Biblical Thinking Apart from Explanation

This essay results from a conversation with a dear friend.

Arminius argued for the supposed impossibility of supralapsarianism. This is the idea that God decreed the plan of salvation before the Fall.  Arminius’s logic suffers from a certain presumption, particularly that God is subject to a linear chain of events as in human history, rather than being transcendent of time as the Scriptures present Him.

Not only Arminius’s logic, but theology in general often suffers so in the hands of sinful men. Human logic typically insists on explaining how God thinks and does as He reveals in Scripture—His mechanisms. Such supposed human logic presumes on understanding how God’s mind works, as if God’s Mind worked like a man’s. Rather, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

For example, the historic Council of Chalcedon (AD 451) escaped the problem of explaining God by merely identifying what Scripture reveals without trying to explain it. The formula says in part that Christ is fully God and fully man, without separation or intermixing, and without change. This formula, the basis for our understanding of Christ for centuries, is not humanly logical. We cannot explain its mechanism.

As to sequence of events in God’s mind and history regarding the Fall and plan of salvation, we say, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever,” the Eternal God (Hebrews 13:8). There is no shadow of turning with Him (James 1:17). And, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone”(James 1:13). Thus we conclude that God decreed and foreordained the entire plan of salvation from before creation, without blame for sin. Logical? No. What Scripture prescribes? Yes.

The just walk by faith, not sight (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; 2 Corinthians 5:7). If we simply let God be God, accept the constant tensions in Scripture, the both/ands, and not worry about what we see as logical inconsistencies, then we will be that much safer from the impudence of the Original Sin, making ourselves wiser than God. God is that big that He can handle His absolute Sovereignty and choice and responsibility in man. Logical for man? No. True? Yes.

The point: Learn of God in the Bible and accept Him on His terms without succumbing to the feeling we must figure out how He makes things works–e.g. predestination and choice. That is the divine disadvantage of faith he requires. Another example: We are to be mighty men of valor, an idea endorsed in Scripture, and meek. Man’s supposed logical mind says it can’t be both, yet we Christians except both as required by God’s Word. Then we ask the Holy Spirit to help us navigate that both/and. We don’t ask, how can that be? Rather, we ask, dear God, how can we live this out? Again, God says be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect? Teach us how we may do this impossible thing, dear Lord.

God is not necessarily hiding something from us, but His ways are above our understanding. Scripture says so, no? Insisting on understanding God’s thinking is a very, very little like an amoeba trying to understand human thought. That is my point. We must understand what He communicates clearly, and leave the mechanics of how it all works to His secret counsel—that which He does not declare. By the way, we do know that He does keep certain knowledge from us, such as what the thunders say in Revelation 10:4. Also times and seasons as in Acts 1:7. Therefore, when we demand via our eschatology, for example, to have everything figured out beyond what God expressly says, we presume upon Him—a dangerous thing.

This is a major paradigm shift from common Biblical thinking. Though I think it is the essence of Calvinism, perhaps not always so plainly spoken. Nonetheless, if men will stop insisting on understanding God, which is to judge Him, but rather accept Him on His terms by faith as a way of life—and then act by faith on what we learn—we will all be far ahead in our walks with Him.

(Scripture quotes from NKJV© version)