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Vox puts in a quick jab.

I would have thought that he knew me well enough by now to know that it is always a mistake to confuse any slowness in showing my cards with a poor or nonexistent hand.

Hey, Mr. Reading Comprehension! I showed no such confusion. Indeed I mentioned that I was aware “that other bible passages would be brought up to challenge” compatiblism.

And he says regarding my biblical interpretation:
The point is that that the quoted verses only state what God CAN do with regards to these subjects, not what He IS ALWAYS DOING. In other words, they are a statement about CAPACITY and not about ACTION.

I guess I’ll ask for a point of clarification. Do you actually believe that God CAN do this? Do you believe he DOES do this? If so, how? (Yes, I know, you don’t know exactly – take a stab at it!) How do you picture God acting in the way this Bible passage says.
Oh, and

Hey, Mr. Biblical Awareness (AKA Nate)!

I don’t generally comment on Vox’s comments section, but –
Re: “Consider Jesus’s healings. If God was controlling everything… then one must conclude that God made those people sick. So then Jesus’ healings were refuting the Will of God. Or God made them ill specificly to give Jesus the opportunity to heal them. I’m hoping no one seriously holds this view but if so… well… I’ll point and laugh.”

Have you ever read John 9?

The long awaited moment has come – Vox Day has responded to my post and for his first shot he quotes from his new book – The Irrational Atheist.

In the highlighted section, he responds to an argument posited by one of the New Atheists, Richard Dawkins:

“If God is omniscient, he must already know how he is going to intervene to change the course of history using his omnipotence. But that means he can’t change his mind about his intervention, which means he is not omnipotent.”

I agree with Vox – this is a silly and superficial argument. All one need do to counter it is to remind the reader that God is outside of time and the conflict is removed. But I think Vox highlighted this argument to give him an opportunity in his book to show that he is no Calvinist.

Here is a section from Vox’s response, but you can read it all here:

First, it is important to note that the Christian God, the god towards whom Dawkins directs the great majority of his attacks, makes no broad claims to omniscience. Although there are eighty-seven references to the things that the biblical God knows, only a single example could potentially be interpreted as a universal claim to complete knowledge.

Among the things that God claims to know are the following: He knows the way to wisdom and where it dwells, he knows the day of the wicked is coming, he knows the secrets of men’s hearts, he knows the thoughts of men and their futility. He knows the proud from afar, he knows what lies in darkness, and he knows what you need before you ask him. He knows the Son, he knows the day and the hour that the heavens and the earth shall pass away, he knows the mind of the Spirit and that the Apostle Paul loved the Corinthians. He knows who are his, he knows how to rescue godly men from trials, and perhaps most importantly, he knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.

Now it should be noted, that for purposes of his book, Vox need only show that it is possible to remove the conflict in the paradox posed by the atheist. Vox’s response works to meet this goal. But our goal here is to learn the biblical truth about God.

(There is a fairly significant omission to his list of things God knows, I think: God knows, indeed he knew from creation, the names of all of the elect. We can see this in more than one spot – notably Ephesians 1: 3-6 and 1 Peter 1: 2)

Then in response to my question: What would it take for you to believe that God is in control to the degree that I am arguing – Vox responds:

(2) A significant rewriting of the Bible which eliminates all of the many obvious implications and outright demonstrations that God is not actively managing every single Earthly event and individual action.

And then he goes on . .

There is a strange similarity between omniderigistes and the New Atheists. Both groups take a small number of specific Bible verses, assign one reasonable interpretation to them, and then argue that it is the only possible interpretation in defiance of numerous equally possible alternatives that are better supported by historical facts, logic and other Bible verses.

There is some irony here in that Vox is slow to give his own bible verses. The passages referred to above do not in any way prove that his interpretation is true, he can only use them to show that his interpretation is possible.

I ask Vox – how many Bible passages do you want? You can find them more than a few in my “Both Ways” category and I will be giving more presently. But I send the challenge back.

Please show me the ‘outright demonstrations’ where God is not actively managing what goes on in our world.

I talked with Pastor Piper a few weeks back about this online debate that I was going to be having, specifically to ask him about a bible passage which is challenging to the Compatibleist viewpoint, and he warned me that other bible passages would be brought up to challenge it. So I am interested to see which approach you will take.

But to show that I know the requirement to use Bible verses goes both ways, here is a passage that we studied in our Adult Sunday School Class yesterday: 1 Samuel 2: 6-8

6 “The LORD brings death and makes alive;
       he brings down to the grave [c] and raises up.
7 The LORD sends poverty and wealth;
       he humbles and he exalts.
8 He raises the poor from the dust
       and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
       he seats them with princes
       and has them inherit a throne of honor.
       “For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s;
       upon them he has set the world.

This says that God has controls how much wealth individual people have. Vox, wouldn’t you say that this is evidence that God has an active roll in what happens on earth? You will say that you read it differently. I am curious as to how.

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November 2007