Author Topic: God's Will, Man's Will, free will/sov discussions  (Read 17827 times)

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Offline eaglesway

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God's Will, Man's Will, free will/sov discussions
« on: October 27, 2012, 06:43:51 AM »
     There is going to be an experiment. Tentmaker Forums is going to allow a discussion of subject matter regarding the sovereign will of God and man's will in relationship to God. This is a subject of great interest, substantial complexity and sometimes unfortunately,  heated passions.

     The terminology surrounding this discussion is made difficult as our understandings of certain words and the way they fit into our diverse theology often differ.

     The idea that such a subject should be discouraged is unfortunate, but because the controversy and the kind of strife it can generate is so serious and often grievous- it has for a time been strongly discouraged and quickly redirected.

The moderation of the experiment will be focused at maintaining an attitude of polite discussion between brothers and sisters sharing their perspectives respectfully. Scripture ought to salt these discussion as participants "speak the truth in love", as they see it.



     I personally believe God is absolutely sovereign. He can and does whatever He wants to whenever He wants to- He is like the wind and He is like the rock. He has set in motion a purpose, "His kind intention"(rock)(Eph 1:10,11). He has left within a certain amount of "inscrutable mystery"(wind) so that we may never say that we have been His counselor(Romans 11:33-36).

     I also believe that within God's plan as he teaches us to be like Him- like the wind and the rock- He leaves us also a certain stewardship- a limited sovereignity freely exercised as we learn to be conformed to His image. Eventually, in my view, the will of man(all) merges with the will of God in a mutually given love that is like a cataract falling over a mountainside or a wind blowing through the leaves of a willow tree. IMO This happens sooner for some, later for others. The balance between the foreknowledge of God, the predestination of individuals, calling and election versus concepts like repentance, obedience, sanctification are like two sides of one coin to me.

      I do not believe my view is "correct". It is only the small window of one persons experience in seeking the Lord and studying His word. Actually, I do not believe a "correct view" exists on this side of the veil- and that is why we strive so intensely against one another. We are not comfortable with fuzzy edges- we like clarity. We love to "know".


      I suggest we speak as those who see through a glass darkly, even if we think we absolutely possess the whole counsel of God.
Hopefully, some will ask questions and others will bring forth their views without unleashing a firestorm :o). I have friends who do not see things as I do. Let's be like friend's discussing subjects of interest. Let's not judge anyones spirituality by whether they agree with us or make our view the standard of measure. As long as we can discuss these things in an atmosphere of fellowship, and praise God for His grace, we can continue to do so and edify one another. Participants who cannot abide by this rule will get a warning. After the first warning they may be disallowed from participating for a time if they don't get it. Hopefully the experiment will be a great success.

     Enjoy.

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Offline jabcat

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Re: God's Will, Man's Will, free will/sov discussions
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2012, 06:28:02 AM »
Great starter John.  Maybe you summed it up perfectly and nobody has anything left to say.   :happy3:

Or another thought - ssshhhh...maybe nobody will notice it.   :wink3:

Offline ded2daworld

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Re: God's Will, Man's Will, free will/sov discussions
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2012, 06:40:01 AM »
Okay, James kinda started it off but I've decided to let scripture speak for itself and let everyone decide what it means

Jeremiah 10:23 - "Lord, I know that none of us are in charge of our own destiny;
    none of us have control over our own life."
"Why do so many people think that the Bible is only inspired at certain points -  and that  THEY are inspired to pick out which points?"

Offline shawn

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Re: God's Will, Man's Will, free will/sov discussions
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2012, 07:13:00 AM »
I see this very similarly to EW.  Gods will is Gods will...we can not thwart that. I believe that within that will, is Gods desire to educate our spirits through our limited will...where we can make choices and educate our spirits with such choices.


Offline eaglesway

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Re: God's Will, Man's Will, free will/sov discussions
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2012, 07:21:04 AM »
Okay, James kinda started it off but I've decided to let scripture speak for itself and let everyone decide what it means

Jeremiah 10:23 - "Lord, I know that none of us are in charge of our own destiny;
    none of us have control over our own life."

(23)O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. (24)O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.
(Jer 10:23-24)


The scriptures do speak for themselves, but we interpret them as we will ;o) With the following verse, it appears that Jeremiah is speaking of correction, which is connected to the exercise of will. A reasonable perspective on verse 23 could be that man cannot find His destiny without correction and direction- as opposed to, for instance, absolute control. Therefore it behooves us, as Jeremiah does in verse 24, to pray for correction.
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Offline eaglesway

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Re: God's Will, Man's Will, free will/sov discussions
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2012, 07:23:10 AM »
Great starter John.  Maybe you summed it up perfectly and nobody has anything left to say.   :happy3:

Or another thought - ssshhhh...maybe nobody will notice it.   :wink3:

 :Pray:
The Logos is complete, but it is not completely understood. hellisamyth.webs.com

Offline ded2daworld

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Re: God's Will, Man's Will, free will/sov discussions
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2012, 07:52:25 AM »
The point being, our circumstances are shaped to direct our will. Many of us have had a "salvation experience" but for most of us, it was a set of circumstances that brought us to Christ and we probably would not have responded under any other set of circumstances. So, IMO free will is an illusion.
"Why do so many people think that the Bible is only inspired at certain points -  and that  THEY are inspired to pick out which points?"

Offline shawn

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Re: God's Will, Man's Will, free will/sov discussions
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2012, 08:27:18 AM »
I don't believe our wills are absolutely free.  I think we do have some limited will within Gods sovereignty.  If God directs everything...does He direct my sin?  God knows the ending...and guides our steps to that ending, but I must believe He gives us some room to roam, experience, learn and grow by the consequences of our actions.

Offline eaglesway

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Re: God's Will, Man's Will, free will/sov discussions
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2012, 08:34:49 AM »
The point being, our circumstances are shaped to direct our will. Many of us have had a "salvation experience" but for most of us, it was a set of circumstances that brought us to Christ and we probably would not have responded under any other set of circumstances. So, IMO free will is an illusion.

I guess that depends on how you define "free will". I prefer to speak of man's will in relationship to God's will- as James shared with me recently. I do not like "hot button" terms that categorize and generalize without thoughtful discussion and meditation.

If by "free will" you mean "utterly free to do whatever" I agree with you entirely. If, by illusion, you mean, "no will at all sin relationship to God for which we are accountable", I would disagree with you. Of course, what I am presenting would be a matter of degree, some very subjective perceptions.

So let me ask a question, when Joshua says, "Choose you this day whom you shall serve"(Joshua 24:15), or when Peter answers the question, "Men and brethren, what must we do?" with the exhortation to repent and be baptized, does it have any meaning in relationship to the exercize of man's will, and if so What? How do we communicate this meaning?

When the writer of Hebrews quotes the Psalmist(95:7),

Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, "TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME, AS IN THE DAY OF TRIAL IN THE WILDERNESS, WHERE YOUR FATHERS TRIED Me  BY TESTING Me, AND SAW MY WORKS FOR FORTY YEARS. "THEREFORE I WAS ANGRY WITH THIS GENERATION, AND SAID, 'THEY ALWAYS GO ASTRAY IN THEIR HEART, AND THEY DID NOT KNOW MY WAYS'; AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, 'THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.'" Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
(Heb 3:7-13)

How do we express the exercise of our will in response to the exhortations of God?

Or in these verses, where Paul is speaking to pagans, he says God is now declaring to all men that they should repent (a declaration that will be in effect, by the way, until the last man does so :Pray:)

"Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead."
(Act 17:29-31)

The doctrinal explanation concerning the over-all sovereign will of God seem at times to take a back seat to "in time" or "timely" exhortations to re-orient our wills towards God, as if we have some choice in the matter.



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Offline CHB

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Re: God's Will, Man's Will, free will/sov discussions
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2012, 06:56:49 PM »
Here is where I am at on the subject of free will.

First thing, in my dictionary the definition of free will is: The human will regarded as free from restraints, compulsions, etc. ;freedom of CHOICE.

Since God knows everything from beginning to end, then he had to have it all planned out from start to finish. If this is true how can we change a single thing?

Even if we had free will God had to give it to us and therefore it isn't free at all just like he gave us eyes to see our CHOICES that come from him, plus our feelings that enable us to choose our CHOICES.

If God is our creator and he gave us our brain, eyes, mouth, hands, you name it, how can we think that any thing is of ourselves?

The dictionary says, "freedom of choice" but where did our choices come from? God. It says that "the whole heaven and earth is mine". God gave us every choice we choose.

Everytime it seems the scriptures indicate any free will it is always connected to works. Free will is nothing but works without God. With God, Paul said "for it is God who works in us BOTH TO WILL AND TO DO of his good pleasure".

This is my personal opinion but if man was given a free will of his own what a mess we would have. I am so thankful to know that it is God who is in control and not me. I am like a sheep who cannot find it's way most of the time. I am a piece of clay what can clay do?

Someone said to me one time, "God doesn't care what color house I like, or what I eat for breakfast". I said, "why do you like a certain color?  Why do you like certain foods"?  It all starts with God and ends wioth God.

God gave us the brain we have, he gives us color, he provides us with food, it is through the brain that we choose the things we choose and I bet no one can answer as to what makes them choose certain things.

It does say, "choose this day whom you will serve" {works}but then it says no one can come to me except he be dragged. (2Cor. 3:14) says "but their minds were blinded". So, how could they choose? How can this be free will? They were influenced by Satan or God, so, how could their choices be of free will? They only had two choices, God and Satan, they were  given a wicked heart and a fleshly mind, they didn't have the Holy Spirit, just WORKS that they couldn't keep.

I could write all day oin this and just touch the surface of it all. The way I see things is, everything comes from God and all will return to God. There is nothing of myself, it is all of him, for him, and to him.

CHB 

Offline ded2daworld

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Re: God's Will, Man's Will, free will/sov discussions
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2012, 07:26:12 PM »
An analogy:
I used to teach Biology. It was a required course. Students had the free will to not take the course, they simply wouldn't graduate.
As the rabbi(teacher of the class) I was responsible for every question on every test. The students had no choice or free will on what questions they were asked. There were multiple answers (A,B,C,D,E) and the student had the FREE WILL to choose which answer was most correct. Students felt they had free will but from taking the class to the selection of one of five answers was a guide. (TOTAL free will, they may have taken the day off to go fishing. So our "free will" is an illusion as our decisions are shaped by the foreseeable consequences of our choices)
From this answer it goes back to what Shawn said in the sense that every choice we make is based on choices we have made before (even NO CHOICE is a choice) and it ultimately goes back to where we live, our parents, genes passed down, peer influence, etc. all which happened for a reason until the ultimate influence when God started all of creation and saw the end from the beginning.
"Why do so many people think that the Bible is only inspired at certain points -  and that  THEY are inspired to pick out which points?"

Offline CHB

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Re: God's Will, Man's Will, free will/sov discussions
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2012, 08:19:19 PM »
An analogy:
I used to teach Biology. It was a required course. Students had the free will to not take the course, they simply wouldn't graduate.
As the rabbi(teacher of the class) I was responsible for every question on every test. The students had no choice or free will on what questions they were asked. There were multiple answers (A,B,C,D,E) and the student had the FREE WILL to choose which answer was most correct. Students felt they had free will but from taking the class to the selection of one of five answers was a guide. (TOTAL free will, they may have taken the day off to go fishing. So our "free will" is an illusion as our decisions are shaped by the foreseeable consequences of our choices)
From this answer it goes back to what Shawn said in the sense that every choice we make is based on choices we have made before (even NO CHOICE is a choice) and it ultimately goes back to where we live, our parents, genes passed down, peer influence, etc. all which happened for a reason until the ultimate influence when God started all of creation and saw the end from the beginning.

You explained it better than I did.  :gimmefive:

CHB

Offline dajomaco

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Re: God's Will, Man's Will, free will/sov discussions
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2012, 08:23:07 PM »
I have this notion that in molecular science ,
atoms, protons that sort of thing.
That from the foundations of the earth every molecule
that exists is where it is ordained to be at given point in time.

(please let me know if I should put IMO in front of objective statements)

We have no freewill to effect these molecules,
only the ability to observe these, actions or reactions of molecules.

Once these molecules are observed .
We have one hundred percent free will to try to discover there purpose.
We have free will to search with expectations to find the purpose of God.
Gods purpose is his will. We can find  his will and say I have discovered the will of God.
God can show me his will and I can say that I have discovered the will of God.

As I freely explore the purpose of God I understand he shows me more.
As he shows me more I understand that he has no Purpose for eternal torment.


Offline CHB

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Re: God's Will, Man's Will, free will/sov discussions
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2012, 09:49:22 PM »
I have this notion that in molecular science ,
atoms, protons that sort of thing.
That from the foundations of the earth every molecule
that exists is where it is ordained to be at given point in time.

(please let me know if I should put IMO in front of objective statements)

We have no freewill to effect these molecules,
only the ability to observe these, actions or reactions of molecules.

Once these molecules are observed .
We have one hundred percent free will to try to discover there purpose.

I ask myself, do I observe these molecules because it is only me that wants to, or does God have a purpose in mind that causes me to observe them?

Quote from: dajomaco
We have free will to search with expectations to find the purpose of God.
Gods purpose is his will. We can find  his will and say I have discovered the will of God.
God can show me his will and I can say that I have discovered the will of God.

I ask myself again, is it me or does God want me to find out his will? Does God put in in my heart and mind to search out his will?

Quote from: dajomaco
As I freely explore the purpose of God I understand he shows me more.
As he shows me more I understand that he has no Purpose for eternal torment.

Paul said "what do we have that wasn't given to us"?

CHB
« Last Edit: October 28, 2012, 10:09:30 PM by CHB »

Offline ded2daworld

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Re: God's Will, Man's Will, free will/sov discussions
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2012, 09:50:44 PM »
IMO, IMO should be put in front of all statements that may cause harm or upset but not in front of obvious stuff like "God Loves us" "live and learn" Jesus is Lord" "ded2daworld is a great guy" :laugh:
"Why do so many people think that the Bible is only inspired at certain points -  and that  THEY are inspired to pick out which points?"

Offline shawn

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Re: God's Will, Man's Will, free will/sov discussions
« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2012, 09:54:45 PM »
Everything was given to us by God...including this breath I now take.  With that said, the problem with saying every step we take comes by the direction of God places blame of our sin on God.  If I commit adultery...God made me do it?  There must be a semblance of will associated with our spiritual educations. 

Offline CHB

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Re: God's Will, Man's Will, free will/sov discussions
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2012, 10:15:38 PM »
Everything was given to us by God...including this breath I now take.  With that said, the problem with saying every step we take comes by the direction of God places blame of our sin on God.  If I commit adultery...God made me do it?  There must be a semblance of will associated with our spiritual educations.

Well, I guess we couldn't say "God made us do it" but he did put within us a sinful heart and gave us sinful flesh and put certain circumstances in our path. In my opinion God deals with us directly and sometimes indirectly.

CHB

Offline ded2daworld

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Re: God's Will, Man's Will, free will/sov discussions
« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2012, 10:40:54 PM »
Short story.
I once brought a magazine model to Sunday school class with me. The subject was temptation and she confessed that temptation was extremely hard on her and good looking guys were always coming on to her.
Then a physically unattractive girl, face covered in pimples and pimple scars and about 100lbs overweight said that she had no problem keeping temptation with guys under control.
Later, at lunch with my SS teacher and her husband my mentor, the teacher said, "Where there is no temptation, there is no virtue" Of course the non-model was not tempted, no male approached her ever, for anything.
What I'm saying is, God says he doesn't let any temptation come our way that we(us and God) can't overcome. Overcoming is a virtue. To put it in physical terms how much strength do I demonstrate if I lift 3 lbs overhead? How much do I demonstrate if I lift 300 lbs overhead. It is what we overcome that demonstrates the strength of our relationship with God.
See what was learned when Abraham was willing to sacrifice his only son Isaac simply because God requests it.
When we become strong /overcomers in little things, God moves us on to bigger things to strengthen us and bring us in closer union with Him.
Jer 12:5   The Lord said,

"Jeremiah, if you get tired racing against people,
    how can you race against horses?
If you can't even stand up in open country,
    how will you manage in the jungle by the Jordan?
« Last Edit: October 28, 2012, 10:44:23 PM by ded2daworld »
"Why do so many people think that the Bible is only inspired at certain points -  and that  THEY are inspired to pick out which points?"

Offline sheila

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Re: God's Will, Man's Will, free will/sov discussions
« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2012, 12:12:24 AM »
sometimes we fall..for a cleansing and whitening effect.Daniel...some of the wise will fall......

Paul..also...expierenced a thorn in his flesh...that he not be overly exalted because of the revelation'

   He knows how to see to it that we remain 'humble'...

   He bound us all up in sin...that no man should boast in the flesh.

  look! one man prayed to himself...Lord I thank you I am not like this fellow over here.

  I do thus and thus etc etc.   One man would not even lift his head up to heaven..but kept beating his breast,

  saying..Lord,be merciful to me a sinner...

  what qualities God see's in us..and approves of..is often not what we think[or what babylon/christendom

  has taught us to think,or says that He thinks]

  David very wisely said..once..Let me fall into the hands of God in judgement..and not men!!!!

Offline eaglesway

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Re: God's Will, Man's Will, free will/sov discussions
« Reply #19 on: October 29, 2012, 02:38:39 AM »
It is not important to me if everyone puts IMO in front of what they type, altho I tend to do so. However, after reading all your posts, I have seen a lot of philosophy, which does not invalidate anything anyone has said to this point but......

It is somewhat important that we acknowledge that the scriptures have weight. Philosophical and theoretical reasoning does also- I have no problem with that. I simply believe that the scriptures will flow together with reason as the Holy Spirit draws us closer to the mind of Christ, since the scriptures, when illuminated by the spirit- are the logos of God.

I will continue to repeat, since I can't re-address every post, that the "hot button" terms are useless for the purpose of communicating, for instance.......

CHB defined "free will" in a certain way. Yet, the purpose of a discussion is not to "define terms", it is to arrive at truth, to edify one another and to share concepts in a reasonable and open way.

The tyranny of language can intercept sharing and mutual edification if we bow to these "terms" without understanding one anothers true perceptions. Shawn and I have expressed an idea of a limited sovereignity granted to man by God so that he might learn to "become like the Father". No one as yet on the thread has espoused a view of "free will" such as CHB has defined, so really- there is not much of an exchange going on- since no one is espousing that view.

 God said, "Let us make man in our image". God is a creative independent moral being. In my opinion the lesson from the creation and into the consummation, and from birth to death, is that of yielding, becoming one with, God.

"If anyman WOULD BE my disciple LET HIM PICK UP his cross daily".

"TAKE my yoke upon you and LEARN OF ME".....

Of course, from the beginning to the end, all begins in God and ends in Him.....for from Him and through Him and to Him are all things to whom be the glory, yet we are exhorted. Our stewardship is measured and rewarded(or penalized) according to OUR DECISIONS.

Now, I understand that we have a degree of disagreement on these things, but, in my opinion, we should be sharing scripture in relationship to these great questions which alternately vex and thrill almost all believers- and the conversation should be held to some extent in the ground of the word of God. We can use anecdotes all day long but really, what does that do but explain MY PERCEPTION.

If we are going to pile up around the polar extremes without addressing what the scriptures say- we will just spank the dead horse till it rise from the dead and whinnies "ALRItE EnUff ALreADY!" :o)

The Logos is complete, but it is not completely understood. hellisamyth.webs.com

Offline ded2daworld

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Re: God's Will, Man's Will, free will/sov discussions
« Reply #20 on: October 29, 2012, 02:47:54 AM »
Didn't respond to CHB cuz we are in agreement. Since I couldn't offer a differing view, I didn't want to waste a post by just doing:

CHB  :thumbsup: :iagree:
"Why do so many people think that the Bible is only inspired at certain points -  and that  THEY are inspired to pick out which points?"

Offline eaglesway

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Re: God's Will, Man's Will, free will/sov discussions
« Reply #21 on: October 29, 2012, 02:59:48 AM »
Yea, I gathered that you and CHB are in agreement :o), but the post is not wasted. We are all in agreement at the fundamental point that in the final outworking God will be ALL IN ALL.

Discussions about the things we see differently are really not so great when measured against the beauty of that truth :o)
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Offline dajomaco

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Re: God's Will, Man's Will, free will/sov discussions
« Reply #22 on: October 29, 2012, 05:32:41 AM »
It is somewhat important that we acknowledge that the scriptures have weight. Philosophical and theoretical reasoning does also- I have no problem with that. I simply believe that the scriptures will flow together with reason as the Holy Spirit draws us closer to the mind of Christ, since the scriptures, when illuminated by the spirit- are the logos of God.

The people here were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, since they welcomed the message with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Consequently, many of them believed, including a number of the prominent Greek women as well as men.

Offline shawn

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Re: God's Will, Man's Will, free will/sov discussions
« Reply #23 on: October 29, 2012, 06:50:00 AM »
Something just hit me as I was reading EWs post.  When God stated, lets make man in our image, most people believe...poof man was in the image of God.  But, what if the making of man like God is a process, and that process involves what we are talking about here...the education of the spirit through the threshing process of the flesh?  And that education is through mans limited will within Gods sovereignty?

That might already be obvious to some but that is a new thought for me.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2012, 07:01:42 AM by shawn »

Offline eaglesway

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Re: God's Will, Man's Will, free will/sov discussions
« Reply #24 on: October 29, 2012, 07:46:41 AM »
Really, very cool Shawn. Like, I can still hear that voice echoing down through the ages past and the ages to come, "Let Us Make Man In Our Image"........ Wow

and the process is still ongoing, "an administration suitable to the fulness of times, the gathering together of all things into one in Christ"......"in hope that the whole creation would be set free from futility into the glorious freedom of the children of God"

wow oh wow
« Last Edit: October 29, 2012, 07:51:13 AM by eaglesway »
The Logos is complete, but it is not completely understood. hellisamyth.webs.com