- This question was emailed to me, and I thought some others might be also interested to comment: Ezek 18:23 says, Do I take any pleasure in the death of theMessage 1 of 4 , Nov 1, 2005View Source
This question was emailed to me, and I thought some others might be also interested to comment:
Ezek 18:23 says, Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?
Deut 28:63 says, And as the Lord took delight in doing you good and multiplying you, so the Lord will take delight in bringing ruin upon you and destroying you.
so, in one sense, God does not delight in the death of the wicked and in another sense, he does.
the comments in various internet pages and on line commentaries are absolutely pathetic, going into double and triple wills and confusion reigns supreme (not the least with God himself).
so, i would be most grateful if you … could share your thoughts on this matter and i would be most interested to hear how you explain this paradox.
specifically focus on what scripture means by 'delight' and 'pleasure' and in what sense these words may be used.
note here, i am not implying there is no solution or even that i think the solution is difficult - i am most interested in how the solution should best be expressed.
- ... There are a few ways to respond without making God schizophrenic. The first is that this was spoken to God s backslidden covenant community. If God wasMessage 2 of 4 , Nov 19, 2005View Source
> Ezek 18:23 says, Do I take any pleasure in the death ofThere are a few ways to respond without making God schizophrenic.
> the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I
> not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?
The first is that this was spoken to God's backslidden covenant
community. If God was telling pagans this it would be completely
different. For instance, I think a pastor can tell his congregation
that God loves them and intends that they should repent of their sin
instead of dying. However, one can't just tell anyone off the
street this. If one makes a confession of faith and binds himself
to the church through membership, it is assumed he is a believer and
one of God's children. Even children can commit sins unto death if
they do not repent.
The second is that God could be speaking here of his presecriptive
will, as opposed to his declarative will. That is, God does not
will that any should murder. Or that any should steal. Yet people
still do. It can be legitimately said that God is pleased when
people keep his commandments (that is he blesses them), and
displeased when people break them (that is, he curses them).
However, this does not make God all emotional. I take such language
as speaking of his will, that he will bless them or curse based on
whether they break the commandments or not. In general, I think a
firm distinction between God's prescriptive will and declarative
will would clear up all of the confusion on the topic in general...
However, in regards to this specific passage, I prefer a third
view. The context of the whole chapter and chapters around it is
that of the civil law. God did not give the civil law to kill
everyone with the magistrates sword. The purpose of the civil law
is to deter people from sin. In fact, it seems to me, with this
passage giving evidence, that criminals could repent and get a
lesser penalty from the judge. Gary North argues such in his Tools
of Dominion, that the penalties in the civil law are maximum
penalties. Only in the case of murder Must one be put to death. An
adulterer or whoever could repent and receive a lesser penalty. If
they don't repent, are cold hardened repeat offenders, give 'em the
chair (or the ax, or stones, or whatever).
Let me know what ya'll think...
- ... firstly, thank you Travis for posting. i am not sure i find your explanations entirely satisfactory though. perhaps you need to clarify a couple of things.Message 3 of 4 , Nov 21, 2005View Source--- In GHClark_List1@yahoogroups.com, "travisfentiman"
>firstly, thank you Travis for posting. i am not sure i find your
> > Ezek 18:23 says, Do I take any pleasure in the death of
> > the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I
> > not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?
explanations entirely satisfactory though.
perhaps you need to clarify a couple of things.
for instance, what do you mean by 'prescriptive will' as opposed
to 'declarative will'. the eg's. you cite suggest this is a
reference to the 'presriptive will' in the widely accepted use as
the 'law of God' or the '10 commandments'; but your use of
declarative will seems to suggest s reference to the 'permissive
will' of God (i believe this is how the term is most commonly used).
this raises an interesting issue; namely are there in fact multiple
wills of God and in what sense? ie. is there a Decretive
Will,Permissive Will,Prescriptive Will, Desiderative Will? and in
i believe God has only 1 'will' in the sense of volition - his so
called decretive will (sovereign secret will if you like).
thus, God permits nothing but in fact is the first cause of all
things including sin, death, calamity, evil etc etc. otherwise the
concept of sovereignty would be impossible to uphold.
there is equivocation over the term 'will' when is comes to the law
of God. the Bible uses the term will to sometimes
mean 'commandments' and sometimes to mean the 'sovereign volition of
GOd' to bring about whatsoever comes to pass. in 1 JOhn 2:17 'will'
is used in the sense of 'commandments' but in Phil 2:13 it is God's
sovereign 'will' which is described.
to use your eg. "God does not
> will that any should murder. Or that any should steal. Yetpeople
> still do." here God commands that people ought not to steal etc.but h's sovereign will for them is that they do in fact sin.
ultimately he is the first cause of their sin, but there are
numerous other secondary, tertiary, quaternary etc causes ultimately
with man being the immediate cause of sin. here, the normative does
not imply the imperative. what God commands and what he sovereignly
wills to come about are not identical.
> The For instance, I think a pastor can tell his congregation
> that God loves them and intends that they should repent of their
> instead of dying. :"i find this explanation makes more sense i think. just as in 2 Pet
3:9 the reference to God's 'not willing that any should perish'
pertains to the elect, Ezk 18 is addressed to 'God's people' in
general. obviously not all the genetic children of Israel were the
spiritual seed of Israel, but not all the members of the church in 2
Pet were the elect either.
>would you mind clarifying how you think this concept relates to the
> "God did not give the civil law to kill
> everyone with the magistrates sword. The purpose of the civil law
> is to deter people from sin. "
verse under discussion?
- Yeah, let me clarify a few things... I think I agree with you, Darren, on most of what you say. I was brief in my last posting hoping that people wouldMessage 4 of 4 , Nov 22, 2005View SourceYeah, let me clarify a few things...
I think I agree with you, Darren, on most of what you say. I
was brief in my last posting hoping that people would interpret what
I said in the most reasonably favorable light possible... It saves
a lot of time to "believe all things" (1 Cor. 13) :o)
Let me expand the topic to cover new ground...
Of course there is the issue with the free offer of the gospel,
and that done "sincerely" (whatever that might mean)...
Its interesting that God commands us to believe on Him. Christ
also commands everyone to repent and believe the Gospel, as do the
apostles, prophets and so forth. These are clear imperative
commands. This seems to be implicit in the first commandment as
This means that repentance is part of God's
preceptive/prescriptive/imperative will. We are also commanded to
buy of God without money (Isa. 55). I am not sure the Gospel is
infact offered at all. Rather, it is commanded. There are passages
which speak of "if any man...", in this sense the gospel is
But what I am getting at is that God wills that no man should
murder and is "mad" when they do, and "happy" when they don't.
Likewise, God wills that all men should repent (he commands it), and
is "happy" when they do, and "mad" when they don't... Of course
even this madness is a subset of God's decretive will and
essentially means that God curses such people and does bad things to
Can Limited-Atonement-ers not say without guilt or fear that God
wills that all men repent in the sense that he commands all men
everywhere at all times to do so?
A note on God's love:
Of course there are the passages which tell us to love our
enemies just as God does and brings the rain and sunshine upon
I take this as doing actions which are considered loving (even if
it is heaping hot coals on their heads). This makes common grace
equivelent with God's general benevolence during this probationary
period on earth... which will all immediately end when Christ
returns and we enter into the eternal state. So it seems to
me "love" can be used for outward actions and so forth. The same
_may_ go for "I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth..."
Had not God repeatedly over and over condescended and made attempts
at trying to gather the chicks under the mother hen's wings? Had he
not constantly and persistently commanded them to turn from their
wicked way, and graciously sent prophets to say such? Cannot these
actions be legitimately spoken of anthropaphistically
as "love", "pleasure" and so forth? (even though God actions hates
them, and is in fact "loving" those whom he hates in giving them
time to repent...
> > "God did not give the civil law to killlaw
> > everyone with the magistrates sword. The purpose of the civil
> > is to deter people from sin. "the
> would you mind clarifying how you think this concept relates to
> verse under discussion?For the civil context of Eze. 18, see verses 7,8,17,20 and so
forth. Deut. says that the son shall not die for the father's
_crime_ just as Eze. 18 says. However the fathers _moral_ sins do
in fact come upon the children...
However the context may be that of moral sins, I am not sure. If
the son forsakes the moral sins of the father, then the fathers
moral sins will not be covenantally imputed to the son. Though
judgement was being reserved up for the fathers and would naturally
come against the following generations (as all sin must be dealt
with, or forgiven), when the following generation repents, and does
righteously then those previous sins which were being stored up are
My point in all of these is that, while our theology needs to be
clear and precise, the Bible speaks variously, using different
senses of words, and I think hardened calvinists such as ourselves
need to use Biblical language in its varying senses, and of course
recognize in what way scripture uses that language...