Saturday, March 20, 2010

Eternity and Time: A brief look

[continued from here and here]

The third main pillar of the Hyperists, which informs their error of Eternal Justification, is the [Neo-Platonic] theory of Timeless Eternity. In this post, we would briefly look at this theory, and show from Robert Reymond's magnum opus, A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith 2nd Ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1999) why the idea of eternity being timeless is untenable according to the biblical data and the concept of eternity being "everlasting" rather a better understanding of God and his ways in the world.

The issue of hermeneutics

When addressing the issue of eternity, it must first be acknowledged that Scripture is not explicit regarding this issue. Scripture affirms that God is "eternal", but whether eternity includes the concept of timelessness or everlasting is rather inferred from the text of Scripture. It is therefore simply eisegesis of the worst order to assume that eternity must include the concept of timelessness based upon extra-biblical concepts such as the scientific concept of time being the 4th dimension in the created order. Certainly since the dawn of Einstein's theories of Special and General Relativity, space and time and velocity (most noticeably the speed of light at 3× 108 ms-1 in vacuum), and gravity in the case of General Relativity, are seen as intricately related to each other such that [perceived or situational] time can be altered by increasing velocity near light-speed (Special Relativity) or positions/movements at or through gravitational fields of huge magnitudes (General Relativity). Through Einstein's theories of relativity, the assumption of time as a created order may enter into the discussion of such issues.

The main contention from theologians and philosophers however would not come from science bur rather [obviously] from philosophy. While we would look at some of the contentions later, the issue here we need to beware of is precisely what Scripture itself mentions:

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ (Col. 2:8)

While philosophical enquiry is not evil per se, if Sola Scriptura means anything at all, it is that our theories and doctrines about the faith are to be primarily deduced from Scripture, while philosophical enquires come later. It may be said that the idea of the mind being a tabula rasa such that one can come to the Scripture without a priori ideas derived from the world and philosophy is well neigh impossible, which is indeed true. Yet, it is precisely because of this that Christians are called to be renewed in their minds according to God's Truth (Rom. 12:2), and through meditation on Scripture, remove the ideas they have which are not biblical while embracing those taught in Scripture, as the Scripture interprets itself. Semper Reformanda — Always being reformed!

Now, since the concept of eternity is not explicitly taught in Scripture, it must certainly be the case that all other major doctrines in the Scriptures must be prioritized. In this instance for example, the concept of eternity must be settled only after we have settled according to Scripture the doctrine of justification. Instead of interpreting the doctrine of justification according to one's concept of eternity, shouldn't we not do the reverse and interpret the non-explicit concept of eternity based upon what Scripture has already plainly taught about the doctrine of justification?

The Hyperists in the Predestinarian Network are to be congratulated for attempting to be consistent in their worldview. There is nothing wrong with attempting to be consistent, since God after all is not irrational. The problem with the Hyperists is that they refuse to interpret the concept of eternity according to the other doctrines explicitly taught in Scripture, and thus reverse the order of interpretation of the Scripture; they are simply not critical enough. Granting their argument that "If p, then q", whereby p = 'the concept of timeless eternity is true' and q = 'eternal justification is true', they insist on arguing along the lines of modus ponens (p → q; p, therefore q) instead of modus tollens (p → q; ~q, therefore ~p).

As I have mentioned in the first post refuting the Hyperists, we use the framework of Scripture to interpret all of Scripture. We therefore do not use an "Absolute Predestination" framework or a "Timeless Eternity" framework to interpret Scripture. In their usage of the modus ponens form of argument and thus the "Absolute Predestination" and "Timeless Eternity" hermeneutical frameworks, the Hyperists have shown themselves to be violating the basic principles of biblical exegesis. It is therefore no wonder that they go astray and embrace such abominations as the heresy of Eternal Justification. While other Christians whom they claim are inconsistent [1] may indeed be inconsistent, at least they understand the basics of hermeneutics and are thus blessedly inconsistent, instead of being consistent at the expense of sound doctrine.

Disposing of the argument from science

The first objection (and the one that to scientific minds is more pertinent) is the argument according to Relativity. While one can legitimately argue regarding the validity of science to attain truth, let us assume for the sake of argument that the theory of Relativity or some form of it is indeed correct. Does this therefore mean that time is a created being of which therefore God, being apart from the creation, does not partake of.

If must be stated that God is definitely apart from created time. God in this sense is eternal, for God is present before the world (Gen. 1:1 - In the beginning ...), and will be around after the end (cf Rev. 21-22). In this sense, God is above time. Time as how we chronologically experience it is thus foreign to God. However, what this cannot prove or disprove is that there is a form of "divine time", separate from created time, in which God functions. The argument from science therefore is limited by the subject matter of this cosmos in which the empirical methods apply, and thus has no bearing at all on the topic of God, eternity and time.

Disposing of a few arguments by the Hyperists

In the piece "The Eternal God" [2], the author with the pseudonym "Forester07" has made some interesting points. The quoting of Is. 57:15 is certainly a peculiarity in its own right, for the passage does not makes clear whether when it is predicated of God that he "inhabits eternity" that it is referring to a state of time or a state of place that God inhabits.

More pertinent to our discussion here is this particular objection laid against the idea of God not being timeless. In his own words: "To say God does not exist outside of time makes time god and God not really God". This is astonishing since many things are predicated of God and God cannot function outside of these parameters. God is rational, so can we say that "To say God does not exist apart from rationality is to make rationality god and God not really God"? Can we say that "To say God does not exist outside of morality makes morality god and God not really God'? Or what about the case of any of God's other attributes?

In dealing with the idea of the relationship between God and Logic, C. Matthew McMahon in his book The Two Wills of God (New Lenox, IL: Puritan Rublicatios, 2005), p. 24 footnote 5, states thus: "Epistemology, logic precedes God. Ontologically, God precedes logic". In other words, God is most definitely before all things, and all things thus owe its existence to Him. Yet, God does not exist in a vacuum apart from His attributes (a most ridiculous idea). Logic being the manner of God thinking [3] proceeds ontologically from God, yet it is just as eternal as God and in fact precedes God in our way of knowing Him.

Likewise, in the case of time, it may be the case that "divine" time ontologically proceeds from God. If such is indeed the case, then "forester07" 's objection with its negation of God being in time is baseless.

We have been mentioning the word "time" often. However, what exactly IS time? If God is not apart from time so to speak, does this therefore mean that He is mutable?

Here, we would have theologian and pastor Robert Reymond to engage the issue and show us the way forward.

... it is a non sequitur to conclude from the fact of God's omniscience that God has no idea of succession, that is, that relative to his own existence he has no knowledge of a past, present, and future applicable to his own existence. This is to confuse the notion of the succession of ideas, which is surely not true of God if one means by this notion that God learns new facts, with the notion of the idea of succession which I submit God surely has. Robert Lewis Dabney observes:

If ... the divine consciousness of its existence has no relation to successive duration, I think it unproved, and incapable of proof to us. Is not the whole plausibility of the notion hence; that divines ... infer: Since all God's thoughts are ever equally present with Him, he can have no succession of His consciousnesses; and so, no relation to successive time. But the analysis is false and would not prove the conclusion as to God, if correct. ... In all the acts and changes of creatures, the relation of succession is actual and true. Now, although God's knowledge of these as it is subjective to Him, is unsuccessive [I take him to mean here that God does not first learn about them as the creature thinks and acts these changes — author], yet it [his knowledge] is doubtless correct, i.e. true to the objective facts. But these [the objective facts] have actual succession. So that the idea of successive duration must be in God's thinking. Has He not all the ideas which we have; and infinitely more? But if God in thinking the objective, ever thinks successive duration, can we be sure that His own consciousness of His own subsistence is unrelated to succession in time?

I concur with Dabney's analysis. Not to do so and to insist that God is timeless, that is to say, that the distinctives of time and hence existence with succession have no reference to him, lies behind much theological mischief. For example, Charles Hodge, who stands in the classical tradition, writes that "with [God] there is no distinction between the present, past and future, but all things are equally and always present to Him. With Him duration is an eternal now," that "to Him there is neither past nor future ... the past and the future are always and equally present to Him [as an eternal now (or present)]," and that "to Him there is neither past nor future, neither before nor after."

But such words seem to go too far, first, in that, if taken literally, they reduce to zero significance the temporal reference in every finite Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek verb form God employed in his revelational description to us of his thoughts, words, and actions, and virtually transform them all into timeless participles. [4]

Time has to do with succession. However, as what Reymond has pointed out, the advocates of timeless eternity confuse the "idea of succession" with the "succession of ideas". The idea of "divine time" therefore has to do with the "idea of succession". God never does learn anything new nor change in any way, yet that does not mean that He does not have an [epistemic] idea of succession in which He knows every single event in successive detail. To make it simpler, God knows everything past, present and future, but these past, present and future events do happen successively in chronology before God.

Reymond continues:

.. as well as the significance of the proposition προ, pro, in "foreknew" (προγινωοσκω, proginosko) and "predestine" (προοριζω, proorizo) in Romans 8:29 and in the expresson, "He chose us in him before [προ, pro] the creation of the world" (Eph. 1:3; see also John 17:24). Does not God inform us in these verses that he had a plan (his "eternal purpose") before he created the world? Does this data not mean that before the creation of the world God could have said, indeed, woud have had to say as the God of truth if an angel had asked him about the "when" of the world's creation: "I have not yet created the world. Its creation is still in the future"? And does he not now have to say as the God of truth: "I have created the world; its creation is no longer in the future, it is now in the past"? It would certainly seem that the past is past for God, the present is present for God, and the future is future for God as surely as they are for us! And while he certainly and infallibly knows the future because he ordained it, it is still as the future that he knows it. It is odd, to say the least, to argue as does E.L. Mascall that all of God's acts are dipolar, and that a given act at the creature's end is temporal (either past, present or future), while at the Creator's end the same act is timeless. If God's "time-words" to us respecting his plans and actions do not mean for God the same as they mean to us, then for him the creation of the world may not have actually occurred yet, for him Christ's second coming may be a thing of the past, ... In short, if God is timeless and if all of his acts are for him timeles acts, then we can have no true and certain knowledge of anything except pure mathematics.

Third, there seems to be an inherent contradicton in saying that a timeless person lives in the "eternal present" because the referent of the word "present" has significance only in the ordering category wich includes past and future as well. Nicholas Wolterstorff points out:

In order for something to be timeless, none of these ordering relatonships [past, present, or future[ can be applicable to that being. If a being is truly timeless, it should be impossible for it to exist simultaneously with anything else, or before anything else, or after anything else. Once it is established [or argued, as Hodge does — author] that a being does occupy one of the ordering relations, thn that being is clearly temporal.

For these three reasons it would seem that the ascriptions to God of the attributes of timelessness (understood as the absence of a divine consciousness of successive duration with respect to his own existence) cannot be supprted from Scripture nor is it self-consistent. At best, it is only an inference (and quite likely a fallacious one) from Scripture. These reasons also suggest that the Christian should be willing to affirm that the ordering relationships (before, now, after) that are normally represented as relationships of time are true for God as well as for man. [5]

The idea of a God who is immanent and works out His decrees in time is completely inimical to the concept of timelessness in God. For all these reasons, the Neo-Platonic idea of timeless eternity cannot be predicated of the biblical God. Rather, God in eternity is everlasting — without beginning or end. God knows all things past, pesent and future, and remains the same throughout all time, yet God does have an idea of succession within Himself, and His decrees and the events that are caused by the decrees have a chronological ordering to them.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Neo-Platonic idea of timeless eternity is distinctly not supported by Scripture and in fact inimical to its teachings. The Hyperists therefore are in error in their view of eternity and time. Not only is their choice of hermeneutical framework in error, even the basis of their framework is in error, substituting the doctrines of God for the philosophies of Man. May God show them their errors so that they would return back to the truths of God's Word and abandon their cryto-hyper-Calvinism. Amen.


References:

[1] "Forester07" , The Eternal God - "However, it seems that in reality most people who claim that God is eternal do not truly understand the many implications this has on understanding Christian doctrine and practice".

[2] Ibid.

[3] W. Gary Crampton, The Scripturalsm of Gordon H. Clark (Unicoi, TN: Trinity Foundation, 1999), p. 25]

[4] Robert Reymond, pp. 173-174

[5] Reymond, pp. 175-176

29 comments:

Joel Tay said...

Good article. Eternal in the Hebrew (according to my lecturer and as mentioned by Robert Reymond) implies everlastingness rather than timelessness.

I think understanding time as everlasting rather than eternal, would pose a problem for the Eastern Orthodox theologians who hold to the idea of Theosis.

Clark writes, "The phrase “eternal life” gives some Christians the idea that our heavenly state will be non-temporal. This notion has also been supported by a particularly poor interpretation of the statement that “time shall be no more.” Greater profundity is found in the Greek Orthodox Church. With a legitimate stress on the Incarnation and a not so legitimate desire for literary balance, some Eastern theologians say that God became man so that man could become God. Time then would end, and man would become belatedly eternal."

Understanding eternity as "end of time" or "outside of time" instead of understanding eternity as "everlasting time" of which "creation time" is a part of, might have some serious theological implications (e.g. Theosis and eternal justification)

PuritanReformed said...

@Joel:

indeed, it does.

Beng said...

If I may use a simple analogy:

When I boot up the computer, time begins to tick for the computer. As it runs through its CPU cycles, there is a succession of time. Whatever happens on the screen and in its operations occurs sequentially, and (to push the analogy) is controlled by me.

When I am done, I shut down the computer. Time ceases to exist for the computer. Does that mean that I cease to exist? No, I existed before the computer became aware of time, and I continue to exist even when the computer ceases to experience the passage of time.

While I am using the computer, are the time cycles in the CPU, the tasks performed by the computer, experienced by myself randomly or sequentially? The answer is self-evident.

Beng said...

"The Greek language denotes two distinct principles, Chronos and Kairos. The former refers to numeric, or chronological, time. The latter, literally "the right or opportune moment," relates specifically to metaphysical or Divine time. In theology, Kairos is qualitative, as opposed to quantitative." - wikipeda

Kairos exists within Chronos.

PuritanReformed said...

@SB:

actually, I do not know whether the kairos/chronos distinction is an important one in this debate.

Forester07 said...

Daniel,

I don't think you really read my article because most of what you are critiquing is a complete misrepresentation of my position on the issue of eternal justification. Re-read the section titled "According to the whole of scripture, what is God’s ultimate purpose for all of creation and human history?" Your whole "succession of ideas" argument is weak because the whole of creation from start to finish is a succession of ideas where God creates and orders time and history the way He wants. All the "acts' of history are determine by God's sovereign will. Charles Hodge was right on with the classical reformed view while your Robert Reymond is off.

In your blog you basically conclude with this thought:

"To make it simpler, God knows everything past, present and future, but these past, present and future events do happen successively in chronology before God."

I would agree with this statement. Where I think we would differ is that I believe God predestined every part of the past, present and future from eternity for a particular purpose. Time does indeed happen to us successively and in a chronological way and God is involved in every part of this order. However, I hold that God sees all of this at once, outside of time where He set it up successively and chronologically. At times God does indeed act within time. Christ Jesus is the perfect example of this. God in Time coming to die as a sacrifice for sins in time. Even though this act happened in time on earth God is eternal. Jesus is the ETERNAL son and His sacrifice and death are applied in an eternal way to the elect. The atonement is of an eternal nature because it is from the eternal Son and the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the elect in time when God chooses.

You also said,
"Rather, God in eternity is everlasting — without beginning or end. God knows all things past, pesent and future, and remains the same throughout all time, yet God does have an idea of succession within Himself, and His decrees and the events that are caused by the decrees have a chronological ordering to them."

I can completely agree with this statement. God does have an idea of succession within Himself because he predestines every event in time to be ordered and controlled directly by Him. The only thing that I would add to your statement is that "God knows and Causes all things". Of Course God's decrees have a chronological order to them and the reason is simply because God created time and everything that happens within time.

The main issue with your view is that is leans towards the concept of open theism. If God is just flowing with time like the rest of us then is God really God? Here is a definition of open theism from Wikipedia

"Practically, open theism makes the case for a personal God who is open to influence through the prayers, decisions, and actions of people. Although many specific outcomes of the future are unknowable, God's foreknowledge of the future includes that which is determined as time progresses often in light of free decisions that have been made and what has been sociologically determined. So God knows everything that has been determined as well as what has not yet been determined but remains open. As such, he is able to anticipate the future, yet remains fluid to respond and react to prayer and decisions made either contrary or advantageous to His plan or presuppositions."

It looks like you are pretty close to this.

PuritanReformed said...

@Forester07:

>most of what you are critiquing is a complete misrepresentation of my position on the issue of eternal justification.

We will see.

>Your whole "succession of ideas" argument is weak because the whole of creation from start to finish is a succession of ideas where God creates and orders time and history the way He wants. All the "acts' of history are determine by God's sovereign will.

This has nothing to do with your embrace of the Neo-Platonic idea of eternal timelessness.

>Where I think we would differ is that I believe God predestined every part of the past, present and future from eternity for a particular purpose

The whole issue has nothing to do with predestination. All sides agree that God predestines the elect unto salvation. The point of contention is that the "absolute predestinarians" like you make God into a timeless being utterly transcendent such that He does not work out His decrees in time but rather apart from time. God according to your position cannot be immanent.

>However, I hold that God sees all of this at once, outside of time where He set it up successively and chronologically.

Nobody is saying that God is not omniscient. What we are saying, and you are denying, is that God has an idea of succession in His mind which is worked out in time chronologically.

>Jesus is the ETERNAL son and His sacrifice and death are applied in an eternal way to the elect

This is where we remarkably differ. The "absolute predestinarians" collapse God's decrees with their execution, and make all things done by God timeless. However, Scripture does not present it in this matter.

And as I have mentioned, all of this is philosophy. You are assuming a particular theory of eternity (ie. Neo-Platonism) and reading that into Scripture (ie eisegesis).

>The atonement is of an eternal nature because it is from the eternal Son and the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the elect in time when God chooses

No Bible verses support such an irrational position; the atonement happens in time AT the cross. As stated, using the passage in Rev. which have variant interpretations to the verse, is a terrible way of defending your position.


>only thing that I would add to your statement is that "God knows and Causes all things".

The fact that God knows all things does not mean that all events that He knows are not ordered chronologically.

>The main issue with your view is that is leans towards the concept of open theism. If God is just flowing with time like the rest of us then is God really God?

Of course, since I have previously written against Open Theism, this is vacuous. Nobody here says that God is "flowing with time". Rather, the future is predetermined according to God's eternal plan. But God's plans are ordered and thus executed chronologically. This is what you deny. You deny that God is pleased to execute His decree of Justification in time. Instead, your good friend Brandan Kraft (aka Darth Gill) states that all of God's decrees are executed at the "time" they are made since God is timeless.

eileen~ said...

Daniel,

I don't know if you are reading at all over at P-Net, I have left a public message there and want to leave one here as well, following the rules of course and relating my comment to your current post.

The use of the word "timeless" was used once by me unknowingly as to any teaching or thought that it might represent. The use of the word reflected dishonor on the teaching at P-Net and for that I have publicly apologized. I've never believed that everlasting life would be anything but in time and have stated that many times on P-Net.

So this was a failure on my part by the use of a specific word not equating that word to any doctrine, a doctrine by the way I've never even heard of until now.

I publicly come here to your blog so that you will know this and so that you might in all Christian integrity retract any statement that P-Net believes in a timeless eternity even though you might have other problems with what is put forth on eternity.

PuritanReformed said...

@Eileen:

thanks for your comment. I am however unconvinced that others at P-Net do not embrace the theory of timelessness. Brandan Kraft (under Darth Gill) in the meta of my initial post on this subject commented thus:

Further, your interpretation of Rom 8:28-30 is out of whack. You quote it out of its context - theorizing that it gives us an "order" of salvation. Rom 8:30 though points to what has ALREADY happened in the mind of God - ALL things pertaining to salvation. There is no TIME order to the decrees of God as you would have us believe.

Now, I do not think that it is necessarily the case that all participants at P-Net believe in this. However, if one takes Kraft's comment and his initial post at face value, it seems to be the case that Kraft at least does not believe that there is a chronological outworking of God's decrees in time. At least for him therefore, the issue of eternal timelessness is either one that he holds on to, or that his position (that there is no chronological outworking of God's decrees in time) commits him to hold on to.

Perhaps it may be the case that you and other participants at P-Net do not embrace such a teaching. If so, I acknowledge that this post would not be appliable.

I have read Gill's teaching on Eternal Justification that you(?) have linked to. While I certainly do not agree with Gill, I would think that Gill's description of the doctrine is more orthodox than "Darth Gill's".

Notwithstanding all these, I still do think that the belief in Eternal Justification does have serious logical implications as I have delineated in my initial post on this topic. So while many people who embrace Eternal Jstification may be inconsistent, it is a blessed inconsistency while it lasts.

Forester07 said...

You Said,
"This has nothing to do with your embrace of the Neo-Platonic idea of eternal timelessness."

You again are misrepresenting me. I hold that God does indeed work within time. God created time and exists within time. However, He is not bound by time in and of itself. Your view essentially makes time god because he is wholly subject to time. Once God created time he exists within time but at the same time apart. Just like when God became man. Jesus was 100% man and also 100% God. You are restricting God. God clearly exist outside of time but within time also. He is not subject to it. Please give me your reference for this "timeless eternity" that you are using so I can compare what I believe to what your book is saying. I think they differ.

"The point of contention is that the "absolute predestinarians" like you make God into a timeless being utterly transcendent such that He does not work out His decrees in time but rather apart from time. God according to your position cannot be immanent."

Yes I am a absolute predestinarian. Yes I hold that God, before the foundation of the world predestined everything and that God, who transcends time, sees the past, present and future at once. However, where you are misrepresenting me is that I also hold the God does work out all of human history in time by the fact that he is omnipresent. God transcends time but works within time. How do you explain these verses. The view I hold to is in complete agreement with these.

2Pe 3:8 "But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."

This verse is showing my view perfectly. God is outside of time and sees one day and a thousand year the same. How do you read it?

Psa 90:2-4 "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. You return man to dust and say, "Return, O children of man!" For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night."

This verse in consistent with my view. How can a thousand year in God's sight be as yesterday if God is not outside of time?

Isa 43:7-13 "Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears. Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth. Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God. Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?"

This is the end of an awesome passage. Read the whole chapter to get the context. This passage yells eternal justification. God has DECLARED and has SAVED! God's grace, election and justification is shown by this passage so clearly. "Before the day was I Am He" is clearly pointing to Gods transcendence of Time. God created the day and is not bound by it.

You can get my point. I am supporting my doctrines from Scripture alone.

To Be Continued...

Forester07 said...

You Said,
"Nobody is saying that God is not omniscient. What we are saying, and you are denying, is that God has an idea of succession in His mind which is worked out in time chronologically."

I've never said this. A misrepresentation my position.

>Jesus is the ETERNAL son and His sacrifice and death are applied in an eternal way to the elect

You said,
"The "absolute predestinarians" collapse God's decrees with their execution, and make all things done by God timeless. However, Scripture does not present it in this matter."

Where have I said that all things done by God are timeless. I've never said that. Wow! another misrepresentation. I have said God is not bound by time and is outside of time but that He clearly works within time and history constantly. If you are going to critique a view make sure you fully understand your opponent and not try to push them into a pre-conceived box.

You said,
"And as I have mentioned, all of this is philosophy. You are assuming a particular theory of eternity (ie. Neo-Platonism) and reading that into Scripture (ie eisegesis)."

Wrong. I get it straight from Scripture. You might disagree with the interpretation but you have not argued along those lines yet.

You said,
"No Bible verses support such an irrational position; the atonement happens in time AT the cross."

The act of the atonement does indeed happen at the cross but I'm sure you would agree that the effect of the atonement happens to the elect on an eternal scale. Old testament saints are atoned through Christ's death in the same way as someone today or in the future are atoned through his death. That is what I am saying.

You Said,
"You deny that God is pleased to execute His decree of Justification in time. Instead, your good friend Brandan Kraft (aka Darth Gill) states that all of God's decrees are executed at the "time" they are made since God is timeless"

No, God works in time. However, to the mind of God, who is outside or Transcendent of time when his decree of justification occurs, it is as good as being done. I know this is difficult to grasp to our finite minds but think on it. From our perspective Justification happens to us in time. We are timely creatures. God, on the other hand is not bound by time. He sees 1000 years ago and today at the same time. We are stuck in time God is not. God determined to justify a people unto himself before the creation of the world and time. Ephesians Chapter 1 explains this.

Eph 1:3-12 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory."

We were chosen before the foundation of the world to be saved, justified, ect ect as a plan for the fullness of time to unite all things in Him.

PuritanReformed said...

@forester07:

>You again are misrepresenting me. I hold that God does indeed work within time. God created time and exists within time.

We are of course talking about the execution of God's decree. Let's make this simpler: Do you believe in Kraft's collapse of God's decree with the execution of them? A yes or no answer would suffice.

>You are restricting God

.. in the same way as morality restricts God. Can God be evil? If not, then you are likewise restricting God from being evil.

>Please give me your reference for this "timeless eternity" that you are using

Check out Robert Reymond's Systematic which I have referenced here in this very post. Did you read the post?

>God transcends time but works within time

So do you believe, contra Kraft, that God executes his decrees in time?

>This verse is showing my view perfectly. God is outside of time and sees one day and a thousand year the same. How do you read it?

2 Peter 3:8 is telling us that God does not care one bit about the passage of time, for in light of His everlasting existence there is no real difference. It did not say that God is outside time; it says that for God the passage of time is immaterial.

>This verse in consistent with my view. How can a thousand year in God's sight be as yesterday if God is not outside of time?

God being everlasting has infinite time. What exactly is the difference between the pasage of 1 day and 1000 years in light of infinite "years"?


>This is the end of an awesome passage. Read the whole chapter to get the context. This passage yells eternal justification.

No, it proclaims eternal election, and the initiative of God in calling the elect unto Himself. Nowhere is justification even mentioned here.

>God has DECLARED and has SAVED!

The mention that God saves only proclaims that God is the only one who saves (monergism). It does not say how He did it - whether He did it through the instrumentality of faith (the historic Refored position) or whether He did it apart from any means (eternal justification/ hyper-calvinism).

As for the word "declared", the context shows that the content of that declaration is God's greatness and might and actions in redemption, there being no God like Him (v. 10) and no Savior like him (v. 11). Again, nowhere is justification mentioned in this passage. The whole passage is about God, not about Man.

>"Before the day was I Am He" is clearly pointing to Gods transcendence of Time

I grant you this translation, as my Hebrew is currently non--existent to look at the original text. Even so, what is the problem? Of course before creation itself, God exists. The issue here is whether "time" proceeds from God like morality and rationality, or whether it is a created order similar to the universe. The passage does not prove either one.

>God created the day and is not bound by it.

Of course God is not bounded by "the day", or the night also. But time is more than seconds, minutes, hours and seasons. Time is also about succession. Just because God does not function in minutes and seconds does not necessarily mean that He is timeless. Have you even read my post where I discussed these issues?

PuritanReformed said...

>I've never said this. A misrepresentation my position

OK, let's clear the air. Do you endorse Kraft's position in the original paper I responded to?

>The act of the atonement does indeed happen at the cross but I'm sure you would agree that the effect of the atonement happens to the elect on an eternal scale.

OK

>Old testament saints are atoned through Christ's death in the same way as someone today

No, OT saints are saved by the benefits of the atonement being retrospectively applied to them, while saints today are saved by the (past) benefits of the atonement being applied to them.


>However, to the mind of God, who is outside or Transcendent of time when his decree of justification occurs, it is as good as being done

Define "done". If by "as good as being done", you mean it certainly will happen, then I agree with you. If however you mean by the phrase that God treats the event as having already happened, then I disagree. This ties in with the difference between a "succession of ideas" compared to the "idea of succession".

>We are stuck in time God is not

But God works out His decrees in time (or do you deny that?). Therefore God has chosen to do things in such a way that they are actualized temporally and not before the event actually occurred.

>We were chosen before the foundation of the world to be saved, justified, ect ect as a plan for the fullness of time to unite all things in Him

That does not meant that we were therefore from eternity already saved, justified etc etc. Planned does not equal actualized.

PuritanReformed said...

@forester07:

I see you have posted a link to my latest contribution. May I ask you a question? Do you endorse the actions of Brandan and Nick in tampering with the Canon of Scripture and thus rejecting God's Word?

Mark Farnon (Tartanarmy) said...

Your view essentially makes time god because he is wholly subject to time.
------------------------------------

Hey Daniel, F07's above statement makes no sense. If all that happens in time has been planned and purposed by God (decrees) to be actuated in time, then how does that Make time itself god?

Has he not already stated that God indeed acts within time itself as in a chronology, so what is his beef and false charge against your position.

Incidentally, keep up the good work.
Ya never see those Ponterites who would label you a Hyper going after these guys and correcting them would you?

Mark

PuritanReformed said...

@Mark:

well, I guess I would give him a chance to clarify his position vis-a-vis his defence of P-Net founder Brandan Kraft's denial of executions of God's decree in time.

As for the Ponterites, I agree. Although I must admit that ynottony (Tony Byrne) did engage real Hypers when he chanced upon them in Phil Johnson's meta, if I remember correctly. But he does it of course by the same modus operandi we come to know. More importantly of course, the Ponterites are most interested in attacking us than the real hypers. We do know that Byrne has created blog posts attacking Reymond and White as hypers, but I don't think I have seen any of the real hypers being "named and shamed" in that manner.

It has crossed my mind to email Ponter and Byrne the P-Net website and ask them to engage them, but I think it would be counter-productive since both sides and observers of both would assume the other side is the Hyper-Cal or Arminian position and those of us in the middle would be squeezed into one of these caricatures and further demonized.

Forester07 said...

@Daniel

I think we will just have to disagree on this subject.

In answer to this question though:

"I see you have posted a link to my latest contribution. May I ask you a question? Do you endorse the actions of Brandan and Nick in tampering with the Canon of Scripture and thus rejecting God's Word?"


My Answer is contained in this:

http://www.predestinarian.net/entries/214-James-2-14-26

Forester07 said...

Oh, since you are reading my stuff you might like these too.

http://www.predestinarian.net/content/36-Mystery-Paradox-and-the-Free-Offer-of-the-Gospel

http://www.predestinarian.net/content/37-The-Vengeful-God

http://www.predestinarian.net/entries/244-Dispensational-Issues

http://www.predestinarian.net/entries/350-Romans-3-10-31

PuritanReformed said...

@F07:

It is not a matter of disagreeing, and I do not agree to disagree. By imposing your rationalistic understanding upon Scripture, you jettison the authority of Scripture and make yourself the judge of what Scripture is or isn't, as Nick and Brandan have done. You all have violated the Reformation principle of Sola Scriptura, and therefore stand condemned under the judgment of God in attacking His Word.

Who cares if you cannot make heads or tails out of James? True faith depends upon the Scriptures, not upon one's "theology". Instead of dismissing James, you ought to acknowledge your inability to understand how Scripture works and submit yourself to its teaching, not sit in judgment over it.

The Christian faith is described as how Anselm described it: Fides quarens intellectum - Faith seeking understanding. You reversed the formuala to understanding seeking faith. By so doing, you betray your rationalism and rebellion against God and His Word.

You are strongly exhorted to repent of your rationalism. Build your faith upon the rock of Scripture, not Scripture upon the "sands" of your theology.

PuritanReformed said...

@F07:

with regards to Scott Clark, while I disagree with his view on the WMO, at least he does not jettison James or any part of Scripture due to rationalistic argumentation that is not of faith. I prefer blessed inconsistency than rank heresy, thank you.

As for the rest, there is much philosophy in them but I do not think it is worthwhile to persue the topic further. We start first with your source of authority - ie rationalism. Unless and until you realize that reason is a tool not the judge, you (and Nick and Bradan) are condemned before God for unbelief.

Forester07 said...

My position is not any worse than yours. You let councils of MEN with bad doctrine from around 1600 years ago choose which books you consider scripture. Which view is better:

Me: I let the gospel determine what is scripture. Remember the Gospel was orginally oral not written.

You: You let men with bad doctrines choose what is scripture.

What makes these councils of men any more holy / right to determine what is scripture than someone today. They didn't recieve special revelation did they? Do you even know how the canon was formed? God didn't deliever them on a silver platter saying these are the 66 book of the bible. Men debated and chose what they thought was scripture using various means. The councils were never unanimous on the canon.

Again we will just have to disagree. You are welcome to come on the forum and start a thread to debate. But if you do please read through our many threads on this issue. No one at P-net came to this conclusion lightly.

PuritanReformed said...

@F07:

So I guess according to you the Church did not have the correct Scriptures for nearly 2000 years and the "Absolute Predestinarians" are the first in history to discover the right Canon. What makes your claim any more believable than that of the JWs or the Mormons?

Jesus said that He would build His Church and the gates of hell would not previal against it. It seems however that in the area of the Canon, the gates of hell have indeed prevailed over the Chuch according to your position.

>I let the gospel determine what is scripture

Wrong, you let the "gospel" as believed by you dictate what is Scripture, instead of letting Scripture dicatate to you what is the Gospel.

>Do you even know how the canon was formed? God didn't deliever them on a silver platter saying these are the 66 book of the bible. Men debated and chose what they thought was scripture using various means. The councils were never unanimous on the canon.

The Canon was more or less decided by the 1st century AD and even more so by the 2nd centuray AD. The only books that were disputed were 1 & 2 Peter, Heb, Rev. Nobody doubted James as being part of the Canon in early church history.

>No one at P-net came to this conclusion lightly.

Well, that I am sure of. What I am also sure of is that all of you refuse to let Scripture dictates your "gospel", instead using philosophy to determine what the "gospel" is and then use that "absolute predestinarian" framewoek to determine what constitutes Scripture.

Forester07 said...

@Daniel

Maybe you should do some study. It doesn't look like you know your church history well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Development_of_the_Christian_Biblical_canon

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_canon

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Biblical_canons

Also I would love it if you addressed this post on P-Net. Do it in the thread if you want.

http://www.predestinarian.net/threads/5822-Care-to-respond-to-this-critique?p=65831&viewfull=1#post65831

PuritanReformed said...

@F07:

OK, fine, I spoke too hastily on the disputed books. Nevertheless, you are making too much of them as if the councils were really considering whether they were canonical or rather just clarifying their remaining doubts on the book. To make the idea of the antilegomena as an excuse for opening up the Canon for scrutiny shows that you do not treat the Canon as being from God and as an artefact of revelation.

As for the topic of EJ, yes, Hoeksema believed in it (I am no fan of the PRCA). Gordon Clark however to my knowledge does not. If you think otherwise, please give me quotes from any of his writings together with proper referencing so I can check them out.

Forester07 said...

An interesting read by Gordon Clark that I came across today.

http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=21

PuritanReformed said...

@F07:

yes, indeed an interesting read. Does not have anything to add to the issue of contention however, neither does it mention anything about Eternal Justification.

Forester07 said...

:-) I know. Just thought I would pass it along.

Forester07 said...

GraceAmbassador at P-net posted a few links which you should consider


http://www.prca.org/prtj/apr2005.htm#The

http://books.google.com/books?id=xYmwI3Ovh9UC&pg=PA43&lpg=PA43&dq=Hoeksma+on+eternal+justification&source=bl&ots=mrX34hmxsW&sig=ohM8qNmps_1i3o2BJ80fnBQ_OVQ&hl=en&ei=epupS6XbNIzWNYacnN8B&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CBEQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=&f=false

PuritanReformed said...

@F07:

I have interacted with the PRCA article in the other post (the more recent one exposing your friend Brandan aka Darth Gill as attacking the Scriptures). I have neve been a fan of the PRCA since my interacton with Prof Hanko, as I have seen that they have no inkling of philosophy and thus are blind to the philosophies they absorb unknowingly. Not to mention their illogicity they use to prop up their tradition - most seen in their monocovenantal rejection of the Covenant of Works