Monthly Archives: September 2008

Total Depravity and Free Will

BY Eusebio Tanicala

This article presents some questions that one could reflect on when studying the doctrine of total depravity of mankind as compared to the idea of free will of individuals.

1. Did God predestine Lucifer to become Satan and that Satan did not choose nor will to become Satan?

2. Did God predestine some of the angelic hosts into damnation without these angels’ exercising free will?

3. Did God predestined Adam and Eve to disobey without them exercising free will in their decision to eat of the forbidden fruit?

4. Did God predestine a part of humanity to go into the damnation of hell without these individual’s exercise of free will?

5. In the case of Judas becoming a traitor against the Lord Jesus Christ, was it God’s predestination or was it willed by Judas himself and encouraged by Satan?

6. When a couple (husband and wife) genuinely become born-again, do all their children automatically become “totally depraved” at the point in time of conception or point in time of birth?

7. Is there a so-called period of innocence for the human soul from the point in time of conception up to early infancy?

8. At what point in time does a soul become totally depraved?

9. At what point in time does a human being become totally depraved?

10. If Adam and Eve became totally depraved and “dead” at the point in time of disobedience in eating the forbidden fruit in the garden, does it mean that an offspring of the “dead” are also “dead”?

11. Today, there are genuinely born-again “alive” couples, does it follow also that their offspring should automatically become “alive” since the parents are alive? I trust that these questions when reflected upon would help some in our understanding the will of God.

Advertisements

“You have your beliefs, keep yours; others have their beliefs, they keep theirs”

By Eusebio Tanicala, Ph.D.

One visitor to our website commented that millions are hell-bound so believers in Christ should band together to save those traveling the highway of death; that I have my own beliefs in the Bible which I should keep to myself and others have their own beliefs which they should keep to themselves; that I should not spend time and effort writing about other’s beliefs.

The history of the Bible does not agree with this thinking. I wished it were true, but the Bible teaches me otherwise. Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself in Matthew 15 indicted the Pharisees and scribes who were teachers of the Jews. Their interpretations and commentaries on the Law of Moses produced traditions which eventually discarded God’s commandments. In Matthew 23, Jesus commented that the Pharisees made a proselyte twice a son of Hell. When the Christ, the rock, who followed the Hebrews in the wilderness supplying them water appeared in flesh as prophesied in Isaiah 53, the Jews didn’t recognize Him because the teachers’ interpretations distorted the facts. The Jews crucified the Messiah, the Lord of glory. This wrong interpretation of Jewish teachers led the Jewish leaders to nail at the cross the Son of God.

Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” (1 Tim. 4:15-16) The above passages simply warn us that we need to remind each other about the highway we are travelling on. There is a way that seems right but the end is a cosmic hole.

I could not remain silent when other people teach things like the following:

-Jesus Christ is man only and is not deity;
-Christ was not nailed at the cross, but died in Pakistan or Afghanistan;
-Christ wasn’t born of a virgin and didn’t resurrect from the grave;
-Jesus Christ is not the Son of God; He is a son just like any believer;
-There’s no literal hell; hell is on earth, our present life;
-True religion leads souls to hell;
-The pope of Rome is the Vicar of Christ on earth and he is always right;
-God predestined the majority of humanity to suffer in hell;
-Man does nothing for his salvation;
-Polygamy is a Christian virtue;
-Joseph Smith or Felix Manalo or Muhammad or Magliba is the last prophet;
-A preacher in Davao claims that God called him and he is now the Adopted Son of God;
-This preacher in Davao says that only him possesses the true teaching of God;
-There’s no Lord’s Supper of bread and wine.-
etc, etc, etc.

The Jewish teachers missed the mark which resulted to God cutting off the natural branch of the olive tree. Beware, we might be branches of the vine that produce no fruits.

Part 1: Einstein’s Big Blunder

Note: We are reprinting a part of an email sent to us about evolution.

100 years ago, Albert Einstein published three papers that rocked the world. These papers proved the existence of the atom, introduced the theory of relativity, and described quantum mechanics.

Pretty good debut for a 26 year old scientist, huh?

His equations for relativity indicated that the universe was expanding. This bothered him, because if it was expanding, it must have had a beginning and a beginner. Since neither of these appealed to him, Einstein introduced a ‘fudge factor’ that ensured a ‘steady state’ universe, one that had no beginning or end.

But in 1929, Edwin Hubble showed that the furthest galaxies were fleeing away from each other, just as the
Big Bang model predicted. So in 1931, Einstein embraced what would later be known as the Big Bang theory, saying, “This is the most beautiful and satisfactory explanation of creation to which I have ever listened.” He referred to the ‘fudge factor’ to achieve a steady-state universe as the biggest blunder of his career.

As I’ll explain during the next couple of days,Einstein’s theories have been thoroughly proved and verified by experiments and measurements. But there’s an even more important implication of Einstein’s discovery. Not only does the universe have a beginning, but time itself, our own dimension of cause and effect, began with the Big Bang.

That’s right — time itself does not exist before then. The very line of time begins with that creation event. Matter, energy, time and space were created in an instant by an intelligence outside of space and time.

About this intelligence, Albert Einstein wrote in his book “The World As I See It” that the harmony of natural law “Reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.”

He went on to write, “Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe–a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.”

Pretty significant statement, wouldn’t you say?

Respectfully Submitted,

Perry Marshall

Jesus Christ is the Son of God : Christianity vs. Islam Debate

By Eusebio Tanicala, Ph.D.

Mr. Hutto (Christian) and Mr. El Dareer (Muslim) met and debated the proposition: Jesus Christ is the Son of God. A copy of this discussion was sent to me via internet by brother Mike Hildreth of Texas. Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God is the creed of Christendom. So every Christian should be able to affirm this proposition. Bible believers might encounter this same issue so I give some hints based on my reading of the Qur’an and some books by Islam apologists.

Foremost basis of premises are Qur’anic passages that declare Islam’s recognition of the Gospel as a message originating from God. Lay down this fact based on the following Qur’anic passages: Surah 3:3, Surah 16:43; Surah 29:27; Surah 12:111; Surah 29:46, 47; Surah 6:115 and Surah 16:102.

Says Surah 3:3, “It is He Who has sent down the Book (the Qur’an) to you (Muhammad) with truth confirming what came before it. And He sent down the Torah and the Gospel…” (Translation by Al-Hilai and Kahan). Also we find this in Surah 29:27, “And We bestowed on Him (Abraham) Isaac and Jacob, and ordained among his offspring Prophethood and the Book (i.e. the Torah (to Moses), the Gospel (to Jesus), the Qur’an (to Muhammad…”

Here are some questions I suggest you press upon Muslim teachers who deny that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

  1. The Qur’an and Muslims consider the Gospel as a true message from God, and in the Gospel account of Matthew 3:17; 17:5; Mark 1:11; and Luke 3:21-22 God declared with a voice from heaven saying and referring to Jesus as the Son of God. Are you aware that you contradict what you teach?
  2. The Qur’an and Muslims consider Jesus Christ as a prophet of God and you teach that the Gospel is a true message from God, in the Gospel account of Matthew 26:64 Jesus Himself acknowledged that He is the Christ, the Son of God. Are you aware that you contradict what you teach?
  3. The Qur’an and Muslims consider the Angel Gabriel as God’s messenger and you teach that the Gospel is a true message from God, in the Gospel account of Luke 1:26, 32 & 35 the Angel Gabriel declared to Mary that the Jesus who will be born to her is called the “Son of the Highest” “Holy One” and is called “Son of God.” Are you aware that you contradict what you teach?
  4. The Gospel teaches that the Angel Gabriel recognized Jesus Christ is the Son of God, but the Qur’an which came some 500 years later teaches that the Angel Gabriel gave Muhammad your book the Qur’an which declares that Jesus Christ is NOT the Son of God, are you aware that Islam makes the Angel Gabriel an inconsistent messenger?
  5. The Qur’an and Muslims consider John the Baptist a true prophet of God, and in the Gospel account of John 1:34, John the Baptist declared that Jesus is the Son of God. Are you aware that you contradict what you teach?
  6. The Qur’an and Muslims recognize the Gospel as a message from God which was originally written in Greek as believed by scholars, are you aware that the Gospel definition of “Begotten Son” according to Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the N.T., page 417, is “special, unique and no equal” and does not refer to producing a child through sexual relation?

What Do You Really Know about Evolution?

An article from Christian Courier. An interesting read.

Some years ago a few scientists declared that the theory of evolution was as well established as the rotundity of the earth. But evolution is still a theory, not a law. All of the basics of this theory stand in opposition to known science.

What do you really know about evolution? Not much, I assure you! Read More…

Is there Personal Responsibility?

By Eusebio Tanicala, Ph.D.

There are many passages that teach personal responsibility as regards decisions and actions of the individual. Let us open to two sections of the Book of Ezekiel. We quote from the NKJV.

Ezekiel 14 v.3 “these men have set up their idols in their hearts.” Who makes the choice of setting up idols?

v.13. “When a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness” and is punished says God. Who decides to do sin?

v.14, 16, 18,21. “…Noah, Daniel and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness?”

Did the three righteous men exercise their free will to live a righteous life? Yes. Could their righteousness be imputed upon their sons and daughters? NO. Is there free will here? Yes.

v.11, 23. God ‘s penalty is based on a cause or transgression. Who chooses to transgress? The individual.

Ezekiel 18:

v.4. “The soul who sins shall die.” Does this prove free will and individual responsibility? Yes.

vs. 5-9. Is there free will to do what is just? Is walking in God’s statutes and keeping God’s judgments the free will of a person? Yes. Or is a person forced by God? No, not forced.

vs. 10-13.Does the father pass on to the son his righteousness? No Is there free will on the part of the son? Is the choice of the son his own responsibility? Yes.

vs. 14, 17. “If, however, he begets a son who sees all the sins which his father has done, and considers but does NOT DO LIKEWISE… He shall not die for the iniquity of his father.” Is there free will here? Yes. Is the unrighteousness of the father automatically imputed on the son? No. (So the unrighteousness and the spiritual consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin should not be imputed on their off springs). But are the physical and biological consequences suffered by the off springs? Yes. Just as it is true today. For example, a father drinks and drives and runs over a person on the highway. The guilt and penalty of drunken driving and killing a person is on the father, but not imputed on the son. However the physical consequences like the lack of bread and other physical needs that should be supplied by the father would now be suffered by the son. This is true in the case of Adam and Eve. The spiritual consequence of their sin is not imputed on us. But the withdrawal of the protective shield of God’s grace against physical aging, physical pain, destructiveness of nature like typhoons and bacteria exact their toll on the off spring.

vs. 14-17. Is there free will here? Yes. Does the son reap the fruits of his own deeds? Yes. What is the basis of God’s favorable impression on this son? His avoidance of the prohibited acts and his proactive observance of God’s judgments and statutes.

v. 18. “As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, robbed his brother by violence, and did what is not good among his people, behold, he shall die for his iniquity.” Is there free will here? Yes.

Does God hold the father personally responsible for his own deeds? Yes. Is the iniquity of the father automatically passed on to the son? No.

v. 19. Does the son bear the guilt of his father? No. What is the basis of God’s favorable acceptance of the son? His acts that are lawful and right, keeping and observing God’s statutes.

v. 20. The son does not bear the guilt of his father; the father does not bear the guilt of his son. Each individual is answerable for his own decision and action. (This should apply in the case of Adam and Eve).

v. .21. Is repentance possible? Yes. Is free will exercised in repentance? Yes.

v. 22. Is there value of free will obedience? Yes, there is. Should a person boast about his obedience? No.

Does his obedience earn and demand reward? No. Reward is volunteered by God. Is it against the nature of God to give rewards to the obedient? No. That is sovereign exercise of grace.

Read vs. 23-32 and observe the exercise of free will in the choice of either direction: obey God or disobey God.

The proof given by the Bible is clear. Proof should not be based on the philosophizing and wild imaginations of some people religious leaders and essayists.

Total Depravity and Regeneration

By Eusebio Tanicala, Ph.D.

There are two views about the theory of Total Depravity- Regeneration. In the 4th century, St. Augustine came up with the theory that because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience all mankind completely lost God’s grace. All grace was withdrawn from humanity. There were only two people: Adam and Eve. The two comprised all of humanity. What was true of the two became true into all ages. True when humanity was 2, true when humanity numbered 20, true when numbered 200, true when numbered 2000, true when humanity became 2,000,000, true when it became 2,000,000,000 and will be true when all of humanity becomes or 2 trillion, and so on.

From this thinking, slowly the Roman Catholic Church evolved the explanation that even an infant is totally depraved so that, if all possible, a newly born babe should be given the sacrament of baptism. Following some idea of the OT circumcision, a child should not go beyond 8 days when he should be baptized with a godparent standing as the child’s proxy. It was even taught by some priests that a still born child should be baptized. Or a child of several hours or several days if it dies should be baptized by any believing person and the child’s soul would go to “Limbo” and eventually would graduate into Paradise. (Incidentally, the Roman Catholic Church this year has announced that the belief in Limbo is no longer a dogma). Roman Catholics are excited about bringing a child into the Christian community thro infant/child baptism. Baptism signals the revival/return of God’s grace into an individual. And when reason/belief springs from a child’s heart, he participates in the sacramental rite of Confirmation which formalizes a person’s entry into the visible church.

In short, God’s grace returns or is revived in a person via the sacrament of baptism. This is the Roman Church’s thinking and practice.

Among Calvinists, the theory of St. Augustine is accepted. Man is totally depraved of God’s grace. Man is dead. Man can’t will to do good. Man has no appreciation or sense for what is good. So man is saved by the grace of God. Sola gratia.

Those who are predestined to be saved are supplied by God with gifts: a preacher is providently led to that person, God supplies/injects into the mind and heart belief and faith, God supplies/injects repentance into the person’s heart, God supplies/injects confession into the person’s lips, God supplies injects willingness to obey and act on all God’s commands. No free will present in an individual. It’s all God’s compulsion. (Those who are predestined to go to Hell? This is degeneration and is outside the topic of regeneration. Basta ganyan ang kanilang pagkalalang. Walang tanungan. Ang mga banga ay hindi nagtatanong. Clay pots don’t ask questions).

Among Churches of Christ, our position is this: Man is depraved but there remains a small flicker of light, small germ of conscience, small germ of reason to start a search for the truth and the good. This idea is taught by Apostle Paul in Romans 1:19-32. The prophet Isaiah invited Israel to a session or reasoning and argumentation. (See 1:18) There’s a period of innocence from birth to a certain period of maturity when sin is overlooked among children. But from a certain period of maturity, man becomes responsible for his acts. Free will comes into play. Man becomes answerable for his decisions and acts.

The term “dead” is not absolute absence of sensation. The soul is in the person. That soul is not “dead” and completely insensitive. Read the usage of the term “dead” in Genesis when God said that Adam and Eve would “die” the very day they would eat the forbidden fruit Read also Luke 15 about the Prodigal Son who was “dead” but came to life. Read the “dead who bury their dead” in Matthew 8:22. Did these dead possess free will? Yes. So out of their free will they decided to do some things.

From these three views, you may choose what is most reasonable and nearest the scriptures.. We will expand the term “dead” in a forthcoming article.