Friday, April 09, 2004

Free Will Followup

In my post on Free Will below, Tim asks the following fair questions in the comment section:

This is a lovely [antinomy]. Let me see if I have it straight. If God doesn't regenerate me I will never choose him and be condemned to eternal punishment for something which I am incapable of doing in the first place. This regeneration takes place without my [assent]. There is no quality of my person which would permit me to merit it. There is no way of knowing how or why some are regenerated and others not. Curious. So why doesn't God regenerate everyone? Or why does God regenerate anyone?

Why doesn’t God regenerate everyone? Why does God regenerate anyone? Good questions. Unfortunately I don’t know. I don’t know why God doesn’t save everyone. He could if He wanted to. I know that He doesn’t, because the Bible teaches that some are lost. And I know that He regenerates some, because the Bible teaches that some are saved. About the only thing I can say is that Paul views the question as bordering on the impertinent. When anticipating the "that’s not fair" response to his teaching on predestination, he writes, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:
20But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' "21Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? (Rom 9:20-21)

I do know that the Father set aside a people for Himself, The Son came to redeem them, and the Spirit instructs and sanctifies them. I even expect that in the fullness of time, the majority of people who will have ever lived (most of whom, I suspect, have yet to be born) will be saved:
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. (Rev. 7:9)

I will just point out that Arminians have an (at least) equally difficult question: Why are some people lucky enough to hear the gospel, while many others do not? And of those who do hear, why do some have the right background, frame of mind, intellect, environment, and experiences so that they do their part and assent, while others do not?

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