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Calvinism and Reason

Discussion in 'Non-denominational' started by Received, Jul 3, 2003.

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  1. Reformationist

    Reformationist Non nobis domine sed tuo nomine da gloriam

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    Amen my brother!!
     
  2. franz_liszt

    franz_liszt New Member

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    Remember that this question is not one of Calvinist vs. Arminian, but Reformed vs. Dispensationalist. Calvinism is fully Reformed. Dispensational Calvinism has a number of problems.. I know because I used to be one and all of the problem passages that we called "Armininian proof-texts" were never adequately answered by any disp. calvinists. Defeat dispensationalism and you will defeat arminianism.
     
  3. Received

    Received True love waits in haunted attics

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    frumanchu and Reformationist,

    Given the immense length of posts here in response to my original topic, I ask humbly that some sort of mutual agreement be made in regards to your posts: perhaps you both could vote, rotate posters, etc. etc. My only point is that it becomes more and more difficult for a single poster to respond to such depth with the most thought-out and sincere responses. I have indeed fought through the post-gauntlet with a previous memeber (for giggles -- http://www.christianforums.com/showthread.php?t=39594&page=65&pp=10 ). Of course, I would rather not turn to utilitarian responses; and this I bring to you.

    I meant to say this; I apologize.

    (I pray you would keep in mind that I am not judging God's claims; only the doctrine that many interpret to be orthodox -- God, as we all know, is very likely beyond our meticulous philosophies) But men sin because that is their very nature -- as calvinist John MacArthur once said, men are not sinners because they sin; they sin because they are sinners. My point is that God brings the spirit of man into being with this in mind; and this idea added to the idea that men are blamed for doing something they cannot help, plus the fact that God knows from eternity past that He will certainly not save a great amount, seems absurd. God creates men who are under the disease of Adam, and through such men have no choice in the matter; He then eventually subjects them to eternal torment, blaming them on a basis they could by no means keep. This is the absurd part, from my comprehension. God is blaming men for His own act of bringing them into existence. This is not just.

    From what I perceive scripture to teach, choosing not to be 'in sin' (I do not juxtapose this with acts of sin; to act in sin is to do something you know to be wrong; to be 'in sin' is to be in that realm where faith has not yet touched; it is a condition of the soul) when one is indeed in sin is unbiblical. Romans 14:23 states that whatever is not from faith is sin; sin is the opposite of faith. And faith, we know, comes by hearing. In essence, a broken machine is blamed for not working as one that is in good condition. We cannot choose our beliefs; that is, we cannot will what we will hold our faith to. Only through understanding can this arise; belief follows.

    A man who violently injures his arm on a hiking trip may be presented with one solution: amputation of the limb, or else infection will spread throughout the rest of his body. Now, the act of cutting off one's arm is, in itself, evil; if we were to go about doing this to bewildered innocents, we would be placed in jail. But this act combined with the justification of after-effects -- saving the man's life -- is, in the end, good. This is all I am meaning here when I say that the benevolence of an action must be judged by its ends.

    But a sadist is a man of psychological corruption.

    A man without God will hold fast to justice but never practice the very thing he preaches; a man in accordance with His will does precisely the opposite. By stating that which is 'good', I am only stating that which is just, as well as other things, regardless of man's depravity, such as the natural loves, for example.

    As stated above, in order to have faith, you must believe; and belief is not in our power to will alone -- it must be based on understanding; and understanding, reason. The mind -- sans emotion -- is what we preach to, as well as the soul. Successful evangelists have been masters of persuasion, using fear and emotion all too often to bring one to the On who preached love. Sadly -- and paradoxically --, this is how, to a limited degree, my conversion came about. Of course, I never started acting as a Christian until I understood what I supposedly had committed my life to in the past. The mind is the soul of all understanding. Even the will is at the mercy of such an entity.

    My point was that the law of God -- i.e., that which is based on God's unchanging, perfect nature -- is different than specific willings of God, which, as we all know, are relative to conditions. By stating this I am hoping to allude to the fact that God's actions are based on goodness (i.e. His law); goodness is not based on His actions. With such an apprehension, justice -- that which depraved man and God hold in common -- is the goodness by which we measure actions. The idea of claming that God does X, thus X is justified holds no water, for an action cannot supersede our understanding of justice.

    I did say 'man's will, left to itself...' Of course, if God loves all, then response is the option by which man is given in accordance with God's universal attempt to save, and Hell becomes a place for those who will have nothing of God; a place, as Lewis said echoing Sartre, locked from the inside. My only point in this allegory was that it seems utterly absurd that God would have the capacity to save all, but refuses. A man who loves -- rather than a man who loves a specific group -- will not show partiality; likewise with a God of love (1 John 4:8), rather than a God who loves.

    But Reformationist, for obedience to be demanded of a group that needs a cure unable to be found by their own power is absolutely atrocious. It is, alluding to the previous story, similar to blaming a man for having cancer. This is an absolute logical contradiction, and quite rightly botched justice. How does it not?

    The idea of God being love does it for me; Calvin himself left this scripture reference out of his Institutes. Nowhere in scripture does it state that the very essence of God is wrath, or hate; and love itself is, as we all know, blind, regardless of its form (eros or charity). Election may by based on foreknowledge. To claim otherwise is, as I state sentences later in the passage you quoted, unjust, for God is willfully bringing into existence the one which He will blame for having a disease he by no means had a choice in. Quoting out of context, as you have done, is the only strawman here.

    This is the meat of the argument. Are we really held accountable for Adam's sin? Or are we merely held accountable for our own sins, apart from the act of Adam? How can you sin apart from being 'in sin'? By committing actions you know to be wrong. Jesus blamed the adulterous woman and the Pharisees, among others, for committing acts they knew to be wrong: adultery and pride. Does any New Testament author blame the sinful nature of man on man himself, rather than Adam? It seems not to me.
     
  4. Received

    Received True love waits in haunted attics

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    Note this: I am not calling the sinfulness of mankind unjust on the basis of the choice of Adam. I am only calling the doctrine that God creates men in this state and gives them no attempt to live unjust. We are not questioning God, Reformationist; we are questioning our very perception of Him, otherwise known as doctrine. I am absolutely sure He does not mind our questioning His acts on the basis that we could better understand His righteousness. Would you not agree?

    Aside from this, Adam being our representative, and his falling in such a state, means that we are not held morally accountable for his action (again, how could we be? To be held morally accountable you need a will that acts against what it knows to be wrong.), but we are born into the depth of his very mistake, imputing depravity into our very souls. A man who commits acts of homosexuality and contracts the AIDs disease is morally accountable for his action; a child that is born of him in later years who inherits such a disease is not held morally accountable. This is all I'm stating, trasposed, in relation to Christianity.

    Do you believe that men enjoy their broken souls? Being born in a world as chaotic as this is Hell enough, much less a claim that an eternal Hell of much worse condition is awaiting men who are born into such a place against their choice.

    Reformationist, we are getting ahead of ourselves here. It is 'shaky' because it is morally, and justly, absurd for someone to be forced into existence and ultimately be blamed for doing so. Grace is where is always is: God, and God alone. As one theologian stated, "The ability of a person to receive God's gracious gift of salvation is not the same as working for it. To think so is to give credit for the gift to teh receiver rather than to the Giver who graciously gave it." The only contingency in question here is whether God loves all; whether He desires all men to be saved (1 Tim. 2:4); whether He has shut up all in disobedience that He may show mercy to all (Romans 11:32); and whether He is indeed love (1 John 4:8), and not one who merely loves. You speak of God being 'obliged' to save men, yet this doesn't seem to fit well with me; I am not obliged to the love of my neighbor -- I am loved without extrinsic basis: for the sake of love itself, and for the sake of my very being. God saves men because He loves men; if He loves a handful, He is contradictory to the justice He holds dear, for He creates men He knows He will allow into Hell, without any choice of hope in regards to the created. Herein lies the paradox.

    But men are judged on the basis of their actions: Romans 2:6-10.

    Sovereignty does not negate justice, nor supersede it. This is all I am advocating.

    You cannot say you like apples over non-apples; if those who are now created never were created, they would not be aware of their own being, and thus the idea of righteousness being imputed to them means nothing.

    An object of material substance, certainly not (though, don't ask me how I avoided the first law of thermodynamics); a child made in my very likeness, absolutely.

    Fairness is tantamount to justice here, and such is the very stuff the law of nature Paul described in Romans 2 as being that which men without knowledge of the written law used as a basis of their actions. It seems unscriptural to claim we cannot know the workings of justice in combination with our reasoning. Also, nowhere do I read our rationality being depraved in scripture; only our hearts, and this is only so because of our broken souls. Fairness, objectively, is a rational concept, capable of being shrouded in lies. A child who commits a lie may lie yet again to save his own skin; but he knows it to be unjust to commit such an action, the first time as well as the second.

    You say 'chooses'; with this in mind, is it possible for men to attain salvation by their own choice of accepting God's sacrifice? If not, how can you say he has a choice to follow God? If so, what is the point of the cross? Motivation to live? If this is so, would you not consider it utterly unjust for God to blame a man for being in a state of psychological depression not of his own working? Such is the result of sinful nature, and is precisely what Christ came to cure (Matthew 11:29).

    This is clearly where we disagree; I believe that men emit transgression as the result of their spiritual death in relation to God; they are not spiritually dead in relation to God because they have transgressed: this was ultimately the work of Adam. You cannot get any further away from the absolute nonexistence of faith, as faith is the opposite of sin (Romans 14:23).

    But this law, echoing Lewis' claims, is relative to our morals. It literally tells us what is wrong when it is wrong; it is not a memorized law of sins (though certain sins are wrong in any instance, and thus belie this point, to a degree: murder, for instance). Paul seems to imply this point:

    "For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law." -- Romans 2:12 (NKJV)

    I follow the old fashioned Hobbesian understanding of guilt and law: that men can only be held accountable if there is a law they know exists prohibiting them to commit such an action. Paul goes onto state in the next three verses the idea that written law is not the end of man's capacity for justice and guilt. There is an unwritten law in man's mind: conscience. When a situation comes up, it is this that begs man to hold to that which is true. But man must first know that it is wrong in order for this even to get off the ground. Those who have never heard the word of God are exactly as Paul placed those who have never heard the written law of God; the law, among other things, is used to keep a nation in check from experiencing hardness of heart and complete misunderstanding of what may be wrong. Though they may not know certain things to be wrong, they are still being spiritually deprived for it. And this is why God instituted morals: to keep us spiritually healthy.

    My basic point is that sin is the result of a willed wrong choice. While men born into this world are innocent of any of their own sins, they are still sinners, for they are not in faith (again, the unsung verse, Romans 14:23), being born in the imperfection of Adam. Their very souls are perverted, and because of this, their hearts are bent on things unfitting for God, of which they are not held morally accountable for (for they may not know them to be wrong, or even exist). Man needs Christ in order to live; to become a self, as Kierkegaard would say; to have freedom of soul, and definite meaning in life -- it is the entire psychological field of Logotherapy, instituted by a Jewish Christian who underwent severity in the Death Camps, who begs this point to be seen: the soul cannot thrive without meaning. Apart from past teaching, the kingdom of God is not a realm to be exclusively entered after life; it is now -- the very essence of Heaven in the human heart and soul, much apart from the past claims of the human heart and soul entering heaven. The very idea of a kingdom implies this point, for a kingdom is nothing more than one's limitation of rule -- so it is with God. Being in sin -- or as Paul would say, being a slave to sin -- is precisely where this kingdom is not.
     
  5. Received

    Received True love waits in haunted attics

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    This actually is more along the lines of Molinism -- a revived theology that came about, ironically, the same time as Calvin's views did.

    The theory does not seem to crumble; you must keep in mind that the auditory stance of the gospel -- that men hear about a man named Jesus -- is not the gospel at all, but about how the person presents it. If the gospel is presented with appeals to fear and emotion -- as it has innumerable times in the past -- it is not being presented at all. Nonetheless, those who do hear the gospel and do nothing about it are simply those who hear about it and do nothing about it. It may be, among other things, God's revelation of how prideful and stubborn some people are to present a gospel of love to them and have them reject it, assuming that such people actually do comprehend the message of who Christ really was, biblically, rather than institutionally on the basis of biased scriptural interpretation -- as many have done.

    "This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil." -- John 3:19 (NASB)

    So far as I can see, the idea of fairness -- or justice -- is universal, regardless of moral standing. James Rachels, atheist philosopher who wrote excellently on cultural morals, admits very plainly that there are acts that are considered down and out wrong, regardless of cultural standing; among such, lying without reason was one, or killing without reason, etc. etc.

    You seem to miss my underlying point, which was precisely that sinful nature is the very result of Adam's disobedience. Men are thus born completely out of faith, and faith, as we have seen, is the exact opposite of sin (Romans 14:23). To have a man born into this world without a hope for a survival in relation to a past choice he had no say in is preposterous. God must either love all, and men reject Him; or He must refuse to create men, who would otherwise be created to be destroyed, as God is the very one who gives them life into this utterly confusing and vexating world -- this is common justice.

    Children are before an age of moral accountability; this is what Isaiah 7:16 teaches. Again, the seeming violence of an action cannot be judged in itself (unless you admit that God is a murderer and baby killer who destroys those He brings into existence); the killing of children born in corrupt nations may very well be a form of mercy, for God is saving them from experience the psychological turmoil that would otherwise arise on the basis of their upbringing. This itself is reason enough to consider the death of innocents justified. In regards to the Asyrians, their not being believers is irrelevant. They still did something utterly wrong that needed retributive punishment. And so it came.

    But all His other divine attributes are based on the unchangeable nature that Constitutes Him: love. God is love; nowhere else in scripture do we read that God is another attribute; certainly we read that His name (and better translated, 'His glory') is jealous, but this is only because this is how jealousy acts in the face of perfect love. Envy is the sinful perversion of otherwise moderate jealousy. God does not touch upon such.

    Indeed, based on psychological conditions. Fallen men knew the Nazi's to be wrong, while the Nazi's, in heat of their overzealous desires, did not consider it such. Yet we made an attempt to destroy that foundation. Why? Because they were wrong; and despite some who were in the wrong and considered it not to be such, those in healthy conditions were those who made the absolute, righteous decision to end all this. So goes with the idea of the Sadist.

    Let us not forget the broken soul of man in the equation. Men seek themselves prior to God because they have nobody else to choose; faith, as we have seen, is not something that can be willfully chosen -- it must be based on reason. Speaking of Russell, there were claims made that he was plainly a man filled with hatred. He perhaps reasoned away from God on this basis; but perhaps he didn't. There are instances where man may find himself further away from God on the basis of cognitive questions that frazzle his brain; Charles Templeton is perhaps the ideal, and I know very well that this has happened to me many times in the past. It is not a question, always, of man's morality, or what he desires; it is about what logotherapists call supermeaning -- those reasons that transcend our reasoning ability all together that justify seeming inconsitencies in various situations. Men who have a hunger in their soul will quite obviously try to find a solution, and it is this desire for meaning that supersedes even his willful depravity. Compare the claims of Russell with Thomas Nagel, contemporary strong atheistic philsopher:

    "In speaking of the fear of religion, I don't mean to refer to the entirely reasonable hostility toward certain established religions... in virtue of their objectionable moral doctrines, social policies, and political influence. Nor am I referring to the association of man religious beliefs with superstition and the acceptance of evident empirical falsehoods. I am talking about something much deeper -- namely the fear of religion itself... I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I kinow are religious believers. It isn't just that I don't believe in God and nautrally, hope there is no God! I don't want there to be a God; I don't want the universe to be like that."

    Compare this with a man who would otherwise accept Christian beliefs but is bogged down by rationalist arguments that the church by no means seems to nurture. Why would he even consider Christianity? Because his soul is out of whack, and he doesn't take delight in willful rebellion against that which would otherwise save him, in the hope that he will find ultimate meaning in life, and rest for his soul. Paul made it clear in Romans 17 that he is near every one of us, and hopes that we would grope for Him and find Him.

    Compare this idea with Proverbs 16:9 and the fact that God has intrinstic respect for man's choices; this can so very easily be the basis by which God ordains men to be in various offices.

    I disagree; justice is justice, regardless of our hypocrisy in regards to following what we blame others for disobeying. The entire first book of Mere Christianity seems to lay this out quite nicely.
     
  6. Received

    Received True love waits in haunted attics

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    Now, this is always where I have had the utmost trouble with calvinist theology. Certanly man is dead in relation to God on the basis of the sin he inherited, and certainly the just live by faith; but this does not mean that certain acts are, in themselves, good. A man who falls in love -- is not this love admirable, and even blessed by God (as Song of Solomon states)? Or a man who emits charity on the basis of sympathy; is this man not doing a good action? Certainly he may not be a good person; this we agree on -- this is because he is not living the life God intends for humanity. My definition of omnibenevolence comes from the simple fact that God is love, rather than a God who loves. Theologians who have attempted to explain away this reference only end in miserable tautologies. My other point is that my story was meant to be combined with the idea of God creating men He knows will never have a choice to find cure for the disease that they had no choice over. Apart from it, I was hoping to reveal how absurd it is for a person with the capacity to save men chooses willfully not to do so, regardless of their being made in His image (James 3:9).

    God has a right as far as righteousness is concerned; He cannot commit evils. I am quite frankly in the dark as to how it is justified that He could continously create men into this world knowing He will never have a desire to save them. 'Because God is God' is not an answer; justice is desired in itself.

    Indeed, as you say, man's nature is changed because of original sin. He sins because he is a sinner. With this in mind, how is it righteous for God to create a human being struck with the same disease as the remainder of mankind and only desire to save a handful, and ultimately blame the remainder, casting them into an eternal hell? I also do not understand how we are not condemned for Adam's sin? Men are born spiritually dead from birth; this is condemnation, and nothing more.

    I would hope it is for the sake of choosing goodness because it is good. If your motivation to follow Christ is a get-out-of-hell free card, and nothing more, where is your basis of love? The kingdom of God is now, not after death. Do you think the very idea of a darkened soul does not cry out for redemption, in this very lifetime?
     
  7. franz_liszt

    franz_liszt New Member

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    You are straying very close to, if not already in, the Pelagian heresy of denying original sin by asking if we all are really accountable for Adam's sin. This heresy was dealt with in the 5th century I believe. St. Augustine debated this man and Pelagius and his theology was officially declared heresy. Go back and study this issue. It may fall into the "foolish galatians" category. I write this only out of concern. If you are holding to a heresy I am sure that you would want to know and fix it as God holds no heretic guiltless- he who preaches a different gospel is condemned! I am not saying that you are right now a heretic. If you are not aware of the weight of your position then you, though not innocent, are not guilty of conscious heresy and thus being labeled a heretic and shut-off from God. But having been warned you must study and make a decision. I hope that you come to hold the position that we are all guilty through Adam. Romans clearly teaches this.
    Then again, reading your post again, I am not totally sure that this is what your saying. But the weight of this is such that if it is what you are saying, then it needs to be addressed. If I have misconstrued any held belief of yours, I most humbly apoplogize and beg your forgiveness and ask that you, in charity, understand that my intention was itself charitable and honest. I have no desire as some most certainly do to find "HERETICS" and publicly destroy them.
    In Truth and Love,
    JDag
     
  8. Reformationist

    Reformationist Non nobis domine sed tuo nomine da gloriam

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    I agree that there are things about God that are paradoxical or mysterious. He is not unknowable. This is the meat of the doctrine of God's incomprehensibility. As the great theologian R.C. Sproul said, "The incomprehensibility of God does not mean that we know nothing about God. Rather, it means that our knowledge is partial and limited, falling short of a total or comprehensive knowledge. The knowledge that God gives of Himself through revelation is both real and useful. We can know God to the degree that He chooses to reveal Himself. The finite can "grasp" the infinite, but the finite can never hold the infinite within its grasp. There is always more to God than we apprehend."

    I agree with this completely.

    Tell me why you believe it is absurd. Do you think that God, by virtue of being the Creator of the saved and the unsaved, is obligated to give the same measure of grace to all mankind? If so, where is that rule dictated in the Word? I can show you numerous examples where God gives one person a measure of grace that He does not give to another.

    A choice in what, whether they would have chosen differently? If that is your contention then please understand that you are contending that there is unrighteousness in God. If there was anyone who will ever exist, apart from God, that would have chosen differently then God made an unrighteous choice in appointing our representative. Regardless of your stance on the issues of the reformed faith, all Christian bodies, to include the famous C.S. Lewis, acknowledge that mankind as a whole was imputed with the penalty, whatever that penalty may be, for Adam's transgression. It's clearly stated in the Word so to deny it is ludicrous.

    God is God Received. Why He imputed the guilt, by way of representation, and the penalty for Adam's transgressions is not something that is explicitly spelled out in Scripture. What is spelled out clearly is that He did it. It pleased Him to do it because it was the righteous thing to do. It was a divine, providential, sovereign act of God's grace to allow men to Fall, thus paving the way for the glory of His Son to be revealed through the atonement. Question Him if you wish, that is certainly your perrogative, but you'll find no concrete answer, other than it pleased the Godhead in a holy and righteous way, as to why He chose to bring about redemption in the manner He did. That's definitely enough for me. I hold no doubt that had it been me instead of Adam I would have chosen the same as he.

    And how does one understand the Word of God to be the Truth and believe it is vox Dei, the voice of God, or berbum Dei, the Word of God? Is it because they persue the Truth and because of their pursuit God rewards them with belief? Is it because God gives them an effectual grace that not only enables one to believe but assures that they will?

    According to what? To try to apply this illogical means of determining good and evil to a biblical understanding of good and evil is silly. Good is determined by what is righteous and pleasing to God. What is righteous and pleasing to God is all the things that make up the very character of God Himself. The man in your story commits a justifiable act based on what he believes to be the correct action, i.e., amputate or die. He obviously doesn't want to amputate his arm but he would rather not die so he chooses what he considers the lesser of two evils. That senario has absolutely nothing to do with morality, thus it has nothing to do with "good" or "evil." We can, however, say that if the man wanted to save his life then he was justified in committing such an act.

    And this is different from any fallen man how? Fallen humans are people of psychological corruption. In our fallen state we seek that which is pleasing to us but not pleasing to God, to fulfill the lusts of our flesh. I don't mean flesh in a sensuous sense. I mean it in a fallen, corrupted sense as opposed to the things of the Spirit.

    Okay. I don't see the point you're making here.

    I agree completely.

    Again I agree. However, I believe you use the terms "mind" and "soul" inaccurate, at least in a theological sense. When the Bible speaks of the "heart" of a person it is almost exclusively speaking of his "seat of reason," not the muscle that pumps blood throughout his body. We often say we can understand something, on an intellectual level, with our minds but not grasp it with our heart. It's true that we have our own will. However, as you noted, our very will, and the actions that will provokes, is subject to that which we determine good and pleasing. Fallen man's will has been corrupted so that he never desires that which is righteous and pleasing to God, so, he never seeks to fulfill such endeavors.

    As I said before, there are three ways in which the Bible speaks of "the Will of God." There is God's decretive Will, by which all things, in some sense, come to pass. Creation is an example of God's decretive Will. This cannot be thwarted. If God decrees that something will come to pass then it will come to pass. There is His sovereign Will, which is His Law. We can, and often do, resist this. We regularly break His Law. He permits us to do so. His "permission" is not His granting of a moral right to break His Law but rather that He allows His Law to be broken. We may not, however, break His Law with impunity. We are answerable to God, whether we submit to that Law or not. And lastly is His Will of disposition. This Will describes God's attitude. It defines what is pleasing to Him. God takes no delight in the death of the wicked, yet He most surely Wills or decrees the death of the wicked.

    I agree. This seems to be the opposite of what you were earlier alluding to:

    This is what I'm talking about. Here, again, you seem to be saying the proper method for determining somethings inherent goodness is our ability to understand how it relates to justice. On the contrary, if all of God's actions proceed from His innate righteousness then we can logically conclude that if God does something then it is good because He is good. This does not make God arbitrary or capricious. Rather it shows that God is holy and just. It establishes everything we are able to stand upon, i.e., though we were dead in our sins, He made us alive in Christ because it pleased Him to do so. It pleased Him because it is the righteous and benevolent and merciful thing for a righteous and benevolent and merciful God to do. This is not because we are, or ever will be, worthy apart from Christ. It's because He is good and gracious that we are saved.

    I'm not sure if you're saying that you believe this but to me this is an outright denial of God's sovereignty. How can God "attempt" something and not accomplish it? If God could merely "attempt" to save us then the best we could hope for would be that He's successful but we could never be assured. God "attempts" nothing. What God Wills He accomplishes.

    Right away I get the feeling that you make this presumption based on a false foundation. You say that God "refuses" to save all men. This, to me, implies that you believe that all men seek salvation through Christ's atonement but God only selects some of those seeking Him to save. This could not be further from the Truth of Scripture. God casts out no one who seeks Him. What needs to be understood is that no one seeks God in their fallen state. No one.

    Let's approach this theologically. I know that I, and I assume you, believe that God has the ability to save all people. I also know that I, and again I assume you, believe that not all people will be saved. I say that the reason not all will be saved is because God does not sovereignly elect all unto salvation. I also believe that all those that God does sovereignly elect unto salvation will be saved, by the means and at the time that He has determined. What I'd like to know is, if you agree that God has the ability to save all but not all will be saved, why does God only save some?

    Why? God is our Creator. He is just. It is perfectly within His rights to demand obedience. You act as if God forces man to choose evil over righteousness. That's just plain unbiblical. Fallen man FREELY chooses to disobey God. What are we to say? If God made me this way then why does He punish me for it? Am I unable to resist His Will? Do any of those questions sound familiar. Why do you think a teacher par excellance, Paul, asked that question? He asked it, rhetorically, because he knew the objections that would be raised. Those are the exact same objections you are making in response to Calvin's view of the Gospel. God is just. God is our Creator. Therefore, He demands, and is perfectly within His rights to demand, obedience. He is not obligated to give us the grace to be obedient. He is obligated, because He is just, to demand our obedience. No one will be able to stand before God and say, "Hey, why are you blaming me? I'm only acting the way you made me act." God forces no one to sin. Fallen man does it freely and gladly.
     
  9. Reformationist

    Reformationist Non nobis domine sed tuo nomine da gloriam

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    Does what for you? You didn't answer my question. Where does it say that everything God does to all people is based on His love for them? Where? Again, I can point out numerous references that explicitly state that God hates certain individuals.

    This depends on what you mean by "foreknowledge." Just as a heads up, "foreknowledge" doesn't only mean "to know ahead of time." Are you contending that if God doesn't elect us based on what He knows we will do of our own fallen will then God is unjust? If so, you have just proclaimed some pretty spurious, Pelagian thoughts.

    How so?

    And that means what to you, that we are not born with a fallen nature?

    God bless
     
  10. Reformationist

    Reformationist Non nobis domine sed tuo nomine da gloriam

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    I agree that would be unjust. It's not what I profess, nor is it what Calvin professed. Your only "out" here is to either deny man's falleness or imply that God is unjust because He doesn't give all people the same grace. God does not stop the non-elect from coming to Him in faith. They just never will because they never desire it. Jonathan Edwards said, "We must always choose according to our greatest desire or inclination in a given situation." All people, unregenerate and regenerate alike, are desire driven. No unregenerate person ever desires to obey God so they freely choose to disobey God. God needn't work "fresh evil" into their already corrupted hearts. God is active in regenerating His elect and passive, as to action, in not regenerating the non-elect. He changes the elect. He does not change the non-elect. Both the elect and the reprobate act according to their desires. If we understand that THE thing that causes believers to desire obedience to God is His grace, which He was not obligated to give, then we can clearly see that God is not unjust for not giving His grace to some. He wasn't obligated to give anyone His grace. He gives salvitic mercy to His elect, non-justice, and gives justice to the non-elect. Neither party experiences acts of injustness from God.

    I absolutely agree that there is nothing wrong with striving to gain a greater understanding of God. However, you're outright saying that if God is a certain way, the way the reformed believe Him to be, then He is unjust. That is questioning God in an ungodly way. If you don't agree with my beliefs that is perfectly fine. However, to say that God would be unjust if I am right is to imply there is a possibility of God being less than perfectly righteous. I may not understand something but that has no bearing on whether God is righteous. That is a result of being a finite creature. To me this seems to be more of a case of not understanding reformed theology, Calvinism specifically, rather than disagreeing with it.

    Just so you know, I don't believe that God is obliged to love or save anyone so if that was what you understood then you misunderstood.

    So you believe that God loves all mankind, even those that go to hell? Two things. First, what is biblical "love" to you? Is it merely an emotion? Second, if God loves all people that ever have, and ever will exist, why does the Bible say otherwise and does that mean that God is eternally disappointed for what He, Himself, brought into being?

    What is the paradox, that God creates some people with no intention of bringing them to salvation, and thus He does not, and others were created to be redeemed for the glory of Christ? How is that a paradox?

    The only "children" made in the very likeness of God were Adam and Eve and God established a covenant of works with them. Do the wrong thing and you shall die. Do the right thing and you shall live forever. Again, unless we are talking about children, there has never been a person, aside from Christ, who has not earned death by their own actions. For God to destroy His own creation for breaking His Law is not unrighteous. It's justice. The very fact that He endures our sinfulness is a sign of His righteous mercy, not His unrighteousness.

    Agreed. What would be the Just thing for God to do to all law breakers?

    Received, our "heart" in Scripture is not the muscle that pumps blood throughout our body. It is our very being. Our "seat of reason" from whence all other things flow. Our minds are dengenerate. They are corrupted. A corrupted tree bears corrupt fruit.

    Any who are saved are saved because of the work of Christ. The merit for that work is applied to us when we put our faith in Christ as the atoning sacrifice. It is not our action of "putting our faith in Christ" that earns for us salvation but rather His perfect fulfillment of the covenant of works that Adam broke. However, the means by which God applies Christ's merit to us is through our putting our faith in Him. We don't "attain" salvation. We are given salvation because of Christ's propitiation.


    I can say it because the choice is before him. Choose to obey God or choose to rebel against God. The unregenerate man always does, and always will, choose to rebel against God. This choice is freely made in the sense that it is the product of an unregenerate will and not coercion by God.


    Then you blame God for the sinfulness of fallen man?

    So the determining factor in our guilt for our crimes against God's Law is whether we know that it's a crime? Pray tell, if that be the case, why in the world would anyone ever study the Word? It would only make them more accountable. Why would anyone tell anyone else about Christ? If they don't know, according to you, they aren't guilty. I don't understand where you get this at all.

    God bless
     
  11. Reformationist

    Reformationist Non nobis domine sed tuo nomine da gloriam

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    That is "men" universally. All fallen men, which is all men until they are brought back to life by God, despise the light that Christ casts upon them and their deeds. So, this doesn't answer my question. All people, in their fallen state, love the darkness. All people, in their fallen state, commit evil deeds. What I'd like to know is what is it that makes one fallen person who hears the Gospel accept it and another fallen person reject it? Is one smarter than another? Is one more righteous than another? What does one person accept the Gospel and another doesn't?

    God bless
     
  12. frumanchu

    frumanchu God's justice does not demand second chances Supporter

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    In a word, no. He is engaged in 'civic righteousness' but any work that is not done unto God is not truly a good work. It is only good in a relative sense.

    Jesus Christ spent more time during His Earthly ministry talking about Hell and condemnation than He did talking about Heaven. The Old Testament is jam-packed with examples of God's wrath and judgement. Yes, God is indeed love. But it is God's nature that defines our standard of love, not our standard of love that defines God's nature. God's love is one of many of His divine attributes, and it is one which exists in harmony and equality with His other attributes, not as His prime attribute to which all others must submit.

    And yet you must concede that this is so. By His very act of creating a man whom He knows will ultimately perish He is thus ordaining it, unless you wish to argue that God is under compulsion or obligation to create such a man, or that He does not possess the ability to foreknow the ultimate fate of the man. Further, your God not only condemns a man for his sins, but declines to anihilate him in favor of subjecting him to eternal torment. How can you reconcile this with your view of the God of love?

    You are questioning the divine right of the Creator...the right of the potter to do with the clay as He wishes. If you reject that as an answer that's between you and He, but His Word speaks directly to the matter several times over. It occurs to me that the primary difference between you and I is that you view the ultimate and root purpose of creation as a satisfaction of God's desire to be loved. I view the ultimate and root creation as being to glorify God.

    I don't think your issue is just with Calvinism, Received. I think your issue is with the doctrine of Original Sin. The elective purposes spelled out in Calvinist theology carry the assumption that man is sinful from birth. Arminians, Baptists and even the Roman Catholics affirm this. The doctrine of Original Sin is a foundational pillar of Orthodox Christian theology. Your posts do indeed sound very Pelagian in nature because your primary argument seems to be philosophical and not Scriptural or even theological except in the abstract.

    You missed my point. For all your proclamation of justice you post about a universalist position, which is the antithesis of justice. Justice unapplied is not justice at all. Not to mention the explicit statements in the Word regarding the ETERNAL torment of the unredeemed. And as I mentioned above, Christ spoke more about Hell than He did about Heaven.

    As far as a motivation to follow Christ, what better motive is there than the realization of one's reprobate state and the ultimate penalty he faces in his sinfulness? We choose Christ because we need a Savior, not a role model. We OBEY Christ out of love.
     
  13. nobdysfool

    nobdysfool The original! Accept no substitutes!

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    I'm picking just one thing in your post to discuss, that of Adam being a "moral representative" for all mankind. I don't hold that view. I think it has some problems, in that it does not answer exactly why all mankind became sinners. If you say it was by imputation, on what grounds? Because we are human too? That would not be enough of a reason. Because God decreed it? Then God would be unjust, because He just decided that we were to be born sinners through no fault of our own.

    I believe we were all literally "in" Adam when he sinned. Genetically, at least, that can be proven. And possibly it is a genetic thing as much as a spiritual thing. That's not my point. In scripture, Adam and Christ are contrasted and compared, the First Adam and the Last Adam. "As in Adam all die, so in Christ all are made alive." This is key. This is an exact parallel. God sees man as either "in Adam", or "in Christ". We're in one or the other position, depending on whether we have been born again or not. Several other passages lend weight to this idea. This is one: Hebrews 7:9-10 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.


    In the same way that we, as Christians, are partakers of Christs' death and resurrection, so we were partakers of Adam's sin, and therefore whatever happened to Adam happened to us, the same as in Christ, whatever happened to Christ happened to us. We are joined together with Christ in His death, Burial, and Resurrection. We are joined to Him now as He sits on the right hand of God the Father. We are seated with Christ in the Heavenlies. It is this same kind of joining that we had with Adam before the new birth. The parallel is exact, and speaks to why unregenerate man is the way he is, how he got that way, and how we are forgiven, justified, and reborn in Christ. 1 Corinthians 6:17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.


    I think this a more precise view than the representative, or "federal" view, and certainly doesn't contradict Calvinist thought at all, but in fact would reinforce it.
     
  14. Reformationist

    Reformationist Non nobis domine sed tuo nomine da gloriam

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    Okay. :)

    Then, as a believer, what are the grounds for Christ taking upon Himself your sins? Were you "in Christ" when He lived a life of perfect obedience and died a righteous death? Why was Christ imputed with your, and all other believers, myriad of sins? There is a theory, I just read about it in Chosen by God, R. C. Sproul but I can't seem to remember what it is, that the reason we are culpable for the sins of Adam is that we were spiritually present with him and actually committed the first human act of transgression right along with Adam. Sort of a "pre-existant existance." In that theory we merited the imputation of Adam's transgression because we committed that transgression right along with him. As far as the imputation of Adam's fallen nature I would have reiterate my original question. Unless you believe that we actually committed that act of transgression right along with Adam and are thus personally morally accountable then I'd have to ask what the basis for your justification would be. If it is unjust of God to sovereignly impose a punishment upon the descendants of Adam for Adam's personal sin then, by that reasoning, wouldn't it be unjust of God to impose a punishment upon Christ for your sins and equally as unjust to impose upon you the mercy that Christ merited on your behalf?

    Here's the "no fault of our own" thing again that I seem to be failing to understand. We are not guilty of the sin of Adam because we personally committed it but because God sovereignly appointed Adam as our moral representative. The only way that I can see to deny this is deny that Adam was a righteous choice to represent us. It seems as if many Christians believe they would have chosen differently. Don't you see the inherent judgment on God in that belief? If anyone, and I mean any person who ever existed aside from Christ, would have chosen differently then God arbitrarily or capriciously appointed our representative and blamed us for his failings. I just don't personally see that as a possibility.

    So do you believe in the theory that I was alluding to before, that man had a sort of pre-existant existance and are personally culpable for the sin of Adam because we all personally committed that sin right along with Adam?

    The parallel that is drawn here is a reference to the roles of each representative, Jesus and Adam. Adam represented all of created humanity. Christ represented those for whom God sent Him to die. Obviously the death of Christ could have atoned for alot more than Adam's fall affected, if that were the intent in His being sent. The point is that Adam represented all and so all fell, while Christ represented the sheep of the flock of God and in Him all those sheep are made alive.

    I would say that God either sees man as "in Christ" or "not in Christ." Those not in Christ are of their father the devil. If by "in Christ" and "in Adam" you merely mean to differentiate between those who have been regenerated unto life [in Christ] from those who have not [in Adam] then I'd say I agree.

    I may have missed your whole point and if I did I apologize. It seems as if the "meat" of your disagreement is that we can only be held morally accountable for a transgression if we personally participate, so, we were, at least, spiritually present with Adam and committed the sin with him. Is that your point of view?

    God bless
     
  15. nobdysfool

    nobdysfool The original! Accept no substitutes!

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    Well, God seems to look at it as though we were there when Adam sinned, and I cited a scripture that indicates that as far as God was concerned, Levi paid tithes in Abraham to Melchizedec, stating that Levi was in Abrahams loins when Abraham did so. The clear inference is that Levi was counted as having done so as well, even though he was not yet born.

    You refer to being "spiritually present"...what does that mean? The point is physical presence, and I think God is clearly saying it is at the genetic level, in the only way He could to people who were millennia away from understanding genetics. This is a classic example of imputation. Abraham's Righteous act was imputed to Levi, on the basis of Levi being "in Abraham". Imputation does not make a person sinful, or righteous. It only "accounts" them as being such, and indicates that they will be treated as such. Imputation is how Christ was charged with our sin. Imputation is how we are charged with Adam's sin and its judgement, and also how we are accounted righteous in Christ. The "mechanics" of it involve the fact of our literal joining, physically to Adam, and spiritually to Christ. John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

    1 Cor. 6:17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

    The reason you wrestle with it is because the Holy Spirit is trying to tell you it's wrong. The whole idea of representation is wrong. I'm giving you a scriptural view. It is our primeval existence in Adam which makes us sinners with his sin. All of Adam's reproductive seed possessed no individuality or separate humanity while inside him. Since it was inside Adam when he sinned, it participated in Adam's act of disobedience along with every other cell within Adam's body. All those who issue from that primeval substance (Adam's seed) share in Adam's sin, imputation, and its consequences.
    Not quite. We were primevally existant in Adam when he sinned, and as such share the results of his sin, the imputation of his sin, and its consequences. You could actually say that Adam's sin affected him all the way down to the genetic level physically, as well as the spiritual consequences. It is a biblical principle that living beings reproduce after their own kind. That would indicate that it is impossible for a sinful being to have offspring that are not sinful, and we know that to be true.
    We are the seed of Adam, are we not? That's how we are born. but scripture says we as Christians are the "seed of Christ",
    Psalm 89:27-29, 36
    Also I will make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth.
    My mercy I will keep for him forever, And My covenant shall stand firm with him. His seed also I will make to endure forever, And his throne as the days of heaven.


    His seed shall endure forever, And his throne as the sun before Me;
    (Obviously talking about Christ, and His seed.)


    and that His seed abides in us.
    1 John 3:9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.
    How? When we are born again, our spirit is joined with Christ's Spirit.
    1 Cor. 6:17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

    When we are joined to the Spirit, we share a limited common identity with the Spirit, and afterward are regarded as the "seed of God" along with the Spirit.
    In essence you've grasped the gist of it. Your third statement is the correct understanding of what I was saying.
    I wouldn't say spiritually present with Adam, but actually primevally physically present. As such, what happened to Adam happened to us. We got the whole ball of wax from Adam: sin, imputation, and judgement.

    God Bless...
     
  16. Reformationist

    Reformationist Non nobis domine sed tuo nomine da gloriam

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    The "clear inference" is that we, just as Levi paid tithes through Abraham even though he was not personally present, committed the offense against God because we are the progeny of Adam. According to your analogy, which I don't necessarily disagree with, Levi was "personally guilty" of having paid tithes to Melchizedec because of his relationship to Abraham. Granted, in this case, being "personally guilty" is not a bad thing. However, because we are all the seed of Adam then, by that same virtue, we are "personally guilty" of not redering unto God the obedience He demanded, even though we were not personally present.

    I was just trying to relay a theological belief, though I still cannot remember what it is called, that some hold. I don't believe we had a "pre-existant existance" that makes us personally culpable of Adam's transgression. I believe that, by virture of being the progeny of God's sovereignly and righteously appointed representative, Adam, we are all personally responsible for his transgression. This, I believe, is backed up by the Scriptural example of Levi that you provided. As I said, merit for tithing to Melchizedek was given to Levi personally because of his relationship to Abraham.

    I'm not so sure we even disagree on this but I'm still unsure of exactly what you mean by "in Abraham" or "in Adam" or "in Christ." I agree that the merit for the righteous actions of Abraham were imputed to Levi. If by, "in Abraham," all you mean is that Levi was the genetic offspring of Abraham then I'd have to say that that does not address the fullness of imputation in a theological sense. We, believers, are not "genetically" the seed of Christ, at least not in the biological sense, yet we are imputed with the righteousness of His righteous works. That is, we are given credit for His works.

    I agree completely. However, the Fall did not result in just the imputation of the guilt of Adam's sin. Original sin is not so much a reference to Adam's sin as it is a result of Adam's sin. It is a reference to the state in which we are born due to Adam's transgression, a fallen state. I am not saying that we are personally, morally accountable for having committed the first act of human treason. Rather, I am contending that we are personally guilty of having committed that act by virtue of being his progeny, just as Levi was "personally merited" with having paid tithes to Melchizedek.

    I agree.

    Huh? I don't "wrestle" with my view. I am "wrestling" with your view. Does that mean the Holy Spirit is telling me that your view is wrong?

    LOL! This is a bit more condescension than is necessary. I believe that I, too, am giving you a Scriptural view. Just because my view isn't the same as your's doesn't mean that mine is not Scriptural.

    Again, I don't think we are saying anything that is that different. Yes, we are all genetically the offspring of Adam and Eve. Yes, Adam's seed is the means God has ordained through which to impute the fallenness of mankind. I don't dispute any of that. What I am taking issue with is that you seem to be saying that it is wholly a genetic issue. IOW, since all people ultimately issue from the reproductive seed that Adam possessed at the time of his transgression then that is the reason we are all personally culpable. IOW, we were genetically present and personally committed the original act of treason against God because we, in our original, most basic sense, issue forth from the reproductive seed that was present at that time. That, to me, is not Scriptural. We can't apply that same genetic understanding of culpability to our redemption because none of us are the product of the genetic seed of Christ. We weren't "in Christ" when He committed His works of righteousness, except for in a predestined sense. We can't refer to Romans 5 and equate the concept of being "genetically there" when we read, "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam." We are not held accountable for the transgression of Adam because we were there genetically, in the form of Adam's present reproductive seed as you are contending, or spiritually. We are held accountable because God sovereignly appointed a representative for us in the form of the first human. That God decreed that that fallenness would be transmitted through that same person's reproductive seed isn't the thing that makes us personally culpable. We are personally culpable because Adam acted on behalf of all those that came after him through his seed, which is everyone, just as Christ acted on behalf of those who were chosen by God to be represented by Jesus.

    I assume you don't mean to imply that Christ could not have been born of Mary unless Mary was sinless, right?

    Genetically yes.

    Yes, but in this case the "incorruptible seed" is not a genetic one, at least not in the sense of biology as it was with Adam.

    Well, I guess we're in agreement, for the most part.

    So we are personally culpable because all of mankind was "primevally physically present" in the reproductive seed of the transgressor? I'm curious why you seem to need for man to have been personally present, in some form, for God's action of imputating the Fall to be righteous yet you don't seem to need to apply that same requirement for being redeemed. Maybe you could explain that to me.

    God bless
     
  17. nobdysfool

    nobdysfool The original! Accept no substitutes!

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    Essentially, yes. The principle I wanted to illustrate here is that in the case of Levi, he was imputed with the benefit of having done a righteous act. In the same way, we we were imputed with the result of having done a sinful act, in Adam. Imputation works both ways, and the imputation is based on the location of the one the result is being imputed to. Levi was counted as having tithed because he was "in Abraham". We are counted as having sinned because we were "in Adam".


    In the case of Abraham and Adam, yes, I mean in a genetic sense, because that's really all it can mean. While we are not "genetic" offspring of Christ in the physical sense, we are in the spiritual sense. Even though we were not joined to Christ at the time He walked the earth, died and rose again, we know that all the sacrifices in the OT pointed forward in time to Him, and all the salvation of men since then point back in time to Him, I see this to mean that in the spirit, time is meaningless, and therefore as we are joined to Christ in spirit, and by the Spirit, we are counted as having been there, and "in Him" when those things took place. That being so, our forgiveness is based on the fact that as Christ died, so did we. As Christ rose, so did we, to newness of life. As Christ ascended so shall we, when He returns for us. We are the spiritual offspring of Christ, who is called the Firstborn. We all know that no one is born a Christian by phsyical birth, but all Christians have been born again, the second birth being a birth of the spirit, by the Spirit, and in the Spirit.

    In the Spirit, our sense of linear time does not apply, so that what to our view is a past event becomes very much a present event in the Spirit, in its application and result. And a portion of that application is yet future from our view in linear time, but in the Spirit it is a present event, that of the redemption of our bodies upon Christ's Return.

    I don't understand the representative idea. It seems to me as though it was noticed that Christ and Adam were paralleled in scripture, and since it appeared Christ was merely a representative, it was reasoned backwards and decided that Adam must have been a representative as well. In reality, the understanding should have been, that since we were literally "in Adam", then for this parallel to be true, we must find how we could literally be "in Christ". Since scripture must be true, then it falls to the one studying to find out how being "in Christ" can be a parallel to being "in Adam". I believe I have shown how this could be.

    We're not that far apart on this, I think it's just a matter of seeing the connection in the Spirit which parallels the connection in the physical. For me it answers a lot of nagging little questions I've had in my mind, and also has strengthened my understanding of how I can come boldly before God in prayer. It also answers to the whole issue of man's role vs. God's role in salvation, and it's certainly not at odds with the Calvinist view, although I think it may weaken the Arminian view just a little...:D


    Precisely! Mary was the first surrogate mother. That which was conceived in her womb was not of any fallen human genetic material, either from Mary or from Joseph. Mary was the vehicle through which an entirely new race was born. Jesus was called the Second Adam. He was as human as you or I physically, but He was not gentically linked to the current races of humans. His body was an entirely new body, created sinless, in order to be able to live sinless. Only God could create a new human, alike in every way to the first, but without the sinfulness of the first.

    Correct. The difference is that while we were in Adam according to the flesh, we are in Christ according to the Spirit.

    John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

    Our physical birth was that of the flesh, but our spiritual rebirth was that of the Spirit. The parallel holds up, it just shifts from a physical to a spiritual means, but the method remains the same. I don't think we disagree that scripture says we're "in Christ" as Christians. I believe this explains what that actually means.

    I didn't get it overnight, but when I saw it, a whole lot of things suddenly made sense that I didn't understand before. I actually must give credit to my brother, an ordained man of God, and a Greek and Hebrew scholar, for much of this that I have been sharing. He and I debated these things out, much as you and I have been doing, and it was during one of our debates that "the light went on" so to speak. Truth is liberating. That's one of the things I look for in doctrinal discussion and debate. I found this to be so liberating, so refreshing to my heart, that I had a sense of "the Spirit bearing witness with my spirit", in the same way that the Holy Spirit bears witness within ourselves that we are the children of God. Even the terms we use to refer to Christians actually speak to this:

    "Children of God";
    "Heirs of God"
    "We are His offspring"; Acts 17:28, 29
    Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father."
    Galatians 4:5b-7 ...that we might receive the adoption as sons.
    And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
     
  18. Reformationist

    Reformationist Non nobis domine sed tuo nomine da gloriam

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    Well, thanks for sharing. You have a good night. :) :wave:

    God bless,
    Don
     
  19. Received

    Received True love waits in haunted attics

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    And I can show you numerous theologies that attempt to get around this claimed contradiction to a God of love; even the many I certainly do not agree with. But here I think lies our problem: we view God in two fundamentally different ways -- I view Him as a God of love, who cannot help but love, just as much as He cannot help but be light and spirit, as quoted by John as other essential qualities of the divine, and whose very experience gives man a universal desire to save, and love, mankind; to quite frankly will-to-good that is essential to one's character: agape love, transcending affection, friendship, and eros. This is the basis of our theological differences. Nevertheless, I still consider it somewhat incorrect for God to be 'obligated' to save anyone, simply because the idea of love is not something someone is 'obliged' to. As I said previously, I am not obliged to be loved by God anymore than I am one of my many acquiantances; it is not about desert at all. With my view of the divine in mind, it would be utterly contradictory for Him to create men without a desire to save them; and even apart from my views, it would be unjust for Him to create them without a decent chance, or even ability, to grasp for Him, being forced into existence by Him, and under the condemnation of a sin he did not bring into this world. Even if we take out the claimed guilt from Adam's sin out of the equation, you still have the idea of men being condemned to an eternal Hell for existing on this earth and missing perfection. I am of the philosophical camp that it would be absolutely impossible for God to create a man with freedom and see this being not sin, even in a very short time. Our imperfection -- given our design by God in this world -- is very well inevitable; and it is our venturing of evil -- and for those who refuse to repent, their freedom to find eternal Hell -- that eternally makes the blessed in value of the very creation God has bestowed upon them.

    Say what you will, Reformationist, but you must admit that our fundamental differences keep us from agreement. There are a plethora of great thinkers and saints who have held the view of universal love, just as there have been a plethora who have not. Theological interpretation itself is not the problem.

    I am yet to find it, Reformationist. As Romans 5 says, man sinned in Adam; but Adam chose. We gain the universal psychological darkness and imperfection of the moral choice that Adam chose, and through obeyance of the moral law, we form our spirits accordingly, relative to our soul's condition.

    Where was the guilt imputed? The destruction of imperfection was imputed, certainly. But to claim guilt is to imply moral choice; and we as humanity had no choice in the matter; we inherited it.

    I have my views, Reformationist, but it would be much better not to state them, for they are, by all means, in the realm of possibility. Nevertheless, I pray that you realize that the capacity for epistemological comprehension is not the capacity for truth itself; that is, what we do not know does not negate that possibility of truth, as of yet unknown, existing. Logotherapists call this idea the supermeaning. One step at a time.

    Goodness is desired in itself; as with the case of justice. Goodness is essential to God; God is not essential to goodness. This is the view of divine essentialism. Socrates proved this years ago, and I am yet to hear of a theistic philosopher, or theologian with philosopic traning, hold to the view that you propose. Scripture is silent on the matter. Combine this with my previous post and you have your answer; disagreement is according to fundamental views; and these we cannot solve here. I advise reading Euthyprho, or perhaps touching up on the works of philosophic theologians.

    Not if justice is good in itself. Fallen men hold justice and love, to name a few, as good in themselves. Justice is how God judges the world; it would indeed by difficult to imagine how God judges a human being according to a standard he by no means understands. This, of course, is a side point.

    Eeeeee, I think we disagree again, Reformationist. Dallas Willard does a good job of devoting an entire book to the different aspects of the person. In scripture, the heart refers to the will of the person; his very spirit -- the three are synonymous. The soul is the very life-force of the being; it is that which integrates, correlates, and enlivens (to use Willards words) the other aspects of the person. The mind is the seat of reason; the heart is completely individual to it, and its tasks. Now, I agree that we are corrupt, and, left to ourselves, cannot please God. But a man who apprehends the message of the Cross -- that God came to earth to redeem mankind to himself, giving him meaning and rest for his souls -- certainly realizes that what he views as his life (plainly, a life not in faith) is contradictory to God's desire for perfection, and it is on the basis of appropriate, and biblical, teaching, as well as the depth of this man's depravity thus far -- these two aspects are what would otherwise shape his potency for finding God, for through these things he relates his soul's, and mind's, desire to find rest and meaning, and thereby submits accordingly. Keep in mind that this is a theological perspective. It is reason that keeps the will from continuing as it has been; we notice this in life all the time. A man stops stealing because he realizes that stealing is wrong; a woman stops her acts of gossip because she realizes that her claims have hurt people she may or may not be fond of; a man who wants to sleep feels such a way because his body gives him a reason to commit such an action. And so on. Man, left to himself, hates God. But the question is whether God allows men to be left to themselves. And again we are back at the fundamental question of whether God is love, or one who loves.

    This is not contradictory. I am only advocating that what is of God's law -- or essential nature -- is also a part of man's makeup -- even depraved man (justice, love, etc.). Would you not agree?

    If God's actions process from His innate righteousness then, indeed, whatever God does is good -- how could it not be; but we are not talking about God directly, here; we are talking about different interpretions of the divine. I am trying to figure out how the idea of imputed guilt can be just (among other things), and therefore how it can be a part of God (or how it may be a theological mistake). etc. etc. etc.

    The limitations of God's sovereignty does not depend on the question as to whether God would allow certain men to, through the very freedom that makes them most like their creator, deny to repent. Just as a teacher gives a student a test with weeks in advance to study; it is up to the freedom of the student to give the effort needed to pass. So it is with God's omnipotence and our choices. The arminian view of Hell -- despite the fact that many arminians seem to, at least subconsciously, believe that God has limited sovereignty in relation to soteriology -- seems the ultimate response, the other choice being universalism. Philosophers such as Eleonore Stump, and writers such as Lewis, seem to have planned a decent game plan as to how a Hell depicted in the bible (as being metaphorical), can come out to be without God actively torturing those in such a place. This, of course, is a thread in itself. The ultimate idea we must grasp is that that which God wills may be man's will in itself; and however man ends up, he ends up; God's subjection of their placement in life is just, and their judgment according to such is just (proverbs 24:12).

    God casts out no-one who seeks Him, but, according to Calvinistic (and originally, Augustinian) thinking, only God can give the desire for one to come to Him. God still has the ultimate power, in this view of theology, to save all men; He still seems to refuse.
     
  20. Received

    Received True love waits in haunted attics

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    [Continued from previous post]

    Mmmmm, I don't believe this, Reformationist -- that God has the ability to save all, but not all will be saved. I believe that man's will is somewhat in the picture. How far is beside the point, and individual to this discussion. I place more emphasis on Paul's claims in Acts 17 rather than his claims in Romans 3; though I do believe in both (again, another thread).

    But to demand obedience from a group that is unable to get it is like demanding a cancer patient to be cured when they by no means can do such. Now, man does evil, certainly. But that which he can be held accountable for is that which he knows to be wrong. Paul actually brought up this idea:

    "What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, "YOU SHALL NOT COVET." But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good." -- Romans 7:7-12 (NASB)

    My claim is this: though man is 'in sin', under the condemnation revealing itself through the soul's depravity, on the basis of his not being in faith (Romans 14:23), he is judged according to that which he is morally capable of grasping. This is why children are not condemned to Hell -- they are not within the age of accountability (Isaiah 7:16). But to claim that men are called to obedience but are, according to Calvinistic teaching, unable to do so, is unjust, for the very capacity to obey is founded only in salvation, and this is in the hand of God, to be accepted or rejected by man. Fallen man does not -- in an ultimate sense -- freely choose to disobey God if the means to ultimately pleasing Him (faith through Jesus Christ) are within the hand of God to offer. He cannot help his position. How can he? Of course, this goes with my original question as to how a just God can condemn men to an eternal Hell if they have no basis for rejecting Him. The arminian bent perfectly provides this, however. It claims that the doors of Hell are locked from the inside -- men reject God to the point of hardening their own hearts beyond redemption.

    By the very statement of freedom one implies choice, not degree. Men without Christ, according to Calvinism, are free to sin deeper and deeper, but are not free to accept Christ unless God Himself draws them. Obedience is only possible through the cure; without faith it is impossible to please God. To claim otherwise is to run into logical contradiction.

    Here: "God is love..." (1 John 4:8). John makes it explicitly clear that God does not love, but is essentially, and fundamentally, love. It is, if you will allow the paradox, what constitutes the Divine. I honestly don't know why you would need more evidence. But you can certainly view scripture one of two ways in dealing with this idea: from the judgement of man from God to God Himself, or from God Himself to the judgment of man. By stating verses that you claim support the idea that God is not love, and thus does not love mankind, you are adhering to the former approach; and this is futile. It is looking from the outside, in; like judging a man by his deeds rather than his heart (for anyone can play masquerade). It is also easy to see that God's actions of judgment in specific scriptures is based on His love for them, as I argued earlier. What more proof do you need?

    These thoughts are not finished, obviously; and I care not about man's views of heresy, for I am of an honest heart; and this God judges men by. There was a time when the views of Luther were seens as heresy.

    And in regards to the word 'foreknowledge', I look simply at the etymology of the word: 'fore-know' -- to know something in advance. You can only know what has already happened, or what truly exists. To foreknow something means to have an advanced perspective on things, of which only God (and the prophets He provides) has. To predestine according to foreknowledge is equivalent to saying you destine according to knowledge. God's predestination -- according to one view -- is simply His view from eternity past of those things worked out in accordance, and with intrinsic respect for, the acts of man, made in His image, in the ontological perspective of man. Of course, there are certainly instances in scripture where election does not refer to the soteriological realm. And then you have the fact that the bible places very little emphasis on the idea of predestination, making the idea of such a theological constituent of seeming minor importance -- at least much less than our outspoken Calvinist preachers and teachers have claimed in the past. However, this is a paper in itself.

    And I would beg, beg, beg you that we could keep this to another thread; perhaps to start when the mammoth we have here is finished. But of course, I respect your choice as well.

    You took the implications of my story out of context. I went on later to say something to degree of 'if you add the claim of an eternal hell to this equation, it seems absurd'.

    This is the meat of the argument. Are we really held accountable for Adam's sin? Or are we merely held accountable for our own sins, apart from the act of Adam? How can you sin apart from being 'in sin'? By committing actions you know to be wrong. Jesus blamed the adulterous woman and the Pharisees, among others, for committing acts they knew to be wrong: adultery and pride. Does any New Testament author blame the sinful nature of man on man himself, rather than Adam? It seems not to me.


    But being born with a fallen nature is not tantamount to saying one is born with a feeling of guilt. As I have argued in the past, we are born with the psychological perversions of Adam, thereby inflicting our wills, but without moral responsbility (see my quote of Romans 7 above). Does this mean that we do not sin? Absolutely not! All have sinned -- Romans 3:23. We are, by all means, as Lewis claimed, bent on sinning. We are in a state of such imperfection, with such a law as hard as nails as it is, that it is impossible to live an entire second without being revealed something to be wrong -- at all angles --, as this is precisely what sin is: the act of commiting imperfection when we know what perfection begs of us. But many times this calling is simply fantastic. A man may hear that pornography is wrong, but given his depression of soul and nature to lust (such is indeed one of the most popular attempts to release the tension of stress, frustration, and any form of psychological depression), it would be impossible (in actuality -- certainly, in theory it is not, for we are all free creatures); even Christians struggle with this! This entire paragraph constitutes what is the utter impossibility of attaining perfection by our own merits. All men need a savior, for their minds, hearts, and their very rest of soul. But according to Calvinism, only some are given the offer, even though all men are forced into existence by a perfect God, under the sinful depravity of an imperfect man. It is arrant nonsense (my opinion) for God to knowingly create men in such a condition of despair and ultimately blame them for committing the acts of imperfection they by no means had the ultimate reason to obey, given this despair.

    But the non-elect cannot come to Him by faith because it is, according to Calvinism, the very gift of salvation itself that encompasses faith as well. God gives them the desire to stop them from desiring that which would otherwise keep them from ever coming to Him, am I correct? I very well may not be. I am simply arguing that there is a logical contradiction here if you claim that man can come to God in faith being the non-elect, and that God alone chooses who will come to salvation. God determines man's salvation, or man, to a degree, determines the limitations of God's salvific offering, all, of course, ordained by Him. For God to determine man's salvation, He must give him the faith required to come to Him. Is this not what you believe?

    I am not questioning God in an ungodly way, for I am not acting from an immoral stance -- that is, I do not know the doctrine of calvinism to be the biblical stance and am purposely holding this in for some perverted desire. But, this we must agree on, one side is incorrect in their fundemental views. I am working on figuring this out. However, God cannot exist and be unjust; there are only unjust views of the divine: subjective interpretations of the absolute objective. All I am saying when I claim the God of reformed theology is unjust is that the theological perspective thus far instituted by the reformed church may have some theological gaps, and not wrong completely. I am critiquing a view of God; not God Himself. The view is what is open to fallibility.

    God saves men because He loves men; if He loves a handful, He is contradictory to the justice He holds dear, for He creates men He knows He will allow into Hell, without any choice of hope in regards to the created.
     
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