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10 Things You should Know about God’s Will(s)

December 26, 2016 | by: Sam Storms| 8 Comments

8 Comments

doug sayers

Dec 31, 2016

You make a good point, Cleve, God is "pleased to ordain / allow that which does not please Him (such is our dilemma with Words); but the question that Westminster Calvinists will struggle to answer is: If it is the chief end of man to glorify God and *enjoy* Him forever then how can that be reconciled with His alleged decree to ordain that the reprobate be born with no actual hope in Christ. I would agree that those in Hell will glorify God but I doubt anyone will be enjoying Him there. Did God fail in His chief end for man?

Cleve Powell

Dec 29, 2016

Martin, to be precise, the statement wasn't that God is pleased by his own displeasure (which would be nonsensical and incomprehensible), but that God is often pleased to ordain his own displeasure (which is quite sensible and comprehensible). Numerous examples from everyday life could be cited. Runners willingly put themselves through intensely unpleasant and painful training in order to someday win a prize. A parent labors and sacrifices for their children in countless ways -- sleepless nights, financial pressures, diligent discipline and training -- in order to enjoy the fruit of all of that hard work and sacrifice at some point down the road. Students choose to study hard and go to class and do homework rather than watch TV in order to have greater pleasure in the end. It is not hard for me to conceive then that God might also willingly choose (ordain) to endure considerable displeasure now in order to have magnified pleasure in the end. In fact, that idea is echoed in many biblical passages, not the least of which is Hebrews 12:2 ("For the joy set before him he endured the cross").

Cleve Powell

Dec 29, 2016

Mr. Paul,

It seems to me that you have misunderstood what Calvinism teaches. You appear to assume that Calvinism is simply the opposite of Arminianism, i.e., Arminians say that it is all free will and Calvinists say that it is all predestination. But this misrepresents Calvinism. Calvinism affirms the same mystery that you affirm, i.e., that it is both. It was when I saw that Arminianism and Calvinism weren't simply opposites, but that Arminianism affirmed only one half of the mystery while Calvinism affirmed both halves that I was persuaded that Calvinism was the one that was saying what the Bible was saying.

Thomas J Paul

Dec 27, 2016

I have not read the whole article yet... just glanced through this because my sister asked me to. I have been thinking on these issues for a long time now.... It seems rather strange that 'Calvinists' and 'Armenians' should even 'debate' the question of God's Sovereignty and Man's responsibility. Both are true and we cannot and should not 'pit' the one against the other. It is only when we all fail to hold to both these truths - as both truths are taught in Scripture - that we tend to lean either towards 'Calvinism' or the 'Armenian' position.

The fact of the matter is, God will ultimately allow or even 'send' people to the lake of fire, not because He 'hates' them; actually, He is only being very gracious in sending them there!!! Did I just say 'gracious' - yes, even actually very loving that He does so. For you see, if you take an unregenerate person and put in heaven, the first thing and the only thing that person would really want is to get out of heaven. Not even the 'rich' man in Luke 16 (while in hell) wish to be taken out of it and get to heaven. He of course does wish for a bit of relief, however, it is interesting to notice that he did not ask to be taken away from that place. No. No unregenerate person would want to be in the presence of God. Indeed, God would be far more intolerable to all such unregenerate persons that hell and later, the Lake of Fire.

In short, all I saying, is that the scriptures are clear that God is not 'wishing' people to go to hell. Our Lord Jesus Christ plainly stated that hell was created for the Devil and his angles. However, since unregenerate persons cannot and will not want to be in heaven with the Lord, there is only one other place that is fit for them. I'm certain, no one in hell or later in the lake of fire will ever say that the Lord was unjust in keeping them there! No. they will all readily and willingly confess Christ as Lord and that He is worthy of worship and that He is and was right in sending them there.

To return to the other issues - God does all that He does ever and always in keeping with His Glory, Love, Purity, Holiness, etc. No one of His Divine attributes are set aside or even 'overshadowed'. All of God's mind is in accord with His being and His being is in accord with His mind. How then can there ever be such a thing as God wanting to hold on to His Glory above His Will or above His Love or above His Grace.

Finally, to quote C H Spurgeon... he said that God's Sovereignty and man's responsibility are like parallel lines - they meet only in infinity. And whereas this is true and provable mathematically, it is far more true that God will explain it all. In the words of William Cooper, "God is His Own Interpreter, And He will make it plain". Amen.

Let us accept the whole council of God and take the words of our God for just what they are and stop trying to reconcile them this side of eternity. This is not for us to do. The secret things belong to the Lord our God, and all that He has revealed is for us and for our children.

All who argue against Calvinists tend to be labelled as Armenians. Strangely, all who argue against Armenians get labelled as Calvinists. But how true this is. For both, Calvinists and Armenians have strayed away to either extremes and therefore to argue against the one seems like we are on the other side. But naturally!! However, it is possible to be a Bible believer without getting muddled up with either extremes. And may the Lord grant us all grace so to be.

Martin Barnard

Dec 27, 2016

Agree with you there Bill.
In fact, I stumbled earlier in the article over the statement the God is pleased by His own displeasure. I find it fascinating that someone can say that in sincerity with no more explanation that was given.
But I'm an Arminian, so I would have much to disagree with here.
And Grudem's characterization of Arminianism is deeply flawed. :)

doug sayers

Dec 27, 2016

Thanks Sam, always enjoy your articles. But I can't let that last line go unchallenged.

One does not need to capitulate to the Calvinistic teaching of irresistible salvation and irresistible damnation in order to agree that God's glory should be valued above man's free will.
Indeed, God will receive more honor and glory by giving the keys to man than He would if He always took the wheel Himself.

Man has been given a freedom of will because this is how God's glory can be most manifested and honored.

I have yet to see an Arminian / non-calvinist teacher claim that man's will should be valued above God's glory. Can you site one?

To your main point, I think Joseph's interpretation of Pharaoh's dreams is helpful. The dream (cows and corn) was repeated because the thing was "established." Thus, some things are irresistibly fixed by God but some are not. Wise is the man / theological system that can rightly distinguish between the two!

Gordon Woods

Dec 27, 2016

@Bill Bradley: What other things trump his 'desire for glory'?

Bill bradley

Dec 26, 2016

God can use someone's sin for his own glory, but he doesn't force anyone to sin. And his "desire for glory" doesn't trump everything else he desires. This is one of the problems, I believe, with Reformed Theology.

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