Sunday, May 22, 2005back to Calvinism...
A more cerebral objection that often comes up, mostly from people who really work hard at rejecting the doctrine of election/predestination, is one that involves the Fall of Man, and the "necessity" of their "free-will". This objection is closely related to the next objection I am preparing to deal with, the "but that's not fair!" objection.
First off, I feel it is important to deal with the following foundational truth before going any deeper... you may want to sit down now... can't say I didn't warn you... okay, here goes: GOD FORORDAINED THE FALL OF MAN! (I can hear all my arminian readers shrieking in horror here). This idea is NOT something I just dreamed of to fit my "Sovereign God package", but rather I have arrived at this conclusion by logic and by Scripture (again the latter being the most important).
Logic: God is omniscient. He knows everything. Past, present, future, He knows it all. So, during the very act of Creation, God knew everything that would subsequently happen in His Creation. If He didn't, if God said: "whoa! I can't believe what's just happened here!" Well, our God most certainly isn't omniscient. Perish the thought. So, by the Creation of all that exists, God set in motion all the events that would follow, and one of those events, sadly, was the Fall of Man.
"And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." (Revelation 13:8)
"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you." (1 Peter 1:18-20)
Can anyone explain to me how it would be possible for God to forordain the slaying of His Dear Son before the foundation of the world without the knowledge that there would actually be sinners to save? Without the FAll of Man, the work of the Cross becomes absolutely futile. If the atonement was forordained, so was the Fall.
So, is God the Author of sin? If He forordained the Fall of both man and angel (Satan and his hosts), does not the blame for the Fall ultimately land on Him? No. As we have seen in previous posts, God is NOT the Author of sin. God did NOT place sin in the heart of Satan, or Adam of Eve. That much is certain.
How then, did Satan, Adam and Eve come to leave their holy state to become depraved, fallen sinners? Well, I'll be honest, that is a tough question. But let me make this precision, the question isn't any easier to the one who rejects Calvinism (the arminian has to somehow keep God ignorant of what Satan, Adam and Eve were going to do). The key to how I have worked out this difficulty is in this following verse:
"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13)
It is God that supports and upholds His people to any proper standard. If that support disappears, things fall apart. R.L. Dabney puts it this way:
"a finite creature can only be indefectible through the perpetual indwelling and superintendence of infinite wisdom and grace, guarding the finite and fallible attention of the soul against sin."
I believe this is what happened to Satan, and the first human beings. God righteously removed, at least in part, his "indwelling" and "superintendence" allowing His created beings to wander into rebellion. God did NOT work the rebellion, He just allowed for it to happen; again, to fulfill what He had forordained.
Satan, Adam and Eve had a much "free-er" will than ours, in that they did not carry with them a sin nature (prior to the Fall) like we do. That being said, they most certainly did NOT operate independantly from God. No one has or ever will act independant from the God of Heaven. The first living "free agents" were totally dependant on God's grace to keep them from, literally, FALLING.
Think about it, without God keeping Satan from making only one booboo, one mistake, one wrong thought... BOOM! Enter the sin nature.
How totally dependant this Creation is to it's Creator!