Calvin and Arminius

Calvin and Arminius

Check out Frank Viola’s blog for today. The comment section is pretty hot too.

http://frankviola.org/2012/05/24/calvinismarminianism/

And if you want my two cents, watch this vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCMyWA1gLXQ

BTW, I’m NOT sorry about the music 🙂 If you don’t like it, turn the volume down…

Comments
  • Mary Vanderplas May 25, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    I like what the author says about our knowledge being incomplete and about God being bigger than our efforts to explain him. I like, too, his definition of Christian faith as a “passionate love” for a Person that fuels a way of being in the world – in contrast to allegiance to a doctrinal system.

    I agree with what he says about both Calvinism and Arminianism having something important to offer, highlighting the two sides of the paradox of absolute divine sovereignty and responsible human freedom and preventing, on the one hand, a view of salvation as a cooperative enterprise and, on the other hand, a license for human inaction and irresponsibility. While Calvinism correctly understands human freedom as being limited by our sinful nature, its emphasis on everything pertaining to our ultimate destiny being the outworking of a predetermined divine plan violates our freedom and responsibility as human beings. This is especially true of versions of the doctrine that assert that some are hindered from receiving God’s gift and rejected beforehand on the grounds of the divine will. (The larger problem for Calvinism is the impossibility of reconciling a God whose mysterious purpose is the grounds for the condemnation of some with a God who is love in himself.) The problem with Arminianism is that human freedom is defined without taking into account the extent of our moral inability and the human choice is made the grounds of the divine choice instead of the other way around.

    My own view is that God is absolutely sovereign when it comes to our salvation, that the decision and work are his alone. Indeed, as those who by nature are slaves to sin, we are incapable to turning to God and receiving the grace he offers. We become free only after God reaches out to us, choosing us, loving us, saving us. We must respond in faith to what God has done in Christ; this we can do because God gives us the gift of faith. If there are those who do not (yet) respond in faith, this is not because they have not been chosen; it is not because God is against them. On the contrary, God reaches out to them, too, in love with the offer of his grace. It may be that one day they will respond in faith, that they will receive the gift of freedom and the destiny that God has chosen for them.

  • Lanny A. Eichert May 26, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Mary writes above, my own view is that God is absolutely sovereign when it comes to our salvation, that the decision and work are his alone, and yet she interprets Abraham as having changed God’s mind regarding Sodom and Gomorrah. She wrote, God actually does change his mind in response to our situations and needs. Now who is the “our” in Genesis 18 & 19? Does she mean Abraham had a need in his situation to preserve God’s reputation when God voiced Himself other than a God that is love in himself? Abraham refused God’s voice projected image and challenged God to improve His image to that of seeking to save all. In Abraham’s mind destroying all would simply not lend itself to a picture of a loving God. According to Mary, Abraham actually caused God to change His mind. Mary wrote, God actually does change his mind. What the Bible portrays is real, not fiction. Since according to Mary a man changed God’s mind, then how according to Mary is God absolutely sovereign? Was the salvation of Sodom and Gomorrah at issue or wasn’t it?

    For those readers who haven’t been following see Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Invalid Argument Posted: 12th May 2012 Mary Vanderplas says: May 23, 2012 at 9:34 pm & at 9:49 pm

    How many of you readers agree with Mary that the change that occurred in God was a shift from focusing on punishing the unrighteous to valuing the obedience of the faithful and seeking to save all from death? Those of you who agree, please explain how successful God was at Sodom and Gomorrah seeking to save all from death. I’d like to know.

    • Lanny A. Eichert May 27, 2012 at 11:00 am

      Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? {Isaiah 40: 13}
      For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? {Romans 11: 34}
      Abraham did according to Mary’s understanding of Genesis 18.
      Mary has a low view of God; and so should be pitied and helped.
      Please join me; your help might work.

      • Mary Vanderplas May 30, 2012 at 5:29 am

        That God’s mind was changed by Abraham in regard to the fate of Sodom is not incompatible with the absolute sovereignty of God in choosing and saving us. The fact that God consulted with Abraham and was open to the possibility of changing his preliminary decision based on this encounter does not mean that God is less than sovereign. Abraham didn’t decide the fate of the Sodomites; God did. What Abraham did was appeal to God to act in a way that was true to his character; he didn’t coerce the divine verdict. The decision and the action were entirely God’s. Moreover, God’s decision about the salvation or destruction of Sodom is not the same as his decision about the eternal destiny of individuals. Nothing is said in this text about the eternal destiny of individuals.

    • Mary Vanderplas May 28, 2012 at 6:59 am

      See my response dated May 28 under Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Invalid Argument

  • Lanny A. Eichert May 27, 2012 at 3:00 am

    God “is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” {2 Peter 3: 9} I would think,Alice, since you believe God without fail will have His will that none perish, you would despise Arminianism’s emphasis on free will. What happened in the Garden of Eden? And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. {Genesis 2: 15 – 17} Was it God’s will that Adam and Eve should eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Was it God’s will that Adam and Eve should not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Did God have His will done in the Garden of Eden? Did God’s will prevail concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Was God’s will thwarted? Did God fail to get His will perfectly accomplished?

    Has the basis of your Amazing Hope failed from the Garden of Eden, Alice, because of the free will God invested in man? You and Mary and the rest of your crowd need to re-evaluate what it means when God writes about His will. The same goes for the words all and forever.

    • admin May 28, 2012 at 1:07 am

      If you would like to propose, for argument’s sake, that God’s will is not perfectly accomplished, so be it. I’ll go there with you. But if you would like to propose, as a general principal that you believe to be true, that God’s will is not perfectly accomplished, please be clear about it. Please clearly tell me that you affirm the following statement: God’s will is not perfectly accomplished. If that is not what you are saying, then explain the difference to me between what you are saying and how I am interpreting what you are saying. For now, I’ll tag along with your proposed argument.

      But first, notice that your argument is an inductive argument, not a deductive argument. The definition of an inductive argument is a process of reasoning that moves from specific instances to predict general principles. The definition of a deductive argument is a process of reasoning that moves from the general to the specific.

      Your basic argument is (according to your questions, above) as follows: God’s will is that Adam and Eve should not eat from one particular tree. They eat from that particular tree. God’s will is not perfectly accomplished.

      Here are the reasons why I think that your argument is weak:
      1. You are predicting general principles about God based on one specific instance.
      2. In the specific instance upon which your argument is based, it is unclear whether God (in communicating His prohibition to not eat of the tree) communicated to Adam who then communicated to Eve, or if God communicated directly to both of them.* (You could easily strengthen your argument by excluding Eve from it, and I’ll be a good sport and restructure my response accordingly. It’s up to you.)
      3. God’s prohibition (His negative command) is something entirely different than God’s will. (Again, you could easily strengthen your argument by replacing the word “will” with “command” , and I’ll be a good sport and restructure my response accordingly. It’s up to you.)
      4. The actions and inactions of God in your specific instance demonstrate not only His foreknowledge of human disobedience but His orchestration of it.

      *a. God’s seeming lack of prohibition in chapter one, b. the prohibition communicated directly to Adam only in chapter two, c. there is no evidence that the prohibition is ever given directly by God to Eve, nor is it mentioned that God instructed Adam to communicate to the prohibition to her, and there is evidence to support the idea that Eve’s understanding of the prohibition is not entirely accurate (compare the differences between “thou dost not eat of it, for in the day of thine eating of it – dying thou dost die” to “Ye do not eat of it, nor touch it, lest ye die.”) And if Eve lied, which is another possibility, then this raises a brand new slew of questions that would take us right off topic.

      I suggest that you read http://www.whatgoddoes.com/?p=265, and apply the same principles to your argument. You are looking at a tiny segment of what God is doing and drawing false conclusions about the nature or ability of God. Parents may give a child an opportunity to make a mistake along with instructions to not make the mistake. With the instructions the parents demonstrate their expectations, and with the opportunity they use the child’s possible failure as a reality check for the child. If the child obeys because the child doesn’t want to be punished, then the child never learns the real reason why the parents prohibit the child. If the child disobeys, the child understands why the parents prohibit. This serves two purposes – it builds the child’s trust in the nature and ability of the parents, and it teaches the child to obey, not in order to avoid punishment, but because the mistake is not really what the child wants after all. Neither of these are perfect analogies, but they demonstrate the heart of what is happening in Genesis. (The letter kills, the Spirit gives life.)

    • Lanny A. Eichert May 28, 2012 at 3:09 am

      Poor, poor Alice. She can’t tolerate anything other than her logical way. I’m not going to be bullied by your methods. Get a grip on it. God created a man and a woman with whom He had intensions of interactions in a way specifically unique to only them, but His holiness required a tested holiness on their part. Your human parenting model suggests you might believe it was God’s will that our first parents sin in order to know the value of obedience. I wrote some time back based on Hebrews 10: 1 – 3 that God would not have His saints remember their sins that their consciences might be made perfect, it was never God’s will that Adam and Eve sin resulting in something bad to remember in shame. That idea is also supported by the idea of forgiveness being the “putting away” like divorce of the saints’ sins from them as far as the East is from the West. No doubt you’d reject the often stated “just as if we never sinned” but it was God’s original intent as shown by what forgiveness means in depth.

      As Christ is responsible for the purity of His church, so was Adam as equally responsible for Eve’s sin as she was, since he was her “head” appointed by God in her creation {see 1 Timothy 2: 13 & 14} {and while you’re there, you need to pay attention to verse 11.}

      Why ever does it matter that a distinction be made between Adam and Eve? Scripture clearly states sin entered by one man, Adam, and it wasn’t God’s will. Without Adam’s seed there’d be no human race. I might rightly suspect your Eve issue is a way of deflecting the discussion from the failure of your Amazing Hope heresy since the fall of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve hid from the voice of God as a result and clearly spiritual fellowship between them and God was ruined. God’s original purpose {His will} for our first parents was made impossible.*

      Did God then change His mind and make another will? Did a mere created man defeat God, his Creator? Did the creature have greater power than the Creator? Mary would say I missed the point and asked the wrong questions. What are the correct questions, Alice, since you often ask incorrectly, too?

      *The bottom line is that what God is seeking and what God is willing will NOT always happen ever. Your Amazing Hope is as false as that change of mind Mary claims Abraham caused God to make in “seeking to save all from death” at Sodom and Gomorrah. God is unsuccessful in both supposed, but false, endeavors.

      • admin May 28, 2012 at 11:03 pm

        The distinction between Adam and Eve is very relevant. If your argument were based entirely on Eve, it would be the weakest form of weak argument. If it were based on both people, well I already responded to that, so no sense typing twice. If it were based purely on Adam, then you still have a weak argument, but not nearly as weak as it would be in the other scenarios.

        The redemption story displays God’s glory in a way that a perfect and ever-sinless universe can’t. Since God foreordained the death of Christ before He even created anything, this should be enough reason to assume that He has never been and never will be surprised by our sins. If God’s will was thwarted in the garden (which I don’t believe it was, nor do I believe that you have made a good case that it was), than He must have meant for it to be thwarted. Like I said, all the physical and circumstantial evidence points to this idea that God intended to put humans in a position to fall as part of His plan. If God meant for His will to be thwarted, then was it ever really His will? I hate to use this analogy, because we are not pawns in God’s game, but for lack of a better one at the moment… In chess, you can bait another player into putting his/her queen in a dangerous position by allowing the other player to take one of your valuable pieces. You don’t want them to take your piece, but since your plan requires that, you ultimately really do want them to take that piece. It is the difference between your desire that you have within yourself and the desire that you have to accomplish something, one becomes subservient to the other, but in the big picture, your will for the entire game (to win) is not questionable if you give up a piece in the process.

        Did you go back and read that blog about Joseph? Do you agree with the Joseph part of it? If you do, then how is Eden any different? If you don’t, then tell me what you don’t agree with, and then maybe I will be able to understand why you have a problem with my asserting that man cannot thwart the will of God. Regarding God changing His mind, I am very skeptical. That’s why I haven’t entered into that conversation. You and Mary are doing a fine job of picking that idea apart and examining it without me.

      • Lanny A. Eichert May 29, 2012 at 4:36 am

        That God intended to put humans in a position to fall as part of His plan, Alice, is a blasphemous statement making God the Instigator of human sin and corrupting the nature of God’s holiness.

        According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and GODLINESS, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue {2 Peter 1: 3}

        Your god is an unholy god, dear Alice, by your false Amazing Hope heresy. Don’t you see how broad your heresy goes? It even encouraged Mary to divide Genesis 18 from 19 by authors and propose a god that changes his mind and then becomes unsuccessful in the thing he seeks: a double-minded {James 1: 8} god that is unstable in all his ways. Do you see that “all” in that text, Alice and Mary?

        Your god now promotes his glory in a way that a perfect and ever-sinless universe can’t at the expense of human suffering: a heartless god who is in himself supposed to be love. What a contradiction of words. Your god needs to have sin in his universe for his plan to work. He can’t promote his glory some better way. Your god is a small god. You have a LOW view of the all together holy God, Alice, as I have previously accused you. God doesn’t need mankind nor the fallen angels to manifest His glory. He is sovereign in Himself as the I Am before creation. An ever-sinless universe would have even more perfectly expressed God’s glory than a sinful one. Sin only complicates matters and is needless trouble.

        Your Joseph {?p=265} blog makes my point that God doesn’t get what He wants every time. You just twist it because God does use the consequences of human sins to accomplish His other wills. God’s work would have been much more simple in an ever-sinless universe and much more satisfying.

        Your sinful unregenerate mind and heart just continues to confuse and complicate the simplicity that is in Christ.

        But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. {2 Corinthians 11: 3}.

        • admin May 29, 2012 at 9:02 am

          You write, “That God intended to put humans in a position to fall as part of His plan, Alice, is a blasphemous statement making God the Instigator of human sin and corrupting the nature of God’s holiness.”

          Before God began creating, “before the foundations of the earth”, He already knew that His creation would be in need of redemption. If He wanted to have a sinless universe that did not need redemption, then He would not have created its opposite. To suggest otherwise raises some serious questions. Did He make a mistake? Did sin take Him by surprise? If God wanted to begin with people who already knew and possessed “all things that pertain unto life and GODLINESS, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue”, as you quote, AND by their very nature were incapable of ever knowing or possessing any knowledge that opposes “him that hath called us to glory and virtue”, then He would have done just that. But He didn’t, Lanny. Otherwise, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. It would be impossible, because we would both have a perfect understanding of GODLINESS, and no knowledge whatsoever of UNGODLINESS. It is God Who created the tree of the knowledge of good and EVIL, it is God Who put the human within close proximity of the tree, and it is God Who permits a tempter to challenge the prohibition to eat its fruit. Not Satan, not you, not me, only God. His actions and His words throughout scripture demonstrate that He had a plan of redemption in mind before he began creating a universe capable of sin, and His actions and words in the Genesis account, all evidence the fact that the fall of humanity is an inevitable part of His plan. We see His divinely ordained and purposefully arranged incorporation of the fallibility of humanity as a perfect plan, or we see it as a cosmic cluster***, depending on our view of the Author and Finisher of that plan.

          Lanny, it is impossible to say that God is sovereign and at the same time say that something happened that either He didn’t know was going to happen or He could not prevent. If He didn’t know it was going to happen, then He is not omniscient. If He is not omniscient, He is not God. If He had no choice but to allow it or could not prevent it, then He is not omnipotent. If He is not omnipotent, then He is not God. Do you believe God is sovereign in all things?

          You write, “[‘your divine heresy’] even encouraged Mary to divide Genesis 18 from 19 by authors and propose a god that changes his mind and then becomes unsuccessful in the thing he seeks: a double-minded {James 1: 8} god that is unstable in all his ways. Do you see that “all” in that text, Alice and Mary?”

          I already told you that I am not taking part in that discussion, at least not right now.

          You write, “Your god now promotes his glory in a way that a perfect and ever-sinless universe can’t at the expense of human suffering: a heartless god who is in himself supposed to be love. What a contradiction of words. Your god needs to have sin in his universe for his plan to work. He can’t promote his glory some better way. Your god is a small god. You have a LOW view of the all together holy God, Alice, as I have previously accused you. God doesn’t need mankind nor the fallen angels to manifest His glory. He is sovereign in Himself as the I Am before creation. An ever-sinless universe would have even more perfectly expressed God’s glory than a sinful one. Sin only complicates matters and is needless trouble.”

          God can reveal His glory in any way that He chooses. In human reasoning, mercy is only revealed when someone is in need of it, hope is only revealed when there is some need for improvement in a person or thing or situation, patience is only revealed when there is some trying situation to deal with, peace is only revealed when there is a situation that does not produce peace, the only way to understand the presence of light is in its absence (darkness), kindness is only understood when one experiences or witnesses unkindness, etc. This is how God has chosen to create us, how He has designed us to discover the qualities in both Him and in those who are inhabited by Him. Of course God could have done it another way, because God can do anything He wants. We have to trust Him, that the way He has chosen is the way we, too, would have chosen if we has perfect knowledge of His reasoning capabilities and intentions and perfect knowledge of the outcome. But we don’t. That’s where faith comes in. That’s why God says by way of Isaiah, “By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, ‘In the LORD alone are righteousness and strength.'” All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame.” Righteousness is an expression of God’s perfection, that is, no one, when all is said and done, will say what you have said of God: “…needs to have sin in his universe for his plan to work …can’t promote his glory some better way …is a small god.” You, according to this scripture, will be put to shame for raging against God. You may reason that you have not raged against God, that you have raged against me. There is an element of truth in this, since you are very opposed to me because of my so-called “sinful unregenerate mind and heart”, but the reason you view me as such is because I claim that God is righteous in His plan, and that He doesn’t make mistakes. He is omniscient and omnipotent. He is sovereign. And He is the only one Who currently understands exactly why He has chosen to do things as He has – “In the LORD alone are righteousness and strength.” Some day everyone will understand His righteous decisions, His glory revealed, and that understanding will so overwhelm them that they will fall to their knees and worship Him. If you want to challenge this, then you are not challenging me and my words, you are challenging Him and His “sworn” and “[un]revok[able]” words. The only way out of recognizing God as the highest standard of righteousness and strength is if Isaiah has misrepresented and misquoted God.

          You write, “Your Joseph {?p=265} blog makes my point that God doesn’t get what He wants every time.” Then you totally missed the point of the blog. “Every time” can’t be examined as isolated events that are not caused by or affecting the outcome of other events. It is a chain, linked together by God to accomplish something specific. The links are made of human depravity, but the chain belongs to God and is wielded by Him in exactly the manner He has chosen. “Every time” is not one link separate from another link, separate from another link, etc., “Every time” is a series of related events (links) that ultimately result in God’s purpose being accomplished.

          You accuse Mary, “[you (Mary)] propose a god that changes his mind and then becomes unsuccessful in the thing he seeks: a double-minded {James 1: 8} god that is unstable in all his ways.” And then write to me, “You just twist it because God does use the consequences of human sins to accomplish His other wills.” Now who is proposing a double-minded God? “Will” and “wills” convey different ideas. The former is unified in purpose, the latter is not unified in purpose. Your view of God is shockingly close to the view you disapprove of in your interpretation of Mary’s comments. This is evidenced in your statement, “God’s work would have been much more simple in an ever-sinless universe and much more satisfying.” The opposite of simple is complicated. The opposite of satisfying is dissatisfying. If God is, in fact, absolutely sovereign, then it is you who has judged His work as complicated and dissatisfying. And you are then judged by your own words, in that it is you who “continues to confuse and complicate the simplicity that is in Christ.” You demonstrate through your words that you are the very expression of what you hold in contempt.

          Try aiming your judgmental accusations at yourself, Lanny. It might make a world of difference in your perspective of God.

        • Lanny A. Eichert May 29, 2012 at 4:58 pm

          Alice, how many years have you been searching for a relationship with God and you don’t even have a proper understanding of your sins? I’m still trying to recover from the shock: really!!!

          Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. {Psalm 51: 1}

          The point is sin is against a PERSON. Surely David sinned against Bathsheba, Uriah, his mighty men of valor, every trusting person in his kingdom, and his own body; but most important of all is God. David violated God’s person in every way possible: His entire “glory.”

          For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God {Romans 3: 23} There the and should be understood as even: explaining what sinned means: short-changed everything God is. EVERYTHING, Alice, everything God is. How can you not define that offense as infinite?

          When a stranger destroys your property, you feel violated as a person, don’t you? That’s offense. You know you’ve been violated and you are offended as a person. You were made in the image of God and that’s why you feel and think that way. God’s thoughts are greater or lesser than our thoughts, Alice? How much greater ought you to suppose His thoughts are concerning your abuse of His character? You’ve sinned against God, Alice. That’s sin against the infinite glory of the infinite God. That’s infinite offense requiring infinite penalty as demonstrated in Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, and ascension.

          Your blindness should be evidence of your lost and perishing condition, Alice. Sin is not just another thing God in His greatness can handle. To Him it is the absolute worseness of His once perfect creation now spoiled by the self-corruption of Satan and men.

          For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. {Isaiah 45: 18} Notice “vain.” That’s what it became because of sin, Alice, and the text clearly says that was not His purpose when He created it

          • admin May 29, 2012 at 10:14 pm

            Do you want me to delete one of these? It looks like it double posted with slight variation.

          • Lanny A. Eichert May 30, 2012 at 12:33 am

            Isaiah 45: 18 pointedly refutes your implicating God in Adam’s and Eve’s sins and your continuing problem is your low view of sin, so this post satisfies both of yours to which they are posted.

            • admin May 30, 2012 at 8:24 am

              God is without sin. Just want to make sure that you understand this, because “implicate” has to do with involvement or responsibility. God is involved in everything and responsible for everything, because He is the One Who created and sustains everything. But “implicate” is a word often mistakenly used to express “incriminate” or “indictment”, or it is frequently paired with such words. Since “incriminate” or “indictment” or similar words are concepts that deal with immorality, these cannot rightfully be applied to God. Let the distinction be clear.

              • Mary Vanderplas June 2, 2012 at 5:40 am

                It isn’t clear to me how the fact that God “created and sustains everything” makes him responsible for everything. God created us responsible agents. Indeed, to be human is to be responsible to God (see Genesis 4:9ff.). That God gives a person life and sustains his/her life does not, in my thinking, make God responsible for the choices the person freely makes. I don’t see how it can be said that God is responsible for everything without making God the author of sin, without implicating him in sin and evil.

                • Lanny A. Eichert June 2, 2012 at 11:40 pm

                  Thank you, Mary. Alice is just terrific in redefining words to suit her heresy and make her god nice according to her wishes without realizing she made him a bullying hostage torturing bruit as I’ve previously described him to be. She writes about things she knows nothing. As the saying goes, give her enough rope and she hangs herself.

                  • Mary Vanderplas June 4, 2012 at 8:30 pm

                    Please don’t thank me because I express a view that you happen to agree with that is different from Alice’s. I don’t approve of your mean, disrespectful response to Alice. And I wish not to be included as an imagined supporter of your disparaging remarks to or about others.

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