Calvinism’s Conflation

THE CONFLATION OF THE CALVINIST

In my reading of a book critique (written by Calvinistic scholar Broughton Knox in reply to an Arminian scholar Howard Marshall) I happened upon another prime example of the Calvinistic conflation that we have discussed a number of times. Knox wrote:

“The Pelagian mind is inclined to ascribe, shall we say, 5% to God and 95% to man, the semi-Pelagian 50%-50%, while the evangelical Arminian, such as our writer, 95% to God and 5% to man. Yet, after all, it is this last 5% which makes the difference between heaven and hell, so that man is, in the end, his own saviour.”

I must ask this vital question: What exactly are these percentages representing? We (non-Calvinistic “pelagians”) are ascribing 95% OF WHAT to God?

95% of man’s desires?

95% of man’s sin?

95% of man’s choices?

95% of Christ’s provision of atonement?

95% of salvation?

95% of WHAT!?!

It seems to me that in the well-meant effort of the Calvinist to ascribe all good things to God they have unintentionally also ascribed all bad things to Him. So, while the Calvinist seems most concerned with making sure mankind takes no credit for their salvation, the non-Calvinist seems more concerned with a recognizably good and Holy God. I suspect both men have a noble purpose in their pursuits, but as with most disputes the balance is somewhere in the middle.

But this balance cannot be seen in dividing vaguely defined percentages of what is to be ascribed to God and to man. Salvation is 100% of God. Merely affirming the responsibility of mankind to accept and/or reject God’s appeals for reconciliation does not in any way affect that percentage.

Only when a Calvinist, like Knox in the quote above, conflates man’s choice to humbly repent in faith with God’s choice to save whosoever does so are these types of dilemmas created. In other words, Calvinists have created a dilemma by conflating two choices as if they were one and calling them both “salvation.”

For instance, the prodigal son’s choice to return home is distinct from the father’s choice to redeem him once he arrives. To treat those two distinct choices as if they were one in the same [i.e. under the meticulous control of the father] creates an unnecessary dilemma.

Likewise, a sinner’s choice to repent in response to God’s appeals for reconciliation is distinct from God’s choice to provide those means of reconciliation through Christ’s blood. Thus, God is always the decisive cause of who He saves and the means by which He saves them. And mankind is the decisive cause of his own sin and his choice to repent of it. Only by conflating these two distinct choices is the Calvinistic dilemma really a dilemma at all.

God is 100% responsible for his choices.

Man is 100% responsible for his choices.

There is no dilemma here.

189 thoughts on “Calvinism’s Conflation

  1. Leighton:

    Your logic here (“For instance, the prodigal son’s choice to return home is distinct from the father’s choice to redeem him once he arrives”) is also applicable in so many other place of the Bible.

    Matthew’s (22) parable of the Wedding Feast has so many people making the choice to come or not….. and the King’s choice to accept only those who are “clothed in Christ” dressed properly. Each one is responsible for his choices and actions.

  2. The bigger issue is that there can be no covenant love relationship based on mutual commitment between two parties, if one party has manipulated the other party’s commitment to be certainly made before that other party is even born, or created.

    Thanks Leighton for bringing up this discussion!

  3. Yes Brian,
    it is humorous to see dispensationalist MacArthur drill home the covenants and periods. As if God knew how to make a covenant with Adam, Abraham, Moses, et al, and then somehow needed to micromanage during the last dispensation.

  4. I believe it might also be helpful to acknowledge that what Jesus did was provide a once-for-all atonement for the sin of the world. “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” All sin could thenceforth be considered taken away, or ‘covered’ by the blood; if, that is, the sinner complies with God’s only condition: believe in the love of God, revealed through his mercy in providing free and undeserved pardon, and his faithfulness to his promise to forgive and grant everlasting life. All are summed up in ‘believing in the name’ of Jesus – that is, everything he said and did – the full meaning of which, like so much else, is somewhat lost in the translation.

    When you view the atonement as distinct from salvation, it becomes less confusing to understand what was provided by God, and accomplished through Jesus. Man had absolutely no part whatsoever in this necessary act of atonement, which fulfilled the requirements of justice, and allows man to be freed from the curse of sin and death. But scripture never expresses this as a universal salvation applied immediately to all mankind, whether they desired it or not. Indeed, as most who partake in such discussions well know, scripture repeatedly declares the one and only condition to receiving the free gift of grace – belief in the promises of God fulfilled through the finished atoning work of his Only Son.

    No man can be compelled to believe, nor can they ‘receive’ belief from someone else; both are antithetical to the very meaning of the word. Believing denotes a free action, and can never be compelled or removed by an outside force. Obedience can be compelled, but belief can never. Belief, or faith, like love, must be freely offered in response to someone or something. Obviously man could not have just ‘believed’ himself into God’s promised salvation from sin and death – there had to be something, which came first, in which he was believing. The ‘object’ of belief must exist before belief can come into existence. Thus, when atonement and salvation are properly understood, the suggestion of percentages is shown to be little more than a strawman. God alone provided atonement, and man’s task – set forth by God through the teaching of Jesus and his apostles – is to choose whether or not he will put his trust in this freely offered, fully accomplished atonement. As Jesus taught, “He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already . . .”, revealing the two, and only two, possible choices that each man must choose between: believe or not believe.

    I doub that many, if any, non-Calvinists actually believe that man had any part in providing his own atonement. Under the Law, all men were required to bring temporary sacrifices for the priest to offer in their behalf, the doing of which proved their ‘belief’ in God’s promise of forgiveness. Under the new covenant, God provided the sacrifice, deemed it acceptable, providing a final, once-for-all atonement for all sin that only He could provide.

    Even under the Law, only those who believed in the promises of God and chose to participate in the rituals of atonement, actually received the promised forgiveness of sin. The priest did not perform a ritual that was applied universally to all Israelites, even though it was freely offered to all. Only those who believed in the promises of God under the Law and brought their sacrifices, and only those who believe in the promises of God as revealed through Jesus demonstrate their faith in God’s redemptive plan, and receive the promised forgiveness of sin. Like those who looked upon the serpent in the wilderness in order to receive life, all that was required of man was simple faith – the power to forgive, heal and grant life can only ever come from God.

    1. ts00 writes, “I doub that many, if any, non-Calvinists actually believe that man had any part in providing his own atonement.”

      What the non-Calvinists seems to believe is that a person has the final say on whether he wants to be saved and God cannot make that decision for him.

      1. ts00 writes, “I doub that many, if any, non-Calvinists actually believe that man had any part in providing his own atonement.”

        rhutchin responds
        What the non-Calvinists seems to believe is that a person has the final say on whether he wants to be saved and God CANNOT make that decision for him.

        br.d
        From my perception of the way non-Calvinists (i.e. non-determinists) see it – they would say God CAN make that decision for them if he wants to. He’s God – he can do anything he wants to.
        But he doesn’t program people’s decisions like robot’s
        He wants people to love him by their own decision – without making that decision for them.

        He proposes marriage to her – and honors her decision – and doesn’t make her decision for her.
        He allows her to say no – and doesn’t determine her choice.

        The mode of Calvinism in contrast parallels that of a supernatural love potion.
        Or the great bull who make himself irresistible to Europa

      2. Exactly. The non-Calvinist does not suggest that there is anything that God CANNOT do; that is entirely different from asserting that there are things God Will not do. God will not sin. God will not ordain sin. God will not create people for the deliberate purpose of destroying them. God will not punish the son for the sins of his father, and on and on it goes. All of these are things that God COULD do, but he always does what is good and just. Sadly, in order to hold up their system, Calvinists assert that something is good and just because God does it, insisting that anything they claim God does must be just. However, injustice is injustice, whether done by a human judge or the Creator of all things. Of course, God COULD be unjust – and even get away with it. But he never WOULD. Too bad Calvinists don’t understand that.

      3. Excellent point TruthSeeker!

        This good-evil (yin-hang) component of Calvinism is one of Augustine’s synchronizations of Gnosticism’s cosmology of moral-dualism into his doctrine. Augustine called it “antithesis”.

        Where good and evil exist as contrasting – yet complimentary constituents of the “one”.
        Both having equal divine status.

        This good-evil dualism component within Calvinism has its source in Gnosticism/NeoPlatonism which Augustine embraced on his intellectual journey into Catholicism.

      4. The better I understand Calvinist theology, the more I pity the consistent Calvinist. I honestly doubt if he knows God as God desires him to. How can he, if he perceives him as capable of cruelty, injustice, lack of love and mercy, willing to be deceitfully secretive and disingenuous, and so on? I realize, somewhat sadly, that these people do not know God like I do. I don’t mean that in an arrogant, ‘I know everything’ sort of way. The older I get, the more I realize how little I know with certainty. What I do mean is, they do not seem to know him as a beloved Father. When you know God intimately, as one whom you can trust and adore implicitly, without ever doubting his goodness, justice, faithfulness, mercy and willingness to do anything for your good, you simply cannot read Calvinism into scripture. Calvinists, to be fair, score very highly on believing in God’s sovereignty and power – which non-Calvinists do as well – but they fail utterly to perceive his limitless love for his creatures, his genuine, responsive nature that sees even the slightest spark of possibility and works to bring it to fruition in each person. For he truly, truly desires that none perish. He truly, truly desires that each and every person cast aside wickedness and return to sweet fellowship with him. I sincerely pray that every person who earnestly seeks God sees him as he truly is, and not in the various false caricatures that distort his ultimate, holy perfection.

      5. ts00 writes, “…[God] truly, truly desires that none perish. He truly, truly desires that each and every person cast aside wickedness and return to sweet fellowship with him.’

        This is true even when God is omniscient and knows that He will be rejected.

      6. A few more dots to connect and we can see the source of Calvinism’s cosmology of dualism.

        Wikipedia: on Dualism
        -quote:
        The first explicit conception of dualism came from the Ancient Persian religion of ***Zoroastrianism*** around the mid-fifth century BC. Zoroastrianism is a monotheistic religion….

        Early Christian dualism is largely based on Platonic Dualism (See: Neoplatonism and Christianity).
        quotes from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dualism -end quote

        Biographical sketches of memorable Christians of the past – Augustine of Hippo
        -quote
        For a long time Augustine was attracted by the teachings of Manicheeism, named for Mani, a Persian who had preached an alternate form of **Zoroastrianism**, the dominant religion of Persia.
        http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bio/50.html

        THE HUMAN PSYCHE AND THE COLOR OF SYNCRETISM:

        If you’ve ever been in a store where people buy paint, you’ve probably seen the mixing of primary colors, very precisely measured into a base color. This mixing process results in a well-controlled final color. We humans find it easy to mix paints together. If, for example, we mixed white with blue, our final color would result in a light blue. Easy, right? But once those two colors are mixed together, it is not easy for us to examine the resulting color and discern the original blue from the original white—its virtually impossible.

        Nor is it possible for us to separate the white and the blue, back into their original forms. Now lets say someone mixed various paints into one, and sold it to you claiming it was the original.

        Syncretism works the same way. When components from various religions are synchronized together, we no longer have the original, but instead we have a final result, based on a mixture, which we embrace as the original. We may be psychologically invested in the assertion that our resulting religion is the superior and pure one. And we may blindly and forcefully assert it as the original, just because we have an emotional need to perceive it as such.

        We currently see numerous theologies, which are thoroughly syncretistic; with each heavily vested in claiming theirs as the original. One observation we sadly recognize among their tactics is to take their unique distinctive syncretistic form of Christianity, and superimpose it on all things honored in the early church, surreptitiously deceiving people into believing the syncretistic system is the original.

      7. br.d writes, “We currently see numerous theologies, which are thoroughly syncretistic; ”

        Thus, the reliance, and emphasis, by the Calvinists on sola scriptura.

      8. br.d writes, “We currently see numerous theologies, which are thoroughly syncretistic; ”

        rhutchin:
        Thus, the reliance, and emphasis, by the Calvinists on sola scriptura.

        br.d
        AS-IF! 😀

      9. br.d

        The “take the high road” maneuver of saying “sola scriptura” (especially as though others don’t do that that) is another canard.

        They have not one Scripture (not one!) that verifies in simple speech most of the claims they make (God decreed all that comes to pass; God does not mean “all men” when He says “all men”; God is not sincere when He says HUNDREDS of times “If you do this I will do this…..”).

        Those are not sola scriptura ideas. At all! They are man-made, scaffolded-together ideas build on the foundation of the Greek concept of God.

        Of course the confessions-catechisms say clearly “God decrees all that comes to pass” —– and you can find these quoted on most monergism sites……but that is a vivid, vivid illustration that they are not (!) sola scriptura.

        The very fact that they would publish confession after confession with a list of “truths” that are re-worded, re-packaged (as is scriptural packaging was not good enough!) shows that there is more than scriptura involved here!

      10. Thank you FOH!

        Yes I know rhutchin is doing what he always does – better known as puffery.

        I understand Calvinism’s use of scripture.
        To co-opt it and mold it into Calvin’s image – and then claim the opposite.

        Calvin’s god is a double-think, double-speak deity.
        And the psalmist expresses a spiritual principle: “they who worship it become like unto it”.

        That’s why Calvinists language is so saturated with double-speak.

        I appreciate your love for scripture btw!!
        It is very evident in all of your posts.
        My thanks!
        Your friend – br.d :-]

      11. ts00 writes, “God will not create people for the deliberate purpose of destroying them.”

        Surely, under your view that God is not omniscient, He would still know, or strongly suspect, that He was creating many people who would not be saved.

      12. ts00 writes, “God will not create people for the deliberate purpose of destroying them.”

        rhutchin
        Surely, under your view that God is not omniscient, He would still know, or strongly suspect, that He was creating many people who would not be saved.

        br.d
        On your view God does not have “essential” omniscience – for your position is God did not have omniscience before he created the world with decrees – which means he existed at a point in time/eternity with out omniscience – as you have stated “logically prior to the decrees”. So on your account god LEARNED from his decrees.

      13. br.d writes, “So on your account god LEARNED from his decrees.”

        OK. God generates knowledge within Himself without outside influence. When we say that God knows “X,” it is not possible to identify a point where God did not know “X.” Other than through an argument that argues a logical order to God’s knowledge – God’s decrees precede knowledge of those decrees.

      14. Now that’s a great line Roger to demonstrate how determinism calls on its followers to be loyal to illogical premises – “God’s decrees precede knowledge of those decrees.” Can you really conceive of making a decree without having prior knowledge to use in forming those decrees? Doesn’t the whole idea of making a decree become ludicrous if we are asked to believe it came from an “empty” inactive mind or a mind filled with random thoughts that magically coalesce into a decree? Doesn’t God have to decree, make choices, among His thoughts in His infinite understanding of the possible to form a true decree that will stand for the future, for a truly logical decree for the future to be created?

        Of course my last rhetorical question describes the God of the Scripture and not the definition of God put into the box of philosophical determinism as projected in my earlier rhetorical questions. Why Christian determinists trust thoughts composed by unregenerate minds, who supposedly cannot understand the things of the Spirit of God… is beyond me! 😉

      15. brianwagner writes, ““God’s decrees precede knowledge of those decrees.””

        Great observations and questions. Necessarily, if God decrees X, then God knows X because He decreed X. God cannot know X without having decreed X. Your questions go to the issue of a basis for God to decide to decree X and whatever process God goes through to decide X. I don’t have the answers – we cannot do more than speculate in this area, Can we?

        If God decrees X, then we might reasonably conclude that God knows perfectly all things concerning X. Thus, where God decrees to create a universe, we can reasonably conclude that God knows perfectly all things concerning that universe.

        Then, “Why Christian determinists trust thoughts composed by unregenerate minds, who supposedly cannot understand the things of the Spirit of God… is beyond me! ”

        Requiring that we reason from the Scriptures and not go beyond the Scriptures.

      16. Thanks Roger for confirming there must be knowledge God uses to making decrees… which contradicts your previous statement.

        The issue is not using logical theories… especially from believers to help understand Scriptures further… the issue is making dogma out of theories from unbelieving philosophers that are used to define Scriptures and destroy its authority for forming the definitions and dogma about God’s nature.

        It still is surprising to me that those who eschew the most the idea that natural man cannot understand things of God lean the most on natural man’s definitions about God!

      17. brianwagner writes, “Thanks Roger for confirming there must be knowledge God uses to making decrees… which contradicts your previous statement.”

        Not exactly. God has always had knowledge and that is knowledge of Himself – God knows everything about Himself and has always known everything about Himself. This is not knowledge outside Himself. God creates knowledge outside Himself by His decrees. God decrees to create an universe and has perfect and complete knowledge of the universe that He has decreed to create. That decree is exhaustive and includes everything that He will do with that universe.

        Then, “the issue is making dogma out of theories from unbelieving philosophers that are used to define Scriptures and destroy its authority for forming the definitions and dogma about God’s nature.”

        I don’t know why this is an issue. Both Calvinists and non-Calvinists start with the Scriptures and use those Scriptures to describe God before the creation when there is only God. Philosophy is about discovering truth and then building truth from truth. Even unbelieving philosophers can conceive of God as Paul explains in Romans 1 – they just don’t believe that the God they can discover through truth actually exists. It is only when the conclusions philosophers draw about God exceed the bounds of truth and Scripture that we need to reject those conclusions.

        then, “It still is surprising to me that those who eschew the most the idea that natural man cannot understand things of God lean the most on natural man’s definitions about God!”

        Then, you should have no problem with the Calvinists.

      18. Dancing again Roger… just to keep from admitting you clearly contradicted yourself… That was certainly a weird “dance move”, saying – “God creates knowledge outside Himself by His decrees.” When is God’s knowledge ever outside Himself? What does that even mean? Did He create that knowledge in other people’s minds, but it never before existed in His own, and still doesn’t except as an observation? Wow… that shoots the idea of eternal, immutable “known” decree in the head… but not God’s ;-)?

      19. In all my following of this blog Brian, I have never seen Calvinists here learn anything or admit to contradicting themselves…. or saying, good point, or I might not have that right.

        I see others do it to each other.

        But that goes with the authoritarian way of fatalistic-Calvinism. Kind of a “this is right no matter what you say” attitude.

        This is a good attitude if a hostile regime is asking you to deny Christ etc, but not when brothers are discussing what the Word may-or-may-not mean….. always doubling down on any contradictions cuz anything else would be a sign of weakness and buckling in to modernism or liberalism.

        It’s no way to hold a careful, gentile, sensible discussion.

      20. Every time the statue of dagon fell over on its face in front of the arc – its priests/defenders/protectors never failed to come running back in to pick it back up and keep it waxed and polished. Man made contrivances always require continual maintenance. :-]

      21. In the holy war by John Bunyan there’s a funny piece I’ll always remember.
        King Shaddai and his army are at the gate ready to re-take man-soul away from Diabolus’s grip.

        -quote “Then Diabolus disseminated the finest bit of double-talk that could be manufactured in such short notice”

        Always get a kick out of how Calvinists fit that picture! 😀

      22. brianwagner writes, “saying – “God creates knowledge outside Himself by His decrees.”

        Yeah. How does one characterize God’s knowledge of things He creates (like the universe). Are such things outside God, or part of God but kinda unique? Maybe some smart guy will devise terminology to distinguish between God’s knowledge of Himself versus His knowledge of things He creates so that you won’t get upset. Maybe there is no difference. Also, does God change when He creates? Describing God is a lot harder than dealing with issues of the created universe and man’s salvation mostly because God doesn’t provide us all that much information.

      23. Really Roger… you are going to stand by saying – “Describing God is a lot harder than dealing with issues of the created universe and man’s salvation mostly because God doesn’t provide us all that much information.” Your loyalty and dogmatism about God’s nature as defined by Calvinism and its supposed influence to understand His creation and salvation is well documented and didn’t appear that difficult for you to describe.

        Shame on you for throwing up that smoke screen and deflection that is such a misrepresentation of your previous interactions. I expect better from you and have seen better from you.

      24. I think perhaps SOT101 participants increasing ability to catch rhutchin attempting to draw people into tail-chasing rabbit-trails is making it more likely he finds himself the court jester rather than the court attorney. And he hasn’t formalized a new double-speak strategy yet.
        He’s in a transition phase.
        Let’s wait and see what the new double-speak strategy will be. :-]

      25. I think your point was lost on him.
        What I understood you to say that in his scheme his god doesn’t know what he’s going to decree (logically anterior) to the decree.
        He only knows what he decreed (logically posterior to the decree).
        It all makes perfect sense – if you take the blue pill. 😉

      26. br.d
        On your view God does not have “essential” omniscience – for your position is God did not have omniscience before he created the world with decrees – which means he existed at a point in time/eternity with out omniscience – as you have stated “logically prior to the decrees”. So on your account god LEARNED from his decrees.

        rhutchin
        OK. God generates knowledge within Himself without outside influence. When we say that God knows “X,” it is not possible to identify a point where God did not know “X.” Other than through an argument that argues a logical order to God’s knowledge – God’s decrees precede knowledge of those decrees.

        br.d
        All that to re-iterate what I pointed out. On your view this god’s omniscience is not an “essential” quality. By definition and “essential” quality is one that is essential to one’s existence. Since on your view this god did not have full comprehensive knowledge of the future “logically” prior to his decrees to create the world – it logically follows there was a point in time/eternity in which he lacked omniscience – which he obtained/learned later via decrees. This scheme appears to be man’s way of creating a man-made pyramid of divine attributes – and placing decrees at the top – where all of this god’s attributes are subservient to decrees. One would ask the question of whether this follows the characterization of the God of scripture.

      27. br.d writes, “This scheme appears to be man’s way of creating a man-made pyramid of divine attributes – and placing decrees at the top – where all of this god’s attributes are subservient to decrees.”

        That is wrong. It says that God is and this prior to a decree. Thus, divine attributes are determined by looking at God in His essence prior to any decree. It is here that people take information the Scriptures tell us about God and extrapolate logically prior to any decree.

      28. rhutchin asserts “logically” prior to his decrees to create the world – his god doesn’t have omniscience .

        And then states:
        Divine attributes [a reference to the attribute of omniscience] are determined by looking at God in His essence prior to any decree.

        br.d
        Right! on your view he doesn’t have any!
        Additionally, I wasn’t aware you were present looking at your god prior to any decree – that would make you very old. 😉

    2. Hi Truth Seeker

      Just wanted to thank you for the angle that you brought to light on this topic. I remember when I read the same verse, “the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the World” and realising exactly what you said ref atonement, that how this really was GOODNEWS which is the meaning of the word gospel. And how one could evangelize by , just letting people know that…Hey! your sins have been paid for!”.

      It also brought more clarity to me of what the angels meant when they said in Luke2:
      10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you GOOD TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY, which shall be TO ALL PEOPLE.
      11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a SAVIOUR, which is Christ the Lord,
      14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth PEACE, GOOD WILL toward men.

      God has shown GOOD WILL and that was the depth of His Good will, that He extended to man while we were yet sinners!… He took away our sin, offering Peace to man! AMAZING!!.

      Now, the later part of what/how you explained “Belief” is what I think is especially fantastic, because I think it even /really answers the question of “why do some believe” or as I heard recently..”did you elect yourself?”.

      Well whatever the reason, this is what we can be sure of. It cannot be Gods doing (in the way Calvinist say it is). Simply because
      “Obedience can be compelled, but belief can never. Belief, or faith, like love, must be freely offered in response to someone or something. ”

      This truth makes the question redundant!. Though God still gets the Glory in 2ways.
      1) He sovereignly made man with the ability to believe (just as He made man with everything that he has).
      2) He sovereignly engineered that even after the Fall, the capacity to believe was still intact!
      This too is His Kindness and to His Glory!.

      Its similar to having a BAD accident and parts of the body maybe damaged, but some parts are still left in tact and useable… and we Thank God! for His mercy realising it could have been much worse.

      It reminds me of what Paul said in Corinthians….

      7…………..and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

      Point for me being that there is never a place in which we can get the Glory, even with human capacity/ability because even the mechanism to do anything is of God, we didn’t make ourselves.

      Like the psalmist said psalm 100

      2Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
      3Know ye that the LORD he is God: IT IS HE THAT HATH MADE US, AND NOT WE OURSELVES; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
      4Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
      5FOR THE LORD IS GOOD; HIS MERCY is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations

      In summary… the question is redundant, and 2. in EVERY (non Calvinist) WAY ie human responsibility; God gets the Glory and not man, For it is He that made us mechanically able, and mercifully so, even after the Fall

      So! Thank you! you’ve brought to light a concise truth, which I can use to remove the stumbling block that is put in one’s part with the question…”did you elect yourself!?” The real question should be “are you taking the Glory!??”….. to which the answer is a RESOUNDING NOO!

    3. “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom. 2:13 NIV The Calvinist and a free Willie both believe that Paul’s soteriological agenda is false.

      1. TJ writes, “The Calvinist and a free Willie both believe that Paul’s soteriological agenda is false.”

        Romans 2 is not Paul’s soteriology. Paul states the facts – those who keep the law will be justified. for those who are unable to keep the law, there is grace.

      2. It is my belief that Paul intends us to make the distinction between knowing and doing. Even under the now discounted concept – still believed by the Judaizers’ – that they alone are chosen, distinct from all others based on their having been given the Law, Paul asserts that merely being in possession of the Law did not EVER grant anyone atonement. It was only those who followed the Law, followed the prescribed sacrifices, rituals, etc. who could hope to receive the promised forgiveness for sin. In other words, no honest Jewish ruler could claim that simply being in possession of the Law granted them salvation.

        The same principle remains true in whatever manner one perceives the Law pertains to us today. For those who assert that we need no longer concern ourselves with the ceremonial law or even the Ten Commandments, there remains Jesus’ statement that we must keep the law, which he summed up as loving God and loving others as self. It would be no more sufficient to properly understand the ‘doctrine’ of atonement (whichever one posits) without demonstrating love of God and others than it would be to merely be a non-lawkeeping Israelite. Knowing without doing is never enough.

  5. William Lane Craig provides an answer – in recognizing Calvinism is founded upon the philosophical foundation-stone of ***UNIVERSAL*** divine causal determinism.

    In Philosophy the term UNIVERSAL means EVERYTHING WITHOUT EXCEPTION.
    There is no such thing as a percentage.
    Any idea of a percentage is a ruse.

    It might be the case that there is conflation here.
    But the Calvinist argument of percentages is just more Calvinist deceptive double-speak.

    A robot does not follow 90% of the program which determines what it thinks/says/does.
    The program determines **ALL** that it thinks/says/does and it CANNOT DO OTHERWISE

    In UNIVERSAL divine causal determinism the decree determines **ALL** the creature thinks/says/does and he CANNOT DO OTHERWISE.

    Obviously, human beings are different (in makeup) from robots.
    But in Calvinism’s UNIVERSAL divine causal determinism they both **FUNCTION** the same.
    So this argument by the Calvinist is just another example of their systems deceptive double-talk.

  6. Dr. Flowers writes, “It seems to me that in the well-meant effort of the Calvinist to ascribe all good things to God they have unintentionally also ascribed all bad things to Him.”

    Rest assured; they have not. Calvinists ascribe all good things to the active intervention of God in the lives of people – so, Paul, in Ephesians 2, “…we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,…”. Calvinists ascribe all bad things to the absence of God’s active intervention in the lives of people that then provides the sin nature of the person freedom to run amok (that it gleefully does).

    Then, “Calvinists have created a dilemma by conflating two choices as if they were one and calling them both “salvation.””

    Not really. Calvinists say that no person can come to Christ unless God draw the person. God’s drawing of the person to Christ is necessary to the salvation of the person and sufficient to produce a willingness by the person to come to Christ and that willingness then becomes action when the person hears the gospel and has faith conveyed to him through that hearing.

    Then, “the prodigal son’s choice to return home is distinct from the father’s choice to redeem him once he arrives.”

    I don’t read it that way. The father’s choice is to “love” his son (the father has no knowledge of the son’s activities). The father does not forgive the son as, technically, the father had given the son freedom to do whatever the son desired with his inheritance. The son did not sin against the father – did he?? Despite the son’s claim to have sinned against his father, the father seems oblivious to anything the son says.. Thus, no redemption is required.

    Then, “a sinner’s choice to repent in response to God’s appeals for reconciliation is distinct from God’s choice to provide those means of reconciliation through Christ’s blood. Thus, God is always the decisive cause of who He saves and the means by which He saves them. And mankind is the decisive cause of his own sin and his choice to repent of it. Only by conflating these two distinct choices is the Calvinistic dilemma really a dilemma at all.”

    There is no conflation. The issue between the Cal and non-Cal is the extent to which God is involved in a person’s “choice” to repent. There is no dilemma.

  7. Rhutchin,

    Brian said it quite well already:

    “The bigger issue is that there can be no covenant love relationship based on mutual commitment between two parties, if one party has manipulated the other party’s commitment to be certainly made before that other party is even born, or created.”

    Same would hold true with a spouse, one doesn’t push a button on the back of his/her neck to compel them to love them back. How could that be true love??

    Russ

    1. rnie,am writes, “Same would hold true with a spouse, one doesn’t push a button on the back of his/her neck to compel them to love them back. How could that be true love?? ”

      I agree. So, what is your issue? If Christ heals the deaf person whereupon he then hears the gospel preached (not being able to escape that preaching through deafness) and believes, could not the deaf person legitimately love Christ with true love?

      1. “(not being able to escape that preaching through deafness)”

        You make no sense Rhutchin. In your belief system is it not God that determined that they would be deaf by his unchageable decree? So you are saying God is “healing” his own unchageable decree. Well then healing isn’t healing and has lost its meaning…….. and unchageable is no longer unchageable if healing still holds it meaning. Calvinists are so non-sensical.

      2. Excellent point Damon!!!

        We call this Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking model.

        So far I’ve compiled a list of 18 of Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking modes.
        Here are a few from the list.

        1) Decreed-divine-knowledge-AS-IF-not-decreed:
        This is where God, at the foundation of the world, first conceived of Cain murdering Able, and rendered it Cain’s one unique certain future. Consequently God has Divine foreknowledge. He foreknows when and how he decreed Cain will murder Able. But this is a special kind of knowledge, in which God knows Cain is going to murder Able *AS-IF* God wasn’t the one who first conceived it, and then rendered it Cain’s one unique certain future.

        4) Doublespeak-AS-IF-not-doublespeak:
        This is where God commands his people to repent, and choose life, *AS-IF* he really wills them to repent and choose life. Or where God commands Adam and Eve to not eat the forbidden fruit, *AS-IF* he really willed them to not eat the forbidden fruit. So, this is a special kind of divine speech in which God deceives his people into believing he is speaking his “real” will, when he is really speaking a “revealed” will *AS-IF* it were his “real” will.

        5) Half-truth-AS-IF-the-whole-truth:
        This is where the Calvinist asserts things like “Cain murdered Able because of Cain’s own evil desires”, and this half-truth is recited *AS-IF* it where the whole truth. While the Calvinist secretly holds to another truth – that God first conceived Cain’s murder, and conceived all of Cain’s evil desires, and then made those things Cain’s one unique certain future. But the Calvinist has a very special obligation to attack that truth *AS-IF* it is NOT truth. As a result, many Calvinist half-truths are very special kinds of truths, which function as half-truths *AS-IF* the-whole-truth.

        10) Forced-AS-IF-not-forced:
        This is where John Calvin asserts: “evil men, thieves and murderers are FORCED to do God’s service”. But this is a special FORCE where men are FORCED, with a FORCE that does not FORCE.

        😛

  8. In discussing the father of the prodigal son, you stated that the son had not sinned against the father so the father did not need to forgive him. But when the son asked for his inheritance before his father died, he was showing great disrespect towards his father and sinning against him. As one commentator said on the subject, he was practically wishing his father dead so he could receive his money. (The unsaved still want to receive before God’s appointing of the inheritance.) Also, we cannot ignore the father’s statement about his son once being dead but now being alive, lost but found. The father did not go looking for the son. He is found when the son comes to him of his own free will. What drew the son to the father? The son “came to himself.” He reasoned within himself. He made a choice.

    1. Regina writes, “But when the son asked for his inheritance before his father died, he was showing great disrespect towards his father and sinning against him….”

      OK. Christ does not seem to use the story to highlight this point, but He may have implied it as easily understood by His audience.

      1. Regina writes, “But when the son asked for his inheritance before his father died, he was showing great disrespect towards his father and sinning against him….”

        rhutchin
        OK. Christ does not seem to use the story to highlight this point, but He may have implied it as easily understood by His audience.

        br.d
        I think Regina is referring to Jewish traditions of social family dynamics – as ascribed to Jesus’ narrative – from numerous commentaries which draw on social norms of first century Judaism.

      2. br.d writes, “I think Regina is referring to Jewish traditions of social family dynamics – as ascribed to Jesus’ narrative – from numerous commentaries which draw on social norms of first century Judaism.”

        That is to argue that the Scriptures cannot be understood without reference to sources of information outside the Scriptures. Once we bring in outside sources of information to explain the Scriptures, we bias our understanding of the Scriptures by that information. Many find such biases destructive to a true understanding of the Scriptures.

      3. br.d writes, “I think Regina is referring to Jewish traditions of social family dynamics – as ascribed to Jesus’ narrative – from numerous commentaries which draw on social norms of first century Judaism.”

        rhutchin
        That is to argue that the Scriptures cannot be understood without reference to sources of information outside the Scriptures.

        br.d
        Following that logic you’ll have to discount a great percentage of biblical commentary from Calvinist authors – as many rely on historical context (what scholars call milieu) of the period in which scripture refers. F.F. Bruce, one of the top 10 noted scholars of the 20th century – was so noted because of his outstanding research on historical context. For example – why were there two functioning high priests during Jesus’ earthly ministry?

        You’ll probably find his 50+ publications in many seminary libraries. No one would accuse him of implying that scriptures cannot be understood without such historical information. But scholars are typically excited to have it.

      4. Rhutchin writes: “That is to argue that the Scriptures cannot be understood without reference to sources of information outside the Scriptures. Once we bring in outside sources of information to explain the Scriptures, we bias our understanding of the Scriptures by that information. Many find such biases destructive to a true understanding of the Scriptures.”

        By this logic, you must be reading Scripture in the original languages of Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic, and you must have been born in the Ancient Near East around 2,000 years ago. The fact of the matter is that any reading of Scripture includes interpretation, and that interpretation has both a linguistic and cultural component to it. That’s why every scholarly and popular level commentary includes background information about the culture and circumstances, including information that helps to understand the historical particulars and occasion, especially in the New Testament, for writing the letter. That’s why we have things like Bible dictionaries and study bibles and study guides. Being 2,000 years removed from even the most recent writings in Scripture, we are in many ways incapable of understanding the particular culture of the original authors and audience of Scripture without looking to “outside” sources for help.

        In fact, according to every single translation and hermeneutical approach of which I am aware, we look to outside sources precisely to remove, not create, biases to our understanding of Scripture. Because without using any critical outside information, you are merely relying on your own 21st century American cultural and linguistic biases to inform how you interpret, understand, and apply Scripture. If you have no understanding of the many cultural influences impacting the various human authors (for example, the cultural differences between the Hebrew-born, Egyptian-raised, shepherd-by-trade Moses and the Jewish and Roman citizen, religiously-trained lawyer who began as a zealot Paul who lived around 1600 years later and how those particulars influenced what and how they wrote), how different genres of Scripture (poetry, prose, prophecy, apocalypse, parables, etc.) must be understood and interpreted, how the author and occasion for a letter affects how it is understood, etc., then it could be argued that you really cannot have a complete understanding of what Scripture is teaching in many particulars (such as the sin that the prodigal son committed against his father). The fact that you think that the parable does not explicitly reveal any sin of the son against the father simply shows that you are reading it from a 21st century American bias instead of understanding from a 1st century Jewish perspective.

        Sir, if you truly think that you need no outside source other than Scripture itself (which would include, by the way, the very presence of the Holy Spirit, who was given to us, in part, to “teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26, ESV)), then you are taking a very naive and dangerous approach to the study of Scripture.

      5. Adam,

        Well said. This is why I so often say “….in every genre and type of Scripture: history, poetry, epistle, etc.”

        God says certain things about Himself “in poetry” but if He says the same kinds of things in narrative, straight prose “I the Sovereign Lord say,” history, etc then He is really making it clear. He does that with so many ideas especially over and over with the ” If you do this…. I will do this,” which shows that He is interacting with man, and not pulling puppet strings.

      6. FOH writes, “God says certain things about Himself “in poetry”…”

        You agree with me then. We start with “God says…” and never deviate from what “God says…”

      7. Adam, I heartily ‘Amen’ your response. While attending a Calvinist church for over a decade, I fell prey to the faulty assertion that scripture could be ‘clearly’ and ‘literally’ interpreted, and the problem was that people were unwilling to submit to God. Only later did I realize that this actually meant ‘submit to his personal opinions’ concerning God and scripture. I began to wake up; when my pastor touted the inerrancy of scripture, I longed to ask ‘Which version do you affirm as inerrant? They cannot all be.’ When he asserted his own preferred interpretation as the only acceptable and ‘right’ one, I wondered how so many other, even Reformed Theologians – some of whom I knew personally, such as Bruce Ware or Doug Moo – could have gotten it wrong.

        At the heart of Calvinism is the insistence that the congregation submit to the authority of its self-claimed ‘rulers’. Never question the system. Never balk at inconsistencies or logical lapses. Once the spell is broken, you realize how simplistic and absurd it is to claim certainty concerning what is, for the most part, mere opinion. As you stated so well, the influences of culture, the variances in languages and even personal experience are all factors in our interpretation of groups of words. No longer am I willing to bow to the authority of men to dictate to me what scripture means. I am willing, even eager, to hear various opinions, to study the original languages, to uncover ancient cultural oddities that are foreign to modern life and then to very loosely form the best conclusions I can – always remaining open to new information and, most of all, the instructive wisdom of the Spirit of God.

      8. ts00 writes, “I began to wake up; when my pastor touted the inerrancy of scripture,”

        Another point that separates you from the Calvinists.

      9. adamvg78 writes, ‘By this logic, you must be reading Scripture in the original languages of Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic, and you must have been born in the Ancient Near East around 2,000 years ago.”

        Of course not. God is the author of the Scriptures and motivated a variety of people to write as inspired by His spirit. Thus, the writings of these people will be consistent and complementary to each other. So, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.” We can, solely through appeal to the Scriptures, understand the Scriptures. We do need an accurate translation of the Scriptures – but I agree that an ability to read the Scriptures in the original languages would be great. There is no reason to think that we would have to have been born in the Ancient Near East around 2,000 years ago as God is the author and the Scriptures transcend culture but can speak to culture where that information is necessary.

        Then, “if you truly think that you need no outside source other than Scripture itself…then you are taking a very naive and dangerous approach to the study of Scripture.”

        Only because you exclude the Holy Spirit as one of those outside sources. As I include the Holy Spirit as an outside source helping us to understand the Scriptures, I don’t think your claim is valid. If your claim is that additional outside sources are required to understand the Scriptures, then I think those outside sources can bias one’s understanding of the Scriptures away from a true understanding of the Scriptures.

      10. Okay, rhutchin, I have seen and read your interactions with others on this blog, and it is apparent that you are here to argue and not to learn. That being said, I will respond only this once to your response, because I am not interested in arguing but instead but in trying to learn and better understand (and maybe even teach) the truths of Scripture.

        Rhutchin, in your response, you said: “Only because you exclude the Holy Spirit as one of those outside sources. As I include the Holy Spirit as an outside source helping us to understand the Scriptures, I don’t think your claim is valid. If your claim is that additional outside sources are required to understand the Scriptures, then I think those outside sources can bias one’s understanding of the Scriptures away from a true understanding of the Scriptures.”

        Now, I will readily admit that Scripture itself is clear and quite easy to understand, at least the dictionary definitions and meanings of words. I heard it once said (though I don’t know if this is true), that on the whole, the Bible is written at about a 9th grade reading comprehension level. So, it is certainly true that you can read and understand every word in Scripture without necessarily appealing to any outside source.

        But, rhutchin, comprehension of words, understanding definitions, is not what we are talking about here, and I think you know it. What we are discussing here is understanding the meaning, the intent, of Scripture, and not just knowing the definitions of words. Any time you are removed culturally from a specific writing, you need to overcome the cultural barriers that inhibit our understanding of the meanings of specific words, phrases, metaphors, figures of speech, etc. which are foreign to our own cultures. Or, even more dangerous, when we think that we can import our own culture’s understandings onto a word, phrase, metaphor, figure of speech, etc. This is what a bias is, and this is what using outside sources, such as commentaries, histories, dictionaries, etc., is designed to avoid. For example, if it were possible to ask someone living even 15 years ago what a “tweet” was, what do you think the response would be? Have you ever tried to read Shakespeare (which was written in English, I might add) without any commentary or aid? Sure, you can sound out and maybe even know the definitions of the words being used, but really, what does this mean:
        “Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back,
        Wherein he puts alms for oblivion.
        A great-sized monster of ingratitudes.”

        It would be just plain wrong to claim that you can understand this without any other outside reference simply based on the meanings of the words being used precisely because many of these words have subtly or grossly different meanings in our culture in comparison to what Shakespeare’s culture understood them to mean. And yes, I do understand that the Holy Spirit can and does help in our understanding of the truths of Scripture, but this doesn’t mean that He does all the work, that we can expect to magically understand the all of the nuances and cultural differences between ourselves and the original authors and audiences.

        Using outside, reputable sources aids in our understanding of the meaning of Scripture. Yes, there are many truths that are self-evident, that transcend culture and geography, but there are some that do not. For example, a popular misconception of Jesus wishing that the church in Laodicea would be either hot or cold (Rev. 3:15-16), is that “hot” refers to spiritual fervor while “cold” refers to antagonism towards God. A quick search of commentaries, and other ancient sources, however, brings much greater clarity. Because of where Laodicea was located, it had no natural water sources and had to pipe in water from elsewhere, which was lukewarm when it arrived. Colossae, in contrast, had a source of cold, refreshing water suitable for drinking. And nearby Hierapolis had hot springs, which were useful for bathing and had medicinal qualities. Laodicea’s water was lukewarm, and therefore neither useful nor enjoyable (hence, the lukewarm being spat out). Both the hot and the cold water were useful and desirable, and they were not intended to signify one’s spiritual condition towards God, but to point the finger at Laodicea’s spiritual apathy. Yet, this meaning is not readily apparent to us today, some 2,000 years removed culturally and geographically, unless we appeal to outside sources for assistance.

        Rhutchin, you baldly assert: “We can, solely through appeal to the Scriptures, understand the Scriptures.” This is a very, very dangerous assertion which reeks of pride and self-sufficiency. I would invite you to make this statement to your own pastor and see what he has to say about it. But, if you truly believe that this is the case, that all you need is Scripture itself (including the work of the Holy Spirit), then I would invite you to try to live this out practically.

        This means that you better not go to church, because you don’t need Christian community to better understand and apply Scripture. This means that cannot listen to your pastor or teachers, because these teachers and pastors (if they truly care about the hermeneutics) are using these same sources that “bias one’s understanding of the Scriptures away from a true understanding of the Scriptures” as you so claim. If you have a study Bible, throw it away because any notes, any annotations (including book names and chapter and verse divisions) are extra-biblical and will keep you from correctly discerning the truth of Scripture. Don’t ever listen to or read John Piper, Al Mohler, or any other Calvinistic author, because they are outside sources that can and will contaminate your pristine understanding of what the Bible teaches. John Calvin’s Institutes are out, because they aren’t part of the canon and will bias your understanding of the true meaning of Scripture. Don’t you dare read another religious book, another blog, listen to another podcast, study another systematic theology, have a conversation about Scripture with anyone else, or really do anything other than read your Bible, because all of these things are outside sources, and you don’t need anything other than your Bible, right? Especially if you are in danger, as you claim, of biasing yourself against a true understanding of Scripture if you contaminate yourself with any of these other sources…

        Rhutchin, I am pretty sure that you are arguing simply for the sake of arguing, but if you aren’t, then please know that you are on very dangerous ground if you think that you can cut yourself off from Christian community, from 2,000 years of church tradition and approaches to the study and interpretation of Scripture, and think that you will be able to accurately understand the meaning of Scripture. If you want to talk about this more, I would invite you to contact me directly. My email is pastoradamvg@gmail.com.

      11. Adam VG,

        Great post!

        When I started commenting a few months ago, I fell into it also thinking that he wanted to learn and it was a dialog. Once I saw he was only there to argue I quit responding and let him name-call and disparage me all he wanted (he does!).

        I recently posted how silly their constant “Sola Scriptura” is when they have so maaaaany creeds, confessions, and catechisms that re-word the scriptura all the time!

        You forgot one “you better never” and that would be visit monergism.com. The whole young, cage-rage, YRR took off thanks to the internet and sites like that where the sharks can circle and sharpen their teeth and try to out-reform each other!

        I got my Calvinism by laboring through tomes by van Til, Pink, and Boettner. Young bucks now get the hip version in minutes from the web. ….. sorry….. I mean they get it from sola scriptura.

      12. Agreed!
        Rhutchin loves to shadow box.
        He typically has 3 modes:
        – The “Dancing Boxer”
        – The “Greased Pig”
        – The “Superior Intellect”.

        He’s provides excellent example of Calvinism’s double-speak. 😀

      13. FOH writes, “When I started commenting a few months ago, I fell into it also thinking that he wanted to learn and it was a dialog….I got my Calvinism by laboring through tomes by van Til, Pink, and Boettner. Young bucks now get the hip version in minutes from the web. ….. sorry….. I mean they get it from sola scriptura.”

        My comments to you seem to always point out misconceptions you have of Calvinism and I stick it to you by telling you that you were snoozing in class (given that you claim, ‘I got my Calvinism by laboring through tomes by van Til, Pink, and Boettner.”. Never have you been able to show that you were right and I was wrong. Obviously, you don’t like what I say, but I think what you resent most is being forced to admit to yourself that you got it wrong and I was right. I also read Pink and Boettner but substitute Sproul for Van Til.

      14. brianwagner asks, “What book by Pink would you recommend for a clear view of his ideas on the eternality and foreknowledge of God?”

        I think you have read these already.

        BOOK: The Attributes of God (particularly the first seven chapters)
        1. The Solitariness of God
        2. The Decrees of God
        3. The Knowledge of God
        4. The Foreknowledge of God
        5. The Supremacy of God
        6. The Sovereignty of God
        7. The Immutability of God

        BOOK: The Sovereignty of God (Particularly the chapter)
        – The Sovereignty of God in Administration

      15. Brian,
        I don’t think anyone doubts that God is Sovereign. It just depends on the definition of that.

        I’ll be curious to see if Pink deals with the hundreds and hundreds of verses that say something like…. I The Sovereign Lord God of Israel will do this… If you will do this…

        Meaning that in those verses He defines His sovereignty and of course it appears by His given definition that He’s not getting his own way every time nor is He dictating what people will do.

      16. FOH – The issue is not sovereignty that I’m looking at… it is to see if Pink’s wording about foreknowledge and eternality as it relates to election sounds like philosophical neo-platonism and determinism.

      17. Thanks. I am presently on a dissertation committee for a project critiquing Pink’s view of eternality and foreknowledge as it relates to election and comparisons with neo-platonist definitions. Do you know if Pink said anything specific about the charge of neo-platonism or philosophy in general brought against determinism?

      18. brianwagner asks, “Do you know if Pink said anything specific about the charge of neo-platonism or philosophy in general brought against determinism?”

        No. It doesn’t sound like something Pink would address directly. He seems to be pretty much focused on issues involving the understanding of the Scriptures. His chapter on God’s Decrees is certainly deterministic but ignores issues outside the Scriptures like neo-platonism. I’ll do a little more research.

      19. Yes, Roger… it seems he just bought Charnock and Calvin’s views without recognizing the philosophical underpinnings. I haven’t found yet the “outside” of time idea in his discussion of eternity.

      20. brianwagner writes, “it seems he just bought Charnock and Calvin’s views without recognizing the philosophical underpinnings.”

        Assuming that there were philosophical underpinnings rather than philosophical agreement.

      21. If there are no clear Scripture support for definitions, such as “outside of time” or “all things predetermined” when describing divine eternerality and foreknowledge, then it is indeed taken from a philosophy of man’s making.

      22. brianwagner writes, “If there are no clear Scripture support for definitions, such as “outside of time” or “all things predetermined”…”

        There is support for such concepts even if the actual words used to define them don’t work well. We humans only know time because we have a beginning and an ending of our physical life. God said, ““Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years;…” Take away the universe and there is no time. Even with the universe, God is not contained in that universe – the universe is only something God created. Comparing the universe to God can be illustrated as a mustard seed in a person’s hand (recognizing the exaggeration). God is outside the universe, so is He outside the rule of the laws that He established to govern the universe? Seems to me that He is – but the Scriptures don’t spend time on such things.

        As to all things predetermined, the issue is with the “pre.” All things are determined by God as Paul states in Ephesians 1, “[God] works all things after the counsel of His will…” – but can be derived from God’s omnipotence. That God predetermines “certain” things is evidenced by specific statements throughout the Scriptures, and there is no reason why we cannot extrapolate from these that God necessarily predetermines all things.

      23. Since your assertion is that Calvinist doctrine is not the outcome of philosophy but is the outcome of scripture, please provide the scripture which states your assertion – quote “Take away the universe and there is no time.”

        Thanks in advance.

      24. br.d writes, “…please provide the scripture which states your assertion – quote “Take away the universe and there is no time.”

        From Genesis 1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth….Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years;” By this, we know that the passing of time in the universe created by God is tied to the lights in the expanse. One cannot conclude from this that “lights in the expanse” were created by God prior to this creation. One might speculate that there was some means of measuring time prior to creation, but such could not exceed speculation.

      25. rhutchin
        “There is no reason why we [Calvinists] cannot extrapolate from these that God necessarily predetermines all things”.

        br.d
        What is meant by “necessarily” in this statement?

        Are you saying: “There is no reason why we [Calvinists] cannot extrapolate from these that God OF NECESSITY predetermines all things”.?

      26. br d.
        thanks for pointing that out. did you not know that “necessarily” covers a multitude of sins? It has always been sprinkled in to sentences to kind a make it smooooooth. Sorry…. necessarily smooth.

        It is actually a substitute where there is a lack of scripture. Meaning —- do the ipso facto when you dont have proof.

      27. Yes I can see what your saying.
        Rhutchin has used it quite often in reference to Calvin’s god’s actions/decrees etc.

        The term, in Rhutchin’s case – like so many other terms – is used equivocally (having duplicitous meaning).
        In its literal philosophical meaning – it is a clear reference to fatalism.

        -quote:
        By appeal to logical laws and metaphysical **NECESSITIES**
        or
        By appeal to the existence and nature of God — by appeal to causal determinism.

        When argued for in the first way, it is commonly called “Logical fatalism” (or, in some cases, “Metaphysical fatalism”)
        When argued for in the second way, it is commonly called “Theological fatalism” appeal to causal determinism.”

        https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/fatalism/

      28. rhutchin
        “There is no reason why we [Calvinists] cannot extrapolate from these that God necessarily predetermines all things”.

        br.d
        What is meant by “necessarily” in this statement?

        rhutchin
        “Necessarily” means that no other option exists.

        br.d
        How do you know exactly what Calvin’s god predetermines?

      29. Hi Brian does your committee have identifiers for recognizing NeoPlatonic referents within Calvinist narratives?

      30. I certainly don’t’ know them in a form which I could enunciate them.
        But there are historians who have done this piece of work.

        Author Stephen MacKenna – in his book “The Essence of Plotinus: Extracts from the Six Enneads” writes:

        -quote:
        “To understand Augustine one must be familiar with the language and ideas of Plotinus from whom he borrowed not only scattered thoughts but the best part of his doctrine on the Soul, on Providence, on the Transcendence of God, on evil as the negation of good, and on freedom; and his theory of time and eternity.”

        This book is on my future reading list. :-]

      31. BrD. Here is sample describing God’s eternality-
        Plotinus – “…nowhere is there any future, for every then is a now; nor is there any past, for nothing there has ever ceased to be; everything has taken its stand for ever.” Enneads 3.7.6
        Augustine – “For in that which is properly called eternal there is nothing past as if it has already transpired, nor anything future as if it does not yet exist, but whatever is simply is.” 83 Questions, 19.

        Of course this makes revelation in Scripture of God’s sequential eternality a farse. Scripture could easily have said to us the same things Plotinus and Augustine said… but instead it contradicts there view of eternality by clearly presenting the existence of only one reality – “from everlasting to everlasting”… “who was and is and is to come.”

      32. Plotinus’ philosophy was said to be heavily reliant upon mysticism. And I can see some of that flavor in the quote you provided.
        Augustine I think was quite literally a plagiarist of Plato and Plotinus. From my perspective his writing “City of God” finds its inspiration in Plato’s Ideal City-State. And as your quote from Augustine show – he finds his inspiration in the language and concepts of Plotinus as well. Augustine’s letters of correspondence are also illustrative. Augustine corresponded by letter to a close friend Nebridius, who praises how Augustine’s letters: “speak of Christ, Plato and Plotinus. I think it goes without saying when you read Augustine, you are likely to be reading either Plato or Plotinus.

      33. brianwagner quotes, “Augustine – “For in that which is properly called eternal there is nothing past as if it has already transpired, nor anything future as if it does not yet exist, but whatever is simply is.” 83 Questions, 19.”

        This sounds like your philosophy – “…nor anything future as if it does not yet exist,…”

      34. Roger… I think you need to re-read that quote… I believe he is saying the past and future are in continual existence for God. Of course that would mean you and I are still in our past and already in our future from God’s transcendent perspective… which logically contradicts reality as revealed in Scripture.

        The past no longer exists for God, except as perfect memory and the future does not yet exist for God, except as perfect understanding of what He has planned conditionally or unconditionally and all the possibilities that still exist for freewill love and communication with those created in His image.

      35. brianwagner writes, “I believe he is saying the past and future are in continual existence for God.”

        I take him to say that the past and future do not matter – “there is nothing past…nor anything future…” Certainly, Augustine would say that God has knowledge of our past, so he can’t be writing about God’s knowledge at this point. What is the purpose for his argument?? But who cares – in the end, only the Scriptures matter.

      36. Roger… Scripture is all that matters. And “pre” means “pre”… to God and man… except not to Augustine’s description of God. And God is not contained in creation, but He does exist and function in it and in the rest of sequential reality outside of it that logically makes love and communication possible in the Godhead… but not in Augustine’s description of God.

        It is sad that such an intelligent person as you remain loyal to such an obviously unbiblical and illogical description of reality and of God.

      37. Brian – wouldn’t you agree its pretty clear that Augustine’s conception of divine timelessness is linked to and has its source in Plato’s doctrine of Divine Immutability – first taught by Plato 800 years before Augustine?

        -quote:
        The doctrine of Divine Immutability (DDI)
        – In “The Republic Book II” Plato argued for the full DDI.
        – Plato’s doctrine of Divine Immutability (DDI) asserts that god cannot undergo real or intrinsic change in any respect.

        https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/immutability/

        We see Plato’s doctrine reiterated in Calvin’s dialogs where he uses Plato’s term “immutabilis” quite frequently.

      38. brianwagner writees, “…not in Augustine’s description of God.”

        I think you are arguing that we should ignore Augustine and derive any conclusion about God directly from the Scriptures.. I’m OK with that.

      39. Brian,
        Of course you know this must be shocking to many. We are drilled with the “outside of time” so much in our society and inside the church that it becomes a way of life without question. It becomes the truth by mere repetition.

        But as you state, it has no foundation in Scripture. It is, however, a sacred cow that is difficult to give up.

      40. brianwagner asks, “Do you know if Pink said anything specific about the charge of neo-platonism or philosophy in general brought against determinism?”

        Pink wrote a short book/pamphlet titled, “The Godhood of God.” The 5th chapter, “The God of the Bible,”…

        http://www.chapellibrary.org/literature/epub-reader/?fldCode=gog3

        …basically says that any conception of God outside the Scriptures is worthless (my take). I think this argues against Pink giving any credibility to claims that Scriptural doctrine was derived from neo-platonism. More likely that Pink might think that neo-platonism (and Plato’s concepts of God, also) was derived from/inspired by the Scriptures.

      41. The Christian NeoPlatonits were known to regard the concepts of NeoPlatonism as a lens through which one would have a superior understanding of scripture.

        The Greeks had often likened Socrates and Plato to midwives whose philosophy works to extract the child of understanding from the data of life.

        Ancient Christian NeoPlatonits used the same metaphor to describe the doctrines of Plotinus who re-formed Plato’s doctrines into a religious form – asserting his doctrines function as a midwife for extracting a superior interpretation of scripture.

      42. adamvg78 writes, “Now, I will readily admit that Scripture itself is clear and quite easy to understand,…”

        Not necessarily. For instance, much in Isaiah and the major and minor prophets is incomprehensible to me – I understand what they say, but not why God inspired that these things be written to us. The gospel’s seem clear, but people – especially Jews – in the first century had problems as evidence in Galatians (with Acts 15). Then, we have Paul’s declaration in 1 Corinthians 1, “…we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness,…” Also, Jesus declared in Matthew 7, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven;…” Then, we have the differences between Calvinists and non-Calvinists. Not to forget, Romans 9, where some say this concerns Israel as a nation of promise where others say it concerns the children of promise who were part of the nation of Israel (and included the gentiles). So, I agree when you say, ” it is certainly true that you can read and understand every word in Scripture without necessarily appealing to any outside source,” recognizing that this understanding can require much prayer and study – things don’t always pop out at you.

        Then, “comprehension of words, understanding definitions, is not what we are talking about here, and I think you know it.”

        Definitely. I could not agree more. This and the following paragraph.

        Then, “…this meaning (of Rev. 3:15-16) is not readily apparent to us today, some 2,000 years removed culturally and geographically, unless we appeal to outside sources for assistance.”

        I would not go this route (as you describe in this paragraph). I define v15-16 by v17-18 and ignore outside sourced explanations.

        Then, “you baldly assert: “We can, solely through appeal to the Scriptures, understand the Scriptures.” This is a very, very dangerous assertion which reeks of pride and self-sufficiency….if you truly believe that this is the case, that all you need is Scripture itself (including the work of the Holy Spirit), then I would invite you to try to live this out practically.”

        I actually do believe this and seek to live this out practically.

        Then, “This means that you better not go to church…”

        I disagree with you here. I attend a very good Bible study at my church. In discussion, people with often preface a comment by saying something like, “This agrees with that which we read in (scripture cited),….” or “This complements what we read in (scripture cited…” Many commentaries will do this. Calvin will make statements and then cite a variety of Scriptures – although not to the extent that we might want leaving the reader to do the work. So when you write, “Don’t you dare read another religious book, another blog, listen to another podcast, study another systematic theology, have a conversation about Scripture with anyone else, or really do anything other than read your Bible, because all of these things are outside sources, and you don’t need anything other than your Bible, right?,” I respond that there are outside sources and then there are outside sources – we have to be careful.

        Then, “I am pretty sure that you are arguing simply for the sake of arguing, but if you aren’t,”

        I see myself arguing very little here. I spend most of my time correcting errors made by others especially as they relate to Calvinist doctrine. Despite all this, what are the two things that continually dominate discussion – (1) Does God know the future perfectly (Is God omniscient?) and Is God in complete control of all things (Is God sovereign?). Resolve these two issues and 98% of the discussion would disappear.

  9. VIEWING GOD’S INTENTIONS THROUGH THE LENS OF UNIVERSAL DIVINE CASUAL DETERMINISM

    Calvin asserts that God’s determinative causal-will is effectual for all events universally, and that every event is determined in advance, at the foundation of the world, and prior to the time in which each event will obtain.

    This over-arching view controls Calvin’s perception of God’s interactions with humanity described within scripture. For example, Calvin writes concerning the Genesis narrative where God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat of the forbidden tree. Here Calvin notes that Adam and Eve’s obedience was not what obtained. Instead, their disobedience obtained. This is known by A Posteriori knowledge.

    Calvin following his line of reasoning asserts that God must have actually willed Adam and Eve’s disobedience or else it would not have been possible to obtain. But this brings into question God’s deliberate choice to communicate to Adam and Eve that which was contrary to his real will.

    Calvin asserts that God must withhold information from his people when he communicates. Here Calvin creates an Ad Hoc Rescue, claiming that God spoke to Adam and Eve a “Revealed” will. And that God must have withheld from Adam and Eve his true will, which Calvin then construes as God’s “Secret” will. His will that their disobedience obtains – which information he withholds from Adam and Eve leading them to believe the opposite.

    Calvin avoids addressing the critical difference between withholding information from someone, and purposefully misleading someone.

    Is it possible to trust someone who tells you [A] and secretly means [NOT A]?
    Calvin’s deity does not speak the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth when he speaks.
    There is very little to trust – beyond the knowledge he will do whatever he pleases with you – whether good or evil.

    If he chooses for you as a baby to be thrown into the fire of Molech – then you can at be comforted with the knowledge that he did what he pleased with you.

  10. very Blessed! the more you cover the same topics,the easier they are for me to see the character and virtue of God lite up the scriptures.

  11. Making my way through the Bible….Exodus 17, 18, Matt 23

    —————————–
    10 So Joshua did what Moses had commanded and fought the army of Amalek. Meanwhile, Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed to the top of a nearby hill. 11 As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage.

    Who was winning that victory? God. Did He require human participation (men being killed, Moses lifting hands)? Apparently. Synergistic.

    ——————————-
    14 After the victory, the Lord instructed Moses, “Write this down on a scroll as a permanent reminder, and read it aloud to Joshua: I will erase the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 Moses built an altar there and named it Yahweh-Nissi (which means “the Lord is my banner”). 16 He said, “They have raised their fist against the Lord’s throne, so now the Lord will be at war with Amalek generation after generation.”

    In the natural reading of this story, God decided to erase the memory of the Amalekietes…… because they raised their fist against the Lord’s throne.

    How unbiblcal (not supported in any way by Scripture or context) to say that God decreed that “they raise their fists”…. so He could have some of His people be killed in the battle(s) against them. Just nonsense.

    ———————————-
    18:12 Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God. Aaron and all the elders of Israel came out and joined him in a sacrificial meal in God’s presence.

    Here we see a non-Jew, non-chosen person honoring God. His family (daughter, grandchildren) is grafted into the chosen people by faith.

    ———————————
    24 Moses listened to his father-in-law’s advice and followed his suggestions. 25 He chose capable men from all over Israel and appointed them as leaders over the people. He put them in charge of groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten.

    Here Moses, God’s messenger and meekest-man is getting a lesson from someone who according to fatalist-deteminists “can do no good.”

    ———————————-
    19:4 ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians. You know how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me.

    God reminds them that “all the earth belongs to Him” ….He reminds them of what He did to the Egyptians….. but He still —–still—— says “if you will obey me and keep my covenant….you will.” All the earth belongs to Him —-yes—- and He has set it up so that man must and can respond.

    Very much an if-then. God is showing His relationship with His people….. and it is not one-way. It is not monegeristic.

    ———————————-
    Matt 23:2 “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. 3 So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach.

    Looks like some of the chosen who knew the law….then chose not to practice what they preached. But they could have!

  12. Rhutchin wrote: “As I include the Holy Spirit as an outside source helping us to understand the Scriptures, I don’t think your claim is valid. If your claim is that additional outside sources are required to understand the Scriptures, then I think those outside sources can bias one’s understanding of the Scriptures away from a true understanding of the Scriptures.”

    It’s not so much that outside sources are needed to understand the Bible as it is that we are living in a different time and to interpret the scriptures by our way of thinking, is to bring in “outside” sources.

    1. Regina writes, “It’s not so much that outside sources are needed to understand the Bible as it is that we are living in a different time and to interpret the scriptures by our way of thinking, is to bring in “outside” sources.”

      Exactly right. Couldn’t agree more. Thus, we seek to understand the Scriptures only by means of the Scriptures – we seek to understand that which God has written in one Scripture by those things God has written in all other Scriptures. Outside sources – even from the time in which the Scriptures were written – would constitute an uninspired source. To use those sources would be to subordinate (or condition) the understanding of the inspired Scriptures to uninspired sources.

  13. CALVINISM CANNOT BE RATOINALLY AFFIRMED
    William Lane Craig

    -quote
    Universal causal determinism cannot be rationally affirmed.

    There is a sort of dizzying, self-defeating character to determinism. For if one comes to believe that determinism is true, one has to believe that the reason he has come to believe it is simply that he was determined to do so.

    One has not in fact been able to weigh the arguments pro and con and freely make up one’s mind on that basis.

    The difference between the person who weighs the arguments for determinism and rejects them and the person who weighs them and accepts them is wholly that one was determined by causal factors outside himself to believe and the other not to believe.

    When you come to realize that your decision to believe in determinism was itself determined and that even your present realization of that fact right now is likewise determined, a sort of vertigo sets in, for everything that you think, even this very thought itself, is outside your control. Determinism could be true; but it is very hard to see how it could ever be rationally affirmed, since its affirmation undermines the rationality of its affirmation. -end quote

    1. “CALVINISM CANNOT BE RATOINALLY AFFIRMED
      William Lane Craig
      -quote
      Universal causal determinism cannot be rationally affirmed.”

      The Universal causal determinism of Calvinism is built on the doctrines of God’s omniscience and God’s sovereignty – both of which Craig affirms. So, Craig affirms the basis for Universal causal determinism and then calls it irrational argue from that basis. Seems suspicious to me.

      1. “CALVINISM CANNOT BE RATIoNALLY AFFIRMED
        William Lane Craig
        -quote
        Universal causal determinism cannot be rationally affirmed.”

        rhutchin
        The Universal causal determinism of Calvinism is built on the doctrines of God’s omniscience and God’s sovereignty – both of which Craig affirms. So, Craig affirms the basis for Universal causal determinism and then calls it irrational argue from that basis. Seems suspicious to me.

        br.d
        What this tells us is there must be something uniquely peculiar within Calvinism’s rendition of omniscience and sovereignty that William Lane Craig recognizes as fallacious. :-]

  14. CALVINISM CANNOT BE RATIONALLY AFFIRMED
    William Lane Craig
    -quote
    Universal Divine Causal Determinism cannot be rationally affirmed.

    There is a sort of dizzying, self-defeating character to determinism. For if one comes to believe that determinism is true, one has to believe that the reason he has come to believe it is simply that he was determined to do so.

    One has not in fact been able to weigh the arguments pro and con and freely make up one’s mind on that basis. The difference between the person who weighs the arguments for determinism and rejects them and the person who weighs them and accepts them is wholly that one was determined by causal factors outside himself to believe and the other not to believe.

    When you come to realize that your decision to believe in determinism was itself determined and that even your present realization of that fact right now is likewise determined, a sort of vertigo sets in, for everything that you think, even this very thought itself, is outside your control. Determinism could be true; but it is very hard to see how it could ever be rationally affirmed, since its affirmation undermines the rationality of its affirmation.
    -end quote

  15. CALVINISM’S *AS-IF* LANGUAGE OF DOUBLE-SPEAK

    Over the centuries, Calvinists have developed a very pronounced form of double-speak called *AS-IF* language

    Calvinism’s *AS-IF* language is designed to:
    1) Present creatures *AS-IF* they could resist things fated/determined by immutable decrees.
    2) Present evil events *AS-IF* they were not fated/determined by immutable decrees.
    3) Present evil events *AS-IF* Calvin’s god is not the source/originator and primary antecedent cause.
    4) Present their own deliberations *AS-IF* they were not fated/determined by immutable decrees.

    Examples:
    Evil thoughts/choices/wants/desires/actions are determined by the state of nature of the creature and not by Calvin’s god.
    – This statement is an example of strategy (1).

    Calvin’s god merely chooses to permit/allow and/or not restrain evil events from occurring
    – This statement is an example of strategy (2).

    Calvin’s god uses secondary means/conditions to bring about evil events.
    – This statement is an example of strategy (3).

    Calvinists embrace determinism/compatibilism because it is the most logically coherent position and Bible based.
    – This statement is an example of strategy (4).

    See William Lane Craig: “Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) cannot be rationally affirmed”.
    https://soteriology101.com/2018/01/29/calvinisms-conflation/comment-page-1/#comment-24882

    See Thomas Kapitan’s “The Fated Mental Phenomenon of the deliberating Determinist
    https://soteriology101.com/2017/10/04/10499/comment-page-1/#comment-24598

  16. CALVINISTS WRAP THEMSELVES IN THE SHEEP’S CLOTHING OF IN-DETERMINISTIC LANGUAGE.

    Out of all of Calvinism’s “coded” language, “permission” is probably the most deceptive.

    Calvin himself distinguishes between two definitions of permission.

    FIRST: The trusted (indeterministic) definition of permission, common within the English language:
    Calvin calls this “bare” permission, and he sternly rejects it as heresy. “Bare” permission allows for events to happen which Calvin’s god does not specifically “author”, “will”, and “render certain”.

    -quote: “It is quite frivolous refuge to say that God otiosely permits them, when Scripture shows Him not only willing but the author of them.” (Eternal Predestination of God, p.176).

    Calvin rejects as heresy – this conception of permission because it affirms Theological IN-determinism (the doctrine that not ALL events are determined by a THEOS – in every part).

    SECOND: Calvin’s (deterministic) definition of permission:
    Calvin’s god, at the foundation of the world, millennia before humans exist, “first-conceives” (i.e. births/authors) every event that will come to pass in the human time-line. He then immutably decrees each event, in every part, “rendered certain” – which means every event occurs with the force of inevitability and unavoidability. In other words “fated” in every part.

    THIRD: Calvinism’s Insider Language:
    Insider Language is a language deployed by a group in which words have been given “coded” meanings. Words which “outsiders” are guaranteed to understand according to the common trusted definition within the English language, while “insiders” within the group have their own “private interpretation”. In this way, authors and speakers of the group can use these words publicly. And “outsiders” are guaranteed to be deceived – while “insiders” know what is meant. This type of language is a characteristic of secret societies.

    The ethical problem with the Calvinist use of “insider” language, is their need to hide its (deterministic) meaning. In order to hide Calvin’s god as the “author” of sinful evil events, Calvinists frame “coded” words within sentences which are carefully crafted to imply an (IN-deterministic) meaning. The very meaning they reject as heresy.

    An example of Calvinism’s equivocal language is found in Calvinist author Erwin Lutzer (The Doctrines That Divide, p.210).
    -quote “in a word, what god “permits” he “ordains”.

    In Calvinist vernacular “ordain” is also an equivocal replacement word for “author”. Lutzer is using Calvinism’s “coded” language. The Calvinist “insider” understands Lutzer as saying “god only permits what he authors and renders-certain”. While the “outsider” interprets the statement as implying “bare” permission, without discerning the Calvinist rejects that meaning as heresy.

    Due to the ethical dilemmas logically entailed with Theological Determinism, Calvinists wrap themselves in the sheep’s clothing of IN-deterministic language. Calvinists have evolved this duplicitous language as a way of retaining credibility.

    As Dr. Jerry Walls states: “If Calvinists didn’t use misleading rhetoric – Calvinism would lose all credibility in two years”.

    1. br.d writes, “The ethical problem with the Calvinist use of “insider” language, is their need to hide its (deterministic) meaning. In order to hide Calvin’s god as the “author” of sinful evil events,…”

      br.d continues to beat a dead horse. Calvinists are clear that “…God works all things after the counsel of His will…” (Ephesians 1) and this includes all evil events regardless what language is used to convey the meaning of this verse to people. Calvinists emphasize that God is sovereign over His creation and nothing happens outside God’s will – “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father….” (Matthew 10). God has the final say on everything that happens and nothing happens by “bare permission” as Calvin explained.

      1. br.d
        “The ethical problem with the Calvinist use of “insider” language, is their need to hide its (DETERMINISTIC) MEANING. In order to hide Calvin’s god as the “author” of sinful evil events,…”

        rhutchin
        br.d continues to beat a dead horse. Calvinists are clear that “…God works all things after the counsel of His will…….etc …….not even the sparrows …..etc……..nothing happens by “bare permission” as Calvin explained.

        br.
        Thanks rhutchin for contradicting yourself by providing good example of my point!
        FIRSTLY:
        Calvinism has ” (DETERMINISTIC) MEANING” as its unique distinctive – which separates it from all NON-DETERMINISTIC Biblical theologies

        SECONDLY:
        Your quotes “God works all things”, “God is sovereign over His creation and nothing happens outside God’s will”, “sparrows etc” , “God has the final say on everything that happens” are part and parcel of NON-DETERMINISTIC Biblical theologies.

        So thanks for using those as examples. :-]

        The only item you posted that is uniquely DETERMINISTIC was “[In Calvinism] nothing happens by “bare permission”.

        As Calvin explains:
        -quote:
        “It is quite frivolous refuge to say that God otiosely permits them [sins and evils], when Scripture shows Him NOT ONLY WILLING BUT THE AUTHOR of them.” (Eternal Predestination of God, p.176).

      2. br.d writes, “FIRSTLY:
        Calvinism has ” (DETERMINISTIC) MEANING” as its unique distinctive – which separates it from all NON-DETERMINISTIC Biblical theologies”

        Yep. That is the substance of Ephesians 1 – “God works all things after the counsel of His will,…” Even you never object to what the verse says. You just complain because the Calvinists point out the obvious. “all NON-DETERMINISTIC Biblical theologies” basically ignore the verse.

        Then, “SECONDLY:
        Your quotes “God works all things”, “God is sovereign over His creation and nothing happens outside God’s will”, “sparrows etc” , “God has the final say on everything that happens” are part and parcel of NON-DETERMINISTIC Biblical theologies. ”

        If that were true, then they would not be non-deterministic.

      3. br.d writes, “FIRSTLY:
        Calvinism has ” (DETERMINISTIC) MEANING” as its unique distinctive – which separates it from all NON-DETERMINISTIC Biblical theologies”

        “SECONDLY:
        Your quotes “God works all things”, “God is sovereign over His creation and nothing happens outside God’s will”, “sparrows etc” , “God has the final say on everything that happens” are part and parcel of NON-DETERMINISTIC Biblical theologies. ”

        rhutchin
        If that were true, then they would not be non-deterministic.

        br.d
        Obviously they are non-deterministic – and obviously those verses are not unique to Calvinism.
        So much for “if that were true” :-]

      4. br.d writes, “Obviously they are non-deterministic…”

        Apparently not. How do they get a non-determistic outcome from ““God is sovereign over His creation and nothing happens outside God’s will”? If God always gets His way, how much more deterministic can you get??

      5. br.d “Obviously they are non-deterministic…”

        rhutchin
        Apparently not. How do they get a non-determistic outcome from ““God is sovereign over His creation and nothing happens outside God’s will”? If God always gets His way, how much more deterministic can you get??

        br.d
        This is not apparent to you – because of the milieu control you’ve been subjected to.
        You’ve been taught that scripture affirms Universal Divine Causal Determinism.
        So when the scripture says “And God said” – your mind automatically interprets that as one of Calvin’s immutable decrees.
        So you assume these verses affirm determinism – who wouldn’t under that form of doctrinal influence.

        William Lane Craig, and Alvin Plantinga, for example, don’t take these verses to affirm determinism.
        As Plantinga would say – determinism doesn’t have to be proven false.
        All that is required is another solution other than determinism – which is fully logically viable and can withstand logical scrutiny.
        Molinism has withstood that scrutiny.
        So people are not obligated by dogma or logic to read determinism into those verses the way you do.

        But Calvin goes way beyond quoting those verses you quote.
        When he says concerning sins and evils -“it is frivolous refuge to say god odiously permits them because he AUTHOR them, WILLS them and makes the NECESSARY”

        Now that is clearly deterministic language!
        And language you spend a lot of time trying argue around – trifling over words that are a too deterministic for your comfort level.
        But that is to be expected. :-]

      6. br.d writes, “when the scripture says “And God said”…you assume these verses affirm determinism…”

        Of course. If the verse says, “And God said,” we naturally say that God determined to say this. God made a decision, and then “God said…” If not determinism, then what? Now, you offer–

        “Molinism has withstood that scrutiny. So people are not obligated by dogma or logic to read determinism into those verses the way you do.”

        Molinism is deterministic. It says that God made His decisions before He created the world. This was through “middle knowledge” or a knowledge of various possible actions He could take. God made all His decisions before creation under Molinism and then executes those decisions (that which He has determined to do) in creating the world. We know that you cannot explain how Molinism argues against determinism, but can you cite either Craig’s or Plantinga’s arguments to explain this. I see no conflict between Molinism and determinism and have not seen anyone to explain what conflict might exist. I doubt that you have, either.

        Then, “When he says concerning sins and evils -“it is frivolous refuge to say god odiously permits them because he AUTHOR them, WILLS them and makes the NECESSARY”
        Now that is clearly deterministic language!”

        In this language, Calvin recognizes that God is sovereign so that nothing can happen without God deciding that it should happen. Calvin does not mean that God moves men to sin and God is not the source of the corruption of people’s hearts. The depraved nature is inherited from Adam – God having determined not to offset the effects of Adam’s sin – and results from Adam’s sin.

        Then, “And language you spend a lot of time trying argue around – trifling over words that are a too deterministic for your comfort level.”

        Even you know this is a false accusation. I have been clear in saying – “God works all things…” Nothing happens without God determining that it will happen – this applies to both good and evil events. This must be true because God is sovereign and exercises absolute control over His creation. This does not require that God incite or move people to act in a particular way – people act in accordance with their depraved natures.

      7. br.d writes, “when the scripture says “And God said” – your mind automatically interprets that as one of Calvin’s immutable decrees.

        rhutchin
        Of course. If the verse says, “And God said,” we naturally say that God determined to say this. God made a decision, and then “God said…” If not determinism, then what? Now, you offer–

        br.d
        You didn’t provide my quote correctly – so I replaced what you posted. It is a given that God can determine things. But that is not to be conflated with Universal Divine Causal Determinism in which Calvin’s god is the CAUSE and AUTHOR of all sin and evil.

        “Molinism has withstood that scrutiny. So people are not obligated by dogma or logic to read determinism into those verses the way you do.”

        rhutchin
        Molinism is deterministic. It says that God made His decisions before He created the world…..etc We know that you cannot explain how Molinism argues against determinism, but can you cite either Craig’s or Plantinga’s arguments to explain this. I see no conflict between Molinism and determinism and have not seen anyone to explain what conflict might exist. I doubt that you have, either.

        br.d
        First:
        Who is “we” in your statement? Sorry rhutchin Its only you that insists [insert any system contrary to Calvinism here] can’t be explained.

        Second:
        On your not seeing any conflict, this is simply a choice on your part.
        You simply choose to see Molinism in a way that fits into Calvin’s model.
        Its well understood that Molina rejected determinism – especially in its Calvinistic form – with an embrace of Libertarian free will.
        So your not seeing any conflict between Molinism and determinism is to say you don’t see a conflict between compatibilistic free will and libertarian free will.

        Third:
        I dare say you could talk face to face with William Lane Craig and Alvin Plantinga, and have them answer all your arguments and you walk away and say they didn’t explain it. Since that is the case, anything I post will be handled the same way.

        -quoting John Calvin
        Then, “When he says concerning sins and evils -“it is frivolous refuge to say god odiously permits them because he AUTHOR them, WILLS them and makes the NECESSARY”
        Now that is clearly deterministic language!”

        rhutchin
        In this language, Calvin recognizes that God is sovereign so that nothing can happen without God deciding that it should happen. Calvin does not mean that God moves men to sin and God is not the source of the corruption of people’s hearts. The depraved nature is inherited from Adam – God having determined not to offset the effects of Adam’s sin – and results from Adam’s sin.

        br.d
        This is the “no coercion” “no force” argument that comes part and parcel with determinism/compatiblilsim.

        So Calvin’s god drops a baby into the fire of Moloch.
        He didn’t “force” or “coerce” the baby into the fire – therefore he is not culpable.
        That is a good example of “ethics” in Calvinism.
        And the Calvinist want’s to see that as a golden standard – good luck!

        On clear unambiguous deterministic language;
        br.d
        “And language you spend a lot of time trying argue around – trifling over words that are a too deterministic for your comfort level.”

        rhutchin
        Even you know this is a false accusation. I have been clear in saying – “God works all things…” Nothing happens without God determining that it will happen – this applies to both good and evil events. This must be true because God is sovereign and exercises absolute control over His creation. This does not require that God incite or move people to act in a particular way – people act in accordance with their depraved natures.

        br.d
        All anyone need to is review my dialog with you an a thousand threads here and they can see you trifling over the words “CAUSE” or “AUTHOR” or “MOVE”. It gets even more comical – when I post those words within Calvinist quotes. Your strategy then is to argue the word doesn’t mean what it seems to mean. All of that reveals the situation you’r in having embraced Calvinism. So as TruthSeeker and FOH like to say concerning your embrace of determinism…..you should simply “own it”.
        But that means Calvinism fails in its product advertisement incentives – so owning it is not an option – (unless your Vincent Chung who chooses not speak Calvinism’s double-speak language)

      8. br.d writes, ‘that is not to be conflated with Universal Divine Causal Determinism in which Calvin’s god is the CAUSE and AUTHOR of all sin and evil.”

        “Cause” and “author” does not mean that God must move, impel, entice, coerce, etc. anyone to sin or evil. People sin and do evil as self-determining creatures who seek freely to fulfill their wants and desires. WL Craig (in his five points that you have cited) gets off on the wrong foot on his first point where he writes, “Universal, divine, causal determinism cannot offer a coherent interpretation of Scripture.” Universal, divine, causal determinism does not interpret Scripture – Scripture interprets Universal, divine, causal determinism as Universal, divine, causal determinism must conform to what Scripture tells us about God. Craig seems to understand this but then forgets it, God is the cause – ultimate and decisive – of sin and evil and is the author of sin and evil because God is sovereign but God does not sin or do evil and does not move anyone to sin or do evil.

        So, what is your issue? Are you saying that God is not sovereign or not in control of His creation??

        Then, “Who is “we” in your statement?

        “We” is you and I. We know that you cannot explain how Molinism argues against determinism. This is obvious as you make no attempt to do so (probably because you cannot find anyone else who has done so and you don’t have a clue where to begin).

        Then, “Its well understood that Molina rejected determinism – especially in its Calvinistic form – with an embrace of Libertarian free will.”

        Molina retreated to that time before creation to attempt to devise a theology that would not be deterministic. He rejected determinism but could not argue against it or the Calvinist system because the Calvinist system presumes the creation of the world over which God is sovereign. Thus, Molina started speculating about the manner in which God went about deciding what to create. Molina’s “Libertarian Free Will” existed in God’s mind before God created the world and does not conflict with compatibilistic free will that exists after God created the world and results from Adam’s sin. Surely, even you understand this much about Molinism.

        Then, “I dare say you could talk face to face with William Lane Craig and Alvin Plantinga, and have them answer all your arguments…”

        At least, I would have their arguments. At this point, even you don’t know their arguments. At the least, if those arguments existed, you could post them. You cannot even do that.

        Then, ‘So Calvin’s god drops a baby into the fire of Moloch. He didn’t “force” or “coerce” the baby into the fire – therefore he is not culpable. That is a good example of “ethics” in Calvinism.”

        The point made by Calvinists is that God had the power to prevented the baby being dropped into the fire and made a decision not to do so. Everyone recognizes this which is why no one really argues against the Calvinists on this point. Even you don’t try to argue that God could not have prevented this..

        Then, “All anyone need to is review my dialog with you an a thousand threads here and they can see you trifling over the words “CAUSE” or “AUTHOR” or “MOVE”.”

        Only recently have you tried to define “cause” and ‘author” as “move.” I have corrected you on this. Scriptures clearly allows us to conclude that God is the “cause” and “author” of sin and evil BUT not that God moves, impels, entices forces, coerces, etc. anyone to sin or evil – sin and evil are freely pursued by people to satisfy their wants and desires without any help from God.

      9. rhutchin

        “Cause” and “author” does not mean that God must move, impel, entice, coerce, etc.

        br.d
        Again with the “no coerce” and “no force” argument.
        So Calvin’s god drops a baby in the fire of Moloch.
        He didn’t “coerce” or “force” the baby – therfore he’s not culpable.
        That’s a good example of Calvinist ethics
        And that’s supposed to be a superior system? Good luck.

        rutchin
        So, what is your issue? Are you saying that God is not sovereign or not in control of His creation??

        br.d
        Your actually making my original point.
        Calvinists are always trying to use language that distances them from determinism.
        All non-deterministic theologies hold God as sovereign and in control over his creation.
        But not as the CAUSE and AUTHOR of sin – as is entailed in determinism.
        And that’s why when Calvinist determinism is scrutinized they hide behind generic language like “god is in control”

        rhutchin
        The point made by Calvinists is that God had the power to prevented the baby being dropped into the fire and made a decision not to do so. Everyone recognizes this which is why no one really argues against the Calvinists on this point. Even you don’t try to argue that God could not have prevented this..

        br.d
        Here you are providing an example of my original point. Calvinists always try to hide behind non-deterministic language tricks.
        For the situation where Calvin’s god drops a baby into the fire of Moloch
        You want to hide behind deceptive language – “he didn’t prevent the baby from falling”

        rhutchin
        “We” is you and I. We know that you cannot explain how Molinism argues against determinism. This is obvious as you make no attempt to do so (probably because you cannot find anyone else who has done so and you don’t have a clue where to begin).

        br.d
        Again – this is simply your position on anything that contradicts Calvinism
        Its well understood that Molina rejected determinism – especially in its Calvinistic form – with an embrace of Libertarian free will.”

        ruttchin
        Molina retreated to that time before creation to attempt to devise a theology that would not be deterministic. He rejected determinism but could not argue against it or the Calvinist system because the Calvinist system presumes the creation of the world over which God is sovereign. Thus, Molina started speculating about the manner in which God went about deciding what to create. Molina’s “Libertarian Free Will” existed in God’s mind before God created the world and does not conflict with compatibilistic free will that exists after God created the world and results from Adam’s sin. Surely, even you understand this much about Molinism.

        br.d
        A very interesting caricature. Like I’ve said – you’re such an authority on everything – you should submit your arguments in a peer reviewed article for William Lane Craig and Alvin Plantinga to respond too.

        But I don’t think so! :-]

        rhutchin
        At least, I would have their arguments. At this point, even you don’t know their arguments. ….

        br.d
        No – you would simply say they didn’t explain anything.
        “All anyone need to is review my dialog with you an a thousand threads here and they can see you trifling over the words “CAUSE” or “AUTHOR” or “MOVE”.”

        rhutchin
        Only recently have you tried to define “cause” and ‘author” as “move.” I have corrected you on this. Scriptures clearly allows us to conclude that God is the “cause” and “author” of sin and evil BUT not that God moves, impels, entices forces, coerces, etc. anyone to sin or evil – sin and evil are freely pursued by people to satisfy their wants and desires without any help from God.

        br.d
        First:
        Please provide a quote where I defined “cause” and “author” as “move.
        You won’t find one.

        Second:
        You’re correcting someone only happens in your own mind.

        Third:
        You’ve argued against the word “cause” – i.e. Calvin’s god “CAUSES” sin an evil – until I provided a quote from Paul Kjoss Helseth – “Four Views on Divine Providence”. Then you tried to say the word “Cause” in his statement had to be qualified so it didn’t really mean “cause”. You didn’t like the word “author” i.e. Calvin’s god is the “author” of sin and evil. I then provided a quote from Calvin where he clearly stated it. You don’t like the word “necessary” and John Calvin states “the fall of Adam was NECESSARY”. But of course you’ll argue he doesn’t use the word in a way that infers “necessary” as in fatalism.

        rhutchin:
        anyone to sin or evil – sin and evil are freely pursued by people to satisfy their wants and desires without any help from God.

        br.d
        Again another example of Calvinists using language trying to distance themselves from Theological Determinism.
        A theology where the THEOS causes and authors events giving humans no alternative but to do every sin and evil he determines.

        So at least now you’ve made a statement clearly affirming Calvin’s god CAUSES and AUTHORS sin and evil.
        Good!
        I’ll record that. :-]

      10. br.d writes, “So Calvin’s god drops a baby in the fire of Moloch.
        He didn’t “coerce” or “force” the baby – therfore he’s not culpable.”

        This is wrong. A depraved person physically dropped the baby into the fire. That person is fully culpable. God had the power to prevent this and did not do so. Thus, the person becomes God’s agent and God is the “cause’ and “author.” You are not arguing against this position, so you and I can conclude that you are NOT opposing the conclusion drawn by the Calvinist.

        Then, ‘Calvinists are always trying to use language that distances them from determinism…
        And that’s why when Calvinist determinism is scrutinized they hide behind generic language like “god is in control””

        This is wrong. Calvinists do not distance themselves from God being the determining force in His creation. We cannot overturn Ephesians 1.

        Then, “All non-deterministic theologies hold God as sovereign and in control over his creation.
        But not as the CAUSE and AUTHOR of sin – as is entailed in determinism.”

        Even you don’t understand the ‘non-deterministic” position enough to explain God can be “sovereign and in control over his creation” but not the “CAUSE and AUTHOR of sin.” Are the non-determinists using word play – deceptive language – that you don’t want to reveal??

        Then, “You want to hide behind deceptive language – “he didn’t prevent the baby from falling””

        What is deceptive about this language?? Even you must understand that God had the power to intervene to prevent the baby being dropped into the fire and did not do so – a depraved person dropped the baby and God did not stop it. Are you going to say that this did not happen??

        Then, “…anything that contradicts Calvinism. Its well understood that Molina rejected determinism – especially in its Calvinistic form – with an embrace of Libertarian free will.”

        You can’t even explain the Molinist argument for rejecting determinism. You just repeat this mantra over and over again hoping that repetition will make it true. So, read Molina and see if he really provides an argument against determinism. I doubt that you have read Molina. If you do read Molina, you will not find an argument against determinism. Molina’s theology – of middle knowledge in the mind of God conveying freedom of will – is not much more than a joke. Certainly, you can’t explain it otherwise.

        Then, “…you should submit your arguments in a peer reviewed article for William Lane Craig and Alvin Plantinga to respond too. ”

        Another way of saying that you don’t have anything substantive to offer on this. You can’t even explain Molina yourself.

        then, “All anyone need to is review my dialog with you an a thousand threads here and they can see you trifling over the words “CAUSE” or “AUTHOR” or “MOVE”.”

        Trifling?? Even you can’t explain what you think these words mean. You are always deflecting because you have nothing to argue.

        Then, “Please provide a quote where I defined “cause” and “author” as “move. You won’t find one.”

        So, are you rejecting the idea that “cause” and “author” should be defined as “move”? Yet, you cite Craig’s five points against determinism when he writes, “3. …God moves people to choose evil, and they cannot do otherwise. God determines their choices and makes them do wrong. If it is evil to make another person do wrong, then on this view God is not only the cause of sin and evil, but becomes evil Himself, which is absurd. By the same token, all human responsibility for sin has been removed. For our choices are not really up to us: God causes us to make them.” So, are you rejecting Craig’s point 3 after having cited him.

        Then, ‘You’ve argued against the word “cause” – i.e. Calvin’s god “CAUSES” sin an evil – …”

        I have argued that “cause” does not mean “move, impel, force, etc.” Given your earlier comment, even you seem to agree on this. Thus, your citations of Helseth and Calvin don’t really add anything – do they?

        Then, “A theology where the THEOS causes and authors events giving humans no alternative but to do every sin and evil he determines.”

        A position that you do not argue against as you do not have an alternative position to put forth.

        Then, “So at least now you’ve made a statement clearly affirming Calvin’s god CAUSES and AUTHORS sin and evil.”

        And you seem to agree with this as even you say above, “Please provide a quote where I defined “cause” and “author” as “move. You won’t find one.” So, you agree that “cause” and “author” do not mean “move.” Then, you never offer an opposing position – so you never really disagree. You don’t like determinism, but you can’t argue against it. So, what is your issue??? What is the problem???

      11. br.d writes, “So Calvin’s god drops a baby in the fire of Moloch.
        He didn’t “coerce” or “force” the baby – therfore he’s not culpable.”

        rhutchin
        This is wrong. A depraved person physically dropped the baby into the fire.

        br.d
        Here you are dictating to Calvin’s god what he can and cannot do.
        So much for Calvin’s god being sovereign – in this case its you.
        If Calvin’s god REALLY were truly sovereign then he could drop a baby into the fire of Moloch any time his good pleasure dictated and who are you – oh man to say that is wrong. And that is the case in which your arguments exemplify Calvinist ethics.
        So your attempts to paint another picture fail.

        br.d
        ‘Calvinists are always trying to use language that distances them from determinism…
        And that’s why when Calvinist determinism is scrutinized they hide behind generic language like “god is in control””

        rhutchin
        This is wrong. Calvinists do not distance themselves from God being the determining force in His creation. We cannot overturn Ephesians 1.

        br.d
        This fails being as its an appeal to an irrelevant red herring – is that supposed to be an example of sound logic?

        br.d
        “All non-deterministic theologies hold God as sovereign and in control over his creation.
        But not as the CAUSE and AUTHOR of sin – as is entailed in determinism.”

        rhutchin
        Even you don’t understand the ‘non-deterministic” position enough to explain God can be “sovereign and in control over his creation” but not the “CAUSE and AUTHOR of sin.” Are the non-determinists using word play – deceptive language – that you don’t want to reveal??

        br.d
        This is you asserting something in order to make it conveniently conform to your thinking model.

        Any normal Christian should be able to discern your language tricks.
        For example in the situation where Calvin’s god drops a baby into the fire of Moloch you want to argue he’s not culpable because he didn’t “coerce’ or “force’ the baby into the fire.

        rhutchin
        [Calvin’s god dropped the baby into the fire of Moloch and is not culpable because] he “he didn’t prevent the baby from falling””
        What is deceptive about this language??

        br.d
        That argument presupposes what Calvin calls “bare” permission – Calvin’s god simply permitted the baby to fall after he dropped it.
        Calvin rejects “bare” permission. Calvin insists (consistent with determinism) – his god ACTIVELY does what he does. He does not -quote “odiously” permit anything – including the baby to fall into the fire. So you provide an example of hiding behind non-deterministic language..

        rhutchin
        You can’t even explain the Molinist argument for rejecting determinism. ….etc

        br.d
        As I’ve said – since your position is that William Lane Craig, Alvin Platinga et all can’t explain it for you – then what I post is going to be handled the same way.

        br.d
        you should submit your arguments in a peer reviewed article for William Lane Craig and Alvin Plantinga to respond too. ”

        ruthchin
        Another way of saying that you don’t have anything substantive to offer on this. You can’t even explain Molina yourself.

        br.d
        No – that was a kind way of saying your imaginative ideas about Molinism are too sophomoric to take seriously.

        rhutchin
        Trifling?? Even you can’t explain what you think these words mean. You are always deflecting because you have nothing to argue.

        br.d
        That’s you’re story and your sticken to it! :-]

        rhutchin
        Then, “Please provide a quote where I defined “cause” and “author” as “move. You won’t find one.”

        you cite Craig’s five points against determinism when he writes, “3. …God moves people to choose evil, and they cannot do otherwise. God determines their choices and makes them do wrong. If it is evil to make another person do wrong, then on this view God is not only the cause of sin and evil, but becomes evil Himself, which is absurd. By the same token, all human responsibility for sin has been removed. For our choices are not really up to us: God causes us to make them.

        br.d
        First:
        You made a claim – so provide the quote.

        Second:
        No – I agree with Dr. Craig’s use of the word “move” in that statement.
        Though it obviously doesn’t necessarily infer “force” or “coercion” – since Dr. Craig is smart enough to know that.
        Although it certainly can.
        There is a sense in which the word “move” can be understood – for example – “The general moved his soldiers into position for the final battle”. Obviously in this sense of the word “move”, the general is not “forcing” or “coercing” his soldiers. They are “physically” moving on their own power. So Dr. Craigs use of the word “move” can at minimum be understood that way.

        However, John Calvin creates the example of a man who Calvin’s god controls – so that he gets lost in the woods and comes out into a clearing where there are murderers whom Calvin’s god has fated to kill him. What made the man turn to the left instead of the right – 100 different times in his journey through the woods – if not some supernatural direction from Calvin’s god determining his thoughts? A man cannot simply walk into that exact location by accident or by virtue of his own nature. He has to be specifically led to that specific location.

        That’s about as close to “moving” someone as you can get without applying some kind of physical force.
        Trying to evade Theological determinism by deflecting to NATURAL determinism doesn’t work in this case.

        rhutchin
        I have argued that “cause” does not mean “move, impel, force, etc.” Given your earlier comment, even you seem to agree on this. Thus, your citations of Helseth and Calvin don’t really add anything – do they?

        br.d
        No – you did exactly as I stated – you wanted to qualify what Helseth meant by the word “cause” so that it didn’t mean “cause”.

        rhutchin
        Theological Determinism “A theology where the THEOS causes and authors events giving humans no alternative but to do every sin and evil he determines.” A position that you do not argue against as you do not have an alternative position to put forth.

        br.d
        This statement is a non-sequitur.

        rhutchin
        And you seem to agree with this as even you say above, “Please provide a quote where I defined “cause” and “author” as “move. You won’t find one.” So, you agree that “cause” and “author” do not mean “move.” Then, you never offer an opposing position – so you never really disagree. You don’t like determinism, but you can’t argue against it. So, what is your issue??? What is the problem???

        br.d
        No problem or issue that Jesus wouldn’t have with those who create a graven image of God, who white wash evil, the blind leading the blind.
        Determinism (aka Calvinism) is double-think.
        Determinism creates an image of god who is a deceiver – who deceives people into believing he wills [A] when he secretly wills [NOT A] and then punished them for doing what he secretly fates them to do – while giving them no alternative.

        Calvinism conditions people into being experts in double-speak without discernment of their reliance upon deceptive language tricks.
        Bottom line – Calvin’s deity is a good-evil deity – due to synchretism with NeoPlatonism. And that’s what give Calvinism its character.

        Jesus condemns all of that and I follow in agreement.

      12. I wrote, “This is wrong. A depraved person physically dropped the baby into the fire.”
        br.d responded, “Here you are dictating to Calvin’s god what he can and cannot do.”

        Poor br.d. Pursing rabbit trails to avoid facing reality. No one dictates what God does. We read of God’s actions in the Scriptures and it is through the Scriptures that God tells us what He does. It is true that “If Calvin’s god REALLY were truly sovereign then he could drop a baby into the fire of Moloch any time his good pleasure dictated..” Yet, we know that He doesn’t. Depraved people do this, and God while He could stop such things, has decided not to do so. The sovereignty that God exercises perplexes br.d.

        Then, I wrote, “Calvinists do not distance themselves from God being the determining force in His creation. We cannot overturn Ephesians 1.
        br.d can only respond, “This fails being as its an appeal to an irrelevant red herring – is that supposed to be an example of sound logic?’

        br.d has problems with statements of fact that he cannot deny. Such is the case here.

        I wrote, “Even you don’t understand the ‘non-deterministic” position enough to explain…”
        br.d responded, “This is you asserting something in order to make it conveniently conform to your thinking model.”

        LOL!!! No, that ws me saying that you cannot explain non-determinism. Because you cannot explain non-determinism, you are forced to deflect. Poor br.d.

        Then, br.d wrote, “… in the situation where Calvin’s god drops a baby into the fire of Moloch you want to argue he’s not culpable because he didn’t “coerce’ or “force’ the baby into the fire.”

        No, God is not culpable because God did not drop, throw, etc the baby into the fire. Depraved humans did this. Why would you deny this??

        Then, “Calvin insists (consistent with determinism) – his god ACTIVELY does what he does”

        And br.d is not able to argue against Calvin, so he doesn’t. He makes a comment about hiding behind ‘non-deterministic language” when he can’t even explain non-determinism much less understand what non-deterministic language would be.

      13. rhutchin
        “This is wrong. A depraved person physically dropped the baby into the fire.”

        br.d “Here you are dictating to Calvin’s god what he can and cannot do.”

        rhutchin
        Poor br.d……etc It is true that “If Calvin’s god REALLY were truly sovereign then he could drop a baby into the fire of Moloch any time his good pleasure dictated..” Yet, we know that He doesn’t. Depraved people do this,

        br.d
        This is false within Calvinism. Your statement here is a consistent non-Calvinist statement which Calvinists consistently reject.
        John Calvin explicitly asserts that no man is in a position to use scripture or anything else, from which to limit or dictate or judge what Calvin’s god can do. That for Calvin would be man imposing standards of behavior – applicable only to man upon a deity. So again this departure from Calvin fails. This aspect of Calvinist doctrine is what non-Calvinists recognize as a questionable characteristic of Calvin’s deity. He has an ambiguous standard of behavior – he is not subject to or consistent with his own commandments. This is an aspect of Calvinist doctrine that heavily influenced the doctrine of the “divine right of kings”.

        The good news is you’ve provided another example of how a Calvinist can seek to hide behind non-Calvinist or Non-determinist language.

        Additionally what is humerus – my statements concerning Calvinism are more consistent with Calvin than yours are. :-]

        rhutchin
        br.d can only respond, “This fails being as its an appeal to an irrelevant red herring – is that supposed to be an example of sound logic?’
        br.d has problems with statements of fact that he cannot deny. Such is the case here.

        br.d
        And you call others silly!
        If this thinking makes you feel better, I can understand :-]

        rhutchin
        I wrote, “Even you don’t understand the ‘non-deterministic” position enough to explain…”
        br.d responded, “This is you asserting something in order to make it conveniently conform to your thinking model.”
        LOL!!! No, that ws me saying that you cannot explain non-determinism. Because you cannot explain non-determinism, you are forced to deflect. Poor br.d.

        br.d
        Same as above :-]

        rhutchin
        Then, br.d wrote, “… in the situation where Calvin’s god drops a baby into the fire of Moloch you want to argue he’s not culpable because he didn’t “coerce’ or “force’ the baby into the fire.”
        No, God is not culpable because God did not drop, throw, etc the baby into the fire. Depraved humans did this. Why would you deny this??

        br.d
        See my answer above – this is a statement consistent with a non-Calvinist and one which Calvin would forcibly reject.
        I’ve seen this so many times with Calvinists – it always raises the specter of the whole business of “sovereignty” in Calvinism is more the Calvinist making the deity in his own image than the reverse.

        rhutchin
        And br.d is not able to argue against Calvin, so he doesn’t. He makes a comment about hiding behind ‘non-deterministic language” when he can’t even explain non-determinism much less understand what non-deterministic language would be.

        br.d
        And you call others silly!

        Just keep on providing those wonderful examples of Calvinist double-speak and I’ll keep on providing the analysis
        I’m happy to let the reader discern the results.
        Its a win win situation for me. :-]

      14. br/d writes, “Additionally what is humerus – my statements concerning Calvinism are more consistent with Calvin than yours are. :-]”

        You write about Calvin as if you never read Calvin but only know a few citations made by others in articles about Calvin. That explains, I think, your non answers to the comments I made.

      15. br.d to rhutchin
        Additionally what is humerus – my statements concerning Calvinism are more consistent with Calvin than yours are. :-]”

        rhutchin
        You write about Calvin as if you never read Calvin but only know a few citations made by others in articles about Calvin. That explains, I think, your non answers to the comments I made.

        br.d
        Your propensity for wild conclusions and fabricating reality is really not benefiting yourself.
        You come looking childish.

      16. br.d writes, “Your propensity for wild conclusions and fabricating reality is really not benefiting yourself.”

        A man with no argument reverts to the ad hominem. Poor br.d.

      17. br.d writes, “Your propensity for wild conclusions and fabricating reality is really not benefiting yourself.”

        rhutchin
        A man with no argument reverts to the ad hominem. Poor br.d.

        br.d
        Their your posts not mine. Have it your way! :-]

      18. br.d. writes:

        “Determinism creates an image of god who is a deceiver – who deceives people into believing he wills [A] when he secretly wills [NOT A] and then punished them for doing what he secretly fates them to do – while giving them no alternative.

        Calvinism conditions people into being experts in double-speak without discernment of their reliance upon deceptive language tricks.”

        Exactly! And one can see how the former demands the latter. If God was not trying to deceive us into thinking we were autonomous creatures who can and will determine our eternal destiny by our decision to either trust in or reject him, he could come right out and admit that he controls ‘whatsoever comes to pass’, including every thought, word and deed of every creature.

        Makes one wonder why he ‘allowed’ the Supremes – no, wrong band – the esteemed Divines to let his cat out of the bag? Almost like he allowed the frozen chosen to know the truth, but wanted to keep it from the riffraff. Yet here are all these modern day Calvies trying to expose God’s little secret.

      19. Great post TruthSeeker!

        Calvinists have a deity who determines every neurological impulse that occurs in their brain.
        And they want to define that as “free” thinking. :-]

        As Dr. Alvin Plantinga would say “that’s like putting a man in a jail cell and telling him he’s free *AS-IF* he were not in the cell.

      20. br.d.

        Let’s go further. It’s worse than this….

        “that’s like putting a man in a jail cell and telling him he’s free *AS-IF* he were not in the cell.

        They are saying that the man put himself in the jail cell, locked it, and gave it to the warden who tells him he is free to go (wink).

      21. Yes! I didn’t see that additional aspect – good catch FOH!

        I’ve always said free will in Calvinism is like Hotel California.
        You can check out anytime you like – but you can never leave. :-]

      22. FOH writes, ‘“that’s like putting a man in a jail cell and telling him he’s free *AS-IF* he were not in the cell.”

        No, it’s like putting a man in a jail cell and telling him he is free to do anything he wants within the confines of the jail cell. So, Calvinism likens the sin nature to a jail cell and says that people are free to act within the confines of their sin nature.

        Then, “They are saying that the man put himself in the jail cell, locked it, and gave it to the warden who tells him he is free to go (wink).”

        Again, wrong. Scripture tell us that Adam sinned and humanity suffered – were put into the jail cell (to engage your analogy). No one likes it but physical death is a reality to everyone and there is nothing anyone can do about it and such is the case with spiritual death.

      23. FOH
        Then, “They are saying that the man put himself in the jail cell, locked it, and gave it to the warden who tells him he is free to go (wink).”

        rhutchin
        Again, wrong. Scripture tell us that Adam sinned and humanity suffered

        br.d
        I call this the Calvinists magical disappearing rabbit trick.
        For any sinful or evil event produced by Calvin’s god – the Calvinist can make his THEOS magically disappear from the picture. :-]

      24. I wrote, “Scripture tell us that Adam sinned and humanity suffered.”
        br.d responded “I call this the Calvinists magical disappearing rabbit trick.”

        br.d d does not deny the Scriptures does he? How could he??

        Then, “For any sinful or evil event produced by Calvin’s god – the Calvinist can make his THEOS magically disappear from the picture. :-]”

        Not the Calvinist who readily admits that God was present when Adam ate the fruit, God could have stopped Adam from eating the fruit, and God had decided that He would give Adam freedom to eat the fruit if he wanted to do so. br.d has a hard time facing reality.

      25. rhutchin “Scripture tell us that Adam sinned and humanity suffered.”

        br.d
        I call this the Calvinists magical disappearing rabbit trick.”
        “For any sinful or evil event produced by Calvin’s god – the Calvinist can make his THEOS magically disappear from the picture. :-]”

        rhutchin
        br.d d does not deny the Scriptures does he? How could he??

        br.d
        Maturity understands: What is stated in scripture is one thing – how scripture is co-opted by men is another.
        Immaturity is unable to discern this distinction.

        rhutchin:
        The Calvinist who readily admits that God WAS PRESENT when Adam ate the fruit
        God could have stopped Adam from eating the fruit
        God had decided that He would give Adam freedom to eat the fruit if he wanted to do so.
        br.d has a hard time facing reality.

        br.d
        I’m always amused at how a Calvinist can point 10 fingers in 20 directions at the same time. :-]

        This evasive language could be easily identified as Calvinism’s magical disappearing rabbit trick – slightly shifted.
        In this case the role of the THEOS (consistent with Theological Determinism) has magically disappeared
        We could relegate this statement to Calvinism’s strategic language of half-truths.
        We could relegate it to Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking.
        We could relegate it to Calvinism’s strategically misleading language of double-speak.

        Interestingly enough – all of the above apply. :-]

        For further reading see CALVINISM’S AS-IF LANGUAGE OF DOUBLE-SPEAK

        https://soteriology101.com/2018/01/29/calvinisms-conflation/comment-page-1/#comment-24884

      26. br.d writes, “Maturity understands: What is stated in scripture is one thing – how scripture is co-opted by men is another.”

        No denial here either. My statement is true, ““Scripture tell us that Adam sinned and humanity suffered.” br.d still does not deny the Scriptures does he? How could he??

        Then, “In this case the role of the THEOS (consistent with Theological Determinism) has magically disappeared.”

        Let’s repeat what I said and see if you can find “God” in my statements and a description of His actions.

        “God WAS PRESENT when Adam ate the fruit
        God could have stopped Adam from eating the fruit
        God had decided that He would give Adam freedom to eat the fruit if he wanted to do so.”

        I can see where this is a tough one for br.d given that he is blind.

      27. br.d writes, “Maturity understands: What is stated in scripture is one thing – how scripture is co-opted by men is another.”

        rhutchin
        No denial here either. My statement is true, ““Scripture tell us that Adam sinned and humanity suffered.” br.d still does not deny the Scriptures does he? How could he??

        br.d
        You really need to consider a course in elementary logic rhutchin
        When you start moving into your kindergarten playground bully routine – it just comes off as childish.

        rhutchin
        Let’s repeat what I said and see if you can find “God” in my statements and a description of His actions.

        “God WAS PRESENT when Adam ate the fruit
        God could have stopped Adam from eating the fruit
        God had decided that He would give Adam freedom to eat the fruit if he wanted to do so.”
        I can see where this is a tough one for br.d given that he is blind.

        br.d
        Simply repeating yourself is called argument by tautology.
        I’ve already addressed your statements as Calvinist half-truths, Calvinist *AS-IF* thinking, and Calvinist double-speak.
        Your last comment is just another example of the reason I offered the previous advise.

      28. br.d
        I think we are done with his ad hominem, childish, “poor blind br.d” “FOH fell asleep in class” “that is over your head–too dumb” remarks.”

        Responding any more to his remarks is simply assisting him in clogging up the pages with (bad) info (which is his goal), making it harder for your good quotes and presentations to be found. Per your question earlier about “letting him have the last word” let’s not fear that!

        We have seen a hundred times that he declares God to be the ordaining/ sustaining/ delighting factor in all things including all sin…while still saying Adam and all men are free to do as they please (as long as it is sin—since they are “too-dead” to do any good). None of it makes sense and an honest reader can see that….and yet, rinse and repeat.

        Let’s not assist that any more. Okay?

      29. Sure – can do.
        But some of his deceptive talking points beg – being brought out into the sun light.

      30. Of course they do! But that has been done many times on most of the pages of the site, and only makes conversations confusing (in light of the fact that we cannot see chronology on this site) when added again and again. Thanks.

      31. FOH writes, “that has been done many times on most of the pages of the site,”

        Hardly! You ignore specific questions and have always done so. br.d cannot challenge Calvinism directly, so he uses “Determinism” as a foil choosing the philosophical approach rather than a Scriptural approach. How about a little honesty here.

      32. Good point and thanks
        Now that I think of it – I should have noticed the demeanor of his posts and pulled the plug on them myself.
        I’ll be more watchful from now on.

      33. FOH writes, “FOH fell asleep in class”

        It was that or accuse you of claiming to be a Calvinist and then purposely distorting Calvinist doctrine. I thought I was being nice with gentle ribbing. Why would you get upset over that??

        Then, “Responding any more to his remarks is simply assisting him in clogging up the pages with (bad) info (which is his goal),…”

        No, I am here to correct the bad info you put out. A good example is the “jail cell” analogy recently used – an obvious distortion and you, as a “former” Calvinist should have known better. Given that you are a former Calvinist, why did you promote an obviously false analogy??

        Then, “…he declares God to be the ordaining/ sustaining/ delighting factor in all things including all sin…while still saying Adam and all men are free to do as they please…None of it makes sense and an honest reader can see that…”

        So, why don’t you tell us what part doesn’t make sense. Do you think that God was somehow away on vacation when Satan entered the garden or that Satan could enter the garden without asking God if God would let him. Or perhaps, you think that God could not have protected Eve and Adam and stopped them from eating the fruit. What doesn’t make sense??

      34. br.d writes, “You really need to consider a course in elementary logic rhutchin
        When you start moving into your kindergarten playground bully routine – it just comes off as childish.”

        Once again, no denial. My statement remains true as even br.d cannot raise an objection, “Scripture tell us that Adam sinned and humanity suffered.” br.d cannot deny the Scriptures can he? How could he??

        Then, ‘I’ve already addressed your statements as Calvinist half-truths, Calvinist *AS-IF* thinking, and Calvinist double-speak.’

        I must have missed it. How about repeating it, just so everyone knows what you are talking about. here is the statement at issue – “Scripture tell us that Adam sinned and humanity suffered.” Now let’s be reminded of br.d’s response….

      35. I apologized to FOH for not being cognizant enough of the demeanor of your posts on a few of these threads.
        I should have known better and pulled the plug myself.
        Doing so now

      36. br.d writes, “Calvinists have a deity who determines every neurological impulse that occurs in their brain.”

        If God did not determine every neurological impulse that occurs in a person’s brain, He would not be God nor sovereign, nor omniscient, nor omnipotent. Even though God determines what a person thinks, God does not move, impel, force, coerce, etc. the person to think what he does – his thoughts arise from his nature, a very sinful, depraved nature.

      37. ts00 writes, “… he could come right out and admit that he controls ‘whatsoever comes to pass’, including every thought, word and deed of every creature.”

        How much plainer could Paul have been in Ephesians 1, “God works all things after the counsel of His will.” God’s creation is subordinate to God – man’s will is subordinate to God’s will. Where there is a clash between man’s will and God’s will, God’s will prevails.

      38. I wrote, “You can’t even explain the Molinist argument for rejecting determinism. ….etc.”
        br.d responded. “As I’ve said – since your position is that William Lane Craig, Alvin Platinga et all can’t explain it for you – then what I post is going to be handled the same way.”

        You could provide a citation from Craig/Platinga that explains this (preferably a webpage where I can read it). I think the inference from your comment is that you don’t have anything. Your non answer tells me there is nothing – at least nothing that you have come across.

        Then, br.d writes, “No – that was a kind way of saying your imaginative ideas about Molinism are too sophomoric to take seriously.’

        LOL!!! That just confirms my conclusion that you have no idea what Molinism is all about.

        Them br.d writes, “First: You made a claim – so provide the quote.”

        I agree that there is (or was until your later comment) no direct quote by you. However, as you give credibility to Craig by quoting him, the natural conclusion is that you agree with Craig – else, why quote him to support your claims. Now, you say that despite your citations of Craig to support your claims, you don’t actually agree with him, well maybe. Can’t help but find you amusing.

        Then, “Second: No – I agree with Dr. Craig’s use of the word “move” in that statement.”

        LOL!!!!! Craig writes, “…God moves people to choose evil…and makes them do wrong…our choices are not really up to us: God causes us to make them.’ Craig uses the word, “move,” to mean, “cause.” No manipulation of words by you is going to change that. So, now we have a direct quote by you on this subject, “I agree with Dr. Craig’s use of the word “move” in that statement.” Thanks br.d for saying something substantive. I found your attempt to justify Craig to be hilarious.

      39. rhutchin
        I wrote, “You can’t even explain the Molinist argument for rejecting determinism. ….etc.”
        br.d responded. “As I’ve said – since your position is that William Lane Craig, Alvin Platinga et all can’t explain it for you – then what I post is going to be handled the same way.”

        You could provide a citation from Craig/Platinga that explains this (preferably a webpage where I can read it). I think the inference from your comment is that you don’t have anything. Your non answer tells me there is nothing – at least nothing that you have come across.

        br.d
        The fact that you reach the wild conclusions you have about Molinism tells me how much integrity there is in your requests.
        William Lane Craig has a web-site – check it out.
        I’ve submitted about a half-dozen personal questions to Dr. Craig and received responses from representatives from his ministry.
        In one case was put in contact with a seminary professor whom I corresponded with concerning certain questions I had on aspects of Molina positions.

        I suggest you make your own investment – here is a good book I would recommend:
        Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge – Kirk R. MacGregor

        I have absolutely no trust that your requests from me or anyone else here are ever sincere.

        rhutchin
        LOL!!! That just confirms my conclusion that you have no idea what Molinism is all about.

        br.d
        I know – I understand that thinking works for you. :-]

        rhutchin
        I agree that there is (or was until your later comment) no direct quote by you. However, as you give credibility to Craig by quoting him, the natural conclusion is that you agree with Craig – else, why quote him to support your claims. Now, you say that despite your citations of Craig to support your claims, you don’t actually agree with him, well maybe. Can’t help but find you amusing.

        br.d
        What I find consistent is how frequently you reach wild conclusions – you might consider taking a course in elementary logic..

        rhutchin
        Then, “Second: No – I agree with Dr. Craig’s use of the word “move” in that statement.”

        LOL!!!!! Craig writes, “…God moves people to choose evil…and makes them do wrong…our choices are not really up to us: God causes us to make them.’ Craig uses the word, “move,” to mean, “cause.” No manipulation of words by you is going to change that. So, now we have a direct quote by you on this subject, “I agree with Dr. Craig’s use of the word “move” in that statement.” Thanks br.d for saying something substantive. I found your attempt to justify Craig to be hilarious.

        br.d
        Wild conclusions – where do they all come from. :-]

      40. br.d wrote, “I suggest you make your own investment – here is a good book I would recommend:
        Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge – Kirk R. MacGregor
        I have absolutely no trust that your requests from me or anyone else here are ever sincere.”

        No one can read everything. If you actually read the book, then you should be able to offer something substantive from the book to further discussion. Perhaps, you have not read the book and have nothing to offer.

        Then, “Wild conclusions – where do they all come from. :-]”

        They come form your own words, in this case, “I agree with Dr. Craig’s use of the word “move” in that statement.”

      41. That’s your story and your stricken to it. :-]

        When I feel its pertinent of beneficial to offer a quote or two from a book I’ve studied – then I’ll do that.

      42. br.d writes, “When I feel its pertinent of beneficial to offer a quote or two from a book I’ve studied – then I’ll do that.”

        That tells us that the references you make to Craig, Platinga, etc, don’t offer anything relevant to our discussions – unless, of course, you have not read them and don’t know what they contain.

      43. Its not what the Calvinist knows that get him in trouble.
        Its what he knows for sure that just ain’t so! :-]

  17. On that last remark – quote “Thanks br.d for saying something substantive.”
    I really should have said – your welcome. :-]

  18. br.d
    “Calvinists have a deity who determines every neurological impulse that occurs in their brain.”

    rhutchin
    – quote: “Even though God determines what a person thinks…….his thoughts ARISE from his nature”

    br.d
    Anyone with a basic knowledge in Theological Determinism – can see these two statements as contradictions.

    Theological Determinism is the thesis that all events have their SOURCE and ORIGIN in an all determining THEOS.
    Additionally, the THEOS forces all events onto the creature as inevitable and unavoidable (i.e. fated).

    When sin is first-conceived it brings forth death.

    And in Calvinism sin is first-conceived in the mind of Calvin’s god at the foundation of the world millennia before humans exist.
    In Calvinism, this CONCEPTION is not that of the “mere observation” of future events.
    But rather the SOURCE, ORIGIN, and PRODUCTION, (i.e. authoring) of those events.

    1. br.d writes, ‘Anyone with a basic knowledge in Theological Determinism – can see these two statements as contradictions.”

      That means that Theological Determinism is not an accurate descriptor of God (and therefore, not of Calvinism). Theological Determinism must, therefore deviate from the Scriptures in describing God.

      1. br.d
        ‘Anyone with a basic knowledge in Theological Determinism – can see these two statements as contradictions.”
        Theological Determinism is the thesis that all events have their SOURCE and ORIGIN in an all determining THEOS.

        rhutchin
        That means that Theological Determinism is not an accurate descriptor of God (and therefore, not of Calvinism). Theological Determinism must, therefore deviate from the Scriptures in describing God.

        br.d
        I think you’re having a bad hair day or something rhutchin – your getting more irrational with every post.

        Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy – On Theological Determinism
        -quote:
        Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, JOHN CALVIN, and Gottfried Leibniz all seemed to espouse the view at least at certain points in their careers. Contemporary theological determinists also appeal to various biblical texts and confessional creeds (for example the WESTMINSTER CONFESSION of Faith) to support their view.

        Secondly:
        Conflating scripture with Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) is another example of fallacious reasoning.

      2. br.d writes, “I think you’re having a bad hair day or something rhutchin – your getting more irrational with every post.”

        Poor br,d. It’s not me that is the problem. It is you. Your statement, “Anyone with a basic knowledge in Theological Determinism – can see these two statements as contradictions,” is necessarily false. The problem here is that the two statements are not contradictory and you would not be able to justify your statement that they are.

        The two statements in view are:
        1. Calvinists have a deity who determines every neurological impulse that occurs in their brain.
        2. Even though God determines what a person thinks…….his thoughts ARISE from his nature.

      3. rhutchin
        The two statements in view are:
        1. Calvinists have a deity who determines every neurological impulse that occurs in their brain.
        2. Even though God determines what a person thinks…….his thoughts ARISE from his nature.

        br.d
        This really isn’t that difficult to understand – as per the definition of Theological Determinism – which recognizes the THEOS is the SOURCE/ORIGIN of all events. His [man’s] thoughts ARISE FROM the mind of the THEOS who (at the foundation of the world) decreed each specific neurological impulse to be fated to occur within the man’s mind.

        Now I promised FOH due to your demeanor in this current thread, I wouldn’t keep stimulating you.
        So out of respect for him I’m dropping this dialog with you.
        There will be other days. :-]

      4. br.d writes, “as per the definition of Theological Determinism – which recognizes the THEOS is the SOURCE/ORIGIN of all events. His [man’s] thoughts ARISE FROM the mind of the THEOS who (at the foundation of the world) decreed each specific neurological impulse to be fated to occur within the man’s mind.”

        By SOURCE/ORIGIN is meant that God creates all things and then sustains all things until death in the case of living things. In the case of man, God created man with a mind that automatically generates neurological impulses without a continuing stimulation from God. In a similar manner, God created an attraction of bodies for each other that we call gravity. A person can let go of an object and it will fall to the ground because of gravity and not because God must take action to slam it to the ground. Man is made with a mind/body that operates with neurological impulses such that God does not have to continually replenish those impulses. A person opens his eyes and automatically neurological impulses transfer information to his brain and he reacts to what he sees through other neurological impulses (e.g., ducking if something is coming at him). God is said to be the cause of those neurological impulses because He has the power to restrain those impulses or silence them. When God does not affect them in any manner, we understand that God made a conscious decision not to do so – thus, God decrees each impulse but does not have to impel such impulses to action. As we both know, this is not rocket science but always seems to confuse you. The break in action will allow you to meditate on this and hopefully, gain a better understanding of the control God is able to exercise through His sovereignty. Even FOH understands these things because of his prior involvement in Calvinism.

      5. br.d writes, “Simply redefining determinism to fit a certain narrative doesn’t work.”

        In this case, determinism must be defined by the Scriptures else it will be distorted and distort what God has done.

  19. Just one final thought which may help.
    A five dollar bill is defined by a shared standard, and all parties who exchange it conform to that standard.
    Determinism within scholarship has also become well defined. And parties who exchange dialog concerning it, do so respecting a shared excepted standard concerning its definition, characteristics, and logical entailments.

    That’s what I love about the power of logic!
    Its rules for discerning truth from falsehood conform to well established – trustworthy standards.

    So like I said – I can’t engage on that incentive.

    1. br.d writes, “Determinism within scholarship has also become well defined”

      That is fine. However, if one uses that definition to undermine that which the Scriptures tell us, as you want to do, then that definition has no useful purpose. It is certain that God has determined all things as the Scriptures affirm this. It is also certain that God does not impel, force, coerce people to sin as the Scriptures affirm this also. br.d spends too much time immersed in human philosophy and not enough time in the Scriptures.

      1. I’ve already responded to this courteously and adequately.
        I think this is just more anger – or something similar.

      2. br.d
        I hope you will let this drop.

        There is no way to have a conversation.

        Statements likes this are made: “It is certain that God has determined all things as the Scriptures affirm this…” And the only verse(s) ever given is Eph 1:11 (which can mean a lot of things), and maybe the casting lots Proverb (16:33; which of course is not intended to be foundational doctrine). (((BTW this is like saying “It is certain …… that all believers should speak in tongues….. that baptism is necessary for salvation….. that women should never talk in church, or should have their heads covered….. that infants should be baptized…. just because we can find one verse that can possibly be interpreted to say that.)))

        Bold statements that ALL THINGS are unalterably, immutably determined by God before time… and that “Scripture affirms this” should have stronger support than one or two verses that have alternate interpretations. But no.

        That is much more of a philosophical idea (“This is how God must be, because we want God to be that way”) than a Scriptural one.

        By all means the majority of Scripture is on the opposite side:
        –showing God changing directions,
        –giving people options,
        –saying “I would have” “you should have” “why did you not…” “choose for yourselves this day….” If you do this…. I [God] will do this…but if you do this I will do this….”

        So don’t worry if someone says that you dont have Scripture on your side just because they choose to interpret Eph 1:11 a certain way.

      3. Yes I totally agree FOH!
        I was hoping rhutchin would drop it after I answered him courteously.
        If he doesn’t get what he wants – sometimes he just resorts to stabbing people.

        It would be nice if there were better officiated rules of engagement concerning that behavior.
        But we’ve had that conversation before.

        There is the aspect however of giving a child with bad behavior what he wants.
        By not responding to him – we might be teaching him – to use that tactic strategically.
        And he’ll simply end up doing it all the time thinking it gives him an advantage
        Might end up making matters worse.

      4. FOH writes, “Bold statements that ALL THINGS are unalterably, immutably determined by God before time… and that “Scripture affirms this” should have stronger support than one or two verses that have alternate interpretations. But no.”

        Nonetheless, Ephesians 1, while only one verse, expresses an undeniable truth that stands until someone can show that it doesn’t say that which it says. Can it really mean “a lot of things” or is FOH just wanting it to mean something else? FOH could even think of one of those “lots of other things” to use as an example to support his contention.

        Then, “By all means the majority of Scripture is on the opposite side:
        –showing God changing directions,
        –giving people options,
        –saying “I would have” “you should have” “why did you not…” “choose for yourselves this day….” If you do this…. I [God] will do this…but if you do this I will do this….”

        God does work all things according to the counsel of His will and His working can involve a change in direction as demonstrated by the flood of Noah, the confusion of languages at Babel, the rejection of Saul as king, as examples. God gives people options all the time already knowing what they will do. That God has said “I would have” “you should have” “why did you not…” is as true today as in the past. Had a person asked for wisdom, God would have given it to him. Had a person asked for help, He would have given it. Yet, people do not ask for wisdom and prefer to do things on their own. What do we learn from this? It doesn’t matter what God says, people still do their own thing. This does not argue against God continuing to be involved in His creation and working all things after the counsel of His will. FOH cites verse upon verse but they don’t mean what he wants them to mean.

    2. br.d writes, ‘That’s what I love about the power of logic! Its rules for discerning truth…”

      Logic discerns truth from existing truth; it does not create truth. The Scriptures provide the foundational truths that can then, through logic, be used to discern greater truth. When br.d says, ” I can’t engage on that incentive,” he means that he does not want to engage the Scriptures to discern truth from falsehood. That is my conclusion given his many citations from philosophy and none from the Scriptures.

      1. Logic is wonderful because its rules have become a well established standard and universally recognized as trustworthy.
        Men can and do manipulate language – and unfortunately that includes the language of scripture.
        When one tries to do that with logic – falsehood is clearly discernible.

        Men will wrestle scripture for their own personal agendas.
        But they can’t wrestle logic without getting caught.
        That’s why I love it. :-]

      2. br.d
        That is right. Men will “wrestle scripture for their own personal agendas.” Men can make it say what they need it to say.

        But it makes no logical sense to bypass hundreds (or thousands) of scriptures where God says, “I would have it you had only….” (and dozens of combinations like that) —–bypass or pooh-pooh all these Scriptures —- and filter (eliminate) them all in favor of one interpretation of Eph 1:11.

        With this one verse in hand, men try to foist on other men the illogical and unscriptural idea that God determined all this, immutably, unalterably, before time, but man can personally make individual, (bad) decisions all along the way (not the good ones, just the bad ones). It’s the old two-wills philosophical argument.

        God did not want David to sleep with Bathsheba, but He willed/ determined/ decreed/ desired him to all the same. Then God punishes him for doing it. And David repents for something that God determined before time that he do.

        That is a man-made idea that goes nowhere.

      3. Its good to have more conversation with you FOH.
        Yes i totally agree.
        I used to have a wonderful book “twisted scriptures” by Mary Alice Chrnalogar

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twisted_Scriptures

        Shows you how easy it is for men to position themselves in the seat of Moses, and use the scripture for their own ends.

        I love those places in the Gospels where Jesus specifically did things that contradicted the Pharisee’s exegesis.
        Like healing on the sabbath – or telling the man by the pool of Bethesda – “pick up your mat and walk”
        Knowing full well that man would be seen by one of the Pharisees and they would find out it was Jesus and want to kill him.

        Religious people are such manipulators and we have just as many here as there were then.

        But God is so cool! :-]

      4. That is why Calvinism is the perennial ‘Whack-a-mole’ theology. It gets whacked down by inescapable logic and application of scripture, only to arise again in a new time and place with a whole new face and color! Like a slow motion game of Whack-a-mole people are forced to knock it down, again and again, but it just keeps popping back up, undaunted. Keeps believers divided, confused and less focused on the work of spreading the good news – just what Satan desires.

      5. Good analogy! :-]

        Your statement about “just what satan desires” reminds me.
        If you believe in such things as deliverance ministries – you may have noticed in Calvinism there is no such thing one.
        All deliverance ministries teach libertarian free will as a foundational principle of deliverance.
        Paolo Bottari “Free in Christ” for example.

      6. IMO, that is why we have the constant ‘Calvinism’s conflation’ as the blog post is titled. It is, as you have pointed out hundreds, maybe more, times, a deliberate conflation. As soon as the Calvinist is cornered with his obviously heinous theology, he pretends like his doctrine actually means exactly what his opponent believes. It is all a pretense, but it gives him a chance to hustle out of his corner and change the subject and redirect the narrative.

        As FOH rightly suggests, one simply cannot logically – under any meaning of the word – suggest that God deterministically ordains all things AND that man has the freedom to choose what he does. These are two, completely contrary options. They cannot coexist. If God meticulously determines whatever comes to pass, there is no freedom for any optional reality to exist. This is what the Calvinist continuously seeks to hide, and lies repeatedly about to naive listeners who have not thought things through for themselves. This absurdly impossible – logically and physically – feat is repeatedly asserted by Calvinists like Rhutchin, who pretend as if they do not see the obvious logical fallacy involved, and resort to multiple euphemisms and constantly changing definitions to keep listeners confused. It is all a shell game.

        It is assumed ignorance to pretend that ‘In him, who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will’ cannot mean that God works IN and THROUGH even the wicked, evil, opposed to God’s will choices that men make contrary to God’s desires. In fact, the Calvinist interpretation makes nonsense of the statement. What is there to ‘accomplish’ if everything that happens is ordained and controlled by God?

        There is no ‘accomplishing’ or ‘working through’ if men always irresistibly do what God has previously scripted and ordained. That would essentially be saying, ‘Surprise! When my will is done, my will is accomplished!’ It is a meaningless jumble of words. And of course, there is no logical explanation for evil in this assertion, except for it being God’s plan and will. All right-thinking people eventually arrive at this conclusion. It takes longer for some than others, but we all eventually see it.

        The Calvinist misdefinition also, conveniently, completely ignores the surrounding context, which tells us that the ‘all things’ being worked out is ‘the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fulness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth’ – which suggests that whereas God’s will is already done in heaven, only in the fulness of time, in some unspecified amount of time, it will also be done on earth. Why is this called ‘the mystery of God’s will’? Because it would seem logical that if an omniscient, all-powerful God were in charge of the universe, his will would be done – and yet, somehow, instead, men are allowed to thwart his will and practice all manner of unthinkable evil.

        Paul goes on to explain just what this mystery of God’s will is, which is that ‘we who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory.’ Who are these destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory? Some ‘elect, preordained few, who are, without desire, choice or ability to resist transformed into beings who understand and believe?’ No, scripture never describes such an event. Instead, it always points to men with an ability to freely make a choice, ‘who have heard the word of truth, and have believed in him . . .’ In other words, the ‘mystery’ is that an omniscient, all-powerful God allows weak, mortal beings the freedom to make choices – even to their eternal destiny.

        The ‘mystery of God’s will’ is that all who believe in Christ as a demonstration of God’s goodness, love and mercy will indeed be conformed into the image of Christ – in spite of their former, self-chosen path of rebellion and evil. Calvinism turns this genuine free offer of grace to all mankind into a dualistic sock-puppet world in which God first thinks up, brings to pass, then punishes and, finally, eliminates evil – with all creation simply following his irresistible script. And while asserting this awful caricature of God’s amazing grace, compatabilistic Calvinists attempt to insist that, somehow, man still has choice and responsibility at play in their irresistibly ordained actions, thus deserve punishment for their ‘choices’.

        One can see the necessity to introduce as much murky, confusing, logic-bending conflation as possible. And if the riffraff start thinking for themselves, and see how such things make no sense, you hit them with the ‘who are you to question God?’ meme. Scares a lot of people off the scent for a while, but thinking people, with the Spirit of God urging them on, will eventually be led to realize the falsity and error involved in the whole scheme.

      7. Great post TruthSeeker!

        I was thinking about the difference between two types of choice.

        1) A pastor holds two cans of soda – (orange and grape), before a student and says “choose this day which one you will take”.

        2) The pastor holds only one can of soda – (orange), before the student and says “choose this day which one you will take”

        The second example is in reality the model within Calvinism – in which Calvin’s god commands people to choose.
        Because he has already decreed only one “settled” future to have existence – and the other future (its alternative) doesn’t exist.
        A human cannot REALLY choose something that doesn’t exist.

        In Calvinism, the event of Adam’s obedience was never decreed – therefore it was not available for Adam to choose.
        It could however exist as an illusion in Adam’s mind.
        Because Calvin’s god wanted Adam to have that illusion – in order for Adam to accept the blame.

        We can understand why the Calvinist wants to make determinism look like in-determinism as much as possible.
        Not only do Calvinists work to keep outsiders from seeing the darkness of it.
        Its so horrible to them – they will say anything to keep from acknowledging it within themselves.

        That’s the major conflict here that rhutchin – trying to mask the ugliness of determinism with in-deterministic statements.
        What Calvin called the “HORRIBILIS” (unpleasant offensive) decrees.
        In a way I have empathy for Calvinists.
        But that type intellectual dishonesty certainly is dishonoring for someone professing to be a follower of Jesus.

      8. ts00 writes, “As soon as the Calvinist is cornered with his obviously heinous theology, he pretends like his doctrine actually means exactly what his opponent believes.”

        This is not true for the great majority of Calvinists. You had a bad experience and that is unfortunate but I think RC Sproul accurately portrays current Calvinist doctrine. He lays it out and if you want to call it heinous, that is your prerogative, but your argument is against the Scriptures that Calvinist use in support of their doctrine.

      9. Actually I agree with Truthseeker 100%
        That is exactly the strategy I see Calvinists do all the time. Whenever the dark implications of determinism come under scrutiny – Calvinists scramble behind the camouflage of the very (in-deterministic) theologies they would otherwise accuse of being un-scriptural.

        Its all a part of their love-hate relationship with Theological Determinism and its dark-side.

        I think the only reason John Piper is as popular as he is – is because his every other sentence is double-speak.

      10. True about Piper. People read his non-Calvinist double-speak, and think, ‘Wow, that’s exactly what I think!’ They have no idea that an honest expression of Calvinistic theology would never allow much of what he, and other pop Calvinist teachers, teach.

      11. br. d
        The proof on the Piper idea is that he launched a campaign (and sold lots of books by the title) called, “Don’t Waste Your Life.”

        The entire book is about how you can choose to make a difference, change the course you are on, influence others…. impact their lives for the better (of course with the stated goal that they will do X if you do not help them do Y).

        The whole book is you-centered, man-centered….non -deterministic. He gets away with it cuz he has stated that his is a Calvinist so he can say what he wants about man’s free will (wink-wink). There is not one shred of deterministic-Calvinism in the book and I have listed many, many quotes from it (on these pages) that could be straight from an Arminian handbook.

      12. Once my eyes were open, I found myself wondering every single week how my former Calvinist pastor could say the things he said, and claim to be Calvinist. Our lack of piety could send millions to hell? (Didn’t God choose who would be ‘saved’ and who would not, and nothing could change that?) How he mourned over the many who would indeed go to hell? (Why would he mourn over the sovereign choice of God he was so thrilled about?) Sovereignty simply means that God ‘allows’ evil, rather than determines it. (If that were true, most believers could buy into Calvinism!) It is necessary to say such deceptive things, or the people in the pew get uncomfortable. These teachers appear able to lie without compunction, which deeply disturbs me. If they choose to believe horrible theology, the least they could do is be honest about it.

      13. TS00
        On a srting of this site I quoted at length the article (message) from Piper and desiringgod about Satan. It meanders in and out of saying God is in control ….Satan is under God’s control….Satan is “allowed” ….Satan is controlled….God does it all…. and on and on.

        Basically is it the say-whatever-you-want approach as long as you say “God is Sovereign so ‘necessarily……'”

      14. TS00,
        Here is the funny thing that happens.

        Calvinist say some kind of Arminian-sounding thing (I quote Piper doing it all the time) and then someone defends them by quoting an Arminian-esque verse. I sit there scratching my head. (((Which is of course our point—- Scripture does not back up what they say. They want a cake-and-eat-it-too scenario where…. de facto Calvinism is automatically right, and then all non-Calvinistic ideas are right too—cuz Scripture says so. Ps. That’s how they get their schizophrenic “God has two-wills” idea.)))

        For instance we call their bluff about determinism (all things immutably decreed/ decided/ ordained/ planned by God before time exactly how they will go) with Piper’s book called “Dont Waste Your Life.”

        Then we get some makes-no-sense defense like “salvation is monergistic, but sanctification is synergistic.”

        In determinism ALL things must “necessarily” (got to have that word) be monergistic. It just makes no sense to say, basically, “God is alone in the saving, but you must participate in the sanctifying.” You “must” …or what? You “waste” your life? You do something God “does not want”? But He always gets what He wants right? All things are what He planned right? All things are His sovereign will—even you wasting your life, right?

      15. Just a perfect example of what we have been describing. The old ‘Oh, Calvinism believes that (what scripture actually teaches!) too, we just have a different explanation for believing it.’ Even though it is antithetical to the foundational assertions of their theology. The foundational assertions that they are not stating upfront, and that too few in the pew understand properly, as they rely on whatever their preferred teachers say.

        What it mostly suggests is that their strategy cannot stand under careful scrutiny. Unfortunately, they can count on the fact that too few in the pew are willing to exert that sort of scrutiny. They succumb to the brainwashing, love-bombing, fear-mongering and all the other strategies of mind control that lead people, unawares, to beliefs without exerting the proper thinking necessary to arrive at well-grounded beliefs.

      16. Yes I totally agree.

        Calvinism has a library of double-speak talking-points strategically designed to annul all of the ethical questions that plague it.
        They memorize them – recite them – and then make-believe they annul the question.

        The problem is – those talking points are all self-contradicting.
        The defense then – is to simply refuse to see the contradiction.

      17. That’s exactly correct!

        rhutchin is often quoted “Calvin’s god MUST NECESSARILY determine *ALL* things which come to pass”

        Synergism in Calvinism is nothing more than painting a mask of in-determinism over the face of determinism in order to temporarily hide it. Calvinists have a love-hate relationship with the foundational core of their own doctrine.

        That is why Dr. Erich Fromm – Ph.D Social Psychologist – in his book “Escape from Freedom” wrote about the psychological affects of Calvinism.

        -quote:
        “As fundamental doubts result in a person’s quest for absolute certainty…..the doubt remained in the background of the believer’s mind, and had to be silenced again and again by an overgrowing, emphasis, that the religious community to which one belonged, represented that part of mankind which had been chosen by God.

        One possible way to escape this unbearable state of uncertainty and a paralyzing feeling of one’s own insignificance, is the very trait which became so prominent in Calvinism: the development of a hyper-activity and striving for productivity.

        Activity in this sense assumes a compulsory quality: the individual has to be active in order to subdue underlying feelings of doubt and powerlessness. This kind of effort and activity works to promote a sense of confidence and conciliation.” – Page 88

      18. FOH writes, “The whole book is you-centered, man-centered….non -deterministic.”

        An interesting comment coming from a former Calvinist. You know the Calvinist mantra – Salvation is monergistic; sanctification is synergistic. The “non-determinist” says that salvation and sanctification are synergistic. As both the Calvinist and the “non-determinist” say that sanctification is synergistic, we should not be surprised that both would address sanctification issues in a similar manner using similar language. You observe, ‘There is not one shred of deterministic-Calvinism in the book and I have listed many, many quotes from it (on these pages) that could be straight from an Arminian handbook.” Why would we expect to see a deterministic approach to sanctification when the Calvinist position has it being a synergistic process??

      19. rhutchin
        Why would we expect to see a deterministic approach to sanctification when the Calvinist position has it being a synergistic process??

        br.d
        Because the whole differentiation of monergism vs synergism in Calvinism is a semantic ruse.
        Calvinism is predicated on Universal Divine Causal Determinism 100%.
        Not 10%, not 50% – not 75%

        That’s what the word “UNIVERSAL” means – (i.e. without exception)

        Some Calvinists for example try to convince people that predestination applies only to salvation.
        But that is just another example of the Calvinists love-hate relationship with the determinism which permeates the system.
        Calvinists are always trying to escape determinism – the foundational core of their own doctrine.

        And that’s why John Calvin instructs them to -quote “go about your office *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part”
        Otherwise the Calvinist who sits at his computer addicted to porn would be asking his god why he fated him that particular sin on him.

Leave a Reply