Thursday, 1 May 2014

One Mind


I have covered stuff from Ach before where I give my impressions about his Twitter account. I don't intend to answer each and every objection from him for obvious reasons. Not least, because some of them border on the completely ludicrous. As I have commented before on Twitter, if this is the level of attacks on Calvinism, then the Doctrines of Grace will indeed march on

Having said all that, I thought it good to give a reply to his above objection which appeared last week. To give Ach his due (something I am always willing to do) he manages to state the case for Calvinists accurately on occasion. The only change I would make (to improve the whole) would be to swap the words "Most" for "All" and "Calvinists" for "Theists" and so embrace all Evangelical Christians.

Again, to err on the side of charity, it maybe that Ach simply hasn't thought through his words. The context of his discussion with Mr Estes concerns the freedom of God. The context shows that Ach argues that if God is indeed free, then must be free to work beyond what He has decreed to do. Evidently to Dr Ach, God cannot be free unless He can decree one thing yet do another. IOW: God cannot be free unless He can essentially change His mind and go back on His word. 

This is an interesting scenario, is it not? Is it truly freedom to be able to deny yourself? Is it total freedom to be able to lie? If so, God is not truly free because the Scripture declares that these are things which God cannot do (2 Timothy 2:13/Titus 1:2) If Ach's philosophy is right, then in this point, the sinner is even more free than God. Which, of course, is another ludicrous conclusion. 

Whatever God has done, is doing and will yet do has already been decreed by Himself. He knows all things and especially the end from the beginning and does not need either additional information nor advice or counsel as to how best to process and apply what information He does possess. He does not have to wait until needed resources become available to Him, nor does he need to hope and pray that other plans made by His creatures will synchronise with His.  It has been well observed that "There are no 'if's' in the providence of God."

If God has decreed something, but will later change His mind and head off in the opposite direction, apparently at whim, then your salvation and mine (decreed from before the foundation of the world) may prove at last to be a cruel hoax and a mere pipe dream. God's assurances that He will preserve us unto the end and that we will be more than conquerors and that He will perform the work begun in us until the last day will yet prove to be wrong. Has Ach thought this out? Again, the judgement of charity would suggest not. Sometimes when men seek to impose their man made, man centred and man glorifying theology on God's word, they inadvertently run against the thick bosses of His bucklers. 

Does God ever repent i.e. change His mind? Strange to relate (as far as our finite understanding is concerned) and without contradicting itself, God's word both affirms and denies. It even does so in the same chapter. 
Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying,  It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: (1 Samuel 15:10-11)
And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent. (1 Samuel 15:29)
Strictly speaking, in that literal theological sense, God does not change His mind. Such as we have in 1 Samuel 15:29. Even Balaam, who could not go beyond the word of the LORD, could see that:

 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? (Numbers 23:19) 

However, from our limited point of view, God appears to change His mind. Above, He appointed Saul to be King, but then stood Him down and eventually put David in his place. God uses language suited to our understanding. In the same vein, He talked about having eyes and limbs, when all the time, He was a Spirit without bodily parts. It is the language of accomodation. It was always God's plan to appoint King Saul and then leave Him to his own devices and, likewise, it was always God's plan to replace him with King David. He might have changed His method of working, but only did so according to His eternal and unchangeable decree. For as Job observed: 

But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.
So there you go. As indicated above, this isn't a uniquely Calvinist way of looking at the topic. This is basic Theism and therefore you can see the dangers of denying these things with the dangerous language of Ach. If he stands by his words, then He is advocating a reckless theology that is at serious odds with the revealed word of God. 


1 comment:

  1. it's good to see them at least willing to admit that God is free. As opposed to man's so-called freedom. (Unregenerate man is to sin).


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