Early Jewish Omniscience

An early reference to Jewish ideas of future omniscience.

The following extract from the Midrash Rabbah I am writing in order that you may know how to refute the arguments of certain heretics: A gentile once asked Rabbi Joshua, the son of Korcha, saying to him, “Do you not admit that the Holy One, blessed be He, knows what is to happen in the future?” He replied, “Yes.” The gentile retorted, “But is it not written ‘and He was grieved in His heart’?” He answered: “Have you ever had a son born to you?” The reply was “Yes.” He asked (the gentile): “And what did you do?” He replied: “I rejoiced and I made others rejoice also.” The Rabbi asked him: “But did you not know that he must die?” The heathen replied: “At the time of joy, let there be joy, at the time of mourning let there be mourning”. The Rabbi then said: “Such, too, is the way of the Holy One, blessed be He: although it was clear to Him that in the end men would sin and would be destroyed, He did not refrain from creating them for the sake of the righteous men who were to issue from them” (Genesis Rabbah 27:4).

Josephus on Fate and Ahab

And as what things were foretold should happen to Ahab by the two prophets came to pass, we ought thence to have high notions of God, and every where to honor and worship him, and never to suppose that what is pleasant and agreeable is worthy of belief before what is true, and to esteem nothing more advantageous than the gift of prophecy 44 and that foreknowledge of future events which is derived from it, since God shows men thereby what we ought to avoid. We may also guess, from what happened to this king, and have reason to consider the power of fate; that there is no way of avoiding it, even when we know it. It creeps upon human souls, and flatters them with pleasing hopes, till it leads them about to the place where it will be too hard for them.

Josephus, Flavius. The Antiquities of the Jews (Annotated) . Unknown. Kindle Edition.

Josephus on Future telling and God’s Innovation

2. While the affairs of the Hebrews were in this condition, there was this occasion offered itself to the Egyptians, which made them more solicitous for the extinction of our nation. One of those sacred scribes, 18 who are very sagacious in foretelling future events truly, told the king, that about this time there would a child be born to the Israelites, who, if he were reared, would bring the Egyptian dominion low, and would raise the Israelites;

But no one can be too hard for the purpose of God, though he contrive ten thousand subtle devices for that end; for this child, whom the sacred scribe foretold, was brought up and concealed from the observers appointed by the king; and he that foretold him did not mistake in the consequences of his preservation, which were brought to pass after the manner following:— 3. A man whose

Josephus, Flavius. The Antiquities of the Jews (Annotated) . Unknown. Kindle Edition.

Historian Socrates on the Anthropomorphite Controversy of 399AD

The question had been started a little before, whether God is a corporeal existence, and has the form of man; or whether he is incorporeal, and without human or, generally speaking, any other bodily shape? From this question arose strifes and contentions among a very great number of persons, some favoring one opinion on the subject, and others patronizing the opposite. Very many of the more simple ascetics asserted that God is corporeal, and has a human figure: but most others condemn their judgment, and contended that God is incorporeal, and free of all form whatever. With these latter Theophilus bishop of Alexandria agreed so thoroughly that in the church before all the people he inveighed against those who attributed to God a human form, expressly teaching that the Divine Being is wholly incorporeal. When the Egyptian ascetics were apprised of this, they left their monasteries and came to Alexandria; where they excited a tumult against the bishop, accusing him of impiety, and threatening to put him to death. Theophilus becoming aware of his danger, after some consideration had recourse to this expedient to extricate himself from the threatened death. Going to the monks, he in a conciliatory tone thus addressed them: ‘In seeing you, I behold the face of God.’ The utterance of this saying moderated the fury of these men and they replied: ‘If you really admit that God’s countenance is such as ours, anathematize Origen’s book; for some drawing arguments from them oppose themselves to our opinion. If you will not do this, expect to be treated by us as an impious person, and the enemy of God.’ ‘But as far as I am concerned,’ said Theophilus, ‘I will readily do what you require: and be not angry with me, for I myself also disapprove of Origen’s works, and consider those who countenance them deserving of censure.’ Thus he succeeded in appeasing and sending away the monks at that time; and probably the whole dispute respecting this subject would have been set at rest, had it not been for another circumstance which happened immediately after. 

Church History

Augustine on Chance

Whatever occurs by chance occurs accidentally; whatever occurs accidentally does not occur by providence. If, then, some things occur by chance in the world, the universe is not governed by providence. But if the universe is not governed by providence, there is some nature and substance that is unrelated to the workings of providence. But everything that exists is good to the extent that it exists. Now in the highest place is that good by participation in which everything else is good. And every thing that is changeable is good to the extent that it exists not of itself but on account of its participation in the unchangeable good. Furthermore, that good by participation in which other things are good, whatever they may be, is good by reason not of something else but of itself, and this we call divine providence. Therefore nothing occurs by chance in the world.

Augustine, Responses to Miscellaneous Questions, XXIV. Whether both committing sin and acting rightly fall under the will’s free choice

Augustine on Omnipresence

God is not in a place, for that which is in a place is contained in that
place. That which is contained in a place is a body, but God is not a body.
Therefore he is not in a place. And yet, since he is and he is not in a place,
all things are in him rather than he himself being in some place, although
they are not in him as if he himself were a place. For a place is in space
because it is defined by the length, breadth and width characteristic of a
body. God is not like this. Everything, therefore, is in him, and he is not a

Yet in a loose sense God’ s temple is called God’ s place—not because he is
contained in it but because he is present to it. This, however, is understood to
be nothing better than the pure soul.

Augustine, Responses to Miscellaneous Questions, XX. On God’s Place

Isaiah 40:14-15 is about practical knowledge

From The Heavenly Counsellor in Isaiah xl 13-14: A Study of the Sources of the Theology of Deutero-Isaiah (Society for Old Testament Study Monographs):

We therefore suggest that the content of the supposed knowledge taught to Yahweh in these verses is the practical knowledge required to create the world; and we translate them as follows:

Who has understood the mind of Yahweh,
or who was his counsellor, who instructed him?
Whom did he consult for his guidance,
and who taught him the way to achieve order,
And showed him how to exercise creative skill?

Ibn Ezra on Genesis 18:21

Ibn Ezra on Genesis 18:21:2:

AND IF NOT, I WILL KNOW. Eda’ah means I will have pity upon them. They similarly interpret va-yeda Elohim (and God took cognizance of them)42That va-yeda Elohim means God pitied them. (Ex. 2:25). However, I believe that this verse is to be explained as follows: I will go down and see if all of them (kalah) have done this evil.43According to I.E. kalah (altogether) is to be rendered as all, as in Ex. 11:1 (Krinsky). Have done this evil is a paraphrase of according to the cry of it, which is come unto me. For in truth,44The reason that Scripture relates that God went down to see if they all did according to the cry that came before him. God who is All knows the individual in a general rather than in a detailed manner.45Ibn Ezra seems to be saying that “Ordinarily…God does not know the particular individual as such. He knows him only as implied in the whole” (Husik, p. 193). Thus it was necessary for God to go down and see. Nachmanides criticized Ibn Ezra on this point for introducing alien philosophical concepts into Judaism. Cf. Nachmanides’ commentary on the Pentateuch, on this verse. Other commentaries could not accept the literal implication of Ibn Ezra’s words and harmonized his comments to conform to traditional thinking. See Krinsky. Some argue that this comment did not come from I.E.’s hand but was inserted in the text by a misguided student. Proof that this interpretation is correct, although it is a great mystery, is Abraham’s plea, Wilt thou indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked (v. 23).46Abraham asked God not to judge Sodom by his general knowledge but to look upon each of the city’s inhabitants as an individual. The heh of ha’af (wilt) is vocalized with a pattach 47An interrogative heh is vocalized with a chataf pattach. even though it is an interrogative heh, because it is followed by an alef, which is a guttural, and it is the rule in Hebrew to elongate the vowel before gutturals.48

Origen on Self Sufficiency

Instead I pondered and sought in myself what I might repay to the Lord in compensation for this knowledge of the truth which the Lord manifested to me. I understood, of course, that the eternal nature and ruler of all things stands in need of nothing. Consequently I found one thing only which was fitting for me to offer God, namely, that I should believe that it is never possible for him to receive anything from a man, but only to give.

Commentary on Romans, books 1-5

Eleven Features of Gnosticism


The following list is a summary of eleven features of Gnosticism delineated by Birger Pearson.

1. Gnosis. The “adherents of Gnosticism regard gnosis (rather than faith, observance of law, etc.) as requisite to salvation. The saving ‘knowledge’ involves a revelation as to the true nature both of the self and of God; indeed, for the Gnostic, self-knowledge is knowledge of God.”

2. Theology. “Gnosticism also has . . . a characteristic theology, according to which there is a transcendent supreme God beyond the god or powers responsible for the world in which we live.”

3. Cosmology. “A negative, radically dualist stance vis-à-vis the cosmos involves a cosmology, according to which the cosmos itself, having been created by an inferior and ignorant power, is a dark prison in which human souls are held captive.”

4. Anthropology. “Interwoven with its theology and its cosmology is . . . an anthropology, according to which the essential human being is constituted by his/her inner self, a divine spark that originated in the transcendent divine world and, by means of gnosis, can be released from the cosmic prison and can return to its heavenly origin. The human body, on the other hand, is part of the cosmic prison from which the essential ‘man’ must be redeemed.”

5. Eschatology. “The notion of release from the cosmic prison entails . . . an eschatology, which applies not only to the salvation of the individual but to the salvation of all the elect, and according to which the material cosmos itself will come to its fated end.”

6. Social. “Gnosticism, at first glance, seems to be a highly individualistic religion, and so it is. But, in fact, Gnostics did gather in communities of like-minded persons.”

7. Ritual. “Closely tied to this is . . . a ritual dimension as well, for the Gnostics had religious ceremonies of various kinds.”

8. Ethical. “There is, also, . . . an ethical dimension, though in this area there was considerable variation from group to group. Most characteristic, reflecting the acosmic nature of Gnosticism, is the propensity toward withdrawal from engagement with the cosmos, which in its most extreme forms involved abstinence from sex and procreation.”

9. Experimental. “That all of the aforementioned features of Gnosticism involved . . . an experimental dimension almost goes without saying. Religious experience, for the Gnostics, involved joy in the salvation won by gnosis, as well as an extreme alienation from, and revolt against, the cosmic order and those beings attached to it.”

10. Myth. “[W]hat holds everything together for the Gnostic is myth. One of the most characteristic features of Gnosticism is its mythopoesis, its impulse to create an elaborate mythical system giving expression to all that gnosis entails. An interesting feature of Gnostic mythopoesis is that there was a great variation in the telling of the myth; each Gnostic teacher would create new elements to be added to his or her received myth, and, with such elaborations, Gnostic myths could become more and more complicated as they developed.”

11. Parasitical. “But what makes Gnosticism so hard to define is, finally, its parasitical character, a feature that constitutes an eleventh dimension of Gnosticism. This brings up the problem of the relationship between Gnosticism and other religions, chiefly Judaism and Christianity.”

This list is highly instructive and useful in gnostic research, particularly when the following cautions are kept in mind: (1) no gnostic text or system of the second century C.E. will exhibit all of these characteristics equally and uniformly—a demonstration of the tremendous variety among the gnostics; (2) most elements, when taken independently, can be identified with other religious and philosophical systems present in the ancient world—a testament to the syncretistic nature of Gnosticism; and (3) certain features stand out as unique to Gnosticism—an indication of the innovation that Gnosticism brought to the ancient religious and philosophical landscape.

Ehrman Defines Gnosticism

From Lost Christianities:

Gnostic Christians varied widely among themselves in basic and fundamental issues. But many appear to have believed that the material world we live in is awful at best and evil at worst, that it came about as part of a cosmic catastrophe, and that the spiritual beings who inhabit it (i.e., human spirits) are in fact entrapped or imprisoned here. Most of the people imprisoned in the material world of the body, however, do not realize the true state of things; they are like a drunk person who needs to become sober or like someone sound asleep who needs to be awakened. In fact, the human spirit does not come from this world; it comes from the world above, from the divine realm. It is only when it realizes its true nature and origin that it can escape this world and return to the blessed existence of its eternal home. Salvation, in other words, comes through saving knowledge. The Greek term for knowledge is gnosis. And so these people are called Gnostics, “the ones who know.” But how do they acquire the knowledge they need for salvation? In Christian Gnostic texts, it is Jesus himself who comes down from the heavenly realm to reveal the necessary knowledge for salvation to those who have the spark of the divine spirit within.

Defining Gnosticism

From The Gnostic Bible:

Scholars of ancient and late antique religions have attempted to sort through the issues of definition and taxonomy in order to reach some clarity regarding gnosis and gnosticism. In 1966 many of the leading scholars of gnosis gathered at an international conference in Messina, Italy, and produced a set of statements that are meant to define gnosis and gnosticism. Gnosis, they maintain, is “knowledge of the divine mysteries reserved for an elite,” and this is a term of very broad application. On the other hand, gnosticism is “a coherent series of haracteristics that can be summarized in the idea of a divine spark in man, deriving from the divine realm, fallen into this world of fate, birth and death, and needing to be awakened by the divine counterpart of the self in order to be finally reintegrated.”2 Gnosticism is thus a religious movement represented by religious groups that emerged in the second century CE and after, especially within the context of Christianity, groups such as the followers of Basilides and Valentinos, two particularly significant early Christian teachers of gnostic religion.

Castellio on Calvin’s Bloodlust

On October 27, 1553, the Spaniard, Miguel Servetus, was burned in Geneva on account of his religious convictions, the instigator of the burning being Calvin, pastor of the cathedral in that city. This execution has roused many protests, especially in Italy and France. In answer to these protests, Calvin has just issued a book, which seems to be most adroitly tinted. The author’s aim is to justify himself, to attack Servetus, and to prove that Servetus was rightly punished by death. I propose to subject this book to a critical examination. In accordance with his usual controversial manner, Calvin will probably describe me as one of Servetus’s disciples, but I hope that no one will thereby be misled. I am not defending the theses of Servetus, but am attacking the false theses of Calvin. I leave absolutely unconsidered discussions about baptism, the Trinity, and such matters. I do not even possess a copy of Servetus’s books since Calvin has burned all the copies he could lay hands on; and I, therefore, do not know what ideas Servetus put forward. I shall do no more than pillory the errors of Calvin as to points which have no bearing upon differences of principle, and I hope to make clear to everyone what sort of man this is whom the lust for blood has driven crazy. I shall not deal with him as he dealt with Servetus, whom he committed to the flames, together with the books whose writing was deemed a crime-Servetus whom, even now when he is dead, Calvin continues to revile. Calvin, having burned the man and his books, has the audacity to refer us to these books, quoting detached passages. It is as if an incendiary, having reduced a house to ashes, were then to invite us to inspect the furniture in the various rooms. For my own part, I should never burn either an author or his books. The book I am attacking is open to everyone, obtainable by everyone, in either of two editions, one Latin and the other French. To avoid the possibility of objection, I shall, in the case of every citation, put the number of the paragraph from which it is taken, while my answer to each passage will bear the same number as the original.

Sebastian Castellio

Roger Olson on Timelessness

Nowhere does the biblical story of God, the biblical narrative that identifies God for us, and upon which classical Christian theology claims to be based, say or even hint that God is “outside of time” or “timeless” or that all times are “simultaneously before the eyes of God.” This view of God’s eternity entered into Christian theology from Greek philosophy which regarded time as imperfection.

Roger Olson

Calvin’s Backhanded Praise of Plato

How lavishly in this respect have the whole body of philosophers betrayed their stupidity and want of sense? To say nothing of the others whose absurdities are of a still grosser description, how completely does Plato, the soberest and most religious of them all, lose himself in his round globe?

Calvin, John. The John Calvin Collection: 12 Classic Works . Waxkeep Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Worship Sunday – Sing it from the shackles

Sing it from the shackles
Sing it from the chains
Sing it from the trenches
Sing it through the pain
There’s a song rising up
Can you hear the freedom sound
Sing it from the shackles
We’re gonna sing it loud

You’re my deliverer
You tear down the prison walls
When my heart needs a miracle
You will come through
You’re my deliverer
My anthem throughout it all
When my strength and my fight is gone
I know You will come through

You’re breaking off rejection
You’re breaking off the shame
You’re breaking off addictions
In the power of Your Name
There’s a song rising up
Can you hear that freedom sound
Sing it from the shackles
We’re gonna sing it loud

Let the darkness
Hear our praises
From these ashes
We’ll see victory

Chains are worthless
They can’t hold us
From these shackles
Show Your glory

Cicero on Plato’s Contradictory Ideas of God and Footnote


‘It would take too long to recount the self-contradictions in Plato.* In the Timaeus, he states that the father of the universe cannot be named; and in the books of the Laws, that we should not investigate the nature of god at all. As for his claim that god is wholly incorporeal (as the Greeks say, asomaton), what such a nature could possibly be is inconceivable, for it would inevitably lack sensation as well as practical wisdom and pleasure, all of which we associate with our conception of gods. Plato further states both in the Timaeus and in the Laws that the universe is god, and that so are the sky, the stars, the earth, our souls, and the deities we inherit from ancestral tradition. Such views are clearly false in themselves, and wildly self-contradictory. 30
Cicero. The Nature of the Gods (Oxford World’s Classics) (p. 14). OUP Oxford. Kindle Edition.


Plato: for the citation from the Timaeus, see § 19 n.; the quotation from the Laws (7. 821) totally misrepresents Plato’s own view, for in that passage he is presenting the common notion of Athenians which he proceeds to contradict, here and elsewhere (Laws 9. 966) arguing that astronomy should be studied as a work of piety. There is justification for the claim that Plato’s god is incorporeal; as for his lacking pleasure, Plato attacks the notion that gods enjoy pleasure (Philebus 33b), which for Epicureans is the highest good. It is true that in his Timaeus Plato makes the stars gods, owing their immortality to the will of the Demiourgos; and in the Laws, Ouranos (heaven) is the supreme deity, and the stars are the adornments of the gods. It is possible to make these views consistent by identifying Ouranos with Demiourgos as labels for the creative Mind; but Plato’s pronouncements are poetic and speculative, not to be subjected to the literal interpretation employed by Velleius.
Cicero. The Nature of the Gods (Oxford World’s Classics) (p. 154). OUP Oxford. Kindle Edition.

Cicero calls Plato a god among philosophers

Cicero, two times, refers to Plato as “god”. Likely stealth mocking Plato’s revered status during Cicero’s lifetime (@ 50BC):

‘Here we must lend an ear to Plato, the god so to say among philosophers.*
Cicero. The Nature of the Gods (Oxford World’s Classics) (p. 58). OUP Oxford. Kindle Edition.


In those books which you commend you complain of the absence of Scaevola among the speakers. Well, I did not withdraw him without a set purpose, but I did exactly what that god of our idolatry, Plato, did in his Republic.

Luke 12:48 Commentary

Luk 12:48 But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.

Luke 12:48 shows Jesus establishing a theme seen elsewhere in the Bible: one of proportional judgement. Cosmic justice is one in which all actors are judged by their circumstance. The same “crime” can result in different punishments based on the disposition of the person committing the “crime”. To Jesus, ignorance of the law is an excuse.

This picture of God shows a reason-based judgement of all creatures. God considers mitigating factors in judgement. This fact highlights free will, the ability to self determine. Because without free will, no one would have ability to do otherwise and would no longer be guilty of their sin. People are guilty because they do have capability. Those who have less capability than others are judged less harshly.

Isaiah 48:18-19 Commentary

Isa 48:18  Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea; 
Isa 48:19  your offspring would have been like the sand, and your descendants like its grains; their name would never be cut off or destroyed from before me.” 

In Isaiah 48, God laments that Israel has not responded to Him. In verse 12, God calls on Israel to listen. In verse 14, God reminds Israel of the things He has done and said. In verse 17, God is said to “teach to profit”. God’s purpose in teaching is to make Israel better. Then verses 18 and 19 contain a lament. Although God has done and said all these things to benefit Israel, Israel has rejected Him.

The emotional pain drips from every word. The regrets, the lament, the failed possibilities are all at the forefront of God’s mind. God has been hurt by Israel due to their unbelief.

Isaiah 48:16 Commentary

Isa_48:16 Draw near to me, hear this: from the beginning I have not spoken in secret, from the time it came to be I have been there.” And now the Lord GOD has sent me, and his Spirit.

In Isaiah 48, God states they does not make secret decrees. Everything God decrees God decrees to people. The purpose is so that the people can both understand what God is doing and see that God is actually accomplishing the things God states He will do. A key element in this system is that nothing God decides is decided in secret. That would negate the purpose of the decree.

This pushes against theology of divine, eternal decrees. God does not decree in secret, but to people.

Roger Olson on God’s Sovereignty

From A Relational View of God’s Sovereignty

A relational view of God’s sovereignty begins not with philosophical a prioris such as “God is by definition the being greater than which none can be conceived” or “If there’s one maverick molecule in the universe, God is not God” but with God as the personal, loving, self-involving, passionate, relational Yahweh of Israel and Father of Jesus Christ.

This God is not aloof or self-sufficient in himself or impassible. His deity, as Barth taught us, is no prison. And as Jürgen Moltmann has taught us, his death on the cross is not a contradiction of his deity but the most profound revelation of it. And that because this God is love.

Does this all mean that God needs us? Not at all. This God could have lived forever satisfied with the communal love shared between Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but he chose to become vulnerable in relation to the world he created out of the overflowing of that love. Is that just a metaphysical compliment unnecessarily paid to God or a truth necessary to the biblical story of God with us? I would argue it is the latter. A God who literally needs the world is a pathetic God hardly worthy of worship.

The key insight for a non-process relational view of God’s sovereignty is that God is sovereign over his sovereignty. The missio dei is God’s choice to involve himself intimately with the world so as to be affected by it. That choice is rooted in God’s love and desire for reciprocal love freely offered by his human creatures. None of this detracts in any way from God’s sovereignty because God is sovereign over his sovereignty. To say that God can’t be vulnerable, can’t limit himself, can’t restrain his power to make room for other powers, is, ironically, to deny God’s sovereignty.

2 Chronicles 32:31 commentary

2Ch 32:31  And so in the matter of the envoys of the princes of Babylon, who had been sent to him to inquire about the sign that had been done in the land, God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart. 

In 2 Chronicles 32:31 Hezekiah’s reign is at an end. God has saved him from death (verse 24) because he has prayed to God. But God still is not sure about his loyalty. Verse 25 and 26 describe this wavering. In verse 31, God tests Hezekiah to “know all that is in his heart”. God is setting up a situation to see how Hezekiah will act, presumably due to Hezekiah’s past fickle behavior. This is a fairly clear instance of nescience, God testing to know. This is of an individual and at the end of his life. He fails the test, as recorded by 2 Kings 20:12-13.

Worship Sunday – Jesus Is Just Alright

Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright, oh yeah
Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright
I don’t care what they may say
I don’t care what they may do
I don’t care what they may say
Jesus is just alright, oh yeah
Jesus is just alright
Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright, oh yeah
Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright
I don’t care what they may know
I don’t care where they may go
I don’t care what they may know
Jesus is just alright, oh yeah
Jesus, he’s my friend; Jesus, he’s my friend
He took me by the hand; Led me far from this land
Jesus, he’s my friend
Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright, oh yeah
Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright
I don’t care what they may say, I don’t care what they may do
I don’t care what they may say, Jesus is just alright, oh yeah

Free books against Calvinism

Archive.org is hosting a metric ton of books countering Calvinism: link

Excerpt from A Cultish Side of Calvinism:

Profoundly different views of God. This is what lies at the heart of the matter —not relatively nontheological issues like styles of music or liturgy but the grave position of holding onto different views of God. In the pursuit for truth, amid obstacles and rabbit trails, one should always remember that the heart of the matter is indeed different views of God.

Psalms 55:23 commentary

Psa 55:23 But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction; men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you.

In Psalms 55:23 David describes how God will bless the righteous and punish the wicked. An interesting phrase in employed against those who God will strike down. They will not “live out half their days.” In Job a similar phrase is used. Man’s days are determined and he cannot pass:

Job 14:5 Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,

The figure of speech being employed in both these scenarios is that man has an upper limit on his lifespan. Man can grow old and die. No one is immortal. He lives out his days when he dies at old age. When he dies young, he does not live out his days. Neither phrase speaks towards determinism. The Israelites were not seeing a man’s life as fated and dying young as subverting that fate. Instead, the most natural take-away is that a fated lifespan was not an available position in Israelite theology so much so that it didn’t factor into their discussions of human life.

Augustine on Fate and Immutable Chain of Causes

Now, against the sacrilegious and impious darings of reason, we assert both that God knows all things before they come to pass, and that we do by our free will whatsoever we know and feel to be done by us only because we will it. But that all things come to pass by fate, we do not say; nay we affirm that nothing comes to pass by fate; for we demonstrate that the name of fate, as it is wont to be used by those who speak of fate, meaning thereby the position of the stars at the time of each one’s conception or birth, is an unmeaning word, for astrology itself is a delusion. But an order of causes in which the highest efficiency is attributed to the will of God, we neither deny nor do we designate it by the name of fate, unless, perhaps, we may understand fate to mean that which is spoken, deriving it from fari , to speak; for we cannot deny that it is written in the sacred Scriptures, God has spoken once; these two things have I heard, that power belongs unto God. Also unto You, O God, belongs mercy: for You will render unto every man according to his works. Now the expression, Once has He spoken, is to be understood as meaning immovably , that is, unchangeably has He spoken, inasmuch as He knows unchangeably all things which shall be, and all things which He will do. We might, then, use the word fate in the sense it bears when derived from fari , to speak, had it not already come to be understood in another sense, into which I am unwilling that the hearts of men should unconsciously slide. But it does not follow that, though there is for God a certain order of all causes, there must therefore be nothing depending on the free exercise of our own wills, for our wills themselves are included in that order of causes which is certain to God, and is embraced by His foreknowledge, for human wills are also causes of human actions; and He who foreknew all the causes of things would certainly among those causes not have been ignorant of our wills.
City of God (Book V)
Chapter 9.— Concerning the Foreknowledge of God and the Free Will of Man, in Opposition to the Definition of Cicero.

Ambrose on the Omniscience of Jesus

118. But if you are willing to learn that the Son of God knows all things, and has foreknowledge of all, see that those very things which you think to be unknown to the Son, the Holy Spirit received from the Son. He received them, however, through Unity of Substance, as the Son received from the Father. He, says He, shall glorify Me, for He shall receive of Mine and shall declare it unto you. All things whatsoever the Father has are Mine, therefore said I, He shall receive of Mine, and shall declare it unto you. [ John 16:14-15 ] What, then, is more clear than this Unity? What things the Father has pertain to the Son; what things the Son has the Holy Spirit also has received.
On the Holy Spirit, Book II

1 John 5:14 Commentary

1Jn 5:14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

The consistent Biblical message is one of God hearing prayer. God responds and reacts to prayer. The one who prays can influence and get God to respond. This suggests active listening, real time recalculation, and a genuine care towards humanity in God.

Clement of Alexandria on Omniscience

For God knows all things— not those only which exist, but those also which shall be— and how each thing shall be. And foreseeing the particular movements, He surveys all things, and hears all things, seeing the soul naked within; and possesses from eternity the idea of each thing individually. And what applies to theatres, and to the parts of each object, in looking at, looking round, and taking in the whole in one view, applies also to God. For in one glance He views all things together, and each thing by itself; but not all things, by way of primary intent.
The Stromata (Book VI)

Enns on the Messy Parts of the Bible

From when God stops making sense (or, my favorite part of the Old Testament):

But for Psalms and wisdom literature, life isn’t black and white. Life is messy, unpredictable, and often makes no sense.

These books take issue with the storyline and its moral. They interrogate the black and white script and conclude, “Life isn’t that straightforward.”

Job loses everything he has except his life. The script (e.g., Deuteronomy) says that such calamities are by God’s hand, a response to disobedience. Yet we learn from Job that this is not the case.
Ecclesiastes questions the “world order” God has made: nothing we do matters, since we all die and are driven to the point of madness at the thought of our futile existence.
A number of psalms lament God’s absence in the world. Like Psalm 73–where the author can’t get his head around how a just God can allow the wicked to prosper.
Or Psalm 89–where God is in effect called a liar for promising that one of King David’s descendants would always be on the throne in Jerusalem and then allowing the Babylonians to kill off the last of David’s royal line and take the people captive.

Worship Sunday – Reckless Love


Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me

You have been so, so good to me
Before I took a breath, You breathed Your life in me
You have been so, so kind to me

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

When I was Your foe, still Your love fought for me
You have been so, so good to me
When I felt no worth, You paid it all for me
You have been so, so kind to me

And oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
And I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me
There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me
There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me
There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
And I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

The Hebrew View of Sin

By Henry Preserved Smith:

A large number of Old Testament passages show that a sin is anything which puts a man in the wrong with reference to another man, which offends him. Pharaoh’s butler and baker offend their master, and are put into prison. Laban pursues Jacob and reminds him that he is able to do him an injury. Jacob expostulates: ” What is my trespass? What is my sin that thou hast hotly pursued me ?” Similarly Abimelech to Abraham: “What have I done to thee, and what have I sinned against thee, that thou hast brought upon me and my kingdom a great sin ?” David raises the same question when convinced of Saul’s enmity. Jephthah’s argument with the Ammonites turns on the point whether there has been actual injury (sin) to justify the war. Judah will be a
sinner against his father if he does not bring Benjamin back to him, and Bathsheba asserts that if Adonijah comes to the throne she and Solomon will be sinners. In no one of these cases is there a question of violation of positive law, or of deviation from a moral standard. The only thing which the writer has in mind is that there has been offense of one person by another. Similarly, when Hezekiah confesses to Sennacherib that he has sinned, he
does not mean that he did not act in good conscience in revolting, but that events have put him in the power of his adversary. To this extent only is he in the wrong.”

Offenses against the divinity are regarded from the same point of view with offenses against men. Direct infringement of his rights will of course call out his anger. Uzzah’s well-meant grasping of the Ark was a sin. So was David’s intrusion into the sphere of the divine knowledge in taking the census.

Worship Sunday – Hold Me Together

I cry out to the one
The one that holds me
Holds me together
Hold me together.

When the world crumbles down – You hold me together
When my heart is giving out – You hold me together
When I’m tired and alone – You hold me together
When I’ve lost all I own – You hold me together
When I stumble and I fall – You hold me together
When I run, If I crawl – You hold me together

I cry out to the one
The one that holds me
Holds me together

Augustine Says God Doesn’t Love People

34. And on this ground, when we say that we enjoy only that which we love for its own sake, and that nothing is a true object of enjoyment except that which makes us happy, and that all other things are for use, there seems still to be something that requires explanation. For God loves us, and Holy Scripture frequently sets before us the love He has towards us. In what way then does He love us? As objects of use or as objects of enjoyment? If He enjoys us, He must be in need of good from us, and no sane man will say that; for all the good we enjoy is either Himself, or what comes from Himself. And no one can be ignorant or in doubt as to the fact that the light stands in no need of the glitter of the things it has itself lit up. The Psalmist says most plainly, I said to the Lord, You are my God, for You need not my goodness. He does not enjoy us then, but makes use of us. For if He neither enjoys nor uses us, I am at a loss to discover in what way He can love us.
On Christian Doctrine Book 1.34

Worship Sunday – Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)

Amazing Grace how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now I’m found
was blind but now I see
twa’s grace that taught my heart to feel
and grace my fears relieved
how gracious thee that grace appear
the hour I first believe
My chains are gone I’ve been set free
my God my Savoir has ransomed me
and like a flodd His mercy reigns
an ending love amazing grace

Frame Uses Open Theist Argument Against Fellow Calvinist

From John Frames’ Scholasticism for Evangelicals: Thoughts on All That Is In God by James Dolezal:

Another difficulty is that the problem he raises recurs on to his own view. Dolezal wants his readers to believe that the changelessness of God (and the other doctrines he defends) is derived from Scripture. But if Scripture is “anthropomorphic through and through,” why is it not anthropomorphic when it speaks of God’s changelessness? Why should we believe literally that God is changeless, but not that God literally became flesh in Jesus? Is it not possible that when God says “I change not” he is speaking nonliterally, anthropomorphically? That text may well be saying “something true about God,” but why should we take it as literal truth, while relegating “the Word became flesh” to a figure?

In fact, texts like “I change not” which yield metaphysical truth about God, are fairly rare in Scripture. Most of the statements about God in Scripture are “mutabilist.” One can argue that the metaphysical statements should take second place to the mutabilist ones in a legitimate hermeneutic. Why should we not say “the word became flesh” is literal, and “I change not” is figurative? Of course, frequency does not equal primacy. But shouldn’t there be some argument at least that the metaphysical statements are so fundamental that they reduce mutabilist statements to a lesser status? So far as I can tell, Dolezal does not supply us with such an argument.

Ephesians 1:11 Commentary

Eph 1:11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will

Ephesians 1:11 is often quoted as a prooftext for divine determinism. God controls all things:

Reformed theology stresses the sovereignty of God in virtue of which He has sovereignly determined from all eternity whatsoever will come to pass, and works His sovereign will in His entire creation, both natural and spiritual, according to His pre-determined plan. It is in full agreement with Paul when he says that God “worketh all things after the counsel of His will,” Eph. 1: 11.
Berkhof, Louis. Systematic Theology (p. 87). . Kindle Edition.

The phrase “who works all things according to the counsel of His will” is taken to mean “who decrees all events.” But this might be a stretch. Taking the phrase:

God works “all things” after the counsel of His will. To what does “all things” refer? Is this a reference to “everything that ever happens”? If so, why does Paul exhort his readers to “imitate God” (v5:1) or to walk worthy of their calling (v4:1). If God is controlling everything, why does Paul talk as if people have their own volition?

Perhaps “all things” refers to the things God does. When Paul becomes “all things to all men” (1Co 9:22), Paul is not saying he becomes a beach ball or a kitten. Instead he is saying that in all his interactions, he becomes flexible. In the same way, Ephesians 1:11 could be saying “in all things that God does, God gives thought.”

Another option is that the statement is limited to context, God gives thought to all things pertaining to the status of those who are in Christ. The context is assurance of salvation for believers. The themes are “adoption”, “redemption”, and “guarantee of inheritance”. The context seems specifically concerned with the eternal state of believers, and the phrase could meanly be a context limited affirmation of this theme.

God works all things “after the counsel of His will”. This phrase is also interesting. Why does God “work” “things” “after” the “counsel” of His will? In classical theism, God is timeless, and works all things timelessly, and why would a God who knows the future need to “counsel His will” before knowing how to act?

A better reading of this phrase is that when God decides to act, He does so not without thought. God thinks about what He will do before He does them. His actions have purpose and weight. This would fit the context of both God’s commitment to those in Christ, and Paul’s exhortation to walk in righteousness.

Clement on Destiny

From Clement of Alexandria’s EXHORTATION TO THE HEATHEN:

Whether, then, the Phrygians are shown to be the most ancient people by the goats of the fable; or, on the other hand, the Arcadians by the poets, who describe them as older than the moon; or, finally, the Egyptians by those who dream that this land first gave birth to gods and men: yet none of these at least existed before the world. But before the foundation of the world were we, who, because destined to be in Him, pre-existed in the eye of God before,–we the rational creatures of the Word of God, on whose account we date from the beginning; for “in the beginning was the Word.” Well, inasmuch as the Word was from the first, He was and is the divine source of all things; but inasmuch as He has now assumed the name Christ, consecrated of old, and worthy of power, he has been called by me the New Song.

Faber v Calvinist on Prooftexts

From a Facebook Group, which will remain unnamed.


It is God who appoints people to eternal life.

Acts 13:48 (NASB)—> 48 When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.

Chooses who is to be holy and blameless.

Ephesians 1:4 (NASB)—> 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love

Calls according to His purpose.

2 Timothy 1:9 (NABS)—> 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,

Chooses us for salvation.

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 (NASB)—> 13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 14 It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Grants the act of believing.

Philippians 1:29 (NASB)—> 29 For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,

Grants repentance.

2 Timothy 2:24-26 (NASB)—> 24 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

Causes us to be born again.

1 Peter 1:3 (NASB)—> 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Draws people to Himself.

John 6:44 (NASB)—> 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 6:65 (NASB)—> 65 And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”

Predestines us to salvation.

Romans 8:29-30 (NASB)—> 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

And Adoption.

Ephesians 1:5 (NASB)—> 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,

According to His purpose.

Ephesians 1:11 (NASB)—> 11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,

Makes us born again not by our will but by His will.

John 1:12-13 (NASB)—> 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Works faith in the believer.

John 6:28-29 (NASB)—> 28 Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth.

James 1:18 (NASB)—> 18 In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.

And made us willing in the day of His power.

Psalm 110:3 (NASB)—> Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power; In holy array, from the womb of the dawn, Your youth are to You as the dew.

He has mercy on whom He has mercy.

Romans 9:15-16 (NASB)—> 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

Who are we to argue with whom God chooses?

Romans 9:19-20 (NASB)—> 19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” 20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?

The Son gives life to whom He wishes.

John 5:21 (NASB)—> 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes.

And reveals the Father to whom He wills.

Matthew 11:27 (NASB)—> 27 All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.

Michael Faber

Michael Faber Nowhere in Acts 13 is God identified as the active agent in verse 48. That is an imposition on the text.

Eph 1:4 is corporate election, as seen in “us” and “in him”. Again, imposition on the text.

Same with 2 Tim 1:9

In 2 Thess 2, the “beginning” is the beginning of Paul’s ministry there, after they first believed.

Granting an action (such as Phil 1:29) refers to granting the ability to do so.

2 Tim 2:24-26 is granting repentance to saved people who got into some bad doctrine.

There is no evidence that “born again” (1 Pet 3, John 3) comes before faith.

John 6:44 only speaks of those not able to come. Same with verse 65.

Romans 8:29 speaks of being predestined to being “conformed to the image of the son”, not initial salvation, and occurs after initial faith.

Same with adoption and inheritance in Eph 1.

In John 1:12-13, receive and believe result in the right to become a son of God after which, one is born if God.

John 6:27 says that the Jews were to work for the food that endures to eternal life.

In verse 28, “works of God” k same phrase as verse 29) referrs to the works God requires.

Likewise, in verse 29. “Work of God” is the work God requires, the work Jesus spoke of in verse 27.

To say it is God’s work is to make Jesus a liar in verse 27.

Psalm 110 says, “volunteer freely.” That stands directly against the OP.

Romans 9 is about the word of God to the nation of Israel (vv1-7). Verses 15-16 are about the subgroup “children of promise” from within Israel.

Verses 19 and 20 are about the hardened Jews.

So, lots of bad exegesis in the OP.

Talmud Sanhedrin on Destiny

From Talmud Sanhedrin 90b:

The Romans asked Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya: From where is it derived that the Holy One, Blessed be He, revives the dead, and from where is it derived that He knows what is destined to be? Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya said to them: Both of those matters are derived from this verse, as it is stated: “And the Lord said to Moses, Behold, you shall lie with your fathers and arise; this people will go astray” (Deuteronomy 31:16). This indicates that Moses will die and then arise from the dead and that the Holy One, Blessed be He, knows what the children of Israel are destined to do. The Romans asked: But perhaps the verse should be divided in a different manner, and it should be read: “Behold, you shall lie with your fathers and this people will arise and go astray after the foreign gods of the land.” Rabbi Yehoshua ben Ḥananya said to them: Take at least a response to half of your question in your hands from that verse, that God knows what is destined to be.

Midrash Rabbah on Genesis 18

In which Genesis 22 is read with present omniscience while denying omniscience of future events:

1 Rendering: And if not, they are not as evil now as the cry which has ascended to Me, I will know how to punish them by suffering, thus vindicating the demands of justice for their past misdeeds, yet I will not utterly destroy them. Thus they were given an opportunity of repenting. This interpretation is adopted because otherwise it would appear that God, the omniscient, did not know whether they were evil or not, which is impossible (Mah.).

Boyce on Active Knowledge

From James Petigru Boyce’s Systematic Theology:

How does God know? or in what way does he possess knowledge?

1. Not as we gain it, by using faculties fitted to acquire it. There is in him nothing corresponding to observation, comparison, generalization, deduction, processes of reasoning, by which we pass from one step to another, or the contemplation or conjecture of suppositions or theories by which we account for facts.

2. It is even improper to speak of his knowing by intuition, as is frequently done.

3. All that we can say is that his knowledge is his essence or nature knowing. It is not something acquired, but something belonging to that nature itself and identical with it, in like manner as are his love, and truth, and justice. It is something so inherent in his nature that it exists exclusively of any means of attaining or perceiving it, which we call action.

4. The knowledge of God, therefore, not being acquired, cannot be increased. Time does not add to it. Succession of events does not bring it before God. All the objects of his knowledge are to him eternally present and known.

Calvin on God Predestining Evil

From Institutes:

1. No mere “permission”!
From other passages, in which God is said to draw or bend Satan himself, and all the reprobate, to his will, a more difficult question arises. For the carnal mind can scarcely comprehend how, when acting by their means, he contracts no taint from their impurity, nay, how, in a common operation, he is exempt from all guilt, and can justly condemn his own ministers. Hence a distinction has been invented between doing and permitting because to many it seemed altogether inexplicable how Satan and all the wicked are so under the hand and authority of God, that he directs their malice to whatever end he pleases, and employs their iniquities to execute his judgements. The modesty of those who are thus alarmed at the appearance of absurdity might perhaps be excused, did they not endeavour to vindicate the justice of God from every semblance of stigma by defending an untruth. It seems absurd that man should be blinded by the will and command of God, and yet be forthwith punished for his blindness. Hence, recourse is had to the evasion that this is done only by the permission, and not also by the will of God. He himself, however, openly declaring that he does this, repudiates the evasion. That men do nothing save at the secret instigation of God, and do not discuss and deliberate on any thing but what he has previously decreed with himself and brings to pass by his secret direction, is proved by numberless clear passages of Scripture.

Calvin, John. The John Calvin Collection: 12 Classic Works (Kindle Locations 3529-3539). . Kindle Edition.

Ambrose on Active Knowledge

From Of Christian Faith, Book 5:

194. I ask then, whether He had this knowledge by reason of His Being, or by chance? For all
knowledge comes to us either through nature, or by learning. It is supplied by nature, as for instance
to a horse to enable it to run, or to a fish to enable it to swim. For they do this without learning. On
the other hand, it is by learning that a man is enabled to swim. For he could not do so unless he had
learnt. Since therefore nature enables dumb animals to do and to know what they have not learnt,
why shouldst thou give an opinion on the Son of God, and say whether He has knowledge by
instruction or by nature? If by instruction, then He was not begotten as Wisdom, and gradually
began to be perfect, but was not always so. But if He has knowledge by nature, then He was perfect
in the beginning, He came forth perfect from the Father; and so needed no foreknowledge of the

Calvin on Prayer for Our Sake

From Institutes:

But some one will say, Does he not know without a monitor both what our difficulties are, and what is meet for our interest, so that it seems in some measure superfluous to solicit him by our prayers, as if he were winking, or even sleeping, until aroused by the sound of our voice? 1 Those who argue thus attend not to the end for which the Lord taught us to pray. It was not so much for his sake as for ours. He wills indeed, as is just, that due honour be paid him by acknowledging that all which men desire or feel to be useful, and pray to obtain, is derived from him. But even the benefit of the homage which we thus pay him redounds to ourselves. Hence the holy patriarchs, the more confidently they proclaimed the mercies of God to themselves and others felt the stronger incitement to prayer. It will be sufficient to refer to the example of Elijah, who being assured of the purpose of God had good ground for the promise of rain which he gives to Ahab, and yet prays anxiously upon his knees, and sends his servant seven times to inquire (1 Kings 18:42); not that he discredits the oracle, but because he knows it to be his duty to lay his desires before God, lest his faith should become drowsy or torpid. Wherefore, although it is true that while we are listless or insensible to our wretchedness, he wakes and watches for use and sometimes even assists us unasked; it is very much for our interest to be constantly supplicating him; first, that our heart may always be inflamed with a serious and ardent desire of seeking, loving and serving him, while we accustom ourselves to have recourse to him as a sacred anchor in every necessity; secondly, that no desires, no longing whatever, of which we are ashamed to make him the witness, may enter our minds, while we learn to place all our wishes in his sight, and thus pour out our heart before him; and, lastly, that we may be prepared to receive all his benefits with true gratitude and thanksgiving, while our prayers remind us that they proceed from his hand. Moreover, having obtained what we asked, being persuaded that he has answered our prayers, we are led to long more earnestly for his favour, and at the same time have greater pleasure in welcoming the blessings which we perceive to have been obtained by our prayers. Lastly, use and experience confirm the thought of his providence in our minds in a manner adapted to our weakness, when we understand that he not only promises that he will never fail us, and spontaneously gives us access to approach him in every time of need, but has his hand always stretched out to assist his people, not amusing them with words, but proving himself to be a present aid. For these reasons, though our most merciful Father never slumbers nor sleeps, he very often seems to do so, that thus he may exercise us, when we might otherwise be listless and slothful, in asking, entreating, and earnestly beseeching him to our great good. It is very absurd, therefore, to dissuade men from prayer, by pretending that Divine Providence, which is always watching over the government of the universes is in vain importuned by our supplications, when, on the contrary, the Lord himself declares, that he is “nigh unto all that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth (Psalm 145:18). No better is the frivolous allegation of others, that it is superfluous to pray for things which the Lord is ready of his own accord to bestow; since it is his pleasure that those very things which flow from his spontaneous liberality should be acknowledged as conceded to our prayers. This is testified by that memorable sentence in the psalms to which many others corresponds: “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry” (Psalm 34:15). This passage, while extolling the care which Divine Providence spontaneously exercises over the safety of believers, omits not the exercise of faith by which the mind is aroused from sloth. The eyes of God are awake to assist the blind in their necessity, but he is likewise pleased to listen to our groans, that he may give us the better proof of his love. And thus both things are true, “He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:4); and yet whenever he sees us dumb and torpid, he withdraws as if he had forgotten us.

Romans 2:12-15 Commentary

Part of the ongoing Verse Quick Reference project.

Rom 2:12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law
Rom 2:13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified;
Rom 2:14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves,
Rom 2:15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)

Paul contrasts two groups: those who are under the law and those who are not. Each group will be judged on different standards. The group under the law will be judged by the law, and the group not under the law has a separate law under which they will be judged. They are judged by conscience. Verse 6 reads that God will “WILL RENDER TO EACH ONE ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS”.

What this shows is that God has different standards for different people. People are judged under a curve by how much they know and what upbringing they had. Even the gentiles, who didn’t have the law, are eligible for eternal life (verse 7).

Molinist Debate

Molinist shared a link to the group:

April 5 at 9:17pm ·

Both Calvinists and open theists have argued that if God knows the future infallibly then it must be determined and Free Will does not exist. Leighton flowers has mentioned that this is a logical fallacy of conflating certainty with necessity. This originally came from William Lane Craig and here is the video that it came from.

[William Lane Craig] Q&A – If God foreknows all my decisions, do I have free will?


Chris Fisher Craig fights a strawman, which allows him to avoid the real questions:



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Monilist Not a straw man at all. Both calvinist and open theists have argued that if God knows the future completely then it makes it necessary and dr. Craig was responding to that. God knowing the future does not mean that he determined it. You can believe in determinism if you want to but two conflate certainty with necessity is logically fallacious.


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Chris Fisher You built the strawman too. It can both be true that foreknowledge does not equal causation and that a known future necessitates fatalism. See my chart above, which you ignored.


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Monilist Your graph also does not follow with the video because it’s not about God telling what color should I wear tomorrow the issue is since God knows what color should I wear tomorrow does that make it determined


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  • Reply · 4w

Chris Fisher ^Again, ZERO people are claiming that because God knows what color shirt you will wear means He determined it. That is the strawman which allows you to maintain your fiction to fight.


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Monilist Tons of people are claiming that who have you been reading?


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Chris Fisher Alright, from this thread, you have claimed that I claimed that foreknowledge equals God determining everything. Because that is not true, and blatantly false, and you didn’t understand my argument, I am going to go out on a limb and say you probably didn’t understand other people’s arguments either.

If God knows what shirt I WILL wear tomorrow, fatalism is true. See my chart.


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Monilist You said if God knows what shirt I will wear tomorrow fatalism is true. That is the same thing as saying that if God knows the future it must be determined. You just affirmed the supposed strawman that you claim that I made


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Chris Fisher False. This is why it is hard to have an honest dialogue. It could be the case that God is a part of fatalism. God is just fated as much as everything else in the universe, and although He is fated to know the future, the fate (or some other third party mechanism) is the cause and not God.


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Chris Fisher In your system, God is just as much an aspect of fate as you and I. He has no volition and no free will. Not even He can change the future.


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Monilist So you’re saying you believe in materialistic fatalism


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Chris Fisher No… Never said that. Deal with my arguments.

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Chris Fisher




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Chris Fisher And, as a note, none of my arguments rise or fall on anything I personally believe.


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Monilist Okay first of all the chart you cited is a little wonky. The first blue bubble asked two different questions. But it only provided one no. If the no is an answer to the first question it does not follow that fatalism is true. If no was an answer to the second question then fatalism would be true. The yes to the first blue bubble if that is the answer to both questions the conclusion that the future is open does not follow. Same with the green bubble that’s connected to the final blue bubble. It does not follow that if you were to choose a different color shirt then God wouldn’t have told you what color shirt you will wear. He just would have told you differently have you chosen a different color shirt


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  • Reply · 4w

Chris Fisher Monilist You are not following the premise of what is happening here. Molinism is false for the same reason any time travel movie falls apart. You have results pre-existing the cause.

I am going to wear a shirt tomorrow. God should have that knowledge and SHOULD be able to tell me what shirt I WILL (not MIGHT) wear. If God knows the future and what I will do in any circumstance, He should be able to even factor in telling me what color shirt I WILL wear. Now that I am informed, I use that knowledge to subvert what God knows WILL happen. God didn’t actually then tell me what shirt I WILL wear.





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Chris Fisher Either the future that God knows WILL happen CAN be subverted, or fatalism is true. Pick one. You don’t get both.





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Monilist Once again you’re conflating certainty with necessity. You’re committing the very fallacy that dr. Craig is talking about in the video. And I don’t think you’re actually following with what I’m saying either. Just because God knows something in advance does not make that necessary or faded Just as us knowing what happened in the final game of the World Series in 1997 for example does not make what happened in that game necessary. And God can know the future without telling us what the future is. I don’t understand why the graph felt the need to mention God telling us the future. And I don’t have to pick one of the choices that you gave me. I would say neither one. God does know what will happen in the future and it cannot be subverted. That does not make fatalism true because I could have done something different and if I had God’s foreknowledge would have been different. Moreover there could be tons of other ways that God could know the future exhaustively without necessitating fatalism. For example God could be present in all times as well as all places. In this scenario God would know all the future exhaustively because he would already be there presently. And certainly fatalism would not be necessitated in that situation. But even if you interpret foreknowledge to mean that God is looking ahead into the future but only existing in our present it still does not follow that fatalism is true.





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  • Reply · 4w · Edited

Chris Fisher Now you attempting to win the argument by introducing outside concepts that don’t make any sense, and that you have not proved. An event in the past that cannot be different than it is, you label it as not a “necessary” event. That is a major assumption you are importing into the conversation. Explain to me how an event that cannot be other than it is, and never could have been, is anything except a fated, necessary event?


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Chris Fisher “That does not make fatalism true because I could have done something different”… no you couldn’t have. That is what we are discussing. Just import unproven assumptions. I am arguing that 100%, absolute knowledge of the future means fatalism is true. Assuming your position is true before the discussion begins is the fallacy of Begging the Question.


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Monilist Moreover if you are arguing that God himself is faded then you are in a sense saying that there is something greater than God that is fading God to do what he does


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Chris Fisher Again, I am not arguing anything about what I believe. My arguments do not rise or fall on my personal beliefs. This latest comment of yours is more evidence of this bad thinking. While I do argue that foreknowledge does not equal causation, foreknowledge plus other factors might. If you assume new factors into the equation, yeah, God can easily be the cause of the fate. But that is why this thread exists. WLC and you build strawmen to dismantle, rather than the actual arguments.


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Monilist I disagree and I really do not have time to debate this all night. If you had watched the video you would have noticed that William Lane Craig brought up open theists which have used the argument that he refuted so it is not a straw man it may not be what you believe but it is not a straw man of what his audience is


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Monilist And I was no more begging the question than you were when you simply asserted that you couldn’t have done otherwise if God had known it we simply have different philosophical assumptions


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MonilistNUM2t Chris Fisher Having taken a graduate level class on Divine omniscience with Dr. Craig, I can assure you he does not build a strawman.
He typically does not engage other view points with cartoons and memes, unlike some; rather, he actually refers to Molina, Boyd, Sanders, Hasker, Plantinga, etc.


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Chris Fisher You: So SFK (simple foreknowledge) of God does not equal fate.
Me: True. But foreknowledge means things are fated.
You: So foreknolwedge causes fate.
Me: No. Again, it is proof of fate’s existence. Something else could cause the fate.
You: But God has the SFK and nothing is greater than him, so therefore he could be the only cause.
Me: Alright, so why on Earth are you building strawman arguments about SFK and fate, rather than your SFK + Perfect Being theology actual belief.


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Chris Fisher MonilistNUM2t Yeah, thanks for a constructive addition to this conversation that added real intellectual points.


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Monilist Foreknowledge does not mean things are faded it just means that God knows them that’s all it means


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Chris Fisher Again, refer to the chart. If something is known 100% by anyone, even if that being is not God, then fatalism is true.


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Monilist And I disagree with the reasoning of that chart


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MonilistNUM2t Chris Fisher Of course, you’re welcome.


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Chris Fisher You haven’t answered it though. Can God tell me something I WILL (no kidding, not a joke, not a funny funny, I WILL, seriously, not kidding) do, and then can I do something else?

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Monilist The issue is God’s knowledge not what God may or may not tell you


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Monilist And I have answered it you just don’t agree with it yes you could have done differently and if you had God would have told you differently


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Chris Fisher Yeah, we have examples in the Bible of God telling the future. So apply my example to those instances rather than running from the question.


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Chris Fisher “yes you could have done differently”, then God didn’t tell me the future. Congratulations, God didn’t “know” the future.


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Monilist Now we’re just talking in circles


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Chris Fisher You literally just told me that the future God knows WILL happen, will NOT happen.


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Monilist Soteriology 101 what was the passage in 1st or 2nd Samuel where God foreknew an event that did not come to pass


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Monilist No that is not what I said that is a straw man


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Chris Fisher Me: Can God tell me something I WILL (no kidding, not a joke, not a funny funny, I WILL, seriously, not kidding) do, and then can I do something else?

You: Let me not answer your question, and change it to something entirely different so I can avoid your point. Because I build strawmen rather than dealing with arguments.


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MonilistNUM2t Monilist You might be thinking of 1 Samuel 23:6–13


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Chris Fisher





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Chris Fisher 1Sa 15:11 “I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.” And it grieved Samuel, and he cried out to the LORD all night.


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Chris Fisher 1Sa 2:30 Therefore the LORD God of Israel says: ‘I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever.’ But now the LORD says: ‘Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.


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Chris Fisher What he is actually referencing is Keilah. 1Sa 23:12 Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?” And the LORD said, “They will surrender you.”

I have a response to the Heiser position here:


Apologetics Thursday – God Warns David about Keilah – God is Open


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Chris Fisher Abraham, as well, “knows” the future:

Gen 12:11 When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, “I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance,
Gen 12:12 and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me, but they will let you live.
Gen 12:13 Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake.”

So, if you are claiming Keilah tells you something about God knowing “all possible futures” you might as well make the same claim about Abraham.


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MonilistNUM2t Chris Fisher “Me: Can God tell me something I WILL (no kidding, not a joke, not a funny funny, I WILL, seriously, not kidding) do, and then can I do something else?”

Sifting through the superfluous parts about jokes and being funny, the answer is yes; God could tell you what you will do and you still can do something else.

I’m not sure why this is confusing to you. Perhaps you’re unaware of logical priority as opposed to temporal priority or other such terminology.

Part of the reason this discussion is not going far is terms are not being defined properly. For example, defining exactly what you mean by “can” would be prudent. For example, “can/could do otherwise” usually means completely different things for a compatibilist versus a libertarian.

I’ll take the time to respond once to you, but then have other things I’d rather spend time on.


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Chris Fisher //God could tell you what you will do and you still can do something else.

Then the future is not known. God doesn’t “know” the future. If your argument is that God can change the future, and man can as well, that is not molinism, that is Open Theistic neo-molinism. The future is not set and can be changed. It is not “known”.

Also, Begging the Question is a fallacy. If you are introducing concepts that should be rejected for being self-contradictory, at least attempt to prove them.


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Chris Fisher And straight out, Molinism is not a Biblical concept, as we see from God revoking an eternal promise to replace it with a conditional promise. It doesn’t get more clear than that.


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MonilistNUM2t Chris Fisher “Then the future is not known.”
Of course it is. I just said that God knows what you will do and He told you so. Maybe I could make it more obvious for you: The future is known by God.
That should be hard to misunderstand or strawman.

You seem to misunderstand Molinism (and my explicit response) completely. You keep talking about people running from your questions but then when I do answer, you ignore my answer.

The Molinist-biblical view is more than clear that God knows the future, including creaturely free choices. So in no uncertain terms the future is known by God.

And I never said anything about God or man changing the future. That’s not “neo-Molinism” in the slightest; One of Molinism’s core tenets is God’s exhaustive foreknowledge.

I did not attempt to prove logical or temporal priority (why these basic philosophical axioms would need to be proved is beyond me, however). You are the one speaking as if your cartoon disproved Molinism and I merely pointed out you seem wholly ignorant of Molina’s writings.

Even so, the point is that God knows what you will do precisely because the free choice was made. The logical priority is to the free choice. God knows temporally prior what the free choice will be; but that in no way suggests it is determined. God knows the free choice because it will be made. At the moment of the choice, you will have (libertarian) freedom to choose A or -A. Meaning you *can* choose otherwise. You *won’t* choose otherwise, but you can. Also, the choice is self-determined, which is a weaker, but also sufficient condition for libertarian freedom. Craig actually endorses this latter view of libertarian freedom.

Your final sweeping assertion about your exegetical conclusions is so vague it’s difficult to respond to. I could just as easily say this novel Open Theistic view is biblical baseless and built upon a philosophical problem which is trivially easy to solve for all but a view confused individuals. But this is hardly helpful, even though it is true.

Succinctly put, you have provided nothing compelling in the slightest to reject the biblical data of God’s exhaustive foreknowledge. There is no philosophical problem nor is there biblical space to embrace Openism.

It was a fun conversion! But I do not have the interest to engage further. Feel free to respond, though, if you feel so inclined.
Blessings, brother!


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Chris Fisher “Of course it is. I just said that God knows what you will do and He told you so.”

If God told me what I “will” do, but I did something else, then God didn’t tell me what I “will” do. He told me what I “will do under certain circumstances” but He didn’t tell me anything about what WILL happen.


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Chris Fisher “You keep talking about people running from your questions but then when I do answer, you ignore my answer.”

I directly responded to it, and quoted it.


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Chris Fisher “And I never said anything about God or man changing the future. That’s not “neo-Molinism” in the slightest; One of Molinism’s core tenets is God’s exhaustive foreknowledge. ”

Fantastic. God has exhaustive foreknowledge, excluding what future will be actualized, according to your answer to my question. Welcome to Open Theism.


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Chris Fisher “I did not attempt to prove logical or temporal priority (why these basic philosophical axioms would need to be proved is beyond me, however).”

I gave an example. There is an event that is referenced in the past. It is fixed. It can never change. It will never change. If God exhaustively knew it would always be, then it could never have been any different, but then you say it is not “necessary”. George H Smith, an atheist, points out this Begging the Question in his book against Christianity. You introduce non-nonsensical, and self contradictory categories to deal with the problems your system creates.


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Chris Fisher “Your final sweeping assertion about your exegetical conclusions is so vague it’s difficult to respond to.”

This thread is not about the Bible. I had referenced it when you side started denying God could say anything about the future, and I had to snap you guys back to reality. We could definitely debate the Biblical view of foreknowledge.


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Chris Fisher “Succinctly put, you have provided nothing compelling in the slightest to reject the biblical data of God’s exhaustive foreknowledge. ”

The Biblical data is conclusive. Your side 100% relies on Special Pleading and Begging the Question. But this thread is not about the Biblical data. But, I have hundreds of thousands of words written on the topic if you care.


Craig on God’s Molinistic knowledge

Molinist William Lane Craig describes God’s knowledge:

As long as we understand that the object of God’s foreknowledge is logically prior to what he foreknows, it doesn’t really matter that God’s foreknowledge is chronologically prior to the event foreknown. What that means is that if the event were to be different then God’s foreknowledge would be different.

Aristides on God

From The Apology of Aristides:

I say, then, that God is not born, not made, an ever-abiding nature without beginning and without end, immortal, perfect, and incomprehensible. Now when I say that he is “perfect,” this means that there is not in him any defect, and he is not in need of anything but all things are in need of him. And when I say that he is “without beginning,” this means that everything which has beginning has also an end, and that which has an end may be brought to an end. He has no name, for everything which has a name is kindred to things created. Form he has none, nor yet any union of members; for whatsoever possesses these is kindred to things fashioned. He is neither male nor female. The heavens do not limit him, but the heavens and all things, visible and invisible, receive their bounds from him. Adversary he has none, for there exists not any stronger than he. Wrath and indignation he possesses not, for there is nothing which is able to stand against him. Ignorance and forgetfulness are not in his nature, for he is altogether wisdom and understanding; and in Him stands fast all that exists. He requires not sacrifice and libation, nor even one of things visible; He requires not aught from any, but all living creatures stand in need of him.

TGC on the NT use of the OT

The Gospel Coalition, a Calvinist site, writes about the New Testament use of the Old Testament:

1. Keep in mind the NT’s purpose in referencing the OT. We often think every time the OT is referenced it must mean the NT author is trying to exegete the OT passage. But there is no rule of inerrancy which says the NT author must always be attempting to give the correct interpretation of a given passage. The NT author may not be attempting an interpretation at all. If someone asks me, “How is the editing work going” and I say, “It’s tedious–line upon line, precept upon precept” this doesn’t mean I’m trying to exegete Isaiah 28:10. I’m simply employing the familiar language of a familiar passage.

2. Along these lines, remember the NT often uses the OT simply as a vehicle of expression. The NT writers were hugely familiar with the OT. It’s no wonder they employed its vocabulary. In the same way, Westerners might use a line from Shakespeare or the Bible because it is familiar, but without intending to explain its context or original meaning.

3. The NT may press home the significance of a passage without trying to explain its original meaning. For example, Moo points to Paul’s use of Deuteronomy 25:4 (“You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain”) in 1 Corinthians 9:9. Critics argue that Paul is taking the Law of Moses out of context by saying this passage is about paying ministers. But surely Paul is justified in pulling a fair inference out of the passage and applying it to his own context.

4. We must allow for a broader view of “fulfillment” language. A lot of trouble could be avoided if we understood that the use of plēroō (fulfilled) does not have to mean “and so this verse predicted that Jesus would do or say this thing that just happened.” As Moo says, “The word is used in the New Testament to indicate the broad redemptive-historical relationship of the new, climactic revelation of God in Christ to the preparatory, incomplete revelation to and through Israel” (191). In other words, “fulfilled” does not mean the OT text in question is a direct prophecy. Consequently, Jesus flight to Egypt can fulfill Hosea 11:1, not because Hosea ever intended to predict a Messianic trip down south, but because Jesus is God’s greater Son who is the embodiment of a new Israel. Jesus is on an Exodus journey of his own. Hosea did not predict the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt, nor does Matthew suggest the prophet meant to do so. But Matthew does see that the story of Israel’s exodus, alluded to in Hosea, is brought to its full redemptive-historical revelation in Christ.

5. Similarly, some OT passages are fulfilled typologically. This is different than allegory. And allegory looks for meaning behind the text where typology finds a developed meaning that is rooted in the text (see Moo 195). Jesus’ passion can be seen as a fulfillment of David’s heart cry in Psalm 22 not because David thought he was predicting the death of the Messiah, but because David, as the king and as the promised progenitor of the Messiah, was a type of Christ whose cries anticipated the final dereliction of David’s greater son.

6. OT prophecy is full of examples where there is a near and far fulfillment. Isaiah 40, for example, was a word of comfort about the return from Babylon, but later we see it also was a word about John the Baptist who would prepare the way for the Messiah (Mark 1:2-3). Much of the prophetic witness implicitly anticipates a future, fuller, often eschatological fulfillment. Isaiah may not have known that his words about the virgin were Messianic, but this does not mean he’d be surprised to know they were. Israel was always waiting for the everlasting kingdom and the final Deliverer. I think the prophets understood that what they foretold (and forth-told) was for their day, but it could be for the future as well.

Fisher on Exodus 32

Yahweh claims to be burning in intense anger (v10). Moses says God is burning in anger (v11). Moses implores God to “Turn from your burning anger and relent [repent] from this disaster against your people”. God then repents of the “disaster that he had spoken of bringing”. If Moses’ statement, in context, is to implore God to change His mind, then the narrator’s phrase is an affirmation that this is exactly what happened.

Fisher, Christopher. God is Open: Examining the Open Theism of the Biblical Authors (Kindle Locations 1837-1841). Kindle Edition.

Hilson on God’s Heartbreak

I think that it is clear from scripture that Gods heart breaks over some of the choices that we make. Time and again we read of God becoming frustrated over our actions, or regretting choices that He made because of how we ended up acting. We read about God regretting making Saul king of the Israelites in 1 Samuel: ‘“ I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” Samuel was angry, and he cried out to the Lord all that night.’ 1 Samuel 15: 11 Firstly, notice that it is once again a relationship which has moved the heart of God. This passage is yet more confirmation of the relational nature of our God. Perhaps more relevant to our focus here is the fact that God, who according to those who would hold to the classical view, is utterly unchanging, with a perfect (and therefore unchangeable) plan for the universe which was laid out in exhaustive detail before the foundation of the earth – regretted a decision that He made. Think about that for a moment. Did God just say that He made a mistake? Well, technically no, but He did say that a choice He made created in Him a sense of regret. Did God choose the best person for the job of king? If you believe scripture, and the overwhelming evidence from the Bible that God is good and trustworthy and wise, then you would have to answer yes, based on how we understand the nature of God more than how we understand Saul.. But of course Saul was human, with that human trait of free will. They say that those of us with the most potential to get things right, have the greatest potential to really get things wrong. This may be what we see with Saul – great potential, but bad choices.

Thomas, Hilson. Open Theism: Understanding God, the Future and His Perfect Plan (Kindle Locations 410-425). Blair Grove. Kindle Edition.

Brueggemann on the disobedience of Assyria and Babylon

As in Isa 10: 6 with Assyria, Babylon did not stay within its mandate from Yahweh. Babylon failed to show the mercy required (cf. Jer 40: 9, 42: 11– 12). As a consequence, Babylon, a power willed to proximate power by Yahweh, forfeits power by overstepping Yahwistic restraint. The pivotal notion is mercy. Of course, no mention of showing mercy had been made to Babylon (as no mention had been made to Assyria in Isaiah 10). Indeed this invading people is initially summoned for “no mercy” (Jer 6: 23). But, according to Israel’s testimony, Nebuchadnezzar should have known. He was, after all, dealing with Yahweh and with Yahweh’s beloved people. Yahweh was angry (qṣph) to be sure, but anger is not Yahweh’s final intention. Nebuchadnezzar was not told; but he should have known. For not knowing, the “glory and grandeur” that was Babylon must end.

Brueggemann, Walter. Theology of the Old Testament: Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy (p. 512). Fortress Press. Kindle Edition.

Textual Variants of Acts 15:18

ESV Act 15:18  known from of old.’ 
NKJ Act 15:18 “Known to God from eternity are all His works.

Via StepBible:

Acts 15:18
γνωστὰ ἀπ’ αἰῶνος] ‭א B C Ψ 33 36 81 307 323 453 610 630 1175 1505 1678 1739 1891 2344 2495 copsa copbo arm (geo γνωστὰ πάντα) (slav) Didascalia WH (NR CEI) (Riv) (TILC) Nv NM

ἅ ἐστιν γνωστὰ αὐτῷ ἀπ’ αἰῶνος] 945 pc (eth)

γνωστὰ ἀπ’ αἰῶνος τῷ κυρίῳ τὸ ἔργον αὐτοῦ] p74 A (D αἰῶνος ἐστιν) (itar) itc itd itdem itl (itp) itph itro itw vg (syrh(mg)) armms (Irenaeuslat) Jerome

γνωστὰ ἀπ’ αἰῶνος τῷ κυρίῳ πάντα τὰ ἔργα] 1409

γνωστὰ ἀπ’ αἰῶνος ἐστιν τῷ θεῷ πάντα τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ] E L P 049 056 0142 88 (104 ἀπὸ τοῦ) (181 1877 omit πάντα) 326 330 436 451 614 1241 2412 2492 Byz l156 l617 l1178 ite (itgig) (syrp) syrh (slavms) (Apostolic Constitutions) Chrysostom ς ND Dio
πάντα τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ] 2127

γνωστὰ ἐστιν κυρίῳ τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ] 629*

γνωστὰ ἐστιν ἀπ’ αἰῶνος τῷ κυρίῳ τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ] 629c

1 Samuel 2:30 commentary

Part of the ongoing Verse Quick Reference project.

1Sa 2:30 Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me forever,’ but now the LORD declares: ‘Far be it from me, for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed.

The context of 1 Samuel 2:30 is about Eli’s worthless sons. They are evil, and God regrets giving His promises to Eli to have an eternal priesthood. Verse 30 is God revoking His eternal promise. Although God had promised Eli a house “forever”, He needs to recall that promise and replace it with a conditional promise. God had promised, “but now” God promises something else. The change of promises is explicit. The first promise is “far be it from” God. God is distancing Himself from His original promise in the most explicit of terms.

The fact that the new promise is a conditional promise suggests that the original promise was not conditional. If the original promise was conditional, then there would be no need to replace it with a conditional promise. The original promise could have just been fulfilled without change.

1 Samuel 30 is a clear incident of God experiencing a change that He did not expect. The text is clear and unambiguous. This unexpected change forces God to revoke an eternal promise, and replace that promise with something that can adapt to situations as they change. God is acknowledging that He does not know the future and will be able to adapt to a future He does not forsee.

Job 14:5 Commentary

Part of the ongoing Verse Quick Reference project.

Job 14:5 Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,

Job 14:5 is often used as a prooftext for the idea that God decides the length and extent of each individual’s life.

6. IT IS UNIVERSAL OR ALL-COMPREHENSIVE. The decree includes whatsoever comes to pass in the world, whether it be in the physical or in the moral realm, whether it be good or evil, Eph. 1: 11. It includes: … (e) the duration of man’s life, Job 14: 5; Ps. 39: 4…
Berkhof, Louis. Systematic Theology (p. 92). . Kindle Edition.

The verse, in context, is a quote by Job in the context of lamenting God’s misruling of the world. Job tells God to “look away” v6 because He is too harsh. The verse is better taken to mean that human kind does not live forever. God has set limits on how long man can live. And the point, in context, is that God should stop tormenting Job and let Job live out the remained of the lifespan determined for humans.

David Clines writes on Job 14:5:

5–6 The three cola of v 5 are best taken as the threefold reason for the demand of v 6. The initial [Hebrew omitted] is not the hypothetical “if” but “if, as is the case,” which means “since.” The emphasis in this triple description of the prescribed length of human life is not that it has been fixed at a particular span, nor that God himself has fixed it, but that God well knows how brief a span it is; this is so evidently the general reference that it is not expressly stated. Instead, what is stated is the impossibility of the assigned span being exceeded. The number of human days is “determined” [Hebrew omitted], the accent being on the irrevocability of the divine decree (Horst; cf. [Hebrew omitted] in Isa 10:22; Joel 4:14 [3:14]; Dan 9:26, 27; 11:36). Likewise the months of human life are “known” to God, lit., “with you” [Hebrew omitted], in your knowledge or memory; for such a meaning of [Hebrew omitted] “with” cf. Isa 59:12; Prov 2:1; Gen 40:14 (BDB, 86 § 3b). Days and months together add to a total which is humankind‘s “limit” ([Hebrew omitted] “prescribed thing”); the term is used in v 13 of a prescribed time, and elsewhere of the prescribed limit of the sea (26:10; 38:10; Jer 5:22; Prov 8:29), of the heavens (Ps 148:6) and of the land of Israel (Mic 7:11). To “pass over” [Hebrew omitted] a “prescribed limit” [Hebrew omitted] sounds like a legal expression meaning to “transgress a decree” (the exact phrase is not actually attested in the Hebrew Bible); some play may be made with the idea that any “overstepping” [Hebrew omitted] the divine prescription of one‘s fixed span of life would be like a “transgression” [Hebrew omitted] Job has twice urged God to “desist” [Hebrew] from him, to leave him alone (7:16; 10:20), so that he may have some relief in the days that remain for him. The thought is apparently a conventional form of lament; cf. Ps 39:14 [13] “Look away ([Hebrew omitted] , as here) from me, that I may be cheerful ([Hebrew omitted] , as in 9:27; 10:20), before I depart and be no more.” Here of course it is humankind, not Job personally, that is the ostensible object of God‘s unremitting attention, which Job experiences as hurtful and undesirable.

OK person on the internet, let’s talk about calvinism…


Calvinism. There’s a lot to address, so the expectation of brevity is not well founded. When you really examine things, especially false things with tons of ostensible historical support, there’s a lot of baggage, and it all needs to be torn through.

First, let’s lay some ground rules for this discussion to potentially be fruitful, and not an exercise in futility…

I will be describing calvinism, what calvinists believe, etc, often in this writing, and its important to understand the context in which I speak. I am not speaking for the calvinist. I am not saying that my claims about calvinism are the way a calvinist would describe their beliefs, or the logically inescapable implications of said beliefs. That is not what I am doing here. And no, me not doing that does *NOT* mean that I am only arguing against a straw man, or intellectually dishonestly misrepresenting what calvinists believe. I am critically examining calvinism, and pointing out things about it which ARE TRUE, but which calvinists do not believe, realize, deny in unrighteousness, etc. WORLDS of difference between that and a straw man. And that is how ALL refutation works. That is what calvinists do to other worldviews as well. I am not doing anything that they don’t do to others, to them. I will point out things about their beliefs which are unintended consequences and implications of things they do actually affirm. If you think I am misascribing an implication or consequence, etc, skip the accusations of dishonesty and fallacy, and instead address the underlying logic I am employing when I assert said implication or consequence. In other words, actually refute my claim.

The thing about calvinists and accusing people of straw manning calvinism, is that their standards for what constitutes a straw man are some very shifty goalposts. When a calvinist apologist is debating an atheist and points out logically inescapable yet unintended consequences of the atheistic worldview as the atheist themselves would enunciate it, calvinists are fine with that. When a calvinist wants to “refute” another theological perspective, they can do the same thing, and again, no calvinist will call that a straw man. But you point out the logically inescapable yet unintended consequences of calvinism as a calvinist would themselves enunciate it, and all of a sudden an internal critique is automatically a straw man.
This ties in directly to how most calvinists utterly misapprehend how presup works, they think neutrality being illusory and their confused understanding of epistemology means that they’re incapable of critically examining their own beliefs in earnest, and that’s not the case at all. This same issue also ties directly into how common a practice it is among calvinists to hold one singular facet of an opposed worldview up to the light of calvinism, and when it doesn’t match up, acting like that’s somehow tantamount to refuting that one facet of the opposed worldview that was taken out of context.
Based on these phenomenon which I consistently encounter when dealing with calvinists in critical discourse (virtually 100%, in fact I really might think it might be ACTUALLY 100%), I can only conclude that calvinists are religiously against earnest critical self examination.
If you read what I am about to say, and comment about it saying something like “I didn’t even need to read any further than this line har har har” we’re done. We have nothing to discuss. You’re not interested in a logical debate. Move along back to the kiddie table. We all have read the bible, we all know the scriptures at play in this discussion/topic. There’s no need for my argument to directly quote scripture ever, because its based on refuting the underlying logic and presuppositions that undergird calvinism, through which the scriptures in question are interpreted. I am not interested in a copy/paste verses competition. If I say “we know X from scripture” and you disagree, don’t come at me like I am dishonestly making my points about what scripture says and that’s why I am not directly quoting scripture (I do not deal with that entire vibe of people), skip the accusation, and instead just tell me what you disagree with, why, and allow me to respond. Don’t act like your interpretation being right, and mine being wrong, is a given, and run with it, or I will just ignore you. Believe me, I am willing, and VERY able to discuss the specifics of scripture, if you feel that there’s something I over looked, misunderstood, etc, bring it up. But don’t just ignore my points and start at the first step of the dialectic, if you ignore my points, I ignore you. I won’t be unequally yoked. If you stop reading part way, to take issue with something I address later on in this post, since you’re ignoring my points yet insist on asking questions about them, I will ignore your questions in return. Look for your answer here first, or don’t ask me. If you have read the whole thing, and don’t see that I have responded to an issue, even if I think I have, I won’t hold it against you. I understand you might not notice the part I am addressing that, or associate what I am saying with that issue, etc, that’s fine. All I am saying is READ THE WHOLE POST FIRST.
We all know the proof texts calvinists use to try and affirm their positions, we don’t need to read over those. We know what they say. Anyone participating in a discussion of calvinism better first familiarize yourselves with what calvinists believe, and their ostensible “proof” texts for such. This discussion will be assuming a certain minimum level of background knowledge on the topic, and won’t be making attempts at speaking at the level of the novice to this topic. The debate really is so much more about the presuppositions and epistemological background that goes into calvinistic interpretations of scripture that need to be addressed. Its much more a logic issue (and intellectual honesty/self deception issue, as bahnsen would put it), than a simple matter of copy/pasting verses back and forth at each other. Two people, who both hold to false views, can engage in this sort of sophistry all day.
Its pointless to debate the data, before getting on the same page about valid standards, methods, etc, for interpretation of the data, ruling out common misconceptions, and talk about what would and would not constitute a point or defeater for each side. Also refer to my previously stated rules at the beginning of this note for the rest of the ground rules I have set for interacting with me. Nothing even slightly weird to expect, although this is the internet, and sadly even among “christian” circles, most people either don’t know how to be civil and discuss IDEAS instead of people on a personal level, or think being matter of fact and blunt is the same as being over the top rude. Neither are the case, so don’t come at me like that. The reason I bother to set ground rules is because without doing so, 90% of my time in a debate is taken up dealing with people who don’t understand communication, basic logic, debate, textual criticism, etc. (also because people tend to give more credence to a disclaimer than a refutation of a thing they’ve already commited themselves to, so dealing with it when it comes up sometimes proves impossible). Terms like “heretic”, etc, will get you no where with me. I don’t appeal to men, nor history. You need to learn the actual meaning and scope of the word if you want to go around using it as a defeater for arguments.
Now that that’s out of the way, lets discuss some commonly accepted calvinistic theology that makes God into the author of sin, who is Ha’Shatan…
Calvinists say that we, for all intents and purposes, do not have free will. Some will add the apologetic to that, that we have free will, but only within the confines of our nature. And many non-calvinists would agree with that apologetic. But the point here is that calvinism teaches that libertarian free will (IE actual, non word game free will) is mutually exclusive with God being truely sovereign. Nature, as calvinists, and those who see the issue of freewill similarly, define it, would include aspects of your nature such as “to be sinful”, or “to not repent of your sins”, or “to rebel against God”, etc etc etc. Now my question is this: If our freewill is confined by our nature, and the choices made with our freewill determine our fate, then who so ever gave us our nature, determined our fates at that same moment, did they not? So how is the whole “nature” apologetic actually an apologetic to the issue being raised that their theology makes God into the author of sin, and an arbitrary tyrant who punished those who do what he forces them to do? Its mere can-kickery. Its just kicking the can back a step. Instead of God forcing us to sin and then punishing us for what he forces us to do, he forces us to have a nature that forces us to sin, and then punishes us for what the thing he bestowed on us forced us to do. Merely kicking the can of tyranny back a step is not addressing the issue at all. Either way we’re all on rails, being punished for that which we’re forced to do. Forced to do by the punisher. The god of calvinism desires for us to do that which he desires us not to do. For his pleasure, we violate his will. That sounds to me, not like the God of truth, but a sower of confusion.
Let me draw a little timeline to help illustrate my point…
1) God gives us/determines our nature before we’re born.
2) We sin, reject repentance, and reject God, as part of our God-given nature.
3) We die, and are resurrected for the judgement.
4) We’re judged according to the choices we made with our freewill, which are completely confined by our nature, which God assigned to us.
5) We’re punished, based on a fate which was 100% handed to us, and we had 0% chance of effecting or changing in any substantive way that changes our ultimate fate.
This timeline does not describe the God of the bible, what it describes is the author of evil, and also an unloving tyrant. Not by my own standards, I am not holding the false god of calvinism to my standards and judging him, he is being judged by The One True God’s standards as we find them in the bible. If our nature confines our actions, and we’re immutably assigned our nature, we’re being punished for the nature being foisted upon us. There is no moral agency there. There is no earning of a punishment. There is precisely zero personal responsibility in that equation. There’s only a puppet master getting mad that his marrionettes moved the way he made them move with his strings. A prideful, arrogant, wrathful child. Not fitting of the psychological profile of The Most High YHWH Father Elohim, but instead fitting of the psychological profile of Ha’Shatan.
Calvinism seems to think that if you don’t believe that God is directly responsible for everything that ever occurs, then your religion is man-centered and you’ve turned God into something other than sovereign over all. When in actuality, what brings more glory to God? That his will be done on earth as it is in heaven EVEN THOUGH many oppose his will, that, even though people oppose him, and he’s given free will to us, still his plans inescapably come to fruition, or that everything to ever exist is merely the playing out of the preprogrammed movements of his robots on rails? What makes God more sovereign? That he has power enough to relinquish sovereignty where he sees fit through giving people free will, etc, or the arbitrary and unscriptural limitations you’ve placed on his power which state he cannot give people true free will?
Let’s be clear, at its core, calvinism is deterministic in nature. There’s no two ways around that. Its confused and twisted conception of sovereignty will not allow for anything else. Calvinists really need to get through their heads that only through YHWH’s sovereignty do we have the free will to go against his will. Our ability to sin is a testament to YHWH’s sovereignty, since he deemed us able to sin, if we chose to disobey him, because it was HIS WILL that it be that way. To say us having true, robust free will, is mutually exclusive with God’s true sovereignty, is for the calvinist to be the one impugning his sovereignty. The calvinists are the ones setting arbitrary limits upon him and what he can and cannot do. And no, its not a logical contradiction either, its not a “creating a rock too heavy to lift” nonsensical thing. Free will and God’s sovereignty simply are not logically at odds in the slightest, and no matter how embarassed that fact makes calvinists in light of their worldview, that fact remains unscathed. Calvinists can rail against it all they like. If not for his will being so, we would not have the ability to choose to disobey him. And only through the ability to choose to disobey YHWH does our obedience to him become meaningful. Also, only through our ability to choose to obey YHWH, does our punishment become just, and something we have earned for ourselves with our own agency. Its impossible to construct a framework within which people have agency sufficient to be deserving of punishment for things that they do not have the sufficient agency to actually do, or not do, as the case may be. That is a glaring example of how calvinists try to have their cake and eat it too.
If we do what we do because he made us do what we do, that is not giving glory to God. That is making him a puppet master. Its not impressive for people to praise you because those people are puppets on your strings, and you’re moving the strings in a manner that makes them praise you. Likewise, if all things are his will that happen, you make YHWH the author of sin. You make him violate his own standards. That makes him not holy in your sight. We know right and wrong based on their relationship/reflection in the eternal, unchanging character and nature of God. We get our conceptions of personal responsibility, choice, and justice, from SCRIPTURE. Again, not judging God with my personal standards, judging the false god of calvinism by the standards of SCRIPTURE, by GOD’S standards. So if we know that holding someone responsible for something we forced them to do is wrong, we know it because that’s a reflection of God’s eternal and unchanging character on the matter. If God’s will is eternally holy and unchanging, but he also wills people to violate his will, you are creating a god after your own image, namely one who’s mind is riddled with cognitive dissonance. But that is not The God of The Bible, it is the false god of calvinism. It is a disguise that Ha’Shatan wears.
There’s so much confusion involved in how so many of calvinists think their sins and life interact with “the cross”, “so no need to work more toward a better me” this is predicated on the concept that its either all God, or all us, a false dichotomy of all or nothing thinking. These sorts of confusions are the fruit of calvinism, or “calfeatism” as some have dubbed it.
A gift is given without being earned, but is either accepted or refused by the receiver. its not at ALL in the LEAST against the COMPLETE sovereignty of God to say that we can refuse salvation. In his SOVEREIGNTY, he has given us that free will. And whats funny too is that calvinists will laud their own “holiness”, when living a lifestyle completely lacking in holiness. Even teaching against holiness openly. Holiness is WHOLE. Not HOLE. You cant be lawless and holy. Sorry, that’s not a compatible combination. If you were made holy, where’s the fruit of said holiness? Where is the calvinist demonstrating their holiness? There’s so much churchianity doctrine that’s totally not in the bible in these people’s beliefs, they really dont deserve to be associated with the bible, so much as organized churchianity. Its frustrating to no end how they’re non-stop saying quotes from theologians, false teachers, etc, and acting like they’re quoting something at all authoritative. They will proceed to quote a theologian, and act like his words are just as authoritative, or “debate ending” as an explicit statement from scripture. But only if its the theologians they like, that have the doctrine they agree with. They pick their favorite theologians based around affirming their preconceived notions and then turn to that same theologian as a “proof” of a belief that they only liked the theologian because he agreed with them on that matter in the first place (an obfuscation tactic for their egregious question begging).
Your calvinistic “god” is Satan. The “god” of calvinism is the author of sin. The god of calvinism even supposedly chose to MAKE satan the father of lies, and MAKE him cause humanity’s fall into sin, because he desired those things in and unto themselves for his pleasure. Yes specifically in and unto themselves. Yes specifically because them happening pleased him. Yep, you believe that things happening which are against God’s will, are pleasing to God. Your god is a confused psychopath. By the standards of discernment we find in scripture, not my own fleshly, “reprobate” standards, mind you.
A gift is not earned, but can be accepted, or refused. It takes two to tango, but God leads. Its not “man-centered” to say “when God gave me the gift of salvation, I accepted that gift”. Acceptance of a gift does not mean you gave it to yourself (IE you’re not saving yourself by accepting it, this is more calvinistic confusion, despite what they will falsely assert to the contrary). The possibility for refusal does not undermine sovereignty, since, AGAIN, only through God’s sovereignty do we have the free will to refuse the gift. Calvinism makes YHWH into the author of evil, and an arbitrary tyrant who is anything but just. (to be clear: “just” by the objective standards in scripture, I cannot be accused of exalting my own morals above God’s, I’m actually pointing out a CONTRADICTION between the concept of justice we find in scripture, and the “justice” of the god of calvinism) Many have tried, but all have failed, to refute the defeaters for calvinism. Yes all of them think they succeeded…yet all of them failed. Which is of course, very telling on many levels. My favorite calvinist, Greg Bahnsen, wrote extensively on self deception, I highly suggest giving it a read to any calvinist.
The only thing Greg Bahnsen consistently disappoints me on when I listen to his debates, is when the problem of evil is brought up. The same goes for every calvinist practitioner of the transcendental argument/presuppositional apologetics out there, without free will as part of his worldview, he has no adequate response for the issue. He only has HALF a response, he can impugn the basis by which the atheist/unbeliever morally takes issue with it from within the framework of their own atheistic worldview, but just like we presuppositionalists hold our opponent’s worldviews to the fire of their own standards in search of self contradiction, so too must we hold our own worldview to the fire of our own standards for the same purpose. Its not enough to say “by what basis do you morally take issue with it?” showing that their worldview is not driving the point home is only half the battle, because you also have to show how your own worldview, which is the actual target, does not allow for the point to be driven home. It may very well be that the morality the atheist/unbeliever is normally appealing to is false, and he later realizes that, and also realizes that the morality of the bible is valid, and so by those standards could raise the same issue (not that their opponent would need to do this to bring up the fact that the calvinist response to the problem of evil is deeply flawed). Then the calvinist is left with no response, except their classic folly of accusing the person of judging God by his own personal standards, which is almost never the case when they make this fallacious, and frankly, somewhat duplicitous, accusation. But its certainly not the case when someone realizes that the calvinistic conception of god is at odds with the scriptural conception thereof.
As a man, John Calvin was an avid follower of Ha’Shatan, although he may not have known it. But a deductive syllogism can be constructed to illustrate this claim:
P1) all murders are satanic ritual human sacrifices
P2) all false teachings are ultimately influenced by Ha’Shatan
P3) Calvin taught false teachings (which make God into a villain), and ordered people’s extra-scriptural execution who opposed his theology (IE he had them murdered)
C1) John Calvin was a satanist
For those who still want to deny that calvinism makes God into the author of sin, here you have it… “God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of posterity; but also at his own pleasure arranged it. For as it belongs to his wisdom to foreknow all future events, so it belongs to his power to rule and govern them by his hand.” John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (III.xxiii.7) So really, John Calvin is admitting here that he teaches luciferianism.
There is an interesting parallel between the serpent seed doctrine, and calvinism. If, hypothetically, the serpent seed doctrine were true, and I could be guaranteed damnation for who my earliest ancestor is, then I would be a glad and willful enemy of that god, the same as I would the god of calvinism (again, even though I know calvinists are intellectually dishonest enough to completely internally acknowledge this disclaimer but then ignore and make the exact accusation being disclaimed, I will disclaim it anyway: NOT BY MY OWN FLESHLY STANDARDS, BUT THE STANDARDS OF GOD AS WE LEARN THEM IN SCRIPTURE. THOSE ARE THE STANDARDS I AM JUDGING BY. ITS BY THOSE OBJECTIVE AND TRUE STANDARDS THAT I PROCLAIM THAT I WOULD OPPOSE THE gOD OF SERPENT SEEDERS OR CALVINISTS). “The Most High” cannot be “The Most High” if he blames his puppets for moving with the strings, in the very ways he tugs said strings. That is a blasphemy to ascribe to a loving and merciful sovereign, all powerful, all knowing, Father God, and exactly what Satan would want you to think is true about a God he is trying to blaspheme and defame any way he can. But you see, calvinists don’t really believe in an all knowing God or an all powerful God, if they did they would believe in a God with middle knowledge, and a God who’s capable of bestowing robust free will if he so desires.
God deciding the outcome of everything is not compatible with true free will, or him not being a tyrant who punishes people for things that he forced them to do or be. EITHER we have free will, *OR* God determines the outcome of every little tiddle (not a false dichotomy, an actual one). Understanding the difference between God KNOWING the outcome and planning based on that, and CAUSING every little outcome, is the key to avoiding SO MANY doctrinal traps. God KNOWS, and sets HIS pieces in motion according to the outcomes of our freewill, which he KNOWS the choices of, not CAUSES the choices of. PLEASE STOP WORSHIPING SATAN SERPENT SEEDERS AND CALVINISTS. Calvinism is reprobate. TULIP is reprobate. John Calvin is reprobate. 5 point theology is reprobate.
I find calvinists to be some of the most close minded of those caught up in false doctrine. They tend to refuse to even consider the hypothetical possibility that they’re mistaken about anything doctrinal. Which means they shirk the advice of scripture to study to find yourself approved. You have to question what you believe, if you do not, you’re being intellectually dishonest with yourself. Many calvinist false teachers teach their flock that questioning your doctrine, is tantamount to willingly giving up your faith. This is a satanic lie. You need to be studying to find yourself approved before The Most High.
Its so annoying when you point out to a calvinist they worship a god that is the author of sin, a being that desires evil to take place, forces people to commit evil and then gets mad about it after, and having his own will conflict with his own will, a being that could only be Ha’Shatan, the author of confusion. And they will say stuff like “god does not force anyone to sin, we all have free will within our nature, its just that everyone’s nature is sinful, and we can only sin by our nature” and then you point out “ok, so who gave us that nature of inevitable sin? did god? ok, so that STILL makes him the author of evil.” and they still don’t get it. If god WANTS you to have a nature that only allows for you to sin, then GOD WANTS YOU TO SIN. God is not retarded. He knows if he gives you a nature that only allows for sin, he is forcing you to sin by consequence. This is a simple application of the distributive property of language. God does NOT desire us to have a nature that makes sin inevitable. We DO INDEED have that nature, based on our flesh, but that is not what god WANTS for us. God allows things to occur which he does not want to occur, we know that explicitly from scripture, and its in no way what so ever mutually exclusive with God’s TRUE sovereignty. Calvinists CONSTANTLY confuse something happening because God allows it, and something happening because God WILLS it. God does not will everything he allows to pass. And in no way what so ever, not even one slight iota, does this impugn or denigrate his sovereignty. BY HIS SOVEREIGNTY HE DECLARED THIS TO BE THE WAY IT IS. BY HIS SOVEREIGNTY HE GAVE US *TRUE* FREE WILL, AND ONLY THROUGH HIS SOVEREIGNTY DO WE CONTINUE, FROM EACH MOMENT TO THE NEXT, STILL IN POSSESSION OF OUR FREE WILL. And no, salvation being a dance that God leads, that you need to be responsive to (simply an analogy, take issue with it at your own pedantic peril), is NOT saving one’s self, not even close. Again, you’re exercising your free will by responding appropriately, and you only have your free will by the sovereignty of The Father, so when you exercise your free will, it is a testament to God’s sovereignty. And what you’re responding to was offered to you based on mercy and grace, not on you earning it. And still in this scenario I am describing, there is ZERO salvation without God. Yes, absolutely, you can reject salvation. No, accepting it does not make the salvific act yours. When you receive a gift you don’t deserve, and you accept it, does that then make you the gift giver? NOPE. But that is EXACTLY what calvinists are saying, when they claim that belief in the ability to refuse salvation means we’re our own saviors. They’re saying if you have the option to turn down a gift, that makes you the gift giver. THAT IS LUDICROUS, BUT IT IS ALSO NOT A STRAW MAN OF THEIR POSITION DESPITE THEM SAYING IT IS. Its just that they refuse to accept unintentional, yet logically inescapable, implications of their doctrine. They do not perform the due diligence needed for critical self examination when it comes to calvinistic doctrine, instead they’re inculcated with the belief that studying pro-calvinism theologians is tantamount to critically examining it. Just because what I am saying they do is an elucidating perspective on their beliefs that they themselves would never word the way I am from their own confused perspective, does NOT in any way mean that they don’t believe that, or that I am misrepresenting what calvinists in fact DO BELIEVE. If you do not understand the you can believe Y and think you believe X, you do not understand one lick of scripture or self deception. Not ONE LICK.
It is the calvinist’s game to misrepresent the anti-calvinist position, with unintended consequences and logically inescapable implications laid bare, as being misrepresentative of what calvinists teach. They employ the classic fallacy so many calvinists employ, equivocating what people say are the logically inescapable implications of calvinist theology, with what those critics say calvinists represent their own beliefs to be. This is the same fallacy we see atheists employ on a regular basis. “you’re not allowed to level any criticism against my views that I don’t already agree with, me being someone who already doesn’t see that criticism as valid (begging the question in the extreme), or you’re “misrepresenting” atheism”. That’s the same tactic calvinists constantly try to pull. But its not flying here.
Of course calvinists do not hold themselves to the same standards they hold critics of calvinism to. They will CONSISTENTLY make characterizations of other people’s views based not on how the proponent of that view would put it, but based instead of what the calvinist (sometimes incorrectly) sees to be the logically inescapable implications of the view that the proponent of the view doesn’t see or won’t admit to. But when people do that to calvinism, the go to calvinist response is to accuse the critic of being intellectually dishonest and arguing against a straw man. Even though the calvinist knows that the claim is not that calvinists explicitly teach X, and consciously espouse X, but that the claim is that calvinists, without realizing it, teach X even though they would very much like to see themselves as ideologically opposed to X, and that without realizing it, they’re espousing X EVEN THOUGH on a conscious level they want to oppose it. Its called an unintended consequence. It doesn’t matter if you like it, or want it to be true, it only matters if it is actually true. To parse out its truth, you certainly never resort to accusing someone of intellectual dishonesty for claiming the issue sticks, that’s begging the question about the issue they’re trying to raise. So the calvinist needs to debate how its true or not, using logic. Accusations and pathos are irrelevant.
If I give you a list of a million different sins you can commit, and you literally cannot commit any action what so ever that’s not on the list, and then you commit an action on the list of the only action’s you may POSSIBLY commit, and then I punish you for sinning, is that justice? I limited you to that action. Does the fact that I gave you a million different options on how to sin take away from the fact that I am only giving you the option to sin? If the only aspect of those million different options that matters is whether or not they’re a sin, and all million are a sin, how is that list any different than a ONE ITEM LIST THAT JUST HAS THE WORD “SIN” WRITTEN ON IT? Did you choose to sin, or did you make a choice among the only available options, which were all sins, that I forced upon you? If I punish you for sinning, am I not punishing you for what I chose to force upon you?
Its funny, calvinists constantly accuse anyone who delves deep enough into the fundamental logic of their beliefs to see that they worship satan, as themselves being satanists, or reprobate, or influenced by demons, or whatever dismissive pejorative with a paper thin veneer of piety they have handy. Here is the reason why: they PREsuppose the god of calvinism is the god of the bible. They take calvinism as presuppositional. Not the bible, not God’s existence, specifically calvinism. Whenever you point out anything that paints the god of CALVINISM as satan, they are incapable of not seeing that as you painting THE GOD OF THE BIBLE as satan, even though the whole point of what you’re saying, is that the god of calvinism is not the God of the bible. They have the same epistemic blinders on that neo-atheists do. They cannot even entertain a hypothetical thought exercise where they’re wrong, to examine other views within their own context, and instead keep shoehorning one item at a time from the opposing view, into the context of their OWN view, and then when it does not match up, acting like that refutes the opposing view. This is the sign of someone who’s not an earnest truth seeker going where ever the evidence takes them, but instead just trying to twist the evidence to confirm their preconceived notions. Its certainly a sign of someone who has not grasped epistemology or logic to such a degree that they should be parsing topics with overlap to calvinistic beliefs with authority opposed against other views they don’t even comprehend in the least.
The trick of calvinism is to make you think unless you see God from a calvinist perspective, you don’t truly love him, aren’t truly obedient to him, refuse to accept his sovereignty, etc, and every single calvinist has fallen for it, including John Calvin (presumably, unless he was a willful deciever, that’s a possibility too).
If calvinism is true, is God evil? (by his own standards, not mine, to reiterate that point for the 10th time)
If it is, yes he is (again, NOT by my own personal, or fleshly desired, but by the values of God as we learn them in scripture. You see, I am using presuppositional apologetics to internally examine the worldview of calvinism for INTERNAL contradiction). The issue is not one which can be addressed by appealing to calvinists claims, in context of how they see them, with only the logically inescapable consequences of their position, which they actually concede, being mentioned or considered admissible. The issue is that, despite what calvinists confusedly think about their doctrine, the logically inescapable implications of it are that God is the author of sin, and the being who wills sin to occur (which is of course nonsensical, because sin by its nature is something which is against God’s will). Calvinists constantly confuse things which God wills to happen, with things God allows to happen even though its against his will (something he does as a SOVEREIGN ACT, he decides, as sovereign over all, to ALLOW IT, if he weren’t sovereign, he wouldn’t be ABLE to “allow” it, it wouldn’t be up to him to “allow”).
Sadly, calvinists are very intellectually lost on matters of sovereignty. FULL, robust free will is in no way what so ever mutually exclusive or incompatible with FULL, robust sovereignty of God, because to reiterate, only through his sovereignty do we have free will to begin with, and only through his sovereignty do we continue to at every moment. People doing things against God’s will is not impugning God’s sovereignty, we have the option to shirk his will BECAUSE OF his sovereignty. Him not being able to bestow true choice to his creations would be placing arbitrary limitations upon God, and taking away from his glory, power, and sovereignty. Omnipotence is the ability to do all that power can do. If you’re saying that earthly rulers can relinquish a portion of their sovereignty to someone else, but God cannot, then you’re definitely limiting God bigtime. Its not glorious to have everything happen exactly as you plan it, because you micro manage every iota of existence and force it to happen. Its glorious when every being in the universe can rail against your plans, and yet still they go off without a hitch. And no, the question does not inherently put God to the test, it holds God to his own standards. Or do you not think self contradiction is the bedrock of refutation? The argument does not actually seek to establish that God is evil if calvinism is true, the argument seeks to refute calvinism by demonstrating the TRUTH that its logically inescapable implication is that god is evil, BY HIS OWN STANDARDS, which is itself an impossibility, and so therefore, calvinism must be false. Can God will something to occur, which is against his will? No. That is nonsensical. That is mysticism, paganism, mumbo jumbo new ager theosophy nonsense. That is not the God of truth, who says let your yes mean yes, and your no mean no. But that IS what calvinism teaches.
Calvinism says that God does not force people to sin, and that we do have free will, its just that our free will is limited by our nature, and our nature is sinful. But God gave us our nature, so then he still made us sin. Our nature determines our eternal fate, of heaven or hell, according to calvinism. Some will be given a new nature, and rewarded for God forcing them to be righteous. Some will keep the initial sinful nature God gave them, and will be punished for God forcing them to be unrighteous. Both are not based on the choices the person made, but instead are based on an arbitrary decision (arbitrariness as opposed to having standards, such as our choices). No calling that decision arbitrary is not judging God by my own personal, fallen fleshly desires. Its judging the false god of calvinism by the standards of justice of The True God of the bible. This is not to say that man can save himself by works, not at all, works do not warrant salvation, they are the fruit of salvation. But repentance is something which is catalyzed by God, and responded to by the receiver of the holy spirit, which is NOT irresistible, as I have previously discussed.
God can allow beings to do things which he prefers they not do, and have his plans come to fruition DESPITE, but not because of, said disobedience and sin. Because of how glorious a God he is.
The god of calvinism:
Willed the fall.
Willed mankind’s inherently sinful state.
Desires some to not be saved (I am not unfamiliar with calvinist’s claims of different types of grace etc etc, so that he sorta kinda desires them to be saved but not enough for it to happen, blah blah, its just all nonsense.)
Says its useless to repent, because your fate is sealed no matter what you do. Yet tells people to repent anyway. Since he is the one that 100% makes the repentance occur, with no part of it being the sinner, he’s talking to himself, every time God tells someone in the bible to “repent!” or in fact every time he tells anyone to do anything, he’s merely talking to himself, telling himself to tug that particular puppet’s strings in a way that causes them to do those things. He calls people to repent, knowing they cannot. He exhorts them to use a free will he did not give them.
Punishes beings with eternal torment, for things he forced them to do
Saying God is allowing satan to do something, and saying that God is making satan do everything he does, are two separate and distinct claims. One is compatible with the biblical concept of justice, one is not. When God gives a being, Satan, mankind, or whoever, free will, he does not lose his sovereignty, for it is only through his sovereignty that they have said free will. Free will is dependent upon God’s sovereignty, not mutually exclusive with it, as many would confusedly say.
Calvinism confuses a great many matters. It turns God into the author of sin, it confuses the difference between God’s plans coming to fruition DESPITE sin, with God’s plans coming to fruition, THROUGH sin. Which, besides making him the author of evil and the one who caused the fall, makes him less glorious, because plans which can withstand attack are more amazing than plans which would fall apart if any little thing did not go directly according to them. Free will is not mutually exclusive with God’s sovereignty, it is a testament to it. Only through God’s divine decree do we have free will, and it only continues because he allows it to continue. In no way what so ever does full free will impugn God’s sovereignty at all. No being he has given free will to has the power to use their will to over turn God’s will. If it sounds like I am repeatedly reiterating myself, that’s not by accident, and not for nothing. When someone has heard LIES AND FALLACIES repeated ad nauseum, it takes a little repetition to break through the barriers those lies being heard repeated have erected between your mind, and the truth.
Which is more glorious? A God who’s will be done no matter what, despite the free will of countless numbers of other beings being opposed to it, or a god who’s plan only comes to fruition because every little droplet throughout all of existence and history has been micromanaged by him to do so, like puppets at the end of strings? I was a calvinist for years before I started to see through the deception. Once you truly study it (and unless you’re earnestly exploring the possibility of it being a false teaching, you’re not truly studying it), you realize its actually based on gnosticism, luciferianism, etc. Not scripture. Its part of the great apostasy. I pray you do not get pulled further into that snake pit, although for all I know you’ve already hit rock bottom in it. Calvinism is pretty low in that pit.
Election is not mutually exclusive with my position in the least. The bible does not teach a mutual exclusivity between the two, only calvinist theologians do. So if you think there’s a mutual exclusivity there, its clear who your chief teacher is (and we can’t serve two masters). God exists outside of time, and can know what we will freely choose, and elect accordingly. Calvinists misunderstand election, its not arbitrary, and neither is God (saying that he’s not arbitrary is also not at all at odds with scriptures talking about the potter making vessels of clay for different purposes). Saying he is, is not glorifying him. (yes I know you would not say he’s arbitrary in his election, I am saying those are the logically inescapable implications of your doctrine that you’re blind to)
Its funny though because most of the time, what I get from calvinists in response to my position on their beliefs is something along the lines of: “he’s wrong because if he were right, this other doctrine we also believe would be wrong” (and the “other doctrine” either actually is wrong as well, or it is not actually incompatible with my position/dependent upon calvinism the way they think it is)
According to Calvinism, God created a universe full of evil and sin, because doing other wise would have brought God less joy. A world full of sin, maximizes the god of calvinism’s joy. Let that sink in. Who does that sound like?
(On a side note: People need to see Romans 13, and related scriptures, in the same light as they see Satan being the ruler of the world. Just because God allows something, does not mean he approves of it or wills it to take place. Make sure you take the calvinism out of your interpretation of romans 13 (and if you’re doing it there, make sure you go ahead and take the calvinism out of your everything else too lol). Then there’s the issue of what “authorities” are being referred to. Are they state authorities? “That brings us back to Romans 13. We can easily resolve our dilemma by looking at the original Greek. The word mentioned above — the one that signifies “government” — never once appears in this chapter. Rather, the “authorities” are social ones, such as parents, tutors (i.e., private teachers), owners of property, etc etc. IE the authorities that are actually explictly laid out and affirmed in scripture. Without the political government that the Bible proscribes, such “authorities” are essential for maintaining peace and order — and we as Christians are to respect them. For example, when I enter your home or business, I should honor your wishes while there; I may not trespass, and I certainly lack all authority for ordering you to swap your incandescent bulbs for CFLs or compelling you to buy a permit before you add another room.)
Calvinists always act like the basis for demonstrating that someone does not understand predestination, foreknowledge, etc, is that they do not accept the calvinist view of these things, IN A DEBATE ABOUT CALVINISM. Begging the question in the extreme. When it comes to criticism of calvinism, calvinists tend to think the debate is about “how calvinists would phrase their own teachings”, that’s not what the debate is about. It doesn’t matter how calvinists characterize what they teach or believe, if it can be logically, and with scripture, shown to be that they think they believe one thing, but don’t realize they really believe another. Intent is irrelevant. Positions, truth claims, etc, all have logically inescapable implications, and those implications are ANYTHING BUT bound by the intent of the person holding said beliefs in question, unless the scope of the implication in question is intrinsically related to the intent of the person, which is not very often at all.

Calvinists “defend” calvinist doctrine through a series of kafkatraps, where denial of calvinism, automatically indicates one or more bad things about you, that render your criticism intrinsically “dishonest” and “dismiss-able without consideration”, and further “proves” calvinism as “true”. Again, those dishonest tactics won’t fly here. They get swatted down with big huge logical fly swatters. No emperor’s new clothes type arguments allowed in a rational, *EARNEST* discussion. Thanks.

Lastly, I would like to address the linguistic contortionists who try to act like inventing a term that embraces a contradiction somehow alleviates the view in question from resolving said internal contradiction. You can’t just arbitrarily invent theological terms to “deal with” any issue someone raises about internal inconsistencies in your position. “Owning it” does nothing to resolve a logical problem with your position. That’s all inventing a term for it is, its just “owning it”, its still a contradiction. When calvinists try to arbitrarily assert different aspects of God’s will, that can come into REAL conflict with each other in the REAL ACTUALIZED WORLD, they’re showing that their PRIME presupposition is calvinism, and they’re shoehorning the bible to fit. Passive or active decrees or foreordinations, ascribing an arbitrary chronological order to God’s decrees (Supralapsarianism and infralapsarianism), based around giving calvinism the disguise of scriptural basis, etc. These things are the UNSCRIPTURAL FOUNDATION for the satanic teachings of calvinism. They’re not even a LOGICAL foundation. They’re utterly arbitrary, counter-intuitive, and absolutely outside the scope of all human knowledge and experience, hence quantifying an extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary proof, of which the calvinists simply do not have. And quite frankly, the calvinist predilection to play word games about criticism of calvinism being “man centered”, is VERY DISHONEST. THEY KNOW ON A CERTAIN LEVEL OF CONSCIOUSNESS THAT THEY’RE PLAYING DISHONEST WORD GAMES WHEN THEY DO THIS. I say “GOD gave man free will to choose, GOD gave man free will to choose, GOD gave man free will to choose”, and you say that I said “MAN has free will to choose to save himself, MAN has free will to choose to save himself, MAN has free will to choose to save himself.” I think your own reprobate mind is clouding the issue for you, because you’re artificially and dishonestly inserting the false emphasis, when the real emphasis is on God, and you KNOW that’s where it is, and FREELY CHOOSE to misrepresent it (I say misrepresent, because there’s zero logical basis for saying that one is the sequitur of the other, so you can’t be saying that its the unintended logical consequence of the anti-calvinism position, since you’ve yet to demonstrate that you even understand what that position even is in its own context)

So these many issues point, of course, to the logically inescapable implication of the calvinist doctrinal position being that god is the author of evil, and logical contradiction, he wills people to sin, sin being something which is against his will. He then punishes them, when he made them adhere to sin, and have no choice otherwise. The “god” of calvinism is Ha’Shatan. Period.

Worship Sunday – Give Me A Song

There’s not a prayer I’ve prayed You haven’t heard
Not a tear I’ve shed that You didn’t feel

You’re the God who comes to raise the dead
I know You’ll raise me up again
I know You’ll raise me up again

Who can praise You from the grave
I died I see the life You gave
Just to see the life You gave

And every fear in me You’ve put to rest
It’s the song I bring of Your faithfulness
And every tear has left my fear to stand
Where the ocean meets the land
Where the ocean meets the land

Sink or swim I’m divin’ in where the river starts rushin’
Where my hearts start beating
For the rhythms of the testing and the songs of the trials
I will live to cry out to You, sung with hope inside my eyes

Sink or swim I’m diving in
To the passing of Your heart where love starts

I lift my hands if my hands fail me
I’ll bend my knees if my knees grow weak
I’ll raise my voice and I’ll sing I’ll sing, I know that You love me

I’ll lift my hands if my hands fail me
I’ll bend my knees if my knees grow weak
I’ll raise my voice and I’ll sing I’ll sing, I know that You love me

So give me a song to sing, give me a song to sing,
Give me a song to sing and I will sing it
So give me a song to sing, give me a song to sing,
Give me a song to sing and I will sing it to You God
I will sing it to You God, I will sing it

Give me a song to sing, Give me a song to sing,
Give me a song to sing and I will sing it
Give me a song to sing, Give me a song to sing,
Give me a song to sing and I will sing it to You God
I will sing it to You God, I will sing it to You…

1 John 3:20 Commentary

Part of the ongoing Verse Quick Reference project.

1Jn 3:20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things

Calvinist Wayne Grudem writes:

3. Knowledge (Omniscience). God’s knowledge may be defined as follows: God fully knows himself and all things actual and possible in one simple and eternal act.

Elihu says that God is the one “who is perfect in knowledge” (Job 37:16), and John says that God “knows everything” (1 John 3:20). The quality of knowing everything is called omniscience, and because God knows everything, he is said to be omniscient (that is, “all-knowing”).

Wayne Grudem equates John’s phrase “knows everything” with the attribute of knowing all things in “one simple and eternal act”. Basically, this is saying that God’s knowledge is identical to His being, and not composed of parts or distinction.

But the same author who writes that God “knows everything” writes that man “knows everything” in the previous chapter. This is the same phrase:

1Jn 2:20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.

Instead of taking 1 John 3:20 as “one simple and eternal act” of knowledge, the context is about God knowing people’s hearts. People cannot hide the inner secrets of their hearts from God. There is no reason to think this is a statement about being an “eternal, simple act”. That is highly speculative, and not warranted by the text.

Granted, perhaps John is saying “God knows what you are thinking because God is not lacking any knowledge about anything”. This is a possibility, but there is no reason to arbitrarily extend this “omniscience” to future events. John is not saying “God has known from eternity past what you are going to think”. John is saying “guard yourself, do what is right and put your heart into the right attitude. Because if you do not, and if your heart condemns you, God will know”. The entire context is warding against possible future outcomes. John wants to affect actual change in the life of his hearers. To John, the future was not set.

Goldingay on Prophecy and Daniel 11

From Word Biblical Commentary on Daniel:

Dan 11:40–45 The “him” again presupposes that “the northern king” is the same person as that in vv 21–39. There is no hint of a transition to Antichrist or Antiochus V (Fischer, Seleukiden, 155) or Pompey and his associates (Gurney), while the phrase ―at the time of the end‖ (contrast v 35) seems to preclude our taking the verses as a résumé of Antiochus‘s career as a whole. Porphyry assumed that the quasi-predictive historical account of Antiochus‘s career continues in these verses. But vv 40–45 cannot be correlated with actual events as vv 21–39 can; further, in vv 40–45 the utilization of scriptural phraseology becomes more systematic than was the case earlier (see Form). These facts suggest that v 40 marks the transition from quasi-prediction based on historical facts to actual prediction based on Scripture and on the pattern of earlier events; this continues into 12:1–3. These predictions, then, are not to be read as if they were mere anticipatory announcements of fixed future events; like the promises and warnings of the prophets, they paint an imaginative scenario of the kind of issue that must come from present events. The fact that their portrayal does not correspond to actual events in the 160s B.C. compares with the fact that the Christ event does not correspond to other OT prophecies of future redemption (e.g., Isa 9:1–6 [2–7]). It is not the nature of biblical prophecy to give a literal account of events before they take place.

Ezekiel 28:3 Commentary

Part of the ongoing Verse Quick Reference project.

Eze 28:3 (Behold, you are wiser than Daniel! There is no secret that can be hidden from you!

Ezekiel 28:3 is a verse which is written from the perspective of God. He is lavishing praise on the Prince of Tyre. Although the text might be sarcastic, the later praises given to the parallel “guardian cherub” suggests that no sarcasms is intended. The tone of the chapter is “oh how the mighty fall”.

God tells the prince “no secret can be hidden from you”. The language matches various statements made about Yahweh (e.g. Dan 2:22, Psa 44:21). The phrase is hyperbolic. The meaning is not that that the Prince of Tyre knows everything (omniscience), but that he is very smart and capable. This is reinforced by the surrounding verses.

If this verse were to be about Yahweh, no doubt it would make its way into sermons of God’s omniscience.

Ecclesiastes 1:14 Commentary

Part of the ongoing Verse Quick Reference project.

Ecc 1:14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.

In Ecclesiastes the writer states that he has “seen all the works that are done under the sun”. The statement is hyperbole. The claim is that he has had enough life experience to made broad generalizations. The absolute language he uses emphasizes his point as he follows this with absolute proclamations on how the world works. “All is vain” is his conclusion. There is nothing worth anything.

While the language is absolute, the reader can understand the material points. Similar statements are made about God throughout the Bible (e.g. Psa 14:2). Those engaged in Classical Theology tend to take one set of texts as Omniscience prooftexts, but the others as limited by context. Showing the double standards and the special pleading for their own prooftexts.

Monergism Resources on Repentance

Full links found on the Monergism website on Repentance:

Historical Contingencies and Biblical Predictions
PDF by Dr Richard Pratt

Scriptural Verses Listed by Topic on Open Theism
Web Page by Matthew J Slick

Does God Change His Mind?
Web Page by Dr. John Frame

God’s “Repentance” and Prayer
Web Page by John G Reisinger

Divine Repentance: A Word Study
PDF by Timothy Prussic

Does God Have Regret?
Web Page by Kevin DeYoung

Divine Repentance
Web Page by Steve Hays

The Unchanging God
Web Page by Paul Mizzi

PDF by Robert B Chisholm

Does God Repent of Things He Has Done?
Web Page by Pastor Bob Burridge

The Repentance of God (Ex. 32:14)
Web Page by Shane Lems

Biblical “Contradictions” – Does God Repent?
Web Page by unknown

Does God Ever Change His Mind?
Web Page by Sam Storms

Does God change his mind?
Web Page by John Blanchard

God Does Not Repent Like a Man
Web Page by John Piper

Does God ‘Change His Mind?’
PDF by Robert B Chisholm

Divine Repentance
Web Page by R C Sproul

Does God Change His Mind? Divine Repentance
Web Page by R C Sproul

Does God Change His Mind?
Web Page by R C Sproul

Does God ever change His mind?
Web Page by John Samson

Does God Change His Mind?
Web Page by Rev Joseph R Nally

The Repentance of God
Web Page by John Piper

On the Dialogue Between God and Satan

From David Cline’s The False Naivety in the Prologue to Job:

What is not naive about these dialogues? At the assembly of the sons of God, where they come presumably to report on their activities, it seems only natural that the sovereign should initiate the conversation. But it is also subtly meaningful that he should be the first to speak: it means not only just that he begins the dialogue but that his question has a role-establishing function, showing that in the case of Job it is indeed God (and not the Satan) who takes the significant initiatives. It is God (and not the Satan) who is the chief architect of Job’s downfall.6 The Satan’s reply, ‘From going to and fro on the earth’, is not evasive, but shaped in such a way as to throw the initiative in the conversation back upon Yahweh. The Satan has nothing to report, nothing to advise, nothing to propound; he has simply been abroad on earth with his eyes open, amassing a fund of observations that his sovereign can use as he wills. Any move in the dialogue—or in the action—is up to Yahweh.

Apologetics Thursday – Allowing and Determining

A truncated thread from Facebook:

Peter: …To allow IS to determine.

Chris Fisher: I allow my children to fight by not tying them up with ropes and leaving them in a closet all day. But that doesn’t mean I am determining it.

Peter: Chris Fisher if you allowed them to fight and one of them hurt the other, would you be responsible?

Chris Fisher: Absolutely not. I have no positive requirement to act. Not-acting is the default. That would be like saying you are responsible for people starving in Africa because you don’t dedicate all your non-subsistence income to Africa.

Nathan: No Chris Fisher, take it even further, the logic of Peter would be that not only is he responsible for people starving in Africa, but he’s determining their starvation by not acting.

Chris Fisher: Peter, decreeing and determining people to starve to death in Africa. That’s not nice of you, Peter, to determine such a thing.

Thomas Jay Oords Uncontrolling Love Tour

From Oord’s Facebook:

September 24, Uncontrolling Love – Nampa, Idaho
Real Life Community Church hosts an Uncontrolling Love book launch event. I’ll be speaking and interviewing Cathy Beals, Cameron McCown, Angela Monroe, and Adam Watkins. Event starts at 10am, and the location is at 120 14th Ave South, Nampa, ID.
October 7-8, Uncontrolling Love – Junction City, Kansas
Dyton Owen and the Junction City First United Methodist church host this Uncontrolling Love book launch event. I’ll speak Saturday night,Oct. 7, at 7pm, and I’ll interview other book contributors. Then I’ll preach Sunday morning, Oct. 8 and speak again at 3pm Sunday afternoon.
October 13-14, Uncontrolling Love – Nashville, Tennessee
On Friday, Oct. 13, 1pm-5pm, I’ll be speaking along with Graden Kirksey and Alexis Waggoner at the Woodmont Christian Church (Drowata Hall, 3601 Hillsboro Pike, Nashville). Friday evening, I’ll be speaking at the Parnassus book store in Nashville. On Saturday, Oct. 14, 8:30am-2:30pm I’ll be speaking along with others at Andrew Price United Methodist Church (2846 Lebanon Pike, Nashville). Speakers include Rick Quinn, Alexis Waggoner, Graden Kirksey, Jeff Skinner, Donna Ward, Gloria Coffin, Lisa Michaels and me.
October 15, Creation and Uncontrolling Love – Huntsville, AL
Keith Noren, Weatherly Heights Baptist Church, and the Discovery Center is hosting me for two lectures on Sunday, Oct. 15. The afternoon lecture is a 2pm, and I’ll be speaking on the Uncontrolling Love of God. The evening lecture is at 6pm, and I’ll offer a new doctrine of original creation to replace creation from nothing. The Lectures will be at Weatherly Heights Baptist Church http://www.weatherly.org, 1309 Cannstatt Drive, Huntsville, AL. 35803.
October 29, Uncontrolling Love – Boise, ID
Dana Hicks, Joe Bankard, and the BSU Wesley House host me for a lecture and discussion of ideas in The Uncontrolling Love of God. 7pm, Boise State University.
November 3-4, Uncontrolling Love – Portland, Oregon
Bo Sanders hosts this Uncontrolling Love book launch November 3-5. More details on times and locations.
November 12, Uncontrolling Love – Boston, Massachusetts
Abby Henrich and Jon Paul Sydnor host this Uncontrolling Love book launch event at Grace Community Boston. I’ll be speaking Sunday morning, and I’ll interview Uncontrolling Love contributors on Sunday evening. Locations and times forthcoming.
December 1-3, Uncontrolling Love – Cleveland, Ohio
Craig Drurey, Bryan Overbaugh, and Joshua Reichard host these Uncontrolling Love events. I’ll give a lecture on Friday, Dec. 1, 7pm at Ashland Theological Seminary. My lecture title: “Why God Can’t Prevent Torture, Miscarriages, and Hurricanes: A New Model of Divine Providence.” We are working on a book launch even at Zion United Church of Christ, 2716 West 14th Street, Cleveland on December 2. I’ll speak Sunday morning, 10am at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Cleveland Heights. My title is “Tragedy and God’s Love in Light of Uncontrolling Love.”

January 20-21, Uncontrolling Love – Placentia, CA
I’m leading an Uncontrolling Love book launch event at the United Methodist Church in Placentia, CA (2050 Valencia Ave). The event starts at 7pm on Saturday, Jan. 20, and I’ll be speaking and interviewing contributors to Uncontrolling Love. I’m preaching the next morning, Jan. 21, at the same location.
March 8, Uncontrolling Love – Leeds, England
Simon Hall hosts this evening event at Cafe Theologique in Leeds.

The Earliest Description of Timelessness

From Parmenides, the earliest source in the concept of timelessness:

. . . One path only
is left for us to speak of, namely, that It is. In this path are very many tokens
that what is is uncreated and indestructible;
for it is complete,[9] immovable, and without end.
Nor was it ever, nor will it be; for now it is, all at once,
a continuous one. For what kind of origin for it wilt thou look for?
In what way and from what source could it have drawn its increase? I shall not let thee say nor think
that it came from what is not; for it can neither be thought nor uttered
that anything is not. And, if it came from nothing, what need
could have made it arise later rather than sooner?
Therefore must it either be altogether or be not at all.
Nor will the force of truth suffer aught to arise
besides itself from that which is not. Wherefore,
justice doth not loose her fetters and let anything come into being or pass away,
but holds it fast. Our judgment thereon depends on this:
“Is it or is it not?” Surely it is adjudged, as it needs must be,
that we are to set aside the one way as unthinkable and nameless (for it is no true way),
and that the other path is real and true.
How, then, can what is be going to be in the future? Or how could it come into being?
If it came into being, it is not; nor is it if it is going to be in the future.
Thus is becoming extinguished and passing away not to be heard of.
Nor is it divisible, since it is all alike,
and there is no more[10] of it in one place than in another, to hinder it from holding together,
nor less of it, but everything is full of what is.
Wherefore it is wholly continuous; for what is, is in contact with what is.
Moreover, it is immovable in the bonds of mighty chains,
without beginning and without end; since coming into being and passing away
have been driven afar, and true belief has cast them away.
It is the same, and it rests in the self-same place, abiding in itself.
And thus it remaineth constant in its place; for hard necessity
keeps it in the bonds of the limit that holds it fast on every side.
Wherefore it is not permitted to what is to be infinite;
for it is in need of nothing; while, if it were infinite, it would stand in need of everything.[11]
The thing that can be thought and that for the sake of which the thought exists is the same;[12]
for you cannot find thought without something that is, as to which it is uttered.[13]
And there is not, and never shall be,
anything besides what is, since fate has chained it
so as to be whole and immovable. Wherefore all these things are but names
which mortals have given, believing them to be true—
coming into being and passing away, being and not being,
change of place and alteration of bright colour.
Since, then, it has a furthest limit, it is complete
on every side, like the mass of a rounded sphere,
equally poised from the centre in every direction; for it cannot be greater
or smaller in one place than in another.
For there is no nothing that could keep it from reaching
out equally, nor can aught that is be
more here and less there than what is, since it is all inviolable.
For the point from which it is equal in every direction tends equally to the limits

Psalms 55:19 Commentary

Part of the ongoing Verse Quick Reference project.

Psa 55:19  God will give ear and humble them, he who is enthroned from of old, Selah because they do not change and do not fear God.

The phrasing of Psalms 55:19 mirrors that of Malachi 3:6: “For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.”. The “not changing” is linked to a resulting action. In Malachi, because God does not change then Israel is not destroyed. In Psalms 55, because the wicked do not change then they do not fear God.

Psalms 55 is a call of King David for justice. He calls on God to act and to save him. Like many of these Psalms, the chapter then leads into a proposed punishment of the wicked. Because the wicked have attacked David for so long, without changing, they will be punished.

The verse is not about complete metaphysical immutability of man. It is using normal language to describe man’s unwillingness to repent. Similar language is used about men who remain faithful in Psalms 15:4. The “not changing” is limited to a character statement, and not to be understood outside that scope.

Worship Sunday – Broken Things

If grace was a kingdom
I stopped at the gate
Thinking I don’t deserve to pass through after all the mistakes I’ve made
Oh but I heard a whisper
As Heaven bent down
Said, “Child, don’t you know that the first will be last and the last get a crown”

Now I’m just a beggar in the presence of a King
I wish I could bring so much more
But if it’s true You use broken things
Then here I am Lord, I am all Yours

The pages of history they tell me it’s true
That it’s never the perfect; it’s always the ones with the scars that You use
It’s the rebels and the prodigals; it’s the humble and the weak
All the misfit heroes You chose
Tell me there’s hope for sinners like me

Grace is a kingdom
With gates open wide
There’s seat at the table just waiting for you
So, come on inside

Worship Sunday – Radiate

Made a future out of my past
You meet me right where I am
It’s all part of Your plan

Shines brighter
Shines brighter

No matter what comes my way
I’ll live my life
Radiate Your light
Now and always
I’ll let my lips be only for Your name
No darkness gonna stand in my way
If my way is Your way then You’ll make me

Lord, let my story be a glimpse of Your glory

Shines brighter
Shines brighter

No matter what comes my way
I’ll live my life
Radiate Your light
Now and always
I’ll let my lips be only for Your name
No darkness gonna stand in my way
If my way is Your way then You’ll make me

Shines brighter

No matter what comes my way
I’ll live my life
Radiate Your light
Now and always
I’ll let my lips be only for Your name
No darkness gonna stand in my way
If my way is Your way then You’ll make me

Shines brighter

Soskice on the Name of God

‘I Am Who I Am’ became, in the Greek of the Septuagint, ego eimi ho on, and in the Latin of the Vulgate, ego sum qui sum. The metaphysical resonance of this sacred name, so translated, was irresistible both to early Christians and to Hellenistic Jews such as Philo of Alexandria, to whom I shall return. The name given to Moses seemed an ideal meeting place of scriptural revelation and Greek metaphysics, and came to be seen as implying an identification of God with Being. From here it is a short step to saying that only God is being itself (which is not at all the same thing as saying that God is <the greatest being'), that only God is eternal, that all creatures are dependent on God, that even space and time are creatures – all adjunct theses of creatio ex nihilo.4

It should be pointed out that these metaphysical readings are not dictated by the Hebrew of the Book of Exodus. Quite the opposite. The gloss which we translate 'I Am Who I Am', or ego sum qui sum, is better rendered as something like 'I am with you and will be with you'. Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig were particularly exercised, at the beginning of the twentieth century, by the distortions which entered when this Hebrew name of promise – a promise to be with the people on their journey in the wilderness – was made into a proposition of metaphysics. One of their targets on this score was Moses Mendelssohn; another was Maimonides. Consideration of their dispute over the Name and its gloss can open up some matters at stake in the theology of creatio ex nihilo.

Janet M. Soskice “Creation and the God of Abraham”, [Chapter 2] Cambridge University Press, New York , © Cambridge University Press 2010

Kurtk Johnson Simplifies Open Theism

From Open Theism Simplified:

First off, as the name suggests, “Open Theism” is for “theists” …those who believe in a God. Secondly, “Open” describes possibilities. Put them together and you have possibilities (Open) and a God (Theism), therefore, “Open Theism.”

Ok, let’s go a little deeper into what is meant by “Open.” Possibilities are about what might and might not come to pass. If God is all-knowing, then it must also be the fact that God knows all of the future. Open Theists agree that God is all-knowing and that God knows all of the future, and like others, they think that some of that future is possibilities, but what sets Open Theism apart is the belief that God knows possibilities as possibilities. So, Open Theism then denies that God faces a future of only settled facts about what will or will not be, and insists that God knows the future as partly settled (or ‘closed’) and partly unsettled (or ‘open’). Only God knows all that is ‘closed’ or ‘open’ about the future.

NT Wright on Paul’s use of “flesh”

NT Wright on Paul’s use of “flesh”:

But what do “fleshly”…mean? ….[“Flesh”] is so problematic that it would be nice (as I have tried to do with some other technical language) to avoid it altogether, but I have found that doing so produces even worse tangles. Better to learn, once and for all, that when Paul uses the word “flesh” and other similar words he does not intend us simply to think of the “physical” world, in our normal sense, as opposed to the “non-physical.” He has other language for that. The word we translate, here and elsewhere, as “flesh” refers to people or things who share the corruptibility and mortality of the world, and, often enough and certainly here, the rebellion of the world. “Flesh” is a negative term. For Paul as a Jew the created order, the physical world, was good in itself. Only its wrong use, and its corruption and defacing, are bad. “Flesh” highlights that wrong use, that corruption and decay.

Reposted from New Leaven. pp. 140-41, Romans 1-8, Paul for Everyone.

Oord Responds to Sanders

Open Theist Thomas Oord responds to Open Theist John Sander’s criticisms of his book “The Uncontrolling Love of God”. An excerpt:

In The Uncontrolling Love of God, I devote an entire chapter to John Sanders’s influential book, The God Who Risks. I mention many things on which we agree. But I criticize his view of a few key issues. I argue that Sanders does not regard love as the logically preeminent attribute of God’s nature. Instead, he believes divine power precedes divine love. His statements about God creating are especially illustrative of the priority in God of controlling power over persuasive love.

Placing sovereignty logically prior to love, as Sanders does, should prompt us to wonder why God doesn’t occasionally control creatures to prevent genuine evils. The God Sanders describes could control others or situations if this God wanted to do so. So we rightly wonder why the God capable of control does not, in the name of love, prevent genuine evil. Sanders admits his view cannot solve the problem of evil. He doesn’t address much the problem of randomness.

Worship Sunday – Little Drummer Boy

Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come.

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That’s fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum?

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

New Podcast on Paul

Open Theist Kurt Williams has started a podcast on the apostle Paul. See the webpage at Paulcast . From the website:

In The Paulcast, Kurt Willems looks at issues pertaining to relevant scholarship, (radical) new perspectives on Paul, Jewish and Roman contexts for understanding his letters, important Pauline scholars and books, and Paul’s ongoing relevance for regular folks today. In addition, Kurt will occasionally interview important voices from a variety of perspectives who will help us wrestle with the major questions that come out of the study of the historical Paul.

Act 15:18 Commentary

Act 15:18 “Known to God from eternity are all His works.

Adam Clarke comments on this verse:

“The whole of this verse is very dubious: the principal part of it is omitted by the most ancient MSS… Supposing the whole to be genuine, critics have labored to find out the sense… They therefore would translate the passage thus: All the works of God are ever dear unto him. And, if so, consequently we might naturally expect him to be merciful to the Gentiles, as well as to the Jews; and the evidence now afforded of the conversion of the Gentiles is an additional proof that all God’s works are equally dear to him.”

The ESV translates the same verse:

Acts 15:17 …says the Lord, who makes these things
Act 15:18 known from of old.’

The ESV is perhaps the more natural contextual meaning. In the context, James is explaining to a hostile audience why Gentiles do not have to circumcise. This passage is about affirming Paul’s message to the Gentiles. Amos is quoted as precedence (v16-17) for this contentious development. James’ argument is that God has been planning this development for some time, as evidenced in Amos. The text can only dubiously be extended to this as affirmation that even God’s minor actions as been planned from long ago, and even more dubiously extended to mean that God has absolute omniscience over the future. The verse, after all, is about God’s own plans for His own actions.

Sanders on Weak and Strong Immutability

This quote comes from John Sanders (in Facebook group a while ago):

Let me attempt to clarify some points. First, words such as predestination, election, and salvation have more than one meaning. So when students ask me if I affirm predestination and I reply “yes” they are typically shocked. I then inform them I reject what they likely mean by the term—theological determinism. However, there are different understandings of the term though I may not want to use it due to how it is typically understood. In the OOG we distinguished between strong and weak understandings of immutability and claimed that the divine nature does not change but that God does have changing mental states (e.g strategies and emotions). At that time I don’t recall anyone distinguishing between different forms of impassibility. We took the term to have only one meaning, what has come to be known as strong impassibility—God is never affected by creatures in any respect. As the dialogue ensued we were asked whether God is ever overwhelmed by emotions as humans are apt to be such that God becomes incapacitated to act. We denied that this was the case. The distinction between strong and weak versions of impassibility arose in the literature and in discussions with Hasker, Rice, and Pinnock I decided to use both strong and weak immutability and strong and weak impassibility in the revised edition of GWR to distinguish between Classical Theism and Traditional Freewill Thesim (I placed Open Theism as a version of Freewill Theism). Our position had not changed from what we wrote in OOG. We simply became more precise about what we affirmed and rejected. We rejected strong impassibility and still do. This move was similar to the discussion about the “openness” of the future. People asked if we were saying that every aspect of the future was open and so we said no, some of the future may be closed. Getting more precise on these matters was acting responsibly. One is welcome to disagree with us about the meaning of the terms or the distinctions and suggest a more helpful way of understanding the issue. What I reject is the claim that “After much brow-beating, Sanders is now conceding qualified impassibility” My use of weak impassibility was in conference papers around 2002 and in GWR by 2006 so it had nothing to do with Tom Belt’s reasoning. I’m not in agreement with Belt on this issue by the way. But the point is that my motivation for making this distinction long preceded any conversations on Facebook. If weak impassibility as I defined it in GWR is inconsistent with open theism then I suppose that would mean I was an open theist until 2002 (as were Pinnock, Hasker and Rice). However, since my view has not changed, only become more clearly defined, I feel confident in asserting that I affirm open theism.

Facebook Sanders Immutability

Shownotes – Arthur Haglund on Matt Slick

From the shownotes from podcast Ep134 – Arthur Haglund on John 6 and Matt Slick. A list of tool moves done by Matt Slick against Haglund:

1. He escalates a fight when you ask him to what verse he is turning.
2. He embeds his presuppositions in his questions and phrases them that if you reject Matt Slick you reject Jesus: “Do you agree with Jesus that Calvinism is true?” type questions. He gets mad when you don’t answer “yes” or “no”.
3. He asks questions that assume you gave entirely different answers to the very previous question than you actually did.
4. He refuses to understand your beliefs and his questions show that he is not even tracking with your answers.
5. He is condescending and tries to portray himself with the moral high ground.
6. He has double standards for how questions can be answered or how points can be made.
7. He tries to stop you from making a parallel to show how reasonable people can understand the same verse in a valid way.

Hicks on Arminius and Open Theism

John Mark Hicks, “Was Arminius an Open Theist? Meticulous Providence in the Theology of Jacob Arminius,” quoted via William Birch:

I suggest that we no longer use the language of “meticulous providence” as an equivalent for “theological determinism” (what open theists think is the Reformed understanding of sovereignty). Originally the phrase “meticulous providence” identified a view of providence that denies pointless or gratuitous evils. This does not entail determinism or any understanding of eternal decrees, as in Reformed scholasticism. …

Arminius affirmed with Reformed theology a “meticulous providence” where God has sovereignty over evil such that no evil act is autonomous and uncircumscribed by God’s intent for good. God is sovereign in such a way that God concurs with the act itself and its effect has specific meaning and significance. This is a critical difference between classic Arminianism and open theism. Whereas Arminius asserted an understanding of concurrence that entails meticulous providence, open theism does not.

This difference is no minor one since it reaches to the very core of why open theism, at least pastorally, arose as an alternative to Reformed theology and more traditional Arminianism. When classic Arminianism affirms “meticulous providence” (in the sense defined herein), this constitutes a radical disagreement with open theism. In terms of “meticulous providence,” Reformed theology and classic Arminianism stand together. …