« Your Students Are Willing to Delay Gratification, If You Are | Main | Links Mentioned on the 9/03/13 Show »

September 03, 2013

Comments

J. Warner,

Great blog post and I completely agree. The only thing is, you don't seem to "practice" this truth in your apologetics. I never hear you talk about the work of the Spirit in wooing and convicting unbelievers. You seem to put all the emphasis on man's ability to craft clever arguments.

I am not saying that God cannot or does not use us and our apologetics to bring people to Him, I'm just saying that it would be nice to hear you be more balanced in regards to giving God the credit for bringing people to Himself.

Regardless, I do appreciate your ministry and hope you do not take this in a negative fashion.

The Bible also teaches, however, that humans have the freedom and ability to choose the things of God, including the salvation offered through Jesus Christ.

Respectfully, I think this article falls a little short, and here's why. Our "fallen" nature isn't just "our inclination toward rebellion and the denial of God's existence." It's also much more than that. Our fallen nature is also manifested in our complete inability to choose anything of God.

Mr. Warner doesn't address one of the most revealing passages on this topic, that of Ephesians chapter 2. In that passage, Paul writes that mankind is dead in trespasses and sin; therefore, we have no capability to do anything at all to exercise saving faith in Jesus Christ. Which is why Paul writes in that passage that even faith itself (i.e, Mr. Warner's ability to "choose") is a gift from God.

He's going in the right direction by the end of the article, however.

w,

I think you missed the last part of his post:

"So, how do we, as fallen humans inclined to deny God, have the ability to choose God? Well it appears that God (in His sovereignty) works at the level of our nature rather than at the level of our choices. God changes our hearts first, so we have the freedom to choose something we would never have chosen before (because our nature prevented us from doing so). You and I then have the freedom to choose within our new nature, and we are, of course, responsible for those choices."

J. Warner states that God changes our hearts before we can choose. Clearly this would be the gift you are talking about wouldn't it?

If even one minute thing escapes the immediate control of God, even the Devil, then God is no longer All Mighty. He would be "somewhat mighty" and something else would be God.

Nor would He relinquish His control to a so called "free agent", the very thought of which flies in the face of God and is blasphemous.

We are here only to experience and be shaped and molded by the choices God ordained that we would make.

Dave, is "all the world a stage," then? Are we just unwittingly playing roles in a cosmic play?

@ J;

Ephesians 3:9-10 seems to indicate this as being the purpose of creation...God, who created all things by Jesus Christ to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God..

Without sin, there is no contrast and therefore no understanding of the righteousness of God. Nor is there an understanding of His justice, judgement mercy, and many other attributes.

We would never experience nor understand these things in a perfect world.


Hi dave, kind of sounds like Rom. 9, accounting of Pharoah being raised up for the purpose of making known the power of God to His chosen ones, Israel. Further in Rom. 9,:


"Rom 9:22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?

Rom 9:23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,

Rom 9:24 even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles."


God's Sovereignty doesn't rob us of freedom, but not because of the analysis of freedom given above.

For that analysis

  1. Is not an analysis of freedom and
  2. Does not escape the incompatibilist argument against freedom from Divine Sovereignty anyway, if you grant that argument its premises
The reason God's Sovereignty does not rob us of our freedom is because He exercises His Divine Sovereignty outside the limits of time. That leaves Him free to create this world with all its free choices for the (partial) reason that those choices were made within this world and not within the ones He did not create.

The assumption of Divine Timelessness rejects the fundamental premise of the incompatibilist argument that the past plans of God imply the present with all of its choices.

The plans of God do indeed imply the present with all its choices. Divine Timelessness has no issue with that.

But that implication gets us into a bind with freedom when we assume the plans are in the past. It is because, given that assumption, there is nothing that can be done now about God's plans...their being past and all that.

But because of Divine Timelessness, those plans are not past. They are eternally present with all those choices made by every free agent. When an agent acts he is completely free to act otherwise because there is still something that can be done (at least by God) about God's eternally present plan.

Of course, in the end every being acts in one way and not in any other. The laws of contradiction and excluded middle remain. One cannot have one's cake eat it too. There are always many unrealized possibilities that are not chosen and one actualized reality that is chosen. And we are left to conclude that those unrealized possibilities are not part of God's plan, but the actualized reality is.

@ WL,

Doesn't this reduce God to the level of a "lap dog" type of fellow who goes around mopping up after his creatures who are actually more soveriegn than He is?

Also, any sequence of events, in or out of time, involve time!

Dave-

Spell the 'lap dog' bit out for me. Please avoid terminology like "mopping up after" in referring to how God lays His plans from all eternity. For such terminology applies a temporal predicate to an eternal being.

In all events, I'm not quite sure how God is less sovereign that I am.

On my view, it seems that when God and I agree, what we both agree to is what happens...God gets His way, and I get my way. But when we disagree, God gets His way against my will.

It seems that you want to say that God is Sovereign only where God and I disagree and He gets his way against my will. So that God's being universally sovereign requires that we always disagree.

BTW, I'm not going to be too perturbed on behalf of God's Sovereignty by the idea that God might serve us though. Part of God's Sovereignty consists of the fact that He suffers for us. He has shown mercy; therefore, He is feared. This God does serve us all. Big time. That bit is kind of important in Christian thought.

Dave-

One more question. What sequence of events outside of time that involves time are you thinking of?

All I have in my head when you say stuff like that is the same thing I have in my head when people start talking about round squares, largest prime numbers and married bachelors. My eyes kind of glaze over and I start getting drowsy.

@ WL,

Where do you get this stuff besides your own imagination?

Dave,

If even one minute thing escapes the immediate control of God, even the Devil, then God is no longer All Mighty
What do you mean by “escapes”?

Freedom is Christianity is like being free of flees or something like that. Freedon means you are willing to be a slave to religious doctrine fed to you by OTHER PEOPLE.

Dave-

What do you mean by "this stuff".

Please be specific.

Do you mean where do I get the idea that God is timeless besides my own imagination?

Or do you mean where do I get the idea that God serves us?

Or what?

Boris-

Next time you have a clue, get back to us.

@WL,

I Could use some Scripture support for your ideas.

Boris,

You seem to have such an awful time of this. I don’t guarantee it, but I’d bet you’ve been pretty much cutoff from learning about how many people, dare I say the majority of people, live in this country. What they believe. Why they believe it. Perhaps you get your insights on Christians from articles in the Economist. Perhaps you think a reading of Milton or Eliot is enough. Maybe television shows and talking heads are more your style.

Don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying you should agree with what these people believe. What I am saying is that it seems like you’re totally unsure of what to make of these people. If you’d been exposed to any real people, people that you respect, (people that you love?) who are religious, things may be different.

Unsophisticated hostility towards Christianity doesn’t necessarily imply insularity, but it has a lot to say about it. Not only is it quite boring, but there’s a special form of ignorance that covers up behind this sort of blind-secularism. The blindness I’m referring to is the blindness to the humanity on the other side. Blind to the flesh and blood part. It’s a form of social awkwardness. When this ignorance peeks out, it reveals its dysfunction.

Go study the Christian aliens and report back.

Dave-

Do you mean you need scripture to support the idea that God serves us? Kidding right?

What was that whole Jesus-thing about?

Frankly my problem with God’s sovereignty and men’s corruption is different: it means, that because of one mistake of our fore-bearers we have been judged to eternal punishment – all of us but those, whom God gladly awards grace. Billions of sentient beings eternally being punished because there was a fault in top tier of their genealogy tree, totally outside of their control. Such an idea of God is very repulsive for me – I can find no justice and only a very limited dose of mercy in it.

Dave’s point of view does make even less sense to me: no free-will makes no sense in relation to the way we perceive our lives. I imagine my son doing something horrible and me reacting like this: “that’s quite OK, it was God’s choice, not yours, no reason to be sad or mad, unless God will force me to be”.

If I really wanted to live that it would drive me very close to total resignation – why should I care when I have no choice? If I do not, it is not my fault, only God’s will bringing me to eternal punishment so that his mercy could be showed.

Frankly my problem with God’s sovereignty and men’s corruption is different: it means, that because of one mistake of our fore-bearers we have been judged to eternal punishment – all of us but those, whom God gladly awards grace.
I don't quite see how this is a consequence of God's Sovereignty.

WL: I certainly didn't mean to say so. I was just considering the fact that calvinistic view of GS and depravity goes like this: God creates an universe where sin is punished by hell for eternity. God creates mankind capable of sin but incapable of not sinning once original sin happens. Adam and Eve sin, billions of their children have not the possibility not to sin, hence their are sentenced for hell. God also creates a universe where mankind, once sinned, is unable even to accept grace. God chooses relatively few men and women and makes their choice to accept the freedom, rest sent to hell - without having the opportunity to choose otherwise.

Morne,


There are many approaches taken in these arenas. Trust and Certainty struggle with the Nth degree. It certainly gets thick and some disagreements are inevitable, though I find it informative that God is, Actuality is, Love, and it seems that whether we start at the End of that or at the Beginning of that, Love's Eternally Sacrificed Self is inevitable in Love's Means and in Love's Ends.

As a real Christian, I willfully motion, move, sin, against Light, in full awareness. Christians sin. I sin. Now, I know neither the God above me nor the God within me wills I so motion, leads me to so motion, desires I so violate Him. I'll not say such of the Holy Spirit. Into temptation, yes. Into sin, never. Power's will needs no double talk here. Actuality does not necessitate Willed, for Power also wills His Image in our species, thus those motions into / out of Self/Other must themselves be actuality, lest Love's Image suffer loss. Love's Triune geography dissolves many tensions. Cannot-Be-Otherwise is true in wonderful and surprisingly beautiful vectors.

The Goat Head speaks from the cheap seats:

On the OP. J Warner needs to go back and read chapter 13 of "Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview" by Moreland and Craig. Respect for J, but he didn't do the topic justice.

Dave. Your universe is completely deterministic. We dance on God's strings. How can we reasonably be held responsible for anything we do?

WL. Since I am an "A" theory of time kind of guy, your "God exists outside of time" arguments don't do much for me. God is temporal, from what I can tell. In your world, how do escape complete divine determinism?

Goat Head 5

GH

"Cannot be otherwise" is inevitable as Power Wills. Though we all probably fuss with each other on what Power does, exactly, Will. As for Time, Love knows no beginning nor ending and seems void of tenses in all directions, though the Created tastes of Love's Eternally Sacrificed Self within the contours of, first, a Beginning and, then, an End, and then, finally, everlastingly knowing Him "as" He knows us.......

On Love's Eternally Sacrificed Self, we discover that such is Unchanging and ever in Motion, never Static. Time's tenses necessitate change, and -tis we who change, -tis He Who never changes. He must it seems be void of Time.

scbrownlhrm, The Goat Head feels compelled to reply, although I could have done otherwise.

""Cannot be otherwise" is inevitable as Power Wills". Well, yes, unless Power wills that we have power as real agents to do otherwise than He wills. This is observably the case, unless God is evil, which is a possibility, I suppose.

Love's tenses: loved, love and will love. Simple, really.

God changes all the time in the Bible. If He isn't static, then He changes. "Unchanging and Ever in motion, never static", sounds all cool and Zen and poetic, but can't be true.

Sorry about that.

Goat Head 5

Again the Goat Head speaks:

Yes, Morne, the world you lay out has plenty of problems.

I suggest you choose a theology other than Calvinism.

Several are available for you to consider; Orthodox, Arminiansim and Open Theism, to name a few.

None of the theological systems is without its difficulties, though. The question is which difficulties you can live with, and which are simply intolerable.

Goat Head 5

GH

If One and Three, I/You, Etc., such is unchanging motion. Don't make the logical error of viewing the Triune's Both/And as either a contradiction or as a blurry middle violating any necessary exclusions, or as a changing God.

We find necessarily actualized motions there in the Triune, and I find no other options for Power's Willing of His Image whereby freedom of motion amid I/You/We must be actual. Such never changes in Him. Such must be actual in man's image. You seem to view the Triune's Both/And as change? Now One, now Three, never both ?

GH,

"...unless God is evil, which is a possibility I suppose..."

It seems I missed that and completely misread you..... I'll give you the last word then for the two of us.

Thanks.

GH5-

"how do [you] escape complete divine determinism?"

I escape determinism because determinism is, essentially, the claim that past states-of-affairs entail present states-of-affairs.

This is simply not true of God's plans, beliefs etc, because God is timeless. He has no past plans, beliefs etc.

As for the A-series/B-series distinction, I don't buy McTaggart's assertion that the A-series is essential to an adequate characterization of time. Not if what he means is that characterizing change over time requires an objectively moving temporal cursor called "now".

There is, of course, a subjectively moving cursor called "now" for each perceiver of time at each moment. But now applies equally to all moments from the point of view of those individual moments. At T0, T0 is now. At T1, T1 is now, and T0 might well be considered past relative to T1. That's all we need to talk about change over time. But it's all just B-series time.

"Go study the Christian aliens and report back."
I know all about these aliens, Creationopithicus Alabamus and Bible Thumpicus Mississippus.

“I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them.” (Spinoza)

“Unsophisticated hostility towards Christianity doesn’t necessarily imply insularity, but it has a lot to say about it. Not only is it quite boring, but there’s a special form of ignorance that covers up behind this sort of blind-secularism. The blindness I’m referring to is the blindness to the humanity on the other side. Blind to the flesh and blood part. It’s a form of social awkwardness. When this ignorance peeks out, it reveals its dysfunction.” (KWM)

I think the word insularity was missed in your reading, Boris. Insularity: Of, relating to, or constituting an island. Living or located on an island. Ignorance of or lack of interest in cultures, ideas, or peoples outside one's own experience.

Love is hard work, Boris. It’s a kind of dying. In fact, I know of no love at all void of such a motion. Only, love entails more than empathy. In empathy we find a good and lovely thing, only, not love itself. Love is not the Self in an awareness of the Other. That is empathy. And that is good, as far as it goes. But it does not take us far enough. Love is something more. It is the Self poured out, and into, the Other. The Other is all that remains. The Self has died. In God we find this to be no act of gesture, no simple jest. No metaphor. But, rather, sheer actuality. Such is Uncreated Love’s unchanging, unending motion. Love’s Eternally Sacrificed Self forever pours out, empties. The Beloved in reciprocity is forever poured into, filled. And She is filled with something more than Her life alone, for She finds also in Her that Sacrificed Life thus poured out. Such is Uncreated Love’s unchanging, unending motion. We see there that a wonderful thing happens. We find this Bride and this Groom having poured out in reciprocity now alive again there inside that which these two within embrace necessarily beget in Love’s Third distinct, E Pluribus Unum. She who has died, He who has died, are found alive again. Love is hard work, Boris. It is a kind of dying. And it is a kind of resurrecting. That is just what love looks like. I find good reason in science, in logic, in observational reality, in life, and in love to know such is the end of things. I find good reason in science, in logic, in observational reality, in life, and in love to know indifference is not the end of things. Some sophistication in your appeal to such lines in your own reasoning would be helpful, and welcomed. Only, we just are never given such things by you, Boris. We are only ridiculed with a kind of indifference.

WisdomLover and Brad B,

This quote just for fun:

“Destiny has two ways of crushing us….. by refusing our wishes….. and by fulfilling them.” (Henri F. Amiel)

I know we approach all these vectors with different weights attached and different vectors sighted, but, I find, still, a great help from you two and many others here. Differences in what we all may hold as to just what it is, exactly, which Power Wills, are quite real of course though such need not blur our vision of love's command.

@WL
Perhaps we can discuss God and time more. I tend to back away from the God is in time / out of time characterizations that seem to be common. I tend to think of God as not constrained by time. As you said ~ "time is relative to the point of view of the observer". In my take on it, if God is omnipresent, He doesn't "wait" for events to come to him as say we characterize light from a distant star taking X light years to reach us. Since He is "everywhere", He perceives everything, everywhere, "always". With that, there is no past or future for Him.

Robert

Pray for Boris--he is lost.

Carolyn: though it was probably not meant to be so you have in fact lad ad hominem argument. I wouldn't like or understand it at all if I were in Boris' place.

And I also strongly disagree with drawing such a conclusion from what he said.

Robert-

It comes down to these three issues:

1. Does time exist?
2. Is time a necessary or a contingent being?
3. If time is a necessary being is it (part of) God or distinct from God?

Now, I don't know what to make of a negative answer to item #1. It seems to me that even if time is the collective figment of human imagination (which, btw, I do not believe), that it still exists. Figments, after all, exist. It's just that if you destroyed all the humans, time (and all the figments of human imagination) would cease to exist.

I guess it is worth noticing that if there is no such thing as time, then God can hardly be in it. So, in that case the thesis of Divine Timelessness is true.

Now, at this point I jump forward to item #3: If time is a necessary being is it (part of) God or distinct from God?

Well, it seems to me that if we say that Time is God or part of God we're going to have to say that space is too. What then are we to make of the claim that all the contents of Space-Time are distinct from God. Is God a great big bottle? Is that it? But if we say that the contents of space-time are also part of God, then I think we have become Pantheists. This is not, of course, an argument against that position. For now I just note that I do not want to embrace pantheism.

But what of the idea that time is a necessary being wholly distinct from God? Without going into a long dissertation, I don't think that any possible universe is big enough for more than one Necessary Being. Insofar as there are 'other' necessary beings, numbers, rings, groups, sets or whatever, it seems that they must be simply contents of the Divine Mind (something I've already decided is not true of time).

So now what? If time is a necessary being, it must either be (part of) God, or a distinct necessary being. But I find it difficult to accept either of those alternatives. So I find myself drawn to reject the assumption: that time is a necessary being.

And that leads to my answer to the second question: Time is a contingent being.

But if that is the case, then time is a creature.

And, as such, God is not within time. At least, not essentially so. We must of course, leave open the possibility that God can enter time in various places (most notably, in Bethlehem). But those properties that are God's essentially, e.g. His omniscience or his providence (the one's that seemingly cause trouble for human freedom), exist everywhere He does. In particular, they exist with Him apart from his creature, time.

Advice regarding Boris:

Please DNFTT

As a Christian, I find I am granted ability to motion into Him, and, also, ability to sin against Him. Nature here presents an odd amalgamation. I am, as a Christian, instructed to confess my sins. And of course I do sin, knowingly, against Light, and, this despite my Sight and my Legs to walk in another direction. Adam stands again in Eden, and the Mutable awaits the Immutable. My will is ever present here. My wife or myself. God or me. His will or mine. Well, I can choose either one. I know that about myself. I do not go to God and confess the sin of another, some other “me”, but, as His Child, I come to the Father and my mouth utters a confession of my sin. Against Him. I am culpable here. Confess your sins one to another. I did not have to sin. I could have done otherwise. There is no physical system free of physical systems, and thus the Christian argues that moral responsibility in atheism is incoherent. Well, without such volition in our own theology, I’m not sure any Christian need ever confess any sin, for “sin” would be without meaning, would be incoherent. I am disappointed that any would void such volition from the Pre-Christian / Non-Christian to call for help, as if such a move need grant that vocal cords themselves are magically invented by the Creature and not the Creator, and, I am far more disappointed that any would void such volition even from the Christian. If such volition is granted to the Christian, and we say that real Christians commit real sins, we find now a very real actuality which is not willed by the God above nor the God within. The Holy Spirit did not lead me to, cause me to, work within me in order to produce, want me to, will that I commit, my sin of thought, word, or deed. Into pain? Yes. Into temptation? Yes. Into loss? Yes. Into gain? Yes. Into joy? Yes. Into Satan’s very company? Yes. But into Sin against Him? Never. I am His Child. In fact, He, the Comforter, is forever leading me, the same me who sins against Him, into Truth, which is Himself. That is the labor of Him, and, I find within myself Legs to walk into Him and Legs to walk out of Him. Legs He gave me, for everyone knows legs just can’t be magically invented by the creature. That is a silly thought. Of course He gave them to us. A theology which charges the Holy Spirit within me as working within me to move me into sinning against Him, as wanting me to sin against Him, as willing me to sin against Him, is not a theology I can embrace. I will have to leave it to others to so assert. We find in the Triune Image of [Self / Other / E Pluribus Unum] the very bedrock for knowing and seeing how it is that Actual does not ipso facto grant Willed.

Boris,


Earlier in this thread I put up a post for you just FYI though I neglected to title it with your name. It is dated, “Posted by: scbrownlhrm | September 05, 2013 at 06:07 PM” and it starts with this quote: “I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them.” (Spinoza)



WL is correct. Short of any meaningful offer of your own, I’m not sure ridicule wrapped up within indifference need ever be responded to again. At least if that is all you have. I’ve not seen anything more sophisticated in your writing other than a kind of sophomoric insularity void of any personal or intellectual lines worth following up on. At least not yet.

"A theology which charges the Holy Spirit within me as working within me to move me into sinning against Him, as wanting me to sin against Him, as willing me to sin against Him, is not a theology I can embrace."

Hi scbrownlhrm, the scriptures dont support this and neither does Protestant doctrine...whether Lutheran or Calvinistic. This sums up the Reformed/Calvinistic systematic theology of God's providence:
Chapter 3: Of God’s Eternal Decree

1: God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin,nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

2: Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions; yet has He not decreed anything because He foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.

3: By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.

4: These angels and men, thus predestinated, and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished.

5: Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to His eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will, has chosen, in Christ, unto everlasting glory, out of His mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith, or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving Him thereunto; and all to the praise of His glorious grace.

6: As God has appointed the elect unto glory, so has He, by the eternal and most free purpose of His will, foreordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore, they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ by His Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by His power, through faith, unto salvation. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.

7: The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of His own will, whereby He extends or withholds mercy, as He pleases, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praised of His glorious justice.

8: The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care, that men, attending the will of God revealed in His Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election. So shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God; and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the Gospel.

There are all manner of scriptural support for these statements, if you have questions regarding why the Westminster Divines were pleased to systematize the way they have, we can go the the scriptures to see if what they present is coherent with all that the Bible reveals.

Brad B.,


I’ll jump right to the main question to start with, and then perhaps a few more thoughts along the way:


Do you believe (I know you don’t) that God wants Christians to sin against Him? Should a Christian commit [Sin X] shall he go to the church and declare, “This too God hath willed I do, for, I have done it.” ?


I don’t think you’d put it in so many words, but I’m not sure how you read all the New Testament wording regarding the express work and the express will of the Holy Spirit where the Christian is concerned. It’s very clear. I think the rub for you is Actual granting, ipso facto, Willed in this W1 with the un-accounted for mistaken notion that [W1-Infinity] is actually possible for God, though God has expressly declared His Image, and thus there is but one possible world, and therein (I think) the rub is how Actual can ever not be Willed, given that landscape of those motions we find in the Triune’s Interior.


That “rub” is I think the core, and it will surface a few times as I move along here……..or try to move along…..


Obviously I myself don’t see that “all of Christianity” sees it that way (that it’s God’s will for me, for the Christian, to sin), as I stated in my last post, and which you took issue with, and I would disagree with that assertion on your end, though I find myself never, or practically never, disagreeing with much else you ever write. I know no Christians personally who think it is God’s will for me as a Christian to violate His will, to go out and do Sin-X, and so on, and then to tell everyone that God wanted me to do it, and so on along that line. “He didn’t want me to do it” is what I find in the New Testament. The expressed will and the expressed work of the Holy Spirit in relation to the Christian throughout the New Testament is quite clear. The Resurrection and the New Creation change a few things, similarities to Eden not withstanding. We need not go to Eden, though we can and we find the same problems, but it is enough to look simply in the New Testament and remain post Resurrection (and that is what I am speaking of here) as it is laced all through with the express will of God for the Christian. And murder, or fornication, or lying, or Sin-X, or [Etc.] is not there and in fact is expressly prohibited in several areas of the New Testament in relation to the work and the will of the Holy Spirit in the Christian and through the Christian.


But, you know this and wouldn’t say God wants Christians to [fornicate, etc.,] in so many words. Rather, you cannot see (I think) how Actual need not always ipso fact grant Willed. There’s the rub (I think). And so we have God willing all sorts of things in contradictions where the Christian’s sins are concerned.


As it turns out, we find in Him not only all possibilities, but also a necessary and unavoidable topography for Man given that He Wills His Image for Man, and, willing that geography (and Power does Will such) we find it in good keeping with all of scripture that He wills Man in His Own Image, and not the destruction of that Image, all the while the destruction of that Image is a necessary (in-escapable for Power’s possible worlds given Power’s Will of His Image) possibility pending Man’s amalgamation with Immutability, one which He cannot create a World, W1, the only possible world (given His will of His Image) void of. Man can motion as God motions, into and out-of the Self and the Other and Unity, and, as it turns out, the only Means and the only End for Man in all directions are none other than Love’s Eternally Sacrificed Self. God must pour out, must be debased; Man has no other hope. In all directions that is unavoidable. In Eden, in our current Now, in fact in any part of this W1, this only possible World given His express Will, this Entire Actuality, Knowing God, becoming One with Him does not, cannot, offer Man less than being Outside, but far, far more. The Knowledge of Good/Evil is unavoidable, for the Knowledge of God is unavoidable, and we all know that evil is not God-And, but is, rather, God-less-some-thing. I’ve digressed here of Eden (in part), but let us jump to the Christian and it is all the same landscape. Thus for the present it is the Christian’s relation to Sin-X tonight, and tomorrow, and the day after which we are concerned with primarily. Where you would (I think) describe the two (Eden/Christian) as having zero overlap in God’s Will and Man’s Image, I find 100% overlap from Genesis all the way to the end of Revelations as God’s Will here in this arena never changes from [A to Z] (as I read scripture).


In all these roads we never say that it is God’s will for the Christian to go out and commit [Sin X], though real Christians do commit real sins. And, of course, we have the entire New Testament description of just what the will and work of the Holy Spirit is for the Christian, which I find supports this notion of mine, which you here (per your post) seem to have disagreed with: Any theology which charges the Holy Spirit within me, within the Christian, as working within me, as working within the Christian, to move me, to move the Christian, into sinning against Him, as wanting me, the Christian, to sin against Him, as willing me, the Christian, to sin against Him, is not a theology I can embrace. “This too God desired me to do” is not a “trailer” I can, on Sunday morning, tag onto my description of Saturday night’s Sin-X against my wife, against my child, and, of course, against Him.

We have to come right out and say what we mean, and mean what we say, here. I can’t declare that “trailer” before any congregation on Sunday morning Brad, and, I have the entire New Testament full of verses which speak toward the express Will-Of and the express Work-Of the Holy Spirit in relation to the Christian keeping me in (as I read it) good company. My Sin-X Saturday night was against His Will, His Work.


We find that in All-Things God’s Will is unchanging, and, His Means for Man are unchanging, and, His End for Man is unchanging. There is only one Map comprised of one Topography, and it is Love’s Triune. He never changes, and it is not His Will for me, the Christian, to go out tonight and sin against my wife, my children, and Him, and yet, we as Christians, full of Sight and Legs, do just those sins on occasion. The word “sin” there implying culpability, which implies actualized ability to run the other way into God’s Will.


I’ll put a few more thoughts later. Obviously we see this differently. And that is fine. Bear with me as I attempt to dialogue and also kill my own sin of absurd and selfish zeal ~~ He is absolutely Sovereign but Power cannot make round squares and Power cannot create [W1-Infinity] once He wills His Image in a species, thus there is no loss of Power on Power’s end as Power Will’s to create His Image, which is Love’s Triune, in Man, for in all directions for Man there lies in all ends but Him, the End, and, as it turns out, all Means in all directions are but Him, The-Means, and Actual is not always Willed, as all that exists, including that Triune Image within Man’s W1(there is only W1, not W1-infinity for Power wills His Image) is clearly all that exists and includes that which He expressly states is not His Will for the Christian.


Man’s open door to the Self in privation is inescapable for Power’s creative act given Power’s Willing of Love’s Triune Landscape. Power cannot create round squares and pointing that out is no reduction of Power. The reverse move, however, of avoiding the inescapable geography of God’s Triune Image in Man’s landscape, Man’s Entire Actuality, (all that exists does so by Him) leads to the sort of contradictions we find in “God wants Christians to sin”. Sooner or later, on some level, that is what you seem to be implying. God wants Christians to sin. But we find that “all that exists does so by Him” is misused by those who so assert for such needs to be used with what we actually find in Eden and in God’s expressed Will for the Christian: Power Wills His Image, and that Image is All of Man’s Actuality. There is no “other” actuality in existence. Actual does not ipso facto grant Willed because Power’s expressed Will grants but W1, and not [W1-Infinity]. The motions in God’s Triune will be available to Man in his own geography of motions where Self, Other, and Unity are concerned. Dying and Resurrecting are unavoidable, those motions, those happenings regardless of which Tree we touch, are unavoidable. Power’s expressed will prohibits round squares (which would preclude sin against Him) and thus He is on all fronts free to declare of sin against Him, “This is against My Will”. We must not blur the language of Pre-Fall and Post Resurrection and of that land in between. God’s Will never changes throughout all three. Man’s End never changes. Man’s Means never changes.

Man’s full Knowledge of God as an End never changes, and that Knowledge cannot grant less than being Outside Him can ever grant to him, but must grant far, far more, and that more contains all the Ends your last post to me houses, all that which you posted, and more. Evil is not God-And. It is God-Less-Two, or, more precisely, Love’s Triune reduced to the Pure Self, but One-Third of Love’s Whole. And in the Whole we find the Part necessarily. We find no need of contradictions and fear of Power’s loss and blurred lines of Will pitted against Will in implied conflict.


Again, I’ll put a few more thoughts later. Obviously we see this differently. And that is fine. Like it or not, you’re stuck with me as someone who sees “Brad B” and, on seeing that, backs up and reads what he had to say, as it just is always worth the time ~~~ I find in myself a sin of zeal where these topics are concerned, and I find He requires of me a kind of death here. So, bear with me as I attempt to “write it” and “talk about it” all the while, in the middle of disagreeing with you, also edifying, building up, the very person I am speaking with. You’ll have to put up with that, as He demands such of me. It can be otherwise, but it won’t be. That is, if God’s will for me, and not my will for me, is actualized here inside of Love’s Triune Landscape of I, of You, and of E Pluribus Unum. There are many doors. It cannot be otherwise. One day the Immutable will fill me up from A to Z, surround me from A to Z, quench me, fill every fiber, and therein that motion into Self which is so fatal for me in this Now will be, then, but a motion into a place, into a condition saturated with All-Sufficiency Himself and, therein, I will find but Life, but Him, and in all directions.

A bit more later ~~~~

Brad B.,


A side note on why Universalism fatally fails as Exodus 7, 8, 9, and Romans 1 and 9 come in a little later. It's all quite in line with Power's Triune Interior as Man hardens his own heart and God grants such, three times, and, also, uses such for Good. Romans 9 widens God’s call and does not narrow that Offer. Exodus 7, 8, and 9 is raw unadulterated judgment of a man and that man’s will toward Self, toward Sin. World means, well, World. We are all Pharaohs, in a sense. We all come to the End of Self and find either Self or Other. Inside of Time in what we call Change our mutable Will-Not-s motion along, only, ultimately, it seems, to become, outside of Time, outside of Change, immutable Can-Not-s. And so too with our mutable I-Will Please! as they, too, outside of Time, outside of what we call Change, become immutable Can-s. Nothing ever changes because He never changes, and the language of the Old Man falls quite in line from A to Z and Law’s Ministry of Death here too falls quite in line with Man’s necessary End there inside of Self. There comes a point, it seems, where Time, Change, is no more. Every man faces this and whether he faces it here inside of Time (as Pharaoh did) or there outside of Time (as the majority will) makes no “differences” in that landscape. Universalism here fails fatally for it assassinates Love’s Triune Image. We must take care not to destroy that Image. God Wills it from Start to Finish. He wills to fashion it; not destroy it. This is why Universalism and other such fatal moves just cannot maintain coherency from Genesis through Revelations.


But, again, more on that later....

Again, Brad B., I find in myself a sin of zeal where these topics are concerned, and I find He requires of me a kind of death here. So, bear with me as I attempt to “write it” and “talk about it” all the while, in the middle of disagreeing with you, also edifying, building up, the very person I am speaking with. You’ll have to put up with that, as He demands such of me. It can be otherwise, but it won’t be. That is, if God’s will for me, and not my will for me, is actualized here inside of Love’s Triune Landscape of I, of You, and of E Pluribus Unum. There are many doors. It cannot be otherwise. One day the Immutable will fill me up from A to Z, surround me from A to Z, quench me, fill every fiber, and therein that motion into Self which is so fatal for me in this Now will be, then, but a motion into a place, into a condition saturated with All-Sufficiency Himself and, therein, I will find but Life, but Him, and in all directions.

God ultimately hardens all men in all directions, for, He ends Time. Mutable Will Not becomes immutable Can Not. Will becomes Can. Self in isolation never will offer more than Self-Other, God-In-Man / Man-In-God. That is impossible. And incoherent. Even silly. Less cannot offer more.


And He knows the day and hour of all of it.

In all these vectors discussed haphazardly here we find the fatal flaws of Universalism, of Open Theism, and of any theology which delights in, wills, the Christian's sin inside Love's Triune.

“By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God….”


Here again we see that God hardens all Men as Time transitions to the Timeless. We are all Pharaohs. We are all Enochs. And God uses every bit of it for Good. And all without ever assassinating His Image within Man’s tasted actuality. Ben (on the topic of Enoch) makes (made via implication) the same mistake as those who misread Exodus 7, 8, and 9 and Romans 1 and 9. He (Ben) implies that Christ’s Cross, Love’s Eternally Sacrificed Self, is not needed for Man to enter into God and that reasoning is based on the fact that Ben does not see only one possible world, W1 and no other, once Power Wills His Own Image, nor does he account for the Triune Landscape that is Man’s entire actuality of all that exists within the geography of volitional motions amid Self, amid Other, and amid Unity within E Pluribus Unum. He (Ben) confuses Time/Timeless for God’s willing and acting in all sorts of conflicting and contradictory directions. He thinks God’s hardening of hearts violates God’s expressed Will and misreads both the Timeless and the Eternal fact-hood of Love’s Cross, Love’s everlasting motion of His Eternally Sacrificed Self. Well, Ben is of course mistaken.

There is no other any-thing out there for Man to run into face to face, in all directions, via all Trees, but the Means and the Ends of God, which is Love’s Eternally Sacrificed Self. There is no other means within Time nor outside of Time. There is no other End for Man to run into within Time nor outside of Time. Faith is that Trust that Self-Abdication which leans upon Other and not Self and whether this motion occur in Eden, in Enoch’s valley of Death, in Post Resurrection, in Time, our outside of Time just creates no differences in the landscape at hand which is Power’s Willed Landscape: His, Love’s, Triune Topography. Where did Enoch go? Who knows, but, if into the presence of God we know this: In-Sufficiency cannot, ever, behold, house, touch, taste All-Sufficiency in its isolation. All-Sufficiency must pour Himself out, and into, In-Sufficiency. All-Sufficiency must be debased, must descend, and, In-Sufficiency must be filled, poured into, glorified. And of course Christ is eternally present for outside of Time up there in the Triune God Love’s Eternally Sacrificed Self forever pours out, the Beloved is forever filled up, and by reciprocity this Dying God is forever found alive again, resurrected and forever present in that embrace amid Self-Other there within Love’s E Pluribus Unum.


Time does End. Timeless, however, is always present and in all directions. Mutable Will-Nots become immutable Can-Nots and mutable Will-s become immutable Can-s as actualizations within Time become actualizations within the Timeless. We are all Enochs. We are all Pharaohs. We are all mutable here within Time. We are all fated to taste of immutability there at Time’s End.

We are offered Perfect, Unchanging Love.

It is a mistake to think that the experience we get within the God-Less-Something can offer more than the experience we get within God. That is idolatry. Therefore, in all possible worlds, it is God’s Will that Man motion, not into Man’s own self in isolation, which is the Pure-I, which is what we call evil, or the privation of good, but, rather, it is always God’s will (He never changes thus His will never changes, from A to Z) that Man motion into God.

Some hold that those not offered such here in Time are, by simple necessity of all available Means/Ends (there is only one at the end of all vectors) offered, or run face to face into, Love’s Eternally Sacrificed Self in Time’s fades to Timeless as there just is no other any-thing to run into. World would mean World. God’s W1 would be God’s W1 and from A to Z. I don’t necessarily hold to that view. But I’m not sure I find any fatal flaws there. Time/Timeless and what those necessitate presents us with no (that I can see) impassable hurdles “there” nor does what God’s Triune Image necessitates seem to offer any impassable hurdles, nor does what God’s Inevitable Means (God Himself) necessitates ~~ nor does what God’s Inevitable Ends (God Himself) necessitates offer any impassable hurdles “there”. But, as I’m not sure I hold to that, I’ll leave that for others to fuss over. We are all Enoch. We are all Pharaoh. We ought dive into Love. Pure, Perfect, Selfless, Everlasting Love. Time does not last forever, and that is why the Knocking cannot go on forever.

Choose Love.

Choose Love.


When we say “Choose Love” we mean that such is His Will for you, such is always His Will for you because there is nothing outside of Him, ever in any world at any time from Eden to Revelation’s End points, that can grant you more than being in Him can grant you.


Thinking otherwise is called idolatry, and God never wills for man to so motion. That is one of (there are many others) the vectors by which we know that Eden is not a con and also that the knowledge of Good and Evil is inevitable, in all directions, as is Love’s Eternally Sacrificed Self.


God does not will idolatry for you. That is how you can know that God has not created you only so that He can now set about His express purpose of damming you. The thinking that births that horrific reasoning is the thinking that reasons that being outside of God has more to offer Man than being inside of God has to offer Man. Which is impossible.

Rest assured, we will be used by Love for Love’s Ends. You will be used by Love for Love’s ends regardless of your choices. Yes: if you choose Love, and Love’s Kingdom, or, if you choose, instead, your Self and that Kingdom, either way, Love will use you for Good as in Enoch, as in Pharaoh, as in all worlds, ad infinitum. We can be co-laborers with Love, or, we can motion against Love, but, either way, Love will have His World, His Image, for Love just will beget yet more Love.


Power cannot do otherwise. Power cannot fail. For Power has Willed it.


So, again: Choose Love.


As for the seeming vividness of this Now in this Time outside of Him which we have chosen, well, whatever potency, whatever vividness, whatever raw dying and resurrecting of all things human, all things loving, of all things felt in pain, in loss, in death, in life, in joy to the Nth degree, whatever it is here that we taste will be far, far surpassed there inside God. There is nothing which the Outside has to offer either in degree or in magnitude or in vividness or in rawness of perception which will, once we are Inside, not by sheer distance which we will there perceive…….. well, all of that will “out-raw-ness” all that this puny, pathetic and loveless Outside has ever offered us or ever could offer to us. There is only One God and all our idols which we think can offer us more than being in Him can offer us from Eden to Revelations must, eventually, be brought to the table and asked: Okay, what can you, the Outside-Of-God, offer us that cannot be found within the Everlasting and Unchanging God? And once the Outside-Of-God answers, our reply will be simply, “Yes, that is a nice start. Only, God has that and more within Him. Evil’s privation can be but an idol at the end of all these regresses for God and God alone can say of Himself, “There is no Me-And”.


It never could have been otherwise.


This is why we say, Choose God. Choose Love. Such is His Will for you in all possible worlds. And He spreads His arms wide, and He pours Himself out, for you, His beloved.

Brad B,


Those are a few descriptions of how many, many Christians view these arenas. Obviously we disagree, but differences need to be drawn out a bit for clarity or assumptions perhaps (on my end, not yours).


I disagree (obviously) with your statistical assertion that the vast majority of Christians think God wills for Christians to sin (in any nuance of wording at all and in any time at all), for using is not willing, as we saw earlier, or that Eden could not have been otherwise. Actualization and Time and Power's Willed Triune Geography cannot be ignored. Nor can what many seem to think Man’s Fall can offer man, as if Love's Eternally Sacrificed Self is contingent on our choice there in Eden for actualization within Time.


Change is inevitable for In-Sufficiency. There are no doors in Eden whereby Man evades Love's Eternally Sacrificed Self, Love’s Eternally Resurrecting Self there inside the Triune Dying God, and there is no door in Eden whereby Man evades the knowledge of Good and Evil, and to the full, as we saw earlier.


Nothing is contingent on us. Man does not “have to choose to fall’ in order for God’s Means and God’s Ends to be actualized. Volitional culpability and Power’s Willed Triune Image in Man’s Actuality among such volitional motions need never be sacrificed and in fact ought never be sacrificed. The reason is because nothing is contingent upon us. God gets what He wills to the Nth degree, and, so do we. Motions into / out-of the Triune’s Distinct-s amid Self and Other and Unity cannot be otherwise. In-Sufficiency’s necessary feebleness in the Self’s isolation (which is a motion of idolatry) cannot be locked out of reach because Love’s Triune Image is Willed by God, and that motion, necessarily available, is not necessarily Man’s Door into fate. Actualized is not ipso facto Willed. Change is inevitable for In-Sufficiency. There are no doors in Eden whereby Man evades Love's Eternally Sacrificed Self or the knowledge of Good and Evil, and to the full. No idol (God-Less-Some-Thing) can offer man what man can find in God.

I’ll leave this off and give you the last word unless perhaps some vector which we ought to dive into pops up. I’ll forego any proof-text moves. I’m on solid enough ground and any dents in the armor are smaller than the dents I must withstand should I move to another view. I move to incorporate as many verses into one system at all times and this is where such a practice has led me, with the fewest conflicts, as I read scripture. And I know we disagree, but, poor you, I stand by my statement that you are stuck with me scanning this blog for posts from you as I find them, every single one of them, even here, to be a great help to me and always worth the time, and time is, in my current world, quite precious.

The Goat Head again speaks from his cheap seat:

scbrownlhrm: Again, I have absolutely no idea what you are saying.

Brad B.: If God is actually as your comment, drawing from Calvinistic Theology, describes, then, I would believe in Him, but would not worship Him, because He would be evil. I wouldn't worship an evil God, regardless of His power. Of course, in your theological world, I wouldn't really have a choice.

Thanks be to God there are viable alternatives to your way of thought. I'm not, of course, accusing you of saying God is evil. That is just the logical outcome of what you have written.

And back to the OP. It all hinges on how you define God's "sovereignty". J Warner didn't, really, define what he meant by "God is sovereign".

Goat Head 5

The comments to this entry are closed.