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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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almostgreta

Open theism?

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I'm in a discussion with someone on another forum who is an Open Theist and claims God has no foreknowledge of man's free-will decisions. They believe this would be incompatible with free will. Any opinions about Open Theism? Arguments for or against so I can better understand this topic?

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A good article about this issue can be found here:

http://cicministry.org/commentary/issue58.htm

 

I would also like to add the fact that God fully knows the hearts of all people. This teaching can be found in many passages. Here are a few examples from the Old Testament:

Genesis 6:5

Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (NASB)

1 Samuel 16:7

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (NASB)

1 Kings 8:39

then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive and act and render to each according to all his ways, whose heart You know, for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men (NASB)

 

And yet elsewhere we read that God tested each Israelite in order "to know" what was in if their hearts.

Deuteronomy 8:2

You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. (NASB)

 

The previous passages cited which took place both before and after Deuteronomy 8:2 makes it clear that God fully knows the hearts of all.

1. David Guzik: God tested Israel. It was not because He didn't know their hearts, but because they didn't know their hearts. We have to constantly be corrected of our over-estimation of ourselves.

http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/guz/view.cgi?bk=4&ch=8

2. John Gill: to know what was in thine heart; that is, to make it known to themselves and others; for God knew all that was in it, the wickedness of it, the unbelief, rebellion, and frowardness of it, and needed not any ways and means to get into the knowledge of it; see 2 Chronicles 32:31

http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/view.cgi?bk=4&ch=8

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Hi AlmostGreta, outside of the fact that 'every' church within the pale of orthodoxy considers Open Theism a heresy, one of the many problems I have with it is the fact that, if true, there is no prophetic statement, no promise that God has ever made to us, that can be trusted or relied upon as something that will come to pass.

 

I've gotta go right now, but I'll try to get back here later today. BTW, John Piper wrote a pretty good book on the subject that you might want to check out called, Beyond the Bounds. And CARM's owner, Matt Slick, has quite a few articles posted about it here on his website.

 

Yours and His,

David

 

 

9 “Remember the former things long past,

For I am God, and there is no other;

I am God, and there is no one like Me,

10 Declaring the end from the beginning,

And from ancient times things which have not been done,

Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,

And I will accomplish all My good pleasure'" ~Isaiah 46

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Thank you St. Worm! Thank you Faber for the links. So it is actually considered a heresy, then, and not just a controversial new theology? Good to know. Personally, I think God has foreknowledge--as I saw in an essay online, look at Jesus's exact prediction of Peter's future denial of him.

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Personally, I think God has foreknowledge--as I saw in an essay online, look at Jesus's exact prediction of Peter's future denial of him.

 

Or God could just be a real good guesser ;)

 

 

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Here's what a portion of the Westminster Confession of Faith has to say about this (the Scriptural references upon which this portion of the Confession is based can be found by clicking on the numbers):

 

Chapter III

 

Of God's Eternal Decree

I. God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass;
yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin,
nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

 

II. Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions;
yet has He not decreed anything because He foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.

 

 

Yours in Christ,

David

 

 

8 Let all the earth fear the LORD;

Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.

9 For He spoke, and it was done;

He commanded, and it stood fast.

10 The LORD nullifies the counsel of the nations;

He frustrates the plans of the peoples.

11 The counsel of the LORD stands forever,

The plans of His heart from generation to generation.

12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,

The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance. ~Psalm 33

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Or God could just be a real good guesser ;)

 

 

Yes, that must be it :)

 

Thanks for the excerpt from the Westminster Confession. I will have to bring this up to the person I'm dialoguing with. Westminster is for Presbyterians, right?

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Hi AG, the Westminster Confession is for all Christians (assuming that what it teaches us about God, the Bible, and Christianity is true, right ;)). But yes, the WCC is principally associated with Presbyterians.

 

In Christ,

David

 

"The LORD of hosts has sworn saying, “Surely, just as

I have intended, so it has happened, & just as

I have planned, so it will stand"

Isaiah 14:24

 

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What happens to heretics? Are they still saved? They still accept Jesus, after all. It's just their ideas about him are a little off. (I'm getting somewhat concerned about my dialogue partner, who just--though they claim otherwise and say I'm reading them wrong--implied that Jesus did not exhaustively foreknow what would happen with Peter, but was able to predict it anyway by extrapolation from present conditions. In other words, that he guessed.)

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What happens to heretics? Are they still saved? They still accept Jesus, after all. It's just their ideas about him are a little off. (I'm getting somewhat concerned about my dialogue partner, who just--though they claim otherwise and say I'm reading them wrong--implied that Jesus did not exhaustively foreknow what would happen with Peter, but was able to predict it anyway by extrapolation from present conditions. In other words, that he guessed.)

 

I tend to view it through the lens of Matthew 7:23

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

 

"I never knew you" is very personal and specific. I like to think of Muslims and Jehovah's Witnesses who believe in a Jesus, but the person they describe is clearly not THE Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, and they are not placing their trust, leaning with all of the weight of their salvation, on Jesus work on the Cross. Those are the heresies (or so it seems to me) that will clearly lead to an "I never knew you". To be confused about whether your baptism as a baby was the One Baptism or if you needed an adult baptism after making a public confession hardly seems like the sort of thing that would take your eye off Jesus as the Alpha and Omega (beginning and end) of your salvation.

 

Some confusion about God is almost to be expected, or he probably isn't God. He is, after all, beyond our full comprehension.

 

So in who or what is your friend trusting? That will tell you whether or not to worry. Is their view so distorted that they cannot be trusting in the True Jesus, but in some Idol they have fashioned that sort of resembles Jesus just a little?

 

 

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What happens to heretics? Are they still saved? They still accept Jesus, after all.

A lot of people think they have accepted Jesus when in fact they haven't. Salvation comes when someone repents of his sin and turns to Jesus for salvation. It is possible for someone to have an intellectual belief in Jesus, accepting the fact that everything the Bible says about Jesus is true, and yet not be saved. One sign that a person is a true follower of Jesus will be that he will recognize the truth that is taught in the Bible.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

(John 10:27 ESV)

A genuine believer is unlikely to be deceived by false teaching. That doesn't mean all Christians will agree on everything. If you spend time on this forum you will find that there are a lot of disagreements among Christians. But there is agreement on the essentials, including belief in the omniscience of God. Jesus was not guessing when he told Peter what would happen; he knew.

 

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A lot of people think they have accepted Jesus when in fact they haven't. Salvation comes when someone repents of his sin and turns to Jesus for salvation. It is possible for someone to have an intellectual belief in Jesus, accepting the fact that everything the Bible says about Jesus is true, and yet not be saved. One sign that a person is a true follower of Jesus will be that he will recognize the truth that is taught in the Bible.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

(John 10:27 ESV)

A genuine believer is unlikely to be deceived by false teaching. That doesn't mean all Christians will agree on everything. If you spend time on this forum you will find that there are a lot of disagreements among Christians. But there is agreement on the essentials, including belief in the omniscience of God. Jesus was not guessing when he told Peter what would happen; he knew.

 

A very good point! The saved (elect/chosen) have the Holy Spirit as a teacher to guide us into all essential truth. So the rejection of Truth can be seen similar to a faith wothout works ... it is a dead and ineffectual belief, not a life transforming reality.

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This person believes two things: (A) that we all have libertarian free will, and (B) that libertarian free will is incompatible with foreknowledge. Thus, they believe that God does not know our future decisions. Yet they also believe he infallibly acts to achieve his purposes. Via contingency planning, or something. Basically, their God can do everything the classical God can do, but they claim he does so without knowing exactly, "down to the microsecond," what would happen and when. In this way, in this person's mind, human freedom is preserved.

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Have they considered Quantum States and the "Schrödinger's Cat" problem?

 

I mean, most of this is hardly worth the mental effort, but if you and they are determined to go down that rabbit hole, Quantum Physics offers some mind bending realities that have application to what they are looking at.

 

For example, we tend to live in a Newtonian world. Things behave pretty much the way we expect. A light is on or it is off. It cannot be both on and off at the same time, nor can it be neither on nor off but in some in between state. Quantum phenomenon ... like subatomic particles and photons, do not behave like the Newtonian world we are accustomed to. We say that an electron orbits in it's electron shell around the nucleus of an atom. This is not actually true. At any given instant, the electron is simultaneously everywhere in its shell at the same time, which would appear to be impossible, except it can be measured through its charge and bonding strength with another atom in a molecule. Now something strange happens when you measure where the electron is, like by bonding it with another electron, the electron that was everywhere and nowhere is suddenly and instantly in an exact and specific location. All of the infinite possible locations that it existed in on the shell, collapsed into the single location that it was actually in when it bonded.

 

This has been applied to philosophy. Our free will are the infinite possible choices that we can make. Like an electron cloud, each person exists within a sphere of possibility ... all of the choices that he might possibly make in his life and all of the choices and possibilities that they create and destroy. Each personal sphere of possibility (our completely free will) intersects the spheres of all other people and their free will. Like atoms floating in space bonding and breaking bonds. God exists outside of all of this, thus his perspective is the eternal NOW where our time is another direction he can freely look and stroll. As God sees all of these spheres of possibility heading towards the garbage disposal, he reaches out and touches one. Like the bond of an atom, the touch of God causes all of the infinite possible 'ifs' that were leading us to the garbage disposal to collapse into a single new 'if'. We are transformed from an electron heading towards entropy into a photon. We are a new particle with new properties and new energy and the ability to exist outside of our old orbit.

 

There has been no loss of free will. God had a superior frame of reference, our infinite possible futures collapsed into the future that God knew it would. This applies whether God intervenes or not. God is in a position to see the order beneath the chaos and move freely through time. We are trapped in the orbit that leads to decay. Only the energy imparted by God can provide a quantum boost to a higher state.

 

 

If you look up "Schrödinger's Cat", then your friends are staring at the closed box and saying "the future is unknowable", but God has already opened the box.

 

Isaiah 46:9-10

I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’

Edited by atpollard
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This person believes two things: (A) that we all have libertarian free will, and (B) that libertarian free will is incompatible with foreknowledge. Thus, they believe that God does not know our future decisions. Yet they also believe he infallibly acts to achieve his purposes. Via contingency planning, or something. Basically, their God can do everything the classical God can do, but they claim he does so without knowing exactly, "down to the microsecond," what would happen and when. In this way, in this person's mind, human freedom is preserved.

 

Hello almostgreta,

 

Thought you may enjoy reading this: https://www.christforums.org/forum/c...rian-free-will

 

God bless,

William

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LOL now they said the Westminster Confession is "logically contradictory, and then says nothing to even attempt to resolve it." Meanwhile their solution to the prophecy of Jesus concerning Peter is to say that Jesus knew WHAT would happen, but didn't know HOW, so any scenario might have played out with that result, so man's freedom is preserved. I was like, okay, now you're on your own. Nobody in Christendom argues that God *sort of* knows the future.

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LOL now they said the Westminster Confession is "logically contradictory, and then says nothing to even attempt to resolve it." Meanwhile their solution to the prophecy of Jesus concerning Peter is to say that Jesus knew WHAT would happen, but didn't know HOW, so any scenario might have played out with that result, so man's freedom is preserved. I was like, okay, now you're on your own. Nobody in Christendom argues that God *sort of* knows the future.

 

almostgreta, you are better off not engaging people like that if you want my opinion. Most boards do not allow open theism discussions, and if they do they must be made in a non-Christian category. As you can see, this is for a reason. You already stated the natural man's inherent sin nature. Therefore, man is limited in his actions, and God knows that all his best deeds are filthy rags. One really needs to water down the Holiness of God in order to argue any of man's actions are worthy of salvation or are righteous in themselves. There is no such thing as an infinite amount of actions man may make, lest one is arguing that man is God, which ultimately will have to be dealt with in the end of the discussion. If God sovereignly chooses a man, and a man says no, then who is soverign?

 

I suggest laying those circular discussion on the table, and walking away. Just my opinion though, I know there are a lot more fruitful conversations to be had! If you decide to stay with them, I hope you benefit!

 

God bless,

William

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I know, you're right. This person just keeps saying stupid and/or outrageous stuff, though. It's hard to resist answering back. But anyhow, I'm partway through your link--one of the criticisms you make about libertarian free will adherents is that they rely on philosophy rather than scripture. Is that inherently a bad thing? After all, Paul said to seek out anything that was praiseworthy and beautiful--that these things could occur outside of the Christian fold as signs of God's unmerited grace in the world. Surely studying philosophy can enhance one's understanding of God rather than destroy it.

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I know, you're right. This person just keeps saying stupid and/or outrageous stuff, though. It's hard to resist answering back. But anyhow, I'm partway through your link--one of the criticisms you make about libertarian free will adherents is that they rely on philosophy rather than scripture. Is that inherently a bad thing? After all, Paul said to seek out anything that was praiseworthy and beautiful--that these things could occur outside of the Christian fold as signs of God's unmerited grace in the world. Surely studying philosophy can enhance one's understanding of God rather than destroy it.

 

If you want to know where all this comes from. It is an echo from out of the garden of Eden:

 

In Gen 3:5, when Satan, disguised as a serpent, said to Eve, “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Here are the double lies being offered to Eve springing out of the same principle behind his botched coup attempt; first, that she would be like gods, and thus independent, able to rule over herself apart from God, and secondly, there is not one God, but many gods; each is sovereign over himself or herself.

 

I double dog dare you to ask them whether they believe the lies of Satan are true? I'm willing to betcha that they would say Satan told the truth in Eden. This is why I won't entertain Open Theist.

 

God bless,

William

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How's this for arguing exhaustive foreknowledge? My debate partner argues that God can know PART of the future (i.e., that Peter will deny him three times before the rooster crows) but not ALL of it (i.e., how exactly these events will play out--so libertarian free will is allegedly preserved). I argued back that it is impossible to know only SOME of the future, because every outcome is something else's cause. I.e., God knows, in the case of Peter, that a rooster will crow; he knows a "what." But that "what" is inevitably part of the "how" of OTHER EVENTS. Let us say that an adulterous husband has not quite made it home before that cock crows, and his wife wakes up. As a result, she will discover her husband is not with her and confront him when he returns. So God knowing "what" in Peter's case (the rooster will crow) necessarily entails knowing "how" in another case (how a woman discovers her husband isn't with her). Therefore, if you know *anything* about the future (X will happen), then you know everything else, because X is connected to everything else.

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This person believes two things: (A) that we all have libertarian free will, and (B) that libertarian free will is incompatible with foreknowledge. Thus, they believe that God does not know our future decisions. Yet they also believe he infallibly acts to achieve his purposes. Via contingency planning, or something. Basically, their God can do everything the classical God can do, but they claim he does so without knowing exactly, "down to the microsecond," what would happen and when. In this way, in this person's mind, human freedom is preserved.

 

This person has been turned over to some sort of depraved theology it seems. When ppl are like this, reasoning from the scriptures is the last thing that works. Why do I say that? Because they hold to those same scriptures but come to a completely different(heretical) conclusion. All you can do is pray for them that God will illume their heart and mind to the truth that God knows all that is to ever come to pass and that man does not possess a free will.

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