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Predestination is real

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  • bcarldavis@yahoo.com
    If I may dip my foot back into our little pond of tempests, I would like return to Don s assertion that Reformed theology has an inadequate doctrine of God.
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 28, 2001
      If I may dip my foot back into our little pond of tempests, I would
      like return to Don's assertion that Reformed theology has an
      inadequate doctrine of God. The particular problem was that of
      believing that Predestination is more than a kind of myth. I shall
      attempt here to defend the Biblical doctrine.

      --- StAthanasius373@... wrote:
      > <<. The scripture outlines predestination quite
      > clearly and to try and explain it away would be a
      > feet to see and I dare say
      > would also blaspheme to the Holy Spirit.>>
      >
      > The scripture also outlines that the Father has a
      > right hand, feet, nostrils,
      > breath, eyes, and a face, but we know that these are
      > condescensions of a
      > transcendent God to our puny humanity, and not to be
      > taken literally. We also
      > know that since God is transcendent, He is not
      > subject to time, and attempts
      > to pull Him into time by positing a past, present,
      > and future are contrary to
      > His being outside the confines of creation. God
      > decreed NOTHING in the past,
      > because He has no past.

      Asserting with the Apostles of the Lord Jesus that there is such a
      thing as Predestination is completely valid because it is part of our
      obedience to God. It is absurd to imply that God does not understand
      the concept of Predestination and its relation to His creation of
      time. You should confess with me that God knows all that we know
      plus infinitely more. It is also absurd to imply that God was just
      kidding when He inspired His Apostles to teach Predestination. If we
      humans are puny, then we need to submit to the Scriptures when it
      comes to everything, especially doctrine. Predestination is truly a
      mysterious thing, therefore we must believe it as it is taught by the
      Lord's Apostles and Prophets rather than as outlined above.

      Now, Reformed theology does not teach a system in which God has a
      past, or is bound by time, or that God is somehow without His
      liberty. Here is no denial that people may abuse Predestination.
      What is here is a refutation of an ignorant misrepresentation of the
      Reformed, and I dare confess, true Christian doctrine.

      In an attempt to dismiss Predestination because of a supposed
      Reformed misunderstanding of the liberty of God, you really deny
      something about the creation, though you attempt to avoid attributing
      creatureliness to God. Here beckons the true core of the matter. Of
      course, in relation to God Almighty, Predestination is something of
      an anthropomorphism. Even so, it still remains that we do indeed
      have to affirm that God existed before time began as far as we are
      concerned. Yet, Predestination is only SOMEWHAT of anthropomorphism
      because there is no exact human parallel to Predestination. No man
      can claim to have planned out his own future or that of anyone else
      before time was created and also, without possibility of failure,
      bring the plan to pass. Surely that is impossible. If you even want
      to go so far as to deny that God DECREES anything, you are really
      making your own philosophy to stand in priority of God's own
      perfect revelation in the Scriptures. You are not at your leisure to
      submit your intellect and tastes to God's word when it suits you.

      Returning to the core of the matter, we must understand that
      Predestination is really a powerful and humbling affirmation about
      our own creatureliness. For us there is indeed past, present, and
      future. Your attempt to explain away Predestination is actually an
      abortive scheme to escape what God uses it to tell us about His own
      majesty and our own finite nature. Predestination is truly
      mysterious, and we must simply adore the majesty of God in regard to
      it. Properly understanding God's teaching of Predestination, we
      ought to confess that man is subject to the Sovereignty of God.
      Therefore, all human autonomy is categorically excluded. Grace is
      sovereign and human merit is denied, unless it is the merit of our
      Lord Jesus. You will just have beat your breast as must I and plead
      for mercy for our attempts to manipulate God and take some little
      portion of His glory and call it our own. To conclude then, you need
      to SUBMIT to God and accept your creatureliness. This calls for
      nothing short of repentance.

      Brandon
    • StAthanasius373@aol.com
      In a message dated 11/29/01 1:54:03 AM Eastern Standard Time, ... Ahh! Battle! (said while pounding chest)
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 29, 2001
        In a message dated 11/29/01 1:54:03 AM Eastern Standard Time, bcarldavis@... writes:


        If I may dip my foot back into our little pond of tempests, I would
        like return to Don's assertion that Reformed theology has an
        inadequate doctrine of God.  The particular problem was that of
        believing that Predestination is more than a kind of myth.  I shall
        attempt here to defend the Biblical doctrine.  


        Ahh! Battle! (said while pounding chest)

        <<Asserting with the Apostles of the Lord Jesus that there is such a
        thing as Predestination is completely valid because it is part of our
        obedience to God.>>

        Of course you don't think this is ad hominem, because it comes from you. However when I do it to you, that means I am coarse and rude.

        I do not deny that there are many things of life that are determined apart from any decisions made by any particular man. For example, I do not believe that the incarnation was contingent upon mankind falling into sin. The debate here is whether there is an interaction between transcendent deity and the temporal realm, and to what degree. In the coming debate, I will characterize you as being too focused on the "eternal past" so as to relativize or even deny the relavence of what occurs in the temporal realm, and you will characterize me as being too sold into the temporal realm to the exclusion of God's eternal purposes. Both are important and necessary, and must be considered simultaneously. Subjecting one aspect to the other leads to the denial of one so as to exalt the other.

        <<  It is absurd to imply that God does not understand
        the concept of Predestination and its relation to His creation of
        time.>>

        Who would ever say such a thing?

        <<  You should confess with me that God knows all that we know
        plus infinitely more.>>

        It's not that I think God just has a lot of knowledge, but that His knowledge is of an entire different quality and beyond man's ability to even conceptualize adequetely.

        <<  It is also absurd to imply that God was just
        kidding when He inspired His Apostles to teach Predestination.>>

        More ad hominem. The debate over predestination is whether or not God's sovereignty is circumscribed and subjected to the Reformed's concept of predestination, as in an absolute determinism to which all thought and actions are subject. It is here that you will take glee in affirming your "obedience to God's eternal purposes" (as if you had a choice:p). It is your fundamental presupposition that guides all of the other theological and philosophical thoughts that you have. Even God Himself is subject to His own predestination in your thinking, as I will demonstrate later in the post. By definition, this makes His decrees to be god, rather than Himself.

        <<  If we
        humans are puny, then we need to submit to the Scriptures when it
        comes to everything, especially doctrine.>>

        This is another place in which you and I differ. As you say, you submit to scripture, or at least I should say your particular interpretation of it. Scripture becomes a kind of independant deity that man must submit to, and even God Himself becomes constrained and bound by what is written by looking at scripture in this way.
          I submit to God, leaving scripture to be a means that God uses to communicate Himself to us. God does as He pleases, when He pleases, without constraint to written words or alleged eternal decrees.

        <<  Predestination is truly a
        mysterious thing, therefore we must believe it as it is taught by the
        Lord's Apostles and Prophets rather than as outlined above.  >>

        I couldn't agree more, which means we must look at God's eternal purposes not as something independant of the temporal realm that we live in, but interacting with the temporal so as to bring about our union with God.

        <<Now, Reformed theology does not teach a system in which God has a
        past, or is bound by time, or that God is somehow without His
        liberty.  Thzere is no denial that people may abuse Predestination.  
        What is here is a refutation of an ignorant misrepresentation of the
        Reformed, and I dare confess, true Christian doctrine.>>

        It is exactly what the Reformed do. One is decreed to be either elect or reprobate from eternity PAST, to which God's eternal decree for that particular individual is immutable and independant of any action or thought of that person, or even God Himself. The mere presence of "God's eternal decrees" in Reformed theology demonstrates that there is some necessity called *decrees* that constrain BOTH God and man to act in certain ways than either would otherwise like to.

        <<In an attempt to dismiss Predestination because of a supposed
        Reformed misunderstanding of the liberty of God, you really deny
        something about the creation, though you attempt to avoid attributing
        creatureliness to God.>>

        What aspect of creation do I deny?

        <<  Here beckons the true core of the matter.  Of
        course, in relation to God Almighty, Predestination is something of
        an anthropomorphism.>>

        At least you can admit it. So what's the argument? If predestination is an anthropomorphism, then it definitively lies on the temporal side of the temporal-eternal divide. God is uncreated, all else is created. The problem is that the Reformed move predestination into the eternal and uncreated realm and place it in God Himself, making all actions that occur within the temporal realm a function of divine necessity which creatures only can gaze upon as spectators rather than as participants. Luther gazed down this road, and to his credit he turned back because of how the sacraments have an interaction between the temporal and the eternal realms.

        <<  Even so, it still remains that we do indeed
        have to affirm that God existed before time began as far as we are
        concerned.  Yet, Predestination is only SOMEWHAT of anthropomorphism
        because there is no exact human parallel to Predestination.>>

        Wait. If predestination is somewhat of an anthropomorphism, then it can't by definition be a purely divine quality. There is a parallel to Reformed predestination; it's called fate.

        <<  No man
        can claim to have planned out his own future or that of anyone else
        before time was created and also, without possibility of failure,
        bring the plan to pass.  Surely that is impossible.>>

        Amen. There is an interaction occuring in which I do plan certain things, but I am subject to many things beyond my control to bring a planned thing to pass.

        <<  If you even want
        to go so far as to deny that God DECREES anything, you are really
        making your own philosophy to stand in priority of God's own
        perfect revelation in the Scriptures.>>

        Your bluff is hereby called. I do deny that there are eternal decrees that constrain things to occur by necessity. Make your case for how you think that there are decrees revealed in scripture.

        <<  You are not at your leisure to
        submit your intellect and tastes to God's word when it suits you.>>

        More ad hominem.

        <<Returning to the core of the matter, we must understand that
        Predestination is really a powerful and humbling affirmation about
        our own creatureliness.>>

        Who denies their creatureliness?

        <<  For us there is indeed past, present, and
        future.  Your attempt to explain away Predestination is actually an
        abortive scheme to escape what God uses it to tell us about His own
        majesty and our own finite nature.>>

        More ad hominem. For God to have PREdestination, that means you are positing a past, something in God that exists. For God to PREdetermine anything, that means He is at 2 places along a time line; the time that He decreed, and the time after He decreed, which is a pulling of Him from His eternal state into the temporal realm where time is a factor. To you, He is subject to something He did in the past, which robs Him of His soveriegnty. As promised earlier in the post, this is a demonstration of how even God is subject to His own decrees; or more properly said, your anthropomorphized conceptions of Him.

        <<  Predestination is truly
        mysterious, and we must simply adore the majesty of God in regard to
        it.  Properly understanding God's teaching of Predestination, we
        ought to confess that man is subject to the Sovereignty of God.  
        Therefore, all human autonomy is categorically excluded.>>

        Herein lies the problem of how you see mankind. By doing this, even God incarnate is robbed of His autonomy to fit into your scheme. Jesus Christ is said to be forced by necessity to the cross, rather than doing so freely of His own human will.

        <<  Grace is
        sovereign and human merit is denied, unless it is the merit of our
        Lord Jesus.>>

        Your judgement will be by your works, as St. Matthew 25 and St. James 2 makes abundantly clear. What you do has bearing upon your salvation.  

        <<You will just have beat your breast as must I and plead
        for mercy for our attempts to manipulate God and take some little
        portion of His glory and call it our own.>>

        More ad hominem. Who is glorying in themselves? All good comes from God.

        << To conclude then, you need
        to SUBMIT to God and accept your creatureliness.  This calls for
        nothing short of repentance.>>

        More ad hominem. It is you that denies God interacting from His place of transcendence with the temporal realm through things such as material objects. You have imported the pagan philosophy of fate into Christian doctrine, and demanded that the rest of us follow whatever sect you happen to be currently associated with. The Holy Spirit, acting through the Church, has always resisted subjecting Christian doctrine to pagan philosophy.

        Don
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