Sunday, October 28, 2007

God's Will vs. Free Will

How do we reconcile an all-knowing, all-good, all-powerful God with the evil in the world? How does our free will compete with God's omnipotence?

Some people like to refer to different types of God's will (using words like "decretive", "preceptive", and "permissive"; or "perfect", "providential", and "permissive"). I prefer to talk about "God's will" and "God's plan".

God's will is what God wants. God wants for us to be perfect, just as He is perfect. God also wants to glorify Himself, and that is going to happen. God's will may or may not come to pass (this includes "decretive" [decreed - what God says happens] and part of "preceptive" [precept, commanded]).

God's plan is what happens (The rest of "preceptive" and all of "permissive"). This includes good things (which are in God's will) and bad things (which God permits to happen).

God permits us our free will. Even when it contradicts His will. But God is in control. He can use bad events to bring people to Him. These bad things remind us that the world is fallen. That we need God.


jim said...

Hi Ned,
Jim here from the Beautiful Heresy Board we just met there a few days ago.We could debate till Jesus comes back this subject of free will but this is how I believe at this present time ..At one time I believed as you do now. Now I think that the most destructive doctrine in the world is that of human free will. Now ,Don't Choke or Throwup in your Mouth:-) You may be surprised to hear me say that. You may have assumed I thought eternal torment to be the worst. What could be worse than believing that our "God of Love" is going to eternally torture billions of people for not loving Him back? I agree that eternal torment is the most hideous doctrine. But the doctrine of the free will of man is the most destructive, because it is this doctrine that denies the foundation of the gospel, which is: Jesus Christ died for our sins (1 Cor. 15:3). Without a realization of this foundation, there is no eonian salvation.
In 1 Timothy 4:1, the apostle Paul speaks of "doctrines of demons." Demons are the relative origin of the doctrines of both eternal torment and free will. What is the purpose of these doctrines? Why would Satan bring them forth? There must be a motive, and there is: Satan wants to disqualify as many people as possible from living with Christ for the eons. He does not want human beings ruling and reigning over him. If he can get people to deny Christ’s death for sins, then he will have succeeded in this mission.

The doctrine of free will denies Christ’s death for sins. Think about it. The first step in so-called evangelism today is to convict people concerning sin. The doctrine of free will starts with the premise that your sins still stand against you. Your sins are still keeping God from you, and you from God. This is a direct denial of the work of Christ. In spite of what John 1:29 says, Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary (according to modern-day "evangelists" did not remove your sins. This is the essence of the free will teaching: Your sins still count against you. It’s the heart of the doctrine. This is why people are forced to make a free will decision to accept Christ. It is your free will decision, not the sacrifice of Christ, which finally removes sin and paves the way to God.

Millions of people believe this teaching. Therefore, millions of people deny Christ’s death for sin and are therefore disqualified from believing the gospel. Millions of people have been taught to trust in their faith, rather than in the faith of Christ. If self-belief is one’s foundation, then it is a good bet that self-belief will continue as one’s abiding doctrine. Therefore, because of false evangelists and their false gospel, people continue to trust in themselves instead of in Christ. Of course I realize that this self-trust is whitewashed. It is hidden behind the righteous phrase, "Jesus saves." But this is only whitewash. Because with the free will doctrine, Jesus does not save. If He does save, then why must I go to an
Altar and "get saved?" And what is the difference between trusting in oneself and trusting in Buddha? Or in Mohammad? Or in a rock, for that matter?:-)riddle me that:-)

The Christian religion, with human free will as its premier doctrine, is humanism dressed in righteous-looking garb. It is a form of devoutness that denies the saving power of God.

I do not believe, therefore, that the doctrine of eternal torment is the killing doctrine. Let me qualify that. I don’t think it’s killing in that it disqualifies people from eonian life. I believe that Satan developed the doctrine of eternal torment to force people into the killing doctrine: free will. Free will is the killing doctrine because it denies the foundation of the gospel: the death of Christ for sin. Free will is such an unscriptural teaching (listen to it without whitewash: "salvation by self; salvation by human will power" that no one would stand in this corner unless they were painted into it. And it is the doctrine of eternal torment that does just that. Who wants to make God responsible for sending men, women and children into unending torments? This nightmare must somehow be made the human’s fault. Enough scripture can be twisted to make human free will do this duty, and so the twisting begins and people rush to relieve God of responsibility for man’s fate.

The irresponsibility of God. Man! There’s a doctrine for you.

The teaching of human free will is the knee-jerk reaction of normal people to the horror of unending hellfire.

The only thing that can explain Calvinists, then, is this: they are not normal people. In fact, Calvinists are freaks of nature. Calvinists believe in eternal torment, yet they are somehow scripturally astute enough to deny free will. Strange. It is strange finding people without qualm (at least publicly without qualm) about making God responsible for damning people. According to Calvinists, God brings billions of people into the world, only to predestine most of them to eternal torment. What a doctrine! Normal human beings shy away from believing something so bizarre. But Calvinists are not normal human beings. As I said, they are freaks of nature. Good for them, though, because it is better to be a freak of nature than to believe in salvation by self.

I could not be more serious. Why do you think I’ve dedicated my life to this? Why else teach the true evangel? Why did Paul teach it? He was not just bringing saints to maturity, but introducing people who had never heard of the gospel, to the gospel. Why would he risk his life for that? Why bother, if everyone gets eonian life in spite of what they believe? Why? Because the apostle Paul realized the importance of sound teaching. Sound teaching, to Paul, was not an adjunct to faith, but a vital part of it. Faith, to Paul, was real. That is, it was based on real information, not some wispy, intangible nothing. And the apostle Paul, achiever that he was (through the strength of Christ and the grace of God), wished to save as many people as possible from the second death. He knew that everyone would live for eternity with God, but he wanted to bring as many as possible into eonian life.

Some would say, "Jim. Stop and listen to yourself. You’re doing the very thing you accuse Christian preachers of doing. You’re saying that people have to believe the right thing in order to be saved." Not at all. I’m saying that those whom God has predestined beforehand for salvation will believe the right thing via the correct gospel presented by a God-inspired evangelist.

Others would say, "But, Jim. Saving people is God’s job. We thought you believed in the sovereignty of God. God has predestined whomever He has predestined, and we can’t change that." I know that’s true and I know we believe that way, but it is wrong for us to sit around and act like God has not given humans the privilege of announcing His message. This practice of sitting around is known as fatalism. I am not a fatalist, and neither was the apostle Paul. Paul knew that only God could save, but He also knew that God used humans to effect His will. God made it Paul’s business to save the people He predestined to save. Paul did not know ahead of time who God had predestined. (How nice that would have been.) This is why he broadcast his evangel everywhere. Paul? A fatalist? Never! This is why he wrote the following:

For everyone, whoever should be invoking the name of the Lord, shall be saved. How, then should they be invoking One in Whom they do not believe? Yet how should they be believing One of Whom they do not hear? Yet how should they be hearing apart from one heralding? Yet how should they be heralding if ever they should not be commissioned. According as it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those bringing an evangel of good!

--Romans 10:13-16

This e-mail that I have written contains an evangel of good. Whoever will read this e-mail, receive this message, and share it with others, will have beautiful feet indeed.

Christ reached and rescued us. He pressed through the veil of our stubbornness and rescued us from ourselves. Thank God that He did. Without Him, what would we have? Apart from Him, what would we do? We need Him every moment of every day. We cannot afford an instant of self-sufficiency. What an ash heap of human pride is the saying: "God will not force Himself on anyone." That is the lie of Satan. Yet how many who claim the name of Christ believe and teach it.

We now understand that God gives the belief and faith necessary for salvation. But this leads us to a startling and initially troubling conclusion: He has not given this belief and faith to others. While this may be a hard pill to swallow at first (I recommend a little orange juice), it is nonetheless true. But as I will show, this is not a problem. Truth is never a problem. Discarding error is the problem.

¨ Romans 11:8- "Even as it is written, God gives them (Israel) a spirit of stupor, eyes not to be observing, and ears not to be hearing, till this very day."

¨ Romans 11:32- "For God locks up all together in stubbornness."

¨ Romans 9:18- "Consequently, then, to whom He will, He is merciful, yet whom He will, He is hardening."

To the mind unprejudiced by traditional teaching, these verses say one thing: God is responsible for human unbelief. Don’t shoot the messenger. This truth is probably causing yet another seemingly inescapable problem to trouble you. Allow me to place the problem squarely before you and offer a solution to it in the plainest possible language. I choose English.

Think about this...ponder it over in your mind... The things that God needs to save all mankind and the whole world.

God needs a cross to reveal His salvation. He needs rotten Romans who know how to hammer people. He needs a foul priesthood to offer the Sacrifice. He needs, yes, a Judas Iscariot to deliver the Lamb. He needs enemies and sinners and whips and nails and vinegar and reeds to fulfill His Scriptures. And so, He gives Israel a spirit of stupor (Romans 11:8). He makes vessels of dishonor, to make His powerful doings known (Romans 9:21-22). He has made the wicked for this day of evil (Proverbs 16:4), and has created the ruiner to harm [His Son] (Isaiah 54:16). The mob in Jerusalem believe they have untrammeled wills, but they are doing precisely what He has designated beforehand to occur (Acts 4:27-28). None of them know that (1 Corinthians 2:8), but it doesn’t matter. This was a scene choreographed by God (Ephesians 1:11), for our benefit (Romans 5:9). Good and evil are servants in His hand (Job 2:10).

The day I finally realized that salvation was not of me, was a big day. This was years after I had become a so-called Christian.I used to say I made the decision to accept the Lord Jesus all on my own!! In the old days, I would say my salvation was "not of me," but I never really believed that. I was brainwashed into saying it, but not believing it. The day God revealed it to me—what a revelation. What a day. I had been a Christian for years, but I’m speaking now of the day I became a believer. There really was no difference, I discovered, between my flesh, my mortality, my ability to seek God, and the flesh, mortality, and ability of unbelievers. I was in the same boat as everyone else. This is humbling, when you see this It break you and you cry.Well Ned I bet your thinking how did Jim get so mixed up in his believing Well it

All came from studying the Word of God


nedbrek said...

Hello Jim! Thank you for stopping by!

I consider myself to be a Calvinist, but not a hyper-Calvinist. I talk about that some in a post.

I think Scripture teaches that God is in control, and at the same time we are responsible for our actions.

That said, what is the consequence of "killing doctrine"? Is that the second death?

Also, I don't follow the difference between "eonian life" and "eternity with God".


braverdave said...

Hi Jim,

Always nice to meet another heretic. Now I don't feel quite so alone!

Is this The Beautiful Heresy Board? It sounds like my kind of place.

I liked your statement "but this is how I believe at this present time". Made me smile. It's how I feel too. I'm not the same person I was a few minutes ago (before I read your comment).

Ned's questions will do for me for now. After you clear them up (and after I check out the verses you cited) I will likely have some questions of my own.

jim said...

Hi Ned,
You said "I think Scripture teaches that God is in control, and at the same time we are responsible for our actions."Ned I agree 100% with your statement,God Is in control and we are to be responsible.
If you are a Calvinist do you believe that God made some of His children to not be saved and that they were made to go to hell forever and ever to suffer and accomplish nothing though there suffering?
You asked about the killing doctrine To me Free will is the killing doctrine because it denies the foundation of the gospel the death of Christ for our sin.Why because it takes Christ out of picture
And replaces Him with ourself...we make the choice not Him and that my friend that is the killing doctrine!!! God tell us that He chose us.. We didn't choose Him know till He gave us His Faith as a free gift we couldn't even believe.

You also asked about Aionios life so this is how I see it... Aionios life is given to mankind through grace

But only in a certain "order.You can read it in 1 Cor 15:22.. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ
Shall all be made alive.

1 Cor 15:23 But every man in his own order : Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
1 Cor 15:24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
1 Cor 15:25 For he [Christ] must reign, till he [the Father] hath put all enemies under his feet.
1 Cor 15:26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
1 Cor 15:27 For he [the Father] hath put all things under his [Christ's] feet. But when he [the Father] saith all things are put under him [Christ], it is manifest that he [the Father] is excepted, which did put all things under him [Christ].
1 Cor 15:28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him [Christ], then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him [the Father] that put all things under him [Christ], that God may be all in all.
So you see, life aionios, as wonderful and necessary as it is, is not God's ultimate goal. His ultimate goal is achieved after the aions are consumed and have completed their purpose of bring us all to the point that "God is all in all."

The fact that the aions have a beginning and an end in no way denies that the aions are God's channel through which to give immortality, life that continues beyond the aions to all men.

What is aionios life? It is what Christ has freely given to those in the first resurection.

Matt 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal (aionios).

Aionios life is for those who receive life in this vessel of clay in this aion.

John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.


nedbrek said...

Hi Jim, sorry for the delay,

You said, "If you are a Calvinist do you believe that God made some of His children to not be saved and that they were made to go to hell forever and ever to suffer and accomplish nothing though there suffering?"

Anyone who is not saved is not a child of God. They are "vessels of wrath" (Romans 9:22), "children of Satan" (John 8:44), or "children of serpents" (Matthew 3:7). That is what the Bible calls them.

In Hell, they will glorify God by demonstrating His justice and wrath against sin.

Scary stuff! All the more reason to spread the Good News of salvation!