God the Author of Sin?

I have edited the original quote after a couple comments: Some of the original quote had no relevance to my point so I deleted it.

In speaking on the issue of God being the author of sin, Jonathan Edwards was credited as making the following statement: “God has established a world in which sin will indeed necessarily come to pass by God’s permission, but not by his “positive agency.” (Let me say this, I don’t care if Edwards really said this nor do I care what he or whoever said it may or may not have meant by the statement. I was simply giving credit to Edwards for saying it.) The point from my perspective and the reason for this post, is I really do like this statement.

I do not believe that God is the author of individual sin. Obviously God did create the world. He has allowed and certainly permitted sin. He was not and is not a “positive agent” of individual sin. So, it seems logical and Biblical to say, “God has established a world in which sin will indeed necessarily come to pass by God’s permission, but not by his “positive agency.”

In the same manner, I like the following statement, “God has willed that people be saved and has established a world whereby conversion WILL take place by His Divine will but not His “positive agency”?

Grateful to be in His Grip,

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26 responses to this post.

  1. Bob,

    Since you’ve somewhat become a fan of Edwards, here is another quote:

    “…the conversion of a sinner being not owing to a man’s self determination, but to God’s determination, and eternal election, which is absolute, and depending on the sovereign Will of God, and not on the free will of man; as is evident from what has been said: and it being very evident from the Scriptures, that the eternal election of saints to the faith and holiness, is also an election of them to eternal salvation; hence their appointment to salvation must also be absolute, and not depending on their contingent, self-determining Will.”

    What ya think?

    Reply

    • Les,

      My reference to ONE sentence that Edwards made does not make me a “fan of Edwards.” I have not read him so I cannot say I am or am not. Even a reprobate (not a reference to Edwards) can, even accidentally, make a statement that has wisdom as a foundation.

      Now as to the statement that you quoted here, I can agree with the language and make it applicable to the overriding theme of what I said in my original post in this thread. I realize that my spin on it would not be what Edwards intended nor would it reflect your slant on it either.

      I do not nor have I ever indicated that I believe salvation to be dependent on “the self-determined will of man.” I believe salvation is exactly as Edwards says here, that it is because of “God’s determination, and eternal election, which is absolute, and depending on the sovereign Will of God.” Salvation IS dependent on God’s absolute eternal will but salvation in individuals is not due to His “positive agency.” Salvation is of God; conversion is man’s response.

      Noah’s ark would be a wonderful illustration of the two concepts of salvation and conversion. Salvation is the ark of safety. Salvation is God’s remedy. Conversion is getting on board. Did Noah get on board on his own? No. Did God make him get on board, no. God did not impel Noah’s sons to get on board nor their wives. He told Noah to build the boat. Noah obeyed God. God enabled Noah to do what He instructed him to do but He only did so as Noah did what God instructed him to do. I also believe there was more than enough room on the ark for ANYONE who wanted to get on board.

      While Noah was building that boat, the ark itself was a constant testimony to the folks that passed by it every day that destruction was coming and the ark was the way of safety. By the time Noah had finished building that boat, no one had any desire whatsoever to get on board UNTIL the first raindrop fell and panic set in but it was too late, for God and not Noah had shut the doors.

      Grateful to be in His Grip

      ><>”

      Reply

      • “Salvation is of God; conversion is man’s response.” I can agree with that statement, though we know that behind what each of us thinks is opposite of each other.

  2. And, about God “willing that all be saved” as some suppose, or is “willing that none should perish,” here is what the scripture saith:

    “for his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
    and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;
    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?”
    (Daniel 4:34-35 ESV)

    Now if it is God’s will that none should perish, and here in Daniel we see that “he does according to his will” in heaven and earth (i.e. everywhere), and “none can stay his hand” (so a man’s so called free will cannot overcome God’s will), how may these be reconciled?

    Reply

    • Les,

      Actually, I have used this same line of thinking and argued the same point that I believe you are arguing here. First of all, let me clear up something. Men do not suppose that God is “willing that none should perish but that all come to repentance.” That is a direct quote from the Scriptures, see 2 Peter 3:9.

      Lets look at YOUR take and concluding statement here. You wrote… Now if it is God’s will that none should perish, and here in Daniel we see that “he does according to his will” in heaven and earth (i.e. everywhere), and “none can stay his hand” (so a man’s so called free will cannot overcome God’s will), how may these be reconciled?” To begin with, you seem to be saying that Daniel 4 negates the possibility of “men supposing that God is not willing that any should perish”; I am sure you can see the fallacy of that analogy. Daniel 4:34-35 does not negate 2 Peter 3:9.

      The bold print that I added, is in parenthesis because that is YOUR interpretation on the application of Daniel’s statement to 2 Peter 3:9.

      First of all, Daniel 4 and 2 Peter 3 are not connected. You connected the two statements. So in effect, you created a statement of logic.Your choice of tying the two together is interesting. In looking at the two, my conclusion is vastly different from yours.

      Here are the ramifications of tying these two passages together as i see them, using your own language here.

      Now if it is God’s will that none should perish, which is scripturally basedand here in Daniel we see that “he does according to his will” in heaven and earth (i.e. everywhere), ok that is good and “none can stay his hand” (as Calvinists contend) my side note how may these be reconciled?

      You have the foundation for universalism. This is the reason I believe RT as a theological system grossly misses the mark where conversion is concerned. To me, Calvinism taken to its logic conclusions actually does what it sets out not to do; reject univeralism.

      Grateful to be in His Grip

      ><>”

      Reply

      • You wrote,

        “First of all, let me clear up something. Men do not suppose that God is “willing that none should perish but that all come to repentance.” That is a direct quote from the Scriptures, see 2 Peter 3:9.”

        Of course. I did not say that men suppose that God is “willing that none should perish but that all come to repentance.” I wrote, “And, about God “willing that all be saved” as some suppose, or is “willing that none should perish…” The point I was making that as some suppose the meaning is if He is willing that none should perish, that’s the same as willing all will be saved. Is it not?

        i.e. if one does not perish, then he is saved, right?

        I’ll come back with more on what you wrote after you reply to this. We should take this a piece at a time.

    • And, about God “willing that all be saved” as some suppose, or is “willing that none should perish,” here is what the scripture saith Is WHAT you wrote.. and from that statement I thought you were saying That God being “willing that none should perish” was related to the phrase “as some men suppose.”

      The fact that I quoted the whole verse did not take away from what I read your statement to mean.

      What exactly did you mean when you wrote the words mentioned above if you were not saying, “men suppose that God is willing that none should perish”? Maybe I misunderstood your statement. Although the rest of the post as I read it clearly reinforces your statement here.

      ><>”

      Reply

      • Bob,

        I suppose I wrote poorly. Here is what I meant to say:

        And, about God “willing that none should perish“ or as some suppose “willing that all be saved,”

        My intention was to show the logical other side of the coin of God not willing any should perish.

        That other side of the coin is “God willing that all be saved. After all, if one does not perish, his only other option for eternal destiny is “saved.”

        Would you agree?

      • I guess where my confusion comes in and I hear this criticism ALL the time, is that YOU are failing to understand that your objection is not logic, it is Biblical in that your statement is a DIRECT QUOTE, word for word.

        I actually DO believe that it is God’s will “that all men be saved” and that is why I say, “God has willed that people be saved and has established a world whereby conversion WILL take place by His Divine will but not His “positive agency.”

        There is a profound difference in saying that God’s will is that all men be saved or none perish, which is not supposition it is Scriptural and therefore concluding “all men will be saved.” That is a Calvinistic conclusion (that God’s will MUST be done) that is problematic as I see it, not a problem with Scripture.

        That is MY point.

        ><>”

      • Bob, the direct quote portion is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

        The “willing that all be saved” part is NOT from scripture.

        My point is that:

        1. If God wills that none perish, then
        2.He also necessarily wills that all be saved.

        But, I know you don’t really believe that He wills, in the decree sense, that all be saved. THAT would be universalism and I’m sure you’re not a universalist.

        Now, perhaps the ESV does help here. Look how the ESV translates 2 Peter 3.9:

        “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,1 not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

        Does the translators use of “wishing” change our options here?

        les

      • Briefly responding to Les,

        2Pe 3:9 KJV
        (9) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

        There is no need to retranslate this verse, because the authorize text is using the word “willing” in the correct sense already. I believe the difficulty lies in the specific Calvinistic Theological Definition (and understanding) of will.

        At least according to the normal English definition, willing has never meant “decreeing” …

        Yet the last part of the verse no longer speaks of will, but uses the word “should” instead. Should does seem to indicate that it’s not simply wishing any more, it’s about a decree. And here is where I anticipate that Calvinism has created a difficulty that need not exist.

        God can decree (command) that all men repent, but not all men will obey the decree. I believe that God DOES NOT issue commands that are impossible to obey. If God commands something, He will make it possible if we proceed in faith. If God were to command me to walk through a wall, I could walk through that wall.

        Mat 14:28-31 KJV
        (28) And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
        (29) And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
        (30) But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
        (31) And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

        I believe that is why Peter first asked Jesus to bid him (to command him) to come unto the water. Yet even then, his ability to obey the command was also dependent upon his faith.

      • Andrew,

        The illustration of Peter asking Jesus to “bid him to come” is good. Peter actually DID walk on water because he stepped out in faith… but when he took his eyes off Jesus “when he SAW the wind and waves”, he BEGAN to sink. Faith is indeed our response to God’s commands and His promises.

        I also agree with you, God does not give commands that He does not expect us to respond to. The whole notion that He gives general commands to everyone as if to hear Himself speak and THEN specific commands that He intends for “the elect” to respond to is really quite liberal when it comes to the instruction I find printed in the pages of the Bible I read.

        >>>”

  3. I will ask an open question:

    In the gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John, Jesus makes an allusion to a person called Jonah. There’s an entire Old Testament book that has been written about this Jonah, and Jesus calls him a prophet. This is the message that I read:

    Jon 3:3-5 KJV
    (3) So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey.
    (4) And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
    (5) So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.

    With this background, I ask:

    . 1) Was God really going to destroy Nineveh… was he telling the truth?
    . 2) Even if God was being truthful, was God willing to spare the city of Nineveh?
    . 3) And if God was telling the truth, then why did God change his mind?

    Jon 3:10 KJV
    (10) And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

    Reply

    • 1. God indeed threatened to destroy Nineveh.
      2. God was indeed truthful and was ready to spare the city if they repented.
      3. God did not change His mind. He cannot change.

      A better translation of v. 10 is:

      When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.
      (Jonah 3:10 ESV)

      This is called an anthropopathism.

      Reply

      • So it seems that you are saying that God did not change his mind, but that instead his mind was always (from the beginning) that He was willing to change his decree if Nineveh repented.

        The sticky point of this is it does not seem that this option to repent was part of God’s spoken decree. In fact, the words of the king of Nineveh indicate that the message was simply “This place is going to be destroyed in forty days.”

        Jon 3:9 KJV
        (9) Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

        So it is as if God changed his mind, or he is unchanging in His aspect to allow Himself to change his mind. Thus it’s like saying that I can have six eggs, but not half a dozen. It boils down to the same thing. I could also point to another famous example that seems to indicate that God can change mind.

        Exo 32:9-10 KJV
        (9) And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:
        (10) Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.

        Exo 32:14 KJV
        (14) And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.

        Would it be safe to say that God was not planning to wipe Israel off the face of the earth before this incident? Thus, God changed his mind once, and then changed his mind about changing his mind.

        According to His own words, God’s willed to destroy the camp of Israel, yet he heard the prayer of Moses and changed his mind once more. But I have read Calvinists that say that prayer cannot affect anything, because God cannot be persuaded by any appeal (yet I could summon much scripture that contradicts that premise… available upon request.)

        So maybe the question has become,

        . a) Is it part of God’s unchanging nature to show mercy in response to sincere repentance? Is the option of mercy (conditional upon repentance) part of any decree?

        . b) Or does God make hasty decrees that can be held against him when the conditions change, like King Ahasuerus of the Medes and Persians?

        So I suggest that perhaps it is the Calvinist premise that improperly applies anthropopathism in respect to God, as if God was “sovereign” like a human tyrant with unlimited power.

        But if we believe that Jesus was truly God in the flesh, then He is a lot more “human” (capable of love, mercy, feeling, and passion) than some people wish to portray him.

        That’s one reason why I believe this is important to understand, because it may make a difference as to whether we can truly know God.

      • Andrew,

        This is a very good point to discuss. I want to keep going, assuming Bob is ok with it. But, I’m pretty busy today and out this evening. I’ll be back.

        Meanwhile, I will say this. You wrote,

        “But I have read Calvinists that say that prayer cannot affect anything, because God cannot be persuaded by any appeal.”

        Whoever these Calvinists are, they are not mainstream and I disavow them for this type of thinking. That is NOT true Calvinism (or Reformed theology).

        See the excellent book by a Reformed man:

        http://www.monergismbooks.com/Pray-with-Your-Eyes-Open-Looking-at-God-Ourselves-and-Our-Prayers-p-17138.html

  4. I also think there is some validity to the discussion. I think Andrew’s statement might better have been said, “prayer does not affect God’s will because God’s will cannot be persuaded by any outside appeal.” I have read that argument as well.

    The general underlying argument is that God in His omniscience does not “learn anything” nor does His perfect will change because He knows all things and does not discover anything. So in that sense, prayer does not affect the will of God.

    All this does come into play as we look at the discussion of “God has willed that people be saved and has established a world whereby conversion WILL take place by His Divine will but not His “positive agency”.

    If we can keep the discussion in line with conversion, that would really be great. If not, I will seek to make the discussion applicable as i see the concepts developed in this discussion.

    ><>”

    Reply

  5. I would like to a comment concerning that earlier question of whether God being willing that “none should perish” might also equate to being willing that “all men be saved”

    Les wrote:

    And, about God “willing that none should perish“ or as some suppose “willing that all be saved,”

    My intention was to show the logical other side of the coin of God not willing any should perish.

    That other side of the coin is “God willing that all be saved. After all, if one does not perish, his only other option for eternal destiny is “saved.”

    Would you agree?

    I would agree. That certainly is the logical conclusion, so let’s see if our scriptures support it. Although the former passage was from Peter, I noticed that Paul seems to repeat the same message, but he even uses the exact wording that Les just proposed.

    1Ti 2:3-4 KJV
    (3) For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
    (4) Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

    I believe that Bob’s proposed statement for discussion included:
    * that God has willed that people be saved,
    * that God has established a world whereby He wills that conversion take place, and
    * that God wills that men be converted, but not by “positive agency”

    So far, it seems that we are faced with two choices. If we accept the Calvinist definition of “will” as “decree” then we must also accept Universalism, so perhaps we should also begin to study that angle. But I maintain that there is a far simpler explanation if we simply allow the word “will” to be read with the common English meaning.

    The reason that all men are not saved is because there is more than one will involved in this equation, and the failing lies not with God, but with man. Man can prevent himself from coming to God through his own stubborn will.

    Joh 5:40 KJV
    (40) And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

    God wills men to come to him to have life, but many will not come to Him to have life. Regardless of the good things God wants to give, if men will not repent they shall surely die. Is this not the gospel message in the context of John 3:16?

    Concluding, I agree with the logical connections that Les has made concerning perishing, repentance, and salvation, and so far this conclusion seems compatible with Bob’s statement for discussion. God does will that all men be saved.

    Reply

    • That’s pretty good; I don’t care what anybody says!

      ><>”

      Reply

    • Ermm.. the text 2 Peter 3:9 is easily solved from a Calvinist point of view by understanding that God _desires_ none to perish, and yet must punish them for their wickedness.

      In other words there needs to be a proper balance between God’s love (he does love us greatly) and also God’s justice (he is perfectly just).

      ================

      I like your Noah’s ark description of salvation, and believe that this is what Jonathan Edwards was going on about in his book “Freedom of the Will” (but can’t find the article on this on desiringgod.org). He holds them together in a very similar way such that it’s always you doing what you desire (man doesn’t do anything that he does not desire the most), and so you are always responsible – e.g. for sin – and yet, God leads you.

      Illustration: Entreprenuer sets out to build an apartment block, plans it meticulously, and seeks out workers. The workers come of their own desire for a pay packet, good working conditions etc. The workers build the block according to the specifications. If one worker tried to cut corners, who is responsible? The worker. And yet the entreprenuer is guiding the whole process.

      Reply

      • Addressing Nathan (above),

        I don’t see how substituting “desires” for “willing” (for these are synonyms) helps the Calvinist here. In fact, your explanation just admitted that God does not get everything He wants. You just admitted that God might desire one thing but for other reasons than his desire, He must do another. That’s the opposite of the Calvinist premise!

        * * *

        The problem is that the Calvinist doctrine states that God can get whatever He wants simply by decree. But then if God truly wanted no man to perish, He could decree them “saved” because there is no reason why He “must” offer grace to some and why He “must” deny grace to others. Who’s making these rules?

        I hear again and again from the Calvinist that there is nothing about the person themselves (not a willingness to respond, not a willingness to hear, not a willingness to change or repent) involved here, and that the only element involved is God’s will (that is, His desire.)

        So we are back full circle again, because the scriptures clearly state that God is not willing that any should perish, but He is willing that all men be saved, and come to a knowledge of the truth.

        If God wants all of these things, but they will not happen, then there’s obviously something else involved here besides issuing a decree upon unwilling subjects (“forcing them to be willing against their will” is the same thing as their being “unwilling.”)

        * * *

        If God could “force someone to be willing” to repent then He can decree repentance. If God is willing to save all who repent, then that would be the same as decreeing salvation. Thus if God truly wants all men to be saved (as He has said he does) then all men would be saved. Ergo, Universalism.

        * Scripture forces the Calvinist premise to require Universalism.
        * However, Calvinism includes Limited Atonement which denies Universalism.

        In mathematics, when a thing can be forced to deny itself and produce a contradictory conclusion, it is considered disproved. We could go into more scriptures, but we ought to start by recognizing that Calvinism bears the burden of proof, not the “free will” of God’s creation.

        The only “out” that I can see is if the Calvinism redefines the “Limited” of “Limited Atonement” to mean “Limited to All Men.” Ironically, this is also the same place that we come if we approach from the other side, because the Universalist is eventually faced with the problem that for all men to repent (even the unwilling ones) God would have to remove their free will. So Universalists are also inevitably led to the Calvinist denial of free will.

        I am neither Calvinist nor Universalist. As I read the scriptures, both of these positions have insurmountable difficulties that require that the majority of the bible text be read against its normal meaning. Why would God command people to repent if they were unable to obey in the first place? Why does God speak to men as if they had free will, and the ability to choose life or death?

      • Hey Andrew,

        You say,

        “I hear again and again from the Calvinist that there is nothing about the person themselves (not a willingness to respond, not a willingness to hear, not a willingness to change or repent) involved here, and that the only element involved is God’s will (that is, His desire.)”

        You’ve been listening to Calvinist impostors OR you’ve misunderstood what they said OR you just choose to caricature Calvinism.

        Your statement above is NOT Calvinism. Keep reading what noted Calvinists have written. Calvinists actually DO SAY that man’s will is involved in the salvation process.

      • Les, it feels like you’re playing a shell game with words. The only way in which a Calvinist allows “free will” to be part of the “salvation process” is that they essentially claim that God chooses to force that “free will” upon them so that the only thing they can choose is to repent.

        But by definition, a forced will is not free will, and Calvinists repeatedly deny that a man may repent of his own free will.

        But let’s give this theory of yours a test. I am going to give a series of quotes, and you can tell me whether these people represent true Calvinists or whether they are “imposters” …

        1. “Free will carried many a soul to hell, but never a soul to heaven.”

        2. “Never yet did a soul come to Christ till first Christ came to it.”

        3. “Despite all the doctrines which proud free-will has manufactured, there has never been found from Adam’s day until now a single instance in which the sinner first sought his God. God must first seek him.”

        It certainly seems as if all of these people are saying that man may not repent of his own free will. Let’s not play word games here – the message is that God must override or replace man’s will before he is allowed to repent. So as to these quotes…

        1. True Calvinist, hyper-Calvinist, or imposter?
        2. True Calvinist, hyper-Calvinist, or imposter?
        3. True Calvinist, hyper-Calvinist, or imposter?

        And one more quote that I would like to present for discussion:

        4. “I have my own opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else.”

        This seems directly related to the earlier discussion about whether a Calvinist is really being honest when they tell people that Christ died for their sins, knowing that in their mind they believe only a tiny fraction of their audience is among “the secret elect.”

        4. Would you comment on that quote, please? Les?

      • Andrew,

        No shell game here brother. Let me be perfectly clear. The bible nowhere teaches that man has moral freedom to choose Christ so that Christ will then choose the man. No, we love Him because He first loved us. Calvinists believe that man does have a will to choose. It’s just not free. Since the fall man is in bondage. His will is bound in sin. He is a slave to sin. He chooses sin and always chooses what he desires. He just does not ever desire Christ on his own.

        He needs his will set free by Christ…free from the bondage wherein he is currently bound. Man loves darkness rather than light.

        Here’s a quote for you…”If any man doth ascribe of salvation, even the very least, to the free will of man, he knows nothing of grace, and he has not learnt Jesus Christ aright.” Martin Luther.

        I agree wholeheartedly.

        You said, “But by definition, a forced will is not free will, and Calvinists repeatedly deny that a man may repent of his own free will.”

        If by that statement you mean that Calvinists believe that Christ uses “force” to force man to come to Christ, you are engaging in more caricatures. That is NOT what Calvinists believe.

        Calvinists believe that God by His Holy Spirit comes to man and changes man’s oppositional bound will (regeneration)so that man then has the scales fall from his blinded eyes…he can see…and can see the kingdom and the Christ of that kingdom and b/c he has a new will set free from the bondage of his sin nature the man willingly and happily runs to Christ!

        As to the quotes, they all seem consistent with Calvinism.

        You said,

        “This seems directly related to the earlier discussion about whether a Calvinist is really being honest when they tell people that Christ died for their sins, knowing that in their mind they believe only a tiny fraction of their audience is among “the secret elect.”

        I suppose some Calvinists tell people that “Christ died for their sins.” I don’t. I actually don’t know about the fraction idea. I’m a postmillennialist so I believe there will be a great number in heaven. So, I tell people that Christ died for sinners (true) and that he/she is a sinner (true) and that is they repent of their sons and place their faith in Christ He will save them. See, I recognize that God is the one that does the saving. Not me or the person listening.

      • This was an interesting comment of yours:

        I suppose some Calvinists tell people that “Christ died for their sins.”

        1Co 15:3-4 KJV
        (3) For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
        (4) And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

        So you tell people that “Christ died for sinners” knowing that the people believe you are saying that “Christ died for all sinners” but what you really mean is that “Christ died for some sinners and not others.

        I don’t see Paul or any other apostle making such a distinction as you make.

        But you are playing word games. First you said that Calvinists do say that man’s will is involved in the salvation process, and then you agree with Martin Luther and Charles Spurgeon that free will is not involved in salvation in the very least.

        So how is “man’s will” not the same as “free will?” This supposition that God changing someone’s will without their consent is not the same as forcing their will to change is another word game.

        Finally, let’s address this claim of yours:

        No shell game here brother. Let me be perfectly clear. The bible nowhere teaches that man has moral freedom to choose Christ so that Christ will then choose the man.

        For starters, your premise is flawed. Why should anyone assume that man wouldn’t have the moral freedom to choose Christ to begin with? I suppose I could also say that “The bible nowhere teaches that man has the moral freedom to fly in an airplane” and this would be an equally flawed claim.

        However, because you have made an absolute statement, all I need to do is to provide one counterexample, and this is easily done. Does man have the moral freedom to choose Christ?

        Joh 7:37-38 KJV
        (37) In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
        (38) He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

        Rom 10:9 KJV
        (9) That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

        Rev 3:20 KJV
        (20) Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

        That’s from the bible, and that certainly seems like teaching that man has the moral ability to choose Christ. Counting, that makes one…. two …. three times so far.

        And there’s more….

        Act 17:24-27 KJV
        (24) God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
        (25) Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
        (26) And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
        (27) That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

        It certainly sounds like to me that Paul has said that all men should seek the Lord, and feel after him, and find him. Almost as if they might have the moral freedom to do so!

        Your statement that the bible does not say that man has the moral freedom to choose Christ was bizarre to begin with, but it is also easily disproved.

        Act 17:30 KJV
        (30) And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

        If God commands all men to do something, do they therefore have the moral freedom to obey?

        Paul was not preaching “Limited Atonement” at Mars Hill, but since Spurgeon says that there is no gospel except that which we call Calvinism, I guess it also follows from Martin Luther that Paul “had not learnt Jesus Christ aright.”

        Yes, Christ loved us first, and who is the us? How is this love demonstrated? Because he died for us. John 3:16 tells us that God so loved the world, which means God loves everyone. It seems that Calvinism requires a very limited understanding of the word “love.”

        Regardless, your claim has been disproved. I could use many more examples, but I am limited by the space available in a blog post. We could discuss the parable of the prodigal son, where it’s quite clear that the son had the moral ability to choose life or death. And on and on and on…

      • Andrew, with that you have had the last word on that subject.

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