Originally Posted by MikeL
Kyle and Pilgrim,

Did Calvin write that God decreed the Fall.

I don't have a quote handy for you, but certainly Calvin would agree that God decreed the Fall.

Originally Posted by MikeL
Kyle wrote that men choose to remain in sin. You wrote that no one is forced to choose anything other than what they desire to do. If our natures are determined by God, we don't choose to remain in them. If what we desire is determined by our natures, which again are determined by God, then our desires are not free. So I think asking where our nature came from is very topical to a discussion on free will.

No creature can decide its own fundamental nature. Human beings aren't first granted the choice to be some other kind of thing than human beings: they are created as human beings, and are necessarily subject to the limitations thereof. As a result of the Fall, all humanity has fallen under the dominion of sin. Therefore, all human beings that have been created since the Fall are born under the dominion of sin. Being born in such a state - as sinners - all human beings desire sin rather than righteousness.

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Let me spell it out even further. So God decreed the Fall. He foreordained it. (Yes, that is what Calvin wrote, thank you for admitting this.) Since he foreordained the Fall, Adam was determined to disobey Him. Okay, so this is how it relates to the topic, which is free will: You believe we have freedom to choose as determined by our nature. I questioned this, and suspected our natures were also determined, according to Calvinism.

Now, if God foredordained the Fall, and our sinful nature came about through the Fall, then God foreordained our sinful nature. God foreordained our nature, which determines our choices, which means none of them are free in any sense of the word. So believing we have freedom to choose according to our nature isn't compatible with Calvinism, which teaches that even our natures were determined by God. And believing our desires are freely chosen or followed within our nature is also untenable.

This is why we deny that men have "free will," when you assert that they do: because you have a peculiar definition of "freedom" which requires that there be no determining factors which lead up to or cause the choices which men make of their own volition. John (jmp) has, I believe, briefly addressed this elsewhere in response to you. But essentially, your view of "freedom" entails that the decisions that men make are purely indeterminate, which means they are irrational, random, completely arbitrary choices, which is fundamentally at variance with any belief in an omnipotent God, much less a morally responsible human being.

A great irony of so many proponents of (libertarian) "free will" is that they destroy the very foundation of morality in an attempt to ensure that humans can be held accountable for their actions. The truth of the matter is that, without God determining all things, men cannot be responsible for anything they do, since they simply would be acting at random.

At any rate, the freedom which Calvinists attribute to the choices of men has regard to the fact that no man's will is forced to act against itself. The choices men make are not coerced or under any external compulsion. Men always choose in accordance with their own desires.

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It may very well be that Adam fell, in all of them. But it's speculative to assume there were other ones at all. This is the universe we live in, and as far as we know there isn't another one with radio-controlled humans with antlers. So it was a fact that God foreknew the Fall; I don't think it's safe to say it's a fact that he foreordained it.

Even with what you are saying, Mike, God chose to create this world, with the knowledge beforehand that Adam would sin. God decided to act & establish this world in which all of the choices which are unfolding before us would invariably come to pass. In the very act of creating this world, rather than not creating at all, God ensured that Adam would definitely sin.

So if you say that Calvinism takes away the free will of man, since God determined all things, the same accusation can be levelled at your proposal by expanding upon its logical conclusions. The only escape-hatch is to assert that God is not omniscient - He could not know what the outcome would be - or that God is not omnipotent - He had no power to change the character of the world which he decided to create. In other words, to avoid the problem you must redefine God in such a way that He is no longer, in any meaningful sense, the God revealed in Scripture, indeed, the God revealed in the very creation which He made & sustains with His own hands.

Originally Posted by MikeL
God foreordains because he foreknows. For example, he can give special blessings to believers based on his foreknowledge of their decisions to accept Christ. But I think Calvinism teaches that God foreknows, because he has foreordained everything. So the two are conflated. They aren't mutually exclusive; I'm arguing that foreknowledge is not an effect of foreordaining - the idea is kind of odd when you think about it - why say God can foreknow things, if it's assumed he caused them to happen in the first place?

One wonders where God got His foreknowledge if not from His foreordaining all things. Surely God is the one who creates & directs the future - how did He get a view of it without Himself determining what it would be? On the other hand, if God did foreordain whatsoever comes to pass, He no doubt has exhaustive foreknowledge of everything that will happen because He has already determined what will come to be. Thus foreknowledge, in this limited sense of having knowledge of events yet to occur in time, is meaningless apart from foreordination.

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If we go to Scripture, it's clear that foreknowledge and predestination are different.

"For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers." Romans 8:29

To me this says foreknowledge and predestination are not the same thing. It also says that one follows another: predestination is based on God's foreknowledge. If God foreordained everything, then foreknowledge would actually make no sense: God foreknew what he had already predestined?

Pilgrim has already pointed out that the sense of "foreknowledge" here is not that of having knowledge of events yet to occur in time. Rather, "foreknowledge" in this passage has referrence to God's love for those whom He predestined to salvation. Predestination is based on God's love. For further reading on this subject, see "The Foreknowledge of God," by A. W. Pink.

Last edited by CovenantInBlood; Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:12 PM. Reason: Added link.

Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.