Monday, July 02, 2012

Pet cemetery

rogereolson says:
June 28, 2012 at 1:14 pm

I’ve talked about this quite a bit in the past. No Arminian I know denies that God ever interferes with free will. The Bible is full of it. The point is that in matters pertaining to salvation God does not decide for people. If he did, he’d save everyone. The issue is personal relationship. God cannot and will not over ride a person’s free will when what is at stake is his or her personal relationship with God of love. But God certainly can and does knock people off their horses (as with Saul). I think you are over interpreting Arminianism’s view of free will. Free will, as I have often said, is not the central issue. The central issue (and only reason we believe in free will) is the character of God including the nature of responsible relationality.

This raises a striking comparison. Many Christians had a beloved pet when they were younger. (Or sometimes when they were older.) Maybe a pet dog or pony. They loved their pet animal, and their pet animal loved them in return.

When they had their pet, it created a space in their heart. When the pet died, it left the space behind. Death never severed the emotional bond. The passage of time hasn’t diminished the emotional bond. They still miss their pet. They love their pet just as much today as the day they lost it, however many years ago.

Suppose they pray for their pet. They ask God to restore their pet to life in the world to come. They ask God to reunite them in the world to come.

The Bible doesn’t speak to that issue one way or the other. It doesn’t say God will answer a prayer for a lost pet. But then again, it doesn’t say he won’t. From what I can tell, a Christian has nothing to lose, and maybe something to gain, by offering that prayer. The Bible doesn’t contain any promise along those lines. But the Bible doesn’t contain any prohibition along those lines. So the petition seems to fall within what’s permissible to pray for. You pray, then wait and see.

Presumably, Olson doesn’t think there’s any impediment to praying for the salvation of your pet dog or pony. “Salvation” in the sense of restoring your pet to you in the world to come. Freewill is not an obstacle. Your pet would be delighted to see you again. The prayer is not an imposition on you pet.

Assuming that’s not a problem for Arminian theology, this means an Arminian can pray that God directly save his dog or pony, but an Arminian can’t pray the same thing for his mother or brother or best friend from high school. He can pray for a lost dog in a way that he can’t pray for a lost son. He can pray unreservedly for his old pony, but if he prays for his father or mother or daughter, he can only pray that God try to save them, and do so indirectly, by bringing circumstances into their lives that might (or might not) be conducive to conversion.

But isn’t there something out of whack when you can pray for a pet animal with fewer inhibitions than praying for a lost friend or relative. On a scale of values, which is more important?


  1. My goodness, Steve, don't you have bigger fish to fry than your fellow brothers in Christ, such as skeptics? From the way you talk about Olson, one would think he's an unbeliever headed for the flames of hell.

    1. From the way you talk about Olson, one would think he's an unbeliever headed for the flames of hell.

      Gee, maybe it's because he's an unbeliever headed for the flames of hell? Barring the grace of God being bestowed upon him, that's exactly where he's going.

  2. Why don't you think Olson has bigger fish to fry? Why does he spend his time frying Calvinists?

    The enemy within can do as much or more damage than the enemy without.

    What makes you think he's a believer? He doesn't believe in Yahweh. He doesn't believe in the OT. He doesn't believe what Jesus believed about God or Scripture.

    He routinely attacks the moral character of Scripture, just like rank infidels.

    He's not my brother in Christ.

  3. Sounds like "steve" needs to meet Jesus because the Jesus of the Bible would detest his treatment of fellow believers. From what I understand, "steve" is too cowardly to comment to Olson himself, at his blog. I think anyone that takes "steve" seriously might ought to question the Jesus "steve" thinks he might believe in.

  4. Jesus wouldn't appreciate Olson defaming Yahweh.

    Olson is not a fellow believer. He's a disbeliever. He's quite open about that. He has the same view of OT theism as Hitchens and Dawkins.

    He refuses to worship Yahweh. He doesn't worship the same God Jesus worshiped. And in that respect, he doesn't worship Jesus.

    I take it that Olson is "too cowardly" to comment on my blog.

  5. Steve is too cowardly to post on Olson's blog? What would make commenting on Olson's blog more brave than commenting on Olson from his own blog. If you haven't noticed, he's not exactly afraid to tango with anyone. He's the Christian blogger version of William Wallace! "Steve... where are you going?" "I'm gonna go pick a fight!"

  6. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.