• Welcome to Christian Forums
  1. Welcome to Christian Forums, a forum to discuss Christianity in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to be able to join in fellowship with Christians all over the world.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless!

  2. The forums in the Christian Congregations category are now open only to Christian members. Please review our current Faith Groups list for information on which faith groups are considered to be Christian faiths. Christian members please remember to read the Statement of Purpose threads for each forum within Christian Congregations before posting in the forum.
  3. Please note there is a new rule regarding the posting of videos. It reads, "Post a summary of the videos you post . An exception can be made for music videos.". Unless you are simply sharing music, please post a summary, or the gist, of the video you wish to share.

Omniscience and Predestination- Can't Have One Without the Other

Discussion in 'Salvation (Soteriology)' started by SemperReformanda, Sep 21, 2002.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. seebs

    seebs God Made Me A Skeptic

    +1,462
    Seeker
    Married
    US-Republican
    Yes, no, and maybe. God could, if He wished, sit around "tweaking" His creation... but in doing so, He would contradict His own nature.

    1. He loves us, and wishes to give us free will. Free will which is sculpted is non-free; carefully designing us to make specific choices would contradict His love for us.
    2. His creation is inherently perfect. Tweaking is unnecessary.

    Thus, we know that He created Adam "correctly", and that Adam was made with free will.

    Could God have created something other than Adam? Perhaps, but He *didn't*, and now we, looking back into the past, can "constrain" his actions just as he "constrains" ours - by knowing what *actually happens*. (I'm using the present tense, rather than the past, because the point here is that it doesn't matter whether it's "happened" or "will happen"; knowledge is determined by the event, not the event by the knowledge.)

    Our knowledge of what happened reflects God's freely-made choice. It also reflects Adam's freely-made choice.

    God didn't say "I create Adam, because he will act in the following ways". He said "Live", probably *despite* some of the things He knew would happen.

    Could God have made an Adam who wouldn't fall? I believe that such would have contradicted His nature. I don't see this as any more of a "constraint" on God's ultimate authority than claiming that God can't do evil, or that God can't be unloving, or can't not exist.
     
  2. SemperReformanda

    SemperReformanda Member

    198
    +0
    Hi y'all...

    Sorry I haven't gotten on the thread in a couple of days. Just popping on to say I haven't forgotten you. Real-life work has just been a bit hairy, and tomorrow night I SHOULD be able to respond adequately to what you've posted. Thanks for your patience.

    --John
     
  3. SemperReformanda

    SemperReformanda Member

    198
    +0
    I assume you mean by this, that I believe "God created the Universe but asserts no further control over it"---in a sense, I do believe this. One need look only at wonderful things as Auschwitz and Daccau---perhaps the most heinous places on Earth---but then again, perhaps not---Hitler only killed millions, while Stalin killed TENS of millions.

    Romans 13:1
    "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God."

    As I've said before, you'e free to believe in this "hands-off" God. It just isn't the God of the Bible. Every example you pick, from Dachau to the crucifixion has only served to show how mistaken your view of God is. Does that mean that God PERFORMED the horror at Dachau? Of course not. But unless you are even more adept at tap-dancing than you've previously demonstrated, I have trouble seeing how Hitler came to power outside of Romans 13:1. After all, it's the Free Willers who always argue that words like "No" and "All" have to be taken without exception, right?
     
  4. SemperReformanda

    SemperReformanda Member

    198
    +0
    Ben-

    I said: Here we have a need for clarification. My question is why God was unable to create a representative who WOULD NOT fall.

    Your answer: Why did some angels choose to rebel, and some did not? Were some created so that they WOULD not fall? No. I submit, that they were all created in the same way. Why did some fall? Because of free will.

    Given the level of discourse you've shown yourself capable of so far, I'm a little surprised by this answer. Do you really not comprehend the difference between WOULD not and COULD not?

    My question assumed free will. "Would" is taken from "Will." "Could" speaks to ability, "Would" to volition. As in "Will you have some tea with your biscuits?" is a bit different than "Could you have some tea with your biscuits?"

    This is the sort of distinction most of us learned in about 2nd Grade when asking if we "could" go to the bathroom. Though there the focus was on the Can/May distinction.

    The question isn't "Why couldn't God have created someone who lacked the ability to Fall?", but rather, "Why couldn't God have created someone whom He foresaw would be obedient?"

    Also, to further clarify, the question isn't WHY DIDN'T God create such a rep, merely what prevented Him from doing so. It isn't a question of motive, but of capacity.

    So now that I've aided your comprehension, hopefully, WOULD you and COULD you please answer my question--

    My question is: why God was unable to create a representative who WOULD NOT fall?
     
  5. SemperReformanda

    SemperReformanda Member

    198
    +0
    Ben-

    "I do not know what paradigm you strive to construct---do you intend to convey, that God, knowing the future, had an array of choices from which He could choose, so that Adam's fall was GUARANTEED (if God chose the correct "branch" that led to the Fall)? I do not believe that to be the case. Logically, such a determinate action would equate to God sculpting Adam's will---for it will still be God who CAUSES the fall (by selective creation)."

    Not entirely. God knew the "future" because He is omniscient, but also because there was no "future" until God chose to create all things that were created. There was no pre-existing "future," for God to omnisciently know. For then matter would be eternal, rather than God. So unless we want to posit eternal matter and creation, we have to accept that there was a point when God existed and creation did not.

    At that point, God had absolute freedom to create whatever He chose to create, within the limits of His nature.

    He could have created ANYONE He chose. Because He is omniscient, He knew with absolute certainty all of the decisions anyone whom He would create would ever make.

    Of the infinite possibilities from which He had to choose, God chose to create Adam. Adam was a man whom God foresaw falling with 100% certitude.

    Did God sculpt Adam's will? No. Did God sovereignly choose to create Adam, fully knowing what would result? Yes.

    I must say I'm surprised that this has been so hard for you to understand (not necessarily accept, but merely comprehend.) Squalid Wanderer was able to grasp the implications immediately. If there is something in my manner of writing that makes it difficult for you, please let me know and I'll be happy to modify it.

    for it will still be God who CAUSES the fall (by selective creation).

    I'm mystified by this statement. Are you saying that creation WASN'T selective? That somehow the universe that exists exhausted the creative potential of God? If not, then I think we have to accept that creation WAS selective. And that would extend to the representative that God created.
     
  6. SemperReformanda

    SemperReformanda Member

    198
    +0
    Once again, in a discussion of theology, I request that we discuss Scriptures.

    I have posted multiple Scriptures on many topics. This dog simply won't hunt. If you are objecting to my use of logical inference, then I'll simply be forced to shrug in your general direction. Because just as my position on God's ordination of the Fall is based on logical inference, your position on man's supposed "free will" is equally inferential. There are NO explicit texts that state "Man has a free will." If you would like to abandon your speculative belief in Free Will, then I will be happy to drop my line of argument.

    And now, finally, please answer this directly. If you go back and reread your answer, you'll see that you answered to what you think the implications of the question are, rather than the question itself. As for the question being speculative, the nature and attributes of God are well established in Scripture, and we have warrant to take them seriously. Which is all I am doing on this thread. Many pay lip service to the omniscience, omnipotence and sovereignty of God, while at the same time draining them of any real meaning.

    Why was God in any way constrained from creating a different representative, with a different foreseen "biography" than the one He did?

    Again, you in no way answered this question, only to the implications you thought you saw behind it. Please answer TO this question, rather than to what you infer of my motives. If your position is sound, a direct answer to a simple question holds no peril for you.
     
  7. SemperReformanda

    SemperReformanda Member

    198
    +0
    Ben-

    Here?s another one you didn't have time to answer:

    Question: Was the crucifixion a morally GOOD thing for those Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers to do?

    Acts 2:22-
    "Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know-- this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.

    Acts 4:27
    "For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur."

    If not, then how do you avoid saying that God ORDAINED evil, since "preordained" and "predestined" are identical, and it's clear that God "predestined" the crucifixion? That pillar of your position seems unfounded, to me. And once we establish that God can ordain evil in other areas, then I have trouble seeing its impossibility in the Fall.
     
  8. SemperReformanda

    SemperReformanda Member

    198
    +0
    seebs-

    Yes, no, and maybe. God could, if He wished, sit around "tweaking" His creation... but in doing so, He would contradict His own nature.

    This is an interesting point, but completely irrelevant to the question. I didn't, in any way, shape, or form ask about God "tweaking" His creation after the fact. We're speaking about the original act of creation itself. The moment that God created Adam, our representative.

    Thus, we know that He created Adam "correctly", and that Adam was made with free will.

    I agree that Adam was created "correctly" and I've conceded "free will" for this discussion. This also is irrelevant when attacking my point, though useful in attacking straw men. Adam was absolutely created "correctly," but that in no way leads to the conclusion that there were no other options that God had in creation. If by "perfect" you mean "perfectly according with the will, nature and purposes of God" then I totally agree. It has been God's plan from all eternity to redeem a people to Himself "to the praise of His glorious grace." And it was through the foreseen disobedience of someone like Adam that this redemptive plan was accomplished.


    Could God have created something other than Adam? Perhaps, but He *didn't*.

    I agree, the key is that He DIDN'T. And since He didn't, then that means that the consequences of this particular creation are ultimately based on the decision of God.

    Just as if, theoretically, I were momentarily blessed with 20/20 foresight and then tasked to hire someone as CEO for my company. If I have a list of many candidates to choose from, and I know with absolute certainty that some will perform beautifully, while others will absolutely wreck the company, and then I deliberately choose one whom I know will make a complete dog's breakfast of the corporation, it would follow that it was my CHOICE for this to take place.
     
  9. SemperReformanda

    SemperReformanda Member

    198
    +0
    God didn't say "I create Adam, because he will act in the following ways". He said "Live", probably *despite* some of the things He knew would happen.

    This view of God is interesting to me. If you actually step back and look for a moment, it puts God on the mental level of a not-so-bright 5-year-old. That when He created, He completely divorced Himself from His omniscience, decided not to think about the untold hundreds of millions of people who would ultimately suffer eternal punishment because of His decision to create, and also the fact that He would have to give His life as a result of this decision, and then just randomly said "Live" to one of the infinitely large number of people that an all-powerful God could have created.

    I think a much more Biblical, not to mention respectful, view of God would be to say that He is a deliberate and intelligent being, and that He took all possible repercussions into account when He created. That His quest to redeem a people to Himself to the praise of His glorious grace was PLAN A, rather than a huge cosmic afterthought to rectify his "Oops" in creating such a silly representative. The plan of redemption in the Bible is called an eternal plan, and I take that seriously. And just as God used Pharaoh, Satan, Pilate and a host of others, God used Adam's foreseen free choices to accomplish His plan of redemption.
     
  10. SemperReformanda

    SemperReformanda Member

    198
    +0
    Ben-

    Here's another verse on the origin of men that seems to be difficult to stuff into a "hands-off" position. It also seems to incline in a pretty pointedly predestinarian direction. Im curious to see you exegete this from your standpoint.

    Proverbs 16:4
    "The LORD has made everything for its own purpose,
    Even the wicked for the day of evil."


    Is this an allegorical judgment day, a la seebsism? And is the creation of "everything" allegorical too? Or does this mean what it says, that God is the Creator of everything, including the wicked? I see nothing in here about wicked men resulting randomly and capriciously from a mechanical, random process from which God has divorced Himself. And I find it VERY interesting that the wicked have a purpose. That sounds entirely UNrandom.
     
  11. Ben johnson

    Ben johnson Legend Supporter

    +374
    Christian
    Would you agree with me on the assertion that God cannot perform evil? God is constrained by His nature, He cannot do anything evil, for He is good (Mk10:17)---nor can God tempt anyone (Jms1:13). QUESTION---does God harden anyone's heart? According to Romans 9:17-18, God hardened Pharaoh's heart. BUT---there is a "Semitic view", that attributes actions to God, when God clearly did not do the action. Read Exodus 9:34-35, where "Pharaoh sinned and hardened his own heart"---and in the very next verse, GOD is ascribed as doing it! 10:1! Did God harden Pharaoh's heart? NO!
    I believe your wording was close to, "Could God create a man that WOULD not fall"---for God to CREATE someone who WOULD not fall, God is required to accomplish something IN THAT CREATION, that precludes the man from falling. So by saying, "Could God create a man who WOULD NOT do this-or-that", is identical to saying the man COULD not do this-or-that. In both cases the determinate choice is made by God...
    This is entirely, possibley, faulty logic. The Unified Field connects space, time, gravity, inertia, all the basic forces. No one that I know has solved this---thus, we do not know the nuances of time or space---I personally believe both that time did not exist before Creation, and that time is NOT linear (but exponential---thus billions of years of time at first happened very quickly, approaching linearity eventually...). Because of our limited understanding of time and hyper-spatial-dimensions, we cannot say for certainty that God, even before the creation, could not "look forward in time"---what if time was a BUBBLE in God's view? Not happened YET, but existing in the DISTANCE? (and even THEN, "yet" has no meaning if time did not exist yet...)

    ...I said "yet", again; but if time had no meaning yet, well then the reality defies even description in our limited grasp...

    :confused:
    This was obviously a reference to the movie, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". It was SO TEMPTING to engage in a word-gag with that "OH NO, I said, 'YET!' again!"---after the "Knights of Ni" scene... :D

    But, then, God DID speak to Moses, in a burning SHRUBBERY...
    Obviously, it was morally wrong. God predestined Jesus, His death-on-the-Cross from the beginning. God placed Jesus in the time and place proper for the Crucifixion---but God did not machinate the Romans' hearts...
    I think we are splitting hairs here---I believe that God was constrained by His nature to create us just as He did---but the wording cannot be used, "God created Adam TO fall" or "God created Adam so he WOULD fall". So you and I agree that "Creation was not a cosmic afterthough", and we agree that "God used Adam's foreseen free choices to accomplish His plan of redemption".

    I'm not sure if we agree on what I believe---that God would have preferred that Adam NOT fall. I base this observation on verses like 1Tim2:4, "God desires ALL MEN to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."
    OK---based on your beliefs and our discussion, are you saying that God CREATED THEM EVIL FOR THEIR DAY? Or does He USE their FORESEEN FREE CHOICES and remarks on their DESTINY (which they have chosen for themselves)?

    :)
     
  12. SemperReformanda

    SemperReformanda Member

    198
    +0
    Ben-

    Always good to meet a fellow Monty Python fan, btw. I can't wait for my boys to be old enough for me to introduce them to "The Holy Grail." :)

    "Would you agree with me on the assertion that God cannot perform evil?"

    We both agree that God cannot perform evil. I think we will mainly differ on the definition of "perform." God doesn't perform evil directly, but He does ordain it. And He certainly uses it. At one point in the Bible He actually solicits a lying spirit to tempt someone. And the Bible explicitly teaches that He ordained the single greatest sin in human history-- the crucifixion.

    God's use of evil is ALWAYS, however, through intermediaries. What can be called "secondary causes." He is not the author of evil.

    The Westminster Confession, which I accept as the clearest and most Biblical systematic expression of the Christian faith, states it thusly:

    "God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

    I quote this not as if it were canonical, but merely to clarify my position for you. God is not the author of sin, He does no violence to our wills, and secondary causes still operate with liberty, they aren't robots.

    The Bible, in my view, teaches both God's absolute foreordination, as well as man's freedom and moral responsibility. This is an antimony, an apparent paradox. I think that too often people try to put "God in a box", so to speak, by explaining away this mystery. And this is almost always done by ridding God of His sovereign foreordination. The Bible teaches both, and I accept them both.

    That said, this is not a Predestination thread in the Calvinistic sense, and we don't need to continue on this theme. For the purpose of this debate I've aceeded to the Free Will position of Predestination based on Magic Viewfinder.
     
  13. SemperReformanda

    SemperReformanda Member

    198
    +0
    As far as the "Semitic view" thing, I just don't see a warrant for this in Scripture. The Bible teaches clearly both that Pharoah hardened his own heart, and that God hardened him for His own purposes, which were centered around "showing His Power."

    This is similar to what I was saying earlier about antimony. Both are presented as fact.

    This one, it seems to me, isn't complicated. If we look at what the Bible teaches about the human heart, we see that it is "deperately wicked above all things," that it "laps up iniquity like water," and a host of unsavory things.

    But we know that God's Holy Spirit gives grace to all men, restraining them from being as bad as they could be. For God to harden a person, it isn't at all necessary for Him to hijack their will. After all, it is their will to do evil. All that is necessary is for Him to remove His restraining Hand from them.

    I think we see other examples in the Bible where people are depicted as having been "given over" to sin or depraved minds. God "hardened" Pharoah by giving him over to the true desires of his heart.

    For this debate I'm aceeding to the Free Will definition of "will." But the fact is, the Bible makes it pretty clear what the natural bent of a man's heart is, and it is forever inclined toward evil. God doesn't have to "push" us to make us go down that slippery slope.
     
  14. SemperReformanda

    SemperReformanda Member

    198
    +0
    I'm not sure if we agree on what I believe---that God would have preferred that Adam NOT fall. I base this observation on verses like 1Tim2:4, "God desires ALL MEN to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

    I absolutely agree with the statement you quoted above. But neither of us takes it to mean "God definitively wills that it be so." Only a Universalist takes this verse in that sense. Both of us believe that while God takes no joy in the death of the unrighteous, and that He 'desires' everyone to come to the truth (the verb used as I understand it refers to an emotional sense, rather than a definitive willing of something) both of us believe that He has things He values higher than this desire. Both of us believe that human free agency (or free will for your side) supersedes this desire.

    Even more so, from what I see in the Bible, is God's zeal for His own glory. And I think this is the missing component in Arminianism and Wesleyanism. The omnipresent anthropocentrism of their thinking leads them to miss the primary motivation of salvation-- God's glory. It's fascinating when you read the verses speaking of salvation and see how ubiquitous references to God's glory as His motive for salvation really are.

    And so, on one level, God took no joy in Adam's Fall. But, He very much ordained it, and further, it was in pursuit of motives of the highest sort-- the praise of God's glory and grace. These could be made manifest fully only in a fallen world.
     
  15. SemperReformanda

    SemperReformanda Member

    198
    +0
    Ben-

    There is a lot more I have to respond to in your post, thank you for your thoughts and questions. Our country lead team has a meeting down in Odessa til Wednesday, so I'll be AFK for a bit. I have to prepare for it, so I'll respond more fully to the "bubble" analogy and a few other things upon my return.

    I did want to address one more thing though, specifically to clarify your point in my mind:

    "I believe your wording was close to, "Could God create a man that WOULD not fall"---for God to CREATE someone who WOULD not fall, God is required to accomplish something IN THAT CREATION, that precludes the man from falling. So by saying, "Could God create a man who WOULD NOT do this-or-that", is identical to saying the man COULD not do this-or-that. In both cases the determinate choice is made by God..."

    I'm going to list two options God had at the moment (in time and space) that He created our human representative. He could have:

    A- Created a representative whom God foresaw as being obedient and not falling.

    Or,

    B- Created a representative whom God foresaw as being disobedient and falling.


    After all this time, I'm still not sure what third option there was in the creation of our representative. Note I have said nothing about God changing, scultpting, hijacking or anything else this representative's will.

    I see nothing in the moral nature of God, or in His attributes that contradicts the above statement. And I see everything in them to recommend and confirm the above. And once we accept that God had this option, there is nothing left to do but to accept that God chose B. And by doing this He used Adam's foreseen, freely chosen sinful decision to fulfill God's eternal covenant of redemption.

    I guess I don't see why this is controversial, because you've already accepted this sort of operation in the Crucifixion...
     
  16. Claudia

    Claudia New Member

    34
    +0
    God had declared concerning Pharaoh, "I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go." Exodus 4:21. There was no exercise of supernatural power to harden the heart of the king. God gave to Pharaoh the most striking evidence of divine power, but the monarch stubbornly refused to heed the light. Every display of infinite power rejected by him, rendered him the more determined in his rebellion. The seeds of rebellion that he sowed when he rejected the first miracle, produced their harvest. As he continued to venture on in his own course, going from one degree of stubbornness to another, his heart became more and more hardened, until he was called to look upon the cold, dead faces of the first-born.

    What can we learn from this? God speaks to men through His servants, giving cautions and warnings, and rebuking sin. He gives to each an opportunity to correct his errors before they become fixed in the character; but if one refuses to be corrected, divine power does not interpose to counteract the tendency of his own action. He finds it more easy to repeat the same course. He is hardening the heart against the influence of the Holy Spirit. A further rejection of light places him where a far stronger influence will be ineffectual to make an abiding impression.

    He who has once yielded to temptation will yield more readily the second time. Every repetition of the sin lessens his power of resistance, blinds his eyes, and stifles conviction. Every seed of indulgence sown will bear fruit. God works no miracle to prevent the harvest. "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." Galatians 6:7. He who manifests an infidel hardihood, a stolid indifference to divine truth, is but reaping the harvest of that which he has himself sown. It is thus that multitudes come to listen with stoical indifference to the truths that once stirred their very souls. They sowed neglect and resistance to the truth, and such is the harvest which they reap.

    Those who are quieting a guilty conscience with the thought that they can change a course of evil when they choose, that they can trifle with the invitations of mercy, and yet be again and again impressed, take this course at their peril. They think that after casting all their influence on the side of the great rebel, in a moment of utmost extremity, when danger compasses them about, they will change leaders. But this is not so easily done. The experience, the education, the discipline of a life of sinful indulgence, has so thoroughly molded the character that they cannot then receive the image of Jesus. Had no light shone upon their pathway, the case would have been different. Mercy might interpose, and give them an opportunity to accept her overtures; but after light has been long rejected and despised, it will be finally withdrawn.

    Beware of procrastination. Do not put off the work of forsaking your sins and seeking purity of heart through Jesus. Here is where thousands upon thousands have erred to their eternal loss. There is a terrible danger--a danger not sufficiently understood--in delaying to yield to the pleading voice of God's Holy Spirit, in choosing to live in sin; for such this delay really is. Sin, however small it may be esteemed, can be indulged in only at the peril of infinite loss. What we do not overcome, will overcome us and work out our destruction.


    Every act of transgression, every neglect or rejection of the grace of Christ, is reacting upon yourself; it is hardening the heart, depraving the will, benumbing the understanding, and not only making you less inclined to yield, but less capable of yielding, to the tender pleading of God's Holy Spirit.

    Many are quieting a troubled conscience with the thought that they can change a course of evil when they choose; that they can trifle with the invitations of mercy, and yet be again and again impressed. They think that after doing despite to the Spirit of grace, after casting their influence on the side of Satan, in a moment of terrible extremity they can change their course. But this is not so easily done. The experience, the education, of a lifetime, has so thoroughly molded the character that few then desire to receive the image of Jesus.

    Every sinful indulgence strengthens the soul's aversion to God. The man who manifests an infidel hardihood, or a stolid indifference to divine truth, is but reaping the harvest of that which he has himself sown. In all the Bible there is not a more fearful warning against trifling with evil than the words of the wise man that the sinner "shall be holden with the cords of his sins." Proverbs 5:22.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Loading...