Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Box of Chocolates

Box of Chocolates (an illustration of election/reprobation)

Suppose you are offered some chocolates from a box of chocolates. While gazing into the box, you decide there is nothing in any of the chocolates to make you want to pick one chocolate over another. Nevertheless, you choose some of the chocolates and some of the chocolates you do not choose. You may have a reason for picking some and not others, but the reason has nothing to do with the individual chocolates themselves. It stands to reason then, if there is nothing in the chocolates that affected your decision to pick one piece of chocolate over the others, there is ALSO NOTHING IN THE ONES YOU DO NOT PICK TO AFFECT YOUR DECISION TO NOT PICK THEM.

What are the implications of this to election and its flipside reprobation?*

*Clue: “If we cannot assign any reason for his bestowing mercy on his people, but just that it so pleases him, neither can we have any reason for his reprobating others but his will. When God is said to visit in mercy or harden whom he will, men are reminded that they are not to seek for any cause beyond his will.” (Institutes, III, xxii, 11)


Blogger Bobby Grow said...

The harsh reality here, from a Calvinist perspective, is that God's CHOICE is "ARBITRARY", almost seems "random" (but it's not according to the Calvinist understanding) to His good pleasure.

But Antonio, aren't you trying to pry into God's immanent character, inpenetrable to man (cf. Deut. 29:29)? I'm playing the "antagonist" role here, BTW. You're operating from the very spot that God confounded by sending his Son, a Calvinist would say, that spot is the "old man".

You're just going to have to live with the fact that God has His good reasons for arbitrarily "choosing some" and "damning others"--He hasn't given us insight here, we'll just have to trust Him.

This is how easily the Calvinist will brush off your "implication" here--at least that's how they've responded to me ;).

November 03, 2005 11:38 PM  
Blogger MCH said...

This analogy breaks down on many different levels.

The whole context changes when you add to the equation the fact that all of the chocolates are unworthy of eating. Unless you do something to make them palatable, they will all remain unfit for consumption.

November 04, 2005 9:19 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...


you completely miss the true and applicable correspondences in my illustration.

I guess tomorrow I need to insert them line by line in the text itself.


November 04, 2005 2:48 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

The harsh reality, Bobby, is that simply because it is within the pleasures of God, or according to His divine counsel, and outside of your own, this does not equate to it being arbitrary.

How on earth do you reason that because God decides something according to something that you will never know (His mysterious will), that this is arbitrary?!?

Is everything for arbitrary reasons that you can't see specifically why they are?

February 10, 2006 3:57 AM  
Blogger Larry said...

"Box of Chocolates" (Nov 3, 2005 11:39 AM)

I haven't heard this illustration before, and since nobody answered your question, let me think about what you're getting at, Antonio, since I am not as smart as bobby grow so as to see it immediately.

If there is no goodness in the chocolates picked that affected the decision, and there is no evil in the ones you did not pick that affected the decision not to pick them, then you picked them for reasons of your own, but reasons having nothing to do with the goodness or lack thereof, of the individual chocolates themselves.

Right. This is a good analogy. It also fits even human earthly generation to a point. Our natural birth was the same way, no. There was no goodness or evil in us (nothing they could know for certain anyway), that affected our parents to bring us forth. They had us for reasons of their own.

The analogy successfully illustrates, as sofyist reminds bobby grow, that God, just like human parents, can have reasons of His own for bringing a new birth about, and to have reasons of your own, as every parent tells every child, is not the same as to be arbitrary -- however it may seem so to a child.

The parent says "because I say so." God says "Of His own will He brought us forth as first fruits of His creatures."

I suppose a parent wanting to show that some things will work out anyway, even when it seems like chance caused the decision, will even show the intermediation of chance to the untrusting child, just to make a point.

Suppose some (very self-centered and stupid) children were furious that, in order to decide whether to give 7-up or Sprite to the one or the other, you flipped a coin. They either would accuse you of being arbitrary, in which you might have to keep doing that kind of thing so they would trust you, or they would give up and trust you. (It would help if they tasted the drink.)

Although that is not a helpful analogy for election, it is only to illustrate that even chance can be used by God for His purposes.

Therefore the accusation that God is arbitrary by making no distinctions based on the objects themselves, fails. The analogy shows that it is very common for people, even, to do things for reasons of their own having nothing to do with the particulars of the outcome.

There must be something more you're getting at here.

The implications of this for reprobation, is that reprobation need not be thought of as arbitrary.

I assume that by reprobation you mean that in salvation God determines the destiny of every individual, whatever that is, if it is heaven, or if it is hell, for reasons completely His own.

December 18, 2006 5:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to ask all of you this question? Do you believe that God loved the whole world... that He sent His Son to die for the whole world... and that the offer of salvation is for anyone who believes in Him for it?
Do you believe that His offer is GENUINE to all or is He just playing word games with us? Do you REALLY believe that the Bible teaches that God chose only certain people for salvation and excluded others?

I use to believe that. I don't anymore. As I looked at Romans 9 I wondered why so many assumed that God was speaking of heaven and hell when He said that He was the potter and we were the clay. He would have mercy on whom He would have mercy. Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated.
When I looked at those verses I saw that the subject wasn't even about heaven and hell. It was about service. The older would SERVE the younger.

This is a subject of great interest to me because so many grace pastors are saying that God chooses certain people for salvation. Yet He gave everyone a free will. A contradiction. Both can't be true. Of course the answer to that is.....
Both are true. We just can't put it together in our mind. But did God really say that both are true?
I don't think He did!!!

Those believing this are saying that God "programed" certain ones to believe. They don't believe because they want Him. They believe in Him because He programed them to believe. He MADE them believe.

No way.... from what I'm seeing in the scriptures! He sovereignly (by His choice) gave each a free will to choose to receive or reject His wonderful gift of salvation. That's why all are held accountable before Him when they die.

Anyway, that's what I'm seeing now in the scriptures. I appreciate your discussion on this subject and all comments. Thank you.

February 24, 2007 6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wanted to add this to my above post...
Very interesting article in the GES Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society... Spring 2006 titled... "Salvation and the Sovereignty of God: THE GREAT COMMISSION AS THE EXPRESSION OF THE DIVINE WILL" by Ken Keathley.
This is a very helpful synopsis of the four main views of God's will.

February 24, 2007 7:26 PM  

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