What Good Does It Do For God to See the Train-Wreck Coming?

1 Peter 1:20 Jesus Christ was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you

Acts 2:23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

1 Peter 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

Ephesians 1:11In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12so that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of his glory. 13In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

To an Arminian enemy of the gospel:

It’s interesting that you teach that God has prescience of what humans will decide. What good does that do? If God knows already what humans will decide to do with God, what then could God do about what these humans will decide, without turning it all into a big “charade”?

Your god can see if the sinner will repent. That repentance will then cause your god’s love to work. Your god can see if the sinner will not repent. That lack of repentance will then cause your god’s love not to work. This is what you think keeps the whole thing from being a big show and pretend.

Do you ever wonder if you will keep repenting? Your god knows if you will, but since that god is your puppet, there is nothing your god can do one way or the other to keep you repenting. Are you sure you have repented enough? How do you know?

What you need to do is repent of your legalism that conditions salvation on the sinner. You are telling lies on God. God has already decided if you will repent in this way. But I do not know if you will.

God may have already decided to use these questions as a means of your repentance. Or not. God may use them as a means to harden you in your idolatry.

We do not differ on the need of saved sinners to receive and accept God’s gospel. We differ a. on whether the difference between those who believe is in what the human does with “grace” and b. even more importantly, on what the gospel is.

You deny the imputation of the specific sins of the elect to Christ, and thus you deny that Christ’s death serves as a substitute death and that it effectively propitiates God’s wrath toward specific persons.

So the difference between us is not in the need to believe. We have different gospels in which we believe, and different Gods that we worship. You say that Jesus died to give a person a pardon, but they don’t get it because they didn’t accept it.

II Peter 1:1 (with many other Scriptures) teaches that faith in the gospel is a gift of God to the elect because of Christ’s righteousness. John 10: people don’t believe to become sheep, sheep believe because they are sheep. John 17: Christ gives eternal life (knowing Him) to those Christ loves.

Those who deny that all those for whom Christ died are not Christians. They worship a different Christ. They are idolaters. An “atonement” which does not atone is not an atonement at all. It is merely a pretense on which you can build your false idea of a salvation conditioned on the sinner.

It seems clear that you deny that God puts certain people in Christ. Thus I fail to see how you believe in predestination at all. Do you get to be elect by human choosing? Or does God elect who will be saved?

An “universal provision” is not something that saves any sinner. It does not propitiate God for any sinner. It is not sufficient to save any sinner. You are importing your “depends on the sinner” system onto what the Bible clearly teaches about fore-ordination. Do you think that God planned for the death of Christ to take place in all its prophetic details?

If, on the other hand, you think that God is responding to stuff that God fore-sees
humans doing, where is there any room in there for God to intervene or to respond? Sure, the spectator sees that the train is about to wreck. But that’s what makes it dramatic and not a “charade”. If God were to jump in at any point, so that God would fore-see Himself acting and the sinner responding to God, would that kill the drama?

You teach that your god loves everybody and has done enough to save them, if they decide right. So the sinners tip the balance; they have the final and decisive say. And then you dare to suggest that God deciding EVERYTHING would be a “charade”. So you have human decision to make things real.

If God decides ANYTHING without getting human permission, is that also a pretend and a show? Does your god decide he has a plan, and then sinners decide if the plan will work for them?

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5 Comments on “What Good Does It Do For God to See the Train-Wreck Coming?”

  1. David Bishop Says:

    “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows (knows what you will decide) that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” . . . and then you will discover that He will have to respect your choices, because you are just like Him.

  2. So strange it is with the “Free Will” folks that they will pray to their god to change things when they are aware that he foreknows the outcome and would be unable to change it.

  3. Alien Pebble Says:

    “Free will theism” is essentially polytheism. The Creator might be the biggest god, but men are also little gods with their own little spheres of sovereignty, namely “accept or reject the offer”.

  4. markmcculley Says:


    Matthew Levering’s Predestination is, like everything he writes, clear, thorough, judicious, rich, biblically and historically informed. He starts with the church fathers and takes the story to the present worries (from David Hart among others) that predestination endangers the innocence of God.

    Levering recognizes the limits of patristic treatments of the topic: “the Church Fathers develop insightful but almost inevitably one-sided approaches to the New Testament’s teachings on predestination. . . . Origen emphasizes the Creator’s unlimited love for each and every rational creature, and he assumes the predestination of all to salvation. Augustine insists that the New Testament teaches God’s utterly gratuitous predestination from eternity of only some rational creatures. John of Damascus highlights the power of created free will to rebel against God’s love, with corresponding limitations as regards God’s eternal providence in bringing about the salvation of rational creatures.” According to Levering, “each of these perspectives responds to certain aspects of the biblical witness while neglecting other important aspects” (8).

    Levering gives a careful, dispassionate treatment of Calvin. He highlights Calvin’s rejection of scholastic notions of “permission,” and traces Calvin’s opposition to a concern about distancing God from creation and about raising questions about the goodness of God.

    On the first point, Levering writes, “After giving a variety of biblical examples of God willing evil deeds so as to punish the wicked and bring about salvation, Calvin notes that by contrast the doctrine of permission makes God aloof from salvation history. The God construed by the doctrine of permission cannot truly be the active Lord of history. For Calvin, those who rely upon the doctrine of permission depict God ‘as if he sat in a watch-tower waiting for fortuitous events, his judgments meanwhile depending on the will of man.’ This aloof, detached, passive God is not the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible, Calvin observes, acts within the minds of human beings not only to enlighten them, but also to blind them and to intoxicate them. God thereby compels the wicked to serve him” (103).

    The second point is counterintuitive, given the widespread impression that Calvin’s doctrine of predestination implies that God is an oppressive ogre. Levering writes, “The danger with the doctrine of permission is that it seems to question the goodness of the omnipotent God’s eternal decree. In observing that predestination means ‘the eternal decree of God, by which he determined within himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man,’ Calvin puts his finger on the difficulty: God’s permission of everlasting rebellion cannot be disjoined from God’s eternal will. God fully knows and freely wills this order, which includes everlasting rebellion. Since God is free and all-powerful, he is not constrained to create this kind of order. God wills an order in which some are left out from union with God, and so this must be a good order, one that does not need the covering of the doctrine of permission. Calvin senses that the doctrine of permission originates in doubts about the justice of reprobation ‘by the just but inscrutable judgment of God, to show forth his glory by their condemnation.’ Discussing Paul’s interpretation of Malachi 1:2–3 (see Rom. 9:13), Calvin urges that the doctrine of double predestination in fact elucidates the scriptural doctrine of undeserved grace, God’s bounty rather than harshness” (106).

    The notion of permission is a way of opening a gap between the ultimate outcome of history and God Himself, the Lord of history. Calvin on the contrary insists on the goodness of God’s plan,which is a plan that includes hell.

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