Saturday, April 07, 2007

Calvinists Say They Believe In Choice

Quote from a Calvinist:

"I see every person as having a choice and leave the election part of it to God."


While I respect my Calvinist friend's statement I must reject the logic within that statement.

Calvinists believe that sinners have a choice when it comes to responding to the gospel but that sinners are incapable of responding in a positive manner causing them to always choose sin rather than salvation. Therefore, God elects (or chooses) some to salvation while leaving others to die in their sins.

Is that really a choice? I say, No. For to have a choice one must truly be able to respond to the gospel in either direction: positively or negatively.

I agree with my good Calvinist friend(s) that man does have a choice in the matter of salvation and that God only elects some to salvation. I don't, however, agree with their premise that God elects unconditionally (i.e., for reasons only God Himself knows) or that man will always choose sin over salvation. God elects or chooses for salvation those who will put their faith/belief in Him through Christ Jesus. (John 1:12-13; 3:15)

The Calvinist's whole system of soteriology (TULIP) is predicated upon man's so-called inability to respond to the gospel because man is "dead in trespasses and sin," man is a "slave to sin" and man is "under the rule of Satan." While these conditions plaguing mankind are true they do not render him incapable of responding to the gospel because God has graced us with that ability and He is drawing mankind to Himself.

This death that Paul speaks of is a spiritual death. (Romans 5:12) The only action mankind is rendered incapable of is a relationship with God. God says that those who worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. (John 4:24) Man cannot truly worship God unless his spirit is made alive through Christ. (John 3:3)

Man's heart (i.e., intellect/mind, will and emotions) is not dead and is not incapable of understanding his need for a Savior. That is why we have the law. The law was never meant to save mankind, rather it was meant to point man to his need of a Savior (Jesus/God come in the flesh) by showing man he was guilty of sin and destined to hell for breaking God's law. If man breaks even one law he is guilty of breaking all the law. (James 2:10) Jesus paid the penalty for man's sin. (I John 2:2) The gospel is offered to all of mankind and man must accept that offer of salvation by placing his faith/belief in Christ Jesus. That is not to say that man's heart will always be receptive to the gospel. We know that pride and the love of self are ultimately the cause of a man's heart becoming hardened toward God (along with other complex factors), but only God knows how a man's heart becomes SO hardened that he will not receive the gospel. (God also hardens a man's heart, but man first hardens his own heart.)

I agree with my Calvinist friends that man does not have the power in and of himself to be freed from Satan and sin. That power can only come from God through Jesus once man places his faith/belief in Jesus. (John 1:12)

Words and phrases in the bible like: believe, trust, seek, repent, reason, persuade(d), convince(d), study, search, will not, would not, whosoever (will), anyone, etc., not only imply ability, but they also refute the idea of 100% irresistiblity and the idea that man cannot respond positively to the gospel.

Also, scriptures like the one below show me that a man dead in his sins is capable of responding to the gospel. I don't believe God would try to persuade men who are dead in their sin to receive the gospel if they were incapable of doing so. Surely this attempt at persuasion isn't pure rhetoric? (The entire bible is full of such accounts of persuasion.)

John 10:37-39 "If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him."

If it is true that "dead" means "incapable," a person who's spirit has been made to come to life by Christ would be "incapable" of committing sin since he is now "dead to sin." (Romans 6:2, 11-14; Colossians 3:3; I Peter 2:24) And we know that Christians are quite capable of sinning.

As an aside: I have to wonder if the word "elect" is what trips up some to believe that it means anything other than "chosen." The words "chosen" and "elect" are synonymous just as Holy Spirit and Holy Ghost are one and the same. Who does God choose (elect) for salvation? Those who believe.

Labels: ,

39 Comments:

At Sunday, April 08, 2007 9:43:00 AM, Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Unconditional election is a very unfortunate doctrine.

 
At Sunday, April 08, 2007 9:49:00 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

Yes, it is. I know my Calvinist friends think that we non-Calvinists are being stubborn by not "seeing" the doctrine. But it is so obvious to me that we are not undconditionally elected.

 
At Sunday, April 08, 2007 4:43:00 PM, Blogger Exist~Dissolve said...

Yes, it is. I know my Calvinist friends think that we non-Calvinists are being stubborn by not "seeing" the doctrine. But it is so obvious to me that we are not undconditionally elected.

The only way in which to convince a Calvinist otherwise is to begin by deconstructing their understanding of God's eternal nature. As Calvinists begin with the assumption that God's sovereignty necessarily requires that God's will be the primal and exclusive operating will in the universe, all other doctrines and interpretive methods proceed from this philosophical starting point. Until this conception of the eternal will and nature of God is dismantled, the argument will be--in my experience--mostly futile.

 
At Sunday, April 08, 2007 7:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dawn,

Well stated and a hearty amen!! Of course, I agree with your post.

1 John 2:2 says: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the whole world.

In Him,

Eye

 
At Sunday, April 08, 2007 8:23:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Hi E-D! Thanks for visiting.

E-D "As Calvinists begin with the assumption that God's sovereignty necessarily requires that God's will be the primal and exclusive operating will in the universe, all other doctrines and interpretive methods proceed from this philosophical starting point."

I wish they could see that God in His sovereignty has allowed man freewill.

Have you ever personally seen a Calvinist change his mind on the issue? I wonder if any of them get close, but are frightened off "in case they are wrong." I can imagine it would be very difficult to let go of the doctrine once you've allowed yourself to believe it.

 
At Sunday, April 08, 2007 8:29:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Well hello Mr. Eye! Thanks, and long time no see around the blogosphere. Hope all is well with you. Leo asked about you the other day and I was going to mention it the next time we exchanged correspondence.

Amen! on the I John 2:2 scripture reference.

I can't seem to get away from this topic!

Great to see you!

 
At Sunday, April 08, 2007 8:45:00 PM, Blogger Leo said...

Dawn,

I am supposing that you are speaking to the comment that I stated on my blog in the Oswald Chambers post.

Please keep in mind that I am not a "dyed in the wool Calvinist" I merely see this trend in scripture. There is no finality in my position. Any way back to my comment.

Every Christian, no matter their interpretive matrix, must minister the gospel to every human. No so-called Calvinist can know who is elect or non-elect. A so-called Calvinist must see every person as having a choice in such a context. Any other viewpoint is rank arrogance on a Calvinist's part and any refusal to minister the gospel based on election is disobedience.

Out of curiosity, this includes Matthew, exist~dissolve, and anyone else, do you believe that the choice of Judas to betray Christ was a real choice?

Acts 1:16-20 "Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. For he was counted among us and received his share in this ministry." (Now this man acquired a field with the price of his wickedness, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed out. And it became known to all who were living in Jerusalem; so that in their own language that field was called Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) For it is written in the book of Psalms, 'LET HIS HOMESTEAD BE MADE DESOLATE, AND LET NO ONE DWELL IN IT'; and, 'LET ANOTHER MAN TAKE HIS OFFICE.'

Did the Holy Spirit when He inspired David know that Judas would make the decision to betray Christ? 1000 or so years prior to Judas's birth?

Was Jeremiah’s choice to be a prophet a real choice?
Jeremiah 1:4 Now the word of the LORD came to me saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations."

Was Jeremiah's choice real if God consecrated him to the office of Prophet prior to Jeremiah's birth?

 
At Sunday, April 08, 2007 8:53:00 PM, Blogger Exist~Dissolve said...

I wish they could see that God in His sovereignty has allowed man freewill.

Right. I see no philosophically, nor biblically compelling reason to assume that the divine will and human freedom should be mutually exclusive. As humans are created in the image of God; and as this image is not entirely destroyed in the midst of human sinfulness; it would seem reasonable to assume that a will that operates on a meaningful level would be proper to the imago dei.

Have you ever personally seen a Calvinist change his mind on the issue?

Not yet. However, most of the attempts I have seen have been on the level of Calvinism's own categories, which will always end in failure. That is why I am approaching the issue by calling into question the very categories on which Calvinism is based, moving on only then to discussions of other issues.

I wonder if any of them get close, but are frightened off "in case they are wrong." I can imagine it would be very difficult to let go of the doctrine once you've allowed yourself to believe it.

I suspect that with all of us, our presuppositional frameworks tend to be quite self-justifying. Very few are capable of discourse outside of these boundaries (myself included), not because of ill-will or obstinacy, but merely because such is the nature of presuppositions. That is, if they weren't self-justifying, they wouldn't be very effective in the pursuit of knowledge.

 
At Sunday, April 08, 2007 8:56:00 PM, Blogger Exist~Dissolve said...

Out of curiosity, this includes Matthew, exist~dissolve, and anyone else, do you believe that the choice of Judas to betray Christ was a real choice?

How would one define an "unreal" choice? That seems categorically impossible.

Nonetheless, I would interpret this passage as the author redactively interpreting the events of Judas' demise onto the OT passages in question. In other words, I don't see these verses as "predicting" Judas' life; rather, the author of passage found a parallel in Judas' betryal and end within the context of the passage in question.

I assume this isn't a very popular interpretation, but it's my $.02.

 
At Sunday, April 08, 2007 8:57:00 PM, Blogger Exist~Dissolve said...

dawn--

My apologies. I rudely forgot to thank you for your kind welcome to your blog. I like the looks of what you're doing here.

If you do not mind, I shall be visiting frequently.

Peace to you this Easter day!

 
At Sunday, April 08, 2007 9:13:00 PM, Blogger Leo said...

Exist~Dissolve,

How would one define an "unreal" choice? That seems categorically impossible.

Not sure what you mean by "unreal choice"? Please explain.

 
At Sunday, April 08, 2007 9:59:00 PM, Blogger Exist~Dissolve said...

Not sure what you mean by "unreal choice"? Please explain.

You asked if Judas made a "real" choice.

If a "choice" has as its requisites the actualization or non-actualization of a thing (or many things, or no-thing), it can only be understood as "real" if the attaining of the possibility of actualization or non-actualization is meaningfully possible.

For example, consider cereal. Given an infinite number of cereals (or even only one), I can choose to eat cereal; choose to not eat cereal; choose which kind of cereal to eat (if there are more than two, of course); etc.

In this sense, no matter how limited my choices are (from infinity to one), the choices I make concerning cereal are real, for the actualization and non-actualization of eating cereal, choosing which flavor, refraining altogether--are within my purview.

However, what if there is no cereal whatsoever? One could, I imagine, say that I have a choice concerning cereal--but this position does not follow, for if cereal does not exist, there is no reality in which the actualization or non-actualization of my choosing, eating, or not choosing cereal can attain. But if actualization and non-actualization are requisite to my choice, a scenario in which the possibility of either of these is removed is also a scenario in which I make no choices concerning cereal. In short, if cereal does not exist in an ontologically meaningful way to me, there is no way in which the question of "choice" can be applied to it.

(This is why, not surprisingly, I cannot philosophically countenance Calvinism, compatibalism, or their type, simply because the issue of actualization and non-actualization of choice is deprived of God and humanity per the eternal decrees of God...but I digress).

Therefore, from my perspective, to question whether a choice is "real" or not is non-sequitur, for an "unreal" choice would require that the aformentioned possibility of actualization and non-actualization are removed from the equation. However, if this is the state of things, a "choice" has ceased being a "choice." Therefore, "real" choices are the only choices, and the "unreality" of a choice lacks meaningful existence and is therefore not the subject of questioning.

 
At Monday, April 09, 2007 5:47:00 AM, Blogger Leo said...

Fascinating! Am I to understand your position to be that God cannot influence a persons will? For God to act upon a persons will is to deny them a real choice?

If so then what about Jeremiah? Did God deny Jeremiah real choice by telling him that He had consecrated him from the womb? What of Jeremiah's complaints later in the book where he says in 20:9 But if I say, "I will not remember Him Or speak anymore in His name," Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; And I am weary of holding it in, And I cannot endure it.

Jeremiah seems to understand God to be prevailing over his will.

How do you explain this in your construct?

 
At Monday, April 09, 2007 7:37:00 AM, Blogger Exist~Dissolve said...

Fascinating! Am I to understand your position to be that God cannot influence a persons will? For God to act upon a persons will is to deny them a real choice?

No, this is not at all what I am saying. Our wills are influenced by myriad circumstances, situations, etc. on a daily basis. So I am not conjuring an image of some primal, uninfluenced will. The point of what I am saying goes back to the issue of actualization and non-actualization: if the possibility of both of these attaining are not assumed, then the reality of "choice" and "will" are (at least in my philosophical construct) categorically denied.

Therefore, I guess the question is what, exactly, you mean by God "acting" upon the will of a person. I presume that divine interaction would not destroy the possibility of actualization or non-actualization.

If so then what about Jeremiah? Did God deny Jeremiah real choice by telling him that He had consecrated him from the womb? What of Jeremiah's complaints later in the book where he says in 20:9 But if I say, "I will not remember Him Or speak anymore in His name," Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; And I am weary of holding it in, And I cannot endure it.

Jeremiah seems to understand God to be prevailing over his will.

How do you explain this in your construct?


I still don't understand your usage of "real choice"--how would you understand a choice that is not real?

But I digress. In re: the example of Jeremiah, I do not see that actualization and non-actualization have been removed. While Jeremiah may find himself in circumstances that are undesirable, it does not seem that he is unable to act apart from these circumstances. After all, if his calling is "consuming" him, could he not reject God and die? Would God prevent the self-termination of Jeremiah's existence?

That Jeremiah could complain would seem to validate my discussions about the relatedness of actualization and non-actualization to the nature of "choice," for if these considerations were absent, there would be no grounds for complaint. Moreover, if God's will is the primal and exclusive will under discussion, one would have to conclude that Jeremiah's complaints issue from the delight and design of the indelibility of the divine will, rather than from Jeremiah's discomfort with his existential circumstances.

In my mind, placing such caprice in the divine will is much more terrible and unpalatable than assuming that humans, created in the image of a 'willing' God, would share a manner of correspondence to the same.

 
At Monday, April 09, 2007 8:14:00 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

Leo, the cases of Judas and Jeremiah being chosen for certain purposes are quite different from the choice of salvation...IMVHO.

Leo: "Did the Holy Spirit when He inspired David know that Judas would make the decision to betray Christ? 1000 or so years prior to Judas's birth?"

I see this in one of two ways (or even a mixture of both), but I'm not sure which is correct.

1) Absolutely, God foreknew that Judas would make the decision to betray Jesus. God is omniscient.

2) Or God handpicked Judas and used Judas' own evil heart to carry out His plan.

Or it could be a mixture of both.

I don't know exactly how it came about, but I can see that God had a plan for the crucifixion of Jesus. He knew that Judas would never be saved because of Judas' heart and either directly caused Judas to betray Jesus or he put people in Judas' path and his own evil nature concocted the rest.

Either way, I believe that it was known to God that Judas would never be a true believer. Not because God made Judas evil, but that Judas made himself evil.

My main point is that Judas still had a "real" choice in terms of his salvation. The bible is very clear on the point of salvation. Man must believe. Nowhere does it state that God causes a man to believe.

As for his choice in matters of the Jesus' crucifixion his choice was to be evil in his ways which God used his evilness against Judas and to bring about His plan.

Leo: "Was Jeremiah’s choice to be a prophet a real choice?
Jeremiah 1:4 Now the word of the LORD came to me saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations."

Was Jeremiah's choice real if God consecrated him to the office of Prophet prior to Jeremiah's birth?
"

Here again, I believe there is a difference in choice of service and choice of salvation.

I believe God convinced Jeremiah that he could, with the help of the Lord, be His prophet. God basically said he would do it or else. I do believe that God foreknew that Jeremiah would be a believer. I don't believe that God MADE Jeremiah believe.

God is sovereign and these are examples of His sovereignty. Again, I see nowhere in the bible where God sovereignly chooses one's salvation for NO APPARENT reason. The reason one is chosen for salvation has always been belief. And that belief is sprung from a man's heart through the power of the Holy Spirit through conviction. If our hearts are wicked we won't allow that conviction to take hold and believe the Lord. (Mark 4)

I believe the reason God exhorts us to raise our children in His ways is because it matters how a person is raised in helping to shape and mold a person and his beliefs.

Look at our own country. The more we allow filth and ungodliness to prevail the culture becomes wicked and Godless. God allows this because we've disobeyed Him. When you raise up children in His ways and put the fear of God into them they usually grow up to be Godly people. Once you start allowing compromise that compromise spreads like wildfire. A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

I agree that sometimes we don't have a choice in certain matters, but never in the matter of salvation. That is what the bible teaches. From Adam on down.

Dead does not mean incapable. If it did, Christians would not be capable of sinning.

Do you not see the distinction the bible lays out between God's choosing for salvation and His choosing for service?

 
At Monday, April 09, 2007 8:42:00 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

E-D "I suspect that with all of us, our presuppositional frameworks tend to be quite self-justifying. Very few are capable of discourse outside of these boundaries (myself included), not because of ill-will or obstinacy, but merely because such is the nature of presuppositions. That is, if they weren't self-justifying, they wouldn't be very effective in the pursuit of knowledge."

Well, it's been my experience that most (though not all) Calvinists did not believe they were chosen for no apparent reason until someone convinced them that they were. Some it has taken 10 years for them to completely accept TULIP.

I have to agree that their arguments seem compelling until you look at them very, very closely. I believe that the intellectualism of Calvinism is the draw for many people.

Definitions must be changed and scripture is taking grossly out of context to make their arguments seem to work. That is not to say that non-Calvinists are always correct in their interpretations because they are not. Somehow Calvinists believe that a scripture must stand alone. I'm still at a loss on that one.

 
At Monday, April 09, 2007 8:43:00 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

E-D, no need to apologize. I did not think you rude! :-)

You are always welcome here.

 
At Monday, April 09, 2007 8:52:00 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

E-D "I do not see that actualization and non-actualization have been removed. While Jeremiah may find himself in circumstances that are undesirable, it does not seem that he is unable to act apart from these circumstances. After all, if his calling is "consuming" him, could he not reject God and die? Would God prevent the self-termination of Jeremiah's existence?"

I can agree with you on this. I see that Jeremiah is in torment at times with what he is having to do and how the people are treating him. I think it could boil down to Jeremiah's developed conscience not allowing him to forsake the task which God has thrust upon him. Just like we as Christians sometimes wish we could fill the desires of our flesh, but our consciences along with our submission to the Spirit won't allow it. We're sometimes in torment over it until we are finally able to cast off those imaginations whatever they are. Mine is my tongue sometimes. It's hard for me, at times, not to lash back at someone who has lashed out at me.

 
At Monday, April 09, 2007 10:50:00 AM, Blogger Exist~Dissolve said...

I can agree with you on this. I see that Jeremiah is in torment at times with what he is having to do and how the people are treating him. I think it could boil down to Jeremiah's developed conscience not allowing him to forsake the task which God has thrust upon him.

Yes, good thoughts. I think an even more poignant example would be Christ in the garden. I simply cannot believe that his torment was a facade. Unless the actualization and non-actualization of his continuing in the Father's will (or forsaking it) were a meaningful possibility, I fail to see what the point of it was.

Now some may balk at this and question how it is possible that Jesus could have "failed" in his divine mission. I would simply respond that atonement, forgiveness and reconciliation are always risky, even for the God/human.

Christ was justified in the resurrection by the Father not simply because of who he was (as the God/human), but rather because in the face of human violence, hatred and enmity, Christ alone was faithful to do the Father's will. Thus he was granted the newness of life in resurrection, a life that we can share in by participating within his faithfulness to the will of God.

 
At Monday, April 09, 2007 12:14:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

E-D "Now some may balk at this and question how it is possible that Jesus could have "failed" in his divine mission. I would simply respond that atonement, forgiveness and reconciliation are always risky, even for the God/human."

I actually started to write about Jesus' choice on one of the other blogs and erased it because people may have misunderstood.

But I agree. Jesus was here on earth as both man and God. But He put away His God attributes and operated on the earth as fully man. Everything He did was given Him of the Father. (John 5:19-20)Any healings or knowledge he had about what others were thinking or the condition of their hearts came from the Father. Jesus had a choice whether or not to do the Father's will. He was tempted in all areas as are we yet never once did He sin. I believe it was because He kept up His prayer life and walked in total submission to the Father.

In the garden of Gethsemane, the very thought of His Holy nature having to take on sin caused Him to sweat blood. And I'm sure that the sting of death contributed to that sweating of blood. Jesus even asks the Father to take this cup from Him. But then says, "not my will, but thine be done." He surrendered His will to the Father and the Father strengthened that will. This was all within the sovereignty of the Father.

If I'm wrong, I have no problem with the Father having MADE Jesus/Himself do His will. For He is sovereign.

 
At Monday, April 09, 2007 12:30:00 PM, Blogger Exist~Dissolve said...

But I agree. Jesus was here on earth as both man and God. But He put away His God attributes and operated on the earth as fully man.

I'm not sure that I would say that Christ "put away" his divine attributes, for after all, the truth of the Incarnation is that Christ is not only at once fully human and fully divine, but more poignantly that this is what God in humanity looks like. That is, the reality and power of the divine nature is so infinite and inexplicable that it can be fully manifested in that which is created without any diminution in its nature and power.

Everything He did was given Him of the Father. (John 5:19-20)Any healings or knowledge he had about what others were thinking or the condition of their hearts came from the Father. Jesus had a choice whether or not to do the Father's will. He was tempted in all areas as are we yet never once did He sin. I believe it was because He kept up His prayer life and walked in total submission to the Father.

Yes, I agree. Jesus' sinlessness was based upon his submission to the will of the Father, not an ontological impossibility of sinning.

In the garden of Gethsemane, the very thought of His Holy nature having to take on sin caused Him to sweat blood. And I'm sure that the sting of death contributed to that sweating of blood. Jesus even asks the Father to take this cup from Him. But then says, "not my will, but thine be done." He surrendered His will to the Father and the Father strengthened that will. This was all within the sovereignty of the Father.

This is an interesting point. I will have to think about it a bit more.

If I'm wrong, I have no problem with the Father having MADE Jesus/Himself do His will. For He is sovereign.

I would urge caution on this point. Although Christ is God incarnate, Jesus is not indistinguishably equivalent with the Father. In this sense, Jesus' submission of his will to the Father cannot be equated with the submission of his will to "himself." While we certainly speak of the unity in nature and will of Christ and the Father, from an orthodox perspective we must be careful not to dissolve the distinction in their persons.

I think you are on the right track, though. Good thoughts!

 
At Monday, April 09, 2007 1:24:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

E-D "Although Christ is God incarnate, Jesus is not indistinguishably equivalent with the Father."

Yeah, I know. I do have trouble totally understanding the Trinity and what we will find when we get to Heaven. I don't believe in three Gods (rather I believe in three manifestations of God) and I know that Jesus was God come in the flesh and separate from God. But He was still God.

Everytime I think I understand it enough to explain it, I find that I cannot explain it coherently so I probably really do not totally understand it.

Make sense? :-/

 
At Monday, April 09, 2007 2:07:00 PM, Blogger Exist~Dissolve said...

Yeah, I know. I do have trouble totally understanding the Trinity and what we will find when we get to Heaven. I don't believe in three Gods (rather I believe in three manifestations of God) and I know that Jesus was God come in the flesh and separate from God. But He was still God.

Every time I think I understand it enough to explain it, I find that I cannot explain it coherently so I probably really do not totally understand it.

Make sense? :-/


Yes, I agree that the Trinitarian life of God is difficult to understand, much less explain. I think that is why the church, historically, has tended to speak apophatically about the Triune nature of God, choosing to define th Trinity more by what God is not (i.e., not 3 Gods or 3 manifestations), rather than attempting to speak propositionally about what God is.

As to the nature of the Trinity, it is best, IMO, to speak of the Trinity as three persons in one nature, rather than as "manifestations." Many of the trinitarian heresies of the ancient church used language that bordered on that of "manifestation."

(I am not saying you are a heretic!)

 
At Monday, April 09, 2007 3:35:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

E-D "As to the nature of the Trinity, it is best, IMO, to speak of the Trinity as three persons in one nature, rather than as "manifestations." Many of the trinitarian heresies of the ancient church used language that bordered on that of "manifestation.""

Thanks for the warning. I'll try to keep that in mind.

I just visited your site. How do you get that juke box? I want one. To play my own collection of music, do I have to have a separate site?

 
At Monday, April 09, 2007 3:41:00 PM, Blogger Exist~Dissolve said...

I just visited your site. How do you get that juke box? I want one. To play my own collection of music, do I have to have a separate site?

Thanks for visiting!

I actually downloaded that from somewhere that I cannot remember. However, I still have the original flash file and I could send it to you, if you'd like (it is an open-source project).

Unfortunately, you would have to have your own site...

 
At Monday, April 09, 2007 4:16:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

E-D, have I understood you correctly in that you believe there is no heaven or hell? And that we dissolve into nothingness?

 
At Monday, April 09, 2007 4:22:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

I forgot to say that your site is really nice looking. I guess you know that most of your entries are not available? Or maybe you don't. The titles were interesting.

I did a right click on the juke box and it took me to their site so you don't need to send it, but thanks for the offer.

I'll be away from the computer for a while. Gotta run some errands.

 
At Monday, April 09, 2007 5:47:00 PM, Blogger Exist~Dissolve said...

Doh!

Blogger is pointing to the wrong host name.

If you simply type in "existdissolve.com", all the links should work.

Thank you for your kind compliments!

 
At Tuesday, April 10, 2007 10:54:00 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

Rose: "Does this mean you don't believe in suffering hell for eternity? Or ... am I totally misunderstanding what you are saying?"

E-D "Well, it depends upon what you mean by suffering. I do not believe that people will be retributively punished by God for eternity--that would necessitate that justice as violence and retribution be a part of the eternal ontology of God. Moreover, it would terminate in God being held hostage forever by sin and evil, simply by virtue of being under necessity to punish it eternally. Therefore, the only "suffering" that I understand as awaiting those who refuse to be reconciled to God is the attendant suffering that comes from being separated from God--an unrelenting devolution into dissolution and non-being."

Matthew 18:8 "Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire."

Mark 9:43-44 "And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched."

Matthew 13:42 "And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

What do these scriptures mean to you?

 
At Tuesday, April 10, 2007 6:22:00 PM, Blogger Leo said...

Wow one misses alot when gone for a day or two!

E-D: By real choice I was referring to what I understood to be the position of those who deny Election et.al as understood by so-called Calvinists. I would see this as humans beings making a choice for Christ minus the so-called doctrine of irresistible grace. Hence the choice was not predetermined but "free" or "real"


Dawn in response to your Monday, April 09, 2007 9:14:00 AM comment, I agree that your position on Judas and Jeremiah are legitimate interpretations of scripture. My point was to show precedent for God electing prior to ones birth.

I would never say that God forced someone to believe against their will. The Calvinist position is that the Holy Spirit makes Christ irresistible to the sinner.

As you perhaps recall I hold to the antinomy position of Packer. I believe that choice is real yet I believe that God elects one to salvation. One does not become a Christian until faith is placed in Christ. This in my thinking is a mystery that our finite minds cannot comprehend. I suppose the Trinity is another such case in point.

 
At Tuesday, April 10, 2007 7:36:00 PM, Blogger Exist~Dissolve said...

E-D: By real choice I was referring to what I understood to be the position of those who deny Election et.al as understood by so-called Calvinists. I would see this as humans beings making a choice for Christ minus the so-called doctrine of irresistible grace. Hence the choice was not predetermined but "free" or "real"

I guess I'm still a bit confused. According to the understanding of actualization and non-actualization that I have outlined, I'm not entirely sure how the category of "predetermined" and "choice" are meaningfully related in that the potential of actualization or non-actualization would seem to presuppose contingent factors attaining reality.

 
At Tuesday, April 10, 2007 11:18:00 PM, Blogger Exist~Dissolve said...

Matthew 18:8 "Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire."

Mark 9:43-44 "And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched."

Matthew 13:42 "And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

What do these scriptures mean to you?


To me they mean that being severed from relationship with God is a truly disastrous existential situation in which to find oneself. As before, I do not necessarily see these passages as talking about "hell" as retribution and punishment, but rather as an excruciating state of being in which one is merely preserved in life, but never tasting the fullness thereof.

I wrote a song about this, actually, and this is how I lyrically describe my view:

"Imagine a lifetime...with no time.
And separation without a space in between.
To stand right next to life, and yet still die;
To be sustained, but never fulfilled."

That is how I understand hell. It is not retribution, nor punishment, but rather the torment of persisting ever in state of enmity towards God. At one moment, one despises God with one's whole being, yet in the same moment one burns for reconciliation with God. It is this perpetual conflict, I believe, that will torment those who do not desire to be reconciled with God but will for an eternity persist in seeking to establish their own being over and against their very source of existence.

I realize this is somewhat ethereal, and perhaps difficult to conceptualize (because of my phrasing, not any lack on your end). Nonetheless, I hope that you get the gist of what I am saying!

 
At Wednesday, April 11, 2007 6:30:00 AM, Blogger Leo said...

E-D,

From whom do you draw the concepts of actualization and non-actualization?

 
At Wednesday, April 11, 2007 8:05:00 AM, Blogger Exist~Dissolve said...

From whom do you draw the concepts of actualization and non-actualization?

I don't know that I could place my finger on the individual thinker. Back in grad school, I did a lot of work on the issue of omnipotence (which naturally leads to this discussion), and the most convincing arguments that I saw flowed along the lines of "actualization" and "non-actualization," the freedom of the will being defined in the context of the ability of certain contingent events attaining or not attaining reality.

While I don't know that I would affirm the whole of his thought, my views have definitely been framed (whether positively or negatively) by Plantiga and Hartshorne in re: God's omnipotence in relation to human will.

 
At Wednesday, April 11, 2007 1:06:00 PM, Blogger Leo said...

E-D,

I found some information the net relating to Plantinga and the human will debate. Looks like I'll have to do some reading on this to understand atleast in general this perspective.

 
At Wednesday, April 11, 2007 3:07:00 PM, Blogger Exist~Dissolve said...

I found some information the net relating to Plantinga and the human will debate. Looks like I'll have to do some reading on this to understand atleast in general this perspective.

Let me look through some old grad school papers---there was a book of collected articles on this subject that is a very good, yet very brief introduction to this subject.

Also, in re: Hartshorne, I would definitely recommend his "Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes". This is a good introduction to many of the categories involved in the discussion.

 
At Wednesday, April 11, 2007 9:41:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

I do plan to respond to these comments, but I don't know exactly when that will be. Hopefully tomorrow.

 
At Wednesday, April 11, 2007 10:18:00 PM, Anonymous selahV said...

Dawn: hello, a friend of mine emailed your link.
I know a couple of 5-point Calvinists who no longer adhere to those doctrines. Peter Lumpkins and Richard Coords--both very great apologists in this stream of thinking.
Excellent post. Succinct and kindly delivered. Very commendable indeed. selahV

 
At Thursday, April 12, 2007 7:59:00 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

Hi Selahv! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. And thanks for the complement.

I've seen Peter Lumpkins around, but I don't remember where and I don't remember the content of his posts. To my knowledge, I've not seen any of Richard Coords posts. I'll have to seek them out in the blogosphere. Thanks for the heads up.

I've taken a peek at your site and hope to peruse it in the very near future.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home