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Author Topic:   Free will, or is it?
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 590 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 151 of 163 (456541)
02-18-2008 6:14 PM
Reply to: Message 150 by iano
02-18-2008 4:55 PM


Re: Free will. As in problems with
iano writes:

It might be worth mentioning from the outset that the specific area of freewill whose existance I deny, has to do with mans relationship and position and response wrt God / sin / salvation etc. In areas such as "which colour suit should I wear today" free will is (for want of biblical evidence to the contrary) free to operate. That said, I don't suppose Gods sovereign insistance that you wear the charcoal suit (for it is the one that will best catch the eye of the girl God has in mind for you to meet that day) would be taken as an objectionable intrusion by anyone.

Okay, I understand that now. This is fairly similar to what I believe.

What I see in your posts is the belief in duality akin to Freud's division of the subconscious. Your division, however, seems to maintain that the man's will is on the one side, and God's will is on the other. Whether the outcome of a decision leads to sin or goodness depends on which side wins out. Therefore, man's ability to choose is limited to his ability to resist God's will.

I can only say that I do not accept this view. I would like to review your last few posts to show why:

iano writes:

A lost man is tempted to commit adultery on a business trip away. He struggles with it and finally succeeds in overcoming the temptation. He arrives home unscathed and kiss his wife, conscience clean.

Clearly the area involved is the law of God and the mans response. The point to note is that the man, in arriving home, has not made any free willed choice in the matter of his near-illicit-act even though that is how he perceives things to be. (emphasis added)

Contrast that bolded region with the bolded region here(post #104):

iano writes:

Asking a person to exercise their will unto belief - when the reason/evidence for God's existance is not at all compelling (from their perspective) is like asking them to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps - a completely unreasonable and irrational request. (emphasis added)

If the man perceives that he has made the choice himself, whatever evidence provided him by God for divine intervention was not compelling, because you stipulated the the evidence must be compelling from the man's perspective. Therefore, asking the man to believe that God was involved would be unreasonable and irrational, which you have asserted that God is not (and I agree with that).

Here are all possible interpretations I can think of:

1. The man did indeed make the choice himself.

2. The man made the choice based on God's promptings (which does not mean that God made the choice).

3. God made the choice and expected the man to believe despite the lack of compelling evidence (which would make God unreasonable).

4. God made the choice, and provided evidence that proved to be insufficiently compelling for the man (which means God is either imcompetent, irrational or manipulative).

When I initially used the word "manipulative," I hadn't entirely intended it to mean He was using us for His ends. I also meant it in the sense that he does not directly involve Himself in our affairs at every turn. Certainly, He is there for us to call on as a guide, but He is not actively bending us or our situations to His will (this is not necessarily a common viewpoint held by all Mormons, though).

The common Mormon viewpoint does, however, cite the purpose of life as becoming like God. Life is therefore our time to learn what we need to prepare us for responsibilities in the Kingdom of Heaven. We see God, then, as our parent and teacher. If a father were to hold his son's hands everytime he tried to walk, the boy would never learn to balance himself. Therefore, wise parents let go and make their infant children walk on their own. This doesn't mean the parent wouldn't catch their child when he fell, though.

Without our ability to make choices and to learn from them, I don't see any point for us to be here. If my will is always to do evil, then I see no reason why God should even permit me to exist. The only thing that makes sense to me is that there is capacity for change, so that the will of man is not restricted to only choosing sin, but can also choose to follow the Lord.

By the way, I enjoy debating with you: you take criticism well, and you're patient with my disagreements. Thank you.


Signed,
Nobody Important (just Bluejay)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 150 by iano, posted 02-18-2008 4:55 PM iano has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 152 by iano, posted 02-18-2008 10:20 PM Blue Jay has not yet responded
 Message 153 by iano, posted 02-19-2008 6:52 AM Blue Jay has responded

  
iano
Member (Idle past 1075 days)
Posts: 6164
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 152 of 163 (456577)
02-18-2008 10:20 PM
Reply to: Message 151 by Blue Jay
02-18-2008 6:14 PM


before the fact / after the fact
This and the remainder of the post I've yet to respond to seem to overlap so I'll see if I can cover both here.

bluejay writes:

What I see in your posts is the belief in duality akin to Freud's division of the subconscious. Your division, however, seems to maintain that the man's will is on the one side, and God's will is on the other. Whether the outcome of a decision leads to sin or goodness depends on which side wins out. Therefore, man's ability to choose is limited to his ability to resist God's will.

I wouldn't be familiar enough with Freud to comment. Although there are layers to this thing (..that I haven't even begun to get my head around), the critical and deciding factor would be this duality: Mans (sin-addicted) will vs. God's will. And whose will will finally be done.

You ask that I contrast these two points of mine:

iano writes:

the man, in arriving home, has not made any free willed choice in the matter of his near-illicit-act even though that is how he perceives things to be (emphasis added).

Asking a person to exercise their will unto belief - when the reason/evidence for God's existance is not at all compelling (from their perspective) is like asking them to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps - a completely unreasonable and irrational request.(emphasis added)

bluejay writes:

If the man perceives that he has made the choice himself, whatever evidence provided him by God for divine intervention was not compelling, because you stipulated the the evidence must be compelling from the man's perspective. Therefore, asking the man to believe that God was involved would be unreasonable and irrational, which you have asserted that God is not (and I agree with that).

There are two distinct issues being conflated here: Gods general interaction with all lost men and the specific individual belief a person arrives at regarding Gods existance*.

Regarding the former. The 'parable' of the good husband has limited scope even if it has widespread application. It refers simply to Gods general action upon all lost men with a view to world management and order as well as being a vital tool applied to the problem of a mans eternal destination: be it salvation or damnation.

It begins to describe why lost men do any good at all (in the case where mans sinful will is not exercised). And why all lost men do evil (in the case where mans sinful will is exercised). We should imagine this simplistic model to be a far more sophisticated in practice, with each "scene" in the life of a man being made up of dozens of 'frames' involving God's restraint vs. mans will seeking expression unto sin. In a slightly more complex parable to the good husband one, a mugger brutally beats his victim but "manages" to "stop himself" short of murdering her - reckoning it to be a step he just cannot take.
.
.
.
This "model" happens to answer an objection to Calvinisms T (less clunkily than Calvinism itself manages - from what I can gather). The objection queries why men, if totally depraved, are not as bad as bad can be? That is: why aren't all men like Hitler? The answer should be apparent: Gods restraint acts effectively preventing all men being a evil as Hitler or worse. It would follow too that state of the world at any given moment is the sum total of the expression of Gods will for man and mans will for man.
.
.
.
Conflation occurs when supposing this general, daily interaction between God and all lost men to equate to the circumstance by which a mans belief in Gods existance* occurs. It is not. Although this general interaction is part of the overall strategy of God - leading eventually to a mans damnation or salvation - it is not the same arena in which belief in Gods existance takes place - if it is to occur at all.

It may be helpful if I fast forward to remark on the-point-of-belief-in-Gods-existance. This leaves a large gap between the general activity of God and that specific point. But it might be useful to draw the a distinction between the two for the purposes of overview

I have said that it is unreasonable and irrational for God to ask a man to believe in that for which he has no (or insufficient) evidence. Be that as it may, there are many Christians who suppose just that. They exhort people to "Just believe in God" or "Believe that Jesus died for you" as if it was simply a question of the persons choosing. We both seem to agree that such a belief would be a bootstrap belief.

Common sense should tell us that the only way a person can truly believe that God exists is if God actually shows up personally. All other beliefs are but blind beliefs of one sort or another - differing only in order of the magnitude of blindness. They could not compete with the quality of belief that would arise in a person to whom God personally revealed his existance.

God must reveal himself to man before man can believe God exists. And the only way for this to occur is to have the barrier which exists between God an all fallen men removed. This barrier is removed when a man is saved so it follows that a man must first be saved before God will reveal himself to man. Which is to say that a man must be saved (by God) before he can believe God exists.

"You must believe" is not something you must first do in order that you be saved. Rather, "You must believe" is a characteristic state of the saved. In order to be saved you must indeed (be in a state of ) believe.

* by "believe that God exists" I mean believe in the sense relevant to belonging to the saved. Not in the sense that enables the demons (who are not saved) to believe. Nor the sense that has people believe in God's existance on religious or intellectual grounds.

It's late bluejay and I gotta get to bed so will come back more on the remainder of this post. I hope the above deals with the remainder of your last post and that separating things out lays the land out a bit better.

From your post-before-last there is this outstanding:

One thing that I forgot to mention in my last post was that Mormons also do not believe in the Calvinistic "TULIP". In fact, I think we disagree almost completely with every one of the five points. Particularly, with the first; our second article of faith states: "We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression." Therefore, we are not automatically corrupted and sinful at birth, but only become so through our own actions (which is impossible to rationalize with the idea that our actions are just manifestations of the will of God).

I would agree with aspects of Calvinisms Total Depravity in the sense of man being addicted to sin and totally dark of mind and nature. There is nothing in man that could possibly respond to man if left to own devices. He certainly has no choice potential arising out of his self - as a mans choosing can be considered a work and work is biblically excluded (I hold). I wouldn't see man as punishable for being born in this state however. It's sin that is punished, not the state of being a sinner.

I would think that had God not acted in an attempt to restore man then there would be no just reason to punish man for his sin. You might as well suppose it just to punish a cat for catching mice. However, God does act to restore man and this action of his turns out to be a double edged sword. Man can suppress Gods truth and this suppression, this act of will in the face of Gods truth revealed to him renders man culpable - in a way that a cat is not.

TULIPs U is problematic. Calvinists cannot say what criterion God has for chosing the one and not the other (for salvation). They accept he does have some criterion - and say they do not know what that is. But if you don't know what the criterion of Gods choosing is, then you cannot say it is unconditional and independant of anything in man. It might not be by a mans work. It might not be by a mans choosing for it. But they are but two conditions the Bible (arguably) excludes - which is a far cry from saying that all possible conditions are excluded.

I would hold that salvation is conditional: if man does nothing** in face of Gods attempt to save him then he will be saved.

** everyman will struggle to escape God - it's in mans nature to do so. The question is whether the fish wriggles itself off each and every hook attempting to land it. God will save everyone whose will won't finally be done. The lost are only those who insist their sinful will be done - to the point where God says "Enough - your will be done"

Edited by iano, : No reason given.

Edited by iano, : No reason given.

Edited by iano, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 151 by Blue Jay, posted 02-18-2008 6:14 PM Blue Jay has not yet responded

  
iano
Member (Idle past 1075 days)
Posts: 6164
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 153 of 163 (456620)
02-19-2008 6:52 AM
Reply to: Message 151 by Blue Jay
02-18-2008 6:14 PM


before the fact / after the fact (cont)
bluejay writes:

When I initially used the word "manipulative," I hadn't entirely intended it to mean He was using us for His ends. I also meant it in the sense that he does not directly involve Himself in our affairs at every turn. Certainly, He is there for us to call on as a guide, but He is not actively bending us or our situations to His will (this is not necessarily a common viewpoint held by all Mormons, though).

We seem to be agreed that God doesn't manipulate in the sense of determining that we must be saved irrespective of our will in the matter. You hold "free will" to apply and I hold "no free will" need apply. Nevertheless, both our systems maintain our involvment in our salvation in some way: yours contributing to it, mine not contributing to it.

Both can be said to be counter-Calvinism - which is a result of sorts

:)

Regarding God's manipulation in a non-determining way. "The law is a schoolteacher to lead us to Christ" is the kind of scripture which informs me that God uses the fact of our lawbreaking in his attempt to save us. The work of the Holy Spirit is to convince a man of sin and righteousness and judgement and it follows that this conviction process can be aided when there is sin available to convict a person of. An easy way for God to activate this aspect of the salvation attempt is to withold his restraining force from a man. His doing that ensures that that man plunges headlong into sin - like a straining dog on a leash, released.

Call it "God hardening our hearts", call it "God handing us over to our sin". Once God witholds restraint, sins antagonism to the law of God, stirs up our sinful natures. Sin is sure to follow. And conviction material is generated for the Holy Spirit to work with. This process could go on for years as God wars with the sinful, suppressing, denying nature of man

God manipulating. To salvation or damnation. That double edged sword again.

The common Mormon viewpoint does, however, cite the purpose of life as becoming like God. Life is therefore our time to learn what we need to prepare us for responsibilities in the Kingdom of Heaven. We see God, then, as our parent and teacher. If a father were to hold his son's hands everytime he tried to walk, the boy would never learn to balance himself. Therefore, wise parents let go and make their infant children walk on their own. This doesn't mean the parent wouldn't catch their child when he fell, though.

This is the Christian viewpoint too. The sanctification process is aimed at changing our characters to be evermore Christ-like. The essential difference however, is that this only applies to a person who is born again (there being no such thing as a Christian who is not born again). To be born again is to be adopted as a child of God. Only then can this parent/child relationship be said to exist.

You are probably familiar with the Christian view that you are not born a child of God, but that you are born-again as a child of God. One of the aspects of this gift is the restoration of a persons free will. Now in relationship with God, a man can choose to respond to and grow in relationship with God - his salvation is already behind him, never to be lost.

Without our ability to make choices and to learn from them, I don't see any point for us to be here. If my will is always to do evil, then I see no reason why God should even permit me to exist. The only thing that makes sense to me is that there is capacity for change, so that the will of man is not restricted to only choosing sin, but can also choose to follow the Lord.

Might I suggest that the point of your existance here is to establish (with your input, to whit: doing nothing) where you will spend eternity? That is: eternity with God or without God. So long as the mechanism for establishing that is fair and just then no one need have a complaint. The mechanism I pose is fair and balanced - it just doesn't require free will to be involved at all. There is more than one way to crack a nut...

The fact that you cannot render yourself righteous with God by your effort is neither here nor there. Indeed the attempt to do so is merely the fruit of the sinful nature and will only end in a mans damnation if left unchecked. God doesn't require that a man make himself righteous in his sight - only God can make a man perfect in his sight again. Whilst it was possible for man to rupture the relationship he had with God - it doesn't follow that man is in a position to restore that relationship himself. It's easy to smash an eggshell, but impossible to reverse the process to original and even-better-than-original.

No wonder "all your (attempts at) righteousness are like filthy rags". Imagine offering up your attempt at piecing together a smashed eggshell saying, "all is now well. It's been restored"

All God needs to know is whether your heart can be his. That your will is prepared to take up the position he has for it - not the position your fallen will demands for it (which includes earning it's own righteousness so as to maintain a semblance of independance from God). Once your heart desire is established for God, the barrier is broken down, the war is over, you have peace with God.

You are born again.

By the way, I enjoy debating with you: you take criticism well, and you're patient with my disagreements. Thank you.

Me you too. Thanks

Edited by iano, : No reason given.

Edited by iano, : No reason given.

Edited by iano, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 151 by Blue Jay, posted 02-18-2008 6:14 PM Blue Jay has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 156 by Blue Jay, posted 02-19-2008 9:15 PM iano has responded

  
rstrats
Member (Idle past 124 days)
Posts: 114
Joined: 04-08-2004


Message 154 of 163 (456660)
02-19-2008 1:40 PM
Reply to: Message 139 by tesla
02-18-2008 10:56 AM


Re: Free will. As in problems with
tesla,

re: “do you believe because your heart will reject what you do not understand that you have no free will?”

I’m afraid that I don’t understand what you are asking.

re: “ are these three things the only power of choice you have ?”

They are the only three possibilities that I can think of. If you can think of others, I’d be interested in hearing about them.

re: “if your house is on fire, do you have the choice to extinguish the small flame, or run form the large flames? to call for help, or watch it burn?”

Yes, if I have the ability to do those things.

re: “a man can consciously choose to believe a weather sites forecast. “

I don’t think that he or you can do that. However, if you really ARE able to consciously CHOOSE to believe things, I would ask you to honor what I asked for in my message #117.

re: “what are you saying when you say you cannot make a conscious decision?”

That’s not what I said. I said that “I have never been able to consciously CHOOSE any of the beliefs that I have”.

re: “the better question i could answer for you is : how do you obtain true faith and have belief? “

That was the second part of my question in post #117.

re: “i misunderstand you?”

So it would seem.

re: “do i answer you with an explanation?”

Not yet.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 139 by tesla, posted 02-18-2008 10:56 AM tesla has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 155 by tesla, posted 02-19-2008 1:52 PM rstrats has not yet responded

  
tesla
Member (Idle past 1950 days)
Posts: 1198
Joined: 12-22-2007


Message 155 of 163 (456665)
02-19-2008 1:52 PM
Reply to: Message 154 by rstrats
02-19-2008 1:40 PM


Re: Free will. As in problems with
I don’t think that he or you can do that. However, if you really ARE able to consciously CHOOSE to believe things, I would ask you to honor what I asked for in my message #117.

lets observe belief then, because free will is the will to observe, and belief is conclusions your mind and heart will accept by observations.

for instance: i believe in God. why? did i have a choice? by observation, there is no other conclusion. so i believe in my heart and mind, and have found no other data to change the conclusion, so it is true to me.

many do not believe in God. why? because they cannot accept it in mind and heart because they see no evidence before them.

so i supplied the evidence that led me to my conclusion. and many choose not to think it out, nor observe it, because they cannot rationalize it. they do not seek the truth of it, because they are unwilling to let go current conclusion.

its a human problem. reality is to the individual, what is acceptable to the individual. and the choice is to examine for the truth, or not. and if someone has believed all their life the world is flat, it would be very hard for them to accept any other conclusion. and dismiss anyone saying its round as fools because by their logic, if it was round, things on the bottom would fall off.

the free will is, examine, or not examine. because in the end, reality is what reality is. whether you want to believe the world is flat, or the world is round. is one person wrong? yes. can you change your belief with the free will to truly examine for the truth without dogmatism? yes. will you? thats up to you.


keep your mind from this way of enquiry, for never will you show that not-being is
~parmenides
This message is a reply to:
 Message 154 by rstrats, posted 02-19-2008 1:40 PM rstrats has not yet responded

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 590 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 156 of 163 (456744)
02-19-2008 9:15 PM
Reply to: Message 153 by iano
02-19-2008 6:52 AM


Re: before the fact / after the fact (cont)
Iano, after reading your posts, I get the impression that we actually have the same (or very similar belief systems), but that we choose to look at it from two very different perspectives.

Case in point:

iano writes:

You are probably familiar with the Christian view that you are not born a child of God, but that you are born-again as a child of God.

This is actually very different from what Mormons believe. We believe that there was life before this life, and it was, in that life--when we existed with God as spirits--that we were born the children of God. I don't honestly know what this means from a "scientific" perspectie (although opinions abound), but were created as spirits before we came to Earth. (This is also why we believe the first two chapters of Genesis talk about the Creation differently--one of them was the spiritual creation, and the other was the physical creation).

However, even though what you've said is technically incompatible with Mormon doctrine, it parallels our beliefs in faith and baptism. Everyone is a child of God, but not everyone gets to blessings of being a child of God. This is derived partly from the parable of the ten virgins: all were invited to the wedding, but five were unrighteous, and thus, in a sense, disowned by God.

The only major difference between our belief systems is buried somewhere in here:

iano writes:

You hold "free will" to apply and I hold "no free will" need apply.

Our Church maintains that "free will" (or "free agency," or "freedom of choice," or whatever you want to call it) is one of our eternal, essential characteristics, and cannot be taken from us, even by God.

We also hold that an inevitable consequence of our agency is that we are not born depraved, but are born innocent. I guess, a translation of our second article of faith would be, "We believe that man will become depraved because of his own sins, and not because of Adam's transgression." References to "being lost" or "in a sinful state" in our religion are taken to mean "separated physically from God" (a state which we refer to as "spiritual death").

However, reading your posts, I see that the conclusions you have come to from your differing viewpoint are almost indistinguishable from mine. Therefore, for all practical purposes, we essentially agree as to how our religion should be applied to our lives.

One other point here:

iano writes:

I wouldn't be familiar enough with Freud to comment.

Freud hypothesized a splitting of the human subconscious into three parts: ego, superego, and id. The ego is the part of the mind that always seeks to satisfy its selfish desires. The superego is the part of the mind that commits us to our duties (or, to do what's right, if you want to take the analogy that far (Freud didn't)). The id is the part of the mind that always wants to be naughty.

Although I don't agree with Freud's views on this matter (or, really, his views on anything else, for that matter), I see some correlations with what you're saying and with what I believe. Like Freud, I'm only basing this on observations of my own behavior, so the conclusions I come to are inherently invalid.

The ego is akin to my own will. Many thing I want are not necessarily correlated with my desire to do evil or to do good, but are things I want for myself. For instance, I want to by an entomologist. I want to write a novel. I want to raise chickens.

The superego is akin to the Holy Ghost. This is the Lord working to remind me of my responsibilities to Him, to the Church and to my family. It's my conscience: I feel guilty when I don't follow it.

The id is akin to the influence of the devil. I think it is Satan who drives me to want to sin, and I have to struggle to resist him (with the help of the Lord), just as I often struggle with God to get to do what I want instead of fulfilling my responsibilities.

Naturally, the correlation is imperfect, and Freud didn't equate his three divisions with "good" and "bad". But, there is a tiny thread of analogy there.

This is where our viewpoints differ. I don't believe that my innate will is to do evil and commit sin. But, I do believe that my innate will is not always the same as God's will.


Signed,
Nobody Important (just Bluejay)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 153 by iano, posted 02-19-2008 6:52 AM iano has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 157 by iano, posted 02-20-2008 9:31 AM Blue Jay has responded

  
iano
Member (Idle past 1075 days)
Posts: 6164
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 157 of 163 (456814)
02-20-2008 9:31 AM
Reply to: Message 156 by Blue Jay
02-19-2008 9:15 PM


The Grand Canyon
Bluejay writes:

Iano, after reading your posts, I get the impression that we actually have the same (or very similar belief systems), but that we choose to look at it from two very different perspectives.

The devil is (literally) in the detail. And the details are such as to open out onto unbridgeable canyons between our respective beliefs. But it's good to discuss.

This is actually very different from what Mormons believe. We believe that there was life before this life, and it was, in that life--when we existed with God as spirits--that we were born the children of God.

Unfortunately we cannot reference the book of Mormon in this discussion - given that I don't hold it in any way authoritive. Nor am I sure what the Mormon position is on the Bible. If I recall correctly, the Bible is considered corrupted in places? (rendering it untrustworthy).

Whilst I don't think your view on pre-birth sonship is a biblical one I wouldn't disagree that we are created in the eternal realm "before" this life. Or rather "outside" this life. Talk of "before" and "eternity" in the same sentence is trying to mix oil and water.

This is also why we believe the first two chapters of Genesis talk about the Creation differently--one of them was the spiritual creation, and the other was the physical creation

In what way differently?

However, even though what you've said is technically incompatible with Mormon doctrine, it parallels our beliefs in faith and baptism. Everyone is a child of God, but not everyone gets to blessings of being a child of God. This is derived partly from the parable of the ten virgins: all were invited to the wedding, but five were unrighteous, and thus, in a sense, disowned by God.

I think we respect each other enough to know that no offence should be taken were one to say that they held others view to be false. Dispassionately speaking, the Christian view of all other religions (including Mormonism) is that they are inspired by satan - who controls and rules over fallen mankind. Which means that all religions are his lies in one form or the other.

One way in which to have a lie flourish is to keep it close to truth, so we should expect similarities / parallels between at least some religions and Christianity. And seeing as the lie comes from the same source, it wouldn't be a too surprising if similarities existed between the various incarnations of the lie.

Bluejay writes:

The only major difference between our belief systems is buried somewhere in here

I think you are right. Free will and no free will lead to different conclusions.

It is self-evident that a man without free will is completely and utterly reliant on God to draw him towards and into salvation - if he is to be saved. Naturally, man would also be reliant upon whatever provision God has for ensuring a mans salvation.

That fact is the major difference between biblical Christianity and all other religions, including Mormonism. As soon as you introduce man having free will you have man having to save himself.

Our Church maintains that "free will" (or "free agency," or "freedom of choice," or whatever you want to call it) is one of our eternal, essential characteristics, and cannot be taken from us, even by God...

However, reading your posts, I see that the conclusions you have come to from your differing viewpoint are almost indistinguishable from mine. Therefore, for all practical purposes, we essentially agree as to how our religion should be applied to our lives.

We do both operate on the assumption of our having free will: you having it from the get go, me having it restored to me on being born again. Both of us assume ourselves subject to the influences of both evil and good with the option of choosing for either direction. Where we might have to part company is in the motivation for our choosing for good.

Because Mormonism is a works-based religion, your motivation for living and doing good is inextricably tied up with the sense of having to earn whatever carrot Mormonism offers. You have to save yourself and if "doing good and not doing evil" is the currency that saves then good you will do your best to do. You will have other motivations too. But this one is inextribably tied up in your view. In terms of being "indistinguishable", your viewpoint aligns only with all other works-based religions.

In comparison, my viewpoint holds that a "favorable afterlife outcome" is already mine and cannot be lost from the point of my gaining it (and I did nothing to gain it). On gaining salvation, I am made free to chose to do good instead of evil. The motivation becomes increasing love and respect for this graceful and beautiful God who saved me despite my sin.

There is no hint or tinge that my motivations are the result of coercion or fear of what might happen should I drop the ball. I cannot be lost no matter what I do.

This distinguishing feature: motivation for doing good/evil couldn't be more stark. And they are connected to this detail called free will or no. The canyon widens.

The ego is the part of the mind that always seeks to satisfy its selfish desires. The superego is the part of the mind that commits us to our duties (or, to do what's right, if you want to take the analogy that far (Freud didn't)). The id is the part of the mind that always wants to be naughty.

No real problem there. As you point out later, there is an element of ego unrelated to selfish or moral issues. The bit that choses a blue or charcoal suit. Or choses to become an entomologist. That bit of us I have already agreed has got free will.

All that seems to be left is this:

- the remaining ego that seeks to satisfy selfish desires.

- the super-ego which encourages the ego not to satisfy selfish desires (Holy Spirit / conscience effect)

- id. encouraging the ego to satisfy selfish desires (satan tempting)

The above set-up would be problematic from your point of view. This, because we have two protagonists working in opposition (the holy spirit and satan)... and you (the relevant section of ego) between them "seeking to satisfy selfish desires". The trouble arises because this description of ego equates to a totally depraved will. "Seeking to satisfy selfish desires" is what totally depraved wills do. Freud would appear to support my position...

But I assume your actual position sees you otherwise. Not predisposed in a direction, rather neutrally positioned at a fork in the road. At that fork there is God urging you in one direction and satan urging you in the other. And you freewillingly chosing which way to go. Fast forwarding we see that you effectively save yourself through your choice.

In my position a depraved, non-freewilled person will surely being saved by Gods effort - unless they reject Gods attempt to save them. Though not a freewilled choice is is an "effectively freewilled" choice supplied by God to sin-skewed people. It is as balanced as the fork-in-the-road scenario presumably is. The key difference between systems is that biblical Christianity has man saved by God, relying on God, giving all the glory to God and being freed by God to love God - unconditionally.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 156 by Blue Jay, posted 02-19-2008 9:15 PM Blue Jay has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 162 by Blue Jay, posted 02-21-2008 5:40 PM iano has responded

  
CTD
Member (Idle past 3761 days)
Posts: 253
Joined: 03-11-2007


Message 158 of 163 (456869)
02-20-2008 1:53 PM
Reply to: Message 47 by ICANT
02-12-2008 7:31 PM


Re: Re-Free Will
quote:
God has Angels that worship Him because they are made without choice of doing anything else. They are like robots. They do what they are programed to do.

I must dispute this on the grounds that fallen angels had free will. I think there's a good chance you'll agree.

I compliment you on your patience. The tired old cop-out which is the topic of this thread's beyond mine at the present. I just have a hard time with arguments that defeat themselves so quickly.

1) God is omnipotent and omniscient.
2) God made everything, and everything is the way He made it.
3) God is unable to create creatures with free will.

1 defeats 3. But I can't really say this is worse than that other thread where they're saying God should "just forgive" all the sinners who don't repent. While I'm sure there are sinners who'd love a chance to ruin Heaven for everyone for all eternity, I'm surer still it shan't be given to them.

I wish you well with your efforts, ICANT & company. Anyone arrogant enough to claim they know more than an omniscient entity isn't going to be convinced the sky is blue if they desire it to be chromatically otherwise.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 47 by ICANT, posted 02-12-2008 7:31 PM ICANT has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 159 by ICANT, posted 02-20-2008 3:12 PM CTD has responded

    
ICANT
Member (Idle past 6 days)
Posts: 5878
From: SSC
Joined: 03-12-2007


Message 159 of 163 (456886)
02-20-2008 3:12 PM
Reply to: Message 158 by CTD
02-20-2008 1:53 PM


Re-Free Will
Thanks CTD.

CTD writes:

I must dispute this on the grounds that fallen angels had free will. I think there's a good chance you'll agree.

CTD there was a time about 45 years ago that I would have agreed that the angels had free will.

But this verse in Isaiah changed my mind.

Isai 45:7 (KJV) I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

Light was not created.
Darkness was created.
Peace was made.
Evil was created.

The devil is evil, his followers are evil and will spend eternity with him in the lake of fire.

So if I believe the Bible and this is God's Word in Isaiah I have to conclude the devil had no choice. I also have to conclude he is doing an execellent job, just like everything else God created except mankind.

Nowhere do I find where God gave the devil a choice.

I do find where man was given a choice. He was told he could eat of any tree except the tree of good and evil. Man had a choice. Do not eat and live. Eat and die.

Man chose to eat the fruit after the woman had been deceived by the voice coming from the serpent.

The man plunged all his descendents into separation from God. God kicked man out of His presence into the devils world whom he had chosen to obey.

Man is a citizen of this world and will suffer the same fate as the devil because of the first man's choice to wilfully disobey God.

Unless man is willing to exercise his free will and accept the free full pardon offered by God

God Bless,

Edited by ICANT, : No reason given.


"John 5:39 (KJS) Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."
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 Message 158 by CTD, posted 02-20-2008 1:53 PM CTD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 160 by CTD, posted 02-20-2008 6:27 PM ICANT has responded

    
CTD
Member (Idle past 3761 days)
Posts: 253
Joined: 03-11-2007


Message 160 of 163 (456924)
02-20-2008 6:27 PM
Reply to: Message 159 by ICANT
02-20-2008 3:12 PM


Fallen angels' Free Will
quote:
So if I believe the Bible and this is God's Word in Isaiah I have to conclude the devil had no choice. I also have to conclude he is doing an execellent job, just like everything else God created except mankind.

Nowhere do I find where God gave the devil a choice.


I find otherwise. One can generally choose not do a thing as readily as one chooses to do it. Likewise, one can choose not to say something one should not say.

But we find more information in the same book. Is. 14

12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

You seem to read information that is not given in the verse you cited. It is not said (there) how light was formed or how darkness was created. Neither are means or specifics given regarding peace and evil. Was evil directly created, or via things that had the potential to be or become evil? Doesn't say. Is the creation of evil finished, or does it continue? Doesn't say. Same with peace. If God had wanted to include more specifics, I do not doubt that they'd be there. As they're missing, I recommend against 'filling in the blanks'.

There is one blank I'd venture to fill in. We're told that God separated the light from the darkness, so I think it's safe to tentatively conclude that darkness was created by the removal of light.

But looking to the future, what of the time when the saints shall judge the angels? Judging a robot is simple: malfunctioning, or working properly. It looks to me as if your idea makes God's plan a waste of time.

Turn your attention to John 8:44, please.
[44] Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Mark well the last sentence. It's not "When he speaketh a lie, he followeth his programming." No. It's just the opposite. Satan's lies are his own invention.

There are other difficulties, but I pray these will suffice.

quote:
Man is a citizen of this world and will suffer the same fate as the devil because of the first man's choice to wilfully disobey God.

This is spot-on. There is no better definition of sin (and thus evil) than 'willful disobedience of God. Matter and energy do not sin because they always obey God. Indeed it's only a few verses later in Is. 45 that we find

[9] Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 159 by ICANT, posted 02-20-2008 3:12 PM ICANT has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 161 by ICANT, posted 02-20-2008 10:49 PM CTD has not yet responded

    
ICANT
Member (Idle past 6 days)
Posts: 5878
From: SSC
Joined: 03-12-2007


Message 161 of 163 (456957)
02-20-2008 10:49 PM
Reply to: Message 160 by CTD
02-20-2008 6:27 PM


Re: Fallen angels' Free Will
Hi CTD,

CTD writes:

I find otherwise. One can generally choose not do a thing as readily as one chooses to do it. Likewise, one can choose not to say something one should not say.

But you are talking about humans who are created in the image and likeness of God.

Angels were not created in the image of God that I can find.

CTD writes:

You seem to read information that is not given in the verse you cited. It is not said (there) how light was formed or how darkness was created.

God said I form the light. I John 1:5 says God is light.
He did not have to create light.

Rev. 21:23 talking about the New Jerusalem says the glory of God did lighten it, and the lamb was the light thereof.

Rev. 22:5 there will be no night there, no need for the light of the sun. God giveth them light.

Whatever it took for God to create darkness I am sure He was able to do it.

It said peace was made. I am not going to speculate on this.

Isaiah 45:7 says I the Lord create evil.

You quoted Jesus where He said in John 8:44 "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning,"

When did Jesus say the devil started being evil? I would take that statement to mean when be began to exist.

CTD writes:

Matter and energy do not sin because they always obey God.


I think the angels are the same as everything in the universe except mankind

I think mankind is the only creation of God that He created in His image and likeness.
God has free will therefore mankind would have free will.

The devil had to have God's permission to try and make job curse God.

Job 1:12 And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand.

So, no I don't believe the devil has ever had free will. I think the devil has done exactly what he was supposed to do within the limits set by God.

Judging the angels I am not going to touch as I have never thought much about it, as it has nothing to do with here and now.

CTD writes:

It looks to me as if your idea makes God's plan a waste of time.

That depends on what God's plan was in the beginning, doesn't it,

Acts 17:26 (KJV) And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

If God's plan was to create mankind in His image giving him a freewill to choose God or reject Him, I think He succeeded.

God Bless,


"John 5:39 (KJS) Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."
This message is a reply to:
 Message 160 by CTD, posted 02-20-2008 6:27 PM CTD has not yet responded

    
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 590 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 162 of 163 (457189)
02-21-2008 5:40 PM
Reply to: Message 157 by iano
02-20-2008 9:31 AM


Re: The Grand Canyon
And the details are such as to open out onto unbridgeable canyons between our respective beliefs.

This is, indeed, very likely. My intention with that remark was to indicate that both of our belief systems lead us toward following the word of the Lord, and that we are therefore, essentially, on the same side.

iano writes:

This is also why we believe the first two chapters of Genesis talk about the Creation differently--one of them was the spiritual creation, and the other was the physical creation

In what way differently?

Most people know how it's written in Genesis 1. Here's a few sections from the account in Genesis 2 (forgive the rampant a's and b's and c's: I cut and pasted this from the bible on lds.org, and those represent footnotes):

quote:
7 And the Lord God aformed bman of the cdust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the dbreath of life; and eman became a living fsoul.
8 ¶ And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in aEden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
9 And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the asight, and good for food;
.........
18 ¶ And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be aalone; I will make him ban help meet for him.
19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto aAdam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the bname thereof.

The order provided here is humans, plants, then animals. In the first chapter, it was plants, animals, then humans. Any attempt to explain this discrepancy would only be a matter of interpretation. Earlier in this chapter, it says this:

quote:
4 ¶ These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,
5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.

This stuff is off-topic, so I won't discuss it further, except to draw attention to the two bolded segments, which I think lend some credence to the Mormon perspective.

Back on-topic now:

iano writes:

Nor am I sure what the Mormon position is on the Bible. If I recall correctly, the Bible is considered corrupted in places? (rendering it untrustworthy).

Here is the Mormon view on the Bible (Article of Faith #8):

quote:
8 We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

We believe that the Bible was written by men. Inspired men, they were, but, like all men, they were subject to weaknesses. They made mistakes. Noah said the flood covered the whole earth, because, from where he sat on the ark, he only saw water, when the fact was that the land was just too far away for him to see (this is not an actual Mormon doctrine, but it is an example of the kind of error we would expect in the Bible). Even more telling: the Bible was translated many times, from Hebrew/Aramaic/Greek to Latin, to German, than to English. Our church holds that many errors were made in this process, and I believe this is upheld in comparative studies (though I can't back this up, because I don't speak German, Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic).

Many Mormons hold that the Bible was deliberately corrupted by "evil and conspiring men" at some point (or many points) in its editorial history, but I don't know enough about the subject to verify whether this is an actual doctrine of the Church, or the expressed opinion of a Church leader (we sometimes have difficulty among our own ranks defining what constitutes doctrine and what constitutes authoritative opinion, which I sure you can relate to).

On another topic, now. You'll have to forgive me some of my ignorance concerning many other religions' viewpoints. This is one that I didn't catch from your posts before:

This was from an earlier post, and I was familiar with this concept, but this next step is the one that caught me by surprise:

iano writes:

On gaining salvation, I am made free to chose to do good instead of evil.

I hadn't equated these two concepts before. Am I to understand from this that, after being born again, you can make the change from a purely sinful will to a will that can also choose good? But, until then, the only choices we can make are sin.

I read this next quote earlier, and thought it sounded a lot more like Buddhist Nirvana (being subsumed into oneness with God/the Universe) than restoration of free will:

iano writes:

All God needs to know is whether your heart can be his. That your will is prepared to take up the position he has for it - not the position your fallen will demands for it (which includes earning it's own righteousness so as to maintain a semblance of independance from God). Once your heart desire is established for God, the barrier is broken down, the war is over, you have peace with God.

But, now I understand what you're saying. This is good: now I know where my Mormon background has led me to think wrongly of other Christians. I will no longer argue against strawman hypotheses of salvation with no cost.

I will still disagree with you, though. As examples, I take a few posts from ChristianJuggalo's thread about purposes for the universe. These show that people who have not accepted Christ in their lives can surely make good choices. Rahvin, in particular, on that thread, has been admirably patient and good-natured in the face of all the insults there: see, in particular, Rahvin's posts
here and here. I have a lot of respect for this sort of person.

Seeing atheists behave in this manner will always be a good reason for me to believe that accepting Christ is not a pre-requisite for doing good. This indicates to me that humans innately have the ability to make good choices, whether or not such good choices would be seen as filthy rags. From this, I conclude that it is our responsibility to make good choices, for which we will be granted salvation.

This may be a good time to state our beliefs concerning the Atonement. Christ has suffered for all of us, and his Atonement is unconditionally objective. However, His Atonement is a gift that is being offered to us unconditionally, but it still relies on us to open the door and receive it. Therefore, our works do not save us, as such, but His Grace saves us. Our works merely allow us to access His Grace.

Personally, if God felt Rahvin's behavior on that thread amounted only to filthy rags (or, that such behavior was any less noble than such behavior from a born-again Christian), I would submit that He is more self-important than righteous. And, I cannot abide such a thought about God. Thus, I can't accept the view that good choices, such as Rahvin made, are only filthy rags to God.

But, until I get there and God tells me it's right, I can only fall back on this argument from incredulity (or faith, since we're talking about religious stuff here) as I have presented it. I hope, when the time comes, that I'll have the humility and the wisdom to accept the truth, whatever it turns out to be.

Edited by Bluejay, : Added Hyperlinks


Signed,
Nobody Important (just Bluejay)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 157 by iano, posted 02-20-2008 9:31 AM iano has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 163 by iano, posted 02-22-2008 6:28 AM Blue Jay has not yet responded

  
iano
Member (Idle past 1075 days)
Posts: 6164
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 163 of 163 (457278)
02-22-2008 6:28 AM
Reply to: Message 162 by Blue Jay
02-21-2008 5:40 PM


Re: The Grand Canyon
Bluejay writes:

My intention with that remark was to indicate that both of our belief systems lead us toward following the word of the Lord, and that we are therefore, essentially, on the same side.

In name only. There is no substance. The title of my post, and the content therein was an attempt to divert you from the notion that there was any. Me following the word of the Lord (on account of my being saved already) vs. you following the word of the Lord (because you hope/expect/trust/gamble) to be saved by doing so, have no practical similarity. We might be walking in the same apparent direction but are on different sides of a grand canyon.

-

The order provided here is humans, plants, then animals. In the first chapter, it was plants, animals, then humans. Any attempt to explain this discrepancy would only be a matter of interpretation.

The order so provided is itself an interpretation and any perceived discrepancy arises relativistically.

-

quote:
Fifth, it is argued that Genesis 1 represents animals as existing before man (24-26), yet Genesis 2 has Adam created before the animals are formed (v 19). The text of Genesis 2:19 merely suggests that the animals were formed before being brought to man; it says nothing about the relative origins of man and beast in terms of chronology. The critic is reading something into the text that simply is not there. William Green pointed out that when noted scholar Franz Delitzsch (1813-1890), an advocate of the Documentary Hypothesis, first authored his famous commentary on Genesis, he employed this argument as a proof of a discrepancy between Genesis 1 and 2. However, in the last edition of his work, after his knowledge had matured, he repudiated this quibble and argued for the harmony of 2:19 with chapter 1 (Green, 1979, p. 26).

One other query arising from your comments on the Bible. Assuming the book of Mormon was considered 100% reliable, what % reliability would the LDS Bible achieve? Is it reliable only insofar as determined by the book of Mormon?

-

iano writes:

On gaining salvation, I am made free to chose to do good instead of evil.

Bluejay writes:

I hadn't equated these two concepts before. Am I to understand from this that, after being born again, you can make the change from a purely sinful will to a will that can also choose good? But, until then, the only choices we can make are sin.

On being saved I am made free-to-chose, by God. Technically speaking, the old spiritual me is killed off (Freuds self-seeking ego) and a new spiritual me is born. This new me (or new creation as the NT puts it) embarks on the free-willed section of overall 'game'. I would be similar to the way you consider yourself to be at the moment: free willed and subject to influence. Of course we still are on different sides of the canyon: me on the free-willed side and you on the think-you-are-freewilled side (or so the discussion goes)

Until a person is born again, the sole direction of will expression is unto sinfulness (blind people don't see this of course). The technical way in which a depraved will follows it's nature is to suppress the truth revealed to it by God through conscience. Sinful actions will follow (in order to satisfy the sinful wills desire). Of course, if the will doesn’t exercise itself then it remains exposed to truth and good actions follow

-

All God needs to know is whether your heart can be his. That your will is prepared to take up the position he has for it..

But, now I understand what you're saying. This is good: now I know where my Mormon background has led me to think wrongly of other Christians.

Saying "God needs to know....that your will is prepared" might give the impression that the will contributes by conceding willingly. This notion has been consistantly rejected by me in this thread - just in case you think I'm saying that. What I am doing is using a figure of speech to reflect the fact that a choice of sorts is made. Not a free-willed one like sinless/moral-less Adam had but one designed to be suitable for sin-enslaved, post-fall beings like us. God cuts the choice cloth to suit the application to hand.

The wills choice for God is inferred (by God) indirectly. It goes something like this: God's work attempts to convince the will onto it’s knees – to surrender and become inactive, silent. This for obvious reasons: an active depraved will is only ever rejecting. Naturally, if a will has been silenced, rejection has been silenced too and the person has effectively - if not via the free will method – chosen for God. That is: a person chooses for God when they cease rejecting God. Once this choice is made, that part of the "game" is over and the person is born again / saved / declared righteous etc.

It's only the will that refuses to be silenced that will continue to reject. Only the will which will not be brought to it’s knees can remain having it's will done. It's will ever rejecting, that will damns itself.

"Thy will be done".

-

I will no longer argue against strawman hypotheses of salvation with no cost

Count it up:

- your Freudian-part ego must die – life can be a painful process.
- you are immediately reborn.
- Christ must die for you.
- the father must pour out his wrath on his son in order to forgive you.

The cost is stupendous

-

These show that people who have not accepted Christ in their lives can surely make good choices. Rahvin, in particular, on that thread, has been admirably patient and good-natured in the face of all the insults there: see, in particular, Rahvin's posts
here and here. I have a lot of respect for this sort of person.

Let’s look at the case of Rahvin (knowing that I argue this to be the case for all lost men and that Rahvin shouldn’t see this as a comment upon himself in particular).

You don’t know Rahvins heart. His exhibiting patience over the course of (what I am assuming is) a testing discusson consists of one or more of the following elements.

1) Rahvin’s good work is the result of Gods truth. Rahvins sinful nature would naturally like to rip his opponant apart but God’s truth gives him reasons not to. Compassion and love are shone into Rahvins heart and hold Rahvin in truth. Rahvin perhaps sees his opponants immaturity and is able to forgive the barbs.

2) Rahvin’s good work is the result of plain pragmatism which lies outside good/bad considerations. He decides that he would prefer a board that didn't slide into slanging matches and decides to lead by example. It’s a blue/charcoal suit gig. Simple preference.

3) Rahvins good work is the result of depraved will expression. His will would love to rip his opponant to shreds but figures he can also make his opponant look stupid by remaining calm. He migh tbe able to infuriate his opponant in to getting himself banned. He might be held up in esteem by other men such as yourself for his apparent to others "good" . Seeking the praise of other men is pride and the depraved will is nothing if not proud.

Whatever the case, there is no reason to respect Rahvin for his patience.

1) It is God who must be credited with any genuine good that a depraved will does.

2) There is no reason to respect a persons preferring a blue suit to a charcoal suit.

3) There a no reason to respect a person motivated by pride or hate or anger

-

Seeing atheists behave in this manner will always be a good reason for me to believe that accepting Christ is not a pre-requisite for doing good. This indicates to me that humans innately have the ability to make good choices, whether or not such good choices would be seen as filthy rags. From this, I conclude that it is our responsibility to make good choices, for which we will be granted salvation.

It can be seen from the above points that there is only one relevant area of the will which is concerned with righteousness. It is not the area where God’s truth results in good - for the will does nothing. It is not the blue/charcoal choice either. The only area left is the depraved will acting. The filthy rags righteousness of that will in action has been made apparent at 3) above.

-

This may be a good time to state our beliefs concerning the Atonement. Christ has suffered for all of us, and his Atonement is unconditionally objective. However, His Atonement is a gift that is being offered to us unconditionally, but it still relies on us to open the door and receive it. Therefore, our works do not save us, as such, but His Grace saves us. Our works merely allow us to access His Grace.

Think of works-based religions as a black box. The input is your work. The output is salvation gained (the carrot in our particular religions). What goes on inside the black box is not all that relevant. Your work does save you in that it's being inputted turns whatever black box wheels and levers that output salvation

How does this strike you? This fact that mormonism shares this most critical of features with all other religons - bar one.

-

Personally, if God felt Rahvin's behavior on that thread amounted only to filthy rags (or, that such behavior was any less noble than such behavior from a born-again Christian), I would submit that He is more self-important than righteous. And, I cannot abide such a thought about God. Thus, I can't accept the view that good choices, such as Rahvin made, are only filthy rags to God.

Hopefully you will see that there is no need to see God as self-important anymore. The key is viewing things from the depraved will perspective. It might help if you realise that the system Christianity proposes achieves the exact same thing as does yours: it provides man with a choice for God / against God. The only difference between your postion and mine is that the choice in Christianity is set up so that sinful man cannot contribute to his own salvation. And for good reason..

Salvation by grace alone is the only way that man can be brought to be able to love God unconditionally. The only way that man can fulfill the greatest command given him

quote:
Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love (agape) the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

No politician can take large sums of money from big business and say that his decisions are uninfluenced by his benefactors largesse. No person can work for his salvation and trust that his motivations exclude fear of the consequences of not working. Such a person cannot love God unconditionally for any love they might suppose themselves to have is tainted by Gods coercion. Coerced love is not a currency of love acceptable in the land of the kingdom of God.

The land that God has planned for those who love him unconditionally.

Edited by iano, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 162 by Blue Jay, posted 02-21-2008 5:40 PM Blue Jay has not yet responded

  
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