Monday, January 16

The Discussion I Can't Stay Away From

It's in my blood, or something. At least this time I stayed away until I sensed a genuine (rather than a Calvinist-baiting) question. From the Baptist Board, in a thread titled God responsible for evil?, this question is asked.
But if God ordains something, does that mean he makes people do things?
My response (edited to correct errors and further clarify some things):
No, not in the case of evil acts. God ordains that evil acts come about by way of his permission. All systems of theology--at least all of those that deal in any way with God's decrees--say that God decreed (or ordained) the fall, for instance; but all have this decree as a decree of permission.

God is not the direct cause of any evil act, but decreeing to permit a certain evil act is a cause of that act, just not the direct cause. God choosing to allow a specific evil act makes it certain that it will occur, and if he had chosen not to allow it, it certainly would not occur. In that way, God's decision regarding any evil act is a cause of the act, because whether that act occurs or not is dependent on what decision God made in eternity regarding it--whether to allow it or not.

That's the reason that Acts can use such strong language regarding God's role in the evil acts of those who crucified Christ. Scripture says those acts were "God's definite plan," and that what was done by Herod, Pontius Pilate, etc was "predestined by God's plan" (Acts 2 and 4). They were predestined (or decreed or ordained) acts brought about by way of God's choice to allow them, and perhaps by other means as well, like the setting up specific circumstances, but not by the Spirit's direct agency.

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