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June 02, 2016

Comments

Some might ask; if Jesus paid for all the sins of every person, is God Just if he does not save all?

What basis do you have for claiming that it is moral to punish a substitute at all? Even given your own example - I doubt you would call it justice if we allowed a substitute to take the place of a prisoner on death row. How would killing the murderer's innocent friend make things right? It seems like it would make things much worse.

Andy,

Societies throughout history have recognized the propriety of a scapegoat or kinsman redeemer type figure. That's the moral intuition of most cultures throughout human history. So the question would be what is the justification for your claim that there there can be no substitute? Our own soceity recognizes this in at least two different ways. (1) Debts can be paid off by parties other than the ones who originally owed the debt. Does your objection mean bank loans can't be paid off by anyone other than the party originally lended to? (2) We generally recognize that a person who is owed a debt or is wronged is at liberty to forgive the debt or wrong. The victim of a crime can refuse to press charges. In Christian theology, God is the primary party wronged through sin. So it's not very analogous to killing the murderer's innocent friend. It's analogous to killing a man and that that you killed man forgiving you in the next life and even volunteering to take on the punishment you deserve.

I doubt you would call it justice if we allowed a substitute to take the place of a prisoner on death row.

Our moral intuitions could go either way here depending on other factors. For instance, suppose we have a person, Jean Valjean, who is in prison for murder and his father convinces the judge to let him take the place of Jean Valjean in prison. As a result of this act of love by his father Jean Valjean is forever changed and lives the rest of his life as an upright citizen contributing to society and adopting an orphan. Would you be like Javert who hunts him down mercilessly? Even if *you* would, most people's moral intuitions would not go in that direction.

On the other hand, if Jean Valjean is ungrateful for the sacrifice of his father and continues his life of murderous activity then I don't think anyone would disagree that he should be in prison (and should have stayed there) instead of his father. In this instance, nearly everyone would be like Javert.

The message is of the gospel is that we are made a new creation by the sacrifice of Christ. So it's more like the first scenario than the second.

Andy-

I've posted something like this before, I don't recall whether I was responding to you or not...but here goes.

When understanding punishment, it is important to distinguish two kinds of justice: distributive justice and retributive justice. The prior notion is distributive justice. That's when each person gets the good to which he is entitled.

Punishment falls under retributive justice. The point of retributive justice is to restore things to a distributively just state.

Right there you can see that retributive human justice almost always falls well short of perfection. That is because what is done to put things into a distributively unjust state is so often an irreversible harm.

If you kill me, executing you makes some sense. Though it doesn't put my life back on one side of the scales of justice, it at least takes your life off of the other side to restore some semblance of the prior balance.

But it is an imperfect solution at best, since it doesn't give me my life back.

Executing some third person in your place makes no sense at all, since it neither restores my life, nor deprives you of yours.

About the only form of perfect justice in the human realm is a timely fine to compensate for a purely monetary loss. If I cut down my tree and it falls on your car, destroying it, but I promptly pay to have your car replaced, then nearly perfect retributive justice has occurred.

Notice that in this case the idea that someone might pay another person's penalty is fully comprehensible. If I can't pay for your car, but some third person freely pays the price for me justice is satisfied in every way.

It seems that when a substitute can pay a penalty that fully restores of the prior state of distributive justice, then the idea of substitutionary atonement makes sense. It, by the way, seems to be the only form of perfect retributive justice available when the criminal is unable to penalty that would restore perfect distributive justice.

The question then is whether the cross is such a payment.

Well, as I argued in the other thread, it was the cross that enabled God, that is to say Christ, to heal every evil. Because through the cross, God comes to know exactly what it is like to suffer every evil. Coupled with God's Omnipotence, God is thereby able to perfectly restore distributive justice. This is what accepting Christ is. It is the acceptance of Christ's healing for all the evils you have ever suffered and the admission that Christ had to suffer to heal all the evils that you ever committed.

Notice also that by the prior analysis, it is through God's vehicle of mercy, Christ crucified, that perfect retributive justice is done...that distributive justice is perfectly restored.

Thus, in Christ, perfect justice, so far from being in tension with perfect mercy, seems instead to require them.

"Thus, in Christ, perfect justice, so far from being in tension with perfect mercy, seems instead to require them it."

Dave, that question is for an arminian. Answering it leads you to universalism or reformed theology. I hope it will be towards the latter 😉

I'm no Arminian, and no Universalist, but God can only be Omniscient if all evils were laid on Him. Otherwise, God does not know something, in particular, what it is like to suffer the evil that was not laid on Him.

Limited atonement is unbiblical anyway.

  1. There are many passages that say Christ died for all.
  2. There is no passage that says Christ died only for the elect.
  3. There is no passage that says Christ did not die for the reprobate.
  4. There are passages that say that Christ did die for the reprobate.

WisdomLover,

God can only be Omniscient if all evils were laid on Him

I don't want to go too far afield in this combox, but I don't see how to make sense of this statement. In what sense were all evils "laid" on Christ that preserves omniscience?

Dear Wisdomlover:

1 - Examples, please
2 - John 10? Romans 8? Isaiah 53?
3 - Not a happy exegetical principle, i.e. "There is no passage that says that there is no purgatory"
4 - See (1)

Remember that is not "limited atonement vs. unlimited attnement" Both views are limited, one in scope, the other in power. That's why Wayne Grudem calls it "Particular redemption".

By the way, you're not Arminian nor Reformed ¿Which term synthetizes your soteriology?

Regards

"I don't see how to make sense of this statement."

Again, God does not know exactly what it was like to suffer an evil unless He experiences that very evil right along with the putative victim.

If you will, God is in perfect sympathy with all of His creatures. Without that sympathy, there is no Omniscience.

It seems that the Bible tells us that the Crucifixion the event in which the iniquity of us all was in fact laid upon the Lamb of God.

Of course, God would never be non-omniscient...He is essentially Omniscient. So it is probably too much to say that without the Crucifixion in particular God would not be Omniscient. But perhaps we can say "if not the Crucifixion, then in some other act, God would lay all evils upon Himself in the Person of Christ."

  1. Seriously? Let's just start with John 3:16.

  2. John 10 says that Jesus lays down His life for His sheep. It does not say that He does not lay down His life for the goats.

    Calvinists use this argument all the time: "Some X's are Y; therefore, Some X's are not-Y". Never mind that the argument is an elementary logical fallacy.

    The same goes for the other passages.

  3. The point here has nothing to do with exegesis.

    Question: If there were a passage that said that there were no purgatory, would that be relevant, do you think, to a debate about purgatory? Or would we reject it because we'd somehow be employing an unhappy exegetical principle?

    If you had a passage that said "Christ did not die for the reprobate" that would be awesome for you. That would be biblical support for the Calvinist view. At least, that's what I think. Maybe you'd ignore it because bad exegesis. Unfortunately, you don't have any such passage, so maybe we'll never know what you would do.

    I do know that that form of Biblical support does not exist.

  4. 2 Peter 2:1 - But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves.

    Heretics are, I think, reprobate...especially heretics who are swiftly destroyed before they have a chance to repent. Yet their Sovereign Lord bought them.

Did Jesus die for the pharisees who opposed him?

Jesus says, as the good shepherd he gives his life for the sheep.

“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

He tells the Pharisees the reason they do not believe is because they are not his sheep.

“But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.” (John 10:26)

This can also mean he does not give his life for these.

WisdomLover,

By this logic, omniscience seems impossible since God doesn't know, experientially, what it's like to be me right now wearing shorts, a sports shirt, and typing on a macbook pro. So according to your theory God doesn't have omniscience unless God knows what it's like to be a rape victim... But God also doesn't have omniscience, by that logic, unless he knows what it's like to be a rapist?

You say "God would never be non-omniscient" yet apparently prior to the crucifixion God was lacking omniscience.

Seems to me that your line of reasoning is deeply confused about what's necessary for omniscience.

Of course there are biblical, exegetical responses to your appeal to texts of Scripture too. For instance, surely you're aware that no Calvinist will be impressed with a simple appeal to John 3:16 and 2 Peter 2:1 has been addressed multiple times as well. For instance, Shedd (following Charnock) states, "The exercise of this patience [with the lost] is founded in the death of Christ. [...] In regard to these fruits of this patience Christ is said to buy the wickedest apostates: ‘Denying the Lord that bought them’ (1 Pet. 2:1). Such were bought by him as ‘bring upon themselves just destruction, and whose damnation slumbers not’ (2:3); he purchased the continuance of their lives and the stay of their execution that offers of grace might be made to them.

" - (Dogmatic theology. (A. W. Gomes, Ed.) 3rd ed., p. 310. Others have given more indepth analysis (e.g., http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php/2012/12/28/2-peter-21-and-universal-redemption-by-simon-escobedo-iii-vintage/).

My purpose isn't to get into a text-for-text dispute here, but only to point to the fact that your (1-4) points have already been addressed (which you're probably already aware of, but others here might not be).

"This can also mean he does not give his life for these."

No it cannot.

"These things are X" implies neither "Only these things are X" not "Those things are not-X"

"These things are X" implies neither "Only these things are X" not nor "Those things are not-X"

By this logic, omniscience seems impossible since God doesn't know, experientially, what it's like to be me right now wearing shorts, a sports shirt, and typing on a macbook pro.
Who says?

Of Course He knows this.

apparently prior to the crucifixion God was lacking omniscience.
All times are present to God. There is no "prior".
surely you're aware that no Calvinist will be impressed with a simple appeal
I didn't expect that "all" would mean "all" to a Calvinist, that "world" would mean "world" that "bought" would mean "bought"

Appealing to the fact that these verses have been finagled does not impress.

"In regard to these fruits of this patience Christ is said to buy the wickedest apostates"

Except the passage doesn't indicate much patience on God's part. They're apparently up for swift destruction.

Christ bought them in the same way he's said to buy people everywhere else in Scripture...with His precious blood.

"he purchased the continuance of their lives and the stay of their execution that offers of grace might be made to them"

Offers of Grace that He cannot make good if He did not die for them.

@ WL;

>>"Christ bought them in the same way he's said to buy people everywhere else in Scripture...with His precious blood."

Notice the non-redemptive use of bought in this text.

“Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? Is not he thy father that hath bought thee? Hath he not made thee, and established thee?” (Deuteronomy 32:6)

Of course "bought" is redemptive, since the addressees are beneficiaries of the Exodus.

But my claim was that when Scripture says that Christ buys people, it's with His precious blood. And I stand by that for the present...of course, I'm willing to be corrected by Scripture and plain reason.

I was not claiming that all purchases in Scripture involve Christ's blood or even that all purchases characterized generically as God's or Yahweh's involve Christ's blood.

WL,

Who says? Of Course He knows this.

If God can know what it's like to be me wearing shorts, a sport shirt, and typing on a macbook pro without needing to actually do these things then why can't God can know what it's like to experience all suffering without having to take on the sins of each individual in the world?

All times are present to God. There is no "prior".

I tend to agree with WLC that God without time with the creation in time is incoherent. I don't see that it's coherent to say that God is eternally incarnate or eternally on the cross. So after the moment of creation there is a time that, according to your model, God doesn't have omniscience.

I didn't expect that "all" would mean "all" to a Calvinist, that "world" would mean "world" that "bought" would mean "bought"

You also should know that there are *lots* of verses that use quantifiers like "all" and "world" that no non-Calvinist thinks means "all" and "world"... (Mt. 10:22; Lk 3:6; Jn 16:13; Lk 2:1; Jn 12:19; Rom 1:8) I would have assumed you were already aware of this, but maybe not. As for "bought" that's disingenuous of you because neither resource I appealed to says that bought doesn't mean bought.

Appealing to the fact that these verses have been finagled does not impress.

Nor does your assertion that Jesus needed to take on all the sins of each individual in order to be omniscient. Nor do your simplistic appeals to proof texts like John 3:16 that you know Calvinists have already addressed. This is turning out to be a very unimpressive dialogue I guess.

Except the passage doesn't indicate much patience on God's part. They're apparently up for swift destruction.

That's also not an impressive remark, since that God will bring swift destruction upon a person at point B does not entail no patience was shown prior to that point.

Christ bought them in the same way he's said to buy people everywhere else in Scripture...with His precious blood.

Which is non-responsive to Shedd's point that the same blood didn't purchase the same thing.

Offers of Grace that He cannot make good if He did not die for them.

This has also been done to death... I'll just leave this here for those interested:

https://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome-psyapi2&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8&q=site%3Atriablogue.blogspot.com%20sincere%20offer&oq=site%3Atriablogue.blogspot.com%20sincere%20offer&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i58.11774j0j4

why can't God can know what it's like to experience all suffering without having to take on the sins of each individual in the world
His experience of all evils is what taking on the sins of the world is.
So after the moment of creation there is a time that, according to your model, God doesn't have omniscience.
No. That's not my model. According to my model, there is no after. Whatever WLC may say, I agree with Boethius.
Mt. 10:22
In that passage, Jesus says His disciples will be hated by everyone because of Him. There's an obvious exception there. Did He mean to say that the disciples would be hated by HIM. Did He mean His disciples would hate themselves because of Him.

John 3:16 (and a host of other passages) has no such obvious exception.

Luke 3:6
When every valley is filled, and every mountain and hill is made low, ALL flesh WILL see the salvation of God.

ALL flesh means ALL flesh.

John 16:13
Is preceded by this: I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

This places obvious scope on the "all truth" remark in the subsequent verse.

There is no such scope limiter in John 3:16 or its neighbors.

Luke 2:1
Caesar's decree went out to the entire Roman Empire. The term oikouménē means "the inhabited world", or probably better, "the civilized world". Everyone outside of the Greco-Roman circle were barbarians. In this case, the scope seems to be limited, by the Greek word "oikouménē", to the Greco-Roman world, i.e. the Roman Empire...which just so happens to be the limit of Caesar's influence.

John 3:16 has no such limitation in scope...God gave His son for the whole world.

John 12:19
The fact that the Pharisees exaggerated is not relevant.

Jesus' words to Nicodemus on the other hand, very much so.

But anyway, what's the argument here? Jesus was exaggerating?

Romans 1:8
An ongoing process of proclaiming the the faith of the Roman church in the whole world is underway.

Yes. That's true. We're part of that process.

Again, ALL the world here, means ALL the world.

BTW - In all of this I am NOT saying that "ALL" must always mean "ALL" even where no exaggeration, scope limitation or exception is present.

Maybe there is such a passage. None of those above is one.

But you see, John 3:16 is not alone. God had a lot of opportunities to put a scope limitation in, to specify the exception to the atonement, to rule out His dying for the reprobate.

But He just never did that.

As for "bought" that's disingenuous of you because neither resource I appealed to says that bought doesn't mean bought.
Of course they do. When Christ buys you, it's with His saving blood. That's what it means everywhere else. The resources you specified say Christ's purchase of you amounts to God's patiently waiting to smite you for Christ's sake.
Nor does your assertion that Jesus needed to take on all the sins of each individual in order to be omniscient.
If you can tell me how an individual can know what an experience is like without having that experience, have at it.

It sounds like an effort to draw a round square to me though.

Nor do your simplistic appeals to proof texts like John 3:16 that you know Calvinists have already addressed.
What surprises me MFGA, is that you don't seem to be willing to acknowledge that the passages for Universal Atonement are substantial, and that the Calvinist responses are weak at best and hopelessly contrived at worst.

Every approach to Scripture has its problems, some more than others, but if you can't admit that this is one of Calvinism's big problems, I'm not sure what to say.

God will bring swift destruction upon a person at point B does not entail no patience was shown prior to that point.
So God wanted to smite the heretic for a long time, but because of Christ's death, He waited until the heretic actually started with the heresy, then He lowered the boom pretty quick.

That's what the passage means?

BTW, this whole patience in smiting the reprobate riff sounds a bit more like Christ rented the heretic with His blood.

Shedd's point that the same blood didn't purchase the same thing
Yes it did. It purchased a sinner.
This has also been done to death
Well...I guess there's been a lot of ink spilled.

But many specious arguments repeated many times do not a doing-to-death make.

God will not save someone Christ didn't die for.

To offer salvation to such a person is a lie.

@ WL, >>"Of course "bought" is redemptive, since the addressees are beneficiaries of the Exodus."

“Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? Is not he thy father that hath bought thee? Hath he not made thee, and established thee?” (Deuteronomy 32:6)

The word "Bought" does not have any Atonement connected to it. It means to "acquire".

I. קָנָה S7069, 7071 TWOT2039 GK7864, 7865, 786784 vb. get, acquire (NH = BH; Ph. (Pun.) מקנא, property [in cattle]; Assyrian ḳanû, gain, acquire, MeissnSuppl. 85; Arabic قَنَا (qanā) (و, ى (w, y)) acquire, procure; Sab. קני acquire, possess, CIS iv, no. 89, 5, 6, קני n. property id. ib. no. 3, 8, 29, 3; Ethiopic ቀነየ: (qanaya) acquire, subjugate;

Brown, F., Driver, S. R., & Briggs, C. A. (1977). Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (p. 888). Oxford: Clarendon Press.

And then the rest of my comment, Dave.

But my claim was that when Scripture says that Christ buys people, it's with His precious blood. And I stand by that for the present...of course, I'm willing to be corrected by Scripture and plain reason.

I was not claiming that all purchases in Scripture involve Christ's blood or even that all purchases characterized generically as God's or Yahweh's involve Christ's blood.

And I never said that "bought" was connected to atonement, I did say that it had redemptive meaning (which you had denied).

BTW, you know that "redeem" mans to "buy back".

So there's never going to be a lot of daylight between "bought" and redemptive language.

His experience of all evils is what taking on the sins of the world is.

You’re begging the question. Or simply asserting your belief is true by definition.

You need to give me some argument for why Jesus must actually pay for the sins of each individual in order to be omniscient. (Unless of course you’re content to leave it as a blank assertion). And you ignored the rest of my comment: if Jesus needs to become incarnate and pay for the sins of each individual in order to be omniscient, then what special act does Jesus do during his incarnation in order to know what it’s like to be me wearing shorts and a sports shirt and typing on a MacBook Pro?

If God didn’t need to become incarnate and perform some act (what it could be is rather baffling) in order to know what it’s like to be me wearing shorts, a sports shirt, and typing on a MacBook Pro, then why should anyone buy your claim that God needs to become incarnate and pay for each and every sin in order to be omniscient?

Furthermore, you seem to be positing some really bizarre theory of the atonement where Jesus actually becomes a rapist, a murderer, etc. That raises all sorts of other logical paradoxes (to put it charitably) as to how God can actually become a sinner and yet still be essentially holy.

No. That's not my model. According to my model, there is no after. Whatever WLC may say, I agree with Boethius.

As I said, that view is incoherent and it doesn’t even align with the language of Scripture. Not only does Scripture not portray Jesus as eternally hanging on the cross, it explicitly affirms that it is a finite, past event that is finished. So now your view is running into some of the problems you were trying to pin on the limited atonement theory.

Regarding the Bible passages I listed wherein non-Calvinists are forced to say that all does not mean all and world does not mean world, you’ve pretty much conceded my point. In some cases you try to find an exception hinted at in the text itself (Jn 16:13). In other cases you’ve tried to use reason to say that we can rationally infer an exception (e.g., Mt. 10:22). In other cases you’ve tried to argue that the term itself is limited (e.g., Lk 2:1 – but of course we can find other verses that get around that escape route: Col 1:6). Eitherway, you’re conceding that “all” doesn’t necessarily mean “all” and “world” doesn’t necessarily mean “world” when you have reason to think otherwise. But this is exactly the same line of reasoning the Calvinist takes. In some cases they argue that “all” or “world” is limited by proper exegesis of the text. In other cases they may say that “all” or “world” is limited by rationally making sense of what is being said (as you tried to do in Mt. 10:22).

Now you may disagree with the conclusions the Calvinists draws in some “all” or “world” texts, but it’s silly for you to try and resort to the incredulous mantra of “all doesn’t mean all to the Calvinist!” You should know better. (Some of your attempts to explain the quantifiers clearly don’t work with the text (Rom. 1:8, for instance), but I’ll ignore that since it doesn’t really affect the main point I had.)

Of course they do. When Christ buys you, it's with His saving blood. That's what it means everywhere else. The resources you specified say Christ's purchase of you amounts to God's patiently waiting to smite you for Christ's sake.

Which again begs the question by simply assuming that anything bought by the blood of Christ is soteriologically bought.

If you can tell me how an individual can know what an experience is like without having that experience, have at it. It sounds like an effort to draw a round square to me though.

And you’re the one with the pencil in his hand trying to sketch the round square. When did Jesus put on my shorts and shirt and use my computer… while me?

What surprises me MFGA, is that you don't seem to be willing to acknowledge that the passages for Universal Atonement are substantial, and that the Calvinist responses are weak at best and hopelessly contrived at worst.

And when I read your comment I was surprised that you actually though your reasons 1-3 were strong… They look very weak to me. In fact that’s why I didn’t bother to address them in my original response to you.

Every approach to Scripture has its problems, some more than others, but if you can't admit that this is one of Calvinism's big problems, I'm not sure what to say.

I agree that every theology has puzzles to some degree. And I think 1 Peter is the strongest verse against limited atonement one could muster. The other reasons you laid out seem like weak objections to me, so no I don’t admit those as problems. But concerning 1 Peter there are possible and plausible approaches to the passage such that it’s not a silver bullet to topple limited atonement, in my view.

So God wanted to smite the heretic for a long time, but because of Christ's death, He waited until the heretic actually started with the heresy, then He lowered the boom pretty quick. That's what the passage means?

We can infer things from a passage of scripture (or any bit of communication) that are not themselves the point the author or communicator is getting at. I don’t think 1 Peter is *about* just what you’ve said there. It’s about how the particular church Peter is writing to should be on aware of false teachers and that God will soon judge them. We can infer things from that which were not Peter’s point (e.g., that we should be aware of false teachers today too, that God will eventually judge false teachers today too, etc.). While Peter makes this point he mentions that the master (most likely Jesus) bought them. What “bought them” means, according to Shedd and some others, is that Jesus “bought them” from the immediate outpouring of God’s wrath.

BTW, this whole patience in smiting the reprobate riff sounds a bit more like Christ rented the heretic with His blood.

That’s just rhetorical framing. It’s perfectly coherent that God “buy” for sinners something other than an eternal salvation. In fact many Arminians think God *only* bought a conditional eternal salvation. I could rhetorically frame that as God not making the purchase, but just test driving the goods.

Almost forgot,

Well...I guess there's been a lot of ink spilled. But many specious arguments repeated many times do not a doing-to-death make.

God will not save someone Christ didn't die for.

To offer salvation to such a person is a lie.

If assertions counted as arguments that would be worth responding to...

@WL; >>But my claim was that when Scripture says that Christ buys people, it's with His precious blood."

God = Christ. Normally passages referring to Atonement mention it as the price paid. But it requires "reading in" where it does not. The Hebrew and Greek words are also used in non-redemptive ways.

But the really big issue is; if Christ died for all and all are not saved - Salvation is only for the *Self-Righteous*. We know this is ridiculous but nonetheless, this is where it ends up.

Guys, I wasn't trying to start a soteriological war. I was trying to say that personally I find Calvinism more appropriate to address the problem of evil and its ramifications, and face a militant atheism like the one we see around us. They usually ask "If Jesus loves me, why would he send me to hell?". See point 12 in https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/where-did-all-these-calvinists-come-from.

Blessings to you all.

In this remark, I'm confining myself to the Omniscience thread. The Limited Atonement thread I will deal with in a separate remark.

We begin with this:

You’re begging the question

No. I'm clarifying a confusion.

What exactly do you take it to be that the evils of the world were 'laid on Jesus'?

If it isn't that He suffered them all then what?

You need to give me some argument for why Jesus must actually pay for the sins of each individual in order to be omniscient.
Again, unless you have an experience, you cannot know what it is like. In order for an entity to be omniscient it must know everything. That includes knowing what every experience is like. And that includes knowing what it is like to suffer every evil.

Or, if you'd like:

  1. In order for a being to be Omniscient, it must have all knowledge. (by definition)
  2. Knowing what it is like to experience an evil is knowledge. (because knowledge is knowledge)
    Therefore,
  3. In order for a being to be Omniscient, it must know what it is like to experience every evil. (by 1,2)
  4. It is impossible to know what it is like to experience a thing without actually experiencing it. (premise)
    Therefore,
  5. In order for a being to be Omniscient, it must experience every evil.(by 3,4)
  6. A sin is laid upon an individual just in case the experience of all the evil that led up to and followed from it is experienced by that individual. (premise)
    Therefore,
  7. In order for a being to be Omniscient, all sins must be laid upon it.(by 5,6)
This is what's known as an argument.

You can tell that it isn't question begging because its conclusion is not stated anywhere in the premises in a direct or a roundabout way.

Its conclusion is, of course, contained in its premises...that's what gives it the virtue known to logicians as validity.

Like every argument, it has premises. In this case, 1, 2, 4 and 6. Perhaps you disagree with one or more.

Though honestly, I don't know where you get started wrt 1, 2 or 4. I guess on #1 and #2 (or on the inference that leads from there to #3), some people might try to say God has only propositional knowledge, as if one could know what a proposition about an experience means without knowing what the experience is like.

On #4, I really don't know what to say. If you can think of how to know what an experience is like without having that experience, I'd love to hear how it's done.

So I really think we come to #6. What it means for a sin to be laid on an individual.

I've given what I take it to mean.

What are alternatives that avoid the conclusion?

A very thin meaning, of course, is that an individual could be framed for a sin he did not commit.

Certainly there is a formal forensic meaning to the idea of Christ's taking on our sin. Somehow God made it possible to formally declare Christ guilty and me innocent (or at least off-the-hook). If we limit ourselves to this, it almost does look like God framed up Christ to be our patsy.

Needless to say, I do not think we can limit ourselves to the purely forensic meaning. It's not that I deny that we are declared not guilty, it's just that there's got to be more.

I think that we also have to say that Christ suffered for our sins. It's not just that He suffered by being whipped, pierced and so on because of our sins, but that the sins themselves made Him suffer.

And now we are at #6.

If God didn’t need to become incarnate and perform some act...in order to know what it’s like to be me wearing shorts...then why should anyone buy your claim that God needs to become incarnate and pay for each and every sin in order to be omniscient
Well, MFGA, you're the Calvinist here. I thought you believed in total depravity. What aspect of your wearing shorts and whatever is not infected with sin? Why would Christ need a separate act to know about your sin-infected shorts-wearing experiences?

But even if we bracket that, notice that the argument above did not say one word about the Incarnation.

The Incarnation, culminating in the Crucifixion, was how God freely chose to gain knowledge of evil. God is essentially omniscient, so given evil He must lay it upon Himself in some way. It does not follow from this that the way He chose to do so is the way He had to do it.

If you want to know why He did it that way instead of some other, I mostly can't help you. You'll have to take that up with Him. But I would guess it was for our sake that He did it that way, and not in some hidden way that we cannot see. If there is some necessity for the particular means He chose to take on the sins of the world, it probably comes down to that...it's what WE needed.

Insofar as your shorts-wearing activities are not part of the knowledge He took upon Himself through the cross, He, no doubt, did something else to gain that knowledge. He might not make a special effort to reveal that means to you, and if I were you, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting to hear. I would guess that you don't really have a dying need to know (like you do in the case of Sin).

Note...I am NOT saying here that we have a dying need to know how God gained knowledge of sin. We do have a dying need to know that God took our sin upon Himself in the Person of Christ.

That, in fact, is His gaining knowledge of Sin.

Furthermore, you seem to be positing some really bizarre theory of the atonement where Jesus actually becomes a rapist, a murderer, etc.
No, I am positing the bizarre view that God knows exactly what the rapist did down to the last detail.

This includes all the profane feelings that motivated it. All the urges. All the evils that the rapist himself suffered to arrive at his ruinous state.

The Atonement was not some sanitary act you know. It was an awful, dirty, hideous thing. Horrendous beyond any imagination except God's. The Agony of the Cross only gives us a glimpse of it.

Sympathy is a terrible thing. Christ has perfect sympathy for all human beings. Rapist and rape victim alike.

His knowledge requires that, as does His ability to forgive and heal those harms.

As I said, that view is incoherent
Speaking of needing arguments. I like William Lane Craig as much as the next guy. But the timelessness of God is not overthrown as incoherent solely by his decree. The claim of the incoherency of the view also requires argument.
Not only does Scripture not portray Jesus as eternally hanging on the cross, it explicitly affirms that it is a finite, past event that is finished.
Well, of course it is a finite past event. Whereby the eternal Omniscience of God is established. You might also want to look into the Lamb crucified before the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:8).

And since the world includes time, it was accomplished before the foundation of time.

You know, it is enough that Scripture portrays God as eternal. If He is eternal then everything about Him is eternal.

For now I'll respond to this:

No. I'm clarifying a confusion. What exactly do you take it to be that the evils of the world were 'laid on Jesus'? If it isn't that He suffered them all then what?

It was that he suffered the punishment that was owed to evil.

Again, unless you have an experience, you cannot know what it is like.

I see no reason to think this is true. Either God knows what it is like to be a bat without having the experience of actually being a bat or else God at sometime became bat-incarnate or else God doesn't know what it's like to be a bat. If the first scenario is true, that God knows what it is like to be a bat without having the experience of actually being a bat, then there is no reason to think God needs to actually experience what it's like to be the sinner of each individual in the world in order to know what it's like to be each individual sinner.

In order for a being to be Omniscient, it must have all knowledge. (by definition) Knowing what it is like to experience an evil is knowledge. (because knowledge is knowledge) Therefore, In order for a being to be Omniscient, it must know what it is like to experience every evil. (by 1,2) It is impossible to know what it is like to experience a thing without actually experiencing it. (premise) Therefore, In order for a being to be Omniscient, it must experience every evil.(by 3,4) A sin is laid upon an individual just in case the experience of all the evil that led up to and followed from it is experienced by that individual. (premise) Therefore, In order for a being to be Omniscient, all sins must be laid upon it.(by 5,6)


1. In order for a being to be Omniscient, it must have all knowledge. (by definition)
2. Knowing what it is like to experience being a bat is knowledge. (because knowledge is knowledge)
Therefore,
3. In order for a being to be Omniscient, it must know what it is like to experience being a bat. (by 1,2)
4. It is impossible to know what it is like to experience a thing without actually experiencing it. (premise)
Therefore,
5. In order for a being to be Omniscient, it must experience being a bat.(by 3,4)
6. Being a bat is laid upon an individual just in case the experience of being a bat is experienced by that individual. (premise)
Therefore,
7. In order for a being to be Omniscient, being a bat must be laid upon it.(by 5,6)

Now you can say that God has the experience of being a bat "laid upon him" without him becoming bat-incarnate and taking on the form of a bat. But if God doesn't need to actually become a bat to have the experience of being a bat then God doesn't need to actually take on our suffering in order to experience our suffering.

You've tried to get around my being me in a shirt and shorts typing on a MacBook Pro argument (from now on I'll call this the Me+ argument for short) by saying that my experience of Me+ involves being a sinner and since God took on all sin on the cross this is when God took on Me+. You say I should know this, since I'm a Calvinist who believes in total depravity. But you should know that total depravity doesn't there is no good aspect to our natures or experiences. So there are aspects of Me+ that are not captured by the sin of total depravity. So my question still stands: When did God take on Me+, or those aspects that are still good and did not need to be part of Jesus' passion. Of course the simpler thing is just to avoid this whole aspect of the debate, which is why I've introduced the being a bat scenario. It side-steps your "Jesus' passions because total depravity" answer while raising the same problem.

Even if it is the case that God needs to experience what it is like to suffer and be a sinner in order to be omniscient, it doesn't logically follow that God must do this through the incarnation and passion of Christ. It also doesn't logically follow that for God to experience the suffering and sins of all men he needed to *redemptively pay for the sins of all men*. So you still need to add a lot more to your argument in order to arrive at your conclusion that universal atonement is necessary for omniscience.

(The reason that I raise the issue of the incarnation is because the passion of Christ couldn't have taken place without it. He needed to become incarnate as a human being to serve as the federal head of human beings.)

@ Mariano - Uruguay; >>"I find Calvinism more appropriate to address the problem of evil and its ramifications, and face a militant atheism like the one we see around us."

I think Militant Atheism is a good thing for the church. Just as the tensions of the Reformation produced a closer fit to the Bible on the Protestants, the atheists do the same. They are all the smarter about the inconsistencies held by many Christians, and Calvinism (sin and Grace) is the only line of defense.

One recently picking apart the inconsistencies of "Free Will" said; "if God knows everything, human beings do not have free will. If God does not know everything, he is not God...

I thought this was a very good point.

Regarding the Bible passages I listed wherein non-Calvinists are forced to say that all does not mean all and world does not mean world, you’ve pretty much conceded my point.
No...No I haven't.

So there. ;-)

On Collosians 1:6, you don't believe the Gospel is constantly increasing and bearing fruit in ALL the world? I do.

But as for the finding of exceptions and limitations to a universal claim, of course that's possible. But in every passage you proposed, the limitations were right there in the text sometimes explicitly, sometimes implicitly. Either that, or ALL really turned out to mean ALL.

But I'm willing to grant that maybe somewhere there is a passage where ALL doesn't mean ALL, and the reason for that is not right there in the passage. Maybe.

But the point is that there are A LOT of passages that say Christ died for all or for the whole world. And in NONE of them is there an obvious scope limiter or exception clause. Say what you will, only your Calvinist presupposition gets you that.

I mean really, tell me how the world doesn't mean the world in John 3. What is there in that text or in the surrounding passages to support that contention? There just isn't anything there. Ditto for I Timothy 2, Hebrews 2, 1 John 2 (This is another passage that says Jesus died for the reprobate. John is a general epistle. It is written to the Church at large. The death of Christ is said there to be a propitiation not only of our sins, that is of the sins of those in the Church, but of the whole world, that is of those outside the Church too.) And on and on. In NO CASE, does the passage itself imply a limitation. Calvinism implies a limitation.

And when I read your comment I was surprised that you actually though your reasons 1-3 were strong… They look very weak to me. In fact that’s why I didn’t bother to address them in my original response to you.
So...
  • You don't think there are a lot of passages saying that Christ died for all or for the whole world (not where you can re-interpret them not to mean that, but where on their face, they say that Christ died for all). You know, passages like John 3, I Timothy 2, Hebrews 2, I John 2 and on and on?
  • You think that there really are passages that say Christ died only for the elect...that you can really read that out of the passages without committing an obvious formal fallacy (Like inferring that because the passage says that He died for Larry, it follows that He only died for Larry).
  • And you think that there are passages that actually say that Christ did not die for the reprobate, that you can actually just read that out of the passages without committing an obvious formal fallacy (Like inferring that because the passage says that He died for Larry, it follows that He did not die for Harry).
You think that those three are the stronger views. So strong that disagreement scarcely requires response?

As I said above, I don't know what to say to that.

Your position is, prima facie, obviously the weaker one. I'm not saying that you can't make the case. But that prima facie argument against Limited Atonement rises well above not-worth-the-bother-of-responding-to.

And on item 1, it won't do to say 'but sometimes "ALL" doesn't mean "ALL"'. You have to provide a reason that it doesn't mean ALL in the texts under dispute. Something you haven't even done yet for John 3:16.

And the reason you provide cannot simply be the prior assumption of Limited Atonement.

In fact many Arminians think God *only* bought a conditional eternal salvation. I could rhetorically frame that as God not making the purchase, but just test driving the goods.
Well, I'm not an Arminian. For all I know, you may be right about them. Maybe they really are saying that God is just test driving. I'm not quite sure how to fit that in. It looks more to me like the Arminians are saying that God did really buy the lost, but in their case, He's going to eventually return them and ask for a refund.

My own view is that God did actually buy the lost and owns them for all eternity (along with the elect). The lost choose instead to serve as slaves to their old master (the Devil) and ultimately God doesn't stop them from doing that. The elect wanted to do the same thing, keep serving their old Master. For some reason I won't even try to explain, God DOES stop them.

"he suffered the punishment that was owed to evil."

What is the punishment that is owed to evil? Is it to suffer the same evil oneself?

"I see no reason to think this is true."

Other than the fact that it's self-evident, I can't think of a reason either.

PS. Your ruminations about what it is like to be a bat are not germane. The principle is not that in order to know what it is like to be X, one must become an X". The principle is that in order to know what it is like to have an experience, one must have that experience.

You try to make the move of saying that there's an experience of being a bat.

No. There are the experiences that bats have. There are the experiences that I have and you have.

There's no such thing as the experience of being me or you or the bat apart from the experiences of me or you or the bat. And once you have my experiences or yours or the bats you have everything there is to having the experience of me having my experiences, you having your experiences or the bat having its experiences.

So your parody of my argument fails on the one hand...if you are talking about God having some strange experience of being a bat apart from the experiences that bats have. And on the other hand, it just shows that God also experiences everything that bats experience. A point I do not deny.

Total Depravity is the view t5hat even the good parts are sin-infected. So you're not actually going to wiggle out of it.

But anyway I had a second argument that you completely ignored.

Even if we grant that some things are not known by God through Christ's Passion, It does not follow that God does not know evil through Christ's Passion.

God does not have to reveal everything to you. He might never tell you everything He knows about the lives of angels (except that He has revealed that He knows everything about the lives of angels). He may never reveal to you how He came to know about the lives of angels.

What He has revealed to you is that He bore your sins on the cross. You have not yet given a cogent response to the fact that this implies that he experienced all the evils that come from sin there.

If he experienced other things by other means, cool.

If you want a guess, my guess is that God comes to know and experience most things through the creation of them. Maybe that's true of everything. It could well be that the act of redemption was also an act of creation. These are deep waters.

“ Not only does Scripture not portray Jesus as eternally hanging on the cross, it explicitly affirms that it is a finite, past event that is finished. “

Some musings on time and how I think of God and time (perhaps I’m nuts) but…
Yes, it is finished in our sense/experience of time. But, God is Omnipresent. Now not to go all Eastern Mysticism here (God is NOT everything and He is NOT in everything). But, God is “everywhere”, “always”. We experience time because of distance (even atomic distances). In the large end – a star is far away so it takes time for its light to get here; for us to know about it or experience it. We are confined to experience distance and hence time only within our finite presence. Not so with God. I don’t put Him outside time, but He experiences everything, always. He doesn’t have to “wait” to see that starlight. Before and after apply to us, not God. He is everywhere, always present. It is part of His fullness. God always “is”. He is not “I was” or “I will be”. He is “ I AM”.

It also doesn't logically follow that for God to experience the suffering and sins of all men he needed to *redemptively pay for the sins of all men*
Missed this one.

This argument comes to this: only the suffering of all evils was necessary for Omniscience.

Actually paying for them was not.

Presumably actually paying for them is some separate act from the suffering. An act which itself is only possible for one who has experienced the suffering (because otherwise, how could He have any idea what He is paying for?)

OK. So the contention is that Christ suffered for all the sins, but then, in the end decided not to do the additional thing called "paying" for some of them.

To me this is like saying that I gave the money for the fine, but I didn't actually pay the fine.

My view is that the suffering is payment enough. At that point, once He's plumbed the depth of the evils we have brought about, God can go about the work of forgiving the wrongs and healing the harms.

I will grant, that God doesn't need to forgive all sins in order to be Omniscient...at least that consequence isn't straightforward. Ditto for healing the harms.

Another thought from me, re: “the bat”
Christ doesn’t pay anything for the sins of the bat. And He knows what it is to be a bat – He created them and the bat didn’t change being a bat since they were created. God created us sinless and knows that aspect of our being. But we are sinless no more.
For Christ to pay for the sins of the world, He had to take on the sins of the world. He, 1. paid the debt that was owed for the sins and 2. also suffered the experience of the evil of those sins (this was the agony the separation from God if you will). When we sin, 2 things/effects happen. 1. We owe a debt/punishment to God. 2. We are affected/changed by the action/experience of the sin. Christ on the cross experienced both these things. But it was/is not “new” to Him as per His relationship to time as “I AM”.

(am I out to lunch?)

"I find Calvinism more appropriate to address the problem of evil and its ramifications"

If God suffers all evils, then we can be sure that the amount of evil in the world is the minimum amount possible.

WisdomLover,

Naturally I disagree with most of what you've said and we could continue this tit-for-tat. Your claims about bats and such are like swiss cheese... full of holes you would need to plug. But to keep this as simple and short as possible:

I will grant, that God doesn't need to forgive all sins in order to be Omniscient...at least that consequence isn't straightforward. Ditto for healing the harms.

In other words, it's not the case that omniscience requires universal atonement? If you agree with that then great. The person who believes in limited atonement doesn't have any sort of logical tension with his belief in omniscience.

When you say that in order for God to be omniscient he had to have the sins of the world "laid on him" you just mean that God had to experience it in some way and this way doesn't need to be redemptive. Fine, if that's all you mean. I would point out that it also doesn't need to be via a passion on the cross as the incarnate second person of the Trinity. But that's the less pertinent point.

To clarify:

So the contention is that Christ suffered for all the sins, but then, in the end decided not to do the additional thing called "paying" for some of them.

It's not my contention that Christ suffered for the sins of each individual person. It's only my contention that your argument about Christ needing to suffer for the sins of each individual person is not sufficient to prove that Christ needed to redemptively suffer for the sins of each individual person.

You've given no argument for that. You've also given us no argument that Christ needs to suffer the passion in the way he did in order to have experienced the suffering for each individual person.

To me this is like saying that I gave the money for the fine, but I didn't actually pay the fine.

If you want to hang your hat on this metaphor then you run into all sorts of problems for your view of the atonement. Because according to you God has paid the fine and then demands that many sinners pay the fine again. If you try and get around that in the typical Arminian way of saying that a person has to accept the payment on their behalf, then the fine isn't actually paid upon Christ's passion--so your analogy then falls apart.

Great point Dave, regards

"In other words, it's not the case that omniscience requires universal atonement?"

I'm sorry but you are going to have to argue that universal atonement and universal forgiveness are the same thing.

Or you will have to argue that universal atonement and universal healing are the same thing.

"Your claims about bats and such are like swiss cheese"

Thanks for sharing your feelings on that. But again, you are really going to have to explain what you mean when you talk about the experience of being-X apart from having X's experience.

There is no real distinction there, and so all your battiness just leads to this: God's Omniscience requires that He have all the experiences of bats (and of all other creatures that have experiences).

Which it does.

"It's not my contention that Christ suffered for the sins of each individual person."

Never said it was. Had you thought I lost the thread on your being a Calvinist?

"It's only my contention that your argument about Christ needing to suffer for the sins of each individual person is not sufficient to prove that Christ needed to redemptively suffer for the sins of each individual person."

Right...and that leads to this claim:

Christ suffered for all the sins, but then, in the end decided not to do the additional thing called "paying" for some of them.

Which, as I noted, is like saying that I gave the money to the clerk for the fine, but I didn't actually pay the fine.

WisdomLover,

Sorry, but it looks like you're engaging in sophistry on behalf your pet issue here. You've consistently argued poorly when I know you're capable of better. For instance, claiming that "bought doesn't mean bought" as if that captured the argument of either source I appealed to. Casting my claim that your points 1-3 are weak as if it means that I think there are passage that say Christ died only for the elect, etc. I know you're smarter than these silly mistakes. Now you're trying to argue that drawing a distinction between God experiencing all suffering that people experience is the same as redemptively suffering for the sins that all people commit, when it's obvious this isn't the case. God didn't merely experience the suffering and sins that all people experience in redemption. The very purpose of redemption is to experience suffering so that we don't have to experience that suffering. Thus, God's work of redemption goes beyond what many people will ever experience... Thus, clearly God's work of redemption cannot be collapsed into God's experience of suffering of all people's by his omniscience. (Which again leads to all sorts of absurdities since it makes an essential property of God dependent upon a contingent historical event... unless you adopt the position that all things happen necessarily and eternally, which is an even odder position.

"Because according to you God has paid the fine and then demands that many sinners pay the fine again."

No.

God paid everyone's fine.

Every soul in Hell is paid for. None of them are there because they have to pay again.

BTW, I do think God forgives everyone for whom atonement has been made. Though these are not the same idea.

So every soul in Hell is forgiven.

Every soul in Hell is justified by Christ's finished work.

They would just rather be in Hell than in Heaven, and God lets them be.

Thanks for illustrating how out of touch your views are with biblical theology.

"If you try and get around that in the typical Arminian way of saying that a person has to accept the payment on their behalf, then the fine isn't actually paid upon Christ's passion"

Since I'm not an Arminian, I promise that I won't try to say that.

The fine is actually paid...whether it's accepted or not by the sinner.

Every sinner's fine is fully paid.

This does not, and need not, imply that every sinner is in Heaven.

"Thanks for illustrating how out of touch your views are with biblical theology."

Heh.

The idea that the souls in Hell are their because they hate God is a standard view that's been held almost since the beginning.

It also has some, though not decisive Scriptural support. Unsurprisingly God didn't write a lot about Hell. He wants our minds focused on its alternative.

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