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Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by Five Solas, Feb 1, 2018.
Does anyone here hold to Equal Ultimacy?
It might help if you define it for us.
My apologies. It is most commonly aligned within the bounds of double predestination. It specifies God not only actively works in, and chooses some for salvation, but also actively works in the unregenerate works of wickedness to further damn them.
Usually Romans 9:17-23 is used as evidence, along with examples of God hardening Pharaoh's heart, and similar such mentions of others God actively damns.
I imagine most people here would subscribe to double predestination, but not in the sense of Equal Ultimacy. The common view of double predestination is God is active in His electing some, and passive in His damning of the rest - He simply passes over them and leaves them to their own destruction.
I was unaware of this. Isn't double predestination that God predestines (actively) both sides to their final destination?
Would this change your opinion that you thought "most people here would subscribe to double predestination"?
I believe there are those who are "prepared for destruction," just as those who are "prepared beforehand for glory." (see ESV trans.) I believe some men are "made to be taken and destroyed... in their own corruption."
22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,
23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory
2 Peter 2:12
But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
The term is used generically to summarize the positive-positive view. The careful distinction between positive-positive vs positive-negative is needed, lest Reformed folk be charged with hyper-Calvinistic views. R.C. Sproul, in his book Willing To Believe, addresses this really well.
And, as we might expect, there are actually a few more nuances out there than those described so far. The biblical evidence seems to go beyond a mere passive, or negative, inaction of God on the part of the non-elect. However, that is different from saying that all humanity was somehow suspended between heaven and hell, in neutral, as it were, and that God split some off in one direction, and some off in the other direction. ALL humanity was headed for hell. This is a decisively important point to press on those struggling with the doctrine of predestination, since then the emphasis is still on God's amazing grace: God didn't owe anyone salvation. All of us deserve hell. That is where we were headed. The idea that God would not allow all to perish is the amazing thing. It is not marvelous that God would predestine some to the destiny they already deserve. That is simply God being a just judge. Nothing remarkable in that.
What I am getting at here is that, while God's decrees are more or less symmetrical and opposite with regard to humanity (though the Westminster Standards still use less than symmetrical language sometimes to describe God's actions: predestine versus pass by), humanity's destiny is NOT symmetrical or neutral.
Furthermore, the Bible is also clear that God does not take delight in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18), as He does take delight in the salvation of His elect. So, while there might be some aspects of double predestination that are symmetrical, other aspects are not, and it behooves us to be careful in delineating which aspects are symmetrical and which are not. Otherwise, we wind up with a bloodthirsty, homicidal God, or with the entitlement mentality so characteristic of our age. What is clear is that, with regard to the non-elect, God is just, and with regard to the elect, God is merciful. In both cases, the glory of God shines clearly.
The common view that you expressed here is how I understand this issue.
The Lord has his absolute Will being worked out in both cases. but to me, it does also seem that he can say to the lost that they were having their own desire and wants get done, for if they despised coming to the Lord Jesus while here, an eternity with him would be like a hellto them.
My printer is humming away thanks to you, Patrick. Always a topic for further study. God bless you.
Whenever discussion of 'double predestination' comes up on PB, the above essay is offered as clarification of the Reformed view. It is so good that should probably be a 'sticky'.
Based upon that article then, God does not actively predestine/determine that the sinner is damned/not saved, but has decreed what the end result will be for rejecting to be saved?
Are you asking a question? The words above fail to grammatically construct a question. These words are but a statement, despite your adding a question where a period is expected and required.
If you are asking if I agree with your summary (ignoring your oddly placed question mark), then my answer would be qualified, given that I am unwilling to assume how you distinguish between predestine and determine.
All that God accomplishes is from His volitional will. God is not passive (not active), that is, sitting back to see what happens. That God has ordained that some will be left in their state of sin, not a recipient of His efficacious grace, is not some passive act by God. God most certainly, actively, decreed it to be so.
Having said that, God is not going out of His way, as it were, to ensure that those so left in their sins, will remain in their sins. Those in their sins will continue to march onward towards their final destination per their own will.
I was just giving how I was understanding what was on that article, was wondering if that was the correct way to view this issue?
Then your wonderment should be properly formed as a question. For example:
Based upon that article then, would it be correct to say that God does not actively predestine/determine that the sinner is damned/not saved, but has decreed what the end result will be for rejecting to be saved?
Just making statements and appending a "?" does not form a proper question.
See my answer above:
I'm sorry, I'm not sure how to quote certain segments of a previous comment, but this from Patrick is where I'm struggling a fraction:
I tend to agree with what you've said above. And even the WCF says God passes over the unregenerate, but also the matter of predestination is to be treated with special care.
However, then I read things like "God hardened Pharaoh's heart". That isn't a passive phrase, nor even a preordained term (although of course it would've been part of the decrees of God). It is a statement of God being active in Pharaoh in his wickedness. I firmly believe God is not the author of sin, so I'm having difficulty coming to grips with how all this works in with itself.
I think I'll go and read that legonier article before commenting further.
That's a great way of putting it.
Think of it this way. I have two houseplants. I choose one to receive my utmost care in watering, fertilizing, and pruning. The second I chose to receive no water or care of any kind from me. I will let it succeed or fail according to its own nature. I have 'actively' decreed the final end of each of the houseplants, but the 'actions' which I take (or don't take) to bring my decree to fruition are not symetrical. The plant that lives receives my life giving activity, but that does NOT mean the plant that dies receives some kind of 'death giving activity'. Its death is ensured simply because it does not receive any of my 'life giving activity'. I don't have to do anything to make the plant die, for it will do so naturally. But I do have to do lots of things to make the plant live.
Life requires a great deal of 'activity', but death requires nothing more than I leave the plant to its own natural destiny.
God does not have to 'actively' do anything to a man's heart to harden it. All he must do is 'pass it over' and it will naturally harden itself. God actively hardened Pharaoh's heart by NOT giving him "repentance to the acknowledging of the truth." (2 Tim 2:25)
"As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as a righteous judge, for former sins, doth blind and harden; from them he not only withholdeth his grace, whereby they might have been enlightened in their understandings, and wrought upon their hearts; but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had; and exposeth them to such objects as their corruption makes occasion of sin; and withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan; whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, even under those means which God useth for the softening of others."
God does not harden hearts of men by infusing malice into them, but by not imparting mercy to them. A darkened room remains so unless I walk into it with a candle.
As noted by Ken above, we see this in evidence by observing when the restraints of providence were withdrawn when God softened Pharaoh's heart to let the people go, Pharaoh was left to follow his original purpose and was thereby hardened under God's providence.
Regarding Ezekiel 18 and God not taking delight in the death of the wicked. One should reconcile such with "But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased." To think God is not pleased with manifesting His justice toward the wicked is a mistake.
Yes- not pleased that his image bearers are destroyed, yet pleased in the rightness of his justice in doing so. How mighty are his ways- we can only bow before his wisdom and love and justice.
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Exactly. This is why one ought not to use Ezekiel 18 to make a point unless the proper qualification is discussed, which Rev. Lane did allude toward. Many could read his post and think God "takes" no delight in the manifestation of His justice.
I have always found the image of a sun baking bricks to be helpful in understanding how God hardened Pharaoh. Just as the sun takes out all the moisture of a brick, leaving it hard, so also God withdrew all His graces from Pharaoh, leaving him hard. It was not a hardening wherein God infused some kind of stubbornness into Pharaoh. Not an infusion, but a withdrawing.
Earl's point is well-taken. God takes delight in all manifestations of His glory, but He does not take delight in the destruction of the wicked in some kind of bloodthirsty way.
Thanks for the clarification, and how would you answer the question then?
My understanding on Pharaoh situation was that he was already predisposed to being the enemy of the Jews and of their God, so the Lord took Him, and used Him to have His will and plans fulfilled. In like fashion, God used Judas to betray the Lord Jesus, but did not force him to fulfill prophecy, as Judas was already willing to do that.
The proper distinction of God's decree vs the execution of his decrees is foundational here, I think. God has equally decreed both the salvation of the elect and the damnation of the reprobate. However, the manner in which he executes those decrees is very different.
Second, the order of the decrees is important. I think infralapsarians and supralapsarians would potentially have different views on the 'equal ultimacy' question.
Just a couple of observations.
Does God determine that they would be lost, or what their end result will be due to them being lost?
Asked and answered:
See your post here, then review what came before and after:
So God did not predestine them to Hell by ordaining that they must be damned period, but that He made sure their rejection of Jesus meant that damnation must happen?
Just trying to see if the biblical concept of this would be in line with how Judas was predestined By God to be the one to betray Jesus, but Judas also willingly chose to do that evil act?