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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Friday, July 20, 2012

God and Evil: The Problem Solved: Faith Presbyterian Church Reformed

The following is a brief review of Gordon H. Clark's book, God and Evil:  The Problem Solved:

Somehow the idea of God’s permitting evil without decreeing it seems to absolve God from the charge that he is the ‘author’ of sin, but one must be careful, both with respect to the logic of the argument and to the full scriptural data. God ‘permitted’ Satan to afflict Job; but since Satan could not have done so without God’s approval, the idea of permission hardly exonerates God. Is perfect holiness any  more compatible with approving or permitting Satanic evil? If God could have prevented, not only Job’s trials, but all the other sins and temptations to which mankind is subject – if he foresaw them and decided to let them occur – is he less reprehensible than if  he positively decreed them? If a man could save a baby from a burning house, but decided to ‘permit’ the baby to burn, who would dare say that he was morally perfect in so deciding?

Such a view of permission and free will cannot coexist with God’s omnipotence. Neither is the Arminian view of free will compatible with God’s omniscience, because omniscience renders the future certain (31,32). If God foreknows all things, then of necessity they will come to pass; otherwise, they could not be “foreknown.” God foreknew, even foreordained, the crucifixion of his Son by the hands of sinful men. Yet, according to Scripture the godless men who carried out the act are responsible (Acts 2:22,23; 4:27,28). Could they have done differently? Could Judas Iscariot not have betrayed Jesus Christ? To ask the questions is to answer them; of course not (41). The God of the Bible, writes Clark, “determines or decrees every action” (20). Hence, Arminianism’s attempted refuge in free will is both “futile” and “false; for the Bible consistently denies [the Arminian view of] free will” (19).
Reformed theology does not disavow the fact that Adam (and all men after him) had a “free will” in the sense of “free moral agency” (13-16). [5] All men have freedom of choice in this sense of the term. Men of necessity choose to do what they want to do; in fact, they could not do otherwise. What Reformed theology does deny is that man has the “freedom of indifference.” His freedom to choose is always governed by factors: his own  intellections, habits, and so forth. Of course, all choices are subject to the eternal decrees of God.
As mentioned, this is not only true of post-fall man. It was also true of Adam prior to Genesis 3. The major difference is that post-fall man, who still maintains his free moral agency, has lost that which Adam originally possessed: the ability to choose what God requires. Fallen man, in his state of “total depravity,” always chooses to do that which he desires, but his sin nature dictates that he always chooses evil (Romans 3:9-18; 8:7,8; Ephesians 4:17-19). This “ability” to choose good is only restored through regeneration.

Man, then, is never indifferent in his willing to do anything. God has determined all things that will ever come to pass. Yet, this does not undermine the responsibility of man. There is no disjunction here. The Westminster Confession of Faith (3:1; 5:2,4) correctly states that (26-28):
God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established….Although, in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass immutably and infallibly; yet, by the same providence, he ordereth them to fall out according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently….The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God, so far manifest themselves in his providence, that it extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men, and that not by a bare permission, but such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding, and otherwise ordering and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to his own holy ends; yet so as the sinfulness thereof  proceedeth only from the creature, and not from God; who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.
Click here to read the rest of the review:  Faith Presbyterian Church Reformed

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