YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND CALVINISM!

After years of discussing this topic with many Calvinistic brothers I have come to this firm conviction…

It is impossible to rightly represent a view with which you disagree to the satisfaction of every opponent.

This is not meant to suggest that we shouldn’t at least try to rightly represent those with whom we disagree. We should never intentionally misrepresent (or “strawman) the views of our brethren. This is why I almost always play a clip of a notable Calvinist or read a direct quote when bringing a critique against the claims of Calvinists.  In fact, I have begun all my teaching sessions on this subject by telling my students that it is only fair to learn Calvinism from a Calvinist.

On the other hand, I have yet to hear a notable Calvinistic scholar represent Traditionalism in a way that I or my other Traditionalist friends would appreciate.* After all, it is only fair to learn Traditionalism from a Traditionalist!

Why is this? Why is the most common rebuttal in this debate the “accusation of misrepresentation?” I’ve come up with 6 reasons why I believe the dreaded ACCUSATION OF MISREPRESENTATION will never cease as long as this discussion continues:

1) SOME ARE NOT EDUCATED ON THE ACTUAL CLAIMS OF THEIR OWN SCHOLARS

Many who bring the accusation of strawmanning either (1) do not rightly understand Calvinism and Calvinistic scholar’s ACTUAL CLAIMS or they (2) do not really affirm the ACTUAL CLAIMS of John Calvin and other notable Calvinistic scholars, but have adopted a much milder, more palatable, and arguably inconsistent form of the systematic. (If it is the second, however, I cannot help but wonder why would they not stand with me in opposition to the ACTUAL CLAIMS of Calvinism rather than accusing me of not understanding it rightly?)

For instance, let’s consider this quote from John Piper’s ministry website, Desiring God:

“God . . . brings about all things in accordance with his will. In other words, it isn’t just that God manages to turn the evil aspects of our world to good for those who love him; it is rather that he himself brings about these evil aspects for his glory (see Ex. 9:13-16; John 9:3) and his people’s good (see Heb. 12:3-11; James 1:2-4). This includes—as incredible and as unacceptable as it may currently seem—God’s having even brought about the Nazis’ brutality at Birkenau and Auschwitz as well as the terrible killings of Dennis Rader and even the sexual abuse of a young child…” (Link)

John Calvin himself taught:

“…how foolish and frail is the support of divine justice afforded by the suggestion that evils come to be, not by His will but by His permission…It is a quite frivolous refuge to say that God otiosely permits them, when Scripture shows Him not only willing, but the author of them…Who does not tremble at these judgments with which God works in the hearts of even the wicked whatever He will, rewarding them nonetheless according to desert? Again it is quite clear from the evidence of Scripture that God works in the hearts of men to incline their wills just as he will, whether to good for His mercy’s sake, or to evil according to their merits. ” (John Calvin, “The Eternal Predestination of God,” 10:11)

“We hold that God is the disposer and ruler of all things, –that from the remotest eternity, according to his own wisdom, He decreed what he was to do, and now by his power executes what he decreed.  Hence we maintain, that by His providence, not heaven and earth and inanimate creatures only, but also the counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined.” (John Calvin,Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 16, Paragraph 8)

“The devil, and the whole train of the ungodly, are in all directions, held in by the hand of God as with a bridle, so that they can neither conceive any mischief, nor plan what they have conceived, nor how muchsoever they may have planned, move a single finger to perpetrate, unless in so far as he permits, nay unless in so far as he commands, that they are not only bound by his fetters but are even forced to do him service” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 17, Paragraph 11) <more quotes below>**

Now, before moving on, I hope all those who proudly wear the label “Calvinist” can rightly understand what I am addressing here. I have not misrepresented or “strawmanned” Calvinism. John Piper is arguably the most influential modern day proponent of Calvinism and he is representing exactly what John Calvin himself taught on this subject in the quotes above (all of which are properly cited for contextual examination). Both of these Calvinistic scholars are abundantly clear about what they believe about God’s meticulous determination of every single thought, word or deed.

I am not suggesting a “Calvinist” must agree with John Piper or even John Calvin on every theological point in order to be considered a “Calvinist.” But if you are going to proudly promote this label shouldn’t you at least affirm the basic theological claims over the issues that make Calvinism so controversial in the church?  The major reason we even know of John Calvin and “Calvinism” is because of his controversial views over predestination, election, free will, sovereignty, etc.  If you cannot affirm his statements on at least those issues, then may I suggest you stop promoting the label “Calvinist?” Or, if nothing else, at least stop accusing people like myself of not really understanding Calvinism? <READ THIS for more>

2) NOT EVERYONE IS CUT FROM THE SAME CLOTH:

misrepresentation

There are some Calvinists who simply disagree with Edwin Palmer’s quote above, as they should.  There are moderate Calvinists, high Calvinists, ultra Calvinists and hyper Calvinists (the last of which most Calvinists would disavow completely). There are some who affirm God’s provisional atonement for all people and God’s sincere desire for every individual to repent and believe; but others who do not.  There are some who affirm God’s genuine love for every individual, while others only describe his feelings toward the non-elect as wrath-filled hatred.

Those familiar with the lapsarian controversy, which has to do with the logical order of God’s eternal decrees of salvation, realize the complexities of rightly defining the various perspectives of Calvinism.  This disagreement is ultimately centered around the “achilles heel” of the Calvinistic worldview: DIVINE CULPABILITY. How does God escape being held responsible for the origin and ultimate cause of all moral evil?  Some Calvinists attempt to explain the logical order of the divine decree in such a way as to minimize His guilt for the fall and the origin of evil, while “higher” forms of Calvinism (typically called “Supralapsarianism”) simply embrace the troubling concept of double predestination and refer to “lesser” views of Calvinism as being “inconsistent.”

One scholar accurately observed:

Calvinists are seriously divided among themselves and always have been. There is Supralapsarianism vs. Sublapsarianism vs. Infralapsarianism. ‘The Supralapsarians hold that God decreed the fall of Adam; the Sublapsarians, that he permitted it’ (McClintock & Strong). The Calvinists at the Synod of Dort were divided on many issues, including lapsarianism. The Swiss Calvinists who wrote the Helvetic Consensus Formula in 1675 were in conflict with the French Calvinists of the School of Saumur. There are Strict Calvinists and Moderate Calvinists, Hyper and non-Hyper (differing especially on reprobation and the extent of the atonement and whether God loves all men), 5 pointers, 4 pointers, 3 pointers, 2 pointers. In America Calvinists were divided into Old School and the New School. As we have seen, the Calvinists of England were divided in the 19th century.

Whenever, therefore, one tries to state TULIP theology and then refute it, there are Calvinists who will argue with you that you are misrepresenting Calvinism. It is not so much that you are misrepresenting Calvinism, though. You might be quoting directly from various Calvinists or even from Calvin himself. The problem is that you are misrepresenting THEIR Calvinism! There are Calvin Calvinists and Thomas Fuller Calvinists and Arthur W. Pink Calvinists and Presbyterian Calvinists and Baptist Calvinists and many other sorts of Calvinists. Many Calvinists have never read Calvin’s Institutes of Christian Religion for themselves. They are merely following someone who follows someone who allegedly follows Calvin (who, by his own admission, followed Augustine). (LINK)

Again, to be fair, not all non-Calvinists agree on every point of doctrine either. One of my greatest frustrations in these discussions is overcoming the common belief that every non-Calvinist is a classical foresight faith Arminian, or that we just deny the doctrines of election and predestination all together, which of course we do not!

The point is that we are not all cut from the same cloth.  Everyone does not have both feet firmly planted in one monolithic camp with a single statement of faith and spokesperson.  If we desire to have profitable dialogue we must seek to understand the individual we are engaging rightly.  We must avoid labeling them and dismissing them while assuming we fully understand their views simply because we have read a book or blog article from someone who appears to be from the same “camp.”

3) DEFINING THE TERMS: 

This issue is closely related to the first. Many people even in the same camp use different terms that often carry various connotations and implications.  For instance, when I say “responsible” I actually think it means that someone is “able to respond” (silly me). Yet, when some use the word “responsible” they simply hear “justly punishable even if one is unable to respond.”

This issue especially comes to light when the discussion of God’s eternal decree surfaces.  Does God author sin? Did He create the desire to do evil? Does He ordain it or decree it, or both? Does He permissively decree it or actively decree it? Does God passively allow moral evil by “bare permission” and “simple foreknowledge” or does He actively plan it by “meticulous determinism?”  Which verb is appropriate when talking about our perfectly Holy and Righteous Creator and the origin of moral evil? <listen to this discussion for more on this topic>

It is easy to see how such conversations can become confounding very quickly. One brother says, “God has decreed sin,” while meaning “God permissively allows contra-causally free moral creatures to choose to sin autonomously from God’s divine Holy will.”  All the while, another brother, using the exact phrase, may mean, “God intended the morally evil choices by planning and meticulously determining the very desires and circumstances of mankind so that they would certainly choose as He ordained for His Holy purposes.” Neither brother desires to impugn God’s Holiness or His Sovereignty yet no doubt neither will escape the accusation of failing in their attempt.

This is one reason we need to be patient with each other and seek to understand the meaning of our opponent’s terms in a discussion.  Also, we have to realize that our terms may carry an unintended connotation in the mind of our audience.  We need to define our terms clearly and openly ask questions in order to really understand each other before engaging further in dialogue.

4) CORRECT BUT NOT PALATABLE: 

Imagine the reaction if a sitting President made one of the two following comments:

  • “Authorities subdued the suspect, and through interrogation, thwarted the plot of the terrorist organization.”

Versus:

  • “Jack ran down the black 18 year old teenager as he left the high school parking lot, slammed him to the ground, broke his knee caps with a bat, put a gun in his mouth and threatened to pull the trigger until he gave up information leading to a line of three other suspects who had similar painful experiences.  Finally, Jack extracted the plot of the terrorists, which could have been found out a number of other ways.”

Both statements may be explaining the exact same situation and both may be completely true, but the latter contains the kind of details that many of us rather not hear about. Now consider these two theological statements:

  • “To display His abundant providential power, God has sovereignly brought all things to pass in accordance with His Holy plan.”

Versus:

  • “To show off how powerful He is, God meticulously determined all the heinous desires and subsequent evil actions of every creature who has ever lived in such a way that they could not have done otherwise, including the rapes of children, the holocaust, slavery, torture, and every single evil thought, deed or inclination because that was what He planned and ultimately desired to come to pass for His own glorification.”

One of the statements may be much more palatable and easier to affirm, but both are stating the same basic meaning.  Applied theology means just that.  It is when our theological rhetoric is taken out of the classroom and applied in the real world.  Some people cannot stomach it, while others revel in its disdain as a badge of honor, almost as if the more offensive their views are to others the more likely they are to be correct.

5) RATIONALIZATIONS AND LOGICAL IMPLICATIONS:

“The doctrine of Total Depravity – when the consequence is drawn that, since we are totally depraved, our idea of good is worth simply nothing – may thus turn Christianity into a form of devil-worship.” –CS Lewis, The Problem of Pain, pg. 29

Was CS Lewis attempting to directly accuse all Calvinists of worshipping the devil? I seriously doubt it. It is more likely that he was attempting to draw out the logical implications of the Calvinistic claims regarding their teachings on total inability. John Wesley makes a similar claim in a sermon about double predestination in which he teaches Calvinism makes God out to be worse than the devil, because the devil would not deceptively pretend to want all to be saved (link). Yet, we know that Wesley was close friends with Calvinistic brothers (like Whitfield) and won the respect of many great Calvinistic believers (see note at the end of this article). How can Calvinists get along with someone who implies their doctrine leads to devil worship? I think those who have studied these issues at length better understand how this is possible.

Dr. Roger Olson is someone I’ve very much grown to admire over the years. He has adopted the best approach I have heard in dealing with the tension of this particular issue. In a recorded discussion with his Calvinistic friend, Dr. Michael Horton, over these difficult issues (HERE), he carefully explains how he realizes Calvinists do not view God as “monstrous,” but that he would have to if he were to adopt the claims of Calvinism. In other words, Olson acknowledges that Calvinists do not believe God is morally evil or “devil-like” in any way shape or form, but explains why he would have to draw that awful conclusion if he were to adopt Calvinism and remain consistent with its claims.

6) NEFARIOUS MOTIVATIONS: 

When you disagree with someone about something so intimate and personal as the biblical teaching of grace and salvation it is easy to allow yourself to start believing there must be something seriously wrong with them.

How can they not understand this teaching!?

What is wrong with them?  

Don’t they believe what the Bible says?!

Are they just stupid or do they like ignoring the scripture!?

They must be evil!

Is it possible that two well meaning, God fearing, bible believing, followers of Christ honestly disagree about the meaning of a passage?  I’d challenge anyone to find two scholars who agree on every single text or point of doctrine in the scriptures. I seriously doubt it can be done, yet can the two not find enough common ground on which to unite?

We are different.  We each have unique perspectives, emotions, personalities and experiences that affect how we understand a passage. Does that mean we should adopt full blown ecumenicalism and just pretend everyone is right who is sincere?  I do not believe that is a good balance either. Iron is made to sharpen iron and that happens through clashing of ideas, thoughts and opinions in healthy, edifying ways.  We do not have to assume our opponent is a devil in order to confront their perspective effectively. In fact, it is typically much more effective when you engage one as a friend, not a foe, in matters such as biblical doctrine. <watch this presentation if you’re angry at a Calvinist>

Let us learn a lesson from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon, as we close this article:

You know, brethren, that there is no soul living who holds more firmly to the doctrines of grace than I do, and if any man asks me whether I am ashamed to be called a Calvinist, I answer, I wish to be called nothing but a Christian; but if you ask me, do I hold the doctrinal views which were held by John Calvin, I reply, I do in the main hold them, and rejoice to avow it. But, my dear friends, far be it from me even to imagine that Zion contains none within her walls but Calvinistic Christians, or that there are none saved who do not hold our views. Most atrocious things have been spoken about the character and spiritual condition of John Wesley, the modern prince of Arminians. I can only say concerning him, that while I detest many of the doctrines which he preached, yet for the man himself, I have a reverence second to no Wesleyan; and if there were wanted two apostles to be added to the number of the twelve, I do not believe that there could be found two men more fit to be so added than George Whitfield and John Wesley. The character of John Wesley stands beyond all imputation for self-sacrifice, zeal, holiness, and communion with God; he lived far above the ordinary level of common Christians, and was one of whom the world was not worthy. I believe there are multitudes of men who cannot see these truths, or, at least, cannot see them in the way in which we put them, who nevertheless have received Christ into their hearts, and are as dear to the heart of the God of grace as the soundest Calvinist out of heaven.  – C. H. Spurgeon, The Man With the Measuring Line

 


*If you find a notable Calvinistic scholar who does do a fair job representing our views, please send it my way. I would welcome it! I have heard Dr. Sean Cole and a few other Calvinistic pastors do a fair job, but no notable mainstream scholars to my knowledge have even made an attempt at this.

**  “Creatures are so governed by the secret counsel of God, that nothing happens but what he has knowingly and willingly decreed.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 16, Paragraph 3)

“thieves and murderers, and other evildoers, are instruments of divine providence, being employed by the Lord himself to execute judgments which he has resolved to inflict.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 17, Paragraph 5)

“…it is very wicked merely to investigate the causes of God’s will. For his will is, and rightly ought to be, the cause of all things that are.”…”For God’s will is so much the highest rule of righteousness that whatever he wills, by the very fact that he wills it, must be considered righteous. When, therefore, one asks why God has so done, we must reply: because he has willed it. But if you proceed further to ask why he so willed, you are seeking something greater and higher than God’s will, which cannot be found.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 1)

“Many professing a desire to defend the Deity from an individual charge admit the doctrine of election, but deny that any one is reprobated. This they do ignorantly and childishly, since there could be no election without its opposite, reprobation.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 1)

“…it is utterly inconsistent to transfer the preparation for destruction to anything but God’s secret plan… God’s secret plan is the cause of hardening.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 2, Chapter 23, Paragraph 1)

“I admit that in this miserable condition wherein men are now bound, all of Adam’s children have fallen by God’s will.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 4)

“With Augustine I say: the Lord has created those whom he unquestionably foreknew would go to destruction. This has happened because he has willed.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 5)

“…individuals are born, who are doomed from the womb to certain death, and are to glorify him by their destruction.” (John Calvin,Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 6)

“…it is vain to debate about prescience, which it is clear that all events take place by his sovereign appointment.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 6)

“But since he foresees future events only by reason of the fact that he decreed that they take place, they vainly raise a quarrel over foreknowledge, when it is clear that all things take place rather by his determination and bidding.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 6)

“Again I ask: whence does it happen that Adam’s fall irremediably involved so many peoples, together with their infant offspring, in eternal death unless because it so pleased God? The decree is dreadful indeed, I confess. Yet no one can deny that God foreknew what end man was to have before he created him, and consequently foreknew because he so ordained by his decree. And it ought not to seem absurd for me to say that God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his descendants, but also meted it out in accordance with his own decision.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 7)

“The first man fell because the Lord deemed it meet that he should.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 8)

“Even though by God’s eternal providence man has been created to undergo that calamity to which he is subject, it still takes its occasion from man himself, not from God, since the only reason for his ruin is that he has degenerated from God’s pure creation into vicious and impure perversity.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 9)

 

420 thoughts on “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND CALVINISM!

  1. Definitely an issue that needed addressing… Thanks Leighton! But I am wondering if the solution is to try to bring the discussion back to the meaning of specific Scriptures that are being used to try to prove the points of Calvinism or Traditionalism or any other ism….

    It is difficult to get agreement on the meaning of important texts… and as you suggested, we should look for agreement on other texts as much as possible… like the gospel texts. But discussing even the grammatical and contextual evidence of important texts for each position has to have some benefit, since we are talking about the Word that divides thoughts and intents, even when we might not be seeing that result on the surface in our discussions on. 😉

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    1. brianwagner writes, “It is difficult to get agreement on the meaning of important texts…”

      We should be able to get agreement on points of disagreement. For example, we disagree on the issue of God’s knowledge of the future although I don’t think it makes a difference. Regardless, we each take the same verses and draw different conclusions from those verses. I can understand that. It doesn’t make us enemies.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t find the Traditionalist systematic hard to comprehend at all. I just find some of its tenants to be erroneous and easy to disprove when scrutinized under cross-examination.

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    1. We probably all feel that way, Troy, about the other guy’s “ism”! 😉 But stating those feelings that way is probably not the best way, imo, to get a profitable dialog started with a Traditionalist! And the word is “tenets”… the others pay rent! lol

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      1. Lol thanks for the correction Brian.😃 But I’m not necessarily looking to dialogue. I was just stating my opinion brother.

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      2. Ok… I guess I have the end of 1Cor 14:26 always in the back of my mind in conversations. 😉

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  3. I’m in full and complete agreement with this statement of Calvin: “The first man fell because the Lord deemed it meet that he should.” God CREATED the circumstances for the fall of man to occur by, not only creating the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but also making the tree appealing to mankind’s eyes – “…God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight…the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Gen 2:9‬).
    Then God creates a law which he knew mankind would not keep – “but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat…” (‭‭Gen‬ ‭2:17‬).
    If God is omniscient, then we can safely conclude that the mere existence of the tree and the law not to eat of it were both evidences of a prior decree. That decree stems from God’s desire. So we can say that God DESIRED that Adam sinned for His own purposes.
    Or stated another way, God desired to create the tree and the law, which means He desired to create the circumstances for the fall KNOWING that man WOULD fall. This is clearly evidence of a decree. However, we may never say that God CAUSED Adam to fall because Adam made a free choice (outside of a sinful nature) to rebel.

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    1. Sounds like a sting operation… or a mouse put in a maze with no alternative but to go down the path where the food was placed. You may have to back up Troy and explain Lucifer’s sin also. If God decrees a certain outcome of sin before even creating the will that commits it… there is no way logic can say that God is not culpable for that sin!

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      1. James 1 tells us that God is never culpable for man’s sin, even if they’re born with a sin nature. However, there’s no escaping the fact that God’s foreknowledge coupled with His creation proves a prior decree. God created the circumstances that He KNEW would ENSURE Adam’s rebellion because He already KNEW that Adam WOULD sin.

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      2. And thus we have your clear statement that God is culpable for Adam sinning… which truly does contradict the teaching of James. So I’m thinking, Troy, the problem is with your unproven view of a decree and foreknowledge of an eternally set future in God’s mind that should be thrown out so that people won’t think you are teaching the Scriptures teaches contradictory and illogical things.

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      3. There’s nothing illogical here at all. God has a decree. That decree includes the fall of mankind. God created the circumstances for him to fall. However, Adam made the FREE choice to fall. God created the tree, the law, and man from His foreknowledge which proves He had a decree.
        1) Please show me the contradiction and
        2) Please share your view of how/why the fall took place

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      4. If you can’t see how a decree that makes a sin event necessary/inevitable before the will of the sinner is even formed also makes the maker of that decree culpable for the sin happening, even though it may be through secondary means, then you will not accept it as a contradiction with revelation in James. On a side note – It’s interesting how Calvinists maintain divine monergism using secondary means in salvation so that supposedly can get all the glory, but there would not also be divine monergism in the fall so that He would get all the culpability/glory for that.

        But Troy, how about a Scripture verse that says God decreed the fall of mankind! We could discuss that at least! Since that is a very important premise in your theology and you should have at least one clear verse that states God decreed the fall of man! We should be discussing specific Scriptures anyway… right? 😉

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      5. Yes I want to discuss specific verse brother. But please first provide me your view as to how and why the fall occurred and what roles God and man played in the fall. It would help if I knew your view.

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      6. Ok, my friend and brother! Here is my view. God created man in His image so that man might “glorify Him and enjoy Him forever.” 😉

        God is relational (perfectly content in His communication and relationships in the Godhead, and not needing to create man in His image). He has free will and gave man free will to have a true relationship. In His perfect understanding He knew that man would also be able to sin with that free will, so God planned a redemption sufficient for all of man’s possible sins. The underlying reasonable and biblical premise is that God can make conditional plans.

        This is an assumption, but just like God brought all the animals to Adam, to see what Adam would call them (God knowing all the possible names, but not decreeing what Adam should name them), God also placed two trees in the garden as a test and a reward.

        The tree of knowledge was the test, and the tree of life the reward. This is a reasonable, though not a logically necessary, inference. If true and assuming there was a time period or other conditions for passing the test, by showing obedience based on trust in God’s provision and His integrity, Adam and Eve would have been born again and translated into everlasting bodies unable to be tempted by sin.

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      7. Brian you stated, “If God decrees a certain outcome of sin before even creating the will that commits it… there is no way logic can say that God is not culpable for that sin!” Do you not know sir that redemption was ALREADY planned BEFORE Adam was created and thus before he had a will, which gives further evidence of a decree. Shall we look at a few passages that teach this truth..?

        1) 1 Peter 1:19-21 Christ “..was foreknown BEFORE the foundation of the world..” The setting of this phrase is Christ as the Lamb who shed His blood “so that your faith and hope are in God”. This was decreed before creation “but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you”.

        2) Ephesians 1:4 reveals that God had ALREADY chosen the elect in Christ BEFORE the foundation of the world. This is evidence of a decree since God is said to have made a choice BEFORE man’s will even existed.

        3) In Hebrews 4:1-10 God is relating Salvation to the Sabbath rest. We rest from working for our salvation just as God rested on the Sabbath (vv9,10). However, we read something about His decree that relates to both His resting from His creative work and our resting from attaining salvation on our own. In verse 3 God says, “For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, “As I swore in my wrath, they shall not enter my rest, although His works were FINISHED FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.” So we can conclude that those who would not enter His rest were already decreed not to enter salvation BEFORE they had a will. This verse proves that God’s redemptive work was already completed IN PRINCIPLE before mankind had a will to believe.
        ‭‭

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      8. Like most Calvinists you try to prove too much for the verses you look for to prove the harmful doctrine that God decreed Adam will choose to sin!

        For some reason you don’t believe God is able to make conditional elements in His plan like having a plan of redemption, if/when man would sin, or plans for general outcomes like that those joined to Christ through personal faith would be chosen to be blameless at the judgment.

        You are really stretching, imo, the Hebrews passage of rest, for it is only talking about God’s resting from His works of creation. Jesus confirmed that the Father is still working (John 5:17) and all throughout Scripture it is confirmed that He is still making determinations… (which we have discussed before I think)! 😉

        You still haven’t shown me a verse that says God decreed that Adam, or Lucifer, must sin! I won’t believe it until you do!

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      9. Brian you stated, “Like most Calvinists you try to prove too much for the verses you look for to prove the harmful doctrine that God decreed Adam will choose to sin!” It’s called making inferences from Scriptures based on our ability to reason and the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
        If you believe that God has exhaustive knowledge before He created the world, then you MUST admit He has a decree because He created knowing the eventual outcome. God knew when He placed that tree in the garden, made it pleasing to the senses, created man, then issued a command knowing man would freely disobey. This is a decree based on a plan with foreknowledge. There’s just no getting around this truth brother, unless you are one who believes that God doesn’t possess omniscience or exhaustive knowledge of the future.
        Also, with respect to your assertion that Calvinists tend to extract too much out of a verse, I would assert the same about you and your “enlightenment doctrine”.😉
        You stated, “For some reason you don’t believe God is able to make conditional elements in His plan like having a plan of redemption, if/when man would sin, or plans for general outcomes..” You’re scaring me Brian with this statement, “if/when man would sin”. This is telling me that you don’t believe that God has exhaustive knowledge and as a consequence would have to “learn” and “react” to mankind’s sin. This means that ULTIMATELY man is in control until God learns and reacts to his actions. This is a sub-biblical view of God that brings Him down to the level of mankind’s restricted knowledge of future events. I reject any idea that promotes God reacting to mankind as if He didn’t already possess foreknowledge of his actions.
        You stated, “You are really stretching, imo, the Hebrews passage of rest, for it is only talking about God’s resting from His works of creation. Jesus confirmed that the Father is still working (John 5:17) and all throughout Scripture it is confirmed that He is still making determinations…” Hebrews
        4 is clearly relating salvation to the Sabbath. The Sabbath is a picture of salvation as we rest in Christ. However, v3 teaches that, IN PRINCIPLE, God’s salvation plan was already accomplished before the foundation of the world; before man was created and even had a will to choose. So if redemption was already apart of God’s foreknowledge before creation, then the need for redemption was too. The need of redemption stems from man’s ANTICIPATED fall. This all smells of a plan which requires a decree.
        Yes the Father, Son, and HS are still working. However, God’s salvation plan had already been accomplished in principle before we were created. That plan is now being brought to fruition in time. John 5:21; 6:63 reveals that the entire Godhead is still working to bring about our salvation in time. But Ephesians teaches that His salvation plan was already decreed beforehand.
        When you keep saying that God is still making determinations in time, you’re only relating the fact that He’s acting out what He has already determined before time (including His conversations and interactions with mankind).
        You stated, “You still haven’t shown me a verse that says God decreed that Adam, or Lucifer, must sin! I won’t believe it until you do!” There’s no explicit statement that says God is a trinity either. However, we believe that many verses teach this doctrine COLLECTIVELY. So I will apply the same principle here. The fact that God had a plan of redemption before He even created mankind and that He created the circumstances to ensure mankind’s fall proves that He had a decree/predetermined purpose for mankind well BEFORE mankind had a will to exercise. So you can hold God culpable for His decree but you’re treading on dangerous waters my brother.

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      10. Thank you Troy for confirming that your important dogma is based on what you call – “inferences from Scriptures” and not clear Scriptures.

        You said – “If you believe that God has exhaustive knowledge before He created the world, then you MUST admit He has a decree because He created knowing the eventual outcome.” First, we agree God’s knowledge is exhaustive and probably agree that God can only know the truth. We disagree on the nature of reality that is known exhaustively, especially the nature of the “future” that is truly known in God’s mind. Second, you gave the Arminian position as your own, for the Calvinist puts the decree before foreknowledge.

        You said – “When you [I] keep saying that God is still making determinations in time, you’re [I’m] only relating the fact that He’s acting out what He has already determined before time.” This is a crucial point and you obviously do not want to admit the contradiction between your believing God already “determined” everything before creation, and God saying He is still making “determinations” after creation. Making determinations does not mean – “acting out what He has already determined” it means “making determinations that have not yet been made.” What if you said to your financee, “I decided to marry you last year” and then a minute later said, “I am deciding right now whether to marry you.” You can’t see the contradiction in that? Really?

        Doctrines that are very important should only be developed from clear Scriptures, though they should be consistent with all of Scriptural teaching. The plurality and personality of the members in the Godhead is clear. We certainly only relate to three members of the Godhead as revealed in NT Scriptures, though there is no verse making us say there are ONLY three members in the Godhead. In the same, Scripture clearly says that God has certainly determined some things before creation and some things after creation. There is no verse that says God determined everything before creation and that would contradict the verses that clearly say He determined some things after creation.

        There is no “treading on dangerous waters” when sticking with clear Scriptures… that treading happens when you elevate to dogma man’s reasoning and inferences that come from unclear Scriptures or philosophical speculation.

        Like

    2. Please let all understand, Calvinist language concerning God FOREKNOWING a certain sin/evil would occur can be highly misleading.

      The language deploys implicatures, that God knew X would occur, but “ALLOWED” or “PERMITTED” X to occur.
      A notion Calvin forcibly rejects, calling it “repulsive”.

      When the Calvinist says “God knew XYZ sin would occur”, be aware the Calvinist really means:
      “God specifically decreed XYZ sin/evil would occur”.

      This is logically consistent with Calvin’s core proposition: Divine foreknowledge is the direct consequence of divine fore-ordination via decree.

      1) Whatever event God does not decree, does not have potentiality of existence.
      2) Whatever event does not have potentiality of existence, God cannot foreknow, else his foreknowledge would be in error.

      As a result:
      In Calvinism, whatever God knows will happen – happens because God specifically decreed it to happen.
      And in Calvinism, no alternatives to what God (foreknows via fore-ordination) can have existence.

      Like

      1. br.d writes, “In Calvinism, whatever God knows will happen – happens because God specifically decreed it to happen.”

        The issue with Calvinists is to distinguish God’s decrees as active or passive in the manner in which God brings them about – a point that non-Calvinists have a tendency to gloss over.

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      2. It would be interesting to see this “active” vs “passive” differentiation detailed, in compliance to strict laws of logic, including the law of non-contradiction. Compliance to the laws of logic, and especially the law of non-contradiction, is typically what Calvinists gloss over.

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      3. br.d writes, “It would be interesting to see this “active” vs “passive” differentiation detailed,”

        God is active in bringing about the flood of Noah and the impregnation of Mary. God is the passive in not restraining Cain from killing Abel, the Jews from killing Stephan. To be passive, God, as sovereign, must first decide not to intervene to prevent a particular event thereby allowing natural events to play out. In contrast to Stephan, God did intervene to free Peter from jail. I don’t see why this is an issue as sovereignty is not an issue.

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      4. Sorry that doesn’t work, because it denies core propositions in reformed theology. This is a weakness for Calvinists, they try ways to get around the law of non-contradiction. Asserting a proposition one minute and then denying it the next doesn’t work with logic.

        (1) God decrees all events (without exception) which come to pass. Not only every micro-second of the flood, but every micro-second of Cain killing Abel, and the Jews killing Stephan. And reformed theology is consistent that God’s decrees are active and not passive.

        (2) Divine foreknowledge is the consequence/result of divine decrees. The only way God can foreknow that Cain killed Abel, or that Stephen is stoned is that he decrees those things to happen. And they happen exactly as he decrees them to happen.

        It is however, possible that **AFTER** decreeing those events inevitable, unavoidable, and fated to occur, God can passively stand by and watch what he decreed to occur. So in that sense God can be passive. But the work of determining events which come to pass via decrees is active.

        You can try again, but you can’t have core reformed propositions denied with attempts to manufacture indeterministic-determinism.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. br.d writes, ” And reformed theology is consistent that God’s decrees are active and not passive.”

        Active in the sense that it is always by God’s decree/decision (required by sovereignty that no one denies) and active/passive depending whether God personally brings about an event or uses secondary means/agents to bring about the event.

        Like

      6. So here you are attempting to construe a PRIMARY role in an event as “passive” which entails God’s decree as non-active.
        As has been stated, you are still trying to find a way around the law of non-contradiction.

        (1) God foreknows that Cain will murder Able because (per Calvin) God fore-ordained it to occur by immutable decree
        (2) Thus God decreed an immutable decree that Cain murder Able.
        (3) Because that decree is immutable and must happen infallibly, it becomes Cain’s inevitable, and unavoidable fate.
        (4) God’s decree occurred at the foundation of the world, millennia before Cain existed
        (5) Cain does not have the power to alter God’s decree, or alter the past
        (6) Cain has no power to refrain from acting out God’s immutable decree
        (7) God’s decree gives Cain no ability to do otherwise
        (8) God’s decree gives Cain no alternative possibility

        And you want to call God’s role in all of that passive.
        Sorry, that may work in fairy-tales, but it doesn’t work in logic

        -quote:
        “The devil, and the whole train of the ungodly……they can neither conceive any mischief, nor plan what they have conceived, nor…MOVE A SINGLE FINGER TO PERPETRATE……UNLESS IN SO FAR AS HE COMMANDS…..they are not only bound by his fetters, but ARE FORCED TO DO HIM SERVICE” (john Calvin)

        -quote:
        “I concede more–that thieves and murderers, and other evil-doers, are INSTRUMENTS of Divine Providence” (john calvin)

        In your line of reasoning, where God is passive, is where he watches Cain functioning as his INSTRUMENT to carry out a murder.

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      7. br.d writes, “So here you are attempting to construe a PRIMARY role in an event as “passive” which entails God’s decree as non-active.”

        Primary role in controlling secondary forces. I don’t see why this is a problem. If you are into “free will,” then you know that those who also espouse “free will” will often say that God grants free will to people to make choices – which is no different than what I am saying. In that context, I don’t understand your objection here. If you are not into free will…

        You write, “(2) Thus God decreed an immutable decree that Cain murder Able.” In context with this discussion, you should have written, “(2) Thus God decreed an immutable decree that Cain be given freedom to act consistent with his sin nature without restraint by God even to the end of murdering Able.” Don’t we both agree that Cain exercised “free will” in choosing to murder his brother? Don’t we further agree that God knew exactly what Cain would do and, as William Craig argues, such knowledge did not cause Cain to murder his brother?

        Then, “And you want to call God’s role in all of that passive.”

        Passive in the sense of not restraining evil men such that they have freedom to do the evil they desire and God knows exactly what they will do and does not prompt or impel evil people to act – their sin natures generating evil actions on its own.

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      8. Your task was to detail within strict constraints of logic, how God’s decree can be construed as “passive”
        So far, you’ve not even attempted to lay out any sequential reasoning.
        Your process instead, is to make claims, and evade logic using goal-post-shifting.

        You started by making a simple claim that God’s decrees can be passive, sighting Cain’s murder of Able.
        I listed 8 actions on God’s part concerning Cain murdering Able, (consistent within Calvinism) that you cannot prove are passive.
        I then listed 1 action on God’s part (watching Cain function as his instrument of murder) which can be seen as passive.
        In all of my responses to you, I gave (consistent within Calvinism) reasoning – and even provided supporting quotes from Calvin
        All of that evidence you simply ignored.

        Instead you shifted to the fallacy of ambiguity – inferring the following:
        – When a secondary event occurs, the primary event doesn’t exist.
        – Since God is passive in the secondary event, and since the primary event doesn’t exist, God’s role in the event can be stated as passive.

        Sorry, you failed at rational reasoning 101.
        However, you do get credit for fanciful imaginations.
        That should count for something 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      9. br.d writes, “…how God’s decree can be construed as “passive”…”

        I do not say that God’s decrees are “passive.” If I actually did, then this is a correction to that.

        God can be passive in the implementing of His decrees. Where God is not the primary cause of an action He has decreed, Calvinists say that God takes a passive role in the action. Thus, it was Cain who murdered Abel and not God; God was an observer of the murder and approved it (i.e., decreed it) but God did not murder Cain or impel or otherwise influence Cain to do so.

        Like

      10. rhutchin writes:
        “I do not say that God’s decrees are “passive.” If I actually did, then this is a correction to that.
        God can be passive in the implementing of His decrees. Where God is not the primary cause of an action He has decreed, Calvinists say that God takes a passive role in the action. Thus, it was Cain who murdered Abel and not God; God was an observer of the murder and approved it (i.e., decreed it) but God did not murder Cain or impel or otherwise influence Cain to do so.”

        So you concede the following as God’s PRIMARY action in with regards to sins and evils (which Cain killing Able exemplifies):
        (1) God foreknows that Cain will murder Able because (per Calvin) God fore-ordained it to occur by immutable decree
        (2) Thus God decreed an immutable decree that Cain murder Able.
        (3) Because that decree is immutable and must happen infallibly, it becomes Cain’s inevitable, and unavoidable fate.
        (4) God’s decree occurred at the foundation of the world, millennia before Cain existed
        (5) Cain does not have the power to alter God’s decree, or alter the past
        (6) Cain has no power to refrain from acting out God’s immutable decree
        (7) God’s decree gives Cain no ability to do otherwise
        (8) God’s decree gives Cain no alternative possibility

        And you concede John Calvin’s statements I provided:
        -quote:
        “The devil, and the whole train of the ungodly……they can neither conceive any mischief, nor plan what they have conceived, nor…MOVE A SINGLE FINGER TO PERPETRATE……UNLESS IN SO FAR AS HE COMMANDS…..they are not only bound by his fetters, but ARE FORCED TO DO HIM SERVICE” (john Calvin)

        -quote:
        “I concede more–that thieves and murderers, and other evil-doers, are INSTRUMENTS of Divine Providence” (john Calvin)

        And you concede my previous statement of the ONLY participation on God’s part that can be legitimately considered “passive”:
        br.d
        May 22, 2017 at 3:20 pm
        In your line of reasoning, where God is passive, is where he watches Cain functioning as his INSTRUMENT to carry out a murder.

        Then the assertion that non-Calvinists “gloss over” God’s “passive” role in evil events as ascribed by Calvinism is incoherent.
        Because you posted responses in disagreement to statements which you in fact agree with.
        What you really disagreed with, is the precision, honesty, and forthrightness of the reasoning and evidence I provided.

        However, you still have a fallacy in your last statement on Cain murdering Able
        “God did not…..impel or otherwise influence Cain to do so”

        Again, assertions like that may work in fairy-tales, but they don’t work in logic.
        You either agree with Calvin or you don’t….but in Calvinism, that statement is logically incoherent.

        So again, you need to test your theories for logical fallacies and half-truths before you post them.
        I’m helping you out here…..encourage you to take advantage of tips provided by rational people.

        Like

      11. br.d writes, “However, you still have a fallacy in your last statement on Cain murdering Able
        “God did not…..impel or otherwise influence Cain to do so”

        What is the fallacy?

        Then, “You either agree with Calvin or you don’t….but in Calvinism, that statement is logically incoherent.”

        Given that I agree with Calvin, can you explain why it is logically incoherent?

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      12. As is normal, rhutchin, with doublethink and confirmation bias – your mind is conditioned to believe whatever works for you.
        The readers who reviewed the thread can see you simply ignore evidence, and then make-believe it isn’t there.

        You want to assert -quote: ““God did not…..impel or otherwise influence Cain to murder Able”
        While Calvin asserts “God FORCES evil men to do his service” and uses them as his INSTRUMENTS”.
        Of course you don’t see any contradiction or fallacies….no one is expecting you to.
        That’s the way doublethink works. 😉

        And again….is why you complain you don’t understand William Lane Craig, Peter Van Inwagen, and Alvin Plantinga.
        And why you assert Dr. Craig’s analysis is based on emotional predisposition.
        That’s simply reverse attribution bias.

        The good news is, your posts always provide good examples for SOT101 readers, of Calvinism’s psychology of doublethink.
        I enjoy these dialogs because they show how illogical Calvinism is.
        There’s no pressure or expectation you will see the fallacies, so not to worry about it.

        Like

      13. br.d writes, “So you concede the following as God’s PRIMARY action in with regards to sins and evils (which Cain killing Able exemplifies):
        (1) God foreknows that Cain will murder Able because (per Calvin) God fore-ordained it to occur by immutable decree
        (2) Thus God decreed an immutable decree that Cain murder Able.
        (3) Because that decree is immutable and must happen infallibly, it becomes Cain’s inevitable, and unavoidable fate.
        (4) God’s decree occurred at the foundation of the world, millennia before Cain existed
        (5) Cain does not have the power to alter God’s decree, or alter the past
        (6) Cain has no power to refrain from acting out God’s immutable decree
        (7) God’s decree gives Cain no ability to do otherwise
        (8) God’s decree gives Cain no alternative possibility”

        Let’s now include those points that you left out (are we to presume that you left them out on purpose?).

        A. God decrees that the corruption of Adam as a result of His sin would be passed to his children, including Cain.
        B. Cain is born with a corrupted nature and enslaved to sin so that he seeks only to fulfill his fleshly passions.
        (1) God foreknows that Cain will murder Abel because (per Calvin) God fore-ordained it to occur by immutable decree
        (2) Thus God decreed an immutable decree that Cain murder Abel.
        C. That decree said that Cain would be given freedom to pursue his sinful desires and God would not interfere to prevent Cain murdering Abel.
        (3) Because those decrees (that Cain be born with a corrupted nature and that Cain would be given freedom to pursue his sinful desires) are immutable and must happen infallibly, it becomes Cain’s inevitable, and unavoidable fate.
        (4) God’s decree occurred at the foundation of the world, millennia before Cain existed
        (5) Cain does not have the power to alter God’s decree, or alter the past
        (6) Cain has no power to refrain from acting out God’s immutable decree
        (7) God’s decree gives Cain no ability to do otherwise
        (8) God’s decree gives Cain no alternative possibility”

        Like

      14. Calvinist half-truths:
        A. God decrees that the corruption of Adam as a result of His sin would be passed to his children, including Cain.
        B. Cain is born with a corrupted nature and enslaved to sin so that he seeks only to fulfill his fleshly passions.

        The whole truth:
        (1) God foreknows that Cain will murder Abel because (per Calvin) God fore-ordained it to occur by immutable decree
        (2) Thus God decreed an immutable decree that Cain murder Abel.

        Calvinist half-truths:
        C. That decree said that Cain would be given freedom to pursue his sinful desires and God would not interfere to prevent Cain murdering Abel. (God decreed that Cain be born with a corrupted nature and that Cain would be given freedom to pursue his sinful desires)

        The whole truth:
        (3) Because those decrees are immutable and must happen infallibly, it becomes Cain’s inevitable, and unavoidable fate.
        (4) God’s decree occurred at the foundation of the world, millennia before Cain existed
        (5) Cain does not have the power to alter God’s decree, or alter the past
        (6) Cain has no power to refrain from acting out God’s immutable decree
        (7) God’s decree gives Cain no ability to do otherwise
        (8) God’s decree gives Cain no alternative possibility”

        Let the SOT101 reader review the above and discern how half-truths are deceptive and therefore ungodly.
        Look under the hood of Calvinism, and one will find:
        – Unfree-human-freedom
        – UNInfluential-divine-influence
        – Un-Forced-divine-Force
        – Un-holy-divine-holiness

        These constituents are consistent with a belief system founded upon Augustine’s theology of moral dualism.

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      15. br.d writes, “Calvinist half-truths:
        A. God decrees that the corruption of Adam as a result of His sin would be passed to his children, including Cain.
        B. Cain is born with a corrupted nature and enslaved to sin so that he seeks only to fulfill his fleshly passions.

        The whole truth:
        (1) God foreknows that Cain will murder Abel because (per Calvin) God fore-ordained it to occur by immutable decree
        (2) Thus God decreed an immutable decree that Cain murder Abel.’

        Let’s put all this information together.

        A. God decrees that the corruption of Adam as a result of His sin would be passed to his children, including Cain.
        B. Cain is born with a corrupted nature and enslaved to sin so that he seeks only to fulfill his fleshly passions.
        B1. God decreed that Cain be free to pursue his sinful desires – including the murder of Cain.
        (1) God foreknows that Cain will murder Abel if given freedom by God to do so because (per Calvin)
        (1a) God fore-ordained (decreed) it to occur by immutable decrees as noted above.
        (2) Thus God decreed an immutable decree that Cain murder Abel.’

        Like

      16. rhutchin writes “Let’s put all this information together.”

        Hmmmmm
        We see the half-truths…but for some strange reason the remaining logically sequentially valid statements are omitted.

        Classic!!
        Thanks rhutchin…you always give the best examples. 😀

        Like

      17. Rhutching writes:
        “Passive in the sense of not restraining evil men such that they have freedom to do the evil they desire and God knows exactly what they will do and does not prompt or impel evil people to act – their sin natures generating evil actions on its own.”

        Lets break this fallacious statement down so that SOT101 readers can see each of its fallacious parts:

        (1) “Passive in the sense of not restraining evil men”
        This statement attempts to assert God’s PRIMARY actions for the event do not exist, which are as follows
        – God foreknows that Cain will murder Able because (per Calvin) God fore-ordained it to occur by immutable decree
        – Thus God decreed an immutable decree that Cain murder Able.
        – Because that decree is immutable and must happen infallibly, it becomes Cain’s inevitable, and unavoidable fate.
        – God’s decree occurred at the foundation of the world, millennia before Cain existed
        – Cain does not have the power to alter God’s decree, or alter the past
        – Cain has no power to refrain from acting out God’s immutable decree
        – God’s decree gives Cain no ability to do otherwise
        – God’s decree gives Cain no alternative possibility

        (2) “such that they have freedom to do the evil they desire”
        – Which desire is first conceived in the mind of God and then decreed upon men as infallible inevitable and unavoidable fate.

        (3) And God knows exactly what they will do
        This statement is simply dishonest: John Calvin asserts God can only know X where God decrees X
        Per my first post, Calvinists statements concerning God KNOWING about evil events are highly misleading.
        The statements deploy implicatures designed to imply God “ALLOWS” or “PERMITS” evil events.
        A notion that John Calvin forcibly rejects, calling it “repulsive”

        (4) And does not prompt or impel evil people to act
        – This is a direct contradiction to John Calvin -quote “thieves and murderers are FORCED to do him service”

        (5) Their sin natures generating evil actions on its own.
        – This is a direct contradiction to John Calvin – quote “nothing happens other than what God decrees.”

        rhutchin, Your posts have a tendency to make Calvinists appear dishonest.
        You’re not doing your fellow Calvinists any favors.
        You should test your theories for logical fallacies and dishonesty before making them.
        I’ve already helped you to see how you make-believe a PRIMARY “active” event doesn’t exist, so you can call the whole thing “passive’.
        You would be wise to take advantage of any helpful tips rational people make available to you.

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      18. br.d writes, “This is a direct contradiction to John Calvin -quote ‘thieves and murderers are FORCED to do him service’”

        This reflects that men are depraved and enslaved to sin. It is God who retrains evil people as God exerts absolute control over the efforts of people to pursue their sinful desires. The Assyrians who desired to destroy Israel could not do so as long as God restrained them. It was only after God removed His restraint that they could do so. The Assyrians sought to satisfy their sinful desires but were forced to do what God wanted them to do.

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      19. rhutchin writes:
        “This reflects that men are depraved and enslaved to sin. It is God who retrains evil people as God exerts absolute control over the efforts of people to pursue their sinful desires. The Assyrians who desired to destroy Israel could not do so as long as God restrained them. It was only after God removed His restraint that they could do so. The Assyrians sought to satisfy their sinful desires but were forced to do what God wanted them to do.”

        rhutchin, its obvious you are simply attempting to neutralize Calvin’s statements, hoping to make them ambiguous and equivocal.
        This is not an honest move from a professing Christian.

        Lets break these statements down to show the fallacies and half-truths:
        (1) “This reflects that men are depraved and enslaved to sin:”
        Again, this is a half-truth
        – In Calvinism everything, including sin, evil, and total depravity is simply god’s MEANS to an END.

        – quote:
        “God manifests His power through MEANS and inferior causes, and is not to be separated from them.” (John Calvin)

        Secondly, in Calvinism, the only way men can be depraved is if God decrees them to be.
        In Calvinism:
        – god gives men no ability to refrain
        – god gives men no ability to do otherwise
        – god gives men no alternative possibility.

        (2)
        It is God who restrains evil people as God exerts absolute control over the efforts of people to pursue their sinful desires.
        – This is another obvious half-truth.
        – In Calvinism god exerts absolute control over every thought, choice and action…else god is not sovereign.
        – Secondly, god “restraining” is not a passive action.
        – Thirdly, if God restrains something from NOT coming to pass, then it follows he decreed it NOT to come to pass
        – if God UNSUCCESSFULLY restrains something from coming to pass, then it follows he decreed it to come to pass, and is seeking to restrain his own decree from coming to pass, which makes god divided against himself, and is incoherent.

        (3)
        The Assyrians sought to satisfy their sinful desires but were forced to do what God wanted them to do.”
        – Here rhutchin shifts from his previous example (Cain murdering Able) because evidence has been so clearly pointed out, equivocating on that example would evidence dishonesty, hence the switch to a new one.

        So lets bring it back to the Cain murdering Able analogy where he started.
        – Yes, in Calvinism, god willed Cain to murder Able, and gave Cain no other option.
        – Yes, God was passive as he stood back and watched Cain function as his instrument in the murder of Able.
        – This representation is consistent with John Calvin’s propositions on God’s sovereignty

        Again rhutchin, you’ve not disagreed with any evidence provided.
        You’ve simply tried to hide the whole truth by camouflaging it within spin language.

        Like

      20. Actually, Br. D. I hear what you are saying and totally agree as you know… but a Calvinist might not hear that when you said – “But the work of determining events which come to pass via decrees is active”, you meant, “was active”.

        And then I would argue that if one is going to say the decree was eternal then the word “decree” for a Calvinist must be understood as an anthropomorphic expression… for people normally think of prior thinking happening before a decree is made… i.e. words of a decree flow FROM a source of words that already have meaning and are known in one’s mind. Of course, a Calvinist does not believe this about the decree, for they believe knowledge is created from the decree. And since the degree is eternal… how was it even made without prior knowledge? Another contradiction…

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      21. Thank Brian!
        And yes, it is more precise to say the decree “was” made.
        And I agree with you that appeals to the term “eternal” are very amorphous.
        Technically “eternal” is defined as outside of the category of time.
        So phrases like “eternity past” and “eternity future” have a high risk of being oxymoronic, since “past” and “future” reside within the category of time.

        And, as Peter Van Inwagen points out, concerning appeals to God residing outside of time, such appeals often come with amorphous or tenuous entailments, because as soon as God does something within the category of time, a “timeless” attribute shifts to taking on the logical entailments of time.

        This believer is looking more and more like the Solipsist who has the urgency to live and interact in a world framed within rational reasoning, who is forced to hold imagined things as real, and real things as imagined.

        Liked by 1 person

      22. brianwagner writes, “…words of a decree flow FROM a source of words that already have meaning and are known in one’s mind. Of course, a Calvinist does not believe this about the decree, for they believe knowledge is created from the decree. And since the degree is eternal… how was it even made without prior knowledge?”

        I don’t think anyone really knows how an eternal God thinks or what being “eternal” really means. However, in some manner, God conceives the creation of an universe in which would be one unique planet on which God would place the created man/women. God would make decrees/decisions concerning this universe before He created it and these decrees/decisions would be a subset of God’s total knowledge. One of the big philosophical questions concerns what God knows and when did He know it. I don’t think the Calvinists should be faulted for delving into this – everyone seems to agree that the Scriptures imply much about God that it does not necessarily explain. Even salvation is somewhat a mystery despite the extensive treatment it is given in the Scriptures.

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      23. But you sound pretty dogmatic and immovable from of how you think Roger, about God’s static decree encompassing all things. Maybe you should drop the pretense since admit you don’t know “how an eternal God thinks or what ‘eternal’ really means.”

        Scripture does explain that God makes determinations after creation… so that clearly contradicts the premise of God’s precreation decrees encompassing all things as determined and set.

        Like

      24. Brian God predetermined all events before creation and is simply unfolding those predeterminations in time. It’s really not that hard to understand. All conversations and actions God has with His creatures in time we’re already predetermined before creation. It’s not hard to grasp at all.

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      25. Then God is lying in Scriptures when He said He made some determinations after creation, since you say it only true that He made all determinations before creation. That is not hard to understand either, Troy! Both cannot be true statements, unless you want to believe that contradictory statement can both be true, which your free will can choose to believe… but we cannot have profitable conversations, imo, if you choose to believe contradictions are true.

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      26. Let’s get past all the assertions Brian. Give some examples of what you’re talking about from Scripture. Also you haven’t rebutted my last response to a previous comment of yours

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      27. Here you go Troy! –
        God’s Decision Making After Creation

        Calvinism has two main problems defending the premise that all things were predetermined by God before creation. First, they must admit words like determine, plan, and choose when used for God in Scripture must be anthropomorphic since they do not believe God does any sequential thinking required in the meaning of those words. But second, they must admit that God was not honest when in Scripture He says that He still makes choices, plans, and determinations after creation.

        Deut. 12:5 (NKJV) 5“But you shall seek the place where the LORD your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go. [To fit determinism it should read “God chose”]
        2 Chr. 6:5-6 (NKJV) 5‘Since the day that I brought My people out of the land of Egypt, I have chosen no city from any tribe of Israel in which to build a house, that My name might be there, nor did I choose any man to be a ruler over My people Israel. 6Yet I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name may be there, and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel.’ [To fit determinism it should read “I have already chosen”]
        2 Chr. 7:16 (NKJV) 16For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. [To fit determinism it should read “before creation I chose”]
        Psa. 25:12 (NKJV) 12Who is the man that fears the LORD? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses. [To fit determinism it should read “He has chosen”]
        Psa. 65:4 (NKJV) 4 Blessed is the man You choose, And cause to approach You, That he may dwell in Your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Of Your holy temple. [To fit determinism it should read “You have chosen”]
        Psa. 75:2 (NKJV) 2 “When I choose the proper time, I will judge uprightly.[To fit determinism it should read “Because I have chosen”]”
        Jer 18:11 (NKJV) 11 “Now therefore, speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you. Return now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.” ’ ” [To fit determinism it should read “I have devised a plan”]
        Mic 2:3 (NKJV) 3Therefore thus says the LORD: “Behold, against this family I am devising disaster, From which you cannot remove your necks; Nor shall you walk haughtily, For this [is] an evil time. [To fit determinism it should read “I have devised a plan”]
        Luke 22:42 (NKJV) 42…saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” [To fit determinism it should read “Even though it is not Your will”]
        1Cor 12:11 (NKJV) 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. [To fit determinism it should read “as He had willed”]
        Heb 4:7 [NKJV] 7…again He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts.” [To fit determinism it should read “He designated”]

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      28. Brian, out of all the arguments you’ve made since we’ve been in dialogue, this is, BY FAR, your WEAKEST argument heretofore. This demonstrates to me a sense of desperation on your part to cling to a presupposition that comforts the soul but not with truth. I must admit that my jaw dropped as I was reading the passages that you provided in support of your position because it reveals A LOT about HOW you approach the Scriptures. Let me respond to you in bullet points:

        -First, you are imposing what you believe God SHOULD have said instead of allowing the text to speak for itself. Extremely dangerous approach to exegesis.

        -The fact that God uses the present tense of a verb in time does NOT presuppose that He did not already plan His decision from before creation. He’s simply REVEALING His intentions to mankind IN TIME

        -Here’s where your desperation really reveals itself Brian…[“To fit determinism it should read “I have already chosen”]
        This is an example of you saying what a verse SHOULD have said. But you then split hairs by stating that the verse should have included “already” even though it was already in the past tense. WOW!!

        -You commented, [To fit determinism it should read “before creation I chose”] First of all, the Bible was not written “to fit determinism”. It was written to reveal God’s message to mankind and to serve as a double-edged sword. Secondly, who are we to say how a passage should have been written? We are simply to bow to whatever God reveals in His Word. Also, the verse doesn’t have to include the words “before creation” to prove that God had already decreed His choice.

        -The mistake you’re constantly making Brian is that when God says He’s choosing or doing anything in time, it’s only a revelation of His predeterminations brother. He’s just revealing to mankind what He planned to do all along sir.

        -You quoted, “Blessed is the man You choose, And cause to approach You,” This verse doesn’t prove anything regarding predestination and God’s choosing in time. God will EVENTUALLY act (in time) on His predetermined choices. But the use of the present tense means NOTHING in terms of disproving a pre-creation decree.
        [Side Note: Also we see in this verse that God has to “cause” man to approach Him. Another verse proving that God is in control of who will come to Him.]

        Brian your anti-determinism argument is extremely weak. I would love to engage you (or any Traditionalist) in a formal debate on determinism now that I know how you defend your perspective.

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      29. Troy I dare you to talk to any grammarian or logician with a grad degree and ask them to read my argument about what Scripture says and how it clearly contradicts what Scripture would have to say for Calvinistic determinism to be true… and then to read your response… I would the love for you to tell me their response to you!

        I only make the dare to hopefully prod you into a situation to learn from someone you respect that a Christian should not remain loyal to a premise that Scriptural evidence clearly contradicts. All the best!

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      30. I would absolutely welcome a formal debate with any person who uses your line of reasoning in refuting determinism. Cross examination would reveal a lot!!

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      31. We are debating… Troy. And debate is for the benefit of others who listen to it, which are more than you might realize on this page. You are always welcome, with my permission, to copy all of our complete conversations on a subject to post elsewhere for the benefit of others.

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      32. Troy writes, “God predetermined all events before creation and is simply unfolding those predeterminations in time.”

        Even allowing for Brian’s position that God waits to make determinations in the course of time, it is still God who determines the outcome of every event because He is sovereign and He has the final decision as to allowing natural events to unfold naturally and freely or to intervene to change the direction of naturally occurring events. As an example, God restrains the Assyrians so that they cannot freely enter Israel to rape and pillage until the time appointed by God for them to do so, at which time God removes His restraints. The outcome is the same whether God made the determination in eternity past or waited to do so in the course of time. Brian does not dispute the notion that God could have done everything in eternity past if He wanted to do so. He just thinks that God waits because certain verses can suggest this outcome.

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      33. brianwagner writes, “Maybe you should drop the pretense since admit you don’t know “how an eternal God thinks or what ‘eternal’ really means.””

        Except that God is still God and He does describe Himself as having perfect understanding of all things, perfect wisdom, and very strongly intimates (accepting for purposes of debate your reservations) an omniscient knowledge (that includes all future events). God does tell us that He He doesn’t think the things we do. Whatever “eternal” does mean, it would seem that it exaggerates whatever we might think of God. Given that philosophers have done some work on the nature of God, we should think that they have only scratched the surface on this subject. So, while we don’t know a lot about God, God has given us much material to chew on – so we do know some things and should rightfully exaggerate what we do might expect to discover about God instead of dampening it as you appear to want to do.

        Then, “Scripture does explain that God makes determinations after creation… so that clearly contradicts the premise of God’s precreation decrees encompassing all things as determined and set.”

        Then again, those “determinations” may be “implementations” of God’s eternal plan phrased so as to be more easily digested by people of limited mental capabilities.

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      34. So which is the pretense, Roger… you don’t know how God thinks or you do? You certainly think your “mental capabilities” weren’t as limited as the original readers of the Scriptures. hmmm!

        Don’t you feel special that God didn’t have to lie to you and speak with deceptive language when He revealed to you that all was determined before creation, even though He told those original recipients of the Scriptures with such “limited mental capabilities” that He was still making determinations after creation!

        And where did you come up with this hermeneutic of exaggeration? I think the hermeneutic of perspicuity, and non-contradiction in understanding God’s revelation of Himself is more biblical!

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      35. brianwagner writes, “…you don’t know how God thinks or you do? You certainly think your “mental capabilities” weren’t as limited as the original readers of the Scriptures.”

        The Scriptures are the product of God, so they give us insight into what God thinks (e.g., God hates evil). So, God has given us some insight into His thinking.

        Then, “Don’t you feel special that God didn’t have to lie to you and speak with deceptive language when He revealed to you that all was determined before creation, even though He told those original recipients of the Scriptures with such “limited mental capabilities” that He was still making determinations after creation!”

        By determinations, I assume you mean making decisions or initiating actions in response to the behavior of people. This does not mean that God has learned something new that He did not know before. As you allow, God knows all potential events that could occur in the future. He is able to determine His response in each of those events. Whether He did so in eternity past (as I maintain) or waits to do so in the course of time (as you maintain) the outcome does not change – we each have God making the same, exact determination. The actions people take have no bearing on what God does because God was (or is) able to factor all the actions of people into His determinations such that nothing takes Him by surprise. God certainly knew that Eve would be deceived and that Adam would sin even before He opened the garden up for Satan to slither in and do his thing. God had already planned for Christ to be crucified and even told His prophets when it would happen and how it would play out. Similarly, God has also provided much information about the end times, including timing of events, whether we understand it or not. God has an eternal plan and that plan is being fulfilled. You have focused on certain verses in the Scriptures to say that God is still making determinations but you are not denying that the major determinations have been made. God still determines who will be born, where they will live, and the day of their death. Whether God did this in eternity past or in time doesn’t change anything. The only issue is the language God prompts His prophets to use in exhorting people to serve Him. You get exercised over this language and I don’t.

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      36. You still avoid the obvious, Roger! It is really hard to talk with you. For instance – You keep saying – “we each have God making the same, exact determination.” You know that is not true from our numerous conversations on this! You have God having eternally immutably determined all things one way. I have God not locked to only one unique response to each man’s free responses. But you keep misrepresenting me on this. Are you just not willing to admit we differ on this? Why?

        Then you said – “You have focused on certain verses in the Scriptures to say that God is still making determinations but you are not denying that the major determinations have been made.” But I am denying that all determinations were made before creation, and you are ignoring that denial because you want to believe in the contradiction that wants to say all was determined and some things are being determined.

        Just like you said – “God still determines who will be born, where they will live, and the day of their death.” God “still determines” nothing according to Calvinism. Why won’t you try to be consistent, instead of contradictory?

        “Whether God did this in eternity past or in time” changes everything as far as the foundational deterministic presupposition of Calvinism goes. You said that I “get exercised over this language” and you “don’t.” Exactly! For this language is about representing the truth about God that He clearly communicated to those you think had such “limited mental capabilities” compared to yours! I do get exercised… and you will have to forgive me, for I don’t think I shall stop being so exercised!

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      37. Brian is making the mistake of believing that God’s choices in time were not ALREADY predetermined BEFORE creation. He’s simply REVEALING His predeterminations through His conversations and interactions with mankind in time. It’s NOT hard to grasp this concept fellas.

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      38. Troy wants to loyally believe that something that was done before can be revealed as not done until later and both events be true! That’s like saying WWII really happened in the 1940’s but it was written in the history book as really happening in the 1990’s, and both statements are true!

        Before creation is before creation and after creation is after creation! Now both of those statements are indeed true! If God determined everything before creation He would not write in the history book that He determined some things after creation!

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      39. Brian none of your biblical proofs disproves a predetermined decree. I’m sorry sir but your argument is weak. God decreed all events immutably and those events are being acted out post creation. The verses where He says to be making a choice are simply revealing what He predetermined to choose from His exhaustive knowledge of the future before creation.

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      40. Though you obviously, Troy, cannot yet see the contradiction you are believing as true, and though I hope you will still take up my dare to check with other scholars, you still have not provided one clear verse, let alone a few, to proves such an important premise that you hold that – “God decreed all events immutably and those events are being acted out post creation.” I have at least provided evidence from clear verses that God is decreeing things after creation, which contradicts that premise!

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      41. You wrote, “I have at least provided evidence from clear verses that God is decreeing things after creation, which contradicts that premise!” This is simply untrue brother. You have provided these verses ASSUMING that God has not predetermined all things to work for His purposes.
        Also, I don’t have to provide a single passage that explicitly says that God has a decree to prove its veracity, no more than I would have to prove the veracity of the trinity in a single verse. We deduce conclusions by considering what ALL Scripture has to say about a concept(s).
        Also there’s absolutely no contradiction in my statement at all when I stated that God’s predeterminations are revealed in time through His interactions with mankind. Not hard to understand at all my friend. You just don’t want to accept the fact that God is in complete and utter control of His creation. I could care less about defending man’s free will

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      42. You should care, Troy, about what the Scripture clearly says as opposed to dogma derived from inferences and extrapolations that even contradict clear Scripture. At least Matt 28:19-20 and 1John 5:7-8 clearly mention three persons of the Godhead. And you should be concerned about the clear teaching that shows God sovereignly created man with free-will and the God Himself still exercises His own free-will in making new choices and determinations never made before.

        Here are some helpful clear verses on free-will to consider.

        Freewill is clearly taught in the Scriptures –

        The Hebrew word [verb] נדב naw-dab’ is a primitive root that means – to impel; hence, to volunteer (as a soldier), to present spontaneously…primarily translated as an adverb “willingly” which indicates free motivation or voluntary decision. It is used 17 times in 15 verses throughout OT Scripture [also 3 times in 3 verses using the same root in Aramaic – Ezra 7:13, 15, 16].

        Here are all the verses that translate this word.
        Exod 25:2 ESV “… From every man whose heart moves him you shall receive the contribution for me.
        Exod 35:21 ESV And they came, everyone whose heart stirred him, and everyone whose spirit moved him….
        Exod 35:29 ESV All the men and women, the people of Israel, whose heart moved them to bring anything for the work that the LORD had commanded by Moses to be done brought it as a freewill offering to the LORD.
        Judg 5:2 ESV …that the leaders took the lead in Israel, that the people offered themselves willingly, bless the LORD! —-[This is an infinitive on the Hithpael stem, which is reflexive in meaning, thus the word “themselves” is added. This verbal stem is used 7 other times the same reflexive way – Jg 5:9; 1Ch 29:5, 6, 9(2x), 14, 17(2x); 2Ch 17:16; Ezr 1:6, 2:68, 3:5, 7:13, 15, 16; Neh 11:2]—-

        The noun נדבה ned-aw-baw’ is used 26 times in 25 verses in connection with a voluntary offering to God. And with these verses one cannot help but ask “How can you have a freewill offering without a freewill?” Calvinists throw it out but the Bible literally uses the word 26 times.

        Here are the verses in which this noun is used, sometimes translated as an adverb or even a verbal phrase.
        Exod 35:29 ESV All the men and women, the people of Israel, whose heart moved them to bring anything for the work that the LORD had commanded by Moses to be done brought it as a freewill offering to the LORD. —-[This idea of a sacrifice made as a free-will offering and not commanded is also found in – Ex 36:3; Le 7:16; 22:18, 21, 23; 23:38; Nu 15:3; 29:39; De 12:6, 17; 16:10; 2Ch 31:14; Ezr 1:4; 3:5; 8:28; Ps 54:6; 119:108; Eze 46:12(2x); Am 4:5]
        Deut 23:23 ESV You shall be careful to do what has passed your lips, for you have voluntarily vowed to the LORD your God what you have promised with your mouth.
        2Ch 35:8 ESV And his officials contributed willingly to the people, to the priests, and to the Levites….
        Ps 68:9 ESV Rain in abundance, O God, you shed abroad; you restored your inheritance as it languished;
        Ps 110:3 ESV Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of your power, in holy garments; from the womb of the morning, the dew of your youth will be yours.
        Hos 14:4 ESV I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them.
        —All these OT verses clearly confirm that man, even an unregenerate man, can exercise a free-will in a manner pleasing to God… and so can God.—

        NT verses to consider:
        A Calvinist may try to attribute all of the following examples as a result of regeneration… but that does not seem to fit this first example –

        Acts 17:11-12 ESV Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men. —-[from προθυμια proth-oo-mee’-ah, meaning predisposition. See also – 2Co 8:11, 12, 19, 9:2;]

        Other verses –
        1Cor 7:37 ESV But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. —-from μη ἔχων ἀνάγκην , literally – “not having a necessity”, which would be impossible if everything was predetermined eternally and immutably, making every event a necessary result of God’s decree.
        1Cor 9:17 ESV For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. —- from εχων hek-own’ meaning willingly.
        2Cor 8:3 ESV For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, and 2Cor 8:17 ESV For he not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest he is going to you of his own accord. —-from αυθαιρετος ow-thah’-ee-ret-os – meaning self-chosen, and by implication – voluntary.
        2Cor 9:7 ESV Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. —- from προαιρεομαι pro-ahee-reh’-om-ahee – meaning to choose for oneself before another thing, to prefer and by implication, to intend.
        Phlm 1:14 ESV but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord. —- from εκουσιος hek-oo’-see-on – meaning willingness.
        1Pet 5:2 ESV shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; —-from εκουσιον hek-oo-see’-ose – meaning willingly.

        The existence of a free will runs counter to the idea of an eternally immutable will that has completely determined everything forever into the future. Calvinism is based upon that philosophical premise, making the existence and exercise of any free-will for God or man impossible. But these Scriptures and many others clearly refute it as a contradiction to their premise.

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      43. Mankind has the freedom to choose between available options morally and physically. However, his freedom ends in the spiritual realm. He can not choose Christ because in his natural state he hates Him and his Gospel. Man freedom to make spiritual choices is restricted by his nature and God’s decree.

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      44. Troy… I think you will have problem explaining Scripturally how to separate man’s freedom in the moral realm but not in the spiritual realm… or that he has any freedom at all for that matter, if everything was predetermined for his will to choose before it was even created!

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      45. Hi Troy, on this quote
        “Mankind has the freedom to choose between available options morally and physically.”

        That would be true only on the condition that “do otherwise”, “alternate possibilities” and “the ability to refrain” have logical possibility.
        However, a well established logical entailment of Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) is that those 3 things do not have ontological existence.

        So the following entanglements exist in Theological determinism, and are well established in Christian Philosophy.
        In Theological determinism, where current events which come to pass are per-determined in the remote-past, by divine immutable decree:
        1) Human beings do not have the ability to alter the divine immutable decree
        2) Human beings do hot have the ability to alter anything in the past
        3) Thus, whatever is determined by divine immutable decree, in regard to specific human events, are not up to the human
        4) Thus, specific human events established by divine immutable decree are made infallibly inevitable, and unavoidable to the human
        5) Thus, for human beings, alternative possibilities do not have ontological existence
        6) Thus, human beings do not have the ability to refrain
        7) Thus, human beings do not have the ability to do otherwise.

        Additionally in Calvinism, divine foreknowledge is the consequence/result of divine fore-ordination (via decrees)
        So it follows, in Calvinism, the only things God can foreknow, are the things he has decreed to have existence.

        So using Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the garden, it logically follows:
        1) God foreknew Adam’s disobedience and did not foreknow Adam’s obedience.
        2) Per Calvin, this is because God decreed Adam’s disobedience and did not decree Adam’s obedience.
        3) Thus it follows, Adam’s disobedience had potentiality of existence, by virtue of the divine decree
        4) And it follows Adam’s obedience did NOT have potentiality of existence, by virtue of the absence of the divine decree
        5) Adam did not have the option to obey because that option did not have potentially of existence
        6) Additionally, the choice to obey was not up to Adam
        7) Additionally, Adam did not have the ability to refrain
        8) Additionally, Adam did not have the ability to do otherwise

        Yes, Adam had the ability to make a choice.
        But Adam’s choice was per-determined by God, and thus Adam’s choice was not up to Adam.
        So in Calvinism, man does not have the ability to choose between available options, because additional options don’t have the potentiality of existence.

        Additionally, God is also limited by logical possibility.
        God cannot both exist and not exist at the same time.
        God cannot make a square circle.
        God cannot decree Adam free to be a married bachelor
        And God cannot decree Adam free to walk through a door that doesn’t exist (figuratively door = Adam’s obedience).

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      46. Hi Troy,
        I’m not sure you stated what you really mean in that statement.

        If you understand categorical logic, then we can follow along with Alvin Plantinga.
        Lets label the time-window Calvinism refers to “the foundation of the world” as T1.
        So we now have a window in time called T1 = “the foundation of the world”.

        Currently we humans exist within time, and I would assume, as a Calvinist you would acknowledge, the time-window we are currently in, proceeds chronologically AFTER T1. So we can label the current window of time we are in T2.
        And the biblical record of all of God’s interactions with man then, are recorded within the framework of T2 since the authors exit in T2.
        But that doesn’t prohibit there being verses in the bible referring to T1.

        Now, lets say theoretically that during T1, God made 1 million decrees for things to come to pass in T2.
        So the sum total of decrees God made in T1 (concerning events in T2) totals exactly 1 million.

        Now here is where categorical logic comes in.
        Lets say we state a proposition: “**ALL** things which come to pass at T2 are decreed/determined by God at T1”
        IN this statement **ALL** works as a logical quantifier which entails Universal scope, (meaning without exception).
        This proposition would then logically entail, the sum total of exactly 1 million decrees/determinations, since the some total *ALL* = 1 million.

        But if we make a second proposition: “*SOME* things which come to pass at T2 are decreed/determined by God at T2”
        Our second proposition now stands as a logical contradiction to our first proposition, because it denies the **ALL**
        Those things which come to pass at T2, decreed/determined by God at T2 would have to be above and beyond our 1 million.
        And that would make the *ALL* in our first proposition false.

        But there is a second consequence.
        We are also of necessity stating that everything God does in T2 is constrained by what he decreed in T1.
        (1) he cannot refrain from what he has previously decreed
        (2) he cannot do otherwise that what he has previously decreed
        (3) he does not have alternate possibilities from what he previously decreed.

        It can be argued that God wouldn’t take recourse of (1-3) above, and that would be true.
        But its just as true to say God CAN’T take recourse of (1-3) above without being divided against himself.
        So firstly, God’s actions in T2 are constrained by his decrees/determinations in T1
        And secondly, if God makes any further decrees/determinations in T2, then our *ALL* proposition is false.

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      47. brianwagner writes, “You keep saying – “we each have God making the same, exact determination.” You know that is not true from our numerous conversations on this!…But you keep misrepresenting me on this. Are you just not willing to admit we differ on this? Why?”

        I do not see a basis for different determinations. Do you have God gaining new information along the way? If yes, that would be a denial of omniscience, and I thought you were firm on omniscience. From what I can see, the only difference between our positions is that of timing. I see nothing that would lead to different determinations.

        Then, “I am denying that all determinations were made before creation, and you are ignoring that denial because you want to believe in the contradiction that wants to say all was determined and some things are being determined.’

        I understand that. The issue is timing. When I use “determined” and “being determined” in my view, they have different definitions – the one; making a decision (deciding to do X); the second, implementing the decision (bringing X about), thus avoiding a contradiction.

        Then, ” God “still determines” nothing according to Calvinism. Why won’t you try to be consistent, instead of contradictory? ”

        This is tied to the definition issue.

        Then, “this language is about representing the truth about God that He clearly communicated to those you think had such “limited mental capabilities” compared to yours! I do get exercised…”

        I think this relates to the point God is seeking to communicate to the people through the prophets. For God to have a prophet say that He is planning X is no different, to me, then having Genesis 11 say, “the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.”

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      48. My question was not, Roger, whether you saw “a basis for different determinations”. And you clearly know we differ on the differ on how each of us thinks the Scripture defines God’s omniscience. My question was, “Are you just not willing to admit we differ on this?” and “Why?”

        It is not just an issue of timing to me, as you know. It is a contradiction two statements that you are proposing as both being true. No dictionary defines – “being determined” as implementing a decision already determined. I have asked you for scholarly support. I’m still waiting.

        The LORD is “planning” something already planned… is certainly different and not a good comparison to His coming down to ‘see’ in a different way something He also currently sees from heaven, or saw clearly throughout the building process. You should recognize clearly the difference. But I suppose you will not admit it!

        And by the way… what proof do you have that the original readers of Scriptures had “limited mental capabilities” that they could not have understood if God consistently used the past tense – “chose/planned/determined” instead of the present tense “choose/planning/determines”?

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      49. brianwagner writes, “you clearly know we differ on the differ on how each of us thinks the Scripture defines God’s omniscience.”

        Don’t we agree that omniscience means that God is not learning new things – God knows everything even if some events are still in the possibility column? Your only quibble is that you don’t want God to know all events that actually happen in the future but you allow that He knows some events and that He knows all possibilities. Because of some verses, you want God to make determinations (decisions) in the course of time rather than in eternity past – so does that mean that God only knows 95% of future events and has left 5% to be determined in the course of time. I don’t think we really differ on the definition of omniscience but only how God’s knowledge of all things is organized in His mind.

        Then, “No dictionary defines – “being determined” as implementing a decision already determined. I have asked you for scholarly support. I’m still waiting.”

        https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/determine – 2b

        Then, “The LORD is “planning” something already planned… ”

        In the context of this discussion, “The LORD is “planning” something He has already determined to do… ” Thus, where God has determined that Christ should be crucified, He can also be said to be planning that crucifixion by bringing all the pieces together to gain that result. Or, as example, a bride is planning her wedding – she knows what she wants to do; she now needs to arrange all the pieces to be brought together.

        Then, “And by the way… what proof do you have that the original readers of Scriptures had ‘limited mental capabilities’…”

        i don’t think I ever said such; it is language you invented to vent, I think.

        Then, “…that they could not have understood if God consistently used the past tense – “chose/planned/determined” instead of the present tense “choose/planning/determines”?

        Specifically, using the participle – planning; determining.

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      50. lol… Roger! How about 5% preplanned and 95% possibilities? But it is not just a matter of how knowledge is organized in God’s mind, which you are either sure or unsure about (you keep professing both), but it is that knowledge changes in His mind, even though His infinite understanding doesn’t. It changes from being known as future to being known as past after it happens, from being known as possible to being known as determined or permitted after He makes free choices between multiple options consistent with His character and the 5%.

        Well congratulations, you did find a dictionary definition for determine that says what you want it to say, but I don’t think it means what you want it to mean… for that is a fatalistic definition… and which one then do you accept for God’s pre-creation determination of all things… does that one include forethought?

        And then there are the other words in Scripture, like planning and choosing in the present tense, that still undermine the premise of the predetermination of all things. The word “planning” does not mean “arranging what was already planned” and “chooses” does not mean something that was already chosen, especially when a verse says it was not previously chosen. Let’s see if you can find a definition for “planning” that means “arranging what was already planned”. 😉

        The phrase “limited mental capabilities” is originally yours in this dialog… Look it up!

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      51. brianwagner writes, “it is that knowledge changes in His mind, even though His infinite understanding doesn’t. It changes from being known as future to being known as past after it happens, from being known as possible to being known as determined or permitted after He makes free choices between multiple options consistent with His character.”

        That description fits regardless the timing. In every instance where “knowledge” changes from possibility to actuality, God always has the final say. In every instance, God is the one who determines whether He intervenes to prevent the natural (and free) outcome or do nothing thereby insuring the natural (and free) outcome. God can do this in eternity past or wait to act in the course of time. The final outcome is the same in either instance. All you add is that God changes the tag on an event from possible to actual. OK. Why should we care? Beyond the timing of God’s “determinations” there are no other issues, are there? Do we disagree on anything other than timing – with regard to God’s decisions?

        Then, “you did find a dictionary definition for determine that says what you want it to say,…that is a fatalistic definition…”

        To reiterate the point, I use the term, “determination,” in two unique ways while your complaint is based on “determination” being strictly defined in only one way.

        Then, “and which one then do you accept for God’s pre-creation determination of all things… does that one include forethought?”

        I don’t understand your point here – thus, I don’t understand the question.

        Then, “there are the other words in Scripture, like planning and choosing in the present tense…”

        Yes – a few – and then the many referring to God having planned, chosen, etc. Maybe, you could sort it out sometime, if you have not done so already.

        Then, ‘The phrase “limited mental capabilities” is originally yours in this dialog… ”

        You are correct. I need to start tagging such comments as – (that’s a joke) – before they get out of hand.

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      52. Wow… Roger! It really appears to me that you do not like being called out for logical inconsistencies or obvious condescension that appears to be from pride. I mentioned two or three times your use of that phrase “limited mental capacities”, using quotes each time to remind you that you were the source of those words. You eventually commented on it by suggesting you were not the source and that I was ranting. Now you admit it… but say you were joking. We can let others decide if the context sounds like a joke! You originally said – “Then again, those ‘determinations’ may be ‘implementations’ of God’s eternal plan phrased so as to be more easily digested by people of limited mental capabilities.”

        You said – “Beyond the timing of God’s ‘determinations’ there are no other issues, are there? Do we disagree on anything other than timing – with regard to God’s decisions?” You really don’t want to admit the issues that I plainly detailed beyond timing… Why? Are you trying to be willfully ignorant of the information I present to you about those differences? You need to go back and read more carefully, I believe, or else you need to be more open to recognize and admit the differences that I have presented. The are important differences.

        That God does not exercise any free-will in Calvinism because His will is locked behind an eternal immutable expression of will the sets the future one-way forever… is a big important difference. True love relationships require free will being expressed. Calvinism is not able to account for that because it rejects free-will being expressed… even in God. I know you, Roger, want to posit there is expressions of free-will after regeneration, but that’s another contradiction you have to deal with in your closed system of everything eternally immutably determined.

        I am not sure why such an intelligent gent as you could not figure out what I was asking about your use of two definitions for “determine”. You chose the 2b one from Websters for what you think Scripture is saying when it uses that word in present tense (or similes of it in the present tense). I think that definition 2b is not one you would want to use because of its fatalistic overtones.

        But I was asking what other definition in that list from Webster do you choose for your meaning of all things divinely “determined” before creation (which, of course is not taught in Scripture, but you hold to as true).

        Finally, I don’t need to “sort it out” concerning the verses that clearly say God is planning in the present tense. They speak for themselves. You need to “sort it out” why you want to believe in contradictory statements… that the Scripture teaches everything was planned before creation but some things are being planned after creation. Your first attempt at a poor example from a “wedding” to explain how there is no contradiction because “planning” can mean “arranging” still needs your sorting out! 😉

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      53. Brian you wrote, “it is that knowledge changes in His mind, even though His infinite understanding doesn’t. It changes from being known as future to being known as past after it happens, from being known as possible to being known as determined or permitted after He makes free choices between multiple options consistent with His character.” I vehemently reject this assertion due to the fallacy that God makes free choices between multiple options. God’s knowledge and understanding of the future is exhaustive and immutably set. He does not have to choose among multiple options because He is ACTIVELY working ALL THINGS for HIS purposes. Whatever happens in the future is ALWAYS what He desires to happen because His decree is already set. Therefore, He doesn’t have to weigh options or possibilities because He’s working ALL things for His purposes. God NEVER has to make choices based on multiple options because the ONLY option is what He has ALREADY decreed before creation and before man’s ability to will anything.
        Also, Brian your assertion requires us to believe that God “learns” and thus “reacts” to man’s actions. A God with exhaustive knowledge and comprehension can’t “learn” anything because all knowledge is already known. God can’t “react” to events if He’s working all events for His own purposes. Also, in order for God to be actively working ALL things/events for His purposes, this, OF NECESSITY, requires a prior plan or decree.

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      54. Troy you are alluding to Eph 1:11, but it does not confirm what you want it to… that “OF NECESSITY, requires a prior plan or decree” that encompasses everything as settled and nothing available for God’s and man’s wills to freely interact.

        You are free to believe in a locked-in God to an immutably set future forever. But Scripture clearly does not teach it!

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      55. I choose to believe what the Bible teaches my friend and that is..God is ACTIVELY working ALL THINGS according to the counsel of HIS will. All events in time simply reflect His predeterminations.

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      56. …and the choices He is currently free to make of the possibilities not yet determined! 😉

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      57. brianwagner writes, ” I mentioned two or three times your use of that phrase “limited mental capacities”, using quotes each time to remind you that you were the source of those words. You eventually commented on it by suggesting you were not the source and that I was ranting.”

        I think it may be senility combined with dementia. I seem to forget things I write especially when I get into several different discussions at one time.

        Then, “You really don’t want to admit the issues that I plainly detailed beyond timing… Why? Are you trying to be willfully ignorant of the information I present to you about those differences? …There are important differences.”

        Those differences escape me. Nothing I saw seemed to be important probably because I don’t see anything you have said to influence anything else. Beyond a technical issue, I don’t see anything unless you just mean to support your position that God is making determinations in the course of time – which, to me, is unimportant.

        Then, “That God does not exercise any free-will in Calvinism because His will is locked behind an eternal immutable expression of will the sets the future one-way forever… is a big important difference. Calvinism is not able to account for that because it rejects free-will being expressed… even in God.”

        What you seem to be saying is that the moment God makes a decision (or determination), God looses His free will. So, we have another timing issue. Calvinism has God making decisions in eternity past and thereby losing free will. You have God making determinations in the course of time and then losing His free will.

        Then, “True love relationships require free will being expressed.”

        I agree. That means that only God can establish a true love relationship with anyone. Thus, the Scriptures always emphasize God’s love for people, especially His elect. The free will that we attach to people is marked by a lack of information. limited understanding of even that which is known, and little wisdom. Thus, we find people engaging in corrupted love relationships. Even for believers, it is pretty much impossible for them to establish a true love relationship.

        Then, “I know you, Roger, want to posit there is expressions of free-will after regeneration, but that’s another contradiction you have to deal with in your closed system of everything eternally immutably determined.”

        Faith is necessary to salvation. God confers faith to His elect through the preaching of the Scriptures. Jesus said, “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Thus, faith enables a person to see the truth and thereby the person is free. Where is the contradiction?

        Then, ” I think that definition 2b is not one you would want to use because of its fatalistic overtones.”

        If you mean, theological fatalism, I don’t see a problem.

        Then, “But I was asking what other definition in that list from Webster do you choose for your meaning of all things divinely “determined” before creation (which, of course is not taught in Scripture, but you hold to as true).”

        That is the only one. The distinction I make is that “determination” which indicates a decision made at a point in time and the “determining” or bringing about an event through various means.

        Then, “You need to “sort it out” why you want to believe in contradictory statements… that the Scripture teaches everything was planned before creation but some things are being planned after creation. Your first attempt at a poor example from a “wedding” to explain how there is no contradiction because “planning” can mean “arranging” still needs your sorting out!”

        The dictionary uses the example, “Demand determines prices.” Romans 8 tells us that God causes all things to work together for good to His elect. I would rewrite that to say, “God is the one determining that all things work together for good to His elect.”

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      58. Roger – You said – “What you seem to be saying is that the moment God makes a decision (or determination), God looses His free will.” In Calvinism, remember, there is no “moment” God makes a decision. He never expresses free will, even though Calvinism says the eternal immutable decree was an expression of freewill.

        You think the timing issue is not an issue… but that is a smoke screen or deflection… Scripture has God making determinations on a constant basis… losing the freewill for those events but still expressing it and having numerous choices still to make… not locked behind only one set future forever.

        You keep interacting with me, Roger… do you really want me to respond to you? For it is getting very frustrating when you clearly are not being careful in what you say. Look back on your last response… You said both – “Calvinism has God making decisions in eternity past and thereby losing free will” AND “‘True love relationships require free will being expressed.’ I agree.” AND “Thus, faith enables a person to see the truth and thereby the person is free.” And yet you don’t see the contradictions! I’m tired.

        You can’t use the same definition from Webster for both… for the 2b, you believe it caused by a prior action of determination. The dictionary uses the example “Demand determines prices.” You believe God’s predetermination that was completed determines every outcome. So you are back to an eternal immutable action by God causing every outcome that will take place… and yet God is not responsible or culpable.

        God is determining to cause or permit all things to work together for good… but freely, for if it was all predetermined eternally and immutably… He is not permitting anything, and He is not have a loving relationship which requires free will interchange.

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      59. brianwagner writes, ” In Calvinism, remember, there is no “moment” God makes a decision. He never expresses free will, even though Calvinism says the eternal immutable decree was an expression of freewill.”

        Yet, God has free will and any decision God makes, however He comes to make it, is a free will decision. Was there ever a point where God did not know something? That we do not know what it means to be God means that God is God regardless what we understand about Him. Calvinist may not have figured out God, but no one else has either.

        Then, “yet you don’t see the contradictions!”

        No, I don’t. Was there ever a point when God did not know His elect (even if only as a future possibility that would become actuality by His hand). If, as you say, God loses His free will by making decisions, then both you and I have God losing His free will as we both have God making decisions. True love relationships require the expression of free will. God has loved His elect from eternity – was there ever a point where God did not love His elect?

        Then, “So you are back to an eternal immutable action by God causing every outcome that will take place… and yet God is not responsible or culpable.”

        Responsible yes; culpable no. As sovereign, God must decide Yea or Nay on everything that happens – thus, God is responsible for that which happens as He decrees all that happens. However, God did not force Adam to sin nor Cain to kill Abel, etc. – those who sin are culpable. Do two sparrows die without God knowing it? Can any sin occur without God knowing it? Has God wronged either Abel or Stephen or James because of the manner in which they died. It does not matter when or how a person dies, does it?

        Then, “God is determining to cause or permit all things to work together for good… but freely, for if it was all predetermined eternally and immutably… ”

        God permits – decrees that natural events play out naturally – under His sovereign control and to accomplish His purposes.

        Then, “He is not have a loving relationship which requires free will interchange.”

        So, God grants people a measure of free will that they exercise to love Him – but God has always loved His elect.

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      60. I think there must be some limited mental capacities around here! 😉 lol

        Knowing a future possibility that would become a reality is not knowing it as a future possibility. It must be knowing a future possibility the COULD become a reality or not become a reality, if it is to be known as a true possibility. Calvinism cannot fathom that God has such a wonderful mind that is not locked-in to one settled future forever.

        Loving a person not yet created, as a person whose life God’s mind has already detailed its every decision before the will was ever created is a fantasy love. God is not that type of person!

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      61. “Calvinism cannot fathom that God has such a wonderful mind that is not locked-in to one settled future forever.” The point is NOT whether “God has such a wonderful mind…” The point is that God has freely decreed the entire future for His own purposes.

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      62. brianwagner writes, “Knowing a future possibility that would become a reality is not knowing it as a future possibility.”

        Depends on the extent of God’s involvement in bringing about the event. For example, when God gives Satan free rein to roam the garden and after having determined not to interfere, the results are obvious – Eve would be deceived and Adam would eat the fruit. followed by God expelling them from the garden. Given the specific details of Christ’s death and the end times, many of those events are also in the reality column. Paul speaks of the elect having been chosen before the foundation of the world, so those are certain events. The only question is how much God has determined ahead of time. He could have determined everything with the possible exception of a few events you have noted.

        Then, “Loving a person not yet created, as a person whose life God’s mind has already detailed its every decision before the will was ever created is a fantasy love.”

        That sounds like something you made up. God has a wonderful mind, so who are we to tell God that He is engaging in fantasy.

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      63. Sounds like a fantasy love to me… if the whole relationship forever is played out in God’s mind before the person even exists.

        And I thought you would have read my exegesis of Eph 1:4… to note that Paul was not speaking of individuals chosen before creation. Here it is if you missed it. https://www.academia.edu/31113015/Ephesians_1_4_-_exegetical_dialog

        But God clearly said individuals are not His “people” nor His “beloved” until they are in Christ (Rpm 9:25).

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      64. brianwagner writes, “if the whole relationship forever is played out in God’s mind before the person even exists.”

        Sounds like Molinism. Guess Calvinism and Molinism are compatible. God knows all future possibilities and, given that it is God who determines who is to be born, then future possibilities are shaped by God’s decrees as to whom will be born. God knows who will be born and God is then able to choose whom He will draw to Christ.

        Then, “God clearly said individuals are His “people” or His “beloved” until they are in Christ (Rpm 9:25).”

        Romans 9
        25 God says in Hosea: “I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,”
        26 and, “It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘sons of the living God’.”

        By “until,” do you mean “before”? I agree. God knows His elect before He draws them to Christ. I thought you tended to argue against that position.

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      65. Roger – You know that I do not espouse Molinism. You seem to be just dancing around the issue of what a fantasy love in God’s mind is!

        You said – “future possibilities are shaped by God’s decrees”. In Calvinism, Molinism, and Arminianism all that shaping happens before creation so that there are no “future possibilities” after that. All is immutably set. Thus it is a fantasy love in God’s mind before any other person exists and can freely interact with Him. That is not what I believe nor is it what the Scripture teaches.

        And I left out the negative about the in my statement about the truth taught in Rom 9:25-26… Sorry for the confusion. I should have said – “God clearly said individuals are NOT His ‘people’ NOR His ‘beloved’ until they are in Christ (Rpm 9:25).”

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      66. brianwagner writes, “You know that I do not espouse Molinism.”

        You use one element of Molinism – you say that God knew all future possibilities before He created the world as Molinism does. My comment was basically an aside and not meant to imply anything about your fantasies.

        Then, “You seem to be just dancing around the issue of what a fantasy love in God’s mind is!”

        I am pretty sure that you created the “fantasy love” claim. I don’t think that anything God mulls over in His mind is fantasy. There is no issue about “fantasy love” unless you want to explain what that issue could be. Of course, we mind properly imagine that God considers some pretty fantastic things in His mind.

        Then, ” In Calvinism, Molinism, and Arminianism all that shaping happens before creation so that there are no “future possibilities” after that. All is immutably set.”

        I agree. The world that God chooses to create under Molinism is the world Calvinism and Arminianism seek to describe by their theologies.

        Then, “Thus it is a fantasy love in God’s mind before any other person exists and can freely interact with Him.”

        What makes it “fantasy” (assuming you mean a negative sense of the word)? Fantastic, yes, but fantasy!

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      67. Roger, Scripture teaches that God still knows all the possibilities that still exist. So I am not close to being a Molinist.

        Love with a story in one’s mind with no real persons in existence is a fantasy love. That should be obvious.

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      68. rhutchin attributing “fantasies” to others, is exactly what we would expect – and follows the patterns we observe.

        We see this where he attributes William Lane Craig’s comments about Calvinism, attributed to “emotionalism”, and where Ravi Zacharias statement about Calvinism- quote “can’t be known”, or where a quote from Alvin Plantinga doesn’t say what it says.

        These are called “Reverse Attribution Errors” – Or in street language, Freudian slips. 😉

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      69. brianwagner writes, ” “God clearly said individuals are NOT His ‘people’ NOR His ‘beloved’ until they are in Christ (Rpm 9:25).”

        OK. Here, to be “in Christ” means to believe in Christ. In Ephesians 1:4, “in Christ” can mean through His death and resurrection (as opposed to any other means of attaining salvation that people might fantasize about). Thus, God chose His elect in Christ to be in Christ.

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      70. Roger… not in Christ before faith in expressed. And not chosen to BE IN Christ, but chosen in Christ TO BE holy and blameless. Paul is speaking anachronistically of when the future benefit was promise in Christ for all who in the future would be added to Christ.

        Liked by 1 person

      71. brianwagner writes, “not in Christ before faith in expressed. And not chosen to BE IN Christ, but chosen in Christ TO BE holy and blameless. ‘

        I agree. But “in Christ” can carry different meanings. A person is “in Christ” when he believes. God accomplishes salvation through the death and resurrection of Christ or “in Christ.”

        Then, “Paul is speaking anachronistically of when the future benefit was promise in Christ for all who in the future would be added to Christ.”

        In your paper you write, “The blessing is not being chosen to be in Christ before the foundation of the world, but the blessing to be chosen in Christ to be holy and without blame in the future.” Another possible understanding is that “in Christ” refers to “means.” It is the death and resurrection of Christ that is the means by which those chosen by God can becomes holy and blameless. This would be counter to the “works” of a person as the basis for becoming holy/blameless.

        God chose “us” to be holy and blameless. That could not happen outside the death and resurrection of Christ – thus, chosen in Christ.

        You also write, “The grammar (semantic meaning) of “us” therefore in 1:4 must be anachronistic. No individuals or group of persons existed before the foundation of the world to be chosen between except the members of the Godhead.” Yet, you allow that God can know all future possibilities and those possibilities encompass all the people who would live. Before Adam and Eve existed, God knew that He would create them and could choose them for His purpose. As it is God who would then give them children, God could choose those children for His purpose.

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      72. Excellent post Brian!!!

        We both agree that dialog with a Calvinist is like chasing a greased pig! 😉

        You’ve discovered Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking.
        They assert X explicitly, only to later deny X implicitly……And about their office AS IF the contradiction doesn’t exist.

        These are absolutely characteristic-indicators one would expect to observe in double-think.

        “As long as a person’s perception of the truth can’t be externally verified, then even a lie can become truth.
        Such is the Party’s method of control”. – George Orwell 1984

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Dr. Flowers writes, ““We hold that God is the disposer and ruler of all things, –that from the remotest eternity, according to his own wisdom, He decreed what he was to do, and now by his power executes what he decreed…if nothing else, at least stop accusing people like myself of not really understanding Calvinism?”

    The criticism can be made that you provide half the review of the book, so how are we to know that you read the whole book. You leave out, (purposely(?)), any reference to the notion that God causes, controls, disposes, and rules all things by virtue of direct action to bring about an event (e.g., the flood of Noah, the impregnation of Mary) or through second causes/agents (i.e., the sin of Adam, the destruction of Israel by Assyria, the death of Christ). Should people assume, in the absence of any explanation by you, that you understand these things or could it be possible that you really do not understand them – and thereby do not understand the Calvinist system?

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  5. Another excellent article!!!

    To make one comment on the straw man phenomenon. I think you are absolutely right to point to the inconsistencies in Calvinist representations.

    Hunting for Bigfoot and the illusive Hyper Calvinist:
    As a matter of fact, there is a straw man strategy called “The “Sacrificial straw man” …..a trick designed to distract attention from distasteful aspects of one’s theory. It works firstly, by blaming the unpalatable aspect on a fabricated fanatical group.
    Then shooting down the fabricated straw man in order to distance oneself from the unpalatable.

    A Calvinist may insist what is being depicted of them is an aberrant group called “Hyper” Calvinism.
    However, to date, bigfoot hunters have not been able to discover where the illusive “Sasquatch” Calvinist exists. 😉

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    1. Piper:
      >In other words, it isn’t just that God manages to turn the evil aspects of our world to good for those who love him; it is rather that he himself brings about these evil aspects for his glory (see Ex. 9:13-16; John 9:3) and his people’s good (see Heb. 12:3-11; James 1:2-4).

      Your emphasis:
      >It is a quite frivolous refuge to say that God otiosely permits them, when Scripture shows Him not only willing, but the author of them

      These literally say exactly the same thing…

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  6. rhutching writes: “Let’s now include those points that you left out (are we to presume that you left them out on purpose?).”

    Thanks again for showing the tenacity of doublethink.
    Let the SOT101 readers review the thread and see how I showed where our statements are deceptive half-truths.
    SOT101 readers can review them and learn how not to be deceived by or ensnared by them.

    More good examples!
    Thanks :-0

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  7. I haven’t posted here in a while, and nothing has changed. Still Brian Wagner making some good points against calvinism, but hampered by his commitments to open theism. Still rhutchin posting his unending defense of his Calvinistic errors. Still Bro. D. saying that rhutchin is a problem and yet still continuing to interact with him. It is like nothing ever changes, like a time warp that just keeps going and going. No one is changing their minds, no one is being persuaded otherwise, just a continual and repetitive argument, just going in circles and circles and circles. Seems like a big waste of time to just go through the motions like this. The only thing different is the addition of Troy a staunch Calvinist who, like rhutchin, is just here to promote the errors of Calvinism and defend his cherished system.

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    1. You never know Robert who might be reading and being helped especially when specific Scriptures are being discussed! 😉 Leighton was a closet non-Calvinist for a number of years before gaining the confidence, perhaps through reading reasoning like are found here, to then openly break with his previous confession of staunch Calvinism. We need to pray for each other to being enlightened by the truth and the authority of God’s Word over man’s speculations to which we should not be loyal.

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    2. Hi Robert,
      Great to see you again.
      It would go without saying that it wouldn’t be obvious to anyone but me, but I am consistently refining my posts.
      I do think its unfortunate that I didn’t have them this refined at first.
      But that’s the way it goes.

      Your post is fortuitous….I was thinking about this, this morning.
      But the question came to me: What happens when a free nation stops warring against ISIS?
      Answer: ISIS by virtue of animal warring instincts dominates geographical areas.
      A free nation would not want that to happen.
      Hence the unfortunate time and investment in fending them off.
      Same with Calvinism.

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    3. Robert writes, “Brian Wagner…hampered by his commitments to open theism. ”

      Actually, Brian has a theology that is noticeably different from Open Theism – he hasn’t gone off the deep end, yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. So as to set the record straight, since Calvinists may superstitiously appeal to Molinism

    Molinism rejects Calvin’s proposition that Foreknowledge is the consequence/result of fore-knowledge (via decrees)
    Dr. Alvin Plantinga and Dr. William Lane Craig both reject that proposition.
    See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXUMhSmeivE

    Also, Dr. Peter Van Inwagen, and Dr. Ravi Zacharias reject it.

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    1. br.d writes “Molinism rejects Calvin’s proposition that Foreknowledge is the consequence/result of fore-knowledge (via decrees)
      Dr. Alvin Plantinga and Dr. William Lane Craig both reject that proposition.
      See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXUMhSmeivE

      The cited presentation by William Craig argues that God’s foreknowledge of future events does not cause those future events – so, God’s foreknowledge of the future does not destroy the freedom that people have in choosing what they will do. There is no conflict with Calvinism on this point. Craig does not argue Molinism in this clip unless he tossed it in at the end because I stopped listening after Craig had repeated his argument several times figuring that he had nothing new to say.

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      1. Superfluous misdirection from the main point.

        “Molinism rejects Calvin’s proposition that Foreknowledge is the consequence/result of fore-knowledge (via decrees)”

        The REAL difference which Dr. Craig points out, is that Molinism does not make god the author of evil.
        Something Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) can’t avoid.
        Forcing Calvinist’s into a reliance upon dishonest language tricks.

        quote: “universal determinism and compatibilism, runs into the problems you mention. Making God the author of evil is just one of the problems this neo-Reformed view faces.” – Molinism vs. Calvinism Troubled by Calvinists

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      2. br.d writes, “Superfluous misdirection from the main point.”

        Maybe you cited the wrong Craig video. The main point of the video cited was the effect of God’s foreknowledge on free will.

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  9. Robert writes…. “I haven’t posted here in a while and nothing has changed.”

    Au contraire!

    The simple fact that Robert hasn’t posted here in a while is a significant change.

    No longer is Robert dominating the discussion.

    No longer is Robert leaving lengthy, redundant, mean spirited comments.

    With Robert’s absence/silence the discussions have become more brotherly. Both the language and tone have changed.

    I understand how and why brother rhutchin might be considered a nuisance, but the name calling has stopped. In fact, it is directly because of rhutchin’s comments that brother Brian and Bro D are able to expose the errors and inconsistencies of Calvinism.

    Some might consider rhutchin’s comments here a blessings. No one needs to construct a “straw man” when a Calvinist is available to state so clearly what he believes and why. Brother Brian is correct, now innocent (and silent) on-lookers can judge for themselves when both sides of the equation are readily available.

    Some times change is good.

    Blessings to all my brothers in Christ. Even my Arminian brother Robert.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Phillip never changes, always seeking a way to attack me (“No longer is Robert dominating the discussion.

      No longer is Robert leaving lengthy, redundant, mean spirited comments.”)

      I’m glad if the tone is better, that is good for all. But my post was not about the tone, it was about this continuous and repeated and never ending of going in loop after loop with rhutchin and no change occurring in the posters. Now if you have the time to go around and around in circles, then that is fine. I believe there are better things to do with our time then go around and around in these unending argumentative circles.

      Phillip says nothing but the MINUTE that I post he tries to jump on these opportunities to attack me in any way that he can. The passive aggressive streak in him appears to be gigantic. His concealed hatred really needs to be dealt with properly or it will eat him up(if it has not already done so). God is watching all of this and you cannot fool him or hide hatred from Him.

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      1. Robert writes…. “God is watching all of this and you cannot fool him or hide hatred from Him.”

        Amen. And He has been watching for a long, long time.

        Everyone here (and those over at SBC Today, where Robert was temporarily banned for unbrotherly behavior) are well aware of the history; including, but not limited to, calling Leighton’s character into question.

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  10. Let’s see if I have all of Calvinism’s AS-IF-isms memorized
    1) Unfree-AS-IF-free:
    This is where God decrees Cain’s inevitable fate, to murder Able, while withholding from Cain the ability to do otherwise, and giving Cain no alternative possibilities. But here Cain is “so-called” FREE, to act in accordance with his sinful desires – with the caveat that Cain’s evil desires are also decreed as Cain’s inevitable fate, with no ability to do otherwise, and no alternative possibilities.

    2) Forced-AS-IF-NOT-Forced:
    This is where Calvin asserts “evil men, thieves and murderers are FORCED to do god’s service”. But this is a special FORCE where men are FORCED, with a FORCE that does not FORCE them.

    3) Exist-AS-IF-NOT-Exist:
    This is where God decrees Adam free to “do otherwise”, and “the ability to refrain”, but where “do otherwise” and “the ability to refrain” don’t exist. This is one of Calvinism’s many possibilities that don’t exist AS-IF they do exist.

    4) ALL-AS-IF-NOT-ALL:
    This is where god determines **ALL** things, inside the category “foundation of the world”, but not in such a way that god determines **ALL** things, inside the category “foundation of the world”. Because God determines **SOME** things outside the category “foundation of the world”.

    5) Iimpelling-AS-IF-NOT-impelling:
    This is where a decree from God impels Cain to murder Able as Cain’s unavoidable fate. But this decree has a special kind of impel which has the ability to impel Cain to murder Able, in such a way as to not impel Cain to murder Able.

    6) Influence-AS-IF-NOT-Influence:
    Same as Impel – This is a decree which mandates Cain to murder Able. But this decree uses a special kind of influence which requires Cain to murder Able, and makes it impossible for Cain to not murder Able, yet without influencing Cain to murder Able.

    7) Determinism-AS-IF-UN-determinism:
    This is where god determines the Calvinist’s every thought, choice, and action, but the Calvinists is to -quote “go about his office AS IF nothing is determined in any part”.

    8) Predestined-Total-Depravity-AS-IF-NOT-Predestined-Total-Depravity:
    This is where every person’s thought, choice, and action, are first conceived in the mind of god, and then predestined to occur as that person’s unavoidable fate, but in such a way that their thoughts, choices, and actions are not predestined.

    I wonder if I’ve missed any??
    There must be more!!

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    1. br.d writes, “1) Unfree-AS-IF-free:
      This is where God decrees Cain’s inevitable fate, to murder Able, while withholding from Cain the ability to do otherwise, and giving Cain no alternative possibilities. But here Cain is “so-called” FREE, to act in accordance with his sinful desires – with the caveat that Cain’s evil desires are also decreed as Cain’s inevitable fate, with no ability to do otherwise, and no alternative possibilities.”

      As Paul explains in Romans 9, “God says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy…Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.”

      Like

      1. rhutchin writes:
        “As Paul explains in Romans 9, “God says to Moses,……..[insert biblical sounding filler language here]

        Dr, John Schafer,Ph.D, retired FBI Special Agent
        – quote:
        “Misdirection is used by deceivers to shift answers away from threatening questions or topics. Kids are adept at this game, especially teenagers.” – From fibs to facts.

        Like

    2. br.d writes, “2) Forced-AS-IF-NOT-Forced:
      This is where Calvin asserts “evil men, thieves and murderers are FORCED to do god’s service”. But this is a special FORCE where men are FORCED, with a FORCE that does not FORCE them.”

      Sinful men strive against God to do evil but are restrained by God such that their evil desires accomplish God’s purposes and thereby, they are forced to do God’s will. Balak sought to have Balaam curse Israel but Balaam explained that he could not do other than that which God wanted.

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    3. br.d writes, “5) Iimpelling-AS-IF-NOT-impelling:
      This is where a decree from God impels Cain to murder Able as Cain’s unavoidable fate.”

      Cain was impelled to murder Cain by his own sinful desires.

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      1. rhuthin writes “Cain was impelled to murder Able by his own sinful desires.”

        AS-IF God’s impelling force, had not decreed those exact sinful desires as Cain’s unavoidable fate!

        Yeah rutchin – Another great example of Calvinism’s AS-IF(isms) 😀

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    4. br.d writes, “7) Determinism-AS-IF-UN-determinism:
      This is where god determines the Calvinist’s every thought, choice, and action, but the Calvinists is to -quote “go about his office AS IF nothing is determined in any part”.”

      Each person’s thought, choices, and actions arise from their sin nature, that Paul describes in Romans 8, “those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh,…For the mind set on the flesh is death,…because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

      The believer is instructed to:

      “…draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4)

      “…present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,…” (Romans 12)

      “…I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;…” (1 John 2)

      “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!” (Romans 6)

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      1. rhutchin writes:
        “Each person’s thought, choices, and actions arise from their sin nature….[insert biblical sounding filler language here]

        Dr, John Schafer,Ph.D, retired FBI Special Agent
        – quote:
        “Misdirection is used by deceivers to shift answers away from threatening questions or topics. Kids are adept at this game, especially teenagers.” – From fibs to facts.

        AS-IF God did not first conceive (i.e., foreknow via foreordination – decree) each person’s exact sin nature.

        Another good example of Calvinism’s AS-IF(isms). Good one rhutchin – thanks! 😀

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      2. br.d writes, “AS-IF God did not first conceive (i.e., foreknow via foreordination – decree) each person’s exact sin nature.”

        God certainly knew that Adam would eat the fruit and incur the penalty God had prescribed for that disobedience. God also knew that the corruption to Adam’ nature from his sin would be inherited by his progeny – who would be born with a sin nature. Yet God did not cause Adam to sin but gave Adam freedom to do as he wanted. All this was foreordained by God and manifested through the freedom He gave Satan to roam the garden and the freedom He gave Adam and Eve to deal with Satan.

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      3. br.d writes, “AS-IF God did not first conceive (i.e., foreknow via foreordination – decree) each person’s exact sin nature.”

        rhutchin repeats one of the Calvinists favorite mantras:
        “God certainly knew that Adam would eat the fruit and incur the penalty God had prescribed for that disobedience.”

        Wonderful rhutchin!
        Thanks for the continued examples.
        Since you’ve repeated this particular mantra continually, I suspect its one of your more cherished AS-IF(isms)

        For our SOT101 readers who haven’t seen the full list of Calvinism’s AS-IF(isms) this one falls
        under the heading of two AS-IF(ism)s: #1, and #4

        Calvinism’s AS-IF(ism) #1
        1) Decreed-divine-knowledge-AS-IF-not-decreed:
        This is where God first conceives of Cain murdering Able, and decrees Cain murdering Able as Cain’s infallible, inevitable, unavoidable fate. Consequently God has Divine Knowledge – He knows exactly when and how Cain is going to murder Able. But this is a special kind of knowledge, in which God knows Cain is going to murder Able AS-IF God wasn’t the one who first conceived it, and then made it Cain’s infallible, inevitable, unavoidable fate.

        Calvinism AS-IF(ism) #4
        4) Half-truth-AS-IF-the-whole-truth:
        This is where the Calvinist asserts things like “God certainly knew that Adam would eat the fruit”, and this half-truth is recited AS-IF it where the whole truth. While the Calvinist secretly holds to another truth – that God first conceived of actualizing Adam to eat the fruit, and made it Adam’s infallible, inevitable, unavoidable fate. But the Calvinist has a very special obligation to attack that truth AS-IF it is NOT truth. As a result, many half-truths are very special kinds of truths, which function in Calvinism as half-truth-AS-IF-the-whole-truth.

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  11. It turns out I do have a few more Calvinist AS-IF(isms) that I neglected:

    9) Theological-Determinism-AS-IF-NOT-Determinism:
    This is where Theological Determinism doesn’t have the logical entailments of Determinism, because Theological Determinism is a special kind of Determinism that is non-deterministic by virtue of it being Theological.

    10) Decreed-Divine-Knowledge-AS-IF-NOT-Decreed:
    This is where God decrees Cain to murder Able, decreeing it as Cain’s unavoidable fate. Consequently, God knows exactly how Cain is going to murder Able. But this is a special kind of knowledge, in which God knows Cain is going to murder Able AS-IF God wasn’t the one who first conceived it, and then made it Cain’s unavoidable fate.

    11) Calvinism-AS-IF-Hyper-Calvinism
    This is a special category of Calvinism to which all of Calvinism’s abhorrent radical distinctions are attributed. However, every Calvinist who has ever been called Hyper has denied it, and has instead attributed the label to someone else AS-IF he were not Hyper, and they were. So, this is another example of something that doesn’t exist in Calvinism AS-IF it does.

    12) Immoral-AS-IF-Moral:
    This is where actions are attributed to God, and detailed as clearly contradicting his declared moral standards. But this is a special case where actions described are said to exemplify God’s declared moral standards AS-IF they don’t contradict them.

    13) Doublespeak-AS-IF-NOT-Doublespeak:
    This is where God commands his people to repent, and choose life, AS-IF he really wills them to repent and choose life. Or where God commands Adam and Eve to not eat of the forbidden fruit, AS-IF he really willed them to not eat of the forbidden fruit. So, this is a special kind of divine speech in which God deceives his people into believing he is speaking his “real” will, when he is really speaking a “revealed” will AS-IF it were his “real” will.

    Hmmm.
    I still think there are more AS-IF(isms) in Calvinism.

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    1. br.d writes, “9) Theological-Determinism-AS-IF-NOT-Determinism:
      This is where Theological Determinism doesn’t have the logical entailments of Determinism, because Theological Determinism is a special kind of Determinism that is non-deterministic by virtue of it being Theological. ”

      Determinism has nature or fate as the determiner of all events. Theological Determinism has God as the determiner of all events by virtue of His sovereignty.

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      1. If the story is written immutably eternally in God’s mind by God… then Fate becomes another title for God… Not even He can exercise any free will forever in that Story that has always existed and is a necessary part of His nature… though Calvinism will deny these logical inferences.

        Can anything eternally immutably exist in God’s mind that is not necessary to His nature?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. brianwagner writes, “If the story is written immutably eternally in God’s mind by God… then Fate becomes another title for God… ”

        Fate is impersonal; God is personal. However, that story comes to be written, it is consistent with the attributes of God with the end of glorifying God.

        Then, “Not even He can exercise any free will forever in that Story that has always existed and is a necessary part of His nature… though Calvinism will deny these logical inferences.”

        The story is consistent with His nature – could we expect anything less? Once the Story is written, there is no reason to rewrite it – it is the product of a perfect God. Just because a decision has been made for which there is no basis for change does not say anything about the freedom exercised in making the decision originally..

        Then, “Can anything eternally immutably exist in God’s mind that is not necessary to His nature?”

        I would say, everything. God’s nature is necessarily involved in that which He mulls over in His mind. That which God mulls over is not necessary to His nature – God is just but He can consider things that are not just.

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      3. The story is consistent with His nature… which is love… which requires the exercise of free will… So the story can not be completely written ahead of the relationship coming into existence or there would be no exercise of free will and no love. …just an immutable fantasy love being played out by robots who think they are freely deciding things.

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      4. Personally I like being God’s robot because the Creator of the robot actually loves him/her enough to provide for SOME salvation and pass over other “robots” for His own purposes. I simply accept God’s purpose and live a life of gratitude since His grace can NEVER be DEMANDED!

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      5. Hi Troy,
        Great to hear from you!
        Hope you’re well!

        You make a good point, that would be comforting to the Calvinist whom God has elected.

        However, if you are one of the Calvinists that Calvin describes as within the
        -quote: “large mixture of hypocrites who have nothing of Christ but the outward appearance”, and to whom
        -quote: “salvation is held out as a savor of greater condemnation”, and to whom god will
        -quote: “at some point, strike with even greater blindness”.

        Then it follows that your confidence, (in the second case), is a divine deception, designed to magnify your experience in eternal flames.

        So the truth is, you have two possible “divine purposes” to have confidence in, and not just one.

        I can see why a person in your situation, would want to focus solely on one “divine purpose” and not think about the other.
        Calvinism certainly imposes unique psychological effects on people.

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      6. Troy writes, “I like being God’s robot because the Creator of the robot actually loves him/her enough to provide for SOME salvation and pass over other “robots” for His own purposes.”

        Actually, we are not robots because God has given us freedom to pursue Him and we don’t do so successfully as Paul explains in Romans 7. God wants us to realize our dependence on Him and so exhorts believers through the apostles to renew our minds, flee fornication, love one another, etc and to always “…draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4) Thus, Christ describes the believer as one who is poor in spirit, who mourns over his sin, who is meek, who craves to be righteous and is on a journey of sanctification to become that which God wants him to be. It would be so much easier if God made us robots, and we could enjoy life without sin.

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      7. Thank you rhutchin for your reply! I was actually being quite sarcastic in my use of the term “robots”; thus the quotation marks. I do not consider myself or any of God’s wonderful creation to be neither robots or automatons. We are creatures made in His image with the ability to choose amongst multiple options. However, in the SPIRITUAL realm where it comes to pleasing God, we have no choice in the matter. According to the Scriptures, the things of God require spiritual discernment which the natural man (void of the Spirit) does not possess. But I do agree with everything you stated previously sir.

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      8. “We are creatures made in His image with the ability to choose amongst multiple options.”

        This would fall into Calvinism’s AS-IF (ism) #17

        17) No-alternative-possibilities-AS-IF-alternative-possibilities:
        This is where the Calvinist recites the mantra: “God decreed Adam free to obey or disobey” AS-IF alternative possibilities exist in Calvinism, when he secretly knows they don’t. And he knows either Adam will obey or he won’t obey. Naturally these can’t both be
        true. So God can only make one, (and only one) event actuable. So we can see, a logical-entailment of Theological determinism is that one, and only one, unique pre-determined future, can be actualized by God for any given event. As a result, within Calvinism,
        these Non-existent Alternative-Possibilities are a very special kind of Alternative-Possibilities that don’t have real existence, yet are axiomatically recited with AS-IF existence.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. br.d writes, “17) No-alternative-possibilities-AS-IF-alternative-possibilities:
        This is where the Calvinist recites the mantra: “God decreed Adam free to obey or disobey” AS-IF alternative possibilities exist in Calvinism, when he secretly knows they don’t.”

        Following the argument made about foreknowledge by William Craig, God’s decree made Adam’s actions certain but not necessary. God decreed that Adam sin but God did not cause Adam to sin – for that Adam can take responsibility.

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      10. br.d writes, “17) No-alternative-possibilities-AS-IF-alternative-possibilities: This is where the Calvinist recites the mantra: “God decreed Adam free to obey or disobey” AS-IF alternative possibilities exist in Calvinism, when he secretly knows they don’t.”

        rhutchin writes:
        “Following the argument made about foreknowledge by William Craig, God’s decree made Adam’s actions certain but not necessary. God decreed that Adam sin but God did not cause Adam to sin – for that Adam can take responsibility.”

        This has nothing to do with Calvinism which DOES MAKE GOD THE AUTHOR OF EVIL and THE CAUSE of Adam’s sin.

        – quote “Calvinism affirms universal determinism and compatibilism……Making God the author of evil is just one of the problems”
        William Lane Craig – http://www.reasonablefaith.org/molinism-vs-calvinism

        Perhaps we should identify this as a new AS-IF(ism)……rhutchin’s Calvinism AS-IF Molinism. 😀
        Give us another one rhutchin….let your imagination run wild this time!!

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      11. br.d writes, “This has nothing to do with Calvinism which DOES MAKE GOD THE AUTHOR OF EVIL and THE CAUSE of Adam’s sin.”

        You quote Craig, but you cannot explain Craig. So what!

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      12. Br.d thank you for your comment sir. Let me state the facts this way brother:
        1) An omniscient God decided to create Adam
        2) An omniscient God decided to create Adam with a free will absent a sinful nature
        3) An omniscient God decided to plant the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden
        4) An omniscient God gave a command for Adam not to touch the tree of the knowledge of good and evil
        5) An omniscient God made the tree desirable to the senses
        6) An omniscient God permitted Adam to freely choose his fate
        7) An omniscient God anticipated the fall of Adam by planning his redemption BEFORE his creation and BEFORE his will to choose
        8) An omniscient God created the circumstances for the fall to occur, thus ENSURING its occurrence knowing its eventual outcome

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      13. Hi Troy,

        You were being honest with your your statements until you got to 6.
        #6 and #7 are flat-out denials of John Calvin’s teachings – – so those can be classified as untrustworthy.
        #8 contains the fallacy of equivocation on the words “ensuring” and “knowing”.

        Perhaps you are not aware that “do otherwise”, “alternate possibilities” and “the ability to refrain” do not exist in Calvinism.
        In order for Adam to be in control of his own fate, would require those three things.

        I suggest you do some research on that subject for a clearer understanding.
        Alvin Plantinga, Peter Van Inwagen, and William Lane Craig are great sources.
        Also the classic college Oxford handbook on Christian Philosophy.

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      14. Well my friend I’m not trying to prove John Calvin’s teachings. I’m trying to prove Scripture as I believe God has revealed it. I didn’t say Adam “controlled” his own fate. I said he “chose” his own fate, meaning that his choice was predetermined based on predetermined circumstances that stemmed from a predetermined decree. The fact is Adam was predetermined to fall because God had already planned for mankind’s redemption BEFORE the fall. Ephesians 1:4 states, “…just as He chose us in Him BEFORE the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love…”

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      15. Thank you for clarifying that Troy.
        Although your language is much more honest (to Calvinism) this time, I’m still seeing equivocation.
        An ethical problem I observe in Calvinism is that it teaches a language that is reliant upon dishonesties.
        And its students don’t either discern them, or don’t seem to care about being dishonest Christians.

        From my perspective, firstly, you responded to a post I made concerning a psychological aspect of Calvinism.
        Calvinism’s AS-IF thinking, or as I’ve been calling it, Calvinism’s AS-IF(isms).
        So my post did not in any way make a critique of scripture.

        From my perspective, your response to that post did not indicate it was asserting points from a biblical or Christian perspective, but points from a Calvinist perspective.

        So I made observations concerning points 6, 7 and 8, which contained either a denial of Calvin’s teachings or equivocal language that lacks honesty (as representative statements from a Calvinist perspective).

        Then we leap-frogged from there to representing scripture and not Calvin.

        So our conversation is looking like a Whac-A-Mole game. :-]
        I hope you can see what I’m pointing out?

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      16. Hi Troy… Let me ask you to clarify what you mean by “Adam controlled his own fate”. Could he have done otherwise and received a different “fate”? If not, then what do you mean by “controlled”. Is it like a rat in a maze that God set up with desirable food at the one end which He knew the rat would eventually want to eat and would eat… because He wanted Adam to sin?

        You also seem to be saying that God planned for Adam to fall because He had already planned redemption for mankind… in other words… please clarify… are you saying that God wanted first to demonstrate His power and desire to redeem, therefore He had to plan a redemption, which only makes sense if you also plan to have some sinners who will benefit from it? Tied to this, I need to know if you think God was obligated to offer a chance for Adam to “control his own fate” after he sinned, by offering to him an opportunity to freely chose to receive grace or reject it… Or was he still like a rat in a maze, and God had already determined that Adam’s fate would be “controlled” by whether irresistible salvation was offered to him or not?

        Thanks for any clarification you can bring on these matters so I can understand why you think these things, if indeed they fairly represent your thinking. Of course, I know from your perspective that I am speaking in anthropomorphic language when I say that “God planned” … for I understand that there was never a moment according to determinists like yourself where God’s will did not eternally immutably have everything already set/planned… and there was no real sequential thinking and then determination of anything, or a moment when it could have been said – “This is not planned yet.”

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      17. Good morning Brian! Actually I didn’t say that Adam “CONTROLLED his own fate”. I said he “CHOSE his own fate”. God controlled his fate by knowingly creating the circumstances for him to fall and also knowing he WOULD fall before creating him. This was God’s decree before He created mankind’s freedom to choose. However, mankind is still culpable because they were given freedom to choose amongst multiple options.
        Redemption anticipated the eventual fall of mankind and his need for salvation. All of this REQUIRES a prior plan or decree which stems from God’s desires. All the philosophizing and biblical gymnastics can’t erase these facts:
        1) An all-knowing God created mankind as a free moral agent without a sin nature
        2) An all-knowing God created a forbidden tree
        3) An all-knowing God issued a law He knew man WOULD violate
        4) An all-knowing God made provision BEFORE creation to redeem some of mankind from the fall that He decreed would happen
        All smells of a prior decree to me Brian!!
        Also God is the “UNCAUSED”, meaning His plan simply originates from Him and that there’s no outside cause affecting His decision processes.
        Also to answer your question of God’s obligation to Adam to provide him grace, etc..No! God is under no obligation to provide mankind an “escape hatch” from their culpability. He is well within His rights, as Creator, to completely obliterate this world now and start anew without any warning. But that’s the whole point here..God’s grace doesn’t REQUIRE fairness or equality; thus it can’t be demanded or EXPECTED. God’s grace is given discriminately as He freely chooses

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      18. Sorry for the confusion, Troy, not reading more carefully. So could Adam have “chosen” differently or was God’s control such that making another choice became impossible?

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      19. It was already decreed that Adam would freely choose the option to rebel. But God, under no circumstance, is to be blamed for Adam’s choice simply because God determined it to happen. The fact is Adam chose, according to his strongest desire, to eat the fruit. God knew this would occur and deliberately decided to create Adam anyway! This is all that’s important. To speculate whether Adam COULD have done otherwise is really immaterial. God’s decree will ALWAYS trump mankind’s freedom to choose.
        Here’s a great mystery that none of us can ever explain this side of glory: “…for it is God who is at work in you, both TO WILL and to work for His good pleasure.” -Philippians‬ ‭2:13‬ ‭

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      20. Thank you Troy. I just do not accept that the Scripture teaches God decreed sin to happen and controlled the situation so that it would happen. You still have shown no clear verses that say this.

        And I cannot accept that God wants us to believe, according to your view of Scripture’s teaching, that He is not responsible/ culpable for that sin, but to believe that Adam is, though God made it so Adam could not have done otherwise.

        And you think God wants us to believe this is a mystery, because you feel one of the clearest verses that proves all this is Phil 2:13.

        It is easier to believe that that verse is about God working in those who are already born again to provide desires and ability to accomplish His will… though not irresistibly… then it is to think Paul is talking about divine determinism of all things before creation.

        I hope the Lord reveals to you how your loyalty to a theological view not taught in Scripture has kept you from accurately representing the reputation of God’s justice and mercy and His freedom of will as they are clearly taught in His Word.

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      21. Brian YOU must struggle with the “hard sayings” of Scripture brother. God has a decree and that decree determined that Adam would sin and that the Second Adam would have to come to redeem the progeny of the first Adam. There’s just no getting around this fact. I’ve already accepted this hard truth because God, the Holy Spirit has thus revealed it to me and I humbly submit to His meticulous will. Philippians 2:13 is a mystery because we don’t understand how God is working compatibilistically with our will to accomplish His will. If one says they do understand, then they’re arrogant and deceived.
        Also Brian you stated, “It is easier to believe that that verse is about God working in those who are already born again to provide desires and ability to accomplish His will… though not irresistibly..” What exactly do you mean in stating, “PROVIDING desires and ability to accomplish His will”?? So He “provides” desires and ability but does so irresistibly? No Brian! The verse says God is ACTIVELY WORKING by accomplishing His will through mankind’s will and efforts. It’s not irresistible in the sense that they don’t want to do it because they hate God and His Gospel. After rebirth, the true believer has a perpetual desire to do the will of God and this desire is given at regeneration and grows during sanctification. But Philippians 2:13 CLEARLY teaches compatibilism brother and when compared with Ephesians 1 we see that God is working through the will of the unregenerate as well.

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      22. Thanks again Troy for your response. My prayers are for your edification, as I also hope you will mention me in your prayers.

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      23. Brian you wrote, “It is easier to believe..” This is the problem with how many approach Scripture and why we evade hard truths. We want to only believe what’s “easy” to believe and teach. We must be willing to submit to ALL that God has revealed in Scripture; not what’s “easier to believe”. Now I admit that they’re are some aspects of God’s decree that are hard to swallow. But we can’t just create some alternate points of view in order to soothe our psyche or our emotions. We believe tota scriptura, not what’s “easy”!

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      24. Sorry for the confusion, Tony. The point I was trying to make was a hermeneutic one… going with Ockham’s Razor… That the simpler meaning that follows grammar and context is the correct one instead of a meaning brought to a context from one’s theology that was evidently not a part of the author’s intent in that context. The “you” in Phil 2:13 are professing believers in Philippi.

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      25. Agreed! However, the passage is still teaching compatibilism. The point is that God is actively working through the wills and actions of His people to accomplish His decree. Ephesians 1:11 expands this fact to the unregenerate.

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      26. Yes… But it is present tense working in both passages,. There is nothing about pre-creation determination in either verse, and even if if we accept some sort of compatibility, God’s working is not irresistible, for man, even regenerate man, for they still too often reject God’s will and sin.

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      27. Their rejection is part of His decree. Also He’s working all things ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE. His purpose is synonymous with His decree.

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      28. I think Troy it is unwise to believe God’s precreation purpose/decree was that man should disobey often His revealed will as clearly given by Him in His commands. You are saying that every time you as a believer sin against His revealed will, to the Praise of His Glory, you are fulfilling His purpose/decree!

        His precreation purpose did NOT include deciding every sin that would take place… but did include creating a world where conditionally sin could freely take place. God is not the author of every sin! I am sorry you want to believe that to remain loyal to a theology that contradicts the revealed will of God by positing a contradictory secret will the Scripture nowhere explains.

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      29. brianwagner writes, “You are saying that every time you as a believer sin against His revealed will, to the Praise of His Glory, you are fulfilling His purpose/decree!”

        RC Sproul describes God’s will expressed in three ways:
        (a) Sovereign decretive will, the will by which God brings to pass whatsoever He decrees. This is hidden to us until it happens. [Examples would be the sale of Joseph to the Midianite traders, the death of Christ on the cross, the death of Spephan…]

        (b) Preceptive will is God’s revealed law or commandments, which we have the power but not the right to break. [This is God’s will for people and the behavior in which they engage, but God does not force people to obey His will. [Example would be the Ten Commandments and the laws listed in Leviticus and elsewhere.]

        (c) Will of disposition describes God’s attitude or disposition. It reveals what is pleasing to Him. [For, example, God takes no delight in the death of the wicked.]

        That God does not intervene to prevent even believers form sin requires that God expressly decree not to do so and that decree is His will. If you don’t like that, don’t just state the obvious but argue against it as if the truth were something else.

        Then, “His precreation purpose did NOT include deciding every sin that would take place…”

        Of course it does. Even if God acts as you speculate, He still has the final say on every sin that occurs and it is God’s decision whether to intervene to prevent the sin or do nothing and allow the sin to occur and God’s decision is His decree.

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      30. I think, Roger, you are using fuzzy thinking to suggest that what I “speculate” about God having the final say whether a sin takes place right before a free will decides to sin is the same as your speculation that God decreed, before the creation of any other will, each and every sin by those wills that would of necessity take place because of His eternal immutable decree.

        If that is what you are suggesting, you are not being honest, perhaps ignorantly so. And you are also not honest to suggest to the reader that I have not given before to Troy, or to you for that matter, sufficient argumentation as to why God’s pre-creation purpose does not include planning everything… certainly not planning every sin!

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      31. brianwagner writes, “you are using fuzzy thinking to suggest that what I “speculate” about God having the final say whether a sin takes place right before a free will decides to sin is the same as your speculation that God decreed, before the creation of any other will, each and every sin by those wills that would of necessity take place because of His eternal immutable decree.”

        Your “speculation, based on certain verses, is that God waits to make decisions in the course of time. One of the decisions that God makes is whether to intervene to prevent sin or allow sin to proceed without interference from Him. God can make that decision before creation (as I maintain) or after creation (as you maintain) – the decision God makes is the same in either case. If God makes that decision before creation, then it becomes His immutable decree but if He waits to make that decision it still becomes His immutable decree (the timing of the decision does not affect it becoming an immutable decree). Your issue is not whether God’s decisions are immutable (they are) but the timing of His immutable decisions. So, we both understand this (I think). Did you just not like my description of your position as “speculation”?

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      32. I’ll just keep repeating this verse over and over again because it drives home the reality of God’s decree: “He is working ALL THINGS after the counsel of His purpose”. Brian as I’ve been consistently stating, you and all mankind must wrestle with the reality of the teaching of this verse and simply bow in humble admiration. This verse SHATTERS any argument you put forth denying God’s meticulous decree. You guys can come up with all these different scenarios and doctrines that soothe your emotions. But the FACT is that God is working ALL THINGS according to HIS purpose!!

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      33. Troy, What is unreasonable about understanding that verse as saying – … according to the purpose (desired general outcome) of God who is working (which includes making present day determinations to cause or permit) all things according to the counsel (the plan into which He has put and continues to put conditional elements) of His will (His ultimate desire to display His multifaceted glory)?

        That understanding reflects the Scriptures more clearly than Calvinism’s, which makes all of the truth in Scripture about God’s nature and activity analogical… calling much of it anthropomorphic in meaning… and contradicting clear Scriptures about God’s decision making after creation.

        I think it is because they can’t bring themselves to say it means what it says, because I think they want to be viewed as in agreement with a so called scholarly tradition. I also think it may be they subconsciously have control issues and want to interpret God’s character and actions in their own image.

        But your interpretation of that verse makes the words purpose and counsel mean something you want them to mean in spite of no clear teaching in Scripture that God had a pre-creation decree that set the outcome of all events, even all sins, into the future forever… and in contradiction to the clear Scripture that shows all things were not determined before creation.

        You are not being honest with the Scriptures, yourself, and others… though subconsciously I think you want to be. I hope, Troy, you will be able to break free from this loyalty to a manmade philosophically based theology that makes Scripture a secondary authority.

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      34. I’m sorry Brian but Ephesians 1 says what it says. God has a purpose and that purpose is according to His decree and He’s working out His own decree meticulously. You must contend with this brother because God has sufficiently revealed His preordained decree throughout Scripture.
        What you refer to as God “making decisions” is nothing more than God revealing what He had already predetermined to do in time. God never has to “decide” amongst available options because He created the options anyway and He has already predetermined which one He wants to take and will take.

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      35. At least the readers of our conversation Troy get a clear contrast in how that verse is being understood by you and me. I hope you have a good day of worship of our awesome God!

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      36. brianwagner writes, “That understanding reflects the Scriptures more clearly than Calvinism’s, which makes all of the truth in Scripture about God’s nature and activity analogical… calling much of it anthropomorphic in meaning… and contradicting clear Scriptures about God’s decision making after creation.”

        The decision-making is the same, whether before creation as the Calvinists say or after creation as you maintain. The issue is not whether God could have made all decisions before creation as everyone agrees that He could, but whether certain verses in the Scriptures should be understood as saying that God withholds making a few decisions until after creation. Much speculation here as no one has attempted a comprehensive survey of the Scriptures to sort this out (with the possible exception of Charnock).

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      37. That sounds very deceptive to me Roger… Charnock did not do present a thorough study of relevant Scriptures on this subject… if you are talking about his Existence and Attributes of God book. You should know that… especially after a fairly large list of verses that I gave you to clearly show (no speculation involved) that God makes decisions after creation. Charnock did not cover all of those verses.

        And we have discussed how the results would not be the same in both our viewpoints, unless we both adopt the Calvinist determinist definition for perfection which allows for only one choice for God to make for everything. But on biblical grounds I reject that definition of perfection. You know that! But even if I accepted that definition of perfection, the results in history would be different in the two systems for there would be more than one, less perfect, choice that man could make, triggering God’s so-called perfect choice which might be different than the settled immutable set future determined before creation according to Calvinism.

        So why do you feel the need to present my opposing view incorrectly when you know how I wish you to present it fairly? Do you not see your dishonesty in your falsely representing my view which you know very well by now?

        There are good volumes out there since the 19th century on the open futurist view… and I would think that you are aware of that also. though you act like you are not. But if you are interested in a more recent digest of Scriptures on the subject… try Chris Fisher’s – God is Open, https://www.amazon.com/God-Open-Examining-Biblical-Authors/dp/1544141424/

        There are also some helpful resources at – https://godisopen.com/resources/

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      38. Great points Brian!
        Also, we have a contradiction with rhutchin’s assertion that the future is not OPEN, but then states
        -quote “god can decree Adam free to obey or disobey”

        (1) AS-IF in Calvinism, god was going to allow the potentiality of Adam having “alternative possibilities” to choose from.
        (2) That in fact would be an appeal to an OPEN BI-VALENT FUTURE POSSIBILITY.

        Perhaps rhutchin is leaning into open theism and doesn’t even know it?? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      39. br.d writes, “Perhaps rhutchin is leaning into open theism and doesn’t even know it??”

        I am with William Craig on this. God knows the future perfectly so that the future is certain but God’s knowledge of the future does not make the future necessary.

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      40. For the SOT101 readers so they are not deceived by rhutchin’s language:

        (1) The “future being made necessary” is a fallacious red herring, as it doesn’t apply to Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) but applies instead to Theological fatalism. So in this case its a red herring designed to lead one off the trail

        (2) Theological Fatalism and Theological Determinism are like two apples from the same tree.
        Yes they each have their own unique characteristics, but they are both from the same MODAL SPECIES.
        And they share many of the same logical entailments, which include:
        – all events are predestined
        – all events occur with the force of inevitability
        – all events occur with the force of unavailability
        – all events occur as compulsorily
        – Adam has no alternative possibilities because “alternative possibilities” do not exist
        – Adam has no ability to refrain, because “the ability to refrain” does not exist
        – Adam has no ability to do otherwise because “do otherwise” does not exist.

        (3) Being in agreement with William Lane Craig on Theological Fatalism does not provide a camouflage to hide behind.
        A camouflage for making self-contradicting statements designed to masquerade “alternative possibilities” onto Calvinism.

        (4) It is still the case, that the Calvinism’s self-contradicting statement: “god decreed Adam free to obey or disobey” is either an appeal to an OPEN BI-VALENT FUTURE or its nothing more than a sample of Calvinism’s language of dishonesty.

        I let the SOT101 readers decide the motive.
        Based upon consistent patterns, one can easily suspect its simply another one of Calvinism’s dishonest language tricks. 😉

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      41. br.d writes, “(1) The “future being made necessary” is a fallacious red herring, as it doesn’t apply to Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) but applies instead to Theological fatalism….”

        Under Calvinism/Theological Determinism God’s foreknowledge makes the future certain but not necessary (this is the position William Craig has defended). So, what is the issue here?

        Then, “– Adam has no ability to do otherwise because “do otherwise” does not exist.”

        This results from Adam’s internal deficiencies (lack of knowledge/understanding/wisdom) combined with external factors (Eve and Satan’s influence). The “otherwise” is still there; just not likely to be chosen under the circumstances. God does not limit Adam’s ability to choose otherwise.

        Then, “(4) It is still the case, that the Calvinism’s self-contradicting statement: “god decreed Adam free to obey or disobey” is either an appeal to an OPEN BI-VALENT FUTURE or its nothing more than a sample of Calvinism’s language of dishonesty.”

        God gave Adam freedom to obey/disobey. God did not limit Adam’s ability to choose otherwise – other factors limited his ability to choose otherwise. God’s foreknowledge of the future made the future certain – secondary factors made that future necessary.

        It may be that br.d actually doesn’t understand Calvinism judging by the arguments he makes.

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      42. William Lane Craig: reasons 3-5 reasons Calvinism makes God the author of evil.
        Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/molinism-vs-calvinism#ixzz4j9x9CwF9

        -quote:
        3. Universal, divine, determinism makes God the author of sin and PRECLUDES HUMAN RESPONSIBILITY. In contrast to the Molinist view, on the deterministic view EVEN THE MOVEMENT OF THE HUMAN WILL IS CAUSE BY GOD.

        GOD MOVES PEOPLE TO CHOOSE EVIL, and they CANNOT DO OTHERWISE. GOD DETERMINES THEIR CHOICES and makes them do wrong. If it is evil to make another person do wrong, then on this view God is not only the cause of sin and evil, but becomes evil Himself, which is absurd. By the same token, all human responsibility for sin has been removed.

        For our CHOICES ARE NOT REALLY UP TO US because GOD CAUSES US TO MAKE THEM. We cannot be responsible for our actions, for nothing we think or do is up to us.

        4. Universal, divine, determinism NULLIFIES HUMAN AGENCY. Since our choices are not up to us but are caused by God, human beings cannot be said to be real agents.

        HUMANS ARE MERE INSTRUMENTS by means of which God acts to produce some effect, much like a man using a stick to move a stone.

        Of course, secondary causes retain all their properties and powers as intermediate causes, as the Reformed divines remind us, JUST AS A STICK RETAINS ITS PROPERTIES AND POWER which make it suitable for the purposes of the one who uses it. Reformed thinkers need not be occasionalists like Nicholas Malebranche, who held that God is the only cause there is.

        But these INTERMEDIATE CAUSES ARE NOT AGENTS themselves but mere INSTRUMENTAL CAUSES, for they have no power to initiate action. Hence, it’s dubious that on divine determinism there really is more than one agent in the world, namely, God. This conclusion not only flies in the face of our knowledge of ourselves as agents but makes it inexplicable why God then treats us as agents, holding us responsible for what He caused us and used us to do.

        5. Universal, divine determinism makes reality into a farce. On the deterministic view, the whole world becomes a vain and empty spectacle. There are no free agents in rebellion against God, whom God seeks to win through His love, and no one who freely responds to that love and freely gives his love and praise to God in return. The whole spectacle is a charade whose only real actor is God Himself. Far from glorifying God, the deterministic view, I’m convinced, denigrates God for engaging in a such a farcical charade. It is deeply insulting to God to think that He would create beings which are in every respect causally determined by Him and then treat them as though they were free agents, punishing them for the wrong actions He made them do or loving them as though they were freely responding agents. God would be like a child who sets up his toy soldiers and moves them about his play world, pretending that they are real persons whose every motion is not in fact of his own doing and pretending that they merit praise or blame. I’m certain that Reformed determinists, in contrast to classical Reformed divines, will bristle at such a comparison. But why it’s inapt for the doctrine of universal, divine, causal determinism is a mystery to me.

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      43. br.d writes, “William Lane Craig: reasons 3-5 reasons Calvinism makes God the author of evil.
        Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/molinism-vs-calvinism#ixzz4j9x9CwF9

        The key statement Craig makes is: “By rejecting a doctrine of divine providence based on God’s middle knowledge, Reformed theologians are simply self-confessedly left with a mystery.”

        I don’t see that Calvinists have to reject providence based on God’s middle knowledge thus resolving Craig’s issues with Calvinism.

        At this location – http://www.reasonablefaith.org/creation-providence-and-miracle – Craig describes God’s providence under Middle Knowledge. He writes–

        “By means of His natural knowledge, then, God has knowledge of every contingent state of affairs which could possibly obtain and of what the exemplification of the individual essence of any free creature could freely choose to do in any such state of affairs that should be actual….

        Whereas by His natural knowledge God knew what any free creature could do in any set of circumstances, now in this second moment God knows what any free creature would do in any set of circumstances. This is not because the circumstances causally determine the creature’s choice, but simply because this is how the creature would freely choose. God thus knows that were He to actualize certain states of affairs, then certain other contingent states of affairs would obtain. Molina calls this counterfactual knowledge “middle knowledge” because it stands in between the first and third moment in divine knowledge…

        Intervening between the second and third moments of divine knowledge stands God’s free decree to actualize a world known by Him to be realizable on the basis of His middle knowledge. By His natural knowledge, God knows what is the entire range of logically possible worlds; by His middle knowledge He knows, in effect, what is the proper subset of those worlds which it is feasible for Him to actualize…

        in the third and final moment God possesses knowledge of all remaining propositions that are in fact true in the actual world, including future contingent propositions. Such knowledge is denominated “free knowledge” by Molina because it is logically posterior to the decision of the divine will to actualize a world…

        Molina defines providence as God’s ordering of things to their ends, either directly or mediately through secondary agents. By His middle knowledge God knows an infinity of orders which He could instantiate because He knows how the creatures in them would in fact freely respond given the various circumstances. He then decides by the free act of His will how He would respond in these various circumstances and simultaneously wills to bring about one of these orders. He directly causes certain circumstances to come into being and others indirectly by causally determined secondary causes. Free creatures, however, He allows to act as He knew they would when placed in such circumstances, and He concurs with their decisions in producing in being the effects they desire. Some of these effects God desired unconditionally and so wills positively that they occur, but others He does not unconditionally desire, but nevertheless permits due to His overriding desire to allow creaturely freedom and knowing that even these sinful acts will fit into the overall scheme of things, so that God’s ultimate ends in human history will be accomplished. God has thus providentially arranged for everything that happens by either willing or permitting it, yet in such a way as to preserve freedom and contingency.”

        I don’t see anything here that should be objectionable to Calvinists as it is a very generalized description. Much needs to be fleshed out – such as a definition of “free will,” an analysis of the influence of the sin nature in the second moment, and God’s ability to intervene in the affairs of His creation to create the second moment. Nonetheless, Craig describes a system compatible with Calvinism. Craig has no argument against Calvinism because he describes Molinism in a fashion acceptable to Calvinists.

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      44. The key words in this statement are “I don’t see anything here”.
        I don’t know about anyone else at SOT101, but there’s nothing new here. 😉

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      45. Brian, I’m reading Christopher C. Fisher’s document “THE HELLENIZATION OF CHRISTIANITY”

        He’s providing an outline summary of NeoPlatonism, Plato, Plotinus and its synchronization with Augustine’s doctrine, and I’m seeing some places where points, I consider critical, are missing in his outline.

        I would like to be able to send Christopher some of the research I’ve accumulated on the evolution of Gnosticism, Neo-Platonism and Augustine. Do you have his email address? And if so, would it be ok for me to email him some things?

        Thanks,
        br.d

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      46. I know Chris would love to hear from you. He is gracious. I don’t have his email but you can contact him on his blog page or his FB page – God is Open.

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      47. Ok cool! I ‘ll give that a try! BTW: I love that saying “God is open” I think Paul would say it as: “God’s agape hopes all things”
        Thanks! :-]

        Liked by 1 person

      48. I know Chris would love to hear from you. He is gracious. I don’t have his email but you can contact him on his blog page or his FB page – God is Open.

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      49. Brian would you be so kind as to define what an “open futurist” is and is it akin to an open theist??

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      50. Various scholars have shown how that verse can be extrapolated, to mean something the author never intended. 🙂

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      51. Troy writes, “the reality of God’s decree: “He is working ALL THINGS after the counsel of His purpose”. ”

        If noting else, this verse establishing God’s purpose/will prior to His working which makes sense. The issue, then, is how long before His working did God establish His purpose/will. As elements of God’s “working” include the birth of each person, sustaining the life of each person, and the death of each person, then it would be reasonable to conclude that God has a purpose for each person who is born until God ends their life. God had a purpose for Adam, then Eve, Abel, Cain, etc. When God placed Adam in the garden with Eve and then removed His protection so that Satan could enter freely, we don’t envision God wondering if this was the right thing to do and then shaking His head in wonder as things went south but never jumping in to knock the fruit from Adam’s hand just before he bites into it. What people say is that God knew exactly what was going to happen, God had everything under control, and He had already determined that Christ would die for Adam’s sin – and would explain this to His prophets later on.

        Paul says that grace was given to him according to God’s eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ… (Ephesians 3) Thus, we have Christ’s death and Paul’s ministry being part of God’s eternal purpose. Paul says that Jacob was chosen over Esau according to God’s purpose, (Romans 9), that God calls His elect according to His purpose (Romans 8), that God’s elect are predestined according to His purpose, and that God saves His elect according to His purpose (2 Timothy 1). God has an eternal purpose that encompasses all things and by calling it “eternal,” Paul tells us that God established His purpose in eternity past.

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      52. Since scripture only affirms what is truth, human beings naturally interpret scripture to affirm what they are convinced is truth.

        The unquestionable divine, holy spirit inspired truth of a geocentric orbit met its first challenge in Copernicus’ De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres), which posited that the Earth and the other planets instead revolved around the Sun.

        Copernicus published his challenge to the infallible truth of the holy spirit inspired geocentric model, near his death, in order to avoid the obvious religious persecutions it would have otherwise caused him.

        Copernicus’ understanding of an earth that orbits the sun took many years to migrate into common understanding.
        In the mean time, theologians continued to interpret scripture to affirm a geocentric world since that was for them unquestionable.
        Any question of their interpretations were often met with violence.

        Calvinism approaches scripture with the presupposition compatibilism = true.
        Their interpretation of scripture obviously follows with the same consequences.

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      53. br.d writes, “In the mean time, theologians continued to interpret scripture to affirm a geocentric world since that was for them unquestionable.”

        Copernicus was funded by the Catholic church and the church accepted his results. It was the academic institution that was vested in Greek thinking that opposed Copernicus.

        Then, “Calvinism approaches scripture with the presupposition compatibilism = true.”

        The presupposition is that God is sovereign and subordinate to God’s sovereignty, man is free to pursue his sinful desires. br.d does not dispute this – how could he since he must know that non-Calvinists say the same thing.

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      54. Copernicus completed the formulation of his model in 1510 but did not dare publish his work until the year of his death – 1543

        On March 5, 1616,“On the revolutions of the heavenly spheres” (De revolutionibus orbium coelestium) was removed from print on order of the Catholic Church who forbid it to no one accept Catholic scholars. That ban was released by the church in 1758.

        SOT101 readers who are interested can read about the controversy in wikipedia:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolaus_Copernicus

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_revolutionibus_orbium_coelestium

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      55. brianwagner writes, ” I just do not accept that the Scripture teaches God decreed sin to happen and controlled the situation so that it would happen. You still have shown no clear verses that say this. ”

        There appears to have been some activity related to salvation prior to the creation.

        Peter writes, “…you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,”

        Given that Christ was foreordained before creation (i..e, before the foundation of the world), we might suppose that God knew something.

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      56. Do you think Roger that Peter might only be saying that the Son of God who had volunteered to be a sacrifice for sin if needed in the world the Godhead was planning to create containing open possibilities but certain desired ends, was “foreknown”… meaning loved for making such an offer back then… who was then manifest in Peter’s day to complete the task He volunteered for, because it was needed.

        The KJV “foreordained” is a poor translation showing the bias of the Calvinistic translators of that version.

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      57. brianwagner writes, “Peter might only be saying that the Son of God who had volunteered to be a sacrifice for sin…was “foreknown”… meaning loved for making such an offer back then… who was then manifest in Peter’s day to complete the task He volunteered for, because it was needed.”

        The context:
        17 if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth;
        18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,
        19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.
        20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you
        21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

        So, Peter just fuzzes up the picture a little with all the surrounding language about redemption and meant only to say that Christ was a “just in case things go south” option. That would seem to mean that God had not really made up His mind about the fruit tree that would be forbidden and whether to let Satan into the garden and whether to let Adam/Eve deal with Satan without any help from Him if He did open up the garden to Satan. I don’t think that I want to buy into that.

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      58. Roger… You are forgetting we are dealing with a God with infinite understanding of all possibilities so that nothing takes Him by surprise. But He doesn’t just have one option to choose from for each situation. So when sin was found in Lucifer, of his own free will (and not some other archangel) God chose to allow him into the testing scenario He decided to have with Adam to see if Adam would sin or trust in God’s goodness.

        But the passage in 1Peter is not about foreknowing an event and aspects of the event, but foreknowing a person… a relational knowledge of love… which was to encourage the reader to see how precious their redemption was being joined to a precious person, loved before creation.

        Calvinists try to prove too much for this passage about the preplanning of the redemption… whether it was conditional or not. Just like Adam’s sin was conditional and not planned, though a plan was put in place for it to become possible, though not necessary… the redemption also was planned conditionally, and became a necessary part of the plan once Adam or one of his posterity would sin.

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      59. Ask for a scripture which explicitly states a premise unique to Calvinism….and you’re guaranteed to get a philosophical supposition.
        Hmmmmmm….wonder why!!! 😉

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      60. Troy wrote, “1) An omniscient God decided to create Adam…”

        I suggest the following revisions:

        6) An omniscient God decided that Adam should be free to choose his fate without interference from God
        6a) An omniscient God decided that Satan should be free to roam the garden and interact with Adam/Eve
        7) An omniscient God knew that Adam would sin and planned his redemption BEFORE his creation and BEFORE his will to choose

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      61. rhutchin writes:
        6) An omniscient God decided that Adam should be free to choose his fate without interference from God
        6a) An omniscient God decided that Satan should be free to roam the garden and interact with Adam/Eve
        7) An omniscient God knew that Adam would sin and planned his redemption BEFORE his creation and BEFORE his will to choose

        – William Lane Craig:

        -quote
        “[In Calvinism] the movement of the human will is caused by God. God moves people to choose evil, and they cannot do otherwise. God determines their choices and makes them do wrong. [In Calvinism] our choices are not really up to us: God causes us to make them. Since our choices are not up to us but are caused by God, human beings cannot be said to be real agents. They are mere instruments by means of which God acts to produce some effect, much like a man using a stick to move a stone.”

        Alvin Plantinga

        – quote
        “It seems clear that at least one of these conditionals is true: [Adam will obey or Adam will NOT obey]
        But naturally they can’t both be true, so exactly one [and only one] is.” Now God’s knowledge of what Adam will do is infallible, so obviously God knows Adam is going to disobey, and it is thus impossible for God to know Adam will not disobey. And in Calvinisms God’s knowledge is not based on what Adam does – but based upon what he decrees. Thus simple logic tells us that it is impossible for the God of Calvin to decree Adam to be free to do anything other than what God has already predetermined Adam will do.

        Calvinism’s AS-IF(ism) #4

        4) Half-truth-AS-IF-the-whole-truth:
        This is where the Calvinist asserts things like “An omniscient God decided that Adam should be free to choose his fate without interference from God”, and he recites this half-truth AS-IF it where the whole truth,.

        While the Calvinist secretly holds to another truth – that God first conceived Adam’s disobedience, and conceived it as Adam’s infallible, inevitable, unavoidable fate, did not give Adam “the ability to refrain”, “alternate possibilities” or “the ability to do otherwise”

        But the Calvinist has a very special obligation to attack that truth AS-IF it is NOT truth. As a result, many half-truths are very special kinds of truths, which function in Calvinism as half-truth-AS-IF-the-whole-truth.

        Like

      62. br.d writes, “– William Lane Craig:
        -quote
        “[In Calvinism] the movement of the human will is caused by God. God moves people to choose evil, and they cannot do otherwise.”

        This is wrong. In Calvinism, the movement of the human will is caused by the sin nature. This is explained by Paul in Romans 8 where he explains the different influences of the flesh and the spirit.

        Then, Plantinga says, “in Calvinisms God’s knowledge is not based on what Adam does – but based upon what he decrees.” This means that God “learns” through observing the actions of people and this means that God cannot be omniscient. OK, he doesn’t think God is omniscient and Calvinists do.

        Then, “This is where the Calvinist asserts things like “An omniscient God decided that Adam should be free to choose his fate without interference from God”, and he recites this half-truth AS-IF it where the whole truth,.”

        A half truth is headed in the right direction. So, what half is missing?

        Then, “that God first conceived Adam’s disobedience, and conceived it as Adam’s infallible, inevitable, unavoidable fate, did not give Adam “the ability to refrain”, “alternate possibilities” or “the ability to do otherwise””

        And this was accomplished by making Adam a free agent able to make decisions on his own – the limitations of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom limited the ability of Adam to consider alternate possibilities..

        Like

      63. More sad attempts at denying the obvious!!
        Calvinists can’t even affirm their own doctrines.

        Plantinga says, “in Calvinisms God’s knowledge is not based on what Adam does – but based upon what he decrees.”

        rhutchins response: “This means that God “learns” through observing the actions of people”

        Silly bird!! Plantinga’s statement is a direct acknowledgement of Calvin’s doctrine of foreknowledge as the consequence of divine decrees.

        You to arguing the contrary would be “Calvinism’s God’s knowledge IS BASED upon what Adam does”
        Which is in fact what you fallaciously thought Plantinga’s statement meant.

        William Lane Craig “[In Calvinism] the movement of the human will is caused by God”
        rhutchin responds: “This is wrong. In Calvinism, the movement of the human will is caused by the sin nature.”

        rhutchin
        May 22, 2017 at 12:51 pm
        “God personally brings about an event or uses secondary means/agents to bring about the event.”

        You can’t even make a post that doesn’t contradict your last one!
        Additionally that you are a true follower of Christ is highly questionable, for your language is always full of dishonesties
        Jesus doesn’t teach his disciples to use deceptive language
        You’ve learned that from some other master.

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      64. br.d writes, “Plantinga says, “in Calvinisms God’s knowledge is not based on what Adam does – but based upon what he decrees.”…Plantinga’s statement is a direct acknowledgement of Calvin’s doctrine of foreknowledge as the consequence of divine decrees.”

        Plantinga understands Calvinism – that God’s omniscience is derived from His decrees. Plantings appears to take the opposite view – that God’s knowledge is based on His observations of human actions – and that God is not omniscient.

        Then, “rhutchin responds: “This is wrong. In Calvinism, the movement of the human will is caused by the sin nature.”
        rhutchin, “God personally brings about an event or uses secondary means/agents to bring about the event.”

        There is no contradiction here. It is true that the human will is caused by the sin nature. br.d does not dispute this. It is also true that God, as sovereign, exercises absolute control over the sin nature of each individual and gives each person – through his sin nature – freedom to pursue the desires of their sin nature. God need not cause or impel people to pursue evil – such desires come from their nature. br.d does not dispute this.

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      65. I never let you speak for me rhutchin – – since your so reliant upon dishonesties – –
        Case in point see how your post contradicts Helseth’s statement.

        Here is the quote again from Ron Helseth’s on God CAUSING HUMAN SIN.
        -quote:
        “The mechanics of how God can be the efficient CAUSE OF SIN without actually doing, and thus being culpable for, sin is inscrutable.”

        br.d completely agrees with William Lane Craig that in Calvinism god does cause every human though, choice, action.

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      66. br.d writes, “br.d completely agrees with William Lane Craig that in Calvinism god does cause every human though, choice, action.”

        Following Helseth, Craig should say “efficient” cause where efficient refers to controlling. As the pagan king, Nebuchadnezzar, figured out, “God does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, ‘What hast Thou done?” So, Paul, “God works all things after the counsel of His will,” and regarding God’s providence over His elect, “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God…” God is sovereign and exercises absolute control over His creation mercying one and hardening another. As it is, Craig, and now you, by following Craig, seem to be confused.

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      67. Here the appeal to “efficient” cause backfires on the Calvinist

        Efficient Cause occurs by an Agent:
        -quote:
        Agent: a change or movement’s efficient or moving “cause”, consists of things apart from the thing being changed or moved, which interact so as to be an AGENCY OF THE CHANGE OR MOVEMENT. For example, the efficient cause of a table is a carpenter, or a person working as one. – enquote

        So William Lane Craig is being logically consistent with Helseth’s appeal to the term “Efficient” cause.
        It makes God the “AGENT” who MOVES mans thoughts, choices and actions.

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      68. br.d writes, “Here the appeal to “efficient” cause backfires on the Calvinist”

        Evidencing the need to define terms. Do we know that Helseth used “efficient” in the sense you provided? Given that Helseth is a Calvinist, his focus would be on God as the agent in control (as sovereign) and not the agent of cause.

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      69. rhutchin writes:
        Evidencing the need to define terms. Do we know that Helseth used “efficient” in the sense you provided? Given that Helseth is a Calvinist, his focus would be on God as the agent in control (as sovereign) and not the agent of cause.

        Helseth is free to use as many equivocal, ambiguous, spurious, ad hoc rescues as he wants.

        If he chooses to be a representative sample of the common Calvinist magicians – what else is new! 😀

        Like

      70. Need to add that there is some debate on the point at which Adam actually sinned. Some say that Adam sinned before actually eating the fruit and that eating the fruit was evidence of his sin. In other words, Adam bought into the lie that Satan was promoting and by doing so, gave glory to Satan and not to God and it was this that then led Adam to eat the fruit. The Scriptures don’t tell us what was going through Adam’s head, but it seems logical that Adam sinned, got screwed up, and then ate the fruit.

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      71. rhutchin writes: “there is some debate on the point at which Adam actually sinned.”

        Calvinst Paul Kjoss Helseth writes: “The mechanics of how God can be the efficient cause of sin without actually doing, and thus being culpable for, sin is inscrutable.”

        Ron Highfield writes “Sin….has no positive existence, and the false images it projects can never become real.”

        One Calvinist contemplates the possibility that at some points Adam’s sin isn’t actually sin.
        Another Calvinist says God decrees all things that exist, and yet his role in sin (which exists) is inscrutable.
        A third Calvinist says sin has no positive existence and projects a false image.

        CAN ANYONE SPELL THE WORD ILLUSIONS!!

        Calvinism’s issue of evil and sin are obviously a problem for them.
        They *DO REALLY KNOW* the implications of their doctrine makes god the author of sin.
        Else they wouldn’t be grasping at so many straws trying to neutralize those obvious logical implications.

        Let the Calvinist confusion continue! 😀

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      72. br.d d writes, “One Calvinist contemplates…Another Calvinist says …A third Calvinist says…”

        And that pretty much covers the waterfront among everyone, Calvinists and non-Calvinists, on this subject. Given the absence of information in the Scriptures to resolve this issue, speculation is rife.

        Then, “Calvinism’s issue of evil and sin are obviously a problem for them.
        They *DO REALLY KNOW* the implications of their doctrine makes god the author of sin.”

        It’s a problem for everyone. The Calvinists are on the right track to resolving this issue.

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      73. Troy, “I was actually being quite sarcastic in my use of the term “robots” thus the quotation marks.”

        Sometimes, things just go over my head. Thanks for clarifying your point.

        Like

      74. I loved this one!!! “just an immutable fantasy love, being played out by robots who think they are freely deciding things.”

        You hit Theological Determinism on the bulls-eye Brian!!

        hmmm,…. I just realized… this is another AS-IF(ism) in Calvinism!

        Uncertain-Love-AS-IF-Certain-Love

        Thanks Brian, I’ll add this one to my list! 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      75. brianwagner writes, “The story is consistent with His nature… which is love… which requires the exercise of free will… ”

        By “free,” I take it that God exercise love at His discretion and is not compelled to do so by anything outside Himself. However, what if God were forced, by some external force, to love. Would that make it something less than love? As God is love, even the forced exercise of love would still be that same love. But that is a side issue.

        The issue here is whether God can have a relationship with humans that He has not yet created. To Jeremiah, God says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,..” We might define “knew” as a relationship – contrary to that expressed of some by Jesus in Matthew 7, “I never knew you.” Jeremiah could be included in those Paul describes in Romans 8, “…For whom He foreknew,…” God can certainly know as a matter of factual information, any person that He knows that He will create – He could know Adam, for example. Is it really fantasy love for God to love Adam before He even creates Adam?

        In Ephesians 1, we read, “In love God predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself,…” Even allowing for your anachronistic view here, we have God acting in love toward those whom He would create in the future. We would not call this a fantasy love. However, if we include Jeremiah in this grouping, we conclude that God predestined Jeremiah and this was in love expressed before God created Jeremiah.

        You write, “So the story can not be completely written ahead of the relationship coming into existence or there would be no exercise of free will and no love. …” By saying “completely written,” you seem to allow for wiggle room – the story could be written enough for God to love those He will create and to love them simply because He will create them (applying this to those vessels of honor or mercy Paul describes in Romans 9).

        I don’t see your concept of fantasy love being anything more than a presupposition to support your view.

        Like

      76. Roger… You changed the definition of love to fit your theology. There is no such thing as forced love… forced sex, maybe… forced emotional dependence maybe… but never forced love.

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      77. brianwagner writes, “There is no such thing as forced love… ”

        I agree – at least, not with respect to God. Nonetheless, if it were hypothesized that God could be coerced, in some manner, to love X, His love for X would be the same as that He would exhibit if He freely choose to love X. This is because God only knows to love one way. Regardless, it is a side issue that might be addressed elsewhere. The issue here is your invention of “fantasy love” and whether such could ever be applied to God.

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      78. Roger… you did another “as if”…. You said – “His love for X would be THE SAME AS THAT [emphasis mine] He would exhibit if He freely choose to love X. Thus the problem… your definition for love is still a fantasy love, whether conjured by God or imposed on God and you certainly give the impression you feel it is imposed on us and elicited deterministically from us! It definitely is not a definition of love that requires free-will, which you yourself agreed to above… but now you must defend different definitions of free-will and of love , “as if” they exist in a fully deterministic world! 😉 Have a good Memorial Day celebration!

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      79. brianwagner writes, “you did another “as if”…. You said – “His love for X would be THE SAME AS THAT [emphasis mine] He would exhibit if He freely choose to love X. Thus the problem…”

        Nothing wrong with using a hypothetical to make a point.

        then, “…your definition for love is still a fantasy love,…”

        The definition you want to ascribe on me is a “fantasy” love. My definition is not a fantasy love (at least, I don’t think so) – I don’t know what your definition is other than something you want to be fantasy. I guess it depends on whether you take it is a positive or negative sense to determine if your definition fits what I think love is.

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      80. Roger… you are welcome to believe in a hypothetical contradictory to reality and Scripture. That is truly the meaning of fantasy, that I had in mind! But to attribute such a lack of real love to God with real persons like yourself, I would think you would want to avoid defending.

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      81. So now the Calvinist is an expert on how god loves!!
        I think that clearly fits what the bible calls a “Vain imagination”. 😀

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      82. br.d writes, “So now the Calvinist is an expert on how god loves!!”

        Actually, the point is that we do not know how God loves – thus, we cannot label God’s love as “fantasy love” under certain circumstances.

        Like

      83. rhutchin
        May 29, 2017 at 6:57 am
        “This is because God only knows to love one way”

        br.d
        May 30, 2017 at 4:18 pm

        So now the Calvinist is an expert on how god loves!!
        I think that clearly fits what the bible calls a “Vain imagination”. 😀

        rhutchin
        May 30, 2017 at 5:12 pm
        “Actually, the point is that we do not know how God loves”

        It ain’t what the Calvinist knows that gets him in trouble.
        It’s what he knows for sure – – – that just ain’t so.
        It pops out of his head like hey wood and stubble.
        Like a rooster at midnight who thinks he should crow. 😛

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      84. br.d writes, “rhutchin said, “This is because God only knows to love one way” and then “Actually, the point is that we do not know how God loves””

        I maintain that God knows only one way to love and that such love is incomprehensible to us humans – nevertheless, I would add that God’s love could never be described as “fantasy love.” How does God love the dust mote on the back of the molecule that is observed through an electron microscope? Yet, God loves that human.

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      85. rhutchin writes “I maintain that God knows only one way to love and that such love is incomprehensible to us humans”

        This is classic Calvin language. He [as a human] maintains something about god that is incomprehensible to [he who is a human].

        And the logical contrapositive of that statement is: “I have no comprehension of what I maintain”

        Its a good thing Calvinists don’t explicitly claim infallibility! 😉

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      86. br.d writes, “the logical contrapositive of that statement is: “I have no comprehension of what I maintain””

        The non-Calvinist only complains about that which the Calvinist says. The non-Calvinist does not offer an alternative position. In this case, br.d objects when I say that God’s love is incomprehensible, but God’s love is also incomprehensible to him. br.d complains when I say that God knows only one way to love, but br.d does not advocate a different view. br.d complains about the Calvinist positions but does not disagree with the Calvinist positions.

        Like

      87. Roger… we are in agreement that God can start real love with a person after their conception when they come into existence as a person. And that is a benevolence love that we agree God shows to all who bear His image after conception.

        But I think you are putting up that smoke screen because you know my definition of salvation love for a storied “person” produced in God’s mind… or actually eternally immutably written there in God’s mind somehow… is truly a fantasy love… for the person does not yet exist. God is supposedly according to Calvinism in love with a story!

        Real relational love, salvation love… not just benevolence… requires a freewill response of the person being saved. Then they are called “beloved” after being joined to Christ. Before that they are not “beloved”… not even with a fantasy love! Though you are free to choose to continue to believe that even without Scriptural support, though I wish you wouldn’t.

        Like

      88. brianwagner writes, “we are in agreement that God can start real love with a person after their conception when they come into existence as a person. ”

        True. We disagree that God’s love leads to the conception and therefore precedes the conception.

        Then, “…for the person does not yet exist. God is supposedly according to Calvinism in love with a story!”

        In your mind, no one exists until after conception (for some reason, you don’t view a person to exist at conception). However, God’s mind is different, and who is to say that people do not exist in God’s mind prior to that point where He conceives the person in the womb.

        Then, “Real relational love, salvation love… not just benevolence… requires a freewill response of the person being saved.”

        And that is why God restores free will to certain people, conveys faith to those people and then convicts those people of their sin – the end of which is the expression of love for God by those people. We agree on the “requires a freewill response of the person being saved.” I have described how this free will response can come about. Have you developed an alternative?

        Like

      89. You know Roger that I do have an alternative view. Why would you ask such a condescending sounding question? I didn’t develop it… it is just a consistent understanding derived from Scripture. And you have confirmed that the love before conception in your view is only in God’s mind… That is what a fantasy love is… something made up in one’s mind! There is no person-hood in existence before conception… but you are free to believe in such a fantasy that there is. And you are free 🙂 to believe the fantasy that true free will exists after regeneration of some, even though in your view the whole eternal immutable finished story existed before any other will besides God’s was created.

        I am really disappointed Roger that your loyalty to theological determinism is so strong that you continue to refuse what Scripture clearly teaches and what logic demands.

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      90. brianwagner writes, “You know Roger that I do have an alternative view…. it is just a consistent understanding derived from Scripture. ”

        I think you meant to say, “…that I have derived…”

        Then, “…you have confirmed that the love before conception in your view is only in God’s mind… That is what a fantasy love is… something made up in one’s mind!”

        Is “love” something other than an attitude of of mind? If you tell your wife that you love her, aren’t you expressing something that exists in your mind? Does your definition of “love” denote something that exists outside the mind? So, we differ on this.

        Then, “…you are free 🙂 to believe the fantasy that true free will exists after regeneration of some,…”

        Here, we disagree on Original Sin. I think the freedom of will Adam enjoyed prior to his sin was compromised by his sin. As a consequence, Paul tells us that the unsaved are hostile to God and do not seek God. Even you admit that something has to change – you say that God enlightens everyone. So, what does that enlightening entail – at least, it seems to entail a change in attitude toward God.

        Then, “I am really disappointed Roger that your loyalty to theological determinism is so strong that you continue to refuse what Scripture clearly teaches and what logic demands.”

        I think you meant to say, “…what I say Scripture clearly teaches…”

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      91. “If you tell your wife that you love her, aren’t you expressing something that exists in your mind?” So who is God telling before creation that He loves them only in His mind as a story of their whole life before He authored that story, which story will not be able to change after they are created. He certainly didn’t tell me those words before creation. I wasn’t around.

        Roger, my wife certainly does want me to love her as a story in my mind, but as a person in my life! 😉

        And I’ll begin to follow your example when I see you use the words “what I say Scripture clearly teaches” in your comments! 😉

        Like

      92. God’s knowledge of Jeremiah and of us begins when God causes or permits our conception. Before we are formed in the womb God makes a complete plan for our lives that He intends for our salvation and the worship and service of Him. That plan was not made before creation. But in giving us a relatively free will… the plan is filled with conditional elements.

        The point still remains that there was not one set story in God’s mind eternally and immutably. A set group of individuals elect to come into existence and be saved, living out their part of the predetermined story, is NOT how the Scripture reads. Roger and Brian and the stories of their lives forever were not immutably scripted eternally in God’s mind. He understood fully the possibilities of their lives in all their conditional possibilities… but He was not locked in to even creating the Roger and Brian that now try to honor His revelation of truth!

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      93. rhutchin writes “Fate is impersonal; God is personal.”

        This statement, although TRUE with “Naturalistic” Fatalism, is FALSE with “Theological” Fatalism.

        Just as there are different variants on Fatalism (i.e., Naturalistic, Cosmic, Carma etc)
        There are different variants of Determinism.
        Theological Fatalism and Theological Determinism can share the same “THEOS” who is obviously a person.
        That simply depends upon which “THEOS” is expressed by the religion.

        The Islamic religion is Theological Determinism, and the “THEOS” is (Arabic: الله , translit. Allāh )
        The Calvinist religion is Theological Determinism, and the “THEOS” is purported to be the god of the Judeo christian scriptures.

        Calvinism’s Theological Determinism shares many of the exact same logical entailments as Islam’s.

        And some of its human behavioral characteristics, are quite natural out-workings of that belief system.
        For example, Calvinists consistently examine each others behavior, like one reads tea-leaves, looking for harbingers of each believer’s eternal fate.

        This is why Dr. Erich Fromm – Ph.D Social Psychologist, in his book “Escape from Freedom”, calls Calvinism a “Theology of Dread”

        Like

      94. Great point Brian!!

        Theological Determinism, and Theological Fatalism are two apples from the same tree.
        Yes they are two different unique apples.
        But they are still of the same MODAL SPECIES.

        Theological Determinism and Theological Fatalism share many logical entailments
        (1) Only one single unique event can occur (no alternative possibilities exist)
        (2) Every event that comes to pass, OCCURS WITH THE FORCE OF INEVITABILITY
        (3) Every event that comes to pass, OCCURS WITH THE FORCE OF UNAVOIDABILITY
        (4) Every event that comes to pass is determined in the remote past, and (by virtue of 2-3) is not up to us.

        Since this is the case, any MODAL distinction of Theological Fatalism from Theological Determinism, is a distinction without a difference.

        Great post! 🙂

        Like

    2. br.d writes, “10) Decreed-Divine-Knowledge-AS-IF-NOT-Decreed:
      This is where God decrees Cain to murder Able, decreeing it as Cain’s unavoidable fate. Consequently, God knows exactly how Cain is going to murder Able….God knows Cain is going to murder Able AS-IF God wasn’t the one who first conceived it, and then made it Cain’s unavoidable fate.”

      The desire of Cain to murder Abel was conceived by Cain in his sin nature as God decreed that Cain would be free to pursue his sinful desires. Cain is a slave to sin and his unavoidable fate is to sin.

      Like

      1. Another great example of “AS-IF-NOT-Decreed”

        In a previous post, you stated “All events are first conceived by God at the foundation of the world”
        Thanks for exemplifying Calvinism’s “AS-IF-NOT-Decreed” 😀
        You always provide the best examples rhutchin – thanks!

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      2. Exactly!! AS-IF God did not first conceive Cain murdering Able and first conceive Cain’s evil desires and then (foreknow as the result of foreordination) all of those things as Cain’s unavoidable fate.

        Good example of “Decreed-Divine-Knowledge-AS-IF-NOT-Decreed” rhutchin – thanks! 🙂

        Like

    3. br.d writes, “11) Calvinism-AS-IF-Hyper-Calvinism
      …However, every Calvinist who has ever been called Hyper has denied it, and has instead attributed the label to someone else AS-IF he were not Hyper, and they were. So, this is another example of something that doesn’t exist in Calvinism AS-IF it does.”

      Generally, the person identified as Hyper-Calvinist is one who denies Christ’s command in Matthew 28, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you;…” The Calvinist subscribes fully to this command and Calvinism has inspired, and encouraged, many missionaries.

      Like

      1. br.d writes, “Let the SOT101 reader check out this Calvinist web-site on “Calvinism-AS-IF-Hyper-Calvinism”
        http://jesussaidfollowme.org/hypercalvinism.htm

        First point on the list:

        “1. Selective-Evangelism, Hyper-Calvinism: A denial that evangelists should exhort sinners to repent, believe, and come to Christ. The gospel is proclaimed only to those who show signs of being elect. Here are some examples of selective evangelism from the Gospel Standard Articles of Faith…”

        Good article.

        Like

    4. br.d writes, “13) Doublespeak-AS-IF-NOT-Doublespeak:
      This is where God commands his people to repent, and choose life, AS-IF he really wills them to repent and choose life. Or where God commands Adam and Eve to not eat of the forbidden fruit, AS-IF he really willed them to not eat of the forbidden fruit. So, this is a special kind of divine speech in which God deceives his people into believing he is speaking his “real” will, when he is really speaking a “revealed” will AS-IF it were his “real” will. ”

      God commanded Israel to keep His law knowing that it would not. God commands all people everywhere to repent and believe the gospel knowing that they will not. God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit knowing they would eat the fruit. God’s commands to people are called His prescriptive will wherein God wills that people obey Him but then gives people freedom to decide whether they will obey.

      Like

      1. Another great example of Calvinism’s “Unfree-AS-IF-free”

        Alvin Plantinga
        – quote “It seems clear that at least one of these conditionals is true: [Cain will murder Able, or Cain will not murder Able]
        But naturally they can’t both be true, so exactly one [and only one] is.”

        In Calvinism, there is only one sole AGENT who determines all of Cain’s actions as well as all of Cain’s nature.
        But as Plantinga points out, God can only make exactly one [and only one] event actuable.

        Let the SOT101 reader connect the dots, and not be manipulated by semantic games. 🙂

        Like

      2. br.d writes, “In Calvinism, there is only one sole AGENT who determines all of Cain’s actions…”

        God is sovereign and has the final say on the actions of every person. God has the final choice either to restrain the person thus preventing them from acting to sin or to do nothing and give the person freedom to carry out their sin. Anyone who holds that God is sovereign should know this.

        Then, “…as well as all of Cain’s nature.”

        This was by God’s decree that the corruption of Adam would be inherited by his progeny. As Paul explained, “through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned–…by the transgression of the one the many died…by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one,…through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men,…through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners,…” (Romans 5)

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      3. Here rhutchin provides us with 3 excellent examples of Calvinism’s AS-IF(isms):

        “Decreed-Divine-Knowledge-AS-IF-NOT-Decreed”
        and
        “Doublespeak-AS-IF-NOT-Doublespeak”

        (1) rhutchin: God commanded Israel to keep His law *KNOWING* that it would not.
        AS-IF God’s knowing that was not the by-product of his decreeing that
        AS-IF God really willed them to keep it, – seeing God only knows what he decrees
        Thus god deceived them, presenting a “revealed” will, which was not his “real” will.

        (2) rhutchin: God commands all people everywhere to repent and believe the gospel *KNOWING* they will not.
        AS-IF God’s knowing that was not the by-product of his decreeing it
        AS-IF God really wanted all people everywhere to believe the gospel – seeing how God only knows what he decrees.
        Thus god deceived them, presenting a “revealed” will, which was not his “real” will.

        (3) rhutchin: God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit *KNOWING* they would eat the fruit.
        AS-IF God’s knowing they would eat, was not the by-product of his decreeing it
        AS-IF God really wanted them to NOT to eat the fruit- seeing how God only knows what he decrees.
        Thus god deceived them, presenting a “revealed” will, which was not his “real” will.

        Good examples of Calvinism’s AS-IF(isms) rhutchin – thanks! 😀

        Like

      4. br.d writes, “Good examples of Calvinism’s AS-IF(isms) rhutchin – thanks! 😀”

        If that is all you mean, no problem. You have the same issue with everyone else.

        Like

  12. Phillip is completely out of touch with what he has done towards me (i.e. saying I was not saved, saying I was a Pharisee, a fool, etc.). THAT is what I meant when I said that God has been watching all of this. Phillip takes no responsibility for how he has acted towards me. Contrary to him I do not attack other believers claiming they are unsaved, Pharisees, fools, etc. Phillip writes:

    “Everyone here (and those over at SBC Today, where Robert was temporarily banned for unbrotherly behavior) are well aware of the history; including, but not limited to, calling Leighton’s character into question.”

    Phillip always leaves out that is the fact that I lost patience with rhutchin that led to me being temporarily banned at SBC Today. A lot of people have lost patience with rhutchin there (and here, most who post here simply leave and never post here again). Phillip leaves THAT out. He also leaves out the fact that I was reinstated at SBC Today while rhutchin has been permanently banned. Jesus lost patience with genuine Pharisees, with people who acted like the fool of Proverbs. He got extremely angry at these types of people. In fact I would say you can tell a lot about a person by what they tolerate and what they stand up against. You can weave any narrative you want if you selectively leave out things, as Phillip does.

    And regarding “calling Leighton’s character into question” even this is not fairly presented. I believe that Leighton is a good guy (just look at his relationship with his wife and family to see that clearly). The problem is that sometimes good guys tolerate what they should not tolerate (i.e. allowing rhutchin to post here with no repercussions for his conduct, not even temporarily being banned, ***nothing***). I have taught a lot of Bible Studies and if someone had done what rhutchin did at those Bible studies he would be asked to leave. But if someone sees it and tolerates it, that is not good. Apparently the principles that are in play when teaching Bible Studies do not apply to the internet (or a whole lot that is allowed would not be allowed, anonymous posting, saying other believers are unsaved if they disagree with you, attacking them as Pharisees because you don’t like them, etc. etc. etc.): I keep forgetting that. I guess my expectations are just too high. Now some of you can justify your interactions with rhutchin because it supposedly shows more of the calvinistic view and that is supposedly useful (but again that is justifying the wrong he does, not standing up against it, not eliminating it). And one of you continues to interact with rhutchin because he is your personal project and you have invested a lot of time in this project.

    I am glad that Walter Martin does not have to see this Internet stuff, he would not have tolerated this kind of thing. He loved people, including committed cultists, but he also understood that some conduct is unacceptable. He stood for things, did not tolerate certain things, spoke the truth and lived out Biblical principles. Sadly, there are not many like him these days.

    Like

  13. Johnny the Calvinist:

    Billy-bob, a college student, walked into his dorm room and found his Calvinist room-mate Johnny dutifully taking notes, watching a TV magician pulling rabbits out of hats. What are you doing Billy-bob asked curiously. Johnny looked up all excited, and said I’m prepping for my debate tomorrow on Calvinism! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Dr, John Schafer,Ph.D, retired FBI Special Agent

    – quote:
    “People typically use two methods to deceive – Obfuscation and Omission.

    Obfuscation:
    People who lie by obfuscation, create [webs of] semantic confusion. They hide truths they don’t want you to see, within a tangle of half-truths and suppositions. They hyper-emphasize a half-truth, presenting it as if it’s the whole truth, and then attack those truths they don’t want you to see.

    Omission:
    People who lie by omission, tell the truth up to the point where they want to withhold information. Then bridge [or leap-frog] over the withheld information, and then resume, where they can continue telling truths. This strategy gives the appearance, one is telling the whole truth, when one really isn’t.” – end quote.

    In both of cases, it is left to the truth detector to discover those truths the deceiver needs to mask.
    Since these two methods are tools in his semantic toolbox, it goes without saying, the deceiver will also use these two methods to refute evidences of semantic games. He’ll boldly challenge you to show that evidence, in order to act like he’s not playing the game. But to no avail. He’ll simply wiggle his way out of acknowledging anything that doesn’t facilitate the game, in order to resume it.

    In vain is the net spread, in the sight of any bird – Proverbs 1:17
    In all of your getting, get wisdom – Proverbs 4:7 🙂

    Like

    1. br.d quotes, ““People typically use two methods to deceive – Obfuscation and Omission.”

      Jesus said, “…you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Let’s rely on the Scriptures to shed light on the truth and not the musings of men and personal opinion.

      Like

      1. I’ll let you rely on that …if you want to call that your personal opinion. 😉

        Fallacy of Personal Opinion:
        A logical fallacy in which a person discredits any opposition by labeling it an opinion. Functions as a a red herring.
        Whether one has a particular entitlement or right is irrelevant to whether one’s assertion is true or false.

        Such an assertion, however, is most often one’s inability to participate in the system of logic at hand.

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      2. BTW: rhutchin – I love that paragraph from Dr, John Schafer, because its soooooo revealing!!!
        I can certainly understand your discomposure to it. 😉

        Jesus also says: “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”

        So I thank Jesus for using Dr. Schafer to help bring light on how Obfuscation and Omission work!

        Like

      3. It’s easy to make the word of God void. As Jesus clearly shows in Mark 7:13

        Now making logic Void…..that’s not so easy!

        Like

  15. Robert writes… “Phillip is completely out of touch with what he has done towards me…”

    Talk about “completely out of touch”.

    Poor Robert is still in denial if he thinks rhutchin is the only reason he was banned at SBC Today. I was there. I know. There were several others. Now perhaps that’s the impression the moderator at SBCT gave him, but rest assured, there were many, many more.

    Robert writes…. “He also leaves out the fact that I was reinstated at SBC Today while rhutchin has been permanently banned.”

    Perhaps Robert needs to do a word study on “temporarily”. Still, its quite an accomplishment for an Arminian to be banned, even temporarily, from SBCT. So we know it was more than a simple slip of the tongue and more than one person.

    Now here’s the real kicker. Robert writes… “The problem is that sometimes good guys tolerate what they should not tolerate (i.e. allowing rhutchin to post here with no repercussions for his conduct, not even temporarily being banned, ***nothing***)”.

    Does he mean like coming to this site and continuing to call rhutchin a “troll” (which he seems to believe is why he was temporarily banned from SBCT) and has continued to do so even after being gently asked to refrain from doing so? Does he mean conduct like calling brother Brian, who has been the epitome of grace, a “bigot”? Or how about when he refers to others as a child, juvenile, or dumb (like he has at SBCT since his reinstatement)? Or how about when you accuse another brother of being “a liar”? And the list goes on and on.

    No. You see, Robert really sees himself as the only victim here. Obviously completely unaware (and uncaring) of how many he has offended.

    Never once have I seen/read a public apology from Robert. Of course, in his mind, he doesn’t own an apology to anyone for anything.

    As brother Brian so astutely pointed out, with each passing comment, Robert’s “christian character” is exposed.

    Like

    1. Phillip continues his selective presentation:

      “Poor Robert is still in denial if he thinks rhutchin is the only reason he was banned at SBC Today. I was there. I know. There were several others. Now perhaps that’s the impression the moderator at SBCT gave him”

      Well that is just it, I had private conversations with the moderator at that time (I consider that doing the right thing, if you are temporarily suspended from posting you go to the moderator to discuss it privately with them). I put much more trust in those communications than the claims of Phillip a person who hates me is, and is merely posting to attack.

      “Perhaps Robert needs to do a word study on “temporarily”. Still, its quite an accomplishment for an Arminian to be banned, even temporarily, from SBCT. So we know it was more than a simple slip of the tongue and more than one person.”

      The moderator said it was one person, rhutchin, so should I trust what the moderator was telling me or again the guy who detests me?

      “No. You see, Robert really sees himself as the only victim here.”

      I do not view myself as a victim whatsoever. I can handle the behavior of rhutchin. But others do not handle his behavior at all. I speak for those who have been offended by rhutchin and left. For example we had two ladies who posted here, received the typical treatment from rhutchin and they said they were going to drop out and stop posting because of rhutchin. Interesting that Phillip never speaks for them, never speaks for those offended by rhutchin: his sole mission here is to attack me.

      “As brother Brian so astutely pointed out, with each passing comment, Robert’s “christian character” is exposed.”

      Speaking of Christian character being exposed: Isn’t it Phillip who does exact word counts of my posts, claims he never reads them, but obviously does as he meticulously catalogues every possible negative thing that I have said? Isn’t it Phillip who said I was unsaved, a Pharisee, a fool, “a one point Calvinist” etc.?

      Regarding Christian character being exposed, I will leave that to my wife, family, friends, those whom I minister with and the various people both believers and non-believers that I come in contact with. I take their counsel, accountability, interactions and reproof very seriously. I refuse to take the comments of Phillip with his total hatred towards me as seriously. Phillip strikes me as one of those folks who hate you and attack you but then justify and rationalize it as “speaking the truth in love”.

      Like

  16. Ok, Gang….I’ve discovered 3 more of Calvinism’s AS-IF(isms)
    Thanks Brian for cluing me into #14 🙂

    Here they are:

    14) Uncertain-Love-AS-IF-Certain-Love:
    This is where the Calvinist asserts, “God loves you” to a person whom he secretly doubts God loves – in order to recruit that person into Calvinism. It can also manifest as a very special kind of love that God has for those people to whom he has reserved eternal torments in a lake of fire. And also as a special love that every Calvinist automatically assumes God has for him. Even though a (normally closed) compartment within each Calvinist’s mind tells him that God may be deceiving him into believing he is elect, only to give him a taste of salvation, in order to magnify his eternal torments in the lake of fire. So this is a very special warm and comforting kind of Uncertain-love-AS-IF-Certain-love.

    15) Instrument-AS-IF-Agent:
    This is where the word “Agent” is attributed to human actions, where the human is actually functioning as nothing more than an instrument in the hand of God, who functions as the sole determining Agent in said actions. So this is also a very special kind of agent, who is actually an instrument, functioning as Instrument-AS-IF-Agent.

    16) Half-Truths-AS-IF-Whole-Truths:
    This is where the Calvinist asserts things like “Cain murdered Able because of his own personal evil desires”. And this half-truth is presented AS-IF it where the whole truth. While the Calvinist secretly holds to another truth; that God first conceived Cain’s murder, and first conceived all of Cain’s evil desires, and then decreed them as Cain’s unavoidable fate. But the Calvinist has a very special obligation to attack that truth AS-IF it were NOT truth. As a result, many half-truths are very special sacred half-truths, which function in Calvinism as half-truths-AS-IF-whole-truths.

    17) No-Alternative-Possibilities-AS-IF-Alternative-Possibilities:
    This is where the Calvinist may say: “God decreed Adam free to obey or disobey” AS-IF alternative possibilities exist in Calvinism, when really they don’t. And the Calvinist secretly knows, it is a logical impossibility for God to decree Adam to obey, and NOT to obey. Because determinism is the thesis that one, and only one, unique pre-determined future can be actualized. So these are a very special kind of Alternative-Possibilities that don’t have real existence, yet can be asserted AS-IF Alternative-Possibilities do exist.

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  17. The more Robert writes, the more he hangs himself.

    Robert writes… “I can handle the behavior of rhutchin.”

    And, yet, previously confessed…. “Phillip always leaves out that is the fact that I lost patience with rhutchin that led to me being temporarily banned at SBC Today.”

    Go figure.

    Robert writes… “Isn’t it Phillip who does exact word counts of my posts….”

    And yet Rule #7 at SBC Today reads…

    “Comments should not be longer than the original post! Please limit the length of your comment to less than 500 words. This does not mean that you can then post consecutive 500 word comments in a string. Please do not post an inappropriate amount of consecutive comments. If you are found to be doing this you will be banned.”

    How would the SBCT Moderator know if the rule was being broken without a word count? Is Robert questioning the “Christian character” of those at SBCT too? And Robert has stated in the past that if SBCT had the “character” to banned rhutchin over there, shouldn’t Leighton do the same thing here? Well, if SBCT thinks anyone breaking rule #7 should be banned over there, would Robert want Leighton to do the same thing over here?

    I, too had written conversations with the Moderator at SBCT and, if need be, can be supplied. I can say here that others that I know who were offended by Robert’s comments, other than myself, included rhutchin, Bill Mac, Les, and Randall. Just to name a few.

    No one is saying that rhutchin, at times, might cross a line, but for Robert to being crying “punishment” regarding rhutchin’s behavior is at the height of hypocrisy.

    Like

    1. The more that Phillip writes the more he demonstrates the depth of hatred that he has for me.
      Phillip writes:

      [[“The more Robert writes, the more he hangs himself.
      Robert writes… “I can handle the behavior of rhutchin.”
      And, yet, previously confessed…. “Phillip always leaves out that is the fact that I lost patience with rhutchin that led to me being temporarily banned at SBC Today.”
      Go figure.”]]

      Easy to figure, I openly admitted that I lost patience with rhutchin and said some things that led to my being temporarily banned at SBC. I am more patient with rhutchin at this time with thanks from other posters and the moderator that helped me deal with that situation at that time.

      Note Phillip’s language: “the more he hangs himself”” apparently that is what Phillip really wants, that I hang myself. This coming from a professing Christian: again I was correct he is one of those folks that attacks out of hatred then masks it by rationalizing that he is merely “speaking the truth in love.”
      Phillip next brings up a different standard at SBC (i.e. Rule 7) versus here (where there is no Rule 7 and seemingly no limit to the length of posts made here at Soteriology 101 and tries to use that to get me banned:

      [[“Robert writes… “Isn’t it Phillip who does exact word counts of my posts….”
      And yet Rule #7 at SBC Today reads…
      “Comments should not be longer than the original post! Please limit the length of your comment to less than 500 words. This does not mean that you can then post consecutive 500 word comments in a string. Please do not post an inappropriate amount of consecutive comments. If you are found to be doing this you will be banned.”
      How would the SBCT Moderator know if the rule was being broken without a word count? Is Robert questioning the “Christian character” of those at SBCT too? And Robert has stated in the past that if SBCT had the “character” to banned rhutchin over there, shouldn’t Leighton do the same thing here? Well, if SBCT thinks anyone breaking rule #7 should be banned over there, would Robert want Leighton to do the same thing over here?”]]

      I understand that at SBC Today they do not allow long post based on Rule 7. But we are not at SBC Today HERE. Here there is no such rule, and people have posted long posts without being banned. Phillip is claiming that I should be banned here based upon a rule or standard that applies at a different website. I fully understand that we ought to abide by the rules of the site where we are posting. But that is not what he is suggesting, he is suggesting that the standard at another site ought to be used here to ban me here.

      “I, too had written conversations with the Moderator at SBCT and, if need be, can be supplied. I can say here that others that I know who were offended by Robert’s comments, other than myself, included rhutchin, Bill Mac, Les, and Randall. Just to name a few.”

      Now these comments are particularly interesting, he says that he wrote the moderator privately as well: so that means he was actively trying to have me banned there. I didn’t know that. Interesting to know to what length Phillip is trying to have me banned. Apparently Phillip believes vengeance is his!

      I also note the list of those whom he says that I offended: “myself” (need anything be said about Phillip’s motives?), “rhutchin” (hmm, the guy I lost patience with then and who repeatedly drives others to cease posting here and other places), “Bill Mac” (a guy who kept saying he was not a calvinist but kept trying to defend against any attacks and challenges of calvinism), “Les” (Les like rhutchin has offended a lot of people at SBC Today and other places he posts, he is a calvinist who has had much of the same effect on others as rhutchin does, kinda two peas from the same pod), “and Randall” (my experiences with Randall lead me to see him as also very similar to rhutchin and Les, calvinists who just want to defend their view and come across as very arrogant, condescending towards non-Calvinists, Randall even mocked me for posting only by first name when I do so because I work in prison ministry to protect myself and family, this is known to many at SBC Today including multiple moderators there and Randall knew it too but that did not stop him from mocking merely for posting by first name), “Just to name a few” (apparently Phillip is keeping some sort of list, can’t speak about these others, but the ones he names are highly questionable.

      “No one is saying that rhutchin, at times, might cross a line, but for Robert to being crying “punishment” regarding rhutchin’s behavior is at the height of hypocrisy.”

      I have not driven people from posting at this site and other sites as rhutchin has and continues to do so. Note yet again in everything Phillip says there is nothing about those who stop posting because of rhutchin, those folks apparently don’t matter to Phillip. They are particularly the reason why I wish rhutchin were permanently banned here as he is at SBC Today. I feel sorry for these victims of rhutchin’s abuse. Phillip ignores that completely, it is only about attacking me any way that he can.
      I suggest that Phillip ends his discussion with me. Instead Phillip should be interacting with rhutchin since he wants rhutchin to be posting here. Phillip should speak up for rhutchin’s victims, stand up for those abused by rhutchin. If I saw that I would be quite content. If Phillip just continues attacking me I do not see that being a positive contribution at all (and that does nothing about the problem of rhutchin).

      Like

      1. Unlike Robert, I will try to keep this short.

        “…..apparently that is what Phillip really wants, that I hang myself.”

        Unhinged. Unbrotherly. And uncalled for.

        Regarding the brothers’ names I mentioned (rhutchin, Les, Bill Mac, and Randall), please notice the unrepentant heart. Instead, Robert attempts to discredit them and justify his actions.

        Robert writes… “I didn’t know that.”

        There is much Robert doesn’t know. But good luck getting him to believe that.

        Robert writes…. “Phillip should speak up for rhutchin’s victims, stand up for those abused by rhutchin.”

        Unfortunately, standing up for those abused by Robert is a full time job.

        Robert writes… “If Phillip just continues attacking me I do not see that being a positive contribution at all (and that does nothing about the problem of rhutchin).”

        And, apparently, it does nothing about the problem of Robert as well.

        Like

  18. BrianWagner and BR.D,

    I have been reading this thread closely, and I must say that I have been blessed by your responses to our Calvinist friends. As you both previously noted, I am one of those individuals that quietly read your posts and with much interest. BR.D was correct in noting that having Calvinists respond to Dr. Flowers articles, and reading their arguments against your position affords us the privilege to observe their responses, as well as, expose the blatant contradictions that have been consistently demonstrated.

    Gentlemen, thank you for your theological depth and responses, along with your faithfulness in performing due diligence to those who seek to contend with the biblical truths that Dr. Flowers and you men have defended. Many blessings to you, and know that we are reading, pondering, and learning.

    Shalom

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Brian R. for your kind encouraging words! You have confirmed that often the value public discussion is not just about what is said, but what is heard and by whom! 😉

      Like

      1. I also want to thank everyone for their comments and contributuons. I have learned volumes from this discussion.
        (Even from the rude ones)
        I have just one quick question.
        Could it be the *decree* Troy should be looking at is this : That this entire age (and possibly ages to come) is little more tha an object lesson to “principalities and powers of darkness in high places”. For what Satan desired to take by force with a third of the angels, God is “giving as a gift” to us, mere “dust of the earth” and we will judge the angels.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Glad to know you are listening in Sanford, and that the discussions have been helpful to you!

        If I understand your comment correctly… I think Calvinists are so loyal to their view of an all encompassing decree, that the miss understanding the purpose of the free interaction God is now having through the church to display His grace before a watching heavenly audience. Satan and his hoards certainly do not act like everything is predetermined! They are either self-deceived, unconvinced by Calvinists, or they know something Calvinists are not willing to admit…that – Everything is not predetermined in an eternal immutable decree.

        Like

      3. Hi Sanford,
        Very nice to see your post, and welcome!!!

        On your question, Calvinist theology has as it rock and foundation the philosophical notion of Theological Determinism.

        You’ll see a good article here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theological_determinism

        -quote “Some claim that theological determinism requires predestination of **ALL** events (without limitation) and outcomes by the divinity”

        So in Calvinism, you have a fundamental principle of THE END JUSTIFIES THE MEANS.
        And you’ll find Calvinist using the term “MEANS” consistently when enunciating their cosmology.

        It follows then that in Calvinism, the serpent in the garden, Lucifer, the fallen angels, Adam’s fall, all human sin, and all evil, are nothing more than MEANS that god uses to bring about his ENDS.

        In Calvinism, god’s will as the divine *POTTER*, is that the *MANY* be created as vessels of wrath, whose end is eternal torment in the lake of fire. And god’s will as the divine *POTTER* is that the *FEW* spend eternity in heaven.

        Once you understand that in Calvinism, everything on planet earth is simply god’s MEANS to that END, you know enough about Calvinism to know it posits an image of god that is ungodliness declared godly, good called evil, and evil called good.

        Blessings Sanford!

        Like

      4. br.d writes, “So in Calvinism, you have a fundamental principle of THE END JUSTIFIES THE MEANS.”

        In Calvinism, God has an eternal plan – e.g., “Jesus was delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2); “This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3) – so that the means God uses are for the purpose of achieving His ends. br.d gets it right when he says, “the serpent in the garden, Lucifer, the fallen angels, Adam’s fall, all human sin, and all evil, are nothing more than MEANS that god uses to bring about his ENDS,” and again when he says, “everything on planet earth is simply god’s MEANS to that END,” Calvinism says that God has a plan and and the events of history are God’s means to achieve His plan.

        Like

  19. To brothers Brian (Wagner) and Br. D,

    I don’t chime in much these days, but I greatly appreciate what you are doing here. Its not just your words or message, but how you graciously interact with others.

    God bless you both!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much Phillip.
      I pray that the Lord will make a way for more participation on your part, if he puts that in your heart.
      But in any case, my very sincere thanks and blessings to you!!
      br.d :-]

      Like

  20. Phillip posted after my post:

    “Depravity defined: see above”

    As no one is talking about the definition of depravity, I can only take this as being yet another attack of me by Phillip. Not surprising coming from a “brother” who has already gone on record here saying that I was unsaved, a Pharisee, a fool, and a one point calvinist.

    “Regarding the brothers’ names I mentioned (rhutchin, Les, Bill Mac, and Randall), please notice the unrepentant heart. Instead, Robert attempts to discredit them and justify his actions.”

    I was not trying to justify my actions, it does need to be noted however that this list of supposedly offended folks, they need to be seen for who they are. They are not innocent posters who were offended, rhutchin, Les and Randall are calvinists who leave a very clear wake of offensive posts aimed at non-Calvinists. They are not **innocent** at all.

    “Robert writes… “I didn’t know that.”

    There is much Robert doesn’t know. But good luck getting him to believe that.”

    I am well aware that unlike God I am not all knowing. I do know however based on his posts towards me that Phillip harbors a massive hatred and his aim in his posts is to attack me and have me banned from posting anywhere.

    “Robert writes…. “Phillip should speak up for rhutchin’s victims, stand up for those abused by rhutchin.”
    Unfortunately, standing up for those abused by Robert is a full time job.”

    Actually that is not accurate at all, no one is offended by my posts at SBC currently (except for Phillip). And here at Soteriology 101 I don’t see anyone saying that I have offended them (cf. unlike with those who explicitly state that they will no longer post here because of their treatment by rhutchin).

    “Robert writes… “If Phillip just continues attacking me I do not see that being a positive contribution at all (and that does nothing about the problem of rhutchin).”
    And, apparently, it does nothing about the problem of Robert as well.”

    And I will reiterate what I said earlier:

    I suggest that Phillip ends his discussion with me. Instead Phillip should be interacting with rhutchin since he wants rhutchin to be posting here. Phillip should speak up for rhutchin’s victims, stand up for those abused by rhutchin. If I saw that I would be quite content. If Phillip just continues attacking me I do not see that being a positive contribution at all (and that does nothing about the problem of rhutchin).

    Like

    1. Unbelievable.

      Robert writes….

      “I was not trying to justify my actions, it does need to be noted however that this list of supposedly offended folks, they need to be seen for who they are. They are not innocent posters who were offended, rhutchin, Les and Randall are calvinists who leave a very clear wake of offensive posts aimed at non-Calvinists. They are not **innocent** at all.”

      And yet it was Robert who was banned (temporarily) at the time by the moderator at SBCT.

      Robert writes….

      “And here at Soteriology 101 I don’t see anyone saying that I have offended them….”

      Totally clueless.

      Like

    2. Robert writes, “…list of supposedly offended folks,…”

      I don’t think any of these guys were offended – I know I wasn’t. The powers at SBCToday ruled that your behavior did not meet their lofty standards.

      Like

      1. “The powers at SBC Today ruled that your behavior did not meet their lofty standards.”

        Rhutchin,

        Precisely. Robert wanted those brothers to be banned, but it was Robert who was eventually banned (albeit temporarily). He wasn’t banned because of a belief. He was banned because of his unbrotherly behavior.

        Like

      2. Rhutchin,

        Let me add that the word “offended” might be inaccurate. Perhaps inappropriate is better. I can’t speak for the others mentioned, so I have no idea if they were offended or not. But it was obvious from their comments that they thought Robert’s language was uncalled for. Even I wasn’t offended, but rather disappointed.

        Eventually, SBCT felt the same and Robert was banned (again, temporarily).

        Like

  21. Earlier in this thread it was Phillip’s claim that I had offended some folks at SBC Today (though Phillip repeated this claim multiple times here is one good example:

    “I can say here that others that I know who were offended by Robert’s comments, other than myself, included rhutchin, Bill Mac, Les, and Randall. Just to name a few.”

    Rhutchin himself one of these supposedly offended people disagreed with Phillip and wrote:

    “I don’t think any of these guys were offended – I know I wasn’t.”

    Apparently that is enough for Phillip to completely revise his story and say:

    “Let me add that the word “offended” might be inaccurate. Perhaps inappropriate is better. I can’t speak for the others mentioned, so I have no idea if they were offended or not.”

    Wait a minute now he says “I have no idea if they were offended or not”. But he told us repeatedly “that others that I know who were offended by Robert’s comments” (then giving us a list of those offended).
    Phillip cannot keep his story straight because that is what happens when hatred so blinds you that all you want to do is attack another person.

    Besides the false claim that I was banned for offending his list of people (the reality as the moderator confirmed was that I was temporarily banned for comments made to one person rhutchin): Phillip also makes another claim that is completely false:

    “Robert wanted those brothers to be banned, but it was Robert who was eventually banned (albeit temporarily).”

    Not true at all, the person that I said ought to be banned (and who in fact is now PERMANENTLY banned from posting at SBC Today is rhutchin). While I did not appreciate the nasty attacks of Les and Randall of non-Calvinists, it was rhutchin that I wanted to see banned (and eventually saw this happen).

    Like

    1. Regarding his exile from SBCT Robert previously wrote….

      “The moderator said it was one person, rhutchin…”

      Now Robert adds…

      “…it was rhutchin that I wanted to see banned….”

      And he accuses me of vengeance.

      Like

  22. ON CALVINISM’S LANGUAGE OF DISHONESTY:

    William Lane Craig – Molinism vs. Calvinism on human choices – which view handles the problem:

    quote:
    “Which view better handles the problem of evil? Molinism does, for God TRULY PERMITS …evils only in view of morally sufficient reasons…… Molinism provides a sound alternative that allows the Molinist to affirm libertarian freedom and a tensed view of time.”

    In other words, in Molinism, God TRULY PERMITS humans to make their own choices.

    Calvinism, however, forces *Determine” to MASQUERADE as “Permit”, which forces the Calvinist into dishonesty.
    Molinism thus enjoys the benefit of not being forced into Calvinism’s language of dishonesty.

    Calvinism’s Foreknowledge logically excludes the existence of alternative possibilities:
    In Calvinism, God’s foreknowledge of any event, is the direct result of his decree. For God to decree the possibility of either [A] and [NOT A], in a way that either can have REAL EXISTENCE, God’s foreknowledge would have to be OPEN, UNSURE, and UNCERTAIN. God would *TRULY* PERMIT Adam to determine [A] or [NOT A].

    And Calvin, true to Theological Determinism, asserts God does not odiously PERMIT anything. Calvin asserts that God is –quote: “unceasingly active”. Thus in order for God’s foreknowledge to be SETTLED, SURE, and CERTAIN, future “Alternative Possibilities” cannot exist. And God cannot decree what cannot exist. For God’s foreknowledge to be CERTAIN, he would have to foreknow Adam’s choice. And for God to foreknow Adam’s choice, God would have to decree Adam’s choice. Thus it follows, where God foreknows, Adam’s choice is to disobey, Adam’s choice to NOT disobey cannot have REAL EXISTENCE.

    Calvinism’s language of dishonesty:
    The way Calvinists get around this, is by MAKING-BELIEVE Calvinism allows for God PERMITING humans to make their own choices, in such a way that those choices are NOT already determined in advance by God. Calvinists consistently do this by creating their own ILLUSION, that God determines human choices, in such a way that he does NOT Determine human choices. Thus we have Determinism AS-IF NOT Determinism. And the ethical problem with this, for a professing Christian, is that it can only be defended by using the language of dishonesty. Thus Calvinists are constantly refining themselves in their ability to craft the language of dishonesty.

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    1. br.d appearing to quote Craig, ““Which view better handles the problem of evil? Molinism does, for God TRULY PERMITS …evils only in view of morally sufficient reasons…… Molinism provides a sound alternative that allows the Molinist to affirm libertarian freedom and a tensed view of time.”

      Of course, Craig never really explains how Molinism does this – except by the abundant use of presuppositions.

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      1. rhutchin writes “Of course, Craig never really explains how Molinism doesn’t make god the author of evil”

        That statement, of course, isn’t a reflection on Dr. Craig at all, but on your ability to comprehend, since you are the only one who imagines he doesn’t provide examples.

        Calvinists have an extremely tiny conduit for acquiring information. So funny!!! 😉

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      2. br.d writes, “rhutchin writes “Of course, Craig never really explains how Molinism doesn’t make god the author of evil”
        That statement, of course, isn’t a reflection on Dr. Craig at all,…”

        That just means that even you basically agree with me as even you cannot find a source for Craig where he explains, or attempts an explanation, of this. While Calvinism has been vetted for some 500 years, Molinism has had very little attention and is not much more than a skeleton of a theological system. People like Craig are making many claims for Molinism that have yet to be supported with sound exegesis.

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  23. ON CALVINISM’S LANGUAGE OF DISHONESTY (continued)

    Ex-Calvinist Daniel Gracely, in his book: :CALVINISM: A CLOSER LOOK” details how Calvinism’s language of dishonesty works:

    -quote:
    “This is what I used to do as a Calvinist. I liken their non-sense statements, or propositions, to the riding of a rocking horse.

    As a Calvinist rider, I would throw my weight forward toward my belief in the absolute sovereignty of God until I could go no further, whereupon I would recoil backwards toward my belief in human freedom.

    Thus I would go back and forth in seesaw motion, least on the one hand I find myself accusing God of insufficient sovereignty, or on the other hand find myself accusing God of authoring sin. All the while, there remained an *ILLUSION* of movement towards truth, when in fact there was no real movement at all. At length I would allow the springs of dialectical tension to rest the rocking horse in the center, and then I would declare my statements harmonious propositions, which in fact, were totally contradictory to each other.

    Calvinist riders still ride out this scenario. This is why, among the Calvinistic writings of Van Til, Sproul, Boettner, A.W. Pink, etc., there are no *UNQUALIFIED* statements about the absolute sovereignty of God or the free will of man. If one reads long enough, all-forthright statements about them are eventually withdrawn by *QUALIFYING* each statement with its exact opposite thought.

    So when John Piper tells Calvinists to NEVER MIND LOGIC, but to make the argument a TEXTUAL issue every time, (In other words, THE USE OF SHIFTED LANGUAGE) I must ask: Of what use is a TEXTUAL issue if the text has been deconstructed to a point where WORDS HAVE UNCERTAIN MEANINGS, dressed up as Christian-sounding terms, which merely EVOKE ASSOCIATIONS OF MEANING, but have no REAL STABLE MEANING.

    And so under Calvinism all terms of individuation are lost in favor of *ILLUSORY* ones.” -end quote

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  24. ON CALVINISM’S INTERPRETATION OF HUMAN FREE CHOICES:

    The Calvinist interpretation of human “Freedom” and human “choice” are aligned with the Greek notion: αὐτόματα, which means “self-acting”, or “self-motivated”. Rhutchin, for example, calls humans “self-motivated dominoes”. Once dominoes are in motion, they are “self-acting”, or “self motivated”. So we can see how his conception aligns with αὐτόματα,.

    Calvinist Paul Kjoss Helseth, in the book “Four Views on Divine Providence”, under the chapter which he titles “GOD CAUSES ALL THINGS”, uses the phrase “THE MECHANICS” to refer to God’s control over human thought, choice, and action.

    All machines are considered “self-acting” once started. The autonomous automobile, CHOOSES to change its speed, make a left hand turn at an intersection, or stop to avoid hitting a child running across the road. All of these actions are based upon pre-designed CHOICE GOVERNING algorithms. Designers and Engineers of “self-acting” machines often assert such a machine is FREE to exercise choice, based upon pre-designed internal choice governing algorithms.

    Another aspect of machines is that they operate according to internal inclinations. When your car tends to swerve to the left, a mechanic may say the steering has “left oriented inclination”. Mechanical inclination is based upon the interacting forces exchanged between internal functioning parts.

    Calvinists can also be found using this very term: “inclination” to describe their conception of human-choice functionality.

    However, it is critical to understand, Calvinist philosophy is not primarily focused on cosmological ontology (i.e., what constitutes a being), but on cosmological modality (i.e., what constitutes a being’s functionality).

    In Calvinism, humans are not highly complex sentient machines *ontologically*. But in Calvinist thought, humans do function as αὐτόματα, in that the Calvinist envisions humans as pre-designed entities, whose functions are self-acting, or self-motivated, yet where all choice functionality is based upon pre-determined, pre-designed choice governing algorithms.

    Calvinist of course forcibly deny their philosophy makes man a robot, as an *ontological* argument. And they are highly vigilant to evade explicit language. But when you take note of the terms and phrases they quite naturally use to describe human freedom and human choice functionality, its easy to connect the dots and recognize the underlying and unspoken conception is αὐτόματα.

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    1. br.d writes, “The Calvinist interpretation of human “Freedom” and human “choice” are aligned with the Greek notion: αὐτόματα, which means “self-acting”, or “self-motivated”.”

      In plain language, a choice is not coerced by outside forces.

      Then, “Calvinist Paul Kjoss Helseth,…uses the phrase “THE MECHANICS” to refer to God’s control over human thought, choice, and action.”

      The key word, “control.” God does not “coerce” but does “control.”

      Then, “All machines are considered “self-acting” once started. ”

      Once God breathed life into Adam, he became self-acting able to reason and choose as he desired.

      Then, ” The autonomous automobile, CHOOSES to change its speed,…”

      An autonomous anything is controlled by its programming – it cannot reason on its own as humans can apart from its programming.

      Then, “in Calvinist thought, humans do function as αὐτόματα, in that the Calvinist envisions humans as pre-designed entities, whose functions are self-acting, or self-motivated, yet where all choice functionality is based upon pre-determined, pre-designed choice governing algorithms.”

      Humans are pre-designed by God to reason consistent with their nature and make willful choices. The governing algorithm is the sin nature.

      Then, “Calvinist of course forcibly deny their philosophy makes man a robot,…”

      Robots lack emotion and feelings – two key characteristics of humans.

      br.d complains about “Calvinist half-truths” and now engages in half truths and obfuscation in describing Calvinism. If he has an argument, he should make it.

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      1. Rhutchin writes concerning Calvinism’s philosophy of humans free choices as –quote “self-motivated-dominoes”

        rhutchin:
        In plain language, a choice is not coerced by outside forces.

        Yes, this is consistent with αὐτόματα , where self-motivated machines are not coerced by outside forces. The autonomous automobile is a good example. It is not coerced by outside forces, when it makes choices to take a left hand turn, or to stop for a child running across the road.

        Then:
        The key word, “control.” God does not “coerce” but does “control.”
        Red herring argument: It doesn’t change the point made, that Calvinists quite naturally use MECHANICAL terms when describing their notion of gods total absolute control over human thoughts, choices and actions.

        Then
        “All machines are considered “self-acting” once started. ”
        Once God breathed life into Adam, he became self-acting able to reason and choose as he desired.

        This simply restates notion of using different language. But here the Calvinist resorts to the language of half-truth. Here the word “desired” is presented to masquerade as “self-govnerance” AS-IF desires where pre-designed and pre-programmed.
        Calvinists always craft statements making human free choices masquerade as self-governing.

        Then:
        An autonomous anything is controlled by its programming – it cannot reason on its own as humans can apart from its programming.
        Here is another statement designed to make pre-designed and pre-programmed choices masquerade AS-IF they are self-governing. Another good half-truth example in Calvinism’s language of dishonesty.

        Then:
        Humans are pre-designed by God to reason consistent with their nature and make willful choices. The governing algorithm is the sin nature.

        This half-truth statement lines up perfectly with Calvinism’s use of the term “inclinations”. Here “sin nature” is replaced for the term “inclinations”. And again the statement is designed as a half-truth to hide from view the fact that the “sin nature” or “inclinations” are pre-designed and pre-programmed.

        Then:
        Robots lack emotion and feelings – two key characteristics of humans.
        Again, this just restates what has already been said
        :
        In Calvinism, humans are not highly complex sentient machines *ontologically*. But in Calvinist thought, humans do FUNCTION as αὐτόματα, in that the Calvinist envisions humans as pre-designed entities, whose functions are self-acting, or self-motivated, yet where all functionality based upon pre-determined, pre-designed choice governing algorithms.

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      2. br.d writes, “this is consistent with αὐτόματα , where self-motivated machines are not coerced by outside forces. ”

        This is wrong. The self-motivated machine is controlled by the outside programmer through the programming inserted into the machine. The machine is unable to act on its own outside its programming that is an externally derived influence.

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      3. rhutchin writes:
        This is wrong. The self-motivated machine is controlled by the outside programmer through the programming inserted into the machine. The machine is unable to act on its own outside its programming that is an externally derived influence.

        Sorry – no escaping on this one I’m afraid. The analogy fits perfectly just as long as it applies to FUNCTIONALITY and not ontology.

        The Calvinist always thinks any ad hoc rescue his imagination can manufacture = truth.
        Sad!! 😦

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      4. br.d writes, “again the statement is designed as a half-truth to hide from view the fact that the “sin nature” or “inclinations” are pre-designed and pre-programmed.”

        The Scriptures are clear that Adam was NOT designed with a sin nature but that this sin nature resulted directly from his choice to disobey God.

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      5. br.d writes, “again the statement is designed as a half-truth to hide from view the fact that the “sin nature” or “inclinations” are pre-designed and pre-programmed.”

        rhutchin responds
        “The Scriptures are clear that Adam was NOT designed with a sin nature but that this sin nature resulted directly from his choice to disobey God.”

        The definition of a lie:
        Any attempt to mislead someone is technically a lie.

        Calvinism’s language tactic:
        (1) Hide the fact that in Calvinism, nothing can exist, unless god decrees it to exist, including Adam’s sin nature
        (2) Hide the fact that in Calvinism, god cannot foreknow Adam’s obedience unless God decrees Adam’s obedience
        (3) Hide the fact that God cannot foreknow Adam’s obedience and Adam’s disobedience as both possibly true, because one negates the other.
        (4) Hide the fact that in Calvinism, where god infallibly foreknows Adam’s disobedience, Adam’s obedience has no REAL existence.

        Alvin Plantinga
        – quote
        “It seems clear that at least one of these conditionals is true: [Adam will obey or Adam will NOT obey]
        But naturally they can’t both be true, so exactly one [and only one] is.”

        Now God’s knowledge of what Adam will do is infallible, so obviously God knows Adam is going to disobey, and it is thus impossible for God to know Adam will not disobey. And in Calvinism, God’s knowledge is not based on what Adam does – but based upon what God decrees. Thus simple logic tells us that it is impossible for the God of Calvin to decree Adam to be free to do anything other than what God has already predetermined Adam will do. This is called Theological Determinism.

        John Calvin: “institutes”
        – quote:
        “God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his posterity; but also AT HIS OWN PLEASURE ARRANGED IT.”

        -quote:
        “Angels and men, good and bad, DO NOT BUT WHAT HAS BEEN DECREED BY GOD”.

        -quote:
        “THE SUM OF THE WHOLE IS THIS ….THE WILL GOD IS SAID TO BE THE CAUSE OF ALL THINGS”

        The key to recognizing Calvinist dishonesty in the matter of human sin and evil, is the use of cunning-crafty language, designed to make a PROXIMATE cause masquerade as the ONLY cause.
        While the same exact tactic would be adamantly and forcibly rejected in the context of a salvation event.
        Making the dishonesty obvious. 🙂

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  25. Calvinist Paul Helm – “Calvin and the Stoics”

    -quote:
    “is clear that Calvin, though ostensibly taking a via media between fortune and chance on the one hand, and Stoic necessity/fatalism on the other is, like his mentor Augustine, in virtue of his commitment to divine sovereignty, inclined more to the side of fatalism than to the side of fortune and chance, or to some view of providence which has to find place for the ‘contingency which depends on human will’. The sense of fortuitousness is purely epistemic, since necessity is the basic metaphysical component in his account of providence.”

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    1. br.d writes, “Calvinist Paul Helm – “Calvin and the Stoics””

      Good quote. Helm understands what is happening. Problems can arise when one divorces this statement from everything else Helm says.

      Like

  26. Brian Wagner,
    Can you explain infralapsarianism and comment its position. I am not a theologian or have any seminary education. I have followed Leighton for some time and your comments. My beliefs seems to fall very closely to yours. Thank you for your time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi JRA! Thanks for the question. The problem with the lapsarian views is that they are just a game of theological speculation among Calvinists to try to make it easier for some of them to swallow the overarching view of divine determinism of all things before creation, especially including the selection of the elect, while damning the rest. Here is a good summary if you’re interested – https://www.gotquestions.org/lapsarianism.html

      But all three views still have everything eternally immutably set before creation so that every outcome of God’s will and man’s will is forever set and the exercise of free will becomes impossible. Also… for any of the lapsarian views to work there must be an understanding of God making one decision after another in planning creation… Calvinism does not believe God makes any decisions after thinking about things… for everything is already decided eternally and immutably, so they are just speculating the “logical order” of the decrees… when really there is no order of decrees one after another.

      I believe the Scripture clearly teaches that God does make decisions using His free will before and after creation and He is not locked-in to one set future forever where He never will decide anything new from within His infinite understanding.

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      1. Brian writes, “He is not locked-in to one set future forever where He never will decide anything new from within His infinite understanding.” And I ask, Why would an all-knowing God, who not only knows all events from beginning to end, but is also actively working all events from beginning to end (Ephesians 1:11) for HIS purpose (decree), need to “decide anything new” if He possesses “infinite understanding”?? The fact is, if we believe the Bible teaches that God knows all events from beginning to end, then He would NEVER have to DECIDE anything “new”. When He SEEMS to decide in time, it’s nothing more than a REVELATION of what He has already determined before creation. All events (including conversations with mankind) were all predetermined before creation because of God’s “infinite understanding”. God NEVER has to “decide anything new” because He has both created and manipulated all options that occur according to His predetermined purpose (Ephesians 1:11).

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      2. Thank you Troy for confirming that you believe God is locked-in to one set future forever and that to you the Scripture only “seems” to say God is still freely making decisions after creation.

        I will stick with what the Scripture not only “seems” to say but what it clearly says about God making decisions after creation… and I reject the view of a decree that eternally immutably locked in the future forever which is nowhere stated in Scripture.

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      3. Your rejection does not nullify God’s decree Brian. His predetermnations will be accomplished whether you reject them or not brother!

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      4. Lol… I don’t reject any of God’s predeterminations… just your false premise about them. Praise His Name!

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      5. Believe me brother..you’re rejecting His predeterminations. You’re not happy with the fact that is in TOTAL control of all events past, present, and future. In fact, you’re repulsed by this because it upsets YOUR view of who God SHOULD be. But God is STILL working ALL THINGS for his purpose!!

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      6. I am sorry, Troy that you assume that I am upset with how God does things… I can assure that I am not! Praise His Name for His Sovereignty and Grace and His Free Will!

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      7. Well, at least you imagine your saying something that has value.
        Even though the spirit is is off, is puffed-up.

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      8. Also, I might add that God is not locked into a set future my friend. God Himself has locked the future by His decree.

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      9. It’s obvious to any one who reads all the subjunctive verbs in the Scripture… all the universal invitations and warnings… all the verses about God making decisions after creation … all the prayers and thoughts about what is possible… that the future is not a settled, locked-in, eternally immutable thing in God’s mind. But Calvinists have a free will… and they can choose to be willfully ignorant of all this evidence.

        Many of them, I think, must have had very controlling fathers which encourages them to think of God that way… or they are under the spell of “scholarship” that parades itself as “wisdom” that acts like it knows better and can understand what God “really” meant to say in Scripture. 😉

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      10. Brianwagner writes:
        “They are under the spell of ‘scholarship’ that parades itself as ‘wisdom’ that acts like it knows better and can understand what God ‘really’ meant to say in Scripture”

        Let us not forget the critical work done by Robert J Lifton, which he calls “MILIEU CONTROL”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milieu_control

        And the critical work don by Margaret Thaler-Singer, PhD, which she calls “A CLOSED SYSTEM OF LOGIC”
        – quote: “A system becomes logically closed when each of the logical implications which can be derived from any one proposition within the system finds its statement in another proposition in the same system.”

        And let us not forget “The psychology of marketing: influence and the power of persuasion”
        http://ballantynetaylor.co.nz/the-psychology-of-marketing-influence-and-the-power-of-persuasion/

        These are all critical factors that play into the SOCIALIZATION processes observed within various religious groups, including Calvinism.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. All of the accusations against Calvinists just doesn’t change the facts Brian!

        1) God is omniscient
        2 God created a garden where He DELIBERATELY planted a forbidden tree
        3) God created mankind sinless with the ability to sin
        4) God issued a law that He knew Adam would violate
        5) God allowed Satan to beguile Eve
        6) God planned redemption before creation, thus indicating an anticipation of the Fall.
        All of the above CLEARLY reveals a predetermined decree. The facts are there sir. YOU must contend with them!
        You are DESPERATELY trying to refute the facts of God’s decree by attempting to use His actions in time to disprove His predeterminations. But it just doesn’t work my friend. God’s actions in time (including His conversations and decisions) were ALL predetermined by Him before creation. My conscience is quite clear in believing and teaching this truth and I earnestly pray that God will reveal this to all of you guys who are philosophizing over these matters.

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      12. Answering a repeated view will just have us both going around in circles! Thank you for your prayers, Troy!

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      13. Well we’re both guilty of this one Brian. However, I will repeat this again: The facts speak for themselves and are INDISPUTABLE! Thank you for your indulgence Brian.😊

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      14. Thank you too for your indulgence, Troy! 🙂 And we agree… “the facts speak for themselves” but they are certainly not indisputable for they have certainly been disputed by one of us! 😉

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      15. TRoy, “5) God allowed Satan to beguile Eve”

        Whenever a Calvinist uses terms like, “allow,” or “permit,” it is never in the passive sense or “bare permission” as Calvin would say. As Sovereign, God is actively and always involved in every detail of His creation down to the shiver of the smallest atom. It is God who sustains the whole creation without which the laws of physics would not work. For God to “allow” Satan to beguile Eve requires that God sustain the life of Satan, give Satan freedom to beguile Eve, and leave Eve unprotected plus everything else. All this is according to God’s eternal plan whereby He is working out all things according to His will and doing so in a very hands-on manner.

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      16. rhutchin writes:
        “Whenever a Calvinist uses terms like, “allow,” or “permit,” IT IS NEVER IN THE PASSIVE sense or “bare permission” as Calvin would say. As Sovereign, God is actively and always involved in every detail of His creation down to the shiver of the smallest atom.”

        Thus it logically follows:
        God is actively and always involved in every neurological impulse a human being will ever have, (since the human brain is made up of atoms).

        And Calvinism’s logic expresses it:
        All GOOD neurological impulses the potter molds into the vessel, are to be directly attributed only to the potter who molds them into the vessel.
        While all EVIL neurological impulses the vessel has, are to be directly attributed to the vessel in whom God has molded them.

        However, it seems, a notion of ACTIVE-NON-PASSIVE-PASSIVITY is also being expressed here
        rhutchin
        May 21, 2017 at 6:42 pm
        “God IS PASSIVE in not restraining Cain from killing Abel”

        Let me see if I get the whole picture:
        God was ACTIVELY and ALWAYS involved in the neurological impulses which inclined Cain to kill Abel.
        While simultaneously, God was PASSIVELY involved not preventing Cain from killing Abel”

        AH! I get it.
        When God is pushing a stick, he is ACTIVELY pushing it, and PASSIVELY not preventing it from not being pushed!

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      17. Your argument is all based on conjecture br.d. I have presented facts that prove that an omniscient God is in meticulous control of His creation, even the sins (i.e. the crucifixion) of His creation are decreed and manipulated for His purpose. All of these other scenarios are not meaningful arguments that bring glory to God. These arguments only serve to demonstrate mankind’s depravity and their desperate need to protect their freedom apart from God’s premeditated decree. The Creator is in utter control of His creation even though mankind is able to choose which socks he/she wants to wear or who he/she wants to marry. The fascinating thing is that He’s working out these “free choices” for His own purposes and we have no clue HOW He’s doing it!!

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      18. You need to believe what you need to believe. But for me, if one claims a theology that is inspired by god, and one’s theology contains fallacies and is reliant upon misleading language in order to market itself, then one is asserting that God is fallacious and is reliant upon misleading language in order to make himself palatable.

        I understand that double-think and dishonesty are characteristic of Calvinism.
        And the posturing only goes so far before people see through it.

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      19. You’re reminding me of why I don’t identify with any “isms” and only identify with what I believe the Bible teaches. Calvin was fallible but the Scriptures (in the original languages) are infallible. I’ll let you guys philosophize on whether Calvin was right or wrong. But I think we’re much better off by comparing spiritual with spiritual and let God be true and every man a liar!

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      20. br.d writes, “AH! I get it.
        When God is pushing a stick, he is ACTIVELY pushing it, and PASSIVELY not preventing it from not being pushed!”

        When a dam breaks and waters flood down the valley, those waters push a lot of things including sticks. The dam breaks because of a defect in its construction. The defect in construction is traced to human error. God could have intervened to prevent this outcome – God as sovereign, exercises absolute control over all events. God had determined (in eternity past) that He would not do so – that He would sit on the sidelines and do nothing and thus, we can say that he was passive. In many other ways, God can push sticks through secondary causes.

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      21. The statement by a Calvinist – “God could have intervened to prevent this outcome” is just an attempt at making their view of God sound more personable with a free will. But that is a logically impossible “could”, for it is impossible, according to them, for God to ever will any differently than the eternally immutable set future forever of all events. To say there is a theoretical “could” still available is a lie for it is ontologically impossible because of their view of perfection.

        It’s like saying God uses words so theoretically He could lie. No… He “could not”. It is impossible for God to lie.

        However, the Calvinist is wrong. For God’s perfection does not have Him and His will locked behind an immutable will of all events forever… But that perfection includes the exercise of a free will that is still making choices between varieties of events to cause or permit, with the ability to suffer the frustration of intentions not met in some of those choices… all of which is a part of His perfect nature… which is truly personable as revealed in His truthful words in Scripture.

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      22. Good Morning Brian! Firstly Brian, what rhutchin is saying is, IN THEORY, if God DESIRED to do so, He could have intervened to prevent any outcome because He’s omnipotent. However, since God has freely chosen His decree BEFORE creation, all of His interventions are already SET and He’s actively working ALL THINGS according to His purpose (decree).
        You wrote, “For God’s perfection does not have Him and His will locked behind an immutable will of all events forever.” It’s not a matter of God being “locked”; He’s actively accomplishing what He DESIRED from the inception of His decree. You’re using language (i.e. locked) to deliberately sway the reader of your comments to believe something according to YOUR ideology of who God is and how He SHOULD relate to His creation. However, Scriptures speak for themselves in teaching an omniscient God working out all events according to a predetermined purpose and all the philosophizing and twisting of Scripture in the world will not change His decree.

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      23. Hi Troy… Good Morning! My language “locked” is more logically consistent with the idea of eternal/immutable than is your language – “the inception of His decree”… for there was no inception of it in your view, though I doubt you will admit it. It was indeed locked in, if it was truly and eternal, immutable decree of all things. How can something eternal have an inception (beginning)… tell me, please? How can it be immutable and go from being a decree that doesn’t exist changing to a decree that does exist… tell me, please?

        And I am not philosophizing or twisting Scripture, for Scripture clearly says He decreed/determined/chose/planned things after creation… which make the idea of being eternal/immutable for any of those divine actions impossible, and it is a lie to try to profess that there still is an eternal/immutable decree of all things that is contradictory to this biblical evidence.

        You can choose to defend Roger’s contradictory notion that a something different “could” exist when everything is already eternally immutably willed… but I am not going to break the law of non-contradiction in logic! Could God lie? He certainly knows what a lie is and He certainly has the ability to type a lie out… But could He state one as a profession of truth! The Scripture says that it is impossible for God to lie! In the same way, according to Calvinism, or your deterministic view of God’s decree, God could not will to do or do any thing different than the eternal immutable decree you believe in, that must be a part of who He is, if it is eternal, immutable. To say He could do differently is just an out and out lie! He cannot deny Himself.

        {I feel sometimes very strong language is appropriate when truth is at stake as well as the integrity of Scripture and God’s character… But please do not view this strong language as a condemnation of your motives, Troy, for I don’t think you believe you are lying about God. There is just a deception you have not yet recognized and I believe you may also be unwilling to recognize because of a loyalty you have built to your position} 🙂

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      24. briabwaner writes, “You can choose to defend Roger’s contradictory notion that a something different “could” exist when everything is already eternally immutably willed… but I am not going to break the law of non-contradiction in logic! ”

        God certainly knows all that He has decreed and all that it was possible for Him to have decreed but did not. I don’t see how we can deny God such knowledge. God knows what He has decreed and will bring about in the course of time and what He has not decreed and will not bring about in the course of time. When I use the word, “could,” it is the accommodation to my human ability to think and nothing more and seems to reveal my limitations more than anything else. In my mind, God could have decreed anything He wanted, yet that which He has decreed reflects His perfection and could not have been any other way for all other outcomes would have been a departure from perfection.

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      25. Dancing some more… 😂 There is no moment when a decree was made, according to Calvinism, so there was no opportunity for “coulds”. signed – briabwaner 😂

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      26. brianwagner writes, “There is no moment when a decree was made, according to Calvinism, so there was no opportunity for “coulds””

        I agree. It is impossible within the framework of infinity to identify any moment when God made a decree. We can use the creation as a reference point and say, God decreed all things before He created the universe.

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      27. Dancing… because saying, “I agree”… does not mean you agree that in Calvinism there are no real “coulds”, which is what I just said! Can’t help thinking you are trying to deceive the readers about your position!

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      28. brianwagner writes, ““I agree”… does not mean you agree that in Calvinism there are no real “coulds”, which is what I just said!”

        Sometimes, I think of God as being human and think accordingly. How many people ever really think of God as He really is? If people actually grasped what God is, no one would sin – or sin would be dramatically reduced. People sin because they think God is something he is not. I am not the only one out there who tends to think of God as being much less than what He is. I suspect you do the same.

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      29. We can let others judge whose view of God sounds more honoring or in agreement with Scripture… But I’m sure God wouldn’t want you to speak so deceptively when describing His will, saying both He could have done differently and He couldn’t have done differently. I’m slowly losing respect for you when you speak duplicitously.

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      30. Brianwagner writes, “I’m sure God wouldn’t want you to speak so deceptively when describing His will, saying both He could have done differently and He couldn’t have done differently.”

        I find it difficult not to think of God in human terms. Part of the reason is that God represents Himself in human terms. Jesus taught us to pray, “Our father who art in heaven…” and “…your heavenly father knows that you need these things…” and that Jesus would “…confess us to His Father…” Here we are, little dust motes on the back side of an amoeba sitting in the hand of a person telling us little dust motes to call Him, Father – and that exaggerates our importance. Did that ever strike you as odd? So, I know that God could not have done differently, yet He has encouraged me to think of Him in human terms as one who could do differently. I am not worried that God will get upset over a dust mote on the back of an amoeba not really grasping who it is that is telling me to call Him, Father. I tend to think that God understands the problem we humans have trying to understand one who is infinite.

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      31. My Bible says we were made in the image of God. Your view of “dust mite on the back of ameoba” is just another example of how you would rather believe something the Scripture doesn’t teach. And you want to believe God was unable to speak truthfully about Himself in Scripture… but you can describe Him much more clearly… really?

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      32. brianwagner writes, “Your view of “dust mite on the back of ameoba” is just another example of how you would rather believe something the Scripture doesn’t teach.”

        I think the Scripture is clear that God is infinite and He created a universe that is finite. If God had a hand, our finite universe would rest in the palm of the hand of an infinite God – and that is being generous. As far as size goes, I go with the psalmist who said, “When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, The moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; What is man, that Thou dost take thought of him?” And that just considers the vastness of the universe without even considering that God is infinite. To compare man, regarding mere size, as a dust mote on the back of an amoeba in God’s sight is generous. If you cannot see the Scriptures describing God as infinite, then you are missing a lot.

        Then, “And you want to believe God was unable to speak truthfully about Himself in Scripture… but you can describe Him much more clearly… really?”

        I think God speaks truthfully about Himself but sometimes uses illustrations to explain things from a human perspective. We read of God’s face, backside, eyes, hands, etc. and I would be surprised if you took that as an accurate physical description of God. I don’t think we can look into a mirror and conclude that what we see is a true representation of God. I sometimes think you may have a very small view of God thinking to make God somewhat like a human. So, if nothing else, we have another point on which we disagree.

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      33. David answered his question… what is man? Maybe you should believe His inspired answer instead of your own. And you are resorting to misrepresenting me to the readers again… for you know that I often have affirmed God’s eternal nature and infinite understanding.

        But you seem to say that God was unable to speak as clearly about Himself in historical narrative or teaching passages of Scripture as you are able to in these posts! That seems like a devaluing of His character and Word to me.

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      34. brianwagner writes, “…you know that I often have affirmed God’s eternal nature and infinite understanding.”

        You affirm. Just need to work on the application or that which you affirm.

        Then, “But you seem to say that God was unable to speak as clearly about Himself in historical narrative or teaching passages of Scripture as you are able to in these posts! That seems like a devaluing of His character and Word to me.”

        Actually, my point is that God does speak clearly about Himself – the distinction that I make is that God will speak from a human perspective (speaking of His eyes, hands, thoughts, actions, etc. from a human perspective) and that I presume is done to enhance understanding by humans.

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      35. brianwagner writes, ““God could have intervened to prevent this outcome” is just an attempt at making their view of God sound more personable with a free will. But that is a logically impossible “could”, for it is impossible, according to them, for God to ever will any differently than the eternally immutable set future forever of all events.’

        OK, Brian. “God, in His eternal plan, could have decreed to intervene…as He did when Peter was thrown into jail and similarly with Paul and the Philippian jailer. With any possible event, God can decree what He will do in eternity past or in the course of time.

        Then, “God’s perfection does not have Him and His will locked behind an immutable will of all events forever… But that perfection includes the exercise of a free will that is still making choices…”

        When God expresses His will through an eternal plan or in the course of time, it then becomes “locked behind an immutable will of all events forever…” – There is no basis for God to change a decision once He makes it. The only issue that you keep harping on is the timing of god’s decisions; not the decisions themselves.

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      36. Roger, you continue to contradict yourself by stating “could have decreed” but also maintaining the decree of all things is eternal and immutable.

        If you will admit that the decree of all things was at some point in reality not eternal (that it had a beginning), or that it can be mutable by having conditional elements in it which God has left undecided, then you can say “could”… but logically there is no “could be different” in an eternally immutably locked in reality of all things. Though you are free to change your mind… from your perspective, not God’s! 😉

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      37. brianwagner writes, “you continue to contradict yourself by stating “could have decreed” but also maintaining the decree of all things is eternal and immutable. ”

        Once God decrees X, X is immutable regardless the timing of the decree. Immutability is not an issue here. The issue is the eternal nature of God and how decrees can be eternal. Can there be a point where God had never decreed something and then all of a sudden God decreed it. No one really knows if such a point can exist. I personally think that God can have a new thought, but what could that be? Is there anything that the mind of man can think or conceive that God has not already conceived? Nothing, because we have finite minds and God has an infinite mind – everything finite is a subset of the infinite. Can God not know what He will do in time and know this from eternity past? I don’t see how, and you certainly cannot explain how this could be. You have latched onto a few verses that can be read as saying that God is planning this or deciding that in the course of time. I don’t see that such language precludes the possibility that God already knew what He would do and that it was part of His eternal plan.

        Then, “If you will admit that the decree of all things was at some point in reality not eternal (that it had a beginning),…”

        I don’t think anyone can do that – not even you (without severely compromising the sense of eternity). What could God “think” at some point that had somehow escaped His attention throughout the eternity that preceded that point? Nothing from what I can figure because no matter what point you pick, it is preceded by eternity.

        Then, “…or that it can be mutable by having conditional elements in it which God has left undecided, then you can say “could”… but logically there is no “could be different” in an eternally immutably locked in reality of all things. Though you are free to change your mind… from your perspective, not God’s!”

        Can a person change his mind and God not already know that he would make that change? That would mean that God is not omniscient. I think God is omniscient and there is nothing that God does not know.

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      38. It appears you are wavering on your view immutability, Roger, or you are hiding again behind the contradictory premise of “could” when you know logically that if something is eternally immutable… there can be no such “could” in that category.

        Would God’s expression of a “new thought”, which you say He could do, be a rejection of your idea of God’s immutability, since there would at least be a change taking place in God’s mind for that new thought to come into existence? If God having a new thought would not require your rejection of your previous definition of immutability… why not?

        And I don’t think I need to respond again to your false accusation of me denying omniscience! 😉

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      39. This might be a new AS-IF(ism) in Calvinism, to add to my growing list.

        God cannot have a new thought, AS-IF he can have a new thought! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      40. brianwagner writes, “It appears you are wavering on your view immutability, …”

        I don’t see an argument for God to be other than immutable.

        Then, “Would God’s expression of a “new thought”, which you say He could do, be a rejection of your idea of God’s immutability,…”

        In theory, I would like to see God being able to have a new thought because free will would seem to allow it and God has free will. In practice, I don’t see how it would come about.

        Then, ” If God having a new thought would not require your rejection of your previous definition of immutability… why not?”

        God’s thoughts do not change Him. He is still the same old God – omnipotent, just, love, etc. I have yet to come up with a new thought that God might think and then look at that thought to see if it could change God. It’s the conundrum of an finite mind trying to comprehend something infinite. An infinite is hard to visualize.

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      41. Brian I’m afraid that you’re not really LISTENING to people’s comments because oftentimes your responses run askew of the point of the person’s argument. For example, rhutchin just made the argument that THEORETICALLY God could prevent anything from occurring in time and you just missed the entire concept of “theory” and went strait to your argument. Now rhutchin is absolutely correct in stating that an all powerful God IN THEORY can prevent anything from occurring. However, He has chosen to formulate a decree that He’s actively working to make sure that it comes to fruition. I guess you could use your terminology and say that God freely chose to “lock” Himself into His own decree, which is His choice to do. Now it’s incumbent on you the CREATURE to bow in humility and acquiesce to it. You my friend are “kicking against the goads”. You are in denial because you want to protect your freedom to choose outside a divine decree. But no matter how much you rebel, it still doesn’t nullify His decree. In fact, your current rebellion against His decree is apart of His decree.
        I will reiterate, once again, that the decisions that God makes in time are nothing more than REVELATIONS of what He has ALREADY predetermined to do before creation. It’s really not that difficult to understand this truth. You just reject it my friend!

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      42. Our interaction should bring you great joy, Troy! We are both fulfilling God’s eternal, immutable decree from your perspective! Be sure to thank God that, as you said about me – “In fact, your current rebellion against His decree is apart of His decree.” 😉

        I truly hope you will abandon such foolishness that results from such loyalty to an unbiblical perspective. If you cannot rejoice that my rebellion is fulfilling God’s will… why not?

        The God of the Bible does not have contradictory wills in His nature or revelation!

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      43. Hi Troy, when you say “he has already decreed all of those scenarios”
        Can I ask, what percentage of those scenarios you believe god has already decreed?
        Thanks

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      44. Thanks rhutchin,
        I can see you are expressing a causal chain, where one event becomes the antecedent cause of the next event.

        So would you be willing to replace the water example, with 10 dominoes – with the 10th, domino actualizing the final event.
        Since you’ve consistently used dominoes as an example of causal sequences, it would seem consistent for you.

        If I may take a stab at it:
        1) Domino 1 falls over onto domino 2, functioning as the antecedent cause of domino 2’s movement
        2) Domino 2 falls over onto domino 3, functioning as the antecedent cause of domino 3’s movement

        And the sequential chain of causal events progresses until
        3) Domino 9 falls over onto domino 10, functioning as the antecedent cause of the final event.

        God could have intervened to prevent this outcome – God as sovereign, exercises absolute control over all events. God had determined (in eternity past) that He would not do so – that He would sit on the sidelines and do nothing and thus, we can say that he was passive. In many other ways, God can push dominoes through secondary causes.

        Does that work for you?

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      45. br.d writes, “In many other ways, God can push dominoes through secondary causes.”

        Or God can set up the dominoes and let nature do its thing. God set up Ada/Eve in the garden with the tree that whose fruit they were not to eat. He then removed His protection and Satan entered in. The dominoes were set up. The rest is history and we read that history in the Scriptures. God did not have to push the first domino – but He could have prevented them falling.

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      46. Hi rhtchin, I wasn’t sure if you answered the question “Does that work for you?”
        In other words, do you agree with the domino example with which I pasted your quote?
        Thanks

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      47. br.d writes, “In other words, do you agree with the domino example with which I pasted your quote?”

        Sometimes the domino theory is applicable to something God initiates – e.g., Flood of Noah. Destruction of Sodom, impregnation of Mary. Sometimes, God just sets up the dominoes and secondary factors contribute to their falling, but not necessarily because God pushes anything.

        I didn’t really see a domino example. You explained how dominoes work and that was fine.

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      48. rhutchin:
        God just sets up the dominoes and secondary factors contribute to their falling, but not necessarily because God pushes anything.

        Ok, lets analyze this statement:

        “God sets up the dominoes”.
        Good! You’ve made a sound unequivocal statement here – this is a good step.

        But the rest of your statement is a statement of double ambiguity and requires the removal of 2 equivocations.

        first:
        “secondary factors *CONTRIBUTE* to their falling.”
        Here *CONTRIBUTE* is equivocal
        This statement allows for God also to CONTRIBUTE to their falling, and can be interpreted to say God sets up the dominoes and contributes to their falling, as well as setting up secondary causes which contribute to their falling.
        Since this statement can be interpreted multiple ways, it is equivocal.

        Second:
        “but not *NECESSARILY* because God pushes…..”
        Here *NECESSARILY* is also equivocal, and can be interpreted to say that God does push each domino, but not of necessity.
        Since necessary allow this statement to interpreted in multiple ways, it is also equivocal.

        You are attempting to make a sound logical statement about God’s active role in the movement of the dominoes *AND* God’s passive role in the movement of the dominoes.

        You need to show both God’s “Active” and God’s “Passive” role in the causal chain of 10 dominoes.
        Are you willing to restate and remove the equivocations?

        Liked by 1 person

      49. I’ll edit it to say, “God just sets up the dominoes and secondary factors cause their falling, …” The contributions of more than one secondary factor combine to cause the dominoes to fall and do so without God having to push any domino.

        Then, ““but not *NECESSARILY* because God pushes…..”
        Here *NECESSARILY* is also equivocal, and can be interpreted to say that God does push each domino, but not of necessity.”

        I think the term, “necessarily,” is a strong term in logic. In this case, the movement of the dominoes could not be solely attributable to God. I don’t see that it can be interpreted to say that God does push each domino – quite the opposite; it denies that God must push any domino.

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      50. I’ll edit it to say, “God just sets up the dominoes and secondary factors cause their falling. And the contributions of more than one secondary factor combine to cause the dominoes to fall and do so without God having to push any domino.”

        Ok, this is better thanks.

        And yes, your addition “without God having to push any domino” resolve the use of “necessary” as a term.

        So now we have a system of causal objects, which God has designed to operate in a causal sequence.
        Each domino (after domino #1 moves, causing domino #2 to move etc) operates as an intermediary cause.
        Each domino (after domino # moves causing domino #2 to move etc) becomes a secondary cause moving the next domino in the chain.
        Until the chain of events reaches domino #10, at which the final outcome obtains.

        Dominoes are set up in a state known as equilibrium. (a state in which opposing forces or influences are balanced)
        Something has to make the first domino move from a state of balance to a state of movement
        What ever does so requires force in order to push domino #1 off equilibrium..

        In order for domino#1 to move, God would have to make its movement CERTAIN
        This would logically mean that domino #1’s movement of falling, does so under the force of inevitability.
        And the only person who has the power to move things with the force of inevitability is God.

        Consider the formula: “A ONLY IF B”

        Domino #1 can only move IF B
        The question is, what is B?

        Now in all of this we are asserting that domino #1 is the first event in the causal chain.
        So no event has existence between God setting up the whole causal system, and domino #1’s movement.
        Something has to make domino #1 move.
        And that no other antecedent prior events have existence, (such as gravity), since domino #1 is the first event.
        We know that the A = domino #1’s movement – but only if B.
        Since we know that domino #1s movement is the first event with no antecedent events causing it.
        And since we know that God is the only one who can make domino #1s movement occur with the force of inevitably.
        Doesn’t it logically follow, that there is only one B that exists – which is God himself?

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      51. br.d writes, “In order for domino#1 to move, God would have to make its movement CERTAIN
        This would logically mean that domino #1’s movement of falling, does so under the force of inevitability.
        And the only person who has the power to move things with the force of inevitability is God.”

        “…force of inevitability…” Is that a new-age concept?

        Let’s appeal to the Scriptures. “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1) Theologians/Commentators take this to mean that God made man a living soul inhabiting a body with the ability to think and reason without God having to tell him what to do. God then placed Adam/Eve in the garden with one tree whose fruit he was prohibited from eating and then God removed His protection over Adam enabling Satan to enter the garden and tempt Adam/Eve. The dominoes were set up; the outcome was inevitable. However, the “…force of inevitability…” did not cause Adam to eat the fruit. Adam made that decision on his own with the mind that God gave him. Thus, God set up the dominoes. Those dominoes were able to act on their own to interact and this led to the fall of one domino with tragic results as we read in Genesis.

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      52. rhuchin
        “…force of inevitability…” Is that a new-age concept?

        We can discuss the word inevitability later.

        You have already described a setup of 10 dominoes
        I’m not going to get diverted off down a new rabbit trail, because that is simply not dialog based on honesty.
        Lets get back to your 10 dominoes.

        There is only one being who exists that can make domino #1’s movement CERTAIN and that is God.
        Domino #1’s movement is the first event in your casual chain.
        There are no antecedent events between God setting up the setup and the first event – domino #1’s movement.

        A ONLY IF B
        Domino #1 can only move IF B

        So seeing that there are no antecedent events which exist prior to domino #1s’ movement, what exists as B?

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      53. br.d writes, “There is only one being who exists that can make domino #1’s movement CERTAIN and that is God.”

        Certainty is based on God’s foreknowledge of the outcome – foreknowledge does not cause the domino to move. The necessity of the domino moving is based on the freedom God gives to naturally occurring forces. God determines (and did so in eternity past) whether to intervene to prevent the natural outcome or do nothing so that the natural outcome prevails. The natural outcome of Satan’s deception of Eve is Eve eating the fruit. To avoid the natural outcome, God would have had to intervene to protect Eve by preventing her eating the fruit. In the first instance, God sets up the dominoes and they are then able to act under their own power; in the second instance, God is the dominant force preventing the natural outcome.

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      54. We can discuss the subtle nuances and various ways of interpreting the statement containing the word CERTAIN later.

        For the second time now you divert off the subject of the 10 simple dominoes you say Gods setup.

        A ONLY IF B
        Domino #1 falls only if B

        What is B?

        This is your last change – – 3 strikes and your out! :-]

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      55. However, the decree is said to be “immutable” which means it is CERTAIN.
        It thus comes under the control of a MODAL law where it is:
        (1) unavoidable
        (2) inevitable
        (3) unalterable
        (4) It cannot “do otherwise”
        (5) No alternative is possible

        It then follows that where god decrees [A] – then god cannot later change or compromise [A].
        Now the argument can be made that god WOULD NOT NEED to change or compromise [A].
        But that doesn’t eliminate the fact that he CANNOT later change or compromise [A].
        And it also follows that no alternative to [A] has the potentiality of existence

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      56. br.d writes, “But that doesn’t eliminate the fact that he CANNOT later change or compromise [A].”

        This is not true necessarily. As God’s decisions reflect His perfect wisdom, any change to a decision would be a change for the worse – or a less wise outcome. God is certainly able to revisit and change a decision He has made but what rationale is there for God to change what is already a perfectly wise decision?

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      57. br.d
        “It then follows that where god decrees [A] – then god cannot later change or compromise [A].
        Now the argument can be made that god WOULD NOT NEED to change or compromise [A].
        But that doesn’t eliminate the fact that he CANNOT later change or compromise [A].
        And it also follows that no alternative to [A] has the potentiality of existence.”

        rhutchin:
        “Not necessarily – God is certainly able to revisit and change a decision He has made”

        This is ambiguous language and appears as an attempt to deflect off Calvinism’s doctrine of decrees, by appealing to something tangential – “decisions”. The original post uses clear and precise statements concerning god’s decrees in Calvinism.

        Perhaps you are asserting that God can decree [A] as being both “immutable” and “not-immutable”?
        From your wording, it appears you are asserting that in Calvinism, immutable is -quote: “not necessarily” immutable.
        That would be consistent with Calvinist pseudo-logic, if that is what you are saying.

        The remaining statements simply re-affirm the original post.

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      58. br.d writes, “it appears you are asserting that in Calvinism, immutable is -quote: “not necessarily” immutable.”

        God is immutable not because of some law outside Himself that prevents Him changing but because of who He is – God does not change because there is no basis for God to change. Nothing external to God can cause God to change and nothing within God would generate a need for change.

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      59. Wooo doosy evasion of into space- – You must be floating in some kind of divine pleruma right now.

        I’ll look for a coherent dialog with someone else.
        Be well. 🙂

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      60. It’s not a matter of God’s ability Here brother. It’s a matter of God freely doing whatever He has already freely decreed. God has chosen to lock in the future as He has chosen to do. It’s mankind that has to come to grips with this fact. A sovereign, all-knowing God is freely and meticulously working ALL THINGS according to HIS purpose (decree).

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      61. How unfortunate that this is a testimony of a follower of Christ.
        This although crafted to sound lofty, and grandiose, is sooooooo easy to see religious flesh.
        And secondly, it shoots off into nowhere as if it can’t grasp the point its supposed to be responding to.

        It is really true, John Calvin believed that truth can only be ascertained from divine inspiration and not from logic.
        If one’s theology is illogical, short on honesty, and puts on airs, and one claims his theology is divinely inspired, then one is claiming that God is illogical, short on honesty and puts on airs.

        So sad!

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      62. Truth is truth brother br.d. The Scriptures are clear about the nature of God and the purpose He has chosen to reveal to us. I just choose to bow to what He has revealed to us in the Scriptures and this too is by the grace of God. Please forgive me if I’m coming across as arrogant. However, I’m just submitting to the totality of the Scriptures brother.

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      63. Sorry Troy, I’ve been in the body a very long time and I can detect religious flesh a mile away.
        No amount of pretense works – in my case, but it may for others.
        Its called μετασχηματίζεται – masquerading as a messenger of light.
        You can keep trying it with me, but you’ll simply keep getting the same response.

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      64. So now we’re resorting to ad hominem to deflect attention away from the facts of our dispute. Ad hominem is only a method of psychologically trying to divert the opponent of your argument away from the argument itself.
        My brother you don’t know me well enough to make the assertions to you’ve made about me. Let’s please just stick to the FACTS of our arguments and leave out the character jabs.

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      65. Your assertions were meant to attack a character flaw that you perceived in my comments. We’re all “posturing” whenever we’re dogmatic about what we believe the Bible teaches. I must admit br.d you’ve been posturing quite a bit in your exchanges with rhutchin.

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      66. I never thought of it as a character flaw. That would be an attack on someone’s person, that would be dishonoring and un-Christ-like.
        I perceive it as a strategy or approach of engagement that is essentially dishonest pretense.

        We sometimes observe it with a pastor using it on someone to gain an advantage over them or to puff himself up.
        This is not all that unusual when carnal flesh gets into a position of religious power, and uses that position to take advantage of people.
        Sometimes, therefore, younger sheep in the flock observe this as a model, and try using it on people as their pastor (by example) taught them it isn’t carnal flesh.

        On the business of rhutchin, I would be interested in specifics in which I was posturing with him.
        You may not be aware of rhutchin’s reputation, or perhaps aren’t predisposed not to discern his game.
        But if there is a general perception I use posturing, I would want to know it.

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    2. Hi JRA,
      There is an article here: http://www.the-highway.com/Bavinck_predestination2.html

      As you may have guessed, Supralapsarianism vs Infralapsarianism, is an IN-HOUSE debate among Calvinists

      Why this particular issue?
      Because one of the difficulties Calvinists debate about, centers on God’s role in the Adamic Fall.
      Let me unpackage that a little bit.

      Calvinists are driven by two primary urgencies.
      (1) The urgency to be true to the fold, and to sacred doctrine, which embellishes one’s spiritual pride.
      (2) The urgency to posture Calvinism as benevolent.

      And these two urgencies conflict with one another.

      The difficulty in (2) lies in the fact that Calvinism is heavily permeated with moral-dualism.
      People don’t see it at first, but once you look under the hood, you discover moral-dualism is everywhere.
      Some are designed vessels of honor, others vessels of wrath, based exclusively on the potter’s good pleasure.
      Everything in Calvinism comes in good-evil pairs.

      The system’s moral-dualism originates from its Gnostic/Neo-Platonic roots.
      In the ancient Neo-Platonism, of Augustine’s day, good and evil were seen as co-equal constituents of the “ONE”
      The NeoPlatonists called evil “beautiful”, and saw it as a part of the divine nature, and necessary for the wholeness of the “ONE”.
      Augustine was one of the premier theologians to synchronize NeoPlatonism into Catholic doctrine which Calvin carried forward.

      It is this character of moral-dualism that non-Calvinists instinctively find difficult in Calvinism.
      Jesus, especially always held a very sharp line of demarcation between good and evil.
      He never implied that Father God treats people as Calvinist Jonathan Edwards liked to say: -quote “spiders to be flicked into the fire”
      But that notion is a manifestation of moral-dualism.

      This creates a most serious difficulty in their urgency to market the product.
      An image of a deity whose character is ruthless and utilitarian, who designs people as vessels for torment.

      Calvinists, in trying to hide the evil side of their theology have had years of debates over God’s role in sin and evil.
      And this is especially highlighted in the case of Adam’s sin, because scripture does not infer Adam was conceived in sin.
      So you can see how God’s role in Adam’s sin, would create an IN-HOUSE controversy for Calvinists.
      Where one group has (1) as their over-riding urgency, and another group of Calvinists have (2) as theirs.
      Thus the IN-HOUSE debate.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. rhutchin writes: “God’s decrees/decisions would be a subset of God’s total knowledge.”

    This would appear to be logical in the event the God knows something that he has already decreed to exist.

    A major proposition in Calvinism is that god’s knowledge is the direct CONSEQUENCE of god’s decree.
    It would then logically follow that god CANNOT know [X] where god has not decreed [X], since
    (1) Where god does not decree [X], – [X] has no potentiality of existence.
    (2) For god to know something that does not exist, which would make god illogical.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. br.d writes, “A major proposition in Calvinism is that god’s knowledge is the direct CONSEQUENCE of god’s decree.”

      I don’t Think Calvinists reject the notion that God has a greater knowledge than that derived from His decrees. God knows all possibilities – the universe of events that he could decree but has not. Also, God knows Himself but did not decree Himself. This seems to be an area where you do not understand Calvinism.

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      1. (1) Where god does not decree [X], – [X] has no potentiality of existence.
        (2) For god to know something that does not exist, would make god illogical.

        Which one of those statements are not acknowledged by Calvinists?

        If you are thinking (2) might not be acknowledged by Calvinists please check the wording which is precise enough to differentiate between “Know” and “Know about” , where “know about” would be applicable to theoretical knowledge.

        Understanding the difference between “know” and “know about”, are you asserting that God foreknows events that he does not will to decree to exist?

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      2. br.d writes, “Understanding the difference between “know” and “know about”, are you asserting that God foreknows events that he does not will to decree to exist?”

        God knows all that will happen and all that could happen if He willed it. Until God decrees an event, there is no reason to speak of God foreknowing that event. There is no actual event except that which God decrees – this is true under Calvinism and under Brian’s system with Brian positioning some of God’s decrees immediately prior to the event.

        Your distinction between “know” and “know about” seems contrived. While “know about” could be applicable to theoretical knowledge of the future that could be, it would also apply to actual knowledge of the past – God knows about past events.

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      3. rhutchin:
        (1) “God knows all that will happen and all that could happen *IF HE WILLED IT*.”

        Lets put this into standard propositional form: “IF God wills/decrees event [X] THEN God knows event [X] is true”

        Then:
        “There is no ACTUAL event except that which God decrees – this is true under Calvinism”

        Lets put this into standard propositional form as the contrapositive to (1)

        “IF God does not decree event [X] then event [X] is not ACTUAL”

        Therefore:
        Since scripture records that Adam disobeyed, and scripture is true.
        And since Adam’s disobedience was the event [X] that God foreknew as true.
        Then it follows from Calvinism’s propositions concerning foreknowledge/decrees:
        A: God foreknew Adam’s disobedience as true
        B: Since God foreknew Adam’s obedience (the negation of what God foreknew) would be false.
        C: Since God foreknows Adam’s obedience and god does not foreknow its negation, then its negation (Adam’s obedience) could not be an “ACTUAL” event, and therefore was not possible.

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      4. br.d writes, “…therefore was not possible.”

        Now, the question is: What factors prevented it from being possible? God’s foreknowledge did not prevent it from being possible, but God’s foreknowledge included knowledge of the factors that did prevent it from being possible e.g., God’s refusal to intervene to help Adam.

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      5. rhutchin:
        Now, the question is: What factors prevented it from being possible? God’s foreknowledge did not prevent it from being possible, but God’s foreknowledge included knowledge of the factors that did prevent it from being possible e.g., God’s refusal to intervene to help Adam.

        What prevents it from being possible is determined by laws of logic.
        Unless one wants to argue that God is not logical, and in such case TRUTH = FALSE, right=wrong, holy=unholy and good=evil
        Where God can decree Adam free to be a married bachelor, and draw square circles.
        Where God determines *ALL* things that come to pass, but not in such a way that God determines *ALL* things that come to pass, because God DOES NOT determine *SOME* things that come to pass.
        Or simply where winning requires imagining ways to get around the law of non-contradiction, postured as superior logic. 🙂

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  28. Wentzel Van Huyssteen (2003). “theological determinism”. Encyclopedia of science and religion.

    1. Macmillan Reference. p. 217. ISBN 978-0-02-865705-9. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
    “Theological determinism constitutes a fifth kind of determinism. There are two types of theological determinism, both compatible with scientific and metaphysical determinism.

    In the first, God determines everything that happens, either in one all-determining single act at the initial creation of the universe or through continuous divine interactions with the world. Either way, the consequence is that everything that happens becomes God’s action, and determinism is closely linked to divine action and God’s omnipotence.

    According to the second type of theological determinism, God has perfect knowledge of everything in the universe because God is omniscient. And, as some say, because God is outside of time, God has the capacity of knowing past, present, and future in one instance. This means that God knows what will happen in the future. And because God’s omniscience is perfect, what God knows about the future will inevitably happen, WHICH MEANS, CONSEQUENTLY THAT THE FUTURE IS ALREADY FIXED”

    Liked by 1 person

  29. WILLIAM LANE CRAIG ON (FOREKNOWLEDGE = FORE-ORDINATION0 MAKING HUMAN SIN NECESSARY:

    -quote:
    “Some Christians would say, by virtue of foreknowing future acts of people, God in effect foreordains them.
    So on this view, which was held by people like Jonathon Edwards for example: FOREKNOWLEDGE = FORE-ORDINATION.

    Simply by knowing that something will happen, that thing is foreordained to happen. And therefore human freedom is effectively removed. On this basis, even the fall of man, into sin, was foreordained by God.

    IT WAS **NECESSARY** and predestined.

    Note this view however, not only removes human freedom, but it also rests very uncomfortably, that God is not the author of sin. On this view, it would seem that by God foreknowing Adam’s fall into sin, that God in effect foreordained it.

    That sin is the result…NOT OF ADAM’S CHOICE – BUT OF GOD’S CHOICE.

    Which I think ought to make all of us feel somewhat uncomfortable.”

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    1. Craig is correctly representing the Calvinist position, for to them foreknowledge equals foreordination since it results directly from it. Of course Calvinists can’t explain how God can do any foreordaining without using any prior knowledge! Does He foreordain not knowing the meaning of the words He
      is using? 😉

      But Craig is not of the hook with by proposing middle knowledge… for even though it proceeds foreordination, the future is set, immutably determined, in God’s mind before the creation of any other so called free will. God’s playing out of all possible worlds ahead of time in His mind has Him as the deciding factor of which exact “freewill” decision of others will occur, which He will cause or allow to happen in every circumstance, and also the making of all of His freewill decisions ahead of creation. Once creation starts He will never make a free will decision again… and one wonders how one’s own decisions are freely being made if God’s previous choices made certain only one certain choice would result each time, decided before creation began.

      The Arminian just punts and says everything is foreknown to happen only one way before creation, but God somehow knows it without being the creation of that certain knowledge in His mind in any way that makes it necessary for that certain future to take place… but it will take place… and that is the truth… and it is necessary that truth is never false. 😉

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      1. Thanks Brian!

        But what about Craig’s argument that in Molinism, God merely puts people into situations knowing what they are going to do anyway, and according to Craig, God always works to arrange possible situations, in order to bring about the best possible outcome for each person.

        Craig draws a distinction between that view of God’s role in human events, in contrast to the Calvinist view of a God who deliberately creates people and sets them up for sin, evil and eternity in a lake of fire. Calvin’s God is like the owner of a manufacturing plant who sets up souls on a conveyor belt of sin and evil, and at the end of the conveyor belt, be dumped into a lake of fire.

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      2. Thanks Br. D. for the interaction. I think you are defending Molinism the same way determinists try to defend God’s determinism by using the present tense. You said God “works to arrange” for the best possible outcomes for people. You did not deal with my explanation that all that setting up happened in God’s mind before any other will was created. How can the outcomes picked in God’s mind ahead of creation for everyone’s will, including the outcomes of all of God’s choices, be called “freewill” choices now after creation? And how could the best possible outcomes for some people have them ending up in hell… already set to happen before they are created?

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      3. Brian I understand your struggles brother because the idea of God having a set decree really offends people’s ego. But whether one acquiesces to God’s predetermined decree or not, is really immaterial since acquiescence doesn’t effect His decree either way. His decree stands whether we believe it or not.

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      4. Good morning Troy! We both agree that God’s decrees stand as they are, and that we should acquiesce to God as sovereign! We just see the Scriptures teaching very different things about those decrees and how God is working out His sovereignty.

        I hope the best for you!

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      5. Hi Brian,

        Thoughtful questions!

        I hope I didn’t’ give the wrong impression – – I’m not a defender of Molinism, but I do remember Craig’s explanations, and it did seem to me, a reasonable and significant difference between Theological Determinism (ala Calvinism), which Craig rejects.

        You might be right.
        Molinism seems to be a milder form of determinism.
        It differs from Calvinism, in that it incorporates libertarian free will (or at least claims to)

        Can I ask you about something that Alvin Plantinga argues for, in his free-will defense.
        I think its well known Plantinga also embraces some form of Molinism.

        His free-will defense basically states that all things considered, God would have had to have created a world in which people were allowed or permitted to choose sin/evil, in order for God to have a world in which people are *significantly* free. And by *significantly* he means in the libertarian sense.

        Here there is a blank & white difference between “allow” and “permit” in Plantinga’s usage than we find in Calvinism.
        In Calvinist language the words “allow” and “permit” are used to deceive people.

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      6. Br. D. I’m not getting the wrong impression… though I do sense a primal loyalty from you to Molinism. lol

        But ask yourself – where does Molinism inject the idea of libertarian free will… As far as I understand it… it exists in the scenarios of possible worlds that God thinks through before freely choosing one, and then creating it. How does it still exist after a fully completed set future is put into motion? The issues to me still that remain are… how did you and I exercise our free will back then in God’s mind, before we even existed… and now that we do exist, how are our decisions declared to be freely made, when only one choice is now possible to us for each instance since this perfect world is completely set to happen only one way?

        Liked by 1 person

      7. br.d writes, “In Calvinist language the words “allow” and “permit” are used to deceive people.”

        Not really. The terms, “allow” and “permit” identify events that occur as a consequence of natural events that God allows to proceed naturally without interference from Him – God is not the direct cause of the event (examples include the murder of Abel, the crucifixion of Christ, the stoning of Stephen). This is contrasted with those events where God is the direct cause of the event (examples include the flood of Noah, the destruction of Sodom, the impregnation of Mary). There is no reason for people to think that they are being deceived by this language. Everyone uses similar language to describe the differences in God’s involvement in the affairs of people.

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      8. br.d writes, “Craig draws a distinction between that view of God’s role in human events, in contrast to the Calvinist view of a God who deliberately creates people and sets them up for sin, evil and eternity in a lake of fire.”

        Thus, there is no difference between Craig and the Calvinist. Under each system, “…God merely puts people into situations knowing what they are going to do anyway,…” The garden of Eden is an example.

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      9. If you believe that, and still see yourself as a Calvinist your simply following your own imagination.
        You like argue that a stationary object like a domino can fall of its own power. 😉

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      10. brianwagner writes, “Of course Calvinists can’t explain how God can do any foreordaining without using any prior knowledge! Does He foreordain not knowing the meaning of the words He is using? 😉’

        For God to foreordain is for God to decree. God decreed the creation of the universe and the events of Genesis 1; thus, God foreordained the events of Genesis 1. God set up the garden and prepared the scene for that which transpired. God created Adam and Eve with the ability to think and reason, placed them in the garden, grew the tree whose fruit was off limits and then removed His protection so that Satan entered to deceive Eve and get Adam to eat the fruit. All of this action involved decrees by God which decrees were part of His knowledge. God self-exists with knowledge of Himself. Concerning those things God creates, all is done by decree and requires no “prior knowledge” other than God’s decrees to create. The issue here seems to be whether there was ever a point when God first decreed to create the universe. Because God is infinite, it is not possible to identify a point like that – essentially God always knew all that He would decree.

        then, “Craig is not of the hook with by proposing middle knowledge… for even though it proceeds foreordination,…”

        I don’t think that is true – this because as you say, “…the future is set, immutably determined, in God’s mind before the creation…”. I am not aware that Molinists have sorted out everything in their system, including that.

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      11. Thanks Roger for the wordy confirmation that a Calvinist can’t explain how God makes a decree without using prior knowledge, which is the meaning of foreknowledge.

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      12. brianwagner writes, “which is the meaning of foreknowledge.”

        As I understand the Scriptures, foreknowledge refers to God’s knowledge of His creation and the events of that creation. God’s decrees regarding His creation are the source of His knowledge about the creation. Given that God has a knowledge of Himself and could get along well with never decreeing anything, I guess we could say that God’s knowledge of Himself could be prior to any decree He might make. Nobody can explain God’s knowledge including you, the Calvinists, the non-Calvinists and anyone else. As nothing is “prior” to God, I don’t see that there is anything such as “prior knowledge” relative to God or anything God might decree.

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      13. Then you weren’t listening… God’s prior knowledge to any of His decrees is His infinite understanding. That is so easy to understand… biblical… and logical.

        But you have confirmed once again that God, according to Calvinism, had no prior knowledge to use to describe His decree that encompasses knowledge of all future events as set, but He still proclaims an eternal immutable decree that somehow is not necessary to His nature… the contradictions to logic are mindboggling… and so is the loyalty to those contradictions.

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      14. I’m doing some research on “antithesis” which I think is one of the links between Calvinism and Gnosticism.
        One of the things to note in Gnostic Christians is the high emphasis on “antithesis”.
        The Gnostic/Calvinist cosmology conceives of (good and evil) as well as (truth and false) existing in undifferentiated form.
        This would help explain Calvinists always needing to evade the law of non-contradiction.

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      15. The problem, Br. D., that I have found in study Christian History is that the label “Gnosticism” is to RC back in the first few centuries is like the terms “Evangelicalism” or “Pentecostalism” are to RC today. RC tends to lump a lot of groups under one label, even though some of those groups that they called “Gnostic” were much more biblical than RC was back then.

        And this is what RC does in labeling groups “Evangelical” and “Pentecostal” are today. But there were many groups back then called “Gnostics” that were truly unbiblical in their gospel and definitions of God and sources of truth, just like there are some groups today called “Evangelicals” or “Pentecostals” that are truly unbiblical in their gospel and definitions of God and sources of truth. But RC has always had a false gospel, some wrong definitions for God, and false sources for truth.

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      16. There is a significant body of academic expertise (PhD work) in historical Gnosticism.
        Very much outside of the purview of RC.
        The more I read about Gnosticism, the more ties I see between it and Calvinism.
        The concept of oppositions such as good and evil, truth and false as opposites, exist as co-equal, co-necessary, and co-complimentary and also exist in undifferentiated form, such that a line of delineation between them is blurred or they morph into each other.

        I think you’ll be surprised at the number of experts in Gnosticism who see its constituents and unique lexicon reappear in Calvinist authors.

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      17. I have no doubt that eastern dualism had a strong influence in western sects of Christianity… as did Greek philosophical determinism and hedonism.

        Br. D. You are right. I am just saying that groups that spoke of a personal knowledge of Jesus in salvation, and who also rejected RC for their tying of the physical to the spiritual in sacraments were commonly called Gnostic by RC… even though they were not dualistic as far as their understanding of God.

        I think that though Calvinism’s loyalty to the contradictions that are spawned from their view of divine determinism and their scholarly pride might make you think you see Gnosticism in it, I don’t think using that label for them is accurate or helpful.

        It is true that Augustine came out of dualistic Manichaeism, which some call a Gnostic subgroup, and which he used to promote before his conversion to RC. But I think his theology was more closely related to neo-platinum and influenced more from Greek philosophy.

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      18. Absolutely correct! But all experts on NeoPlatonism say that it was synchronized with Gnosticism.
        We know that Calvinism has historically put a high emphasis on “Antithesis” as a divine model.
        One question to consider, is whether Calvinists conceive of “Antithesis” as the model of God’s thinking and the model of God’s will.
        Think about how that would be expressed in dualism and the good-evil concept-pairs which appear everywhere in the Calvinist model.

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      19. br.d writes, “We know that Calvinism has historically put a high emphasis on “Antithesis” as a divine model.”

        The primary antithesis relating to the Christian worldview and the non-Christian worldview – the tension between belief and unbelief. The Calvinist develops a sound theology from the Scriptures and uses that theology to argue against non-Scriptural philosophies of the world. Calvinists are not alone in doing this – they just do it better than everyone else, so they tend to dominate discussion.

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      20. brianwagner writes, “God’s prior knowledge to any of His decrees is His infinite understanding. That is so easy to understand… biblical… and logical.”

        This seems to reduce to God having a knowledge and understanding of Himself apart from any decrees He makes. We can identify the separate parts just like we can describe God as just, love, etc. It sounds like you are arguing for a logical priority of knowledge/understanding prior to a decree.

        The, “But you have confirmed once again that God, according to Calvinism, had no prior knowledge to use to describe His decree that encompasses knowledge of all future events as set, but He still proclaims an eternal immutable decree that somehow is not necessary to His nature… the contradictions to logic are mindboggling… and so is the loyalty to those contradictions.”

        All God’s decrees are consistent with Himself and are eternally immutable no matter what point we fix them. There is no knowledge prior to God – not even logically. Either God is knowledge or God has knowledge. If God’s knowledge is derived from His decrees, then God has knowledge as a consequence of His decrees. So, logically decrees can be placed before knowledge. If God is knowledge, then that knowledge would exist prior to His decrees as God does not decree Himself. The issue is whether God’s decrees “appeared” at some point or eternally existed in the mind of God. If you can show that this had to happen – decrees appear at some point, then you can support your case. I don’t think you can do that – I don’t see the Scriptures resolving the issue.

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      21. God’s infinite understanding is not apart from possible decrees He could make… just apart from there being any eternally immutable necessary ones that involve creation, unless you want to tie those decrees directly to His nature!

        It is so amazing, Roger, that you still want to have decrees before knowledge! Your loyalty to logical contradiction is truly amazing, for I have shown you often from Scripture that God has revealed all reality as sequential and that He is still making decrees/determinations in sequential order. Thus all could not be eternally immutably wrapped up in one decree attached to His nature. Yield to the evidence of Scripture and logic my friend, not the dogma of philosophy that is contradictory to logic and Scripture!

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      22. brianwagner writes, “God’s infinite understanding is not apart from possible decrees He could make… just apart from there being any eternally immutable necessary ones that involve creation, unless you want to tie those decrees directly to His nature!”

        You allow that God knows all possible events that could occur in the future. By His infinite understanding, God knows the outcome of those events if He does nothing to change those outcomes. God also knows those actions He could take to bring all possible events into line with His will. God always works all things according to His will. Nothing is going to change this – God’s will is always done as God has the final say to change things or do nothing. To say that God decrees X is to say that God wills X. It is not AS IF God has to mull over the pros and cons of His actions and then make a decision. When God created the universe, everything was already laid out – God’s will would prevail and nothing could change that. There is never a point when God does not know what he is doing – from eternity past to any point in the timeline of His creation.

        Then, “It is so amazing, Roger, that you still want to have decrees before knowledge!”

        A decree by God is the expression of His will. All knowledge is subordinate to God’s will and there is no knowledge outside God’s will.

        Then, “Your loyalty to logical contradiction is truly amazing, for I have shown you often from Scripture that God has revealed all reality as sequential and that He is still making decrees/determinations in sequential order. Thus all could not be eternally immutably wrapped up in one decree attached to His nature. Yield to the evidence of Scripture and logic my friend, not the dogma of philosophy that is contradictory to logic and Scripture!”

        What you are arguing is that God created an universe in which there is an orderly progression of events in sequential order – as this was the way God set it up with the sun, moon and stars as timekeepers and finite creations that changed over the course of time. The Scriptures then tell us that God participates in the universe He created by inserting Himself into the affairs of the creatures He created – He determines each birth, sustains each life, and brings life to an end, etc. God does not give life without purpose; God does not sustain each life without purpose; God does not end life without purpose; all of God’s interactions with His creation have purpose – that purpose is His will expressed in His eternal mind. When God created the universe, there was nothing to decide; Why would there be? God does not vacillate in anything.

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      23. Still amazed! More obfuscation… and thanks again for confirming you believe in decrees being made about things without knowledge about those things. Infinite understanding of possibilities does not make necessary the knowledge of which will eventually happen. That would create a contradiction with the meaning of knowing something as possible. But I know you profess such contradictions as true… so you need not reply. 😉

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      24. brianwagner writes, “thanks again for confirming you believe in decrees being made about things without knowledge about those things.

        We can be clearer than that. God’s decrees are God’s will. God’s will encompasses perfect knowledge and infinite understanding of all things. It would be erroneous to say that God wills X (e.g., to create Adam) without knowledge of X as God’s will for X tells us He has a knowledge of X (especially since X is God’s creation and God knows what He creates).

        Then, ‘Infinite understanding of possibilities does not make necessary the knowledge of which will eventually happen.”

        Of course it does. Infinite understanding encompasses all aspects of possibilities including all the forces involved – so that, nothing in the future happens by chance but according to God’s will. It is God’s will that establishes the circumstances under which any future possibility occurs. It is God’s absolute control over the circumstances that determines the disposition of the possibility – either God wills it and it happens or He doesn’t will it and it doesn’t happen.

        Then, “That would create a contradiction with the meaning of knowing something as possible. But I know you profess such contradictions as true…”

        That is because you are trying to force your particular definition of “possible” into the argument. It seems that you have taken the concept of “possibilities” from Molinism since they appear to be the same. As God is perfect in knowledge having infinite understanding, God knows the events that could have been possible had He willed them. Future events are not possible in the human sense of being undecided. There is nothing in the future about which God is undecided. If God were undecided, that would mean that God did not know all the facts or did not understand those facts – this is not possible.

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      25. Thanks for trying Roger… you want to have it both ways… Decreeing using prior knowledge and the same decreeing causing all foreknowledge. You want “possible” to mean “counterfactual” since those possibilities could never happen and since God is unable to will differently according to your definition of perfection in His nature… but that contradicts the “orthodox” meaning of “possible” ;-). Dance all you like… our readers see the contradictions your loyalty tries to defend with great wordiness!

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      26. brianwagner writes, “you want to have it both ways… Decreeing using prior knowledge and the same decreeing causing all foreknowledge.”

        You seem not to like that (but I may be reading more into your comment than you intended) however, you are not tried to frame an alternative view. We know that God describes Himself as “I am.” That statement is an informational statement made by God about Himself. So, we can conclude that God knows Himself and that constitutes information. Is it “prior” information? I’ll let you try to argue that if you can. As God “is” and has “always been” nothing can be prior to God, certainly not information. At the same time, God has a will and has freedom to exercise that will. The exercise of God’s will would seem to rely on God’s knowledge of Himself as no other source of information exists. Do you mean to argue that God’s knowledge of Himself constitutes “prior” knowledge that serves as the basis for God to will something? Have at it. I don’t see anything in the Scriptures that speaks to this issue.

        When we speak of God expressing His will (or decreeing) regarding His creation of the universe (or anything else), then that which God wills (or decrees) would then identify information concerning that which God wills. I don’t see how you could label information about that which God wills to do as prior information. Did God use “information” to decide to will? Perhaps, but the source of such information would not be outside God.

        Then, “You want “possible” to mean “counterfactual” since those possibilities could never happen and since God is unable to will differently according to your definition of perfection in His nature… but that contradicts the ‘orthodox’ meaning of ‘possible.’”

        Certainly, when speaking of possibilities relative to God, the “orthodox” meaning goes out the window because the “orthodox” meaning relates to that which is possible from the human perspective and not the perspective of God. That is why “free will” is always argued from a human perspective with God ignored. When we add God to the equation, then human free will is necessarily subordinate to God’s free will – then we add Adam’s sin and the slavery to sin that it engendered, and the equation gets somewhat more complicated. So, we have that which is possible for God and this must be evaluated in the context of who God is and then there is that which is possible for man and this reflects the limitations of man. If we look at everything through God’s eyes, then God’s will rules all situations and events and no other possibilities can exist.

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      27. It’s too bad , Roger, that you keep accusing me of not providing an alternative view… and it doesn’t seem to bother you. God does have prior knowledge eternal to Himself and a part of His nature. It is His infinite understanding of all He is capable of doing. That is information, and from that information He willed some of those possibilities to come into being and left others to be willed later.

        You can’t fathom that a perfect God would not be in your strait jacket of determinism… and you are willing believe there is a lock on His will… which is a part of His nature… to one eternal immutable set future forever, where in my view, no free will, whether His or ours subordinate to His, will ever truly be expressed. So sad!

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      28. I’m going to draw up a list of games rules for Calvinist thinking.
        One of them will be something like:

        Calvinism: Rules of the Game – (Calvinist Thinking Rules)
        1) The Calvinist reserves the exclusive right of never being wrong.
        2) The Calvinist reserves the exclusive right to define any evidence you provide to the contrary as non-evidence. :0]

        This should be another fun submission – but also enlightening!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. br.d writes, “Note this view however, not only removes human freedom, but it also rests very uncomfortably, that God is not the author of sin. On this view, it would seem that by God foreknowing Adam’s fall into sin, that God in effect foreordained it.”

      That God foreordained X does not require that God caused X. It means that God is sovereign, exercising absolute control over His creation and it was God who had the final decision to act to prevent natural forces reaching a natural end or to do nothing so that natural forces reached a natural result. God’s decision – to intervene or not intervene – foreordained the end result.

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      1. You can take that up with Dr. Craig.
        I’m one of a thousand people who recognize Calvinism’s deceptive language games.

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      2. This was not a quote from br.d, it was a quote from William Lane Craig:

        -quote:
        “Note this view [Calvinism] however, not only removes human freedom, but it also rests very uncomfortably, that God is not the author of sin. On this view, it would seem that by God foreknowing Adam’s fall into sin, that God in effect foreordained it.”

        Dr. Craig also specifically states that in Calvinism – quote “On this basis, even the fall of man, into sin, was foreordained by God.

        IT WAS **NECESSARY** and predestined.” -endquote

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      3. br.d writes, “Dr. Craig also specifically states that in Calvinism – quote “On this basis, even the fall of man, into sin, was foreordained by God.
        IT WAS **NECESSARY** and predestined.” -endquote”

        Nothing wrong with Craig’s quote – it leaves out discussion of secondary causes and the distinction between control and cause.

        The Calvinist world is that world God ordains under Molinism. Molinism and Calvinism are consistent with each other – Molinism describing God’s thinking prior to the creation and Calvinism describing God’s actions in, and after, creation.

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      4. rhtuchin writes:
        The Calvinist world is that world God ordains under Molinism. Molinism and Calvinism are consistent with each other – Molinism describing God’s thinking prior to the creation and Calvinism describing God’s actions in, and after, creation.

        William Lane Craig is having a good laugh at this one :-]

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      5. br.d writes, “William Lane Craig is having a good laugh at this one :”

        I doubt it. I don’t think Craig actually realizes the consistency between Molinism and Calvinism.

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