Etikettarkiv | cause

A new heart which will cause us to perfectly walk in God’s statutes? Ezekiel 36:26-27

Ja 4

Ez. 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

Calvinists normally love the idea that God randomly chooses some individuals out of a crowd of people and give the former a new heart, a new Spirit, which will enable them to have faith in God and to be able to follow him. (Who cares about the rest, right?) Unfortunately they run into problems within the same verse when we can read about being caused to walk in God’s statutes. In NIV it reads ”move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws”. So if Calvinists are among those who have been given a new heart as per Ez. 36:26-27, does this mean that they always obey God’s decrees without failing even once? Have they completely stopped sinning? It is a relevant question because Calvinists are usually more keen than others to teach that all men ”always sin in thoughts, words and deeds”.  Or can we conclude that God fails at times when he tries to cause his elect to walk in his statutes, knowing that also Calvinists can choose to sin at times?

I think the better solution is to side with the Free-will option which suggests that it is the holy Spirit which is referred to here as the great Helper which can guide us (move us) on the right path, but not necessarily unconditionally or without our participation. Hebr. 10 phrases it as ”I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them”. ”Causing” could signify ”forcing” but it could also mean ”influencing” which would here make a lot more sense. That would also help the Calvinists who must try to explain why God fails to ”force” people to always obey him, as they suggest the verse says. On the other hand, loads of Calvinists confess that they believe God also causes people to sin (since nothing happens against his will) so whether people avoid sin or not, God would still be the one who makes them behave the way they do. This leads to another question:

If some people are given a particular heart that suddenly makes them obey God and walk in his statutes (which would here include sin), does this mean that prior to this moment they were not forced to walk in his statutes and in whatever way God wants them to walk? If they were forced to obey God also prior to the new heart, what difference did the new heart really make? If God chooses some people (his elect) to always walk in his statutes, will the rest (the non-elect) be able to deviate from God’s preferred path and walk their own ways?

The promise of a new heart is by faith, and concerns the holy Spirit in our heartsBlood of Jesus

The promise of a new purified heart is by faith as can be seen in the verses below and it can be cleansed in the blood of Jesus. The new heart is in reference to a heart that is dedicated to God and the holy Spirit indwelling in our hearts as well as through participation of a the covenant which Paul describes in Rom. 8. It is through the power of the Spirit that the believer can put to death the misdeeds of the flesh and live according to the Spirit. This is the fulfillment of the promise given in Ezekiel 36:26-27, but we can also read about other prophesies in the same chapter (concerning the promise that the dispersed Israel will be able to come home). The passage is in harmony with the Bible’s teaching that the promises and benefits of the new covenant are by faith (not being born as a Jew under the law of Moses) and include a new heart and the holy Spirit which we will get in response to our true repentance.

The author of Hebrews encourages us to draw near to God with a true heart in full assurance of faith. How do we get a true heart? By having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience. How can this be achieved? By repenting of our sins which God expects us all to do (Acts. 17:30):

Hebr. 10:16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;21 And having an high priest over the house of God;22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

The covenant referred to above is the one mentioned in Jer. 31. Here we can read about a former covenant which Israel broke:

Jer. 31:30 But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.31 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.35 Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is his name:36 If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.

We are also asked to cleanse our hands and purify our own hearts

Ja. 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. CLEANSE your hands, ye sinners; and PURIFY YOUR HEARTS, ye double minded.

So how our WE going to cleanse our hands and purify our hearts? By standing on faith and by confessing sins, repenting and thus become cleansed in the blood of Jesus. We do not have the authority to forgive ourselves for breaking God’s law, but it is up to us to repent and start living a holy life with the help of the holy Spirit given to us after our conversion.

Peter speaks about the heathens and their possibility to also receive the Holy Ghost (without having to go through a circumcision of the flesh) and explains that our hearts are purified BY FAITH:

Acts 15:8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts BY FAITH.10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

Through the mercy of Christ we can be forgiven for our past iniquities and thus be cleansed from our sins and be complete. Sinning will always cause spiritual death, but we can be quickened (becoming spiritually alive) if we decide to repent from our sins. We can be risen with him ”through faith”!:

Col. 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

repent 4The order of salvation: pursuing faith, confessing sins, repenting, being cleansed (regeneration), being born again, getting the holy Spirit and becoming a child of God

Peter makes it clear that the order of salvation is 1) having faith, 2) repenting, 3) resulting in cleansing/washing (=regeneration), 4) resulting in being born again, 5) resulting in getting the holy Ghost and becoming a child of God. God will certainly not declare us cleansed and righteous while we are still living in sin:

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:

Also John says that we must confess our sins (repent) in order to be cleansed from them:

1 John 1:9 If we CONFESS our sins, he is faithful and just to FORGIVE us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

And below we can read that his own received him not (strange if people are chosen to be chosen elect from the foundation of the world) but that those who a) received him were given the power to b) become the sons of God (those who believe in his name). It does not say the other way around that the sons of God were given the power to believe and receive him:

John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Below we can read about Paul’s disappointment concerning some Galatians (for whom Jesus was crucified) who risked to believe in vain despite having begun in the Spirit. He asks ”who has bewitched you?”, and if Paul was a Calvinist he should have known that the answer must be ”God did, because he directs all of our steps” if nothing happens against God’s will. Paul also asks if they received the Spirit by works of the law (the law of Moses) or by the hearing of FAITH, indicating that they were not first given the Spirit and afterwards given faith. No, naturally faith is first and then we are provided with the Spirit:

Gal. 3:1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.

Other information in the same chapter – Ez. 36

Hes. 36:5 Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Surely in the fire of my jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the heathen, and against all Idumea, which have appointed my land into their possession with the joy of all their heart, with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey.

What would be the reason for God’s jealousy if all things turn out God’s way?

17 Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own way and by their doings: their way was before me as the uncleanness of a removed woman.18 Wherefore I poured my fury upon them for the blood that they had shed upon the land, and for their idols wherewith they had polluted it:19 And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them.20 And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the Lord, and are gone forth out of his land.21 But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went.22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.

Wow, above we read about Israel (God’s elect) defiling land, worshiping false gods, profaning God’s name, and this naturally cause God’s fury. Why would God be furious about things that turned out the way God wanted? We can read ”according to their way and according to their doings I judged them”. I thought it was always God’s doing if nothing ever happens against his will? And why judge people who constantly obey God whether they avoid sin or not?

25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.

Also above we can read about Israel turning to filthiness and idols which they must be cleansed from. After the washing of sins, the holy Spirit is the great Helper.

31 Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.32 Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.33 Thus saith the Lord God; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded.

Above we can read about ”your own evil ways” and their doings that were ”not good”. Why were they not good if God made them act the way they did? No, here we can once again read about people who have walked on their own ways, against God’s will. They have been guilty of iniquities and abominations before God, and obviously a righteous God would not cause anyone (must less Israel) to perform wicked abominations. Why does God suggest they should be ashamed and confounded for their own ways, if their ways always lined up with God’s way?

Examples of hardening of a heartlove4

Deut. 10:16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked. 17For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward

Jer. 4:4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.

Hebr. 3:7 Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, 8 HARDEN NOT YOUR HEARTS, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness

Ps 95:7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.To day if ye will hear his voice, 8 HARDEN NOT YOUR HEART, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:

Pro 28:13He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.14 Happy is the man that feareth always: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.

2 Chron 36:11 Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. 12 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORDhis God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking from the mouth of the LORD.13 And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the LORD God of Israel.

Deut 15:7 If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother:8 But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.9 Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin unto thee.

Deut 30:1 And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee,2 And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; 3That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee. 4If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: 5And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. 6And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. (Notice that God will circumcise their hearts AFTER they return to Him which is a condition.)

1 King. 8:58 That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers.—61 Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.

2 Chron. 12:14 And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord.

Read about Pharao’s rebellious heart here.

Annonser

Did God cause a lying spirit to entice Ahab? – 1 Kings 22 and 2 Chr. 18

sin

God does not tempt anyone, nor does he cause people to sin

Is God pleased to put humans into impossible predicaments which he himself decrees and in which there is no escape? Only to turn around and send those poor people to hell for doing his exact will (by sinning)? How does that line up with:

Psalm 5:4 For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.

Ezekiel 18:32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

The Bible says that God doesn’t even TEMPT anyone, so how could anyone possibly suggest that God plays the role of Satan and causes people to sin, and even worse; pretend to be angry at the sin that he himself caused? Between Genesis and Revelations we cannot find one single case where God in any way causes/forces anyone to sin. IF 2 Chronicles 18 would tell us that God caused someone to sin (which it doesn’t) would this mean that God is the one who causes all people to sin at all times? Can every single sin under the sun be traced back to GOD? So every time we see people refusing to hearken to God and when they rebel against him, it’s really GOD who caused them to do this all along? So our Lord wants people to rebel against him? You must be joking…

James. 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Numbers 14:22 Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have NOT hearkened to my voice;

There are a few occasions where God allows a group of evil people to be victorious over his chosen people Israel, and we can see Israel’s enemy gain the Lord’s reluctant permission (2 Sam. 24 and 1 Chr. 21) to go through with their desire to cause calamity. Israel’s enemy was of course set on destroying Israel from the start, so it wasn’t a desire that God planted in them.

Saul and evil spirits

God can absolutely send ”evil spirits” (or rather allow Satan certain power) just like he did with Saul, but note that God doesn’t do this randomly to people for no reason at all. God chose Saul to be king but Saul ended up being selfish and wicked which resulted in that God repented of having chosen him. Due to Saul’s evil approach, God sent him an evil spirit – or rather allowed Satan to torture him through evil spirits, which boils down to the same thing. The reason for the presence of this evil spirit is therefore Saul’s, and not God’s.

1 Samuel 15:35 And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the Lord repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.

1 Sam. 16:1 And the Lord said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.—14 But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him.15 And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee.16 Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well.—23 And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

1 Samuel 18:10 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand.

1 Samuel 19:9 And the evil spirit from the Lord was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand.

There is a difference between God ruling over the activity of demons and God ruling the activity of demons. God is of course more powerful than Satan and his demons. God can (albeit oftentimes reluctantly) allow demons to afflict men for various reasons, which is not to be compared with the idea that God plays dice and commands demons to torture people for no reason at all – or just because he can.

2 Chron. 18 and 1 Kings. 22 – and God trying to persuade Ahab to accept his warningsspirit2

1 Kings 22 below shows that God simply allowed King Ahab to do what he already wanted and had set his mind to – i.e., to listen to his false prophets. King Ahab of Israel twice complained to King Jehoshaphat of Judah that the Lord’s prophet Micaiah never says anything good about him but only speaks calamity. Ahab was not thankful for God’s warning to him which he chose to reject, and he was resentful once Micaiah gave him the word of the Lord. God extended even more patience toward Ahab by having Micaiah tell the king exactly what evil spirits had been doing to plot his downfall, but Ahab rejected this further warning as well. If God’s intent was to command demons to lie and deceive Ahab, why would He bother warning Ahab about it? What would be the point with trying to warn Ahab against the very disaster to which he was trying to entice him?!

When we read only certain phrases in 1 Kings 22 it may sound as though God is the direct causal agent to what happened, but if we are honest and read the whole context we get another picture. Micaiah says to Ahab: “Now therefore behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.” The word for ”evil” in Hebrew may also be translated as disaster or calamity, and it’s not uncommon at all to see God punishing Israel (for their rebellion against him) by causing calamity to happen. This can easily be done by taking away his protective hand over Israel and by doing so allow the enemy to be victorious in their desire to conquer Israel – which their hearts are set upon. God is described by Micaiah as someone who has put a lying spirit in the mouth of the false prophets, while the context shows that God is doing this by permission and not by a commandment, and he even warns Ahab in the process. It’s an idiomatic way of speaking which the entire context of 1 Kings 22 demonstrates. “The Lord hath sent a lying spirit” is a stronger way of including God’s overall power than merely stating “God has allowed a lying spirit”.  The lying spirit helps the false prophets to speak lies to Ahab about all that the king himself wants to believe about his future. God is not sending Ahab what He (God) wants but rather what Ahab wants! Certainly a bad choice by Ahab.

2 Chron. 18:18 Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the Lord; I saw the Lord sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left.19 And the Lord said, Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one spake saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner.20 Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will entice him. And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith?21 And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the Lord said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail: go out, and do even so.22 Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil against thee.

Same story, but in Kings:

1 King. 22:19 And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.20 And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.21 And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him.22 And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.23 Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.

Note that God is asking who shall entice Ahab?” and ”wherewith?” when a certain spirit volunteered to do it and explained how he intended to do it. God did not take the other route by selecting a spirit and telling him ”This is what I will cause you to do through predestination”, but instead he allowed/granted the spirit to do what he proposed to do which was what Ahab in fact asked for.

We can compare this with what happened to Job, and it’s clear from context of Job 2 that God merely allowed events to happen.

Job. 2:And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.

God desired to allow Satan to have certain power, but it’s not certain that God wanted him to use the power the way he did.  When God says that he ruined Job he speaks idiomatically as though he were the causal agent, despite that the context shows he was not. There is a ”lost book” called ”The testimony of Job”, and even if it’s not a canonical book and therefore cannot be totally trusted, it still provides a reasonable answer to why Job was even selected to go through all this pain at all (he more or less opened up for it himself). We know that Job’s life started out being very blessed just as the end of his life. His painful time happened somewhere in the middle and it was a parentheses in his life time.

”I form the light and create darkness, I make peace, and create EVIL”? (Isaiah 45:7)


Is. 45Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create EVIL: I the Lord do all these things (KJV)

Isaiah 45:7 I form the light and create darkness,
I make peace and create CALAMITYI, the Lord, do all these things.’ (NKJV)

God was causing physical CALAMITY on Israel due to their disobedience. God cannot even tempt anyone much less causing people to SIN, and the ”evil” he caused was in the form of calamity due to people who rebelled against him contrary to his will. We can read throughout the Bible that God HATES SIN, and that he PUNISHES sinner. Clearly then God is NOT causing people to commit evil acts, because he would never ordain people to do something that he hates – which is SIN.

The word ”evil” is a translation from the Hebrew word ra (Strong’s 7451) and is in KJV translated as: evil,  wickedness, wicked, mischief, hurt, bad, trouble, sore, affliction, ill, adversity, favoured, harm, naught, noisome, grievous, sad, etc.  

James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

Habakkuk 1:13 Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?

Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Psalm 5:5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

Hebrews 1:9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

If a righteous life glorifies God (1 Cor. 6:20), how could evil acts also glorify God?  The calvinist John Piper suggests that God forordains evil because it can ”make the glory of Christ shine more brightly”, but that does not make any sense at all. The truth is that goodness and righteousness glorifies God (Micah 6:8, Rom. 2:7, 10), and evil/sin dishonors God (John 8:49, Rom. 2:8-9, 23). If anyone claims that he commits an evil act for the glory of God, then we know that person is not speaking Biblical truths.

God talks about bringing “evil” (as in calamity) to a city to punish their sins (Neh. 13:18; Jer. 21:10; 25:29; Amos 3:6). Evil i not contrasted with righteousness but with peace. Let’s check a couple of verses which talk about God causing EVIL (when a more appropriate word could have been ”calamity”).

Amos 3:You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be EVIL in a city, and the Lord hath not done it? Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.—10 For they know not to do right, saith the Lord, who store up violence and robbery in their palaces.11 Therefore thus saith the Lord God; An adversary there shall be even round about the land; and he shall bring down thy strength from thee, and thy palaces shall be spoiled.

If God is the one ordaining sin/evil, why is there a need to punish people for doing the iniquities that God has caused/ordained/predestined/forced them to do? A just God would never punish anyone for doing his will (or for doing what he caused them to do). That people know not to do right means that they have no intention or willingness to do what is right. This often happens when people have been so accustomed to do evil and hardened their heart to such an extent that they no longer know to do right. God has the right to enforce physical judgments and punishments, and he often does this with the hope of seeing people converted.

12 Thus saith the Lord; As the shepherd taketh out of the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear; so shall the children of Israel be taken out that dwell in Samaria in the corner of a bed, and in Damascus in a couch.14 That in the day that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him I will also visit the altars of Bethel: and the horns of the altar shall be cut off, and fall to the ground.15 And I will smite the winter house with the summer house; and the houses of ivory shall perish, and the great houses shall have an end, saith the Lord.

More examples of horrible calamity that awaits those who sins against God. God will visit Israel due to its transgressions, he will smite and he will make their important possessions perish. A better choice would of course had been to be obedient to God in order to prevent all the calamity from happening.

The context of Isaiah 45

Isaiah 45:1 Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to CYRUS, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;—And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.

God is addressing Cyrus about what is about to happen in the near future involving himself. Cyrus will be able to achieve much, but not necessarily because he is such a great guy but because God might want to use Cyrus’ plans to punish Israel, maybe with the hope that his people will repent. With other words, God can make use man’s evil plans (or neutral plans) and make them very prosperous by preventing others from interfering with them. This doesn’t mean it’s God’s idea to make people start unholy wars and harm others, but it’s rather his idea to make use of such plans for something good in SOME occasions. God very rarely act in this way but there are a few occasions in the Bible where we can see this happening, and the death of Jesus Christ is of course a famous example of this which you can read about here. (Judas certainly wasn’t forced to betray Jesus in any way.)

For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.

Jacob was chosen to be the seed which would bring forth God’s own people, and therefore elect in that respect. The fact that Israel was ”elect” doesn’t mean that all Israel will be saved. Israel was singled out for a reason, and the idea was that this nation would bring light to the rest of the world.

Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I  the Lord have created it.

Here is a focus on that God created the heavens and the earth, and the hope is that God’s creation and righteousness would be obvious for all to see and to bring forth salvation.

Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?

According to this verse there is a risk that people will strive with God, since we can read a severe warning about it. That people strive with God, argue with him and rebel against him shouldn’t really surprise us because the Bible is full of examples to this effect, and of course the same thing can be seen today. Christians certainly don’t act properly all the time and some even blame God for their misfortunes. This verse doesn’t say that the clay CANNOT answer back and strive with the potter, but that he SHOULD not. Each time a person sins, it’s always against the will of God.

10 Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth?

Here is another warning needed to be disclosed, due to the risk for that people might act in the opposite way.

12 I have made the earth, and created MAN upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.13 I have raised HIM up in RIGHTEOUSNESS, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the Lord of hosts.

Here God is pointing out that he is the Creator of all things, and he is speaking about MAN and that he has raised him up in RIGHTEOUSNESS. Despite that man is brought up in righteousness, he hasn’t always remained on that road but walked his own ways. We have all been given the light, but we must make sure to keep walking in the light,. God will apparently also direct all his ways but this doesn’t mean man will always be cooperative.

16 They shall be ashamed, and also confounded, all of them: they shall go to confusion together that are makers of idols.

If people are making idols they are naturally being disobedient to God, and particularly his first commandment to have no other God beside HIM. If someone is told to be ashamed of himself for something he did, he has clearly acted against God’s will or else he shouldn’t be told to be ashamed of himself but rather be praised. If people are transgressing his laws, there will be confusion among them.

20 Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save.21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.

We can read that God is a JUST God (so clearly not a God who predestines people to sin and then turns around and punishes them for it), and a SAVIOR. He asks the Israelites to bring all those idol worshipers near and let them be counselled.

22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

Here is a clear universal offer of salvation. All the ends of the earth can be saved, under the condition that they LOOK UNTO GOD. This sounds just like the ordeal with the fiery serpent in the desert which people were asked to look at it in order to be free from their snake wounds.

23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.24 Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.

Apparently people can act against God since we can read that ”all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed”. Surely this couldn’t be something that God predestined them to do. Why would he cause people to work against him?

God sometimes causes ”evil” (or calamity) as a punishment on people who act against his will

Jeremiah 32:23 And they came in, and possessed it; but they obeyed not thy voice, neither walked in thy law; they have done nothing of all that thou commandedst them to do: THEREFORE thou hast caused all this evil to come upon them

1 Kings 9:9 And they shall answer, Because they forsook the LORD their God, who brought forth their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have taken hold upon other gods, and have worshipped them, and served them: THEREFORE hath the LORD brought upon them all this evil.

1 Kings. 14:But hast done evil above all that were before thee: for thou hast gone and made thee other gods, and molten images, to provoke me to anger, and hast cast me behind thy back:10 THEREFORE, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, and will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone.

2 Kings. 21:11 Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols:12 THEREFORE thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle.

2 Kings. 22:16 Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read:17 Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; THEREFORE my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched.

2 Chronicles 7:22 And it shall be answered, Because they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped them, and served them: THEREFORE hath he brought all this evil upon them.

Isaiah 47:10 For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me.11 THEREFORE shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know.

Jeremiah 11:8 Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart:THEREFORE I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do: but they did them not.—11 THEREFORE thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them

Joshua 23:15 THEREFORE it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the Lord your God promised you; so shall the Lord bring upon you all evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the Lord your God hath given you.16 When ye have transgressed the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them; then shall the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you.

God does not have a secret will

Is God the author of sin? (Thanks to Britt Williams)

Some may be surprised to learn that Calvinism, by implication, actually makes God the Author of sin. Calvinism (also known as Reformed theology) advocates, among other things, an unscriptural and perverted view of the sovereignty of God, election, and the atonement. It asserts God, as sovereign Ruler of the Universe, either directly or indirectly causes all events, including sin?

”Creatures are so governed by the secret counsel of God, that nothing happens but what he has knowingly and willingly DECREED.” 
John Calvin (Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, XVI)

”the counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has DESTINED.” 
John Calvin (Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, XVI)

”God is the only proper author and fountain; we only are the proper actors”
Jonathan Edwards

”God controls not only natural events, but he also controls all human affairs and decisions”
Vincent Cheung (The Problem of Evil)

Calvinists also attribute the fall of Adam to God’s decree, teaching that God not only foreknew Adam would sin, but orchestrated it as well. John Calvin affirms this belief in the Institutes of Christian Religion

”God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his posterity; but also at his own pleasure ARRANGED it.” 
John Calvin (Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, XXIII)

Some Calvinists teach that God is the originating cause of sin but not the proximate cause of sin. However, if Calvinists consistently follow their theology to its logical end, especially the doctrine of God’s sovereignty and predestination, they must attribute to God every act of sin, including murder, rape, sodomy, incest, child molestation, etc. Calvinists affirm the exhaustive foreknowledge of God, but hold to a determinist view of the future. They believe if the future is known then the future must be determined, thereby denying the possibility of libertarian free will and causing all moral choices, including sin.

”Thieves and murderers, and other evildoers, are instruments of divine providence, being employed by the Lord himself to execute judgments which he has resolved to inflict.” 
John Calvin (Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, XVII)

”Whatever things are done wrongly and unjustly by man, these very things are the right and just works of God” 
John Calvin (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.169)

”But where it is a matter of men’s counsels, wills, endeavours, and exertions, there is greater difficulty in seeing how the providence of God rules here too, so that nothing happens but by His assent and that men can deliberately do nothing unless He inspire it” 
John Calvin (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, pp.171-172)

”Does God work in the hearts of men, directing their plans and moving their wills this way and that, so that they do nothing but what He has ordained?” 
John Calvin (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.174)

”For the man who honestly and soberly reflects on these things, there can be no doubt that the will of God is the chief and principal cause of ALL THINGS” 
John Calvin (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.177)

”Everything is controlled by God?s secret purpose, and nothing can happen except by his knowledge and will” 
John Calvin (The Institutes of Christian Religion, Bk. 1, Ch. 16, Sect. 3)

”Since, therefore, God moves and does all in all, He necessarily moves and does all in Satan and the wicked man” 
Martin Luther (The Bondage of the Will, Sovereign Grace Publishers, p. 87)

Calvinist theologian James White, in a debate with Hank Hannegraaf and George Bryson, was asked,”When a child is raped, is God responsible and did He decree that rape?” To which Mr. White replied…

”Yes, because if not then it’s meaningless and purposeless and though God knew it was going to happen he created without a purpose and God is responsible for the creation of despair. If [God] didn’t [decree child rape] then that rape is an (sic) element of meaningless evil that has no purpose”
James White.

Hence, since ultimately, all moral choices, past, present, and future, are subject to God’s sovereign dictate, all sin can be traced to God Himself. Some Calvinists, usually referred to as ”hard determinists” or ”hyper-Calvinists”, will readily admit this, while others often deny it or use theological and philosophical gymnastics (i.e., compatibilism) in an attempt to cloak the implications of their theology. As Vincent Cheung, a popular Calvinist apologist boldly declares?

”God controls everything that is and everything that happens. There is not one thing that happens that he has not actively decreed – not even a single thought in the mind of man. Since this is true, it follows that God has decreed the existence of evil, he has not merely permitted it, as if anything can originate and happen apart from his will and power”
Vincent Cheung (The Problem of Evil)

Ironically, Calvinists tend to theoretically believe concepts they deny in practice. If a child molester boldly proclaimed God caused him to molest little children, Calvinists would rightfully conclude he was a deluded liar and demon possessed. However, when the theologian essentially declares the same concept, they applaud him as orthodox. Such reasoning is not only inconsistent but absurd. According to Calvinists, God commands men to abstain from what He has decreed that they do, causes them to do, yea, in what they have absolutely no choice but to do, and then He utterly condemns them for doing it. This is not the God of the Scriptures.

Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he help the evil doers Job 8:20

James 1:13-17 clearly challenges the Calvinist concept of God as the Author of sin

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:13-17

If God, being holy, is above tempting men to do evil, who can dare believe He would cause them to do evil? And yet some Calvinists insist James 1:13 is misapplied when used metaphysically.

”James is pointing out what the Christian should consider and address in his struggles as a Christian; he is not dealing with metaphysics”
Vincent Cheung (The Author Of Sin)

Mr. Cheung, of course, is merely offering his biased opinion. We must realize that metaphysics can be very subjective, especially when applied through the presuppositions of our theological bents. In my estimation, James 1:13-17 holds significant and profound metaphysical relevance: ”God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man”, offers me two ethical absolutes that undermine the doctrine of determinism as taught by Calvinists.

Indeed, God can, through His providence, turn what men meant for evil for good (Gen 50:20). Likewise, He can use the worst of situations to sovereignly chastise, teach, and conform His people to His Son, Jesus Christ (Rom 8:28), but God never initiates, causes, or otherwise induces sin or evil. God is not the Author of sin. Yet, Calvinists teach that God, in His sovereign plan, introduced evil for His glory and did so ultimately to bring about ”good”. However, the Scriptures teach such a concept, for God or man, has never been part of true, Apostolic theology. In fact, such carnal reasoning is condemned as dangerous indeed. The Apostle Paul, inspired by God’s Spirit, declared…

And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just. Romans 3:8

DID GOD CREATE EVIL?

Some Calvinists even assert God created evil. Calvinists often cite Isaiah 45:7 as a proof text for this false and blasphemous doctrine. Notice how the verse reads?

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. Isaiah 45:7

The evil spoken of in this verse is obviously not moral evil, but natural evil. The Hebrew word literally means ”calamity”, which is physical evil. Notice, the text in Isaiah 45:7 does not read, ”I make righteousness and create evil”. No, the evil spoken of here is contrasted with peace because the evil referred to is calamity. Likewise, there are other Scriptural references pointing to God bringing natural evil or calamity on a nation, city, or people as judgment for sin (Neh. 13:18; Jer. 21:10; 25:29; Amos 3:6). God hates evil (Prov 6:16-19; Isa 61:8; Jer 44:4; Am 5:21; 6:8; Heb 1:9; Rev 2:6, 15), therefore, it is illogical to suggest God is the Author of sin.

True, God created everything in the physical or material world. However, God did not create moral evil. Evil is not material, but volitional. It is a moral disposition of free moral agents and involves, by nature, choice. Thus, evil is merely the absence of conformity to God’s law in moral agents.

”…(even) Augustine maintained that evil was only ‘privatio boni’, or an absence of good, much like darkness is an absence of light. An evil thing can only be referred to as a negative form of a good thing, such as discord, injustice, and loss of life or of liberty.”
Wikipedia (Theodicy)

We cannot deny that God created the potential for evil by creating free-moral agents endowed with a free-will who have the ability to resist God and violate His law. Nevertheless, God did not create moral evil or disobedience. Thus, man, as a free moral agent choosing to reject God and disobey His law, is the source of moral evil (Mark 7:21-23).

CAN THE AUTHOR OF SIN BE EXEMPT FROM MORAL RESPONSIBILITY?

Calvinism, with its skewed view of the sovereignty of God, philosophically funnels everything back to God, even sin itself. Hence, ”God is the Author of sin” is an inescapable deduction of Reformed theology. However, the next logical step creates increased philosophical and moral tension: if God causes men to sin is He not then responsible and morally culpable? Not surprisingly, with conscience and reason raging, most Calvinists are uncomfortable making God a ”sinner”. Waxing irrational, some Calvinists cling to God as Author of sin while unashamedly attempting to blame man?

”Man is a responsible moral agent, though he is also divinely controlled; man is divinely controlled, though he is also a responsible moral agent.”
J.I. Packer

Mr. Packer’s statement is a glaring theological contradiction. How can God justly hold men accountable for sin He has, either directly or indirectly, decreed they commit?

Others employ theological and philosophical smoke and mirrors seeking to obscure, cloak, and explain away the obvious ethical problems such a hypothesis presents. Mr. Cheung, in his article ”The Author of Sin”, bluntly states?

”…if God directly causes you to sin, it does make him the ”author”of sin (at least in the sense that people usually use the expression), but the ”sinner” or ”wrong-doer” is still you. Since sin is the transgression of divine law, for God to be a sinner or wrong-doer in this case, he must decree a moral law that forbids himself to be the Author of sin, and then when he acts as the author of sin anyway, he becomes a sinner or wrong-doer.”
Vincent Cheung (The Author Of Sin)

It is absurd to suggest that God can be cosmically behind all sin and yet be expunged from all moral responsibility for sin. Can the turn-coat FBI agent who masterminds a spy ring actually expose, apprehend, indict, testify against, and help convict spies he facilitated without implicating himself? I think not. Neither can the Calvinist God, who unquestionably governs all the affairs of men, hold men who are predestined to reprobation accountable for their sins without making Himself culpable.

That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Genesis 18:25

Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice? Job 8:3

Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment. Job 34:12

And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.Psalms 9:8

God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? Romans 3:6

Moreover, how can men be responsible for actions they do not have the will to perform or ultimately the freedom to resist? If the Scriptures teach that law and the knowledge of the law are both prerequisites for culpability, which it does (Lev 4:13-14; Deut 1:39; Rom 3:20, 4:15), how much more the will and ability to obey the command? Granted, though the Bible teaches men can resist specific acts of sin, no man can fully obey God apart from divine grace (Rom 7:18; Phil 2:13; Heb 13:21). However, from a Calvinistic perspective, men have no real choice in the matter. God governs and controls all. Can we, based on Scripture, logically establish moral ”responsibility” apart from ”respond-ability”? The answer is a resounding ”no”. This is a Scriptural and philosophical absolute. Hence, if God is the author of sin, God is accountable for sin.

Calvinists say those who question God do so because His ways violate their carnal concept of justice. All agree that fallen humanity can have unusual ideas about justice, but God reveals Himself as just and defines His justice via the Scriptures. Calvinists often say that if we understood divine justice, it would no longer be divine, or some similar tautology. What strange reasoning. If we can understand God’s Word will it cease to be God’s Word? Surely, God’s people, filled, led, and taught by God’s Spirit, can comprehend, at least to some degree, God’s justice? Without the revelation of true justice, (which is displayed by God and His Word) men could not walk righteously or fulfill God’s plan in the earth.

Furthermore, for the Calvinist, a theological contradiction arises when God shows indignation toward those who, by living in sin, are only fulfilling their divine destiny inaccordance with God’s predetermined decree?

Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Ephesians 5:6

It is amazing that Calvinists vehemently deny that God works at cross purposes with Himself. If reprobates disobey God, harden themselves in sin, and ultimately shun the gospel because God sovereignly predetermined they do so in His secret will, why then does God not agree with what He decreed?

IS GOD CONSISTENT WITH HIS OWN LAW?

for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. Psalms 138:2

Amazingly, many Calvinists believe God, as Sovereign Ruler of the Universe, cannot be expected to honor the standard of His own law. Is this true? Calvinist apologist, Vincent Cheung, in his blog article entitled ”The Author of Sin”, boldly stated?

”Whether or not God is the author of sin, there is no Biblical or rational problem with Him being the author of sin”

Really, Mr. Cheung? If God is responsible for every act of evil then He has broken His own law. Such an assertion, according to the Word of God, is impossible, not because God is above His own law, but because such behavior is contrary to His holy nature.

Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant? Deuteronomy 7:9

He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. Deuteronomy 32:4

Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever? Psalms 146:6

I propose that God could never violate His own law nor compel others to do so. I base this absolute on several Biblical principles, namely:

1. God is holy. Holiness, as defined by Scripture, is to be conformed to God’s moral law. Granted, there are some areas where God’s moral law applies only to man, nevertheless, to cause men, in any way, to violate His law is against God’s nature (James 1:13).

2. God and His Word are synonymous. If God cannot deny Himself (2 Tim 2:13) how could He breach His own character by violating His Word or causing men to do so?

3. God the Father and Jesus Christ, both being part of the triune Godhead, are the same in essence (Col 2:9). Jesus Christ, the eternal Son, never broke the law of God but fulfilled the law. This being true, it is reasonable to assume God cannot break His own law.

4. God’s Spirit inspires holiness and conformity to moral law (Rom 8:4; Gal 5:16, 22-23). Would the same Spirit who effectually restrains sin in redeemed man in time inspire sin in our holy God in eternity? Again, I think not.

5. God is love (1 Jn 4:8). Love is conformity to moral law (Rom 13:10). Moreover, God’s character is immutable; He cannot change. Therefore, how could God violate His law and be consistent with His revealed nature?

6. God is not the Author of confusion (1 Cor 14:33). Nothing is more disorderly and confusing than sin. Thus, God cannot be the cause of sin.

Therefore, we conclude that God cannot be the Author of sin and remain true to His revealed nature throughout the Scriptures.

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5

Foreknowledge does not constitute predestination. Case in point:

FIRST: David was being pursued by Saul. So, David asked the Lord that, if he goes down to Keilah, will Saul also come down there, and will they deliver David into Saul’s hand? The Lord answered yes.

So, what did David do? ”Then David and his men, which were about six hundred, arose and departed out of Keilah, and went whithersoever they could go..” (1 Sam. 23:13).

So what we find here is that God knew WHAT WOULD happen IF David went to Keilah – he would meet Saul there, for God foreknew that Saul would be there, and that those in Keilah would hand him over to Saul. BUT THIS DID NOT HAPPEN. David left the area of Keilah. God knew WHAT WOULD happen, even that which DID NOT happen. God foreknows future contingencies, and is not directing every event by a strict necessity or predetermined decree.

SECOND: God left a matter in David’s own hands. ”And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the LORD said unto thee, ‘Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee….'” (1 Sam. 24:4).

So, what did David do? He spared Paul’s life. But God PERMITTED David to do whatever he wanted to do. David had more than one option before him. God did not tell David what to do, as though it was already predetermined by decree, but allowed David to choose.

Why did God create us, despite knowing we would mess up?

A parable about a party invitation for ALL

Some christians feel it’s strange that God would let his son die for people He knows ahead of time will never believe in him, and that’s why they prefer to believe that Jesus only died for SOME people who will DEFINITELY be saved because they are specifically PRE-CHOSEN to be the lucky ELECT. But I don’t find dying for ALL people despite knowing the risks/results involved is a paradox at all. What about those who DO choose to believe in him? They will be heirs to the kingdom, and the thing is that ALL are given this opportunity so no one is left out or is unfairly treated. God is totally fair and merciful to all!

Most young couples are aware of the risk that some of their future children might not turn out as obedient and morally upright human beings,  but they are willing to take this risk since children (and not robots) are a great blessing and a good company. Even if a married couple would be told that two of their ten not yet born children will end up as unbelievers, they will likely decide to have their children anyway. At least THEY (the parents) don’t force their children to become unbelievers. They might bring them up in a wonderful christian home and teach them all things about Christ and the Bible and how to be good moral people. If they still one day reject this teaching and become wicked individuals, then THEY (the children) are to be blamed and not the parents.

(We also have ”Open theism” as a possible factor, where God indeed knows ”all things” but only what is ”knowable”. Read more here. )

I’d like to compare God’s salvation offer to everyone with a party invitation even if it’s not a perfect analogy.

Let’s say I decide to have a party in my house. Of course I’m entitled to set up the rules and conditions myself, and I don’t need to ask anyone for advice or permission how to run things since I’m ”sovereign” over my own house  (sovereign is a word which is not in the KJV Bible but still…). I decide to invite EVERYONE in my entire neighborhood, and to use a RSVP (respondez s’il vous plait) on my invitation cards. I also PROMOTE my party and tell everyone that they would miss out big time if they will not come. My party is totally free of any costs, but I still have conditions. The following conditions/restrictions apply:

  • Had I not decided to have this party, there would not be a party. I personally initiated a ”drawing” or ”calling”.
  • All are invited but ONLY those who REPLY as per the RSVP may actually come
  • And out of those who reply affirmatively as per the RVSP, only those who SHOW UP at my party will be let in!
  • And those who have replied affirmatively and showed up must also be acceptably DRESSED to be let in.

(Maybe I could add that they must also BEHAVE during the entire duration of the party so they won’t disturb and ruin the party for the others, but when we will end up at the big wedding party in heaven all troublemakers will already be sorted out. It’s a good thing that ”sinners” are not welcomed to the big wedding party or else it would not be a pleasant time for the others.)

Even though I have all those conditions, the party is still totally FREE OF CHARGE. The guests could not do anything themselves to be invited to my party. Nothing we believe or do can ever merit salvation. We don’t deserve to be saved, but our Lord has enabled salvation to all of us in our totally lost state.

I could of course have arranged things differently…

I could make personal  invitations to CERTAIN people in my neighborhood and FORCE them to come to my party which I make MANDATORY for those I invite. I could also REFUSE to allow anyone else to come to my party EVEN THOUGH I have PLENTY OF ROOM, food, beverages, entertainment, etc for EVERYONE in the entire neighborhood.

The thing is though that I PREFER to invite ALL and to let THEM make up their mind if they want to come or not.  That means that whosoever wills can come and it would bring me much happiness to know that people have used their own minds when accepting my invitation. I would not feel good about having people around me who have no other choice but to be there whether they like to or not. God has created us in his image, and we are able to reason and make options depending on various circumstances.  God has also created LIMITATIONS to our free will. We simply can’t fly to March and back just because we have this desire and will. 

Is my party a total failure because all who were invited did not come? Can we say I was totally helpless and in the hands of the people I invited? Did someone make the rules instead of me? Did someone thwart my plans? Did I lose control? Did something happen unexpectedly which I didn’t think of? Did I not calculate the risks properly? Did I treat someone unfairly? Am I a wicked person because I did not force people to come? Should we feel sorry for those who did not come despite that they knew the truth about it? Am I illogical in my behavior? Did I at any time resort to Plan B?

Of course not! We would all have a great time at my party, and I would feel good about knowing that I made sure that ALL had a fair chance to come. I wouldn’t even want people at my party unless THEY had a sincere desire to come and to get to know me.Why is it out of the question that our sovereign Lord created us with the ability to accept/reject him and obey/disobey?

Compare also with the analogy of the wedding party in Matthew 22. Note that those who were bidden to come chose to NOT come, and those who did choose to come were called ”chosen”. Notice that no one is forced to do anything. Both good and bad were called but they were all required to wear WEDDING CLOTHES in order to be acceptable to the wedding party. We must repent from our sins and be holy and righteous and dressed in white undefiled garments. 

1. And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,And sent forth his servants TO CALL THEM THAT WERE BIDDEN to the wedding: and they would not come.Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.14 For many are called, but few are chosen. 

God’s will is not always done – Bible verses

Bible verses which show that God’s will can change depending on man’s actions

Man’s free will is even more obvious in the Bible than the trinity (which is VERY obvious) and we can be read about man’s free will from the first page of the Bible to the last. Below are just a few examples. One would think that the obvious FACT that people so often have hardened their hearts against God and rebelled against Him, would be proof enough that God’s will does not always happen, but strangely enough there are people who don’t feel this is clear at all. Believe it or not, but they believe that God predestines/causes/forces/decrees people to rebel against him! If this is true, then we would just be doing God’s will by being wicked and rebellious, and we really should be rewarded for doing His will instead of getting punished for something which is totally out of our control. The word ”sovereign” is not in the Bible (KJV) but isn’t our Lord powerful enough to create man with free will? Or is this too difficult for Him? Wouldn’t God be in control even though man has free will? The Bible is a book FULL of examples of people who are NOT obeying God, resulting in God’s wrath against them! If man does not have free will, then GOD is to be blamed for our actions. If we are born ”totally depraved” as some think (another unbiblical expression) then whose fault is that? Are we ”totally depraved” according to God’s will or against his will? Where did this depravity come from, if not by God? Please close your ”reformed” type of books with all kinds of gnostic claims which deceive you, and open up your Bible and see what it says. If I go for a walk with my dog and decide to let it loose for a  while, can we say that the dog has overpowered me and made me lose control over it against my will? Did the dog remove some of my sovereignty? Did I lose control over the situation even though I’m well aware of the likely behavior of my dog, including the tiny risk that it might find a rabbit and chase it?

New Testament

Matt 11:20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:21Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

Matt 12:41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

Matt 21:32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

Matt 17:17 Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you?  

Matt 15:6 …And you voided the commandment of God by your tradition.

Matt 23:37.O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how  often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

Mark 7:13 making the Word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have delivered. And you do many such things.

Mark 3:35 whosoever shall DO THE WILL OF GOD, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

Luke 7:30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him

Jn. 7:17 Jesus said, If any man will do his will

Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. 

Acts 8 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness 

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse 21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,—: 25Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.  28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

1 Tim. 5:12 Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.

1 Thess 4 brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you OUGHT to walk and to PLEASE GOD.. Therefore he who rejects this does not REJECT man, but GOD, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.

1 Peter 4:2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, BUT to the will of God.

2 Cor 5: 19 God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though GOD WERE PLEADING through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, BE RECONCILED TO GOD.”

1 John 2:7 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

Revelation 2:21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

Old Testament

Zechariah 7: 11 But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. 12Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts. 13Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the Lord of hosts: 

Exodus 13:17 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt

Numbers 14:27 How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me?

Hos. 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children

Isa. 5:Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard.What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.

Isa.1:2 I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me?

Isa 1:19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured...

Isa.66:3 Regarding those who would not hearken to the Lord, God said ”I gave them up unto their own hearts lust: and they walked in their own counsels

Gen. 6:5 it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth

Exodus 32:14 And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people

1 Samuel 15:11 It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night.

Lev 26:23 IF YOU WILL NOT be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; THEN will I also walk contrary unto you.”

Jeremiah 8:5Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return. 6I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle. — 9The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD; and what wisdom is in them? 

Jeremiah 15:6 Thou hast forsaken me, saith the LORD, thou art gone backward: therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with repenting evil that I thought to do unto them.

Jeremiah 26:3 If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings.

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

Jeremiah 42:10 If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up: for I repent me of the evil that I have done unto you.

Eze:33:11-16 As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die? Son of man, give your people this message: The righteous behavior of righteous people will not save them if they turn to sin, nor will the wicked behavior of wicked people destroy them if they repent and turn from their sins. When I tell righteous people that they will live, but then they sin, expecting their past righteousness to save them, then none of their righteous acts will be remembered. I will destroy them for their sins. And suppose I tell some wicked people that they will surely die, but then THEY turn from their sins and do what is just and right. If the wicked restores the pledge, gives back that which he has stolen, walks in the statutes of life, WITHOUT SINNING; he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of their past sins will be brought up again, for they have done what is just and right, and they will surely live.”

Ezekiel 18:30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.

Ezekiel 36:32 Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: BE ASHAMED and confounded FOR YOUR OWN WAYS, O house of Israel.

Jonah 3:10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; andGod repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Ps. 81:11. Yea, they have chosen their own ways

Ps. 7:9 Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins. My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heartGod judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.

Ps. 78 That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God. 

Ecclesiastes 7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions. 

Theological Development Through the Scriptures (from PinPoint Evangelism)

Genesis 2:19
Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them

From this passage, what was God’s reason to bringing the animals to man? It appears by the language used, God didn’t know what Adam would in fact name each animal; this appears to be the point being made.& is correct, then this could not be the actual reason why God performed this act, and the wording of Scripture becomes vague.

Genesis 18:20-21
The  outcry  against  Sodom  and Gomorrah is so great and their sin  so grievous that  I will  go down and see if what they gave done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me.  If not, I will know.

This verse is truly a stumper if absolute foreknowledge is true. God himself states quite openly that he will do something (go down) in order for him to know something. Now did he know it before he went or not?  How can God use the future tense when addressing his knowledge?  To say that God already knew but the wording is just saying that he will also know in the future does violence to language not to mention that it is stating the obvious. God uses language as we do.  To do anything else would be utter folly. How could God faithfully communicate with man if he pulled a Clinton speak.  If God’s word usage is different that ours is, we  have a communication dilemma of the first order. (The analysis of this story provides wonderful insights into God’s nature and will be the subject of another paper altogether.)

Genesis 22:12
”Do not lay a hand on the boy“, he said. “Do not do anything to him.  Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

Here again God states that he has just learned something.  Some scholars try to get around this by stating that the angel who delivered this message was interjecting his own opinion. Well if this is the case, then Abraham didn’t withhold his only son from the angel.  This is clearly preposterous, but it shows the length that theologians will go to in order not to change their theology.  God tested Abraham to know what he would do.

Exodus 4:8
Then the Lord said, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first miraculous sign, they may believe the second. But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground.

They MAY believe!  Why is God giving Moses all of these contingencies?  If God knew exactly how the Egyptians were going to react, then these instructions make little sense. Was he trying to give Moses the false belief that He didn’t know exactly how things were going to turn out? Remember that this is God instructing Moses. This sounds like plan A, B and C.

Exodus 13:17-18
When  Pharaoh let the people  go, God did not lead them  on the road through the Philistine country, though that was  shorter.  For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.”

So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. This passage seems to let us in on God’s deliberation of how he is going route the nation of Israel.  It clearly says that the reason God didn’t take the most direct route was that the people “might” turn back. Here we see that God knows and inderstands the people’s hearts and their “probable” reaction to a war at this point, but clearly the outcome is not certain. Remember, this is God speaking as it is in quotation marks. God made the people take the long route through the desert because he was not sure of what the outcome would have been had he not.

Exodus 16:4
In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.

Why does God test us?  Theologians say that it is for our sakes and not God’s. This is indeed strange.  Do you learn anything in a test, or does that which is already in you become manifest. Clearly the schoolteacher doesn’t expect a student to learn from a test.  A test is to determine what a student already knows.  Now some may say that we cannot relate a school teacher’s knowledge to that of God, and I would indeed  agree.  However, this Scripture appears to correlate the two.  God tested them in order to find something out. Are we going to say that God already knew, but he wanted to stimulate his sense of vision?

Numbers 14:11-12
The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people that me with contempt?  How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them?”  I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger then they.

Here we see God asking questions of Moses that we can confidently conclude that Moses didn’t have the answers to. Clearly God knew that Moses didn’t have the answers.  Why then was God making these comments?  Could it be to show his breaking heart?  Why would God ask these questions when he already knew the answer?  The final point is even more curious.  God states emphatically that he will do something that he knew that he would never do.  God didn’t strike them down with a plague, and he didn’t make Moses’s descendants greater and stronger than Abraham’s.  So, if God knew that these were all false statements, were does these lead us?  Did God mislead, lie to, and manipulate Moses?  If you cling to absolute foreknowledge, you are in fact leveling this charge whether you want to or not.

Numbers 14:30
Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.

Here again we see God reneging on a promise.  Now if God knew when he made the promise that he would not keep it, then he lied to the people. He gave them a false hope that he knew he would later dash to pieces. God even swore with an uplifted hand to do something that he knew he wouldn’t ever do. Where does this leave us?  If this is true, can we ever trust in a promise of God?  Does believing God require more stupidity than faith?

Deuteronomy 8:2
Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in you heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.

Here again we bring up the whole testing issue.  This appears to be quite plainly stated.  Does our theology call God a liar?  Why did God humble and test the people?  A forty year long test appears to be a bit over the top if God already knew everything.  If God already knew what was in their heart, then I think God owes the people an apology.

Deuteronomy 13:3
The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Ditto.

Judges 2:22
I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the Lord and walk in it as their forefathers did.

Judges 3:4
They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the Lord’s commands, which he had given their forefathers through Moses.

Does anyone think that this passage is talking about literal sight?  While this test does involve observation, it is not for observation purposed only.  For completeness however, the Judges 3 passage has a dual purpose as stated by God.  The first was to train the Israelites for battle (v2), and the second was to “see” what they would do as far as obeying God’s command (v4).

I Samuel 23:10-13
David said, ”O Lord, God of Israel, your servant has heard DEFINITELY that Saul plans to come to Keilah and destroy the town on account of me.  Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me to  him?   Will  Saul come down  as your servant  has  heard?   O Lord, God  of Israel, tell your servant.”   And  the  Lord said,  “He  will.”  Again  David asked,  “Will  the  citizens  of  Keilah surrender me and my men to Saul?” And the Lord said, “They will.”  So David and his men, about six hundred in number, left Keilah and kept moving from place to place. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he did not go there.

Now  what  do  we  have  here? David  asks  God two  very  direct  questions  and got two  direct answers.  David asked would the town be destroyed.  God said ‘Yes’.  David also asked would the  people  of the town  give  him over to Saul.   God again  said  ‘Yes’.  However,  none  of his happened.  Didn’t God know what David was going to do?  Was God misleading David?  Upon hearing this, Saul didn’t even go to the town that God said that he would destroy.  Why didn’t David simply throw up his hands and cry, “Woe is me”, when God told him his future?  Why did God tell David how things would be if he in fact knew that they would never be?  How can God say that Saul will go to the town and not be in error when Saul never goes?  Is God lying to David or just “pulling his leg”?  The obvious answer is that if David stayed there, these things would have happened.  David obviously didn’t believe that God’s knowledge of the future was unalterable or he would have just sat there and succumbed to his fate.   No, David knew what God  said would happen if  he  didn’t  change  something.  He also  knew that if  he  did change something, what God said would not happen and would be invalid.  The future is open!

I Kings 20:42
“This  is  what  the  Lord  says:  ‘You  have  set  free  a  man  that  I  had  determined  should  die, therefore, it is your life for his life, your people for his people.’”

God  determined  something  knowing that there was  no  possible way of it happening?   Also, “therefore” is a contingent word, but if God knew absolutely that he would spare the king, then there is no contingency about this or any other act.  God simple determined that he should die, and made up this scenario to justify his actions.  This is clearly a false statement, but what else could this mean?

II Chronicles 32:31
But when the envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.

Again, wrongo!  God didn’t leave him to know anything!  What kind of radial theology is this! God already knows everything from eternity, from before the foundations of the world!  We need to rewrite the Bible and take out all of this bad theology and these misleading passages.

Jeremiah 3:7
I thought  that  after  she  had  done  all  this  she  would  return  to  me  but  she  did  not,  and  her unfaithful sister Judah saw it.

This passage appears to have God admitting to a mistake in his knowledge. Was God mistaken? What about absolute foreknowledge of all future events, how could this be?  How can God think one thing  about the  future, be incorrect, and still  have  absolute  foreknowledge of all future events?

Jeremiah 3:19
I thought you would call me ‘Father’ and not turn away from following me.  But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you have been unfaithful to me, O house of  Israel, declares the Lord.

What!  We have found another passage that needs to be expunged from the Bible!  Clearly the thought of God being mistaken about the future acts of man cannot be true!  Heresy, I say!

Jeremiah 7:31
They have build the high places of Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to burn their sons and daughters in the fire – something I did not command, nor did it enter my mind.

Jeremiah 19:5
They  have  built the  high  places  of Baal to  burn their  sons in the fire as offerings to Baal  – something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.

Jeremiah 32:35
They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech, though  I  never commanded,  nor did it enter my mind, that they  should  do  such  a detestable thing and so make Judah sin.

All of these verses state the same thing.  Now I will be serious for a moment. God states that this thought ever entered his mind.  What can this mean except God did not think that man could stoop to  such  a level as to  do this horrendous thing.  Will you accept what God says about himself in his Word, or will you refuse to believe it, instead clinging on to what man’s tradition has told you is an attribute of God? Remember that the only concept of God that is correct is one that can be determined through the Scriptures.   Omniscience is  not  found in the Bible.  God knowing the future is never directly stated.  Some verses may appear on the surface to imply this attribute, but an implied attribute must square with all Scripture.  If it does not, the implication of God’s  character  or essence  is  incorrect.  If your logical  conclusions derived from selected Scriptures do not harmonize with other Scriptures, then you need to reconsider your theology. Do not wave your hands and try to explain away passages with obvious meanings.

Jeremiah 26:2-3
Tell them everything I command you do not omit a word.  Perhaps they will listen and each one will turn from his evil way.

“Perhaps”,  what  kind  of  word is this  for  God to  be  using?   This passage again  alludes to a contingent event, but our theology states that God knows absolutely what the outcome of the event will be.   To a god with  absolute foreknowledge no event is  contingent all events are absolute.  If this is indeed the case, why does God address man with contingent language?   Is God trying to portray an idea that is false? Would the prophet think that with such language that it was vitally important to not omit a word?  In the end, the people did not listen, so why did God have Jeremiah do this, to justify his own actions, to make the guilty guiltier?

Let me make one additional point here.  God  knows absolute reality.  If to God there are no contingent events (a  mandatory conclusion if absolute foreknowledge is true), the absolute eternal truth is that there are no contingent events.  If you believe that your future is contingent, then you must be deceived. It matters not how God knows the future and who determines it.  If God knows the outcome, then that outcome must occur. Therefore the concept of contingency is lunacy. Everything is  fate.  If  you think that the future is  open, then you cannot believe in absolute foreknowledge.  For centuries,  theologians  have been  arguing  if  we  are  free to determine our future or does God decree it.  This is unimportant for the discussion at hand.  If the future is fixed, then regardless of how it was fixed, it is fixed.  Your future has been determined absolutely,  and  you  have no  other choice except to walk those steps.  Your  future  has  been known, and therefore cannot be altered if God knows it unchangeably.

Ezekiel 20:6 & 15
On that day I swore to them that I would bring them out of Egypt into a land I had searched out for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most beautiful of all lands. Also with uplifted hand I swore to them in the desert that I should not bring them into the land I had given them – a land flowing with milk and honey, most beautiful of all lands.

These passages reiterate one listed earlier, but they are listed here for more clarity.  Here God stated he searched out an area for the people knowing before the search which area it would be, and that the people would never see it. Strange actions indeed.  He then swore to them with an uplifted hand that he would so something, and then later  raised his hand again and swore the opposite.  Now did God mean it when he swore the first time or just the second?  How could he be sincere the first time if he knew inevitably that he could never do it?  Do we start to have a credibility problem with God?  How do we know when he tells us something that he will indeed do it and not renege?

Ezekiel 22:30
I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.

Did God just have some time to burn off so he performed a useless search?  Was God’s heart in the search since before he commenced searching, he knew what the outcome would be?  Was he constrained to search to prove a point?  The question is: Why does God do futile things?

Ezekiel 33:13
If I tell the righteous man that he will surely live, but then he trusts in his righteousness and does evil, none of the righteous things he has done will be remembered, he will die for the evil he has done.

Again, we have more credibility problems with God.  He states emphatically that someone will live when he knows when he gives the statement that it could be false.  Then if someone takes God at his word (that he will live) and lets his guard down, he then risks death.  What kind of message is this?  If God tells you something, don’t believe it?

Psalms 69:28, Exodus 33:32
May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous. But now, please forgive their sin – but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.  The Lord replied to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book.”

In the first verse we see that David has a notion that God will write someone’s name in the book of life, and at some later date, that person might be removed. Now if God knows absolutely who is going to be saved before he created the world, then what is the point of a holy eraser?  Where did David get such an idea?  Well one place might have been Moses.  Somehow, Moses had bad theology.  But wait, it appears that God propagated that bad theology.  God didn’t just let Moses’ theology  stand, but he compounded it even further.   The  fruit of  this theology is found in Revelation 3:5 when John the Apostle reiterated this idea thousands of years later.

Revelation 3:5
He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white.   I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.

The obvious converse of this passage is that non-overcomers will be blotted out.  Interesting!

What is not meant by the denial of absolute foreknowledge

By denying God knows the future free will choices of man, it is not assumed that God doesn’t know certain future events.  Clearly God has prophesied future events that have come to pass.

These events however could be spoken of as certainties previous to the event, because God has the power to do whatever he so wills.  Nothing can stop his plan.  Therefore, if God decided to have  Jesus  born in Bethlehem,  no force in the  universe  could thwart  his  plan.   He therefore knows the future act absolutely because he has determined to cause the event to occur when the time has been fulfilled.  This is how a Calvinist views every event.  However, I believe Scripture shows that this is the exception and not the rule.

The denial of absolute foreknowledge also does not mean that God does not know everything. Clearly Scripture teaches that God has  full and complete knowledge of everything that exists (I John 3:20).  The question therefore is, does the future exist?  If you decide that the future does in fact exist in some manner as related to God, then it is incumbent on the reader to prove such a position.  This position cannot be simply assumed.  If in fact the future does not exist, then it is not incumbent upon God to know it.

Now this is not to say that God couldn’t have created a world in which he did know the future, but that he did not.  One could ask themselves, if in this world God knows all  future free actions, how would a world where he didn’t know differ from it?  How would the Bible be worded differently?