"Alpha" had this to say in response to my earlier post titled, "God's Relationship to Evil":
Thank you for allowing me to respond to your post. I am not a Calvinist or Reformed Doctrine follower but perhaps we both can learn from one another.
And thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts on what I have written. But before we go any further, I would like to clarify that I do not "follow" anything or anyone other than Christ. I mention this so as to hopefully avoid any accusations that I follow Calvin instead of Christ. As long as this canard is avoided, I believe that we may indeed be able to learn something here. Moving on:
I list below a very clear section of scripture from the Lord in Jeremiah 19. Verse 5 clearly refutes the reformed position and the following claim within your earlier post-“However, the Calvinist at some point must admit that Reformed theology affirms God as the ultimate cause of all things and thatnothing occurs but by His will”.
Jeremiah 19:5 reads:
and have built the hight places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, a thing which I never commanded or spoke of, nor did it ever enter My mind; NASB
In Jeremiah 19, the LORD is rebuking Israel for turning to heathen gods (in this case Baal) and for offering their sons as burnt offerings. Verse 5 states that God did not command or speak these things to the Israelites. The LORD further states that these things the Israelites were doing did not "enter His mind". Alpha's contention seems to be focused on this last phrase. Apparantly, these things not "entering" the mind of God refutes the notion that God decrees all things that take place. But why should we accept this? Alpha doesn't present an argument for why Jeremiah 19:5 contradicts Calvinism. Alpha simply says it does. As it is, the verse is recording God's assurance that He did not in any way command or approve the actions of the Israelites. Alpha needs to demonstrate a contradiction between what is written in v. 5 with the Calvinistic notions of God's preceptive will and decretal will.
Mat 23:37, Acts 7:49-52, and Proverbs 1:22-31 are additional scriptures to support that not all things are authored by the Lord.
I do not see anything in Acts 7 or Proverbs 1 that speaks directly to the issues at hand. As for Matthew 23:37, much can be (and has been) said here. Calvinists have written extensively on this verse and have effectively removed it from the arsenal of the non-Calvinist. For a thorough exegetical discussion of Matthew 23, click here.
I maintain that GOD permits all things for HIS ultimate GLORY.
And I would say that God "works all things after the counsel of His will". I see no reason to maintain that God merely permits things to happen in light of the fact that none of the verses I covered stated anything about God merely "permitting" evil. Further, this would be a double-standard. That is, folks who hold the view that God permits evil that He knew about before hand but did nothing to stop it, is guilty of inconsistency in that these same folks would hold any person accountable for the same thing. For example, a lifeguard that "permitted" a child to drown because he simply didn't feel like getting wet on that particuliar day, would be held accountable for the child's death (and probably buried under the jail to boot). So the obvious question is, since God isn't being held accountable, why is man?
The Bible says he changes not:
And I agree. It was never my argument that He does.
Now to address the verses in question.
Yes, lets. But, for the sake of brevity and simplicity, I am going to address one commentary at a time. In other words, if Alpha wishes to interact with this post, we can discuss the verses in question and Alpha's comments on those verses one post at a time in either the comments section of this post or the home page.
The first verse I would like to address in regards to Alpha's comments is Acts 4:28. Alpha said:
My reply to this is statement is to turn your Bible to Acts 2:23 and see emphatically where through GODS foreknowledge the cast of characters you listed earlier would crucify our beloved Jesus.
In order to answer what Acts 4:28 states, Alpha takes us to Acts 2:23 where the term "foreknowledge" is mentioned (incidentally, this is what I originally said would be done by a non-Calvinist). The problem here is that Alpha assumes that the term "foreknowledge" means what he thinks it means but provides no supporting argument. In other words, Alpha fails to demonstrate that God determines because He foreknows instead of God foreknowing because He determines. The text of Acts 2 does not lay out the "simple foreknowledge" view that Alpha apparantly endorses. So in order for Alpha to succeed in refuting my comments on Acts 4, he would need to demonstrate the simple foreknowledge view (mere prescience) from the text of scripture.
I also wish to thank you for allowing me to post on your blog. I realize that it may stretch very long but it was necessary to clarify and perhaps enlighten others in the future. It is my hope that what I have offered is of help.
And, again, thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts. Now, as to your comments on clarifying and enlightening myself or any other Calvinists who may read what you have posted, I must say that you will need to present arguments for all that you contend since much of what you posted was assertive in nature. That is, many of the scriptures you posted or cited to counter what I originally discussed in my article was not accompanied by argumentation (such as Mat. 23:37). As I said above, if you wish to continue to dialogue on the verses in dispute, we can begin at Acts 4.
God Bless You... alpha
And may God bless you as well.