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About jonbirch

animator, illustrator, character designer, graphic designer. music producer/recording musician. co-owner of PROOST. proost.co.uk
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66 Responses to 553

  1. subo says:

    life has enough bangs to cope with, without bringing God into it.

  2. Stumpy says:

    I am finding more and more difficulty in believing in pedestrianism..

    I always meant to say that.

  3. Mark says:

    Yes, the doctrine of predestination concerns whether or not you will get hit by a car.

  4. jonbirch says:

    i know what you mean subo… if i thought god had carefully orchestrated all my stupidity, sadness, bad decision making and misfortune, i would have no faith. fortunately, i believe that the things i do are my responsibility or are as a result of the actions of others, or bad weather. if i believed lightning bolts hit people because it was pre-ordained i’d not like god. the guy in the states who got hit by lightning many times on different occasions who then killed himself i do not believe was being judged by god… i do however believe he was very unfortunate.

    stumpy… hahahahaha!

    mark and stumpy… i feel a new cult emerging. :-)

  5. Mark says:

    I frankly confess that, for myself, even if it could be, I should not want ‘free-will’ to be given me, nor anything to be left in my own hands to enable me to endeavour after salvation; not merely because in face of so many dangers, and adversities, and assaults of devils, I could not stand my ground and hold fast my ‘free-will’ (for one devil is stronger than all men, and on these terms no man could be saved); but because, even were there no dangers, adversities, or devils, I Should still be forced to labour with no guarantee of success, and to beat my fists at the air. If I lived and worked to all eternity, my conscience would never reach comfortable certainty as to how much it must do to satisfy God. Whatever work I had done, there would still be a nagging doubt as to whether it pleased God, or whether he required something more. The experience proves that; and I learned it well enough myself over a period of many years, to my own great hurt. But now that God has taken my salvation out of the control of my own will, and put it under the control of His, and promised to save me, not according to my working or running, but according to His own grace and mercy, I have the comfortable certainty that He is faithful and will not lie to me, and that He is also great and powerful, so that no devils or opposition can break Him or pluck me from Him. ‘No one,” He says, ‘Shall pluck them out of my hand, because my Father which gave them me is greater than all’ (John 10:28-29). Thus it is that, if not all, yet some, indeed many, are saved; whereas, by the power of ‘free-will’ none at all could be saved, but every one of us would perish.

    Furthermore, I have the comfortable certainty that I please God, not by reason of merit of my works, but by reason of His merciful favour promised to me; so that, if I work too little, or badly, He does not impute it to me, but with fatherly compassion pardons me and makes me better. This is the glorying of all the saints in their God.

    Martin Luther – The Bondage of The Will.

  6. Laura says:

    Had to wipe my glasses off. I thought for a minute there he believed in Pedestrianation and you were saying God was a bad driver. ;-)

  7. Heidi says:

    Very funny! I think God is soooo mysterious that to try to figure this stuff out or nail it down is futile. And to claim to have it figured out is farcical.

    Good one Jon!

  8. drew says:

    It has to be pointed out here that Luther was a flat earth believer – even in the face of the evidence. Whilst that proves nothing it’s comforting to know that even giants of the faith can get all religious and sometimes even be wrong! (good heavens)

    I simply cannot do the whole predestination thingy. I am more comfortable with Stumpys new religion.

    If we have not free choice then the whole things a farce anyway, for love has no value unless it chooses to love. Without free choice it becomes compulsion and valueless.

  9. Mark says:

    A bunch of points:

    Zerothly (I released I missed the most important point first). Why do we think having free will is a good thing? Our will by nature desires nothing but to sin. No-one does good, not even one. Let’s not rejoice in something free from God’s intervention that is so wicked without God’s intervention.

    First, you can’t say “I don’t do predestination” and still say you believe in the bible. Paul himself uses the word predestined. Romans 8:28-30

    “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”

    You might mean you don’t believe in Calvinism (see below), or don’t believe that predestination is incompatible with free will (see below) but you hopefully don’t believe in predestination, because that’d be denying the bible is the word of God.

    Secondly, this got said in the other thread more or less, but it probably bears repeating. Calvinism, or a Calvinistic theology, is vastly misunderstood. People seem to think that it says that God plays every action as a grand puppet controller. What it actually says is that because you cannot save yourself, God who saves you entirely, not for any thing that you have done, but because God is good.

    Thirdly, free will is a stupid term, because no-one knows what it means. Don’t believe me? Try and explain the difference between free will and just general will.

    Fourthly, there is a range in biblical views concerning God’s handling of man’s will. That Luther quote above, and as far as In know (I’m on less solid ground here) of the work of the Reformers doesn’t seem to be bothered whether God chooses mans every actions or whether man chooses his own actions, but rather they emphasis that because man is sinful, man will always choose sin. Luther’s way of thinking is that the will is in bondage to Satan and so cannot choose to do good, therefore God must come in and release the captives.

    Fifthly, and specifically @drew, you’re entirely right when you say:

    “It has to be pointed out here that Luther was a flat earth believer – even in the face of the evidence. Whilst that proves nothing it’s comforting to know that even giants of the faith can get all religious and sometimes even be wrong! (good heavens)”

    You’re right, it proves nothing, so you can’t just dismiss it out of hand.

    That awesome Luther quote is so good, because he rightfully shows us that because of our own sinful nature, if it was in our power to choose to obey God or not, we would choose to not obey. Thank our God in heaven that rather than listening to our sinful desires he chooses to send his Son to die for us to break us out of our bondage to Satan and change our hearts from a desire to sin and commit evil to desire and love him. Oh the joy that we have because we don’t have to try and appease God, we don’t have to earn his favour, but rather he forgives us on the basis of his Son and welcomes us in to his kingdom.

    But now that God has taken my salvation out of the control of my own will, and put it under the control of His, and promised to save me, not according to my working or running, but according to His own grace and mercy, I have the comfortable certainty that He is faithful and will not lie to me, and that He is also great and powerful, so that no devils or opposition can break Him or pluck me from Him. ‘No one,” He says, ‘Shall pluck them out of my hand, because my Father which gave them me is greater than all’

  10. Stumpy says:

    Mark – interesting post and lots ot agree with there.
    I do think that our will is not completely and exclusively set to to sin; there is scope for completely altruistic ‘willings’ for no personal gain, no sin involved etc etc. I do think everyone has that as part of their being, its just that, using the ‘will’ example, not all ‘will’ it.
    I cant imagine the God as described in the New Testament wanting his creation to be miserably controlled by a rigid set of doctrines dogmas, predestined actions and a complete inability to have an (in part, granted) sin free way of acting and conducting oneself.

  11. zefi says:

    And after that he got some money from his insurance coverage that he used to pay off his large amount of debt, something he’s been praying for since forever…

  12. Timbo says:

    Would the insurance pay out for an act of God?

  13. Gavin says:

    The problem with predestination is that I sit here wondering whether to write or not. Whichever I choose, whether to write or whether not to write, I am predestined to make that choice. Sucks doesn’t it?

  14. Mark says:

    @gavin.

    Not actually predestination that. Sorry. Neither is the cartoon. Predestination is God choosing before creation who will be saved not on the basis of what that person will do, but on the basis of who his son is.
    While God indeed is sovereign over everything and does indeed have control over whether you wrote or not, that’s not predestination.

  15. God says:

    I knew you would say that!

  16. janetp says:

    Stumpy (2) & Zefi (12): Love the comments! :lol:

  17. drew says:

    God 16 – good to have your input here. Thanks for joining in.

  18. drew says:

    Carole – still ROFL here!

  19. rebecca says:

    If God is posting on this blog, then we had better all behave ourselves.

    Only joking. This is Richard Holloway’s comment on predestination: he thought it would make a good Monty Python sketch. And he doesn’t think it is good news even for the saved. If God decides arbitrarily who will end up in heaven and who will end up in the gas chamber, nobody should want to spend eternity in heaven.

    In short (this is my comment, not Holloway’s), if predestination is the way the world works, we’re all doomed — so we might as well live on the basis that it’s not the way the world works. That enables us to retain some integrity, and I happen to believe that integrity is something which God values.

  20. shelly says:

    Martin Luther = smart fella in this regard. *nods*

  21. AnneDroid says:

    Mark #10 I enjoyed that wee sermonette. Seriously. Thanks for taking the time to spell it all out.

    I, too, understand predestination to be talking about salvation.

    A simplistic version of the Arminian v Calvinist debate is that the Arminian position is that we choose to become Christians (“make a decision for Christ”) and the Calvinist position is that God chooses and calls us from before the world was made.

    I am happy to say they’re both right, because there are loads of Bible texts to back up either position.

    My reconciliation is that we see a door in front of us with all the Bible texts inviting us to take the DECISION to go through it. Once we have gone through and we look back at the other side of the door (perhaps not at once but as we mature) we see all the Bible texts indicating that God took all the initiative with our salvation and it wasn’t our doing so much as we thought it was.

    Many a Christian has told me that this is how it was for them, too. So it’s not just me!

  22. Laura says:

    jon- Rolling on the Floor Laughing

  23. AnneDroid:
    Great synopsis. Despite working with a traditional Lutheran church right now, I’m less than convinced about predestination: it seems to make two grades of people, the ones God likes, and the ones he doeasn’t like, which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I’ve heard it used as an excuse when an “Outreach” doesn’t bring in the numbers, as in: “They aren’t called and chosen” which frankly gives me the creeps and makes me look for the kool-aid stash. It can also be used to justify all manner of social and racial predjudice, which dear old Luther was famous for.

    Pedestrianism, on the other hand, I can work with…

  24. Carole says:

    Oh! I thought it was Reverends Often Feel Lethargic!

  25. Robb says:

    I remember fondly the day an elderly church warden came and told me she was having a CBA day. Needless to say, she thought it meant something slightly different………

  26. I often wonder how Saul fits into the chosen before, predestined and mapped out theory.

  27. subo says:

    shit happens

  28. janetp says:

    Am I going to regret asking what a CBA day is, Robb (28)? ;)

  29. Robb says:

    Can’t be ar$ed…

  30. Robb says:

    …to tell you ;)

  31. beatthedrum says:

    Hmmm predestined to be saved yes!

    Predestined to get hit by a car erm no.

  32. zefi says:

    Seems to me that no matter where one stands, God loses.

    Don’t believe in predestination, and people would argue that God is not sovereign, that there’s thing He can’t control. (You can argue about Him choosing not to, but that’s another story)

    Believe in predestination, and God get all the blame for every bad thing that happens, while for every good things, humans would hold a celebration to worship themselves because they’re so great that good things happen to them.

  33. zefi says:

    My own last statement reminds me of the dog and cat theology. Heh. :P

  34. Robb says:

    Hmmm predestined to be saved yes!

    Predestined to get hit by a car erm no.

    The problem is that the two are linked together. People often use the argument that God doesn’t exist because of suffering, therefore the suffering is the vehicle for not being saved.

  35. janetp says:

    Robb (32): Thanks for the piece of edification. I’m definitely having one of those days today … :) Like your point @ 37 too. Hadn’t thought of it like that.

    Zefi (35/36): Absolutely. Seems to me we smart-arsed humans are determined to come out on top no matter what, at least in the ‘I-told-you-so’ stakes! ;) What is dog and cat theology?

  36. subo says:

    I do believe God comes to us in our darkest moments, that it’s the tenderness of Her touch that invites us to cry out for God

    i.e., shit happens, but we find a surprise, we believe it could be different, we reach the end of our resources – and cry out to God, because experience has shown us somehow He’s listening

    it’s not that we’ve earnt His selection of us, but that She chose us, to reveal Her Glory – that bit might take a while with me

  37. jonbirch says:

    robb… thanks for comment 37… i’ve been wanting to make that point all along, but this is my first chance to comment in a while and even now i should be working. :-)

  38. beatthedrum says:

    I dont see the link at all Robb between predestination (to be saved) and shit happening.

    Can you explain further

  39. janetp says:

    Robb (37): “suffering is the vehicle for not being saved” Was that a terrible pun, or merely a Freudian slip … ? :)

  40. Gavz says:

    Predestined to be saved or not?

    Seems like both the positions outlined have a narrow view of salvation.

    @Mark – if you take such a narrow view, then of course, you are right in saying that making a post on this page isn’t part of the outworking of my salvation.

    Or is it?

  41. lolori says:

    Mark, excellent points in #10. You are a thinking man and I appreciate that. AnneDroid, #24, you put that SO well. I also, thought I was choosing God, but when I looked back… I realized He was after me all along… wooing me like a Lover.

    I think God is just too complex for us, and He gives us glimpses into how He works, but it’s difficult for our minds to grasp it all. I think some call it a Divine Mystery. I’m ok with a God I can’t always understand — He should be WAY bigger than me and more complex.

    Lori

  42. JF says:

    So why evangelise? If God is picking people for salvation then you might as well stay in and watch Freaky Eaters (which is what I plan to do tonight) while He organises the lightning flashes.

  43. jonbirch says:

    that’s what i don’t get jf.
    if it’s all sewn up, why bother with anything?

  44. jonbirch says:

    gavz… yeh, you’re right. what’s the point in me posting cartoons, if it’s all sewn up anyway? none. or maybe there is no point anyway! :-)

  45. andy t says:

    predestination I really don’t buy it, doesn’t it just null and void the whole point of everything! God created us in his image why? because he wants an interpersonal relationship with us, I have a relationship with my beautiful wife but I don’t have a relationship with my computer. God wants us to come to him through are free will not because he has chosen us, I just can’t see a God sat on some production line going pass pass pass, err reject, pass…..it make us no more than a very technical computers. I believe he loves us because we mess up get it wrong make good decision and bad ones, he loves us because we have free will because we can argue with him discuss things with him, feel pain and happiness. I think if i was God I’d be pretty fed up if I had to spend an eternity with a bunch of robots that just followed their programing.

  46. jonbirch says:

    agreed, andy t.
    but, may i suggest that if you had an apple mac you’d would fall in love with your computer. i have with mine. :-)

  47. jonbirch says:

    … mind you, when my mac gets old i’ll discard it for a newer even fresher model… i’ll not be doing that with clare! :-)

  48. steve lancaster says:

    Jon (50),

    And there’s the thing… we have (are?) a built-in self-upgrader.

    Kind of interesting the way you can use this bit of kit. Emma says to me she’ll stick with me because she wants to find out what makes me tick. Whenever she gets close, I seem to upgrade! And the same is very much true for her when I get close. Maybe it’s the same with us and God?

    Perhaps we are predestined to evolve (however you understand the term) beyond our predestination – and that’s the gospel in a nutshell.

  49. steve lancaster says:

    …Or maybe I sometimes downgrade?

    Hello, again, by the way. DIY over – computer back out of box!

  50. Laura says:

    Andy@48- where in the Bible does it say this “because he wants an interpersonal relationship with us”

    True question. I know it’s a popular idea and expression. But I’m at a loss to figure out exactly where in the Bible it says God wants suchs a relationship in those terms.

    Help me out would ya?

  51. andy amoss says:

    If you will be my people, i will be your God?

  52. zefi says:

    Zefi (35/36): Absolutely. Seems to me we smart-arsed humans are determined to come out on top no matter what, at least in the ‘I-told-you-so’ stakes! ;) What is dog and cat theology?

    Dog: “This fella here pet me, feed me, shelter me, love me. This fella must be God!”

    Cat: “This fella here pet me, feed me, shelter me, love me.

    I must be God!”

  53. zefi says:

    I think predestination, just like faith, is misunderstood.

    Some think that if they have faith that God will provide for them, they would just sit around waiting for money or food to be delivered to their doorstep.

    The correct thing is, if you have faith that God will provide for you, you should be out there doing any work that would provide you with money or food because you believe God will give them to you!

    The fact is, to receive something you have to extend your hands, not keeping it in your pocket!

    I am a compatibilist and when I say I believe in predestination,
    I believe that God has a plan for my life, a plan to prosper me and not to harm me.
    I also believe that all things work together for the good of those who love God.

    I think what we’re addressing here is the wrong definition of biblical predestination, rather than predestination itself.

    And to those who do not think that (biblical) predestination and free will can be compatible, then can you believe it when I say that I can be both inside and outside the room at the same time? ;)

  54. AnneDroid says:

    Another factor to chuck in to the ring is to think about what it means when it says in the Bible that those God FOREKNEW he also predestined.

    I think there’s a clue in there, too.

    I think it’s okay and we don’t need to panic. There isn’t the contradiciton there that people fear there is – I must be a compatibilist, zefi. Woohoo! A new name for myself. I’m Anne. I’m a compatibilist.

    Those whom God FOREKNEW he also predestined. Maybe God chose the ones he knew would choose him?!?! This is what I was trying to say above #24.

    The thing is, if God made time, and time didn’t exist before he made it, then he was doing all his predestining and foreknowing outside time, so it wasn’t perhaps as “before” or “in advance” as we think – he was outside time looking in. Yes, okay, I admit it I don’t understand what I’m saying but that’s because it is totally impossible for me to imagine being outside time.

    The point is, I reckon, to quote Jonesy in Dad’s Army, “Don’t panic. DON’T PANIC”. It’s okay that we don’t understand it.

  55. Carole says:

    Can I have your old mac when you’ve finished with it ? :-)

  56. zefi says:

    The thing is, if God made time, and time didn’t exist before he made it, then he was doing all his predestining and foreknowing outside time, so it wasn’t perhaps as “before” or “in advance” as we think – he was outside time looking in. Yes, okay, I admit it I don’t understand what I’m saying but that’s because it is totally impossible for me to imagine being outside time.

    According to some people’s rule, what you cannot imagine cannot exist, fellow compatibilist :P

  57. AnneDroid says:

    What a funny rule, zefi :)

    I can’t imagine all sorts of things that definitely exist.

    I can’t imagine you!

  58. Laura says:

    Andy Amoss @54..was that in response to my @53?

    That’s as good an answer as any I’ve seen, but I’m still not sure that it means God wants to have an interpersonal relationship with each of us. Wasn’t that addressed to a nation?

    Can’t wrap my head around this thought.

  59. andy amoss says:

    Hi Laura,

    Yeah it was an attempt.
    Aren’t you, as an individual, part of the people of God?

  60. jonbirch says:

    yes you can carole. you’ll have to wait a few months. but then… :-)

    this is an interesting thread. thanks guys’n’gals! :-)

  61. andy amoss says:

    Hi Laura, I feel like i want to say a bit more about the personal relationship bit because, as i read what i’ve said, it seems i’m advocating a position i don’t entirely hold.
    I believe that God is deeply woven into and through the whole of life, in all the ways it’s lived, including animals, plants, cells etc. I also believe that God is addressing a people group when She says ‘If you will be my people, I will be your God’, and that we do need to take very seriously a corporate response, and responsibility, for that.
    I see that there is a huge emphasis on our ‘personal conversion’ and our ‘personal relationship’ to the detriment of the two wider pictures, and whilst i want to challenge that (a lot), we cannot move totally away from it. Our personal interaction with God remains a linch pin in whole picture of God’s dealings with creation.

  62. Laura says:

    Andy Amos – Thanks for the clarification Gonna think a while and get back to ya.

  63. Pingback: CRN.Info and Analysis » Blog Archive » Predestination

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