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Brandan
06-26-03, 06:22 AM
So, what are you? Infralapsarian or Supralapsarian and why?

Brandan
06-26-03, 06:57 AM
Here's a good article describing the differences: http://mb-soft.com/believe/text/supralap.htm

Odyssey
06-26-03, 06:59 AM
I am a supra because Paul wrote that god promised eternal life before time began or 'before times eternal' (Titus 1.2). Also, people were elected 'in Him before the foundation of the world' (Eph. 1.4; see also 2Thess. 2.13) and peoples names were written in the book of life of the Lamb 'before the foundation of the world' (Rev. 13.8; 17.8).

Furthermore, the god of the bible is said to be all knowing, and the reason he knows all things is because he declared all things, even the 'end from the beginning' (Is. 46.10).

To me, this shows that, before anything was created, god had a plan and that plan included the salvation of people, which, as we saw above, was 'before times eternal' showing that it was not something that god brought into being after the fall of Adam, but was part of the plan before god created anything.

Grace to you,

OD

Alan Stevens
06-27-03, 10:43 AM
Hi

This is a difficult one, as the Bible is not really specific with an answer.

But like Od, i think Eph 1 v 4 'in Him before the foundation of the world' would indicate that God elected first before anything else.

So i'm in the Supra camp.


Cheers

Alan

PS When i have mentioned this leaning to Supra in other circles the accusation thrown at me was that i was a 'Hyper' Calvinist.

Brandan
06-27-03, 10:51 AM
Yeah, I'm supra too - surprisingly most Christians I know are infra...

Skeuos Eleos
06-30-03, 06:32 PM
Well in these circles the infra camp is starting to look a little thin on the ground!

I lean towards Supra since Rev 13:8 says that Jesus was "slain from the foundation of the world".

Martin

disciple
07-02-03, 12:31 PM
Originally posted by grebel
So, what are you? Infralapsarian or Supralapsarian and why?

i used to be infra but supra sounds good too. i leaned to infra because it seems more logical that God would elect after the fall in order to protect the aspect of God being the author of evil aspect (e.g., if He positively elected a certain number of people and left the rest to themselves prior to a fall then to me it seems to leave God more open to the accusation that He is the author of evil). but supra sounds good because it accords better with such passages as 2 tim 1:9 and titus 1:2. the troubling aspect in this all is that there is really no Scripture which details order of things in the mind of God. it is all speculation of our futile and finite minds desparately trying to grasp the purposes and order of the mind of an infinite God.

Odyssey
07-03-03, 12:05 PM
If god did not create evil, from did it come?

OD

disciple
07-03-03, 12:26 PM
Originally posted by Odyssey
If god did not create evil, from did it come?

OD
i assume you meant, "from where did it come?" and of course that is the question isn't it? can evil be created? is it a thing? you're asking a pretty tough question that gets into some deep philosophy. where did evil (e.g., disposition/inclination/proclivity/possibility to rebel against God and do that which is not righteous) come from if not from God? is God the author of evil? did He force adam and eve to partake of the fruit and disobey Him? did He make them with a proclivity to rebel? if we go back to Satan, why did he first sin? if he was created good where did the desire for self and rebellion and pride come from? if we only do what we desire and we don't do anything except that which we desire most at any given moment, why did anything created by God ever do that which contradicts His righteousness and rebel against his commands?

Bob Higby
08-14-03, 06:12 PM
Originally posted by Odyssey
If god did not create evil, from did it come?

(The rest of my observations are responses to Disciple's answer to this question.)

i assume you meant, "from where did it come?" and of course that is the question isn't it? can evil be created?

Everything that exists outside of the person of God himself is created. Contrary to Manichaean philosophy (which teaches that both good and evil are eternal), if evil did not originate within the person of God himself, it had to have an origin at some point in past history.

It is crucial in this context to note that Augustine (along with other ‘church fathers’) was a Manichaean before he converted to Christ. Did this philosophical background continue to influence his ideas after conversion? If so, it is very important to recognize it--because the mass of Western Christianity (both Roman Catholic and Protestant) follows the entirety of Augustine’s views on the origin of sin. Luther and Calvin mimicked his teaching without alteration. John Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ is based primarily on Augustine’s view of the origin of evil, though certain speculative historical details about the fall of ‘Lucifer’ (‘?‘--the king of Babylon according to Isa. 14) come from inter-testamental writings (extra-biblical).

is it a thing?

Yes, it is an entity or spiritual principle that does not have an eternal past. That is, unless one accepts Manichaean philosophy that evil and good are both eternal principles.

you're asking a pretty tough question that gets into some deep philosophy. where did evil (e.g., disposition/inclination/proclivity/possibility to rebel against God and do that which is not righteous) come from if not from God? is God the author of evil?

Where does the Bible ever ask the question asked by millions of Roman Catholics and Protestants: Is God the author of evil? Just curious. A similar question (not answered in scripture) occurs frequently when a believer's child is smashed in death on the road: WHY? Submission to God's revelation means that we let God ask the questions and God give the answers! We all agree (hopefully!) that evil did not originate within the person and character of God himself. However, the PURPOSES of God are separate from his person; that distinction is critical. If God creates evil for the ultimate accomplishment of his purposes (those opposite of salvation), this fact does NOT imply that God IS evil or DOES evil. God’s purposes in reprobation will bring him glory and honor--in contrast to those of salvation in Christ--which praise him with even more glory and honor!

On the matter of God as the ‘author of sin,’ the condemning accusations are endless.

1. The Papists accused the Protestants (both Lutheran and Calvinist) of teaching that God is the author of sin.
2. The Lutherans, in the tradition of Rome, accused the Calvinists of teaching that God is the author of sin.
3. The Arminians and Wesleyans, in the tradition of Rome and the Lutherans, also accused the Calvinists of teaching that God is the author of sin.
4. The infralapsarian Calvinists accused the supralapsarian Calvinists of teaching that God is the author of sin.
5. The ’low’ or ‘soft’ supralapsarians accused the ’high’ or ‘hard’ supralapsarians of teaching that God is the author of sin. These are not well-defined camps of theology, nonetheless, the fact remains that theologians at every level worked extra-hard to avoid being targeted as subscribing to the most dreaded accusation possible: God is the author of sin.

All of these accusers, of course, denied that they THEMSELVES taught God is the author of sin. This was nothing but a name-calling game--in an attempt to score points against the opponent. The unfortunate history of the Westminster Assembly is a good example of this fact.

did He force adam and eve to partake of the fruit and disobey Him?

What is force? Election? Did not God predestine Adam and Eve to sin? If not, how can we say that he is sovereign over ALL history?

did He make them with a proclivity to rebel?

An interesting question. Serious consideration of the issue has to ultimately answer it.

if we go back to Satan, why did he first sin?

An impulse of eternal sin must have existed in his heart, before he acted on it in rebellion against God. How can extreme holiness beget eternal sin, as Milton’s Fable (‘Paradise Lost’) would have us believe? Milton only follows Augustine in the Enchiridion and Confessions, who seems to be the first well-published proponent of the idea in CHRISTIAN writing (it does exist in inter-testamental and Philonic Judaism). If there is an earlier and definite Christian source, I am SO, SO eager to know who it is--so I can update my thinking and ‘list.’ I would not be surprised if someone finds one. It seems that all of the ’fathers’ (whose writings were the only ones deemed worthy of preservation by the Papacy and Eastern churches) had a background in false philosophy. Aquinas was the ultimate defender of philosophy (the ‘cake’) as the foundation of Christianity (the ‘icing’ on the cake).

if he was created good (what does Colossians 1:13-17 and John 8:44 have to say about this?), where did the desire for self and rebellion and pride come from? if we only do what we desire and we don't do anything except that which we desire most at any given moment, why did anything created by God ever do that which contradicts His righteousness and rebel against his commands?

Only evil begets evil. Only a holy nature begets righteousness. If we propose that eternal sin arose out of extreme holiness ala Milton, others will feel free to imitate our example and propose any paradoxical nonsense as truth. This is what is happening today in popular ‘evangellyfish’ theology.

No well-published theologian has ever logically solved the problem of evil. Many Calvinists have claimed to solve it. However, when it comes to the ultimate question of where Satan’s first evil impulse came from, all resort to paradox and avoid a specific answer to the question. Karl Barth was very ‘on target’ in his observation of this fact, even though his own solution of a ‘Calvinistic universalism‘ is patently unbiblical. He wanted to say that God is responsible for sin--but then get God ’off the hook’ by saying that God in his sovereignty provided salvation for all humanity!

Paul answered the question of the problem of evil in full (Col. 1:13-17), without any worries about the condemning accusations of men! I would propose that we have not yet returned to the apostolic view of this matter. Most today still follow St. Gus. All of the well-known Roman Catholic and Protestant systematic theologies have followed him.

In the tradition of the deceased chairman,

disciple
08-15-03, 10:17 AM
Originally posted by BillTwisse
Contrary to Manichaean philosophy (which teaches that both good and evil are eternal), if evil did not originate within the person of God himself, it had to have an origin at some point in past history.

...Yes, it is an entity or spiritual principle that does not have an eternal past. That is, unless one accepts Manichaean philosophy that evil and good are both eternal principles.
i don't know that i'd call evil an entity. i see the logical deduction you are making but you are assuming that God did not allow for evil or rebellion for His purposes rather than actively creating it from within His own person. in other words, when God created the angels and mankind, He created them mutable (with the potential or ability to change). i'm seeing the philosophical problem of having a principle or concept be eternal like God and having no real origin at some point in past history. but to me this question as to origin of evil is not necessarily answered in Scripture as is the origin of creation (visible/earth and invisible/heavens) and mankind. we at least know that the existence of evil predates mankind from Genesis:

Gen 3:5 "For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

you referenced Col 1:13-17. from this i assume you are focusing on vv. 16-17. i'm curious which category you'd put evil into? this still doesn't answer the question of whether evil is a thing. i presume you may be reading a version that has "principality" and this is where you'd put it. the current version i'm reading says:

Col 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities --all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

this word principality is from ARCH which can mean beginning/first or ruler/leader/initiator, etc. it doesn't mean principle, concept, etc.


Where does the Bible ever ask the question asked by millions of Roman Catholics and Protestants: Is God the author of evil? Just curious.
does scripture have to have an example of the question for it to be a valid question?


A similar question (not answered in scripture) occurs frequently when a believer's child is smashed in death on the road: WHY? Submission to God's revelation means that we let God ask the questions and God give the answers!
i agree with this one. who is the clay to ask of the potter? all we need to do is read Job 37-42 and Rom 9 to get a perspective on this one.


We all agree (hopefully!) that evil did not originate within the person and character of God himself.
but you said above "...if evil did not originate within the person of God himself, it had to have an origin at some point in past history". i took this to mean that you thought evil originated within the person of God himself. was i wrong on this?


However, the PURPOSES of God are separate from his person; that distinction is critical.
where do we find that the purposes of God are separate from his person? and what does this even mean? where is this concept in Scripture? or is it just a philosophical principle? how do we separate who someone is from what they do? to me it seems clear that one springs from the other. we do what we are? a tree is known by its fruit.


What is force? Election? Did not God predestine Adam and Eve to sin? If not, how can we say that he is sovereign over ALL history?
i think the term used in the historical debate is something more like coerce. in other words, did God choose for you. was there an actual choice for Adam and Eve or did he coerce them to make the choice they did? did they act according to the dictates of their desires or did their actions contradict what they actually wanted to do? i've heard that jonathan edwards discusses this at length in his "freedom of the will" (which i have yet to read but need to). i also understand that augustine discusses this issue as well as calvin, luther, aquinas, etc. in their discussions of the will of man.


co·erce
1 : to restrain or dominate by force <religion in the past has tried to coerce the irreligious -- W. R. Inge>
2 : to compel to an act or choice
3 : to bring about by force or threat <coerce the compliance of the rest of the community -- Scott Buchanan>
synonym see FORCE


An impulse of eternal sin must have existed in his heart, before he acted on it in rebellion against God.
...
No well-published theologian has ever logically solved the problem of evil. Many Calvinists have claimed to solve it. However, when it comes to the ultimate question of where Satan’s first evil impulse came from, all resort to paradox and avoid a specific answer to the question.
and that's the heart of the issue. where did the initial proclivity for rebellion against the Creator come from? where did this impulse or desire originate? was it created or did it simply exist? did God create principles? it is a great philosophical quandry!


Paul answered the question of the problem of evil in full (Col. 1:13-17), without any worries about the condemning accusations of men! I would propose that we have not yet returned to the apostolic view of this matter. Most today still follow St. Gus. All of the well-known Roman Catholic and Protestant systematic theologies have followed him.
so what would you propose is the apostolic view of this matter? to me it is not clear that paul is saying in Col. 1:16-17 that God created evil. it is not shown that evil is a thing. to me Col 1:16-17 is talking about creation defined as all that is visible/earth and invisible/heavens (i.e., the spiritual and physical worlds or realms; e.g., angels, spirits, man, earth, creatures, etc.) and these realms have as heads of them various ruling authorities (e.g., earth - governments, kings, governors, etc.; heavens - powers, authorities). the point is that Christ is before and indeed over all of those various other authorities. in other words, all authority is given/created by God, and Christ is pre-eminent even above them.

GraceAmbassador
08-15-03, 11:24 AM
Brethren:

This is an honest question posed to me by a very prominent Presbyterian minister. Under the penalty of the mockery from some, I now reproduce this question with the same honesty it has been addressed to me. (By the way, I answered the question with a "hummm", but never gave too much importance in finding the answer. Here it is and as Jack the Ripper would put it better, "let's separate it in parts":

"If we accept that God created Adam and Eve vulnarable and susceptible to their desires, thus, open to the lying of the serpent; how can we hurt the doctirne of God's Sovereignty or Calvinism?"

"If indeed Adam and Eve were the ONLY and the LAST people who ever had control of their will, and the loss of this control is then the reason for our "total depravity", how can this hurt the doctrine of God's Sovereignty or Calvinism?"

When I heard this question for the first time I checked the instances wherein the devil tempted someone as patterned in the Scriptures. I found this pattern (poorly creative) at least in the temptation of Jesus:

1 - Question the authority of a direct order from God, or questioning the word of God. Jesus had just been baptized and the voice from heaven spoke: "This is my Son..." The devil then challenges Jesus: "If you are the Son..."
We see the same in Adam and Eve's fall: "Did not God say..."

2 - Use a physical desire, such as the need for food to entice one to desobey God: "transform the stones into bread". We see the same in Adam and Eve's fall: "...Certainly you will not die". If we consider the need for food related to one's survival, then, we can apply the same principle.

3 - Use the need for significance and power with no sacrifice and accountability (this is no tv talk show Psychology) to entine one to disobey God: "all power will be gien unto you..." We see the same in Adam and Eve's fall: "You will be as God; you will know all things".

4 - Use the pain of God's plan as the reason to short cut God's plan: "Throw yourself off. The angels will save you. You will be acclaimed and you will avoid the pain and the shame of the cross. Deify yourself NOW! (my own free inference). We see the same in Adam and Eve's fall: ...You shall be acclaimed as God... (deify yourself NOW).

1 John 2:16 describes the pattern:

a - Lust of the flesh - (physical desire out of balance with genuine needs)
b - Lust of the eyes - (Eve saw that it was good to eat; to take Jesus to a high place to SEE the kingdoms etc.)
b - Pride of life - (let's be as God. Let's deify ourselves and take control)

Again, what if God made them vulnarable?

When Adam failed, we ALL FAILED. Then Jesus, the LAST and PERFECT ADAM, overcame all the temptations and His nature, imputed to us, or, His righteousness imputed to us now make us NEW CREATION in Him, making certain that every elect would become a NEW CREATION IN HIM.

(Adam failed in the BEST of all environments. JESUS OVERCAME in the WORST of all environments...)

How can this hurt the doctrine of the Sovereignty of God or Calvinism?

And another question: (this one perhaps out of my deep ignorance in the issue - remember, we are all ignorants in one area or another - )

Does this solve the problem of the origin of evil?

Your comments and elucidations will be greatly appreciated and prayerfully pondered.

GraceAmbassador
08-15-03, 11:42 AM
CORRECTION

(In the post above I meant "does this solve the problem of the origin of SIN? (nof of evil...) sorry if I confused your wits...

How about Isaiah 45:6?

It clearly say: I am the Lord... I CREATE evil...

disciple
08-15-03, 12:26 PM
Originally posted by GraceAmbassador
How about Isaiah 45:6?

It clearly say: I am the Lord... I CREATE evil...
perhaps you meant Isaiah 45:7. this is another poor translation choice by the KJV. here is another:

Isa 45:7 (NAS) The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these.

and i assure you that this is not a clever way to get out of the obvious or some novel Hebrew/Greek trick to avoid the issue. what we have here is parallelism.

light <-> well-being
darkness <-> calamity

light vs. darkness
well-being vs. calamity

well-being Heb: Shalowm - completeness, soundness, welfare, peace; Gk: Eirene - peace, a state of national tranquillity, exemption from the rage and havoc of war, security, safety, prosperity, felicity

calamity Heb: Ra - evil, distress, misery, injury, calamity; Gk: Kakos - bad, of a bad nature not such as it ought to be of a mode of thinking, feeling, acting
base, wrong, wicked troublesome, injurious, pernicious, destructive, baneful

so while evil is within the semantic range of the word used in Isaiah 45:7 (and it is indeed the same word as used in Genesis 3) whatever the sense is here it must be opposite to and contrasted with the word translated as well-being. the word juxtaposed against Ra is not the word translated as good (i.e., as opposed to evil) so the KJV has a bad translation here. my suggestion is to chuck the KJV and use a more modern version (or almost any other version for that matter).

Isaiah 45:7

NLT - I am the one who creates the light and makes the darkness. I am the one who sends good times and bad times. I, the LORD, am the one who does these things.

CEV - I create light and darkness, happiness and sorrow. I, the LORD, do all of this.

NIV - I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.

GNB - I create both light and darkness; I bring both blessing and disaster. I, the LORD, do all these things.

NRSV - I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe; I the Lord do all these things.

GW - I make light and create darkness. I make blessings and create disasters. I, the LORD, do all these things.

NKJV - I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things.'

Wyclif (1395) - Y am the Lord, and noon other God is; fourmynge liyt, and makynge derknessis, makynge pees, and fourmynge yuel; Y am the Lord, doynge alle these thingis.

Miles Coverdale (1535) - It is I yt created the light and darcknes, I make peace and trouble: Yee euen I the LORDE do all these thinges.

Bishops Bible (1568) - It is I that created light and darknesse, I make peace and trouble: yea euen I the Lorde do all these thinges.

Geneva (1587) - I forme the light and create darkenes: I make peace and create euill: I the Lorde doe all these things.

disciple
08-15-03, 12:32 PM
Originally posted by disciple
...so the KJV has a bad translation here. my suggestion is to chuck the KJV and use a more modern version (or almost any other version for that matter).
my conclusion is that Isaiah 45:7 is not a proof-text for God as the Source or Creator of sin or evil (as in the concept of rebellion against Himself). it is saying something entirely different. and what it is saying is that God uses evil for His purposes. God is not ashamed to use "bad" things (such as death, war, famine, etc.) for His own purposes. we don't need to read long in the Bible before we realize this. great examples are Joseph in Gen 45-50, Job in Job 1-2, and Jesus in the NT (cf. Acts 2, 4). God indeed is sovereign over all things and events! God uses evil as well as good to bring Himself glory.

GraceAmbassador
08-15-03, 02:32 PM
perhaps you meant Isaiah 45:7. this is another poor translation choice by the KJV. here is another:

Yup! and Ooops! I did, verse 7.


my conclusion is that Isaiah 45:7 is not a proof-text for God as the Source or Creator of sin or evil (as in the concept of rebellion against Himself). it is saying something entirely different. and what it is saying is that God uses evil for His purposes. God is not ashamed to use "bad" things (such as death, war, famine, etc.) for His own purposes. we don't need to read long in the Bible before we realize this. great examples are Joseph in Gen 45-50, Job in Job 1-2, and Jesus in the NT (cf. Acts 2, 4). God indeed is sovereign over all things and events! God uses evil as well as good to bring Himself glory.

It is not a proof text! Correct!

I hope you do not THINK FOR ONE MOMENT, (not shouting) that after 34 years of ministry in three different countries I would not check other sources and versions and that I could not have cut and pasted the Strong's concordance as well as many other sources in my post. I ask out of pure honesty and in a bona fide desire to know if anyone would use this as a proof text. Now its up to all of us agree on the definition of a proof text, if there is any on which we can agree.

Whether is "ra" or calamity or evil, the Bible says that it is CREATED by God.



Now, please, kindly consider the follwoing. This is NOT to confront your answer to which I agree, but it is more to make a point about the way sometimes we answer things in a way that leaves more questions than answers.

You say, quoting translations and BIBLICAL languages:


calamity Heb: Ra - evil, distress, misery, injury, calamity; Gk: Kakos - bad, of a bad nature not such as it ought to be of a mode of thinking, feeling, acting
base, wrong, wicked troublesome, injurious, pernicious, destructive, baneful

Isn't this all "EVIL". When we are the ones under the calamity we call it EVIL. Furthermore, these things happen in result of sin (not necessarily though), as such, this can be called EVIL and the ultimate EVIL, depending on the degree of calamity.
The power outage of yesterday is a calamity, and it is darkness, but not the ultimate EVIL. But to lose a loved one in a terrorist attack can be considered EVIL proceeded from the ULTIMATE EVIL. DOES GOD ORIGINATE, MAKE, CREATE IT? If He did WHEN DID HE DO IT in view of His eternity?

Isn't this EVIL?

calamity Heb: Ra - evil, distress, misery, injury, calamity; Gk: Kakos - bad, of a bad nature not such as it ought to be of a mode of thinking, feeling, acting


METHINKS THAT THE WORD TO BE EXEGETED HERE IS "CREATE"!

Does God create CONTIGENCIAL evil, for determined situations only or is He the originator of EVIL to reach His Sovereign purposes? Humbly I propose that this is the KEY issue here.

All the translations you cite agree that GOD creates such things as they use in substitution for EVIL. Hence my insistence that CREATE, or MAKE or ORIGINATE is the word to be exegeted.

Now, what difference does it make if he CREATES, or MAKES evil contingencially, to fit His purposes or if He CREATED evil in the first place as the SOURCE of all the calamities and every day manifestations of evil?

Does God use Satan as His puny agent to perpetrate evil, that He, God, planned in the first place?

Well, I will not appear to be argumentative.

Another question, you say:


here. my suggestion is to chuck the KJV and use a more modern version (or almost any other version for that matter).

I could resent that ASSUMPTION but I will not. I do not use the KJV only and am not a KJV only person. Also I do not think that the KJV is the Bible Paul taugh from...
At the same time, I feel sort of strange when I see people from our past being quoted as GREAT BIBLE INTERPRETERS when ALL the translation they had was the KJV. If it was enough for them to seek and disect the truth, why is it not for us?

If a New accepted translation, (I use the NIV to my congregation) would solve our interpretative differences, then we'd be in heaven by now since the Holy Spirit would have achieved full UNITY OF FAITH which preceeds the UNITY OF THE SPIRIT.

Again, what is a definition of a proof text that we all can agree on?

(sorry for the disorganization in this post, but I think I should write our of my heart. You're intelligent, you will understand!)

Who is our APOSTOLIC AUTHORITY of today to put what is a proof text in the perspective of the ultimate revelation, or the REVELATION OF GRACE? Who will be the determinator of the parameters of a proof text. Today most people who say that they found a proof text in reality found a "spoof text".

Then, WHO CREATED EVIL?

Be blessed according to Ephesian 1:3

disciple
08-15-03, 03:46 PM
Originally posted by GraceAmbassador
I hope you do not THINK FOR ONE MOMENT, (not shouting) that after 34 years of ministry in three different countries I would not check other sources and versions and that I could not have cut and pasted the Strong's concordance as well as many other sources in my post. I ask out of pure honesty and in a bona fide desire to know if anyone would use this as a proof text. Now its up to all of us agree on the definition of a proof text, if there is any on which we can agree.
i didn't mean to presume that you didn't look at anything else. you did, however, only give me part of one translation on which to go from. i'm not sure what i'm supposed to assume from that.


Isn't this all "EVIL". When we are the ones under the calamity we call it EVIL. Furthermore, these things happen in result of sin (not necessarily though), as such, this can be called EVIL and the ultimate EVIL, depending on the degree of calamity.
The power outage of yesterday is a calamity, and it is darkness, but not the ultimate EVIL. But to lose a loved one in a terrorist attack can be considered EVIL proceeded from the ULTIMATE EVIL. DOES GOD ORIGINATE, MAKE, CREATE IT? If He did WHEN DID HE DO IT in view of His eternity?

Isn't this EVIL?
indeed we deem it bad, evil, unfortunate, etc. but we do not see it as rebellion against the holy Creator, do we? isn't that how we are defining evil within our discussion? we are not concern about calamities or the effects of a sin torn world but in the origin of the principle or concept or proclivity for rebellion against God. we are groping for the origins of that first desire that was contrary to God's glory and holiness and not a general view of the origin or cause of particular horrible events (perhaps the "acts of God" as defined in insurance clauses).


METHINKS THAT THE WORD TO BE EXEGETED HERE IS "CREATE"!
ok. but in the parallelism:

Isa 45:7 (NAS) The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these.

forming <-> causing
creating <-> creating

forming/causing <-> creating/creating

forming Heb: Yatsar - to form, fashion, frame; Gk: Kataskeuazo - to furnish, equip, prepare, make ready

creating Heb: Bara' - to create, shape, form; Gk: Poieo - to make, to do

causing Heb: asah - to do, fashion, accomplish, make; Gk: Poieo - to make, to do

creating Heb: Bara' - to create, shape, form; Gk: Ktizo - to create

i believe all of these terms are the same terms used to refer to God creating a la Gen 1-2. either way, what we're talking about in this context is not the original appearance of this or of the first proclivity towards rebellion against God in a creature (whether Satan or man) but of God being the one who brings calamitous and bad things to pass. in particular the issue of foreign invasion and possession of Israel, being judgment in the form of battle, death, famine, etc.


Does God create CONTIGENCIAL evil, for determined situations only or is He the originator of EVIL to reach His Sovereign purposes? Humbly I propose that this is the KEY issue here.
what is CONTIGENCIAL? i'm not sure what you're asking here.


All the translations you cite agree that GOD creates such things as they use in substitution for EVIL. Hence my insistence that CREATE, or MAKE or ORIGINATE is the word to be exegeted.

Now, what difference does it make if he CREATES, or MAKES evil contingencially, to fit His purposes or if He CREATED evil in the first place as the SOURCE of all the calamities and every day manifestations of evil?

Does God use Satan as His puny agent to perpetrate evil, that He, God, planned in the first place?
God is the ultimate cause or reason or source for bringing this evil event about. but the instruments that He uses to bring these horrible events about are evil men. a good example is the issue of judas betraying jesus to be crucified. judas did it because he wanted to (it was his desire to do so) and he is held completely responsible. however God was behind it all and using the evil actions of evil men (through no coercing) to bring about His sovereign purposes. so the men are evil and the outcomes are from the terrible effects of sin and evil and God is sovereign over it all. this still does not, however, answer our question as to the origin of evil--the original desire or proclivity to rebel against God. this only answers the question of how God can be sovereign and yet also cause or create evil events. so i think that we're mixing two different issues together. i don't think Isaiah 45:7, even though it affirms that God is the author/creator of these calamitous events, is answering the question of how the first proclivity for rebellion against Him came about. this is a different issue altogether than what is being discussed in Isaiah 45:7. do you see what i'm saying?


I could resent that ASSUMPTION but I will not.
good. i'm glad you do not resent this assumption because it wasn't meant to offend nor was it meant to be an assumption. since you only listed one translation (and a translation of a verse that is often referred to in isolation of a discussion of what a good translation actually is here), and it appeared that you were basing your reading or interpretation upon that translation, that is all that i had to deal with based on your very short post.


I do not use the KJV only and am not a KJV only person. Also I do not think that the KJV is the Bible Paul taugh from...
good. i'm glad that is the case. i didn't mean to assume that you were but since that was the translation used to frame or initiate the question, that was what i needed to deal with first.


At the same time, I feel sort of strange when I see people from our past being quoted as GREAT BIBLE INTERPRETERS when ALL the translation they had was the KJV. If it was enough for them to seek and disect the truth, why is it not for us?
which scholars were limited to the KJV with no tools or knowledge of what was a good translation and what was not? are you suggesting that these unnamed great bible interpreters only used the KJV for exegesis? certainly it was a fine translation for its time, but i believe it is very poor compared to what we have available today. not only is the translation archaic but it is based upon poor manuscripts as well. there are many reasons not to use the KJV today and very few reasons IMHO to use it.


If a New accepted translation, (I use the NIV to my congregation) would solve our interpretative differences, then we'd be in heaven by now since the Holy Spirit would have achieved full UNITY OF FAITH which preceeds the UNITY OF THE SPIRIT.
i'm not saying that it will fix all of our problems but there's absolutely no reason to base an argument upon any english translation. the saying goes, "all translators are traitors." and this is true to an extent. you always lose something in translation. anyway, i hope you don't think that i'm saying that if you'd use a different version then you'd have it all figured out. i'm simply saying that the KJV is not a good version to base something on, especially if you're limiting yourself to english translations and possibly only one at that.


Again, what is a definition of a proof text that we all can agree on?
i don't know. but that one definitely does not answer the question as to the origin of the initial act/proclivity/desire of rebellion against God.

GraceAmbassador
08-15-03, 04:37 PM
Dear Disciple:

You said:


God is the ultimate cause or reason or source for bringing this evil event about

I will stick to this statement and declare us in agreement!


i'm not saying that it will fix all of our problems but there's absolutely no reason to base an argument upon any english translation. the saying goes, "all translators are traitors." and this is true to an extent. you always lose something in translation. anyway, i hope you don't think that i'm saying that if you'd use a different version then you'd have it all figured out. i'm simply saying that the KJV is not a good version to base something on, especially if you're limiting yourself to english translations and possibly only one at that.

Brother, I am a professional translator. I know first hand how words translated often do not convey the meaning intended by the originator. I know for a fact that we need to look into the culture and the connotation the word had when it was spoken, if it is a word that has lost its meaning in time. However, you are right. It does not fix a problem. A good analogy would be you as an engineer discussing the print of a project drawn by three or four different drafters who used their own style and method. The project is the same and perhaps even the end product is the same, but I do not suppose that engineers would agree to discussing three different styles and methods (if that is possible). They would rather discuss one, focus in one and decide which one they will pick to discuss the project. I propose that we pick a translation of the Bible to discuss certain terms here. Can we find a good one that will ultimately be agreed upon by all of us?

Contigentially is a management term. I was a management consultant in the past. Some managers manage by contingency. What comes to them is what determines what managerial actions they will take. The have no foresight, they cannot foresee the future and have no plan. They may be efficient but they are not effective. If God administers evil by contingencies, then He is neither Sovereign nor omniscient. I know beforehand that you do not agree that God is that kind of "manager" who uses contingecies to manage His affairs.

In my first Bible school, my teacher, of Japonese origin, followed the teachings of Bultman. He used to "down" the Holy Writ, specially Isaiah, by stating that it was full of "synthetic parallelism", chants and drunken songs. And he cited many, including the one you cite. Thank you for reminding me of a younger age, but it is sad that I had to be reminded of such a good man with such a bad theology.

In any case, as I state above, we have to conclude that God does not ALLOW nor OVERLOOKS evil. His will is causistic and not passive. He causes evil and Isaiah, in no way shape or form, parallelism or not, is poetry and a chant, as Professor Takya would say it is...

Thanks for clarifying your thoughts about my assertions.

I rejoice in that we agree and see no relevance in that we do not disagree. For the others participants of this discussion, please, forgive me if I always end my discussions questioning the relevance thereof.

Bob Higby
08-15-03, 05:55 PM
Dear Brethren:

Wow, did I open up a can of worms here! I had no idea that so much discussion would take place before I had opportunity to sign on again.

Although I have a definite position on the issues herein discussed, my main purpose is to show that this is one of the serious doctrinal issues that Protestantism and the history of dogmatics has not solved; thus opening it up for re-study. So I'm not wanting to play all of my cards at this point.

Disciple:

To clarify one of your questions: NO, I do not believe that evil originated in the PERSON of God at all. The Bible is clear on that. God is holy and in him is no darkness or delight in (acceptance of) evil. My position is that it had to originate in his PURPOSES, as NOTHING escapes God's sovereign predestination; therefore it is created. To say that God creates evil does not imply that God IS evil or DOES evil. The creation is always a separate entity from the creator. Some beings or entities of creation bear the stamp of God's holiness and character (the elect angels and their immutably righteous hearts, for example)--others do not.

You seem to want to leave this question to mystery and paradox (proposing that scriptural revelation does not answer it), as virtually all the Protestant theologians have done. This I cannot do. Some questions God has not answered, but others critical to God's eternal purposes are definitely answered in scripture.

My point about Col. 1:13-17 is not that Paul makes a direct reference to God creating sin. But I believe that it certainly includes this. There are at least 4 entities that most theologians have assumed are non-created:

1. Time
2. Space
3. Law
4. Sin

I reject this notion as being a part of the very Manichaean philosopy that Paul is refuting in Colossians. All 'things' (what are things--only material things that we can observe; hardly!) are created by Him and for Him--to serve his eternal purposes.

My main point about Col. 1:13-17 is this: Paul is saying that God created the wicked devils for his own purposes! They are assigned a sure and certain lot in the 'invisible' order of things. In saying that God created the wicked devils who have eternal sin in their hearts, Paul is stating that God creates evil and wickedness. The eternal sin has nothing to do with God's own person and nature--it is totally separate from himself.

I don't see your argument at all about the Hebrew RA in Isa. 45:7. It is the traditional argument of most Roman Catholics and Protestants on the verse. However, I'm glad to say--there are a few dissenters who agree with me on this one (a rare commodity!). Gordon Clark presented numerous verses in his book 'Predestination' that evidence uses of RA in the Old Testament that can only refer to wickedness (Gen. 6:5 is only one of 50 examples). It is also used of disaster, however, in English we assume that these are opposite concepts (MORAL evil vs. PHYSICAL evil). The Hebrew mind had no such distinction. RA refers to all things bad (the 'dark' side of creation and providence), whether moral or physical.

Enough for now. I will review the rest and write more soon.

In the gospel,

disciple
08-15-03, 11:55 PM
Originally posted by GraceAmbassador
Can we find a good one that will ultimately be agreed upon by all of us?
well i've narrowed down what a bad one is or how a good translation should not read.


Contigentially is a management term. I was a management consultant in the past.
contingency i understand though i've never heard the word contingencial. then i looked it up in the dictionary and found that it was not there. thanks for clearing that up. yes i do not think God operates on contingencies.


I rejoice in that we agree and see no relevance in that we do not disagree.
i'm glad we agree on this fact. the question remains, however, of the origins of the first proclivity for rebellion against God came and how (or if) Scripture broaches this subject...

disciple
08-16-03, 12:07 AM
Originally posted by BillTwisse
My position is that it had to originate in his PURPOSES, as NOTHING escapes God's sovereign predestination; therefore it is created.
i see this as a logical argument which may or may not have Scriptural support (i.e., that the initial evil or the initial proclivity or desire for rebellion against the Creator was created).


You seem to want to leave this question to mystery and paradox (proposing that scriptural revelation does not answer it), as virtually all the Protestant theologians have done. This I cannot do. Some questions God has not answered, but others critical to God's eternal purposes are definitely answered in scripture.
it's because i'm not so sure Scripture discusses the origin of the first proclivity or desire for rebellion against God.


My point about Col. 1:13-17 is not that Paul makes a direct reference to God creating sin. But I believe that it certainly includes this.
that is a possible interpretation but can it be drawn out of that text? i'm not so sure it can. as i said, i think it is clear that it is not discussing the initial proclivity or desire for rebellion against God. the main idea is that Jesus is pre-eminent over all creation.


I don't see your argument at all about the Hebrew RA in Isa. 45:7. It is the traditional argument of most Roman Catholics and Protestants on the verse. However, I'm glad to say--there are a few dissenters who agree with me on this one (a rare commodity!). Gordon Clark presented numerous verses in his book 'Predestination' that evidence uses of RA in the Old Testament that can only refer to wickedness (Gen. 6:5 is only one of 50 examples). It is also used of disaster, however, in English we assume that these are opposite concepts (MORAL evil vs. PHYSICAL evil). The Hebrew mind had no such distinction. RA refers to all things bad (the 'dark' side of creation and providence), whether moral or physical.
but my point is that whatever the sense we understand of RA here, it has to be contrastive to SHALOM. so whatever sense we propose for RA in exegesis and translation in Isaiah 45:7, we cannot negate or ignore this all important contrastive parallelism. this much is basic. and as i said, i understand that RA has the meaning of evil within its semantic range, but it cannot have that sense here. therefore evil is a very poor translation in this context.

Bob Higby
08-16-03, 03:02 AM
I am working offline to respond to these issues. Since I do not have broadband or even completely free dialup, it will be a while before I can respond to every question. But I will sometime this weekend.

Our concept of SHALOM apparently is as different as our concept of RA (the opposite). For me, the meaning of these Hebrew words is never purely physical. Ditto for 'death', 'nakedness', etc. in Genesis 2 & 3. I simply cannot accept the notion that SHALOM refers only to peace in the material sense (absence from war, etc.).

SHALOM encompasses both material peace and spiritual peace with God in the heart. RA encompasses both material judgment (calamity) and spiritual rebellion against God in the heart (wickedness). In the Greek and Latin tradition, our language of necessity has to contain different words for spiritual and physical meanings. Even though I'm not a Hebrew expert, even a cursory reading of the OT shows me that there was no such distinction in the ancient mind. That is because the language is not influenced by Manichaean philosopy (the very philosophy that I'm convinced Paul is opposing in Colossians). Manichaean philosophy is the basis of the great apostasy predicted by Paul and was the foundation of the free-will theology of all the so-called 'fathers.'

Anyway, more soon!

GraceAmbassador
08-16-03, 08:09 AM
i'm glad we agree on this fact. the question remains, however, of the origins of the first proclivity for rebellion against God came and how (or if) Scripture broaches this subject...

Paul speaks of the "heavenlies" in three different occasions and describes three things that happen there. This can give us a clue but I do not know whether answers the question or not. But since we agree that God's will ultimately causes evil, I will assume that we can use the clues Paul gives us about the "heavenlies" which probably he discovered in the "revelation" he received.

Paul says:

In the "heavenlies":

1 - We are blessed with all "spiritual blessings" - Eph 1:3
2 - God shows His manifold wisdom to principalities and powers by the church: Eph. 3:10
3 - Is the place where the the "spiritual warfare" is being waged
(The three being referred by my "liberal theology" teacher as "hebraisms" and using the same methos you used to exegete a text, he says that these do not happen, it's only a reference to the undersdanting of Canaan by Jewish culture, which Paul uses to make his points - Canaan meaning a "place of battle to conquer a promise" - I hope you do not share his interpretation).

NOTE: I am beginning to be predictable here since I always refer to Paul. As Bill, I too thnk the writings of Paul are superior in its revelations and were "novel" to the other apostles (Paul declares that and I happen to believe him) and took some time to be understood by the other apostles. I believe, I am sure Bill does too, that without the epistles of Paul, Christianity would be a mere IREELEVANT SECT of judaism that would have passed away as many other fads and sects. So... I may as well admit it! I am predictable!

Could it be that perhaps, such spiritual warfare did not start "yesterday" or "during the ek-klesia inception" but it is an eternal event?
A word of caution: Some in the kingdom of the cults believe that God and the devil are the same eternal essence that always existed until the rebellion when the devil decided to overthrow God. It seems "christian theology" but actually it is dangerous because it says that God and satan are of the same eternal essence. Since as you said, APPARENTLY the Bible "broaches" the subject of who created evil, I submit to you that it may be classified in the Rule of Silence, that states that: If the Bible does not teach, then the Bible does not teach. I interpret it this way: If the Bible does not reveal it, perhaps it is not for us to know.
This is one of the issues that I believe that there is a vast difference in being "not ignorant" and an "expert". There are subjects that Paul would not have us ignorant. Then men misinterpreted Paul and sought expertise in the issues that Paul only wanted us not to be ignorant. Not being "ignorant" was healthy and uniting. The expertise divided the Boby od Christ to an quasi irreparable point, would it not be for God's Sovereignty and care for His own.

I had to digress since I struggle with the idea of the need to debate this issues.

But if the battle, or the "warfare" being waged in the "heavenlies" is eternal, then EVIL always existed, eternally existed, and its proclivity. This contradicts all we said so far since it states that it eternally existed with no need for a creator.

How can you solve this problem without teaching that God simply CREATED evil to plan strategically what Paul states in Ephesians 3:10. Can you see my point?

Let's say we finally agree that God created evil. I think He did.

How can this affect the Gospel message and how can this make us any more of any less Sovereign Grace believers with a mandate to announce the message of Grace?

Isn't teaching Gods attibute of Justice and Love balancing of the fact that He creates evil. If I say: He creates evil for the reprobate, but will take care of His elect. Can I be wrong? Does this affect the spiritual simplicity of the Gospel message?

The more I read your posts, the more I conclude that you are an avid Bible student looking for answers for difficult questions. This is praiseworthy and you do not need my encouragement but to obey the apostolic order I encourage to continue to do so anyway.
As for me, I hope I conveyed that here, certain matters are in the realm of faith and TRUST. I do not know why I had so many struggles in my life that at 51. I went through enough to have lived 351. But I trust God. TRUST is a word that indicates a dependency upon the "character" of the trusted person. I may have faltered in my faith sometimes, but ultimately I TRUST God as capable, willing and able to fulfill His promises to me. This applies for ALL the "evil" I have gone through in the ministry since the age of 17 and out of the ministry. People can't careless about my experiences, but I can't careless that they can't careless. If all they have is theory then "more power to them".

I do not mean to be preachy, but I cannot go on debating without laying the foundation of who I am and how I scrutinize experience with the Bible and try not to fit Bible in my experiences. Be as it may: whether God creates evil or simply overlooks the evil the devil brings upon me, I trust Him to bring all things together (sunegy, pron. synergy) to my GOOD. I teach that evil (bad) things can be as medicine to a sick person: It is a bunch of bad and bad tasting stuff put together in synergy to get you to be better. God sometimes stuffs a spoonful of these things down our throats because He deems them to be for our good. THAT kind of evil, GOD definitely CREATES, CAUSES, PRODUCES, MAKES...

Many internet debators do not have any exposure or application to what the Bible says other than what they read, infer and write about the Bible. I am not saying that this is your case. But often these debators change their minds as they go along with no committment to what they said only ten minutes ago merely because it does not matter: They do not have to teach and live it.

I welcome your thoughts.

p.s. I apologize for using neo-logisms akin to the jargon of a field of activity, such as "contigencially".

Brandan
08-16-03, 08:37 AM
Question - is there anything that exists that God did not create? That really is the question.

disciple
08-17-03, 06:33 PM
Originally posted by BillTwisse
Our concept of SHALOM apparently is as different as our concept of RA (the opposite). For me, the meaning of these Hebrew words is never purely physical. Ditto for 'death', 'nakedness', etc. in Genesis 2 & 3. I simply cannot accept the notion that SHALOM refers only to peace in the material sense (absence from war, etc.).

SHALOM encompasses both material peace and spiritual peace with God in the heart. RA encompasses both material judgment (calamity) and spiritual rebellion against God in the heart (wickedness). In the Greek and Latin tradition, our language of necessity has to contain different words for spiritual and physical meanings. Even though I'm not a Hebrew expert, even a cursory reading of the OT shows me that there was no such distinction in the ancient mind. That is because the language is not influenced by Manichaean philosopy (the very philosophy that I'm convinced Paul is opposing in Colossians). Manichaean philosophy is the basis of the great apostasy predicted by Paul and was the foundation of the free-will theology of all the so-called 'fathers.'
i don't deny that SHALOM can also be figuratively or spiritually used. i recognize this meaning in many places. but the question is, "is it to be applied that way here, in this context?" we can't just willy-nilly apply whatever meanings to words that we want just because it suits us. there is a very helpful little book by da carson called "exegetical fallacies." the majority of it is spent dealing with particular [i]word study or lexical semantic fallacies. below are a couple to bear in mind here (for both of us; since you appear to be taking a broad meaning while i'm adopting more of a specific meaning in this context):


Unwarranted Semantic Disjunctions and Restrictions - Some interpreters force a word to take on one meaning or another when it may include both meanings (either/or fallacy).

Unwarranted Restriction of the Semantic Field - We may fail to realize how broad the total semantic range of a word is. When performing the exegesis of a particular passage we may not adequately consider the potential options and unwittingly exclude possibilities that might include the correct one. All possibilities should be examined.

Unwarranted Adoption of an Expanded Semantic Field - Sometimes called illegitimate totality transfer, the fallacy in this instance lies in the supposition that the meaning of a word in a specific context is much broader than the context itself allows and may bring with it the word’s entire semantic range. Words can have many varied meanings. Usually only one meaning is applicable to each context.

my argument is that we cannot/should not adopt the expanded semantic field because of the very specific context:

Isa 45:1 The LORD said to Cyrus, his chosen one: I have taken hold of your right hand to help you capture nations and remove kings from power. City gates will open for you; not one will stay closed. 2 As I lead you, I will level mountains and break the iron bars on bronze gates of cities. 3 I will give you treasures hidden in dark and secret places. Then you will know that I, the LORD God of Israel, have called you by name. 4 Cyrus, you don't even know me! But I have called you by name and highly honored you because of Israel, my chosen servant. 5 Only I am the LORD! There are no other gods. I have made you strong, though you don't know me. 6 Now everyone from east to west will learn that I am the LORD. No other gods are real.


and most versions, commentators, and exegetes support what i'm saying and render it according to the context. it appears that KJV is in the minority here.

Bob Higby
08-17-03, 08:27 PM
Dear Disciple,

The whole context of Isaiah 45 is spiritual blessing, so I don't see your point here.

More importantly (which almost renders my former point useless and irrelevant), the whole Hebrew language as used in the OT is primarily spiritual and only secondarily material. Words with pregnant meaning are COMPOUND. You talk about a range of meanings; THERE IS NO RANGE (implying alternate meanings). All of them are applicable in every usage, contrary to many words in the Greek and Latin.

Well, now I will post what I have been composing, which is not yet complete:
______________________________________
My dear brethren,

I feel obligated to state a certain fact: unity in the Gospel is far more important than disputing these other matters! On message boards, we spend a great deal of our time in interaction of controversial ideas. This often happens because the traditional church provides no forum for expression of legitimate challenges to historical dogma. The denominations are sure they are right on every single point of their doctrinal confessions! This applies to assumed ‘inferior’ assertions--every bit as much as much as to gospel essentials. Divergence on the ‘inferiors’ will strip one of leadership or ordained office every bit as much as divergence on essentials! In the churches, there is absolutely no tolerance of significant objection on what are considered to be the inferiors. This is FACT, not mere accusation. Dogma that is not as sure and certain as the gospel is legislated to be as indisputably fundamental as the Trinity, Deity of Christ, and Soteriology.

I am convicted that we need to mutually commit to worship the eternal and wonderful God of all past history and revelation, even in electronic discussion! Unity on the core teachings of the gospel is far more important than disputes on many of the issues that we discuss. But working out these matters glorifies God. Many of these issues are not mere non-essentials; they are extremely fundamental if we are ultimately to comprehend the doctrine of the apostles.

i don't know that i'd call evil an entity. i see the logical deduction you are making but you are assuming that God did not allow for evil or rebellion for His purposes rather than actively creating it from within His own person.

I have never read a single verse in scripture proposing that God merely PERMITS or ALLOWS anything. The notion that God in his purposes exhibits a disappointed permission of sin is the foundation of all infralapsarian teaching. We are discussing whether ‘infra’ or ‘supra’ is the truth. I would propose that the Hebrew teaches that God does not MERELY PERMIT ANYTHING. He determines all things absolutely. That is the impact of the HIPHIL verb tense in so many of the OT scriptures, which all of our current English translations have refused to honor. I am still waiting for a translation that honors EVERY occurrence of the HIPHIL--by translating it exactly according to the original intent. It doesn’t exist. No one can possibly argue that it exists in any of our current translations. I cannot argue the outcome of this because I’m not a Hebrew scholar. I can only point out a couple of uses of the HIPHIL that critics have pointed out:

a) Both Cain and Abel were caused to bring the sacrifices that they offered. Those who hate God’s absolute sovereignty do not want to admit that Cain was caused to bring an unacceptable sacrifice. This they view as teaching that God is the author of sin.

b) All whom God caused to look at the serpent in the desert were healed. Many want to propose that those who ‘looked’ did so of their own free will!

I can’t finish the argument, only start it! It is up to the scholars to decide if they want to obey God and sort all of this out.

Two choices are presented in the argument I’m responding to:

1. God merely or simply ALLOWED for evil and rebellion in his purposes.
2. God actively created evil or rebellion from WITHIN HIS OWN PERSON.

I firmly reject both assertions as false. This makes me the target of the fire of both sides, so I will never be a respected teacher in churchianity! The same is true of a hundred other issues where nonconformists do not subscribe to either of two ’assumed’ alternatives of truth--the notion that either one or the other of two views, assumed to be the ONLY legitimate alternatives, must be true! The same assumptions are made in human politics (Democrat vs. Republican fundamentalism) and other human repositories of ideas outside of the spiritual realm. We should not be arguing from the same ‘point-scoring’ agenda as reprobate human legislators (two and ONLY two major propositions poised against one another). In the purely human realm, some of us believe that there are other more legitimate alternatives to the economy of government (only one of a host of political issues) than ‘raise taxes, spend more money’ or ‘cut taxes, spend more money’! I view many arguments of theology as presenting us with the same quality of alternatives as these two notions in the earthly realm of things.

I have already presented my two alternatives in other posts:

1. God in his purposes does not merely PERMIT anything, including sin, but determines ALL THINGS.
2. God created evil not from within his own character or nature, but solely as a result of his eternal purposes. Wickedness in the creation is totally a separate entity from the person and nature of God himself. God determines and creates many things (beings also) for his own glory that do not bear the stamp of his own character.

I hope that all of us at least understand my position, whether anyone agrees with it or not.

in other words, when God created the angels and mankind, He created them mutable (with the potential or ability to change). i'm seeing the philosophical problem of having a principle or concept be eternal like God and having no real origin at some point in past history. but to me this question as to origin of evil is not necessarily answered in Scripture as is the origin of creation (visible/earth and invisible/heavens) and mankind

You are assuming that Paul does not include WICKEDNESS in his assertion that ALL things are created for, by, and through Jesus Christ. My question is this: why do you make that assumption? It is certainly grounded in Patristic, Roman Catholic, and Protestant historical dogma. But where is that in scripture?

we at least know that the existence of evil predates mankind from Genesis:

Gen 3:5 "For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

We do NOT know this for sure at all. How is this even remotely suggested in the scripture quoted? God knew evil from eternity but is not himself evil, so the existence of evil originated when the first creature with evil impulses entered the scene of the universe. With regard to Satan, the allegorical interpretations of Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 are purely speculative in this regard. These passages do not refer to Satan at all but to the kings of Babylon and Tyre. Nothing in scripture suggests that Satan was created originally as ANYTHING except an eternal spirit with a beginning but no end (as all spirits are created)--embodied in the serpent in the garden.

you referenced Col 1:13-17. from this i assume you are focusing on vv. 16-17. i'm curious which category you'd put evil into? this still doesn't answer the question of whether evil is a thing. i presume you may be reading a version that has "principality" and this is where you'd put it. the current version i'm reading says:

Col 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities --all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

this word principality is from ARCH which can mean beginning/first or ruler/leader/initiator, etc. it doesn't mean principle, concept, etc.

The ‘whether’ of Paul is a qualification; but we cannot assume that Paul cited EVERY POSSIBLE ‘thing’ created by God in Christ unto his glory in his ‘list.’ Nonetheless, the dominions, rulers, and authorities INCLUDE those of the wicked devils--who are the invisible rulers and powers of the present age. This is a whole separate discussion--but it certainly is related to our topic. Who decides what is to be excluded from ’all things?’ On what basis do philosophers conclude that time, space, law, and sin are to be excluded from Paul’s assertion that ALL THINGS are created by him, for him, and through him?

quote:

Where does the Bible ever ask the question asked by millions of Roman Catholics and Protestants: Is God the author of evil? Just curious.


does scripture have to have an example of the question for it to be a valid question?

Most probably, YES! Because men can twist semantics to deceive minds. ‘Authorship’ implies ‘approval’ to the average mind, so expositors have taken advantage of the limited perspective of common thinking in the exact same way that politicians and philosphers do! This tells the whole story of the history of depraved theology.

quote:

A similar question (not answered in scripture) occurs frequently when a believer's child is smashed in death on the road: WHY? Submission to God's revelation means that we let God ask the questions and God give the answers!


i agree with this one. who is the clay to ask of the potter? all we need to do is read Job 37-42 and Rom 9 to get a perspective on this one.

I’m very glad and grateful! Hopefully our agreement on this one will lead to agreement on at least some of the other matters.



We all agree (hopefully!) that evil did not originate within the person and character of God himself.


but you said above "...if evil did not originate within the person of God himself, it had to have an origin at some point in past history". i took this to mean that you thought evil originated within the person of God himself. was i wrong on this?

Yes, but I already clarified this in a previous (and this) post and do not want to make it an issue. All serious discussion must assume that certain inevitable misunderstandings have to be reconciled through mutual discussion and respect.

quote:

However, the PURPOSES of God are separate from his person; that distinction is critical.


where do we find that the purposes of God are separate from his person? and what does this even mean? where is this concept in Scripture? or is it just a philosophical principle? how do we separate who someone is from what they do? to me it seems clear that one springs from the other. we do what we are? a tree is known by its fruit.

God is different from all creatures that he created with eternal spirits! He has the right to order things according to HIS ideas of wisdom and right, which are infinitely above ours--as we exist as his created and mutable offspring. The fact that evil, a multitude of damned angels and humans, & eternal hell are a part of his purposes; these fearful facts do NOT imply that the realities under consideration impute that God (the ‘tree‘) approves and delights in sin! For humans, the tree is certainly known by its fruit (whether righteous or evil). For God, the illustration of ’tree’ and ’fruit’ is deficient. He is supremely holy and separate from sin by nature, yet determines evil for his glory! So we cannot possibly judge him by the standards that scriptures set forth for mere humans! The creator is eternally distinct from the creature.

quote:

What is force? Election? Did not God predestine Adam and Eve to sin? If not, how can we say that he is sovereign over ALL history?

i think the term used in the historical debate is something more like coerce. in other words, did God choose for you. was there an actual choice for Adam and Eve or did he coerce them to make the choice they did? did they act according to the dictates of their desires or did their actions contradict what they actually wanted to do? i've heard that jonathan edwards discusses this at length in his "freedom of the will" (which i have yet to read but need to). i also understand that augustine discusses this issue as well as calvin, luther, aquinas, etc. in their discussions of the will of man.

quote:

co·erce
1 : to restrain or dominate by force <religion in the past has tried to coerce the irreligious -- W. R. Inge>
2 : to compel to an act or choice
3 : to bring about by force or threat <coerce the compliance of the rest of the community -- Scott Buchanan>
synonym see FORCE

If we accept the scriptures on the absolute sovereignty of God, we cannot evade the truth that when one decides between truth and error or sin and righteousness--that person is acting in harmony with the pre-determined decrees of God. Why would anyone argue against the notion of coertion by God’s decrees unless he/she is mad about it?

quote:

An impulse of eternal sin must have existed in his heart, before he acted on it in rebellion against God.
...
No well-published theologian has ever logically solved the problem of evil. Many Calvinists have claimed to solve it. However, when it comes to the ultimate question of where Satan’s first evil impulse came from, all resort to paradox and avoid a specific answer to the question.


and that's the heart of the issue. where did the initial proclivity for rebellion against the Creator come from? where did this impulse or desire originate? was it created or did it simply exist? did God create principles? it is a great philosophical quandry!

quote:

Paul answered the question of the problem of evil in full (Col. 1:13-17), without any worries about the condemning accusations of men! I would propose that we have not yet returned to the apostolic view of this matter. Most today still follow St. Gus. All of the well-known Roman Catholic and Protestant systematic theologies have followed him.


so what would you propose is the apostolic view of this matter? to me it is not clear that paul is saying in Col. 1:16-17 that God created evil. it is not shown that evil is a thing. to me Col 1:16-17 is talking about creation defined as all that is visible/earth and invisible/heavens (i.e., the spiritual and physical worlds or realms; e.g., angels, spirits, man, earth, creatures, etc.) and these realms have as heads of them various ruling authorities (e.g., earth - governments, kings, governors, etc.; heavens - powers, authorities). the point is that Christ is before and indeed over all of those various other authorities. in other words, all authority is given/created by God, and Christ is pre-eminent even above them.

Already answered above!

perhaps you meant Isaiah 45:7. this is another poor translation choice by the KJV (Other translations proposing that RA is mere ‘disaster‘ or ‘calamity’ follow).

Please read what I have already stated and my observations and quotes below; I do not believe the KJV is ‘inferior’ in this regard!

How shall we view Isaiah 45:7? SPIRITUAL vs. LITERAL (physical); a FALSE distinction that had NOTHING to do with the Hebrew dynamic! I would challenge the reader to look up all references to LIGHT, DARKNESS, and PEACE in Isaiah! Right now I do not have time to list all of these. However, if some believer wants the references, I certainly will give them Anyone can find these simply by reading the book of Isaiah in any translation,.

I have already proposed that the OT Hebrew language implies the ‘higher‘ and spiritual meaning--as inherent to the words in and of themselves, unlike the Greek. Hebrew words are compound (both spiritual and material) in their uses--unlike the Greek. In Greek the spiritual meaning is ‘derived’ from the prominent and material. Not so in the Hebrew. If anyone doubts this, go to any seminary that professes to believe the Word of God and consult with the ‘experts.’ They will tell you the truth--since my word is naturally ‘suspect’ to some. I challenge anyone to present contrary evidence to these assertions.

It is ridiculous to propose that the Hebrew ever contains unbroken parallelism. When two related halves of a verse are stated, the second is a confirmation of the first. A lot of verses in the OT contain two contrasting truths. So let me give both a ‘material’ and ‘spiritual’ rendition of Isaiah 45:7

Material:

“I form the light that the righteous see in the day, and create the darkness that the wicked see at night. I generate the tranquility that believers experience in the calm before the storm, and the fear resulting from tornadoes that afterward rip apart the dwelling of unbelievers! I, the Lord, do all these things.”

Spiritual:

“I create light in the hearts of many who were once in rebellion against me, and darkness in the hearts of those who are too proud to believe in me. I create eternal assurance of salvation in the hearts of those whom I have elected unto life, and eternal hatred toward me in the hearts of those whom I have elected unto disbelief. I, the Lord, do all these things.”

Neither of these completely does justice to the meaning of the Hebrew, since it is compound and includes BOTH concepts (spiritual primary, material secondary).

I do not now have time to finish this argument. I will supply quotes in the next few days from Dr. Gordon Clark which shed very serious light on the subject.

GraceAmbassador
08-17-03, 10:05 PM
One final note and I will quietly into the night:


Unwarranted Semantic Disjunctions and Restrictions - Some interpreters force a word to take on one meaning or another when it may include both meanings (either/or fallacy).

Unwarranted Restriction of the Semantic Field - We may fail to realize how broad the total semantic range of a word is. When performing the exegesis of a particular passage we may not adequately consider the potential options and unwittingly exclude possibilities that might include the correct one. All possibilities should be examined.

Unwarranted Adoption of an Expanded Semantic Field - Sometimes called illegitimate totality transfer, the fallacy in this instance lies in the supposition that the meaning of a word in a specific context is much broader than the context itself allows and may bring with it the word’s entire semantic range. Words can have many varied meanings. Usually only one meaning is applicable to each context.

Let me add another one:

Unwarranted REMOVAL of the Spiritual meaning of the Word of God – Sometimes we simply forget that ultimately the Word of God is: “living and active. Sharper than any double edged sword; it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the HEART.

Whatever rule of interpretation we use, when it is the Bible we are interpreting, the whole message, THE ULTIMATE MESSAGE , it wants to convey MUST be considered. To remove such a consideration, even using the three methods quoted above, without the added method gives room to situations such as we currently witnessed with the Episcopalian Church. They used methods similar to the above to prove that the word “homosexual” in the Bible only refers to “male prostitute”. Since the a man is responsibly living with another man, including but not limited to, having sexual relations with that other man, the fact that he is responsible overrides any prohibition against homosexual priests because he is NOT a male prostitute.
After all, the word “homosexual’ (according to a segment of the Episcopalian Church) is only condemned when a married man has a relationship with other man; when the relationship is gained through violent means, such as rape, or when it is male prostitution. They interpret it this way because they do not want to commit the fallacies of Unwarranted Semantic Disjunctions and Restrictions, or theUnwarranted Restriction of the Semantic Field, or the fallacy of Unwarranted Adoption of an Expanded Semantic Field.

Although words convey different meanings in different contexts, there must be a time in which we ask ourselves: “what is the relevance this text has for me if it is only a parallelism, devoid of meaning, and the author used one phrase to confirm the other phrase and for that he resorted to antithetical parallelism whereas in other he used synthetic parallelism? Why would God be so irrelevant? (Yes, I assume that if the Bible is a book of poetry with anti and synthetic parallelism, pointing to nothing, then it must be irrelevant).
These are the questions I asked professor Takia, long before in the mid 70’s. He simply told me with a straight face that “he did not need the Bible as the pure and inerrant Word of God in order to have faith”. No wonder he doubted the virginal birth, the resurrection and ultimately was on his sorry way to denying the deity of Jesus.

The Bible is primarily a book to “judge the thoughts and attitudes of the heart”.

For my part, I see myself with no more cooperation for this thread. I will however look for a response if anyone deems necessary to respond to this post.

Brandan
08-18-03, 11:37 AM
Milt, you wrote this:
I have never read a single verse in scripture proposing that God merely PERMITS or ALLOWS anything. The notion that God in his purposes exhibits a disappointed permission of sin is the foundation of all infralapsarian teaching. We are discussing whether ‘infra’ or ‘supra’ is the truth. I would propose that the Hebrew teaches that God does not MERELY PERMIT ANYTHING. He determines all things absolutely. And all I can say to that is Amen!

disciple
08-18-03, 01:26 PM
Originally posted by GraceAmbassador
Although words convey different meanings in different contexts, there must be a time in which we ask ourselves: “what is the relevance this text has for me if it is only a parallelism, devoid of meaning, and the author used one phrase to confirm the other phrase and for that he resorted to antithetical parallelism whereas in other he used synthetic parallelism? Why would God be so irrelevant? (Yes, I assume that if the Bible is a book of poetry with anti and synthetic parallelism, pointing to nothing, then it must be irrelevant).
i agree with everything you're saying and i seriously hope you don't think that i'm trying to do anything of the sort. my point is that words and phrases have specific meanings in context. we need to be very careful with the word of God and ensure we are handling it accurately. my whole point this entire time is that this is not a prooftext saying that "God said, 'Let there evil,' and there was evil." this understanding of the verse is to completely ignore the immediate context, the syntax, the parallelisms, the pragmatics, etc. hopefully this is not how the text is being read, but it seems that it is. i think it is an incorrect understanding of the verse and is not handling it accurately. here's how i see it:

Ch 44 - Isaiah is discussing how the Lord will deliver Israel and the issue of the foolishness of idols and false Gods and how He has no equal. in transition to the subject of chapter 45 he says:


Isaiah 44:28 When I say of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd,’ he will certainly do as I say. He will command that Jerusalem be rebuilt and that the Temple be restored."

so while the Israelites were in captivity in Babylon, thinking there was no hope and that their God had forgotten them and beginning to trust in idols, God was promising through Isaiah that He was going to deliver them through His servant and shepherd Cyrus. this was to be done so that everyone would recognize that YHWH has no equal and that He is the one doing it all. in other words, it is not the tribal or national gods who are responsible for a nation defeating another nation but YHWH alone. He is sovereign over all human events--even the battles that many in those times thought were decided by the strength of their tribal or national gods.


Isaiah 45:This is what the Lord says to Cyrus, his anointed one, whose right hand he will empower. Before him, mighty kings will be paralyzed with fear. Their fortress gates will be opened, never again to shut against him. 2 This is what the Lord says: “I will go before you, Cyrus, and level the mountains. I will smash down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. 3 And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness—secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name. 4 “And why have I called you for this work? It is for the sake of Jacob my servant, Israel my chosen one. I called you by name when you did not know me. 5 I am the Lord; there is no other God. I have prepared you, even though you do not know me, 6 so all the world from east to west will know there is no other God. I am the Lord, and there is no other. 7 I am the one who creates the light and makes the darkness. I am the one who sends good times and bad times. I, the Lord, am the one who does these things. 8 Open up, O heavens, and pour out your righteousness. Let the earth open wide so salvation and righteousness can sprout up together. I, the Lord, created them.

YHWH wanted them to realize that He was the one orchestrating it all. it was not mere random chance, it was not the result of tribal gods and idols, it was YHWH alone. He is the sovereign one over all the nations. in this context, it is not a prooftext for God being the creator of evil. the saying goes, "a text without a context becomes a pretext for a prooftext."

here is what the NET bible note says about v. 7:


This verses affirms that God is ultimately sovereign over his world, including mankind and nations. In accordance with his sovereign will, he can cause wars to cease and peace to predominate (as he was about to do for his exiled people through Cyrus), or he can bring disaster and judgment on nations (as he was about to do to Babylon through Cyrus).

this is what i'm saying the text says. i'm trying to be fair to the context, the syntax, lexical semantics, etc. and i'm trying to draw the meaning out of the text (and trying to avoid as much as possible inserting meaning into the text).

GraceAmbassador
08-18-03, 01:33 PM
Originally posted by grebel
Milt, you wrote this:And all I can say to that is Amen!

Dear Grebel:

I thank you for the AMEN, but God knows it was Bill who wrote the phrase you "amenned".

I wrote something similar upthere somewhere but nowhere near the wisdom, brevity, and gravity of the words of my dear Brother and friend Bill Twisse.

Be Blessed!

disciple
08-18-03, 01:49 PM
Bill-
just a quick comment on your post. i agree with a lot of what you are saying, and agree that God does not simply allow or permit things. He is indeed actively involved in everything that occurs. i should not have used that terminology. however, as far as your reading of Isaiah 45:7 and Col 1, you have not yet drawn out (proven, demonstrated) your interpretation from context. so far i've seen a lot of logical arguments and questions asking me why i limit things (for which i feel i have provided ample evidence as to why from context). but i have not seen a convincing reason from anything in context from the aforementioned verses that supports what you're saying. i'm not trying to be difficult here, i'm just asking for some evidence from the context and something a bit more convincing which would cause me to read the verses the way you are. for on my part, i'm simply trying to be honest and fair with the text and let it speak for itself (particularly Isaiah 45). i don't think either provides us with evidence that God said, "Let there be evil," and there was evil.

GraceAmbassador
08-18-03, 01:54 PM
Dear Disciple and all the Brethren scattered abroad this most excellent Forum;

Grace and Peace, Karis Irene...

(Very apostolic indeed).

Disciple, I am NOT saying that you were removing the intended meaning of the Word of God. I am saying however, that the overuse, misuse and often ABUSE of rules of interpretation often leads one to miss the real perspective and reverence God wants us to have for His word overlooking its intended meaning and purpose.

I am not one to condemn or reject the avid, unstopable, relentless pursuit of the truth (sorry if I sound like Rush). Actually I am all for it. But the text in question clearly states that God spoke of Himself as:

1 - The agent who was going to have His servant Cyrus to do his will

2 - The kind of God who could promote, foster, and even CREATE the conditions upon which His name would be glorified and His purpose would be accomplished at its fullest

3 - The kind of God that in order to fulfill his sovereign plan He would create: darkness, light, calamity, peace. Or any words one may translate the meaning of the sacred Hebrew.

These three above speak more of God than any methodology of interpretation could add.

The attempt to overinterpret the Bible has the potential of removing the Holy Spirit from it as in the example I cited with the Episcopalian Church.

I hope this clarifies it!

disciple
08-18-03, 03:30 PM
English has a much larger vocabulary than Hebrew. The Hebrew word here translated “evil” in the KJV and “calamity” in the NKJV can mean either of those two things—and several more (“disaster,” “badness,” etc.). It is unfortunate that the English word that suggests moral wrong (evil) should have been chosen here in 1611. The rendering calamity is much better in context.
Believer's Bible Commentary

"evil" is also from him; not the evil of sin; this is not to be found among the creatures God made; this is of men, though suffered by the Lord, and overruled by him for good: but the evil of punishment for sin, God's sore judgments, famine, pestilence, evil beasts, and the sword, or war, which latter may more especially be intended, as it is opposed to peace; this usually is the effect of sin; may be sometimes lawfully engaged in; whether on a good or bad foundation is permitted by God; moreover, all afflictions, adversities, and calamities, come under this name, and are of God; see Job_2:10,...Kimchi, from Saadiah Gaon, observes, that this is said against those that assert two gods, the one good, and the other evil; whereas the Lord is the Maker of good and evil, and therefore must be above all; and it is worthy of observation, that the Persian Magi, before Zoroastres (m), held two first causes, the one light, or the good god, the author of all good; and the other darkness, or the evil god, the author of all evil; the one they called Oromazes, the other Arimanius; and, as Dr. Prideaux (n) observes,

"these words are directed to Cyrus king of Persia, and must be understood as spoken in reference to the Persian sect of the Magians; who then held light and darkness, or good and evil, to be the supreme Beings, without acknowledging the great God as superior to both;''
Gill's Commentary

In Isa_45:7 we are led by the context to understand by darkness and evil the penal judgments, through which light and peace, or salvation, break forth for the people of God and the nations generally. But as the prophecy concerning Cyrus closes with this self-assertion of Jehovah, it is unquestionably a natural supposition that there is also a contrast implied to the dualistic system of Zarathustra, which divided the one nature of the Deity into two opposing powers (see Windischmann, Zoroastrische Studien, p. 135). The declaration is so bold, that Marcion appealed to this passage as a proof that the God of the Old Testament was a different being from the God of the New, and not the God of goodness only. The Valentinians and other gnostics also regarded the words “There is no God beside me” in Isaiah, as deceptive words of the Demiurugs. The early church met them with Tertullian's reply, “de his creator profitetur malis quae congruunt judici,” and also made use of this self-attestation of the God of revelation as a weapon with which to attack Manicheesism. The meaning of the words is not exhausted by those who content themselves with the assertion, that by the evil (or darkness) we are not to understand the evil of guilt (malum culpae), but the evil of punishment (malum paenae). Undoubtedly, evil as an act is not the direct working of God, but the spontaneous work of a creature endowed with freedom. At the same time, evil, as well as good, has in this sense its origin in God - that He combines within Himself the first principles of love and wrath, the possibility of evil, the self-punishment of evil, and therefore the consciousness of guilt as well as the evil of punishment in the broadest sense. When the apostle celebrates the glory of free grace in Rom_9:11., he stands on that giddy height, to which few are able to follow him without falling headlong into the false conclusions of a decretum absolutum, and the denial of all creaturely freedom.
Keil and Delitzsch

Isaiah 45:7:
Verse 7. I form the light, and create darkness] It was the great
principle of the Magian religion, which prevailed in Persia in the
time of Cyrus, and in which probably he was educated, that there
are two supreme, co-eternal, and independent causes always acting
in opposition one to the other; one the author of all good, the
other of all evil. The good being they called LIGHT; the evil
being, DARKNESS. That when LIGHT had the ascendant, then good and
happiness prevailed among men; when DARKNESS had the
superiority, then evil and misery abounded. An opinion that
contradicts the clearest evidence of our reason, which plainly
leads us to the acknowledgment of one only Supreme Being,
infinitely good as well as powerful. With reference to this absurd
opinion, held by the person to whom this prophecy is addressed,
God, by his prophet, in the most significant terms, asserts his
omnipotence and absolute supremacy:-

"I am JEHOVAH, and none else;
Forming light, and creating darkness,
Making peace, and creating evil:
I JEHOVAH am the author of all these things."

Declaring that those powers whom the Persians held to be the
original authors of good and evil to mankind, representing them by
light and darkness, as their proper emblems, are no other than
creatures of God, the instruments which he employs in his
government of the world, ordained or permitted by him in order to
execute his wise and just decrees; and that there is no power,
either of good or evil, independent of the one supreme God,
infinite in power and in goodness.

... I make peace, and create evil] Evil is here evidently put for
war and its attendant miseries. I will procure peace for the
Israelites, and destroy Babylon by war. I form light, and create
darkness. Now, as darkness is only the privation of light, so the
evil of war is the privation of peace.
Clarke's Commentary

light . . . darkness—literally (Ge 1:1-3), emblematical also, prosperity to Cyrus, calamity to Babylon and the nations to be vanquished [GROTIUS] . . . Isaiah refers also to the Oriental belief in two coexistent, eternal principles, ever struggling with each other, light or good, and darkness or evil, Oromasden and Ahrimanen. God, here, in opposition, asserts His sovereignty over both [VITRINGA].
create evil—not moral evil (Jas 1:13), but in contrast to "peace" in the parallel clause, war, disaster (compare Ps 65:7; Am 3:6).
JFB

Bob Higby
08-18-03, 05:14 PM
Brethren:

I defend the content of my last post--in terms of expressing either my 'position' or frustration at the lack of a 'position' in the typical evangelical approach. However, in reviewing it again this morning, I came to realize that some cocky or accusatory sounding things were expressed. I apologize for these. In my tiredness and anxiousness to be done last night, I had posted before doing my usual review of content and editing of too-strong rhetoric. Again, I'm sorry.

Well, I'm putting together the quotations I said that I would post.

Disciple, my objection to the additional evidence in your last post is again the same: broken parallelism. Light is parallel to peace, darkness is parallel to evil. The second expression in the Hebrew is simply a stronger re-statement of the first with other concepts. Light, darkness, peace, and evil all have a deep spiritual meaning. I see the last expositor that you cited admitting the deep implications of light and dark, but suggesting that peace and evil are merely God providing material blessing and physical judgments.

One of the first things I learned in 'Hebrew 101' at seminary 25 years ago was that compound words cannot be separated into different compartments--such as physical and spiritual. Both meanings are present in the same word--wherever it is used. Even in the verses where physical calamity seems to be the 'cutting edge' of the context (of course, I don't see that as the case at all in Isa. 45:7), the word does not refer to mere calamity. It refers to spiritual as well as physical judgment; when God judges materially with horrible punishments--he also hardens the hearts of those so judged and makes them curse his name, etc. When he creates RA, he always does both.

By the way, when I challenge a common interpretation--it does not mean I'm saying that I always have the correct alternative. It simply means that the common interpretation fails the test of sound hermeneutics FOR ME.

More soon.

Bob Higby
08-19-03, 11:33 PM
Title of My Poem: Get Thee Behind Me Zoroaster!

(Isaiah's alternative to Manichaean philosophy)

I form [the kingdom of] light and create [the kingdom of] darkness,
I provide salvation and create reprobation,
I, the Lord, do all these things!


Brethren,

I have never denied, in my convictions against the majority view, that a legion of scholars supporting the view I don't accept are out there. Some of these will always appear to be very convincing and legitimate.

Since my time is limited and I don’t have high-speed, I cannot compile a massive number of quotations at once. Beginning tonight, I will supply periodically some quotations from those that are ‘in line’ (to a greater or lesser degree) with the opposition, which is where I stand on this one. Calvin, Twisse, Hodge, Clark, and others.

NOTES ON CALVIN:

1. He is pre-KJV. Modern translators will say that he didn’t have the ‘light’ of advanced scholarship in his renderings, which is disappointing. These men of the past studied the Hebrew and Greek directly and understood it; they did not depend on the translations of others like we do. Calvin's reference to ‘good’ as a translation of SHALOM illustrates that he understood it as much more than material peace. The spiritual side to SHALOM is peace of soul and wholeness of salvation.

2. Eph. 6:12 is not translated but interpreted. It is interesting to note that the principalities in Ephesians are demonic; in Colossians they include the righteous angels, wicked angels, and humans in authority (more comprehensive). But I still conclude that Paul, in saying that God created the wicked devils (in whom sin first existed), is saying that God created sin. Contrary to Manichaean teaching, It is not an eternal principle. Neither is LAW--that is Paul’s other point in Colossians when he argues against submitting to the ‘elements’—the ‘elementary’ principles which Manichaean false teachers had called high, advanced, un-created and eternal.

3. A few emphasis are given by me. Calvin is here at his best, in my opinion. This is only a small sampling of a superb treatise. He doesn’t always conclude every point to my satisfaction (in this whole section of the Institutes) but certainly these words pit him against those who want to make SHALOM in Isaiah merely absence of war and RA merely physical disaster. His use of the words ‘prosperity’ and ‘adversity’, meanings usually limited to the PHYSICAL in our day, are not so limited in his mind. Calvin includes these concepts in his interpretation, for sure; the Hebrew is always compound in meaning. But his interpretation evidences the higher and spiritual ‘cutting edge’ that is in focus in the context of Isaiah 45. A final note: Paul quotes from this passage in his arguments in Romans 9 on double predestination, which to me shows that he understood it as focused on salvation and reprobation.

4. Calvin passionately goes against many typical infralapsarian arguments: the idea of a permissive vs. active will of God and also the notion of a revealed vs. secret will of God. I find his observations on all of these points wonderful and Spirit-filled.

“Paul, in order to suppress our desire to retaliate injuries, wisely reminds us that we wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with our spiritual enemy the devil, that we may prepare for the contest (Eph. 6:12). But to calm all the impulses of passion, the most useful consideration is, that God arms the devil, as well as all the wicked, for conflict , and sits as umpire, that he may exercise our patience. But if the disasters and miseries which press us happen without the agency of men, let us call to mind the doctrine of the Law (Deut. xxviii. 1), that all prosperity has its source in the blessing of God, that all adversity is his curse. . . . And it is for this reason that Jeremiah (Lament. iii. 38) and Amos (Amos iii. 6) expostulated bitterly with the Jews, for not believing that good as well as evil was produced by the command of God. To the same effect are the words in Isaiah, “I form the light and create darkness: I make peace and create evil. I the Lord do all these things" (”s. xlv. 7)." John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book I, Chapter XVII, Section 8

With regard to secret movements, what Solomon says of the heart of a king, that it is turned hither and thither, as God sees meet, certainly applies to the whole human race, and has the same force if he had said, that whatever we conceive in our minds is directed to its end by the secret inspiration of God. And certainly, did he not work internally in the minds of men, it could not have been properly said that he takes away the lip from the true, and prudence from the aged—takes away the heart from the princes of the earth, that they wander through devious paths. . . . But nothing can be clearer than the many passages which declare, that he blinds the minds of men, and smites them with giddiness, intoxicates them with a spirit of stupor, renders them infatuated, and hardens their hearts. Even these expressions many would confine to permission, as if, by deserting the reprobate, he allowed them to be blinded by Satan. But since the Holy Spirit distinctly says, that the blindness and infatuation are inflicted by the just judgment of God, the solution is altogether inadmissible. He is said to have hardened the heart of Pharoah, to have hardened it yet more, and confirmed it. . . . It to harden means only bare permission, the contumacy will not properly belong to Pharaoh. Now, could anything be more feeble and insipit than to interpret as if Pharaoh had only allowed himself to be hardened? We may add, that Scripture cuts off all handle for such cavils: “I,” saith the Lord, “will harden his heart.” (Exod. iv. 21). . . .(more of the same argument) . . . The evil spirit that troubled Saul is said to be from the Lord (1 Sam. Xvi. 14), in intimate that Saul’s madness was a just punishment from God. Satan is also said to blind the minds of those who believe not (2 Cor. iv. 4). But how so, unless that a spirit of error is sent from God himself, making those who refuse to obey the truth to believe a lie? According to the former view, it is said, “If the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet.” (Ezek. Xiv. 9). . . . As I have hitherto stated only what is plainly and unambiguously taught in Scripture, those who hesitate not to stigmatise what is thus taught by the sacred oracles, had better beware what kind of censure they employ. If, under a pretence of ignorance, they seek the praise of modesty, what greater arrogance can be imagined than to utter one word in opposition to the authority of God—to say, for instance, “I think otherwise,”—I would not have this subject touched”? But if they openly blaspheme, what will they gain by assaulting heaven? . . . Their first objection—that if anything happens without the will of God, he must have two contrary wills, decreeing by a secret counsel what he has openly forbidden in his law—is easily disposed of. But before I reply to it, I would again remind my readers that this cavil is directed not against me, but against the Holy Spirit. . . I have already shown clearly enough that God is the author of all those things which, according to these objectors, happen only by his inactive permission. He testifies that he creates light and darkness, forms good and evil (Is. xlv. 7); that no evil happens which he hath not done (Amos iii. 6). Let them tell me whether God exercises his judgments willingly or unwillingly. . . . And, in truth, if Christ was not crucified by the will of God, where is our redemption? Still, however, the will of God is not at variance with itself. It undergoes no change. He makes no pretence of not willing what he wills, but while in himself the will is one and undivided, to us it appears manifold, because, from the feebleness of our intellect, we cannot comprehend how, though after a different manner, he wills and wills not the very same thing. Paul terms the calling of the Gentiles a hidden mystery, and shortly after adds, that therein was manifested the manifold wisdom of God (Eph. iii. 10). Since, on account of the dullness of our sense, the wisdom of God seems manifold (or, as an old interpreter rendered it, multiform), are we, therefore to dream of some variation in God, as if he either changed his counsel, or disagreed with himself? Nay, when we cannot comprehend how God can will that to be done which he forbids us to do, let us call to mind our imbecility, and remember that the light in which he dwells is not without cause termed inaccessible (1 Tim. vi. 16), because shrouded in darkness.” John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book I, Chapter XVIII, Sections 2,3

An imbecile in comparison to God's perfection,

disciple
08-20-03, 09:57 AM
Originally posted by BillTwisse
1. He is pre-KJV. Modern translators will say that he didn’t have the ‘light’ of advanced scholarship in his renderings, which is disappointing. These men of the past studied the Hebrew and Greek directly and understood it; they did not depend on the translations of others like we do. Calvin's reference to ‘good’ as a translation of SHALOM illustrates that he understood it as much more than material peace. The spiritual side to SHALOM is peace of soul and wholeness of salvation.
it is interesting that he quotes it (or it is translated) in the first quote as:

“I form the light and create darkness: I make peace and create evil. I the Lord do all these things"

but in the second quote (which is an paraphrase to it) it is:

He testifies that he creates light and darkness, forms good and evil

furthermore, there are many pre-KJV that have it as peace and not good (actually even KJV has peace here):

Wyclif (1395) - Y am the Lord, and noon other God is; fourmynge liyt, and makynge derknessis, makynge pees, and fourmynge yuel; Y am the Lord, doynge alle these thingis.

Miles Coverdale (1535) - It is I yt created the light and darcknes, I make peace and trouble: Yee euen I the LORDE do all these thinges.

Bishops Bible (1568) - It is I that created light and darknesse, I make peace and trouble: yea euen I the Lorde do all these thinges.

Geneva (1587) - I forme the light and create darkenes: I make peace and create euill: I the Lorde doe all these things.

KJV I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

this has little to do with advanced scholarship or that we have somehow evolved past the knowledge of the greats of old. jerome predates it all and he has:

formans lucem et creans tenebras faciens pacem et creans malum ego Dominus faciens omnia haec

now i'm no latin buff (yet), but i can look up pacem and know that the nearest gloss is "peace" with no other options given (i.e., no semantic range). i can also look up malum and find that it has a range of usages (a certain semantic range) including "evil, misfortune, misdeed, crime, injury, and damage." now it seems in this respect that latin is very similar to Hebrew and Greek. my contention is that if the translators of the LXX and Jerome (translator of Latin Vulgate from Hebrew) understood the Hebrew term SHALOM here in context as referring to good or to salvation or some other idea that you are proposing, then there was a host of other terms that they could have chosen to make the matter clear.


...those who want to make SHALOM in Isaiah merely absence of war and RA merely physical disaster. His use of the words ‘prosperity’ and ‘adversity’, meanings usually limited to the PHYSICAL in our day, are not so limited in his mind. Calvin includes these concepts in his interpretation, for sure; the Hebrew is always compound in meaning. But his interpretation evidences the higher and spiritual ‘cutting edge’ that is in focus in the context of Isaiah 45.
i've been reading a book by moses silva called "lexical semantics" wherein he discusses the issue of determining word meanings. the idea is that words have a certain semantic range (e.g., range of meanings; for example you look in a dictionary you normally don't just find one word...this would be a thesarus) and the context is what assists the reader or listener of the utterance in discovering the sense in which the word is being used. in other words, the speaker or writer makes visible the sense or meaning of the word through the use of context. to put it simply, context (almost always) limits the meaning or sense of the words (i.e., to one sense/meaning).

i understand that you are using the argument that the Hebrew mind understood the term SHALOM to refer to the whole ball of wax, physical AND spiritual peace or that the Hebrew didn't even understand a distinction. again, this brings to mind another common fallacy called the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis which basically says, "speakers of different languages neccessarily construe the world differently, and are locked into the world view given to them by their language." da carson in his "exegetical fallacies" calls it Linkage of Language and Mentality. here is basically what he says:


this fallacy assumes that the Hebrew mind and the Greek mind were different, therefore, the languages had semantic limitations. the heart of this fallacy is the assumption that any language so constrains the thinking processes of the people who use it that they are forced into certain patterns of thought and shielded from others. beware of statements about the "mindset," etc.

i don't doubt that the Hebrew may have read and understood the term to mean that his physical state would be a reflection of his spiritual state (or status; or that the two were related or perhaps synonomous) and it is a theory that this is why they thought by Jesus' time that if you were wealthy and affluent that you therefore must have God's approval (this was evidence that God liked you or that you were on His good side). gb caird has much to say on this in his book, "the language and imagery of the bible."

but this does not mean that the context of isaiah 45:7 does not limit the meanings or senses of the words used. this does not mean that the original intent of isaiah and that the original audience's understanding wasn't that he was speaking of the current war-torn situation that israel was in (referring to war and peace). we cannot just assume because of our understanding of the Hebrew mind (which is quite tenuous), that he meant or they understood that he was referring to the presence of moral/spiritual evil or sin here. i really don't think that you're making a very good case here as it seems that your whole case rests on an issue of mindset which is based on assumptions and interpretations of writings (e.g., it is a circular issue or argument).

furthermore, your tact of argument seems to me to smack of ad hominem, poisoning of the well, or guilt by association. you keep mentioning such things as Manichaeism (a term i assume you're applying to all eras as a dualistic understanding...its application to pre-Manes times being anachronistic), roman catholicism, augustine, etc. and philosophical schools of thought but have yet to draw your argument from the context of Isaiah 45:7, from the text itself (e.g., i have seen no exegesis). i have been given no evidence other than a philosophical argument against another particular philophical thought with which you disagree, conjecture about a particular mindset, and some quotes from others who along with you oppose this popular thought.

disciple
08-20-03, 11:02 AM
just a quick clarifying comment. i have no doubt that this text is saying that God is sovereign over all and indeed created/formed/used bad and good, light and dark, sorrow and joy, calamity and peace, etc. for His purposes (contrary to those who think He is not involved in calamitous events and evil deeds, cf. Gen 45-50; Job 1-2; Acts 2, 4). my point is that we cannot make this text mean anything we want. we cannot make words mean what they cannot mean by ignoring context. it is good to look at the overall context of Isaiah, the prophets, the OT, Jewish philosophy and thought, the entire context of Scripture, etc. but not at the expense of or while ignoring the immediate context of the utterance. SHALOM here does not mean good as opposed to evil or righteousness as opposed to sin or eternal salvation as opposed to eternal condemnation. the context of the passage does not support this nor does the usage of SHALOM (aside from your mindset argument) justify this reading here. and this is not a prooftext for God saying, "let there be moral evil and rebellion against me, and there was." this is getting more out of the passage than it supplies. it is to try to extract something from this that is just not there. that is my point. i'm not aruging that God is not using terrible events and the bad things that result from a sin-torn world or that he is not using (ye, even creating and forming...indicating His sovereignty over them) the ills of war, evil, sin, famine, etc for His own purposes. but this is a different thing than saying that He implanted or created the first desire of moral evil and rebellion against Him into His creation. i don't think that this is the solution to the epistemological problem. i don't think this is the proper theodicy. especially using Isaiah 45:7 to prove it.

GraceAmbassador
08-20-03, 11:26 AM
again, this brings to mind another common fallacy called the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis which basically says, "speakers of different languages neccessarily construe the world differently, and are locked into the world view given to them by their language." da carson in his "exegetical fallacies" calls it Linkage of Language and Mentality. here is basically what he says:

I said that I have no further cooperation to the current issue of this thread. Indeed I do not. I think, nonetheless, that I can cooperate in the issue of languages and cultures.

Let me attempt to clarify something that people write about languages IN GENERAL without any experience in dealing with other languages and culture, thus ignoring the relationship between language and culture:

1 - In the "secular sense"

Not ALL words will be understood apart from culture and ethinicity, but often they will. For example, as you mentioned, there is hardly any comparable word comprehensively meaning "evil" in latin languages. I could cite a few that mean only "generic bad things". Also the word "peace" in latin Languages does mean often only "the absence of conflict". An analogy (a valid but poor analogy) is how words such as "rich, poor, always, many and all" have a different meaning to certain classes of people and often have to be explained in what context these words are being mentioned.

An example is the Portuguese Bible, translated by João Ferreira de Almeida (no relation, only same last name) the main translation used in Portuguese speaking countries (300 mil people) that translates the word "evil" only as "o mal". The use of the masculine definite article "o" before the word "mal" indicates that this is just not ANY "mal" but the ultimate "mal" which indicates that João Ferreira de Almeida understood that word as being what in English is rendered as the word "evil". The same happens in the Reina Valeria, the Spanish translation. Some translators of the Latin version of the Bible were very good catholic monks, or priests, versed in both ancient Hebrew and Greek and used the same translation in their pure Latin version.

2 - In the spiritual sense.

There is a certain degree of preocupation and exagerated dependency upon translators and what they write about "cultural and ethinic aspects" of a partucular language, specifically in our case, the Biblical Language. I used the word "often" above, meaning that "not always" a word is understood in relation to one's culture. But in the spritual sense, who will say or measure when a word should be viewed in the culture sense of the target audience or when a word should be exegeted to a complete loss of emphasis and the smooth connection it HAS TO HAVE with the overall intent of the Holy Scriptures from Genesis to the Maps? (if you will)

For that, although I appreciate and thank and use the effort put forth by those who came before me and researched it for me, I will trust the process of "ilumination" which is when the Holy Spirit transforms Devine concepts into human words without removing one millionth of an once from the weight of the meaning intended by God. Otherwise, how can those who do not have access to all the books written in the subject be capable to understanding the wonderful Revelation God has left us?

I know that one may fairly ask of the paragraph above: "What if then one understands the meaning of the word spiritually and it is different from what others understand spiritually?" My answer would be that I believe God is capable by His Holy Spirit to preserve the core of His message in the hearts and minds of the elect so they will understand fully His word in its full intention and deepest meaning. After all HE promised us that He would plant HIS words in our hearts and would make it stay, even if our hearts have to be changed from a stony one to a fleshly, maleable and versatile one!

If I would not believe that God had this capability I would not waste time in reading the scriptures and limit myself to reading the scriptures, make myself a Roman Catholic and teach that "...no...scripture is of private interpretation" and use this "ou-of-context text" as a pretext to forbid the private reading of the scriptures.

In some tribes of Northern South America if you tell the Indians that "...their sins will be cleaned as white as snow" they will wonder and ponder about what you are saying. But it is enough to say that snow is as white as "coconut meat" and they will immediately grasp on the meaning. The missionary field teach us a lot about language and cultures. I presume that most of the writers of commentaries about languages did some research on this field. The denial, however, that culture and ethinicity play a role in understanding a word eliminates both 1 and 2 above in my HUMBLE opinion.

************************************************** **

In another note, I am not Bill's lawyer. He does not need one. But I know Bill and have known him enough to testify that he is not one to use arguments and tacts that come

...smack of ad hominem, poisoning of the well, or guilt by association.

He is, as many others in this Forum, an avid Bible and Theology student and when he debates he is debating with sincerity of motives, seeking to learn and teach in the same proportion. As per my experience with Bill, he, similarly to me, economizes niceties that should be ASSUMED and PRESUMED among the brethren. I want to think of myself simple enough that everyone assumes that I like them and that they like me and would not offend them in any way. Knowing Bill, I know he feels the same. This assumption, and its resulted "lack of niceties" MAY LEND AN APPEARANCE of anything other than pure openness and sincerity, but, again, as a witness and as one who enjoys his friendship and fellowship, he will NOT use tact or argument that indicate

"...ad hominem, poisoning of the well, or guilt by association"
I am thankful that Bill is more sincere and more direct in the exposition of his ideas than nice. Nice and good he is by nature! Nice will teach me nothing in this debate; sincerity, a firm position, and direct words devoid of concerns for my ability to "take them", WILL. I believe this is true from all of us here and let us not "deceive ourselves". Bill understand that we should "speak the truth one to another" and that this apostolic command is balanced by "...and when it brings Grace to the hearers...".

disciple
08-20-03, 12:03 PM
Originally posted by GraceAmbassador
...thus ignoring the relationship between language and culture...
just to let you know that i'm not ignoring or even denying that there is a relationship. my point is that, while there is a relationship, it is not so much of a relationship that "speakers of different languages neccessarily construe the world differently, and are locked into the world view given to them by their language." as carson said, "the heart of this fallacy is the assumption that any language so constrains the thinking processes of the people who use it that they are forced into certain patterns of thought and shielded from others." so there is no denial of relationship, just a note of caution that this relationship does not prevent them (shield them) from reading the term SHALOM in context (peace) and understanding it as peace from war (or absence of calamity). my point is that they were not so locked into this world view. there is a recognition within linguistics that there is a relationship, but it is a limited relationship.


But I know Bill and have known him enough to testify that he is not one to use arguments and tacts that come...
i don't doubt all of this and i appreciate bill as well. i don't hold anything against him personally or think that he is a mean person. it's just that his arguments thus far in this topic have been to associate what i say with some errant philosophy or religion thereby dismissing it rather than dealing directly with the actual argument and evidence. and i have yet to see any real exegesis or textual evidence as to why i should read SHALOM as good or salvation or spiritual wholeness and RA as moral evil or reprobation or proclivity for rebellion, etc. in this context. therefore, i'm still waiting...

Bob Higby
08-20-03, 08:29 PM
Our whole argument is about CONTEXT; my continuous observation is the fact that the 'material only' translation of Isa. 45:7b breaks parallelism with Isa. 45:7:a and the context of the whole rest of the chapter. Also, the rest of the uses in Isaiah, pointed out in the quotation below. That is the very reason I oppose the 'material only' view. This quotation from Dr. Clark summarizes my own position lucidly:

The Scofield Bible is a good example of how Arminians try to escape from the plain meaning of the verse. Scofield says, “ra, translated ‘sorrow,’ ‘wretchedness,’ ‘adversity,’ ‘afflictions,’ ‘calamities,’ but never translated SIN. God created evil only in the sense that he made sorrow, wretchedness, etc., to be the sure fruits of sin.”

Now the most remarkable point about Scofield’s note is that he told the truth when he said, “RA . . . [is] never translated sin.” How could he have made such a statement, knowing it was true? The only answer is that he must have examined every instance of RA in the Hebrew text and then he must have determined that in no case did the King James translate it sin. And this is absolutely true. But if he compared every instance of RA with its translation in every case, he could not have failed to note that RA in Genesis 6:5 and in a number of other places is translated WICKEDNESS. In fact RA is translated wickedness some fifty times. Scofield could not have failed to notice this; so he says with just truth, RA is never translated sin. Since Scofield favors the word EVIL, a partial list of verses in which this translation occurs will be given; and second there will be a partial list where WICKED or WICKEDNESS is used.

Going through the Bible, Scofield must have read as far as Genesis 2:9, 17; 3:5, 22; 6:5; 8:21; 44:4; 48:16; 50:15, 17, 20. “The knowledge of good and EVIL” is simply a knowledge of sorrow or calamity; it is primarily a knowledge of disobedience and sin. Similarly, Genesis 3:5, 22 refers as much to sin as to its punishment. In fact Genesis 3:22 hardly refers to punishment at all. True, Adam was banished from the garden; but the word EVIL in the verse refers to his disobedience and sin.

Whatever lame excuse can be given for excluding sin and retaining only punishment in the previous four verses, Genesis 6:5 is clearly and indisputably a reference to sin. God did not see “adversity” or “afflictions”; he saw sinful thoughts. RA, in this verse at any rate, means sin. The same is true of Genesis 8:21. In fact sin and its punishment are separated here. God will not again curse or smite, as he had just done, for man’s heart is evil. The flood was a punishment, but the evil was the sinful heart of man.

Toward the end of Genesis RA refers to an alleged theft, many sins from which the Angel had redeemed Jacob, and three times the brothers’ sin against Joseph. In 50:17 again the sin is easily distinguishable from the feared punishment.

Is it necessary to plod through all the Old Testament to show that RA often means sin as distinct from its punishment? It should not be necessary; but to show the pervasiveness of the doctrine and the perverseness of Arminianism, something from II Chronicles will be listed: 22:4; 29:6; 36:5, 9, 12. Ahab did EVIL in the sight of the Lord. Our fathers have trespassed and done evil in the eyes of the Lord. Manasseh did evil in the sight of the Lord. He wrought much evil in the sight of the Lord. Jehoiakim did evil in the sight of the Lord. . . .

Evil, RA, is not once TRANSLATED sin. Very strange, but true.

Then there is Isaiah 56:2; 57:1; 59:7, 15; 65:12; 66:4. All instances of RA, or EVIL.

Now, if Scofield knew that RA was never translated SIN, he must have known that it was often translated WICKEDNESS. WICKEDNESS or WICKED, as the translation of RA occurs in Genesis 6:5; 13:13; 38:7; 39:9. Also in Deuteronomy 13:11 and 17:2. Also in I Samuel 30:22 and II Samuel 3:39. I Kings 2:44; Nehemiah 9:35; Esther 7:6, 9, 25. And Proverbs 21:12; 26:23, 26. Nor are these the only instances.

Scofield told the literal truth when he said it is never translated SIN. But nothing could be more false than his statement, “ God created evil ONLY in the sense that he made sorrow, wretchedness, etc., to be the sure fruits of sin.”

The scriptural meaning of the word RA, has now been abundantly made clear. But there is another point too. If RA means simply external calamities, then the word PEACE, which God also creates, can mean only military peace. The phrases are parallel. But this interpretation reduces the verse, orTHIS PART OF THE VERSE, to triviality. Even verse one can hardly be restricted to purely political matters. Verse three speaks of treasures of darkness, hidden riches, and the knowledge of God. Jacob my servant and Israel my elect are not phrases to be restricted to politics and economics. Verse 6 speaks of the extension of the knowledge of God throughout the world. Then comes “I make peace and create evil.” Merely military peace? Not peace with God? The next verse speaks of righteousness dropping down from heaven, not like dew, but like pouring rain. Bring forth salvation, let righteousness spring up together. I the Lord have created it.

O, Arminian, Arminian, thou that distortest the prophets and misinterpretest them that are sent unto thee; how often have I told your children the plain truth . . . and ye would not let them understand! NOTE: This is an alternate of Dr. John Gill’s unique translation of this verse, which Clark was very fond of! He was not so fond of certain aspects of his other interpretations.

There is still more in this chapter from Isaiah. Once again we find the potter and the clay. It indicates that God is not responsible to man. Woe to the man who complains that God has made him or anyone else a vessel of dishonor. The clay has no ‘rights’ against the potter. Nor does it have any free will to decide what sort of a bowl or jug it shall be.

Gordon H. Clark, Predestination, Presbyterian & Reformed, 1987, pp. 185-188

More from Dr. Clark soon.

disciple
08-20-03, 11:06 PM
Originally posted by BillTwisse
Our whole argument is about CONTEXT; my continuous observation is the fact that the 'material only' translation of Isa. 45:7b breaks parallelism with Isa. 45:7:a and the context of the whole rest of the chapter.
but this is Hebrew poetry wherein light and darkness is a figure of speech. it seems that the allusion is to the creation account in Genesis wherein God not only created light but also darkness. now i assume that you are here taking light to refer to righteousness or good and darkness to refer to sin or evil. you then seem to be conforming 7b to 7a rather than 7a to 7b but light and darkness can be a metonymy for any opposites. it need not mean good and evil or righteousness and sin. it certainly doesn't need to refer to the origin of the very first proclivity for rebellion against God. why could not light be a reference to peace and darkness a reference to calamity. or as the net bible has in its note: "On the surface v. 7a appears to describe God’s sovereign control over the cycle of day and night, but the following statement suggests that “light” and “darkness” symbolize “deliverance” and “judgment.”"


If RA means simply external calamities, then the word PEACE, which God also creates, can mean only military peace. The phrases are parallel. But this interpretation reduces the verse, or THIS PART OF THE VERSE, to triviality.
this would be no triviality to them, i assure you. and he makes it seem that if we take this verse to refer to external calamities and military peace that we must not believe that God ever grants spiritual peace. plus we must remember that this was during the days of the physical shadows and types. much that God was doing in the old covenant was preparatory for what was to come in the new covenant. and the majority of what we see is physical pictures, types, shadows, ceremonies, etc.


Even verse one can hardly be restricted to purely political matters. Verse three speaks of treasures of darkness, hidden riches, and the knowledge of God. Jacob my servant and Israel my elect are not phrases to be restricted to politics and economics. Verse 6 speaks of the extension of the knowledge of God throughout the world.
again, we mustn't forget that this is Hebrew poetry. the reference to treasures of darkness or hidden treasures seems to be to some thing or event that will cause them to recognize Him:

“I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden wealth of secret places,
So that you may know that it is I,
The Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.

what would you say that these hidden treasures are that will cause them to realize that He is YHWH? what does this refer to? is this referring to an inner sense of His eternal salvation? is this talking about some inkling that He justifies by faith? or is this freedom from captivity in Babylon? perhaps it could refer to some spiritual reality or some eternal truth? but i'm not so sure that's what Isaiah meant or how the readers would have understood it. but perhaps. the overall tenor doesn't seem to support this. it's not that this is false or that these aren't indeed great spiritual realities, but i just don't think they would have read it this way.

and v. 4 is speaking of Cyrus that even though he doesn't know God, he is but a pawn in the plan of God to free His people from captivity. and God is doing this that all may know that He is the one behind it all. He is fortelling all of this through Isaiah that people may not be fooled that it is because the idols of Cyrus or more power that the idols of Babylon or because of some merit in Cyrus. it is done so that all may know that YHWH has no equal:

That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun
That there is no one besides Me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other,


Then comes “I make peace and create evil.” Merely military peace? Not peace with God? The next verse speaks of righteousness dropping down from heaven, not like dew, but like pouring rain. Bring forth salvation, let righteousness spring up together. I the Lord have created it.
again, he makes it sound as if to read this as a reference to the impending deliverance from Babylonian captivity through Cyrus is to deny that God gives spiritual peace and eternal life at all! God forbid!! the point is that this is not what this text is saying. the fact that God grants spiritual peace is a true statement, but need not be derived from here.

and v. 8 is again more Hebrew poetry. and even if we did recognize that the main reference is to the impending physical situation and that there may be a secondary reference to the corresponding spiritual aspect or parallel, it would not mean that v. 7 is a prooftext for God saying, "let there be moral evil and there was moral evil." we still do not have God implanting an evil desire and proclivity for rebellion against Him into His creation. this is just not anywhere in the context that i can see. here are some alternative translations of v. 8:

CEV
Tell the heavens
to send down justice
like showers of rain.
Prepare the earth
for my saving power
to sprout and produce justice
that I, the Lord, create.

TEV
I will send victory from the sky like rain;
the earth will open to receive it
and will blossom with freedom and justice.
I, the Lord, will make this happen.”

NAB
Let justice descend, O heavens, like dew from above,
like gentle rain let the skies drop it down.
Let the earth open and salvation bud forth;
let justice also spring up!
I, the LORD, have created this.

NET
O sky, rain down from above!
Let the clouds send down showers of deliverance!
Let the earth absorb it so salvation may grow,
and deliverance may sprout up along with it.
I, the Lord, create it

Bob Higby
08-21-03, 06:59 PM
Disciple:

NONE of these quotes I have referenced are discussing the original proclivity to evil. They are simply establishing that God creates evil.

We are not going to agree on this. You talk about Hebrew POETRY (as if that makes it some kind of symbolic enigma); I do not believe such a thing exists. Poetry to us is not the poetry of the biblical authors.

The final point that I stand on, regardless of all these other interpreters:

The Hebrew language, as used in the OT, has God and eternal realities built into it. Words describing transcendent realities NEVER, in any passage, refer to strictly material things (i.e., prosperity or calamity). It is not that those words are wrong. The sin of the evangelical scholars (whom I am convinced know
better, even if you are not) is that they have a religious bias and an agenda to support. This is what lies behind their translation, in my conviction.

Isaiah 45 is one of the most significant and eloquent passages on soteriology in the entire OT. I cannot trash it and relegate its true meaning to enigma like I believe these other interpreters have done.

Isa. 57:2 (SALVIFIC SHALOM) to all!

disciple
08-22-03, 09:27 AM
Originally posted by BillTwisse
NONE of these quotes I have referenced are discussing the original proclivity to evil. They are simply establishing that God creates evil.
but isn't that the issue? did He or did He not implant the original proclivity for rebellion against Him into His creation?


We are not going to agree on this. You talk about Hebrew POETRY (as if that makes it some kind of symbolic enigma); I do not believe such a thing exists. Poetry to us is not the poetry of the biblical authors.
perhaps you missed my point. i believe poetic language is used to paint a picture and the words do indeed stand for something (the words are mere symbols that have a real reference; in other words, the words refer to something). the question is, "what is the reference of the symbols?" "what picture is isaiah painting here?" you say it's poetry painting a picture about spiritual realities (and perhaps physical realities as well). i say that the reference to the poetry is the present situation that isaiah's readers were experiencing and the deliverance from babylon that they were about to experience. that much i know for sure from the context. the rest is conjecture in my mind. perhaps you could extract a logical argument that he's really talking about spiritual deliverance but i must read this into the text. i cannot, in good conscience, extract that from the text unless i have a religious bias and an agenda to support.

unless the context gives me some really good indication that it's discussing a spiritual reality (as opposed or including a physical reality), then i'm not comfortable with it. the reason for it is that i want to have an exegetical theology and not go around super-imposing my grid upon the text of Scripture. i want to allow the Scripture to speak for itself, and if it contradicts the grid that i may be pre-committed to then so be it. i must change my grid. i don't buy the approach to Scripture that attempts to change the Scripture to fit the grid rather than admit that it is possible that the grid may be faulty. i hope you can understand and relate to what i'm saying here.


The Hebrew language, as used in the OT, has God and eternal realities built into it. Words describing transcendent realities NEVER, in any passage, refer to strictly material things (i.e., prosperity or calamity).
does this meaning reside within the words themselves? is it something inherent within the Hebrew language? do the words carry with them some inherent double meaning? or is the context that communicates this? or is this just a mindset or Hebrew way of thinking that we must know that Hebrews had before we can really understand Scripture and read it properly? and can a Hebrew make a statement and have it be physical only? can context restrict the meaning? and where does this idea come from? from all of the linguistics stuff i've been reading lately, i don't think many would accept this approach to language and exegesis. this seems too much like overlaying something onto the Scripture. again, i personally want to have an exegetical theology. if i can't extract something from the context, i'm not comfortable reading something into the context. mindset or whatever.


Isaiah 45 is one of the most significant and eloquent passages on soteriology in the entire OT. I cannot trash it and relegate its true meaning to enigma like I believe these other interpreters have done.
i'm not saying you have to trash it and relegate its true meaning to enigma. i'm not saying that this text is obscure at all. i don't think it's some hard to understand mystery. i think that the reference to which Isaiah is speaking is the current situation that the Jews were in. that's what the poetry refers to. this is plain from the context. the spiritual realities may be there, but i don't think that this is primary and i don't think it can be discovered from the context. you want to extract it from the Hebrew language or mindset and say that this was the way they wrote or thought or something. this is conjecture. if isaiah were alive today you could ask him but unfortunately we can only guess how they thought or what they really meant. my point is that the only thing we can be 100% sure on is to be extracted from the context. and the context is talking about Israel being delivered from captivity from babylon through the hand of Cyrus. and so that's what i rest on. the rest is conjecture which neither of us can prove with 100% certainty. perhaps they read the words and said, "oh Lord thank you for your spiritual deliverance in justification and in the final day." perhaps they read it, understood it as applying to their current situation, and then saw the spiritual realities behind that. the thing is, though, i'm not sure where you can get this from the context. perhaps i'm frustrating you. perhaps you think i'm making things obscure. but i assure you, from my perspective, i think the text is very clear and i think the context makes that plain. i don't want you to misunderstand what i'm saying. i want to rest on an exegetical theology and not a systematic theology. i want to avoid eisogesis at all costs. on this side of the cross, i can see what all those physical pictures meant. we still see through a mirror darkly, but we can look back at the types and shadows and have a better understanding because we now have the reality and know the fulfillment.

GraceAmbassador
08-22-03, 11:38 AM
i want to allow the Scripture to speak for itself, and if it contradicts the grid that i may be pre-committed to then so be it. i must change my grid. i don't buy the approach to Scripture that attempts to change the Scripture to fit the grid rather than admit that it is possible that the grid may be faulty. i hope you can understand and relate to what i'm saying here.
My pre committed grid is actually pos-committed once Grace was revealed. I explain below:

God did not use the history of Israel only to demonstrate His deliverance from "calamities" to the Hebrews. God used Israel and HIS DELIVERANCE FROM CALAMITIES granted to them to show spiritually how WILLING AND ABLE He is to deliver me from my calamity and, yea, the ultimate CALAMITY -- SIN -- in Jesus Christ (no more Cyrus, no more Moses, etc.)

We have to see the OT and its history and "poetry" through the grid above lest we make the Bible merely a history book.

How can the above grid be wrong?

Continuing:

i want to avoid eisogesis at all costs. on this side of the cross, i can see what all those physical pictures meant. we still see through a mirror darkly, but we can look back at the types and shadows and have a better understanding because we now have the reality and know the fulfillment.

The statement above is in and of itself a "pre committed grid" and a GOOD ONE. I just dispute that we somehow can't see what those physical pictures meant and I think the second clause of the quote above:
but we can look back at the types and shadows and have a better understanding because we now have the reality and know the fulfillment contradicts the first and agrees with my disputing.

We can know today why God brought such a deliverance to the Hebrews! That knowledge, by definition, is the opposite of a "mystery".

Again, I have no more techinical cooperation for this discussion, but I will continue to respond when I believe that the SPIRITUAL side, the prevailing one in the Scriptures, needs to be reinforced EVEN BEING THE LESS SPIRITUAL person, perhaps in the world and CERTAINLY in this Forum. I admit that saying that the SPIRITUAL side is the PREVAILING SIDE in the Scriptures is also a "pre-committed grid". HOLY GRID!

Bob Higby
08-22-03, 07:35 PM
Dear Disciple,

I most passionately disagree in the Lord when you state that we can only guess as to what Isaiah really meant! The deliverance from Babylon was/is a mere and puny foretaste of eternal salvation, which is the greater focus of Isaiah 40-66! One is a temporal and fading light--like that of the fire of a match that quickly is gone, the other (redemption) is forever and ever and ever and ever and ever (multiplied infinitely). Isaiah 40-66 is the most eloquent passage on soteriology in the entire OT.

My point about the original proclivity is this: the authors that I quoted do not necessarily agree with what I might propose on how, when, and under what circumstances sin arose. But they are certainly united on the premise that sin is created, not eternal! Otherwise, God is not sovereign in the ultimate sense; some other principle (or principles) outside of his creation dominate in this realm. In this the 'high-grace' theologians (I'm not referring to hyper-Calvinism!) oppose Augustine. Read Charles Hodge in his 'Systematic Theology'--for a full exposure of how St. Gus retained his Manichaean perspective after his conversion to Christ. This has dominated Christian thought ever since. Therefore I feel no obligation to 'prove' that Paul included EVERYTHING (sin, law, time, and space) when he said that all things were created by and for Jesus Christ. In my mind, the burden of proof is on those who want to exclude these things from God's creative sovereignty.

Now for the remainder of Dr. Clark's quotations. I will include my other observations that I composed offline:

______________________________

Dear Brethren,

I had committed to showing quotes from some other sources, so here it is.

Dr. Gordon Clark in his Religion, Reason, and Revelation is the best I have found on the subject under consideration. The final chapter of that book, God and evil, is very lucid and gets to the point of any notion that would posit evil as a principle external to God’s creation and purposes.

I can only quote samples:

Let it be unequivocally stated that this view (the view that Clark has superbly finished expounding in this chapter) certainly makes God the cause of sin. God is the sole ultimate cause of everything. There is absolutely nothing independent of him. He alone is the eternal being. He alone is omnipotent. He alone is sovereign. Not only is Satan his creature, but every detail of history was eternally in his plan before the world began; and he willed that it should all come to pass. The men and angels predestined to eternal life aht those foreordained to everlasting death are particularly and unchangeably designed: and their number is so certain and definite that cannot be either increased or diminished. Election and reprobation are equally ultimate. God determined that Christ should die; he determined as well that Judas should betray him. There was never the remotest possibility that something different could have happened.

Whatever the Lord pleases he does, in Heaven and in Earth (Psalm 135:6).

All the inhabitants of the Earth are reputed as nothing; he does according to his will in the army of Heaven and among the inhabitants of the Earth. No one can restrain his hand or say to him, “What have you done?’ (Daniel 4:35)

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

The Lord has made all things for himself, yes, even the wicked for the day of evil (Proverbs 16:4).

You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who has resisted his will?” But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? . . . Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? (Romans 9:19-21).

Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God (Romans 11:22).

One is permitted to ask, however, whether the phrase “cause of sin” is the equivalent of the phrase “author of sin” NOTE: Clark only needs to introduce this argument because of the long and unfortunate train of historical dogmatics following St. Gus. Since then, if one anyone can successfully win an argument (in the minds of readers or listeners) in pinning the label “God is the author of sin“ on any Christian, the person accused is automatically classified as a non-Christian and a heretic.
Worse than anti-Trinitarians or Pelagians. No mercy, no chance to redeem oneself! Such a person is reserved a circle in hell for sure. I have never spoken a truer statement! Is the latter phrase used to deny God’s universal causality? Obviously not, true, scripture does not use this phrase for the same people who affirm causality deny the authorship. They must have intended a difference. An illustration is close at hand. God is not the author of this book, as the Arminians would be the first to admit; but he is its ultimate cause as the Bible teaches. Yet I am the author. Authorship therefore is one kind of cause, but there are other kinds. The author of a book is its immediate cause; God is its ultimate cause.

This distinction between first and secondary causation--explicitly maintained in the Westminster Confession Sorry, Gordon, you are introducing a red herring and spurious argument here--in order to defend the illogical ‘system’ of Presbyterianism, the ‘divine origin‘ of the Westminster Assembly and the entirety of its conclusions, and the deplorable shunning of Dr. Twisse’s supralapsarian convictions by the assembly after he passed away! You have already demonstrated eloquently that God is the ULTIMATE cause of everything; why are you now backing down? I am preaching to the dead--Dr. Clark passed away in 1985! But all can see that I will oppose even my most admired friends--if they do not honor the ultimate revelation of the gospel--just as Paul opposed Peter (perhaps his ‘best’ friend in the gospel) at Antioch. --has not always been appreciated, even by those who are in general agreement. John Gill, for example, who is so excellent on so much, failed to grasp the distinction between the immediate author and the ultimate cause. For this reason there are some faulty passages in his otherwise fine work. Such is the difficulty of the problem and so confused are the discussions from the patristics to the present day, that some of the best Calvinists have not extricated themselves completely from scholastic errors.Not only Berkouwer, but even Jonathan Edwards, in spite of Calvin, still spoke of God’s permission of sin.

When, accordingly, the discussion comes to God’s being the author of sin, one must understand the question to be, Is God the immediate cause of sin? Dr. Clark, you have already said that God is the ULTIMATE cause. Just a reminder to correct your ’logic’--the evangelicals hate you for asserting that “God is logic and logic is God” Or, more clearly, does God commit sin? Of course not! So MY teaching is true: God purposes sin but does not condone sin or commit sin. This is a question concerning God’s holiness. Now, it should be evident that God no more commits sin than he is writing these words. Although the betrayal of Christ wa foreordained from eternity as a means of effecting the atonement, it was Judas, not God, who betrayed Christ. The secondary causes in history are not eliminated by divine causality, but rather they are made certain. And the acts of these secondary causes, whether they be righteous or sinful acts, are to be immediately referred to the agents; and it is these agents who are responsible.

Gordon H. Clark, Religion, Reason, and Revelation, The Trinity Foundation, 1995 (first edition 1961), pp. 238-240.

I don’t agree with Dr. Clark in every aspect of what he has said. However, I believe that he is closer to the truth than any other author I have read on the issue! I could elaborate further--but that would take a whole separate exposition. I will see if that type of exposition is even remotely ‘in-demand’ as time progresses.

For further reading, I heartily recommend Dr. Charles Hodge in his Systematic Theology: Volume One, Part I (Theology Proper), Chapter V (The Nature and Attributes of God), Section 13. I will not quote here--but if anyone is motivated to read this suberb treatment of the issue, he/she will be most rewarded spiritually. In addition, I recommend Volume Two, Part II, Chapter VIII on the Nature of Sin. Dr. Hodge, even though I disagree with some of his propositions, goes through the whole history of the ideas of St. Gus and refutes his Manichaean teaching--which is the basis of all views since on spritual aspects of Creation and the Fall.

Finally, I challenge anyone to search the internet and locate the marvelous expositions of one of the ‘greatest of them all’ on this subject--Dr. William Twisse! I’m not going to ‘throw all my diamonds into the river’ right now (unlike my former associate in the ministry--Little Richard, ha!--how strange and ‘fallen’ he appears today!) by giving links; as I’m not presently convinced that readers want to study this earnestly.

GRACE eternally and always,

Bob Higby
08-23-03, 07:53 AM
Again, my last post went overboard in expressing too much emotion! Ugh! Well--at least I hope that all accept the fact that I'm not calling anyone stupid. I do challenge the relevancy of discussion at a high level on any issue, once the appeal to paradox has been made at a lower level. In sorting this all out, that is what I have come back to. There is nothing anyone can write that someone else cannot eloquently tear apart--with enough effort and study. Nothing. This is because the highest minds disagree as much as the ignorant; the only difference is this: the 'range' of interpretations among the scholarly is narrowed to exclude that which is obviously ridiculous. A hundred possible interpretations may be narrowed to five or ten by knowledge and study, hardly ever down to one! That is why a knowledge of the truth, ultimately and finally, is acquired only by Holy Spirit enlightenment.

I fully support the Christology of the early Christian councils and the soteriology of the Reformation. Without these two, plus a preservation of the scriptures throughout time, Christianity would not have survived at all. Beyond this, however, I make no assumptions that historical dogmatics on an issue are the truth. This is where one must tirelessly study the Bible for oneself, using all the scholarly helps available for sure, but making no assumptions that any sect or historical dogmatic is correct. The truth of the Bible is self-authenticating. It hangs together on every significant issue--if the entirety of revelation is consulted over and over.

Well, the difference between the sects, in my mind, is determined largely by where the appeal to paradox is made (almost like Paul appealed to Caesar!). Once an argument becomes difficult and frustrating to sort out, the interpreter gives in: "I appeal to paradox!" In other words, we can't know the truth--it is enshrouded in mystery and contradiction.

The Wesleyan appeals to paradox earlier than the Calvinist. He has no problem asserting that SALVATION ITSELF is a mystery. Therefore, we can't fully understand God's purposes. So predestination to eternal life for individual souls cannot be affirmed as a definite truth.

The Calvinists appeal to paradox at different levels. The low-grace teachers say that only the positive side of election can be defined with accuracy; reprobation is mysterious and paradoxical. We only know for sure that God 'permits' or 'allows' it to magnify justice. The high-grace teachers who believe double predestination still make a final appeal to paradox at some point. For Hodge and most others, the appeal is finally made when trying to define how, where, and when the first sin originated. They feel that a good case can be presented as to how this happened with Adam (God permitted Satan to enter into his mutable but previously pure heart). But they cannot define how it happened with Satan himself. How does a sinless being, with absolutely no impulse to evil, rebel? They do assume that Satan was created perfect.

Anyway, Disciple has appealed to paradox at a lower level than the high-grace Calvinists. If we cannot know for sure whether sin is created--if it is possibly an eternal principle lying in wait to spoil anything that God creates, then a discussion of issues at a higher level than that (i.e., where the first proclivity to evil came from) is logically unfruitful. It will only end in an appeal to the same paradox.

Hoping to at least gain mutual understanding.

disciple
08-23-03, 04:52 PM
Originally posted by BillTwisse
Well, the difference between the sects, in my mind, is determined largely by where the appeal to paradox is made (almost like Paul appealed to Caesar!). Once an argument becomes difficult and frustrating to sort out, the interpreter gives in: "I appeal to paradox!" In other words, we can't know the truth--it is enshrouded in mystery and contradiction.
and that's really the issue i was trying to point out. that what happens is that we are all trying to figure it out based on our understanding and logic. it simply becomes a philosophical debate. i truly do not think Scripture is explicit on this. you think it is. i think the reason that there is so much disagreement is because all of our systems of logic are different and the place at which the person declares paradox is different is the point at which one believes goes beyond what Scripture explicitly teaches. you appear to see no paradoxes and to see that there is nothing that cannot be determined by Scripture. i'm not comfortable going to this extent with my good and necessary inference as WCF says. you apparently are comfortable with it and see that Scripture is explicit. i do not think it is. and therefore you have rightly determined that i affirm some sort of paradox in that election and reprobation are not symetrical but asymetrical (election is active and postive while reprobation is passive and negative). in other words all are headed to hell based on being in Adam and God actively elects some to eternal life while He passively leaves some to themselves. this is what I believe Scripture explicitly affirms. call this paradox if you will but this is the extent to which i am comfortable going based on what i read and understand in Scripture. hopefully you can respect this.

Bob Higby
08-23-03, 06:30 PM
My respectful response to Disciple.

and that's really the issue i was trying to point out. that what happens is that we are all trying to figure it out based on our understanding and logic. it simply becomes a philosophical debate.

Respectfully, I do not agree with this argument. All who know me are quite aware that I have no regard for what Paul terms ‘foolish’ philosophy in Colossians. I only believe in ‘sanctified’ logic in interpreting scripture--as our minds are made new by the Holy Spirit. I have no use for pure worldly understanding and logic; that is what Paul opposed at Mars Hill.

i truly do not think Scripture is explicit on this. you think it is. i think the reason that there is so much disagreement is because all of our systems of logic are different and the place at which the person declares paradox is different is the point at which one believes goes beyond what Scripture explicitly teaches.

I respect that. I once was where you are now, so how can I NOT sympathize with what you are saying! However, a certain teacher in the upper Midwest unwittingly turned me in a different direction forever! This happened without any desire or conviction on his part, so he must have been an unwitting instrument in the hands of God. He published a special issue of his periodic magazine in 1990 on the teaching of “Christian Reconstruction.“ One of his observations in that issue would certainly be considered a ’side note’ by 99% of readers. But not by me. When I read it, my mind was immediately stirred to eternal and ’revolutionary’ change. As revolutionary as my conversion to the New Covenant theology of Christian ethics in 1980. He pointed out that theories of ’eternal law’ and justice were the basis of all teachings attempting to bind the Christian conscience with a myriad of human and transitory regulations. Whoops! I could not believe what the Lord was laying on my heart there and then! That opened up a can of worms that ultimately led me to convert to hard supralapsarianism. Not merely the version of Dr. Gordon Clark, Dr. Herman Hoeksema, or Dr. Robert Reymond’s version in his ’New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith’ (perhaps the best in the last 80 years), but something even beyond Hodge, Calvin, Beza, and Twisse! (NOTE: I have met and interacted extensively with Dr. Reymond; I love the man!). I was convicted that the history of dogmatics after St. Gus is a sham on the issue of the origin of sin, precisely BECAUSE it is a sham on the origin of law. Both law and sin are created by God; they are not eternal principles! I finally realized that THIS is what Paul was getting at in Colossians!

you appear to see no paradoxes and to see that there is nothing that cannot be determined by Scripture. i'm not comfortable going to this extent with my good and necessary inference as WCF says.

A thousand times, NO. I believe that a legion of mysteries cannot be determined by scripture! Consider these three entities:

1. Divine mystery.
2. Rhetorical paradox.
3. Real or actual paradox.

I reject only #3--but fully accept the first two. I’m only proposing that scripture does not contain actual contradiction; I fully believe that it relegates many matters to ’the secret things of our God’--it contains rhetoric which, at first glance, appears to be in conflict with other rhetoric. But on matters of God’s eternal purposes of salvation and reprobation, it is unthinkable to propose that scripture does not reveal the truth.

you apparently are comfortable with it and see that Scripture is explicit. i do not think it is. and therefore you have rightly determined that i affirm some sort of paradox in that election and reprobation are not symetrical but asymetrical (election is active and postive while reprobation is passive and negative).

Right on! I affirm that both election and reprobation are active and positive. You do not. That explains virtually everything in which we have differed. For me, the parable of the soils (especially the version in Mark) is one of the best evidences that election to life and reprobation are equally ultimate. Christ said that unless we understand this parable, we cannot understand any of the others. It is the ultimate and defining (baseline) parable in his teaching.

In the infralapsarian version of reprobation (the ‘passive‘ and ‘negative’ version that you refer to) , GOD SENDS REDEEMABLE PEOPLE TO HELL! I would propose that this is why many Arminians assert that “Calvin’s God is my DEVIL.” They are ignorant and don’t know what they are saying, precisely because the infralapsarian perversion of the truth has driven them to their erroneous conclusions! So I can now FULLY forgive Wesley and FULLY accept the fact that God has also forgiven him and those of his followers who are honestly ignorant of this truth. I couldn’t earlier in my Christian pilgrimage, I certainly can now--with joyful exuberance!

in other words all are headed to hell based on being in Adam and God actively elects some to eternal life while He passively leaves some to themselves. this is what I believe Scripture explicitly affirms.

Where? Although the majority of Calvinists believe this (of course, most are infralapsarian), to me this is one of the ultimate perversions of Biblical teaching. But I won’t get into further exposition until I’m convinced that there is a genuine interest in it. If you are sure you are right on this (that this conclusion is as sure and certain as the gospel itself), I can’t present any alternative that you will consider worthy of debate at this juncture.

call this paradox if you will but this is the extent to which i am comfortable going based on what i read and understand in Scripture. hopefully you can respect this.

I respect it because I once was where you are now. I can only pray and hope that God in his sovereignty will change your ‘comfort zone’ at some point in the future, as he did with me 13 years ago.

GraceAmbassador
08-24-03, 10:42 PM
Dear Bill


So I can now FULLY forgive Wesley and FULLY accept the fact that God has also forgiven him and those of his followers who are honestly ignorant of this truth. I couldn’t earlier in my Christian pilgrimage, I certainly can now--with joyful exuberance!

Excellent work!

As to the quote above: As you well know, my sons are now part of a "multimedia" Bill Heybel type of church, with a membership boadering the 10 thousands, a very sophisticated building with all computerized multimedia facilities Wesleyan Church in the middle of some corn fields in the little village of Georgetown in West Michigan. I had to struggle with myself with the idea of my own sons belonging to a Wesleyan Church, specially one that despises any type of the GOOD kind of tradition. A few Sunday's ago, only to show my middle son my support to his music abilities (I have to call it music, but and old buzzard like me has to consider it more akin to noise), I went to that church for a morning service, hesitant and nervous as a long-tail cat under a rocking chair. "Sure" enough! The famous pastor, a middle aged man in his training suit (like a jogging suit) was preaching against Calvinism as one preaches against the devil calling anything resembling election "bad theology".

I was saddened to see that my kids choose to go back to the vomit of Arminianism. My youngest son, William, is an fierce Calvinist but he is too forgiving and is able to cope with the rigmarole of Wesleyans.

Now, how about me?

After much struggle and prayer, (note that my first Bible College was an Wesleyan one), I had to ask God to give me the ability to forgive Wesleyans and not count them out of heaven yet. God brought to my mind a phrase attributed to Smithfield: "We are all born Arminians, but Grace makes us Calvinists!" I was able to forgive these brethren for what they say, what they said and will say in the future in total ignorance and saying only for the zeal they have to what they call "evangelize".
You know that their idea is that "if I do not preach, and you do not give me money to do so, many will go to hell". This is what they call "evangelism".
Their assumption is that:

1 - They have to have money to preach
2 - They, then, preach
3 - The Holy Spirit "coax" people to go the the altar at the sound of three verses of Just as I am
4 - If they refuse, poor God. He loses. The Holy Spirit leaves them
5 - If they accept, Great Preaching brother!
6 - If they die after they refuse, tough on them. God loses forever
7 - If they do not die, they have another chance next Sunday and the cycle above starts afresh

They call this evangelism and this is the logic of their doctrine.
Plus, God calls them "helpless" and they tells them to "help themselves" making the right choice. So their God is illogical, unfair, insatiable and a sadistic executioner.

Well, I have to forgive them. God is giving me power to forgive them without their request for such forgiveness.

As you, for many years I preached the 1 through 7 above "logic of evangelism". I used to add mentally words to verses in the Bible. I used to read "I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but my me." And I added mentally: "And the way you will come to Jesus is by listening to a sermon I preach. Without a preacher, or me as a preacher, you can not go to Jesus so He will take you to the Father.

It was hard for me to discover that this is NOT in the Bible.

When God through some friends who showed me Paul's writings and much tears and repentance showed me Grace, the Sovereign Grace, I changed completly.

Later I decided to do as Zacheus did: I felt that I had defrauded people from the true Gospel, so I decided that I would restore FOURFOLD that which I had defrauded people from. I preached four times as hard the true Gospel, which Paul refers to as "my Gospel" or "according to the Gospel I preach" (just to be fair to all translations).

Today, I go to some churches with selective ears. When I hear things such as described earlier in this commentary, I silently begin to pray for the sick, the imprisoned, the missionaries... until the speaker finishes his rampage.

My point is I too had to forgive; and we only forgive something that hurts us and sometimes the forgiving is even more painful that the thing that hurt us in the first place. We cannot, however, take the risk or counting out some of the sheep that ultimately WILL HEAR the Good Pastor's voice. The more we keep our religious antipathy of them, the more we ourselves will be expected to forgive. No, we're no better than them! By the Grace of God, however, we that were the chief sinners and perpetrators of "bad theology" are now WHAT WE ARE! As Paul said, "I once was this and that... But for (because of) the Grace of God, I am what I am.

Hoping that we understand that we should receive our weak BRETHREN not with difficult questions but with love, I pray that God teaches me and all of us here, the importance of patiently wait for the Holy Spirit to do His work, His efficacious, unfailing and irresistable work in the lives of those who love God sincerely, but are sincerely in error.

Amen!

disciple
08-25-03, 12:06 PM
Originally posted by BillTwisse
Without these two, plus a preservation of the scriptures throughout time, Christianity would not have survived at all. Beyond this, however, I make no assumptions that historical dogmatics on an issue are the truth. This is where one must tirelessly study the Bible for oneself, using all the scholarly helps available for sure, but making no assumptions that any sect or historical dogmatic is correct. The truth of the Bible is self-authenticating.
i don't share your pessimistic perspective on this. i am not a "creedal" Christian nor do i believe that we determine truth by looking at majority or history alone. i do, however, put more emphasis on doing personal checks to see whether i'm being novel or not. if i contradict the majority of "Christianity" and history, then perhaps i'm the one who is wrong and not everyone else. you seem place more stock in your own tireless study of the Bible than the check and balance of history and scholarship. i try not to make any assumptions that any sect or historical dogmatic is correct, but i am not so quick to throw them out when my own logic and understanding contradicts them. and i think that's the crux of the matter here. we draw the lines at different places and apply the principle to differing degrees. neither of us wants to throw out the scholarly helps available, but we can't seem to agree on how to use them, to what level we trust them, and whether the fact that we believe that we are the only minority who actually understands the issue correctly is an indicator of novelty or not.


Respectfully, I do not agree with this argument. All who know me are quite aware that I have no regard for what Paul terms ‘foolish’ philosophy in Colossians. I only believe in ‘sanctified’ logic in interpreting scripture--as our minds are made new by the Holy Spirit. I have no use for pure worldly understanding and logic; that is what Paul opposed at Mars Hill.
by philosophical i don't mean that kind as referred to in 1 Co 1 or in Acts. what i mean is that since i don't think Scripture is all that explicit on this topic (it seems to me to leave it quite mysterious), then we scramble about trying to mount a theological/philosophical argument. we begin to exercise our good and necessary inference and from there who knows where it might lead. we may have a list of prooftexts with reasons why we think it says such and such about evil. this is what i meant by philosophical debate. it becomes a contest at who can collect the most prooftexts and support that with the greatest amount of sound logic. i do not see this as a clear exegetical issue from the very text of Scripture.

just as an FYI. my perspective on the text of Isaiah 45:7 is this:

1) My exegesis of the passage, as you know, would be that Isaiah is telling his readers that YHWH has no equal and that, despite their current situation, YHWH is still sovereign (He's still God) over all things generally and sovereign over their current situation specifically. YHWH will prove this by delivering the Israelites out of the captivity in Babylon by the hand of Cyrus. And this will not happen because Cyrus's gods are greater or because of random chance or apart from YHWH (because He has forgotten His people or rescinded on His promises) but because YHWH is sovereign and faithful. other great examples of the principle in Isaiah 45 is Gen 45-50, Job 1-2, and Acts 2:23 & 4:27-28.

Amos 3:6 If a trumpet is blown (reference to battle) in a city will not the people tremble? If a calamity occurs in a city has not the LORD done it?

notice again the parallelism in Amos 3:6. RA here is rendered correctly as calamity shown juxtaposed to the blown trumpet which is a clear reference to battle. also see vv. 9-11.

2) My practical application of the passage, say if i was preaching a sermon, would be that this teaches us that God is sovereign over all circumstances, even the bad times in our lives. so if you're a child of God struggling in thinking that God has forgotten you and that He's not in control of your situation and you're feeling that He's not going to follow through with His promises, think again. He is sovereign over everything, He has no equal, He is a faithful God, and His purposes will not be thwarted.

i do not think that the exegesis or practical application of the text is that God created evil. it seems quite clear to me that this is going beyond what the text is saying and pressing it further than is allowed.


A thousand times, NO. I believe that a legion of mysteries cannot be determined by scripture!
i should have been clearer. it seems that you appear to see no paradoxes in this area and to see that there is nothing that cannot be determined by Scripture in this area.


I’m only proposing that scripture does not contain actual contradiction; I fully believe that it relegates many matters to ’the secret things of our God’--it contains rhetoric which, at first glance, appears to be in conflict with other rhetoric. But on matters of God’s eternal purposes of salvation and reprobation, it is unthinkable to propose that scripture does not reveal the truth.
nor do i think that there are actual contradictions. i think a distinction of the terms contradiction, paradox, and mystery is vital here. it seems that you are viewing actual paradox as synonomous with contradiction. an actual paradox is just something which appears (or is seeminly) contradictory and yet is true. this is all within a system of logic. what we lack is a correct understanding or grasp of how it actually works. it's not that there's contradiction, it's that there is an appearance of contradiction but it yet remains true. i understand that you do not accept this and that you answer it by saying that election and reprobation are exactly symmetrical. to me that seems too much like the theology of fate or determinism according to mohammed. i know you've heard this before, but there is a reason that you have. i simply see this worldview as contrary to Scripture.


Right on! I affirm that both election and reprobation are active and positive. You do not. That explains virtually everything in which we have differed. For me, the parable of the soils (especially the version in Mark) is one of the best evidences that election to life and reprobation are equally ultimate. Christ said that unless we understand this parable, we cannot understand any of the others. It is the ultimate and defining (baseline) parable in his teaching.
great example! and in the parable, one soil that produces fruit is properly prepared and the other soils which do not produce fruit are left alone. it's not that poison is inserted into the soil or that the conditions are deliberately made unfavorable but the soil is left to itself and therefore the seed cannot take root and grow to harvest because of environment, state of soil, etc. but we must both be careful of taking the parable too far and make it teach something it was not intended to teach by Jesus. parables are dangerous ground for this (no pun intended). and i do agree that Mark has the clearest treatment of it (contrasting the demonstrative pronouns and verb tenses).


In the infralapsarian version of reprobation (the ‘passive‘ and ‘negative’ version that you refer to) , GOD SENDS REDEEMABLE PEOPLE TO HELL!
no because the picture is that we are all condemned and deserving of hell and God in His grace elects some to escape that (cf. John 3:18; Rom 1:24, 26, 28, 9:20-33; 1 Co 6:9-11; Titus 3:3ff). in the metaphor of the clay and Potter, the Master Potter is working with the same lump of fallen clay and He fashions one portion for honorable use and the other for dishonorable use. but for both the working material is corrupt and fallen clay. He has not added something to the clay that makes one portion bad and the other good. it His simply His sovereign choice in the use of each portion that determined how it would be used. the illustration i like is that we are all on a river cascading toward the waterfall to hell and God in His mercy elects some to pull out and escape their just condemnation. i have a feeling though that you will object to that picture as false. but it has been a very apt picture in my mind and seems to reflect well what i see in Scripture in regards to election and reprobation.


So I can now FULLY forgive Wesley and FULLY accept the fact that God has also forgiven him and those of his followers who are honestly ignorant of this truth. I couldn’t earlier in my Christian pilgrimage, I certainly can now--with joyful exuberance!
well i'm glad you can forgive me though it's not clear here whether you are lumping me in with Arminians or not (though it seems you are). and this is what rubs me the wrong way with your whole approach. in your mind, what is the practical outcome of what you're saying here? what do i lack in my understanding of God if i see the origin evil and/or reprobation as a mystery or paradox? am i in a lesser category before God or a simpleton in the kingdom because i don't adhere to hard supralapsarianism? what am i practically missing out on? why would you feel that you need to pray for me to convert? is it so important that i'm nearly not a Christian because of my inadequate understanding in this area?

as a practical question in light of your perspective on this issue, do you see sin in the life of a believer as determined/ordained by God? in other words, when you sin, is God making you sin? is He actively causing you to sin or is He permitting this? what do you see wrong with saying that God permits things that are against His will? what problem do you see with making a distinction between the decretive and permissive wills of God (http://www.desiringgod.org/library/topics/doctrines_grace/2wills.html). see http://www.desiringgod.org/library/topics/doctrines_grace/2wills.html

Bob Higby
08-25-03, 06:01 PM
Dear Disciple,

Well, I think that we both need a break from this. I know that my emotion has not been in balance at times & this makes my observations seem condescending to you. We have a lot of differing perspectives. Your overall approach I would define as SELECTION, which distinguishes between the active and passive decree, mine is ELECTION only (no 'selection from among' the 'fallen'): all souls are created positively for one of 3 destinies: immutable holiness (elect angels), salvation from sin in Christ the God-man (elect humans), or reprobation (devils--both spirit and phantom human); with all 3 being essential and eternal purposes of God. God's purposes are to be understood by starting with eternity future (Christ, the redeemed, & elect angels ruling & reigning over the lost), effected by Christ's atoning life & death, & going back in times past only to support the final goal. The first creation is future, not past (Hoeksema).

"you seem place more stock in your own tireless study of the Bible than the check and balance of history and scholarship"

No. I just trust history and scholarship a lot less than you do. Consider what came out the second century alone:

1. Atonement as a ransom paid to the devil.
2. Autonomous man.
3. Sacerdotalism.
4. Sacramentalism.
5. Unitarianism.
6. Chiliasm.
7. Neo-Legalism.
8. Manichaean Gnosticism.
9. Dominion of Sages over Conscience.

and so forth and so on.

Yes, my view of history would leave it unmistakably in the dominion of Islam--without the Christology of the 3rd/4th centuries and the soteriology of the Reformation. Arianism and Thomism would have ended the people of God if left unchecked. But God acted 'just in time' as he always does in his purposes!

No, I don't accept two or three wills of God; go back to Calvin (my first set of quotes in earlier posts) where he refutes this. One will (active & sovereign) and one will only. It is most of those since Calvin who have deteriorated back into the concept of multiple wills (active vs. passive, sovereign vs. revealed, etc.) These include Jonathan Edwards, John Gill, Arthur Pink, & so many others. Twisse, Beza, Clark, Hodge, Reymond, Hoeksema, etc. have defended Calvin's original position and noted how later Calvinism deteriorated into accepting certain Manichaean concepts from Augustine.

No, I don't equate you with Arminians. However, I don't accept your definition of true & actual paradox. You are saying same as the Arminians on this one issue, as are most evangelicals today. There is much that has been written on this so I'm not going to debate it further now.

To me, the danger of 'passive will' is immense. It does say that God sends redeemable people to hell. No one who affirms passive will can possibly say that those 'passed over' were not equal candidates to be saved by regeneration and faith--had God purposed in his decree of 'selection' to save all. Barth noted this very eloquently in his writings & said that for this reason, supralapsarianism is closer to the truth (of course I'm not defending Barth's perversions). To him and me, infralapsarianism (as well as Amyrautism, Arminianism, Wesleyanism, Pelagianism, etc.) all propose God to be the most strange, dreadful, and unpredictable tyrant. This is only resolved for me by abolishing a compartmentalized approach to interpreting scripture and affirming that God has a single sovereign will.

I could list a hundred implications but need a break. Maybe I'll write again in a week or two if the Spirit moves and I sense the Lord's leading.

In the true gospel,

disciple
08-27-03, 10:03 AM
Originally posted by BillTwisse
To me, the danger of 'passive will' is immense. It does say that God sends redeemable people to hell. No one who affirms passive will can possibly say that those 'passed over' were not equal candidates to be saved by regeneration and faith--had God purposed in his decree of 'selection' to save all.
that's the thing. none of us are worthy of redemption (and none of us are really redeemable, whatever that means) but if God elects, then we are redeemed. it's not redeemable vs. unredeemable. plus what makes someone redeemable (however you are using that term since it isn't really a term or concept that i remember from Scripture) is God's choice of them. that's what i thought is meant in romans 9:

Romans 9:11 for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, 12 it was said to her, "The older will serve the younger." 13 Just as it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." 14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15 For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." [we don't see, "I will damn who I hate" or "I will not have mercy on whom I do not have mercy, and I will have no compassion on whom I have no compassion." we have here it phrased positively not negatively] 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.according to and because]


I could list a hundred implications but need a break. Maybe I'll write again in a week or two if the Spirit moves and I sense the Lord's leading.
i know that i may be frustrating you and for that i apologize for being difficult. i do thank you for your patience with me and with your willingness to wrangle through all this with me. i appreciate it. i don't want you to go away thinking that i don't understand and appreciate the dilemma and that you haven't made me think. i don't want you to think that i haven't seriously thought about what you've said and considered that i may be wrong. i don't want to be flippant about this issue.

nevertheless, i am sincerely uncomfortable with your approach and interpretation to Isaiah 45:7 and i feel it is based on mindset spectulation, supposed language and/or word meaning operation, and philosophical reasoning rather than the text itself. this bothers me. my conscience will not allow me to read it the way that you are (more on this in a minute).

with that said, as far as Isaiah 45:7 and the creation of evil (defined as the initial creation and existence of the principle of evil played out in the first proclivity for rebellion against God) i want to go through a little philosophical exercise starting with looking at the text (i know nothing about hebrew so i'll use the LXX and English translations):

Isaiah 45:7 The One forming (aorist participle) light and creating (aorist participle) darkness, Causing (present participle) well-being and creating (present participle) calamity; I am the LORD who does (present participle) all these.

notice first of all that Isaiah is discussing the present operating of these things and is not addressing the initial origin or creation at some past time or in the beginning. both the LXX and English translation of the Hebrew show that we're talking present time not past time (ancient origins). the participles forming, creating, causing, doing, etc. all communicate present operation and not past event. he's using the allusion to creation and applying it to the present situation communicating God's sovereignty over the present situation and that God is the one currently doing it all. we mustn't miss that in our reading of the text.

having said this, i want to develop a thought. i do not believe that evil or sin or the initial proclivity for rebellion against God is some eternal principle that somehow exists outside of and apart from God. i do not think it spontaneously created itself but i also don't see that God said, "let there be evil, and there was evil." i don't think that it works this way. just like He didn't have to say "let there be good, and there was good" in order for good to exist (as if it were something that needed to be separately and individually created). in my mind, concepts only exist in a created environment. for example, before God created anything what was there? God. there was nothing to be contrasted with God nor was there anything to care. did the principle of good and evil somehow exist contemporaneously with God? that is unthinkable because good and evil are relative terms with an assumption that there is something to compare/contrast. so law, sin, evil, good, obedience, etc. didn't exist and didn't need to be created as separate entities because there was nothing for these principles to apply to...all that was there was God.

then He creates the angels at some point in eternity past. now we have the potential for good, evil, law, sin, obedience, disobedience, etc. because we have something other than God that is not God that can be compared to God. there is now a context in which we can have relative concepts or principles to apply to. did He have to create sin, evil, good, law, etc. as a separate thing for it to be real? what are these terms? how can they be created? or do they now have meaning and application and can in a sense come into existence because now we have a creation (i.e., something other than God and separate from God) that we can compare and contrast to God (its Creator). now that we have Creator/creation we can have a meaning and application of such comparative and relative concepts and principles such as good, evil, mutible, immutible, law, obedience, disobedience, etc.

as to what happened in this context prior to the revelation of God and the creation of man we can only surmise. the details of this this are not revealed for us. but it is at this point that these concepts have meaning. it is at this point that they can be said to come into existence (but did not need creation separately and individually). the fact that there is now creatures and creation (something other than God) makes the relative terms, concepts, ideas, principles, etc. possible.

when we come to the creation of man, ignoring what comes before that point, we know that now those relative terms have meaning and application to us. it is man and language that necessitates a defining of these terms and concepts. it is the context of creation (something outside of God) that allows for an exploration of these ideas. it is the existence of a creation that provides a context for which revelation can and did take place.

God creates a good but mutable creature in man. since we have Creator and creature, we now have an environment in which such things as good/evil, righteousness/unrighteousness, holiness/unholiness, infinite/finite, invisible/visible, mortal/immortal, perfect/imperfect, obedience/disobedience, freedom, will, law, etc. the creature also had to have a will and the ability to think in abstract and reason in order to give these concepts any meaning at all. all of these are terms and concepts which only have meaning within the context of a creation (matter or something outside of God). i think to try to hammer all of this philosophy into a mold of "God had to create it in order for it to exist and this includes concepts, ideas, principles, etc. otherwise God is not sovereign" is a little off. i think it is taking philosophy in a direction that the Scriptures do not go.

hopefully you can understand what i'm saying here. i have thought much about this in the past weeks in our discussions and this makes complete sense to me. God does not have to create a concept or principle (e.g., evil, good, etc.) a la Gen 1-2 in order for it to be real and have existence and meaning. and saying that God didn't create it directly, separately, and individually does not equate to God not being sovereign or something existing on its own outside of God. relative terms only have their origin or potential within the Creator/creature context. outside of this context, this all has no meaning or relevance. in fact, it is nonsense to even apply these principles outside of that environment.

Bob Higby
08-28-03, 06:15 PM
Dear Disciple & all other readers,

I'm not going to respond to or debate the issues under consideration right now. I just wanted to say hello and express my Christian love for all of you!

I am thinking through my method of interaction; obviously it needs an overhaul. I have strong convictions & am not caving in at all--but I need to consider in the Spirit how to best express my deep-seated and time-tested persuasions to fully honor and exalt Christ.

I fully believe there is a great difference between those who are interested in dialog on the truth--and those who have 'nothing but contempt' for anyone who would challenge historic evangelical dogmatics. If my posts challenge and 'preach' at the dogmaticians, it is easy for a reader currently in agreement with certain views of 'evangelical orthodoxy' to think that I am preaching at him/her. The issue is acceptance of motive versus stated dogma. Even if I challenge dogma where an interpreter agrees with it, I'm not necessarily challenging the motives of that person. I trust that those who contribute here are open to more truth than the majority.

That's all for now. I will probably be back 'full swing' on the weekend after I sort out all the issues and implications.

Your brother in Christ,

GraceAmbassador
08-28-03, 07:52 PM
Dear Bill:

I believe you know my thoughts about your views, but since you directed the commentary above to "all other readers" allow me to say a few good words about you in public, if I had not done this yet:

I support, encourage and learn from your writing style. I reject the notion that when Christians interact, all has to be done with a preocupation with each other susceptibilities. No doubt the Apostle Paul commands us to "...speak the truth to one another..." and he balances it with another command "...bring grace to the hearers..." However, I see no instance in your style that you broke any of these to very delicate and well balanced truths. On the contrary, I see --in your commentaries-- someone with deep concern for the Gospel, who will NOT ALLOW a little leaven to ferment the whole lump, whether this leaven may be in the form of a blunt heresy or a simple injection of traditional interpretation. The passion with which you deal with these issues IS an example to me. Would to God that I was that passionate about my own convictions.

On the merits of what you believe I can also affirm my total understanding of your points. I am, nonetheless, nobody to encroach into the depth of your thinking since you are much knowlegeable than I am in matters pertaining Church History and Patristic Thinking. Having sad that, one can only conlcude that I end up drawing more from your writings than you could possibly draw from mine. This is also true about learning from you.

Someone said that "the only value of a postal stamp is to 'stick to something' until it reaches its destination". It is NOT just any meaningless value. Your sticktoitness to your faith and convictions allows people to know for a fact where you want to get and can follow you to verify it, if need be. In other words, you are dependable theologically. The analogy, if it is not obvious yet, is that you are one who knows where you going, will stay the course and can be trusted as one who will reach your destination when followed. I appreciate that.

Be not discouraged! Your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Disciple:

I have learned to admire you, your patience and style. Also, I have Praised God for someone so willing to study as you study. To "study to show himself approved" is an apostolic command. It will enable you to "rightly divide", or CUT ASUNDER, the Word of truth. You owe nothing to anyone in terms of convictions.

Yes, I do agree more with Bill than I agree with you. I jokingly say, however, that as long as we "see as if looking in a piece of dark, stained and blurry brass used as mirrors in the days of Paul, we will disagree; but when we get to heaven, you will know all things and then you all will agree with me."

I know that your nickname here is "the learner", however, although this commentary is NOT about me, allow me to say that the "learner" here is this pitful (pit bull for some) servant of God who is favorably amazed by so much knowledge demonstrated here in your postings.

ALL:

Well, I just wanted to say the above because the Bible tells us to "give honor to whom honor is due". It is not because I am running for office since I assume that if I were, you would all vote for me anyway. In the segments of the Body of Christ that I have frequented and traveled, there is not much recognition for anything. Everybody copies somebody else and everybody tries to please everybody else especially if that means to thicken the notes bundle on the "love offering". That has created a bunch of dwarfs who reject real growth, refuse do contend for the faith once delievered to the saints, who confuse "swelling" and "growing", and fail to perceive that the "leaven only swells tha lump; it does not improve it", thus rendering "swell and growth" as meaning the same thing.

I PRAY that God will make the body of Christ more similar to what we have in THIS FORUM than what I have seen in the many churches and circles where God sent me to learn HOW NOT TO CONDUCT HIS AFFAIRS.

Sincerely

Milt

disciple
08-29-03, 08:48 AM
Originally posted by BillTwisse
I'm not going to respond to or debate the issues under consideration right now. I just wanted to say hello and express my Christian love for all of you!
understood. hello and thanks as well. as i said before, i very much appreciate the time you're spending with me and please don't feel that it was wasted. i have benefited much from our dialogue and appreciate your convictions and perspective. i sincerely feel it has been a genuine iron sharpening iron despite how messy this thread has looked. i guess iron sharpening can tend to be a bit messy ;)


I am thinking through my method of interaction; obviously it needs an overhaul. I have strong convictions & am not caving in at all--but I need to consider in the Spirit how to best express my deep-seated and time-tested persuasions to fully honor and exalt Christ.
understood. i think we all need to do that more often. i know that i need to. thanks for that perspective. often i just charge in like a bull and don't even think about what God would want. that is a good admonition for us all on this forum bill. thanks.


I fully believe there is a great difference between those who are interested in dialog on the truth--and those who have 'nothing but contempt' for anyone who would challenge historic evangelical dogmatics.
i hope that the latter isn't directed at me. this is certainly not my perspective. i think we always need to challenge and reevaluate historic evangelical dogmatics and constantly hold it up to the light and litmus test of Scripture to see if it stands the test. i truly believe in the principle of semper reformanda. i pray that the Lord would be pleased to have this forum be an environment that this can happen and that i could be part of that.


If my posts challenge and 'preach' at the dogmaticians, it is easy for a reader currently in agreement with certain views of 'evangelical orthodoxy' to think that I am preaching at him/her. The issue is acceptance of motive versus stated dogma. Even if I challenge dogma where an interpreter agrees with it, I'm not necessarily challenging the motives of that person. I trust that those who contribute here are open to more truth than the majority.
i never felt personally attacked so please don't feel that this was perceived. i do, however, pause and perhaps become skeptical when i feel that someone contradicts historic dogmatics in numerous areas especially those areas that are hard to understand and surrounded with philosophical and theological controversy. especially when the approach seems to be, "the majority of modern and historic dogmatics is wrong and at odds with Scripture and i and these few people are the only ones who properly understand the issue." this with the backdrop of an apparent belief that the issue isn't an area of mystery or paradox that is philosophically or theologically motivated but that Scripture is explicit in this area and it is based on a purely exegetical theology. yet there has and continues to be heated debate and considerable disagreement about this topic.

i sincerely believe in the principle of in essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, and in all things charity. i'd have much more concern and cause for caution if it were contradicting "essentials" (whatever that means) such as the doctrines of Christ and the gospel. i am not saying that the origin of evil is a small and unimportant issue, but i am saying that being dogmatic about the fact that God had to create evil to be God is perhaps not where we want to go with this. i see it more as a philosophical and theological exercise rather than one of essentials or a measure for orthodoxy.

disciple
08-29-03, 09:11 AM
Originally posted by GraceAmbassador
Well, I just wanted to say the above because the Bible tells us to "give honor to whom honor is due". It is not because I am running for office since I assume that if I were, you would all vote for me anyway.
i'd vote for ya! you're a pretty super cool guy.


I PRAY that God will make the body of Christ more similar to what we have in THIS FORUM than what I have seen in the many churches and circles where God sent me to learn HOW NOT TO CONDUCT HIS AFFAIRS.
thank you very much for your kind comments milt. they are very timely and much appreciated. may God richly bless you and His graces be multiplied to you.

The LORD bless you, and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.
Num 6:24-26

Bob Higby
08-30-03, 09:46 AM
Philosophical exercise? Wait a minute!

From Plato's Republic:

"God, if he be good, is not the author of all things, as the many assert, but he is the cause of a few things only, and not of most things that occur to men. Because few are the goods of human life, and many are the evils, and the good is to be attributed to God alone; of the evils the causes are to be sought elsewhere, and not in him. Let this then, be one of our rules and principles concerning the gods, to which our poets and reciters will be expected to conform -- that god is not the author of all things, but only of good."

Christian dogmatics since the second century has accepted the standard of Plato (pre-Christian) as the norm. Justin Martyr succeeded in binding the 'churchian' conscience to this standard. Since then we have an onslaught of dualism, compartmentalization, and paradox theology.

It is very wrong to assert that the issues we are discussing are philosophical and not biblical. For me, it is the Manichaeans who love philosphy more than the truth of revelation. And I see Manichaean thought expounded in the majority of interpreters. For the others who would oppose me (the majority), any person who hates and condemns all forms of dualism with a 'perfect hatred' (to use the language of David) is unorthodox, going against history, and not to be trusted. For the majority, those who believe in one sovereign will of God are labeled 'foolish philosophers.' But that is a false use of Paul's language in Colossians. I'm sorry, but on this one I have to tell it like it is.

I want to study and interact on scripture, not philosophy. When I state my conviction that certain views are in error and rooted in Manichaean philosophy, I'm not trying to say that these errors are calculated on the part of many. Neither am I saying that all people who oppose me reject the Word of God outright in favor of philosophy.

To argue over who is more 'philosophical' can only result in a name-calling game. Let us study and interpret scripture.

By the way, in case I haven't stated it before, I reject what is termed 'hardshell' or 'hyper' Calvinism. Although that view is often confused with supralapsarianism, in actual fact the two have nothing to do with each other. The most extreme form of hardshell Calvinism (Parkerism) is Manichaean to the core.

I fully believe and confess the free proclamation of the gospel to all men, the truth that the Spirit acts in conjunction with the Word, and that personal faith is our assurance of justification. All of these are vehemently denied by hyper-Calvinists.

I am preparing two more posts. One is my interpretation and convictions on what Paul is saying in Romans 9--and how it harmonizes with the rest of scripture. The other is a response to various points made by Disciple.

With regard to brother Milt, all I can say is this: I love the man! He has been an encouragement to me over the years in a way that no other person has. This is not because he always agrees with me or praises everything I say (although he has often given me hearty 'amens'). He shows a commitment to living out the gospel and love of Christ in everything that he says and does. I seek the fellowship of those who regard fellow believers in the same way that God regards us in and through his Son!

More soon,

disciple
08-31-03, 03:09 PM
Originally posted by BillTwisse
Philosophical exercise? Wait a minute!

From Plato's Republic:

"God, if he be good, is not the author of all things, as the many assert, but he is the cause of a few things only, and not of most things that occur to men. Because few are the goods of human life, and many are the evils, and the good is to be attributed to God alone; of the evils the causes are to be sought elsewhere, and not in him. Let this then, be one of our rules and principles concerning the gods, to which our poets and reciters will be expected to conform -- that god is not the author of all things, but only of good."

Christian dogmatics since the second century has accepted the standard of Plato (pre-Christian) as the norm. Justin Martyr succeeded in binding the 'churchian' conscience to this standard.
first of all, i need to clarify. i'm not sure if you followed my most recent post, but not only do i think that God didn't create evil, but He did not create good either. good and evil are relative terms, concepts, ideas, principles, etc. that only have meaning and relevance within a Creator/creature environment. they are not something to be created as if God said, "let there be good and there was good." i think we're thinking about this and approaching this whole thing from a human perspective and with a completely wrong perspective.



Since then we have an onslaught of dualism, compartmentalization, and paradox theology.
but to me, it seems to say that God somehow created good and evil as if they are something that is separate from a Creator/creature context and created individually (like the creation of man) is to be dualistic and to smack of yin-yang. good and evil are not some entities or forces that are created to wield power within GOd's creation. this all sounds like star wars and the force. evil and good to not exert influence and operate as if they were something created because they are really nothing. so i think the whole way that you've chosen to discuss this issue is to skip the step of defining what good and evil even are. you've assumed it, but it is not clear to me why you believe that they had to have been individually created by God.


I want to study and interact on scripture, not philosophy. When I state my conviction that certain views are in error and rooted in Manichaean philosophy, I'm not trying to say that these errors are calculated on the part of many. Neither am I saying that all people who oppose me reject the Word of God outright in favor of philosophy.

To argue over who is more 'philosophical' can only result in a name-calling game. Let us study and interpret scripture.
perhaps i need to make another clarifying comment. i do not think these issues are not Scriptural or that they are unimportant. i do however, believe that the original origin and cause for the existence of proclivity for rebellion against God is a mystery (not paradox). i do not believe Scripture answers this question. it just assumes that the concepts already exist or already have relevance. for even adam, before he at ate from the tree, did not have a concept of good. he didn't know what good was because he did not know what evil was. they only have relevance when they are contrasted. so not only did adam and eve not know evil, they also did not know good. that is important. so when i say that it is a philosophical exercise, i'm confessing that Scripture is silent as to the origins of the original cause for a creature to want to rebel against its Creator. it simply opens the creation account, assuming that the creature may or may not obey the Creature...the choice was left with adam and eve.


By the way, in case I haven't stated it before, I reject what is termed 'hardshell' or 'hyper' Calvinism. Although that view is often confused with supralapsarianism, in actual fact the two have nothing to do with each other. The most extreme form of hardshell Calvinism (Parkerism) is Manichaean to the core.

I fully believe and confess the free proclamation of the gospel to all men, the truth that the Spirit acts in conjunction with the Word, and that personal faith is our assurance of justification. All of these are vehemently denied by hyper-Calvinists.
so how do you avoid this? i know they are probably confused but can you see why they might be? again, i think the real "rub" of it all is to ask the question of why do saints sin? does God actively decree or cause you to sin, or do you sin because you want to?

to look at the Scripture, in the account of Job, did God force, compel, decree, etc. that satan do what he did or did satan want to do that? would it be accurate to say that at least in some sense that God allowed or had to allow satan to go ahead and do what he asked?

is there such a thing at all as God's permissive will? in the realm of sin in the life of a saint, does God allow us to sin even though He doesn't want, desire, wish, etc. that we did? is there such a thing as a will in creatures and if so, how does this work in your system?

Bob Higby
08-31-03, 07:01 PM
Brethren (Disciple included), I need to finish my current posts in construction before responding to further ones. I'll get back to you soon.

If you will indulge me in some relaxed writing, I have chosen to capitalize and not color for emphasis. Some think this amounts to intimidation and preaching, well, I hope that I can at least be trusted not to have intimidating motives.

The issue of whether Romans 9 teaches infralapsarianism or supralapsarianism has been debated many times in the history of dogma. As an introduction:

Infralapsarianism: God’s election of a people to salvation is ’under,’ ’inferior to,’ and ‘subsequent to’ the lapse; the ’lapse’ being Adam’s original act of disobedience. All mankind ’fell’ in Adam and his sin was immediately imputed to the whole human race. A BIBLICAL VIEW OF ELECTION MUST CONFESS THAT BEFORE THINKING ‘GRACE‘ IN CHRIST, GOD FIRST TOOK THE LAPSE INTO ACCOUNT, in order to honor the eternal law. So election in this system is really SELECTION of a multitude of sinners to be saved from a common mass of fallen humanity. Those who were ’passed over’ might just as easily have been saved as those who were selected. But God honored the ‘eternal’ and un-created law--which he had subjected even his own actions to, albeit with tears and divine frustration. In doing this, his will to abandon some to everlasting wrath was ’passive,’ not active. He WANTED to save all but had to settle for saving only some, to honor and glorify the eternal law which governed even his (God‘s) actions.

Supralapsarianism: God’s election of a people to salvation is ’over,’ ‘superior to,’ and ‘independent of’ the lapse; the ’lapse’ being Adam’s original act of disobedience. Those who hold to this view have different ideas on the fall of Adam and the imputation of his sin (whether it is immediate or mediate, representative of all or only some of the human race, etc.). But the remainder is agreed upon. A BIBLICAL VIEW OF ELECTION MUST CONFESS THAT GOD WAS THINKING ‘GRACE‘ IN CHRIST FROM ETERNITY AND THAT THIS PURPOSE WAS OVER AND ABOVE ANY CONSIDERATION OF MAN’S LAPSE INTO WICKEDNESS. So election in this system is just that: true ELECTION and a pure determination to create of a multitude of sinners to be saved in and through Jesus Christ. God equally determined to create a different multitude--one of reprobates who would serve his purposes opposite of salvation. These, as well as the elect, magnify his glory. In doing this, his will to create and choose some for eternal life and others for eternal wrath is ’active,’ not passive. He WANTED to magnify his glory and name by both of these two elections.

Having given this introduction, let me proceed to elaborate on why I’m absolutely convinced that Paul in Romans 9 is defending ELECTION, not SELECTION.

1. God is right and just in whatever he does, especially and primarily in his sovereign disposition of mercy (Rom. 9:14-16).

Let us not miss the focus of Paul’s argument. God is just and right in whatever he determines and does, simply because it is he who performs it. God simply states “I will do what I have determined.” In this case it is showing eternal mercy in Christ to a countless number of unworthy sinners. He does not owe or submit his actions to any external law governing himself. He wills (passionately wants) to have mercy in Christ on many souls. In subsequent points, we will see that he also wills (passionately wants) to demonstrate his powerful wrath on many others!

It is not of him who wills or runs, but of God who shows mercy. Election is Paul’s final and crowning argument in his scathing damnation of human works and character--as having any relevance whatsoever in initiating or retaining salvation.

2. Nonetheless, God’s purposes of mercy and hardening are equally ultimate (Rom. 9:17-21). One of these is definitely the ‘central leader’ and mainspring of God’s purposes (redemption), however, God has determined the other purpose (damnation) to be equally necessary in magnifying his glory and power.

God created and lifted Pharaoh up high for only one reason: to glorify himself by continually making Pharaoh’s heart more wicked (even in the presence of horrible judgments) and finally bringing him down to hell! As a result of this positive purpose of hardening and wrath, God’s name was honored throughout the earth.

Men who hate divine sovereignty will rightly ask the question, ‘who can resist his will?‘ However, they ask it not out of an earnest desire to know the truth, but rather of a wicked desire to damn God.

3. God actively wills reprobation (Rom. 9:22). He WANTS to manifest it! This is not a passing over. But he endures the vessels of wrath with patience in order to manifest the riches of his glory on the vessels of his mercy.

Damnation is no passive act of God. He endures the vessels of wrath with patience, not hoping for their salvation, but purposing this: the ugly and passionate hatred of God on the part of the reprobate, after experiencing God’s wonderful goodness and patience, will only magnify his glory in the judgment!

Today’s churchianity knows nothing of the biblical doctrine of judgment as VINDICATION, nothing! Evangelical teachers propose that the wicked, damned in God’s passive will, are removed to a subterranean corner of the universe in a hell that the righteous will not have to witness or think about! But the Hebrew doctrine is exactly the opposite! The people of God will be given the treasures of darkness, they will reign and rule over the wicked, the reprobates who were previously so exalted and great in human eyes will be subdued unto the pleasure of God and his saints!

4. Clay is neutral (Rom. 9:19-21). From it God fashions both kingdoms.

The analogy of the potter and clay, borrowed from Isaiah 45, cannot be missed here. This is not chosen merely as one of many ‘equally good’ illustrations. It is the best. God formed mankind from clay at the original creation. Paul is saying here that this involves the ACTIVE creation of two different specimens of humanity: 1) candidates of salvation and 2) reprobates with no hope of salvation. One is made honorable (though fallen in the beginning) and the other dishonorable or reprobate. There is nothing here at all even remotely suggesting a notion of SELECTION from a common mass of ALREADY WICKED humans. Each was elected positively to one destiny or the other BEFORE HAVING DONE GOOD OR BAD (verse 11). That is the weight of evidence. Clay is merely the basis of human flesh, not of the spirit. From it God creates both flower and thorn; also the bodies inhabited by both saved and damned eternal spirits!

Two more points not directly related to our issue but nonetheless critical to the passage:

5. The glory of God manifested in election to salvation, both of Jews and all nations, lies at the center and heart of his purposes (Rom. 9:23-24).

6. Good people (in the eyes of men) go to hell, bad people whom God elects to save from sin (Gentiles) go to heaven (Rom. 9:25ff.).

I also feel compelled to defend a few aspects of my convictions on the 4-soils parable; in contrast to those of Disciple. I will not to elaborate on this extensively, since only so much can be presented at once. But I would encourage readers to consider certain basics:

a) The statement of Christ on the sin against the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:20-30) introduces the context. Those who commit this sin, in my view, are the reprobate three soils in the parable and the rebels against the gospel in families whom Christ confronts with the reality of himself (Mark 3:31-35). Evanjellyfishism will deny this interpretation and go to great lengths to try and prove that ’eternal sin’ is not eternal sin and that only a few commit it. My only conclusion: if the rest (who are still damned in the end) do not commit it, then GOD SENDS REDEEMABLE PEOPLE TO HELL. But Oh how the current evanjellyfish religion hates the doctrine of the ’true sword’--that Christ came to divide families over the gospel! This the primary and most basic implication of his divisive and controversial message. But some want to defend ‘conservative family values,’ a mere political cause, at the expense of the gospel.

b) The point of the rebellious three soils is not that these persons are neutral hearers bypassed by God’s ’passive will.’ Far from it! God DETERMINES that they should see and never perceive, hear and never understand, lest the ultimate tragedy should happen: the sins of those whom God has elected to damnation might (theoretically only, of course) be forgiven! Prayerfully read Mark 4:10-20. If we do not understand this one, we don’t understand any of the others. Christ said so. And the point is this: JESUS SPOKE IN PARABLES, NOT TO MAKE HIS POINT SIMPLE BY ILLUSTRATION, BUT TO HARDEN THE AND CONFUSE THE HEARTS OF REPROBATES WHO HEAR, LEST THEY SHOULD BELIEVE AND BE FORGIVEN! For the reprobate three soils, Jesus wanted his message to be complicated and impossible to understand! This statement and method of teaching by Christ is only a sign against them, since their hearts enslaved in eternal sin can never understand anyway.

I will NEVER surrender (to the infralapsarians). This is only because I'm absolutely convicted in the Spirit, contrary to Boettner and so many, that biblical revelation is supralapsarian in its core essence.

disciple
09-02-03, 10:54 AM
Originally posted by BillTwisse
I will NEVER surrender (to the infralapsarians). This is only because I'm absolutely convicted in the Spirit, contrary to Boettner and so many, that biblical revelation is supralapsarian in its core essence.
i'm glad you're upfront with that. it is helpful to know when someone is unwilling to surrender. i guess i don't expect you to fall over and surrender, but it would be nice to have mutual understanding and to dialogue with someone who is willing to admit that perhaps they don't have it all figured out.

again, i confess that you've made me think a whole lot. i have been processing all that you've been saying and i can't say that i disagree with everything you say or that i've been unmoved by what you've presented. i also confess that i've never considered that fact that God created evil nor have i seriously considered that it may be true that God's election and reprobation are symmetrical (i.e., both active). you are a great thinker. i appreciate your convictions and you taking the time to dialogue with me on this.

but i'm not willing to say that i will NEVER surrender to anything. that to me just says that you're not willing to think that perhaps you don't have it all figured out. i've had to submit to many things that i did not once believe. i will not say that this is one of those exempt from that possibility. that to me is the epitome of arrogance.

quick question. why did God allow, decree, etc. a fall? why not just create adam fallen or sinful?

Bob Higby
09-03-03, 07:56 PM
Brethren,

Couldn't get on for a few days due to other commitments--so I am just now posting my latest composed response to an earlier post of Disciple (not the last by any means!). Well, since I'm now behind, I have a lot of reading to do before continued dialogue. Grace always, --Bill
_____________________________________________

More answers to Disciple:

Philosophical Exercise
quote:

Originally posted by BillTwisse
To me, the danger of 'passive will' is immense. It does say that God sends redeemable people to hell. No one who affirms passive will can possibly say that those 'passed over' were not equal candidates to be saved by regeneration and faith--had God purposed in his decree of 'selection' to save all.

that's the thing. none of us are worthy of redemption (and none of us are really redeemable, whatever that means) but if God elects, then we are redeemed. it's not redeemable vs. unredeemable. plus what makes someone redeemable (however you are using that term since it isn't really a term or concept that i remember from Scripture) is God's choice of them. that's what i thought is meant in romans 9

Well, in the final analysis, this still leaves God sending redeemable people to hell. That is a real problem in relation to the immutability of God and perfection of his purposes, in fact, to me it denies these and would propose God‘s plans/actions to be full of illogic and unpredictability. Of course, we are all unworthy of eternal grace in Christ and conceived in iniquity; there is no dispute on that issue. But the notion of ‘selection’ from a common mass of fallen humanity--this idea leaves people who might as easily been selected/saved in hell! No matter how it is sliced and diced. I would propose that my terms are as simple as can be used to express the thought I am trying to convey. Many persons with a dogmatic agenda wish to assert how complicated all of this is, in order to discredit nonconformists in favor of traditional churchmen. The doctrine of selection (as opposed to election) echoes hundreds of other similar assertions in past dogmatic history.

Is God’s sovereign will done perfectly on earth as it is determined in heaven? That is the issue. If God is wrath (as well as love and grace) and desires to manifest this wrath upon many created beings, to the praise of his glory--then those beings are created in eternal sin (like the devil) without any hope of salvation. They are devils in every sense as Satan himself. Their sin is un-parallel to and unlike that of the destructive, disabling unto faith, but temporally damning sin of those condemned in Adam and redeemed in Christ. The only point of similarity is that all sin (whether temporal or eternal) renders a soul totally unworthy of redemption and unable to believe with natural ability.

Romans 9:11 for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, 12 it was said to her, "The older will serve the younger." 13 Just as it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." 14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15 For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." [we don't see, "I will damn who I hate" or "I will not have mercy on whom I do not have mercy, and I will have no compassion on whom I have no compassion." we have here it phrased positively not negatively] 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.[it all rests on God's mercy and choice and not His hatred or condemnation...note: according to and because]

I cannot accept this argument. Only the manifestation of grace rests on his mercy. The decree of reprobation rests on the desire of God to manifest his power and wrath (verse 22). In my view, Paul could not state this clearer in human language! I have no argument with the fact that God’s purposeful choice determines who is saved. I only have severe issues with the proposition that God’s purposeful choice is not equally the cause of determining who will experience his wrath. If this passage in Romans 9 says anything it says that.


quote:

I could list a hundred implications but need a break. Maybe I'll write again in a week or two if the Spirit moves and I sense the Lord's leading.

i know that i may be frustrating you and for that i apologize for being difficult. i do thank you for your patience with me and with your willingness to wrangle through all this with me. i appreciate it. i don't want you to go away thinking that i don't understand and appreciate the dilemma and that you haven't made me think. i don't want you to think that i haven't seriously thought about what you've said and considered that i may be wrong. i don't want to be flippant about this issue.

Well said and I accept your sincerity in the Lord.

nevertheless, i am sincerely uncomfortable with your approach and interpretation to Isaiah 45:7 and i feel it is based on mindset spectulation, supposed language and/or word meaning operation, and philosophical reasoning rather than the text itself. this bothers me. my conscience will not allow me to read it the way that you are (more on this in a minute).

As you know by know, I perceive this issue in a very different manner that you do. I am the nonconformist who disagrees with the historic dogmaticians. We all agree that revelation does not cover all things but differ on the reasoned application. Yes, all interpreters reason. The Calvinist will always defend the fact that God has determined the score of tomorrow’s footbal game against a free-willer, even though scripture never states that exact application of God’s sovereign predestination. But if God is immutable and unchanging in his purposes, each event (no matter how seemingly insignificant) is integrally related to every other event; thus all events are predestined.

My hermeneutic is the same in deciding all these issues. But the church is bound to the law of Plato, in silencing the testimony of those who teach that God creates evil. This is not based on sound hermeneutic but historical dogmatics.

I do not agree that supralapsarian theology is according to PHILOSOPHY at all. All of the ‘great’ philosophers respected by the Jewish Pharisees and Sadducees, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Western Orthodoxy (Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Philo, etc.) are worshippers of man’s free-will; this is what Paul opposes in Romans and Colossians. The Essenes of the Jews had the only contrary view grounded in revelation, attempting to know and believe the truth. Their ideas were not perfect but it is interesting to note that Christ never spoke against them outright. Other predestinarian ideas were a twisted form of fatalism and brought no hope to the soul at all.

I can name the Greek and Greek-turned-Christian philosophers that promote the views of historic churchmen on these issues. But churchmen cannot name the Greek philosophers that I study and follow. They do not exist.

with that said, as far as Isaiah 45:7 and the creation of evil (defined as the initial creation and existence of the principle of evil played out in the first proclivity for rebellion against God) i want to go through a little philosophical exercise starting with looking at the text (i know nothing about hebrew so i'll use the LXX and English translations):

Isaiah 45:7 The One forming (aorist participle) light and creating (aorist participle) darkness, Causing (present participle) well-being and creating (present participle) calamity; I am the LORD who does (present participle) all these.

This is the LXX; Hebrew has only perfect and imperfect tenses (as well as participles) no aorist like the Greek. But this is correct--the participle refers to God’s continuous action. However, tense alone does not determine the full meaning of scripture here and a lot of other places. The reason: God is immutable! His actions at any point in history are consistent with his un-changing nature and power. Therefore, what he does today is always in harmony with what he has done yesterday or will do tomorrow.

notice first of all that Isaiah is discussing the present operating of these things and is not addressing the initial origin or creation at some past time or in the beginning. both the LXX and English translation of the Hebrew show that we're talking present time not past time (ancient origins). the participles forming, creating, causing, doing, etc. all communicate present operation and not past event. he's using the allusion to creation and applying it to the present situation communicating God's sovereignty over the present situation and that God is the one currently doing it all. we mustn't miss that in our reading of the text.

Okay, well and good as far as the LXX is concerned. But the Hebrew (not Greek) does not respect TIME in the perspective of men. God’s sovereign purposes-- whether past, present, or future; are all spoken of in the perfect tense as accomplished fact! Most translations will never exhibit entirely this wonderful and transcendent beauty of the language. Isaiah 40-66, one of the best volumes characteristic of this truth, speaks of all of the certain and future redemptive actions of God in the perfect tense (in the Hebrew!). But the future in the Hebrew is generally expressed in the imperfect tense; hence the cynical laughter and frustration of the critics. The point: God’s ways are not man’s ways!

having said this, i want to develop a thought. i do not believe that evil or sin or the initial proclivity for rebellion against God is some eternal principle that somehow exists outside of and apart from God. i do not think it spontaneously created itself but i also don't see that God said, "let there be evil, and there was evil." i don't think that it works this way. just like He didn't have to say "let there be good, and there was good" in order for good to exist (as if it were something that needed to be separately and individually created). in my mind, concepts only exist in a created environment. for example, before God created anything what was there? God. there was nothing to be contrasted with God nor was there anything to care. did the principle of good and evil somehow exist contemporaneously with God? that is unthinkable because good and evil are relative terms with an assumption that there is something to compare/contrast. so law, sin, evil, good, obedience, etc. didn't exist and didn't need to be created as separate entities because there was nothing for these principles to apply to...all that was there was God.

First, we must distinguish between good and evil. God IS good, God IS light, God IS truth, God IS love, and God IS just. I trust that we both agree on these points revealed in his Word. The same thing cannot be said about the opposite. God is not evil, God is not darkness, God is not deception, God is not hate, and God is not partial or unfair. So although the latter principles are created only; the former principles are eternal--not as they exist in the creature--but certainly as they do in the creator.

All things, whether principalities or principles, are created by God. This does not imply that God IS evil, DOES evil, APPROVES of evil, or INFUSES evil from his own character and nature. The creation is entirely distinct and separate from the creator.

As creatures, we have no right to ask WHY God created both kingdoms. Only one is in harmony with his own character and nature. But he purposed both, for his own glory. God has the ‘right’ to be ‘proud’ and exalt his glory in order to bring worship and honor to himself (I’m speaking in human terms--which of course are imperfect), he is God!

then He creates the angels at some point in eternity past. now we have the potential for good, evil, law, sin, obedience, disobedience, etc. because we have something other than God that is not God that can be compared to God. there is now a context in which we can have relative concepts or principles to apply to. did He have to create sin, evil, good, law, etc. as a separate thing for it to be real?

As far as sin and law is concerned, Yes. If God did not create evil, neither does he have the power to destroy it in the end. Christian Science denies the reality of evil for this reason as well as others: it proposes that God did not create it.

A ‘potential’ cannot exist without a ‘precedent.’ Right or wrong actions do not happen without pure or evil hearts previously motivating them. Evil originated and continues to originate in the created hearts of eternal souls that are evil.

what are these terms? how can they be created? or do they now have meaning and application and can in a sense come into existence because now we have a creation (i.e., something other than God and separate from God) that we can compare and contrast to God (its Creator). now that we have Creator/creation we can have a meaning and application of such comparative and relative concepts and principles such as good, evil, mutible, immutible, law, obedience, disobedience, etc.

None of this is a mystery unless we insist that it must be so. The Bible reveals many things. First of all, we did not invent these terms. God did--in revealing his Word to man! Of all the terms above some may argue that ’mutable’ and ’immutable’ are not biblical terms, but they are certainly biblical concepts! In order for a creature to be mutable, the seeds of evil must already be planted in his heart. A perfect being with absolutely no desire to sin cannot sin! Even the ’least’ of interpreters, our friend James (I’m only using humor in reference to our past discussions), teaches this (James 1:14-15).

as to what happened in this context prior to the revelation of God and the creation of man we can only surmise. the details of this this are not revealed for us. but it is at this point that these concepts have meaning. it is at this point that they can be said to come into existence (but did not need creation separately and individually). the fact that there is now creatures and creation (something other than God) makes the relative terms, concepts, ideas, principles, etc. possible.

I disagree. Time is never an issue with God’s revelation. What God purposes today he purposed at all times past--and will purpose at all times in the future. New creatures and creation appear every day! The fact that we do not know the exact circumstances of the distant past (before man’s creation): this does not prove that the same principles of God governing the present were not also in operation then! God is immutable.

when we come to the creation of man, ignoring what comes before that point, we know that now those relative terms have meaning and application to us. it is man and language that necessitates a defining of these terms and concepts. it is the context of creation (something outside of God) that allows for an exploration of these ideas. it is the existence of a creation that provides a context for which revelation can and did take place.[/green]

Exactly! Creation is outside of God. The created is not the creator. It is for this very reason that I would propose that certain teachers are wrong in asserting this proposition: If God purposes to create evil, he is evil.

[color=green]God creates a good but mutable creature in man.

True, but these misunderstood terms need further elaboration. I started to explain it above but will leave further comment alone for now.

since we have Creator and creature, we now have an environment in which such things as good/evil, righteousness/unrighteousness, holiness/unholiness, infinite/finite, invisible/visible, mortal/immortal, perfect/imperfect, obedience/disobedience, freedom, will, law, etc. the creature also had to have a will and the ability to think in abstract and reason in order to give these concepts any meaning at all. all of these are terms and concepts which only have meaning within the context of a creation (matter or something outside of God). i think to try to hammer all of this philosophy into a mold of "God had to create it in order for it to exist and this includes concepts, ideas, principles, etc. otherwise God is not sovereign" is a little off. i think it is taking philosophy in a direction that the Scriptures do not go.

Do you not accept the fact that over and above created history, God first purposed to create it? I know that you do. In this purposes there are concepts, ideas, and principles: the ‘knowledge of good and evil.’ This is what Satan tempted woman to aspire to as a liberating philosophy or principle. A principle that God fully created, knew, and had insofar hidden from the knowledge of man (therefore: his eyes were not yet opened to his nakedness). Adam, however, realized that all of Satan’s twisting of God’s Word (as repeated by Eve) was nothing but the vomit of a snake. He was not deceived. But he loved Eve more than God and still ate of the fruit; the sins of the two were very different in character--but both rebelled against the creator.

hopefully you can understand what i'm saying here. i have thought much about this in the past weeks in our discussions and this makes complete sense to me. God does not have to create a concept or principle (e.g., evil, good, etc.) a la Gen 1-2 in order for it to be real and have existence and meaning. and saying that God didn't create it directly, separately, and individually does not equate to God not being sovereign or something existing on its own outside of God. relative terms only have their origin or potential within the Creator/creature context. outside of this context, this all has no meaning or relevance. in fact, it is nonsense to even apply these principles outside of that environment.

Well; good, justice, love, light, holiness, etc. are part of the nature of God himself. These are transcendent of all creator/creature relationships. The fact that God has elected to also include them in his creation, not merely keep them hidden within his own eternal and mysterious self-existence, is a wonderful thing to celebrate!

In addition, God has purposed to create the kingdom of darkness. It is not an extension of his nature and person, except to manifest his wrath, which he is perfectly sovereign in doing (contrary to ‘eternal law‘ philosophy). But since God is jealous for his own glory and desires to manifest his wrath to honor that glory (Rom. 9:22); he created principles, principalities, and powers contrary to his own nature.

Bob Higby
09-04-03, 06:41 PM
Brethren

I mistakenly posted my last response to this thread in the 'Evangelism' thread last night. It was at a time when I was getting timeout after timeout due to traffic; the bottom line is: I lost track of where I was. Hopefully after I get my broadband in a week or two, this situation will end!

Disciple, I appreciate your comments--both kinds. I realize that my confident assertion about 'not surrendering' had an arrogant tone in the way I stated it.

On a lighter note, though, are there not issues of eternal truth upon which we should not compromise? Certainly there are, we both know it. Is this a matter of 'levels' of conviction in your thinking?

Grace, truth, and peace

disciple
09-04-03, 08:44 PM
Originally posted by BillTwisse
On a lighter note, though, are there not issues of eternal truth upon which we should not compromise? Certainly there are, we both know it. Is this a matter of 'levels' of conviction in your thinking?
i do agree on this one. but i would draw the circle much smaller than i used to. it used to be that only me and those that agreed with me (and sometimes not even them!!) would be allowed into heaven in my book. i have been humbled much by my interaction with passionate followers of Christ who differ from...especially at these forums.

and yes i do believe there are 'levels' of conviction if you mean by that that there are some truths which i am more convinced of than others and some which rank higher in the area of importance such as essentials of the faith. would you put this within the category of "essential"?

Bob Higby
09-07-03, 08:39 PM
The question is: would I put my convictions on 'high sovereignty' in the category of an essential?

The answer is no. Not as historically defined.

In Christianity these things fall into 3 basic categories:

1. Essentials for salvation. These would include basic views on Christ and salvation & the associated faith in the gospel; not an advanced understanding. Plus repentance from dead works and a willingness to obey God. Some sects add many other beliefs and practices to these, however, we cannot do that and still honor the Word. However, it is very important to recognize that the Spirit leads into all truth. But in more mature matters, the Spirit convicts each believer differently at different times. None of us can say what is a 'testing truth' for another when it comes to mature doctrine or life: we can't know exactly how the Spirit is working in another person's experience. But an attitude that I would term Christian 'lacto vegetarianism'--coveting only 'milk' and despising 'meat'--this may indicate a lack of regeneration.

For me, the issue is not one of accepting Calvinists who believe the doctrine of 'selection' and a passive will of God. The issue is that teachers in high places are proclaiming that those who teach the opposite are to be barred from communion. One is a very prominent and nationally recognized Calvinist who I believed in and supported financially only 1 year ago. That is, until I heard him preach his views on this.

When I say that I won't surrender, it means that I won't surrender to those who want to enforce the law of Plato on the conscience of believers. Men like this learned doctor--who is even now writing a book on God and evil. I will avoid taking communion in his church by his own wish and requirement. The majority probably agree with him if the truth is to be known.

2. Essentials for communion. For me, this is the same as #1. I do not break any koinonia with other believers except for the 'damning sins' outlined by Paul--belief in teachings denying the gospel or participation in and refusing to repent of a lifestyle at obvious odds with the Spirit. But this is not what I see in the churches. Water baptisms, sacraments, prophetic doctrines, detailed confessions, laws (old-covenant and supposed new-covenant), free-will philosophies, etc. are all added to the gospel as a condition of fellowship. The churches may indicate a belief that one who lacks their 'additions' is still saved, of course. But the 'pluses' required for brotherly acceptance and communion illustrate how far they have departed from apostolic teaching.

3. Non-essentials. Generally thought of as 'all the rest.' I'm uncomfortable with this category to some degree. If we mean the things the Word of God leaves to mystery, fine. However, all other truth is critical, though not salvific to any Christian in infancy or even many others in maturity. But again, if we have the Spirit of God, we will learn to covet the 'meat'--however it is served by the Spirit through the Word to the conscience of each individual Christian.

GraceAmbassador
09-07-03, 09:50 PM
I'm uncomfortable with this category to some degree.

So am I brother Bill and all the other brethren!

We have to conclude that with the current "smorgarsboard" of doctrines that we have today, even within Calvinism alone, one must NOT ONLY declare what he believes as ESSENTIALS but also express what he DOES NOT BELIEVE as ESSENTIALS. A clear expression of what one REJECTS as an "essential" MUST be expected, if not demanded, from every Bible Teacher.

On that note, we should be aware that "vain physolophies" do not come primarily packed in an ugly foil of error. They always appear properly eveloped in a beatiful and elaborated wrapping paper that makes it to be very similar to the truth.

Studying cults and even errors within what is called mainstream Christianity today we see both cults and the mainstream calling Jesus as Lord. That is an apparent commom belief. I demand, however, one to explain to me "what Jesus" is the Lord and "who is the Jesus" that is the Lord before saying "amen" to such an asssetion without further explanation. To me Jesus as Lord is different than the Jesus as Lord to a Mormon. Even Charismatic Pentecostals sometimes interpret "Jesus as the Lord" in a different way than Paul taught insomuch as they believe that Jesus is Lord only up to the frontiers of one's "free will".

In circles where tithing (as a 10% deduction of income contribution) is stressed beyond the Biblical scope, it becomes an ESSENTIAL but covered by a silver cloud called "contribution for the maintenance of the kingdom". When you confront someone who teaches such a thing they will vehemently deny that they preach tithing as an essential. Then they step up in their pulpits and call everyone who does not tithe a thief WHO ROBS GOD and thieves do not go to heaven. Thus they make tithing essential to salvation. (Of course they use an O.T. verse out of a bleak period in the history of the Hebrews with no consideration for the teachings of Paul in 2 Cor. 9).

You can use the same principle with water baptism "for salvation", sign up to a church membership and others. They are ALL called "non-essentials" DECEITFULLY since they are presented as "essentials" in view of the terrible consequences to those who do not obey such doctrines. The above are only a few examples of that which we should EXPRESS REJECTION as an "essential" and openly teach and declare them as NON-ESSENTIALS (the redundance is purposeful).

I share your discomfort with that which is considered to be un-essential because they are often not disclosed and remain OCCULT in the rigmarole of elaborate confessions of faith. In Grace ALL THINGS ARE REVEALED, included what is a non-essential.

Perhaps we should post here what each of us believe as a non-essential or what we REJECT as an essential. I have a list but I do not want to side track from this thread and am not in the mood to start a new one. But this commentary gives you a good idea of what I call non-essential and of what I reject as essential.

Brandan
09-08-03, 05:58 AM
Milt Wrote:
Studying cults and even errors within what is called mainstream Christianity today we see both cults and the mainstream calling Jesus as Lord. That is an apparent commom belief. I demand, however, one to explain to me "what Jesus" is the Lord and "who is the Jesus" that is the Lord before saying "amen" to such an asssetion without further explanation. To me Jesus as Lord is different than the Jesus as Lord to a Mormon. Even Charismatic Pentecostals sometimes interpret "Jesus as the Lord" in a different way than Paul taught insomuch as they believe that Jesus is Lord only up to the frontiers of one's "free will".
Amen - here's an excellent article on the subject: http://www.5solas.org/media.php?id=351

Does God Save Sinners Through A False Gospel? by Doug Weaver

Recently I was discussing with someone about whether a person could be saved under the preaching of a false gospel. As I have been thinking about this over the past few days several things have been brought to my attention. We know first of all that it is only through the preaching of the Truth, the true gospel that God saves sinners as is clearly set forth in Romans 10:14. This is the means whereby God has chosen to save sinners. The truth about the person and work of Christ must be proclaimed and as He is proclaimed His "sheep hear His voice and follow." All of His sheep are eventually brought under the preaching of the true gospel and the Spirit gives them spiritual life which results in ears to hear and eyes to see Christ.

So the question remains, "Does God save sinners under the preaching of a false gospel?" Well, we must ask another question which will hopefully give us some direction "Which Christ is being preached?" Does God save His people through the preaching of Mohammed? How about Jim Jones or Joseph Smith? Or maybe Sun Yun Moon? For anyone who understands the Word of God knows that there is only one true Christ who can and will save sinners. (Jn. 14:6)

Friends, if any christ other than the Lord Jesus Christ of the Bible is preached it is no different than hearing a story about Mohammed or some other false prophet in history. The great tragedy of this day is that churches all across this land, using the same Bible as we use, are preaching a different jesus and a different Christ. Churches are filled with people trusting in a false christ. Humanism and the flesh have so corrupted the average church today that it is rare to hear of the True Christ who is sovereign and sovereignly saves those whom He wills to save. After hearing of the christ taught today we must conclude that it is not the same Christ that we see revealed in Scripture. So if the christ that is preached in most churches today is not the revealed Christ of Scripture, it is clear that people making decisions under that kind of christ are hopelessly lost.

There is only one Christ who saves sinners and that is the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the all Sovereign Monarch of the universe. It is through the preaching of the Person and work of this Christ that God is pleased to reveal to His lost sheep their utter depravity, God's unconditional election, the irresistible work of the Holy Spirit and the particular, effectual atonement of Christ.

disciple
09-08-03, 09:27 AM
Originally posted by BillTwisse
The question is: would I put my convictions on 'high sovereignty' in the category of an essential?

The answer is no. Not as historically defined.
so how would you define it otherwise (i.e., than historically)? that qualifier makes me a bit nervous.


None of us can say what is a 'testing truth' for another when it comes to mature doctrine or life: we can't know exactly how the Spirit is working in another person's experience. But an attitude that I would term Christian 'lacto vegetarianism'--coveting only 'milk' and despising 'meat'--this may indicate a lack of regeneration.
i think this is key. romans 14 is a great text for this. i think this discussion of paul is all too often ignored. and yes i do agree that contemporary Christianity is 'lacto vegetarian' to a certain extent. despising of the meat is an obvious indication of something being amiss.


For me, the issue is not one of accepting Calvinists who believe the doctrine of 'selection' and a passive will of God. The issue is that teachers in high places are proclaiming that those who teach the opposite are to be barred from communion.
understood. this obviously is a problem. it is interesting how some draw the circle of orthodoxy that seems to work for them and proclaim those who don't agree with their particular perspective on what they would otherwise call a non-essential as heretics and almost unworthy of fellowship. i am sincerely sorry that you've had to be exposed to that sort of unjust and unchristian treatment. i can relate to what you are saying and think it is unfortunate not only for you (to be treated that way) but for this teacher.


When I say that I won't surrender, it means that I won't surrender to those who want to enforce the law of Plato on the conscience of believers. Men like this learned doctor--who is even now writing a book on God and evil. I will avoid taking communion in his church by his own wish and requirement. The majority probably agree with him if the truth is to be known.
understood. the comment makes sense within that context. without that understanding, it sounded like stubbornness since i feel that i am just as convinced in the Spirit of my position.


But the 'pluses' required for brotherly acceptance and communion illustrate how far they have departed from apostolic teaching.
i am very concerned about this as well. i wonder why church statements of faith have so many points nowadays. we want everything defined to the nth degree. yet when we look at the early statements or creeds, the list is very small: i believe in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the church, the forgiveness of sins, and the resurrection of the dead. i think we've greatly complicated things. i am equally disappointed by how splintered Christianity is today. i think the bloated statements of faith are just an indication of this fact.


Non-essentials. Generally thought of as 'all the rest.' I'm uncomfortable with this category to some degree. If we mean the things the Word of God leaves to mystery, fine. However, all other truth is critical, though not salvific to any Christian in infancy or even many others in maturity.
i see what you're saying. but i would define (and this is how i've understood it historically) non-essentials as those doctrines which are not essentials (i.e., those which are not essential for salvation and fellowship). it's not that they are unimportant, it's that they are not essential for salvation and fellowship. a very fine and important distinction. even within this category i think we'd have a certain ranking or heirarchy of what is most important to what is least important. they would all be important, but they would not be essential.

GraceAmbassador
09-08-03, 09:33 AM
Grebel:

Your suggested article and your words are very timely. I have been discussing with a few people something within the same lines, which is: "Does God bless something that is out of His will."

Across the land, to use your words, churches preach and teach things that are either:

1 - Out of the correct timing of God's will
2 - Outrightly against God's will
3 - Not all the way within God's will (which falls on numbes 1 and 2)

The way they present their "gospel" may be VERY similar to the true Gospel. Unfortunately for God "very similar" is not enough.
Remember the passage on Samuel that he says on behalf of God "What is the bleating that I hear?". God is tired of hearing the bleating of sheep brought from the enemy camp that He does not want and did not command us to bring and, worse, actually commanded us to get rid of.

SAMUEL 15, especially verse 14

The "inclusive Jesus" is a "bleating" (this is the most current one especially after the events of 9/11); the "Lord limited by free will" is a "bleating"; The "Jesus who is A GOD, rather than the eternal God incarnate is a "bleating".

The tragedy of the above is that churches of all segments of evangelical circles perform their services and lithurgy based upon their own ritual which include but is not limited to the above examples and then, call it "worship". You know what God hears? BAAAAHHH! The bleating of the sheep and MOOOOO, the lowing of the cattle. Putting this with context of the text: it would have been better for NONE of these churches to have done ANY OF THESE THINGS. "It is better to obey than sacrifice". Are we willing to obey what God reveals as ESSENTIALS and what He wants us to reject not only as ESSENTIAL but actually an non essential CONTRARY TO THE FULL BLESSEDNESS OF AN ESSENTIAL?
It is not easy to word a double negative, but I am sure the Holy Spirit will give us understanding.

I propose that we should deal with the "bleating" the same way Samuel did. Not only he got rid of the sheep but he also got rid, in a very bloody, blunt and conspicuous way, of the prancing king who owned the bleating sheep and declared as "disobedient" the servant who brought them for a sacrifice.

Can God save people through a non-God Christ? NO!
Can God bless something that He did not command? NO!
Will God hear and respond positively to "bleating and lowing"? NO!

Speaking about essentials, there are things whose REJECTI0N we have to EXPRESS as loud as we can. Not merely as a non-essentials but as something that hamper the ESSENTIALS from taking any effect. These things EFFECTIVELY cancel out any essential. So, our unity in essentials MUST BE also a UNION on what is that we totally REJECT as a grace killing addition.

I want to finish being Pauline, because this is what I yearn for:

Eph 5:11, (KJV), And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
**************************************************
ADDITIONS BECOME TRADITIONS THAT DEVELOP INTO ADDICTIONS, THUS THE GRACE AMBASSADOR SPELLS THEM "TR-ADDICTIONS".

Pardon me, all y'all, for digressing out of the thread a little bit.

Bob Higby
09-09-03, 08:51 PM
After the recent comments by all of you, I may need to revise my earlier definitions a little. Brother Milt, with his timely words of wisdom from scripture, has made me a little uncomfortable with my seeminly 'too simple' formula of salvation and essential belief. Ditto for the articles that Grebel presented to us.

What is a basic belief in the gospel of Christ? Does it include simply an 'amen' confession of the Triune God, Christ's Deity, a form of the true doctrine of atonement, and the resurrection? Or does it include justification by faith without the deeds of the law? Further, does it include election? And what form of belief in election? Any time men have attempted to answer these questions with a precise definition, it ends up being a difficult exercise. This is because faith and salvation (subjectively speaking) is not merely a one-time event, it is a process.

An appropriate confession and life for a brand new Christian is not equally appropriate for a more mature Christian. Is belief in the Trinity required for salvation? Yes--as a believer comes to understand it after initial faith (some may understand it even when they first believe). At the initial moment of regeneration, some many not fully grasp such a doctrine mentally--even if a confession is made that Jesus is God. But when the Word speaks the truth to the conscience of a professed believer on this doctrine--a rejection of it at that point indicates a lack of regeneration. So it is with the Word of God as a whole. And this is why Disciple may be nervous with my 'qualified' statement that certain doctrines are non-essential. If a teaching is revealed in the Word of God, none of us can ever say that the doctrine is unessential FOR ALL. It may be non-essential for new Christians or even many mature Christians. Many may not be currently persuaded, whatever the true doctrine is. I know that God hid many truths from my regenerate mind for years. But once God speaks to the conscience through the Word, the teaching brought by the Holy Spirit becomes ESSENTIAL for THAT INDIVIDUAL person spoken to. It might be related to belief or lifestyle. But it is critical. Otherwise, scripture would be incorrect in stating that 'without holiness no one shall see the Lord.' Growth in holiness includes wisdom (pure belief) AND holy living (right ethics). Evanjelly-fish-ism would limit holiness to right living (ethics) only and call those who insist on growth in right doctrine as 'intellectually arrogant.'

My thought for the day.

GraceAmbassador
09-09-03, 10:02 PM
Dear Bill

Regarding your statement quoted below:


If a teaching is revealed in the Word of God, none of us can ever say that the doctrine is unessential FOR ALL. It may be non-essential for new Christians or even many mature Christians. Many may not be currently persuaded, whatever the true doctrine is. I know that God hid many truths from my regenerate mind for years. But once God speaks to the conscience through the Word, the teaching brought by the Holy Spirit becomes ESSENTIAL for THAT INDIVIDUAL person spoken to. It might be related to belief or lifestyle. But it is critical. Otherwise, scripture would be incorrect in stating that 'without holiness no one shall see the Lord.' Growth in holiness includes wisdom (pure belief) AND holy living (right ethics). Evanjelly-fish-ism would limit holiness to right living (ethics) only and call those who insist on growth in right doctrine as 'intellectually arrogant.'

I agree with you fully (no surprises...). Allow me however, explain why:

SIMPLY PUT: I WAS A PASTOR ONCE.

When all you have to do in God's kingdom is to think and determine "good" theology, it is very easy to make "three points and a conclusion" in most of anything, including DOCTRINAL essentials.

It is SOOOO different when you are a Pastor and you have to care for the flock, which never comes with a pattern of colors and textures of problems equally measured in weights and sizes. I do not want to elaborate at length on this, but let me tell you that theology, similar to theory, is always better defined and tested when practiced. Practice does not make theology, but theology is BETTER when applied in practice (I hope this is consistent with everything I have said so far).

I have fallen many times into the trap of over theologizing everything into something akin to a confession of "what is and what is not". But when someone walks in your office beaten by an abusive spouse the same who is the nicest guy in the congregation, who leads the choir and is the church treasurer, that you love so much, with a drug addict son, jobless, pennyless, wanting to do all sorts of things to end their misery faster, then it is hard to find answers in anything else than "Thus saith the Lord unto THEE" (I speak of the Bible and not some sort of pentecostal fit). "Thee" meaning the person who is sitting across your desk. As the Holy Spirit confirms in that person's heart that Word or THE WORD, IT HAS TO BECOME ESSENTIAL IN THEIR LIVES if they truly want to see a Godly change.

Well, this then is MY THOUGHT for the day, which CONFIMRS (what else is new?) my agreement with your thought for the day.

disciple
09-10-03, 08:48 AM
Originally posted by BillTwisse
And this is why Disciple may be nervous with my 'qualified' statement that certain doctrines are non-essential. If a teaching is revealed in the Word of God, none of us can ever say that the doctrine is unessential FOR ALL.
actually it made me nervous because you affirmed that you would not put your convictions on 'high sovereignty' in the category of an essential but yet you said with a qualifier, "not as historically defined." the qualifier seemed to leave the possibility to negate your initial comment. my question was, "if not as historically defined, then in what way is it essential or non-essential?" it was not the "no" that made me nervous but the qualifier of "not as historically defined." the qualifer left me wondering.

i firmly believe in the distinction between essentials and non-essentials. and as i said before, the distinction we need to make in what you're talking about is between essential and important. essential and non-essential refer to what is a determining factor for salvation and fellowship. important and unimportant refer to the relative necessity or usefulness in the life of someone who is already a believer. nothing in the bible is unimportant. i think that's the statement that needs to be made. there are, however, certain doctrines which are non-essential.

the comment made me nervous because of the potential to make out of it whatever we wish. in order to have a meaningful discussion on this, we all need to agree on terminology. if we can't agree on this, then we will be talking past one another and the result will be misunderstanding. i hope this is clear.

GraceAmbassador
09-10-03, 10:00 AM
Originally posted by Disciple:


in order to have a meaningful discussion on this, we all need to agree on terminology.

Dear Brother Disciple:

That is a miminum required! I appreciated it! Now, would you please take the initiative of posting your essentials in a terminology that is commom to ALL of us?

I am not being sarcastic, but that would be above and beyond what the apostles of old could have achieved!:)

To be honest, could you please list your own "essentials" in your own language. I promise to debate them (if there is any need to debate them) using your language and make it into a common language for purposes of any eventual debate about them.

An aside:

I grab every single tenet of faith that falls into my hands from every organization I have the fortunate or the unfortunate occasion to get in touch with. I do that with a few purposes, one of them being to trace some "real apostolic sucession" and using it to teach young Christians of "what is and what is not" apostolic teaching and also to show young people how Christianity has been passed on through generations, diluted or polluted and what is left of the original. It gives them a sense of belonging. So, my request to you is not just an idle request. There is a purpose here: I want to know what you deem as "essentials" with your own words and terminology to utilize them with the aforesaid purposes. I have no dobut that it will be very useful and enlightening.

Well, if it is okay with you...

Thanks in advance.

GraceAmbassador
09-10-03, 10:04 AM
Hey Brother:

When I said in the previous post "To be honest..." I was referring to be being "honest" rather than "sarcastic". I was NOT REQUESTING YOU TO BE HONEST!

Blame the goof up on the foreigner.

Milt

Bob Higby
09-10-03, 05:52 PM
After Disciple's last post and Milt's response, I have this to say. It may not seem totally in harmony with anyone.

There is a difference between 'individual' and 'community' essentials in the present body of Christ. This is because we have a whole history of dogmatics and the great apostasy away from Pauline doctrine behind us.

God has moved men at various times to return to aspects of the teaching of the apostles. Where God has led mightily to unify saints on the gospel--and the unifying work of the Spirit is apparent to most true believers, we can safely conclude that the teaching involved is sanctioned by God. Thus the doctrines of Trinity, Christ's Deity, the infallibility of scripture, justification by grace in Christ through faith alone, and election can be lifted up as 'essentials' for the Christian community. I realize that many who call themselves 'Protestant' will 'opt out' on election. However, they are the ones who departed from the Reformation. We can commune with them on occassion--but they will never be comfortable in our congregations as continuous participants. Those who feel comfortable only with 'free-will' dogma should pursue the kind of fellowship that will support their present assumptions--until God changes their hearts and minds.

Having said this, we cannot assume that the 'community' essentials that the Holy Spirit has firmly established at this point in time are all that God will EVER establish. But when a firm conviction grounded in scripture is an individual matter (not yet confirmed by the Christian community at large), that view should not be made a standard for the many. Yet the 'many' should always accept the fact that there is much in revelation that the community of faith has not yet rediscovered.

As an individual, I must firmly confess that I still believe false doctrine. Every believer should confess this. This is because God has hidden SOME revealed truth from ALL minds. He will only accomplish his ultimate purposes in the community of believers by working through many, not only through one or a few. But if I reject that which the Spirit has convicted me of in the Word, I prove myself to be unregenerate.

Brandan
09-10-03, 07:55 PM
Originally posted by BillTwisse
As an individual, I must firmly confess that I still believe false doctrine. Every believer should confess this. This is because God has hidden SOME revealed truth from ALL minds. Right. I totally agree with these statements. For starters, I know that I've changed my mind on a lot of different biblical topics throughout the years. You wouldn't believe the false junk I used to believe. Yet, as time goes by, God lifts the vale from my eyes and continues to shed light where there was darkness. We cannot assume that we have been fully delivered from false doctrine - especially when it appears I'm in a continual state of being delivered from it!

Yours in Christ,
Brandan

Odyssey
09-12-03, 01:51 PM
I also agree with 'As an individual, I must firmly confess that I still believe false doctrine. Every believer should confess this. This is because God has hidden SOME revealed truth from ALL minds' for no one knows it all.

With that stated, there are essentials of the Christian faith. That is, they are there to help determine if someone is a Christian. The most notable one would be the deity of Christ. If someone does not believe that Jesus is God then they are not a Christian, I don't care what they say.

Grace to you,

OD

Brandan
11-05-03, 02:26 PM
http://www.5solas.org/media.php?id=553

This is an excellent article making the case for supralapsarianism! I LOVE IT! Read it!

Odyssey
11-05-03, 03:09 PM
Odyssey, a member of the body of Christ to the people of 5Solas.org:

Grace and Peace.

Yes, that is an excellent article!

Grace to you,

OD

wildboar
11-06-03, 09:00 AM
There are some problems with the article. Infraplsarianism does not teach that God actually made his decree of election in time after the fall. Infralapsarianism and supralapsarianism both agree that all the decrees ocurred prior to the foundation of the world, but disagree in the logical order of them in the mind of God. I'm a fairly strong supralapsarian but I do see the merits in each system.

Lately denial of double-predestination has also been associated with infralapsarianism. Denial of double-predestination is certainly anti-Calvinistic but I don't believe the same can be said about infralapsarianism.

Supralapsarians believe that in the logical order of God's decrees, God approached it as we would if we were to build a house for instance. First we would decided that we wanted to build a house, then we would develop the plan by which we would do so. There is some divergence among supras as to exactly how the order looks but all of course believe that election in the mind of God ocurred prior to the idea of the fall (this is not an adequate way of explaining it since we are talking about God, but I'm trying to do the best I can). God first decided that He would save a sinful people for Himself and then devised the way by which He would do this.

The infralapsarian on the other hand views the decrees as corresponding to the order in which they are carried out in history.

Luther, Calvin, and most of the Reformers were supralapsarian in their belief but all the reformed confessions are written from an infralapsarian position. They are written intentionally in such a way that a supralapsarian can still subscribe to them, but the majority of those who wrote them, including those at the Synod of Dordt were infralapsarian but did not seek to disfellowship themselves from supralapsarians.

Now as for the issue of sin, I have read several explanations by several people and was not satisfied. For quite some time I just remained happy confessing the truths found in the Bible that God decreed sin but is not the author of it although I did not fully understand, and probably will never fully understand.

However, I now think there may be a way to properly understand it. Sin, at its root, is always a desire to rob glory from God. God can actively decree men to sin without sinning Himself since that very sin that He has decreed that the man do so that the man intends to rob glory from God actually ends up bringing glory to God.

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar

Bob Higby
11-06-03, 08:56 PM
Wow, am I pumped up that this thread is active again!

Dr. Gill, you have pointed us to a most excellent article. I am so glad that you were able to find it for us.

I would respond to an observation that the author makes:

Some would go so far as to say that God is the author of evil yet not the cause of sin.

After years of interacting on this issue, I prefer to state my own convictions in just the opposite way. God is the cause of sin but not the author of evil. A lot of this is semantics, of course. If God is totally sovereign, he has to be the ultimate cause of everything. But the language of 'authorship' seems to imply, in its most natural rendering, more than cause or even purpose. It inevitably implies approbation and approval to many minds. We must not think of God's 'pleasure' in carrying out his sovereign will in terms of human emotion. God is 'pleased' with the fulfillment of all of his purposes, however, he still condemns and punishes that which he is morally 'displeased' with (sin).

Dr. R.C. Sproul would certainly hate this article! Unfortunately, so would many other evangelical teachers.

I am very convinced that true supralapsarianism is not about an 'order of divine decrees,' however, the reduction of the issue to that paradigm is an attempt of protesters to minimize it. We are talking about the eternal God himself! Does he think point-by-point in order? No.

The real issue is whether God's purposes are to be thought of as occurring in order of time from beginning to end, or as occurring in the opposite order from the end to the beginning. That distinction truly nails the issue. Are we to perceive of God determined to fulfill his ultimate purposes and reason backward in history to how he accomplishes those? I believe THAT is the plan of salvation taught in the Bible.

I'm glad to see Wild Boar pointing out that Luther and Calvin stood for the truth of God's unitary will, which is logically supralapsarian. The majority of confessions did not. They were trying to present ideas that the majority would accept. After Dr. Twisse passed away, his successor as chairman of the Westminster assembly (a compromising moderator) 'got the job done' in pleasing the majority with infralapsarian confessional wording. Schaff documents the whole history of this in 'The Creeds of Christendom.' Also consider these facts:

1. Lutheranism never accepted the glorious truths affirmed by Luther on God's sovereignty in the Bondage of the Will. What does that say for sectarian dogma?

2. The citizens of Geneva never accepted Calvin's confession of faith, so the doctrine of sovereignty was dropped from it to please the masses. This paved the way for the triumph of Socinianism!

Why do so many of the Christian masses think that Arminianism, outright free-will dogma, or infralapsarianism make God out to be a 'nicer guy?' I will leave that as a question to be answered by further discussion. I believe there is a very good answer--plain old deception. The truth is that only supralapsarianism honors the Bible truth of the goodness of God. For many reasons.

Bob Higby
11-30-03, 07:08 PM
Disclaimer: This comparison is logical, not dogmatic. I certainly am not saying that past supralapsarians confess all of the points below! Neither am I claiming that every point under the 'Election' title should immediately be assumed into a doctrinal statement. I am inviting discussion and contrary argument. I would encourage those motivated to challenge one or a few points initially, rather than trying to evaluate every point. That way the discussion can evolve from a central focus.

Infralapsarian ‘Selection’ vs. Bible Predestination (‘Election’):

1. The immutability of God’s sovereign will.
Selection: God has a ‘passive’ or ’contrary’ will. He wishes all to be saved but has to honor eternal law and justice by denying salvation to many. This undesired ‘passing over’ occurs in the midst of ‘tears of divine frustration.’
Election: God’s will is unitary and has no variance whatsoever. God always purposes and accomplishes what he wants in history. He never mourns over ‘less than ideal outcomes.’ He has no desire for the salvation of the non-elect. In fact, he positively wills the damnation and sufferings of the lost.

2. The immutability of God’s purposes in time.
Selection: To properly understand what God has determined in history, we must reason from the beginning of time to the end. God’s thought and purposes are bound by the order of time.
Election: To properly understand what God has determined in history, we must reason from the end of time to the beginning. God’s thought and purposes, being infinite, transcend the human limitations of time. If God always accomplishes what his sovereign will desires (assuming his unitary will), creatures with limited minds cannot understand his purposes without starting at the point where God ultimately desires history to consummate.

3. Eternal Law.
Selection: God himself is bound to honor an eternal and abstract moral law governing the universe. This law requires that his purposes of salvation can operate only according to the principles of eternal justice.
Election: God IS the eternal law and is not subject to any law outside of himself. His purposes in history are just and right simply because it is he who performs them.

4. The First (Pre-Eminent) Creation
Selection: The first and pre-eminent creation is the original creation of the earth and heavens in order of time. The present created order was originally representative of God’s holiest and most perfect will, before it was corrupted by sin. The sin of Adam was ‘paradise lost,’ the new earth and heavens will be ‘paradise restored.’
Election: The first and pre-eminent creation is the FINAL creation of the earth and heavens in eternal perfection. The original creation {in order of time} was subjected to suffering in order to give way to the greater and more perfect creation. The New Earth will in no wise be a simple restoration of Eden.

5. The Sin of Adam
Selection: Every person in the human race was lost in the sin of Adam. Only a portion of these are redeemed in Christ. The ‘all men’ who experienced condemnation in Adam are a larger group than the ‘all men’ who experience eternal salvation through faith in the atonement.
Election: Adam represented only true and elect humanity in his fall into sin. The ’fall’ was temporal and not eternal. The exact same group and number of humans who were lost in Adam are also redeemed in God’s election through faith in the atonement of Christ.

6. The Nature of Sin
Selection: The sin-nature of rebellion against God is inherited by all men from Adam. All sin, though potentially varying in degree, is of the same spiritual substance.
Election: Only the elect experience sin in the likeness of Adam. They are redeemed from Adam’s temporal sin by redemption in Christ. The non-elect phantom humans are DEVILS in the image of the serpent. They are conceived in eternal sin after the likeness of Satan, beyond any remote possibility of salvation.

7. The Potential of Salvation
Selection: All men are equal and potential candidates of salvation, but God has elected to save in Christ only a portion of an equally fallen mass of humanity.
Election: Only those lost in the temporal sin of Adam have any potential of redemption in Christ. Indeed, all those lost in Adam are elect and will be redeemed in Christ.

8. Permissive Will
Selection: God’s passive will may be understood as ’permissive.’ He regretfully permits many outcomes in history that he nonetheless hates. God permits many to go to hell, contrary to his active will.
Election: God does not merely permit anything, but is the ultimate cause of all events. Everything is ordered according to his good pleasure and determination.

9. The Spiritual Representative of Damned Humanity
Selection: Adam in his original sin is the spiritual representative of both elect and non-elect humanity.
Selection: Adam is the biological father of all humanity. However, in original sin he is the spiritual representative of the fallen elect only. The spiritual representative of all non-elect souls is the devil.

10. Creation
Selection: All men are created equal in Adam and are therefore equally fallen in sin.
Election: All men are not created equal. Non-elect children of the devil are created in eternal sin, beyond any possibility of salvation. Souls conceived in eternal iniquity are unable to repent, even after experiencing many strivings of God’s Spirit.

11. Hell
Selection: Hell is the ultimate tragedy of a universe subject to abstract eternal law and justice. God and the saints will forever mourn at the prospect of immortal souls suffering infinite pain in infinite time without measure and without end, in order to honor the eternal law. In fact, God will indeed hide this awful spectacle from redeemed souls by sending the wicked ‘away from’ his presence--to a subterranean corner of the universe which cannot be found (the ‘outer darkness‘). In eternity, the righteous will have no memory or knowledge of the wicked and hell. Because of this wonderful obliteration of the horrible consequences of eternal justice, their happiness will be insured.
Election: Hell consists of the final and triumphant reign of God, the righteous angels, and the saints over wicked angels and phantom humans who laughed at the gospel of grace. Both wicked angels and men are devils. The souls of the non-elect will forever endure inward shame, caused by the everlasting contempt of a hating God. The saints will also rule over the wicked with contempt. Devils only have significance in relation to God’s purposes opposite of salvation; they were created for no other reason.

12. Ultimacy
Selection: Only election to salvation is involved in God’s ultimate and active will and purposes. Damnation is a strange and horrible act required by abstract eternal justice.
Election: Salvation to the vessels of mercy and reprobation to the vessels of wrath are equally ultimate. God’s purposes opposite of salvation are the product of his active and unitary will. In fact, the final and eternal creation will consist of Christ, the elect angels, and the redeemed saints ruling and reigning over the devil, wicked angels, and phantom human beings.

Brandan
12-01-03, 07:19 AM
Bob, I liked this comparison, and definitely find myself in the "election" camp. I am going to make this into a handy chart for the website if you don't mind. Thanks :)

Skeuos Eleos
12-01-03, 07:26 AM
The first and pre-eminent creation is the FINAL creation of the earth and heavens in eternal perfection. The original creation {in order of time} was subjected to suffering in order to give way to the greater and more perfect creation. The New Earth will in no wise be a simple restoration of Eden. Could you explain this a little more clearly please? The first sentence speaks of the "first and pre-eminent creation" whilst the second sentence speaks of the "original creation ... (giving way) to the greater ... creation". These sentences appear confusing and contradictory: If the first creation is the final creation is there some "other" creation in between or is there only one creation? and if the new earth is not a restoration of Eden what will it be?
:confused:

Brandan
12-01-03, 07:35 AM
Here is the new library addition: http://www.5solas.org/media.php?id=564

Skeuos Eleos
12-01-03, 08:09 AM
Bill Twisse said:
A ‘potential’ cannot exist without a ‘precedent.’ Right or wrong actions do not happen without pure or evil hearts previously motivating them. Evil originated and continues to originate in the created hearts of eternal souls that are evil.I accept that the heart of the wicked is evil and will bring forth rotten fruit in keeping with its nature, that the evil within is the motiviation, but surely it is incorrect or at least incomplete to say that, in effect, evil originates in evil hearts? How would that statement fit, for example, with 2 Chronicles 18:19-22:
And the LORD said, Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one spake saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner. {20} Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will entice him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? {21} And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the LORD said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail: go out, and do even so. {22} Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil against thee.

Bob Higby
12-01-03, 07:54 PM
Dr. Gill,

I immensely appreciate your confidence and support on this issue. From past experience, I had expected months of interaction and debate before many of the points stated would be viewed as scriptural. In fact, I invite debate simply because I'm not sure that I have stated everything correctly! I just am convinced that the typical arguments are wrong. If a better position exists on any point that honors scripture more fully than what I have set forth, I am certainly interested in hearing it!

Skeuos Eleos states:

Could you explain this a little more clearly please? The first sentence speaks of the "first and pre-eminent creation" whilst the second sentence speaks of the "original creation ... (giving way) to the greater ... creation". These sentences appear confusing and contradictory: If the first creation is the final creation is there some "other" creation in between or is there only one creation? and if the new earth is not a restoration of Eden what will it be?

By the 'original' creation I mean that which is first in the order of time--i.e., the initial creation of this earth, the heavens, the human pair, and the garden of Eden.

There is definitely not only one creation. I am using 'first creation' in the same sense that Herman Hoeksema did in his commentary on Revelation. 'First' is pre-eminent, primary, and ultimate. In this sense, Jesus Christ is the 'first' man. He was not the first man to exist in order of time, but he is certainly the first true human being (without sin) and the pre-eminent man. So it is with the 'real' and 'perfect' creation that God begun in Christ and will consummate at his final advent. It is last in order of linear time, first in significance according to the eternal purposes of God. I am saying that we should begin with this 'first' creation in evaluating what God's real purposes in human history are.

On the issue of how the First and Last creation differs from Eden, I will quote from a paper that I wrote a few years ago:

1. The curse of death is entirely removed. Never again will suffering or death be manifest in the redeemed company of God. The blood of the Lamb avails perfectly and eternally!
2._ The curse of sin is entirely removed. There is no tree of knowledge of good and evil.
3. Redeemed mankind will be inherently immortal. Although the tree of life is present in the new creation (Rev. 22:2), man will not be dependent on eating of its fruit to live forever.
4. Having perfectly holy and impeccable hearts, the redeemed of God cannot commit sin or desire to sin. They are complete and perfect in body and spirit. No impulse toward rebellion exists in the souls of those who have experienced salvation from sin in Jesus. Being forever clothed in white robes signifying Christ's righteousness, they will never again be naked--before God or internally.
5. The serpent will no longer be able to deceive. Satan and his followers, though present in the new creation, will be completely subject to the rule of Christ, the elect angels, and the redeemed. Hell will function with perfect order and justice. The wicked shall forever endure the contempt of God's fiery presence and person, the shame of their own souls in rebelling against Christ, and the additional contempt of the angels and redeemed.

I hope this helps.

Brandan
12-01-03, 08:22 PM
Originally posted by BillTwisse
Dr. Gill,

I immensely appreciate your confidence and support on this issue. From past experience, I had expected months of interaction and debate before many of the points stated would be viewed as scriptural. In fact, I invite debate simply because I'm not sure that I have stated everything correctly! I just am convinced that the typical arguments are wrong. If a better position exists on any point that honors scripture more fully than what I have set forth, I am certainly interested in hearing it! Mr. Twisse, you really expressed what I have been thinking for a while now. I am now just beginning to come to solid conclusions regarding the supralapsarian view, and the ideas of "common grace", "two wills of God", and other common teachings by Calvinist men have confused me for a while. While I posted your article I don't want you to think that was a complete endorsement of the article. It is a good comparison article, and I agree with most of it :D I think the supralapsarian view is more consistent with Scripture.

I'm curious as to your understanding of Adam's imputation of sin only to the elect. Why don't you think this was imputed to all mankind? I'm not quite with you there.... If Adam's sin was not imputed to the reprobate, then where did they get their sin?

Also I'd like you to comment on the Nature of Sin - that only the elect experience sin in the likeness of Adam. Are you suggesting that the sin of the lost sheep is as bad as the reprobates? I don't think that is the case, but I'm just curious.

Your comment on "Potential of Salvation" was spot on.

Your comment, "The saints will also rule over the wicked with contempt" brings up questions for sure! Are you suggesting there will be interaction between the saints and reprobates in eternity?

Bob Higby
12-02-03, 03:22 AM
Martin states:

I accept that the heart of the wicked is evil and will bring forth rotten fruit in keeping with its nature, that the evil within is the motiviation, but surely it is incorrect or at least incomplete to say that, in effect, evil originates in evil hearts? How would that statement fit, for example, with 2 Chronicles 18:19-22

I agree with you. Evil originates in the purposes of God, who is the ultimate cause of everything. As far as 'experiential evil' is concerned--that starts only in the hearts of wicked souls, since God is not evil and cannot do evil. When God purposes sin, he is decreeing an entity that is external to his own nature & does not proceed from his own being (unlike love, for instance). But contrary to the Manichaeans, it is my position that evil is nonetheless created by God.

Skeuos Eleos
12-02-03, 03:37 AM
I'm not sure what you mean by "experiential evil" so it would be good to see a definition of that.

I do readily affirm that, as you say, "God is not evil and cannot do evil". However, what I am now trying to understand is where to "draw the line" - you say that "When God purposes sin, he is decreeing an entity that is external to his own nature & does not proceed from his own being" - presumably because it is not in His nature - but, this leaves unanswered the question as to from where the idea as to how to sin comes. Some no doubt would claim that the passage in 2 Chronicles 18:19-22 shows that the idea would originate in the "spirit" who makes the suggestion but I see no reason why Proverbs 21:1 doesn't also apply to this Spirit. But the implication of that would take us dangerously close to the charge of attributing evil to God??

Bob Higby
12-02-03, 03:53 AM
Dr. Gill's Questions are in Blue

I'm curious as to your understanding of Adam's imputation of sin only to the elect. Why don't you think this was imputed to all mankind? I'm not quite with you there.... If Adam's sin was not imputed to the reprobate, then where did they get their sin?

Rom. 5:17-20 is our text. The issue is whether 'all men' is used consistently in the passage to refer to 'real humanity'--those lost in Adam and redeemed in Christ. The principle of sin/death certainly did come upon every biological descendent of Adam, so the language of the passage on the 'condemnation' side seems to apply to everyone. However, if the 'all men' receiving justification and life are only true and elect humanity, the condemnation side of the equation would refer to the same group.

Karl Barth in his notion of 'Calvinistic universalism' (I use this expression for lack of a better term) taught that both groups are all men without exception. That is, every member of the human race is lost in Adam and redeemed in Christ. Naturally, he was quick to point out the disjuncture of traditional interpretation in saying that the 'justification' party of all men is smaller than the' condemnation' party of all men.

I realize that this is only an introduction and does not solve the issue in question. We can continue into it.

Also I'd like you to comment on the Nature of Sin - that only the elect experience sin in the likeness of Adam. Are you suggesting that the sin of the lost sheep is as bad as the reprobates? I don't think that is the case, but I'm just curious.

I'm definitely drawing a distinction between the sin of the 'lost sheep' (those in Adam) and the reprobates (those in Satan). Hopefully I can write further on the hamartiology issue. I'm only parting with most of traditional Protestantism on the 'eternal sin' side of the equation (reprobation) and not sin as it relates to the elect (they are conceived in iniquity, lost and without hope before regeneration, etc.).

Your comment, "The saints will also rule over the wicked with contempt" brings up questions for sure! Are you suggesting there will be interaction between the saints and reprobates in eternity?

Well, there is interaction pictured between Abraham and Dives in Luke 16--if that is any indication. As I have posted elsewhere, my position is that the main focus of judgment is God's public exaltation of the elect over the reprobate, not the removal of the reprobate from the very presence of the elect. The promise to the faithful in Thyatira (the 4th church in Revelation) is somewhat relevant:

. . . hold fast what you have till I come. And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations--He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter's vessels--as I also have received from My Father,

So Christ is saying that he will share his reign over the wicked nations with his saints.

I'm going to quit for now but will re-address the hamartiology issue.

Skeuos Eleos
12-02-03, 03:54 AM
PS. I am also keenly interested in your responses to Dr. Gill.

PPS. I am suprised that no one has commented yet on the suggestion that there aren't two wills in God. It is such a widely held view amongst all forms of Calvinists. I fought so hard to get some Arminian's I know to see this in the scriptures and now I think I may be doing a "U" turn - good job I'm not a politician! Has no-one got any proof texts as to why they think there are "two wills" in God??

Bob Higby
12-02-03, 04:02 AM
We have got into the issue before as to whether the sovereign will of God is unitary or active + passive.

Those of us who are supralapsarian would subscribe strictly to the unitary will of God. It is worthy of mention that both Luther (in 'the Bondage of the Will') and Calvin taught God's unitary will but a large number of later expositors have gone to the notion of two wills.

More excitement to keep us busy! I'm truly finished for the night this time but look forward to more discussion soon.

Brandan
12-02-03, 05:33 AM
The two wills of God misunderstanding of most Calvinists has bothered me for a long time. I've been a Calvinist for the last three years, and the "two wills" theory never truly sat right with me. Today, I think I can safely say that there is really only one unitary will of God. This is a WHOLE 'nuther topic though :D

Brandan

Brandan
12-02-03, 08:38 AM
Some articles on supralapsarianism:

Articles on Supralapsarianism

Supralapsarianism - Unknown
http://mb-soft.com/believe/text/supralap.htm

Notes on Supralapsarianism & Infralapsarianism - Phil Johnson
http://www.gty.org/~phil/articles/sup_infr.htm

Calvin, Supralapsarianism, and God's Sovereignty
http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ217.HTM


THE PREDESTINATION AND SUPRALAPSARIANISM HOMEPAGE
http://www.covenanter.org/Predestination/predestination.htm

William Twisse's A Short Survey to the Ninth Chapter to the Romans, So Far as it Treateth of the Doctrine of Predestination.
http://www.covenanter.org/Predestination/twisse_romans09.html

Supralapsarianism
http://users2.ev1.net/~providencechurch/supralapsarianism.htm

Supralapsarianism and Infralapsarianism
http://www.the-highway.com/Bavinck_predestination2.html

Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion
http://www.ccel.org/c/calvin/institutes/institutes.html

Calvin's Commentaries
http://www.ccel.org/c/calvin/comment3/comm_index.htm

Skeuos Eleos
12-02-03, 09:00 AM
Thanks Dr. Gill! I may be away for a couple of weeks whilst I devour that lot! ;)

Do any of these cover the aspect of the unitary will of God or is there something else that someone could point me at on that?

Thanks in eager anticipation!

wildboar
12-02-03, 09:27 AM
Right after I came to know reformed teachings, I started reading a bunch of books by R. C. Sproul. He did good job of explaining some complex theological issues in a simple way. But then he would all of sudden start talking about the two wills of God and it never sat right with me. Sometimes he would give a perfectly logical explanation of a passage which seemed to explain the whole thing quite well and then he would start talking about the two wills of God and I wondered why he felt it was necessary to introduce this strange and unnecessarily complex idea to such a perfectly simple and good explanation. The two wills of God is a necessary by-product of the doctrine of common grace. One the organism of theology becomes infected by false doctrines, it begins to develop other diseases.

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar

disciple
12-02-03, 12:14 PM
Originally posted by BillTwisse
...but a large number of later expositors have gone to the notion of two wills.
i think that's why it has a very wide acceptance. people like rc sproul, john macarthur, and john piper, very popular authors, are writing books and articles about it. i've never understood it any other way before coming to this site. i thought that this was the reformed view. little did i know that it was a huge debate that has already been raging on for years.

disciple
12-02-03, 12:29 PM
Originally posted by Skeuos Eleos
Has no-one got any proof texts as to why they think there are "two wills" in God??
an example would be that there is a sense in which it does not please God that we sin (perhaps implying that He doesn't will/wish/want us to) but yet it happens. but the question is, does this equate to two wills/desires of God? ultimately, He wants us to not sin (He wants us to be holy) but yet we do. since we do sin, there is some sense in which He had to will it. there is therefore a greater purpose of God in our sin, even though it is contrary to Him (i.e., His law) and rebellion against Him. in other words, He wants us to be holy, but He wills us to sin and stumble in order to progress toward that holiness. i don't know that this is as simple as saying that God has two wills though. the very notion sounds quite ridiculous and almost makes Him sound human. so there are obviously many problems to such a notion.

a common text that is used is:

Mt 23:37 "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.

some explain the text by saying that this was jesus speaking "in His humanity"...whatever that means. this is also a very popular text used by arminians to prove that Christ wants to save people but their free will won't allow it. if a prooftext is used, this is usually the one that is used.

GraceAmbassador
12-02-03, 12:33 PM
One the organism of theology becomes infected by false doctrines, it begins to develop other diseases.

That's wisdom!

...a little leaven, leaveneth... fill in the blanks R.C.!

Milt

wildboar
12-02-03, 12:45 PM
Mt 23:37 "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.

I think what is important to notice in this text is that the children are distinguished from Jerusalem. Jesus is not speaking to Jerusalem and saying how often I would have gathered Jerusalem. Jerusalem is speaking of desiring to gather the children of Jerusalem and the unwillingness of the leadership to let Him do so. He does of course do so after the resurrection regardless of the unwillingness on the part of the leadership.

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar

disciple
12-02-03, 01:12 PM
Originally posted by wildboar
I think what is important to notice in this text is that the children are distinguished from Jerusalem. Jesus is not speaking to Jerusalem and saying how often I would have gathered Jerusalem. Jerusalem is speaking of desiring to gather the children of Jerusalem and the unwillingness of the leadership to let Him do so. He does of course do so after the resurrection regardless of the unwillingness on the part of the leadership.
i'm curious what you think children of Jerusalem would mean. i don't know what this does for you. he's obviously not speaking to Jerusalem (i.e., the city) and not just its leadership, but its inhabitants. i really don't think there is a distinction being made here at all (e.g., between Jerusalem and her children).

children of... or sons of... is a Hebrew idiom (figuratively or literally) meaning those belonging to and here it seems to refer to the nation of Israel (children of... meaning those who belong to or are members of this nation). Jesus is speaking as if to a city (Jerusalem is a metonymy for the nation of Israel) and refers to those belonging to her/it (your children is a metonymy for your people) as being the ones who He's wanted to gather. i just want to make sure that we don't lose the forest through the trees before we get too far in a discussion on this one. for more info, see the following:

http://www.geocities.com/bible_translation/idioms.txt
http://www.geocities.com/bible_translation/otidioms.htm
http://www.geocities.com/bible_translation/ntfigures.htm
http://www.geocities.com/bible_translation/ntidioms.htm
http://www.geocities.com/bible_translation/sonsof.htm

Brandan
12-02-03, 02:42 PM
But, there were definitely two wills of Christ!

Skeuos Eleos
12-02-03, 02:57 PM
Ok, I can now see how a lot of the "proof" for two wills isn't really proof at all but I have been thinking again about some of the standard Arminian texts:

1 Timothy 2:1-4 "... God our Savior, who wills all persons to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."
2 Peter 3:8-9 "The Lord is ... not willing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."
Ezekiel 18:23 and 32 "Do I indeed delight in the death of the wicked, says the Lord GOD, and not rather in his turning from his way that he might live? . . . I do not delight in the death of the one who dies, says the Lord; so turn and live"

The usual Calvinist response is to point to "two wills" but isn't the implication of where this thread is going that these verses are speaking only of the Elect? By logical implication the wicked spoken of in Ezek 18:23 then would be referring to the as-yet unregenerate Elect?? I am struggling here because I can see how this would look like a strange interpretation and how it could easily lead to the charge of interpreting these verses through a pre-supposed grid. What am I missing?

Also, I'm also curious as to whether this doctrine leads to a different explanation of 1 Tim 4:10? ("God, who is the savior of all people, especially those who believe"). I've never yet seen an explanation that I was entirely satisfied with but then, so far, since acquiring the hated "Calvinist" label, I have only heard explanations which pre-suppose the two wills theory.

wildboar
12-02-03, 03:04 PM
disciple:

I am uncertain as to what the links you posted were supposed to show. I looked at a couple. But anyhow, it does seem that two distinct groups of people are being spoken of or else it would say "Jeruaselem, Jerusalem how often I would have gathered you". Jerusalem really seems to be a reference to the Pharisees and others in leadership roles, while the children refers to those in the congregation so to speak. If it were written today he would be addressing the pastors with the term Jerusalem, and the children would be those who are members of the church.

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar

disciple
12-02-03, 03:34 PM
Originally posted by wildboar
I am uncertain as to what the links you posted were supposed to show. I looked at a couple.
for example at http://www.geocities.com/bible_translation/otidioms.htm sons of = people of (metonymy) for Jer 50:33.


But anyhow, it does seem that two distinct groups of people are being spoken of or else it would say "Jeruaselem, Jerusalem how often I would have gathered you". Jerusalem really seems to be a reference to the Pharisees and others in leadership roles, while the children refers to those in the congregation so to speak. If it were written today he would be addressing the pastors with the term Jerusalem, and the children would be those who are members of the church.
i see what you're saying. just to make sure, you're saying that Jerusalem is a metonymy for the Pharisees and her children are a metonymy for her disciples or the people that they taught (the ones that the Pharisees thought belonged to them)? that sounds right. i was a bit confused at first with what you were saying. sorry.

anyway, this verse is often used by Arminians to refer to two wills. and it is evident that it is a misuse/misinterpretation of the verse.

disciple
12-02-03, 03:47 PM
Originally posted by Skeuos Eleos
Also, I'm also curious as to whether this doctrine leads to a different explanation of 1 Tim 4:10? ("God, who is the savior of all people, especially those who believe"). I've never yet seen an explanation that I was entirely satisfied with but then, so far, since acquiring the hated "Calvinist" label, I have only heard explanations which pre-suppose the two wills theory.
the explanation i've heard for this one is that it is not here speaking of Christ's death (for the Son, the Lord Jesus, is not even spoken of here) but of the office of God. He is the only Savior there is, and He is the Savior (provider, sustainer, creator, etc.) of the each and every individual as well as all of creation. it is like it says in Isaiah, He is the only Savior...there is no other.

Isa 43:11 "I, even I, am the Lord, And there is no savior besides Me.

but there is a special sense in which He is the Savior of believers that is completely different from the way in which He is Savior of all mankind. i've heard it explained that just as the Surgeon General may not perform surgery on you, he is still the Surgeon General. but i have my own personal surgeon who is a surgeon to me in a different way than the Surgeon General is. one speaks to office, the other speaks to application/practice.

the point here though, is that Savior here probably is not used in the sense of atonement (e.g., of death) but of provider, sustainer, etc.

Brandan
12-02-03, 03:57 PM
Martin, John Gill was a supralapsarian and he wrote a book called the Cause of God and Truth that deals with every passage that the arminian uses to bolster his position. If you want a good understanding of a supralapsarian view of Scripture I would suggest you buy that book :D It's also available online at http://www.pbministries.org.

Here are Gill's comments in his exposition of the Old and New Testaments: http://bible.5solas.org/bible.php?view=1&restrict=0&keywords=&startbook=0&endbook=0&references=0&andor=0&ascdesc=&highlight=1&chaplinks=1&book=54&chapter=4&verse1=10&verse2=&version=gill&abrv=1&createchaps=1

disciple
12-02-03, 04:17 PM
Originally posted by Dr. Gill
Martin, John Gill was a supralapsarian and he wrote a book called the Cause of God and Truth that deals with every passage that the arminian uses to bolster his position. If you want a good understanding of a supralapsarian view of Scripture I would suggest you buy that book :D It's also available online at http://www.pbministries.org.

Here are Gill's comments in his exposition of the Old and New Testaments: http://bible.5solas.org/bible.php?view=1&restrict=0&keywords=&startbook=0&endbook=0&references=0&andor=0&ascdesc=&highlight=1&chaplinks=1&book=54&chapter=4&verse1=10&verse2=&version=gill&abrv=1&createchaps=1
thanks for the links brandan. those are great!

GraceAmbassador
12-02-03, 04:20 PM
Martin:

You quote:

1 Timothy 2:1-4 "... God our Savior, who wills all persons to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."

Let me point out that this means: "all without distinction" and not "all without exception".

There are too many Bible verses in the N.T. that "all" does not mean everybody.

Against my will, I will post an answer that I gave someone on this same verse and that I published in my Web Site.

(Brandan, I hope this is okay)

Here it goes: click on the link below:
The meaning of "all" (http://embassyofgrace.net/allmeans.html)

I hope this helps!

Skeuos Eleos
12-02-03, 04:51 PM
Thanks, Milt - I am familiar with the different uses of "all" in scriptures but that alone doesn't do justice to the presence of "specially" in this verse. I like Gill's exposition that Brandan pointed out in that it would make sense if this were really just talking about being saved from temporal difficulties. However, this doesn't seemt to fit as well with the context to me as does eternal salvation. Disciple's answer is close to what mine would have been but that would imply two wills, a genuine offer, etc.

disciple
12-02-03, 05:08 PM
Originally posted by Skeuos Eleos
Disciple's answer is close to what mine would have been but that would imply two wills, a genuine offer, etc.
i don't see that at all. there is no implication of two wills. it is that God is Savior (provider, sustainer, etc.) of all people (which Mt 5 et al confirm, i.e., that He is the only Savior that there is and this is not salvific in an eternal sense), but Savior in a very special and different sense to the elect. there is no two wills here at all. i read Gill and thought i was saying the exact same thing that he was. perhaps i'm missing something here...

wildboar
12-02-03, 06:03 PM
I was never very happy with the various explanations given of 1 Tim 4:10. I believe Calvin explained it as God providing the breath of life for all creatures. Everywhere I else I turned in the Bible, the term Saviour seemed to have an eternal quality with a specific meaning. Then I came across George W. Knight's commentary in the NIGTC series. He suggested another possibility which was derived from a study done by T. C. Skeat. Skeat's study can be found in the April 1979 issue of the Journal of Theological studies pp. 173ff. It's entitled "Especially the Parchments". It's a very interesting read for those who can deal with the Greek.

Basically, by examples from other literature and the Scriptures, Skeat showed that malista can be used to further define what the person is talking about. It is only used in this way in cases of informal dictation such as what would have been occuring in the cases of 1 and 2 Timothy.

The article centers around 2 Tim. 4:13 but other texts are referrred to as well.

He suggests an idiomatic translation of 2 Tim 4:13 would be 'the books--I mean the parchment notebooks.'

Titus 1:10-11 would become 'in other words, the Jewish converts.'

1 Tim 4:10 then becomes 'God who gives salvation to all men--that is to say, to all who believe in Him.'

Malista would not be used this way in formal prose, since such definitions would be ironed out. I have not read any refutation of this study and I find the examples he gives from other Greek literature very convincing.

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar

Skeuos Eleos
12-03-03, 02:27 AM
Thankyou Wildboar, I like that explanation. Any comments from anyone else who can "deal with the Greek"?

I am hoping that my original question doesn't get overlooked regarding "two wills":
Originally posted by Skeuos Eleos:
I can now see how a lot of the "proof" for two wills isn't really proof at all but I have been thinking again about some of the standard Arminian texts:
1 Timothy 2:1-4 "... God our Savior, who wills all persons to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."
2 Peter 3:8-9 "The Lord is ... not willing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."
Ezekiel 18:23 and 32 "Do I indeed delight in the death of the wicked, says the Lord GOD, and not rather in his turning from his way that he might live? . . . I do not delight in the death of the one who dies, says the Lord; so turn and live"

The usual Calvinist response is to point to "two wills" but isn't the implication of where this thread is going that these verses are speaking only of the Elect? By logical implication the wicked spoken of in Ezek 18:23 then would be referring to the as-yet unregenerate Elect?? I am struggling here because I can see how this would look like a strange interpretation and how it could easily lead to the charge of interpreting these verses through a pre-supposed grid. What am I missing?

Brandan
12-03-03, 07:34 AM
Do you think Adam and Eve serve to illustrate the Supralapsarian understanding? Gill (heh, go figure) had this to say about Adam and Eve, Christ and the Church....
Eve was brought by the Lord to Adam, not against her will, but with it, and by him presented as a proper match for him, which he approved and accepted of; and the church was brought to Christ, and given to him by his Father, to be his spouse and bride, whom he liked, accepted of, and betrothed to himself; and her consent is obtained by the drawings and influences of his Father’s grace: and though this is no direct proof of, yet it has a favourable aspect upon, and may serve to illustrate the “supralapsarian” scheme; that Christ had an interest in his church, and she in him, and was espoused unto him before she fell in Adam; this marriage transaction between Adam and Eve being before the fall.I think he makes an excellent point here, and I can't say for sure it is "proof", but it is a neat illustration.

wildboar
12-03-03, 09:03 AM
I do think the text of Ezekiel is the strongest argument for the idea of the two wills of God. Herman Hoeksema does a pretty good job dealing with that passage, his explanation can be found here: http://www.hopeprc.org/pamphlets/ezekiel_33_11.htm

I agree with the major thrust of Hoeksema's interpretation. However, I do believe it can be better explained. I am the only one I know of that has interpreted in this manner, so I'm a little hesitant. On the other hand, nobody has given sufficient reason to make me think I am wrong in my interpretation so here it goes.

I think much can be cleared up in the Ezekiel passages just by looking at the context. Please read the following passage carefully and notice the repitition and the emphasis.

Ezekiel 33:10-20 Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live? 11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? 12 Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth. 13 When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it. 14 Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right; 15 If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die. 16 None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live. 17 Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal. 18 When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby. 19 But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby. 20 Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways.

Verse 10 begins with a statement made by those who know they are wicked. These are the ones whom God takes no delight in the death of. The passage then goes on to speak of those who are self-righteous. It says that if the righteous sin at all they will die but if the wicked repent they will be forgiven. The wicked know their sin and God is comforting them and saying that there is forgiveness for them no matter how terrible their sin may be.

I find a very strong parallel between this passage and some of the statements of Jesus.

Matthew 9:10-13 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? 12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Certainly, Jesus was not saying that the Pharisees were actually righteous, but they thought they were. This passage is repeated in each one of the synoptic gospels.

Mark 2:15-17 And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. 16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? 17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Luke 5:29-32 And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them. 30 But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? 31 And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. 32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar

disciple
12-03-03, 09:55 AM
Originally posted by wildboar
I am the only one I know of that has interpreted in this manner, so I'm a little hesitant. On the other hand, nobody has given sufficient reason to make me think I am wrong in my interpretation so here it goes...
i think your explanation is fine. in addition to this, it is often difficult to get didactic teaching/doctrine from the OT. if this is the only real problem passage i don't think that the common/popular understanding of it must be correct. we may be completely unaware of the rhetorical devices he may be using being so far removed from the text. carson calls this "distanciation." if we don't recognize our distance from the text and the difficulties in recapturing the original nuances, etc. then we may be in danger of superimpose our modern/current understanding back onto the text. anyway...enough rambling. i thought your explanation was good. thanks.

disciple
12-03-03, 10:27 AM
one thing that i've sort of noticed in this debate (even here a bit) is that everyone thinks that their understanding and their brand of calvinism is only worthy of the name calvinist. at this point name calling seems to commence where the other side is often labelled as "so-called calvinist" or "hyper-calvinist" or "hypo-calvinist", etc. i think this attitude and practice is unacceptable. if one is truly a calvinist, he will not look down his nose at others. it's almost as if one doesn't see the issue exactly the way that i do that they therefore cannot be a calvinists. i think we need to change our attitudes (i'm speaking to myself as well as to everyone else). here are some good articles for this:

http://www.churchinfocus.org/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=5&mode=&order=0&thold=0
http://www.5solas.org/media.php?id=270

disciple
12-03-03, 12:04 PM
Originally posted by wildboar
The article centers around 2 Tim. 4:13 but other texts are referrred to as well.

He suggests an idiomatic translation of 2 Tim 4:13 would be 'the books--I mean the parchment notebooks.'
this makes much more sense to me. i mean what would "...especially the parchments" refer to. why would he say especially bring the parchments? doesn't he want him to bring them all? is he saying that it's ok for him to leave the books but he really wants the parchments? then why would he say "bring the books" instead of just saying "bring the parchments"? i think taking MALISTA epexegetically (e.g., "namely", "that is") here does work best. the epexegetical sense doesn't seem to work in Acts 20:38; 25:26, Gal 6:10, Phil 4:22, Philemon 1:16 but works well everywhere else. the epexegetical sense works especially well (no pun intented) in Acts 26:3, 1 Tim 4:10, 5:8, 17, Titus 1:10, and 2 Pe 2:10. i've posted the question to the B-Greek list and we'll see if it yields any fruit there.

disciple
12-03-03, 12:29 PM
here is the first B-Greek response:


It's not indicated in the lexica, but insmuch as MALISTA means, essentially, "more than anything else," it seems to me that it's not much of an extension to say that it means "just that," or perhaps, "and to be precise"--like German "zwar." This really strikes me as something of a quibble.

GraceAmbassador
12-03-03, 03:46 PM
It seems to me that if we are to take the term "savior" in 1 Tim 4:10 as "Savior" as we call Jesus a Savior, then, we have to go to the context, verse 16, and consider that the verb "to save" also refers to "eternal Salvation".

Here is what I am talking about:

10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
11 These things command and teach.
12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

Note in verse 15 that Paul says "Meditate upon these things" which is what Paul speaks of here:

1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.
7 But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.
10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe

These are the things Tim is supposed to meditate on. God is the "savior" of all men in that as an act of His will he can spare anybody from suffering the consequences of the eminent tragedy and the periolous times Paul describes above. I do not think Paul speaks of God as savior here meaning the Salvation we receive in Jesus, but a savior of the impending and eminent tragedy he describes.

If we are to take the term "savior" as the Eternal Savior with the Salvation He provided in Jesus, then we have to take the verb "to save" in verse 16 as "eternal Salvation provided in Jesus Christ".
That would make Timothy the savior and the means of this salvation would be the teaching of Paul.

We all can agree on the fact that neither Paul's teaching nor Tim's announcement thereof can save, and we know by other writings of Paul that God will save His elect.

I do not believe that neither the word "savior" in verse 10 nor the verb "to save" in verse 16 speak of the Salvation provided in Jesus Christ. But, meditating and teaching about "these things" can save self and a lot of people from the trouble of getting discouraged during these trials since they were warned that God can spare them from its effects.

I still have my doubts as to where this scripture can be construed as God having two wills. I also think that not all difficult to understand scriptures have to be deeply theologized to be understood. Thus, on this one, I prefer my non-deeply theological approach (which has become my style lately), although I am wide open, with a veritable gaping wound in my mind, ready to be convinced theologically that that is not what the verse is saying.

Just my half a cent contribution.

Milt

Bob Higby
12-03-03, 10:11 PM
John Gill gave a brilliant exposition of Mt. 23:37, I will try and post it when I find it online (else I will have to type it in from a paper book!) It agrees fully with what WB is saying. Also, Gill was one who taught the unitary will of God. Not that I believe he was always consistent with this (neither was Luther, etc.).

SE (on 1 Tim. 2:1-4, 2 Pet. 3:8,9, and Ezek. 18:23,32)
The usual Calvinist response is to point to "two wills" but isn't the implication of where this thread is going that these verses are speaking only of the Elect? By logical implication the wicked spoken of in Ezek 18:23 then would be referring to the as-yet unregenerate Elect?? I am struggling here because I can see how this would look like a strange interpretation and how it could easily lead to the charge of interpreting these verses through a pre-supposed grid. What am I missing?

Nothing! It is SIMPLE. It is the strange and bizarre interpretations of paradox theology, always looking for contradictions, that make a mess of scripture. The plan of redemption is a complete and perfect whole--as taught by the didactic passages authored by revelation. All other incidental passages must of necessity be in harmony with the same truth of the gospel.

On the Ezekiel 18 matter, we can at least begin by observing that the house of Israel is being addressed, not the wicked world of the heathen. The covenant in focus is that of 'obey and live,' not everlasting grace. The 'death' being discussed is not eternal death--but temporal death by the sanctions of the covenant. The point is, if God takes pleasure in the repentance of wicked Israel after the exile, they will again be restored to the land and will not die in temporal judgment. None of this contradicts the greater scriptural truth of God's unitary and discriminating will.

In many other passages it states that God will laugh at the calamity of the wicked, etc. All of it has to be taken into account.

On 1 Tim. 4:10, I agree that 'savior' is a general term that can mean sustainer, creative owner, giver of physical life, rescuer, etc. and does not imply eternal salvation for the non-elect.

Brandan
12-03-03, 10:23 PM
Originally posted by BillTwisse
John Gill gave a brilliant exposition of Mt. 23:37, I will try and post it when I find it online (else I will have to type it in from a paper book!) It agrees fully with what WB is saying. Also, Gill was one who taught the unitary will of God. Not that I believe he was always consistent with this (neither was Luther, etc.).. Gill's Commentary on Mt. 23:37 - http://bible.5solas.org/bible.php?view=1&restrict=0&keywords=&startbook=0&endbook=0&references=0&andor=0&ascdesc=&highlight=1&chaplinks=1&book=40&chapter=23&verse1=37&verse2=&version=gill&abrv=1&createchaps=1

Attached is the chapter out of Gill's "Cause of God and Truth" concerning Mt. 23:37, which I happen to own in HARDBACK as well as on my complete collection of Gill's writings on CD.

wildboar
12-04-03, 09:08 AM
The problem with nearly all the Arminian proof texts is that if interpreted the way the Arminian would have them interpreted, they do not teach Arminianism, they teach universalism and prove too much for them.

On the other hand, I notice in the writings of some reformed people the tendency to compartmentalize certain verses. I love Pink's book "The Sovereignty of God" but I think his appendix on the word kosmos causes some to miss the whole point of some of the verses. John 3:16 for instance, speaks of God's love for all of his creation in an organic sense. God loves not only the Jews, but people from every nation, tribe, and tongue. If all we see when we read John 3:16 is "the world of the elect" I think we miss the point of the passage just as those do who read "everyone who ever lived or ever will live" into the passage.

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar

Brandan
12-04-03, 09:35 AM
Charles,

Arthur Pink changed his interpretation of "kosmos" from "just the world of the elect" to "men from all nations" years after writing the Sovereignty of God I think.

Brandan

disciple
12-04-03, 10:02 AM
Originally posted by Dr. Gill
Charles,

Arthur Pink changed his interpretation of "kosmos" from "just the world of the elect" to "men from all nations" years after writing the Sovereignty of God I think.

Brandan
where is this documented (where did you read this)? i would be interested in seeing this. not because i doubt it, just because this was the first i'd ever heard of it.

pink's exegesis here is a good example of how we can tend to try and conform Scripture to our presuppositions which is something i'm sure we've all done (whether we want to admit it or not). EISOGESIS is the plight of theologians and because we want order so bad it is nearly unavoidable. a constant challenge for us all is to let Scripture speak for itself and if it contradicts our system (i'm not suggesting that John 3:16 does) then so be it. we're much more willing to stretch the verse than to admit that we may not understand the passage or that our system may be wrong or have holes in it. may we be humble enough to admit that we don't have it all figured out.

Brandan
12-04-03, 12:13 PM
Originally posted by disciple
where is this documented (where did you read this)? i would be interested in seeing this. not because i doubt it, just because this was the first i'd ever heard of it. Doug, I have all of Pink's writings on CD-ROM, and I did some research and this is what I found:
“the world” in John 3:16 refers to the world of believers (God’s elect), in contradistinction from “the world of the ungodly” - ("The Sovereignty of God" published 1919.)Contrasted with
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son” - John 3:16 From these words it is urged that if God loves the world He desires the salvation of the whole human race, and that it was for this end He provided a Savior for them. Here it is a case of being misled by the mere sound of a word, instead of ascertaining its real import. To say that God gave His Son with the design of providing salvation for all of Adam’s children is manifestly absurd, for half of them had already died before Christ was born, and the vast majority of them perished in heathen darkness. Where is there the slightest hint in the Old Testament that God loved the Egyptians, the Canaanites, the Babylonians? And where else in the New Testament is there any statement that God loves all mankind? The “world” in John 3:16 (as in many other places) is a general term, used in contrast from Israel, who imagined they had a monopoly on redemption. God’s love extends far beyond the bounds of Judaism, embracing His elect scattered among all nations. ("The Doctrine of Election", published later in Pink's life not sure on the date)So yes, Pink did change his mind on the meaning of the word "kosmos". Isn't that neat?

Brandan

disciple
12-04-03, 12:30 PM
Originally posted by Dr. Gill
So yes, Pink did change his mind on the meaning of the word "kosmos". Isn't that neat?
thanks brandan! that is very interesting. perhaps someone called him to the carpet on his eisogesis. oh that we all would be humble enough to recant when shown that we are in error.

Bob Higby
12-05-03, 07:26 AM
Thanks so much, Dr. Gill of 5solas, for the quotes from Dr. Gill of Calvinistic Baptist fame on Mt. 23:37.

The second quote from "The Cause of God and Truth" is the one I had in mind. The first one from the commentary is good-- but 'mixed' in my opinion. The reason being this: I have real problems with a Christology that would seemingly pit human emotions in Jesus contrary to his Divine person or will. Christ was a unitary person (God the Son) who took upon himself human nature (body, soul, and spirit). However, His divine personhood remained one. The human 'clothing' (real, not phantom) added these human attributes to his person but did not change his unitary will as God.

Anyway, much has been written on this and we could probably go at it for quite a while.

Brandan
12-08-03, 11:42 AM
Pink was a supralapsarian, and he wrote more than a couple pages on the topic. This pdf has been taken from his book, "The Doctrine of Election." I copied pages 67-80. Start reading from the bottom of page 67. -- Brandan

wildboar
12-10-03, 09:36 AM
Supralapsarianism just isn't any fun without Theodore Beza so here's a link to an article by him called "The Fall of Man Was Both Necessary and Wonderful"
http://personal.pitnet.net/primarysources/beza.html

Also, a work currently in the process of being put on the internet is "The Order of Salvation and Damnation" by William Perkins
http://www.apuritansmind.com/WilliamPerkins/WilliamPerkinsSalvationMainPage.htm

An article by Hugh Binning called "Of the Decrees of God"
http://www.puritansermons.com/sermons/binn01.htm

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar

Brandan
12-10-03, 02:24 PM
rut roh... I found a problem with Pink and "kosmos"... I've been reading through Pink's classic work, "The Sovereignty of God," and I'm on chapter 11. Here he continues to shed more light on John 3:16, and it appears his definition of "kosmos" in the appendix differs from his definition given within this chapter. I don't think Pink contradicted himself, but just touched on the real meaning lightly in the appendix. It is true that Jesus loves only the "world" of the elect, but this world is made up of men from all nations. Both defiinitions are accurate, but incomplete in and of themselves...

Here is what Pink wrote in Chapter 11
Now the first thing to note in connection with John 3:16 is that our Lord was there speaking to Nicodemus—a man who believed that God’s mercies were confined to his own nation. Christ there announced that God’s love in giving His Son had a larger object in view, that it flowed beyond the boundary of Palestine, reaching out to “regions beyond”. In other words, this was Christ’s announcement that God had a purpose of grace toward Gentiles as well as Jews. “God so loved the world”, then, signifies, God’s love is international in its scope... (The Sovereignty of God, [A.W. Pink (1919)] pg. 189)

Bob Higby
12-10-03, 11:08 PM
The thing that becomes apparant in all of these writings is the indebtedness to the view of the fall taught by St. Gus. This is what it all finally comes down to.

My difference with virtually all supralapsarians is their infralapsarianism. In other words, they follow St. Gus (the chief infralapsarian) on 3 points:

1. The origin of evil.
2. The fall.
3. The devil is king over hell.

In this they are terribly inconsistent with their own position. This is why the difference between infra and supra in theological works is explained as merely a difference in the order of divine decrees, instead of a difference in the ultimate purposes of God and his means of achieving them.

We could also discuss the traducian (Tertullian) vs. the creational origin of the human soul, which is also paramount to this issue.

Perkins touched on the truth about Adam's fall briefly, contrary to most of his arguments. It lies in the fact that Adam was created a mutable creature, untested, with a heart subject to both good and evil propensities. The fact that God created him with only the good active and the evil subdued, then later withdrew his sustaining grace so that the evil would ascend: this is what explains the fall. God's sovereignty in dispensing an abrupt change in sustaining grace, in order to cause the preordained fall, this is what we need to understand to correct the Manichaean errors of St. Gus.

wildboar
12-11-03, 11:55 AM
BT:

I certainly agree that God is the ultimate cause of all things including evil, which even the reformed confessions acknowledge, however could you please give some Biblical support for the following statement?


Perkins touched on the truth about Adam's fall briefly, contrary to most of his arguments. It lies in the fact that Adam was created a mutable creature, untested, with a heart subject to both good and evil propensities. The fact that God created him with only the good active and the evil subdued, then later withdrew his sustaining grace so that the evil would ascend: this is what explains the fall. God's sovereignty in dispensing an abrupt change in sustaining grace, in order to cause the preordained fall, this is what we need to understand to correct the Manichaean errors of St. Gus.

I just don't see a Biblical basis for this idea and I think you still end up with all the same problems, it just pushes it a little further down the line.

That's not to say that I have a better explanation. My own tendency is just to proclaim that God is the ultimate cause of all things but not the author of sin and just leave it at that. I haven't lost any sleep yet over it, and I fear that to go any further leads to mere speculation.

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar

Brandan
12-11-03, 05:50 PM
Originally posted by disciple
if isaiah were alive today you could ask him but unfortunately we can only guess how they thought or what they really meant. Doug, I think you need to take another look at this... If we can only "guess" what these men were thinking, then we're doomed.

Bob Higby
12-11-03, 08:26 PM
WB:
I just don't see a Biblical basis for this idea and I think you still end up with all the same problems, it just pushes it a little further down the line.

That's not to say that I have a better explanation. My own tendency is just to proclaim that God is the ultimate cause of all things but not the author of sin and just leave it at that. I haven't lost any sleep yet over it, and I fear that to go any further leads to mere speculation.

All in the tradition of St. Gus appeal to paradox at some point. The same arguments that Arminians use against Calvinists, low-grace Calvinists use against high-grace Calvinists, and high-grace Calvinists use against anyone who would propose that God created the devil with a heart of lies, murder, and eternal sin from the beginning.

1. We can't really understand God's mind on the issue.
2. Too logical and systematic.
3. Leave it to mystery and everyone will be happier.
4. The Bible really doesn't say for sure.

So even these high grace Calvinists finally appeal to paradox. They propose that non-elect angels and Adam committed horrible acts of rebellion against God (unforgivable in the case of the non-elect angels), yet had perfectly holy hearts when they did it. Beings with absolutely no desire to sin, in fact with every impulse against sin, sinned eternally. How can this be justified from the standpoint of systematic theology? Back to #1, #2, #3, and #4 above! So the reasoning is forever circular.

To respond, I will simply go back and extract quotes from prior posts over the last few months.

Bob Higby
12-11-03, 09:13 PM
I would encourage those interested in this interaction to go back and read pages 2 through 5 of this thread. There is some very pointed argument there between myself, Doug, and Milt. I'm surely not proud of everything I said then (we grow)--but a lot of issues surrounding God's unitary will and the biblical support are uncovered there.

A sample:

From Plato's Republic:

"God, if he be good, is not the author of all things, as the many assert, but he is the cause of a few things only, and not of most things that occur to men. Because few are the goods of human life, and many are the evils, and the good is to be attributed to God alone; of the evils the causes are to be sought elsewhere, and not in him. Let this then, be one of our rules and principles concerning the gods, to which our poets and reciters will be expected to conform -- that god is not the author of all things, but only of good."

Christian dogmatics since the second century has accepted the standard of Plato (pre-Christian) as the norm. Justin Martyr succeeded in binding the 'churchian' conscience to this standard. Since then we have an onslaught of dualism, compartmentalization, and paradox theology.

It is very wrong to assert that the issues we are discussing are philosophical and not biblical. For me, it is the Manichaeans who love philosphy more than the truth of revelation. And I see Manichaean thought expounded in the majority of interpreters. For the others who would oppose me (the majority), any person who hates and condemns all forms of dualism with a 'perfect hatred' (to use the language of David) is unorthodox, going against history, and not to be trusted. For the majority, those who believe in one sovereign will of God are labeled 'foolish philosophers.' But that is a false use of Paul's language in Colossians. I'm sorry, but on this one I have to tell it like it is.

I want to study and interact on scripture, not philosophy. When I state my conviction that certain views are in error and rooted in Manichaean philosophy, I'm not trying to say that these errors are calculated on the part of many. Neither am I saying that all people who oppose me reject the Word of God outright in favor of philosophy.

The Law of Plato, though used as a standard of Christian orthodoxy for the last 1900 years, is never remotely stated in scripture.

Pre 5-solas quotes of mine (on the issue of biblical support):

"All devils, whether originally spirit or human, are of the same essence and character. Those who would feel sorrow for humans who end up in hell are committing the same act as sympathizing with the devil. We mourn over lost souls in this life, as did the Lord Jesus Christ over the lost sheep of Israel, because God has chosen to save many. We are to engage in the preaching of the gospel to all men--not knowing who are the elect of God. But once the final judgment reveals who are sheep and who are goats in God's eternal plan, not one tear will afterward be shed over the 'goats' by the elect angels or the redeemed saints. Instead, they will eternally sing this praise to the Father: "Hallelujah! Their smoke rises up forever and ever!" (Rev. 19:3)."

"God's decree of reprobation is not a 'passing over' of individuals who might otherwise be saved. Infralapsarianism is a horrible and monstrous doctrine. It proposes that God will send redeemable persons to hell. On this point it has exactly the same teaching as the strange philosophies of Arminianism, Pelagianism, Justin Martyr in his first Apology, and the Roman Catholic myths of Thomas Aquinas and the Council of Trent."

"God does not merely 'permit' anything. His purpose of reprobation is as definite and positive as salvation (Prov. 16:4, Mt. 11:25-27, Mk. 4:10-20, Lk. 10:21,22, Rom. 9:15-21, Jude 4, Rev. 13:8, 17:8,9). Like redemption, it is decreed to magnify his glory beyond measure. Those created in eternal sin are beyond all possibility of redemption--not only objectively (according to God's purposes)--but subjectively (in their own souls). What is decreed in heaven is accomplished perfectly on earth. The exact nature of damnation is currently more a mystery than that of salvation. The revelation of the grace of God, hidden for many ages, was/is made manifest in the gospel. But God has surprises in store with regard to his exact method of dealing with eternal iniquity. Whatever the exact nature of hell is, it is purposed to bring glory to God and will forever cause the redeemed saints and angels to praise him. It will not be a cause of mourning and disappointment over failed opportunities and damned souls who 'might have been saved.' "
_
"Is God the author of sin? Wrong question! Those who seek to honor God's word will ask biblical questions and give biblical answers. Only in the sacred scriptures do we have a record of what God has revealed concerning himself. Since the Bible never asks whether God is the author of sin, it is ridiculous and dishonoring of God's sovereignty for us to be asking it. The Bible is clear that God does not approve of nor reward sin--he condemns and punishes it. He does not personally tempt creatures to specific acts of sin. It is equally clear, however, that God creates evil. {arguments follow on Isa. 45:7 and Hebrew word (RA)} The expression is a compound one and refers to all things bad--whether moral/spiritual or physical. Those who want to deny God's sovereignty in reprobation have a strong motive to emphasize only the physical meaning (material judgment on sin) and ignore the moral/spiritual one."
__
"The traditional hamartiology of established Protestant sects is very weak on the issue of eternal sin. It is orthodox--more or less--on the matter of sin in believers, both before and after regeneration. Those predestined to salvation are conceived in iniquity. However, this iniquity is not of such a character as to render the soul eternally lost and unredeemable. In God's appointed time, the elect are regenerated by the Holy Spirit. From that point on, the spiritual nature has dominion over the flesh (which is still present). In glorification, when the redeemed soul enters heaven, the flesh is eradicated. All of this is strictly biblical. The problem is this: 'orthodox' Protestantism would propose that all humans are conceived in an iniquity that does not render the soul eternally lost and unredeemable. Based on Rom. 5:12-19, it proposes that the temporal sin in which the elect are conceived is common to all mankind and of the same 'substance.' This is where a fatal and erroneous assumption is made--one that cannot be substantiated by scripture. When interpreting Romans 5, it is extremely risky and doubtful to propose that the group lost in Adam and the group redeemed in Christ are separate entities (one referring to all descendents of Adam and the other referring to a smaller segment who are objects of salvation). The whole language of the passage suggests an exact parallel--"all men" (true and elect humanity, not the 'phantom human' devils predestined to hell) are lost in Adam and redeemed in Christ."
__
"When contemplating the sin of those predestined to hell, the Bible uses such terms as the sin against the Holy Spirit that will never be forgiven (Mt. 12:32), 'eternal sin' (Mk. 3:29), the 'mystery of iniquity' (2 Thess. 2:7-12), and the 'sin unto death' (I John 5:16,17). This is not a common iniquity in which all humans are conceived. It is an iniquity possessed only by those who are devils. It is a 'mystery' to the redeemed, because it is a type of sin that they have never experienced--even in their unregenerate state. They do not know or comprehend the experience of a final and eternal rejection of the grace of God."
_
"The Bible is clear that the devil was a liar and murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). Yet the ridiculous and absurd fable of Milton's 'Paradise Lost' would have us believe that Satan--the chief of devils--was created perfectly holy as the revered leader of all the angelic host. An absolutely holy being--with not the slightest impulse toward sin or rebellion against God in his nature--commited the ultimate in sin and rebellion due to his exalted status of holiness! Extreme holiness begets eternal sin!"

It is impossible to over-emphasize the importance of revealed truth. The extreme paradox theology of post-modern 'churchianity' would attempt to make virtually all propositions in the professed Christian world equally true and untrue. In contrast, returning to a biblical ontology and cosmology will engender faith and cause us to rejoice in such a great salvation that God has provided for his elect people.

disciple
12-12-03, 09:49 AM
Originally posted by Dr. Gill
Doug, I think you need to take another look at this... If we can only "guess" what these men were thinking, then we're doomed.
more of the quote in context:


i'm not saying you have to trash it and relegate its true meaning to enigma. i'm not saying that this text is obscure at all. i don't think it's some hard to understand mystery. i think that the reference to which Isaiah is speaking is the current situation that the Jews were in. that's what the poetry refers to. this is plain from the context. the spiritual realities may be there, but i don't think that this is primary and i don't think it can be discovered from the context. you want to extract it from the Hebrew language or mindset and say that this was the way they wrote or thought or something. this is conjecture. if isaiah were alive today you could ask him but unfortunately we can only guess how they thought or what they really meant. my point is that the only thing we can be 100% sure on is to be extracted from the context. and the context is talking about Israel being delivered from captivity from babylon through the hand of Cyrus. and so that's what i rest on. the rest is conjecture which neither of us can prove with 100% certainty. perhaps they read the words and said, "oh Lord thank you for your spiritual deliverance in justification and in the final day." perhaps they read it, understood it as applying to their current situation, and then saw the spiritual realities behind that. the thing is, though, i'm not sure where you can get this from the context. perhaps i'm frustrating you. perhaps you think i'm making things obscure. but i assure you, from my perspective, i think the text is very clear and i think the context makes that plain. i don't want you to misunderstand what i'm saying. i want to rest on an exegetical theology and not a systematic theology. i want to avoid eisogesis at all costs. on this side of the cross, i can see what all those physical pictures meant. we still see through a mirror darkly, but we can look back at the types and shadows and have a better understanding because we now have the reality and know the fulfillment.
i hope you don't miss what is was saying. in exegesis, we can only deal with what is there in the text. i felt that bob was bringing mindset and meanings that he felt were behind the text...my point was that this may be correct, but it is conjecture. we cannot be 100% certain. i didn't mean that exegesis is only guesswork.

extracted from context, it sounded as if i was saying that we will never know anything about the Scripture for certain. i feel you misunderstand my comment and perhaps you need to read it in context again or ask for my clarification for i don't think i was saying what you think i was. thanks.

GraceAmbassador
12-12-03, 09:56 AM
Originally posted by Disciple
If isaiah were alive today you could ask him but unfortunately...
You mean... Isaiah is dead... oh! my, any other hunk of bad news?

Brandan
12-12-03, 10:24 AM
Thanks Doug,

I appreciate your willingness to bring this up again. I'm preparing a response and will get back to you brother..

Brandan

disciple
12-12-03, 10:37 AM
Originally posted by Dr. Gill
I appreciate your willingness to bring this up again.
you brought it up, not me :p

Brandan
12-12-03, 10:50 AM
:eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

Friends, I somehow missed the first few pages of this thread, and I think it is probably the most BRILLIANT conversation I've ever had the pleasure of reading on this forum.

Bob and Doug, I must say that I think you two are probably some of the most amazing thinkers I've ever met.

Bob if what you are saying is true, you are espousing a form of supralapsarianism that NOBODY (at least published) has ever expressed before. Have you considered writing a book?

I think a discussion on epistemology is long overdue. I need to get my mechanics of thinking down pat before I can really continue to think this issue out to its fullest extent. What would be the best introductory book on epistemology? I've read Cornelius Van Til to the neglect of Gordon Clark... Maybe I need to investigate what he thought as well.

Brandan

wildboar
12-12-03, 12:35 PM
BT:

I really do agree with the vast majority of what you said. However, it seems that notion of infralapsarianism is being confused with single predestination. In my mind, maintenance of the doctrine of double-predestination is far more important than the infra/supra debate.

I probably get just as frustrated as you do reading Augustine and others when they address the issue of evil. Evil never seems to be defined and it is just accepted that God does not create evil. Most often the Isaiah passage is not even addressed. I have no problem asserting that God is the cause of all things including sin, however I still do not understand how you came to the conclusion you did about the fall.

As a whole I certainly am more of a Clarkian than a Van Tillian. Clark's teachings seemed to go horrifically wrong however, when he read things into Scripture which were not there and thus his warped Christology. I believe that all things in Scripture which have been revealed we can truly know, however I do believe there are things that are not revealed that some seem to think we can know.

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar

Bob Higby
12-12-03, 11:00 PM
Brethren (all of you),

I realize that last night was one of my 'preaching' moments. Some may have thought I went overboard in certain modes of expressing my convictions. Actually, some of it was in those past quotations--which I might re-word more modestly if I was to write it all again today.

I appreciate all of your observations immensely. Any contribution that causes me to re-think and refine is of great spiritual value.

Dr. Gill:
Bob if what you are saying is true, you are espousing a form of supralapsarianism that NOBODY (at least published) has ever expressed before. Have you considered writing a book?

First of all, let me express that not a single idea or conviction that I have expressed is original with myself. The combination of ideas may indeed be unique. No two Christian thinkers who ever expressed studied convictions on a host of issues came up with exactly the same position on everything. At least that has been my experience in reading.

The strange thing in study is that one encounters so many authors who eloquently defend a few truths but make a mess of so many other issues. So progress in learning is often hard and the rewards of study come slowly and gradually. I don't have a photographic memory, so I often remember a definite teaching that I came across long ago that takes hours, days, or weeks to find again.

As far as the book idea is concerned, well, if I end up writing enough (I have many saved writings) it may just neatly fall into place one day. But well-written material needs a lot of source documentation and editing that I am unable to devote tireless hours to at this stage of my life. Maybe someday the Lord will open this door.

I think a discussion on epistemology is long overdue. I need to get my mechanics of thinking down pat before I can really continue to think this issue out to its fullest extent. What would be the best introductory book on epistemology? I've read Cornelius Van Til to the neglect of Gordon Clark... Maybe I need to investigate what he thought as well.

The first chapter of Dr. Robert Morey's book The Trinity: Evidence and Issues is one of the best treatises on epistemology that I have ever read. Unfortunately, in applying the good Doctor's own teaching, I have encountered many differences with him on issues such as the very one we are discussing. I have about 20-30 books of Dr. Clark but the best one I have read on this is Religion, Reason, and Revelation. I would say that it 'almost' gets to where I am, but not quite. Closer than any other.

WB:
I really do agree with the vast majority of what you said. However, it seems that notion of infralapsarianism is being confused with single predestination. In my mind, maintenance of the doctrine of double-predestination is far more important than the infra/supra debate.

Well, these are kind words. I feel that mine toward you last night sounded too accusatory and I'm sorry for that.

Personally, I do have a hard time perceiving 'typical' infralapsarianism as accepting double predestination in the Romans 9 sense. Many infras do teach a 'double' in this sense:

1. All mankind without distinction are predestined to condemnation in Adam.
2. A lesser portion of mankind (out of the mass of #1, which is assumed to already exist in God's plan) are predestined to salvation in Christ.

But this does not teach 'double' in the Romans 9 sense: God's will to fashion a definite mass of people for salvation in Christ and a definite 'other' mass of people for judgment, which are entirely separate and distinct vessels from the beginning.

I probably get just as frustrated as you do reading Augustine and others when they address the issue of evil. Evil never seems to be defined and it is just accepted that God does not create evil.

I'm sure you already know that Manichaean philosophy assumes that evil is eternal, not created. Gus (like Justin and so many of the 'fathers') were Manichaeans before they came to Christ. Although they opposed Marcion and the Gnostics, it seems they never got rid of the basic idea that evil is an eternal, mysterious principle which had no origin.

Most often the Isaiah passage is not even addressed. I have no problem asserting that God is the cause of all things including sin, however I still do not understand how you came to the conclusion you did about the fall.

I agree on Isaiah and I see that subject has been started in another thread.

My conclusions on the fall are based on the same principle; wickedness as act cannot exist prior to wickedness as desire. A good tree does not produce evil fruit, evil desire gives birth to sin, covetousness precedes adultery, etc. All these principles are clearly taught in scripture. The actions of a soul at any point in time are determined by the condition of the heart at that moment.

Since we know that Adam was not created like the devil, but was upright (in a relational sense--at least) and later fell, it is clear to me that evil gained ascendancy in his heart at some point subsequent to his creation. Yet he was mutable (subject to evil desires) from creation on--but did not know evil as definite, distinct, and active desire until later. I'm only reasoning through the implications of biblical teaching to my mind. If someone has a better explanation of these things, I'm certainly willing to hear it. The one thing I reject for sure is the notion that Adam (or any creature) committed an act of rebellion at a moment when his heart was perfectly free from wicked desire.

Clark's teachings seemed to go horrifically wrong however, when he read things into Scripture which were not there and thus his warped Christology.

I have been confronted with this claim before and began to study the issue, then dropped it for other priorities. I do know that the Trinity book had some arguments on the issue of eternal Sonship and three 'substances' that bother many. There is a lot of debate on what he really meant, I guess. If you have time for specific quotes sometime I will interact, or if you have chapter(s) of book(s) that specifically bother you I will re-read and comment.

Skeuos Eleos
12-16-03, 07:31 PM
BT said:
When interpreting Romans 5, it is extremely risky and doubtful to propose that the group lost in Adam and the group redeemed in Christ are separate entities (one referring to all descendents of Adam and the other referring to a smaller segment who are objects of salvation). The whole language of the passage suggests an exact parallel--"all men" (true and elect humanity, not the 'phantom human' devils predestined to hell) are lost in Adam and redeemed in Christ."I can certainly see that the "many" who died as a result of the one man's trespass ought to be the same "many" who receive the free gift of grace in Romans 5:15. However, by implication, this means that death did not spead to reprobates (Rom 5:12) - thereby going against the extremely widespread view that ALL men 'fell' as a result of Adam's sin! So, please can you offer a little more support for your phrase "phantom human devils" and how Rom 9.21 which talks of God (as Potter) making "out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use" does not present any problems to this view?

Bob Higby
12-16-03, 10:04 PM
SE:
However, by implication, this means that death did not spead to reprobates (Rom 5:12) - thereby going against the extremely widespread view that ALL men 'fell' as a result of Adam's sin!

The fact that all men are subject to temporal death in connection with sin is certainly implied by "through one man sin entered the world" and is a fact taught in all scripture. Death is the wages of sin; temporal death for temporal sin, eternal death for eternal sin.

The real issue here is who Adam represented in his sin. Did he represent only those who are conceived in temporal sin and later redeemed in Christ? Or did he also represent those who are conceived in eternal sin and are beyond any possibility of redemption. Through him sin entered the world--but is all sin of the same character and essence? I favor the view that Paul is saying, as in 1 Cor. 15:22, that in Adam all of elect humanity die (in temporal sin), in Christ all of elect humanity are made alive.

Karl Barth accepted this view but applied it to every member of the human race (universalism)! Apparently, he could not accept the fact that a large portion of the human race commit the same quality and likeness of sin as the devil.

So, please can you offer a little more support for your phrase "phantom human devils"

In Pauline anthropology, only elect and redeemed humanity constitute true humanity. They are the only subjects of 'true' resurrection to eternal life. Others are phantom (appear to be human due to genes and biology)--but their spirits are the same as the devil and his angels. Indeed, being conceived in eternal sin, they are devils in every sense. Christ called Judas a devil.

. . and how Rom 9.21 which talks of God (as Potter) making "out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use" does not present any problems to this view?

Many view the 'lump' as already having the characteristic of sin and condemnation in Adam (the infralapsarians); I believe the context is simply clay. Out of clay God forms elect and non-elect vessels. The elect are purposed to be conceived in temporal sin and later experience God's mercy in Christ. The non-elect are purposed to be conceived in eternal sin and come under God's wrath, like the devil and his angels. Both were nothing (inanimate--clay) until God's already determined purposes were put into action.

I hope this helps. Maybe it creates more questions than answers. I had to read and re-read Romans 9 many, many times until I finally saw that God predestined two separate peoples independent of any prior consideration of their sin --before they had done/experienced anything good or bad.

disciple
12-17-03, 09:37 AM
Originally posted by BillTwisse
The fact that all men are subject to temporal death in connection with sin is certainly implied by "through one man sin entered the world" and is a fact taught in all scripture. Death is the wages of sin; temporal death for temporal sin, eternal death for eternal sin.

The real issue here is who Adam represented in his sin. Did he represent only those who are conceived in temporal sin and later redeemed in Christ? Or did he also represent those who are conceived in eternal sin and are beyond any possibility of redemption. Through him sin entered the world--but is all sin of the same character and essence? I favor the view that Paul is saying, as in 1 Cor. 15:22, that in Adam all of elect humanity die (in temporal sin), in Christ all of elect humanity are made alive.

Karl Barth accepted this view but applied it to every member of the human race (universalism)! Apparently, he could not accept the fact that a large portion of the human race commit the same quality and likeness of sin as the devil.
i don't feel that the question was actually answered here. i am having trouble grasping your answer. perhaps just answering how all men (elect and non-elect) are sinners if not through Adam? i think what Skeuos Eleos (or at least what i myself) would like is an explanation of how sin is universal if not by way of relation to Adam. the term phantom humans is foreign to my vocabulary and certainly not something i've read in Scripture.


In Pauline anthropology, only elect and redeemed humanity constitute true humanity. They are the only subjects of 'true' resurrection to eternal life. Others are phantom (appear to be human due to genes and biology)--but their spirits are the same as the devil and his angels. Indeed, being conceived in eternal sin, they are devils in every sense. Christ called Judas a devil.
i personally would appreciate more development here and more evidence for this claim. i have never heard the idea of non-elect humanity only being humanity in appearance. i'm sure you've researched this out but i would like to see some evidence as to where this idea comes from.

and as far as judas goes, are you comfortable extending this idea to all non-elect mankind? it seems like a very unique event to me. also, it is clear from Scripture that the devil entered judas at a specific point in time (Lk 22:3; Jn 13:27) and that this was why he called judas the devil (not because he was a phantom human devil). plus there is only one devil and his minions are his angels (demons). so perhaps you could elaborate further on what exactly you're trying to say here.

Bob Higby
12-18-03, 10:32 PM
Disciple:
i think what Skeuos Eleos (or at least what i myself) would like is an explanation of how sin is universal if not by way of relation to Adam.

Literally, sin entered the world through Eve. She did it first, right?

This is a problem only if one assumes the traducian view of the origin of each human soul. If God creates each human soul directly and immediately (creationalism) as the father of all spirits (this has to be the way in which angels are created), then sin has its conception in each soul individually. Just as it did in Adam. Adam is simply the representative man, not someone who passed on sin biologically. He was not even the first sinner in order of time.

If traducianism is assumed to be the truth, it has to be substantiated.

I will be gone from the board for at least 2 weeks but will definitely address all these questions when I return.

disciple
12-19-03, 09:38 AM
Originally posted by BillTwisse
Literally, sin entered the world through Eve. She did it first, right?
but Scripture never seems to use that argument as a reason for our sin. the only time that i see Eve mentioned this way is 1 Tim 2 and here it seems to say that Eve was (quite) deceived while Adam willfully and knowingly disobeyed (not deceived).

Brandan
12-25-03, 12:32 AM
I will be gone from the board for at least 2 weeks but will definitely address all these questions when I return.Bob, we're anxiously awaiting your return!

Brandan
12-26-03, 01:14 PM
I've been reading through Robert Reymond's Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith, a systematic theology textbook that approaches God's plan of redemption from a supralapsarian understanding. So far, I'm really enjoying it. I thought I'd share a paragraph from the book that I think is pretty slick!


Third, infralapsarians charge that the supralapsarian scheme, in its zeal to place God's particularizing decree at the beginning of all that God planned for men, too severely construes the Fall of Adam, which was an act of rebelion on his part against God and which meant the spiritual ruin and misery of some men at least, as a necessary part of the divine plan (indeed, even a "fortunate" event for the elect in that it paved the way for their salvation in Christ). To this objection supralapsarians respond with a series of questions: "Did God, according to your understanding of the order of the decrees, decree the Fall?" The Infralapsarian knows, as Warfield--an infralapsarian himself--acknowledges, that if he answers this question in the negative he has fallen away not only from Calvinism but also from genuine Christian theism altogether. When he therefore acknowledges that God decreed the Fall, the supralapsarian has a second question: "Did he have a purpose in mind for it when He did so?" Again, the infralapsarian knows, if he answers in the negative, that he has fallen away from Calvinism as well as Christian theism. When he therefore acknowledges that God decreed the Fall for a purpose, the suprlapsarian asks yet a third ques: "Did that purpose play a role in God's redemptive plan or in some other plan?" Again, the infralapsarian knows, if he answers: "In some other plan," that he msut admit, first, that he knows nothing concerning the content of this other plan, and, second, that this other plan (whatever its content) has been frustrated inasmuch as God's redemptive purposes in Christ directly addresses the Fall and the exigencies created by it (which he avers were intended to fulfill a role in another plan). This is plain from the fact that God's redemptive puropse reverses the Fall and its effects with regard to elect persons and nature itself (see Rom. 5:12-19; 8:19-23). When he then acknowledges, as he msut, that the Fall fulfills a purposive role in God's redemptive plan, the supralapsarian finally asks: "Wherein then do we differ, since neither of us believes that sin per se is good, and since we both believe that sin is intrinsically evil and proceeds only from the nature of second causes; since neither of us believes that God is teh charegable cause of sin, and since we both believe that God decrees from all eternity that the redemptive aspects of his particularizng pupose would address the Fall and its effects in behalf of elect? Must we not both acknowledge then that God decreed teh Fall and its effects to provide the condition from which Christ would redeem God's elect? And if so, do we not both stand on precisely the same ground?"

Brandan
01-02-04, 12:46 PM
Recently I was reading an article from the trinity review, and in it, Robbins wrote the following:


Historically, theologians have divided into two schools of thought on this question: the infralapsarians and the supralapsarians. Both schools of thought are unsatisfactory, for both fail to understand exactly what type of order is being discussed. Once it is understood that God is rational, that he always acts purposefully, the problem of the order of the decrees resolves itself very neatly: The order of the decrees is the reverse of the order of their execution.To me this makes sense!

I've been reading through Gordon Clark's book on logic, and I'm beginning to see how infralapsarianism is very illogical. God and men both act purposesly.. That is there is a purpose behind every act God and men commit.

Before I put forth my order of the decrees, let me bring up the example of working out a problem with a simple example... PIE! Suppose I want to eat a tasty homemade apple pie. Before I can enjoy this tasty treat, I have to obtain it. In order to obtain this pie, I have to cook it. In order for me to cook this pie, I need certain ingredients. In order for me to have these ingredients, I have to go to the store to get them.

The order of the decrees for eating this pie would be as follows:

(1)I decree to enjoy a tasty pie.. But for this I have to (2) decree that this pie is cooked... I have to (3) decree to go to the store to get the right ingredients.

This is the logical order of decrees if we work through this in the reverse order of execution. Now it would be foolish for me to say that I decreed to go to the store before I decided to eat this tasty apple pie because it would be silly for me to go to the store without having a reason. Now let me apply this reasoning to the order of salvation.

Reversing the order of events in Scripture we read that men are regenerated and converted. Before that Christ died on the cross as a representative for His people. Before that Adam fell in the garden as representative for his people. Before that God created the Earth and the Universe. Before that men were elected to salvation. Before that God chose to glorify Himself.

Now let's reverse this process and we have the order of decrees:

1. God decrees to Glorify Himself in the election of some to salvation.
2. God decrees to create.
3. God decrees the fall of His people in Adam.
4. God decrees to provide salvation in Christ.
5. God decrees to call His people to salvation.

Now if we can all agree that chronologically God first elected people to salvation, then it would be utter nonsense to suggest that God first decreed the fall before the election of people. If that happened then the flow of events ceases to be logical. God is now reacting to the fall instead decreeing the fall for the purpose of redeeming His elect from sin. If we have God decreeing the fall before the decree to elect, then why did God decree the fall? You can't say that God decreed the fall for the purpose of decreeing to elect because if He did, then He already decreed to decree to elect which is in essence decreeing to elect before decreeing the fall.

I may be wrong, so please if somebody has a correction to my puny and simple reasoning, let me know.

- Brandan

Skeuos Eleos
01-06-04, 10:10 AM
Looks good to me Brandan. :cool:

Here are some feeble thoughts of mine on this.


Joy is a prominent word in the bible, used in many ways:
- God has joy in Himself, in His Son and in His creation. (Eze 36:22; Mat 3:17; Ps: 38:7; Zep 3:17)
- Jesus had joy in the Father and in His will – a joy for which He was prepared to suffer – “for the joy set before Him”. (Ps 40:8; 45:7; Heb 12:2)
- Jesus taught us so that we may have the fullness of His joy in us (John 15:11).
- The gospel is good news of great joy (Is 55:11; Lu 2:10)
- Becoming a Christian is a joy worth forsaking all things for (Matt 13:44)
- Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22).
- The joy of believers was the aim of the apostles (2 Cor. 1:24)
- Joy will overtake all sorrow for Christians (Ps. 30:5b; 126:5; Jude 24)
- The kingdom of God is joy (Rom 14:17)
- In God’s presence is fullness of joy (Ps. 16:11)
- God Himself is our joy (Ps 43:4)
- God calls men to join in that joy (Ps. 37:4; 33:1; 66:1; 67:4)

Any true Christian will have some moments of experiencing at least a glimpse of this joy that surpasses understanding. Ecstatic though such moments may have been, our joy will be greater still when we “enter into the joy of the Lord”. Yet, as finite beings, that joy cannot be expected to be as great as that of the Almighty Sovereign God, who is the maker of all things including any finite creature’s capacity for joy.

Since God is the only one who is truly self-sufficient he has no need of any other but is fully satisfied in Himself and in the fullness of His perfections reflected back to Him in His Son. This satisfaction in Himself is so great that God desired to share it and so purposed to create man, in His own image, to share in His joy. However, in order for created man to understand and delight in the Glory of God for all eternity, God decreed that it was necessary for man to first experience and understand all that runs counter to God’s glorious attributes in order to better appreciate the wonders of His perfections. Thus God decreed the fall and its consequential bondage to sin, the glorious redemption through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, the lamb slain before the foundation of the world, and the subsequent struggling against sin and the need to briefly suffer and persevere before entering into the everlasting joy of the Lord as the best means for men to appreciate, marvel at and enjoy the glory of God.

A few simple questions best illustrate this idea:
- How can man understand light if he has not seen darkness?
- How can man understand God’s goodness and love and compassion if he knows nothing of evil and hatred?
- How can man truly rejoice in the mercy and grace of God in Christ Jesus unless He has seen his own depravity and inability?
- How can man understand the absolute power of God unless He has been humbled to see that it is God who is at work in him to will and to do?
- How can man understand the humility of God demonstrated in Christ Jesus humbling Himself even unto death unless he knows about pride?
- How can man understand the justice and wrath of God unless He sees it manifested?

Does not our own experience tell us that to understand something we make comparisons or reference to other things? Thus the Christian has great cause for hope and joy since he knows that he is a pilgrim and stranger on this earth because God has prepared a better home for him and that his “momentary, light affliction is producing … an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison”, that all trials and tribulations were deemed necessary to work for his good for God is too loving and too wise to err in any way. And what is man’s greatest good other than to worship, marvel at and delight in the glory of God for all eternity! Thus any good we do and all that we suffer or endure in this world, all that we stumble or fail at AND all that we witness of the apparent temporal prosperity of the wicked before they go to the place prepared beforehand for them is all decreed by the all-wise God that we may better know the joy He has bid us to enter to sing His praises for evermore and so in all things God will be glorified!
----

This is not an attempt at justifying the Supralapsarian scheme but rather some thoughts that have occurred to me as I have reflected upon it. I am posting it partly in the hope that others may be built up and partly as a means of validating these aspects of my thinking and perhaps gaining further insights. Therefore all comments are welcome!

wildboar
01-06-04, 12:17 PM
Historically, theologians have divided into two schools of thought on this question: the infralapsarians and the supralapsarians.
I really don't understand why John Robbins would say this and then go on to develop a supralapsarian position. It has started to bug me recently that even when I find myself agreeing with Robbins that I find his arrogance quite annoying. I really don't know if he really doesn't understand the position or if he simply wants to label everyone as idiots and pretend he is the only one that understands. He's like Clark on his worst day.

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar

Brandan
01-06-04, 12:24 PM
I really don't understand why John Robbins would say this and then go on to develop a supralapsarian position. It has started to bug me recently that even when I find myself agreeing with Robbins that I find his arrogance quite annoying. I really don't know if he really doesn't understand the position or if he simply wants to label everyone as idiots and pretend he is the only one that understands. He's like Clark on his worst day.Maybe Robbins has a different order of the decrees. Reymond in his systematic theology listed a few variations of suprlapsarianism. Robbins is arrogant? I don't get that impression... blunt yes .... but I don't perceive that he is arrogant.

Brandan

disciple
01-06-04, 12:56 PM
Robbins is arrogant? I don't get that impression... blunt yes .... but I don't perceive that he is arrogant.i think so. he seems to always have a chip on his shoulder. he annoys me almost as much as doug wilson does...

wildboar
01-06-04, 02:33 PM
Both Reymond and Hoeksema give slightly different variations of the supralapsarian formula, but they both fall within the supralapsarian camp as does Robbins whether he acknowledges it or not. In fact the example and reasoning he gives is nearly identical to that of Hoeksema's.
Part of what I had intended to quote I did not copy for some reason. But Robbins says:


Both schools of thought are unsatisfactory, for both fail to understand exactly what type of order is being discussed.
All that is required to be a supralapsarian is that you believe that in the logical order of God's decrees you believe that election comes prior to the fall. Most supralapsarians hold to the idea that the decrees with some variation are the reverse order of their execution, so it is not as if he has invented some new concept.

The sort of "standard" model of supralapsarianism taken from "Reformed Dogmatics" by Herman Hoeksema is:

1) The glory of God in Christ and His church.
2) The election of Christ as the Head of the church.
3) The elect church in Christ. (and reprobation)
4) The fall of all men.
5) The creation of the world and man.

Hoeksema gives his own modified and more detailed version as:

1) God wants to reveal His own eternal glroy in the establishment of His covenant.
2)For the realization of this purpose the Son becomes the Christ, the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature, that in Him as the first begotten of the dead all the fulness of God might dwell.
3) For that Christ and the revelation of all His fulness the church is decreed and all the elect. In the decree of God Christ is not designed for the church, but the church for Christ. The church is His body, and serves the purpose to reveal the fulness there is in Him.
4) For the purpose of realizing this church of Christ, and, therefore, the glory of Christ, the reprobate are determined as vessels of wrath. Reprobation serves the purpose of election as the chaff serves the ripening of the wheat. This is in harmony with the current thought of Scripture; and we find it expressed literally in Isaiah 43:3,4:"For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, they saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee; therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life."
5) Finally, in the counsel of God all other things in heaven and on earth are designed as means to the realization of both election and reprobation, and therefore, of the glory of Christ and His church. And because in the decree of Godall things are conceived in this manner, therefore all things must work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose. And in this light we can also understand Scripture when it teaches us, as in I Corinthians 3:21-23, that "all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's."

Hoeksema's reasoning for supralapsarianism was very similar to the example you gave, but he gave the example of someone planning to build a house.

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar

Bob Higby
01-07-04, 07:06 AM
Most interpret this issue in terms of an order of divine decrees. WB states:

All that is required to be a supralapsarian is that you believe that in the logical order of God's decrees you believe that election comes prior to the fall. Most supralapsarians hold to the idea that the decrees with some variation are the reverse order of their execution, so it is not as if he has invented some new concept.

This is true as far as 'general use' of the term is concerned. A supralapsarian is one who believes that election unto salvation supersedes the lapse. In other words, God decreed to elect an unworthy people in Christ quite independent of any consideration of Adam's lapse into wickedness.

To me, it is not enough to be called supralapsarian. Most teachers classified as such do not logically follow the high-grace doctrine in interpreting the whole of scripture. For instance, the 'theologians of logic' (Clark, Robbins, Reymond) have consistently taught two absolutely contradictory propositions about the origin of evil:

1. God is the ultimate cause of everything (including evil).
2. God only causes evil through secondary means.

Which constitute a 'real and actual' paradox and the nemesis of all sound logic! This shows an unrecognized bias toward Plato's Republic, the Fathers (especially Gus), the Papacy, and the Protestants at Regensburg on the question. Westminster and the other confessions only enshrined this prior dogma.

High grace doctrine, if consistently applied to the whole of scripture, should challenge all of these teachings of Protestantism:

1. John Milton's fable about the original holiness of Satan (espoused also by Papists, Fathers, and Rabbinic Jews).

2. The ontological perfection of Adam and Eve prior to the great sin.

3. Any teaching of original sin or total depravity that would propose all sin in humans to be of an equal essence or character.

4. The notion that the federal headship of Adam and Satan are the same. Those condemned after the likeness of Adam and redeemed in Christ are very different from those condemned after the likeness of Satan.

5. The notion that the non-elect will be condemned by the law and not the gospel.

6. The 'law and hell' evangelism of the Puritans (never found in the gospel of John, the only NT book written explicitly to unbelievers).

7. The notion of reprobation as a horrible tragedy that God does not want.

8. The notion of election unto reprobation as a 'strange work' of God.

9. The denial of the joy of the saints in their eternal reign with Christ over the reprobate.

10. The notion that the plan of salvation is to be reasoned in linear human time (paradise lost to paradise restored), rather than in the divine purposes (final redemption in Christ going backward).

11. The notion that any decree of reprobation took place in the sin of Adam or is related to the sin of Adam in any way.

Well, brethren, I'm back! It will take me hours to read what I have missed over the last couple of weeks and respond. I realize that I have been asked to defend some of the very points above, which I will now set about the task of doing.

In the true gospel,

Skeuos Eleos
01-07-04, 11:34 AM
Welcome back! I am very much looking forward to your subsequent contributions!

It looks like we'll have enough to be going on there that some of these may merit new threads in their own right!

Of course, you will also remember the Common Grace thread won't you? :p

Solo Christo!
Martin

Tumbleweed
01-07-04, 05:17 PM
Recently I was reading an article from the trinity review, and in it, Robbins wrote the following:

To me this makes sense!

I've been reading through Gordon Clark's book on logic, and I'm beginning to see how infralapsarianism is very illogical. God and men both act purposesly.. That is there is a purpose behind every act God and men commit.

Before I put forth my order of the decrees, let me bring up the example of working out a problem with a simple example... PIE! Suppose I want to eat a tasty homemade apple pie. Before I can enjoy this tasty treat, I have to obtain it. In order to obtain this pie, I have to cook it. In order for me to cook this pie, I need certain ingredients. In order for me to have these ingredients, I have to go to the store to get them.

The order of the decrees for eating this pie would be as follows:

(1)I decree to enjoy a tasty pie.. But for this I have to (2) decree that this pie is cooked... I have to (3) decree to go to the store to get the right ingredients.

This is the logical order of decrees if we work through this in the reverse order of execution. Now it would be foolish for me to say that I decreed to go to the store before I decided to eat this tasty apple pie because it would be silly for me to go to the store without having a reason. Now let me apply this reasoning to the order of salvation.

Reversing the order of events in Scripture we read that men are regenerated and converted. Before that Christ died on the cross as a representative for His people. Before that Adam fell in the garden as representative for his people. Before that God created the Earth and the Universe. Before that men were elected to salvation. Before that God chose to glorify Himself.

Now let's reverse this process and we have the order of decrees:

1. God decrees to Glorify Himself in the election of some to salvation.
2. God decrees to create.
3. God decrees the fall of His people in Adam.
4. God decrees to provide salvation in Christ.
5. God decrees to call His people to salvation.

Now if we can all agree that chronologically God first elected people to salvation, then it would be utter nonsense to suggest that God first decreed the fall before the election of people. If that happened then the flow of events ceases to be logical. God is now reacting to the fall instead decreeing the fall for the purpose of redeeming His elect from sin. If we have God decreeing the fall before the decree to elect, then why did God decree the fall? You can't say that God decreed the fall for the purpose of decreeing to elect because if He did, then He already decreed to decree to elect which is in essence decreeing to elect before decreeing the fall.

I may be wrong, so please if somebody has a correction to my puny and simple reasoning, let me know.

- Brandan
Firstly. let me say that I feel rather inadequate to comment on what so many towering intellects have disagreed over. However, being thus far firmly in the Infra camp, and being emboldened by so much noble company (historically speaking) I will venture a couple of thoughts anyway.

#1: I've not had time to peruse all the previous posts, but I'm sure someone has already expressed the classical objection, which is that Supralapsarianism asserts that men are condemned to Hell because it was God's good pleasure to do so, quite apart from any thought of their accountability for sin, in clear contradiction of what God Himself says - Ez.33:11, 18:4.
Can anyone present a clear systematic Biblical doctrine of man being condemned apart from sin? This is a necessary requirement for Supralapsarianism to have any claim on Sola Scriptura

#2: Hoekema's defense (If you could see my expanding waistline, you'd know why I like your pie analogy better than his house, Brandan!) in which the plan is the reverse of the execution, I believe is erronious. Why? Because God does not conceptualize progressively as we humans do, but rather, perceives and appreciates all realities and possibilities for all time simultaneously. To portray God as first perceiving within himself a desire for a people for His name, and then entering upon an empiracle process of realizations in order to fulfil His desire is to perceive Him as a finite Being, which He is not.

God's decision to elect, to condemn and how He would bring all related matters to pass are simultaneous and eternal. The decrees on the other hand are just that: They are what He actively decreed to fulfil what was complete and whole and present with Him for all eternity. As impossible as it is for us to appreciate the immediate omniscience and eternality of God, this much we know: God did not "figure things out" as Hoeksema's argument seems to necessarily imply.

Am I misunderstanding all of this?

To imply as some do that Infralapsarians have an inadequate desire to exalt God is just a red-herring. Working as I do with many Muslims, I can assure you that it is possible to have a concept of God that is on the extreme right when it come to this question, and yet be in spiritual darkness so deep it makes your skin crawl. The question does not revolve around choosing that dogma which we believe best exalts God, but about conforming our opinions to the explicit themes we see recurring in the Bible.

Bob Higby
01-07-04, 10:12 PM
First of all, Martin, thanks for your comments :cool: . I also especially appreciated what you had to say regarding joy in your recent post. It is worthy in itself of publication far and wide.

The accusation that supralapsarianism presents a harsh God is, to me, the most inaccurate of all possible objections. As we look at the hierarchy of views on election and their progressive implications, the only 'softer' view possible would be universalism. The more 'free will' is indulged in, the greater a tyrant God is made out to be.

Pelagianism: God waits for man to savingly pull himself up by his own bootstraps. Otherwise, he will go to eternal torture. This is the harshest view of all.

Semi-Pelagianism: Also taught by Wesley, who stated that God does nothing for a sinner except in response to the prayer of faith. As a result of the atonement, God gives a measure of ability to all sinners as their heritage. Man must improve this ability and perfect his own character (with God's gracious assistance) in order to enter the society of heaven. Otherwise, he will go to eternal torture. This sounds slightly less harsh than Pelagianism, but not much.

Arminianism: Man is totally depraved and cannot save himself. God works a measure of salvation by faith in all men, but it is possible for any man to 'opt out' of salvation and go to eternal torture by his own choice. Man can have assurance as long as he actively believes and sincerely attempts to obey God. This is slightly less harsh than Semi-Pelagianism, since God takes the initiative in saving sinners.

Augustinianism: Man is totally depraved and cannot save himself. As a result of sovereign election, God works salvation in some human souls--by transforming them into vessels pleasing to God. The rest, who might also be saved, are bypassed and go to eternal torture. This is less harsh than Arminianism but not much. Although God is presented as discriminating (which some regard as unfair), in this scheme some souls at least have hope of salvation--since God is presented as doing all the work. However, the doctrine of justification as God's transforming grace in the soul largely removes hope and assurance from the sinner. He is led to look within for assurance.

Selection or infralapsarian Calvinism. This corrects Augustinianism by teaching the true biblical doctrine of justification. Hence God is portrayed as more merciful, since people can have a genuine assurance of election and final salvation. Nonetheless, those bypassed in the decree of selection (from among the descendents of Adam) were equal and potential candidates for selection. They go to eternal torture but might have been saved if only God had selected them. So God is here more merciful than in Augustinianism (giving real and genuine assurance to souls)--but still a tyrant in other ways.

For sake of brevity, I have not divided this section into Amyrautism (4 point) vs. 5 point Calvinism. Amyrautism, though claiming to magnify God's love in a universal atonement, actually makes God out to be more of a tyrant than 5-point selection. In Amyrautism, Christ fully propitiates his wrath (1 John 2:2 is cited) toward a large portion of the human race and still sends them to hell anyway.

Election or supralapsarian Calvinism. This view is 'thought of' as harsh only because its proponents do not consistently apply its principles to all aspects of biblical teaching. When the 'order of decrees' are presented as the main issue (which scripture knows nothing of, since God does not think in order of time), the beauty of true election (as opposed to 'selection from among') is missed. In true election, all creatures fulfill their God-designed purpose and are perfectly fitted in state of soul for that purpose. No one is sent to hell who might have in the remotest way been a candidate for heaven. The damned are those who were always fitted for that destiny--never for anything else.

The only view less harsh than election is universalism (or possibly annihilationism). But these both deny that God has eternal purposes outside of salvation, which scripture clearly teaches. We can rest safely in the wisdom of the plan that God has chosen for the created universe.

wildboar
01-08-04, 09:34 AM
God's decision to elect, to condemn and how He would bring all related matters to pass are simultaneous and eternal. The decrees on the other hand are just that: They are what He actively decreed to fulfil what was complete and whole and present with Him for all eternity. As impossible as it is for us to appreciate the immediate omniscience and eternality of God, this much we know: God did not "figure things out" as Hoeksema's argument seems to necessarily imply.

It's certainly not that God had to figure things out or that there was some sort of time delay in God decreeing one prior to the other. It has to do with the logical order of God's decrees, not as God executed or conceived of them.


Can anyone present a clear systematic Biblical doctrine of man being condemned apart from sin?
Romans 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted F36 (http://bible1.crosswalk.com/OnlineStudyBible/bible.cgi#F36) to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, 24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar

Bob Higby
01-09-04, 01:54 AM
Since the infinite God does not think in order at all (since all of his thoughts and plans are eternally present), is it not more in harmony with biblical revelation to refer to aspects of predestination as a 'logical connection' instead of a 'logical order'?

For me, infralapsarianism is wrong simply for this reason: it connects God's eternal election of a people to salvation in Christ to the underlying sin of Adam. God is proposed to always think of universal condemnation in Adam as an underlying basis or condition for his election of certain souls to salvation in Christ.

On the question of whether guilt precedes or follows actual sin, the same consideration applies. God does not think in order of one following the other. Those whom are predestined to eternal guilt are simultaneously predestined to eternal sin as the entity making them worthy of that guilt.

Bob Higby
01-09-04, 02:07 AM
Brandan:

Now if we can all agree that chronologically God first elected people to salvation, then it would be utter nonsense to suggest that God first decreed the fall before the election of people. If that happened then the flow of events ceases to be logical. God is now reacting to the fall instead decreeing the fall for the purpose of redeeming His elect from sin. If we have God decreeing the fall before the decree to elect, then why did God decree the fall? You can't say that God decreed the fall for the purpose of decreeing to elect because if He did, then He already decreed to decree to elect which is in essence decreeing to elect before decreeing the fall.

I may be wrong, so please if somebody has a correction to my puny and simple reasoning, let me know.

This is not wrong, it is right! There is definitely a historical order in which God's logical decrees are carried out. It is my firm belief that God declared his purposes of election of an unworthy people in Christ, before the universe of elect angels, prior to declaring the sin of Adam. The sin of Adam was a necessary event in the historical process--to plunge the elect into unworthiness of salvation. This historically paved the way for salvation of a people from sin in Christ.

Tumbleweed
01-12-04, 04:40 AM
Wildboar - Your response to the need for a systematic defense of the idea that God condemned the reprobate apart from any consideration of sin was -
"Romans 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted F36 (http://bible1.crosswalk.com/OnlineStudyBible/bible.cgi#F36) to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, 24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?"


Surely Ro.9:21ff does not begin to show what supralapsarians are obliged to prove. Only by setting aside the analogy of faith and ignoring everything the Bible says regarding sin and it's consequence can Paul be made to say here that God decreed to condemn men apart from contemplating them as sinners. Sound exegesis demands that we understand God as hating Esau because He contemplated Esau as a vessel unto dishonour whose sin would never be expiated by the blood of Christ.

God's word is quite clear that Hell is a place of everlasting punishment, (Matt.25:41-46) yet supralapsarianism would have us believe that God arbitrarily condemned the reprobate to everlasting punishment quite apart from anything connected with punishment. In any language, the concept of punishment demands the corollary of sin.

Again, one passage interpreted in such a way does not constitute a systematic Biblical defense of something so pivotal to our whole understanding of God and His ways.

wildboar
01-12-04, 07:50 AM
Sound exegesis demands that we understand God as hating Esau because He contemplated Esau as a vessel unto dishonour whose sin would never be expiated by the blood of Christ.

This seems to be the exact opposite of what the passage is saying. The passage emphatically states that it was before either one had done good or evil that God loved the one and hated the other. Both men were certainly sinners. Also the Bible does not merely state that God leaves some in dishonour but that he creates vessels unto dishonour because it is His desire to do so.

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar

Bob Higby
01-13-04, 12:07 AM
A contributor:

God's word is quite clear that Hell is a place of everlasting punishment, (Matt.25:41-46) yet supralapsarianism would have us believe that God arbitrarily condemned the reprobate to everlasting punishment quite apart from anything connected with punishment. In any language, the concept of punishment demands the corollary of sin.

Supralapsarian response:

1. This argument seems to assume that the sin associated with the worthiness of condemnation is not predestined. If both punishment and its corollary--sin--are predestined simultaneously, then the argument does not stand.

2. Supralapsarianism does not teach that God creates people for judgment irrespective of the associated sin which makes them worthy of such judgment.

Tumbleweed
01-13-04, 03:23 AM
This seems to be the exact opposite of what the passage is saying. The passage emphatically states that it was before either one had done good or evil that God loved the one and hated the other. Both men were certainly sinners. Also the Bible does not merely state that God leaves some in dishonour but that he creates vessels unto dishonour because it is His desire to do so.

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar
The point Paul makes is that God's election of Jacob and rebrobation of Esau were sovereignly settled by God before their birth, thereby proving that man's works are not the issue. On this, both Supras and Infras agree. Also we agree that the text clearly implies that God as the potter knowingly and purposefully created men like Esau as vessels unto dishonour whilst others like Jacob He created unto honour. However, at this point I would continue to maintain that it is bad exegesis to teach a doctrine of God's arbitrary choice using these statements taken in isolation, not only from other things scripture says bearing upon election and reprobation, the nature of Hell, etc., but from the immediate context also.

For example, the apostle here twice quotes Moses in asserting the sovereignty of God's choice: "I will have mercy on whomsoever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomsoever I will have compassion." Had Paul quoted the Lord as saying, "I choose whom I choose," then the door to Supralapsarianism would remain ajar, but he doesn't. The mercy and compassion of God are meaningless concepts except that they are in reference to one contemplated by God as a needy sinner. Granted, mercy & compassion are shown to the elect subsequent to election, but Paul's point here is that God's election is itself an act of mercy and compassion, shown to Jacob and withheld from Esau.

The idea that both election and reprobation were decreed by God in isolation from the question of sin contradicts what Paul is actually saying, does it not?

Tumbleweed
01-13-04, 03:34 AM
A contributor:

God's word is quite clear that Hell is a place of everlasting punishment, (Matt.25:41-46) yet supralapsarianism would have us believe that God arbitrarily condemned the reprobate to everlasting punishment quite apart from anything connected with punishment. In any language, the concept of punishment demands the corollary of sin.

Supralapsarian response:

1. This argument seems to assume that the sin associated with the worthiness of condemnation is not predestined. If both punishment and its corollary--sin--are predestined simultaneously, then the argument does not stand.

2. Supralapsarianism does not teach that God creates people for judgment irrespective of the associated sin which makes them worthy of such judgment.
Bill -
If you propose that sin is predestined AS A NECESSARY ADJUNCT TO GOD"S UNRELATED DECREE of reprobation, how can you not be charged with making God the author of sin?

Skeuos Eleos
01-13-04, 08:50 AM
Bill -
If you propose that sin is predestined AS A NECESSARY ADJUNCT TO GOD"S UNRELATED DECREE of reprobation, how can you not be charged with making God the author of sin?I know that this wasn't addressed to me and I am sure that BT will answer it far better than I could but I would be interested to know how you deal with the following verses:
Jn. 19:11
"Thou couldest have no power against Me, except it were given thee from above"

Acts 4:27
"for of a truth against Thy holy child Jesus, whom Thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together for to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy counsel determined before ('foreordained' in the ASV) to be done"

1 Pet. 2:8
(Christ is) "a stone of stumbling...to them which stumble at the Word, being disobedient; whereunto also they were appointed"

Jude 4
“For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”Earlier in the thread you were seeking a "systematic Biblical defense" and said that "one passage" wasn't enough. I am afraid I am totally unqualified to present anything approaching such a defense! However, I do believe the last two verses above show some people being predestined to disobedience.

It is also surely not enough to say that:
from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts (Mark 7:21) for we must also consider:
Prov. 16:1
"The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue are from the Lord"

Prov. 20:24
"Man's goings are of the Lord, how can a man then understand his own way?"

Exodus 4:21
“I will harden Pharaoh's heart"One of the problems I see with any discussion about the origin of sin and the sovereignty of God over man's sinful deeds is the choice of terms. The difficulty is choosing the right words to summarise what the scriptures teach. Author; ordained; decreed; foreordained, predestined, originator; architect; cause; source - all these words have similar meanings. Any one of these words in the same sentence as 'sin' and 'God' will generate a shock-reaction somewhere! Nevertheless, we must consider the 'whole counsel of God'. Pick whichever term you prefer but how do you understand where sinful man's deeds originate and how do you reconcile that to God's sovereignty in the verses listed above and in:
- causing "all things (to) work for good for them that love God and are the called according to His purposes"
- directing the “steps of man”
- everything being made BY Him, THROUGH Him, FOR Him and having their being in Him?
- Isaiah 45:7; Psalm 46:8; Lam 3:37-38 ?

Martin

disciple
01-13-04, 10:02 AM
just to interject with paul's interjection in rom 9. paul senses a response from vv. 1-13 (esp. v. 13) from the interlocutor and writes in response to this apparent injustice (i.e., that God
hated esau just because He wanted to):

Ro 9:14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15 For He says to Moses, "I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION." 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

from the flow of paul's argument, he obviously saw that his readers (perhaps particulary jews struggling with God's current rejection of their kinsmen, cf. 10:1ff, 11) would sense a certain unfairness in his election being based in His choice alone and not in anything in man (even though God alreay told them that through moses in several ways, cf. Deut 7:6ff, Ex 33:19). so his answer doesn't really involve the eternal decrees per se (the presence of sin in the equation is apparently assumed but how, where, and when it fits is not explicitly discussed here) but he is careful to to keep to his argument and main point reiterated throughout (throughout both chapter 9 and the entire epistle) and again in v. 18 that election and justification are based on God's promise and will and not in any response to what may or may not be in the man (whether it be sin or good works). i think the difficultly in the discussion is that Scripture doesn't really seem to directly address the issue in the way we are discussing it here (in view of what came logically first whether it be in the mind of God, in time, etc.) but as i read it, the presence of sin always seems to be assumed. to me that seems to say that sin was always assumed to be a part of God's universe post-adam (or perhaps even pre-adam). but i don't think that the argument can be made either way from ro 9 alone.

Bob Higby
01-13-04, 10:28 PM
Tumbleweed asks:
Bill - If you propose that sin is predestined AS A NECESSARY ADJUNCT TO GOD"S UNRELATED DECREE of reprobation, how can you not be charged with making God the author of sin?

Martin, thanks for your initial response to this--also Doug for your perspective.

So, as Christians, are we under the law of Plato? I have posted it a number of times already in this thread.

From Plato's Republic:

"God, if he be good, is not the author of all things, as the many assert, but he is the cause of a few things only, and not of most things that occur to men. Because few are the goods of human life, and many are the evils, and the good is to be attributed to God alone; of the evils the causes are to be sought elsewhere, and not in him. Let this then, be one of our rules and principles concerning the gods, to which our poets and reciters will be expected to conform -- that god is not the author of all things, but only of good."

Plato succeeded in making this the standard of philosophy and religion. Christian dogmatics since the second century has also accepted the standard of Plato (which is pre-Christian) as the norm of orthodoxy. Justin Martyr was the primary human instrument of binding the 'churchian' conscience to this standard. Since then we have an onslaught of dualism, compartmentalization, and paradox theology. The "Christian" view has consistently been proposed to be this: sin arose out of holiness. More importantly, in the case of Satan, extreme holiness beget eternal sin. A perfectly holy being--with every desire in his being wanting only to please God--sinned beyond repentance while in such a state of spirituality.

The above view was made the standard of Protestantism at the Diet of Regensburg in 1540, in order to please the Papacy. It has never been challenged since, except by a few nonconformists here and there.

I would certainly deny that God is the author of sin--if this means that God delights in sin and encourages his creation to do it by personal temptation. When the author of a novel creates sinful history in a story, usually the novelist is applauding the tales of passion and adultery.

But God is the ultimate and first cause of sin. Otherwise, sin is not created-- but instead is an eternal principle outside of God's control. We have had a lot of biblical discussion on this subject already. I have stated that my conviction: scripture clearly teaches that God creates evil.

God is the first cause of evil--because he creates souls with the proclivity to rebel already in their hearts. The sin, of course, does not proceed from God's own nature--but he does create it in others. Sin is a principle created by God that is completely external to his own nature. If we say that God as sovereign ruler of the universe cannot do this, we are proposing that God owes his actions to a higher law that he did not create.

wildboar
01-14-04, 07:46 AM
The idea that God is the ultimate cause of all things is also in agreement with the reformed confessions. The Belgic Confession states:



Article 8: The Trinity

In keeping with this truth and Word of God we believe in one God, who is one single essence, in whom there are three persons, really, truly, and eternally distinct according to their incommunicable properties-- namely, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Father is the cause, origin, and source of all things, visible as well as invisible.

tomas1
01-14-04, 05:02 PM
It seems to me that the philosophy of Plato is the root of a good chunk of the false doctrine in the mainstream Church. From it comes not only the idea that God cant cause sin but also the supposed natural immortality of the soul, the fall of Satan fable, the lava lamp interpretation of Genesis 1:2 among other things. It is so ingrained in our culture that we must constantly keep reminding ourselves that the only necessary being is God and he chose to reveal himself in Christ.
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him And he is before all things, and by him all things consist

This would include sin would it not? For some reason we feel that we need to defend God and explain how he’s not responsible for creating everything when he tells us he did. I feel Paul gave a better defense than philosophy ever could. Some how through the Cross God will.

Reconcile all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven

He knows what he is doing.

Bob Higby
01-15-04, 10:48 PM
Tomas states:

It seems to me that the philosophy of Plato is the root of a good chunk of the false doctrine in the mainstream Church.

Yes! Plato and all of his followers: Greek, Rabbinic, and Ecclesiastical.

From it comes not only the idea that God cant cause sin

Manichaean philosophy--which actually predates Plato and is opposed in Isaiah 45. We had a long discussion on this in the early days of this thread.

but also the supposed natural immortality of the soul,

Inevitably tied to the notion of the transmigration of souls, also present in the karma religions of the East.

the fall of Satan fable,

Present as early as the pre-NT pseudepigraphyl writings.

the lava lamp interpretation of Genesis 1:2

Not sure of the origin, at least as ancient as the early ecclesiastics.

among other things. It is so ingrained in our culture that we must constantly keep reminding ourselves that the only necessary being is God and he chose to reveal himself in Christ.

Amen!

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him And he is before all things, and by him all things consist
This would include sin would it not? For some reason we feel that we need to defend God and explain how he’s not responsible for creating everything when he tells us he did. I feel Paul gave a better defense than philosophy ever could.

This passage (Col. 1:15-17) is the clearest for me on the subject and is the one I used early-on in this discussion thread to defend my position. For me, 'all things' include time, space, law, and sin--contrary to Greek and Manichaean philosophy.

Some how through the Cross God will
Reconcile all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven

Does this not also include hell and its inhabitants, which will function with perfect order and justice to glorify God in Christ? The Father has given all judgment to the Son. This point inevitably leads to another question: Is eternal punishment the curse of the law or the curse of the gospel?

Tumbleweed
01-17-04, 04:21 AM
Tumbleweed asks:
Bill - If you propose that sin is predestined AS A NECESSARY ADJUNCT TO GOD"S UNRELATED DECREE of reprobation, how can you not be charged with making God the author of sin?

Martin, thanks for your initial response to this--also Doug for your perspective.

So, as Christians, are we under the law of Plato? I have posted it a number of times already in this thread.

From Plato's Republic:

"God, if he be good, is not the author of all things, as the many assert, but he is the cause of a few things only, and not of most things that occur to men. Because few are the goods of human life, and many are the evils, and the good is to be attributed to God alone; of the evils the causes are to be sought elsewhere, and not in him. Let this then, be one of our rules and principles concerning the gods, to which our poets and reciters will be expected to conform -- that god is not the author of all things, but only of good."

Plato succeeded in making this the standard of philosophy and religion. Christian dogmatics since the second century has also accepted the standard of Plato (which is pre-Christian) as the norm of orthodoxy. Justin Martyr was the primary human instrument of binding the 'churchian' conscience to this standard. Since then we have an onslaught of dualism, compartmentalization, and paradox theology. The "Christian" view has consistently been proposed to be this: sin arose out of holiness. More importantly, in the case of Satan, extreme holiness beget eternal sin. A perfectly holy being--with every desire in his being wanting only to please God--sinned beyond repentance while in such a state of spirituality.

The above view was made the standard of Protestantism at the Diet of Regensburg in 1540, in order to please the Papacy. It has never been challenged since, except by a few nonconformists here and there.

I would certainly deny that God is the author of sin--if this means that God delights in sin and encourages his creation to do it by personal temptation. When the author of a novel creates sinful history in a story, usually the novelist is applauding the tales of passion and adultery.

But God is the ultimate and first cause of sin. Otherwise, sin is not created-- but instead is an eternal principle outside of God's control. We have had a lot of biblical discussion on this subject already. I have stated that my conviction: scripture clearly teaches that God creates evil.

God is the first cause of evil--because he creates souls with the proclivity to rebel already in their hearts. The sin, of course, does not proceed from God's own nature--but he does create it in others. Sin is a principle created by God that is completely external to his own nature. If we say that God as sovereign ruler of the universe cannot do this, we are proposing that God owes his actions to a higher law that he did not create.

Does not the historic Reformed position as we see it in the WCF answer these things sufficiently? IE: That Adam was the federal head of humanity, and that we fell in Adam by reason of our mutable condition as creatures. This allows for God's creation of "men with a proclivity to rebel" in time without making Him the author of their condition. If God conceived of unrighteousness and sovereignly engineered a situation in which unrighteousness was His desired end (as opposed to a situation where He would allow it to come to pass), then no matter what spin we put on words, such a God would be by definition, unrighteous, for he merely sinned by proxy. Surely to go further than the Westminster men did is to go further than we have scriptural warrant for, so that we end up concocting doctrine on the basis of logical deduction.

Sorry I dont have time to address your scripture texts Martin - I only get a moment to dash in and out of here occassionally. However, I cannot see how, taking into account genre and context (and admittedly, 1 or 2 Infra mindsets!)any of these make Supralapsarianism a scriptural necessity.

Any thoughts on yet on God's election as an act of "mercy & compassion" to sinners?

Bob Higby
01-22-04, 10:32 PM
Does not the historic Reformed position as we see it in the WCF answer these things sufficiently? IE: That Adam was the federal head of humanity, and that we fell in Adam by reason of our mutable condition as creatures.

For me it is not sufficient; I have given the reasons. 'Mutability' has been defined in various ways and we could go into that. Others have denied that Adam was mutable at all before his 'fall'--saying that a sin of magnitude such as this (and Satan's) may only proceed from a heart of extreme holiness.

This allows for God's creation of "men with a proclivity to rebel" in time without making Him the author of their condition.

How so? From where does the proclivity originate?

If God conceived of unrighteousness and sovereignly engineered a situation in which unrighteousness was His desired end (as opposed to a situation where He would allow it to come to pass), then no matter what spin we put on words, such a God would be by definition, unrighteous, for he merely sinned by proxy.

I would propose God does not 'conceive' of anything that he has not planned and purposed from eternity.

This statement implicates those who teach that God destined sin by secondary causes (historic Westminster Calvinists) as much as those who teach that he destined it by primary cause. In either case, he sovereignly 'engineered' his purposes of sin through one type of cause or another. The only way to get God 'off the hook' in this regard (which is foolishness to attempt) is to propose that he doesn't purpose sin at all--like Plato.

My whole point in everything I have said in this thread is this: the fact that God creates evil to fulfull his purposes does not make him by unrighteous by definition. If it did, he is subject to an eternal and moral law that is higher than himself. Whatever God purposes and does is right, simply because it is he who plans and performs it. God is righteous only by definition, but creates both righteousness (which reflects his own nature) and wickedness (which reflects the opposite of his nature) in order to fulfill his eternal purposes. We have no right to ask 'why' questions!

Surely to go further than the Westminster men did is to go further than we have scriptural warrant for, so that we end up concocting doctrine on the basis of logical deduction.

Westminster itself defends logical inference as a necessary means of arriving at right doctrine. The gospel of the scriptures is logical and makes sense, not illogical and contradictory in its propositions.

Westminster was largely plagiarized from the Irish Articles of 1615 and other English confessions. It is strictly a human document, though I would not want to minimize the learning and dedication of those who composed it. I certainly believe that Dr. Twisse would have never signed off on the final version, edited by the political influence of his infralapsarian opponents after his death.

Bob Higby
01-23-04, 12:51 AM
It took me a while to go back through posts I have missed and find what I committed to respond to!

I don't feel that the question was actually answered here. i am having trouble grasping your answer. perhaps just answering how all men (elect and non-elect) are sinners if not through Adam? i think what Skeuos Eleos (or at least what i myself) would like is an explanation of how sin is universal if not by way of relation to Adam.

Well, the full explanation of this lies in the question of whether Adam alone mediates sin through biological transmission (traducianism) or whether God creates each soul directly (creationalism). We can start a thread on this subject if any are interested.

the term phantom humans is foreign to my vocabulary and certainly not something i've read in Scripture.

Of course not! But the 'new humanity' that Paul outlines in 1 Cor. 15 consists of believers only, so anyone outside of that humanity is phantom. Ridderbos, in his outline of Paul's theology, discusses Paul's teaching on the new humanity as strictly the redeemed.


Quote:
In Pauline anthropology, only elect and redeemed humanity constitute true humanity. They are the only subjects of 'true' resurrection to eternal life. Others are phantom (appear to be human due to genes and biology)--but their spirits are the same as the devil and his angels. Indeed, being conceived in eternal sin, they are devils in every sense. Christ called Judas a devil.
i personally would appreciate more development here and more evidence for this claim. i have never heard the idea of non-elect humanity only being humanity in appearance. i'm sure you've researched this out but i would like to see some evidence as to where this idea comes from.

Same as above. Anyone who is not true and elect humanity (1 Cor. 15) is phantom. As is the devil, so are the devil's children. They share a common lake of fire. So those who end up in the lake of fire are not human but devil. The lake of fire was created for the devil and his messengers, not true humanity.

and as far as judas goes, are you comfortable extending this idea to all non-elect mankind?
Perfectly comfortable. As comfortable as I have ever been with anything. Emotion discarded, all devils are the same.

it seems like a very unique event to me. also, it is clear from Scripture that the devil entered judas at a specific point in time (Lk 22:3; Jn 13:27) and that this was why he called judas the devil (not because he was a phantom human devil).

Then why did Jesus say "I have chosen you all, and one is a devil" earlier in his ministry?

plus there is only one devil and his minions are his angels (demons). so perhaps you could elaborate further on what exactly you're trying to say here.

Are you suggesting that the devil is greater than his subjects? He is an imbecile, the lowest of creatures! Only the stupidest of creatures would actually believe that he could thwart the eternal plans of God. The fact that the devil leads is insignificant and temporal. I will go further: in hell, he will be the chief subject--lower than all the others! The devil is only a stupid pawn in God's plan, just like all of his spirit and material (seemingly human) children. All reprobates will end up in the lake of fire in the end, but the devil has the lowest lot in hell of all! Instead of being in charge of hell (according to Catholic, Muslim, and Protestant tradition), he will be mocked as a bumbling and worthless addict to evil and the stupidest idiot of all creation.

disciple
01-23-04, 10:39 AM
it seems like a very unique event to me. also, it is clear from Scripture that the devil entered judas at a specific point in time (Lk 22:3; Jn 13:27) and that this was why he called judas the devil (not because he was a phantom human devil).

Then why did Jesus say "I have chosen you all, and one is a devil" earlier in his ministry?actually there is a little preposition in there that i think indicates that He wasn't saying that Judas was a/the devil (i.e., Satan) but that out of him the devil would work or even perhaps that one of them was an adversary/accuser. here is the Greek:

KAI (and) EC (out/from) hUMWN (of you) EIS (one) DIABOLOS (devil/accuser/slanderer) ESTIN (is)

"...and out from one of you is the accuser" or perhaps more idiomatic "...and from among you is an/the accuser"

rotherdam's translation reads, "...And yet, from among you, one, is, an adversary"

wycliffe's translation reads, "and oon of you is a feend?"

also as strongs says of DIABOLOS, "metaph. applied to a man who, by opposing the cause of God, may be said to act the part of the devil or to side with him".

here is what at robertson says, "Jesus does not say that Judas was a devil when he chose him, but that he is one now. Jn 13:2,27 John speaks of the devil entering Judas. How soon the plan to betray Jesus first entered the heart of Judas we do not know (12:4). One wonders if the words of Jesus here did not cut Judas to the quick."

and here is what the translators note from the NET bible says: "Although most translations render this last phrase as “one of you is a devil,” such a translation presupposes that there is more than one devil. This finds roots in the KJV in which the Greek word for demon was often translated “devil.” In fact, the KJV never uses the word “demon.” (Sixty-two of the 63 NT instances of daimovnion [daimonion] are translated “devil” . This can get confusing in places where the singular “devil” is used: Is Satan or one of the demons in view [cf. Matt 9:33 (demon); 13:39 (devil); 17:18 (demon); Mark 7:26 (demon); Luke 4:2 (devil); etc.]?) Now regarding John 6:70, both the construction in Greek and the technical use of diavbolo" (diabolos) indicate that the one devil is in view. To object to the translation “the devil” because it thus equates Judas with Satan does not take into consideration that Jesus often spoke figuratively (e.g., “destroy this temple” [John 2:19]; “he [John the Baptist] is Elijah” [Matt 11:14]), even equating Peter with the devil on one occasion (Mark 8:33). According to ExSyn 249, “A curious phenomenon has occurred in the English Bible with reference to one particular monadic noun, diavbolo". The KJV translates both diavbolo" and daimovnion as ‘devil.’ Thus in the AV translators’ minds, ‘devil’ was not a monadic noun. Modern translations have correctly rendered daimovnion as ‘demon’ and have, for the most part, recognized that diavbolo" is monadic (cf., e.g., 1 Pet 5:8; Rev 20:2). But in John 6:70 modern translations have fallen into the error of the King James translators. The KJV has “one of you is a devil.” So does the RSV, NRSV, ASV, NIV, NKJV, and the Jerusalem Bible. Yet there is only one devil. …The legacy of the KJV still lives on, then, even in places where it ought not.”

the main point is that the original text doesn't actually say [i]"one of them (i.e., Judas) = the Devil (i.e., Satan". in other words, Jesus doesn't equate Judas with the Devil...He is speaking here metaphorically indicating that Judas was merely a pawn of Satan and ultimately of God who is sovereign over it all and working it all out (Acts 2:23; 4:27-28).


plus there is only one devil and his minions are his angels (demons). so perhaps you could elaborate further on what exactly you're trying to say here.

Are you suggesting that the devil is greater than his subjects?no, i'm only suggesting that there is a distinction that needs to be made between the Devil/Satan and his angels/demons and reprobate humans. while i agree your assessment concerning the Devil/Satan, we cannot deny the uniqueness of the individual and convolute all non-elect as being the same simply because Scripture makes a distinction and does not convolute this fact. that's pretty much all that i'm saying.

Bob Higby
01-23-04, 11:12 PM
Well, Doug, I have read and digested all of your points. The bottom line is this: whether we distinguish between the devil, demons, and damned humans with different titles or not: all are the devil's children or followers (he is their father) and the same in nature and character. To me this is the same as saying all are devils.

I find Robertson's statement almost comical:
One wonders if the words of Jesus here did not cut Judas to the quick.
Certainly it was not the 'quickening' cut of the Holy Spirit if this was the case!

I have a real problem with the notion that formerly righteous men (or angels) can become reprobates, i.e., the idea that Judas was as Ok as the rest of the disciples when he was first called. To me, this completely goes against God's sovereign plan and the consistency of it. Nowhere in scripture does it teach that creatures who might have been saved will end up in hell.

disciple
01-24-04, 01:15 PM
Well, Doug, I have read and digested all of your points. The bottom line is this: whether we distinguish between the devil, demons, and damned humans with different titles or not: all are the devil's children or followers (he is their father) and the same in nature and character. To me this is the same as saying all are devils.i agree with your comments on a concept level but i don't think Scripture supports the contention that reprobate are devils. they are of their father the devil but we mustn't convolute them simply because Scripture does not. and Scripture never says that reprobate are devils and so therefore i will not. their fate may be the same and they may be subjects of the devil in a metaphorical sense but it doesn't follow then that reprobate humans are actually devils or phantom humans. i prefer sticking to terminology used in Scripture that's all. i feel it is much stable ground to stand upon. your input and perspective is greatly appreciated though. there are some good thoughts and concepts in what you are saying. thanks.

Skeuos Eleos
01-29-04, 02:12 PM
Whilst I'm not saying I agree with the use of this word to describe reprobates I thought I'd throw this quote in from the First Apology of Justin Martyr ;) :
CHAP. XXV.--FALSE GODS ABANDONED BY CHRISTIANS.
And, secondly, because we--who, out of every race of men, used to worship Bacchus the son of Semele, and Apollo the son of Latona (who in their loves with men did such things as it is shameful even to mention), and Proserpine and Venus (who were maddened with love of Adonis, and whose mysteries also you celebrate), or AEsculapius, or some one or other of those who are called gods--have now, through Jesus Christ, learned to despise these, though we be threatened with death for it, and have dedicated ourselves to the unbegotten and impossible God; of whom we are persuaded that never was he goaded by lust of Antiope, or such other women, or of Ganymede, nor was rescued by that hundred-handed giant whose aid was obtained through Thetis, nor was anxious on this account(3) that her son Achilles should destroy many of the Greeks because of his concubine Briseis. Those who believe these things we pity, and those who invented them we know to be devils.

Martin

disciple
01-29-04, 02:27 PM
Whilst I'm not saying I agree with the use of this word to describe reprobates I thought I'd throw this quote in from the First Apology of Justin Martyr ;) :

Martinthough i'm not sure that he's calling humans devils here. he may be saying that the origination of these false gods is from devils (not humans who are devils who made it all up but from devils themselves).

Bob Higby
01-29-04, 11:44 PM
Okay. So, bypassing terminology, what is the moral difference between the devil and his children (whether angelic or Adam's genetic offspring)? Qualitative and quantitative.

My using the term 'devil' to refer to all three (Satan, demons, reprobates) is due to the fact that I believe there is no qualitative or quantitative difference. In nature and character they are all the same.

disciple
01-30-04, 10:48 AM
Okay. So, bypassing terminology, what is the moral difference between the devil and his children (whether angelic or Adam's genetic offspring)? Qualitative and quantitative.

My using the term 'devil' to refer to all three (Satan, demons, reprobates) is due to the fact that I believe there is no qualitative or quantitative difference. In nature and character they are all the same.probably nothing really (though i don't know what you mean by quantitatively). they are simply the children and satan is the father metaphorically speaking. so they are distinguished as a father to his children or a king to his subjects.

just as an update as to where i am with the earlier discussion on this thread i believe that God created Satan evil (so in a sense is the author of evil) but not adam and eve. i believe He created adam and eve sinless though mutable. they were therefore mutated by their curiosity to follow Satan and see if he was right (i.e., i don't believe that God placed or infused a proclivity for rebellion into them). i believe that God used Satan as a pawn (knowing exactly what he'd do because that was what God created him for) to carry out His will to bring evil to the human race (and thereby bring a Savior into the human race). eve was deceived but adam knew exactly what he was doing. why sinless (though mutable) adam chose to disobey many have speculated. i think the best explanation is that he understood that this mate that God gave him had disobeyed and he just followed her (thereby turning upside down the design of God). he had the choice between God and his mate and he chose his mate. perhaps also mixed in was a curiosity as to whether or not Satan was right that he could be as God or be more like God. but this is all speculation into the thoughts and motivations internal to adam and as far as i know not specifically answered by the text of Scripture. anyway, enough rambling. all that to say that i now agree with you bob that God in a sense created evil (or created an evil being or being with a proclivity for rebellion).

Bob Higby
01-30-04, 07:44 PM
Thanks, Doug, for your spontaneous expression of belief on these matters. In no way was my question intended to help drag it out of you! I mainly wondered what you believed about what differences there are, if any, in the ultimate condition of soul of the 3 different categories of reprobates.

Anyway, we could go on discussing possible differences about Adam--but it is good to see that we have some agreement on these matters! I personally still do not say 'amen' when historic churchmen accuse me of teaching that God is the author of sin. This is because the expression 'author of sin' does mean more in the minds of the accusers than what I actually believe (i.e., that God claps with approbation at the evil that he creates).

I think I may have said this before. For me, the difference in Adam and Eve's sin lies in the obsession. Eve was engrossed in the desire for false knowledge, therefore she was deceived by the serpent. Adam was engrossed in the love of Eve (more than God), so he sinned even while knowing that the serpent's fable was a lie.

disciple
01-31-04, 09:49 PM
Thanks, Doug, for your spontaneous expression of belief on these matters. In no way was my question intended to help drag it out of you! I mainly wondered what you believed about what differences there are, if any, in the ultimate condition of soul of the 3 different categories of reprobates.i understand that. i've been wanting to relate what's been rattling around in my head as a result of discussions here and i thought this was a good time. i've also been grappling with the whole idea of election (as opposed to selection) and reprobation.


Anyway, we could go on discussing possible differences about Adam--but it is good to see that we have some agreement on these matters!yes it is good!


I personally still do not say 'amen' when historic churchmen accuse me of teaching that God is the author of sin. This is because the expression 'author of sin' does mean more in the minds of the accusers than what I actually believe (i.e., that God claps with approbation at the evil that he creates).yes i agree here. i would still argue though that evil and good are relative terms or concepts we use to describe things when in a context of relationship of creature to Creator. apart from creation, these concepts have no meaning as far as i can tell philosophically. they only come to have real meaning when something that is not God comes into existence. and evil only makes sense in a creature that has a will that can go against the will (not decretive) of the Creator by rebellion.


I think I may have said this before. For me, the difference in Adam and Eve's sin lies in the obsession. Eve was engrossed in the desire for false knowledge, therefore she was deceived by the serpent. Adam was engrossed in the love of Eve (more than God), so he sinned even while knowing that the serpent's fable was a lie.further though i would say that adam's rebellion was willful and fully thought out. he knew exactly what he was doing. and i think that not only did he pick eve over God, i believe that he believed satan's lies and saw God as a tyrannical ruler who wanted to keep adam down and unhappy. i think adam believed that it was possible that he could be a god (or more like God) and that God just wanted to prevent that so He made up a silly rule that something was actually off-limits to adam. so adam thought he'd out-smart God and become a god (or more like God)...boy did he ever find out. but this is all pure speculation but nevertheless my personal thoughts of the matter. so readers should take it all with a grain of salt! thanks for listening...

tomas1
02-01-04, 06:46 AM
Disciple
I have come to marvel at the depth of your knowledge and the very articulate way that you have of presenting it on these forums. To know that God still shows you new things is so cool.
:)

Jason777
04-05-04, 03:35 PM
I think Disciple has some interesting thoughts here (although I won't speculate about whether or not Satan was created evil)

As for whether I'm a infralapsarian or a supralapsarian---if supralapsarianism means "chosen before the fall," then yes, I would agree with that.

When it comes to the doctrines of grace, though, I would probably consider myself a 'country boy Calvinist'--I'm not real fancy about these things....important enough for me to know what the Bible says, such as:

For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30)

But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

Skeuos Eleos
04-05-04, 05:25 PM
When it comes to the doctrines of grace, though, I would probably consider myself a 'country boy Calvinist'--I'm not real fancy about these things....important enough for me to know what the Bible saysWell, if you managed to 'plough' through all 7 pages of this thread then I'd say you're pretty smart for a country boy! :D


i would say that adam's rebellion was willful and fully thought out. I find that the main objection put forward by those who are ignorant of the doctrine of the absolute Sovereignty of God is that, if it were true, it would mean that they are "nothing more than a robot". Perhaps we should take more care to point out that this is not the necessary logical consequence of the doctrine and nor is it the teaching of scripture. Although information is a little light in the case of Adam there are plenty of examples in scripture where both the wicked motives of those involved and the sovereign hand of God in decreeing that the wickedness takes place are evident. A good example is the case of Judas where there is certainly no doubt as to his motive being his own greed and yet the whole thing was clearly planned beforehand by the sovereign hand of Almighty God. As one ponders the enormity of the despicable act that Judas knowingly and deliberately perpetrated against the LORD OF LORDS and KING OF KINGS out of his own wicked and selfish desire for wordly gain having walked this earth with Jesus Himself and seen the miracles and heard Him speak with such wisdom and yet still desiring worldly gain - knowing it to be the most foul of crimes and yet not fearing any punishment ... as one ponders that Judas did this willingly and yet, at the same time, it is said that Jesus was "delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23). As one ponders this and the wickedness and rebellion in one's own heart and yet "has this witness within themself" that they are amongst those who can say that He:

"chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved." is it not a cause of such humbling and yet such rejoicing?

No wonder Paul broke off in Romans to say:

"Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?
Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen."

"When I stand before the throne,
Dressed in beauty not my own,
When I see Thee as Thou art,
Love Thee with unsinning heart,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know,
Not till then, how much I owe.

Chosen not for good in me,
Wakened up from wrath to flee,
Hidden in the Saviour's side,
By the Spirit sanctified,
Teach me, Lord, on earth to show
By my love how much I owe.

When the praise of heav'n I hear,
Loud as thunders to the ear,
Loud as many waters' noise,
Sweet as harp's melodious voice,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know,
Not till then, how much I owe.
(Robert Murray McCheyne)

Martin

Brandan
04-05-04, 09:11 PM
As for whether I'm a infralapsarian or a supralapsarian---if supralapsarianism means "chosen before the fall," then yes, I would agree with that.Supralapsarian does not mean "chosen before the fall". Both infralapsarians and supralapsarians agree that God chose men unto salvation BEFORE the fall. We supras differ from infras in regard to the actual order of decrees - that is, God decreed to predestine a people unto salvation before He decreed the fall. Infras say that He decree the fall and then decreed a people unto salvation. Again, both agree that predestination of people unto salvation took place first before the actuall fall historically.

Jason777
04-06-04, 06:58 AM
Supralapsarian does not mean "chosen before the fall". Both infralapsarians and supralapsarians agree that God chose men unto salvation BEFORE the fall. We supras differ from infras in regard to the actual order of decrees - that is, God decreed to predestine a people unto salvation before He decreed the fall. Infras say that He decree the fall and then decreed a people unto salvation. Again, both agree that predestination of people unto salvation took place first before the actuall fall historically.

Ooops, my bad. Sorry for the mix-up in terminology.

Well, since we were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4) I would probably say 'supralapsarian', simply on the basis of what the Bible says.

disciple
04-06-04, 08:43 AM
Supralapsarian does not mean "chosen before the fall". Both infralapsarians and supralapsarians agree that God chose men unto salvation BEFORE the fall. We supras differ from infras in regard to the actual order of decrees - that is, God decreed to predestine a people unto salvation before He decreed the fall. Infras say that He decree the fall and then decreed a people unto salvation. Again, both agree that predestination of people unto salvation took place first before the actuall fall historically.and it's not chronological but logical order. in other words, the BEFORE does not mean in time or refer to time but logical order (i.e., before in priority). i think that is important to point out and clarify.

we often try to fit God into human constructs and understanding through human explanations (since that's the only way we can since we are after all human) and that is often so incomplete and limited. i'm not suggesting that we don't try only that we understand the limitations in our ability to grasp such profound divine truths!

Jason777
04-06-04, 08:58 AM
Well, if you managed to 'plough' through all 7 pages of this thread then I'd say you're pretty smart for a country boy! :D



I find that the main objection put forward by those who are ignorant of the doctrine of the absolute Sovereignty of God is that, if it were true, it would mean that they are "nothing more than a robot". Perhaps we should take more care to point out that this is not the necessary logical consequence of the doctrine and nor is it the teaching of scripture. Although information is a little light in the case of Adam there are plenty of examples in scripture where both the wicked motives of those involved and the sovereign hand of God in decreeing that the wickedness takes place are evident. A good example is the case of Judas where there is certainly no doubt as to his motive being his own greed and yet the whole thing was clearly planned beforehand by the sovereign hand of Almighty God. As one ponders the enormity of the despicable act that Judas knowingly and deliberately perpetrated against the LORD OF LORDS and KING OF KINGS out of his own wicked and selfish desire for wordly gain having walked this earth with Jesus Himself and seen the miracles and heard Him speak with such wisdom and yet still desiring worldly gain - knowing it to be the most foul of crimes and yet not fearing any punishment ... as one ponders that Judas did this willingly and yet, at the same time, it is said that Jesus was "delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23). As one ponders this and the wickedness and rebellion in one's own heart and yet "has this witness within themself" that they are amongst those who can say that He:
"chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved."is it not a cause of such humbling and yet such rejoicing?




No wonder Paul broke off in Romans to say:
"Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?
Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen."


"When I stand before the throne,
Dressed in beauty not my own,
When I see Thee as Thou art,
Love Thee with unsinning heart,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know,
Not till then, how much I owe.

Chosen not for good in me,
Wakened up from wrath to flee,
Hidden in the Saviour's side,
By the Spirit sanctified,
Teach me, Lord, on earth to show
By my love how much I owe.

When the praise of heav'n I hear,
Loud as thunders to the ear,
Loud as many waters' noise,
Sweet as harp's melodious voice,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know,
Not till then, how much I owe.
(Robert Murray McCheyne)

Martin

Well written, Skeuos! :)

Bob Higby
06-27-04, 09:15 PM
Wow, is this one good or what!

Supralapsarianism, for all its insistence on a certain logical order among the divine decrees, is essentially, so it seems to us, the unobjectionable view that God controls the universe purposefully. God acts with a purpose. He has an end in view and sees the end from the beginning. Every verse in Scripture that in one way or another refers to God's manifold wisdom, every statement indicating that a prior event is for the purpose of causing a subsequent event, every mention of an eternal, all-embracing plan contributes to a teleological and therefore supralapsarian view of God's control of history . . .

The connection between supralapsarianism and the fact that God always acts purposefully depends on the observation that the logical order of any plan is the exact reverse of its temporal execution. The first step in any planning is the end to be achieved; then the means are decided upon, until last of all the first thing to be done is discovered. The execution in time reverses the order of planning. Thus creation, since it is first in history, must be logically last in the divine decrees.

Dr. Gordon Clark