Sovereignty of God

Some Implications on God’s Sovereignty

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The discussion concerning God’s sovereignty usually spurs more arguments than decent dialogue. Place a Calvinist and an Arminian in a room to discuss God’s sovereignty and an hour later nothing was settled except the agreement…

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Why I Reject Determinism and A Model of God’s Atemporal Perspective in Relation to Contrary Choice

, posted by JC_Thibodaux

One of the questions we invariably get from Determinists is “But HOW does God know the future??” Determinists often seize upon the difficulty of understanding God’s knowledge, and insist that if God didn’t cause the future, then He could not have known it. Besides being a rather silly stretch, this claim requires several unfounded assumptions about the nature of God.

The Basic Views

Now before I jump in any deeper, let’s define what the major views of God’s knowledge in relation to free will are (this is just a basic list, variations of these views exist):

1. Determinism: God determines absolutely all that will be, making absolute foreknowledge trivial. There is no such things as libertarian free will, and our choices cannot be otherwise.

Affirms foreknowledge, but has the very unfortunate side-effect of making absolutely everything that occurs the will of God, and possibly essential to His nature, as we’ll touch on below.

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Robert Shank on Rev. 2:20-22 and Monergism

, posted by Ben Henshaw

“Consider the words of Christ to the church at Thyatria [sic.] concerning the prominent woman referred to as ‘Jezebel’ and His servants, who were practicing immorality and pagan customs, doubtless in a religious context after the manner of the cults:

“I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication, and she repented not. Behold I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. (Rev. 2:20-22)”

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Thomas Ralston on Freedom of the Will Part 8: Can Free Agency be Harmonized With Divine Foreknowledge?

, posted by Ben Henshaw

Thomas Ralston now tackles the necessitarian objection that God’s foreknowledge of our actions renders the power of self-determination impossible. My comments are in bold print.

II. The next grand objection to the doctrine of free agency is, that it is supposed to be irreconcilable with the Scripture account of the divine prescience.

Necessitarians argue that free agency, in the proper sense, implies contingency; and that contingency cannot be reconciled with the divine foreknowledge. It is admitted by Arminians, and the advocates of free agency generally, that the foreknowledge of God extends to all things great and small, whether necessary or contingent – that it is perfect and certain.

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Thomas Ralston on Freedom of the Will Part 7: Is the Doctrine of Free Agency Absurd?

, posted by Ben Henshaw

Thomas Ralston now begins to examine and respond to various objections posed by “necessitarians” against the Arminian view of self-determinism. My comments are in bold print.

WE propose in this chapter, to examine some of the principal objections which have been urged against the view taken in the preceding chapter of the freedom of the will. Those most worthy of notice are the following, viz.:

I. It is said to be absurd in itself.

II. It is said to be irreconcilable with the Scripture account of the divine prescience.

III. It is said to conflict with the doctrine of motives.

We propose a respectful attention to each of these grand objections.

I. It is alleged that the view we have taken of the proper freedom of the will is absurd in itself.

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Thomas Ralston on Freedom of the Will Part 5: The Scriptural Evidence

, posted by Ben Henshaw

Ralston continues with his defense of free moral agency from Scripture. My comments are in bold print.

(2) In the next place, the Scriptures everywhere address man as a being capable of choosing; as possessing a control over his own volitions, and as being held responsible for the proper exercise of that control.

In Deuteronomy 30:19, we read: “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” And in Joshua 24:15: “Choose you this day whom ye will serve.” Now, to choose is to determine or fix the will; but men are here called upon to choose for themselves, which, upon the supposition that their will is, in all cases, fixed necessarily by antecedent causes beyond their control, is nothing better than solemn mockery.

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Thomas Ralston on Freedom of the Will Part 4: God’s Divine Administration

, posted by Ben Henshaw

Thomas Ralston begins his appeal to Scripture with his third evidence for self-determinism in his Elements of Divinity. My comments are in bold print.

3. Our third evidence of man’s proper free agency is founded upon the divine administration toward him, as exhibited in the Holy Scriptures.

Here we shall perceive that revelation beautifully harmonizes with nature; and those clear and decisive evidences of our free agency, which, as we have seen, are derived from experience and observation, are abundantly confirmed by the book of God.

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Thomas Ralston on Freedom of the Will Part 2: Its Self-evident Nature

, posted by Ben Henshaw

We now continue with Ralston’s defense of free will from his Elements of Divinity. My comments are in bold print.

II. We proceed now to consider some of the leading arguments by which the free moral agency of man, as briefly defined above, is established.

1.We rely upon our own consciousness.

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Why Would God Become Angry At What He Ordained?

, posted by A.M. Mallett

I asked this question on a discussion board when a Calvinist rightly pointed out that the LORD gets angry at the sinful actions of fallen men. There is no doubt that sin angers the LORD. The anger of the LORD is expressed in numerous passages yet this truth causes me to ask the Calvinist “why”? How is it that an omniscient God could possibly get angry at what He supposedly (in the Calvinist tradition) causes or ordains? If God issues a commandment that He has purposefully ordained to be broken, is it not an expression of hypocrisy to become angry at what is His very design? I do not think the Calvinist can address this inquiry in an honest manner. In fact I know from my experiences with a few that the response is to engage in an ad hominem fallacy and accuse me of presenting a straw man albeit unidentified. Contrary to the diversions, the question I pose is valid and crucial to understanding the religious philosophy of Calvinism.

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The Sovereignty, Providence, and Will of God

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The subject of the Will of God was a topic of interest for James Arminius. Many have wondered if he was a Molinist. Richard Muller acknowledges that Arminius read from Molina,1 but Arminius never claimed to be a Molinist.

However, Arminius left in his writings the notion that perhaps he was at least influenced by Molina’s pattern of thought on what God knows and what God has willed according to that knowledge. Muller noted

    The divine knowledge of possibility, since it is knowledge of what things can come into existence, is also a knowledge of the way in which all possibles could exist ideally or perfectly, without defect and a knowledge of impossibility as well. Arminius even argues an order in the divine knowledge of possibles. Thus God knows, first, ‘what things can exist by his own primary act.’

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Calvinism and Deuteronomy 29:29

, posted by Ben Henshaw

“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29)…

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More Thoughts on the Sovereignty of God and Human Freedom

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Concerning God’s sovereignty and human freedom, Bowman offers the following, The Reformed tradition’s insistence on God’s absolute sovereignty is related to its concern for radical aseity [that God is self-originated, self-sustained] . . . both…

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Calvinism & Hyper-Calvinism

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According to Monergism.com, hyper-Calvinism’s errors include the following: “that God is the author of sin and of evil, that men have no will of their own, and secondary causes are of no effect; that the…

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Compatibilism (Part Two)

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Monergism.com admitted, “It should be noted that this position [that of Compatibilism] is no less deterministic than hard determinism ~ be clear that neither soft nor hard determinism believes man has a free will.” So,…

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Compatibilism (Part One)

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It is no secret that the majority of Arminians hold to what is known as libertarian free will. We believe in such a thing because we see evidence for it throughout the Bible. God gives…

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That “Dreadful” Decree

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What decree is that? The “dreadful” decree I am referring to today is the decree of Reprobation, its consequence being Unconditional Election (for how could there be one without the other?). Now, calling it “dreadful,”…

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