Sinking with California

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Stope

Puritan Board Sophomore
Greetings all! My name is Jason, 36, I live in [-]Babylon[/-] Southern California with my wife and my 2 daughters and I have long needed meaty and actual responses to my very real and very concerning questions and so I have decided to turn to this board in hopes that I might find some respite and responses.

My questions aren't just these questions because Im looking to talk about "something new" or because Im some sort of pseudo intellectual, rather these questions I have truly affect me and how I relate to Christ. I have never really had much religious affection towards Chris, but I do, in some capacity, when the awesome things of God are made more clear to me and when roadblocks to further faith in Him are removed. It is with this that I come to this thread.

Im sure my questions are actually quite elementary and the same ones that folks have been asking for hundreds of years, I just simply dont know where to find these responses. That said, below are a sample of some of my questions:

1. How is God not responsible for sin? Two levels;
-----A. How could God have even created the "potential" for sin (or
even the capacity to choose other - or even have an "other" as an
option)?
-----B. If God has predestined every single event, and if
sinning was an event, how do we still maintain that God is not to
blame?

2. Did Jesus have a body before incarnation?

3. How is it that Jesus can make his home in all of our hearts yet he
is a physical being and so he can't be omnipresent?
 

py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
Welcome to the board, Jason!

The questions you have asked are good ones, and could all be discussed in some depth. But to get the ball rolling, let me try to be brief.

1. You have to distinguish two points with regard to a sinful action: the fact of it as an action, and its rebellious quality as sin. So yes, every sinful act, as an act is ordained by God. But its sinful quality arises from the agent who commits that act. And you know that God does not concur with the sinfulness of the action, because he condemns it and will punish it.

2. No. The Son of God assumed a human body and soul in the incarnation, neither of which he had before.

3. Jesus is the Son of God. As such, after the incarnation, he has two natures. They are united in his person, but they are not blended. So the person of Jesus is present with all believers, but he is present according to the divine nature.

The Westminster Confession of Faith enunciates these points extremely well. For your questions here, chapters 3 and 8 are the most relevant.
 

Stope

Puritan Board Sophomore
Thank you so so much for the response - already a blessing!!! I will indeed read those sections in the WCoF

Please see my responses below:


1. You have to distinguish two points with regard to a sinful action: the fact of it as an action, and its rebellious quality as sin. So yes, every sinful act, as an act is ordained by God. But its sinful quality arises from the agent who commits that act. And you know that God does not concur with the sinfulness of the action, because he condemns it and will punish it.
---I have many follow up questions to this, do you think i should raise them here or instead start a thread elsewhere?

2. No. The Son of God assumed a human body and soul in the incarnation, neither of which he had before.
---Thanks! So to be clear, Jesus prior to assuming a human body in the incarnation, was only a "spirit" (not sure how else to word it other than he didnt have a body)? If that is the case, then, since he CURRENTLY has TWO natures we see that there was a time he had only 1 NATURE (his divine nature) - is that correct?

3. Jesus is the Son of God. As such, after the incarnation, he has two natures. They are united in his person, but they are not blended. So the person of Jesus is present with all believers, but he is present according to the divine nature.
---Wow, this is mindblowing and very helpful. Thank you friend
 

py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
I'm glad the replies were helpful!

Yes, for #1 another thread would probably be best. It's a big topic. In fact if you dig around in past threads a bit you will probably find some previous discussions.

2. Yes, there was a "time" when the person whom we call Jesus/the Son/the Logos had only one nature. Of course, part of what assuming a human nature involved was entering into time as well as space, so the language can get a bit tricky.
 

Stope

Puritan Board Sophomore
Good stuff, thanks so much!!!!!!!!

What is a good keyword that might help me search for this issue you think? Perhaps "first sin" "fall of satan" "ability to sin"... Is there a technical term for this?

Again, thank you

Jason
 

Toasty

Puritan Board Sophomore
Greetings all! My name is Jason, 36, I live in [-]Babylon[/-] Southern California with my wife and my 2 daughters and I have long needed meaty and actual responses to my very real and very concerning questions and so I have decided to turn to this board in hopes that I might find some respite and responses.

My questions aren't just these questions because Im looking to talk about "something new" or because Im some sort of pseudo intellectual, rather these questions I have truly affect me and how I relate to Christ. I have never really had much religious affection towards Chris, but I do, in some capacity, when the awesome things of God are made more clear to me and when roadblocks to further faith in Him are removed. It is with this that I come to this thread.

Im sure my questions are actually quite elementary and the same ones that folks have been asking for hundreds of years, I just simply dont know where to find these responses. That said, below are a sample of some of my questions:

1. How is God not responsible for sin? Two levels;
-----A. How could God have even created the "potential" for sin (or
even the capacity to choose other - or even have an "other" as an
option)?
-----B. If God has predestined every single event, and if
sinning was an event, how do we still maintain that God is not to
blame?

2. Did Jesus have a body before incarnation?

3. How is it that Jesus can make his home in all of our hearts yet he
is a physical being and so he can't be omnipresent?
In response to question# 1, I would suggest that you read chapter 2 of the following book:
http://document.desiringgod.org/suffering-and-the-sovereignty-of-god-en.pdf?1439242069

Here is an article entitled, "Did Calvin Believe in Freewill?"
http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/vox/vol12/calvin_lane.pdf

According to the article above, man sins necessarily, but voluntarily. After Adam's fall into sin, people are born sinners. They are born slaves of sin. They cannot please God. However, this does not mean that people are forced to sin. They have sinful desires and they act according to those sinful desires.

Matthew 15:19 says. "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders." People have sinful hearts. They have the desire to sin and they take pleasure in sin. People are not forced to sin. They sin voluntarily.
 

py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
Good stuff, thanks so much!!!!!!!!

What is a good keyword that might help me search for this issue you think? Perhaps "first sin" "fall of satan" "ability to sin"... Is there a technical term for this?

Again, thank you

Jason
Maybe some string of keywords like "God author sin" would get you the most relevant results. For instance:

http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/68290-How-would-one-define-ordain-decree-or-author (especially post #9)

Or:

http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/78694-Did-God-ordain-Adam-s-Fall
 

Stope

Puritan Board Sophomore
Thanks I will read those ASAP.

Please see my responses below:

"According to the article above, man sins necessarily, but voluntarily. After Adam's fall into sin, people are born sinners. They are born slaves of sin. They cannot please God. However, this does not mean that people are forced to sin. They have sinful desires and they act according to those sinful desires."

---What I want to really ask has to so with when you said "After Adam's fall into sin, people are born sinners". My question is from WHERE does that inclination to sin come from? You might say sinful nature, Id then say, where does that come from and you might say Adam and then Id say, how, and you might say when he choose the evil, and there I would ask how was there even an evil to choose in the first place? That is, how was it that God is not responsible for sin - yet the very existence of an action contrary to Gods will (ie "Sin")could not have entered into creation unless God first created it (or it existed eternally with Him). I will try to conjure up an analogy; Im painting and I have black pain and white paint and these are the only 2 created paints ever, it would therefore be impossible for me to paint orange unless I was given/someone created orange... Or, my mother baked Ham and Turkey, these are my only 2 options for dinner, how can I choose Salmon unless my mom created it and put it there before me as an option... All that to say, how is sin even an option unless God made it one (and if he did how is that consistent with His nature)?

Any thoughts would be very helpful!

Jason
 

StephenG

Puritan Board Freshman
In response to question 1B:
I think it was Augustine who said something along the lines of God being the "author of evil" (if you want to use those terms) in a certain sense. He is the "author of evil" in the sense that He ordained and allowed sin to happen. He did NOT, however, create sin and He does not coerce or "force" the creature to commit evil. I think John MacArthur explained this at a Ligonier Conference a few years ago, too. You can probably dig that up along with other great resources for this topic on their YouTube channel. God Bless.
 

Toasty

Puritan Board Sophomore
Thanks I will read those ASAP.

Please see my responses below:

"According to the article above, man sins necessarily, but voluntarily. After Adam's fall into sin, people are born sinners. They are born slaves of sin. They cannot please God. However, this does not mean that people are forced to sin. They have sinful desires and they act according to those sinful desires."

---What I want to really ask has to so with when you said "After Adam's fall into sin, people are born sinners". My question is from WHERE does that inclination to sin come from? You might say sinful nature, Id then say, where does that come from and you might say Adam and then Id say, how, and you might say when he choose the evil, and there I would ask how was there even an evil to choose in the first place? That is, how was it that God is not responsible for sin - yet the very existence of an action contrary to Gods will (ie "Sin")could not have entered into creation unless God first created it (or it existed eternally with Him). I will try to conjure up an analogy; Im painting and I have black pain and white paint and these are the only 2 created paints ever, it would therefore be impossible for me to paint orange unless I was given/someone created orange... Or, my mother baked Ham and Turkey, these are my only 2 options for dinner, how can I choose Salmon unless my mom created it and put it there before me as an option... All that to say, how is sin even an option unless God made it one (and if he did how is that consistent with His nature)?

Any thoughts would be very helpful!

Jason
God gave man the ability to choose good or evil. God did not perform any evil when He gave man the ability to do good or evil. Giving man that choice does not make God evil. Evil does not proceed from God's character. Just because God gave man the ability to do good or evil does not mean that man was forced to do evil. In addition, God did not tempt man to sin. When Adam sinned, he did so willingly. Adam gets the blame for doing evil, not God.

Here is a good article entitled, "Calvinism and the First Sin" by James Anderson:
http://www.proginosko.com/docs/Calvinism_and_the_First_Sin.pdf

There is a Creator-creature distinction. The way that God carries out His plan or causes things is different from the way that creatures carry out their plan or cause things. I believe this difference that help us to explain how God can ordain all things whatsoever comes to pass and at the same time hold people accountable for their sin.

Steve Cowan wrote his doctoral dissertation in defense of the idea that God's sovereignty is compatible with human responsibility.
Here is the link: https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/seminole123/disseratation.pdf
 

Stope

Puritan Board Sophomore
Thank you for your response StephenG! Indeed I will watch the video now!!!!

Having said that, Id like to respond to what you said:
"He did NOT, however, create sin and He does not coerce or "force" the creature to commit evil."
-----Im not really asking if God has "forced" or coerced us to performing a sin, rather Im asking, how is it that God even allowed sin to be achieved in the first place? That is, if everything uncreated flows from him then doesnt it follow that sin flows from him as well? (Note, it was Augustine who said "sin is not a thing, but the absence of a thing..." and I can agree with that, but its still doesnt address the question of how could God have allowed the absence of the thing (ie sin) to have even been an option in the created order at all)
 

Stope

Puritan Board Sophomore
Wow, Im getting some great readingf/viewing resources to engage in, thank you all so much!!! Toasty those 2 resourcesyou shared seem right in the wheelhouse of my concerns...

Having said that, Id like to address this:
"Evil does not proceed from God's character"
-----My question, at the end of the day, simply is, if "Evil does not proceed from God's character" (that is the FIRST evil - whatever it may have been), then from WHERE was it introduced?

Thanks!
 

rickclayfan

Puritan Board Freshman
I think it would be helpful to define sin. Sin is not a created substance. It is a choice of a will. It is the lack of conformity to God's law.
 

Stope

Puritan Board Sophomore
@rickclayfan

I have attempted to define sin in the above thread, having said that, regardless of how we define sin let us use the term for now let us use "evil"... And having said that I respond to yoiur comment:

"Sin is not a created substance. It is a choice of a will. It is the lack of conformity to God's law."
---So my response to "it is a choice of a will", is how can someone make a choice unless there is an object to choose? That is to say, if the road leads only straight I have no choice to go any other direction then straight unless another choice is presented to me (for example, right or left or reverse)... Therefore my question is, from where did the POSSIBILITY of a the choice of evil come?

Thoughts?
 

rickclayfan

Puritan Board Freshman
how can someone make a choice unless there is an object to choose?
What I meant by "substance" before you call "object" here. Sin is not a substance or an object. Sin is merely a negation, not a positive thing. It is the negation of, or disobedience to, a duty--obedience to God.
 

Stope

Puritan Board Sophomore
I fully agree with you... Having said that, how can the "negativeness" of a shadow be possible, unless the shadow itself (or even the possibility of a shadow) exist unless there was all pieces together that would cause a shadow? In other words, God creates the sun, the ground, and the pot (all objects necessary for a shadow), but i say to you, when God created all those things surely a shadow/shadowness didnt just slip in unbeknownst God as a byproduct of creation - and in the same way surely "sin" and "evil" and the ability to choose sin/evil didnt just take God by surprise and was a sort of by-product and a sort of hazardous waste of creation... The notion of sin as a negation of obedience had to spring up from somewhere prior to Satan and/or Adam
 

Toasty

Puritan Board Sophomore
Wow, Im getting some great readingf/viewing resources to engage in, thank you all so much!!! Toasty those 2 resourcesyou shared seem right in the wheelhouse of my concerns...

Having said that, Id like to address this:
"Evil does not proceed from God's character"
-----My question, at the end of the day, simply is, if "Evil does not proceed from God's character" (that is the FIRST evil - whatever it may have been), then from WHERE was it introduced?

Thanks!
Evil came into existence when man sinned against God.

Just because God ordains that evil would come into existence or that God permits evil to take place does not mean that God does evil. God never does evil. God does not have an evil character. God is good; He is light.
 

Nate

Puritan Board Junior
Welcome to the PuritanBoard Jason! We're neighbors - I live in Redlands. I'ts nice to know that there are others in our area who are interested in Reformed theology. Let me know if you every want to get together for coffee.
 

Stope

Puritan Board Sophomore
@PuritanCovenator - Thank you brother!!!

@Miss Marple - Touche sister ;)

@Nate - Brother, fellow IE rat, fellow 909er, fellow lot lizard, etc.!!!!!!!!! Wow, thats so cool, you really are a stones throw away. I looked at the Hope church in your signature, looks great. I really really desire to attend a good church (I am very very very unhappy with mine), yet I am struggling with attending a church outside of Yucaipa because I feel the need to stay involved directly in my community (I have attempted to work with the homeless here in Yucaipa and think itd be nice to be able to point them to a local church and work alongside others here at a local church... But all that said, i wish I could switch...). How old are you and do you work here locally? Indeed lets grab some coffee (Auggies!!!)

@toasty when you say "Evil came into existence when man sinned against God", I want to agree with you, but wouldn't that mean that man created something? That is, I though all things came into being through Jesus and without him nothing came into being... And of ciurse you might say sin is not a "thing", but what I keep trying to say is, ok its not a "thing", but a "negation", so then I ask, how is there even the possibility to choose a negation, or how can I choose left from right if right never even was created in the first place?
 

Toasty

Puritan Board Sophomore
@toasty when you say "Evil came into existence when man sinned against God", I want to agree with you, but wouldn't that mean that man created something? That is, I though all things came into being through Jesus and without him nothing came into being... And of ciurse you might say sin is not a "thing", but what I keep trying to say is, ok its not a "thing", but a "negation", so then I ask, how is there even the possibility to choose a negation, or how can I choose left from right if right never even was created in the first place?
Just because evil came into existence when man sinned against God does not deny that God is the Creator of all things. The statement "Evil came into existence when man sinned against God" has to do with when evil came into existence. It is not denying that God ordains all things. Moreover, nothing happens without God's permission.
 
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