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Is God the Author of Sin in Calvinism?

This has been the subject of much debate in the comments section. As one pointed out, what is described here can’t be considered “free will” by any definition. After re-reading this post and some personal reflection, I agree with the commenters that this isn’t a very good argument.

I’m leaving this up, however, as a thought experiment. Think of it like this: What if God did decree every last detail of our actions? Would that still make him the author of sin? Since intent appears to be what God judges, then the answer is still no on that principle.

Frequently, we hear the charge leveled against Calvinism and its insistence on meticulous divine sovereignty that makes God the author of sin. The typical argument goes something like this:

  1. God foreordained all that happens in the world.
  2. Sin is part of this foreordained world.
  3. Therefore, God foreordained sin.
  4. Therefore, God is the author of sin.

Does this argument hold? I don’t think so.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul anticipated this objection to his position that God foreordained all things. He stated it thus:

Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” (Rom 9:14-19)

Why does God make some people for sin, and others for glory? Is it not his will that the vessel do something–either sinning or glorifying God? Why does he then find fault with us if we sin? We are only doing his will!

Paul answers:

But 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?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? (Rom 9:20-24)

But this is hardly a satisfying answer, no offense to the great apostle and philosopher. It is a good answer, but it is not a very satisfying one. God has every right over his clay (that is, us) to make some for honor and some for dishonor. You’ll get no arguments from me. But why does he still find fault with us?

The answer lies in the book of Proverbs. Proverbs 16:9 says “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” What this says to me is that thoughts are actually independent of God’s sovereign plan. This means that the one thing that we actually control in this scheme is not our actions, but our thoughts. God has control of our actions, either positively decreeing our steps or negatively allowing our steps to take place. Whatever we do, we are only doing his will.

Chapter IX, paragraph 1 of the Westminster Confession of Faith agrees with me on that. We are endowed with a free will that is not forced. See also Chapter III, paragraph 1: “. . . nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures . . . .”

So what? We know that God has control of our steps, and we know that we have control of our thoughts. Where does this get us? Nowhere, until we define sin.

Is sin merely an action, or is it an attitude? C. Michael Patton expands on that here, but I’d like to chime in some biblical evidence for sin being not just an action but a state of mind.

Consider the Sermon on the Mount, where our Lord says:

You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. (Mt 5:21-22)

Note that the sin comes with the anger: an emotion, not the action of murder. But that isn’t the only example. Jesus also said:

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Mt 5:27-28)

Again, the sexual thoughts of another woman (other than your wife) are what make the sin, not the act of having relations with her.These passages highlight the fact that sin begins with the intention of the heart. It sounds a little like our Lord was drawing from Proverbs 21:2: “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart.” What counts is the intent with which the action was performed, not the action itself. You have already committed the sin long before you perform any action.

We have made three points. First, that God determines every step you take. Second, you control your thoughts, not God. Third, stemming from the first and the second point, you commit sin by your thoughts long before you ever perform the action. This is a more satisfying answer to the dilemma of how God can decree a sin, but not be the author of it.

What can be done about this? Take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Cor 10:5) by thinking on what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise (Phil 4:8).

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About Cory Tucholski

I'm a born-again Christian, amateur apologist and philosopher, father of 3. Want to know more? Check the "About" page!

Posted on September 14, 2009, in Sin, Theology and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 37 Comments.

  1. Hello,

    I don’t follow your reasoning. According to calvinism can man think thoughts that have never been thought before? In other words, can man have ex nihilo thoughts? Well, human thoughts are also subject to God’s predestination. What you are thinking now, is part of the foreordination. Man cannot have thoughts that originate absolutely independent of God, because that would contravene the calvinist understanding of sovereignty (that is, exhaustive determinism, even of desires and thoughts).

    So if man is culpable on the basis of his thoughts and desires, then we see that even these originate with God, and this is how the charge “author of sin” is leveled. And it makes sense. Calvinism makes God, who is holy, the author of evil.

    But there is more. I’ve heard the objection that “author of sin” is an empty, useless metaphor and must first be properly defined, in oder to raise the charge. One might define “author of sin” to be the “potter of vessels of dishonor”, or the “sower of tares” or the “planter of poisonous plants”. Whoever does these things IS, by definition, the author of sin. I think that’s a reasonable definition of the title. After all, an author is a creator, like a potter or an initiator like a sower, someone who brings something into reality, the beginner of something new.

    Now, calvinism attempt to make God, who is holy, the potter of bad vessels, and so makes the Holy One the author of sin. I recently commented on an article by John Piper about the phrase “fitted for destruction” that occurs in Rom. 9,22-23, where Piper argues that God must be the author of sin (preparer of vessels unto destruction) and tries to prove this from the passage. My corresponding post is here:

    combatingcalvinism.blogspot.com/2009/08/concerning-john-pipers-article-on.html

    I say, in no way is it possible to make the holy God the preparer of bad vessels or the author of sin.

    -a helmet

    • Never thought I’d agree with Mr. Helmet on something, but I do here, at least on one point he makes.

      Man indeed cannot have ex nihilo thoughts outside the exhaustive foreknowledge and sovereignty of God – that would mean man at some point then has knowledge and/or intent prior to God’s knowledge, which then brings up issues of God’s omniscience.

      Having said that, I would tend to disagree with both of you concerning this “author of sin” issue. Men much more fleet of mind have written much more eloquently than I on this and I would refer to Gordon Clark and Vincent Cheung for their thoughts on this. It would certainly appear clear from the Scriptures that God not only “allows” sin/evil, but is active in its decree/planning/occurrence in time and space. If one wants to call God the “author of sin” (as Cheung does explicitly, and as Clark does but uses as different terminology in doing so), then so be it. The Scripture also says that none of this denies God’s goodness or holiness or righteousness or justice or any other facet of His being.

      Paul’s “who are you to answer back to God” is indeed the right response. Or as God’s answer to Job says, in summary, “I’m God.” The issue, to use Doug Wilson’s verbage, “doesn’t keep God up at night.”

  2. Okay, if calvinists adopt God’s authorship of sin, then they make a first step toward consistence. The reason why most calvinists vehemently deny God’s being the author of sin is probably because of the WCF, that defines God not to be the author of sin. (Note, this is actually a definitive statement of faith which WCF makes there, which isn’t logically coherent with the rest of the confession).

    When we come to God’s goodness and the calvinistic understanding of this and the realtion between God’s goodness and sin, then there are two options for calvinists:

    1) They can take the position of those who categorically reject any theodicic attempts as human arrogance. This position simply points to God’s inscrutablity and despises any vain human attempts to peer into the mystery of evil.

    2)They can accept that God is the author of evil but still believe in his goodness, as Oldbutweary points out. However, in such case the goodness of God obviously and our human understanding of goodness obviously differ. In this view, God must have a different semantic, a different understanding of the word “good” than average human beings understand the word “good”. The problem arising from this notion has been pointed out by many sceptics throughout history and is as follows: If we hold that God is the embodiment of perfect goodness while this goodness ultimately doesn’t need to be compatible with anything that we human beings would normally ascribe to the term “good”, then the person asking the theodicy question, obviously just formulated the question wrong. A goodness that doesn’t need to comprise the least bit of what we would normally understand by this term, is an empty word. In other words, this option makes God good by definition.

    The theodicy problem would be solved like this:

    There is one God.
    God is omnipotent.
    There is evil.
    Definition: God is perfectly good.

    Of course, that “solves” the problem of evil but surely not in any satisfying way!
    ___

    Now, the popularity of the “Greater Good Defense” in reformed circles shows that option 1) isn’t held by most calvinists. To the contrary, I’ve even heard calvinists claim that their theology is the only one consistently dealing with the problem of evil. However, option 2) makes holiness and goodness unfathomable concepts and doesn’t answer the problem of evil at all.

    -a helmet

  3. First of all, I really appreciate the thoughtful comments that you guys have left. I was expecting Rey to comment with something incoherent, so it is nice to have people that are at least thinking through the issues.

    I never said that the thoughts are ex nihilo and outside of God’s sovereignty, at least I never meant to imply that. Just that the thoughts are more under our control than our actions. I’m sorry that I implied the other.

    God’s foreknowledge would still include our thoughts, and knowing them he can make use of them. I don’t believe that our thoughts originate with God, but I do believe that he can know them and use them.

  4. Cory:

    Here’s the problem with our thoughts not originating with God – if that’s the case, then the evil thoughts of men, such as those that led to the crucifixion, were left up to mere “chance.” What if none of these men had the “right” evil thoughts at the “right” time? What about all those times throughout history where men’s evil thoughts resulted in evil intent at “just the right time” to carry out God’s plan. That, for sure, is quite a leap of faith but it denies God’s exhaustive sovereignty and leaves events here in time and space ultimately up to the mind of man, not the mind of God.

    As Mr. Helmet points out, and as I agree (again(!) Holy smokes!) my view would necessarily mean that God’s goodness and the human view of such would go in different paths. How can God ordain evil and still retain His goodness? “Human” logic says He can’t. The Bible says He can, and does. Can you or I “ordain” evil and retain “goodness?” No. Therein lies yet another biblical mystery. The Bible doesn’t tell us HOW that can be – it just states it without “defending” it. “Human” logic also denies that there is a Trinity as orthodox Christianity defines it(as Islam objects to the concept, as well, for example). The Bible states that God is indeed a triune God but is still One. How? A mystery, indeed.

    • It depends on whether you believe that God knows all possibilities, as he does in systems like Molinism or open theism. I happen to think that those systems, though erroneous, have that correct. And if God knows all the possibilities of a given situation, as well as having the ability to place specific people in the right situations, then what you have a system that isn’t chance at all. It’s still a bit of a mystery, to be sure. But the people in any circumstance are there because they will think the thoughts that God wants them to think at that time.

      How he does it is a mystery, but not chance.

  5. Are you saying that human thoughts are free but actions are not free? If there is a lack of coordination between thought and action we have the essence of what everyon would admit to be a lack of freedom. If we say we control our thoughts but God controls our actions regardless of what we think, then both compatibilists and incompatibilists would say we are not acting freely. I don’t think this is the best Calvinist option.

  6. It seems to me that you have merely denied premise (1). There is no ad hoc distinction between a “thought” and something that happens in the world. If a Calvinist can affirm some kind of libertarian freedom in the thought world, and furthermore hold that thoughts have moral properties and actions do not, then fine.

    Of course the distinction between thought and action is quite dubious as well.

    • Is not is stated throughout the Scripture that our actions are merely the expression of the intents of our heart (which cannot be separated from our mind – is not “the heart” where one believes?) To say that God merely knows all the possibilities and puts people in the right places at the right time brings up this issue – how does He put them in the right place unless He directs their steps? If I don’t want to go Cincinnati and God does want me to, then whose “will” takes precedence? If God sees to it that I end up in Cincinnati against my will, then the objections filed by those who say the God of Calvinism forces people to do things against their will would indeed be valid. If I go to Cincinnati because God wants me to, God somehow changes my will so that I go because I want to go – or at least going becomes more important than not going, but that’s still a conscious, volitional choice made by me because of the decree of God.

      Would it not seem that the only way people can “think the thoughts God wants them to think” would be for God to actively see to it that He intervenes and causes that to happen? If not, the billions of thoughts that occur every second here on Earth – “spontaneous” thoughts, as is implied, would have to just happen to coincide with the eternal will of God. That, certainly, is quite the leap of faith.

      I refer back to my first comment in that God doesn’t need us to go over the line in defending His goodness, however well meaning we are. His Word defends His goodness just fine. If that Word says He decrees – actively – from eternity past and in time and space – our thoughts/actions, then it’s up to us to swallow hard and believe it and submit to it. Praise God.

      • I’m only pointing out that what the original post has really done is deny premise (1), on the incredibly plausible assumption that thoughts (and the various inclinations of the heart) are events and processes in the world.

        This is significant, because the Calvinist will not want to deny premise (1).

      • Obviously the Calvinist is not going to agree that premise (1) is false; that is because the Calvinist denies logic and science.

        Am I being plagiarized?

        NS

  7. Triablogue has had some interesting posts on God being the “author of evil”.

    Defining terms in regard to “author” and “evil”:
    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2009/04/authorship-of-evil.html

    Why freewill theism makes God the author of evil:
    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2009/01/why-freewill-theism-makes-god-author-of.html

    Quote below is from Steve Hays at Triablogue (http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2009/08/termites-in-birch-tree.html)
    i) In Arminianism, God foreknows the outcome.

    ii) Even though God sees it coming, God still makes it happen. God instantiates the outcome by creating a world in which that outcome occurs. He actualizes that eventualtiy.

    iii) By foreknowing the outcome, and by also instantiating the outcome, God renders the outcome absolutely certain. He creates a world in which that will happen. At that point it cannot be otherwise. The outcome is inevitable. And he made it inevitable by instantating that outcome.

    iv) This despite the fact that it lay within his power to prevent the outcome.

    v) Since God foresaw that outcome, but made the world anyway, inclusive of the foreseen outcome, then God must have intended that outcome.

    vi) Therefore, according to Arminian theology, God both intended the sinful outcome, and rendered it certain to occur.

    vii) Apropos (i)-(vi), if, for the sake of argument, Calvinism makes God the “author of sin,” then how does Arminianism avoid the same consequence?

  8. Jesus says a good tree cannot bring forth bad fruit and a bad tree can’t bring forth good fruit. So God can’t be the author of evil nor make men sin. If he did then hed be a bad tree. But God must be the ultimate good tree so it can’t be. If the bible really teaches what you say, then some of it is wrong. After all Matthew does misapply the prophecy of Isaiah 7-8 to Jesus when its really limited to Isaiah’s lifetime by being about the downfall of two specific men, Rezin and Pekah, the birth of the promised child the virgin birth being given as a sign to show when God would send the king of Assyria to defeat these men. I challenge you to show otherwise in your other post where you mentioned the virgin birth. Exposit Isaiah chapters 7 and 8 and prove the Catholics didn’t mangle this propehcy to elevate Mary if you can. If you cannot, the shut up your putrid blasphemy alleging that God is an evil tryant puke monster lottery commissioner.

  9. All you godfearing Christians can blame the Satan worshipping Calvinists for this, but if I have to disprove the whole Bible just to teach these devils to stop blaspheming God with their idiotic claims I WILL do it. In Isaiah 8 after Isaiah goes to the prophetess’ house and she has conceived as a virgin, God speaks to Isaiah “call the child’s name Mahershalalhashbaz for before he shall be able to call for mother of father the spoil of Samaria (Pekah) and the riches of Damascus (Rezin) will be taken under the command of the king of Assyria.”. God is repeating the exact terms of the virgin birth prophecy “Behold the Lord himself will give you a sign (of when Rezin and Pekah will be defeated): a virgin will conceive and bear a son and call his name Emmanuel, and hje will eat butter and honey, for butter and honey shall everyone eat in those days, and before he knows to shun evil and do good (because he aint God incarnate) the land you abhor (the confederate land of Damascus and Syria) will be deserted by both her kingds (Rezin and Pekah)…for the Lord will shave the land with a hired razor, even the king of Assyria.”. Has nothing to do with Jesus. Matthew was corrupted by Catholics trying to elevate Mary to deity status and the virgin birth of Jesus is a mythe because it was Mahershalalhashbaz that was born of the virgin back in Isaiah’s day. Even so the Gnostics corrupted Romans with this Satanic stupidity about predestination. Stop preaching this vile blasphemous bilge unless you want to store up wrath against yourself from the Almighty!!!

    • Apparently, it is not blasphemous to undermine the Word of God…thus speaketh the Rey.

      • The purpose of the word according to Paul is to equip the man of God to every good work, not to equip him with excuses so he can blame his sin on God nor to equip him with idiotic justification by faith alone and once saved always saved doctrines so he can embolden himself in sin. The enemy has sown tares in the field while men slept and reading these tares the wicked embolden themselves. The good servant of Jesus Christ points the tares out so that happless reapers do not gather them into the barn and poison themselves.

      • I’m not sure why you’d accept what Paul said…you reject other things he says.

        Are you sure you don’t mean:
        “The purpose of the Rey is to equip the man of God to every good work”?

  10. While you’re at it, explain why after having rebuked James and John as being of another spirit when they desired to call down fire to kill the Samaritans in Luke 9:54-55 Jesus is depicted as saying in Luke 12:49 “I am come to send fire on the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled!”. I would have never noticed has Tertullian not pointed it out “Your Christ proclaims ‘I am come to send fire on earth’ that most lenient being…not long before had restrained his disciples from demanding fire on the churlish village.” Assuming you ever finish exigeting Isaiah 7-8 you might try your hand here.

  11. Well Craig, Jesus has authorized us as reapers, nay instructed us, to bring only the wheat into the barn. I reject the tares the enemy has sown in Paul’s writings and bind them to be burned, then I bring the wheat into the barn. As for you, why don’t you provide an exigesis of Isaiah 7-8 on your precious Triablogue since you are so sure the Scriptures are inerrant and without tears? Surely you can prove verse by verse that it is about Jesus and not Mahershalalhashbaz? But you cannot prove it so you will just say nahnahnabooba.

    • You haven’t answered a single argument that I’ve put forth. You’re focused on the Virgin Birth, a topic best discussed in the other thread. Then again, seldom do you ever answer any arguments that I put forth. You just spew incoherent nonsense.

      I’m going to ask this question one more time. I don’t actually think that you’ll answer it, but I’ll try again. By what method do you separate the wheat from the tares in Scripture? In other words, how do you know that something is wheat and something is a tare? It seems to me that you have your own doctrine figured out and anything that doesn’t jive with it is a tare. You have set yourself above Scripture in that way. “I know that it’s a tare because it contradicts what I think Scripture should say!” Please prove me wrong by answering this question.

      • I have explained already at least three times. (1) Paul describes the purpose of scripture as to thouroughly equip the man of God to good works not excuses for sin or emboldening to sin. (2) God is just. Based on these two things you can easily determine what are tares and what is wheat.

      • So, Scripture proves that Scripture is unreliable? Sounds circular to me.

        BTW, how do you know that the parable of the wheat and the tares is about Scripture? Jesus explains it very differently in Matthew 13:36-43. And he specifically says at the beginning of the parable that “The kingdom of heaven is like. . . .” Unless you’re going to doubt that the words of Jesus are faithfully recorded in Scripture. See, that would cast doubt on most of the gospels, both canonical and non-canonical.

      • I know the parable of the tares is about words because it is about seed just like the parable of the sower “the seed is the word.” The explanation given in Matthew after an intervening parable does not jibe with Jesus’ message, for it teaches dualism that God sowed his people in the world and the devil his people in the world thus making two creators of the world and also making some men to have been created by Satan and some by God. Talk about racism! The explanation I give is more natural and is earlier historically for the first writer to reference the parable in time (as far as I can tell) is Dionysius of Corinth who wrote in the 170s and is quoted by Eusebius as saying in one of his epistles “as the brethren requested, I wrote epistles, but the apostle sof the devil filled them with tares, and it is no wonder they made designs against writers of so little reputation when they have done the same to the Lord’s scriptures.” Dionysius clearly interprets the parable as relating to texts. Later, by 180, Ireneaus interprets it of people saying “the heretics sprun up like tares.” The Catholic church had to have a perfect text so they had to change the meaning of the parable. The so-called heretics were content to recognize the voice of the shepherd in a corrupt text, and we find Faustus providing the same interpretation in the 4th century that the orthodox Dionysius of Corinth provided in the 2nd before orthodoxy changed the interpretation of the parable. But most importantly “the seed is the word” from the parable of the sower. So, the good seed is God’s word and the tare seed is the devil’s word. Seeds represent word not people in these parables. Again, the mustard seed. It represents the word not a person.

      • Okay, you are getting harder and harder to respond to. First off, a parable makes use of metaphors. Nowhere does it suggest that the devil creates people. It only says that he places people that belong to him among people that belong to God. Sowing the seed is a metaphor, and metaphors aren’t perfect. No one suggests that the devil creates people, but he can influence them.

        Second, you have misquoted Dionysius. He said (with emphasis added):

        For I wrote letters when the brethren requested me to write. And these letters the apostles of the devil have filled with tares, taking away some things and adding others, for whom a woe is in store. It is not wonderful, then, if some have attempted to adulterate the Lord’s writings, when they have formed designs against those which are not such. (source)

        An attempt was made to alter the writings, but an attempt is not a success. We have almost 6,000 New Testament MSs. Don’t you think that we would have picked up on attempts to alter these writings? Study some basic textual criticism. Instead, what we have is basic agreement between the MSs, showing that people copied them with reverence and care.

        Mentioning tares in this context doesn’t mean that he interpreted the parable in Matthew 13 as referring to Scripture at all. In fact, you are very dishonest here. We only have fragments of the letter in question, and no Scripture is quoted in any of the four sections that we have extant. Ireneaus has the correct interpretation; the interpretation given in the text itself.

        Third, Jesus uses the same symbols in different ways. The parable of the mustard seed is about the kingdom of God itself, from a small beginning (the 12 disciples) it has grown to a worldwide church. At another time, Jesus tells his disciples that if they have faith the size of a mustard seed, they can move mountains. Clearly, this metaphor is not the same as the previous. Both involve the size of the mustard seed, but one represents the kingdom of heaven and the other represents faith.

      • As to Dionysius’ comment , I have seen many different translations, and some do better damage control for the Catholic position than others.

        As to the thousands of manuscripts of the NT that we have there are thousands of textual variants and we can tell some are purposeful changes, like in Matthew 19 “why do you call me good? None is good but one” versus “why do you ask me about what is good? One thing is good”–there’s a purposeful change there.

        But as to the lack of textual variants showing the birth narratives were added, we have no manuscripts of the gospels prior to 180 when they were finally canonized in the time of Ireneaus and under the command of Commodus. It was only then the Catholic church really came to be, for Ireneaus records how the Marcionites accuse the Catholic church of being funded by the Emperor and argues that its ok that the Catholic clergy receieve wages from the Emperor because the Jews took gold from the Egyptians. The word Katholikos has two meanings (1) universal (2) Roman agent (3) treasurer for Rome. The Catholic church was NOT universal. It was an agent of Rome to reshape Christianity, and the fact that Ireneaus admits that the Catholic clergy received wages from the wicked Emperor Commodus proves it.

        So because we have no pre-Commodan manuscripts of Matthew, the numbers don’t prove anything. If every mss we have of Matthew has thevirgin birth misattribuation of Isa 7:14 in it, so what? Commodus had them add that in the 170s and destroy all the manuscripts that lacked it. You don’t think they did the job the devil’s man paid them to do???

        Now the Diatessaron that continued to be used in Syriac still contained the earlier form of Matthew (it lacked the birth narratives) but succesive Roman Emperors and their Catholic lapdogs persecuted those who used it, and bishops like Theodore burned every copy the found, and Rabbula replaced it in his jurisdiction with the ‘separated gospels’ and (of course) others simply added the birth narratives and all to it, or created new harmonies that contained this material.

        Tatian’s harmony is the proof of the original text of Matthew, for he made a faithful harmony in the 170s while the canonization process still had not completed for the gospels, and therefore it lacked the birth stories. But by 180 the Catholics had destroyed all separated gospels that lakced this material so that only harmonies lacking it continued to exist, and they finally destroyed those too. But not without telling us ofd their existence, so that now we know the truth even still.

      • Your position is that by a.d. 180 all of the New Testament MSS had been altered to suit the needs of the Catholic Church and the pre-180 MSS destroyed. That is similar to the position refuted here by Glenn Miller.

        The fact is, we have fragments dated pre-180 which attest to the overall reliability of the NT text. The fragments P52, P64, and 7Q4 and 7Q5 all date prior to a.d. 180.

        Anyone can make wild speculations such as what you’ve given on this blog. But when it comes to evidence, you’re very light on it. As Miller observes, in order to prove your case beyond a reasonable doubt, you’d have to have an original, unaltered MS and an altered MS. But having the original MS means that we can correct our existing text and your position is now moot!

        The older MSS that we discover only prove that the NT was reliably transmitted through time. If we can trust any document of antiquity, the NT is it.

        I don’t think the Church had enough power yet in 170s to burn every copy of the NT that lacked the birth narratives. Most people attribute the Catholic Church’s power to Constantine in the 300s, but for the most part, I think that the Catholic Church as we know it didn’t exist until almost a.d. 600. Based on the research I’ve done into it for my short stint at GotQuestions.org, most of the practices that we associate with Sacred Tradition didn’t come into play until the 9th century, but that’s neither here nor there.

        Proving this thesis requires that you demonstrate more than a motive to change the texts. You have to produce a text that was unaltered so that we can see what was altered and why. You can’t do that because they were supposedly all burned by the Catholic Church. Convenient for you!

      • (2) God is just. Based on these two things you can easily determine what are tares and what is wheat.

        Would you mind defining “just” and “sin” in relation to God’s actions from the Bible?

        Of course, this instantly raises a problem for you:
        When man’s word becomes a double edge sword, it slices out sections of the Word from the Bible while also becoming the same instrument whereby the same chap impales himself upon.

  12. Dear Mr. Rey,

    Could you exegete Ephesions 4:29-32?
    It seems in my humble opinion, that the initial discussion went sorely awry once you entered it. Your angry rhetoric makes one not want to heed a single thought you put forth. If you feel that your arguements are valid, why do you “spit” them out? It also seems to me that every person contributing to this thread has done “some” homework and wishes to learn as well as honor God with thoughts that, hopefully and as humanly possible, line up with scripture. What has happened to you to make you so angry that you must spew out every word? It makes it difficult to hear you. God is God and God will do what He wants–someday we will all see it so clearly, but His scripture is God-breathed and He is powerful enough to protect it. In the old Jewish tradition, two talmidin (disciples) would debate together to glean from one another what the Holy Spirit may have revealed to them. They were very respectfiul of eachother’s differing opinions, lest there be a day they would have to “eat” their own words. That will be a very distasteful day for you, sir.

    • Certainly my friend! Ephesians 4:29-32 coming right up.

      29 “let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers.”

      Do not say that God has commanded Genocide as one blasphemous tare in the OT alleges, nor say that God gives permission to Moses’ armies to rape foreign women as Deut 21 says, nor that God’s friend Abraham was a perve who at 100 forced a young slave girl to carry his child. Instead teach righteousness and the holy example of Christ and shun these blasphemous tares.

      30 “and grive not the Holy Spirit…”

      For when you say “the Holy Spirit says God commanded genocide” or “the Holy Spirit says God gave Moses’ armies permission to rape in Deut 21” then you grieve the Holy Spirit by attributing the tares to him rather than the enemy.

      31 “let all bitterness, wrath, anger, and clamour and evil speaking be put away with all malic”

      For when you say God makes you sin, you do show malice and bitterness against God Almighty. And when you preach the tares as thought they are from the Holy Spirit you are evil speaking.

      32 “and be you kind one to another…”

      For to allow your brother to go on blashpeming God is not kind. When you see your brother saying “God made me sin” and “God controls my sins” and such-like thou shalt by all means rebuke him and show love to thy neighbor rather than let him damn himself wiht no rebuke whatsoever.

      • Do not say that God has commanded Genocide as one blasphemous tare in the OT alleges, nor say that God gives permission to Moses’ armies to rape foreign women as Deut 21 says, nor that God’s friend Abraham was a perve who at 100 forced a young slave girl to carry his child. Instead teach righteousness and the holy example of Christ and shun these blasphemous tares.

        Did it occur to you that God commanded genocide as a perfectly just judgment upon a sinful people? Or, as Clay Jones says in the most recent issue of Philosophia Christi, do you love your own sin so much that you can’t understand what happened to the Canannites?

        We’ve already discussed that God laid down rules for dealing with captive women that the captor intended to marry, and that these rules are markedly better than other ANE societies. Still not perfect, but the Mosaic Law was only intended to point to an ideal without actually being the ideal.

        Did God approve of what Abraham did with Hagar, or did he rebuke that action? Think carefully before you answer.

  13. Hitler thought he was called by God to committ genocide against sinners too. The only difference bewteen him and a Calvinist is that he was able to win the election and get himself proclaimed dictator, whereas Calvinists haven’t been able to so far. It is interesting that James and John wanted to commit genocide against the Samaritan city that rejected Jesus, but Jesus said “you don’t know what spirit you are of” even though they had OT example in Elijah, and even here Jesus is suggesting Elijah did this by some spirit other than the Holy Spirit. Perhaps some spirit did command the Jews to committ all those genocides in the OT, but it was not God. Jesus tells us it was a different spirit. It is that spirit which Paul calls the spirit of the power of the air who worketh in the children of disobedience.

    • Rey, I’ve been watching your comments now for months. I find you to be passionate, and that an admirable quality indeed. The other obvious distinction is that you are desperately in need of a revelation of the love of the Father, the love of God. This is lacking not only in yourself, but in most of us to varying degrees. I journeyed intensely for a quarter century before the Father mercifully revealed this powerful understanding to me in a greater capacity. This high revelation is a must for all who would “go on to perfection”. Food for thought, all the best.

    • Hitler didn’t talk directly to God the way Joshua did. Are you suggesting that all Old Testament prophecy came by the devil?

      • If he had won the war like Joshua did he probably would have claimed that God had spoken to him. And no, I do not say all OT prophecy came from the devil. Some also came simply from the human imagination, some from the intoxication of the incence. If it is not morally good it did not come from God.

      • Wow.

        Wow.

        Plenty of people disagree with me (and others who are in the same camp as me) but at least they try to present coherent arguments (most of the time :)). How does one respond to such a stream (yours, Rey) other than to ignore it and shake one’s head?

        There is a way to disagree and debate that is civil and biblically charitable. I pray that way is revealed to you somehow because our efforts here seem to be fruitless.

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