Saturday, August 02, 2008

Response To an Open Theist


The following is my reply to "Preston" who commented on the post on the need to reform in the Church. His criticism was lengthy as was my reply, I feel that it hits on much of the center of the Open Theist controversy as well as many of the popular objections to Reformed theology. That said, I figured I would make a post of my reply. Preston's original comment can be read in it's entirety in the comment section of the post "The Need for Reform or The Pelagian Captivity of the Church".

Here's my reply, Preston's words in blue:

Preston,

Thanks for your comments, I am very welcome to criticism and debate and do not "moderate" people like some blogs do so that no one can criticize them. So thanks for coming by and feel free to add what you wish to the discussions over here.

As for what you have said, you make the common error in viewing God's predestination and man's responsibility. You assume that one can not have both in a theological system. That really is what you are saying, either predestination and foreordination of an all knowing God, OR we can have responsible moral agents.

This my friend is the definition of a false dichotomy fallacy and is why you are an open theist. Let me quote you so it is clear, you commit this fallacy as you write:

"I find Calvinist such as yourself very entertaining. On one hand you write a post asking what's up with all this Pelagianism in the church and that something needs to be done about it. OK then sir put your theology where your mouth is - stop blithering about it in a public forum and start confronting the one who is really responsible for all this - GOD!! Since man is unable to do anything from a freewill standpoint , but is predestined or foreordained to do everything then God is the person you need to take issue with."

So because God has foreordained events and predestined individuals to be in his Bride (Eph 1:3-4), YOU make the conclusion that therefore man has no responsibility and therefore I should not treat them as such. This is a false dichotomy, and is the one of the major planks in open theism.

You assert that a Sovereign, All knowing, Predestinating God can NOT exist alongside free, moral agents who are responsible for their choices. That is the false dichotomy.

Scripture says otherwise, God is both Sovereign over men's salvation so that none come to Christ but by His drawing and ALL whom He draws will come to Christ and be saved, and man is responsible for his choices. Let's exegete John 6 to prove this:

" All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.
And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:37-40)


"ALL" v.37 is a universal clause, meaning everyone, and is often meaning everyone of a particular group. In this case ALL refers to those the Father has given to Christ. Do you see that? "All" is both universal and particular in it's scope. So logically it could be read: "ALL X's come to Jesus and are raised to the resurrection of life"

X meaning those given to Jesus by the father. So if someone is given to Jesus by the father that person comes to Jesus, and will be raised up at the last day. And not only that if that is true Jesus says He will not lose those whom the Father has given Him. (they wont fall away) But will believe unto life eternal. That's what the text says.

This is a brief exegesis however my point is twofold here, 1. I didn't get this sovereign predestination view of God from pagan philosophic ideas, I got it from the Bible, that's what John 6 says. 2. Also, I wanted to show that well God has given some people to Jesus, and it is they ALL of them who come and believe, Christ says He will lose NONE of them but raise up ALL of them at the last day. Again, that's just what it says.

That being the case I don't think you and I would disagree that there is a hell. Assuming what I have said above either God is unjust in damning those people, or there is no injustice on God's part at all, and all the damned are morally responsible.

That being the case I am both commanded to exhort people to sound doctrine (Tit 2:2-5), and to win souls (Matt 28). There is no inconsistency here, I am not privy to who the elect are, all I know is that no one comes to Christ but by God's sovereign regenerating grace.

Heretics are responsible for their false teaching and will be judged by God. And yes you are correct I certainly believe that heretics repent of their error by the merciful grace of God. That's what Paul says to Timothy:

"And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will." (2 Tim 2:24-26)

That is why I am prayerful in evangelism and apologetics, only God can open the eyes of the sinner. There is no inconsistency with God's sovereign heart changing work and my responsibility to preach. Heretics don't all of a sudden wise up of their own accord and cling to sound doctrine (that would be a work would it not?), it is by grace that they return to sound teaching. At least that's what Paul the inspired apostle taught.

As for those God has not chosen and leaves in their error, and their moral responsibility:

These individuals are still responsible for their sin even though God has seen fit to pass them by. It is His prerogative to select who shall be His bride, or to even have a bride from sinners at all. God would have been just to damn the whole lot of us, but in His mercy He has chosen to save some.

Now it honestly took me thus far to do what I see as a fair reply to the ideas loaded in your first paragraph which I quoted. I have spent this much time on it because you repeat yourself and this is the heart of your error.

But I will briefly address the rest of what you said now:

"If you truly adhered to predestination then you would realize that its God fault for all this and not any one else."

How is God at fault that men and women hate Him? It is just silly to me that people always say this stuff. He doesn't actively "MAKE" people unbelievers/haters, that's just what the natural man is and does. If He in His predestination leaves some in this state to be damned for their rebellion why is He at fault?

You confuse Calvinism with determinism, a common straw man, and pound away at this scare crow you have erected in your backyard with "Calvinism" written on it's shirt. You thrash and punch at this Straw man while the real Calvinists are looking over the fence into your yard wondering when you will wear yourself out and come talk with them over a pint of ale and figure out what we are really saying.

So let me make this clear, God's predestination of the damned is not active, it is passive, He leaves them to their free wills, and they always choose sin and God rejecting idolatry. They are entirely to blame.

"But alas there is the rub! In your own mind you believe that man DOES have a choice and does have a freewill - if you didn't then why all this complaining! You seem to act as if we have a choice here - but according to your theology we really don't!"

How you do lash out at that scarecrow! Next time I suggest a kick to the groin! No Reformed theologian says we don't have a choice. What we say is that left to ourselves in our sinful state held under the sway of the wicked one (Eph 2:1-3) no one ever chooses God. They will always choose sin, in that sense men are bound.

No one ever complains, "I want to believe in Jesus but God won't let me!" The unregenerate want nothing to do with Christ, at least the Jesus of the Bible. The problem is the heart not so much will power. It is only by grace that we find an interest in Jesus at all.

"The issue the rest of us have with Calvinism is that your theology DOES makes God out to be a Monster because God is somehow more concerned with his power and Sovereignty than about love."

Perhaps your idea of love. I find it the most loving thing that God has in His mercy had a plan to glorify Himself in the saving of sinners through King Jesus.

And yes sir it is all about HIS GLORY, He's the center of it all, your speech betrays your man centeredness. If God is God, and He is the definition of perfection (Oh wait you don't believe that God is perfect...your an open theist) but anyway if He is the definition of perfection, beauty, Goodness, Holiness it would be an injustice for Him not to seek His own glory. We give crowns to beauty queens, trophies to athletes, praise to just rulers is not God all of these things to the ultimate and therefore deserving of the ultimate glory not to be shared with another?

The marvelous thing is that in seeking His own glory He is loving sinners and saving them. Things angels desire to look into. I recommend "God's Passion For His Glory" by John Piper, in it he has the full text of Jonathan Edwards' "The End for Which God Created the World" In it he argues that God does everything for one purpose His glory. This makes the man centered cring and the God entranced stand in awe.

Now here's the real rub (why is everyone so fond of that phrase anyway?):

"You see the issue most people have is that Calvinism grossly violates man's God given sense of natural law or right reason! Whenever this is violated then this is a good sign something is NOT truth, but a lie - i.e. Calvinism!"

And you want to say I lean on pagan philosophy?! Natural law? Pheh!

This was and is my point with open theists, you erect laws of what God can and can't do and make God altogether to your liking. When I come along and start quoting chapters like John 6, Eph 2, Romans 9, you have to reach for the panic button and start whipping out some "laws" that God is bound to that you guys just made up. Do tell sir what are some of these natural laws that God can not violate?

Now I really don't know what to make of this:

"Why do Calvinist have a problem with God setting aside his knowledge or power so that he may LOVE or better yet allow man to love Him! God is not some power hungry deity - as Calvin made him out to be. Besides, who made the rule or where is it found in the bible that if God is not TOTALLY in control he is somehow not God......let me clue you in there isnt!"

We have a problem with God setting aside His knowledge because it is not Biblical, where does the Bible say God set aside His foreknowledge in order that we could have as you see it "true free choice"? Quite the contrary we see the authors of the Bible often speeking of God's foreknowledge (ex 1 Pet 1:2).

As for God being in control, and if He is not in control He is not God, yes that is very much Biblical. That's why the true God was able to manifest signs and wonders when the worshippers of Baal could not, He was in control. That's why the true God brought rain when Baal could not. Christ commanded the wind and waves, feeds 5000, puts to death death in His death so that we might never die.

It is a distinguishing mark of God the one true God that He is sovereign, it is what sets Him apart from the false time and time again in the Bible. Also the Bible repeatedly attests to God's sovereignty:

"all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, "What have you done?" (Dan 4:35)"

God is sovereign over men's physical frames:

"Then the LORD said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?" (Ex 4:11)

Now I could go on citing texts but this is becoming a post in itself so lets finish the rest of the response, as for Calvin, I would suggest actually reading his works before smearing his name. You further state:

"Open Theism is not a Pagan philosophy - but rather predestination and original sin are. The seed of paganism Calvinism has its roots from is Augustine. Prior to him, the only place most of the 5 points of Calvinism were found were in Gnosticism and Pagan philosophy."

I just can't believe that in a post where you cite no Bible, you fall back on the so called "laws of nature" that you have the gall to say that I am the one leaning on the legs of pagan thought. It's amazing how ridiculous we can be. I would suggest you start drinking from the wells of men outside of Bob Enyart and your cliche up there in Denver. Read some Spurgeon, you don't need to be a Calvinist to appreciate his stuff.

As for Augustine, again this displays your ignorance and regurgitation of nonsense being fed to you by men who themselves haven't done their homework. The 5 points of Calvinism were formed in reply to the Arminian 5 points in the remonstrance, Calvin and Augustine knew nothing of TULIP. It's just a helpful acronym to summarize a much broader Doctrine of God and soteriology.

Furthermore, you dont say HOW Augustine was pagan, you just say it, cause you don't like what he represents (I say represents rather than says because you probably never read City of God or his Confessions). You just say these things and think that makes them so without any real reference, kind of like this next statement:

"As for making God play by "Our Rules" is a fallacy. If God desires relationship with his creation - like any good parent would want to do - then don't you think it would be a good idea on God's part to make sure we have the ability to understand him? Instead with Calvinism we have God playing some twisted form of "Cosmic Peakaboo" with us?"

Fallacy? What fallacy would that be?

I argue that you open theists make up unbiblical rules (which you cited in these "natural laws"), and then from there you reject descriptions of God that are Biblical and shave off attributes so God plays by these rules you made up.

The amazing thing is that in the sentence I just quoted you do the very thing I argued that you do, and to which you are attempting to reply. You define "Good parent" and say God to be a "good parent" must act in manners x, y, and z. Therefore no predestination, sorry John 6. If that's not fitting God into the mold of your man made rules I don't know what is.

Again God is not obliged to do any such thing as you have described. He is not bound by any of the shackles with which you would hold Him with. As C.S. Lewis put it, "He is not a tame Lion". He would be perfectly just to have made us let us fall and never had any more interaction with us. You have no right to call this "unloving" (an amorphous word) that's like a thief who broke into my home beat my children, assaulted my wife calling me "unloving" when I decide to point a gun at him. It is called justice. Last I checked God wasn't obliged to love people who rebel against Him and hate Him But GOD (Eph 2:4) out of His mercy and grace, He has done just that.

You see you really don't know the depths of your sin, and therefore you don't know the greatness of God's grace. You seem to see grace as something God is obliged to give by some rules He has to follow. This is the very antithesis of the definition of grace.

You are right that the Bible is evidence that God wants us to know Him, my point is that unlike you I see the Bible as a merciful gift not something God was obliged to bestow to keep in accord with the definition of "good" that exists outside of Himself.

Also in the paragraph you seem to take a rather heretical view of the incarnation of Christ, shaving off Christ's divine attributes.

I am just blown away by this next statement because of it's clear contradiction with scripture:

Furthermore, when Christ spoke to people he did so by how??? Through parables - WHY? By appealing to man's sense of right reason, through his God given sense of natural law. The very reason Jesus' could not be refuted was that he was logically consistent and thus appealed to "the rules" as you so aptly put it!"

Actually when we turn to Scripture we see Jesus tell us WHY He spoke in parables:

"he said, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that 'seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.'" (Lk 8:10)

Well would you look at that, Jesus seems to say that there are certain people (the elect) to whom the secrets of the kingdom are given the rest are left in the dark and without understanding. As for Jesus appealing to "the rules" I have no idea what you are talking about, if you mean love your neighbor and stuff like that, yes He did appeal to that, but that is the Old Testament revealed word of God, not some natural rules you keep alluding to.


These "Natural Rules" are nothing more than the ideas of the humanistic spirit of the age that has been smuggled into Christian theology resulting in one false teaching after another. The paragraph I just quoted from you with all of it's refrences to "reason" has more to do with the enlightenment ideals than the reformation. Open theism really is a form of Deism (the teachings of Deism and OT are strikingly similar), the difference is OT is just upgraded into a more feel good modern consumeristic package.

Well we are at the end so lets just quote the last paragraph and be done with this gauntlet:

"Besides, sir you are so severly blinded by Calvinsim that my rambling here will do little to prick your mind or your heart about what you have said about Open Theist or the so called heresy of Pelgianism (whatever that means). Good luck in your search for Truth - I just hope God manipulates your brain to find it."

The ghost of John Calvin has pulled the wool over my eyes, and as you accuratly put it your rambling is no longer effectual. How shall I ever be free from this view of God entranced vision of all things!

Woe is me, for I am no longer a humanist! We don't haver seeker sensetive churches, because we know that no one seeks God (Rom 3:10) the only One who does the seeking is Christ, who came to seek and save the lost (Lk 19:10)...Woe! Woe! Woe to us!

In all seriousness, it has been by God's mercy that I came to these truths, I was an Arminian at one time and wrestled with the issues of the problem of evil and flirted with open theism. I rejected it because it wasn't Biblical.

I just find it blasphemous that you speak so scathingly about God's eye opening grace to people.

To close I do want to ask you a few of questions:

1. What does God know given your view? (Back this up with Scripture)

2. How does God govern the events of the world? (Cite Scripture)

3. What does God do if anything in order to save a sinner?

4. How do you interpret John 6? (If it doesn’t' mean what I said then what DOES it mean?)

11 comments:

Bob said...

Over on the other post Preston has replied, I will put his reply here since this post is dealing more specifically with our debate whereas the other deals more with the need for reform in evangelicalism in general. His reply is in three parts and begins now:

(PART I)

Bob

You stated the following:

How is God at fault that men and women hate Him? It is just silly to me that people always say this stuff. He doesn't actively "MAKE" people unbelievers/haters, that's just what the natural man is and does. If He in His predestination leaves some in this state to be damned for their rebellion why is He at fault?

You confuse Calvinism with determinism, a common straw man, and pound away at this scare crow you have erected in your backyard with "Calvinism" written on it's shirt. You pound away at this Straw man and the real calvinists are looking over the fence into your yard wondering when you will wear yourself out and come figure out what we are really saying.

Bob, thats funny - here is what one major Calvinist scholar had to say about this very subject. Most Calvinist I know would heartedly disagree with you here. Determinism and Calvinism go hand and hand my friend. Here is what Loraine Boettner once stated in his paper "The Foreknowledge of God":


"In so decreeing He(God) necessarily decreed all that was to come. In fine, God foresaw the future events of the universe as certain, because He had decreed to create; but this determination to create involved also a determination of all the actual results of that creation; or, in other words, God decreed those results."

Foreknowledge must not be confused with foreordination. Foreknowledge presupposes foreordination, but is not itself foreordination. The actions of free agents do not take place because they are foreseen, but they are foreseen because they are certain to take place. Hence Strong says, "Logically, though not chronologically, decree comes before foreknowledge. When I say, 'I know what I will do,' it is evident that I have determined already, and that my knowledge does not precede determination, but follows it and is based upon it."

Since God's foreknowledge is complete, He knows the destiny of every person, not merely before the person has made his choice in this life, but from eternity. And since He knows their destiny before they are created, and then proceeds to create, it is plain that the saved and the lost alike fulfill His plan for them; for if He did not plan that any particular ones should be lost, He could at least refrain from creating them.

We conclude, then, that the Christian doctrine of the Foreknowledge of God proves also His Predestination. Since these events are foreknown, they are fixed and settled things; and nothing can have fixed and settled them except the good pleasure of God,--- the great first cause,--- freely and unchangeably foreordaining whatever comes to pass. The whole difficulty lies in the acts of free agents being certain; yet certainty is required for foreknowledge as well as for foreordination. The Arminian arguments, if valid, would disprove both foreknowledge and foreordination. And since they prove too much we conclude that they prove nothing at all."

You see Bob Determinism IS Calvinism. It seems you just don't have the stomach to admit this as probably it doesn't sit well in your own conscience. You somehow can't understand why the rest of us just can't see it any other way? well that's probably because when you follow this arguement to its logical conclusion thats where we all end up!

Besides, your argument here is old. On one hand you want to say God has foreordained all things (both good and evil) but yet he is not responsible for any of the evil stuff. This is where logic is usually thrown out the door with most Calvinist. Its as if your saying something can be True, False or Both. As we all know this is just absurd to think this way. As Boettner has stated so very clear, EVERYTHING is fixed from "Eternity Past" and NOTHING will happen that was not already determined by God himself! If its fixed then we have no say so in the matter!

Bob, if I were you I would either get a stronger stomach for your own theology or start searching for some sound doctrine.

(PART II)
One other thing Bob. Here is how I would dissect John 6.

John 6:37 -- “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

If “irresistible grace” is taught in this passage, it is for all who believe on Christ and not merely for a special few who were sovereignly pre-elected to be saved.

This verse does not say that God has sovereignly pre-chosen only some for salvation and that it is those pre-chosen ones that are given to Christ. One must read all of that into the verse. It simply says that all that the Father gives will come to Christ. The question is this: “Who is it that the Father gives to Jesus?”

That question is answered plainly in this passage only three verses later: “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jn. 6:40). (Of course Calvinist argues that it is only the elect who can “see the Son,” but one must read that into the verse also.)

Thus, all those who believe on Christ are given by the Father and they are received and are not cast out.

John 6:39 -- “And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”

I've explained this under John 6:37. Verse 40 says that those that are given by the Father are those who believe on Christ.

John 6:44 -- “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

This is an important statement and it teaches that men cannot be saved apart from divine drawing. Sinners do not seek God on their own (Rom. 3:11). If John 6:44 stood alone, apart from the rest of the Scripture, it would be possible to see Calvinist Irresistible Grace in its language, but it does not. The Lord Jesus plainly taught that ALL men are drawn. “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32). Not only that, but He also said that ALL men are given light. “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (Jn. 1:9). Further, the Holy Spirit has come to “reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (Jn. 16:8).

Besides Bob, what I have found is what most Calvinist really need is to read scripture without presuppositions when your reading the bible. I suggest you read the bible with some sound hermeneutics rather than through the distorted lenses of John Calvin.
10:44 PM

(Part III)
Bob you also stated:

And you want to say I lean on pagan philosophy? Natural law? Pheh!

Since you seem to deny natural law, How then would you explain when Paul speaks of Romans 2:13-15:

13for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. 14For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,

This is the very definition of natural law. That mankind instinctively knows what is right or wrong, what is just or unjust, what is good and what is evil. This ability to have right reason is the very thing by which God says "I have created man in my own image". How is it then that men have guilt or shame? Its because they know from the HEART they have sinned - man needs no Law to know right from wrong, but knows instinctively he is guilty. I would be interested hearing you explain these verse to say something else.

Side Note: I hope you enjoy the liberties we have in this country for if it were not for men such as Edmund Burke and John Adams, who were fierce proponents of "natural law" we would not have the freedoms nor the constitution you so enjoy today. The very preamble of the constitution states "We hold these Truths to be SELF EVIDENT" . "Self-Evident"!! Thank God a Calvinist did't help write the constitution for it would have read "Men are too Totally-depraved to know truth". You might have faired better with the likes of Hobbes and his idea of "Soveriegnty". But I digress!

Bob said...

Preston,

Thanks for taking the time to reply, I know I said a lot and it is difficult to pick what really needed to be addressed. Your argument in part 1 isn't too bad, I think you are mistaken but you did a good job.

Lets get to some highlights, after citing Boettner you state:

"You see Bob Determinism IS Calvinism. It seems you just don't have the stomach to admit this as probably it doesn't sit well in your own conscience. You somehow can't understand why the rest of us just can't see it any other way? well that's probably because when you follow this arguement to its logical conclusion thats where we all end up!"

Well that depends how you are defining determinism. The absolute sovereignty of God by it's very nature implies that nothing happens without His ordination. The question then is, does that mean there can be no free moral agaency alongside God's sovereignty?

I would say we are free agents, yet at the same time nothing occurs without the providence of God. This is to a degree paradoxical but I say both are true. I don't see Boettner contradicting this but rather affirming it in the text you cited, and only a cursory reading would conclude that God's sovereignty equals determinism.

If by determinism you simply mean that there is a plan for the events of history that God has made and will happen and is certain to happen, sure the Sovereignty of God implies determinism. But that's what the Bible says over and over, if it were not for God's pre-determined plan there would be no gospel for it was by His plan that Christ died for the ungodly. (see Acts 2:23, Acts 4:25-28)

As far as determinism of the will, by that I mean violence is done to a person's agency by God in order to accomplish His will I completely disagree with that. God is sovereign and He does not need to do violence to people's agency in order to accomplish His will.

You further state:

"Besides, your argument here is old. On one hand you want to say God has foreordained all things (both good and evil) but yet he is not responsible for any of the evil stuff. This is where logic is usually thrown out the door with most Calvinist. Its as if your saying something can be True, False or Both."

Yes, my argument is old, about as old as the book of Genesis where Joseph was betrayed and sold into slavery by his own brother and raised up by the providence of God to save many. That's what Joseph said you know, to his brothers, "You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good." Remember that?

So God in governing evil means it for a good end. Now we can go into the mechanics of His governing of evil if you wish. I would say that since man is wicked by nature, God's active involvement in sovereignly governing evil is ALWAYS restraint. When men do acct wickedly it is not from God nudging them along, rather it is their own wicked hearts and the evil one nudging them. God allows it and plans for it yes, but He is not active in it's conception. That's where I stand.

"EVERYTHING is fixed from "Eternity Past" and NOTHING will happen that was not already determined by God himself! If its fixed then we have no say so in the matter!"

I see that as a false dichotomy preston. Why can not God in His sovereignty ordain a plan that involves unviolated free moral agents? Just because you cannot fathom such a harmony does not mean it can not be.

On to Part II and John 6, you write:

"If “irresistible grace” is taught in this passage, it is for all who believe on Christ and not merely for a special few who were sovereignly pre-elected to be saved."

That's a fallacy of begging the question. All who believe in Christ are irresistibly drawn based upon their election. You make two catagories of believers here we see them as one in the same the elect "given by the father" come to Jesus by being "drawn" and believe in Him and will be raised up at the last day (persevere).

Here you invert the order of the logic:

"It simply says that all that the Father gives will come to Christ. The question is this: “Who is it that the Father gives to Jesus?”

That question is answered plainly in this passage only three verses later: “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jn. 6:40)."


Now we can go on and bicker about the order here, so I will get to the crux, and ask What DOES it mean to be given by the Father to the Son? You didn't really answer that. Who, how and when does the giving of individuals from the Father to the Son occur?

The natural reading would certainly seem to imply that the Father has chosen certain people, it is they who come to Jesus because they are drawn, and they who believe unto everlasting life. The passage is set in the context of people turning away from Jesus (Jn 6:66), He's just telling them why, the Father didn't give them to the Son.

"Besides Bob, what I have found is what most Calvinist really need is to read scripture without presuppositions when your reading the bible. I suggest you read the bible with some sound hermeneutics rather than through the distorted lenses of John Calvin."

Yeah I did that for the first 3 years of my Christian life. What I really needed to do was take off my man centered Ray Ban's and let God be God and let His word say what it said, that's how I came to these truths.

Like all I naturally was repulsed by the very notion of predestination when I first heard it, and had to be armed with Arminian Tae Kwan Do maneauvers when I stumbled accross passages like John 6 or Ephesians 1 and just read "predestined" in the bible to mean: That just means He saw my choice of Jesus down the corredors of time, that's what it means to be predestined and elect, He saw my choice.

I wonder how an open theist even deals with that since you don't believe God knows our choices at all? How do you interpret the word "predestined" in the bible? The old Arminian block won't work here since in order for us to have free will God must lose His brains.

Par III

On the natural law, well I don't necessarily disagree that there is an inate knowledge of right and wrong. My assertion is that it is not perfect like the Word of God. So just because you FEEL that predestination is bad doesn't make it so, your compass just might be messed up.

Our founders were a mixture of thinkers rooted in the enlightenment and reformation. Natural law to the Deists, (which is open theism old school style) was supreme. To us reformation based thinkers the word of God is supreme. It is this reformation base that provided Europe and America with the freedom we enjoy, it freed us from the shackles of the Papal tyranny and Monarchs since civily lex rex ruled.

Schaeffer is a great help on this, another good reformed thinker.

God bless preston!

Bob said...

I thought this point by Boettner was fascinating and he really explains where Open Theist thought springs from:

"The whole difficulty lies in the acts of free agents being certain; yet certainty is required for foreknowledge as well as for foreordination. The Arminian arguments, if valid, would disprove both foreknowledge and foreordination. And since they prove too much we conclude that they prove nothing at all."

If Arminians held their theology consistantly they would be open theists. Boettner is absolutely right.

Bob said...

Oh, and yes Calvinism did in fact influence our form of government, Total Depravity (which was the common theological view at the time) was applied resulting in the seperation of powers and checks and balances of the three branches of government in our Republic.

Flamming enlightenment thought unchecked by Reformation theology like they had in France resulted in a blood bath and anarchy in the French Revolution.

John Lofton, Recovering Republican said...

Reformed site; an exclusive Ron Paul interview, too, at TheAmericanView.com. Please visit/comment.

JLof@aol.com

Preston N said...

Bob,

I would say I actually agree with Boettner when it comes to his defining the Calvinist view of Foreknowledge and Predestination - as a matter of fact he is dead on. That is he comes to the logical conclusion that everything is fixed and nothing is truly free. Everything is fated. A genuine Calvinist would NEVER say a person has freewill, as a matter of fact most call freewill heresy. Most Calvinist have come to the conclusion that freewill is logically impossible - something you're apparently are still struggling with in your own mind.

This is a dilemma I find with most "Soft-hearted" Calvinist such as yourself. You still can not come to fully admit that the logical outcome of yor theology is nothing more than paganistic fate boxed up as Christian doctrine. Fate was never a Hebrew or Jewish philosophy - but a Greek and Roman one at that. What seems to be your problem Bob is that on one hand your heart of hearts keeps telling you that man must have freewill in order to Love, but its your theology that seesm to get in the way. I mean, don't you find it strange Bob that you said "Like all I naturally was repulsed by the very notion of predestination when I first heard it... Doesn't this strike you as very odd that the initial reaction to your theology is that you have to supress your God given sense of justice and right reason?? I mean how long did it take you to finally swallow that theological "Softball", I can imagine it had to take months if not years to finally get your heart out of the way to finally beleive in a God who is so arbitrary. WOW! I guess you and the Muslims are really not too far apart - one says God has preordained evil for his will the other just says "For Allah's will".....hmmm maybe theres a connection here.......

I can't understand is you seem not to be unwilling to be either honest with yourself or your theology here as you seemingly want to avoid admitting that as Boettner put - "everything is fixed or settled". It either is fixed or it is not, but it can not be both sir. Something can not be black and white and both.

Beleive it or not I actually beleive in Boettner's arguement regarding the Arminian arguement as well. This is why I am neither a Calvinist nor an Arminian. Logically speaking I feel you have to fall into two camps here - either a Calvinist (Deterministic) or an Open Theist, as both are really very logical. For me Calvinis is just too hard to mentally stomach and grossly violates my God-given sense or justice.


You said:

I would say we are free agents, yet at the same time nothing occurs without the providence of God. This is to a degree paradoxical but I say both are true. I don't see Boettner contradicting this but rather affirming it in the text you cited, and only a cursory reading would conclude that God's sovereignty equals determinism.

PARADOXICAL! I would say that this arguement grossly violates the Law of Non-Contradiction! (And please don't tell me that the "Law of Non-Contradiction" is nothing more than a man made law - if so our conversation is through). I am not sure what quote you read, but I would say Boettners piece totally contradicts your concept of Foreordination. Again let me requote this so you don't miss it:

Since God's foreknowledge is complete, He knows the destiny of every person, not merely before the person has made his choice in this life, but from eternity. And since He knows their destiny before they are created, and then proceeds to create, it is plain that the saved and the lost alike fulfill His plan for them; for if He did not plan that any particular ones should be lost, He could at least refrain from creating them.

Again, Boettner is utterly right - I just wonder if your really honest with yourself??


Finally, Bob you also said:

I wonder how an open theist even deals with that since you don't believe God knows our choices at all? How do you interpret the word "predestined" in the bible? The old Arminian block won't work here since in order for us to have free will God must lose His brains.

I think your unfairly characterizing the Open View and what it is we really beleive. I think any Open Theist would never say God does not know our choices "at all". But rather God knows only that which is knowable. If I have not yet had a particular thought then is that thought really knowable? God can not know that which is unknowable as this would be logically impossible or is an absurdity. Granted God can know an infinite amount of choices or possibilities, but until a choice is freely made or decided upon by the individual it only then becomes knowable. I would suggest you read up a little further as to what Open Theist really beleive, it might help you in future debates.

God Bless!

Preston

natamllc said...

Bobby,

preston is a "piece of work". Remember God is the Creator of us all! Be gentle with him as he soon enough will have a nervous breakdown, guaranteed :)

Now, here, quoted above and again:

[[[On to Part II and John 6, you write:

"If “irresistible grace” is taught in this passage, it is for all who believe on Christ and not merely for a special few who were sovereignly pre-elected to be saved."

That's a fallacy of begging the question. All who believe in Christ are irresistibly drawn based upon their election. You make two catagories of believers here we see them as one in the same the elect "given by the father" come to Jesus by being "drawn" and believe in Him and will be raised up at the last day (persevere).]]]

A couple of things I want to add that were seemingly missed? hmmmmm??? Maybe overlooked, not thought about or not relevant to the debate, you be the judges, you and Preston, ok?

Who believes? I would assert there are two kinds of believers; God's Elect and all others. Remember this from Our Dearly Departed Brother James?:

Jas 2:18 But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
Jas 2:19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe--and shudder!


Jesus, after declaring the end of Satan's reign to those "unbelievers" said, "John 12:32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."

Yes and amen. He has drawn us and as John reveals at Revelation 22:20 it is my prayer now too:::>

Rev 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

"Even so, come, Lord Jesus".

Now for the second thing I wanted to touch on after reading this very full expose' and it comes from Paul's writing in Romans:

Rom 3:1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision?
Rom 3:2 Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.
Rom 3:3 What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?
Rom 3:4 By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, "That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged."
Rom 3:5 But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.)
Rom 3:6 By no means! For then how could God judge the world?

Here, for me is the meat of this debate on natural laws Preston asserts.

Yes, there are natural laws. They only serve who though? The righteous and the "just". They do not serve "all" believers. If these natural laws did serve all believers, then we are all doomed to hell.

God uses this "righteous creation" to prepare and determine the end of Salvation for the righteous living by "His Faith" and the end of all matters concerning the beast, the false prophet, Satan, Death, Hades and sadly, those whose names are not written in the book of life.

Rev 20:15 And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Consider what Paul says. He says that there are "faith full" Jews and Gentiles.

Who might these be? I cite some here:::>

Luk 2:25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
Luk 2:26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
Luk 2:27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law,
Luk 2:28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
Luk 2:29 "Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word;
Luk 2:30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
Luk 2:31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
Luk 2:32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel."


It is not a question of the "righteous" both Jews and Gentiles as Preston notes when quoting Romans 2 about the Gentiles having a law within them.

Rom 2:14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.


Makes no difference to God in this "creation" of "righteous laws". We live in a "Closed end" reality, created by God with a beginning point and an ending point. It's to this "end game" that this debate really is all about.

Whether you are deemed faithful or unfaithful is not the question because in this closed end society, we have both, just believers and unjust believers, as Paul says there at Romans 3:3. Rom 3:3 What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?

What is the question is that that awaits us when we die leaving this "closed end" realm for the other, more perfect "Eternal" realm.

So, consider Paul's revelation there at Romans 3. Let it sink down into your spirit.

Paul is referencing Psalms 50:6 and 51:4 in Romans 3:4.

Psa 50:6 And the heavens shall declare His righteousness, for God Himself is judge. Selah.

and

Psa 51:4 Against You, You only, I have sinned, and done evil in Your eyes; that You might be justified in Your speaking and be clear when You judge.


There indeed are "two sets" of believers. Those Whom God is Just in justifying and those Whom God is Just in throwing into the lake of fire where the beast, the false prophet, Satan, Death and Hades are thrown.

In this "closed end" natural "righteous" law creation, only those who live by His Faith are justified. The rest, they will suffer no rest but have eternal damnation where there will be weeping and gnashing of their teeth because of this judgment determined already:

Mat 25:41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.


Bless you Bobby and Lisa and blessings upon your children too!

Bob said...

Preston, you write:

"Everything is fated. A genuine Calvinist would NEVER say a person has freewill, as a matter of fact most call freewill heresy."

Well you are again confusing terms and misreading Boettner. He never said we don't have free will, nor did he use the term fate. The difference between fatalism and a Biblical view of sovereignty is that fate is blind and impersonal, where is foreordination is based upon a Personal Being, who relates to His creatures.

Furthermore, you are again putting beliefs into my system and erecting a straw man. I never said we don't have free will and I don't know any Calvinist who would say that. You say that "most" would, I know of none. What we do reject is the notion that men by their free wills can merit salvation. Everyone has free will, they are free to choose what they desire most and we always do just that. What we say is the same teachings Christ said, no one of their will comes to Him but by a sovereign work of God in them first (John 1:13, 3:5, 6:44 etc).

SO I don't know who these "most" Calvinists are that you are referring to.

"What seems to be your problem Bob is that on one hand your heart of hearts keeps telling you that man must have freewill in order to Love, but its your theology that seesm to get in the way."

Even if my heart was telling me that (which it is not) Scripture says "The heart is deceitfully wicked".

This comes back to what is your theological authority, you keep talking about the natural law and our hearts being our guide in constructing soteriological systems. I say scriture alone.

"don't you find it strange Bob that you said "Like all I naturally was repulsed by the very notion of predestination when I first heard it... Doesn't this strike you as very odd that the initial reaction to your theology is that you have to supress your God given sense of justice and right reason??"

Not at all, if by my very nature I am at enmity with God (Rom 8:7) it should come as no surprise that I would not want Him rulling over me to such a degree, I want to be the captain of the ship. I came to Him, I chose Him, I repented, I am persevering...alas how we take too much on ourselves and fail to see the sweetness of sovereign grace.

Therefore, if some theological system is truth about the One true God WE SHOULD EXPECT that men would be naturally adverse to it! That's what the Bible says! This does not mean that everything offensive is true (that's another fallacy that some make).

"I can't understand is you seem not to be unwilling to be either honest with yourself or your theology here as you seemingly want to avoid admitting that as Boettner put - "everything is fixed or settled". It either is fixed or it is not, but it can not be both sir."

Well I am not so much disagreeing that there is a fixed preordained plan for the unfolding of human history, if there wasn't God would be a liar. What I am saying is that YOU make a false dichotomy in saying that we can either have free will OR a fixed plan. I say we can have both. So again I do not deny that all the events of human history have been planned by God, what I do deny is that in that planning human agency and culpability are extinguished. You set up the false dilemma and keep hammering on it as though I must accept it (Soveriegnty OR Free Will are the horns of your dillemma) .

My point is that you assume for an action to be free on the part of an agent that it must not have been part of a greater plan of a seperate agent. This is YOUR assumption and I reject it.

"Logically speaking I feel you have to fall into two camps here - either a Calvinist (Deterministic) or an Open Theist, as both are really very logical. For me Calvinis is just too hard to mentally stomach and grossly violates my God-given sense or justice."

I agree with you here, I think open theism is logical, as is Calvinism. However, one is Biblical the other is logical only. Again, you lean on your feelings (springing from your decietful heart) as your foundational thrust against predestination. You just don't like it. That's not good enough, there were a lot of people who didn't like things Jesus said, they thought He was too gruff, just look at the folks in John 6 when Jesus taught them these very things.

AS for the comparison between what I said and Boettner, I don't see what you are getting worked up about. It just seems to me when you see me say free will you and are are in a symantical discord, all I mean from the term is, one's choosing of what one desires. I don't at all see that as inharmoneous with foreordination, this goes back again to the constant false dilemma you keep shoving in front of me like a plate of rotten cabbage.

"I think your unfairly characterizing the Open View and what it is we really beleive. I think any Open Theist would never say God does not know our choices "at all"."

I don't know what charicatures I have given, the hallmark doctrine of open theism is that God doesn't have foreknowledge. I have asked you several questions as to what you think about, x or y or z, none of which you have answered. I try to deal with people individually rather than in a cookie cutter fashion of "Preston is open theist input apologetic plan C7...engage"

This is why I have asked you to define yourself, I have asked you what DOES God know, how does He interact with the events of history, what does He do if anything to save a sinner, and I recently asked you how you read the word "predestination" when you read it in the Bible, considering what I know of open theism. You haven't answered any of those.

As for God knowing what is knowable, that's a philosophical statement on par with "Water is wet". I would say with God everything is knowable, because that's what the Bible says even about the incarnate Son.(JN 16:30)

You see you would make God altogether like yourself, bound by time and causality. This is unbiblical.

When I am asking you questions as to what you believe and you don't answer them it is kind of out of place to tell me to do my homework before debating. But yes I do need to read up on it more.

Michael,

hey good to hear from you, yeah you probably didn't hear but we're having another baby. That makes three.

I hear you about the two believers but I would say one is a false convert, believing in vain as Paul says.

What I saw Preston doing in John 6 was smuggling in two groups of people when they are one in the same, those who believe unto salvation are the same as those whom the Father gave Jesus.

Bob said...

Here's My defeater argument to your natural law and heart feelings talk Preston:

Meet Ted, Ted likes God alot, he goes to church and prays and tithes. He loves his neighbot so much he cuts his lawn for him just the way he likes every other day. Ted is a "nice guy".

Unfortunatly one day Ted met some crazy Fundi who said that he shouldn't be cohabitating with his girlfriend named Strumpet. This made Ted feel discouraged. Ted never felt like he was doing anything wrong in sleeping with Strumpet everyday, and now this crazy Fundi is quoting the Bible and hurting Ted's feelings.

Ted found this Fundi's ideas of marriage and celibacy to be very offensive and not in line with what his heart told him was ok. Ted had always just thought when he read about fornication in the Bible, "That was for then before they had condoms, today it is okay, God just didn't want broken homes, condoms have protected the responsible from this."

Ted continued to go to church and sleep with Strumpet, Ted even felt sorry for the Fundi because he was so bound by such an oppressive view of God. Ted thought in his heart "A loving God would never deprive me the joy I have in strumpet, therefore God supports my relationship with Strumpet. I know in my heart that I am doing nothing wrong."

What would you say to Ted Preston? If you quote the Bible Ted has his counter kung fu chop for every text on fornication. What do you say?

Preston N said...

Bob

First, what you seem to be leaving out of this little argument is that Ted has a conscience and experiences guilt. Does Ted have guilt over his current living arrangement? Fortunately mankind has been equipped with conscience - which can be his best friend and his worst enemy. Paul even speaks of this in Rom 1:18-21

Rom 1:18-21 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; (19) because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them. (20) For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse: (21) because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasoning's, and their senseless heart was darkened.

This goes to show us that within mankind's nature we know instinctively that God does exists and what His natural attributes are - that he is loving, kind, patient, merciful and just. Therefore we are without excuse. But I would go further by saying that we know this to the extent that when we do sin, our heart and mind bears against us that we have wronged God. Granted, over time sinners will deaden their conscience and hearts to sin and thus as Paul states "become vain in their reasoning". Total Depravity total contradicts these verse or views them out of context.

So back to our Friend Ted. Depending upon how much moral light Ted has remaining in his heart will determine what steps will be necessary to get Ted to stop sinning and repent. Each sinner depending upon the amount of darkness they have within their heart will be different. So what would I say to Ted, to bring him back into the "light" or how would one show him his sins. Do what Jesus did. Speak to him about how he has violated God's loving kindness and remind him how his own heart and mind convicts him of his sin. Jesus used not the OT to remind people of this but PARABLES! Why? Because he was appealing to mans sense of reason and natural law. When he showed them through the use of stories - he need not say one iota of scripture, because their own hearts convicted them. Again, this is why the Pharisees hated him because how can one refute their own conscience! The heresy of Calvinism is it denies the very method of how our Savior taught while on earth. As I like to say if a Calvinist was in the audience during one of Jesus's sermons, the Calvinist would have probably been the first to deny Jesus's teaching method or style - as it was appealing to right reason and natural law. Since you seem to deny natural law, how is it then Jesus was able to refute or convict sinners without barely mentioning a word of scripture! (I am not denying Jesus didn't use scripture, but showing he mainly used parables to teach and convict by).


As a side note; Isn't it odd how 40-50 years ago our society as a norm would have openly condemn such behavior by Ted and his girlfriend. That statistically speaking this particular "sin" was very uncommon. Given that the amount of moral light that was in the world at that time (as a result of Christianity) was far greater than it is today. But yet Paul's words from Rom 1:18-21 resonate so true - we see that mankind over time has been more exposed to "darkness" and therefore we see a lessening of morality as a factor.

Bob said...

Preston, good to hear from you again, didn't know if you were done. You write:

"First, what you seem to be leaving out of this little argument is that Ted has a conscience and experiences guilt."

No not at all, that was actually the point, Ted doesn't feel guilty at all for sleeping with Strumpet. That's the point. Not everyone does you know.

Romans 1 isn't so much talking about an infalible inner voice as it is talking about the knowledge of God being in all men and is SUPRESSED by ALL men.

I find this talk amazing:

"So back to our Friend Ted. Depending upon how much moral light Ted has remaining in his heart will determine what steps will be necessary to get Ted to stop sinning and repent. Each sinner depending upon the amount of darkness they have within their heart will be different."

So there are people at different levels of "lostness"? Some people need Jesus more than others? Christ said we are either full of darkness or full of light yet you want to say the natural man is a mixture.

To be brief you state that this is how you would reply to Ted:

"Jesus used not the OT to remind people of this but PARABLES! Why? Because he was appealing to mans sense of reason and natural law. When he showed them through the use of stories - he need not say one iota of scripture, because their own hearts convicted them. Again, this is why the Pharisees hated him because how can one refute their own conscience!"

Um I guess you didn't read what I said on why Jesus used parables in reply to what you said because you repeat yourself. Since you repeat yourself I will too:

(from the post) "Actually when we turn to Scripture we see Jesus tell us WHY He spoke in parables:

"he said, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that 'seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.'" (Lk 8:10)

Well would you look at that, Jesus seems to say that there are certain people (the elect) to whom the secrets of the kingdom are given the rest are left in the dark and without understanding. As for Jesus appealing to "the rules" I have no idea what you are talking about, if you mean love your neighbor and stuff like that, yes He did appeal to that, but that is the Old Testament revealed word of God, not some natural rules you keep alluding to.


These "Natural Rules" are nothing more than the ideas of the humanistic spirit of the age that has been smuggled into Christian theology resulting in one false teaching after another. The paragraph I just quoted from you with all of it's refrences to "reason" has more to do with the enlightenment ideals than the reformation. Open theism really is a form of Deism (the teachings of Deism and OT are strikingly similar), the difference is OT is just upgraded into a more feel good modern consumeristic package."

(End of incestuous quote)

So far from appealing to men's reason Christ saw the use of parables as teaching only discernable to the elect. That's what He said. YOu are smuggling in concepts again, it really strikes me how much you sound like a Deist with all of your appeals to men's natural reason and the conscience of man as some sort of unimpaired facaulties.

The next section leaves me scratching my head:

"The heresy of Calvinism is it denies the very method of how our Savior taught while on earth. As I like to say if a Calvinist was in the audience during one of Jesus's sermons, the Calvinist would have probably been the first to deny Jesus's teaching method or style - as it was appealing to right reason and natural law."

Now I have tried to be rather cordial, but when you say stuff like this it is hard for me to accept that I am dealing with a rational person. There is so error much wrapped up in there it would be a trip down the rabbit hole just to wade through this paragraph.

Again you form a strawman saying calvinists reject rational appeals. This is ridiculous because I have been constantly calling you on your logical fallacies. What we reject is the way you are elevating reason, and conscience to be on par with the Bible and to be the foundation of your blasphemous views of God who doesn't know the future.

Also, Christ was not in using parables so much giving a teaching method that pragmatically "worked" and if we applied it we would see results. Again I point you to the passage where Christ explains WHY he taught in parables if you care to here Jesus Himself explain WHY He spoke in parables. It wasn't some clever appeal to men's reason as you are saying. You are bringing that in and ignoring Christ's own explanation on parables, you seem to do that a lot.

I don't see at all how you explain or make an argument for how Calvinism and Christ's parables are incongruent, given Christ's words they seem to fir hand and glove.

"Since you seem to deny natural law, how is it then Jesus was able to refute or convict sinners without barely mentioning a word of scripture!"

Sigh, its not that we deny there are natural laws written on the hearts of men, what I am denying is that it is a reliable standard. I thought I said this already.

The issue is this, your whole theological system rests upon some spurious claims allegedly based upon natural law about what is right for God to do. It "seems" unfair to you for God to elect some and passover other, Therefore God doesn't do that. This methodology is carried out as you fashion your idol of a god altogether like yourself, bound by time and causality, having eyes but not seeing, ears but not hearing, arms but unable to exert his (lower case h) will.

I will stop here, I would really like for you to answer some of my questions Preston, I have posed them twice now and you haven't answered. Either you aren't reading what I am saying or simply avoiding them. In either case to continue a discussion is a frivilous use of time. Like talking on the phone when the operator is yelling "If you'd like to make a call please hang up and try again, if you need help..."