Thursday, July 20, 2017

God's Omniscience and Our Free Will

I want to hike a 28-mile route from my home to a nearby mountain and back in one day, but I’m out of shape and lack the inclination to faithfully train for it. Although my will is free to choose the attempt, I lack the ability. If I cannot do what I choose, do I really have free will?

My neighbor became psychologically and physically addicted to pain medication. Without intervention and medical treatment, he was unable to overcome his addiction. With respect to turning his back on opioids, my neighbor had no free will. His will was limited by his addiction.

Free Will = Ability to Choose + Ability to Perform

People who ask about free will usually envision only the extremes: Either we have completely free will, or we have predestination instead of free will. That is a false choice. A middle ground exists in which our abilities, inclinations, environments, and third parties limit “free will.” The philosophers probably have a name for it, but I’m going to call it bounded will.

Free Will Has Limits

Freedom is never absolute.

The Bible teaches throughout that we deviate from God’s standard. It documents sins of even the greatest characters. As a young man, Moses murdered a slave driver and had to flee Egypt. Later, he disobeyed God's instructions on how to strike a rock, and lost his privilege of entering the Promised Land. As Romans 3:10 says, There is none righteous, no, not one.

Our universal addiction to deviating from God's standard of perfection limits our freedom. As Jesus said, Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin (John 3:34). The Old Testament "Law" starts with the Ten Commandments and expands into hundreds of subpoints. As with fractals, the closer you look, the more details you see.

For example, when you view a person’s life as a whole, the law against adultery becomes a law against sex before marriage. When you extend the law beyond the physical dimensions, the law prohibits lust. Jesus said that if you so much as look at someone lustfully, you have already committed adultery in your heart (Matthew 5:28). And as people like to point out, God looks on the heart (Proverbs 21:2).

When you examine the Thou shalts and Thou shalt nots, in the larger context, you discover that they’re not about helping us establish our own righteousness, but about teaching a humility that turns us toward receiving redemption.

The apostle Paul wrote that God gave the Law to prevent self-righteous attitudes. The Law does not tell us how to earn heaven. Rather, it tells us that we have fallen short of that goal.
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:19-20)
Some might answer, "If God judges my heart, and I sincerely want to do what's right, then it does not matter that in I don't have the ability." That sounds nice, but it has flaws.

  1. If only intention matters, then God cannot address evil done for the "right" reasons.
  2. We all think our reasons are "right."
  3. Who does everything for the right reason? 
Even good, loving deeds can have impure motives. For example, we might perform an act of love not because we love the other person, but to enjoy the sensation of "loving" or to enjoy feeling like good people. As the prophet Jeremiah wrote, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9, ESV) 

My intent is not to throw thunderbolts at anybody, but merely to explain that the material person’s will is not free. It is limited not only physically, but also morally. Even when we intend to do the right thing, we still mess it up. 

We do not have unlimited free will.

Poetically, the cost of our errors is going to “that other place.” The question of free will usually focuses on the ability to accept or reject the Gospel, but it misses the larger picture. Without Divine interference, our end is are already predestined.

Jesus came to establish a way to free the will from its enslavement to immorality. Only by recognizing that enslavement and then relinquishing self righteousness can one begin to grasp that path to freedom.

Destination versus Predestination

When my action makes a result inevitable, it destines me to the result. When an event (such as God's choice) made a result inevitable, it predestined me to the result. The only difference is when the event occurred.

Within the bounds of our free will, then, our nature destines us to commit sin, and sin destines us to condemnation. From the perspective of Judgment day, our sin predestined us to condemnation. So the only difference between destined and predestined is the time at which you view the event.

  • At some point in time, sin destined me for condemnation.
  • At some point in time, God destined me for heaven. 
  • If you are mature enough to read this, your sin predestined you for condemnation (although God may have planned and performed otherwise).

As an adult believer, I can say that through sin, I predestined myself for hell, but God predestined me for heaven. That is, God predestined His own actions, namely, arranging for me to hear the gospel, giving me understanding, and giving me a gift of faith (Ephesians 2:8–9).

So, lay this out on a timeline: For the saved, God planned (predestined) to give some people great gifts. Later, their actions predestined them to condemnation. Then God carried out his plan and changed their destinies.

Would it really be that horrible if God predestined the changing of our destinations?

God's Choice and Free Will

The claim of omnipresence implies the ability to observe what happens throughout space, to know all information such as our thoughts, and and to know what happens throughout time.

In the Bible, God claims omnipresence.

Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:24)

This verse claims ability to observe every physical condition and event everywhere. In addition, many timess, God claims and demonstrates an ability to observe thought. For example,

I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds. (Jeremiah 17:10)

On a tangent: Knowing men’s thoughts is one of the proofs of Jesus’ divinity. Jesus is the only person described in the Bible to know men’s thoughts. For example, Matthew 12:25, Luke 5:22, and Luke 6:8.

Just as no condition, event, or thought is hidden from God, neither is anything that will happen.

I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done…. (Isaiah 46:9–10)

Others have indicated that God foreknows because He can figure out what will happen. Although God has that magnitude of intelligence, that is not the only possible basis of foreknowledge.

If God created the material universe, then according to our understanding of physics and cosmology, He also has creative power over time and space. That implies that He exists outside of time and space, although the doctrine of the Triune God shows that He can enter into creation from any or every perspective. That is, God’s creative power makes it possible to exist as a Unity outside of time while existing as a Trinity inside of time. And existing outside of time, He can observe all that happens within time.

I find it likely, therefore, that God’s omniscience is based not on logic, but on observation.

Some things are planned and brought to pass by God. Isaiah 46:10 continues, My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose…. For example, Jeremiah 1:5 demonstrates both foreknowledge and predestination:

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.

And of God’s chosen, Romans 8:28 says, And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Although God observes all things at all times, the Bible does not say that he predestines all things. It clear states, however, that He does predestine some things and then interferes in history and our lives to bring them to pass.

God’s interference means that, without His action, His will will not happen. If some things will or will not happen without interference, then those things could not be predestined (that is, by God). The Bible gives many example of God permitting events in order to achieve a greater good.

Therefore, God's foreknowledge is based on observation, modified by execution of His plan, and confirmed by observation.

So there is no such thing as unconditionally free will. Our wills our bounded by our nature, and our actions predestine us to condemnation. Through the Cross, God creates a path to eventual freedom from our nature. Then He intervenes in the lives of some to change their predestination from a negative outcome to a positive one.

Copyright 2017 Richard Wheeler

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Evidence of Democrat Party and Media Corruption

Have you ever tried to make a point but been unable to substantiate it? For example, the Left bends over backwards to deny that anybody votes multiple times, but you know you've read dozens of accounts of it happening. As I come across such accounts, I'll start adding them here. You can help by adding links to articles, or suggestions for new categories, in the comments.

Election Fraud

Voter Fraud

Vote Count Fraud

Media Censorship, Bias, and Fraud

Social Media Censorship by Twitter, Facebook, Google

Disclaimer: I have no problem with censoring indecent language, harassment, incitement of violence or other criminal acts, or sham news stories (as contrasted with satire). I do object to the partisan, selective enforcement of standards.

Government Dishonesty

Campaign Fraud

Democrats' Brownshirt Tactics

Democrat Corruption


Propaganda Promoting International Socialism

Sexual Hypocrisy of Democrats

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Moral Equivalence between Trump and Clinton

Democrats love to point at Donald Trump's sex-talk tape to drive a wedge between Trump and female voters. For the sake of argument, I will assume that the talk represents actions because maybe some women will come forward to confirm that Trump made unwanted bodily contact with them. Then Team Democrat invokes legal terminology, calling such contact assault, although few would agree that such contact meets the common-sense definition. (The requirement of prior consent has only recently move from the realm of moral manners to the realm of political correctness.)

Having convicted Trump of assault in the Democrat-controlled media, Team Clinton ignores Bill Clinton's lifelong history of infidelity, harassment, assault, and violent, forcible rape. If forced to admit to it, they minimize the numbers; and even then, they deflect by stating that Trump is not running against Bill Clinton. Never mind that Hillary Clinton managed a branch of Bill’s campaign organization that one member of their team, Betsy Wright, called the Bimbo Eruption Squad. I’ll get back to that in a moment.

Equivalence of Scale

As stated, Democrats and the media ignore, or if forced to acknowledge it, grossly understate the number of affairs that Bill Clinton has had. Arkansas State Troopers have described how Clinton abused state resources by using them to procure women and provide security (the main threat being Hillary). He did not, contrary to some claims, have affairs with a few women; he had affairs with hundreds.

Democrats also ignore accusations of forcible, violent rapes dating back to Clinton’s college years. When people cite the Rhodes Scholarship as proof of how “smart” Bill is, ask yourself why he did not complete even his first year. Proof of the answer remains effectively buried in the past, yet it remains highly credible in light of Bill's record. At least a dozen specific victims have been identified by name, but only a few have come forward, the most prominent being Juanita Broaddrick. As crime statistics tell us, when a perpetrator is convicted, that one conviction usually represents a worse crime and an order of magnitude additional crimes.

Some will argue that Clinton has never been convicted of his crimes, so they don't count, as though the vast majority of crimes, which never result in convictions, never happened. Add to that abuse of probability Clinton's powers of authority and riches. Who was going to prosecute when the State Attorney General of Arkansas raped Juanita Broaddrick? What beauty contestant was going to file a complaint, with Clinton's Hollywood friends offering an acting career in exchange for silence? What bureaucrat was going to go public, with pets disappearing, a stranger implying that the same could happen to her children, and her career in the balance? What prostitute would go public about rich Bill Clinton's illegitimate son when she could have a sugar daddy paying her off?

What Difference Does It Make?

Some people ask rhetorically, “but what does that have to do with doing his job?” Consider some examples.

Job Performanc

In the 1990s, a security video was leaked showing a pair of well-dressed visitors — as I recall, the king and queen of a European country — left standing outside a White House entrance. The video went on for almost an hour. Much later, it was revealed that Bill and Monica had been fooling around on that date and that Bill had let business of state go unfulfilled. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not. Damaging? The inhospitality and insult bordered on “international incident” in seriousness.


The Clintons have shown (in SO many ways) that they are willing to abuse public assets for their own pleasure. It was not Arkansas State Troopers’ job to shuttle Bill’s “dates” and to track Hillary’s whereabouts so they could warn Bill if she was coming. It was not Secret Service guards’ duty to collect and destroy soiled materials after visits from Monika or Eleanor. In the business world, such abuse of assets would be called “embezzlement” and would result in firing and possibly imprisonment. But what non-partisan authority can do anything about it?

Nation Security 

Bill’s adulterous activities render him vulnerable to blackmail. That the Clinton machine, with Hillary at its head, worked so hard to keep the accusations quiet proves that if the behavior did not threaten national security, it at least threatened Bill’s and Hillary’s careers.

Honestly Comparing Trump to the Clintons

The first conclusion is that the accusations of groping against Trump pale in comparison to the accusations that Bill Clinton is an adulterer on the scale of Magic Johnson, as well as that he is a serial rapist. The fact that Hillary “stood by her man” says a lot about the sincerity of her pretended concern for women and for victims of violence. It gives credibility to the claim that her real motive is not concern, but votes.

The second conclusion relates to Hillary’s role. When a person helps a criminal get away with a crime, she accepts an equal share in the guilt for the original crime. Every once in a while, you will read about some getaway driver sentenced to even more time than the criminal he assisted. Bill would never have gotten away with his scandals and crimes had Hillary not paid off and threatened Bill’s victims. So she is just as guilty as him.

Why does it matter so much to some people?

Because, despite the severity of the accusations, Bill Clinton got away with all of it, and Hillary Two Face led the cover up.

Because the media ignored the story. (The main TV networks waited a year before reporting the Lewinsky story, and one network NEVER reported it.)

Because Democrats in congress refused to view the evidence and then said, “There’s no evidence.”

Because, even while ignoring what their own guy did (and still does), they hold Trump accountable for much lesser offenses.

Because Trump apologized, while all we get from the Clintons is finger-wagging and “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinski.” (Partisan spin does not get any more twisted than claims that "Trump is guilty because he apologized, but Clinton is innocent because he has no remorse.")

Because Americans are tired and frightened of corrupt, greedy, dishonest, self-entitled, two-faced politicians who get away with plundering the system, rape, murder, and violating national security.

Are they alike in type? Perhaps. But are they alike in degree? Not even close.

Copyright 2016

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Donald Trump's Tax Returns and Ties to Russian Oligarchs

How likely is it that Donald Trump's tax returns indicate that he is financially tied to Russian oligarchs?

Ties to Russia

The intent of the question is to imply that Trump has a conflict of interest and might be allied with Russia against America. I find that intent to be saturated with hypocrisy as well as with dishonest reasoning.

  • Hillary is an internationalist, and her party is the party of internationalism. Therefore, when partisans accuse Trump of internationalism in his business, they commit hypocrisy.
  • Internationalists believe Russo-American ties are good. When they imply that Trump is anti American because he has Russo-American ties, they add another layer of hypocrisy.
  • The Democrat campaigns have worked hard to set up Russia as a bogeyman and link Trump to Russia, even when evidence has pointed to their own people as sources of some leaks. At the same time, they have lied about whether hackers ever obtained Hillary’s emails. (Guccifer 1.0 is in prison because of it.) Therefore, the accusation implied by the titular question loses credibility.
  • While Trump’s ties to Russia are speculative, Hillary’s ties are not. We know that the Clintons and their foundations received hundreds of millions of dollars from Russian oligarchs while Hillary was SecState. More hypocrisy.
  • While we know of no anti-American actions by Trump that correspond to speculative ties to Russia, we do know that after receiving donations from Russia, Hillary enabled a mining deal that favored Russia and that had a significant negative impact on American interests. The circumstantial evidence is overwhelming and damning.
  • All of this hypocrisy demands the question of whether the Left is leveling its speculative accusations against Trump in order to deflect attention away from Hillary’s known corruption. Such deflection is a common tactic of cover-ups.
  • We have circumstantial evidence of complicity with a cover-up in the mainstream media. The story of the Clintons receiving hundreds of millions in “donations” was not covered. However, a story about a former Trump campaign employee receiving 1/100th as much did receive coverage. Keep in mind the context: Hillary’s action gave American interests to Russia; the Trump associate’s action brought Russian business to the US.
  • A financial relationship with Russians does not create a conflict of interest for a businessman, but the Clintons’ financial relationship with “Russian oligarchs” while Hillary was in office does create a conflict of interest. At best, the Clintons created a prosecutable appearance of impropriety, and at worst, participated in bribery on a level that would have gotten a bureaucrat executed in some countries.

The level of hypocrisy, dishonesty, and brutal partisanship underlying the question is astounding. And that is not speculation.

The Tangent Followed by Most Commenters

Because most commenters go on a tangent about why Trump has delayed releasing his tax forms, I will address that, too.

Here is a factual reason for a delayed release. It may be Trump’s primary reason; it may not.

If you ask ten IRS employees for an interpretation of the tax code, you will get ten different opinions. It is inevitable that an audit will result in changes to some details of any tax return as complex as Trump’s. If Trump releases his return now, then when the changes due to the audit are released, partisans on the Left will accuse him of lying on the initial submission. After that, the changes will have to ripple through his much more thorough financial statement, and he will be accused of lying again.

That puts Trump in a lose-lose situation. If he releases the initial returns, he’s unjustly accused of lying, but if he delays, he’s accused of hiding something “*whore*-able,” as Hillary dramatically pronounced it.

As I said, this is fact, not speculation. Whether it is his reason, I don’t know, and you cannot say it isn’t if you are honest with yourself.

Now, this is more speculative: Courts have agreed that the Obama Administration has used the IRS to target people and organizations on its “enemies list.”  The IRS’s pattern of auditing Trump is consistent with that criminal abuse of power. Might some future email leak show that the Democrats conspired to put Trump in this lose-lose situation? Perhaps not, but it is more likely that a lot of the speculation I see others listing as “probable.”

Many commenters demonstrate a pitiful lack of critical reasoning. For example, one commenter lists a variety of reasons and calls all of them probable, even though some may be mutually exclusive. This demonstrates a failure to distinguish between the probable and the possible, as well as a refusal to acknowledge possibilities that might be entirely innocent.

In another bogus argument, people say Trump can release his tax forms just because the IRS does not stop him. They falsely reason that the absence of one barrier means that no barriers exist.

Partisanship is driving a spectacular level of hypocrisy and downright stupidity in this election. You can’t even read a question without tripping over a rhetorical trick, distortion of fact, or logical fallacy. And judging from the comments, the corrupt, the liars, the hypocrites are winning.

Copyright 2016

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Can Integration of Muslims Prevent Their Radicalization?

Integration reduces radicalization, but nothing can prevent radicalization among any significant Muslim population. 

First, many recent terrorist incidents have involved men putatively "integrated" into mainstream society in the US and Europe.  If we cannot prevent radicalization of people already in a society -- for example, American-born citizens who convert to Islam and then go to fight for ISIS -- how can we prevent the reversal of immigrants' integration?  Moreover, how can we "integrate" the pre-radicalized jihadist "immigrant" who merely feigns integration so he can wage jihad by either converting or killing the "infidels?"

Second, any large population of a given persuasion will contain outliers. Among Democrats, you have Communists (fairly common). Among Democrats and Republicans, you have KKK members (rare, and blamed entirely on Republicans, but not extinct). Among nominal "Christians," you have violent pro-lifers (extremely rare). And among Muslims, you have violent jihadists (fairly common). 

Republicans and Christians can argue that the KKK and violent pro-lifers do not really subscribe to their ideologies. Democrats can claim the same concerning Communists, but an examination of their ideologies shows only a difference of shrinking degree. Violent jihadists, however, adhere strictly to the Koran; rather, it is the liberal Muslim who deviates from core Koranic teachings. 

Third, how do you force the integration of Muslims into Western society without undermining their religion, without crossing a line into deprogramming or brainwashing? That idea is abhorrent to both "liberals" and Muslims. Education is no cure-all. Many of jihadists, and especially Muslim Brotherhood leaders, hold degrees, even from Western universities.  Education aims at the mind, but secular education cannot convert the heart.  In fact, the educational environment can be counterproductive.  The temptations and challenges of secular universities can stress any devout student who aspires to a high moral code.  (As a former Bible-thumper, I can attest to that.)  I have recently seen a trend hinted at in the press, one I had not seen before, that of the Muslim who "integrates" and then sacrifices himself to pay for his Westernized sins.  Therefore, education not only has limited effectiveness but can result in violent reaction.

Before you read the next paragraph I must warn that I believe, based on both historical and theological arguments, that Islam is easily demonstrated to be a false religion that, despite Muslim paranoia about having their prophet and god blasphemed, is itself built upon lies and blasphemies.  

Secular liberals and liberal Muslims fantasize that violent jihadists are not real Muslims.  But that is not the elephant in the room.  Violent jihad is inevitable among those who follow the Koran.  Encouragement of liberal Islam and of integration of Muslims may reduce radicalization in the West, but it cannot prevent it, and it cannot reduce the radicalization already dominating at the source in Islamist countries.  

The only way to prevent Islamic radicalization is by reducing adherence to Islam.  As long as Christians and secularists fail to adequately address the theological problem of Islam, the jihadist problem will continue to fester.  And in its growing hostility toward evangelical Christianity while remaining neutral toward Islam and even accommodating it, the West does itself no favors.

Copyright 2016, Rich Wheeler

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Subtle Distinctions between Interpreting and Twisting the Bible

Commentary on
Charisma Magazine
8:00AM EDT 7/25/2016
David Diga Hernandez, "marked by a distinctive presence of the Holy Spirit, miracles, healing and salvation..., a unique and emerging spiritual leader...."

I assume you've read at least the first section of Evangelist Hernandez' article, linked above. Otherwise, my comments won't make much sense.

Evangelist Hernandez' first point reasons that because a demon desires something, he needs it, and because he needs it, he must have a nature that differs from that of a fallen angel who does not need it. (Cough! Cough!) Drug addicts think they need drugs, but does that mean they are not homo sapiens? (Sounds a lot like the left-wing idea that "identifying" as something turns you into that thing.)

Most of the arguments for the first difference rest on the conclusion the author draws from his first scriptural argument, so let's look at that more closely.

First, Genesis 6:4 simply says giants existed; it does not say that the former giants or the latter giants came from the unions of "sons of God" and "daughters of men." That is something the author reads into it. If giants had already come into being without the mixed unions, then mixed unions were not necessary for the giants to continue existing later.

Second, if giants lived earlier and we assume they reproduced, doesn't it make sense that they would live later? So again, it is not necessary for the giants to have come from the mixed unions. Third, the children of mixed unions are called "mighty men which were of old, men of renown." The text does not call them giants. One has to add preconceptions in order to read the text the way the author does.

The author then equates the "sons of God" who "came in unto the daughters of men" with those in Jude 6 -- the relevant parts of which he conveniently does not quote. Jude 6 refers to "angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling...." It takes an enormous leap to equate leaving the "proper dwelling" (probably heaven) with taking on human form and reproducing with women. Regardless of whether the author is right, it would be wrong to base further doctrine on such weak inferences.

What the author claims could have happened (I doubt it), but it takes a lot of leaps and insertions to force the biblical testimony to support it. The plain sense of the association between giants and mixed unions is that they happened at the same time. When we read, "In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah," we do not infer any cause-and-effect relationship between Zechariah's priesthood and Herod's kingship. Neither should we infer such relationships in Genesis 6:4.

I find such sloppy interpretation to be rampant in the church, concerning far more critical topics, especially among the movement that claims superior "leading" and that substitutes such "leading" for reading. Praise God for his mercy and grace when we stray off the hermeneutical trail and ride our hobby horses across the pages of His word.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Did Christ Die "for" Only the Elect?

Reformed / Calvinist / Particular versus Arminian / General

The Reform movement began a Century before Calvin's time, but one of the debates that divide Protestants from Catholics and Reformed Protestants from other Protestants came into clear focus as a result of conflict between John Calvin and Jacob Arminius.  For this reason, the Reformed school is often called Calvinist and the non-Reformed school is called Arminian.  Within Baptist history, the Reformed position is held by Particular Baptists and the Arminian position is held by General baptists.

The differences break down into many points.  In general, the Reformed beliefs are far more biblical than the Arminian beliefs.  Here, I'm going to focus on just one point: For whom did Christ die?  The Reformed belief holds that Christ died for the elect; that is, for, and only for, those whom God saves from damnation. The Arminian belief holds that Christ died for the world.

Both sides oversimplify by failing to separate the value of Christ's sacrifice and its application into two issues.

Reformed interprets "Christ died for the elect" too restrictively

The Reformed side errs by interpreting "Christ died for the elect" as meaning that the Sacrifice of Infinite God has finite potential value.  First, this mathematical absurdity is reverse-engineered from the Catholic assumption that God's grace and sacrifice are quantifiable.  Some argue that if all the value of Christ's sacrifice is not applied, then all is somehow wasted.  However, dead is dead, and eternal God is infinite. It is absurd to quantify and limit the infinite.

Second, it is a logical absurdity to assume that having one purpose, dying for the elect, excludes having other purposes. For example, Christ's sacrifice glorifies the Father and Himself, so it would be correct to say that Christ died "for" glorifying God.  By Reformed logic, Christ could not die for the glory of God or for vindication of the Father's plan to allow the Fall because He died (only) for the elect.

Third, Christ's sacrifice not only redeems the elect, but also, after the removal of the lost in the Day of Judgment, redeems the whole of creation.  Yes, Christ died "for" the elect, but His sacrifice has far more value.

Arminian interprets "Christ did for the elect" too loosely

The other side understands that the Sacrifice of the Infinite has unlimited potential value but errs by confusing unlimited value with universal application.  Arminianism holds that God applies the value to all men by freeing them to choose to receive or not receive Christ and His gift of salvation.  This flies in the face of New Testament teachings about how the lost are enslaved by sin and how the carnal mind is at enmity with God.  Paul makes it clear that even faith is a gift from God, and without that gift comes no conversion.  

Many denominations, the Roman Catholic Church among them, carry the error further by falling into forms of Universalism, the belief that all men will be redeemed (or at least purged) and enter heaven.  Pentecostals and Charismatics carry unlimited value to an absurd extreme by applying it to carnal desires for wealth ("it's in the atonement"), health ("by His stripes you were (physically) healed"), and personal pride ("he who speaks in tongues builds up himself").

On this point, both sides err by dragging along Catholic baggage.  The error on the Reformed side does not affect any critical points of the gospel that I know of, but the errors on the Arminian side can be damning.  

That is not to say that all Arminians are unsaved.  One can believe the gospel before being taught Arminian errors, and not everybody who belongs to a given church believes all that their church teaches.  However, I have only discussed one of many points.  Those who have accept Arminian errors before conversion fall short of the grace of God.  Their conversions are false, and those who mislead by preaching false gospels shall have much to answer for.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Another Illustration of the Trinity

Tri-une God, a Scientific Possibility

According to physicists and cosmologist, when the Universe was created, not only were mass and energy created, but so were time and space.  In other words, God has creative power over time. To Him, our past, present, and future are all one.  If He wishes to enter into time and space from three different "directions" and experience our "reality" as three Persons, He can do so; and yet, in that place outside of time, He remains a united God of one Mind and united substance.

The new illustration

Remember, no illustration using the physical can adequately represent the spiritual.  Even I see gaps in this illustration; but perfection is not my aim.

Imagine a Carpenter building a dollhouse with three openings. Then he creates puppets to inhabit the dollhouse. This Carpenter inserts his head through the front opening, his right hand through a side opening, and his left hand through the other side opening. 
Moreover, on his right hand, he dons a puppet costume so that his hand looks just like the occupants. His right hand has not changed its form; rather, it has taken on additional form.

Inside the dollhouse, the Walter puppet says there are three Carpenters. He counts, "One, two, three Carpenters." No connection between them can be seen; the Right Hand has a visibly different nature than the other two; and they have a clear hierarchy.
The Achmed puppet says, "The Head is God, the left hand is his angel, and Right Hand is his prophet. Headahu Akbar! Alalalalalalalalalalalal!"

The Lamb Chop puppet says. "All three are the same Carpenter: Carpenter the Head, Carpenter the Right (who has taken on puppet form), and Carpenter the Left. The three act independently, yet in perfect coordination, all of the same mind."

Obviously, the Carpenter represents God; the dollhouse represents His creation of time, space, mass, and energy; and the puppets represent His human creations. The face, left hand, and right hand represent how we perceive God's entry into and interaction with his creation, and the right hand's donning of the hand puppet represents Christ's incarnation. 

Naturalism makes the mistake of saying that we are only flesh. Some forms of Eastern religions make the mistake of saying that we are only spirit, and flesh is an illusion.  One variation that combines those those says that Jesus changed forms. Jehovah's Witlesses say He was angel, then man, then a god. Mormons say He was spirit child, then a man, and then a god (or will become a god, and so will all the rest of the "good" Mormons). 

The Trinitarian view holds that Christ was God from the beginning, and that never changed. At the incarnation, He added human form, although he refrained from exercising His divine abilities, most of the time. Within the dimension of time, He ever has been God and ever shall remain both God and human; and outside time, he is eternally One with the Father and the Spirit.

(One fine point that I have not seen addressed is whether Jesus consists only of divine spirit and human flesh, or additionally consists of human spirit. TMI?)

My purpose is not to "prove."  Many minds greater than mine have already gone over the evidence in greater depth than I can comprehend.  "Proof" is another subject entirely, but the mind cannot accept the proof of something that seems impossible.  My purpose is merely to stretch the mind, open the minds of non-tri-unitarians, and make them more comfortable with what has been revealed.
Copyright  2015, Richard Wheeler -- Permission granted for personal use; Please give attribution in group settings.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Bad Logic and Errors of Those Who Reject the Trinity

Denial leads to further denial.

One non-Christian belief holds that Christ Jesus is not God the Word come in the flesh (John 1:1, 2, 14). One symptom of this is the denial that their Jesus took part in his resurrection. They hold that their Jesus was entirely passive. Conceding that Christ had a part in raising Himself would imply His deity. Therefore, they must contradict the evidence.
My convention: The human Jesus of the deniers of Christ is he. The Christ Jesus of the Bible is He.

He really did say it.

Christ claimed to have the power to rise from the dead (John 10:17-18). Before the fact, He demonstrated the truth of His claim by raising others from the dead. This is crucial to us because Christ promised that He would raise believers from the dead in the Last Days. 

If Christ lacks such power, then He is a liar. Even worse, He is a blasphemer because He promised to do what only God can do. But if Christ can do what God can do, then He must be God. This is the truth that anti-Trinitarians must deny.

In Mark 8:31, Mark 9:9, John 2:19, Christ used active voice, meaning that he would do the raising -- I will rise or I will raise; and in Luke 18:33, He used middle voice, meaning that He would perform the raising on Himself -- I will raise myself. (1

One cannot deny that Christ Jesus said He would raise Himself without either treating the gospels as unreliable and non inspired or else contradicting Him. And one cannot contradict Christ without implying that He was a false prophet who did not keep his word. 

Non-Trinitarians would not openly call their Jesus a false prophet. They would not openly call the gospels non inspired. But their doctrine requires either one or the other.

If God says I will, does He need to say I did?

They argue that nobody in the New Testament says, after the resurrection, that Christ had an active role in raising Himself. This is false both factually and logically. 

It is true that throughout Acts and the epistles, the authors do not use active voice (He rose). They usually state that God raised Christ from the dead. Grammatically, however, this is not a solid claim. Many occurrences of the verbs are ambiguous; they could be translated as either passive voice (He was raised) or middle voice (He raised Himself).

To a Trinitarian -- or to a Jew -- the statements that God the Father raised Jesus illustrate the Father's seal of approval on the Son. Christ stated that the Holy Spirit bore witness to His identity through the miracles He performed. Similarly, the Father's involvement in Christ's resurrection validated Christ's identity, so a Trinitarian expects many references to the Father's involvement. Congruent actions of Christ and the Father give evidence of Christ's divine nature. Admitting to this would undermine the non-Trinitarian view, so they must deny it.

Factually, Mark wrote that Christ rose (active voice in Mark 16:9), and the resurrected Christ Jesus Himself explained to the disciples that the Old Testament prophesied that the Christ would rise out from the dead (active voice in Luke 24:46; see also John 20:9). If only the Father were involved those sentences would all have used the passive voice (he was raised).

Logically, if Jesus Christ is the Truth (John 14:6), then He cannot lie; neither can He prophesy falsely. If He said something before the resurrection, it stands, regardless of whether somebody else later confirmed that He kept His word. To say otherwise is to call Jesus a liar, to call Jesus a false prophet, or to deny the reliability of Mark, Luke, and John.

Pitiful Logic

Another facet of their contradiction of what Christ said points to the many statements in Acts and the epistles that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. According to their faulty reasoning, if God the Father raised Jesus, then Christ did not. 

Such pitiful logic follows an either-or relation and rejects, without justification, an either-or-and relation. In logic, or does not preclude the possibility of both propositions being true. (If one and only one out of two alternatives can be true, it is call an exclusive or.) Their reasoning is like looking at a quarter and concluding that it either has the face of George Washington or it has the image of an eagle, but it cannot have both. Their logic is faulty because both descriptions are true.

A Trinitarian can reconcile saying both that Christ does something and that God does it because Christ is God the Son. God the Son can raise Jesus' body from the dead, God the Father can, and the two Persons can do it cooperatively. Thus, Trinitarians do not have to attack the character of Christ or the gospels, nor do they have to use faulty logic as the non Trinitarians do.


Christ's involvement in His resurrection has an importance greater than that regarding the future resurrection of believers. According to 1 Corinthians 12:3, one who does not confess, Lord Jesus -- which implies His deity -- does not have the Holy Spirit. Rather, according to 2 John 1:7, the person who denies that Christ Jesus came in the flesh -- which is meaningless if we do not accept His pre-existent deity -- is guided by antichrist. 

Beware Unitarians, liberal mainliners, Jehovah's Witnesses, or any other theological cult that denies the deity of Christ. You don't want to follow that spirit.

Copyright 2015, Richard Wheeler

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Saved by Grace but Secured by Self Righteousness

"I believe i am saved from this ungodly world by the grace of God. but to continue in that salvation or saving grace requires effort on my part."

Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Galatians 3:3

If the potter makes a pot for honorable use, does the pot need to take action to remain a pot? If God turns a goat into a sheep, does the sheep need to take action to avoid turning back into a goat? 

Doctrines of piecemeal justification (Catholicism) or perishable justification (Arminians) contradict the very definition of grace. They do not recognize that the new birth changes a believer's very nature.

The new birth

  • Changes strangers into members of the household
  • Changes citizens of the kingdom of darkness into citizens of the kingdom of light
  • Emancipates slave, turning them into free persons
  • Changes children of satan into children of God and brethren of Christ
  • Gives sight to spiritually blind
  • Gives life to those who were spiritually dead
  • Gives an inheritance to the disinherited
  • Turns the condemned into the glorified
If God turns a lump of coal into a diamond, a little bit of dirt does not turn it back into coal. Diamonds continue to be diamonds because that's what God has remade them into, and diamonds will shine because that's what diamonds do.

Living in insecurity and in fear of your fleshly nature is not God's will for believers. IFF (if and only if) you are a believer, your spirit is a diamond embedded in a fleshly lump of coal. God promises, indeed predestines, that in the resurrection or rapture, He will transform your old coal into a new diamond, too. You cannot break God's promises or defeat His predestination.

Living in insecurity and fear is wrong for believers, but it is right for those who have not received The Gift, as a gift, from the Giver. God does not take away what He has freely given. Neither does He give the gift to those who insult His generosity.

If you received the "gift" of salvation as though it were something that you would have to pay for on the installment plan (Catholic) or would have to earn through other do's and don'ts (Wesleyan), then you may not have received the gift as a gift. Please make sure you receive the gift God's way.