If everything is determined is prayer meaningful?

If everything is really determined/predestined/fated to happen beforehand is prayer meaningful?
Why? or Why not?

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Comments

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,356

    I believe prayer aligns us with God's eternal decree. And is far deeper in meaning than what many assume. If you combine what Jesus said about prayer with the rest of scripture, and have (genuine) faith when you pray, you can know your answer has been decreed from eternity and is on its way.

  • GaoLuGaoLu Posts: 1,367

    Arguments in favor might be that such a prayer would be meaningful because
    1. Act of obedience
    2. Causes us to have humility
    3. Dave said he believes it aligns us with God's eternal decrees (If God is sovereign in the ways Dave suggests, I am not sure how we could get out of alignment--but that is not the question).

    Opposed might be that:
    1. Such prayer would be a facade and serve no value in obedience or humility

    Looking forward to anything else.

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,356
    edited January 2018

    @GaoLu said:
    Arguments in favor might be that such a prayer would be meaningful because
    1. Act of obedience
    2. Causes us to have humility
    3. Dave said he believes it aligns us with God's eternal decrees (If God is sovereign in the ways Dave suggests, I am not sure how we could get out of alignment--but that is not the question).

    Opposed might be that:
    1. Such prayer would be a facade and serve no value in obedience or humility

    Looking forward to anything else.

    As I've said from the beginning, God uses secondary causes to determine our choices. And a burden in our heart for prayer is one of them. But we miss a greater comfort in prayer if we do not grasp Jesus' words "“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22)

  • GaoLuGaoLu Posts: 1,367

    As I've said from the beginning, God uses secondary causes to determine our choices. And a burden in our heart for prayer is one of them. But we miss a greater comfort in prayer if we do not grasp Jesus' words "“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22)

    You use of "secondary cause" is not what the term means or how it works. What you describe is Primary Cause. You can't just pull the term out like a magic wand and wave it over contradictions and declare it them valid. It would seem that words and their meanings matter after all.

  • C McC Mc Posts: 3,735

    @Mitchell said:
    If everything is really determined/predestined/fated to happen beforehand is prayer meaningful?
    Why? or Why not?

    Bro. Mitchell,
    I hope you used the word "if" as a stimulus for readers to engage this post? If it is a personal belief, I don't accept the premise of the question. However, if you really believe that the "remnant only will be saved" not by exercising free choice or free will, but by God's election of grace. I would like to know why and your rationale.

    God made the man, a free moral agent, to choose; even if, it is against God, himself. However, upon a deeper look Luther gave a full-throated endorsement to predestination in 1528, against Zwingli and the Sacramentarians of his view on election:

    “I herewith reject and condemn as sheer error all doctrines which glory our free will, as diametrically contrary to the help and grace of our savior Jesus Christ. Outside Christ, death and sin are our masters, and the devil is our god and lord; and there is no power or ability, no cleverness or reason with which we can prepare ourselves for righteousness and life or seek after it. On the contrary, we must remain the dupes and captives of sin and the property of the devil to do and to think what pleases them and what is contrary to God and His commandments.” -- LW, 30:362-63.


    Luther claimed that the phase "by the power of choice none at all would be saved, but all would perish together", Paul used four universal terms: "all," "none," "not," and "nowhere; "to make his case in his works on Romans (Wilhelm Pauck, ed., Luther: Lectures on Romans, Library of Christian Classics, 26 vols. (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1961), 15:252).

    Luther's rigid and subjective stance concerning predestination, that God's will is inscrutable, totally removes the reality of personal decision and human responsibility. Along these lines, I would agree with others on several points:

    1. Predestination must be studied from God's Word.
    2. We must understand God's purpose in Christ.
    3. The meaning of terms "called," "elected," "foreordained," "freewill."
    4. Present-day "predestination" a confusion of long standing.
    5. Predestination confusions now await reform.
    6. Shall we return to the Bible rather than follow man's' theory?

    Wilhelm Pauck, ed., Luther: Lectures on Romans, Library of Christian Classics, 26 vols. (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1961), 15:252

    I will comment in another post on the meaningfulness of prayer. I hope I didn't take away from the intent of this thread? Meaningful reflections. CM

  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 642

    @C_M_ said:
    I hope you used the word "if" as a stimulus for readers to engage this post?

    Indeed the way I wrote the question was in a brief and vague way to get people talking.

    However, theologically speaking (on the issues you presented) I am neither an Arminian nor a Calvinist. Figuratively speaking I stand outside of both the circles of Calvinism and Arminianism looking in through the window admiring their passionate debates.

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,356

    @GaoLu said:

    As I've said from the beginning, God uses secondary causes to determine our choices. And a burden in our heart for prayer is one of them. But we miss a greater comfort in prayer if we do not grasp Jesus' words "“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22)

    You use of "secondary cause" is not what the term means or how it works. What you describe is Primary Cause. You can't just pull the term out like a magic wand and wave it over contradictions and declare it them valid. It would seem that words and their meanings matter after all.

    So you do not believe one event impacts the outcome of another?

  • GaoLuGaoLu Posts: 1,367

    So you do not believe one event impacts the outcome of another?

    Absolutely correct.

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,356

    @GaoLu said:

    So you do not believe one event impacts the outcome of another?

    Absolutely correct.

    Have you ever shot pool? 8 ball in the side pocket? That is an example of how one event impacts another.

  • GaoLuGaoLu Posts: 1,367

    Newtons' 3rd Law. That would be right. However some events precede others in which case they offer no impact. I can offer more cases, but rather than argue that, how about we go back to a reasonable definition of Primary and Secondary Cause (if you want) or at least acknowledge that the God of the Bible is not evil nor does He author evil.

    The notion of Primary Cause and Secondary Cause is philosophically valid. The problem is that those who don't know what the terms mean use them helter skelter as a magic wand to bolster weak theology. You could also use "abracadabra" with the same outcome.

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,356

    @GaoLu said:
    Newtons' 3rd Law. That would be right. However some events precede others in which case they offer no impact. I can offer more cases, but rather than argue that, how about we go back to a reasonable definition of Primary and Secondary Cause (if you want) or at least acknowledge that the God of the Bible is not evil nor does He author evil.

    The notion of Primary Cause and Secondary Cause is philosophically valid. The problem is that those who don't know what the terms mean use them helter skelter as a magic wand to bolster weak theology. You could also use "abracadabra" with the same outcome.

    “And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose,” (Romans 8:28)

    “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:” (Ephesians 1:11)

  • GaoLuGaoLu Posts: 1,367

    Nice verses. You bandy them about a lot. So...how do you apply them?

    I suggest you study and understand Primary Cause and Secondary Cause definitions before tossing those words about among those passages. Otherwise, I will probably give it up as wrangling of foolish words.

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,356

    @GaoLu said:
    Nice verses. You bandy them about a lot. So...how do you apply them?

    I suggest you study and understand Primary Cause and Secondary Cause definitions before tossing those words about among those passages. Otherwise, I will probably give it up as wrangling of foolish words.

    If God works ALL things after the council of his own will, how do you work some things after the council of your own will?

  • C McC Mc Posts: 3,735

    Prayer is needed in the life of every man, especially for the Christian. It brings comfort, peace, answers and deepens one's relationship with the One True God. Prayer is truly meaningful and helpful in the time of sickness on behalf self and others. I am reminded of a passage in reflection, just now:

    "Great character is essential to great praying. A man with a small, mean, self-indulgent life cannot genuinely offer a noble prayer. This is the meaning of the saying that it is easy to commit the Lord's Prayer to memory, but difficult to learn it by heart. In any man's entreaty, no matter how great the words, only that much is real which is the expression of his character, the inward quality and habitual desire of his life."

    "We go through the form of praying for our friends. It seems the right thing to do, and it gives us at least a momentary glow of unselfishness. But the prayer does not so rise from a controlling desire for our friends' good, that we can be counted on all that day to be thoughtful about their needs, sensitive to their feelings, generous to their faults, glad of their success, and helpful to our utmost in their service. We often do not really care enough about our friends, so that our supplication for them has vital meaning for us and, therefore, for God." —Harry Emerson Fosdick, The Meaning of Prayer (New York: Association Press, 1972), p. 132, 136-137. CM

  • GaoLuGaoLu Posts: 1,367

    If God works ALL things after the council of his own will, how do you work some things after the council of your own will?

    Excellent question. The council of His will is to give the people authentic free will within certain bounds.

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,356

    @GaoLu said:

    If God works ALL things after the council of his own will, how do you work some things after the council of your own will?

    Excellent question. The council of His will is to give the people authentic free will within certain bounds.

    He does not work ALL THINGS if you work some things.

  • C McC Mc Posts: 3,735

    Dave,
    You seem to be imprisoned by extreme literalism. Would you allow yourself to perceive and accept that if one surrenders him or herself to God; therefore, God's will becomes the man's will? Prayer changes the pray-er not always things or other people. CM

  • GaoLuGaoLu Posts: 1,367

    He does not work ALL THINGS if you work some things.

    You have shared your opinion quite thoroughly. Thank you, Dave.

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,356
    edited January 2018

    @C_M_ said:
    Dave,
    You seem to be imprisoned by extreme literalism. Would you allow yourself to perceive and accept that if one surrenders him or herself to God; therefore, God's will becomes the man's will? Prayer changes the pray-er not always things or other people. CM

    I'm just saying what Paul said without interpretation. If God works all things after the council of his own will, how can anything created work anything after the council of its own will? Especially when Paul says "it is God who works in us to will and do of his good pleasure".

    Perhaps if we were all more sensitive to the Spirit we would understand that all of our choices are reactions to things beyond us.

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,356
    edited January 2018

    @GaoLu said:

    He does not work ALL THINGS if you work some things.

    You have shared your opinion quite thoroughly. Thank you, Dave.

    Even God does not have a free will if motivated by Love. How much less man or animal, if their only motive is self serving? Even your presumed choice of salvation is self serving.

  • C McC Mc Posts: 3,735

    @Dave_L said:

    @GaoLu said:

    He does not work ALL THINGS if you work some things.

    You have shared your opinion quite thoroughly. Thank you, Dave.

    Even God does not have a free will if motivated by Love.

    Dave,
    Are you trying to say God is a slave to His own power? Is Love not freedom? God created mankind with a free will and He (God) does have it? No, I don't buy Calvin's five points.

    God has given man a free will. From the very day of creation, God created the human being with a “free will.” Adam and Eve had to make a choice between God and evil. They had the choice to eat or not to eat the fruit of the tree in the Garden of Eden. In the same way, God will give to Israel the choice. Romans 11 speaks about the remnant, those who will accept Yeshua. This is why I cannot believe that the “All Israel” is every Israelite, because God respects the free will of each individual. Each one will make his or her own choice to follow God and to accept Yeshua or not.

    Please read the following:
    -- Jn 3:16
    -- 1 cor 13 (entire chapter)
    -- 1 John 4:8 -- "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."
    -- 1 John 4:16 -- "And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him."

    I see "free will", one of the three theories (the study of soteriology) regarding man's response to God's redemptive activity, "the theory that God, in His sovereignty, has limited Himself by allowing man to have free moral choice, i.e., the ability to refuse the grace of God. I cannot conceive how Adventists could hold all three theories and still be doctrinally and Biblically consistent." How do you define "free will?" CM

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,356

    @C_M_ said:

    @Dave_L said:

    @GaoLu said:

    He does not work ALL THINGS if you work some things.

    You have shared your opinion quite thoroughly. Thank you, Dave.

    Even God does not have a free will if motivated by Love.

    Dave,
    Are you trying to say God is a slave to His own power? Is Love not freedom? God created mankind with a free will and He (God) does have it? No, I don't buy Calvin's five points.

    God has given man a free will. From the very day of creation, God created the human being with a “free will.” Adam and Eve had to make a choice between God and evil. They had the choice to eat or not to eat the fruit of the tree in the Garden of Eden. In the same way, God will give to Israel the choice. Romans 11 speaks about the remnant, those who will accept Yeshua. This is why I cannot believe that the “All Israel” is every Israelite, because God respects the free will of each individual. Each one will make his or her own choice to follow God and to accept Yeshua or not.

    Please read the following:
    -- Jn 3:16
    -- 1 cor 13 (entire chapter)
    -- 1 John 4:8 -- "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."
    -- 1 John 4:16 -- "And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him."

    I see "free will", one of the three theories (the study of soteriology) regarding man's response to God's redemptive activity, "the theory that God, in His sovereignty, has limited Himself by allowing man to have free moral choice, i.e., the ability to refuse the grace of God. I cannot conceive how Adventists could hold all three theories and still be doctrinally and Biblically consistent." How do you define "free will?" CM

    If God IS Love, how can he will not to be and still exist?

  • C McC Mc Posts: 3,735

    OOPS! ORIGINAL: Are you trying to say God is a slave to His own power? Is Love not freedom? God created mankind with a free will and He (God) does have it? No, I don't buy Calvin's five points.

    CORRECTION: It should read: Are you trying to say God is a slave to His own power? Is Love, not freedom? God created mankind with a free will and He (God) DOESN'T have it? No, I don't buy Calvin's five points.

    @Dave_L said:

    If God IS Love, how can he will not to be and still exist?

    1 Cor. 13ff, remains the answer. For a believer looking for the return of Jesus, are not you glad? God is not a robot nor did He make men so. Rejoice in the love of God and choose to live for Him daily. CM

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,356
    edited February 2018

    @C_M_ said:
    OOPS! ORIGINAL: Are you trying to say God is a slave to His own power? Is Love not freedom? God created mankind with a free will and He (God) does have it? No, I don't buy Calvin's five points.

    CORRECTION: It should read: Are you trying to say God is a slave to His own power? Is Love, not freedom? God created mankind with a free will and He (God) DOESN'T have it? No, I don't buy Calvin's five points.

    @Dave_L said:

    If God IS Love, how can he will not to be and still exist?

    1 Cor. 13ff, remains the answer. For a believer looking for the return of Jesus, are not you glad? God is not a robot nor did He make men so. Rejoice in the love of God and choose to live for Him daily. CM

    Going back, I'm saying there is no such thing as free will. Even God does not have a free will because God IS Love. And perfection cannot change to imperfection.

  • C McC Mc Posts: 3,735

    Dave,
    To avoid going in circles (Treadwheel conversations), please state or share an acceptable definition of "free will." Whatever it is, if you don't change your view, you will be saying, God lacks.

    If you are a Trinitarian (God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit), are you saying Holy Spirit is NOT, or is imperfect; when He exercised "free will" or choice in bestowing gifts? See 1 Corinthians 12:11 -- "But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will (KJV). CM

  • GaoLuGaoLu Posts: 1,367
    edited February 2018

    @Dave_L said:
    Going back, I'm saying there is no such thing as free will. Even God does not have a free will because God IS Love. And perfection cannot change to imperfection.

    Seems like going way too far to make God subject to one's pet theology.

    And "God is love" is not an equality statement. It is a descriptive statement.

    When I say, "my wife is love and hope and joy," do you know what I mean? Same kinda deal. Common sense. We also have God is light and God is Spirit. Of course we cannot reverse those. Love and Light and Spirit are predicates, qualities of the Subject, God.

    What we find is that love is intrinsic to the nature of God and those who know Him and hear His voice and are known of Him will express God's kind of love.

    In conclusion, God's nature is the result of God being God. God is not subject to His character traits. God is sovereign, not Dave's theology.

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,356
    edited February 2018

    @C_M_ said:
    Dave,
    To avoid going in circles (Treadwheel conversations), please state or share an acceptable definition of "free will." Whatever it is, if you don't change your view, you will be saying, God lacks.

    If you are a Trinitarian (God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit), are you saying Holy Spirit is NOT, or is imperfect; when He exercised "free will" or choice in bestowing gifts? See 1 Corinthians 12:11 -- "But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will (KJV). CM

    Thanks for your interest in Free Will and my claim that it does not exist in God or man.

    God is bound by his perfections. That is, his wisdom is perfect and is his nature. He cannot go against his nature and will something stupid. Just as he is sovereign, he cannot allocate sovereignty to another, for then his sovereignty would not be eternal or remain perfect. You can reason in like manner with any of his perfections that would not remain perfect if he willed to change them. His attributes make up his nature.

    As far as the created order, Every living creature makes choices according to its nature. A dog freely chooses what dogs want. Sinners freely choose what sinners want. But nobody is free to choose apart from their nature. So the will is not free, and it always chooses what it wants. We can want what we will but we cannot will what we want.

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,356
    edited February 2018

    @GaoLu said:

    @Dave_L said:
    Going back, I'm saying there is no such thing as free will. Even God does not have a free will because God IS Love. And perfection cannot change to imperfection.

    Seems like going way too far to make God subject to one's pet theology.

    And "God is love" is not an equality statement. It is a descriptive statement.

    When I say, "my wife is love and hope and joy," do you know what I mean? Same kinda deal. Common sense. We also have God is light and God is Spirit. Of course we cannot reverse those. Love and Light and Spirit are predicates, qualities of the Subject, God.

    What we find is that love is intrinsic to the nature of God and those who know Him and hear His voice and are known of Him will express God's kind of love.

    In conclusion, God's nature is the result of God being God. God is not subject to His character traits. God is sovereign, not Dave's theology.

    How does anyone know enough to will intelligence (by nature) if he doesn't already have it? Besides, you are saying God created himself and God is not created.

  • GaoLuGaoLu Posts: 1,367

    How does anyone will to have intelligence (by nature) if he doesn't already have it. You cannot get intelligence from nothing. Besides, you are saying God created himself and God is not created.

    I never said any of those things. In fact, they never crossed my mind. Where on earth do you get such stuff?

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,356
    edited February 2018

    @GaoLu said:

    How does anyone will to have intelligence (by nature) if he doesn't already have it. You cannot get intelligence from nothing. Besides, you are saying God created himself and God is not created.

    I never said any of those things. In fact, they never crossed my mind. Where on earth do you get such stuff?

    When you say "God is not subject to His character traits. God is sovereign" you are doing the exact thing I'm addressing. God's character traits are God. So, you suggest God can decide not to be perfect, and that he created himself by willing his nature.

    Are you saying God can will not to be Holy?

    Post edited by Dave_L on
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