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God's Sovereignty - Orthodox View?

ignatius

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A Calvinist friend of my asked me to consider these ideas and I was interested in an Orthodox view of them?

Consider Acts 2:23. God sovereignly decreed that Christ would be betrayed and killed. And yet he holds these men accountable for their actions. God made sure that Christ was betrayed and killed. In order to do it, He sovereignly controlled the decisions of men. But He still holds them accountable for their actions. How can this be?

Romans 9:14-24
Paul knew that the gospel he preached would generate this kind of question. Would the gospel of the Arminians and Pelagians generate the kind of questions presented in Romans 9? Of course not.
The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and our children forever. Deuteronomy 29:29.
 

NicholasMyra

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ignatius said:
Consider Acts 2:23. God sovereignly decreed that Christ would be betrayed and killed.

God was betrayed and killed.

ignatius said:
In order to do it, He sovereignly controlled the decisions of men.
Or did he work with the fallen wills of men through his divine economia?

God hardened pharaoh's heart, for example, but that doesn't mean pharaoh was formerly a saint who wanted to give the Israelites party bags as they left Israel. God presumably worked with the wicked disposition that Pharaoh had.

The Revelation of Judeo-Christianity bears two truths:

1. God knows all.

2. God gave man real, true freedom.

How we reconcile these two facts is a matter of theology; but they are the truths we begin with, not mere hypotheses that are up for debate. Calvinists start their investigation of God from aristotelian/aquinine proofs; Orthodox start with the revelation of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob..

of Fishermen, not philosophies of the nations.
 

Kasatkin fan

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Acts 2:23, God had foreknowledge that they would do it, he did not make them do it.

Romans 9: While that chapter does contradict Pelagianism, it doesn't contradict Arminianism, which is not, as Calvinists often like to claim, Pelagianism or even Semi-Pelagianism.

Calvinism makes the mistake of believing that since God has foreknowledge of all (as admitted by pretty much all Christians), and had knowledge of how everything would happen when he created the world, that he therefore created with destruction and salvation in mind. The quote from Hosea in Romans 9:25 seems to contradict that, "I will call them 'my people' who are not my people."
 

NicholasMyra

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Our universe is built to generate truly random things. God designed it that way for a reason.

How he foreknows things in such a universe is incomprehensible to us, but true. God created a universe the way he did knowing what would happen, while simultaneously giving man real freedom.

"Impossible!" the Calvinists cry.

It wouldn't be the first time people have screamed "impossible!" at Christians.
 

podkarpatska

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NicholasMyra said:
Our universe is built to generate truly random things. God designed it that way for a reason.

How he foreknows things in such a universe is incomprehensible to us, but true. God created a universe the way he did knowing what would happen, while simultaneously giving man real freedom.

"Impossible!" the Calvinists cry.

It wouldn't be the first time people have screamed "impossible!" at Christians.
I always go back to another biblical source when engaged in these discussions, quoting one of the favorite writer's of the Protestants, St. Paul. In his first letter to the Corinthians, 13:12, he tells us; "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."


This is the key to Nicholas of Myra's observation in his post, "How we reconcile these two facts is a matter of theology; but they are the truths we begin with, not mere hypotheses that are up for debate. Calvinists start their investigation of God from aristotelian/aquinine proofs; Orthodox start with the revelation of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."
 

Benjamin the Red

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NicholasMyra said:
ignatius said:
Consider Acts 2:23. God sovereignly decreed that Christ would be betrayed and killed.

God was betrayed and killed.

ignatius said:
In order to do it, He sovereignly controlled the decisions of men.
Or did he work with the fallen wills of men through his divine economia?

God hardened pharaoh's heart, for example, but that doesn't mean pharaoh was formerly a saint who wanted to give the Israelites party bags as they left Israel. God presumably worked with the wicked disposition that Pharaoh had.

The Revelation of Judeo-Christianity bears two truths:

1. God knows all.

2. God gave man real, true freedom.

How we reconcile these two facts is a matter of theology; but they are the truths we begin with, not mere hypotheses that are up for debate. Calvinists start their investigation of God from aristotelian/aquinine proofs; Orthodox start with the revelation of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob..

of Fishermen, not philosophies of the nations.


This. I'm a former (read: Recovering) Calvinist myself, now baptized into the One Church of Christ. Calvinistic theology is scholastic, and relies upon Aristotelian and Thomist thought processes. The mysteries must be uncovered, the paradox has to be explained. We realize that God is sovereign, and we realize that humanity has free will. Holy Tradition has given this to us from the Scriptures, the Fathers, etc. It doesn't really answer how. There are various theological opinions floating around, however, in good Orthodox fashion, there doesn't have to be a single explanation. This isn't science...it's divine revelation.

Calvinism insists on there being a single answer to this divine paradox. Being divorced from the Holy Tradition of the Church, Reformed theologians have answered the question to fit their reasonings and philosophy, bending the Scriptures as they see fit in order to make sense of the world. Calvinism is entirely alien to the Church, and to my knowledge, remains the only Protestant teaching that has specifically been dealt with by Church Council, and declared heretical (The Synod of Jerusalem, 1672).
 

podkarpatska

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Benjamin the Red said:
NicholasMyra said:
ignatius said:
Consider Acts 2:23. God sovereignly decreed that Christ would be betrayed and killed.

God was betrayed and killed.

ignatius said:
In order to do it, He sovereignly controlled the decisions of men.
Or did he work with the fallen wills of men through his divine economia?

God hardened pharaoh's heart, for example, but that doesn't mean pharaoh was formerly a saint who wanted to give the Israelites party bags as they left Israel. God presumably worked with the wicked disposition that Pharaoh had.

The Revelation of Judeo-Christianity bears two truths:

1. God knows all.

2. God gave man real, true freedom.

How we reconcile these two facts is a matter of theology; but they are the truths we begin with, not mere hypotheses that are up for debate. Calvinists start their investigation of God from aristotelian/aquinine proofs; Orthodox start with the revelation of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob..

of Fishermen, not philosophies of the nations.


This. I'm a former (read: Recovering) Calvinist myself, now baptized into the One Church of Christ. Calvinistic theology is scholastic, and relies upon Aristotelian and Thomist thought processes. The mysteries must be uncovered, the paradox has to be explained. We realize that God is sovereign, and we realize that humanity has free will. Holy Tradition has given this to us from the Scriptures, the Fathers, etc. It doesn't really answer how. There are various theological opinions floating around, however, in good Orthodox fashion, there doesn't have to be a single explanation. This isn't science...it's divine revelation.

Calvinism insists on there being a single answer to this divine paradox. Being divorced from the Holy Tradition of the Church, Reformed theologians have answered the question to fit their reasonings and philosophy, bending the Scriptures as they see fit in order to make sense of the world. Calvinism is entirely alien to the Church, and to my knowledge, remains the only Protestant teaching that has specifically been dealt with by Church Council, and declared heretical (The Synod of Jerusalem, 1672).


Indeed, that Fathers of that Council had the wisdom to intuit that the scholastic paradox would lead one to the denial of faith in the end as logic and reason could not sustain it. Hence the crisis of faith plaguing Europe and the rise of 'drive through' salvation in North America.  Orthodoxy has preserved the correct path in that the how is not essential to our 'knowledge' of the Divine.
 
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