Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Great Quote From Dan Chapa on the Good Nature of God

I hope he doesn't mind. Dan said this elsewhere about a year ago.

Since a sinning Holy One is a self-contradiction, it's not a 'thing' and therefore it's no limitation to God's power not to be able to sin. One way to look at it is that God's nature provides Him a range of things He can cause and that range doesn't include sin. Another way to look at it is that desires are a necessary, but insufficient, condition for choices. You have to desire something to be able to choose it, but if you desire it, you still may choose something else (that you also desire). God only has good desires, so He cannot sin.

11 comments:

Mitch said...

Could we not say this when it comes to man?

Since a righteous sinner is a self-contradiction, it's not a 'thing' and therefore it's no limitation to man's power not to be able to chose righteousness. One way to look at it is that man's nature provides him a range of things he can cause and that range doesn't include righteous choices. Another way to look at it is that the desires are a necessary, but insufficient, condition for choices. You have to desire something to be able to choose it, but if you desire it, you still may choose something else (that you also desire). Man only has evil desires, so he can only sin.

I'm OK with that. What are your thoughts?

SLW said...

I think God is able to do what he wants, and whatever that is, is holy and good by definition. No independent measure can be applied to him. Sin has to be seen, in my view, as that which runs counter to or is in opposition to God. Since God tells us he is one, perfect and holy, perceiving him to have internal conflict or opposition would be impossible and contradictory. God cannot go against himself. God sinning is a non-sequitur rather than a limitation.

I think that conceiving sin, or goodness, or holiness, or evil as values that have eternal verity leads us to shackling God. I do not think it is necessary to do so, if we let God be the measure of himself. He then is the measure and sum, and the meaning of sin, etc., is derivative from him rather applicable upon him.

bossmanham said...

Mitch,

Since humanity is not necessarily evil, your reducto ad absurdum is without grounds.

Humans, only through the power of God's grace, have the ability to perfrom righteous acts, and actually be righteous people, as many in the Bible were called righteous.

SLW,

I know that Dan says somwthing similar to what I say in terms of the ontological foundation of goodness; and that is that goodness is what correlates to the person and nature of God, who by nature is good. So yes, anything He does is good and we know what good is because of who God is.

In other words, I think you'd agree 100% with Dan and myself.

SLW said...

Thanks Brennon,
that does sound like a good definition for good.

Mitch said...

Boss,

I fail to see how “man is not necessarily evil” addresses what I said. I would argue that since the fall, at a bare minimum, humanity is necessarily evil.

In fact, the second part of your reply pretty much states what I said. I believe that is in complete accordance with the bondage to sin motif. Man can choose a variety of different options, but they will all be sinful because all of his desires are evil. This does not limit man's range of choices, it only rules out righteous ones.

bossmanham said...

Because man is only contingently evil, in that he must choose to do evil to be evil.

I would argue that since the fall, at a bare minimum, humanity is necessarily evil.

Well if we were necessarily evil, we would not be able to do anything but evil. But it's clear that humanity isn't in such a state, if only by God's grace. I would say, at this point in my process of dissecting this issue, that humans acquired a sinful nature when they fell in the garden. That nature was contingent on us sinning. Once acquired, it is now passed to our posterity through the seed of Adam. That nature seems to hold such sway over our faculties that, at some point in our lives we all do sin. But I don't think we are constrained to sin, just that we do.

Man can choose a variety of different options, but they will all be sinful because all of his desires are evil

That's an interesting thought, though I can't look at some altruistic behaviors and conclude they are sinful (though they certainly aren't meritorious for salvation, because the sin we commit is already on record). I mean is an unregenerate parent that cares deeply for their child sinning?

bossmanham said...

But certainly, this nature has made it so we can't choose the true good, which is following God, without His intervention.

Mitch said...

Boss,

These types of discussions can degenerate quickly, not that this one has, so let me be upfront and say that I'm only talking about our relationship to God. So when I say that man can only do evil it is with this relationship in mind.

So when you ask “...is and unregenerate parent that cares deeply for their child sinning?” I would say yes. When you say that we are not constrained to sin, I strongly disagree. As I stated in the first comment here, man does not have the power to choose righteousness.

bossmanham said...

Mitch,

I think you are correct (and yes, I've had a few convos degenerate recently, lol). When I say constrained to sin, I mean by some outside force other than their will. I think that man chooses himself to sin, unconstrained by some outside force. I think I would say that on the parent caring for their child, that would be a naturally good act, but it is tainted by sin in that it's not done to please God.

Only through the grace of God are we able to come to God and perform acts that please Him, so I think I agree on that.

A.M. Mallett said...

Mitch wrote:
"I fail to see how “man is not necessarily evil” addresses what I said. I would argue that since the fall, at a bare minimum, humanity is necessarily evil. "

I ponder:
Mitch, would you make any distinction between certainty and necessity e.g. man is certainly evil but such evil was never a necessity?

credulo said...

Hello, Bossmanham! I am a Brazilian blogger who likes very much you and some other Arminian guys' blogs. I translated your post about Biblical verses - but it has no comment box. I would like to add a very intersting verse about Resistible Grace: Luke 10:13-15, about Chorazin and Betsaida.

Just thinking: for a Calvinist, the only way to be saved is with an Irresistible Grace. So, Tyre and Sidom weren't elect because God doesn't used Irresistible Grace for them. BUT, miracles and signs obviously aren't 'irresistible grace'!

What do you think about it?

Many thanks and sorry my bad English...

Ass.: Credulo