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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. His student

    His student Well-Known Member

    United States
    Thank you for the opportunity -- although -- I prefer not to lay claim the title of Calvinist – since that usually indicates a belief in all of the 5 points as expounded by current Calvinists. (John Calvin, by the way would not subscribe to “limited atonement” as usually meant by “so called” Calvinists.)

    Right on.

    Substituting my example of the murder of Jesus wherein we are given more concerning the reasons for God’s plan than any example of the holocaust, the fall of the tower at Siloam or any other such examples provide for us:

    1. The soldiers of Rome.

    2. The men of Israel who knew the action was wrong and who, never the less, chanted Barabbas when given the chance to let Jesus go free.

    3. Caiaphas and the other rulers of the Jews.

    4. God. God orchestrated this entire event -- and yet God holds the aforementioned alone responsible for their sins.

    But let's take this one step further. No – wait – there is no step further according to the WCF since God is the first cause of every created and sustained being and every event that happens in history through the free will of those beings.

    The WCF states, "God unchangeably ordained whatsoever comes to pass". God ordained each of the above previous steps (according to Calvinism).

    Now since (according to Calvinism) only the FINAL free agent is culpable, why didn't God hold the soldiers of Rome responsible for Jesus’ death?

    Because they didn’t realize what they were doing and because Jesus prayed for them to be forgiven.

    More importantly though – why doesn’t God hold Himself responsible?

    He does – for His altogether good plan to forgive sinners which came to pass through the evil sins of men.

    For those sins themselves – He rightly holds the sinners responsible since God is not the author of those sins and the sinners involved were given free will to make choices and (according to the clear witness of the WCF) no violence was done to the will of the sinners, nor was the liberty or contingency of these second causes in God’s plan taken away, but rather established.

    I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    By the way – and as a somewhat related aside – the scriptures are filled with examples of the concurrent actions of God and His creatures where in the actions of God are good and the actions of the creatures are sometimes evil.

    God sent Joseph to Egypt ahead of his relatives for a good reason. He brought that plan to pass through the evil choices made by the brothers of Joseph, for which they were responsible since God is not the author of those sins – the brothers being given free will which was not in any way coerced by God nor “violence” done to the brothers, nor was the “liberty” of the brothers taken away, but rather established.

    Even more direct – Caiaphas made the following snide remark to his fellows - “You know nothing at all. You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish”. And out of the mouth of a sinner God prophesied an absolute good and grand prophecy.

    Along those lines – we have the example of a donkey braying and God speaking His Words to the prophet through that natural action of a donkey.

    And further - along the lines of the free choices of men and the plan and actions of God being concurrent - I am constantly amazed by people who supposedly believe in the scriptures as the very Word of God and yet who chafe at the very idea that God should be involved in their free choice..

    For example – Luke undertook out of his free will to compile a record of various historical events. They were his words and they were God’s Words. God was the 1st cause of the scriptures being written and Luke, in this case, was the 2nd cause.

    Along the line in history - men made free choices which preserved the scriptures for us. At the same time it was God bringing His plan to preserve the scriptures for this generation bringing that plan to pass through those free choices of men.

    Look – I’m going to take a break here. Suffice it to say that I am constantly amazed at the shallowness of thought that many anti-Calvinists display while undertaking to refute Reformed theology and Calvinism in particular.

    It's so often necessary to return to the basics and lay them out in detail because those who hate Calvinism have just glossed over them or ignored them in their zeal to refute their hated foes - the Calvinists.

    I've said many times - and not completely in hyperbole - that it is almost like anti Reformed people are worshiping a different God than the one I worship.

    J.B. Phillips wrote a little book in 1955 that became a best seller. I suggest that people either read it or reread it because, as Phillips said in the title, "YOUR GOD IS TOO SMALL".
  2. FreeGrace2

    FreeGrace2 Senior Veteran

    I said:
    "Whoever ordains a plan IS the author of that plan."
    No, not "right on". The Bible tells us that David ordained the plan to murder Uriah. And God held David accountable for murder, not any of the other layers of the plan; the army of Rabbah, Josiah, the Jewish army.

    No, I'm not. I AM determining who is culpable for for sin, which the WCF seems to sidestep with their erroneous statements that are not factual.

    When David raped and murdered, he alone was the ordainer of those acts. Please don't tell me that God decreed those sins. We know what "decree" means. If God decreed them, they God would be liable, whether you like it or not. But David, from his own heart, decreed those evils. For which God held him alone accountable.

    Got news for you. No one did. In fact, Jesus was executed LEGALLY, according to the Roman government of the day.

    However, not even the Roman army actually killed Him. You know why? Jesus dismissed His own human spirit. That's what John 19:30 says.

    Check out bible hub.com. The vast majority of the 28 translations indicate that Jesus 'gave up' or 'released' His spirit. And the voice is active, meaning that Jesus performed the action of that verb. He alone gave up, released, dismissed His own spirit.

    So, He wasn't killed by anyone else. The reason is (or should be) obvious; after saying "tetelesai", or "it is finished", His mission on earth was done. He had no reason to remain on earth. So, after finishing His mission, He dismissed His spirit to go preach to the spirits in prison, per 1 Pet 3:19. That was His next mission.

    Where do you find that in Scripture?

    What God ordained was that His chosen Son would pay the sin penalty so that God could save people by grace.

    God knew that Jews would hate Him and try to kill Him, which they tried to do on multiple occasions.

    God didn't choose who would put Christ on the cross. He KNEW who would do that.

    Such a statement isn't true just because someone wants it to be true.

    You've got that exactly backwards. God cannot be the author or sin. And God does NOT decree that sin occur. That's basically what the WCF claims, in so many words.

    But what is clear is that point 1 is internally contradicted.

    God ordained the plan of salvation, not the supposed killing of Jesus, as you seem to be suggesting.

    Jesus dismissed His own spirit, when His mission on earth was finished.
  3. His student

    His student Well-Known Member

    United States
    NO -
    The scriptures tell us that God holds the ones who sin out of their free will culpable since that will was not coerced by anyone else including God - just as the WCF says.
    You cannot compare the altogether good decrees of God with the evil decrees of sinners which God has chosen to use to bring to pass His good decrees.
    They are correct in this. They do not contradict the scriptures.

    I defend the WCF when it is correct and I critique it where it is wrong. I do the same to the teachings of Calvinists when I find them in error.
  4. Apologetic_Warrior

    Apologetic_Warrior Pilgrim

    United States
    The WCF and all those behind it are not contradicted, you are. Even so I will entertain this whoever ordains is the author of the action game, and without excuse or apology.

    The format, only simple questions and (troubling?) Scripture

    • Who ordained the flood in Noah's day?
    • Who ordains "natural" disasters?

    Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. (KJV)

    Isaiah 45:7 I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the LORD, who does all these things. (ESV)

    Isaiah 45:7 I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things. (NIV)

    • Who ordained the destruction of the Canaanites?

    Deuteronomy 7:1 “When the LORD your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and mightier than yourselves, 2 and when the LORD your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them. 3 You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, 4 for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the LORD would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly. 5 But thus shall you deal with them: you shall break down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and chop down their Asherim and burn their carved images with fire. (ESV)

    Deuteronomy 20:17 but you shall devote them to complete destruction, the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, as the LORD your God has commanded, 18 that they may not teach you to do according to all their abominable practices that they have done for their gods, and so you sin against the LORD your God.

    • Who ordained the hardening of Pharoah's heart?

    Exodus 9:12 But the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had spoken to Moses.

    again it is written;

    Romans 9:18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

    and again

    1 John 3:20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.

    • Who ordained the deaths of the firstborn in Egypt?

    Exodus 12:12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.

    • Who ordained an evil spirit to torment Saul?

    1 Samuel 16:14 Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the LORD tormented him. 15 And Saul's servants said to him, “Behold now, a harmful spirit from God is tormenting you.

    While I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult to drum up more questions with Scriptures, at this point I await your answers and attempts to explain away what the Scriptures plainly say.

    For clarity sake, I will plainly state again as has been already said over and over, God ordains everything but He is not the author of sin, and not ordain by your understanding of the term, but as has been taught by those of the Reformed faith for hundreds of years, and probably going back in history much further.

    Btw, you are in error in equivocating "sin" with "action" which is what your argument depends on, just a friendly reminder.
  5. His student

    His student Well-Known Member

    United States
    I'll tell you what I have always told you. God decreed that the choices to sin would be allowed to occur in history with no coercion from Him to commit them - just as the WCF says.

    God determined before the foundation of the world that they "must" occur in order that He might show the consequences of those sins forth in the ages to come.

    No amount of word play will change the fact that God is the 1st cause of all that happens and that He works through 2nd causes without having any wrong culpability for any sins committed in those 2nd causes.

    You may not like the wording chosen by the WCF. But that what they portray for us is biblical truth none the less
    Everyone knows that. I did not say that the Roman government murdered Jesus.

    However - as to the legality of it all - Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Israel, sentenced Jesus to death -even though he knew that the evidence against Him was false [Luke 23:4,13-15,22-23].

    I won't take just your word for it on that if it's OK. I'll let an expert in Roman law tell us how legal that was if we can find one sill alive.
    Everyone knows that.
    He was killed by evil men. The reason we know that is obvious - because Jesus said so.

    "From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised." Matthew 16:21

    Note also that He said "must" regarding the committing of sins as 2nd causes in the bringing to pass what He has decreed to occur. As you have rightly pointed out - that's a key component in what sets "decrees" apart from mere allowances.

    The entirety of the scriptures (God's Word) "must" be fulfilled. How do we know that they must be fulfilled (including the sins committed by the 2nd causes involved in their fulfillment)? Because Jesus said so.

    “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day.” Luke 9:22

    the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” Luke 24:7

    How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? John 12:34

    "How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?" Matthew 26:54

    “ For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” Luke 22:37

    “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me? I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled. Mark 14:48-49

    “Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." Luke 24:44

    I said, "God held the rulers of the Jews guilty of the murder of Jesus Christ."
    "..............They took him, and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vine-growers, and will give the vineyard to others." Mark 12:6-9
    Absolutely - What God ordains is always good even if He decrees that those things so predestined fall out through the sins of men and angels.
    Nor have I said otherwise.

    But He did decree that their sins occur in history according to His previous decree that men have free will. God is the 1st cause and He works through 2nd causes as the WCF so simply puts it.
    The plan of salvation including the killing of Jesus. God could have, I suppose, done it any number of ways But He chose to do it the way He did and it "must" have occurred just as His Word said it would be done. Jesus was OK with that and so am I.

    As the scriptures teach us and as the WCF affirms for us - God decreed that salvation would come to mankind and that the bringing to pass of that salvation occur through the agency of the sins of men - for which only they are responsible.
    Everyone knows that.
  6. Dr. Jack

    Dr. Jack Well-Known Member

    United States
    I agree.

    I disagree.
    Let me try to give you an example of the internal contradiction which you are being presented:

    The sky is all blue and white; but, it's all the same color.

    What is wrong with the above statement is that the two parts of the complete sentence are not cohesive. Why? Because the first part specifically states there are two colors in the sky; while the second part of the sentence states there is but one.

    The WCF states that God ordained every event. (Prior to the creation.) That means that God authored every event.

    Then, (in the same sentence) the WCF states that God is NOT the author of particular events.

    Calvinism asserts that every event that now happens in time, was previously ordained, and determined by God outside of time, in eternity.

    Calvinism says that God ordained (for example) that Adam would eat of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. This means that God originated the idea of Adam eating the fruit, prior to the fruit, or Adam being created.

    Not only does this mean that the idea originated with God, but the outcome of the event was not only known by God, but determined by God; again, prior to the existence of both the fruit, and Adam.

    The WCF states what I just said.

    However, in the same sentence, the WCF then says that God isn't the author of some events that occur ... specifically "sin".

    Here is a direct question: How can God ordain every event that comes to pass, but not be the author of some events?

    1) According to Calvinism, God not only knew Adam would eat the forbidden fruit prior to creating Adam, but God decreed, ordained, and determined Adam would do it.
    2) Adam was created with a neutral free will.

    How then can Adam have a neutral free will, yet, be decreed, ordained, and determined by God to eat the forbidden fruit?

    This is the contradiction that exists in the WCF statement.

    Let's take a look at this:
    We will use the case of King David with Uriah the Hittite.

    David decreed the event, but did not physically commit the act.
    God, (according to Calvinism) decreed, ordained, and determined the event prior to the creation.

    Is the decree by David to kill Uriah more evil than the decree by God to have Adam transgress in the Garden of Eden? David's decree costed the life of Uriah, along with the life of the child that David conceived in adultery. God's decree for Adam to transgress in the Garden of Eden brought a curse upon the whole of mankind.

    No, the two cannot be compared to each other ... but that is what Calvinism asserts. Which is NOT Scriptural.
  7. His student

    His student Well-Known Member

    United States
    No kidding?

    But had the Jews involved in the Talmud received Christ as their personal Savior, been given the Holy Spirit by God to lead them into truth, gathered together 150 or so like equipped fellow Christians of the highest caliber and told them to meet for over 5 years to compile concise statements on these subjects with only the scriptures as authority, required them to provide proof texts for their every conclusion - and then a great part of the Church discussed and largely adopted their findings as their catechisms for some 400 years – and had the holders of those beliefs been largely responsible for the opening of the mission fields of the world in the “great century” of worldwide evangelism and had they defended those beliefs time and time again successfully against hoards of critics-------- I believe the document they produced would be deemed worthy of very serious consideration indeed – unlike the Talmud which was produced by a bunch of Christ rejecting Jews in the middle ages.

    Just sayin!
    Fine. Let’s do that.
    No he did not. Read it again. This is a heck of a way to start.
    God as the 1st cause of all that happens in creation – brought Job to Satan’s attention that the agents of Satan might sin against him.
    On the part of Satan it might have been stupid. The part God played in it all (the 1st cause in the story) was wise and for a a good purpose.
    Nor did I say otherwise.
    True – just as the WCF and I say about the sins of men and angels.

    “God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass (Ps 33:11†; Eph 1:11; Rom 11:33; Heb 6:17; Rom 9:15, 18): yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin (Ps 5:4†; Jas 1:13, 17; 1 John 1:5; Eccl 7:29†; Hab 1:13†), nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established”

    God’s decree was that Satan and his agents be allowed to make choices without coercion on the part of God – just as the WCF says.
    Of course – nothing happens in God’s creation without His permission – just as Reformed theologians have been saying for many hundreds of years.
    Nor did I or anyone else here say otherwise.

    I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Jack - I'm growing weary and I'm very busy to boot. I'm going to have to take a break for awhile.

    Since you don't like the way the WCF worded things - why don't you and what's his name come up with a statement that encompasses all of the concepts embodied in the WCF work - and use the words of your choice?

    Only don't just spout some inane sentence or two talking about the free will of men or even the goodness of God.

    The compilers of the WCF didn't have the luxury to leave certain concepts given to us in the scriptures out of their many years of deliberations. You don't get to do that either IMO.

    Make sure you cover them all and make sure your statements are pithy so that they can be used as catechisms in the Church for the next few hundred years if she should so desire.

    I will tell you, however, that I have never seen a work by an anti-Calvinist (long or short work) that does the subject much justice at all - let alone that will stand the test of time and the attacks of critics as has the WCF statements on these subjects for hundreds of years.

    I think there is a reason why most good and thorough systematic works of theology over the centuries have been written by men who hold a more or less Reformed view of things.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2019
  8. His student

    His student Well-Known Member

    United States
    I just don't have the time now to unpack this question fully.

    Because of my limited time - I'll just ask you a few questions before I take a break.

    How can a creator who says I have my very being in Him and by Who's Word (or decree) created me for Himself, and sustains my existence for Himself; and Who is omnipresent without division in every fiber of my being including the brain with which I think - see me as anything but a robot or a computer to do His bidding?

    How can such a grand master have meaningful dialog with a wretched created being such as I?

    How can the creator and sustainer of all things love me from before the foundation of the world and purpose to save me from the evil which comes from my own choices?

    How and why would He become flesh and lay down His life for me just as if I was the only being He had ever created and who had not sinned against His holiness?

    I don't know the answers to these questions. I only know that He has. Their truth is not dependent on my understanding how these things could all be. They are true because His "Word" says they are and because that Word has taken me as His bride to be cherished forever.

    I don't know how the other things we have been talking about can all be true either - and it isn't likely that I will understand them perfectly this side of the veil if I ever do.

    Their truth is not dependent on this creature being able to explain to other creatures exactly how these things work.

    They are true none the less - and they are true whether I express them by citing the WCF or post pages of my inadequate words on an internet forum.

    They are true because God's Word in His totality teaches that they are true even while not using inadequate words such as decree, ordain, predestine or any other anthropomorphic way of expressing them.

    I could probably explain in time what and why I believe what I believe (chapter and verse) if we were chatting over time in person. But this format is inadequate and argumentative people who play word games are exasperating to deal with.

    I suggest that you and what's his name return to square one. Just for starters - you both seem to have an inadequate understanding of God's relationship with His creation via His ever present Word as well of the concept of covenants and decrees that were put in place and issued between the members of the Godhead in eternity past and those put in place and issued between God and men within time and space.

    To top it all off - you both seem to want to argue. I thought different of you to begin with. But this seemingly never ending nonsense has convinced me otherwise.

    If my current plans materialize - I won't be checking in here again for several days and by that time I won't likely be able or willing to catch back up with things.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2019
  9. Dr. Jack

    Dr. Jack Well-Known Member

    United States
    No, not at all. But please allow me to directly focus on points #2 and #3.

    I agree completely. However, there is an underlying teaching here that is being evaded by the writers at this juncture. That underlying doctrine is that man (according to Calvinism) is a dichotomous being [soul and body]; rather than a trichotomous being [soul, body, and spirit].

    The soul and spirit both relate to the 'spiritual' realm; while the body strictly relates to the physical realm. It is for this reason that soul and spirit are often used interchangeably, but yet, they are two separate parts.

    Calvinism relies heavily upon the dichotomous view of man in order to establish T.U.L.I.P..

    Total Depravity absolutely rests upon this doctrine.

    That brings us to #3 ...

    In the dichotomous view, when the soul dies, nothing but the body remains. The human physical body walks around with no attachment whatsoever to the spiritual realm, and is therefore without hope. This is precisely why Calvinism teaches regeneration prior to salvation; even though the Scriptures teach us that regeneration IS salvation:

    3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Titus

    Notice the words, "he saved us, by the washing of regeneration"; NOT "after" the washing of regeneration.

    If we instead consider the trichotomous view of man [soul, body, spirit]; we now have a completely different situation, observe:

    When Adam transgressed in the Garden of Eden, his soul died, leaving Adam with a living body, and a spirit which would still keep him attached to the spiritual realm.

    Now let me be clear, Adam was created with a neutral free will, but that will could be influenced by good, or bad. After the fall, Adam still had a free will that could be influenced by good, or bad, but now the will of Adam is self focused, (to the desires of his flesh ... the sin nature), and therefore leans shall we say to evil, rather than good.

    2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:2:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another) Romans

    When Adam transgressed in the Garden of Eden, God wrote the "knowledge of good and evil" on Adam's heart. that knowledge is passed down to every generation. God Himself through His Spirit bears witness to that law. That is why the conscience of man bothers us when we do evil.

    1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Romans

    In verse 18 it says, "God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness"

    How is God revealed to them, if the dichotomous view is correct? God reveals Himself to men through their spirit.

    Verse 19 says, "Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them"

    WAIT! God hath "showed it unto them" ... how? The only answer is through their spirit.

    Verse 20 ...

    "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse"

    The "invisible" things are "clearly seen" ... even "his eternal power and Godhead" ...

    Is there anything physical about that? No! It is clearly seen through the "spirit" of man.

    Again, I need to be clear, this knowledge makes man accountable, but it doesn't save him. The point here is that God very emphatically says that ungodly men "clearly see" spiritual matters. That requires a working "spirit".

    What this means is that man is indeed helpless in his physical body to save himself, however, God tells man through his spirit that the Word of God is truth, and man must surrender to God; according to the Scriptures and be saved. Man does zero work, he only accepts that which God has done for him.

    Now just to finish the above Scripture reference ...

    Verse 21 ...

    "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened."

    Now according to the WCF, man cannot know God ... (period) ... Yet, the Scriptures clearly state otherwise. No, this isn't a saving knowledge, but it is a revealed knowledge nonetheless.
  10. Dr. Jack

    Dr. Jack Well-Known Member

    United States
    I have not been disrespectful to you in any way. What I have done is shown you that the WCF is problematic. You yourself believe that some of the points of Calvinism (TULIP) are inaccurate, as well as some of the points of the WCF. I get that.

    Here is where I believe we disagree:

    You believe God decreed, ordained, and determined every event that comes to pass.

    I believe God had foreknowledge of every event that comes to pass, but does not NECESSARILY decree, ordain, and especially determine every event that comes to pass.

    God indeed decreed that He would provide Himself a Lamb to take away the sin of the world. (He told Abraham that on the mount.)

    God did not DECREE Adam to transgress, but God did foreknow that Adam would transgress.

    People often say that nonCalvinists teach that God "looks into the future" then acts accordingly. This is not so. Let me give you an illustration:

    Let's suppose creature A lives in a 3 dimension realm, but can only see horizontally, and is therefore limited to 2 dimensions. He lives on the surface of the water. Over time, A has noticed that that dolphins always appear one, right after the other. The first dolphin is always going up, then nearby, a second dolphin goes down. However, A is quite confused by ducks. There is simply no pattern with them.

    One day A meets creature B, which can see all 3 dimensions. B tells a that the dolphins he sees are simply coming from beneath him, going higher than him, and simply going back into the water at another location, that is why he sees them twice. Ducks on the other hand come from above him, then simply leave again. Shortly after that, B notices some ducks heading his way. He tells A that the ducks are about to land, and tells A where to look. Sure enough, A soon sees the ducks.

    It isn't because B looked into the future, or even determined (caused) the ducks to land, that B was able to know the ducks would land. B simply had an ability to see in a dimension that A could not see.

    Likewise, God can see all of time as now, an has the sovereign choice to interact as He wishes. This does not mean He decreed the events; it means He has perfect knowledge of the events. It is my belief that the word "foreknowledge" in Scripture is used in Scripture simply to address mankind's limited understanding of time.

    There is a HUGE theological difference between God decreeing all events before hand, and foreknowing all events before hand. That is where we differ .. I'm quite certain.
  11. FreeGrace2

    FreeGrace2 Senior Veteran

    Opinion noted.

    Don't equate sin with God's judgment.

    Check any decent lexicon. The Hebrew word for "evil" here includes the semantic range of "calamity". Again, don't equate sin with God's judgment.

    Again, judgment, NOT sin.

    Do you know how God hardened Pharoah's heart? By keeping him alive in which he himself continued to harded his own heart.

    Just read the first 5 plagues and you'll see that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. By keeping him alive, he was able to further harden his heart.

    Don't equate judgment with sin.

    Stop equating judgment with sin.

    Rather than even attempting to "explain away" anything, I've shown your own error, by equating God's judgment with sin.

    And I will repeat as often as you claim over and over, that your statement is contradictory internally.

    Uh, last time I checked, sin IS an "action".

    But, the real error is equating God's judgment with sin. Which you've done over and over.
  12. Dr. Jack

    Dr. Jack Well-Known Member

    United States
    First, I am glad that you are willing to stand on your position, "without excuse or apology". I like that!

    There are no "troubling" Scriptures, but there are some more difficult ones. (Although, none of these fit either billet.
    God, and God.

    First, God didn't create the ORIGINAL "evil", but he did create the first being that would choose to be evil ... Lucifer, later to become named Satan.

    Now, after that, God did create evil things, such as people that He also knew would become evil. But that was part of God's plan (as per His omniscience).

    We can discuss that more if you wish, but I don't see that as a problem. Let me be clear, the word evil is normally an adjective, or even a noun. It may possibly even be used as an adverb. However, none of this is means that God ordained, or decreed "sin" itself.


    And your point is ... ?


    Exodus 9:12 But the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had spoken to Moses.[/QUOTE]
    Let's see what the Scriptures say more ..
    4:21 And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go. Exodus

    Notice the words, "that he shall not let the people go". Yes, God hardened Pharaoh's heart FOR a SPECIFIC reason ... "that he shall not let the people go".

    Again, your point is ... ?

    God did, I don't have a problem with that.

    God did. Did you forget that Saul was in rebellion against God, and that is why God did so?

    3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 1 John

    The word "committeth" is the verb associated with the action of transgressing the law.
  13. FreeGrace2

    FreeGrace2 Senior Veteran

    You and the WCF are wrong. God never "decreed sin". He allowed free will. That is not sin. Sin comes from the sinner.

    Why did you put quote marks around 'must'? Are you trying to dissociate what the word really means? If God determined that sin MUST occur, then God is the cause of sin occuring. Can't be any other way.

    In fact, it's irrational to think otherwise.

    Your statement is only your opinion, as well as the opinion of others. Doesn't make it true.

    The claim is patently false.

    So, now you're trying to pit Scripture against itself. Way to go.

    The Bible tells us how Jesus died. He released His spirit. Is that how every other human physially checks out from earth? Obviously NOT.

    I just don't buy any of this so-called "first and second causes" of sin.

    Sin comes from the one who does it. God doesn't "determine" that people will sin. He simply KNOWS that they will. And He allows it.

    And your passage says nothing about what you've said.

    Now you are admitting that you said that Jesus was murdered.

    But John 10:30 is very clear about how He left earth. By His own decision.

    So if His death was by murder, then it was actually suicide. That's your only option if you continue to push this murder theory.

    Nonsense. Sin is NEVER good.

  14. His student

    His student Well-Known Member

    United States
    You are purposefully including the word "determined" to what the WCF and I have said we believe.

    I have no real problem with that word so long as you are not including it here in order to leave open the possibility of making the charge that we believe that God authors or dictates what sins a person must commit. We do not believe that is the case and we have made it very clear. You may not like the formulation of the statements made in the WCF - perhaps you can do better. But whatever you believe we mean by decree and ordain - we do not mean invent, author, dictate or assign any particular choices to men, and certainly not sinful choices.
    God does know all events before hand. That includes, as I have previously illustrated, all events possible as well as events that will actually occur.

    What makes the difference between a possible occurrence which God knows - and the one He knows will indeed occur? I would say that it is His "decision" to act in certain ways. But that indicates that God has not "always" known all things. As I have said before several times - I do not believe that. I believe that His knowledge has always been an inherent component of His nature.

    What makes the thing an assured happening is His pre-creation eternal knowledge that He Himself will act in certain ways to create the parameters in which certain things will occur.

    Since we are talking about the only self existent and self supportive being in the universe and outside the universe (His unique attribute of His "aseity") - it would be more correct to say something like that He knows what will occur "if and when" He Himself acts in certain ways". Those ways, by the way are almost innumerable, He being omnipresent in all of creation - "filling" as He says, Heaven and earth.

    Since the scriptures tell us that God works in creation by the sending forth of His Word (what Reformed theologians call His decree) to accomplish exactly and all that He wants accomplished - and since that Word is ever active holding together the very existence of everything involved in the events which occur in His creation - God is, in that sending forth of His Word, in effect "predestining" all that will occur in His creation thereafter.

    Nothing exists or happens in creation without God sending forth His decree that it will exist or happen.

    Within that framework and not without it - men exist and make cognitive choices for which they will be held responsible.

    Nor - for the hundreth time - is the free will of men taken away nor are they coerced in any way to sin.

    Again - before I go - you obviously object to the word "decree" for God's sending forth His Word to accomplish what He wants accomplished.

    But what I believe is very clear non the less and it is very scriptural.

    You and what's his name can misrepresent my beliefs until the cows come home. Others may even believe what you represent them as.

    But God knows the truth of the matter and, I suppose, that's all that matters in the long run.

    See ya'll later.

    Maybe when I return in a few days you and what's his name will have that concise statement about these thing done - without either using the word "decree" and, most importantly, without leaving out any of the components that make up events in the lives of men and the choices of those men.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2019
  15. Apologetic_Warrior

    Apologetic_Warrior Pilgrim

    United States
    Incorrect, WCF states “whatsoever comes to pass”, which does not necessitate ordaining (in the sense you suggest) every event like when a pin drops. He is however behind the gravitational laws which cause the pin to drop. He knows when a pin will drop, He allows a pin to drop. He is indirectly responsible for the birth of all pin droppers, creating them with the capacity the ability to drop pins. Further, His knowledge of whatsoever comes to pass, does not remove the will and desires of pin droppers so as to deny they are secondary casual agents. In other words, it is nonsense to claim God as the FIRST and direct cause of “whatsoever comes to pass”, and the WCF is distilled crystal clear to distance away from that type of nonsense.

    Ordain means:

    ORDA'IN, v.t. [L. ordino, from ordo, order.]

    1. Properly, to set; to establish in a particular office or order; hence, to invest with a ministerial function or sacerdotal power; to introduce and establish or settle in the pastoral office with the customary forms and solemnities; as, to ordain a minister of the gospel. In America, men are ordained over a particular church and congregation, or as evangelists without the charge of a particular church, or as deacons in the episcopal church.

    2. To appoint; to decree.
    Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month. 1 Ki 12.
    As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed.
    Acts 13.​

    3. To set; to establish; to institute; to constitute.
    Mulmutius ordained our laws.​

    4. To set apart for an office; to appoint.
    Jesus ordained twelve that they should be with him. Mark 3.​

    5. To appoint; to prepare.
    For Tophet is ordained of old. Isa 30.​

    To establish is related to purpose just as to appoint is related to ordain.

    To author is to be directly responsible, or the direct cause. I authored this response, I am responsible and the direct cause of it. However, God ordained it so, He appointed it, and in this He is not directly responsible, nor the direct cause. His will is accomplished just the same, it comes to pass through me a secondary agent of causality, exactly as He has ordained it to come to pass. Whether or not I could do different is irrelevant. No finite man will ever pull one over on a God who is infinite. It is not even possible considering His eternal omniscience.

    An author is a creator, a direct cause. God is not the author of lies either, the book of Hebrews tells us as much. This has as much to do with the nature of God as anything. God is Holy and cannot (not even in the realm of “possibility”) contradict Himself, that is violate His own Holy nature. The authors of the WCF knew this and acknowledge this through their carefully written statements.

    Many an atheist has attempted to use the attributes of God against the existence of God. For example: can God create a rock so heavy He cannot lift it? This of course is meant as an attack on the omnipotence of God. Whether He cannot create the rock or cannot lift it, either way the person thinking this one through comes to the same conclusion: “I guess God is not all-powerful after all”. But you see, behind the argument is an unseen assumption. It assumes God can do anything, isn’t that what “all powerful” means? No, it’s not what that means and is an overly simple way of understanding omnipotence. The correct way to understand and view omnipotence is God can do any and all that is logically possible and consistent with His divine attributes. Which is a great deal to take in, considering how numerous the attributes of God are.

    No, that is not what Calvinism asserts, and never has historically. Ordained yes, determined by God, no, not in the sense you suggest as the direct cause. The WCF is a strong supporting evidence of "Calvinists" holding to single predestination, not double predestination.

    “7. The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy, as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice.” Chapter III WCF

    “to pass by” literally means God is not the direct cause, it is a sovereign passiveness a sovereign allowance where those passed over can only be said to be responsible for their sins and because they are passed over, will receive due justice for their part in their sins.

    The only way around what you refer to is to deny the omniscience of God and immutability of God. Really you have to subvert the attributes of God like the Atheist (see above concerning omniscience) to get around this, which also entails a similar approach to Scripture.

    The WCF uses words and phrases like “to pass by” and “the liberty or contingency of second causes”, but how easy it is to ignore context and create false revisionist interpretations. Unfortunately, you choose to ignore important context, and there is nothing I can say or do to cause you to choose to acknowledge it. It is always an easier path to spread error than it is to correct errors. Every word in error demands a paragraph of detailed analysis and exposition. Unfortunately I do not have the time or life situation to deal with thoroughly correcting all of your errors or anybody’s else’s for that matter. If I could, I would as a courtesy and out of concern and love for the truth, but time will not permit. Sorry, is what is, I am but one person, with many persistent struggles.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2019
  16. Dr. Jack

    Dr. Jack Well-Known Member

    United States
    2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. Luke

    Here is a New Testament use of the word "decree".
    If we are going to make a "Confession of faith" concerning the Scriptures, then we should use the Scriptural meaning for those words.

    The Strong's number is G1378
    "Greek: δόγμα Transliteration: dogma Pronunciation: dog'-mah Definition: From the base of G1380; a law (civil ceremonial or ecclesiastical): - decree ordinance."

    When Caesar Augustus made his decree, obeying the decree wasn't optional; it was mandatory.

    How much more (according to Calvinism) when God decreed that Adam transgress in the Garden of Eden, was it NOT an option for Adam chose, do I transgress, or not transgress.

    Calvinism also uses the term "ordain" which they claim means it 'must' be done accordingly. Hence, once again, there is no option to do otherwise.

    So the problem remains ... How can God "decree", or "ordain" Adam to sin, and give Adam the free will to decide to eat, or not to eat. His action was already "Decreed", and "ordained" according to Calvinism.

    Decree is law. Law from the perspective that, it will be done this way. This decree was made before Adam existed. Hence, God is the author of the decree; He is the author of what was ordained; He is therefore the author of the action.
  17. Apologetic_Warrior

    Apologetic_Warrior Pilgrim

    United States
    Here is another thought relating to all this discussion of ordain, decree, predestine, and that is how it relates to every prophecy in Scripture and whether or not it is possible for even one prophecy from the mind of God, to ever possibly fail? The answer seems obvious to me, but I do not balk at the sovereignty of God nor praise free will either. Per posts by His_Student at length is quotation after quotation of Christ using the (Aramaic/Greek) equivalent of "must" per Scripture, and how often Christ referred to the fulfillment of Scripture as it refers to prophecy. I do not believe, nay Judas could have done any other than betray Christ, the Son of man into the hands of sinners, if it were even a possibility God would proven a liar and the Scriptures nullified. Praise God this is not the case, praise God He is sovereign over everything, and not one molecule is outside of His providence or beyond His ability to control or has existence apart from His will.
  18. Dr. Jack

    Dr. Jack Well-Known Member

    United States
    I have addressed the secondary cause many times. The secondary cause can NEVER override the first cause.

    Simple question:

    When God decreed Adam to eat of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, could have Adam done otherwise? Yes, or No?
  19. Dr. Jack

    Dr. Jack Well-Known Member

    United States
    So your answer is, No, Judas could not have done otherwise.

    The question then must be, Did Judas betray Jesus because it was ordained of God, and therefore He really had no choice at all?
  20. Apologetic_Warrior

    Apologetic_Warrior Pilgrim

    United States
    Dr. as a Dr. you should already know that nothing in theology is simple, not really. Often questions are framed in such a way as to produce a certain type of answer. It is a tactic lawyers use in courts as well. Just give us a yes or no, hold on the explanations. Dr. Baptist, I have never met a Baptist who would deny the omniscience nor the immutability of God. It is not possible for God to learn nor is it possible for His knowledge to change. Certainly you would agree God knew Adam would sin, and His knowledge cannot change, so I return the question back to your court. Thanks for asking.