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Is God involved?

Discussion in 'Bible Chat' started by B-A-C, May 8, 2018.

  1. There are three prevailing beliefs in Christianity today.

    Monergism. - God does it all. Everything that happens is totally out of our control.
    Generally these are things like predestination. God decides who gets saved, it is out of our control.
    Irresistible grace. The Holy Spirit controls your thoughts and actions, it is out of our control.
    Total depravity - None of us seek God on our own volition, if we seek Him.. He caused it 100% it is out of our control.
    Once saved always saved. Once you get saved. God controls (all or enough) of your thoughts and actions to make sure you never lose your salvation. It is out of your control.

    Synergism - It is a joint relationship between you and God. God does some of it. But some of it is up to you.
    (how much differs between believers... anywhere from 10% to 99%) But even if God does 99%, 1% is still up to you. . We can't be saved without God/Jesus guiding us, leading us. We can't be saved without God's grace and mercy, and we certainly can't do it on our own. But we still have free will and are able to rebel against God if we so desire.

    Autorgism - It is all you. God really doesn't get involved at all. As Bette Midler's song says.
    God is watching us from a distance. All circumstances and decisions are controlled by you and you alone.
    These people don't deny God exists. But rather He sits back and watches what we will do. He doesn't really
    help you, lead you or guide you at all. If you make good choices, that's great. If you don't. That's too bad.

    There are Bible verses that can be taken t support the first two views. They are common in Christianity today.
    The last one is more difficult to support from scripture, but still many people believe that way.

    extreme Monergism - There are some people who take the belief that God is totally in control to the point, that they believe even when you sin. It is God that ultimately caused you to sin.

    I believe that how you view God's "involvement" determines how you walk your Christian walk.

    Now of course I've said this as a blanket statement, and there are people who cross these lines in different parts of their theology, but for the most part this seems to be the case.

    .. to be continued ...
    KingJ and Dave M like this.
  2. In my view, 3 verses are particularly important for the issue you raise:
    (1) "All are victims of time and chance (Ecclesiastes 9:11)."
    The apparent implication is that God does not micromanage the universe, that despite God's will for our lives, we can fail to watch where we are walking, step out in front of a car, and be killed, thereby thwarting God's plan for our lives. This verse raises the question of whether it is God[s will for mongoloid babies to be born or for babies to die in childbirth. What if God is like a Grandmaster Chess Champion playing a novice. The Grandmaster lacks control over the novice's moves, but his mastery of the game allows Him to counter the novice's moves to make the game turn out the way he wishes.

    (2) "For whom He foreknew He predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29)."
    Foreknowledge precedes predestination, that is, God foreknows how I will make poor choices and fits that into His plan and reacts accordingly to fulfill His will.

    (3) "God works in all things for the good to those who love God Romans 8:28)."
    This verse is often mistranslated as "All things work together for good." In fact, all things may be working against some unfortunately souls. But God responds to faith by plugging away for good to salvage a beautiful or edifying result from situations He never wanted or intended. This insight makes God more loveable to the average seeker.
    B-A-C likes this.
  3. Probably one of the most commonly used passages to support the view that God doesn't give us a choice is from Romans 9.

    Rom 9:10; And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac;
    Rom 9:11; for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls,
    Rom 9:12; it was said to her, "THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER."
    Rom 9:13; Just as it is written, "JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED."
    Rom 9:14; What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!
    Rom 9:16; So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.
    Rom 9:18; So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
    Rom 9:19; You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?"
    Rom 9:20; On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it?
    Rom 9:21; Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?
    Rom 9:22; What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?

    It seems God had a plan for Jacob and Esau before they were even born. ( Gen 25:23; ) The older will server the younger.
    Verse 13 is always controversial. Did God hate Esau? ( also see Malachi 1:3; and Hebrews 12:16; )
    If God planned this before they were born, did God plan to hate Esau before they were born?

    Some take verse 15 to mean God will have mercy and compassion on some people, but not on others. ( Exod 33:19; )

    Verse 16 is probably the key verse to Monergerists. This is taken as "nothing depends upon the man or what he wills,
    but on God who has mercy".

    It seems the potter (God) makes some vessels "for honorable use" and some vessels "for common use". ( verse 21)
    That was a little tricky for me... so I looked at few other translations of that verse.

    (AMPC) Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same mass (lump) one vessel for beauty and distinction and honorable use, and another for menial or ignoble and dishonorable use?
    (GNB) After all, the man who makes the pots has the right to use the clay as he wishes, and to make two pots from the same lump of clay, one for special occasions and the other for ordinary use.
    (GW) A potter has the right to do whatever he wants with his clay. He can make something for a special occasion or something for everyday use from the same lump of clay.
    (HCSB) Or has the potter no right over the clay, to make from the same lump one piece of pottery for honor and another for dishonor?
    (KJV) Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
    (NLT) When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into?

    This verse leads into verse 22. It says here some vessels of wrath "are prepared for destruction". Is it possible God made some people
    to be "saved" in advance before they were born? Is it possible He made others to be "destined for wrath" before they were born?

    Jesus says something similar.

    John 6:44; "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

    God the Father decides who gets saved and who doesn't?
    If God "is love" ( 1 Jn 4:8; 1 Jn 4:16; ) does He love those "common vessels" destined for wrath?
    It seems Paul later disagrees with this.

    1 Tim 2:3; This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
    1 Tim 2:4; who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

    Peter says something very similar.

    2 Pet 3:9; The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

    ... to be continued ...
  4. #4 B-A-C, May 9, 2018
    Last edited: May 9, 2018
    Here are a few more verses that seem to support predestination.

    Rom 8:30; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
    Eph 1:5; He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,
    Eph 1:11; also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,

    Now keep in mind there were people in the Bible who "thought" they were saved. But it ends up they really weren't.
    If God predestined this... how do any of us know for certain we will always be saved?

    Matt 7:21; "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
    Matt 7:22; "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'
    Matt 7:23; "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'

    Matt 25:11; "Later the other virgins also came, saying, 'Lord, lord, open up for us.'
    Matt 25:12; "But he answered, 'Truly I say to you, I do not know you.'

    Acts 5:3; But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?
    Acts 5:4; "While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God."
    Acts 5:5; And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it.

    Jesus Himself chose Judas...

    John 15:16; "You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.

    Matt 10:1; Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.
    Matt 10:2; Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;
    Matt 10:3; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;
    Matt 10:4; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him.

    Heb 12:17; For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.

    Some people say "well he never truly repented". Maybe so... but either way, Did God predestine this as well?

    ... to be continued ....
  5. I will add another "big word" here. "molinism".
    I used to think this is a separate things from the three views in the OP... but maybe not? It is close to synergism.

    When I was a teenager. I used to read these "role playing" books. This was back before the Internet and Cable television :)
    For example.... You read about 10 pages into the book, then you have to make a choice.
    You either save the girl from the pirates or you run away. If you run away... just go to the next page... where you die.
    If you save the girl... turn to page 13, where you read 5 or 6 more pages and then make another decision.

    There were many books like this, I think I had a dozen or so. You are a cowboy fighting the indians, or a space hero fighting space pirates,
    or a marooned castaway fighting prates... so on and so forth. It seems there is always "a girl" involved. (what else is new)
    As I read these books... I usually died a lot when I read the first two or three. The good thing about the books is can you always go back and "start over". But as I read more and more of these books I started to see a pattern. Don't run away... do "the right thing".

    I wish real life was like those books sometimes. Many times I wished I had "a do over". Sometimes God is gracious
    and gives us a do-over. Sometimes it seems He doesn't. But we all the have the "main" do -over" to accept Jesus, and start all over
    again today.

    The thought with molinism is... God is the author of your salvation. He writes your book. He knows all the possible outcomes.
    He may even know the choices you are going to make... but that doesn't mean He makes them for you. In fact, it wouldn't be a
    "role playing" book at all if there were no choices. You may be born a black man in Africa, or a white woman is Germany.
    You might move to Alabama and marry Kate.. or you might move to Alaska and marry Bonnie.

    But either way... you won't make any decisions that aren't in your book. You will never move to Florida and marry Donna,
    because that isn't in your book. Most molinists believe that everyone eventually comes to the place in their book
    where they have to choose salvation... or not. Many believe this isn't a one time thing... maybe you are given many opportunities
    to come to Jesus in your book. But eventually your book quits giving you an opportunity.
  6. Doesn't all that make you wish you had a real "turn from" sin a long time ago?
    That would have been the start of the big "do over" you wish for.
    But guess what...Jesus has led you here to see my words advocating obedience to God, so He now has a stake in your doings.
    Thanks be to God, in the name of Jesus Christ.
  7. There are two scenarios we can't confuse.

    1. His involvement in us choosing to serve Him.
    2. His involvement once we have a. chosen or b. not chosen to serve Him.

    Regarding 1. Synergism. Rev 3:20 Behold I stand at the door and knock. He knocks on all our hearts. We do our part by opening.

    Regarding 2a. His children. 100% involvement. The Holy Spirit is here. As we type our replies He is on us.
    Regarding 2b. The unsaved. He does not even hear their prayers John 9:31. Unless it is a prayer of repentance.
    Hekuran likes this.
  8. Every verse you have quoted makes it seem as though God is not omniscient (outside of those few in Rom 9). Even when considering the devil. He promoted Him to being the covering cherub.

    As teeny tiny little humans trying to grasp God of the universe, we have to look at where the evidence points and not jump to assumptions. It is valid to state that all the evidence points to the appearance of God not being omniscient. We know He is not evil. The cross solves that 100%. There is no debate to be had. So, knowing that God is not evil we cannot believe He set Judas up for a fall. Put him in a circumstance He knew He could not handle. The evidence points to Jesus having high expectations of Judas. Judas disappointing. Jesus seeing the signs of this coming and stating what He did in Matt 26:21.

    Putting all scripture together paints the picture of God limiting His omniscience to uphold being a good God with no darkness in Him at all 1 John 1:5. God is who He is. Not what the dictionary definition of omniscience and omnipotence says He is.
  9. Thanks. Those first 4 posts aren't necessarily my beliefs. Simply "a" belief".
    As soon as I get a little more time... I will post more verses about synergism. It seems they outnumber the other verses 30 to 1
    or possibly more. :)
    KingJ likes this.
  10. Synergism.... are we required to do... anything at all?

    Jas 2:14; What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?
    Jas 2:15; If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,
    Jas 2:16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?
    Jas 2:17; Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
    Jas 2:18; But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works."
    Jas 2:19; You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
    Jas 2:20; But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?
    Jas 2:21; Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?
    Jas 2:22; You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected;
    Jas 2:23; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS," and he was called the friend of God.
    Jas 2:24; You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.
    Jas 2:25; In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?
    Jas 2:26; For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

    Some people believe this contradicts Eph 2:8-9; However Ephesians 2, doesn't have the word "alone".
    James 2 does. We aren't saved by works "alone". But we aren't saved by faith "alone" either.

    Hebrews 11 is often called the Faith chapter. These people must have had faith.. but did they have to do anything?

    Heb 11:4; By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.
    Heb 11:5; By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.
    Heb 11:6; And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
    Heb 11:7; By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
    Heb 11:8; By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.
    Heb 11:9; By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise;
    Heb 11:10; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
    Heb 11:11; By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.

    Heb 11:17; By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son;

    Heb 11:24; By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter,
    Heb 11:25; choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,
    Heb 11:26; considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.
    Heb 11:27; By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.
    Heb 11:28; By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them.
    Heb 11:29; By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.
    Heb 11:30; By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.
    Heb 11:31; By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.
    Heb 11:32; And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets,
    Heb 11:33; who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions,
    Heb 11:34; quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.

    It seems almost every one of the "hero's of the faith" had to do an "act of faith" in order to qualify for the Faith "hall of fame".

    .... to be continued ...
  11. Why do you call them "unsaved" when the scripture calls them "sinners"?
    Have you finally come around to believing sinners are not saved?
  12. Three reasons.
    1. The context of sinners is people who do not want to repent. They continue willfully in sin. God cannot save anyone who does not desire true repentance.
    2. The verse contrasts sinners with worshippers of God who do His will. Not sinners with non sinners.
    3. Only God is perfect. Without sin.
  13. 1. Do you think there is any difference between people you say "do not want to repent" and those who turn from sin repentance is short lived?
    2. How come you see a difference between "those who do God's will" and "non-sinners"?
    3. Your third point ignores those who love God above all else. People whose repentance from sin is real. People who have been granted the Gift of the Holy Ghost to help them maintain their sanctification.
    People who are obedient to their Father.
    I hope you are not alluding to the fallacy that nobody loves God.
  14. 1. Yes
    2. God's will is for us to reach the wicked in a wicked world 1 Cor 5:10. This does entail us getting our hands dirty and at times clogged down with venial sin.
    3. Everyone who can call Jesus Lord, we have to believe their repentance is real. Only God knows those who are not after His heart. If we want to be better then the next person, we do so by helping the wicked, orphans, widows and elderly. Not by locking ourselves away from everyone so we don't fall into any temptations. That is like the guy who was given one talent.
    4. What is loving God?
  15. I don't know why you see a difference between those who will die again for their sin,and those who will die again for their sins.
    Only a real-true "turn from" sin will avail either group.

    Your doctrine is a lie, but I will call it ignorance here.
    I'm in the "world", but I am not of this world. (1 John 4:17)

    I agree, as sinners serve sin, not God.

    Again, I agree.
    The whole world lieth in darkness, so you can't get away from it...but you don't have to partake in their wickedness.

    Submitting your self to His will.

    We aren't trying to be better than some man, we are trying to be like our Lord Jesus. (Matt 10:25)
  16. I propose you start a thread to discuss sin and stop derailing other threads.

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