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BULLETIN ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY SIX
PREDESTINATION AND FREEWILL
THE UNIQUE SUCCESS OF THE BIBLICAL MODEL
Let us extend the work of Predestination and Freewill as there outlined. This volume sufficed; it has been maintained for the last fifty plus years, including nearly a quarter of a century on the Web, open to question. There were to be found in the Bible, it was maintained, propositions - ten were named - such that if these were used as a framework, set of principles, manifestation of method, there would be exposed what was a harmonious series of components which, taken together, would enable the solution of the generically expressible predestination and freewill problem. This was done, including the principles of logic involved in the work in the Appendix on Kant, in that volume, which invalidated anything of that type, which assigned causation to the merely subjective level.
Left with logic, the invalidation - if so be - of which would invalidate argumentation against its integrity, we had - as we have - a series of aspects which are available to cover the case, leaving the challenging items resolvable.
For example, reductionism merely creates a case with an exclusion of some data, whereas the problem is as it is, in terms of unrestricted data, as has been shown repeatedly. Abandoning empirical aspects of the problem, does not solve it. Determinism, similarly, which seeks to cover the case in advance of investigation of all its aspects, has much the same effect, together with various difficulties, we find, such as assigning to the realm of what is not - in terms of that model - free to think, nor bound by logic, argumentation which assumes the relevance of logic! by which it determines what, on this basis not being objectively specifiable except by the mere assumption that it is there, and this, as to cause, based on nothing, for no reason, without ground, and meanwhile begging the question of what has caused it all, while left with the result that if the unknown specifies all the countervailing laws against all comers, to force to conformity to itself, being itself unknown as to cause and content: then it is no solution to the problems.
On this model, it merely means that an unknown cause, if there is one, has in some way found control of human life in such a manner that the latter has no freedom. This is deemed to be so, even if this unfree life can and does attack and reject the same theory as not involving logic, but the unknown which mysteriously controls, and is hence merely a roving irrationalism, not susceptible to usage in any rational system.
WHERE FROM and HOW and in what harmoniously cohesive context is what it is that is proposed, to be sustained ? It is like a Pacific Island, but one lacking both ground and sea. Certainly it proceeds without presenting a rational solution; and as often shown, if reason for any reason (already self-contradiction, it may be noticed) were to be deemed invalid, then ipso facto, all argumentation to sustain it rationally is merely another irrationalism. It cannot, in terms of its own model, achieve any valid result.
Leaving that blur of contradiction, however, for the sake of rational progress, we find what can stand in this realm.
Thus, taking all the data, and what is necessary for harmonious function and not self-contradictory irrelevance, in hand, or at least to heart and keeping it in mind, and pursuing it with spirit (as presented often before, a spirit that is in part itself lawless, conceiving either ephemeral nonsense, lies, intentional lies, or highly disciplined thought), we come to an impasse. How is it lawless as so conceived, in such a model ? It is so, in being able and often willing to attack the very idea of our having spirit - though in doing so we are working with it as a function, and self-deceive in doing so, whether being aware of fraudulent motivation (to escape the results of logic and perception), or unaware. It makes no difference.
The capacity to deceive is there, and as the dimming of passion often reveals, self-deceit is a potentially tragic form of virtual self-hypnotism, so that many ask, How could I ever have believed/thought/done that! The capacity for obstruction of thought by teeming means of irrelevance or mere desire, for distortion, is there as is often found in collision rather than collusion with the rules of logic, as also of the imagination of what is not, in preference to what is. This is often called wishful thinking, awry but absent from correction till a sober state returns and rationality has access to the core again, as well as to the character of the thing. This of course has been pursued before, in its clothes of pretence.
NO law controls man, but what is necessary for his bodily existence in health, his mental validity in reason, and his spiritual realism, in imagination and articulation. Even this is susceptible to perfectly straight-faced derangement! After that phase is over, he is free except for various pathologies which can afflict body, mind and spirit, or any one of them. As with the body, there is available in the biblical model, a remedy, but in this case, one more far-reaching and more sure than in that case.
For the body, the disruptive and dispersive pathological power can annul all availability of mental energy with which to think, leaving the systems partially orphaned. This limits freedom. For the mind itself per se, there are afflictions in which imagination can displace any sense of reality or realism, which would involve system of order and law, which requires power to concentrate and distinguish sustainable reality in the face of degrading preoccupations. Degrading ? here this is used in the sense of an excluding or compromising elevated power, so forcing it to rely on subordinate conditions and availabilities. The mind can become obsessed, involved in distorting depression where mood replaces thought as a control, subject to hallucination, philosophical or mental in its basis, or both. It may, on the other hand, be ruthlessly logical but ill-informed, well-informed but ruthlessly irrational to the tune of subversive desire.
The spirit, thirdly, itself can become partially automated by passion, desire for advantage - known or unconscious - for an almost infinite array of disturbing distortions, whether total or partial and in that case, only in some areas or arenas of thought or spirit itself. But any phase of the action of a carefully integrated series of principle, can distort or deny the result for the others. There is freedom to rove or rave, deceive or delude, whether for a known purpose, an unconscious thrust or an inspirational conception.
All this is so, and is a limit reminding us that we are NOT self-sufficient; but like our own products, be they cars, aeroplanes or space ships, we have laws and liabilities of our own, that is, specially and specifically applicable to their operation. This, no more than is the case with the body, does not necessarily ruin its operation, or even dismember, dismiss or negate it. Health of mind, body and spirit does exist. Various, though limited issues may in some cases be overcome, but only with understanding and sufficient residual knowledgeability involving pursuing in investigation various fatal errors. There is no surety or stability in the result.
Over time, cultures can become inured and preferred, though they be both thoughtless and obviously unsustainable in various elements; and some portion of mankind accordingly may act to the sacrifice of vitality, rational activity and justice, covering up its crimes with irrational ranting, whether expressed in large or little red books, or those of any other colour, vacuously heralding the arrival of pleasant or preferable destinies if only followed, in terms of the say-so of their social salesmen.
All these are, in the last resort, kinds of pathology, misuse of equipment, ejection of the empirical, as a basis in some things, or the rational as a control in anything or the spiritual as to its existence, though it is this which distinguishes us as a race, just as markedly, in general but not in every case, as wings tend to distinguish birds, and natural flight is one of their inherent powers, though insects for example often share it with them. The pathology as a term here, however, is not used as a disabling phenomenon in its own right, it must be emphasised, but as at least it is a drag and at a most, a dissolution of human functionality.
That is the nature of spirit as of pain. In itself: it does not disable, but it may do so in the phase in view, if it pressures awry sufficiently in a soul divorced from the protection and power of its Maker.
It is in the area of spirit that our concern currently lies, outside reductionism, as beyond ardent irrationalities and the like. In this case, it is the ultimate human capacity for control which is involved. Biblically, in our pursuit of the exhibition of the groundwork of principles it provides, which allow resolution of possible antinomies and the provision of actual resolutions of apparent disharmonies, we have pursued the issues and in that model, as in the 1964 thesis, resolved them. This age-old area of confusion or delusion or derangement is peculiar to this philosophic focus, because of its depth; but on the biblical model, we have pursued the position; and examining on that basis, very closely, one has unearthed neither disharmony, not inability, nor rarefied coverage, but rather an undisturbable resolution of the problems in this arena of thought, on all sides. The 7th volume of the set of which the thesis is the first, contains much in the way of first imagining or facing methods of attack, and then in terms of this same biblical model, resolving them, one by one....
One item should be mentioned here. There is a question of disabling spiritual pathology, which is spoken of for example in Ephesians 4:17-19, and of dysfunctional dynamic, as exhibited for example in John 1:13, 3:19, at the spiritual level. Yet there is an attribution to man of entire responsibility for his disfigurement of function, as in John 1:12, one which involves susceptibility to human obfuscation in terms of God Himself. Will, as such, one there learns, does not in itself abate or destroy this defect. The remedy involves neither blood (special inheritance), nor will (special effort) as its basis. On the other hand, spiritually man is here demarcated, his life, as being in a potentially fatal condition.
Christ Himself made this extent of blindness which overarches man relative to the knowledge of God, to be more than clear: even to abrupt and acute dismissal of validity. You SHUT your own eyes, He declared to those rejecting His mediatorial and reconciling office relative to deity, so how can you see! He charged this, as did the prophet Isaiah in the name of the Lord, in speaking to Israel centuries before ( Isaiah 6:9-10) as seen in Matthew 13:14-15. They do this LEST they should see and be converted, He declared.
HOW can these things all be so, though they are visible in
experience in almost unvarying force ? This has all be traced in great detail in
the 7 volumes on these topics (ON
PREDESTINATION and FOREKNOWLEDGE,
LIBERTY and NECESSITY, RESPONSIBILITY, DUTY and CREATIVITY).
How then, we have asked, is it possible to reconcile or harmonise such things ? The model supplied in the Bible, from which we take the harmonising principles, is briefly, this. Firstly, there is indeed such a dysfunction of the human spirit, because of spiritual culpable pathology. Like drunkenness, its norm is a spiritually culpability. Man's spirit, relative to God, does distort and render dysfunctional man's ability to use his gifts freely in this field. However, God has taken care of this aspect of the freedom even to reject Him, against all reason and gutting all ground.
How has He done this, and in what way does this enable culpability for the situation on the part of man ? The point made is that God has not forsaken mankind in his mental muddle and spiritual rebelliousness, whether conscious or unconscious, though without His intervention, man's case becomes subject readily to parts of the natural scene, in acute vulnerability (as in Psalm 1). If he declines, rescue from this scene of no availing action from God, then the results do not decline.
How may this be done, according to this model, the biblical composed one ? It is thus. Before creation (Ephesians 1:4 for example, as in Romans 8:30ff.), like an author with a prospective book or an architect with a prospective building, God has examined the case, indeed each case of mankind before Him; and knowing the direction of heart of each one, undisturbed in every case (for since this is before creation, it is also before sin and its distortions and defilements of the liberty of the type given to Adam and Eve), He foreknows who are His. It is as in Romans 9, not a simple matter of foreknowing what every one will do, but of knowing His own people, the disposition of each heart.
What then, are we told, are His own in this biblical model ? It is those who prefer HIM, not darkness as in John 3:19, that obscuration being said of those, despite the divine desire, decline to be and not saved from engulfing and disabling sin, in the direct sphere of the actual and acute knowledge of God. This leaves open why He does it ? Why not use force to gain what He would like ?
Love is the answer as in John 3. How much love ? what room is there for enlightened self-interest which itself could distort, conceivably, the operation of that objectivity which results in salvation - that is the ultimate willingness of each individual human, past all circumstance - something ONLY God CAN reliably know, and only love unquestionably provide.
For God makes it very often abundantly clear that as far as His desire is concerned, in the biblical model, He would have all men to be saved, all beings, whether in heaven or earth to be reconciled to Himself (I Timothy 2, Colossians 1:19). This, moreover is in terms of the very ample provision of the sacrificial and vicarious death of His only begotten Son. Indeed, in providing some kind of approach to measuring the extent of this love, as uncompromised, God declares in John 3, that the greatness of the love (SO loved that...) is shown by the greatness of the sacrifice. It concerns Him in His own life. It concerns Him personally. It concerns Him as with a child, here the incarnate Word of God as Jesus Christ. It concerns Him as with an only child. It concerns His giving up this child for glorious access to His healing, holiness, help and realism. How ? by satisfying justice in bearing the sin of all who come to Him as sacrifice for sin, and mercy in then freely pardoning with not a mere caution against repetition, but a regeneration of the willing heart, selected as foreknown.
Indeed, this love, the biblical model indicates in Ephesians 3, is beyond length and depth and past the very efforts of knowledge to limit it. It is illimitable, though as is the case with love, not to be confused with mere violence, force or brutality. Love is not displayed when mere force is operative, but a violent disregard of it. God then though grieved, is not frustrated in those who do not believe. It is the very nature of the issue that they be free to reject, and broad, we learn from the words of Christ is the way of that process! (Matthew 7:13ff.).
This provides the basis of the answer at the spiritual level, and exhibits how man can be free still, in the ultimate realities, concerning God, in outcomes. It is then as with Adam in principle, though (Romans 5), not in method, Adam having not sinned at the time when he chose, and the rest being in sin when the time came.
It is true as in I Corinthians 2, that we find that the 'natural' man, the one whom God has not yet liberated from the culpable pathology of sin, is disabled in realising aptly the spiritual realities, and distorts, dismisses or is blind to such things; but as in Hebrews 6 and 10, this does not mean that the merely natural rules. Whether in physical or mental or spiritual matters, God always has both the first and the last word.
If nature for example physically gives you a fatal disease (in terms of its normal ways as natural) and God intervenes in a miracle, as the Christian may find on occasion, as in many other areas, then the intervention (in analogy like that fo a surgeon) disturbs or dismisses the natural limit. His PRESENCE at will does so, and He may allow various participations to be experienced in the matter of salvation, but these are an exhibition of aspects of the reality by the Spirit of God direct, a reality from the first foreknown by God, and through predestination mercifully made certain to stand, and not twisted, but in alliance with the truth.
Thus as in Isaiah 48:15ff., we can see correlative considerations in the grief of God that Israel did not listen, see, arise, awake at a time of opportunity, but instead, in spiritual listlessness avoided deliverance and the glorious future that would have been there for it! Oh that you had listened, then your peace would have been such a picture of undisturbed order! is the theme. Human responsibility is not only present, but applicable to a devastating level. It is the same both in Matthew 23:37 and Luke 19:41, and we find Jesus Himself wept over what He KNEW was to come in a devastating result, stone not left upon stone in the temple itself! He is not sad because He made a mistake - none is ever shown, but because man did.
We see likewise in John 15:21ff., as in John 9:41, that responsibility is not only a datum in the biblical model, but a practical one. Thus Christ is telling us that the damnation for sin would not so far in actual test, be applicable per se, in the first of the two cases above, if those concerned had not SEEN His works, or HEARD His speech. But since they HAD both seen and heard, and yet still did not believe, therefore their sin remained. Such was the declaration of the Son of God. In the second case, the Pharisees would not be responsible if merely blind, but because they had nevertheless said, 'We see,' therefore their sin remained.
Hell is attainable only in effect, over the dead body of Christ, who in love freely provided to the contrary to the uttermost. Its hopeless loss however may be achieved and is sadly available, for negative zealots, in effect on demand! If you won't catch the flight, it will go without you. Deserved for all as in Romans 1-2, due condemnation is escaped by many (John 10:9,27-28) and the Lord constantly encourages flight from it by His rescue in redemption (Matthew 23:37ff., Isaiah 48). Made in God's image, man is not turned directly or indirectly into a robot or manipulee, but is still showered with an extravaganza of divine grace.
In other words, God in creation acts AS God, causing the multiple synchronism, synthetic unification, cohesive integrality and mutual assignment of definitions of terms implicit in the code, both to command and to be received by the operational media in the body, and in other affairs, He does the same. Nature, even for man's spirit, waits upon the Supernatural God whenever He chooses to act in a sphere. As with the body, in miracles of healing, so with the spirit and the mind. On occasion, He can undertake to act direct. No disease of any kind in man limits His perception of him. He may reveal what nature forbids, or do so at certain points only in a conversion experience, bringing into being the foreknowledge of each person from eternity.
The crucial failure most often found in survey of these matters, is just to try to graft some of the mysteriously and impenetrably imagined natural model, into the biblical one. But models are not for admixture during test, but to be kept in purity of principle, les confusion become a leading concept! If you are doing to test, then it is necessary to test what is there, in a given model, not some imaginary admixture.
Grafts of opposites, or if you like of wheat genes with orchid ones, naturally do not work. You have to choose what you are trying out, and keep to it, to avoid simple confusion. God acts as God in salvation also. He does not lose His powers, but uses them.
Thus He knows all about it, contrives the method to achieve His desire, takes account of pathology, including its culpable aspect, as exhibited before time was created, such as we know it. Similarly, He knows what He wants when time comes into being, and secures a method of ensuring what is foreknown, is what happens. He does this, not losing but in the very act of guaranteeing freedom as real as for Adam, indeed that before Adam even arrived on the scene, or had the privilege of natural existence.
Nor is God deceived by ignorant gestures, where logic is required (cf. Romans 1:17ff.), nor by human deception or self-deception, but reality is His own construction, He made it and He knows it. He does not destroy His own work, nor does He ignore its defilement. As in its creation, so in its salvation, He knows how to act to fulfil His love, and yet not obtrude into mere force, showing continually His desire to deliver, but the necessity of justice if all remedy is resisted.
Neither the body, nor the mind, nor the spirit of man can obscure His knowledge or trivialise His actions. If mankind in general rejects His solution, known as the Gospel, then He may indeed allow them to suffer the consequences, though still ready to intervene in mercy. It is this which history enables, for as Psalm 1 indicates, rejection of truth can leave you as if asleep in the dark, that is open to natural conditions in a world already under divine curse. Yet on this model, it remains to this day as one free for the intervention of mercy and not merely the cancellation of curse, even for the place of pardon.
As with many operations on the body, this one is entirely specific, specialised in concept and necessary for (in this case) spiritual life. It is an option, but being as necessary to man in his condition, as breath to the body, it is either for what is deadly or what is delightful, as is land to a Channel swimmer in rough weather. Without land, you sink; and even so, without God; but made by Him, you are sundered from the source and support of reality, vitality and exuberance, of what can be called life itself.
So far from predestination being an enemy of freedom, it is its final and sure support; and so far from natural causes alone degrading man, they are a reminder of life apart from Him who made both them and mankind. The denial of the spiritual surgery needed on the biblical model, is as normal in such cases: because the result without it is fatal, and its method is unique to itself, while its avoidance is a self-imposed death sentence of a spiritual being.
Below is a brief and somewhat summary look at some of the major features of the resolution of predestination and freewill, to see how in some more detail it fits with the demonstration of the truth of the Bible, and its inbuilt and expressly stated principles, and clear implications. Many more aspects are to be found in Predestination Review, one of the latter treatments in numerous aspects of the case, all chiming like melodious bells, with just that delicate degree of complexity which is often found in real work, and that robust measure of real truth, when you come at last to its underlying nature.
That is turn is volume 7 of the series on this topic, noted in large print and green, above.
FOR REASONINGS AND
TREASON TO THE AUTHOR OF MAN AND HIS TRUTH
One of the delightful things about the truth is that it is embracive: one thing leads to another as surely as in a paper chase.
Take the proof of God's existence, speaking to man, exhibiting basic characteristics and goodness. That is to be found in The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, for example, especially in Ch. 1. It is based on no assumptions, but a defended use of logic, without which no argument is possible, or position even defensible. This leads to the only known defensible solution to the tension and problems in the ancient and modern strife about predestination and freewill. That is shown especially in the MA Thesis, for Melbourne University, but also throughout in various connections, the 7 volume sub-set of the 243 volume theological set of which this is a part.
There is found to be no escape from determinism of one kind or another, except through God, the God of the Bible. He also being conjoined as demonstrated, to the Bible, in this His word shows the features NECESSARY for freedom for man. His own nature, shown neither lacking nor grasping nor even possibly so, His provisions and our actions and attitudes show these, listed as 10 features concerning Him, found in the Bible. Through these it is demonstrated that not is only the resolution of the amphitheatre style clashes about these various views, each side remorseless and partially blind through failure to apply the Bible deeply and meaningful - not to say systematically - to the case. Also exhibited is the reason for the uniqueness of the Gospel offer.
Thus involved is a specialised compilation on the topic in terms of principles in the Bible, including 10 specified features. This is then applied in an analytical manner, as IN TURN one more verification of the Bible as the word of God. Nowhere else are these needed propositions for systematic harmony and coverage of the case, to be found. It is not that it needed this additive to its armoury of verification; but as in so much continually, it comes to cover things like a skin, joining solution on one topic to that on another, till as found in my 243 volume set, there is no philosophic problem left. As Christ said, He is the light of life and He who follows Him will not walk in darkness. This is an extension of the verification just noted.
Thus, to take but one example, the demonstration concerning the nature and existence of God (cf. Romans 1:17ff.) leads readily to that on the resolution of one of the most fundamental philosophic problems ever posed to man, one affecting him in a many-sided melee of trouble, when confusion continues. In fact, this sort of confusion reminds of that increasingly facing Western democracies. It is by no means clear that only certain and varied cultural facts are behind the hideous split paralysing or grossly impeding much action, because of split into two social segments - ultimately spiritual ones, both intemporately wrong in spirit. One is in this direction: "It's good to be green and pay everyone everything, and live by a magical cheque book, drawn on someone or something else," ignoring the curse on man so exceedingly manifest in his incredible foolishness in reciprocal action. Increasingly, the harvest of such propaganda is a few million agonised groans to sickening deaths here and there, with something life the motif, 'Not a problem: let's do it again, and pretend the term 'MAD' often used as an acronym, is banished. Something will turn up: it has to!"
How and why there is this expectation is never made clear. The other tends in another direction: "Let's work unblinkingly, do what it takes to meet our wants and not fool about with endless moralisings and conditions which will merely impoverish us, diffuse our power, make us liable to invasion, or certainly to competitive disaster at the hand of our numerous enemies. Things have to WORK, and to that end, we will work."
As each of the two aspects that could be better harmonised with more insight, wisdom, restraint, and above all, drawing on the harmonies on the topic in the Bible, banishing selfishness and simple-mindedness, together with irreligious irrationality, such as has grow prodigiously in the last century, it would bring some redress.
But it is not coming. Lust for man as centre (like that for the child-centred education, or the woman centred universe, and loathing - not without some cause - for the man-centred universe, as God with a feebler kick than that in Moscow, is kicked out: this foolishness): this is a sequence. Blame someone. Exalt some group. But this above all goes the secular cult-situation, never lean on God, or acknowledge Him, and somehow contrive to call it freedom to kick Him out of public life and never, never again teach the Bible in schools.
These and other irreparable clashes of slivers telling a part of the case, but distorting it, and smashing against others, become a symptom of a weakness and increasing blindness to the obvious, the truth, while various dictatorships, including some with man-invented religions, ultimately making man INTO some kind of a God, as predicted in the Bible (II Thessalonians 2), proliferate. When one ruler already expressly calls himself God, we see the pattern in process.
Freedom never exists when lusts rule and God is omitted, Without Him, there is no understanding, and various cheapening reductionisms are applied to man which cannot begin to contain or explain Him or ourselves, for that matter. The irony is this: that the more man seeks remorselessly for a god-like dignity, the cheaper morally are his actions, and not surprisingly, the more they resemble at the international level and not there alone, devilish diatribes and dynamics, that know neither shame nor terminus, self-contradictory in basis, and well described in terms of a bottomless pit.
Is this then, forsaking the demonstrable wonders of the truth, the Bible, the Gospel which it biblically conveys, the marvellous, self-made destiny for man ? His truth in the Bible resolves the confusions, meets the philosophies, confounds the religions: for it manifestly works, its words predict, retrodict, invite and are consistent in kind. But that same desire as at the first, to be up there, in the god-like realm, sharing and not caring, still operates. It cannot be because it is not the case. As to such aspirations of many, and their resolves: It is rather like saying, 'Infinity and the integer 1, it is very much the same thing.' The mistake is infinite; and here so is the loss.