Who makes the choice?

puddleglum

Active member
There are many doctrinal divisions among Christians. For example, some believe that human beings repent and believe because God causes them to do so by choosing them to be saved while some believe that people believe and are saved because they choose to do so. What does the Bible say about this?

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live.
Deuteronomy 30:19

Whether we are saved or lost depends on our choice.

He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
Ephesians 1:4

Whether we are saved or lost depends on whether we are among those God chose before the foundation of the world.

How can we reconcile these apparently contradictory statements?

Here is one way.

Those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
Romans 8:29,30

God knows who will choose to receive the salvation he offers and on this basis he predestines them to salvation.

Here is another way.

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

God draws those whom he has chosen to himself and gives them the power to choose him.

Both sides can find support for their views in the Bible. Does this mean that the Bible contradicts itself and can’t be trusted as a guide to the truth?

We can find a possible answer to this by looking at a subject that at first may seem completely unrelated: the nature of light. Here is what Wikipedia says about this subject.

Wave-particle duality is perhaps one of the most confusing concepts in physics, because it is so unlike anything we see in the ordinary world.

Physicists who studied light in the 1700s and 1800s were having a big argument about whether light was made of particles shooting around like tiny bullets, or waves washing around like water waves. At times, light seems to do both. At times, light seems to go only in a straight line, as if it were made of particles. But other experiments show that light has a frequency and wavelength, just like a sound wave or water wave. Until the 20th century, most physicists thought that light was either one or the other, and that the scientists on the other side of the argument were simply wrong.

In 1909, a scientist named Geoffrey Taylor decided that he was going to settle this argument once and for all. He borrowed an experiment invented earlier by Thomas Young, where light was shone through two small holes right next to each other. When bright light was shone through these two small holes, it created an interference pattern that seemed to show that light was actually a wave.

Taylor’s idea was to photograph the movie coming out of the holes with a special movie that was unusually sensitive to light. When bright light was shined through the holes, the movie showed an interference pattern, just like Young showed earlier. Taylor then turned down the light to a very dim level. When the light was dim enough, Taylor’s photographs showed tiny pinpoints of light scattering out of the holes. This seemed to show that light was actually a particle. If Taylor allowed the dim light to shine through the holes for long enough, the dots eventually filled up the movie to make an interference pattern again. This demonstrated that light was somehow both a wave and a particle.

To make matters even more confusing, Louis de Broglie suggested that matter might act the same way. Scientists then performed these same experiments with electrons, and found that electrons too are somehow both particles and waves.

Today, these experiments have been done in so many different ways by so many different people that scientists simply accept that both matter and light are somehow both waves and particles. Scientists generally admit that even they do not fully understand how this can be, but they are quite certain that it must be true. Although it seems impossible to understand how anything can be both a wave and a particle, scientists do have a number of equations for describing these things that have variables for both wavelength (a wave property) and momentum (a particle property). This seeming impossibility is referred to as the wave-particle duality.

This shows that in the physical realm two ideas that seem to contradict each other can both be true. Isn’t it possible that this is true in the spiritual realm as well?

The Wikipedia article shows that if we accept the results of scientific research we must believe that light is both a particle and a wave even if we don’t see how both of these things can be true. If we believe the Bible we must believe that God is completely sovereign in the matter of salvation and chooses whom he will save and we must also believe that each person is responsible to choose whether or not he will be saved even if we don’t understand how they can both be true.

We live in a universe which had a beginning and will have an end. One component of this universe is time, which flows in one direction so that some things are in our past and some things are in our future. The decisions we make may be influenced by our past but they can only affect our future. Temporally a cause must precede its effect so that one event can be the cause or effect of another but not both.

This limitation doesn’t apply to God and his actions because he isn’t part of the creation and so he is not subject to its laws. Because we are part of the creation there are many things about God that we can’t understand and it is because we lack understanding that many of the truths he reveals seem to contradict each other.

It is possible that the two natures of light that we see are manifestations of some natural law that scientists haven’t yet discovered and that if we understood that law we would see that there is no contradiction in the way light behaves. In the same way, the doctrines of God’s sovereignty and our responsibility to choose are probably manifestations of some higher truth that hasn’t been revealed and if we could understand that truth we wouldn’t see any contradiction between the two.

While there are many things about salvation we don’t understand the Bible makes it perfectly clear what we must do to be saved. God is holy and and his holiness demands that he punish all sin. We have all sinned. Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty that we deserve and rose again from the dead. Anyone who repents of his sins and puts his faith in Christ will find salvation and be forgiven. It isn’t necessary to know whether you are believing of your own free will or because God has given you the ability to believe. It is possible to eat food and receive nourishment from it without understanding how your body digests it; in the same way it is possible to receive salvation without understanding all that is involved in it.

On this subject, as on many others, we need to keep in mind what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:12.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
 

SovereignGrace

Well-known member
Deuteronomy 30:19 was given to God’s covenant ppl, not all mankind.

Foreseen faith salvation is not found in the Bible, but a concoction created by ppl who hate election and predestination as it’s taught in the scriptures.
 

ReverendRV

Well-known member
There are many doctrinal divisions among Christians. For example, some believe that human beings repent and believe because God causes them to do so by choosing them to be saved while some believe that people believe and are saved because they choose to do so. What does the Bible say about this?



Whether we are saved or lost depends on our choice.



Whether we are saved or lost depends on whether we are among those God chose before the foundation of the world.

How can we reconcile these apparently contradictory statements?

Here is one way.



God knows who will choose to receive the salvation he offers and on this basis he predestines them to salvation.

Here is another way.



God draws those whom he has chosen to himself and gives them the power to choose him.

Both sides can find support for their views in the Bible. Does this mean that the Bible contradicts itself and can’t be trusted as a guide to the truth?

We can find a possible answer to this by looking at a subject that at first may seem completely unrelated: the nature of light. Here is what Wikipedia says about this subject.



This shows that in the physical realm two ideas that seem to contradict each other can both be true. Isn’t it possible that this is true in the spiritual realm as well?

The Wikipedia article shows that if we accept the results of scientific research we must believe that light is both a particle and a wave even if we don’t see how both of these things can be true. If we believe the Bible we must believe that God is completely sovereign in the matter of salvation and chooses whom he will save and we must also believe that each person is responsible to choose whether or not he will be saved even if we don’t understand how they can both be true.

We live in a universe which had a beginning and will have an end. One component of this universe is time, which flows in one direction so that some things are in our past and some things are in our future. The decisions we make may be influenced by our past but they can only affect our future. Temporally a cause must precede its effect so that one event can be the cause or effect of another but not both.

This limitation doesn’t apply to God and his actions because he isn’t part of the creation and so he is not subject to its laws. Because we are part of the creation there are many things about God that we can’t understand and it is because we lack understanding that many of the truths he reveals seem to contradict each other.

It is possible that the two natures of light that we see are manifestations of some natural law that scientists haven’t yet discovered and that if we understood that law we would see that there is no contradiction in the way light behaves. In the same way, the doctrines of God’s sovereignty and our responsibility to choose are probably manifestations of some higher truth that hasn’t been revealed and if we could understand that truth we wouldn’t see any contradiction between the two.

While there are many things about salvation we don’t understand the Bible makes it perfectly clear what we must do to be saved. God is holy and and his holiness demands that he punish all sin. We have all sinned. Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty that we deserve and rose again from the dead. Anyone who repents of his sins and puts his faith in Christ will find salvation and be forgiven. It isn’t necessary to know whether you are believing of your own free will or because God has given you the ability to believe. It is possible to eat food and receive nourishment from it without understanding how your body digests it; in the same way it is possible to receive salvation without understanding all that is involved in it.

On this subject, as on many others, we need to keep in mind what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:12.
Are you talking about Compatibilism?
 
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civic

Well-known member
I don't know what compatbilism is.
Compatibilism is an attempt to reconcile the theological proposition that every event is causally determined, ordained, and/or decreed by God (i.e., determinism, not to be confused with fatalism)—with the free will of man. Promulgated originally from a philosophical viewpoint by the Greek Stoics and later by numerous philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes and David Hume, and from a theological viewpoint by theologians such as Augustine of Hippo and John Calvin, the compatibilist concept of free will states that though the free will of man seems irreconcilable with the proposition of determinism, they both do exist and are “compatible” with one another.

The foundation of the compatibilistic concept of free will is the means by which “will” is defined. From a theological viewpoint, the definition of the will is viewed in light of the revealed, biblical truths of original sin and the spiritual depravity of man. These two truths render the definition of “will” in regard to fallen man as “captive to sin” (Acts 8:23), a “slave of sin” (John 8:34; Romans 6:16-17) and subject only to its “master,” which is sin (Romans 6:14). As such, although the will of man is “free” to do as it wishes, it wishes to act according to its nature, and since the nature of the fallen will is sinful, every intent of the thoughts of the fallen man’s heart is “only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5, cf. Genesis 8:21). He, being naturally rebellious to that which is spiritually good (Romans 8:7-8; 1 Corinthians 2:14), “is bent only on rebellion” (Proverbs 17:11). Essentially, man is “free” to do as he wishes, and he does just that, but man simply cannot do that which is contrary to his nature. What man “wills” to do is subject to and determined solely by his nature.

Here is where compatibilism makes the distinction between man having a free will and being a “free agent.” Man is “free” to choose that which is determined by his nature or by the laws of nature. To illustrate, the laws of nature prohibit man from being able to fly, but this does not mean that man is not free. The agent, man, is only free to do that which his nature or the laws of nature allow him to do. Theologically speaking, though the natural man is unable to submit himself to the law of God (Romans 8:7-8) and unable to come to Christ unless the Father draws him to Him (John 6:44), the natural man still acts freely in respect to his nature. He freely and actively suppresses the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18) because his nature renders him unable to do otherwise (Job 15:14-16; Psalm 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Jeremiah 13:23; Romans 3:10-11). Two good examples of Jesus’ confirmation of this concept can be found in Matthew 7:16-27 and Matthew 12:34-37.

With the distinction between free agency and free will defined, compatibilism then addresses the nature of the free agency of man in respect to the theological proposition known as determinism and/or the biblical truth of the omniscient nature of God. The foundational issue is how man can be held accountable for his actions if his actions were always going to occur (i.e., the future is not subject to change) and could not have been anything other than that which occurred. Although there are numerous passages of Scripture that address this issue, there are three primary passages to examine.

The story of Joseph and his brothers
The first is the story of Joseph and his brothers (Genesis 37). Joseph was hated by his brothers because their father, Jacob, loved Joseph more than any of his other sons (Genesis 37:3) and because of Joseph’s dreams and their interpretation (Genesis 37:5-11). At an opportune time, Joseph’s brothers sold him as a slave to traveling Midianite traders. Then they dipped his tunic in the blood of a slain goat in order to deceive their father into thinking Joseph had been mauled by a beast (Genesis 37:18-33). After many years, during which Joseph had been blessed by the Lord, Joseph’s brothers meet him in Egypt, and Joseph reveals himself to them (Genesis 45:3-4). It is Joseph’s discussion with his brothers that is most pertinent to the issue:

“So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt” (Genesis 45:8).

What makes this statement startling is that Joseph had previously said his brothers had, in fact, sold him into Egypt (Genesis 45:4-5). A few chapters later, the concept of compatibilism is presented:

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20).

The Genesis story tells us that it was, in fact, the brothers who sold Joseph into Egypt. However, Joseph makes it clear that God had done so. Those who reject the concept of compatibilism would say that this verse is simply stating that God “used” Joseph’s brothers’ actions for good. However, this is not what the text says. From Genesis 45-50, we are told that (1) Joseph’s brothers had sent Joseph to Egypt, (2) God had sent Joseph to Egypt, (3) Joseph’s brothers had evil intentions in sending Joseph to Egypt, and (4) God had good intentions in sending Joseph to Egypt. So, the question is, who sent Joseph to Egypt? The bewildering answer is that both Joseph’s brothers and God did. It was one action being carried out by two entities, the brothers and God doing it simultaneously.
 

civic

Well-known member
continued :

The commission of Assyria
The second passage that reveals compatibilism is found in Isaiah 10, a prophetic warning passage for God’s people. As divinely promised in Deuteronomy 28-29, God is sending a nation to punish His people for their sins. Isaiah 10:6 says that Assyria is the rod of God’s anger, “commissioned” against God’s people to “seize loot and snatch plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets.” Notice, however, what God says about Assyria:

“Yet [Assyria] does not so intend, Nor does it plan so in its heart, But rather it is its purpose to destroy And to cut off many nations” (Isaiah 10:7, NASB).

God’s intent in the Assyrian invasion is to inflict His righteous judgment against sin, and the intent of the Assyrians is to “destroy and cut off many nations.” Two different purposes, two different entities acting to bring about this purpose, in one, single action. As we read further, God reveals that, although this destruction is determined and decreed by Him (Isaiah 10:23), He will still punish the Assyrians because of the “arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the pomp of his haughtiness” (Isaiah 10:12, cf. Isaiah 10:15). Even though God Himself had infallibly determined the judgment of a disobedient people, He holds those who brought the judgment accountable for their own actions.

The crucifixion of Jesus Christ
The third passage of Scripture that speaks of compatibilism is found in Acts 4:23-28. As revealed in Acts 2:23-25, Christ’s death on the cross was carried out by the “predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God.” Acts 4:27-28 further reveals that the actions of Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel had been determined and decreed by God Himself to occur as they “gathered together against” Jesus and did “what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.” Although God had determined that Christ should die, those responsible for His death were still held accountable for their actions. Christ was put to death by wicked men, “yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer” (Isaiah 53:10). Once again, the answer to the question "who put Jesus to death?" is both God and the wicked people—two purposes carried out by two entities within a single action.

There are other passages of Scripture that pertain to the concept of compatibilism, such as God hardening the hearts of individuals (e.g., Exodus 4:21; Joshua 11:20; Isaiah 63:17). While compatibilism seems bewildering to us (Job 9:10; Isaiah 55:8-11; Romans 11:33), this truth has been revealed by God Himself as the means by which His sovereign decree is reconciled with the will of man. God is sovereign over all things (Psalm 115:3, Daniel 4:35, Matthew 10:29-30), God knows all things (Job 37:16; Psalm 147:5; 1 John 3:19-20), and man is held accountable for what he does (Genesis 18:25; Acts 17:31; Jude 1:15). Truly, His ways are unfathomable (Job 9:10; Romans 11:33), and so we should trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).got?

hope this helps !!!
 

civic

Well-known member
@puddleglum here is the differences between Monergism and Synergism.

This topic has been hotly debated within the church for centuries. It is not exaggerating to say that this debate concerns the very heart of the gospel itself. First, let us define the two terms. When we talk about monergism vs. synergism, theologically speaking, we’re talking about who brings about our salvation. Monergism, which comes from a compound Greek word that means “to work alone,” is the view that God alone effects our salvation. This view is held primarily by Calvinistic and Reformed traditions and is closely tied to what is known as the “doctrines of grace.” Synergism, which also comes from a compound Greek word meaning “to work together,” is the view that God works together with us in effecting salvation. While monergism is closely associated with John Calvin, synergism is associated with Jacob Arminius, and his views have greatly shaped the modern evangelical landscape. Calvin and Arminius aren’t the creators of these views, but are the best-known proponents of Calvinism and Arminianism.

These two views were heavily debated in the early 17th century when followers of Arminius published The Five Articles of the Remonstrance (FAR), a document stating where their theology differed from that of Calvin and his followers. The pivotal point in this debate is between the Calvinistic doctrine of unconditional election vs. the Arminian doctrine of conditional election. If one believes election is unconditional, then one will tend toward a monergistic view of salvation. Conversely, if one holds to a view that election is based on God’s foreknowledge of who would believe in Him, then one tends toward the synergistic view.

The view of unconditional election is stated in the Westminster Confession of Faith: “Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen in Christ, unto everlasting glory, out of his free grace and love alone, without any foresight of faith or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving him thereunto; and all to the praise of his glorious grace”(WCF III.5, emphasis added). As we can see, unconditional election teaches that God’s choice of the elect is based on the good pleasure of His will and nothing more. Furthermore, His choice in election is not based on His foreseeing a person’s faith or any good works or that person’s persevering in either faith or good works.

Two classic biblical passages support this doctrine. The first is Ephesians 1:4-5, “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” According to this passage, we were chosen by God to be in Christ—holy and blameless—before the world was created, and this choice was based on the “purpose of God’s will.” The other passage is Romans 9:16, “It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” God’s choice is not dependent on anything we do or believe in, but is made solely at the discretion of God’s mercy.

The essence of Calvinism, and the monergistic argument, is that God is in the business of actually saving people and not merely making them savable. Because all people are born in sin and because of their fallen nature (total depravity), they will always reject God; therefore, God must act in saving the elect without any pre-condition on their part such as faith. In order to bestow the blessings of salvation and eternal life to the elect, God must first atone for their sins (limited atonement). This grace and salvation must then be applied to the elect, and thus the Holy Spirit applies the effects of salvation to the elect by regenerating their spirits and drawing them into salvation (irresistible grace). Finally, those whom God has saved He will preserve to the end (perseverance of the saints). From beginning to end, salvation (in all its aspects) is a work of God and God alone—monergism! The point is that actual people are being saved—the elect. Consider Romans 8:28-30. In that passage we see that there is a group of people whom God “calls according to his purpose.” These people are identified as “those who love God.” These people are also those who in vv. 29-30 are foreknown, predestined, called, justified and glorified. God is the one who is moving this group of people (those who love God, the elect) from foreknowledge to glorification, and none are lost along the way.

In support of the synergistic argument, let’s turn our attention to the Five Articles of the Remonstrance: “That God, by an eternal and unchangeable purpose in Jesus Christ his Son, before the foundation of the world, hath determined, out of the fallen, sinful race of men, to save in Christ, for Christ’s sake, and through Christ, those who, through the grace of the Holy Ghost, shall believe on this his son Jesus, and shall persevere in this faith and obedience of faith, through this grace, even to the end; and, on the other hand, to leave the incorrigible and unbelieving in sin and under wrath, and to condemn them as alienate from Christ, according to the word of the Gospel in John 3:36: ‘He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him,’ and according to other passages of Scripture also” (FAR, Article I, emphasis added). Here we see that salvation is conditional upon the faith and perseverance of the individual. What conditional election does is place the determining factor of our salvation squarely upon us, on our ability to choose Jesus and remain in Him. Now Arminians will claim that our ability to choose Jesus is the result of a universal grace that God first gives to all people that offsets the effects of the fall and allows man to choose to accept or reject Christ. In other words, God must do something to even make the choice of salvation possible, but in the end it is our choice which saves us. The Scripture reference that Article I supplies certainly affirms that those who believe have eternal life and that those who reject do not have eternal life, so it would seem there is some scriptural support for this doctrine. Thus, the synergistic argument claims that God makes salvation possible, but it is our choice that makes salvation actual.

So, while monergism claims that God is both a necessary and sufficient condition for our salvation, synergism will agree that God is a necessary condition, but will deny His sufficiency. Our free will plus God’s activity is what makes it sufficient. Logically speaking, we should be able to see the flaw in the synergistic argument—that God doesn’t actually save anyone. This places the responsibility for salvation on us, for it is we who have to make salvation real by placing our faith in Christ. If God doesn’t actually save anyone, then it is possible that no one will be saved. If God doesn’t actually save anyone, how do we explain such strong passages as Romans 8:28-30? All of the Greek verbs in that passage are aorist/indicative, meaning that the action described therein is complete; there is no potentiality implied in that passage. From God’s perspective, salvation has been effected. Further, Article IV of the Remonstrance says the grace of God is resistible, and Article V asserts that those who have chosen the grace of God can also fall from that grace and “return to this present evil world” becoming “devoid of grace.” This view contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture in regard to the eternal security of the believer.

If that is the case, how then do we respond to the biblical support for conditional election (cf. John 3:36)? There is no denying that faith is necessary to make salvation a "done deal" in our lives, but where does faith fall in the order of salvation (Ordo Salutis)? Again, if we consider Romans 8:29-30, we see a logical progression of salvation. Justification, which is typically in view when considering salvation by faith, is fourth on that list preceded by foreknowledge, predestination, and calling. Now calling can be broken down into the following: regeneration, evangelism, faith and repentance. In other words, the "call" (referred to as “effectual calling” by Reformed theologians) first must involve being born again by the power of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3). Next comes the preaching of the gospel (Romans 10:14-17), followed by faith and repentance. However, before any of that can take place, it must be logically preceded by foreknowledge and predestination.
 

civic

Well-known member
continued :

This brings us to the question of foreknowledge. Arminians will claim that foreknowledge refers to God foreknowing the faith of the elect. If that is the case, then God’s electing us is no longer based on the “good purpose of his will,” but rather on our being able to choose Him, despite our fallen condition which, according to Romans 8:7 is hostile to God and incapable of doing so. The Arminian view of foreknowledge also contradicts the clear teaching of the passages mentioned above in support of unconditional election (Ephesians 1:4-5 and Romans 9:16). This view essentially robs God of His sovereignty and places the responsibility for salvation squarely on the shoulders of creatures who are wholly incapable of saving themselves.

In conclusion, the weight of the logical evidence and the weight of the biblical evidence supports the monergistic view of salvation—God is the author and perfector of our salvation (Hebrews 12:2). He who began a good work in us will perfect it on the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6). Monergism not only has a profound impact on how one views salvation, but on evangelism as well. If salvation is solely based on God’s saving grace, then there is no room for us to boast, and all the glory goes to Him (Ephesians 2:8-9). In addition, if God actually saves people, then our evangelistic efforts must bear fruit because God has promised to save the elect. Monergism equals greater glory to God!got?

hope this helps !!!
 

puddleglum

Active member
Thank you both for taking the time to explain compatibilism. I guess I am a compatibilist since I believe both that God has ordained our salvation and that we must believe to be saved. I don't spend a lot of time trying to figure out things like this. I know that a time is coming when I will get all the answers I want from God. Since I am now 80 years old I won't have long to wait for the answers.
 

ReverendRV

Well-known member
Thank you both for taking the time to explain compatibilism. I guess I am a compatibilist since I believe both that God has ordained our salvation and that we must believe to be saved. I don't spend a lot of time trying to figure out things like this. I know that a time is coming when I will get all the answers I want from God. Since I am now 80 years old I won't have long to wait for the answers.
I say every Christian is a Compatibilist at heart, because the Trinity is Compatible; God is three and One. But you will find here at CARM, that people take their Compatibilism ball home so we can't play the game of Calvinism with it...
 

Dizerner

Well-known member
I say every Christian is a Compatibilist at heart, because the Trinity is Compatible; God is three and One. But you will find here at CARM, that people take their Compatibilism ball home so we can't play the game of Calvinism with it...

Even under compatibilism there is absolutely zero benefit to knowing the deterministic side, so it becomes a completely useless and illogical doctrine.

The key to all responsibility is believing your choice makes a real difference, otherwise your choice is not something you have the power to change.

There is only one person in the whole world that wants Christians to think their choices are unalterable, and that is the devil.
 
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Theo1689

Well-known member
Thank you both for taking the time to explain compatibilism. I guess I am a compatibilist since I believe both that God has ordained our salvation and that we must believe to be saved. I don't spend a lot of time trying to figure out things like this. I know that a time is coming when I will get all the answers I want from God. Since I am now 80 years old I won't have long to wait for the answers.

One thing you might want to study is what does your understanding of "faith" look like?:

a) autonomously generated from within the sinner (ie. a "free will" choice)
b) something given by God, but you have to "choose" to activate" (with your "free will" choice)
c) something given by God, already active;

My understanding comes closer to "c)".
God gave me a beating heart, I didn't have to "turn it on".
God gave me an active brain, I didn't have to "turn it on".
God gave me an active diaphragm to breathe, I didn't have to "turn it on".
God gave me an active faith, I didn't have to "turn it on".

The Bible NEVER says, "If you choose to believe, you will be saved."
The Bible teaches, "If you ARE BELIEVING, you will be saved."
 

Theo1689

Well-known member
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live.
Deuteronomy 30:19

Whether we are saved or lost depends on our choice.

I'm sorry, but this is simply a fallacious argument, for a few reasons.

The first, as others have noted, is this "instruction" isn't given to EVERYONE, it is given to a specific people. So it is errant to assume it applies to everyone.

Secondly, this is an IMPERATIVE statement, ("choose life!"), also known as a "command". It is not the same as an INDICATIVE statement (eg. "they choose to believe").

It says what they are INSTRUCTED to do, not what they ACTUALLY did.
This logical fallacy is also described as "prescription vs. description".
"Prescription" refers to what is commanded.
"Description" refers to what is actually done.

As an example, I might meet someone, and not like them, and tell them, "Go to the moon!" That doesn't mean that they have the capability of doing so. It is fallacious to assume that an idea in a command equates to what is actually done.

This leads to the idea that "command does not imply ability", which has been a controversy all the way back to Augustine. Augustine wrote:

"Lord, command what thou wilt,
and grand what thou commandest."

And Pelagius threw a hissy-fit when he read them, since he ASSUMED that God would never command something we couldn't obey. Apparently Pelagius had never read that Bible and realized that God commanded the Jews to obey the Mosaic Law, yet we read in Rom. 3:19-20 that such is impossible (which is why we need the righteousness of Christ).
 

Terry43

Active member
Thank you both for taking the time to explain compatibilism. I guess I am a compatibilist since I believe both that God has ordained our salvation and that we must believe to be saved. I don't spend a lot of time trying to figure out things like this. I know that a time is coming when I will get all the answers I want from God. Since I am now 80 years old I won't have long to wait for the answers.
I believe that God has given the elect the opportunity, the desire and the grace to be saved ..."salvation is of the Lord" 100%
 

Ken Hamrick

Active member
If God could see what each man would do apart from His intervening influence, He would only see that all would freely reject Him. No one, unless influenced by God to do so, would embrace Him. That influence is Grace. As each man is unique, it is God who decides whether to bring enough influence to bear in a man's life to bring him to faith. God knows how much would be needed in the case of any man and no man is too resistant for God to win over. Yes, the man must choose to come; but only those whom God has first chosen will ever choose to embrace Him. It does no good to claim that some men are more resistant than others due to how they were created, since it would be God who created them that way. And if it were possible for God to remove all hindrances and bring all men to a point just shy of believing--and leave the decision up to them from that point--one and all would reject Him.
 

ReverendRV

Well-known member
If God could see what each man would do apart from His intervening influence, He would only see that all would freely reject Him. No one, unless influenced by God to do so, would embrace Him. That influence is Grace. As each man is unique, it is God who decides whether to bring enough influence to bear in a man's life to bring him to faith. God knows how much would be needed in the case of any man and no man is too resistant for God to win over. Yes, the man must choose to come; but only those whom God has first chosen will ever choose to embrace Him. It does no good to claim that some men are more resistant than others due to how they were created, since it would be God who created them that way. And if it were possible for God to remove all hindrances and bring all men to a point just shy of believing--and leave the decision up to them from that point--one and all would reject Him.
Since you've been gone, I've developed a saying; All Christians believe "We're Totally Unable until prevening Grace makes a 'real' difference in our Salvation. After that? Sure, we're Totally Able"...
 
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