Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dodging Scripture

I'm posting some comments I left at Justin Taylor's blog:


steve hays February 15, 2012 at 6:47 am

“However, if you conclude with Calvinism, then you’d better not start saying God inclines himself toward evil.”

What makes you think that according to Calvinism, “God inclines himself to evil”?

“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one (James 1:13).”

Let’s compare that to another verse:

“20 and the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said one thing, and another said another. 21 Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, saying, ‘I will entice him.’ 22 And the Lord said to him, ‘By what means?’ And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be ha lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.’ 23 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.”

Didn’t Yahweh “tempt” Ahab and thereby set him up for the fall?

steve hays February 15, 2012 at 10:21 am

“According to James 1, we may not interpret the Ahab narrative that way. If you want to reinterpret the meaning of God doesn’t tempt anyone, then you go right ahead. Seems like a sad and probably evil thing to do.”

You haven’t bothered to exegete Jas 1:13. You haven’t bothered to show how you square James with the Ahab passage. You haven’t bothered to show how you square the Ahab passage with Arminianism.

steve hays February 15, 2012 at 2:04 pm

“My comment is directed at this article’s version of Calvinism. If you read the article, you ought to be able to follow my phraseology as I am only working with its terms. At the very end of the article when it talks about God inclining himself to a thing or ‘it,’ the author is referring to sin and evil.”

You need to make allowance for the fact that “incline/inclination” may have different connotations in contemporary usage than it has in 18C usage. In the time of Edwards it can be a synonym for “directing” or “disposing” something (e.g. man proposes but God disposes).

steve hays February 15, 2012 at 7:01 am

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).”

How do you think that applies to Calvinism?

“There is no dark side of God.”

Does Calvinism say God has a dark side?

“Yes, God allows evil, but to say that he wills it implies more than allowing.”

To take a concrete example, didn’t God will the Babylonian exile? Didn’t he intend to punish the Israelites by that means? Yet many atrocities resulted from the Babylonian exile. Some innocent Jews suffered as a result of that collective judgment.

steve hays February 15, 2012 at 8:54 am

“Didn’t this just conclude by saying 1) the ends justify the means”

So what? Is it your position that the end never justifies the means?

“and 2) God inclines to sin albeit in the universality of things.”

You keep using that phrase (“inclines himself towards evil”) as if that’s self-explanatory. What do you even mean by that?

steve hays February 15, 2012 at 2:35 pm

“On #1 I’m saying that the ends justifies the means is a pretty lame defense.”

How is that “pretty lame”? For instance, take this passage:

“As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ 3 Jesus answered, ‘It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him’ (Jn 9:1-3).

The reason the man was born blind is because his blindness was a means to an end–to occasion Christ’s miracle of healing, along with the attendant symbolism (i.e. Christ is the light of the world).

That’s a means-ends relation, where the natural evil of blindness is justified by a higher end.

“God is not responsible for sin and evil because he didn’t will it in an active sense, he allowed it, he constrains it, he reconciled it, and he will put an end to it.”

i) There’s no such thing as passive willing.

ii) How is merely “allowing” something ipso facto exculpatory? If I allow an asthmatic to die by not administering his inhaler, am I guiltless?

“I think James 1:13 stands on it’s own pretty well.”

i) If you’d bothered to consult standard commentaries on James (Blomberg/Kamell, Davids, Johnson, McCartney, McKnight, Moo, Witherington), you’d realize that the interpretation of this verse is far from straightforward.

ii) And you can’t just cherry-pick your favorite Bible verses while you consign other verses to the compost heap. Why does Jas 1:13 qualify 1 Kgs 22:19-23, but 1 Kgs 22:19-23 doesn’t qualify Jas 1:13?

“I don’t feel the need to square everything with terms that you demand.”

So you don’t care whether or not your position is consistent with Scripture as a whole.

“I have already demonstrated that your reading is insufficient and that is all that is necessary.”

You show no awareness of the complexities of Jas 1:13. I’ve studied the exegetical literature. What have you read?

“Arminianism also holds that God works through evil people and spirits for his purposes– that he uses them against themselves. I’m not going to heavy lift a bunch passages for you on a blog thread, but I will tell you that your comments show a lack of understanding towards Arminian theology if you think it doesn’t include an all powerful God who works in all things.”

The question at issue is whether Arminian theism can extricate itself from what it faults in Calvinism. In 1 Kgs 22:19-23, we have a case of divine entrapment. A set-up, where God entices Ahab through a false prophecy.

That’s a far cry from “passive willing” or merely “allowing” it to happen. In this passage, God is a trickster who deceives Ahab by recruiting an evil spirit to do his bidding.

Explain how that’s morally superior to what you find objectionable in Calvinism.

“That is why we Arminians would say God did not intend for the fall although he foreknew it, allowed it, and made a plan to reconcile it.”

How could God not intend the foreseeable and preventable consequences of his own actions? Is the Fall a divine accident?

“Your question about the Babylonian exile is good. I think he willed Israel’s punishment and desired their repentance.”

Did he will the foreseeable atrocities which the Babylonians committed against the Israelites?

steve hays February 16, 2012 at 9:01 am

“Good point about the ends-justify-the-means in the narrative instance of the gospel. However, I wouldn’t call the man being born blind an evil or sin on God’s part… I guess you do. Why is that?”

Because it’s customary usage to classify something like blindness as a natural evil. Are you not familiar with standard literature on theodicy?

“Because the man was born into sin… It wasn’t what God did by mere decree before the fall.”

Your explanation cuts against the grain of the text. The text doesn’t attribute his blindness to sin or the fall. Just the opposite. It goes out of its way to reject that explanation and, instead, attributes his blindness to the divinely orchestrated opportunity which that will furnish to attest the ministry of Christ.

“I gave some hints as to why I think the verse in James is clear to my point. That you didn’t recognize that, singled out a sentence of mine, and called it cherry-picking speaks more to how much (or little) effort you are using to understand what I am writing; you need to use a little more.”

All you did was quote a bit more of the passage without bothering to show how that supports your interpretation.

“I already answered why Ahab’s situation shouldn’t make God look like a trickster (which you apparently think he is).”

A denial is not a counterargument. In 1 Kgs 22:19-23, God fools Ahab into fighting a battle he’s bound to lose. Explain how that’s not right there in the text.

“Quick answer: God is rescuing, reconciling, and punishing (he didn’t force/necessitate the world into sin and bondage) the world and is free to work in it, using evil people as he pleases for his purposes which are good.”

i) I’m not interested in your opinion, but how you justify that exegetically in light of so much counterevidence.

ii) “Force” is a tendentious word that Arminians are fond of misattributing to Calvinism.

steve hays February 16, 2012 at 10:15 am

“The text cuts against thinking the man had any particular sin of his own actions that caused his blindness or that his particular parents/ancestors had any sin that caused his blindness. The text does not cut against what I said at all.”

Your explanation cuts against the grain because it (a) interpolates a factor that’s extraneous to the text and (b) marginalizes the stated rationale that’s given in the text.

“I feel satisfied with what I’ve already said…”

Self-satisfaction isn’t necessarily an intellectual or theological virtue.

“…thus the silence with which you are uncomfortable.”

I’m quite comfortable with your inability to defend your views when your back is pinned to the wall.

“You haven’t really made an argument; you have only appealed to your own ethos and the ethos of others.”

You say it but you don’t show it.

“I don’t feel I need to convince someone that God is all good and never evil if that person does not want to see that or finds that very thought appalling for some reason. I’ve already stated that I believe God is all good and can work a midst sin and evil and even use evil against itself in his righteous judgment. It’s done.”

This is a debate over theodicy. Theodicy involves giving reasons, not merely giving opinions.

If you presume to attack Calvinism on Arminian grounds, then your Arminian alternative is open to the same scrutiny. But thanks for reminding us that when the going gets tough, Arminians head for the exit.

steve hays February 17, 2012 at 8:23 am

“I’ll go ahead and give you some more since you keep whining about it and resorting to acting as if my back is up against some kind of wall…I may or may not respond to you anymore because I’m tired of pandering to pedantic high school-debate-like demands to answer everything you ever say or bring up. I think as sentient beings created in the image of God we should be able, by his grace with the mind of Christ, to recognize differing measures of importance in arguments. Thus, no, I will not respond to everything you say, and I don’t think my ideas are destroyed here as this is a blog and not a magisterial counsel to which I must give an account. I will afford you the same courtesy.”

Always nice to see what passes for Arminian sanctification on public display.

This is how it works: Justin does a post on Calvinism. Arminians use that as an occasion to attack Calvinism. Indeed, sometimes Justin does a post that has nothing to do with Calvinism, yet Arminians still use that as a pretext to attack Calvinism. Fine. That’s their prerogative.

But in so doing, they assume a corresponding burden of proof. Yet Arminians like you act as if you should be able to get off a few free rounds, then escape w/o a scratch. You act resentful when Calvinists return fire.

Well, if you can’t stand the heat of battle, then don’t pick a fight. If you’re going to cite Scripture against Calvinism, then it’s perfect reasonable for me (and others) to make you justify your appeal.

“What kind of character is Ahab in this story? Is God bringing judgment on Ahab or is God ‘tempting’ a good guy?”

You’re moving the goalpost from “does God tempt anyone?” to “was Ahab a good guy?” So are you now drawing a distinction between God tempting good guys and God tempting bad guys? If so, you’ve backpedaled on your original position.

“To say that Ahab represents an example of someone tempted to evil by God is not only blasphemous but also thoughtless. Thus, Ahab’s situation does not reflect upon God as though he caused Ahab’s evil.”

It’s hardly “blasphemous” for me to take seriously what God says about himself in Scripture. And I’m raising the same issues that are raised in evangelical exegesis. For instance:

“The ethical and theological implications of trickery have not been the focus of this paper. Yet obviously such matters naturally attend the archetype of the trickster and the art of trickery. Particularly troublesome are those passages where God himself is said to be involved in the situation. Most instances fit the category of ruse de guerre. Thus God caused the Aramaean soldiers to hear what seemed to them the clamor of a great host coming upon them and fled in panic (2 Kgs 7:6–7). At the Lord’s direction Absalom and his advisors were deceived into following advice that would ultimately lead to their defeat (2 Sam 17:14) and Ahab is deceived into following the counsel of his false prophets to his own destruction (1 Kgs 22:19-23). To be noted also is the Lord’s blinding of the Aramaean troops so that they are eventually entrapped in Samaria (2 Kgs 6:15–20).”

R. Patterson, “The Old Testament Use of an Archetype: The Trickster,” JETS 42/3 (September 1999), 393.

steve hays February 17, 2012 at 12:09 pm

“The thing you still don’t seem to get is that it does matter that whether or not Ahab was being judged or not, whether or not God opposed him because he needed to be opposed.”

That’s a red herring if your argument is that God never tempts anyone. Unless you’re now qualifying your original argument to mean divine temptation can be a form of divine judgment on those who deserve to be opposed. But that’s a retreat from your initial argument.

“Yeah, God can be said to deceive the wicked in the sense of confusing them and keeping them in the dark to their own destruction.”

This is more than keeping them in the dark regarding their destruction. Rather, this is orchestrating their destruction through deception.

“Who lied to Ahab? An evil spirit did the lying at the permission of God who willed the judgment upon Ahab, and the spirit did it through false prophets. I don’t see how you can reasonably twist that into saying God “tempted” Ahab.”

i) Because it’s God who solicited the evil spirit.

ii) The evil spirit is acting as God’s appointed agent.

iii) The evil spirit is commissioned to “entice” Ahab.

Nothing “twisty” about my interpretation. That’s explicit in the text.

“However, it has already been shown that true free will places the responsibility of evil upon the creatures.”

That’s what Arminians hope to accomplish. That doesn’t make the freewill defense successful. That hasn’t been shown in this thread.

“The permissive, antecedant/accidental will (to borrow from Arminius) allows the creature to sin within the limits given to it by God…”

There’s more than one aspect to theodicy. A successful theodicy must show how:

i) God is blameless

ii) Sinners are blameworthy.

Even if permission could somehow show that sinners are blameworthy, that wouldn’t show that God is blameless. Allowing evil can itself be blameworthy.

steve hays February 18, 2012 at 7:09 am

“you still don’t get that Ahab’s state both as a human of naturally depraved state and that of his temporally wicked, disobedient state are critical to understanding the text. I already know what you think about this, but you are still ignoring the facts of the text before you go on again with your explanation. If you don’t see how that’s morally relevant, then you need to stop and think about it before you comment again. It is critical that God is reacting to Ahab’s sinfulness albeit he knew he would in his foreknowledge.”

Your objection is illogical. You’re oscillating between two different arguments. If your argument is that God doesn’t tempt anyone, and I present a case in which God tempts someone, then that’s sufficient to defeat your argument.

You can go on to say God was warranted in tempting Ahab because Ahab was sinful, but that’s a different argument.

“you accidently condemn your own idea of God.”

i) Since my own position isn’t based on divine permission, that doesn’t follow.

ii) I’m not attempting to defend my own position at this moment. I’m just responding to you. I’m quite capable of defending my own position, and have done so repeatedly on other occasions.

iii) You’re not responding to what I said. It’s child’s play to come up with counterexamples in which allowing evil is, itself, evil. Therefore, permission is not ipso facto exculpatory. You need to present a far more nuanced argument.

You could try to show that in a certain type of case, permission is exculpatory, then try to show that divine permission is that type of case.

Or you could argue that what’s wrong for a man to permit may not be wrong for God to permit. If so, a Calvinist could draw a similar distinction.

steve hays February 18, 2012 at 4:01 pm
i) The way you try to define “temptation” commits a classic semantic fallacy: illegitimate totality transfer. So you need to bone up on basic lexical semantics.

ii) You then resort to mock pious indignation rather than address the witness of Scripture. On several occasions the Bible says God deceives the wicked. I didn’t make that up. If your Arminian theology can’t make room for how God reveals himself in Scripture, then that just illustrates the sorry fact than when push comes to shove, Arminians chuck the Bible.

steve hays February 18, 2012 at 6:15 pm

“Notice the spirit was the one with the idea.”

Wrong. In the text, God takes the initiative by soliciting an agent to entice Ahab.

“We believe it is in error to say that God used his immediate energy to be the direct cause of the deception…”

A straw man since I never said that.

“…or was the ‘trickster.’”

In the text, God deludes Ahab by sending an evil spirit to inspire the court prophets to speak falsely and thereby encourage Ahab to go into battle under the misimpression that he will win when he will lose. So, according to the text, God conned Ahab. A clear case of divine subterfuge.

Moreover, as Patterson documents, there’s a divine trickster motif in Scripture. This is not an isolated case.

“I don’t think God warning Ahab of his calamity is very tricky, but is more of a fair warning.”

According to the text, God isn’t warning Ahab. Just the opposite: God is goading him on. As one commentator explains:

“The Lord has decreed disaster for Ahab at Ramoth Gilead (v23), and his plan to entice the king to his death there (v20) involves precisely those prophets whom Ahab first summoned into his presence. They are being influenced by a lying spirit…Ahab is therefore predestined to listen to the false prophets; the Lord has decreed it (v22). He is also predestined to die, not matter what measures he takes to avoid this fate, for the Lord is intent on judgment, rather than salvation” I. Provan, 1 and 2 Kings, 163-64.

Back to Dane:

“Our theology does not give room for a fallacious understanding of God’s sovereignty by taking this text and saying something that it does not.”

Actually, you’ve done a swell job of demonstrating how Arminian theology makes it say something it doesn’t. Indeed, making it say the polar opposite of what explicitly says.

“There is a clear difference in ‘permission’ and God’s ‘immediate energy’ in causation. I’m not asking you to accept that, but it is sound in reason.”

Funny. When Calvin distinguishes direct causation from indirect causation, Arminians repudiate that distinction. Indeed, as one Arminian put it, in a post at SEA,

“Calling the gun the ‘proximate cause’ and the killer the ‘remote cause’ does nothing to relieve the difficulty.”

steve hays February 19, 2012 at 8:51 am


There’s nothing wrong about my statement that “In the text, God takes the initiative by soliciting an agent to entice Ahab.” That’s a factual summary of what the text explicitly states: “and the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’” (1 Kgs 22:20).

“Asking who will do the dirty, and the means by which it is done, are different things.”

So you’re saying that God delegates the “dirty” work to a second party. (BTW, that’s your adjective, not mine.)

And how is that ipso facto exculpatory?

“Do you see God giving the order to the spirit on how it is done.”

So ordering someone to do the dirty work is culpable, but soliciting someone to do the dirty work is innocent?

“…or did God ask, ‘by what means’ it was going to be done?”

Actually, the means was built into the solicitation: enticement.

“God asking ‘who will persuade’, or, be the other side of this dual, is the context, and is permissive.”

You’re substituting your preferred theology for what the text actually says. Not “persuade,” but “entice” through dissimulation (i.e. false prophecy).

“Why would God ask for this spirit’s input?”

i) He didn’t ask for information; he asked for volunteers.

ii) He also posed a leading question for the benefit of the audience. This is a behind-the-scenes account of Ahab’s downfall. The narrator pulls back the curtain to show the reader what lies behind the outcome. He takes the reader into God’s war council, to overhear this conversation.

“God has both sides represented, truth and deception.”

“But determinism does.”

i) You’re confusing “determinism” with occasionalism. “Determinism” is hardly synonymous with “immediate energy” or “direct causation.” Try not to be hopelessly ignorant.

ii) In addition, your remark is simply irrelevant. The question at issue is divine temptation.

“God is simply showing through this prophecy (somewhat of a theatrical setting) that He is showing Ahab both sides of the dual.”

No, that’s not what the text is showing. The text shows God soliciting a lying spirit to inspire a false prophecy to lure Ahab into a trap.

“God permitting the evil side…”

No, the text doesn’t present God “permitting” anything. Rather, God takes the initiative. God solicits the lying spirit.

You constantly substitute your alternative construction for what the text actually says.

“Saying this is not a warning is very confusing. If someone said you were going to die if you did such and such – is a warning – just not heeded by Ahab.”

i) The house of Ahab stands condemned under a prophetic curse (1 Kgs 20:41-43; 21:17-29). Ahab is doomed (22:23). It’s just a question of how and when God will seal his fate. This is the fulfillment of an oracle of doom.

ii) Of course Ahab ignores Micaiah. For God assures the lying spirit that he will succeed (v22). Therein lies the irony. If you tell somebody who’s deceived that he’s deceived, he’s too deceived to believe that he’s deceived, even though you told him. To be deceived is to believe that you are not deceived.

That illustrates the power of the deception.

“God describing how he will use Ahab’s choice for his judgment is all this is.”

No, that’s not all there is to the text. The text details how God manipulated Ahab into making that choice.

“‘God goading him’ is your opinion and this thinking is not in the text.”

Of course it’s in the text. God goads Ahab through false prophecy.

“You are adding meaning and forcing this text to say things like ‘God goading’ Ahab, and saying God is directly using his power by giving evil Spirit’s their thoughts and marching orders to do evil acts.”

i) You’re burning a straw man by imputing to me things I didn’t say (“God is directly using his power by giving evil Spirit’s their thoughts and marching orders to do evil acts”).

ii) So you think the lying spirit performed an “evil act.” If so, the lying spirit did evil at divine instigation.

BTW, I’m not the one who ascribed an “evil act” to the lying spirit. That’s your interpretation.

“This is why it is hard to distinguish the God of Calvinism from the Devil.”

This is why it’s hard to distinguish Arminianism from atheism. You’re the one who’s implicitly equating Yahweh with the Devil.

“Even when the evil spirits are involved you give God the credit.”

The lying spirit was involved in this transaction because God recruited the lying spirit in the first place.

“As you have shown here everyone is only doing what God placed it in their minds to do, including evil spirits.”

I didn’t cite the text to establish predestination. Rather, I cited the text to establish divine temptation. You’re the one who tries to change the subject.

“But it does. The faulty truth of ‘indirect causation’ still has God pulling the trigger in determinism regardless.”

According to the text, God hands a loaded gun to the lying spirit, who pulls the trigger–to play along with the Arminian metaphor. (Not my metaphor.)

“Ahab made his choice, God knew his choice. God did not determine Ahab’s choice, it was not necessary, but curtain to happen as Micaiah so confidently states.”

The account depicts God engineering Ahab’s choice.

“If you are a determinist you have a harder time with this text than anyone, yet this is the text they use.”

I don’t have a hard time accepting God’s self-revelation. You’re the one who’s squirming.

steve hays February 19, 2012 at 12:25 pm

“Steve, That you think God is blameworthy of deceit shows your problem.”

How should we construe Kyle’s response? One possibility is that because he can’t defense his position on exegetical grounds, he resorts to rhetorical intimidation, pressure tactics, etc.

Another possibility is that he simply lacks the critical detachment to evaluate the opposing position on its own terms. Hence, what he’s doing here is to impute to me a conclusion which he derived from his own Arminian assumptions. Classic mirror-reading.

I didn’t say or suggest that God is “blameworthy.” Rather, I simply attributed to divine action what the text itself attributed to divine action.

If Kyle imagines that this makes God blameworthy, then he’s the one, not me, who’s impugning God’s character.

It’s only blameworthy if you begin with Arminian assumptions regarding the preconditions of moral responsibility.

From what I can tell, this seems to be Kyle’s inference:

(a) deception is blameworthy; (b) if God deceives Ahab, then that makes God blameworthy.

That, however, refuses to let the text of Scripture teach us. I myself draw the opposite conclusion: If God deceives Ahab, then divine deception is not blameworthy.
BTW, Kyle himself admitted in an early comment that God deceives the wicked. Kyle said God “deceives” them in the sense of “confusing” them.

Well, why isn’t that blameworthy? It’s silly for Kyle to wax indignant given his own concessions.

“If God told Ahab something from his own mouth, say by a dream or vision, then God would be a liar, a real trickster as you put it…God did not lie; he employed an evil spirit to do his thing and deceive Ahab, who is evil and disobedient at this point, through the mouths of lying prophets to whom Ahab is already listening.”

Notice how Arminians introduce the distinction between direct and indirect causation to exonerate God. When, however, Calvin does the same thing (distinguishing between remote and proximate causes), Arminians ridicule that as special pleading.

“That you can’t understand how God is beyond blame here is beyond me.”

Observe how Kyle is still projecting his own impressions onto me.

steve hays February 20, 2012 at 7:56 am

“Steve isn’t this fun :)”

So you do theology for amusement. That explains a lot about your attitude.

“Says who? Not the text.”

According to the text, the means by which God will bring about Ahab’s downfall is to entice him to fight a losing battle.

That’s the general means. The action of the lying spirit operates within that divinely-stipulated framework.

“Was God’s secret will lurking behind the question?”

Is that your attempt to be clever? It’s best not to try to be more clever than you really are.

i) The “secret will” is just a synonym for predestination. Scripture teaches predestination. It’s not prudent to mock revealed truth.

ii) Do you think there’s something inherently sinister about divine secrecy? For instance, God knows the future, we don’t–except to the very limited degree that God reveals the future to us.

So, for the most part, God’s knowledge of the future is a secret. He generally keeps that to himself. Is that something you mock as well?

“The ‘how’ was not established.”

You’re failing to draw an elementary distinction between general means and specific means. The latter is a special case of the former. Try to learn how to reason.

“God asked for his idea.”

As a leading question. Do you think God never poses leading questions in Scripture? Are you an open theist?

”You want us to believe God is soliciting evil spirits for volunteers in vs20, but you can’t come to grips that God is soliciting ‘suggestions’ for ‘how’ to entice Ahab in vs 22. If the question in vs20 was on the up-n-up, then why you can’t you stomach the plain reading of the second question in vs 22?”

You have a simplistic grasp of questioning if you think questions only serve one purpose. There are different types of questions that serve different functions, viz. interrogative questions, rhetorical questions, leading questions, loaded questions, hypothetical questions, Socratic questions.

“To read this plainly, God clearly took the ‘suggestion’ of the evil spirit that stepped forward, and God gave his approval to the evil spirit’s suggestion, that is, to use the 400 prophets of Ahab to entice him. Let’s see if you will squirm your way out if this one. Just take it for what is says Steve. This shows that God takes suggestions from evil spirits. Stick up for God’s sovereignty the way Arminians stick up for God’s revealed character.”

i) 1 Kgs 22 is an example of God’s revealed character. Rather than sticking up for God’s revealed character, Arminians like you are attacking God’s revealed character.

ii) There’s nothing in the text for me to squirm out of. Your argument is predicated on your ignorance of standard literary and rhetorical techniques.

steve hays February 21, 2012 at 7:26 am

“The general means is not disputed…”

A belated concession on your part.

“…and you’re being evasive.”

I’m being accurate. Accuracy is an exegetical virtue. Try it some time.

“Oh, did I touch a nerve. I simply asked if God’s secret will is behind his question..”

No, you didn’t simply pose a question. You resorted to mockery (“Are you using the Stevenci Code to get this built in hidden meaning?”). So I answered you accordingly. If you bleed on contact, don’t pick fights.

“Is God’s permissive will secret?”

That’s your category, not mine.

“Not mocking revealed truth.”

You just did.

“Never even touched this – this is you chasing rabbits.”

You can’t follow your own argument. Not my problem if you can’t keep up.

“You’re being evasive again.”

You’re being sloppy again.

“Again, the ‘how’ or the ‘means’, or the specific ‘path’ or “surfactant” (the 400 prophets) to deliver the general means was not established…”

That fallacious inference piggybacks on your persistent failure to distinguish between leading questions and interrogative questions.

“If there is a solicitation for a response in vs20, then so it is in vs22.”

Questions have different rhetorical functions. Try to master that simple distinction.



“This is not the structure for a leading question. Give situations. This would be an open ended leading question that would have to be assumed, and would also give reason for the first question to be the same (if you demand it).”

That’s a string of assertions without a single supporting argument.

“You are attacking God sovereignty.”

You’re attacking God’s self-revelation in Scripture.

“You’re still squirming.”

It’s revealing that Arminians try to put Calvinists on the defensive when Calvinists take the Word of God seriously. Scratch an Arminian and out pops Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins.

steve hays February 21, 2012 at 8:35 am

“Furthermore, God did not think Ahab’s thoughts for him; God did not superintend Ahab’s thoughts upon him. There is nothing in the text that can lead you to your assertion; you get it from your presuppositions that you bring to the text rather than the text itself.”

Kyle, you need to cultivate some basic reading discipline. You need to keep track of who said what. You didn’t get that from me. You got that from Richard Coords. He’s the guy who imported that into this this thread, not me.

I didn’t infer that from the text, or “bring that” to the text. I didn’t use that to interpret the text.

That’s a separate issue. That’s irrelevant to how I exegeted the text. Pay attention. Don’t be so impressionable. Don’t take what a third party says about the second party, and act as if that’s how the second party was arguing in this situation.

steve hays February 21, 2012 at 8:58 am

“Oh, and Steve, about your accusation of illegitimate totality transfer on my usage of temptation, I am assuming you are saying that my definition of temptation from James 1 doesn’t apply to Ahab’s situation. Is that correct?”

Wrong. You’re committing a semantic fallacy in reference to James. That’s before we ever get to the application phase.

“Granted, your point is probably to say God can’t be called evil even if he acts evil, am I still right?”

Wrong again. I didn’t suggest that God “acts evil” (sic). You keep projecting your Arminian assumptions onto me, as though, if you think that would be a case of God acting evilly, then I share your assumption.

“Thus, when you ask questions like ‘doesn’t this make God culpable?’ you are trying to impose guilt upon God from the text (although it seems not to be there at all) and you are trying to make God guilty on anyone’s terms.”

No, not on “anyone’s terms”; rather, on Arminian terms.

Somewhere along the line you lost sight of the context. This is a debate over the respective merits of Arminian and Reformed theodicy.

When Arminians like you say predestination makes the Calvinist God morally complicit or culpable or “monstrous,” one response is to show that “permission” or Arminian providence is subject to comparable objections. It’s a tu quoque argument.

I never said or suggested that the Calvinist God is culpable. Rather, I said that given how Arminians frame the issue, if we follow the Arminian position to its logical conclusion, then that makes the Arminian God culpable.

Try to keep things straight. You’re getting your wires crossed.

“I really wish you would study more compatibilism and calvinist exegesis so that you didn’t commit errors that even a calvinist doesn’t make.”

It would behoove you to acquire a bit of modesty–especially given the level of your performance.

“Otherwise, we don’t need to interact anymore.”

Is that supposed to be a threat? It’s not as if you’ve been doing me a favor.

steve hays February 15, 2012 at 2:53 pm

“As can be expected one of the responses of theological fatalists/calvinists is to bring up the ‘heaven objection’ against libertarian free will (LFW).”

i) Notice Robert’s erroneous terminology. Let’s compare this with correct terminology:

“Determinism is the thesis that everything that occurs, including our deliberations and decisions, are causally necessitated by antecedent conditions. Fatalism, by contrast, is the thesis that our deliberations and decisions are causally ineffective and make no difference to the course of events” Oxford Handbook of Free Will, p232.

ii) In addition, if Robert is going to bandy the label “theological fatalist,” then divine foreknowledge also leads to theological fatalism. In that case, classical Arminianism is fatalistic.

steve hays February 14, 2012 at 8:34 pm
Bob Hadley

“God created a world where His love would find an outlet. Love cannot exist where there is no potential of rejection. That would be like asking, Can God create a rock so big He cannot lift it? In order for love to exist, the necessary evil must follow, to refuse to love.”

i) If sin is inevitable, then that’s a necessitarian scheme, not a libertarian scheme. You’re defending libertarianism on necessitarian grounds, which is self-contradictory.

ii) Apropos (i), if men are free to either sin or not sin, then why is there no possible world in which men freely refrain from sin all the time?

“Good points. God created a world where love abounds and in that world He created there has to be the potential for rejection or we would be puppets and simply doing what God bids us to do.”

Even if we grant that for the sake of argument, there’s also the potential to always choose good. If there’s no possible world in which libertarian agents consistently do right, then there’s nothing that corresponds to the potential to choose good rather than evil. So your argument is at war with itself.

steve hays February 14, 2012 at 9:21 pm
Bob Hadley

“In order for love to exist on man’s part to God, there must be the possibility and even probability of rejection, which would be falling short of God’s glory and therefor a definition of sin.”

If humans have the freedom to do otherwise, then there’s a possible world in which you love God along with another possible world in which you reject God. So why doesn’t God choose to create the possible world in which you and other human agents freely love God rather than the possible world in which some reject him?

“Man’s separation from God keeps him from doing anything righteous; and as the Calvinist would say, man cannot not sin when he is separated from God’s perpetual presence. This is what I see we inherited from Adam. We were all born separated from God.”

This reflects confusion are your part. You’re now discussing the actual world. But that misses the point, for you also invoke possibilities and counterfactuals. You’re oscillating between actuality and possibility.

However, the question at issue, as you yourself have cast the question, is not: given the actual world, this is what will happen. Rather, the issue goes behind the actual world. On your view, the actual world is not the only possible world. The actual world is not a given.

Sure, the actual world is fallen, but given your libertarian assumptions, why is a fallen world inevitable? Why can’t God actualize a world in which men never fell?

steve hays February 14, 2012 at 9:25 pm
Bob Hadley

“So, while the potential and probability for sin were necessary in the world God created to be an outlet for His love, I supposed it could be said sin was inevitable.”

If sin is inevitable, then humans aren’t really free to do otherwise. If humans are bound to sin, then libertarian freedom is false.

steve hays February 14, 2012 at 6:20 pm

“Jeremiah – Absolutely true. It seems to me that Calvinism breaks down in the counseling office. Asking someone to turn to God for relief and comfort while believing that God causes all the trauma and damage in the person’s life is tantamount to asking an abuse survivor to be abused again.”

And according to Wayman’s theology, God stands by while the abuser abuses the victim. God enables the abuser. God honors the freedom of the abuser to be abuse the victim rather than honoring the freedom of the victim not to be abused. God sides with the abuser rather than the abuse surviver.

Yes, that’s so comforting.

steve hays February 15, 2012 at 3:11 pm

“But self righteousness enters in here. People love to compare and contrast themselves with others.”

The way Robert loves to draw invidious comparisons between Arminians and Calvinists–to the detriment of the latter.

steve hays February 16, 2012 at 7:35 am

“Do I need to keep going here, there are other points to make regarding AG and a theodicy. For example my favorite philosopher Alvin Plantinga makes some of them in his writings (and egad Plantinga strongly holds to libertarian free will, he must be a “sinner” said the Pharisees, er, I mean, the calvinists!) But hopefully these points will be sufficient to show that Hugh’s comment about AG is really, really foolish.”

Robert neglects to mention that Plantinga also endorses a supralapsarian theodicy, which is a classically Calvinistic theodicy:

steve hays February 14, 2012 at 6:33 pm

“This question has great importance for pastoral/counseling/evangelistic/apologetic situations. If you are addicted to drugs because God willed for you to be addicted to drugs…”

How can Arminians coherently deny that God willed the junkie to be addicted? God made a world with that foreseeable consequence. That consequence is a result of God having made a world with that foreseeable consequence. God made the individual knowing full well that he’d become a junkie.

These are avoidable consequences. God could prevent the outcome in various ways. God doesn’t have to expose a susceptible individual to the temptation to do drugs. God could put individuals in situations where they don’t have access to drugs. Where they are never offered cocaine or heroine.

Do you think God doesn’t will the consequences of his own actions?

steve hays February 14, 2012 at 6:36 pm

“…if you are being beaten by your husband because God not only ‘permitted’ it to happen but ordered events in such a way that no other outcome was possible, then is God good to you?”

Is God good to the battered wife if he refuses to intervene?

steve hays February 15, 2012 at 8:03 am

“According to God, ‘God is love’. As one who always exists in three Persons he has always been self-giving love. God also says that he is ‘light’ (holy). According to the Bible, love never does anything contrary to God’s law. The Lord has shown us that he does not do things that are contrary to love. He even went to far as to reveal himself as the God who ‘cannot lie.’ Do these plainly biblical statements describe a God who not only allows but wills for all sin to occur? There are only two options. Either God wills or does not will for our sins to be done. In the Scripture we see a God who pleads with humanity to return to him and reject sin. It is not God’s will that we continue to rebel against him. He is holy. He is love.”

i) You’re simply disregarding some of the passages that Justin quoted (e.g. Psalm 105:25; 1 Sam 15:23; 2 Sma 12:11; 1 Kgs 12:15-16).

ii) Is it loving for the Arminian God to knowingly create hellbound sinners? Would it not be more loving to spare them that hellish demise by never making them in the first place?

iii) Is the Arminian God as loving as he could be? Why doesn’t he prevent men, women, and children from dying in natural disasters? You can’t chalk it up to the freewill defense. Volcanos, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis have no freewill to violate.

Why doesn’t he at least give them advance warning?

iv) Is it loving for the Arminian God to allow adults to brutalize children? Would it not be more loving to the children to protect them from abusive adults?

v) Your “only two options” is a false dichotomy. For instance, it fails to distinguish between willing an event for its own sake, and willing an event to facilitate a long-range goal.

steve hays February 15, 2012 at 9:00 am

“Is not Jeremiah’s question consistent with Calvinistic theology?”

Obviously not. Take his question: “Are you rebelling against God if you remove yourself from abusive situations?”

According to Calvinism, if you remove yourself from abusive situation, then God predestined you to remove yourself from abusive situations. So removing yourself from the abusive situation is hardly at odds with God’s decretive will.

What could be more obvious?

steve hays February 15, 2012 at 9:09 am

As I’ve pointed out, it’s also consistent with Arminian theology that God willed the consequences.

steve hays February 14, 2012 at 7:50 pm

“The second strike is that permission and free will can coexist with omnipotence. This is extremely easy to account for as the one who is omnipotent (God) decided to create a world where free will would exist and specifically mankind would have this capacity.”

Is Robert saying freewill renders sin inevitable? But if sin is inevitable, then Robert is a necessitarian. If, however, sin is not inevitable, then why did God create a possible world where humans sin rather than another possible world where humans freely refrain from sin?

“This is a common Calvinist error, to confuse certainty with necessity.”

It’s a common Arminian error to falsely impute that confusion to Calvinists.

“Now Grampton commits the error of begging the question, he assumes the very thing under dispute (i.e. he assumes that God cannot foreknow a future event unless that event comes about by necessity). But that assertion has never been proved and remains merely a calvinist assumption.”

That’s demonstrably false:

i) Just read some of the following entries in the Stanford encyclopedia to see that this is by no means a “merely calvinist assumption”: “Omniscience,” “Prophecy,” “Divine Providence,” “Foreknowledge and Free Will.”

ii) Likewise, open theism–which is an outgrowth of Arminianism–draws the same inference.

iii) Isa 46:10-11 grounds divine foreknowledge in God’s plan for the world.

“The ordinary understanding of foreknowledge, held by Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and Protestants is the belief that God foreknows all events whether they are necessitated or not, whether they involve freely made choices or not. God simply has the ability to foreknow whatever will occur in the future.”

That, too, is demonstrably false. Catholic tradition includes Thomism and Augustinianism. Those are predestinarian traditions within Catholicism.

Likewise, there was a celebrated dispute between the Thomists and the Jesuits over this very issue.

“True, he knew that if Jesus came in the flesh and said and did what he would do, the response of some individuals would be to plan to work with the Roman authorities to have him crucified.”

Here’s what Arminian scholar I. H. Marshall has to say about Acts 2:23 and 4:28 in his commentary:

“Even in putting Jesus to death, the Jews were simply fulfilling what God had already determined must take place and indeed had foretold in the prophetic writings” (75).
“Yet all that was plotted and done against Jesus was no more than God had foreordained to happen (2:23; 3:18)” (106).

That’s far stronger than mere foreknowledge or permission.

“If God has the ability to foreknow what a person will freely choose to do in a particular situation (and he does, as he has foreknowledge of all events)…”

Whether God foreknows all events given libertarianism is the very issue in dispute. That’s hardly something Robert is entitled to take for granted.

steve hays February 15, 2012 at 7:17 am

“No, the term ‘author of sin’ actually means the one who first concieves of the sin, and plans for it to take place. Another way of saying it is that God would be the author of sin if He ‘wills that what he hates come to pass.’ I hope this clarification is helpful.”

Why should we accept your definition? Isn’t that an ad hoc definition which is tailor-made to single out Calvinism while it conveniently exempts Arminianism?

steve hays February 16, 2012 at 7:18 am
i) I have to question your reading ability. I didn’t quote just one definition of authorship. Rather, I quoted multiple definitions in historical English usage, as well as French and Latin usage. Are you paying attention?

ii) Likewise, I didn’t quote a definition that’s unique to the “Calvinist paradigm”. Where did you get that idea?

iii) However, according to the definition you just gave, the Arminian God is the author of sin and evil. For he’s the Creator of the world, the ultimate source of whatever happens, the originator of human beings.

So thanks for admitting that Arminianism makes God the author of sin. Glad to finally clear that up.

steve hays February 16, 2012 at 8:34 am

“Again, didn’t say anything like that. Please go back and respond to what I actually said.”

You’re unable to track your own argument.

steve hays February 16, 2012 at 8:33 am
You’ve given two different definitions:

i) the term “author of sin” actually means the one who first concieves of the sin, and plans for it to take place. Another way of saying it is that God would be the author of sin if He “wills that what he hates come to pass.”
ii) “one that originates or creates : source”

These are clearly not synonymous. (ii) says nothing about planning or about willing what he hates. For that matter, it says nothing about conceiving sin.

steve hays February 16, 2012 at 9:27 am

“An action originates with the person who planned it.”

i) That doesn’t follow from the definition you quoted. For instance, some actions are unplanned. The definition you quoted doesn’t single out planned actions.

Instead of sticking to the definition that you yourself quoted, you’re improvising.

ii) In addition, it’s simplistic to say an action originates with the person who planned it. There is more than one source for a given action. The agent is a source. But the source of the agent is also a source of the agent’s action. Actions are generally chain-reactions, with long causal histories.

steve hays February 16, 2012 at 10:02 am

“Correct. I am applying the definition. That isnt the same thing as improvising.”

You can only apply the definition by applying what’s in the definition. You’ve added something to the definition you quoted that isn’t there. So, yes, you’re improvising.

“The context of the conversation is sin. My statement was meant to only apply within that context.”

Except that you definition doesn’t match your statement.

steve hays February 15, 2012 at 7:14 am
Bob Anderson

“I read through Edward’s explanation and I believe I understand it correctly. However, the basis of his explanation seems to be a redefinition of what it means to be the ‘author’ of something.”

i) To “redefine” assumes that there’s a standard definition of authorship which Edwards is redefining. Is there only one definition of authorship?

ii) Since Edwards was an 18C writer, don’t you have to ask what “authorship” meant in 18C usage?

iii) Also, don’t you have to ask if “authorship” had a technical meaning in theological discourse?

“If God decrees something, how does that not make him the ‘author’? Did he not ‘write the book’ before the events occurred?”

So you’re using authorship in a metaphorical sense. But if creative writer “authors” a villain or a natural evil, does that make the writer evil or blameworthy? What if the villain is a foil? What if the natural evil serves a worthwhile purpose?

“I have no problem with God permitting sin.”

Why do you have no problem with that? For instance, if a big city mayor has the power to restrain organized crime, but lets the mobsters go on a crime spree, do you have no problem with that?

“It seems to me that direct agency does not always define authorship. If I were to order the events that led to the murder of someone, hiring someone else to pull the trigger, how am I not the author of the sin that has occurred? I planned, worked the events, paid the assassin, etc. From a moral perspective, am I not complicit in the act?”

Isn’t that Arminian theism in a nutshell? Didn’t the Arminian God set that chain of events in motion?

steve hays February 16, 2012 at 8:25 am
Bob Anderson

“Here is the Merriam-Webster definition of the term, complete with the etymology (which you noted in another post).”

That’s a very simplified definition. The word has far more permutations, as I documented.

“I would assume these are the common definitions used by people in discourse, and the definition seems to be consistent with the origins of the word.”

By which people? Laymen? Theologians? 18C writers?

“It seems to me that ‘agent’ fits the issue of the physical perpetrator of the crime better than the term ‘author.’ Edwards seems to want to limit the authorship to the agent, rather than the originator.”

On that definition, the sinner or human evildoer is the author of sin and evil rather than God.

“If this is the case, then the article is not relevant to the current circumstances or to the dialogue. There is no reason to even discuss Edwards’ view if he is using definitions that are different than our own. One must assume that both Justin Taylor and Piper are intelligent enough to know this and would not post a discourse with meaning that is not understandable.”

No. It just means we need to make allowance for period usage, just as take period usage into account when we read John Bunyan or Shakespeare.

“If he is not, then shame on them.”

That’s silly. Do you think readers have no responsibility to consider period usage? Would you say the same thing about Jane Austen?

“Edwards does give a different meaning, as I noted. But, of course, this means that we can effectively make up definitions to fit our theology, which appears to be what is taking place.”

i) You’re assuming there’s a standard definition, and his own definition is idiosyncratic. But as I documented, the word has many different senses.

ii) As a matter of fact, I often find Arminians making up a definition of authorship to fit their theological agenda. In fact, you yourself are guilty of that very thing (see below).

“It seems to me that most theologians use language that is common to rational discourse and respect accepted definitions. By changing a definition of a term, the ‘author’ of a essay would simply be seeking to confuse the issue. Piper and others can raise Edwards in support of such an idea, holding to a private theological language, but I think this is not a responsible way to discuss the issue of God.”

Frankly, you’re making a series of ridiculous statements.

i) Language evolves. The common connotations or denotations of a word in one century may not be the same in another. That’s a fact.

ii) In addition, Christian theology has its share of technical jargon. That’s why there are theological dictionaries and theological lexicons. Are you unaware of that elementary fact?

iii) Edwards himself read Reformed Scholastic theologians who wrote in Latin, who used Aristotelian and Thomistic terminology.

“While the term “book” may be a metaphor of God’s foreordination, it is a metaphor of real events. So the author is complicit if he causes the events to occur. He is the author in the primary meaning as given above. Given that definition and the concept of foreordination, God certainly is writing the script and orchestrating the events. There really is nothing metaphorical in this concept because both are occurring. And we are not speaking of fictional characters, but real events. A fictional murder is not the same as a real murder. The ‘book’ what commands the actual history of the events.”

i) You’re oscillating erratically between literal and figurative usage. You can’t transfer implications from one to the other. You need to be consistent with each.

ii) Within the framework of metaphorical authorship, a creative writer is not guilty of murder if he invents a fictitious character who murders another fictitious character.

If you’re trading on the metaphorical connotations of authorship, then even if God were the author of sin (in that figurative sense), he wouldn’t be culpable or morally complict.

You can’t coherently mix and match literal and figurative usage. Pick one and stick with that.

“So the author is complicit if he causes the events to occur.”

Which makes the Arminian God complict in sin and evil on a standard definition of causation:

e causally depends on c if and only if, if c were not to occur e would not occur

“Given that definition and the concept of foreordination, God certainly is writing the script and orchestrating the events. There really is nothing metaphorical in this concept.”

Of course it’s metaphorical to say God is “writing the script.” You need to learn how to think more clearly.

“Permitting something to occur is far different from orchestrating it. The orchestration of the crime spree would make the mayor complicit with organized crime itself. Allowing such to occur may be negligent, but it is not participation in the crime. I think any moral person would recognize different levels of moral complicity.”

i) That’s a claim you need to defend, not merely assert. If an innocent bystander is killed because the mayor refuses to crack down on crime, even though that casualty was preventable had the mayor done his job, why is he not equally guilty?

ii) Moreover, it isn’t even necessary for him to be equally guilty. It’s sufficient that he be blameworthy.

iii) Apropos (ii), you need to show that permission is exculpatory. Merely drawing a contrast between permission and orchestration fails to exonerate the party who let it happen.

“But a better example would be in business, where a manager must turn over responsibility to others to perform work. If an error is made, the manager must take corrective action and perhaps provides education or judgment on the individual. But that does not mean that the manager has either orchestrated or approved the error. The individual is the agent of the error.”

Of course that’s equivocal. What if the manager foresaw the error? What if the error led to someone’s death? Say, a manager in a pharmaceutical company who knows the product is defective. Is it morally sufficient for the manager to take countermeasures after the damage is done?

“But to answer your question, God making the world good does not necessitate sin nor does it mean that he has orchestrated sin to occur.”

i) That’s your bait-and-switch. At the outset of your comment you define authorship as “one that originates or creates : source”

But at the end of your comment you swap that out for one who orchestrates or necessitates sin.

ii) If God makes the world (and don’t forget the Arminian doctrine of providence), then God is the ultimate source of origin for whatever happens.

steve hays February 15, 2012 at 8:08 am
We need to discuss what “authorship” means in historic usage. It has more than one meaning. And more than one language is pertinent to theological usage.

According to the OED, the etymology of the word traces its way back through modern French (“auteur”), Old French (“autor”), and Anglo-French (“autour”) to the Latin noun “auctor,” from the verb “augere.”

This is not to say that etymology governs the import. Indeed, the OED goes on to note a nodal point of semantic interference, due to “Medieval Latin confusion of ‘auctor’ and ‘actor’,” The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford 1971), 1:143.

The OED gives four basic meanings: (i) “a person who originates or gives existence to anything”; (ii) “one who begets; a father, an ancestor”; (iii) “one who sets forth the written statements; (iv) “the person on whose authority a statement is made.”

In context, (ii) and (iv) are inapplicable. So only (i) and (iii) would be in play.

Under (i), several semantic variants are listed: (b) “the Creator”; (c) “he who gives rise to or causes an action, event, circumstances, state, or condition of things”; (d) “he who authorizes or instigates; the prompter or mover.”

Since the OED drew attention to conflated connotations, it’s worth visiting the entry for “actor,” for which such senses are given as “agent or factor,” “a term in Roman law,” “one who acts, or performs any action, or takes part in any affair; a doer,” “one personates a character, or acts a part; a stage-player, or dramatic performer,” ibid. 24.

Of course, the entry is for the Latin derivative and not the original. Still, there is at least some degree of semantic association and area of overlap–especially as a direct carryover from Roman law. And, indeed, “attorney” is one of the denotations for “actor” in Medieval Latin. Cf. Mediae Latinitatis Lexicon Minus (Leiden: Brill 1984), 14.

Incidentally, this branches off into such Latin derivatives as the Italian “atto” (“act, action, deed”) and the English word “attorney.”

Moving to Medieval Latin, “auctor” has several senses, including “the perpetrator of a crime,” and the “one who gives assent,” Mediae Latinitatis Lexicon Minus (Leiden: Brill 1984), 69.

Shifting to French usage, “auteur” is a 12C load-word from the Latin “auctor.” Among other senses, it carries the meaning of the instigator or chief party (“instigateur, chef de parti”), as well as the person responsible for a choice, or the one who commits a reprehensible crime (“personne qui est responsable d’une chose, qui a commis un acte reprehensible”), Grand larousse de la langue francaise (Paris 1971), 1:320.

Of course, The Larousee is principally concerned with modern French usage. For period usage, such as we would find in Calvin or Beza, we turn to the entry in another reference work:

“Auteur” first occurs in the 12C (“apparu douzieme siecle”) where it is a load-word from the Latin “auctor” (“est un emprunt au latin auctor”), derived, in turn, from “augere” (“Le mot est derive du verbe augere”), Dictionnaire historique de la langue francaise (Paris 1992), 1:145.

The entry goes on to describe the original meaning of the word, first in sacred and later profane usage (“Le sens initial due latin, qui l’apparente a augur [>augure] serait religieux, ‘celui qui fait croitre’ [‘one who causes to grow’], puis social, ‘celui qui fonde et etablit” [‘one who functions as an authorized representative or founder’).

The final meaning of the Latin word, which is retained in French usage, comprises the Christian Latin sense of “auctor” to denote God, along with the associative sense of the agent or doer of the deed, by assimilating the Latin word with the French verb “agir” (“le mot a enfin pris les valeurs que le francais retiendra, y compris celle du latin chretien, ou auctor sert a designer Dieu, ce qui a pu entrainer de confusions avec actor, derive de agere ‘agir” [>acteaur, a acte]”), ibid. 145.

Although this semantic association is in the nature of a folk etymology, based on assonance, it figures, nonetheless, in how the word was understood and intended.

Turning to classical Latin, the standard reference work gives no fewer than 15 basic definitions for “auctor,” not including additional semantic variants under a given heading. Among the more relevant senses are: an authority-figure, or one who authorizes another; an advocate; a prime mover or agent, originator, initiator, cause, or source; the doer (of an action), performer, agent (in spec. contrast w. some person less directly concerned with it, or in contrast w. the action itself); the Author of our being, the Creator; a paragon; fundamental standard or basis. Cf. The Oxford Latin Dictionary (Oxford 1983), 204-206.

And under “actor,” the same reference work gives such definitions as “performer, doer, transactor, agent,” ibid. 30.

steve hays February 15, 2012 at 9:17 am

Debate is a two-way street. You need to shoulder your own share of the debate. Arminians would rather raise objections to Calvinism than answer objections to Arminianism. But you need to pull your own load.

steve hays February 15, 2012 at 9:34 am
Why should I answer your question when you shirk your own responsibilities in this debate? Like several other Arminian commenters on this thread, you refuse to argue in good faith.

steve hays February 15, 2012 at 10:09 am
Here are some examples of Arminian providence:

Arminius was puzzled about the accusation that he held corrupt opinions respecting the providence of God, because he went out of his way to affirm it. He even went so far as to say that every human act, including sin, is impossible without God’s cooperation! This is simply part of divine concurrence, and Arminius was not willing to regard God as a spectator.
That Arminius held a high view of God’s sovereignty and did not fall into a deistic mode of thinking about providence is proven by his account of divine concurrence. According to this, God does not permit sin as a spectator; God is never in the spectator mode. Rather, God not only allows sin and evil designedly and willingly, although not approvingly or efficaciously, but he cooperates with the creature in sinning…God both permits and effects a sinful act, such as the rebellion of Adam, because no creature can act apart from God’s help. In several of his writings Arminius carefully explained divine concurrence, which is without doubt the most subtle aspect of his doctrine of sovereignty and providence. For him God is the first cause of whatever happens; even a sinful act cannot occur without God as its first cause, because creatures have no ability to act without their Creator, who is their supreme cause for existence…

“The Arminian’s Doctrine of Divine Concurrence,” @ SEA.

steve hays February 16, 2012 at 7:20 am
Richard Coords

“It’s perfectly fair for Steve Hays to challenge Arminians to defend their own beliefs on providence, and I’d be interested in hearing further commentary on the aforementioned citation of Arminius.”

So Richard, no one’s stopping you. When are you going to defend your own beliefs on providence? We’re waiting.

steve hays February 16, 2012 at 7:28 am
Richard Coords

“That being said…I don’t think that Steve Hays has any wiggle room here. If, as Steve has elsewhere stated, that God alone possesses free will, and if as it was elsewhere acknowledged by Steve that God alone is the sole independent thinker in the universe, and that 100% of all thoughts ever conceived are unilaterally derived and implemented from God, without which, God could not otherwise know what people would think next, I do not see any path of logic that would lead Steve to any meaningful, logical, cogent defense against the dreaded, Author of Sin charge.”

i) To begin with, we already had that discussion over at my blog. So why would I repeat myself here?

ii) I never said that “God alone possesses freewill.” And Richard’s statement is highly ambiguous. We’d need to define “freewill,” as well as distinguishing freewill in God from freewill in man.

iii) Notice that Richard doesn’t bother to define “author of sin.”

iv) Of course human beings are totally dependent on God. That’s what it means to be a creature. A creature is a contingent being, dependent for its nature and existence on something or someone other than itself. That’s standard Christian theism.

v) I happen to think the debate over authorship of sin is a distraction. There’s no reason to frame the issue in terms of that ambiguous, extrabiblical phrase. What matters is what the Bible teaches.

I’m only discussing the authorship of sin because that happens to be the topic of this thread.

steve hays February 16, 2012 at 3:49 pm

“What you will note Kyle is that when theological fatalists/calvinists are challenged with the author of sin problem. Because they have no answer to this problem they will almost immediately attempt to change the topic and try to ‘turn it around’ on the non-Calvinist by trying to point out problems with the non-Calvinist view. Divert people’s attention from their unsolved and critical problem to others views. Calvinists do this so often that it has become standard operating procedure for them. They have had centuries to work the problem with no solution for it. So it becomes a game of ‘but your view has problems too!’ All the while taking attention away from the fact they have no solution to this problem. Imagine if engineers operated this way: ‘well you think my design has a problem, what about your design . . .’. the Engineer that has severe and critical problems with his design has a bad design and should scrap it for a better design. You won’t’ be able to convince theological fatalists of that though! :-)”

Many things wrong with Robert’s allegation:

i) I, for one, regularly address theodicean objections to Calvinism head-on.

ii) By contrast, notice that Robert isn’t addressing theodicean objections to Arminianism. So he’s guilty of what he falsely imputes to Calvinists.

iii) Opponents often try to win an argument by rigging the terms of the argument. Take how atheists try to recast what is scientific in terms of methodological naturalism.

We don’t have to automatically acquiesce to how an opponent has framed the issue.

iv) Robert’s objection is faithless. We are warranted in what we believe by the authority of Scripture. We don’t have to solve a perceived problem to believe what Scripture teaches. Robert is talking like a liberal.

steve hays February 16, 2012 at 3:49 pm

“What you will note Kyle is that when theological fatalists/calvinists are challenged with the author of sin problem. Because they have no answer to this problem they will almost immediately attempt to change the topic and try to ‘turn it around’ on the non-Calvinist by trying to point out problems with the non-Calvinist view. Divert people’s attention from their unsolved and critical problem to others views. Calvinists do this so often that it has become standard operating procedure for them. They have had centuries to work the problem with no solution for it. So it becomes a game of ‘but your view has problems too!’ All the while taking attention away from the fact they have no solution to this problem. Imagine if engineers operated this way: ‘well you think my design has a problem, what about your design . . .’. the Engineer that has severe and critical problems with his design has a bad design and should scrap it for a better design. You won’t’ be able to convince theological fatalists of that though! :-)”

What you will note is that when Arminians are challenged with the problem of evil, because they have no answer to this problem, they will almost immediately attempt to change the topic and try to ‘turn it around’ on the Calvinists by trying to point out alleged problems with the Calvinist view. Divert people’s attention from their unsolved and critical problem to others views. Arminians do this so often that it has become standard operating procedure for them. They have had centuries to work the problem with no solution for it. So it becomes a game of ‘but your view has problems too!’ All the while taking attention away from the fact they have no solution to this problem. Imagine if engineers operated this way: “well you think my design has a problem, what about your design . . .”. the Engineer that has severe and critical problems with his design has a bad design and should scrap it for a better design. You won’t’ be able to convince Arminians of that though! :-)

steve hays February 16, 2012 at 11:39 am

"Regarding God prescripting everything. It is both amusing and sad to see theological fatalists/calvinists who espouse exhaustive determinism lamenting some event in the world. Whether it is the alleged false teachings of other Christians, the politics of Obama, the deconversion of a calvinist scholar like Michael Sudduth, etc. etc. They display this outrage at some person and their beliefs and actions, not remembering that if their determinism is true, then God makes people into whatever they are. So God prescripts their thoughts, beliefs, actions, everything without exception. Of course the cost of this deterministic theology is that God then becomes a moral monster as you well so put it."

Regarding divine permission, it is both amusing and sad to see theological gamblers who espouse chance lamenting some event in the world. Whether it is the alleged false teachings of other Christians, the politics of Obama, the deconversion of a calvinist scholar like Michael Sudduth, etc. etc. They display this outrage at some person and their beliefs and actions, not remembering that if their indeterminism is true, then then it’s just a matter of good luck or bad luck what people choose to believe or do. For if the choice could go either way, if there’s nothing about the human agent’s character or antecedent states that selects for one choice over another, then an apostate or heretic or serial killer merely made an unlucky choice. So why are theological gamblers like Robert blaming the poor apostate or heretic or serial killer for bad luck?

God plays dice. Of course the cost of this indeterministic theology is that God then becomes a compulsive gambler with a losing streak.

steve hays February 17, 2012 at 10:03 am

“However, we must indeed engage in reason because we are both using exegesis and coming to different conclusions based on our presuppositions with which we approach the text.”

Show how I arrive at a different interpretation based on different presuppositions I bring to the text.

steve hays February 17, 2012 at 9:53 am
I don’t know who you think you’re responding to. You seem to be conflating what I said with what some other commenter said:

i) Robert isn’t arguing in good faith. He’s acting as if Calvinists are inconsistent when, in fact, he’s tacitly imposing his libertarian framework on the issue.

But your partisanship blinds you to what your fellow Arminians do.

ii) I was responding to Robert on his own grounds. It’s a tu quoque argument. That doesn’t commit me to his framework.

iii) In my response, I was alluding to the “luck objection” to libertarian freedom. That’s a standard philosophical objection to libertarian freewill. For instance, Derk Pereboom has a nice treatment.

steve hays February 18, 2012 at 7:31 am
Since you’re not interacting with the luck objection, your conclusion lacks a supporting argument.

steve hays February 17, 2012 at 10:00 am

“Truly, I expect this from meticulous determinism C’s at some point in time because you think your interpretation of the scriptures to be beyond correction.”

Actually, it’s Arminians like Wesley and Roger Olson who take that position. Whatever the Bible teaches, it can’t teach Calvinism. It’s their interpretation that’s unfalsifiable.

“So, if you thought you were reading the scriptures correctly and it said that God and the devil are the same being, would you still trust your interpretation or worship this god?”

I’ve already addressed that type of objection in response to Jerry Walls and Roger Olson over at my own blog. I could give links, but hyperlinked comments tend to get snagged in the spam filter.

steve hays February 16, 2012 at 11:42 am

“Richard I especially like that final question. If we are in this puppet world as determinist theology entails, then who really is the “monster”, the puppets who cannot help what they do or think, or the puppet master who scripts their every thought and action and controls them to think, believe and do what they do?”

Robert plays false to his own analogy. For even if we accept the puppet metaphor for the sake of argument, in puppet theater the puppet master is not a villain even if some of the puppets are villainous. So Robert’s comparison fails on its own terms.

steve hays February 16, 2012 at 12:08 pm

“Regarding God prescripting everything. It is both amusing and sad to see theological fatalists/calvinists who espouse exhaustive determinism lamenting some event in the world.”

Robert acts as if that’s inconsistent. But, of course, that would only be inconsistent on his libertarian assumptions. So his objection begs the question.

In addition, if God predestines everything, then he predestines Calvinists to lament a tragic event. So that’s perfectly consistent with Calvinism.

steve hays February 16, 2012 at 9:57 am

“I will say that I have one qualm with your citation from SEA above.”

You can modify the classical Arminian doctrine of providence if you like. But when Arminian commenters keep contrasting predestination with permission, it’s appropriate for me to point out that, traditionally, the Arminian position goes far beyond bare permission.

“…which is what Calvinists would say, which is why this thread exists for Calvinists to try to defend their ‘compatiblist’ idea. I think we both know why that last word is in quotation marks. ;)”

Actually, there hasn’t been much discussion of compatibilism thus far. In addition, Calvinism doesn’t require compatibilism to justify Calvinism. An exegetical justification is fundamental. Philosophical justifications are secondary.

“I missed the part about how this thread is not a Calvinist defense against the authorship of sin charge.”

Now you’re being disingenuous. Is that an Arminian virtue? I specifically said: “I’m only discussing the authorship of sin because that happens to be the topic of this thread.”

However, it’s quite possible to answer a charge on its own terms while also taking issue with the framework. That often happens when Christians debate atheists.

Try to argue in good faith.

“How does the topic of this thread require other view points besides Calvinism to give an answer although it is already given several times over?”

If Arminians aren’t truth-seekers, then they don’t have to justify their own position. However, Christians are answerable to God for what they believe. It ought to concern them for their own sake that they have good reason to believe what they do. This isn’t a football game where winning is all that matters.

steve hays February 17, 2012 at 2:26 pm

“So, Steve, if you’re reading, I included bits about my interpretation of Rom 9 in that last paragraph. I’m sorry it was so long. However, if you’ll notice, the beginning of that story is me realizing I was bringing a presupposition about determinism to the text. As long as you view passages like Rom 9 as the go to passages where you find your view, you will find it hard to rid yourself off your presuppositions. But, on the other hand, if you free yourself to ask hard questions of this text and even easy questions, then you may be able to see past your pressuppositions.”

i) Rom 9 doesn’t say God elects on the basis of faith.

ii) If, by “hard questions,” you mean posing accusatorial questions of the text, like “This makes God the author of sin!” then, no, I don’t come to Scripture with accusatorial questions. That confrontational approach to Scripture is out-of-place.

iii) You didn’t shed your presuppositions. Rather, you ended with the same presupposition you began with, which is your preconceived notion of what it means for God to be the “author of sin”. You then used that presupposition as a backstop to disallow a predestinarian interpretation.

iv) Conditional election, contingent on faith, is not an alternative to individual election; rather, it simply grounds election in the individual himself rather than the grace of God.

v) I don’t view Rom 9 as “go-to place” for Calvinism. I think we find Calvinism in the warp and woof of Scripture generally.

steve hays February 18, 2012 at 7:12 am
Faith is a condition of justification, but election is a condition of faith. Only the elect have faith because God only regenerates the elect. Regeneration is the source of faith, and election is a source of regeneration.

steve hays February 18, 2012 at 7:27 am

“He is not saying at the same time that he planned from before time, in the active sense that you take, Pharaoh’s disobedience.”

Are you saying God didn’t plan to raise up Pharaoh or harden him? Is that a divine afterthought? Is God making things up on the fly?

“And, no, I didn’t end up with my presuppositions with which I started.”

You have a habit of going off on tangents rather than responding to what I actually said. You indicated that you rejected the Reformed interpretation of Rom 9 after you came to the conclusion that the Reformed interpretation made God the “author of sin.” So that’s the governing presupposition from start to finish: to avoid making God the “author of sin” (whatever that means).

“That you think Olson and Wesley aren’t placing themselves under God’s authority by their statements, shows that you haven’t understood before what I have just explained. Their is a difference in placing yourself under the authority of God and the authority of one interpretation.”

Olson takes the position that:

i) The Calvinist interpretation of Scripture is never a viable option because that would make God “monstrous.”

ii) If Scripture did, in fact, teach Calvinism, then Scripture would be untrustworthy.

iii) If the Calvinist God is the true God, then Olson would refuse to worship God.

steve hays February 19, 2012 at 9:19 am
Richard Coords

“IMO, Kyle’s observation of the 2nd Kings 19:25 passage concerning Ahab is simply brilliant.”

Of course, we’re using to seeing Arminians slap each other on the back. Loyal little teammates.

“So God is basically giving Ahab one final chance.”

Not according to the text. According to the text, Ahab’s downfall was predicted. According to the text, God decreed disaster for Ahab. According to the text, God guaranteed the success of the lying spirit. It’s a fait accompli.

“I see no inconsistency in Arminianism, nor do I see any kind of devious ‘trickster God,’ as implied by Steve.”

i) That people don’t see what they don’t want to see is hardly unusual.

ii) As a matter of fact, several translations even use that word. For instance, here’s how The Jerusalem Bible renders v20:

“Yahweh said, ‘Who will trick Ahab into marching to his death at Ramoth-gilead?’

steve hays February 19, 2012 at 12:45 pm

“I posted again above in our other side thread about why God has no blame for deceiving Ahab and how all the blame rests on Ahab and the lying prophets. Whether the singled out sentence says trick or deceive, that doesn’t make God a liar? Do you think God is a liar?”

i) I’ve said no more or less than what the text says. Why does Kyle try to recast the issue? Why can’t he just deal with the text before us?

ii) It’s also revealing that Arminians try to put Calvinists on the defensive when Calvinists simply accept what God says about himself in Scripture. I don’t apologize for that.

Unfortunately, you have Arminians who act like Hitchens or Dawkins or Spong. They dare Calvinists to stick up for God’s self-revelation in Scripture, as if that’s utterly outrageous. Arminianism is just a hair-trigger away from atheism.

And it’s not just me saying that. That’s how some Arminians are framing the issue these days.

“Also, just because God says, ‘you shall succeed’ doesn’t mean that he is guaranteeing the success because he was overriding Ahab’s will in order to guarantee success.”

A straw man since I didn’t say God had to “override” Ahab’s will.

“God can guarantee success here based on his knowledge of Ahab’s depravity.”

So Kyle denies that Ahab had libertarian freedom to do otherwise. His depravity predetermined the outcome.

“If any Calvinists are reading, I’m not asking you to agree with anything else I have said, but I would like to see a Calvinist refute Steve’s accusation of God here or at least bring some other Calvinist nuance to this passage he brings up. It doesn’t an Arminian paradigm to agree with what I’m saying here about the 1 Kings 22 passage. It worries me about the state of Calvinists if you can’t see the error here in saying God is the ultimate deceiver as Steve would have it.”

Why make this all about Calvinism? Any Christian should be open to what the text says. I’m not offering a uniquely Calvinistic interpretation of the passage. In fact, I haven’t done much more than paraphrase what the text says.

If, at the end of the day, only Calvinists are prepared to accept the text on its own terms, then that’s a terrible indictment of Arminians. Any Christian should be able to arrive at the same interpretation, given what the text actually says.

steve hays February 21, 2012 at 7:33 am
Richard Coords

“Kyle, I was going to make the same point. It is reasonable to conclude that God had said that the lying spirit was going to have success (not because God decreed it so, which the text never mention, but which Steve must assume) because God knew his heart, and knew that to be consistent with Ahab’s character.”

So Richard denies that Ahab had libertarian freedom. How ironic.

“Now this is a reasonable reading of the text, despite Steve’s protests to the contrary.”

It’s not a reading of the text. Richard’s spin isn’t based on anything in the text. Rather, it’s based on his extratextual speculations.

“What is completely unwarranted and reaching, is the assertion by Steve that the reason why God knew what Ahab would think to heed the false prophets was because God thought all 100% of Ahab’s thoughts for him, without which, Steve says, God couldn’t possibly know what Ahab would think next.”

A straw man since I didn’t deploy that argument to interpret the text.

steve hays February 21, 2012 at 7:36 am
Richard Coords

“Instead, a more reasonable conclusion of the text is a predictive assessment, since Scriptures state of God, “He knew all men.” (John 2:24).”

There’s nothing in the text of 1 Kgs 22 to justify that interpretation. Richard’s interpretation is driving by Arminian necessities, not exegesis.

And his appeal to Exodus begs the question since he’s using one Arminian interpretation to prop up another Arminian interpretation.

steve hays February 21, 2012 at 7:41 am
Richard Coords

“The Bible warns, “Harden not your heart.” (Psalm 95:8)”

In which case Richard should heed the warning by not hardening his heart against the witness of Scripture.

“…despite the plea of the one who is an indoctrinated Determinist.”

What makes Richard imagine that I was “indoctrinated” in “determinism”? I didn’t attend Reformed churches growing up. And I became a Calvinist long before I attended any Reformed churches.

This is just the armchair narrative that Arminians tries to impute to Calvinists.

steve hays February 21, 2012 at 7:43 am
Rather than exegeting the text, Richard tries to deflect the text by telling campfire stories.

steve hays February 21, 2012 at 8:23 am
i) When Arminians appeal to their moral intuition to attack Calvinism, it’s appropriate to present counterexamples. That’s answering the disputant on his own grounds.

ii) However, analogies are not a substitute for exegeting the text of Scripture.

steve hays February 21, 2012 at 7:45 am
There’s nothing in the text to justify Richard’s interpretation. He doesn’t honor the Word of God. He makes no good faith effort to seriously exegete the text. Instead, he pushes the text away.

steve hays February 21, 2012 at 7:47 am
With all due respect, what I see here is simply lousy theology.

With all due respect, what I see here is yet another effort to dodge the text of Scripture.

steve hays February 21, 2012 at 9:55 am

“1. it is clear that you don’t understand libertarian free will in the Arminian case. It is like determinism. Determinism is an idea thought of in nuanced ways in different fields. The same goes for LFW in Arminianism.”

Considering the fact that you hadn’t even heard of the luck objection, you clearly haven’t studied the standard philosophical literature on the compatibilist/incompatibilist debate.

“As others and I have already said Arminian LFW is freedom to do whatever the hell you want and God not being able to do a thing about it.”

So Arminianism is synonymous with Deism. I’m glad to have that settled.

“Your posture and continual slander and misuse of Arminian theology without understanding it leads me to have to exit the conversation.”

Somehow I doubt that will be an inconsolable loss to the world.

“Your attempt to say I’m calling God a liar in return to my comment only shows your failure as a reader. I explained how God isn’t culpable in my interpretation.”

On your flawed interpretation.

“You have said much past what scripture says and the point of this discussion is that you think God determined Ahab’s disobedience as if Ahab never had a choice in the matter.”

i) God predestines whatever comes to pass (e.g. Eph 1:10-11; Rev 4:11).

ii) Your failure to distinguish between having choices and making choices once again suggests that you don’t know as much about the compatibilist/incompatibilist literature as you put on.

“You are comfortable with calling God a puppet master, and so I argue that you are wrong, hopefully, to the delight of good calvinists who don’t commit this error of fatalism.”

Maybe you’re just too worked up to see straight, but that was a tu quoque argument. Robert trotted out the puppet metaphor, so I merely pointed out that even if we play along with that metaphor for the sake of argument, a puppet master isn’t blameworthy for what the puppets do on stage. That’s not me calling God a puppet master. That’s me responding to an Arminian demagogue on his own terms.

“That a parallel analogy doesn’t hit home with you as being relevant to the text is beyond my understanding.”

That says a lot about your priorities. Analogies are no substitute for responsible exegesis.

“I agree that you behave foolishly on the basis of my interaction with you.”

Always nice to see Arminian sanctification on public display. You’re clearly too angry and emotional to have a rational debate. You just want to vent and be abusive. But that’s how people react when they have an indefensible position.


  1. Blogs are missing from the archives again. For example, Steve's blog about "Once Upon a Time". Maybe other blogs disappeared too.

  2. To find it I had to go to "Recent Posts" and click on "Are the Laws of Logic Propositions?", then go back to "Recent Posts" and then it showed a link to "Once Upon a Time". I think there are also posts by Jason that can only be found that way because they're missing in the archives too.

  3. The question at issue is whether Arminian theism can extricate itself from what it faults in Calvinism. In 1 Kgs 22:19-23, we have a case of divine entrapment. A set-up, where God entices Ahab through a false prophecy.

    If I were an Arminian, I wouldn't know how to deal with that passage. Nor with these...

    With him are strength and sound wisdom; the deceived and the deceiver are his. (ESV) - Job 12:16
    "With Him are strength and sound wisdom, The misled and the misleader belong to Him. (NASB) - Job 12:16


    Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. - 2 Thess 2: 11-12 (ESV)

  4. Your explanation cuts against the grain of the text. The text doesn’t attribute his blindness to sin or the fall. Just the opposite.

    Nor with Exo. 4:10-11

    10But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” 11Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”

  5. Notice how Arminians introduce the distinction between direct and indirect causation to exonerate God. When, however, Calvin does the same thing (distinguishing between remote and proximate causes), Arminians ridicule that as special pleading.

    How true!

    Kyle said..

    “To read this plainly, God clearly took the ‘suggestion’ of the evil spirit that stepped forward, and God gave his approval to the evil spirit’s suggestion,

    If I were an Arminian, I might conclude from Kyle's statement that God can HIMSELF be tempted by evil since (according to Kyle) God "goes along" with and sanctions the evil spirit's EVIL intention to deceive Ahab.

  6. Steve said...
    ii) If God makes the world (and don’t forget the Arminian doctrine of providence), then God is the ultimate source of origin for whatever happens.

    I suspect many (but not all) Arminians hold to an A-Theory of time and therefore don't believe God actualizes any particular world. To them, God knows 1. all logically possible worlds (via God's natural knowledge), 2. the actual world that is being and will exist (free knowledge), and maybe even all feasible worlds (via Middle Knowledge). But because God doesn't actually select which world will actualize, He's not blameworthy for the sins and moral evils that come to pass in the real world.

  7. Steve quoted the “The Arminian’s Doctrine of Divine Concurrence,” @ SEA.

    Many anti-Calvinists (including many Arminians) would probably reject that definition as too Calvinistic. Heh

  8. How do you keep track of so many flawed arguments at the same time and keep them straight in your head? I need to take you rabbit hunting... You'd probably make a good bridge partner, too. You're wasting your time on all this theology stuff, Steve...

  9. Robert said...

    “What you will note Kyle is that when theological fatalists/calvinists are challenged with the author of sin problem. Because they have no answer to this problem they will almost immediately attempt to change the topic and try to ‘turn it around’ on the non-Calvinist by trying to point out problems with the non-Calvinist view...They have had centuries to work the problem with no solution for it.

    Steve, in what sense(s) (if any) would you deny that God is the "Author of sin"? You seem to say that there is (or are) a sense(s) in which God is the Author of sin, and another sense(s) in which God isn't. Maybe it's time for Calvinists in general to drop the denial and start affirming that God *is* the author of sin and evil. That way we can get beyond the ambiguous phrase and show how the various (Classical) Arminian theodicies also make God the "Author of sin".

    I personally have no problem with saying God is the Author of sin. He plans it, even if He doesn't sanction or approve of it. Other Calvinists (or should I say "Hyper-Calvinists" like Ward Fenley and Vincent Cheung) also have no problem affirming that God is the Author of sin and evil.

  10. I just realized my comment could be construed as negative towards you, Steve... That's certainly not the case as I think you do much good service to Christ in attempting to keep others focused on their arguments and focused on the text.

  11. Yurie, yeah, I originally interpreted your statement as negative towards Steve's efforts.

  12. My bad gentlemen, I should really not post comments past 2AM! But when I started that post I had to finish it and when I finished it I kept thinking of all kinds of things Steve must be good at: solving multiple Gordian knots at the same time, counting cards in Vegas, bounty hunting--I dunno, anything involving tracking stuff, paying attention to stuff, or remembering stuff. I can't say I know why rabbit hunting and bridge came to the forefront. After I woke up I re-read my comment and all of a sudden it occurred to me that it could be interpreted negatively even though it was so clear to me at the time I wrote it. Like I said, it was spoken in utmost appreciation for a clear-thinker, even if my expression of it wasn't the greatest example of clear-thinking or speaking!

    There's probably some lesson here on hermeneutics. In that vein I'll give Yurie exegetical principle (1a) for future reference: If I said it past 2AM you can probably disregard it, haha.

  13. You know what, Steve? One of these days I'm going to compile all your posts of your comment exchanges with our lovely arminian acquaintances and print them in a book so that I can carry it with me to read. These are enlightening, the clarity your bring and the knots you untangle are all so refreshing and edifying as apologetic material. Thanks for sticking up for God's truth once again.

  14. Do a Google search for:

    "posting some comments" site:triablogue.blogspot.com

    You should find most of them.

    You can also search "my side of the exchange" to find more.

  15. Massive debate between Calvinism and Arminianism that took place between (mainly) Victor Reppert, Steve Hays, Paul Manata, and Dominic Bnonn Tennant. http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2008/06/calvinism-vs-arminianism.html