I hate to be the bringer of such news WH, but you're starting to make sense.Now when did WillieH ever make sense
Just kidding! WillieH and I go way back in our head banging days! We both saw it as Iron sharpening Iron!
Yet we agree totally on God's total will over man!
Allow me to share some of my research!
Most Christians - and non-Christians - believe that human beings have "free will." They reason that if we don't have free will then we must embrace the doctrine of fatalism, meaning, there's nothing we can do about anything anyway because it's all worked out ahead of time - as in the doctrine of predestination. Because this issue has an important bearing on the character of God, we must find out what the Bible teaches.
God's word does not support the doctrine of "free will"
, nor does it support the concept of fatalism. The Bible does speak of "free will" offerings, but on the other hand, God says He is operating ALL
in accord with the counsel of His own will.
" (Eph 1:11, Rom 8:28) But these two doctrines, though seemingly opposites, can be harmonized. One doctrine happens to be the divine viewpoint and the other, the human viewpoint.
If God "is operating ALL
in accord with the counsel of His OWN WILL
," then everything must be pre-arranged. "If everything is pre-arranged, then what is the use of doing anything?" you may ask. How can God be running EVERYTHING
, and yet human beings also have "free will"
We must understand that man does not
have "free will" even when he thinks
he does. Why do corporations pay a million dollars per minute to advertise during the Super Bowl game? Because it works! Why does it work? Because if you repeat something often enough, people will respond to it and do what you want them to do -- buy your product. They will be influenced consciously or subconsciously, to change their mind and do something they hadn't intended to do. Their "free will" has been manipulated by someone else!
Sophisticated research has been carried out for many decades to develop methods to change peoples minds about a product or an issue, political or religious. We make our decisions based on a combination of what we see and experience as well as what is in our subconscious. Yet we have very little control over what is in our subconscious. Many circumstances in our lives are not under our control, yet these same circumstances, in conjunction with our subconscious mind, are a large part of our ultimate decision-making.
Many persons imagine that they are carrying out their own free will when, in fact, they are really carrying out the will of another
who has a subtler intellect than their own.
Here's an illustration. Americans think we live in a free country. However, you are "free" only as long as you remain politically correct, you pay your income taxes, you don't speak about a bomb as you go through airport security, and many other restrictions of "freedom" we have learned to accept. We have accepted these restrictions, and the loss of many rights, yet we still consider ourselves "free."
Man's will is a product of heredity and environment. We were all born sinners. None of us has the freedom "not to sin."
Therefore, we are NOT
truly free! The Bible says, "ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
When a man makes up his mind, his will, he subconsciously considers his own ego, the contacts he has made in the world about him, the psychology of the moment, including at times, the state of his stomach, and the condition of his finances. If you are wise enough, you could probably make up his mind for him.
In fact, wise men have always acted on this principle. They do not attempt to capture the will of others by a frontal attack. They know that "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." So they execute a flank movement around the side. They seek to change or modify one or more of the factors which compose man's will. If a child will not eat healthful food, then let it go hungry for a while. If a child refuses to give up a sharp knife with which it might cut itself, then you offer it a more desirable plaything.
Few men and women ever attain maturity in such matters as these, and all people may be made to change their mind by the very factors which have formed it in the first place.
God is in control of everything that takes place in the universe. If He were not in control, the universe would be a madhouse. Throughout the Word of God, man's will is always
subordinated to the will of God. Temporarily man's will appears to oppose God and is contrary to God's revelation in the Bible, but ultimately man's will works God's way.
The Bible says that God "hardened" Pharaoh's heart (Exodus 9:12) to do exactly the opposite
of what God appeared to want done. This is the way God works. God provides opposition to His Word in order to manifest Himself.
In order for God to reveal Himself to His creatures, it is God's will that His revealed will be opposed. In other words, God gave us the 10 Commandments, knowing that we would not be able to keep them, knowing that our carnal nature would be in opposition to this revealed will of His.
Have you ever wondered why God, Himself, put the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil right in the middle of the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve couldn't possibly avoid it? Where they would be repeatedly enticed into eating from it? Where their temptation would be overwhelming?
If we don't want a little child to handle, and possibly break, fragile glass objects, we don't place those objects in easy reach of the child. We put them in a closet or on a high shelf where they will not be tempting to the little child. Yet God did exactly the opposite with Adam and Eve. He placed the forbidden tree right in the middle of the Garden, where they couldn't possibly avoid it. Then He told them "Don't eat of it." What was God's motive?
Think about this. We are told the Lamb (Jesus) was "slain from the foundation of the world," (Rev. 13:8) meaning that the Plan of Salvation, including Jesus' death for sinners, was planned BEFORE
man was ever created. The Plan of Salvation REQUIRED that Jesus die on the cross. Therefore, Jesus had to come in the form of being that had the "ability" to die. Before Adam and Eve sinned, they were incapable of dying. They did not become subject to death until after
they had sinned. If Adam and Eve, or their offspring had not sinned, neither they, nor Jesus would have been subject to death. Jesus could not
have died and no one
would have needed a Saviour anyway.
Therefore, sin and death
had to have been an integral part of the Plan of Salvation.
God plants impulses in the human heart and surrounds men with influences that impel men to oppose God's revelation, just like God did with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. It is imperative that God should clash with His creatures. It is essential that their wills withstand His will. Men imagine that they are in control of their own will and that no one can break their resolution, not even God. But this is foolishness. Men have no greater control over their will than the captain of a sailing vessel has over the set of the sails. If the captain is not demented, he will set his sails to suit his course, and that is determined by the wind.
To suggest that God has created a world of little gods, with absolute wills, is to dethrone God. However, God does give mankind the consciousness
that he has self-determination. It is essential to God's purpose that His creatures should be oblivious of the power which impels them, for their response must be without conscious constraint.
God, is the only Being in the universe who is unhampered by the chains of circumstance. God CREATES the circumstances in the lives of all of us. It is by this method that we walk in the steps which He has created for us before we were born. (Eph. 2:10) The highest and most powerful of earth's leaders play the part that God assigns them, though they don't know it.
Proverbs 21:1 says, "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will."There is only one independent "free" will in the universe, and that is the will of God.
In order to bring about His purpose, men must not be aware that they "live and move and have their being" in Him. The false "free will" that men believe they have, is the result of man being oblivious to God's ways. God provides opposition to His truth in order to make Himself known. Men imagine that their will is independent of God's will. Since they are unable to understand the intricacies that make up their own decisions, they delude themselves into thinking that their will is independent.
The story of Joseph and his brothers is a perfect example of God's way of working in our lives. Joseph's brothers were opposing the "will of God" by selling Joseph into slavery. They broke several of the Commandments, including "Thou shalt not kill" as Jesus said hating your brother in your heart is the same as murder. In addition, they lied to their father about what had happened to Joseph. But by resisting "God's will" they actually fulfilled God's ultimate INTENTION!
For by selling their brother Joseph into slavery, they eventually produced their own earthly "saviour", who saved them from death by famine and who protected and nurtured the very origin of God's fledgling nation, Israel. Joseph, after he became the leader of Egypt under Pharaoh, was able to sustain his entire family by providing food for them and by providing a fertile area for them to live in, to multiply and begin the entire nation of Israel.
When the whole episode was over and their father Jacob had died, the brothers then thought Joseph would take revenge, and they pleaded for their lives. They went before him and fell before his face, terrified that he would now have them killed. But we are told in Genesis 50:19,20 that Joseph said unto them, "Fear not, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you thought evil against me; but God meant it for good,
to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive."There's the answer. That's the way God works. He sets us up against Him, and our sin ultimately leads to our salvation. God always brings good out of bad. The more we resist Him and the farther down we go, the more we will realize our ultimate need to depend entirely on Him.
Throughout this story of Joseph's brothers selling him into slavery, we can see that their own evil against Joseph ultimately led to their own conversion, repentance and salvation. It was a hard struggle and a lifetime of grief and guilt, but the entire family was saved and God had worked out His ultimate intention
To summarize, we CAN
resist God's will
as revealed in the Bible (The 10 Commandments), but we CANNOT
resist His ultimate intention,
which is to save us all.
One way to understand this whole issue is to study the WORD
of God -- The WORDS
of God! The specific words in the original Greek and Hebrew scriptures are very meaningful and have, in many places, been mistranslated in the King James Version of the Bible, and in many other versions as well. In Paul's letter to Timothy (2 Tim 1:13) he tells Timothy "to have a pattern of SOUND words
For instance, God's "will"
is often watered down to a mere "wish"
or changed to only a "desire." These mistranslations
assure us that God does NOT "WILL
" that all mankind be saved (1 Tim 2:4) but that He merely "desires"
it. And since man WILLS
otherwise, God is apparently powerless and impotent in the face of this "superior force" of man's human determination. How absurd!
Yet Philippians 2:13 says that "it is God who is operating in us to WILL and to DO HIS good pleasure."
Let us look at the original Greek words.
Will is thelo or thelema
Wish is euchomai
Desire is epithumia, and has to do with feelings, rather than with determination.
To be disposed is phroneo, and expresses the bent or bias.
Intend or intention is boulomai.
Each word has a specific meaning, yet the Bible translators have translated these words as they chose, rather than as to their true meaning. The exact meaning of each word can be understood by studying EVERY place in the Bible that the specific word is used, then making sure that the same
English translation is used in EVERY instance that the specific Greek word is used.
But mistranslations abound. For instance, The word will
is mistranslated into counsel, opinion, wish, about, eagerness, delight, accord and voluntary.
The word "wish"
which lacks entirely the sense of determination that is essential to the word "will"
, as is shown by this word's occurrences in the following texts:
Acts 27:29 (KJV): When Paul was on the ship, right before it was going to be shipwrecked, we read the following: "Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished (euchomai)
for the day (daybreak)."
Romans 9:3 (KJV): "For I would wish (euchomai)
that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh."
3 John 2 (KJV): "Beloved, I wish (euchomai)
above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth."
We can see that when the Bible wants to say wish
, it has a special word for wish, and that is euchomai. The word will, which is the Greek word thelo or the derivative thelema is a totally different word from the word wish, which is euchomai. Thelo or thelema means will - it does NOT mean "wish", although the Bible translators take improper literary license to make it so.
The words intend and intention (from the Greek word boulomai) have a more far-reaching significance. They come from the verb "to plan", which means to look beyond the immediate action to the ultimate result. This is very important in the passages where it occurs, such as in the following texts:
Acts 27:42,43 (KJV): " And the soldiers' plan (counsel or intention = boule, from boulomai) was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape." "But the centurion, willing (bouloma, which means intending - yet the margin actually reduces the word to "wanting") to save Paul, kept them from their purpose (boulomai = intention)."
In the literal translation from the Greek, the word is actually boulomai, which means intention or intending. It shows the ultimate result and the determination. And this is how verse 43 actually reads: "Yet the centurion intending to bring Paul safely through, prevents them from their intention."
Romans 9:19 (KJV): "Thou wilt say then unto me, why does He (God) yet find fault? For who has resisted His will?"
A direct translation from the Greek reads as follows: "Why then is He (God) still blaming? For who hath withstood His intention?"
As we can see, the word for will is thelo or thelema, the word for intention, is boulomai. These are both very different from the word for "wish", which is euchomai! Again, it is no wonder Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 1:13 that we should "have a pattern of sound words" when we are dealing with Scriptures.
It is obviously impossible to understand God's mind through man's mistranslations. Confusion with these terms has arisen on all sides. As a result, each one interprets to suit his own system of theology.Translators tend to define the word thelo as will when it is used to describe man, and then to define the same word, thelo, as wish when it is used to describe God. Men are determined to have their own "will" and they deny that God is entitled to anything more than a "desire"
! This is a direct result of man's inclination to exalt himself and to degrade God.Part one! Paul