dave_l — 2017-08-25T05:45:36-04:00 — #1
It is easy to see history develop through a chain of events. The latest event being a reaction to another event influencing it. And by this, we can assume the future is as unchangeable as the past.
If we think we can change the future and do something about it. It is because forces bearing on us produce the motion that becomes part of the future God intended.
“for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)
gao_lu — 2017-08-25T05:55:39-04:00 — #2
Sounds like the all too familiar fatalism of Buddhism. I know you don't mean that.
Php 2:13 is true. Also true is that His Will and Good Pleasure include allowing people to experience authentic faith, authentic love and authentic choice.
I would say the will reacts. There is no way to exist as a blank slate without input, so I would say every act of the will is a reaction.
Just some thoughts.
dave_l — 2017-08-25T06:11:02-04:00 — #3
This is clearly taught in scripture. It is possible that other religions have fragments of truth. But can you think of a situation where the Will Acts instead of Reacting to something?
gao_lu — 2017-08-25T06:13:09-04:00 — #4
Oops! We are posting at the same time!
I agree the will always reacts and never acts without stimulus.
dave_l — 2017-08-25T06:19:13-04:00 — #5
The Westminster Confession spells it out this way; in modern English.
God's Eternal Decree
- God, from all eternity, did—by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will—freely and unchangeably ordain whatever comes to pass. Yet he ordered all things in such a way that he is not the author of sin, nor does he force his creatures to act against their wills; neither is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.
OPC. (n.d.). Westminster Confession with Modern English.
gao_lu — 2017-08-25T06:23:23-04:00 — #6
wolfgang_schneider — 2017-08-25T11:48:18-04:00 — #7
Yet, IF indeed a person's will is not free to chose and influenced to do what its stimulus dictates, then the sinner is actually forced by God to sin ....because he would be doing what the God ordained circumstances etc force him to do.
Thus, I would contend that such an idea is not true ... and that indeed man's will and choice are under man's control (aside from certain situations of mental illness incapacitating a person to use their mind to choose, evaluate, decide, etc ) ... In other words, while there are circumstances preceding and having influence on our lives, we are then faced with and are free to chose based on the information and circumstances etc. which way we want to continue.
Cp. what God told Israel when He placed two opposite ways / possibilities in front of them ... and it was their each individual free decision and choice which of the two ways they wanted and were willing to do => obedience > life or else disobedience > death.
dave_l — 2017-08-25T14:15:12-04:00 — #8
The confession says God does not force anyone to do anything. But people always do what they want to do, especially when it comes to sin. But the confession also says second causes emanating from God the first cause, are certain to occur. You always react according to your nature and to reasons why you chose to do this or that. And God shapes your nature and sends the secondary causes precisely as logic would have them fall out.
gao_lu — 2017-08-25T17:40:38-04:00 — #9
I wonder how often we are all describing the same thing and just clinging to an elephant's ear, tail or trunk of thought most familiar to us?. The "thing" is big and obvious and unmistakable. How we think about it is in error only when it becomes too narrow or too broad. Lacking the full mind of God, I suspect that no man can ever grasp the "thing's" wholeness, although we can grasp enough to have a meaningful relationship with God.
dave_l — 2017-08-26T07:20:40-04:00 — #10
I think we interpret our salvation experience in various ways. I think most churches use the Billy Graham model of evangelism. The evangelists offers Christ as a sacrament for all who will apply it. And so they naturally understand their faith in that manner. But then in looking further some might understand that Christ was never offered to anyone. But instead announced as the savior of all who believe. So those hearing the word and believing with childlike faith as they hear it, are in fact saved. And the acts of faith resulting in repentance follow. But some insert "altar calls" and the "sinners prayer" into the mix. Which results in a transfer of faith away from Christ to one's own self as the focus.
wolfgang_schneider — 2017-08-26T08:35:19-04:00 — #11
while it makes such a statement, it then turns around and claims that everything is according to God's will and doing and states indirectly that anybody "could not but do" what they did ...
Self-contradictory fantasy .... sold as theology/religion
gao_lu — 2017-08-26T08:35:48-04:00 — #12
Yes, I think I understand your description. Just as you think others don't have the whole story, others don't think you have the story. I suspect all are right. No doubt some people think they are the only ones who are right.
dave_l — 2017-08-26T10:48:04-04:00 — #13
What it says is that God does not force his creatures against their will. But it also says secondary causes are fixed and certain. So that every choice you ever made or will make will be a reaction to forces bearing down on you. Your inherited nature ultimately determines your choices as do other environmental factors.