Posts Tagged ‘libertarian free will’

Those who follow Twitter know there is a little troll who spams the IFB #oldpaths hashtag trying to unsuccessfully convert KJVO fundamental Baptists to Calvinism. “Wee Calvin” or Colin Maxwell (Wee, I assume, because of his small theology). He follows IFB members comments on this popular IFB hashtag, and then expounds on them on his blog, adding his own twist and fantasy to the tweeted material.

He’s targeted us a few times, but never responds after we take the time to thoroughly sink his paddle boat. He’s obnoxious, rude, foul-mouthed, and so we treat his responses to the IFB with the same courtesy minus some of the rhetoric (Prov 26:4-5, Titus 1:9-12).

Wee Calvin chose to pick on “L. Ivey” (Twitter.com/liveyneckwear) who quoted his opinion that Matthew 25:41 debunks Calvinism since hell was initially created for the devil and his angels, then the obvious conclusion is that God could not have intended to predetermine anyone to hell. Although this is not a new argument against Calvinism, it is still a goodie, because it’s true. But, Wee Calvin made an effort to defend Calvinism and did probably one of the most eisegetical hack jobs to Scripture I’ve ever seen.

Matthew 25:41 (KJV) reads:

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

And for additional analysis, we are going to throw in Isaiah 5:14:

 Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.

I guess we could also cite Genesis chapter 1 to show that hell was NOT one of the things created in God’s six days of creation. Since Lucifer did not fall until AFTER creation, then hell being prepared for Lucifer and his angels could not have existed BEFORE creation.

Wee Calvin first attempts to state the “old argument”, and then offers his first rebuttal,

Well, to state the pretty obvious, it does not say that Hell was prepared only for the Devil and his rebellious angels.That is the gist of the old argument, but it is not what the Saviour said.

Seriously? Now just think of how much grammatical sense it would make for Jesus to have said, “depart ye into everlasting fire prepared ONLY for the devil and his angels”? Of course it doesn’t say “only” because Jesus is speaking of a PRESENT warning based on a place that was prepared for Satan. Wee Calvin’s argument is IRRELEVANT. That text does not HAVE to include the word “only” in order to convey that hell was initially created ONLY for Satan and his angels.

The reason that hell was created for ONLY the devil and his angels is obvious: because Lucifer and the angels were CREATED BEFORE HUMANS and BEFORE HUMAN SIN. There was no need to include humanity in hell because Lucifer fell before Adam did. Hence, hell was prepared for Satan, but not for any of humanity. The only reason that Calvinists need to this to not be true is because Calvinism would have to claim that God DID create hell for humans in order to prove that He intended on sending the majority of His creation to hell by a predestinated eternal decree of reprobation. If the Calvinist can’t show in Scripture that God did not INTEND on including humans in hell PRIOR TO THE FALL OF ADAM, then that alone destroys the entire concept of Calvinist preterition.

Point 2 of Wee Calvin’s horrific response goes:

If such were the case i.e. that the everlasting fire of Hell was prepared only for the Devil and the angels, then does God deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13) when He bids the wicked above to depart as curséd to that dread place? Is God indeed a man that He should repent i.e. change His mind, after all? (1 Samuel 15:29)

What on earth does this have to do with whether or not hell was or wasn’t created for ONLY the devil and his angels? It’s based on a question-begging fallacy and circular reasoning, i.e., it must not be true because my warped theology says it isn’t true, and therefore God can not deny Himself and therefore it’s not true.

Furthermore, Wee Calvin has a disturbed view of God’s repentance, because Scripture is FULL of examples where God in fact DOES change a course of action that HE SAID HE WOULD DO, and the story of Jonah is a PERFECT example of this no matter how much Calvinists would like to change the narrative around to fit their awful presuppositions.

 8But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.

Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, THAT HE SAID THAT HE WOULD DO unto them; and he did it not.” Jonah 3:8-10

Now this passage ALONE should settle the debate as to whether or not the Bible contains counter-factual conditionals. As Brother Ruckman says, the Bible isn’t hard to understand IT’S HARD FOR PEOPLE TO BELIEVE. Notice that “repent” in vs 8-9 show God TURNING AWAY from something He SAID HE WOULD DO. So Jonah himself answers Wee’s hypothetical unbiblical NONSENSE and shoots #2 down in 3 verses.

On to point #3, Wee Calvin argues that:

Since God turns and will continue to turn the wicked into Hell (Psalm 9:17) then He has always purposed to do so. There was never a time in the mind of God when His hatred did not burn against sin and His justice demand that the perpetrators (if chronically unrepentant) of it be banished forever from His presence. (emphasis added).

Notice the highlighted part: God was ALWAYS purposed to do so??  SCRIPTURE??? Zero. None. Notta. Zilch. Nolo Contendere. NOWHERE does the Bible state anything near what Wee just claimed. IT IS PURELY A FICTIONAL SUPPOSITION BASED ON PHILOSOPHICAL SPECULATION. 

There are a number of other problems with this speculation as well:

*How can Wee Calvin claim “there was never a TIME…when God” when God exists OUTSIDE OF TIME? In order for Wee Calvin’s argument to even BEGIN to have substance, it would require that God’s emotions be bound to future events before time was even created.

*This is the equivalent of confirming dialectical materialism which maintains a premise of matter being eternally existent. In order for sin to be a reality in the mind of God for Him to be eternally angry about it, sin would have to coexist with God. Now the Calvinist will typically dress up a straw man and label it Open Theism by accusing anyone who would raise such an argument that God must not know the future if this isn’t possible, but notice the Calvinist does so without addressing the argument of dialectical materialism, and forces God to be bound by what He knows. In other words, God is not free to create, the future has a mind of its own that binds God to act according to His perfect knowledge of future events, and therefore the future is actually equal with God (the concept behind much Yin & Yang [Shintoism], or panentheism). So while Open Theism deprives God of being omniscient, Calvinism deprives God of being omnipotent.

*What perpetrators? In Wee Calvin’s rush to sound convincing, he claimed that God’s justice demands eternal punishment against “chronically unrepentent..perpetrators”. Where did these “perpetrators” come from in eternity? Are there some eternal perpetrators that God is mad at that we don’t know about? Maybe these eternal perpetrators are the ones who caused the devil to fall. WHO KNOWS. With Wee Calvin’s speculation, the sky is definitely NOT the limit.

Wee Calvin adds that:

This being the case, we read of ungodly men who were before of old ordained to this condemnation (Jude 4) and verses of a similar nature. Since God always determined to cast the wicked into Hell, then He determined that there would always be a Hell for wicked sinners to be cast into. One logically follows the other.

Jude 4 reads:

For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

One problem that Calvinists have is always interpreting “ordained” as “determined”. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING. A pastor can be ordained for a certain ministry doesn’t mean he was DETERMINED to do so. See Titus 1:5, Acts 16:4, Gal 3:19, Eph 2:10 (Ephesians 2:10 is especially critical, an argument we have raised called the “Calvinist Uniformity Conundrum”. If ordained always meant determined, then how can believers ever backslide EVEN FOR A MOMENT if their works were determined? Unless God determines that believer’s sin, Eph 2:10 is VERY problematic for Reformed Theology).

But several things to note about Jude 4:

1) It doesn’t say these men were condemned from eternity, but “before OF OLD”. That means, the judgment was something proposed IN TIME, NOT eternity.

2) It was the CONDEMNATION that was ordained, not the particular group of men. In other words, the CONSEQUENCE for rejecting Christ is what is ordained.

3) Three above is further supported by the fact that the ordained destruction WAS IN RESPONSE to those who “turned the grace of God” into something evil. For God to have eternally reprobated these men would require the ABSENCE of any reason for doing so. Thus, God can not eternally reprobate men while Jude claims that their condemnation WAS BECAUSE OF their reaction to the grace of God IN TIME. Notice moreoever in verse 7 how that those of Sodom and Gomorrah GAVE THEMSELVES OVER to their own lusts and sinfulness.

The same “decree” that God gives for life- whosoever believes in Him shall not perish- He also gives for death, that whosoever believes not shall suffer eternal punishment. The Calvinist must read their own twisted eisegesis into the text to come out with eternal reprobation because that’s NOT what Jude 4 says.

And finally, we will end with the most contradictory babbling you will ever see or hear among most Calvinists, and the greatest examples of philosophical flip-flopping of common sense and Scripture twisting extant.

First of all, the “kingdom” that is being discussed in Matthew 25:34 has absolutely NOTHING to do with any Gentile Christian believer or non believer during the Church Age. It is based on a judgment of men that occurs as a result of their obedience during the millennial reign of Christ when the sheep and the goats are separated AT THE END OF THE THOUSAND YEARS. Although we won’t go into the differences between the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God here, it’s well worth the study.

Now notice that things that Jesus condemns those men of which He damns to eternal fire in Matthew 25: 42-45 because this is just as important as verse 41:

42  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

Notice the list “FOR” which here means “BECAUSE OF”. Now here’s a hint: you can’t have a BECAUSE OF and an ETERNAL DECREE AT THE SAME TIME AGAINST THE SAME EVENT. “Because of” implies causation. Every single act mentioned by Christ is something that these men COULD HAVE done differently, BUT FOR or BECAUSE OF their action or inaction, they are condemned. They are condemned FOR WHAT THEY DID, NOT CONDEMNED FROM ETERNITY, and Christ spends 5 verses on this subject to prove that.

The sinner, as a fully responsible creature, should ever seek the Lord and rest not until he is found of Him, not having his own righteousness etc. The free gospel offer of salvation is addressed to the ‘whosoever will.’ Calvinist evangelists have always rejoiced in the preaching of it.

The sinner is hardly a responsible creature if his destiny as well as his punishment has already been determined. The Calvinist would say that he is free to choose out of the compatibilistic nature that God gave him, even though he can’t ever choose good because of it, nevertheless he is still held responsible. But the problem with even that view is that his judgment was determined before any of his choices were made, so that alone would serve to prove that the sinner is not responsible for his sin because he was damned to eternal fire before he even sinned. (See our article “Would God Have Reprobated Perfect Human Beings?)

According to Calvinism’s view of Total Depravity, the sinner has Total Inability to seek God, and for Wee Calvin to suggest otherwise is blatantly dishonest. In addition to the non elect sinner not ever having the ability to respond to the offer, it is certainly, moreover, not a “FREE gospel offer”. A free offer implies that it can actually be accepted by anyone. But if ONLY the elect can receive and respond to it, then how is it a “free offer” to “whosoever will”? IT ISN’T!! That’s how Calvinism maintains credibility by LYING to you about what they really believe.  Wee Calvin had just clarified his position by claiming that those headed for hell are going there because God determined it to be so. How then can anyone be DETERMINED to go to hell, and yet have the actual ability to FREELY respond to the gospel?  That is utter nonsense and is the most patent example of a logical contradiction if there ever existed one. These are two extremes that CAN NOT both be true at the same. The gospel can not possibly be addressed to whosoever will without any meaningful opportunity for those among the whosoever to respond to it FREELY. If you mean that “whosoever” is ONLY the elect, then be honest and say so, and stop appealing to “whosoevers” as if anybody can actually read your rubbish.

Now remember when we started, we cited Isaiah 5:14! This is very simple logic and Bible. If hell was initially created for BOTH the devil, and sinful human beings, IT WOULD HAVE A PREDETERMINED PARAMETER. Would God make a place knowing exactly how many people were going to occupy it ONLY TO HAVE TO GO TO HOME DEPOT FOR MORE BUILDING SUPPLIES TO EXPAND IT LATER?? “Hell hath ENLARGED HERSELF”. The fact that hell GETS BIGGER shows that it was not intended to hold more than it was initially designed to hold.

Hence, Calvinism is NOT safe as Wee Calvin claims, and yes, hell was created initially for ONLY the devil and his angels which proves Biblically and logically that man was never predetermined to burn in hell.

Hell and destruction are NEVER FULL. Proverbs 27:20

 

 

J/A and Dr. Elisha Weismann

Seek ye the Lord while he may be foundcall ye upon him while he is near: 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:6-9

There is a clear distinction between the mind of God and the mind of man. The struggle to define the boundaries of accountability and free choice is drawn between definitions of freedom. Free will is the ability to choose A or to not choose A without any compelling force that causes the choice, as opposed to determinism which is the view that God from eternity past has determined all things whatsoever comes to pass. Yet if determinism (viz, compatibilist freedom/soft determinism) is true, and our minds are simply following predetermined responses, then ultimately God is having a universal chess match with Himself.

Free will is important in distinguishing the difference between an infallible creator, and fallible humans. Permitting free will demonstrates that man makes choices that God would not make, and thoughts that God would not think, actions that God would not take. Free will shows that God’s thoughts and actions are infinitely superior to humans. By God allowing man to think and act independently without any external or internal compulsion, man proves that he is incapable of making the best and wisest choices. When man is given the choice to decide between A and B, and chooses B where God would have chosen A, man’s free will shows that he can not possibly be like God.

Free will proves the sovereignty of God far more than a deterministic system. If God determines that man chooses A, then ultimately man has not actually had the ability to make a decision that is independent from God, and if God controls the response as well as the decision, then there is no way to prove that man is not just as equally as intelligent as God.

In a compatibilist form of free will, compatibilists deny that man has the ability to refrain from choosing A or B, but only the freedom to incline and such inclinations being programmed into the man’s will. Thus man is still doing what he wants to do out of the will that he has been programmed with.

Thus, if a computer prints out the letters “ABCDEFG”, it does so not because it chooses to but because that is the manner in which the software has been designed to produce the sequence of letters. The computer is in effect printing what it wants to print based on the software that has given it its available options. However, if a glitch is introduced into the system that causes the computer to print “AXYZEFG” can the computer itself be blamed for its production?

The actions of the computer reflect the programming of the software designer. When a computer fails to produce what it was designed to produce, the creator of the software is held accountable because there is no distinction between the results produced by the computer, and the actions of the programmer. Thus ultimately, man who is pre-programmed to act out of a determined inclination can not be responsible or accountable for what he produces because his own actions and inclinations were not the cause or the ultimate origin of the glitches, but that of the programming.

For God to be the cause of man’s sinful actions and poor choices, deprives God of the ability to claim that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts because inevitably, our thoughts ARE His thoughts if our thoughts are the result of His determining. Compatibilist freedom is no more than a human philosophical attempt to be God. It turns our frailties into God’s attributes by proxy and extension.

Let God be true, and every man a liar (Rom 3:4). Albeit, man can not be said to be a liar if his thoughts and actions are concurrently dictated by that which God determines them to be predisposed to. Ultimately, God would be the cause of the lie, and could not consistently maintain His own truthfulness. The Bible shows an obvious distinction between choice and causation, yet determinism would opine that the 2 are equal:

“Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the LORD” Deuteronomy 12:11

Only libertarian free will provides the distinction between God and humans. Only the permissive will of God that allows humans to act independently and autonomously proves that man is a complete failure in comparison to God. God proves nothing of Himself by determining men to fail. There is a way that seems right unto man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Prov 14:12. We see this concept often in our own families with our children. We often permit children to do things that we don’t always approve of, only for them to return later and say “Dad, you were right”. If we force them to do precisely what we desire, we can make no distinction between their reasons, will, and choices from ours. Thus we demonstrate that we are wiser than our children by allowing them to freely fail.

The concept of free will and accountability for choices is ingrained not only into our morals but also our governments. In the legal system, duress is a defense against actions that compelled the defendant to act otherwise than he would have chosen to. Likewise those who compel another to commit a crime are charged with conspiracy.The Bible is replete with examples of free will and accountability:

“And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.” 1 Kings 18:21

“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” Daniel 1:8

“There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” Genesis 39:9

” Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” Hebrews 11:25

“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” Luke 14:28

“Go and say unto David, Thus saith the Lord, I offer thee three things; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee.” 2 Samuel 24:12

” And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21

” But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them….I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” Deut 30:17,19.

Furthermore, the Old Testament is full of moments where God shows anger for rebellion against Him. Isaiah 65:2, 2 Sam 4:21, Exodus 4:14, 2 Kings 13:3, Numbers 12:9, Joshua 7:1-13, 2 Sam 24:1, Isaiah 5:25, Judges 2:14. That fact that God reacts negatively to decisions that are made against His will show that God did not determine their actions. It would be absurd to imply that God is angry over actions that He determined and caused.

” And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech;which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.” Jeremiah 32:35

“Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not.” Isaiah 65:12

The fact that the Bible itself proscribes against compelling others to sin and choose to act negatively is telling of the character of God. Mark 9:42, Romans 14:21.

There are clear Biblical and logical reasons to reject any form of determinism and compatibilist freedom. Divine determinism is an affront to the sovereignty of God because it not only makes the human will and mind equal to God and provides no distinction between His thoughts and our thoughts as it only claims to limit capacity but not origin, it fails to prove that God always chooses that which is ultimately the best and wisest choices by eliminating any standard of comparison to that which is autonomously inferior, thus obscuring God’s own will as well as turning options themselves into a deity equally rivaling God’s omnipotence.

When determinism is compared to Scripture, and reduced to its logical denouement it fails miserably as a legitimate explanation of our relationship to God, our accountability and responsibility for decisions, the very existence of choices, and God’s own autonomy and omnipotence. No Christian should ever be a compatibilist. Only free will rightly provides the distinction that demonstrates the holiness and sovereignty of God.

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See also short excerpts from Dr. Elisha Weismann’s debate on secondary causation on our forum