Schwertley’s quotation of Jeremiah 7:31 and reference to Jeremiah 19:5 reminded me of an e-mail I recently got regarding Jeremiah 32:35: “And they built the high places of Baal in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech, which I did not command them, nor did it come into My heart, that they should do this detestable thing, to cause Judah to sin.”
Here’s the e-mail:
there is a verse in the o.t. in which God is commenting upon the pagans who burned their children in the fire as part of a sacrifice to moloch. and, God says that He did not cause it to happen, neither did it enter His mind that this should take place.so, therefore, i will use this verse as an argument against “absolute predestination of all things”. if God caused everything that happens, then He must have caused the children to be burned up. but, He said that He did not cause it to happen. therefore, God does not predestine everything.i rest my case. “absolute predestination of all things” is a false and pernicious doctrine.it makes God to be evil, or the source of evil, which is basically the same thing.in order to do evil, one must be evil.a good tree only produces good fruit, and an evil tree only produces evil fruit.
Passages like Jeremiah 32:25, 3:7, 7:31, and 19:5 are twisted by Open Theists to say that God can be mistaken or have to reassess what He had previously thought. From my reading of Bruce Ware’s “God’s Lesser Glory,” Open Theists define omniscience as: God’s comprehensive knowledge of all possibilities, everything past and present, of everything logically entailed from the past or present, and of all possible states of affairs. Thus even on Open Theist terms, the phrase “nor did come into My heart” cannot be taken literally (p. 78). Obviously, it came not into His heart as a precept, but it did come into His heart as a decree. Unless a person is willing to say that it never entered His heart until the very moment the wickedness was committed. But this would not square with Deuteronomy 12:31 or 18:10, which warns against these actions prior to their actual commission in time.
Commenting directly on the actual email:
Of course, God caused certain sinners to commit this atrocity. But why does God find fault, for who can resist His will? Sounds familiar, I know. If fault cannot be “justly” laid at the sinner’s feet, then whose feet can the fault be laid? Paul’s mutinous critic confusedly thinks that moral culpability implies human sovereignty (cf. Romans 9:19). That is, in the objector’s mind, the only way he can be held responsible for his actions is if he is the ultimate metaphysical controller of his actions. This brings us back to Genesis where that ancient serpent said, “You shall be as God.”
I’d like to see this man present some kind of Biblical case to prove his assertion that if God causes evil, He therefore must be evil. Or for Him to cause evil is to actually, personally commit the evil. Is God rebelling against Himself when He causes Pharaoh to rebel against His commands, and so on.
I suppose that the Psalm which states that God TURNED the Egyptians heart to hate His people could be an example of God causing a “tree” (i.e., the Egyptians) to produce evil fruit. God causes BOTH trees to produce the good and bad fruit. This person might explain what he means by the word “produce” when applied to God and what he means by it when it is applied to man.
Then Marc concluded our discussion of Jeremiah 32:35 with this:
What did not come into God’s heart was to command the false worship, including passing the children through the fire. Also note that the e-mailer used the verse to say, “God says that He did not cause it to happen.” But the phrases “to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech” and “to cause Judah to sin” is not talking about God’s causing; it’s talking about Israel’s causing!