W W W W World Wide Web Witness Inc. Home Page Contents Page for Volume What is New
AN ULTIMATE INTIMATION,
A POSSESSION OF PRIZE
FROM THE LORD BY HIS WORD
Before proceeding with this delightful theme of predestination, foreknowledge, duty, responsibility, truth, peace, justice, equity and love in their cohesion and beauty as exposed in the Bible and attested in life, it is good to rehearse for a brief moment, an emphasis with provision of references, relating to Gratitude for His Glorious Grace, Appendix as found in the list of contents for Volume 6 of
ON PREDESTINATION and
LIBERTY and NECESSITY,
RESPONSIBILITY, DUTY and CREATIVITY
namely, The Spiritual Sagacity of Predestination in Love.
This provides some useful references in this field, to which we now will be addding.
APPENDIX ON GRACE, LIBERTY, LOVE,
RIGHTEOUSNESS, TRUTH, MEANING
AND THEIR UNIQUE CONSISTENCY
IN THE BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE
liberty not lost
Seeing foreknowledge and predestination, love and repudiation, history and liberty, in the scriptural light, that all may be seen in harmonious uniqueness: nothing less is found in the word of God, than what meets all the scope of man's thought in these arenas, leaving him naked to the word, but invited to be covered.
While such things have been touched before, providing a background for this -
cf. Marvels of Predestination and the Ways of Will Ch. 6, 'theology' and Bible;
Ch. 6, *2, will and meritless operation;
Ch. 2 (selections);
The Pride of Life, the Prince of Life and the Destiny of Man Ch. 3, *1
Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 11, esp. pp.172ff.;
Great Execrations, Great Enervations, Greater Grace Ch. 9;
His Wounds Opened Eternity Ch. 4 (also contrasted with Islamic deficiencies);
Sparkling Life ... Ch. 7,
Earth Spasm... Ch. 6;
Scaling the Heights ... Ch. 5 -
yet this is considered in the light of the findings of Ch. 9, above, so that if any lack, they may feed on the word of God.
of what the Bible says about these topics
from the grievous mutilations of and impositions on its assertions
in terms of a kind of sovereignty alleged to be in God
which somehow outwits the scope of the love repeatedly asserted by HIm,
is an important objective.
This error was not only committed by Calvin, despite the excellent features of much of his work.
but no less by the opposite error.
That comes from the categorical contradiction of the Bible,
by making the human will as it is,
operative in direct choice of God (John 1:12 contra),
as if predestination were beyond the pale,
whereas this alone allows the
full glory of the word and work of God to be affirmed.
This review done, we proceed to our present application.
Removing from unbiblical extremes, we are then free to show the power of the precision of the biblical account, how when taken as it is, and not distorted, it provides a solution of all these areas of human life in terms of divine proclamations, exhibits and principles, which nothing else comes near.
THE ESSENCE OF POSSESSING YOUR POSSESSIONS
the reality of human responsibility, the integrity of the image of God in man in its fulfilment,
the meaning of duty and the nature of love without truncation or trespass.
This being found in the Bible, not only in text, but in the very exhibition of the principles involved, it would be folly to foul it with imported philosophies, defiling what God says. This is a supreme case of the biblical word: Possess Your Possessions. Nothing else so resolves the entire mystery of man, as the biblical teaching, neither expansionist in what is not attested in fact, nor reductionist, in trying to omit this or that component of the situation of man, and the scope of his spirit.
and freedom a mere illusion.
IF, on the other hand, the divine will were to be exclusivistically determined, without reference to the essential desire of the human will, as indeed ONLY God in infinite wisdom CAN know it (cf. Jeremiah 17), then it becomes an exercise in divine preference, on whatever criterion, one that annuls human liberty in its meaning, as created, and substitutes another person for the former one, not thus giving freedom to the original, or to its actual preference, but establishing from beyond, a mere correlative being, created by God. The regenerate thus simply replaces the degenerate. There is no responsibility, meaning to love or relationship to choice.
We would then come to a kind of divine determinism,
where the whole meaning of man in the image of God,
and so equipped with such power to choose that his very choice becomes assessable,
so that for this he is responsible, and hence arraignable, with results according,
becomes what ?
Instead of its birthright, it is ground down to mere human irresponsibility, where what you are becomes your captive cage and you cannot break out, being merely judged in situ for being defective and deficient. It is this, or else you are selected with no type of opportunity to be other or find something other than yourself, or depart from the limit of your will and the obfuscation of your sight.
Irrelevant, in such an unbiblical models here entirely is actual fault; for the question at this level is not how responsible we all are in defects, defection and the like, for the topic is other.
It is nothing
else or other than this:
how is human
responsibility real, justly estimable,
How is love
real from God to man, in offering deliverance,
liberty meaningful enough to avoid mockery,
How is man more than mockery!
The answer is found in careful attention to divine prescriptions concerning the love of God, its scope in the field of desired salvation, the nature of the construction of man, the ability of God to use foreknowledge of man, not in his attainments, but in essential reality, and to apply this, the liberty which is given by payment for entry to pardon and peace out of what does not intrinsically deserve it, the fulfilment of mercy, justice, love and equity altogether, the base for life and its meaning.
This is precisely what is taught in Romans 9:16, John 3:19, Colossians 1:19ff., John 3:5ff., 6:55, 5:24, Matthew 11:27-30, Proverbs 1, Ezekiel 33:11, Isaiah 48:16ff., Luke 19:42ff., Matthew 23:27ff. and in endless expressions of an historical kind in which the divine love flows like a blessed and beautiful stream, crisp, cool, clean and moving with dynamic, over the slithery rocks which remaining embedded in the course of the water, will not be moved down the falls to the pools of contentment below. It is necessary not to flit about the principles spoken by God, adjusting and adapting, but to APPLY them as they are, and find the result, not of one's intrusiveness, but of His exclusiveness. It is the divine mind, which expressed for our instruction, must be followed. Philosophy loves to make daring snaps at the heels of truth; but theology must follow, as sheep do, what the shepherd is actually saying, and meditating on it, not diverge.
How often would He have moved them, but, as He says, you were not willing.
I would; you would not.
Not I would not.
There is no question of the thrust of His desire, or its uttermost intensity; nor of the thrust of the resistance, handled by the Lord with the uttermost integrity; nor of the doom which comes despite it in the end with the uttermost certainty, where this continues. There is no secret about the love of God in its scope and intensity, sincerity and backing with payment as the case might require; about human resistance and its entire relevance in the mind of God to what He does; nor to His comprehensive and absolute knowledge before time was (Ephesians 1:4), of all that would be. In this, He is neither mere observer, being participant, for it is His will which is final; nor breacher of the image-status of man as made by Himself.
There is the entire passion of the disturbance, the dynamic, the divine longing and reluctant award of doom with such remonstrances as you find in Isaiah 48:16ff., and Jeremiah 1-17.
Thus, this is not to prescribe to God, but the very opposite. It is to note what He says and does, in history and in principle, and to apply His own word which provides the standard for concern and the answer to it. In doing so, the resolution of all these matters is total, without residue, and the meaningfulness of human life and the intensity of the necessity to find God alike are established. Nowhere else is this so; nor could it be so, for reasons to be noted briefly, in part, below.
God did not have to be just, to be reasonable, to so love the world that, statedly without desiring to judge, but to save it, He came and made free the way back to Himself with all responsibility. Yet this He did, while assigning guilt to those who rejected this saving provision made, in terms of that very love. Either this love, to the satisfaction of the knowledge of God, reached what rejected it, in reality, or it did not. If it did not, then there is no ground for condemnation at the level of rejection, which is the one divinely assigned in John 3:19.
Indeed, Christ makes this eminently direct in John 15:22ff., where they would not have had sin if He had not come among them and spoken the words none other spoke, and done the deeds none other had done! The issue ? hating both Christ and His Father, or not! hence, being with or without God for ever. According to the issue, so is its issuance.
In THIS case ? hating Jesus Christ and so God, despite auditing His words and seeing His deeds, hence a self-serving exclusion notice, that is, one served by oneself upon oneself. The issues are eternal, and seeing and hearing thus, closes the issue, except they repent and hence alter the input and so the output. THIS is the significance of the ISSUE; and without so seeing and hearing, by the direct word of Jesus Christ, they would not have had sin to the point. Nothing could more clearly demonstrate the PRINCIPLE in view, that of informed rejection, however this may be determined by God.
SINCE moreover God expressly states that He would have all reconciled and to repent and come to a knowledge of the truth, this being His desire, AND accords guilt and failure in this situation to those who THEN do not come to the light of this love as in John 3, THEREFORE it follows that the human will, not as incapable and so irrelevant to love, but as made relevant, is indeed responsible at this secondary level. That is, it not only is responsible for sinning but for the relevant sin of rejecting free salvation.
Before all time, God has known the results for each without mere breach, before sin smirked or its slaveries slithered in to take control, whether with conscious failure of will or conditioning of conscience to rationalising acceptance of sin as if it were not so. Penetration for His knowledge is effectual, and only when He is satisfied does the divine action that liberates occur. This is the restraint that love always has, in that its propulsion is not mere self-expression, the very opposite of love, but seeking of the best for what is before it. As God IS the best for what He has created, it is to Himself and His will that it relates; since man IS in God's image, it is not a mere matter of so desiring, as if man were wood or stone or plastic or a momentous piece of dirigible dynamic. It is a matter of divinely discernible preference, in a divinely enabled situation, categorical before time, impelled within it.
Foreknowledge is where it begins in Romans 8:29ff., and justification is where it leads, glory where it ends for those who are SO foreknown, their authentic resultant known to God and implemented in history.
God took action and paid for the free pardon, enabled the free admission and all the consequential action, involved in making redeemed persons accessible to Him in direct personal style, and Himself to them.
Just as this clears God's name from a pretentious and merely apparent love that in fact by some mystery of Calvin's creation, does not really extend to all things in heaven and earth as He Himself states in Colossians 1, and I Timothy 2 for example, yes to all the world as seen in the context of God on the one side and this world on the other, as He likewise intimates in John 3. Thus it elevates man to meaningfulness of life to the ultimate degree.
Extend ? perhaps in some way, says Calvin, but not in THIS way. Yet this way, that involved in meeting with, knowing and living with and for God, covered with mercy, pardon and love, is the very one relevant for the application of the divinely stated principles concerning God Himself: and He knows intimately at such levels, what we know derivatively by READING WHAT HE SAYS. This provision and this alone does contain, as it has contained for millenia, the key to understanding and the resolution of mysteries.
Hence the will, foreknown as God says, before time and hence the human will in sin and the world in its thrall, the will of man being known in this ultimate manner, is not a distorting agent because of circumstances that limit and scar. That horror is avoided. What HE knows is the truth; and the will of man, this He knows. In Him and Him alone is no confusion, neither extenuation in soppish squeamishness, nor intrusion in fickle fashion for what is simply wanted more.
HE SO LOVED ... THE WORLD ... that He sought to save in so coming. He did not so love part of it, that this part of it .... etc. etc.. This is NOT what He says. It contradicts all that He says. For this resolution available over the millenia only in the Bible, that is mere contradiction. Taking it as it comes, however, this is where it goes. Each part taken, must be assembled with each other, and none ever contradicted. It is hardly injuriously hard!
Thus some are SO chosen in Christ, through divine foreknowledge, before even this world was founded (Ephesians 1:4), so that the human will is freed in irrelevance, from NOT being free to will as it will. Being chosen before sin smote man's will, and known in reality, the will is indeed free to will as realities impound, God its guarantor and source of knowledge before*1A knowledge gaining departure from a natural knowledge of God, squirms in self-imposed limitations which become in source, the entire confounding of man, source of his weakness of heart and befouled residual knowledge, on the one hand and on the other. This sure source of confusion God has excluded in His divine foreknowledge of the realities of man. God in SO loving has ensured this divine discernment to act in integrity, and in SO acting has done it, first as framed in foreknowledge, then as this is codified into predestination. It is effectual as founded on the all-capacious cross, the application following the reality for each.
It PLEASED Him to sent Christ as deity incarnate, His word in flesh; to implement in Him through the cross the provision sufficient to remove all impediment; and in so doing to reconcile ALL to Himself. With such desire in heart, He PROVIDED the cross adequate for any, not obstruction but enablement; As in Colossians 1:19ff. perfectly explicitly, word for word, such is the case.
The application follows the reality for each as the Spirit moves (John 3:7-8) and as the Father (John 6:44,55). It is indeed the work of God that they should believe (John 6:29), and the recognition of the relevance of the will of man as foreknown to God, that despite all this divine adequacy, they do not, will not, are disinclined and exercise their image-of-God status as at the first granted, to the last. The ultimate tragedy for many, therefore, is entirely their own responsibility; is despite the divine amplitude of embrace of things both in heaven and on earth, so that history itself does not exclude any in its mode of exposure and coming to be. Moreover that all but insufferable horror, that despite an ACTUAL desire for the Lord, it CANNOT be helped, even when that desire is ultimate and utter.
If it were so in His sight, not for mere distortion in historical melee, but in the calm knowledge of eternity, then that soul would assuredly have been liberated. But someone says, But I myself would now wish so to have God, on His terms, yes, even though it be through that cross, for I trust Him, then the matter is answered already. So act then. It is enabled. That IS the door, where faith embracing the cross of Christ, and the fulness of the Godhead in Him, enters (John 10:9), with results eternal (John 10:27-28), as eternally foreknown.
What then of human life before God ?
It is given meaning, as only God CAN know it, this will of man; and while sin of course degrades its significance, and erodes its integrity, making a mess of its function like that of a radio set in a crashed aircraft, yet isin for all that, does not have the last word on man, since God has the first word on Him, and ensures its application according to truth, to the last. Thus indeed, in the end, JUDGMENT IS ACCORDING TO TRUTH (as in Romans 2). There is none, in the face of this love, action, power and knowledge, ABLE to be excluded, except for this very preference for darkness in the face of light in Christ.
That indeed means that the judgment accords with the truth of the divine love for this world, that it might be saved, and the reality of the human rejection by many, to the effect that such a provision can go to blazes, or be left as indifferent, or be parodied or disregarded.
If the mind is such, then is heaven hell to the recalcitrant; and hell is the site chosen by the wilful removal of the mercy of the remedy in redemption of Jesus Christ. In longing to be free from God, or lodging indifference, man is chained to what results in such absence. There his too willing heart goes in such cases.
Outside the knowledge of man, the will can be solicited, subjected, distorted, the depths of his heart misaligned by various differential squalls. It is not however outside the knowledge of God before any squall could appal, or laceration benumb. Hence nothing is simply adventitious, nor does what is merely meretricious mangle meaning. God is indeed sovereign, and it is well that He is, since nowhere else is infallible love found, for things appertaining to very eternity itself! Yet there is no sovereign OVER HIS love and mercy and principles and declared wishes concerning the scope of salvation; for it is HE who IS the sovereign who IS love (I John 4:7ff.).
Thus it is that His VERY sovereignty, He being who He is, is indeed a glorious fact, and that nothing ever escapes it, for here is the very pith of mercy and the acme of pity (Micah 7:19ff., Matthew 23:37ff., Luke 19:42ff., Ezekiel 33:11).
That life outside God is a misnomer is both obvious and necessary, since it is designed to be lived inside Him, in the sense of harmony and peace and understanding and mutual communication and obedience giving a liberty unmarred by presumption.
Thus, never outside the understanding of God through its diverse delinquencies and schemings, the human will has relevance. In its own sovereign power, for exercise on this earth, it is dethroned (John 1:12), and it is well that it is! Only grace operates, purity of love intimates. Regeneration then merely implements what the reality of divine love in its integrity has found. In its own image-of-God integrity it is sustained; in its now inherent sinfulness it is not sovereign. In His longing love, divine restraint, and entire comprehensive knowledge, God is; and so is truth realised and love fulfilled, for in nature it does not dictate.
Life remains, desired or dumped. The cross of Christ deletes not only guilt, but inability of any to come home to meaning and grace and understanding and cohesion in reality, to have even the knowledge of God, so that life now becomes a thrilling opportunity for all that is given man, to be exercised in His will. It rather reminds one of riding a horse: the greater the mutual understanding, the more excellent the riding on the wings of the wind for both!
It is then not a matter of circumstance or education, divine preference supervening the limitations through ignorance, confusion or contorting sin and its parameters from the past in any given person, and his arrival in this earthly setting: but of the KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. And that, it is truth. Judgment will be made according to it (Romans 2).
It has always been well not to toy with the truth.
its limitations are removed from dominance, as occasioning limits on liberty in choice;
its responsibility is established;
its double guilt is given ground (both to sin and to refuse sin's remedy);
the sense of injustice in some having more 'chance' than others is removed;
the integrity of the Creator is made manifest;
the point of history is secured, and
Here alone is the resolution of man's problem, and naturally, as in logical and historical fact, it is from the God who made him, and equally naturally, it cannot be found elsewhere. Indeed, this solution has been expressed in form and prelude from the first of sin from man (Genesis 3:15), and nothing lagging or lacking is even relevant before the God who made man. Invented solutions which come to to the mind of man at some epoch or other are irrelevant. It is too late. The omnipotent, omniscient God does not linger, esteem any worthless, beneath regard. In principle as in practice, there is but one solution, and there neither is nor can be another.
It does not depend on the human mind to find the solution to the mind of God in its creative processes; but it DOES and should belong to it to find from the word of God what resolving in the coverage of all, attends to the needs of any, and removing obstruction through the squirmings of sin or the confusions excursions away from what God says, to show the glow of the truth, its wonder and its uniqueness. When GOD sets HIS mind to it, the solution is sure to appear; and it has done so; and it is in the Bible as written, not as defiled or even defied by the wandering and intrusive thoughts of man. This God is able to secure; and He does.
The rich young ruler of Mark is an illustration, as are so many others like Jerusalem, Babylon, Judah and Moab (Luke 19:42ff., Jeremiah 51, Hosea 7:1, Jeremiah 48). Despite divine desire for them to the point of deliverance in entirety for Himself, from themselves and their delusive drag-races to destructive destiny, they go, and He does not grab and compel. He laments whether as seen in Isaiah 48:16ff., or Luke 19:42ff., for the Lord of the Old Testament who seeks is the Lord of the New Testament who finds (cf. Luke 15).
Nothing else CAN provide the entire solution in this vast arena of will, responsibility, justice, truth and love, but this. It is as granted by the One who granted life to man, with all that this portends and enables. It is written, step by step, principle by principle, desire by desire in the Bible, and has been for millenia.
Here alone is the KNOWLEDGE which in very essence surpasses all circumstances and loaded differentiae which might seem to give to some inordinately better 'chance' of divine felicity.
Here alone is CHOICE beyond the barriers of inhibition, differentially accorded - as when some on this earth become so scarred by early horrors that bitterness differentially possesses their doubly ruined psyches.
It is here a safeguarded and guaranteed choice by KNOWLEDGE of TRUTH, and truth, absolute in its entirety, is what is needed if justice is to be done.
To know the TRUTH concerning anyone gives a basis for choice, and the divine choice is the only way to ensure this; and at the same time, the divine principle that PREFERENCE FOR DARKNESS IN THE LIGHT OF SAVING TRUTH is man's actual and entire culpability, is verified and enabled (as in John 3:19).
The purity of a love which does not seek its own preference, but desires ALL that they might be reconciled to truth, to Himself, and this enabled with a payment sufficient for ANY, to cover the cost of EACH ONE actually saved (as in Romans 8:32) with what clears and conveys salvation (II Timothy 1:8ff.), this is the necessary and gloriously actual preliminary. It is this prevents a sovereign disregard of the love and mind and will of what is to be saved, so making it a salvation of the person concerned, and not a substitution of someone else for that person, annulling all liberty in the transition.
Liberty thus stands; guilt stands; exclusion is vindicated; inclusion is enabled; equity is total, and salvation becomes neither a divine exercise in preference nor a human exercise in quaint delusions psychically oppressive; but it is instead, a thing of love, of the God who SO loved the world that He wanted to save it, and took action to the uttermost to secure this. He even went so far that He sacrificed an infinitely precious life, at His own level, that of Christ, as testimony and attestation to ALL in this world that He would have ANY who received this, all costs covered, and that His truthful heart was in this with no reservations. The truth itself is the criterion, who He is and what He gives, and His word is the guarantee that it will be so used, never twisted to His mere taste, but always open to the ones He so loves, which are ALL.
The exclusion is then by preference for darkness in each individual, in the face of this saving light, and as ensured by the KNOWLEDGE, in the form of foreknowledge, of God, beyond the limitations and distortions of this world, and with no reference to mere taste or character preference in Him. HIS choice is already made, in terms of a love for ALL such that WHOEVER comes to it is received, and such, further, that His desire that all might be saved is expressed, not chopped down: the exclusive agency for negation being as stated, a preference in SUCH a situation of divine power, provision and desire as this, given in this light, for darkness!
Neither is any clammily brought to heaven, dragged out of a will essentially to the contrary, either with annulment of what the one wanted, or violation; nor is any left out who might have come, for the divine power and knowledge and love is such that this is excluded before creation even commenced. When you KNOW what you are doing, have all power and wisdom, and those with whom you deal, with infinite depth, and having made them in your own image, so that they relate to you meaningfully in will and character and choice, and are no robots for mere relish by another, but rather objects of desire, then nothing is missed out. God is the only One who has all that this takes, and being willing and the only One who IS God, this is the only possible way for it.
It works, and further, it carries all before it, like a correct mathematical solution; but this is a solution for the very principles of logic and mathematics and psychology, as for the operations of the spirit and the mind of man. It covers all; it omits nothing. It moves like a king among his ceremonial troops.
It validates all these things, singly and together, as based on reality, and in reality, cohesive, coherent, comprehensible realisations from their base. Where and how and why they begin, is to be found; where they co-operate and why, this is indicated; how the synthesis of mind, matter and spirit CAN even be in one unit (called man) and be meaningful, is totally explained in vast detail in the Bible, as has been expounded in many ways in this site, not least Ch. 7 of SMR.
Indeed, we can go even further: for these arenas of action, not only penetrable and investigable by the rational mind, but comprehensible in their bases, development and dynamic, in turn validate what validates them. The mutuality from a common basis both for the mind of man and the matter of His hands, is not only explicable, it is intimately correlative. It is because the phases of creation, of our world and of man, are so eminently accessible not only to rationality, but to comprehensive coverage of each phase, when you start and proceed with a biblical perspective and in terms of the Bible, in your own mind as explorer, as from the mind of God as Creator at the first, that not only is there verification of what thus so splendidly works in all phases, there is an indifferent ease with which it does so, as when a tennis ace plays a child of 13.
Singly in their highly diversified workings, and all together in their relationships, the entire creation, in its sub-kinds and its kinds, material and living, notional and natural, when subjected to this same biblical discipline becomes for consideration like a lion lying down with a lamb. It is satisfied and satisfies only then.
Furtive reductionism and evasion can go to philosophy (cf. SMR Ch. 3) which provides many examples; forthright truth comes from the word of God, which even goes further.
Thus the Bible, with seemingly endless flair, offers prediction, precise or atmospheric, generic or detailed, in things small or large, in trends or in truth, and it calls attention to this offer in self-validating boldness (as in Isaiah 41, 43, 48); but then, what would you expect of God, a fearful series of ambiguities! Scarcely. His word is in principle falsifiable in ways so numerous in terms of predictions so amazing in nature, that it smiles at assault and assails unbelief. He is no modern theologian and has no part of any of it, in its endless variations.
Leave that to the false teachers to come as the Age progresses, and which have come as II Peter 2:1ff. has long advised us, from within the very company of professing Christians. They will make merchandise out of you, said the apostle in his forecast; and which the major heresies*4, belligerent exercises in both using and abusing the Bible, has not flourished with money, from Islam to all the rest, who would put stock in some parts of the Bible, and seek authentication in part from there, and then put in their own ideas!
What is built remorselessly and unadventurously on His word, however, that does in fact, stand, has stood and continues to revel in standing, if by any means some might be saved, won from witless alienation to worldly wise knowledge, to the priceless gift of knowing God personally, even the everlasting God through His biblically, spiritually, historically and appointed and revealed Saviour for mankind: Jesus Christ, in whom is no variation whatsoever. As in mathematics, when you have got it right, don't fidget, apply!
The application of these things in personal life, it is itself a further verification, just like endless generations of students finding, when they go to the trouble of doing the laboratory work, that ... it works, it DOES happen. If in this, it is by faith, the results are history.
But look! consider: if you are pressed financially, and only one way on is present, and it has no evils in it, is this not .... enough!
The power of God, His purity, knowledge, undistorted desire, unselfish sacrificial readiness for any, and seeking for all, provides the ground for the responsibility of man both from the way he was in fact created and in his response at all levels. The activation of this divine power is shown in the use of means to make so free the restoration of diversely fallen man, that he does not have to contribute from his variously marred resources, but is taken not by some event of variable will, but by the transcendent power of the God who KNOWS the case and in integrity applies this knowledge (John 3, Romans 8:29ff.).
There is no poverty here, in mind or will or culture that captures, differentiates: on the contrary, it is God who, overseeing all, knowing all, acts beyond the thrall of the call of this or that defect, or defective twist. He calls who called creation into being, as a CEO might call a factory into existence by the exercise of his power! In this case, it is the author of all who called all into being by the exercise of His eternal power, without which nothing would ever have been. The basis must always be there, since otherwise it has not even anywhere to come from, leaving nothing which does nothing; and at the same time, it must always be adequate, since otherwise, by definition, it cannot do it.
There is One God, who gloriously has divulged one way for man to be in His image and hence responsible, and that is by knowing as only He can, in absolute truth, what is what with each, applying in absolute sanctity what He knows, so that those who desire Him without distortion from the generic limitations of sin and severance which it brings, may have Him, and so loving that whatever it takes within His divine counsel, He pays, so making freedom of access, not even limited by the limits of what finds Him.
Such is the nature of free passage; and in truth and justice, such is the cost of its provision: the cross of accursedness, and as man is an historical being, so is this an historical occurrence, in fact at Calvary; and as deformation is the consequence, so resurrection is the finality of the cure. Only in the collation of such love, such knowledge, such undertakings by the God who alone is, can this be done. Nowhere else COULD it be done, nor has it found a place to lodge. Praise God for His complete competence, brilliant action but above all, for His constant caring.
There is none set in the most loathsome and imperilling of conditions whom He cannot reach, and nothing that can sever the feet of His refugees (Hebrews 6:19) from way to His door. In the invisibilities of things unseen, the heart may be moved though all the world would block the way if it were able!
As in the creation, and in the salvation through the cross of Christ: it is said and then done, and applied. It is this which provides all answers, leaves no questions unmet, in its essence. Moreover it is not duplicable, since only the God who, beyond all, knows all without limitation, CAN know enough, all things being beneath and dependent on Himself, the necessary pre-condition for absolute knowledge, whether or not it be shared.
What then ? It is this. Just as it is only the all-powerful God over all who CAN know to judge righteously and to run all things absolutely and show this in the Bible and in Christ incarnate, so it is only He who can and also DOES love in entire unselfish yearning for all, neither misled nor misunderstanding, nor seeking, who has all, who operates not in vain. It is only in Him where no iniquity can secretly lodge, who is subject to none and to nothing, visible or invisible, who is light without speck or shadow of turning, who is as He is, whose word is truth and whose ways co-ordinate, word and deed: it is here only that salvation of man can be found, neither being salvation instead of man, nor mere expression of man in his own sinfulness, nor yet a mere substitution of one will for another, as in a robot.
The dismissal rate must depend on the sanctity of will in the being made in His own image, the reality of personality in any such case; and so it does, and has done. It is only in the God who has such pure and sacrificial love, and who is WILLING so to act, that the residual responsibility CAN be man's.
What then ? There is no favouritism; God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). As this enables truth to be sought, and found, so it enables man to be bought, and redeemed. Moreover, so it enables man to be free, not as autonomous, a myth of misconception for there is one God; but as meaningfully related to God within truth, neither being dumped in by the misconceptions of sin, nor excluded generically by the same, but as in truth seen by God as receiving Him, beyond all this disturbance and defective dynamics, SO enabled to be freely found.
Then is man not circumvented into salvation of a quiddity which never was, a mere substitute, someone made from what he was, by a new fiat that does not relate, evicted into a new personality when converted, with no relationship to himself beforehand in his will; nor, on the other hand, is man to circumvent his own being in the passing parade of psychic disturbances in variable degrees of ignorance. Within the scope of God's foreknowing power, man is made safe freely, beyond the limits of his own self, just as in the creation, also by the word of God, he was made at all.
So is he, in multitudes of case, found by the Lord. THEN liberty is real, responsibility is total, love that is placed in man to such vast degrees in potential, but so variably, now becomes crucial, for this finds him; while construction in the form of reconstruction becomes meaningful and man is no longer the butt of limited resources, with shocking oversight left to a drag race to hell or some other site of his creative thrust or just desert, with heartless oversight. He is found where he was founded, or he founders; and it is God who provides his first estate, the remedy for his second and the way home freely for his third state, when this is the culmination from the cross of Christ.
It is no drag race to hell, except by desire. As for the foundation and information of God, moreover, the contrary is the case. With tender concern, and massive reconstruction, first in the sending of the Saviour, then in His attestation in humble human reality of His identity, then in His meeting the futile follies of dissident and pompously self-possessed man in the judgment and the crucifixion, then in the resurrection of Christ from dead (just as He had raised others from the dead): God has made all, stated all, done all.
Some thus in all integrity and reality, are won, and eternal life is then theirs, not just to talk about ruminatively and discursively, but to HAVE. Talk is futile compared with reality; it is only when it issues from reality, as the Word from God as in John 1, 5:19ff., 8:58, Isaiah 48:16ff., Micah 5:1-3, that the word is as beautiful as the original, or source.
Some are not won. Their will is not violated by force.
What then of man in that state ? He eats indeed, the fruit of his own doings as in just such a setting, as God affirms in both Proverbs 1 in the Old Testament, and John 15:22ff., in the New. Nor is it as if history were irrelevant, for God KNOWS where the impact penetrates, how, and with what integrity, and can so deal with man on this earth, even in this history, that His Spirit can realise and release truth in the very fallen heart of man, as it reveals and binds up, and to man show so that he may know what is its sin, as also what is God's own righteousness and His just judgment (John 16). So is there imported from eternity, through divine grace, what is the TRUTH. This in all real continuity of spirit, man can know, and at conversion does.
Then in meaningful life, not as autonomous but as understood, in intimate communication and co-operation with God (cf. Matthew 28:19ff., Psalm 32), living in love, that of the Lord, and seeking to export it, along with truth in peace, man continues to echo the trumpet of truth from the lips of the divine Lover, who having given all, takes some, and gives again to them, eternal life (I John 1:1-4, John 4:14, 5:24, I John 5:11-12, Romans 3:23ff., Titus 2-3).
On the X-factor, see:
Predestination and Freewill Section 2,
The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 4
Christ's Ineffable Peace ... Ch. 2,
The Glow of Predestinative Power Ch. 4, see also
Celestial Harmony ... 2
LOVE, LIBERTY and FIDELITY
Before sin entered, not only was the knowledge of God natural, institutional from the time man was rolled out into realisation from the creative work of God, so that nothing lacking, he needed no superiority in order to know God, find Him: indeed, He was found already.
It was more marvellous even than this.
There was therefore no inherent superiority. Some would not in this state be any better than others, for sin which has degrees (though all of these deserve death and if present, would make heaven not itself, being absent, could not achieve any differentiation of nature in any created individual's value. In such a condition, things proceed as they are, with freedom, as turned from the hand of God. In this situation, nothing is lost, there is no dent, and therefore none such larger than another!
Merit is thus irrelevant. Things are as made, man as constructed, freedom as achieved, and hence dimness is not operative, nor is differentiation between parties in these pertinent features and foci of moral and spiritual preference.
Man is this mode, the original and the envisagable in perfection before all things, as by God Himself, proceeds according to his natural felicitous relationship with God and environment, self and consciousness. His spirit roves and his will is operative. The freedom is by nature, with nurture and as a condition of existence. WHEN it is exercised toward God, its narrow but profound option in THAT initial state, hypostasised.
In other words, it HAS to run free or it would be ruined before launched, and so be merely a different model from that found in the Bible. BEING free by the assurance of God in whose image it is made, man then exhibits the reality of this freedom by choosing, not in such a way that he is not free, but by obligation of the model, such that he IS free. Difference in merit results from this, in that a profound evil is brought on. This is a later stage and state; and in fact, there is no one left that is without sin, since the first man and woman BOTH sinned. Beyond and before such a condition, this is an envisagement of all without sin, able to be envisaged thus, just as in their case, as the first man and the first woman, they were actually created.
Freedom does not however have to produce the result, this way or that: for such would then be a programmatic matter and a denial of the biblical model which is in fact, our actual mode, though now fallen. The entire resolution comes to so simple a consideration. IF you want to estimate the nature of liberty, so that it is not operative according to the model it is said to be, THEN you are simply talking about something else, in conscious or unconscious entire irrelevance. It is as pertinent as discussing a Volkswagen when the topic is a Buick.
How CAN freedom operate in a person who is about to choose this or that ? That is for the Maker to say, and the taunted taint which makes man become quaint in such discussions appears often no more than this, that since HE or SHE is moved by this or that inferior or more inferior consideration to a greater or lesser degree, therefore anyone without sin must be the same.
That is merely to affirm what is denied, and to deny what is affirmed, on the basis of what has a categorical diversity: NO SIN. What is the use of pondering how sinfulness operates variably when the topic is sinlessness! Not merely is this irrelevant, it is ludicrous, like discussing darkness, the absence of light, in terms of the activities of light when it is there!
The thrust of the will or heart in this prime case is, by its model nature, free from extraneous impelling; and it is as free from impulsion as from, compulsion. It declares itself, being informed correctly, where it desires; and its desire is the product of its freedom.
Before we proceed, let us look for a moment at this great creation, the spirit of man, which was free, and is allocated liberty on salvation.
The spirit of man is that invisible competency which surveys thought and realms, rule and dissidence, disposes love, hatred, acceptance and rejection, investigates ideas, ideals and truth, inspects motive and morals, ponders desire, scans ambition, estimates objectives, imagines possibilities, esteems certainties and moving through will, resolves issues which the mind and the body can then pick up, like the bill for a meal, and implement.
Again, it is of course true that the spirit of man may be pathologically oppressed, and one of its main depressions, obsession or concessions, is this, that it fails to recognise that it exists. It is precisely for this reason that much modern psychology is forever in the rumble of contention, error and failure; for it is difficult to amputate or for that matter, seek the cure of a leg if you do not believe it to be there, and it is not less so when you fail to know you have a spirit and try to correct its pathology.
It is by the spirit of man that morality is considered, systems are opted and indeed, MAY be opted, or declined; for it has this power in general, this being its field, not least. It can become obsessed, it is true, with hatred or prejudice, or inflamed with ideologies both obscure and ridiculous, and it appears empirically sound to say, that this pathological pittance which the spirits of many take instead of truth, is normal (cf. SMR Chs. 1,4, 5, 10). When pathology is normal, as if it were the case that most had lung cancer or syphilis, then obviously there is a problem for the race, which might destroy it. That is so here. However, destroyed or not, while it remains extant, the spirit of man is able to subject itself to folly no less than the body of those who break speed limits around dangerous corners, or fail to discipline their minds, and so become ignoramuses, liable to vulgar betrayals by rogues.
It is by the spirit of man that love is resolved, and pursued, or hatred, whether of persons or ideas, scenery or cultivations, landscapes or people. It is that invisible multi-functional entity in man by which he is distinguishable on the one hand from angels, which are not tied to an operating system for their support, in physical format, one which can be organically injured, and from beasts, which do not have this consciously resolving power of what is analytically presented and ideologically surveyed.
By the spirit of man, also, there is the approach to God. Man may become so resolved on his admittedly marvellous systematics, and integrated systems, both those of bodily parts and mental contrivances, and the spiritual liaison itself, in an integral whole of one total project type and facility, conceivable and indeed operable as a unit, that he forgets the necessity of logic. He may become nescient rather than merely forgetful in advanced cases, ignoring the aspect that their source must have all they have and more, or else their first of all material, and then, mental and then spiritual capacities would neither be nor be integrated, nor controllable nor subject to intelligible thought without residue.
If then the spirit of man, as originally made, freely operates on some desire, to be sure, then the freedom may or may not depart or be compromised, depending on the relationship to reality of that desire.
In this case, waywardness makes the person's spiritual finger-print, with the dynamic of the force of sin, and this is categorically when the sin is directly or indirectly do ditch God.
There is however, in many as first made free in the image of God, no spiritual print to make it so. He did it freely, listening as he would, considering as he might, and not because he was made to do so. Otherwise, it is a case of confounding and confusing result with cause, and importing a fallen system as a criterion for one unfallen.
This simply fidelity to model of man as made, and expressed in the Bible. God knows the end for all who are made and who come, as surely AS IF they were envisaged free, and observed in the essence of an investigatory mind. He sees past appearances to reality, past pathology to actuality.
However, the simplicity of it all is just this, that God KNOWS His own, and has made ALL in His image and WOULD HAVE all (Colossians 1:19ff.), yes whether they be in heaven or on earth, to be reconciled to Himself. This we know, on the biblical model, because He says so.
Though their sin, from which none since the first because of the fall (Romans 5) is free, makes a need for a divine intervention (as in John 3 and 6), this is not a selection based on a mystery, except in this one thing (for it is stated what He wants - ALL), that God COULD have such a love.
This is a splendid finding and needs (even if it were possible) no amending! Yet let the will, KNOWN and foreknown before sin, and past its perimeters and constraints, once manage itself in its own (original, as created) light, and abandoning this, turn to slants and slithers, then it is as we see. It becomes man Mark II.
And what ? being in this degenerate, it needs to be regenerate, and God who knows His own, proceeds to do this, and in mind has done it, and in fact will have done it to all in every time and clime, so that none who MIGHT have been saved IF ONLY this or that has been available, WILL fail to be; but that, it is in the hand of God who knows beyond all 'mights' to actuality without submission to this or that method.
What is certain is this, that whatever His mode of foreknowing, it was such that it implemented His desire that all might be freely saved, except those who in the very face of this light, known to Him, refused it. He sees it beforehand in the heart's motions; and in history as the news reaches any, in the tumults before Him, life interpreted from beyond mere thrust of occurrence. TRUTH being what He is, his knowledge IS the truth, and His foreknowing is the truth concerning any. It involves this, that He would have all reconciled and come to a knowledge of the truth, and will lament rather than institute this by any kind of force, distortion (alien to truth), manipulation or manoeuvre. What is saved is the soul that sinned, and not something else. What is regenerated is the soul that is found, not shanghaied. God knows how.
Apologetics shows readily in principle the criteria: HOW He works it out, as distinct from our envisagement putting HIS principles together, is HIS business. He keeps to His word and this is pellucid, consistent and all-embracive of every facet of the spirit of man.
OUR business is never to exclude ANY statement of God concerning His wishes, works, ways or wisdom, from association with any other, and NEVER to allow philosophy to imagine that such and such MUST mean this or that, when we are dealing with reading back into the mind of God what He says. It is enough to show, for disfaith's sake, that these things are consistent, cover all the case, are unique in so doing. The MODE as distinct from the MATTER (the biblical principles operative in predestination and the logically preceding foreknowledge - Romans 8:30), is as God has it. The matter Himself, being what He has declared, is to be preserved in its entirety, as primary data, not accessible to puny philosophic penchants.
Therefore, ignoring the total certainty of John 3, that God desired NOT to judge the world, but THAT it should be SAVED, and accordingly in love provided free salvation to faith, sending the infinitely valued and divine Christ, who came in this schema, scenario to procure it, and opining some other idea, is a feint. It is acting as if to pretend that He COULD not have done this, so loved, so much, with such positive and negative poles operative, and MUST have had applicable inhibitions or restraints or constraints of some kind, because of imaginations from such and such another text; and hence is ruinous rationally, ludicrous theologically and an entire confusion.
What HE MUST have had and done is PRECISELY what HE says. In fact, since the man-in-sin cannot but think of divine things except as foolishnessd (I Corinthians 2:14), at the essence level, relevant for choice, then God may at His sovereign wish and desire, so penetrate the darkness of man that the light makes him tremble, that he is convicted of sin, as Christ said would be done by the Spirit of God. In the final resolution of the matter, the episodic is transcended by the foreknowledge of God, but only by this in its own reality as what it is TRUTH. Hence truth moves into the soul and exploring, finds past all finesse of evasion, that reality which obscured, none but God could have known; and moreover, He HAS known it before this world was.
The love of God has too much been impugned by such evasions as theologies sometimes invent. As to the Bible, this is its scope for that divine desire, compromised by nothing, to bring all to repentance, the entirety of this race; and this is the restraint even to the heart of weeping lament, that is His, when the restraint of love in its essential purity, to which force is subjected, will not breach itself. It WILL not enter in by force, nor from His own heart will He suffer it to distort. I HAVE NO PLEASURE... He says, in the death of the wicked, so TURN. HOW OFTEN WOULD I , He says positively ... but you !
Comparative merit considerations in those who are to come or not come, are null. This is because they are foreknown, before sin was. It has nothing to do with their works (as in Romans 9:15-16, Titus 3:5ff., Ephesians 2:1-12). It has to do with the mercy of God which is of the essential profundity stated. Being chosen for being better is irrelevant. As foreknown, none is worse. Freedom is total, though of course in a narrow path, since it is only concerning alliance, allegiance, acceptance and realisation or otherwise of God, in continuity, that any difference can arise among men as subjects. At this SPHERE of operations, there is no scope for estimation of relative goodness; for the evil has yet to come.
In this life-before-sin, or better hypostasis before sin, before the divine mind, or if you prefer, envisionment or intimate knowledge before sin, there is no lapse before God. Greater or smaller, in each there is parity in non-decline, and there is equality in state as at creation.
There is only what the freedom so painstakingly wrought in making a person in the image of God (who has NO controls over Him, just as the man-before-sin envisionment has NO thrust one way or the other, toward the Lord), has secured. Such is the nature with which it is endued, that of man at the outset, freely made, freely living in free communication with the Lord. In connection with the whole human race, however, as noted is hypostasis, that is, there is no biblical reference to man as BEING CREATED before the creation, but rather is he merely being held in the mind of God with perfect knowledge before sin in the human race so much as was! The Lord does not need history to help Him, knowing already the end from the beginning.
God knows all. Thus His is the knowledge of whether such person or persons (in fact, it covers all the race to be as in Ephesians 1:4, Isaiah 46:8, being part of all things) is going to sin, is complete; on whether or not before sin entered the preference was this or that, is certain; and thus, how choice out of sin is to be enabled, is secure.
Having, by His grace through His own word, delivered the soul of man from the illusion of mysterious selective exclusions of divine desire, as if the One who HAS the foreknowledge had ceased to BE love (and hence incapable of what in the last analysis, fails to come from this source or to proceed to this realisation), let us finish by noting that there is no less deliverance for the soul of man from the minds of those, in endeavouring to speak of biblical truth, invent the notion that man has only to choose God as one chooses fish on any day. This is categorically denied in John 1:12 and Ephesians 2:12. It is ONLY in the presence of God that man is enabled to come, and this only in terms of the foreknowledge of God, who exercised this before even sin was, man was, the world was, or any other thing known or unknown, which would pretend either to distort His judgment or restrict His purity and power on the one hand, or intimidate or qualify His love on the other. His salvation is not of the flesh nor of blood nor of the will of man. It is seen in HIM as HE foreknew with HIS knowledge, who KNOWS who are His (Ephesians 2:19, Romans 8:30, John 10:27-28). Those not so known will never believe (John 10:26). What is known before time was, is sure when time is.
Blessed be God who would have all to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth, who laments rather than distort, who loves with restraint rather than irresistibly without realisation of what is loved, and who dismisses all merit in salvation, both by making freedom perfect in kind in the creation, considering it in reality as it is, and knowing the results, instituting these with a deftness which, being fashioned in truth, fashions man accordingly, as love does, never amiss, wedded to wisdom.
See Serenity not Serendipity Ch. 6,
Deity and Design ... Ch. 3, *3, and Ch 8,
It Bubbles Ch. 9, esp. *1A, for example.
See also index on validity.
See Romans 1:17ff., Ephesians 4:17ff., Jeremiah 17,
and consult TMR, Crosses and Losses and SMR Ch.7.
See for example, Errors, Sects. . Islam, like the other sects, uses the authority of the Bible and adds to its words, others often and basically of opposite schema, meaning and portent. It has a 'Jesus' divorced from history, and forged and formulated 6 centuries after the event. It uses this also for elements of its appeal. In this way, it is a double heresy, partly from the Old Testament distortions, partly from the New, and amply qualifies as a sect. See More Marvels ... Ch. 4, SMR 1080ff., Divine Agenda Ch. 6, and index on Islam.