Archive for Reformed Theology Institute RTI, founded July 2008, is a venue for Reformed theology, education, training, and discussion.
 


       Reformed Theology Institute Forum Index -> God and the Trinity
Tsukasa

The Decretive and Preceptive Will of God.

This text confuses me. It seems to indicate that God's decrees are violable and his precepts are inviolable. I thought it was the other way around. For instance, God decreed that man would sin but precepted for man to not sin. Surely I am misreading this somehow...

Hodge's Systematic Theology I.V.9.C wrote:
The decretive will of God concerns his purposes, and relates to the futurition of events. The preceptive will relates to the rule of duty for his rational creatures. He decrees whatever he purposes to effect or to permit. He prescribes, according to his own will, what his creatures should do, or abstain from doing. The decretive and preceptive will of God can never be in conflict. God never decrees to do, or to cause others to do, what He forbids. He may, as we see He does, decree to permit what He forbids. He permits men to sin, although sin is forbidden. This is more scholastically expressed by the theologians by saying, A positive decretive will cannot consist with a negative preceptive will; i.e., God cannot decree to make men sin. But a negative decretive will may consist with an affirmative preceptive will; e.g., God may command men to repent and believe, and yet, for wise reasons, abstain from giving them repentance.
Ask Mr. Religion

Re: The Decretive and Preceptive Will of God.

Tsukasa wrote:
This text confuses me. It seems to indicate that God's decrees are violable and his precepts are inviolable. I thought it was the other way around. For instance, God decreed that man would sin but precepted for man to not sin. Surely I am misreading this somehow...

Hodge's Systematic Theology I.V.9.C wrote:
The decretive will of God concerns his purposes, and relates to the futurition of events. The preceptive will relates to the rule of duty for his rational creatures. He decrees whatever he purposes to effect or to permit. He prescribes, according to his own will, what his creatures should do, or abstain from doing. The decretive and preceptive will of God can never be in conflict. God never decrees to do, or to cause others to do, what He forbids. He may, as we see He does, decree to permit what He forbids. He permits men to sin, although sin is forbidden. This is more scholastically expressed by the theologians by saying, A positive decretive will cannot consist with a negative preceptive will; i.e., God cannot decree to make men sin. But a negative decretive will may consist with an affirmative preceptive will; e.g., God may command men to repent and believe, and yet, for wise reasons, abstain from giving them repentance.
Hodge has it correct, so what in the above causes you to see what he has written differently? God's decree to permit sin, not make men sin, is not out of accord with Hodge's excellent discussion. Wink God wills righteously what men do wickedly.
Tsukasa

Re: The Decretive and Preceptive Will of God.

Ask Mr. Religion wrote:
Tsukasa wrote:
This text confuses me. It seems to indicate that God's decrees are violable and his precepts are inviolable. I thought it was the other way around. For instance, God decreed that man would sin but precepted for man to not sin. Surely I am misreading this somehow...

Hodge's Systematic Theology I.V.9.C wrote:
The decretive will of God concerns his purposes, and relates to the futurition of events. The preceptive will relates to the rule of duty for his rational creatures. He decrees whatever he purposes to effect or to permit. He prescribes, according to his own will, what his creatures should do, or abstain from doing. The decretive and preceptive will of God can never be in conflict. God never decrees to do, or to cause others to do, what He forbids. He may, as we see He does, decree to permit what He forbids. He permits men to sin, although sin is forbidden. This is more scholastically expressed by the theologians by saying, A positive decretive will cannot consist with a negative preceptive will; i.e., God cannot decree to make men sin. But a negative decretive will may consist with an affirmative preceptive will; e.g., God may command men to repent and believe, and yet, for wise reasons, abstain from giving them repentance.
Hodge has it correct, so what in the above causes you to see what he has written differently? God's decree to permit sin, not make men sin, is not out of accord with Hodge's excellent discussion. Wink God wills righteously what men do wickedly.


"Man will sin" is a positive decree.
"Man should not sin" is a negative precept.
But Hodge says " A positive decretive will cannot consist with a negative preceptive will; i.e., God cannot decree to make men sin."

and

"Although, in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first Cause, all things come to pass immutably, and infallibly; yet, by the same providence, he ordereth them to fall out, according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently." WCF 5.2.
God decreed positively that man would sin (Adam freely, his progeny contingently).
Presbyterian Deacon

Re: The Decretive and Preceptive Will of God.

Tsukasa wrote:
"Man will sin" is a positive decree.
"Man should not sin" is a negative precept.
But Hodge says " A positive decretive will cannot consist with a negative preceptive will; i.e., God cannot decree to make men sin."


Tsukasa:

Observe more closely this part of Hodge's statement--

Quote:
The decretive and preceptive will of God can never be in conflict. God never decrees to do, or to cause others to do, what He forbids. He may, as we see He does, decree to permit what He forbids. He permits men to sin, although sin is forbidden.


God has not decreed that men will sin in Hodge's theology, but according to Hodge--God has decreed to permit the sin He has forbidden. He does not cause men to sin.
Tsukasa

Re: The Decretive and Preceptive Will of God.

Presbyterian Deacon wrote:
Tsukasa wrote:
"Man will sin" is a positive decree.
"Man should not sin" is a negative precept.
But Hodge says " A positive decretive will cannot consist with a negative preceptive will; i.e., God cannot decree to make men sin."


Tsukasa:

Observe more closely this part of Hodge's statement--

Quote:
The decretive and preceptive will of God can never be in conflict. God never decrees to do, or to cause others to do, what He forbids. He may, as we see He does, decree to permit what He forbids. He permits men to sin, although sin is forbidden.


God has not decreed that men will sin in Hodge's theology, but according to Hodge--God has decreed to permit the sin He has forbidden. He does not cause men to sin.

Thanks PD. The bolding helps a lot :D

So in a sense, decretive will is permissive will? If only a single course of action is permitted, then it is also effectual/necessary (and God is the author, even if man is the efficient cause). If multiple courses of actions are permitted, then it is contingent on (man's) free will (and God is not the author, but still the first cause).

Then, positive decretive will is what is possible and negative decretive will is what is impossible and positive preceptive will is what is required and negative will is what is forbidden. Why does God require of man what is impossible for him (negative decretive will + positive preceptive will)? Shouldn't it be the reverse (i.e. God should only require what is possible for man)?

The command that God gave to Adam can rightly be called a precept because it was possible for Adam to obey. But the Law (Torah) should not be called a precept because it was impossible for Israel to obey. Even after the Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost, the Law was impossible for the Church to obey.

I'm still confused.
marno

Re: The Decretive and Preceptive Will of God.

Tsukasa wrote:
The command that God gave to Adam can rightly be called a precept because it was possible for Adam to obey. But the Law (Torah) should not be called a precept because it was impossible for Israel to obey. Even after the Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost, the Law was impossible for the Church to obey.
I'm still confused.


It is still our duty to obey the precepts of God. Our moral inability is not a result of creation, but of our rebellion, first in Adam, and reinforced by our own sinful actions. Our rebellion and sin do not relieve us of our duty to obey.

Quote:
the Law (Torah) should not be called a precept...


This is easily answered. Scripture calls it such:

Psalms 19:8 The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

Amen! †Yes
Tsukasa

Okay hmm... What if I say,

God's decrees state what man may or must do.
God's precepts state what man should do.

Man cannot be sinless yet God precepts that man should be sinless.
However, Man's inability to be sinless is not the result of God's negative decree (i.e. Man must not sin) but the result of God's positive decree (i.e. Man may sin).

?
Ask Mr. Religion

Tsukasa wrote:
Okay hmm... What if I say,
How about this for some background:

http://www.desiringgod.org/resour...ticles/are-there-two-wills-in-god

Piper gets a bit mushy here and there, but all in all, I think this will get you thinking clearer about the topic, brother.

Godís decretive will is that will of God by which He purposes or decrees whatever must come to pass, whether He wills to accomplish this effectively (causatively), or to permit it to occur through the unrestrained agency of His creatures. Godís preceptive will are the rules of life which God has laid down for His moral creatures, indicating the duties which He enjoins upon His creatures. Godís decretive will is always accomplished, while Godís preceptive will is often disobeyed. A careful reading of Scriptures shows that Godís decretive will includes many things which God forbids in His preceptive will, and excludes many things which He commands in His preceptive will, see Gen. 22; Ex. 4:21-23; II Kings 20:1-7; Acts 2:23. Yet we must maintain both the decretive and preceptive will of God with the understanding that, while they appear to us as distinct, they are yet fundamentally one in God.
Presbyterian Deacon

Ask Mr. Religion wrote:
Tsukasa wrote:
Okay hmm... What if I say,
How about this for some background:

http://www.desiringgod.org/resour...ticles/are-there-two-wills-in-god


Also see: The Will of God by R.C.Sproul

The Will of God
by R. C. Sproul

Doris Day sang a popular song entitled "Que Sera, Sera," "What will be, will be." At first glance this theme communicates a kind of fatalism that is depressing. Islamic theology frequently says of specific events, "It is the will of Allah."

The Bible is deeply concerned about the will of God---His sovereign authority over His creation and everything in it. When we speak about God's will we do so in at least three different ways. The broader concept is known as God's decretive, sovereign, or hidden will. By this, theologians refer to the will of God by which He sovereignly ordains everything that comes to pass. Because God is sovereign and His will can never be frustrated, we can be sure that nothing happens over which He is not in control. He at least must "permit" whatever happens to happen. Yet even when God passively permits things to happen, He chooses to permit them in that He always has the power and right to intervene and prevent the actions and events of this world. Insofar as He lets things happen, He has "willed" them in this certain sense.

Though God's sovereign will is often hidden from us until after it comes to pass, there is one aspect of His will that is plain to us---His preceptive will. Here God reveals His will through His holy law. For example, it is the will of God that we do not steal; that we love our enemies; that we repent; that we be holy. This aspect of God's will is revealed in His Word as well as in our conscience, by which God has written His moral law upon our heart.

His laws, whether they be found in the Scripture or in the heart, are binding. We have no authority to violate this will. We have the power or ability to thwart the preceptive will of God, though never the right to do so. Nor can we excuse ourselves for sinning by saying, "Que sera, sera." It may be God's sovereign or hidden will that we be "permitted" to sin, as he brings His sovereign will to pass even through and by means of the sinful acts of people. God ordained that Jesus be betrayed by the instrument of Judas's treachery. Yet this makes Judas's sin no less evil or treacherous. When God "permits" us to break His preceptive will, it is not to be understood as permission in the moral sense of His granting us a moral right. His permission gives us the power, but not the right to sin.

The third way the Bible speaks of the will of God is with respect to God's will of disposition. This will describes God's attitude. It defines what is pleasing to Him. For example, God takes no delight in the death of the wicked, yet He most surely wills or decrees the death of the wicked. God's ultimate delight is in His own holiness and righteousness. When He judges the world, He delights in the vindication of His own righteousness and justice, yet He is not gleeful in a vindictive sense toward those who receive His judgment. God is pleased when we find our pleasure in obedience. He is sorely displeased when we are disobedient.

Many Christians become preoccupied or even obsessed with finding the "will" of God for their lives. If the will we are seeking is His secret, hidden, or decretive will, then our quest is a fool's errand. The secret counsel of God is His secret. He has not been pleased to make it known to us. Far from being a mark of spirituality,the quest for God's secret will is an unwarranted invasion of God's privacy. God's secret counsel is none of our business. This is partly why the Bible takes such a negative view of fortune-telling, necromancy, and other forms of prohibited practices.

We would be wise to follow the counsel of John Calvin when he said, "When God closes His holy mouth, I will desist from inquiry." The true mark of spirituality is seen in those seeking to know the will of God that is revealed in His preceptive will. It is the godly person who meditates on God's law day and night. While we seek to be "led" by the Holy Spirit, it is vital to remember that the Holy Spirit is primarily leading us into righteousness. We are called to live our lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. It is His revealed will that is our business, indeed, the chief business of our lives.

Summary

1. The three meanings of the will of God:

(a) Sovereign decretive will, the will by which God brings to pass
whatsoever He decrees. This is hidden to us until it happens.

(b) Preceptive will is God's revealed law or commandments, which we have the
power but not the right to break.

(c) Will of disposition describes God's attitude or disposition. It reveals
what is pleasing to Him.

2. God's sovereign "permission" of human sin is not His moral approval.

Chapter 22
pages 67-69
Essentials Truths Of The Christian Faith
by R. C. Sproul © (Tyndale 1992)
Presbyterian Deacon


Link
marno

Yes, I remember Sproul would also say, what did you do yesterday? I did such-and-so. Well, that was God's will for you yesterday.  Laughing
Tsukasa

Thanks for the replies everyone. I've been thinking about it for a while and hopefully I'm closer to the answers I'm looking for.

What caused me to twist the concept of precept was the statement that "The decretive and preceptive will of God can never be in conflict". I understand that God is not obligated to redeem fallen man, but if God gives precepts to fallen man (ones that were not given to Adam) must man be able to follow them? That is the tension that I am wrestling with. I think the answer to this question is "yes" but I need to give a little background first.

Patrick said that "Yet we must maintain both the decretive and preceptive will of God with the understanding that, while they appear to us as distinct, they are yet fundamentally one in God." This is in reference to the simplicity of God. God is sovereign, holy, and glorious in and of himself and does not derive any of His attributes from His creation. This means that somehow the following seemingly antithetical concepts must be harmonized:
1) God's sovereignty and man's free will
2) God's holiness and redemption of sinful man
3) God's glory and Jesus' humiliation
So too, must decretive and preceptive wills be harmonized.

However the term "decretive will" is misleading. Only some of God's decretive will are commands/orders (i.e. decrees in the vulgar sense); others are permits. The two terms are not interchangeable. And yet in light of God's sovereignty, God directly supervises the commission of sin. It is not as though He has left man to his own devices. God Himself supplies the means and the opportunity; all man needs is a motive. So while God may not be the Author of man's crimes, He is still an active accomplice (of sorts). God does less than decreeing sin, but more than permitting it.

The term "hidden will" is a little better I think. As John Calvin said "When God closes His holy mouth, I will desist from inquiry." I cannot say that I know God's will for yesterday. How could I tell which deed was accomplished by the influence of the Holy Spirit or the influence of the Devil/flesh (or the influence of the Holy Spirit by the influence of the Devil/flesh)? But what if God opens His holy mouth? If some of God's decretive will is revealed in Scripture it still considered hidden? Certainly man is fated to know less than he has been taught. But revelation is called revelation because it reveals what was once hidden.

I think "sovereign will" is the most apt description here. God is in complete control over all his creation and this includes sustaining sinners for a time (and not merely permitting them to sin). Does this make it harder to justify to ourselves that God is not the Author of sin? I don't think so. It is sufficient, I think, to view the history of man's depravity in light of God's glory which will be revealed in His time; God has chosen to use sin to display His holiness, His glory, and -yes- even His sovereignty.

I think "preceptive will" is an equally apt description. My mistake with saying that the Torah is not preceptive is because of taking a narrow view of it. In one sense, it is true that no one is able to obey the Law. But in another sense, there are enough stipulations for forgiveness when the Law is broken (i.e. the sacerdotal system). And again, the Torah is almost entirely symbolic; the signs are there but not the substance. But as God had promised a substantial redeemer (beginning with the protoevangelium in Gen 3:14-15), the redemption of man can be viewed as a done-deal (i.e. that which God had decreed to do) and even though evil continues to persist in this world, we are to view evil as defeated by God's holiness even though it has not happened yet in time.

In light of God's decrees and precepts, I sometimes feel as dumbstruck as the disciples when Jesus said "You give them something to eat" at the feeding of the five thousand. After all, what can I possibly do with what I have? But instead of looking at what I have as insufficient for God's purposes, I have to look at what I have as sufficient for my part in God's work.
marno

Tsukasa wrote:
In light of God's decrees and precepts, I sometimes feel as dumbstruck as the disciples when Jesus said "You give them something to eat" at the feeding of the five thousand. After all, what can I possibly do with what I have? But instead of looking at what I have as insufficient for God's purposes, I have to look at what I have as sufficient for my part in God's work.


Well said!  Good Post
ShawnWarner

Tsukasa wrote:
Thanks for the replies everyone. I've been thinking about it for a while and hopefully I'm closer to the answers I'm looking for.

What caused me to twist the concept of precept was the statement that "The decretive and preceptive will of God can never be in conflict". I understand that God is not obligated to redeem fallen man, but if God gives precepts to fallen man (ones that were not given to Adam) must man be able to follow them? That is the tension that I am wrestling with. I think the answer to this question is "yes" but I need to give a little background first.

Patrick said that "Yet we must maintain both the decretive and preceptive will of God with the understanding that, while they appear to us as distinct, they are yet fundamentally one in God." This is in reference to the simplicity of God. God is sovereign, holy, and glorious in and of himself and does not derive any of His attributes from His creation. This means that somehow the following seemingly antithetical concepts must be harmonized:
1) God's sovereignty and man's free will
2) God's holiness and redemption of sinful man
3) God's glory and Jesus' humiliation
So too, must decretive and preceptive wills be harmonized.

However the term "decretive will" is misleading. Only some of God's decretive will are commands/orders (i.e. decrees in the vulgar sense); others are permits. The two terms are not interchangeable. And yet in
led light of God's sovereignty, God directly supervises the commission of sin. It is not as though He has left man to his own devices. God Himself supplies the means and the opportunity; all man needs is a motive. So while God may not be the Author of man's crimes, He is still an active accomplice (of sorts). God does less than decreeing sin, but more than permitting it.

The term "hidden will" is a little better I think. As John Calvin said "When God closes His holy mouth, I will desist from inquiry." I cannot say that I know God's will for yesterday. How could I tell which deed was accomplished by the influence of the Holy Spirit or the influence of the Devil/flesh (or the influence of the Holy Spirit by the influence of the Devil/flesh)? But what if God opens His holy mouth? If some of God's decretive will is revealed in Scripture it still considered hidden? Certainly man is fated to know less than he has been taught. But revelation is called revelation because it reveals what was once hidden.

I think "sovereign will" is the most apt description here. God is in complete control over all his creation and this includes sustaining sinners for a time (and not merely permitting them to sin). Does this make it harder to justify to ourselves that God is not the Author of sin? I don't think so. It is sufficient, I think, to view the history of man's depravity in light of God's glory which will be revealed in His time; God has chosen to use sin to display His holiness, His glory, and -yes- even His sovereignty.

I think "preceptive will" is an equally apt description. My mistake with saying that the Torah is not preceptive is because of taking a narrow view of it. In one sense, it is true that no one is able to obey the Law. But in another sense, there are enough stipulations for forgiveness when the Law is broken (i.e. the sacerdotal system). And again, the Torah is almost entirely symbolic; the signs are there but not the substance. But as God had promised a substantial redeemer (beginning with the protoevangelium in Gen 3:14-15), the redemption of man can be viewed as a done-deal (i.e. that which God had decreed to do) and even though evil continues to persist in this world, we are to view evil as defeated by God's holiness even though it has not happened yet in time.

In light of God's decrees and precepts, I sometimes feel as dumbstruck as the disciples when Jesus said "You give them something to eat" at the feeding of the five thousand. After all, what can I possibly do with what I have? But instead of looking at what I have as insufficient for God's purposes, I have to look at what I have as sufficient for my part in God's work.


Glad you shared your final thought. Yes it is part of God's work and no human can change it..
Tsukasa

ShawnWarner wrote:
Glad you shared your final thought. Yes it is part of God's work and no human can change it..

Wink
Tsukasa

Ask Mr. Religion wrote:
Tsukasa wrote:
Okay hmm... What if I say,
How about this for some background:

http://www.desiringgod.org/resour...ticles/are-there-two-wills-in-god

Piper gets a bit mushy here and there, but all in all, I think this will get you thinking clearer about the topic, brother.

Godís decretive will is that will of God by which He purposes or decrees whatever must come to pass, whether He wills to accomplish this effectively (causatively), or to permit it to occur through the unrestrained agency of His creatures. Godís preceptive will are the rules of life which God has laid down for His moral creatures, indicating the duties which He enjoins upon His creatures. Godís decretive will is always accomplished, while Godís preceptive will is often disobeyed. A careful reading of Scriptures shows that Godís decretive will includes many things which God forbids in His preceptive will, and excludes many things which He commands in His preceptive will, see Gen. 22; Ex. 4:21-23; II Kings 20:1-7; Acts 2:23. Yet we must maintain both the decretive and preceptive will of God with the understanding that, while they appear to us as distinct, they are yet fundamentally one in God.


I was just reading Berkhof when I noticed an uncanny resemblence to this post XD.
saloeffler

I do not pretend to be a scholar on the subject of God's.  AMR refers to the article by Piper which is excellent.  Sproul adds the will of disposition which is helpful.  The decretive will subsumes both the perceptive (which subsumes the permissive will) and the will of disposition (which subsumes the will of conditionality or possibility).

So, I think we can picture it this way with circles representing the nuances of God's will.  Imagine having one large circle that includes other circles (other nuances of God's will).  This one large circle would be called God's decretive will/acts.  All smaller circles that describe God's will would fit within this large circle called - the decretive will.  Within this large circle would be other smaller circles: one of these smaller circles could be - the preceptive will and intertwined with this circle is another called permissive will.  Another circle within the larger circle could be called the will of disposition, the will of expressed feelings of God whether delight or grief.  This circle of disposition should be intertwined with another circle called will of conditionality.  The difference with the will of disposition and the will of conditionality, it seems to me, is that the will of dispoition is a constant with the Lord like His will that all be saved (some take this as universal or God does not delight in the death of the wicked), but the will of conditionality may not be a constant.  The classic example is God's will that Ninevah be destroyed in 40 days conditioned in God's mind on their repentance (God uses threat to motivate His people, see Judges 10:10-16; the warnings of Hebrews).  Another example of the will of conditionality is Tyre's would be response to the ministry of Jesus in comparison Chorazin (Luke 10:13f.).  

I assume others can clarify or correct.  

Steve



 Google Drive - God's Will
Tsukasa

saloeffler wrote:
I do not pretend to be a scholar on the subject of God's. †AMR refers to the article by Piper which is excellent. †Sproul adds the will of disposition which is helpful. †The decretive will subsumes both the perceptive (which subsumes the permissive will) and the will of disposition (which subsumes the will of conditionality or possibility).

So, I think we can picture it this way with circles representing the nuances of God's will. †Imagine having one large circle that includes other circles (other nuances of God's will). †This one large circle would be called God's decretive will/acts. †All smaller circles that describe God's will would fit within this large circle called - the decretive will. †Within this large circle would be other smaller circles: one of these smaller circles could be - the preceptive will and intertwined with this circle is another called permissive will. †Another circle within the larger circle could be called the will of disposition, the will of expressed feelings of God whether delight or grief. †This circle of disposition should be intertwined with another circle called will of conditionality. †The difference with the will of disposition and the will of conditionality, it seems to me, is that the will of dispoition is a constant with the Lord like His will that all be saved (some take this as universal or God does not delight in the death of the wicked), but the will of conditionality may not be a constant. †The classic example is God's will that Ninevah be destroyed in 40 days conditioned in God's mind on their repentance (God uses threat to motivate His people, see Judges 10:10-16; the warnings of Hebrews). †Another example of the will of conditionality is Tyre's would be response to the ministry of Jesus in comparison Chorazin (Luke 10:13f.). †

I assume others can clarify or correct. †

Steve



Google Drive - God's Will

I've taken your idea and run with it (for better or for worse):

Some notable differences:
  • There are no gray areas.
  • Permissive Will neither subsumes or is subsumed by Preceptive Will
  • Conditionality is represented as rewards, punishment, and mercy (all part of God's precepts).


From the top down:
  • Necessary Will relates to God's immutable nature; everything within the realm of possibility must be in harmony with God's nature.
  • Within Necessary Will, God's Free Will determines the greatest good within the realm of possibility. What God decrees (to do and to permit) is actualized and what God rejects never materializes.
  • Within God's Free Will, Nature (or natural law) determines what man is permitted to do and what God alone can do.
  • Within God's Permissive Will, God's disposition determines what to approve or disapprove.


From the bottom up:
  • God's Decretive Will can be subdivided into Hidden and Revealed Will (it's not so clear from the image, I know).
  • The solid bar represents precepts, what God reveals explicitly in Scripture (i.e. Special Revelation). God's precepts teach us about rewards, punishments, and mercy in response to our deeds.
  • The dashed bar represents nature, what God reveals implicitly about natural law (i.e. General Revelation). Nature teaches us what is pleasing and what is not. General Revelation is marked by the the dashed bar to show that it is revealed over time as man increases in knowledge.
  • The hollow bar represents the eternal ignorance of man. It's none of our business and teaches us humility.
saloeffler

How did you make the image and directly post it?  I still have lots to learn about the will of God and computer skills?

I see from the above much overlap and not a lot of clear distinction though some of your thinking is valid and helpful.  

For instance, a few questions for clarity and/or correction:

*  How is the rejected will part of God's necessary will - it seems antithetical.  I take it that my understanding of the will of conditionality is the basis of the will of rejection, no?  If so, I meant not the philosophical range of best possible worlds from which God could choose but the revealed conditions that the Lord gives us (which is an act of His will) as a means of motivation (like the warnings given to believers) or anticipated judgement (like Jesus before Chorazin).

* Does not the decretive will also include what is decretally rejected?

* God's free will is always free and not distinctive from His natural will (whatever that means) and the will of disposition.  

* What is the difference between nature and natural and supernatural will?

Thanks for the provocation.
marno

saloeffler wrote:
How did you make the image and directly post it? †I still have lots to learn about the will of God and computer skills?


I have deliberately avoided commenting in this thread and will for the most part continue to do so. But I do have two things to inject here.

ONE:
There is a great deal more philosophizing over what has not been revealed than there is theologizing over what has been revealed.

I am among the first to acknowledge and defend the proposition that everything God has revealed has not been thoroughly understood nor exhausted. There is plenty of room for further exploration and discussion. I'm all for it. I'm also pretty much for philosophy, but such must be kept within reasonable bounds of theological precepts and knowledge.

TWO:
It is of utmost importance then to keep such philosophizing in its own category. "The will of God" is not in the same category as "computer skills" or computer science, or mathematics or any other more solidly accepted material truth.

Keep the categories separate. I cannot stress this enough. All truth is God's truth, but all philosophizing is not necessarily truth--it's just guesswork, much more so than computer skills, mathematics, or geology. Or theology, such that is clear from Scripture.

It's fine to philosophize, but don't allow it to cross over categories in your thinking, into (for example) computer science, mathematics, or established theology.

To sum it up, we are not so much learning about the will of God in the same way that we are learning about computers or how to change the oil in our cars. Other than what has been clearly revealed in Scripture, we are only guessing, supposing, reasoning, and theorizing. And THAT is what we are learning by philosophizing: theories, guesses, and suppositions.

Proclaim The Word!
saloeffler

marno wrote:
saloeffler wrote:
How did you make the image and directly post it? †I still have lots to learn about the will of God and computer skills?



ONE:
There is a great deal more philosophizing over what has not been revealed than there is theologizing over what has been revealed. etc. etc.


I am sorry for the confusion.  I honestly did have a question about creating images from a word document.

For the matter of philosophizing instead of theologizing one has to define the lines clearly.  Doing biblical theologizing is to do healthy philosophizing; to love the Bible, as you would agree, is to love wisdom and thus talk of wisdom.  To do mere human thinking and sucking the thumb is to do rotten philosophizing.

God does all His holy will (Ps. 115:3) - this is the decretive will.  God has revealed His will in the law and precepts along with His character (Ps. 19; 119).  God has revealed His emotions that sometimes seem to us contradictory (Cf. Ps. 11:7 vs. Eze. 18:23-32) - that is the will of disposition.  I have added the will of conditionality.  And it seems to me I did theologize about it making reference to the Scriptures and attemtping to synthesize all of various aspects concerning the will of the Lord.  Please note again what I said: "The difference with the will of disposition and the will of conditionality, it seems to me, is that the will of dispoition is a constant with the Lord like His will that all be saved (some take this as universal or God does not delight in the death of the wicked), but the will of conditionality may not be a constant.  The classic example is God's will that Ninevah be destroyed in 40 days conditioned in God's mind on their repentance (God uses threat to motivate His people, see Judges 10:10-16; the warnings of Hebrews).  Another example of the will of conditionality is Tyre's would be response to the ministry of Jesus in comparison Chorazin (Luke 10:13f.)."

Theologizing can indeed sound like mere philosophizing but I dare say I want to treat the Bible as the Word and Will of God to man and to treat God with all the respect He deserves and to do so with every good and legitimate attempt to come to grips those portions of Scr. that seem to us confusing.    

Thanks for the provocation.
Tsukasa

saloeffler wrote:
How did you make the image and directly post it? †I still have lots to learn about the will of God and computer skills?

I used PowerPoint for the drawings, the prtscn key to copy the image into mspaint and save it as a png, and then uploaded it to imgur.com. Imgur provides bbcode that you can directly copy and paste into forum posts.

saloeffler wrote:
I see from the above much overlap and not a lot of clear distinction though some of your thinking is valid and helpful. †

For instance, a few questions for clarity and/or correction:

* †How is the rejected will part of God's necessary will - it seems antithetical. †I take it that my understanding of the will of conditionality is the basis of the will of rejection, no? †If so, I meant not the philosophical range of best possible worlds from which God could choose but the revealed conditions that the Lord gives us (which is an act of His will) as a means of motivation (like the warnings given to believers) or anticipated judgement (like Jesus before Chorazin).

The term Rejected Will is something I made up... not a very good term either in my opinion. But the idea is that there are some things that God chooses. And if he chooses one thing, he must reject another. To remove Rejected Will is to drift towards Pantheism where creation is a passive emanation rather than an active choice and action by God. God has a particular set of goals in mind (e.g. the revelation of His glory) and a set way of accomplishing those goals. By His wisdom, He chooses the "best" goals attained by the "best" means.

saloeffler wrote:
* Does not the decretive will also include what is decretally rejected?

Nope. Necessary Will covers the realm of possibility and the Decretive Will covers what shall actually come to pass. "The decretive and the preceptive will of God. The former is that will of God by which He purposes or decrees whatever shall come to pass, whether He wills to accomplish it effectively (causatively), or to permit it to occur through the unrestrained agency of His rational creatures. The latter is the rule of life which God has laid down for His moral creatures, indicating the duties which He enjoins upon them. The former is always accomplished, while the latter is often disobeyed." - Berhof's Systematic Theology

saloeffler wrote:
* God's free will is always free and not distinctive from His natural will (whatever that means) and the will of disposition.

Is this a question? God is absolutely free; He is a law unto Himself.

saloeffler wrote:
* What is the difference between nature and natural and supernatural will?

I just needed a boundary between the natural and the super natural. It might be better to call "nature" natural law, laws like gravity and 1+1=2. God defies nature when he resurrects the dead or creates something out of nothing.

saloeffler wrote:
Thanks for the provocation.

I made a few changes o.o. I had confused "Approved Will" with Good; for example, discipline is approved even though there is suffering and punishment. and sin can be pleasurable even if it merits death.

*Edited again to reflect that the supernatural is also part of general revelation.
       Reformed Theology Institute Forum Index -> God and the Trinity
Page 1 of 1