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Brandan
09-28-04, 09:47 AM
In the thread that dealt with Marc Carpenter and his outside the camp theology, Bob wrote the following:

The doctrine of the common fall of humanity in Adam (both elect and reprobate) is sacred dogma in the history of Protestantism. Nonetheless, I believe it is patently unbiblical. The only passages in scripture on the representation of Adam are in Paul (Rom. 5 and I Cor. 15). The issue is the context of Adam’s representation in the matter of spiritual death. Is Paul speaking exclusively of the new humanity in Christ, that was once lost in Adam? Or is he speaking of all biological descendants of Adam? I believe it is the former. Especially in I Cor. 15, the ‘dead in Adam’ are exclusively the elect or the new humanity. Paul here does not even speak of the reprobate and their resurrection of damnation, though he certainly does elsewhere. When he asserts that ‘in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive"--he is proving the resurrection of the just. They will be raised to a new material humanity in Christ. The reprobate are not in view at all.

The guilt of the damned is that of devils who cannot possibly be saved--not of formerly guilty saints. Satans have no need of salvation. As far as worthiness of judgment is concerned, the saints are fully deserving of God’s wrath due to sin. However, the difference is that their guilt has the potential of reversal in Christ. The guilt of Satan does not.

No creature may be proposed to need that which is tangibly impossible to experience. Even so, it is absurd to propose that the devil and his children need salvation. They are created in eternal sin, beyond the possibility of regeneration.

The doctrine of a common fall leads inevitably to the heresy of universal atonement. In fact, it unwittingly teaches a universal atonement that is sufficient to save all men lost in Adam. In the ‘common fall’ view, the only event that keeps the atonement from actually saving all men is this: an infralapsarian ‘passing over’ by God of those who might have been saved. This false dogma is what kept me in a form of universal atonement for years. Although I believed that the atonement was ineffective for the non-elect, I nonetheless believed that it reversed the immediate imputation of Adam’s sin. So I thought the non-elect would be lost due to personal sin only. By definition, this theory of immediate imputation is corporate and not merely individual. The ‘universal’ view of immediate imputation is that Adam represented both elect and non-elect in his sin (according to the universal view of Rom. 5:17-19). Inconsistent interpretation on major matters always leads to false doctrine. Logically, a person might easily go one step further into a ‘sovereign grace’ universalism!I've been chewing on this for a while now, and I have to agree with Bob here. I asked you Bob about this a couple months ago regarding Adam being the common ancestor of all men which you believed to be true.

I recently found myself arguing the doctrine of limited atonement with an free willer here at work, and in defense of his teaching, he referred to Romans 5 to prove that ALL MEN universally are sinners in Adam and therefore Christ must have died for all men. I then asked him why then all men are not saved, and of course his response was the typical, "not all exercise faith." Essentially his system is a system of salvation dependent upon the faith of the individual, but what really got me thinking was that the traditional Calvinist response would be even more convoluted than the Arminian doctrine. The Arminian misses the entire Gospel, for sure, but the Calvinist is inconsistent in his treatment of all men. The Calvinist of course compensates by saying the all in Christ are only the elect.

I've come up with a chart that explains all of the views concerning the imputation of Adam's sin...

System - Adam's Sin Imputed to - Christ's Righteousness Imputed to

1. Arminianism - ALL MEN UNIVERSALLY - ALL MEN UNIVERSALLY
2. Calvinism - ALL MEN UNIVERSALLY - ONLY THE ELECT
3. Bob's View - ONLY THE ELECT - ONLY THE ELECT

The Arminian in this case is more consistent than the classic calvinist.

At any rate, I'd like to open this topic up for debate... No arminians please! I want to see the defense made for position 2 and 3. Right now I have to side with 3.

Brandan

ugly_gaunt_cow
09-28-04, 04:33 PM
Wow. Heavy topic. I would love to try and contribute but I have some questions.

Could you elaborate on the 'children of the devil' being created in eternal sin? I understand this to the degree of them being fitted for destruction, but don't understand the concept how they would be "created in eternal sin".

And...

Does this knowledge of Adam being the spiritual representative of the fallen elect helps us to establish an identity before God, and assist our understanding of the need of the redemption provided for us? Whereas the account of creation from wisdom & all men biologically originating from one man is 100% truth, yet is complete lunacy to the darkened minds of the reprobate. Does this ultimately results in their profession that to them God is nonexistent and His Word is a lie which is the basis of their eternal sin?

I guess what I'm trying to understand is how this all laid out and how it fits together...

Skeuos Eleos
09-28-04, 06:42 PM
Same goes for me Brandan - except I didn't have to 'chew' for as long. :D

My take on Romans 5:12-21 is that it is comparing 'like' with 'like'. Verses 15-21 all contain a contrast:
15a free gift vs. transgression
15b "by the transgression of one, many died" vs. "much more did the Grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many"
16 one transgression -> judgement -> condemnation vs. many transgressions -> free gift -> justification (nb. "->" = 'leads to')
17 By the transgression of the one, death reigned vs. "those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ."
18 one transgression -> condemnation to all men vs. one act of righteousness -> justification of life to all men
19 one man's disobedience -> many were made sinners vs. obedience of the One -> many will be made righteous
20 Law came in so that transgression would increase vs. but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more!
21 sin reigned in death, vs. "grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. "

So many contrasting statements one after the other - it just does not make sense to say that the two sides are not balanced against each other.

Futhermore, the context prior to verses 12 to 21 is clearly addressing believers so ... I'm in camp 3 too but I am interested to see this explored in more detail.

Martin

Brandan
09-28-04, 06:59 PM
For more insight into Bob's view (with which I totally agree), go to this page: http://www.5solas.org/media.php?id=564

Eileen
09-28-04, 07:15 PM
Is this the breakdown of what you are saying then???:

The elect are created in sin that is forgivable in Christ before the foundation of the world? (They would be the only ones actually in Adam as they are the only ones actually in Christ)

The reprobate are created in sin that is unforgivable, i.e., 'eternal sin' before the foundation of the world? (They are actually related to Satan)

1. Is there any difference in the actual sin committed? or
2. Is the difference in the decree of God alone?

I've always been taught and have believed camp #2 but have never studied it any further than the normative teaching. Interesting!!!

Eileen
09-28-04, 09:44 PM
One more question please.

Gen 1:26 "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness......27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him"

In this view (camp 3) would this logically have to be speaking of Adam (Eve) only and not man in general? If not then it would be speaking of the reprobate too and they wouldn't be created in the image of God (in camp 3), right?

Or am I way off base here and not understanding the basic thrust of the ideas presented?

doctr_of_grace
09-29-04, 05:59 AM
Ok guys forgive me because I am a bit slow hahaha. As I have earlier stated I am not all that smart. I struggled through Philosophy classes at University and I am still challenged ;) . So there goes the theory that "calvinism" is for the smart people hahaha.

Anyways .... I am not sure I get what is being said by Bill or what exactly that Brandan is agreeing with. I will of course read the link that Brandan posted. But, I must admit I have had trouble reconciling that "all" men are cursed but "all" men are not redeemed in light of other passages usage of "all". I had never put it out like you did Brandan ie the inconsistancy of the "calvinist" view.

Martin said:
"15b "by the transgression of one, many died" vs. "much more did the Grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many"
19 one man's disobedience -> many were made sinners vs. obedience of the One -> many will be made righteous"

So is the issue with the word "many"? Sorry if this should be obvious. Just want to make sure :) .

Thanks ......... Jan

PS Martin it was great seeing you last night in chat!!!

Ian Potts
09-29-04, 06:28 AM
Given what it says in Romans 5:13-14: “but sin is not imputed where there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression…” I think there should really be more than the three options that Brandan has listed. :)

(Why? Because there is a difference between sin being imputed, and death – and sin – actually passing upon all men [however that is understood]. Is death imputed – reckoned to – or do people really die? The imputation of sin to a person / reckoning it to him is more to do with law, hence sin is not imputed where there is no law. Yet sin itself, and the consequence of sin -death - is still there, even when there is no law…

So I don’t think the reference to Adam’s sin being imputed in all three options covers the meaning properly….However if I read the three options as referring to Adam’s sin ‘passing’ to men then I’d hold to option #2.)

I have read Bob’s thoughts above along with some of his comments in other threads related to this matter and I have to admit that I have felt somewhat uncomfortable about his viewpoint (#3). I believe that scripture teaches #2 (albeit sin is not just imputed to all men…). Bob’s position seems to be a reaction against the perceived inconsistencies in the traditional interpretations of passages such as Romans 5, and an attempt to provide an understanding which fits more consistently with that passage.

Nevertheless I don’t think that is necessary. I believe Romans 5 can be understood quite clearly in a manner consistent with #2 ie. Adam’s sin passing to ALL men, and all Christ’s offspring being justified. Let’s look briefly at that passage:-


Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

What does verse 12 say? “As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”

Does that not clearly state that sin entered into the world by one man (Adam)? That except for Adam’s fall sin was not in the world? That death entered by sin and death passed upon all men? Is this passing of death upon all men not universal to all men, both elect and reprobate? Are not all men physical descendants of Adam, and is it not true of ALL men that “all have sinned”?

If we limit this verse to only the elect then what of the reprobate? Did death not pass from Adam to them also? Are they not descendants of Adam? Is their sin not essentially the same as the elect’s? Is #3 implying that sin entered the world by Adam but that ‘another’ sin entered into the reprobate? Are there verses in the Bible which distinguish that…? Does not Psalm 51 apply to ALL men where it says in verse 5: "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me"?


What of passages such as Ephesians 1:3 "Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others"? Does this not say that the elect were just as others were in the flesh? Of the same sinful nature?

1 Corinthians 6 also springs to mind:-



"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."

I think the passage in Romans 5 needs to be understood as comparing two men, Adam and Christ (the last Adam) with their respective offspring. Understood in that light the ‘all’ on each side simply regards all those ‘in’ Adam (all his offspring) with all those ‘in’ Christ (all His offspring). The ‘all’ on each side of the comparison isn’t regarding the exact same individuals on each side. The comparison is between Adam and ALL his offspring with Christ and all His offspring. So obviously ALL of Christ’s offspring are ALSO descendants of Adam physically, but not all of Adam’s offspring are descendants of Christ. Hence in Romans 9 where Paul speaks of election he makes a similar comparison between the children of the flesh and the children of promise with regard to physical Israel and Spiritual Israel and in 9:6-7 he states “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but in Isaac shall thy seed be called”.

Now in Romans 9 we read that Isaac had two children, Jacob and Esau. God loved Jacob but hated Esau. Jacob was a child of promise but Esau was not. Jacob was a vessel of mercy but Esau was a vessel of wrath fitted to destruction. And yet BOTH were children of Isaac, both were still physically his children in the flesh, both would die in the flesh, and both were also physical descendants of Adam, by whom sin entered the world and death by sin and death passed upon all men for that all have sinned. Both were born sinners, and yet one was a child of promise, a descendant of the Last Adam, Jesus Christ. So what made that difference - what made Jacob to differ from Esau?

“(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that called)” Romans 9:11

Election made the difference, God’s calling, God’s choosing. Jacob was a child of promise. When Jacob and Esau were born there was no difference between them – both were sinful descendants of Adam. Both had death in them. But Jacob was called, chosen, loved of God, and was also a descendant of Christ by promise. The fact that one was a vessel of mercy and the other a vessel of wrath fitted to destruction doesn’t mean that they started off differently in their flesh, as if one’s sin was different to the other. In all fleshly respects, and with regard to sin and death in their bodies and souls they were the same. The difference was that one was chosen before His birth to be brought to faith in Christ at God’s appointed time – to be born AGAIN because of the promise.

So back to chapter 5. As I said the comparisons are between two men, Adam and Christ, and their two respective offspring, all and many referring to the all and many in Adam, and the all and many in Christ respectively. The ‘all’ and ‘many’ on each side of the comparisons do not refer to the exact same people on each side. What is true of Adam’s offspring is true of Christ’s, but what is true of Christ’s is not true of ALL of Adam’s offspring. And the passage doesn’t infer that it is. Some of the comparisons are:-

“For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ hath abounded unto many.” 5:15

“For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)” 5:17

Notice in verse 17 how a difference is made between each side of the comparison. Death reigned by one, on Adam’s side. Righteousness reigns in life by one on Christ’s side. But the comparison doesn’t rest there as though both sides are equal, referring to the very same individuals. No, the right hand side of the comparison is qualified with “they which received abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness”. Not all do. Not all of Adam’s side in this comparison receive that grace and gift. But all on Christ’s side do. Hence the comparisons are between all in Adam and all in Christ, but not all in Adam ARE in Christ, for not all receive this grace and the gift. This is important to notice I think.

“Therefore as by one offence judgement came upon all men to condemnation; even so by one righteousness the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” Romans 5:18

(I have rendered that using the margin reading from the KJV which I believe conveys the Greek more accurately).

The ‘all men’ on the left is the all men in Adam. The ‘all men’ on the right is the all men in Christ. They aren’t the same ‘all men’ and this is made clear from the preceding verse (17) which speaks of those who receive the gift of righteousness. That is ALL those in Christ, but NOT all those in Adam.

In verse 19 the phrasing switches to ‘many’ on each side rather than ‘all’. Yet the application is the same – many in Adam, and many in Christ. But not all in Adam are in Christ. Just as they are “not all Israel, which are of Israel.” Romans 9:6.

I think when Romans 5 is understood clearly as regarding two men with two respective offspring the difficulties in reconciling the ‘alls’ and ‘manys’ on each side go away. Obviously the Arminian would treat ‘all men’ on each side as both referring to all descendants of Adam. Yet it is clear that not ‘all men’ descended from Adam are also saved or are children of promise. Hence the passage cannot mean that. The #3 interpretation of the passage however simply goes the other way. Taking ‘all men’ who have justification of life (5:18) to refer only to the elect, the ‘all men’ on Adam’s side is restricted to the elect also. Yet I don’t believe that is the correct way to approach the passage either because it is very clear that what is true of the elect in 5:12 is also true of the reprobate. ALL (elect and reprobate) are descendants of Adam, and all have death in them.

Yet if we read the passage as regarding Adam and ALL his offspring in comparison with Christ and ALL his offspring then there are no contradictions with the text. To me that is the clear meaning of the passage. I think I would need to hear further thoughts in defence of #3 to be convinced that way.

With regard to 1 Corinthians 15 :22 “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” I think a better argument can be made in the context of this chapter that ‘all die’ here refers to those elect in Adam (though I don’t necessarily think it does mean that). However it is much harder to show that from Romans 5 given what is said in verse 12 and also verse 17 for example.

Well, that’s my thoughts. I’ll be interested to read how others view these passages and to hear more of Bob’s arguments for his position. I can see the logic in the #3 position but I'm really not sure... nevertheless you may convince me yet! :)

Ian

Ian Potts
09-29-04, 07:40 AM
Sorry to double post but the more I consider the thinking behind #3 the more uneasy I become about it...

..The 'problems' it seeks to solve just don't seem to be solved by it.

1 Corinthians 4:7 asks:-
"For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?"


What makes the elect differ from the reprobate? Their faith? Well, yes, they have faith but that isn't of themselves. The death of Christ? Absolutely, but not just that. The election of God before the foundations of the world? Yes.

God chose a people before they were born. Before Adam was created. Before he fell and before sin entered the world. In the fulness of time Christ died for that elected people, and in time the Spirit regenerates them and brings them to faith in Christ and His finished work. THAT is what makes them to differ from the reprobate.

But by nature, before regeneration they are the same as the reprobate in their experience. They are both sinners, both dead in trespasses and sins. But the elect's sins were taken away, paid for, by Christ at the cross.

It isn't that the elect had fallen into some sort of sin (in Adam) which was reversible, unlike the reprobate's. The reprobates sin is 'unreversible' simply because God hasn't elected him to salvation and Christ hasn't atoned for his sin. Not because his sin nature differs to the elects. We are all physical descendants of Adam, we are all sinners alike.

But only the elect are spiritual descendants of the Last Adam,of Christ, chosen in Him before the foundation of the world, and only they have their sin atoned for, judged, punished, in Christ. The reprobate, who sins just like the elect did, has to pay for his sin in hell. Not because it is some 'eternal sin' but because he wasn't elected by God and Christ didn't atone for his sin as his substitute, and so as a consequence, left to himself in sin, he wilfully and happily rebels against God, rejecting the truth and despising Christ. Hence God justly punishes him. But without God's sovereign electing grace the elect too would be in just such a state.

It is the fact that the elect are chosen in Christ, justified by Christ, and born of the Spirit, that makes them differ from the reprobate. Their being IN Christ. The last Adam. Not their being in the earthly first Adam, as though the reprobate weren't. It is to the glory of the LAST ADAM, Christ, that the elect are saved, not because they were the only ones who were 'spiritually' in the first Adam in his fall.

The idea that #3 presents a view of election whereas #2 presents 'selection' is wrong. God's election is before the foundation of the world in both cases - not conditioned upon faith or a foreknowledge of it or anything. The same objections against #2 could be placed on #3 eg. Out of those PHYSICAL descendants of Adam some would have had to be chosen by God to be elect and some reprobate. That is the same in either case. So quite what does #3 solve??

Puzzled, Ian.

Mickey
09-29-04, 09:26 AM
Originally posted by Eileen
One more question please.

Gen 1:26 "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness......27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him"

In this view (camp 3) would this logically have to be speaking of Adam (Eve) only and not man in general? If not then it would be speaking of the reprobate too and they wouldn't be created in the image of God (in camp 3), right?

Or am I way off base here and not understanding the basic thrust of the ideas presented?

I guess you would have to start with what does that mean to be created in the image of God.

We obviously do not possess any of the attributes of God (as He does), but we are created for an endless state. Could that be what it means to be created in Gods image?

Mike

Brandan
09-29-04, 09:44 AM
I've heard some say it means rational thought...

Mickey
09-29-04, 09:54 AM
Well this world is really hurting right about now then...:eek: ;) :p

Vantilian
09-29-04, 11:23 AM
I guess you would have to start with what does that mean to be created in the image of God.

We obviously do not possess any of the attributes of God (as He does), but we are created for an endless state. Could that be what it means to be created in Gods image?

MikeI have also believed in the past that being created in the image of God was to be created with rational thought. I recommend Meredith Kline's book Images of the Spirit to maybe further knowledge of the Image of God, whether he is right or not. He discusses the progression of the Theophanic Glory Cloud throughout Scripture and applies it to the Image of God. "As Genesis 2:7 pictures it, the Spirit-Archetype actively fathered his human ectype. Image of God and son of God are thus twin concepts. This reading of that event in terms of a father-son model and the conceptual bond of the image and son ideas are put beyond doubt by the record of the birth of Seth in Genesis 5:1-3. There, a restatement of Adam's creation in the likeness of God is juxtaposed to a statement that Adam begat a son in his own likeness. Unmistakably, the father-son relationship of Adam and Seth is presented as a proper analogue for understanding the Creator-man relationship and clearly man's likeness to the Creator-Spirit is thus identified as the likeness of a son derived from his father."

I don't know how this fits into the whole scheme but it may throw out another possibility as to the relationship between God and the reprobate at least. Sorry about only having a short exerpt from the text, it would obviously be understood much better in light of reading the whole text.

Ivor Thomas
09-29-04, 11:40 AM
Number 3 is my position, the Elect are elect in Christ in eternity, and the reprobate are reprobated in eternity, before their creation and before sin.Ephesian 1;4:``According as He has chosen us in Him before the founding of the world.' Adam being Elect fell, all the Elect in him fell. If one says the Reprobate fell in adam? `what did they fall from?, the Reprobate where introduced to the effects and consequences of Adams fall, and so recieved the sentence of sin and death unto damnation. But only the Elect had a spiritual standing, that they fell from in Adam . Ivor Thomas..

Eileen
09-29-04, 12:18 PM
The answer to the question of being created in the 'image of God' is going to have to lay in how we approach the fall and how we approach if all are fallen in Adam and what state Adam was before the fall. My thinking process is not totally in gear, so hope I can make sense of what I am thinking.

The Heidelbeg says: "Did God create man thus wicked and perverse?

No, but God created man good and after His own image, that is, in righteousness and true holiness, that he might rightly know God his creator, heartily love Him and live with Him in eternal blessedness, to praise and glorify Him.

And the further explanantion is the image of God is an eternal spirit nature having personality, which includes a mind, affections, and a will. Having this image of God, Adam as created could "live with God in eternal blessedness, to praise and glorify Him".

So........ Camp 2 would say the above is true, all are created the same in Adam, Adam fell and all fell with him and only the elect are in Christ, by God's choice alone.

Would Camp 3 say that only the elect are created with God's image as stated above as only the elect will heartily love God, live with Him in eternal blessedness, etc??? Or perhaps Camp 3 would have a totally different idea of what being created in the image of God means. Help!!

You know, this has far reaching thoughts, it would affect many of our beliefs, not just the one. Much food for thought and material for study for sure.

Anyway, just a few thoughts, probably doesn't make sense to you all as the mind is turning this around and around to glean understanding.....slow process for me:rolleyes:

Brandan
09-29-04, 01:57 PM
Bob - where are you? :D

tomas1
09-29-04, 02:34 PM
Although I lean heavily toward number three I have reservations for instance scripture hints that we can know who the “phantom humans” are.
1st John 5:16If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life for those who sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death. I don't say that he should make a request concerning this. 5:17All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death.

If number three is correct how do we treat a reprobate once we identify him? Since he is not truly human are we still to love him. Like Eileen says this is a big doctrine and will affect many other areas of our lives

Brandan
09-29-04, 03:16 PM
If you accept #3, it eliminates any room in your system of theology for common grace and the "well-meant" offer of the Gospel and duty-faith..

doctr_of_grace
09-29-04, 04:29 PM
If you accept #3, it eliminates any room in your system of theology for common grace and the "well-meant" offer of the Gospel and duty-faith..Is that why most (not all) ppl that believe in common grace and "well meant" offer are infralapsarians?



I read the link Brandan posted and appreciate the simplistic definitions of each camp.



Eileen ... you and I are alike ... this is really giving me some brain cramps. I have been part of the category #2 group since my conversion and really never consider that the reprobate are indeed "elected" to eternal hell fire. The 3rd camp seems much more fatalistic and definitely you would be accused of holding to "double" predestination (whatever that term means):) .

Skeuos Eleos
09-29-04, 05:06 PM
Well I haven't really seen anyone address the contexts of Rom 5 and 1 Cor 15 which are both clearly addressing believers and both are making contrasts which would not make sense to me if they were not balanced, ie. if the 'many' on one side isn't the same 'many' on the other side.

Perhaps the key to this is not about the nature of being made in God's image but the meaning of the words 'dead' and 'death' in these chapters? Do they really mean physical death? ... or perhaps they are referring to spiritual death??? The sins of God's Elect separate them from God - that is why we need to be reconciled to God. The reprobate, on the other hand, cannot be reconciled to somewhere they have never been nor were ever intended to be.

Consider Adam, he was told that if he ate of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil he would surely die - but he didn't die a physical death did he. Those who say that this is referring to the physical death that he experienced later when he was 900 and odd years old must deal with the fact that Adam had not been allowed to eat of the tree of life - his physical body was not fitted for eternal life - thus he was going to die anyway. Therefore, I believe the curse was spiritual death, separation from God.

So, if the death being referred to is spiritual death - then, yes, only the elect experience that spiritual death in Adam, whereas the reprobate are "twice dead", "sons of damnation", made from the same 'lump' for that very purpose, pre-determined by God in eternity past.

I believe that the sins of the elect and the sins of the reprobate are different. As Tomas says I think there are a few clues although we can never be entirely sure - except perhaps for infamous perpetrators of genocide - but I think the differences will become clear when we enter Glory. The natures of the elect and the reprobate are different. Eph 1:3 doesn't say that we were children of wrath but that we were by nature children of wrath - I take this to mean that the elect are different from the true children of wrath who were made for that very purpose. The elect have a sin nature that means that they look like children of wrath for a time.

Just some hurried thoughts - happy to be shown where I'm going wrong.

Martin

Eileen
09-29-04, 08:09 PM
Chewing......chewing.....

I need to have my previous posts answered before I can think much further. It's there, just having a hard time putting it all together. I'm on the verge of getting it (I can tell, honestly:p )

For me Martin the Genesis question (and subsequent answer) of the creation of man in God's image is important, you know how we all have different mind sets so an answer to that will help in my study of the rest. Ian's posts were very good too and gave a good defense of the other view of 'many'. I am beginning to see how it can be said that the traditional view of the common fall leads to an inconsistent view of election, selection, etc., but much study still for me. Interesting thread Brandan!

Like the rest, waiting on Brother Bob!!:D

Bob Higby
09-29-04, 10:30 PM
Well, brethren, here I am (albeit very briefly). I have only a few moments as I am about to leave on a trip for 10-11 days, but will try to summarize some initial thoughts. I wish I had time for extensive interaction right now.

Martin has well summarized the issue with his question about whether the sin of the reprobate is the same as the sin of the elect. That is the real issue in challenging the 'common fall.' It is not a challenge to the fact that all of humanity are fallen in sin, rather, it is a challenge to the notion that all of humanity are fallen in the same ESSENCE of sin.

The question is whether ALL of Romans 5:12-21 is an EXACT parallel. Are the 'ALL MEN' who receive the fullness of Grace the same as the ALL MEN who were condemned in Adam? Historic Catholic and Reformed theology says NO, I say YES (though some would condemn me along with Karl Barth who made the same observation!)

I will begin by answering Eileen's observations:

The Heidelbeg says: "Did God create man thus wicked and perverse?

No, but God created man good and after His own image, that is, in righteousness and true holiness, that he might rightly know God his creator, heartily love Him and live with Him in eternal blessedness, to praise and glorify Him.

This summarizes the traditional Augustinian view accepted by Catholics and Protestants. We have gone over this issue many times. I don't believe the Heidelberg is right on this one. A perfectly holy being with no impulse to sin is not able to sin, so God does not create Adam with 'high hopes' of his success only to have him fail. The Lord's counsel always stands; he always does all of his pleasure. A holy nature does not beget evil.

And the further explanantion is the image of God is an eternal spirit nature having personality, which includes a mind, affections, and a will. Having this image of God, Adam as created could "live with God in eternal blessedness, to praise and glorify Him".

The Heidelberg C. is FAR more on target with this one than on the first point above. Adam is created as an eternal spirit with a destin that is blessed and his purpose is to praise and glorify God forever. However, the reprobate, although being created as eternal spirits (in the image of God), are not so blessed!

So........ Camp 2 would say the above is true, all are created the same in Adam, Adam fell and all fell with him and only the elect are in Christ, by God's choice alone.

YES, this is the traditional Protestant, Eastern, and Augustinian view. The position which I and others deny! This is SELECTION after the 'common fall', not ELECTION transcendent of all creation.

Would Camp 3 say that only the elect are created with God's image as stated above as only the elect will heartily love God, live with Him in eternal blessedness, etc???

Only the elect are created with God's image in this sense, YES! Is this simple or is it complicated?

Or perhaps Camp 3 would have a totally different idea of what being created in the image of God means. Help!!

The image of God also refers to eternal existence in my view, as I have explained in other threads. So in one sense all humanity is created in his image. I'm open to criticism on this but so far I'm unconvinced of any of the contrary arguments. I have arguments to present against myself, however, I've not seen them yet from others and I'm also not convinced that they are valid!

I hope to engage all of you more after my return. I may or may not be able to interact on the board tomorrow but after that I will be gone for 10 days.

Grace alone and always,

Brandan
09-30-04, 03:59 AM
Martin has well summarized the issue with his question about whether the sin of the reprobate is the same as the sin of the elect. That is the real issue in challenging the 'common fall.' It is not a challenge to the fact that all of humanity are fallen in sin, rather, it is a challenge to the notion that all of humanity are fallen in the same ESSENCE of sin.I guess the question then is, have all men sinned in the likeness of Adam? What distinguishes Adam's sin from the sin of Satan?


A perfectly holy being with no impulse to sin is not able to sin, so God does not create Adam with 'high hopes' of his success only to have him fail. The Lord's counsel always stands; he always does all of his pleasure. A holy nature does not beget evil. I agree with this completely. If someone charges you next with making God a sinner, well, you can reverse their accusation and put the charge on your accuser if they hold to the traditional augustinian view... and that is this... If God made Adam perfectly Holy in God's image, and Adam STILL sinned, then you are saying that God may also someday fall Himself. In reality, the traditional view can be seen as more "evil" than Bob's view in my opinion.


The Heidelberg C. is FAR more on target with this one than on the first point above. Adam is created as an eternal spirit with a destin that is blessed and his purpose is to praise and glorify God forever. However, the reprobate, although being created as eternal spirits (in the image of God), are not so blessed!I wonder, what does the Bible say about the significance of being created in the image of God. Does Paul or Jesus expound on it in the New Testament (I'm not aware of it), or do we as theologians make more out of it than we should?


I hope to engage all of you more after my return. I may or may not be able to interact on the board tomorrow but after that I will be gone for 10 days.Bob, I've missed seeing you offline. Have a safe trip.

Brandan

Ian Potts
09-30-04, 04:52 AM
I haven't really got the time to debate this matter thoroughly, but here are just a few reponses to some who have posted on this subject:- :)


Number 3 is my position, the Elect are elect in Christ in eternity, and the reprobate are reprobated in eternity, before their creation and before sin.Ephesian 1;4:``According as He has chosen us in Him before the founding of the world.' Adam being Elect fell, all the Elect in him fell. If one says the Reprobate fell in adam? `what did they fall from?, the Reprobate where introduced to the effects and consequences of Adams fall, and so recieved the sentence of sin and death unto damnation. But only the Elect had a spiritual standing, that they fell from in Adam . Ivor Thomas..

Ivor,

I’ve read your thoughts here carefully and in many ways I agree with them, but I’m not sure that that puts me into ‘Camp 3’! :)

Certainly election and reprobation were determined in eternity. Before creation. Agreed. But that is not the issue before #2 and #3. In declaring that all fell in Adam we are not saying that election followed on afterwards. God knew from before the foundation of the world who were elect, who were chosen IN Christ, OUT of Adam’s race.

The elect were chosen before the foundation of the world. They were chosen in Christ unto eternal life and righteousness in Him. But do they start off like that in time? No. In Adam they were created in innocence – not in perfect righteousness in Christ. From innocence they fell into sin. Sin entered and death by sin. In that state of being dead in trespasses and sins man remained until the coming of Christ. Christ atoned for the elect’s sin and sins at the cross. In Christ they died, in Christ they rose again. In the experience of the elect now (2000 years after Christ) they are born in sin and live in sin until such time as the Spirit quickens them unto life in Christ through regeneration. Until their physical death they then live with both the Spirit and the flesh in them. When they enter glory the sin in the flesh will have gone, and ultimately they will have new glorified bodies in the resurrection.

My point is that the ultimate end of the elect (glorified resurrected bodies, perfect, living for ever with Christ) is not their beginning. They started in Adam’s loins, fell in Him, were dead in sins, then were quickened by the Spirit unto eternal life.

Likewise with the reprobate. Their ultimate end is reprobation and eternity in hell. But they too were in Adam’s loins, they too are his offspring. But they are not Christ’s offspring – THAT is the difference. There never comes the time of quickening by the Spirit unto eternal life in Christ. Yet they are just as much the offspring of Adam as the elect are. They have the same sinful nature. Yet their father Adam, in whose loins they were, was created in innocence and fell into sin. Thus they too in their ‘Head’ were created innocent but fell into sin – and in sin they remain. Of course if we consider the reprobate to follow on from Adam then sin had already entered so they are born in sin – but that sin ENTERED by Adam, and by sin death. That passed on to the reprobate.

‘Camp 3’ however states that the essence of the reprobate’s sin is DIFFERENT to Adam’s sin. That would need to be shown and proven from scripture. Yet the entrance of sin into the WORLD is stated in Romans 5:12 as being by Adam. It passed upon all men. In which case the same sin. If this passage is claimed to refer to the elect only then why does it says “by one man sin entered into the world” rather than “sin entered into the elect”? And what scriptures then deal with the reprobate’s ‘other’ sin entering the world?

Ivor, you have stated that “the Reprobate where introduced to the effects and consequences of Adams fall, and so recieved the sentence of sin and death unto damnation”. In which case they were introduced to the same sin which entered by Adam. Not a different kind of sin ‘in essence’.

Bob has mentioned elsewhere that he doesn’t believe sin is passed on biologically. I would have to give a qualified disagreement to that. Sin is most definitely passed on by natural generation, from parents to child. As shown in various places such as Psalm 51:6. But man is more than just biological flesh and blood. He has a soul, he is a living spirit (though now fallen and spiritually dead). When a new life is conceived in the womb it is more than biological tissue – it is a soul. It is in that soul, in the life of man, in which sin is passed down. As stated in Romans 5:12. Sin is not merely imputed – that is a legal concept regarding man under law.

So, if sin is passed down by natural generation, then it affects the whole human race and came down from Adam. Hence we all fell into sin by Adam.



The Heidelbeg says: \"Did God create man thus wicked and perverse?

No, but God created man good and after His own image, that is, in righteousness and true holiness, that he might rightly know God his creator, heartily love Him and live with Him in eternal blessedness, to praise and glorify Him.

And the further explanantion is the image of God is an eternal spirit nature having personality, which includes a mind, affections, and a will. Having this image of God, Adam as created could \"live with God in eternal blessedness, to praise and glorify Him\".

So........ Camp 2 would say the above is true, all are created the same in Adam, Adam fell and all fell with him and only the elect are in Christ, by God's choice alone.

Only if Camp 2 agreed with the Heidelberg. :) I prefer to start with scripture. But see below in response to Bob’s response to you here…



If you accept #3, it eliminates any room in your system of theology for common grace and the \"well-meant\" offer of the Gospel and duty-faith..

As one who firmly denies common grace and the “well meant” offer and duty faith, I would say that a correct understanding of #2 (see my other posts for my qualifications of #2) also eliminates these errors. :)



Well I haven't really seen anyone address the contexts of Rom 5 and 1 Cor 15 which are both clearly addressing believers and both are making contrasts which would not make sense to me if they were not balanced, ie. if the 'many' on one side isn't the same 'many' on the other side.

Both are passages addressing believers, yes, but they both teach the nature of reconciliation, the effect of the ‘great exchange’ the substitutionary death of Christ in the place of believers, by drawing comparisons between the first Adam and his fall, with ALL his posterity, with the last Adam, and his wonderful atoning death and the results of it, for ALL His posterity. That’s the balance. The earthly man and his seed, contrasted with the heavenly man (Lord Jesus Christ being the title given to Christ as ascended, glorified in heaven) and His seed.



Perhaps the key to this is not about the nature of being made in God's image but the meaning of the words 'dead' and 'death' in these chapters? Do they really mean physical death? ... or perhaps they are referring to spiritual death??? The sins of God's Elect separate them from God - that is why we need to be reconciled to God. The reprobate, on the other hand, cannot be reconciled to somewhere they have never been nor were ever intended to be.

Consider Adam, he was told that if he ate of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil he would surely die - but he didn't die a physical death did he. Those who say that this is referring to the physical death that he experienced later when he was 900 and odd years old must deal with the fact that Adam had not been allowed to eat of the tree of life - his physical body was not fitted for eternal life - thus he was going to die anyway. Therefore, I believe the curse was spiritual death, separation from God.

The death spoken of encompasses both spiritual death and physical death. Adam was made innocent, a living soul, with a spirit. It is the light and life which he had in him which is described as being made in the image of God. He was unlike the dumb animals in that he had a living soul.

But when sin entered death entered by sin. I don’t believe that Adam’s physical body had ‘physical death’ built in to it from creation – it would have lived for ever in this world if sin hadn’t entered. The effect of sin was catastrophic. Spiritual death entered but also physical. Physical death indeed is ‘typical’ of spiritual. It points to it. Also we can see from the fact that men lived to 900+ years originally but soon lifetimes dropped to 100 years, 70 years as men multiplied and wickedness increased upon the world, that man without sin would have lived endlessly. Physical death, illness, decay, ageing is as much a result of the fall as spiritual death.

All men are descended from Adam physically. All die physically. All age, decay, get ill. Likewise all sin, all wilfully sin, and all are spiritually dead. It all descends from Adam and all a result of the fall.



So, if the death being referred to is spiritual death - then, yes, only the elect experience that spiritual death in Adam, whereas the reprobate are \"twice dead\", \"sons of damnation\", made from the same 'lump' for that very purpose, pre-determined by God in eternity past.

Yes, taken from the same ‘lump’ (Romans 9:21). That ‘lump’ being mankind naturally created in Adam and descended from him. Both physically, but also having sin and death passed down from him in their souls.



I believe that the sins of the elect and the sins of the reprobate are different. As Tomas says I think there are a few clues although we can never be entirely sure - except perhaps for infamous perpetrators of genocide - but I think the differences will become clear when we enter Glory. The natures of the elect and the reprobate are different. Eph 1:3 doesn't say that we were children of wrath but that we were by nature children of wrath - I take this to mean that the elect are different from the true children of wrath who were made for that very purpose. The elect have a sin nature that means that they look like children of wrath for a time.

“By nature children of wrath” means that by nature we are born as descendants of Adam just as the reprobate are. By nature we have sin in our flesh just as they do. By nature we have both physical and spiritual death in us, just as they do. So by nature we are children of wrath just as they are. But by grace, God regenerates us (the elect), causes us to be born again OF THE SPIRIT. This is a new birth in which we are born as descendants of the heavenly man, the Lord Jesus Christ. We now have a new nature in the spirit. We have in us the Spirit of Christ, we are ‘partakers of the divine nature’. That WAS NOT IN US naturally before regeneration. It was in the decree of God that it would happen to us in time, but only at the appointed time were we born physically, and at the appointed time we are born spiritually. With a new nature completely. So whereas by nature we were children of wrath, we find that being born again we are not children of wrath for we are now in the spirit. Yet our old nature, our flesh, the old man, was so fallen, so vile that it was CRUCIFIED with Christ, the body of sin was destroyed, burnt up under the wrath of God (See Romans 6:6). We are forgiven our sins, washed by the blood, rising again in the new man with Christ, but the old man, the old nature from Adam cannot be altered. It was crucified. Hence in 1 Corinthians 15 we read that our bodies also must die before they can be resurrected as glorified bodies.



Just some hurried thoughts - happy to be shown where I'm going wrong.
Martin
Not sure that I'm doing a good job of that, but I'm trying! :)



Well, brethren, here I am (albeit very briefly). I have only a few moments as I am about to leave on a trip for 10-11 days, but will try to summarize some initial thoughts. I wish I had time for extensive interaction right now.

Martin has well summarized the issue with his question about whether the sin of the reprobate is the same as the sin of the elect. That is the real issue in challenging the 'common fall.' It is not a challenge to the fact that all of humanity are fallen in sin, rather, it is a challenge to the notion that all of humanity are fallen in the same ESSENCE of sin.

This I think would need to be clearly shown from scripture. Two different kinds of sin. Just where is this shown? Thomas1 has referred to 1 John 5 but I believe the meaning there is very different. Where else could be said to show this idea?

One problem with this idea is that I feel it takes away from the work of Christ in His death. If the sin of the reprobate is different in essence to the elect, is it worse if it is ‘unreversible’? Is it a ‘sin unto death’ which was unable to be atoned for by Christ? Was Christ’s death only able to atone for a certain depth of sin and no more?

No, I believe the scriptures teach that ALL fell in Adam, ALL have sinned. The sin is the same for elect and reprobate. And the judgement of God against the sin and sins of the reprobate is exactly what was meted out upon Christ. And that work of the cross for those elected from eternity to salvation in Christ, to be then applied later on by the Spirit in their lives is what causes the elect to differ from the reprobate. Not some initial difference in how they were created in their EARTHLY state, but their recreation, their new birth by the Spirit as offspring of the HEAVENLY man, the Last Adam.

Another problem with #3 is that it would seem to reduce the reprobate’s accountability before God. If they like the elect were ‘in’ Adam, innocent, but as he fell, they fell also (and if in his place would have done likewise), and have ever since wilfully sinned against God then all their sin is their own. They wilfully did it. They have no excuse.

If however the reprobate were ‘created’ as such, in sin, and never were innocent like Adam and the elect were then surely they have more grounds to complain at their state? Obviously Romans 9 comes to mind here but I feel that that regards election and man’s complaint that he wasn’t elected as others were. It doesn’t remove man’s accountability for his actual fall into sin and his own evil deeds. #3 however seems to lighten the guilt?

If comparison is made with the devils who have no possibility of salvation through Christ, then I would point out that doesn’t scripture teach that they too ‘fell’? They left their first estate. They fell from heaven. Did not they rebel against God? Would proponents of #3 say that they were created evil in the first place? Or just that they had the possibility of falling, just as Adam did? Yet, the elect out of Adam are saved by the last Adam, but the fallen angels are not. Just like the reprobate who also ‘fell’.



The question is whether ALL of Romans 5:12-21 is an EXACT parallel. Are the 'ALL MEN' who receive the fullness of Grace the same as the ALL MEN who were condemned in Adam? Historic Catholic and Reformed theology says NO, I say YES (though some would condemn me along with Karl Barth who made the same observation!)

I will begin by answering Eileen's observations:

The Heidelbeg says: \"Did God create man thus wicked and perverse?

No, but God created man good and after His own image, that is, in righteousness and true holiness, that he might rightly know God his creator, heartily love Him and live with Him in eternal blessedness, to praise and glorify Him.

This summarizes the traditional Augustinian view accepted by Catholics and Protestants. We have gone over this issue many times. I don't believe the Heidelberg is right on this one. A perfectly holy being with no impulse to sin is not able to sin, so God does not create Adam with 'high hopes' of his success only to have him fail. The Lord's counsel always stands; he always does all of his pleasure. A holy nature does not beget evil.

I too disagree with the Heidelberg here. Adam was created innocent, but he was not created in the same state as the elect are once born again of the Spirit. Adam did NOT eat of the tree of life which was typical of Christ and eternal life. Without sin he would have continued for ever in this earth. But the elect are descendants of Christ, the Second Man, having ETERNAL life (no beginning or end), fitted for a heavenly existence, not an earthly one. They are for the NEW creation, not this one which is destined to be burnt up.

But your comments here, to me, are supportive of the #2 viewpoint. They seem to be arguing against your own position (#3). Adam was not totally holy in the state in which he was created, he was not as the elect are in Christ. He had the possibility of falling, and did fall. (He hadn’t eaten of the tree of life – Christ). So why do you not include the reprobate in that same state and fall? Surely such a state of innocence, stopping short of God’s perfect holy nature, would lead to the fall in the circumstances in which Adam found himself. God knew it would happen. The fall happened, sin entered and death by sin. Why exclude the reprobate from that? It is that perfect standing in Christ which they are not part of - not that state in Adam which surely led to the fall, sin and death.



And the further explanantion is the image of God is an eternal spirit nature having personality, which includes a mind, affections, and a will. Having this image of God, Adam as created could \"live with God in eternal blessedness, to praise and glorify Him\".

The Heidelberg C. is FAR more on target with this one than on the first point above. Adam is created as an eternal spirit with a destin that is blessed and his purpose is to praise and glorify God forever. However, the reprobate, although being created as eternal spirits (in the image of God), are not so blessed!

Yes, because the reprobate fell in Adam and remain in sin. They are never recreated in Christ Jesus, the heavenly man. They never taste of the tree of life.



So........ Camp 2 would say the above is true, all are created the same in Adam, Adam fell and all fell with him and only the elect are in Christ, by God's choice alone.

YES, this is the traditional Protestant, Eastern, and Augustinian view. The position which I and others deny! This is SELECTION after the 'common fall', not ELECTION transcendent of all creation.

BUT I don’t agree with all that the Heidelberg says, so no, not all of Camp 2 agree. But they do say that by Adam sin entered the world and death by sin and death passed upon all men for that all have sinned.



Would Camp 3 say that only the elect are created with God's image as stated above as only the elect will heartily love God, live with Him in eternal blessedness, etc???

Only the elect are created with God's image in this sense, YES! Is this simple or is it complicated?

It is complicated in that it disagrees with clear statements of scriptures such as Romans 5:12 in their application to ALL men, and proposes a different ‘essence’ of sin for the reprobate compared to the elect’s sin, despite the fact that they each have Adam as a common ancestor and each are conceived and born in the same way (Psalm 51:6). Also it bestows earthly Adam with some distinction which really is reserved for the last Adam, thus it takes away from Christ’s glory. All the elect’s real blessings are to be found in Christ who is ALL in ALL. Their righteousness, their life, their character all comes from the heavenly man, Christ Jesus, from whom they are descended as born again of the Spirit. What was of the earthly line, Adam, is crucified with Christ, utterly condemned. Even their earthly bodies will die and be resurrected as new glorified bodies. The first creation, and Adam, is ‘typical’ of the new creation and the second Adam. Romans 5:12-21 will only really be understood when that comparison is truly seen and understood and shown in Romans 5:14.



Or perhaps Camp 3 would have a totally different idea of what being created in the image of God means. Help!!

The image of God also refers to eternal existence in my view, as I have explained in other threads. So in one sense all humanity is created in his image. I'm open to criticism on this but so far I'm unconvinced of any of the contrary arguments. I have arguments to present against myself, however, I've not seen them yet from others and I'm also not convinced that they are valid!

I hope to engage all of you more after my return. I may or may not be able to interact on the board tomorrow but after that I will be gone for 10 days.

Grace alone and always,

Thanks for your thoughts Bob. I appreciate many of your posts on here and many of your views, so please don’t feel like I’m “all against you” here, but alas, I just can’t see this #3 idea that you are putting forward. Perhaps when you come to post more fully with more scriptural evidence then there will be more meat on the bones as it were. I look forward to your further thoughts, which I know, will be gracious as ever.

--

Sorry about the length of this post but I just wanted to address the various points which have been made thus far. I can’t promise to post much more on this subject as time prevents me but as much of this discussion centres on Romans 5 and also the creation and fall of Adam can I recommend a couple of books which I feel would be helpful to all here with regard to these matters. The following give the best expositions of Genesis 1-3 and Romans 5 that I have come across. The author is extremely faithful to scripture and brings much light to the passages:-

“Creation” by John Metcalfe

Can be found on Amazon at:-
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1870039718/qid=1096540158/sr=1-36/ref=sr_1_0_36/026-1681421-8600447 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1870039718/qid=1096540158/sr=1-36/ref=sr_1_0_36/026-1681421-8600447)


“The Ministry of Reconciliation” by John Metcalfe.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1870039874/qid=1096540095/sr=1-5/ref=sr_1_10_5/026-1681421-8600447

As Bob will be away for 10 days or so they might provide good background reading in the meantime (assuming you can get hold of them that quickly!)

In grace,
Ian

Brandan
09-30-04, 05:54 AM
Thanks for your post Ian - as usual, you were gracious and had much to contribute.

Brandan
(still thinking...)

Brandan
09-30-04, 06:00 AM
Is that why most (not all) ppl that believe in common grace and "well meant" offer are infralapsarians?Hi Jan,
I don't think it is the main reason, but I think it contributes to their thinking... But what is even more interesting is MOST who call themselves supralapsarians also subscribe to the common fall of both reprobate and elect and do so inconsistently in my opinion. I don't understand now how in the mind one can consistently hold to supralapsarianism and a "common fall". I did of course for a while, but I admit I was inconsistent and to my shame, I admit these doctrines didn't harmonize well in my mind.

doctr_of_grace
09-30-04, 07:13 AM
I very much have enjoyed reading through this thread. It contains some very interesting questions and answers. I think Ian did a very good job critiquing the third position. Having the reformers and Augustine behind you are some very powerful minds to contend with. They were very faithful and used scripture to come to their conclusions but please don't misunderstand me ... I am sure there is some error in Augustine as well as Calvin, Luther, Owen etc etc.


So for right now and I to am "still thinking" hehehe ... The 3rd position seems a bit too much of a fatalistic position. I am certainly not a theologian as I have come to see that many in this forum are. So I can't contribute much other than perhaps ask questions. You are all much better read then myself.


I believe the reason that some folks look at superlapsarian teaching as fatalistic is for the very reason that Ian brought up. I am thinking at this time that the conclusion shown in premise #3 does in fact eliminate or at the very least soften the responsibility of man. It appears on the surface to be more of a balance and consistent but the consequences of such seems to cause some serious problems with how scripture has been interrupted for a number of centuries.

Thanks again all for the challenges you bring forward and I shall continue to read through this thought provoking thread.

wildboar
09-30-04, 07:30 AM
Is that why most (not all) ppl that believe in common grace and "well meant" offer are infralapsarians?
I would guess that it has more to do with the fact that there are more infralapsarians than supralapsarians. I would guess that the majority of supralapsarians hold to some form of common grace and the well-meant offer. Abraham Kuyper, who is probably most responsible for the doctrine of common grace as we have it today was a supralapsarian and held to eternal justification. Kuyper did not take it is far as his later followers did and didn't even use the same word for common grace(gratie) and saving grace(genade). Unfortunately most who hold to common grace are unaware of this distinction and this distinction of words cannot be made in english. David Engelsma who is part of the Dutch Translation Society told us once that he hoped the society would translate Kuyper's massive work supporting common grace so that the world could see how flimsy his argument was.

The PRC, which is probably the most outspoken denomination in the US against the doctrines of common grace and the well-meant offer and probably the only one in the US in unity on this is composed mostly of ministers who are supralapsarian and eternal justification. My minister happens to be the exception--being an infralapsarian who also denies eternal justification. However he does not deny we were justified on the cross or any of the other common errors and certainly doesn't deny double predestination. The PRC also follows Kuyper's theology more closely than any other denomination with the exception of Kuyper's teaching on common grace and perhaps presupposed regeneration(though there is some debate as whether Kuyper actually held this view).

You can subscribe to the reformed confessions and be either infra or supra. You can't subscribe to the reformed confessions and deny double predestination or accept common grace.

Brandan
09-30-04, 07:39 AM
Jan,

You say that supralapsarianism or position #3 seems like fatalism. What do you mean by that? I consider fatalism a terrible doctrine to have come from ancient mythology.

The "fates" were seen as gods or godesses that looked over the lives of all men, women and children and were supposedly actively involved in every aspect of their lives. Its doctrine is that things "happen" by "luck" or "chance" or "fortune". If you ask a fatalist how an event came to pass, he will say, "it just happened." Essentially, almost everyone who's not a Christian is a fatalist...

In contrast, absolute predestination (which most supras subscribe to) is that God determined all things and there is not some mystical impersonal force affecting the lives of men. If you ask a predestinarian how something came to pass, his answer will be, "This was God's plan in eternity and it has now been brought to pass by His Sovereign hand to fulfill His sovereign will." He will also not deny that men have an active role in events as well (as secondary causes), but will always honor God as the primary cause of all events.

Eileen
09-30-04, 07:57 AM
WB:

Is your pastor David Engelsma?? I was reading an article on hyper-calvinisim that has his name in it in reference to the PRC.

BT:

Thanks for taking the time to answer some of my questions.

I am going to read the links posted by Ian, especially the creation of man in God's image. I believe that being created in God's image is more than being created eternal, however I am not able to articulate that. Perhaps because what I believe is based on what I have been taught and my own emotions, etc. Still in my mind this is important!! That is what I would like to discover more about at this time to answer the other questions that have come about in my mind.

Safe travels!

Ian Potts
09-30-04, 08:33 AM
I am going to read the links posted by Ian, especially the creation of man in God's image.I can recommend them Eileen but I am afraid that they are not links to online articles but are actually books. The links are simply to Amazon from where they can be ordered in the UK. In the US they might be a little trickier to find. But here's an online store that should deliver to the US:-

http://www.thebookcupboard.com/FPReligioustitles.htm



I don't understand now how in the mind one can consistently hold to supralapsarianism and a "common fall". I did of course for a while, but I admit I was inconsistent and to my shame, I admit these doctrines didn't harmonize well in my mind.
I fail to see so far what these inconsistencies are with being supralapsarian and holding to a common fall. Could you describe a bit more about what you mean here Brandan as so far I don't really see what 'problems' #3 is trying to solve - as I said before. Thanks. :)

I did have one more thought about the implications of #3 however...

View #3 also seems to affects Christ’s SUBSTITUTIONARY death. If the elect are ‘different’ to the reprobate by nature, if the essence of their sin is different, then surely the punishment for their sin is of a different order to the reprobate’s? In which case Christ as their substititute didn’t take the same level of punishment that the reprobate do, or did He? If not, how is that glorifying to Christ? The teaching of scripture on substitutionary atonement is that Christ took our place, taking the punishment against our inbred sin and our sins which we would suffer in eternity if we weren’t elected to be saved by Christ. The same punishment. Why? Because the fall is common to all men, elect and reprobate. But the substitutionary atonement is only on behalf of the elect. Therein lies the difference between the elect and reprobate.

How can Christ’s death be a true substitution unless the sin of the elect is just the same in ‘essence’ as the sin of the reprobate, and therefore the punishment due to each is the same?


Ian

wildboar
09-30-04, 08:50 AM
Eileen:

David Engelsma served as a pastor in the PRC for many years and is currently a Professor at the Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary, soon to retire. He's also a member at my church, but often absent doing pulpit supply many Sundays. He's also stepping down from his long held position as editor of the Standard Bearer. I took a Dutch class at the seminary and that is where he made the comments about translating Kuyper's work on common grace.

Of all whom I have read I find my own theology to be most in harmony with David Engelsma (with the exception of certain statements he's made about Bible versions). In a series of articles in the Standard Bearer, Engelsma critiqued Dr. Mouw's (president of Fuller Theological Seminary) book He Shines in All That's Fair. A book compiled of these critiques can be purchased here: http://www.rfpa.org/Scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=69 or read on-line here: He Shines in All That is Fair (http://www.prca.org/articles/all_that_is_fair.html) This led to a debate between Dr. Mouw and Prof. Engelsma on the issue of whether or not common grace is reformed which can be read or listened to here: http://www.prca.org/current/Articles/a%20debate%20on%20common%20grace%20-%20engelsma-mouw.htm

He's also written the best book I've seen which deals with Hyper-Calvinism and the well-meant offer which can be ordered here: http://www.rfpa.org/Scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=1

And he has written the best book I have seen dealing with marriage (the proper roles of husbands and wives, the Biblical position on divorce and remarriage) which can be ordered here: http://www.rfpa.org/Scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=1

I've heard rumors that he is also working on a Systematic Theology but that would not be available for several years. I'm hoping he completes this work. I read his unpublished master's thesis called Trinity and Covenant and it was incredible. The section on the Trinity does a great deal to further develop the doctrine of the Trinity and can be read on-line here: http://www.prca.org/prtj/apr2000.html#HolyFamily

He's also written numerous other pamphlets:

A Defense of Calvinism as the Gospel (http://www.prca.org/pamphlets/pamphlet_31.html)
Is Good Self-Esteem Important for a Christian, and How is It Developed? (http://www.prca.org/pamphlets/pamphlet_57.html)
The Church Today and the Reformation Church (http://www.prca.org/pamphlets/pamphlet_27.html)
The Reformation and Twentieth Century Protestantism (http://www.prca.org/pamphlets/pamphlet_28.html)
Remembering the Lord's Day (http://www.prca.org/pamphlets/pamphlet_39.html)
A Candid Confession of the Character of a Conditional Covenant (http://www.prca.org/articles/conditional_covenant.html)
Is Denial of the "Well-Meant Offer" Hyper-Calvinism? (http://www.prca.org/pamphlets/pamphlet_35.html)
Common Bounty or Common Grace? (http://www.prca.org/articles/article_4.html)
The Covenant of God and the Children of Believers (http://www.prca.org/pamphlets/pamphlet_51.html)
Evangelism and the Reformed Faith (http://www.prca.org/pamphlets/pamphlet_17.html)
A Defense of (Reformed) Amillennialism (http://www.prca.org/articles/amillennialism.html)
The Death of Confessional Calvinism in Scottish Presbyterianism (http://www.prca.org/articles/Death_of_Calvinism.html)
Marriage and Divorce (http://www.prca.org/pamphlets/pamphlet_15.html)
The LORD's Hatred of Divorce (http://www.prca.org/pamphlets/pamphlet_78.html)
As a Father Pitieth His Children (http://www.prca.org/pamphlets/pamphlet_12.html) (Reformed Child Rearing)
Try the Spirits: A Reformed Look at Pentecostalism (http://www.prca.org/pamphlets/pamphlet_59.html)
A.D. 2000: Year of Jubilee--by Papal Indulgence or by Reformation Gospel? (http://www.prca.org/pamphlets/pamphlet_79.html)
A Covenant School (http://www.prca.org/articles/article_1.html)
Scripture in the Schools (http://www.prca.org/articles/article_3.html)
The Necessity of Good Christian Schools (http://www.prca.org/articles/christian_schools.html)

Brandan
09-30-04, 09:35 AM
I fail to see so far what these inconsistencies are with being supralapsarian and holding to a common fall. Could you describe a bit more about what you mean here Brandan as so far I don't really see what 'problems' #3 is trying to solve - as I said before. Thanks. :) Brother, my main beef with holding to position number 2 is that if all men are fallen in Adam, then there was obviously a SELECTION of men from that fallen mass which is incompatible with supralapsarianism.

Ian Potts
09-30-04, 09:46 AM
Brother, my main beef with holding to position number 2 is that if all men are fallen in Adam, then there was obviously a SELECTION of men from that fallen mass which is incompatible with supralapsarianism.Thanks Brandan - I understand what you are meaning here. However I have to ask - how is that terribly different to the #3 position where a certain number of Adam's physical offspring are the elect and a certain number of that offspring are reprobate. You may argue that they differ by nature, but when a child is born something has predetermined whether it is born reprobate or elect. What determines that? The same electing choice of God decided before the foundation of the world that the #2 position holds.

The differences can be summarised like this:-

1. God elects a people before the foundation of the world. Not all born physically of Adam are elect, some are reprobate. That is the same in both #2 and #3.
2. In the #3 scheme the elect are different to the reprobate when they are born physically. In the #2 scheme the difference is seen when they are born again by the Spirit. #2 holds that we are elected IN Christ in the LAST Adam, not in the first. But #3 tries to make some kind of distinction in the first Adam - where is that distinction made in the Bible? The distinctions made are between the earthly seed of Adam and the heavenly seed of Christ.

I think #2 is more scriptural, and cannot see how #3 is really any different to #2 regarding the concept of election compared to selection. Both #2 and #3 agree that election occurred BEFORE the foundation of the world, before any man was created or born. Out of all those men and women ever to live some were elected and some reprobated. How is the #3 scheme any less of a 'selection' than you say #2 is?? Both, rather, describe election from before the foundation of the world. That election being UNTO life in Christ, to die and rise again with Him, and to then be quickened by the Spirit into that eternal life. That is when the effects of election come to be seen - not in the natural birth from Adam.

'Selection' really implies a selecting people to save AFTER they have been born whereas 'election' implies that choice is made before their creation/birth. I believe that election is the same choice of 'names' unto Salvation in either #2 or #3.

If I'm missing something please clarify a bit more. Thanks brother. :)

Mickey
09-30-04, 09:47 AM
I have a question if I may...

We call ourselves 'saved' as Chrsitians right? Saved from what?

Mike

Brandan
09-30-04, 09:51 AM
I have a question if I may...

We call ourselves 'saved' as Chrsitians right? Saved from what?

MikeSaved to sin no more :)

Brandan
09-30-04, 09:53 AM
Saved to sin no more :)Whoah, which reminds me of the hymn by William Cowper, "There is a Fountain Filled with Blood".

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.
Washed all my sins away, washed all my sins away;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.
Be saved, to sin no more, be saved, to sin no more;
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.

Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Thy power to save,
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.
Lies silent in the grave, lies silent in the grave;
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.

Lord, I believe Thou hast prepared, unworthy though I be,
For me a blood bought free reward, a golden harp for me!
’Tis strung and tuned for endless years, and formed by power divine,
To sound in God the Father’s ears no other name but Thine.

Ian Potts
09-30-04, 09:56 AM
I have a question if I may...

We call ourselves 'saved' as Chrsitians right? Saved from what?

MikeGood question Mike. I'd say saved from many things such as the corruption of our fallen nature, the wrath to come, the dominion of indwelling sin, the grip of Satan upon us and so on.

But if we consider being saved from 'the wrath to come' then I'd say that that is the same 'wrath to come' which the reprobate fall into. Hence if we are saved from it by the SUBSTITUTIONARY death of Christ who drank of the cup of God's wrath on our behalf then we are saved from the same consequence of the fall as the reprobate are judged according to. Hence our sin is the same as their's in essence because the fall is common to both.

I'm posting too much.... Better go! :)

Mickey
09-30-04, 10:53 AM
That is very true DG.:p

Matt 1:21 "She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."

Now that we know we are one of God's elect, we know that there was no chance of us going to hell. So we can say now we weren't saved from hell right? Of course before we were saved we did not have this knowledge, and before we had assurance we thought thats where we were going. But since we have had the truth of election reveled to us by God we know that because of His election we never had a chance of going to hell. But I don't see a problem with also saying that we all died in Adam and we all (the elect) are made alive in Christ. If this is God's means--much like the hearing of the gosple--then I don't see a problem here. I may be over simplifying it but I have read through the posts on this thread and others and I still think that Ian's question hasn't been answered. But that may be because Bill is gone for a while. I hold to absolute predestination but I have a hard time understanding how our sin is of a different substance mainly because I haven't seen so far scripture to support that view.

I had a good discussion last night with some of the older men at the church I attend and I brought up some of the things that we are discussing here. At the end, one of them said, "we are getting too much into God's business, and we should mind our own." He wasn't saying it to discurage me from digging deeper into these things. I guess he was just warning me of getting to the point where I am casual about my sin (which happens sometimes). I also think that Deut 29:29 is a good verse to keep in mind when delving into some of these things:

The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.

The catch is what to we say is revealed and what is not? ;)

Mike

Bob Higby
09-30-04, 07:04 PM
Wow, do I wish I could participate in all this! I have just a couple of moments between all the last minute chores in preparation for my trip.

One question that I might address to Ian, based on his view of the atonement: where does scripture teach that Christ's atonement is in punishment the equivalent of the eternal woe of the reprobate? I certainly agree that it is the equivalent of the punishment due to the elect for their sin and rebellion. But the Augustinian view proposes that eternal punishment is the penalty due all humanity for Adam's sin. This position I deny; it fails to distinguish between the curse of the law and the curse of the gospel. According to this typical view, all punishment is strictly the result of the penalty of law executed on Adam and his seed.

Your view of the plan of salvation is left to right; mine is right to left. In other words, for me the plan of salvation starts with God's purposes in eternity future purchased in Christ (primary)--with Adam and the temporal creation being the last event in God's purposes (subservient). On another thread I posted the views of Gordon Clark on the 'right to left' position.

But let's get back to 1 Cor. 15:19-28, which is THE key passage on this question. Paul wrote it long before Rom. 5:12-21 and I believe the focus of both passages is the same. Many are thrown off by the use of ALL in both passages, assuming that since in Adam ALL are said to die the context is obviously all humanity. But the context is the destruction of death--right to left reasoning. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. This has to be the death of God's elect--not the death of cows or the death of the reprobate. The death of cattle is not an enemy opposed to Christ, in fact, the elect are promised fatted calf to celebrate their redemption in Isa. 25! Neither is the death of reprobate men an enemy opposed to Christ. It is a positive execution of God's purposes of wrath toward them. The only class for whom death is an enemy is the elect. For these and these only, ALL these, in Adam they die and in Christ they are made alive. To view 1 Cor. 15:22 as anything but an exact parallel is very doubtful exegesis indeed.

Well, I'm sorry to miss this great discussion but looking forward to great things down the road!

Brother Bob (Bill)

Ian Potts
10-01-04, 04:12 AM
Wow, do I wish I could participate in all this! I have just a couple of moments between all the last minute chores in preparation for my trip.

Thanks for taking the time to respond Bob – Have a good trip!



One question that I might address to Ian, based on his view of the atonement: where does scripture teach that Christ's atonement is in punishment the equivalent of the eternal woe of the reprobate? I certainly agree that it is the equivalent of the punishment due to the elect for their sin and rebellion. But the Augustinian view proposes that eternal punishment is the penalty due all humanity for Adam's sin. This position I deny; it fails to distinguish between the curse of the law and the curse of the gospel. According to this typical view, all punishment is strictly the result of the penalty of law executed on Adam and his seed.

I understand what you are meaning here Bob, and I think you will find I don’t rigidly follow ‘traditional theology’ in my understanding of many truths. Like you, I hold scripture higher than any creed, confession or writer.

Certainly the punishment of the reprobate is not only according to the law but also according to the very righteousness of God as revealed in the Gospel, which Gospel they reject. They are punished for that great sin of unbelief. Their ‘eternal’ punishment is because their sin is never taken away – it remains and so the punishment continues for ever.

What I mean by ‘equivalent’ is in terms of all that sin of the reprobate which is equivalent to the elect’s. If a reprobate murdered then the punishment is the same as that suffered on behalf of an elect man for his act of murder, by his Saviour Christ. The sin is the same in ‘essence’ hence the punishment is also. Likewise for stealing, anger, idolatry and so on. Certainly the curse of the law is the same against both reprobate and elect. Romans chapters 1 – 3 prove all men to be guilty before God (3:19). Why? Because they are all under sin 3:9. Elect and reprobate. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God 3:23.

Now certainly the individual sins of each person vary from one to another. But those sins are the same in essence. Judged according to law the judgement for each is the same, whether found in the elect or the reprobate. Also the inbred sin which is in man is common to all (Romans 3:9) and the wages of sin is death 6:23. The reprobate also rejects Christ and His Gospel, and is judged for that. The elect obviously is brought to believe, but even he doesn’t always believe – until regeneration, by nature he ALSO was in unbelief. Hence that unbelief as a sin was atoned for by Christ.

One difference between the judgement of the reprobate and the judgement of the elect in Christ is that whereas the sin of the reprobate remains in them and so God’s anger burns for ever against it, Christ actually consumed the fires of God’s wrath against His people – He was consumed by it and He consumed it. Mystery of mysteries!

I believe that scripture teaches about the fall of man common to all by which sin entered and death by sin (Romans 5:12). It teaches of the judgement of God against that sin (and sins) both through the law and by the Gospel (Romans 3). As God is just and punishes sin according to a strict, immutable standard then the judgement of like sins is alike. Hence I would need to turn your question around and ask again, where does scripture teach a different type of sin in essence for the reprobate? And therefore a differing judgement?

I recognise your distinction Bob between law and gospel. The elect are brought to believe the Gospel, so therein lies a difference (although that believing is by faith, a fruit of the Spirit. By nature, before regeneration, they were in just as much rebellion and unbelief as the reprobate were). But the sin which they had in them by nature is the same as the reprobate’s. Where does scripture speak of differing ‘sin’ passed down to some of Adam’s seed but not others. Are we not all descendants of Adam? (But we are not all in the Last Adam…)



Your view of the plan of salvation is left to right; mine is right to left. In other words, for me the plan of salvation starts with God's purposes in eternity future purchased in Christ (primary)--with Adam and the temporal creation being the last event in God's purposes (subservient). On another thread I posted the views of Gordon Clark on the 'right to left' position.

Is my view left to right? I’m not so sure Bob. Your summary here (“In other words, for me the plan of salvation starts with God's purposes in eternity future purchased in Christ (primary)--with Adam and the temporal creation being the last event in God's purposes (subservient)”) is much as I would view things. But I think my understanding of the first Adam, the common fall, and the elect being predestinated to sonship in the LAST Adam is more consistent with that summary than the idea that there is some distinction made by nature (or the nature of sin) between elect and reprobate in their descent from the FIRST Adam…



But let's get back to 1 Cor. 15:19-28, which is THE key passage on this question. Paul wrote it long before Rom. 5:12-21 and I believe the focus of both passages is the same. Many are thrown off by the use of ALL in both passages, assuming that since in Adam ALL are said to die the context is obviously all humanity. But the context is the destruction of death--right to left reasoning. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. This has to be the death of God's elect--not the death of cows or the death of the reprobate. The death of cattle is not an enemy opposed to Christ, in fact, the elect are promised fatted calf to celebrate their redemption in Isa. 25! Neither is the death of reprobate men an enemy opposed to Christ. It is a positive execution of God's purposes of wrath toward them. The only class for whom death is an enemy is the elect. For these and these only, ALL these, in Adam they die and in Christ they are made alive. To view 1 Cor. 15:22 as anything but an exact parallel is very doubtful exegesis indeed.

I follow what you are saying here but disagree that reading 1 Cor 15:22 as ALL men dieing in Adam is either doubtful exegesis or in any way inconsistent with the flow of Paul’s argument here. He is simply contrasting that whereas all in Adam die, all in Christ live, hence for all those born of Adam who are also in Christ the death which passed on to them from Adam is conquered by Christ. That is true for them, but not true for those in Adam who are not in Christ. To me that is a very plain and straightforward way of reading a passage which really doesn’t throw up any inconsistencies. Romans 5 may puzzle some people more with its contrasts, but I certainly don’t find 1 Cor 15:22 to be ‘difficult’ to understand. However as I have said before, if you DO read 1 Cor 15:22 as referring to the elect in Adam who die, that doesn’t alter the fact that the same thing is true of the reprobate! They will die, and are they not descendants of Adam also? Your understanding would seem to say that whilst they are physical descendants they are not ‘spiritual’ descendants in that sin and death don’t pass on to them like it does with the elect…. But where is that distinguished in scripture…?



Well, I'm sorry to miss this great discussion but looking forward to great things down the road!

Brother Bob (Bill)
Thanks Bob – I look forward to hearing your further thoughts when you get back. I’m sure that when we hear your view padded out more with more explanation from the scriptures concerning the main points it will all make more sense! At the moment I’m conscious that I’m disagreeing with a teaching that I have still yet to hear fully!

Ever in Grace,
Ian

doctr_of_grace
10-01-04, 06:05 AM
Saved to sin no more :)Actually I thought we are saved from the Wrath of God ...

(Rom 5:9 KJV) Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

Whoops ... ya'all answered that hahaha

Ivor Thomas
10-01-04, 07:58 AM
Hope I can say this right Ian, I see for sin to be judged, it must be judged in and by Christ, position 3 bypasses the cross, and as no need of Christ not even for judgement, Position 2- brings in the judgement and delivers at the cross, the judgement result of sin for the reprobate, in what Christ suffers and condemms sin in the flesh. Ivor Thomas.

Brandan
10-01-04, 08:01 AM
Actually I thought we are saved from the Wrath of God ...

(Rom 5:9 KJV) Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

Whoops ... ya'all answered that hahahaHere's gill on the "wrath" in Rom. 5:9...

shall be saved from wrath through him: not from wrath, as a corruption in their own hearts, which oftentimes breaks forth; nor as appearing among the people of God one towards another, which is sometimes very bitter; or as in their avowed enemies, the effects of which they often feel; nor from the wrath of devils, which is as the roaring of a lion; but from the wrath of God, from a sense and apprehension of it in their own consciences, which the law works; from which justification by the blood of Christ frees them; though under first awakenings they feel it, and sometimes, under afflictive dispensations of Providence, are ready to fear it: and also from the infliction of vindictive wrath or punishment for sin; for though they are as deserving of it as others, yet as they are not appointed to it, so they are entirely delivered from it, through Christ's sustaining it in their room and stead: wherefore they are secure from it both in this life, and in the world to come.

wildboar
10-01-04, 08:28 AM
I think that since the future tense is used in Rom. 5:9 it is particularly the wrath of God which will be revealed in the judgment day which is being spoken of.

Romans 5:9-10 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Skeuos Eleos
10-01-04, 09:23 AM
Ian, thankyou so much for your posts. You have given us much to consider. I am still thinking about this but unfortuantely am not able to devote much time to it at the moment.


Bob has mentioned elsewhere that he doesn’t believe sin is passed on biologically. I would have to give a qualified disagreement to that. Sin is most definitely passed on by natural generation, from parents to child. As shown in various places such as Psalm 51:6. But man is more than just biological flesh and blood. He has a soul, he is a living spirit (though now fallen and spiritually dead). When a new life is conceived in the womb it is more than biological tissue – it is a soul. It is in that soul, in the life of man, in which sin is passed down. I don't see how Ps. 52:6 proves that sin is passed on by way of 'natural generation'. Furthermore, I agree the soul is where sin exists but how is the 'soul' passed down from the biological parents?


This I think would need to be clearly shown from scripture. Two different kinds of sin. Just where is this shown? Thomas1 has referred to 1 John 5 but I believe the meaning there is very different. Where else could be said to show this idea?
One thing I would appreciate would be if you could give your exegesis of Rom. 5:14, especially regarding who are those who have not sinned in the "likeness of the offense of Adam" and what those sins are?

Of course one way in which the sins of elect and reprobate are different is the sin of unbelief, so, at least on that count, it is true to say that their sins are different.


If comparison is made with the devils who have no possibility of salvation through Christ, then I would point out that doesn’t scripture teach that they too ‘fell’? They left their first estate. They fell from heaven. Did not they rebel against God? Would proponents of #3 say that they were created evil in the first place? I think they would. Indeed the devil was a liar from the beginning and reprobate men were destined for destruction from the beginning - thus there was nowhere for them to fall from.

Just a couple of thoughts to consider whilst waiting for Bob?

Martin

Ian Potts
10-01-04, 10:05 AM
Ian, thankyou so much for your posts. You have given us much to consider. I am still thinking about this but unfortuantely am not able to devote much time to it at the moment.


You’re welcome Martin. I haven’t much time myself either and I feel like I have said most of what I’d like to for the time being, so I’ll be brief now.

Quite often Brandan posts links to Gill’s comments on passages. I notice we have yet to see links to Gill’s comments on 1 Corinthians 15 or Romans 5. I think if you take a look at them you’ll find that he is firmly in line with position 2.



I don't see how Ps. 52:6 proves that sin is passed on by way of 'natural generation'. Furthermore, I agree the soul is where sin exists but how is the 'soul' passed down from the biological parents?

I didn’t say the soul itself is passed down in that sense. But sin IS passed down – Romans 5:12. I was distinguishing between it being passed down in the soul, the life of man, rather than in the biological tissue of the flesh as such (although sin and death do affect the flesh…).

And I do consider Psalm 51:6 a good text to show that, though I’m sure others could be provided. Like Romans 5:12!!! :)



One thing I would appreciate would be if you could give your exegesis of Rom. 5:14, especially regarding who are those who have not sinned in the "likeness of the offense of Adam" and what those sins are?

Sure. The parenthesis from verse 13-17 is mainly dealing with the situation from Adam to Moses where there was no formal law under which man lived. Adam was given a command from God which he disobeyed. Hence his disobedience was reckoned to him, imputed to him, because of the command he was under. Likewise the Jews who had the Mosaic law were under that law and if they broke it they also disobeyed the command of God outwardly given to them, just like Adam. Hence their sin was again imputed to them. Their sin was ‘after the similitude of Adam’s transgression’ in the sense that they had a clear outward command(s) from God which they broke. Hence their sin is ‘imputed’ to them. That imputation is in relation to being under ‘law’ in the outward sense.

Verse 14 however shows that death still reigned from Adam to Moses in those who still sinned, yet not against a direct command of God, or against the outward law, because it hadn’t yet been given at Sinai. So their sin wasn’t ‘imputed’ to them in that legal sense, yet they still sinned, were still sinners and death still passed on them. They still had a conscience and awareness of right and wrong, just like the Gentiles who were without law (see Romans 2). Sin is always sin. But it is ‘after the similitude of Adam’s transgression’ when committed under law, or under a covenant with God.

This passage is greatly misunderstood but that is what I believe is meant here - it's all to do with the context of law really and showing that sin exists even where there is no law. Verse 20 shows that law just makes things worse - sin abounds under it.



Of course one way in which the sins of elect and reprobate are different is the sin of unbelief, so, at least on that count, it is true to say that their sins are different.

But unbelief and rebellion are common to the elect too BY NATURE. It is only the work of the Spirit in causing them to be born AGAIN of the heavenly man Jesus Christ which causes them to believe. Hence what was of the old man in the elect was the same as in the reprobate. What makes the elect differ is (in himself, not in God’s purpose) is when he is born again.



The devil was a liar from the beginning and reprobate men were destined for destruction from the beginning - thus there was nowhere for them to fall from.

“Nowhere to fall from”? Maybe, but show this from scripture. Scripture DOES teach about the angels who fell. What does that mean? It does teach about mankind falling in Adam, but position #3 rejects that understanding of scripture (Romans 5:12). Yet I am awaiting other scriptures to be presented to back up #3 along with all its implications…. :)

I will leave this discussion for now if you don’t mind. I've posted my thoughts and haven't really got the time to answer further questions from them - sorry. :( I’d be interested to hear more from the #3 camp from the scriptures in defence of that system however.

Ian

P.S. Ivor, I’m not sure if your last post was in agreement with me or not? Your original post backed #3 – are you now against #3 and for #2?

Brandan
10-01-04, 10:55 AM
If comparison is made with the devils who have no possibility of salvation through Christ, then I would point out that doesn’t scripture teach that they too ‘fell’? They left their first estate. They fell from heaven. Did not they rebel against God? Would proponents of #3 say that they were created evil in the first place?
Scripture does not teach the devils fell. They were created evil in the first place.

Brandan
10-01-04, 12:18 PM
Scripture does not teach the devils fell. They were created evil in the first place.See this thread: http://www.predestinarian.net/showthread.php?t=1460

Ian Potts
10-04-04, 04:18 AM
Now that we know we are one of God's elect, we know that there was no chance of us going to hell. So we can say now we weren't saved from hell right? Of course before we were saved we did not have this knowledge, and before we had assurance we thought thats where we were going. But since we have had the truth of election reveled to us by God we know that because of His election we never had a chance of going to hell. Just a quick comment on this by way of clarification. When we are brought to faith and believe the Gospel, the knowledge that we were elect from before the foundations of the world is indeed a great comfort - we do indeed realise that we were never actually destined for hell (though we previously feared it) because of God's election.

However election itself is part of our salvation. We are saved because God the Father elected us, Christ the Son died for us, and the Holy Spirit regenerates us giving us faith to believe those truths. A perfect work of the triune God. But nevertheless all three stages of our salvation.

Hence when I state, in accord with scripture, that we are saved from the wrath to come I think that is quite true. We are saved from that wrath BECAUSE we have been elected, and Christ has died in our place suffering that wrath for us. Those who are NOT saved, are those who are not elect and therefore they will suffer the wrath to come. The elect are saved from it. Election is part of that work of God which saves them, not only from their sins, but also from the consequences of those sins - death and the wrath to come.

Of course I agree with all your comments above Mike but I just wanted to clarify that it is not inaccurate to speak of believers being saved from hell. They are - by that 'complete' work of salvation which encompasses election, Christ's atoning death and the work of the Spirit in applying that salvation in time in the experience of the believer.


Scripture does not teach the devils fell. They were created evil in the first place.

See this thread:
http://www.predestinarian.net/showthread.php?t=1460 (http://www.predestinarian.net/showthread.php?t=1460)

Thanks for the link Brandan. I see you have discussed this point before.

However your statement that “scripture does not teach the devils fell. They were created evil in the first place” is, I must say, rather dogmatic, especially considering the number of preachers/writers who would agree that the devils did indeed fall, and were not created evil in the first place (but were, like Adam, obviously created in a state from which it was possible to fall into sin). There are several passages which reference the subject in scripture as noted in the thread you have linked to (the scriptures certainly speak of Lucifer falling, the angels leaving their first estate, the angels sinning and so on) - the issue is not whether such passages are in scripture but how those same passages are interpreted.

Just for clarity the main passages which deal with the matter in scripture are Isaiah 14:12-15, Ezekiel 28, Jude verse 6, 2 Peter 2:4 and Revelation 12:4.

In the thread you have linked to it is said that Milton taught the fall of the angels. Maybe he did, but this understanding of the passages is hardly to be attributed to Milton as the main proponent, or as the one who originated the idea. In fact it is the generally accepted view of the church over many centuries. I had a quick look in my library at what various writers thought and every one I looked at agreed that one or more of the texts listed above refer to the fall of Satan and his angels (interpretations of each verse vary but the overall position of all the writers is that the devil and his angels did indeed fall from a holy state in which first created). In fact in my – albeit not exhaustive - search I didn’t find one writer who teaches otherwise! Among the writers I looked at were Reformed authors such as Hodge and Matthew Poole. Also J.N. Darby of the Plymouth Brethren shares the same view. Of ‘sovereign grace’ authors I looked up Gill’s comments – he holds to the same position. Likewise two modern sovereign grace authors agree – John Metcalfe in his work “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” and Don Fortner in his book “Discovering Christ in Revelation” both interpret Revelation 12:4 as referring to the fall of Satan and his angels – their rebellion against God, when they first sinned, from their initial created state (ie. they were not created evil).

Gill's comments on 2 Peter 2:4 can be read here:-
http://bible.5solas.org/bible.php?view=1&restrict=&keywords=&startbook=&endbook=&references=1&andor=0&ascdesc=&highlight=1&chaplinks=1&book=61&chapter=2&verse1=1&verse2=6&version=gill&abrv=1&createchaps=1

And Gill’s comments on Jude can be read here:-
http://bible.5solas.org/bible.php?view=1&restrict=&keywords=&startbook=&endbook=&references=1&andor=0&ascdesc=&highlight=1&chaplinks=1&book=65&chapter=1&verse1=&verse2=&version=gill&abrv=1&createchaps=1




Here is a quote from Gill on Jude verse 6:-



“And the angels which kept not their first estate,.... Or "principality"; that holy, honourable, and happy condition, in which they were created; for they were created in perfect holiness and righteousness, stood in the relation of sons to God, and were, for the lustre of their nature, comparable to the morning stars; they were among the thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers; were a superior rank of creatures to men, and who beheld the face, and enjoyed the presence of God; but this estate they kept not, for being mutable creatures, one of them first sinning, the rest were drawn into it by him, and so were not what they were before, nor in the same estate, or place:

but left their own habitation; by attempting to rise higher; or by quitting their station and posts of honour, being unwilling to be subject to God, and especially to the Son of God, who was to assume human nature, and in it be above them, which they could not bear; and by gathering together in a body, in another place, with Satan at the head of them; though this may be considered as a part of their punishment, and they may be said to do what they were forced to; for they were drove out of their native habitation, heaven; they were turned out of it, and cast down to hell; see 2Pe 2:4 (http://bible.5solas.org/bible.php?view=1&createchaps=1&highlight=1&abrv=1&version=kjv&book=61&chapter=2&verse1=4). And this their habitation, which they left, or fell from, or they were cast out of, is by the Jews frequently called the place of their holiness, or their holy place [g].”
I could post quotes from the other authors on such passages as Revelation 12:4, Isaiah 14 or Ezekiel 28… (the latter two passages both having a dual application as with much prophetic writing in the Bible ie. an immediate application to the kings of the nations referred to, but also a spiritual application to Satan and his fall. This is similar to elsewhere in the prophets where there is a near application to the nations or Israel in its history, but also a more spiritual application relating to the coming of Christ, His work and the kingdom) … but it is not my intention here to debate the subject (you have another thread for that) but simply to emphasise that there is Biblical foundation for the view that Satan and his angels ‘fell’ (rebelled against God, probably through pride), that he wasn’t actually created evil in the first place (although obviously it was possible for him to fall from his original state into sin) and that this view is the commonly accepted position of the church historically – and not just protestant or Reformed writers but also many of a strong sovereign grace position such as Gill and Don Fortner today. Now that consensus of view doesn’t of course make all these men right, but it does mean that in disagreeing with these men of God one would need to be sure of solid scriptural evidence against them.

I think readers of this thread should be aware that the position which holds that the devil never fell, but was created evil, is in fact a rather ‘novel’ and ‘unorthodox’ position, just as the #3 position is which rejects the common fall of man. This view of the devils fits in with the #3 view which Bob holds to, so it is not surprising that it was mainly Bob in the other thread who was arguing against the fall of Satan, as that view fits with his overall ‘system’.

Now, please don’t get me wrong. I firmly believe that God is sovereign (as does Don Fortner, Gill etc) and that He is the creator of all things, and uses both good and evil to bring about His own purposes – nothing at all thwarts His will. But nevertheless I don’t believe that scripture actually teaches that God created the devil ‘evil’ in the first place (some verses say things such as ‘he was a liar from the beginning’ but that doesn’t mean he was created a liar. It could simply mean that he fell very soon after his creation. Which ‘beginning’ is referred to here? The beginning of the world?) but that he rebelled, sinned, and fell along with other angels which he took with him in his rebellion, and that that fall (as with Adam’s) was foreknown by God and part of His sovereign will. Hence God will be absolutely just in casting the devil and his angels into the lake of fire for eternity because the devil was not created evil but rebelled against his maker, just as Adam and his race did. As to the exact reasons and circumstances of the fall of Satan we are not told such things in scripture – a veil is drawn across it and it is not for us to delve too much into such matters which the Holy Ghost has chosen not to reveal to us in this present world.

Oh, and as I’ve said before I have a great respect for Bob and value many of his posts here (and that goes for you too Brandan! Please take no offence as my disagreement with you here. :) ). But I do think it should be pointed out that in these areas (the fall of the devils and the common fall of mankind) he stands in opposition not just to some dispensational, Protestant or Reformed writers (with whom many of us here would disagree with on certain other doctrines) but also to sovereign grace preachers such as Gill, Metcalfe and Fortner amongst others.

In Christ,
Ian

Brandan
10-04-04, 06:47 AM
Ian,

I was curious if you thought position #3 and the idea that devils and reprobate were created in sin is a "damnable heresy". I realize that I'm standing in opposition to Gill, Fortner, Calvin, and all the great theologians of the past. But I don't look upon systematic theology as a popularity contest and I'm willing to stand alone for what I perceive to be the truth if need be. At any rate, I posted that link just to let you know that this position has indeed been discussed. Thanks for your comments brother.

Brandan

Ian Potts
10-04-04, 07:47 AM
Ian,

I was curious if you thought position #3 and the idea that devils and reprobate were created in sin is a "damnable heresy". I realize that I'm standing in opposition to Gill, Fortner, Calvin, and all the great theologians of the past. But I don't look upon systematic theology as a popularity contest and I'm willing to stand alone for what I perceive to be the truth if need be. At any rate, I posted that link just to let you know that this position has indeed been discussed. Thanks for your comments brother.

BrandanBrandan,

I just typed a reply to this and lost it because I wasn't logged in! :( So this may be a bit briefer...

I trust you will find that I am not among those who rush into branding every error I come across as a "damnable heresy". I have been on several online forums and it never ceases to amaze me how judgemental some people are and how swift they are to label others as teaching heresy if they don't agree with them. That reflects immaturity and reckless zeal I think. Indeed I myself have been accused elsewhere of holding and teaching heresy, denying 2000 years of Christian witness (!) and leading the sheep astray. Why? Because I don't blindly follow every traditional teaching but seek to submit to what the Spirit would teach me through the scriptures alone.

...Yet if ever I am forced to stand up and question some traditional teaching I do so in much fear and trembling knowing that I could be deceived and knowing that many of the men with whom I may disagree were greatly used of God in times gone by and given much light. But nevertheless all are men at best, all hold to errors, all see through a glass darkly and none know the full truth (I am not referring to the God-inspired prophets and apostles in what they wrote in scripture here, though of course outside of scripture they may have imbided certain errors. Indeed scripture records of differences between Paul and Peter at one point etc...). However we should all seek to submit to the scriptures and the Spirit's teaching with much meekness and with teachable hearts, and when truly convinced of a truth be prepared to stand for it, firmly, yet graciously.

So, no, I don't consider that position #3 and the denial of the fall of the devil is a "damnable heresy" Brandan. But I do consider it an error and for that reason, and not out of seeking an argument but out of love for my brethren I have sought to state where I see the failings in the ideas, and how I feel they deviate from the scriptures and the teachings of others, in order that you might clearly know with what and with whom you differ.

I've presented several ways in my posts in which I feel these ideas take away from the work of Christ, man's accountability etc, and in the last post I hinted at another aspect with regard to the devil being created evil. I believe that God is sovereign, omnipotent and can do what He pleases, but I also believe that scripture reveals Him to be just, righteous, a God who delights in showing mercy, gracious, longsuffering, loving. I believe that when He sends people to hell He does so justly. The #2 position in its conviction that God created all men innocent in Adam but that in Adam they all wilfully rebelled against God, and that the devil likewise fell from His original, non-evil, state into rebellion, upholds such a just nature in that God is just to condemn those who have rebelled against Himself. The #3 position which states that the reprobate and the devil were created evil, however, seems to weaken this justice - it portrays a God who creates evil creatures and damns them for being as He created them. Whilst some might point at Romans 9 I do not believe that passage is defending such a view, but simply stating that God is fair and just to only elect those whom He wills, and judging the reprobate for their wilful rebellion against Him, indeed hardening them in their OWN wilful rebellion - but God is not the author of their sin. Their judgement is entirely because of their sin freely entered into. Obviously I recognise that God is the creator of all things, good and evil, and is just in all His actions but He is also not the 'author of sin'. These things are mysteries and I don't think the Holy Spirit has revealed them all to us through the Bible nor do I think it is given to us to delve into all these things which we will not fully understand this side of glory.

I hope some of my thoughts here have been helpful. However, you will have to excuse me Brandan but I will really have to bow out of this discussion for the time being as I lack the time I'm afraid. I do pray that the Lord will lead us all into His truth granting us meekness to learn from Him and only Him - the only teacher we can truly depend upon.

In Grace,
Ian

wildboar
10-04-04, 08:06 AM
Ian:

Don't you know that not calling things damnable heresies is a damnable heresy?:p

Ian Potts
10-04-04, 08:14 AM
Ian:

Don't you know that not calling things damnable heresies is a damnable heresy?:pCharles,

:) I'm clearly too kind for my own good...!

Actually I did say in my 'original' post before it got lost due to not being logged in correctly that there are certain clear heresies that deny fundamental truths of the Gospel which I wouldn't shy from naming as such. However many today seem to brand every little error as heresy - it rather demonstrates their own arrogance and pride I think, a failing in itself.... :)

I really MUST go now....! :)

Eileen
10-04-04, 07:10 PM
Thanks Ian for all of your posts, I have printed them out as I believe they represent Camp #2 in a clear and understandable way.

In regards to the Heidelberg Q #6 that I quoted early on in this post I have researched the scriputres behind that statement that Adam was created in true righteouness and holiness. For instance:Eph 4:24 "and that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteouness and true holiness".

Now I don't see how that is in relation to the creation of Adam, I see that as in relation to Christ being the new man that we are to put on.

2 Cor. 3:18 "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord"

So again it seems that this is referring to the image of Christ that we are being conformed to, not the first man Adam.

Col 3:10 "And having put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him" (is this referring to the knowledge we now have of God as Adam did in the garden?)

These scriputres which are used in relation to the Heidelberg Q6 don't seem to be speaking of Adam at all being created in true holiness, but of the Christian who is being conformed to the image of Christ. Of coarse now I am a bit confused. Ian says that Adam was created innocent and that is different than truly holy and righteous, would someone be willing to expand that a bit.

I know that BT says that true holiness does not beget evil, so is that the difference?

WB: What does the WCF say on that subject??


Anyway, in this research I found many references to the 'image of God' that was my original intent to look into and I have been doing that as well. To quote one author that I read "we the elect are being renewed to the image we were created with". There are many places in the NT on the image being renewed in us, so that is where I am at, still looking into the 'image'.

One more thing...would God send His own image to hell, or because of the fall was all the 'image' lost? Any thoughts on that or is that one of the mysteries that is best left alone?

wildboar
10-04-04, 09:35 PM
The Belgic Confession of Faith, Article XIV
The Creation and Fall of Man, and His Incapacity to Perform What Is Truly Good
We believe that God created man out of the dust of the earth, and made and formed him after His own image and likeness, good, righteous, and holy, capable in all things to will agreeably to the will of God. But being in honor, he understood it not, neither knew his excellency, but wilfully subjected himself to sin and consequently to death and the curse, giving ear to the words of the devil. For the commandment of life, which he had received, he transgressed; and by sin separated himself from God, who was his true life; having corrupted his whole nature; whereby he made himself liable to corporal and spiritual death. And being thus become wicked, perverse, and corrupt in all his ways, he has lost all his excellent gifts which he had received from God, and retained only small remains thereof, which, however, are sufficient to leave man without excuse; for all the light which is in us is changed into darkness, as the Scriptures teach us, saying: The light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness apprehended it not; where St. John calls men darkness.
Therefore we reject all that is taught repugnant to this concerning the free will of man, since man is but a slave to sin, and can receive nothing, except it have been given him from heaven. For who may presume to boast that he of himself can do any good, since Christ says: No man can come to me, except the Father that sent me draw him? Who will glory in his own will, who understands that the mind of the flesh is enmity against God? Who can speak of his knowledge, since the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God? In short, who dares suggest any thought, since he knows that we are not sufficient of ourselves to account anything as of ourselves, but that our sufficiency is of God? And therefore what the apostle says ought justly to be held sure and firm, that God worketh in us both to will and to work, for his good pleasure. For there is no understanding nor will conformable to the divine understanding and will but what Christ has wrought in man; which He teaches us, when He says: Apart from me ye can do nothing.

The Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 3

Q6: Did God create man thus, wicked and perverse?
A7: No,[1] but God created man good and after His own image,[2] that is, in righteousness and true holiness; that he might rightly know God his Creator, heartily love Him, and live with Him in eternal blessedness, to praise and glorify Him.[3]
1. Gen. 1:31
2. Gen. 1:26-27
3. II Cor. 3:18; Col. 3:10; Eph. 4:24
Q7: From where, then, does this depraved nature of man come?
A7: From the fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in Paradise,[1] whereby our nature became so corrupt that we are all conceived and born in sin.[2]
1. Gen. ch. 3; Rom. 5:12, 18-19
2. Psa. 14:2-3; 51:5
Q8: But are we so depraved that we are completely incapable of any good and prone to all evil?
A8: Yes,[1] unless we are born again by the Spirit of God.[2]
1. John 3:6; Gen. 6:5; Job 14:4; Isa. 53:6
2. John 3:5; Gen. 8:21; II Cor. 3:5; Rom. 7:18; Jer. 17:9

The Canons of Dort, Third and Fourth Heads of Doctrine
The Corruption of Man, His Conversion to God, & the Manner Thereof - Articles of Faith

Article 1
Man was originally formed after the image of God. His understanding was adorned with a true and saving knowledge of his Creator, and of spiritual things; his heart and will were upright, all his affections pure, and the whole man was holy. But, revolting from God by the instigation of the devil and by his own free will, he forfeited these excellent gifts; and in the place thereof became involved in blindness of mind, horrible darkness, vanity, and perverseness of judgment; became wicked, rebellious, and obdurate in heart and will, and impure in his affections.

The Canons of Dort, Third and Fourth Heads of Doctrine
The Corruption of Man, His Conversion to God, & the Manner Thereof - Rejection of Errors

The true doctrine having been explained, the Synod rejects the errors of those:
Paragraph 2
Who teach: That the spiritual gifts or the good qualities and virtues, such as goodness, holiness, righteousness, could not belong to the will of man when he was first created, and that these, therefore, cannot have been separated therefrom in the fall.
For such is contrary to the description of the image of God which the apostle gives in Eph. 4:24, where he declares that it consists in righteousness and holiness, which undoubtedly belong to the will.

The French Confession, Article IX

IX. We believe that man was created pure and perfect in the image of God, and that by his own guilt he fell from the grace which he received,[1] and is thus alienated from God, the fountain of justice and of all good, so that his nature is totally corrupt. And being blinded in mind, and depraved in heart, he has lost all integrity, and there is no good in him.[2] And although he can still discern good and evil,[3] we say, notwithstanding, that the light he has becomes darkness when he seeks for God, so that he can in nowise approach him by his intelligence and reason.[4] And although he has a will that incites him to do this or that, yet it is altogether captive to sin, so that he has no other liberty to do right than that which God gives him.[5]
1. Gen. 1:26; Eccl. 7:10; Rom. 5:12; Eph. 2:2-3
2. Gen. 6:5, 8:21
3. Rom. 1:21; 2:18-20
4. I Cor. 2:14
5. John 1:4-5, 7; 8:36; Rom. 8:6-7

The Waldensian Confession

VIII. That man, who was created pure and holy, after the image of God, deprived himself through his own fault of that happy condition by giving credit to the deceitful words of the devil.
IX. That man by his transgression lost that righteousness and holiness which he had received, and thus incurring the wrath of God, became subject to death and bondage, under the dominion of him who has the power of death, that is, the devil; insomuch that our free will has become a servant and a slave to sin: and thus all men, both Jews and Gentiles, are, are by nature children of wrath, being all dead in their trespasses and sins, and consequently incapable of the least good motion to any thing which concerns their salvation: yea, incapable of one good thought without God's grace, all their imaginations being wholly evil, and that continually.

The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter IV
Of Creation

II. After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female,[4] with reasonable and immortal souls,[5] endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after his own image;[6] having the law of God written in their hearts,[7] and power to fulfill it:[8] and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change.[9] Beside this law written in their hearts, they received a command, not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; which while they kept, they were happy in their communion with God,[10] and had dominion over the creatures.[11]
4. Gen 1:27
5. Gen. 2:7; Eccl. 12:7; Luke 23:43; Matt. 10:28
6. Gen. 1:26; Col. 3:10; Eph. 4:24
7. Rom. 2:14-15
8. Gen. 2:17; Eccl. 7:29
9. Gen. 3:6, 17
10. Gen. 2:17; 2:15-3:24
11. Gen. 1:28-30; Psa. 8:6-8

The Larger Catechism

Q17: How did God create man?
A17: After God had made all other creatures, he created man male and female;[1] formed the body of the man of the dust of the ground,[2] and the woman of the rib of the man,[3] endued them with living, reasonable, and immortal souls;[4] made them after his own image,[5] in knowledge,[6] righteousness,and holiness;[7] having the law of God written in their hearts,[8] and power to fulfil it,[9] and dominion over the creatures;[10] yet subject to fall.[11]
1. Gen. 1:27
2. Gen. 2:7
3. Gen. 2:22
4. Gen. 2:7; Job 35:11; Eccl. 12:7; Matt. 10:28; Luke 23:43
5. Gen. 1:27
6. Col. 3:10
7. Eph. 4:24
8. Rom. 2:14-15
9. Eccl. 7:29
10. Gen. 1:28
11. Gen. 3:6; Eccl. 7:29

The Shorter Catechism

Q10: How did God create man?
A10: God created man male and female, after his own image,[1] in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness,[2] with dominion over the creatures.[3]
1. Gen. 1:27
2. Col. 3:10; Eph. 4:24
3. Gen. 1:28

wildboar
10-04-04, 10:31 PM
The Second Helvetic Confession - Chapter VII
Of the Creation of All Things: Of Angels, the Devil, and Man

Of Man. Now concerning man, Scripture says that in the beginning he was made good according to the image and likeness of God;[1] that God placed him in Paradise and made all things subject to him (Gen., ch. 2). This is what David magnificently sets forth in Psalm 8. Moreover, God gave him a wife and blessed them. We also affirm that man consists of two different substances in one person: an immortal soul which, when separated from the body, neither sleeps nor dies, and a mortal body which will nevertheless be raised up from the dead at the last judgment in order that then the whole man, either in life or in death, abide forever.

Eileen
10-05-04, 02:23 AM
Thank you Charles for posting all of them. Speaks loudly!

RaggedEdge
10-05-04, 11:22 AM
John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

To have no truth and to be the father of lies and a murderer from the beginning does not leave room for being good once upon a time.

Make the tree good or evil.

Matthew 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
Matthew 7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Matthew 12:33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.

The devil is an enemy of all righteousness, so how could there have been room for him to ever be righteous?

Acts 13:10 And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?

The snake was created subtile.

Genesis 3:1 ¶Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

Brandan
10-08-04, 12:02 PM
Ragged Edge good comments!

Bob said earlier:
No creature may be proposed to need that which is tangibly impossible to experience. Even so, it is absurd to propose that the devil and his children need salvation. They are created in eternal sin, beyond the possibility of regeneration.So true!

The reprobate cannot possibly experience salvation since they were not saved on the cross. They were created to be damned.. SOOOOOO, if that is the case, we cannot say they "need" salvation. There is NO POSSIBILITY WHATSOEVER of regeneration, and I would have to conclude that they were created in eternal sin whether it be Adam's imputed sin or not. The thing is, if they were created in Adam's sin, then at SOME POINT they would have had right standing in the mind of God and thus you would have to conclude they are in need of salvation...

Also I went searching on this concept of "eternal sin", and while it's not in the KJV, it is in the ASV...

Mk 3:29, (ASV), but whosoever shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit hath never forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin:

Any comments?

harald
10-08-04, 12:30 PM
Myself is not familiar with this "created in eternal sin", i.e. what is meant with it. In the Mark verse the Textus Receptus has the word for "judgment", while the Alexandrian text has the word for "sin". Literally the TR reading may be rendered

"But whoever may blaspheme against the Holy Spirit is never having forgiveness, but on the contrary, he is liable of eternal damnation"

The verb "blaspheme" is in the aorist tense, and to me this speaks that one occasion of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit is enough to ascertain that the person thus blaspheming is a reprobate person, non-elect. Such an one is liable of eternal damnation as long as he lives here on earth. And the sentence threatening him is executed upon him when he dies. I believe the TR reading is correct, "judgment" or "damnation". It goes more logically with "damnation"/"judgment". Christ uses the word "liable" in Matthew chapter 5 in connection with judgment and the fire of Gehenna. '


Harald

wildboar
10-08-04, 11:20 PM
Gill:

As harald notes here we have a textual variant. Both the TR and Byzantine textual tradition have the reading which translates as judgment with the Vulgate and the Syriac while the various other manuscripts read "sins". There are a few other readings as well. The belief by modern textual critics is that "sins" is the more difficult reading and the word used for it here is not used often in the New Testament so it is thought by them to be the original reading. I disagree but don't feel much like arguing over this textual issue. R.T. France and others who do accept this reading take this to mean "guilty of a sin worthy of eternal punishment" which I would also if I read it that way.

The other problem is that Aiwnios is not only used in Scripture to denote a period of time without beginning or end, it is also used to denote a very long period of time or something which has a beginning but not an end. I think it more likely that the last meaning I listed is in view here. The only time I see aiwnios used in Scripture to speak of a period without beginning or end it is in reference to God Himself.

I also don't think there is Scriptural warrant to believe that every reprobate person commits the sin which is spoken of here. Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees and right after this verse it is said why Jesus said this--because they said he had an unclean spirit. I maintain the position that this is a sin which those commit who perhaps grew up in the church and know the teachings of the Scriptures to be true but hate them and show their rebellion to them. We read of the same thing in the following passages:

Hebrews 6:4-8 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. 7 For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; 8 but if it bears thorns and briars, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.

Hebrews 10:29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

Bob Higby
10-10-04, 06:36 PM
Kindest Christian greetings to all. I'm back from my trip and pleased to resume dialog with all of you scholars!

As a re-introduction to this subject, I want to clarify a certain point. I am well aware that I stand against all of Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churchmen on this issue. It does no good to quote the confessions or any other writngs of historic churchmen to try and bolster evidence against what I'm saying. All reputable scholars since St. Gus follow St. Gus. His position is clearly spelled out in the Enchiridion and other writings. It is that simple.

I submit that the position of Gus on the fall is neo-Platonic. Plato, as we have seen, taught that all who propose God as the author of sin must be censured, disgraced, and ignored! There is no question that historic churchmen have been faithful in carrying out Augustine's 'Christianese' version of the law of Plato, which also had a background and different 'spin' in Philonic and Rabbinic Judaism between the testaments.

Ian: with regard to Isa. 14 and Ezek. 28, there is no evidence that either of these passages refer to Satan in any way. All such interpretation comes from the history of dogma and is not remotely suggested by the context of scripture.

Again, let us review the essence of the views of position #2:

1. God created Satan, the non-elect angels, and Adam in a state of complete sinlessness.

2. Satan, the non-elect angels, and Adam all rebelled against God even though there was nothing in their hearts to desire such rebellion. Every desire in their innermost being was pure and holy; yet they chose of their own free and sinless will to commit sin; eternal sin in the case of the devil and his angels.

3. Since the nature of Adam's sin was uniquely horrible (that of a sinless being with a perfectly holy heart committing rebellion), he condemned all of mankind to eternal punishment as the consequence of his unique act of rebellion. No other human commits this unique type of sin (rebellion with absolutely no desire to rebel).

4. In Adam's case, a good tree bore evil fruit. That which was holy bore offspring to eternal woe.

5. Christ was the only other human male created perfectly holy from the beginning. Thus he reversed the effect of Adam's sin by being created sinless and not choosing to sin.

Before I go on, I expect those who support position #2 to admit that the above 5 points constitute their position and likewise the position of all historic churchmen. If this is not admitted to, there is no honesty to what we are talking about and therefore no point in further discussion.

Eileen
10-10-04, 07:38 PM
BT:

I am not a scholar so I am 'learning'. I understand why you would not want to enter into fruitless dialouge, it would have no meaning to either you or the other party. In reading here the many threads and discussions I have composed a list of questions to my pastor for our monthly study with him and he has them. The list includes some of the 5 points referred to in your post. I can only speak for myself in that I have been afraid of asking those questions all the days of my Christian life although in my mind the answers seem obvious. When you are warned that those 'things' are the secret things of God and not to be looked into, they become off limits, so to speak. So I hope to speak with pastor soon and have some in-put and instruction from him. I know that he is supra, double predestination, etc.

1. I'm not sure what you mean by complete sinlessness. Do you mean position #2 would say that Adam, Satan and the non-elect angels were created without the proclivity to sin? I have asked this in my list of questions.

2. Did they rebel against God even though there was nothing in their hearts to desire such rebellion? Again, I have asked this question in my list. It seems that logically speaking they would have to have the desire to sin in order to sin.

3. His unique act of rebellion, I did not ask this question in my list. I will.

4. The scripture says a good tree will bear good fruit. I will ask this question too.

5. This is an amazing statement as we know that Christ was the ONLY one who was perfectly holy.

If this thread doesn't continue I know that I have been led to ask some difficult questions that I have always wanted to and I'm thankful for that. Thanks Brother Bob for your willingness to share your thoughts and the fruit of your study and labor.

ugly_gaunt_cow
10-10-04, 08:16 PM
This is all I can input right now, because I'm a little lost... :eek:

But, here's some of my very limited thoughts on the matter.




Ian: with regard to Isa. 14 and Ezek. 28, there is no evidence that either of these passages refer to Satan in any way. All such interpretation comes from the history of dogma and is not remotely suggested by the context of scripture.
I agree. The "Lucifer" comment in Isaiah 14 is refering to the king of babylon. Chapters 13 to 14:32 deal with Assyira and Philitsia I think...


Again, let us review the essence of the views of position #2:

1. God created Satan, the non-elect angels, and Adam in a state of complete sinlessness.
Adamn was "naked" an unashamed. Where as we are naked and shamed and do not blush. The Lord in His greatest of mercies gave Adam a covering to hide his nakedness; a nakedness that Adam was previously NOT AWARE OF.

Scripture doesn't suggest Adam was without sin, I think it teaches Adam was void of an understanding of either good or evil until he aquired it later on.

Furthermore, I don't think Adam's sin was disobedience. I think it had more to do with distrust & the aquisition of 'the knowlegde of good and evil'.

God didn't say "The day you disobey me you shall surely die.". He was quite clear that once Adam had 'aquired' the fruit that comes from possesing knowlegde of good and evil that it woud kill him.

The fruit that came from the knowledge of good and evil was desirable to make one wise... Perhaps a wisdom equal to God they thought?

Anyway, I'm trying hard to get up to speed. But I think this is way out of my league.

Brandan
10-10-04, 09:50 PM
Scripture doesn't suggest Adam was without sin, I think it teaches Adam was void of an understanding of either good or evil until he aquired it later on.Adam's sin was that he loved Eve more than he loved God.

ugly_gaunt_cow
10-11-04, 03:16 AM
Adam's sin was that he loved Eve more than he loved God.
I can believe that.

It also puts things into a different perspective.

If Adam's sin was not that he disobeyed God, but rather loved Eve more than his creator, then God was merciful to Adam long before Adam "fell". Adam's sin would have been before God in plain view, although Adam was ignorant of his transgression.

Ivor Thomas
10-11-04, 08:43 AM
The problem with possition 3 for me is, that it makes the Reprobate to have some kind of sin, before creation, a sin that the Elect do not have before creation, this to me would give us a reason an answer, to why God Elects some and reprobates others, and of course this would run counter to anything we believe, that is we do not know why God elects some and reprobates others this is possition 2. If some one can understand what i mean here i would appreciate if they would put it more clearly than i can. Thanks Ivor Thomas..

Brandan
10-11-04, 08:48 AM
I can believe that.

It also puts things into a different perspective.

If Adam's sin was not that he disobeyed God, but rather loved Eve more than his creator, then God was merciful to Adam long before Adam "fell". Adam's sin would have been before God in plain view, although Adam was ignorant of his transgression.Adam did disobey God, that was part of it. But when Eve was deceived, he also took part in her disobedience out of his love for her and total disrespect for his creator.

"Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression" (I Tim. 2:14).

Adam knew exactly what he was doing - and in doing so, he served as a type of Christ in that he ruined himself for her sake.

Skeuos Eleos
10-11-04, 12:47 PM
The problem with possition 3 for me is, that it makes the Reprobate to have some kind of sin, before creation, a sin that the Elect do not have before creation, this to me would give us a reason an answer, to why God Elects some and reprobates others, and of course this would run counter to anything we believe, that is we do not know why God elects some and reprobates others this is possition 2. If some one can understand what i mean here i would appreciate if they would put it more clearly than i can. Thanks Ivor Thomas..I think I understand what you are getting at but I don't see it as a problem. I think the difference has to do with how we view the order of the divine decrees. I believe that when God purposed to create Elect and reprobate he also decreed the means of both. When you say the reprobate have some kind of sin before creation obviously we are only talking about what God has decreed. Suh decrees do not give us God's reasons for doing anything only the means by which His decree will be carried out.

Martin

Ivor Thomas
10-11-04, 02:28 PM
I think I understand what you are getting at but I don't see it as a problem. I think the difference has to do with how we view the order of the divine decrees. I believe that when God purposed to create Elect and reprobate he also decreed the means of both. When you say the reprobate have some kind of sin before creation obviously we are only talking about what God has decreed. Suh decrees do not give us God's reasons for doing anything only the means by which His decree will be carried out.

Martin No i did not say the reprobate have some kind of sin before creation, position 3 says this, p;3 holds that God decrees some kind of eternal sin before creation to the reprobate, and not to the elect. So that when they where in Adam elect and reprobate, at first that is before Adam sinned, elect was passive but reprobate already had eternal sin, I do not hold to this view. Position 2 holds that both where passive in Adam before he sinned, but they where `elect and reprobate' before creation, with no reason that we can find for but the secret decree of God, Position 3 on the other hand sugests we know why God chooses one and passes by another , this is why I think position 2 is more in keeping with the doctrine of Election, even though I was quite took up for awhile with P;3. Thanks Ivor Thomas..

Skeuos Eleos
10-11-04, 03:27 PM
No i did not say the reprobate have some kind of sin before creation, position 3 says this, p;3 holds that God decrees some kind of eternal sin before creation to the reprobate, and not to the elect. So that when they where in Adam elect and reprobate, at first that is before Adam sinned, elect was passive but reprobate already had eternal sin, I do not hold to this view. Position 2 holds that both where passive in Adam before he sinned, but they where `elect and reprobate' before creation, with no reason that we can find for but the secret decree of God, Position 3 on the other hand sugests we know why God chooses one and passes by another , this is why I think position 2 is more in keeping with the doctrine of Election, even though I was quite took up for awhile with P;3. Thanks Ivor Thomas..I'm not saying you believe that the reprobate have some kind of sin before creation as you appear to think I am saying. When I said "When you say the reprobate have some kind of sin before creation" I was referring to this in your previous post "The problem with possition 3 for me is, that it makes the Reprobate to have some kind of sin, before creation". Clearly you were never saying that you believe this - quite the contrary. I was simply referring to this to point out that, whether it be true or not, it is a matter that is to do with God's decrees not actual events in time-space history since we are talking about a time before creation. It doesn't really contribute towards the point I was making anyway and, unfortunately, through confusion over this it appears that my point has been missed. I'll try to say it a different way:

Position 3 is no different to position 2 as far as "suggesting" any reason for God's decrees of election and reprobation other than the secret will of God. For 'eternal' sin to have been decreed for the reprobate before creation does not somehow make it the cause of God's choice - merely the instrument through which God decrees that His choice will be carried out. Do you understand what I am saying now? You may not agree with position #3 still but do you at least see why it makes no difference as regards this particular argument?

Position 2 seems to take a lower view of God's sovereignty in my mind and is more in line with the common idea of 'selection' as opposed to election. Certainly I disagree with the idea that God chooses the elect but merely 'passes over' the reprobate as you seem to be saying. I think scripture clearly teaches that God actively appoints the reprobate for destruction rather than the mere absence of choice.

Martin

Ivor Thomas
10-11-04, 04:06 PM
It was a mistake of mine to use passes over, Iwas careless with my words. Looking at what I wrote about P;3 was my understanding of what others had earlier said in thread, and with respect Iwould say P2; is election and P3; something other. P3; requires the reprobate not to have been passive in Adam before he sinned if one says the reprobate where passive in Adam thats P2;Thanks Ivor Thomas..

Skeuos Eleos
10-11-04, 04:42 PM
I'm struggling to follow your argument now, I thought I'd answered it but it seems not. Are you saying that you disagree with my assertion that, if God decrees the sins of the reprobate before creation He is merely decreeing the means of their reprobation and not the reason as you contend??? I am sorry, I just cannot see how God decreeing that the reprobate commit unpardonable sin before creation provides a reason for God's decree of reprobation - it would be like saying the reason I am going to my friend's house is because I'm going in my car. :confused:

Martin

Ivor Thomas
10-11-04, 05:23 PM
I'm struggling to follow your argument now, I thought I'd answered it but it seems not. Are you saying that you disagree with my assertion that, if God decrees the sins of the reprobate before creation He is merely decreeing the means of their reprobation and not the reason as you contend??? I am sorry, I just cannot see how God decreeing that the reprobate commit unpardonable sin before creation provides a reason for God's decree of reprobation - it would be like saying the reason I am going to my friend's house is because I'm going in my car. :confused:

Martin Martin the point of the thread is did all mankind fall in Adam[elect and reprobate] P3; says just the elect fell, P2; says all fell. Before creation P3 says elect to be created passive, reprobate to be created in sin,. P2; says before creation elect and reprobate both created passive. their is nothing to be found in P2 that would remotely sugest anything that we could know as to why God elects some and reprobates others. P3 as I have already said sugests we can know what God has hidden from us, doing so I believe for our own good. Thanks Ivor Thomas

wildboar
10-11-04, 08:06 PM
I find a good number of the arguments in favor of Adam being initially created as BT describes it compelling. However, I am continually drawn back to passages such as Col. 3:9-10 which seem to equate being an image bearer of God with righteousness. I don't claim to know the logistics of how God could create man lapsible and righteous but it seems foreign to Scripture to deny the original righteousness of Adam.

Bob Higby
10-11-04, 08:23 PM
Ivor:

As Martin has stated, 'position 3' does not unravel the mystery of why God purposes all that he does in salvation and reprobation. It only unveils the complete wisdom and consistency of the twin purposes of election and reprobation from the beginning of time. The temporal creation was not a grand purpose of God for the universe that somehow failed, rather, it was the first drama in human history revealing the consistent manner of God's working that would be evident in the whole history of redemption.

I would add also that if the biblical doctrine of final judgment is accepted: i.e., that it consists of the triumphant rule of Christ and the elect over the reprobate--not stoic pity of Christ and the elect toward the reprobate; the wisdom of God's decree of reprobation is not so difficult to comprehend.

Martin the point of the thread is did all mankind fall in Adam[elect and reprobate] P3; says just the elect fell, P2; says all fell.

More accurately, I would say that P3 teaches that Adam and Eve fell from their first estate of innocence, not from any state of ontological perfection. The estate of innocence was twofold:

1. Perfect external peace and happiness in the garden dwelling,
2. Lack of a knowledge of good and evil; i.e., lack of shame in nakedness.

As far as the subjective state of all human souls in their original creation, all are created fallen. They do not fall later. But the elect are created in a temporal state of fallenness (nakedness) only to pave the way for the future redemption and glorification of their persons in Christ.

Before creation P3 says elect to be created passive, reprobate to be created in sin.

Only as I have described above, the elect are not created 'passive' in the absolute sense. And this goes not only for Adam and Eve, but for all the elect of all ages. We are all conceived in iniquity but are innocent of the knowledge of evil until we commit the first act of deliberate and known rebellion.

P2; says before creation elect and reprobate both created passive. their is nothing to be found in P2 that would remotely sugest anything that we could know as to why God elects some and reprobates others.

And why is this an advantage or even important? Where does the Bible teach that God forbids even a remote knowledge of why he elects in double predestination?

P3 as I have already said sugests we can know what God has hidden from us, doing so I believe for our own good.

The opponents of predestination in general teach that God has hidden ALL these things from us (those pertaining to a knowledge of definite election); that we are condemned to wrestle with nothing but mystery and paradox in trying to understand the reason behind God's purposes. So why should we try to follow their example in the case of the supposed 'fall'? Makes no sense to me.

I agree with Brandan on everything he has said about the sin of Adam. I would add that Eve's sin is very different from this: it consisted not at all of an over-reverence of Adam and love for him--but rather of the pursuit of false wisdom. She loved strange ideas more than God. This is the very reason why Paul says that Eve was deceived and Adam was not. Adam had the ideas straight enough.

Scott, I understand where you are coming from--but it is still proper to speak of Adam's sin as disobedience issuing from a heart of rebellion. His obligation was to perfectly love and obey God--even if it meant separating himself from loyalty to and reverence for Eve. His act was not noble in relation to God but rebellious (contrary to some of the 'evangelical junk' being published at the current time).

Eileen: If this thread doesn't continue I know that I have been led to ask some difficult questions that I have always wanted to and I'm thankful for that. Thanks Brother Bob for your willingness to share your thoughts and the fruit of your study and labor.

It is always a pleasure to dialog with you and share mutually. Even after this particular thread is over the exchange of ideas on these issues will remain!

WB: The other problem is that Aiwnios is not only used in Scripture to denote a period of time without beginning or end, it is also used to denote a very long period of time or something which has a beginning but not an end.

Those who teach the final extinction of the wicked make this point continuously about the contrasts in the use of aiwnios:

1. The eternal God has no beginning or end,
2. Eternal and elect souls have a beginning but no end,
3. Eternal and reprobate souls have a beginning and will suffer a long period of time, but ultimately come to an end.

Interesting distinction, I'm not commenting on it in this thread!

I also don't think there is Scriptural warrant to believe that every reprobate person commits the sin which is spoken of here. Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees and right after this verse it is said why Jesus said this--because they said he had an unclean spirit. I maintain the position that this is a sin which those commit who perhaps grew up in the church and know the teachings of the Scriptures to be true but hate them and show their rebellion to them.

This is the typical Reformed position. My problem with it is obvious:

1. Some reprobates do not commit the sin against the Holy Spirit.
2. These reprobates still end up in hell.
3. Therefore such reprobates, not having sinned against the Holy Spirit, might still be saved if only God had elected them.

Popular Calvinism teaches that God sends redeemable people to hell. So why do we complain that the world is not interested in that type of message?

My question: scripture talks about the special iniquity of the reprobate in many different terms:

1. The full cup of iniquity,
2. Eternal sin,
3. The sin against the Holy Spirit that will never be forgiven,
4. The mystery of iniquity,
5. The sin unto death (as contrasted with the sin not unto death).

Why are each of these compartmentalized (separated into distinct and unrelated issues) in the systematic theologies instead of presenting them as all of the same essence or character?

wildboar
10-11-04, 11:23 PM
Those who teach the final extinction of the wicked make this point continuously about the contrasts in the use of aiwnios:

1. The eternal God has no beginning or end,
2. Eternal and elect souls have a beginning but no end,
3. Eternal and reprobate souls have a beginning and will suffer a long period of time, but ultimately come to an end.

Interesting distinction, I'm not commenting on it in this thread!
I know of no instance in Scripture where aiwnios is used for a future period of time which is merely "a long period of time." It is always used for the past as "before times eternal" or something like that. Also context gives meaning and the future eternal reward of the righteous is found in contrast to the future eternal punishment of the wicked. To say that the one is just a long period of time is to say that the other is as well.

Also, we read in Scripture of God giving eternal life to people. We don't imagine from this that we have been alive from all eternity so it seems rather foolish to conclude that the sin was commited before we were ever born.

Whether or not it should read 'sin' here is called into question by the manuscripts. Why do you believe we should favor this reading over the other option?

Also, to interpret "eternal" as a future period of unending time rather than a time without beginning or end in this passage places it in harmony with the way this event is recorded in Matthew.

Matthew 12:32 "Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

Skeuos Eleos
10-12-04, 12:55 AM
Bob,

Welcome back!

Thankyou for explaining more clearly what I was struggling to get across.

Earlier in this thread I asked Ian for his exegesis of Rom 5:14. In essence he believes that not sinning in the "likeness of the offence of Adam" is referring to those not sinning under the law or against a direct command from God. I would be grateful if you could explain how you interpret this verse and why. (I am of course assuming that it is relevant to the discussion). I am not sure myself. I realise I had been assuming that it is referring to those who sin sins unto death, i.e. unredeemable sins, unlike the sin of Adam. However, I am not sure how I can back that up other than it fits with position 3.

Thanks!
Martin

Eileen
10-12-04, 07:07 PM
WB & BT:

Col 3:10 and Eph 4:24 are both scriptures used in the Heidelberg q6 explanation of God creating Adam in His 'image'. I asked earlier in this thread for someone to explain to me the connections with Adam.

I'm not sure I can ask what I am wanting to in a clear understandable way, however I will try.

These seem to be speaking of the 'new man' in us the elect, being conformed or renewed and putting on the 'new man'. This 'new man' is all of Christ, right? And so we are being renewed to the image of Christ. Now how is this correlated with Adam? I know it is probably simple but I can't seem to think of Adam as Christ, that is created as perfectly holy as Christ is. Do you see what I am struggling with here?

Does the Heidelberg q6 mean then that Adam was created as perfect and as holy and righteous as Christ and that is how they tie these particular scriptures into Adams being created in a state of perfection from which he fell. Uh Oh, I think I might have a problem with that. Do you understand what I am asking here? If not maybe I can word it in a different manner.

I seem to be stumbling still at the 'image' and I'm not sure why. It must be simple but I can't come to a conclusion in my own mind....I think it comes down to what exactly is the 'image' of God we think Adam was created with in order to come to a conclusion of the fall, for me anyway. Any other scriptures for consideration on this?

wildboar
10-12-04, 07:27 PM
Eileen:

Both Colossians and Ephesians 3:10 speaks of us being renewed in the image of God. In the fall we lost the image of God and bore the image of the devil. In regeneration we regain the image and so since this verse tells us about what that image is (holiness and righteousness) it is deduced by the authors of the Heidelberg Catechism and reformed theolgians that the image of God consists of righteousness and holiness in distinction from the Pelagians who taught that it consisted only in his ability to have dominion.

Brandan
10-12-04, 08:37 PM
Eileen,

You seem to have a problem with position 2 because it puts Adam on the same level before the fall as Christ. I have major problems with that as well..

For starters, if Adam and Christ are "equals" in the sense that they were both perfectly righteous, then if Adam fell, that makes Christ "peccable" by correlation, correct?

Position #2 supporters, what are your thoughts?

Brandan

wildboar
10-12-04, 08:52 PM
The Calvinist position does not put Adam before the fall and Christ as equals. We are not nor will we ever be equals with Christ. Adam was created righteous but lapsible. That is the Calvinist position and it is in the righteousness that he bore the image of God not his lapsibility.

Eileen
10-13-04, 06:42 AM
If Adam was created lapsible ( I have never heard this), is this the same as saying that Adam was created righteous (in right standing with God because he hadn't yet sinned) but with the proclivity to sin (lapsible)? Much the same as we are today in being renewed to that image, being righteous in Christ but still with the ability to sin? He was our reprensentative in that righteouness and the sin?

Would that be the same as saying Adam was created innocent and not truly holy and righteous (or at least not holy and righteous as we understand it today in looking to Christ).

I find it amazing (now that I have looked into these issues) that q6 of the Heidelberg is only backed up by those few verses. I have a question out to my pastor on this one. I will be curious to hear his response.

Brandan, that might have been just my understanding, I wouldn't be a good representative of P#2. I am just now finding out how much I don't know. :rolleyes:

Ian Potts
10-13-04, 07:12 AM
Eileen,

You seem to have a problem with position 2 because it puts Adam on the same level before the fall as Christ. I have major problems with that as well..

For starters, if Adam and Christ are "equals" in the sense that they were both perfectly righteous, then if Adam fell, that makes Christ "peccable" by correlation, correct?

Position #2 supporters, what are your thoughts?

Brandan
I think the trouble here is that this thread has defined several boxes to put all possible thinking on these matters into. There is camp #1, camp #2, and camp #3, as though all possible understanding HAS to fall clearly into one camp or the other with no variation.

However, as should be clear from my original posts, although I disagree with camp #3 and have defended the #2 position, I don't agree with everything that is claimed to be 'the #2 position'.

The main point of difference I see between 2 and 3 is whether or not ALL MEN fell in Adam, or just the elect, and whether or not the reprobate are created in their first birth differently to the elect, or whether the difference (as I believe) is manifested by the fact that the elect have a new birth, in Christ, which the reprobate don't.

In other areas I would have differences with some of the traditional interpretations of various points that are said to comprise the #2 position. Bob gave a list of 5 points which he said that unless all #2 proponents agreed were a correct definition of their position then there could be no dialogue. Well, I'm afraid I don't go along with all those 5 points as defining my own position. Nevertheless I feel I have presented my own beliefs clearly enough already in this thread so have no desire (or the time) to post further clarifications. Personally, I'm simply awaiting Bob's complete presentation of his own views and some clear demonstration from the scriptures of where a difference is made in nature in the original offspring of Adam between elect and reprobate ie. how one is created in "eternal sin". To me, this is the crux of the matter and many of the other points seem like red herrings. For instance:-

1. If God elected some and reprobated some in eternity past before the creation ever existed then all debate about whether 2 or 3 backs up election or selection is irrelevant. Both positions (well my understanding of 2 anyway) maintain that election occurred in eternity past so what state the reprobate were actually created in is beside the point, because it occurred AFTER the decree of election/reprobation. Or is position 3 trying to say that the reprobate had 'eternal sin' with no beginning as though they always existed, or their sin always existed, in some way....? How can that be true if God created ALL things?

2. The discussion of Adam's original state. Whilst this is certainly worth discussing in and of itself I don't really see its relevance to the differences between 2 and 3 considering that position 3 DOES accept that the elect fell in Adam. The only discussion here is whether the creed's description of Adam's state is correct. But if they be proved wrong that doesn't overthrow positon 2 simply because the traditional view is also #2 - it would simply show that on this particular point the creed's are wrong.

For clarity (and to repeat some comments from earlier posts) I would say that I agree with Bob in saying that Adam was created in a state of innocence. Clearly Adam was not completely righteous and holy without peccability or the possibility of falling as Christ is otherwise Adam would never have fallen, so when the creeds compare the image of God mentioned in Genesis 1:27 with that mentioned in Colossians 3:10 (and the new man mentioned in Ephesians 4:24) I think they are causing some confusion. Certainly Colossians 3:10 and Ephesians 4:24 refer to the 'new man' and point to Christ and His offspring - that new creation born in the elect by the inworking of the Holy Spirit. This 'new man' is created in righteousness and TRUE holiness without any possibility of falling. It is effectively the Tree of LIFE, of which Adam never ate in Eden.

Whatever is meant by the image of God in Genesis 1:24 it certainly doesn’t mean that Adam had that very same righteousness and holiness with no ability to fall, as Christ does (and through Christ His offspring). The new birth does not simply ‘undo’ the fall and put as back into the same state in which Adam was created – it brings in a far more perfect, glorious new creation in Christ. However Adam was 'righteous' in the sense that until he fell he had not sinned. "By one man sin entered into the world" says Romans 5:12, yet God said that the creation was good - hence Adam was good, but sin entered by his fall.

Just one little point I would add on this is the following. In Genesis 1-2 there are two accounts of creation. The first is from Genesis 1:1 to 2:3 covering all seven days. In this account the creator is described as ‘God’ in the KJV (Elohim). The second account runs from Genesis 2:4 onwards and here the creator is referred to as ‘the LORD God’ (Jehovah Elohim). The distinctions are important.

The two accounts differ in various ways but the important difference I want to point out here is that it is in the first account in 1:26-27 where it says that God created man in his own image. There is no mention of the fall of man at all in this first account. In the second account the creation of man is described in 2:7 as follows “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul”. The account of the fall of man then follows on later. Notice that 2:7 does not explicitly mention man as being created in God’s image, but does refer to the dust of the ground. Man’s ‘earthiness’ is referred to here. Man then falls and in death we know that he returns to the dust of the ground. His mortality is in view. So when considering Adam's fall we should focus more on the earthiness of Adam as depicted in this second account of creation than what is described in the first account.

The first creation account is much more ‘heavenly’ however. There man is made in God’s image (1:26-27). No mention of his being formed from the dust is there, and no mention of his later fall. Everything in the creation is described as ‘good’.

I’ll leave it to others to make their conclusions from these things, but the one thing I’d say is that the first account of creation is written in such a way as to be typical of the Second Man, the Last Adam, Christ. All is good, God’s image is mentioned in relation to the man, and no mention is made of the fall. Hence in Romans 5:14 we read that Adam is “the figure of him that was to come”. The impression given is of perfection, holiness. The second account however is more earthy and takes in the fall of man. Very different. So in the very first chapter of the Bible we read of God’s ultimate aim – the new creation, as PRE-FIGURED by the actual first creation, and written in such a way in chapter 1 that there is no mention of sin, mortality, the fall or imperfection in any way (other than light being separated from darkness...). Those things, and the whole history of man in the flesh, in sin and death as a consequence of his fall are seen from Genesis 2:3 onwards.

I can’t promise to add much more to this discussion for now as time fails me. But I’ll look forward to seeing how it develops.

In Grace,
Ian

wildboar
10-13-04, 08:37 AM
If Adam was created lapsible ( I have never heard this), is this the same as saying that Adam was created righteous (in right standing with God because he hadn't yet sinned) but with the proclivity to sin (lapsible)? Lapsable means able to fall, you might recognize it from such words as infralapsarianism (after the fall) and supralapsarianism (before the fall). Proclivity means that the person has an inclination towards something. I think proclivity would go a bit to far.

Much the same as we are today in being renewed to that image, being righteous in Christ but still with the ability to sin? He was our reprensentative in that righteouness and the sin?
There is both unity and disunity between the two and I think both should be emphasized. Adam posessed the image of God in that he possessed knowledge of God, righteousness, and holiness. However he was able to lose that. It is only through Christ that a person experiences true freedom of being able not to sin and glory that can never be lost. We have not yet experienced this in its fullness of course and struggle against our sinful flesh. There are other differences as well, we experience the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in a way which Adam and the Old Testament saints did not.


I find it amazing (now that I have looked into these issues) that q6 of the Heidelberg is only backed up by those few verses. I have a question out to my pastor on this one. I will be curious to hear his response.
These are the only two verses where the image of God as born by man is defined, anything else would be philisophical speculation. It's true that the verses have reference to the regenerated man but they also speak of him regaining the image of God which was lost and what that image consists of.

Colossians 3:10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.



The creator is certainly God and this verse is an allusion to Genesis 1:26-27.

Genesis 1:26-27 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

wildboar
10-13-04, 08:52 AM
Herman Hanko writes:




It is our judgment that much of the discussion concerning the image of God has gone astray because of the failure of theologians to define the image according to biblical principles. Many theologians have included in the image many elements which Scripture itself does not include.

Louis Berkhof, who may be considered representative of many in the Reformed and Presbyterian tradition, includes many elements in the image which do not properly belong there. After correctly emphasizing that the image of God includes true knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, he goes on to say: "But the image of God is not to be restricted to the original knowledge, righteousness, and holiness which was lost by sin, but also includes elements which belong to the natural constitution of man."18 (http://www.prca.org/prtj/apr96c.html#en18) In this list are included intellectual power, natural affections, moral freedom, spirituality, and immortality.19 (http://www.prca.org/prtj/apr96c.html#en19)

It is our judgment that this is a mistake.

The key passages which define the image of God in man clearly limit this image to true knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. Paul writes in Ephesians 4:22-24 (http://bible.gospelcom.net/bible?version=KJV&passage=Ephesians+4:22-24): "That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts: and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." And in Colossians 3:10 (http://bible.gospelcom.net/bible?version=KJV&passage=Colossians+3:10) he writes: "And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him."

Although these passages refer to the renewal of the elect in Jesus Christ, they specifically mention that these elements are elements of the image. The elect are renewed after all. They are given what was lost in Adam. Restored in them is what Adam possessed, but lost because of his sin. And the elements that are mentioned are limited to knowledge, righteousness, and holiness.

It is true that man continues to be a rational and moral being. It is also true that only a rational and moral being is able to bear the image of God. No tree or hippopotamus, no dog or thistle is able to be an image bearer. Only man can bear that image. And only he can bear it because he is created with a soul, i.e., with a mind, a will, and affections. But to include that which belongs to the nature and essence of man as man in the image is to broaden the image beyond that which Scripture sanctions.

It is such a broadening of the image which has led to all kinds of trouble. Because man retains his rationality and morality, be they only remnants, man retains the image of God in a measure. And if he retains the image of God, he remains like God in certain respects even though fallen. And it is easy to make the jump from saying that man even in his fallen state, because he is still image bearer, is still under grace, is less than as bad as he can be, is capable of doing good things. And so the retention of the image becomes the avenue to introduce common grace as a restraining inner influence in fallen and unregenerate man.

But if the image is truly lost in the fall in its entirety, as Scripture teaches, then man is truly depraved, incapable of doing any good and inclined to all evil. Then he is not the object of grace, but of wrath. And grace comes to him only through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Then we can understand what the Belgic Confession states in Article 14: "We believe that God created man out of the dust of the earth, and made and formed him after his own image and likeness, good, righteous, and holy, capable in all things to will, agreeable to the will of God. But being in honor, he understood it not, neither knew his excellency, but willfully subjected himself to sin, and consequently to death, and the curse, giving ear to the words of the devil. For the commandment of life, which he had received, he transgressed; and by sin separated himself from God, who was his true life, having corrupted his whole nature; whereby he made himself liable to corporal and spiritual death."

This same truth is echoed by the Canons in III & IV, 1: "Man was originally formed after the image of God. His understanding was adorned with a true and saving knowledge of his Creator, and of spiritual things; his heart and will were upright; all his affections pure; and the whole man was holy; but revolting from God by the instigation of the devil, and abusing the freedom of his own will, he forfeited these excellent gifts; and on the contrary entailed on himself blindness of mind, horrible darkness, vanity and perverseness of judgment, became wicked, rebellious, and obdurate in heart and will, and impure in his affections."

Two passages of Scripture are quoted to prove that man retained the image after the fall. The first is Genesis 9:6 (http://bible.gospelcom.net/bible?version=KJV&passage=Genesis+9:6): "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." The second is James 3:9 (http://bible.gospelcom.net/bible?version=KJV&passage=James+3:9): "Therewith (that is, with the tongue) bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God."

Murderers are to be killed because they shed the blood of a man who was created after God's image, and violations of the ninth commandment are such dreadful sins (especially when hypocritically a man blesses God and curses his fellow man) because man was made in God's image.

These texts are referred to as proof that man is still image bearer.

However, a careful scrutiny of the texts and the contexts in which they are found will clearly show that the reference is to the original creation of man by God. Man is unique in God's world. He alone among all creatures was originally created as image-bearer of God. That unique character of man remains even though he fell. The image does not remain in the sense that man still bears the image, but it remains in the sense that he is still unique and still capable of being an image-bearer because he is rational and moral. There is an important point here. Even fallen man is image-bearer because of his rationality and morality. But fallen man has become image-bearer of Satan, for the wicked are of their father the devil whose works they do. But the elect are destined in God's grace to be renewed after the image of Christ. And as renewed in the image of Christ, they are renewed to bear the image of their Father in heaven with whom they will dwell in glory.

Eileen
10-13-04, 06:42 PM
WB:

Thank you for the time you took to answer all my specific thoughts. I believe my thinking is finally coherent on this issue (in my own mind anyway). I'm sure it was very obvious that I hadn't put much thought into the subject of God's image before, but have through this thread learned a great deal. I see now that Adam was not created 'righteous and holy' as I thought of it and that clears up my misunderstanding of Adam before the fall. I think Ian was right when he said the Heidelberg q6 can cause confusion, especially if that is the extent of what a person is taught. I'm thankful I was led to study this issue.

I hope that I haven't thrown anyone off thread because of my desire to understand the 'image' first.

Thanks!

Bob Higby
10-14-04, 02:10 AM
I cannot accept the Ephesians/Colossians argument. These expressions of Paul on 'renewal after God's image' are clearly not an interpretation of the 'image of God' in Genesis (in my thinking); I can see no reason why a parallel should be proposed. Paul's theme is regeneration by the Holy Spirit, whereas the focus of Genesis is that mankind bears an ontological likeness to God in certain respects. Although many Reformed teachers deny it, I think the forbiddance of murder based on man's creation in God's image illustrates the distinction between Moses and Paul. I disagree that the image of God in Gen. 9 refers only to the pre-transgression image; it has to refer to an image that man bears continuously even after the transgression. Otherwise there is no real basis for the law against murder.

"Man is created righteous but lapsible. That is the Calvinist position. and it is in the righteousness that he bore the image of God not his lapsibility."

This is what I am denying. I deny that perfect righteousness (ontologically speaking) is compatable with the ability to lapse. A completely righteous creation is unable to sin by definition; having no proclivity to rebel. If there is a proclivity to rebel and the possibility of transgression, any righteousness is relative and not absolute. In the final creation the elect will be inherently righteous in an absolute sense (unable to sin).

WB, I suppose that I use 'sin' in reference to the original proclivity only because I'm not committed to confessional purity. I understand if others want to use terms such as concupiscence, a proclivity to rebel, etc. in affirming that sin was not truly defined until rebellion against a specific command occurred. I have no commitment to such distinctions, not being tied to any confessional standard except the Bible.

I defend my original proposition that the 'image of God' in Genesis refers to man's eternity as opposed to the temporal existence of all other aspects of God's creation.

Bob Higby
10-14-04, 02:12 AM
Martin, I'm not ignoring your question but in the process of studying the issue further. Just wanted to assure you that I will answer very soon!

Eileen
10-14-04, 06:57 AM
BT:

I have noticed in this thread and some of the others that I have read that you refer to 'God sending redeemable people to hell'.
That would flow naturally from the premise that all men are created the same and all fell from the same place.

We know that God is not unjust so is there an inconsistency in thinking that God does send redeemable people to hell, in your view?

How in p#3 does Romans 9 fit in when it tells us that "hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour"? The same lump of clay to make both vessels.

Your earlier question about the distinctions made between various descriptions of the reprobate and the eternal sins. They all seem to be alluding to the same thing, the same character or as you put it the same 'essence' of character. So your thinking is then that God doesn't send redeemable people to hell, he creates them full of iniquity, only able to sin the sin unto death, eternally in that sin, etc. and that is what makes them different than the elect as created?

I too am awaiting your full 'exegeting' of your position, soon perhaps??:rolleyes:

Bob Higby
10-14-04, 12:02 PM
Answers to Eileen (some):

I have noticed in this thread and some of the others that I have read that you refer to 'God sending redeemable people to hell'. That would flow naturally from the premise that all men are created the same and all fell from the same place.

Exactly, it is a premise integral to the common fall view. Selection from a common mass of fallen humanity, not election of a people in Christ yet un-created.

We know that God is not unjust so is there an inconsistency in thinking that God does send redeemable people to hell, in your view?

Huge; such a proposition for me would propose God to be very inconsistent and frustrated in his purposes. The logical corollary is an eschatology where God and the saints mourn stoically over the wicked in hell who might have been saved. So God doesn't get what he wants in the end. This problem exists in all of the so-called 'systems' with a doctrine of hell: Pelagianism, semi-Pelagianism, Augustinianism, Arminianism, Lutheranism, and of course Reformed Calvinism.

How in p#3 does Romans 9 fit in when it tells us that "hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour"? The same lump of clay to make both vessels.

In the doctrine of selection, the lump of clay represents the fallen mass of already created and condemned humanity. In the doctrine of real and true election, the clay represents the morally neutral dust of the ground from which God purposed to create elect AND reprobate humanity--before either had done good or bad (transcendent of ANY consideration of goodness OR evil in the two groups). God planned to create two peoples with completely alternate purposes and destinies.

Your earlier question about the distinctions made between various descriptions of the reprobate and the eternal sins. They all seem to be alluding to the same thing, the same character or as you put it the same 'essence' of character. So your thinking is then that God doesn't send redeemable people to hell, he creates them full of iniquity, only able to sin the sin unto death, eternally in that sin, etc. and that is what makes them different than the elect as created?

Exactly.

I will respond on the weekend with a more detailed exegesis of Rom. 5:12-21. This one passage does not answer all of these issues, of course. But I believe it does not teach the common fall doctrine.

Ivor Thomas
10-14-04, 04:39 PM
What I have been considering further to BT.post, that there was two types of seed in Adam, Genesis 3; 15; would anyone like to expand this in connection to this topic . Ivor Thomas..

Ian Potts
10-15-04, 04:51 AM
I haven't really much time to respond often in this thread but I felt Bob's post necessitated a reply...


Answers to Eileen (some):
I have noticed in this thread and some of the others that I have read that you refer to 'God sending redeemable people to hell'. That would flow naturally from the premise that all men are created the same and all fell from the same place.

Exactly, it is a premise integral to the common fall view. Selection from a common mass of fallen humanity, not election of a people in Christ yet un-created.

This simply isn't true Bob, as I have mentioned before. The 'selection'/election issue is not determined by the differences between #2 and #3. Selection is NOT a premise INTEGRAL to the common fall view (so to use this argument about selection in order to dismiss #2 is a straw-man argument).

Whilst there are certainly #2 proponents who hold to selection (usually infralapsarians) I for one don't - I believe God ELECTED a people in Christ before ever they or the world were created.

In other words I believe just as you do here, regarding election as opposed to selection. The difference lies in what happens AFTER the decree of election. Election being the CAUSE you say the EFFECT is that the reprobate are created differently to the elect. I believe that scripture teaches that elect and reprobate are created the same in Adam, both falling in Adam, both being sinners (with sin of the same essence) and both being dead in trespasses and sins deserving eternal punishment. The EFFECT of the elect's election is that Christ died for them and in time they are BORN AGAIN by the Spirit - that is when the difference between them and the reprobate becomes apparent. Until then they sin just like the reprobate.



We know that God is not unjust so is there an inconsistency in thinking that God does send redeemable people to hell, in your view?

Huge; such a proposition for me would propose God to be very inconsistent and frustrated in his purposes. The logical corollary is an eschatology where God and the saints mourn stoically over the wicked in hell who might have been saved. So God doesn't get what he wants in the end. This problem exists in all of the so-called 'systems' with a doctrine of hell: Pelagianism, semi-Pelagianism, Augustinianism, Arminianism, Lutheranism, and of course Reformed Calvinism.

Actually there is a HUGE difference between being REDEEMED and being redeemABLE. The reason the reprobate are sent to hell is because:-

1. They justly deserve it because of their own wilful sin, sins and rebellion against God - they have no excuse, they cannot say "but I was created evil....".

2. They are not actually REDEEMED by the blood of Christ. Whereas the elect are. The reprobate COULD have been redeemed by Christ if God chose to elect them to that end, but He did not. Christ bore the sins of the elect, not the sins of the reprobate.

So all men are redeemABLE by an all powerful God, but God simply hasn't chosen to redeem all men. Christ didn't die for all men - He died for the elect. If God had wanted to elect ALL men He could have done, but He has chosen to elect some and not others in order to manifest His grace, His sovereignty and His justice.

To say that people go to hell because they are NOT redeemABLE but that all the elect are redeemABLE is to take away from God's ability to save. It is to say that the reprobate are 'worse' sinners than the elect and that Christ was only ABLE to save the 'lesser' sinners who are the elect - "only they are redeemable".

Is that the Gospel? That people go to hell who are 'unredeemable' - too sinful for God to be ABLE to save them?

No, God mightily saves the WORST of sinners, such as Paul the "chief of sinners". He saves to the uttermost such as were completely depraved, utterly in rebellion and unbelief. What sets the elect apart from the reprobate is that God CHOSE the elect in eternity past unto salvation and Christ died for the elect PARTICULARLY bearing in His own body on the tree their particular sins (and not the reprobates).

What Bob is reacting to is the faulty views of those who think "the saints mourn stoically over the wicked in hell who might have been saved" (ie. Pelagianism, semi-Pelagianism, Arminianism, "Free Offer" Calvinism etc). The 'might have been saved' of these views refers to the idea that if only they had chosen to believe in Christ, to respond to the "free offer" of the Gospel they might have been saved. I reject such views as vigorously as Bob does, but the simple truth is that ELECTION makes the difference those in heaven and those in hell. Those in hell could not be saved because they had no redeemer and their own wilful sins justly condemned them. But Christ SAVED all those for whom He died, who were elected, "predestinated unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will" Eph 1:5.

Again, we don't need to adopt a #3 viewpoint to uphold these truths. I believe in election just as Bob does, but I believe that the elect were REDEEMED by Christ because they were elect, not because they were 'redeemable'. And the reprobate are lost because they were not elected to salvation and Christ did NOT REDEEM them, not because HE COULD NOT redeem them, not because their sin was ‘unredeemable’.



How in p#3 does Romans 9 fit in when it tells us that "hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour"? The same lump of clay to make both vessels.

In the doctrine of selection, the lump of clay represents the fallen mass of already created and condemned humanity. In the doctrine of real and true election, the clay represents the morally neutral dust of the ground from which God purposed to create elect AND reprobate humanity--before either had done good or bad (transcendent of ANY consideration of goodness OR evil in the two groups). God planned to create two peoples with completely alternate purposes and destinies.

I agree with your assessment of election here. But the 'result' of it, the 'effect' of it is not that the reprobate were created differently, with a different essence of sin to the elect, but that the elect were REDEEMED by Christ, and would be born AGAIN of the Spirit, born OF GOD in time. That is their destiny. The reprobate are left in their own wilful sins and judged accordingly.

I say again, elect and reprobate are alike in the FIRST, NATURAL, BIRTH (Romans 5:12). They are fallen in sin, dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2). But the elect have a SECOND BIRTH of God, as the seed of Christ. It is upon the new birth that the difference between elect and reprobate is manifested – not in their natural birth.

The elect is elected, chosen IN CHRIST. Hence he is born again of the Spirit, on offspring of Christ - IN CHRIST, of Christ’s seed. His election is NOT IN ADAM. He is taken out of Adam, out of the same lump of clay as the reprobate, but chosen in Christ. What was of Adam, the old man, was crucified with Christ in His own body on the tree, “that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” Romans 6:6. The elect die with Christ (their natural, old man from Adam dies) and rise again with Christ (to be born again of the Spirit, later in time). Again, see Romans 6.



Your earlier question about the distinctions made between various descriptions of the reprobate and the eternal sins. They all seem to be alluding to the same thing, the same character or as you put it the same 'essence' of character. So your thinking is then that God doesn't send redeemable people to hell, he creates them full of iniquity, only able to sin the sin unto death, eternally in that sin, etc. and that is what makes them different than the elect as created?

Exactly.

And does this really make God just? That he creates the reprobate in eternal sin and them damns them for it?

I believe the scripture teaches that all men FELL in Adam, that all men WILFULLY sin and are judged accordingly. Yes, those born after Adam are conceived in iniquity, having sin passed down to them, but in their ‘head’ (Adam), they fell, and if placed in the garden in innocence like him they would also have chosen to sin as he did. Hence they share his guilt – and they demonstrate this fact by happily embracing the fall and wilfully sinning in their own lives. Hence God is just in punishing them – they have no excuse. They may complain that God didn’t elect them but that is God’s prerogative (Romans 9). The fact remains that they wilfully sin.

All men are ‘redeemABLE’, but not all men ACTUALLY ARE redeemed. Not just because of a lack in THEIR will, but because God only elected to redeem some and not other - NOT SELECTED, but elected before the creation. Yet the result of that election is that Christ actually redeemed those elect people, He actually died for their PARTICULAR sins and they are then born again of the Spirit as the offspring of Christ. That is what makes the elect different to the reprobate.



I will respond on the weekend with a more detailed exegesis of Rom. 5:12-21. This one passage does not answer all of these issues, of course. But I believe it does not teach the common fall doctrine.
I await this with interest. Thanks Bob. But hopefully rather than just ‘negatively’ stating that Romans 5 doesn’t support the common fall as #2 believes, I hope you will also provide some ‘positive’ backing from scripture for your ideas of the reprobate being created differently to the elect, in ‘eternal sin’ (which as I’ve said before is really the ‘crux’ of the matter, where #3 really differs from #2).

In Grace,
Ian


P.S. Ivor - I think your point from Genesis 3 simply refers to the fact that Christ's and His seed is indeed taken out from Adam's offspring. But that doesn't make Adam's offspring naturally differ in the essence of sin which they all share as coming from the same source - Adam, by whom sin entered the world Romans 5:12.

Bob Higby
10-17-04, 02:00 PM
Ian:

To say that people go to hell because they are NOT redeemABLE but that all the elect are redeemABLE is to take away from God's ability to save. It is to say that the reprobate are 'worse' sinners than the elect and that Christ was only ABLE to save the 'lesser' sinners who are the elect - "only they are redeemable. Is that the Gospel? That people go to hell who are 'unredeemable' - too sinful for God to be ABLE to save them?

This does not represent my position accurately. I did not say that people go to hell because they are not redeemable. I said that people are unredeemable and go to hell because God positively purposed their reprobation and determined to create them in a state of soul beyond the possibility of salvation: transcendent of having done good or bad. This is a HUGE difference from what you have represented my position to be. Considering that difference, none of the rest of this response any sense, since the original premise regarding my position is false.

God is able to save any whom he wills to save. If he wills to create some in an unredeemabe state, it is foolish to say that his power is limited because he cannot save those whom he has determined to create unsavable. For the very same reason, it is foolish to suggest that God's power is limited because he is unable to deny himself.

Bob Higby
10-17-04, 02:05 PM
Brethren, I'm in a state of illness this weekend but wanted to post what I have written so far. I will not be able to finish this article today.

Adam’s Sin and Christ’s Justification Imputed ONLY to the Elect (Rom. 5:12-21), Part I

NOTE: Scripture Quotations are from the NKJV.

The only scriptural passages referring to an imputation of Adam’s sin are from Paul the Apostle: Rom. 5:12-21 and 1 Cor. 15:20-28. Apart from these two occurrences, the Bible is silent on the doctrine. This fact alone should make us suspicious of much of the teaching on this subject in the history of dogma. The theme of mankind’s universal sinfulness is emphasized all throughout scripture; yet no specific explanation of the phenomenon based on a representative relationship to Adam is advanced outside of Paul. Does this fact say something to us?

Paul himself advances the doctrine of mankind’s universal sinfulness as the foundation of his teaching on the gospel (Rom. 1:18 through 3:20). Yet neither a relationship to Adam nor Adam himself is mentioned in this entire treatise. The total depravity of each and every member of mankind ‘since the creation of the world’ (1:20) is assumed to be fact: without any explanation as to how or why the situation came to exist. Only later in Romans 9-11 does Paul give a full disclosure of an additional and most amazing fact: the universal phenomenon of sin is rooted strictly in God’s sovereign will and pleasure. Furthermore, the purpose of sin in this world is very different with respect to two elected and created groups within humankind. In one group, the experience of sin paves the way for eternal redemption in Christ. In the other, it paves the way for hopeless reprobation.

An important assumption will be made in discussing the passages under scrutiny: the Greek words kosmos (WORLD) and pantas (ALL) in scripture, when referring to mankind, often have a more restricted meaning than ‘absolutely universal.’ This fact has been ably defended so often by numerous scholars and teachers that a new defense will not be advanced here.

The theme of Rom. 5:12-21 and 1 Cor. 15:20-28 is NOT the universal sinfulness of mankind. It is the triumph of Christ’s resurrection in redeeming an elect people from the last and ultimate enemy: death in conjunction with its dual sting (sin and law). Therefore, sin as described from a universal standpoint does not have the same meaning in these passages as it does in Rom. 1:18 – 3:20. The universal sin imputed through Adam is ONLY that iniquity which, in linear time, is preparatory to the redemption of a new humanity in Christ. The context of both passages is abundantly clear on this point--based on the theme under discussion.

Before digging into the actual text, an important historical controversy relevant to this subject should be mentioned. It is the debate of Charles Hodge vs. Robert Dabney on the doctrine of original sin in the 19th century. Not many today are familiar with this important disagreement, which is thoroughly documented in Book 2 of Dabney’s ‘Discussions’ (re-published by the Banner of Truth). I could not find the full book online. Considered as a whole, neither man ‘nailed’ the issue in my view. However, each made an important contribution. The ‘truth’ component of each argument has been condemned as heterodoxy in subsequent Reformed teaching. Stated briefly, here is each:


The origin of each human soul is creational, not traducian (Hodge). God is the direct creator and father of each human spirit (Heb. 12:9). Unless one is determined to defend the doctrine of the biological origin and transmission of sin (in order to obey the law of Plato--in denying God as the author of sin), affirming this teaching is a joyful part of agreement with Christian revelation.
The imputation of Adam’s sin is mediate, not immediate (Dabney). Although Dabney could not see it, the logical consequence of his position is that the traditional doctrine of ‘federal headship’ is in error. If the imputation of Adam’s sin is mediate, the Reformed position of the unique nature of the disobedience of Adam is false. Adam was not ontologically perfect and therefore did not sin in a way different from the rest of humanity. We are not condemned to eternal torture ‘without measure and without end’ based on Adam’s unique sin (as affirmed by the Reformed confessions). Additionally, we have no right to ‘slap Adam in the face’ in heaven--based on the notion that his sin was uniquely different from ours as the transgression of a perfectly holy being with no impulse toward evil. Quite the reverse: if the imputation of Adam’s sin is mediate, there is NOTHING unique about Adam’s sin that is different from the transgression of the rest of the elect.
So I affirm the ‘scorned’ doctrines of both Hodge and Dabney and deny the other teachings on this subject for which both men are praised!

For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him? For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever! Amen. (Rom. 11:29-36)

This scripture, the very last in the portion of Romans extolling God’s wonderful sovereignty in his purposes of redemption, is most critical in understanding the meaning of Rom. 5:12-21. We must go to Paul’s final conclusion to know what he is aiming toward in his arguments. Unless we do this, our speculations will be caught up in an endless debate over proof texts without a perspective on the final outcome of God’s purposes of eternal grace in Jesus Christ!

Ian Potts
10-18-04, 08:22 AM
Ian:
To say that people go to hell because they are NOT redeemABLE but that all the elect are redeemABLE is to take away from God's ability to save. It is to say that the reprobate are 'worse' sinners than the elect and that Christ was only ABLE to save the 'lesser' sinners who are the elect - "only they are redeemable. Is that the Gospel? That people go to hell who are 'unredeemable' - too sinful for God to be ABLE to save them?

This does not represent my position accurately. I did not say that people go to hell because they are not redeemable. I said that people are unredeemable and go to hell because God positively purposed their reprobation and determined to create them in a state of soul beyond the possibility of salvation: transcendent of having done good or bad. This is a HUGE difference from what you have represented my position to be. Considering that difference, none of the rest of this response any sense, since the original premise regarding my position is false.

God is able to save any whom he wills to save. If he wills to create some in an unredeemabe state, it is foolish to say that his power is limited because he cannot save those whom he has determined to create unsavable. For the very same reason, it is foolish to suggest that God's power is limited because he is unable to deny himself.
My apologies Bob for any unwitting misrepresentation of your position on my behalf which I can assure you is completely unintentional.

I am simply trying to respond to the words you use, which do after all convey certain meanings. "Unredeemable" to me (and most others I would have thought) means 'unable to be redeemed' or 'beyond the possibility or capability of redemption'. It doesn’t refer to willingness on the part of a redeemer to redeem, but the impossibility of the subject to be redeemed. I realise that you believe, as I do, in election from before the foundation of the world, and hence the ultimate reason why the reprobate are not redeemed is because God has not chosen to redeem them, but your explanation is that God has chosen to not redeem them AND created them in a state which is unredeemable, a state from which God CANNOT then redeem them. In other words God at creation puts the reprobate 'out of His reach' as it were.

However one chooses to slice it that appears to me to place a limit on God's ability. It implies that something can be outside of His abilities, not just His will. Rather than simply saying that God did not choose to save the reprobate, and Christ did not redeem the reprobate, you are saying that God created the reprobate 'unredeemable', outside of His ability to redeem them. This is rather like my taking a piece of wood and throwing it into a roaring fire. I have the ability to throw the wood in, but lack the ability to get it back again. This shows the limits of my abilities – I can choose to do certain things, but other things I simply cannot do. So I could ‘save’ the wood by keeping hold of it, but can’t save it once I have burnt it. Perhaps I might break the wood in two and be able to ‘save it’ by gluing it back together again using wood glue. But getting wood back from ashes is beyond my abilities. Is this the sort of idea of salvation that the Bible speaks of? That God can save the elect who are redeemable because He hasn’t placed them beyond His ability to save (yes, they have fallen into sin, but not into ‘eternal sin’ – so called – which would be too far…); but He can’t save the reprobate because they are created unredeemable?

You say: "God is able to save any whom he wills to save. If he wills to create some in an unredeemabe state, it is foolish to say that his power is limited because he cannot save those whom he has determined to create unsavable." But this seems contradictory. If God is able to save any whom He wills to save then that must mean that He is ABLE to save them from whatever state they are in. But you say that He wills to create some in an unredeemable state. But is He ‘able’ to save them from that state? (I don’t say willing, but able?) By saying they are unredeemable the answer by implication is ‘No’ – in which case God's power doesn't extend that far? So, He has effectively thrown the wood into the fire. He is able to choose to either keep the wood out of the fire, or throw it in, but He is UNABLE to get wood back from ashes, out of the fire, once He has chosen to throw it in. Or so your system would seem to imply.

You go on to say "For the very same reason, it is foolish to suggest that God's power is limited because he is unable to deny himself." I understand what you are saying here, but there is a difference between God being limited by His own will, and being limited also by His abilities. I would say that God has chosen to elect a people to salvation; He saves those and only those; He does not deny that decision, for He is ‘unable’ to deny His own decision. But that's where the question of 'ability' ends. He is able to do whatsoever HE PLEASES (hence Ephesians 1:5) and certainly doesn’t do anything that He doesn’t please to do. But the idea of the reprobate being created ‘unredeemable’ is a step beyond that. God creates them, choosing NOT to redeem them, but that doesn’t make them ‘unredeemable’ as though their depravity is beyond the bounds of God’s abilities to atone for.

I believe that the omnipotent God is ABLE to save any He has created (however sinful) but CHOOSES only to save the elect. He decreed to save the elect and not the reprobate and He carries out that decree. He is able to save both if He had so willed. Yet the idea of the elect being 'redeemable' but the reprobate 'unredeemable' inevitably, simply by the use of the word 'unredeemable', would seem to place limits on God's abilities. This ‘idea’ does not simply state that having decreed something God is unable to go back on that decree, but also states that God then does something (creates the reprobate in an ‘unredeemable’ state) that He is simply unable to reverse, not simply because of the prior decree but because of the nature of the subsequent action.

Of course it is true that the reprobate are “unredeemable” (or rather, destined not to be redeemed) in the sense that God has CHOSEN not to redeem them (but I wouldn’t use the word ‘unredeemable’ to describe that). But there is a HUGE difference between that understanding which only limits God according to His own will (which is no limit at all if you think about it!), and the understanding that God subsequent to the decree according to His will then creates the reprobate differently to the elect, in a state from which they actually cannot be redeemed, a state from which it is impossible to be redeemed regardless of the willingness or otherwise on the part of the Redeemer.

By all means please correct me if I'm wrong but this seems a reasonable attempt at understanding what you're saying Bob. I am certainly not trying to twist it in any way and I would never intentionally misrepresent someone’s position in order to find fault with it. I am just taking what the word 'unredeemable' would seem to mean from the way you use it and am responding accordingly.

I’m sorry to hear you’ve been ill Bob. Thanks for your introduction to Romans 5.

In Grace,
Ian

GraceAmbassador
10-18-04, 11:15 AM
Dear Ian:

If I may, let me attempt to join this discussion:

I believe that when you have the idea of "selection" versus "election" as a background to this study, then you understand what the term "unredeemable" means.

Many people oustside of the Doctrines of Grace teaching is very much appalled my the teaching that God "picks one and leaves the other out". That's because for ages we "talk election" but "teach selection".

As to your quote below:


This is rather like my taking a piece of wood and throwing it into a roaring fire. I have the ability to throw the wood in, but lack the ability to get it back again. This shows the limits of my abilities – I can choose to do certain things, but other things I simply cannot do. So I could ‘save’ the wood by keeping hold of it, but can’t save it once I have burnt it. Perhaps I might break the wood in two and be able to ‘save it’ by gluing it back together again using wood glue. But getting wood back from ashes is beyond my abilities. Is this the sort of idea of salvation that the Bible speaks of? That God can save the elect who are redeemable because He hasn’t placed them beyond His ability to save (yes, they have fallen into sin, but not into ‘eternal sin’ – so called – which would be too far…); but He can’t save the reprobate because they are created unredeemable?

Allow me to say, that as hard as this may sound, this is precisely a picture of how God deals with the ones he created as reprobates. Now, the issue is, can God reach back into the "fire" and rescue them? It would be indeed less than wisdom to try to discuss if God is able to do something that He already chose not to do. But let's say God is able: Then the question change:

"But will He?"

Again, dicing and slicing the answer for the question will throw more fuel in the fire of hate the non-Doctrine of Grace followers have for this blessed doctrine and it is the fault of Doctrine of Grace teachers since they do teach "selection".

As a matter of fact, Paul deals with these types of questions when, in Romans 9 he proposes that The clay cannot ask the potter: Why did you make me this way? I believe we can infer, farily, that this proposition is much broader that we perceive. It really shows that not only the inanimate clay is incapable of interacting with the potter, questioning the potter as to how it was shaped, but it also implies that whatever destination the potter assigns to the clay, is out of question. Ultimately, as I just said, the inanimate clay, whether used for honor or dishonor, is incapable of interacting with the potter. The potter will simply do whatever he wants with the clay and has, in times past, decided to create some for honor and others for dishonor and that is an unchangeable fact. To discuss whether the potter has or not the power to bring honor back to a vessel of dishonor when he decided that will be a dishonor forever, is attempting to act on behalf of the clay and plead its cause. Arminian preachers do that with their prayer for "unsaved loved ones" (I pray for the "saved unloved ones" only):D. I am not implying that this is what you are doing, but I am trying to reinforce my point that we can't imagine anything other that the providence God decreed both for the elect and the unelect.

I have no idea if I am being blunt or not to you. I pray not. But your proposition, that somehow the term "unredeemable" implies that God is incapable, powerless or unable to save "unredeemable" people is attempting to advocate the cause of the "unredeemable" as one would plead the cause of the clay that was squeezed and wheelled into a vessel of dishonor.

This is similar to another subject: That of God's power to heal the sick today. We know He is powerful, but will He in every case?

God is capable and powerful of anything! Except to "deny Himself" as Paul teaches us in II Tim 2:13.

Please, if it was improper for me to intervene in your dialogue with Bob, please, understand that I took your post as being public.

Milt

Ivor Thomas
10-18-04, 11:49 AM
Milt with respect could you tell us what is selection about position two, you have missed something because Ian is for election and Bob is for election, and to say that one was for selection is not right, you need to look at why Ian answered Bob in such away, it is probably because this thread has taken many turns, that you have replied in such away. Thanks Ivor Thomas..

GraceAmbassador
10-18-04, 11:59 AM
Milt with respect could you tell us what is selection about position two, you have missed something because Ian is for election and Bob is for election, and to say that one was for selection is not right, you need to look at why Ian answered Bob in such away, it is probably because this thread has taken many turns, that you have replied in such away. Thanks Ivor Thomas..
I have known Bob for ages (personally) and know he is NOT for selection. Bob teaches TRUE ELECTION whereas SOME Calvinists hint unintendelly towards "selection".

I did not say any of the two are for selection. Perhaps if you formulate your question more clearly I will be able to answer. I pray that the diffuculty you have in expressing yourself is not the same as you have in understanding what you read. Have in mind that your misunderstandings have the potential of causing unecessary divisions if there is any that is necessary. Also, if you point where I said that Ian is for selection I will be able to correct myself.

Milt

Ivor Thomas
10-18-04, 12:32 PM
I have known Bob for ages (personally) and know he is NOT for selection. Bob teaches TRUE ELECTION whereas SOME Calvinists hint unintendelly towards "selection".

I did not say any of the two are for selection. Perhaps if you formulate your question more clearly I will be able to answer. I pray that the diffuculty you have in expressing yourself is not the same as you have in understanding what you read. Have in mind that your misunderstandings have the potential of causing unecessary divisions if there is any that is necessary. Also, if you point where I said that Ian is for selection I will be able to correct myself.

Milt Milt instead of attacking me has to my expressing of my self, if you knew me you would be surprised for in doctrine and speaking it I do not come short of most, You have a need to go back over the thread and see where you came in, If I am wrong except know my appologies. Ivor Thomas.

GraceAmbassador
10-18-04, 12:56 PM
Milt instead of attacking me has to my expressing of my self, if you knew me you would be surprised for in doctrine and speaking it I do not come short of most, You have a need to go back over the thread and see where you came in, If I am wrong except know my appologies. Ivor Thomas.
Although I have not been posting in this thread, as a moderator, I follow it fully.

I don't want to cloud the issue. I just wanted to interact with a very good and reasonable person, Ian Potts, who posted something very interesting and thought provoking.

I hope my well intended post to Ian does not get lost among these two last posts due to this unnecessary exchange between me and you...

Milt

Eileen
10-18-04, 08:32 PM
While waiting for Bob to recover, a few questions!

Would it be correct to say this about true 'election'....God in His Sovereignty 'elects' a people for Himself before the foundation of the world and 'elects' a people for reprobation before the foundation of the world. This election is before any created souls. Now, does God know specifically each and every soul He creates, by name (I believe that He does, Jacob have I loved, Esau have I hated). That is enough for the cries to rise, "why hast thou made me thus?"

He doesn't change His mind, does He, once He has chosen one to be elect and the other to be reprobate, so if that is true election why would we have a problem with how He chooses to do this election? Is scripture plain and clear on this issue as to how God accomplished His election? That is really the issue, then?

Ian has said: "And does this really make God just, that He creates the reprobate in 'eternal sin' & then damns them for it"?

My questions would be:

Does God create all souls? If He creates all souls and before the foundation of the world knows which ones He creates that will be redeemed by the blood of Christ and knows which ones that will not be redeemed by the blood (His choice in both), isn't that the same as saying He creates those who will not be redeemed in eternal sin, because they are damned before the foundation of the world??

Ian Potts
10-19-04, 07:59 AM
Milt,

Thanks for your interaction, which I don’t mind at all, although I have to say that I have very little time to post here so this is likely to be my last post here for some time. Nevertheless I will answer this particular post, although I feel I have already set out clearly what I believe on this subject and have already answered the various questions posed. When I find that I am repeating myself I know it is time to stop and leave the discussion to others! :)



Allow me to say, that as hard as this may sound, this is precisely a picture of how God deals with the ones he created as reprobates. Now, the issue is, can God reach back into the "fire" and rescue them? It would be indeed less than wisdom to try to discuss if God is able to do something that He already chose not to do. But let's say God is able: Then the question change:

"But will He?"

No he won’t. Hence the point is willingness, not ability, so why talk of being ‘unredeemable’?



Again, dicing and slicing the answer for the question will throw more fuel in the fire of hate the non-Doctrine of Grace followers have for this blessed doctrine and it is the fault of Doctrine of Grace teachers since they do teach "selection".

But I teach election, and there is nothing ‘selection’-like about my belief of election. What is under discussion is what happens later on, after the decree of election. As I have discussed before the selection/election issue is not the key difference between positions #2 and #3.



As a matter of fact, Paul deals with these types of questions when, in Romans 9 he proposes that The clay cannot ask the potter: Why did you make me this way? I believe we can infer, farily, that this proposition is much broader that we perceive. It really shows that not only the inanimate clay is incapable of interacting with the potter, questioning the potter as to how it was shaped, but it also implies that whatever destination the potter assigns to the clay, is out of question. Ultimately, as I just said, the inanimate clay, whether used for honor or dishonor, is incapable of interacting with the potter. The potter will simply do whatever he wants with the clay and has, in times past, decided to create some for honor and others for dishonor and that is an unchangeable fact. To discuss whether the potter has or not the power to bring honor back to a vessel of dishonor when he decided that will be a dishonor forever, is attempting to act on behalf of the clay and plead its cause. Arminian preachers do that with their prayer for "unsaved loved ones" (I pray for the "saved unloved ones" only) . I am not implying that this is what you are doing, but I am trying to reinforce my point that we can't imagine anything other that the providence God decreed both for the elect and the unelect.

You say here “To discuss whether the potter has or not the power to bring honor back to a vessel of dishonor when he decided that will be a dishonor forever, is attempting to act on behalf of the clay and plead its cause.” But I would NOT discuss this point if it weren’t for the fact that Bob talks of the reprobate being created in an ‘unredeemable’ state. I’d be happy to rest on the truth of election and leave it there, knowing that some are elected unto salvation and some are not. But Bob’s position attempts to apply a distinction between elect and reprobate in their naturally created state, with one being classed ‘unredeemable’ because of a different essence of sin in them to the other. It is Bob that has brought up this point, so I am discussing it. The burden of ‘proof’ of this lies not with me but with Bob, and I still await his evidence from scripture for such a distinction.

I have referenced Romans 9 in previous posts and am well aware of what it teaches. But it is important not to go beyond what it teaches. The passage is basically teaching that God will have mercy upon whom He will have mercy – He has chosen from eternity whom He will save, these are vessels of mercy. The others, taken from the SAME lump (Adam’s offspring) are not shown mercy and are therefore vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.

What does that mean? Does that mean that God created these vessels of wrath in a state of ‘eternal sin’, differently to the vessels of mercy and then damns them for that? The passage doesn’t say so. Indeed it says both are taken from the same lump so they cannot differ in their naturally created state. It says that God hardens ‘whom he will hardeneth’ (verse 18) and that they are ‘vessels of wrath fitted to destruction’. How are they fitted to destruction? By God leaving them to their own wilful rebellion and sin, not showing them mercy, and indeed hardening them in their own sin, as they wilfully embrace it, by leaving them to it. They are taken from the same lump as the elect and therefore not being shown mercy they are in the same state as the elect naturally, except that God shows mercy to the elect and causes them to be born again of the Spirit in due course.

(Indeed this sense of the reprobate being left to themselves or ‘given up’ by God is clearly taught in Romans 1. Eg. Romans 1:20-21, 1:24, 1:26, 1:28, 1:32. In verse 28 it says that “God gave them over to a reprobate mind”. He gave them over. Yet God is good and forebearing as seen in Romans 2:4. Man is judged because of his own hardness, and treasures up UNTO HIMSELF wrath, Romans 2:5. The first three chapters of Romans prove all men to be sinners, wilful sinners, without excuse. They cannot say ‘But God made me thus’ as an excuse, not just because as the creature they have no right to question the Creator, but also because they know that all their sin is of their own wilful volition. They love to sin, they choose to. And these chapters in Romans show that. This is the plain response to those Arminians who complain about election – all who are not elect are justly punished for their own wilful sin. They don’t ‘have’ to sin, they happily choose to, they have no excuse, they cannot blame the fact that they are not elect for their own wilful sin. All have sinned.)

The fact of the elect and the reprobate both being from the same lump is very important. It overturns the idea of one being created naturally differently to the other – the distinction is seen in the Second Birth not the first, in their end not their beginning. Adam was created in innocence. He sinned and death passed upon all men. All men wilfully rebelled and sinned in their father Adam. All men are then taken from the resultant lump of clay, some are made as vessels into which mercy is poured and others are made as vessels, hardened in their own sin, into which wrath and destruction is poured. But both are vessels made by the same potter from the same clay, both naturally alike – it is what their end is in which they differ, what is poured into the vessel, wrath or mercy. Yet in themselves they are both made of clay, both vessels, and both have wilfully rebelled against their maker and fall into sin.

But that sin is their own – they have no right to shake their fist at their maker and blame him. The passage in Romans 9 is teaching that being left in their natural state, in the sinful lump of natural clay into which they fell in their father Adam the reprobate are thus hardened in their sin and are vessels of wrath fitted to destruction. They fit themselves to destruction in their own wilful sin. They have no excuse and cannot blame their maker. They are fitted to destruction by God simply in that He has chosen not to show them mercy, they will have no second birth, but remain in the depravity of their fallen first birth, in sin and death, to be judged fairly by God for their own sin. Yet mercifully God has chosen a number in Christ from before the foundation of the world FROM THE SAME LUMP OF CLAY as others to be vessels of mercy. Does that imply ‘selection’ that they are taken from the same clay? NO, it does not, they were ‘afore prepared unto glory’ (v23) but nevertheless in time they ARE taken out of the SAME clay. And so are the reprobate. They are naturally alike in their descent from Adam in their sinful, fallen flesh. But the elect are redeemed by the atoning work of Christ and born again of the Spirit, being shown mercy from God. For “it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy”.



I have no idea if I am being blunt or not to you. I pray not. But your proposition, that somehow the term "unredeemable" implies that God is incapable, powerless or unable to save "unredeemable" people is attempting to advocate the cause of the "unredeemable" as one would plead the cause of the clay that was squeezed and wheelled into a vessel of dishonor.

No, I am simply asking Bob what he means by ‘unredeemable’. If it is meant that God has not elected the reprobate to salvation and therefore they will not be redeemed, then OK, I agree with that point (but ‘unredeemable’ is a poor word for that). If it is meant that being reprobate they are ‘vessels of wrath fitted to destruction’ then I agree. But that is not all that Bob says. Bob goes on to say, that having not been elected to salvation, but unto reprobation, God THEN creates these in an ‘unredeemable’ state, in a state of sin which is ‘eternal’ of a different nature from the sin in the elect (despite being taken out of the same lump of clay…). He says they are ‘unredeemable’ because of such ‘eternal sin’. Then if so this is a sin which CANNOT be redeemed from. If so the implication is it cannot be redeemed by God, not just that God WON’T but that He CANNOT – it is ‘unredeemABLE’.

I have spelt all that out already so I shouldn’t need to repeat it. But there is a difference between God CHOOSING NOT TO redeem the reprobate, and God then creating them in a state from which redemption is impossible. It is this latter point which is implied by them being made ‘unredeemable’ and it is this point I have sought to question Bob on. I believe God created elect and reprobate alike, but God CHOOSES to redeem the elect and NOT the reprobate, leaving the reprobate in their sin and the just punishment due to that sin. The elect are chosen IN CHRIST and the difference between elect and reprobate is seen when the elect are BORN AGAIN of God being of Christ’s offspring. THAT is true election. It glorifies Christ, making the difference seen IN HIM.



This is similar to another subject: That of God's power to heal the sick today. We know He is powerful, but will He in every case?

God is capable and powerful of anything! Except to "deny Himself" as Paul teaches us in II Tim 2:13.

This is exactly my point Milt. God IS ABLE to save all, but He CHOOSES only to save the elect. He doesn’t then go on to create the reprobate in a different ‘unredeemable’ state outside the bounds of His own abilities to save. The reason they are not saved is because God has not chosen to save them, and leaves them to their own sin and rebellion and the judgement consequential to that. They have no excuse.

What God goes on to do as a result of election is to send His own Son into the world to suffer and die for those elect. In Him they die and rise again, and by the Spirit are then quickened unto life IN HIM. THAT is the result of election, not some prior natural distinction made in the first Adam, but new life in the LAST ADAM, CHRIST. That Christ alone might be glorified.



Please, if it was improper for me to intervene in your dialogue with Bob, please, understand that I took your post as being public.

Milt
No problem at all Milt, I didn’t find you blunt either, but I have to say that I have already covered your points previously, as seen in my previous posts if read carefully. Thanks for your comments though. I hope I have clarified things a bit.

Now to Eileen’s points…


While waiting for Bob to recover, a few questions!

Would it be correct to say this about true 'election'....God in His Sovereignty 'elects' a people for Himself before the foundation of the world and 'elects' a people for reprobation before the foundation of the world. This election is before any created souls. Now, does God know specifically each and every soul He creates, by name (I believe that He does, Jacob have I loved, Esau have I hated). That is enough for the cries to rise, "why hast thou made me thus?"

Absolutely.



He doesn't change His mind, does He, once He has chosen one to be elect and the other to be reprobate, so if that is true election why would we have a problem with how He chooses to do this election? Is scripture plain and clear on this issue as to how God accomplished His election? That is really the issue, then?

Ian has said: "And does this really make God just, that He creates the reprobate in 'eternal sin' & then damns them for it"?

My questions would be:

Does God create all souls? If He creates all souls and before the foundation of the world knows which ones He creates that will be redeemed by the blood of Christ and knows which ones that will not be redeemed by the blood (His choice in both), isn't that the same as saying He creates those who will not be redeemed in eternal sin, because they are damned before the foundation of the world??

No it isn’t Eileen. I believe this idea goes beyond scripture and we should stick close to scripture.

God didn’t create mankind sinful and them damn them for being as He created them. God is good and just, He only damns those who wilfully rebel against Him. God created Adam INNOCENT BUT ADAM fell. THAT is why God damns those wicked, rebellious sinners who wilfully fell in their father Adam and in their own lives have happily embraced the effects of that fall, loving to live in sin. They are just as guilty as Adam. Not because God made them thus but because they make themselves thus. The guilt is theirs.

God’s election of a people in Christ was made having knowledge that man would fall in sin. But before the creation, before the fall, God chose a people from out of Adam’s race unto salvation in Christ. Whereas all men sinned in Adam, whereas death passed upon all men, the elect are redeemed by Christ’s atoning death and quickened unto life by the Holy Spirit. They are born again of God being of a new race, a new generation, the offspring of Christ, the Second Man, the Last Adam. That distinguishes them from the reprobate who remain in the fallen state of man in Adam, in sin and death. It is in Christ that the elect are distinct from the reprobate, not in Adam. Otherwise some glory would be taken away from Christ and given to Adam, yet the Bible magnifies Christ.

Now, here is my plea. Please consider the following…

All salvation is through Christ. The Gospel is the Gospel of CHRIST. The elect are chosen IN CHRIST.

What does the Gospel of Christ centre upon? Surely the redemptive work of Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. It is Christ's death for His people that saved those whom God had elected from all time. Those whom the Father gave to the Son. And those who are later quickened unto eternal life by the Holy Spirit.

The truth of election is part of the Gospel, as also is the work of the Spirit, but the Gospel at its heart sets forth and glorifies Christ in His person and work, in performing that which He had covenanted with the Father before the world was created. The Gospel glorifies Christ and at the heart of the Gospel is "Christ and him crucified".

Most errors tend to take away from this truth. They make the difference between elect and lost to lie in man's faith, man's work, man's response etc. etc. The common link to most erroneous teaching is a taking away of the focus upon Christ and His finished work at the cross, and moving that focus elsewhere.

Does not position #3 do a similar thing? Does it not shift our focus to when men and women are created and say that the difference between elect and reprobate is in them, in their natural state, at that point?

The reality is that the elect are chosen to salvation IN CHRIST. Until His coming they were in Adam, in sin and rebellion, just like the reprobate. But at the cross they were mysteriously united as the bride with her Husband in His death, dieing with Him on the cross and rising again in newness of life in the resurrection. This is the focus, this is the Gospel, this is where the elect are united with their Redeemer. From eternity they are espoused to their husband, yes, but at the cross they become united with Him in death, and rise with Him when He rises, having eternal life in Him. This then is applied experimentally in their own lives in time by the quickening of the Holy Spirit.

That is what the Bible teaches about the outworking of election unto salvation – it is seen when God’s people die with their Saviour and rise again in HIM having everlasting life, united as the Bride of Christ with her Beloved.

Keep your eyes upon the cross. Look unto Jesus, the Last Adam.

“For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”
1 Corinthians 2:2.

In Grace,
Ian

GraceAmbassador
10-19-04, 04:33 PM
Thanks Ian!

I appreciate your comments and clarifications.

I think it all boils down to the order of decrees.

I do think and hold that infralapsarians believe in some kind of selection, rather than election. When "infras" accuse "hypers" for being "mean" they should look at the fact that their own belief is that God, after being surprised and bewildered by Adam's fall, simply told all humanity to lean against the wall. Then He said: "From the half left to right, you are going to be saved because I can; the rest of you, well... tough on you, blame it on Adam, type of "election" doctrine! This is indeed mean! They interpret, without saying "For His good pleasure" as meaning "in a whim". That's being mean! They don't say it and like that, but their doctrine points to such. Then they accuse supralapsarians of being "mean" and "hypers". Go figure!

I would never, by the information you have given me so far in the forum, put you in that category. Thus, I see no fundamental disagreement between us.

Be blessed in your endeavors and I wlll be looking forward to interacting with you again very soon!

Your brother in Christ.

Milt

Eileen
10-19-04, 04:57 PM
"Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace"

Thank you Ian

Skeuos Eleos
10-19-04, 06:26 PM
Ian,

I realise that you don't have much time but if you do get an opportunity I would be grateful if you could consider the following questions. I am trying to avoid the need for any unnecessary repetition on your part - apologies in advance if I unwittingly fail to do so. All too often I set myself targets that I am unable to live up to! :)

Although you say you agree with election and reprobation rather than an infralapsarian 'passing-over' I can't help but notice a hint of the latter in some of your points - but its probably my bad interpretation! I shall try to point out where I see this below.


I have referenced Romans 9 in previous posts and am well aware of what it teaches. But it is important not to go beyond what it teaches. The passage is basically teaching that God will have mercy upon whom He will have mercy – He has chosen from eternity whom He will save, these are vessels of mercy. The others, taken from the SAME lump (Adam’s offspring) are not shown mercy and are therefore vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.

What does that mean? Does that mean that God created these vessels of wrath in a state of ‘eternal sin’, differently to the vessels of mercy and then damns them for that? I don't think the last part is an accurate representation of position #3. Whilst it is a clear implication of position #3 that the reprobate is created in some other kind of sin than the sin of Adam that it says is imputed to the elect (what Bob's original article proposes to be eternal sin), it is not however a clear implication that they are damned for having been created that way. As far as I can tell the discussion has been silent on this point so far. Nevertheless I would expect position #3 advocates to affirm that the reprobate is still held accountable for and receives punishment for their sin. In this respect then positions #2 and #3 are the same.

In my opinion the difference is that position #3 more closely aligns with the concept of 'vessels of wrath fitted to destruction’. A vessel of wrath fitted to destruction is made for destruction. That is its purpose. That is the way it will glorify God. There is no possibility of it being anything else. What God has decreed it shall be so it shall be. It has by implication been made differently - being fitted or suited to destruction. So what purpose would there be in shutting up the reprobate to disobedience if not to have mercy on them? How do you interpret Romans 11:32 which I think is relevant to this discussion but I don't think has been brought up yet. Surely the 'all' shut up to disobedience are the same 'all' on whom God will have mercy? Surely the context of these verses is the Elect and the 'all' is referring to the elect from amongst both Jews and Gentiles?


The passage doesn’t say so. Indeed it says both are taken from the same lump so they cannot differ in their naturally created state. But does it? I mean, it doesn't say 'naturally created state' does it. We can't even be sure what a 'lump' is much less make assumptions about the state of a created vessel other than what the passage reveals. What it says is that "one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour" and it seems more than reasonable to consider a "vessel of wrath fitted to destruction" to be one and the same thing as a 'vessel unto dishonour'. But, to me, both of these imply an entirely different naturally created state than a 'vessel unto honour'. Out of the one lump two different vessels fitted irrevocably unto two different purposes are made. They are not made in a neutral state but are surely fully and completely fitted to the intended purpose. To say they do not differ because they are taken from the same lump is looking at their original state rather than their finished state. Their original state - the lump - shows that the origin is the same but surely the very point of this passage is to teach that two different created states result from this single original state?


It says that God hardens ‘whom he will hardeneth’ (verse 18) and that they are ‘vessels of wrath fitted to destruction’. How are they fitted to destruction? By God leaving them to their own wilful rebellion and sin, not showing them mercy, and indeed hardening them in their own sin, as they wilfully embrace it, by leaving them to it.I think that scripture teaches more than just God leaves them to it. I am sure that you affirm the sovereignty of God over all things, even the march of the ant over the leaf or whatever thing it was that [I]even Spurgeon said. Thus is not being fitted unto destruction more than simply been left to themselves? Yes they wilfully sin - after all they were made that way - and yet in so doing they are not only fulfilling God's purposes for them in general but each individual act of sin has been decreed by God who governs all things after the counsel of His will. God does not merely leave them to their own devices for without Him they cannot live and have their being.


They are taken from the same lump as the elect and therefore not being shown mercy they are in the same state as the elect naturally, except that God shows mercy to the elect and causes them to be born again of the Spirit in due course.Again this seems to imply a mere passing over.


(Indeed this sense of the reprobate being left to themselves or ‘given up’ by God is clearly taught in Romans 1. Eg. Romans 1:20-21, 1:24, 1:26, 1:28, 1:32.Yes, but the absolute sovereignty of God is ALSO taught just as clearly in scripture.


In verse 28 it says that “God gave them over to a reprobate mind”. He gave them over. Yet God is good and forebearing as seen in Romans 2:4. Man is judged because of his own hardness, and treasures up UNTO HIMSELF wrath, Romans 2:5. The first three chapters of Romans prove all men to be sinners, wilful sinners, without excuse. They cannot say ‘But God made me thus’ as an excuse, not just because as the creature they have no right to question the Creator, but also because they know that all their sin is of their own wilful volition. They love to sin, they choose to. And these chapters in Romans show that. This is the plain response to those Arminians who complain about election – all who are not elect are justly punished for their own wilful sin. They don’t ‘have’ to sin, they happily choose to, they have no excuse, they cannot blame the fact that they are not elect for their own wilful sin. All have sinned.)I see no difference with position #3 here.


But that sin is their own – they have no right to shake their fist at their maker and blame him. The passage in Romans 9 is teaching that being left in their natural state, in the sinful lump of natural clay into which they fell in their father Adam the reprobate are thus hardened in their sin and are vessels of wrath fitted to destruction. They fit themselves to destruction in their own wilful sin. But the passage doesn't say they fit themselves unto destruction but that they are fitted unto destruction. Clearly we are interpreting these verses in Romans quite differently! I recognise that they can be interpreted both ways - I am just telling it the way I see it. However, I am not in a position to be dogmatic about this and am happy to be shown where I am wrong so please don't think I'm being argumentative. In fact, my motive in posting is not to teach but to learn. I find it to be an excellent way of learning - I get much more out of this than reading a book that can't answer back!


God didn’t create mankind sinful and them damn them for being as He created them. God is good and just, He only damns those who wilfully rebel against Him. God created Adam INNOCENT BUT ADAM fell. THAT is why God damns those wicked, rebellious sinners who wilfully fell in their father Adam and in their own lives have happily embraced the effects of that fall, loving to live in sin. They are just as guilty as Adam. Not because God made them thus but because they make themselves thus. The guilt is theirs.As I have already said I think this is an incomplete view - this representation does not lead to the charge that Paul foresees in Romans 9:19.


God’s election of a people in Christ was made having knowledge that man would fall in sin. But before the creation, before the fall, God chose a people from out of Adam’s race unto salvation in Christ. Whereas all men sinned in Adam, whereas death passed upon all men, the elect are redeemed by Christ’s atoning death and quickened unto life by the Holy Spirit. But this is subtly different to the passage in Romans where you are reading the second 'all' or 'many' in the following verses to be 'the elect'. E.g.
5:18 "Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life."
5:19 "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

I agree with prety much all of your closing plea except I just fail to see how position #3 'shifts our focus to when men and women are created and says that the difference between elect and reprobate is in them, in their natural state, at that point'. But, as you say, our focus should be upon Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Perhaps there is little more to be gained by further discussion here unless Bob is able to add to it further when he has recovered.

Grace and peace to you in Christ Jesus,
Martin

Eileen
10-19-04, 08:10 PM
Martin

I think Ian is saying that if we look to creation as the source of the difference between the elect and the reprobate that will be our focus, the state they were created in.

When in fact:

The true difference is the finished work of Christ on the cross for the elect,

hence:

'at the heart of the Gospel is "Christ and Him crucified" and that is where our focus should always be.

Amen!

John 6-37
10-20-04, 07:00 AM
God's covenant with man may be defined as the following: "A covenant of God with man, is an agreement between God and man, about the way of obtaining consummate happiness; including a threatening of eternal destruction, with which the contemner of the happiness, offered in that way, is to be punished." In the Hebrew, the meaning is “To cut a covenant” or “strike a covenant (Genesis 15:10).”

There are three elements of the covenant – 1) A promise of eternal life. 2) Prescription of the conditions for obtaining the promise, and 3) the penal sanction against transgressors of the conditions of the Covenant. God requires the complete sanctification of the parties involved in the covenant or threatens punishment. Nor was the Covenant an option for man.

In Scripture, there are two covenants of God with man: Covenant of Works. (“Do this and live…”) and the Covenant of Grace. There are poignant similarities between the two covenants. In the Covenant of Works: God manifests himself as supreme law-giver and chief good desiring to make man a partaker of his eternal happiness. In the Covenant of Grace He is infinitely merciful to the elect sinner. There is a mediator in the covenant of grace, where there is no mediator in the Covenant of Works.

The contracting parties of the covenant of works are God and man. In this covenant Adam sustained a two-fold relation, both as man and as representative of all men. He was created with a reasonable soul that has the capacity for interaction and power to act perfectly with knowledge, righteousness and holiness. The whole extent of the image of God created in Adam consists of three parts: 1) Antecedently, in that it consists in the spiritual and immortal nature of the soul and in the faculties of understanding and will, 2) Formally and principally in these endowments or qualities of the soul, viz. righteousness and holiness, and 3) Consequentially, in the immortality of the whole man, and his dominion over the creatures. As head and root, or representative of mankind the whole of history proves this fact as he was the first man to whom was spoken the creation ordinances and mandate.

God is righteous in governing the world in this fashion by the covenant with Adam in the garden. No one would have complained if Adam had obeyed. People often complain it is not fair since they were not there, and that they could have succeeded if they were. However, no one can say they could have done better. Since they are fallen now, they are thinking in a fallen state, and they think now that they could have done better than a perfect man who had no sin. But in Adam everyone has sinned personally. In Adam everyone sinned, as if they had been there.

Brandan
10-20-04, 07:27 AM
John637's last post was taken from http://www.apuritansmind.com/Baptism/McMahonSummaryWitsiusEconomy.htm
It was written by Herman Witsius...

Please Brian, do you have any personal comments other than just the the article?

Brandan

Ian Potts
10-20-04, 07:47 AM
Ian,

I realise that you don't have much time but if you do get an opportunity I would be grateful if you could consider the following questions. I am trying to avoid the need for any unnecessary repetition on your part - apologies in advance if I unwittingly fail to do so. All too often I set myself targets that I am unable to live up to!

Alright Martin, just for you, I’ll come out of ‘retirement’ for a moment to answer your questions! :) However I do plan to leave this thread alone after this, both because I lack the time (it has already taken up far more of it than I ever intended when I first posted on this topic) and because I really think we should allow Bob to recover and actually post his full explanation of the #3 position.



Although you say you agree with election and reprobation rather than an infralapsarian 'passing-over' I can't help but notice a hint of the latter in some of your points - but its probably my bad interpretation! I shall try to point out where I see this below.

I don't think the last part is an accurate representation of position #3. Whilst it is a clear implication of position #3 that the reprobate is created in some other kind of sin than the sin of Adam that it says is imputed to the elect (what Bob's original article proposes to be eternal sin), it is not however a clear implication that they are damned for having been created that way. As far as I can tell the discussion has been silent on this point so far. Nevertheless I would expect position #3 advocates to affirm that the reprobate is still held accountable for and receives punishment for their sin. In this respect then positions #2 and #3 are the same.

Martin the difference lies here. #2 says that all men were in Adam in his innocence. When he fell they fell. Hence, although all men after Adam are conceived and born in sin as a result, yet in their representative, Adam, they were originally created innocent and fell into sin by an act of rebellion and disobedience against their Maker.

Position #3 however says that that only applies to the elect. The reprobate are actually created in sin, in ‘eternal sin’, thus they did not fall from a position of innocence.

This is a clear difference with clear implications. If all men were innocent in their representative, Adam, and fell into sin in him, then they are completely guilty of all their sin – they can’t say “But I was made that way!”, because in Adam they were made innocent. From THAT position they sinned. However if the #3 position is held then the reprobate are considered to be created with ‘eternal sin’ and are judged according to that. Yes, they may be judged according to their own sin (just as #2 would hold) but the difference is that they were made that way to begin with – they had no state of innocence in their ancestor.

The differences between the two (#2 and #3) here are somewhat difficult to understand given that all men after Adam ARE born in sin – they aren’t themselves placed in Eden in a state of innocence. But the point is that they are the offspring of Adam who WAS innocent, and in him, in their representative they fell from innocence into sin. What Adam did they would have done in exactly the same circumstances. So, God is just in punishing them for their sin because it is all theirs, all of their own volition. It is not simply because of the state they are created in – they have no excuse because mankind as a whole was ORIGINALLY created in INNOCENCE. Similarly those chosen in Christ are reckoned righteous in Him because of what He did on their behalf - though they sinned, He died to take away their sin and the righteousness of God is imputed to them.

This is what is contrasted in Romans 5 – mankind seen in its representative Adam, on probation as it were, and how it failed miserably falling in him by one act of disobedience, compared to the elect multitude as seen in their head, Christ, and how they are made righteous by His one act of obedience (the laying down of His life for them in their stead). The nature with which the reprobate are born is that which they inherit from their father Adam who fell, and they in him, into sin and death – this fits them for destruction as they have not been elected unto receiving mercy through Christ. The elect too are born with the same nature but Christ then died for them, and they in Him, that the sinful flesh might be done away with, and they then rise again in Him having a new, righteous, nature like unto Him - 2 Corinthians 5:21. It is here, in CHRIST, where the differences between each ‘race’ is seen.



In my opinion the difference is that position #3 more closely aligns with the concept of 'vessels of wrath fitted to destruction’. A vessel of wrath fitted to destruction is made for destruction. That is its purpose. That is the way it will glorify God. There is no possibility of it being anything else. What God has decreed it shall be so it shall be. It has by implication been made differently - being fitted or suited to destruction. So what purpose would there be in shutting up the reprobate to disobedience if not to have mercy on them? How do you interpret Romans 11:32 which I think is relevant to this discussion but I don't think has been brought up yet. Surely the 'all' shut up to disobedience are the same 'all' on whom God will have mercy? Surely the context of these verses is the Elect and the 'all' is referring to the elect from amongst both Jews and Gentiles?

As I said before regarding Romans 9 we must not read ‘beyond’ what is actually there. Consider carefully: Election was decreed before the world was created. Before man was created. Before anyone was born. As it is written:-

“For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth” Romans 9:11.

That’s election – before we are born or created. “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated”.

What’s under discussion in the difference between #2 and #3 is NOT the process of election (eg. Election/selection/passing over…). It is the ‘effect’ of election at the time when men and women are created or born. Both Bob and I agree that God chose Jacob (by name) before the world was created and not Esau. All this talk of ‘passing over’ etc. is irrelevant to the discussion – election was before the foundation of the world.

No, what we are discussing is the ‘effect’ of such election/reprobation at the time at which people are created/born. Your interpretation of the verses from Romans 9:17-23 is that the ‘vessels of wrath fitted to destruction’ are actually created differently to the elect, and that is what is meant by the phrase ‘vessels of wrath fitted to destruction’. But, I answer, the context is election/reprobation from before the world was created, before the children were born (9:11). Esau was chosen to be a ‘vessel of wrath fitted to destruction’ before he was ever born.

So, how was such election/reprobation from eternity actually applied in time?

“Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth” Romans 9:18.

Now, both Jacob and Esau were born of the same woman, both were born of the same flesh, the same ‘lump of clay’ and both were sinners, both were conceived in sin, receiving the effects of their fall in Adam passed down to them. But one was a vessel destined to be shown mercy (through Christ), and one was a vessel destined to be hardened in his own sin, to ultimately be destroyed under God’s wrath against sin. But that is the destiny decreed upon them from BEFORE they were born. They are born alike, but one later receives mercy and the other (like Pharaoh) is hardened in sin.

There is nothing in the passage to show that the two are actually ‘created’ differently. It is their election or reprobation from eternity that determines their destiny, and the results talked about are whether one is shown mercy through Christ to take away the sin in which he was born - inherited from his father Adam - or whether one is hardened in that sin (into which he fell from innocence in Adam). Whether one is UNTO honour and the other UNTO dishonour – from the same lump (v21). Whether one vessel is a ‘vessel of mercy’ or whether the other vessel is a ‘vessel of wrath fitted to destruction’. “Fitted to destruction” does not mean that it was created differently, merely that its destiny because of reprobation from eternity past is destruction – it is ‘fitted’ to that end. From his birth, being a sinner just like Jacob, Esau was not however to be a recipient of God’s saving mercy through Christ – what he knew was sin and the consequent wrath of God upon that sin which ultimately would be consummated in destruction – he was ‘fitted to destruction’. That sin was all his own, having fallen in his father Adam from a state of innocence. That sin fitted him to destruction, whereas the elect, including Jacob, would have their sin crucified in the flesh at the cross and their sins washed away in the blood of the Lamb. Therein lies the difference.

Jacob was just as much a sinner as Esau. In fact the wonder of God’s grace is seen in that in fact in his life he was a much worse sinner than Esau. He was a schemer, a supplanter. Based on human merit Esau would have been more deserving of favour than Jacob. Based on their natural appearance and behaviour you would expect Esau to be more favoured (Esau even later forgave his brother!). But God had chosen Jacob BEFORE he was born or created. Hence God has “afore prepared him unto glory”. His sin didn’t alter that – he was chosen from before birth, and was a vessel destined to receive mercy. Whereas Esau had not been chosen to mercy but to wrath. Notice the parallel (v22-23) one is ‘fitted to destruction’ and the other ‘afore prepared unto glory’. When? At birth? NO! In eternity past – hence v11. The results of which are seen in their lives – Jacob receives mercy in due course, but Esau receives no mercy and only becomes hardened in his own sin, being destined (fitted to) to destruction and THEREFORE fitting himself to destruction by his own wilful sin. These are the results of God’s choosing one to mercy and the other to wrath.

But Esau would seemingly have had, from his natural sinful perspective, every reason to complain at this. He was cheated out of his birthright. He was denied his father’s blessing. His brother supplanted him. Jacob received mercy and Esau got nothing. Yet, they were both brothers alike, both born of the same mother and both sinful – indeed Jacob appeared worse, particularly to Esau who had been cheated by him. So is it any wonder that if Esau knew that God chose Jacob and not himself, that God shows mercy to whom He wills, that Esau might complain “Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?” Romans 9:19, or “Why hast thou made me thus?”

You see the question “Why hast thou made me thus?” isn’t really in relation to the comparative natural states – Esau probably thought his brother to be a worse sinner than himself, and rightly so, Jacob was a schemer, a deceiver. But this question is at the knowledge that God chooses some to show mercy to and not others. Esau not having received mercy, feeling that his lot is wrath and probably destruction would cry out “Why hast thou made me thus?” – A sinner, not destined to mercy, a vessel just like Jacob, but unlike him in that he receives wrath whereas Jacob receives mercy. This is what this question is an objection to – God’s election of a people from before their birth, not the natural state in which they find themselves which might seem quite the contrary to that fact (and which in the case of Jacob and Esau is intentionally so in order to magnify God’s grace). It is an objection to being made UNTO dishonour rather than UNTO honour.

But the objection is not valid. Why? Firstly because the creature has no right to question the Creator (v20). But also because the ‘vessel of wrath fitted to destruction’ has no right to complain about his natural state because it is no different to anyone else – all have sinned – and because all his sin is of his own volition. He has chosen to sin, has chosen to reject God, he despises the truth, despises Christ and His Gospel, despises God’s grace, mercy and lovingkindness, and then when made aware of the wrath to come which he so surely deserves, then, THEN, he complains to his maker, “Why hast thou made me thus?” as if to pass the blame. But the guilt is all his. In Adam he was created innocent, and fell in Adam, and has all his life willingly embraced the fall. He LOVES it, he’d have it no other way (the essence of the fall being a refusal to bow the knee to God). And if such a one is found to be ‘religious’ then such a one is found rejecting God’s way of salvation, God’s righteousness in the Gospel, and clings to his own righteousness by the works of the law. Hence Romans 9 reaches its conclusions, in its context, by stating:-

“But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone
As it is written, Behold I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”

Regarding 11:32 I don’t quite follow your comparison… But the context here is about God calling Spiritual Israel out of both the Jews and the Gentiles. I’m sure the ‘alls’ here could be read more than one way, for example one way is ‘all’ referring to both Jews and Gentiles – all nations. I’d probably see it as meaning that God concludes all ‘true’ Israel in unbelief that He might have mercy on all – all those of Spiritual Israel from both Jews and Gentiles. Of course the reprobates are also concluded in unbelief, Jews and Gentiles, and these don’t receive mercy. (But chapter 11 is not chapter 5. Comparisons of ‘all’ from one chapter cannot be forced upon another - each must be understood in its own context.)



But does it? I mean, it doesn't say 'naturally created state' does it. We can't even be sure what a 'lump' is much less make assumptions about the state of a created vessel other than what the passage reveals. What it says is that "one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour" and it seems more than reasonable to consider a "vessel of wrath fitted to destruction" to be one and the same thing as a 'vessel unto dishonour'. But, to me, both of these imply an entirely different naturally created state than a 'vessel unto honour'. Out of the one lump two different vessels fitted irrevocably unto two different purposes are made. They are not made in a neutral state but are surely fully and completely fitted to the intended purpose. To say they do not differ because they are taken from the same lump is looking at their original state rather than their finished state. Their original state - the lump - shows that the origin is the same but surely the very point of this passage is to teach that two different created states result from this single original state?

I’ve pretty much covered this above I think. The lump is the offspring of Adam – mankind. Man’s natural fallen state. From that lump some are vessels of honour, some vessels of dishonour. That choice is made in ETERNITY past. The effect of that is seen in that one receives mercy and the other wrath and destruction. It is evident who receives mercy at the point at which the Spirit brings them to faith in Christ. But all ‘appear’ to be under wrath until such time, even the vessels of mercy. The reprobate will ultimately find out their destiny when they enter eternity in unbelief. But I don’t see anything in Romans 9 to determine a difference between the two in their naturally created state. What is in view is election/reprobatation from BEFORE birth, and the ultimate destiny of those (mercy or destruction) in the end – that is not necessarily apparent at birth or even in their lives for some time.



I think that scripture teaches more than just God leaves them to it. I am sure that you affirm the sovereignty of God over all things, even the march of the ant over the leaf or whatever thing it was that [i]even Spurgeon said. Thus is not being fitted unto destruction more than simply been left to themselves? Yes they wilfully sin - after all they were made that way - and yet in so doing they are not only fulfilling God's purposes for them in general but each individual act of sin has been decreed by God who governs all things after the counsel of His will. God does not merely leave them to their own devices for without Him they cannot live and have their being.

Certainly I agree that God is sovereign and does intervene. He hardened Pharaoh’s heart. But where I maintain a difference with #3 is that I believe God created all men innocent in Adam, and they then fell into sin in Adam. God was sovereign even in that, but by bringing things about in that way all the guilt is man’s. A good way of describing this is that “all evil is in God’s hand, but God’s hand isn’t in the evil”. God used the fall to His glory, it was all part of His sovereign will, but it was man who rebelled and man who is accountable for it. God certainly hardened Pharaoh’s heart but Pharaoh was in rebellion against God FIRST. God simply hardened him in his own sin. Think of it like this – In Adam, Pharaoh was innocent, but in Adam he had a choice of doors to walk through, he chose to walk through the door of rebellion against God. God then locked the door by hardening Pharaoh’s heart. But Pharaoh would never have chosen otherwise! Pharaoh was already against God. So the guilt was all Pharaoh’s. God hardened him, God isn’t passive, He is sovereign in bringing His purposes about, but still Sovereign in such a way as all the liability of sin lies at man’s feet, not God’s. A mystery perhaps, but true nonetheless. It is a mystery, hard to understand how Adam was innocent and yet fell into sin, performing God’s ultimate sovereign will, and yet all the accountability for that action being man’s, not God’s, yet nevertheless that is the truth and it marvellously exalts God’s justice and His grace in then redeeming a people from that fallen race.



But the passage doesn't say they fit themselves unto destruction but that they are fitted unto destruction. Clearly we are interpreting these verses in Romans quite differently! I recognise that they can be interpreted both ways - I am just telling it the way I see it. However, I am not in a position to be dogmatic about this and am happy to be shown where I am wrong so please don't think I'm being argumentative. In fact, my motive in posting is not to teach but to learn. I find it to be an excellent way of learning - I get much more out of this than reading a book that can't answer back!

Well, I did say that God fitted the reprobate to destruction AND they fit themselves. I didn’t leave God out of it. But what I tried to convey is that God ‘fits’ them in this way by His decreeing their end before they were ever created. Then in their representative Adam they wilfully fell, and are born as his descendants in the result of that fall. They embrace the fall and sin fitting themselves to destruction under the justice of God. God may then harden them in their own rebellion – but all the guilt is theirs because ultimately they fell from a state of innocence in Adam – they weren’t just created in ‘eternal sin’.



But this is subtly different to the passage in Romans where you are reading the second 'all' or 'many' in the following verses to be 'the elect'. E.g.
5:18 "Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life."
5:19 "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

I’m afraid I didn’t follow your point here – what I said here seems like just what I have said before in relation to Romans 5. As I have said before in regard to that chapter the ‘alls’ and ‘manys’ on each side are with regard to each Adam (First and Last) and his respective offspring. So sin and death passed upon all men, for all are the offspring of Adam. But the free gift by the righteousness of one (Christ) comes upon ‘all men’ who are the offspring of Christ, unto justification of life. The one side is to Adam and all men in him, the other side is to Christ and all men in Him. Not all men that are in Adam are also in Christ. But ALL MEN in Christ, the many, SHALL be made righteous by His one obedience. Praise God!

There need be no distinction made between elect and reprobate by saying that the reprobate are created in ‘eternal sin’. Their sin is the same as the elect’s, and that sin, inherited from the fall from innocence in Adam is enough to damn them. But the sin of the elect is answered at the cross in Christ. He was made sin for them that they might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). The elect are distinct by being IN CHRIST. They are saved by Christ’s work at the cross, covered in His precious blood, being elected before of the Father, and having the finished work of Christ applied to them by the Spirit in time. Let us keep our eyes upon Christ and him crucified! That ALL the glory might be to Him and Him alone.



I’ll leave it there because…. I feel I am repeating myself! :)

I hope the above clarifies things further. If not, I think we may end up just going round in circles! But thanks for your questions Martin. I really must leave this thread alone now, but I have enjoyed the discussion thus far. I look forward to hearing more from Bob in due course, to whom I have much respect. I hope that my disagreement with him on this matter in this thread has not come over as argumentative and that my comments will be received in the gracious spirit in which they are offered. All I’m interested in is the truth. May the Lord be our teacher in all things.

In Grace,
Ian

Skeuos Eleos
10-20-04, 09:25 AM
Thanks very much Ian for coming out of 'retirement' (you seem much too young to me to be thinking of retiring! ;) ) and taking the time to give a detailed response.

Your last post was most useful. Your points were well made. The parts of my post you weren't sure you were following you do seem to have correctly understood what I was getting at.

Well, I realise that I failed in my goal of avoiding having you repeat anything you have already said but I am glad because it drew from you a useful summary of your reasoning against the position which I think position #3 takes in its interpretation of Romans 5 - not that I am saying that you used too many words last time of course - it is probably just that I missed it. :)

Well, all I can see that all that remains is for Bob to recover and provide more support for position #3 as, at the moment its beginning to look like you're winning (well, at least on number of words posted you are! :D ) (Hey I'm just kidding! I don't really think this is a competition just in case anyone thinks I'm a stiff upper-lip Brit who couldn't have a sense of humour).

Martin

Bob Higby
10-20-04, 08:57 PM
Adam's Sin and Christ's Justification Imputed ONLY to the Elect (Concluded).

NOTE: Scripture Quotations are from the NKJV unless otherwise noted.

The first study in this series ended with an appeal to Paul’s argument in Rom. 11:29-36. The context of Paul’s crowning argument in the book of Romans is restricted to a discussion of the elect. By this point in the message, the reprobates are not even under consideration. The context is certainly not the universality of sin and guilt that was concluded back in Romans 3. It is rather the salvation of ‘all men’ consisting of the elect among both Jew and Gentile. Sin is mentioned only as a prerequisite to grace.

By Romans 3:21, Paul has ended any discussion of sin that includes the reprobate. They are mentioned again only in the discussion of double predestination in 9:6-33 and 11:1-24. In those two passages, the elect and reprobate are very clearly distinguished as two entirely separate peoples. The theme of justification by faith without the deeds of the law (3:21-8:39) focuses exclusively on the salvation of the elect, ending with Paul’s great treatise in 8:28-39 on predestination to eternal life in Christ.

The remainder of this study will focus on the contrast in interpretation between the typical Calvinist exegesis of the Pauline scriptures under consideration (which is well-known) and the alternate interpretation being proposed. Amplification will be added to clarify the meaning based on each school of thought.

Rom. 11:32 (NIV)

Calvinist: For God has bound all men {every person in the human race} over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all {some persons elected in Christ}.

NOTE: The Calvinist position here is also reflected in the entire exegesis of Rom. 5:12-21 and 1 Cor. 15:20-28. All of it is remarkably consistent.

Alternate: For God has bound all men {elect persons from all nations} over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all {elect persons from all nations}. Note again the context of 11:29-36 and this meaning will ‘come alive.’

I Cor. 15:21, 22 (NOTE: The context of the entire passage is resurrection unto eternal life in Christ.)

Calvinist: For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die,{every person in the human race} even so in Christ all {some persons elected in Christ} shall be made alive.

Alternate: For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die,{elect persons from all nations} even so in Christ all {elect persons from all nations} shall be made alive.

Rom. 5:12-14

Calvinist: Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men,{every person in the human race} because all {every person in the human race} sinned {uniquely in Adam, their substitute and federal head—who was the only perfect human being ever to rebel} – For until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

Alternate: Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men,{elect persons from all nations} because all {elect persons from all nations} sinned {in like manner as Adam their representative—who guaranteed in his act of rebellion what all of elect humanity would do} – For until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

After much recent study, this new slant on Rom. 5:12-14 is the position that I now hold on these verses. It stands in contrast to some statements that I have made in the past. Since the whole context of Paul in this entire section of Romans is justification, I do not believe that he reverts in any way to discussing sin as a phenomenon common to every member of physical humanity. He is focusing strictly on the plunging of the elect into sin, in preparation for their receipt of grace in Jesus Christ.

Verses 13 and 14 are simply stating that some of the elect did not originally commit sin under a law covenant like that given to Adam and Moses. The sin of those under the Law Covenant given through Moses was exactly like that of Adam in this one respect: disobedience to specific commands. But the remainder of the elect not under such a covenant also experience original sin and death like Adam—in conjunction with their disobedience to the laws of God written upon the heart (Rom. 2:15).

The context of these verses is focused on a mediate and not immediate imputation of Adam’s sin to the elect. Adam is the representative of the elect in their original sin, not the substitute of the elect in sinning uniquely and in their stead. Nothing in the context of these verses remotely suggests that the trespass of Adam operates in like manner to the free gift of salvation in the immediate imputation of Christ’s righteousness. The free gift is UNLIKE the trespass (vs. 15)!

The contrast of the two positions in interpreting the remaining verses is now obvious and academic:

Rom. 5:15-19

Calvinist: But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many {every person in the human race} died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many {some persons elected in Christ}. And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from {after, as a result of} many offenses resulted in justification. For if by one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men {every person in the human race}, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men {some persons elected in Christ}, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many {every person in the human race} were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many {some persons elected in Christ} will be made righteous.



Alternate: But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many {elect persons from all nations} died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many {elect persons from all nations}. And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from {after, as a result of} many offenses resulted in justification. For if by one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men {elect persons from all nations}, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men {elect persons from all nations}, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many {elect persons from all nations} were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many {elect persons from all nations} will be made righteous.

Does Paul constantly use 'many' and 'all' in the same breath to alternately refer to cosmic and less than cosmic groups of humanity? Is the traditional interpretation not imposing a preconceived theological bias on the passage--rather than focusing on its context and conclusion?
Now let us examine the final two verses:

Rom. 5:20,21

Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Paul’s whole point in this entire passage is that grace triumphs over sin and deathas increased by the law! Adam is brought in to the argument because his transgression was a disobedience to revealed law, like that of others in the Law Covenant given at Sinai. The reign of grace toward the elect stands in infinite contrast to the prior reign of sin and death (increased by the Law) toward those same elect! That is the sole message of this passage. It is very different from the traditional understanding which views any mention of sin and death as referring to both elect and reprobate. Death is the last great enemy of God (1 Cor. 15:26) only in relation to the elect. The final victory over sin and death in Christ is a victory that applies exclusively to those same souls predestined to eternal life in Christ.

Brandan
10-20-04, 09:31 PM
Wow Bob, you knocked the socks off of me with that last post. Brilliant! Superb! Too bad I haven't seen this in any theology book. I'm serious - it's amazing what level of incosistency Calvinistic theology stoops to in order to keep from straying into universalism. I've been following this thread and think it's the neatest discussion on the internet. Thanks go out especially to Bob, Ian, Milt and Martin for their contributions... Wow!

Folks, you won't see this discussed ANYWHERE ELSE. At least I haven't seen it anywhere else and I'm glad to see an honest discussion of this topic that so many people take for granted. Everyone here has made this thread a shining example of what can be accomplished with the Internet today. I wonder how many discussions in churches today rise to this level of scholarship and uniqueness. Please keep it up... I'm sitting on the edge of my seat - oh, and I just got back from the Cardinals NLCS vs. Houston - THEY WON! WOOHOO!


http://images.google.com/images?q=tbn:BIDRFUE_e08J:www.merrittsbakery.com/party/IMAGES/eimages/st%2520louis%2520cardinals%2520logo.jpg (http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.merrittsbakery.com/party/IMAGES/eimages/st%2520louis%2520cardinals%2520logo.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.merrittsbakery.com/party/eimages.html&h=300&w=300&sz=38&tbnid=BIDRFUE_e08J:&tbnh=111&tbnw=111&start=1&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dst.%2Blouis%2Bcardinals%26hl%3Den%26l r%3D%26safe%3Doff%26sa%3DN)
Yours in Christ,
Brandan

Eileen
10-21-04, 07:39 PM
Bob,

I am not as quick as Brandan at understanding your in-depth post. I know that you have spent countless hours of study and time and it will take me time to read each verse in the context of the calvinist vs the alternate.

Again, I thank you for the fruit of your study and labor.

As you say.........

Grace alone and always

Bob Higby
10-21-04, 08:57 PM
Well, I am ready to stop interacting with direct statements and quotes (for the most part) of individual contributors! Only because I'm not interested in point-scoring 'debate.' As most of you are probably sick and tired of the dog-and-pony shows of today that the political candidates have the audacity to call 'debates'--which certainly are NOT debates in the historic sense of the word!, I likewise (in a much lesser measure) have no interest whatsoever in this type of carnal interaction. True sanctified 'debate' (if such a thing truly exists) amounts simply to stating a biblically-informed conviction in the power of the Holy Spirit. It does not consist in trying to run a so-called 'opponent' into the ground.

Having said that, I am still going to respond to this point:

Whilst it is a clear implication of position #3 that the reprobate is created in some other kind of sin than the sin of Adam that it says is imputed to the elect (what Bob's original article proposes to be eternal sin), it is not however a clear implication that they are damned for having been created that way. As far as I can tell the discussion has been silent on this point so far.

Well, I am silent no longer! The reprobate are not only created in eternal sin-- but are certainly damned in that eternal sin and rebellion. They are liars and murderers from the beginning, the seed of their father the devil, and will suffer the same fate of eternal retribution as Satan himself--being the devil's children and devils themselves! More to come soon.

Nevertheless I would expect position #3 advocates to affirm that the reprobate is still held accountable for and receives punishment for their sin. In this respect then positions #2 and #3 are the same.

Yes!

On the issue of Paul as the chief of sinners, he himself makes plain that this refers to his ACTS as a murderer of the saints. But he is just as plain that he performed these acts in ignorance. He committed acts that are as evil as Judas and Satan, yet he did not have the essence of their reprobate and irredeemable hearts in his own soul.

I suppose the next task that I have is to post a study on the nature of unpardonable and eternal sin according to the scriptures! Soon coming.

Brandan
10-22-04, 06:13 AM
Just got back from Game 7 of the Cardinals Pennant with Houston - Cards won! It was so much fun - especially when I sat in luxury seats for both games entirely for FREE!!!



http://cardinalsrule.homestead.com/files/CARDINALS.jpg

Bob Higby
10-22-04, 08:09 PM
Thanks, Brandan, on all counts for your expression of confidence in me. Not even for agreeing as much as just emphasizing the importance of the issue!

I'm glad that you were blessed with such great seats and an event-filled celebration of the baseball victory!

To ALL: I wish to apologize for the tone of my last post, which now as I re-read can see that I sounded disrespectful of the contributors (Ian particularly) and also the respondents on this topic. I have to realize that we all have our own outlook on these matters and respond in our own unique styles. I have dropped my former sentiments on the issue entirely.

I want to encourage everyone to continue posting and stating conviction honestly and candidly!

I realize that Ian has differed with certain aspects of how I defined the 'typical' believer in position 2 and want to recognize those differences. He has adequately stated where he stands.

Grace to all and may the Lord's mercies abound to each and every one of you!

Skeuos Eleos
10-23-04, 01:43 PM
Just one small thing Brandan.

I'm sorry to have to say this but ... I ... well ... you see ... well, the thing is - Deacons I can see, Elders I can see but ... where in the Bible is there anything about "Cardinals"??? :D

Martin

Bob Higby
10-23-04, 02:28 PM
I am preparing to start a new thread entitled "The Two Seeds" which will thoroughly discuss the doctrine of two entirely separate peoples in predestination. It will also focus on the doctrine of the nature of sin with respect to each of the two seeds.

As I leave this discussion behind, the affirmation that the clay of Romans 9 refers to 'descendants of Adam' (which many seemed to agree with) is still a negative issue in interpretation for me. I am convicted that this goes against the whole thrust of what Paul is arguing and does not fit the context. If it is affirmed that God chooses from an already fallen 'common seed' of humanity; passing over the rest, this is still a doctrine of selection--however much a number of scholars would like to refer to it as a doctrine of election.

The Bible is not a systematic theology and does not spell things out in exactly the terms we might like. But Paul's doctrine of election and reprobation before existence or having done either good or bad is in harmony with the view that the clay refers to the dust of the ground from which God determined to create an elect and reprobate humanity.

In addition, the proposition that God cannot be just in condemning reprobates unless they 'freely choose' without coercion is an example of a philosophy of eternal law which God subjects himself to. This would propose that God cannot purpose to create eternally evil souls & condemn them according to his purposes of wisdom; strictly because he is sovereign and can do all of his pleasure.

Anyway, the new thread on the two seeds will be a thorough examination of scripture on the subject. It will not make sense to those who take the infralapsarian view on Romans 9 (that God chooses from an already fallen biological seed of Adam).

Brandan
10-25-04, 09:15 PM
I realize that Ian has differed with certain aspects of how I defined the 'typical' believer in position 2 and want to recognize those differences. He has adequately stated where he stands.Yes, thank you Ian for your contribution. Your posts have always been well designed and thought provoking. I'm sorry I haven't interacted with you much before, but I think you are a wonderful asset to this forum - even if I don't agree with you always... And that goes for most here that I disagree with often (even wildboar *snickers*!)

Brandan