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Free will or predestination?

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by Brother_Kane, Jul 28, 2021.

  1. NotreDame

    NotreDame Domer Supporter

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    Respectfully, my thoughts exactly about what you said regarding the Roman’s verse. Your depraved mind=not acknowledging God is rather irrelevant as it pertains to the verses since the people were already not acknowledging God when they were turned over to a depraved mind. Which leads me to the next point of:

    And your notion a depraved cannot/difficult to acknowledge God isn’t supported by the verses. To the contrary, a part of a depraved mind is acknowledging God.

    We are defining a phrase. The phrase is free will. Isolating the individual word and determining its individual meaning is misplaced. Just as it would be misplaced to understand the phrase “stop light” by obsessing over the individual meaning of the word “stop” and/or “light” and think the phrase is accurately understood by doing so. It is also misplaced to obsess over the individual word “free” for the phrase “free speech” and think doing so tells us what the proper understanding of the entire phrase.

    Free will is understood as the person, oneself, is the cause for the decision or action. This phrase and its understanding is contrasted with determinism and/or predestined. The latter two say the person isn’t the cause for their decisions, actions, but external factors caused the person to act, decide, like strings to a puppet pulled by a puppet master. Predetermined means, in this specific context, is God is causing, is making, a person specifically decide something or specifically act in some way.

    Edifying but irrelevant to the issue of free will, of man by his free will choosing to believe in God and his son Jesus, choose ambivalence, disbelief, etcetera, and by his free will choosing to act in a manner of adhering to the Bible.
     
  2. NotreDame

    NotreDame Domer Supporter

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    Yes, but that doesn’t negate free will. God’s will was to blind Paul, knock him off his course, with the desire to convert Paul. Paul then had the free will to decide whether to convert or not convert. God didn’t force or cause Paul to convert.
     
  3. childeye 2

    childeye 2 Well-Known Member

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    Yes I agree that the term acknowledge may seem redundant when a person doesn't even want to retain any knowledge of God. But I don't think it's irrelevant, since there are nuances and degrees of acknowledgement. For example scripture says that God gave men over to the lusts of their flesh and indicates a progression into sinfulness (sin being a separation from God in increasing degrees of sinfulness/darkness even unto a depraved reprobate mind). It is therefore said for our edification lest we think we should condemn others in whatever condition they are in, for we are all flesh and do the same in some degree.

    Moreover the sentiment that mankind suppresses/and hinders the truth in unrighteousness and ungodliness is elaborated upon in that when mankind knew God they did not esteem Him as God. And how exactly God is not esteemed as God, and why there is no excuse for it, is further elaborated upon by saying that the attributes of God in the creature He created were not being acknowledged as coming from Him, even though men knew God was the Creator of all things. For Paul says that men thought themselves wise and were unthankful to God and became vain, and their foolish heart was darkened. To be succinct, mankind glorified themselves rather than glorified God and worshipped the creature over the Creator. Which in affect changes the incorruptible Image of God into a corrupt image.

    Hence not acknowledging God started with not giving thanks and progressed to not wanting to retain any knowledge of God and even replacing Him with false imagery.

    Well as I said, there are degrees of darkness and Light the further we drift from God and there are nuances of acknowledgement. It's futile to argue over where the Light ends and the darkness begins. What matters is knowing which direction the Light is shining from lest there be no hope. For scripture elsewhere says that the creation was made subject to vanity not willingly, but by reason of him who subjected the same to hope. Even the devils who occupied the man who was in chains because he would throw himself into the fire, acknowledged Jesus. Perhaps there was enough goodness in the man to rather burn to death than live with the demons?

    Words carry sentiments so it's important to understand the meanings behind the words for the sake of clarity, and eliminating the chance for misunderstandings. For example the term 'stop' in front of light is misleading if it's not qualified as only when it's 'red'. When it's 'green' it's a 'go' light.

    Respectfully, if the term free exists to denote that God doesn't cause us to do anything, then how is that being thankful for His righteous attributes?

    You qualify free as free from determinism and then conflate determinism with predestination, which you conflate with being a puppet. Yet God predetermined to make children who will have His Character and think and act like the Father.

    Moreover, the term free can be qualified to mean a choice to do a voluntary act coming from a will that is not coerced, compelled, forced, or restrained.

    Then there are also those who are beguiled by the devil. The fact is we can be manipulated through believing lies.
    But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

    Well it's inevitable that once the Gospel is presented it will be either believed upon or not. But the definition of freewill you're using as never a puppet becomes problematic because it does not answer why a person believes and why another person does not. Respectfully, it simply asserts that the will is free in both situations otherwise we're puppets. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4,
    3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

    4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2021
  4. Jesus is YHWH

    Jesus is YHWH my Lord and my God ! Supporter

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    I never said God forced anyone.
     
  5. Spiritual Jew

    Spiritual Jew Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Do you believe man has any responsibility to choose to believe in Christ or do you believe it's entirely up to God as to whether or not someone will believe?

    If you believe that man has no choice in the matter and it's entirely up to God, then how is that not a case of God forcing people to believe? How would you define what God does to lead people to believe if it isn't a case of Him forcing them to believe?
     
  6. NotreDame

    NotreDame Domer Supporter

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    Huh?

    First, when speaking in reference to the Bible, it is helpful to know the Hebrew and Greek. There’s more than one word and more than one meaning for “love.”

    There are at least 4 types of love in the Bible. They are Eros, Storge, Philia, and Agape. Depending on the word, romantic love, family love, brotherly love, and divine love are associated with one of the four words for love in the Bible.

    Eros is the Greek word for sensual, sexual, or romantic love. This kind of love is very much a decision. This kind of love is also very much, in part, reserved for the marriage bedroom. The romantic love is also a decision, as this includes acts of affection, such as surprise flowers, gifts, etcetera. So, this love is a decision.

    Storge is family love. This is a reference to the love that develops naturally between family members, such as between parents and their children, and among siblings.

    A related word “philostorgos” is used by Paul in Romans 12:10. This word is related to philia, philos, and storge (philos and philia are discussed below). As best as it can be understood, the word means to be devoted to one another with brotherly love, brotherly affection. This love involves decision and action. To do for one another as one would do for their biological, blood brother.

    Philia is from the Greek word philos, meaning “affectionate regard, friendship, affectionate friendship…loyalty to friends, a brotherly/brotherhood kind of love.” The above understood meaning is based, in part, upon Aristotle’s exposition of the word. This kind of love is most often used in the Bible. Indeed, Jesus command to “love one another” is this kind of love. This love involves decision making, as we are treat others in a manner consistent with how we treat our brothers in a family, a brotherhood kind of treatment, treatment consistent with loyal friendship.

    Agape, unconditional love, a love of deep appreciation and high regard, preferential love that is chosen and that is acted out, unselfish love, a divine love towards the created and reciprocated by the created towards the divine.

    This love is in part a decision, as this love is acted out by people who choose to love God by developing a personal relationship with God that is reflected by obeying His commandments, prayer, etcetera, and from this there develops a agape love by people for the Father, a love that reaches a point of saying whatever happens “it is well” and love for God persists.

    This love is also to be extended to by people, by oneself, towards others and vice versa as an unselfish love. This love involves decisions, to decide to treat people in this manner.

    So which love are you discussing? Because the most prevalent love(s) in the Bible does involve decision making by us.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2021
  7. NotreDame

    NotreDame Domer Supporter

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    No, just implied it, which is a distinction without a difference.

    Paul chose to convert. Agree? Disagree? Or imply your answer instead?
     
  8. childeye 2

    childeye 2 Well-Known Member

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    Agape.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2021
  9. Jesus is YHWH

    Jesus is YHWH my Lord and my God ! Supporter

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    I believe as Jesus said that no man can come to Christ unless the Father draws them. John 6:44: and John 6:65.
     
  10. Jesus is YHWH

    Jesus is YHWH my Lord and my God ! Supporter

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    I believe as Jesus said that no man can come to Him unless the Father draws them. John 6:44: and John 6:65.

    Do you believe Jesus words above ?
     
  11. NotreDame

    NotreDame Domer Supporter

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    Okay. In Greek there’s the verb and noun form. There’s agape and agapao.

    Agapao is the verb form. This word, agapao, appears in the greatest commandment in the NT, which you’ve discussed in a preceding post to another poster. The Greatest Commandment, as recited by Jesus, is, “And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment.”

    Now, this love involves action and conduct. Action and conduct we choose to do, as evinced by the meaning of the word below.

    agapáō to prefer, to love; preferring to “live through Christ” (1 Jn 4:9,10), i.e. embracing God’s will (choosing His choices and can refer to what God prefers as He “is love” (1 Jn 4:8,16). See 26 (agapē).

    agapáō (“to love”) means actively doing what the Lord prefers

    Agapao love isn’t mere feeling or emotion. Agapao love manifests itself by action, actions we freely choose to do. That is apparent from the meaning above. We choose to do what Jesus wants. We choose to do what God prefers, not only as manifested in the Word but also as directed by the Spirit.

    Yes, love manifests itself as action. “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only Son…” Agapao love, not in mere words, but manifested by action, manifested by the choice of the Father and Son, that the Son become sin for us, die, resurrected, alive forevermore and making us his righteousness.

    Indeed, Jesus said “If you love (agapao) me, then you will keep my commandments.” Keeping his commandments is a choice, a choice we make. And adhering to His commandments is reflective of agape love, our love, and we choose to express that love and our obedience, or choice to obey, springs from that love.

    So, there isn’t much, if any merit, to your idea that agapao/agape love doesn’t involve action, decision making by us. It does.
     
  12. Spiritual Jew

    Spiritual Jew Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I believe that, too, since I believe everything that Jesus said.

    But, He also said He would draw all people to Himself (John 12:32), so you have to keep that in mind as well. He draws all people to Himself yet not all people are saved. That means not all people choose to respond to Him in the same way. This places the blame squarely on each unbeliever for his or her lack of faith rather than a person having an excuse and being able to say that they don't believe because God didn't give them faith.

    But, why did you not answer my question? I asked if you believe man has any responsibility to choose to believe in Christ or do you believe it's entirely up to God as to whether or not someone will believe? Yes or no, please.
     
  13. childeye 2

    childeye 2 Well-Known Member

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    I appreciate the post.

    There's some miscommunication I'd like to clear up. When I say Love is not a decision, I'm saying Love is a Spirit, even God's Spirit, Who existed before you and I or any creature. I'm saying we don't decide to have Love, or to rephrase, Love does not manifest at the behest of our will. Hence Love brings forth fruit including decisions which would be seen as actions that manifest with Love as the impetus.

    Wherefore it is said elsewhere that Love fulfills the law and also that there is no law against the fruits of the Spirit of Love. As such, Love in action goes beyond the requirements of the Mosaic law and without Love the commandments of Christ cannot be kept. So when Jesus says "If you love me you'll keep my commandments", this is no different than saying you will keep my commandments when or because you Love me. He's not saying you will be able to choose to love me and not love me and then love me again back and forth according to your freewill.

    Let's speed this up by allowing me to debate a more nuanced view of the semantics. I would point out that so long as the flesh is not dead in Christ, there is a conflict between a person's flesh and the Spirit of Love in every moral/immoral decision. In this sense love is a decision and not the Spirit of God, only because Love is an option due to the circumstance of having a will of the flesh. I say this for two reasons.

    First because I wish to introduce into the psycholinguistics, the realization that the difference between choice/decision and choice/option is subtle and easily conflated in our thoughts. The difference is that the choice/option precedes the choice/decision in existence wherefore only the choice/decision is a matter of the will while the choice/option is a matter of the environment.

    Secondly, the impetus of spiritual powers of darkness must be understood so as to be discerned and separated from the Light. To wit that powers of darkness are a counter narrative to Light in thoughts that would appeal to the flesh or carnal will, which manifests in various forms of temptations and cynicism, pride, lust, selfishness, fear, negative prejudice, etc...
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2021
  14. NotreDame

    NotreDame Domer Supporter

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    John 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him

    “But Jesus, aware that His disciples were complaining about this, said to them, “Is this offensive to you? 62 What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh provides no benefit; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit, and are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray Him.65 And He was saying, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”

    Words and their meaning are a wonderful phenomenon. People, since time immemorial, have been using words to convey what they mean, to express the message they are making, to articulate the point they are making. Jesus is no different.

    The word “unless” is used by Jesus. The word “unless” expresses a necessary condition to come to Jesus. This is contrasted with a sufficient condition.

    Jesus is saying to come to Him, it is necessary the Father draw the person. Jesus isn’t and didn’t say the act of drawing was a sufficient condition to come to Him.

    So, to come to the Father requires the Father drawing the person, but the Father drawing the person isn’t sufficient for the person to come to Jesus. It is necessary for the Father to draw the person, once drawn, the person then chooses to come to Jesus. That’s two parts in the verse, the Father must draw the person, and then the person comes to Jesus. But after being drawn by the Father, the person then chooses to come to Jeus, and the coming to Jesus is a choice, a decision.

    Indeed, the rich man was “drawn” to Jesus. Although he was drawn to Jesus, he chose not to come to Jesus, as he chose his possessions over Jesus.

    So, the verses you’ve cited do not support your implication that choosing Jesus isn’t a free will choice.

    Furthermore, as I previously said, a wonderful quality of words are the limited range of meaning for the words. This was true when the OT and NT was written.

    The Greek word for “draw” in this verse is to “attract, persuade,” in which Kittel’s Theological Dictionary says the love of God or Christ is what “draws” us, attracts us, persuades us, to Jesus.

    The two verses you cite to do not speak positively, compellingly, ineluctably, against freely choosing to come to Jesus.

    So, God’s bright light, blinding Saul, and speaking to Saul was the act of “drawing,” attracting, persuading, a wooing of Saul to Jesus. Saul still had the choice to obey, Saul decided to go into Jerusalem as he was told.

    After his eyesight returned, the restoring of his eyesight can be characterized as an act of love, a miracle, and a “drawing, attracting, wooing” Saul to Jesus. Saul had to choose Jesus after his eyesight was restored, after the acts of “drawing” Saul to Jesus, Saul had to then choose to follow Jesus. (Of course, I’m implying one cannot follow Jesus without having come to him).
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2021
  15. Jesus is YHWH

    Jesus is YHWH my Lord and my God ! Supporter

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    John 6:37
    All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
     
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