A fundamental problem concerns the Creation out of Nothing premise where complete living entities; spirit, soul, body, heart, mind, will, might, conscience and whatever else; indeed the totality of existence is utterly dependent upon the Eternal Creator; including Satan or the Lucifer who became Satan.
One thing is for sure though, and that is the impeccable Holy GOD is completely separate from the horrific evil which fills humans and which has such terrible power over us all, to utterly defile and consume us, but for the loving gracious intervention of the gracious, pitying, merciful, and loving GOD who in His Son demonstrated the majestic extent of these characteristics.
However, why cannot this evil power have its very own uncreated essence, just being there, albeit subject to the Holy GOD? and having nothing in this GOD? For it is unwarranted to assert the Hebrew bawraw of Gen 1:27; namely as pertaining to the creation of man and woman, necessarily or even probably denotes complete creation- spirit, soul and body out of nothing. Such is read in by commentators frequently on such grounds as the omnipotent Creator must necessarily be the source of all life and existence. I would qualify this by replying the ability and capacity to move and function indeed yes, but no way sin and evil.
We come now to a very great problem if one maintains absolutely all is created out of nothing whether evil itself- (Calvinists), or entities which originally good, become evil- (Arminians), due to choice or free will. For, if GOD made something evil when He could have made it either good or with a heart changeable to good under whatever conditions, or if GOD sends a being to eternal agonizing torture when He did not have or need to create them at all, or being all powerful could have engendered saving repentance and saving faith yet chose not to, then the following logically and imperatively follow; GOD made some for damnation, is willing some should perish and has no problem torturing souls for eternity. The reasoning of the Calvinist is right, not the Arminian if the creation out of nothing premise be true, but this writer does not accept the premise. On the other hand, Arminians, while also accepting such a creation out of nothing premise, argue oddly when they attribute the fall of Adam, Eve, Lucifer, some angels,e.t.c, to free will when free will comes from the heart or essence of the person, not free will changing the heart, the latter being classic tail wagging the dog reasoning. In other words the proposition Adam, Eve, and Lucifer had sinful hearts and natures; they could not have sinned otherwise, is actually what this writer is submitting. Incidentally, please do not use the bohray rawi [ create evil ] of Isaiah 45:7 to infer notions of sin, as rawi has also to do with righteous destruction. Interestingly, there is a simple form of the same word for create here as in Gen 1:1.
So, then, what is this writer’s position? I intuitively, cognitively, conceptually, perhaps even ontologically accept notions of choice, will, and responsibility, for if GOD be free, might it not reasonably be inferred humans made in the image of GOD be also free to choose in a very real sense though overwhelmed by and enslaved by sin? Need there be mutual exclusivity here, or some sort of position we are robots though we know it not? Is it not the domain of the human to repent, believe, separate from, turn, although many have felt so irresistibly moved upon by GOD and so compressed as it were, such as to have no option but to repent and believe? Further, verbs such as strive, agonize, examine, stir yourself, be zealous, be diligent, inter alia seem referable to human faculties albeit GOD given. Moreover, the variation of rewards would, upon true fairness, be dependent on what energy one extended themselves in the way of godly effort, exertion, suffering, endurance, and degrees of faith.
Let us remember the mysteries of both iniquity and godliness. Our own existence is a unfathomable mystery, as we are, in our mortal frame. Where were you 200 years ago? Can you walk us through your own conception? This writer could not tie his shoelaces until about 7 years old so I am not expecting to be privy to or able to comprehend the secret things belonging to YHVH ELOHAYEENOO. The reference frame of the human is like that of a soldier under a commander. Given the cause and war is righteous, it is the soldier’s duty to fight valiantly and honorably according to righteous instructions, not to interrogate the commander as to their tactics or why they acted a certain way. We have a glorious commander known as Jesus Christ the Son of the Living GOD, who always acts in our best interests. Our reference frame is this earth and we are to exert for GOD with all our me’od.
It is important to highlight some particular false reasoning and attitudes among many non-Calvinist Christians. Statements such as people are going to hell because the gospel is not being preached enough, insufficient intercessory prayers are being made, or door-knocking is not being attended to, are erroneous. The honesty I do not doubt, and the matter seems readily forgivable, but it is and remains altogether unbiblical and infact makes humans sovereign, causal, and at times more merciful than GOD. It is understandable that many Calvinist types, with mighty Bible scholars amongst their ranks, find such statements highly vexatious and foolish. However non-Calvinist leaders need to also purge this rubbish thinking from their congregations.
Some short comment is due respecting texts such as Matt 23:37, 1Tim 2:4, and 2Pet 3:9. Without embarking upon linguistic or contextual exegesis at present, can we not simply accept these verses in their natural meaning, according to our reference frame? Why should we speculate excessively whether Judas Iscariot, Saul, Joab, Pontius Pilate, Ananias and Sapphira, et al, are saved or not and give our Dantian take on degrees of suffering experienced by the lost in Tartarus, Hades or Gehenna and indeed whether it is permanent or not? – What is that to us?
Drawing to a close we might note our Lord’s allusions, e.g., He does not tell us why we are evil or how we were or are born so. Rather He informs us in such language people loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. The apostle Paul, in my opinion adopts reference frame type reasoning, and posits in essence that it is utterly unfit for creatures to speculate about responsibility and accountability denials in the face and light of an overriding sovereignty of GOD, where nothing occurs without His express direction or His express allowance and permission. Scripture makes it blatantly clear GOD holds us accountable and responsible – end of story, and who has been or is a theologian of Paul’s ilk? – see Rom 9, and Matt 12:36. The earnest inquirer can investigate these points further.
Lastly, I exhort great minds with largehearted love for the Lord and the lost to be at peace. Have we learned nothing from Wesley and Whitfield? If Plantinga can get along fine with J P Moreland, W L Craig and N L Geisler, so should J J Prasch and James White. Have salt in yourselves.
Regards, Dragoman. blah