The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Contra Arminianism

Here is an expanded version of a syllogism I gave in another thread:

P1 People have free will
P2 According to Romans 9-11, God violated free will to achieve a salvific purpose
P3 God doesn’t change
P4 If God doesn’t change and God violated free will in the past to achieve a salvific purpose, then God could violate free will in the present and future to achieve a salvific purpose
P5 Saving everyone is a salvific purpose of God
Conclusion: If saving everyone is a salvific purpose of God, and God can violate free will in the present and future to achieve a salvific purpose, then God will save everyone even if he has to violate free to do it.

Yes, because free will is not a right or a promise, it’s an assumption most people make about God to us. But is God’s will that everyone s/b saved and come into a knowledge of the truth, but it happens in due time or God’s time much to our chagrin.

I disagree that God will violate people’s free will to save them. That’s just not His style. Regarding unconverted Jews, for example, we read,

Romans 11:25-27
25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in,
26 and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written:
“The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
27 And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”

Revelation 1:7
“Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.” So shall it be! Amen.

Zechariah 12:10
[Mourning for the One They Pierced ] “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.

I don’t see God coercing anyone here, or violating anyone’s free will. But He will succeed in leading ALL people to repentance, sooner or later, by His lovingkindness.

In this terrible but necessary classroom, people graduate only after thoroughly learning the lesson that God is trustworthy. Good and evil are now being allowed to grow up together to a great harvest. These are all object lessons to help us learn: we need God; His ways are always just and right; He is always faithful, loving, and good; we should not put our confidence in ourselves, but only in Him alone.

It will take as long as the most stubborn of us takes to finally learn, and surrender. But God does not send evil, only good. The devil sends evil–legalistic consequences for our sins–not God. God is merciful, so that we don’t have to harvest evil—if we choose remain in Him. God is only gracious and loving: He is not also legalistic and mean. (Because, despite what religion says–or even in several places, what Scripture, read by the letter, itself says–God is not bipolar, he is unipolar.)

God does not use evil or coercion to encourage us change our minds, but kindness:

Romans 2:4
Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

Hell is a P.O.W. camp for those who die as prisoners of “the god of this world”—the fallen archangel Lucifer. But the subsequent lake of fire (originally prepared for the devil and his angels) is a remedial place of liberation, in the undiluted presence of God and His kindness. His wise fire there will burn off every cord of bondage so that those blinded by deception can finally see their God for who He really is–and then come out and join the party!

Paul says God “hardened” certain people and bolsters his statement by quoting an OT text that says God gave certain people “eyes that would not see” and “ears that would not hear”. I think this is a pretty unequivocal indication that God violated free will.

Restitutio has been doing a series of the various views - last week was on Open Theism. This week is on Arminianism. The podcast is always informative.

It’s true that John quotes Isaiah to explain the unbelief of the Jews–

John 12:37-42 (NIV)

Belief and Unbelief Among the Jews

37 Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him.
38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet:
“Lord, who has believed our MESSAGE,
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:
40 “He [God? Or in reality, Satan?] has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts,
so they can neither see with their eyes,
nor understand with their hearts,
nor turn—and I would heal them.”
41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.
42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue;

–but Isaiah held an undifferentiated view of God, and therefore sometimes misattributed to God the attributes of the devil, because he was ignorant of the devil. He had never heard Jesus explain:

Matthew 13:18-19 (NIV)

The Parable of the Sower

18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means:
19 When anyone hears the MESSAGE about the kingdom and does not understand it, THE EVIL ONE comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart.

And while it certainly appears that Paul believed God was capable of hardening people at the time he wrote these verses–

Romans 9:16-18 (NIV)
16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.
17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”
18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden [by allowing people to choose to go away from God],

—it’s also true that Hebrews 3:8, 15, and 4:7 speak of us hardening our own hearts (by choosing to go away from God). Further, Hebrews 3:13 warns against the deceitfulness of sin hardening our hearts.

If we (or even Paul) entertain a bipolar view of God, at that point we are open to the temptation of mistakenly attributing evil to God. In reality, a person is “dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed” (James 1:13-15), not by God.

Also, Isaiah further (correctly) said, that God says, ‘if a person turns to Him, he will be healed’ (cf. Jn. 12:40, above); and that ‘all day long, God reaches out His hands to obstinate people’ (Is. 65:2).

Jesus tried to distinguish to us between the devil and his Father (John 10:10). It is the devil who blinds the minds of unbelieving people, not God (2 Cor. 4:4). It is the devil who holds the power of death, not God (Hebrews 2:14). We each have to choose which verses we will camp out on (that is, which verses we will give more weight to).

And when that proves to be inconsistent you simply do as you do… make the rest up :roll_eyes: — not convinced at all by this modus operandi :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Romans 9-11 is the bastion of Calvinism’s “predestination.”

However, I do not see these chapters as stating that God violates free will (our ability to choose) at all.
That is merely a particular interpretation of these chapters—and a poor one at that.

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(Paidion, that quote is actually from Qaz, or me quoting Qaz.)

God violates free will plenty of times (as if it’s a violation??) because he wants to execute his purposes, like Jesus choosing his disciples or hardening Pharoah’s heart or Acts 13 ordaining certain people to believe to get the church started. But he only does it occasionally or else these occasional occurances would not be pointed out.