Originally Posted by via_dolorosa
That's a fallacy of logic to suggest that God cannot know everything without controlling everything, even man whom he made in his own image.

What I have actually suggested is that, if man has a free will in the sense you understand it, either God's omniscience or his omnipotence - or both - must be abandoned. You have yet to provide an explanation how God may know everything but not determine everything.

I never liked the "corriders of time" analogy either. I rather like the image of God looking at a sphere that contains all of time and creation; seeing the beginning from the end. The fact that God created this sphere, in every exhaustive detail, in accordance with his perfect will, with every event conducted by people of entirely unhindered free will, is astounding.

Assertions without the benefit of an argument. How could God create this world in exhaustive detail & in perfect accordance with his will without also immutably foreordaining whatsoever comes to pass? From your own position, in the very act of creating this world, in which God knew infallibly each choice that would be made by man, he thereby predetermined those same choices. After all, he was under no compulsion to create this world in the first place!

Incorrect. A person can be wholly opposed to capital punishment having never been exposed to a perpective that would change his mind. By the same token, Saul was wholeheartely committed to pursuing and prosecuting Christians and driving the movement out of existence...until he had an experience that changed his view. To suggest that Paul, all that time, contained the nature to persecute Christians until he had the nature to not persecute Christians is to misunderstand what nature is.

What you're positing is a mutable nature. Yes, men have mutable natures. Their natures can be changed. They never act contrary to their own natures, however. When Paul was convinced of the necessity of persecuting Christians, he did not act contrary to himself. When he was convinced otherwise, he changed his ways immediately. In either case he acted in accord with his own nature.

Salvation is a result of the perfect, unaugmented death and resurrection of Christ as a propitiation for sins. The responsibility to receive forgiveness and eternal life is man's.

So, once again, man's salvation is up to his own choice. If he chooses to receive salvation, he will be saved. If he chooses to reject salvation, he will be damned. The choice is his & his alone - according to you.

Perhaps you're not looking for it in Scripture, having already made up your mind. When Agrippa told Paul, "thou almost persuadest me to become a Christian," there is a keen example of one nearly being convinced but turning away at the last moment. To suggest that God was not pursuing Agrippa is to suggest, contrary to reason, that God had not sent Paul to him in the first place.

First, Paul is not God. If God were trying to save Agrippa, then God's will in the matter could not possibly be thwarted, because God always accomplishes his desire. Paul's desires are frankly irrelevant to that point. Second, Paul was giving his defense against the accusations of the Jews. God's purpose in bringing him before Agrippa was that Agrippa would send him to Rome, as becomes clear in the following chapters of Acts.

This is a simple matter of not seeking out any evidence that might confound your theological system.

Refrain from insulting me.

The reason I know that a person can come close to believing, being cut to the heart with the gospel message, is because I've seen it myself in some people I tried to bring to Christ. To say that God was not pursuing them (in sync with the Agrippa example) is to suggest that God had not prevailed upon me to try to reach them. Multiply this by the testamony of many other Christians who have similarly been turned down after trying to save someone. Maybe even yourself! Did you conclude that God not send you with the gospel to try to save someone just because they turned you down? Do you see the fallacy of logic here?

And perhaps God did not especially prevail upon you to try to reach them! Why is that not a possibility? Is your experience infallible? Regardless, our duty is to speak the truth of God, whether that truth soften & save them, or harden them in their reprobate state. It is not for us to second-guess the secret purposes of God.

If God did not die for someone and did not predestine them to life, then it follows that there would be no effort to prosecute them and would never send someone to bring the gospel to them. The very fact that the Hound of Heaven pursues all men flies right in face of Calvinistic thought.

Countless millions of men have died with no further knowledge of God than what may be derived from nature. This reality flies in the face of your claims. You also ignore the very real possibility that God's purpose is in some cases to remove all excuses they may claim for their rebellion, magnifying his justice.

So Jesus made Peter deny him 3 times? Or is it more likely that Jesus knew what state of mind Peter would be in and what conduct would follow it? Why is it so hard to understand that Jesus could know Peter's future choices without making those choices for him?

No, Jesus did not "make" Peter deny him thrice. Peter did that quite willingly; but God had predetermined that Peter would do so, hence Jesus was able to prophesy it with absolute certainty. If he had not predetermined that Peter would do so, then there is no basis on which Jesus could expect that his prophecy would hold true. What you are consistently failing to grasp is that God's complete & infallible knowledge of our choices necessarily implies that those choices have already been determined, before we have ever had the opportunity to make them. That being the case, the question is who or what determined them. The only appropriate answer is God.

No, Calvinism is a man beside himself. While it proposes that man has free will, it juxtaposes that man can only make one choice. This way, Calvinism can deny man's free will while insisting it never denies man's free will. This is patent lunacy in my view.

Calvinism simply denies "free will" as you have defined it. It holds rather that man is "free" to act in accordance with his will. Since the will of man is in bondage to sin as a result of the fall, man will only ever act sinfully (i.e., apart from faith in God), unless his will is changed. Calvinism does not propose that man is compelled by God to act in any way that he does not fundamentally wish to act.

The "foreknowledge is impossible without micromanagement" argument is stale. I can't tell you how many times I've heard it to the point my eyes glaze over with this miscarriage of logic. It's here that attrition sets in, but let's indulge anyway. It's not difficult to know that the pharisees and religious leaders wanted to kill Jesus they had been planning to do so for nearly his entire 3 year ministry. God did not orchestrate their choices, he orchestrated the opportunity to do what they had been wanting to do. If God knows the hearts of men, then he would know they would choose Barabbas over Jesus without making them do it. This isn't difficult to grasp.

Your continual assertion that God's infallible knowledge of our choices is just possible without predetermination is what's stale. You have not presented a single argument how it is possible; you've only merely asserted it & told us how mysterious & wondrous it all is. On the other hand, I & Pilgrim have already gone into detail why it is impossible that God to have infallible knowledge of our choices without predetermination. As far as death of Christ is concerned, since the Pharisees had free will on your view, they could have chosen at any time to change their minds about Christ. Moreover, the involvement of the Romans - who were at best indifferent to the fate of Christ - complicates matters further. Pilate could readily have decided to release Jesus, since he himself found no real reason for Christ to be condemend. Any of the Roman guards could have decided to let Jesus go, for whatever reason they might have. Ergo, God's counsel could not have been "determinate," only a best guess based on the circumstances prevailing at the time he decided to deliver his Son over. Much less still could God have promulgated immutable prophecy concerning Christ's suffering & death centuries earlier! No, but because innumerable human choices were involved in orchestrating this "opportunity," it would not have been possible to orchestrate it at all without foreordaining the choices that would be made. As it is written:

Acts 4:26-28 (ASV) "The kings of the earth set themselves in array, And the rulers were gathered together, Against the Lord, and against his Anointed: for of a truth in this city against thy holy Servant Jesus, whom thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, were gathered together, to do whatsoever thy hand and thy council foreordained to come to pass."

While we're discussing what scripture does not say, it also does not say God made them do it. Quite the opposite. In that Joseph says, "you meant evil" their guilt is highlighted. They chose to commit their crime and God used their crime to bring about His purposes. Not implied here is that the crime was necessary for God's plan.

No one here has ever said that God "made them do it." I suggest you do not insist on this caricature of the Calvinist position. Indeed, God did use their crime to bring about his purpose; in fact, God MEANT (i.e., he intended) for their crime to bring about his plan. Whether it was "necessary" is not the question. God, being omnipotent, could have brought about his plan in whatever way he deemed fit. But the fact remains that God chose this particular course, in which Joseph's brothers made their particular evil choice, in order to bring about his plan. In other words, God not only intented their crime for good; he intended their crime in the first place. But they committed the crime willingly & for their own evil purposes, thus incurring guilt.

Last edited by CovenantInBlood; Wed Jul 06, 2011 1:17 AM.


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