Does the bible teach Free-will?

The following is a Question & Answer about free will from Jim McClarty over at Grace Christian Assembly in Tennessee. It’s a great site chocked full of good resources! Here is the link to the Q&A page: http://www.salvationbygrace.org/default.aspx?ct=sub/qa

Question:

I’m taking an English 102 class right now in college and we are going over “Paradise Lost” right now. I don’t know how familiar you are with the book, but the basic gist of it is the story of Satan’s rebellion against God and the loss of Paradise for Adam and Eve.

The writer, John Milton, is apparently a staunch Arminian and brings up the subject of free will quite often i.e. Satan had the free will to get kicked out of heaven, Eve had the free will to eat the apple, Adam had the free will to sin with his wife.

Anyway, last night during our class we got to the part of the book where God is talking to Jesus and talking about how man has now ruined himself because he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God looks around heaven and sees if there is someone around who is willing to take the place of the sinners and Jesus voluntarily says He’ll take their place.

This ultimately led to a group discussion of free will and it’s “beauty” (quoth my teacher).

There are about 9 people in my class; 2 of us are “reformed” or Calvinist, 3 of them are free will proponents, and the other 4 don’t really know/care what we are talking about.

During the said discussion, my teacher started spouting off about how God allows us to choose whether or not to accept Him or reject Him and that it has to be a choice because otherwise we would be robots and it wouldn’t be real love and devotion. I argued with him for a while, quoting Ephesians and Romans and talking about how we are dead in sin, but then he answered “but Adam was not born dead into sin, he had the free ability to choose.

How do you explain that?”

And I couldn’t.

Jim -

Wow, was your teacher Dave Hunt? Those are all the same arguments he uses in his book “What Love Is This?” But, there are answers to all of those claims. We’ll take them in order.

1) If God is completely sovereign, we’re just robots.

It is common to hear opponents of God’s sovereignty in salvation say that lack of free will produces robots or puppets. The underlying assumption in such thinking is that there are two basic choices: human freedom or God’s intervention. But, that’s a false assumption. The Bible is quite plain that all of mankind falls into one of two camps: sons of God or sons of the devil. In other words, if God does not pull your strings, you are not simply “morally neutral,” implementing your own plans and designs for your life. If God is not in charge of your life, then Satan is. Someone’s pulling your strings, either way.

When you read the language of Scripture you see the consistent contrast between those Jesus chose and those who constitute “the world,” whom Jesus would not pray for (John 17:9). Or, Jesus speaks of “the believing,” who have everlasting life, versus the unbelieving, who are “condemned already” (John 3:16-18). You find Paul’s contrasts between the children of the free and the children of bondage (Gal. 4:30-31). In Col. 1:12-13, Paul contrasts the “saints in light” who were delivered from “the power of darkness.” And, in fact, those are the very words Jesus used to describe Paul’s predestined ministry, as a “chosen vessel.”

“And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” (Acts 26:14-18)

And, of course, Jesus’ condemnation of the Pharisees was not that they were simply following their God-given free will as they rejected Him. He said that they were incapable of understanding His words because they were not His sheep and they were indeed “of your father the devil.” There is no such thing as moral neutrality; there is only light or dark, good or evil, free or bond, God’s or Satan’s.

That contrast is consistent. God’s interference in the lives of some people is not an assault against their freedom. It is deliverance from a darkness that they themselves do not even recognize. Satan has so blinded the eyes of sinful men that they are incapable of recognizing the things of God. Only when God intrudes on a person’s heart/mind/soul/will can that person recognize both their sinfulness and the grace that delivered them. Everyone’s a puppet. It’s just a question of who’s pulling your strings.

2) Love that is not freely given (with the free option to be withheld) is not genuine love or devotion.

Given that the above assessment of man’s natural state is true; and if it is Biblically accurate that all mankind is “dead in trespasses in sins” (Eph. 2:1), then man has no natural ability to love God.

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Rom. 8:7-8)

The notion of love freely chosen and freely given as an act of the libertarian, unencumbered free will is a nice sounding idea — it’s just an impossibility. Our natural wills are only free to do evil. While we may choose from myriad wicked options, we are utterly incapable of choosing that which is right and good; and that would especially include unfeigned love toward God. Where our love for God is concerned, the Bible is clear:

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

We are incapable of generating positive love toward God unless He first moves on our hearts, removes that stone of indifference and rebellion, and revives us to “newness of life,” forming the capability to love God within us. God must first grant us the ability to do what we simply cannot. And the only people to whom He grants such ability are those whom He has chosen as recipients of His gracious love. We love Him in reaction to His love.

The argument that the only true love is love generated by free will ignores man’s incapability and places the responsibility to love on the very creatures that are described as dead in their own sinfulness, always at enmity with God, incapable of pleasing Him, and defiantly in love with their own sinful flesh. If we’re going to look at this matter Biblically, the only real love that God will accept is that love which He Himself generates. That is the only love pure and good enough to be offered a truly Holy God. Human emotional love is of no value to a God who defines love according to His own character and nature. Thus, He must generate and sustain any love worthy of Himself.

3) “… but Adam was not born dead into sin, he had the free ability to choose. how do you explain that?”

Your teacher is ignoring a little something called “the fall.” We were not born after Adam’s initial innocence. We were born into Adam’s sin. Paul argued that the proof that all men are guilty of Adam’s sin is the fact that all men die. The wages of sin is death. So, the fact that Adam had an ability to choose proves nothing at all concerning the supposed free will of men after the fall and the expulsion from Eden.

Granted, Adam had the “free-est” will of any man who ever lived (save Jesus). But, what did that freedom accomplish? Did it make him more Godly? More obedient? More righteous? Nope. It caused him to rebel.

Now, by the way, I would argue that Adam’s fall was perfectly in line with God’s eternal plan. Inasmuch as Christ is called “the lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8), it is obvious that God ordained the necessity of a Savior. Had God wanted man to persist in his innocence, all He had to do was keep from placing the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the garden. I mean, remove the temptation and there’s no possibility of rebellion. Likewise, had God simply kept Satan, the tempter, away from Eve (which I certainly assume He was capable of doing), there would have been no fall. In other words, God set the stage and fully anticipated the acts of Adam and Eve and the resultant introduction of sin into the world.

So, in the largest picture, Adam did not truly have the free ability to choose. What He did was predetermined by God, who works all things after the counsel of His own will (Eph. 1:11). Sin was a necessity in order for God to demonstrate His grace. And God fashioned a scenario through which sin entered, while He was not the direct cause. He used secondary causes —- Satan, the Tree, Eve’s pride and influence over Adam, etc. — to do the very thing He had determined to be done, all of which will result in His own glory and the preeminence of His Son in all things.

Q -

So I guess my question is, how did sin enter the world if Adam was created sinless? It seems like a logical conclusion that if someone is born without sin, he will continue on without sin. If he sins, there is something inside of him/her that makes them sin, which in turn would make that something a sin in itself. So I guess I don’t understand how sin actually came to be if Adam and Eve had supposed “free will.”

Jim -

Admittedly, these are tough issues; but only because the Bible does not explain it all. It simply tells us about the events without expounding the theology or mind of God behind the events.

Nevertheless, you make a couple of assumptions here that are worth investigating. For instance, what does it mean to say that Adam was created without sin? Since he was a brand new creature, having no history and no activity, he was axiomatically sinless. But, that fact does not equate to moral perfection. Just as he had no bad acts, he equally had no good acts. His state was determined by what he did. And he, like us, was capable of reacting to stimuli both within himself and outside himself. In other words, we often react to ideas that come from someone else; producing thoughts and concepts we had never realized or entertained prior to becoming aware of those ideas. Adam was unaware of sin or rebellion. That is why Satan was introduced into the scenario. Someone or something outside of Adam had to introduce the idea of rebellion. And that’s precisely what Satan did in his temptation of Eve. He questioned what God said and enticed Eve to look at the tree in a whole new way. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen 3:5) Eve had never considered such a thing prior to that.

And that’s how sin entered. God set the stage and allowed things to progress, as every one of the players followed their own inclinations. Yet, they all did exactly as God had ordained (rather like what we read in Acts 2:23).

Okay, here’s the big theological construct. God is goodness and light. Therefore, wherever God is, goodness and light prevail. However, wherever God is NOT, darkness prevails. That’s the natural state of the universe. It takes no energy to produce darkness. Darkness is the natural state produced by absence of light. God does not have to actively produce darkness; all He has to do is withhold His light. Likewise, all God had to do in order for Satan to rebel was to withhold His protecting presence. Consequently, Satan rebelled and took a third of Heaven with him. Those who did not join Satan’s rebellion were “kept” by God, so Paul calls them “elect angels” (1 Tim. 5:21).

Likewise, when God withholds His goodness from people, they become dark and they gravitate toward their natural, fleshly desires. Only when God sheds light in a person do they recognize and respond to the things of God. In the same way, all God had to do to bring about the fall of Adam was to allow Satan to follow his pernicious, subtle ways and stand back. The lack of God’s intervention and protection resulted in the very thing God intended and decreed — the fall of mankind.

As for Adam and Eve’s “free will,” it was free to the extent that it was not yet corrupted by sin. But, it was not free to utterly resist sin. Adam’s sin came not from within himself, but from outside influences — Satan and Eve. And Adam’s sinlessness was the axiomatic state of someone who had done nothing at all. It was not a state of moral perfection. Only God is morally perfect. Any creature is subject to God’s will where their morality is concerned.

Q -

On a side note, in your “Before the foundation of the world” Q&A topic, you say that nowhere in the New Testament does it say the words “free will.” Well, I actually found an instance in my Bible the other day. In the book of Philemon, in the New American Standard, it says “but without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion but of your own free will.” (1:14). So, I don’t know how to respond to that, but hopefully you can shed some light on this for me, because I was taken aback when I saw it.

Jim -

Yes, it’s true. That’s a regrettable choice of wording on the part of the NAS translators. The Greek combination of words they have translated “free will” is “kata hekousion.” “Kata” is a primary particle that has an assortment of uses in Greek grammar. Usually, it is used to denote a level of intensity or has the sense “according to.” The other word, “hekousion,” is a neuter derivative of “hekon,” meaning “voluntary.” So, it essentially means, “voluntarily.” And that meaning is obvious from the context.

Paul is sending Onesimus, a slave, back to his owner, Philemon. But, inasmuch as Onesimus is a believer in Christ, Paul adjures Philemon to take him back not as a slave, but as a brother. Paul admits that he loves Onesimus and would prefer to keep him to himself as a helper in the gospel. But, he did not want to do anything without Philemon’s consent. At that point, Paul gives Philemon the opportunity to the right thing, but adds that he did not want Philemon’s goodness to be done by compulsion, but voluntarily.

With the exception of the English Standard Version, every other respected translation recognizes the contrast between Paul’s use of “kata anangkeen” (by compulsion or necessity) and “kata hekousion.” It is that contrast that determines the meaning and proper translation.

The NIV reads: “But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do will be spontaneous and not forced.”

The NKJV reads: “But without your consent I wanted to do nothing, that your good deed might not be by compulsion, as it were, but voluntary.”

The KVJ reads: “But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly.”

The NET reads: “However, without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your good deed would not be out of compulsion, but from your own willingness.”

The ALT reads: “But I wanted to do nothing without your consent, so that your good [deed] shall not be as by necessity but by a voluntary [action].”

The BBE reads: “But without your approval I would do nothing; so that your good works might not be forced, but done freely from your heart.”

The CEV reads: “But I won’t do anything unless you agree to it first. I want your act of kindness to come from your heart, and not be something you feel forced to do.”

The EMTV reads: “But I wished to do nothing without your consent, in order that your good might not be by necessity, but by being voluntary.”

The ISV reads: “Yet I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that your good deed might not be something forced, but voluntary.”

The Literal Translation (LITV) reads: “But I was willing to do nothing without your consent, that your good might not be by way of necessity, but by way of willingness.”

And the 1912 Weymouth New Testament reads: “Only I wished to do nothing without your consent, so that his kind action of yours might not be done under pressure, but might be a voluntary one.”

There are others, but they follow this basic line. The majority opinion is that the phrase denotes voluntary willingness as contrasted with compulsion or necessity.

That being said, I can only assume that this was a conscious decision on the part of the ASV translators to impose the phrase “free will” on the text and this was the most attractive opportunity. This is nothing new. The KJV translators inexplicably translated “pascha,” the Passover, as “Easter” in Acts 12:4, in an attempt to legitimize a holiday that was already entrenched in Christian tradition. This is what happens when people lead with their traditions; and even translators are not above that influence.

Now, giving them the benefit of the doubt, it may be that the ASV translators were influenced by the use of the word “freewill” in the Old Testament. After a person had given all the mandated sacrifices, first fruits, tithes and offerings, they were allowed to give a gift above and beyond all that was required. That offering is called “a freewill offering.” (For instance, Lev. 22:21, 23, 23:28, etc.) However, that context has nothing to do with salvation. These offerings were accepted by God because they were coming from Israel, God’s elect and chosen people (Isa. 45:4). In other words, they were already chosen by God prior to Him telling them how to approach, worship, and sacrifice to Him. So, it cannot be argued that Israel’s “free will” led to God’s choice of them.

All in all, this odd bit of biased translating does no harm to our initial statement. The reality is that “free will” is not anywhere in the original New Testament text. But, since people may be reading from the ASV while not being aware of the various translations and Greek text, I have begun modifying my statement to make it more explicit.

Here are the facts: The phrase “free will” is not only missing from the original New Testament text, it is conspicuously absent from any passage addressing salvation. While the words “foreknowledge,” “predestination,” and “according to His will” are all firmly embedded in the language and context of salvation, “free will” is glaring in its absence.

If anyone wants to argue that free will is the agency of salvation, they must demonstrate that Paul’s language clearly states such a premise (which they cannot do) and they must give us meaningful exegesis of the terminology Paul did choose to use and show us how it cumulatively means “we choose.” Unfortunately for them, it’s a losing proposition. So, they will ignore the language and insist on their tradition.

Yours for His sake,

Jim Mc.


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134 responses

8 02 2013
rpavich

Still,
Something is wrong with my comment system, your last comment didn’t show up.

here is what you said:

Quote:

Read Philippians 1:29 more carefully. Does it actually say the belief has been granted, or that it has been granted that you SHOULD believe? It is the latter, not the former. In other words, we are given the ability, the opportunity, and the encouragement to believe; we are not forced to believe. I think the NIV makes it clearer: “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him”. It is not the belief which has been granted, but the ability/opportunity “TO believe” (emphasis added).

I’m not interested in your understanding of the English…I asked you to exegete the text itself.

Can you do that?

PS: “Should” actually isn’t in the text itself.

The NET and NASB don’t put that word in:

“For it has been granted to you not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for him,…”

26 06 2014
Dwight Haas

Man has free will just as the Jews had free will and it doesn’t have to be there in words, but the concept is. God did not force them to be His, but they had to enter into a covenant relationship and then meet that covenant relationship. Adam was not born in sin, but realized sin from his fleshly nature of desire. Paul taught to put away our flesh and put on God in the spirit. There was always a point where the people in the Bible were lost and then saved by accepting and doing. 3000 were saved in Acts 2:38 at the point they obeyed Peter and accepted Christ. This is a pattern.

26 06 2014
rpavich

Dwight,
Thanks for chiming in!
Nobody ever said that God “forces” anyone to be His…that’s a straw man position.

However…the point would be of the question of the bible teaching “free” will as in “men can do anything they want and God cannot save them unless they agree” You know…the old “God votes for you…Satan votes against you…and you cast the deciding vote” sort of idea.

Nobody denies that men must have faith to be saved…but the crux of the matter is WHY do they have faith? Is it something they’ve generated on their own and brought to the table or is their faith a RESULT of God’s choosing?

1 07 2014
WolfgangDS

Not sure why, but I got an email saying that there were more posts here. Meh, whatever. I’ll throw down again. Kinda bored right now anyway.

Understand: At this point, I am no longer a Christian. I left the faith about a year ago. Couldn’t tell you an exact date, however; I’ve slept since then and don’t remember.

The main reason I left the faith is free will. Thing is, there’s this passage- several passages, actually, but one in particular kept punching me in the gut. Romans 9:19-24.

19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?

I’ve read the entire CHAPTER to make sure I wasn’t taking this out of context. I wasn’t. To be completely honest, this troubled me greatly. Christianity was a huge part of my identity, and this would force me to give it up. I’d have to rebuild myself. That’s what ended up happening, though. It devastated me.

Numerous passages and events recorded in the Bible make it quite plain that what happens in this reality is God’s will- not just a plan, but actual exertion of control. For example, when Moses and Aaron confronted the Pharaoh and asked that he let their people go into the desert to worship for a few days (and later straight-up demanded their freedom). Every time the Pharaoh said, “Sure thing”, God changed his mind for him. Even after God demonstrated his power ten times- to the point of killing even his own people, let’s not forget that about Plague #10- the Pharaoh either changed his mind or refused the demands of Moses because God “hardened his heart”.

There are also all the passages regarding “election” and “predestination”. Then there’s a passage that comes before the one I posted above that states that it doesn’t depend on our efforts, but on God’s whims. Verse 16, to be specific. Again, not out of context; I read the whole chapter just to be sure of that.

To summarize: Romans Chapter 9 makes it plain that humans do not have free will and that God “saves” or condemns anyone he wants arbitrarily. Any actions we carry out are because HE decided we would carry them out. The decision was not ours and never was.

I am confident that I did not take any part of that chapter out of context.

I’ll hear what you have to say- well, read it anyway- and I will give it serious consideration. I have little confidence that you’ll convince me, but it’s only fair that I hear you out first before making any judgments, since you might present an argument I haven’t heard before. But please note that even if you DO convince me that the Bible actually teaches we have free will and that our final destination DOES depend on our own actions, there are numerous other objections I have to the system set up by Christianity, such as the idea that someone who has never heard of Christianity and only ever committed one sin- a single lie, for instance- is somehow just as deserving of hell as Hitler would have been (I say would have not because I believe he was a Christian, but because I don’t know if he was or not; in that, I reserve judgment).

1 07 2014
rpavich

That’s quite a long comment wolfgang and I won’t go into all the particulars but I’ll only say that your characterization of God’s sovereignty is a bit off the mark, with you using words like “arbitrarily” and “whim” when that’s not the bible’s nor the Christian position at all.

But be that as it may, I would encourage you to repent of your sin and turn to God for forgiveness…He is faithful to save.

Have a good day.

1 07 2014
WolfgangDS

I’ll respond to your post, but I want to point out that you haven’t actually answered the free will thing (basically, that Romans 9 states we have no free will). Also, I was a Christian once, and cannot in good conscience ever be one again.

Seems pretty arbitrary to me. What exactly is the purpose of killing- or at least allowing the deaths of- all but a single passenger on an airplane? How does forcing an authority figure to change his mind on a decision, making him perform a malicious act, accomplish anything that could be deemed “good”? What’s the point of worshiping God, especially when he demands it?

Me, I have two purposes in bringing this up: First, I am trying to find out if there’s some argument that I might have missed; and second, I’m pointing out things that you either have missed or ignored.

Even if every action is part of some plan, the plan itself is arbitrary because it accomplishes nothing worthwhile- and no, allowing a microscopic fraction of the entirety of the human race (past, present and future) to worship God for all eternity is not worthwhile. There are still babies in hell.

On a different note, I don’t think it matters whether or not the Bible uses the words “arbitrarily” or “whim”. Why should it? God’s behavior speaks for itself. He has condemned certain actions only to carry them out himself (e.g. the first-born fiasco in Egypt). He has ordered genocide, enslavement, and rape against civilizations that neighbored his “chosen nation”, even when these neighbors were not aggressors against Israel. He designed a specific part of our anatomy a certain way, and then ordered that part of it be cut off. He redefines the word “forgiveness”- allow me to explain this one: If you owed me $20, I could forgive the debt and you would owe me nothing at all. Nobody gives me the money or anything else that would be worth $20. I simply say to you, “You don’t owe me anymore, now go buy yourself some ice cream or something.” God, however, has equated it with payment of debt. The two are not the same. Even if someone other than yourself gave me $20 and I counted it toward your debt to me, that wouldn’t be forgiveness. It’s the same as if you payed the debt yourself. If you payed the debt, that’s not forgiveness, so why does it count as forgiveness when someone else does it for you?

I believe that satisfactorily answers the “arbitrary” point, as off-topic as it was.

1 07 2014
rpavich

Well…I wasn’t going to do this but I guess I will…but I’ll keep it short.

I’ll respond to your post, but I want to point out that you haven’t actually answered the free will thing (basically, that Romans 9 states we have no free will). Also, I was a Christian once, and cannot in good conscience ever be one again.

Actually…yes, I have. We have free will, but not how Arminians see it. We are free to choose our hearts…yet…God is in control over all things.

Second, you were never a Christian if you aren’t now…and you are just using this particular excuse to sin…been there, done that.

Seems pretty arbitrary to me.

I thought it would because you used the term but that doesn’t mean it is…it just means you call it arbitrary.

What exactly is the purpose of killing- or at least allowing the deaths of- all but a single passenger on an airplane?

How should I know?

How does forcing an authority figure to change his mind on a decision, making him perform a malicious act, accomplish anything that could be deemed “good”? What’s the point of worshiping God, especially when he demands it?

How should I know? And as to the second part of the question; God is to be worshipped because He’s worthy.

Me, I have two purposes in bringing this up: First, I am trying to find out if there’s some argument that I might have missed; and second, I’m pointing out things that you either have missed or ignored.

I don’t think that’s true…I think you are looking for excuses to validate your rebellion..been there…done that.

Even if every action is part of some plan, the plan itself is arbitrary because it accomplishes nothing worthwhile- and no, allowing a microscopic fraction of the entirety of the human race (past, present and future) to worship God for all eternity is not worthwhile. There are still babies in hell.

I guess I don’t, or shouldn’t have to, point out that to know that you’d have to be omniscient…right? C’mon…at least reason logically.

On a different note, I don’t think it matters whether or not the Bible uses the words “arbitrarily” or “whim”. Why should it? God’s behavior speaks for itself.

Actually it does matter, as it would only be fair to let the author of a book define his own terms no?

Second…behavior or anything else doesn’t “speak for itself” all data taken it is interpreted through a grid of presuppositions, every human does this and cannot escape it…so no…it doesn’t speak for itself.

He has condemned certain actions only to carry them out himself (e.g. the first-born fiasco in Egypt). He has ordered genocide, enslavement, and rape against civilizations that neighbored his “chosen nation”, even when these neighbors were not aggressors against Israel. He designed a specific part of our anatomy a certain way, and then ordered that part of it be cut off. He redefines the word “forgiveness”- allow me to explain this one: If you owed me $20, I could forgive the debt and you would owe me nothing at all. Nobody gives me the money or anything else that would be worth $20. I simply say to you, “You don’t owe me anymore, now go buy yourself some ice cream or something.” God, however, has equated it with payment of debt. The two are not the same. Even if someone other than yourself gave me $20 and I counted it toward your debt to me, that wouldn’t be forgiveness. It’s the same as if you payed the debt yourself. If you payed the debt, that’s not forgiveness, so why does it count as forgiveness when someone else does it for you?

I believe that satisfactorily answers the “arbitrary” point, as off-topic as it was.

blah blah blah…yes…you can keep blathering but you keep repeating the same thing over and over…you hate God..yes, I get it already.

Repent and believe before it’s too late…He’s merciful to save.

1 07 2014
WolfgangDS

I don’t actually know how to do the quote thing, so I’ll just number everything.

1) That makes no sense. It’s an oxymoron. We can choose, but God is still in control? You can’t have it both ways, man.

2) Really? The “no true Scotsman” argument? That’s disappointing. Not surprising, but disappointing. I sincerely believed. Now I don’t.

3) It seems arbitrary… because I called it arbitrary? What? I think I explained why it seemed arbitrary to me. Please don’t ignore that.

4) The question was rhetorical. There is no justifiable purpose to wanton suffering.

5) Again, the questions are rhetorical. But as for worshiping God because he’s “worthy”… I’m sorry, but NO ONE is worthy of worship if they demand it and give ultimatums. You wouldn’t demand worship from your kids and threaten to punish them by slamming their faces onto a hot stove eye if they didn’t, and Social Services would be on you in a heartbeat if you did. Why is God held to a LOWER standard than we are?

6) You basically called me a liar without actually using the word “liar”. The thing about this that upsets me (not offended, just hurt) is that it seems as if you are distrusting because I don’t share your beliefs (anymore). You don’t distrust me because I’ve lied to you and you have tangible proof; you distrust me over a difference of opinion. You wound me, sir. I can’t prove my intentions are honest without making them happen, unfortunately. But I do find it odd you will take the word of several men from millennia ago at face value but won’t trust a living human when he tells you his own motivation.

7) Omniscient? Nah. I just have to read the Bible. Everyone is born in sin, the doctrine of “age of accountability” isn’t even implied (and there’s nothing else that says God saves babies), God’s “invisible qualities” are “seen” in nature, and magic knowledge of his laws is implanted in the heart of every human so that no one has an excuse. NO ONE can go to heaven except through Christ. All of this must apply to newborn babies. Ergo, babies go to hell.

8) The author can define his own terms all he likes, but if they don’t stand up to reality, or even a dictionary, then it should be discarded.

Second… what? Grid of presuppositions? I’ll have to ask you to be a lot more clearer on this. Also, please don’t use the, “You’re not a Christian so you don’t have magic understanding” excuse. Yes, stating it like that is blunt, but that’s how it is.

9) You…. you didn’t actually do more than skim through that, did you?

When the Pharaoh of Egypt had the firstborns of the Israelites slaughtered, the midwives refused to comply and God rewarded them. God would later use the deaths of the firstborn ANYTHING as the 10th plague, despite the fact that he rewarded people for saving children from the exact same fate. This is all in Exodus. Please read through it again. Tell me how this does NOT make God hypocritical.

1 07 2014
rpavich

1) That makes no sense. It’s an oxymoron. We can choose, but God is still in control? You can’t have it both ways, man.

Why not? Explain how that’s impossible.

2) Really? The “no true Scotsman” argument? That’s disappointing. Not surprising, but disappointing. I sincerely believed. Now I don’t.

No…lol..it’s not. You may have done something but you certainly weren’t saved by God…because God says that when you are…then you cannot be “unsaved” ergo…you never were.

3) It seems arbitrary… because I called it arbitrary? What? I think I explained why it seemed arbitrary to me. Please don’t ignore that.

Yeah…I know you used the word arbitrary and I’m sure it seems that way to you but unless you are willing to claim omnipotence…then you can’t use this argument..at least not logically.

4) The question was rhetorical. There is no justifiable purpose to wanton suffering.

Same answer as the previous one…claim omnipotence or give this one up.

5) Again, the questions are rhetorical. But as for worshiping God because he’s “worthy”… I’m sorry, but NO ONE is worthy of worship if they demand it and give ultimatums. You wouldn’t demand worship from your kids and threaten to punish them by slamming their faces onto a hot stove eye if they didn’t, and Social Services would be on you in a heartbeat if you did. Why is God held to a LOWER standard than we are?

Do you ever research the answers to your objections before you ask them?

The things you are bringing up are old hat…it’s exhausting for both of us to reinvent the wheel.

Be that as it may…again…you can say you hate God for any reason you want…big deal. I get it.

6) You basically called me a liar without actually using the word “liar”. The thing about this that upsets me (not offended, just hurt) is that it seems as if you are distrusting because I don’t share your beliefs (anymore). You don’t distrust me because I’ve lied to you and you have tangible proof; you distrust me over a difference of opinion. You wound me, sir. I can’t prove my intentions are honest without making them happen, unfortunately. But I do find it odd you will take the word of several men from millennia ago at face value but won’t trust a living human when he tells you his own motivation.

True. I did.

7) Omniscient? Nah. I just have to read the Bible. Everyone is born in sin, the doctrine of “age of accountability” isn’t even implied (and there’s nothing else that says God saves babies), God’s “invisible qualities” are “seen” in nature, and magic knowledge of his laws is implanted in the heart of every human so that no one has an excuse. NO ONE can go to heaven except through Christ. All of this must apply to newborn babies. Ergo, babies go to hell.

Yeah yeah yeah…you hate God…big deal…move on.

8) The author can define his own terms all he likes, but if they don’t stand up to reality, or even a dictionary, then it should be discarded.

So from this point forward, I can discard YOUR MEANINGS and substitute my own that suit me better?

You must be joking…but let’s continue on that line of reasoning and I’ll answer as if I can redefine your meanings as I please.

Second… what? Grid of presuppositions? I’ll have to ask you to be a lot more clearer on this. Also, please don’t use the, “You’re not a Christian so you don’t have magic understanding” excuse. Yes, stating it like that is blunt, but that’s how it is.

Banana bread is my favorite…how hot will it get today?

I love puppies.

9) You…. you didn’t actually do more than skim through that, did you?

When the Pharaoh of Egypt had the firstborns of the Israelites slaughtered, the midwives refused to comply and God rewarded them. God would later use the deaths of the firstborn ANYTHING as the 10th plague, despite the fact that he rewarded people for saving children from the exact same fate. This is all in Exodus. Please read through it again. Tell me how this does NOT make God hypocritical.

Oh..you like puppies too? That’s great!

See? Redefining meanings makes it easy to just ignore the meaning of the author of the text…how convenient.

Now…unless you have something fresh to hate God with I’d point you to Answers in Genesis and their search function…it’s much faster and easier to get answers to your questions and I can quit wasting my time answering the same objections over and over.

2 07 2014
WolfgangDS

Huh. I put up a reply, but I guess the site ate it.

2 07 2014
rpavich

Huh. I put up a reply, but I guess the site ate it.

No it didn’t. I deleted it. I don’t have the time nor the inclination to play games and go over the same stuff 20 times.

If you want to have these discussions…by all means find someone who’s got the time and is game.

I’m not that person.

1 10 2014
nathaniel fernandes

Hello .. I have questions ..

How does God call a lost sinner to obtaining salvation which is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9)? and what does GRACE mean?

much appreciated

1 10 2014
rpavich

Hi Nat,
I think that the bible answers those two questions;

Grace = Unmerited favor.

Calling = God changes the heart of a human so that what he once loved, he now hates, and what he once thought was foolishness…is now desired.

2 10 2014
Nathaniel Fernandes

Thanks for the answers…
When you say you think … it means you are not sure. Well, both your answers come from a typical human view point system that waters down God’s word.

True biblical meaning of Grace =
2 Corinthians 8:9 – For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

Calling =
In this present dispensation of the Grace of God (Ephesians 3:2-5) God calls the lost sinner by the Gospel of Christ to obtain the glory that he lost because of the fall (Rom 3:23). How do we know this? Look carefully what Paul tells the Thessalonian believers in 2 Thes 2:13-14.

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 –
But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Justification/salvation is deliverance from the penalty of sin (as sanctification is deliverance from the power of sin). Justification currently in operation today is found in the first 4 chapters of the book of Romans, where the Apostle Paul was raised specifically to proclaim the Gospel – defined not as goofy “good news” BUT glad tidings of good things (Rom 10:15), to all nations (Jews and Gentiles).

The Heart of the Gospel in operation today:
Romans 3:24-26 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; [26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Romans 3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

2 10 2014
rpavich

Just an FYI I didn’t say “I think” because I didn’t know…I was trying to be more conversational rather than stiff and dogmatic.

But thanks for the diatribe.

2 10 2014
Nathaniel Fernandes

Isaiah_34:16 Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read:

Look for biblical answers rather than rely on Calvinism/Arminianism, Synergism or Monergism which are doctrines of devils.

Think it’s your soul.

2 10 2014
rpavich

Nat…

This will be the end of our discussion due to that wholly ignorant comment. I only leave this particular one there to illustrate how weak the opposing position is.

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