Monday, September 23, 2013

God's Sovereignty vs. Man's Will Part 2

I want to start out by saying that this warfare over predestination has taken a turn away from Scripture and into a misconstruction of Election. Whenever one says, "I believe that the Lord saves and man has nothing to do with his salvation", instantly the philosophical meanderings of John Calvin are brought up and debated on a non-Scriptural, philosophical plane. It seems that we care more about our disagreements and agreements with theologians than with the Word of God. However, if we are to understand what the Lord told us, we must throw Calvin, Arminius, and every other theologian and philosopher aside and merely look at Scripture. Not saying that all theologians are unhelpful, but rather that God's Word is all we need to be made wise, understanding His Will and Plan (Psalm 19:7-9).

With that in mind, let us go to the very beginning of time.

In the beginning was the God, the Triune Lord. In this state, the Father loved the Son and the Spirit, the Son loved the Spirit and the Father, the Spirit loved the Father and the Son. It was a perfect, loving, holy relationship within Elohim (Hebrew name for God, its plural ending emphasizes the three-in-oneness of God). It was in this state wherein the Father made a wondrous decree to the Son:

"You are My Son,
On that day I have begotten You,
Ask Me (note: a command in Hebrew), and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the ends of the Earth as Your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron,
You shall shatter them like earthenware." (Psalm 2:7-9)

In this passage, we find the very goal of all creation, and specifically of all men: we are a gift to the Son. This is especially important to bear in mind throughout this entire discussion, for it colors all that we must know as Christians. 

Because the Son loves the Father and does all that He commands (John 14:31), Christ asked His Father for the nations and the World. Thus, God created the Heavens and the Earth.

In man's beginning, he was created as a son of God (Luke 3:38). Why was he created this way? Well, he was made to be the Image and likeness of God, specifically the image of the Son (thus, Adam was to be one of the many brethren which God predestined to be the Image of His Son, Rom. 8:28-29). If sin had not entered the world through the Fall of Adam, his descendants would all then be children of God.
Yet, this would not work in God's decree.

[Please remember, a decree is that which causes something to come to pass or into being ("Let there be light!"), it is not something that merely looks ahead at that which will come to pass on its own ("There will be light."). Thus, God's decree is a creative declaration which causes, by the merit of it being God's omnipotent command, all that it says to come into being. But I digress.]

If God's decree is to take place, man must fall. Please keep reading and paying close attention. Man must fall if Christ is to break him with a rod of iron and shatter him like a clay pot. It must take place. So, through God's decree, and not His authorship, sin entered the Perfect World. Man fell, and God had to kill him for his iniquity (Gen. 2:17). So, all the world was placed under a curse and judgement from God, leading to death (Rom. 3:9-18, 5:12, 6:23, etc.). 

However, what now was God to do? (I am speaking, as Paul did, in "human terms") If every man was evil, then Christ must destroy all of them. If this happens, Christ will not have an inheritance left. Yet God's decree reached beyond this seeming dilemma, for nothing can stop Him. 

Look again to the beginning of time with the Lord. Listen to the parable of the Wheat and Tares.

"Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven was (Note: the original greek is in the past tense here) compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn."'" (Mat. 13:24-30)

What does this passage say about our topic? Well, look at Christ's explanation:

"Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him and said, 'Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.' And He said, 'The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.'" (Mat. 13:36-43)

Now we have the keys to understand the passage and its significance to our topic. Christ sowed good seed, the Sons of the Kingdom, into the World (not the Church, but the World). After Christ did this, Satan came in and sowed tares (weeds), those who are his sons, into the world amongst the wheat. These two plants, wheat and tares, are growing together in this world now, and both seem to look alike at times (cf. vs. 29). Nevertheless, these two plants are inherently different from the beginning, and are always different, even to the end. Once the end has come, the angels will gather both the wheat and the tares, the first to the Kingdom, and the last to Hell (Revelation 14:14-20, 20:11-15, etc.)

This parable can only fit with a complete recounting of all of history. In the very beginning, Christ sowed His people into the world. These are the ones who were predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ, making them brethren with Christ (Rom. 8:28-29). However, Satan infiltrated the world, by the fall of man, and thus sowed his own sons into the world (note: he did not create them, rather they are those who do just as He does and will never repent of their ways). All of this flows well with my last post, and I suggest reading my last one to better understand this difference between sons of God and sons of the Devil.

If you still do not know what I am getting at, here it is:

God, in the very beginning, decreed that His Son would inherit the world and mankind. Some of these men would be crushed, whilst others would be His brethren. So, God created the world. In this world, He sovereignly planned and placed His Sons (Christ's brethren). If sin had not entered, these sons would be the only one's created, and they would have inherited the world and ruled alongside Christ for eternity. However, God decreed that men must fall in order to be destroyed. Thus, God sovereignly decreed that Satan would introduce sin into humanity, causing his downfall. This sowed sons of the Devil into this perfect world, leaving tares among the wheat. Nevertheless, the wheat were still wheat. The sons of the kingdom were still sons of the kingdom, they never became tares. These wheat were destined, by nature of being wheat, to be gathered into the barns.

Yet, these wheat had to be destroyed for justice's sake, since they sinned, just like the tares. However, God was not stopped. He sent His only begotten Son to live and die in the place of the wheat, thus allowing them to enter Heaven through Faith. However, these wheat were much like the tares: without faith or anything good in them. Thus, God caused them to believe in Christ, granting the believing ones eternal life. This in turn ensured their eternal life, allowing God's judgement to pass over them and onto His Son.  

Now, the tares were never the sons of God. No, they are by nature sons of the Devil. As a result, they must inherit the judgement placed on their father: burning in Hell for eternity, crushed under the weight of Christ's wrath. This is their decreed doom, and it cannot be undone. 

Not everyone can be saved, nor can everyone go to Hell, since both would undermine God's Decree. Thus, God proceeded with His aforementioned plan.

This is why the Elect are elect, why they gain faith and no-one else does, why they cannot lose their salvation, why they are justified, and all other implications of the Gospel. 

I will be continuing on this subject later, since I have merely scratched the surface of this issue and much more needs to be addressed.

God Bless.