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

Friday, May 15, 2009

Did Jesus Love Judas? Did Jesus Chose Judas for Good and Holy Purposes?

I received these scriptures and the thoughts following them from Wingfooted, a commenter here. I thought it would be fun to post them and see if anyone has any thoughts on this Judas fellow. It seems Christ chose Him, not for destruction, but for a ministry and he went wayward. On the other hand, we can imagine and infer from certain interpretations of scripture (and some do and teach) that he was chosen to be reprobate and that it was decided beforehand, by God, that Judas would betray Christ and that he would be damned. What say you?



1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. 2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. (Matthew 10:1-4)
Judas was a disciple, called to be an Apostle. He was given power, like the others, to cast out demons, and heal sickness and disease.




7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. (Matthew 10:7-8)
Judas was commanded to preach the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. He was given power to heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out devils.




Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Matthew 19:28)
12 Tribes, 12 Thrones, 12 Apostles. A Throne was provided for Judas, just like the other apostles.




And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, 15 And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils: 16 And Simon he surnamed Peter; 17 And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: 18 And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, 19 And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house. (Mark 3:14-19)
Judas was an ordained preacher, just like the others.



And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. 11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. (Mark 4:10-12)
It was given unto Judas, just like the others, to know the mystery of the kingdom of God.



And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits... (Mark 6:7)
Again we see that Judas was called and given power, just like the rest.



12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent. 13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them. (Mark 6:12-13)
Judas preached that men should repent and cast out devils and healed the sick, just like the others.



And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; 14 Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, 15 Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, 16 And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor. (Luke 6:13-16)
Again, scriptural proof that Judas was a disciple of Christ, chosen to be an apostle.



1 And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,…..9 And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? 10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. (Luke 8:1; 9-10)
Again, Judas, as the others, was given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God.



Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. 2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. (Luke 9:1-2)
Again, Judas was given power and authority over all devils and to cure diseases.



14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. 15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: 16 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. 17 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: 18 For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. 19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. 21 But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. 22 And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! (Luke 22:14-22)
When Jesus said ‘this is my body which is given for you” and “the cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you”, he was speaking to the twelve apostles, which Judas was one. Jesus never singled Judas out, nor exempt him from the atonements. (note from Rose: true! and so how could limited atonement be a valid teaching, I ask??!)



And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. 70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? (John 6:69-70)
Again we see that Judas was chosen to be one of the twelve, but this time he was singled out as being a devil.



Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. (John 15:16)
Though not currently present, this is more proof that Judas and the other apostles were chosen and ordained by Christ to bring forth fruit.



It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. (John 13:1)
The feet of Judas, just like the other Apostles, were washed by the hands of Jesus. Jesus showed Judas, just like the other Apostles, the full extent of his love. Jesus loved Judas to the end, just like the other Apostles.

76 Comments:

  • I guess you could say this is another "guest post" :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 5/15/2009 11:53 AM  

  • Howdy Rose! Long time since I've been around here :)

    To answer the question of the title of this post, I would say that Christ did indeed choose Judas for "good and holy purposes." For some to suggest that Christ chose Judas for other reasons, such as to betray him, is absurd and creates a very odd picture of Jesus. That is, if Jesus chose Judas for the express purpose of betraying Jesus, then clearly the entire drama of Christ's life and death is really nothing more than a divine set up. One would have to wonder why God would go to all the bother of such a manufactured scenario when there would have been so many easier ways of killing Jesus.

    In all honesty, I suspect that much of the "foreknowledge" of Judas' true nature described in the Gospels is probably the result of the Gospel writers' justified disgust with what Judas did, and not a description of an actual contradiction in the foreknowledge and purposes of Christ.

    By Blogger Exist-Dissolve, at 5/15/2009 1:48 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I think that Judas was a genuine disciple whom Jesus loved. He made an unforced choice to betray Jesus. While Jesus foreknew what the choice would be, he and the Father in no way forced it.

    The mistake that Calvinists make here is assuming that if the future is certain it is coerced and we have no choice. I don't believe that is scriptural.

    Speculation here, but think what a fantastic witness Judas could have been - if he had not killed himself after his betrayal. Peter denied Jesus three times, and Jesus forgave him. Paul persecuted Christians and Jesus forgave him. It's consistent with the character of Jesus that he would have forgiven Judas as well.

    By Blogger Pizza Man, at 5/15/2009 2:11 PM  

  • Blessings, Rose.

    Pizza Man,

    I agree with you completely in regards to God’s foreknowledge and man’s actions. God certainly foreknew Judas’ betrayal, but he didn’t “program” him to do so. Ironically, if someone cares to read “The Gospel of Judas”, it does have a Calvinistic twist to it. In Calvin-Land, Judas was an obedient servant of the Lord, carrying out his master’s orders. According to Calvinism, EVERYONE who ever lived keeps the Almighty’s secret decreed will PERFECTLY. Unfortunately, most are damned for doing so.

    Calvinism teaches us that God hates the reprobate, yet while studying Judas, I couldn’t find any evidence of it. It seems to me that if the Father hated Judas, he should have informed his Son, Jesus Christ.

    Your thoughts regarding Judas being forgiven is good too. Notice that while on the cross, the Lord asked the Father in regards to his executioners... “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

    We serve a loving and merciful God.

    wingedfooted1

    By Anonymous wingedfooted1, at 5/16/2009 1:05 AM  

  • Hi Rose:

    I believe that Judas was created to glorify God and to enjoy Him for ever and that he signally failed. He was never saved in the first place, despite each and every mercy and blessing and privilege He received from the hand of a loving God and willingly chose the darkness which he preferred rather than the light and tonight is in hell, as the son of perdition, unpardoned, unforgiven and lost forever.

    To answer the two questions which head this post:

    My answer then is "yes" on both accounts because:

    1) God so loved the world which is all mankind without exception. (John 3:16)

    2) All that Jesus does is for good and holy purpose. He in whom was no sin cannot do anything for any other purpose than that which is good and holy.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 5/16/2009 4:38 AM  

  • ED,
    That is interesting what you say about the disgust of the Gospel writers. Very interesting. Thanks for visiting! Long time no see.

    Hello there, Pizza man,
    How thought provoking the scenario that you bring up: 'what if Judas repented?' Interesting to think upon.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 5/18/2009 11:32 AM  

  • Hi wingfooted,
    It seems from Colin's response that he would disagree with Calvinism then on the teaching you refer to: "Calvinism teaches us that God hates the reprobate"It's always good to see a Calvinist disagree with Calvinism! :) :) :)

    Ho Colin :) :)
    I am glad your view of "world" in John 3:16 is all mankind without exception. How refreshing. That is what the "obvious meaning" seems to be. :)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 5/18/2009 11:35 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    If I were you, I wouldn’t rush into accepting Wingfooted’s use of the word “Calvinism” as if his statements re: Calvinism were all embracing and true. There are many strands to Calvinism and many degrees. It is positively misleading therefore to paint us all with the one brush. Yet it is easily remedied by simply writing: “Some, but not all…”

    As for John 3:16, Calvin himself (along with others) saw the obvious as his commentary makes clear: “Both points are distinctly stated to us: namely, that faith in Christ brings life to all, and that Christ brought life, because the Heavenly Father loves the human race, and wishes that they should not perish.” Again his comments on Psalm 145:9 show that Calvin believed that God’s goodness extended to thr whole world: ”The truth here stated is of wider application than the former, for the declaration of David is to the effect, that not only does God, with fatherly indulgence and clemency, forgive sin, but is good to all without discrimination, as he makes his sun to rise upon the good and upon the wicked. Forgiveness of sin is a treasure from which the wicked are excluded, but their sin and depravity does not prevent God from showering down his goodness upon them, which they appropriate without being at all sensible of it.”

    The matter of God hating the reprobate is a very deep one. It is, of course, taught in Romans 9:13 - no matter how you interpret “Esau” i.e. either as the individual or as a people. Can God love and hate at the same time? The problem is not entirely a Calvinistic one. Any hatred which God has towards a sinner is surely judicial i.e. on account of unforgiven sin. I tend to see it that God as Judge hates the reprobate (who willingly chooses to remain in his sin) yet as Creator and as offered Saviour yet loves him as witnessed by the many mercies He sends his direction. Yet, while God’s judicial hatred is therefore conditional (i.e. because of rejected mercy) I do not see His love being conditional i.e. because of our faithful acceptance. I see His love as unconditional and the cause of my acceptance. IOW: He does not love me because I first loved Him, but I love Him because He first loved me (1 John 4:19)

    I do not believe that any one either from within or without the Calvinistic camp can show me from the Bible where I err in this matter. But I do stand to be corrected if I am wrong.

    Salvation is all of grace. Damnation is all of sin

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 5/18/2009 12:13 PM  

  • Blessings, Colin.

    There is nothing misleading in my understanding/statements regarding Calvinism. I merely stated that Calvinism, and that school of thought only (to my knowledge), teaches us that God does indeed hate most of mankind (the reprobate). For instance, only Calvinism teaches us “limited atonement”, but that doesn’t mean all Calvinists embrace that unbiblical notion. I have many Calvinist friends, of the 4 point strand/degree, that reject it, but that doesn’t change it as a Calvinistic doctrine.

    You said, “....who willingly choose to remain in sin.”

    Now, this IS misleading. While a non-Calvinist agrees completely that the Lost “willingly choose” to reject treatment, Calvinism teaches us that they “willing choose” to remain in sin, only because God secretly ordain that they would. Little Johnny made this very clear....

    “....that there is no random power, or agency, or motion in the creatures, who are so governed by the secret counsel of God, that nothing happens but what he has knowingly and willingly decreed.”

    “The decree, I admit, is, dreadful; and yet it is impossible to deny that God foreknow what the end of man was to be before he made him, and foreknew, because he had so ordained by his decree.”

    “I say that it is by the ordination and will of God that Adam fell. God wanted man to fall. Man is blinded by the will and the command of God.”

    As quoted before, Calvinist Robert Morey stated “He hated the reprobate and planned their sin and damnation.”

    Edwin Palmer stated “God is in back of everything. He DECIDES and CAUSES all things to happen that do happen.”

    So, again, we see that the Lost keep the hidden and secret decrees of God perfectly, but are then damned for doing so.

    You said “salvation is all of grace. Damnation is all of sin.”

    But, again, “Calvinism” teaches us that both GRACE and SIN are all of God.

    R.C. Sproul Jr said “God desired for man to fall into sin. I am not accusing God of sinning: I AM SUGGESTING THAT GOD CREATED SIN.”

    In another blog discussion, I asked one Calvinist “When a homosexual tells me ‘God made me this way’, is he speaking the truth?”

    His response?

    “If God did not make them this way, who did? Is there some other creator-being out there?”

    So, Calvinism teaches us that God is secretly behind every homosexual act, same sex marriage, murder, rape, pornographic film, and abortion, because “HE DECIDES AND CAUSES ALL THINGS TO HAPPEN THAT DO HAPPEN.” Only in the theology of “Calvinism” can mankind chain the problem of sin to the ankle of God.

    Blessings, Rose.

    In regards to John 3:16-17, this is how it appears in scripture...

    “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

    Now here is one Calvinist that tells us how we should interpret the use of the word “world” in these verses....

    “For God so loved the world (the realm of mankind), that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world (the physical earth) to condemn the world (the elect only); but that the world (the elect only) through him might be saved.”

    Talk about misleading.....

    He who has ears, let him hear.

    wingedfooted1

    By Anonymous wingedfooted1, at 5/18/2009 2:14 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    When God "so loved the world", was that a point in time or an ongoing love? And did God love the world before the point that He sent His son?

    Has God ever hated any person (human)?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at 5/18/2009 2:22 PM  

  • Wingfooted:

    As I have said, there are different kinds of Calvinists which you effectively prove by bringing in quotes which (at first blush) seem to contradict what I write.

    The issue of sin being in the world is certainly not an exclusively Calvinistic one. Both Calvinists and non Calvinists agree that God could have prevented it from happening but chose freely to bring about circumstances that, at the very least, gave it the possibility of existence. Did God not know this could happen? If not, he is a pretty small god indeed. Did He not know it would happen? If not, he is still a pretty small god, at best somewhat naive. Of course, He knew that it could and indeed would happen. And He freely let it go ahead because such did not contradict the purposes that He has for the world that he created. So we are both in the one boat here – only the attempts of many non Calvinists, to load the problem unto the Calvinists do not wash.

    When it comes to the sins of men – Sodomites or otherwise – I am content to keep with the emphasis of Scripture i.e. the responsibility of man. When all is said and done, men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. They willingly sin. They must pay the high price thereof. They do and God’s justice is therefore glorified in their damnation.

    This is basic Evangelical Christianity to which both Calvinists and non Calvinists heartily assent.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 5/18/2009 2:44 PM  

  • Blessings, Colin.

    You said “The issue of sin being in the world is certainly not an exclusively Calvinistic one.”

    However, God being the cause of all the sin and evil in the world is an exclusively Calvinistic one. It is obvious from scripture that God knows “all things”. If he didn’t, then he wouldn’t be “all knowing”. But there is a huge difference between foreknowledge and predestination. God’s foreknowledge does not make things happen, but rather that he knows what will happen. God is not at the mercy of time (in fact, he created time). He sees the future as plainly as he sees the past. But Calvin mistakenly believed and taught, that God “foreknew, because he had so ordained by his decree”.

    God certainly foreknew that he was creating billions upon billions of little egomaniacs that would rebel against him. However, out of love he also predetermined to provide a Saviour, “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”.

    But to better understand your strand/degree of Calvinism, I, again, quote the following from Palmer....

    “He (God) decides and causes all things to happen that do happen.”

    Do you agree? Yes or No. Please feel free to elaborate.

    wingedfooted1

    By Anonymous wingedfooted1, at 5/18/2009 10:56 PM  

  • Good morning Rose/Wingfooted1

    Wingfooted1:

    Re: Palmer’s statement, I can hardly decide here whether to give a ”qualified yes” or a qualified ”qualified no” I think I would need to see the whole drift of what he is saying rather than be given one isolated sentence as if it were the be all and end all of what he wrote.

    I would run with the ”qualified yes” re: that God decides all things to happen that do happen. He clearly allows them to happen when it is obvious that He often steps in to prevent other planned things (by men) from taking place. For example, He allowed Herod to slaughter the Innocents in Matthew 2 but took active steps to prevent him from slaying the infant Jesus which was the reason why Herod went on the rampage in the first place. Could God have prevented the slaughter of all the others? Of course, He could, but He allowed it to happen.

    Why did he allow this (and other such sinful things) to happen? Answer: Because He has a purpose in these things. He is not a purposeless God, is He? We agree (I assume)that He is not. Furthermore, whatever His purposes are, they are totally consistent with His attributes of holiness and justice etc., We might not understand the “whys and wherefores” of these things, but they are there to be admired nevertheless.

    This being so i.e. that these things that happen do so according to the purposes of God, then we must consider the thought that He Himself causes of such things. At this point, I would be happier giving a “qualified no” because the stand alone statement (assuming that it accurately reflects the overall position and has not been snatched out of context to make some cheap point or other) does not reflect the Bible’s emphasis on the responsibility of man. Both God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility need to be simultaneously maintained otherwise the proverbial boat will capsize. Therefore when I see God permitting men to sin e.g. Herod butchering the Innocents contrary to Exodus 20 which declares, ”Thou shalt not kill then I immediately indict the wickedness of man and refuse him a hiding place.

    God can and does use wicked men in their wickedness to further His own purposes. Joseph’s brethren meant his captivity for wickedness – an aim they readily confessed to. God took the very same incident and meant it for good (Genesis 50:20) yet we indict the brethren and praise the Lord. Did this incident happen by chance or was it planned and purposed of God? The incident is one and the same incident. Only God used it in righteousness and man in sin.

    At the risk of prolonging this response too long, it is worth pointing out that Calvinism does not teach that men are forced to sin. Hence Calvin rightly observed on Genesis 50:20

    This truly must be generally agreed, that nothing is done without his will; because he both governs the counsels of men, and sways their wills and turns their efforts at his pleasure, and regulates all events: but if men undertake anything right and just, he so actuates and moves them inwardly by his Spirit, that whatever is good in them, may justly be said to be received from him: but if Satan and ungodly men rage, he acts by their hands in such an inexpressible manner, that the wickedness of the deed belongs to them, and the blame of it is imputed to them. For they are not induced to sin, as the faithful are to act aright, by the impulse of the Spirit, but they are the authors of their own evil, and follow Satan as their leader. Thus we see that the justice of God shines brightly in the midst of the darkness of our iniquity. For as God is never without a just cause for his actions, so men are held in the chains of guilt by their own perverse will. (Emphasis mine)

    You may not agree with this situation, but it is only fair to all that you state, at least somewhere in your comments, that Calvinists hold men to be totally responsible for their deeds and that God Himself can use wicked deeds without being part to their wickedness. Failure to do that leaves you the author of a caricature which is but easily exposed. If Palmer has written anything to that end, you are really are duty bound to declare it if it is within your knowledge.

    Sorry this post is so long,

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 5/19/2009 4:49 AM  

  • I think one of the issues that obfuscates understanding of the relationship between human acts and God's "knowledge" of them is that we all too easily impose linear understandings of 'time' to the nature of God's being.

    For example, the notion of "foreknowledge" often becomes a contentious term in theological systems. In actuality, however, the entire concept of "foreknowledge" is a misnomer. If God is not bound, or is "other-than" that which is subject to space/time, then the categories of "fore-" and "-post" lose any meaningful content. One can only "foreknow" something if there is a possibility of the object of knowledge coming after (in a linear, space/time sense) lack of knowledge of it. As God's existence is not influenced by, nor dependent upon these categories, then it is somewhat nonsensical to argue about whether or not God "foreknows" that which cannot possibly be understood as "before" or "after" any experiences that God might have.

    Moreover, the concept of "knowledge" is a bit undefined anyway. For example, from the perspective of human epistemology, "knowledge" presupposes a prior "lack" of knowledge (well, in most systems--Kant might disagree on some of this...). That is, in order to have "knowledge", you must "learn" which requires a prior state of non-knowledge.

    If we impose this same paradigm on God, we must oddly assert that in order for God to have "foreknowledge", not only must God's experience being contingently understood in relation to the actuality of the object in space/time, but moreover we must suggest that the "foreknowledge" of this contingent event, in fact, proceeds from a prior "non-foreknowledge" of the same contingent event.

    Obviously, this is not an acceptable paradigm for understanding divine epistemology. If this is true, however, we must suspend such propositional assertions about God's "knowledge" and stop trying to rationalize how God can "know" something before something happens.

    The same considerations, of course, can be applied to the notion of causality. I won't go into the details of this because the above can be extrapolated easily enough.

    By Blogger Exist-Dissolve, at 5/19/2009 10:41 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I don't have more to add to your post, but I wanted to invite you to my blog (http://threeandahalfmiles.blogspot.com/) to help me explore the idea of "Evangelism".

    Sorry to post this in this thread, but wasn't sure how else to let you know. Emailing you seemed intrusive.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at 5/19/2009 12:33 PM  

  • Blessings, Colin.

    You said “He clearly allows them to happen when it is obvious that He often steps in to prevent other planned things (by men) from taking place.”

    I agree completely that God allows man to sin. But there is a huge chasm between “allowing/permitting” and “doing”. Sadly, Calvin contradicts himself, as he does many times, with the quote you provided above with the following.....

    “Hence a distinction has been invented between doing and permitting because to many it seemed altogether inexplicable how Satan and all the wicked are so under the hand and authority of God, THAT HE DIRECTS THEIR MALICE TO WHATEVER END HE PLEASES........ That men do NOTHING SAVE AT THE SECRET INSTIGATION OF GOD, and do not discuss and deliberate on any thing but what he has previously decreed with himself and brings to pass by HIS SECRET DIRECTION...... I say that it is by the ORDINATION AND WILL OF GOD that Adam fell (sinned). God wanted man to fall (sin). Man is blinded by the will and the command of God”.

    It is one thing to say that the sins of man are according to the “determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God” and something totally different to say that God caused the hatred and evil actions of those who did it. For sure, there are biblical situations where God, to fulfill his will, uses man’s evil desires and deeds, but that does not suggest or imply that God causes men to sin, nor does it mean that he is the instigator of every evil and wicked thought and deed, as Calvinism teaches.

    You said “Calvinists hold men to be totally responsible for their deeds and that God Himself can use wicked deeds without being part to their wickedness.”

    Agreed. I have heard Calvinists say this many times, but then I read Calvinists say.....

    “It is certain that God is the first cause of obduration. Reprobates are held so fast under God's almighty decree, that they can do nothing but sin...”

    “God inclines and forces the wills of wicked men into great sins.”

    “God has predestined whomever he saw fit, not only to damnation, but also to the causes of it...The decree of God cannot be excluded from the cause of man's corruption.”

    While I hope there are Calvinists out there that shiver at these remarks, you can at least understand (or at least should be able to understand) my hesitancy to take their intent at face value. Another example, the Westminster Confession clearly states...

    “God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin.”

    Webster’s defines “author” as “a person who makes or originates something; creator; instigator”.

    Yet Johnny says “That men do nothing save at the secret INSTIGATION of God.”

    Even some Calvinists have been quoted saying “God CREATED sin.”

    Contradictions....contradictions.

    In Him,

    wingedfooted1

    By Anonymous wingedfooted1, at 5/19/2009 9:07 PM  

  • Good morning Rose/Wingfooted1:

    Wingfooted1:
    [Rose, I have a question for you below this response to Wingfooted!]

    I can only let the others speak for themselves. Again, I am assuming (naively or otherwise) that you have given full quotes. A few references would not go astray – sometimes what are branded as “contradictions” can be reconciled rather than used as a stick to beat other Christians with. Having said that, however, I do not always have the capacity (time or resources) to follow them all up.

    For my part, I do not believe that God is the author of sin, but I do acknowledge (as we all must surely do) that He created the circumstances for sin to enter into the world. Furthermore, I believe that He did so, knowing full well that sin would follow i.e. that Adam would fall. And again, I believe that the fall of man came within the eternal purposes that God had in mind and which He is still working out. To oppose these doctrinal observances would entail us saying:

    A/ God did not create the circumstances for sin to enter into the world – some outside force, obviously more powerful than God, is responsible. God in Genesis 1 is just the agent rather than the Supreme Being.
    B/ God was taken by surprise when Adam sinned - a denial of His omniscience. What else lies in store for God to discover?
    C/ God’s eternal purpose was effectively smashed to smithereens and that at the very beginning of human history, from which it has never yet recovered and never will

    None of these alternative propositions are in any way attractive in the long term. This leaves us saying then that if the Fall of Man came within the eternal purpose of God, then He purposed the Fall because that is the logical outcome, especially seeing that it lay within the power of God to prevent it. The issue is greater than Calvinism here. Ultimately the issue lies between Biblical Theism and Atheism.

    Pastorally and Evangelistically, all blame for sin must be put on the perpetrator who acts freely (i.e. according to the dictates and desires of his wicked heart) in the matter rather than on God who has always and will always hate and loathe sin. Having done that, the sinner must be urged to seek God for pardon for His crimes and be assured that he will find it at the Cross.

    Rose: To go back to your introduction: Do you believe that Judas, the son of perdition ( a reference, noticably and strangely missing from all the ones given above) is in Heaven?

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 5/20/2009 4:26 AM  

  • For my part, I do not believe that God is the author of sin, but I do acknowledge (as we all must surely do) that He created the circumstances for sin to enter into the world. Furthermore, I believe that He did so, knowing full well that sin would follow i.e. that Adam would fall. And again, I believe that the fall of man came within the eternal purposes that God had in mind and which He is still working out.But do you not see the implications of this statement? It's one thing to say that this "creating of the circumstances for sin" was part of the eternal "purposes" of God. But we must actually go farther, to a much more unpalatable conclusion. After all, if that which God wills is necessarily essential with that which God is, in divine being, then we must concomitantly conclude that that which God wills is that which God desires. In other words, if God "created the circumstances" in which sin could arise, we must also assert that the arrival of sin was not simply something that God allowed or that God somehow tangentially provided for, but more shockingly that it was something that God desired, from the depths of the eternal being. After all, how can God will that which God does not desire? And moreover, how can God desire that which is not fundamentally essential with and core to that which God is in God's eternal being. So then, if the "creating of the circumstances for sin" is part of God's "holy purposes," we must unalterably conclude that sin is fundamentally a part of who God is, for who could God will (or desire from all of eternity) that which is not essential with God that which God is? Not a great conclusion, IMO...

    A/ God did not create the circumstances for sin to enter into the world – some outside force, obviously more powerful than God, is responsible. God in Genesis 1 is just the agent rather than the Supreme Being.I see no philosophically compelling reason to assume that the origin of sin must come from EITHER God or something GREATER than God. Sin, after all, is not an ontological category of being, but is rather the negation of God, being understood only as it is absence of that which God is. So on a very fundamental level, sin could NOT possibly arise from God, nor from the willing-ness of God, for to will sin would be for God to anti-will Godself, a gross self-negation of the divine being.

    B/ God was taken by surprise when Adam sinned - a denial of His omniscience. What else lies in store for God to discover?How exactly, in your scenario, is God taken by surprise? And how, exactly, are you defining "omniscience?" If sin is understood only in that it is the denial or absence or negation of the "good" (that which God is), then must we extend the definition of omniscience to assert that God has full knowledge of the self-negation of Godself? In order to maintain such a definition, you would have to conclude that God's knowledge exists to extent of God knowing what it is like for God to not exist, which is patently absurd.

    More in next comment...

    By Blogger Exist-Dissolve, at 5/20/2009 6:37 AM  

  • C/ God’s eternal purpose was effectively smashed to smithereens and that at the very beginning of human history, from which it has never yet recovered and never willHow is God's eternal purpose defeated in your scenario? Your conclusion assumes that in order for God to be God, God must invariably dictate ALL that occurs. However, even your own conclusion is not consistent, for if sin (as mentioned above) is understood only as a negation of that which is God, is has no actual existence whereby it might be included in the "ALL" over which God is assumed to have control. This of course assumes that the nature of Godhood is dependent on controlling "ALL", which has not been established. Nonetheless, even within your own scenario there is no need for such a conclusion as that which you have outlined above.

    Pastorally and Evangelistically, all blame for sin must be put on the perpetrator who acts freely (i.e. according to the dictates and desires of his wicked heart) in the matter rather than on God who has always and will always hate and loathe sin. Having done that, the sinner must be urged to seek God for pardon for His crimes and be assured that he will find it at the Cross.If God has indeed, out of the depths of the being and holy desires of the divinity purposed from all of eternity that sin should ravage the world so fulfill some neurotic divine "purpose," then the "pastoral and evangelical" approach that you propose is actually the grossest form of deception. If the primal source of sin is the over-power of God, then the only honest thing to do would be to absolve people of their responsibility of it and attempt to illuminate to them the truth about this "good" God and how this same God has, from all of eternity, desire that they exist in rebellion against God. To do any other would be the gravest lie possible, an unnecessary burden of guilt when the blame should really be placed in the one who has the over-power.

    By Blogger Exist-Dissolve, at 5/20/2009 6:37 AM  

  • Exist-Dissolve:

    Does God just amble along purposelessly with hardly a thought in the world - so to speak?

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 5/20/2009 6:40 AM  

  • Does God just amble along purposelessly with hardly a thought in the world - so to speak?No, but I do not suspect that God has, from all of eternity, contemplated the non-existence of Godself either...

    By Blogger Exist-Dissolve, at 5/20/2009 8:17 AM  

  • the non-existence of Godself ?

    Help!

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 5/20/2009 8:46 AM  

  • Help!What I mean is this:

    If sin is defined not as something with ontological substance (e.g., a "thing"), but is rather properly understood as the negation of that which is good...

    ...then the notion that God has from all of eternity contemplated--according to God's good purposes and eternal will--the "circumstances leading to sin", then one must naturally conclude that God has from eternity contemplated that which is the negation of God's self-existence, e.g., non-being.

    By Blogger Exist-Dissolve, at 5/20/2009 9:23 AM  

  • Exist-Dissolve

    Without getting into some deep philosophical discussion re: what sin is - surely you agree with us that it is evidences itself in actual sins i.e. physical acts of murder, theft, adultery etc.,

    I think that this is the scope of what we are talking about here, rather some philiosphical definition. Where the rubber meets the road rather than the Ivory that adorns the walls...

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 5/20/2009 9:27 AM  

  • Wait,
    I think what exist~dissolve is saying warrrants some thought and consideration on our part, Colin. :~)

    Isn't he describing sin in a helpful way? Doing the opposite of God's nature? I agree with him. That is actually why I have always thought that people would not be able to enter His presence with the death that comes form sin because they are the very opposite of Him, like He is a fire and we are dry kindling, being sinful (like I say in my "Good News" post in the sidebar).

    If we can get our minds away from defining sin the wrong way, this whole conundrum we sometimes face with these discussions could take a less perplexing form. :~)

    And it might help with the kinds of questions you expressed in the upcoming guest post of yours that I am soon to post.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 5/20/2009 9:45 AM  

  • Ten Cent,
    Thanks for visiting.
    You sure are full of questions. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 5/20/2009 9:46 AM  

  • I just love the word "obfuscates"

    I am going to try and just use that sometime today in conversation.

    hahahehe

    By Blogger Rose~, at 5/20/2009 9:47 AM  

  • Without getting into some deep philosophical discussion re: what sin is - surely you agree with us that it is evidences itself in actual sins i.e. physical acts of murder, theft, adultery etc.,

    I think that this is the scope of what we are talking about here, rather some philiosphical definition. Where the rubber meets the road rather than the Ivory that adorns the walls...
    I couldn't disagree more. How we philosophically cast the nature of "sin" has a direct impact not only on how we define "actual sins", but moreover affects every aspect of theological inquiry.

    For example, if the nature of "sin" is reduced to "actions", such a definition has severe implications for one's view of hell and atonement. Sin defined as "actions" might lead to a punitive view of hell wherein God gets God's pound of flesh for the "things" that humans did to make God angry. Atonement, in this scenario, is viewed as the overcoming not of the nature of sin as rebellion and ostricization from God, but rather as a means whereby God is able to convince Godself to transfer the punitive damage that was directed towards humans back onto Godself.

    From another perspective (such as the one I've offered), much different conclusions are required. For example, if sin is understood not as "something" but rather as the lack or negation of that which is (e.g., God's goodness), then as Rose points out eternal separation from God is not a punitive state of being, but rather a relatioal one. That is, humans are separated from God not because God is angry with them or desires to punish them, but rather because the nature of sinful humanity, marked by negation and un-becoming, cannot co-exist with that which and who ultimately is, God is God's self-existence. Atonement in such a schema, then, has little to do with punishment and retribution, and a whole lot more to do with God rescuing humanity from the dissolution into which they are hurtling rapidly by virtue of their rebellion and anti-thesizing of the goodness of God.

    These are but a few breif examples...the discussion could obviously be explored ad naseaum, with similar results. The point, of course, is that it is precisely the philosophical underpinnings of one's definition of sin that is of great importance, for it above all things is what defines where and how the rubber meets the road, and whether it is a road at all.

    By Blogger Exist-Dissolve, at 5/20/2009 9:58 AM  

  • Exist-dissolve:

    Simple question first: Do you believe that the wicked dead are eternally separated from God's presence, and presently and consciously enduring eternal punishment?Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 5/20/2009 10:06 AM  

  • Do you believe that the wicked dead are eternally separated from God's presence, and presently and consciously enduring eternal punishment?

    Well, that depends. I'm not entirely sure what "presently" has to do with the question.

    Also, I would have to question further into how you are defining "punishment".

    By Blogger Exist-Dissolve, at 5/20/2009 10:32 AM  

  • Exist-Dissolve,

    Thanks for your replies.

    I am currently harbouring a suspicion here. Hopefully you can disspossess me of it, but it is there nevertheless until actually removed.

    I suspect that you do not believe in the conscious punishment i.e. a situation where even now the smoke of the torment of the wicked dead ascends for ever" because they are being punished by God for their sins and will continue tio be without any respite for all eternity. IOW: The events described in Luke 16:19-31 are fundamentally being played out (to understate the case) right now, as I type and you read, for all who have died without saving faith in Jesus Christ.

    Rose: Do you that this is the case? I certainly do.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 5/20/2009 10:41 AM  

  • Colin,
    Why be suspicious?

    OK, now help me. I know the scripture says that the smoke of their torment rises up... and so how could I argue with that? While I think it is punishment in the sense that they are receiving what they got because they didn't "get right" with the Creator (whose name is blessed forever amen) but is it that Creator is "punishing them" because he is mad at them... ala J. Edwards? Refresh my memory with a Bible passage or two, please, that upholds that picture. thanks.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 5/20/2009 11:09 AM  

  • You're suspicious that ED believes in cessation of existence, not eternal separation from God. aha

    By Blogger Rose~, at 5/20/2009 11:09 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Just giving honest expression of a haunch.

    John 3:36 where the wrath of God abides on the unbeliever.

    Revelation 6:16-17 The wrath of the Lamb when none can stand.

    And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power... (2 Thessalonians 2:7-9)Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 5/20/2009 11:23 AM  

  • Thank you, Colin.

    I have a "hunch" about those passages that you quote.

    I want to see what ED says about them.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 5/20/2009 11:26 AM  

  • We live in interesting days, Rose!

    I see I need a concordance as well as a dictionary - it should read 2Thessalonians 1:7-9.

    Go on! Give us your thoughts independently of ED. Maybe he has dissolved and therefore no longer exists :o)

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 5/20/2009 11:32 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Yes, I am full of questions. And close to empty on answers.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at 5/20/2009 12:14 PM  

  • @Colin--

    Okay, there's several point here, and I'll probably have to break this into several sections.

    Let me start by grouping these passages into thematic categories.

    First, we have John 3:36 which talks about the "wrath of God" abiding on those who do not believe, and Rev. 6:16 which talks about the "wrath of the Lamb." To begin, I really see no internal consitency between these two conceptions of wrath, and I think this is because the term "wrath" is used pretty loosely throughout the New Testament. In some cases, it is certainly possible to construe the word to what is probably its popular theological meaning--that is, divine punishment, retribution, etc. However, if you get into the Pauline use of the wrath, a potentially different picture emerges. True, there may be undertones of this popular meaning. However, in Paul's more careful analysis, wrath comes to take on a richer meaning which goes beyond the crude conception of retribution and takes on a more cosmic nature.

    In this understanding, the "wrath of God" is not so much understood as the active movement of God against sin, but rather an allowing of the disasterous consequences of sinfulness and dissolution to accrue to those who rebel against God.

    In Romans 1, God's wrath is characterized by the writer as a "giving over" to shameful lusts, depraved minds, etc.

    In Romans 4, the writer goes on to develop the idea that it is law, not the anger of God, that brings wrath--here understood as death, the un-becoming of which I spoke earlier.

    And later in Ephesians 2, the writer speaks about humans being objects of wrath because of their rebellion against God. However, this "wrath" is not here caharacterized as divine punishment, but rather as those who are dead and unbecoming, saved not by escaping divine punishment but by being raised to newnewss of life with Christ.

    Now of course, an equal number of verses could be trotted out to attempt to contradict this, and that is fine. My point here, really, is that in the definition of divine "wrath", there is a rich variety of meanings in the New Testament, and it cannot be delimited to flatly equate to "punishment."

    By Blogger Exist-Dissolve, at 5/20/2009 8:24 PM  

  • This leads me, naturally, into the second section of verses. The others you mentioned in defense of a punitive understanding of hell. Certainly, there is some indication that such a meaning may have been on the various writer's minds when they composed their lines. The problem, of course, is both textual and philosophical.

    First the textual.

    Between the Lukan text you mentioned, the Pauline text from 2 Thessalonians, and the apocalyptic vision of Revelations, an honest reading comes away with about 2 or 3 different visions of hell, as well as of the nature of divine punishment within them.

    In Luke, the rich man is in torment in flames, divided--somehow--from the presence of God of the saints. There is no indication that any active punishment is occurring, only that the man is suffering because of his location.

    In the Pauline text, Christ is pictured at least as the instigator of punishment, but in actuality the punishment is spoken of as "everlasting destruction," and no clear indication is made as to the source of this destruction (whether divine or the result of sinfulness).

    And finally in the apocalyptic text, the wicked are spoken of being tormented (though perhaps not "punished"...) with burning sulfur "in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb." However, in the other passages, both depictions of "punishment" are clearly described as occurring "away" from God.

    So clearly there is a challenge here. If a consistent case is to be made for understanding "hell" as the place of divine punishment, it will be difficult to accurately define from proof texts alone, as clearly shown above. This point is made even more difficult in that of the 3 texts cited, 2 of them are understood by most scholars as allegorical texts. While I fully acknowledge that theological reasoning can--and should--find some basis in allegory, the images break too easily when stretched very far.

    Ok, now the philosophical problem.

    First, let me restate the definition of sin. Sin is not a "thing" that has substance and ontology, as if it can be understood along the same lines as a "rock" or an "idea" or even "God." Quite to the contrary, a proper definition of sin can only be arrived insofar as sin is understood as the negation of that which God is (good).

    With this in mind, we run into a serious problem when conceiving of hell as a place where sinners are actively punished by God. Why? Well, if sin is only meaningful insofaras it is understood as the negation of that which God is; and hell is understood as a place where sinfulness is punished; then we must conclude that for all of eternity God's existence will be contingently determined and defined by that which is the anti-thesis of God.

    In other words, if hell is punishment of that which is sinful, then sin--as the negation of that which is God--has eternal existence concomitant with that of God in that God is obligated--per the the assumed need for divine punishment of sin--to eternally punish (and therefore sustain) that which is ultimately the negation of Godhead. Rather than being victorious over that which is anti-thetical to God's being, God would in fact be forever enslaved by God's own need to punish that which is the antithesis of Godself, and would eternally be locked in a cycle of self-negating punishment. In such a scenario, there can be no justice or reconciliation of all things, because for all of eternity God will be contending with that which is fundamentally the negation of divinity.

    By Blogger Exist-Dissolve, at 5/20/2009 8:25 PM  

  • Blessings, Colin.

    It is not my intent, nor my desire, to “beat other Christians with a stick” as you put it. However, it is my intent, and desire, to expose any theology, or school of thought, that does a character assassination on my Lord and Saviour.

    You said “all blame for sin must be put on the perpetrator who acts freely”.

    But, again, Calvinism teaches us that no one “acts freely”. I repeat Calvin himself, again.......

    “I say that it is by the ORDINATION AND WILL OF GOD that Adam fell (sinned).”

    So again, according to Johnny, Adam did not “act freely” when he sinned, but it was by the direct ordination and will of God. One gets the feeling that if God hadn’t ordained it, and willed it, Adam would not have fallen, and all of mankind thereafter. In Calvin’s own words, God instigated (to cause by inciting) Adam’s fall (sin).

    wingedfooted1

    By Anonymous wingedfooted1, at 5/20/2009 11:18 PM  

  • Exist-Dissolve,

    You said......

    “If God has indeed, out of the depths of the being and holy desires of the divinity purposed from all of eternity that sin should ravage the world so fulfill some neurotic divine "purpose," then the "pastoral and evangelical" approach that you propose is actually the grossest form of deception. If the primal source of sin is the over-power of God, then the only honest thing to do would be to absolve people of their responsibility of it and attempt to illuminate to them the truth about this "good" God and how this same God has, from all of eternity, desire that they exist in rebellion against God. To do any other would be the gravest lie possible, an unnecessary burden of guilt when the blame should really be placed in the one who has the over-power.”

    Good stuff. If, indeed, God is the “source of all evil” as Calvinism suggests, then how ironic for our Lord and Saviour to appear on a “white horse” in the book of Revelation.

    wingedfooted1

    By Anonymous wingedfooted1, at 5/20/2009 11:36 PM  

  • Good morning Rose/ED/Wingfooted1

    ED: I'll try and get back to you later on.

    WF1:I totally reject your charge that Calvinism does a character assassination on our Lord and Saviour. I find your charge very odious.

    Your charges are founded on error –either your inability or unwillingness to state Calvinism's case properly. For example, you err when you state that Calvinism “ teaches us that no one acts freely” Mr Calvin (to give him his respectful title) taught that when men and bring themselves into guilt condemnation: (I quote) “Although all rush to evil yet they are not impelled by any extrinsic force but by the direct inclination of their own hearts; and lastly, they sin not otherwise than voluntary.” (Comments on Genesis 8:22)Again, writing in the Institutes (3:23:8) he wrote (Again I quote and reference these things) ”Accordingly we should contemplate the evident cause of condemnation in the corrupt nature of humanity – which is closer to us – rather than seek a hidden and utterly incomprehensible cause in God’s predestination.” Again, the WCF (which I think actually forms a better place from which to defend the Reformed Faith) states in its section entitled “Free Will” (That’s right: Free Will) and in its very first keynote paragraph: “God hath endued the will of man with that natural liberty, that is neither forced, nor by any absolute necessity of nature determined to good or evil.” (9:1)

    So your charges, founded on your continual error, are somewhat unjust and frankly, wearisome. I would rather defend Calvinism on this matter than attack.

    Perhaps you could give us your own views on this matter of sin in the world. It is easy just to snipe at others who are trying to tackle these great questions. Assuming that you agree with me that God could have prevented sin from entering into the world or had it arranged that Adam would represent himself alone and not his succeeding race, was God’s purpose frustrated (indeed utterly destroyed) at the very beginning of history when Adam partook of the forbidden fruit? Same leeway which you gave me earlier: Yes or No. Please feel free to elaborate.Regards,

    P/s Was there any reason why the reference to Judas being the son of perdition and lost (John 17:12) was omitted from your references. Just curious, but more curious over your response to the purpose of God blown apart (or otherwise) when Adam partook of the fruit.

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 5/21/2009 4:15 AM  

  • ED:

    Not bad for "later on" - before I left the computer, I ran my eye over your posts again.

    First thoughts: If the thought of punishing the wicked in hell for all eternity denies (or whatever) the Godself, why then does He not just wipe out (easier spelt than the other word!) the wicked altogether and remove every last trace of them from the universe? As taught by the JW's etc.,

    As long as they are in existence and suffering for the consequence of their chosen sins, then the denial is still there.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 5/21/2009 4:20 AM  

  • @Colin--

    First thoughts: If the thought of punishing the wicked in hell for all eternity denies (or whatever) the Godself, why then does He not just wipe out (easier spelt than the other word!) the wicked altogether and remove every last trace of them from the universe? As taught by the JW's etc.,

    I think the "problem" is that to do so would end up with the same result. That is, if God's ultimate design in creation is the reconciliation of all to Godself, then for God to be the source of irrevocable destruction of a part of that creation would be a tacit enslavement of God to that which God destroys insofar as God does that which is contrary to Godself (negation) in order to establish and uphold the nature of God (holiness through or as a necessity for punishment/annihilation).

    By Blogger Exist-Dissolve, at 5/21/2009 7:51 AM  

  • ED: I need a bit more "Help!" with that one.

    Thanks,

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 5/21/2009 8:20 AM  

  • Blessings, Colin.

    You said “I find your charge very odious.”

    Bless your heart. I can’t imagine why. It’s obvious from the quotes you’ve provided and the quotes I’ve provided that little Johnny was very confused. Guess that explains why there are so many strands/degrees of Calvinism. Also, just more proof that the “Institutes”, like the Book of Mormon, were not breathed by the Holy Spirit.

    As concerning the matter of sin, why can’t we just say that God foresaw it, (we know he did because he had a Lamb prepared from the foundations of the world) rather than tying it to some kind of eternal decree? There is a big difference between saying God planned to "allow" sin to happen and saying God planned sin to happen. One keeps God at a safe distance, the other makes him the instigator, which Calvin taught (1:18:1).

    As concerning the matter of Judas, the analogy was based on the commonalities between Judas and the other eleven, not their differences. Even then, the verse where Jesus singled him out as “being a devil” was given. Still, amazing how Judas, the son of perdition, was an ordained preacher of Christ to spread the good news, given the authority and power to heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out demons. He was welcomed at the Lord’s table. He was given the bread (which represented the body of Christ) and the blood (which represented the blood of Christ). Our Lord even washed his feet to show the full extent of his love. He loved Judas, the son of perdition, to the end.

    wingedfooted1

    By Anonymous wingedfooted1, at 5/22/2009 12:33 AM  

  • Good morning Rose/WF1

    WF1: In order of appearance:

    1) I prefer to go for seeking to harmonise statements rather than conflict. Until we can sort out the balance between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility (both of which were taught by Calvin, although only appearing in our discussion here when I introduced his comments on the latter) then we might as well indict the Bible also with contradictory statements.

    2) If, by introducing ”more proof that the Institutes were not breathed by the Holy Spirit, you believe that Calvinists in general (or me in particular) think they were, then the comment “very confused” is nearer to home than you apparently think. Perhaps we could keep to what we have actually claimed or discussed rather than going off on a wild goose chase. Refuting what nobody actually believes never struck me as being particularly profitable.

    3) ”Planning (a very interesting word, is it not?) to “allow” sin to happen bespeaks of His purpose in the matter. We know that He could easily prevent any sin from happening. He did not have to create the conditions that allowed sin to enter in, but He did and He did so with a purpose, unless He did so without a second thought. So, I must push you the second time on this matter:

    Was God’s purpose frustrated (indeed utterly destroyed) at the very beginning of history when Adam partook of the forbidden fruit? Same leeway which you gave me earlier: Yes or No. Please feel free to elaborate.

    Let me lead by example here and be up front in my own question. I do not believe that God’s purposes were frustrated in any way whatsoever when Adam partook of the forbidden fruit.

    3) Re: Judas. I do not doubt that God had great love towards Judas and gave him many privileges – however, because of Judas’ own wilful sin of Christ rejection, I conclude that this love evidently stopped short of electing love. Judas himself took the full blame for his own sin – he confessed to having betrayed the innocent blood and we are later told that he fell by his own transgression. Although he went as it was written of him, we see here him reaping the fruits of his apostasy from God – Woe unto him – better had he never be born.

    I must leave it here. I would appreciate if you could come back to me on the matter above that I have had to raise again for the second time i.e. Was God’s purpose frustrated (indeed utterly destroyed) at the very beginning of history when Adam partook of the forbidden fruit?

    Rose: Thank you for hosting this discussion.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 5/22/2009 5:11 AM  

  • Blessings, Colin.

    You asked..... “Was God’s purpose frustrated (indeed utterly destroyed) at the very beginning of history when Adam partook of the forbidden fruit?”

    I think more important is...what was God’s purpose?

    I believe that God’s purpose from the beginning is the same as today. He wants a family. He wants to be the Father of his creation, those creatures created in his own image. Perhaps most people believe that it was God’s intention, from the beginning, to save mankind. But, in the beginning, mankind didn’t need saving. Our perfect God not only created him good, but created him very good (Genesis 1:31). I see redemption as a process of reconciliation, or like a recovery program. God knew that by creating creatures who could freely love him in return would instead rebel and go his own way. Part of God’s plan was to show mankind and the angels that , even though created sinless and perfect, he knew that being less than God they would fall. However, before Adam was created and long before sin entered into the world, God incorporated his glorious means of redemption for his creation into his plan. Even though God did not predestine nor instigate man to sin as Calvin taught (Book 1, Chapter, 18, Section 1), he did, out of love, through his infinite knowledge, prepare a remedy. “The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Rev 3:8 and 1 Peter 1:19-20)

    So...was God’s purpose “utterly destroyed”? No. In fact, it’s still taking place.

    Sadly, Calvin said in his Institutes....

    “Nor ought it to seem absurd when I say, that God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his posterity; but also at his own pleasure arranged it. For as it belongs to his wisdom to foreknow all future events, so it belongs to his power to rule and govern them by his hand.”(Book 3, Chapter 23, Section 7)

    “By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man. All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death.” (Book 3, Chapter 21, Section 5)

    Now there’s some “good news” to share with mankind. Wouldn’t that look lovely on a billboard along a major highway.

    Concerning man’s responsibility.

    Ironically, the very word “responsibility” can be broken down to “response ability”. Or better...the ability to choose your response. Webster’s defines responsible as....

    “Able to distinguish between right and wrong and to think and act rationally; and hence accountable for one’s behavior.”

    Thus, from the word “responsibility” we have.... “The obligation to carry forward an assigned task to a successful conclusion. With responsibility goes authority to direct and take the necessary action to ensure success.”

    On another note, it should be obvious to you by now, and anyone following along, that I have no love for Calvinism, but I do have a love for you Colin.

    wingedfooted1

    By Anonymous wingedfooted1, at 5/22/2009 4:02 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 5/22/2009 8:54 PM  

  • Good morning Rose/WF1:

    WF1: In order:

    You write: Part of God’s plan was to show mankind and the angels that , even though created sinless and perfect, he knew that being less than God they would fall. If this was God’s plan - This is the second time this interesting verb has been used – then it was His purpose, for He cannot plan other than what He has purposed. If He has purposed it, then He will ensure that it came to pass. We see this principle of His modi operandi in verses like Isaiah 46:11 “I have purposed it, I will also do it” and a host of similar verses.

    Re: Calvin’s quotes. I get this feeling that these exchanges are a bit like a court case. I think you see your job as the prosecuting lawyer whose job is to get a conviction and secure the imprisonment of the accused. In order to do this, you will ignore certain evidence and play up other stuff, even though this gives a distorted picture of the overall truth. I do not even see myself as the defence. I am aware that Calvin made some pretty strong statements that look bad when they are left to “stand alone” but I also know that he made other statements that qualify them. Calvin taught (as quoted above) that the sole cause of man’s damnation is his own sin. In a court of law, any witness must swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It is a pity that prosecuting lawyers were not bound by the same moral imperative. I still struggle to see what advantage you feel that you gain by your tactics here.

    Re: responsibility. I certainly admire the clever play on words with response and ability (I have a love affair with words) but I don’t think that we should force such a play from the English language unto the Scriptures. The Bible teaches two truths with equal force:

    [i] Man is under the law of God and obliged to His Creator and Judge
    [ii] Man is also a slave to sin including his will (John 8:34) and his carnal mind is not subject to the law of God and neither indeed can be. This bondage is self inflicted, therefore at one and the same time, we may say that he “will not come” (John 5:40) and that he “cannot come” (John 6:44/65)

    If we can this across on the billboards, then (under God) it will drive sinners to cry out “God, be merciful to me the sinner” and that cry will enable them to do down to their house justified.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 5/23/2009 5:34 AM  

  • @Colin--

    Just for curiosity's sake, what do you see as the imago dei's role in this question you and wingedfooted1 have been discussing?

    For example, I would contend that to be created in the "image of God" is to be like God, not in eternity and glory, but certainly in ways that make the use of "image" [likeness] something other than unintelligible. And certainly, as the Scriptures and ancient voices suggest, the purpose of God in the history of salvation is, as St. Athanasius once said, "to become like us that we might become like God."

    From the understanding you espouse, however, I have difficulty seeing the meaningfulness of the imago dei in the human person. If God has from eternity not only precisely determined what will happen (we'll suspend the linearality of this for a moment...), but moreover guaranteed through divine power that precisely the same should come to pass, and that immutably, what is the analogue in the human will? If human decisions, actions, desires, etc. have been eternally decreed by God, of what consequence is the imago dei in the human will?

    If human will-ing is only semantic in nature (as most serious Reformed theology requires), I would contend that there is little within the human person that actually images God, and the notion of being created in the "likeness of God" is either a false concept or a curious contradiction of what Reformed theology says God's will is actually like. That is, if the vacuous nature of human will is said to be created in the image of God (by virtue of both God and humans having will-ingness), then one must conclude by retroactive correlation that, to some extent, God's will is equally vacuous.

    Of course, I would contend that Reformed theology makes God's will to be this without the need for the backward correlation, but the discussion of the imago dei is perhaps another means to show how untenable and philosophically indefensible Reformed theology's conception of God's will and over-power actually is.

    By Blogger Exist-Dissolve, at 5/23/2009 7:34 AM  

  • Hi Exist –Dissolve

    Saw your email, Jim :o) The Reformed Faith contends that man is free (like God) to follow the dictates of his own nature. In God’s case, He cannot do anything contrary to holiness, justice, goodness and truth etc., In man’s case, he cannot (left to himself) do any thing good (hence Romans 3:11) because his heart is desperately wicked and deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9) and he is a slave to sin (John 8:34) But man does act freely – something which the Reformed Faith is not always given credit for believing.

    Once we accept that there are even but some things ordained of God that will surely come to pass (like the Cross: Acts 2:23/Acts 4:27-28) then the principle is established whether we apply it to everything or not. IOW, your objection must be applied across the board.

    Regards,

    P/s Any one seen Rose on this blog? :o)

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 5/23/2009 3:45 PM  

  • Hi Colin,

    Yes, I checked with my censors and was informed that my comment might not meet the test of being "suitable for general audiences." Hence, the above comment deletion. (Although the facts were certainly accurate.)

    By Blogger agent4him, at 5/23/2009 4:00 PM  

  • Hi Rose,
    I'm not sure Judas' condemnatory behavior is, in the end, of a higher level than Peter's own public display of unbelief and denial. And I'm not sure what was in Judas heart when he may have repented in the end and finally fell apart. He was clearly used by and did provide a valuable service for Christ and finally was a good example to us of our our natures as well. I see examples both new and old of people indwelled by the Spirit of Christ(even myself) who are guilty of condemanatory behavior on some level at various times and the challenges that are everywhere to constantly abiding in Christ in this world. If Christ withdrew His Spirit to from me in order to peform His work in this world then I suppose I would be like Judas. Would He allow me to look again to Him, believe, then repent and willingly return to Him? Judging by His word I am assured that He would. Beyond that I can only guess - and would prefer not to. He's called all of his creation back to Him through Jesus and those who return He will recieve. As for Judas, I guess I will pray for him.

    Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 5/26/2009 9:35 AM  

  • I just love the discussioni taking place. Yeah, I am here, but don't have any time to adda nything right now, only to read it and barely enough time to digest it all.

    I especially like E~D's question to Cloin, for it is one if my big issues with the determinist perspective also:

    From the understanding you espouse, however, I have difficulty seeing the meaningfulness of the imago dei in the human person. If God has from eternity not only precisely determined what will happen (we'll suspend the linearality of this for a moment...), but moreover guaranteed through divine power that precisely the same should come to pass, and that immutably, what is the analogue in the human will? If human decisions, actions, desires, etc. have been eternally decreed by God, of what consequence is the imago dei in the human will?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 5/26/2009 11:58 AM  

  • And Jim,
    Your comment really made me laugh because when I first ran into exist~dissolve on the blogs, I refused to refer to him by his initials for that very reasonheehee. I got over my aversion to it, but now you give me a great alternative. :) E~D

    By Blogger Rose~, at 5/26/2009 12:02 PM  

  • Sorry, Cloin, I mean 'Colin,' for mis-typing your name.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 5/26/2009 12:02 PM  

  • Todd,
    I appreciate the comments you left. I agree with you. (except for the pray for Judas part - it is too late for that as I am sure you know) :)

    Thanks for visiting!!!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 5/26/2009 12:05 PM  

  • Hi Rose/all,

    I must confess that I find this discussion on Judas somewhat amusing - if you know what I mean. (Probably bemusing) If the Lord Jesus called him the son of perdition and said that Judas was lost, then can we really expect to see him in Heaven?

    No one has tackled these verses yet in the discussion.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 5/26/2009 12:17 PM  

  • @Colin--

    I must confess that I find this discussion on Judas somewhat amusing - if you know what I mean. (Probably bemusing) If the Lord Jesus called him the son of perdition and said that Judas was lost, then can we really expect to see him in Heaven?

    As much as we can expect to see anyone in heaven, I suspect. As has been mentioned earlier, the weight of Judas' condemnation (son of perdition) seems a little heavy in light of the behavior of the other disciples. Sure enough, Judas betrayed Jesus, but Peter did something similar, and other disciples were willing to start killing in order to save Jesus. None of their behavior in this whole drama was above condemnation, so the question is why did Judas get such a negative redaction?

    I think there's probably a couple of possibilities.

    First, I'll go back to what I said in my very first comment: I think alot of the language about Judas was a result of the Gospel writers' interpretation of his behavior.

    Imagine, you belong to a very small sect that is under constant persecution. Your leader speaks of the coming kingdom of God, and all of your hopes are pinned on him fulfilling these promises, not just as some distant time, but in the present. But then one of your own, a trusted brother, betrays the one in whom you've placed all your hopes, and this action leads to the death of your Messiah. Obviously, this blow is going to affect everything--how you think, talk and write about this person. Their behavior has forever colored your understanding of who they were and what they did.

    See, I think this is the important point. The writers of the Gospels were real people with feelings, hopes and fears. They were not trying to record our notion of "objective" history (as if any such thing were actually possible), but brought their own experiences to bear on how they wrote about the life of Christ. I think, then, it is quite possible that their feelings of disgust and disillusionment with Judas contributed to the picture of him that we have in the Gospels.

    And a second possibility is that the picture of Judas is the Gospel writers' attempts to theologize about how one of their own could turn against them. That is, given what Judas did, and coupled with their understanding that though undesired, Judas' actions brought about "good," they had to synthesize a theological framework in which the two diametrically opposed realities (the divine good arising from Judas' evil) can work cohesively together. By casting Judas as one "ordained" (retroactively understood as such, of course) to bring about the divine good through an evil action, the Gospel writers were able to make theological peace with what was most certainly a great scandal within their ranks (we get a tiny glimpse of this in the selection of the "new" disciple in Acts).

    Of course, it also seems quite likely that some of both these options was at play in defining Judas' persona as articulated in the Gospel writings. What is certain, however, is that this theologizing about Judas seems to be limited to the Gospel accounts as it does not appear that any of the New Testament writers thought to develop the notion of "son of perdition" any further.

    By Blogger Exist-Dissolve, at 5/26/2009 1:13 PM  

  • Exist-Dissolve,

    I wonder if the Holy Spirit is reading your last comment?

    Regads,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 5/26/2009 1:26 PM  

  • I wonder if the Holy Spirit is reading your last comment?

    I suspect you're alluding to the question of "inspiration" of Scripture. However, I'm not entirely sure how your comment relates to my last comment...please expound.

    By Blogger Exist-Dissolve, at 5/26/2009 3:44 PM  

  • Yes, Exist-Dissolve, I am referring to the inspiration of Scripture. Your last (but one)comment seems to deny it. It leaves me reading the gospel accounts wondering if they are flawed.

    If I cannot trust John 17 about Judas being the son of perdition, how can I trust it re: all the precious promises also contained therein? Maybe the writers just saw the need to include something to keep their drooping spirits up etc.? Definitely not the road to go down.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 5/26/2009 5:08 PM  

  • Yes, Exist-Dissolve, I am referring to the inspiration of Scripture. Your last (but one)comment seems to deny it. It leaves me reading the gospel accounts wondering if they are flawed.

    A couple of things here:

    First, the only thing that my comment denies is particular conceptions of the inspiration of Scripture. I fully acknowledge that Scripture is inspired by God's Spirit.

    Second, define "flawed." Characterizing something as "flawed" presupposes that one has a standard of "not flawed" by which to ascertain the accuracy of the former. In conversations I've had with others about this subject, the answer is generally some form of circular argument in which the Scriptures are somehow the standard of perfection for themselves, which leaves me wondering how the person claiming this is unable to see the presuppositional fallacies involved in making such claims...


    If I cannot trust John 17 about Judas being the son of perdition, how can I trust it re: all the precious promises also contained therein? Maybe the writers just saw the need to include something to keep their drooping spirits up etc.? Definitely not the road to go down.

    Who says that you can't trust it? I'm not sure how what I have said requires that one not be able to trust the Scriptures? We trust those who have come before us that compiled the canon so many years ago. We trust those who have preserved and translated the Scriptures throughout the centuries. So why should we also not trust those who wrote the Scriptures, even if we admit that their personal beliefs, theological motivations, etc. accompanied their writings?

    By Blogger Exist-Dissolve, at 5/26/2009 6:08 PM  

  • Good morning Rose/Dissolve:

    Dissolve: Whilst there is undoubtedly a human side to inspiration - the writers were not human typewriters with the Holy Spirit just bashing out the letters to spell the words - yet any human error was prevented from seeping through unto the page of Holy Scripture.

    It seems from your previous comment re: the Apostles needing some explanation for the missing Apostle (I paraphrase)that perhaps we should take their comments with a generous pinch of salt. If John attributing the Saviour with His words that Judas was the son of perdition and lost was well meaning but not altogether right i.e. Judas was not the son of perdition and lost, then why should I trust these writings? What else in this revered volume is affected? It becomes a free for all.

    I'll be away for a couple of days until the weekend. My computer picked up a virus yesterday. I'm bashing this out on a very slow laptop. I would be probably quicker flying to America and speaking to you face to face :o)

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 5/27/2009 1:55 AM  

  • Blessings, Colin.

    Sorry for the delayed response. I have been enjoying the holiday with friends and family. I hope all is well with you.

    Isaiah 46:11 is an interesting verse “I have purposed it, I will do it”.

    Of course, the “purpose” here was referring to bringing salvation to Israel, which, as stated earlier, has always been within God’s plan of having a family. Still, in regards to Isaiah 46:11, you see how God takes, ownership, accountability, and responsibility for carrying out his purposes.

    “I (God) have purposed it; I (God) will also do it.”

    If we apply this to salvation we see it as follows.....

    “I, God, have purposed salvation; I, God, will also do it.”

    And indeed our loving God did. Genesis 22:8 says “God will provide HIMSELF a lamb”. God purposed salvation, and God, himself, provided it. However, if we take this to apply to sin, it reads as follows....

    “I, God, have purposed sin; I, God, will also do it.”

    If the above is true, as Calvinism teaches, then God is taking ownership, accountability, and responsibility for sin. But God CANNOT sin (“do it”). Therefore, I would think, that God could not have purposed it. He definitely foreknew it because, again, it was within his plan of having a family to provide a remedy. At least that’s my take.

    Pertaining to John 5:40 and John 6:44-45, I am familiar with the Calvinistic interpretation of these verses. Sadly, they are in error. You quote John 5:40 which reads....

    “But you are NOT WILLING to come to Me that you may have life.”

    Calvinistic interpretation?

    “But you are UNABLE to come to Me that you may have life.”

    Jesus did not say they were incapable/unable to come to him, but that they were unwilling to come to him. Why? Jesus explains later in John 5:46-47........

    “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

    These unbelieving Jews, to this point, had rejected the teachings of Moses, thus God himself, therefore, it was only natural that they would reject Christ’s teachings because he spoke for the Father (John 14:10). And what did Jesus say to these unwilling Jews previously?

    “You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Yet I do not receive testimony from man, BUT I SAY THESE THINGS THAT YOU MAY BE SAVED. He was the burning and shining lamp, and YOU WERE WILLING FOR A TIME to rejoice in his light.” (John 5:33-35)

    Interestingly, the NIV translates verse 35 as......

    “John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and YOU CHOSE FOR A TIME to enjoy his light.”

    Obviously, John 5:40 also shows that at least some Jews had believed Moses, and thus God, and willingly came to Christ. There were those who not only CHOSE to enjoy the light of John for a time, but CHOSE to remain in that light as well (Luke 7:29-30). Of course, Calvinism takes a verse like John 5:40 and, mistakenly, applies it across the board, universally, to all of mankind. However, Jesus was speaking specifically to the STILL unbelieving Jews. Many Jews, and others, at this point had already believed in him.

    In Him,

    wingedfooted1

    By Anonymous wingedfooted1, at 5/27/2009 2:52 PM  

  • Hi Rose/WF1

    WF1: I think you misunderstand the point that I was making in regard to the purpose of God as seen in Isaiah 46:11, partly because you are hung up on your own thought (I hope that this doesn’t sound harsh – it is not meant to) that God purposes sin. If God purposes to save a people from their sins (I assume that we agree that He did) then He must have purposed to allow the Fall to take place. You cannot purpose to save people from their sins otherwise. Had God purposed to prevent the Fall, then He would have been frustrating His own plans. How could He purpose to save a people who had never fallen? And had never fallen because He prevented it? Therefore He sinlessly purposed that the fall would take place wherein man freely sinned of His own volition and so enabled the purpose of redemption to proceed. The bottom line here is that whatever God has done, is doing or will yet do, He has already purposed to do it and ensures that all events leads to that purpose coming to pass.

    Re: John 5:40 It is not sole Calvinist belief that John 5:40 has a universal (i.e. beyond the immediate local and historical) context. It is the standard Evangelical belief. Anyone can interpose a “context only” interpretation unto any text if and when it suited. John 5:40 is often used as a proof text against Calvinism – although I fail to see why. Any inability (I note that you mention John 6:44/65 but you failed to make any comment upon it) of the sinner to come to Christ is self imposed - they love the darkness of their sin rather than Christ (John 3:19)

    Contrary to what you seem to think (judging by your use of the Word “CHOSE” (capitals yours) I have no problems whatsoever with the word “CHOSE” in relation to salvation.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 5/31/2009 11:18 AM  

  • Blessings, Colin.

    You said “Therefore He sinlessly purposed that the fall would take place wherein man freely sinned of His own volition and so enabled the purpose of redemption to proceed. The bottom line here is that whatever God has done, is doing or will yet do, He has already purposed to do it and ensures that all events leads to that purpose coming to pass.”

    I have to respectfully disagree. I will say that it was within God’s plan of having a family that he allowed the fall to transpire, but the fall was not planned, purposed, or brought to pass by God. He definitely foreknew it, because within his plan and purpose of having a family he provided a means of redemption, but the fall was not ordained, instigated, or secretly orchestrated by God as Calvin taught. Again, if God purposed the fall (sin), then based on Isaiah 46:11, “I have purposed it; I will do it”, God would have to take ownership, responsibility, and accountability for it, and not mankind.

    Also, if God did purpose the fall, as Calvinism teaches, and you seem to embrace, and “ensures that all events lead to that purpose coming to pass”, then just HOW did Adam have a “free will”? How could Adam have freely chosen differently if God ENSURED the fall came to pass? Are you suggesting that if Adam didn’t fall, God’s plan would have been frustrated? We know Adam wasn’t depraved, much less totally depraved, so why did he fall (sin)? The scriptures tell us why. Adam chose the creation (Eve) over the Creator. However, Calvin said it was because God ordained it. In light of Calvinism, it appears to me that Adam did not freely choose to eat of the forbidden fruit, but was in bondage to the secret decree of God, which again, according to Calvinism, we ALL are, both Saved and Lost. It’s like God told Adam “Don’t eat”, but than said to himself “but I will ensure that you do.”

    God forbid.

    In regards to John 5:40 and John 6:44/65, that’s an entirely different discussion. If Rose is willing, we can discuss on a later post.

    Saved by Grace,

    wingedfooted1

    By Anonymous wingedfooted1, at 6/02/2009 9:11 PM  

  • Hi Rose/WF1:

    WF1: You are slipping into your prosecuting lawyer mode again when you are signally fail to acknowledge that Calvin taught that the cause of man’s rebellion was man himself. This is use of the half truth and no less than sheer propaganda. Let me, for the sake of honesty, make up your lack here. For example, Calvin taught:

    At the same time, it is to be observed, that the first man revolted against the authority of God, not only in allowing himself to be ensnared by the wiles of the devil, but also by despising the truth, and turning aside to lies. Assuredly, when the word of God is despised, all reverence for Him is gone. His majesty cannot be duly honored among us, nor his worship maintained in its integrity, unless we hang as it were upon his lips. Hence infidelity was at the root of the revolt. From infidelity, again, sprang ambition and pride, together with ingratitude; because Adam, by longing for more than was allotted him, manifested contempt for the great liberality with which God had enriched him. (Institutes 2:1:4: Emphasis mine)

    In your other points, you are asking me to square the circle here and I cannot do it. However, your own position does not leave you out of the woods either as they say in these parts. We both go back to the point that God ordained circumstances to arise that God knew would bring sin into the world. We both agree that God could have ordained other circumstances, but that He stuck rigidly to that which would usher in the Fall of man, when another course was entirely feasible and within His power. It is only when you begin to face the reality of God’s choices also that you see that you are effectively in the same boat as me. I, as a Calvinist, am simply asserting that whatever God did or allowed, He did so for a purpose that is ultimately to His own glory. OTOH, you seem either to have God working without any purpose at all or with His purposes frustrated and that in a colossal way and at the very beginning of time.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 6/03/2009 9:46 AM  

  • Blessings, Colin.

    Again, God’s purpose from the beginning is the same as today. He wants a family. And that loving purpose is still taking place. Within God’s plan of having a family, he created man, in His image, which He could freely love and who could freely love Him in return. God, in His sovereignty, allowed man the freedom to choose. Giving man the power of choice in no way frustrates, limits, nor changes his purpose in having a family who freely loves Him in return, because it was within God’s purpose to do so. God didn’t create robots, but free agents who can respond to God’s love and love him freely in return. I’ve never understood the notion that if man can choose between heaven or hell, or have any say in his destination, it somehow yanks God from the throne. Let me say that God is sovereign. He created us and he makes the rules. God does not decide the “choices” of each man. But He does outline both the privileges and penalties in regards to the choices he makes.

    In Him,
    wingedfooted1

    By Anonymous wingedfooted1, at 6/03/2009 11:26 PM  

  • Colin,

    Your continued analogy of playing “prosecuting attorney” and “half truths” is intriguing. You have provide quotes that appear on the surface to be more in line with the common Christian belief, however these quotes from Calvin are repugnant....

    “By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man. All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death” (book 3, chapter 21, section 5)

    “The decree, I admit, is, dreadful; and yet it is impossible to deny that God foreknow what the end of man was to be before he made him, and foreknew, because he had so ordained by his decree. Should any one here inveigh against the prescience of God, he does it rashly and unadvisedly. For why, pray, should it be made a charge against the heavenly Judge, that he was not ignorant of what was to happen? Thus, if there is any just or plausible complaint, it must be directed against predestination. Nor ought it to seem absurd when I say, that God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his posterity; but also at his own pleasure arranged it. For as it belongs to his wisdom to foreknow all future events, so it belongs to his power to rule and govern them by his hand.” (book 3, chapter 23, section 7)

    “That men do nothing save at the secret instigation of God, and do not discuss and deliberate on any thing but what he has previously decreed with himself and brings to pass by his secret direction, is proved by numberless clear passages of Scripture.” (book 1, chapter 18, section 1)

    The quotes you provide do not “qualify” these statements, but merely contradict these statements. The “whole truth” is that Calvin was all over the place and full of error. It is therefore best to steer clear of his writings. Again, his writings were not breathed by the Holy Spirit, so why would I point someone in that direction? “Let God be true, but every man a liar”. I, personally, don’t believe Calvin was a saved man. In regards to his brutal murder of Michael Servetus, where he burned him at the stake and with slightly green wood to pro-long the agony, Calvin was quoted as saying in relation to him and the Anabaptists....

    “one should not be content with simply killing such people, but should burn them cruelly.”

    Even years after Servetus death, Calvin was quoted as saying...

    “Do not fail to rid the country of these zealous scoundrels who stir up the people to revolt against us. Such monsters should be exterminated, as I have exterminated Michael Servetus the Spaniard.”

    And what do the scriptures say?

    John 16:2-3.....
    “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.”

    1 John 3:15......
    “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”

    The scriptures are abundantly clear that Christians are not to persecute, but that they will be persecuted. It is not my intent to pass judgment on Calvin, only God knew his heart, but I certainly have biblical reasons to not associate myself with him or his writings.

    Grace,
    wingedfooted1

    By Anonymous wingedfooted1, at 6/03/2009 11:28 PM  

  • Good morning Rose/WF1

    WF1! It is my experience in such conversations about Calvinism (a title I have inherited and so use rather than give a paragraph to explain myself) that by the time, we get to the very sad case of Servetus, (which I condemn unreservedly, as all Calvinists tend to do) then the debate has really run its course. I note your use of “It is said…” and, to be honest, I am not one for peddling in “what is said” as generally “what is said” depends largely on who said it. No one doubts that Calvin had his faults, although personally, I think that there are a whole load of things loaded unto him of which he was never guilty. I have read the Hunts and the Clouds and others who show that they are not below any tactics so long as it blackens Calvin/Calvinists.

    I do not consider the other quotes which I have rendered as being contradictory. Our views on this will differ in accordance with how much we want to arrive at the truth. As said before, you are taking on the role of the prosecuting lawyer, leaving it to me to supply other information which gives a more accurate picture. My agreement with Calvin lies only is as much as he agrees with Scripture and no further or less. You are only stating the obvious when you say that Calvin was not inspired. I have never met a Calvinist yet who believed that he was inspired, and I have no heart for imaginary battles.

    Any way, thanks for engaging me here. I’m sure that something else will come up and we can always cross swords again, or even agree where such agreement can be made.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 6/04/2009 3:52 AM  

  • Colin,

    It is my hope and prayer that we don’t have to “cross swords” at all, but share the same "cross" and the same “sword of the Spirit”, the Word of God.

    Blessings to you and yours.

    wingedfooted1

    By Anonymous wingedfooted1, at 6/04/2009 8:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Lou Martuneac, at 10/25/2009 12:27 AM  

  • Wow. Someone (Lou Martuneac) is straight-up crazy...

    By Blogger Exist-Dissolve, at 10/25/2009 1:46 AM  

  • E~D,
    I am sure there is some kind of justification...

    "Remorse for what? You people have done everything in the world to me. Doesn't that give me equal right?"
    - Charles Manson

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/25/2009 8:41 AM  

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