Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wise men still seek God

Do you believe that it is possible for men to seek God on their own? The typical verses used by Calvinists say that no one can seek God.

Rom. 3:11 
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

But there are other verses that say that a person can seek God - or is that just for Israel?

Jeremiah 29:13 
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

1 Chronicles 28:9
And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.


There are FOUR separate issues in your question and I will answer each separately.

1) Do I believe (that the bible teaches) that it is possible for man to seek God on their own?

2) The typical verse used by Calvinist...Romans 3:11.

3) There are other verses that say that a person CAN seek God

4) Are those verses just for Israel.
 

Part 1.
Do I believe (that the bible teaches) that it is possible for men to seek God on their own?

Yes, but it is AFTER God gives man a revelation about Himself FIRST! From Creation God has NEVER left man "on his own." God has ALWAYS been ever present. The problem is that after the fall of man, man stopped seeking God, yet God never stopped seeking man.

When God created Adam, it was God who first SPOKE to him in order to educate him on the purpose of his creation.

Genesis 1:26-28 
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

As you see in v. 28, it was God who "made the first move" and spoke to man. That process has never changed. In fact, God's will is so strong to communicate to man, that it is man who tries to hide from God, and not the other way around. Because even AFTER the fall God still sought out man even when man tried to hide from God.

Genesis 3:7-10 
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.  And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.  And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

As you can see, God approached man, but man hid himself from God, and the same thing continued to happen throughout time. After the fall, just like He always did, God kept trying to reveal Himself to man, but man resisted because of sin.

Romans 1:19-25 
Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,  And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image mad like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things.  Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

God's will is that ALL men be saved and to come unto a knowledge of the Truth…

1 Timothy 2:4 

[God] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

 

…and God has and will do all that He can to do that IF MAN IS WILLING (we will talk about that in the next response).

So in conclusion, does the bible teach that men can seek God on their own? Not at first. At first God gives man a revelation. The "seeking" part that comes in is what man DOES with the revelation that God has ALREADY given him. Will he "follow after" it or not?



Part 2. 
The typical verse used by Calvinists:

Romans 3:11 
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

Psalm 14:2 

The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.

 

Just like in all verses in the scripture, this verse has a context, and the Calvinists choose to ignore it!

This verse has NOTHING to do with the Calvinist idea of "total depravity," or that mankind has no ABILITY to seek after God. The context is our Apostle Paul explaining how God is just to condemn both Jew as well as Gentile as he has already expounded on in the first two chapters of the book.  By chapter three, it is clear and evident that the entire human population is guilty before God.  Paul says that later in the chapter.  Look at another verse in the immediate context. 

Romans 3:19 
Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

Verses 11 and 19 are all part of the same context. God DID give Israel (and the world) a testimony about Himself, and for the most part they rejected it. So much so that God would be more than fair and just to condemn all. Verse 11 (a quote from Psalms)…

Psalm 14:2 

The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.


…is simply stating that at the time God began the dispensation of Grace, His people Israel had joined the Gentile world in rejecting the Creator. Although God HAD given a revelation of Himself to both people groups, we both rejected it.

It is NOT that mankind does not have the ABILTY to seek after God's revelation of Himself, it is simply that we CHOOSE NOT TO! He is not saying what the Calvinists erroneously say, ‘that mankind has no ABILITY to seek after God’; he is saying we don't have the WILLINGNESS!

As you stated before there are PLENTY of verses that show that mankind DOES have the ability from God (freewill/volition) to seek after God!

Jeremiah 29:13  
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

1 Chronicles 28:9
And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.

Isaiah 55:6 
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

Matthew 7:7 
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

Hebrews 11:6   
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Acts 15:17   
That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

Acts 17:27   
That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

So in conclusion, man DOES have the ability to seek after God because God created us that way, and has NEVER left us on our own to come up with our own idea of who He is.  He has ALWAYS given us a revelation of Himself, but we choose to reject it/Him.



Parts 3. & 4. 
There are other verses that say that a person CAN seek God?  Are those verses just for Israel?

Yes, the bible makes it clear that there ARE verses that say a person CAN seek after God. So the Calvinist MIS-USES Romans 3:11.

Now whether or not those verses that we mentioned previously that show mankind CAN seek after God, are in relationship to Israel ONLY, the answer is no! Although many of those verses are written to and about the nation of Israel, it is because most of the bible is written to and about that nation as God's people in the earth, so most of the verses pertain to them.

But as you see from that verse in Romans 3, our Apostle Paul, the Apostle of and to us Gentiles, uses that quote from the O.T. book of Psalms (Ps. 14:2) to state a truth for today in our present dispensation of Grace. Therefore, what God is showing us is that although it was originally written to and about Israel, the principle does apply today as well. It is an inter-dispensational truth that hard-hearted mankind will not seek after God, but someone who responds to the light of the Creator God who has made himself abundantly known will.

So in conclusion, while the immediate context and purpose of those verses is to Israel, they are also applicable to mankind today (and always since the fall), and so all of mankind (both Jew and Gentile) does has the ability to seek after God.

Acts 17:27..
That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:



Hopefully this helps!

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