Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Anatomy of 9-11

I watched a TV show the other night on A&E called Anatomy of 9-11. It was quite an interesting show. The next day, I was with my mother and brother. I was telling them about the program. There were things that happened that day in the Twin Towers that I had not heard of before. I was lamenting the whole terrorist exercise, when my mother sadly said, “Well, it must have been the will of God.”

Somehow this struck me as wrong.

Is terrorism the will of God?

I think not.

I had learned that God has a permissive will and a perfect will.
Then ... I entered the Christian blogosphere. (!)
I have read where some say that this is not the case. They say that God has only one will. According to this view ... and my mother’s ... terrorism is the perfect will of God, since it is happening ... so is murder ... so is adultery, and so on.

The way I have understood these things (since I came to care about them) was that God allows evil, but it is not His perfect will, thus the permissive will and the perfect will.

What think ye?

the END

83 Comments:

  • Hi Rose-
    I agree with you about the permissive will and the perfect will. I think the twin towers and other awful tradgedies have occured do to sin. I always have this talk with Dorothy and she always tells me some awful things that happen are for the benefit of you or for someone else, and some awful things that happen are just because of sin. What do u think? I know God can control everything and I know awful things must happen for some reason.

    By Blogger justsheena, at 2/01/2006 9:56 AM  

  • Those of Reformed theology often quote Amos 3:6
    "Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be evil in the city, and the Lord hath not done it?"

    They argue from this verse and others that God ordains the sinful actions of men.

    However, this verse needs to be interpreted within the context of God's judgment on Israel and His covenant relationship with them. To use this as a universal model for divine sovereignty is to tear the verse from it's context.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 2/01/2006 10:55 AM  

  • Hi Sheena.
    I definately think that nothing is ever outside of God's control. I think that He allows, causes, or He can stop anything. The Bible teaches that He is omnipotent, all powerful. That is good to know, that He never takes His eye off of our world, He has it under His watchful eye and care.

    Matthew,
    My mother is most assuredly NOT of "reformed" theoloical persuasion! She is a Roman Catholic, a staunch one. But, it was probably a Reformed blog where I read about the "one will".
    Do you see the "permissive" and "perfect" wills in your understanding?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/01/2006 11:07 AM  

  • Rose, I most definitely agree with you. God is certainly capable of executing judgment, but He is not the author of wickedness.

    By Blogger Gordon Cloud, at 2/01/2006 12:20 PM  

  • Hi Rose,
    I think it's the will of satan being played out in the flesh of the instigators of 9-11. I think He's temporarily given satan license to influence things in the world in such a way.

    Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 2/01/2006 12:31 PM  

  • Yes, I think I can go with that distinction.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 2/01/2006 2:58 PM  

  • Satan is the prince of the power of the air, is he not? I agree with Todd here. There are many scriptures about Satan having his way now. To me, 9-11 (preceded by the Holocaust, preceded by the persecution of Jews throughout the millenia, not to mention countless other man-made horrors) is Satan's hand. Just because God could stop Satan, doesn't mean He will. He gave Satan permission to attack Job as well. All interesting food for thought.
    Especially interesting is your mother's first thought. Why tie this event to God? Why are folks inclined to do that when something horrific occurs? Like God is always to blame, yet He is not credited when good occurs. Usually man is credited. Interesting that Satan is rarely mentioned.
    It's funny (but not in a ha-ha way) how people seem to forget about Satan but remember God. It's like they believe there's a God but not an evil devil.
    What sinful selfish natures we have. (And I'm not picking on your mother here. My nature does this as well.)

    By Blogger Susan, at 2/01/2006 4:35 PM  

  • Rose,
    With the current blustery mood on a few Christian blogs going back and forth on differing theological points, I had to laugh out loud when I read the following illustration in a devotional this morning.
    I wasn't sure whose blog to share it on, so please forgive me if inappropriate to share here, but I thought that you and I probably feel the same way about theological nitpicking and bickering. I enjoy the respectful sharing of info, but when it gets personal and defensive, well, it just ain't honoring God.
    So whatdya think:
    "In a Peanuts comic strip, Linus listened to Lucy as she boasted about her religious zeal.
    She said to Linus, 'I could be a terrific evangelist. Do you know the kid that sits behind me in school? I convinced him that my religion is better than his religion.'
    'How did you do that?' asked Linus.
    'I just hit him hard with my lunch box,' she replied."
    Hmmm. Maybe there is a tie-in to your post today after all.
    If we could only convince the Muslims that lunch boxes are the way to go.

    By Blogger Susan, at 2/01/2006 4:52 PM  

  • LOL, Susan!!! LOL!!!

    Thanks for sharing ... I appreciated that the most!

    I have to go home from work, now, but I will say hello and try to make some kind of intelligible remark about everyone else here, later on when the kids are in bed!
    Thank you all!

    LOL!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/01/2006 5:50 PM  

  • I'm sure you can guess I'm on the permissive will side. Too many times we have examples of God giving choices and men turning from Him. I would say He has set a limit to that permissivne time though.

    By Blogger Kc, at 2/01/2006 7:26 PM  

  • Hi Gordon,
    Thanks for reading. He is not the author of sin, but He has made it work for His purpose, right?

    Todd,
    Satan ... could it be ... Satan!? Yes, I think you are right. I believe that the philosophy that would cause those men to do such things is straight from hell. Is God in control of Hell? Yes, but He is not the author of its ideas. God allows Satan to stir things up. Thanks for input.

    Susan,
    You are right. I believe people say things about God when referring to tragedy and awful events because it somehow comforts them. The devil pulling people's strings ... that is not a comforting thought. Your story about Lucy was very fitting for my ventures in the blogosphere today. I'm with you about bickering. I don't like it. I do think there are fundamental things that are worth arguing over, but I just always want it to be done kindly. I don't like mean-ness. I don't like hitting people over the head with a lunch box. :~)

    kc,
    I just realized that this whole post is related to the whole Calvinist issue. You reminded me of it when you said I'm sure you can guess
    Argghhhh! I can't escape it, help!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/01/2006 10:02 PM  

  • Was it God's will for the Babylonians to take Judah into captivity? Was it God's will for Jesus to be murdered?

    By Blogger Jeremy Weaver, at 2/01/2006 10:57 PM  

  • Hi there, Jeremy, I mean Doxoblogist,
    yes. yes.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/01/2006 11:51 PM  

  • Or was it His will to allow it?

    By Blogger Kc, at 2/02/2006 7:10 AM  

  • opps sorry, I meant to say "Rose, do you think it was His will to allow it?" (grin)

    By Blogger Kc, at 2/02/2006 7:12 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Obviously when sin occurs, such as murder, adultery, etc., God is not the author, so it cannot be an act of His will. That would make Him an accomplice! Paul would put it this way:

    "But if . . . we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid!
    "For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor."

    (Gal 2:17-18 KJV)

    "It must have been God's will that I sinned" is just the lazy, flip side argument of the old Flip Wilson line: "The devil made me do it." It's just another way of dodging personal responsibility.

    To settle this, let's go back to the roots. Sin came into the world because man did not listen to God, not because he did. Has any of that really changed?

    By Blogger Cleopas, at 2/02/2006 8:17 AM  

  • Is God the author of sin? It cannot be - God is infinitely holy, yet we know that if God has so desire, he could have simple
    destroyed Satan instead of casting him out of heaven. He could have made man impervious to sin if He had desired.

    It pleased God to permit sin - for reasons we cannot understand.

    Sin occurs by his permission and according to His purpose.

    He restrains and controls it and can even overrule it for good.

    I personally like to think of this with Joseph and the Cross of Christ and Pharoah.

    He only permits and directs sin. Man is the person that commits the sin and he it is that solely responsible and guilty of it.

    Yet since whatever comes to pass is within his eternal decrees,
    sin must be with them is a way which doesn't make him the author. So the question then is; How could a good God permit sin?

    It seems to me Paul gives 2 answers:

    (1) God has a right to do what he chooses with his own creation (Rom. 9.19-21)

    (2) Within God's decrees are decrees of permission; God permits some things of which he is not the author (Rom. 9.17-18). God endured Pharaoh not merely because he had to allow what couldn't be avoided, but for his own purpose of revealing his power, name, wrath, ability, and glory through the events included in the decree to permit Pharaoh's sin. Compare with Gen. 50.20. Think of this with his purposes in hardening Pharoah's heart.

    I think the best thing to do in these times when we see evil is remember the story of Pharoah.

    The thing is we don't have understanding at the current time to have a full picture of God's current redemptive history or of God's Glory being displayed, so we must pray that God would be saving His people and displaying His glory through these devisting events.

    This is the biblical way to think of redemptive history in our day today as well.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 2/02/2006 8:46 AM  

  • Kc,

    I think what Jeremy is saying is that God is active in his will coming to pass with the Cross of Christ (It was God's will to crush him). Yes it was allowing it, but also part of his decrees to work through evil men to save a people for himself. There is an active part of that doesn't contradict God being the author of evil and sin.

    Most of all through all of this we should stand back and revel at what we don't understand and pray in the midst of evil men triumphing praying that God's glory would be displayed through this. For example, God's work in the midst of Pharoah should be thought of in the following

    1) Redemptive history of saving his people

    2) The glory of God and judgements of God displayed to the lost man.

    3) God also said he work through this so we could tell our children for generations to come.

    All of these things happened through the hardened heart of Pharoah, but so we must pray to the same goals.

    For example, I don't know God's glory being displayed in the midst of this, but I should pray to that end. Also there are many aspects of God's sovereignty that are hidden from us so we pray and learn to trust in God in the midst of evil men

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 2/02/2006 9:19 AM  

  • Wow. Great stuff here.
    When Jeremy (Doxoblogist) asks, "Was it God's will.." with respect to Judah's captivity and Jesus' murder, I inferred in those queries that God's will is for some seemingly bad things. "Seemingly" may be the pivotal word here.
    I don't say that this thought is implied in his questions, because I don't know the intent of where the questions were leading, but I appreciate the questions because they provoke thought.
    I also appreciate Shawn's take and scriptural references.
    Judah's captivity was brought about because of their disobedience to God, n'est-ce pas? Jesus' death likewise, but with respect to everyone's disobedience to God. His death is the result of our sin and His incomprehensible love to become our sin and die in our place.
    And this from the foundation of the world. These are the things that rock my soul; I am awestruck.
    I don't understand things like the Holocaust or our current terrorist situation (or where it is going), but I do know that God is going to work His purpose through them, in spite of man's evil intent.
    Terrible events are where I see man's free will really come into play. And they are also the things that drive me deeper into hope. Which is a good thing. They cause me to look heavenward rather than remain earthbound.
    Interesting, isn't it, how we remain complacent when things are good and seek Him all the more fervently in times of trouble?
    There are few atheists in a foxhole.

    By Blogger Susan, at 2/02/2006 11:15 AM  

  • Susan,

    Thank you. You truly want to hold God as perfectly holy and righteous and that is a good goal to have. We must lift that so high as a banner to all peoples. God's holiness and righteousness and greatness. I believe the ultimate purposes that God has is to be bring more glory to Himself.

    I'm just trying to wrestle with these things through the reading of the through the bible in a year each year. There is so much of God working through the evils of men's hearts to accomplish his ultimate end and ultimate purposes. For example in Creation see how God describes what he did

    Romans 8:20-21 "For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God."

    This seems to be the purpose God makes in creation for subjecting us to the decay. To show and display the great freedom and God's Glory verses our own. To show forth the purposes of God in seems to always turn back and point to Christ and His Greatness. We will forever be praising God's greatness because of Christ's greatness and overcoming of sin.

    Now I don't fully grasp how the whole of creation is subjected to this principle of decay, but I do know that God is showing forth His Glory to the people in this manner the bible clearly explains.

    This is why God tells Moses, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord?” This is why Isaiah says, “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things.” He is trying to show us the purposes of His Decrees is to Show His Glory forever..... We need to see the active part of God's activity to accomplish his purposes as well yet in a way that God is not the author of evil and keep the meaning of the text intact. I may blog on this some more at some point, but God has really shown his sovereignty to me in the midst of evil men so much recently in the last 5 years doing a through the bible in a year.

    You said "Judah's captivity was brought about because of their disobedience to God? "

    In some ways this is very true, however other ways it is because God brought about a drought upon the people to display His Glory in Saving People through Joseph!! Then God directly used this drought to make Pharoah put everyone to slavery and make Pharoah very rich through Joseph's dreams.

    Through the captivity, displaying His Glory in the ways I discussed. That's all throughout the scriptures. I can see this in Ezra, working through evil kings to accomplish his purposes. It's so much throughout the redemptive history.

    Also God explains exactly why he hardened Pharoah's heart as well.

    Let me read this to you.

    Exodus 7 "But I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.”

    There are many other explainations from God on why he hardened pharoah's heart in the midst of evil men, this has to be done in such a way as God is not the author of evil in Pharoah and that is quite true. The decrees of permission must be thought of in terms of God permitting sin to accomplish his purposes in the way the bible states it.

    The difference today is that we aren't always able to see God working through these things to accomplish his purposes.

    What a display of Christ in the old testament through Joseph and setting of free by Pharoah and that should lead to more praise.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 2/02/2006 11:46 AM  

  • Shawn,
    All good thoughts yet again! Thank you.
    I think Jeremy was referring to Judah's captivity in Babylon, however, and that's what I was referring to in my comments relating to their disobedience leading to Babylonian captivity, not Israel's slavery in Egypt, which resulted from years and generations living there following the drought.
    I want to write more but my husband just came home for lunch and my three-year-old is requiring her swivel-in-daddy's chair time. My brain just turned back to its usual state of jello.

    By Blogger Susan, at 2/02/2006 12:11 PM  

  • Susan,

    I read your stuff again and loved this quote of yours. Totally correct!!!

    "I don't understand things like the Holocaust or our current terrorist situation (or where it is going), but I do know that God is going to work His purpose through them, in spite of man's evil intent.

    Some of this discussion also shows our foolishiness as well because we can believe both aspects of scripture, yet not fully understand every aspect of it, but we can understand what we have been given in scripture. Amen!

    It should lead us to hope in Christ and rest in Christ and not lean on our own understanding. I sure have had to reset my mind many times upon this Word in this way.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 2/02/2006 12:13 PM  

  • Has anyone ever considered that

    1) God has only one will!

    Listen, if God has something called a "permissive will" this is in utter contradiction to His revealed will! Is God schitzo?

    Man transgresses God's will, even the saintly and godly Calvinist.

    To say that the sin of man is within God's permissive will, is to say that God gives us permission to sin!

    Do you see what kind of nonsense you get into?

    God gives His permission to sin, but that sin He gives permission to is something that is against His moral will.

    God has no such thing as a permissive will!

    God has only one will, and that is absolute, pure holiness!

    "This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all." (1 John 1:5)

    Has anyone ever considered that since God is Sovereign, He can do what He wants?

    He created a world with all its starting set of variables and let it go. His will is holiness. His will is faith in the Son. His will is repentance. His will is pure morality.

    He does not have a will that permits evil.

    Of course He could stop it if He wanted to. But His sovereign will was that man had free-will.

    "will" when used of God, talks about His DETERMINATIONS.

    When someone says that God has a permissive will in relation to man's sin, that is saying:

    God has determined that men should have permission to sin.

    Imagine a parent saying: "I do not will that my kids rebel, but I have determined that that they can rebel"

    God created Man with a free will. Sin comes from man's will and not in any respect from God's, not even some supposed permissive will.

    If God permits that which He can stop, He retains blame. But if He created man in such a way to be fully responsible for His actions, then there is no need for a "permissive will".

    It is a warped view of sovereignty that states that God has to have some involvement in EVERYTHING. Why must He? Why have we fallen into this presumptive mind-set? Why can't God's sovereignty allow Him to create in such a way as to give men an absolute Free will that makes them absolutely responsible for their sin, even apart from His permission! Because we have accepted the logic and idea of sovereignty from Augustinians.

    God most definitely does not give men permission to sin. He does not permit it. He punishes it. He loathes it.

    "permissive" in the dictionary means "granting permission". How can God grant permission to do something He most definitly does not want us to do? That is nuts!

    God created man with the ability to make decisions. It was in His foreknowledge that He knew man would sin. But He created them perfect, almost like little "gods". Man chose sin and rebelled. God did not permit them to rebel. To permit someone to do evil makes you evil.

    Your daughter is going out with her friends. You say "You may not have any relations with boys tonight, period. But I permit you to have relations with boys tonight"

    This is nuts. Crazy.

    Can't you see God painted this way with this heretical "permissive will"?

    "Man, you may NOT sin, may NOT rebel. You must be Holy, for I am Holy. But I give you permission to sin, be immoral, and be evil"

    Has anyone even thought this "permissive will" thing through?

    Permissive will is nonesense and plays the soft-augustinian game.

    There is no permissive will.

    God demands holiness and complete morality.

    That man sins, He is responsible for, period! God created man PERFECT and with free will. It was MAN who sinned. God did not permit it.

    To be in authority and to permit something is to share in the responsibility of that which is permitted.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/02/2006 2:33 PM  

  • Hi Rose.

    Very interesting discussion. I think one of the keys to understanding God's "will" is to properly define all the nuances and distinctions in the word "will".

    I think Doxoblogist hit on the issue with the Babylonian captivity and Christ's death. For instance, in one sense God does not "will" that you murder someone. Yet in another sense, God "willed" that Jesus was to be murdered. Now while I quibble with the distinctions of "perfect" and "permissive" will to some extent, that is actually closer to the to understanding the distinctions of the word "will" that we often use. There are other distinctions: "declarative will" in which God gives us His law which we are to follow, "hidden will" which is what God has ordained from all eternity that will come to pass, "revealed will" which is what we see providentially happen in history. In other words, "will" is not simply "will" without different senses and distinctions. If we are careful in knowing how the word is defined and nuanced, we will not have as many preplexing problems in discussing God's will -- but we'll still have some puzzles.

    By Blogger Earl, at 2/02/2006 2:59 PM  

  • Anonymous, you have completely misunderstood the use of the word permission here.

    I am not an Augustinian in the slightest.

    God permits in the sense that he does not stop.

    I suppose a more Scriptural term would be God's Winking will (Acts 17:30).

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 2/02/2006 2:59 PM  

  • Earl/Matthew,

    Any comments on my discussions of the scriptures.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 2/02/2006 3:07 PM  

  • Shawn,

    Your comments with Scripture has quite a bit of writting that I need to take the time to read. Sorry I didn't do that before. Let me take the time tonight to read it and reflect on it.

    By Blogger Earl, at 2/02/2006 3:07 PM  

  • Earl,

    Gotcha, makes sense. I don't know how to get this topic into a two point thought as there are vast weighty thoughts in the scriptures on this topic.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 2/02/2006 3:11 PM  

  • Earl,
    Amen! The differences of opinion here have to do with the different understandings of the word "will."
    I also like the parent/child analogy that Anonymous brings into the picture.
    After all, I do not "permit" my teenage son to rebel, but if he does, in some ways I can't stop him. I speak from experience here.
    We stopped my son from smoking, drinking, and general bad behavior when he was under our roof. We grounded him and kept him on a tight leash as best we could, but there were times when he simply wasn't in our control.
    We respectfully instructed him about the ground rules and expectations of behavior in our home. There were consequences for disobedience.
    (He's a son from my previous marriage, and the other home in which he spent some time is far more permissive.)
    Did we "will" that he would rebel? No. Did we "permit" him to? No. But did he? Yes. Could we always control him? No.
    It's not our will as parents to control our children, rather it's our desire that they freely choose good over evil and choose God out of love and gratitude, which I pray my son does.
    I thank God that He loves us so much to allow us our own free will, as much as it gets us in trouble sometimes.
    Incidentally, my son Gil is in the Israeli Defense Forces now (his father is Israeli), so I imagine that bad-boy behavior isn't going too far these days.

    By Blogger Susan, at 2/02/2006 3:49 PM  

  • I hear the Israeli Fefence Force is pretty relaxed once they get through basic training, Susan.

    God Bless

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 2/02/2006 5:17 PM  

  • [quote]I quibble with the distinctions of "perfect" and "permissive" will to some extent, that is actually closer to the to understanding the distinctions of the word "will" that we often use.[/quote]

    We meaning the Augustinian, or we meaning the common colloquial usage? For your understanding of God's "will" does not seem to parallel common usage.

    [quote] There are other distinctions:[/quote]

    You paint God having multiple personalities.

    [quote] "declarative will" in which God gives us His law which we are to follow,[/quote]

    How is it that God's "permissive will" contradicts his "declarative will"? How? Because permissive will is a figment of the Augustinian's imagination.

    [quote] "hidden will" which is what God has ordained from all eternity that will come to pass,[/quote]

    Oh yeah, this is the one where God determined (fore-ordained) that there be rapes, murders, adulteries, fornications, mutilations, genocides, etc.

    Not to mention this is where God determined (fore-ordained) that large set number of individuals to go to hell and the relatively miniscule number to enter glory.

    This is God's hidden will. He desires people to go to hell, for he fore-ordained their perdition.

    The Bible says that God "wills" greek = thelo that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:4).

    This is His will revealed. But that His will is not accomplished does not mean that He has another contradictory will which usurps it, but that His will is being spurned by the creation.

    Your theology would have us believe that God wills that all men be saved but at the same time God wills that most will perish and only some will be saved.

    Only in the deductionistic theologies of Augustine and Calvin could such ABSURDITY reign.

    The dispassionate hearer of such a contention as the above (that God wills that ALL men be saved yet at the same in his "secret and hidden will" wills that most goes to hell) would conclude that God is at war with Himself and just cannot make up His mind.

    Sure, the Calvinist can come up with his wordsmithing in order to "patch up" this NUMBING contradiction, but it is like using Elmer's wood glue on a breach in a Louisiana levee.

    The Calvinist God cannot make up His mind, and is in the business of willing things He has already said that He wills against.

    Your theology has God pitting one will against another.

    The error and confusion dissipates when we realize that God has sovereignly created the world and man in such a way that His will can be spurned.

    Sure, God in His sovereignty has pre-determined some events (prophetic history). But just as surely, God, in His sovereignty has allowed men to determine their future and be responsible for it. God has not created a pre-determined world. He has created a free world in which He chooses to participate, influence, and culminate His historical desires, bringing to fruition the end time-prophetic scenarios which are His pleasure.

    [quote] "revealed will" which is what we see providentially happen in history.[/quote]

    The revealed world of hunger, strife, war, disease, pain, and evil.

    Now which one of God's wills wills these things?

    [quote] In other words, "will" is not simply "will" without different senses and distinctions.[/quote]

    Yeah. The distinctions and different senses actually mean that they contradict each other. This is just more wordsmithing.

    The problem is the presumptive doctrine of Sovereignty which has been uncritically accepted by the major majority of Christians.

    THERE IS NO DARKNESS IN GOD, NONE WHATSOEVER.

    ANY suggestion WHATSOEVER that God gives permission for man to do evil; ANY suggestion that God has willed for specific individuals to go to hell; ANY suggestion that God fore-ordained a single sin:

    FATALLY destroys the very nature of God.

    It is blasphemy and heresy to claim that God, who is PURE LIGHT without ANY, WHATSOEVER hint of darkness, has put ANY imprint of His will in regards to a contradiction of His complete and moral purity.

    To say that God has a will (IN ANY SENSE) that evil and sin abound (which they do in this world) is to lessen completely the view of God that He has revealed of Himself.

    He doesn't in one breath DEMAND holiness and in the next permit evil and sin.

    This is lunacy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/02/2006 5:18 PM  

  • Earl, as a convinced Non-Calvinist (call me an Arminian if you must), I do not hold to the idea of a 'hidden will' in God. Certainly, God does not make His plans known. However, Calvinists seem to suggest a will in God that is in tension with His revealed will.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 2/02/2006 5:22 PM  

  • Anonymous, despite your harsh tone, I suppose I agree with much of your conclusion.

    Have you read much Reformed theology? Have you spent much time trying to understand those with whom you disagree?

    I think throwing words like 'lunancy' around is rather unhelpful here.

    I think the Reformed position is fallacious and lacks sufficent Scriptural support.

    However, Reformed theologians have put a lot of effort into trying to understand and uphold God's sovereignty, even if they do not always correctly present it.

    I think the Calvinists deserve a little more rspect than you are showing.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 2/02/2006 5:29 PM  

  • Anonymous, can I recommend to you 'Systematic Theology' by Louis Berkhof. It is a great systematic presentation of the Reformed position. If you wanted to read something a little more contemporary, I would suggest Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology.

    From the Non-Calvinist side, I would recommend a book called 'God's Stratgy in Human History' by Roger Forster. Also, reading 'Lectures in Systematic Theology' by Henry Thiessen would be helpful.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 2/02/2006 5:33 PM  

  • Shawn, I agreed with most of what you wrote.

    I do not really think I go along with your talk of 'Eternal Decrees', though. I think the concept of an Eternal Decree is not based on plain exegesis.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 2/02/2006 5:37 PM  

  • matthew,

    I mean Decree in the sense of
    Isaiah 46:9-11 (declaring the end from the beginning) . I think a better word might be His Purposes.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 2/02/2006 5:46 PM  

  • Yes, God's purpose will stand and be fulfilled.

    I would just understand God's purpose a little differently from Reformed people.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 2/02/2006 5:47 PM  

  • Matthew,

    Why does every conversation need to end up with C or non-C.

    The issue should be what does the bible say and go through the verses together despite what our labels are. I am starting to not like labels because it keeps people from just studying the bible together and getting into the scriptures left and right.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 2/02/2006 5:49 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Acts 2:23 (New American Standard Bible)

    Peter saying,

    23"this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death."

    God's plan, God's will, they may be inseparable. That's what is saying to me anyway. Take care.

    By Blogger Todd, at 2/02/2006 6:12 PM  

  • Shawn, I am sorry if you are offended by my throwing labels about. I suppose, unlike a lot of people, I just love labels.

    They do clarify important distinctions.

    Nevertheless, I commend your asking my opinion of what you had written, depsite our differences. It was most gracious.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 2/02/2006 6:19 PM  

  • I'm new to exegesis so please forgive me, but this discussion led me on an exercise into researching the word "will" as it applies to God in the Bible. (Is that how exegesists -er, folks who engage in exegesis- do it?)
    In my NIV, the concordance gave the following examples:
    "Teach me to do Your will" - Psalm 143:10
    "Yet it was the Lord's will" - Isaiah 53:10
    "Your will be done" - Matthew 6:10
    and
    "For whosoever shall do the will of My Father" - Matthew 12:50
    "For this is God's will for you" - 1 Thessalonians 5:18
    "...anything according to His will" - 1 John 5:14
    I don't know Greek, but I do some contemporary Hebrew having lived in Israel, so I went to my Jewish Publication Society Bible (Holy Scriptures according to the Masoretic Text) and searched out the Hebrew words for "will" in these verses.
    The first from Psalms is "ratzon," which means "desire" basically.
    Interestingly, the verse in Isaiah translated in the Jewish Bible as "yet it pleased the Lord to crush him by disease." The Hebrew word there is "khafetz," which also means "wish, desire, delight."
    Then I went to my Strong's Exhaustive Concordance to check out the Greek. In each of the four last verses, it was the same Greek word "thelema," which translated as "desire or pleasure."
    So "will" in the sense of these verses as it applies to God seems to imply "desire, delight, pleasure, wish..."
    Nothing intended per se.
    I dunno.
    Is this how exegesis is done? My methods may be lacking a little, but I'd love hearing how others would recommend undertaking such an exercise.
    Matthew, sadly I've heard the same about the IDF, even that they hand out condoms in the military there (hmm, why do American public schools come to mind?). I still think it's the best training and much-needed discipline that boy needs now. He's 18.
    I also have a 3-yr-old at home. If I ever start a blog of my own, I'm gonna post an entry about the similarities between toddlers and teens. Both know everything. Both delight in making special bodily sounds. Both have a language all their own, of which "pick up after yourself" does not translate.
    Too bad kids don't come with concordances.

    By Blogger Susan, at 2/02/2006 6:28 PM  

  • Matthew,

    I'm not offended by labels at all, but it does tend to get people to not listen to each other and just study the bible together. I just find them useless at times when you just want to get to the heart of a topic because now if you are some C half the room won't listen to you and if you are a NON-C the other half won't listen to you. I say just dig in the scriptures.

    To me it doesn't help in the study of scripture together to throw ideas out there.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 2/02/2006 6:32 PM  

  • Shawn, I hope you do not think I do not 'listen' to you.

    Susan, I try to avoid the Bible version issue where ever possible and I hope Rose~ does not get mad at me for saying this, but the NIV is not a very literal translation. The word 'will' in those verses might not necessarilly be an exact translation of a particular Greek or Hebrew word.

    Forgive me for straying on to this issue, Rose~.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 2/02/2006 6:35 PM  

  • Anonymous has some excellent points.

    The term "will", however it is used, will always have a sense in which it is a person's volitional desire.

    Let us put it this way:

    God's "permissive will" includes sin.

    Let's break that down.

    God's has a volitional desire to permit sin.

    How else can this be worded?

    If God is Holy and CAN stop sin, why does He "will" (volitionally choose or desire) to permit it?

    There has to be some nuance that:

    1) removes "will" from our construction
    2) places all responsibility on man

    I think that Anonymous was onto something when he talked about it may be our view of sovereignty that is at fault.

    This Traditional mindset requires that everything that happens in time and history filter through God's decretive and volitional will.

    Why must it? How come every event must necessarily filter through God? Is God not powerful enough to create in such a way that man's unregenerate actions depend fully on themselves and at the same time be able to have His plans for history pan out by His moral and honorable influence and direction within time?

    Couldn't have an all powerful God create in such a way as to retain only one will, whereby His creation, which is wholly outside Himself, has their own wills, which therefore leaves Him blameless?

    The tension cannot come in the nature of God's wills, for we are then faced with eternal irreconcialables. I cannot in any way picture a Holy God willing complete conformity to morality, and then willing (in whatever sense)an indifference to it (of either a permission slip or a winking at). I think that yes, God is patient with man's sin, waiting for man to repent. But at the same time of this patience, man is storing up for himself temporal wrath.

    The tension must, therefore, come within the relationship of man's will to God. God has one will, and man, more often than not has a completely contradictory will to God's.

    God created man's will to be autonomous, so as that they may determine their own course.

    When man seeks God's will (by the convicting and leading power of the Holy Spirit) he will be led to the Word of God, to God's will, which is

    John 6:40
    And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day."
    NKJV

    I agree with anonymous that to say that God "wills" sin in any sense makes Him culpable.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 2/02/2006 6:46 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I saw a couple of long comments from 'anonymous' about God's perfect will, The gist of which was that there is no such thing as His 'permissive' will.

    If that were true, it would require our own perfection as well, so there would never be a 'gap' between God's will and our own performance.

    But what happens, for example, when the Israeilites fail to believe and enter Canaan? God's perfect will is spoiled by man's failure. Yet He keeps on working with them: the manna keeps coming every day, and He keeps on leading them through Moses. And He completes His intention through their children instead.

    Jesus said that those who follow Him shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life. That's an interesting study which we've discussed before. It means that wherever we may go astray, Jesus is the guiding beacon that will show us how to get back on track again. And this is the essence of a merciful, and yes, permissive will, if we fail and need to be restored.

    By Blogger Cleopas, at 2/02/2006 6:58 PM  

  • Susan,

    Here's the other verse in reference why God Hardened Pharoah's heart. So we may tell our children and grandchildren of the glory of God. (Exodus 10)

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 2/02/2006 7:31 PM  

  • Jacob and Esau. It was God's revealed will that Jacob be the heir of the blessings. How did this come about, and what was God's role there?

    This is a great discussion. From all sides, even Antonio!:-)

    By Blogger Jeremy Weaver, at 2/02/2006 8:51 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    And Cleopas,

    Another way of expanding upon the verse you cited is to highlight, instead of the word myself, highlight the word make.

    "But if . . . we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid!
    "For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor."
    (Gal 2:17-18 KJV)

    It is in no way God's will that I sin, I, make (God does not make me trasgress), myself a transgressor.

    Sin came into the world because man did not listen to God, he listend to the serpeant. The devil. And then he listened to his own lazy reasonings.

    That dosen't make God an author or an accomplice.

    Isn't that a fair reading of the verse. Well I realise that was early on in the discussion so that shows you how far behind I am. Interesting discussion so I had to jump back in. Feel free to disregard. Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 2/02/2006 10:31 PM  

  • Todd,
    It is nice the way you say "hi" lately. That is polite. Thank you.
    I am behind, as well. I haven't read about the last 22 comments, but I am going to ... later, after the husband goes to bed.

    Anyone who wants to can "hang out on my front porch" here and I will catch up with you all later!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/02/2006 10:37 PM  

  • Hi Rose! ;-0

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 2/02/2006 10:54 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    And this quote here by anon.

    Has anyone ever considered that since God is Sovereign, He can do what He wants?

    Reminds me of the verse, "The Lord will have mercy upon whomever He wills..." and I can't remember the rest.

    The idea is similar to a message at the end of Job where God message resembles "Who do you think you are, as the thing created, to think that you can know as the Creator". Which is a terrible rendering of the idea, but better vague that false.

    My only point is, I'm surprised that that element of God's personality is not factored into more of our conclusions and doesn't come up in discussion more.

    Have a nice night.

    Inspired, Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 2/02/2006 11:17 PM  

  • Rose, actually, more tired than inspired. Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 2/02/2006 11:20 PM  

  • Loren,
    you brought this verse to light:
    I make myself a transgressor."
    (Gal 2:17-18 KJV)

    We need more personal responsibility. I think this notion that God has created certain people to be destructive is antithetical to personal responsibility. You create the kind of person you are by the choices you make as you go along. God didn't make you an alcoholic, but if you keep pouring liquor down your throat day in and day out, you make yourself an alcoholic.
    You make yourself a trangressor. Good.

    Shawn, You said:
    we pray and learn to trust in God in the midst of evil men
    This is good, too. We must trust that God will fulfill Romans 8:28. Although, that is an interesting scripture to meditate on. Back to your statement. What do we trust God for? I long ago figured out that I can't "trust God" for a lot of the things I would like Him to do. I can't "trust" Him to do things that He hasn't promised. If I go on an airplane, I can't "trust" God not to make it crash. Why? Because He never promised me that I wouldn't die in a plane crash. He might have something in mind for me that is not at all what I would want. Then again, if I think about Roamns 8:28, I know that all things work together for good "to them that love God"... It must be "to us" working for good. We must try to see it that way, knowing that God is not letting anything out of His control.

    All that is not to say that He hasn't promised plenty. We can depend on Him to provide a way of escape when we are tempted. We can depend on Him to supply all our "needs" (not wants), etc...
    Can we trust Him to keep our child from harm? Well ... we can beg Him.

    What do you think of my thoughts?

    Susan,
    You said:
    but I do know that God is going to work His purpose through them, in spite of man's evil intent.
    Well put! Susan, I like you. You are welcome and encouraged to come here and comment anytime you like. You have such good and intelligent things to say (witty too) and it is good to see a female blogger who is open-minded and smart.

    Anonymous,
    You say:
    God created Man with a free will. Sin comes from man's will and not in any respect from God's, not even some supposed permissive will.
    When I said "permissive will", I was thinking of what God watches going on here, that He doesn't stop. IOW, He knew it was going to happen, but He didn't stop it. I didn't mean that He said "well, OK, go ahead then, I'll permit it."
    You really bring up some good points, though. Thank you! Your perspective is not common on the Blogdom of God.

    Earl,
    It is good to see you. I had forgotten about some of those terms. You are right, and we have discussed this before. "Will" can mean a lot of things. Desire, intent, purpose, command ...
    Earl, you're looking fine these days. :~)

    Matthew, you brought up this verse:
    Acts 17:30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.
    That was an interesting contribution. God "overlooked" ignorance. I hadn't honed in on that verse before. I think I will read that chapter tonight.

    God permits in the sense that he does not stop
    That is how I meant it, too.

    Susan,
    The way you explained it is exactly as I see God and mankind, except, God could truly put an end to all the foolishness and "CONTROL" things right now if he wanted to (we can't lawfully do that with our children). For some reason, he lets it go on. Like Shawn says, for His greater purpose, which, like Earl says, may be hiddden.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/03/2006 12:23 AM  

  • Anonymous, you say:
    The error and confusion dissipates when we realize that God has sovereignly created the world and man in such a way that His will can be spurned.

    I agree with Matthew, your tone is a little harsh. You kind of remind me ... of me, though. I went on a blog one time as "anonymous" and had a very challenging tone. (it is kind of fun, isn't it?)
    Your words are ... so refreshing, though. You think just as I have thought before I started reading Reformed writings and sitting under a reformed pastor (with a little "r", he says). I think what you say has a certain ring of truth. It recognizes the goodness of God, which I think is really lacking in the harsh, Calvinistic (Augustinian, as you say) model of things. Why don't you email me? I would love to know who you are. rcole@ambt.net

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/03/2006 12:29 AM  

  • My anonymous stint was before I started this blog, just for everyone's information. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/03/2006 12:30 AM  

  • Hi Todd,
    This discussion does cause a lot to spin around in the head, does it not? Thanks for the verses you shared and your thoughts.

    Antonio,
    Great thoughts. Thank you for sharing them. I think you are right about the possibilty that we have the wrong definition of sovereignty. You have pointed that out to me before. God bless.

    Hi Cleopas,
    You should read anonymous' comments completely. (It doesn't sound like you did ... especially the second one.) I would like to hear what you think about it. Good to see you around .. er, um, I mean ... where's Loren?

    Doxoblogist,
    I want you to answer your own question. Will you? Please share your thoughts. Oh, and get your head . . . .
    :~)

    Hi Shawn!!! Thanks for that!

    Now I am going to bed.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/03/2006 12:43 AM  

  • Doxoblogist,
    That is one weird picture (I refuse to use the Hindu concept of 'Avatar' in this context).

    'Jacob and Esau. It was God's revealed will that Jacob be the heir of the blessings. How did this come about, and what was God's role there?'

    God chose Jacob because He is God and can choose whoever He likes.

    However, there is not a single verse in the Bible about God ordaining the profanity and fornication of Esau. Jacob's blessings did not depend upon Esau's wickedness. Esau should have been humble and accepted that God had chosen Jacob to inherit the promises.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 2/03/2006 4:42 AM  

  • Rose,

    I'd be interested to note your interpretation of the texts I brought up.....

    I've seen on this blog lots of comments on how we think God does in His Sovereignty over evil men, but wondering how the way we thinks is affected by God's Word.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 2/03/2006 5:12 AM  

  • Rose and others,

    If you want to study more on God's overruling for His good purpose and work in the midst of evil men I would recommend these verses in context.

    Acts 2:23 Acts 4:27-28 Acts 13:29, 1 Pet 2:8; Jude 4; Rev 17:17; Gen 37:28; Ps 17:13
    Job 9:5-6; 11:9-11; 37:6-13; Acts 14:17 1 Chron 16:31; Prov 21:1 Job 12:23; Is 10:12-15 Daniel 2:21; 4:25 I Samuel 2:6; Psalm 18:30; Prov 16:9; Is 45:5; Luke 1:53 2 Samuel 16:10; 24:1, Psalm 76:10; Romans 11:32, Acts 4:27-28

    Something I was praying for each of us today ... specially me was the follow verse.

    Eph 1:17-18 "that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,"

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 2/03/2006 7:28 AM  

  • Matthew,
    Good point regarding translations. I usually study out of the NASB (with a side-by-side Message translation in the same book), but the only Bible I own that has a concordance within it is the NIV. The latter was the first Bible I read when I became a believer. I'm fond of it now because the margins carry my notations from that first blessed joyous season of walking with Christ through those pages together.
    Now I read the NASB, and occasionally glance at the Message alongside. Sometimes I'm smacked between the eyes by the Message and sometimes it just leads me to laughter.
    In this discussion, I became interested in the word "will." It surprised me to see such emphasis in the translated meaning on "desire" or "wish" rather than "intent" or "force". Perhaps that's partly because as we think of a "Last Will and Testament," the person's desires are always carried out if possible, are they not? It's not just that 'well, my aunt wanted me to have that thing, but someone else gets it.'
    I always sensed that "will" was stronger than just "desire", but that wasn't where the dictionary and concordance were leading me.
    I too had heard about God's 'permissive' will versus 'perfect' will as well, but I don't really see those terms as such in the Bible. And when you think about it, 'permissive' will in the sense of 'desire' doesn't make sense. It's like saying 'permissive desire' versus 'perfect desire.'
    Anyway, a good topic.

    By Blogger Susan, at 2/03/2006 9:58 AM  

  • Do you ever wonder if when we get to other side, we'll meet the guys who actually penned these words and they'll say "no, no no, that's not what is meant by that word at all." Or something like that.
    When we get there, I hope there's a Jesus museum where we can see every single picture or rendition of Christ ever done.
    Off topic, I know. Please forgive me, but those are the kinds of thoughts that make me smile through discussions like these.

    By Blogger Susan, at 2/03/2006 10:46 AM  

  • Anonymous,

    You sure like to pigeon-hole people without taking the time to understand what they are saying. Well, that's okay by me, I do the same :o). I pigeon hole you as smushing together people's usage of "will". For you, "will" is "will" is "will" as you define it. Which, that's okay be me too. It means in discussions with you, I don't use the term "will" in the other senses because you find those uses of the word "will" unacceptabble.

    Antonio -- I liked your distinctions on "will" and "sovereignty". It's actually not too far from my own usage.

    Shawn -- I had computer problems last night, so I didn't do the promised reading of your comments.

    Rose -- as usual, you are gacious and doing a great job.

    Others, I snuck off from work to do this, I got to go back to work.

    By Blogger Earl, at 2/03/2006 11:17 AM  

  • Shawn,
    you said:
    I've seen on this blog lots of comments on how we think God does in His Sovereignty over evil men, but wondering how the way we thinks is affected by God's Word.
    Read back over my comment, they are all based on the Word and how I apply that to life. Then again, I haven't meditated on the specific scriptures you brought up. I will look at them on my lunch break. Bless you.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/03/2006 11:24 AM  

  • Matthew,
    will you explain the Hindu "avatar"?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/03/2006 11:25 AM  

  • The word 'avatar' is derived from Hinduism. It refers to the incarnation of one of their deities.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 2/03/2006 11:57 AM  

  • Rose,

    Yes I read your statements bout Romans 8 and that was good. When I mean trust God I mean that His name would be glorified in the most devistating circumstances even when we can't view the true results in His Grace to overrule what Evil men do.

    We should probably view what happens with Pharoah's in this present day we should view them sort of like the way God it to Moses even though we can't view the exact purposes in what is happening now. We do know what God has said in the past so we pray to that end.

    This is what we believe to be true of when evil men do evil things --------- we trust the redemptive history aspects--I mean the fact that God is saving for himself a people who adore him willing to see Him as glorious forever praising God and his salvation, the fact that God is glorified in weaknesses and frail saints, the fact that evil people can kill the body but can't destroy the soul, the fact that God will be vindicated on the day of judgement, that God will wipe away every tear from our eyes, their will be a day coming when God destroys all of his enemies, the fact that God will overrule this for good, the way Joseph can say and we can pray "you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.". This is all I'm trying to say is that when we see evil men do things like this.

    Let's pray that we don't run to the tendency to ring up our hands in frustration and not see the true eternal realities without the eyes and ears of faith.

    That's what I want in my life is Trusting of God's eternal purposes being accomplished through the world in the midst of devistating events praying to be seeing the true eternal realities.

    I just mean for all of our own good, it just to me seems to help discussions if we stay in the Word, because these things will continue to sharpen our eyes and ears of faith and trust and reliance upon God for all things rather than our frustration for some one ideas.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 2/03/2006 12:11 PM  

  • Shawn, you said:
    I'd be interested to note your interpretation of the texts I brought up.....

    I assume you mean the Exodus passage.

    But I will harden Pharaoh's heart,

    What does that mean? Does that mean that God caused Pharoah to be rebelious, or that God brought out something that was already in Pharoah's heart ... that God lifted some of His general grace so that Pharoah would be given over to his true, underlying intentions? It is tricksy language, I would like to see the Hebrew meaning of the words for "hardened Pharoah's heart".

    Pharaoh will not listen to you.

    This is Pharoah's doing.

    Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment.

    This Gods's hand of judgement for Pharoah's evil.

    The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.”

    This is God's greater purpose in it all!

    That is my interpretation mixed with questions. Is there anything else, Shawn? I hope you are having a good day.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/03/2006 2:02 PM  

  • Sound thoughts, Rose~.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 2/03/2006 4:14 PM  

  • God loves us enough that He will not treat us like puppets, directing our every thought, move, etc.

    He abhors sin--in fact, cannot be in the presence of sin, and surely is saddened and/or angered when we do sin.

    He calls us out of our human frailty and faults, to a higher plane on which we submit fully to His will for us. And because He's God--completely beyond our ability to comprehend--His ultimate will is destined to be fufilled, even if we do nothing to further it.

    Clear as mud, right?

    By Blogger Jeff H, at 2/03/2006 5:22 PM  

  • In the hebrew the words mean "I will harden Pharoah's heart". That's why they are translated that way. That is also the way Paul understood them.
    "For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills."
    (Rom 9:17-18)

    By Blogger Jeremy Weaver, at 2/03/2006 6:19 PM  

  • Doxoblogist,
    I get that it was God doing it, that is clear, but what does "harden" mean? Does it mean "make rebellious". Or does ir mean "flush out" or does it mean "make angry". That is my question.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/03/2006 6:27 PM  

  • Hi Jeff H.
    Thanks for visiting. Your thoughts are similar to my own. Clear as mud!!!


    WHAT HAPPENED TO ANONYMOUS? COME BACK, ANONYMOUS!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/03/2006 6:28 PM  

  • חזק
    châzaq
    BDB Definition:
    1) to strengthen, prevail, harden, be strong, become strong, be courageous, be firm, grow firm, be resolute, be sore
    1a) (Qal)
    1a1) to be strong, grow strong
    1a1a) to prevail, prevail upon
    1a1b) to be firm, be caught fast, be secure
    1a1c) to press, be urgent
    1a1d) to grow stout, grow rigid, grow hard (bad sense)
    1a1e) to be severe, be grievous
    1a2) to strengthen
    1b) (Piel)
    1b1) to make strong
    1b2) to restore to strength, give strength
    1b3) to strengthen, sustain, encourage
    1b4) to make strong, make bold, encourage
    1b5) to make firm
    1b6) to make rigid, make hard
    1c) (Hiphil)
    1c1) to make strong, strengthen
    1c2) to make firm
    1c3) to display strength
    1c4) to make severe
    1c5) to support
    1c6) to repair
    1c7) to prevail, prevail upon
    1c8) to have or take or keep hold of, retain, hold up, sustain, support
    1c9) to hold, contain
    1d) (Hithpael)
    1d1) to strengthen oneself
    1d2) to put forth strength, use one’s strength
    1d3) to withstand
    1d4) to hold strongly with
    Part of Speech: verb
    A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: a primitive root
    Same Word by TWOT Number: 636

    By Blogger Jeremy Weaver, at 2/03/2006 6:38 PM  

  • The Septuagint uses the same greek word in Exodus 4:21 as Paul uses in Romans 9.

    σκληρύνω
    sklērunō
    Thayer Definition:
    1) to make hard, harden
    2) metaphorically
    2a) to render obstinate, stubborn
    2b) to be hardened
    2c) to become obstinate or stubborn
    Part of Speech: verb
    A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G4642
    Citing in TDNT: 5:1030, 816

    By Blogger Jeremy Weaver, at 2/03/2006 6:44 PM  

  • Ex. 4:21; 9:12; 10:20; 10:27; 11:10; 14:4; 14:8; 14:17 all have the agent of the "hardening" as God. The word used here is "chazaq", which means "strengthen/make firm".

    Pharoah set his heart against God. At the outset God declares “I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go…”. (3:19)This was Pharoah’s disposition from the very beginning before a word was said about God hardening his heart. Pharoah was an evil man who had long abused the people of God. He selfishly desired to protect his own interests by keeping these people as slaves.

    Nevertheless, the time came when the plagues that were judgments upon Egypt were so terrifying that, contrary to what he wanted to do, Pharoah was ready to let Israel go – not from genuine repentance, but out of the abject fear of further plagues. God, however, was not finished judging the gods of Egypt. Therefore, He hardened Pharoah’s heart by giving him the courage to persist in the resistance he really wanted to pursue, and the courage to do so until God had fully executed His judgements upon Egypt’s gods, bringing forth "the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments" (Ex 7:4).

    God strengthened Pharoah’s resolve; God was not causing Pharoah to be an evil man or to do evil actions, but was giving Pharoah the strength and courage, even when the plagues became overwhelmingly terrifying, to stand by his intent not to let Israel go. God emboldened Pharoah’s heart so that he had the stubborn courage to stand even in the face of very frightening miracles.

    Not that anyone is saying this, but, to suggest that God's hardening prevented Pharoah from genuine repentance would be rubbish. God does not want anyone to physically die because of their sin; he wants them to come to repentance (2 Pet 3:9).

    John Piper himself acknowledges “A precise analysis of the verb forms reveals that before the first active assertion of God’s hardening in ex 9:12 there are two assertions that he [Pharoah] hardened his own heart and after 9:12 there are two assertions that he hardened his own heart. What follows from this is that Pharoah’s self-hardening is equally well attested BEFORE and AFTER the first statement that God hardened him” (The Justification of God, 163).

    He does not come to the same conclusion as I do, because he uses his theology to interpret the Scriptures here, yet he acknowledges that twice Pharoah hardened his own heart both before and after "the first active assertion of God's hardening..."

    God did not cause Pharoah to sin (nor has he ever done so for anyone). God arranges circumstances and events in order to use other people's evil actions and intentions to fulfill His will. It is both biblical and reasonable to affirm God's ability and sovereign right to arrange circumstances and to position on the stage of life those players whom He foreknows, so that His will is effected in human affairs; doing so without violating their will or encouraging (much less becoming accesory to) their crimes.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 2/03/2006 7:44 PM  

  • Thank you, Jeremy. Where did you get that? Is that from E-Sword? I have not learned how to use that yet, and I hadn't have a chance to hook up with John, who does know some about the E-Sword.

    I sort of sounds to me from reading that info on the word for "harden" that God was causing Pharoah to be firm in his mind. ... that God was "setting Pharoah's jaw", so to say. God was strengthening Pharoah's resistence.

    Also, I noticed in verse 14 it says:
    Then the LORD said to Moses, "Pharaoh's heart is unyielding; he refuses to let the people go.

    So, it seems God is laying the blame on Pharoah's heart for his stubborness, but at the same time, saying the He, Himself is hardening Pharoah in that stubborness. It is an interesting study.

    I tend to agree with Antonio's comments, don't they make sense to you?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/03/2006 8:09 PM  

  • Antonio,
    Do I see a shadow of a man's face behind that book?
    :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/03/2006 8:10 PM  

  • Antonio,
    Thanks for your comments. They make sense to me.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/03/2006 8:10 PM  

  • Hi Rose,
    What a great bunch of comments.

    Hey Antonio,

    I'd heard Les Feldick refer to the later instances of Pharoah's heart being hardend and I was a little surprised as he did not really elaborate as to why he put the responsibility on Pharoah. Thanks very much for your explanation. Very helpful.

    Doxoblogist,
    Thanks very much for your rounding out of that comment on "will" as well, as well as your humor.

    Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 2/03/2006 10:44 PM  

  • Great explanation, Antonio, and Doxoblogist. I love the research into words. THe same Hebrew word (pronounced "kha-ZAK") means "strong" in contemporary useage as well. (Hoo khazak = He is strong.)
    It always struck me that God would only harden a heart that is so distant from Him that there was no repentance forthcoming.

    By Blogger Susan, at 2/04/2006 8:30 AM  

  • Hi Rose,
    Oops, I think I was imagining something that wasn't there with regards to the humor in my last comment. I'm sure that was a puzzling remark I made. I had some real tough horses on thurs. and fri. and am so worn out that I probably shouldn't be commenting in public when I get tired. Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 2/04/2006 10:03 AM  

  • I think this discussion is helpful because it will keep us trusting and hoping in God through all circumstances.

    The truth is that the Bible teaches that God is perfectly good and Holy, and that man is the author of evil and the Bible teaches that God is in control and is working through all things to accomplish His good pleasure (Job 42:2; Ps. 115:3; Isa. 14:27; 43:13; 46:10; Dan. 4:35; Eph. 1:11).

    I think it was Puritan Thomas Watson once commented that our understanding of the events of our lives on this side of life is like looking at tapestry while it is yet being made.

    Looking at the piece of cloth from underneath, we see all these knots and snarls that seemingly have no pattern – governed by nothing more than uncontrolled and random chance.

    But if we look at the top side of the tapestry, the beautiful work can be seen. When we finally can see the finished work of the weaver we can finally see the project for all its beauty.

    This is my hope and prayer for all of us is that it would increase our faith. That in our prayers we could see God as he declares himself in the bible and we would think and talk like the bible does on this topic.

    I think as our discussion and talking in the body of Christ reflects the bibles teaching on this it will help the body of Christ have more hope. Let's not live like the lost with no hope. We all know we are prone to this hopeless thinking in the middle of evil circumstances.

    Proverbs 19:21 "Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails".

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 2/04/2006 10:47 AM  

  • Another thing I would suggest that has helped me out so much in the last 5 years. I recall not having alot of hope from God before this probably because I wasn't constantly reading through the whole bible and was only mostly reading the new testament sadly before that and look through the events of life with eyes and ears of faith.

    When reading through the bible in your devotions try to recognize these kinds of conversations in the bible.

    The bible is so full of God's sovereignty in the midst of man's evil and other things. I can think of at least one hundred verses I have compiled over the years to help me put my hope in God.

    It seems to help see such a facinating story of God's redemptive history and God's glory and God's purposes being accomplished. I mostly pray and hope we can see that today in our everyday life.

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 2/04/2006 10:57 AM  

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