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Featured God's Decree

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by Jonaitis, Mar 22, 2020.

  1. Jonaitis

    Jonaitis Pilgrim

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    "From all eternity God decreed everything that occurs, without reference to anything outside himself. He did this by the perfectly wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably. Yet God did this in such a way that he is neither the author of sin nor has fellowship with any in their sin. This decree does not violate the will of the creature or take away the free working or contingency of second causes. On the contrary, these are established by God’s decree. In this decree God’s wisdom is displayed in directing all things, and his power and faithfulness are demonstrated in accomplishing his decree."

    - Chapter 3, Section 1, Second London Baptist Confession of 1689
    Do you agree with this statement? Please provide Scripture to support your answer.
     
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  2. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

    ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) <>< Supporter

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    I don't agree with that whatsoever. IE: God coming after Adam and Eve in the garden after their fall.
     
  3. Jonaitis

    Jonaitis Pilgrim

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    It is saying that he does not partake with them in their sinning.
     
  4. ICONO'CLAST

    ICONO'CLAST Well-Known Member

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    Yes...that is a clear summary of the biblical teaching and should be believed. That would presuppose the statement is understood correctly.
     
  5. Jonaitis

    Jonaitis Pilgrim

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    What are some good examples?
     
  6. food4thought

    food4thought Loving truth Supporter

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    Hi Jonaitis. I am not sure I understand this statement entirely. Is this statement saying that the decree was without regard to His perfect foreknowledge?
     
  7. Jonaitis

    Jonaitis Pilgrim

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    Hi food4thought,

    It is saying that his foreknowledge is entirely based on his decree. He would, in his decree, establish a plan of redemption in Christ for sinners, and consequently foreknow those whom he wants to save (elect).
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2020
  8. renniks

    renniks Well-Known Member

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    No, and I would have to quote about half the Bible. But it's enough that Jesus told us to pray God's will be done here as it is in heaven. God's will is therefore not always done on this Earth.
     
  9. Hazelelponi

    Hazelelponi Well-Known Member Supporter

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  10. Jonaitis

    Jonaitis Pilgrim

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    If you could quote half the bible, could you help me understand what Isaiah 37:26-27 says?

    “Have you not heard that I determined it long ago? I planned from days of old what now I bring to pass, that you should make fortified cities crash into heaps of ruins, while their inhabitants, shorn of strength, are dismayed and confounded, and have become like plants of the field and like tender grass, like grass on the housetops, blighted before it is grown."

    Here, from what I understand, God rebukes Sennacherib, king of Assyria, for his insolence and comforts king Hezekiah that all things are governed by his divine providence. What say you?
     
  11. Jonaitis

    Jonaitis Pilgrim

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  12. 1213

    1213 Disciple of Jesus

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    It seems to be correct. God has decreed seasons and boundaries.

    He made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the surface of the earth, having determined appointed seasons, and the boundaries of their dwellings,
    Acts. 17:26
     
  13. food4thought

    food4thought Loving truth Supporter

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    So, if I understand you correctly, you are saying that God did not know the results of His eternal decree until He decreed it...
     
  14. Jonaitis

    Jonaitis Pilgrim

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    There seems to be a miscommunication.

    I understand foreknowledge as that personal, intimate knowledge of an individual before they were born. So, God personally known us before we ever came to know him (1 John 4:19).

    I believe the word you're looking for is "foresight." If that's the case, then I would reply "God knows everything that could happen under any given conditions. However, his decree of anything is not based on foreseeing it in the future or foreseeing that it would occur under such conditions" (Section 2). He first establishes what will occur, and he has foresaw those events based on his decree.
     
  15. food4thought

    food4thought Loving truth Supporter

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    Brother Jonaitis, I am not looking for a debate, so I will reply here and let it go.

    I would hope so...

    The Greek word prognosis does not carry such limited meaning according to the dictionaries I have (Strong's, NASEC, Thayer's). It simply means "pro" (before) "gnosis" (knowledge), or foreknowledge; which would include, but is not limited to, His intimate knowledge of individuals.

    No, I meant foreknowledge.

    But it's not.

    Heartily agreed.

    Now we are back to square one. It appears from this bolded statement that God's foreknowledge is based upon His decree, not the other way around... am I still misunderstanding you?

    My understanding is that God's goodness and wisdom, along with His omniscience, demands that He make His decree based upon what He knows will happen. In other words, God made His eternal decree because He foresaw that it would be the best possible decree out of all the potential decrees He could make. Otherwise, His goodness and wisdom could be impugned. Granted, what makes this the best possible decreed reality is not made known to us in Scripture (that I know of); but again, His goodness and wisdom demand that He make the best possible decree, which could only be based upon His foreknowledge.

    God bless, whether we agree or disagree, brother;
    Michael
     
  16. renniks

    renniks Well-Known Member

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    Maybe read the whole book of Isaiah for a wider perspective. God decided what he would do based on his knowledge. Does God also claim to have been the cause of all of his peoples rebellion? To claim God ordained all is to claim God causes all, including all evil.
     
  17. renniks

    renniks Well-Known Member

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    If Gods foreknowledge is based only on his decree, than he doesn't need foreknowledge as such. Even I can predict what I will do once I decide to do it. His foreknowledge is a stand alone attribute, not based on anything, IMO.
     
  18. Jonaitis

    Jonaitis Pilgrim

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    Well, I would like to have a discussion on this topic. We don't have to debate, but challenging one's view is almost unavoidable in this forum. I find it healthy to debate, because we learn! What if this doctrine of divine decree is something you need in your life? What if you are going through circumstances where you are in a place of great uncertainty and questioning God's benevolence over you? This doctrine is precious for troubled hearts and minds, who feel that everything is done out of chance and that God is absent in it all.

    I agree, gnósis is not limited to intimate knowledge of an individual. However, the origin of this shortened, cognate word prognosis is pro-ginóskó (before + know), and former use is always used in Scripture in reference to people, not their actions or any events. Likewise, when ginóskó is used in reference to individuals, it is intimate and personal.

    "But if anyone loves God, he is known by God." - 1 Corinthians 8:3

    "When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son." - Matthew 1:24-25

    Here, ginóskó, when connected to a person or being, is used as something intimate between the two. However, this same word is used for knowledge of facts too in other places.

    “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known." - Matthew 10:26

    "Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all and ordered them not to make him known." - Matthew 12:15-16

    So, you must consider the context of when these words are used. It does not always mean this or that. Every time "foreknowledge" is used, it is always in reference to the person. This is why I limit that particular meaning, because there has been no other use of it throughout the pages of Scriptures.

    Besides that, it doesn't make a consistent argument that God must look into the future, into future events, to determine something that will already happen without his intervention. It is quite confusing. Why would he need to decree anything, if it is based on something that will occur regardless? It follows that words like decree, election and predetermination are meaningless. They don't have any real meaning, if God is subject to what will happen.

    This also leads to other problems that question the attributes of God, including his immutability (unchanging nature). Does God changed by outside influence? If he must look into future events to determine something, the answer would be 'yes.' He would be a creature like us, influenced by a greater force.

    However, if you stand with this statement that God knows all things, because he ordained all things, there's complete consistency. What will happen, will happen, because God ordained that it would happen. His knowledge is perfect in the future, because he wrote out the future before it would occur. He remains unchanged, even when the events take place.
     
  19. Jonaitis

    Jonaitis Pilgrim

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    Well, I would lose your attention (or that of the reader in this thread) if I were to lay out the whole book Isaiah, or this whole circumstance in a single post. I personally find lengthy posts discouraging for retaining people's attention. If you can make your point short and clear you will likely have my response.

    Now, your answer is confusing. God decided what he would do based on something he already knew? Why would he do that? The quote doesn't say that I knew what you would do, so I determined how I would act. Rather, he says that he already determined and planned ahead what he is bringing to pass, (and specifically) using Sennacherib as an instrument of destruction. What here, say you, did he see for him to do this? It is circular thinking.

    I know the accusation that if God ordained all things, directing them to occur at their proper time, that he would be responsible. However, I just showed you a verse where he clearly says that he ordained and carried out this destructive work in the king of Assyria. He directed in some sovereign way, read the verse again! However, there is no evil with God.

    God may use second causes and other variables to direct free-working agents (humans) to act, freely of their own accord, freely from their own desires, that which he wants to occur without having a hand in the act itself. He didn't need to do anything to Job, Satan was already part of the plan. He didn't need to force Joseph to be a slave in Egypt, his brothers played the roles in their perfectly ordained circumstances to commit this wicked act. He had no fellowship with any in their sinning, but he directed them in the things around them that had an influence on what they would do themselves. His brothers willfully, freely and independently sold him from their own wickedness, but God ordained the means for all this to happen for a greater purpose in mind.
     
  20. Jonaitis

    Jonaitis Pilgrim

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    Well, it depends on what we mean by "foreknowledge."

    Also, an attribute is never alone, it is always overlapping other attributes of God, because he is not made of parts, but is one. I encourage you to study divine simplicity.
     
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