Was Joseph a Calvinist?

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Paidion
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Re: Was Joseph a Calvinist?

Post by Paidion » Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:18 pm

Matt wrote:They did evil. God responded with good.
EXACTLY. God doesn't induce people to do evil that good may come. Rather he brings good OUT OF the evil that people do.
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robbyyoung
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Re: Was Joseph a Calvinist?

Post by robbyyoung » Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:55 pm

Paidion wrote:
Matt wrote:They did evil. God responded with good.
EXACTLY. God doesn't induce people to do evil that good may come. Rather he brings good OUT OF the evil that people do.
Hi Paidion,

This sounds nice but it isn't trustworthy. God’s judgments are righteous and good. God absolutely induces people to do evil, like lie for instance and as a result get a bunch of people killed (1 Kings 22:20-23). God can and will use man’s sinful nature to suit His own purpose. I am reminded that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb 10:31).

Blessings.

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mattrose
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Re: Was Joseph a Calvinist?

Post by mattrose » Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:35 pm

robbyyoung wrote:Hi Matt,

I didn’t say the brothers had no alternatives, I said their ultimate response was God ordained, that's if you take Joseph’s words at face-value in Gen 45 & 50. But don’t you know your argument contends that Joseph made fallacious statements against God? So to disprove a Calvinistic proclivity, you jump to making Joseph sin against God by making false statements? The Joseph story invokes no such sinful behavior on Joseph’s part, but your argument causes more harm than good against Joseph’s character. Your “belief” is bringing unnecessary and unwarranted baggage to the story.

So, if Joseph didn’t lie and sin against God by ascribing these actions to Him, a Calvinistic propensity stands without further scriptural gymnastics that weakens Joseph’s character. I’m glad I can be of some assistance in “sharpening” your thoughts. ;)

But seriously, can you defend the dilemma you caused that makes Joseph sin against God, which is alien to the context of the story?

Blessings.
I honestly have no idea what you are talking about. It's as if you haven't read the thread. I just re-read the thread to make sure and I counted 3 separate times where I specifically said Joseph's words in 45 and 50 were true... not false. You even responded to those quotes. And yet, in this post, you're still claiming for some reason that I think Joseph said something wrong.

I'll try again. I do not think Joseph's words are fallacious. I think his statements are true. I think you and others tend to misinterpret them. What you are calling 'face value' is, in my opinion, bad interpretation.

Furthermore, I think it is astounding that you would say MY belief is bringing unnecessary 'baggage' to the story when it is your interpretation that pins a whole bunch of evil stuff to God. Your view takes one possible interpretation of Joseph's statements in 45 and 50 and re-reads the whole story in light of that interpretation. My view takes the whole story at face value and chooses a contextual interpretation of Joseph's statements in 45 and 50.

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robbyyoung
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Re: Was Joseph a Calvinist?

Post by robbyyoung » Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:09 am

mattrose wrote: I'll try again. I do not think Joseph's words are fallacious. I think his statements are true. I think you and others tend to misinterpret them. What you are calling 'face value' is, in my opinion, bad interpretation.
Ok my friend, I apologize for my muddled response and will try to find common ground in your understanding of the text. Let me unpack this by stating:

a) God can prevent evil, allow evil, or be the causing agent of calamity/harm (Isa. 45:7)
b) God allowed the brothers’ evil against Joseph
c) But, God prevented the brothers evil to kill Joseph
d) Thus, God caused specified harm to come upon Joseph because it was granted that he suffer for God’s purpose (Philippians 1:29)

Matt, I agree that God was not the author of the brothers sin, but He was the agent that granted Joseph the privilege to suffer for His name sake—allowing the brothers’ evil, in part, to run its course. According to Joseph, God wanted him in Egypt. The dreams most definitely facilitated God’s plan.

Now I do believe that God determined the brothers to sell Joseph into Egypt. I also believe that God prevented the brothers from killing him as planned. I do not believe it was a coincidence that the Ishmeelites showed up as they were conspiring to murder their brother. In the case that I am presenting, this makes Gen 45:5 stand on its own merit. But I could be wrong.

Did God ordain all of this? Yes, for He is sovereign; but, No, regarding the brothers’ sin. If Calvinistic principles are present in one form or another, I guess you might object to this, but after further review, I do see God’s foreknowledge at play when reading Gen 45:5. I'm no Calvinist, but I strongly believe that God's sovereignty trumps all things.

Blessings.

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mattrose
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Re: Was Joseph a Calvinist?

Post by mattrose » Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:56 am

robbyyoung wrote:Ok my friend, I apologize for my muddled response and will try to find common ground in your understanding of the text
Thank you for continuing in dialogue :)
Let me unpack this by stating:

a) God can prevent evil, allow evil, or be the causing agent of calamity/harm (Isa. 45:7)
b) God allowed the brothers’ evil against Joseph
c) But, God prevented the brothers evil to kill Joseph
d) Thus, God caused specified harm to come upon Joseph because it was granted that he suffer for God’s purpose (Philippians 1:29)
Thank you for laying out your position with clarity.

In regards to "a"... I agree that God can prevent or allow evil. The Isaiah 45:7 passage, it seems to me, is about judgment. Judgment is NOT causing evil. It is a response to evil. Because of this important distinction it really doesn't belong under the same lettered point ("a") on your list. The whole list is about evil. God's judgment is righteous, not evil.

In regards to "b"... I agree

In regards to "c"... we simply can't say with certainty. The text doesn't declare God's intervention in those cases (PLAN B & PLAN C... plan "A" being to kill Joseph)

Plan B
Reuben came up with an initial plan that would have saved Joseph's life, but it was thwarted by Judah's plan. We do not know if the suggestion of Reuben's plan was given to directly by God. The text simply says that he was trying to rescue Joseph and take him back to Jacob. I wonder if he was motivated by his desire to get back into Jacob's good graces after he had earlier slept with his father's concubine. On the other hand, I can imagine God putting the idea into Reuben's head. Perhaps the two are not mutually exclusive.

Plan C
Judah's plan was to sell Joseph. While this might seem like a merciful plan (better to live as a slave than die?), it almost certainly wasn't. Judah was likely motivated by both money and the desire to have less 'blood' crying foul in his conscience. I find it very hard to believe that God put this wicked intention into Judah's head. I could see the possibility of God putting the idea to 'sell' Joseph instead of killing him into Judah's head. But Judah then took that option for selfish reasons.

In regards to "d"... Given everything I just said about "c", I can't see why you choose the language that you choose here in "d". There's no real reason to suggest that God "caused" harm to come to Joseph. Why not just use the word "Allowed"? It seems to me that to say God "Caused" it simply muddies the water. It's poorer communication. Joseph was going to die. The fact that he was, instead, sold, MAY or MAY NOT have been "influenced" by God... but there's really no basis for saying God caused Judah's almost certainly selfish plan to come to fruition. BUT EVEN IF GOD DID in some sense assure that Joseph would be sold instead of killed, even that doesn't suggest that God caused the harm. Being sold doesn't dictate that the buyer/owner would be a violent master. In fact, it doesn't seem that Joseph was treated badly in Potiphar's house at all. He only suffered because, once again, a human being (Potiphar's wife) sinned. I'm sure you wouldn't suggest that God inspired her to lust after, seduce, and falsely accuse Joseph. Or would you?
Matt, I agree that God was not the author of the brothers sin, but He was the agent that granted Joseph the privilege to suffer for His name sake—allowing the brothers’ evil, in part, to run its course. According to Joseph, God wanted him in Egypt. The dreams most definitely facilitated God’s plan.
I take no real issue with this paragraph. Your wording seems more careful here.
Now I do believe that God determined the brothers to sell Joseph into Egypt. I also believe that God prevented the brothers from killing him as planned. I do not believe it was a coincidence that the Ishmeelites showed up as they were conspiring to murder their brother. In the case that I am presenting, this makes Gen 45:5 stand on its own merit. But I could be wrong.
I have no problem believing God played a role in keeping Joseph alive (though God was more likely influencing plan B than C based on its content). In any case, saving a life seems like a God thing to do. The Ishmaelites passing through is probably what gave Judah the idea for plan C.
Did God ordain all of this? Yes, for He is sovereign; but, No, regarding the brothers’ sin. If Calvinistic principles are present in one form or another, I guess you might object to this, but after further review, I do see God’s foreknowledge at play when reading Gen 45:5. I'm no Calvinist, but I strongly believe that God's sovereignty trumps all things.
I guess I'd request to see your definitions of 'ordain' & 'sovereignty'. That might be where we are most at odds.

I believe God ordains some certain ends, but is flexible (in divine sovereignty) as to how those ends come about. I believe sovereignty is better defined as "God in charge" than "God in control". Sovereignty is not, to my mind, about micro-managing details. It is about being so wise as to be able to respond to any and every move of the enemy and still win in the end (like a master chess player). God could have had Joseph end up exalted before his brothers in a myriad of ways, some of which wouldn't have included suffering on Joseph's part. But because of sin, the scenario that played out included much sin and suffering. God didn't quit b/c of the sin and suffering. God kept 'playing' (to continue in the chess metaphor).

God's sovereignty is the sort in which lesser players are granted degrees of sovereignty as well. But God is and will always be the master player. We can make as many moves as well like. God will still accomplish divine purposes. And... perhaps we can agree on this part... God can even use some of our 'bad' moves to make God's final victory all the more thrilling. But even in a scenario where God makes a move that gives us opportunity for apparent advancement for our evil purposes, it is not fitting to say that God "caused" our evil advancement. God simply provided the opportunity and knew what to do in response. We do evil. God continues to do good.

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robbyyoung
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Re: Was Joseph a Calvinist?

Post by robbyyoung » Tue Jul 17, 2018 2:49 pm

Hi Matt,

As always, thanks for your patience and fine analysis of the discussion.

You stated:
In regards to "a"... I agree that God can prevent or allow evil. The Isaiah 45:7 passage, it seems to me, is about judgment. Judgment is NOT causing evil. It is a response to evil. Because of this important distinction it really doesn't belong under the same lettered point ("a") on your list. The whole list is about evil. God's judgment is righteous, not evil.
Agreed, I could have further delineated Isa. 45:7 to a category of its own. But to clarify point (a), I was in no way ascribing wickedness or sin to God. That’s why I substituted calamity/harm to indicted God’s righteous judgments, as you correctly stated. But, thanks for ensuring the point wasn’t missed in the discussion.

You stated:
In regards to "c"... we simply can't say with certainty. The text doesn't declare God's intervention in those cases (PLAN B & PLAN C... plan "A" being to kill Joseph)
Ok, but my support hinges on Joseph’s claim in Gen 45:5. If God indeed sent him to Egypt, as he claims, that’s the certainty needed in text to support the interpretation. In other words, we don’t have a text that says “God did not send me”, but we do have a text stating “God did send me”. Therefore, God must have prevented the brothers from killing Joseph, thus creating the circumstance for Joseph to be in Egypt. This would require God’s sovereignty to obtain a righteous outcome.

You stated:
There's no real reason to suggest that God "caused" harm to come to Joseph. Why not just use the word "Allowed"? It seems to me that to say God "Caused" it simply muddies the water. It's poorer communication.
Fair enough, this would be more appropriate.

You stated:
I guess I'd request to see your definitions of 'ordain' & 'sovereignty'. That might be where we are most at odds.
Our understanding of ordain and sovereignty is not at odds. You did a fine job defining the terms. I still see Gen 45:5 expressing a hard truth in what God determined for Joseph, but without micro-managing every iota of circumstances to place him in Egypt. God can do this with the highest regard to flexibility among free-will agents.

Blessings.

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Paidion
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Re: Was Joseph a Calvinist?

Post by Paidion » Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:28 pm

Robby wrote:
I wrote:God doesn't induce people to do evil that good may come. Rather he brings good OUT OF the evil that people do.
God absolutely induces people to do evil, like lie for instance and as a result get a bunch of people killed (1 Kings 22:20-23).
This sounds as if you believe that God is the author of evil—at least sometimes. Well... I believe John who wrote:

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (1John 1:5 ESV)
God is LOVE (1 John 4:8,16 ESV)


By saying "God IS love," John indicates that "love" is God's essence—not merely one of His attributes.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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robbyyoung
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Re: Was Joseph a Calvinist?

Post by robbyyoung » Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:29 pm

Hi Paidion,

God is the author of righteous judgments, not sin. 1 Kings 22:20-23 & 2 Thess. 2:10-12 are examples of God turning people over to their own transgressions for judgment. God's sovereignty on how He exercises judgment is of course His business, but these two texts clearly establishes who's pulling the strings. I don't believe you can explain away these passages by using John's text. Why? Because His sovereign judgments is that light in John's text that destroys darkness (sin). I am in no position to question His holy means to a holy end. Even if I'm not explaining these verses in a manner befitting God's righteous actions, it is clear to me that living in sin can bring awful consequences of His judgments or correction. So its better to fear the Lord and flee from sin and never find out.

Blessings.

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mattrose
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Re: Was Joseph a Calvinist?

Post by mattrose » Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:16 pm

robbyyoung wrote:God must have prevented the brothers from killing Joseph...

I still see Gen 45:5 expressing a hard truth in what God determined for Joseph, but without micro-managing every iota of circumstances to place him in Egypt. God can do this with the highest regard to flexibility among free-will agents.

Blessings.
This seems rather agreeable. I have no problem imagining God putting the idea in Reuben's mind to rescue Joseph. Nor do I really have a problem with God putting the idea in Judah's mind to sell him rather than kill him (especially given that God knew that He would bless Joseph and raise him up from slavery).

The interpretation that prompted this thread was the idea that God caused the relational conflict to begin with, made sure that it intensified, brought Joseph to the brink of death, saw to it that he was seduced and falsely accused, etc.... all in the name of character building and a meticulous view of divine sovereignty.

My goal was to show that there is a solid way to interpret this text that does not involve a meticulous view of divine sovereignty and/or determinism.

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