Why do some Christians believe in limited atonement?

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Re: Why do some Christians believe in limited atonement?

Post by DeadManReedeemed »

Here is something you should know, DeepFreeze:

Human logic and wisdom is nothing compared to the logic and wisdom of GOD. True, he is the one who created logic and wisdom in the first place, but please understand that He cannot be understood by mere human wisdom and logic. GOD is too big for you to comprehend. So before you end up in a bad place, I can't force you but I would recommend that you stop trying to understand and read the Bible and ask GOD for help in understanding. All this human logic in the worlds demented, anyway. His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways.

......Just thought I'd tell you that.........
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Re: Why do some Christians believe in limited atonement?

Post by ArchAngel »

I would recommend that you stop trying to understand... All this human logic in the worlds demented, anyway.
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Re: Why do some Christians believe in limited atonement?

Post by Tigerwolf »

free will plus god is a gentlemen he wont just beat the door in
2 he does seek out the few but they have to say God ok you got my attention what do you want ... if God seeks you out be happy, salvation is near and God is gunning for you

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Re: Why do some Christians believe in limited atonement?

Post by ChristianT96 »

I believe in a mix of both. I haven't worked out all the flaws, but I believe we have some degree of choice in everything...except in salvation; if it were completely up to us, we'd NEVER choose salvation, and thus God has to do something to break that of us (id est, sending the Holy Spirit so that we may receive Christ). Of course, as always, tis salvation by grace alone, and only through faith in Christ. Anything else is extra-salvific (not necessary per se), anything other than good works would be extra-biblical. Again, I haven't worked out all the flaws, nor do I personally think I'll be able to, but my main hangup is that I believe fully that God knows all things. I can't fathom why Him knowing the future = that negating free choice. If he had not known it, we have free choice. Fair and square, however in that same field, if He "looked into the future" and saw our free choices, that somehow makes that choice unfree, even if that's what we would have freely done?

I'm open to all criticism, and I apologize if I repeated anything already argued ad nauseum :angel:

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Re: Why do some Christians believe in limited atonement?

Post by ScotchRobbins »

Figured I'd bring this dead old thread back to life...

Do I think that only those who believe are saved? No. I, in fact, think that there are some who believe that are unsaved. I think Matthew 7:21-23 is proof enough.
Matthew 7:21-23 wrote: Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'
Then of course there are the few people like Orodist who have great faith in the existance of God and the nescessity of Jesus for salvation, but turn it down deliberately. Although I can't advise it, it's certainly eye-opening to see him thinking this way.

I believe in a mix of free will and fate. Some events are deliberately predeterimined by God, but some are up to us to choose. This isn't exactly the best explanation, but it's the best I can do now and keep it simple, like as if I were trying to explain how mass worked.

Evidence for fate? How about when Jesus knew that Simon (Peter) would deny knowing Jesus three times before the cock crowed to signal the morning?
Matthew 26:34 wrote:Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”
And shortly thereafter...
Matthew 26:65-74 wrote: Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.”
But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.”
And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!”
And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.”
Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!”
Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly.
I believe that is proof enough. Although, in contrast, I don't believe God will make us sin deliberately. I think God uses what would be our decision to sin out of free will, ends up reversing it on us and using it for good. Simon was taught a lesson in faith and loyalty that day. Remember Joseph, son of Jacob? He was beaten by his brothers, sold to Egypt, locked in prison, forgotten, etc. He later ended up inviting his brothers and family into Egypt and rescuing what may have been the beginnings of the nation of Israel from starvation.
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Re: Why do some Christians believe in limited atonement?

Post by yeoldeusrename »

Deepfreeze32 wrote:(1) If God knows in advance that X will do A, then it must be the case that X will do A.
(2) If it must be the case that X will do A, then X is not free to refrain from A.

From (1) and (2) it follows that if God knows in advance that someone will take a certain action, then that person isn't free with respect to that action.
First off, I'd like to say that this is a good way of reconciling the question of free will vs. omniscience. I haven't seen it before, but I like it. However, there is a hidden assumption which is quite reasonable but worth exploring.
Deepfreeze32 wrote:(1) If God knows in advance that X will do A, then it must be the case that X will do A.
I don't have a problem with this statement. It merely says that if God is omniscient, then what He knows will happen will happen.
Deepfreeze32 wrote:(2) If it must be the case that X will do A, then X is not free to refrain from A.
The hidden assumption lies in this statement. Can you see it?
The assumption is that events must occur after their cause(s).
Ok I already said it's a reasonable assumption, and I'm not saying that Deepfreeze's argument falls apart. But let's investigate that assumption.

There are three ways to look at this:

1. God's knowledge is the cause and man's actions are the effect. (predestination)
2. Man's actions are the cause and God's knowledge is the effect. (free will)
3. God's knowledge and man's actions have a non-causal relation. (I'm not seriously suggesting this, but I've included it for the sake of completeness.)

I haven't seen any posts from supporters of predestination (aka without free will) on this thread, so let's not explore Option 1. I don't know what Option 3 would even mean, so I'm not going to go down that road either. We all seem to be talking about Option 2 here.

If cause must come before effect, then God cannot know what we are going to do until after we do it. There is the argument that He knows us so well that He knows exactly what we are going to do without actually seeing it, but to me that implies that at a given point in time we are in a state of being that all of our actions are predictable and therefore set (thus negating the freedom to choose a different action). Honestly, saying that God "could" know all of our actions but "chooses not to" sounds a little similar, but I'm pretty sure that's not Deepfreeze meant since he believes in free will. Which bring me to the last sentence in the paragraph, which says that the only other conclusion I see is that God doesn't actually know our actions until after they happen or are sure to happen. Note that Deepfreeze does allow for events and actions which God prophecies and then makes dang sure they happen. Actually this is the last sentence in the paragraph.

So that's how I see Deepfreeze's argument play out, but now let's look at that assumption again. With God, must the "cause" precede the "effect"? Is God constrained by time in the same way that we are? Is God outside of time? Is he omnipresent from a time standpoint? Etc.

I won't try to argue those points one way or another. My point is that IF you believe God is "outside of time" in some way (physically, mentally, spiritually), then you have some basis for believing that:
1. God does not follow the same timeline as mortals, at least not in the same way that we understand.
2. Thus God is not restricted by moving "forward" through "time" in the way that we are.
3. Thus with God the "cause" does not have occur before the "effect."
4. Thus God can know something (the "effect") before we do it (the "cause").
5. Thus free will and complete omniscience can coexist.

That's kind of a far out way of explaining what I felt some people were trying to express.

Again, Deepfreeze has good logic, but there is a hidden assumption that with God, the cause must precede the effect. That's a reasonable assumption since that's a rule that we live by. However, it's also reasonable to assume that God is not constrained by our manner of time and can know something before we observe ourselves doing it.

I just want to close out by saying that while these discussions have value, the most important thing is to seek guidance from our Heavenly Father through prayer. He will send the Holy Ghost to teach us all things. He will let us know in our minds and hearts.

Edit: minor grammatical and format edits.

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Re: Why do some Christians believe in limited atonement?

Post by DallenMalna »

I really enjoyed reading this and I must say that I believe in both free will and a God who knows everything. See if he created everything, including the very laws and building blocks of the universe. Then he must understand it...in fact understanding itself came from him. And yet he is also love, and gave us love. And as he's shown in the garden love must be a choice. Love is no emotion but rather a choice, and you can only make choices with free will. So if we have a creator God, and the ability to love, then both must coexist. Now much like how God dwells in us or how Jesus was both fully man and fully human I cannot fully explain the details of these truths, I suppose until someone smarter than me comes along that's where faith comes in. seeing the evidences of truths themselves still unseen.

However all this aside. I know that God opened up the path to himself to both Jew and Gentile (Praise God for his gift!) and the most important thing is that we believe in him and accept his atonement for our sins.

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Re: Why do some Christians believe in limited atonement?

Post by Solasoldier »

Proverbs 16:9 (NASB) The mind of man plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.

I've really enjoyed reading all of the various comments on this topic and question.

Based on what I've read in scripture, as a whole, I do believe that God not only knows all things (beginning to end; alpha and omega), but has ordained all that comes to pass: from the ant carrying part of a leaf that places his foot on a particular part of the earth, to the actions of nations, families, and individuals. There is not one maverick molecule in existence (nothing created can do anything unless the one in full control - in whom we live, move, and have our being - allows it). God is the ultimate first cause. All that has happened, and will happen, does so due primarily to the sole will and desire of the One true and living God, for His good pleasure. I believe that His plan is far more grand than we can fully grasp in this life, but one day we will all see that it is altogether good, holy, lovely, and perfect. It's exactly as it should be. This is the best of all possible worlds, because God is good, and in complete control. Our God is in the heavens, He does whatever He pleases.

Now, I also believe that God does have full knowledge and has planned in advance whatsoever comes to pass, but I believe He does so in a way that does not do any violence to the will of the creature.

We all do exactly what we want to do in any given situation. We may not want to go to work, we say... but in the end we do want the paycheck, and so we find that we do indeed want to go to work. Our options can be limited by forces outside ourselves, but we will still always choose exactly what we want at any given moment. Unfortunately, according to the bible's teachings, we are all fallen sinners. We have a sin nature that has us born at enmity with our Creator. We have a "bent" towards sin. Our desires are not naturally for God, but away from God. We must do what we desire moment by moment, and our desires are naturally (from the womb) bent towards sin and hatred towards the true living God.

But even in all of that - that will that we have to chose according to our desires - we must acknowledge that He who holds the whole universe together and keeps it all from unraveling at any second, is allowing it all to continue (He is the one in control of it all... not us). We have a form of freedom; we have a will; but God's will is always above our will and He is more free to do all that He pleases because He is omnipotent, and holy. He is holy. He is not a man. He is not to be compared to man. He is the potter, we are the clay. That illustration comes from scripture talking about God and humanity, or parts of humanity (Isaiah 29:16, Isaiah 45:9, Isaiah 64:8, Jeremiah 18:1-6, Romans 9:21).

I believe the more a person learns about God and about themselves by meditating on the scriptures, the bigger God gets, and the smaller they seem.

Please forgive the lengthy post. I've thought an awful lot about this subject, but in the end I am but a man with his faith and his thoughts, and am fallen. I do err, more than I would like, and am open to criticism in the hopes of finding truth and correcting any error. Grace and peace to you all.

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Re: Why do some Christians believe in limited atonement?

Post by selderane »

I've always found the idea that since Yahweh is omniscient free will doesn't exist uncompelling. This idea ignores the cavernous maw of difference between knowledge and action. Indeed, Scripture has examples of Yahweh being limited in His actions in respect to our own.

Now, I do believe that Yahweh will intervene and influence events to certain ends, but I don't find this interference upon the actions of men any more troubling than when a parent does similar things for their own child. I suppose such is the prerogative of the Creator upon the created.

And neither should the non-believer amongst us be vexed: Should the Creator be a monster then our protestations fall upon deaf ears. Should the Creator be benevolent then such influence is obviously toward our own benefit.

The naive expect a monster to betray its nature. The foolish request an angel to.
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Re: Why do some Christians believe in limited atonement?

Post by UsagiGlen »

Here's how I think of predestination. If you ask your kid, "Do you want ice cream?" you probably already know the response. Does this take away your kid's freedom to choose whether to eat ice cream? Is the child merely forced into eating ice cream, and unable to control their own actions? Some people might say that the kid didn't have free will in that situation, and that they're only being controlled by the parent. Some might say that the kid was quite capable of rejecting the ice cream, but used their free will to choose it. I believe both assessments are correct. The kid has free will, but the parent is also controlling the situation. It's all about how you look at things.

I believe it's like that with God and humans. I believe we have free will, but I also believe that God foreknew and planned on our choices. These ideas aren't mutually exclusive.

I expect plenty of you will disagree with me. That's fine. I figure it can't hurt to put my ideas out there for consideration at least.

If anyone hasn't explored this topic for themselves, but is curious, I encourage you to ponder these passages:
for predestination:
Ephesians 1:1-14
Jeremiah 1:5
Romans 9:10-24

for free will:
2 Peter 3:9
Joshua 24:15
Ezekiel 33:11
Deuteronomy 30:19-20

I'm not sure how to categorize:
Proverbs 16:9

There are far more verses on this topic of course, but it can at least get you started. I suspect that if anyone seriously ponders the words of God, they will see that both sides of this argument have plenty of evidence to back them up. But definitely don't take my word for it. Ponder God's word.

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Re: Why do some Christians believe in limited atonement?

Post by ZiggsTV »

I'm throwing this in without reading every post here because there are quite a few that are very wordy :D But to the point of election: We are born in sin. We love our sin and everything about it, in fact we are incapable of doing anything right. Even to do a seemingly good deed is done out of selfish ambition or pride or because we see it as a means to achieve morality or a better view in God's eyes.

God has chosen before the foundation of the world who would be saved and only to those people do he come down and grant us the capability to see him and truly believe. He grants us everything from sight to faith and to atonement. By this line of redemption all the glory goes to him 100% is his doing and none of it is ours. If we make a decision on our own to choose Christ or to become a Christian on our own we take some of that glory for ourselves because it is me, it is I, it is myself who made that choice and not God.

In reality while you where DEAD he save you. While you could do nothing, think nothing, reason nothing he reached out and breathed life into you. How many corpses do you know that can choose salvation or choose even to move a muscle?

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Re: Why do some Christians believe in limited atonement?

Post by Dirkdigdeep »

This idea of a "limited atonement" is basically a Calvinist doctrine rooted in the Gnostic premises . It is not biblical. Calvinist believe that due to God's complete and plenary sovereignty ( also not biblical) ... that Jesus only died for those God picks to save and not for anyone who he has deemed not to be saved. Thus it would be limited to ONLY the elect, or "God chosen" to be saved.
Standard Christian theology recognizes that God's atonement IS plenary and applied to POTENTIALLY any and all men > 1Jn 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 2Pe_3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 1Ti_2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. God has therefore limited his sovereignty by giving man a free will and ability to chose to believe and repent, ... or not. Jos_24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. And: Heb 3:12-14 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. (13) But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. (14) For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
Calvinist say that due to God's plenary sovereignty; that IF Jesus died for all men then all men would be saved! ( 1John 2:2)This they decided based on presumptive eisogesis (reading into the text) rooted again in Gnostic Calvinism ideas. But where they failed is in comprehending that the word "Covenant" means CONTRACT and as such no one has the plenary (all encompassing) atonement applied to them unless and until THEY CHOOSE to have Faith and repentance. These two, Faith and repentance, are the conditions or terms of the Contract which we must fulfill to enter into the Covenant. Heb 3:6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. Conditional salvation and a properly defined "limited atonement" is not God limiting who he will choose to save, but man rejecting Gods provision for their salvation. FREE WILL is the means to choose to believe > Joh 3:17-21 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (18) He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (19) And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (20) For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. (21) But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. FREE WILL i say. To make this any clearer means i would have to detail the Gnostic presumptions that underlie Augustine's heretical theology from which Calvin took his own even more twisted version of that doctrine. That will take a book to show properly, and Lord willing, its soon to come.

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Re: Why do some Christians believe in limited atonement?

Post by Yantelope »

Can someone help me understand what practical difference it makes whether Christ died for all people or just for Christians? I can't see how it matters at all. Not trying to be difficult, it just seems like it has no bearing on anything.

As far as free will goes. I saw at least one reference to Romans 9 but I think it should be quoted here in full because Paul directly addresses exactly what has been debated in this thread.

" What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience evessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?"

That's probably the most difficult passage in all of scripture for me to accept. God does what he wants and who are we to question him?

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