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I Started a Fight (con't.)

Episode 4: The Phone Call

(You may want to read Episode 1, Episode 2 and Episode 3 to learn the back story.)

As we pick up the story, I am just waking on the Thursday morning after I attended an evening Bible study with my sister at her church. During the study, I had a short discussion with the teacher over the reason God put the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden. The teacher had disagreed with me strongly, calling my view that God planned from the beginning for humankind to fall “twisted theology.” But it had been a short discussion and I hadn’t pushed my point much. I assumed, as I left, that the discussion was over.

But I was wrong. I woke Thursday morning to the sounds of the phone ringing. My sister took the phone call, and I could tell it was from the teacher of the previous night’s study. I could also tell he was at least animated, if not agitated, and he wanted to continue the discussion.

(If you are reading with a feed reader, now’s when you click through to read the rest.)

Now there’s nothing I like better than a good theological argument. And by argument, I don’t mean quarrel, but a discussion where I have to defend what I believe to be true. In this case, however, I had mixed feelings. Who God is and how he acts in the world is such a critical subject that the debate can get heated very quickly. I didn’t know this teacher well, so I didn’t know what to expect.

It was arranged, in the end, that this man and his wife would come to my sister’s home for supper the next Sunday. Sunday afternoon as I cut up vegies for roasting, I thought about the best way to defend my position.

I reran Wednesday night’s short discussion in my mind and decided that I wanted to defend, first of all, the premises on which my original statement that God had planned the fall was based—that even before God created, he planned for redemption to be the focus of the history of creation. I suspected, and it was confirmed later by my father, that the teacher had been influenced by John Sanders’ version of open theism, since John Sanders lived and taught nearby for many years. So I decided that I wanted to give a scriptural defense, since I had a hunch that while the teacher and I had striking philosophical and theological differences, we both considered scripture to be our ultimate authority.

I’d given a bit of scriptural defense of my premise already when I’d argued that since Christ was ordained to be the Redeemer before the foundation of the world, God must have planned for humankind to sin. The response had been that perhaps Christ had been chosen as Redeemer in case people fell, not because God planned for the fall. What I needed this time round, then, was scripture that places God’s whole plan of salvation firmly back in eternity, that doesn’t give any wiggle room for it to be a contingency plan.

Come back tomorrow to find out what scripture I chose to use to undergird my argument. In the meantime, you are encouraged to guess what scripture I used or tell me what scripture you’d have used to argue for or against my premise.

Update: Story concludes here.

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Acts 2:22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him,

“‘I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
my flesh also will dwell in hope.
27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
Sit at my right hand,
35 until I make your enemies your footstool.’

36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

April 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKim from Hiraethk

There should be more theological soap operas, because I'm loving this story so far. I'm guessing that the scripture was Revelation 13:8, although 1 Peter 1:17-21 and Ephesians 1:3-10 might also be contenders.

April 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrandon

I love how you call them the "fighting" posts on your twitter!

April 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKim in On

These and many more scriptures point to plans made and therefore as good as accomplished before the creation. There are others, of course, and I'm looking forward to your followup!

Eph 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love

Heb 4:3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, "AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST," although His works were finished from the foundation of the world.

1Pe 1:20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you

Rev 13:8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him ( the beast) , everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.
Exo 32:32 "But now, if You will, forgive their sin--and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!"

Psa 139:16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.

April 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWhiteStone

Tomorrow? For sure?
Same time, same place?
Loving the drama. Good verses all.

April 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRuby

I can't think of a verse that explicitly says God planned for humans to fall. This has got me thinking...

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCatez

I don't think there's scripture that says that explictly. I think there's at least one passage of scripture that makes it an inescapable conclusion.

April 7, 2009 | Registered Commenterrebecca

He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him (Isaiah 53:3-6). - ALL TO FALL ON HIM!

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLadybug

Westminster Larger Catechism -- Question 17: How did God create man?

Answer: After God had made all other creatures, he created man male and female; formed the body of the man of the dust of the ground, and the woman of the rib of the man, endued them with living, reasonable, and immortal souls; made them after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness,and holiness; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfil it, and dominion over the creatures; yet subject to fall.

Question 18: What are God's works of providence?

Answer: God's works of providence are his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures; ordering them, and all their actions, to his own glory.

Question 20: What was the providence of God toward man in the estate in which he was created?

Answer: The providence of God toward man in the estate in which he was created, was the placing him in paradise, appointing him to dress it, giving him liberty to eat of the fruit of the earth; putting the creatures under his dominion, and ordaining marriage for his help; affording him communion with himself; instituting the sabbath; entering into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of personal, perfect, and perpetual obedience, of which the tree of life was a pledge; and forbidding to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon the pain of death.

Scripture Ref.: Romans 2:14-16 -- 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPam

You must have originally posted these back when I was taking a break from writing and reading blogs. I'm so sorry I mised this. I would go to Ephesians 1.

I got into a "fight" of sorts this past week with a person who was taking a position that even the Bible teacher with whom you tangled would disagree heartily with. I decided to let cooler heads finish the debate while I got some little pitchers and their big ears (e.g. children) out of the way, as I tend to start beating people about the head with Romans 9 at every opportunity, and not always very graciously.

Now I'm off to read the rest....

June 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStaci

I suppose by now you know that that's exactly where I went, Staci. :)

When I was a kid, my other was always using the "little pitchers have big ears" phrase. I learned it meant that I was going to miss out on all the fun.

June 15, 2010 | Registered Commenterrebecca

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