Monday, May 24, 2010

Providence & evil

Steven [Nemes] is light on scripture, and heavy on philosophy, which he has declared is his standard of truth on a previous thread. He failed to deal with the Bible on that thread, and he is repeating the same thing here...So if you attribute evil to God, you are denying scripture. You may think you are blazing a new philosophical trail, but when you leave the Bible, you’ve left Christianity. It’s obvious from your posts you’ve got a lot more studying to do, outside of the philosophy classes.

Three basic problems:

i) Quoting Scripture does nothing to negate the logical implications of Arminian theology. Nemes is arguing from Arminian presuppositions.

iii) Libertarian freewill is a philosophical theory.

iii) Quoting Arminian prooftexts like 1 Jn 1:5 or Prov 6:18 is hardly sufficient to fully explicate God's relation to evil. Consider the following:

"But Sihon the king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him, for the LORD your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that he might give him into your hand, as he is this day" (Deut 2:30).

"For it was the LORD’s doing to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle, in order that they should be devoted to destruction and should receive no mercy but be destroyed, just as the LORD commanded Moses" (Josh 11:20).

"But his [Samson's] father and mother said to him, 'Is there not a woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you must go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?' But Samson said to his father, "Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes.' His father and mother did not know that it was from the LORD, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines. At that time the Philistines ruled over Israel" (Judg 14:4).

"If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the LORD, who can intercede for him?" But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the LORD to put them to death" (1 Sam 2:25).

"And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, 'The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.' For the LORD had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the LORD might bring harm upon Absalom" (2 Sam 17:14).

"Now therefore behold, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the LORD has declared disaster for you" (1 Kgs 22:23; par. 2 Chron 18:22).

"But Amaziah would not listen, for it was of God, in order that he might give them into the hand of their enemies, because they had sought the gods of Edom" (2 Chron 25:20).

"He turned their hearts to hate his people, to deal craftily with his servants" (Ps 105:25).

"And if the prophet is deceived and speaks a word, I, the LORD, have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel" (Ezk 14:9).

"Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false" (2 Thess 2:11).


  1. Wow. That's quite a list of verses in Scripture to show how God ordains things to happen.


    Why don't folks accept monergism? It's Scriptural and it includes free will (albeit not the variety of Libertarian Free Will that Arminians advocate) and it's logical.

  2. Many older commentaries (e.g. Clarke, JFB, Gill) acknowledge the fact that the word "for" can be translated as "therefore" in 1 Sam. 2:25. If you (whoever you are) have a good reason for why it should be translated one way or the other,what reasons would you give? Is there a modern commentary you would recommend that addresses this issue?

  3. Annoyed Pinoy,

    Well, for one thing, not a single English Bible translation at Bible Gateway translates it as "therefore." Apparently, the various translators agree that it should be rendered "for" (some even translate it as "since").

  4. "The wording should be carefully noticed (see note on 2:25). It does not say that Eli's sons had become so hardened in their sinful ways that the Lord decided to put them to death, but rather that Eli's sons did not listen to him *because* the Lord was *already planning to put them to death.* In other words, the resistance of Hophni and Phinehas to Eli's call to repentance was not the *reason* for God's judgment but was the *result* of his prior judgment," J. R. Vannoy, 1-2 Samuel, 59.