Dan: how should we go about defining scriptural terms?
TF: The best way define terms in scripture is of course to look at them in context and try to determine authorial intent. See what the author was intending to convey.
Dan: Do you believe the bible was written to the common man? To Israel or this or that church. Was it written for the common man to read?
Dan: OK, do you believe dictionaries cite common usage?
TF: Dictionaries provide common contemporary usage, yes.
Dan: OK, do you believe the usage of the word choose has drastically changed over time?
TF: No, I didn’t take that position.
Dan: Ok, I was just wondering if that’s what you believed. Do you believe an elect person can fall away and ultimately perish?
TF: I don’t believe that’s a question about anything I argued but to answer the question the scriptures teach that all those, who He called, He justified, and all those He justified, He ultimately glorified. So that implies that all the justified people, will also be glorified people and that’s I believe in John 6.
Dan: I guess my question is very precise. Can elect people fall away and perish?
TF: I am not sure why my previous answer didn’t already answer that question.
Dan: You said that they will not, not that they can not. I am asking can they fall away?
TF: In the ordinary sense that people use can, if something certainly will happen, in the ordinary sense, no it can’t.
Dan: So they can’t fall away in the ordinary sense. Do you believe an elect person can drink poison and die?
Dan: so they can’t fall away, but they can drink poison and die.
Dan: Let’s say there is someone in the audience named John and let’s say God has decreed that John will listen to the whole debate. Can John stop listening right now?
TF: No. Because God can’t be wrong.
Dan: Let’s go back to the man in the comma. I wasn’t talking about the man in the comma simpliciter, I was talking about the man in the comma if he chooses to eat ice cream, is he able?
TF: No he has no physical ability
Dan: he doesn’t have the physical ability to choose, but if he chooses can he eat the ice cream?
TF: He doesn’t have physical ability to eat because his brain is not in a conscious state. It’s not interacting with his nervous system.
Dan: OK, I guess we will move along. Does the bible ever speak of God treating us as if we are able to choose otherwise?
TF: God treats as if sometimes He doesn’t know what we will choose. Sometimes he treats us that way and it has a particular didactic purpose. It doesn’t mean He doesn’t know and it doesn’t mean what will be won’t be or couldn’t be. So I suppose the answer to your question is yes, in the sense that He treats people as though they are able to choose something that they absolutely are not able choose in terms of what God has God’s decree.
Dan: Let’s move on. Back to the 1 Corinthians 10:13 passage, do you believe Christians are able to resist temptations?
TF: Yes and that they will to.
Dan: Do you believe that Christians sometimes give into temptation?
TF: Yes, but not to the point of falling away.
Dan: So on the Isaiah 5:4 passage, oh, actually, let’s wrap up 1 Corinthians 10:13. Do you believe the passage is only talking about ultimate apostasy?
TF: Yes, I think it’s talking about ultimate apostasy
Dan: I said “only”. Does it apply to Christians in their day to day lives, or does it only address ultimate apostasy?
TF: I think that’s a false dichotomy. I think Christians battle with sin is a constant thing. Ultimate apostasy is the loss of that battle. Not victory over it, but Christians will overcome.
Dan: Is the passage only talking about ultimate apostasy?
TF: Yes, right.
Dan: and what’s your reason for that? Let me ask about a specify aspect in the context that I brought out in the opening speech. The passage says the Israelites grumbled. That doesn’t sound like ultimate apostasy to me, but does it sound like ultimate apostasy to you or is there a reason why you take grumbling as ultimate apostasy? So do you take grumbling as ultimate apostasy and if so why?
TF: Yes, the precise reason is it says:
9Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
10Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
11Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
12Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
13There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Dan: OK. Let’s go to the passage in Daniel 11:36. Can you read the Daniel passage?
TF: 36And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.
Dan: OK, what is the time of indignation that is going to be accomplished or completed?
TF: When that time that will be completed is something that various interpreters have disagreed about. The people the interpret the third king as Antioch Epiphanies refer that time to the destruction of Jerusalem as I recall.
Dan: OK so it’s some judgment of God that is coming. Is that fair?
TF: The judgment comes at the end of the indignation. The indignation is what provokes God, so the judgment is sometimes called the indignation.
Dan: God is going to drop the hammer at some point?
TF: Yes. Because he outrages God to such a degree. Much like the Cananites, they had to fill up the wrath of God, which they hadn’t done in Abraham’s time and then in Joshua’s time they were wiped out.
Dan: So the passage says the anti-Christ (or let’s call him the third king); the third king will succeed up until the point where God drops the hammer. Is that fair?
TF: That’s not what it says. It’s not that he will succeed, but he will tick of God worse and worse and he will prosper. So it says in verse 35:
35And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.
36And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished
And then it continues on, it says:
37Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.
Dan: Well that’s fine, I think you made my point.
TF: No, no. To answer that question, no I didn’t make your point. I illustrated the fact that the time appointed and the things that are determined to be done are things that are determined to be done. So you have determination and will in the same verse.
Dan: OK, so let’s move on to your points about incompatibility. Are you basing that primarily on Kane’s definition of libertarian free will?
TF: Well it’s not Kane per say, he’s the editor, but it’s a definition found in that book. That’s what I presented as the definition, yes.
Dan: Fair enough. So in our first crossex, I asked if given God’s decree only one future is possible. Do you still believe that?
TF: Yes, in the sense that, no one can make the decree of God untrue. But that isn’t the normal sense when you say can this or that happen.
Dan: OK, what is that normal sense then of I can eat ice cream or not?
TF: well the normal sense has no reference at all to God’s decree. In fact, most people who write dictionaries don’t even think about has God decreed this or that.
Dan: OK, so what is the normal sense, positively, not negatively. Not what it’s not; what is it?
TF: The physical ability or moral ability of man to make a selection.
Dan: Is that selection between possibilities?
TF: Yes. Possibilities or alternatives. We don’t have a problem with any of those in the compatibilist view.
Dan: So there are two possible futures?
TF: Well we are not talking about possible futures, we are just talking about things we could possibly choose.
Dan: So there are two possible things that can be chosen?
TF: Yes, in the normal sense that’s what we are talking about. And the normal sense has no reference to the decrees.
Dan: But I am asking what it is, not what it’s not.
TF: I am clarifying that because I want it to be absolutely clear.
Dan: OK, I think it’s clear. Alright, this last question, I am going to ask you because if I don’t I will get my Arminian card pulled. Is the fall, and everyone who ends up in hell and the sins of everyone listening right now, are they ultimately the result of God’s decree?
TF: Of course people have different conceptions of what ultimacy is. Nothing would happen except God permitted it to happen. So in at least that sense, then yes. But that is different than saying ultimate moral responsibility lies with God, which it doesn’t. So there are different types of ultimacy people talk about, but in the sense that ultimately nothing will happen except that God decides that it will happen, then that’s true.
Dan: When you say permission, do you mean what many reformers mean by effectous permission?
TF: I am not sure how your trying to define that. I am giving at least a minimal point that at least God permits without getting into the question of the efficaciousness of the permission; whether it’s a positive permission, or a negative permission.
Dan: Do you believe that God ordained the fall?