Originally Posted by via_dolorosa
I don't see the unfettered free will of man as a threat to the sovereignty of God. Calvinists do.

If God knows certainly what man will choose (and he does!), then man's choice has been determined already - whether by God, or by some other agency. And there's the rub. If God did not determine, who or what did? If God is omniscient but does not determine the choices men will make, then free will becomes little more than blind chance - it is fatalism, ultimately outside of God's control, thus denying God's omnipotence. The only other alternative is to deny God's omniscience.

But we say that God's omniscience cannot be divorced from his omnipotence - God knows all because he in his omnipotence determines all. There are no "corridors of time" which God must look down to see what you will choose to do 5 minutes from now. There is no knowledge that exists in some parallel sphere outside of God's mind. There is no chance or fate. Everything happens exactly as God has determined, to his own glory.

People choose what is contrary to their nature given the right circumstances. A juror may, by nature, abhor capital punishment, but because of the special and aggravating circumstances of a crime, vote for death. Along the same school of thought, someone's "come to Jesus" moment is often preceded by a devastating loss, going to jail, guilt over sin, or a myriad of other circumstances that make them vulnerable and ready to receive the gospel. Though our nature is to reject God, God orchestrates the events of our lives to change our perspective and finally see our desperate need to be saved. The convertee never has his free will violated and is never dragooned into his decision.

Neither of these are examples of "choosing against one's nature." In the first case, the juror's nature was either never opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances, or the juror's nature was changed to accept death penalty in at least one particular circumstance. In the second case, the nature of the sinner is changed - regenerated by the work of the Holy Spirit. It is simply impossible to choose anything that is entirely against one's own nature.

At the decision point, fashioned by God, a man can choose to reject still, small voice...and many do.

I.e., man, not God, is ultimately responsible for his own salvation, because man's salvation rests finally on his own choice to be saved. This is what you are saying.

For Calvinism to make sense, God would not go to this effort for somebody to reject his overtures. The very fact that people reject God after such a great effort to woo them undoes Limited Atonement and the rest of the TULIP with it.

God does not expend any effort needlessly, & he does not intend to save everyone. I can think of not a single example in Scripture in which God went to "great lengths" to save an individual only to find his will thwarted by man's free choice. His overtures to mankind generally & to his visible people always accomplish the salvation of the elect, which is the intended effect.

Or God knows the beginning from the end without interfering with the choice of individuals who bring the future about. The slippery slope argument doesn't quite fit here.

You aren't responding to the dilemma. If God does not determine the choices men make, then how is it possible for God to know what choices will be made before they are made? These choices must have been predetermined somehow for God to have full & certain knowledge of them.

Or both free-will and prophesy are true.

Again, you are simply ignoring the dilemma. Free will, understood as the ability of man to make any choice available, is not compatible with prophecy, in which the choices man will make must be known with absolute certainty. If man's will is actually "free" in the sense described, then it is not possible that his choices could be known with absolute certainty before those choices are made, because there is an indefinite number of series of choices that could be made. A single different choice made than predicted would completely undermine the reliability of prophecy.

Though the Calvinist proclaims God's sovereignty, t's a meager view that the Calvinists hold of God's sovereignty that requires cohersion at every level in order to bring about God's plan. A far more mysterious and grander view has God's plan being brought about to the tiniest detail while never violating the will of man. This calls for a level of control would certainly boggle the mind of man.

Calvinism does not propose that man's will is ever "coerced" or "violated" by God. To the contrary, man always acts in accordance with his will. So what you've described here actually applies to Calvinism. wink Now, God may change man's will:

Prov. 21:1 (ASV) "The king's heart is in the hand of Jehovah as the watercourses: He turneth it whithersoever he will."

But this is not "coercion" or "violation." A will, once changed, is simply changed. It does not act contrary to itself in the act being changed.

I'm failing to connect the dots here. Yes, nobody was compelled. Yes, people did what they wanted to do. Yes, God's plan was brought to fruition. How does this prove Calvinism?

It could not be by God's "determinate counsel & foreknowledge" if men had free will, because in that case it would not be possible to determine or foreknow what choices men would make - or, at any rate, it would not be by God's determinate council.

Perhaps one more passage to be quoted is Joseph, executor of Egypt's, words to his brothers that what they meant for evil, God meant for good. God's plan to save his people from famine would have been accomplished through the brothers' good deeds or evil.

Here's what the verse says:

Gen. 50:20 (ASV) "And as for you, ye meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive."

Note that it does not say that whatever their deeds were, God would have accomplished his plan. Rather, it says that God meant for their evil deeds to accomplish his good plan.

They were completely free to choose, and yet completely helpless to thwart God's plans, regardless of their choice. That's sovereignty worthy of the greatest wonder.

Yet you say that men regularly thwart God's plans for their salvation when they reject his wooing?

Last edited by CovenantInBlood; Tue Jul 05, 2011 11:30 AM.