My comments interspersed. You wrote:
==Thank you for responding again. I wonder if you have misunderstood me. I never said that God CANNOT control all things, just that he DOES NOT have to. ==
I had written:
“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.” [bold emphasis mine–CD]
No misunderstanding — I understood your emphasis to be, not on the “cannot,” but on the, “does not.”
==As for God’s glory, yes glorify God as the Scriptures do. I’m not sure why in the world I would have to give glory to the cricket in my example if he were the least bit autonomous.==
How about the glory of ultimate self-determination (or self-rule)? How about the glory of being the ultimate metaphysical cause of its own actions? God alone has ultimate self-determination, which means that there is nothing above Him that determines what He will do. God alone is the ultimate metaphysical cause of His own actions, which means that He does according to His will in the heavens, and not according to someone else’s will. You have made the cricket into God, *insofar as* BOTH God AND the cricket have ultimate self-determination, and are both the ultimate metaphysical cause of their own actions.
== Obviously, he never will mess up God’s plans for mankind. God won’t let him.==
You wrote previously:
“I never said that God CANNOT control all things, just that he DOES NOT have to.”
Do you say that God does not have to control all men without exception, or do you limit it to things like atoms and crickets? I was thinking that if your reasoning regarding the cricket was applied to some of the unregenerate reprobate who desired to kill an unregenerate elect person, then God would have to squash the reprobate person (or something) to keep His plans of regenerating that elect person from being messed up. In this scenario, at the end of the day, you still would end up with two beings (two Gods) who have the power to control their own thoughts and actions.
==It is not little god (cricket) vs BIG GOD (Jehovah). The cricket does not possess ANY attributes that would cause anyone sane to worship it. Is it holy, holy, holy? No. To me, it ends right there, but we could go on. ==
The cricket may not be “holy, holy, holy,” but the cricket shares some of the exact same Divine attributes, which are ultimate self-determination and self-causation. This is like a partial “I AM” attributed to the little cricket, minus the self-existence part. You are attributing some of the qualities of a Being who IS self-existent, to a being who is NOT self-existent.
==Did it create all things? No. Anything? No.==
Does the cricket control all things? No. But hey, neither does God. But at least God does control *some things,* which is more than we can say for the cricket. Well, at least God gets *some praise* for *some things,* which is better than *no praise,* for *no thing.* Wow. What a doxology that is.
“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you” (1Thessalonians 5:18).
Not in everything are we to give thanks, Paul — only in, *some things.*
== Is it a Savior? No. I just don’t see how I would logically have to have a little “cricket god” just because he was autonomous. ==
Besides your imaginary cricket friend, who else in the Bible has sole and exclusive autonomy. Oh yeah, that’s right. It’s God.
==By the way, obviously, in a very real sense, God would be controlling the autonomous cricket anyway. Think about it. God created the cricket kind with certain pre-programmed information. He created the natural laws. Thus, everything the cricket does in response to his environment has been predetermined by God in this sense, absolutely.==
In a “very real sense”? Really? Are the makers of Timex, “in a very real sense,” the direct controllers of these watches? Since you say that the Maker still has some involvement with what He creates, this is not full-blown deism, but what you articulate above sounds like a form of semi-deism, not Biblical Christianity.
== OF COURSE God created all things in the beginning. That does not mean he has to specifically create every animal born NOW. He could have simply commanded every kind to reproduce after its kind, and now allows his former command to rule all of creation. In this way, God would be sovereignly in control of ALL THINGS. ==
So, you are saying that God can be IN CONTROL of ALL THINGS, without actually controlling all things. This reminds me of a sermon Marc preached:
“In light of this, let’s first look at the hardening of Pharaoh. As we saw last time, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, which included Pharaoh’s thoughts and desires. God made Pharaoh NOT WANT to let the Israelites go, and, as an extension of this, God made Pharaoh NOT LET the Israelites go. God MADE Pharaoh disobey. Did you know that this is controversial among professing conservative evangelical Christians? Now how can something so straightforwardly biblical be controversial among those who say they believe every word of the Bible? Well, this shouldn’t surprise us, since even the concept of an atonement that actually atones is controversial among this same group. But please don’t misunderstand me – these things are NOT controversial among true Christians. But they ARE controversial among the false religionists who come in the name of conservative evangelical Christianity. And they are even controversial among the false religionists who call themselves Calvinists, who claim to uphold the absolute sovereignty of God, who say that God is in control of everything. Like the Arminians, most Calvinists will say that God is IN control of everything, but not that He CONTROLS everything. And they concoct all kinds of theories to try to have a god who is IN control of everything while not CONTROLLING everything. Try figuring that one out – how God can be IN CONTROL without CONTROLLING. As we’ve seen so many times before, the lie is much more complicated than the truth.”
I’m not sure if I linked this (False god), but hopefully it will prove helpful to you.
==And I do believe in at least this. I hope you don’t get tired of my e-mails. I don’t wish to bore you or anger you.==
I am not bored, nor angered at all; nor have I grown weary of your e-mails.
==I must say, I had more assurance of salvation before you e-mailed me back. I would like to visit your church sometime. I’m not sure what state its in though. (I might have seen it and forgotten. I live in Alabama.) It would be weird though. Coming to hear good sermons and be among Christian people and be counted as an unsaved person (though not necessarily non-elect right?) ==
Correct — not necessarily non-elect. The gospel of Jesus Christ has primacy. Obviously. But the Scripture makes distinctions between the true and living God, and idols.
“And it will be, when the Lord has broken off all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will visit on the fruit of the proud heart of the king of Assyria, and on the glory of his lofty eyes. For he says, I have worked by the strength of my hand and by my wisdom; for I am wise. And I take away the borders of peoples, and have robbed their treasures. And like a mighty one, I put down ones living in it. And my hand has found the riches of the people. Like a nest, I also have gathered all the earth, as forsaken eggs are gathered. And there was not one moving a wing, or opening a mouth, or one chirping. Shall the axe glorify itself over him chopping with it? Or shall the saw magnify itself over him moving it? As if a rod could wave those who lift it. As if a staff could raise what is not wood!” (Isaiah 10:12-15)
Apply this passage to cricket-kind, or to *some* among mankind who are outside of God’s active control. One need not know about, or use terms like, “ultimate metaphysical cause” or whatever. The crucial, simple, elementary, fundamental, basic point is that if ANYTHING in the universe is free from God’s active control, then it is like unto an axe, saw, rod, and staff, who have been “pre-programmed” to respond to various stimuli.
==I do have a question. I know that the Psalmist talked about hatred for God’s enemies. I also know that God loves his elect even before regeneration. I wonder: do you hate me currently? I do not accuse you of being unloving or anything, I presume that you practice loving your enemies. I was just wondering. I won’t get all huffy if you say yes, don’t worry. These conversations are enlightening. I hope someday I believe all the same things that you do. I would very much like to have people like those at your church claim me as a brother in Christ.==
Presently, I do not consider you a brother in Christ, so yes, I hate you in Psalm 139:22 sense and love you in the Matthew 5:43 sense. This is NOT paradox since the aforementioned verses are speaking of two different senses: I am to LOVE those whom I count as an enemy. I LOVE them when I bless them, and do well to them, and pray for them. I HATE them when I count them as the enemies of God and, by extension, my enemy.
I hope that we can continue corresponding.