Tim, I completely agree. "Evil"utionists(!) would have us believe that infants can't even think or speak or control their own limbs properly, but it's obvious that they understand and prefer their own "self-indulgent sin" and can understand the indisputable facts of God's wrath and Jesus' love. That's why it's important to keep them ignorant and beat sin and foolishness out of them, as you said in a previous post on this site. But at what age can you start beating your child? I can't find any Bible verses about this and Id be grateful for any guidance.
Tim, this is a blatant contradiction of your answer to THIS question...
When you combine the answer above and the answer you gave to the question I've linked, three different conclusions can be reached - a) if we trust in Jesus we *will* be saved, (b) even if we trust in Jesus we *won't* be saved, or (c) if we trust in Jesus we *might* be saved.
So much for the "authoritative" word of god. What utter nonsense.
Anon, where's the contradiction? Claiming there is one doesn't make it so.
Anon, for clarity, I never, to my knowledge, said or suggested anything that could be taken to mean your (B) or (C) options. Not sure where you got those from. I said (A). The Bible says (A). It's very clear in the Bible and nothing I've said rejects that option in any way that I am aware of.
So again, where are you seeing a contradiction? Where did I say (B) or (C)?
Well Tim, in answer to the linked question above, you took issue with four specific statements and provided bible "evidence" to answer them. These were;
1. Does god love every single human being individually? Your answer - no.
2. Does god want every single human being to go to heaven? Your answer - no.
3. Do humans have free will? Your answer - no.
4. Does god want everyone to be saved? Your answer - no.
To sum up, in your words, "...god wants (sic) to condemn many people to the everlasting fire", because...well, because he does what he wants and who are we to question him? What do you know, Dawkins was right! Your god IS a capriciously malevolent bully!
So where did I advocate (B) or (C)? I'm still not seeing the supposed contradiction.
Good grief, Tim - you will insist on me spelling it out for you in words of as few syllables as possible...
You said on this page that god has "...promised each of us that if we trust Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and Christ's work in His substitutionary life and death in our place, we can be forgiven for our sins and given the undeserved gift of everlasting life".
Now unless you're employing some strange and bizarre usage of some or all of the words in that sentence (and I wouldn't be at all surprised if you were) then that means god is willing to bestow his grace on us. He has "...promised each of us". Yes?
(cont) Well actually, no. In answer to the other question, you stated that god does *not* want to bestow his grace on all of us. Towards the end of your screed you said, "...we can only conclude that God wants certain people not to go to heaven".
So not only is god's grace *not* available to all of us, he specifically *wants* it that way.
Hence my points (a), (b) and (c) which derive from the tension between these two positions, which are irreconcilable and contradictory, and which suggest the complete impossibility of knowing who will or won't be saved, since god "...has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires". So who will be saved? Who can say for sure? It's all down to god's whim.
Anon, God doesn't have "whims". He is unchanging.
He offers a promise to absolutely every human that if they trust His Son they will be saved. He has designed some people to accept this offer (the "elect") and He has designed some people to reject this offer (the "reprobate"). The offer itself is made to everyone.
Now that the "contradiction" issue is resolved, let's look at your Dawkins comment. Is Shakespeare a bully because he made Romeo and Juliet kill themselves? Is Mark Twain a bully for making Huck Finn an orphan? Is George Lucas a bully because he caused Luke's hand to get cut off? If you aren't consistent with all creators across the board, you are engaging in the fallacy of special pleading. Why is our Creator a bully when Luke Skywalker's creator is not?
Wow, Tim. Just. Wow. I've advocated for being respectful of your positions in the past but I've lost that sensibility after reading your responses here.
You've just backed yourself into the corner re: the contradiction. You'd be best off to just admit that it can't be both ways. We either have free will and can accept "the offer" independently of God, OR predestination as decided by God determines our fate. Your contradiction is most certainly NOT resolved.
And then you went on to compare God as the "Creator" to creators of fictional worlds and characters. There is absolutely nothing to be compared between the fate of utterly fictional characters and the supposed eternal fate of us as real, living objects of your god's creation. You've made an impossible stretch there.
As JS said, Tim. Just...wow. I really expected some serious theological flimflam or semantic jiggerypokery but this is facepalm stuff.
JS, "You'd be best off to just admit that it can't be both ways. We either (1) have free will and can accept 'the offer' independently of God, OR (2) predestination as decided by God determines our fate. Your contradiction is most certainly NOT resolved."
I have not advocated (1) but rather thoroughly denounced it as completely unBiblical across this website.
Why resort to fighting straw men?
"...absolutely nothing to be compared..." They are created, we are created. They have a creator, we have a Creator. Lucas gave Jedis an everlasting existence, God gave humans an everlasting existence. "Absolutely nothing to be compared" -- seriously?
Why resort to special pleading?
Thank you for clarifying your belief in predestination. Your god is whimsical and cruel in creating real, living beings whom he intends from the moment of that creation to condemn to your idea of hell. Even more cruel is the idea that an offer is supposedly extended to them to avoid such an eternal fate, yet he renders them powerless to accept that offer.
I completely reject your assertion that there is any comparison between an author and his characters, and your god and his real, living created subjects (us.) I guess I'm guilty of "special pleading" here. Or something.
As a former Christian, now atheist, I had been intrigued when I found this website several years ago. Unfortunately, I now realize that the Christian viewpoint offered here offers nothing of substance, instead relying on silly, non-evidential philosophical meanderings. This post will be my last contribution here, and my last visit to this site. I'll now indulge my fascination with Christianity elsewhere.
Tim, as someone who has given you a hard time on this site, I have to admit to a certain grudging admiration for your ability to stick to your guns if nothing else. But your latest comments are just embarrassing. You have not resolved the contradiction despite your desperate backtracking. Even if you had (which you haven't) what you're proposing, if true, would only prove beyond any doubt that your god is capriciously cruel. Your god's so-called "offer" is utterly and completely meaningless. It's like offering food to a starving man, except you've already made sure he can't accept your "offer" because you've bound his arms and legs and taped his mouth shut. And then to cap it all off you then punish him for not accepting your offer! Time to hang up your spurs, Tim.
Tim, you said..."I have not advocated (1) but rather thoroughly denounced it as unBiblical across this website".
Lie, lie and blatant lie. You advocated it in the answer you gave on this very page.
Anonymous, please quote one place on this page, or anywhere on this website at all, where I claim that it is truly possible for humans to "accept 'the offer' independently of God", or where I claim that humans have the "free will" to do anything at all without God as the Ultimate Uncaused First Cause behind it.
If you show me anywhere that I make such a claim I will happily change it, since such a claim would be both incorrect and logically incoherent.
But you need to quote it for me. Because apparently I am too foolish and ignorant to recognize such a statement of mine without it being made ultra-clear to me.
Thank you for your patience.
Tim, you appear to be unable to discern the difference between, or to think that there actually *is* no difference between, actual real people and fictional characters. I think this says more about your ability to determine what is incoherent, rational, sound and sensible, than anything I ever could. I'll leave it at that.
That's an interesting way to apologize for publicly calling me a liar without any basis whatsoever.
Do you yourself believe that we are created? If so, how is it irrational, unsound or nonsensical to compare two created things in ways in which they are similar? How is it irrational, unsound or nonsensical to compare two creators in ways in which they are similar?
Do you believe that we are not created? If not, then to be consistent, surely you also believe that every claim you make has no more rational justification than the claims of a magic 8-ball:
Rationality is by definition the exclusive domain of monotheists (who accept that there is a Creator). If you accept rationality then you accept that we are all created. If you reject the possibility of a Creator then you have rejected any possibility of rational justification for anything. Either way, you appear to be contradicting yourself.
So when you said that we "can" be forgiven for our sins, what you actually meant was that we "might" be forgiven, but only if we're one of the lucky ones that your god has apparently designed to be able to accept this gracious offer and to hell with the rest, literally? But of course you couldn't say that at that point because to make your point you had to *pretend* you were talking about the happy-clappy loving forgiving god, not the jaw-droppingly callous one.
It's funny how you play fast and loose with semantics when it suits you, Tim. If that's not intellectual dishonesty, I don't know what is.
Actually, when you yourself claim that someone "can" do X, generally what you mean is that the only way X will not happen is if the person is not willing for it to happen, and if they are willing for it to happen, it will happen.
What you DO NOT mean is that their will is uncaused. Because that would be nuts.
For their will to be uncaused, that would mean it either never began to exist, and is eternal, or else it did begin to exist... well... without cause. Nothing caused it to exist. It just spontaneously appeared ex nihilo completely without cause. Which would mean it did not have any of the same causes that you have, like your parents, grandparents, your experiences, etc. For it to not have any of the same causes that you have, it must not be caused by you! This is to say that your will, if it is uncaused, is not yours at all!
How absurd is that?!?
No one means that their will is uncaused when they say that they "can" do something. Not even you.
When I say that a person "can" be forgiven, I mean exactly the same thing. They "can" be forgiven, if they are willing. What I DO NOT mean is that God did not cause their will. Further, I state very clearly in my answer that we are "created beings". As created beings, our wills are... well... created.
There is no pretense here. Frankly, I see absolutely no way to read what I've written, take it at face value, and come to the conclusion that I am claiming that God did not create our wills. I'm honestly astounded that anyone has come to the conclusion that that is exactly what I've said.
I don't doubt that you guys actually read it that way -- I just cannot for the life of me fathom why.
This actually answered my drawback, thank you! eekgkkc
So just to be clear - "...a person "can" be forgiven, if they're willing"?
What if they're not willing because they've been designed/created by god to be reprobate and go to hell? Or can you be willing but be reprobate at the same time? Or if you're reprobate, is it impossible to be willing?
"What if they're not willing because they've been designed/created by god to be reprobate and go to hell?"
Then they aren't willing.
"Or can you be willing but be reprobate at the same time?"
Ultimately, no. Note that here you are using the word "can" differently than I used it above.
"Or if you're reprobate, is it impossible to be willing?"
Ultimately, that is correct. I say ultimately because there is disagreement among Christians as to whether it's possible for a person to accept Christ, then turn away from Him. But in the end, if God has designed someone to not be finally forgiven, He will affect this by means of their lack of willingness.
OK, thanks for clearing that up (spoiler: sarcasm). So tell me, Tim, are you elect or are you reprobate? Is it even possible to know?
Oh dear, Tim - the contradictions are just mounting up aren't they? I invite readers to compare and contrast what you wrote above on this page,
"...there is disagreement among Christians as to whether it's possible for a person to accept Christ, then turn away from Him",
with what you wrote in answer to a previous question,
"...everyone, Christian or otherwise, agrees on the basics of what the Bible teaches at the most fundamental level".
I don't think it would be actually possible for you to be more wrong, as I've pointed out many many times before.
God has not given us, in scripture, an absolute way for humans to prove exactly who is elect or reprobate. This is why we preach to all people (Mark 16:15; John 3:16; Acts 17:30, 22:15; 1 Corinthians 9:22; 1 Timothy 2:4). However, in scripture God has provided Christians with discernible evidence regarding who is part of Christ's body (Matthew 7:16, 7:20; Luke 6:44; Galatians 5:22-23; John 13:35). But evidence and absolute proof are not the same thing.
We can know evidentially whether we ourselves are in the body of Christ by whether or not we have confessed that Jesus Christ is Lord, believed in our heart that God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9-11); are personally devoted to Christ and are actively following Christ (John 14:15, 14:23); love our brothers and sisters in Christ (1 John 4:20) and exhibit fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Christians ought to continually examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Just so I understand you clearly then, Tim, what you're saying is that you might *think* that you're elect, but you *could* be wrong and you're actually reprobate? Am I understanding you correctly?
Actually that is not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that we might *think* that a friend is elect, but we *could* be wrong, unless God explicitly reveals it to us on an individual basis. I never said one way or another in my comment above whether or not a person could be wrong about their own election.
Christians are divided on that issue. I tend to think that no one actually believes that they are elect unless they truly are (1 John 5:13; 2 Corinthians 13:5).
Tim, you are aware that getting a straight answer out of you is like getting blood out of a stone, aren't you? I mean, I'm trying to be as clear as I can here. I'm not asking about what you think about some hypothetical "friend". When I said "you" above, I meant "you, Tim McCabe". Are you, Tim, one of the elect? As far as I know, there can be only 3 possible answers to that question - yes, no, or I don't know. Which is it?
Wow, lucky you, eh! Now, since "...god has not given us, in scripture, an absolute way for humans to prove exactly who is elect or reprobate", the question arises - how can you be sure? Could you be wrong?
Your quote from me is regarding other people, as I explained above (before you claimed I wasn't answering your question).
"How can you be sure?"
God. Also, read 1 John and my other comments above for some tests one can take.
"Could you be wrong?"
Often and regularly. But not about this.
Sorry Tim, you're not making an awful lot of sense here. Are you saying that the "us" in the quote from you *doesn't* include you (you meaning specifically you, Tim)? Are you saying that god hasn't given "other people" absolute proof in scripture of who is elect and reprobate, but he has given *you*, Tim, such proof? But are "you" not included in the "us"? I don't mean to be a pain about this but like I said you're not making a lot of sense.
I'm sorry you're having such trouble understanding.
As I explained, scripture provides person A with ways to evidentially discern whether or not person B is right with God, and therefore, elect. It gives us no ways to discern who is reprobate, apart from hearing what they say and seeing what they do as they lay dying.
As I also explained, scripture provides person A with many additional ways to discern whether or not person A himself is right with God, and therefore elect.
However, scripture is not the only way that God communicates with people -- God also speaks to people in other ways. Many Christians have been given direct revelation from Him. I know that I am right with God in much the same way that many other Christians know that they themselves are, because of direct revelation. The evidential tests provided in scripture confirm this direct, divine, revelatory information.
I'll pray for God to open your eyes (1 Corinthians 2:14).
Oh I see now! This is one more of those occasions where you're claiming that the creator of the entire universe talks to you telepathically! Well sorry Tim but in the absence of any evidence for that, it's perfectly reasonabe to conclude that you're hallucinating. Maybe you should get some help.
Why do you rely on "reason" or "evidence"? The only possible justification for using "reason" or "evidence" to discern truth is direct divine communication. If you deny direct divine communication, you declare yourself to be, by definition, irrational:
In light of the fact that your worldview appears to be contradictory (you appeal to reason as the final arbiter while denying the only possible reason for doing so), you ought to consider changing worldviews to one that is by definition reasonable -- one that posits reason behind all created things.
If you trust in Christ, He will save you, and you can be made right with the God you have not obeyed.
Blatant moving the goalposts, Tim. What you would have me believe is that your omniscient and omnipotent god, for mysterious reasons, didn't get it right first time round with his allegedly "authoritative" text and now has to rely on unverifiable "revelations" to people like you to provide an erratum. What nonsense.
Oh and another thing - you wrote "...you can be made right with the God you have not obeyed". Um...no, I can't, not if your god has already predestined me to be reprobate and go to hell.
I think atheists instantly shoot the messenger and never EVER have read the entire bible. Hence their major misinterpretations of why god does what he does....saying things like he: "let's people die" without knowing or understanding why we are in this situation, why we die, and why we are here. "God made Abraham sacrifice his son" no he didn't he tested his faith in god and stopped him from being able to hurt his son. "God let's babies be born into hellish conditions in 3rd world countries" no we got ourselves here. We are responsible for ourselves we have sex we do drugs we curse our creator we mock his very existance and expect not to create our own demonic sesspit? Logically looking at our current situation with society basically becoming atheist even Christians don't believe the bible in the vatican. Theyre pulling you away from your soul. Watch the violence and desolation of society over the last 10 years and watch the next few years turn the heat up
Richard: While our beliefs do not perfectly align, I find your remark on self-correcting erroneous thoughts absolutely fascinating. I myself have undergone manic episodes and am still in the process of recovery. Recently I have become conscious of underlying errors of reason and thinking, and begun exercising my mind to change my thought process, or thinking about my thoughts, so to speak. You said it perfectly - This secondary "body of information" is a necessary prerequisite for all trustworthy, fallacy-free reason. Do you have an internet link to expand on this skill?