Can your theology account for the consistency of all three of these verses from Luke 24—divine veiling, human culpability, and divine revealing?

v. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.

v. 25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!”

v. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.

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79 thoughts on “Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsiblity on the Road to Emmaus”

  1. You bet …

    God’s sovereignty neither mitigates man’s responsibility nor justifies his irresponsibility.

  2. And divine sovereignty never intends to mitigate since it, God’s sovereignty, permits the function of human volition and does not control it.

    This is an excellent challenge and one that must be doctrinally harmonized before anyone can even pretend to speak with some authority on the matter.

  3. The way its laid out here makes it hard for any theology to account for these verses. If ought implies can, then why would Jesus chastise them for not doing what they ought to have done when could not? Not even Calvinism can explain this, unless it denies that ought implies can, and thus swallows an intractable problem of moral responsibility (so much worse for Calvinism). But if the context is provided, then things change:

    13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.
    17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”

    They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

    19 “What things?” he asked.

    “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”

    25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Christ[b] have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

    28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

    30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

    Jesus’s rebuke was directed not at their failure to recognize him in bodily form, but at their failure to believe in the resurrection of the Messiah as testified by the OT. This is something they could do; in fact, he expects everyone to do it. Assuming they can’t is simply not as plausible as assuming the could. Evidently, this didn’t change anything until he broke bread some time later after he had sufficiently explained the meaning of the OT word to them–that God has power over life and death.

    Jesus came to help us understand redemptive history–not play an (abusive?) game of hide and seek.

    1. Justin Taylor says:

      Adam: Always good to hear from you! The question of whether “ought implies can” ultimately depends on the nature of ability under discussion: e.g., moral or natural.

      Thanks for reprinting the full context. But I still don’t think you’re accounting for the divine passives at play here, with God as the clearly implied subject of the veiling and unveiling.

      1. Nice to hear from you too, Justin. I will think about this some more.

      2. Arminian says:

        Justin, I don’t think you are grasping Adam’s point. Even if it is granted that divine passives are in view, there is nothing wrong with their not recognizing Jesus as the one speaking with them. There is no rebuke for it. The rebuke in context has to do with believing what the Old Testament prophets said about the Messiah, that he would suffer and then enter into his glory (i.e., would suffer/die and rise). The context seems to show your framing of the issue to be completely illegitimate, as if they were held accountable by God for doing something they couldn’t do. But that is not in view by any stretch. Surprising.

        1. Justin Taylor says:

          Thanks, Arminian. Fair point—but I think you’re too easily separating what is bound up together. The physical and spiritual recognition are intertwined here, as I read it.

          1. Arminian says:

            But your reading has no evidence for it in the text. Nothing is said about the connection you are suggesting. You seem to be wholly reading your theology into the text. It really seems to be a case of ripping pieces of the text out of their context and setting them side by side so as to frame them in a certain way that has no basis in the text. This seems to be the type of thing that would show up for castigation in Carson’s book on Exegetical Fallacies.

            By the way, this is not to say there is necessarily no connection between the physical and spiritual in this instance. That is possible though far from certain. But even if there is, there are various possibilities for the significance the connection, if even present, would have. The one you’re drawing (i.e.. that they should have physically recognized Jesus and were wrong for not doing so) simply has no evidence for it and makes for an invalid support for the main point of your post IMO. There may be passages that would serve as reasonable support for your point (which is different than saying they would actually support your point), but this does not seem to be one of them.

            1. Ryan says:

              Arminian, I agree that the rebuke of vs 25 is not due to the divine influence of vs 16, but the idea is not unbiblical, as I sense you are hinting at.

              To quote only one verse, “they could not believe. For…He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart” (Jn 12:39-40). And of course, they, and the nation, were judged for their unbelief –in spite of their inability to do so.

              1. Arminian says:

                Ryan,

                The OP was about Luke 24. No matter how biblical an idea is, it does not make it right to rip verses out of their context to proof text it with verses that don’t bear out the point.

                Having said that, the idea Justin was trying to prove is indeed unbiblical. Citing John 12 does not rescue the idea, since that is not the best understanding of the passage. Indeed, there are various interpretations, some held by some Calvinists that would not allow the passage to be used as support for the idea.

              2. Ryan says:

                This is gettin’ stupid real fast. It’s a waste of my time to engage in pointing out the explicit. From the rest of the blog, I can see that you’re a blog-to-the-death kinda guy. I’m out.

    2. Adam,

      With respect, I can’t find one passage that indicates Jesus’ coming was to help us understand redemptive history. Call sinners to repentance? Check. Bring not peace, but a sword? Check. Bringing light to shine out of darkness? Check. We may be able to now understand redemptive history, but that is a secondary cause of Christ’s work, not a primary one. His primary one was to glorify His Father by purchasing for Himself His people. And one specific aspect of that work was to intentionally blind the hearts of some, so as to fulfill prophecies like those in Isaiah 6, specifically so that He could then glorify Himself and His Father by then opening their spiritual eyes.

      Verse 16 demonstrates that He did what was prophesied; verse 17 verifies that the results were consistent with what He’d done; and, beautifully, verse 18 reveals His glory in then removing their blindness, all as prefigured in Isaiah 6.

      And Justin, I love it when you really examine and unravel a passage of Scripture like this. I see something of the literary beauty of God’s Word, as He reveals Himself in it, every single time. Thanks brother.

      1. What about the parables? Those are packed with teaching about redemptive history.

      2. Arminian says:

        Rachael, I am surprised that you found this post helpful ofr understanding Scripture. It rather seems to be a case of ripping verses out of their context. See the discussion above.

        1. Ryan says:

          Arminian, that was totally unnecessary. Don’t be a jerk.

          1. Arminian says:

            Ryan,

            I don’t see how that was unnecessary or jerky. Rachael expressed how she thought Justin’s post was very insightful. I found it to be irresponsible. So I wanted to let her know that and point her to discussion in which I believe I brought that out. You might want to rethink the necessity of your own post and its civility.

            1. Ryan says:

              Of course, Arminian, ‘in the name of accuracy!’ you just wanted her to know. Bless you.

              There are 30+ churches in your city that will teach something slightly inaccurate tomorrow. It is moronic to go around being everybody’s ‘corrective’ buzz kill. You were being the big kid that steps on the other kids’ sandcastles.

              And the “incivility” of my comment was the point. I’m glad that you can at least recognize the superfluousness of others’ ridiculous comments.

              1. drwayman says:

                Arminian -“May those who bless you be blessed and those who curse you be cursed!” Numbers 24:9

                I pray that with Ryan’s blessing of you that he may be blessed as well.

              2. Arminian says:

                So let me get this straight: you are trying to show that I was uncivil by being uncivil? Is assuming bad motives part of your “incivility strategy”? And in a conversation about Scripture, you equate letting someone know that I think a scriptural argument they find insightful is actually based on ripping verses out of their context is akin to going around being *everybody’s* ‘corrective’ buzz kill and stepping on others’ sandcastles? And you throw around words like “jerk” and “moronic” and “ridiculous”? Are you kidding?

                Again, I would encourage you to rethink the necessity of your own posting and its civility. Hopefully you will see that being purposely uncivil to a brother in Christ is not the best strategy. Given the tone of your posts, I should probably bow out of further discussion with you in this thread. You can have the last word if you want, though I fear we might get another hostile post. But I do hope you will choose a better way.

              3. Ryan says:

                It feels good. You know. And who said I was a ‘brother’?

                I commend your correctness, too. Press on in your method of brotherly love.

  4. Krister S says:

    Adam, nicely put. To me, this was an odd sort of post, but your comments helps me put the issue into perspective.

  5. Paul says:

    Adam, plenty of well-trained philosophers don’t buy into Kant’s maxim; moreover, there’s a few compatibilists who do allow for it, but then give ‘can’ a hypothetical gloss. And the debate between classical compatibilists and then rest has reached, as Kane says, an impasse. Furthermore, Geoffrey Sayre-McCord, in “Deontic Logic and the Priority of Moral Theory” Noûs 20 (1986), pp. 179-197, has argued, persuasively in my opinion, that “OIC is probably not a theory-neutral principle of deontic logic but a substantive normative commitment. As Sayre-McCord notes, it seems suspect that a principle of deontic logic can rule out certain conceptions of morality (e.g., Calvinism) on the basis that they reject OIC,” as quoted by prof. Cholbi at Cal Poly. So, it seems to me that your “so much the worse” is quite overstated. And the use of ‘abusive’ is uncalled for, IMO. Non-Calvinists constantly argue from piety or sanctimony, or both, too often, as Yale’s John Hare recently pointed out in his review of Baggett and Walls’ book.

    Anyway, assuming that they can’t isn’t problematic. Jesus doesn’t assume everyone “can” in some robust libertarian sense, for in John 6, to change the subject, we note that Jesus points out that no one is able, i.e., all men cannot come to him unless he draws them. He says, “unless the father draws *him* and I will raise *him* up on the last day. Assuming universalism is false, then not all come to Jesus, because not all are drawn.

    Anyway, my main point was the correct the philosophical bullying you were doing on these poor non-philosophers here ;-)

  6. Fair enough, Paul. Bullies are buttheads, and I don’t want to be among their number, so thanks for the correction. Although, interestingly enough, it is from John Hare that I learned that OIC is a sound principle that lies behind much of our moral practice (Is Goodness Without God Good Enough, ed Garcia and Lane, 86-88, cf. 12). I know that it can be denied (like anything in philosophy), but practically I am not sure how plausible it is to do so. At any rate, Hare’s solution to the “moral gap” between our sinful tendencies and God’s expectations is His provision of regeneration, something he wishes to dispense to anyone who asks. On this view, God is desiring to help us, not chastise/scold/punish us. If Calvinism goes this route, I am OK with it, but only because it would be something like Arminianism! :)

  7. Paul says:

    Adam, it was more like big brother putting Tabasco sauce on the lips of their sleeping little brother bully than Primetime Special on hazing bully :-)

    As far as OIC, denying it isn’t like some obscure weirdo who denies an external world, the denial is a serious option held by many mainstream and regarded philosophers. I admit that from certain libertarian priors, denying it looks odd, but from where I’m standing it’s not as heretical as you seem to think. Indeed, its common sense plausibility is matched by another equally intuitive point, that brought out by Frankfurt counterexamples. The equal intuition tug is even noted by OIC defender David Copp in his chapter in Moral Responsibility and Alternative Possibilities (Of course, he goes on to argue against FSCs). Then there’s the Sayre-McCord point.

    On Calvinism we believe that God will dispense his grace to anyone who asks. The issue is, who can and will ask. As far as God desiring to help us and not punish us, that’s subject to multiple ambiguities, and so I’ll leave it alone for now until further explicated.

  8. Paul says:

    And let me add, Adam, that (as you know) compatibilists *need not* reject OIC; in fact, in the soon to be released book by Dana Nelkin, a compatibilist account of freedom and responsibility that accepts OIC intuitions is set forth

    http://www.amazon.com/Making-Sense-Freedom-Responsibility-Nelkin/dp/0199608563/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1312945803&sr=8-1

      1. Paul says:

        Adam, I’ll have to read it. But as a libertarian, I’d expect him to argue that way, and you to like it too!

        There’s also the Moorean shift in response to what you said above, which was similar to:

        Let OIC = ought implies a libertarian analysis of can

        [1] OIC

        [2] If OIC, then God has not determined whatsoever comes to pass.

        [3] Therefore, God has not determined whatsoever comes to pass.

        However:

        Let Calvinism = God has determined whatsoever comes to pass

        [1*] Calvinism

        [2] If OIC, then God has not determined whatsoever comes to pass.

        [3*] So, ¬OIC

        Thus, we could frame the dialectic this way

        • Calvinism if and only if ¬OIC; or, similarly, OIC if and only if ¬Calvinism

        So this debate will also come to down to how one does his exegesis. Does he let a questionable philosophical assumption determine his exegesis or not? I don’t think that’s proper. So, if the Calvinist exegesis is the best, then ¬OIC.

        Thus, not only does the debate take place at the level of philosophy, where it seems to be at an impasse, but it also can be affected by how our exegesis comes out. So, if both sides agree that all men *ought* to repent and come to Jesus (ought because “God now commands all men everywhere to repent”, Acts 17:30), and if we find in places like, say, John 6:44, that not all men can come to Christ unless the Father draws them, and all drawn are raised up, and then we interpret certain eschatological texts about the nature of the afterlife to teach a literal hell that will be populated forever, meaning that not all were drawn, and so they were “unable” to come, but they “ought” to have come, then OIC must be false. I wouldn’t think we respond to that argument with the Wesleyan shift, i.e., “No, since OIC must be true, whatever those passages teach, they can’t teach what you say they teach!” :-)

        1. Arminian says:

          2 things:

          (1) Is the debate really at an impasse? Does not the majority of Christian philosophers hold to libertarian freedom? This is a genuine question; I know you know alot about philosophy. Moreover, obviously the majority does not necessarily rule in questions of philosophy and truth. But it seems like it might be misleading to simply relegate it all to an impasse. It may be one in that one side has not come out as totally dominant, but is there not a dominant side among believing philosophers? Of course, the field might change with the inclusion of unbelieving philosophers.

          (2) More importantly, Calvinists often misuse John 6:44 as yuou do here. The text does not say that all who are drawn come or that all who are drawn are raised, but that all who are drawn and come are raised. That is a huge difference that invalidates your use of the verse here. Moreover, John 12:32 does indicate that all are drawn. I know the typical Calvinist response to that, but I find it unconvincing.

          1. Paul says:

            Arminian,

            1. I said debates about hypothetical analysis of can are at an impasse, and so they are, which was also pointed out by libertarian philosopher Robert Kane, among others.

            2. I did not say “all who are drawn come”, though I believe that is the case. I said

            i) Not one person is *able* to come unless the father draws the unable one.

            ii) Jesus them says, “and I will raise “him” up on the last day.

            So, are those “hims” the same him or not? For your side you had to assert that it is “the one who comes” who is raised, but if you look, the text actually doesn’t say that.

            1. Arminian says:

              Paul said: “2. I did not say “all who are drawn come”, though I believe that is the case.”

              **** I did not say you said that. That was just a prtion of my sentence covering something you probably would say combined with something you actually did say, that all who are drawn are raised.

              Paul said: “So, are those “hims” the same him or not? For your side you had to assert that it is “the one who comes” who is raised, but if you look, the text actually doesn’t say that.”

              **** No, I did not say that, but that it is the one who is drawn *and* comes. While the two “him’s” of the verse are indeed the same, both refer to him who has been drawn *and* come. This destroys the point you are trying to make of the 2 “him’s”. The grammar simply does not make the point you want it to make; it does not in any way state or imply that all who are drawn are raised. Those who are raised were drawn and came, but that does not state that everyone drawn comes. Think about the statement: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” The “him” is clearly speaking about someone who has been drawn *and* come. So when Jesus goes on immediately to say, “and I will raise him up on the last day”, he is speaking about someone who has been drawn *and* come. Those who are drawn and come will be raised up. But the former statement was only affirming that drawing is a necessary condition. It in no way states that it is a sufficient condition (i.e., it does not state that drawing necessarily causes coming, only that it enables it). It does not at all say that all who are drawn come. It says this is necessary to come. But in saying no one can come unless such and such happens to him, “him” is now understood to have both come and been drawn without any affirmation that whoever is drawn comes. One cannot throw away the first half of the sentence (“no one can come to me unless”) and pretend it is not also comprehended in the “him” referred to at the end of the sentence (“the Father who sent me draws him”). Another way to get at this would be to ask, who is the “him” in that statement? I think it would have to be admitted that it is the person who has been drawn and comes. But then we must ask, does it say that everyone who is drawn comes? And the answer is undeniably no. It neither says nor implies this.

              1. Paul says:

                Arminian, sorry, but you’re inserting “and comes” into the text. The text only has these groups:

                1. those unable to come

                2. those drawn.

                3. those raised.

                Find me “those who came” in the text.

                You said the two hims are the “same.” Okay, well, the first “him” is “drawn,” we can call him “the drawn one.” So, substitute that out with the second him, for you said they’re the same. Jesus says, “I’ll raise ‘the drawn one’ on the last day.”

                Notice the form of Jesus words:

                No one can come . . . unless the father draws him, *and* I will raise him up on the last day. This takes this form

                (q–>p) & r

                Notice it’s a conjunction which simply states

                [1] If he is able to come, then the father drew him, and Jesus will raise him up on the last day.

                So, a man is *unable* to come *unless* the father draws him. What does this mean, *logically*? The father *enables* him. The drawing enables. So we have:

                [2] He is able to come (notice, I never said he did. We just sticking with what the verse says).

                [3] Therefore the father drew him and Jesus will raise him up on the last day.

                This simply follows from the logical form of Jesus’ statement.

                I think if you step back you’ll see that you’re eisogeting Arminian assumptions into the text. You claim “the him is the one who is drawn *and* comes.” Here’s the problem, the **text** doesn’t say that. The **text** makes **no** reference to any actual coming. I understand you will respond with rhetoric, e.g., “destroys your reading,” etc., but you’ve simply not engaged my argument and have had to eisogete a smuggled assumption into the text.

              2. Arminian says:

                Paul said: “Arminian, sorry, but you’re inserting “and comes” into the text.”

                **** It is amazing that you say that when “come” is undeniably in the text.

                Paul said: “The text only has these groups:

                1. those unable to come

                2. those drawn.”

                **** The text does not separate these into groups as you do, and it does not state the type of specific relationships between them that you do. I can show this quite clearly. See below.

                Paul said: “You said the two hims are the “same.” Okay, well, the first “him” is “drawn,” we can call him “the drawn one.” So, substitute that out with the second him, for you said they’re the same. Jesus says, “I’ll raise ‘the drawn one’ on the last day.”

                **** That’s incorrect. As I demonstrated in my post, and will provide further demonstration of below, the first him is not only drawn, but also comes. Are you denying that the first “him” refers to the one who is drawn and comes? Are you saying that the first “him” does not come? It is easily demonstrated that the first “him” and the second are the same person, who both is drawn and comes. Again, see below.

                Paul said: Notice the form of Jesus words:

                No one can come . . . unless the father draws him, *and* I will raise him up on the last day. This takes this form

                (q–>p) & r

                Notice it’s a conjunction which simply states

                [1] If he is able to come, then the father drew him, and Jesus will raise him up on the last day.”

                **** This is incorrect. You have misconstrued the logic because of an atomistic approach to the text and failure to regard the logic of the statement as a whole. Modern scholarship recognizes the importance of how meaning depends on context and larger chunks of discourse than just individual words or phrases. In this case, the sentence as a whole makes clear that both “him’s” have both been draw *and* come. I will demonstrate this by practical example below.

                Paul said: “So, a man is *unable* to come *unless* the father draws him. What does this mean, *logically*? The father *enables* him. The drawing enables.

                ***** So far so good.

                Paul said: “So we have:

                [2] He is able to come (notice, I never said he did. We just sticking with what the verse says).”

                **** Still so far so good.

                Paul said: “[3] Therefore the father drew him and Jesus will raise him up on the last day.

                This simply follows from the logical form of Jesus’ statement.”

                **** Here is where you have gone wrong by not paying proper attention to the meaning of the statement as a whole, which makes it clear that both “him’s” have both been drawn and come. First, I would encourage you to go back and read my post in which I believe I demonstrated that the two “him’s” are one and the same, the person who has both been drawn and come. In this reply, you have not really specifically responded to what I said, but have more tried to demonstrate your own view. I.e., you have not taken on the specific points I made.

                In such a statement as we have in John 6:44, the first him clearly refers not to one who simply can come, but who does come. This can be demonstrated by simply thinking up any number of statements of the same structure, and the point will become immediately obvious:

                “No one can come to the party unless my father invites him, and I will show him a good time.” (Unquestionably, the first “him” clearly refers to those who can come because invited and also do accept the invitation and come. Moreover, the second him obviously refers to those who both get invited and come. I will give some more examples without explanation because this explanation applies to those as well with adjustment to the specifics.)

                “No one can see the doctor unless an appointment has been given to him, and the doctor will give him excellent treatment.”

                No one can ride the bus unless the bus driver open the door to him, and the bus will take him where he wants to go.

                No one can attend Harvard University unless the university admits him, and a great education will be provided to him.

                Now it is undeniable that in all of these the first “him” both receives the enablement and actually does the action. It is the obvious and natural way to take it. And it is it equally obvious and undeniable that the second “him” also refers to those who receive the enablement and actually do the action.

                Now I challenge you to think of a sentence of this structure in which this would not be true. You might even be able to think of one. But it would be unusual, and so not the typical way such a statement would be understood, and very importantly, that would only show you could conceive of a statement in which your reading is *possible*. But the Calvinist claim often is that their reading is virtually necessary from the grammar and the Arminian view virtually impossible, and this is considered one of their very best texts. That claim has been definitively refuted. The best you might be able to do is show your view is barely possible, though it is questionable if you can even do that.

                Paul said: “I think if you step back you’ll see that you’re eisogeting Arminian assumptions into the text. You claim “the him is the one who is drawn *and* comes.” Here’s the problem, the **text** doesn’t say that. The **text** makes **no** reference to any actual coming. I understand you will respond with rhetoric, e.g., “destroys your reading,” etc., but you’ve simply not engaged my argument and have had to eisogete a smuggled assumption into the text.”

                **** You have used rhetoric to try and paint me as eisegeting and smuggling assumptions into the text, but I think I have shown it to be empty rhetoric. It is ironic that you accuse me of not engaging your argument while not engaging mine, all while I responded specifically to your points. I have not smuggled assumption into the text, but shown the text’s clear implication. You are trying to squeeze more from the text than is there. Where does it say that all who are drawn get raised? It doesn’t. You have tried to show that to be the implication of the logic of the text. By your own standard you should judge yourself as eisegeting and smuggling Calvinistic assumptions into the text. As for me, I have tried to show that the implication of the text is that both “him’s” refer to the one who has been drawn and come, and says nor implies nothing about whether everyone who is drawn comes.

              3. Arminian says:

                Concerning the examples I provided:

                To this:

                I should have added this:

                And interestingly, in all of the examples, there is no thought that the person necessarily does the action. In each of them, the person enabled might or might not do the action; indeed, everybody would assume that at least some if not many enabled people would not actually do the action mentioned.

        2. Thanks for the continuing dialogue about this, Paul. It has been helpful.

          I think a better approach is to think of OIC is in relation to moral responsibility for certain actions rather than the sticky (global) debate between libertarianism and determinism. Besides, if it is true that OIC is compatible with both of them (though I have my doubts), then I am dubious of the Moorean shift you schematize. My appeal to it was directed towards the case of Jesus’s rebuke on the road to Emmaus.

          So let OIC = ought implies can simpliciter.

          [1] For every x and some y and t, Jesus rebukes x for failing to do y only if OIC is true of x at time t for y.

          [2] It is not the case that OIC is true of x at time t for y.

          [3] Therefore, Jesus does not rebuke x for y.

          This comports with the exegetical point I made about Jesus not attributing blame to the Emmaus travelers for failing to “see” (recognize) him per se, but failing to “see” (recognize) what the Scriptures taught about the messiah’s resurrection. I still think that reading is accurate.

          Now it’s true, as a philosopher, I came to the text with this background assumption and did my interpretive work in light of it. Maybe this is taboo for the discipline of exegesis, but I don’t really see the problem with it, and that is where we may differ. Again, I think the principle is sound as are the rules of logic that applies it, and it is impossible to do biblical interpretation without appealing to principles and logic. But that is not all. I know that Jesus, being the virtuous chap he is (!), would not treat others like this. He does not expect us to see hidden things no one could see—only that which he has revealed.

          1. Paul says:

            Hi Adam,

            As for OIC being compatible with compatibilism, that will depend on the analysis we give “can.” If you give it a robust, libertarian analysis, then it is incompatible. If you give it, say, a hypothetical analysis, then it is.

            Anyway, to state that OIC is as sound as the rules of logic strikes me as an overstatement! But, yes, if you’re going to place OIC at the level of, say, DeMorgan’s theorem, then I guess there’s not much to say. However, I would add that my argument from John 6:44 sheds serious doubt on OIC. However, it seems a pointless to try to engage the exegetical debate since it appears, and correct me if I’m wrong, you a priori think no text could count against OIC just like no text could count against, say, the LNC. Well, I’m not even totally convinced of *that*, heck, perhaps the dialetheists are right, but if that’s your position, debating the text will be fruitless and we’ll have to debate at the level of philosophical argument, Though I wonder if you’d allow any philosophical argument to undermine OIC, it seems a pretty ingrained principle for you.

  9. Taylor says:

    At the risk of oversimplifying, the fact that God ‘can ‘veil the eyes of man to serve his purposes does not imply that this is always the case. In fact, one could more easily argue the opposite. The fact that the supernatural veiling of their eyes was mentioned suggests that it is noteworthy rather than normative.

    Also, based specifically on the translation Justin provides, the emphasis on veiling is visual and the emphasis on recognition is intellectual, which can easily imply that their culpability was related to unbelief rather than lack of visual awareness.

    ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.’

  10. Justin’s question reminds me of a portion of an essay that addresses the same question. The passage pushes the question beyond the usual Arminian-Calvinist divide. At stake is the biblical concept of divine revelation. The passage entails the biblical-revelatory concept of “mystery” without actually using the word. The following is lifted from the essay, pp 52-53.

    Perhaps Jesus’ epiphany along another road, the road to Emmaus, is instructive concerning Paul’s Damascus road Christophany. The narrative of Luke 24:13-35 dramatizes the biblical concept of mystery. First, it entails Jesus’ act of revealing the Scriptures concerning the Christ accompanied by the act of concealing his identity in plain sight by keeping their eyes from recognizing him, yet they are fully culpable for their blindness, for Jesus rebukes them failing to believe all that the prophets have spoken concerning Christ, both that he should suffer and enter into his glory (Luke 24:25-26).

    This is followed by Jesus’ blessing and breaking of bread, an act that purposefully recalls the same act during the last supper (22:19), an act that reveals Christ’s identity concealed from the two disciples in plain sight, by opening their eyes to recognize him as the Christ revealed in Scripture. What had been concealed in plain sight, both objectively in Scripture (24:25-27) and subjectively within their sight (24:16), was now revealed plainly to the two disciples (24:31) who exclaim to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was speaking to us on the road, as he explained the Scriptures to us?” (24:32).

    This account entails concealing and revealing in two distinguishable spheres or realms. These two acts and the two dimensions are both crucial for understanding the biblical concept of mystery as Paul portrays it. Both the concealing and revealing entail two spheres: objective (knowledge veiled while simultaneously made known) and subjective (knowledge restrained from apprehension, yet with culpability, but later bestowed with understanding). So, both Christ’s coming to fulfill Scripture, and his opening of eyes, thus giving faith that brings understanding, are revelatory. The former revelatory act constitutes the good news; the latter, the good news received through belief.

    Fresh revelation brings clarity to former revelation that comes with a veil. Veiled former revelation becomes lucid as the climactic finale to the storyline clarifies the dramatic development and escalation of the story’s whole plotline. Mystery, biblically conceived, is akin to how a mystery novel is written to be read, proceeding from beginning to end. As one traces the storyline’s development and progression, the story builds toward its dramatic climax at which point the mystery is finally revealed. Embedded within characters, events, settings, and plotted conflict throughout the storyline of a mystery novel are hints, foreshadows, prefigurements, and harbingers written in such a manner as to incite expectation of full and final resolution eventually to be revealed with surprises that invite deep reflection.

    1. Very helpful discussion of text here, but I am still not sure how they are culpable for not seeing Jesus. Good to run in to you again, too!

  11. Arminian says:

    Ardel said: “First, it entails Jesus’ act of revealing the Scriptures concerning the Christ accompanied by the act of concealing his identity in plain sight by keeping their eyes from recognizing him, yet they are fully culpable for their blindness, for Jesus rebukes them failing to believe all that the prophets have spoken concerning Christ, both that he should suffer and enter into his glory (Luke 24:25-26).”

    **** Are you seriously suggesting that their not physically recognizing Jesus is depicted as wrong and culpable here? That really seems like irresponsible handling of the text to me. The context reveals something much different. Jesus rebukes their slowness to believe what the prophets wrote about his death and resurrection after they described his death and resurrection to him and their confusion about it all. This is not related to their lack of recognizing him physically at the moment at all. It is questionable whether we are to understand that God has hidden Jesus’ identty from them (I checked a couple of Reformed commentators and both indicated divine action as one among other possibilities). But if we are, and I have no problem with doing so, there is just nothing in the the text that would suggest any rebuke of them for not physically recognizing Jesus when God kept them from doing so. See further the discussion above.

    1. I stated what I mean, and I mean what I stated. To recap what I mean, here it is again.

      “The narrative of Luke 24:13-35 dramatizes the biblical concept of mystery. First, it entails Jesus’ act of revealing the Scriptures concerning the Christ accompanied by the act of concealing his identity in plain sight by keeping their eyes from recognizing him, yet they are fully culpable for their blindness, for Jesus rebukes them failing to believe all that the prophets have spoken concerning Christ, both that he should suffer and enter into his glory (Luke 24:25-26).”

      I did not state that “that their not physically recognizing Jesus is depicted as wrong and culpable here”. I observe that the narrative records a drama that entails the merging of two distinguishable but inseparable realms, the corporeal and the spiritual.

      Luke’s account merges two realms–the corporeal and the spiritual–in such a manner that the disciples’ failure to recognize the one with whom they walked to be the resurrected Jesus signifies their greater blindness, blindness of heart, unbelief, whiich Jesus rebukes. Recognition, belief, was concealed from them, yet they were fully culpable and thus rebuked for their unbelief. Likewise, Luke’s account makes it clear that the disciples’ recognition of Jesus as the one who had been crucified but now resurrected signifies their greater sightedness, sightedness of the heart. Now recognition, belief, was revealed to them by the opening of their eyes, an act done to them and for them not by them.

      Such is the nature of the Gospels. They are filled with drama of this kind, the intersection of the corporeal and the spiritual. If anyone has eyes, let those eyes see!

      1. Arminian says:

        How does this: “I did not state that ‘that their not physically recognizing Jesus is depicted as wrong and culpable here’ ”

        match up with this:

        “Recognition, belief, was concealed from them, yet they were fully culpable and thus rebuked for their unbelief.”

        ?

        You do seem to be claiming what I took you to mean (assuming you think the concealing was done by God).

        I think it is possible, though far from certain, that Jesus’ identity was concealed from them as a symbol of their unbelief. But that would not make them cuplable for not recognizing Jesus here. There is no hint that they should have recognized Jesus in the text. The rebuke is attached to their failure to believe what the Prophets wrote about Jesus’ death and resurrection in light of Jesus’ death and reported resurrection. There is nothing in the text that would suggest they were expected to recognize Jesus when God was keeping them from recognizing him. I suppose one could argue that they were culpable if God was hiding it from them in response to their already refusing to believe Jesus’ resurrection. But then it would be more of a judgment upon them that they would be responsible for provoking by their unbelief, and would still not support Justin’s point that they were expected and responsible to do what God was keeping them from doing. But all of this is so speculative that the whole point Justin has tried to make is built on a foundation of smog. It makes much more sense to stick with the text and what we can responsibly draw from it rather than trying to make far-reaching theological points from little more than speculation, and all the moreso when even that speculation does not even really support the point.

        1. Simply to clarify, I did not state “that Jesus’ identity was concealed from them as a symbol of their unbelief.”

          As for the remainder of your reply, I cannot engage further. I am powerless to open eyes to see what is now concealed from anyone. Concealing and revealing occur today just as on that day narrated to us by Luke.

          Hence, after laying before others what Luke 24 is stating, as I closed my last reply so I repeat, “If anyone has eyes, let those eyes see!” May God, who opened the eyes of those two disciples of whom Luke tells us in Luke 24, open eyes to see and to understand what he did for those two disciples on that day. For to see is to believe.

          Blessings!

          1. Arminian says:

            Ok, but this seems to be a conceit built into the Calvinist system that often comes out whenever someone gives solid biblical arguments against Calvinist doctrine. Simply claim that the other person doesn’t agree with the Calvinist view because God has not opened their eyes to it. This can be used to justify all manner of invalid use of the Bible. Want to argue for a flat earth by quoting Bible verses that have nothing to do with the matter? Go ahead, and when challenged, just claim God has not opened the eyes of the person who disgrees.

            While I don’t think God is keeping you from seeing the truth I believe I have shared with you in this conversation, I do think that he can help you see it. So I pray that he would while acknowledging that I could be wrong about the matter and refusing to try and make my position beyond question by chalking your disagreement up to God’s will for you to believe falsehood. Rather, the best course is to submit ourselves to God’s word, pray for his enlightening work, and to actually pay attention to the text and to ground our positions in the text rather than speculation.

            May the Lord bless you and guide us both in his truth.

            1. How can it possibly be conceit to acknowledge that if we see, we see only because eyesight has been given to us from above? How can it possibly be conceit to acknowledge, as I did, that I am powerless to open eyes. This is not conceit. This is humility. God alone holds the power to give sight to blinded eyes. To the degree that I see, whether in the corporeal sense or spiritual sense, I see only because God has given sight. Call it conceit, if you desire, but to do so is to invert reality and truth.

              If you had offered any “solid biblical arguments” in response to what I have written, then I would have engaged those “solid biblical arguments.” You, however, offered nothing of any biblical substance at all. Your responses to me imputed to me what I did not state. Hence, I take leave of the matter.

              1. Arminian says:

                Ardel said: “How can it possibly be conceit to acknowledge that if we see, we see only because eyesight has been given to us from above? How can it possibly be conceit to acknowledge, as I did, that I am powerless to open eyes. This is not conceit. This is humility. God alone holds the power to give sight to blinded eyes. To the degree that I see, whether in the corporeal sense or spiritual sense, I see only because God has given sight. Call it conceit, if you desire, but to do so is to invert reality and truth.”

                **** Because you take your view, equate it with God’s, and then imply that those who disagree just have not been graced by God to see the truth.

                Ardel said: “If you had offered any “solid biblical arguments” in response to what I have written, then I would have engaged those “solid biblical arguments.” You, however, offered nothing of any biblical substance at all.

                **** You can say that, but I pointed out details of the text that did not square with your view, and you ignored them. I pointed out the sdame thing to Justin above, and he acknowledged it was a good point. Yet for you, it was “nothing of any biblical substance at all.” Is he blind to the truth too? (I am not saying he necessarily agrees with me.)

                Ardel said: “Your responses to me imputed to me what I did not state. Hence, I take leave of the matter.”

                **** I pointed out a seeming contradiction in your statemets and invited you to explain, but you didn’t. Then I talked about as a possibility something you seemed to be saying. And still you have not explained how your comments cohere. Let me paste in the *seeming* discrepancy I have reaised:

                How does this: “I did not state that ‘that their not physically recognizing Jesus is depicted as wrong and culpable here’ ”

                match up with this:

                “Recognition, belief, was concealed from them, yet they were fully culpable and thus rebuked for their unbelief.”

                ?

                You do seem to be claiming what I took you to mean (assuming you think the concealing was done by God).

                And now, let me add another one from our most recent exchange:

                Assuming you think the concealing was done by God, how does this:

                “the disciples’ failure to recognize the one with whom they walked to be the resurrected Jesus signifies their greater blindness, blindness of heart, unbelief, whiich Jesus rebukes.”

                square with this:

                “Simply to clarify, I did not state “that Jesus’ identity was concealed from them as a symbol of their unbelief.” ”

                ?

              2. A. B Caneday says:

                To offer some solid biblcal support, from another portion of Scripture, for what I say in the note above, prayerfully ponder Matthew 13:10-17.

                10 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, aeven what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because bseeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, cnor do they understand. 14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:
                “‘You will indeed hear but never understand,
                and you will indeed see but never perceive.
                15 For this people’s heart has grown dull,
                and with their ears ethey can barely hear,
                and their eyes they have closed,
                lest they should see with their eyes
                and hear with their ears
                and understand with their heart
                and turn, and I would heal them.’
                16 But iblessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

                This, of course, is not Gnosticism. It is Christianity.

                This is my final comment in a conversation that is flirting with quarreling. I will not quarrel. Blessings!

              3. Arminian says:

                Ardel said: “This, of course, is not Gnosticism. It is Christianity.”

                **** It is also not a passage of Scripture that particularly supports your point. Simply quoting it as if it supports your point does not make it so nor does it respect the range of interpretations of the passage offered by evangelical scholars. Of course, if in your mind your view is equated with God’s view and everybody who disagrees with your interpretatiohn is blind in accordance with God’s will, then, there is probably little that can be said towards genuine dialogue; you would simply have closed yourelf off from genuinely considering the issues, which would be your fault and not God’s IMO.

                Ardel said: “This is my final comment in a conversation that is flirting with quarreling. I will not quarrel.”

                ***** Yes, that makes sense. But I do want to point out that you have made seemingly contradictory statements and have not explained how they cohere despite request to do so. You may well be able to explain them as coherent. I even wonder if you might even say something that I agree with and that does not particularly entail what I have been objecting to in Justin’s post. But your comments as they stand call for justification.

                May the Lord bless yuou as well. Again, I pray that he would lead us both in his truth.

        2. If Jesus’ identity was concealed from them as a “symbol of their unbelief,” then what would that say about Mary Magdalene’s initial failure to recognize the identify of Jesus (John 20:15) and the disciple’s initial failure to recognize the identify of Jesus (John 21:4)? Why construct a big monkey puzzle here? The fact is that the whole premise of the blog post is mistaken. It’s not a big deal and the benefit is that it has stimulated a good biblical discussion. God bless all, and I apologize if I came across strongly. I’ll switch to decaf.

  12. drwayman says:

    Not only may people seek God’s wisdom and open their eyes to see what God is saying in His Word, but may also people open their ears to what God is saying in His Word.

    If Arminian is to be blamed for not understanding the “proper” view, then who/what is keeping him from understanding? Surely it is not Arminian himself as he is a Christian brother of Mr. Caneday and has access to the very same God and to the same illumination from His Holy Spirit. I find it disconcerting when Christians claim to have knowledge that other Christians do not have. That sounds an awful lot like gnosticism rather than Christianity.

    So, if Arminian doesn’t understand, even after giving a reasonable reply and acknowledging that Mr. Caneday’s view may hold merit but he doesn’t agree, who truly doesn’t understand? And why?

  13. drwayman says:

    Mr. Caneday – The difference between the people that Jesus is speaking to in Matt 13 and you and Arminian, is that you both have access to God’s illumination thru His Holy Spirit. Additionally, gnostics claimed to have superior knowledge, to know things that the early church leaders did not. Obviously, what you state is not gnosticism but the same attitude is there, unfortunately.

  14. Robert says:

    I looked up the name Ardel Caneday and find that he is a **professor of New Testament**. This makes his display here even more sad and inexcusable (“to whom much is given much is required”, i.e. we expect better handling of the New Testament scripture from a professor of New Testament exegesis with his education and experience and knowledge if he were really being faithful to the scripture and the Lord ). A professor of New Testament ought to know that the distinction sometimes found in scripture between: (1) those who have God’s truth revealed to them and (2) those who are “blind”, is not between different believers who hold different interpretations. It is between the saved and the lost. It is the lost who are “blind”.

    Note the primary passage to which Caneday appeals to support his argument (Matt. 13 and note especially v. 10-11):

    “10 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to THEM [my emphasis] in parables?” 11 And he answered them, “To YOU [emphasis mine] it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to THEM (emphasis mine) it has not been given.”

    Who is the THEM referred to here by the disciples in verse 10?

    That is unbelievers (“to them it has not been given”).

    And who is the YOU referred to here by Jesus in verse 11?

    That is the disciples/believers (“to you it has been given to know”).

    You don’t need to be a professor of New Testament to figure this out: and yet a professor of New Testament should not miss that.

    Unless he intentionally misuses the text to attack other believers with whom he disagrees.

    Caneday uses that text as his proof text and justification for his arrogance (i.e. that he receives the truth from the Lord while other believers have the truth concealed and hidden from them).

    Caneday might as well go the next step as well if he is going to mishandle scripture so badly: why not claim that those whom God hardens are believers who do not hold Caneday’s views?

    I mean he already attempts to proof text from bible verses contrasting believers and unbelievers in order to attack other believers. So why not proof text from those same kinds of texts that discuss unbelievers to argue that people who agree with him have had their “hearts opened” to the truth while believers who disagree with Caneday, disagree because they have been hardened by God?

    Why not also proof text from 1 Cor. 2:14 claiming that believers who disagree with Caneday are the “natural man” that does not understand spiritual things as Caneday does?

    Caneday has already shown reckless disregard for proper interpretation of scripture.

    Where does it end?

    Robert

  15. Robert says:

    And Caneday’s suggestion that God reveals the truth to some Christians and conceals it from other Christians brings out one of the bad fruits of Calvinism from the non-Calvinist perspective. If it is true, then it seems as if God toys with people (including Christians).

    He does this with unbelievers and he does this with believers according to Caneday. He “reveals” the truth to Calvinists like Caneday, but not to non-Calvinists like “Arminian”. From the non-Calvinists he hides the truth and conceals the truth from them according to Caneday.

    So according to Caneday’s mistaken “exegesis’ (actually eisegesis and proof texting) and false theology we’ve got the Christian “haves” (that is Calvinists like Caneday to whom God reveals the truth, those who “see”) and the Christian “have nots” (that is “Arminian” and any other non-Calvinist to whom God conceals the truth, hides the truth, keeps “blind”).

    And the pride involved here on the part of Caneday is almost unbelievable. To take passages that speak of the **blindness of unbelievers** and apply that to **fellow believers** with whom you disagree, that is outrageous and completely unjustified.

    According to the theology of calvinism God plays games with people (including his own). According to that theology God is **concealing the truth** from most bible believing Christians. As most are not calvinists, most Christians believe in libertarian free will, so God must be hiding and concealing the “truth” of calvinism from them. Ordaining that they not believe the truth regarding their free will, which according to calvinism is that they never have a choice. Since God has already decided every detail and is ensuring that the fully prescripted total plan is actualized we never ever have any choices.

    Actually it gets worse as people like Caneday believe that God ordains all things. So not only is God hiding and concealing truth from most bible believing Christians. God not only ordains the “blindness” of non-Calvinists who reject calvinism as Caneday suggests. God also actively ordains that they reject calvinism and argue against it. So God (if calvinism is true), ordains that ***most of His own people***, believers, believe false things (such as believing that they sometimes have choices, have free will as ordinarily understood) and attack the truth (i.e. calvinism). That also means that these debates and disagreements between non-Calvinists and calvinists are all ordained by God. The division and confusion that results is all ordained by God (though the same God claims that He is not of disorder but of order, cf. 1 Cor. 14:33). The pride and mishandling of scripture manifested by Caneday here is ordained by God as well. So according to Caneday it’s all good, all going exactly according to plan. Just hope you are one of the lucky believers whom God has not chosen to “blind.” One of the lucky ones like Caneday.

    Robert

    1. A. B Caneday says:

      I should have stayed with my general policy and should not have posted any comment. But I foolishly violated my own policy and posted a comment that has unleashed a torrent of responses that are so far afield that it would require a small book to address with corrections. That is bad enough, but then Robert, who had not contributed a single comment, makes his first appearance on this comment thread with an ad hominem attack. These are precisely reasons why I should never, ever, ever offer any comment in comments sections of blogs.

      As for you Robert, you have desperately missed your mark with all your comments, about what I have stated in this comment thread, about what I believe, and about everything I am as a Christian man. Because such behavior is utterly unbecoming conversation concerning Christian theology, I leave you to assault my character, my beliefs, and what I have said, if you desire, all without any further response from me.

      May God have mercy!

      1. Arminian says:

        Dear Ardel,

        I hope I have not contriubted to you feeling misunderstood. I did try to clearly state what statements of yours gave me the impression that you were speaking contradictorily and tried to ask you for explanation with an open mind for what you would answer. But I did take exception to you *seeming* to imply that you laid out the truth revealed to you by God while my disagreement was due to God concealing the truth from me. But I hope I have not acted unbecomingly.

        Peace and blessing to you in Christ, brother.

        1. I fear that I will regret posting this comment, but your note warrants some response, I think, because of your changed posture. I offer this note not for you alone but for others also. Thus, not everything I state should be received as though it has you in view.

          Reactions showed not simply misunderstanding but significant misrepresentation of what I stated. Kneejerk reaction, rather than response, instead of manifest thoughtful consideration exhibits haste that escalates rapidly toward a quarrel. I chose not to attempt to offer any further correctives to misunderstandings that were borne out of misrepresentation, caricature, and misappropriation of my statements because I refuse to engage in quarreling about meanings that others impute to my uses of words and then exploit those imputations in an accusatory and hostile manner. Nothing about such activity is edifying, instructive, or God-honoring.

          I suppose that I should have explained explicitly the point I made by posting Matthew 13:10-17, but I thought that it was quite obvious that the Parable, using the imagery of hearing for believing, addresses the issue that Jesus addresses with his two disciples in Luke 24 under the imagery of seeing, once again, believing. I posted the passage to make the point that Luke 24 makes. Both hearing and seeing are gifts that come from above. It is not conceit to say this; it is rather to acknowledge that one has been blessed, Just as Jesus tells us (Matthew 13:16).

          Anyone who wants to engage me further on any of the things that I have stated here can do so by reading things that I have published, many of which are easily accessible via the Internet. I do not hide my beliefs in shadows. I have published much and am quite willing to engage those who disagree but who do so respectfully with an interest in seeking understanding.

          The issue is not about perfectly unimpaired vision. It is about true vision, vision that sees correctly who Jesus is and about sight that is improving. Keep in mind that sight, in Luke 24, is an imagery for belief. To accuse me of asserting that I see (believe) perfectly and that others in this conversation have completely impaired vision (complete unbelief) is an extraordinary reach into fiction. Obviously I assumed a level of biblical and theological knowledge and understanding that I should not have assumed, an assumption that incited reactions that I genuinely did not anticipate despite including qualifying statements such as, “To the degree that I see . . . I see only because God has given sight.” Not only does this statement make it clear that I believe that sightedness is a gift from God, it is not of myself, but also that my sight has not yet become perfect. I see in part, but I am confident that I do see truly.

          Justin Taylor’s blog is not my God-appointed venue for teaching. Rarely do I offer comments here or on any other individual’s blog because of what so routinely occurs, the savaging of one another.

          Again, anyone who wants to engage me personally can easily find access points on the Internet. I’m not hiding.

          Thanks for the changed attitude. I appreciate your effort to make peace. Peace to you, Arminian!

          1. drwayman says:

            Dr. Caneday – Could you be so kind as to point me to some of these “access points” on the internet where you may be thoughtfully engaged in an effort to understand? What are the URL’s?

            1. Click on my name above for a start.

              1. drwayman says:

                Dr. Caneday – Thanks for the link. Where can I address your statements that you made in this present blog?

              2. The link takes you to one of my blogs, each of which is full of information and links that should suffice.

          2. Arminian says:

            Dear Ardel,

            Let me say that I hope this post does not make you regret your comment. But I do possibly have some challenging truth to share with you. I want to encourage you to look critically at yourself and the way you have commented in this thread.

            First, you seem to complain of being misunderstood and thoughtless reaction to you, but have you stopped t oconsider that perhaps you did not communicate well? Moreover, more than once I indicated finding comments of yours contradictory, and invited you to explain, but you did not.

            Second, I don’t think anyone accused you of claiming perfect vision. The problem was that you implied that you knew the truth about Luke 24 by God’s revelation and that God concealed the truth about Luke 24 from those who disagree with you. Here are your first comments to this effect with my explanatory comments in brackets:

            Ardel said in reply to me: “As for the remainder of your reply, I cannot engage further. I am powerless to open eyes to see what is now concealed from anyone [seemingly implying that you have spoken the truth, which is concealed from me]. Concealing and revealing occur today just as on that day narrated to us by Luke [seemingly implying: and this is happening in this instance; you know and spoke the truth, revealed to you by God, and it has been concealed from me].

            “Hence, after laying before others what Luke 24 is stating [seemingly implying: having set it out *truly* and not mistakenly], as I closed my last reply so I repeat, “If anyone has eyes, let those eyes see!” May God, who opened the eyes of those two disciples of whom Luke tells us in Luke 24, open eyes to see and to understand what he did for those two disciples on that day [seemingly implying: may God open eyes to the truth you set out and is presently concealed from those who disgaree with you]. For to see is to believe.”

            Now perhaps you did not mean it in this way. But it really seems to be the implications of your words in the context of the discussion. You could have avoided all of this if you indicated that it could be you or any of us who had the truth concealed rather than prsenting yourself as having laid out the meaning of Luke 24.

            And this brings me to something I mentioned when you asdked why your view seemed like conceit. Here is what I said: “Because you take your view, equate it with God’s, and then imply that those who disagree just have not been graced by God to see the truth.” That’s not hostile, but an explanation of why I have found some of your comments in this discussion arrogant. I am completely open to you saying, and would love to hear you say, “Oh I did not mean that I was certainly right in my comments and that God had revealed the truth to me but concealed it from others in the conversation who were disagreeing with me.” If I took you wrongly, please correct me! That is what dialogue is partly about. We gain understanding of others’ positions as they correct us about what we say we think their position is. But if I took you rightly, I would encourage you to ask yourself and some godly friends if it is helfpful in disagreement with fellow Christians to assert that God has revealed the truth to you about the matter but concealed it from them. It would be ok if you said that God revealed the truth to whoever is right and concealed it from whoever is wrong (though I disagree with that theological perspective of disagreement among Christians as a general explanation), and that since you obviously believe you are right, you think that the case but acknowledge that it may be you from whom God has concealed the truth. But as it stands, you seem to have equated your view with God’s to some degree, and then implied that God has concealed the truth about Luke 24 from those who disagree with your view.

            It also comes off as arrogant to try to explain disagreement with you or misunderstanding of you to be due to, as you put it in this quote: “Obviously I assumed a level of biblical and theological knowledge and understanding that I should not have assumed.” Could it be that you communicated poorly, or perhaps that others actually had greater biblical and theological knowledge, and correctly pointed out rouble with your views?

            Finally, you mentioned my change of attitude, I don’t think that my attitude toward you was hostile before. I think if you look through my comments you should see that my comments were courteous, and I would welcome someone pointing out discourteous comments from me. I think my attitude did change toward you in that I saw that you seemed to be offended, and I did want to and attempted to make peace. I hope these comments do not undermine that, but that you will take them from a brother for you to reflect on how you have conducted yourself in this conversation. That does not excuse anyone else, including me, from any ungodly or unhelpful comments. May the Lord use this to show us all any trouble with our behavior in this discussion, and t ohelp us grow to be more like Jesus.

            1. A. B Caneday says:

              Indeed, I ineffectively communicated. I failed. What I wrote, I wrote too tersely, not wanting to take too much time away from my pressing responsibilities, especially preparations for international travel. It is not arrogant, contrary to your claim, to state as I did, “Obviously I assumed a level of biblical and theological knowledge and understanding that I should not have assumed, an assumption that incited reactions that I genuinely did not anticipate despite including qualifying statements such as, ‘To the degree that I see . . . I see only because God has given sight.’ Not only does this statement make it clear that I believe that sightedness is a gift from God, it is not of myself, but also that my sight has not yet become perfect. I see in part, but I am confident that I do see truly.” It is not arrogant; it is a factual and truthful statement that I assumed too much on the part of all other readers and participants which is why I failed to explain things as much as I should have. The problem is, however, that in order to explain everything would require far too much time and space. Certain reasonable assumptions must be made. But, this is the problem with such conversations. Have you noticed that most comment threads end up nitpicking at what others say rather than keeping focus upon the issue or idea under discussion? This is one of the reasons why my general policy is to avoid posting any comments in blogs other than my own.

              As for my note where I stated, “As for the remainder of your reply, I cannot engage further. I am powerless to open eyes to see what is now concealed from anyone. Concealing and revealing occur today just as on that day narrated to us by Luke.” you took it in the most severe manner possible, which is not at all what I intended when I wrote and posted it. I understand how you took it as you did, given the brevity of my note. That is the problem with brevity; brevity assumes generous readers, readers who extend the benefit of the doubt instead of requiring full and elaborate explanations of everything. To try to explain my brevity now would be not only superfluous, after the fact, but also much too time-consuming.

              Thanks for your note. This will be my last note on this thread, not only because I intend to write nothing more but also because I will have little to no access to the Internet for many days.

              1. Arminian says:

                Ardel,

                Thank you for your note. I found it helpful. I am sorry for taking your revealing/concealing comment in such a severe manner. Perhaps I should have asked you for clarificatrion.

                May the Lord bless you and keep you, brother.

              2. It would seem that having the special revelation defense fail, you might have avoided the intellectually superior approach but that is not the case, apparently. Mr. Caneday, why would you assume the participants on this thread or on other blogs for that matter, lack the same degree of biblical preparation and study as yourself?

  16. Robert says:

    “That is bad enough, but then Robert, who had not contributed a single comment, makes his first appearance on this comment thread with an ad hominem attack. These are precisely reasons why I should never, ever, ever offer any comment in comments sections of blogs.”

    No need to go to that extreme, as a Christian scholar you ought to be employing what you have as a service to the church. That means that you can make valuable contributions to discussions.

    You know if you had simply said that “Arminian” was mistaken in his interpretation of the text I would not have had any problem with what you said. But that is not what you did. You appealed to bible verses speaking of nonbelievers being blinded by God and having truth concealed from them: and applied it to another Christian. That is a really bad interpretation and use of scripture.

    “As for you Robert, you have desperately missed your mark with all your comments, about what I have stated in this comment thread, about what I believe, and about everything I am as a Christian man.”

    You said that God had revealed things to you but that God had concealed them from another Christian. That is how your comments were taken by others, not just me (cf. the comments about acting like a Gnostic). And your Calvinism if it is true, and God ordains all things. Does mean that He ordains that some Christians get to know the truth (i.e. calvinism) while the vast majority do not (i.e. all non-Calvinists). That literally leads to a haves versus have nots mentality. And that fosters spiritual pride.

    “Because such behavior is utterly unbecoming conversation concerning Christian theology, I leave you to assault my character, my beliefs, and what I have said, if you desire, all without any further response from me.”

    Again, if you say others are mistaken, no problem. But when you use verses discussing the blindness of unbelievers and apply that to fellow believers, you have used scripture irresponsibly. We can and should expect more from a professor of New Testament. And one more thing, I have had non-Christian cultists pull that same thing on me in the past: they had received the truth from God while I was an unbeliever blinded by the devil about the trinity, justification by faith alone, etc. etc. etc. In the future you may want to change your approach. Grant that other believers have a different interpretation than you do. But don’t pull this: “God gave me the truth and concealed it from you” nonsense when dealing with other Christians.

    Robert

    1. Ryan says:

      Well done and thank you, Robert, for smearing your douche attitude all over this blog.

  17. Here’s an interesting thought. It says that their eyes were kept from recognizing Him and then later, during the prayer, it says that their eyes were opened. So the Blog author concluded that this was God that closed their eyes closed and God who opened their eyes. It was described as a “divine veiling.” Of course, we know that God does veil eyes, and as an act of judgment, but in this context, what’s the justification for assuming that God veiled their eyes and God opening their eyes? It’s not saying that in this context, and remember that Jesus’ form had changed. At one point, it even through Peter off. (See John 21:4-7) Peter recognized that it was Jesus after the miracle, and the same thing happened during the prayer for the men at the road to Emmaus. I think that their eyes were kept from seeing Jesus based upon His resurrection form, and that their eyes were opened when they saw Him doing the things that He did, like when He prayed and then vanished from their sight. No?

  18. drwayman says:

    Dr. Caneday – You wrote, “Obviously I assumed a level of biblical and theological knowledge and understanding that I should not have assumed…” Hence, I would like to see how “knowledgeable” Arminian is and others that responded to you.

    So, do you plan to make a blog post where I can see your responses? You and Arminian had such a good conversation going, I am curious where it might lead. You did say that we can “engage you personally” at “access points” on the web. You are merely suggesting we just read your material…

  19. It’s called “blindfolding” someone, humans do it all the time. You’re not controlling that person’s will or determining what they will believe when you do that, you simply are limiting what they are receiving through their senses to make a point. It is not that complicated.

  20. A) Their eyes were kept closed by God

    B) God held them responsible for their closed eyes (regardless of the reason / cause.)

    Again, God’s sovereignty neither mitigates man’s responsibility nor justifies his irresponsibility.

    God does His “sovereignty thing” and you and I do our “free will thing.”

    He is sovereign. I am responsible. I’m guilty for my sin and for my sins / shortcomings.

    One (His sovereignty) operates in an “n-dimensional” plane. The other (my free will) operates in “3-dimensional” plane.

    He does what He wants. I do what I want (even when I do what I don’t want.)

    I guess I don’t see the problem …

    P.S. Sad to see that so much of these blogs are emotional responses to one another / personal attacks upon each other. Why? All we’re doing is throwing around electrons / ideas / thoughts. Why attack a brother personally because he has come out on a different side of an issue? What could possibly justify a personal attack?

  21. True or False: The passage of Luke 24 specifically says that “God” veiled their eyes on the road to Emmaus, and that “God” opened their eyes during the prayer? (The key is the part in quotations. It’s not a trick question.)

    1. Justin Taylor says:

      False. But I would say that Luke clearly and obviously intends for us to see God as the agent—but in doing so he employs the “divine passive” (used throughout the NT). A good introduction to the various ways the divine passive is used “when God is the obvious agent” can be found in Dan Wallace’s Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (pp. 437-438).

  22. Two things to consider though. Mary didn’t recognize him. (John 20:15) The disciples didn’t recognize him. (John 21:4) And of course, neither did the men on the road to Emmaus. So I have suggested that they didn’t immediately recognize Him simply due to His resurrection body, but Mary definitely recognized His voice. The second point (and this is what I really found to be odd about this discussion), is that the men on the road to Emmaus were not necessary scolded for their failure to recognize that it was Jesus walking with them, but for their failure to process everything that He had testified about Himself, and for their faiure to process everything that the Scriptures foretold about Him. So it’s not like they were veiled to “Scriptural truth” and then criticized for failing to grasp it, but that does seem to have been the thrust & premise behind the Opening Statement’s attempt to present a quandry, which seems to have been misconstrued.

  23. Honestly, I don’t get this whole discussion, with a premise of a sovereinty/responsibility tension.

    True or False: Luke 24 states that the men were kept from seeing “Scriptural truth” and then were scolded for their failure to see “Scriptural truth”?

    If that was the case, then you’d have a very definite tension. But what does the text really say that they were kept from seeing? (They were kept from recognizing that it was Jesus. They were not kept from recognizing all that the Scriptures said about the Messian, and hence the apparent tension evaporates. Moreover, I think that they were merely indirectly kept from recognizing that it was Jesus, and that due to Jesus’ new never-dying resurrection body, where even those most intimate with Him didn’t immediately recognize Him. But that’s not really the main point. The main point is a miscontrued premise of a tension that doesn’t appear at Luke 24.

  24. Justin, this is an embarrassing error on your part. What were you thinking?

    Jesus had veiled His identity (through His resurrection body), but He was not veiling Scriptural truth and then scolding them for their failure to process what they were veiled from processing. This is one of those things where you say, “Man, what a blunder!” I think that you let your assumptions of Determinism cause you to see a tension that was never there. Calvinism is simply not a benefit to anyone. Just look at the mess that it caused with your post?

  25. Sorry man. Now that the caffeine wore off, I’m embarrassed by my own comments, and can see that you had replied politely and I responded like jerk, and was repetitive. (I think that your point would have been more effective, though, had you launched it from Isaiah 6:10/John 12 instead.)

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Justin Taylor


Justin Taylor is senior vice president and publisher for books at Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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