There has been a series of posts across the web that have made their way to Slice. They deal with the issue of whether or not God dreams. The general consensus of the ODMs is a big NO. God is all powerful and has no dreams of the future. This is especially true if it involves a dream that God gave Rick Warren to help cure aids and feed babies. It is even more true if Brian McLaren or Robert Schuler have a dream that God has given them

Well, that’s all good if you are a fatalist. If everything is set in stone, and the road map of eternity is unchangeable, then there is no need for God to have dreams for the future of humanity. But, in my world (and from what I pick up from scripture), God has so many dreams for the world. He dreams that no man should perish, but that all should come to salvation. He dreams that we would not resist the work of the Holy Spirit and would look more and more like Christ everyday. He dreams that his bride would be spotless for Him. He dreams that our true religion would be helping widows and feeding orphans. There are lots of dreams that I see.

Jesus himself wept over the city, because he knew that the sin of the people was moving them further and further away from the dream that God had for all humanity.

The truth is, even ODMs believe that God has dreams. They too believe that God dreams of a pure and undefined church. In fact, they see themselves as dreamkeepers and dreammakers in the grand scheme of thing. They are going to assure that the dreams of God take place with their wittings and warnings.

On a related note… one of Ingrid’s links was this post from Herescope. I didn’t agree with most of what the writer had to say, but found this quote interesting on a pretty cool prayer and fasting movement that is taking place.

The context for much of this activity is through food deprivation (fasting)

Funny how we change perspectives around for our enemies. If John MacArther called for a global prayer and fasting movement, the words “food deprivation” would have never been used. While the author did put “fasting” in parenthesis, I find their word choice very telling of their agenda.

Herescope only gives this as “the truth.” You tell me if this shows that God doesn’t dream

“Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 23:3

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 5th, 2008 at 9:08 pm and is filed under Christian Living, Church and Society, Emergent Church, Ingrid, Linked Articles, Misuse of Scripture, ODM Responses, ODM Writers, PD/SS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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132 Comments(+Add)

1   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 9:33 pm

God doesn’t dream, He knows. But He gives dreams and visions occasionally. God knows what will happen, however He doesn’t orchestrate everything.

Many Americans could use a little food deprivation.

2   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
August 5th, 2008 at 9:36 pm

By the word “dream,” are you saying that God wishes or desires something to happen, but is powerless to make it happen? Or he thinks to Himself: “That would be pretty neat if everyone got saved…but I know they won’t?.”

3   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
August 5th, 2008 at 9:38 pm

Another question: If God’s “dream” is for all of humanity to be saved, why did he declare/make the gate “narrow?” Why not make the gate wide just in case people get their act together?

4   Scotty    http://scottysplace-scotty.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 9:53 pm

Why would it matter if he did or didn’t? I don’t see the value of this type of spectulation….show me where I err….

5   Scotty    http://scottysplace-scotty.blogspot.com/
August 5th, 2008 at 9:55 pm

Many Americans could use a little food deprivation.

You been peeking in my windows again???!!!

6   richard abanes    http://abanes.com
August 5th, 2008 at 10:07 pm

Uhm, I think an acceptable use would be “dream” being used in context as simply a metaphor for desire/will. God’s will for his people. God’s desire for you. God’s desire, based on scripture, for his church, etc.

It’s a kind of 21st century, colorful, expressive, artistic, evocative, metaphorical use of the word. No big deal, at least not to me.

Other uses might not be so benign.

RA

7   Larry    
August 5th, 2008 at 11:10 pm

I think it is safe to say that there are two wills in God: the will of God’s desire and the will of God’s decree (or what he actually declares to be). For example, God’s desires all men to be saved, yet he decrees that some will and some will not. Why? Because God’s desire for his own glory is greater than his desire for men to be saved. His to desire to display his mercy and his justice is greater than his desire that all mankind come to repentance.

To address the issue of the post, though, God does not dream in the same way we do. While God desires some things that he does not choose to enact, God can do whatever he desires to do, and nothing can stand in his way if he chooses to do something. “But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased” Psalm 115:3

The verse you gave about “false dreams” has nothing to do with the issue. That is dealing with false teachers speaking in the name of God a message that he did not give them. The dream represents a message in the form of a prophetic dream, not God’s dream for mankind.

8   Fred    
August 5th, 2008 at 11:34 pm

Interesting, however the point of the article “God Dreams” seems to miss the logic of Who God is altogether, in my opinion. How can God, Who is all-knowing, all-powerful, eternal, holy, just and righteous…dream (as if there are things that God wishes would happen, but won’t)? A God Who dreams would seem to mean that He would be unable to fulfill His own desires. Certainly, this is not the case with the God of Scripture, at least as I understand Scripture.

The God I worship actually does have the roadmap to eternity all figured out. In fact, prior to the first spark of Creation, He knew every thought, every desire, every choice that every human being who would ever live, would ever have in this life. Beyond this, He knew what the result of every decision would be for each person and what the results would have been had the person made another decision.

“Dreaming” per se is a human trait and it stands to reason that God would only “wish” for things to come to fruition, in order to state them in a way that the finite human mind could comprehend.

However, He has no need to wish for anything (as if God is incapable of having what He wants). His will be done. Anything less than that – including unfufilled “dreams” – means He’s failed and the God I worship has most certainly not failed, not now; now ever.

9   M.G.    
August 6th, 2008 at 12:22 am

A more interesting question… Does God have an imagination?

When God created the heavens and the earth, did he pick and choose what he wanted? Was it a creative process?

And if that’s not dreaming, what is?

10   Fred    
August 6th, 2008 at 3:38 am

That’s a more interesting question? I think whenever we attempt to place God in a “box” that we create in order to better understand Him, it demeans and Him and robs Him of what is rightfully His and His alone.

What we can know about God in this life, is in large part revealed through His written Word. If people want to think that God sits around and daydreams or dreams about what the world would have been like if only, or what the world could be like, if only, that’s their prerogative. The only Scriptural difficulty with that type of thinking is that it tends to remove God’s sovereignty at least partially, if not completely from the picture.

You said, “When God created the heavens and the earth, did He pick and choose what He wanted? Was it a creative process?” and then you made the jump to “And if that’s not dreaming, what is?” I’m not sure how you made that jump, unless to your way of thinking, the only way God could have created everything was to have stopped and thought about all possibilities over a period of time before making a final decision. That’s God? Man, I’d hate to see that God attempt to deal with knowing every aspect of every human being who ever lived or will live…and all at the same time! Or, if He needs to take time to consider things and really think things over, how is it then possible to hear everyone’s prayers at the same time, while being fully involved in each Christian’s life at the same time?

Determining ahead of time what something will look like, act like, sound like is not so much dreaming, as it is determining. Frankly, I find it extremely difficult to believe that God has to spend any amount of time whatsoever mentally ruminating over this or that. Again, if He did, how could it be truly said that He was/is all-knowing, all-powerful, etc.? Doesn’t that very trait preclude the necessity (or even the desire) to have to dream about the what-ifs?

Think about it…if God sat around thinking about this, that or the other thing for any length of time before He was ABLE to make a decision about it, that robs Him of the character of being all-knowing, as much as it robs Him of His sovereignty.

It seems patently obvious that in today’s “Church” just about anything goes and just about any question about God or how He works is not only allowed, but encouraged, in spite of the lack of answers from His Word to those questions. Does it make a person a better Christian to think that God dreams as humans dream?

Did God HAVE to take 6 days to create the world and rest on the 7th? Hardly, but there was certainly a purpose for it, which is given to us.

Just about everything in God’s Word proves His ability to stoop to His creation, but it hardly insinuates that He is LIKE His creation. God is absolutely without doubt fully sovereign over all aspects of His creation.

11   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 6th, 2008 at 7:58 am

I don’t have a problem with the word “dream”, per se, although I think it can have some negative connotations if we start comparing it to the way we dream. I mean, I dream about stuff like new guitars and fast cars, all of which I’m sure God doesn’t really care that much about.

I think if we speak of God’s will, it becomes pretty clear that His will isn’t always done on earth. In fact there’s a whole lot that people do that is against His will. What would be the purpose of us praying for His will to be done on earth if there was no way it couldn’t be done?

So of course, talking of God’s dreams is going to anger Calvinists, but then again, pretty much everything angers Calvinists…

12   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 6th, 2008 at 8:03 am

I think it is safe to say that there are two wills in God: the will of God’s desire and the will of God’s decree (or what he actually declares to be). For example, God’s desires all men to be saved, yet he decrees that some will and some will not. Why? Because God’s desire for his own glory is greater than his desire for men to be saved. His to desire to display his mercy and his justice is greater than his desire that all mankind come to repentance.

What gobbledygook…

This is in essence saying God is double-minded – something He tells us not to be. The way you’re describing it is like saying God is playing a big game of good cop/bad cop with Himself. God gave people true free will, and in order for that to be the case, He took a risk that some people would go against His will.

13   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 8:16 am

Because God’s desire for his own glory is greater than his desire for men to be saved.

This makes perfect sense if you replace the word “God’s” above with “Calvinist’s”

14   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 8:22 am

God does not “dream” in the sense he sleeps and dreams like a man. He may have “dreams” as far as envisioning us with Him.

Now, Jesus was God and man… so in a sense God must have dreamt because Jesus was a man… He slept, ate, and even learned… We often forget that God as man was like us in all these ways…. so God has dreamed…

Yet, God as a whole does not sleep, I see He imagines as the bible speaks that we are His image… which would mean, that we are out of His imagination… and from the mind of God and the power of His spoken word all He imagined, became created and is our reality.

I have not issue when someone states “God has dreams for us.” as in an envisioned plan or life that He has called someone to… yet again, I think that it is impossible for God in the fullness of His being, to sleep… and dream like a mere human… aside from the Incarnation.

Blessings,
iggy

15   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 8:28 am

Amen, brother! I’m tracking with you, Nathan. I don’t see a conflict with God’s sovereignty and His dreams for this world, for His church, etc.
Good word.

In paragraph four, sentence two, you wrote

They too believe that God dreams of a pure and undefined church.

I could be wrong, but I think you mean “undefiled” not undefined.
;)

The emergents are the ones accused of having an undefined church…that can’t be God’s dream.
:)

Shalom

16   John Hughes    
August 6th, 2008 at 8:40 am

Zeus looks more omnipotent and omnicient than this poor, pitiful excuse of a “god who dreams”. Dang. Now where did I put that votive?

“You thought I was just like you. I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes.” (Psalm 50:21)

17   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 6th, 2008 at 8:56 am

Zeus looks more omnipotent and omnicient than this poor, pitiful excuse of a “god who dreams”. Dang. Now where did I put that votive?

Well, isn’t that the point, to some extent? Jesus came to earth as a defenseless baby, yet in Colossians we are told that Jesus is the “image of the the invisible God”, meaning if we have seen Christ, we have seen how God wants to reveal Himself to us. It’s as if God was trying to make a point that are ideas of power and strength are all messed up.

God chose not to bring His kingdom to earth the way earthly kings do by forceably taking through violence, but by serving and dying for His enemies.

18   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
August 6th, 2008 at 9:14 am

Still waiting for answer re: the narrow gate.

19   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 6th, 2008 at 9:27 am

Keith,
I would say that God’s desire for people isn’t just that they be saved, but that they truly know His heart. He wants us to truly and freely love Him, and to do that, we have to receive His love.

I would say that there’s something is us that battles against this, that badly wants to earn His love. I would say that culture in general is working under the idea that we must strive to show our worth, or make our way. So following Christ is in large part counter-cultural. I think when Jesus is describing the “narrow gate”, he is describing this. I think God desires for all to see Him as truly is, but it seems that many just will not.

20   Sandman    
August 6th, 2008 at 9:29 am

Ditto Rick’s comment in #1.

I never heard of God’s dream(ing) until this post.

It’s too much like another thing that grates on me: Does God believe in me?

Too many attempts to project man’s needs and limitations on God.

21   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 9:34 am

Keith, I’ll try, though I am no theologian.

Let’s just say I’m a father, and I want the best for my kids. I have an expectation, a dream if you will, for them, for their future. I train them and help them along the pathway towards that destination. The dream or end result is narrowly defined. It is specific. It is not broad. It is not wide or undefined.

If I made the “narrow way” too wide, the chances of them arriving at the desired end are diminished greatly.

They would merely fulfill the wise quote, “A person who aims at nothing is sure to hit it.”

The narrowness of the destination in no way negates my dream or desire for their success.

22   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
August 6th, 2008 at 9:38 am

Keith,
I’m going to ask for your indulgence and not answer your question since it was not asked to me, but I am going to ask you a question,
How do you interpret “God is not willing that any should perish”?

23   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 9:46 am

Keith-

I echo what Nathanael and others have said here.

One thing of great importance I think is the obvious nature of Jesus’ words. He was speaking to a people who saw a broad gate into the city and a narrow gate. Anyone can walk through the broad gate without changing a thing about thier constitution (what they are carrying, doing, holding, pulling, etc.) The narrow gate, however, required people to unload their burdens and to drop their belongings. They had to change (i.e. repent). When Jesus says, “come to me you who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest” he is essentially saying to drop the things that you are carrying – all your baggage – and follow me.

Jesus is not making exclusions on the number of people who can enter the city but merely describing what those people ought to look like when they do.

peace,
Chad

24   Sandman    
August 6th, 2008 at 9:48 am

This is in essence saying God is double-minded – something He tells us not to be. The way you’re describing it is like saying God is playing a big game of good cop/bad cop with Himself.

Excellent point, Phil.

Greg Boyd gave a presentation at the church I attend focusing on Satan and the problem of evil, evil also meaning natural disasters.

In the presentation he stated that what forms his beliefs comes from the first three centuries of the church (”the theology was much better, ” he said). The Q&A segment posed a question from the audience that led him to talk about Augustine and his earlier years as part of the gnostic Manicheans. Boyd said the Manicheans believed there was a god responsible for doing good and one responsible for doing evil. While Augustine moved away from gnosticism, Boyd contends he didn’t move far enough away because he took the two gods and made them into one that does good and evil.

I believe Augustine’s early gnosticism influenced his Christian writings and theology, and in some way or another has filtered its way into the fabric of many people’s beliefs.

25   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 9:51 am

I believe Augustine’s early gnosticism influenced his Christian writings and theology, and in some way or another has filtered its way into the fabric of many people’s beliefs.

Excellent point, Sandman.

I am jealous that you attend a church where you got to hear Boyd preach :) I have to make do with podcasts.

26   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 9:52 am

Keith,

Jesus is the gate… as Jesus states in John 10

The Gate is a person not a belief system.

He is the Gate and the Gate Keeper.

It is only through Jesus we are saved.

iggy

27   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 9:54 am

Keith,

So the question you need to answer is how narrow is Jesus? He seems to be very inclusive to me.

iggy

28   M.G.    
August 6th, 2008 at 9:55 am

Fred,

I think you misunderstand my point.

First, you conflate imagination with knowledge. Just because God was/is/will be creative, does not entail that he cannot compute every fact in existence.

Second, you don’t really respond to my point, but instead engage in a series of strawmen. To say that God dreams is not the same as saying He daydreams, or is lazy, incompetent, etc.

I’ll make this as simple as possible. The way in which I’m intrigued in God as a dreamer is not in an effort to figure out the mystery of God’s sovereignty and man’s free will.

Rather, when I think of dreaming as a virtue, I think of the value of imagination. Seeing a picture of what is not, and taking the steps to make it a reality. Architects dream of the impossible building. Artists dream of the wondrous painting.

Did God dream of creation? Not did he dither over creation, like some doodling half-wit. But did he use His imagination?

And if God did not think about His creation, did it just happen? Arbitrarily? Capriciously?

29   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 9:56 am

Jesus is the gate… as Jesus states in John 10

and thank God that the Man of Sorrows, the “friend of sinners,” the one who took upon himself the sins of the whole world, not to condemn but to save, and promised that should he be lifted up he will draw all men unto himself is the gate and not us or our doctrines.

I’ll take Jesus as the gate any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

30   Sandman    
August 6th, 2008 at 9:57 am

Keith,

Ultimately, God does not compromise Himself; He will only have fellowship with those who are compatible with His nature and kingdom.

Hell was never intended for man, but if we are to live with God eternally, it has to be on His terms.

BTW, I just got a shipment of illegals to work on that line of “Keith the Calvinsit” dolls I told you about. It’s gonna be off da hook!

31   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
August 6th, 2008 at 10:03 am

Sandman: I get the FIRST one!!! Need me to sign any of those–kinda like a limited atonement edition?!

32   Sandman    
August 6th, 2008 at 10:07 am

Thanks, Chad.

Boyd usually comes out once a year to preach and do an evening skeptics night.

If you want to get a hold of the dvd of his presentation and his other visits, let me know and I’ll contact you through your site. (BTW, his view of God’s foreknowledge is not nearly as heretical as people who never met, read, talked to, or listened to him caricaturizes it to be.)

33   Sandman    
August 6th, 2008 at 10:10 am

Need me to sign any of those–kinda like a limited atonement edition?!

LOL! I like that one!

That would be so cool if you could do a signing, but you’d have to come up to Michigan to do it.

34   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 10:13 am

If you want to get a hold of the dvd of his presentation and his other visits, let me know and I’ll contact you through your site. (BTW, his view of God’s foreknowledge is not nearly as heretical as people who never met, read, talked to, or listened to him caricaturizes it to be.)

I’d like that. Are you referring to the sermon he gave at Mars Hill last year? If so, I have that on my ipod. But if you have some other offers send em on my way!

Yeah, I agree that Boyd is so often misunderstood. (aren’t we all?) :P

35   Sandman    
August 6th, 2008 at 10:21 am

No, not Mars Hill, I’m in the Detroit ‘burbs on the other side of the state.

36   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 10:24 am

Keith,
Some of us have attempted to answer your question.

What is your response to Joe’s?

How do you interpret “God is not willing that any should perish”?

37   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
August 6th, 2008 at 10:26 am

Chad, Nathanael and Joe: I’m at work and need to get busy, but briefly (and confident you’ll disagree, but that’s OK. Just being polite here and answering your questions):

1) Nathanael and Chad: If the narrow gate is merely a desire or “path” why does Jesus say “few find it”, which sounds exclusive to me. By implication, MANY don’t find it. Also, why would the end result be “destruction” (Gr = perdition, perish, wasted) if Jesus’ words were only “describing what those people ought to look like?”

Joe: 2 Peter is written to “those who have received a faither on the same kind as ours”, i.e. believers/Christians. I read the entire letter through that “lense” and therefore interpret Peter’s words in 3:9 thus: He is commenting regarding the last days, ecnouraging them that Jesus will come, but not until every last one that has been elected to salvation has been saved. The “you” refers to those who are saved (”brethren”, “beloved”, i.e the Body of Christ) and those who will be saved–a specific group.

PS to Iggy: I agree that Jesus is “the Gate.” For me, that still doesn’t negate the idea that many won’t find Him.

Gotta run. Will check back around lunchtime.

38   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
August 6th, 2008 at 10:28 am

Sandman: You bet it would be cool. It’s stinkin’ 105 here in OKLA!!!! (How do you know those workers are illegal; you know you’re not allowed to ‘profile’ !!)

39   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
August 6th, 2008 at 10:29 am

Correction: “faither” should be “faith.” (First sentence to Joe)

40   nathan    http://www.nathanneighbour.com
August 6th, 2008 at 11:16 am

I think it is funny how nervous Christians get when we use out-of-the-box words. We don’t know what to do with them — there is no catagory for us to put them in (besides heretical and orthodox). So we say things like this

Determining ahead of time what something will look like, act like, sound like is not so much dreaming, as it is determining.

Wait, determining how everything will look, feel, smell and taste like is not dreaming? One simply has to look out at the ocean or the mountains and see that our creative God dreamed up one heck of a universe. God dreams.

And yes, the calvinist god is a bit schitzo– I want all to be saved, but I will create a tiny gate so not to many can find it. I do find it funny that Calvinists always bring up that verse to show how much God doesn’t want to save people (except for them and their family, or course). But, in their train of theology, a gate is completely irrelevant. We don’t find the gate and walk thru it. God brings people to the gate and forces them thru with His irresistible grace. We are completely un able to find any gate, regardless of its size. The gate could be 2 inches wide, and the same number of people would be saved.

But, in the end, God Dreams. He has plans for me and you and desires that we would be made more and more like Him.

41   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 11:19 am

1) Nathanael and Chad: If the narrow gate is merely a desire or “path” why does Jesus say “few find it”, which sounds exclusive to me. By implication, MANY don’t find it. Also, why would the end result be “destruction” (Gr = perdition, perish, wasted) if Jesus’ words were only “describing what those people ought to look like?”

Keith-
I can certainly see how reading scripture through a Calvinist lens would make this verse very exciting :)

However, it must be viewed through the lens of Jesus and the entire corpus of his teachings, such as Jesus saying that when he is liften up ALL men (not a few) shall be drawn to him or his parables of banquets and feasts where the invitation is given to all or the fact that the Father seaches tirelessly for even one who is lost until they are found or that Jesus came and died for ALL the world (not just a few) or Paul saying that in Christ ALL things (not just a few) were reconciled to God and that in Christ ALL things (not just a few) move, breath and have their being or Peter saying that it is God’s desire that ALL (not just a few) should be saved and not perish or the great host of people (not a few) we find rejoicing in Rev. ….the list can be exhaustive, but you get the point.

Given ALL of this, Jesus’ words about many and few should take on a different hue. It is quite possible that Jesus was stating the obvious – he had 12 disciples and sure, many followers, but the bulk of the “righteous” Israel was not listening and would soon be killing him. It is certainly true that in Jesus’ day “few” saw the necessity of dying to self and carrying a cross in order to have abundant life. Most (or many) thought the way to salvation was the way of the sword – lets topple Rome. They will certainly be swallowed up by their own hate, greed and sure enough, Rome.

peace,
Chad

42   Neil    
August 6th, 2008 at 11:29 am

The anonymous poster at Slice tips their presuppositional hand when (s)he says:

“God’s Dream” is a term thrown around a lot. So does God have a dream? Does he sit in the heavens, fantasizing about the way things could be if only some guy with a book contract from Rupert Murdoch could organize the masses sufficiently?

Once again, the tone completely drowns out any point anonymous may have had… Point is, there is a difference between what God can do and what God allows. It is obvious that things happen that God “wishes” did not happen. It is also obvious from Scripture that God has a vision on how things should be (cf. Rev 20-22). If someone catches that “dream” so much the better…

Neil

43   Neil    
August 6th, 2008 at 11:33 am

On a more sarcastic note – I wonder if the ODM’s imagined God sitting in heaven fantasizing about the way things could be if only some “guys” with computers would start attack blogs to point out the faults of everyone else?

Neil

44   Joe C    
August 6th, 2008 at 11:33 am

Nathan gets the point for his logical dismantling of Calvinism in 2 paragraphs. :)

45   Neil    
August 6th, 2008 at 11:37 am

If we are not to attempt to make things better, if there is no disparity between God’s will/ability and how things really are… why pray “…Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven…”?

Neil

46   downgrade    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
August 6th, 2008 at 12:07 pm

But, in my world (and from what I pick up from scripture), God has so many dreams for the world. He dreams that no man should perish, but that all should come to salvation. He dreams that we would not resist the work of the Holy Spirit and would look more and more like Christ everyday. He dreams that his bride would be spotless for Him. He dreams that our true religion would be helping widows and feeding orphans. There are lots of dreams that I see.

The author is being anthropomorphic in his approach to God. I think he is confusing God’s wills here; His will of desire is that all men would be saved; his declarative will is that all who do not believe are condemned. (as an example) These things above that you mention are God’s will for us as His church, something that will not be seen in perfection until we are with Jesus in heaven.

47   John Hughes    
August 6th, 2008 at 12:11 pm

God likes boxes.

48   Neil    
August 6th, 2008 at 12:19 pm

These things above that you mention are God’s will for us as His church, something that will not be seen in perfection until we are with Jesus in heaven. – downgrade

Yet, we are to still persue them now… which is what Warren’s PEACE plan is all about –

I have no problem being anthropomorphic and use “dream” if by it we mean the difference between “now” and “then.”

Neil

49   nc    
August 6th, 2008 at 12:20 pm

I think this is just semantics.

God “dreams”, God “wills”, God “wants”, God…

50   nc    
August 6th, 2008 at 12:23 pm

ooops

hit submit too soon.

When I hear about God “dreaming”, I take it to mean God’s ultimate desires/plan/will that God–as a living personal God–is deeply invested in and will bring to pass. It connotes the dynamics of Trinitarian “personhood”, not just some Platonic impassable, unemotional “mind” floating off in space that is determining all things.

51   Neil    
August 6th, 2008 at 12:24 pm

NC,

I agree… I also think it’s an ODM with an axe to grind…

Neil

52   downgrade    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
August 6th, 2008 at 12:26 pm

Warren’s peace plan is all about a one world religion approach to peace. It is Machiavellian in its approach; we can use anybodies resources to help people and say it is all about God. The ends justify the means, or do we trust God?

53   Neil    
August 6th, 2008 at 12:30 pm

downgrade,

Yeah… whatever… we’ve been around and around on PEACE before… this thread is about “God Dreaming”, not Warren the One-World-Religion-Anti-Christ…

Neil

54   John Hughes    
August 6th, 2008 at 12:40 pm

Sandman: Boyd contends he didn’t move far enough away because he took the two gods and made them into one that does good and evil.

Lam 3:37-39 – “Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, Unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High That both good and ill go forth? Why should any living mortal, or any man, Offer complaint in view of his sins? ”

Amos 3:6 – “If a trumpet is blown in a city will not the people tremble? If a calamity occurs in a city has not the LORD done it?”

Just say’n.

55   John Hughes    
August 6th, 2008 at 12:43 pm

NC: I think this is just semantics.

God “dreams”, God “wills”, God “wants”, God

Well if it is “just” semantics I will try to extracate my panties from the wad they are in over this issue. :-)

56   nc    
August 6th, 2008 at 12:48 pm

JH…

too funny.

Downgrade,

don’t you have your own blog where you can indulge your conspiracy theories and fully explore your anti-Rick Warren man-crush?

Seriously.

Sheeesh.

57   Ken Silva    http://www.apprising.org
August 6th, 2008 at 12:52 pm

“the calvinist god is a bit schitzo”

Please, as if the crass caricature of Calvinism constantly perpetrated on this site even resembled what Calvinism teaches.

58   John Hughes    
August 6th, 2008 at 12:58 pm

Nathan: found this quote interesting on a pretty cool prayer and fasting movement that is taking place.

I can understand you coming to the defense of your homies (RW and RB, etc.). I could even understand your protest of Herescope lumping them in with the Dominionist movement, but really you need to do some research on the Kanas City Prophets and the Dominionist movement. I would find it hard to believe that any emergent would be sympathetic to that movement who’s leaders make ODMs look like school girls.

Herescope was not addressing the biblical discipline of fasting and prayer. They were warning of the cult induction techniques being used which include food deprivation and group hypnosis (in the disguise of fasting and mass rallies using these proven techniques). Perhaps they should have been more specific but you have mis-represented their position on this issue IMO.

59   John Hughes    
August 6th, 2008 at 1:00 pm

The Dominionist Movement puts the “fun” in funadmental.

60   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 1:01 pm

God sees and knows every event in history, every molecule and its movement, every though of every human, avery electron and all its past and future orbits, and every act of time past, present, and future –

in ONE CONTINUING STATE OF KNOWING.

He doesn’t think, He doesn’t wonder, He doesn’t dream, He doesn’t know anything that suggests a process. And after all our speculation and investigation, it remains every bit a pristine mystery as it was before we gave it our own laughable thought.

And if you wonder how and why God interacts with us in time and space, the only answers that are required on that test are in the textbook. Everything else cannot be known – yet.

61   John Hughes    
August 6th, 2008 at 1:02 pm

Slice: So does God have a dream? Does he sit in the heavens, fantasizing about the way things could be if only some guy with a book contract from Rupert Murdoch could organize the masses sufficiently?

Disagree or not, I thought that comment very clever and funny.

62   John Hughes    
August 6th, 2008 at 1:07 pm

Nathan: I think it is funny how nervous Christians get when we use out-of-the-box words. We don’t know what to do with them — there is no catagory for us to put them in (besides heretical and orthodox).

That’s a very true statement Nathan. I had a very negative initial gut reaction to the phrase “God’s Dream”. If “dream” = “perfect will” then I have not problem with it. But you are correct there is often an initial unwarranted knee jerk reaction. I still think the use of the concept of “dream” in the context of God’s omnicience renders it a poor choice of words, but hey, there are bigger fish to fry.

63   John Hughes    
August 6th, 2008 at 1:09 pm

Rick: couldn’t have said it better myself.

64   John Hughes    
August 6th, 2008 at 1:11 pm

Well I guess He does “think” as all sentient beings “think” by definition.

65   Neil    
August 6th, 2008 at 1:12 pm

Disagree or not, I thought that comment very clever and funny.

‘Tis neither… just more straw man rhetoric.

66   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 6th, 2008 at 1:14 pm

Lam 3:37-39 – “Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, Unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High That both good and ill go forth? Why should any living mortal, or any man, Offer complaint in view of his sins? ”

Amos 3:6 – “If a trumpet is blown in a city will not the people tremble? If a calamity occurs in a city has not the LORD done it?”

That’s quite the proof-texting there. For one thing, both of these passages are talking about God allowing judgement to come to Israel, not trying to offer a grand theodicy.

There are certainly plenty of other passages in Scripture that say that God is not the author of evil. To the contrary, Scripture proclaims again and again that God is good. He can certainly bring good from evil through His power, but I don’t believe He plans or ordains evil.

67   John Hughes    
August 6th, 2008 at 1:27 pm

That’s quite the proof-texting there.

Thank you. I try! :-)

68   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 1:30 pm

I love proof texting, it provides such great proof! :lol:

69   Sandman    
August 6th, 2008 at 1:37 pm

A text without context is a pretext for a proof-text. And it’s usually an error.

70   Sandman    
August 6th, 2008 at 1:46 pm

JH,

God can author calamity, but God is neither cruel nor sadistic; it’s not in His nature. The Manichean god of evil was just that. I’m talking malevolent, whimsical and capricious the way mythic gods of evil were.

71   John Hughes    
August 6th, 2008 at 1:47 pm

Phil: but I don’t believe He plans or ordains evil.

Phil, It should not be what we “want” to believe about God (i.e., that fits our pre-conceived conceptions) that matters but what is revealed about God in Scripture that makes up our world view. The “evil” of which we are speaking is not “moral malfeasance” or the opposite of “moral good” but “calamity”. The Bible is clear. God brings “Good” and He brings “Calamity”

Jeremiah 19:3 – and say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, “Behold I am about to bring a calamity upon this place, at which the ears of everyone that hears of it will tingle.

Jeremiah 19:15 -”Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am about to bring on this city and all its towns the entire calamity that I have declared against it, because they have stiffened their necks so as not to heed My words.’”

Jeremiah 23:12 – “Therefore their way will be like slippery paths to them, They will be driven away into the gloom and fall down in it; For I will bring calamity upon them, The year of their punishment,” declares the LORD.

Jeremiah 25:29 – “For behold, I am beginning to work calamity in this city which is called by My name, and shall you be completely free from punishment? You will not be free from punishment; for I am summoning a sword against all the inhabitants of the earth,” declares the LORD of hosts.’

Jeremiah 26:3 – Perhaps they will listen and everyone will turn from his evil way, that I may repent of the calamity which I am planning to do to them because of the evil of their deeds.’

Jeremiah 32:23 – ‘They came in and took possession of it, but they did not obey Your voice or walk in Your law; they have done nothing of all that You commanded them to do; therefore You have made all this calamity come upon them.

Jeremiah 49:37 -’So I will shatter Elam before their enemies And before those who seek their lives; And I will bring calamity upon them, Even My fierce anger,’ declares the LORD,’And I will send out the sword after themUntil I have consumed them.

This is usually in the context of punishment brought about by actions, but even that is not always the case (e.g., Job).

It’s just something we have to wrap our hands around. But as you point out though just and a punisher of evil God is also Love and full of grace and compassion. But we can’t just ignore the judgement just because it does not fit our notion of what God should be.

72   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 6th, 2008 at 1:58 pm

John,
Again, we are talking about God allowing judgement to come upon Israel. I don’t know that I would say that equates to God doing evil. A good argument could be made that He simply lift His hand of protection off of Israel and allowed things to naturally play their course, I think.

Also, the book of Job never says that the troubles Job encounters come from God. God allows them, but He doesn’t plan them.

I guess in my view, not everything that happens on earth is in line with God’s will. Actually, I would venture to say that most of it isn’t, right now. When Satan laid claim to the kingdoms of the earth when he was tempting Jesus, Jesus didn’t dispute Him. Now one could say the cross was Jesus’ way of taking the earth back, but I would say that was the beginning of the end for Satan. He is still clinging to power and causing problems.

73   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 2:02 pm

I am pretty sure God himself drowned the Egyptians. Phil, the Scriptures clearly dilineate many instances where God Himself killed people and even commanded His own people to kill infants.

He is directly involved.

74   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 6th, 2008 at 2:10 pm

Rick,
I didn’t say He’s not involved. I just think that He’s not some divine puppetmaster. Yes, He sent plagues to Egypt (all of which were direct attacks on Egyptian deities), but was that God propagating evil? I tend to think not. I actually think that Pharaoh could have repented earlier, and God would have relented. However, he did not.

Likewise with the Egyptians killed in the Red Sea, God didn’t make them follow.

I think there’s more than one way to look at a lot of these things.

75   John Hughes    
August 6th, 2008 at 2:12 pm

Phil: A good argument could be made that He simply lift His hand of protection off of Israel and allowed things to naturally play their course, I think.

No. Rick has already said it. God’s volition and direct causal action is involved in these instances. But this is mitigated in that it is not capricious and is either redemptive in intent or a punishment for the guilty and warning for others.

Again, I come back to we must let Scripture define our concept of God, not our pre-conceived wants and desires. This “reality” has to be assimulated into any accurate theology of God else we run the risk of creating a god of our own making.

76   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 2:14 pm

Phil – you know I don’t think he’s some puppetmaster! If he is, he sure has the wires all tangled!! :)

BTW – God directed the Jews to conquer Cana with violence and sometimes demanded they kill the entire city. He is God.

77   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 2:16 pm

I’m pretty sure God was involved with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorah. And the angel of death that MURDERED the firstborn in Egypt was from God as well. We must be careful how we define God, He has at times acted outside our understanding.

78   John Hughes    
August 6th, 2008 at 2:17 pm

Phil,

For a more fruitful discussion you need to define the word “evil” as you are using it. I am certainly not saying that the Bible says God sends “moral corruption”. I also don’t see how the concept of God being a puppetmaster or not has any part of the discussion. We are talking about unilaterial action on His part, not his influence on others. I am completely missing that part of your argument.

79   nc    
August 6th, 2008 at 2:17 pm

hmmm…

Ben Witherington puts it this way:

A text without a context is just a pretext to make mean anything you want it to mean.

A bit more direct with respect to the dishonesty/manipulation of such a “hermeneutic”.

80   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 6th, 2008 at 2:34 pm

I would define “evil” as that which goes against God’s expressed will.

The thing I would say about the passages we are talking about in the OT is that it is always clear that it God taking the action, allowing something, or, in the case of Israel’s military pursuits, God commanding something. God never allows Israel to kill on its own discretion. He never just sanctifies human actions and calls them good.

So I do allow that there may be things that appear to us as evil, but are actually from God, but I don’t think that should be the standard. I also think that the way deals with us now isn’t the same that he dealt with Israel in the OT. In a way, I believe God was working with what was available to Him in the OT. Ultimately, though, He chose to take all the consequences of evil upon Himself on the cross.

Our comfort isn’t that God ordains evil. It’s that He has already dealt with it, and that He is aquainted with our suffering.

81   Joe C    
August 6th, 2008 at 2:52 pm

Phil et al,

Our comfort isn’t that God ordains evil. It’s that He has already dealt with it, and that He is aquainted with our suffering.

True as ever!

I see it as a mix of God’s allowance of things and direct commanding (in Israel’s case), and/or intervention in to human life. He seems to do all of these things, but His purposes are redemptive/teaching in nature, and God can do no evil regardless. It’s kind of hard to wrap our brains around, but I’m sure He’s got it figured out.

We can’t exclude consequence from the discussion. Israel disobeys and God removes His divine protection from Israel to do what? Teach them and bring them back. And in that way, it brings ‘calamity’ on Israel. Did God know exactly what they would do? Yes of course, but it was still their call to obey/disobey. I don’t think God was surprised at all, and I’m sure He was dissapointed. All in all, Israel pays the consequences and is taught a lesson due to THEIR actions as the initiators of the sin. And beyond that, I believe God uses all events, even the consequences of human disobedience, to work towards His ultimate plans (at the Cross, and in the end of the ages w/ the new heaven and earth, restored and reconciled to Him, which seems to be His big plan).

What do you think?

Joe

82   Chris P.    
August 6th, 2008 at 3:05 pm

2 peter 3:
9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Romans 9:
19You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”

The words for wishing in 2 Peter 3 and for will in Romans 9 come from the same Greek root word.
However the translations are accurate. The 2 Peter 3 passage is saying that it is God’s desire, or wish, that all men come to salvation. That is not “dreaming”. It is not referring to His irrefutable will.

Paul, in Romans 9 is talking about irrefutable pre-determined will. Paul is also telling his readers that they may rightly ask, “who can resist His will, so why does He find fault?” as it is a true fact that whatever God wills comes to pass or fulfillment in absolute terms. So no man can resist His will.The way Paul words this explicitly speaks of His will in any and all circumstances.
So if Peter was saying that it is God’s will that all men be saved and Paul is saying that no man can resist His will, then YOU are preaching true predestination, as all men then are saved.

This skewed theology coming from a blog that supports open theism as viable argument is not surprising.
God did not create us because He was lonely, bored, or whatever. He created us for His glory. Isaiah 43:6-7

The inserting of the term calvinist into the argument is done by the contributors and supporters of this blog, and is classic strawman rhetoric. I am speaking of what the scripture actually says.

The Bible speaks of those who promote open theist doctrine, i.e. re-creating God into the image of man alone.

Romans 10:
6But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down)

That is to make God like one of us,in terms of humanity alone. Open theism rejects the deity and perfection of Jesus the man.
How can an imperfect God create the perfect plan of salvation?
Open theism is the outright rejection of what God has already done in Christ who is the only and true incarnation.

This post is another complete waste of time, and was constructed solely for the purpose to create controversy, which is wrongly called “dialogue”.

2 Timothy 2:
23Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,

I wonder who the real quarrelers and Pharisees really are.

I dream of the day of His return which, implies the final rebuke against all who deny Him and His Word.

83   John Hughes    
August 6th, 2008 at 3:20 pm

Phil: He chose to take all the consequences of evil upon Himself on the cross.

Perhaps “consequences” is a bad choice of words. Do you really believe that sin, even forgiven sin, has no consequences?

84   Eric Hoffman (not from Deicide)    http://erichoffman.wordpress.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 3:24 pm

Larry:

“I think it is safe to say that there are two wills in God: the will of God’s desire and the will of God’s decree (or what he actually declares to be). For example, God’s desires all men to be saved, yet he decrees that some will and some will not. Why? Because God’s desire for his own glory is greater than his desire for men to be saved. His to desire to display his mercy and his justice is greater than his desire that all mankind come to repentance.”

You think. That’s practically lifted verbatim from John McArthur’s New Testament Commentary on 1 Timothy 2.

It’s wise to give credit where credit is do.

Back to lurk mode….

85   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 6th, 2008 at 3:28 pm

Perhaps “consequences” is a bad choice of words. Do you really believe that sin, even forgiven sin, has no consequences?

No, of course not. There are still temporal consequences of sin. I believe Jesus dealt with the ultimate consequences of sin, death and separation from God, on the cross, though.

86   John Hughes    
August 6th, 2008 at 3:36 pm

Eric: You think. That’s practically lifted verbatim from John McArthur’s New Testament Commentary on 1 Timothy 2.

Come on Eric we all know the McArthur commentary is just as inspired as the text itself!

87   nc    
August 6th, 2008 at 3:43 pm

what about Augustine’s definition of “evil”?
The absence of the Good…

I think he was on to something.

Something to think about

88   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 6th, 2008 at 3:45 pm

what about Augustine’s definition of “evil”?
The absence of the Good…

I think he was on to something.

Something to think about

What was his definition of Good?

The absence of evil??? :-)

89   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 3:52 pm

“I think it is safe to say that there are two wills in God: the will of God’s desire and the will of God’s decree (or what he actually declares to be). For example, God’s desires all men to be saved, yet he decrees that some will and some will not. Why? Because God’s desire for his own glory is greater than his desire for men to be saved. His to desire to display his mercy and his justice is greater than his desire that all mankind come to repentance.”

Credit?? More like shame! What a convoluted assessment of God and His grace. So it is a greater display of God’s mercy and grace to offer it to a few?? I believe the original Greek for that theology is “Goofy”!

90   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 4:04 pm

Larry,

You wrote:

I think it is safe to say that there are two wills in God: the will of God’s desire and the will of God’s decree (or what he actually declares to be). For example, God’s desires all men to be saved, yet he decrees that some will and some will not. Why? Because God’s desire for his own glory is greater than his desire for men to be saved. His to desire to display his mercy and his justice is greater than his desire that all mankind come to repentance.

I think if God’s greater concern was for his own glory, then the cross is meaningless because that cross was rather humiliating. Besides, I seriously doubt that you can demonstrate this from a broad selection of in context Scriptures from the entire canon. This is Calvinist fear speaking, not Scripture.

I think God has only one will and to assert that God has two wills borders on some sort of dangerous ground my friend. God has one will: that all people be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. What prevents this from happening is not ‘God’s other will,’ but rather man’s free will. That’s a much easier explanation, and far more defensible than your two will theory.

I agree with Phil: Gobbledygook! Or, as one of my profs. used to say: Balderdash!

jerry

PS–Bobby’s funeral is now finished. I thank all of you for your prayers.

91   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 4:08 pm

For that matter, isn’t the entire Bible written to demonstrate just how far God is willing to go, just how much he is willing to humiliate himself, to save recalcitrants like us? Larry, did you read the Bible or Calvin? I mean, what does the incarnation mean? What is the cross all about? How can you believe in a god who purposely decrees that some will not be saved when it is perfectly in line with his will and power that all people should and could be saved?

92   nc    
August 6th, 2008 at 4:19 pm

Yeah…I get your point Phil. ;)

Actually A would probably take issue with stating it as an inverse…Evil is the absence.

He wanted to be careful that we don’t even subtly attribute any “substance” to evil as a thing that is therefore “created”.

He was being careful to acquit the Creator as being the originator of “evil” in anyway.

93   John Hughes    
August 6th, 2008 at 4:51 pm

I have seen different terminology and various nuiances used in describing the following, but this is the gist of what I see in Scripture regading God’s will and His sovereignty:

(1) God’s Pefect Will – i.e., what God would like to see worked out by His free will creatures that is perfectly attuned and in harmony with His nature and revealed will. That God desires all men to be saved would fall into this cateogry.

(2) God’s Permissive Will: i.e., that which God allows His free will creatures to effect which can be in opposition to His Perfect Will. God allows men to reject His perfect will. All are not saved.

(3) God’s Sovereign Will: i.e., that which He effects irrespective of the free will actions of His creation.

This is one of the best classification systems I have come across which allows for the presence of evil and suffering in the same universe of a good God.

94   John Hughes    
August 6th, 2008 at 5:03 pm

Here is an earthly example: I take my 4 year old to the mall and allow him to choose where he wants to go and what to eat (my permissive will). I desire that he picks a nutritious lunch and tell him so (my perfect and revealed will) but will allow him to have ice cream for lunch if he so chooses. At 1:00 I want to leave. He does not and even resists, but after discussion, argument and rebellion, I pick him up and we exit at the time I set (my sovereign will).

95   John Hughes    
August 6th, 2008 at 5:04 pm

P.S. This analogy completely falls apart if you substitute “wife” with “4 year old”

96   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 6th, 2008 at 5:14 pm

John,
What you’re saying makes some sense, but don’t you think it’s just simpler to say that God has given human beings the freedom to either resist or comply with His will? As far as what you’re calling sovereign will, I would say that He sovereignly chose to not exercise all of His rights in creating the universe the way He did.

To me it comes down to a rather simple question – do things always turn out the way God wants? It seems to me that in order for Him to create beings with true freedom, He had to accept the fact that the answer that question could be no. That’s not saying that God could ever lose control, but rather He wants His Creation to submit willingly, not begrudgingly.

97   John Hughes    
August 6th, 2008 at 5:23 pm

Phil: As far as what you’re calling sovereign will, I would say that He sovereignly chose to not exercise all of His rights in creating the universe the way He did.

Exactly!

98   John Hughes    
August 6th, 2008 at 5:25 pm

Phil: but don’t you think it’s just simpler to say that God has given human beings the freedom to either resist or comply with His will?

Well that does not “answer” all the questions. God’s sovereign will cannot be thwarted. His permissive will can.

99   John Hughes    
August 6th, 2008 at 5:29 pm

Chris P: The 2 Peter 3 passage is saying that it is God’s desire, or wish, that all men come to salvation.

Chris, are you being disingenuous by design or accident? Even moderate Calvinists believe that the “all” in 2 Peter 3 refers to all types and stations of men and not each and every human in all of the world.

100   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 6th, 2008 at 5:42 pm

Well that does not “answer” all the questions. God’s sovereign will cannot be thwarted. His permissive will can.

Well, that’s kind of what “sovereign will” is by definition. I guess the argument lies in where His “permissive” will and “sovereign” will overlap and where they separate.

101   Neil    
August 6th, 2008 at 5:44 pm

This skewed theology coming from a blog that supports open theism as viable argument is not surprising. – Chris P.

I don’t remeber any of us posting an article advocating this. If one of the contributors here posted an article in which they advocated open theism, I missed it… maybe you could link to it Chris P.

Neil

102   Neil    
August 6th, 2008 at 5:45 pm

This post is another complete waste of time, and was constructed solely for the purpose to create controversy, which is wrongly called “dialogue” Chris P.

Chris P.,

Is it wrong for me to covet your ability to read people’s intentions?

Neil

103   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 5:47 pm

I wouldn’t be writing here if ‘we’ espoused open theism. Open theism and a serious doctrine of free will are two entirely different ideas.

104   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 5:48 pm

Neil,

Is it wrong for me to covet your covetousness?

jerry

105   Neil    
August 6th, 2008 at 5:51 pm

I wouldn’t be writing here if ‘we’ espoused open theism. Open theism and a serious doctrine of free will are two entirely different ideas. – Jerry

I have a hunch that one of the comments at one time argued for Open Theism, and the site is just GBA… and you’re right, Open Theism is as much an error as it is irrelevant to this topic.

Then again, it’s not unusual that things not said are argued against as if they were… it’s easier that way.

Neil

106   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
August 6th, 2008 at 5:52 pm

GBA? Is this new HTML code?

107   Neil    
August 6th, 2008 at 5:55 pm

GBA = Guilt By Association.

I think it’s on Page 1 of the ODM Playbook…

Neil

108   Neil    
August 6th, 2008 at 6:02 pm

Chris P.,

On a serious note, you tend to be contentious whenever commenting here – why is that. You accusation of Open Theism are consistent with your insistence of being nasty.

What is the point in introducing then arguing against, a theological point no one is advocating?

Neil

109   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 6:03 pm

I do not espouse open theism but I do not see the huge problem with it. Unless I don’t understand all the issues. (how can that possibly be?? :) )

Chris P. – would I be wrong to suggest you come across as harsh and graceless when you dive in for a comment? Could you have at least 1 out of ten comments be edifying? Maybe?? :cool:

110   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 6:06 pm

Chris P. – you are an enigma. Most people who come across like you do not have the heart for worship that you do. I would love to play keyboards and sing with you, but dialogue with you? Not so much. Sorry…

111   nc    
August 6th, 2008 at 6:29 pm

Definition:

Chris P: A self-loathing double whammy of emergent cult and Purpose Driven madness.

;)

112   Neil    
August 6th, 2008 at 6:31 pm

I do not espouse open theism but I do not see the huge problem with it. Unless I don’t understand all the issues. (how can that possibly be?? :) ) – Rick

It pretty much guts the “god” part of God… and no one I know here espouses it… RATS! Now Chris P. has caused me to comment several times on a theological position not relevant to the OP.

Neil

113   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 6:38 pm

I think Chris has decided that Open Theism describes what I (at least) have described as a position that rejects Calvinism & Arminianism, like in this article, even though it specifically rejects Open Theism, as well.

Additionally, a number of us don’t have a problem quoting Greg Boyd, who is linked to Open Theism, but not in all of its aspects (as commonly understood), which could be the source of the drive-by.

Who knows, though…

114   Neil    
August 6th, 2008 at 6:51 pm

Chris L.,

A seminary professor of mine used to quip that theologies and theological systems try and unscrew the inscrutable.

Neil

115   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 6th, 2008 at 6:53 pm

It pretty much guts the “god” part of God… and no one I know here espouses it… RATS! Now Chris P. has caused me to comment several times on a theological position not relevant to the OP.

I don’t want to get back in to the debate here, but I would say that I probably would fall into the “open theist” camp, at least the way Boyd describes it. I guess the sticking point for me is that I haven’t seen anyone do a good job of really refuting Boyd’s points in God of the Possible.

I’m Pentecostal too, so I’m used to being called a heretic and worse. ;-)

116   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 6:58 pm

Phil – in a 3rd grade question, can open theism be descibed as God sovereignly choosing not to know what will happen because he has sovereignly chosen to let his creation act within the sphere he has created for them?

117   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 6th, 2008 at 7:03 pm

Rick,
I would describe it more as God sovereignly knowing all the possibilities of what could happen – i.e., He foreknows every possible choice every person on earth can make and how that could interact with every choice every other person could make. So it’s a near-infinite number of possibilities, but God foreknows them all. He allows the actual choices to be made by people, though. That’s a simplistic explanation. Thinking of God in those terms makes Him a lot more powerful than a God who has everything predetermined.

118   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 7:08 pm

I read the defintion from an online source and it basically says that God allows for change in the future through the prayers, actions, and decisions of people.

What’s so wrong about that?

119   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 6th, 2008 at 7:11 pm

By the way (and don’t laugh at me), a good movie that deals with the subject of future contingencies is the film, Next with Nicolas Cage. I usually can’t stand him, but I found this one of the rare action films that actually makes you think. In the movie, Cage has the ability to see two minutes into the future, but only the future that he is directly involved in. He meets this woman (Jessica Biel), and he able to see further.

Anyway, the movie did a good job of showing how different choices affect the future in different ways. Multiply that by trillions, and you get an idea of what I was trying to explain about God.

120   IWanthetruth    
August 6th, 2008 at 7:27 pm

Hmm all very interesting but so what! Who cares if God dreams or not? What has that got to do with bringing the gospel of Christ to those who need to hear it?

He desire that all men would be saved, but he knows not all will because of stinkin pride and desire to be gods ourselves, He is not goping to force us to choose him because we can’t. He draws us to Him, but in the end it doesn’t lessen the responsibility of those who follow after Christ to live and act and be a vessel for him, a testamony for Him so that others will want what He has given us and to bring glory to Him.

121   Joe C    http://www.joe4gzus.blogspot.com
August 6th, 2008 at 7:28 pm

Amen man, amen.

122   Scotty    http://scottysplace-scotty.blogspot.com/
August 6th, 2008 at 9:20 pm

Hmm all very interesting but so what! Who cares if God dreams or not?

I think I already said that…..kinda.

123   IWanthetruth    
August 6th, 2008 at 10:50 pm

Scooty,

You probably did. I tried to get through all 119 comments and finally got tired of reading and just thought, “Who cares..”

It looks like we are in agreement.

I think there are times when we just try to get to heady about the things of God. We humans are always trying to understand rather than just “live by faith”. After all it is really very simple, we are to “Love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind, and strength” and then “our neighbors as ourselves”.

I think the whole thing is pretty summed up in that. And if we really love the Lord we will obey His commandments.

Now I will interject that I am big on proper interpratation of the word of God and there are many things going on in the church that are either extra-biblical, non-biblical, false theachings and even heretical, but still it seems that the walk should be down-right simple in that we should be the0 “light that isn’t hid under a bushel” and give God all the glory.

124   IWanthetruth    
August 6th, 2008 at 10:51 pm

Sorry Scooty = Scotty

125   John Hughes    
August 7th, 2008 at 1:46 pm

Rick: God sees and knows every event in history, every molecule and its movement, every though of every human, avery electron and all its past and future orbits, and every act of time past, present, and future – in ONE CONTINUING STATE OF KNOWING. He doesn’t think, He doesn’t wonder, He doesn’t dream, He doesn’t know anything that suggests a process.

Rick, your previous post totally contradicts the Open Theology premise. You are disagreeing with yourself. Are you still taking your meds? Should I call your wife?

126   John Hughes    
August 7th, 2008 at 1:48 pm

Phil: By the way (and don’t laugh at me),

**snort**

Sorry. slipped out.

127   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 8th, 2008 at 5:36 am

John – God allowing change and interacting with man does not prohibit Him from knowing all of it precisesly. I do not suggest that God orchestrates everything, just that He knows everything.

There, back on my meds. :)

128   John Hughes    
August 8th, 2008 at 8:00 am

Rick: I do not suggest that God orchestrates everything, just that He knows everything.

I agree. That’s classic theology, but a basic tenant of Open Theology teaches that God does not know the future actions of His free will creatures. Both classic theologists and open theologists believe that

” God allows for change in the future through the prayers, actions, and decisions of people”

but their explanations of how this is worked out are polar opposites.

129   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 8th, 2008 at 9:29 am

That’s classic theology, but a basic tenant of Open Theology teaches that God does not know the future actions of His free will creatures.

Well, that’s correct in one sense. I think it gets into what we mean by the word “know”. An open theist would say God foresees all possible future actions, but He doesn’t “know” the future as simply because there is nothing to be known yet. God knows all that all that is knowable, by definition. So by saying there’s something that can’t be known, it’s not a limitation on God, but rather a limitation on what is defined as knowable. A classic example to prove this point is the question, “how many arrows were in Robin Hood’s quiver?” There is no knowable answer to that question.

So it gets down to how we think of the future. A classical view thinks of time like a train track that we are moving along. We are progressing down the track and nothing can change. What an open view posits is that the future is actually being created as we progress. Some aspects of it are in place, but there are some that are not created yet. So it’s like we’re on the train, but we’re laying down tracks as we progress.

130   John Hughes    
August 8th, 2008 at 11:52 am

Phil,

Yes. I understand that is the Open Theists position. The classic theist (of which I am one) sees God as outside of time. “I AM” –not “was”, not “will be”.

Open Theism diminishes this concept of God and I reject it after, hopefully, an “open”-minded examination. :-)

BTW At the opposite end of the spectrum from Open Theism is the determinationism of the Calvinist with their “eternal decrees” which I also reject.

131   John Hughes    
August 8th, 2008 at 11:57 am

Some aspects of it are in place, but there are some that are not created yet. So it’s like we’re on the train, but we’re laying down tracks as we progress.

Sounds like someone is getting there theology from Stephen Kings’ “The Langoliers”

132   John Hughes    
August 8th, 2008 at 11:59 am

P.S. That was humor. Not meant to belittle any one. :-) Can’t be too careful these days on the web.