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    "The eyes of the Lord keep guard over knowledge and him who has it..." Pr.22:12 Oh that Wisdom be confirmed by the knowledge we discover and grasp. God expects discretion be used in the knowledge we have so that He be glorified. God will guard our hearts and minds "but He overthrows the words of the treacherous." With believers, knowledge comes with responsibility. All we do with what we know is accountable to God. Likewise the words of our mouth reveal the integrity of our hearts. May we speak and act with integrity with that which we know that the Lord be glorified. selahV

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May 25, 2007

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Tony Sisk

Hi Selah,

I am a little late in commenting; sorry!

Your question, as I see it, is simply foreknowledge/predestination repackaged. I wonder if God knew you were going to ask this question? :)

Did God know Judas would betray Jesus? Did God know Joseph's brothers would attempt to kill him, at best leave him for dead? Did God know David would sin with Bathsheba? Of course He did, but He still allowed it to happen. He could have changed it, but He didn't.

God orchestrates our failures (and others') in such a way as to what brings Him the most glory. We often look back and ask, "What could I have done to change this or that?" That, though, is pure Arminian thought.

We cannot change the past but we can look toward the future and live in God's will in obedience. To do this requires persuasion in our souls that our obedience and our prayers have real effects, not just here but in heaven as well.

Paul believed this, as Christ did. Does God "use" evil? In a certain sense, yes, He does, like a tool. I am more comfortable with saying that like a tool, there may be a more effective tool that can be used to affect the same purpose, but in a better way. I could use the handle of a screwdriver to drive a nail, but why would I if I have a perfectly good hammer? So, to answer your question, I believe that yes, God did ordain Saul to be the adversary that met Him on the Damascus Road; because God can take one tool and make it into a better tool. :)

The evil Saul did was not outside of God's purview but God did allow it to bring about a greater, present result, to save many people. God did not cause the evil, but He did allow it, and then Saul's realization of himself in light of who God is pushed him to God to become the man Paul is.

I tend to ramble, so I hope this makes sense. I do like what Cap said, "Foreknowledge implies fixity and fixity implies decree. To posit otherwise is to fall for the heresy of open theism."

Blessings!

SelahV

Tony: "foreknowledge/predestination repackaged", huh? well aren't I smart? I think. Shucks, yeah, I think God knew I was going to ask this question. But the real question is why it popped into my head at all. Where in the world to questions like this come from? For what purpose? Without a clear answer and simple speculation, I'd suppose much of what Cap has to say applies here. Other than to dialog thought...I'd have to totally agree with him.

As to your rambling, you have so named yourself the Rambling Prophet, haven't you? :)

Seriously, though...you said that "yes, God did ordain Saul to be the adversary that met Him on the road to Damascus." But what of the fact that Saul murdered innocent Christians? Did God actually ordain that? You say He didn't actually make him do the evil he did, and I agree. I don't think God makes man to do evil. He in His Sovereign all-knowing omnipotence knows man will do what he does.

But in this case with Saul, he was actually wounding, murdering, slaughtering the Body of Christ Himself. Therefore, allowing Saul to do what he did, God, in fact, allowed Saul reign to hurt God Himself.

Allow me the analogy of allowing our children to hurt us when we can intervene to stop them. We just let them keep beating upon us. Is there a lesson in the idea that God allows others to hurt Him for a more perfect good? And thereby we should allow others to hurt us (as in turn the other cheek) in order to allow God to bring about His more perfect good?

This is where my thoughts are taking me on this, Tony. Any to add? selahV

Tony Sisk

Selah,

I did not say God ordained Saul to do any evil. And to be fair, the Scriptures never say Paul murdered anyone. He gave consent to Stephen's death, though he didn't try to stop it, is a far cry from murdering him. The Bible also says he made havoc of the church, committing many to prison. To our knowledge he never murdered anyone.

And I think our thoughts on this are not as far apart as you think. I said above that the evil Saul committed (though we disagree on what that evil was) was not outside God's purview, yet God used those acts to lead Saul, and ultimately many others to faith in Himself.

Yes, your illustration about our children are apt, but I do not think that view diverges that dramatically with mine. If God chooses to use Saul as an instrument of His good what have I to say about it?

Tony

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