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Miscellaneous meanderings and philosophical ramblings. The title from a spiral notebook I used to jot down my thoughts on religion and other matters some years ago. I like to write, think and express my views on various issues. Robust discussion is welcome.

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"Lan astaslem."
I will not submit. I will not surrender.
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Saturday, June 17, 2006

G-d vs Free will - Cage match! v.2

Another in what is a series regarding God and man's free-will. In v.1 the logical arguments were addressed. I'll now deal with some of the Bible passages that are claimed to teach that God overrides man's will. Since the account of Pharaoh is brought up so often, and I've recently had a debate regarding the matter, I'll recount that here and add several points at the end of the exchange. As per my usual methods, the original comments are in bold, with my replies in regular font interspersed throughout. Other passages will be dealt with in the future.

(ASV used throughout)

Origen IIWrote:
 So because you've seen some Calvinist arguments you automatically are the authority on the 'fact' that Calvinistic thinking by Biblical interpretation is wrong. I call Ad Vericundium on you.
If your going to call me on a fallacy and use the Latin; one, spell it right and two, make sure I've actually committed that fallacy.
I don't claim to be an authority on all of Calvinist thought, just that I've seen an extreme Calvinist defend this particular view and the responses to them. I've also looked at the typical claims on this matter and appeals to various verses and those passages are invariably taken out of context.
Besides Romans,   there are several other simply readable passages that explore this issue and show that God is in TOTAL control of every person's destiny.
I don't doubt that God is in total control. But accomplishing his will does not require micro managing us so that we are not free to make our choices. Every verse I have seen from others reads that micro manage view into the passages or misapplies the passage to one's moral choice concerning salvation when the verses are actually about something else.
 If God chooses people for the sake of revealing His glory,   then man hasn't chosen to do otherwise based on their "free will". God "allowing" is no different than God purposing something to happen. If He didn't want it to happen I think God could very well stop it from happening,   unless of course you believe God is incapable of doing so.
God is fully capable of choosing people he knows will reveal his glory because he transcends time and his knowledge is not limited to only the past and present as ours. You keep ignoring that fundamental matter.
You aren't wrong about Pharaoh? Even though Pharaoh's heart was hardened before Moses and Aaron went to speak with him? You think Pharaoh would have said "yes" if God hadn't hardened his heart? You think Pharaoh's will was 'free' from the influence of God and his decision wasn't tampered with?

Before they spoke to him, Pharaoh had already decided to treat the Hebrews harshly. There is no mention of God causing this in the first few chapters in Exodus. Clearly his will wasn't favorable to God's people by his own choice.
This is the first mention of Pharaoh resisting God in relation to letting the people go. Before this, God predicted He would harden Pharaoh's heart but that prophecy does not exclude that Pharaoh would do so first or continue to be an active agent even after God's judgment.

Exo 5:2  And Pharaoh said, Who is Jehovah, that I should hearken unto his voice to let Israel go? I know not Jehovah, and moreover I will not let Israel go.

Only after it is stated that Pharaoh hardens his heart do we have verses late in the hardening clearly state that Jehovah acted. But in context, it can be seen this simply was not going against the will of Pharaoh but giving Pharaoh over to his own will as judgment.

Exo 7:13  And Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as Jehovah had spoken.
 Exo 7:22  And the magicians of Egypt did in like manner with their enchantments: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as Jehovah had spoken.
 Exo 8:15  But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them, as Jehovah had spoken.
 Exo 8:19  Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as Jehovah had spoken.
 Exo 8:32  And Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go.
 Exo 9:12  And Jehovah hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them, as Jehovah had spoken unto Moses.
 Exo 9:34  And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.
 Exo 9:35  And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the children of Israel go, as Jehovah had spoken by Moses.
 Exo 10:1  And Jehovah said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I may show these my signs in the midst of them,
 Exo 10:20  But Jehovah hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go.
 also Exo 10:27, 11:10, 14:8

To claim that as Jehovah had spoken means Jehovah did the hardening is to ignore that when God did such, it is clearly stated. Also, Jehovah had also stated that Pharaoh would harden his heart, without reference to Jehovah acting to do so.

 Exo 3:19  And I know that the king of Egypt will not give you leave to go, no, not by a mighty hand.
 Exo 3:20  And I will put forth my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go.

And if Pharaoh truly had this "free will",  would he have not tampered with Gods plan if he had chosen otherwise? Would Gods efforts of hardening his heart have failed and God been overpowered by the will of this mere human?

And again, you ignore the transcendent means by which God acquires knowledge and that Pharaoh rejected God first. God responded to that by giving Pharaoh over to his own will for punishment.
Besides ignoring that Pharaoh's will was turned against God by his own decisions first, your position also requires that this hardened condition was permanent and also affected his eternal condition. There is no indication in the passage that Pharaoh could not later repent. Jewish tradition actually holds that he did. Also, this action within history, does not relate to one's eternal destiny. You simply do not have data that shows Pharaoh was not allowed to repent later of this action or that he was not allowed to turn to God regarding salvation.

I think it is you who is ignoring some fundamental truths here.

Keep telling yourself that but self delusion is hardly impressive as an argument


I didn't mention in that exchange but it is recounted elsewhere in scripture that Pharaoh hardened his own heart.

I Sa 6:6 Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When he had wrought wonderfully among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed?

This principle of God giving people over to their own will for judgment is recounted in scripture as well.

Lam 3:59 - O Jehovah, thou hast seen my wrong; judge thou my cause. 60) Thou hast seen all their vengeance and all their devices against me. 61) Thou hast heard their reproach, O Jehovah, and all their devices against me, 62) The lips of those that rose up against me, and their device against me all the day. 63) Behold thou their sitting down, and their rising up; I am their song. 64)Thou wilt render unto them a recompense, O Jehovah, according to the work of their hands. 65) Thou wilt give them hardness of heart, thy curse unto them.

The individual debating this matter, in addition to other errors is clearly overlooking the transcendent nature of God's knowledge. He's said he'll look over my previous post and comment but I'm not all that concerned considering his performance here.


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