U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality > Christianity
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
Jump to a detailed profile or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses
Search for:  near: 
 
 
Old 06-25-2010, 06:04 PM
 
12,647 posts, read 6,486,069 times
Reputation: 2152
Default Man's Free Will related to God's Sovereignty and the Divine Decrees

There are certain theological positions that either overemphasize the sovereignty of God, or overemphasize the love of God, and deny the existence of man's volition or free will.

Hyper-calvinism and universalism both distort the essence of God in such ways. Hyper-calvinism is a distortion of calvinism which itself is a heresy. Cavinism basically says that God sovereignly decides to save some and to leave others unsaved, irrespective of man's volition. Hyper-calvinism denies that God calls all men through the Gospel. It denies that fallen man has a responsibility to repent and believe the gospel of God’s grace in Jesus Christ. Further, hyper-calvinism denies that all men should be evangelized. The Hyper-Calvinistic position is that one must not say "Christ died for you" because you can't know whether or not Christ died for the specific person that you would be saying that to. The hyper-Calvinist will say only that "Christ died for sinners" and leave the rest to the Holy Spirit. The thinking being that though all men are sinners, Christ did not die for all sinners. Again, that is heresy.

Christian Universalism, the term itself being an oxymoron, also distorts God's sovereignty, as well as God's love, in the unscriptural belief that God will ultimately save all men, regardless of whether they rejected Christ or not. The idea is that God will give them an opportunity to believe in Christ after they depart this life. The teachings of universalism are contrary to the major doctrines of Christianity and were declared to be heresy by the Council of Constantinople in 543 A.D. Among the various types of so called Christian Universalism is Calvinistic Universalism which combines God's love and sovereignty as the rationale for the belief that God will save all.

It is not my intention to go into detail about these heretical belief systems. They are mentioned only with regard to their denial of man's free will.

It is by God's sovereign decision that man has free will. God's sovereignty and man's volition co-exist in human history. To understand why God gave and honor's man's free will, it us helpful to understand the divine decrees. To make it easier for the finite mind of man to undestand, it is useful to think in terms of the plural 'decrees.' In reality, there was in eternity past one overall decree of God which covers reality in its entirety.

Perhaps the best definition of the Divine decrees was given by Robert B. Thieme Jr. of Berachah Church of Houston TX.

''The decree of God is His eternal, holy, wise, and sovereign purpose, comprehendng at once all things that ever were or will be--in their causes, courses, conditions, successions, and relations--and determining their certain futurition.''

God's omniscience knew from the recesses of the datelessness of eternity past, all things that would ever come to pass. His omniscience recognized all that would ever be a reality, but also knew all the potential alternate realities that might have been, but remained merely potential. In other words, with regard to man's free will, God in His omniscience knew every actual decision of every person in human history, and all of the ramifications of those decisions, with all of the causes and effects that would be involved. Further, the omniscience of God knew all of the potential alternate decisions that every person who would ever live might of made, but did not, and all of the potential results of those alternate decisions had they actually been made. In knowing every decision that every person would ever make, God decreed that those decisions would certainly come to pass. In contrast, since the potential alternate decisions were left in the realm of 'what might of been', God did not decree them. Only that which is reality has been decreed by God.

The divine decrees make certain everything that happens in the universe. God in His sovereignty decided to give both angels and man free will, and He decreed that angelic and human decisions would certainly take place. That includes the decisions that are contrary to His will. In deciding to give man and angels free will, God necessarily had to allow decisions that are contrary to His perfect will, to occur.

God didn't want robots that had no choice. He wanted free will creatures that would respond to Him of their own volition. Everything that the three members of the Godhead do is for their own pleasure as well as for their own glory. Before He created the universe, the members of the trinity co-existed in status quo equality with each other and enjoyed perfect happiness and a perfect relationship with each other. It pleased God to create free will beings known as angels, and to create the universe as a home for them. God had always known the angel which we know by his title of Satan, would rebel and persuade one third of the angels to rebel with Him. It wasn't God's desire for this to happen, but because He honors free will in His creatures, God allowed as a part of His permissive will, for it to happen. And so, He decreed that it would happen. God decreed that it would happen, because in His omniscience He knew that the angels would decide to rebel and so decreed that it would certainly be so. Knowing that this rebellion would occur, God allowed it to happen. And so in the divine decree; and remember that it is one overall decree which comprehends all things which will ever occur and determines their certain futurition, God decreed how He would handle the situation. Therefore, He decreed the existance of another free will creature called man, and decreed that the free will of man would resolve the angelic conflict that came about as a result of the angelic rebellion.

God had sentenced Satan to the lake of fire, but the sentence is not to be carried out until the end of human history. It pleased God to demonstrate to His creation, that He was justified in sentencing the fallen angels to the lake of fire. And He created man as a part of that demonstration. During human history, God is also allowing Satan to prove his claim that he is as good as God (Isa 14:13,14). And again, all that God does is for His pleasure and for His glory.

To understand the decrees, understand that God has three different kinds of knowledge. 1.) He has self-knowledge: Each of the three members of the trinity knows everything about Himself and the other members of the trinity. 2) Omniscience: God knows everything that is external to Him. He knows all things about both believer's and unbelievers, and all of their actual and potential decisions. God decreed the actual decisions knowing that those decisions would be made. He did not decree the possible decisions because those decisions were not actually made. 3.) Foreknowledge: God's foreknowledge is concerned with only what is in the decrees.

God's omniscience results in the divine decrees, which result in God's foreknowledge which pertains only to the actual, and excludes the mere potential.

The divine decree does not cause or effect any event. It simply establishes what will be caused by the volitional choices of each individual. The decree did not cause you to make a decision or take an action. It is your own free will that is the cause. God knew in eternity past that you would make a certain decision, that you would take a certain action, and therefore He included it in His plan. In His decree.

God knew that Adam would disobey Him and eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God therefore decreed that it would certainly happen. And God knew all of the ramifications of Adam's decision and decreed them as well.

God works His plan to His glory, and for His pleasure, while allowing man's free will to function.

Understand that man can do nothing apart from God's permission. Nothing can even exist apart from God's will. God's will has three categories.

1.) God's directive will: It was God the Father's directive will that Jesus Christ go to the cross. Jesus of course agreed to this in eternity past.

2) God's overruling will: God's overruling will does not allow a decision of man to have its intended effect. For instance, man is self-destructive. Left to his own devices, the human race would sooner or later destroy itself. God will not allow man's free will to get so far out of hand as to destroy the human race.

3.) God's permissive will: God's permissive will allows man to sin, allows evil to exist, and allows man to reject Christ as Savior. This is contrary to God's perfect will which would have all men be saved and to refrain from sin and evil. But He allows it for the purpose of resolving the angelic conflict.

God is not the author of sin, evil, or human good. Man's free will is the source of all of these things.

God so designed His plan to incorporate every decision, every action, and every event, and all of their causes and conditions, and weave them into one indivisible system, with eack link being a part of the whole. And all without violating human volition.

God causes some things to happen. He permits other things to happen. But He does not coerce human volition. He provides guidance which includes divine discipline, so that we might use our volition properly. But He does not coerce.

God works all things to His glory. Every thought, decision, and action in the history of mankind will be to the glory of God. God's Glory has eternally existed and will continue to eternally exist. Man can do nothing to hinder or interfere with God's glory. Those who die having rejected Christ will go to hell, and God's glory will be unaffected and uncompromised. Those who accept Christ as Savior will have eternal life in the presence of God, and that will glorify God.

Following are a number of passages which demonstrate the free will of man.

Ezekiel 3:6 ...But I have sent you to them who should listen to you; [7] yet the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, snice they are not willing to listen to Me. Surely the whole house of Israel is stubborn and obstinate.


Matthew 22:3 ''And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding frast, and they wre unwilling to come.

Luke 13:34 ''O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!.

Luke 7:50 And He said to the woman, ''Your faith has saved you; go in peace.''

John 5:40 and you are unwilling to come to Me that you may have life.

Acts 7:51 ''You men who are stiff-necked and ucircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; You are doing just what your fathers did.

Acts 14:2 But the Jews who disbelieved stirred up the minds of the Gentiles, and embittered them against the brethren.

Acts 19:9 But when some were becoming hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the multitude, he withdrew from them and took away the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus.

Hebrews 2:3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?

Revelation 2:21 'And I gave her time to repent; and she does not want to repent of her immorality.


For more on the divine decrees, go here...

http://www.rick-henderson.com/hspm/bill_kesler/DIVINE_DECREES.html (broken link)


For more on the angelic conflict, go here...

The Angelic Conflict; the Spiritual Warfare


Regarding man's free will and the angelic conflict, go here...

http://wisdomknowledge.wordpress.com...elic-conflict/


By the way, this is all orthodox Biblical theology. It is not often taught anymore. So for those who are interested, it is to your advantage to study this and take it to heart.

Last edited by Mike555; 06-25-2010 at 06:42 PM..
Quick reply to this message

 
Old 06-25-2010, 07:12 PM
 
Location: Seattle, Wa
5,214 posts, read 3,197,002 times
Reputation: 401
Mike,

I think you misunderstand Calvinism. Calvinism condones man's free will in confessing to Christ, but what brings that man to that confession, is the edict of the Lord's call.

Quote:
Cavinism basically says that God sovereignly decides to save some and to leave others unsaved, irrespective of man's volition.
The only quote I see where you addressed Calvinism, instead of the Hyper kind, is also an error in your understanding of it. What say you of Judas, the Pharoah, the High Priest?

Why did God choose Paul among the Pharisees?
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-25-2010, 08:19 PM
 
12,647 posts, read 6,486,069 times
Reputation: 2152
Quote:
Originally Posted by sciotamicks View Post
Mike,

I think you misunderstand Calvinism. Calvinism condones man's free will in confessing to Christ, but what brings that man to that confession, is the edict of the Lord's call.



The only quote I see where you addressed Calvinism, instead of the Hyper kind, is also an error in your understanding of it. What say you of Judas, the Pharoah, the High Priest?

Why did God choose Paul among the Pharisees?
In teaching that Christ died only for those who will be saved (limited atonement), and not for all men, Calvinism teaches that there are those who can't be saved. Anyone can believe in Christ if only they will. So even though calvinists like to say that they believe in free will, they really don't. Calvinism implies that God absolutely controls our choices without robbing us of the reality of those choices. In other words, that God manipulates our free will without robbing us of our free will.

God's call is through the Gospel and is extended to all.

2 Thessonians 2:14 ''And it was for this He called you through our Gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord.


John 6:44 ''No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

John 6:44 is then explained by the very next verse. John 6:45 ''It is written in the prophets, 'AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.

Everyone who hears and learns, comes. The call issued through the Gospel is made to all. It is only man's refusal to answer the call that keeps him from being saved. God does not keep anyone from answering the call, because God desires that all men be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.

Here is a response from a Calvinist in defense of Calvinism with regard to the statement that Calvinism does not believe in free will.

Calvinism denies human free will and makes God responsible for evil


God calls all through the Gospel, and God then chooses all who say yes to the call of the Gospel. God turns no one away who wants to respond positively to the Gospel. God initates the call, and man then says 'yes' or 'no.'


The differences between 4 point and 5 point Calvinism are stated at this link.

The Case for Unlimited Atonement (by Ron Rhodes)


Calvinism is every bit as much of a heresy as universalism.

I don't want this thread to turn into a debate on Calvinism. It's purpose is to show that man does indeed have free will, contrary to those who say that he doesn't.

Last edited by Mike555; 06-25-2010 at 08:48 PM..
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-25-2010, 08:31 PM
 
Location: Nashville, TN
2,031 posts, read 1,621,940 times
Reputation: 497
Thanks for posting those links. I'm on part 2 of the angelic conflict study. Great information. I've got a lot of reading to do! The angelic conflict and spiritual warfare is very interesting to me.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-25-2010, 08:47 PM
 
12,647 posts, read 6,486,069 times
Reputation: 2152
Quote:
Originally Posted by CantWait2Leave View Post
Thanks for posting those links. I'm on part 2 of the angelic conflict study. Great information. I've got a lot of reading to do! The angelic conflict and spiritual warfare is very interesting to me.
You're welcome. Yes. The angelic conflict is extremely interesting. It's the reason we're all here.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-25-2010, 09:00 PM
 
Location: Seattle, Wa
5,214 posts, read 3,197,002 times
Reputation: 401
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike555 View Post
In teaching that Christ died only for those who will be saved (limited atonement), and not for all men, Calvinism teaches that there are those who can't be saved. Anyone can believe in Christ if only they will. So even though calvinists like to say that they believe in free will, they really don't. Calvinism implies that God absolutely controls our choices without robbing us of the reality of those choices. In other words, that God manipulates our free will without robbing us of our free will.
I disagree Mike. The purpose of God drawing us near is precisley what the scriptures teach, Amrminian and Calvinist alike. Interesting you brought this subject up as I debated it some Calvinists a few weeks ago. They have the same misconception as you appear to have, however, myself a claimed Calvinist, believes that, yes, God draws the man to Him, but man makes the choice, not based on control from God, but from Free Will. It is a grey area IMO with Arminian and Calvinism, as I believe both doctrines are in agreement. What makes man make the choice freely, is the realization of His grace, etc, because of God drawing man to Hiim.
It is an intricate relationship of both forces.

Quote:
Everyone who hears and learns, comes. The call issued through the Gospel is made to all. It is only man's refusal to answer the call that keeps him from being saved. God does not keep anyone from answering the call, because God desires that all men be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.
Quote:
God calls all through the Gospel, and God then chooses all who say yes to the call of the Gospel.
We agree.

Quote:
God turns no one away who wants to respond positively to the Gospel.
Of course not! This is precisely what I m talking about...the intricate realtionship of both forces.

Quote:
God initates the call, and man then says 'yes' or 'no.'
Yes.

Quote:
The differences between 4 point and 5 point Calvinism are stated at this link.

The Case for Unlimited Atonement (by Ron Rhodes)
Calvinists do not believe, that the atonement is limited in its value or power (in other words, God could have elected everyone and used it to atone for them all), but rather that the atonement is limited in the sense that it is designed for some and not all by means of election.

Calvinists hold that the atonement is sufficient for all and efficient for the elect.

Quote:
Calvinism is every bit as much of a heresy as universalism.
How so?

Calvinism supports free will.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-25-2010, 09:11 PM
 
1,897 posts, read 1,003,529 times
Reputation: 243
BHFT responses in red.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike555 View Post
There are certain theological positions that either overemphasize the sovereignty of God, or overemphasize the love of God, and deny the existence of man's volition or free will.

God IS love. Can anyone overemphasize that you are a man? You are a man. It is what it is. It 's not a matter of overemphasis.

Christian Universalism, the term itself being an oxymoron, also distorts God's sovereignty, as well as God's love, in the unscriptural belief that God will ultimately save all men, regardless of whether they rejected Christ or not.

UR says God is totally sovereign and His desire will be accomplished. Your belief says that God's sovereignty is limited by His own bad planning or something.

The idea is that God will give them an opportunity to believe in Christ after they depart this life. The teachings of universalism are contrary to the major doctrines of Christianity and were declared to be heresy by the Council of Constantinople in 543 A.D. Among the various types of so called Christian Universalism is Calvinistic Universalism which combines God's love and sovereignty as the rationale for the belief that God will save all.

I can't speak for all who believe in UR, just as you can't speak for all who believe in ET, but I think most of us believe that it's not a matter of God giving people an opportunity to believe after death. Once someone departs this life, they will believe in Christ - period - not have an "opportunity." Paul was not given an "opportunity" to believe. He had no belief or faith whatsoever and once Christ appeared to him, he asked, "What do you want me to do, Lord?" Thomas believed by sight and not faith, also. Does God show these two favoritism? The bible says not.

It is not my intention to go into detail about these heretical belief systems. They are mentioned only with regard to their denial of man's free will.

Man has free will to sin or not. All people will reap what they sow. Those who reject Christ will not be allowed to reign with him during the next age, though. That's what the bible teaches. Not that unbelievers are set on fire. The lake of fire is symbolic of the sins being burned away. No one knows exactly what this process is, but it is certainly not being set on fire forever. That goes 180 degrees against God's divine and holy character.

NO ONE would ever really choose freely to burn forever, which is what you think free will is, right? Choosing to go to heaven or hell? That's where your belief falls apart. For those who believe in a literal hell, it would appear that Paul was "choosing" hell when confronted by God. Do you honestly think Paul was going around saying, "I think I'd like to burn forever. Yeah. That's a good idea. Forget that eternal bliss thing!" He said he was shown mercy "because of his ignorance and unbelief."

We actually agree on something, though! Limited atonement is heresy!
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-25-2010, 09:16 PM
 
Location: Seattle, Wa
5,214 posts, read 3,197,002 times
Reputation: 401
Neither of you understand limited atonement. LA does not condone Christ's work is not sufficient for all.
It does, it just condones that it will be only realized for some!
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-25-2010, 09:16 PM
 
1,897 posts, read 1,003,529 times
Reputation: 243
Quote:
Originally Posted by sciotamicks View Post
Calvinists do not believe, that the atonement is limited in its value or power (in other words, God could have elected everyone and used it to atone for them all), but rather that the atonement is limited in the sense that it is designed for some and not all by means of election.

Calvinists hold that the atonement is sufficient for all and efficient for the elect.




How so?

Calvinism supports free will.
That makes 0% sense.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-25-2010, 09:35 PM
 
Location: Seattle, Wa
5,214 posts, read 3,197,002 times
Reputation: 401
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bright Hope for Tomorrow View Post
That makes 0% sense.
That figures......look it up.....it is even on wiki.

Calvinists hold that the atonement is sufficient for all and efficient for the elect

Calvinism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


 
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:
Over $84,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality > Christianity
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2014, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 - Top