The desire to seek God does not come from one's natural instinct. That is what Paul means, I think, by "There are none who seek after God".
This was what Jesus meant too when he said "No one can come to me unless the Father calls him" (or words to that effect). Of one's natural one does not seek God, but "the Spirit enlightens everyone who comes into the world",
The initiative is from God in the sense that the call comes from God and not from within our own sinful natures which are "dead in sin". But the call of God, this prompting within the individual's soul is not irresistible.
Surely that is what the parable of the sower is teaching us. that we can resist, to our eternal loss, the desire on God's part that we enter a relationship with Him.
Will wrote: I think one more important distinction needs to be made and I am not exactly clear as to how you view it. When you mention the UA view I assume you are referring to the traditional hypothetical/potential atonement as opposed to universalism (all will be saved by the atonement)?
Will wrote: What your suggesting is that a non-elect person could be saved if UA were true vs. LA. Now, of course, if that were true UA would be universalism and not the Arminian view of hypothetical atonement (where as Christ's atonement may or may not be effective in a person's life, as it depends on whether they apply it to themselves through faith). I am not sure if this is your view, but I have sensed a hint of universalism in some of your comments thus far (this being the greatest), which changes a lot of things in the manner of dealing with this topic.
Will wrote: If universal atonement (UA) were applied to UE, then we'd have a situation where a Calvinist has a valid reason for not saying that "a baby who dies in infancy could not have been saved by the grace of God, nor that all aborted babies or mentally handicapped persons are not elect by God," right?No, not necessarily. One would have to first determine, which is impossible, that God didn't ordain that all these infants/mentally handicapped would have been given to the Son by the Father to redeem via the atonement. IOW, LA could still hold true because one doesn't have to hold that LA necessarily means Christ didn't die for all infants -- if He did, then they are part of the group given to the Son by the Father whom Christ died to redeem.
If universal atonement (UA) were applied to UE, then we'd have a situation where a Calvinist has a valid reason for not saying that "a baby who dies in infancy could not have been saved by the grace of God, nor that all aborted babies or mentally handicapped persons are not elect by God," right?
Will wrote: Not necessarily. You already alloted the possibility for grace for the non-elect by referring to babies.Actually I didn't, what I said was...1. If all babies go to heaven (for the sake of argument) 2. Then all babies who die in infancy are elect. If saving grace can be given to the non-elect, the concept of election means nothing. Election is the choice of persons to receive grace; which coincides with predestination speaking more directly to what they are determined to receive, namely, eternal life/glorification.
Not necessarily. You already alloted the possibility for grace for the non-elect by referring to babies.
Will wrote: Where does it say God saves non-believers who are moral (which is a paradox). Going back to Romans 2, I don't think it matters whether they are understood as believers or unbelievers (for what were talking about), because I believe the entire argument of Paul climaxes that Gentiles who have the natural law of conscience vs. Jews who have the special Law of Moses are both equally condemned because both show that we are violators of those laws respectively.
Hey Will,I'm having trouble accessing this site, so maybe I said something to offend the webmaster...? In any case if my time here is short, I would like you to know that you can meet up with me at www.philosophyforums.com. I very much enjoy discussing Christian topics with you as we share the same faith and face the same obstacles, so if I suddenly show up missing, you know where to find me.
I'm not a universalist in that I think hell is avoidable, or that there is an eventual exit from hell. I do think the numbers are much lower than Calvinists, however. How God will manage to save those who die outside the faith is not given for us to know. God has many options and still remain consistent with Christian theology.
I don't see why that would necessarily be the case. After all, the hypothetical atonement of Christ is not hypothetical if God capitalizes on it in some way other than how God saves the elect.
I see what you mean. However, in that case UE (unconditional elect) combined with LA (limited atonement) doesn't mean converted to Christ in this lifetime.
This seems to be what Calvinists are chiefly against since if atonement and being unconditionally part of the elect is possible beyond this life, then why suggest that non-believers will go to hell? If UE/LA doesn't entail this for babies, then why must it entail this for unbelievers in general?
I should clarify this. By "non-elect" I should have said, "not converted to Christ or be a child of a converted Christian in this lifetime."
This is why I want to first establish what happens to Calvinism if specifically LA is biblically false. It's tough getting to this point, so I appreciate your patience.
Like I said, I think I might not be able to access this site since my network address is no longer bringing up this site. Perhaps the webmaster is Calvinist? (*Smile*.) Anyway, if I'm cut off I hope you look me up at www.philosophyforums.com. Thanks for your time. You're a great debater.
Will wrote: I don't see why that would necessarily be the case. After all, the hypothetical atonement of Christ is not hypothetical if God capitalizes on it in some way other than how God saves the elect. I agree...and if it is no longer hypothetical atonement (by definition) than it is no longer an Arminian atonement, which was the original premise of the discussion I thought.
The problem I have with your view here is consistency. How do you stay consistent with your theology regarding your speculation about babies and the handicap possibly being saved?
Will wrote: Is it logically possible, under this theory, that a normal person could die prior to faith and be saved based on the death of Christ? Yes, but, going back to what I said, I believe that God has revealed that He chooses not to do it that way and rather decrees that they will reach the point of 'faith.'
Okay, then sacrificial atonement (using my terminology) denies salvation to the unconverted dead in the weak sense. It's soteriologically possible God could save them, it's just not mentioned that way in scriptures.
I'll point out how Paul gets narrowingly close to talking about the salvation of the unconverted dead, but then suddenly backs off and goes no further. He just leaves the insinuation that God's arm is not short in this.
Will wrote: sacrificial atonement (using my terminology) denies salvation to the unconverted dead in the weak sense. It's soteriologically possible God could save them1. This means Christ's atoning work doesn't save the unconverted because God doesn't apply it to them, even though he could if He willed (resulting in their salvation).2. This means that God could save man, had Christ died for him, apart from any act of man (theoretically). (Kind of like someone paying my debt to my credit card company and them then recognizing me as debt free, regardless of what I do or if I believe it actually happened (the fact remains that it did)). I agree with (2) but not (1); and, the reason why, is because I think all for whom Christ died must and will be saved... Therefore, it is not soteriological possible that God could save one who ultimately perishes, but doesn't, because all for whom Christ act as as a substitute are saved by the necessity of justice
Will wrote: Therefore, if premise (3) is correct, not all men are connected to the inseparable love of Christ; which means, Christ did not die for all men, which further means that it is not logically possible for some men to be saved which are not saved based on sacrificial atonement.
Okay, but how does this soteriologically rule out the possibility that God will apply Christ's sacrifice to the counterfactual Christian (Matt. 11:21-23)? If doesn't, then (1) is valid.
I see no reason to argue against this point. I'm only concerned about salvation of the unconverted that involves in some way sacrificial atonement.
Will wrote: For (1) to be valid, person X would have to have a theoretical possibility of both being saved by Christ's death or not being saved. My argument is that no such possibility exists. IOW, can God apply the death of Christ to whom He wills, or is it only applied to those for whom He (Christ) intended and actually substituted? I am arguing for the latter.
harvey1 wrote: Coming from an Arminianist and Wesylian background I find the Calvinist view of God to make the problem of evil irreconcilable with a good God, or a God that establishes moral truths.
On the other hand, I do not so much want to discuss the philosophical problems with Calvinist predestination, I'm more interested in its scriptural basis--almost completely construed from what I think is a terrible misinterpretatio of Romans 9.
Can this be one main reason why there are so many people who despise Christianity and leave the religion to attack it? I think so.
Now, here's my question. If Paul in Romans 2 is saying that God will judge those Gentiles who live according to the law even without the law, and this is their defense in the day of judgment, then why in the world would a few chapters later would Paul suggest that God will turn a blind eye to their "persistence in doing good" when in fact God is just storing them up for destruction?