==Thank you for your response. I wanted to respond fairly quickly so that you might get it tonight. Yes, the links are helpful. I do think, however, that you have engaged in faulty logic. Let me explain. Just because I do not see from the Scriptures that God automatically predestines all things does not necessarily mean that I reject that he can keep his promises. ==
It DOES necessarily mean that you reject that the God of Scripture can keep His promises:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? Even as it has been written, ‘For Your sake we are killed all the day; we are counted as sheep of slaughter.’ But in all these things we more than conquer through Him loving us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord” (Romans 8:35-39).
If God does not predestine all things, then it IS logically possible for some creature outside of God’s control, to separate the elect from the love of God in Christ Jesus. You say that this does NOT necessarily follow, since you’ve constructed a god of your own imagination, where it “just so happens” that this god is able to keep his promises, since the other god did not get in his way.
==Here’s an example. Let’s imagine a cricket in the forest. Now, does it REALLY matter if he takes 5 steps left, or 6 before turning around?==
It might matter. One step might make all the difference between living, and becoming fused to the forest floor. Perhaps you mean does it “really matter” whether or not God controls, and has predestined this cricket to take the 5 or 6 steps? It matters greatly. If this cricket is outside, and free from God’s predestinating control, then he is the sole cause of his own movements (or actions). And thus, you’ve made the idolatrous transfer of the glory of God, to creeping things (Romans 1:21-23). One may object to the accuracy of calling this a form of dualism, since the “more powerful god” could easily squash the other “much less powerful god” like, well, like a bug. But despite the striking disparity between the power of these two “gods,” you still are left with two “independent forces” at work in the universe.
== I know that small things can have big consequences, but isn’t it possible that God might just allow instead of command certain things?==
This is like asking whether or not it is possible for God to cease being who He is; or whether it is possible for God to relinquish some of His sovereign glory to a part of His creation.
== If God knows that the steps of the cricket on a certain day won’t have any adverse effect on his plans, he does not have to intervene, does he? Could he not simply use his wisdom to command all NECESSARY things to happen for every promise that he has made to come to pass? I say yes, and it does not make any sense to say no.==
By your phrase, “to command,” I assume you mean something like, “to decree.”
“Give to Jehovah, sons of mighty ones; give to Jehovah glory and strength. Give to Jehovah the glory of His name; worship Jehovah in the majesty of holiness.”
But what of that little cricket? Does he not deserve a minuscule amount of thanks, glory, and strength, for not taking it upon his autonomous self to adversely affect the plans of Jehovah?
“The voice of Jehovah is on the waters; the God of glory thunders; Jehovah is above many waters. The voice of Jehovah is in power; the voice of Jehovah in majesty. The voice of Jehovah breaks the cedars; yea, Jehovah breaks Lebanon’s cedars. He also makes them skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of Jehovah is cutting through the flame of fire. The voice of Jehovah shakes the wilderness; Jehovah shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of Jehovah causes the does to calve; and He uncovers the forests. And in His temple it all is saying, Glory! Jehovah sits upon the flood; yea, Jehovah sits as King forever. Jehovah will give strength to His people; Jehovah will bless His people with peace” (Psalm 29:1-11).
The voice of Jehovah has the majesty and power to break cedars, to cut through a flame of fire, to cause does to calve, to shake the wilderness, and to lay bare an entire forest.
But according to your scheme of things, the God of glory has thunderous effects in the forest, but as for affecting the cricket in the forest, He cannot so much as chirp. Ridiculous, idolatrous blasphemy.
“[He] causes the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for the service of man, to bring food out of the earth” (Psalm 104:14).
But where, oh where, does it say anything explicit about causing, and controlling crickets? That’s what I’d like to know.
“He causes the vapors to rise from the end of the earth; He makes lightnings for the rain; He brings the wind out of His storehouses” (Psalm 135:7).
He can make a supposed, “predestinating decree” that the rain will drown the cricket. He can sovereignly bring out the wind from His storehouses to blow the cricket about, like He did with those many locusts in Exodus. But He CANNOT directly control what He has created. You do believe that all Christians believe that God created all things don’t you? Your absurd view has a part of creation free from the control of its Creator.
I realize that your seemingly innocuous (to you, anyway) cricket doctrine may be a cover for some (seemingly) more insidious past peace-speaking you’ve engaged in (e.g., speaking peace to your former ignorant-of-the-sovereignty-of-God self); but asserting that ANYTHING (no matter how small) is free from the control of God, is blasphemous in the extreme — it is a denial of the God of Scripture, and an affirmation of belief in an idol.
== I believe that God will keep all his promises to his people, he has never failed. He does not have to control the motion of every atom in order to do this, just all of the necessary things.==
To quote from Scripture:
“To whom will you compare and make Me equal; yea, compare Me, that we may be alike? Those who lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver on the measuring rod; they hire a refiner and he makes it a god. They fall down; yea, they worship. They carry it on the shoulder; they bear it and set it in its place, and it stands; it shall not move from its place. Yes, he cries to it, but it does not answer, it does not save him from his distress. Remember this and be a man; return [it] on [your] heart, transgressors. Remember former things from forever, for I [am] God, and no one else [is] God, even none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from the past those things which were not done, saying, My counsel shall rise; and, I will do all My desire; calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of My counsel from a far off land. Yes, I have spoken; yes, I will cause it to come; I have formed; yes, I will do it” (Isaiah 46:5-11).
“To whom will you compare and make Me equal; yea, compare Me, that we may be alike?” Rhetorical question? Well, at least one cricket, and one atom seemingly have ultimate self-determination, and are absolutely free from the control of anything outside themselves.
==Knowing that “all” can have different meanings in Scripture, I still cannot see the necessity of interpreting it as “everything, everywhere, ever”.==
The context of Ephesians 1:11 is clear. You are bringing your idolatrous presuppositions to the text. I think you are ignorant of how many things “ride” on God’s being in absolute control of everything, as it pertains especially to the unregenerate elect prior to God’s regenerating them — you cannot just arbitrarily limit God’s lack of control to a cricket and an atom. I think your denial of the sovereign God of Scripture would also deny God’s control over every man, everywhere, in every situation.
== Also, as far as the preservation of Scripture goes, I understand your point. I guess I won’t comment on that now. Hopefully, you have thought a bit more about your position on the “necessity” of belief in absolute predestination. If my boast is truly in the cross of Christ alone, which it is, then please do not try to add conditions on to what I must believe in order to be considered a Christian. Absolute predestination may be true, but again, the efficacious atonement is what is important, and I believe that GOD WILL keep his promises. Just because I do not necessarily believe that he will keep them the same way you do does not mean that I don’t believe that he will. ==
Idolatry includes attributing to God qualities of character that DO NOT belong to Him, NOT attributing to God qualities of character that DO belong to Him, and attributing to the creature qualities of character that belong to God alone. By denying that all who truly boast in the cross of Jesus Christ alone, believe in the absolute sovereignty of God, you have changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man (Romans 1:23). You have attributed to the creature, qualities of character that belong to God alone. Jesus Christ is the sovereign God in the flesh. And thus you are denying certain essential attributes that Scripture attributes to Christ, and so you are following an idol of your vain imagination. The fact that you place a biblical name on this idol, and use biblical phraseology such as “boasting in the cross,” is immaterial.
Absolute predestination is NOT the gospel, and neither is the doctrine of creation. But all who truly believe the gospel, believe both of these doctrines. The god who did not create the universe and everything in it is an idol; and the god who does not (or cannot) control what he creates, is also an idol.
By the way, from reading some of your past correspondence with Marc, I see that you wrote the following:
“I can say now with confidence that all Tolerant Calvinists are lost.”
By parity of reasoning, the Tolerant Calvinists quote your very own words back to you:
“please do not try to add conditions on to what I must believe in order to be considered a Christian.”
For me to say that you have not yet turned to God from the idols, to serve the true and living God (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:9), is not to add conditions to the gospel (as if the gospel was not SOLELY conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone).