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 Time for Choice

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silverglass
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PostSubject: Time for Choice   Sun Nov 20, 2011 1:54 pm

Einstein decidedly blew a hole in Newton's model of absolute time and space when he formulated the Special Theory of Relativity (STR) and he created a geometrical line (with the addition of time as a fourth dimension) through space and time in which all matter, including us, were found to be in a clearly deterministic universe. He was quoted as saying;" God does not play dice with the universe". This defines his theism. He believed in a universe that was predictable to certain laws of physics. Neil’s Bhor, the great Danish physicist came along and challenged Einstein on this very point saying, “ How do you know what God thinks?”…. In an experiment suggested by Einstein himself it was found that pathways of atomic particles were observed as NOT BEING PREDICTABLE to Einstein’s dismay, and therefore his findings were turned away from the model of a static universe. A timeless universe would be a static universe where no past, present and future states can be defined in any specific location or in any specific time. This is what Einstein was saying that we are all on some imaginary geometric line that includes past, present and future states as inseparable. Newton's belief in absolute time and space implies the relational aspect of his theism. That means there are preferred aspects of inertial frames of reference whereby we indeed can believe in relational frames of reference. We can in fact see in Bhor's experiment the allowance of free will itself! This was an astounding revelation! These relational understandings turns the tables on the idea the there are no preferred inertial frames of reference. Einstein’s revolutionary paper on STR showed a tenseness universe but Bhor’s quantum mechanics shows it to be deficient. Because of Bhor's findings we can allow as true the existence of a tensed universe. This gives credence to certain types of traditions that see god as working within time frames. Open theism would be one of these.
Einstein was an empirical verificationist and under his mentor Ernst Mach approached physics by deciding to throw out anything that could not be verified through the physical senses. So he was successful in showing through STR the idea of a determined universe. His revolutionary paper on STR shows how impossible it is that when setting into motion theories of time and space that measuring devises would be able to show us similar frames of reference. Let me give you an example: Prior to Einstein’s relativity others had been working on relativity all the way back to Newton himself. But just prior to Einstein a man named Hendrick Lorentz formulated his Lorentzian relativity. He agreeing with Newton believe in absolute time and space, but realized at that time there being no way to discern these experimentally since motion through the aether affects one’s measuring devices. Before knowing this he knew unlike anything else in the universe that a wave of light is always constant. Knowing this he proceeded to set measuring devices on waves of light outside of the earth’s course around our star and thereby deduce its progression in time and space. However, when he looked at the results of the experiment he and others were perplexed. There did not seem to be any movement through the aether of the earth itself. They theorized the earth might be pulling the aether along with it so accounting for it not seemingly moving through space. This was dismissed from looking at other experiments. Finally, it was understood by Einstein that there are no inertial frames of reference. This solved the problem. I will try to give you an example of what Einstein figured out. Imagine yourself in a body of water like the ocean. If you are in the water and remain still then any waves approaching you will take a certain amount of time to reach you. If you were to move toward a wave as it was approaching you then the wave would arrive at you sooner. Conversely, if you were to move away from an approaching wave it would arrive at your location later. Now lets imagine you are in space and a wave of light is approaching you and if you remained still or moved toward it or if you moved away from it what do you think would happen in each of those situations? The beam of light as it approaches you in any of those circumstances would be the same. Whether you moved toward it or away from it or if you remained still the beam of light would not vary and would reach you at the same moment in time! Now knowing this Einstein went on to show that in spite of light being uniform in this way it could not however be used by two independent sources to verify uniform time. This is one of the examples he gave to show this as follows; Suppose a space craft was approaching the earth on a parallel path and as it arrived adjacent to earth it relayed a message to someone on earth to set its clock to the same time as it had its clock set to. Then someone on the earth at the same time as someone on the space ship would send out a beam of light to a distant planet. Now here is where it gets hairy. Again knowing that the beams of light travel at the same rate through the aether it would therefore be assumed that the light would be reflected back to the earth and the spaceship and arrive at the same time that was beforehand synchronized on each of the clocks. Lo and behold it was not! Why not? Remember the example I gave on lights uniformity? Here is what happens according to Einstein equation. There is no absolute frame of reference for the spaceship and the earth to compare to. Each being in a separate inertial frame of reference cannot relate in the same time frame. Why? Because we don’t know what the preferred frame of reference is. Is it the spaceship? Is it the Earth? Is it the distant planet ahead of them? Or is the earth moving away from the planet ahead of it. Or is the planet ahead of the spaceship moving toward the spaceship? We cannot know what is at rest in relation to what is moving! This is so counterintuitive that only a handful of people understood what Einstein was saying and even then it took some time for him to convince them of this. Now because of non-preferred frames of reference there is no absolute frame to compare yourself to when you are trying to relate to someone else in past, present or future states of reference throughout the universe in either time or space. It therefore follows that god himself would not be able to relate to anyone or anything at any specific frame of reference seeing we all are at different states of time and space not knowing if we are at rest to each other in movement in time or space. Simply put there is no preferred frame of reference for anyone. God himself would not know where we are! Furthermore if he wanted to know where each one of us were in different times in space he would have to break himself up into many different frames of reference to accommodate the many myriad frames of references we are all in! This would remain true for us in that the past, present or future does not include any of them being in any preferred frame of reference. Ultimately time itself becomes blended and all of us are only points on a geometric tense less line of timeless events. Ultimately all events have to be determined. Freewill is obliterated and becomes an illusion. By looking back at what happened with Einstein’s equation you see how science is evolutionary in that it took another 30 years for quantum mechanics to question this theory, in its practical aspects and to show that it is left wanting in explaining our everyday experience with the world in which we live. I dare say that no one would really agree to say that we are not in a tensed universe as everyday experience shows this to be so. So Einstein was indeed a great physicists but after all just a man whose findings on STR only shows that we live in a limited universe. But such findings do not prove or show this limited idea as real to our understanding. All of us would agree that as relational beings we need to use past present and future frames of reference to relate to one another and/or God. In Einstein’s view we cannot even do this, which makes it an impractical truth. It is true that STR opened up our understanding to many things once hidden and is invaluable to understanding the universe at large. However, it’s not true in explaining how we relate to one another in different frames of reference as our everyday experience obviously shows. Free will requires that we must have time to decided between opposing choices and that by deciding to do one thing over another our decisions over time would manifest our characters. Who we really are is in deeds, and is understood over time from past to present to future becoming. In this way what we decide to choose to do determines the kind of person we are by which abstract choices are made into concrete realities. I believe that this is the only real way that we can freely determine our own futures.
Any questions?


Last edited by silverglass on Sun Nov 20, 2011 9:03 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Time for Choice   Sun Nov 20, 2011 4:22 pm

Love the way you ask: "Any questions?" If I were a physicist, I may well have questions. But, in my humble occupation to research only human behavior, I decline to ask any questions. I do have some thoughts about your writing, though. I love to see that there are scientists out there bold enough to stand up and use science to explain God. With teachers touting evolution in our schools, we need many, many more of them. The media fails to report any scientific findings that prove the existence of God and disprove old worn out scientific theories that no longer hold water, such as evolution. Keep up the good fight!

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PostSubject: Re: Time for Choice   Wed Nov 23, 2011 9:43 pm

I am not a physicist. But I have done some research in this area. I wrote this post to open up a possible dialectic on a specific idea. I am prefacing a theme that I hope might be engaged by others. That theme is to reevaluate the meaning of timelessness when it comes to conceptualizing God and how he works with people in the biblical narrative. Not in a timeless manner but rather in a tensed or temporal manner. When God speaks to people he does so in a give and take manner. Like when I am writing this post. You are passively reading, as I am presently texting. After which you may decide to text me and I then will be passively reading your past texting. We comprehend one another in a tensed medium in past, present and future sequences. A timeless being would not be in a tensed or relational setting with another temporal being and so there remains something amiss with the idea that God is timeless. It simply isn't biblical. When I look at the way god relates to people in the biblical texts it apparently is in a relational sequence. This would require God to be in a temporal setting. Timelessness in a logical sense means among other meanings, a non-relational or Platonic relationship. Let me know what you think about this?
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PostSubject: Re: Time for Choice   Thu Nov 24, 2011 3:43 am

You're right, we know from the Bible our God is eternal, yet He created time as we can see in Genesis 1:1-5. And, since he created time, I would expect that he has complete control over it. Did He not manipulate time in the Bible several times: Isaiah 38:7-9, Joshua 10:11–13, Habakkuk 3:11, 2 Kings 20:8-12?

Of course this begs the question, "How can a timeless God exist in time?" For me, it falls under one of those questions that humans can't fully understand because we're not God, thank goodness. But since we haven't experienced eternity yet we can't fully comprehend it. To me this question follows along the same lines as the age old question, "How can God be one god, yet exist in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?"

My only arguments are:

First, I'm not sure why we should assume that "Timelessness in a logical sense means among other meanings, a non-relational or Platonic relationship," since we have no way of knowing what timelessness truly is or what it is like.

Also, by thinking that God can only be in one realm or another we are limiting an omnipresent God to our meek understanding. Therefore, I have to believe that God exists both in eternity and in time, and just because he exists in time, doesn't mean that he stops being eternal. Just as He is one God in three entities. The Bible states that He is omnipresent and omnipotent, therefore it is Biblical. He is unlimited, whereas we are not. Therefore, our limited understanding prevents us from knowing how He can exist in both realms.

Frankly, I'm glad I can't comprehend everything there is to know about God. I wouldn't feel very safe with a God that was as simple minded as myself.

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PostSubject: Re: Time for Choice   Thu Nov 24, 2011 9:43 am

Ok. So you believe in a timeless or tense less operation of the Spirit of God when He relates to people. This by the way is how Einstein viewed things, which eventually led him to believe that God is not available to us in any relational setting. But lets assume you believe the tense less view for several reasons.
1- Those things that relate to the eternal are not understandable like the meaning of the triune Godhead. I agree that understanding that concept of the trinity is limited to our logic. However, we should not equate the doctrine of the trinity with our understanding of time. We have absolute definitions about the meaning of time and timelessness, whereas we have limited definitions about the three in one definition of the Godhead. So I disagree with your premise on this.
2- Now you have given me several verses from the Old Testament that shows God as controlling time events. This I believe he has the power to determine. But it does not relate to the premise I am hinting at. Your last verse shows him knowing future event. This I assume also means he can determine certain future events. However, I do not see how certain events in time show him to be timeless. It only shows that he can if he wishes determine the future or fix certain events to come about.
3- Now concerning timelessness. You state that you are not sure that we should assume that timelessness means non-relationally or Platonic relationship. My response here is to look closely at the biblical texts when coming to a final conclusion on this. Lets assume you believe in the traditions of Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin and others who have commented on this very topic. For them God has to be timeless. As such his attributes would follow a certain progression. Being timeless means logically that he would have to determine all future events. Again, this is what Einstein was saying when he spoke about the universe being determined or fixed. Augustine and others used logical inferences to understand and develop their doctrines, which permeate our understanding of God and how he relates to us. The logic they used to formulate these doctrines is called Modal Logic. Modal logic has its genesis in Greek theology. Plato and others like him believed this about god. As such God has to be in control of all events to be able to use providence to guide and protect us and ultimately because of this he has to be sovereign in the affairs of all future events. The only way god can do this is if he remains timeless so that he can view all of history in one flash of timeless viewing. So this gives credence to the understanding of a timeless God.
However, once we go down this road of viewing God as a timeless being then we must join hands with the Greeks in their understanding of the nature of God. Among other things God therefore cannot relate to us in a relational way without forfeiting his foreknowledge of future events. Augustine and others who drew deeply from the Greeks developed their doctrines based on Plato and others. I can develop this theme further but for now I wanted to give you a brief overview of what has been handed down to us by these great theologians and how we moderns have been influenced by them to believe such things that are not necessarily found in the biblical texts. So logic is a premium system of thought that all theologians have and continue to use in evaluating doctrines and as such some doctrines like foreknowledge are understood by logically inferring from the biblical texts things that pertain to future events to mean that god is therefore timeless. However, this does not play out in the biblical narrative and I believe I can prove this to be so.
4 Lastly, the age-old answer to answering questions that relate to concerns about whether god is timeless and how this can become problematic is to say that these things are beyond our understanding. This excuse makes things even worse. It makes a mockery of the biblical texts for what they are saying and promotes the idea that not all scripture can be taken for what it says. For example, Titus 2:11 says, “For the grace of god has appeared unto all men for salvation”. Augustine and others agree that this text cannot be true for if it was then all men would be saved. Their response was to say that God really does not mean this when we read this in the text. It really is beyond our understanding to comprehend what God is saying in this text and so it remains, like many other texts beyond our comprehension. This is what most modern Christians think when they encounter texts that go against their understanding of what god is like and what he has to know despite what the biblical texts are really saying. I for one have a big problem with this for it limits our reading of texts for what they are really implying and I do not believe we have the right to limit the text simply because it does not fit with our theological beliefs.
I could develop this further but for now let me know what you think.
Happy Thanksgiving!
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PostSubject: Re: Time for Choice   Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:31 pm

I have to be honest silverglass and let you know that things of this nature don't really bother me about God and I don't really have a compulsion to ponder them to any great extent, however, I'm a willing participant in this discussion to a degree. For me, God is both timeless and operates within time. I know he is capable of touching us physically, emotionally, and spiritually within time in a very real way. I have personally experienced his tangible presence and His supernatural healing. There are several verses that suggest he is timeless, such as, “heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away” (Luke 21:33). For me, to be limited by time, suggests there is an ending, and God has no ending. Perhaps, He's just an everlasting God and not a timeless God. I don't know, but, frankly, in my humble opinion, this topic is not critical to theology, and so I try not to give myself a brain cramp trying to figure it out. I am, however, interested in your theory on the whole matter.

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PostSubject: Re: Time for Choice   Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:35 am

Hi, I hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving. I spent the day with my kids and prepared the whole meal. We all enjoyed our time together. I hope you enjoyed your time together with your family.
I read your response to my recent post and wondered how difficult it would be to try to show you what it is that I am struggling with. Initially when I joined your site I hinted on this issue but did not want to jump into it until I had some time to familiarize you with myself and with my writings. I am not sure this made a big difference by waiting till now to begin to open up these ideas. I am not sure if anyone on this site would be interested in these ideas at this point but maybe others will join in.
Now I should begin by telling you that I have been struggling with the idea of how we as Christian come to know god as our personal savior. There are two main prevailing traditions concerning this. One tradition puts a premium on the idea that God is soveirgn and as such his will is irresistible. This gives some Christians the belief that our salvation is totally dependent on god and without this irresistible drawing we cannot come to know him as lord. Another tradition declares that God’s sovereign will is not irresistible and so it is up to us to decide whether or not we will follow his will. The two traditions are known as Arminianism and Calvinism.
For my part I believe we must have freedom to choose whether we will follow or not follow the call of the gospel. The problem with this view according to Calvinists is that if God allows us to determine or choose then our salvation is no longer dependent on His will but on our response to His calling. Why is this a problem? Augustine struggled with this concept and finally understood that it would be impossible for God’s will to be sovereign in saving us if in his foreknowledge he was dependent on our wills to choose or not to choose his saving grace. In other words, if god has to look into the future to see who will choose to obey or not obey him then he is not in control of who he saves! It is not therefore his will that saves us but our wills become sovereign in this manner! Remember those verses in the bible that state, for by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God… Or, "So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. .... And, John 1:13 states, Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
And so Augustine understood how impossible it would be that we who are dead in trespasses and sins could make a decision for our own salvation. Furthermore, if we do have this ability then God in now dependent on our response in negotiating our salvation. To remedy this Augustine and others understood that all things pertaining to our salvation have to be put right with the scriptural record. As stated, before the foundation of the worlds God in his foreknowledge determines who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, all for his glory! Eph1: 4 for he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight… Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity (STR) ultimately agrees with Augustine and others in showing that all events have to be determined. It is significant to see how his views are in agreement that freewill is an illusion. These events show that a timeless God must ultimately be in control of all events and therefore removes the need for our wills to be involved.
This may be a good beginning point for discussing personal salvation. My understanding of this has changed over that last several years as I have reevaluated what these theologians have determined about the grace of god and the will of man when it comes to salvation. What are your thoughts on this? What do you yourself believe about, if you will, the procedure of salvific grace? How do you view god’s will in salvation and whose will is sovereign when it comes to your own salvation?


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PostSubject: Re: Time for Choice   Sat Dec 03, 2011 3:51 am

We had quite a nice Thanksgiving with our three boys. I'm glad you enjoyed your time with your family.

As for the issue at hand. God knew the events that would take place before the beginning of time, so-to-speak. He is omniscient and, therefore, knows all things, and, therefore, knew whose hearts would be frozen solid against His will to save us and those who would not. He offers his gift to all to take freely but only a few would accept said gift. This He knew before hand. It was the risk He would have to take in order to give us our own free wills. His knowledge of this fact doesn't take away from the fact that we still are given the choice to choose. Knowing about something and making it so are two different things. Although He knew there would be many who would reject Him and even hate Him, He still determined to create us and everything around us anyway. He wanted and loved us that much. His will is that all will be saved, but not all will enter the gates of the Kingdom: "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:3-4, KJV) Therefore, this tells me that the Lord wills that we should all be saved, not that he wills it to be so. He cannot make us do anything we do not wish to even though he wants it to be so.

As to the verses you pointed out, namely:

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2:8 )

"So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy." (Romans 9:16)

These verses refer to the fact that we are unable to save ourselves. It is through faith and God's Grace (namely Jesus' sacrifice for us) that we are saved not by anything we can possibly do on our own. We can interpret the verse in this way: It is not of any individual, of any man that wills or runs, but of God that showeth mercy to attain salvation. Personally, I find much comfort in this knowledge, because if it were up to me I would most assuredly blow it.

As for this verse:

"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight…" (Ephesians 1:4... )

These verses are referring to the fact that the Lord knew before the creation of the world that He would have to send His Son to be crucified for our sins, that we would be sinful and fall short of the Glory of God, and He determined that He would be willing to to do what ever it took to give us every opportunity, if we choose to, to be holy and blameless in his sight. He chose us, but it doesn't necessarily mean that we would choose Him.

And, finally, this verse:

"Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. Not physically born." (John 1:13)

This verse is simply referring to our rebirth in Jesus rather than a fleshly birth. If we read the verse that precedes it with this verse it makes a little more sense: "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: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. " The will of the flesh and the will of man in this verse is referring to sexual intercourse, it is merely reiterating the phrase "not of blood." Our rebirth in Jesus is brought about because we've accepted the will of God that we would be saved.

I hope this helps some.

As I see more clearly now what your concerns are, I am moving this topic to our "Theological Discussion" category in the Christian Living section, as I feel it is more appropriate in that section. It is located further down the page on the website towards the bottom.

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PostSubject: Re: Time for Choice   Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:46 am

I think less thought and more faith is in order. For you to be a child of the living God, you must believe without question. That means you believe the Bible is the only complete truth. That Jesus is the only was to be saved. Also, even though we have freedom of choice, does not necessarily mean God doesn't know what we will choose. He gave us freewill knowing we would either accept or not. Since He made all things, I have no choice but to believe he exists in all timelines. Because I believe without question the Bible is the only truth and Jesus is the only way to Heaven, I will be there some day.

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PostSubject: Re: Time for Choice   Sat Dec 03, 2011 4:09 pm

Unfortunately, we are all human, and sometimes there is doubt. When Thomas, one of Jesus' disciples, was told that the Lord had risen from the dead, Thomas said he would have to touch his wounds first to believe it. When Jesus finally showed himself to Thomas, He offered him his hands and side for Thomas to touch so that He would believe. So, I think the Lord understands doubt, as He did for Thomas. For those who can believe without question, Jesus stated, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29) What a wonderful thing that is!

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PostSubject: Re: Time for Choice   Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:53 pm

You are completely right. I had forgotten about Thomas. Guess I have leaned on Jesus so long I just assume everyone does too. I don't doubt God just people sometimes. I am not judgemental anyway and I sure don't know everything there is to know about God. Should never have got into this one knowing so little about all that.

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PostSubject: Re: Time for Choice   Sat Dec 03, 2011 9:01 pm

Oh, no, I appreciate your input. I felt a little worried about responding to your post, but I just felt I had to do it. I certainly didn't want to make you feel uncomfortable. Everyone has a voice and deserves to be heard. That is how we learn from one another. Please feel free to voice your opinion at any time. Your opinion is most assuredly appreciated. It opened up an important topic for discussion. How great is that?!!!

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PostSubject: Re: Time for Choice   Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:32 am

Discussion is always good, no matter the topic. I just felt a little ignorant on the topic and maybe a little naive.

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PostSubject: Re: Time for Choice   Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:18 am

I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you feel that way. I love your zeal for the Lord, it is inspiring. No one knows everything there is to know about the Bible. The Lord's Word is so complicated no one can possibly know everything about it.

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PostSubject: Re: Time for Choice   Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:58 am

I guess that means I better get to studying.

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PostSubject: Re: Time for Choice   Sun Dec 04, 2011 2:02 am

LOL

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PostSubject: Re: Time for Choice   Tue Dec 06, 2011 7:58 pm

Hello again, I see so far you are the only responder and I just wanted to let everyone know that I do not claim to be an authority on all that has been said and all that has been written on these matters we are discussing. I however, aim at doing the work and showing myself approved as rightly dividing the word of God. So with this in mind no one should feel that his or her opinion does not count. There are no dumb questions to be asked here. The only questions that I am trying to define deals with the traditions that have been adopted, usually unconsciously, and I believe that these traditions must be examined honestly before one can begin to see things more clearly.
Ok, This may be a questionable remark but it needs to be queried in order to see how defensive postures are so quickly adopted when it comes to the nature of what we personally feel we already know or trust our hearts to believe. The devil is in the details of this query and so it gets pretty hot when people feel their faith is being shaken. But this is what I am aiming at! People’s faith and how they hold on to certain concepts and will fight tooth and nail to protect what they feel to them is an obvious truth in the face of uncertain answers in logical inquiry.
Ok, I will begin with one of the things you have stated: You stated,
As for the issue at hand. God knew the events that would take place before the beginning of time, so-to-speak. He is omniscient and, therefore, knows all things, and, therefore, knew whose hearts would be frozen solid against His will to save us and those who would not.

Now I will try to answer this by bringing out a little more of what it means for God to know certain events ahead of time. According to Augustine God would have to be in a timeless state to know what events are taking place in the future. He cannot be in two different states as that would be illogical and as I stated logically speaking we really cannot do intelligent inquiry into the nature of God and his word without having some kind of baseline of inquiry. If we decide to banish the rules of logic then how can we do any kind of hermeneutical inquiry? All theologians use logic to do good exegesis. There is no way around it, to do good theology one must abide by the rules of logical inquiry or anything goes and no one can have a model to proper interpretation. One must get over this fact. Once we agree on a model for properly interpreting scripture then we can move on to understanding what the word of god is saying.
So back to logic. According to St. Thomas Aquinas these rules of logical inquiry that he and others have used, open up to us the deeper meanings of God’s word. Aquinas said, “God can only know what is logically possible to know”. In other words, if something does not yet exist then an omniscient being would not be deficient in not knowing it. More clearly, if an agent has not completed a future free will action then that action is only an abstraction and until it is completed it is not a concrete reality and so it is not a knowable contingency. This means it is not a knowable reality and therefore there is nothing there to know.
Why is this important? Well if there is nothing to know and one still declares it to be a knowable contingency then one must logically infer that it has been determined to be so. If God knows beforehand what I will do when I have not yet committed this action then it must logically true , that until I actually act it out that I am guiltless of such an action! Do you see the logic in this? Other wise it must be assumed that God has determined that I would do it. I would therefore not have a choice to do otherwise and so I would not be free to not choose to do an alternative action as such. Furthermore, if god holds me responsible for sins that I have not yet committed then I would have to be guilty of sins before I have actually have committed them. But according to theologians one cannot be held accountable for sin until one actually commits sin. When we view the biblical texts concerning this issue it is important to understand that until you commit a sin you are not yet guilty of it. So you cannot be held accountable for something you have not yet done. Therefore we must understand the nature of temptation. It is a test to see what a free will agent will do. Until one actually moves from the abstaction to the concrete action of commiting sin he must be guiltless. See> James 1:14-17
King James Version (KJV)
14But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
Let me know if you are following my thinking on this?

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PostSubject: Re: Time for Choice   Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:49 pm

I follow your thinking. However, the thinking seems to rest on the ideas of man rather than God. The Bible states, "For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength." (1 Cor. 1:25) Therefore, I choose not to rest on man's logic, but, rather, on God's Word.

I do believe God knows the future before it takes place. For example we read in Isaiah 46:9-10:
Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like Me,
Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
And I will do all My pleasure,’



The Bible from cover to cover demonstrates His omniscience. For example, in

Isaiah 46:10 we can read:

"Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
And I will do all My pleasure,’"



Therefore, God's knowledge is exhaustive, including those things in the future:
Job 37:16; Psalms 139: 1-6; 147:5; Heb. 4: 12-13.


Furthermore,
if God’s knowledge of the future is fallible, biblical predictions that depend on human agency might well have turned out wrong. Even Jesus’
predictions in the Olivet Discourse could have failed, thus undermining
His claim to deity. God Himself could have failed the biblical test for a
prophet (Deut. 18:22). If God’s knowledge of the future is incomplete, we would be
foolish to trust Him to answer our prayers, thus negating the
“confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything
according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears
us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” ( 1 John 5:14-15).

Finally,
while some may suggest that God cannot know the future exhaustively
because He changes His plans as a result of what people do, in reality
it is not God who changes, but people who change in relationship to God. For example, if you walk into a headwind, you struggle against
the wind; if you make a u–turn on the road, the wind is at your back. It
is not the wind that has changed, but you have changed in relationship
to the wind. As such, God’s promise to destroy Nineveh was not aborted
because He did not know the future but because the Ninevites, who had
walked in opposition to God, turned from walking in their wicked ways.
Indeed, all of God’s promises to bless or to judge must be understood in
light of the condition that God withholds blessing on account of
disobedience and withholds judgment on account of repentance (Ezek. 18; Jer. 18:7-10).

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PostSubject: Re: Time for Choice   Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:02 pm

Lora, you stated, Finally,
While some may suggest that God cannot know the future exhaustively
Because He changes His plans as a result of what people do, in reality
It is not God who changes, but people who change in relationship to God. For example, if you walk into a headwind, you struggle against
The wind; if you make a u–turn on the road, the wind is at your back. It
is not the wind that has changed, but you have changed in relationship
to the wind. As such, God’s promise to destroy Nineveh was not aborted
because He did not know the future but because the Ninevites, who had
walked in opposition to God, turned from walking in their wicked ways.
Indeed, all of God’s promises to bless or to judge must be understood in
light of the condition that God withholds blessing on account of
disobedience and withholds judgment on account of repentance (Ezek. 18; Jer. 18:7-10).

Bravo! You made a good case for exhaustive omniscience. However, these texts can be understood in light of their context. In many cases their meanings are tied up with what God determines he will do during the time he is speaking and what he knows he will do in future events. One thing must be understood when viewing the biblical texts and that is that the future is both open and closed. That is to say that God can and does determine certain things but it is not a universal thing to assume from texts like these that he determines all events. Free will cannot operate under such constraints of exhaustive foreknowledge. You cannot have it both ways. You cannot say God knows all future free will actions and at the same time say we have free will. It is indefensible and unbiblical.
As I see it the nature of exhaustive omniscience is tied up with principals that evolve from one thing to another. Logically speaking if God is Timeless then there are certain attributes that must follow the idea of timelessness. Timelessness gives birth to attributes that make it impossible for God to change. A timeless being therefore cannot change without doing injustice to his omniscience. So as you say it is not god who changes but we who move between his grace and his wrath, if you will. However, if that were true it would mean that god would not be able to relate to us. As Einstein stated, “God does not play dice with the universe” equals “Everything is determined”! We cannot relate to God because we would be in different preferred frames of references not knowing who is at rest (timeless) to who is in motion (temporal). The idea that God is changeless is unwarranted as the texts are evidently telling us. If you believe that God is a timeless being then he cannot change as you say. It is we who change. However, god does change all the time according to the texts. As I read the text of the Ninevite’s repenting I see god changing his mind and turning from his wrath when he observed their repentance.
Again it is supposed by many theologians that when it comes to change the bible abounds with texts that do show him changing his mind, repenting, being surprised, regretting things and in general working along with people not in a static changeless way but in ever changing patterns to save people who are in need of a relational god. A relational God is able to pause and wait in responding to us. A relational god hears us in our temporal prayers and responds to us in a fluid relational manner. A timeless god is a static god who cannot relate to us and would never be able to hear our prayers. A relational god is a god who can relate to us in the temporal modes of past, present and future tenses.
A changeless timeless being is not the way the Hebrews understood their god.
The greatest challenge to the Greeks formulation of the timeless entity was the incarnation. God change from one form of being and became a human being. The response to this truth was the formation of heresies that challenged the idea that God could change and so regarded the incarnation as false. These heresies commented that Jesus was nothing more than a man because as they saw it god could not change without doing injustice to his nature. The Gnostics almost immediately entered the church and with devilish cunning began to draw people away teaching that Jesus was only a demigod and not divine.
There are many forms of heresy but most if not all of them agree is similarity to the thought that god could ever change. So if I have done my readings well enough I have found that the idea that God is a changeless being was not thought of as being a changeless being until the advent of Greek theology.
In response to the Gnostics the early church fathers created the creeds which to this day declare that god did indeed change and become a human being and when we read them we can see that the Greeks had made a error in their thinking which led many astray unto perdition. However, it is evident that this error continues to permeate the thinking of people today, even in the church. I prefer to believe in a relational god who is the same yesterday (past), today (present), and forever (future)!
I believe in your passion but I am also passionate. I hope you are you hearing me sister?

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PostSubject: Re: Time for Choice   Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:57 am

The human desire to understand, unfortunately impedes our ability to just be a child in our Father's house. I am not knocking or putting down the study of the different ways people believe, come to their understanding, however one chooses to say it. If the study becomes so huge and one cannot compartmentalize the various factors, thereby separating the information into useful and confusing catagories, then the enemy has succeeded in the endeavor to confuse the mind. I love study, discussion and the interaction of the brethren, but if it keeps us from reaching others for Him, then what practical purpose does it serve. We don't know who is reading our words, and if they read confusiion, if they are not capable of this level of understanding (babies need milk) are we creating the possibility of driving some away from the saving grace of God. Just a preacher's thoughts.
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PostSubject: Re: Time for Choice   Sat Dec 31, 2011 9:58 am

ANTI-INTELLECTUALISM

On giving Christians a bad name

King Solomon, the Apostle Paul, Augustine, Aquinas, Newton, Jonathan Edwards, C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, Ravi Zacharias, Alvin Plantinga, William Lane Craig, D.A. Carson.

And He said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ (Mat 22:37 NAS)

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Rom 12:2 NAS)

For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD, and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel. (Ezr 7:10 NAS)

I began with just a few of the great thinkers in our history who also happened to be Christians. I followed that up with just a few verses from the Scripture that illustrate the importance of the life of the mind. Since it may strengthen the argument of some of my detractors I am reticent to write this post today, but it must be addressed.

Less than a quarter of a mile from the church that I pastor is another church from a denomination that I will leave unnamed but which certainly falls into the category of fundamentalist Christian. Today their sign is displaying a message that I find hard to categorize. This is what it says: “REASON IS THE GREATEST ENEMY TRUTH HAS.”

There are a couple of options here. And with this first one I am giving the benefit of the doubt. Even though they are quoting it improperly it may have been an attempt to communicate the words of Marin Luther, “Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has.” Luther felt that while reason can inform faith it is often used against it. Without going into great detail, let me say this view of fideism was not a majority view throughout Christianity, and by the time of Calvin, and in many ways because of him, this view had become somewhat peripheral. I will have to admit that I have serious doubts that the neighboring church was being so intricately nuanced with their marquee message.

I have to tell you that I found the message of the sign so astounding that I had to drive by it three times to makes sure I was reading it correctly. If I understood their intent properly then not only did I find it to be inexplicable, incredulous, offensive, pathetic, false, and silly–but also, that it so distorts the Scripture as to be unbiblical. Allow me to translate–truth is either irrational or unreasonable. So, if you want to know the truth the first thing you need to do is quit thinking. That message is so wrong-headed that it almost defies explanation. Do you then wonder how Christians get the reputation of being ignorant rubes. What could the people who put up that sign possibly have been thinking? Most likely they were not thinking at all!

I will not go into great detail on my response to this message because I have written about it so many times. You know my commitment to the field of Christian apologetics. My contention is that faith is a most rational response to the evidence and that Christianity is the most coherent worldview out in the marketplace of ideas as it answers the questions of origin, purpose, meaning, and destiny. You know my conviction regarding the importance for the Christian of the life of the mind.

I am realizing more than anything else I am just venting my own frustration. As I battle against this idea of anti-intellectualism in the church and then to see it epitomized on the front lawn of a house of worship not a stones throw away. Amazing!

Robert Webber; Secular Humanism: Threat and Challenge
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PostSubject: Re: Time for Choice   Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:35 pm

Carl Diles wrote:
The human desire to understand, unfortunately impedes our ability to just be a child in our Father's house. I am not knocking or putting down the study of the different ways people believe, come to their understanding, however one chooses to say it. If the study becomes so huge and one cannot compartmentalize the various factors, thereby separating the information into useful and confusing catagories, then the enemy has succeeded in the endeavor to confuse the mind. I love study, discussion and the interaction of the brethren, but if it keeps us from reaching others for Him, then what practical purpose does it serve. We don't know who is reading our words, and if they read confusiion, if they are not capable of this level of understanding (babies need milk) are we creating the possibility of driving some away from the saving grace of God. Just a preacher's thoughts.


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PostSubject: Re: Time for Choice   Sun Jan 01, 2012 10:38 am

Please, let us not endevor to pile so much on our plates that they cannot be carried to the table and enjoyed. INFORMATION OVERLOAD with not endough time to digest. Guess I need to stop reading for awhile. I'm just a country boy who talks slow and listens slow. So in the light of my sphere, where I am, and according to my understanding, right now, I walk. If there is something amiss in my relationship, my salvation, my servanthood to Him, then I trust that the Holy Ghost, which I believe abides with me continually, will catch my attention and attempt to direct me in a better manner of action. Down here in Arkansas we say that we'll get a whuppin when we are out of line. The Word says that He chasteneth those He loves and that are His. Key words, THAT ARE HIS! Our choice to be His, Placed in that position I surrender to His direction for my life. If I step out of line, WELLL!! My daddy used to say, "My house, my rules" Lets just try and understand the rules. Thou Shalt Not Have Any Gods Before Me. I believe that if we can keep that one in it's proper place at #1 all the others will fall in line behind it. What ya think?
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PostSubject: Re: Time for Choice   Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:20 am



There is a sign at "music man's barbecue" in charleston s.c. it is an 'all you can eat' restaurant awesome food! the sign reads:"take all you want, eat all you take!" It's human nature...sometimes our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. We all retain information differently, take in more than we can digest! i find that in my case i can read a book several times and if you asked me a specific question about it 'on the spot' i often can get stuck for an answer. But if a situation arises or a moral dilemna...The Holy Spirit will guide us to an answer or a course of action and quite often the answer will be derived from the memory banks of our subconscious (from the deepest part of the iceberg so to speak,sentience) that we have stored by reading, listening, absorbing...we are after all sponges. a sponge doesn't release what it has absorbed without a little squeeze. Jesus often said:"go in peace...your Faith has healed you", this suggests that Faith had to be present in order for the healing to take place. I may be mistaken but i don't ever recall reading, Jesus saying go for I have healed you. Some people have the gift of retention and recall, can quote verbatim from most everything they've read. As if visualizing the very pages themselves in a photographic manner of what was read. When i would compete in poetry slams in the past or just at open mic.'s, extra points would be awarded for reading "off-book" and it was impressive and enabled one to have a greater rapport with the listener, eye contact as well...much more impressive but the message remained the same no matter how passionately or dispassionately expressed. The message often changes and is adapted into our own perceptions. That's why when an accident occurs the police on the scene will gather as many eye-witness accounts as possible...if one were privy to read the report one would see the same story told from many different angles by many different people from many walks of Life , in fact it might even seem like totally different stories. In the Bible the same stories, same eye-witness accounts at different points in time but with very little differences in consistency of the message. That is what makes it so unique and irrefutable. i've only been reading the Bible for a little over a year and i know i have a lot to learn, i feel i'm moving right along...hopefully in a good direction. But i would certainly welcome and appreciate it if it seems like the contrary...speak up.

The next fall can't possibly be as bad as the ones He's lifted me up from one would hope.

A driver of a yugo and a driver of a lambourghini are subject to the same set of rules, stop on red...proceed on green.

If both run the same red light at the same time...the lambourghini driver will most likely be the one pulled over (perceptions):)

One thing i've learned well...things are not always what they appear to be.
God sees things in his creation we can't see for ourselves, every now and then he reminds us of that when we least expect...quite humbling and awe-inspiring.

somethings are simply autonomous functions without any thought required on our consciousness part, breathing, heartbeating, blinking when our eyes are dry of if a foreign object gets in them for example, then there are choices. The more we study the Word the better choices we make, moving along at different paces, all trying to maintain the same path. It requires a conscious effort, a conscious choice. Everybody has something to learn, everyone has something to teach...whether by good or bad example. What to avoid...what to embrace?
Pray for discernment but our wills often get set in our 'own' ways'...it's a process i believe.
i could be wrong?
It takes a lot of humility to receive, it takes a bit of ego (confidence) to succeed.

Happy New Year !

God Bless.


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PostSubject: Re: Time for Choice   Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:17 am

If you have only been reading the Bible for a year, I want to be in touch with you in another 5 or 10 (if the Lord tarries) So right you are in the aspect that we all have something to bring to the table and have something to contribute, if we would. Reading your words, oneagleswings, I feel a calmness, a peace with oneself, that is impressive to see, considering what I have read from some of your other posts. Churches and denominations are so good at kicking on to the curb when we don't play ball their way. I CHOOSE TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT, NOT POPULAR! I've always been a loner of sorts and my wife has been deeply hurt also, so it was really easy for God to lead us into evangelism. The love of travel. lost sleep, bad food, you know, kinda like drivin a truck, planting the seed of the Word of God whenever and wherever possible. I choose to serve the Lord. And when that choice is made, when one knows that they are exactly where God wants them, it's not work anymore, but a love life and a love for life that only the Word can bring. Blessings
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PostSubject: Re: Time for Choice   Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:26 pm

Re: Carl Diles
We are off to a good start (5-10 years, God willing) and thank you for the friends you have introduced into our lives, love you brother!

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PostSubject: Re: Time for Choice   Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:48 am

Enoch was and then was not for he had this testamony, that he pleased God. My desire is the same. To please Him!
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