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« No Broadcast Today | Main | Challenge Response: You Can't Trust the Christian Authors of the Gospels »

March 25, 2015


Goat Head 5,

Aside from the case of Jesus, why would you think this?

What about Joseph in Genesis? What about blameless Job? What about…


Actively sustain?

It's not necessary to anything we've touched on regarding gravity and God or volition and God. Compatible lines are happy if you want to drop that sustain-thingy.

A man sins and God uses the varied effects of that act(s) for good. That is a different truth predicate than stating that God forces the man to sin, and, then also uses the effects of that for good. While the former is express in scripture, the later demands a hedge that runs contrary to other lines. It's best not to trade away much in order to retain little. Better to retain much and trade away little. William Lane Craig and others give robust scriptural treatments of Romans 9 and Joseph (and etc.) as very clear, cogent, and scriptural examples of the former. There is no combination or permutation of act/acts which any number of Man/Men can make which can out-step and out-pace God. Not in a million years. How silly to think otherwise. God thus has no need to make men sin - and - scripture has it that He wills otherwise. Hence those two lines are nicely compatible - for that reason and for many, many others. Is there a Possible World in which volitional agents can motion against the express Will, Decree, Power, of God? Yes, of course. Of course, for all the reasons stated earlier, God's absolute ownership of, control of, said World, said Volition, said motions remains necessarily - ceaselessly - intact. The compatibilist is tenacious in holding onto much and trading away little. That's the beauty of compatibilism - one never need bank on "a" verse where these lines are concerned.

"Aside from the case of Jesus, why would you think this?"

Why do I need another case?

You want a case of God willing evil on an innocent victim, and I give you the example of Christ.

Your answer?

"Well, of course, there's Christ, that goes without saying, but apart from Christ..."

It's almost like a line from a Monty Python skit. I could easily see Cleese and Idle free-styling on that one.

Christ is a sufficient counterexample to your theory. I don't need to provide another.

In Trinity God pours out. That He Wills to do thusly in an evil world for that evil world as He in that World pours Himself out in like manner - in love's self sacrifice - is not willing evil.

We make evil of it in killing. He makes life of it in redeeming.

This is the same geography of God using any and all evil acts of men to produce good. To call His giving of Himself the willing of evil is to define necessity by contingency.

Hi Goat Head 5, you are asking of me an opinion into the unsearchable wisdom of God...cant do it. Why does God not intervene? Any answer I could give short of citing scriptural examples would be severely short sighted.

Now, if KWM doesn't mind I want to see why you have reason to think this:

"For us to be able to freely choose our actions, we have to be able to choose contrary to God's preference. For this to happen God has to give up His control over our choices."[bold mine]

Why so? Can you make an argument why you think your conclusion in bold is true?

What do you think Heaven will be like? Under your definition will men be free? It is my understanding there will be no discord between what God wants and man wants...iow, no contrary choices. We know no contrary choices will be possible because the Bible says as much by proclaiming it to be so ahead of time.

"And, yes, this would mean that God is no longer in absolute control of events caused by the free will choices of men. This would seem eveident, considering the amount of evil that occurs daily, things that God specifically says He hates."

So, God cant have a legitimate reason to allow things to happen which He has revealed to us that He hates?

"I would maintain that the ability to freely choose is part of the imago dei."

A point we most likely all agree with on the surface of it...of course the word freely would cause significant division when it gets hashed out. I would suggest that the term "rational, free agent, moral beings" is more precise...God Is such in perfection, man are also, but as to perfection...not so much.

God giving up control of and ownership of any created or contingent X is necessarily impossible, both with and without those lines of sustaining. If X is volition, nothing changes. An (actual) X of (actual) volition is (actually) *possible* such that (actual) moral agency is *actual*. That seems to be the sticking point. Perfect Freedom within the immutable actually finds no moral "culpability" in any real sense. Agency, yes, culpability, no. But that is peculiar to the uncreated. Contingent beings have a different sort of regress, and that does not seem to annihilate the free volition we speak of here in this particular created order. Lucifer seemed to have had the availed Self as an option, there against God's Other. That may or may not matter where Man is concerned as far as our final condition goes. My guess is it won't be an even trade, but I'm all guess work now.

We must be careful to define Necessity by Necessity, rather than defining Necessity by Contingency. The reason that is so crucial is because that is the direction in which living water flows, the direction in which Actuality flows, or moves, or motions, or becomes, or actualizes, or what have you. When Love Wills to pour out there in Trinity - there in any possible world - such is precisely, expressly, necessarily the anti-willed-evil - such is the Willing of all that is Good, Perfect, or what have you. Let the mutable and contingent being rant his evil rant - God laughs a million steps up ahead - and pours Himself out - empties - ceaselessly - and turns such rants to Good.

That is what God does.

That is how God defines reality - because He is reality.

There is no choice, whether into privation or into God, Mankind can make to avoid such lines. Mankind cannot not behold Christ.


Christ is not a sufficient counterexample, for obvious reasons.

Christ suffered through the free will choices of evil men. God allowed it. Jesus chose it for the greater good that the suffering, etc. caused.

This is light years away from God causing evil to an innocent for no reason.

Goat Head 5

Brad B.

I am glad you quickly played the mystery card. Saves a lot of time.

But to answer your questions:
"So, God cant have a legitimate reason to allow things to happen which He has revealed to us that He hates?"

Sure He can. We both agree that everything that happens God allows. But allowing is very different than causing, willing and rendering certain.

"For us to be able to freely choose our actions, we have to be able to choose contrary to God's preference. For this to happen God has to give up His control over our choices."[bold mine]
Why so? Can you make an argument why you think your conclusion in bold is true?

This isn't bold at all. Just common sense. An action cannot be controlled by two agents. One must have the final say. The one with the final say is in control. How could it possibly be otherwise?

Goat Head 5

Goat Head 5,

God allowed it. Jesus chose it

What? Jesus chose it, but God did not? This is a big problem. You seem to believe that God was a mere spectator in Christ’s death.

Under your view, as you’ve stated, God merely allowed Jesus to die. Man lucked out thanks to come incredibly sinful people over 2000 years ago.

This is not true.

Before anything else, like the issues being discussed on this thread, this needs to be addressed. I’m just unsure how in the world you come to this conclusion.

Christ suffered through the free will choices of evil men. God allowed it. Jesus chose it for the greater good that the suffering, etc. caused.

This is light years away from God causing evil to an innocent for no reason.

Who ever said that God would cause evil to an innocent person for no reason?

That's entirely your fever dream.

Now let's go to the first paragraph:

  1. Christ suffered through the free will choices of evil men. God allowed it.
  2. Hypothetical: An evil woman tortures her infant son to death...The boy suffered through the free will choices of an evil woman. God allowed it.
God apparently allows the suffering of innocent people. What is more, He has all the power in the world to prevent those sufferings. That's called is up to God whether or not His own Son, or the son of the evil woman are tortured.

Let's suppose my daughter is learning to ride a bicycle. Also suppose that I am perfectly capable, and do, run along side the bicycle.

This has this result. At the slightest sign of her falling over I can steady her, or, if need be, snatch her from the bicycle. I can, of course, also allow her to fall over.

None of this takes a thing away from the fact that my daughter freely rides the bicycle, that she freely kept herself from falling.

But I am also in control of whether she falls over. If God is in control of all things, and all suffering in particular, to at least this degree, then you are refuted.

And it is quite clear that God has at least that much control over all things.

So you are refuted.

"Jesus chose it for the greater good that the suffering, etc. caused."

And does it occur to you that God might choose to allow other sufferings also for similar reasons? Sufferings that he could easily choose to prevent?

Why is that so difficult for you to grasp?

If we want to know the Will of God where evil is concerned, then we must look at His means and at His ends where His interface with evil is concerned, and not at Man's interface with evil. Necessity - or Actuality - defines contingency whereas contingency does not and indeed cannot define Necessity - or Actuality.

Man's interface with evil is - well it does not matter given the question at hand.

God's interface with evil finds our eyes looking elsewhere.

Christ alone precedes such, actualizes such, ends such. God's Will where Man's *Ends* are concerned is found in His *Means* to get Man there.

This is God's Means: Himself.

That is to say: Christ.

Those Means are given and employed on His Decree which is His Will which is His Power to bring Man to God's Will for Man - to Man's Ends.

This is God's Ends for Man: Himself.

That is to say: Christ.

Full stop. Any sentence which does not start there and end there is an incomplete sentence by definition. All-Sufficiency Himself, and Him alone, finds and extricates Man's Rest, or Man's Felicity. The OP rightly points us in that direction for the full and final resolution of all lines. Christ tells us that in our Privation we will taste insufficiency, we will have trouble, we will both abound and be debased and it all He defines none of that as an unchangeable. Then Christ tells us to *not* fear such lines - for..... for what? "For I have overcome....". Then Christ tells us that He prepares a place for us - up ahead - over the horizon.

Notice the pattern: He points us to Himself for our Means and He points us to Himself for our Ends.

From Eden's innocence and onward there are no motions or choices which Mankind can make, neither into Privation nor into God, neither into disobedience or into obedience, which can free Man of these necessary lines - because Actuality is God and not something else. Mankind cannot *not* spy, behold, Christ.

"This isn't bold at all. Just common sense. An action cannot be controlled by two agents. One must have the final say. The one with the final say is in control. How could it possibly be otherwise?"

Hi Goat Head 5, the bold reference was my adding bolding tags to highlight your conclusion...I was not calling it a bold conclusion in the sense your answer implies. So far, this is a pure assertion by you though...even in your follow up you give no proof or make no argument that says why that bolded conclusion is true.

Now, in this last answer quoted above, you've changed the debate from: "God has to give up control for us to have free choices" TO: "Whoever has the final say is in control".

You haven't proven either case. Maybe you can take a stab at how heaven will have free agents without contrary choices that you seem to think are necessary to free agency.

As far as my "playing the mystery card", I'll be happy to be with David in Psalm 139, or Isaiah in 55:9...that you think this is some kind of dodge seems petty.

Since this thread has been hijacked completely from the original intent, maybe it would be in everyone's interest if Amy would create a post on the 1st and 2nd chapters of Job where much of this conversation could have direct biblical reference to draw application from regarding in what way men are manipulated to freely do all things that the Lord ordains. This isn't just a purely philosophical excercise, but even if it were, I dont see how the Goat Head 5 can defend it with or without scripture.

Of course the Goat Head 5 may be inclined to dispense with disagreeable exegesis, he has in the past. So since we have precedence why not use it in Job?

Brad B.

"Now, in this last answer quoted above, you've changed the debate from: "God has to give up control for us to have free choices" TO: "Whoever has the final say is in control"."

This isn't a change at all. These two statements are the same thing. Just change your TO: above to because.

This is self evident and doesn't need complicated proofs. If I want to kill my neighbor because he annoys me, and God doesn't want me to kill him, and I kill him, I am in control of my actions and God is not.

How could God be in control when I do what He does not want done?

Goat Head 5

I would welcome a post on Job 1-2.

KWM and Wisdomlover,

See my reply to Brad B.


Circling back around, I am left with a question for you.

How do you reconcile the Bible saying God is good with your theological idea that God wants every evil action to happen so much that He controls every event to make sure that it does?

How can these coexist?

Goat Head 5

There is nothing complicated about round squares.

If A is Man's freedom of motion amid Self/Other inside the paradigmatic shape that is the ontological real estate of Trinity's Image fashioned in Man / Man's world, and, if B is the paradigmatic shape of God's forcing Man to choose Self or Other such that Man has no freedom of motion, and so on, well then it's all very plain.

A and B are mutually exclusive.

Round squares cannot exist.

If A’s paradigmatic shape is in play, then Man’s freedom of motion amid Self/Other exists and is sustained by Power – by God, and, also, B’s paradigmatic shape does not exist. B’s shape to reality is not in play. In fact, B’s ontological real estate cannot be in play. It therefore becomes impossible to ascribe Man’s motions within A’s ontic-real-estate to God’s Finger – to His Will – to His Power – to His Causation.

Of course, God is the very Power behind A’s existence, and, God can in any nuance and to any degree He Wills employ B in any given situation. But we have it on good authority – Scripture – that God Wills His Own Image there in Man, and so on, such that should this or that choice of Man be ascribed directly to God’s Finger, well then, those who assert such need more than God using evil for good, for God using evil for good just is what we find within A’s paradigm, and in fact to define reality otherwise is to define the Necessary by the Contingent, which is either hubris or nonsense. Or both.

A is desired, willed, by God, such that God's Will/Power (seamlessness there in simplicity) actualizes A, and A is of an essence, a nature, a paradigmatic shape, such that should A be present its presence ipso facto excludes B, thus the paradigmatic shape we call B cannot manifest unless or until God overrides A, or overpowers A, or Wills B. Which of course is (absolutely) possible.

That A is willed is “Reality defined from Necessity towards Man” – and in fact that is the direction in which His Will/Power sustains, intends, aims, causes, forces, actualizes. From our end within our own motions we (inexplicably) assume God can make round squares and so we assume God Wills – and thus causes – B – that God Wills – and thus Causes (His Will is His Power) – every motion of Man there in Man’s freedom, which is the absence of A.

On the surface that silly view from within Contingency makes sense from Contingency looking towards God - but the whole assessment is actually nonsense as such hubris defines reality by Man, by Evil, by Contingency's sightline, rather than by God, by Good, by the Necessary. That is why various extrapolations of Arminian-ism and Calvin-ism end up with peculiar theological errors which in real terms claim (subtly on the back end of course) that God either 1) Wills round squares or 2) Wills evil or 3) cannot stop Man from motioning into evil. Divine Concurrence (the earlier link to Dr. Craig's essay on that topic) touches on that in a few ways. Whether completely or incompletely isn't clear yet, but, it is to a certain “degree” or a certain “distance” helpful. In it we find that His Power, His Control of all (possible) paradigmatic shapes is ceaselessly intact, and, we find freedom of motion within Man's paradigmatic real estate. And, we find no such possibility of that nonsense called round-squares where God’s Finger ascribes, forces, causes, Man’s motions within A’s paradigmatic shape. There is no such paradigmatic shape possible amid A/B. Because nonsense is nonsense no matter how many centuries of Arminian-ism and Calvin-ism insist otherwise.

Those lines amid Self/Other there in Trinity, there in God, there in Eden, there in Man in innocence, there in Man in obedience, there in Man in his disobedience – his Privation, all of them find all doors open, and, all leading to one, singular, reality. There is not more than one reality. That too would be a nonsensical paradigmatic shape which cannot be justified with “… -Cause God is God…”

News flash for our Arminian/Calvinist friends: God cannot make round squares.

While avoiding the peculiar errors of universalism - which also asserts round squares - we have this: To think that Man at any location on the spectrum (from mutable innocence to mutable corruption to immutable love) can obey his way out of – or can disobey his way out of – that which is spying reality, out of that which is spying Christ, is either hubris defining reality by its own contingent line or it is pure paradigmatic nonsense. It is most often both.

Yes, I see your response to Brad, GH5.

You are obviously intent on using the word "control" in an idiosyncratic way.

I say this because you ask questions like this one:

How could God be in control when I do what He does not want done?
As if the only possible answer were a self-evident "He couldn't."

Forgive me, but this only shows either that you don't know what these words mean or that you are willfully misrepresenting what these words mean.

In my example of the father and the bicycling child. The father is in control of whether the child falls or not. He does not want the child ever to fall, he actually hates it. For all that he may choose to let the child fall, he may even push the child over, for all sorts of reasons that are more important than preventing what he hates.

Here is just one example of why a loving father, a father who hates to see his bicycling child fall from his bicycle, might let him fall or actually push him over: by falling the child avoids straying into the path of a moving car that the child has not noticed...that he never notices.

As the father wipes the child's tears, he may explain that he pushed the child over, or let him fall, because of the car that was about to hit him. The child might trust the father that there was a car...that he just didn't see it. Or he might trust himself and conclude the father doesn't love him. Either way, the father would have done the same thing, and either way, he still did not want the child to fall and actually hated it. But there was something more important to the father than that.


If I may:

While I (obviously) take issue with some (not all) of Calvinism's final conclusions, it seems to me that your Arminian line of God somehow lacking absolute control of the paradigmatic shape of any possible world(s) seems to go a bit too far.

You *seem* to be inferring (I may be *wrong*) that God cannot change the ontological shape of this or that World should He will to do so, that He lacks an ability to override either the Created Will or the effects of said Will (say, with gravity and the child hitting the ground.....).

That is one of (there are others) the locations where I part ways with Arminian's final conclusions. As I've "put-off" both camps now, well, what's a boy got to loose with a bit more here? :)

I don't mean to associate WL's theology with mine as he deserves much better treatment than such an association, but, with that disclaimer, I'll offer that (perhaps) WL and I posit a God in full control - ever able to interject - to interrupt, as it were, either Man's free motions or the *effects* of said motions.

That is to say, 1) God can force a will to choose - at the cost of free will - and we have sound and coherent scriptural reason to think He does not do so, and we have absolute knowledge that He never needs to. And 2) God can force *effects* of free choices to change as in, say, gravity to hold up on the child's impact upon falling off the bike - or what have you.

Whether Agency or Material, whether volitional vectors or non-volitional vectors, it's all the same.

Perhaps the mutually exclusive [Paradigmatic shape of A] vs. [Paradigmatic shape of B] in my previous post will be of some help in all of this. Or not.

As I have no, none, zero commitments to Arminian's or Calvinism's lines, it is satisfying to find it quite scripturally coherent within compatibilism that God hates sin - wills otherwise within Man - from A to Z.

God's remedy for such (sin, suffering) is not gravity (miracles do happen of course) or any other incomplete or temporal line (again, miracles do happen of course) - but is instead utter and complete - is absolute and whole - that is to say, His remedy is Himself. The ending of, the swallowing of, the annihilation of all our pain can only be found in Him. That is a matter of pure, unadulterated, utter ontological necessity.

Any sentence which does not start there and end there while claiming to account for suffering fails from the very start as such a sentence is by definition an incomplete sentence.

Incomplete sentences need not be entertained.



"Mt. Saini is (God's) Moral Excellence fully actualized within Time and Physicality".

That is what we mean by an incomplete sentence (that particular sentence is most often spoken by Skeptics).

And so too with God's Means and Ends for Man - which are/is Himself.

That is to say, Christ.

Brad B's appeal to mystery is essential.

To claim a lack of mystery where suffering is concerned is just incoherent and even comes across as a bit existentially off-putting.

Especially when we account for Man's sort of knowledge as such is juxtaposed to God's sort of knowledge.

Now, I would say that "God Wants This! God Likes This!" is ALSO an appeal to a lack of mystery which is just as incoherent and just as off-putting as is any other kind of "No Mystery Here!" stance where suffering is concerned.

It's just claiming too much - regardless of which camp puts such a line out there.

So I think this goes both ways, taking some ground away from *both* the Arminian lines and also from the Calvinist's lines.

Earlier I said this as an inference of mystery:

"It is no comfort to me that He could have driven me into the light - his automaton - for He has decreed quite another reality in Man - that of His Own Image there in Trinity. That is to say, it is no comfort to me (God's Power), that I can say, "He could have stopped me but did not, therefore the Spirit of God in me called me into the dark" for it is not God's Power with which I wrestle, but, rather, God's Will and Decree is that with which I must wrestle. His Will and Decree, not His Power, houses all the means and ends of love - of His Own Image. In fact, His Will is His Power is His Decree such that perhaps we can hint that God cannot drive me as His automaton given that He Wills otherwise. But we need not even go that far, for His Will houses much which fails to rise to the level of such automaton-concepts and which is yet far past the end of our sightline."

Mystery may indeed offend free will, and that is fine, and, too, mystery may indeed offend "God Wants, God Wills", and that too is fine - and by "fine" I mean that wherever we go there we just do come to the end of our own express sightline given in scripture.

That is to say:

He doesn't tell us the whole show. Rather, He points us towards Himself. Just like in Eden..... Mystery, Trust, God, Man. Just like in Eden.

Peculiar how it still happens to turn out that way......

Goat Head 5,

How do you reconcile the Bible saying God is good with your theological idea that God wants every evil action to happen so much that He controls every event to make sure that it does?

Everything that comes to pass is God’s will. Good things happen in the world. Bad and evil things happen in this world. Just because all are of God’s will, it doesn’t not follow that he is indifferent or in favor of the human actions taken on earth as it relates to evil. This is simply bad logic (as WisdomLover has tried to point out with his bicycle example).

You, however, have failed to understand this very simple idea. How about an example that includes actual evil: Let’s say Bill decided he was going to murder Rob. This would make God angry.

God could:

1) Allow Bill to murder Rob (human free will intact as you like it)
2) Cause Bill to change his mind (something that you should believe is possible)
3) Strike Bill dead of a heart attack thus preventing him from murdering Rob
4) Cause Rob to leave the country and avoid murder
5) Cause the police to uncover the plot before the murder and arrest Bill

This list could go on and on on, of course. I assume you believe God could do any of the above. So the million dollar question for you is: even under your view of God’s power, if Rob is killed, how was that not God’s will, even though he hates it?


Getting back to your view of God as mere spectator of Christ’s death, you cannot consistently maintain this view and have an accurate view of the power of God and His saving of man.

God saved man through specific means. He did not sit back and watch it all unfold. God as spectator isn’t the God of the Gospel.

I would submit... that if God is not in complete control of His elect for salvation... then why do we, as believers, pray for the salvation of our loved ones? Any other reason leads to a dead end. It is because God is the one that changes hearts... otherwise our prayers for our loved ones are useless... if it is simply up to us to choose.

A little humor and a little concern:

I think some use the word "Will" differently.

The English language limits us to some degree. Some (mistakenly) take it all to be foisted along the lines of something like this:

"God likes what He hates"


"God wants what He does not want"


"God wills what He does not will"


"God wants what He does not favor"


"God approves of what He does not want"


“Everything I do is God’s Will, everything you do is God’s Will, every choice I make is in agreement with God’s Will, every choice you make is in agreement with God’s Will, everything that we all do or that ever happens is in agreement with God's Will. When I sin, it's God's Will, because everything that happens is God's Will.”

My head hurts!

None of those is what anyone here is saying/meaning, but, that is what is perceived to be said very often, especially by outsiders looking in.

Such semantics can be clung to tenaciously by all involved to a standstill.

Tug-O-War anyone :)

Those above sentences all end in nonsense. Again, no one *here* in this thread is saying or meaning them.

But there is this problem:

Reality is not and cannot be shaped that way and we all know it.

And because we all know it then to fail to clarify such nuances is to fail to earn the right to be heard, because, again, everybody knows that we do not "desire" the thing that we "don't desire" and that “I will what I don’t want” are internally incoherent, especially given the semantics of will/want.

Serious if we may:

Contradictions like that earn the right to be ignored, even tossed out, and that is true especially when the confusion is known and yet clung to anyway out of headstrong pushes. GH5 seems (I may be wrong) to take will/want to be of the same essence. Others don’t (for good reason).

So I guess we’ll just keep sticking to our own unspoken, unclarified semantics.

Or how about this fuss and mess:

If n-o-t-h-i-n-g in this world is an affront to, or an offense a-g-a-i-n-s-t, God's Will, well then so be it. Now, that would get rid of all contradictions, perceived or otherwise.

But there are things and choices we do/make that are against God's Will.

Many agree with that conclusion for sound reasons. In fact the actuality of “could have been otherwise” looping around to find A through Z over there in Z through A in what can only (actually) be a singular paradigmatic shape finds that, in fact, many acts and choices and created wills in this world do run contrary to, against, God’s Will.

Or what about this:

“Everything I do is God’s Will. Everything that happens is God's Will. It was God's Will for me to abuse....." Now, if we mean that, then let’s just have it. Just put it out there and own it that it is God's Will for us to sin. (We know no one means "that". But that's the problem. Their semantic favorite just puts the head down and just pushes ahead, as if blind to the problem.)


If that is NOT meant, then we’ve a problem of the mutually exclusive round-square issue and until that is unpacked (the word ‘Will’ especially…… “everything I do is God’s Will”..…and so on) well then that sentence has not earned the right to be heard, has not earned the right to be respected.

As such, if such mutually exclusive plays on words are to be clung to endlessly, without fatigue, well then, others have the right to move on. Buy "move on" we mean get rid of perceived mutually exclusive claims - either in part (if that is all that our current sight will allow) or in whole (if our current sight will allow such). As noted in my comment on Brad B’s (cogent) appeal to Mystery – it seems to me that it is intellectually incoherent that there be *no* mystery where *anything*, much less suffering, is concerned, and, also, it is both intellectually and existentially off-putting to address suffering with the Arminian “God Can’t Stop It!” and the Calvinist’s “God Wants It!” and that is because each therein seems to have moved into the elimination of Mystery and has instead made a full and final claim on suffering.

“Moving on” past Want/Will (this is not an argument, but a possible area for mutual understanding) with this:

If A excludes B, and, if God's Will and His Power are seamless, simple, part-less, and so on, well then, should God Will A, we have it then that He both actualizes and sustains A while He does not, indeed cannot, Will, actualize, and sustain B. He can change His Will and thus change what is possible, quite easily, and in fact absolutely. If freedom of motion amid Self/Other excludes God’s Finger, well then should such be God’s Will, then such is God’s Will. He Wills our Agency. But Agency is mutually exclusive to God’s Finger pushing a man’s will to choose Self or Other.

And so on. That is not an argument, rather, it is merely to offer an area of clarifications on will/want. As in this or that "ontic-claim" that may ipso facto exclude some other claim.

So there are now two feasible areas of potential clarification: 1) semantics and definitions and 2) actual ontological claims that are mutually exclusive or that *would* be, assuming this or that ontological claim.

My super-duper novice opinion:

The problem is 1) the on-going overlap in the area of English and the area of Semantics and 2) that of a perceived problem pertaining to Round-Squares and 3) that of the tenacious clinging to “Everything I do is God’s Will” by those accusing folks of meaning “that” when those folks clearly don’t mean that, and 4) the ongoing “subtlety” by those who are knowingly implying that everything I do is God’s Will but just don’t care about the (justified) resistance to that (perceived) claim. There’s more than those four, but, those all make it a bit of a dance that is rather tedious, tired, and predictable for all of us.

Regarding #4, my super-duper novice opinion:

If someone does not care enough to do the work when it comes to the justified resistance to, “Every choice I or anyone ever has made, is making, or will make, is in perfect agreement with God’s Will – Go ahead and sin – It’s God’s Will that you sin – because everything that we do is God’s Will....again.... everything that we do, that happens, is God's Will” (and so on with the whole will/want/paradigm thing-y-ma-jigy) well then, such have not earned the right to be given credit for meaning something very different because they just sort of put their heads down and push ahead, they just stick to using the word “WILL” in a pan-reality sweep as opposed to discussing created paradigms and ontological real estate.

Well then, what's an observer to do? I mean, we can only be taken seriously at our chosen word...terrible crime... Will....sin... Will.... Will..... And so, well, there is a certain failure to earn the right to be free of this accusation: "You are saying that, well, it is God's Will when I sin, God's Will it is then when it comes to my sin today and tomorrow. It's God's Will for me, as a Christian, or as a non-Christian, to sin the sins we sin. Because 'everything that happens is God's Will'...."


As I said, super-duper novice opinion.

All of that fuss and mess is how several parts of the problem "appear" as perceived by these (blurry) eyes. That is to say, it appears that no one is saying what they mean, or taking the time to unpack it.....Will....Will..... Will.... "People sin and rape? Well sure....Will... Will... Will...People steal and abuse women...well sure.... Will... Will.... Will.... "


That's the best we can do with the word "Will"? All the metaphysical paradigmatic language and that's the best that........

I'm just saying.

And just as bad: All those other folks that keep accusing folks of saying that God wants people to sin, when that is not what they mean at all. "They are saying God wants people to sin!"


That's the best we can do? All the metaphysical language available and that's all we can...... just saying....

Fortunately, when it comes to all that fuss on the whole Arminian/Calvin thing, the theology of Compatibilism casually and seamlessly gets to.... well.... that's another story :)


I sympathize with your frustration, but is the example of the bicycling child so hard to get?

I don't think that it is a semantical game to say that the father hates it when the child falls, but may choose to let her fall...or even cause her to fall, for reasons that are more important than preventing the falls that he hates.

To return to the example, the father might cause the very fall that he hates to prevent the child from getting run over. (Because he hates that even more you see).

Couldn't it be that the evil we see in this world (that God hates) is necessary to prevent other evils that God would hate even more than the evils he allows or even causes?

Just as the child might never see the car that would have run her over...the car that required that her father push the bike over, perhaps we will never see the reason God had for causing or allowing the evil in our lives that He does.

It comes down to this. Are we going to trust in God's love for us? Or trust in our own wisdom about how things should be?

Hey Goat Head 5, you are not being responsive at isn't at all self evident that for man to have a free choice, God must relinquish any control.

"How could God be in control when I do what He does not want done?

Question begging, you assume the thing being debated. ie that God is not in control of sin. But, I will entertain you I guess...somewhere someone said: "you meant it for evil, God meant it for good".

It looks like WL is right on calling your use of the word "control" idiosycratic, at minimum, it is ill defined, maybe even purposely nebulous since you dont render God completly impotent but hold to some measured ability for the Divine to intervene contra free choice.

But even taking the term on your own use you have been refuted with real world examples and biblical texts...and additionally you have been asked to make an argument for why you think your premise [God has to give up to have free choices...] is true. So far nothing but repeated assertion.

You wanna know how God about why He would?

"Rom 9:21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?

Rom 9:22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,

Rom 9:23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,"

That He does is not in question, you can refer to vs'.19-20 for further response direct from the Source if you aren't satisfied.

To Ketchasketch: Exactly, and along with that, a good portion of the Psalms are rendered unintelligible under this failed notion of God not being in absolutely and finally in control of all things.


I love the bicycle example.

I use it in my next comment soon to follow. It's not aimed at the example - which works IMO.

Rather, I use it to point us to where the concrete is to be found vs. where the mysterious is to be found. That is the key that your example brought to mind - that the Father's laser-vision sees around corners we do not. I think His Will is found there, around those corners, and not in the skinned knee per se, as you allude to.

And yes, that does differentiate levels of Will and Goal and Paradigm.

I'll post it in a few minutes. It touches a bit more on the frustration thing, but only to move along to the bicycle girl's answer being found in the Father's laser-vision as the concrete and sure answer to her question about God's Will is found in Christ, whereas, the unsure and mysterious "we cannot yet know" are found outside of Christ, in the skinned knee and the bent bars. Christ being the Mystery of God *revealed*, as it were.

Well, hopefully it makes some sort of sense.

I'll give it a go :)

On God's Will vs. God’s Want vs. God’s Hate.

It's a problem.

For a lot of people.

WL’s bicycle example is helpful (typical of him) and will show up in just a few paragraphs as will what seems to be the driving point of the OP (opening piece of this thread) in pointing us to a location as to where we can find our answer on the question of, “What is the Will of God for the bicycle girl?”

Disclaimer: See my last comment here (to WL) please as it may be give context. And, also, thanks to the *unending* and *raw* patience here at STR from KWM and Amy and Brad B and WL and so on, I've come to learn what, say, this or that “Luke” really means in the “incomplete sentence”. It's all good.

So then:

Let's say "Luke" is the one who posits that it is God's Will that X abuses children but that God truly hates it. (…everything that happens is willed by God and God hates sin…..) Well, probably the more careful someone is inclined to be in his ontological regressions the more of a problem that is going to be. One word used so blandly, so sweepingly, so blindly.

Now, that is just an expression of my perception of the problem.

Most feel no need to concede such confusion found in this kind of incomplete thought: God does not will that I abuse children, but when children are abused, it is God's will that it happens.

If Luke is going to say that it is God's Will that I sin(ed), but that God hates it, well then, that is going to take a lot more work on Luke's part.

Again, I'm expressing my perception of the problem. We hope Luke may be able to understand the weight of resistance when one just *stops* with the incomplete sentence on any given day.

"It is God's Will that you abuse children, but, He truly hates it when you do." That is not wrong. But, it is not right either. That is to say, it is an incomplete sentence. It does not say what it appears to be saying - yes, yes, and yes, we get that. But the burden there is on the one who puts such an incomplete sentence out there and then just *stops*.

I'll make the friendly suggestion that the world "Will" just misses it. It's like soda and pop and coke and soda-pop. Pop? Huh? You mean a sound? A gun? A drink? A bicep curl? A boxing punch? Which one?

I'm just saying.

We can close our eyes to the problem if we want to. Maybe in Greek we’ll just toss out all but one of the four or five words for love and just hammer away with one, rote, absurdly monochromatic quarter-truth and see how well we do. Sound like a productive idea?

With all the metaphysical semantics out there these days, putting our heads down and closing off our minds and clenching our fists and just blindly shoving ahead with that "Will" thing is not only a pointless monochromatic droll but it also causes far more trouble than it has ever alleviated. I know teens who can do a better job than what we too often see on these “dissections”. I’m serious about that. Teens. We wonder why teens are leaving? Here’s why: Head down. Eyes closed. Fists clenched. “Must….push…. ahead…. stop…. the…heretic”.

Here's the key: People, hurting people, desperately want to know about WL’s cogent and apropos bicycle example. But they already have the skinned knee and the bruise and so they don’t care about the build up. Nope. They want to dive in and hear about those *other* things going on in the Father's laser-vision.

And so – when we as Christians need to (and we do need to) appeal to *mystery*, that mystery must be located outside of the concreteness of Christ.

But we actually do the opposite.

Think about that.

The bicycle girl asks a question which we are not hearing and yet ironically we know the answer to her question. We have the A – Z. So then, what counts for a complete and completed sentence? Well, let's get to it, let's get to that A and to that Z: Some say God's ultimate or final aim/will/want/ intention/goal/desire/construct for BillyBobJoe is sin or pain or suffering or hell or what have you. That's God's goal and "being otherwise" is not actually feasible. Conceivable yes, feasible no. Some say God's ultimate or final aim/will/want/ intention/goal/desire/construct for BillyBobJoe is God Himself, and it is possible and feasible that those other vectors can be otherwise.

So how does that address WL’s bicycle bruised and skinned questioner? What is the Complete and Completed Will of God where she is concerned? Where is mystery to be applied? Where is the concrete sureness to be applied?

Where do we locate the mystery? Outside of Christ or inside of Christ? Do we 1) point to the concreteness of Christ for our answer as to the Father’s Will for her and level all possible mystery on all that is less than, outside of, Christ? Or, do we 2) point to all that is Non-Christ in sin and pain and so on as the Will of the Father for her and level all possible mystery on all that is inside of, and in fact is, Christ? Here’s a helpful hint: The absurdly monochromatic incomplete sentences do #2 rather than #1. Here’s another helpful hint: Christ is the Mystery of God *revealed*.

Any sentence that starts or ends with anything that is less than God’s Willed *Means* for Man or with anything less than God’s Willed *Ends* for Man, that is to say, any sentence that starts or ends with anything less than God Himself, that is to say, any sentence that starts or ends with anything less than Christ just gets it wrong, just fails to tell the complete and completed Will of God.

This is akin to Mt. Saini, as in:

“What is God’s Will for Man?” 1000 years before Christ the answer would *not* be the Complete and Completed Will of God for Man there in Christ – it would have been Mt. Saini. Law. And so on. Unless – somehow – Christ shined through and some gifted pair of eyes got it right. Every other answer, every other sentence, was absurdly monochromatic and incomplete And now there is a rumor that a subset of Christians may feel that somehow that has changed, that they need to give our bicycle girl with the bruises and skinned knee some other answer other than Christ?


What is God’s Will where abused children are concerned, or where abusing children is concerned? Well now, let us look into God’s Complete Sentence – there in Christ – into God’s complete and completed Will – there in Christ – and find out what His Will is as we find in Christ all that is restoration, justice, power to change, healing, judgment, opened doors, wholeness, and redemption. *That* is God’s complete and completed Will of God. *Not* all the absurdly monochromatic incomplete sentences which a subset of Christians employ as they mistakenly and foolishly look outside of Christ into sin and evil for the “concrete and the sure Will of God” and then repeat the pathology by mistakenly and foolishly looking inside of Christ for the “unsure and mysterious Will of God”.

Think about that. Sureness. Mystery. Where are you going to put your money – and bet your life – your hope – when it comes to assurance and concreteness of God’s Will? But if your answer is *in* Christ then why give the bicycle girl a completely different, and backward, and reversed, answer by pointing her to lines and events and real estate *outside* of Christ?

The appeal to mystery must come, but it is not in the lines of Christ but is instead outside of Christ’s lines where we must level the “we cannot know for sure”. The cloudy and unsure and all the “we cannot fully see” is found outside of Christ in the stuff of sin and the stuff of pain and so on when asked of the Father’s Will. Our rest, our assurance, our concrete answer for the bicycle girl is the Mystery of God *revealed* – there in Christ.

This is the driving point of the OP it seems.

The unsure and unknown and the mystery where the Father’s Will is concerned in *not* in the Mystery of God revealed – which is Christ – but is rather in any and all other vectors.

That is why all sentences given to our bicycle girl of Will and of Paradigm are not complete unless and until they first locate the mysterious and un-sure lines of God’s Will outside of Christ and unless and until they, secondly, satisfy the following:

Scripturally robust completion is found on all fronts in the intellectual and logical, in the existential and metaphysical, ceaselessly, when such peculiar sentences start with and end with the A – Z. Any sentence that starts or ends with anything that is less than God’s Willed *Means* for Man or with anything less than God’s Willed *Ends* for Man, that is to say, any sentence that starts or ends with anything less than God Himself, that is to say, any sentence that starts or ends with anything less than Christ just gets it wrong, just fails to tell the Complete and Completed Will of God.

Hi scblhrm/WL/KWM, how about this bicycle example-extreme version:

A child left unattended rides into a street and is hit by a car and dies. We trust that God in His goodness will mercifully deal with this child and trust even in in His justice it will be right and good.

What could He[God] have done?
He could have caused a flea to bite a dog and awaken him from he awakes he sees a bike rider and gives chase causing the rider to not go into the street....instead He lets it happen. We can never know...why

Of course this event is not in isolation, say for instance one parent has been failing to honor God as God and one parent is not a believer. Both parents are distraught, angry, sad, etc...having to deal with a tremendous loss. One parent cries out to God and repents and is ministered to and is assured they will see the child again in heaven. The other parent curses God and cements their unrepentant life moves forward forever changed.

Witnesses that see the event, some [parents/guardians] make example of carelessness to teach their kids. Some cry could there be a god when this kind of stuff happens. Others cling to their loved ones more fervently and reaffirm the need to look at life with more eternal perspective in focus.

In one event, God blesses and curses.

Even so, one thing we know...God suffered more than anyone and even then in that while we were enemies He suffered and died...for that He is above any form of reproach or second guessing of motives or being questioned.

Brad B,

I would affirm everything you said, only, I would take it further. That is to say, the mutable and contingent lines you point to are not wrong, but they are not quite "complete". Or, I would offer that you're stop points are right - but not complete.

We can take it further. To the extreme.

Out of the mutable and contingent.

Into the Necessary - the Immutable.

I would say that what God could have done for the girl is something non-temporal, non-finite.

Something utter and complete.

And that that particular Something is His sure and fixed Will for her.

And He did it.

That Something which God did do is of course nothing short of Christ.

Should God heal me today of X, well then, in about 40 years I'll leave this world anyway as my body breaks down.The lesser fades as God Wills the Greater, the Better, the Grander.

Again, "What is God's Will for her, or him, or them?" finds that any sentence that does not start and end with Christ is an incomplete sentence and misses the complete and completed will of God. He is the Mystery of, the Will of, God revealed in and to the world.

As in:

There is no "unsure mystery" in that, in Christ. Therefore, "He" always "trumps" all other things/events we may want to point at as to sureness, as to certainty, as to non-mystery.


Any event or thing we point at which contradicts Christ need not be taken seriously - need not be taken as the complete and completed "Answer" from God on the matter.


A trumps B.


B is fine, but incomplete. Here is A over and above, then, B.


"You ask what is God's Will for him, for her, for X? In Christ we have the complete and the completed. Of that much we are sure. The rest is blurry, but, of this we are certain."


The Christian's answer on "What is God's Will......" is to offer the Complete and Completed Will of God - all lines there converging seamlessly in Christ.

Other answers are fine - but - other answers are ipso facto less complete, incomplete. Not wrong. But not quite right either.

The Christian is on solid ground offering the immutable lines found within Christ over and above any and all other mutable and contingent events/things which this or that person may offer up as an answer to the question of, "What is God's Will for X?"

The end/extreme is not any rant of this or that mutable and contingent line. To say otherwise is to define the Necessary according to and on the terms of Contingency.

But reality is not - cannot be - shaped that way.

Rather, the terms and conditions of the Necessary define the Contingent. The end/extreme on any matter, on any question, is the Necessary, the Immutable, God Himself Willed as His Own Means for Man, God Himself Willed as His Own Ends for Man - such is the Mystery of God *revealed* in and to the world there in Christ.


for that He is above any form of reproach or second guessing of motives or being questioned.

Exactly right.

That’s the big problem. If we were in charge that flea surely would’ve bitten that dog!
If we were in charge we’d dry those parents’ tears.

But in reality, we are responsible for much much less and we make a mess of things. We think we know better and we transfer our beliefs of right and wrong (what's required of us) onto the Creator.

We second guess God. Therefore, we find ourselves doubting His power or His goodness.

We have to do neither.

He’s clearly communicated such.


OK. I try to keep it simple.

Earlier, KWM said, "What I mean by absolute control is that what God wants to happen, happens."

That is the definition of "in control" I am working with. If that is "idiosyncratic", well, take it up with KWM.

Here is what must follow:

If God is in control


control is that what God wants to happen, happens


Evil happens


God wants evil to happen.

Is this ok with all of you?

Goat Head 5


God wants/wills evil:

That conclusion as "God's answer on the matter" finds incoherence for a few of the reasons I've sort of "half-touched-on" here along the way. There are others to add to those of course.....perhaps in another thread on another day.

I'll stop here on this thread and thank you and all our other friends for your patience and your interactions.

Always helpful guys.....

KWM clarified his meaning for "absolute control" in a later response to me to say that he means that God's will wins. In the bicycle example, the father's will wins whenever the will of the father and the will of the child come into conflict.

God, like the father in the bicycle example, wills that necessary evils happen.

Whether that's OK with me or not, the evils are necessary. I suppose I could rail against necessity as the child does. Or I could trust in God to only allow necessary evils.

Goat Head 5, here's the bottom line: If God is in control of evil, then as WL demonstrated with his bicycle story, we know He meant it for a necessary purpose (and who knows how much evil He's constantly preventing altogether). If God is not sovereign over this, then evil happens all the time for no reason (and presumably without restraint). Why would you feel better about an omnipotent God who does nothing about evil and lets it continue without purpose? Either way, whether God is in control or He isn't, evil is happening; but in the first instance, it has a purpose, and in the second, it's purposeless and God does nothing to stop it.

I'm curious as to why you find the second to be morally preferable—that you find a God who stands by to be morally preferable. I'm not now asking why you think it's true, I'm just trying to understand why you feel better about the second option.

If you say that it's for the sake of libertarian free will, then here's how we can compare the two options:

1. God could stop all evil, but He doesn't for the sake of His good purposes in the lives of those involved and in His plans for the redemption of His people and the spreading of the knowledge of Him and the gospel of Christ throughout the world.

2. God could stop all evil, but He doesn't for the sake of men having libertarian free will.

To me, the first option sounds so much more morally satisfying than the second.


Sorry to intrude.

I agree in full up till #1/#2.

We can treat each other with more honesty than that.

#1 and #2 are not mutually exclusive. Each even accommodates the other.


I think Amy’s honesty in debate and discussion is pretty well established on this forum.

As it relates to the 2 items I think they could be stated with slight adjustment to #2 (bold mine to show distinction):

1. God could stop all evil, but He doesn't for the sake of His good purposes in the lives of those involved and in His plans for the redemption of His people and the spreading of the knowledge of Him and the gospel of Christ throughout the world.

2. God could stop all evil, but He doesn't for the sake of men having libertarian free will. The evil in this world is allowed, but plays absolutely no role in God’s plan or purposes for man.

This is what, I believe, Amy's whole point was in the first part of her comment and what she intended to communicate with her two points.

(Of course I believe Amy can defend and clarify herself perfectly fine and better than I!)

KWM I agree in full with her comment as I noted. I'm closer than I may appear on the surface where the theology is concerned. It's merely the "presentation" of 1 vs. 2 as stated as being "either/or". Just that nuance...not the rest.

1 and 2 are compatible as stated. A seamless singularity with internal coherence (etc...etc...).

But not if we add your addition to #2. With that addition #2 isn't coherent with Scripture and I'd therefore not embrace #2.

Hi scbrownlhrm, I have looked away for the most part where we will part's the Bible to show where. [Not that KWM, WL,or Amy will have difficulties with me on the following either...]

WCF Chapter 5 on Providence.
I. God the great Creator of all things does uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence, according to His infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of His own will, to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.

II. Although, in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first Cause, all things come to pass immutably, and infallibly; yet, by the same providence, He orders them to fall out, according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.

III. God, in His ordinary providence, makes use of means, yet is free to work without, above, and against them, at His pleasure.

IV. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God so far manifest themselves in His providence, that it extends itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men; and that not by a bare permission, but such as has joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding, and otherwise ordering, and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to His own holy ends; yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceeds only from the creature, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.

V. The most wise, righteous, and gracious God does oftentimes leave, for a season, His own children to manifold temptations, and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and, to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon Himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends.

As to paragraph IV, let us wrestle with the scriptures to see if the Westminster Divines have reason on their side.

Proverbs 16:4 "The LORD has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of evil."

ROM 11:32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. 33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?

2SA 24:1 And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.

1CH 21:1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

1KI 22:22 And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. 23 Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.

1CH 10:4 Then said Saul to his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. So Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.

2SA 16:10 And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse, because the Lord hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so?

ACT 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

ACT 4:27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, 28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

ACT 14:16 Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.

PSA 76:10 Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.

2KI 19:28 Because thy rage against me and thy tumult is come up into mine ears, therefore I will put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest.

GEN 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

ISA 10:6 I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. 7 Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few. 12 Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks.

Is is not clearly stated that God has made sure, not merely allowed evil? For His ends of course.

I might add that it is written that He is angry with the wicked every day Psa 7:11 , but that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked Eze. 33:11....kind of goes back to Rom 9 quoted already above:

"Rom 9:22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction

I am not satisfied that allowed evil goes as far as the scriptures do, and even further I think the case can be made that not one day in the life of any indivudual escapes the Lord's providential oversight.

I think that Goat Head 5 is squishy on what he really means by absolute control since early on he agreed that God could intervene to stop some particular evil act...if He just wanted to. Seems to me this is an absolute act of control, or in other words ultimate control.

Brad B,

I know many find Man's freedom of motion on the one hand, and God's Control on the other hand, to be incompatible - and that is fine as I agree with His Control. Romans 9 has several treatments which shows such, but no need to link them here as it would not solve that particular problem or divergence of views. Also, Wrath and Judgment don't seem to qualify for "Evil" in the sense that we mean evil.

In other words, we don't disagree in His Control, or on His Judgment, or on His utter ability to employ Man's (free) choices for His Own orchestrated series of effects.

I think it is okay that we may (or may not) disagree on Man's volition or freedom of motion (etc...etc...) within God's decreed paradigmatic shape or ontological real estate (etc...etc..), as in the end the sureness and concreteness on both sides as to God's Will is found in the complete and completed Will of God there in Christ.

The blurry and hazy lies outside of Him, there in sin and pain - as to God's Will - for any statement about His Will which contradicts His Answer, His Statement, as to His Will, on that question as revealed in Christ is ipso facto the less sure, the blurry, the hazy, the "we cannot know for sure", for in *Christ* we have the express and revealed Will of God where you and me and Man are concerned. Hence we're not as far apart as it may appear on the surface there in Volitional Motions / Sovereignty.

Brad B,

By "not as far apart" I simply mean we both (these various approaches etc.) end up with God's Answer as to His Will for you and me and Man to be the complete and completed Answer, Will, of God expressly and fully revealed in Christ.

We get to that Stop Point by different routes, but we both get there.

I think that is the important part.

Brad B,

For what it's worth, there is very little in me, perhaps even nothing, which finds good cause to take your words lightly.


I'll try to answer your question without writing too many words, although this subject has consumed volumes. For me, it boils down to this.

If everything that happens was planned by God, and it happens exactly as God wanted it to happen, either God just likes evil, or, as WL and you seem to say, evil is necessary to accomplish some unknowable good end.
It really makes the concept of good and evil meaningless. Good is reduced to what God does. Since that is everything, evil is meaningless. Not bad at all, just like the momentary pain of pulling a tooth to fix a dental problem.
If we go with this view of God, how can He be called good in any meaningful sense, since He constantly plans, controls and accomplishes evil?

So, I am much more comforted by meaningless evil that God twists for good, as opposed to a God who is evil.

Goat Head 5

Brad B.

Hooray! Congratulations to you for your honesty!

This isn't about God allowing evil. This is about God planning and making sure that evil events happen, just as He wants them to, down to the last detail.

That is what I object to. Of course, we can just wave our hands and say that, somehow God can do this and not be evil himself. Presto!

And also, Viola! God can determine everything, his wants trumping all, yet we can somehow also have free choices.
If you want to say, "well, that is how it is, it is just a mystery", OK.

Goat Head 5


For starters, no one has said God likes evil. Please stop acting as if anyone has. It's both silly and dishonest.

Yes, God may pursue the necessary means to a good end, and those means may sometimes involve the existence of misery and wickedness.

You claim that this somehow renders the concepts of good and evil meaningless.

I'm sorry but that's just a ridiculous claim. Unless and until you can show any capacity to argue for it, I think it should simply be ignored. And here is me doing that.

Now this "Good is reduced to what God does." I'm not sure that its a reduction. But it is certainly true that "God does X" logically implies that X is morally permissible. The problem is that, what, God creates everything, even our own actions, so everything is morally permissible?

This shows your usual flair for ignoring important distinctions. It can be morally permissible for one person to do a thing, and morally impermissible for another person to do that same thing. It is morally permissible for me to sleep with my wife, but not for you.

It was morally permissible for God to have Joseph sold into slavery. It does not follow that it was morally permissible for Judah to do the same.

“taking the roof off”, we have to walk this back all the way “to the fall”. The usual wiggle room for the Christian is to state that God is not the Author of evil; we are. It was Adam’s choice that started the ball rolling for sin. The way this discussion is going seems to put that onus back onto God. Suggestions for reconciliation? Is there a better way to state the relationship of evil to this world?


As I see it, you have two and only two choices:

1) Evil is not a thing, but the absence of a thing. So God does not create evil. He does not create some goods that He might have created.

2) Evil is a thing, so God creates evil. But God creates evil without doing evil.

torturing babies for fun, or rape do not seem to me to just be the absence of "some thing" - i.e. absence of good; which leaves #2. But God using evil without being volitional seems awfully wiggly...

Goat Head 5,

How is it possible that a perfectly good God can cause a flood to rain down and wipe out a multitude, but it’s evil for mother to drown her child in a bathtub?

Who do you go to file your complaint of unfair moral standards in that regard?

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