(You may want to read the previous post about God's Will before beginning this post.)
Recently, I got an e-mail asking me to explain the following sentence on page 88 of my book "Modeling God":
"God doesn’t know which people are going to need the value until after they have expressed their will…”
People tend to think God knows EXACTLY what is going to happen down to EVERY detail BEFORE it happens. They will say that God is outside of time and therefore He can go ahead in time. This is an example of predestination...
Recall, in the previous post we saw the HARDEST question pastors/teachers get is: Why did God kill my child?
There are two fables most pastors and teachers subscribe to...
1) Sovereignty - God unilaterally does what He thinks is right against our will and there is nothing you can go about it...you can't even understand it so don't try.
2) Predestination - Your child was destined to die and we are just walking through what has already been predetermined.
This previous post dealt with sovereignty.
This post deals with predestination.
God being outside of time means that God is not bound like us in having to experience each consecutive moment at the same interval. God's next moment (to Him) may be like a thousand years to us because He is going to experience enough events that it would take a thousand years to experience them.
To say that God can go forward in time would mean the future has already occurred...
Which means we don't really have a choice...
Which means we aren't responsible for our actions neither salvation nor rewards...
Which means it is all God's fault.
THAT is not a conclusion I want to be associated with!
What is the PROOF that the future has already happened?
People would say the Bible says so, but I would ask for a specific passage where it says the future has already happened. I actually believed this myself within the last two years. I wanted a simple answer to how God can predict the future. However, when I tried to put together a lesson explaining this to Wayne Swokowski (the person who knows the Bible better than anyone else I know), I quickly found massive holes in my explanation.
What would you say if I told you I know what a friend of mine's reaction is going to be when he finds out his wife lost the keys to the car? Furthermore, suppose I told you, THEN you watched him give the reaction I explained and then you asked me how I knew...what would you say if I said, "I am like God and am outside of time!"?
You would say I was wrong.
You may say that I had seen his reaction before from her losing the keys (experience).
You may say that I knew my friend and how he handles certain situations (understanding).
Basically, you would say I had enough information through experience and understanding to be able to accurately predict (MODEL) the RESULTS ahead of time.
THE SAME COULD BE SAID FOR GOD IN EVERY BIBLE PASSAGE THAT YOU USE TO TRY AND PROVE GOD IS OUTSIDE OF TIME!
THEN there are the passages which prove that if God IS outside of time then He is a liar or in error or not just...again, that is not a conclusion I would be comfortable teaching people about God WHILE I WAS GETTING PAID FOR THIS!
Every day I'm going to add to this blog entry...however, I'm going to try and end each day with some questions. Log out and take a couple of hours to think about the questions before moving on...
MOSES AND GOD
"And the Lord said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?
I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.
And Moses said unto the Lord, then the Egyptians shall hear it, (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them;)
And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou Lord art among this people, that thou Lord art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.
Now if thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying,
Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness.
And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying,
The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.
Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.
And the Lord said, I have pardoned according to thy word:
But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord." (Numbers 14:11-22)
God said He will smite them and disinherit them and make a greater and mightier nation out of Moses.
Moses talked (prayed) to God and changed His Mind.
The result was that God said He will do according to Moses' word AFTER stating He was going to do something different.
Right now I would ask you to save the contradictory explanations of God's Will REALLY being He didn't want to do this, etc.
This actually makes God out to be a liar...
That answer will also become more embarrassing as we add more and more passages to this entry.
So, for now, here are three questions to ponder:
1. Could ANYONE ELSE have convinced God to change His Mind in this situation?
2. Could EVERYONE have convinced God to change His Mind in this situation?
(If God never REALLY meant to do this then ANYONE and EVERYONE could have "convinced" Him.)
3. Could Moses ALWAYS convince God to spare people in ANY/EVERY situation?
GOD AND JEREMIAH
"Then said the Lord unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth.
And it shall come to pass, if they say unto thee, Whither shall we go forth? then thou shalt tell them, Thus saith the Lord; Such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; and such as are for the captivity, to the captivity.
And I will appoint over them four kinds, saith the Lord: the sword to slay, and the dogs to tear, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the earth, to devour and destroy.
And I will cause them to be removed into all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah king of Judah, for that which he did in Jerusalem.
For who shall have pity upon thee, O Jerusalem? or who shall bemoan thee? or who shall go aside to ask how thou doest?
Thou has forsaken me, saith the Lord, that are gone backward: therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with repenting." (Jeremiah 15:1-6)
One of the things I LOVE about the Bible is that it shows God WANTS us to understand Him!
Taking these two passages together begins the process of building a model to understand why God does and doesn't move for and against people!
God said even if Moses AND Samuel stood before him at this point in time, His Mind could not be toward this people.
The cause of the judgment is Manasseh (Hezekiah's son).
God is weary of Israel's repenting!!!!!!
1. Why couldn't Moses AND Samuel change God's Mind in this instance?
2. Could ANYONE change God's Mind in this instance?
3. What is the objective measure that determines whether a specific person is able to change God's Mind?
4. If God is "All Powerful" then how is Israel able to make Him weary?
5. If God is able to go ahead in time, why was Israel able to make Him weary?
6. Is it possible for our repenting to make God weary?
GOD AND EZEKIEL
"The word of the Lord came again to me, saying,
Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it:
Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord God.
If I cause noisome beasts to pass through the land, and they spoil it, so that it be desolate, that no man may pass through because of the beasts:
Though these three men were in it, as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither their sons nor daughters; they only shall be delivered, but the land shall be desolate.
Or if I bring a sword upon that land, and say, Sword, go through the land; so that I cut off man and beast from it:
Though these three men were in it, as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters, but they only shall be delivered themselves.
Or if I send a pestilence into that land, and pour out my fury upon it in blood, to cut off from it man and beast:
Though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall be deliver their own souls by their righteousness.
For thus saith the Lord God; How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast?
Yet, behold, therein shall be left a remnant that shall be brought forth, both sons and daughters: behold, they shall come forth unto you, and ye shall see their way and their doings: and ye shall be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, even concerning all that I have brought upon it.
And they shall comfort you, when ye see their ways and their doings: and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord God." (Ezekiel 14:12-23)
God tells Ezekiel that He's bringing four sore judgments on Israel and IF Noah, Daniel, and Job were in the land they would ONLY be able to save themselves and not their sons nor their daughters. God even gives the measure: BY THEIR RIGHTEOUSNESS!
God also says that there will be others who are themselves saved and seeing their ways and doings will be a comfort to Ezekiel BECAUSE he will know that God did not do this WITHOUT CAUSE.
Let's summarize before tomorrow's thrilling conclusion...
-In the first section "God and Moses", God says it is His Will to destroy the people AND to make a BETTER and GREATER nation out of Moses.
-Moses opts for saving the people and God follows Moses' plan!
-In the second section "God and Jeremiah", God says that Moses and Samuel COULDN'T convince Him to save the people.
-In this third section "God and Ezekiel", God says that Noah, Daniel, and Job would ONLY be able to save themselves and not even their own sons and daughters AND there is a remnant that is saved ALL due to the righteousness of their ways and doings.
-In fact, God ends the last passage by saying all of this will be a comfort to Ezekiel BECAUSE Ezekiel will KNOW the judgment DIDN'T come WITHOUT CAUSE!
-If it is all pre-determined, God doesn't have to prove or explain anything.
-However, notice the concluding explanation is that everything happened BECAUSE of the people...as an EFFECT of THEIR DECISIONS!
-Notice that salvation occurs with God’s Righteousness through grace. Rewards occurs with our righteousness (works). Works (our righteousness) doesn’t save us (salvation). Five point Calvinism says there is nothing good in man…he is totally depraved. This passage says God measures value affecting His Will by the person’s righteousness.
1. What REALLY drove the fact that God NOW had a "greater and better" will for Moses?
(Reread the previous blog post on God's Will, THEN reread the first section of this post! Moses "qualified" for a greater will BECAUSE he handled well the abuse he took from the people!)
2. How was Moses able to save the people in the desert when he (AND Samuel AND Noah AND Daniel AND Job) couldn't in Jerusalem?
3. How was Noah able to save his sons (and daughters-in-law) before the Flood, but NOT save them in Jerusalem?
4. Did Daniel have sons and/or daughters in REALITY but they aren't written about?
5. If God is ahead in time and it is all pre-determined, WHY is God contemplating the "IF's"?
GOD AND HEZEKIAH
"Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign.
Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Abi, the daughter of Zachariah.
And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father did.
He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehusthan.
He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him.
For he clave to the Lord, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses.
And the Lord was with him; and he prospered whithersoever he went forth: and he rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not." (II Kings 18:1-7)
Hezekiah was a righteous king that was completely in line with God.
"In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.
Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the Lord, saying,
I beseech thee, O Lord, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.
And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone our into the middle court, that the word of the Lord came to him, saying,
Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the Lord.
And I will add unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city our of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake." (II Kings 20:1-6)
-God told Hezekiah he was going to die. His death was so close God told Hezekiah to put his house in order. This illness would end in death.
-God responded before Isaiah had left the middle court. God even said the reason He was healing Hezekiah was because of the prayer.
-God said He would ADD fifteen more years to Hezekiah's life. Whenever Hezekiah died, God had intended that Hezekiah die fifteen years before that time.
"And Hezekiah slept with his fathers: and Manasseh his son reigned in his stead." (II Kings 20:21)
Hezekiah died at the end of the chapter.
The next sentence is...
"Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hephzibah.
And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel." (II Kings 21:1-2)
1. If God can go ahead in time, why was He wrong about Hezekiah dying?
2. If God KNEW Hezekiah wasn't going to die, but said it (insert your reason here), wasn't this lying? (God CANNOT lie.)
3. How can God see the future AND be wrong OR need to lie?
4. Isn't a belief in determinism result in God being a liar, wrong, or not "all-powerful"?
5. Why did God say Hezekiah was going to die?
6. Why did Hezekiah have to pray in order not to die?
7. What was the FINAL RESULT of Hezekiah living 15 more years?
Your have ALL the information you need to answer these questions in a non-contradictory and non-blasphemous manner if you look at this entire post and the previous post on "God's Will".
Clearly the future already hasn't happened yet, otherwise God is wrong and/or a liar. People who hold to this view REGARDLESS of the long and complicated explanation they give are stating their will that they think God is wrong and/or a liar.
The ONLY non-contradictory explanation that is consistent with the entire Bible is that God has a Will for each of us that changes depending on OUR response. This would make it impossible for God to be wrong because all the responsibility is on us.
Now, here is the hard explanation for the passages above:
God's Will for Hezekiah was that he would die.
God wants what is best for us in the Long Term.
Hezekiah's death would have been the best thing for him in the Long Term.
Hezekiah is going to heaven.
Because Hezekiah was righteous, he had a lot of reward.
Dying would have insured Hezekiah would go to heaven with a lot of reward.
Hezekiah avoided dying through prayer. Take the time to click the link and find out the non-contradictory definition of prayer...
Hezekiah (much like Moses) chose to spend his value in a way different than what God wanted. God wanted Moses to spend it on being a better and stronger nation. God wanted Hezekiah to have the value in heaven. Hezekiah followed the four part prayer model. He referenced his justice and made a request. The result is he got 15 more years in exchange for value.
Finally, notice Hezekiah's son was 12 when Hezekiah died. Manasseh would not have been born if Hezekiah had died. From the Jeremiah passage, God says that God will cause (through Justice) Israel to go into captivity BECAUSE of Manasseh.
The OTHER part of the benefit of Hezekiah's death to him (AND ISRAEL) was for Manasseh NOT to be born. God is not the CAUSE of Israel going into captivity. God is not responsible for Israel going into captivity BECAUSE He did nothing. God is not at fault neither through CAUSING it nor NOT trying to stop it.
Our traditional view of short term gain being equal to God's Will keeps us from seeing the non-contradictory explanation for these passages...it causes people to come up with contradictory fairy tales like determinism that ACTUALLY are blasphemous and make the Word of God of NONE EFFECT.
EVERY time God moved for, moved against, or didn't move for someone, it was because of Justice. I've heard John Piper and Matt Chandler ask why God moved against certain people in the Bible AND didn't move against others. The reason is EVERYONE God moved for or didn't move against did righteous works that put them on the right side of Justice. If these people REALLY wanted to know the answer, they would respond to e-mails I wrote months ago.
Remember, this has NOTHING to do with Salvation. Salvation and Rewards are two different models. Combining them means that you are making it possible to earn your salvation through works. You can only get salvation through God working through you (grace). God initiates the actions that result in Salvation. However, you can get rewards from actions you initiate.
Moses, Samuel, Noah, Daniel, and Job ALL did righteous acts in the midst of unrighteousness. They all had value to change God's mind or avert His judgment.
There is no other non-contradictory explanation, so believing something else is a statement of will of the individual to justify themselves instead of God.
Do people REALLY want to grow, understand God more, and know the non-contradictory truth?
Or do they want to be comfortable, keep God a mystery, and validate their personal contradictory beliefs?