (predetermining) that they have freedom to do so – same as people who sin. God can choose not to interfere in the affairs of men thereby according them freedom to do whatever their hearts desire (within whatever boundaries God may have set). Per Ephesians 1, “God works all things after the counsel of His will.” This includes the evil that people do as the story of Joseph and the crucifixion of Christ makes clear. Not even you dispute this. So what is your point?

      1. FOH writes, “In what way can people defend the philosophy that everything that happens was predetermined by God? ”

        By double-speak!! That is the always the answer we end up with.
        The trick for the Calvinist is to make his double-speak using the cunning craftiness of man – in order to minimize detection.

  6. A little farther in today’s reading. In Psalm 105.
    ——–
    43 So he brought his people out of Egypt with joy,
    his chosen ones with rejoicing.
    44 He gave his people the lands of pagan nations,
    and they harvested crops that others had planted.
    45 All this happened so they would follow his decrees
    and obey his instructions.

    ——–
    Once again referencing Passover and Egypt! (The ones who escaped death were the ones who applied the blood on the door in faith).

    Why did He do all of this? “…..so they would follow his decrees and obey his instructions.”

    Did they? No. Did He want them to? Yes.

    The Bible is clear, in thousands of places, that God does not always get what He wants.

    He is loving, just, and holy….and He can do what He wants. But that is not the same as “everything that happens is what He wants.”

    1. Great points FOH!

      The way the Calvinist gets around the clear reading of these texts is by twisting language and logic into a pretzel.

      The consequence of their language and logic creates an image of a self-contradicting deceiver who speaks with forked tongue.

      The judge ordered that the advertising agent be placed on the witness-stand and swear to tell the whole truth.
      Then the judge leaned over and asked him the question:

      “Did your advertisement *LEAD* customers TO BELIEVE the product was safe to drink? ”

      Advertising Agent:
      “The advertisement *PERMITTED* customers TO BELIEVE the product was safe to drink.”

      1. BrD
        This kind of thing happens all the time. Piper is incredibly inconsistent. He will go to great lengths to insist that “sovereignty” means God controls all actions, thoughts, and words….. and yet even in the explanation of this philosophy he regularly uses the words “permits” “allows” etc in reference to God and man.

        If one believes that God ordained/will/decreed all things….one cant then —in the same sentence—say that God ‘allows’ in reference to man.

      2. FOH writes, “If one believes that God ordained/will/decreed all things….one cant then —in the same sentence—say that God ‘allows’ in reference to man.”

        In this context, God allows in the sense of granting people freedom to act without interference from Him. So, God “allowed” the Jews to stone Stephen. If God had not wanted Stephen to be stoned, He would have determined to intervene to prevent that outcome.

      3. FOH writes, “If one believes that God ordained/will/decreed all things….one cant then —in the same sentence—say that God ‘allows’ in reference to man.”

        There are many subtle word tricks Calvinist’s use to get around this.
        One Calvinist will say that Calvin’s god DECREES [X] to happen and then ALLOWS [X] to happen, or PERMITS [X] to happen or doesn’t RESTRAIN [X] from happening.

        Another Calvinist will say Calvin’s god ordains/decrees/determines/renders ALL things Universally – but not Adam’s sin in the garden.
        But of course that is a direct contradiction.

        But these word games become easy to see, once the discerning Christian learns what to look for.
        Calvinists speak with forked-tongue.

        That is is their LOT in life!! 😀

      4. I totally agree with you FOH.

        That, in fact is the nature of Theological Determinism Calvinists are saddled with.

        Dr. William James, an internationally recognized Philosopher, and Psychologist and considered one of the leading thinkers of the late nineteenth century calls it a “quagmire of evasion” by stealing the name of freedom to mask their underlying determinism.

        Immanuel Kant recognized as making a major contribution to modern Philosophy called it a “wretched subterfuge” .

        Both of these men clearly recognized the Calvinist is simply forced by his own theology into a life of dishonesty.

    2. FOH writes, “The Bible is clear, in thousands of places, that God does not always get what He wants.”

      The Bible is also clear that God grants people freedom to choose whether to obey Him.

  7. CALVINISM AND DOUBLE-SPEAK:

    What is doublespeak – Dr. William Lutz:
    Double-speak is language designed to evade responsibility, make the unpleasant appear pleasant, or make the unattractive appear attractive. Basically, it is language that pretends to communicate something which it really doesn’t. It is language designed to mislead, while pretending not to.

    Is it done consciously? Oh yes very consciously! Double-speak is not a slip of the tongue, or a mistake in the use of language. It is exactly the opposite. It is language used by people who are very intelligent, and very sophisticated in the use of language. And who know that you can do an awful lot with language. From 5th century BC in Greece, to Julius Caesar, and of course Nazi Germany which thrived on double-speak.

    Groups use double-speak when they want to hide or obfuscate unpleasant aspects of their system, or manufacture a persona that would otherwise not be attributed to them.

    We will probably never be rid of double-speak because it is a tool to manipulate people. But we can defend ourselves against it by becoming much aware of it such that we’re not mislead through it.

    But secondly, there should be times when we simply should not tolerate this use of language. Language that is used this way has a corrupting influence within the societies in which it is allowed.

    1. Br.d., I would agree with much of your explanation of doublespeak. I would, however, suggest that along those who ‘create’ it, and those who deliberately adopt it in order to present an illusory image, there is a third category of naive, unthinking believers who have been indoctrinated/brainwashed by it. They are, in effect, victims of doublespeak. This can include pastors and teachers.

      Like victims of sexual abuse, who often perpetuate their own harmful experiences by replicating the behavior of their offender, many Calvinists merely mimic what they have learned. These are the ones we must try to reach, to help them understand the error and harm that has been done first to them, then perpetuated by them. These people have been spiritually and emotionally abused, and sad as it is, it has been demonstrated repeatedly that many such individuals tend to continue the cycle of abuse rather than confront and condemn it. It is only when a person understands that they have been abused, that the trauma of what was done to them invoked unhealthy defense mechanisms that need to be examined, that they can admit to and overcome the damages of authoritarian abuse, whether physical, emotional or spiritual.

      This may seem over the top, but at its core, all abuse is an attempt to manipulate and control others through fear and self-loathing. One of the reasons abuse is so traumatic and difficult to overcome is that the victim experiences guilt for having desired or ‘needed’ parts of the process. In other words, a needy child will hungrily respond to the crumbs of attention that even a violently abusive parent offers, then loathe themselves when they are old enough to understand what they participated in. In a more subtle manner, spiritual abusers apply the same principles, throwing ‘crumbs’ to needy, hurting people who are looking for love, acceptance and meaning in life. Hence the success of cults which use, what appears to outsiders as appallingly obvious manipulation and abuse.

      The sad truth is that many needy people, looking for the balm of God’s healing touch, hungering and thirsting after righteousness and peace with God, are misdirected by not only crazy cults but ‘orthodox’ Institutional Religion into pursuing false idols with the clever doublespeak that distorts the true words and promises of God into some sort of man-made religion.

      Our first impulse may be to reject that this has anything to do with Calvinism, but anyone who has long been under its teaching can attest to the sense of self loathing that it invokes. It was very triggering to listen to that ugly, screaming voice insisting that we are ‘less than nothing’. I recalled the number of persons who tried to explain why they could not endure the teaching at my former church, as it was so condemning and destructive. On the bright side, I can attest to the joy, hope and sense of wonder that returned to my life upon abandoning Calvinism’s hopeless determinism for good.

      I assure you, precious reader, that you are not ‘less than nothing’ in God’s eyes. You are so utterly precious that He was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, and endure with longsuffering those who mock and scorn it, to reveal, once and for all, unquestionably, his heart of love for mankind. Woe to all false teachers who turn his manifestation of love and mercy into some sort of false ‘system’ of religion, whose ‘teachers’ must be unquestionably followed, and who

      “preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi [Priest, Pastor, Minister, etc.] by others. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.”

      Believing in the name of Jesus is not some ritualistic, mental assent to a set of doctrines, but a wondrous belief that, in spite of the sin and evil that surrounds us in this world, there is a God, he is good, and he loves us so much that he would suffer and die for us.

      1. TS00:

        1. It is amazing how many people will fill a stadium to hear Piper tell them “don’t waste your life!” “don’t do temporal things—do eternal things!” “use your passion to reach the lost!”

        While at the same time he is very clear in messages and blog posts that it has all been determined/ willed/ decreed ahead of time (even sin and heinous crimes) by God for His glory.

        There is definitely disconnect here. There is nothing “compatible” about this.

        2. You are right: men and women are created in the image of God. That is incredible and so often downplayed or ignored in discussions. God makes it very clear (as I have been sharing in Ezekiel) when “The Sovereign Lord” expresses (over and over and over) that He is doing X because His people did Y. He is responding to people’s actions.

        What’s more, dont passages like 1 Kings 11:12, 32, Is 37:35 demonstrate that God does things “For David’s sake”??? I mean….He does not say here “for my glory” or “for my name.” No! He says (Himself) for the sake of my servant David I will ……

        Dont these passages (in God’s eternal word) from “The Sovereign Lord” show us that (to God) man is not “less than nothing”??

      2. No truthseeker00 I think you are absolutely right!!

        When I read people like John Macarthur and John Piper, I find it very difficult to attribute the double-speak they produce as lack of intelligence. For those people its virtually impossible for me to not assume they know exactly what they are doing.
        And they simply justify the language of double-speak as integral to the belief system.

        However, I’ve also been very aware of experts such as Steven Hassan, Margaret Singer, and Robert Jay Lifton.
        These people have come a long way in researching how groups use various forms of influence to teach religious concepts that don’t add up logically.

        You are very correct to recognize there are people who are kind of like what Proverbs describes “they believe every word”.
        And there are sociological influences at work within groups that produce this phenomenon.

        Watch for example, this video presentation on the Solomon Asch conformity experiments on Youtube.
        Just go to Youtube and search for “Asch Conformity Experiment”

        Here are a few quotes:
        “the subject denies the evidence of his own eyes and yields to group influence”
        “this subject yielding is based on a distortion of his own judgment – he genuinely believes the group must be correct”

        Then watch what happens when the experiment adds a “partner” who disagrees with the group-think.
        The manipulation of the subject’s judgement by the group is significantly reduced.

        Hassan, and company discovered in some religious groups, anyone who expresses disagreement with the teacher/leader may be shunned, rebuked or censored by excoriation. If that person doesn’t come under conformity he will eventually be told he is unwelcome in no uncertain terms. Thus group leadership maintains a form of mental conformity over the members of the group.
        And group members are totally unaware – they genuinely believe the group is correct.

        Hassan is constantly asked at his lectures what type of people are drawn into these groups – are they weak minded?
        No – they come from all walks of life and academia.
        Social conformity is powerful and people who laugh at the thought of it have no idea how powerful it is.

  8. NECESSARY CONDITION vs. SUFFICIENT CONDITION:

    Definitions:
    A Necessary condition [A] for some state of affair [B] is a condition, which is necessary for [B] to obtain. This can be expressed as PROPOSITION_1: [B] if and only if [A].

    A Sufficient condition [P] for some state of affair [Q] is a condition which is sufficient for [Q] to obtain but not necessary for [Q] to obtain. This can be expressed as PROPOSITION_2: [Q] if [P] or [NOT P].

    The first-principle in Calvinism is stated as: [A] = Calvin’s god *MUST* first-conceive/ordain/decree/determine/render *EVERY* [B] that obtains. Thus we have PROPOSITION_1: [B] if and only if [A].

    Question: Why does Calvinism boast PROPOSITION_1 for good events while obfuscating PROPOSITION_1 for evil events, and for evil events attempt to masquerade PROPOSITION_2 in its place?

    1. br.d writes, “A Necessary condition [A] for some state of affair [B] is a condition, which is necessary for [B] to obtain. ”

      It is in poor taste to use a word to define itself. In this case, it would be better to say, “A Necessary condition [A] for some state of affair [B] is a condition, which is REQUIRED for [B] to obtain.” Example:(A) Oxygen is necessary, or required, to (B) start a fire.

      Then, “Question: Why does Calvinism boast PROPOSITION_1 for good events while obfuscating PROPOSITION_1 for evil events, and for evil events attempt to masquerade PROPOSITION_2 in its place?”

      It doesn’t. I think you made this up.

      1. br.d writes, “A Necessary condition [A] for some state of affair [B] is a condition, which is necessary for [B] to obtain. ”

        It is in poor taste to use a word to define itself. In this case, it would be better to say, “A Necessary condition [A] for some state of affair [B] is a condition, which is REQUIRED for [B] to obtain.” Example:(A) Oxygen is necessary, or required, to (B) start a fire.

        Then, “Question: Why does Calvinism boast PROPOSITION_1 for good events while obfuscating PROPOSITION_1 for evil events, and for evil events attempt to masquerade PROPOSITION_2 in its place?”

        rhutchin
        It doesn’t. I think you made this up.

        br.d
        I new your answer before you even posted it!!

        But alas – you will provide examples of the very thing you deny.
        Thanks rhutchin – this one will also be fun. 🙂

      2. br.d writes, “I new your answer before you even posted it!! ”

        Fortunately, you couldn’t deny it. Thanks for conceding the point.

  9. Ezekiel 14 again this morning.

    Three times in one passage we see this:

    ———-
    20 As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were there, they wouldn’t be able to save their own sons or daughters. They alone would be saved by their righteousness.
    ———

    Of course this is before Christ and the cross. But what does this mean: “…would be saved by their righteousness.” ?

    God consistently makes it clear in the word that the actions of individual are their own actions. According to Calvinism, these three verses (and thousands of other like them) should read something like “they would be saved by doing the righteous acts that I made them do….”

    Why does “the Sovereign Lord” make an effort in this passage (repeating 3 times which itself carries weight!) to tie his sovereignty together with the free (and good) choices of these men?

    To reinforce the idea that man is indeed free…..and all of this is His sovereign way of doing things.

    1. Excellent post FOH!

      William Lane Craig agrees with you:
      – quote: “What is needed to address these situations is a satisfactory theory of divine providence, which affirms both God’s sovereignty over all things and human libertarian freedom. Such an account is provided by……..”

      -quote:
      “Universal Divine Causal Determinism cannot offer a coherent interpretation of Scripture. The classical Reformed divines recognized this. They acknowledge that the reconciliation of Scriptural texts affirming human freedom and contingency with Scriptural texts affirming divine sovereignty is inscrutable.”

      1. Quote from Craig, “[The classical Reformed divines] acknowledge that the reconciliation of Scriptural texts affirming human freedom and contingency with Scriptural texts affirming divine sovereignty is inscrutable.”

        And thus, we have the non-Calvinist looking for a way out of this dilemma with Molinism being the latest poster child. It all comes down to the definition of free will – a definition that non-Calvinists have yet to configure in a way that would differentiate themselves from the Calvinists.

      2. William Lane Craig:
        Quote “[The classical Reformed divines] acknowledge that the reconciliation of Scriptural texts affirming human freedom and contingency with Scriptural texts affirming divine sovereignty is inscrutable.”

        rhutchin:
        And thus, we have the non-Calvinist looking for a way out of this dilemma with Molinism being the latest poster child. It all comes down to the definition of free will – a definition that non-Calvinists have yet to configure in a way that would differentiate themselves from the Calvinists.

        br.d
        1) But has what Calvin supposedly “figured out” REALLY an explanation – or does the Calvinist simply make believe it is?
        2) And if what Calvin supposedly “figured out” were REALLY the true gospel then Calvinists wouldn’t be forced into a language of beguiling double-talk.
        3) And they wouldn’t have a deity that is the “author of evil”
        4) And they wouldn’t have to twist language and logic into deceptive sophisms in order to get people to embrace them.
        5) And they wouldn’t have a deity that speaks with forked tongue.

        Now if one is willing to make-believe all of those problems magically don’t exist – and live in a magical double-think world that puffs up the flesh. Then yes – that is one’s decision. 🙂

      3. br.d writes, “br.d
        1) But has what Calvin supposedly…”

        LOL!! br.d makes it clear that he doesn’t have a definition of free will. Very funny routine!

      4. br.d
        1) But has what Calvin supposedly “figured out” REALLY an explanation – or does the Calvinist simply make believe it is?
        2) And if what Calvin supposedly “figured out” were REALLY the true gospel then Calvinists wouldn’t be forced into a language of beguiling double-talk.
        3) And they wouldn’t have a deity that is the “author of evil”
        4) And they wouldn’t have to twist language and logic into deceptive sophisms in order to get people to embrace them.
        5) And they wouldn’t have a deity that speaks with forked tongue.

        Now if one is willing to make-believe all of those problems magically don’t exist – and live in a magical double-think world that puffs up the flesh. Then yes – that is one’s decision. 😀

        rhutchin:
        LOL!! br.d makes it clear that he doesn’t have a definition of free will. Very funny routine!

        br.d
        Sanity is not about confrontation – It’s about filtering.
        Having stable and sound thinking – is about discerning – and saying “no” to the enticements of the double-minded. 😉

      5. br.d writes, “Having stable and sound thinking – is about discerning – and saying “no” to the enticements of the double-minded.”

        LOL! Again, br.d makes it clear that he cannot define free will. This is a big problem for the non-Calvinist. The non-Calvinist exclaims, Free Will! Free Will! but still cannot define what he means by Free Will. So, again, we see br.d conceding this through his continuing inability to define Free Will.

    2. FOH writes, “To reinforce the idea that man is indeed free…..and all of this is His sovereign way of doing things.”

      But even Calvinists admit to this. The issues are whether God grants them such freedom and what does that freedom entail. If you oppose Calvinism on this, then your position is that they have an inherent freedom with which they are born and are able to exercise that freedom without any constraints by God.

      Then, “According to Calvinism, these three verses (and thousands of other like them) should read something like “they would be saved by doing the righteous acts that I made them do….”

      Then you are saying that they have their own righteousness without God having to give them such righteousness.

      1. rhutchin
        The issues are whether God grants them such freedom and what does that freedom entail. If you oppose Calvinism on this, then your position is that they have an inherent freedom with which they are born and are able to exercise that freedom without any constraints by God.

        br.d
        You mean like Calvinism’s force that forces without forcing!
        Or like the Calvinist who drives his car to the liqueur store – and doesn’t cause but merely permits his car to go to the liqueur store.
        Or like the Calvinist who takes his current deliberations to undetermined. But as a determinist, assumes the very opposite – that
        his deliberations are already determined and fixed in the past, such that his every neurological impulse was previously determined by something beyond his control.
        Or like the Calvinist who believes that every [B] is caused by an antecedent [A] but where [B] causes [B] causes [B] causes [B].
        Or like the Calvinist who sees people as self-motivated dominoes and the first dominoe starts the chain of events all by itself. 😉

      2. br.d writes, “You mean like Calvinism’s…”

        Then follows a list that has nothing to do with Calvinism – at least, br.d has never been able to explain how he thinks they might.

      3. br.d
        You mean like Calvinism’s force that forces without forcing!
        Or like the Calvinist who drives his car to the liqueur store – and doesn’t cause but merely permits his car to go to the liqueur store.
        Or like the Calvinist who takes his current deliberations to undetermined. But as a determinist, assumes the very opposite – that
        his deliberations are already determined and fixed in the past, such that his every neurological impulse was previously determined by something beyond his control.
        Or like the Calvinist who believes that every [B] is caused by an antecedent [A] but where [B] causes [B] causes [B] causes [B].
        Or like the Calvinist who sees people as self-motivated dominoes and the first dominoe starts the chain of events all by itself. 😉

        rhutchin:
        br.d writes, “You mean like Calvinism’s…”
        Then follows a list that has nothing to do with Calvinism – at least, br.d has never been able to explain how he thinks they might.

        br.d
        Its always so fun to watch you deny the very things you’ve previously stated – and will of eventually state again.

        God gave us Calvinism as a form of entertainment. 😀

  10. A few verses later in Ezekiel 15..

    ————
    6 “And this is what the Sovereign Lord says: The people of Jerusalem are like grapevines growing among the trees of the forest. Since they are useless, I have thrown them on the fire to be burned. 7 And I will see to it that if they escape from one fire, they will fall into another. When I turn against them, you will know that I am the Lord. 8 And I will make the land desolate because my people have been unfaithful to me. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”
    ———–

    Again the “Sovereign Lord” is going to explain some things about the way He does things and what sovereignty means…

    1.) “Since they are useless….”

    That is a conditional phrase. He is acting….”Since” they did something. He is not the origin of their actions…..and indeed did not want their actions take place.

    2.) “….I will see to it that if they escape from one fire…..”

    The “Sovereign Lord” is using a subjunctive here since the outcome is not known….. “if they do something….I will do this…” Notice He purposely does not say “when they escape from the fire…”

    3.) ….”because my people have been unfaithful to me.”

    Here He tells why again. He states (with book ends of “Sovereign Lord”) that He is doing something “because” they have done something.

    Why does He give us the impression that He is deciding this/ doing this because the people are unfaithful—— if He has predetermined His actions from before time?

    1. FOH writes, “Why does He give us the impression that He is deciding this/ doing this because the people are unfaithful—— if He has predetermined His actions from before time?”

      Because, per Ephesians 1, “God works all things after the counsel of His will…” In addition, God has always known what He would do. This is a prophecy given to Ezekiel and is a statement of fact – which Israel, if it heeded the words of Ezekiel, would, like Nineveh, escape the judgement.

  11. Along with Ezekiel today’s reading included Psalm 106. The Lord here is all caps “Sovereign Lord”

    ——–
    7 Our ancestors in Egypt
    were not impressed by the LORD’s miraculous deeds.
    They soon forgot his many acts of kindness to them.
    Instead, they rebelled against him at the Red Sea.
    8 Even so, he saved them—
    to defend the honor of his name
    and to demonstrate his mighty power.
    9 He commanded the Red Sea to dry up.
    He led Israel across the sea as if it were a desert.
    10 So he rescued them from their enemies
    and redeemed them from their foes.
    11 Then the water returned and covered their enemies;
    not one of them survived.
    12 Then his people believed his promises.
    Then they sang his praise.
    ——-

    The Lord rescued.
    The people rebelled.
    He rescued again for the honor of His name.
    THEN the people believed His promises……. They saw enough to believe (for a while) then off again they go.

    Calvinists insist that we believe (despite the clear indication from thousands of passages) that God is the origin/ decree-er of all of this fickleness of the people.

    Why? Because their man-made philosophy requires that they define “sovereignty” their way.

    I prefer the way God defines it over and over in the Word.

    1. Which leads me to Ephesians 4:14 – one of my favorite statements by Paul

      That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness….

      If Calvinism REALLY were the “so called” true Gospel – Calvinists wouldn’t be forced to rely upon the language of cunning craftiness.
      Calvnism’s deceitful language is Christianity’s most predominant indicator – something is very wrong with it.

      Dr. Steven Hassan, is one of the world’s leading experts in cults and aberrant religious groups and how they work.
      Every time he gives a lecture – the first question he is always asked is “what type of people get drawn into cults”?
      He always laughs because everyone assumes people who get drawn into cults are weak minded – emotionally based people.
      But the truth is, scientists, professors, engineers etc – people who are very rational and logical get drawn in.
      What happens internally within the person who perceives himself as rational and logical – who gets drawn in?
      His emotional – psychological needs over-rule his logic and his logic becomes skewed.
      He accepts all of the system’s rationalizations for its contradictions and ethical problems.
      Once his internal logic becomes skewed in favor of the sacred doctrine – his mind becomes trapped in a box.
      And it takes an act of divine intervention to set his mind free from that box.

      1. 2 Corinthians 4:2 (NIV)….
        Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth *plainly* we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.

        And yet Calvinism’s “gospel” is hidden from the lost.

      2. Phillip writes, “2 Corinthians 4:2 (NIV)….
        Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth *plainly* we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.

        And yet Calvinism’s “gospel” is hidden from the lost.”

        OK, I am confused. Immediately following the above citation, we read, “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving…” It says, ” …[the gospel] is veiled to those who are perishing…” which is your comment. So, what did you mean by your comment??

      3. 2 Corinthians 4:2 (NIV)….
        Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth *plainly* we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.

        And yet Calvinism’s “gospel” is hidden from the lost.

        br.d
        But you don’t know who the lost are – because that is the (quoting Calvin) “secret predestination of god”
        Who holds out salvation to you as (quoting Calvin) “a savor of greater condemnation”.
        Temporarily giving you a taste of salvation by deceiving you into believing you are saved.
        Only to (quoting Calvin) “strike you with even greater blindness”
        In order to magnify your torment in the lake of fire.

        So if you (as the proverb says) “believe every word” that Calvin teaches then you don’t know who 2 Corinthians 4:2 is applicable to.
        And you don’t know if god has predestined you for the gospel or for damnation.
        Unless you want to ague that you know (quoting Calvin) “the secret predestination of god”.
        So all the huffing and puffing and blowing the non-Calvinst’s house down is all an imagination. 😉

      4. br.d writes, “But you don’t know who the lost are…”

        I took Phillip’s point to concern the veiling of the gospel to the lost and not the identity of the lost.

      5. br.d writes, “But you don’t know who the lost are…”

        I took Phillip’s point to concern the veiling of the gospel to the lost and not the identity of the lost.

        br.d
        You might be right…..I took it to infer I don’t understand Calvinism because I am not elect – which would be consistent Calvinist thinking. But maybe I was wrong. :-]

      6. Br.D,

        Sorry for any confusion.

        Earlier you said…. “If Calvinism REALLY were the ‘so called’ true Gospel – Calvinists wouldn’t be forced to rely upon the language of cunning craftiness.”

        I concur. 2 Corinthians 4:2 just came to my mind in support of that.

        Blessings.

      7. I apologize Phillip!
        I misunderstood what you were trying to say.
        It was very Christ-like of you to reach back out.
        And appreciated!! :-]

        My sincere thanks!!

      8. Phillip to br.d writes, “Earlier you said…. “If Calvinism REALLY were the ‘so called’ true Gospel – Calvinists wouldn’t be forced to rely upon the language of cunning craftiness.”

        For future reference, here is the Calvinist gospel: “…Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,…by the grace of God I am what I am…”

      9. rhutchin:
        For future reference, here is the Calvinist gospel: “…Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,…by the grace of God I am what I am…”

        br.d
        That appears to be the gospel message from scripture.

        Calvin’s gospel – like so many other things in Calvinism comes in YIN-YANG (i.e. good-evil) form.
        Augustine called it: “The beautify of antitheses”

        THE YIN:
        “The damnation for the MANY was determined by immutable decrees made at the foundation of the world”

        THE YANG:
        “The salvation of the FEW was determined by immutable decrees made at the foundation of the world”

      10. br.d writes, “That appears to be the gospel message from scripture.”

        “…appears to be…” That’s an understatement. Given that you don’t seem to know the source in the Scriptures, you are tagged as Scripturally illiterate. I think most people had figured that out from your posts which always evidence a void in Scriptural citation.

        Then, “THE YIN:
        “The damnation for the MANY was determined by immutable decrees made at the foundation of the world”
        THE YANG:
        “The salvation of the FEW was determined by immutable decrees made at the foundation of the world”

        It is possible that God intends to save MANY. The problem is that more people are living today than lived throughout all of history. As it appears from prophecy that many will reject the gospel in the last days immediately before the return of Christ, it is likely that many will be damned. The outcome was known and made certain when God created the universe.”

      11. br.d
        The YIN YANG of Calvinism:

        THE YIN:
        “The damnation for the MANY was determined by immutable decrees made at the foundation of the world”

        THE YANG:
        “The salvation of the FEW was determined by immutable decrees made at the foundation of the world”

        rhuthcin responds:
        It is possible that God intends to save MANY. The problem is that more people are living today……..it is likely that many will be damned.

        br.d
        Thank you rhutchin – this is another good example of Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking.
        Calvin’s god is the sole determiner of the damnation of the MANY *AS-IF* he isn’t

      12. Br.D,

        This is one of your “as if” -isms.

        Calvinists give the impression as if “our” in 2 Corinthians 4:2 refers to all of mankind when they really mean only a select few.

        Blessings, brother.

      13. Br.D,
        This is one of your “as if” -isms.
        Calvinists give the impression as if “our” in 2 Corinthians 4:2 refers to all of mankind when they really mean only a select few.
        Blessings, brother.

        YES!!
        Another good one!! I will add this to my list Phillip.
        Excellent catch!! :-]

        Together, we’re learning how Calvinist double-speak works!!

      14. phillip writes, “This is one of your “as if” -isms.
        Calvinists give the impression as if “our” in 2 Corinthians 4:2 refers to all of mankind when they really mean only a select few.”

        We read:

        2 Corinthians 4
        1 Therefore, since WE have this ministry, as WE received mercy, WE do not lose heart,
        2 but WE have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending OURSELVES to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
        3 And even if OUR gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,…

        Call me confused again. Did you mean “our” in v3 or something else. Context says that “WE,” “OUR.” and “OURSELVES” refer to the same people – Paul and the believing Corinthians to whom he writes. So, I have no idea what you are talking about and how you (and the illiterate br.d) frame this in “as if” form.

      15. Phillip is quite correct to point out the logical entailments of Calvinism.
        And how Calvinists seek to evade those logical entailments using *AS-IF* thinking.

        This also helps us see that what scripture says (when read at face value) and what is logically entailed in Calvinism are two different things. And as such it simply highlights even more Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking.

        Calvin understands the cognitive dissonance his theology produces in his disciples.
        So he gives various instructions on how the disciple is to think.
        Unfortunately, it comes out as double-think.

        Phillip gets it! 😀

      16. And it takes an act of divine intervention to set his mind free from that box.

        Aw shucks, doesn’t that sound Calvinistic. 🙂 I am kidding, though, but perhaps it may take a little more accuracy on our part as well, to give God opportunity to move.

        Br. D, you say a lot of interesting things that make me think. I’m concerned though, when we start to merely analyze a doctrine intellectually and think that solves everything… I’m coming up on around my 10th year anniversary of a personal terrible struggle with the idea of Calvinism. Although a lot of what you say is factually true, I’m concerned it doesn’t address the spiritual component and attitudes that really make a difference. And after 10 years of intense debate, study and prayer, I’ve not converted a single person away from Calvinism; I’ve only come close with one person whom I became a real friend with. And I say to myself, as we all should, is there a way to be more effective? What am I doing wrong? I appreciate that your results and Dr. Flower’s results may be much better than mine, but this method of exposing logical inconsistencies just did not bear much fruit for me. The one time I almost touched and reached a heart, it was only the power of genuine concern and love that lifted the veil. It was the acknowledgement of the real strengths of Calvinism, a great sense of respect for the sovereignty of God, that drew this young man in, and the knowledge he had of my personal dealings with people, seeing behind the scenes, that touched his heart; knowing that there was never a case I did not spend significant time in prayer, did not genuinely care, even as I saw the damage this idealogy was doing as it spread in the Body. There is a method of fighting the darkness as they say by cursing it, or by wildly swinging punches directly at it; and there is a way that simply ignores the darkness by igniting even the smallest of light in the candle of our real Christ-like sacrifice and attitudes for others. People know when we genuinely care or not, and genuinely respect others and the issues behind them. Even now after all this time, all compatibilist silly speak aside, I still find the idea of a deterministic God logically coherent and terribly intimidating, and also containing some actual and important truths in the willingness to put God above ourselves and accept offensive truths he may bring to our lives; certainly not “entertainment.” It’s true I often long for a fair and open minded thorough discussion of Scripture, and leave feeling as disappointed as this recent debate, where the issues all become about spouting regurgitated lines of dogmatic unexamined propaganda from a spiteful spirit. But have we forgotten Christ’s admonition, “pray for those who mistreat you,” in our expectation that a brother should rise to a higher standard? Maybe these brothers exist to develop our own fruit? If we are the ones that know better, we are the ones with more responsibility, the ones who should not be as easily offended, the ones who should sacrifice more and care more and be willing to go that second mile to reach out to a brand and snatch it from the flame, and I see the power of that spirit in Dr. Flower’s own demeanor. I have to ask myself, did I spend as much time praying and caring as I did feeling even a bit superior as I wrote logically superior posts, the very attitude we often condemn the opposition for? Is that what shakes the world and touches hearts? And I look back and think I could have made a bigger difference if I just had a bigger heart.

        Your mileage may vary.

    2. FOH writes, “Why? Because their man-made philosophy requires that they define “sovereignty” their way.”

      The definition of sovereignty does not seem to be the issue you raise – How God exercises his sovereignty is the issue as you write, “…God is the origin/ decree-er of all of this fickleness of the people.”

  12. ALVIN PLANTINGA’S POSSIBLE WORLD AND ROBOTS

    Dr, Alvin Plantinga imagines a possible world where God creates people with a limited kind of freedom. God created this world with persons who can only choose good options and are incapable of choosing bad options. What would happen if one of them were faced with three possible courses of action – two of which were morally good and one morally bad?

    Such a person would not be free with respect to the morally bad option. That is to say, that person would not be able to choose any bad option, even if they had the illusion they could. Our hypothetical person does, however, have complete freedom to decide which of the two good courses of action to take.

    Plantinga denies that any such person has morally significant free will. People in this world always perform morally good actions, but they deserve no credit for doing so because it is the only action-option they have. People normally are given credit for doing something when it is the case, they had the ability to do otherwise, and sacrificed their option to do otherwise for a moral reason. But people in this hypothetical world cannot do otherwise – they cannot do wrong. So, when they perform the only action-option they can perform, they really are not doing anything that would deserve credit or praise.

    Plantinga likens this world of people to a world of robots. It would be ridiculous to give moral praise to a robot for putting a soda can in the recycle bin rather than the trash can, if that is the only thing the robot can do. Given that a creator determines what the robot does, and given the robot’s exposure to an empty soda can, it’s going to put the can into the recycle bin because that is what its creator determined it to do.

    The robot doesn’t have two choices – it only has one. It doesn’t have the choice between alternative possibilities. It cannot do otherwise. Similarly, the people in our hypothetical world under consideration, do not have two choices in respect to choosing bad vs. good. Since they have no action-options for choosing bad choices, this leaves them with only one choice – choosing good choices.

    Plantinga argues – since their creator has designed them in such a way that good is the only thing they can do, their options are the same as the robots. And they deserve no more credit or praise for doing what they do than the robot.

    1. br.d writes, “Dr, Alvin Plantinga imagines a possible world where God creates people with a limited kind of freedom. God created this world with persons who can only choose good options and are incapable of choosing bad options….Plantinga denies that any such person has morally significant free will.”

      This describes the condition of believers in heaven. Everyone else that I have read says that we will have free will in heaven even though we will not make morally bad choices.

      Then, “Plantinga likens this world of people to a world of robots….Plantinga argues – since their creator has designed them in such a way that good is the only thing they can do, their options are the same as the robots. And they deserve no more credit or praise for doing what they do than the robot.”

      I guess we will all be robots in heaven according to Plantinga. I think this is a minority opinion.

      1. If that’s the extent of the logical entailments you discern in Plantinga’s argument – I’d say your being consistent. 😉

  13. Daily reading Ezekiel, Hebrews, Psalms, Proverbs

    ———–
    Ez 16:42 “Then at last my fury against you will be spent, and my jealous anger will subside. I will be calm and will not be angry with you anymore. 43 But first, because you have not remembered your youth but have angered me by doing all these evil things, I will fully repay you for all of your sins, says the Sovereign Lord. For you have added lewd acts to all your detestable sins.

    ———–
    Fury, anger, angry all used to describe God. How is it that Calvinism teaches us that He is impassible? Of course there is no biblical evidence for this teaching (and thousands of verses to the contrary) but they must say it ….or it will ruin their philosophical position that “God does not change.”

    “….because you have not remembered…..” —–“I will repay….”

    Another of the unbiblical tenets of Calvinism is “God acts but never reacts.”

    Why doe He present Himself in His word as though some of the things He does are a reaction to what man does?

    Did He predetermine that —-even though He told them not to—- they sin?

    He tells them not to but predetermines that they do? He makes them do what He tells them not to do?

    Oh yes….for good measure he says “Sovereign Lord” just so we will understand His version of sovereignty (allowing….not causing…men to sin).

    1. Why doe He present Himself in His word as though some of the things He does are a reaction to what man does?

      I loved this question!

      Why would the scripture depict god acting like he is responding to man’s choices AS-IF he didn’t “render” them?
      Perhaps its because Calvinist double-think is simply creating an image after its own likeness.

  14. Same day, reading the Psalm 106 section:
    ————–
    Yet how quickly they forgot what he had done!
    They wouldn’t wait for his counsel!
    14 In the wilderness their desires ran wild,
    testing God’s patience in that dry wasteland.
    15 So he gave them what they asked for,
    but he sent a plague along with it.
    ————–

    Does God have patience? How does that work in the Calvinism form of immutability and impassibility? It doesnt.

    “So He gave them what they asked for….”

    Does that sound like He had predetermined it all along?

    Of course the Calvinistic answer is “He predetermined all things.”

    So why does He constantly make it sound like He is acting along with man in time and history?

    All these verses —-day after day—- are “all of Scripture.”

    Why must 30-40 “lens verses” make all these verses mean nothing?

  15. Concerning the debate on free will…the Calvinist was using Genesis 20:6 “……….therefore suffered I thee not to touch her”. He then went on a rant how this proves there is no free will in Genesis or the whole Bible. It’s amazing how the truth can be right under our nose and we don’t even smell it! Genesis 20:7 says…”Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.” It doesn’t seem hard to understand by this verse that God was giving Abimelech a free will option to return Sarah or not return Sarah and the consequences of that choice. Nothing in that verse seems to imply God was making the choice for him.

    Another proof in Genesis is in chapter 4, verse 6 and 7. “And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shall thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” It is obvious God gave Cain a way to be accepted by choosing to do well and warned him if he did not do well. Sure looks like free will.

    It was also said during the debate how that the scripture proclaims “the nations are as nothing before God”. The Calvinist went on to say if the nations are as nothing, how much more are the individuals as nothing and that man is nothing, nothing, nothing. Of course, that is not what the scripture was saying. If man is nothing as the Calvinist said, then the image of God is nothing, for we were made in his image and Christ died for “nothings”. And these “nothings” were not redeemed with silver or gold but with the precious blood of Jesus. You see there is not enough silver and gold to redeem one lost sinner. So who is the “nothing” of this Calvinist? Let the scripture speak….Gen1:26 …made in the image and likeness of GOD. Gen 2:7…a living soul. Acts 17:29….Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God…..

    We are the reason He died on the cross, He first loved us, Romans 5:8 The son of man is come to seek and save that which was lost.
    Luke 19:10 that’s us, lost sinners. He counted us worth saving! We don’t want to forget John 3:16 because that’s GOD loving a lot of “nothings” What about John14:1-3 I go to prepare a place for you. Who? all the “nothings”

    By now Calvinists are screaming ” man centered” “you’re robbing God’s glory” No, God will be glorified in his saints who were once “SINNERS” II Thess 1:10 He is most glorified by His LOVE!

    Brent Beauford

    ii

    1. survival853 writes, “Concerning the debate on free will…the Calvinist was using Genesis 20:6 …He then went on a rant how this proves there is no free will in Genesis or the whole Bible.”

      Guess I should go listen to it. With regard to free will, Genesis 20 is (or should be) used by Calvinists to make two points. (1) God oversees His elect and (2) God restrains the wicked from sin. God is not an absentee landlord. He created the world and is daily involved in the administration of His creation. That God intervenes in the affairs of men does not take away their freedom to choose but can influences what people choose to do – in this case, Abimelech.

      1. rhutchin
        God restrains the wicked from sin.

        br.d
        Thank you rhutchin – this is another great example of Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking.

        Calvin’s god “renders” man to commit sins *AS-IF* he doesn’t

        Like the Calvinist who drove his car to the liquor store and didn’t “restrain” his car from going to the liquor store. 😀

        Calvin’s god decrees and renders certain [A]
        Calvin’s god decrees [B] to be the inevitable unavoidable consequence of [A]

        And all this comes to pass *AS-IF* Calvin’s god restrains [A] or [B]

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doublethink
        Doublethink is notable due to a lack of cognitive dissonance—thus the person is completely unaware of any conflict or contradiction.

      2. br.d writes, “Calvin’s god “renders” man to commit sins *AS-IF* he doesn’t ”

        No. The Scriptures are clear that God gets His way and people’s freedom to choose is subordinate to God’s will. It was God’s will that Joseph be sold by his brothers; Joseph’s brothers were free to sell Joseph but not free to kill him.

        Then, “Like the Calvinist who drove his car to the liquor store and didn’t “restrain” his car from going to the liquor store.”

        Erroneously stated. This is the situation, “Like the Calvinist, knowing that a person is going to drive his car into the liquor store and didn’t “restrain” the person from driving his car into the liquor store.”

        Then, “Calvin’s god decrees and renders certain [A]
        Calvin’s god decrees [B] to be the inevitable unavoidable consequence of [A]

        And all this comes to pass *AS-IF* Calvin’s god restrains [A] or [B] ”

        Let’s illustrate this.
        God decrees and renders certain that Satan enters the garden to tempt Eve.
        God decrees that Eve eating the fruit to be the inevitable unavoidable consequence of Satan entering the garden to tempt Eve.

        All this comes to pass *AS-IF* Calvin’s god restrains Satan entering the garden or Eve eating the fruit. I don’t see how this makes sense to you – you are spouting nonsense.

      3. rhutchin
        God restrains the wicked from sin.

        br.d
        Thank you rhutchin – this is another great example of Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking.
        Calvin’s god “renders” man to commit sins *AS-IF* he doesn’t

        rhutchin:
        No. The Scriptures are clear that………etc etc etc

        br.d
        irrelevant red-herring
        Again – what is logically entailed in Calvinism vs what is stated in scripture are two different things.

        br.d
        AS-IF THINKING:
        Like the Calvinist who drove his car to the liquor store and didn’t “restrain” his car from going to the liquor store.”

        rhutchin
        Erroneously stated. This is the situation, “Like the Calvinist, knowing that a person is going to drive his car into the liquor store and didn’t “restrain” the person from driving his car into the liquor store.”

        br.d
        Thank you rhutchin that was a totally wonderful example of distancing language!! 😀

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distancing_language
        Distancing language is phrasing used by people to “distance” themselves or another person, from a statement, either to avoid thinking about the subject or to distance themselves or another person from its content. Euphemistic in nature, distancing language is often a means of self-deception, but distancing language used orally may indicate that a person is lying.

        br.d
        1) Calvin’s god decrees and renders certain [A]
        2) Calvin’s god decrees [B] to be the inevitable unavoidable consequence of [A]
        And the Calvinist then says: [A] and [B] come to pass *AS-IF* Calvin’s god restrains [A] or [B]

        rhutchin
        Let’s illustrate this……..
        All this comes to pass *AS-IF* Calvin’s god restrains Satan entering the garden ……..

        br.d
        Yes! Another excellent example of Calvinism’s distancing language!
        And thank you rhutchin for acknowledging Calvnism’s *AS-IF* thinking.
        You’ve been most helpful! 😀

    2. Excellent post survival853!!

      Well said!!

      We also understand the Calvinist is forced to infer the sacred doctrine into the reading of every verse.
      That is the nature of “Subjective Interpretation”.

      The human brain interprets data in accordance to what its mental processes are expecting to see.

      The non-Calvinist interprets god’s behavior and language within scripture reflecting a world in which man can “do otherwise” than god’s instructs man to do or not do.

      The Calvinist interprets the very same scriptures, and perceives god giving man no alternative, but then speaking to the man *AS-IF* he did give him alternatives. For the Calvinist’s brain – embracing the contradiction entails being taught double-think.

    3. Survival853, you are correct in detecting how selectively Calvinists – and many other christians – read their bibles in order to ‘get’ the meaning they are looking for. The first thing every reader of scripture constantly needs to remind himself of is that scripture was not written in English. So to say ‘scripture says . . .’ is inaccurate. At best we can say: ‘loosely translated, scripture says something like this’. And if we are genuinely interested in understanding scripture, we would be wise to use the tools available and seek a more clear understanding of what the original authors actually wrote, and how it was most likely interpreted by its readers/hearers. And all should be ashamed when they take words and phrases out of context and give them meaning they were never intended to have.

      We should be very hesitant to assert boldy that ‘scripture says this’ and ‘scripture says that’ as if we have the original words and their full meanings at our fingertips in our English translations. A little humility might serve most of us well, and lead us to ponder what other possible meanings a passage might legitimately be asserted to have, rather than rudely pushing our own interpretation down others’ throats.

      Who can possibly be so bold as to claim they know exactly the one and only meaning of anything another human being says? How dare we ever say anything beyond, ‘It seems to me . . .’, or ‘The way I understand this is . . .’? This was the arrogant, sinful error of Calvin and all other religious leaders who set themselves up as experts and authorities who cannot be challenged. Just who did they think they were?

      In that spirit, I would suggest that it seems to me that Genesis 20:6 is indicating that God withheld Abimalech from an error made in ignorance. Once he removed that ignorance, as you say, God presents a choice to Abimalech, along with warnings as to the consequences of not doing what God has made clear he wills for him to do.

      I would even suggest that this is much like Paul’s explanation of the purpose of the Law – to remove our ignorance, thus making us fully cognizant of God’s will, and of our privilege and responsibility to make choices and be held accountable.

      How uncivil and unChristlike we so frequently behave, even using our ‘prayers’ and God’s holy Word to make our own opinions known. Should we not instead be graciously, humbly seeking to understand other men’s ideas and opinions, seeking to learn and understand both from their wisdom and errors? One thing I can say for sure, is that there are few things any of us know for sure.

  16. I am listening to the debate. In his opening remarks, Dr. Flowers makes the point that the Scriptures affirm that people have choices. The issue is not whether people have choices but whether there are influences on men’s choices that determine the choice that the person makes. Then, the issue concerns the extent to which God is involved as an influence to determine a person’s choice. The real issues on free will were ignored judging by the opening statements.

    1. rhutchin:
      Then, the issue concerns the extent to which God is involved as an influence to determine a person’s choice.

      br.d
      Thank you rhutchin.
      Since your statement asserts that Calvin’s god’s “influence” is the “real” issue.
      And since Theological Determinism is the thesis that every [B] is caused by an antecedent [A].
      And since it is a first-principle in Calvinism that God is the first cause of every [A].

      Please provide EXPLICIT details in the step by step [A], [B], [C] [etc] process in which Calvin’s god imposes his “influence” on a person’s choice, in order to make that choice inevitable and unavoidable (i.e, “rendered certain”).

      NOTE: What occurs AFTER Calvin’s god’s influences the person is irrelevant to the question.
      We are solely focused on the “divine influence” process – please provide EXPLICIT details – what force is at work in that “influence”.

      1. br.d writes, “your statement asserts that Calvin’s god’s “influence” is the “real” issue.”

        Yes. The issue is not whether a person has a choice – all agree that the person does – but the influences on that choice and whether the influences determine the choice.

        Then, “…a first-principle in Calvinism that God is the first cause of every [A].”

        First cause – God created the heavens and the earth – but not always the immediate cause.

        Then “Please provide EXPLICIT details in the step by step [A], [B], [C] [etc] process in which Calvin’s god imposes his “influence” on a person’s choice, in order to make that choice inevitable and unavoidable (i.e, “rendered certain”).’

        Let’s use the garden as an example.

        A. God creates Adam/Eve and places them in a garden.
        B. God knows all future events that will play out at this point because those events depend on His actions.
        C. God removes His protection of Adam/Eve granting Satan freedom to enter the garden. It is a foregone conclusion that Adam/Eve are no match for Satan.
        D. God is an observer in the temptation of Eve but does not intervene to help Eve as she is deceived and eats the fruit.
        E. God is an observer as Eve offers the fruit to Adam and does not intervene to prevent Adam eating the fruit.
        F. The events were inevitable based on God’s action to release Satan to deceive and not helping Eve and then Adam.

      2. br.d
        “Please provide EXPLICIT details in the step by step [A], [B], [C] [etc] process in which Calvin’s god imposes his “influence” on a person’s choice, in order to make that choice inevitable and unavoidable (i.e, “rendered certain”).’

        rhutchin:
        Let’s use the garden as an example.

        A. God creates Adam/Eve and places them in a garden.
        B. God knows all future events that will play out at this point because those events depend on His actions.
        C. God removes His protection of Adam/Eve granting Satan freedom to enter the garden. It is a foregone conclusion that Adam/Eve are no match for Satan.
        D. God is an observer in the temptation of Eve but does not intervene to help Eve as she is deceived and eats the fruit.
        E. God is an observer as Eve offers the fruit to Adam and does not intervene to prevent Adam eating the fruit.
        F. The events were inevitable based on God’s action to release Satan to deceive and not helping Eve and then Adam.

        br.d
        1) As I expected – everything in your response is an evasion of the question

        You made the assertion that what is of “REAL” importance is the process by which Calvin’s god “influences” a person’s choice.
        When asked to provide EXPLICIT details in how Calvin’s god imposes that “influence” you spoke – none of your response address the question of “influence”.
        A. Adam and Eve’s creation was never a part of the question.
        B. What Calvin’s god “knows” was never a part of the question
        C. What Calvin’s god “removes” was never a part of the question
        D. What Calvin’s god “observes” was never a part of the question
        E. Same as D

        You were simply asked to provide information on how Calvin’s god INFLUENCES a person’s choice.

        2) It was clearly stated that no information was needed concerning AFTER god’s influence.
        3) You introduced a tangential element (ie. SATAN) into your response and SATAN was not at all a part of your original assertion.
        Unless you want to assert that SATAN is necessary for god to “influence” a person’s choices.
        If so you will need to address the same exact question on how Calvin’s god “influences” SATAN’s choices.

        So far you’ve simply evaded the question.
        Lets try this one more time – but I suspect you’re going to try to evade the question again.

        “Please provide EXPLICIT details in the step by step [A], [B], [C] [etc] process in which Calvin’s god imposes his “influence” on a person’s CHOICE, in order to make that choice inevitable and unavoidable (i.e, “rendered certain”).’

        You struck out the first time – you have 2 more strikes to go.

      3. br.d writes, “When asked to provide EXPLICIT details in how Calvin’s god imposes that “influence” you spoke – none of your response address the question of “influence”.”

        What I provided was an explicit description of God’s influence in bringing about the events in the garden and in the outcome. Take away God’s action – or nonaction – and you would not get the same outcome. That speaks of God’s influence.

      4. br.d
        “When asked to provide EXPLICIT details in how Calvin’s god imposes that “influence” you spoke – none of your response address the question of “influence”.”

        rhutchin
        What I provided was an explicit description of God’s influence in bringing about the events in the garden and in the outcome. Take away God’s action – or nonaction – and you would not get the same outcome. That speaks of God’s influence.

        br.d
        This is simply more evasive beguiling double-talk
        What you provided as an “explicit description” did not describe Theological Determinism.
        What you in fact described was “Natural Determinism” where entities such as Satan and humans are the causes of events.
        Satan is not a Theos, and neither is man.
        Additionally nothing you stated EXPLICITLY shows “influence” brought upon human choices by Calvin’s god.
        You described human choice being influenced by a Satan who is not a Theos.
        It appears facing this question puts you in a state of panic.

        Strike 2! – You have one more swing and then you’re out.

        Please provide EXPLICIT details in the step by step [A], [B], [C] [etc] process in which Calvin’s god imposes his “influence” on a person’s choice, in order to make that choice inevitable and unavoidable (i.e, “rendered certain”).

      5. br.d writes, “What you provided as an “explicit description” did not describe Theological Determinism.”

        I guess we cannot label actions God takes in ruling His creation as Theological Determinism.

      6. br.d writes, “What you provided as an “explicit description” did not describe Theological Determinism.”

        rhutchin
        I guess we cannot label actions God takes in ruling His creation as Theological Determinism.

        br.d
        I don’t know who “we” is in your question – but I don’t think it will be a prominent Calvinist.
        And I think within the conceptions you’ve described so far, you’re using the word “ruling” as a euphemism for “manipulating”.
        Either way – Calvin’s god is implicated in sins and evils – because Calvinist logic at minimum, makes him the sole necessary causal force for all sins and evils. Perhaps Calvinist logic infers Calvin’s god is to impotent to cause sin and evil all by himself?

      7. br.d writes, “I think within the conceptions you’ve described so far, you’re using the word “ruling” as a euphemism for “manipulating”.”

        Manipulating as illustrated by His restraining Joseph’s brother so that they cannot kill Joseph and giving them freedom so that they can sell him to the slave traders. As Romans 8, God is working, or manipulating, all things for good for His elect. God rules over the garden and manipulates Adam/Eve by freeing Satan to enter the garden. Similarly, God manipulates the Assyrian warriors in Isaiah 10 to do His bidding. Nothing wrong with God manipulating the pieces of His creation to get what He wants. It is God who rains fire down on Sodom or opens the womb of a women so that she conceives – God even conceives a child in the womb of Mary. God even manipulates you sustaining your life as you sleep each night and giving you strength to rise in the morning. God can put fear and depression in your heart as easily as hope and contentment. So, manipulate is a good word to describe what God does.

      8. br.d writes,
        “I think within the conceptions you’ve described so far, you’re using the word “ruling” as a euphemism for “manipulating”.”

        rhtuchin:
        Manipulating as illustrated by His…..[insert bible story here]

        br.d
        Thank you for acknowledging that Calvin’s god -quote “manipulates” people in order to -quote “actualize” all sins and evils.

        This confirms what William Lane Craig states about Calvinism:
        -quote
        God would be like a child who sets up his toy soldiers and moves them about his play world, pretending that they are real persons whose every motion is not in fact of his own doing and pretending that they merit praise or blame. I’m certain that Reformed determinists, in contrast to classical Reformed divines, will bristle at such a comparison. But why it’s inapt for the doctrine of universal, divine, causal determinism is a mystery to me.

    2. I sort of get what you’re saying; that choice could simply be a word, not describing multiple real possibilities, but rather the kind of sorting into the inevitable outcome. I guess Dr. Flowers would call this “animal instinct,” and whether we have to give in to that instinct, or whether God gives us grace not to, seems to be an issue Scripture often addresses

      If I pour a bucket of coins into a sorting machine, are those coins really making choices when they fall into the only slots they are capable of? It seems axiomatic anyway, that until a child is taught otherwise, they are born with the intuition that multiple options really are available; this seems odd, but could in theory be an illusion I suppose.

      It seems to me there is a clearer and better word for making an inevitable and unavoidable action, rather than the word “choice,” and a lack of forthrightness in positing multiple outcomes when only one is really available. It seems difficult for me to understand why God would make it seem “as if” I had a choice, to quote a certain poster, if I really did not.

      Why would he do that?

      1. dizerner writes, “…that choice could simply be a word, not describing multiple real possibilities,…”

        No. let’s use the verses Dr. Flowers cites in his opening statement to define choice. They are real possibilities.

        Then, “…whether we have to give in to that instinct, or whether God gives us grace not to, seems to be an issue Scripture often addresses…”

        Leave instinct out of it. Just assume that people have minds and can reason logically and have wants and desires. Let these factors be the means by which people rationally make decisions.

        Then, “…until a child is taught otherwise, they are born with the intuition that multiple options really are available;…”

        Just assume that children are limited in reasoning ability but have wants and desires that they want fulfilled.

        Then, “It seems difficult for me to understand why God would make it seem “as if” I had a choice, to quote a certain poster, if I really did not. Why would he do that?”

        Here is where one’s definition of free will comes into play. If one is free so long as he is not coerced to one outcome rather than another (Calvinism) then he has real choices and chooses freely. If a person has wants and desires, then these influence his choices (Calvinism) but do not take away the person’s freedom to choose.

        What exactly would you want God to do to remedy whatever deficiencies you think exist in your ability to choose?

      2. Well, like the Calvinist I do believe that in my flesh, or natural state, I have no ability to choose to be Christ-like—it is completely against my grain. I do not go out of my way to be loving or to sacrifice, I consider every option that gives me a selfish gratification, and even justify that underneath with a sanctimonious self-righteousness, deceiving myself that I really am virtuous when in reality I am not; this in fact, is the Bible’s description of my fallen nature, and it can even take up religious garb.

        I am even answering your post for selfish reasons insofar as I am motivated not by grace. For example, how much do I really care about you? Do I just want to prove that I’m right, so I can feel good about my own spiritual belief system? Do I want to entertain myself or get a satisfaction over seeing you disproven? Or do I earnestly desire truth no matter the cost and to lay my life down for others? No, of course I can’t choose that on my own.

        But… and to quote someone, somewhere, this is a big but… God has made the first move in my otherwise helplessly sinful heart and presented me a new option of trusting/believing in the Work of his Son instead of my own self-righteous works, and having been presented with the option to trust, I now have a real choice to “put off the old man” as Paul said. I have to learn that it is by faith and not self-effort, otherwise I will always end up in the flesh and unable to please God.

        Now do I have a problem with that? No, I am thankful like the 10 lepers for the option to go to the pool called Sent and wash the mud of Adam off my eyes, and I believe that is a legitimate choice I am given after Christ comes to me in prevenient electing grace not of my own choice nor desire for him; in fact one could say in reality I believe more in “free won’t” than “free will,” for it is not the active choice of choosing God that I believe in, but rather the ability to say no to a God that has chosen me.

        In fact there is some interesting scientific studies hypothesizing about our abilities to choose comes more from our ability to stop our action than start it, and a clever theologian has even connected this to an explanation of prevenient grace, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7lblCp6BvY . There are as well even many non-Christians believe in a kind of determinism, so that just as the Christian world may seem split by those who deny free will, so it is in the secular world as well.

    3. Rhutchin, you state: C. God removes His protection of Adam/Eve granting Satan freedom to enter the garden. It is a foregone conclusion that Adam/Eve are no match for Satan.

      I am concerned by this statement. Am I to understand that you believe Adam and Eve were incapable of resisting Satan’s temptations, and were literally overpowered by Satan? You realize they had no sin nature, correct? What power did Satan have to force their choice? The very fact that Satan had to lie to have a chance at deceiving Eve shows very clearly he could not force her to disobey. All of the goodness of God hinges on the fact that original sin was a free and uncoerced choice to sell humanity to Satan; otherwise God secretly trapped Adam into an impossible situation, but Adam was created righteous (Ecc. 7:29) yet transgressed the covenant (Hos. 6:7). Rom. 5:19 says we were made sinners by his trespass, not that he trespassed because he was a sinner. Sin had no dominion over Adam and Eve until they trespassed.

      1. dizerner writes, “Am I to understand that you believe Adam and Eve were incapable of resisting Satan’s temptations, and were literally overpowered by Satan?…What power did Satan have to force their choice? The very fact that Satan had to lie to have a chance at deceiving Eve shows very clearly he could not force her to disobey.”

        That’s the point. Satan did lie. The Scriptures are clear on this – Satan deceived Eve and she ate. Even if God could not know the future, He certainly knew Satan and that Eve was not a match for him.

        Then, “All of the goodness of God hinges on the fact that original sin was a free and uncoerced choice to sell humanity to Satan;…”

        I guess we need to distinguish between “original sin – the act itself” and “Original Sin – the doctrine.” Certainly, Eve was not coerced to eat the fruit. However, is a person “free” in the libertarian sense if Eve is deceived? Not as I understand LFW – deception negates freedom under LFW. Under Calvinist free will, Eve was free. So, if you insist on LFW that is free of deception, then you are the one who has a problem with the goodness of God.

        Then, “…otherwise God secretly trapped Adam into an impossible situation, but Adam was created righteous (Ecc. 7:29) yet transgressed the covenant (Hos. 6:7). Rom. 5:19 says we were made sinners by his trespass, not that he trespassed because he was a sinner. Sin had no dominion over Adam and Eve until they trespassed.”

        Switching to Adam is a different situation. Adam was not deceived. He purposely sinned. We are not told why but people have speculated that Adam gave Eve precedence over God thus committing idolatry.

      2. Okay, so you agree Adam had full power to say no to Satan, being not deceived. That is at least a relief, although it’s odd you grouped them together in your quote. Do you think Eve let herself be deceived, or was it impossible for her to trust God over Satan?

      3. dizerner writes, “Do you think Eve let herself be deceived, or was it impossible for her to trust God over Satan?”

        I don’t think Eve realized what was happening. We get the highlights of what transpired, but the deception could have gone on for several hours between a smooth-talking Satan and an incredibly naive Eve. The same thing happens today. Even though, we have the example of Eve, how often do believers forget God and set out to conquer the world by themselves? How many professing believers in government put their trust more in FEMA than in God to deal with an approaching hurricane? How many believing parents never think to start praying for the spouse that their child will have in the future until the knot is tied?

      4. Amen, it seems history is doomed to repeat itself. But don’t you think God gave us enough to be prepared, and it is kind of our fault for simply being lackadaisical?

      5. dizerner asks, “…don’t you think God gave us enough to be prepared, and it is kind of our fault for simply being lackadaisical?”

        Yes. We have God’s completed word for instruction and God gives us the Holy Spirit to help us. Not only that, God is actively working for good in our lives. In addition, we can boldly approach God for help when we need it. And then we have Christ as our advocate before God. What more could we ask for??

      6. Okay, so you agree Adam had full power to say no to Satan, being not deceived. That is at least a relief, although it’s odd you grouped them together in your quote. Do you think Eve let herself be deceived, or was it impossible for her to trust God over Satan?

        Hi dizerner,
        I hope you don’t mind if I make a tiny observation?
        In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) there is no such thing as “do otherwise”, or “alternate possibilities”.
        Calvinists appeal to “compatiblistic” freedom – in which creatures are ONLY free to do what the Theos determines them to do.
        There is no such thing as a fork in the road – in which the creature can take path [A] or “do otherwise” and take path [B]
        Every decision is predestined in advance – so any forks in the road are illusions.

        rhutchin may use misleading language to mislead you into thinking he conceives of Adam having the full power to “do otherwise” but he will do that using Calvinist language tricks. This form of Freedom in Calvinism is an illusion.

      7. br.d writes, “rhutchin may use misleading language to mislead you into thinking he conceives of Adam having the full power to “do otherwise” but he will do that using Calvinist language tricks. This form of Freedom in Calvinism is an illusion.”

        God did not coerce/force Adam to eat the fruit. Adam ate the fruit because he wanted to eat the fruit.

      8. br.d writes, “rhutchin may use misleading language to mislead you into thinking he conceives of Adam having the full power to “do otherwise” but he will do that using Calvinist language tricks. This form of Freedom in Calvinism is an illusion.”

        rhutchin
        God did not coerce/force Adam to eat the fruit. Adam ate the fruit because he wanted to eat the fruit.

        br.d
        irrelevant red-herring

      9. One thing that I think would help you understand people, br.d, is that people are not consistent within their own beliefs. Some much more than others. I am willing to bet that you and I both act inconsistently at times with what we profess to believe; maybe in just small things, but it’s there. In that sense, sometimes you can simply talk to the person behind the belief, instead of logically extrapolating out what their profession is. I suppose you could call it just an informal talking past the intellect to the intuition. I can show you some startling examples of this, even among very smart people. Here we see Dr. White make an impassioned plea to “decide” to accept determinism; that is, of course, to you and I an interesting paradox, lol. It actually is very hard to erase every trace of autonomy in our intuition, in fact a lot of the doublespeak you work so hard to point out is indicative of this. Check out this one line in a debate.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1KJY-PpKFs&t=136m30s

        “If you can hear… Romans 9… you have a choice to make.”

        To be consistent with his professed beliefs, he should rather say “When you hear Romans 9, God has already made a choice.” Yet out of the same Calvinist’s mouth we will hear that belief in any autonomous choice is a lie that glorifies man, and the whole point of Romans 9 is that God is the one choosing, not us.

      10. dizerner writes, “Here we see Dr. White make an impassioned plea to “decide” to accept determinism;”

        I don’t know that I listened to White on this, but He is generally speaking to believers – although unbelievers can call in and discuss a subject. Thus, White is exhorting believers and this is natural in the process of sanctification where believers are renewing their minds – tossing out the garbage they gathered before God saved them and replacing it with truth.

        Then, “Check out this one line in a debate. “If you can hear… Romans 9… you have a choice to make.”

        I’ll assume this was the Calvinist who said this in the Flowers Pritchett debate. The person who can hear has been regenerated and not only has a real choice to make but is able to make the right choice.

      11. Hi dizerner,
        Yes, I agree totally with what you are saying. In pretty much every arena of life people use double-think. A woman is being beaten by her alcoholic husband and she insists nothing is wrong with him – its all her fault. A mother’s son is being sentenced to prison for manslaughter and she insists he did nothing wrong – the court was biased against him. Irrational evasions, and obfuscations are part of the human condition.

        Alvin Plantinga at the beginning of one of his lectures has fun describing Solipsism. Imagine the Solipsist riding in a taxi at high speed. He believes the taxi and the other cars are real, and the speed he is traveling is dangerously real – but according to his belief system, no one is driving any of the cars. Imagine the neurological gymnastics his mind learns to perform in order to hold to that belief system.

        The Theological Determinist is in that same situation. He has to make the irrational appear rational, and the unethical appear ethical.

        Dr. Tomis Kapitan states it this way:
        -quote:
        “To locate an inconsistency within the beliefs of a deliberating determinist now seems easy. For as a deliberator, he takes his future act to be yet undetermined. But as a determinist, he assumes the very opposite – that his future is already determined and fixed in the past, such that everything he does was previously determined by factors beyond his control. Thus the ascription of rational-inconsistency within the mental state of the deliberating determinist is secured.”

        blessings! :-]

      12. br.d quotes Dr. Tomis Kapitan, “For as a deliberator, he takes his future act to be yet undetermined. But as a determinist, he assumes the very opposite – that his future is already determined and fixed in the past, such that everything he does was previously determined by factors beyond his control.”

        The determinist considers the future to have been determined but that determined future is unknown to him, not undetermined, and that future reflects actions he will take that he has yet to chose to take. He does not view himself as a passive player in history being led about by the hand by other people or events.

      13. rhutchin
        He does not view himself as a passive player in history being led about by the hand by other people or events.

        br.d
        1) Whether the determinst’s perception is real or an illusion is in question.
        2) Never the less the Theological Determinist’s LOT life is to be a -quote “Secondary means influenced/manipulated” by supernatural forces which occur as past events which determine what his deliberations will be. Thus, as all internationally recognized Christian Philosophers agree – the determinists determinations are not “up to him”. He thinks what someone else determines him to think. He desires what someone else determines him to desire. He wills what someone else determines him to will.
        Additionally, he is influenced by Satan (a secondary means) who is also manipulated the exact same way.

      14. This is an excellent point – and confirmed by N.T. scripture.
        Demonic entities are classified as “seducing” spirits.

        It may be the case as rhutchin continues to un-peel the the layers of the onion of his conceptions – that Calvin’s god’s role in these events will IMPLICITLY be that of a “seducing” spirit who “influences” demons who influence humans to actualize sinful evil events which he first-conceives.

        One question rhutchin is unable to answer regards how a sinful evil thought – first conceived in Calvin’s god’s mind before Adam is born, gets transmitted into the brain of Adam? Calvinists use the word “render” to describe this action. rhutch has been asked, what specific mechanism does Calvin’s god use in order to “render” a sinful evil thought into Adam’s brain?

        Rhutchin will try to evade by saying the sinful/evil thought was first-conceived in Adam’s mind. But this contradicts his own doctrine where everything is first-conceived at the foundation of the world. As well as R.C. Sproul’s statement: “If there is one maverick molecule in the universe, god is not sovereign” and Paul Helm’s adds: “Yes and every twist and turn of every thought in the human mind are at the direct control of god”.

  17. A CALVINIST WITNESS – UNTRUSTWORTHY TAIL-CHASING

    During a murder trial, a Judge examines a Calvinist under oath on the witness stand:

    Judge to Calvinist: “You testified that John was ultimately behind Bill’s murder – what specifically did John do to cause or bring about Bill’s murder?”

    Calvinist: “Harry murdered Bill”

    Judge: “Sir, you previously testified, John was ultimately behind Bill’s murder, are you revoking that testimony?”

    Calvinist: “No – I explicitly and emphatically state that John was ultimately behind Bill’s murder”

    Judge: “Then I ask you the 2nd time – what specifically did John do to cause Bill’s murder?”

    Calvinist: “John knew Harry was murdering Bill”

    Judge: “This is unsound logic – do you actually think John’s knowledge caused Harry to murder Bill?”

    Calvinist: “No that would be absurd!”.

    Judge: “Bailiff strike the witness’s last statement as irrelevant. Now sir let us try again – and now for the 3rd time – what specifically did John do to cause Bill’s murder?”

    Calvinist: “John did not restrain Harry from murdering Bill”

    Judge: “This is becoming even more irrational – the witness is now conflating being “restrained” with being “caused”. Anyone with sound mind would discern these as two different things.
    Sir you are trying the court’s patience!
    So, I will ask you for the 4th time – what specifically did John do to cause Bill’s murder?”

    Calvinist: “John permitted Harry to murder Bill”

    Judge: “This witness is definitely not of sound-mind. He is now conflating being “permitted” with being “caused”. A person of sound reason and intellectual integrity would discern these as two different things. I am now convinced you are wasting this court’s time. So now sir I will ask you for the 5th and the last time – what specifically did John do to cause Bill’s murder?”

    Calvinist: “Harry murdered Bill”

    Judge: “Bailiff – take this witness away. The court will strike his testimony as untrustworthy – his mind is incoherent.
    He’s simply chasing his own tail and wasting everyone’s time”

    1. br.d writes, “A CALVINIST WITNESS – UNTRUSTWORTHY TAIL-CHASING”

      You seem to be arguing that Calvinist cannot claim that God causes all things if God is using secondary means to accomplish His purposes. Are you?

      1. Brd
        No one is expecting you to take the bait on these kinds of questions. In fact I would say that few would even want you to. My opinion is that a lot of the back-n-forth banter clogs of the comment string to the point that we cannot find the good post that count.

        We know it leads no where…… TS00’s Oct 5th said tons and it went unanswered because there is no answer (that is not circular, double-talk reasoning).

        Just let it ride…..

      2. FOH to br.d writes, “No one is expecting you to take the bait on these kinds of questions.”

        Looks to me like the definition of “Theological Determinism” is an issue?

      3. rhutchin:
        You seem to be arguing that Calvinist cannot claim that God causes all things if God is using secondary means to accomplish His purposes. Are you?

        br.d
        Nope – Just simply giving examples of what a Calvinst’s witness looks like. 😀

      4. Nope just illustrating the characteristics of the typical Calvinist’s witness. I’m sure all SOT101 readers recognizes the pattern! 😀

    2. You might find this illustration of your points fairly humorous. 15 years after the last video I posted we encounter some of the same inconsistencies:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OUM0H16j_c#t=74m20s

      Notice the more hardcore Calvinist said “I am not a fatalist… I’m a hard determinist… I’m a consistent Calvinist… there is no permission…” (Ell Oh Ell on that one, but respect and kudos for the cajones to be half right).

      Leighton replies, “What is he (God) restraining if not the free will?”

      Mr. Hardcore gets frustrated with no ready response. White responds after (notice the hand on the mouth body language, followed by a slight look downward) with “Now, ya see…. eh… interesting question right?” Then he just putters out into a bunch of unclear doubletalk about Abimelech not “messing with God’s plan” (wut?) and some red herrings about whether Abimelech had a sinful desire (wut?), and God didn’t care about Abimelech’s “free will” (wut?!) and God did this “over and over and over. “(Wut?! Wut?!) Then White starts saying “Providence” over and over to match Pritchett’s question about it, lol, with no real “explication” whatsoever.

      Later Mr. Hardcore said “God determines everything that comes to pass, including sin…”

      White responds with a very emotional, “God didn’t make them mean!” Then Dr. White accuses the non-Calvinist of “sophistry.” (Pure projection, Ell Oh Ell, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection ). “See what happens when you don’t explain the difference between God’s decree and the resulting providential interaction of God’s creatures in time… these guys again they will not allow for God’s decree to function such a way that it’s anything other than two-dimensional.”

      Notice that being logically consistent as the first Calvinist correctly states, becomes without the sophistry of compatibilist doublespeak, being “two-dimensional.” Now what might Dr. White mean by “two-dimensional”? Perhaps he means, “I don’t get to say enough confusing words to work my magic trick where free will becomes both free and not free simultaneously, but ultimately not free at all.”

      1. Dizener:

        Thanks for your input.

        Your comments (two-dimensions; decreed, but worked out by us in time) illustrate a point I have been making for a while.

        Believing (somehow) that God has decreed all that happens and that (somehow) we choices-in-hand work that out in time, is not only untenable, it basically comes out to a “it makes no difference” position.

        I mean it changes nothing in their daily lives—since Dr White and all others still feel that they make choices every minute that “matter”. I mean they still feel that they can sadden God, please God, obey God, disobey God, ‘grow in faith’, ‘be strong’, ‘make wise choices’, ‘trust and obey’ etc.

        The only thing it changes is that they present to the church and to the watching world an angry god who manipulates, deceives, and only makes us think our choices matter.

        We say….”Why do you want to present God that way to the world?”

        They may say “Because that is the way he is….and besides, even if it comes out as ‘foolish’ to the world—we dont really care, cuz scripture says it will be ‘foolishness’ to them.”

        I certainly believe that preaching a Divine Christ, who walked on water, turned water to wine, healed the sick, raised the dead, and then gave His live for the sins of all who believe comes as ‘foolishness’ to many who hear.

        But I don’t think we need to make an effort to make the message unnecessarily foolish to start with!

      2. An excellent post FOH!

        Yes, the Calvinist is forced to assert things that are so illogical – even an savvy atheist can see through them.

        Dr. William Lane Craig has a recorded debate with an Atheist on how morality is meaningless without God.
        The atheist thinks he’s going to defeat Craig by quoting a Calvinist – without realizing Craig is not a Calvinist.
        Dr. Craig easily counters the attack by acknowledging the Calvinist argument as fallacious and non-representative of orthodox Christianity.

        On Youtube, Dan Courtney, an atheist examines a Calvinist philosopher’s paper on why Calvin’s god is not responsible for the first sin. In this video the atheist identifies a number of fallacious arguments Calvinists masquerade as logic.

        Courtney states “Such blatant contradictions are rarely seen in otherwise sophisticated arguments”

        In the Old Testament God complains that his people distorted his reputation and name to the heathens.
        Here we see the Calvinist doing just that.

        Thank God we have non-Calvinists who can defend Christianity without relying upon sophistry.

      3. Totally excellent post dizerner!!!

        Everything totally right on!!

        And I loved the “What SPECIFICALLY is Calvin’s god restraining (or not restraining) if not free will”.

        I suspect Dr. Flowers doesn’t enjoy bringing a Calvinist face to face with the evils of his own inventions.

        But I’m convinced God gave us theological double-think (aka Calvinism) – as a form of entertainment. 😀

  18. Daily reading, still in Ezekiel

    —–
    Ez 20: They sat down in front of me to wait for his reply. 2 Then this message came to me from the Lord: 3 “Son of man, tell the leaders of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: How dare you come to ask me for a message? As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, I will tell you nothing!’

    —–

    Once again (to add to the thousands of times) the “Sovereign Lord” lets us know His kind of sovereignty.

    “How dare you come to ask me for a message? As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, I will tell you nothing!’”

    Does it even remotely sound like He planned/ordained/ decreed/ willed that they “ask Him for a message”?

    Any honest reader would say no!

    So why does man-made philosophy impose that back on Him?

    Answer: to save their philosophical position (even though the Bible repeatedly says it is not so).

    1. FOH, I appreciate your sharing of scripture which shows, repeatedly, book after book, chapter after chapter, verse after verse, God interacting with free creatures whose freedom of choice only exists because he – who alone had the power to do so – created them with this God-like ability to reason and make choices. I also find myself getting more from the comments section by ignoring the Trolls. I just no longer read what proven Trolls have to say, when repeated experience has demonstrated a lack of sincere desire to seek better understanding. We can move past the baby’s milk of reasoning with those who believe themselves free to choose determinism, and seek to assist one another as we grow in grace and understanding.

      One cannot honestly confront Theological determinism unless one is prepared to face its logical conclusion, which is that men are mere puppets performing the sock dance of God. In reality, hardcore Calvinists are afraid. They are terribly afraid to admit that, if their choices have consequences, they will actually be held accountable for their choices. I suspect this comes from not understanding the heart of God, nor the freedom from sin, death and the law which Christ effected. Or the real understanding of what sin is and what salvation promises. One can only embrace the glorious true freedom Christ redeemed us to – with all of its responsibilities and consequences – if one truly trusts the goodness of God.

      As an OCD perfectionist, I long struggled with trying to be ‘good enough’ to please God, and thought I found the answer in Calvinism, which falsely frees men from any guilt by throwing that all-concealing robe of righteousness over their putrid, gangrenous sin. Yet, what I always truly desired was to be free of that gross sin. Being granted ‘acceptance’, at first seemed good enough. But it is not what our souls long for, nor is it what God intends. He seeks men who truly, with all of their hearts, long to be that creature he designed and desires them to be; and who know that their only hope is to look to him, his promises and somewhat obscure methods in order to do so.

      I long to be like Christ, wholly selfless, wholly good, wholly free to live and interact with others and know that I can truly love them as my heart longs to do, without hurting or abusing them in any way. I believe God desires, and intends, the very same thing for all men. But when I look at the mess I make, even with my best efforts and intentions – even without a lot of doctrinal definition – I know that there is something essential lacking in me, that I need God’s loving, faithful provision, direction and assistance to function optimally. Toss out all of the theological gobbledy gook, and this simple desire to be like Christ, and to look to God to accomplish it, sums up the heart of the child of God.

      It increasingly seems to me that Satan has repeatedly used Religion to keep men from God. We don’t need ‘orthodox’ religion, theology, doctrine, creeds, forms of worship, ceremonies, prayers or dress codes as much as we need a sincere love for God and others. If we have a true heart for God, like Jacob, Rahab, Lydia, the Ethiopian and others, God will provide for us whatever understanding we need to ‘find’ him, as well as the power and instruments to begin conforming us to the image of his Son. The simplistic, legalistic and frequently authoritarian answers of Institutional, Sacral Religion are usually more of an impediment than a path to God.

      1. TS00:
        Thanks. Sharing the Scriptures is important.

        I was unaware of who the not-real-discussion determinists were here when I started to comment, so I took the bait and tried to dialog. No real purpose in that.

        I want to say that there might be something that we are not seeing correctly.

        I just realized that in my huge entourage of Calvinist friends and fellow pastors and missionaries—as we have both stated many times —none of them LIVES like Calvinist-determinism is true. So, in one sense they get the “joy” of knowing that God is controlling everything, but on the other hand they feel like they have purpose. That is a comfy place for a lot of people (now let’s go watch football!)…. but I was not comfy there. It turns around in my head.

        If I continued in my Calvinist-determinist-fatalist belief, then my life has no purpose. Period. This “feeling” that it does is only an illusion.

        But as I stated previously on this page….. even the hard-core fatalists “still feel that they make choices every minute that “matter”. I mean they still feel that they can sadden God, please God, obey God, disobey God, ‘grow in faith’, ‘be strong’, ‘make wise choices’, ‘trust and obey’ etc.” —- so it ‘works’ for them….this comfy place.

        I am happy to see you develop the idea of men & women in the image of God—- precious….all of them.

      2. FOH, I share your experience, and it involves some of my closest family members. This seems so sad to me, that they do not genuinely believe the necessary assertions of determinism, but have been deceived by the illusory claims of compatibilism that they don’t have to! My concern, I guess, is that their conception of God ‘controlling’ everything while retaining their own semblance of ‘free will’ effectively numbs their conscience to the voice of God’s Spirit. So many times I have seen them shrug off what just might be a call for serious reflection and seeking of God’s direction due to an irrational appeal to the Calvinist concept of ‘If I do this, it must be God’s will’.

        Not sure if I am being clear, but I frequently feel that individuals I care deeply about can be misled by this inconsistent theology about the actual deep responsibility they have to seek God, seek understanding and pray diligently for his direction and assistance. Not that I’m the holiest kid on the block, but becoming increasingly aware of how much Satan desires me to trivialize my need to seek God and his ways with all my heart. It seems to me that what Calvinism/Determinism does is rob us of the genuine intimacy of walking with God, and seeks to replace it with acceptable religious ‘beliefs’ that are supposed to assure us of entrance to heaven. In all honesty, getting to heaven seems something of a distraction, when the real goal that we are called to – empowered and assisted by the Spirit of God – is to be conformed to the image of Jesus. Perhaps ‘heaven’ is not so much a nice ‘place’ per se, as a glorious place due to the condition of all men therein being like Christ. That goal requires a bit of effort, and in my own case, is obviously a herculean task that only God himself could possibly accomplish!

      3. ts00 writes, “I appreciate your sharing of scripture which shows, repeatedly, book after book, chapter after chapter, verse after verse, God interacting with free creatures whose freedom of choice only exists because he…”

        With FOH, it is not the verses he cites that are necessarily significant but the verses he refuses to cite.

  19. Was listening to John Macauthor on the radio this morning. Going through Ezekiel. And of course, he was stressing God’s sovereignty pretty hard. And also stressing Israel’s disobedience pretty hard. And of course, stressing God’s love for Israel, in spite of her being a Harlot. But, what he never seems to get to, is that his doctrine means that God has to first cause Israel’s disobedience, then condemn her for what he caused, and then love her in spite of himself. It’s as if God is playing games for his own entertainment, if you take determinism to it’s logical conclusion.

    1. WW:
      Good point about MacArthur.

      The problem comes because certain people come to the Scriptures with what “sovereignty must mean”….rather than letting Scriptures define sovereignty.

      In many of these Ezekiel, Isaiah, Jeremiah passages He starts with “I the Sovereign Lord, Almighty…..” Then He goes on to say, “…then, I allowed your fathers to go their way into sin…” or “I let…..” (I had several of them in my Ezekiel passage today.

      Why does a God —-who according to Calvinsim—- preordains/ wills/ micro-manages-forces-determines all things….say (in the same sentences as “Sovereign Lord”) that He “lets” or “allows” anything!?

      Does He not know that this will confuse us and make us think He is “letting” things happen not “making” things happen?

      I think he does it on purpose to show us what His kind of sovereignty means.

      MacArthur (under whom I studied for years) cannot see this because he pre-supposes (brings to the text) his own definition of what sovereign must mean.

      But then he say….yes God does ordain/ will / make it all to happen but man is free in the choosing. He calls this compatibalism and “mystery”.

      1. FOH writes, “….rather than letting Scriptures define sovereignty.”

        Maybe you could tell us the definition of “sovereignty” that you get from the Scriptures. Theopedia defines it as “all things are under God’s rule and control, and that nothing happens without His direction or permission.” How does your definition differ from this?

    2. ww writes, “…what he never seems to get to, is that his doctrine means that God has to first cause Israel’s disobedience, then condemn her for what he caused, and then love her in spite of himself. It’s as if God is playing games for his own entertainment, if you take determinism to it’s logical conclusion.”

      Te “cause” would ultimately be traced to God creating people who could not be God. God then created them as self-determining beings who would be free to pursue their wants and desires. Given those circumstances, God need only keep the human population from destroying itself – which might have been happening before the flood of Noah. Taking determinism to its logical conclusion requires that the actions of people be accounted for.

      1. Self determining beings, lol, good one! God determines every firing of the nearons in your brain, according to you, but we are still self determining. This must be the mystery that many of us see as contradictory nonsense.

      2. WW and BRD:
        We all know that one minute it will be this and the next minute the complete opposite. Notice I did not take the bait on the Theopedia response.

        I recommend that we increase honest discussion of Scripture (preferably those we are reading now—not short-list proof-texts) and decrease or eliminate the shot-across-the-bow banter. Just dont take the bait. It goes nowhere.

      3. ww writes, “Self determining beings, lol, good one! God determines every firing of the nearons in your brain, according to you, but we are still self determining. This must be the mystery that many of us see as contradictory nonsense.”

        God determines all things because He is sovereign and nothing happens that is outside His control – God works all things according to the counsel of His will as Paul tells us in Ephesians 1.. That does not mean that God must cause through direct force, everything that happens. God can create a mountain and the weather system that brings rain and streams flowing because of the rain. God determined/caused the stream to flow through the rain brought about through the weather system. God made man with a mind to think. Man, is able to think on his own without God having to make him think any particular thought but if God did not sustain the man as a living being, he could not live. God sustains the law of gravity, and all the physical laws that govern the universe else none would operate. So, it is that a man draws a bow and shoots an arrow at random into the air and the arrow hits the king and kills him. God guided the arrow to its target. A man throws the dice and God makes the numbers come up. A man turns a wheel holding the ping pong balls for the lottery and God selects the numbers that come up. You sit down to write and the words you write were known to God before you thought them, yet God did not have to cause those words to come to your mind – had you asked God for wisdom, then He may have done so. You are self-determining even as the Scriptures describe you to be.

      4. You are created God in an image that fits your version of sovereignty. It might sound logical to you that God operates in this fashion, but it is not spelled out this way in scripture. The trouble is, you are no even consistent with your philosophy. One time, it’s that I can only think what God chooses for me to think and another time you say I can think my own thoughts. If I can think words and write thoughts that do not come from God, then God is not all determining.

      5. ww writes, “You are created God in an image that fits your version of sovereignty.”

        That’s fine but you don’t have a different version of sovereignty, do you? Sovereignty means thst God rules over His creation and by virtue of being God, Hos rule is absolute. Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.” If that which is of little value does not die apart from the will of God, then we are assured that anything of greater value – which is everything – is also governed by God’s will. Do you agree with this or is this something you imagined was not spelled out in Scripture?

        Then, “One time, it’s that I can only think what God chooses for me to think and another time you say I can think my own thoughts.”

        I don’t think I said that God chooses what you should think. Your thoughts originate in your mind and those thoughts will reflect the desires of your heart and your fleshly nature. God may restrain the things He grants you freedom to think, but He does not choose what you think?

        Then, “If I can think words and write thoughts that do not come from God, then God is not all determining.”

        You are expressing your opinion and you are wrong in that opinion. God determines your thoughts by granting you freedom to think those thoughts but God knows the things that you will entertain in your thoughts before you think them. God does not make you think evil things – such things come from your heart – but God has determined that you be free to think such things and has done so knowing what you will think.

      6. ww writes, “Why do you ask the same questions that I have answered multiple times?”

        Probably because I forgot your position and this because I likely did not understand it. Repetition never hurt any argument. One’s position can normally he stated in 25 words or less – if it takes more, then a person may not even understand his own position.

      7. rhutchin:
        Repetition never hurt any argument.

        Nicholas O’Shaughnessy on repetition:
        “The Nazi propaganda machine exploited ordinary Germans by encouraging them to be co-producers of a false reality, and the essence of this method was to bring about change in people’s beliefs through repetition.

        Joseph Goebbels proclaimed: “It would not be impossible to prove with sufficient repetition and a psychological understanding of the people concerned, that a square is in fact a circle”

      8. sovereignty
        [sov-rin-tee, suhv-]
        noun, plural sov·er·eign·ties.
        the quality or state of being sovereign, or of having supreme power or authority.
        I didn’t watch the debate yet. Maybe I will eventually find the time. I did see a clip of some of the Calvinist low points. I can only shake my head at the arrogance of thier dogmatic statements that they understand just how God operates. And those who believe different are heretics? They follow Augustine, they follow Calvin, they stake their position on a minority interpretation of scripture that makes much of the Bible pointless. No I don’t claim to understand all about how God works in this world. I only have to understand what he claims over and over again, that human actions have real cause
        and effect in this world and affect who will be saved and who will be lost.

      9. wildswanderer writes, “sovereignty- the quality or state of being sovereign, or of having supreme power or authority.”

        For God “power or authority” would be “power and authority.” We can define “supreme” as “highest in rank and authority” thus, sovereignty – having the highest rank in power and authority. That requires everything to be subordinate to Him. If you accept that, then we should be able to describe God as having the highest rank in power and authority in His creation with everything in His creation subordinate to Him. If you accept that, they we are in basic agreement on God’s sovereignty. We must differ on what that means in practice.

        Then, “No I don’t claim to understand all about how God works in this world. I only have to understand what he claims over and over again, that human actions have real cause and effect in this world and affect who will be saved and who will be lost.”

        That makes you equal with the Calvinists who maintain that God works through His elect to spread the gospel and bring His elect to salvation and encourage His elect to grow in Christ. Paul is a good example as he describes his activities in his letters.

  20. “6 Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. Even though the Lord has not sent them, they say, “The Lord declares,” and expect him to fulfill their words. 7 Have you not seen false visions and uttered lying divinations when you say, “The Lord declares,” though I have not spoken?”

    The Lord has not sent them. How could it be any clearer that God’s will is not always fulfilled in this world? The false prophets here remind me of the determinist putting words in God’s mouth.

    1. ww writes, “The Lord has not sent them. How could it be any clearer that God’s will is not always fulfilled in this world? ”

      That God did not send them tells us that they were false prophets. That they went tells us that they went on their own – one issue being whether they knew that they went running a scam. I suspect that they did. However, God is sovereign and God had the power to step in and stop them – God did not do so and this tells us that God decreed not to stop them and that decree was the expression of his will. No one does anything in this world if God does not decree it – that is the effect of sovereignty.

      1. WW
        You have said this very clearly in other places, but for the sake of new readers, I will repeat.

        Being a wise, loving God who is “in control”…

        Being a Sovereign Creator…

        Having the power to step in and stop things….

        Allowing man to sin….

        Are not the same thing as “decreeing/ordaining/irrevocably-willing before time”

        Anyone can see this. Anyone who has ears to hear the Bible say it over and over and over thousands of times.

        But if someone brings his own interpretation of “sovereign” to the Bible….he can interpret these thousands of verses however he wants. He can force God to be the origin and author of all sin and heinous behavior.

        The Bible is clear that God can do anything He wants…but not everything that happens is what He wants.

      2. FOH writes, “Having the power to step in and stop things….
        [Granting freedom to] man to sin….
        Are not the same thing as “decreeing/ordaining/irrevocably-willing before time”

        Under Calvinism, it is the same thing. As a former Calvinist, you know this.

        Then, “The Bible is clear that God can do anything He wants…but not everything that happens is what He wants.”

        The Calvinist says, “God can do anything He wants…everything that happens must be what He wants.”

      3. rhutchin writes:
        The Calvinist says, “God can do anything He wants…everything that happens MUST be what He wants.”

        Thank you rhutchin for once again asserting Theological Fatalism after denying it in other places.

        This is what we see with Calvinists – they assert [X] EXPLICITLY and then use sophism to deny [X] IMPLICITLY.

        Another clear red-flag that something is very wrong with Calvinism – as god is not the author of confusion.

      4. br.d writes, “Thank you rhutchin for once again asserting Theological Fatalism after denying it in other places.”

        That depend on what you mean by the term, “Theological Fatalism.” I suspect that may you even know what it means or what you want it to mean.

      5. br.d writes, “Thank you rhutchin for once again asserting Theological Fatalism after denying it in other places.”

        rhutchin
        That depend on what you mean by the term, “Theological Fatalism.” I suspect that may you even know what it means or what you want it to mean.

        br.d
        Of course that is what you would suspect. 😉
        I’ll let you chase your tail on this one – its all yours.

      6. So, now God did decree what I think, but a moment ago, you said I could think my own thoughts. In what sense are they my own if they only become reality because God decreed them? Is God sovereign enough to allow randomness? If not, what is he complaining about, in Ezekie,l for example? Why is he punishing people for doing only what he decreed they do? And don’t give me the nonsense that they freely disobeyed. To say God permitted is gooblygook in a world where everything is determined and you know it’s gooblygook, but you continue to try and have your cake and eat it to.
        The scripture does not say God decrees false prophets. Rather it says: 8 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because of your false words and lying visions, I am against you, declares the Sovereign Lord.”

        A God who can be against them and simultaneously decree their actions is ridiculous. Unless one happens to believe God is the Force in Star Wars instead of the God of the Bible.

      7. WW:

        This was a good question….

        “Is God sovereign enough to allow randomness? If not, what is he complaining about, in Ezekiel, for example?”

        That is why Tozer’s definition of Sovereign is so much more biblical than the man-made determinist-Calvinist one proposed here.

        Tozer’s idea (and many here would agree) is that God’s will / original plan was to let men choose (that way they can have a “personal relationship” with God—-programmed beings cannot).

        But he is powerful (sovereign) enough to create in this way— allowing sin and “randomness” (as you say) —and still manages to “work out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.”

        He is powerful enough to give freedom and still get where He wants to go.

      8. FOH writes, “But he is powerful (sovereign) enough to create in this way— allowing sin and “randomness” (as you say) —and still manages to “work out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.”
        He is powerful enough to give freedom and still get where He wants to go.”

        God grants people freedom to operate but still subordinate to His will. If there is a conflict between God’s will (God is working everything in conformity to His will) and man’s will, then God’s will prevails – otherwise, that which man wills to do – and not in conflict with God’s will – is, necessarily, in accord with God’s will.

      9. A God who can be against them and simultaneously decree their actions is ridiculous. Unless one happens to believe God is the Force in Star Wars instead of the God of the Bible.

        WONDERFUL!!!
        Starwars has its basis in Gnosticism’s good-evil dualistic cosmology.

        And this goes to my point about the evolution of Calvinism. It starts with Augustine a disciple of Gnosticism – then of NeoPlatonism. Mixing these into Catholic doctrine. Christian Gnosticism/NeoPlatonism both embrace a (Yin-Yang) dualistic cosmology where good and evil exist as co-equals – cooperating with each other and yet operating against each other.

        There are numerous pagan religious that follow this model. The god Pan manifests in a benevolent and then malevolent form. The gods Apollo and Artemis are good-evil twins. In Hinduism, the Ashwini Twins or Ashvins are the healers who are also offered sacrificial offerings or oblations as per the Rig Veda. In Xingu mythology of Brazil, the twin brothers Kuat and Iae forced the evil king Urubutsin to give light to the world, and Kuat became the sun with Iae as the moon. The Egyptian creation story included the earth god Geb and the sky goddess Nut, who were twins.

        All of these twins gods represent man’s way of understanding supernatural gods causing both good and evil.
        What happens when you take this good-evil cosmology and mix with a monotheistic god from the bible?
        You create a good-evil god.

  21. Dr. Ravi Zacharias
    ” You CANNOT have love without the freedom to NOT love”

    Here Dr. Ravi Zacharias is referring to the concept of “do otherwise”, and its implications to morally significant actions.
    As Dr. Alvin Plantinga sites – a person does not deserve credit for an act or choice in which they CANNOT “do otherwise”.
    In Biblical morality, a person is credited when they sacrifice their option to “do otherwise” for a moral reason.

    Thus Revelations declared “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” Because Jesus gave his life for you and I – not because God predetermined Jesus’ choice. God truly gave Jesus the power to NOT love – to “do otherwise”. But Jesus sacrificed the option to “do otherwise” so that we might live.

    Ravi Zacharias shares common acknowledgment with all Christian Philosophers, that in Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) the freedom to “do otherwise” doesn’t exist – because “do otherwise” is a component of Libertarian Freedom which determinism nullifies.

    1. Another example relating to your point:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OUM0H16j_c#t=95m56s

      Sometimes I’m not sure they can even dare to conceive of a reality of something so unpredictable as true love being created by God. Notice Dr. White’s reaction to this (very standard) definition of free will. He confuses the “out of nothing” as meaning the creator of the thing itself must not exist (our “nature” has to exist to create, just as God’s did), and later says Leighton either doesn’t understand creation ex nihilo or he has a “dangerously unbiblical view,” when any thinking person realizes autonomy must be a presupposition, and not derived from Scripture. Also notice the complete failure to see the connection between Leighton’s proof verse and his assertion that our desires are our own choice, by the connection in the verse’s assertion that the desires of the world are not “of the Father” (in any way casually determined by God), by a lame attempt to separate “us” from the “world.” Perhaps because his own system is so ingrained in his thinking that he literally cannot consider taking the verse any other way… sadly he then takes a cheap shot that Leighton can only preach out of his binder (as opposed to what Dr. White considers “exegesis” I suppose, which seems to be reading straight through and saying what he thinks it means).

      All in all, a bit depressingly inconsistent and unstudied to say the least.

      1. Another great post dizerner.

        Yes I agree – but I would add, that Alvin Plantinga addresses the usage of the term “autonomy”.

        When the Calvinist points the finger asserting the non-Calvinist wants “autonomy” he uses the term “autonomy” equivocally. The Calvinist says “autonomy” but what he implies is “Maximal Autonomy”.

        No bible respecting Christian in their right mind would every assert a need of autonomy in that sense. Further, it doesn’t line up with reality. No one in his right mind thinks “Maximal Autonomy” is possible or even real.

        By equivocating on the term “autonomy” the Calvinist builds a straw-man all to easy to knock over.
        Calvinist language is totally saturated with these types of dishonesties.

      2. br.d writes, “No one in his right mind thinks “Maximal Autonomy” is possible or even real.”

        God has “Maximal Autonomy.” If He did not, He would not be God.

      3. br.d writes, “No one in his right mind thinks “Maximal Autonomy” is possible or even real.”

        rhutchin
        God has “Maximal Autonomy.” If He did not, He would not be God.

        br.d
        The topic was human autonomy. 😉

    2. br.d writes, “In Biblical morality, a person is credited when they sacrifice their option to “do otherwise” for a moral reason.”

      Yet, the Scriptures are clear. There is none who does good. The mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so. The deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. The things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.These are the things which defile the man.

      The unsaved CANNOT do other than evil – they cannot do otherwise for any reason.

      Then, “Ravi Zacharias shares common acknowledgment with all Christian Philosophers, that in Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) the freedom to “do otherwise” doesn’t exist – because “do otherwise” is a component of Libertarian Freedom which determinism nullifies.”

      It is not determinism that nullifies LFW but the Scriptures. Jesus said, “No one can come to me.” Jesus nullified LFW in the context of salvation.

      1. So, the good Samaritan did not do any good? Jesus also said there is no one good but God, so you might want to balance this a bit. To say that the unsaved cannot do anything good is rather myoptic. What Paul is contrasting here is the heart set on the flesh and the heart led by the spirit. None can be good enough to merit salvation and therefore God must enlighten them. (prevenient grace) Can a non Christian at times have his heart set on doing good because of the image of God in him? How else can you explain Jesus’ example of a pagan man showing kindness? This is another place where Calvinsm goes too far in their definition of total depravity. All a non Christians facilitys are imperfect and corrupted by sin. That does not mean God can not enlighten him enough that he does some good out of his God given conscience.

      2. Rhutchin, as I am in agreement with your assessment of the total depravity of man, what if we call it Libertarian Free Response instead, to emphasize the fact that God requires us to not refuse the grace he first offers to us?

        Also I think you are confusing the merit of the action with the range of available choices. We might well assume a sinner can only sin, but he does have a range of sins to choose from, lol. He could get drunk, watch an R rated movie, cheat on his taxes, but we are not told he is forced to pick one specific sin, only that he cannot but sin.

        These two things open up a new dimension for our understanding without sacrificing the total inability of spiritual death among the unsaved disbelievers that all possess a fallen and sinful corrupted nature under the domain of Satan in spiritual darkness. Because if we can posit an action that is not meritorious nor holy, yet opens up a channel for God to do a Redemptive work by some means other than achievement (faith), then we have the option of a new paradigm outside of unconditional predetermined election.

        Indeed, the rejection of equal ultimacy and embracing of compatibilistic language, show that most Calvinists feel inside that there is an intricacy and mystery to the depth of the question of the extent of free will or how it might play into theology.

      3. All of this is blown away like so much chaff – with the elementary school understanding that all scripture is interpreted subjectively.

        rhutchin writes:
        There is none who does good.

        br.d
        Calvinist equivocations (implying UNIVERSALITY) on these texts are obvious.

        Using simple logic:
        Thus it follows: “There is no Calvinist who “does good” at interpreting scripture”. 😀
        Therefore your argument destroys itself.

  22. WHERE THE CALVINIST’S WILL IS NOT FREE:
    The Calvinist will say he has freewill.

    But the language is deceptive, because according to his belief system, there are certain ways in which his will is not free. According to his belief, his freedom to have certain choices and inclinations are the same as the robot’s freedom to have certain choices and inclinations. This is because both his and the robot’s choices and inclinations are determined by an external agent. The robot is not free to “do otherwise” than what the external agent determines, and neither is the Calvinist.

    It may be true that the Calvinist has some form of freewill, which the robot doesn’t have. But when one scrutinizes in which ways the Calvinist’s will is not free, one discovers, he is no more free to will what he wills, than the robot is free to choose what he chooses.

    However the Calvinist is free to delude himself with illusions of a freedom of will, which according to his belief system, exist only as illusions. And he is free to appeal to the term “freewill” making it masquerade as having a freedom of the will which (according to his belief system) he does not have.

  23. All the below is from Vincent Cheung (a Consistent Calvinist)…..

    When speaking of freedom in our context, I always speak of freedom in relation to God – and that is why the issue becomes clear. I can consistently use the same definition whether I am dealing with the nature of God, the decree of God, the nature of man, the nature of salvation, or determinism from a philosophical perspective.

    Many Calvinists do not speak this way; rather, they say that we always choose what we most desire, but when they add that this is “freedom” in a relevant sense, and that we are responsible based on this “freedom,” then I disagree. Instead, I deny any sense of human freedom and deny any relationship between freedom and responsibility.

    Moral responsibility (or accountability) has to do with whether God has decided to judge us; it has no direct relationship with whether we are free. In fact, if we were free from God but not judged by God, then we would still not be morally responsible (or accountable). In other words, moral responsibility does not presuppose human freedom, but it presupposes divine sovereignty. We are responsible not because we are free, but we are responsible precisely because we are not free.

    Also, Calvinists often affirm that Adam was free before the Fall. But again, I always speak of freedom relative to God, and from this perspective, I would say that Adam had no freedom even before the Fall. To be “free” from sin is irrelevant. The issue is whether Adam was free from God to choose to remain free from sin – he was not. In addition, I would not say that God permitted Adam to fall, but that God caused it. Many Calvinists would also disagree with me on this.

    Compatibilists would most likely refuse to say that we are free from God, but they would insist that since we always act according to the strongest desire of the moment, that this is a real sense of freedom, and that this “freedom” is the precondition for moral responsibility.
    Suppose that I have committed a murder. I was indeed free from other creatures when I made my decision, and I acted according to my own desire. But this desire was caused and controlled by God, and the fact that I would always act on my strongest desire (which is human nature) was also caused by God. This amounts to saying that we have no freedom from God to abstain from murder, but that we only have an internal freedom from other creatures to abstain from murder.

    If we were to soften this and say that our desires are somehow not determined but merely permitted by God, then, even overlooking the fact that this is unbiblical, we must still explain how it is possible for God to permit something without causing it, and still immutably decree it to happen in a sense that is not merely an expression of prescience. If we cannot, then we are Arminians.

    Also, if God merely permits us to do something, then I would also demand a metaphysical explanation on how it is possible for a creature to direct and control its own mind. Is it possible for a created thing to function at all under God’s bare permission (if there is such a thing) without his constant causative determination? How?

    Calvin wrote, “Indeed, not even an abundance of bread would benefit us in the slightest unless it were divinely turned into nourishment.”

    This sounds like my occasionalism. There is no inherent “nature” or power in bread that always works with the body to provide nourishment, but it must be “divinely turned into nourishment” each time it is consumed. If Calvin was a Calvinist, or if Calvin was himself, then this is the true Calvinism.

    My position is a consistent application of divine sovereignty over everything. It is a denial of any form of dualism or deism. I affirm that God controls everything about everything that is anything, including every aspect of every detail of every human decision and action, in such a way that man has no freedom in any meaningful or relevant sense.

    Libertarian freedom is indeed freedom, but it is unbiblical and impossible – there is no such freedom. On the other hand, compatibilist freedom is not “freedom” at all, but it is only a description of what happens when God controls every aspect of our decisions and actions, usually according to a “nature” that he has also created in us. Both the words “compatibilist” and “freedom” are misleading.

    1. Wow Phillip…..

      That Cheung quote is amazing!

      Yes…..that is what it all works out to in the end—- nothing we do matters! God is doing it all!

      But notice he said that some Calvinists would disagree with him. Ha! They only think they do (at first). Rinse repeat, rinse repeat, and in the end what they are promoting DOES agree with him.

      Even if another born-again, evangelical, Calvinist says that Cheung’s stuff is crazy-off-the-wall….even that statement and disagreement (according to Cheung) was decreed by God.

      So Cheung gets to prop himself on the tippy-top and say, “Of course even other Calvinists who do not see it my way are wrong….. it is ‘foolishness’ to them.”

      That “foolishness” card really comes in handy!

      1. Another Calvinist tactic to neutralize Vincent Cheung’s logical consistency is to assert Cheung isn’t saying what he says he says.
        That is typically rhutchin’s way of dealing with Cheung’s statements.

    2. As refreshing as it is to read the words of a consistent calvinist, it’s a bit scary to imagine a world where his doctrine was taken seriously. Literally anything can be justified under that system. I imagine it would be a lot like living under Islam.

      1. It’s refreshing to hear consistent Calvinists destroy the logic of compatibilism. When I worked with a young Calvinist to the point that his eyes were opened to the inconsistencies of compatibilism, he was beginning to be persuaded that Hyper Calvinism was really the only logical result after all.

        What I think attracts people to Calvinism, beside the cheap security of it, is the realization that they have placed themselves and their emotional feelings on the throne of their lives, and it somehow awakens them to the greatness and grandness of a God that is completely above them, a God worthy to sacrifice even our deepest feelings of justice for. The fact that we were made not to constantly please ourselves and end up eventually realizing that leaves us drunk on the emptiness of sin, but we were made to sacrifice all for a higher cause far above what we want and what our tiny mind determines is right, is the real thrill of loving Jesus the way that he first loved us.

      2. You make a good point dizerner.

        Calvinists like to say their theology makes them “god centered” and “god reliant” and they can take comfort in that.

        But the Greek Stoics (who were also Theological Determinists) said the exact same thing about their gods.

        More importantly, when one un-peels Calvinism’s onion, one finds he has REAL assurance for only one thing – that his god will do whatever he pleases with him. And he has absolutely no knowledge of what that will be.
        For Calvin teaches that god deceives believers – giving them a taste of salvation temporarily – in order to magnify their torment in the lake of fire.

        The only way the Calvinist can take comfort in that is by using thought-control techniques.
        Calvin provides certain thought-control techniques and so doesn’t Piper.
        Piper teaches the Calvinist is to take comfort that his god is -quote “unimpeachable”.

        But the Calvinist has absolutist no assurance of what “unimpeachable” as it pertains to him will look like.
        A baby who watches someone throw him into the fire of Moloch can take comfort knowing the one who throws him in is “impeachable”. Really? Is that distorted picture the God of scripture?

    3. Quoting Cheung, “I always speak of freedom in relation to God – and that is why the issue becomes clear….I deny any sense of human freedom and deny any relationship between freedom and responsibility.”

      The key term, “in relation to God.” In relation to God, no one is free to do other than as God wills him to do.

      1. rhutchin responding to Vincent Cheung who reject’s a compatibilist notion of free-will.
        The key term, “in relation to God.” In relation to God, no one is free to do other than as God wills him to do.

        br.d
        This is consistent in Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) between Calvinists who embrace a compatiblist notion of freewill (like rhutchin) and those who reject it (like Cheung). Rhutchin quite naturally wants to seek common ground with a fellow Calvinist.

        And yes, in Theological determinism:
        1) Creatures are free to think/say/desire/do – ONLY what Calvin’s god determines them to think/say/desire/do.
        2) Calvin’s god does not allow them to think/say/desire/do otherwise
        3) In Theological Determinism freewill in the form of “alternate possibilities” exist ONLY as illusions.
        4) Because Calvin’s god determines what the creature will think/say/desire/do these things are “not up to” the creature.
        5) It logically follows, the consequence of these things is also “up to” Calvin’s god and therefore “not up to” the creature.

        Rhutchin is validating Peter Van Inwagen’s “consequence argument”.

  24. In the debate, starting about the 5 min mark, Dr. Pritchett defined “free will” in the “soft” libertarian sense as the following:
    1. the ability to choose between options
    2. the person could have chosen otherwise,
    3. all choices are self-determined but not causally determined by factors beyond self, and
    4. choices may be influenced by external factors but such factors do not determine the choice.

    This definition does not address the issue of God’s prior knowledge of a person’s choices, a point that has been a big issue in discussion. Nor does it get into the nitty-gritty of the sovereignty of God and how that relates to choices. These issues were not the subject of the debate.

    This definition offered by Dr. Pritchett is not really different than that proposed by the Calvinist. The Calvinist would summarize the above points to say that a person is not coerced to choose one way of the other. The disagreement with the Calvinist is not even addressed as we see in point 4. Dr. Pritchett is careful to deal only with “external” forces acting on the person – the issue with the Calvinists on free will is over “internal” forces – the sin nature and the corruption of the mind and the effect of internal forces in determining what a person chooses So, right off the bat, we find that Dr. Pritchett fails to understand the issue that is the subject of debate with the Calvinist. However, as he agrees that choices that are “self-determined” are free in the soft libertarian sense, he does not really object to the Calvinist view – one need only read Jonathan Edwards’ paper on The Freedom of the Will with its focus on internal factors – one’s desires – to see this.

    So, the question seems to be – What is the complaint that Pritchett has with the Calvinist on free will??

    1. rhutchin writes:
      1. the ability to choose between options
      2. the person could have chosen otherwise,
      3. all choices are self-determined but not causally determined by factors beyond self, and
      4. choices may be influenced by external factors but such factors do not determine the choice.
      This definition offered by Dr. Pritchett is not really different than that proposed by the Calvinist.

      br.d
      Thanks rhutchin for giving an example of dishonesty.
      You know good and well there is no such thing as “choose between options” or “chosen otherwise” or “self-determined choices” in Theological Determinism.

      The only way you can argue they exist in Calvinism is to pull more beguiling double-talk out of the toolbox.
      I think we’re all savvy enough about these issues to know – more word trickery won’t work at this point. 😉

      1. br.d writes, “You know good and well there is no such thing as “choose between options” or “chosen otherwise” or “self-determined choices” in Theological Determinism.”

        That’s based on your view of omniscience. Dr. Pritchett holds that God is omniscient as I do. We all know that omniscience does not coerce people to choose one particular option over another. Your problem is that you refuse to accept God’s knowledge as encompassing God’s use of secondary means – the prime means being the sin nature and corrupt mind of the people He uses to accomplish His purposes. There are options so long as a person is not coerced to choose and his choice is self-determined. Until you can show that people are not self-determined, I don’t see that you have a case. I doubt that Plantinga can even help you here.

  25. Daily reading in Ezekiel, Hebrew, Psalms, Proverbs (through the Bible in one year)

    Ez 23

    God compares Samaria and Jerusalem (Israel and Judah) to prostitutes. He goes on with pretty explicit language saying, despite Him taking them in (marriage) they went off to prostitute themselves. Remember these are His “chosen” people (the word chosen/ elect is used many more times in the OT than in the NT).

    Then He says

    ——-
    “18 ‘In the same way, I became disgusted with Oholibah and rejected her, just as I had rejected her sister, because she flaunted herself before them and gave herself to satisfy their lusts…'”
    ——–

    Now, using just Scripture (not presupposed philosophical position) what is God saying here (and in the thousands of passages like this)?

    Is He saying “I preordained you to go a-whoring…. so I could be disgusted…. so I could tell you how bad you were….so I could judge you … so I could preordain that you come back to me…. so I could forgive you…. so you could live well for a while till I preordained that you go a-whoring again.” ??

    Or is He saying (what He says) “I rescued you from Egypt….and gave you grace and some real parameters…. but you in your free-choice way, went off.” ??

    Does it sound —in any way— like he wants this, or this is for His glory when He says…..

    35 “And because you have forgotten me and turned your back on me, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: You must bear the consequences of all your lewdness and prostitution.”

    Once again the Scriptures teach us that God (“the Sovereign Lord”) is acting / displaying power as a result of what man does.

    This is heresy to a Calvinist….. just simple Bible teaching to the rest of us.

    1. FOH writes, “Once again the Scriptures teach us that God (“the Sovereign Lord”) is acting / displaying power as a result of what man does.
      This is heresy to a Calvinist…..”

      Not a heresy to Calvinists. Are you sure that you used to be a Calvinist?

  26. I’ve been thinking about all the thousands of verses where the Sovereign Lord tells us that people do things that He does not want…did not ordain….does not will.

    I’ve been thinking about how these thousands of verses are all apparently “interpreted better” via the lens of a verse or two. One such verse is Matt 10:29 about the sparrow.

    Even the Calvinist ESV does not say “will” or “care”

    ESV: Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.

    “…apart from your Father.” What does that mean?

    That is all the Greek says…..

    Does it mean like the NLT says

    NLT: What is the price of two sparrows–one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.

    Does it mean that He knows it? or that he cares about it…. or that He micro-managed ordained every feather?

    It has to be stated clearly that the Calvinist position of God ordaining all sin, evil actions and thoughts is based on a foundation of a couple verses like this one (and Proverbs, casting lots!). And this in spite of thousands of verses where “The Sovereign Lord” tells us clearly that He had nothing to do with such sin or evil deeds.

    1. The thing they struggle with, I think, is the moral justification of God allowing evil. To our selfish hearts, I believe it is easier to write off the tragedy of evil by simply consigning it to God’s garbage pail, rather than in any way assume that love or holiness was worth the risk of such depth of sorrow to him. Sadly, this ends up doing several negative things for us, it jades the character of God to some extent (although the difference between stabbing Billy or watching someone else stab Billy and not stopping him can seem pretty subtle to the thinking mind, and certainly even our society doesn’t value free will to that extent). It also gives a false sense of security, since your actions and decisions don’t seem to matter as much, as there is no real difference you can make in your destiny, a powerful motivator, as you previously pointed out here, to living holy. It also actually tries to explain a mystery the Bible leaves silent—the ultimate justification for existence of evil. God… allowing himself an enemy… in light of his power to blink an eye and destroy universes, seems almost preposterous, yet there it is. And the Calvinists will appeal to mystery but in reality there is no mystery at all; God always gets what he wants in Calvinism, just like our selfish hearts always want to get what we want. In reality, we face the almost impossible mystery of a God who can literally do anything, not getting what he wants. Our system in fact, takes more faith. We really have no ultimate solution as of yet.

      1. A very thoughtful post – thanks dizerner.

        Yes, I would agree – much of the debate can be summed up as an attempt to claim explanations as unquestionably asserted by scripture or as logical – which in fact are nothing more than suppositions masquerading as explanations.

        Peter Van Inwagen agrees:

        The determinist/compatibilist is faced with two difficulties in showing “free will”.
        1) He must show that there are REAL multiple futures that are “open” to us.
        2) He must show that those multiple futures are “open” to us in a genuine sense of that word.

        Compatibilists can make their doctrine **SEEM** like robust common sense only by sweeping a mystery under the carpet.”

      2. I’ve been thinking about compatibilism a bit. It seems to me, what they are recognizing is God’s choice to give choice to some extent. I know they want to mish it more than that, but still in that sense, our choice was in a weird indirect way God’s choice to create—it’s like our freedoms mesh together in some odd way if you look at it holistically, as one “double-choice.” It’s like those nuclear unlock codes where each person has a key. God has one key and we have one key, and together they produce autonomy. But that makes it look like God approves of whatever we choose, and that is where the confusion enters in. In a sense evil as creation is inextricably linked to the Creator because literally nothing could exist without him. And you know in the end, the Calvinist or combatibilist if pressing us free willists can make us look almost as goofy as them in the sense that we are postulating some highly abstract and almost illogical looking things with free will.

        We have two major problems: one is that a choice is a real paradox, not even a perceived one. Because we are basically postulating two contradictory statements:

        1. The chosen is the ONLY thing that can be actually chosen.
        2. The other choice could could have been actually chosen.

        And what this really boils down to is a single action is two contradictory actions:

        1. Choice X is A.
        2. Choice X is B.
        3. Choice X is only one thing.

        This messes with people’s minds so much they resort to thinking that making the future unknown somehow magically solves their problem under Open Theism… but actually it doesn’t logically! It is still the case only ONE choice is EVER possible in reality, so how is the other choice ever REAL? It can’t be under strict logic ever a real choice, because it never is a REAL action. It lives forever in hypothetical never-happen land. However, of course, by postulating hypotheticals the Bible does clearly indirectly teach free will, but it is a true paradox in my opinion, and some people a lot smarter than me refuse to accept it as rational, and I agree with them. I don’t think reality can be described in strictly rational terms, and I think free will is, in fact, supernatural. In that sense I’d be forced to agree that compatibilism is actually a real possibilty since I accept paradoxes. I just don’t see it taught in Scripture in any real sense, because every time God used an evil action, it never said God created the evil action; he simply used it.

      3. Thanks dizerner – good comments!
        And as always – very thoughtful and expressing honesty. :-]

        Yes, there are things which we don’t understand – and Jesus expects us to be honest about that.
        But we know the human condition is prone to temptation and less than honest in many ways.

        As you’re looking at logical propositions which are contradictions, you may be aware of the “Square of Opposition”.
        A tool developed to help us discern contradictions.

        It divides propositions into 4 types.
        1) Universal Positive – ALL [A] are [B] (e.g. ALL persons are human)
        2) Universal Negative – NO [A] are [B] (e.g. NO persons are human)
        3) Particular Positive – SOME [A] are [B] (e.g. SOME persons are human)
        4) Particular Negative – SOME [A] are not [B] (e.g. SOME persons are NOT human)

        As you can see:
        (1) and (2) are “contrary” to each other
        (1) and (4) are “direct contradictions” of each other
        (2) and (3) are “direct contradictions” of each other

        So the proposition: “ALL persons are human AND SOME persons are NOT human” is a direct contradiction.
        Now there are “rhetorical devices” a person can use, to assert a direct contradiction hoping it will not be detected.

        For example:
        ALL persons are human, but NOT in such a way that ALL persons are human.
        The wording here is fairly easy to detect – so people use more subtle language tricks.

        ALL persons are human, but in such a way that SOME persons are not human.

        When the critical thinking Christian starts to scrutinize the language of Calvinism, what he recognizes are “rhetorical devices” that allow the Calvinist to make statements that are direct contradictions – without being immediately detected.

        William Lane Craig, in his dialog with Calvinists has to deal with this issue constantly.

      4. Gosh, I asked Dr. Craig to debate Calvinists, he would indeed be the ultimate Calvinist-killer wouldn’t he?! But alas, he actually loves his Lord too much to create unnecessary division in the Body of Christ. A better man than you or no doubt. 🙂

      5. Gosh, I asked Dr. Craig to debate Calvinists, he would indeed be the ultimate Calvinist-killer wouldn’t he?! But alas, he actually loves his Lord too much to create unnecessary division in the Body of Christ. A better man than you or no doubt.

        br.d
        Yes – I agree Dr. Craig is a much better man than I ( if we qualify “better” in terms of I.Q. and in terms of rational reasoning)
        I will let Jesus qualify “better” in terms of other aspects of my person. 😀

        However, Dr. Craig – as you acknowledge, is very much a gentleman and he would never want to be considered a -quote “Calvinist killer” any more than he would want to be considered an “Atheist killer”.

        The issue of Calvinist/non-Calvinist division in the church has already been well documented.
        And its an unfortunate fact – when Calvinist pastors lie their way into churches, the evidence clearly shows Calvinist tactics are less than honorable and Christ-line on average. As mentioned before, the Calvinist uses “rhetorical devices” to evade these facts as well.

        And when a Calvinist declares (his and only his) theology the “TRUE” gospel he clearly becomes the initiator of division.

      6. dizerner writes, “I asked Dr. Craig to debate Calvinists, he would indeed be the ultimate Calvinist-killer wouldn’t he?!”

        I doubt that this is true given Craig’s embrace of Molinism.

      7. br.d writes, “When the critical thinking Christian starts to scrutinize the language of Calvinism, what he recognizes are “rhetorical devices” that allow the Calvinist to make statements that are direct contradictions – without being immediately detected.”

        Here are some examples:

        Universal positive – By grace a person is saved.
        Universal negative – Jesus said, “No one can come to me.

        Actually, no contradiction there.

      8. br.d writes, “When the critical thinking Christian starts to scrutinize the language of Calvinism, what he recognizes are “rhetorical devices” that allow the Calvinist to make statements that are direct contradictions – without being immediately detected.”

        rhutchin
        Here are some examples:

        Universal positive – By grace a person is saved.
        Universal negative – Jesus said, “No one can come to me.
        Actually, no contradiction there.

        br.d
        Once again you failed logic 101
        1) The Universality of your “Universal Positive” is so ambiguous its not a Universal Positive proposition.
        2) Your propositions don’t contain the same terms and that is why they don’t contradict each other.

        A logical contradiction is the conjunction of a statement [S] and its **EXACT** denial [NOT-S] whether explicitly or implicitly.

        This is a typical error in logic for you and perhaps the underlying reason why your posts are frequently not taken seriously by SOT101 readers. You really should consider taking an introductory course in logic.

      9. br.d writes, “When the critical thinking Christian starts to scrutinize the language of Calvinism, what he recognizes are “rhetorical devices” that allow the Calvinist to make statements that are direct contradictions – without being immediately detected.”

        Excellent summary of the inherent problem with Calvinism, even when inconsistently believed and/or practiced.

      10. br.d writes, “1) The Universality of your “Universal Positive” is so ambiguous its not a Universal Positive proposition.”

        What is ambiguous – “grace” “a person” or “saved.” They all seem clear to me.

        Then, “2) Your propositions don’t contain the same terms and that is why they don’t contradict each other.”

        LOL! So you quibble about the use of “person” in one statement and “one” in the other. Or is it that you don’t see “come to me” to be synonymous with “believe in me” and being saved?

      11. br.d writes, “1) The Universality of your “Universal Positive” is so ambiguous its not a Universal Positive proposition.”

        rhutchin
        What is ambiguous – “grace” “a person” or “saved.” They all seem clear to me.

        Then, “2) Your propositions don’t contain the same terms and that is why they don’t contradict each other.”

        LOL! So you quibble about the use of “person” in one statement and “one” in the other. Or is it that you don’t see “come to me” to be synonymous with “believe in me” and being saved?

        br.d
        You’re chasing your tail again.
        Whether or not one utilizes helpful tips or strives to believe everything he imagines is logic – is up to him.
        I’m happy to let you continue in it. 😀

      12. dizerner writes, “I’ve been thinking about compatibilism a bit. It seems to me, what they are recognizing is God’s choice to give choice to some extent. ”

        Compatibilism says that God made man as a self-determining entity (having freedom of will) and man is subordinate to God (not autonomous).

      13. Yea, I understand it says A and NOT A. Not entirely news to me. It is a logical contradiction, there’s no doubt about that. It is literally saying something is what it is not. I would need a lot of justification to believe that I think.

      14. dizerner writes, “Yea, I understand it says A and NOT A. Not entirely news to me. It is a logical contradiction, there’s no doubt about that.”

        To what does this refer? Any chance you could expand and explain what you are talking about?

      15. Sure. All I was saying is you stated a direct logical contradiction. It is as if I said, “I am typing on a computer. But whatever I am typing on is not a computer.” That’s equivalent in logic to your definition of compatibilism. If you need further clarification, just let me know.

      16. dizerner writes, “God made man as a self-determining entity (having freedom of will) and man is subordinate to God (not autonomous).”

        I made two statements:
        1. God made man as a self-determining entity (having freedom of will) and
        2. man is subordinate to God (not autonomous).

        I see no contradiction and I did not understand the computer example. I think the computer example should be:

        1. I am typing on a computer.
        2. Whatever I am typing has to be compatible with the computer.

        So, you can type anything you want as long as it is in English (You could not type in Arabic, for instance).

        If you meant something else, you will have to explain it (and how it relates to my statements).

      17. I understand where you’re coming from. You have different definitions, and that’s the source of most confusion when talking theology/philosophy. I would define self-determining AS autonomous, so your claims came out contradictory for my mental dictionary. For it to make sense you will have to explain to me the difference in your thoughts between self-determining and autonomous. Perhaps then I could understand your definition…

      18. dizerner writes, “I would define self-determining AS autonomous, so your claims came out contradictory for my mental dictionary. For it to make sense you will have to explain to me the difference in your thoughts between self-determining and autonomous.”

        I define “autonomous” as being independent of God and not under God’s control. If something is autonomous with respect to God, that something would be equal to God. To be self-determining does not require that one be independent of God or outside God’s control. In Isaiah 10, the Assyrians are described as self-determining but still under God’s control – they cannot attack Israel unless God grants them freedom to do so.

      19. But then how is the “self” doing the determining? To be self-determining means your determination is what determines, thus being not determined by any other thing even God.

      20. dizerner writes, “To be self-determining means your determination is what determines, thus being not determined by any other thing even God.”

        I don’t see why that must be true. To be self-determing means that you decide what you want to do. Let’s say you want to do A and B. God then determines that you do A but not B. You then do A. Had you not wanted to do A and God had determined you to do A, then God would have had to coerce you to do A. To say that you are self-determining and that God also determines what you do is to say that you and God both agree on what you will do and you will not do anything without that agreement (unless coerced to do so).

      21. Hi Dizerner
        As 99% of Calvinism hinges upon word definitions – perhaps the issue is between “self-determined” and “Autonomous”

        Autonimous – https://www.etymonline.com/word/autonomy
        “The condition, power or right of self-government,” From Greek autonomia “independence,” abstract noun from autonomos “independent, living by one’s own laws,” from autos “self” (see auto-) + nomos “custom, law” (from PIE root *nem- “assign, allot; take”).

        In Theological Determinism, in its Greek Stoic form as well as in Calvinism, man does have the function of determining.
        And it is in that sense, the Stoic or Calvinist can say he is “self-determining”.

        However he does not have the function of determining what he determines.
        In a strict sense, he is not the “controlling” determiner – but rather his determinations are controled.
        When faced with two possible paths to take, the path he determines has already be determined for him.
        If the determiner, whether it be Zeus for the Stoic, or Calvin’s god for the Calvinist, determines he choose the left path – then he is not free to choose the right path. And Vice versa.
        The ability to “do otherwise” (than what an external person determines you do) is a unique characteristic of Libertarian free will.
        However, in the Stoic Calvinist system, man is free to have the illusion that he can choose the other path.

      22. You’ve opened my eyes, br.d.

        We, in fact, are the determinists—we believe man determines his fate.

        We believe in irresistible grace—we can’t help but make a choice.

        We love unconditional election—God offers to elect us unconditionally.

        We are the fatalists—rejecting God is fatal.

        We reject free will—God paid a big price to give us a will.

        Woot.

        I can win any debate by just redefining things as if my position is right!!

      23. dizerner to br.d writes, “I can win any debate by just redefining things as if my position is right!!”

        Then it is only necessary to resolve the difference in definitions (determine the proper definition) to settle the debate or go separate ways where those differences cannot be resolved (more than one definition is possible).

      24. Yes – your absolutely correct dizerner.
        There’s a lot of rhetorical subtleties in the language – and words and phrases are shifted around just like the classic shell game.
        He who controls the shells – controls the dialog – and has the ability to make error look like truth. :-]

      25. dizerner writes, “The thing they struggle with, I think, is the moral justification of God allowing evil.”

        Everyone has this problem. God is omnipotent and can prevent any, and all, evil. Are you going to argue that God does not allow evil? If not, how do you justify God allowing evil?

      26. If not, how do you justify God allowing evil?

        Yes, everyone has the problem, but not everyone insists we must have a solution. Calvinism tries to solve a problem the Bible does not solve. I can say “I don’t have a solution, and the Bible does not instruct me to have one,” but a Calvinist cannot say that.

        I doubt that this is true given Craig’s embrace of Molinism.
        It doesn’t negate the fact that he is stronger in logic and philosophy than most Calvinists.

        To be self-determing means that you decide what you want to do.
        If you make someone else be a “co-determiner” than call it “co-self-determination,” otherwise self alone is the definition of what determines.

      27. rhutchin: “If not, how do you justify God allowing evil?”
        dizerner: …Calvinism tries to solve a problem the Bible does not solve. I can say “I don’t have a solution, and the Bible does not instruct me to have one,” but a Calvinist cannot say that.”

        The Bible does provide a solution. It says that God works all things according to counsel of His will (according to His understanding of all things and His wisdom).. It also says that God works all things for good for His elect and all things include evil things done to His elect that God deems necessary to His purpose (e.g., the stoning of Stephen). So, evil acts are integral to that which God is doing, so God decrees, or grants, people the freedom to do evil things.

        rhutchin:”I doubt that this is true given Craig’s embrace of Molinism.”
        dizerner: “It doesn’t negate the fact that he is stronger in logic and philosophy than most Calvinists.”

        Yet, when Craig argues against the Calvinist system, he forgets that he embraces Molinism and how Molinism relates to determinism.

        rhutchin: “To be self-determing means that you decide what you want to do.”
        dizerner: “If you make someone else be a “co-determiner” than call it “co-self-determination,” otherwise self alone is the definition of what determines.”

        Sel-determining means that the person determines what he wants to do. That still provides for God to determine what a person will do. For example, Jospeh’s brothers actually hated Joseph and discussed murdering Joseph – they really wanted to kill Joseph. God’s will was not that outcome. God then arranges for the Midian slave traders to saunter by. Now the brothers determine that they will sell Joseph to the slave traders and this is God’s will also. The brothers are fully self-determining in pursuing their wants. God works through their wants to ensure His will. Isaiah 10 provides another excellent example in the Assyrians.

      28. . It says that God works all things according to counsel of His will

        That’s not the issue at stake here, you are claiming to know HOW God works all things, but the BIble says his thoughts are as far above yours as the heavens above the earth, and his paths are beyond tracing out, yet you are here telling me you know for certain exactly why God allowed evil. Sorry I don’t buy that and it’s not Biblical either.

        he forgets that he embraces Molinism
        err, no i dont think dr. WLC forgets he embraces molinism and he is plenty willing to compare it to determinism. he can be as illogical about his molinism as a calvinist like u can be about ur determinism, but so what, none of us are perfect.

        That still provides for God to determine what a person will do.
        If in your mind you are insisting a certain kind of logical “smuggling” is allowed, I don’t think I can convince you otherwise. Even Einstein gave into a “fudge constant” to make one of his equations work, but I don’t expect you’ll see you’re doing something similar. Self-determining, as it stands, precludes anything else from determining, because that’s what the word is, otherwise we should use a different word…

      29. dizerner writes, “That’s not the issue at stake here, you are claiming to know HOW God works all things, …”

        Not really. I am saying that God works all things, including evil. However, we do know how God works some things. God brought the flood of Noah, destroyed Sodom, called Abrahem, intervened through dreams/visions to Abimilech, Joseph, Daniel, Ezekiel, impregnated Mary, used Assyria and the Chaldeans to punish Israel and then Judah, sent the wise men to Bethlehem using a star, and many other means. God can put fear or courage into the heart of a man. God gives wisdom to one and not to another. So, I am not sure what your issue is here.

        Then, “i dont think dr. WLC forgets he embraces molinism and he is plenty willing to compare it to determinism…”

        If he does this I would like to see a citation to his website so I can read about it. I know Craig compares Calvinism to determinism, but I have not seem where he addresses that issue of Molinism and determinism. If you have read where he does, I would appreciate a citation.

        Then, “Self-determining, as it stands, precludes anything else from determining, because that’s what the word is, otherwise we should use a different word…”

        I don’t see why that is true. If X is to occur, I don’t see why we cannot predicate its occurrence on both man determining to do X and God determining that X be done. In James 4, we read, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that.” So, we have James telling us that we may determine to do this or that, and we should recognize that we will only be able to do that which God wills.

        You seem to be using self-detemriend in an absolute autonomous way but this is not the only definition possible.

      30. Dizerner:
        You have articulated our problem of evil pretty well—and our lack of total biblical explanation. I have tried also.

        Basically…..we dont usually equate murder with Adam eating the fruit…. but it is all the same. Disobedience. God “stood by and watched” while Adam chose to eat the fruit. God’s “standing by” is the issue, no matter what the level of the crime.

        The way I see it, and the way I see it presented in the Bible is that He set His world up in such a way that He allows Himself to “stand by” — for a time.

        The Calvinist option to this is that God willed/ decreed/ ordained all heinous acts in existence “for His glory.”

        1. If that is true then He is very different then He reveals Himself in Christ.
        2. If that is true then even our contesting of their determinist position was willed/ ordained.
        3. If that is true then we only think we are thinking through this issue—we aren’t really—since we are sock-puppets.

      31. FOH writes, “He allows Himself to “stand by” — for a time.
        The Calvinist option to this is that God willed/ decreed/ ordained all heinous acts in existence “for His glory.””

        There is no difference between “He allows Himself to stand by” and “He ordains.”

        Then, “3. If that is true then we only think we are thinking through this issue—we aren’t really—since we are sock-puppets.”

        You would be a puppet if you were an unthinking piece of wood. You are not. God made you with wants, desires, emotions, and the ability to reason. Thus, you actually think through issues and your choices reflect your actual wants and desires. It is not necessary that God pull strings as with a puppet – there are no strings when you act according to your wants and desires. God need only incorporate your wants and desires into His eternal plan and purpose.

      32. Sup, Froms. You’re a lot smarter and more open than most people I’ve talked to over the years, and that’s pretty cool, and no doubt smarter than I am. When I got bit by the Calvinism “bug” so many years ago it really intensified for me that innate question we all have about the character of God and why he allowed evil. I watched how many different people handle doctrine and ideas, and really tried to contemplate not only what they are saying, but also why they said it; because, surprise, surprise, people aren’t always logical. But the one thing I knew was, I wasn’t in this to make myself feel good, to affirm what I already believed, as a game to entertain myself, or to just settle on whoever sounded the most confident. I really wanted the real answer no matter the cost. Although I admire my sincerity, in retrospect I kind of regret the time spent; although I feel I know a few things I didn’t, I think it would be more valuable to be closer to the Lord relationally and focus on inner sanctification. But alas, we all make mistakes, and sometimes very large ones. The reason I say all this is when we go back and forth, I don’t want you to take it personally if I seem ungracious, I want you to understand where I’m coming from and that there’s an intensity under there that I can’t always seem to be as gracious as I’d like, in other words, I can be too blunt.

        I have no emotional bias against Calvinism or doctrines that make meh feel badz on the insides, and for all those that profess to be willing and desirous of truth no matter the cost, mad respect to their sincerity also. But sometimes I am tempted to believe, and this even among Calvinists, that we really are predisposed to the more, as someone on this thread put it, “comfy” doctrines. Now for some that want to paint an unrealistically rosy picture of the world, Calvinism makes God a “monster” right? But when we… when for whatever reason we see or encounter or finally realize the depth… the real depth of evil and suffering in some places, as I believe many Calvinists have, it is actually easier and more comfy to believe God just doesn’t *really* care about those people. Sure he cries ‘n stuff in Scripture to put on a good show, but if he created those people to destroy them, I mean it’s mega-meh, and I don’t have to feel bad either. It’s like Calvinism just hardens our heart and makes us selfish so that we just think there isn’t this heart-breaking, mind-boggling immensity of tragedy that we don’t have to shoulder emotionally. And I’m speaking out of years of frustration of getting to the real “gut” of things, and I know that both sides will profess out the wazoo that that’s not the main issue really, but really… I personally am convinced, and I’ve put in more agony about this to be honest, because I know what I’ve been through and faced.

        So… there’s probs with these answers and a lot of anti-C stuff I hear. I won’t accept any cheesy stuff or feel-good stuff, because I’m not content to just say “Calvinism is icky and God is luv,” I understand there’s something more than that out there. There’s offensive things and a God I don’t always understand, and it’s easy to think Christianity is “God loves and cares for us,” and I’m not saying that’s not necessarily a part of the truth, but there’s a God out there and in the Bible that frankly scares me and makes me feel very uncertain about some things, and seems hella harsh… and we see in a lot of recent waves of false doctrine in the recent years really all aimed at making God more palatable to the point that even affirming a sin nature makes so many think I’m Calvinist, I have to feel at least Calvinists are willing to accept an offensive God and stand for some unpalatable Scriptural truths in the light of a great attack of the fallen nature of humanity makes upon the Gospel to change it to be more humanistic and soulishly loving. That stuff worries me a ton.

        How does God reveal himself in Christ? Love? Partly. That’s the problem. Only partly. Christ is frightening in many ways, if we stare a bit more honestly, transparently and focused at the Bible. Revelation 1-3 should scare any Christian. That’s not a “Jesus loves me this I know” passage of Scripture. The fact that Christ revealed a holy God, not just a God of love, is even most revealed in the very reason he came; not just as Dr. Flowers often likes to say “to show that he would rather suffer for our crimes than condemn us,” but to show how much the holiness of God demands a terrible and atrocious degree of suffering and punishment. And since I reject the silly doctrine of Eternal Security and I see clearly that Jesus will throw into hell people he died for, I know it is not an unconditional truth that Jesus would rather suffer than condemn me. Jesus suffered my condemnation, but by no means did he anywhere guarantee me that he wouldn’t condemn me himself. There’s real problems with that.

        Christ revealed a God that is not “safe” and “comforting,” nor did he reveal a Father that loves to just amble down with us and take us fishing at the old pier like a kindly old grandpa. This God is fierce and frightening, and it IS the God of Sinai. The same clouds and fire were there at the condemnation of my sin at that Cross, where the anger of God struck the victim for the sin I deserved, and I can’t just take that like God’s a loving Santa giving me a gift. It’s too intense, it’s too unfair, it’s too painful, it’s too holy, it’s too real, it’s drained out in the life blood of a love that isn’t like any love I’ve ever seen or known or can even understand. God didn’t serve me a bowl of chicken noodle soup there, he screamed and agonized and bled for my wicked and wretched sorry-ass soul that deserved to be justly tormented for all eternity before him. And frankly, that’s just not an easy thing for me.

        Yes, if determination is true we are determined to reject/believe determination, but c’mon, logically that has nothing to do with the truth of it. It’s like when Dr. Flowers says “Why are you condemning my action if God predetermined my action?” C’mon, that’s no argument, even Dr. Pritchett realized God also predetermines our condemnation of it. I’ve seen really smart logical men like Dr. Craig even resort to plain illogic when faced with a truth that’s just… freakin’ hard to face, man. He takes the passage of Christ saying that Tyre and Sidon would be saved if they saw the miracles that the Galileans did, and he goes into full denial over it, because he’s smart enough to actually work out the real implications. He insists it’s *hyperbole*, and that Jesus couldn’t literally mean it. And now if we think about it we know why: Jesus would literally be saying God gave a grace to a people he know would reject it that he withheld from a people he knew would accept it. And am I intellectually honest enough and spiritually sincere enough to say I have to believe what Jesus literally said but it leaves me completely WTF? Yes. I’m sorry, I have to do it. It leaves me confused and agitated and sad if I try to justify his character, but that’s just the way it is to be a disciple.

        And that’s where i get off this doctrinal bus with most people. They have no real burning desire for truth no matter the cost. They have no real commitment to face the unfaceable things, if they hurt too deep and offend too much. They have no burning love for Christ to love him back no matter if the real injustice of Christ himself suffering was all wrong and should never be, because hey, if somebody wants to take the rap we don’t care about justice anymore. I’ve literally seen someone say they would be offended if God damned babies but not offended if God saved babies that somehow deserved to be damned… what the heck kind of a game is that? Truth isn’t something I go shopping in the mall for and pick out what suits me? Frankly, I admire the Calvinist who upon his initiation said “I’d be willing not only to be damned for the glory of God, but for this whole church to be!” I even admire that one crazy man who rejected Christ because he thought it was more just that he take the punishment for his own sin…

        Since when do you hear that kind of brokenness and fire to put God first and love him no matter what the offense from these “namby-pamby” anti-Calvinists who just have hurt feelings if they think God did something mean or unjust? Nooo, God has to put US on the throne and do what WE want and make US feel good, and follow OUR rules. Hello. I read the whole Bible over 100 times and yea I’ve not found that God anywhere in there yet.

        So as you can see, I’m a greatly conflicted soul who is desperately looking for the real answers, and often left all shook up. But sometimes I think that’s how the real Christ was meant to leave us, and we’ve just defanged his words so long we don’t even blink an eye when he tells us we should cut our hands off rather than be thrown into hell, and things like that. We’re missing something, I’m not saying I know all the answers, but by God, I know so often we’re missing something about God. There’s no fire on the altar.

      33. Dizerner:
        I forgot to mention, that all but the very hard core Calvinists will say God “allows” “permits” “grants freedom” ….to sin.

        This of course is the greatest of cop-outs. So, God determines all things but allows…permits…grants freedom….. It just goes ’round and ’round.

        Many sharp thinkers Brian, BrD, WW, TS00 have come on these pages only to be dizzied by the determinist double-talk of ordained (hard decreeing) all things….but to soften it….. (it hurts our ears!) they slip in “grants man freedom to sin.”

        Dont bother! Dont even bother quoting those phrases back to them….. they will never address them. They just move on to the next non-connected dot, or disparaging remark “heretic! universalist! apostate!”

        Stay the course and fix your eyes on Christ.

      34. FOH writes, “This of course is the greatest of cop-outs. So, God determines all things but allows…permits…grants freedom….. It just goes ’round and ’round. ”

        Such words are used to explain what God is doing as people explain such things from their perspective. In context, most people understand that God is sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient, etc and exerts absolute control over everything that happens and people are not and exert very little, if any, control over events, Thus, to say that God allows is much different than saying that a person allows and people can pretty much understand the difference.

      35. To be self-determing means that you decide what you want to do.
        If you make someone else be a “co-determiner” than call it “co-self-determination,” otherwise self alone is the definition of what determines.

        This is a clarification I didn’t think of!
        You are right dizerner the Calvinist uses the term “self” to masquerade as one individual as the sole determiner *AS-IF* Calvin’s god was not involved.

        Thank you for catching this!!!

    2. Wonderful!!

      Consider Hermann Rorschach’s inkblot phenomenon.
      The Rorschach is what psychologists call a PROJECTIVE INTERPRETATION.

      The basic idea – when a person is shown an ambiguous, meaningless image (i.e., an inkblot) the mind will work hard to PROJECT MEANING to the image. And that meaning is not generated by the image – it is generated by the mind.

      Cognitive neural circuits develop and grow in the brain like branches on a tree, and the direction each branch grows is influenced by information being fed into the brain – as Pavlov’s dog experiment exemplifies.

      Jesus in Luke’s narrative, when confronted by the lawyer, (i.e., theologian) Jesus asks him two questions: (1) What does scripture say? (2) How do you read it? The lawyer answered the first question by simply quoting the text. But notice how he evades Jesus’ second question altogether.

      If he acknowledges his reading of scripture is subjective, he loses his ability to manipulate people’s interpretation of the “ink-blot” (so to speak) of scripture – in the way he wants them to interpret it.

      Calvinists often quote scriptures playing the same game – like the lawyer, they seek to obfuscate the fact they PROJECT MEANING into the data of scripture just like everyone else does.

  27. Dizerner:

    I am enjoying your input.

    Well stated this….

    “It also actually tries to explain a mystery the Bible leaves silent—the ultimate justification for existence of evil….”

    There are books and articles that try to explain this in the idea of “the God who risks.”

    If God in His sovereignty (and the counsel of His will) decided to create in such a fashion where He remains in ultimate control for the final outcome ….but not each step of the journey along the way (even allowing–not ordaining evil) —- then who are we to argue? Mystery it might be….but understandable to a degree, since He tells us so much in His word.

    The one thing that I think you, and I, and most of the commentators on this blog are overlooking is the key that sheds light on a lot of this.

    Christ.

    Two (of the thousand) things we can learn from Christ apropos to our discussion:

    1. Humility. Why must we keep talking about a Sovereign God who always gets whatever He wants (and is immutable, impassible, all-controlling, unbending, wooden, impersonal, static) when we have Christ? Is He not fully God? In fact, and in part, on earth to illustrate, personify, and demonstrate God to us?

    2. Dealing with human freedom. Didn’t Christ dwell on earth for 33 years? He must have seen many tragedies in the cruel Roman world. Surely He was even close enough to physically stop some ((and besides “He could have called 10,000 angels”)). We have almost no record of Him intervening in an unjust situation. Is there any reason to extrapolate from this that He approved of it…or even more, He ordained it?

    Certainly in our society there are unjust things happening that we could stop (think: abortion). Our not-stopping it in no way means we approve of it (or worse, support and promote it). Deep down all of us know the injustices we cannot stop will be settled by God (vengeance is mine).

    Now why in the world would we want to attribute —to Him— the injustices that He will repay?

    1. Now why in the world would we want to attribute —to Him— the injustices that He will repay?

      Now that is what I call a great question. But Calvinists in general are deep thinkers and they know how to play a game of chess. Really it’s pretty hard to outplay them, although not necessarily impossible. Most of the vocal people against Calvinists on the internet tend to go the humanistic route of some kind of, as James White would put it, “peanut butter love.” And to a really honest seeker, that answer just seems way too blind to too many injustices in the world. I cannot believe that some child being sacrificed by an Amorite priest got the same amount of grace and love from God as I did. But then, to get God down to a level that makes me feel good about him, I pretty much have to go two humanistic routes that betray Jesus’ teachings: I have to say, for every injustice in this life we have to somehow get it “made up for” in the next, and two, God has to demonstrate an equal amount of love and grace to all humans of all time. With just a modicum of thought these ideas are patently Biblically and experientially false and I will have to in reality throw out essential Biblical truths to rearrange a Christ that is more of a peaceful hippie that shows us the evil bad OT God was a big mistake. And I think Jesus brought a scarier God, not a more happy one. Christ said some scary stuff; the worst torture on earth doesn’t compare to the pain his Father can bring, and every single word we ever speak will be judged one day. Just to start. Essentially the message of Christ was “God is more scary than you thought, so scary that only he can save you from himself, and I am here as God to show you God hates sin far more than you can ever imagine, because I, the perfect and spotless and most pure being imaginable, must stand in your condemned place, for you to even have a chance.” And I don’t want to bring out the dreaded P word, but yea, as charitable as I want to be, I really feel like too many objections to Calvinism are like this American we all have our rights and God has to be just or we want our money back kind of thing, not a God that terrifies the living daylights out of a wicked and sinful world whose only hope is to run desperately and grasp fervently an offered bloody sacrifice of immense suffering to appease his terrible wrath against the sins we all excuse away and justify.

      Now I personally, would stop any harmful thing done in front of me, if I had the power, and I personally think Jesus would too. However, Jesus taught us some really tough things about the nature of God, and one of those is that he simply doesn’t, for reasons perhaps beyond us right now, and that’s just the way it is. And I think that’s a tough thing about Christianity and one that turns a lot of unbelievers away from Christ, and there really is no easy answer. At that point we simply have to lay down our offended feelings and confused logic, to make Christ King and Lord no matter the cost, and that is the impossible call to every real disciple.

    2. Now why in the world would we want to attribute —to Him— the injustices that He will repay?

      Yes I agree – this is a perennial question for Calvinism – based upon logic and biblical morality.

      The Calvinist position forces him to manufacture exculpatory arguments which eventually paints him into the corner of the doctrine of moral relativity. Where good and evil are relative only to sovereignty. Divine sovereignty determines and redefines everything including Holiness – and its definition changes with every divine action – whether god or evil.

      The result is what scripture states “calling good evil and calling evil good”. Thus In Calvinism the deity’s attribute of good and evil are not anchored to scripture. They float about under the influence of the deity’s arbitrary “good pleasure”.

  28. br.d writes,
    “You know good and well there is no such thing as “choose between options” or “chosen otherwise” or “self-determined choices” in Theological Determinism.”

    rhutchin
    That’s based on your VIEW of omniscience.

    br.d
    Silly!!! See how the Calvinist’s punts to the term “view”.
    Here the term “view” is a euphemism for the term “illusion”.
    He has previously stated that in Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) the human “perception” of these things are illusions.

    From a previous post:
    “From god’s perspective “do otherwise” does not exist – but from Adam’s perspective it does”

    Here he again uses the word “perspective” as a euphemism for the term “illusion”.

    Thank you rhutchin – this was a good example of Calvinist beguiling double-talk. 😀

  29. Dizerner:

    Hummm…. I’m wondering.

    Today’s (through-the-Bible) reading might shed a clue.

    Ezekiel 24-26, Heb 11, Ps 110, 2 Proverbs verses…

    Ez 24: 14 (similar to hundreds of verses like it in Scripture)

    14 “I, the Lord, have spoken! The time has come, and I won’t hold back. I will not change my mind, and I will have no pity on you. You will be judged on the basis of all your wicked actions, says the Sovereign Lord.”

    Here we see some things “the Sovereign Lord” is telling us about Himself.

    1. He says He will not change His mind—- of course implying that changing His mind is an option (anathema to Calvinists).

    2. He is known for pity and compassion, but will have none. Why? They are being judged. (Keep the “judgement” idea in mind when seeing all the catastrophic things He does in Scripture).

    3. Based on their wicked actions —-that He could have stopped—- He will judge them. This deals with the mystery you refer to (Why does He not stop evil things that He hates? Has He put some kind of restriction on Himself?)

    Now…..not to pick a fight….. I dont think you would stop all evil right in front of you…every time.

    You know the child is alive in the young woman going into an abortion clinic. You know where the clinic is, and when it is open. Yet you dont stop it. For some reason—- “it is illegal” for you to do that. Some parameters are in place that allow that for the moment.

    The second fight I am not picking is …. we have no record of Jesus stopping every injustice (he did very strategically stop the adulterous woman from being stoned….. but only with strategy, not force). He did nothing to stop His innocent cousin, John-the-Baptist from being beheaded…and we know he was near by.

    So….agreeing with you…. I think God has put some kind of temporary parameters in place….even on Himself. He will not intervene to prevent every evil that He sees taking place. Some will say that this makes Him as guilty as the perpetrator. Others will say with His parameters in place He is asking “how long will I be patient with you before I judge you?”

    But yes….to a degree…He has not revealed to us His purpose in allowing a competitive evil to exist —nor why He does not stop it when He sees it.

    With all this said…..none of these concepts make Him the origin/ decree-er/ of this evil.

    He may —-for His own reasons— watch while man disobeys (He did that with Adam), but that does not mean He has decreed it to happen.

    1. I love your comment, but wait up a bit. I can’t let you off easy, I have too much respect for you. 🙂

      First of all, the adulterous woman was not an unjust action. I’m sure you let that one slip by, and it’s understandable… we have become so accustomed to expecting mercy we forget just how much we don’t deserve it, don’t we. That action was justice. In fact, in that sense, Jesus violated justice as much as if he had allowed an evil action, and in that you do have me—Jesus was uber merciful. And we sure love that about him don’t we? But speaking from personal experience, it’s good not to presume upon that too much.

      Second of all, I feel your criticism of me not going down to an abortion clinic and shoving all the mothers out of there is a bit unfair. I don’t mind one bit that you nitpick my argument, as long as you don’t mind me nitpicking back! 😀 So… if I did that I’m pretty 100% sure of two things, I would not stop a single one of them from eventually getting an abortion, and I will suffer without accomplishing my mission or stopping any injustice, and probably spend at least a night in the clinker. Now that’s not… effective, so pointless.

      Andddd we are back to the major point, that in God Almighty’s case, he has literally zero liability here. There is no “bigger” God that’s gonna make him hurt if he exercises literally zero effort for him to remove the arms of an abusive husband. He literally created the entire universe and designed the mind and body that lift that arm. We are just… adding… tons of cheese factor in our defense of God because we, well, we really like our religion of Christianity a whole lot and want to make God look better. In a court of law, I don’t think he’d do well.

      1. Dizerner:

        Sorry….part of the injustice taking place was that it was only the woman (no man being punished). Certainly His stepping in prevented the unjust male-dominance (good old boy) injustice. Besides….if you take away that event as a place where Christ steps in, it only weakens your argument that He would step in if he saw something. Obviously He let plenty of observed injustices go by (my point). I was ceding that event—-but if you dont want it….then there are no places where He stops injustice.

        Triple nitpick coming your way. No….your explanation on the abortion illustration does not work. You see Bobby being attacked, you help (your point). No one said your stepping in to help Bobby “would work.” Only that you tried. You might get killed and Bobby too, so best not to try (your stated rationale). So, “rationalizing” that your trying “would not work” is still ….just not trying. But I get your point…..and I’m willing to move on unless you want a counter-nit-pick. 😀

        Next point:
        “He literally created the entire universe and designed the mind and body that lift that arm.”

        Irrelevant.

        A doctor saving a life of a man who goes on to kill is not guilty of the murder.

        The manufacturer of a pistol that is used in a murder is not guilty of the murder.

        Now….. standing by and watching people commit heinous acts….. that in a court of law…..yes….is difficult.

        Unless —-as the “biggest of gods” our God created in such a fashion that He said…..”If/when my original parameters are passed (freedom to Adam) that will unleash an imperfect system where men will be able to sin (temporarily) without my immediate intervention.”

        The very fact that he placed Adam—telling him “do not do this” but allowing him to do it, gives us the kind system He is putting into place.

      2. The very fact that he placed Adam—telling him “do not do this” but allowing him to do it, gives us the kind system He is putting into place.

        br.d
        I’m so glad your here at SOT101 FOH!!
        Always appreciate your posts.

  30. Later in my daily readings.

    Hebrews 11 (not cherry-picked….just coming up in the annual reading).

    Of course the whole chapter is about faith and personal faith…even naming the individuals in the eternal word of God! Why name them and laud them…if they had nothing (0%) to do with it? What is the point? Do we learn from them? Yes! Can we learn? Yes! Can we make wise decisions if we fix our eyes on Jesus and look at the human examples He lists in Scripture? Yes!

    Even the Calvinist ESV renders the first verse (no time to cover all the others) in a Calvinist-debunking way.

    11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation.

    “received their commendation” ???!!!

    What is a commendation? “We commend you for your……”

    But according to determinist-Calvinism….. this verse (and thousands of others) makes no sense.

    If the individual (created in God’s image) had nothing (0%) to do with it….why does he receive a commendation?

    Again….that would be God deceiving us to think that what we do matters.

    1. Wonderful!!

      Again….that would be God deceiving us to think that what we do matters.

      YES!!! That is exactly it!!!
      Calvinism creates an image of a deity who is a deceiver.
      He speaks face to face with Adam, making Adam believe he wants Adam to obey.
      While secretly he decrees – making what comes to pass Adam’s disobedience – and powerless to do otherwise.
      He then condemns what he decrees comes to pass **AS-IF** he didn’t decree it.

      Additionally, according to Calvin, the deity also deceives believers, giving them a temporary illusion of salvation, in order to magnify their torments in the lake of fire.

      The way the Calvinists navigates around the a-moralities of the theology is by using beguiling double-talk.

  31. I am convinced beyond any shadow of a doubt, Leighton, that the Calvinist view of the will stems from their ignorance of the spiritual nature of man. Spiritually, man was created by God with a soul (heart and conscience) and a spirit (mind, emotions, and WILL). So whereas the soul may be “dead,” the spirit of every man is forever alive experiencing everything in a neutral way. Man does not believe anything until he decides that he has enough information and that the information conforms to the a) desires of his heart and b) the testimony of his conscience.

    This is particularly why the Holy Spirit first convicts the conscience of sin (Jn 16:8-10). Finding himself to be a sinner, that person next examines his/her heart — what they want to do about that sin. Does he/she desire to change his/her nature giving up the sin nature for participating in the divine nature. If this is the desire of the heart, then that person will WILL in his spirit to OBEY the gospel by repenting. It is this act of faith that results in forgiveness and receiving the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38) in the soul — thereby receiving the heart of flesh.

    I hope you will start taking this into account.

    1. RB writes, “the Calvinist view of the will stems from their ignorance of the spiritual nature of man. Spiritually, man was created by God with a soul (heart and conscience) and a spirit (mind, emotions, and WILL). So whereas the soul may be “dead,” the spirit of every man is forever alive experiencing everything in a neutral way.”

      You have defined a difference between you and the Calvinist. You say the soul is dead; the Calvinist says the spirit is dead.

  32. FALLACIES OF DEFINITION:

    Fallacies of definition are the various ways in which an arguer attempts to re-define a critical term – often manipulating its definition in order to make it affirm his argument. The fallacy of equivocation also plays in this process where sentence structures are strategically designed to implicitly impose a certain meaning on a term, which it would not otherwise have. And this may be done with the hopes of the ruse going unnoticed.

    Nowhere is the strategy for manipulating definitions more observable than in double-speak. And double-speak dialog often resembles the game “kill of the hill” where he who assumes the position of defining all terms to his favor, positions himself in the chief seat.

    William Lutz in his book “Doublespeak” provides an example using a politician’s argument:

    “There are no potholes in this town – we simply have “pavement deficiencies”. And this town doesn’t have poor people, it simply has “fiscal underachievers”. And we’ve not had any ATM robberies in this town, we’ve had “unauthorized withdrawals”.

    Certain countries in which female newborns are drowned at birth may call the process “giving the baby a bath”.

    But is this mode of language usage Christ-Like?
    Are there Godly justifications for it?
    Would a Christian theology justify its practice by simply redefining it a “necessary evil”?

    Keep your eyes wide open while engaging Calvinist language and God will reward you with the answers to these questions.

    1. br.d writes, “William Lutz in his book “Doublespeak” provides an example using a politician’s argument:…Keep your eyes wide open while engaging Calvinist language and God will reward you with the answers to these questions.”

      LOL!! People who argue against Calvinism never use Calvinist examples to illustrate their points. If the issue is Calvinism, who really cares what a politician says??? br.d can be so funny!

      1. br.d writes, “William Lutz in his book “Doublespeak” provides an example using a politician’s argument:…Keep your eyes wide open while engaging Calvinist language and God will reward you with the answers to these questions.”

        rhutcin
        LOL!! People who argue against Calvinism never use Calvinist examples to illustrate their points. If the issue is Calvinism, who really cares what a politician says??? br.d can be so funny!

        br.d
        Give your brother a fish, and you feed him for a day.
        Teach your brother how to fish for himself, and he is empowered for a lifetime. 😀
        Keep your eyes wide open while engaging Calvinist language and God will reward you with the answers to these questions.

  33. A little more from non-cherry-picked, daily reading (Heb 11).

    “4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.”

    Abel had faith
    Abel offered a better sacrifice.
    God commended him as righteous (after the sacrifice….not before)
    God accepted Abel’s gift (did not give the gift to Abel to give to him)
    Through he faith he still speaks (meaning, we learn from him—to give pleasing gifts to God in faith)

    The Scripture keeps teaching us more and more about personal faith (even in the ESV!).

  34. All this in just one day’s reading (I did mention that I could give similar examples every day, right?)

    Heb 11:5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.

    A. Enoch pleased God.
    B. God can be pleased (not impassible).

    If you If you are a Calvinist and don’t know what “impassible” means, please look it up. It’s one of the things you are supposed to believe!

    1. FOH writes, “If you If you are a Calvinist and don’t know what “impassible” means, please look it up. It’s one of the things you are supposed to believe!”

      Theopedia has, “Classic theism teaches that God is impassible — not subject to suffering, pain, or the ebb and flow of involuntary passions. In the words of the Westminster Confession of Faith, God is “without body, parts, or passions, immutable.”

      What does this have to do with a person pleasing God??

      1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impassibility

        Impassibility (from Latin in-, “not”, passibilis, “able to suffer, experience emotion”) describes the theological doctrine that God does not experience PAIN OR PLEASURE from the actions of another being.

        Being affected (literally made to have a certain emotion, affect) by the state or actions of another would seem to imply causal dependence……..Roman Catholicism and Calvinist Protestantism, strongly asserts the impassibility of God.

        Following its logic, God would not experience pleasure from human obedience or displeasure from human sin.

  35. Wow… that Hebrews 11… it just keeps on giving…

    11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

    A. Man must have faith to please God (not God gives faith to those He chooses).
    B. We can please God (see previous comment about God not being impassible).
    C. Please can ‘want’ to draw near to God.
    D. People can draw near to God.
    E. People can believe that He exists.
    F. People must believe that He exists.
    G. God rewards those who seek Him.
    H. It is possible to seek Him (with so many “seek ye first” verses, it seems that Calvinists might need to stop repeating the poetic, go-to verse in Romans 3 as a proof-text…or at least look at it in proper context).

    1. “A. Man must have faith to please God (not God gives faith to those He chooses).”

      Doesn’t everyone agree on this point??

      Then, “B. We can please God (see previous comment about God not being impassible).”

      But not without faith and no one is born with faith. Thus, Paul says, “…those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

      Then, “H. It is possible to seek Him (with so many “seek ye first” verses, it seems that Calvinists might need to stop repeating the poetic, go-to verse in Romans 3 as a proof-text…or at least look at it in proper context).”

      I don’t think there are many verses that say, specifically, “Seek ye first.” Expanding to commands to “seek,” those statements state that which is needed to be saved or receive God’s blessing. That does not negate Paul’s quote from the OT that “there is no one who seeks God.” That explains Jesus, statement in John 6, “no one can come to me…” It also supports Paul’s statement that, “…those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

  36. I just watched the Free-Will Debate between Hernandez and Zachariades vs Flowers and Pritchett. As a Calvinist I am disgusted by the conduct, demeanor, and argumentation of these Calvinists. These guys were loud and obnoxious. Most of their arguments were simply posturing.

    Their conduct during the cross examination was especially disturbing. Their conduct was irrational and absurd! I am embarrassed to share the label of Calvinism with these men. At least one of them is a hyper-Calvinist (hard determinists are hyper-Calvinists) but I don’t want to use this as an excuse. This was a clear example from two Calvinists how NOT to debate—how to loose a debate—and how to alienate your audience and make whatever you have to say suspect.

    From the sensible and rational and compatiblistic Calvinists to our Arminian brothers, I apologize to Leighton Flowers and Johnathan Pritchett.

    1. Hi Mike – and greetings!!

      Your post here is appreciated!
      As a non-Calvinist I would have to say there are just as many bad examples on the other side of the lake.
      But as you correctly point out – our standard of behavior is not man – it is Jesus.

      My sincere thanks!
      br.d :-]

    2. MR writes, “As a Calvinist I am disgusted by the conduct, demeanor, and argumentation of these Calvinists….Their conduct during the cross examination was especially disturbing.”

      Not everyone is cut out to engage in debate. They were certainly not prepared and could not control the adrenaline rush. It was agonizing to watch.

  37. IN CALVINISM IS ADAM EVER FREE WHEELING?

    Adults with cars understand “steering alignment” – noticeable at speeds where vehicles exhibit INCLINATION to swerve off course.

    Mechanical inclination is a primary factor in all forms of determinism, which states that all things which occur, (present-tense), are the consequences of (i.e., determined by) something/someone in the past, and occur within the boundaries/influences of laws of nature. In this case the laws of nature are steering mechanism components applying interacting forces upon each other resulting in good or bad inclination.

    Because inclination is a prevalent factor in determinism, steering wheel inclination is a useful analogy for Calvinistic determinism. Firstly, Calvin’s god is the designer and builder of the whole mechanism – (in this case Adam). Assuming God has designed and built Adam with “good” alignment, Adam should not veer to the left or right (i.e., sin) in the event God lets go of the steering wheel.

    But we know Adam sinned. So was Adam “free wheeling” where the controlling determiner was inclination or did Calvin’s god intentionally steer Adam’s sin? We find Calvinists offering two opinions.

    Calvinist Vincent Cheung, states the logically-coherent Calvinist holds God as intentionally steering Adam’s sin. For Cheung, the idea of God ever letting go of man’s steering wheel is a totally inconceivable impossibility for a logically-coherent Calvinist.

    The second Calvinist refuses to say Adam’s sin came to pass because Calvin’s god specifically decreed it. He will only acknowledge Calvin’s god determined Adam free to sin or not sin. This conception implies (and perhaps duplicitously) that God lets go of Adam’s steering wheel, allowing Adam’s alignment to be the controlling determiner of Adam’s direction. But this implies at minimum, Calvin’s god intentionally misaligned Adam’s steering to indirectly make Adam sin.

    Can a logically-coherent Calvinist say Calvin’s god ever lets go of man’s steering wheel? Vincent Cheung’s rejects this – calling it logically-incoherent and duplicitous, and driven by an emotional desire to make Calvin’s god *APPEAR* non-culpable for man’s sin – while Cheung is perfectly comfortable asserting he is.

    Calvinism’s first-principle states – nothing can come to pass without a specific decree as a “necessary-condition”. Decreeing Adam free to sin or not sin does not fulfill that “necessary-condition”. At a minimum, he would have had to specifically decree Adam’s sin in order for it to come to pass. We are left agreeing with Vincent Cheung, that this strategy appears emotion based and raises a concern for sophism.

    1. br.d writes, “Firstly, Calvin’s god is the designer and builder of the whole mechanism – (in this case Adam).”

      This is not unique to Calvinism. Everyone agrees with this. Don’t they?? “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1)

      Then, “The second Calvinist refuses to say Adam’s sin came to pass because Calvin’s god specifically decreed it.”

      I don’t know of any Calvinist who takes this position.

      1. br.d
        “The second Calvinist refuses to say Adam’s sin came to pass because Calvin’s god specifically decreed it.”

        rhutchin
        I don’t know of any Calvinist who takes this position.

        br.d
        1) I’m sure you don’t know all Calvinists
        2) Taking a position and acknowledging a position are two different things.

        Do you acknowledge this statement below – exactly as it is worded?
        “Adam’s disobedience came to pass because Calvin’s god specifically decreed it and did not decree Adam’s obedience come to pass”

      2. br.d writes, “Do you acknowledge this statement below – exactly as it is worded?
        “Adam’s disobedience came to pass because Calvin’s god specifically decreed it and did not decree Adam’s obedience come to pass””

        Yes.

  38. br.d
    “Do you acknowledge this statement below – exactly as it is worded?
    “Adam’s disobedience came to pass because Calvin’s god specifically decreed it and did not decree Adam’s obedience come to pass””

    rhutchin
    November 14, 2017 at 6:35 am
    Yes.

    br.d
    That’s one for the record! Thanks!

  39. I often wonder if we all think that “every word” of Scripture is important. I mean we hear people saying “all of God’s word” but do we understand that idea?

    Through the Bible reading today….. Ez 27
    —————
    16 “Syria sent merchants to buy your rich variety of goods. They traded turquoise, purple dyes, embroidery, fine linen, and jewelry of coral and rubies. 17 Judah and Israel traded for your wares, offering wheat from Minnith, figs, honey, olive oil, and balm.

    18 “Damascus sent merchants to buy your rich variety of goods, bringing wine from Helbon and white wool from Zahar. 19 Greeks from Uzal came to trade for your merchandise. Wrought iron, cassia, and fragrant calamus were bartered for your wares.

    20 “Dedan sent merchants to trade their expensive saddle blankets with you. 21 The Arabians and the princes of Kedar sent merchants to trade lambs and rams and male goats in exchange for your goods. 22 The merchants of Sheba and Raamah came with all kinds of spices, jewels, and gold in exchange for your wares.
    ————

    I mean here is our Eternal God “using space and ink” to talk about Dedan and saddle blankets!!

    Why?

    Are these verses as important as the every-repeated Eph 1:11, Roms 3:10-11, (and 30-40 others that seem to be the only scriptures dwelt on by some)?

    Yes.

    How?

    They build the narrative that God is communicating. One of passion, pathos, history….decisions….disappointments. A narrative that includes cassia, wrought iron, and balm—- because the story includes humans —made in God’s image.

    “The Sovereign Lord” discloses His sovereignty to us in His word. He is not looking for us to find 40 needles (verses) in this haystack of saddle blankets, figs, and olive oil.

    He does not expect us to come the Bible with the answers in hand and find the 40 verses that —if interpreted a certain way—- will support our philosophy.

    He expects us—wants us— to open our eyes and minds to what we see over and over in Scripture.

    Yes…..that might upend our preconceived notions and presuppositions. But so be it!

  40. In my daily reading… Ezekiel 28…. The Sovereign Lord is talking to the king (sovereign) of Tyre…

    5 Yes, your wisdom has made you very rich,
    and your riches have made you very proud.
    6 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
    Because you think you are as wise as a god,
    7 I will now bring against you a foreign army,
    the terror of the nations.
    ————-
    The king did well….was wise….got rich… but went too far.

    So, again, we have no indication that God planned this from “before time.” Again, that would be deceptive on His part to make it sound like He is doing this now (“Because you think…I will now bring”) as a result of the king’s action—if He had indeed planned the king’s actions and His actions against him from all time.

    It is a position that is untenable from Scripture, unnecessary, deceptive, and pointless (what is the point to anything?).

    Every day….the ALL of Scripture.

  41. Heb 11:32-12-13 (today’s NT passage). Some thoughts….

    A. “It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets.” Again the Scripture give real names (their names are in the Eternal word) for people for their faith. Wow!

    B. “33 By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword.” Look what the word says their faith did! Shut the mouths of the lions, etc.

    C. “11:39 All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, …12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”

    a. They earned a good reputation. You can do that? I thought that was “man-centered”?
    b. Since we see these examples (surrounded by them) we are inspired. We can be inspired and be better?
    c. Let’s strip off weight and sin (decisions, personal, daily decisions).
    d. Run with endurance the race—– that is the long life of a believer. A race implies effort on our part.
    e. How? by fixing our eyes on Christ (again, a decision on our part).
    f. Fortunately He has initiated all of this by His grace, compassion, and the cross.
    g. He perfects our faith as we (consciously) fix our eyes on Him.

    It is a beautiful situation, set up by a loving God….. but He is clear that it requires individual (look at the names!) faith.

    1. FOH writes, “He is clear that it requires individual (look at the names!) faith.”

      Everyone agrees with this. The issue is whether faith is inherent (a person being born with faith) or the person is given faith by God as a gift not based on anything the person does.

      1. rhutchin writes: “FOH writes, “He is clear that it requires individual (look at the names!) faith.”

        Everyone agrees with this. The issue is whether faith is inherent (a person being born with faith) or the person is given faith by God as a gift not based on anything the person does.”

        Perfect example of what I have been trying to explain. Calvinism seeks to turn ‘faith’ into some sort of passive gift that we put in our pocket, or pass that we present at heaven’s gate. In reality, biblical belief, biblical faith, is always described by the ‘works’ it produces, for, as James tells us, ‘Faith without works is dead’.

        The minute you gut ‘faith’ and hang it as a trophy on your wall you have ‘killed’ it. It is good for nothing, other than a prize you can attribute either to your own skill or someone else’s beneficence. So, all day long (for centuries, actually) men debate whether this trophy on the wall came from their own ‘work’ or was God’s ‘gift’. It doesn’t much matter, you still end up with a dead trophy that accomplishes nothing.

        Real faith is living, active, initialed and empowered by God to accomplish things. What sort of things? As FOH quoted: “33 By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword.”

        God is not interested in our endless squabble over where our dead faith came from. He is concerned with those who have a living faith, who are willing to trust him and accomplish the works that he alone can enable them to accomplish. I may never shut a lion’s mouth, but then again, who knows what God has in store for me – or you?

      2. TS00

        You are too kind. You respond to these posts. Before you appeared I wasted lot of time responding to these repetitive “faith is from” posts. I dont anymore.

        Now, to your point.

        Imagine you have an owner’s manual that tells you 3000 times “use the wrench provided.” Yet, one vague sentence —something like “as the bolt is turning, place the …..”

        From that one tiny vague phrase you extrapolate, “oh….I see…the bolt turns by itself.” Well no. But you can say that if you like.

        All the 3000 times —-use the wrench— go out the window because you come to the manual with the certain ideas and you make a tiny phrase say what you want.

        One could easily count 3000 times in scripture where the Word clearly talks about the faith of someone. These are all ignored or interpreted through a brought-to-scripture idea and one-two mistranslated verses.

        I just dont want to do that any more. I like the whole Bible…not just the same 40 verses (in this case 1-2).

      3. I liked the example of the manual and the 3000 instructions over-ruled by 40 subjectively interpreted sentences. :-]

      4. ts00 writes, “Calvinism seeks to turn ‘faith’ into some sort of passive gift that we put in our pocket, or pass that we present at heaven’s gate. …”

        Don’t know where you got this idea – it is false. God gives a person faith – faith is activated by the Word. Faith then manifests as belief in Christ and the works prepared by God for the person to accomplish. Faith is always active in the believer. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;…” (Galatians 5)

    2. FOH quotes: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”

      Note that again and again what we have set before us is a race, a path or, as stated in Eph 2:10: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

      Satan has used Calvinism or the so-called Reformational understanding of ‘salvation by faith’ to undermine any concept of the good works which God has prepared, dare I say ordained, us to do. The concept of salvation by faith has been so distorted and abused that many a sincere believer is convinced that God just wants him to sit piously, singing ‘Oh, how I love Jesus’, ‘Jesus paid it all’ or whatever today’s contemporary version of ‘worship’ is.

      For fifty odd years I have been persuaded by the institutional Church that ‘Christianity’ is either all about my ‘perfectionism’ or its opposite, resting idly in Christ’s righteousness. Note what is rarely taught, which is the scriptural call to fight the good fight and run with endurance the race set before us. Satan could care less what lies we believe, as long as we are distracted from accomplishing the good works God has prepared for us to do.

      1. TS00

        “…created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

        Watch….some may pounce on you saying “prepared beforehand” extrapolating from this that “all things were ordained.” It does not say that.

        The Holy Land was prepared for Abraham, and again prepared for Moses “beforehand” but Scripture shows us that they could not go in because of their lack of faith after the spies came back.

        He prepares it—but does not force it. And in fact we have many, many cases where He calls people to go… and they dont do it.

        “I called…but you would not….” He prepares….. but we dont obey.

  42. Sharing from Ezekiel 36…

    “5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My jealous anger burns against these nations, especially Edom, because they have shown utter contempt for me by gleefully taking my land for themselves as plunder.”

    There are literally hundreds or thousands of verses like this in the Bible. That is a lot of ink! And that is a big percentage of the Bible dedicated to this kind of passage that teaches us about God and His nature and creation. What does it teach us?

    1. The Sovereign Lord is speaking…once again making sure that we know it is Him

    2. He will demonstrated what the definition of sovereignty is. We cannot keep giving “sovereign” human definitions and saying “He is necessarily…” if we have hundreds of passages that show so often and clearly that our man-made ideas are not true.

    3. He gets jealous. It is comical to insist that He is “impassible” when He keeps describing Himself in these terms. Anyone who says “God is impassible” (go to monergism.com to see dozens of such articles) is bringing that idea to the text—not listening to the text.

    4. He has burning anger (he is reinforcing the idea that He is not impassible).

    5. Why is He upset at them? They did things He does not like. Did he ordain/ will/ decree these things? Of course not! He is not schizophrenic! He doesn’t decree people to do things He detests. What are we now God to impose that wild idea back on Him….and how it besmirches His character!

    Are we listening to His word or just finding the things we want to find in our favorite passages?

  43. Daily reading, still in Ezekiel, but Hebrews is gone and James is next!

    James 1:19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. 21 So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.

    What do we learn in multiple passages like these?

    1. You can listen, refrain, be slow to anger….and indeed you must! These are human choices (made by you) many times per day. (ps. That is why gives these instructions in the Word).

    2. Our human anger (possible…a choice by us) do not produce what God desires. Once again—-for the thousandth time— Scripture is showing that God does not always get what He desires.

    3. Whose job is it to get rid of filth….. and accept the word?

    4. God has planted His word in our hearts—-and it has the power to save our souls….. but …….

  44. A bit more from James.

    25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (ESV)

    It’s a bit hard to understand (they purposely made the ESV sound “old”).

    Three simple questions:

    Who would be the person blessing in this case? God, right?

    What are the conditions? Persevere and act don’t just hear, right?

    Does that mean that God blesses (responds/ rewards) believers according to their perseverance?

    Don’t persevere….not blessed. Persevere….blessed. I ain’t makin’ this stuff up!

    1. Wonderful!

      This coincides with what Jesus teaches

      Luke 17:9
      Does the master thank the servant for plowing his field during the day, or thank him for preparing and serving him his supper, when it is the case that that servant simply did the very things he was commanded to do? I think not!

      Why? Because the servant could not “do otherwise” than what his master commanded him to do.

      Dr. Alvin Plantinga argues that when one cannot “do-otherwise” then what one is determined to do by an external agent, then what one does, cannot be credited as having “moral significance”. And without “moral significance” there is no credit for praise-worthiness.

      Calvinists assert that God uses secondary-means for good, and for evil. And in such a way that they cannot “do-otherwise” than what Calvin’s god determines them to do.

      However, according to Calvinist ethics, when God uses secondary-means for good, those secondary-means are not doing anything having “moral significance” because they are simply doing what Calvin’s’ god determines them to do, and cannot do-otherwise than what he determines them to do.

      But when Calvin’s god uses secondary-means for evil, those secondary-means are credited for doing something having “moral significance” and are credited for blame-worthiness *AS-IF* they could do-otherwise than what Calvin’s god determined them to do.

      Even though in both cases, secondary-means, are only doing what Calvin’s god determined them to do, and cannot do-otherwise than what Calvin’s god determines them to do. In both cases they cannot do-otherwise than what the are determined to do.

      And yet, when used as instruments of good they are treated *AS-IF* they did nothing of “moral significance”.
      But when used as instruments of evil they are treated *AS-IF* they did something of “moral significance”

      Proverbs 20:10
      Unequal weights and unequal measures are both alike an abomination to the Lord.

      1. br.d writes, “Luke 17:9
        Does the master thank the servant for plowing his field during the day, or thank him for preparing and serving him his supper, when it is the case that that servant simply did the very things he was commanded to do? I think not!
        Why? Because the servant could not “do otherwise” than what his master commanded him to do. ”

        The person who does what he is commanded gets no praise. Had the person not done as commanded, he is responsible for his actions and held accountable. Had the person done more than that commanded, he would be worthy of praise.

      2. rhutchin
        The person who does what he is commanded gets no praise.

        br.d
        Correct – because he cannot do otherwise – in this case under pain of punishment.
        I Calvinism’s case – he cannot do otherwise than what Calvin’s god determines him to do.

        rhutchin:
        Had the person done more than that commanded, he would be worthy of praise.

        br.d
        For the Calvinist, this is an illusion – because he cannot do otherwise than what Calvin’s god determines him to do.
        Thus – as Dr. Alvin Plantinga argues – like the slave who does what he is commanded – he does nothing of “moral significance”.
        Unless the Calvinist wants to argue that people can “do otherwise” than what Calvinist god determines them to so.

      3. br.d writes, ‘I Calvinism’s case – he cannot do otherwise than what Calvin’s god determines him to do.”

        This is consistent with that which the person wants to do. God is not forcing anyone to do that which they do not want to do. God is working with, and in, people to do that which they desire.

        br.d writes, For the Calvinist, this is an illusion – because he cannot do otherwise than what Calvin’s god determines him to do.”

        Yet, God provides that a person can ask God for grace to do other than sin – “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4) It is still true that God works all things after the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1) and even you have no argument against that – Calvin’s God is the Ephesians’ God.

      4. br.d writes, ‘I Calvinism’s case – he cannot do otherwise than what Calvin’s god determines him to do.”

        rhutchin
        This is consistent with that which the PERSON WANTS TO DO. God IS NOT FORCING anyone to do that which they do not want to do. God IS WORKING WITH AND IN, people to do that which they desire.

        br.d
        Yes, exactly – Calvin’s god is WORKING WITH AND IN the person.
        But he use a force that forces without forcing.

        We can use the langauge of the westminster confession here.
        With Calvin’s god ‘s WORKING people are -quote EFFECTIVELY DRAWN TO SIN – and quote BEING MADE WILLING to sin.

        br.d writes,
        For the Calvinist, “do otherwise” is an illusion – because he cannot do otherwise than what Calvin’s god determines him to do.”

        rhutchin:
        Yet, God provides that a person can ask God for grace to do other than sin – [insert whatever verse you like here]

        br.d
        This is another good example of Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking.
        A person can -quote “ask Calvin’s god for grace” *AS-IF* Calvin’s god didn’t determine (i.e., fate) in advance what that person can do.
        Calvinist double-think is too funny!! 😀

      5. br.d. – I’m afraid I cannot find the deceitful or willingly self-deceived Calvinist ‘funny’. Absurd, yes. Pitiful, yes. And, like the archetypical Judaist before him, he is our enemy for the sake of the gospel, because he falsely asserts a theology of the ‘chosen’ despite Jesus’ clear teachings and demonstration that God’s love and grace are freely offered to all men. Note how forgiving Jesus could be of the rank and file ‘sinner’ vs. the brood of vipers who called themselves ‘teachers’. There is a distinction – which has been lost by the deceitfulness of ‘orthodox’ teaching – between those who sin and ‘the wicked’.

        All men sin, i.e., fall short of God’s perfect will and desires for them. But what is deliberately and falsely conflated is the sinner and the wicked. Man sins for all number of reasons, including ignorance, confusion, fear, addiction and many other more or less blameworthy reasons. ‘The wicked’, on the other hand, sin willfully, deliberately, knowing the truth but deliberately ignoring and denying it because they love their lies. This includes those who distort the good news for which Jesus suffered and died, that all men may be free from condemnation due to their former ‘sin’, should they be willing to repent and turn from it.

        As God long before promised, he provided an atonement for sin, so that all who desire to do so God can come to him without fear of condemnation. By misdefining ‘sin’, ‘atonement’. ‘wicked’ and so on, orthodox Christianity, and in particular its Calvinist stream, has deceived men into believing that all men are ‘wicked’ rather than all are sinners in need of forgiveness. If read in context, it is clear that the verses Calvinists use to assert such error are confined to ‘the wicked’ – those who hate God – rather than of all men.

        This is where a genuine understanding of Hebraisms, similar to English lingual mannerisms is necessary, along with a careful reading of the passage to see what is actually being said. ‘All’ is often referring to ‘all in the particular group being described’, which in many verses are the wicked. This is exactly as English speakers use ‘all’ ‘all the time’ today, i.e. ‘All the world has gone mad’, or ‘All politicians are crooks’. When the teen whines dejectedly, ‘Everyone else gets to . . .’ or the politician declares ‘All men know . . .’ most listeners understand they do not literally mean everyone in the world without exception.

        This is demonstrated in Genesis 6, when ‘all flesh’ is said to have corrupted their ways and God said, to the man whom he was promising to save ,’I have determined to make an end of all flesh’. Notice Noah did not correct God, and insist he was inaccurate to say ‘all flesh’. He did not remonstrate with God for exaggerating, or not clearly spelling out that he actually meant ‘All flesh with the exception of you and your wife and your sons and their wives’. Normal people use superlatives ‘all the time’ without being misunderstood. Indeed, ‘all the time’ is one of the best examples of the casual use of ‘all’, which does not negate its more strict usage, but uses the implied ‘nearly’ that most people understand.

        The literalist stumbles over many such expression in scripture, or pretends to, leading other sincere men into confusion. Surely few believe that the command to ‘pray without ceasing’, is intended to suggest that man cannot ever sleep or have a conversation with another person, which would both render them unable to carry on a ceaseless conversation with God. Few also believe that David intended to suggest that men emerge from the womb with the ability to commit wicked deeds or speak at all, let alone speak lies, or that he literally desired God to break their teeth and reduce them to slime. And I don’t know about others, but as much as I long for God to put an end to evil, I have no desire to see any man dashed to pieces or their blood flowing in the streets.

        There are subtle expression that native users of language sometimes do not realize can be lost on non-native listeners. The thoughtful person grasps that at times the use of a word or words is somewhat rhetorical, and realizes they must sometimes look to the context to grasp the intention of the speaker. I have very black and white family members who insist that one must never say ‘never’ or ‘all’ or any other such emphatic term, lest one exception make them a liar. They genuinely cannot grasp the purpose of hyperbole, and view it as unnecessary and misleading excess. I just shrug and say, ‘If God can do it . . .’ 🙂

        And, yes, I deliberately took your comment literally to make my point. I doubt that many find Rhutchin’s misleading comments ‘funny’, although at times they are so absurd and illogical one finds oneself ROFL. Okay, not literally.

      6. Yes I believe I understand you when you say Calvinism isn’t funny.
        Of course Calvinists take themselves extremely seriously.
        They often remind me of that scene in the wizard of oz
        They imagine themselves speaking with authority imagining themselves as speaking for god.
        But that is all apart of being a disciple of a what Paul calls a “super apostle”.
        For me, taking a Calvinist seriously is an act of futility – since they are indoctrinated with so much double-think.
        That being said I also see the humor in standing back and watching them chase their own tails.

        Blessings!! :-]

      7. br.d writes, “For the Calvinist, “do otherwise” is an illusion – because he cannot do otherwise than what Calvin’s god determines him to do.””

        At the same time the person does not want to do otherwise. The person does exactly that which they want.

        Then, “A person can -quote “ask Calvin’s god for grace” *AS-IF* Calvin’s god didn’t determine (i.e., fate) in advance what that person can do.”

        Actually, God gives the believer His Spirit as a down payment on his inheritance. It is that Spirit that then motivates the believer to study the word and to learn the promises that God has given him and then that Spirit prompts the believer to take advantage of those promises. Thus it is that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

      8. br.d
        “For the Calvinist, “do otherwise” is an illusion – because he cannot do otherwise than what Calvin’s god determines him to do.””

        rhutchin
        At the same time the person DOES NOT WANT to do otherwise. The person does exactly that which they want.

        br.d
        This does nothing more than confirm – he cannot do otherwise – plus – he cannot WANT otherwise than what Calvin’s god determines him to want.

        br.d
        Calvinist thinking is *AS-IF* thinking
        “A person can -quote “ask Calvin’s god for grace” *AS-IF* Calvin’s god didn’t determine (i.e., fate) in advance what that person can do.”

        rhutchin:
        Actually, God gives the believer His Spirit…..etc etc

        br.d
        Same answer as before – this does nothing more than confirm.

        Calvinists remind me of puppets who have a love-hate relationship with the strings (of immutable decrees) that control them. 😀

      9. br.d writes, “This does nothing more than confirm – he cannot do otherwise – plus – he cannot WANT otherwise than what Calvin’s god determines him to want.”

        He does not want to do otherwise because doing otherwise is a lesser desire. The things that God determines for people to do are the things that they most desire to do. There are exceptions – Joseph’s brothers wanted to kill Joseph but God would not give them freedom to do so; The Jews wanted to kill Peter, but God protected Peter and they could not.

        People can “want” to do otherwise when they cannot do otherwise.. This happens all the time – a person wants an expensive car but can only afford a less expensive car.

        Then, “Calvinists remind me of puppets who have a love-hate relationship with the strings (of immutable decrees) that control them. ”

        It would be nice if you could explain how the strings work. I doubt that you can.

      10. br.d writes,
        “This does nothing more than confirm – he cannot do otherwise – plus – he cannot WANT otherwise than what Calvin’s god determines him to want.”

        rhutchin
        He does not want to do otherwise because doing otherwise is a lesser desire. etc..etc..etc [insert filler here]

        br.d
        He cannot have a neurological impulse otherwise than what Calvin’s god determines him to have.
        The Calvinist has an endless storehouse of antecedent links to insert into causal chain in sin/evil in order to keep himself from acknowledging the very first link (i.e. Calvin’s god) 😀

        br.d
        “Calvinists remind me of puppets who have a love-hate relationship with the strings (of immutable decrees) that control them. ”

        rhutchin
        It would be nice if you could explain how the strings work. I doubt that you can.

        br.d
        Ah yes those puppet strings!
        Those puppet strings represent the god of all issues in Calvinism.
        He has a love-hate relationship with those strings.
        For good events he loves them and insists upon them – for evil events he insisted they don’t exist.
        Looking for Calvinism’s puppet’s strings is like playing the game “where is waldo”. 😀

      11. br.d writes, “He cannot have a neurological impulse otherwise than what Calvin’s god determines him to have.”

        This because of the Calvinist claim that God is omniscient. So, again you are saying that God is not omniscient.

      12. br.d
        writes,[In Calvinism it logically follows concerning Adam]
        “He cannot have a neurological impulse otherwise than what Calvin’s god determines him to have.”

        rhutchin:
        This because of the Calvinist claim that God is omniscient. So, again you are saying that God is not omniscient.

        br.d
        1) Thank you for acknowledging Adam (et all) cannot have a neurological impulse which Calvin’s god does not determine him/them to have. I will make a record of this acknowledgment.

        2) Now on your punting to omniscience – and your claim that I am saying Calvin’s god is not omniscient.
        You’re making a claim you don’t have the ability to prove using sound logic.
        First, you’ll have to prove how Calvin’s god’s omniscience is a NECESSARY CONDITION for Calvin’s god determining Adam’s (et all) every neurological impulse by the force of immutable decrees.

      13. It is really no use debating with those who are staunch defenders of the traditions of men. They are not honestly seeking the truth, willing to throw off any and all error that any man, men or institution may invoke. Those whose desire is solely to ‘prove’ a particular belief true will never be open to correction, until and unless they are willing to recant their favorite beliefs and preferred choices.

        Personally, I was raised non-Calvinist, but when confronted with it along with the rest of the modern world in its latest propaganda surge, I was willing to give it a pass for over a decade. I sat under its teaching, allowed it to be presented to my children, and searched the scriptures to see if it were so. I never ‘needed’ to prove it was in error, and, indeed, it would have been much easier on my life and family had I been able to uphold it as true. My desire was not to justify my existing theology, but to resist being deceived by men or my own selfish inclinations, to know God as He is and to be conformed to the image of his Son. Always, my cry to God was Psalm 25:

        ‘Make me to know thy ways, O Lord. Teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me, for thou art the God of my salvation; for thee I wait all the day long.’

        The soul that desires Truth, and is willing to admit and cast off existing error, will be led by God. The soul that is determined to cling to his own beliefs cannot be taught by God. Nor do I imagine for a moment that I have anything close to a full understanding of truth, but daily God reveals misconceptions and misinterpretations that I have long accepted, pressing me to study. Always that which he reveals to me speaks of his goodness, faithfulness and mercy. I have yet to find that my faulty thinking has misled me into thinking too much of God’s graciousness and desire to heal and redeem, but always the exact opposite.

      14. ts00 writes, “It is really no use debating with those who are staunch defenders of the traditions of men.”

        I agree. Let’s focus on the Scriptures and what they say.

      15. Hi truthseeker00 and thank you for the excellent point.

        Yes I agree with you – dialog with a double-think Calvinist results in little to nothing (from the standpoint of the Calvinist recognizing the beguiling nature of Calvinism’s double-talk) . That has to do with the sociology of Calvinism and how the mind can be boxed in.

        However from the standpoint of SOT101 visitors who read but do not post – its a good opportunity to shine a flashlight on where/how Calvinism’s beguiling table-talk works.

        Rhutchin has been very helpful in that process. :-]

      16. br.d. – You are probably right. You aren’t playing your own foil just to make your points are you? I mean, how can Calvinists continue to posit scripturally and logically contradictory points with a completely straight face? As FOH here has demonstrated, from any random daily reading of scripture one cannot escape the presentation of a patient, loving God dealing with a rebellious, stiff-necked child. Not just a handful of verses plucked from context, but every narrative of scripture presents the true gospel of God’s gracious offer of mercy that is open to anyone who will believe in God’s ultimate goodness and turn from self-devoted living. The Calvinist places himself in the unenviable position of having to assert that all of these narratives are disingenuous; God is calling men who cannot hear, commanding actions they cannot take and punishing works that cannot be left undone. This is the unavoidable hideousness I could no longer, in good conscience, leave unchallenged.

        God is good, and all that he does for man is for his good. God seeks to redeem men, not to display his narcissistic glory. God is motivated by love, not pride. He is willing to lay restraints upon his rights (sovereignty) and power (omnipotence) in order that, through his wisdom and foreknowledge (omniscience), he may ultimately bring all who place themselves in Christ back into proper relationship to him (justification), spare them from suffering the consequences – depravity and death – of their freely chosen rebellion (salvation) and conform them to the likeness of his Son (glorification).

        In reality, God’s glory is inevitably, incomparably and wondrously displayed by his amazing love, mercy and power to bring about his will in spite of, and even through, the rebellion and uncooperativeness of much of mankind. Contrary to the claims of the Calvinist, God does not ‘need’ sin and evil in order to demonstrate his ‘glory’; rather, his glory is demonstrated by the power of love to overcome sin and evil in all who put their trust upon it.

      17. ts00 writes, “The Calvinist places himself in the unenviable position of having to assert that all of these narratives are disingenuous;”

        The Calvinist takes the position that the Scriptures tell us that all will not be saved. By saying that the Calvinist position is disingenuous, you are saying that all will be saved. If that is not your position, then you know that FOH is not presenting the whole counsel of Scripture as it relates to salvation. If you want to be an Universalist, that is fine as no one would object to God saving all people. Calvinists just think that the Scriptures paint a different picture.

      18. Rhutchin writes: “The Calvinist takes the position that the Scriptures tell us that all will not be saved. By saying that the Calvinist position is disingenuous, you are saying that all will be saved.”

        This is actually a false dichotomy, as Calvinism tends, without justification, to assert. Scripture appears to teach that not all will be saved. Most believers grant this. But there are at least three, not two, positions taken by believers as to why this is so:

        Universalists: All will, ultimately, be saved.
        Calvinists: All will not be saved, because God does not determine/will such to come to pass.
        Non-Calvinists: All will not be saved, not because God does not determine/will such to come to pass, but because he does not desire to use determination to bring about his will. Hence, as God has granted man a genuine freedom of choice, man can, and will, choose to reject God’s offer to save men from the necessary consequences of sin (death).

        It is beyond disingenuous to ignore the reality of the third position, which has historically been held by the vast majority of biblical believers. Such a presentation is blatantly dishonest, as Calvinists know, even if they reject, the true position of non-Calvinist believers. Calvinists demonstrate a lack of integrity when they do not deal with differences of opinion with honesty. The least you can do, Rhutchin, is honestly address the issues, rather than continuously pose false dichotomies, insisting that the only option to Calvinism is an error which few believers hold to.

      19. TS00:
        You make a great point as usual.

        Always black and white…no third option:

        Not us? Oh you are a universalist.

        Not us? Oh you are man-centered.

        Not us? Oh you are work-salvation.

        Not us? ……

        Funny, in a recent reply, he said something like being “a Calvinist sympathizer (in regards to salvation)” ((oh….you mean not Calvin’s other stuff: misogyny, torture of others, amillenialism, infant baptism-ONLY, non-accountability of leaders, authoritarian rule…..))

        this same kind of in-fighting goes on within the Calvinist ranks….

        Not us? you are too seeker-friendly (Just preach!!! Dont make it nice!)

        Not us? You dont baptize babies, huh? Dont believe in the covenants huh? You dispensationalist! Take that!

        Not us? What? you believe the gifts are still valid? You holy-roller! Poke in the eye!

        Not us? You use one of those corrupted translations (insert here KJV-only if so….but ESV-only for most Calvinists)

        Not us? You sing other than 17th-18th century hymns? Watered-down, emotionalist!

        And on and on it goes…..so often harsh, lacking grace…..but always “in defense of the truth!!”

      20. FOH – Wow, it sounds like you attended my former Calvinist church! My dear elderly mother, who was hesitant to criticize a pastor, would frequently mourn that so much condemnation – of everyone who was ‘not-us’ – came from the pulpit. She never bought into Calvinism, but was willing to give that a pass; what she could never understand is how a minister of God could mock, scorn and condemn all those who did not share his particular beliefs. I could offer no reasonable explanation.

      21. ts00 writes, “…how a minister of God could mock, scorn and condemn all those who did not share his particular beliefs.”

        Paul did it in Galatians 1.

      22. I don’t see anything in Galatians even slightly like what I am talking about. Nor do I consider any of these tough-talking, modern day prophets on a par with the apostle Paul, in wisdom, grace or humility.

      23. TS00:

        So true. Here’s more. Their mocking attitude shows several things:

        1. They think they are on par with Paul.

        2. They think they know what the false gospel is that Paul is referring to.

        3. They think that all position are “mockable” (qualifying for what Paul is referring to). More “seeker-friendly than I want.” Mock ’em! Don’t baptize babies and “believe the covenants of the Bible”? Mock ’em! “They preach that ‘God is patient and desires for all men to come to the truth’ —-but dont teach it our way?” Nuke those universalist wimps! “not enough ‘good preaching’ in their message?” Mock thos touchy-feely wimps!

        And if anybody has a problem with this….I just pull out Galatians 1 and show my Mock-Anything-Anytime card.

        Ironically this is the crowd that has co-opted and monopolized the phrase “The Doctrines of Grace.”

      24. ts00 earlier wrote of a woman -, “she could never understand is how a minister of God could mock, scorn and condemn all those who did not share his particular beliefs. ”

        I offered Galatians 1 where Paul did this and ts00 replied, “I don’t see anything in Galatians even slightly like what I am talking about.”

        In Galatians 1, Paul says, ” As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.” Paul scorned those who did did not share his particular beliefs.

      25. Paul was given responsibility directly from Jesus to reveal and explain the gospel. Far cry from Joe Schmoe pastor who went to seminary and thinks his personal interpretation of every verse is unchallengeable. Paul had the unique right to condemn any who distorted the gospel that was personally delivered to him by Jesus Christ. Anyone who denied the gospel message that God loves all men and offers forgiveness and life everlasting was justly condemned; this message was understood by Paul perhaps better than any man who ever lived.

        That’s a far cry from run of the mill pastors who have self-righteous, haughty opinions of themselves and, as FOH suggested, mock and condemn any interpretation or belief that differs from their own.

        Paul highly praised those who diligently searched the scriptures to decide for themselves whether or not what he taught was true. Yet how many men and ‘Churches’ grant themselves the authority to proclaim and ‘defend’ orthodox truth, as if they were on a par with the inspired writers of scripture? Martin Luther, John Calvin and any Pope who has ever lived were mere men, and although their teaching may be informative and helpful, it is in no wise authoritative. The murderous power they asserted to frighten, threaten and manipulate men into submitting to their teaching was never legitimate, and never granted to them by Jesus Christ, the sole authority over believers.

        It is time believers gave up the delusion that some man, creed, council or institution has a corner on truth and all we have to do is loyally follow whatsoever they proclaim. It is the responsibility of each individual to seek truth; it is never enough to merely adopt the teachings of some ‘expert’ or institution.

      26. TS00:

        Yes…..insistence that we are right on every point is not only arrogant, it is dangerous.

        When I began my pastoral/ missionary vocation, to my shame, I was pretty much ‘as right as Paul’ on my positions. If I had the contact info (and memory) of all the people I offended along the way, I would contact them with a contrite heart.

        When we had (and have) our daily reading as a family around the table over the years, I told my family what I felt my position was on a encountered passage ….explaining that there are others out there with different positions. Of course I draw the line at the deity of Christ, no-works-salvation (salvation by grace through faith), God’s eternal existence and His creation of the world, as non-negotiable.

        But outside those broad strokes I am encouraged (NOT threatened) by the diversity within the wider body of Christ.

        I try to look at another person’s Christ-glorifying position on a given doctrine as legitimate…. and temporary. When I realize how many times and ideas I have changed I try to see the person in front of me as “en route” and not worthy of scorn and derision.

        Temporary. They are either in the process of changing that position now (even non-visibly to us) or they (and I) will certainly change any position to “the right one” when we are with Christ.

        And here is the good news…… when we are with Christ we will no longer care!

      27. ts00 writes, “Paul was given responsibility directly from Jesus to reveal and explain the gospel…That’s a far cry from run of the mill pastors who have self-righteous, haughty opinions of themselves and, as FOH suggested, mock and condemn any interpretation or belief that differs from their own.

        There are cases when a clear distinction is made. For example, we know that the gospel presented by Mormons, Muslims is not the true gospel. We know that salvation is not by works. We know that a person must be born again. Regardless, mocking is not necessary – a straightforward presentation of the truth is sufficient.

      28. There was a certain revival service given by a local Pastor who sent out invitations to both Arminian and Calvinist congregations.

        The Arminians stood in the corner beating their chests with shame, and could not even look up to heaven – saying “Lord Jesus forgive me for giving in to temptations”.

        The Calvinists stood with their heads high and chest puffed-out saying “We thank you god we’re not like those Arminian semi-heretic sinners”

        Jesus tells us which ones goes home justified.

      29. ts00 writes, “Non-Calvinists: All will not be saved, not because God does not determine/will such to come to pass, but because he does not desire to use determination to bring about his will.”

        I don’t think this is true. God does use determination – depending on what you mean by “…to use determination to bring about his will.” We have examples where God outright saves people – Saul on the road to Damascus; Lydia whose heart God opened. Non-Calvinists also say that God gives faith to a person and that the Holy Spirit convicts of sin. The wonder is that anyone refuses to believe. Here we are told that those who are perishing have been blinded by Satan. Determining factors are rampant in the Scriptures. Both Calvinists and non-Calvinists claim that people act with free will. The non-Calvinists add that a person can exercise free will to reject salvation but there are determining factors here that are glossed over.

        Then, “It is beyond disingenuous to ignore the reality of the third position,..”

        What “reality”? Have you seen a Biblical argument supporting that position. Mostly, you see an argument that says people choose, but the choice between life and death is a no-brainer. Isn’t it?? What person would choose eternal torment over eternal life? What “reality” is that?? Do non-Calvinists even think through the goofy things they believe?

      30. Yes and thanks truthseeker00!
        I especially liked your last statement about how God’s ways are wonderfully displayed! :-]

        My burden for Christians who may come here and read dialog is that they are not deceived by Calvinism’s beguiling double-talk.
        Helping readers to shine a flashlight on it is helping them discern it for themselves.

      31. br.d writes, “1) Thank you for acknowledging Adam (et all) cannot have a neurological impulse which Calvin’s god does not determine him/them to have. I will make a record of this acknowledgment.”

        My acknowledgment is that God is omniscient and consistent with His omniscience, all things were determined necessarily when God created the world (nothing could turn out different than God’s omniscient knowledge of it). Thus, even the future neurological impulses of all people were known to God when He created the world. The issue seems to be how they were determined. Certainly, it was not necessary for God to cause any person to think one way or the other even as He controlled that which they would think. This is because God made man in His image with the ability to think and reason without help from God. That God determines X to happen does not require that God be the immediate cause of X and allows for God to use secondary means to determine X.

        Then, “First, you’ll have to prove how Calvin’s god’s omniscience is a NECESSARY CONDITION for Calvin’s god determining Adam’s (et all) every neurological impulse by the force of immutable decrees.”

        As a Calvinist sympathizer (on the issue of salvation), I say that God’s decrees (or determinations) logically precede His omniscience. God decrees and knows that which He decrees. God determined Adam’s neurological impulses by decree – the primary decrees being the decree to create and the decree that that Adam would be made in His image having the ability to think and reason.

        As you seem to be objecting to the Calvinist notion that all things were determined when God created the world, necessarily, you are objecting to the notion that God is omniscient. So far, you have not really disputed this nor explained how omniscience could be understood in a different way. You complain about Calvinism, but your complaint is somewhat mysterious as you never seem able to explain what it is you object to – e.g., what is your issue with omniscience as the Calvinist defines it.

      32. br.d
        writes,[In Calvinism it logically follows concerning Adam]
        “He cannot have a neurological impulse otherwise than what Calvin’s god determines him to have.”

        rhutchin:
        THIS IS BECAUSE OF the Calvinist claim that God is omniscient. So, again you are saying that God is not omniscient.

        br.d writes, “1) Thank you for acknowledging Adam (et all) cannot have a neurological impulse which Calvin’s god does not determine him/them to have. I will make a record of this acknowledgment.”

        rhutchin
        My acknowledgment is that God is omniscient and consistent with His omniscience..etc etc etc

        br.d
        Sorry your writing is clear “THIS IS BECAUSE ……etc…etc”

        br.d
        You’re making a claim you don’t have the ability to prove using sound logic.
        “First, you’ll have to prove how Calvin’s god’s omniscience is a NECESSARY CONDITION for Calvin’s god determining Adam’s (et all) every neurological impulse by the force of immutable decrees.”

        rhutchin:
        I SAY THAT God’s decrees (or determinations) logically precede His omniscience. God decrees and knows that which He decrees. etc etc

        br.d
        Here you prove my point – you’re making a claim you don’t have the ability to prove using sound logic.
        “I SAY THAT” is not proof of anything other than what you say.
        I know you reduce divine omniscience down to simply god knowing what he thinks/wills/decrees.
        You can’t prove using sound logic, how Calvin’s god’s omniscience is a NECESSARY CONDITION for Calvin’s god determining Adam’s (et all) every neurological impulse by the force of immutable decrees.”
        You’re simply stuck chasing your own tail now.

        The rest of your comments are simply hot air and smoke screens – as usual. 😀

      33. Rhutchin appears to be trying to be more biblical in his explanations of how God interacts with man, but will always fall short as long as he feels compelled to deny the God-given freedom of choice truly given to man. Not the ‘choice’ to do the one and only thing God has determined he will do, along with a ‘desire’ that inescapably leads to that one and only ‘choice’. That is not only an absurd misuse of the word ‘choice’, it is, as so many here have demonstrated, in utter contradiction and disregard to the countless verses and passages of scripture that demonstrate real ‘choice’ – which is the complete freedom to do ‘A’ or ‘not-A’. Man may humble himself and seek God’s will, or he may stubbornly choose his own way, which leads to all of the sin and evil this world has ever known. This is not God’s predetermined will at work, although he can and will work out his plan to conform his faithful ones into the image of his faithful Son, in spite of any and all resistance of men and demons.

        The fabrication of a startling and absurd definition of ‘choice’ demonstrates the lengths to which men will go to to defend something they are determined to believe. Read Romans 1 for further understanding.

        Calvinists want desperately to believe that they are not responsible for their own ‘choices’. They want desperately to believe that they can have the promises of God apart from a genuine relationship with God. Not to be course, but it is much like the husband who wants the rewards of intimacy minus the commitment or work. Genuine, meaningful, lasting intimacy requires a relationship built on trust, faithfulness, self-sacrifice and all of the other Christ-like attributes that God has predestined his children to someday have fully. Calvinists want, like the Pharisees before them, to believe that knowing the right things grants them proper standing before God. This has also been known as Gnosis.

        Calvinism, when practiced consistently (which, thankfully, happens rarely) is sacral religion, like the Roman state church. the Magisterial Protestant Church and the Judaist ceremonial systems before it. It is the substitution of rituals (sacraments) and belief in a doctrinal system for the living, dynamic, fulfilling love relationship that our Father God desires to have with us. It was recognition of the enfeebling of my lifelong relationship with God that finally awakened me to the errors and dangers of Calvinism. I rejoice to be once again walking with him and following the leading of his Spirit, rather than conforming my thoughts, beliefs and behaviors according to the traditions and compulsions of men.

    2. “Does that mean that God blesses (responds/ rewards) believers according to their perseverance?”

      NASB has, “But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does.” This is a statement of fact. Believers who put into action that which they learn in the Scriptures will be blessed by God. What better encouragement to believers to stand for Christ in the face of persecution.

  45. Continuing in Ezekiel. Chapter 39. In one chapter alone….look how many time the Sovereign Lord talks about people seeing His glory, and people knowing about Him…

    5 “….for I have spoken, says the Sovereign Lord. 6 And I will rain down fire on Magog and on all your allies who live safely on the coasts. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

    7 “In this way, I will make known my holy name among my people of Israel….”

    7 “I will not let anyone bring shame on it. And the nations, too, will know that I am the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.”

    13 “Everyone in Israel will help, for it will be a glorious victory for Israel when I demonstrate my glory on that day, says the Sovereign Lord.”

    21 “In this way, I will demonstrate my glory to the nations.”

    22 “And from that time on the people of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God.”

    23 “The nations will then know why Israel was sent away to exile—it was punishment for sin, for they were unfaithful to their God.”

    27 “I will display my holiness among them for all the nations to see.”

    28 “Then my people will know that I am the Lord their God…”

    ———–
    This kind of language is everywhere in the Bible. Why?

    It appears that The Sovereign Lord cares what the nations think on Him. Why?

    If He has just deterministically created all people in a pre-planned, robotic way….

    If He has given all mankind the thoughts, actions, words they will use…

    If all things are irrevocably, irresistibly planned out by God ahead of time…

    Why does He spend so much of His word saying things like “then the nations will know…”

    What will they know and what difference will that make?

    They will know He is God and give Him the respect He is due. Right? Change their actions (think Nineveh), right? They “might” repent, right? They “can” repent, right?

    Meaning….they make choices (themselves) that He has not forced, but is trying to influence. All this while calling Himself over and over “The Sovereign Lord.”

    This does not make any sense in the determinist-Calvinist model.

    What is God’s point in all of these thousands of verses? That we would know Him and make (free) choices accordingly.

    1. Right.

      In Calvinism every thought, choice, desire, action, is forced upon you with a force that doesn’t force.

      This is part of Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking.
      Calvin’s god’s decrees are the ultimate supreme force in the universe.

      But it is a force *AS-IF* it isn’t a force.

      1. br.d writes, “In Calvinism every thought, choice, desire, action, is forced upon you with a force that doesn’t force.”

        The force acting on the person is his sin nature combined with a corrupt mind that God does not impede. Thus, the sinful and corrupt Jews stone Stephen in front of God to whom God declares, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” The Assyrians of Isaiah 10 = propelled by their sin nature and corrupt mind – can on;y rush in to ravage Israel when God removes His protection from Israel.

      2. br.d writes, “In Calvinism every thought, choice, desire, action, is forced upon you with a force that doesn’t force.”

        rhutchin writes:
        The force acting on the person is his sin nature combined with a corrupt mind that God does not impede.

        br.d
        This is a good example of Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking
        The sin nature does what it does *AS-IF* Calvin’s god was not causing it – using force that forces it without forcing it.
        Thanks rhutchin for another good example. 🙂

      3. br.d writes, “The sin nature does what it does *AS-IF* Calvin’s god was not causing it – using force that forces it without forcing it.”

        It is not necessary that God cause, or otherwise motivate, the sin nature to evil – it does so naturally. We also recognize that God grants Satan freedom to interact with the wicked taking advantage of the person’s sin nature and corrupt mind. Many forces are in play and God need only control them to get His will. Are you blind to all the Scriptures tell us about this??

      4. br.d writes,
        This is an excellent example of Calvnism’s *AS-IF* thinking.
        “The sin nature does what it does *AS-IF* Calvin’s god was not causing it – using force that forces it without forcing it.”

        rhutchin responds
        It is not necessary that God cause, or otherwise motivate, the sin nature to evil – it does so naturally.

        br.d
        This is a great example of how Calvinists seek to hide Theological Determinism – masquerading it as Natural Determinism.
        Here the THEOS is not the determiner – but rather “Nature” is
        *AS-IF* Calvin’s god didn’t design the sin nature to do exactly what he wants it to do.

        John Calvin – quotes:
        – Men can deliberately do nothing unless He inspire it
        – The wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he [Calvin’s god] has destined
        – Men do nothing save at the secret instigation of God,
        – Single events are ordered by God and that every event comes from his intended will.

      5. br.d writes, “Here the THEOS is not the determiner – but rather “Nature” is *AS-IF* Calvin’s god didn’t design the sin nature to do exactly what he wants it to do.”

        The sin nature is a corruption of the nature that God put into Adam. It was corrupted by Adam’s willful sin that Adam freely chose.

        Good quotes from Calvin, but you seem to have deliberately left out any mention of “means.” Was that on purpose?

      6. br.d
        “Here the THEOS is not the determiner – but rather “Nature” is *AS-IF* Calvin’s god didn’t design the sin nature to do exactly what he wants it to do.”

        rhutchin:
        The sin nature is a CORRUPTION of the nature that God put into Adam. It was corrupted by Adam’s willful sin that Adam freely chose.

        br.d
        This again does nothing more than confirm.
        Here the CORRUPTION of the nature of Adam exists *AS-IF* Calvin’s god didn’t cause it to exist.
        The closer one gets to identifying the SOURCE or ORIGIN of sin in the Calvinist system, the more panic stricken the Calvinist gets, trying to insert additional antecedent links in the chain.

        rhutch
        Good quotes from Calvin, but you seem to have deliberately left out any mention of “MEANS.” Was that on purpose?

        br.d
        Another great example of *AS-IF* thinking.
        Calvin’s god is the cause *AS-IF* the MEANS were the cause!
        To funny! 😀

      7. Calvinists like to pretend as long as God is not holding the smoking gun he cannot be held responsible for the ‘ends’ he alone determined, ordained and brought to pass. It’s called ‘blame the patsy’, and has been used by powerful men for centuries.

      8. br.d writes, “Here the CORRUPTION of the nature of Adam exists *AS-IF* Calvin’s god didn’t cause it to exist.”

        The Scriptures are clear on this – Adam sinned and corruption ensued.

        Then, “Calvin’s god is the cause *AS-IF* the MEANS were the cause!”

        The Scriptures are clear on this point also. Secondary means are the causes of most of what happens. David engaged in adultery with Bathsheba and then ordered Uriah to be killed. The Jews and Romans were the means to crucify Christ and were the cause of that crucifixion.

      9. br.d
        “Here the CORRUPTION of the nature of Adam exists *AS-IF* Calvin’s god didn’t cause it to exist.”

        rhutchin:
        The Scriptures are clear on this – Adam sinned and corruption ensued.

        br.d
        AH! So you don’t have another antecedent link in the causal chain you can dream up – so without one you punt to scripture.
        This is simply an escape plan to keep from moving up Calvin’s causal chain link by link – by diversion to a tangent subject.
        The closer you bring the Calvinist back up to that first link in Calvin’s causal chain, the more panic-stricken he gets.

        br.d
        Then, “Calvin’s god is the cause *AS-IF* the MEANS were the cause!”

        rutchin:
        The Scriptures are clear on this point also.. Secondary means are the causes of ……etc etc.

        br.d
        To funny!
        Anyone with elementary school math knows the number 2 follows the number 1.
        A secondary event (by definition) follows an antecedent event – a secondary event cannot cause itself.
        Its that first causal event (i.e, Calvin’s god) in the Calvinist chain of evil causation, he desperately tries to make magically disappear.

        God gave us Calvinism as a form of entertainment.
        Everyone gets a kick out of seeing a canine chase its own tail. 😀

      10. br.d writes, “Its that first causal event (i.e, Calvin’s god) in the Calvinist chain of evil causation, he desperately tries to make magically disappear.”

        The first causal event – “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

      11. br.d – highlighting another one of rhutchin’s excellent examples of Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking
        “Here the CORRUPTION of the nature of Adam exists *AS-IF* Calvin’s god didn’t cause it to exist.”

        rhutchin:
        The Scriptures are clear on this – Adam sinned and corruption ensued.

        br.d
        AH! So you don’t have another antecedent link in the causal chain you can dream up – so without one you punt to scripture.
        This is simply an escape plan to keep from moving up Calvin’s causal chain link by link – by diversion to a tangent subject.
        The closer you bring the Calvinist back up to that first link in Calvin’s causal chain, the more panic-stricken he gets.
        More *AS-IF* thinking:
        Here you have “Calvin’s god is the cause *AS-IF* the MEANS were the cause!”

        rutchin:
        The Scriptures are clear on this point also.. Secondary means are the causes of ……etc etc.

        br.d
        To funny!
        Anyone with elementary school math knows the number 2 follows the number 1.
        A secondary event (by definition) follows an antecedent event – a secondary event cannot cause itself.
        Its that first causal event (i.e, Calvin’s god) in the Calvinist chain of evil causation, he desperately tries to make magically disappear.

        rhutchin
        November 22, 2017 at 7:36 pm
        The first causal event – “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

        br.d
        Ah! So punting to scripture collapses once again and so we’re back to inserting ad hoc antecedent links in the causal chain.
        This is a good example of where Calvinists attempt to make magical thinking appear logical.
        The problem with this new ad hoc link – is that it doesn’t logically entail Calvin’s god determining every evil neurological impulse.
        Its usually about this point in a dialog we find the Calvinist will start chasing his own tail again.
        As we trace Calvinism’s causal chain of evil back to its origin, the Calvinist becomes increasingly panic-stricken.
        His strategy: To make evils first causal event either magically disappear, or blame its movement on a later movement it caused.

      12. br.d writes, “His strategy: To make evils first causal event either magically disappear, or blame its movement on a later movement it caused.”

        The Calvinist describes the causal linkage from the creation of the universe through the creation of man in His image to the conformity of all that happens with His will and the validation of all future events by God’s omniscience. You do not seem to like this, but you have no other viable explanation and all you are ever able to do is complain about the Calvinist system – and this to no real effect without anything to replace it.

    2. FOH writes, “This does not make any sense in the determinist-Calvinist model.
      What is God’s point in all of these thousands of verses? That we would know Him and make (free) choices accordingly.”

      God, as sovereign, exercises absolute rule over His creation. Even FOH does not dispute this. In His omniscience, God knows the future perfectly to the extent that we can say that all things are determined. Even FOH cannot dispute this. God, in His providence works within His creation to bring about His will. Even FOH knows this. What do we take from all this – “If God be fore us, who can be against us.”

      1. rhutchin writes:
        What do we take from all this – “*IF* god be fore us, who can be against us.”

        -John Calvin:
        The *SECRET* predestination of god (i.e., every man’s LOT in life) is Calvin’s god’s secret.

        He illumines Calvinists for a time – deceiving them into believing they are saved – in order to strike them with even greater blindness – so that he may magnify their torments in the lake of fire.

        Thus it follows *IF* Calvin’s god be against you – who can be fore you.
        And the Calvinist doesn’t have any assurance either way – he simply embraces whatever temporary deception his SECRET god provides.
        What other choice does he have?

  46. FOH reads and believes the Bible. Does not come to the Bible with presuppositions.

    Just making my way through the Bible every year. Ezekiel…James….chapter 2

    21 Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. 23 And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. 24 So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.

    Is that the 4th time (in 4 books) that Scriptures repeats that Abraham was declared righteous after he showed faith?

    No wonder Luther called this the epistle of straw!

  47. James t again….

    25 Rahab the prostitute is another example. She was shown to be right with God by her actions when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road. 26 Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.

    Here is pagan, prostitute Rahab justified by faith. What’s more….she becomes part of the chosen by faith. And the line of Christ.

    The people of Israel were “chosen” by The Sovereign Lord. She became part of the chosen by faith.

    Was she originally part of the chosen? No. Did she become part of it and even part of the line of Christ? Yes. How? Faith.

    So what does that tell us about the idea of chosen?

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