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The inconsistencies of the Covenant of Redemption, the Covenant of Works, and the Covenant of Grace

Discussion in 'Salvation (Soteriology)' started by Dr. Jack, Mar 24, 2019.

  1. Dr. Jack

    Dr. Jack Active Member

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    I still don't think you have grasped the problem in this situation.

    If Adam had the ability to freely choose to eat, or not eat, he would have total culpability. However, you keep skipping over the most important detail of this situation; that being the decree of God for Adam to eat. Since God is sovereign, and (according to Calvinism) God (the Alpha power) decreed that Adam (the Beta power) would eat. Hence, it was therefore impossible for Adam to NOT eat.

    Let me give you an illustration to explain the problem Calvinism had created through this determinative decree by God, concerning Adam.

    Illustration:

    When electricity comes from the power company into a house, it goes to the "main" breaker. (This would be our Alpha power.)

    From the main breaker, power is then directed to smaller breakers. (These would be Beta power)

    When the main breaker is closed (On), power continues to the smaller breakers. As long as the main breaker is On, power can then be controlled by either opening, or closing, the Beta power supply.

    However, if the the main (Alpha) breaker is open, (Off), no power continues to the Beta breaker, and it cannot supply power in either position.

    By limiting (or stopping) the power at the Alpha power, the Beta position has no power period.

    When (according to Calvinism) God decreed Adam to eat, He limited Adam's ability to NOT eat. The Beta power can never override the Alpha power, but the Alpha power can dictate the ability of the Beta power, simply by removing the power for the Beta power to operate in a manner other than it's desired purpose.

    By God decreeing Adam to eat, Adam did not have the ability to NOT eat for ever. God (according to Calvinism) decreed, and determined exactly when, and how Adam would eat, in order to fulfill the decree of God.

    This was a premeditated act on the part of God to insure that Adam would transgress. In a court of law this is known as "Common Purpose". When God decreed Adam to eat, and determined the place, and persons involved in getting Adam to eat, being the Alpha power, had control over the entire event. According to law, the doctrine of common purpose, common design, joint enterprise, or joint criminal enterprise is acommon-law legal doctrine that imputes criminal liability to the participants in a criminal enterprise for all that results from that enterprise.

    In this case, (according to Calvinism) God (the Alpha power) decreed, and determined the event which occurred in the Garden of Eden, while Adam (the Beta power) had no idea that his actions had already been both decreed, and then determined in every detail. Adam was the lesser agent, who, according to Calvinism acted freely, even though he had no actual ability to do other than what he did, because the lesser Beta agent, can not ever override the greater Alpha agent.

    Hence, since God did in fact control the actions of Adam, God legally must share in the culpability of the actions Adam performed. This is called, guilt by proxy.

    Once again, I must be clear, this is not my position; but Calvinism does teach that God 1) did sovereignty decree Adam to transgress; and then 2) determine the actions of Adam, Eve, and the serpent (Satan). Therefore, God did participate in the actions of Adam by proxy, and therefore is culpable by common purpose, or principle.
     
  2. His student

    His student Active Member

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    Absolutely true.

    [Staff edit].

    God has from the very first Word uttered concerning the creation and on into eternity, no doubt - acted in literally innumerable ways within His creation to bring to pass what He has predestined to come to pass.

    "....My Word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent It." Isaiah 55:11

    [Staff edit]. God is not only transcendent, He is also immanent. The doctrine of God's immensity shows us that He literally "fills" Heaven and earth and that without finite division. Nothing does or indeed can happen in which He doesn't play parts so intricate that words can't even express it.

    "And there are also many other things which Jesus (the Word of God) did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written." John 21:26

    Talk about an understatement for the ages.

    Of the One in Whom we (and Adam and Eve, and the tree, and the serpent and everything else ever existent) are said to "live and move and have our being" it is said that He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation and by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things exist.

    [Staff edit].
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2019
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  3. FreeGrace2

    FreeGrace2 Senior Veteran

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    This ignores the entire population of the human race prior to the new covenant. The indwelling and sealing with the Holy Spirit is universal for all believers post resurrection. However, very few OT believers were filled or endued with the Spirit.
     
  4. His student

    His student Active Member

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    Me too.

    [Staff edit].

    For starters:

    Simple logic demands that subscribing to God's characteristic eternal omniscience requires that you also subscribe to the predestination of every event in the history of creation. If that includes the fall of man, and that offends you - that's just part of believing what the scriptures teach us when considered in their totality.

    The doctrine of God's omniscience says that God knows, has always known, and will always know - everything past, present, and future - both actual and potential.

    I don't have the time to give you chapter and verse. [Staff edit].

    God knew from "before the foundation of the world" everything that would happen if (and this is important) He Himself acted (or "spoke" as it were) in certain ways.

    I.e. - there was absolutely not a ghost of a chance that what He "knew" would happen would indeed not eventually come to pass if He Himself acted in certain ways.

    I.e. - all actual events from eternity past into eternity future were and are predestined from before their creation to happen.

    Since their movement from mere potentialities in the mind of God to actualities in history have been and are dependent on God's actions in the beginning and His constant actions along the way (and since God is not constrained by any outside force concerning those Words and actions) - God is the One who is said to have predestined (decreed to happen) and is predestining all things which have happened or will happen.

    [Staff edit].
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2019
  5. royal priest

    royal priest debtor to grace

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    I understand what you are saying. I get it. I used to be where you are in your thinking. If God decrees sinful actions, then He is culpable in the sin of His fallen creatures. However, the fact of the matter is that although He does decree such things, yet He remains Lilly white with respect to such guilt. He must for the sake of His own truth which teaches us of His inherent infinite goodness. Though Adam and Eve dishonored God, God, Himself remained true to Himself. Though they intended to honor themselves above God, yet He was intending to show them His goodness by forgiving their rebellion and instilling the hope of the promise of a deliverer who would restore them from their fallen state. God is not guilty of their sin because He was not participating in their evil, but rather effecting His plan of redemption. By the Fall, God was advancing His eternal purpose to show forth His loving-kindness towards those whom He would ultimately redeem. Moreover, the Father was inaugurating the dispensation of His kingdom of grace wherein the Son would reign and rule in resurrection power over those who were dead in sin.
    The only proper charge we can lay against God for His decree over the Fall is, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!" Romans 11:33
     
  6. His student

    His student Active Member

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    I think it's very important when speaking of these things with people who have trouble with the idea of God's decrees vis-a-vis evil vs. good - to stress the fact that all of God's decrees are only good and not evil. But He often causes those good decrees to fall out my means of evil.

    I.e. - God decrees and "does" something good in the selling of Joseph and everything which followed. But He caused it to fall out through the evil choices of Joseph's brothers. They meant it for evil, the scriptures say. But God meant it for good.

    Therefore, since God is the first cause of all events - God was the one doing it.

    Also the crushing of His Son as a means of rescuing fallen mankind from sin was a "good" decree. And yet he caused that predestined "good" to fall out through the evil actions of men for which they are fully accountable since they were not forced to choose as they did (even though they were predestined to so choose).

    God decrees only good. But He often uses evil to bring His good decrees to pass. And there is absolutely no conflict between the ability and inclination of men created in God's image to choose whatever they want to choose and God's predestining of those choices.

    While even good men sometimes claim that these principles are in conflict - God has absolutely no trouble with telling us how it is anyway.

    And - to coin a phrase - God is perfectly capable of defending Himself and He has done a good enough job of "defending" Himself in scripture by showing us His complete goodness by dying for our sins.

    I suppose I could say that I have absolutely no trouble trusting in the complete goodness of God even when He makes decrees which include sin - when He Himself has taken the full punishment due those sins within Himself at great personal expense. "Selah"
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
  7. Dr. Jack

    Dr. Jack Active Member

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    From the above statements, allow me to address the key point:


    This is where Calvinism (determinism) is in error.
    Determinism out of necessity limits God's knowledge to what He has determined. Meaning, the Determinist believes that God's "omniscience" is based upon what God has determined. Since, (according to Calvinism), God can only know that which he has determined, it is reasonable to subscribe to the idea that every event in history is determined. This is known as "determinate foreknowledge". It places the 'cart' (that which is determined) before the 'horse', that which is known.

    I however do not agree with this assertion. I believe the Bible teaches that God being omniscient, means just that. God's knowledge is in no way limited to what He chooses to determine. This is known as "indeterminate foreknowledge". It places the 'cart' (things God chooses to determine) behind the 'horse' (omniscience).

    Hence, by God being omniscient, (which includes perfect foreknowledge), He then chose what things He wished to determine, and those things which He would allow to occur, without His interference.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2019
  8. FreeGrace2

    FreeGrace2 Senior Veteran

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    I think the problem is in how we view God's "decrees", or what He "determines".

    For me, since God is omniscient and knows all, He decrees and determines based on that.

    For the Calvinist, God's omniscience is subservient to His sovereignty. For them, it seems to me, what He determines what will happen leads to His omniscienceof what will happen.

    iow, until He decrees (determines) actions, He can't know what will happen.

    I reject that line of thinking.

    His omniscience is not subservient to any other attribute.
     
  9. Dr. Jack

    Dr. Jack Active Member

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    May I be so bold as to slightly reword that a bit?

    According to Calvinism, God, at some time in eternity, prior to creating the world, determined those things which He would do, it was THEN, that He knew them; because, His omniscience is dependent upon, or based upon that which He has determined.

    This however even goes against what Calvinism teaches concerning God's knowledge. Why? Because Calvinism rightly teaches that knows, has always known all things, and can learn nothing new.

    Unfortunately, for Calvinism, since they believe that what God knows is based upon that which He has determined, the latter must precede former.
     
  10. His student

    His student Active Member

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    I'm replying to these two posts together since they both seem to display the same dilemma or question..
    I agree that the problem is how we view God's decrees.

    That's why it's so important to understand how each from another group views these things - so that they won't be inadvertently (or God forbid, purposefully) misrepresented.

    I believe that, while what moves from possibility to actuality depends on what God determines will bring to pass, or be "allowed" to happen if you will, God knows every possibility as well as what He will actually decree to take place. (I'm a Reformed oriented student of scripture - but do not lay claim to the "Calvinist" label.)
    Since He is totally omniscient, He has always known exactly what He will choose to allow or bring to pass by various means. The old question so often used to illustrate total omniscience comes to mind. "Has it ever occurred to you that nothing has ever occurred to God.

    God has never "wrestled within His mind" as men do to determine what He will allow or do. There is no division within the Godhead. The Son is as omniscient as the Father. And - it is the Son (the Word of God) who carries out what He has always known is the will of the Father.

    The above is why I made it a point to post what I believe is the correct and comprehensive scriptural definition of the omniscience of God.
    The difference between what “determinists” believe and what the scriptures teach is that the scriptures God as being immutable. I.e. “I am that which I am” – I am “the same yesterday, today and forever”. He doesn’t learn or even decide things. He has always known exactly what He will bring to pass, or “allow” to come to pass if you will.
    I can’t speak definitively for all so called “Calvinists”, But I don’t believe that belief is “according to Calvinism”.

    They (like I) believe in the total and eternal omniscience of God. In fact, they stress over and over again that God and no particular attribute God is “contingent” on anything.
    Nor do I.
    I agree.

    The problem, as I see it, is in not acknowledging the scriptural fact that God has always known what He will chose to do or allow to take place. That is to say concerning God’s foreknowledge and decrees – in a manner of speaking – that there is “no cart to put before the horse and no horse to put before the cart”.

    To allow for our humanity limited perspective of things – theologians often talk about the “logical sequence” of events in God’s economy outside of time. Without it we would be hard pressed or it would be impossible to reason through any kind of solid systematic theology concerning (for instance) soteriology.

    But we need to understand that only those events as they actually play out in time can be considered as “sequential”.

    That’s one of the reasons that it’s so hard to understand the Book of Revelation when it illustrates events in Heaven in relation to those on earth. It’s also why God often speaks of things that are not yet as though they were.

    “……those whom he justified he also glorified.” Romans 8:30

    P.S. ----

    There is much food for thought for those considering these admittedly sometimes difficult concepts – in considering those scripture, both O.T. and N.T., that show God speaking definitively about things which could never even be without a completely different paradigm from the one we exist in now in this creation.

    E.g. – “if this was done in Sodom – they would have “ ….. and the like.

    If necessary we can talk about this kind.of illustration of possibilities vs. actualities soon. But just look at the way the Lord states without doubt exactly what would happen if He had brought to pass a different paradigm than we have in this world – including, no doubt, people who do not exist, never have existed and never will exist.

    How can He talk definitively about these things? Because He is the one who is involved in every minute facet of the world creating paradigms and thereby bringing to pass what He has predestined to occur. All the while He is working with physical and spiritual laws He Himself has put into place - which include (and this is important) the creation and sustaining of beings who can and do make choices of their own for which they are responsible.

    The fact that Calvinists have fully considered this group of scriptures and what they show us - and incorporated them into their theology about God's absolute omniscience concerning what will never be and will never be - should really put to rest the idea that they believe or teach that God only knows what He has determined will actually occur.

    As I said before - time and space restraints probably prevent our analyizing these thing fully here.

    As an aside – I am just as most others that we can “have our being in Him” and do exactly what He has predestined to occur without being puppets or robots – but rather people He actually interacts with and loves so much that He died for our sins.

    [Staff edit].

    Out of space and time for now.

    By the way - I hate to be one way about things - but I doubt that I will be able to take the time to respond point by point to any long dissections of what I've just said.

    Perhaps a point at a time now from me?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2019
  11. royal priest

    royal priest debtor to grace

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    This doesn't represent the Reformed (Calvinistic) understanding of Who God is.
    London Baptist Confession of 1689:
    Of God's Decree paragraph 2:

    Although God knows everything which may or can come to pass under all imaginable conditions, yet He has not decreed anything because He foresaw it in the future, or because it would come to pass under certain conditions.

    The Reformed position is that God's decree is a manifestation of His infinite wisdom (the basis of His omniscience)
     
  12. FreeGrace2

    FreeGrace2 Senior Veteran

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    Please do. You already said better what I did about God's attributes and that His omniscience isn't subservient to His sovereignty.

    That is also my understanding of Calvinism.

    Yep. More inconsistency and contradiction.

    [Staff edit].
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2019
  13. FreeGrace2

    FreeGrace2 Senior Veteran

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    Actually, you just support both my and Dr Jack's explanation of the reformed view of things.

    If His omniscience is based on any other of His attributes, then that or those attributes ARE superior to His omniscence.

    All of God's attributes are equal. And none are "more equal" than any other.
     
  14. His student

    His student Active Member

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    Actually the Calvinist position it is not inconsistent and contradictory.
    The fact is that your understanding of the Reformed position is incorrect.
    They do not believe that what God knows is based upon that which He has determined.
    Whether you mean it to be or not - that is simply a straw man.

    He clearly (as I have illustrated) knows things which will never be with equal clarity to those things which will eventually be.

    As I have alluded to - God knows what will happen in all possible circumstances. Sequentially speaking as it were - He decides from a literally "infinite" number of possible circumstances and their resultant consequences exactly which of them will accomplish what He wants accomplished. Among those things He wants to display is His wisdom grace and judgment - not necessarily in that order. All will be on display in the ages to come in accordance with the particular choice or combination of choices He chooses to bring to actuality what will actually happen.

    Although from an anthropomorphic perspective we talk about "logical sequential" orders within God's omniscience - there really is no such thing within the mind of God who can never learn things, or add to His knowledge - but is immutable.
    I suppose we'd have to dissect exactly what you mean by "based on any other of His attributes". If you mean something like "limited by Hisnature including His other attributes" - I agree.

    For instance - God cannot and would not create a rock too big for Him to lift. Nor can He tell a lie.
    Whether He considers them "equal" or not is not for me to say. But I can say that they are as indivisible as is His infinite nature in all other respects as well.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2019
  15. FreeGrace2

    FreeGrace2 Senior Veteran

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    Let's put this to a test.

    Who is the first cause of sin?

    Not the discussion. The issue is WHY does God know what will happen? Another test.
     
  16. His student

    His student Active Member

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    [Staff edit].

    The sinner.

    God is the first cause of His every decree. Those decrees are always altogether good.

    E.g. - God caused His Son to die for the sins of the world.

    God has caused those good decrees to oftentimes fall out according to natural causes - according to Calvinistic doctrine such as the Westminster Confession of Faith.

    Those natural causes can and often do include the free choices made by those created in His image - sometimes sinful and sometimes not.

    E.g. - He was nailed to a cross at the hands of evil men.
    That's a little like asking why is God good, or why is God a Trinity, or why is God so big? It's simply His nature. It's who He is.

    But - to your question - there can be no doubt from scripture that God knows not only things which will happen, He also knows things which will never happen with equal clarity.

    "And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day." Matthew 11:23

    ""Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes." Luke 10:13

    Since He is the omnipresent source of all things - the proper definition of omniscience concerning things which happen in His creation is that God has always known what will happen if and when He Himself chooses to speak and or act in certain and innumerable ways.

    He must be active in any paradigm that exists simply because He is the God of the scriptures and not an absentee God on a throne somewhere outside of the world - as some would paint Him in an effort to avoid recognizing His involvement of some kind in all things including the existence of evil in the world.

    Because God is a God Who is close at hand and not just far off - "Do I not fill heaven and earth?" "In Him we live and move and have our being." - He is omnipresent and constantly active in innumerable ways to create the particular paradigm in which events happen or don't happen.

    Because God is not constrained by anything outside of Himself - He is the one who creates and sustains any paradigm in which an event occurs.

    He knows every possibility because He is God and the source of all things including abstract ideas. According to scripture - abstract ideas within the mind of God are not actualities within the creation until His Word is sent forth to accomplish exactly what He sends Him forth to accomplish.

    He also has always known what He will do. He doesn't surprise Himself or change Himself in some way by adding to His nature by deciding things the way we must do.

    P.S.
    I thought about asking you in a preceding post what you mean by the term "1st cause" - and then wait for your answer before engaging the question.

    But in the end I have assumed here that you, being a non Calvinist, are using the term "1st cause" in the non Calvinist way. I.e. you mean who is the "author" of particular sin. Since the scripture is clear on the subject - obviously the sinner is the author in that sense.

    But - as you probably know by now [staff edit] the Westminster Confession uses the term in a different sense.

    It (and therefore usually Calvinists - which title I don't claim for myself even though we have much in common) uses that term for God in the sense that He is the only totally independent source of all things in creation and from His Word (or decree if you will) all things flow and have their existence.

    Again - since you are not a Calvinist - I have in this post assumed that you mean who is the author of particular sins. If my assumption was wrong - please tell me so.

    You probably know the scripture which tells us that God is not the author of sin - so I won't insult you by quoting it for you.:)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2019
  17. FreeGrace2

    FreeGrace2 Senior Veteran

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    [Staff edit]

    "FreeGrace2 said:
    Let's put this to a test.
    Who is the first cause of sin?........."
    OK, has God decreed everything that occurs? This is not a test, nor a trap.

    I await your answer.

    Are you distinguishing between what you call "good decrees" from "bad decrees"?

    Do you have any examples of one of God's "bad decrees"?

    Is this an example of a "bad decree"?

    Of course.

    Did God decree the bad things that occur?

    Did God decree the bad things that occur?

    No, I meant that word in the way
    that Calvinists use it.

    So, did God decree sin? You know, as the 1st cause.

    [Staff edit].

    Lots of words, but short on actual definition or explanation. Did God decree sin?

    Did. And please answer my questions.

    So, did God decree sin?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2019
  18. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

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    red-strawberry-hat-wool-beret-girls-winter-wear20667.jpg
    MOD HAT ON
    This thread has had a clean.
    Please continue the discussion respectfully and courteously,
    and cease goading one another.​

    MOD HAT OFF
     
  19. His student

    His student Active Member

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    Yes - and everything He has decreed to occur is good - working as it does together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.
    I said, "Those decrees are always altogether good."
    Answer to what? :scratch:
    That wasn't a question. It was a statement of fact. Everything God does is after His good and perfect will.
    I am saying exactly what I clearly said, God makes only only good decrees.

    Sometimes He determines that those good decrees will fall out through the sins of men and angels - for which they and they alone are responsible.

    And- NO - God is not evil for doing so even if it seems from our perspective (yours, mine, Hammster's and John Calvin's as well) that He must be. He says that He is only good. I believe Him. Hammster undoubtedly believes Him. John Calvin believed Him. Do you believe Him?

    God forbid that you, or anyone else who takes exception to the way Calvinists word these difficult doctrines, change God into some kind of absentee landlord for His creation in an effort to avoid the difficult picture it sometimes give us when we include the entirely of the scripture picture into our theology.
    There are none even if those decrees are to be carried out through the sins of men and angels.
    No.
    God decrees all that happens. The bad that happens through the free choices of men and angels is used by God to accomplish His good decrees. He has decreed (said) that it will be so. Since God is altogether good - even that decree is good.
    God decrees only good. His decree that the evil done by men and angels will play a part in bringing to pass the good that He has decreed is also good - even if we can't see it from our perspective at this time.
    Then - YES - God is the 1st cause of all things which occur in His creation.
    God decrees that the sins, for which only evil men and angels are responsible for, be used to bring to pass His good decrees. He is not evil for doing so even if it seems so from our perspective now. I gave you examples.
    NO - mine was a "premo" explanation. You may well be so intent on arguing that you will not admit it. But it was.

    Quite frankly you're getting much better and more detailed explanations from me concerning these admittedly difficult concepts than any Calvinistic confession or (God knows) any non Calvinistic work would give you.
    Answered in detail.

    Examples:
    God decrees that His Son die for the sins of the world. = good decree.
    God decrees that evil be used to bring to pass that good decree. = also a good decree - even if it seems bad from our perspective. He has given us enough information and displayed enough of His love that we can trust Him in this with only limited questions in order to live with it and incorporate it into our theology.

    God decrees that all of His attributes and innate knowledge be put on display in a creation through the actions of His Son (the Word of God) as they have within the Godhead for eternity past - thus "magnifying His glory. = good decree (in fact perfectly in keeping with His nature within the Godhead).

    The knowledge of good and evil being part of His nature - God decrees that it also be put on display in His creation. = good decree

    God decrees that men be given free will and that their choices (for which they will be held justly responsible) play a part in that display. = good decree

    God decrees that the good He wishes to display in the display of His attributes to magnify His glory fall out according to the free will choices of men and angels. = good decree, even if it seems from our limited perspectives not to be during this present time of testing.

    "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Romans 8:18
    They have been answered. If you don't like the omniscient, omnipresent, providentially controlling God of creation portrayed for us in the scriptures - please take it up with Him and see if He will give you more revelation than He has given to me and John Calvin.
    Cut to the chase please. Do you think sin just kinda sneaked into His creation without His planning for it's inclusion and use? (And please - no tired bromides about free will). Do you think a God who planned that His innate knowledge of evil be put on display while bringing to pass the good that He is performing for the ages would be Himself evil?

    Just in case you didn't get it or I wasn't clear - God is doing good with all He has done or allowed - including His plan to use evil for good. If you think otherwise - that's between you and God. It has absolutely no exclusive domain in so called Calvinism.

    For the record - I believe the scriptures indicate that God is displaying for all of eternity His innate attribute of the full knowledge of good and evil. He is allowing the sins of Adam and his offspring and Lucifer and his minions to run their course until all forms of evil (at least in representative form) have been recorded for the ages to come so that it won't have to be repeated ever again.

    In His wisdom and goodness - He has determined a way where that can be done wherein He is not the author of sin even as He has decreed that it be allowed to occur in the first place and to run it's course up to the point He wishes it to so that He can point to our experience in the ages (and perhaps worlds) to come.

    In His grace and wisdom - He has determined that you and I be elevated in Christ to the right hand of God for eternity for, as it were, the trouble our own sin has caused us along the way.

    I.e. - "ALL things are working together for good for those who love God and are the called according to His purposes." That's actually a pretty good deal from our perspective even if it is a pain in the rear and a bucket of tears in this life.

    The "Word of God" has always reflected the innate attributes and knowledge of His Father to the Glory of God the Father. It has been His good pleasure to do so. He is continuing that "work" even in this creation - which has it's "being" in Him - all things being created by Him and for Him and holding together or existing in the Word of God.

    One of those eternal attributes is His innate knowledge of good and evil. Being created in His image - He wants us to have that knowledge as well. He, in manner of speaking, might have preferred we learn it another way than the way our choice panned out. But He'll have to tell us about that in the future if He wishes.

    This is rather basic stuff. I would have thought you would have incorporated it into you own theology as have the Calvinists and I.

    Look - you have plenty of information from me to form a picture of what I believe and why I believe it. If you think otherwise - that's fine with me.

    Just be sure that you haven't left out any of the scriptures Calvinists have considered to arrive at their conclusions.

    I do believe that you have to have only a partial picture of in order to think like you apparently do.

    I have done a lot of writing. If you have an equal sized picture of your theology to show us - please do so. Then I will pick yours apart for awhile.

    I will, however, try to do it without a bunch of twenty questions word games in order to do it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
  20. His student

    His student Active Member

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    It seems to me that people’s problem is with the Calvinist’s use of the term “decree” when including the existence of sin in God’s creation .

    Frankly - if non-Calvinists prefer another word – they can go ahead and use it so long as they are crystal clear what they mean by that word..

    I suppose it’s because of the errors in the pre Reformation church that Calvinists have gone out of their way to write clear and concise dissertations about their views of various truths from the scriptures. The WCF is one such example and probably the primary example. In it they tried very hard to not be misunderstood and yet include every possible revelation from the scriptures in their statements about certain doctrines.

    Dozens of Godly Protestant theologians met over a period exceeding 5 years and left us with the Confession, a larger catechisms and a shorter catechisms including proof texts for every concept considered in their writing of those documents. Sometimes, IMO, they nailed it and sometimes they missed by a bit. But generally it is a well researched and thorough presentation of scripture truth related to various things.

    With this subject we are talking about - they chose to use the word “decree” for God’s speaking forth what He has or will do or allow. That includes when they are talking about sin or evil. They almost undoubtedly chose it because of it’s presenting pretty clearly what God says about sending forth His Word to accomplish everything He is accomplishing. Perhaps it is an unfortunate word for us to try to use in this present age. But there it is anyway.

    In their defense – they did go out of their way to make it crystal clear that when they say that God “decreed” sin they are not saying that God is the author of sin. They tell us clearly that God will rightly judge the sins for which men and angels alone are responsible for. Further- they went out of their way to tell us that men are not robots or puppets but have free will even if God has decreed or predestined all of their choices.

    They stress that none of their statements are to be taken in any way to indicate that God Himself is evil for what they are saying about His decrees about sin.

    Still it goes on. Men looking to undermine the findings of the WCF throw out straw men like comments about robots and puppets. They play silly word games to supposedly show that Calvinist mean exactly what they have always said clearly they do not mean.

    These are not serious avenues of debate. They are games pure and simple.

    If someone prefers to use longer statements to explain the decrees of God concerning sin – by all means go ahead on. Usually rather than “decree” sin they will chose to say that God determined to “allow sin to happen”.

    Calvinist have been clear enough in their teaching about free will vs. sovereignty that they would likely have no problem with this way of stating things.

    But generally – they prefer the more short and concise term “decree” instead because there is no reason to reinvent the wheel. Calvinists have almost universally made it clear that they mean exactly the same as non-Calvinists when talking about this subject – namely that God has decreed that “sin be allowed to occur”.

    The big difference (and perhaps the only difference) between Calvinists and non Calvinists on this subject is that Calvinists want it crystal clear exactly what is meant by “free will”. They want it understood that the gift of free will given to men does not indicate any kind of independence from the God in whom we have our being.

    They also want it clear that none of this horrible mess we find ourselves in was beyond the planning of God from before the foundation of the world

    But – frankly – I tire of games and straw men. What I believe has been made crystal clear just as have most Calvinist made it quite clear as well.

    I know that, if I bow out now, as I am intending to do, a Calvinist will almost no doubt come in who simply uses the old statements of faith and will not humor Reformed critics with honest tries at explaining Calvinistic thought – or perhaps they will not able to think or write in these detailed ways. The critics will no doubt pile on and think they have won the day. In fact they will not have won anything. If you want to be champion – beating up on weaker or less experienced men does nothing for your claim to the title. .

    These doctrines are not that hard to understand if you have no agenda against Calvinists. The arguments for these doctrines are unassailable if a person give them much thought at all.

    I would entertain dialog for a while longer so long as there are no more games.

    I just don’t have that much more time to spare.

    Also I weary of having my posts edited and I am not able to talk of these questions without cutting right to the chase in a sometimes inappropriate for the Forum moderators manner.
     
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