Category Archives: WCF & Reformed Theology

Westminster Confession of Faith and Reformed Theology

WCF. VII. Of God’s Covenant with Man – 1. Q & A

Blogging through and answering the questions from G. I. Williamson’s The Westminster Confession of Faith for Study Classes for personal review and comprehension.

WCF. VII. Of God’s Covenant with Man.

Section 1.

1. What does the depraved sinner deny besides the fact that he is depraved?

In addition to deny his depravity, the depraved sinner denies his creaturehood. Depraved man is bewitched by self-delusions of autonomy and independence from God (the Creator).

2. Have Reformed Christians failed to consistently acknowledge “the distance between God and the creature?”

 Yes, some Reformed Christians have failed to consistently acknowledge the basic distinction between the Creator and the creation.

3. How have they done so?

They have done so by when by describing a covenant as “an agreement between two or more persons.” Williamson says, “There is, in such language, at least the danger of suggesting that God and man are equal parties in the disposition of the covenants–as if each agreed to terms sovereignly imposed by the other!” (82)

4. What would God have owed a sinlessly perfect, or perfectly obedient, man?

 God would have owed (God owes) only the gracious promises he has self-imposed by way of covenant.

5. By what is God “bound” in his covenant(s)?

Because “God’s covenant dealings with men are both sovereign and gracious” . . . “He is bound by nothing but his own holy Word” (82).

6. By whom is a covenant instituted?

A covenant is sovereignly and graciously instituted by God; a covenant is instituted by the will of God alone.

WCF. VI. Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment Thereof – 5-6. Q&A

Blogging through and answering the questions from G. I. Williamson’s The Westminster Confession of Faith for Study Classes for personal review and comprehension.

WCF. VI. Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment Thereof.

Sections 5-6.

1. Is the believer both “the old man” and “the new man”?

No. A believer is not two persons. A believer is only “the new man.”

2. Prove this to be correct from Scripture.

Colossians 3:9-10, Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. Also, see 2 Corinthians 5:17.

3. What does “perfectionism” teach?

“Perfectionism” teaches on the absence of all sin when a believer becomes a new creation in Christ (or at the least they teach on the absence of all known and/or conscious sin).

4. What does “antinomianism” teach?

“Antinomianism” teaches that a believer may indeed sin, but he will blame-shift and deny responsibility for sinning, claiming it is the influence of the “old man or nature within me,” thus denying that Christians ought to stive to be perfect. “Antinomian” literally means anti-law; “antinomianism” demonstrates it is anti-law because it shirks personal responsibility before the Law of God, e.g. The antinomian thinks: It isn’t my fault that I just committed this sin! That sin flowed from the old man or nature within me.

5. Give a Scripture reference to refute “perfectionism.”

1 John 1:8, If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. Also, see 1 John 1:10, James 3:2, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 7:14-25, and Psalm 51.

6. Give a Scripture reference to refute “antinomianism.”

“Certain expressions of the apostle Paul may be quoted in what can be made to seem to support this view. He says, for example, “it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me” (Rom. 7:17). . . . But putting this construction on these statements of Paul is false because it overlooks completely the ways in which Paul “takes the blame” for this situation. “I am carnal,” he says (7:14). “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells” (7:18). Paul does not pretend that he can blame his sins on “the old man” a though they were not his. He does indeed inform us that his sins arise from the motions of his old nature as they survive in him. Yet he clearly indicates that he must fight against them and continue doing so until they are wholly destroyed. So the antinomian ends up saying the same thing the perfectionist says: “I have no sin.” In this he deceives himself and shows that the truth is not in him. For both the remaining corruption, and all the motions thereof, are truly and properly sin” (78-79).

7. What is the difference between the status of the indwelling sin in the unregenerate man and the regenerate man?

The difference between the status of the indwelling sin in the unregenerate man and the regenerate man hinges upon dominion: the unregenerate man is under the dominion of sin, but the regenerate man is under the dominion of Christ, therefore he is not under the dominion of indwelling sin. “The true state of the case is this: in an unregenerate person corruption rules, but in a regenerate person the Spirit of God and the law of God have dominion (Rom. 8:7-14)” (79).

8. What pernicious error is suggested (and condemned) in Rom. 6:1-2?

The pernicious error suggested and condemned in Romans 6:1-2 is antinomianism, i.e. “the most wicked though of all . . . which suggests that sin is somehow less heinous if it is committed by a Christian.” “We might rather,” Williamson says, “that sin is much more heinous if it is committed by the Christian” (80). See Romans 6:1-2: What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

9. Why is sin more heinous in a believer than it is in an unbeliever?

Sin is more heinous in a believe, Williamson says, because there is greater reason for the believer to overcome sin, e.g.:

  • A Christian has strength that the non-Christian does not have;
  • A Christian has knowledge that the unbeliever lacks;
  • A Christian, most of all, has the realization of the terrible consequences of sin because he has seen what it cost the Saviour to blot them out.

10. What is “willful sin”?

“Willful sin” is the antinomian practice of sinning–living in sin–because one is not concerned with overcoming sin.

WCF. VI. Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment Thereof – 3-4. Q&A

Blogging through and answering the questions from G. I. Williamson’s The Westminster Confession of Faith for Study Classes for personal review and comprehension.

WCF. VI. Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment Thereof.

Sections 3-4.

1. State the basic facts concerning our lost condition?

 Adam rebelled in the Garden of Eden, and his sin is our sin. Thus, Adam’s penalty is our penalty–Romans 5:12, Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.

2. Are these facts simple to understand or to explain?

No. As WCF. VII. notes, Adam was both the natural and federal head of all mankind, and this is so because God declared it to be so. 

3. How do we know that it is right for God to condemn us for Adam’s sin?

We know it is right because we take God at his word–“and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” “And we know that it is just for God to do so, because he always does what is right” (74).

4. What teaching in the Bible is often overlooked in this matter?

It is often overlooked that there is a corporate aspect to mankind’s existence. “The Bible does not regard the human race as so many isolated individuals, each separately created by God (as were the angels), but as an organic unit created in one man–and then, one pair–having the power to produce offspring in their own likeness and image. Adam and Eve were the ‘root of all mankind.’ God has made ‘from one blood every nation’ (Acts 17:26)” (74-75).

5. What does the “creationist” teach as to the derivation of the soul?

A “creationist” believes that a man and woman generate the organic body, but that the derivation of the soul is a new creation of God that is infused or placed into the body. 

6. What does the “traducianist” teach as to the derivation of the soul?

A “traducianist” (Latin for transmitter) believes that a man and woman generate both soul and body of their progeny, albeit this is a mysterious process that is not fully understood by man. This is consistent with the belief that Adam and Eve were the root of all mankind, as well as what the Bible says regarding human generation, e.g. Hebrews 7:10, For he [Levi] was yet in the loins of his father [Abraham], when Melchisedec met him. Genesis 46:26, All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his loins, besides Jacob’s sons’ wives, all the souls were threescore and six.

7. Which do you favor, and why?
I favor the “traductionist.” Why? In addition to Biblical reasons given above, the teaching of the “creationist” seems deficient: if original sin is an imprint upon both soul and body, then a “creationist” implicitly teaches that God creates a new, sinful soul and places it in a body generated/begat by a man and woman. “How could the soul be created sinful by God?” (45) The answer to this rhetorical question is that it could not! for God is good!

8. In either case, what other principle helps explain our guilt in Adam’s sin?

Our guilt in Adam’s sin follows from the Biblical principle of representation. Adam was both the natural and the federal head of all mankind. “The act of Adam was the act of all men because he represented them” (76). Again, Romans 5:12: Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.

9. Why was only the first sin of Adam our responsibility?

The reason only the first sin of Adam was our responsibility is because “Adam terminated his representative actions with that one sin” (75). 

10. How are all other sins related to this one?

All sins are related to this one because “by that one act he (and we) became corrupt and guilty. . . . He and we became totally depraved. And because our condition was that of being ‘wholly defiled in all faculties and parts of soul and body’ (WCF. VI. 2.), it followed that continual transgressions proceeded out of this condition” (75). All other sins are related to this one because will/desire/affections flow from nature, i.e. sinful will/desire/affections flow from depraved nature.

WCF. VI. Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment Thereof – 1-2. Q&A

Blogging through and answering the questions from G. I. Williamson’s The Westminster Confession of Faith for Study Classes for personal review and comprehension.

WCF. VI. Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment Thereof.

Sections 1-2.

1. Why does the fall of man need much emphasis today?

It needs much emphasis today because of the prominence and acceptance of neo-orthodoxy, whose proponents typically deny that the fall took place when “an actual historical person . . . at a particular time and at a specific location on earth ate a real piece of forbidden fruit” (70).

2. What does neo-orthodoxy (the term itself) mean?

Neo-orthodoxy means “new orthodoxy.”

3. From what did it [neo-orthodoxy] arise?

It arose from and was a response to the “old rationalism” indicative of the post-enlightenment era.

4. Why did it sound promising at first?

Neo-orthodoxy sounded promising because it used the historical/traditional vocabulary of the Christian Church; the proponents of neo-orthodoxy would refer to “creation,” “the fall,” and “election,” however, they re-tooled the thing (meaning) signified by the traditional vocabulary. It had the appearance of orthodox Christian belief, but in the final analysis it lacked the content.

5. What is its tragic defect (basic to all other defects in it)?

The tragic defect of neo-orthodoxy is its “merely exchanging the old form of reliance upon the supremacy of man’s reason with a new form of the same evil” (70). The tragic defect is neo-orthodoxy’s treating God’s Word subservient to human reason.

6. When neo-orthodoxy says that a thing is “true” doctrine, what does it mean?

It means they believe the doctrine is “true” in a nonhistorical sense, i.e. it is merely symbolically or mythically.

7. Why does neo-orthodoxy take such a position?

Neo-orthodoxy takes this position, the position of attempting to affirm the Bible (that the Bible teaches truth) and deny (that what the Bible says is actually true) at the same time, because modernism created a milieu in which it which the traditional Christian belief that the Word of God was above human wisdom/human science was viewed as untenable (see page 70).

8. What choice were neo-orthodox theologians force to make?

“There were but two choices: (1) either accept the authority of God’s Word and lose standing with this world, or (2) retain the approval of the world, and reject the authority of the Bible” (70-71).

9. How were the neo-orthodox theologians more ingenious (and therefore more dangerous) than the older rationalists and modernists?

The neo-orthodox theologians chose the latter of the two choices above (retain the approval of the world, and reject the authority of the Bible), and the “ingenuity of the neo-orthodox theologians was seen in their ability to camouflage the loss of biblical authority. They did it by removing doctrine from history. And so long as they did not say that these doctrines are really true (that is, that they actually happened in history), they were free to say that they are symbolically true (that is, that they are above and beyond our world). In this way they were free to preach abut such things as “the fall” without losing their self-respect and standing with the world” (71).

10. How does the neo-orthodox attitude resemble that of Adam?

It resembles Adam’s attitude (sin) in that both attempt to have truth that is untethered and insubmissive to God’s word.

11. By “total depravity” which do we mean:

  • that Adam had a nature like ours with added powers,
  • that nothing human remains in sinful men,
  • that every faculty of man’s nature is corrupt and polluted,
  • that fallen man is stupid whereas Adam was brilliant,
  • the faculties of human nature were annihilated by the fall?
Bullet point # 3 – “that every faculty of man’s nature is corrupt and polluted,” i.e. “The ‘total’ in ‘total depravity’ refers to the extent of the damage rather than the degree.
12. By “total depravity,” do we mean that the extent of the damage or the degree of the damage is complete in fallen human nature?
It refers to the extent. Sin is an ethical disease that affects the whole of our human nature.
13. Does man (being totally depraved) do anything that is not sinful? Why?
Not a single thing. Man being totally depraved can only sin. “Every man (who is not redeemed) worships and serves the creature rather than the Creator (Rom. 1:25)” (72). Why is this? Because will flows from nature: if our whole human nature is sick/poisoned with the ethical disease of sin, then our will, desires, affections, and actions are sinful: “it is the disposition of sinful men to do their own will rather than the will of God, they are incapable of submitting their own will to his. The one thing that an independent will cannot do is to willingly submit, thereby ceasing to be independent” (72-73). As Romans 3:11 says, “There is none who seeks God.”

WCF. V. Of Providence – 2-7. Q & A.

Blogging through and answering the questions from G. I. Williamson’s The Westminster Confession of Faith for Study Classes for personal review and comprehension.

WCF. V. Of Providence. Sections 2-7.

1. Name the common objections to the doctrine of absolute sovereignty. 

It is argued that if God is absolutely and exhaustively sovereign, then that means that man is not responsible for his sins.

2. Refute same.

Scripture emphatically teaches that man sins precisely because man wills to do so. Man has genuine free will, however, it is not philosophic “libertarian” free will (because there is no such thing). Man’s free will is the free will of a “creature”, we have freedom within the confines of a created-thing’s opportunity and ability. Precisely because of the Creator-creature distinction, the Triune God, who is infinite, eternal, and immutable, allows man to do as he wills, i.e., desires/intends/chooses, as a means for rendering all that God in his providence has predetermined, i.e., “Although in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass immutably and infallibly, yet, by the same providence, he ordereth them to fall out according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently” (WCF. V. 2.).

3. Why do the elect sometimes sin so grievously?

For a variety of reasons: as chastisement for former sins; to reveal to the elect the fierceness of sin’s power; as illumination contributing to their ongoing sanctification, through revealing and enlightening the elect of deceit hidden in the dark corners of one’s own heart; chiefly–to cultivate humility in them, that they might draw nearer to Jesus as the author and finisher of their faith, the Captain of their salvation. Also, falling into grievous sin teaches the elect to be on their guard, to be more watchful, to ensure that they not give Satan so much as a single wooden peg to perch upon within their hearts (seeing that the enemy oftentimes schemes to migrate sinners from lesser to greater sins). Certainly there is a plethora of “sundry other just and holy ends” (WCF. V. 5), but it would be impossible to denote them. We must be content with God’s Word alone: Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

4. Why do the reprobate sometimes act better than we might expect them to?

“Because God sometimes enables the conscience of the unbeliever to overrule him” (358). The imago Dei was only defaced by the Fall, therefore, even in unbelievers there are “remnants of their old nature” (tracing back to the sinless nature of Adam). “The conscience still retains some recollection of the law of God which was written there in the beginning (Rom. 2:14-15)” (67).

5. Is it correct to speak of a Christian as both an old and new man?

Absolutely not. A Christian was the “old man” but is now the “new man.” There are, however, sinful effects of the nature of the old man that a Christian must be guarded against until his death and consummation of Eternal Life. This is why mortification and quickening of the Spirit is so important for Christian Living.

6. Is a Christian “responsible” for the sin he does under the influence of “the remnants of the old nature”?

Yes. Absolutely. The new man sins, but the source of the sin is not from the new man, but, as said above, the effects of the nature of the old man. “The regenerate man sins, but he cannot give himself to the willful and continual practice of sin: ‘For His [God’s] seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God’ (1 John 3:9)” (66).

8. Explain and harmonize Paul’s statements in Romans 7:20 and 7:24.

Romans 7:20, “Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.” Paul traces source of sin to the remnant-effect of former sinful nature.

Romans 7:24, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Paul clearly believes he himself is responsible for his own sinful actions.

9. Why is the final section of this chapter of the Confession important? 

The final section is Section 7: “As the providence of God doth, in general, reach to all creatures; so, after a most special manner, it taketh care of his Church, and disposeth all things to the good thereof.” Here we learn that God’s providence in a special way is concerned with God’s redemptive aims (cf. Rom. 8:28; Eph. 3:11).

WCF. V. Of Providence – 1. Q & A

Blogging through and answering the questions from G. I. Williamson’s The Westminster Confession of Faith for Study Classes for personal review and comprehension.

WCF. V. Of Providence. Question 1.

1. There are two errors ruled out by this section of the Confession: the first teaches that things happen by ______. The second teaches that things happen by ______.

The first error ruled out is that things happen by chance. The second error ruled out is that things happen by fate (“mechanical necessity”). Both of these errors are contrary to Scripture.

2. With which of these errors are the Arminians in (perhaps unconscious) agreement?

The former error. Generally speaking, Arminians teach “that the will of man acts without any predetermined certainty” (61). In the final analysis, Arminians teach that things happen by chance.

3. Cite a Scripture text which proves that the will of man is not unpredictable.

Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”

4. What scriptural teaching about God helps us to understand why there are some things that man cannot do?

Will is determined by character/nature. For example, God cannot lie (see Hebrews 6:18); lying is contrary to God’s character/nature. Man’s will is also determined by character/nature. Man’s will is depraved; it is filth-ridden by the ethical disease of sin. This means that “so long as the character of a man is sinful and corrupt (as received by ordinary generation from Adam), there is no “chance” that he will do that which is pleasing to God” (61). Thus, there are some things that man cannot do–sinful man cannot please God.

5. Why is there no chance that an unconverted man will do the will of God, or that a converted man will not begin to do the will of God?

See latter end of prior answer regarding former question. Regarding the latter question, as I said earlier, will is determined by character/nature: “But when God regenerates a man so that he receives a new and different character, there is no “chance” that he will not begin to do good. ‘For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure’ (Phil. 2:13)” (61).

6. What is the difference between fate and divine sovereignty?

Fate is a matter of “mechanical necessity” but divine sovereignty is a matter of a personal (Triune!) divine decree. They are as different as the day is long. “Mechanical fate is at the very heart meaningless, merciless, and hopeless. But the certainty of divinely ordered providence is meaningful, merciful, and hopeful” (61).

7. What teachings of Scripture aid us in believing that God controls everything?

Scripture teaches that God created all things, and that both the end and the means were decreed by God.

8. Cite a Scripture text to prove that God controls everything.
Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

Psalm 135:6, “Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.”

Daniel 4:35, “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”

Acts 15:18, “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.”

1 Peter 1:2, “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”

WCF. IV. Of Creation – 2. Q & A

Blogging through and answering the questions from G. I. Williamson’s The Westminster Confession of Faith for Study Classes for personal review and comprehension.

WCF. IV. Of Creation – 2.

1. In what do evolutionists and Christians superficially agree?

Generally speaking, both agree that man is the crowning or highest creature on earth.

2. Why do we say this agreement is superficial?

An evolutionist believes that this range of lower to higher forms of creation is all derivative of blind and neutral mechanical forces. A Christian, however, believes God’s immediate will and creative word is at back these forms of creation.

3. Is it anti-Christian to believe that God employed many basic structural designs in lower forms of life and then later in creating man?

No. It is not. We may see similar structural designs, but there was no man (human) until God formed him from the dust of the ground and breathed life into him and called him Adam. “But there can be no yielding at one point: man did not “gradually emerge” from the slime, but was created by an immediate divine act in which matter and spirit were fused together and given existence as a living soul” (57).

4. At what precise point must the Christian never yield respecting man’s creation?

See answer above for Question 3.

5. Is it possible that man may have developed from lower forms of “semi-human” beings? Why?

Absolutely not. Man’s spirit came directly from God. God fused spirit with matter so that man became a “living soul” (Genesis 2:7), that is, human.

6. What does evolutionary dogma say about “early” human existence?

Evolutionary dogma insists man’s genesis being one of dim-wits, pertaining to the caveman variety. This is bogus. Man from the beginning, according to Scripture, was endowed with a highly developed intelligence. For example, evolutionists believe speech is a phenomenon of human evolution, but the Bible describes speech as intricate to man being made in the image of God. As A. W. Tozer said, “Thought and speech are God’s gifts to creatures made in His image; these are intimately associated with Him and impossible apart from Him. It is highly significant that the first word was the Word: ‘And the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ We may speak because God spoke” (The Knowledge of the Holy, 2).

7. What does the Bible say about “early” human existence?

See answer above for Question 6, and Romans 2:15 says the work of the law is written in our hearts.

8. In what sense was Adam’s knowledge primitive?

Adam’s knowledge was primitive in a non-cumulative sense: Adam was created with genuine knowledge, albeit, knowledge that was not composite, i.e., Adam didn’t know about the latest theories of quantum-physics, about the ocean’s tides, etc.

9. Why do scientists believe in the unity of the human race?

Scientists believe in the unity of the human race because they believe man descended from an original pair (I don’t know of any scientists who maintain that human-evolution occurred in-parallel and simultaneously in different geographic regions).

10. Why do Christians believe in the unity of the human race?

Christians believe in the unity of the human race because of God’s revelation: Acts 17:26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation. Referencing this truth, Williamson says, “And the Christian resists all racist pride, not on the basis of the evolutionary dogma of man’s greatness, but the biblical doctrine of creation and the fall” (58).

11. Which is correct: the soul is the image of God, the soul contains the image of God, man has the image of God, or man is the image of God?

The correct formulation is “Man is the image of God.” Williamson says, “It would seem to be more scriptural to simply affirm that man (in the totality of his physical-scriptural being) is (rather than merely contains) the image of God” (58).

12. Why may it be that the body has traditionally been excluded from the image?

Williamson thinks this may be the case because of “pagan holdovers” where the body (physical) is considered evil and the spirit (non-physical) is considered good.

13. If God is triune, and man is God’s image, then what must we see in the unity of human personality?

In human personality we see “endowed capacity for knowledge, holiness, and righteousness” (59), that is, we see diversity. “Man has one personality, but various faculties – mind, heart, and will” (357). These three traits correspond to functions as a prophet, priest, and king. Adam was created in the image of the Triune God and was to function and fulfill duties of each of these offices: “As a prophet man was endowed with the physical sense and mental ability to learn the truth. As a priest he possessed the sensibility and desire to worship God in true holiness. And as a king he possessed the physical and mental power and ability to subject in righteousness all things to the purpose and will of God” (59).

14. Do you find Scripture evidence for this diversity?

“Yes, the Scriptures teach that man is a rational, emotional, volitional personality (Isa. 1:18; Acts 24:25; Col. 3:9-10; Rom. 12:10; Matt. 26:39; John 1:13)” (357).

WCF. IV. Of Creation – 1. Q & A

Blogging through and answering the questions from G. I. Williamson’s The Westminster Confession of Faith for Study Classes for personal review and comprehension.

WCF. IV. Of Creation – 1.

1. Who created the world?

The true God created the world – the world derives its existence from the Triune Lord. According to Genesis 1:1, “The world is created, not self-existent, and it is God, the true God, who caused it to be” (53).

2. What are the basic points of dogma held by “modern science”?

Modern science teaches the world is “self-existent or eternal . . . that it does not have a derived existence . . . that the present form of the world is the result of a process of selection controlled, not by God, but by the ‘principle’ of ‘the survival of the fittest’ . . . that there is no ‘ultimate’ reason for it” (53). This also was axiom at back Greek-pagan-thought. Heraclitus (c. 500 B.C.) was a Greek philosopher, and, regarding reality, he said, “Neither has any god nor any human made this cosmos, rather it always was and is and will be” (frag. 30). Also, Heraclitus was admired by Cynics, Stoics, and, of course, Nietzsche (see Archetypes of Wisdom: An Introduction to Philosophy, 64).

3. Is there any proof for the theory of evolution? Why?

Williamson calls evolution a “theory” and a “dogma” that has been believed and accepted for over a century, but “there is still not one iota of “proof” that it is true” [italics original] (54). There can be no “proof” for the theory of evolution because . . . see answer below for Question 4.

4. What is truth?

“Truth is simply that which really is. There is only one truth, because there is only one reality. Therefore, if the Scriptures are true, they merely tell us what really is (or was, or will yet be). When by investigation men also discover what really is in the world of nature, they simply grasp another aspect of the same total truth” (54).

5. Where is truth found?

Truth is found in the “book of life” (the Bible) and the “book of nature” – both have been authored by God.

6. What are some common false assumptions of those who accept modern scientific dogma?

That modern science can deduce truth from observing only the “book of nature”. Truth is what really is . . . thus, you cannot deduce truth from the raw facts of nature alone. Truth involves both the thing and God’s revelation (God’s Word) regarding the thing. In addition to this, there are any number of false assumptions related to production of fossils, assumptions regarding vast stretches of time (i.e., “billions-and-billions-of-years-ago”), etc.

7. State concisely your reply to each of these false assumptions.

I prefer not to. If you address the epistemological presuppositions at back false assumptions, then you don’t need to address each of the false assumptions.

8. What is your view of the “days” of Genesis 1?

These are 24-hour periods of time. I believe Genesis 1 is a historical narrative of a one-week-sequence of time.

9. Is the Hebrew term for “day” always used to denote a twenty-four hour period?

No, it is not. As any Lexicon will show.

10. Is there any good reason not to believe that God created the world in six twenty-four hour days? if so, state them.

No – there are no good reasons. The reasoning is always driven by an insipid-and-mildew Gnosticism, so it de facto cannot be good reasoning for a Christian.

WCF. III. Of God’s Eternal Decree – 7-8. Q & A

Blogging through and answering the questions from G. I. Williamson’s The Westminster Confession of Faith for Study Classes for personal review and comprehension.

WCF. III. Of God’s Eternal Decree – 7-8.

1. Precisely what has God determined to do with respect to the reprobate?

With respect to the reprobate, God has sovereignly determined to withhold his grace from some men, and this God does according to his perfect counsel.

2. Why has God passed by these particular persons?

God passes by the reprobate according to his good pleasure (see Romans 9:18 and Ephesians 1:5).

3. Why do they receive damnation?

The reason the reprobate receive damnation is wholly within God. i.e., the reason is known by the triune God – “God elects or passes by as, and because, it pleases him” (38). The reprobate are not passed over by God because of their sin; that cannot be the reason because “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23). However, the reprobate receive damnation because they have been left in their sin, which in the end brings upon them God’s perfect and holy wrath.

4. How has this doctrine been abused?

This doctrine has been abused by those who say, “If God passes over the reprobate, then that means it is God’s fault they receive punishment.” G. I. Williamson says, “This [the abuse just mentioned] is diabolical for the simple reason that God’s withholding of grace does not make the sinner guilty and liable to punishment; it merely leaves him in that condition. “The wrath of God abideth (i.e., remains) on him” (John 3:36)” (39).

5. Why has this doctrine been refused?

This doctrine is refused by those who say, “If God does this, then God is arbitrary, unfair/unjust, and unkind.

6. Is God “arbitrary” in his actions?

Yes. God is arbitrary, however, God is not unjust. Romans 9:18 – “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.”

7. Is it wrong for God to be “arbitrary” in his actions?

No. He is God. God’s decree determines what will be, and their is nothing higher than the will of the triune God. In his answers to the questions at the back of the book, G. I. Williamson says, “He has absolute right to do as he will with creatures he has made, especially in view of their sin” (275).

8. What text in Scripture shows that reprobation (God’s withholding of grace, and passing by) does not make a sinner guilty and liable to punishment?

John 3:36 – “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

“God’s sovereign discrimination concerns those who are already under his wrath and curse. His discrimination concerns who shall not be left in that condition” (275). This is declared by the Prophet Habakkuk: “O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2). This fact, that “in wrath remember mercy”, is at back of the salvation of every Christian.

9. Should this doctrine be taught? Why? How?

Yes, Yes, three times I say, Yes. It should be taught to counter false presumption. It should be taught in a manner that spurs on diligence to our faithful-and-loving triune God; it should be taught in a manner that engenders humility before our merciful triune God.

WCF. III. Of God’s Eternal Decree – 6. Q & A

Blogging through and answering the questions from G. I. Williamson’s The Westminster Confession of Faith for Study Classes for personal review and comprehension.

WCF. III. Of God’s Eternal Decree – 6.

1. Read Acts 27:14-44. What divine end was promised by God (v. 24)? What means did the inspired apostle require for attaining this end (v. 31)? Was the end reached? Were the means used as required? Which then was ordained (decreed, or predetermined) by God, the end or the means?

God says in verse 24 that Paul’s life will be preserved, because he must be brought to Caesar, and that the lives of “all them that sail with thee” will also be preserved. The means required for preservation were obeying the inspired Apostles command, “Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved” (their lives will be preserved if they remain in the ship and obey Paul’s instructions). Yes, the end was reached: verse 44 says, “And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.” Both the end and the means were decreed by God. God predetermined that all would be preserved through the storm and shipwreck, and God predetermined the means would be by listening and obeying Paul’s instructions.

2. What is wrong with this popular statement: “If I’m elect then I will be saved no matter what I do?”

This popular statement is wrong and foolish because it denies that God predetermines the end as well as the means, i.e., “Paul links divine predestination (the end) with calling, justification and glorification (means to this end) (Rom. 8:30)” (35). The popular statement above is wrong because it is not a fully Biblical view, since God ordains both the end and the means. In light of Romans 8:30, you cannot say you will be saved (the end) no matter what you do (the means).

3. By what is the plan of God never contradicted?

“The plan of God is never contradicted by the works of God by which the plan is executed” (35). The Godhead is in perfect harmony, therefore, the Godhead’s decree (end) and executed plan (means) are in perfect harmony. Their is no contradiction within the Godhead, therefore, there is no contradiction within the Godhead’s decrees.

4. Why may we not say that Christ’s death was intended for the salvation of all?

Scripture says that not all men will be saved, therefore, Christ’s death (the means) cannot be intended for the salvation of all.