The following is an edited correspondence between myself, and I think, a member of the Greek Orthodox Church.
Now when you talk about predestination or determinism, what exactly do you mean? Do you believe that 1) every movement of every atom in the universe is predetermined from the dawn of time to the end? Or is it 2) just necessary for you to believe that those who are saved have been known from the beginning?
There is a big difference. The first of these is a meaningless statement because atoms/motions are not real-they are observations about the universe and so you are basically using terms that don’t mesh with terms I am familiar with.
Atoms are not real? Okay. Yet what would you say Hebrews 11:3 is referring to, when it talks of things SEEN, which are not made of things which are VISIBLE (i.e., invisible to the naked eye)?
“By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3).
The second simply makes God subject to the bible and the flow of time. (as would the first, except that the first uses terms unfortunately in a context which is meaningless).
Which one is it? I’ve asked several times.
The Bible teaches that God created the universe (which obviously includes, “every movement of every atom”) in six days, and continues to sovereignly and actively uphold, control, and sustain it.
As for your second question:
“Or is it just necessary for you to believe that those who are saved have been known from the beginning?”
Certain false religionists believe that God chose to save certain people before the foundation of the world based on what He saw they would do; God chose those who He foresaw would accept salvation. This is not only damnable heresy, but it is very absurd. God apparently, “knowing” who will be saved, since he just looked through the halls of time and saw who would allow him the privilege.
In stark contrast to the above, the Biblical view is that God chose to save *some* people by the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone, before the foundation of the world, based solely upon His good pleasure to do so (Jn. 6:37,65. Mt. 13:10- 15. Acts 13:48. Rm. 8:28-30; 9:11-24 Eph. 1:3-6,11. 2 Ths. 2:13. 2 Tim. 1:9. 1 Pt. 2:7-8).
Also, I have not seen a response to the proposal which comes from scholarly sources quite outside of the Orthodox Church, that the Liturgy of James, the Lord’s brother was, in full practice in Jerusalem by the 40’s AD, and that the Archeological conclusion is that the new testament was compiled by the apostles for the PURPOSE of being the reading in this service that paralleled that Torah in the Jewish services.
How can you yourself, cite James’ epistle, and yet not accept the service which he composed, for which the Gospels were MERELY a part?
I test everything with the Word of God, including liturgies and archeological conclusions.
All “churches” that teach that Jesus Christ died for everyone without exception; and all “churches” that believe that at least some who believe this blasphemy are saved persons, are really what the Bible calls, “Synagogues of Satan.”
2) Why do you believe this? On the bible ALONE, or for other reasons (ie logic, science, etc.?
If because of the Bible, why do you take it, a small portion of our Divine Liturgy written to instruct Catecheumans, tear it out of our Liturgy, and hold it up (as an idol of true worship) while rejecting the complete liturgy from which it came, and the Apostolic tradition that produced it?
Well, since your “church” believes that Jesus Christ died for everyone without exception, then you believe that the blood of Christ did not — in fact, COULD not — save ANYONE in and of itself. You believe that it is NOT the work of Christ alone that makes the difference between salvation and damnation. Instead, you believe that it is the work of the SINNER that makes the difference. You might as well be dancing around in a circle pounding your drums and shouting chants to the rain god. All your liturgical worship is vain, futile, and empty. For you offer it to a god who cannot save (Isaiah 45:20).
Ask God that HIS WILL, not YOURS be done, sincerely, and with a broken heart.
But you can’t ask your god that, for MANY thwart his will, and thus, THEIR WILL is done, and NOT his.
So basically you’re saying that if God wanted everyone to have free will, he couldn’t do it?
That’s like asking, “So basically you’re saying that if God wanted to create another being with absolute autonomous freedom, he couldn’t do it?”
Or like asking, “So basically you’re saying that if God wanted to will Himself out of existence, He couldn’t do it?”
Or like asking, “So basically you’re saying that if God wanted to cease being righteous, holy, and just, He couldn’t do it?”
The doctrine of free will seeks to make the creature independent of the Creator, and seeks to make the Potter dependent on the clay. In other words, those who assert free will are confused about the fact that they are not God. They have things turned around. They think that God is subject to their free wills. On the contrary, they are subject to God’s free will.