Re: [christian-philosophy] Re: The fall
- Hello Harvest,
> but I feel scripture can be used as the most effectiveI am amazed that people on this list are so adverse to logical thinking.
> argument over any kind of logic or assumptions.
Logic is synonymous with clear thinking. It seems to me from this
statement and others like it, that people pit logic *against* Scripture,
and this is surely unclear thinking in and of itself. If we have good
logic, it simply means that when we argue then the conclusions that we
make actually do follow from the premisses we select for the argument.
Logic is empty and void without premisses. The source for these
premisses is experience, feelings, memories, beliefs, knowledge, etc.
and yes, Scripture. Therefore, to pit logic against Scripture is to be
illogical - i.e. unclear in our thinking since we make a category
When you argue your position. It must both be logical and it must be
Scriptural. Moreover, there are implications to our interpretations of
Scripture. Sometimes we interpret incorrectly and the result is that our
conclusions based on the premisses are absurd (as in the case of your
position). The problem may not be in the logic (though there may be
that), but the problem then is in our interpretation. You cite many
passages to support your view, but you do very little exegesis to
support your interpretation which is unfortunate.
> Scripture should beOf course. No one has argued contrary to this. For some reason you think
> our primary source of exegis.
my analysis of your position is coming from some source other than
Scripture. This is a false assumption. I simply take what *you* say, and
show you, if I am correct, how incoherent your thought is, how incorrect
your interpretation must be and what that incorrect interpretation
logically entails, etc.
> I believe in comparing scripture withOf course the hermeneutical principle of interpreting Scripture with
> scripture with the starting point of the testimony of Jesus.
Scripture is wise. But there are other hermeneutical principles that
must apply as well. Often you seem to ignore these or are simply unaware
> See myIf you have something pertinent to say regarding our discussion, please
> post on Interpreting scripture that deals with that.
re-iterate it and show how it applies. Even if it means cutting and
> At this time,IGrammar is very important. You have seen that simply missing the word
> will go over some of the points of your reply. Please excuse my
> grammar and at the times the awkward way I use my wording. I will try
> to become more efficient and effective in this matter.
'by' changes the meaning of something entirely. I appreciate your effort
in this matter.
> Also I will beNo need to be brief. Just clear.
> For more scriptual references and arguments,see my postActually, if you think something applies directly to our current
> Calvinism is not the answer.
> Also my post on The way to be saved is
> very helpful even though it is not a treatise on Calvinim or
> Arminism,it pretty much illustrates the concept of total depravity
> within the context of Gods general calling from scripture without
> going into specific explanation or exegis.
discussion, please include it. I spend enough time in analyzing specific
posts that I do not have the time to go hunting and analyzing more
posts. So, instead of pointing me somewhere else, instead of deflecting
my criticism, please address it directly. Deal with the analysis and
bring to bear whatever you wish against it as you deem appropriate.
> I said:Ok, but you are contradicting yourself as your entire thesis ultimately
> The fall left mankind in total helpless state like Rich indicates.
> Free will is not a percusor to salvation.
> I meant that salvation cannot come from the will of man.It is because
> of the fall of man. It produced total depravity with inability to
> overcome it.(John 1:13 KJV) Which were born, not of blood, nor of
> the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
boils down to salvation coming from the will of man, my previous post,
the part you haven't addressed deals with this.
> If you see some of my other post on this group,you will see II have not seen any of your other posts - at least since the time I've
> acknowlege that there are different theological systems under the
> name Arminism which some actually believes pretty close to where I
> stand which would make me an Arminian.
stumbled into this group, none of your posts seemed to grab my
> In this post I am usingThe term is Arminianism.
> classic Arminism from Jacob Arminius in reference to the arguments
> used which caused the reformers to produce the TULIP acronym at the
> Council of Dort.
> A lot of mainsream evangelicals today follow prettyYes, and unfortunately they and you have severed their links to the
> much what was proposed by Jacob Arminius except on perserverence of
> the saints.
Reformation. Since this is not a Reformed view.
> I deviate from these modern evangelicals on the conceptWhat do you mean 'your limited depravity comes from a divine source'? Do
> of depravity being limited or total. Classic Arminianism is limited
> depravity.Mine is total but I know you would argue it is limited
> since the effect comes out the same. My limited depravity comes from
> a divine source. Since it is not originated in man,I call mans
> depravity total.
you mean by it that the depravity *actually* comes from a divine source
or do you mean that your view of depravity comes from a divine source? I
suspect it is the latter. If so, we can claim that any teaching we take
from the bible is from a divine source. But does this mean that it
somehow *must* be therefore true? Of course not. Many people interpret
the Scriptures incorrectly. It is therefore possible, that *we*
interpret it incorrectly. Therefore to claim that an idea is from a
divine source, is not to claim that the idea is divine. And so it is
pretty much irrelevant.
> I am not talking of the entire teachings of John Calvin but amUnderstood. It is easy to make a broad stroke and alienate people you
> talking of the subject of soteriology through not the direct
> teachings of John Calvin but from the TULIP acronym proposed in the
> next century.
may not be wishing to alienate.
> Sorry for my grammar. I should of included "by" since that is what IYes, but all we have of what you mean is what you say.
> The other group was not that specific in grammar and I need toWe all need to be very careful in our grammar, definitions, logic and
> adjust to that.
interpretation of Scripture (exegesis). I count myself in that group.
> As far as not using "by" on the life of Christ,I doWhat you said originally was: "Salvation is the life of Christ." What
> not apologize for that.
senses of 'is' are there? Well, there is one that comes immediately to
mind and that is of equivalence. That:
(1) Salvation = the life of Christ
This is reductionism. If this is correct then you are reducing a complex
thing into *one* thing, the life of Christ. Now, if this is how you use
'is', then anywhere we can use salvation, we must be able to use 'the
life of Christ'. So let's see what happens to this proposition:
(2) Salvation comes through the life of Christ
(3) The life of Christ comes through the life of Christ
Well, obviously this says nothing of value and hence it cannot be
Perhaps, though, you mean that the life of Christ, is the *ground* for
our salvation. That it is because of His obedience, and so in this sense
it is *because of*, or *as a result of* His life, that we can receive
salvation. Well, then in this sense I could agree that salvation is the
life of Christ. But, that is not to say that it is *only* His life that
provides the ground for our salvation. Indeed it is absolutely
*necessary* that His entire life, death *and* resurrection be taken into
account in order for anyone to be saved.
So what do you add to the argument now? Well you quote Romans 5:10, and
2 Timothy 2:10 and conclude that:
> The salvation that was IN,not by, Christ JesusWell I never argued it could not be *in* Christ. I simply said, "...some
may have argued that salvation comes *by* or through Grace..." I have
not discounted other copulas that may join salvation and Christ. I have
not mimimized the complexity between salvation and Christ. The only
problem I had was that you seemed to equate the two, and if true, that
criticism still stands.
You then continue:
> (1 John 5:11 KJV) And this is the record, that God hath given to usI was not arguing against this idea. Of course our salvation is grounded
> eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
> Eternal life or salvation in his Son
in His Son. But it is not equal to His life. It simply means that our
inheritance, eternal life, is found in His Son and nowhere else.
> (1 John 5:12 KJV) He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hathYou are saying that 1 John 5:12 says:
> not the Son of God hath not life.
> He that hath the Son has eternal life or salvation because the life
> of Christ is salvation.
(4) The life of Christ is salvation
(5) Therefore he that has the Son has eternal life.
Unfortuantely, this is typical of your usage of Scripture. It does not
say (4) anywhere in this passage. Indeed the passage, including v.11 is:
"And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life
is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son
of God does not have life." (NIV)
(6) God has given us eternal life
(7) The eternal life is in His Son
(8) He who has the Son has eternal life
(9) He who does not have the Son does not have eternal life.
Nowhere in this passage is (4) to be found. Perhaps you think it is the
same as saying (7). But what does (7) mean? It means that eternal life
can only be received via the Son. The best that could be said is that:
(10) Anyone that is in Christ has eternal life.
(11) Anyone that is saved has eternal life.
Verse 13 continues and says:
"I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God
so that you may know that you have eternal life."
If you therefore believe in Christ, you may *know* that you have eternal
life. It says nothing about the idea that "The life of Christ is
salvation". If you claim it does, then you will be equivocating on the
word 'life'. In the passage the refrent of life is always 'eternal
life', and not 'the life of Christ.'
> Being saved is not only a standing but a possesion.Absolutely, but a possession of *what* precisely? What does John say we
possess in this passage? We would both say, 'life'. But what kind of
life, Christ's life? No, the term is clear, eternal life, of course.
> (Gen 15:1 KJV) After these things the word of the LORD came untoFirst, I would not dispute that God is a shield. Nor would I dispute
> Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy
> exceeding great reward.
> God is thy shield or salvation. In psalms it states God is our
> salvation manifold times. This salvation is in the life of Christ
> that dwels in us.
that God is, in a sense, my salvation (i.e the source of my salvation).
But I *would* dispute your exegesis of this passage. How on earth do you
get that God is 'salvation' from Genesis 15:1?
Second, the issue isn't whether or not salvation is *in* or *by* the
life of Christ. This is a straw man.
Third, how do you get, from Genesis 15 (or even from the Psalter) to
salvation "is in the life of Christ that dwells in us"? This is surely
not found in this particular text. Please show how it is.
> (John 14:6 KJV) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, andFirst, "Life is salvation as seen above" is patently false. You clearly
> the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
> He is the life. When we possess that life,we also have the standing
> of life. Life is salvation as seen above.
read into the passage (1 John 5) that 'life is salvation' when it
clearly states that life's refrent is eternal life.
Second, it is not precisely clear what Jesus means when He says here
that He is the life. Therefore this text cannot be used to show that it
therefore clearly means 'life is salvation'. There are a number of
possible senses this could be taken:
(12) That Jesus is the water of life (John 7:37ff)
(13) That Jesus is the source of eternal life (1 John 5:12)
(14) That Jesus has come to give us life to the full (John 10:10)
Therefore, we cannot unequivocally say that life here is defined in your
So far nothing new.
Then in response to my argument against your dividing the atonement of
Christ, you never did address the argument. Please address the argument:
(15) Jesus' death, without Jesus' resurrection is meaningless.
(16) Jesus' resurrection, without Jesus' death is meaningless.
(17) Therefore, Jesus' death and resurrection cannot be divided.
(18) Therefore, Jesus' atonement cannot be divided.
I'm awaiting your analysis. Perhaps you think you have addressed it with
the citations you mention, but as you will see they do not support your
contention. Therefore the argument stands.
So lets look at what you provide as biblical support for the idea that
the death of Christ and resurrection can be divided:
> (Rom 4:25 KJV) Who was delivered for our offences, and was raisedFirst, no one argued that there are 'no distinctions within the
> again for our justification.
> Definite different aspects of the work of Christ. The actual
> salvation or justification is by the resurrection.
atonement'. Indeed it is imperative that we understand the death and the
resurrection as distinct. So yes, they are different aspsects of the
work of Christ. But this does not prove that one or the other (death or
resurrection) can be applied to one who is not saved and one who is
saved. Therefore this adds nothing to your defense.
Second, here again you use Scripture to try to support your position
instead of reading the Scripture for what it says. Romans 4:23-25 says:
"The words "it was credited to him" were written not for him alone, but
also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness-for us who believe in
him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to
death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification." (NIV)
Who is it that receives the benefits of Christ's being delievered over
to death and being raised to life for our justification? Well the
context is clear, "for us... for us who believe in him". Therefore to
use this passage to support an idea that the death of Christ can be
applied to someone who is not saved is incorrect.
> (Rom 5:1 KJV) Therefore being justified by faith, we have peaceYes, something is by faith. What? Justification - being forensically
> with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
> (Rom 5:2 KJV) By whom also we have access by faith into this grace
> wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
> It is by faith. A person who does not have faith in Christ is not
> justified or saved...
declared to be not guilty. Therefore we are justified by faith. No
problem. Yes, a person who does not have faith in Christ is not
justified or saved. Correct.
> ... even though he is reconciled and his sins taken asSo what are you claiming here? It appears to me that you are saying:
> seen in the next verses:
(19) A person can have no faith (not be justified, not be saved) but he
can still be reconciled and have his sins taken away
That sounds quite dubious to say the least. Let us see where you get
this idea from. It is unfortunate that you make citations and assume
that each passage somehow clearly shows your position. What you need to
do is show why you believe it is saying what you think it is saying. In
detail. Anyway, you claim your support is from Romans 5:10. Let us see
what it says:
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace
with God through our Lord Jesus Christ..." (Romans 5:1)
Clearly the Apostle Paul is speaking of people who have been justified -
who are saved. Indeed those who are justified have peace through Christ.
So Paul continues:
"...through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which
we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God." (v. 2)
So we have gained access to salvation through faith. And we (the saved)
are now standing in that grace (and we rejoice). So far we are still
talking about the saved.
"Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know
that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and
character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured
out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."
So we just don't rejoice because of all the lovely things that have
happened to us, be we also rejoice in suffering because we know that it
produces the characteristics that we need and which are good. This is
the process of sanctification. Who are we talking about? Still about
those who have been saved.
"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ
died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man,
though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God
demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners,
Christ died for us." (v. 7-8)
So now what. Well, who is Paul talking about? 'Us' is clearly still
those that have been justified, those who have been saved. Paul argues
that Christ died for those of us who were lost in sin. It's easy, he
says, for someone to die for an apparently good person, but Christ died
for the sinner. He continues:
"Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we
be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's
enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how
much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus
Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation." (v. 9-11)
And now we've finally reached your proof text. Which says what? Well, it
is still talking about those who have been justified. Indeed, Paul makes
this clear and says, "since we have now been justified by his blood..."
So those who have been justified, before they were justified, while they
were God's enemies...while there was no loveliness in them (so that it
may even be expected for someone to die for them if they were lovely),
while this was going on, God saved them - reconciled them through the
Son. What an amazing thing. And if God justified and reconciled them
while they were His enemies, how much more, as His friends, as His
adopted children, will He ensure that we will actually end up being
saved. Therefore be at peace.
All through this entire post Paul speaks of the saved. He does not split
the atonement, he simply says, if God choose to save us while we were
ugly and unlovable, how can we doubt, that now as those He loves and
cherishes, that we would fail to actually be saved.
So now back to your conclusion based on this passage:
(19) A person can have no faith (not be justified, not be saved) but he
can still be reconciled and have his sins taken away
All along Paul has been speaking of those who have been justified.
Therefore you cannot say 'A person can have no faith, not be justified
etc.), when it is clear that in context the referent of 'us' is the
saved. Your support fails. Then you turn to 2 Corinthians 5:19.
> (2 Cor 5:19 KJV) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling theSo? How does this support (19)? All that it says, in verse 17, is that
> world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath
> committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
'if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new
has come!" Moreover, that this reconciliation is from God through Christ
and God gave the Apostle Paul that same ministry to reconcile the entire
world to God. That if they are reconciled to Him, that their sins are no
longer counted against them. That was Paul's mission. This in no way
> (John 1:29 KJV) The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, andThe last verse certainly does not clarify your position. If there is
> saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
> The last verse really clarifies it. It took the sins of the world but
> not all are saved. The reason is salvation is by his life through the
> resurrection by faith which comes by believing the record.
another sense of 'world' that is possible, then the best that it can be
for your position is questionable, and the worst is that it is false. If
I say to you that the entire world is against me, what do I mean? Am I
not speaking in hyperbole? It seems to me that it was a very appropriate
time for John the Baptist to use hyperbole. Moreover, even if it is not
hyperbole, it can simply mean that Jesus has come to take away the sin
of the world, not in the sense of without exception, but without
distinction. Indeed it was amazing that the Gentiles were to be entitled
to these priviliges.
These passages do nothing to support your thesis. You then quote the
following in defense of your idea that there is a definite work that is
involved in each part of the Gospel:
> (1 John 5:10 KJV) He that believeth on the Son of God hath theWhich was shown to not be the case above.
> witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar;
> because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
> (1 John 5:11 KJV) And this is the record, that God hath given to us
> eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
> (Rom 3:22 KJV) Even the righteousness of God which is by faith ofHow precisely does Romans 3:22 and Galatians 3:22 show so clearly that
> Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no
> (Gal 3:22 KJV) But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that
> the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that
> So there is a definate work that is involved in each part of the
> gospel. This explains as seen above how the sins of the world are
> paid for but yet only few are actually saved. It is the life of
> Christ that gives life. This is through the resurrection by defeating
the atonement can be broken appart and used in the way you describe? I
believe that you need to do some exegesis (show the actual way - in
their context - in which these passages so clearly show that the death
of Christ can be applied to a person who rejects Him and the
resurrection to one who believes in Him). You can't simply cite the
passages and assume we all therefore must agree with you. Work needs to
In any event, your citations do not explain, nor does the above, that
the sins of the world are somehow paid for, and yet only a few are
saved. Nor does it show that the life of Christ give life through the
resurrection only. The atonement *must* be taken as a whole in order for
anyone to be saved, and then it *only* applies, in it's entirety to,
those that are saved.
> I said I would be brief and so far I not. I addressed some of theI don't much care if you are brief or verbose. What I do care is that
> arguments on this post,others are addressed in my other post and in
> Richard U post. He stands exactly where I stand on these issues.He
> also uses a lot of scripture to back his point.I will address one
> other thing though.
you handle the word of truth correctly (which, if my analysis is
correct, you do not). What I do care is that you address the arguments.
If any other posts are applicable, then use them where applicable. It is
irrelevant if Richard stands exactly where you stand. He can be in as
much error as you. The white supremacist groups use a lot of Scripture
to back up their point, your point is?
I have spent too much time on this and it is 3:00am and I need to be up
early. Suffice it to say, for the moment, that your usage of Romans
8:30, 7:17-23, Heb 10:20, John 1:13, Matthew 16:24-25 are also flawed in
the same kind of sense as the passages that you use above. Instead of
reading the passage for what it says, you put what you want it to say in
Another question I have is what do you make of the various passages from OT
and NT where God blinds the eyes and shuts the ears of those in the crowd
that are not supposed to hear the gospel? (A variation on this theme is
Jesus talking in parables and, especially in Mark, repeatedly trying, in
vain, to restrain his disciples from talking to others about the various
miracles he performs.) To me this is one of the most puzzling things. It
seems that these passages are strong evidence of unconditional
election. Those people don't even get the chance to "not-strive." Or is
it simply that, in that particular moment, they are caught up in themselves
to such an extent that they would not be receptive to the word of God, so
God intervenes to keep them from misinterpreting or abusing it, leaving
open the possibility that later they will be in a more receptive mood?]
I agree with you that there are passages informing us that God does not
reveal His truth to everybody. You mentioned the biblical reports on how
Christ forbade people to spread the news about his miracles. However, I do
not think that the reason for Christ's forbidding people to spread news
about His miracles, especially those involving healing, has anything to do
with God "blinding the eyes of people." I think that the reason was rather
that He did not want to be famous (cf. John 6:14-15).
Nevertheless, we do have passages, both in the OT and NT, reporting that
God does not reveal His truth to everybody. In this post I will not deal
with OT-passages, as for instance the case of hardening Pharaoh's heart. If
you are particularly interested with the case of hardening Pharaoh's heart,
please read one section of an article found at:
In this post, I will only deal with relevant passages from the NT. The
passages in question are: (1) Mat 11:25, (2) Mat 13:11-16, and (3) John
12:37-40. Let us take each passage in question. There are two important
questions relevant for the problem: (a) does God darken people's
understanding? and (b) if God hides His truth, not revealing to everybody,
does it imply that God does it unconditionally?
1) MAT 11:25
At that time Jesus answered and said, "I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of
Heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and
prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes."
It is clear that God does not reveal "these things" to everybody, but to
people who are "babes". It does not follow that there are no criteria in
God's choice of people to whom He reveals His truth. Quite on the contrary,
since the text informs us one of those criteria. God does reveal His truth
to those who are "poor in spirit" (cf. Mat 5:3), as "babes" and children.
[The word "babes" can be interpreted in figurative, "spiritual" sense].
People rich with worldly wisdom are obviously not poor in spirit.
THEREFORE, Mat 11:25 does not imply that God hide His truth in an
unconditional manner, but that there are certain criteria for choosing to
whom the truth shall be revealed.
He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the
mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For
whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance:
but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
Therefore speak I to them in parables, because seeing, they see not, and
hearing, they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is
fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith, 'By hearing ye shall hear,
and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive.
For this people's heart has waxed gross, and their ears are dull of
hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see
with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their
heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.' But blessed are
your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear.
There are two questions worth considering: (a) did Christ use parables in
order to obscure His teaching, and (b) does the text inform that God is the
cause of people's blindness?
Christ informed his disciples about the reason for speaking in parables:
"because seeing, they see not, and hearing, they hear not, neither do they
understand." Is Christ's motivation for speaking in parables, therefore, to
hide the secrets of the God's kingdom? Quite on the contrary, since Christ
met people who already lacked understanding. Christ's parables were not
causing their blindness, since they were already blind before He spoke to
them. Rather, Christ used parables in order to convey a moral lesson or
truth in a pragmatic, concrete manner, and in so doing, making His truth
more intelligible. A parable is a story that teaches a moral lesson or
truth. Although it is not factual, a parable is a story that is true to
life, where anyone can understand the content of the story. It is designed
to make one central point by telling one story, and every detail of the
parable will reinforce that main point.
If Christ did want to hide His truth, He could choose, in the first place,
not to teach at all.
However, does not the v. 11 imply that there are mysteries of the God's
kingdom which are revealed only to some chosen? It is said that "to them it
is not given to know the mysteries of God's kingdom." Are there some reason
why it is not given to them to know "the mysteries"? Who is the one who
does not give them this knowledge of mysteries? Is it God? Does the text
answer these questions? I do not think that the text says that God is the
one who makes it hard for people to understand His truth. Let us see the
passage from John 12, which will help us to understand Mat 13:11.
But though He had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not
in Him, that the saying of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he
spoke: "Lord, who hath believed our report? And to whom hath the arm of the
Lord been revealed?" Therefore they could not believe, because as Isaiah
said again: "He hath blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, that they
should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be
converted, and I should heal them."
Reading the Gospel of John, especially chapters V to VIII, we observe that
Jesus is continually using a veiled manner of teaching, and this makes the
book of John difficult to comprehend. (Observe that Christ's veiled manner
of teaching is not in the form of parables). Perhaps it is partly because
of this that misunderstandings have sometimes arisen over a few of the
verses in John 6 (as vv. 44 and 65). They have sometimes been supposed to
have some connection with the election of the church. One may see, however,
that in their context the concern of the references to the Father "drawing
people to Jesus" is with pious Jews at that time. This helps to explain the
paradox that many Jews rejected their own Messiah. They rejected Him
because they had closed their eyes and came neither to Jesus nor to the
Father for explanation of His teaching. (If interested in the
non-Calvinistic interpretation of John 6:44, 65, please look at one section
of an article found at: http://home.chello.no/~akatanov/calvin.htm#john2 )
Later in the Gospel of John we find one reference to the Isaiah 6 passage
quoted in John 12: 37-40. There is a difficulty in interpreting this
passage, for the second of the apostle's quotes does not appear as such in
any of our versions of Isaiah; (notice the fact that the reported quoted
words are not written words of Isaiah, but rather that the quoted reference
is a saying of Isaiah).
Usually it is interpreted that it is God who have blinded their eyes and
hardened their heart. This interpretation has a following problem.
The text says: "He hath blinded (...) I should heal them." Why should it
change from the third person to the first person if God is the subject in
both cases? This might be explained if we adopt another possible
interpretation. In verse 31 of the same chapter John has been talking about
the "Prince of this world." It may be he is the agent who is blinding their
eyes. Some support is given to this view by what is said by Paul in 2 Cor.
3:14 - 4:4,
2 COR 3:14 - 4:4
But their minds were blinded; for until this day the same veil remaineth
untaken away in the reading of the old testament, which veil is done away
with in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is
upon their hearts. Nevertheless, when they shall turn to the Lord, the veil
shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of
the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with uncovered face beholding as
in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from
glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. Therefore, seeing we
have this ministry, as we have received mercy we faint not, but have
renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor
handling the Word of God deceitfully; but by manifesting the truth we
commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. But if our
Gospel be hid, it is hid to those who are lost, whose unbelieving minds the
god of this world hath blinded, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of
Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
To what kind of people did the god of this world blinded their minds? It is
to those who choose not to believe. The blindness in this context is
blindness to the meaning of the prophecies of the old covenant - blindness
to the Messiahship of Jesus. Paul makes it clear, however, that the
blindness does not remove the individual's responsibility in the matter.
They are unable to recognize Jesus as their true Messiah, but the basic
lack in their lives is not insight but repentance. When any of them
repents, when he turns to God, then the Lord will remove the veil; the
flood of enlightenment will come. The cure for blindness is repentance. In
other words, this state of blindness can be cured if they choose to be
sincere in their search for truth. "For every one that asketh receiveth;
and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened
THEREFORE, reading John 12:37-40, we cannot conclude that God is the One
who blinds the minds of people. And this also could help us in
understanding Mat 13:11. "To them it is not given" because the god of this
world had caused their blindness.
There are other spiritual forces and not only God involved in the relation
between God and man. This idea is a theme that goes throughout the whole
Bible. These spiritual forces, variously termed "gods," "angels,"
"principalities and powers," "demons," or, in the earliest strata,
"Leviathan" or some other cosmic monster, can and do wage war against God,
wreak havoc on God's creation and bring all manner of ills upon humanity.
Whether portraying Yahweh as warring against Rahab and other cosmic
monsters of chaos or depicting Jesus as casting out a legion of demons from
the possessed Gerasene, the Bible as well as the early postapostolic church
assumes that the creation is caught up in the crossfire of an age-old
cosmic battle between good and evil. As in other warfare worldviews, the
Bible assumes that the course of this warfare greatly affects life on
earth. (More on the Warfare Worldview, please look at the posts 1261, 1293,
1332 and 1335).