Nature of God

Providence

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Roger Marshall

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Calvinism and Romans 9
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2007, 11:58:34 am »
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", meaning that there is SPIRITUALLY and not NATURALLY, ie placed by the Spirit within every human being, the capacity to be awakened  by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. 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. We naturally kick and scream against it, or we simply switch off and connect with something else, or having seemed for a while to take root, the seedling of faith gets drowned amid the concerns of our earthly existence. 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.

Exactly how God illuminates the mind of every man and woman coming into the world, exactly how it is that he prompts a person to seek Him, and the precise ways in which each individual responds is something that we cannot even begin to fathom, even as regards people in "evangelised" countries, let alone places where the gospel has never arrived.

As for election, yes there is clear teaching in Scripture about that. Nevertheless, Ephesians (and by extension other places where it is referred to) makes it clear that it is Christ who is the Elect. All of those who are "in Christ" are "the elect" in so far as they are in Christ. "Election" however is not a matter of God singling out individuals for salvation or destruction. Christ is the "Elect of God" and our becoming "the Elect" is conditional upon our responding to the call of God within our hearts.


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Will

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« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2007, 12:48:50 pm »
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".


I agree.


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",


This is where we part.  Paul never suggests the concept that regenerate and un-regenerate have common ground in the Spirit.  It is always those in the flesh, lacking the Spirit, and those in the Spirit, regenerated.  It is the former that are said to be unable to understand or please God (2 Cor. 2:14; Rom. 8:6-7), and they are set in contrast to regenerated believers.  

Nonetheless, when you look a passages such as John 6, which you quoted.



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.


Not that I want to get involved in defending Calvinism, that would encompass way to much effort.  

But, the concept of having prevenient grace upon all people, that which enables man generally to respond to God, doesn't solve the problem either.  For, then, why do some respond while others don't if they both have an ineffectual call of God?  The answer is that one person more so than another is more smart, good, or righteousness; in that they see the value of choosing God.  Which, puts us back to square one that salvation is dependent on man's goodness.

Further, your use of "enlightens every man" is wanting, in my opinion.  Or is a stretch to say that it applies to the "calling" or "drawing" of God.

What do you do with: "Many are called few are chosen?"

Or, Romans 8:29-30 "Those whom he called...he also glorified."  

The problem with the above, and your view of ineffectual general calling, is that Paul could not say those whom are called are also glorified if in fact the calling could be resisted.  It is an unbreakable chain of events.  

Further, you mention John 6.  It is first important to note that the following discourse occured in response to the "unbelief" of those who were seeking miracles (John 6:36).  Jesus doesn't reply that they choose not to believe even though they could, rather, they choose not to believe because they are not given to Him by the Father nor drawn by the Father.  

v.37 says "All that the Father gives me Will come to me..."

There is not an uncertainty whether those given to the Son will come.

v.44 ..."no one can come to Me unless the Father draws him AND I will raise him up on the last day."

If the object of the drawing includes those that won't come, or resist the drawing, than the second clause is contradictory, or teaches universal salvation..."AND" I will raise Him up on the last day."  The one that is raised is the same as the one that is drawn.  

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.


I agree that God and the gospel can be resisted generally, yet that type of grace is not what Calvinism terms as effectual/irresistable grace.  Thats the difference.  To give examples of people rejecting God only points to the depravity of man, but seeing people choose God evidences that God has performed a sovereign miracle in their heart.  
Will

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Roger Marshall

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« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2007, 01:47:49 pm »
I do wish that Dr Craig would get involved in this debate. I believe there are Biblical responses to all the Scriptures which seem to require belief in individual unconditional election. But I'll need to work on it. We would condem as unjust any judicial system which had it in for the vast majority while singling out a minority for a free pardon, even if all of them did deserve to die by virtue of inheriting the guilty condition of their forbears.



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Harvey

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« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2007, 01:48:55 pm »
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.

Regarding your post. Let me reply as follows:

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)?


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. For example, the elect may be a key as I believe the later chapters of Romans hints upon.

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.


I don't see why that would necessarily be the case. Afterall, the hypothetical atonement of Christ is not hypothetical if God capitalizes on it in some way other than how God saves the elect. Universalism as I understand it generally rejects hell, whereas in the Old Testament there was a judgment and condemnation for evil doers that did not result in their salvation.

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.


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?

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.


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." It would be easier if we had a name for this. How about "unconverted"?

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.


I realize that this is the direction we must go, but I want to clarify first what is the criteria for Calvinism being wrong. 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.

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Will

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« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2007, 03:08:02 pm »
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.


Hey Harvey,

Interesting.  I had trouble once accessing the site, but it cleared up the next day, not sure if this is your problem as well.  Nonetheless, thanks for the link to the other forum.  I doubt the web-master is a Calvinist

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.
Interesting.  I happen to be a different breed, in some sense, from the reformed understanding of justification and LA.  I find the traditional understanding of LA, presented by John Owen, to be utterly persuasive when viewed as a whole.  Yet, I go a little further then him, or at least in a different direction if not further.  
He rejected the concept of eternal justification despite his strong view concerning the effectual nature of the blood of Christ.  Namely, he still held that one is not justified by the effectual atonement until the time of faith, where as I have come to find the concept of eternal justification both biblically and logical fluent with the doctrine of LA.  
To put this in words, I find that when it says one is justified by the "blood of Christ" that it literally means that, and that faith represents not the time nor the effecting act of justification, but is the evidence of it.  This is a stretch, but "faith is the evidence of things not seen..." (Heb. 11:1), and that which is not seen includes the concept of eternal justification through being joined to Christ (Eph. 1:4) before the foundation of the world whence he was slain (Rev. 13:8).  
Not that I want to get off on this, but, this is somewhat similar to what you are arguing to a certain extent.  At least to the point that you are arguing that one can be saved apart from the "faith," and I agree with that in the sense that I don't believe faith effects salvation but evidences it.  

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.  

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 issue gets technical.  Its hard to concede that because we start speculating beyond scripture.  My point with babies I wouldn't necessarily apply to "non-babies," probably looking back to Jesus' words that "all that the Father has given Me, will come to me (paralleled to believing v.38-39)" (Jn. 6:37).  My statements concerning babies was more speculatory than the biblical view of "normal man's" salvation , and I don't think we should take the clear understanding of salvation as properly belonging to those who have faith in Christ and obscure it with the less clear.  
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?
Because, apart from speculating on babies or mentally disabled, it is counter to the clear teaching that those who are saved by Christ will also be brought to faith by Christ, IMO.  
Further, I never said that UE/LA absolutely entailed this concept for babies, but merely stated that if you want to, hypothetically, argue all babies go to heaven you have to do so based on their election and union with Christ not on their innocence.  

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."
Yes, this does help clarify, for the theological usage of elect does not imply at all that one is or is not converted yet in time.  Election, as I understand it to be presented bibically and in reformed theology, refers to the act of God in selecting objects of His Grace according to the good pleasure of His will before the foundation of the world.  Thus, to be an elect one does not imply you are yet converted, but implies the certainty that you will be based on the will of God in orchestrating it.  

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.
I agree, and believe LA to be at the heart of Calvinism and if it is biblically false the entire biblical view of Calvin crumbles.  Further, I don't believe in the existence of 4 point Calvinists, rather they are just inconsistent Arminians.  

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.
Thanks for the kind words and I appreciate your thoughts and time.  

Will

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Harvey

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« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2007, 04:41:25 pm »

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.

I think we ought to distinguish a strong sense and a weak sense of the term. If sacrificial atonement is scripturally impossible for the unconverted dead, then atonement is denied in the strong sense. If sacrificial atonement is soteriologically possible (but not determined) for the unconverted dead, then atonement is denied in the weak sense. It seems you agree that Limited Atonement is in some sense true in the strong sense when you said, "it is counter to the clear teaching that those who are saved by Christ will also be brought to faith by Christ [when they (except non-babies/non-mentally handicapped) have passed away]."

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? This suggests a definition of sacrificial atonement in the weak sense (see above). If so, then I don't see how you can commit to LA. I realize that you "never said that UE/LA absolutely entailed this concept for babies." However, even for you to hypothetically "argue [that] all babies go to heaven you have to do so based on their election and union with Christ not on their innocence" seems inconsistent with LA to me. Let me try to diagram this:

UE(1) --> refers to those unconverted to be part of the elect at some point in their physical life prior to death
UE(2) --> refers to those unconverted to be part of the elect at some point in the future (speculatively including babies and mentally handicapped after their physical death)
LA(1) --> refers to those unconverted to have Christ's sacrificial atonement applied at some point in their physical life prior to death
LA(2) --> refers to those unconverted to have Christ's sacrificial atonement applied at some point in the future (speculatively including babies and mentally handicapped after their physical death)

Now, in the speculative case of babies and mentally handicapped, if UE(1) and LA(1) both obtain, then there's no way that babies or mentally handicap can be saved, right? Let me know if we both agree to this. This is what I call sacrificial atonement is denied in the strong sense (see above).

In case of UE(2)/LA(x) or UE(x)/LA(2), there is a speculative possibility for babies and mentally handicapped to be saved according to Calvinism. This is what I call sacrificial atonement interpreted in the weak sense. However, if that's true, other than a few scriptures which you cited (e.g., Jesus' words: "all that the Father has given Me, will come to me"), I don't see that there is any soteriological reason why God is restricted from saving those who would have believed if they would have heard (i.e., "counterfactual believers" or "counterfactual Christians").

Further, I don't see how you can distinguish UE(2)/LA(x) or UE(x)/LA(2) from UE/UA (universal atonement) since UE/UA says that anyone who is part of the elect will be saved, and this hypothetically includes anyone in the world.  If we give UA the same possible configuration options as LA, then UE/UA(1) remains a hypothetical atonement, but UA(2) is no longer hypothetical since it designates whomever in the world is the elect. Therefore, LA(2) and UA(2) have the same meaning, and since UA is a weaker version of sacrificial atonement than LA, it makes sense to say that LA(2) is inconsistent with LA--whereas UA(2) is consistent with UA.

In any case, if you accept LA(2) as a valid possibility (soteriologically speaking), then I have no problem with your form of Calvinism other than your scriptural interpretation on how wide of a net God can save after death. I think there are many counterfactual Christians in the world throughout the universe's timeline, and therefore Christ's sacrifice is much more significant for the world than the few that have actually heard the Gospel in a personal way, in my opinion (of course).

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Harvey

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« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2007, 04:43:16 pm »

Correction:


If sacrificial atonement is soteriologically impossible for the unconverted dead, then atonement is denied in the strong sense.

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Will

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« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2007, 08:59:31 pm »



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?


Harvey,

I will respond to more later, but the wife is requesting my attention; but, just for a quick response to the opening part about consistency.

Simply put, the way I am consistent is to state that coming to faith doesn't make the atonement effectual, but rather proves that the atonement has had its effect (babies dying in infancy lack that proof, but it doesn't negate the effectual application of Christ's work (assuming the application)).  

Namely, a baby may be saved by the death of Christ because that baby was joined to Christ before he/she was ever born/conceived or the world was even formed.  The only difference is that I can't say for certainty that God so chooses to apply it to every baby, He may or may not, but that isn't for me to decide or judge -- although, I wouldn't be surprised if every baby was saved.  

Now, in terms of normal humanity, I believe we are saved the same way (God placing us in union with Christ (c.f. 1 Cor. 1:30: "But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us...righteousness and sanctification, and redemption").  Yet, I think that part of God's plan, with conscious, moral, and mature beings (for whatever tha means), was that all those who are saved eternally, also come to faith in Christ and experience redemption from the flesh temporally, yet the latter doesn't effect the former.  

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.'  

And, as I have stated, coming to faith doesn't make the work of Christ have its effect (i.e. satisfying the wrath of God), but proves that you belong to the body of Christ.    

I find 2 Peter 3:9 interesting in light of the above.

"The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, now wishing for any [of you] to perish but for all to come [lit. Greek to reach] to repentance."

Promise = the return of Christ

Patient toward you = patience towards the beloved (v.8) or elect (the general description to whom the letter is addressed.

Interestingly Peter is responding to why hasn't Christ returned yet, and the response is that God is not just being slow about it, but is being patient towards the beloved allowing them to come/reach repentance (or faith).  If He returned now there may be, theoretically, those "elect" who are alive but haven't reach repentance and moreover there are "elect" that haven't even been born yet, let alone reach repentance -- thus, God is waiting till all the beloved have reached repentance before Christ returns (v.10).

So, my simple conclusion concerning salvation and faith, is that one must come to faith in order to be saved because God has decreed that all those whom he saved via Christ's work will reach that point...and one who never reaches faith is proven to be one that was never joined to Christ.  

Will

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Harvey

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« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2007, 06:47:31 am »
Again, Will, thanks for all of your delightful responses.

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.

In that case, though, it seems that you ought to give the benefit of doubt to God in allowing God to work the revelation that God sees fit. Afterall, it does no good by revealing His plan to Christians for the unconverted dead only to find that these same Christians say, "well, in that case I'll just have my fun today and when time's up, then I'll change my ways and come to Christ." If God did such a thing, then the Gospel would be of no effect.

In any case, it seems we're ready to start dissecting the book of Romans for an answer to what Paul is actually talking about when it comes to the plight of the unconverted (next post). I prefer to lay out our overall perspective from beginning to end, so that we can get a coarse grain image of what it is that Paul is referring to throughout. 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.

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Will

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« Reply #24 on: May 24, 2007, 11:02:07 am »
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.


Dividing out this proposition in 2 categories, I agree with one but not the other.

sacrificial atonement (using my terminology) denies salvation to the unconverted dead in the weak sense. It's soteriologically possible God could save them

1.  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.  It would be an injustice of God to punish a man for whom Christ already actually took to the punishment (double punishment).  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 (Rom. 4:25).  (If I am expressing my view clearly).  

For a brief example, scripturally...

1.  2 Cor. 5:14: "...having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore the all died."

I translated all, as "the all (o pantes)," as in the Greek the article helps clarify that Paul is talking about the same "all" in the clause following the therefore.

Therefore = ara, literally, "as consequence."  

So, all for whom Christ died, as a consequence of Christ's substitutionary death, also died in that death; and we know that if we have died with Christ and to sin, then we shall have eternal life.

Rom. 6:5-8 "For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.

v.8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him."
 

2 Tim. 2:11: "For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him."  

1.  All for whom Christ died, died with him (2 Cor 5:14; making their payment for sin (Rom 6:23) via Christ)

2.  All who died with Christ will also live with Him (Rom. 6:5-8; 2 Tim. 2:11).

3.  Therefore, none for whom Christ died will be lost (all that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and I will raise Him up on the last day (Jn 6:37)).

4.  Therefore, all men individually who ever lived will be saved (universalism); or Christ did not die for every man (limited atonement).

5.  Not all men individually will be saved.

6.  Therefore, Christ did not die substitutionarally for all men individually.


Or, Consider Romans 8:32-38

Just some highlights...

v.32 "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

v.35 "who will separate us from the love of Christ?" (exemplified in the sacrificial atonement)

v.38-39a: paraphrase: "nothing" including any "created thing"

v. 39b: [nothing] "will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  

Thus.

1.  All for whom Christ died God will also freely give all things (heaven at the least)

2.  The love of Christ is in relation to the act of love in sacrificial atonement.

3.  Nothing or anything, created or non-created, can separate us from that act of love in sacrificial atonement.

4.  This love originates from eternity past in the mind and plan of God in redemption.

5.  Man and his will are created things.

6.  Therefore, even man can't separate himself from the death of Christ.

7.  Some Men perish and go to hell.

8.  Going to hell results in a separation from God's love as seen through Jesus Christ's atonement.

9.  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.  


Ok, that turned out to be a long answer to the statement that God could possibly save some who are not saved.  



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.


I'll look forward to this.  
Will

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Harvey

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« Reply #25 on: May 24, 2007, 01:42:23 pm »
Will wrote: sacrificial atonement (using my terminology) denies salvation to the unconverted dead in the weak sense. It's soteriologically possible God could save them

1.  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


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.

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.


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.

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Will

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« Reply #26 on: May 24, 2007, 05:27:40 pm »
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.


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.  

However, this doesn't really address what you appear to be asking, namely, that Christ's could have died for non-christians?


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.


So your now a Calvinist?


Will

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Harvey

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« Reply #27 on: May 24, 2007, 06:26:30 pm »

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.

Hey Will. Let's take the latter case then. What information do you have that states that God cannot put a "counterfactual Christian" before the judgment seat  and allow Christ's sacrificial atonement to be applied at that time?

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Sam

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Calvinism and Romans 9
« Reply #28 on: May 24, 2007, 07:26:39 pm »

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.
You should check out Jonathan Edwards book on The Freedom of the Will.  He answers several philosophical arguments against Calvinism and developes the case that compatibalism is necessary of moral accountability, and that it reconciles God's sovereignty with man's responsibility.  I wrote a series of blogs about that here
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.
Personally, I think the strongest case for Calvinism comes from John 6, not Romans 9.  But I do think John Piper gives a very strong case for double predestination from Romans 9 in The Justification of God.
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.
I doubt it since Calvinism isn't what most people who reject Christianity are exposed to.
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?
Because, as Paul said, "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."  Since the Gentiles who do not have the law nevertheless have the law written on their hearts, they are without excuse.  They know right from wrong, even though they don't have the law handed down to Moses.  Even though they know the moral law and strive to keep it, they still fail just like those who DO have the law.


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Harvey

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« Reply #29 on: May 24, 2007, 07:45:31 pm »
Hi Sam. It's tough for me to debate two of you at the same time. I realize that Calvinists have their scriptures too. The reason for talking about Romans, though, is because Paul lays out one of the foundational views of Christian sotierology from beginning to end. If Paul is supporting Calvinism, then it ought to be very clear from Romans. Of course, we can talk about other scriptures too.

My focus here is to quickly locate the key stumbling blocks and see how close we can come to each agreeing on those issues, and hopefully better understand each other's positions.