Thursday, July 22, 2010

R.C. Sproul: “If we grant that God can save men by violating their wills, why then does he not violate everybody’s will...”

As I related in the PREVIOUS THEAD, a number of Calvinist bloggers have leveled numerous charges my direction for comments I made in the Beggars All thread, Answering the charge of “rape” against the doctrine of God’s effectual grace -Part 1. If one takes the time to read through all the posts made in both of the above threads, I cannot help but believe that many will come to the conclusion that much of the ‘heat’ I took was an overreaction (and for some of the posters, a gross overreaction).

In my last thread, I provided a quote from a novel written by the very popular Reformed apologist/theologian R.C. Sproul, that used much ‘stronger’ terminology than I would use to describe the “irresistible call” of God (i.e. regeneration prior to faith), which is a crucial element of Reformed soteriology. I got the impression from some Reformed posters that this was an anomaly within the Reformed tradition, which should be quickly ‘brushed under the rug’—basically ignored and/or forgotten. But, I remained unconvinced, and pulled Dr. Sproul’s, Chosen By God (a theological work, not a novel), down from the shelf last night and reread the first 102 pages (1986 edition), before falling asleep. I would like to share a few selections from the book (note: bold emphasis in the quotes mine; all the selections are from the 1986 edition):

When we consider the relationship of a sovereign God to a fallen world we are faced with basically four options:

1. God could decide to provide no opportunity for anyone to be saved.

2. God could provide an opportunity for all to be saved.

3. God could intervene directly and insure the salvation of all people.

4. God could intervene directly and insure the salvation of some people.


All Christians immediately rule out the first option. Most Christians rule out the third. We face the problem that God saves some and not all. The Calvinist view of predestination teaches that God actively intervenes in the lives of the elect to make absolutely sure that they are saved. Of course the rest are invited to Christ and given an “opportunity” to be save if they want to. But Calvinism assumes that without the intervention of God no one will ever want Christ. Left to themselves, no one will ever choose Christ.

This is precisely the point of dispute. Non-Reformed views of predestination assume that every fallen person is left with the capacity to choose Christ. Man is not viewed as being so fallen that it requires the direct intervention of God to the degree that Calvinism asserts. The non-Reformed views all leave it in man’s power to cast the deciding ballot for man’s ultimate destiny.
(Pages 33, 34.)

I think it is important to point out that the vast majority of non-Reformed Christians DO NOT adopt a Pelagian view of fallen man, but rather, firmly maintain that unregenerate individuals need the grace of God—the drawing/prompting of the Holy Spirit (i.e. prevenient grace)—prior to regeneration in order to accept/turn to God, but that this grace can be rejected.

On the next page, Dr. Sproul continues with:

The nasty problem for the Calvinist is seen in the relationship of options three and four. If God can and does choose to insure the salvation of some, why then does he not insure the salvation for all? (Page 35.)

“Does God have the power to insure the salvation of everyone?” Certainly it is within God’s power to change the heart of every impenitent sinner and bring that sinner to himself. (Page 35.)

The non-Reformed thinker usually responds by saying that for God to impose his power on unwilling people is to violate man’s freedom. To violate man’s freedom is sin. Since God cannot sin, he cannot unilaterally impose his saving grace on unwilling sinners. To force a sinner to be willing when the sinner is not willing is to violate the sinner. The idea is that by offering the grace of the gospel God does everything he can to help the sinner get saved. He has the raw power to coerce men but the use of such power would be foreign to God’s righteousness.

That does not bring much comfort to the sinner in hell. The sinner in hell must be asking, “God, if you really loved me, why didn’t you coerce me to believe? I would rather have had my free will violated than to be here in the eternal place of torment.”
(Pages 35, 36.)

The question remains. Why does God only save some? If we grant that God can save men by violating their wills, then why does he not violate everybody’s will and bring them all to salvation? (I am using the word violate here not because I really think there is any wrongful violation but because the non-Calvinist insists on the term.) (Page 36.)

Dr. Sproul cannot be any clearer on this issue: in the context of dialogue between Calvinists and non-Calvinists it is appropriate describe the “irresistible call” of God as “violating their [the unregenerate] wills”.

On the issue of terminology, Dr. Sproul and I are in total agreement. And for the record, if the Calvinist position is truly the ‘Biblical one’, and I have not yet been regenerated (I believe that I have been, by the grace of God), I am pleading with Him that He “violate” my will!!! (I suspect that every God fearing, non-Reformed, individual would echo my sentiment on this issue.)


Grace and peace,

David

28 comments:

Ken said...

David,
You have proven that I have not read R.C. Sproul's Chosen By God yet. I thought I had read a lot of it in different forms as a subscriber to his Table Talk magazine since around 1996 (?); and having many heard many of his messages.

Well, what can I say?

However, your title is softened by this last sentence which I am grateful you included.

At the end of your quotes of Dr. Sproul, he writes,

(I am using the word violate here not because I really think there is any wrongful violation but because the non-Calvinist insists on the term.)

Does he interact with the Westminster Confession of Faith, "no violence is done to the will of the creature"?

As I wrote in my interaction with GV19, something like - "No one is hell is going to be crying out for their will to be changed; they will still be hating and raving in bitterness and anger at God, shaking their fist at God."

Revelation chapter 9, especially verses 20-21.

We are happy that God made us alive and healed our souls, repaired our un-able wills so that we are able to choose good and love God and love people. It is the regenerate heart that is soft and humble and that says "change me"/keep on changing me"- an unregenerate heart in hell will continue in hatred and bitterness and anger and gnashing of teeth forever - at God.

They will not be crying out, "please change me and make me good" or "violate my will" -

rather, they cry out things like Revelation 6:16-17 and Luke 16:24-31.

They do not seem to even want to be changed, as you seem to argue for.

That is what you have to show from the Scriptures.

Ken said...

I am not trying to be mean here, but if you are regenerated as the Bible speaks about, why, pray tell, would you want to entertain the possibility that Bahai'ism is true?

Bahai'ism guts everything of Christianity out of Christianity; it cannot be harmonized; it is a logical contradiction.

The regenerate heart sees Christ as the Son of God from all eternity ( John 1:1); the word who became flesh; John 1:14, etc. eternal, seated at the right hand of the father - having made purification of sins [at the cross in the atonement]- Hebrews 1:1-3 - God, having spoken finally and decisively in His Son - by nature, you cannot have more dispensations of more revelations like Buddah and Islam, etc. as Bahai'ism claims.

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

With the name of God, Peace be unto those who follow the guidance from their Lord.

What I cannot understand for the life of me is for a religion that supposedly teaches the sovereignty of man why does Christianity insist that man can over come the will of God again and again and again.

God breathed his spirit into man.
(Genesis 2:7) There should be a great deal of discussion about this passage.

What is meant by the breath of life? Is this a part of God? Does man have a soul animated by God?

If God animated the soul of Adam at this point why was he not sanctified from this very point if God did not want the 'fall' to happen?

What do Christians really mean when they say that God created man in HIS image?

Does man have three beings in one person? Or three persons in one being? Man has eyes, ears, mouth, tongue and penis do we assume that the creator has these? (istaghfirullah adheem)

So I would submit that any discussion about this should also be understood in light of what is meant 'created man in his image' and 'breathed into man the breath of life'.

continued..

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

continued...

"You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! (Acts 7:51)

Now if we are to assume that this piece is inspired by the Holy Spirit or God breathed than we are faced with a problem.

How do people resist the Holy Spirit if the grace is irresistible or effectual?

"Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven" (Matt. 12:31)

I also feel that my point to Ken is valid and still not addressed.

Than you said, "because He bypassed any force by FIRST CHANGING and healing the will so that it then could FREELY and WILLINGLY choose"

I don't buy that. I tell you why I don't. That statement is a complete contradiction of OSAS or Preservation of the Saints.

Why? Think about it. Would a broken will that has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit freely and willingly choose anything other than God?.

I don't think Ken's response on the previous post answered this.

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

With the name of God, continued from above.

I have not been given an example of a regenerated person who has chosen other than Christ Jesus.

This is why I would be suspicious that the person truly has free will.

Sounds to me like a programmer who writes a program that only has one function.

Calvinist have to come up with some conclusions that sit out side the pale of orthodoxy.

They assume that creation operates independently of the sovereignty of God. Though they will claim they don't believe this it doesn't take long when discussing with them to see this view is transparent.

It is high blasphemy to believe that something operates independently of the power of God.

It is an open attack upon monotheism.

Or they will assert that God has two wills. This is the whole Manichean paradigm of good and evil. Again the Calvinist declare war upon monotheism by asserting that God has two wills!


It is said in the Hadith al-Qudsi that Allah has said:
"I was a Hidden Treasure, and I longed that I should be known. So I Created creation, that I might be known."

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

continued from above...

"We did not create the jinn and men except to worship us" [Surah adh-Dhariyyat, verse 56)

if man stopped repenting to Allaah, He would replace us with another creation that would turn to Him for forgiveness. The Prophet, Sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam said: "If you did not commit sins, Allah would sweep you out of existence and replace you by another people who would commit sins, ask for Allah's forgiveness and He would forgive them." (2)

2. Marrated by Aboo Ayyoob & Aboo Hurayrah & collected by Muslim (eng. trans. vol.4 pp.1436-7 nos.6620-2).

I ask my Christian brothers and sisters a question. Do you believe that one of God's attributes is the forgiver of sins?

If yes. Was God always the forgiver of sins?

If no. How can you say that God is immutable?

For me Islamic doctrine is sound!

No disgruntled angel(s) sneaking around planning how to sack the boss. As if God wasn't aware!


A deity whom doesn't want sin yet he places his creation on a planet with a creature whom is capable of calling his children to fall.

I think these views assault the majesty and sovereignty of God.

Neal said...

David,

I think Ken covered it pretty well. I think it is pretty clear here that Sproul in this instance is referring to how a non-Reformed person views the doctrine of election. In addition to the statement Ken alluded to, this is borne out in some of the other statements, like this one: "The non-Reformed thinker usually responds by saying that for God to impose his power on unwilling people is to violate man’s freedom."

As a popularizer, Sproul may not always state things in the most precise way, which is why we have things like the confessions which define our beliefs. It's not "sweeping it under the rug", it's just a recognition that we are all prone to error and Sproul is no exception. I'm referring to the statement in the novel here, not the above quoted passage from Chosen by God, which appears to avoid the previous error. I also think the fact that the previous statement came from a novel rather than a theological treatise should mitigate the admittedly unhelpful characterization.

Ken said...

GV19 wrote:

What I cannot understand for the life of me is for a religion that supposedly teaches the sovereignty of man why does Christianity insist that man can over come the will of God again and again and again.


No, man does not overcome the will of God at all. Arminians and especially the heretical “Word of Faith” preachers do teach that, but Biblical Theology does not. (Reformed, Calvinistic) But even Calvinism distinquishes between the moral will of God (Prescriptive) – “Thy will be done” – Matthew 6:10 - when God’s moral will and commands are disobeyed every day; vs. God’s decretive will – what He has decreed will definitely happen. Psalm 115:3; Ecc. 7:14; Job chapters 1-2; Amos 3:6; Lamentations 3:37-38; Isaiah 45:1-7; Ephesians 1:13; Romans 9:14-24.

When Reformed Christians speak of “God ordaining the fall and sin”, it only means that He decided that it would happen and that He would allow to happen by secondary causes – free will of the angel who became Satan, free wills of Adam and Eve that sinned and lost their free wills, etc.” God is all powerful and can stop sin and stop things like 9-11-01 – Genesis 20:6 – “I kept you from sinning against her” If God did not stop something, like the Islamic terrorists of 9-11-01 – it means He allowed it for a purpose. But He didn’t do it; the evil humans did it. And they were incredibly evil.

Ken said...

GV19 wrote:

What do Christians really mean when they say that God created man in HIS image?

It is sad that your churches you grew up in never taught you anything on this so basic.


It means that humans are different from animals; we have souls, conscience, consciousness, logic, reason, morality, deeper levels of communication and ability to create things (not out of nothing), but art, literature, architecture, etc. It is a spiritual image, not physical – obviously. But with the fall of man, sin; that image has been damaged, and our wills are enslaved to sin ( John 8:34; Ephesians 2:1-3) and our minds have been corrupted and darkened.

With increasing levels of sinning, the mind and soul become darker and more evil, and potential to become like a Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Edi Amin, Jeffery Dahmer, Osama Ben Ladin, Ted Bundy, Mohammad Atta, Stalin, and Charles Manson is there.


Does man have three beings in one person? Or three persons in one being? Man has eyes, ears, mouth, tongue and penis do we assume that the creator has these? (istaghfirullah adheem)

“Istaghfiralla Azeem” is right! May God forgive you for that thought – I thought you knew better than that. Actually, I think you do, you just throw it out there to be difficult it seems. John 4:23-24 – God is Spirit and not physical. God the Son, the Word became flesh, but the Father and the Holy Spirit are pure Spirit. One God/one being/one substance/essence/nature in three persons in pure loving relationship from all eternity past.

Ken said...

GV19 wrote:
How do people resist the Holy Spirit if the grace is irresistible or effectual?

All people are always resisting the Holy Spirit; (Acts 7:51 is true; Ephesians 2:1-3) until God causes some from all nations to be born again (Rev. 5:9; John 3:1-8; I Peter 1:3); when God chooses to overcome that rebellion and sin; He is more powerful; and obviously can and does choose some from all nations (Ephesians 1, Romans 8-9); that is why the effectual grace is called “irresistible”, and it means that if a person dies without Christ, it means that God did not choose to save that person and He is perfectly just to condemn them for their own sin. God is holy, sovereign, just, and pure. That is what Romans 9:14-24 teaches.


Why? Think about it. Would a broken will that has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit freely and willingly choose anything other than God?.

Again, that is why Reformed theology calls it “irresistible”.

I don't think Ken's response on the previous post answered this.

No, I already answered that; but you just don’t understand; your mind is clouded and unable to see the truth. (the Noetic affects of sin - I Cor. 2:14; Romans 8:7; John 8:34; Ephesians 2:1-3) You are stuck in your rebellion against Christ. You are resisting the Holy Spirit even now in your attacks against the Bible and Christianity. You must repent before it is too late. May God the Holy Spirit cause you to see.

I have not been given an example of a regenerated person who has chosen other than Christ Jesus.

All that the Father gives Me, will come to Me.” John 6:37; see also Psalm 2 - Ask of Me, and I will give you the nations as Your inheritance". those that repent will be saved; those that don't repent will be broken and smashed like clay pots. Kiss and bow and worship the Son, before He pours out His wrath on you.

Ken said...

GV19 wrote:

I ask my Christian brothers and sisters a question. Do you believe that one of God's attributes is the forgiver of sins?

Yes

If yes. Was God always the forgiver of sins?

of course; based on repentance and the atonement of blood sacrifice in the OT law; and finally and eternally in Christ on the cross; in the new covenant in His blood.

If no. How can you say that God is immutable?

God is immutable. There is no contradiction to the second person of the Trinity becoming flesh and dying for us; no contradiction to the immutability of God.

For me Islamic doctrine is sound!

It is not sound. It denigrates the holiness and justice of God. God punishes all sin by excecution and death. “the soul that sins must die” Ezekiel 18 The wages of sin is death. Romans 3:23 The cross preserves God’s justice / holiness / wrath against sin; and at the same time His love for sinners among all nations. Rev. 5:9 I have explained this many times to you, but your mind is dull of understanding.

I think these views assault the majesty and sovereignty of God.

It is Islam that assaults the majesty, holiness and justice and love of God. You have the same problem in Islam; but no way to preserve holiness and justice and at the same time pure love. Rejection of the incarnation and atonement is rejection of Truth of who God is, and what He had done for us in Christ in the incarnation and atonement. For in Islam Allah is absolutely sovereign. He is pure will and power. Everything is “Ensh’allah”, “if God wills”. But Allah is not holy and there is no justice against sin (because you have no eternal atonement for sin and you think man can clean himself up by disciplines of Islam, that never heal the heart of lust and pride and anger ) and Allah is not love. Allah loves those who love him first. Yours is a man-exalting religion. You can boast of your good works and Jihads and strivings. Your history of Islam - conquering and killing and Genocides – aggressive wars against the Iranians, Byzantines, Egyptians, Berbers, Spain, Hindus, etc. is much worse than what Andrew Jackson did. You don’t have I John 4:8-19, nor I Corinthians 13, nor Romans 8, nor Romans 5. You said yourself that the greatest form of love is dying for one’s enemies, and Romans 5:5-11 teaches that God demonstrates His love by Christ dying to us sinners, helpless, enemies, ungodly.

David Waltz said...

Hello Ken,

Wow, looks like things got a bit busy last night. I don’t have a lot of time right now, I am in between outdoor projects, but I thought that while I let my lunch digest, that I would at least try to make some contribution (though any comprehensive interaction will have to wait until tomorrow morning. You posted:

>>No, man does not overcome the will of God at all. Arminians and especially the heretical “Word of Faith” preachers do teach that, but Biblical Theology does not. (Reformed, Calvinistic) But even Calvinism distinquishes between the moral will of God (Prescriptive) – “Thy will be done” – Matthew 6:10 - when God’s moral will and commands are disobeyed every day; vs. God’s decretive will – what He has decreed will definitely happen.>>

Me: Your statement implies that certain teachings of Evangelical Arminian theology are not Biblical, and yet, it sure seems to me that Reformed/Calvinistic theology needs to employ a considerable number of non-Biblical constructs and terms (e.g. total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible call, moral vs. decretive wills, etc.) to ‘make things fit’. Tomorrow, I hope to discuss passages from the Bible that sure seem to be at odds with some of the crucial elements of Reformed theology; but for now, would like to submit the following:

==I think another glance at Colossians 2:13 may help us as we continue to reflect on and articulate a theology of regeneration. As far as I know, the point I hope to make about the text has not entered the discussion, but there seems to be good reason for considering this verse's teaching as foundational for the matter at hand.

"Colossians 2:13 comes at an integral point in Paul's epistle. At 2:8 the apostle warns his readers of man-made, un-Christian philosophy, the kind of teaching that was invading the congregation at Colossae. Following this, he begins an exposition of the sort of philosophy that is "according to Christ" — one that recognizes, among other things, the exalted position of Jesus as the God-man and the need of all men to be united with him in burial and resurrection. And then in v. 13 Paul elaborates on the experience of his readers: "But you, who were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses" (ESV). It goes without saying that Paul's primary point here lies beyond the scope of the question we're considering, but what he says is still important as we think about how to relate regeneration and faith. Why? Because this verse likely indicates, via the syntax, an assumption that Paul has about the order of these two things.2

"Notice again what he says. "God made [you] alive together with him, having forgiven [charisomenos] us all our trespasses." The aorist participle translated "having forgiven" is significant, for as grammarians have noted, a participle of this tense usually points to an action occurring prior to that of the main verb.3 In this case that verb is "made alive" [sunezōopoiēsen]. If this use of the aorist participle occurs in Col 2:13, we may conclude that since forgiveness is a gift bestowed in response to faith (Rom. 4:1-8)4, and since "made alive" in this verse most certainly means regeneration, faith precedes regeneration. (Brian M. Daniels, “On the Ordo Salutis and Colossians 2:13” - ONLINE ESSAY.==


Hundreds of Biblical essays are available at the Society of Evangelical Arminians site, which present a very solid case for Biblical Arminianism that cannot be easily dismissed (IMO).


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi GV19,

As I mentioned to Ken earlier, do not have much time right now, but I did want to ask you a quick question concerning the following you posted:

>>It is said in the Hadith al-Qudsi that Allah has said:
"I was a Hidden Treasure, and I longed that I should be known. So I Created creation, that I might be known.">>

Me: I thought the “I was a Hidden Treasure” hadith was from Shia sources; are you sure that it is part of the traditional Sunni Qudsi hadith collection, or are you just using “Hadith al-Qudsi” in a general sense?


Grace and peace,

David

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

With the name of God, Peace be unto those who follow the guidance from their Lord.

David, you asked. I thought the “I was a Hidden Treasure” hadith was from Shia sources; are you sure that it is part of the traditional Sunni Qudsi hadith collection, or are you just using “Hadith al-Qudsi” in a general sense?

This is from Sunni sources. I am not even sure or aware that it is from Shi'a sources. Though of course there will be over lap in the sanads as they eventually go back to the same source The Prophet (saw). However, the various chains of transmission can and will be different.

“I was a Treasure unknown then I desired to be known so I created a creation to which I made Myself known, then they knew Me.” Its meaning is true. From al-Qârî's al-Asrâr al-Marfû'atu fîl-Akhbâr al-Mawd.û'a

As far as it's chain of narration it is almost unanimously rejected that it does not have a well established chain.

However, those that speak against the chain of transmission also say that the meaning is true.

Based upon the verse I gave above. Allah did not create the men and Jinn save but to worship him.

But it is an important distinction nonetheless because a hadith with no accurate chain of transmission cannot be used to establish a hukum (legal verdict) or certainty with no doubt.

This is why those hadiths in Bukhari and Muslim also are not to be taken as legal proofs because they are ahad khabeer (lone narrator reports) even when they meet the criteria of sahih (sound) in way of transmission.

Muslims only have around 500 hadith that are mutawattir (mass transmitted in such a way that no doubt can be had about their authenticity).

http://mac.abc.se/home/onesr/d/itp.html#hth < If you scroll down until you see 'Hidden Treasure' hadith you will see what the Sunni Muslims have had to say about it.

Though Ibn Arabi seemed to favor it through kashf (unveiling).

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

With the name of God,

Ken you said,

If yes. Was God always the forgiver of sins?

of course; based on repentance and the atonement of blood sacrifice in the OT law; and finally and eternally in Christ on the cross; in the new covenant in His blood.


Was one of God's attributes the forgiver before this? Meaning was God The Forgiver before the 'fall'?

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

With the name of God,

I would like if someone can touch upon my question above.

What is meant by the breath of life? Is this a part of God? Does man have a soul animated by God?

When God breaths the breath of life into man?

Ken said...

Romans 5:5-11 teaches that God demonstrates His love by Christ dying to us sinners, helpless, enemies, ungodly.

oops; typo

should have been

Romans 5:5-11 teaches that God demonstrates His love by Christ dying FOR us sinners, helpless, enemies, ungodly.

Ken said...

In context of Genesis 1-2, God breathing into man the breath of life, and he became a living soul; just means God gives life and God gives us, creates our soul, which is in the image of God, but it does not mean that all have the Spirit of God (like in the new covenant for believers - connection or relationship with God through the Holy Spirit; no. Unbelievers do not have the Spirit of God, but are created in the image of God; but that image needs repairing/healing/saving.

It is what makes us alive; and what shows that we have an immaterial part of us, a soul; and that originally was in the image of God(explained earlier); but that image has been damaged and shattered and corrupted by sin; but not destroyed.

the mind, the will, the emotions, the soul has been damaged by sin. Ephesians 2:1-3.

The image of God is repaired for believers in Christ in the new covenant at the point of repentance/faith/conversion - Colossians 3:9-11; Ephesians 4:20-24 and as we grow in holiness, it continues to be more and more sanctified and continuously renewed.

natamllc said...

David

greetings,

I liked your expose above, however I still maintain the order is not as you have indicated.

There are only two places where "made alive", is used. There at Col. 2:13 and at Eph. 2:5.

In a digression, I would like to read your spin on Roman's 5:16-18 and elucidate the Greek words,

in verse 16
δικαίωμα
dikaiōma
dik-ah'-yo-mah
From G1344; an equitable deed; by implication a statute or decision: - judgment, justification, ordinance, righteousness.

in verse 18
δικαίωσις
dikaiōsis
dik-ah'-yo-sis
From G1344; acquittal (for Christ’s sake): - justification.

From where I sit, once you get the order correctly, you see why being "made alive" brings you to the Faith once delivered to the Saints and not the other way around!

That "Faith" delivered is delivered to the "living", not to the "dead".

Another place where I see this order disputed is Luke 20, the entire chapter and especially the point Jesus makes to the Sadducees.

In any event, I a glad that I found this blog. It came to me from another blog where you posted and I responded to your posts there.

This is invigorating stuff!

Thanks
May God richly bless you!
michael

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

With the name of God, Peace be unto those who follow the guidance from their Lord.

Ken do you not find it problematic that the image of God was broken?

If someone could shed light on the Hebrew words that are used here and their various meanings maybe helpful.


I also want to know Ken if you want to address the question above.

Was one of God's attributes the forgiver before this? Meaning was God The Forgiver before the 'fall'?

Thanks,

David Waltz said...

Hi GV19,

A very busy weekend for the beachbum, so please forgive my somewhat tardy response; on the 23rd you posted:

>>David, you asked. I thought the “I was a Hidden Treasure” hadith was from Shia sources; are you sure that it is part of the traditional Sunni Qudsi hadith collection, or are you just using “Hadith al-Qudsi” in a general sense?

This is from Sunni sources. I am not even sure or aware that it is from Shi'a sources. Though of course there will be over lap in the sanads as they eventually go back to the same source The Prophet (saw). However, the various chains of transmission can and will be different.

“I was a Treasure unknown then I desired to be known so I created a creation to which I made Myself known, then they knew Me.” Its meaning is true. From al-Qârî's al-Asrâr al-Marfû'atu fîl-Akhbâr al-Mawd.û'a

As far as it's chain of narration it is almost unanimously rejected that it does not have a well established chain.

However, those that speak against the chain of transmission also say that the meaning is true.>>

Me: Thanks much for your thoughts and the link (http://mac.abc.se/home/onesr/d/itp.html#hth) that you provided a bit later in your post. I had already downloaded and read this particular pdf article which lead me to engage in a bit of online research. I started with al-Qari, and found that the following online article was one of the best:

Mulla `Ali al-Qari (d. 1014 AH) A Great Hanafi Hadith Master

>>Muslims only have around 500 hadith that are mutawattir (mass transmitted in such a way that no doubt can be had about their authenticity).>>

Me: I did not know this GV; thanks for the info!!!

>>Though Ibn Arabi seemed to favor it through kashf (unveiling).>>

Me: I am still trying to track down the earliest citation/use of this hadith Qudsi—so far my research seems to indicate that the oldest sources are Sufi.

Once again, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi Michael (natamllc),

Thanks much for taking the time to respond; you posted:

>>I liked your expose above,>>

Me: To be accurate, it was not mine, but Brian N. Daniels, “a M.Div. student at Southeastern Baptist Theological seminary”.

>>however I still maintain the order is not as you have indicated.

There are only two places where "made alive", is used. There at Col. 2:13 and at Eph. 2:5.>>

Me: Yes, the Greek term, συνεζωοποίησεν, is only used twice in the NT. However, would you agree that there are some equivalents/synonyms (e.g. born again, new creation, life in Christ, etc.)?

>>In a digression, I would like to read your spin on Roman's 5:16-18 and elucidate the Greek words,

in verse 16
δικαίωμα
dikaiōma
dik-ah'-yo-mah
From G1344; an equitable deed; by implication a statute or decision: - judgment, justification, ordinance, righteousness.

in verse 18
δικαίωσις
dikaiōsis
dik-ah'-yo-sis
From G1344; acquittal (for Christ’s sake): - justification.>>

Me: Have a ton of emails that I received over the weekend that I need to respond to; will try to get to the above later today, but it may be tomorrow before I can do so.

>>From where I sit, once you get the order correctly, you see why being "made alive" brings you to the Faith once delivered to the Saints and not the other way around!

That "Faith" delivered is delivered to the "living", not to the "dead".>>

Me: As you probably know, the above is one the crucial elements that separates Calvinism (i.e. the Reformed) from virtually every other theological system (Arminian, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox). Bottom line: if regeneration precedes faith, then the Reformed are correct; however, if regeneration comes after faith, then the Reformed are flat wrong.

>>In any event, I a glad that I found this blog. It came to me from another blog where you posted and I responded to your posts there.

This is invigorating stuff!>>

Me: Thank you Michael; will be looking forward to more of your comments/posts!!!


God bless,

David

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

With the name of God, Peace be unto those who follow the guidance from their Lord.

David you said,

"if regeneration precedes faith, then the Reformed are correct; however, if regeneration comes after faith, then the Reformed are flat wrong."

What happens if regeneration and faith are simultaneous?

http://calvinistflyswatter.blogspot.com/2006/03/bob-ross-regeneration-calv_114261719496018943.html

< I thought the above link was interesting and of course he provides lots of insightful information.

David Waltz said...

Hi GV19,

Yet another very busy day here at the beach—so many summer chores to attend to…

You posted:

>>"if regeneration precedes faith, then the Reformed are correct; however, if regeneration comes after faith, then the Reformed are flat wrong."

What happens if regeneration and faith are simultaneous?

http://calvinistflyswatter.blogspot.com/2006/03/bob-ross-regeneration-calv_114261719496018943.html

< I thought the above link was interesting and of course he provides lots of insightful information.>>

Me: Before I respond directly, just wanted to let you know that I actually have a debate on predestination between Bob Ross and the (in)famous Peter S. Ruckman.

Anyway, moving on, many Calvinists teach that from our finite, human perspective, regeneration and faith seem to be “simultaneous”. However, from God’s view, who exists outside of time, Calvinists introduce what is termed an ordo salutis (order of salvation), from God’s point of view, which from a Reformed position, demands that regeneration precedes faith—even though in the case of most adults, it seems that the two are “simultaneous” to us finite beings.

Yet with that said, most Reformed folk believe that many children of Reformed parents who baptize their infants are regenerated prior to faith—a bit of a paradox, so to speak, within the Reformed communion.

Hope I have been of some assistance; if not, please feel free to ask as many questions as you feel led…


Take care and God bless,

David

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

With the name of God, Peace be unto those who follow the guidance from their Lord.

David I want to thank you for being gracious and continuing to engage me here and in our e-mail exchanges.

I also want to point out to other Christians that It is not my intention to insult when I say things like God not being made aware of disgruntled angels (Lucifer) trying to make a dash for his throne.

No not at all. I'm trying to get you to think about your theological views and ask yourself if it all adds up.

Now that I think about it I do think that the reformed position is close to Islam in some respects.

However, note that God says in the Qur'an,

Allah doth wish to lighten your (difficulties), for man is created weak (in flesh). (Quran:4:28)

If you say man was created perfect and was created in God's image than you would think that this perfection would reflect God's spiritual perfection.

You would also think that this creation would reflect the wisdom of God. I don't see how anyone can not say that God is wise in all that he does.

One would also think that there is wisdom in the all knowing God allowing Satan to lurk about a 'perfect' garden.

1 Peter 5:8 (ESV)
8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Seems to me like the stage was set for a great drama to unfold.

I think Christians and Muslims could agree on some of the particulars of this.

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

With the name of God, continued...

I think where we differ is that Christians claim man was created perfect, where as God says in the Qur'an that man was created weak.

I mean think about it. You create a creature with teeth and claws doesn't it stand to reason that this creature would use those teeth and claws?

Why didn't God just put mankind in a spiritual realm and keep him as a spirit? Notice that he made the flesh first (formed them from the dust of the ground) than he gave it animation and the breath of life.

In Islamic theology there is no such thing as the doctrine of fallen angels and I think Christians should revisit that theological construct as well.

The 'Sola Scriptura' proof text for the doctrine of fallen angels seems sketchy a best.

A passage in Isaiah and Revelation maybe Job.

This is why I asked Ken,

Was one of God's attributes the forgiver before this? Meaning was God The Forgiver before the 'fall'?

You see Muslims believe that God is creator even when there was no creation to be creator of. Just like God is Lord and Sovereign in eternity past when there was no time and no creation to be Lord and Sovereign over. Just as God is the Forging even when there were no beings in need of forgiveness!

Think about it!

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

correction above should be Forgiving rather than Forging.


One of the main theological differences we have with Christians over the nature of God is that we do not believe that in order for God to be God that his status must be relational.

Allot of Christians believe that God is trinitarian (exist in relationship).

Muslims believe that Allah is unitarian and all his attributes exist in his dhat (essence).

This is why I brought the narration (though it's chain is unknown) the meaning is backed up by the Qur'an.

"We did not create the jinn and men except to worship us" [Surah adh-Dhariyyat, verse 56)

Now God expresses his attributes through is creation, or you can just say they are a natural manifestation of his divine might and power.

There are beings who need sins forgiven because God is the forgiver of sins.

There are beings in need of guidance because God is the source of guidance.

God does not need nor does God have two wills!

God has one will and exist in his dhat (essence). All the attributes of God exist in his essence (dhat) God does not exist inside of his creation (space/time).

None of the creation can contain the creator.

Because all of creation are defined by the fact that they are creation that are dependent upon or defined in relation to the creator.

continued...

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

continued from above...

The meanings of verse 7: 143


And when Moses came at Allah's appointed time, that is, the time at which Allah had promised to speak to him, and his Lord spoke with him, without any intermediary, with speech which he heard from all directions,

Moses said, ‘My Lord! Show me, Yourself, that I may behold You!’
Allah Said, ‘You shall not see Me, that is to say, you do not have the power to see me, but behold the mountain, which is stronger than you are, and if it remains, stays fixed, in its place, then you shall see Me’, that is, [then] you shall remain fixed and able to see Me, otherwise, you will not have the capacity for it.

And when Allah revealed Himself, to the mountain it instantly turned into ash and Moses fell down senseless, having lost consciousness at the awesomeness of what he had seen.

And when he recovered his senses he said, ‘Glory be to You!, in Your transcendence. I repent to You, for having asked You what I was not commanded [to ask], and I am the first of the believers’, of my time.

It should be emphasized that the use of this expression [lan tar?n?, which means, ‘you shall not see Me’] instead of lan ur?, which means, ‘I shall not be seen’, implies that it is possible to see God, exalted be He (but only the believers will see Him in the Afterlife)