[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Do You Agree with this Quotation? XXVII

by Rose

Whatever else is true of man, man is not what God intended him to be.
- G. K. Chesterton


Determinists comments are especially welcome and invited.

61 Comments:

  • I will add this scripture to the quote.....I think it demonstrates that the sinful state of man is not what God desired when He created us.

    Genesis 6:5-7 "The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. 6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. 7 So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.""

    Kurt

    By Blogger Kurt, at Thursday, August 21, 2008 11:02:00 AM  

  • Thank you, Kurt!

    This statement struck me when I first read it like: "Well, duh! Of course man is not what God intended him to be." ...but then I started to think about it and wondered: how can a philopsophy that insists God's sovereignty means that everything is perfectly in order with His will.... how can someone who ebraces that view agree with this quotation? (And what do they do with that Scripture you quoted?) I would think if I held to a view of God's sovereignty like, that then I would not be able to say that 'man is NOT what God intended', for wouldn't everything be just as God intended? Is God ever not getting what He intended?

    Hey, thanks for your comment!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Friday, August 22, 2008 7:14:00 AM  

  • Hi all,

    Is God disappointed or even frustrated at the way things have turned out?

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Friday, August 22, 2008 7:40:00 AM  

  • Hi Colin Maxwell!
    Do you agree with this quotation? :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Friday, August 22, 2008 8:32:00 AM  

  • Colin,

    I would respond by using God's own words.....He is grieved and filled with pain.

    What do you say God is feeling about the way things have turned out?

    Kurt

    By Blogger Kurt, at Friday, August 22, 2008 8:32:00 AM  

  • Good morning Rose/Kurt:

    I think that overall things are intended to be as God intended when we view them from the Divine side.

    If we work from the basic definition of foreknowledge i.e. that God knew beforehand what would happen, then He knew that when He created Adam and especially when He put him on probation in the Garden of Eden, that Adam would fall and plunge the whole world into sin. Evidently it lay within God's power to prevent this from happening, either by [i] declining to give Adam any or [ii] by withholding him from sinning (as He did later with Abimelech in Genesis 20:6. However, God chose to go ahead and did so, evidently because it would work out for His glory in the long run. Whatever God does, it is for His own glory.

    OTOH: We know that God has no pleasure in certain things i.e. the death of the wicked or the misery of the human heart, and so has given laws and precepts along with promises and warnings to encourage His creatures along the path of righteousness. We might therefore tell a man who is intent on murder or theft etc., that to so engage is to put himself outside the will of God. We might even say to him: "You were created to glorify God and enjoy Him for ever" and "you are not therefore engaging in being what God intended you to be."

    Is this a contradiction? If it is, then it is for all Evangelical Christians because both paragraphs above each contain undeniable truth.

    The comment itself must be answered from the two viewpoints. From the divine side, then we say; "No...there is no frustration or disappointment with God." because He hath done whatsoever he pleased (Psalm 115:3) and again, "There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD." - From the human side, we must urge upon sinners their responsibility and warn them of the consequences of stepping outside the revealed and preceptive will of God.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Saturday, August 23, 2008 3:21:00 AM  

  • So then...

    Is God disappointed or even frustrated at the way things have turned out?

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Saturday, August 23, 2008 3:25:00 AM  

  • No matter what a certain former president may have thought, "Is" is a word locked in time.

    One of the thing we will not fully understand until we get there (Heaven) is how working outside of time affects our thinking.

    "...man is not what God intended him to be" requires a time reference.

    In eternity, we know that some men are EXACTLY what God want(s;ed) them to be. Others may or may not be...only thinking like this makes my head hurt.

    By Blogger Joe, at Saturday, August 23, 2008 7:09:00 AM  

  • Hi Colin,

    Since we have completely opposite views of theology and those views have been debated day in and day out on this and other blogs......I think it best if we just say we disagree and move on. There are just too many things that I would take to task in your comments....it would take this thread on a rabbit trail and end up back to the same debate on Calvinism....

    I do not believe I can answer your "disappointed or frustrated" question because God does not tell us whether or not he is frustrated.....he tells us he is "Grieved" and "Filled with Pain". That is a clear picture. I will not twist those words into something else.

    I look forward to hearing from others regarding their views of the quote and how scripture either supports it or refutes it.

    Have a great day.

    Kurt

    By Blogger Kurt, at Saturday, August 23, 2008 1:56:00 PM  

  • Hi Kurt,

    I can appreciate your desire to avoid dropping back into the Calvinism debate. In the debate which Rose hosted at my request, I specifically requested that we avoid such and tried to keep it Scriptural instead of theological - I'm sure that you can appreciate the difference.

    To my mind, if God does not overall get what He wants, then He is bound to feel disappointed and on a particularly bad day, a measure of frustration. Maybe Rose will share her thoughts on this one?

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Saturday, August 23, 2008 2:13:00 PM  

  • Determinists comments are especially welcome and invited.

    To be honest, I've hesitated to reply on this because sometimes I feel like I'm in a freak show -- put in a cage with all those nasty determinists, on display for all those noble non-determinists to gawk at.

    I wish I could claim nobility in these things -- but I treat non-Calvinists very shabby myself -- feeling very morally superior (and it is not just non-Calvinist Christians I do this with either -- it extends to so many people). I am far from the ideal of Adam before the fall. Pre-fall Adam is the starting point for what God intends. I am very, very far from that. The very way I started this comment I realize I misinterpreted Rose's question and intent. Rose, I am sorry, please forgive me. I was going to edit this part out, but I need to confess how mean-spirited I can be, how sinful I am. I need to confess how I hurt the body of Christ, how I tear at the unity of the Church.

    Without Christ, I am the antithesis of God's moral image. Without Christ, God is angry at me, his wrath justly burns at me. I can never sing the song "I surrender all" because I know I never have and never will -- while in this life. I believe stupid things about God. I do stupid things -- but this goes way beyond stupid. Looking at my heart I see the hideous stain of sin, right there, right now. I am far from God's intention.

    But I wear the righteous covering of Christ and through Christ, God sees the man he intended me to be. And because I wear the righteous covering of Christ now, I know that God is at work sanctifying me. I am also with a community of other believers, including you all, who are being sanctified by God. There will come a day when we will all be in God's presence, perfected, fully as God intended us to be. That day I will be able to sing, "I Surrender All" as I toss my crown before Christ's feet.

    All of you, have a great Lord's Day tomorrow. As I worship, I will remember that I am worshiping with the universal Church, with you all, with the saints and angels in heaven -- and all this points to the day when we will all worship together in complete and full joy in the presence of Christ.

    Happy Lord's Day!

    By Blogger Earl, at Saturday, August 23, 2008 7:15:00 PM  

  • Earl,
    I read your comment via email before I went to bed Sunday night. Earl, this is such a coincidence, but I feel the same way about that very song that you mention. I have a very difficult time singing it. I just know it is not true of me. We sang it two weeks ago in church and I tried, I really did. I even thought to myself "I will sing it because I want to want to surrender all." I could not get through the song. Thank you for sharing your heart about that. I might have thought I was the only one.

    Honestly, the first part of your comment - I am glad you did not delete it - made me chuckle a little. I did not take it as nasty, but just you telling us what you thought about these discussions where we say something like "Determinists comments are especially welcome and invited." Ya know, the reason I do that is because I do find it an alien way of thinking to my own and I do seek to understand how one can read the same Bible I do and hold to it - just as many determinists probably wonder about those of us who don't see things the way y'all do.
    But you know - I appreciate you, brother, and think of you as no more a freak than myself. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, August 25, 2008 6:31:00 AM  

  • Good morning Rose:

    Not to be taken by anyone as a criticism at all, at all: I sometimes wonder what would happen if we all stopped singing those parts of the hymns which we could not honestly sing!

    What if 99.9% of us honestly stopped singing "I surrender all" - where would that leave the 0.1% who kept singing - either branded a hypocrite or looked up to as a model saint. Would you want to be the "last man singing" these words, even if it were true?

    What if the Pastor stopped singing them? Or the Elders or the missionary couple or the young man/woman home from Bible College?

    Wow! Let's keep to the "Do you agree with this quotation" stuff. it isn't as challenging :o)

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Monday, August 25, 2008 6:56:00 AM  

  • Colin,
    indeed. Now to your earlier statement:

    To my mind, if God does not overall get what He wants, then He is bound to feel disappointed and on a particularly bad day, a measure of frustration.

    Plug in the words 'grief' or 'pain' to your statement and what do you make of it? Is that still a true statement to your mind? :

    To my mind, if God does not overall get what He wants, then He is bound to feel grieved and on a particularly bad day, a measure of pain.

    BTW, I also think God will ultimately get what it is that He set out to get. My idea of that has a dynamic in it, though, that I don't believe your idea has.

    I am wondering, from your point of view, did God determine that He wanted to experience the feeling of being "grieved" and "filled with pain"? Perhaps that is why He made man and put him in the garden with the tree? So He could sovereignly experience these emotions of 'grief' and 'pain.' ?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, August 25, 2008 7:28:00 AM  

  • Joe,
    Our heads hurt together. :~) I think you are right, though. Our finite minds cannot comprehend what it is like to view all of time at once, rather than experiencing it moment by moment. That is the underlying difficulty, I believe.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, August 25, 2008 7:29:00 AM  

  • Rose, This will probably blow your mind a bit here, but the Reformed faith as articulated in the WCF does not hold that God actually has emotions of any kind. I quote: There is but one only, living, and true God: who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, OR PASSIONS, immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute,… The link with the idea that God does not have bodily parts shows where we are coming from here i.e. that God uses words like grief, anger etc., to condescend to our level of understanding. The same idea comes across when God is said to “repent” or when his “foolishness” is said to be wiser than man’s wisdom. We know that God is not a man that He should repent and that He is all wise and therefore does not possess any folly at all.

    If you run with the idea that God does possess passions (or emotions) then would you say that God’s grief and pain flow genuinely flow from feelings of disappointment or frustration?

    Regards,

    P/s If God does finally get what He set out to get, then evidently He did not set out to bring a whole world (i.e. every sinner ever born) into Heaven, since there will be many in hell. Would you, even ultimately, agree?

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Monday, August 25, 2008 7:54:00 AM  

  • Wait - Colin that did blow my mind. Do you believe that, too? That the emotive words describing God or His action in scripture are essentially made-up for our benefit?

    Missy

    By Blogger Another Voice, at Monday, August 25, 2008 8:41:00 AM  

  • Missy: Do you not think that words "made up" are maybe unfortunate? Does God "make it up" when He speaks about having eyes and ears and bodily parts? What length is God's arm? What colour are God's eyes?

    Or to go back to my original question (on this blog) -

    Is God disappointed or even frustrated at the way things have turned out?

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Monday, August 25, 2008 8:53:00 AM  

  • Colin,

    Scripture does not tell me what color His eyes are - in fact I don't think it says He does NOT have eyes, arms, etc - there are places in scripture where God has taken form so it's very possible that He has form(s).

    However, it does clearly say He is gets angry, is jealous, gets frustrated and dissappointed. I'm don't believe He is frustrated or disappointed with how things have "turned out" - long term - because I believe in His longsuffering and patience, He is always the Victor, but there are MANY instances in scripture where God/Jesus is frustrated and disappointed in specific people or circumstances.

    Should I discount that?

    If it is not real, it is fiction - hence "made up" - regardless of motive.

    By Blogger Another Voice, at Monday, August 25, 2008 11:08:00 AM  

  • Hi Colin,

    Can you show me anywhere in the Bible that God states he is frustrated or disappointed? You keep asking us to answer a question that God himself does not answer. I am starting to feel like there is motive behind your insistance on those two words....kind of like waiting for the other shoe to drop....so to speak.

    God is grieved, filled with pain, angered, pleased..... He loves, hates, pleads, longs, etc.

    We can discuss the terms that God uses of himself, but let us not spend time debating terms and he does not use.

    Also, you state:

    "If God does finally get what He set out to get, then evidently He did not set out to bring a whole world (i.e. every sinner ever born) into Heaven, since there will be many in hell."

    What exactly are you saying that God has "set out to get"?

    Kurt

    By Blogger Kurt, at Monday, August 25, 2008 11:16:00 AM  

  • Missy,

    If I read you right here, you are telling me the following: (Please correct me if I am wrong and I apologise in advance if this is the case)

    1) In connection with the idea of bodily parts, you think it is possible that God has forms. I take this to mean physical form.

    2) You believe that God does get frustrated and become dissappointed.

    3) You seem to believe that if God uses langauge which cannot be interpreted as literally true, then it can only be construed as fiction. This seems to rule out our responsibility to believe it.

    Have I grasped your comments here correctly? Assuming that I have grasped Missy's views here correctly, does anyone else agree with her views?

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Monday, August 25, 2008 11:16:00 AM  

  • Hi Kurt,

    No, (thankfully) I cannot produce you one verse from the Bible where God is said to be frustrated or disappointed. I am asking those who seem to believe that things have gone against God's plans (ala the quote above)if this unplanned set of affairs has caused Him frustration or disaapointment. I am assuming that unless the Almighty is indifferent to whether His plans work out or not, then He is either disappointed or frustrated.

    As re: what God set out to get, I beleive that He set out to redeem unto Himself a great multitude that no man can number - made up of individuals - and that through the processes of election, Christ's incarnation and sacrifice etc., evangelisation and the work of the Spirit of God in conversion etc., sees every last planned dtail fulfilled without the least failure on His part.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Monday, August 25, 2008 11:22:00 AM  

  • Colin,

    1) Yes, for instance; The burning bush, the Angel of the Lord and the three men that appeared to Abraham on several occasions, the one with whom Jacob wrestled, and Jesus.

    2) I believe that scripture does portray this emotive response from God if not the actual words you've used. I choose not to dismiss the many instances of this in scripture because a theology tells me something it clearly does NOT say in the Bible (that God is formless and passionless) and uses a questionable literary argument to reconcile it. While I can agree that God does not suffer for His emotion as we do, I cannot ignore that the emotiveness of God is expressed rather consistently in scripture. To say it is all a literary technique implies to me that the essence of who God is has been very deceptively portrayed.

    3) No. There is a distinct difference between an illustration such as a metaphor or personification and the telling of an actutal event. To take a literal story and inject inaccurate details is to tell an exagerrated, untrue story. I guess you could say some of the language in the Old Testament could be used to personify God - but I'm not sure what the purpose would be to do that. What about the stories of Jesus? Do you agree they were real and sincere? Was He void of emotion? Was the anger at the temple an emotive re-enactment so we could understand it was wrong? Was his exclamations of "Oh, ye of little faith!" not an expression of frustration or disappointment with the disciples?

    But I am sure you knew all of this when you asked. :) I've agreed with the assumption. What does it mean?

    By Blogger Another Voice, at Monday, August 25, 2008 12:34:00 PM  

  • Hi Missy,

    Thank you for engaging me here. I appreciate your patience.

    1) Can we distinguish here between God appearing in physical form (as in Genesis 18 etc.,) and Him having a permanent physical form? I would confirm the former, but deny the latter and base that on the words of the Lord Jesus that “God is a spirit” (John 4:24) and again (in an interesting observation) – that a spirit does not have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39)

    2) If God does have the various emotions as you seem to assert, why should there be a difficulty (as I assume there is) with the thought that among those various displays of emotion, that there are displays of disappointment and frustration?

    3) I take the various accounts of Christ very literally indeed that he had various emotions, but I do this simply on the basis that he (as the Word) took upon human nature and so the human emotions.

    I assumed above that I have grasped Missy's views here correctly, does anyone else agree with her views? My guess is that none of the regular commentators here will back your views either that God has bodily parts while I notice that there is an extreme reluctance to actually state that He is disappointed or frustrated. Although none have actually come out and denied it as I have done.

    It is getting late here, so this will be my last posting for the night. Maybe the morning will throw further light on the subject (no pun intended) :o)

    Thanks again,

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Monday, August 25, 2008 2:27:00 PM  

  • Hi Colin,

    You said:

    "As re: what God set out to get, I believe that He set out to redeem unto Himself a great multitude that no man can number..."

    So you are saying that God created man totally depraved and in need of redemption....then he set out to redeem a few?

    If that is not what you are saying....then again....what did God set (start) out to do.....before the creation of the world?

    You cannot redeem something if it is not lost. God did not jump into the middle of creation to save the day...he was there at the beginning....so what did he START (set) out to do?

    I know, I know.....we are getting back into the Calvinism thing again....arrrrgggghhh.

    Here is one area we agree....God does not express the words Frustration or Disappointment. But he does share his emotions with us in numerous other places.

    Here is where we will disagree...surprise :)

    Why does God say in Genesis 6:5-7 that he wants to wipe mankind off of the face of the earth? If he created man according to his WILL, why is he grieved that he made man (vs 7). Does his own WILL grieve him? That makes no sense.

    Kurt

    By Blogger Kurt, at Monday, August 25, 2008 2:39:00 PM  

  • Colin,

    1) Form is not only "flesh and bone" (as in a flame). My biggest consideration in terms of God having a form is His indulgence to Moses' request to see His glory (Exodus 33). God says that His face must not be seen. I am not saying that God absolutely has form, but that scripture does not outright say God does not have form, yet you are willing to agree with that on very little biblical evidence. And despite the great abundance of biblical evidence that God is emotive, you find it very easy to dismiss it as a literary technique. Can you understand my intrigue?

    2) I have not expressed any difficulty with God displaying those emotions. I haven't made it past Judges yet and have already found more than a dozen instances where God "was angry"; "was angered"; "was grieved" "is jealous" or "was provoked" came up. 1 Samuel 13:14 says that David was a man after God's own heart - and David was clearly one of the most emotional men in the Bible. There is a distincton between wordly grief and a Godly sorrow described in scripture - as well as worldly and righteous anger. Do I think God reacts to frustration and disappointment the way we do? Well, most of those instances in the OT regarding God's anger came from instances where His people turned from Him. He smote them many times. Is that what you mean? Or do you mean like what I do: pout?

    3) Is Jesus God? If God can have emotion even once - God CAN have emotion.

    For that matter, if God is unable to FEEL an emotion - then the question as to whether He would be disappointed or frustrated with the state of man to prove whether or not man is exactly as God intended him to be is rather futile. In that case, man can absolutely and indefinitely not be what God intended him to be and God would feel no way or another.

    Colin, I'm not sure these are my views. I have very few committed "views" and many considerations. I try not to deny or create that which scripture does not deny or create. I live in an unfortunate mind that sees most opinions as possibilities. Forgive me for trying your patience as I try to understand you a little better and explain why it is so hard for me to come to the same absolutes.

    By Blogger Another Voice, at Monday, August 25, 2008 3:49:00 PM  

  • ...just a comment on the WCF and passion. This is one of the most misunderstood parts of the WCF. Let me quote Robert Reymond (a staunch Calvinist), Systematic Theology (1998, Thomas Nelson, p. 179: ...whenever divine impassibility is interpreted to mean that God is impervious to human pain or incapable of empathizing with human grief is must be roundly denounced and rejected. Whenever the Confession of Faith declares that God is "without ... passions" it should be understood to mean that God has no bodily passions such as hunger or the human drive for sexual fulfillment."

    Other Reformed theologians, such as Louis Berkholf and Herman Bavinck also agree with Reymond.

    It should be noted this refers to the Father's eternal divine nature. Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man and has a human nature (along with this eternal divine nature) which has these features.

    By Blogger Earl, at Monday, August 25, 2008 9:05:00 PM  

  • To follow up further, the WCF does not mean that God is without emotions, such as anger, love. J.I Packer notes that God's emotions are different from ours because they do not come up suddenly and unexpectedly. God's experiences are foreknown, willed and chosen by himself. Even Christ's suffering was brought upon himself. (Reymond, p. 179 -- I quote Reformed scholars just to let you know this is not just my opinion, but that of many well known Reformed scholars.

    By Blogger Earl, at Monday, August 25, 2008 9:27:00 PM  

  • Rose -- thank you for your warmth and generosity.

    By Blogger Earl, at Monday, August 25, 2008 9:27:00 PM  

  • Good morning all (i.e. Rose/Missy/Earl/Kurt)

    This is a real can of worms! I have found Earl’s explanation above very helpful on the passions of God and I would realign myself with it. I have being thinking aloud on this blog. The last thing that I wanted to convey was that God is a computer like machine when it is evident that He is a complex Person – and greater than any created being. OTOH, I have sought and must continue to avoid any idea that suggests that He is less than God which I would feel would be the case if He essentially knew what it was to be disappointed or frustrated.

    I see God working to a predetermined plan. We know that He knows the end from the beginning, so nothing takes Him by surprise. We further know that He intervenes in history and not just in general principles (a la the Book of Esther). Sometimes He intervenes by positive intervention and other times by simply leaving something to its own course, but in all cases, His will is done. If God intervenes somewhere, He is not intervening against His will. (This would be to deny Himself) If God lets something be and declines to intervene, then (again) this is because He has chosen to do so and not because He lacked the wit or the power to intervene.

    As far as I can see, no one yet has come out and definitely said that God knows either disappointment or frustration. We are all prepared to say that He knows love and wrath etc., but the I think we all admit that for God to know disappointment or frustration cuts into His sovereignty, even where a lower view (comparatively speaking) is held of that sovereignty.

    If we come to the place whereby we all ready to categorically state that God cannot know disappointment or frustration, then we can apply these principles to the various scenarios of life, not least salvation.

    Missy and Kurt etc., have written lots to me on this and I appreciate their comments. Things are very busy here and so I can’t get into individual matters just at the moment. Perhaps the realigning of my views to those articulated by Earl and the Reformed writers might relieve some of the pressure from my comments. Fundamentally, I haven’t changed my views on the Sovereignty of God and hence the second paragraph above.

    I’m enjoying the debate! Alas! the Lord never called me to be a full time (or even part time) blog apologist – maybe some day!

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Tuesday, August 26, 2008 2:12:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose

    I notice the WCF is being referenced like it was Scripture, so I must remind that the ones writing it were on the bankroll of the state. and did not answer to the King of Kings but to a human government. And anyone disagreeing with their main beliefs was put to death. Of course the ones pushing these writings think they were inspired by the Holy Spirit I'm sure. Sorry to have to be negative but these ones are deceived and are trying to deceive you even if it's with tears, but notice they go right back to their false teaching of the WCF. Speaking of tears, when Jesus wept over Jerusalem they were real tears, just as when He wept when He saw Martha and Mary's pain even though He knew He would rise Lazarus from the dead. That my friend is the heart of God and it is real not just made-up. God is so far above the minds of these ones who think they got it all figured out.
    He feels are pain and is involved in our lives in a real way, and loves the whole world not just these select few they would have you think. These ones are not raising up the King of King but Calvinism, that is their continual song.
    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Tuesday, August 26, 2008 3:18:00 AM  

  • Alvin:

    That's funny. I could have said that I noticed that Vance/Hunt/Hodges was being quoted like Scripture. But I refrained from doing so because the last thing I want to do is cast aspersions on anyone's commitment to the Bible alone as their sole rule of faith and practice.

    Regards

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Tuesday, August 26, 2008 3:38:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose

    One small point!

    Vance/Hunt/Hodges didn't murder people that didn't agree with them.

    By Blogger alvin, at Tuesday, August 26, 2008 4:32:00 AM  

  • Do I or don't I

    I won't.

    A good point, Alvin. Sorry I can't help you any further though.


    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Tuesday, August 26, 2008 4:41:00 AM  

  • A note on my use of the WCF. I only quote it when someone claims a Calvinist believes something, say, they claim a Calvinist believes doctrine X -- but in reality, those who subscribe to Reformed Theology do not believe X. Sometimes I will state my opposition and cite scripture -- but there are those who nevertheless argue that Calvinists believe in X. That is when I bring in a document officially recognized by many Reformed people to show that Calvinists do not believe X. In bringing in the WCF, or citing other theologians, I am not using these on a par with the Bible -- heavens NO! I am trying to show what a community believes from their own documents and clear up misunderstanding of what that community believes. That is all I am doing.

    By Blogger Earl, at Tuesday, August 26, 2008 5:55:00 AM  

  • ...it is much the same way someone quotes Zane Hodges. They don't elevate Zane Hodges on a par with the Bible, but use it to illustrate what a community believes what the Bible teaches. That is the same way I am using the WCF.

    By Blogger Earl, at Tuesday, August 26, 2008 6:02:00 AM  

  • Hi All,

    OK, this thread got off on a familiar tangent....WCF, Hodges, etc.

    So, let's get back to Scripture.

    Can someone respond to my question without telling me what someone else has written :).

    Why does God say in Genesis 6:5-7 that he wants to wipe mankind off of the face of the earth? If he created man according to his WILL, why is he grieved that he made man (vs 7). Does his own WILL grieve him? That makes no sense.

    Thanks,

    Kurt

    By Blogger Kurt, at Tuesday, August 26, 2008 8:13:00 AM  

  • Kurt,

    God was grieved with man’s sin because of the damage which sin inflicts upon the sinner. God has no pleasure in the tragic death of the sinner, nor of the suffering which sin visits upon the wicked, including in this place (Genesis 6) the flood.

    The text clearly says that it repented God that He had made man, (Genesis 6;6) and yet we read elsewhere that God is not a man that he should repent (Numbers 23:19) and again, that He is the Lord and changes not (Malachi 3:6) and that with Him there is no variableness nor shadow of turning (James 1:17) Even though He knew that man would rebel against Him and bring about the flood, yet God went ahead both with creation and let the events that led to this ultimate rebellion build up. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6:8) – the reality is that the whole world might have done so as well, had God ordered that it should be so.

    My stab at your question is that the Bible reveals God as repenting when there is a change of His way, (as we see it) as opposed to a change of His overall plan which is being worked out according to His eternal plan.

    Quite happy to get back to Scripture.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Tuesday, August 26, 2008 8:30:00 AM  

  • Hi Colin (others are welcome to join in),

    Glad to get back to Scripture as well.

    2 things....hopefully not getting off on rabbit trails.

    1. So, you do admit that man has a choice (free-will) in an act of rebellion or obedience? Or is that also determined by God? You seem to state that God passively sat by and let the natural course of things take place. He certainly did. But that does not make him less Sovereign. He is still in control with full authority even if he gives us the free-will to choose.

    2. You said that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord...I agree, but in light of our differences with Calvinism.....I don't see that God reached down and granted grace to an obscure person (Noah) out of the entire population of mankind (as you state "the reality is that the whole world might have done so as well, had God ordered that it should be so."). This view of the situation would certainly line up if you read the text through the lenses of Calvinism, but not so with a plain reading of the whole text.

    Vs. 9 goes on to say "Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.

    So, did God grant grace to Noah only....completely due to his Sovereign Will (good pleasure) without any consideration for Noah's character and what it plainly states in vs. 9?

    Clearly not.

    It is so much more beneficial to discuss Scripture!!!!! Thanks for continuing to engage.

    Kurt

    By Blogger Kurt, at Tuesday, August 26, 2008 9:07:00 AM  

  • Kurt,

    1) I don’t believe and have never advocated that man is a robot or a machine. Man is a fully responsible being, answerable to God for his actions. Man’s will is in bondage to sin (John 8:34) until it is set free by the power of God in Jesus Christ. It seems to me that when I bound man’s movement by the decree of God, then I am crossing some line or other, but words like control with full authority may be used without crossing that same line. Whatever God’s control with full authority means, it is not something new to God, but eternally planned. Perhaps one of the differences here is that I am seeking to state it clearly and apply it without leaving it somewhat fuzzy.

    2) I am sorry that you have introduced here the subject of Calvinism especially when we were all getting back to the Scripture alone which we both agree to be more beneficial. I accept that some view the grace in view here as relating to his salvation from the flood and that this was on the basis of his just and righteous lifestyle. If we are taking it on this limited sense, then I will run with that. Otherwise i.e. we are taking grace in the salvic sense of a wider salvation, I do not believe that God grants grace in response to anything in the human character.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Tuesday, August 26, 2008 10:06:00 AM  

  • Colin,

    Sorry about the Calvinism slip....

    A couple more questions that stem from your comments.

    1. "Man’s will is in bondage to sin (John 8:34) until it is set free by the power of God in Jesus Christ".

    I agree. Before the introduction of sin, was Adam and Eve in bondage to sin? I believe not. So, man was not created in bondage to sin. It was a choice that man made. Since then, sin has seperated us from God. Mankind was given a free-will to chose....but to chose within the boundaries that the Sovereign God determined. The outcome or penalty of that choice is non-negotiable. Do we agree?

    2. Noah's "salvation" was not spiritual salvation, it was salvation from the flood and was based on the fact that he "was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.".

    We agree that our salvation from the penalty of sin is not based on our own righteousness (or character). Where we disagree is where you believe that God grants grace based solely on his good pleasure (based on no other reason than he just decided so...correct?). I believe that God grants grace based on whether we believe God when he says that if we place our faith/trust in Christ's redemptive work on the cross we will be saved.

    Kurt

    By Blogger Kurt, at Tuesday, August 26, 2008 10:55:00 AM  

  • Kurt,

    1) I agree that man was not created in bondage to sin, although (as proved from events) he was created with a capacity to sin. I agree that man was to choose to obey God and not eat of the forbidden fruit. I agree that man’s will was free and so he was not coerced in any way. I agree that the outcome or penalty of his choice i.e. death was non negotiable.

    2) I will not press you on your interpretation here.

    3) It is not strictly accurate to say that I believe that God’s choice was arbitrary. I think it better to say that it was in line with His other attributes of love and justice etc., I see our faith flowing from the grace of God – in other words, we believe through grace as we read in Acts 18:27 and this faith leads to our justification. His grace does not spring therefore from my faith, but my faith springs from His grace.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Tuesday, August 26, 2008 11:10:00 AM  

  • Hi Colin,


    You state: "His grace does not spring therefore from my faith, but my faith springs from His grace."


    Romans 5:1,2 - "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand."

    We have gained access BY faith INTO this grace. We do not gain access TO faith BY grace. That is reversing the two.

    Also:

    Ephesians 2:8,9 - "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast."

    Again, BY grace we are saved, but it is THROUGH faith. In other words, salvation is given to us by his gift of grace, but it comes to us through our faith.

    Kurt

    By Blogger Kurt, at Tuesday, August 26, 2008 11:54:00 AM  

  • Thank you, Earl, for the clarification and to you, Colin, for your precious time. I did not mean to trainwreck the discussion - just rather alarmed at that specific point in the WCF and could not help digging further.

    Missy

    By Blogger Another Voice, at Tuesday, August 26, 2008 12:11:00 PM  

  • Hi Rose

    Remember non-Calvinist that the Calvinist will condescend to your level of knowledge. He believes he is in the KNOW because he knows the secret council of God, and that he has been regenerated first so of course he knows.
    Remember his god may give you a little bit of light just to trick you into thinking your saved when your not so that he can condemn you all the more.
    Remember that there leading Calvinist teachers that are on the radio every day believe and teach God causessin.
    Just some reminders so you don’t get sucked in.

    Quotes that pertain:

    R.C. Sproul, “God wills all things that comes to pass. It is within His power to stop whatever might come to pass God desired for man to fall into sin. I am not accusing God of sinning; I am suggesting that God created sin.”

    A Calvinist preachers wife:
    “You were never drawn into it?” I asked
    She shook her head, “I’m not an intellectual—which may be why it never appealed to me. But isn’t God supposed to be a God of love? In my simple mind it didn’t make sense that the God of the Bible didn’t love everyone enough to want them all in heaven, that Christ hadn’t died for everyone even though the Bible seemed to say that He had . . .” Tears had come to her eyes. At last she continued, “I kept trying to tell my husband that the God he was now believing in, a God who predestined people before they were even born to spend eternity in the lake of fire, was not the God I knew and loved . . . .”

    be back later
    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Tuesday, August 26, 2008 3:38:00 PM  

  • Remember non-Calvinist that the Calvinist will condescend to your level of knowledge. He believes he is in the KNOW...

    Alvin, that is a mean spirited accusation. Yes, you may come across some Calvinists that are like that, but that is an over generalization. I've come across condescending, mean, non-Calvinists. Does that mean every non-Calvinist is like that? Of course not.

    Here is what is mean about it: attributing motives in a discussion. True discussion deals with the argument itself, not the imagined motives of the opposition.

    I confess, there are times I do not conform to these standards. When I catch myself at it, I apologize and try to correct future discussion.

    My suggestion: stick to the content of the discussion, not the imagined motives of your opponents.

    By Blogger Earl, at Tuesday, August 26, 2008 4:37:00 PM  

  • Hi Rose

    WOW Earl that's pretty strong coming from you! That I'm mean spirited! But nothing but praise for the WCF who muredered people for not believing what they did!

    Something is real wrong with this picture! Someone can use the WCF as their reference to what Calvinism believes as you did more then once in this thread. And pay no mind to the fact that the WCF murdered people who didn't agree with them. But then you get angry at me and say that I'm mean spirited, if I'm mean spirited what were they?

    By Blogger alvin, at Tuesday, August 26, 2008 5:39:00 PM  

  • Alvin,

    I was curious how you would react. You don't like sticking to the logical points of the discussion, do you?

    You don't like having bad motives attributed to you? I don't blame you. I apologize for attributing bad motives to you.

    Please treat us how you like to be treated. That is what I am asking.

    By Blogger Earl, at Tuesday, August 26, 2008 5:51:00 PM  

  • Alvin,
    Earl is a very welcome and respected guest on this blog. Please be respectful even though I know you don't appreciate his theology. He really is most reasonable. :~)

    Same goes for Colin.

    And I respect you, too, Alvin, just to be clear. I just want us to be nice and stick to the facts of the discussion. Thanks, brother.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, August 26, 2008 6:07:00 PM  

  • Hi Rose

    Earl nothing about the WCF?

    Everyone read that last post of Earl's again, he points it all on me when he was the one who didn't stick to the logical points but brought up the blessed WCF.

    Youre the one that brought them up.

    You want to use them as your reference but you dont want people to know they murdered people who didn't agree with them.
    Everything would have just been hunky dory if I hadn't put light on your WCF?

    By Blogger alvin, at Tuesday, August 26, 2008 6:12:00 PM  

  • OK< so the thing from the WCF weirded me out when I read it the other day via email notification. I was so busy I could not comment. How do you attribute all the many things in the Bible about God's anger, his favor, his obvious feelings and heart - and just say that it is there to help us understand? I mean, if it is supposed to help us understand but it is not really emotion, then whatever it is - it must be somewhat SIMILAR to emotion or else God wouldn't have used the emotional sounding words to try and help us understand it, whatever it is - the He experiences ...but just don't call it 'emotion.'

    *scratches head and makes cross eyes*

    I do appreciate the thoughts that Earl added in respect to that and am glad that Colin backpeddled a little. (giggles)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, August 26, 2008 6:12:00 PM  

  • Colin, you said:
    I see our faith flowing from the grace of God – in other words, we believe through grace as we read in Acts 18:27... His grace does not spring therefore from my faith, but my faith springs from His grace.

    I would agree in a loose sense - God has given us grace to breathe, see, hear and the capacity to believe in His gracious actions on our behalf. Grace undergirds the entire salvation picture, but not this special grace of "enablement to believe" - the specific particular picking of one out for the purpose of granting them the knowledge of the truth. Actually, I don't even see that as faith. If God gives you a gift of assurance in your heart that His message is true, then this is not faith - this is 'knowledge' and is much more of a sure thing than 'belief.' I do think that the Bible speaks of faith in this way in a couple of places, but not when it is talking about believing into the Messiah. We believe.

    Is there a difference to you between kwowing and believing? I think that is an important questioin because again, if God gifts us with 'knowledge' of the truth as you have pictured the grace bringing the faith as a gift from God, then this is something more than faith - a much surer thing. My late night yawny thoughts.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, August 26, 2008 6:31:00 PM  

  • I flew a kite today and my kids start school tomorrow.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, August 26, 2008 6:32:00 PM  

  • Whatever else is true of man, I think we are a lot more like what God intended us to be when we fly kites, Rose. :)

    I hope the first day back is not too stressful and you get to rest for a moment. My oldest enters middle school on Thursday and I am a bit of a mess.

    By Blogger Missy, at Tuesday, August 26, 2008 6:45:00 PM  

  • Missy,

    I think that is one of the most true statements in this discussion.

    By Blogger Earl, at Tuesday, August 26, 2008 6:51:00 PM  

  • Good morning Rose/all:

    Kurt: Rose raised this matter about the access into this grace through faith from Romans 5:2 in one of her posts a wee while ago. The context would indicate that this grace is access into this grace of justification which is (again from v1) by faith. Acts 2:8-9 does not impinge on the thoughts that I am raising here. Salvation is all of grace and even the faith that I exercise (and it is me that exercises it - I am not saying that God believes for me) flows from His grace. Acts 18:27 is very clear here. I believe through grace. The literal Greek translation of Acts 15:9, as given by Robert Young (of concordance fame) is as follows: But, through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we believe to be saved, even as also they.' (YLT) I agree entirely.

    Rose: Realigned myself, Rose. Realigned myself. :o)
    Highly recommended :o)

    I think Earl gave a more balanced explanation. Even with all this verbiage so far, no one is prepared to say that God ever gets disappointed or frustrated. Is God happy with His overall plan so far?

    Again, we had this discussion about the grace to believe a while ago. I see faith as being based on knowledge, at least to a certain extent. Otherwise it is a blind faith.

    Missy I appreciate your imput here. Time is precious for us all, but it is good to chat one another on spiritual things. I appreciate the challenges.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Wednesday, August 27, 2008 1:45:00 AM  

  • Hi Colin,

    I have enjoyed our discussion....even though we disagree on so many things.

    Your interpretation of Eph 2:8,9 and Romans 5:1,2 cannot hold water with me. I do not see any intepretation of those passages being valid other than the clear, plain reading of the text.

    GRACE is the gift of God, given to us by God, through our faith in God.

    To me, any interpretation other than the plain reading is done through the lense of specific theology that will alter the plain meaning for some other, more complex meaning. I cannot subscribe to that.

    I am not accusing you Colin, I consistantly struggle with it as well.

    Since we are so far apart on our view of theology, I am not sure if there is any further value in this debate.....although I have enjoyed getting to know you better and further understand your thoughts.

    Have a great day (even though by now your day is half over and mine is just starting) :)

    Kurt

    By Blogger Kurt, at Wednesday, August 27, 2008 5:23:00 AM  

  • Good morning Kurt,

    At least we agree on the fundamentals of the faith in this matter i.e. that God provided a Saviour in Jesus Christ who died for our sins on that fatal day so long ago and provided to us a gratutious salvation by grace through faith alone in Him.

    Agreed.

    I enjoy chatting you. BTW (seeing you go to Rose's church - I knew your previous Pastor (Philip)- we are both from Belfast in Northern Ireland.) His wife, June, studied at the same Bible College as me, although she came in the year after I left.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Wednesday, August 27, 2008 5:31:00 AM  

  • Colin,

    I heard that you and Phillip DeCourcy knew each other. That is why I would read your comments with an Irish brogue :)

    Kurt

    By Blogger Kurt, at Wednesday, August 27, 2008 5:44:00 AM  

  • Ach, Kurt, ye dae nat, dae ye?

    :o)

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Wednesday, August 27, 2008 6:00:00 AM  

  • Colin,

    That was too much. I just sprained my tongue trying to read that. :)

    Kurt

    By Blogger Kurt, at Wednesday, August 27, 2008 6:09:00 AM  

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