4 Comments

  1. Good logic Bob! God desiring intrinsical goodness (and salvation is intrinsically good), and God being satisfied in Himself (hence, not needing everyone to be saved), are perfectly compatible logical arguments

    On the other hand, what a shame that some get tangled with logical arguments about an incomprehensibly, infinite being (sorry for extreme Clarkians for whom everything has to be logical and non-paradoxical), while our cities are full of homeless and our neighborhoods and work places packed with needy souls

    Take care,
    Edwin

    • admin

      Edwin, thanks for reading the post and the encouraging remarks. You sound more like a C. H. Spurgeon and less like a John Gill.

  2. Another excellent installment, Doc! I thought these are important words in the article :

    “In the end, God always gets what he ultimately wants. Furthermore, those desirable states of affairs that God chooses not to bring into existence remain “unfulfilled” because God himself freely and sovereignly chooses not to fulfill them and not because some autonomous entity or random event outside of God has thwarted his ultimate design. Consequently, it may be misleading to speak of God’s will being “frustrated” since that expression can imply a denial of God’s absolute sovereignty.”

    Too often a false dichotomy is posed, as if one must *either* say that God only desires what He has decreed to come to pass *or* that He is frustrated by an autonomous creature. In his writing on faith, love and hope, Augustine dealt with the fact that the will of God is never defeated even though much is done that is contrary to His will. Augustine wrote:

    “…in a way unspeakably strange and wonderful, even what is done in opposition to His will does not defeat His will. For it would not be done did He not permit it (and of course His permission is not unwilling, but willing); nor would a Good Being permit evil to be done only that in His omnipotence He can turn evil into good.” Augustine, “On Faith, Hope and Love,” in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 1st series, ed. P. Schaff (1888; Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2004), 3:269.

    The Puritans (and Reformers) were, of course, quite familiar with this passage in Augustine, such as John Arrowsmith (a Westminster divine), and therefore argued that the will of God (in the revealed sense) does not come to pass *primarily* because of the will of God (in the decretal sense). So, it is not the will of man *primarily* that thwarts God’s revealed will from coming to pass, but God’s executive will of decree that willfully permits His preceptive will to be violated.

    The balanced Augustinian tradition, since Prosper, has therefore held that “…he who says that God will not have all men to be saved but only the fixed number of the predestined, speaks more harshly than we should speak of the depth of the unsearchable grace of God.” (Prosper of Aquitaine: Defense of St. Augustine, trans. by P. De letter [New York: Newman Press, 1963], 159.)

    • admin

      Amen, Tony. Great words, and thanks so much for the citations–especially Augustine’s wise words!

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