Friday, August 24, 2007

What is the Gospel?

Calvinist, Charles Spurgeon, states: “I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else.” (A Defense of Calvinism)

John Calvin states: “If we are not ashamed of the gospel, we must confess what is there plainly declared. God, by His eternal goodwill, which has no cause outside itself, destined those whom He pleased to salvation, rejecting the rest; those whom He dignified by gratuitous adoption He illumined by His Spirit, so that they receive the life offered in Christ, while others voluntarily disbelieve, so that they remain in darkness destitute of the light of faith.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.58)

One Calvinist at oldtruth.com explains: “A wonderful friend of our family once commented that coming to understand the Doctrines of Grace was akin to a type of salvation within salvation.” (oldtruth.com)

Another Calvinist states: “My transition to Calvinism was somewhat reluctant, but the inevitable result of Christian maturity....” (Sovereign Grace Church)

These are very strong claims. So what is "the Gospel"? Is it Calvinism?

The Gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1st Corinthians 15:1-11), in whom there is life by believing in His name. (John 20:31)

1st Corinthians 15:1-11: "Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed."

Knowing this, why would Calvinists want to say that the Gospel is actually Calvinism?

21 comments:

GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME said...

I take the line that Calvinism is the Gospel in its fullest expression. and that is how Spurgeon viewed it, especially seeing his other views on John Wesley and Arminians in general which were quite gracious. I do not think that the Evangelical alternatives deny the gospel, but I do think that they dilute it.

www.examiningcalvinism.com said...

Hello and thanks for the feedback,

That begs the question, What is the fullest expression of the Gospel, as exactly stated in the Scriptures?

I felt that the quoted passage in 1st Corinthians chapter 15 was the best statement of "the Gospel," in all of the Bible, which does not subtely reference the Gospel, but overtly and explicitly defines this as "the Gospel". Therefore, does your commment mean that Paul merely offered a "diluted" definition of the Gospel? Now you may say, "Of course not, but this merely gives a partial definition of the Gospel, which is elsewhere more clearly defined in its totality." However, I'm left to wonder why Paul would have left us with a half-truth, if that is, in fact, the case.

So my question to you is this: Is there an explicit definition of "the Gospel" elsewhere in Scripture that includes more than what Paul stated at 1st Corinthians chapter 15?

While you are deciding, allow me to also offer you the following link, where two Calvinists are discussing this very point, and both had vastly different conclusions:

http://www.sgc-gettysburg.org/writings/argument2.asp

GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME said...

First of all, I read some of those exchanges. I side with the first thoughts, rather than those which were answering them. Unless I missed something, did the friend who did the answering state where he thought Arminians stod in the sight of God with their "false gospel"? Are they saved? What of those less-than-5 point Calvinists?

When I preach the gospel (in the open air and through the printed page etc.,) I keep to the basics such as you have in 1 Corithians 15 rather than go into the specific details of Romans 8-9 etc., It is in the details of the gospel that I think Calvinism gives the fuller expression, rather than the alternative from the other school within the Evangelical fold. To say (as some do) "Elected because I selected" makes me think that God wept with with gratitude that someone deigned to pick Him to be their God.

www.examiningcalvinism.com said...

Hello,

In terms of the point on "Elected because I selected" and "gratitude", how do you believe the parable of the lost sheep, and also in terms of the joy in heaven when even one sinner who repents, gives rise to a party in heaven among the angels? While I can see the point that you are making, I nevertheless do see excitement among heaven when one does open the door to Christ.

As for Sovereign Grace Church link, the person doing the answering believes that Arminianism is a damnable heresy and that anyone who does not believe in Election, does not believe in Grace, and thus a Gospel without Grace is no Gospel, and hence Arminianism is a grace-less gospel. It all starts with presuming that when the Bible speaks of Grace, it intends Election. So that appeared to be the underlying foundation of his argument. The guy doing the answering seems to include the Calvinist in his anathema. In fact, it was the Calvinist who accused [hardline] Sovereign Grace Church of Galatianism, which set off quite an array of charges.

In Christ,

Richard Coords

www.examiningcalvinism.com said...

sorry, I forgot to mention that yes, the one doing the answering said that the Arminian believer cannot be saved, and issued a dire warning to the Calvinist as well.

GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME said...

Hi,

The Calvinist, while owning that people "believe through grace" (Acts 18:27) nevertheless hold that it is the sinner who believes and not God believing on the part of the sinner. Therefore, there is rightly great rejoicing in Heaven when the sinner does return to the fold again.

This, however, is a different matter from "Elected because I selected" - the basis of salvation is moved from the sheer grace of God to the activity of the sinner as seen in thwe word "because."

Having said that,I must still reject the idea that Arminians (of whatever degree) are automatically lost on the basis of their doctrine. As Spurgeon noted, somewhere, Armininians (as doubtles we all do) may say things in the heat of theological battle which they do not follow through (say) in prayer or when before the Lord.

www.examiningcalvinism.com said...

Basically, you're point attempts to reconcile the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man. I would like to share with you a quote from Erwin Lutzer:

“Now (and here it gets tricky) Calvinism goes on to say that God grants the inclination and ability to choose Christ to some, namely, the elect. God does not coerce anyone, if that means he saves a man against his will.” (The Doctrines That Divide, p.191)

Explain this to me. Obviously with Irresistible Grace, God must in fact be saving a man against his totally depraved will, but Lutzer protests that it does not mean that the person is being "coerced." For instance, Paul indeed was kicking against the goads (Acts 26:14), and then according to Calvinism, Paul irresistibly believed. So it does sound like forced repentance or even "brainwashing" because you have a person resisting, but then taking a 100% opposite direction by accepting, all through a regeneration that was without their consent (given that Irresistible Grace is performed unconsciously and involuntarily). So it seems to me that Lutzer is splitting hairs with his argument about the 100% change in direction, not being "coerced." It seems to me that Lutzer is wanting to have it both ways, in that God is not forcing a person to believe, although imposing a change in will, forcibly. I do not see how that is not a contradiction. It really does seem to me that God is, by force, believing and repenting on behalf of the individual via unilateral, preemptive regeneration.

In any case, my point regarding the angels, in terms of what the excitement in heaven was all about, is that if there is "more joy in heaven" over "one" sinner who repents, than with the 99 who need no repentance, then it seems to me that there really must be a "net change." If someone really was perishing and going to Hell, and then repents and is saved, then there is net gain, and thus a huge celebration in heaven. But with Unconditional Election, there can be no net change, and no net gain or loss. So, then, what's all the excitement about among the angels? Why would they get all excited about God imposing "force" to get a person to repent? That seems to be an inconsistency. A similar point is regarding the rich man of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus of Luke 16:19-31. It doesn't seem that the rich man has any clue as to the doctrine of Unconditional Election, and Abraham doesn't seem to explain it to him. Obviously, literally anything can be inferred in or out of a passage, but there doesn't seem to be an explicit reference to Unconditional Election from either person. Also with the devil, though his actions are rarely ever logical, it does seem strange that he would make a contest over Job, a man with alleged, Irresistible Grace. If God "cheats" by spiritually intervening to make Job unconsciously and involuntarily obey Him, then it seems bizzare that the devil would even bother to play that game. So there are some things that seem to be inconsistent here. You have the angels in heaven displaying a behavior that is perhaps, not indicative of Unconditional Election. You have those in the after-life expressing thoughts that are inconsistent with Unconditional Election and you have the devil accepting a challenge that would be logically inconsistent with Unconditional Election.

Anyway, take these thoughts for what they are worth.

Have a great day and may God bless your ministry,

Richard

GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME said...

Hi Richard,

I have long stopped trying to reconcile God's sovereignty and man's responsibility. I just proclaim both with an equal passion. I think it was Spurgeon who said that you don't need to reconcile friends who hadn't fallen out. Paul talks about God working in us both to will and to do His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13) yet we don't accuse Him of being forceful there. The Bible tells us that the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God and neither indeed can be and therefore a change is required and that change comes, not from within, but from above. It may seem to you that God is believing and repenting on behalf of the individual, but this is neither the claim of the Bible nor the claim of Calvinism and therefore no need for me to defend it.

Your second argument re: the angels in heaven repenting is solid enough without the need to either introduce the already aired view that God forces men to believe or the new charge that He "cheats" (your word) and reintroducing the thought that man does not voluntarily obey God. As I say in the first paragraph, this is not what Calvinists believe. If you cannot get beyond that, then no amount of words or paragraphs from my or any other Calvinist pen will make a bit of difference to this discussion. You would need to fish around for a professing Calvinist who actually holds to that view (if you can find one), and that in opposition to the vast majority of Calvinists.

As said, your second argument, stripped of the non starter position, is not without its merits. I can only say that the salvation of any sinner from being a child of wrath even as others and brought into the family of God and pardoned and cleansed etc., cannot but be a cause of great rejoicing. Since the Lord Jesus sees the travail of His soul and is satisfied (bearing in mind that He could never have countenanced failure) then there is every reason for the angels (and indeed us all) to rejoice when a sinner is brought home to God. Don’t forget too, that many of the arguments employed against predestination are as sharp against the doctrine of the foreknowledge of God. If God foreknows something, then it must be invariable otherwise it could not be foreknown. IOW: God cannot foreknow something that might or might not happen. If the angels share that foreknowledge, then the sinner repenting was something that they knew all along would happen and therefore could not have been surprised when it invariably came to pass. But such a view of predestination is very gloomy and treats men as if they were robots, when this is not the case.

I wouldn't take my cue from the Devil who is a liar and a deceiver from the beginning. He must be aware that God has promised to preserve His people for ever and yet he continually tries to make them fall away from their faith. It would be surely wrong to argue against so much in Scripture purely on the basis that the Devil opposes it. Should we deny that God's throne is unchallengable because Satan tried to usurp Him? Why would Satan bother if God's throne could never be assailed?

Thanks for your time in this discussion.

www.examiningcalvinism.com said...

You're welcome. I enjoy these conversations.

You wrote: “I wouldn't take my cue from the Devil who is a liar and a deceiver from the beginning. He must be aware that God has promised to preserve His people for ever and yet he continually tries to make them fall away from their faith. It would be surely wrong to argue against so much in Scripture purely on the basis that the Devil opposes it. Should we deny that God's throne is unchallengable because Satan tried to usurp Him? Why would Satan bother if God's throne could never be assailed?”

True. While you and I agree that God’s throne is unassailable, the question remains whether Satan thought he could succeed in overthrowing God. I don’t know whether we have enough from the Scriptures in order to know for certain, either way, do you? So that raises another question: What if there really was an “irresistible grace” upon Job, and Satan thought that he could beat it anyway? Or, what if Satan simply didn’t know of any Irresistible Grace? Or, what if there is no such thing as Irresistible Grace? I feel that there are too many unanswered questions relating to exactly what Satan knows, in order to obtain a solid answer, so I would have no choice but to back off from pressing that point dogmatically.

You wrote: “If God foreknows something, then it must be invariable otherwise it could not be foreknown. IOW: God cannot foreknow something that might or might not happen.”

Arminianism agrees 100%. If God foreknows something, then indeed it must be fixed from His standpoint, since God is already there, after the fact. The divergence is over the question of “who fixed it?”, that is, who fixed the future? James White briefly touched upon this point in his debate book with Dave Hunt, and presented the two alternatives: Divine Determinism vs. Limited Self Determinism. So there really is no logical dilmma for the Arminian. You simply have two competing perspectives. However, I note your explanation that the Angels share in God’s foreknowledge and celebrate joyously anyway. Why do you suppose that the angels have such foreknowledge? Perhaps you could suggest that they have access to the Book of Life, but then we would disagree over “when” names are inscribed. Some take “from the foundation of the world” to mean “before the foundation of the world.” When discussing that point, I always point out Luke 11:49-51 which states: “‘For this reason also the wisdom of God said, “I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute, so that the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation.”’”
You wrote: “It may seem to you that God is believing and repenting on behalf of the individual, but this is neither the claim of the Bible nor the claim of Calvinism and therefore no need for me to defend it.”

Understood, but the Arminian perspective remains that Calvinism wants it both ways. Whether it is so, depends upon one’s perspective. To the Arminian, on the one hand, Calvinism wants salvation to be by “shear grace,” in the sense that Preemptive Regeneration did ALL of the work, while also insisting that man still has a role. This is merely a disagreement on perspective, and we are just going to have to live with each other’s divergence of opinion on the matter. My former Calvinist pastor, Chip, once stated from the pulpit: "You think that you had a hand in your salvation!" The argument seems paradoxical.

You wrote: “I think it was Spurgeon who said that you don't need to reconcile friends who hadn't fallen out. Paul talks about God working in us both to will and to do His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13) yet we don't accuse Him of being forceful there.”

Yes, because the Arminian feels that the Calvinist doth infer too much from Philippians 2:13. It is the opinion of the Arminian that when the Calvinist similarly turns to Ephesians 1:11 and reads “works all things”, he infers “causes all things.” There are just some things that Calvinists and Arminians will never come to an agreement on, but at least there is an understanding of each other’s perspective.

GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME said...

Hi Richard,

As you say, it comes down to the wire as the two perpectives compete with each other.

I do not think, though, that Phillipians 2:13 can be as easily dismissed. The principle is strongly enunciated there i.e. that God works in man's lives both to will and to do His great pleasure. We may not understand where the actual dividing line is drawn, but again, the principle is clearly there to be seen. I really believe that had I been left to my own sinful will, then I would never have come to Christ. Yet I do not feel (neither do I advocate) that I was forced into believing. I have never met a Christian yet (Calvinist or otherwise) who claims to have been spiritually kidnapped or forced into something he did not want to embrace. Hence we use the term "Irresistable Grace."

Another kindred verse is that of Proverbs 21:1 where we read: The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. Pretty strong thoughts!

Re: the knowledge of the angels. We simply do not know the extent of their knowledge, although I think it is safe to assume that they know what we know in relation to doctrine. However, it was you who raised their knowledge (along with that of the Devil)and, as you say, we cannot build strong arguments on what we are not sure about. am quite happy to draw my arguments direct from the pages of Holy Scripture.

Here, I better run on.I have to prepare for the prayer meeting tonight. Yes...Calvinists still pray! :-) Thanks for your thoughts.

www.examiningcalvinism.com said...

My pleasure, and thanks for stopping by.

When you have a chance to return and take a peak, I would like to share one last thought, and also a quote from Adrian Rogers. (If you'd like to discuss Prov 21:1, I can start a new post. Just let me know.)

Closing thought: The Arminian feels that the Calvinist wants it both ways.

On the one hand: "I really believe that had I been left to my own sinful will, then I would never have come to Christ."

On the other hand: God is not "believing and repenting on behalf of the individual."

The Arminian is dizzy, and feels that the only answer that he is left with, is what Spurgeon said: "'But,' he says, 'I do not see it.' Well, I do not ask you to see it; I ask you to believe it."

The Arminian shakes his head, and prefers instead the explanation of Adrian Rogers:

“God is the author of everything. God made everything perfect, and when God made man, God man His creature perfectly free. Free Will, then, man’s Free Will, is the origin of evil. God did not create evil. God created perfection, and God made man perfectly free, and freedom therefore gave rise to this evil. You see, this is what makes us moral creatures. Somebody says, ‘Why didn’t God just make us where we couldn’t sin?’ Well if God had made us where we couldn’t sin, He could have no more fellowship with me than I could have with that pulpit or that speaker. Because God made us moral creatures; love is the highest good; and God wants us to love Him. This is the first and great commandment: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy strength, with all thy mind.’ Love is the highest good, but forced love is a contradiction in terms. Forced love is not love at all. In order to love, we must be free to love, to choose to love, and to choose to love, we have to be able to choose not to love. And so God gave us perfect choice. Adam chose in the Garden of Eden, and the sons of Adam after him, to sin, and that’s where the heart-ache, and the groan and the moan come from, as we’re going to see in a moment.” (Turning Hurts Into Hallelujahs: Romans 8:8-11)

May God bless you and your ministry,

Richard Coords

GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME said...

Richard, I would be very happy to discuss Proverbs 21:1 with you.

One thing, however, bothers me with this idea of the freedom of the sinner in this post. I am happy to use the word freedom if it frees me from the thought that man not is a puppet or a robot. As you know, in practical terms, this is not what Calvinists believe and we are very careful in our COnfessions of Faith (e.g. Westminster) to stress that. Therefore, it becomes a bit annoying that it should be continually churned up.

Where we deny the use of the word freedom is found in the teaching of John 8:34 where we read: Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant [Lit: bondslave] of sin. You cannot, strictly speaking, have bondage and freedom at one and the same time.

www.examiningcalvinism.com said...

Hello,

You wrote: "You cannot, strictly speaking, have bondage and freedom at one and the same time."

Indeed, and that is why Adrian Rogers taught, "Where God leads, God enables." The depravity of man is precisely why Jacob Arminius emphasized the necessity of the Prevenient Grace of God, having referred to it as a “preceding grace.” So you see, Arminius indeed affirmed the depravity and slavery of man, but he did not emphasize the total inability of man to the extent that it became a doctrine of the total inability of God to save sinners by their own free will. So the question is this: Can God save a man by his own free will and his own voluntary choice?, or is man too depraved for even God to reach?, apart from involuntarily changing their mind for them, without their conscious approval or knowledge?

The Arminian then weighs Calvinist theology in light of the dunamis "power" of the faith-producing Gospel, and feels that, according to Calvinism, the real power would not be in the Gospel itself, but in Preemptive Regeneration or in Irresistible Grace. This is precisely the complaint that Laurence Vance raised in his book, “The Other Side of Calvinism.” This also gets to the point of the prior post in which I had asked, When does a person become “in Christ”?, and you are welcome to offer your answer in that multiple choice question.

As for Proverbs 21:1, I will start a post tonight after work. I look forward to our dialogue.

God bless,
Richard Coords

Luke said...

Please let me interrupt your discussion with a quick question. It was stated that "God cannot foreknow something that might or might not happen". Do you really think Jesus would agree with that statement in light of Matthew 11:23 "And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the might works, which have been done in thee,had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day."?

Rather, isn't Jesus illustrating that he knows all possibilities as well as what will be? That is what I believe. What say ye?

GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME said...

Richard,

God requires of us that we keep His commandments perfectly, to break one is what constitutes sin (1 John 4:3) and is to be guilty of all (James 2:10) to incur His curse (Galatians 3:10) We may break His commandment against adultery by merely looking at a woman without even touching her or being in the same room as her. Are you saying that man can keep the law perfectly as God requires of us?

As to being in Christ: Although Christians are "chosen in Christ" from before the fundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4) we were still children of wrath even as others (Ephesians 2:2)until we cme by faith to Him and were thus, in experience, united to Him or found "in Him"

www.examiningcalvinism.com said...

Luke,

Good catch. You are correct. That's called Middle Knowledge, in that God knows all of the contingencies. I have an article on that point:

However, I think that Colin had something else in mind. When he wrote: "God cannot foreknow something that might or might not happen", I think that what he meant to say is that for what God foreknows to come to pass, must come to pass. I agreed that God's foreknowledge of future events is perfect because, to Him, it is after the fact, since He is eternal, in that God is not necessarily linear and sequential. God is independent of time. By saying this, I'm not ruling out the fact that God also knows all of the what-ifs. In fact, those who limit God's knowledge to only that which comes to pass, such that God's knowledge is merely the transcript of His decrees, fail to take into account the very point which you just raised, namely, Middle Knowledge.

www.examiningcalvinism.com said...

Hey, it looks like we're here at the same time. I'm at work, so I won't be able to do my post until I get home, which is just a few hours.

www.examiningcalvinism.com said...

Colin:

You wrote: "Are you saying that man can keep the law perfectly as God requires of us?"

No. But I ackowledge the difference between being able to perfectly keep the Law, without one spot or blemish, for an entire lifetime, vs. a one time act of surrendering to Christ in repentance, at which time God regenerates the believer, by making Him "born again." Does that answer your question?

Of the multiple choice options in the other post, what answer would you give, a, b, c or d?

www.examiningcalvinism.com said...

Colin,

Allow me to add: A man lacks the moral fortitude to keep the law perfectly as God requires of us.

Paul, who was regenerated, and filled with the Holy Spirit, confessed: "For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:14-24)

So I must ask: In the conflict of Paul's two natures, even while being "regenerate" and filled with the Holy Spirit, and His strength to do that which is right and good, Paul confessed that he lacks the strength to do it. However, that is not to say that Paul never does that which is right. Rather, he struggles to do that which is right, because of our mutual sin-nature inherited from Adam. God enables him, but God does not irresistibly make him do what is right. God enables,b but God also gives him the choice. I hope this addresses your question in the manner in which you were seeking.

www.examiningcalvinism.com said...

In my last post, I forgot to ask the question.

Paul speaks of 2 Laws:

(1) The Law of God in his inner man.

(2) The Law of sin in the members of his flesh.

Does Paul have the freedom, despite being a prisoner to the law of sin, from ever, even in one single instance, of obeying the law of God in his inner man? I see two forces in play: (1) God's enablement and (2) sin's pull on a weak nature. I feel that if Calvinism allows for the law of sin to be breached by the enablement of God's law of grace, then the doctrine of Total Inability cracks.

Jnorm888 said...

This is an awsome quote!!!



"The Arminian shakes his head, and prefers instead the explanation of Adrian Rogers:

“God is the author of everything. God made everything perfect, and when God made man, God man His creature perfectly free. Free Will, then, man’s Free Will, is the origin of evil. God did not create evil. God created perfection, and God made man perfectly free, and freedom therefore gave rise to this evil. You see, this is what makes us moral creatures. Somebody says, ‘Why didn’t God just make us where we couldn’t sin?’ Well if God had made us where we couldn’t sin, He could have no more fellowship with me than I could have with that pulpit or that speaker. Because God made us moral creatures; love is the highest good; and God wants us to love Him. This is the first and great commandment: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy strength, with all thy mind.’ Love is the highest good, but forced love is a contradiction in terms. Forced love is not love at all. In order to love, we must be free to love, to choose to love, and to choose to love, we have to be able to choose not to love. And so God gave us perfect choice. Adam chose in the Garden of Eden, and the sons of Adam after him, to sin, and that’s where the heart-ache, and the groan and the moan come from, as we’re going to see in a moment.” (Turning Hurts Into Hallelujahs: Romans 8:8-11)"