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  • Fred April 29, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    So let me see if I have this right. If ‘predestination’ and ‘free choice’ are on the opposite ends of the same continuum, and let’s say that we are traveling from predestination to free choice, along the way we first encounter some choice, then we encounter a little bit more choice, and so on until we reach a point where there is quite a bit of choice and very little predestination. How am doing so far? Now, if I have this right, to prevent this process from getting completely out-of-hand it must be used in conjunction with and governed by a relationship with God. Is that correct? Otherwise, the individual would use his/her free choice for his own desires which might contradict the One who establishes the predestination. (The closer I am to the Lord, the more my free choice will be modified by that very closeness, and the farther I am from the Lord, predestination will be used since my choice will be more self-gratifying because of my distance from the Lord.) I look forward to learning more about Hebrew verbs.

    • Michael April 29, 2010 at 6:22 pm

      Hi Fred,

      Those are very interesting questions regarding “predestination” and “free choice.”

      And the “fearing and saving” in the Psalms was very interesting too.

      I don’t think we are travelling from free choice to predestination in space, if that is what you mean.

      Rather I’m wondering if we aren’t travelling across space in time (imagine a cross).

      And that at every point in time, we are predestined on the one hand.

      And have a free choice on the other?

      • Fred April 29, 2010 at 6:36 pm

        Hi Michael,

        I wasn’t suggesting that we are traveling or not; I just used that as an example to determine how in degrees one can go from predestination to free choice. To use the Word For Today on the absence of faith is sin, to go from sin to absolute faith, there would be lesser and lesser sin along the way. I don’t know if that is correct or not – still learning ;-).

        • Michael April 29, 2010 at 10:40 pm

          “degrees one can go from predestination to free choice”

          Hi Fred,

          Frankly, I’ve never really discussed predestination with anybody before, so I’m not exactly on “terra firma” here.

          When you say one can go from predestination to free choice, I think you imply movement.

          But I think the relationship between predestination and free choice is “static,” rather than “dynamic;” there is no movement and the relationship does not change, as far as I know.

          If you think of the “crosshairs” of time and space, wherever you point the crosshairs you have predestination and free will.

          Unlike the relationship between free will and sin, which is dynamic.

          We always have free will and predestination, but we don’t always sin.

          We can choose to move the crosshairs of free will and predestination toward sin or away from sin or, as in your example, from sin to faith

          In any case, that’s my common sense view of the issue.

          Hope it helps 🙂

    • Skip Moen April 30, 2010 at 3:37 am

      I think perhaps a bit more clarification will help. Free choice and predestination are not opposites. When we think of them that way, we consider them as if they are Greek concepts. The Hebrew view is to see the admixture of both across the entire spectrum of action – both human and divine. My choices are becoming – I am moving toward something and away from something. At the same time, God’s election is active – a process of becoming too – that shows itself in and within the choices of my own progress. It’s not as if I move from one to another. It is rather to recognize that the two are intertwined in each and every step.

      More to come about all this.

      • Michael April 30, 2010 at 5:34 am

        Hi Skip,

        Thanks for the clarification, I’m just trying to understand the relationship myself.

        Skip: Free choice and predestination are not opposites.

        Mike: On the “surface” they seem like a contradiction; how can we have free choice if God has already planned everything out for us?

        Mike: Are you saying that in the Hebrew view, we are always “relatively” free and “relatively” predestined?

        Note: Maybe I was implying that we were always absolutely free and absolutely predestined at the same time. I tend to think we can control our own destiny And that God has already planned it ahead of time.

        Skip: At the same time, God’s election is active.

        Mike: What do you mean by election?

        Skip: It’s not as if I move from one to another. It is rather to recognize that the two are intertwined in each and every step.

        Mike: That’s how I see it. A good friend of mine, who is like my younger brother, and my wife get frustrated by me because they say I see everything in “black or white.” But I don’t 🙂

        • Skip Moen April 30, 2010 at 5:57 am

          Yeah, color is so much more interesting.

  • Amanda Youngblood April 30, 2010 at 4:44 am

    I think of it like a really HUGE tree. G-d knows every branch the tree makes, so no matter what choice or branch I choose, He’s been there and has seen every contingency/choice I could make from that point, too. And, since He made the tree, He can make new branches grow to suit His purpose. So, yes, I have a choice which branch to take, but no matter what branch I take, G-d already know all my options from that point out. He sees every option/choice for every situation I encounter. As I make decisions, the ones I don’t take fall away. It’s kind of complicated to try and explain. I can see it in my head. It’s predestination and choice all mixed up in one, sort of. But explaining it is like explaining eternity (I’ve tried to do that before… to explain the vision I had of it, but it’s pretty darn hard to put into words).

    🙂 I’m interested to listen to this mp3. I’m working on the Matthew ones right now.

    • Amanda Youngblood April 30, 2010 at 4:59 am
      That’s the link to my blog where I go into a little more depth about my thought, if you’re curious. 🙂 Sorry, if we’re not supposed to post links!

    • Michael April 30, 2010 at 5:44 am

      Hi Amanda,

      I like your picture of the tree.

      A picture is worth a 1000 words 🙂

      • Skip Moen April 30, 2010 at 6:02 am

        In my study of the structure of time (with H. Newton-Smith at Oxford), the idea of branching time is quite powerful. Most theological constructs deal with time as linear, and consequently, struggle with the biblical emphasis on freedom of choice within a conceptual picture of God’s infallible knowledge. But the Greek linear model is flawed in spite of its endorsement by Augustine, Aquinas and most contemporary conservative theology. Branching time is far more Aristotelean than Platonic and contains powerful explanatory implications for freedom and sovereignty. Amazingly, biblical Hebrew does not share the linear model either – more to be said about this later.

        If you are really interested, and willing to really struggle with the history and the arguments, then you might want to read my dissertation, “God, TIme and the Limits of Omniscience.” But only if you are really interested.

        • Amanda Youngblood April 30, 2010 at 8:18 pm

          Because I’m a glutton for punishment, and morbidly curious, where might I find a copy of your dissertation? It sounds interesting.

          I think I remember that once you said that the Hebrew people didn’t see time linearly, but as kind of a rolling wheel where things go in cycles but are never the same because it’s moving? I’m a bit fuzzy. I look forward to further information. 🙂

        • L Brown July 27, 2010 at 5:20 pm

          I too would like to read your dissertation, but have not been able to Google it or find it available on this site. Where can we get it?

          • Skip Moen July 27, 2010 at 8:22 pm

            It is available in the archives of the Bodleian Library at Oxford which might be a bit difficult to get to. I also have an electronic copy which I can send to you. I will do so in awhile. Got a bunch on my plate right now.

          • Rodney July 27, 2010 at 9:23 pm

            Skip, please add me to the list, too :-).

  • Amanda Youngblood May 21, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    I finally got a chance to listen to this mp3! It’s awesome! I used the principle of the ABCBA pattern when I finished reading Psalm 34 and found another pattern set at the end of the psalm, too! How cool is that?! I love it! Now when I read other psalms I can look for this same pattern of emphasis in them, too!

    I blogged about it this morning (granted, not my clearest articulations – it seems sometimes it doesn’t come out of my head properly).

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